Imaginary Vision - The Black Void Within
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[And so it happens once more, they are all called to one place, like something deep within wants them there, no matter what. This time, it was in the middle of Shibuya Crossing. The people were busy walking towards their destinations, and the cars wait for the red lights to end so they can get through too. In the middle of the street, there waited a man in suit and hat; his hair was a messy brown and he lacked a mouth. His posture, so calm and yet so still raised no worries. No cars would question him being there, and the people didn't even notice his existence. Indeed, Melbourne would not allow that to happen as he waits for his participants. It was now time again for a new task that they would need to survive.]
You can listen to my voice. You should hurry and meet me here.
Rowan notices a glint in the corner of his eye, the mysterious suited man sticking out like a sore thumb. Checking the battery on his phone and loading a round into his modified glock in anticipation, the young hunter approaches the man cautiously. Standing in front of him, Rowan clenches his fists and frowns at the taskmaster.
"Alright, then. I'll play your fucked up game. You can spare me any of your cryptic bullshit, though."
Rowan holds the gun behind his back, taking one step away from the man and glancing over at the city buildings for a moment. He then faintly whispers to himself for a second, "too much to protect," before looking back over to his side to check for the rest of the arrivals.
Prima keeps her head bowed as she walks. The blue-haired girl doesn’t even give Melbourne any visible notice till she’s a few feet away from him. Slowly, she lifts her head up, only giving the man a quick sideways glance before scanning the crowd for anyone familiar. Time may heal all wounds, but she still isn’t going to give Melbourne the honor of a simple greeting yet.
(edited by PrimPrim)
The little girl seems to look around in a daze, almost confused. At least before she gets to see Melbourne again. She did a slight giggle like she always does, but it seemed jagged, and the smile plastered on her face was seemingly twitching. Nevertheless, she stares at Melbourne curiously, and excitedly.
"So, it's time...isn't it?"
Penny says, not bothering to call out her first name, nor bothering to call her uncle, uncle. Due to the public company around her at the very least, she absentmindedly plays with one of her other teddy bears, trying to save Mr. Bear for when they get there. Hopefully everyone else gets the memo that she'll be going along with them once again.
Raidou would find himself in Shibuya as well, his stoic demeanor thinly shrouding the anger he felt at merely seeing Melbourne again. His body was calm, and he remained quiet as usual, while his feline assistant stayed perched on his shoulder. The summoner's eyes remained trained on Melbourne, barely passing even a glance to the other participants around him. Neither he nor Gouto said a word, though the latter's expression was as neutral and calm as always.
By convince the oddity that is a wandering Spell Punk would be caught moving through Shibuya for whatever strange questionable matters it has planned. Though such matters would be quickly cut short in a whim as it floats right towards the gather of others.
“I don’t remember scheduling a trip so soon. Drats.”
It would curse under its breath and just move towards the other still and attentive. Recalling from last experience which was a painful away it would be much wiser now to listen in and understand what it’s getting into.
Quintus would walk up wearing a gray coat, the hood pulled up to cover his face. He'd take his time to confirm the identity of the man waiting in the middle of the street.
He'd prefer to keep his distance as he approached. He didn't want to be too close to Melbourne in case they decided to try and psych everyone out. Instead, he'd simply shout over towards Melbourne.
"Well, we're here! What do you want now? We're going back right? I think that's fair to assume at this point! Anything special you have to explain? As long as this isn't a waste of time. I have my own plans to attend to too."
That last line was said more in a muffled tone as if it wasn't as pressing to the current situation.
Ene is hesitant and would rather get lost in the life of Shibuya then return to Melbourne. Some of what he said still grates on her nerves since it did ring true. Yet if she were to follow her desires now then that would be proving Melbourne right on some accounts.
I hate this.
She mutters as she approaches the meeting spot. With her head kept low and her hoodie pulled up she finally arrives, but doesn't say a thing.
Rowan glares at Quintus, sighing slightly before waving over to the hooded man and shouting just as loud as him.
"Don't believe we've met. You a hunter too, or just happen to be in the area? Either way, stay sharp out there!"
He then stares towards Raidou for awhile and tries to shoot a pained smile at his side, breathing deeply and steadily and he begins loosing his body, anxiously crossing his arms.
Arriving fashionably late is a certain pinkish teen, her barbaric-looking guitar sling across her back. She’s not worried about stealth, jumping down onto the street near the others before announcing her presence
“Looks like we’ve got the whole gang here, nice! You guys ready to rock?”
Tot gives a thumbs up to accompany her wide, cheery grin in complete contrast to the overall somber air before she turns to Melbourne
“I take it you’ve got us another gig? I’m game!”
A somewhat tall, dark-haired girl would be pacing around the crossing. She rubbed the back of her neck, her pale eyes glancing around as a collection of strange people seemed to start forming around her. She quickly took notice of the messy-haired man in the middle of the crossing.
"Oh great... I guess I couldn't lay low for that long huh? Something's up I can just feel it!"
The girl pulled a pretty conspicuous bag off of her shoulders, her eyes narrowing in focus as she took an alert stance. Given how she fumbled around her equipment, it was quite clear she hadn't been in any action in a while.
(edited by Takeno)
I see most of you don't have much too say, indeed.
[Melbourne remains motionless, but even a quick look into his void eyes, it would seem apparent that he was amused, even excited for what was about to happen. He would clap his hands, and the people all around would come to a halt. The air becomes lighter, and the colors fade. The people turn to see every single one of the people called to this place at this specific time.]
Indeed, it is time to go right to the point. No more "cryptic" speak, as you indeed say.
Last time, you lost someone... Tatsuya Suou. He died alongside other millions the moment the ICBMs exploded. In light of those events... I called upon a replacement.
[Melbourne would lazily point towards Takeno. After this, the people around them would begin to melt into a black substance, just like last time.]
This time, you must make your way into the future; the future that was meant for all of you.
But don't be afraid, as Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th indeed knows this place. I welcome you into this new "street". One most forget about!
[Melbourne disappear in the blink of an eye, and in his place, a simple portal remains.]
Welcome... to the "Akarana Corridor".
[Would be the last thing he says before his voice can't be heard anymore.]
Raidou's eyes widened, even Gouto was caught marginally off-guard by Melbourne's revelation. The Akarana Corridor, a mysterious void condensed into a single tunnel that binds together realities. The strange "man" was correct, Raidou was familiar with the place. Gouto was the first to speak up, as he glared at Melbourne, his emerald eyes gleaming.
"Hold on a moment. You're sending us THERE? How will w-"
But Melbourne had vanished, leaving nothing but questions in the pair's mind. Quite characteristic of him, frankly. The two shared a glance, and nodded. Despite their misgivings, there didn't seem to be any other path than forward. Gouto instead turned his gaze towards the rest of Melbourne's guests, as Raidou walked towards the portal.
"Alright, look alive ladies and gents. This place is no joke, it'll help to think of it like... if every single world you can think of was in a bag, and this place is made up of bits and pieces that have fallen out. Demons, what we call "Time Tourists", random bits of debris and garbage, it's got it all. Countless realities and times are combined into one little pocket here. Since this is Melbourne we're talking about, I'm hoping we can retain our physical forms while we're passing through. So just, be ready for a fight... and for things to get pretty strange."
Raidou stepped forward towards the entrance, before stopping and turning to Rowan in particular. His gaze was still intense, and the man didn't speak a word. He simply gave the man a stern nod, afterwards returning to staring forward as he and Gouto proceeded into the corridor.
Prima bows her head.
“It sounds rather confusing, but I trust you and Raidou to lead us through, Mr. Gouto. Let us be prepared for anything.”
After taking a moment to make sure there’s nothing else of note, the pokémon-turned-human steps through the portal. The strangest part was, this felt like it would be easier than last time. Funny how not having to worry about countless people dying took the pressure off someone.
"You don't say? The hunter's association database actually mentions something of the sort existing. Demons come from some sort of alternate dimension called the expanse, right? Some recounts say that the messiah of my world used a machine to travel through it, showing him various visions.
But, if what you say is true, could it be possible that this is connected to the origin of demons as well?"
Rowan strokes his chins with his index finger, solemnly furrowing his brow as he taps his foot frantically
"What do you make of all this, Kuzunoha-san? More importantly, what's our next move from here?"
(edited by Rowan)
Tot taps her foot impatiently as she listens to the explanation Raidou offers. It sounds totally crazy, but so was the last mission and considering how boring her usual was the girl was ready to go at it.
“Seriously? Like one of those matrix things? That sounds TOTALLY WICKED!”
Tot jumps a bit in excitement, totally hyped and ready to go as she follows Raidou and Prim into the corridor
Penny shook a black furred teddy bear impatiently as she listened to Raidou explain the conditions of where we are supposed to be going next. While it’d be nice to ask questions...everyone else is going through. No time for those when we’re already going.
Was all she chose to say as she follows those that had gone before them into the portal. Surely it’d going to be way easier than the first mission. Totally.
The Spell Punk would cock its head more so in confusion quite opposite of its intent to try and understand the situation at hand. It groans and speaks on.
"I can't seem to picture anything about what you said but I expect it to be just as unpleasant as last time. It would be a lucky miracle if we do make do through this."
The Spell Punk would just float along with the other in the back more so. Perhaps an actual experience will make sense for the closed mind or maybe not.
Ene anxiously stares at the portal.
That thing doesn't look too safe and are we really trusting Melbourne again???
She wishes that the good cheer of her companions was infectious. Yet she instead finds fear already biting at her and her feet frozen in place. Staying behind doesn't seem like a great prospect either she realizes upon looking around. A noise of frustration escapes her, but as people step through the portal she finds that once again her options suck.
You people make me feel like Shinatro ...
Ene forces herself to walk up to the portal and looks around one last time. Releasing a hurried scream into her palms she makes peace with what she is about to do and just does it. Runs into the darn thing before she can change her mind.
"A replacement for Tatsuya?! Me?! T-There must be some sort of mistake, I-I really can't do anything comparable to him!!!"
As Melbourne disappeared Take widened her eyes, holding her forehead and groaning anxiously. Her eyes darted to the others, and as Raidou explained just where they were going she couldn't help but laugh.
"Great... so we're going into some sort of messed up demon dimension. Well, if I'm here in Tatsuya's stead, sorry to say that I'm probably not gonna live up to expectations. That being said, I'm looking forward to working with you all."
She spoke with a deep sense of dread in her voice, each step towards the portal shaky and slow. Right before she stepped through the portal she turned around, glancing at the city street she came from and frowning. "Why am I doing this? I have no obligation to help out, I just got dragged into this out of nowhere... but if what they said about Tatsuya is true..."
Finally, she swallowed all her fears, at least for now, and leapt into the portal.
[As the group goes through the portal, they are surrounded by nothing but darkness at first. The air is rather thin, but a general sense of dread looms. At the same time, they are able to somewhat tell faint voices coming from somewhere, some praying, others cursing their fate. In the distance, a dragon with human arms, seven spiked red heads raises up and roars in sequence, and each time, a blinding flash of light would follow. Each flash would force images upon their eyes. A large tower in the middle of a romantic city crumbles on top of scared people running away; a white mansion filled with politicians is burnt to a crisp by shadowy horned beings; rays of light as powerful as the Sun descend from the skies and decimate those hiding in the dunes; mountains break apart as bombs go off on top of them, while the falling rocks destroy thousands of houses. With each flash, time would keep advancing from 1992, all the way to 2022. The faint voices would turn into screams of horror and pleads for help that would muffle all the crying among the noise. Eventually, each one of the voices would be silenced. In the end, all they hear is the wind.]
You've missed quite a bit, everyone. Indeed, the entire world crumble into nothingness.
[Melbourne would say from somewhere as the find themselves standing on grey platforms placed randomly in one place or the other, above or below with no real order. Into the distance, squares of similar color would be equally placed on what seemed to be an infinite cube. Indeed, they were floating in the middle of nothing, but their platform with a giant hourglass in the middle of it. From there, they could notice different sets of stairs taking into different directions, and a cut off path right to their north. There would be a long stairway leading up on their north-east; a simple path leading towards the east; another path towards their south-east; a stairway leading into the depths to their south-west; a short stairway leading up to the west; a path going towards their north-west. There would be no other signs of life anywhere, and their bodies retained their physical form, but the rules were the same as before.]
[The gear they used in 1992 is all back, including the objects collected in the Diamond Realm. Furthermore, non-humans have been returned into their human forms. Finally, their powers are changed into their weaker forms.]
Prima has to close her eyes to keep her head from spinning, and only when the noise dies down does she take in her surroundings. She puts one hand on the smooth hourglass exterior. It was a human symbol. It represented... time, did it?
“I... this is quite unexpected. And we have multiple paths again, yet I worry about spreading ourselves too thin.”
Rather than choose right now, Prima waits for everyone else’s thoughts. At the very least, she wants to make sure Ene will be stable and safe, and a solid plan is better than rushing ahead.
“Raidou, this realm is not new to you, correct? What are your thoughts on how to proceed?”
Tot looks around at the images, the noise. It wasn't as loud as one of her concerts, but it was all very fast and flashy. A neat experience she didn't get much of, even if she failed to really understand it. Tot would glance around her, giving the group a thumbs up so as to say she's O.K
Now without her transformation Tot would look to be a punkish, blonde girl in her late teens, maybe early twenties wearing a black leather jacket, some combat boots, with a worn black choker around her neck. The girl reaches into one of her pockets and pulls out a piece of gum, popping it in her mouth before she starts talking
"Alright kids, looks like we've got 6 paths and 9 agents. We'll want to try to cover it all so our options are forming 3 squads of 3 and going in two rounds, or 3 squads of 2 and 3 solo runners. More is safer but hey if one of you has a death wish I ain't gonna judge."
Tot taps her foot for a moment as she looks at the trails laid before them
Raidou barely blinked at the flashing of visions in his eyes as he continued walking forward resolutely. Once the crossroad was reached, Raidou would stop and examine the paths around him. He had felt his cloak and most of his summoning tubes disappear, leaving only his trusted two companions. Irritating, but not unexpected. He listened to what everyone who had spoken had to say, before pressing a hand to his chin to mull over their situation. After a moment, he'd not to Gouto. They were the only veterans of this place, so it was on them to try and provide some sort of guidance. The summoner, for one, was grateful to have Prim and Rowan here, he knew from experience that they were reliable. You needed that kind of trust in this place. Gouto spoke up once again from Raidou's shoulder, addressing the group.
"While I'm not exactly thrilled about being back here, nor going along so willingly with Melbourne's scheme, I suppose I'm not exactly the legs in my team, am I? Regardless of what we'd all rather be doing, we're here now, and have no real choice but to make do. So, to start: I'm immediately going to have to propose against exploring every single pathway here. While I'd like to think Melbourne has planned to provide some sort of guidance to prevent this from happening, wandering the Akarana Corridor is asking for death. No being, mortal or otherwise, can truly fathom how expansive this place is. You'd die long before you saw even a fraction of what this place truly is."
Raidou nodded. He'd come here a handful of times, and each time he felt like he was wandering through a hedge maze with his eyes closed. Not the best feeling, and not one he'd want to wish on everyone else.
"So, I'd like to suggest we discuss which paths we wish to travel, and if we do depart, to do so in decently sized groups. This place itself is dangerous, and that's not even counting the demons and other nasty buggers that pass through here. Other than that, I have no real preference on where Raidou and I go, or who we go with. Though, if possible, I'd like us all to remain in as large a group as possible."
Quintus had been quiet until now, simply taking in all around him and not responding to anyone even when approached. He wasn't sure who to trust, anyone here might be a servant of YHVH. Regardless, this place was dangerous, that much was obvious and only one person here seemed to understand just how dangerous this place was.
Quintus would step up to Raidou and Gouto not hesitating with his next decision.
"Alright, I'm going with you. Before my excuse was simply that I'd slow you down but I'd rather not die in a place like this and from the sound of it going fast or slow is less of an issue here if this place is as massive as you say.
Regardless of what happens I'm determined to survive above everything else."
Take was absolutely panicking at the noises and visuals she was surrounded with after entering the portal, initially curious and confused at the sight of the immense destruction before her. Once the voices started getting louder and eventually turning to screaming, she cupped her hands over her ears and collapsed onto her knees.
As the scenery changed and all the overwhelming sound turned into dead silence, she finally stood back up, looking incredibly dazed, and even stumbling on her footing. Finally she spoke again, her normal loud and enthusiastic voice replaced by a quiet whimper.
"W-Where the hell...? Oh... another surreal wasteland."
At the suggestion of splitting up, Take scoots to be as close to as many people as she feasibly can, practically hugging herself as she glanced between each pathway.
"D-Do we really have to split up? After all, I don't even know what we're doing here, or even who any of you are! Wouldn't splitting into a group of three just mean two people have to deal with dead weight?"
Penny simply entered humming, even in the vicinity of those visions surrounding her. That of death, and destruction. Though she wasn’t visibly nervous, her smile slowly faded as she started to hug her teddy bear tighter and tighter.
As the scenery starts to change once again, she drops her black colored teddy bear and decides to take out her phone, summoning her Bugbear once more. Her dark pink furred, blue button eyed toy with skulls in it’s umbilical region unveiled by a zipper, and a necklace that contained a blue vial. Penny felt much more comfortable with it around.
“Penny doesn’t care where we go. As long as we don’t go boom.”
She held her demon bear close to her and simply grinned at all of her allies, having to look up to even try and get some form of eye contact. Penny’s bear twitched slightly, excited to move freely as soon as the girl decides to release her grasp of him.
“But I don’t know whether splitting up is best. It’s easier to be picked off that way.”
The Spell Punk would be mostly still through this unraveling portion. While the others discussed it would take a moment to weight the options being presented before trying to interject some of its own thoughts on the matter.
"I think we're capable of splitting up into groups, if I recall by us all splitting we were able to cover more ground and advance further through the peculiar area we found ourself last time. Though this many pathways begs to be deceive not every single one will be touched so best make use of our time."
It squint at each narrowing path glancing back and forth between before continuing.
"Seeing as thats the problem at hand i'm willing go through with a splitting to accompany anyone need be or if you need operate alone. Though preferably the former since I doubt it will be any easier this time, unless I wish to over push my own limits and constant faint...or even more horrific events."
“With that in mind, I suggest we split into no more than three groups, although I’d prefer two to be safe. I trust Raidou to take good care of his party, so I will join anyone who chooses to not follow him.”
Prima draws her gun with her pointer finger resting on the side.
“While I do agree covering a lot of ground is a good goal, I worry if a challenge as strong as Daisoujou appears before too small a group, Spell Punk.”
Ene stares off into nothing as the voice forced into her head howl on. She simply allows her mind to momentarily drift away into happier times until the noise finally stops. When it's safe for her to come to she takes a few seconds too long to pay attention and by the time she does everyone seems set on doing something or other.
I don't care which group I'm put in so all of you can go ahead and make the decisions.
She tunes out once again after she has said what was on her mind. Her gaze latches onto the nothingness and she sinks to her knees in wait.
"If I may add, there is one disadvantage to having too big of a group. We'd basically be sitting ducks with how easy it would be to spot such a group. Granted, we can always weather out an assault against every demon we come across."
Rowan looks at the paths around him, cocking his head to get a better perspective as he furrows his brow.
"This is quite the crossroads. Maybe I should've actually installed some of those apps the Hunter's Association recommended instead of using all my phone space for games. Come to think of it, I haven't really played Dragalia Lost since the day it released."
Rowan facepalms at his own lack of preparation and points to a path at random. Specifically, the south-west one.
"That way looks interesting. Let's hurry up and start the excursion."
"Well then since I'm the one who suggested splitting up I should be dealing with the handicap, right?"
Tot edges in closer to Takeno, nudging the other girl on the shoulder while bearing a wide, almost infectious grin.
"So I've got one here, and I've worked with the kid before, so we've already got our a team of three."
Next Tot would point to Penny, waving for the younger girl to join her and Takeno. If the group's all set she'd bring her arms around both of her new teammates.
"Raddy and Grey are going together so that leaves the rest of you four to decide if you want pairs or groups of three, cool?"
Impatient as she may be, Tot would at least wait for confirmation from her hoped for teammates before heading off anywhere. That's just common sense
(edited by Tot_Pop)
Penny jumped for joy, shaking her demonic teddy bear in the process. She waved back with Bugbear's stubby arm, and then ran over to where Tot was.
"Hi again, miss! Penny's here!"
She giggled as she hugged her stuffed bear, but inside, she was actually pretty shocked Tot chose to be with her again. After all, wasn't it her...programming...that almost got them both killed?
"Hi, other lady. Penny's Penny. And this is Mr. Bear."
Hopefully this is not going overboard. Penny made her bugbear wave again, and then simple glanced back at the others that have gathered here in hopes that they get their own possible groups together.
Raidou nodded in response to Quintus' request. While the man may be a bit abrasive, his abilities could be trusted. He had no qualms with Quintus accompanying him. After hearing out the conversation, Gouto spoke again.
"I believe that the benefits of staying in one large group are substantial, though Rowan does make a fair point. I'd like for us all to remain unified, but if a fight is to break out, the chaos might prove too difficult to manage. As things stand, I believe many of us have differing objectives here. With that in mind, if you wish to split into several groups, neither Raidou nor myself will try to stop you.
Gouto turned to the panicked Takeno specifically this time. He didn't quite know what to make of her yet, but he could hardly blame her for losing her cool in a strange scenario such as this.
"That said, little lady, if you'd feel better accompanying the two of us as well, you're more than welcome to. That goes for any of you, actually. Takeno not withstanding, we can trust all of your capabilities, you all survived that last excursion, and that's enough for us. Plenty of you even entered the Diamond Realm, so with that in mind you should have a decent enough idea of what to expect in here: Lots of weirdness, very little things actually making sense. We'll welcome any of your help, but we can also trust you all enough not to get killed in here; so either outcome is fine by us."
"Truth be told, I'm not sure I have a preference for anyone here. I trust whoever feels like taking a risk on me! I'm just sorry I can't be certain I offer much benefit to the team. But I promise if you give me a chance I'll give it my all!!"
It seemed like just the slightest support was enough to elevate her from her initial moodiness to a sudden enthusiasm over the situation, doing a modest fist bump and offering a wide smile.
"But from what you're all saying, it sounds like there's very little certainty in what we can expect going forwards, so maybe I'm not as far behind as I thought. Best be on our toes though!"
Take reaches into her bag and grabs a fairly basic training sword, more specifically a generic katana, and rests it on her shoulders, ready for action!
[The longer they stayed in their initial platform, more details were easier to make out. Of course, there were still different directions to take: North-East taking to the highest platform; East taking to a nearby platform; South-East being a rather short distance; South-West taking to the deepest platform; West taking to a higher platform; North-West taking to a seemingly faraway platform, downwards. Loking to their North, they wiuld be able to clearly see a separate plarform with a portal, or rather, a few of them. In front of them, a man covered in shadows would wait, his back pressed against a nearby broken pillar with both arms crossed, just staring at the group. Furthermore, the hourglass next to them had five drawings of smaller hourglasses, with a small white line drawn on the floor connecting it to the gap in the North. Finally, they would notice a slight detail in each other. They all had an aura of different colors: Prima and Ene would both share a Light Blue one; Raidou, Rowan and Spell Punk would all share a Dark Green aura; Quintus and Takeno on the other hand, had a Crimson aura; Penny's would be color Grey; and finally, Tot's was a simple shade of Green.]
“Alright then, if Raddy wants the new girl, then I’ll take Blue.”
of course Tot did hear the whole speech about sticking to one group, but that’d take forever and Raddy wasn’t gonna complain. Looking around she was actually kinda familiar with this aura deal, but it didn’t bother Tot in any case.
“That’ll leave Raddy with Grey and the new girl, and the other three to make their own group. Doing that we can cover the place no problem.”
The girl would put one arm around Ene to pull them up to their feet as she looks around.
“Let’s each come up with our own thing to mark which path we’ve taken so no one ends up repeating, just in case.”
Tot would take out the gum she’s been chewing and hold onto it for the moment.
“Mine’ll be some of the used gum I found. Can’t waste it. We all good? Then let’s go!”
Once everyone is ready Tot would aim to lead her group on the Southeastern path, just because it seemed fairly short, and leave her piece of gum at the head of the path
(edited by Tot_Pop)
“Fine by me, tee-hee!”
The usage of pronouns are very important, and so is team composition. After all, daddy said that if your soldiers are out of place, your team base won’t be in first place. Having Ene around is fine, but she’s never actually spoken to her other than at the end of the last journey.
“I think this is great, but first,”
Penny ran towards where she had normally dropped her teddy bear, picking it up and then dropped it at the head of the path so as to mark that it’ll be traversed or something. She’s hoping that they’ll get to be able pass by again, because that’s the only reason it’s being placed there.
“Penny contributes. And now Penny is ready.”
Ene lets herself get dragged to her feet. Not caring much about the team composition she does not object to the choice made on her behalf. Instead she looks at her new teammates and suppresses a frown. She can't really muster the same pleasant mode that the others have so she instead remains passive.
We can go whenever gals.
She would then follow after Tot and Penny without another word to be said.
“Wonderful that sorts things out very nicely. Very safe travels to the rest of you then where ever you venture. With that it leaves me with...”
It would move towards Prima and Rowan and gesture to them to gather as it continues to ramble.
“Hm yes it seems we’re setting off again in trio like before. Lets hope nothing like that Daisoujou strikes us again since I wouldn’t want to strain myself again, it took quite the winds out of my robe. Well let’s make haste we got ground to cover and I doubt lounging around will do us any benefits.
As quick as it was to ramble it’s words out, it started making way down its own path near the south-west and gestured for its commentates to following in suit but paying attention more to the path ahead.
Raidou and Gouto were vaguely familiar with the color system that Melbourne had utilized before, however, things seemed a bit different this time. The pair found little reason to dwell on it too much though, as they quickly found that the ever-energetic Tot had assigned everyone else off into groups, leaving them to work with Quintus and Takeno. Gouto addressed the pair while Raidou himself examined the hourglass in the center, particularly the etchings.
"Well then, I suppose we'll be working as a trio this time. Quintus is already familiar with us, but for the lady, my name is Gouto-Doji, and the quiet one over there is Raidou Kuzunoha. We'll be counting on you, both of you."
Raidou only briefly turned his head from the hourglass when Gouto spoke his name, before quickly turning back to what had caught his attention. Five hourglasses, with a clear connection being placed between the larger object and the gap that prevented them from going north. He could make a decent guess as to what this meant, but at the moment that's all it really was. The man eventually joined up with his companions, a slight smile present on his face. He'd silently point to the northwestern path, and tilt his head slightly as-if to confirm if everyone was okay with going that way.
“Perhaps it’s for the best that we have the same team as last time. Familiarity has an advantage when teamwork is involved... let us be off, then.”
Prima waves to the other two groups before following Spell Punk. Whatever would happen, she wished them the best. Actually, more like prayed for the best. Wishes weren’t enough for whatever Melbourne had in store for them.
"In the end it doesn't matter much which way we go. We're incapable of knowing where each direction will lead, afterall. We're taking a shot in the dark here.
I'm not a miracle worker but I'll try to be of use anyway."
That being said he'd simply go along with the route Raidou had pointed out. It wasn't as though he had a better plan to simply move forward.
Take offered a two fingered salute to Gouto and Raidou, and then to Quintus.
"Then I suppose I should properly introduce myself before we head on our way! Takenomi Yoshiko, at your service!"
As she assumed her normal stance, she'd start following behind Quintus slowly, waving at the rest of the group. Turning to face the path ahead of them, she rubbed the back of her neck nervously, still trying to take in the surreal landscape they were seeing.
"So, out of curiosity, do you two have any idea who that guy is? The creepy guy who brought us here? I'm kinda used to being roped into paranormal nonsense, but this feels a lot more sinister than usual."
[As Raidou, Takeno and Quintus make their way up the stairway towards the north-east, they feel a distant choir make a peaceful and calming melody. It was slow; angelic. Amidst the music, they would make up random words hidden among the notes, such as "Messiah", "Hawk", "Elder" and "Order". Once at the top, a new hourglass is visible, but this one flickers between different colors. It goes from yellow, to azure, to light blue, to dark green. It beckons for those with matching colors to get closer, and, upon closer inspection, the hourglass would be simply labeled as "20XX", the last two digits being impossible to make out.]
[Making their way to the bottom, Rowan, Prima and Punk would hear the faint noise of cackling. Bones shattering could be heard hiding among the insane giggling and laughter with distorted voices. Certain words could be understood, however; "General", "Fiend", "Lord" and finally, "Parasyte". Once at the end, the hourglass of the platform would flicker between different colors; crimson, purple, red, grey and dark green. It beckons for those with matching colors to get closer, and, upon closer inspection, the hourglass would be simply labeled as "200X", the last digit being impossible to make out.]
[The stairways leading towards the south-east would be mostly silent, were it not for the distant sound of waves and different buildings being constructed. "Gaean", "Messian", "Social community" and "Cathedral" are words that stand out in the calm. At the end, a colorless hourglass awaits with 6 small hourglass-shaped drawings on its base. You have the feeling that this hourglass won't work as it is right now.]
Prima frowns slightly at the colors before her eyes. They don’t match her light blue, and the noises surrounding the three are unsettling.
“Rowan, Spell Punk, it seems this one is meant for your color, not mine. Maybe it’s due to me being of Law, whatever that means. But just in case...”
Knowing better than to assume blindly thanks to last time, the woman attempts to approach the hourglass. If her efforts lead to nothing, that’s a shame. She’ll double back towards the path Ene, Tot, and Penny took in that case.
Raidou proceeded onward with his companions, Gouto in tow. To follow through with the other groups' actions, he produced a simple mahjong tile from his pocket and flipped it like a coin on the path behind them to mark where they had gone. He walked with a certain alertness about him. All things considered, he had every right to be on edge here. Gouto meanwhile, took to responding to Takeno.
"Ah, Melbourne. Well, can't say we know much about him, even with our numerous encounters with him. We were roped into one of his previous schemes to help out a good friend, but we wound up knee-deep in this one out of, er... personal obligations, on Raidou's part."
At that, Raidou's composure dropped briefly. Touchy subject, that one was. Regardless, Gouto continued.
"Still, we don't really know anything conclusive about that thing. He's certainly something much greater than a human, and while we've never seen him truly fight anything, it's safe to assume he's something far greater than what we'd really classify as "strong". He doesn't seem to exactly care much about our lives either, we lost a good man last time we were with him, and Melbourne just "replaced" him at the drop of a hat. That's where you come in, Yoshiko. Even still, he claims that there are some kinds of lessons to be learned from these ordeals. It's hard to pinpoint an exact motive from him... Well, it's hard to pinpoint anything about him, really."
The pair eventually stopped in front of the hourglass. Raidou touched his fingers to his chin, before beginning to approach the object, so long as nobody else had an objection.
"Looks like this one's on you, Raidou. If the others are fine with it, don't see much else we can do but approach. Brace yourselves, people."
"My opinion is to ignore Melbourne. I already tried to fight him and as has been said, it's impossible. He didn't even need to do much of anything to keep me at bay. Honestly, you shoul just treat him as some joint fever dream we all share. I'm not entirely unconvinced that that's what he is."
Quintus would simply look over at the hourglass. The colors didn't make much sense to him. He would wonder if it had something to do with those of law as Louis had mentioned. Could it be that there was more than simply law in terms of allegiance? If so then what did the colors represent? All he knew, for now, was that red was his own color and that one of his current group members was also red.
There was some relief in knowing one person here at least could be trusted if that was the case. That being said he'd simply step forward with the others, unsure if he could even enter with them given the mismatched colors.
"Even if we can enter, should we? For all, we know having the wrong color could make whatever's on the other side more eager to kill us."
"So he just sorta shows up, takes you all somewhere, and tries to teach you a lesson? Can't say I'm one for his methods. And he wants me to 'replace' your friend? That's what confuses me the most. What does he want with me? With all of us?"
Take glances away pensively, shaking her head. She didn't have much time to do so, as after seeing the colors flash by on the hourglass, she raised a brow and starts pacing around the object, examining each and every detail quite thoroughly. She'd gesture to Raidou, shrugging.
"Well, it doesn't take a genius to tell you that this thing is color-coded. And it looks like two thirds of us are out of luck. Hey, you guys wouldn't happen to have communicators or anything, right? Maybe we could call the others, see who matches what?"
She started staring at the crimson aura that surrounded her, then at the auras surrounding Raidou and Quintus. A mischevious grin spread across her face, but she seemed a little nervous despite that, speaking with a slightly higher pitch in her voice
"I say we try pissing it off and touching it anyways! But that is only assuming you two are feeling adventurous! Who knows, maybe that's just what we need?"
(edited by Takeno)
Tot flicks one of the hourglasses curiously, but to no avail. After a moment looking further down the path, the girl shrugs and turns to her companions
"Well looks like we probably found the exit. At the least we've got nothing here so I guess we're going back to base early?"
Tot raises an eyebrow to see what the other two think before, if we're all in agreement, she heads back to the main platform
The Spell would not be to riled by both strange and peculiar sounds or words floating in the air it was at this point part of the course and if it were to think about it the less sense it would make. The hourglass though was something like a fresh breeze in this dreadful course, so like any Spell Punk it would want to get curious.
“I feel like i’m staring at something quite literally from the past. Ironic in this sense but still if it was I think it’s troublesome, still all the more worth checking out. But I should keep emphasizing how we should touch or tamper to much in its presence I get just bad senses right off it for some reason.”
The Spell Punk would cautiously follow behind Prima to approach the hourglass quite mesmerized by the colourful lights more then anything else but wishing to not get to ahead of its own self.
[Raidou approaches the hourglass, and as soon as he does, strange music fill his ears. He can see one young man with long black hair and a strange armor of colors black and pale-yellow walking through a celebrating crowd of people dressed in white and blue. He approaches a separate balcony to gaze at the gigantic city below. Takeno and Quintus would not be able to see or hear any of this, however. Upon further inspection, it's easy to notice the hourglass is rather old, as if the last time it was ever cleaned was over 20 years ago. Then, in the blink of an eye, Raidou would disappear from where he was and to them, the hourglass would light up, creating a massive pillar of light into the infinite sky above. From the perspective of the devil summoner, however, he would find himself surrounded by the very same people he was observing moments ago. Indeed, he was now inside the visions of 20XX.]
[Punk would suddenly find himself in the roof of a building. Looking over at the city, he would notice thunders falling from the sky as the horizon folds in on itself violently. Buildings fall apart but others remain in perfect condition, and where trees and vegetation once were, sand replaces their place. In a matter of seconds, the city of Tokyo becomes a sphere in which the sky is another part of the city, and in the center, a sun-like orb floats with a perpetual white light. Prima would only see the lone one disappears in the blink of an eye as she approaches the hourglass with no issues. However, nothing happens for her, as she sees or hears nothing coming from it. But she may notice the pillar of light that's coming from higher up, in the direction Raidou, Quintus and Takeno went. Meanwhile, Punk would find himself in a closed off crimson tunnel with a dark void below. About three seconds pass before he actually realizes he is freefalling at incredible speeds through the tunnel and into the depths below, with tons of floating rocks are quickly approaching. Given the speed at which they are, if the rocks hit, it would prove to be deadly.]
[As soon as the pillar lights up, those who remain would suddenly be able to tell faint flickering colors in the different direction they can choose. The North East would feature azure, dark green, light blue, green, yellow and grey. The East would have crimson, azure, dark green, light blue, green and red. Further into the East, a faint aura could be felt, although colorless, similar to the hourglass waiting at the South East. The South West would feature crimson, dark green, purple, red and grey. The West would feature crimson, azure, dark green, purple, yellow and grey. Finally, North West would have no colors.]
Raidou actually vaguely recognized the armored man, from the fleeting battle with several messiahs back-to-back he had fought alongside his previous companions that lead to him obtaining Kusanagi. He couldn't recall the man's name, but a face like that was hard to forget. In any case, he and Gouto merely had to blink before finding themselves in a new location. The pair looked around in a slight panic, Gouto calling out for their allies.
"Quintus? Yoshiko? Hey!"
It was for naught though. The pair were now alone in this new reality.
"Damnit! Well, I guess we should've seen this coming. Nothing to do about it now, I don't see an easy way back from here. We'll just have to trust them to handle themselves for now, and get through this place quickly. Stay sharp, Raidou."
Raidou nodded, and pushed his way through the crowd to get a better look at the man ahead. He wasn't approaching him directly just yet, simply trying to get a better grasp of the situation.
(edited by Raidou Kuzunoha)
Prima’s walk back to where they started is uneventful, at least until the pillar of light above catches her eye. Raidou’s group went that way.
“I wish you and Rowan the best, Spell Punk. I’ll do my best on my side.”
Her words echo into thin air and fade among the sound of her feet hitting the staircase leading to where Raidou’s trio had gone. She’d pause for a moment to observe Takeno and Quintus’s auras - the latter not compatible with this light at all - before approaching this area’s hourglass.
"Seems as if my initial suspicions were right. It won't let us enter because we're red. Well...No point in really waiting out here. I was hoping to stick with the most experienced among us too but it can't be helped now."
Quintus would begin walking away but would offer a quick word to his other companion first.
"I'm going down the West path. You can come along if you want or not. What you do isn't really my business given we're all stuck in this situation together anyway."
That and he honestly didn't believe Yoshiko would cause any trouble anyway. She has that same red aura around her so that must have meant something at the very least.
He'd begin making his way towards the western path.
"Never trust an hourglass never! Always leading to some trouble in whatever way!"
After it finishes yelling at itself while free falling to death it tries to come up with a quick plan on the spot. It tries scanning its own brain for whatever spells and goes with last ditch effort casting a Gryva Spell on itself to try and suspended or slow it’s own fall from the oncoming floor.
We might as well.
Ene shrugs her shoulders and follows after Tot.
Penny initially nods, but after taking a quick look, it seems that she feels that she needs to go somewhere else. A route that's probably not where any of these two girls are going. Thus, she runs up to Tot and tugs her sleeve.
"Penny thinks she should go west. Is that fine?"
She pointed over where west is...but mostly the direction, and not the actual pathway. Nevertheless, she feels that her mind is made up.
Tot looks down at Penny, eyeing the younger girl for a moment before nodding
"Yeah, that's cool. Looks like I can't go with you though, so you'll have to be extra careful. Alright?"
After letting Penny confirm Tot would pat the girl on the head and let them go on the way. Afterwards Tot would look around the remaining paths, before nodding to Ene
"East? Looks like one of the few places left for us."
If Ene confirms Tot would jump up a bit before heading down the Eastern path
Take stared at the hourglass, her brow raised about as far as it can go before shaking her head and throwing her hands up.
"Well, everything seems quiet so far, so at least for now I think we're safe! I'll stick with you though. After all, this Melbourne guy colored us the same way, wherever you need to be surely is the same place I gotta be, right? Or... at least... I hope so!"
With a semi-enthusiastic trot, she'd head West, making sure to stick behind Quintus, her eyes still darting around anxiously.
[As Raidou moves ahead, he finds himself accompanied by Prima, who simply appeared by the young man’s side without even remembering how exactly it was that she got there, as if both people had always been there to begin with. They are able to grasp a bit more of their surrounding and its people. They can listen to some people happily singing and discussing recent events, such as how it is amazing that God had finally sent them their long-awaited messiah, he who would lead them to a new age and the promised land. The walls had ample screens with a resolution to its image that almost made it seem like nothing but a window; colors so vibrant it made reality look like a joke, or as if the eyes of each human was inherently faulty. On one of them, the biggest one, two people are desperately fighting for their lives. The text under it reads "Shock! Messiah vs Anti-Messiah! The Repeat at the Valhalla Colosseum!". The Warrior in Yellow Raidou had seen before was clashing his sword against another one wearing a white armor and green coat; his hair was black and spiky and had a white COMP on his left wrist. Indeed, looking for long enough at his face would reveal an uncanny resemblance to Kazuya; but with an almost disgusting smirk full of arrogance.]
"I will not be beaten, Aleph!! You, Anti-Messiah, have deceived the people for far too long!!"
[A woman with straight black hair, pale skin, wearing a white and blue bandana over her head would appear on the screen. Her face was the spitting image of Yuka.]
"Please, stop this Daleth!! Aleph, don't fight anymore!!"
"Don't get in my way, Beth!"
[And so, they keep clashing their swords as demons use their magic against one another. People watching would cheer on the man called "Aleph", while badmouthing the other known as "Daleth". Their drinks coming from the different bottles with all kinds of shape is red, and even some knight-looking people are slacking off. An older man dressed as the other appears and slaps the drink of the younger ones before yelling at them, forcing them to go back to their positions. One lets out a massive sigh before looking at Raidou straight to the eyes, and Gouto as well. He seems confused until the older one comes back.]
"Kuzunoha!! Hurry the hell up, or I swear the 39th will hear about this!"
"Alright, alright, I got you. Sorry..."
[He would shrug and mutter something under his breath while looking extremely annoyed as he follows the man out a southern door. Outside, the Warrior in Yellow, "Aleph", has a simple glass of water on his right hand, looking out to the horizon in absolute silence; not a single person daring to approach him for the moment for one reason or another.]
- 0 -
[Rowan, who was now falling into the abyss alongside Punk, would find his own speed to become rather slow thanks to the gravity bending ability of the other. Indeed, they would gracefully keep falling into the unknown depths as they see the rocks from before passing them; round rocks simply floating there for no apparent reason. Minutes would pass, and eventually, they would find themselves at the bottom. The circular wall surrounding them was just the same as the one they had seen the moment they were pulled into this strange realm. In front of them, a bizarre, circular door with golden boarders and red center was keeping them from the room ahead, from which a distorted young voice was coming from, alongside one belonging to a girl.]
???: “So I have to deal with another labyrinth? What is up with that old man and mazes.”
???: “Could be worse, at least you get to fight some strong foes.”
???: “All of them are demon we already defeated back in the Vortex World anyways, I would rather have something new to fight.”
???: “If I didn’t know any better, I would call you a demon right from the get-go, geez.”
[Both voices keep bickering with one another, becoming more and more distant by the second.]
[Going through the stairway to the west would make Quintus, Penny and Takeno hear the faint sound of a school bell goes off in the distance, and the bickering of high schoolers is all around. One specific voice sounds angrier than the others, filled of resentment and disdain, as if pleading for all of them to shut up at once. At the end, an hourglass labelled as “Alt.199X” flickering with different colors awaits. Approaching it, they see visions of a teenager dressed in a white uniform and black hair sitting in the middle of a gym, drawing a tetragrammaton. He would place candles on the ends of the star right before offering some of his own blood to the center. Soon enough, as the young man impatiently waits for something to occur, a black vortex pulls him into a blank space where he is quickly surrounded by all kinds of demons. After these quick events unfold, the pair finds themselves waking up in the middle of a colorless classroom. The chairs and desks are all properly placed, and the chalkboard lacks any kind of dust on it. It is safe to assume that no one had been there, and yet, it seemed like at least one person was somewhere in the building, waiting for them.]
- 0 -
[The path of stairs leading towards the east reveals a hourglass rather quickly, labelled simply as “POTENTIAL”. Standing on the platform, they could hear someone typing on a keyboard. From there, they are also able to see a set of stairs leading down towards an hourglass without colors. Soon enough, the sound of typing on a keyboard stops, and is instead replaced with a calm voice.]
“Ah, it’s nice to finally meet you two. I was wondering when it was that someone from your group would come to this place. Please, don’t be afraid. You two have nothing to worry about.”
[As soon as this happens, they are able to see for a brief moment how a woman in a tight white dress with orange stripes puts a helmet on them both as they lie in some kind of capsule. Immediately after, they regain their senses inside an entirely white realm that feels completely real, and yet somehow, you can tell it’s a fake. Behind you is the exit to the strange maze, but ahead lies a straightforward path, alongside strange whispering and echoing voices.]
“Be careful! Remember that while inside the Virtual Battler you can’t die, but don’t overdo it!”
[A cheery female voice would tell them before they are left all alone to their devices.]
Raidou ended up shocked by several things all in a row. Firstly was Prima suddenly being there, followed by the mentions of Kuzunoha and the video on the screen. The mention of a Kuzunoha, XXXIX no less, did catch him off-guard. Still, it did clue him in to a few details. Similarly, the presence of people who, at the bare minimum, greatly resembled Kazuya and Yuka was rather concerning, but at least let him know that this was likely a similar world to the one those two had come to know. He couldn't help but wonder where the real Kazuya was. There was no way he could imagine the man he knew with a look like that on his face. Either way, that was all conjecture. It seemed the best way to get answers here was to approach the man named Aleph. Thus, he made a quick glance towards Gouto, who began to speak in his stead as usual.
"Prima, how did you get here? Didn't you go down another path with those other girls? Well, I suppose it doesn't matter all too much how
you ended up with us. We're just glad to have you along. We figure it'd be best to talk to the guy who looks like the star of the show here, so any backup is appreciated."
Raidou nodded, and should Prima not object, he would try to approach the strangely-dressed man. If not stopped in his attempt, he'd simply clear his throat to let him know somebody was behind him.
Um, excuse me... You are the one known as Aleph, correct?
(edited by Raidou Kuzunoha)
Prima has to let her eyes adjust to this vibrant scenery. It’s like something out of a fantasy. The image of the Kazuya- and Yuka-kile figures is surreal as well. Are they... no, they’re not fighting right now. “Aleph” is here, so this must be a recording. She attempts to answer Gouto’s question despite the fog in her mind.
“I... think I did, but I couldn’t go with them for some reason. I must have followed you instead. Still, are you and that man related, Raidou?”
She watches the door close behind “Kuzunoha” before shaking her head.
“We can probably investigate that later anyhow...”
The girl resigns herself to following Raidou towards Aleph. She had never seen the man aside from on that screen, but he had an aura Prima couldn’t put her fli- er, finger on.
“Oooh, wicked. Time for the two of us to show our potential then eh?”
Tot nudges Ene’s shoulder, cheery as usual as the pair head down the somewhat narrow pass soon enough they’d reach the strange, lab place. It wasn’t something she was used to, but she wouldn’t panic. Once again Tot would be in an open place. The girl doesn’t let any of this weirdness slow her down, pumping her fist in the air before turning to her partner with a grin
“Cool, I haven’t gotten one of these training things in forever. Let’s do our best cool?”
Finally, Tot would head down the straightforward path, the only seemingly available for now
“That was a smooth descent seems my luck and support is quite in my favour now where does that leaves us?”
Its eyes fell upon the circular strange door standing before its eyes. It also catches the sound of two voices chatting about intriguing but the words also a bit concerning for it personally.
“Leaves us with company so best look sharp and hope for no ill intent I hope.”
It would creep up so it was besides the door itself getting a better view to examine it and try to lean in and listen in on those voices but it suspects that who ever there were they were about gone by now.
Ehhhh I don't know if my potential is really anything impressive.
Ene awkwardly takes the nudge before putting her hands behind her head in a faux relaxed pose. She allows her mouth stretch into a lazy smile, but the quiver at the ends of her fingers tells otherwise. She didn't even want to be here in the first place much less have to show off her skills. For all she knew the fiend Melbourne could be waiting around some corner to strike at her once she let her guard down.
I'll try to do my best but at the first sign of trouble i'm gone.
I hope you know that!
She shouts after Tot before following after with a grimace.
Rowan walks up to the door besides spell punk, placing a single hand on the center and shoving it slightly.
"If they're down here, they're obviously not with the Red Cross¹. I'm going on ahead."
With the only warning being given to Spell Punk a mere hand wave, Rowan kicks the door at its center as hard as he can with his right foot. Should the force not be enough, he would attempt to push and pull the door alternatively.
"I probably should've told you this before, but I have no intention of avoiding any fights."
¹The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
Take's hair stood right up and she jumped in place at the sound of the school bell, putting her hand to her chest and panting.
"I can't tell if this is my student anxiety speaking or just being startled, but that scared the hell out of me! Hey! Look! Another one of those hourglasses!"
She picked up the pace, jogging towards the hourglass, skidding to a halt when the visions start appearing, and just as she was starting to try and grasp what she was seeing, they were all teleported into the classroom. She held her blade up, glancing around warily.
"I have a bad feeling about this... Come out now and you won't get hurt! There's no use hiding!!"
She seemed a little unsure, like she was throwing threats at the air, hoping someone would bite.
Quintus would simply watch as Takeno rushed towards the hourglass, unsure of whether he should intervene or not.
"Hey, you shouldn't rush too much. We're not exactly in a hurry anyw-"
He'd feel interrupted by the visions, unable to even react before they all found themselves in an odd new environment. It seemed that this was what Gouto spoke of in terms of anything happening within this place.
"Believe me, if there was something around it'd probably be better for it to stay hiding. The world's that Melbourne seems most intent on sending us to aren't the kind of places where throwing a punch before you look is effective."
That being said, he'd attempt to simply get up and look around, specifically looking for a way out of the classroom.
Though the others might have felt some form of familiarity, Penny herself didn’t actually know what kind of environment that she has gotten herself into. The chairs, the desk, the chalkboard. Especially the chalkboard. It looks fun to draw on.
“Mhmm, I agree.”
The little girl lazily states, her body walking towards the chalkboard and trying to draw on it. Though she can’t be bothered to try and find and chalk, she imagines that she draws something instead of actually helping.
“I’m bored. Penny wants to draw. Actually draw.”
[Aleph would perk up at the mention of his name by a voice he had never heard, and still felt strangely familiar. Turning around calmly, he would see both the young man with a cat, and young woman with the blue hair. He would keep a polite smile on his face before placing his right hand gently on his own chest.]
Yes, that would me. But... who are you two, miss, mister? Do you perhaps need help with something? I'll be glad to help if that is the case.
[Behind Aleph laid a city full of lights and life which, given the position in which Raidou and Prima are, can't make out completely. However, they can make up the shape of a pyramid-like building in the distance.]
[Although Rowan kicked the door, it would prove to be a futile action. The door would simply slide to the right while making the rather loud noise of rock sliding. The room in front of them was similar to the one in which they were in before; red and circular. In the middle of it, there's a gigantic pillar similar to the trunk of a tree with uneven dark openings to it, revealing the pillar to be hollow. The voices they had heard stopped talking, but it was very clear they were awfully close-by.]
???: "You a demon? What do you want?"
[Spoke the young man with the distorted voice from the other side of the pillar separating them.]
- 0 -
[Tot and Ene brave their way forward inside the virtual dungeon with faint music coming from all around, as if to make the contestants feel more at ease given the fact that they may have to fight sooner than later. At the end of the hall, they find that the road keeps advancing ahead, but at this point they can make out a gate to their right, and another hallway to the left. None have much else special going on for them.]
- 0 -
[The classroom holds no utensils of its own, not even posters or a clock to adorn it all. At least, there are two sets of doors on the right wall, one at the front and the other on the back, as one would expect. If they do decide to go out into the hall, they would see the walls in front of them to have some very clean windows to the outside, which, at a first glance, makes it out to seem that it's nighttime. Furthermore, the halls lead north and south. From the south, they are able to make out strange rumbling, however, as if someone was looking around for something inside a room they couldn't pinpoint.]
Rowan loaded a round into his rifle and pointed it towards the pillar, taking one step backwards from it and raising his voice so the ones on the other side could hear him.
"Hunters, actually... I kill demons and their allies. Is that gonna be a problem for you?"
Rowan gestures at Spell Punk to get back and grabs the hilt of Espada in anticipation.
(edited by Rowan)
Raidou was almost a bit shocked at the man's politeness. Still, it was better than any alternative he could think of. He nodded to Gouto, who began to explain.
"Well, given that you seem to be the hotshot around here, the uh... Messiah as they call it, I suppose there isn't much point in hiding who we are. The three of us are what we like to call Time Tourists. The exact details are a bit difficult to explain, but this man here is Raidou Kuzunoha XIV, and the girl is named Prima."
Raidou nodded, and stepped forward to get a better look at the guy.
Aleph, what can you tell us about this place? Or rather, what can you tell us about recent events here? We seem to be stuck here for the time being, so I'd like to gather as much information as I can.
Ene considers the two options in front of them. She tries to consider the two options on their own merits, but what she hears is making her extra antsy. She is practically shifting on the balls on her feet as she at random points out a path just to get out of the hallway.
We should continue down the hallway.
She moves over to the extra portion of the hallways and impatiently looks to Tot.
If we go past the gate we could end up trapped there.
Hi I'm new to this page can anyone help me out?
Prima bows when her name is said. The man in front of her was important if the screens meant anything, but he appeared to be a gentleman rather that someone consumed by fame.
“A pleasure to meet you.”
She lets her allies take the lead in conversation, instead opting to gaze out at the world they were in. She lacked the sight of a Talonflame, but she still tried to get a better look at what that pyramid could possibly be.
The Spell Punk rears it’s head behind Rowan in disappointment as it looks inside. It would c all out to whatever voice it was hearing but did as Rowan told and kept its distance.
“Personally I prefer to be classified as a wondering mage over a demon if you kindly will. So we don’t mean no harm...well the hunter won’t as long as you don’t provoke him but we’re willing to be diplomatic less you strike us or just rile him.”
The Spell punk would just wait patiently in the back keeping an eye on what’s inside the door but a better eye on Rowan so the situation doesn’t break down to some gruelling brawl. Hopefully some reason can be worked out here instead.
(edited by Spell_Punk)
“I was thinkin’ the same thing.”
Tot grins as she speaks. The girl pumps her fist before adding
“This bit’s kinda like a video game so the gate’s probably locked anyways.”
The girl doesn’t seem to have noticed, or at least cared about Ene’s talk of running, she’d rather keep the energy up and going, so once again she’d run down the hall straight ahead
“Let’s go then, adventure is out there!”
OOC: for Yamato, you’ll probably want to check out the discord that’s posted on the lowest part of rules. There’s a fair bit to explain and it’d be a bit easier there. If you’d prefer I can go on PMs later and do my best though
Quintus would sigh. It was a hassle being stuck in this mess with so many unknowns. He'd step out into the hall, gesturing for the others to join.
"If we're gonna survive a situation like this its best to get into some kind of formation for these tighter areas. Otherwise we might get confused and end up attacking each other. As soon as you guys are ready we'll head south."
Penny was holding her bear up to the chalkboard so that it could look at it, somehow thinking it would actually result in something. Since nothing was working immediately, she just looked back and followed Quintus towards the hallway.
"Nothing here useful. Nothing fun. Penny's ready again!"
She simply glanced back at Takeno, waving at her with her bugbear again so that she could at least gesture her to follow them. But really she was just waving at her again because she wanted to.
Take wiggled her fingers in greeting to Penny, offering a friendly smile before her attention was quickly yanked back to her surroundings, first taking in the featureless classroom, briefly poking her head out into the hallway to see where Quintus was going before following him.
"Well, if this place wasn't weird enough, I didn't even think classrooms could be any more devoid of personality."
She held her blade at the ready, tip-toeing towards the south end of the hallway, though not venturing too far. She recoiled her head, taking a step back and glancing at the others, gesturing to the hallway.
"Anyone else wanna volunteer to see what that is?"
[Primarina would step forward towards the edge of the balcony that overlooks the somewhat hazy city. At first, the lights make it hard to see, but soon enough the buildings below do appear. All had a similar architecture style to it, grey like a reminder of an unfinished city which still has too much in its mind to worry about looking nicely all around, all of them of at least five floors, topping at the very skies above. Once the massive skyscrapers finally come to view, most being closer to the center; the pyramid that goes beyond two thousand meters in height; is it clear that no one in the usual city would be able to replicate such views, not in a couple of decades. The white lights coming from the searchlights from somewhere in the multitude of streets, it was clear that this place was way bigger than Tokyo has ever been. She would find herself to be near the top of one of the seemingly taller buildings, and even then, there is no end to it all in sight.]
A... Time Tourist? I have heard of something like that before, but I did not think it was real, just experiments that have not worked so far.
[After this, Aleph would press his index finger on his chin.]
It's a pleasure to meet you both... but if you say you are Raidou Kuzunoha the XIV, as you say you supposedly are, then you will have to prove it. So far, the Temple Knights have two of such clan, the 39th, and the 40th, who was at the party back there, I believe, watching the...match.
[The young man would drop his arms.]
I'm afraid that I can't reveal much else until you prove you are who you say you are. If you cannot, I will have to call security so they take you both for questioning, but if you truly can, then you have my word in that I will do my best to assist you.
???: "Only if you try anything funny, 'cuz if you do, you're gonna get your face punched in."
???: "They don't feel like demons, y'know?"
[The first voice, coming from the teenager with a distorted voice would say, a tad annoyed at Rowan's own tone, while the other female voice tries to defend it. As soon as she hears Punk speak however, she speaks once again.]
???: "See I told you they were fine, they are willing to talk. So let's talk, okay?"
???: "...Got it."
[Coming around the pillar, a small Pixie would appear with an excited smile before floating in place, confused.]
Pixie: "Wait... have I seen you two somewhere else before...? I feel like... I have..."
[Closely following from behind, a shirtless teenager with a somewhat mean but mostly relaxed look on his face would appear. His entire body is covered in strange markings resembling tattoos, and the back of his neck, his nape, was a black horn, which made it clear that, while he was not exactly a demon, he was not human either.]
Let's talk then, who are you two and how did you get here? More importantly...
[The teenager with the distorted voice would cross his arms.]
How did you two survive the Conception? Were you inside the Hospital as well?
[The pair of girls move forward with courage and the song of the area becomes clear at last, making the entire atmosphere lighter and easier to take for them, even fun. Sadly, and although they move ahead for quite a while, they come across a dead end. There is nothing much to find in the area, but a few meters behind them, a hazy black figure awaits; although it looked closer to an angry sprite floating around.]
- 0 -
[Once the group moves to the south, they would notice a distorted voice mumble and move around from side to side inside a small closet next to the stairs leading up to their right. This closet, which is currently to their left, is rather chilly. For reasons yet unknown, whatever was behind that door was extremely cold.]
???: "I wonder if this is what a classroom is, ho!"
Prima has to step back from the sudden disorienting feeling in her body. It’s like watching an optical illusion. She’d only been this high up once before, but the city’s sheer scale made this even more shocking. She composes herself and returns to Raidou’s side.
“Thank you, Mr. Aleph. I have faith that Raidou will be able to prove himself.”
She then waits for Raidou to act. While she wasn’t familiar with the weight his name implied, she’s seen enough of him to know he was unique among the typical summoners.
The rapid fire of questions from this man had the Spell Ouni taken back a bit. It didn’t really have the knowledge to give a clear answers cause truth be told it was mostly confused and up in the air on all the strange events whenever it participated in these very particular events. It tried to give some kind of quick in the spot words to try and fill for his lack of knowledge on this person matter of questioning.
“Well sir our arrival to these parts have been rather unusual and for me personally have been quite a haze even as I walked these very paths before it’s hard to say how we landed here but we’re trying to cover ground and figure out that lack of information. What I can say for me is that I have no name i’m simply one of many from a race of Spell Punk’s and the fellow with me is known as Rowan a professional in his field...at hunting at least.”
It would gesture to itself and Rowan for introduction and carry on with the questioning that was put on them but still it lack any strong points to answer back with.
“I’m terribly sorry sir for I don’t really understand this conception or hospital again we come from much different parts so none of this sparks any memory or understanding of those terms, as I said it’s more we are learning as we go of this place.”
"Nothing at all? What a buzzkill."
Tot hangs her head momentarily before shrugging and turning back... Only to find their path blocked by a... Something. It looked like some generic from a game that you'd touch then get forced into a real fight with more than an actual enemy.
Either Way Tot's hand would slide to her back... Where she realizes that she threw away her axe, leaving Tot without a weapon
"Alright Bluey, you still plannin' on runnin' or what? Long as we're together I'm sure it'll go great."
overall Tot wouldn't really interact with the creature, instead looking at her armed partner-in-crime for whether to hit it first or not
"Yeah, as my ally says, i'm Rowan. My rule of thumb is that anything you don't understand can be answered with 'parallel worlds'. That's the short of it, at least. I don't have all day to trade lectures, so let's just get down to business. You seem strong and we could use all the help we can get. How about we join you, wherever you're going, at least for awhile?"
Rowan pockets his rifle and steps towards the shirtless man and holds out his right hand to shake
Blue sparks dance on the palms of Ene's hands as she takes note of the empty area and the hazy, black figure. Her right hand flies to the inner pocket containing her knife, but noticing Tot's lack of anything useful. She does not feel too comfy with her chances.
I'm still up for running as long as you don't hold me back.
She has played enough games in her time to know exactly where this is going. Normally, running would not be an option in this type of dead end dungeon but it won't hurt to try since this is real life. As she prepares to sprint away she looks around for the path from which they came from.
"Ho? Like hee-ho? I think I recognize that little vocal quirk."
Take rests her sword on her shoulder and basically hugs the wall, tip-toeing up until she was decently close to the closet, putting her ear to the wall before recoiling and growling in discomfort.
"C-C-COLD!!! That sounds an awful lot like Jack Frost. What would a little fellow like him be doing in a spooky hallway like this? Seems a bit dangerous for his standards..."
She beckons the other two over, her teeth chattering lightly.
Quintus wouldn't hesitate in the same way as Take. He went up to the door, ignoring the cold as much as his body would allow before knocking on the door directly.
"Hello? Jack Frost is it? Your voice sounds familiar. I think I've met one of you before? Mind if we come in. We're a couple of explorers who have found themselves here as of late."
He didn't expect things to be quite as they seemed. It was awfully cold for what he assumed to be a Jack Frost but he wasn't too sure what such a demons prowess would be normally. Aside from that most demons seemed willing to try and talk before anything else.
Guess his story was a difficult one to believe. Raidou couldn't blame Aleph for needing proof, and was more than happy to oblige. He calmly drew the one thing he had that proved his identity, a summoning tube.
I assume you're at least somewhat familiar with this, yes? While many summoners past my time utilize machines to embody contracts with demons, we who take the name Raidou use a slightly more direct method. A technique known only to my branch of the Kuzunoha line.
Beginning to focus, Raidou would ruffle his brow as the tube in his hand began to emit an ephemeral green glow and the object itself would appear to be rotating and lengthening, almost like a screw. Before he could summon a demon in a place assumedly full of people on-edge about them, though, he would cease the summoning and the green aura would fade.
I hope you don't require me to actually summon a demon here, I can't see that going well. Is that proof enough of my identity, at least?
Penny, after looking back at the classroom once more and being saddened that she can’t do anything in there, leaves and follows the adults that she has accompanied towards the hallway. After casually putting her hand up to the door to feel the cold temperature, she hums to herself happily as she waits for the other two to say their thing.
“Penny just wants in, tee-hee!”
The little girl says happily on the other side of the freezing cold door, waiting for the Jack Frost to open up. She even goes so far as to gaudily mock his little speech quirk that she’s only slightly familiar with. Penny holds her twitchy bugbear close to her and puts a smile on her face.
[Aleph would think it over for a couple of moments before looking through the small pouch on his back. He would pull out a book that had seen better days labeled as "Demonic Compendium: Volume 20" with no visible author. After flipping through the pages, he would remain in one for a solid minute. After that, he would open his mouth in surprise and show the pair what he had found. It was a pair of black and white pictures of a summoning tube in an idle form, and then another of a person in similar clothes to Raidou using it to summoning an unseen demon while a cat watches.]
I believe you; it says right here that the summoning tubes were replaced by mechanical means of summoning around the 1980s, and that most were destroyed as to stop civilians from ever using them, or even to fall in the wrong hands. I use the Demon Summoning Program for example, just like some of the Temple Knights... namely the Kuzunoha clan.
[Aleph would put the book back inside his pouch and then pull out another. It reads "New Millennium".]
Not to mention the cat, Gouto. That was the biggest give away, that book mentioned something about a him. So, if you really do use those tubes, and you are the 14th, then you must be a Time Tourist, as you say.
I'm sorry I didn't trust you right away, but you must understand my position, Raidou, Prima and Gouto.
[He would raise the book on his hand before clearing his throat.]
This is the year 2079, and this is the city of Tokyo Millennium, specifically the Center district. You could call this place the core from which you can go to all the other districts and where the central government is, all run by the Messians since the 2050s. And recently... you may have seen it already, but I was appointed as the Messiah of Millennium after defeating another Temple Knight... the "Anti-Messiah" named Daleth. At least, everyone else calls him that.
[He would offer the book to the pair.]
That book alone should have much of the history of this city but...
[He would look back at the party before getting closer and whisper.]
Just don't let anyone from the Church of the Messians catch you with it.
[He would wink at them before moving back a bit.]
Do you all need anything else? Like I said, I will be glad to help however I can.
Then you aren't from this world, I get it.
Pixie: "It's like that lady in black kept saying, that there are other worlds... then again, I was already aware of that. I used to have a contract with another human who kept getting involved in such affairs all the time."
[The pair would close their eyes before speaking, the one with markings dropping his arms while keeping both hands in a perpetual fist.]
Pixie: "You must already know, but I'm Pixie."
I'm Naoki Kashima, and if you're wondering what this place is, it's called the "Labyrinth of Amala". Other than it has demons in it and we have to get through it, I can't say much else.
[Naoki would then turn around and walk into the next room past the pillar. Pixie would stay behind, waiting for the others, as she didn't seem to trust them to be very capable anyways.]
Let's go together, see if you find a way out for yourself. But don't try anything weird.
Pixie: "That's the only warning we'll give. If you have any question, we'll try to answer. We¿re pretty lost ourselves."
[Tot and Ene try to run away.............. but it fails! As soon as they try to get past the small sprite, a barrier stands right on their path as to keep them in place. It disappears of course, making it clear they could escape yet again. The previously mentioned sprite would then transform into 0s and 1s, quickly taking the form of a single, human-sized plant with dangerously wild tendrils. Its bud remained closed, yellow and covered in already open pink petals. At the tip of the bud, there was a human mouth with pink lips and sharp fangs. Soon enough, smaller versions of itself would extend from behind, like looking at the flower version of a hydra. On top of it, its name would appear: "Audrey".]
Audrey: "Hey y'all, so glad you're here! I’m STARVING!!!"
[The plant-like demon would rush at Ene using its tendrils to move, and it would try to land a horrible bite on her head, but it would actually miss the first strike.]
Audrey: "Come here both of you, I don't bite too hard~!!"
[The battle officially started, even the background music would change all of a sudden.]
- 0 -
[Once Quintus opens the door and calls out to the one inside, the closet would be revealed to be actually way more ample than it really seemed. Covered in ice and with a temperature that not one human would ever want to mess with, there was a small demon, white with a perpetual smile...and a classic black school uniform, hat included.]
???: "One of you said my name! Hee wasn't wrong though, Jack Frost it is, but some else said it!"
[The small Jack Frost would point at Takeno with his right "index" finger.]
???: "It was that one, Ho! Over there!"
[He would cover his mouth and giggle before making a quick jump in the air while spinning. Then, he would pose, extending both arms and raising his right foot.]
Hee-Ho: "My name is Hee-Ho! Of the Hee-Hoh so cold Frost series of the Jack brothers! I am also the strongest!"
[Then, he would flex his nonexistent muscles.]
Hee-Ho: "Hee-Ho's just a simple student so I hee-have never seen any of you! I came to school and that's it, ho! Are you all also students!? That one looks too small to be!"
Raidou felt a little bashful at seeing himself in a historical work. He'd felt a bit of that before with Kazuya's light fanboying, but actually seeing himself written down in history like this was another matter entirely. It seems he has much to live up to. That aside, Raidou would gratefully take the book from Aleph with a nod. Gouto would speak this time, his voice remaining steady.
"We appreciate the help, Aleph. You're a good man."
Gouto had a number of questions for the man, but figured that the book he had given them would hold the answers to a majority of them. If worst came to it, they could always return to further pursue any questions. Raidou bowed respectfully to Aleph, before stuffing the book in the pouch on his hip.
I would hate to trouble you any further, Messiah. If my companions have nothing more to say, then I believe I should visit with the Templar Knights, specifically this age's Kuzunohas. I feel I would stand to gain much from meeting with them.
(edited by Raidou Kuzunoha)
Ene shakily jumps back after Audrey's attempted strike and she warily grins.
Hey Audrey could we maybe settle this in a more peaceful manner.
She says this, but is quick to use a zio for good measure in case Audrey has other plans in mind.
Some girl talk over cookies and milk could help.
"Looks like its pruning time."
Though Tot isn't armed, she'd still be eager to rush into the space between Bluey and.. Audrey behind her friend's lightning. So as to make Audrey have to get through her first.
"Lets try to make this quick. DoRe."
Tot snaps her fingers to send a weak sonic blast at Audrey, hoping for the concussive force to keep them back for a bit.
Rowan’s quick choices caught it off guard but the Spell Punk recomposes itself and carried on. It may sense to make allies roar her then enemies in such foreign parts with demons apparently lurking about its best not to take chances.
“Very well then I’ll look to it that I keep myself and this fellow in line, I must thank you for allowing us to accompanying.”
The Spell Punk would wave for Rowan to follow and trailed behind Naoki and Pixie though even so being in a labyrinth with demons about just keeps it on edge put it keeps talking to Itself clam it’s own riled nature.
“Nobody seems to know a thing and we descend further now into a labyrinth. I would wish I had some base idea to figure much of this enigma of a trip. A shame I can’t even rest and think on it.”
Not let any of the Church see it? It must be very important. Prima smiled gently at Aleph.
"Thank you. I have no objections with following Raidou, but before we leave, may I ask what these 'Messians' and 'Temple Knights' you speak of are? I'm afraid I am not as familiar with the terms of this place as my companions may be."
Not being from a world of demons had its downsides in terms of knowledge... although, after everything she's seen, Prima is sort of thankful the place she comes from is inhabited by pokemon trainers and not demon tamers.
Rowan gives an affirmative nod and follows alongside Spell Punk, surveying the area as he walks.
Penny carries her bugbear and listened to this Jack Frost with glee, being amply entertained the more she had listened to it. Though, as soon as the mention of school comes up, both the girl and her bugbear tilt their head towards to the side in confusion.
“Penny doesn’t know what a student is. Hey mister, where are we again?”
She tugged on Quintus’ jacket sleeve in hopes that he can help her with her lack of info on the subject. Though at this point Penny was acting out on her “short term memory loss”, there was still some genuineness that came with her question, seeing as how she never went to an actual school and instead spent most of her time with her dad. Thanks Caulder.
"Jack Brothers? There must be a whole bunch of you, huh? Well, good on you for coming to get an education, I guess."
Take peered into the frozen room, her brow raised about as far as it could before turning back to the little Jack Frost, crouching down to meet his height and offering a smile.
"Can't say I'm a student here, but it seems all three of us have business here! You wouldn't happen to know any details about this place, would you? A name or location? Or maybe if there's someone else here?"
Quintus was thinking about how to approach this demon. It was obvious they weren't exactly lying about their strength given the cold. His thought process would be interrupted by the girl tugging on his sleeve.
"Where we are? This appears to be a school of sorts...Uh, you know what that is, right? It's the place most parents send their kids to learn useless facts about things that don't actually help them with most things in the real world."
He'd turn back to the Jack Frost that was supposedly named Hee-Ho.
"To expand on that we're explorers of a sort. I'm sure a demon as strong as you can help us out, right?"
Of course, I will tell you all I know about them.
[Aleph would once again clear his throat before speaking.]
The Church of the Messiah is the leading religion, the official one for this theocracy. I remember reading in one book about this one place called "Vatican", which was more or less the same kind of deal.
Next, the Temple Knights. They are an elite police force which serves under the direct command of the Center, filled with incredibly powerful people who can take on even demons and those of the Cult of Gaea. They, of course, enforce the law in the city, and are the top citizens. After them, are the Center residents, followed by people who have managed to obtain an Arm Terminal, and finally, those who are simply part of the city.
[He would then turn around and beckon the group to gaze down at the city with him.]
If you are looking for your fellow Kuzunoha, the 39th and the 40th, then you will have to take the elevator right outside the room we were in and go down to the first floor. Then, you will want to head down to that one building by exiting through the main hall and walking by the main street.
[He would point down at a pretty close building with a distinct white and blue color to it, which shined brighter than those around it.]
It's pretty close, so you can't miss it. Just go in and ask for any of them. If you hurry you may actually catch up to 40th, who was here just a moment before you three came to talk to me.
[He would look at all three then and give them a thumbs up.]
That is all, anything else you may want to know regarding the past is in that book, or most of it. Also… be careful, recently some demons broke in and there may be some still roaming around.
The world ended, so now we're trapped in what basically an inwards world called "Vortex World". Apparently, it's a natural occurrence that can lead to someone with a strong will to remake the world or something.
Pixie: "The catch being that only a human can ever do that. Soooo while the rest of the world is nothing but demons, a few humans are just...wandering around, as you do."
[The following room would feature five different circular-shaped entrances; one to the front, two to the right and two to the left. Only the ones on the right are open, and they looked exactly like the one they had used before meeting the demonic pair. Pixie would then become a bunch of flying electric bolts that would join with Naoki through the horn on his nape. Walking closer to the second entrance to the left, it would be noticeable that it led to nothing but yet another fall into the abyss. Standing right next to it, he would turn around and point at it while smirking.]
We're gonna jump, that's the only way to reach the depths below. You won't die though, promise.
Just do try to avoid the rocks in the way, the strange red goo and you'll be fine.
[Facing the hole once more and, after charging his jump for a moment, he would leap into the darkness below, past the open circular gate.]
Audrey: "Nuh-uh! Y'all are here to get into my belly and-"
[The plant would be hit by Ene's Zio square in its...jaw? And it leaves the plant demon in the floor for a moment before "standing up again". It was clear that electricity had a harder effect on it than it should.]
Audrey: "THAT WAS RUDE!! You just have to DIE, what's so hard to understand about that!?"
[Right after this, Audrey would receive a strong, Almighty type of attack that would leave it wondering what was going on anymore. It didn't seem to do hurt more than Zio, but still gave off a good amount of damage.]
Audrey: "I see what the problem is, I'm just falling behind you two having legs, while pooooor lil' ol' me has some nice, thick tentacles. We'll fix that!"
[The demon would be covered in a green light that seemed to increase its speed all around. It was the effect of Sukukaja.]
- 0 -
Hee-Ho: "Hee-Ho knows! Hee-Ho knows! This place is called Karukozaka High School, and it is ruled by the great Deity Emperor of the whole Expanse! All demons vow to hee-m, even the beautiful Lilith! Hee-Ho came here because hee is at the rooftop! But I don't know what a rooftop is!"
[Hee Ho seemed happy, and yet extremely confused at what that concept even was. He would turn to Quintus and put his hands on his "waist" while laughing.]
Hee-Ho: "Hee Hee Hee Ho! You definitely get it, Gloomy Guy! Hee-Ho is so strong "Hee-Ho" goes past "Colossal"! So I will lend you my power if you lead me to the rooftop, Ho! That way, I can become a great Emperor!"
[The Jack Frost dressed in the school uniform would jump in place happily. Behind him, inside the ample closet room, there was an abandoned female uniform with a ruined piece of arm-mounted gear, along with a pair of goggles wired to such machinery, or at least, it seemed to have been one device at some point.]
Ene looks through Audrey with a distant expression.
It's a shame we couldn't be friends ...
She once again spams zio without much fanfare this time after stating this. She never really wanted to be friends with Audrey, but it was worth the try. Though now the plant monster thing is starting to get a little annoying and she didn't want to know anything more about its tentacles. She had heard of the genre that dealt with that and wanted no part in it.
Quintus would be interested in the thing behind Hee-Ho but he thought it might be rude to ignore them before checking the strange device.
"To get to the roof top we just need to keep going up. There should be some stairs around here somewhere. Oh right, should we be calling you Emperor Hee-Ho from now on?"
He'd move while speaking, trying to see if he could get to the device and see exactly what condition it was in.
"Deity Emperor, huh? Well, Little Emperor, if we're gonna make you the ruler of this place, surely we'd have to deal with him... But baby steps! A rooftop is the top of a roof! A roof is like... the top of a building! So we need to take you to the top of this building!"
Take nod-nodded, seeming both perplexed and satisfied with the idea and execution of explaining what a rooftop was. Her eyes followed Quintus as he went to examine the mysterious device, standing back upright.
"Huh... reminds me of that little machine on Kazuya's arm... It's in really poor shape, whatever it is. I doubt we have the tools to repair it... Either of you two have any qualms with carrying it around?"
Raidou stared at the glowing building, before nodding.
I suppose that's our next stop, then. Thank you again, Aleph.
The summoner and mentor would follow Aleph's directions, waiting on Prima to follow. In the event she does, Raidou would press the button to proceed to the first floor. He was tempted to read the book he was given, but decided to wait on it until he was out of the facility entirely, and somewhere a bit more private. Instead, he would address Prima.
I appreciate your companionship through all of this, Prima. It is strange to think that this is only our most recent of times journeying into another world like this together. Are you managing to keep yourself together through all of this? I understand that this can be a lot to take in.
"Your problem is that you ran into a 2v1 expecting us to roll over for you."
Tot laughs at Audrey's attempts to seem threatening, heedless of their opponent's speed boost. Not that it would matter given that her options are hit and hit harder
"Guess we may as well have fun with this. Do. Re. La."
Tot snaps her fingers three times to go with her spell as it sends 0-3 medium bursts of sound to strike Audrey. No reason to waste any more time and end up getting hurt
The little girl, caught up giddily listening in on the Jack Frost speak with the other two adults, Penny hummed to herself as she waited. Due to not having many comments to add, she decided to try and stay away from the laconic nature that she might be portraying.
“I like rooftops. They’re tall.”
And the perfect place to chuck grenades off of. Although she would’ve immediately tried to go ahead and follow Hee-Ho, she glanced back and saw the two adults talking about the weird machinery thing. While she liked holding Mr. Bear more, he wants to move around. She walked up to them as the Bugbear stretched and shook itself like a dog off it’s leash.
“Penny wants to carry it. Penny has nothing else to do.”
(edited by Penny)
“On the bright side traversing the depths won’t be so hard with some magic but going down further has me worried a bit. If we’re trying to reach the heart of this labyrinth so quickly I feel we may get caught off guard. I’ll cast a spell on you anyway and let’s make the descent now.”
Spell punk would try to cast the same Gryva spell on itself and Rowan before taking the great leap of faith into the pit though quite less daunting on the second go around so it should be no issue.
“Thank you for your help, Mr. Aleph. Farewell.”
Prima bows to the man, then lets Raidou lead the way towards their destination. The elevator, like many human elevators, typically brought awkward silence, so she was glad that this silence was broken by Raidou’s question.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure how I’m handling this. I’m not human like you, Raidou. I’ve never been in situations like this till we started our adventures in these parallel worlds. I don’t think I’ll ever truly get used to the dealings of demons and monsters like Melbourne.”
She frowns at the mere mention of the man’s name and brushes a strand of hair over her shoulder. It stubbornly falls back to where it was when she turns her head.
“It’s mostly duty, a little spite, and everyone else keeping me together. It’s just getting more difficult, but... I should be fine.”
It’s said with a note of uncertainty, as if she’s speaking more to herself than Raidou.
"This the only way? Very well then."
Rowan stretches briefly and then steps backwards, running towards the hole and taking a big leap as he tries to fall feetfirst.
[The elevator would start to play a rather catchy tune as it goes down from the 39th floor down to the first. So far, it's taking its time, stopping at the 25th floor for a moment. The doors would open but no one would come in. For a quick moment, they may be able to see a large room full of different closed pods, except for two. In the middle of the room, they would see the back of a very attractive young lady with a tight white dress with orange stripes. In front of her, two young women would be making their way into the pods in a bit of a daze. One had blue hair and a pair of long pigtails to the side of her head, while the other was wearing punk-looking clothes and had blonde hair. On one side, the wall read "Virtual Battler". However, the elevator would continue its way down, as slow as ever.]
- 0 -
[Indeed, Punk's Gryva helps at making the possibly deadly fall of the pair slow down. The way down takes a painful number of minutes as floating rocks and red sludge pass them by. In fact, they may or may have not seen small coins simply floating around aimlessly with no one to pick it up. As they do indeed fall, they can notice irregular gaps along the walls, and through them, they may hear the sound of whispering; of a distant Jack Frost laughing; of a surface quickly being covered in ice and the quiet laughter of a teenager. They may also, in fact, notice that they are falling a bit faster than they were before too.]
- 0 -
[The Zio hits Audrey square on its "face" and it recoils, falling to the ground once again, maybe faster, given the buff? In any case, the demon immediately becomes weaker and is showing clear signs of agony.]
Audrey: "Ah... I just wanted to munch on your pretty faces that's all...!"
[Tot's Dorela would hit Audrey with medium almighty power twice, ending its life rather quickly and making the demon fall to the ground, evaporating in a cloud of binary numbers. Finally, the music changes back to the tune they had been hearing since the beginning, indicating the battle was over. The road ahead was the same: a long hallway leading to a gate to the east; now their left; and a corridor to the west; now their right.]
- 0 -
[Looking at the device closer, it would reveal to be a very familiar COMP model to anyone who was familiar with an user. It was black in color and it was rather bulky, and so, heavy. It was connected to a simple pair of goggles that featured a single headphone to the left. The COMP itself had a small lid that doubled as screen of unknown exact purpose, and as opposed to a simply wrist-mounted computer, it's closer to a gauntlet, featuring a protective fingerless glove at the end of black leather and a white-colored protective layer for the back. Indeed, it was intended for those closer to adults. The exact state of the COMP is as follows: It won't turn on; a few wires are cut and it is rather dusty. However, you get the feeling it can be repaired somehow, somewhere. Whoever carries it must keep all this in mind.]
Hee-Ho: "That's right, Gloom-Hee! I will be a Hee-Ho Emperor one day, but for now just call me by my name!"
[With a clear intention, the Jack Frost known as "Hee-Ho" has decided to join the party for the time being. Although it is clear he will fight alongside the group, he will act on his own accord.]
Hee-Ho: "Le-Hee-ad the way, friends!"
[To the south there would the exact way they used to reach the closet in the first place, but in the distance you can see the hallway taking a turn to the east. To their immediate east, they could see a set of stairs leading up. The can hear the sound of footsteps from time to time too.]
"There we go, that wasn't too bad eh?"
Tot nudges Ene's shoulder once Audrey is downed, feeling pretty good about herself. The girl would take a few steps down the hallway, before turning back to her partner in crime
"We make a pretty good team if I do say so myself. Now then, second hallway?"
Tot waits for Ene's confirmation before actually deciding where to go. There's only one other hallway left and the gate they decided was probably too dangerous so she's got a good idea.
The quicken phase of falling doesn’t alarm the spell punk all to much intact it would be quicken up the travels, this hold was rather a long quiet descent so at best all it could do was avoid the many rocks and obstacles and allow itself in this brief moment to relax and listen on the many strange sounds and keep a keen observing eye.
“Didn’t think it would take so long but at least we’re being big given a extensive amount of time to think and be immersed in this environment may as well take advantage of the moment no?”
Quintus would pick the device up after examining it. He'd turn to the small girl as even he for a moment had some trouble with the weight of the device.
"There's no way I'm giving something this heavy to a child. It doesn't even look like it'd fit even if you would have more use for it.
Besides, I don't exactly need to use my strength as much as most anyway. That's what magic is for."
With that being said, Quintus would get ready to leave the closet. The staircase eastward looked to be the most direct but the footsteps were troubling. Based on how schools are typically laid out there was likely to be a staircase further south as well.
"So, the direct dangerous route or the safer scenic route? I'm more in favor of the direct route considering how many we have on our side now."
The glimmer that the little girl had initially once had as she looked at the device soon faded away when she was met with a disappointingly laconic way to say 'no'.
"Awwww, I wanted to see it too."
She pouted before turning the other way, leaving the closet and then going outwards towards the hallway. Looking both at the south hallway and at the east staircase, Penny glanced at her Bugbear before holding it's stubby arm.
"The dangerous route would usually be more, well, dangerous, but considering that we now have a...civilized team of 4, it's most likely going to be much easier to go through; plus there might be some nice rewards."
"All things considered however; the safer, scenic route is something that looks tempting to see as well. Of course, it's easier, meaning less risk; while also making sure we get to whatever our objective is faster."
"It might even be possible to split up, but at this point, that's a really stupid thing to suggest! Plus, Penny hates doing that now! Penny doesn't know what route to go through, tee-hee!"
She said, giggling happily as she shook her teddy bear in the air. It seemed as if the plethora of info that might've been already known was dismissed by the girl as soon as she started to play with her teddy bear once again.
Ene nods her head to Tot's suggestion and falls in line behind her. Unconsciously her shoulders droop with the change in mood and music. She tries to remain on edge, but the lack of danger soothes her back into the usual.
Let's just hope that our good teaming can help us survive anything that Melbourne has in store.
She takes one last cursory look around assuming that Tot has not done so already.
"I don't mind the direct route. I'm sure whatever might be in store for us won't be anything we can't handle."
She eyed the device that was now in Quintus' possession, wearing a pensive stare.
"I wonder what happened to the previous owner of that machine. I mean... it's pretty obvious they're not around anymore. Let's just hope we don't find whatever got them."
She gestured towards the east staircase, smiling at both Quintus and Penny.
Rowan would focus on making a safe landing, trying to remain upright and slicing up any rocks that got in his way with Espada. He gives a side glace and raises an eyebrow at Spell Punk
"Honestly, i'm not much of a thinker. You can only keep track of so many details until you lose sight of your original goal."
Raidou eyed the pair on the Virtual Battler floor. Seems there was a lot of things here he didn't fully understand. Either way, the first step to take was to pursue the other Kuzunohas here. He felt almost obligated to, in a strange way. He felt bad about dragging Prima along in this endeavor, but it wasn't as-if they had anything else to go on for the time being. He sighed, and addressed his companion once more.
I will not pretend I understand everything you're going through. The existence of demons, and the duties I would undertake involving them were things I was made familiar with from a young age. I can't even quite remember the overwhelming feeling that you're describing, it feels like such a long time ago...
He adjusts his hat, looking down with an evident smile. His eyes seemed to betray that expression a bit, though.
You know, Raidou Kuzunoha wasn't my given name. I figured it would be best to elaborate on this now, since we will soon be meeting inheritors of the name. The Kuzunoha line has several different factions and bloodlines, spread across several parts of Japan. The Raidou name in particular is famous for the tubes you've surely seen me use for summoning demons. I had to endure a long training process, starting from when I was very young to earn the name, and when my time is up, someone else will follow. Cast their old self aside and assume the identity of Raidou Kuzunoha.
He shook his head. He was getting off-topic here.
Regardless, my point is; it took a long time for me to adjust, and I wasn't given much time to take all of this in. I can understand the feeling of not quite grasping everything, at the very least. It gets easier, whether you like it or not. Besides, everyone else in our little tour group has experience with these sorts of things as well, so you are not alone in this. I promise.
Prima only saw the floor with the two girls for a split second, but concludes it wasn’t anything that should concern her. But they did look familiar... She listens to Raidou speak with an attentive ear. The man wasn’t usually the most talkative, but when he spoke, she could understand every word mattered.
“So you’ve been involved with this for that long... but I understand now.”
The girl gives him a smile. There’s still tension in her body, but she’s more at peace with the idea of their situation.
“If only time will help, then I’ll be counting on everyone to help me see this through. Thank you, Raidou. Perhaps we could have a proper chat once this is all said and done.”
[Eventually, the pair would reach the first floor of the building, and as the doors open and a voice welcomes them to the lobby, their eyes are greeted by shiny grey walls and many people dressed in different outfits that featured white and blue going on with their lives and taking many different elevators, but also going in an out the main entrance. To one side there would be restaurants, and to another there would be armor shops and healing areas. It was clear at least that, although demons existed, the people were living in relative peace and calm. The glass doors at the far back; at the entrance; would not let them gaze at the rest of the city, and they may even notice some people looking at them weirdly, as if they were, somehow, disgusted. Others simply pay no mind.]
- 0 -
[Punk and Rowan's falling speed would gradually increase as the minutes passed, but it never got to become impossible to manage. Furthermore, any rock that became a serious obstacle was destroyed by Rowan's powerful Espada. Eventually, they would reach the bottom of the abyss and be surrounded by the all too familiar red walls with flowing energy coursing through them. In front of them, a closed circular door which should open at a single touch. However, they can hear the sound of battle from the other side. Indeed, the teenager with the distorted voice could be heard grunting and scuffing against other types of voices of different pitches and tones. The sound of fists hitting rock and breaking it was all too obvious, and so would be the roaring fire, or even the howling wind. What exactly was on the other side, there was no sure way of knowing.]
- 0 -
[The pair would head down their corridor of choice while ignoring the closed door. As they head down the rather boring and simple path, they come across yet again another choice. To their right (North), a dead end. In front of them (West), a closed gate. To their left (South), a longer corridor that would split twice: Once towards the East, which was closer to them and right next to where they were currently standing at. Further away from them, at the end of the South Corridor, this one would lead to a yet unseen hallway that seemed to lead towards the West.]
[Finally choosing to advance inside the bizarre high school, the group would head towards the closest staircase and go up towards the next floor. What they would find above would be a rather sudden change in atmosphere, as the lights were all off, except for the line of disco balls up above and lightshows playing around in the surprisingly ample, massive hallway. Music would be blasting from the gigantic speakers on each corner, and even more of a nuisance was all the laughter and talking from the people attending the party. The attendees to this seemingly well-prepared party didn't seem particularly young or old; right around the right age to be by the end of high school and even university. Some would be wearing their high school uniforms; others would be wearing clothes so tight nothing would be left to the imagination, some were barely dressed even. Some didn't even seem to be living, breathing humans, but closer to Bodyconians and Zombies among all the actual people, but no one seems to care with their drinks, conversation and intense dancing. If the first floor was the embodiment, the second floor was a one age group away from turning into a complete Sabbath, and even then, there was no guarantee it wasn't one already, as some of the doors leading to the "bathrooms" were strangely decorated with all types of objects colored red: Pencils, Scissors, even apples.]
Hee-Ho: "The Emperor has some Hee-Hoing style, doesn't hee!? I feel like I'm going to melt!"
[Hee-Ho would allow himself to be taken by the intense atmosphere and dance furiously on the spot, waiting for the group to move before he does. Besides two "Bathrooms" to the right, the way ahead was straightforward and could not be missed, as it had the general outline of the first floor. Only thing between them and just walking is the mass of people and humanoids.]
The scene should put Prima at ease, but as she steps out of the elevator, she feels as if she’s out of place. Her odd appearance aside, the few looks she was given burn into her skin. Distrust? Disgust? She can’t tell, but it’s unnerving.
This place is a hub of sorts. It’s almost like a Pokemon Center in function. Prima makes note of all the different facilities. Once Raidou gets moving, she’ll follow him. He got a better look at the Kuzunohas than she did so he’s more likely to recognize them.
(edited by PrimPrim)
"Oh come on, the two of us can totally take creepy. No problem!"
Tot punches the air a few times with a smile as the pair go down the corridor of choise.. Unfortunately this leads them only to more choices, much to the simple girl's displeasure. Tot ends up turning to Ene
"Aw man, I suck at mazes. You got some kinda map? I'd take any clue at this point"
Eeeny meeny miney south.
Ene points a finger at the south corridor. She doesn't have any map or guide for dealing with creepy mazes so she resorts to using a children's game to sort it out.
We will probably have to fight again anyway so does it matter where we go?
With that said she turns to the south and proceeds down the path. Without waiting on any additional unput from Tot.
Quintus wasn't exactly too impressed by this place. It just seemed noisy and distracting to him. They had something to do right now and while detours didn't seem too harmful knowing this place there could be demons hiding everywhere.
"I'm just going to move ahead unless you guys think there's something worth checking out. Too noisy to properly think anything out here."
“Déjà vu huh? The door I reckon should work the same but sounds like our accompany has gotten into a quarrel...and I’m not one to really betray those who were providing fair service to us.”
The Spell Punk would walk up to the door and squint at it for a while before trying to touch the middle to see if it would open again. It would gesture in a bow and sway of arms for Rowan to move ahead.
“Though I’m not one to make a entrance and pack a punch I’m certain this is your speciality. Lead the way and I’ll be right behind you supporting as I do.”
Raidou paid the passerby no mind, and instead took a moment to glance at each area around them. There seemed to be a lot of facilities here, but Raidou didn't quite feel like wasting too much time window shopping. Gouto would speak, after being quiet to allow Raidou to speak his mind in the elevator.
"Well, as promising as those stores are, I don't think there's much for us to do there. It's not like Melbourne gave us an allowance or anything. Aleph said to follow the main road out to get to that glowing building, so I suppose those glass doors are our best bet."
With a nod and a quick glance in Prima's direction, Raidou would follow his companion's advice and proceed towards the main entrance of the building.
As Penny looked around the room, she felt very...bewildered. A bit stupefied. She held her bugbear close to her in hopes that it wouldn’t interrupt anything as she looked beyond to where Quintus was heading. But even then, he only thing she could do is tug on Takeno’s sleeve in hopes that she can help the girl with another question.
“What’s happening. Are they having seizures? What are the people doing with their limbs?”
The little girl said in a slight whisper voice. The closest thing to it at least. It seems that she has no idea what normal human thing is happening yet again. She would’ve been just assuming that they were being controlled or something if Hee Ho joined in and enjoyed it. Either way, the only thing she does is scan the room prudently to ignore everything else that’s happening.
"Well this isn't very school-like. Who has a rave in the middle of a high school?"
She wasted no time taking in too much of the scenery, only pausing to check on Penny since her sleeves were tugged.
"Seizures? No, they're dancing! Well... the humans are probably dancing, I couldn't tell you when it comes to the others. Have you never seen a dance before? Usually it's a bit more uh... graceful than this."
Take eyed the bathroom signs and scrunched her nose, speed-walking across the room and beckoning Hee-Ho over once she'd crossed the colorfully lit floor.
Rowan readies his gun, sheathing his sword for the time being and running in front of the door. Waiting for it to open, he points his gun in front of him to prepare for any ambushes
"Focus on taking down the ones that are most likely to get away first."
[Punk's touch would make the circular gate slide towards the right, and as soon as it happens, they would see a towering Oni fall to the ground in front of them. Trying to crawl towards them in desperation, the much smaller Naoki would follow, appearing from the shadows. He would jump high and slam on the Oni's back with his two feet before walking ahead, grabbing the demon's head from the back with both hands, and crush it against the floor, killing it instantly as the rock beneath cracks due to the force, and leaving nothing but a pool of blood and red energy floating towards the ceiling.]
You finally show up, about time too.
If you can fight, then don't stand around and join already!
[The teenager remained calm as behind him, a Setanta and a Senri are brutally dealing with a big group of Oni, of at least another 5, and behind those 5, there laid another 3 with burn marks all over and sliced off limbs. After saying this, Naoki would turn around and rush at the closest Oni to him, leaping at great speeds before landing a single punch, making the demon recoil in pain and make it take a few steps back. Such Oni seemed weak and tired already. Setanta is battling 2 with his spear, and Senri was making use of her magic to keep the other 2 at bay. In general, it seemed to be all on equal footing.]
[The people would give the pair yet a few more confused looks before going about their days, some talking behind their backs. As the pair moves out and into the city ahead, they will see even more people walking around, comparable to what is normally seen at the Shibuya Square. Again, their clothes tend to have a constant coloring of white and blue, and some would dress rather bizarrely, in suits that seemed to belong to an old cyberpunk film, some wearing tons of belts around their arms or even torso; showy glasses of all possible colors, more similar to visors. Some of them would even have Arm Terminals, but the designs would be simple and uniform, noticeably small too. There would be no demon on sight, and the gigantic buildings that could be seen in the distance from above, were now towering watchers that would keep an eye on everything they were doing. Straight ahead was the main street that would lead towards the Temple Knight HQ, "Mikhail Pass"; to the North-West is a smaller street that leads towards what seemed to be the Business District of Millennium; "Gabrielle Street". To the South-East was a small group of apartment buildings where less people were around, but it was easy to feel a less oppressive atmosphere; "Uri Avenue".]
- 0 -
[Tot and Ene would head down to the end of the South corridor and turn towards their right, and as they do, they see a man in a wheelchair dressed in a red suit and with grey hair would pass them by coming from the North towards the South, which is the only way to go, as he had shown up from a dead-end. After this, you somewhat feel a change in the atmosphere, similar to feeling in danger, but also at peace. From where they stand, they can still go back to the previously described corridors, but they may also continue to go South, towards where the strange man had gone.]
- 0 -
[They do their best to push forward and make it to the first turn, the odor of alcohol, smokes and perfume would fill the area alongside the increasing volume of the music.]
Song: "-HIS DAY --ST CAN- -ET MU-H WORSE."
[The barely audible guitar riffs would be accompanied by the intense beat and distorted voice that they can barely make out that, somehow, feel like the lyrics. Hee-Ho would follow the group closely while doing his best to not stop dancing as he does. As they wait there, they manage to see tons and tons of tables on the right side filled with different kinds of drinks with different colors and in differently shaped glasses and bottles. To the left, three doors leading to what seemed to be the classrooms. Each labeled as A, B and C, A being the closest and C being the furthest away, right next to the next and final turn.]
Song: "PLE-SE, RE-URN -O -UMAN BEIN-. ----EVER DOESN- IMPRE-- IT UN-O -E."
[Quintus would may be able to notice a group of oddly familiar girls from one of the tables looking at him. Their hair was black and straight, and their skin had a bit of a dark tone, which goes with their white lipstick and tight white leather clothes; they seemed to want Quintus to approach them. Takeno, on the other hand, would feel a hand press itself on her back and quickly go down before it moves away, stopping itself before getting too low, and at the same time, she would feel like someone or something was watching her from somewhere, perhaps, it wasn't just one. She would feel a voice calling her towards one of the classrooms, that of Kazuya. Penny, on the other hand, would feel nothing strange besides the noise and people being so fired up. Every so other time she blinked, she would see a normal hallway just like the one below, with no music, no people or anything out of the ordinary, and as soon as she blinked again, she would be back at the party.]
Song: "PLEASE MAKE THIS A REAL WORLD."
Hee-Ho: "Thee-s is what I call living! Even the humans stopped being so uptight! Hee Hee Hee-Ho's feeling dizzy! I'm being charmed!"
(edited by Melbourne)
The passage of the man piques Ene's interest.
Hey that guy could be trapped here like the two of us! I think we should follow him!
Ene unwittingly shouts these thoughts in her head out loud and she continues to stare down the path that the man took. Yet, she doesn't move on ahead on her own since she knows that splitting up from Tot now could be a less than great idea.
"Souths good to me."
Tot winks at Ene with a wide grin as she follows her companion down the southern path. The girl hardly notices anything strange, simply going with the flow and heading in the direction Ene had suggested, running a little bit ahead of her companion
"Well come on then, we don't wanna lose him right?"
Tot would break into a run, hoping to at least keep mister wheelchair man in sight just in case they found another bend
"It's not the same ones, right...? This'll be a hassle but they might have useful information. I'll just have to be cautious with how I approach...
I'll be back in a moment. Things might get messy if any of you two accompany me."
Quintus would be referring to Take and Penny specifically. Honestly, it might've been comforting to have Hee-Ho along but it might be better to leave them with someone else in case more hostile demons happened along.
With that said he'd begin approaching the table. He'd try not to seem nervous but dealing with these type of demons always worried him.
Prima eventually assumes the strange looks are due to her and her companion’s relatively odd attire. Human fashion is an enigma to her, she thinks, watching someone with an excessive amount of belts pass by. After getting over the shock of the vast streets, she keeps walking straight ahead towards where the Temple Knights’ building would be.
“I’ll do my very part then for you.”
The Spell punk would branch off to assist Setanta and make the clean up easier. It would try and cast a crystal dust spell on one of them to take their attention onto itself and bait them in.
“Besides I think I can benefit from some meddling and learning how to maximize these odd spells on my robe.”
Rowan, not expecting his allies to understand charades and not wanting to risk being overheard, simply didn't communicate his plan at all. Instead, he measures the gap between each entity and calculates the risk of being caught in crossfire. Once he deems a relatively safe path of travel, he would try and breach the front-lines and secure a position for himself behind the enemies' backs. If he went detected, he planned to engage in defensive swordplay against the assailant.
Take would just be idly glancing over the crowd for the most part, though as Quintus parted from the group she raised a brow.
"Messy? Wouldn't that mean it would be messy-er if you went on your own? If you're sure about this, just yell if you need help!"
She felt the hand on her back, shivers crawling up her spine as every instinctual alarm in her head went off. She'd turn right around, her hands raised to punch someone in the face if need be but she saw... nothing? She'd start returning to her course, interrupted almost immediately by the sound of a quite familiar voice.
"Kazuya-chan? How the hell...? H-Hey kid, wait here a second, will you?"
Against her better judgement, she started jogging towards the classrooms, looking back to make sure Penny was still in her line of sight. Before she could leave for the classrooms completely, she looked back at Penny, gritting her teeth nervously. She decided to remain at the end of the hallway, tapping her foot impatiently as she eagerly waited for at least a little bit of back-up before continuing.
"There's no way he could be here, right? T-That's gotta be impossible..."
Penny absently scanned the place more in hopes of seeing if there's a quick exit...other than the bathrooms. Whatever those are. Seeing Quintus deciding to leave them, Penny merely gave the man a happy wave as she smiled over to him with her eyes closed.
"Bye, Mister! See you again soon!"
But as she opens her eyes again, she just sees a normal hallway. The little girl was sure that they were in a loud and weird room, so she rubbed her eyes a bit before looking at exactly where she was before. She squinted as she tried to process what possible explanation there could be for this occurrence. Being found bewildered in the middle of a party room, she tried turning back at Takeno.
"Uh, Miss, I don't think this place is-"
Only for her to be left behind in favor of a hallway that leads to some classrooms. She actually felt a bit offended for a second there, pouting at her as she advances towards the hallway and how she keeps making looks at her inadvertedly making the girl more annoyed.
"...real. OK. Alright! Uh...who might I need? Oh right!"
Faintly remembering what little she knows about "dancing", she decides to try and replicate an approach of her older sister. Spinning and twirling as she shoots masses of people. How fun. But seeing as how it's a bit crowded, the simple "step and pause" should work fine. Now, going back on what Takeno might have wanted, Penny makes languid progress towards Hee-Ho, wherever he might be on this "dance floor", holding her bear with her left arm whilst keeping her other close to her.
Raidou adjusted his hat with a sigh. He was used to weird looks from people in different eras by now, this wasn't anything too crazy for him. He followed Prima towards the HQ building, Gouto simply lounging on the man's shoulder as he walked.
[The Oni, being too busy fighting for their lives, fail to notice Rowan moving. Naoki would show no problems at dealing with his own Oni before unleashing Fire Breath on the opponent, leaving its body in a scorched state just like the other 3 that were on top of each other.]
No idea what these were expecting.
[Senri is hit on the torso by one of the Oni she was fighting, but it wasn't enough to put her down as she keeps attacking with Mazan. Setanta on the other hand was glad to have received help from the stranger. Admittedly, he was sure he could do it on his own but doing it faster was always good. Punk's Crystal Dust initial casting would catch the Oni's attention quickly, but it would do no good as both demons are frozen right there where they stood. Because of this, Setanta grins.]
Setanta: "Not bad, not bad, pretty cool if you ask me!"
[Setanta would then rush both demons and, knowing very well they could not defend themselves anymore, would attack with a spinning strike of his lance, Tempest, shattering both Oni into pieces. It had been a critical hit, and as his side of the battle ends, he turns to Punk and nods with gratitude.]
[The pair had chosen to keep walking ahead, towards "Mikhail Pass". They would keep seeing all kinds of weirdly dressed people, some even porting guns and blades so ridiculous one had to wonder how they were able to actually use them, or if they were fighting anything anymore at all. At least it seemed apparent that plenty of those were coming in and out of different facilities simply labelled in big words as "GYM", with the name of the owner under it. Soon enough, they would reach the Temple Knight HQ, and would realize that the people coming out from GYM, some rather bruised, were heading back towards the HQ, or even big groups of young men and woman would be leaving through the front gate and towards the nearest GYM facility. With both arms crossed, a single young man who Raidou should recognize from the party before was waiting at the front, and a tall man with long brown hair and a red jacket would approach him.]
???: "Hello Raidou, what are you doing here at this hour? Did you get in trouble with the 39th again?"
Raidou: "What is it to you, Yoshio?"
Yoshio: "Oh! If you don't want to say that's fine! I was just wondering..."
Yoshio: "...Well, I will be at Waruo's GYM if you need me. Make sure you come later; we are going to have a reunion regarding Daleth's situation."
Yoshio: "Okay, see you!"
[The tall man would turn around and walk right past Raidou and Prima, and from up close, they could see a resemblance to Yuji of all people. He would walk then through a GYM fully colored in grey; its full name being "GYM - Waruo's Herculean Outpost." This time's Raidou, on the other hand, would stay where he was for a moment before lazily walking through the front gate of the Temple Knight HQ.]
- 0 -
[Heading down towards South and following the man on a wheelchair, they would find him making a turn towards the left; the East. Making their way towards the end, they would realize the corridor leading to the East was a long one, and the man was already considerably further away and taking a turn towards yet another unseen place towards the South. But, before they can even put their thoughts in place, they are ambushed from the West by two extremely tall and muscular humanoid with yellow skin. Their chest had red paint on it; "D-43" it would say, and their hands had cuffs with broken chains. Looking more like a pair of beasts, they were thirsting for blood. Above both, their names would be revealed as "Heracles".]
Heracles 1: "What's two young ladies doing in this nasty place!?"
Heracles 2: "They are here to die, that's what!!"
[Both demonoids would point their pair of hands at them and shoot out a gust of force, Zan, at each of the girls.]
[Quintus would approach the group of Lilim and probably to his dismay, they happened to be the same exact ones he had met previously on Tokyo 1992. One of them would grab him by the arm and pull him into their circle. The man would be surrounded by the demons and all of them would giggle at the turn of events. He could see them drinking from the table; their cheeks already red.]
Lilim 1: "My, my! But if it isn't the Fish-Lover!"
Lilim 5: "Why the nickname?"
Lilim 8: "Cuz this stud jumped into the river and befriended that one elderly Azumi instead of having fun with us, did you forget already?"
Lilim 5: "But that was like... so long ago! Give me a break."
Lilim 1: "A-N-Y-W-A-Y-S... what are you doing here, big boy? Were you hoping to catch another one?"
[Take would wait in front of the classroom for back up, but they would not arrive immediately as Penny leaves to go get Hee-Ho. As she waits, she can hear the voices more clearly and can easily make out what is they are saying on the other side despite the loud music. It was Kazuya speaking to someone else in a condescending tone.]
Kazuya?: "For how long are you going to stand there? I'm getting bored already."
[It was easy to tell he was not alone inside. At the very least, one could tell by the light moaning and quick giggles that it an entire group of women.]
Kazuya?: "Because if you don't hurry up, then it's going to be Ene's and Nanaka's turn."
Luscious-sounding woman: "Oh? Saving the best for last I see."
Cold-sounding woman: "Consider that those three are inexperienced compared to us."
Playful-sounding girl: "Like you are one to talk, Lightning. You're just a few years apart."
Kazuya?: "So... what is it going to be, Yoshiko?"
Yoshiko?: "Y-Yes, I'll get to it immediately..."
[Paying closer attention would make it easy to notice that the voices are somewhat off, like they are coming through a voice filter as they are spoken. Meanwhile, Penny would find Hee-Ho dancing his life away with red cheeks and sweating water from his icy body. He was repeating the heavily distorted lyrics from the song blasting at full volume.]
Hee-Ho: "This day can't get much worse! Ple-Hee-ase, return to human being!"
[Hee-Ho would then notice the small girl approaching him while doing a sad excuse of a dance. He would point at her and laugh his ass off at how badly she is doing it in his perspective.]
Hee-Ho: "Hee Hee Hee Hee Ho! Are we moving on already? I don't want to melt, Ho!"
"Maybe but I unfortunately left my fishing line at home. Don't suppose one of you would have a spare on you?"
Jokes aside, this situation would prove to be more complicated since they remembered him. Quintus despite this would try not to show his concern, he was here for a purpose after all.
"Didn't expect there to be such a party like this happening at a high school. Seems like an odd location, actually how did all of you escape the detonation those heavenly bastards set off?"
The Spell Punk would give a bow to Setanta’s kind words in the moment. But was also just relived that he wasn’t off with his powers.
“It wasn’t much but I’m glad it impressed and assisted you. Now then let’s wrap this up quickly before they have a chance to take advantage of us!”
With a bit more energy channel led into himself the Spell punk would try to cast a long range spell of Gryva again on the closest Oni in sight. It was become quite found of meddling with gravity itself and enjoyed using it at any open opportunity it got.
"Hey, wait up. We're not gonna."
Though Tot tries to yell after the man in the wheelchair, they don't seem to hear her, or at least not before her and Ene's chase was interrupted. Tot brings her arms up to cover her face as she tries to hold her ground, the Zan pushing the girl back and leaving her with a few small lacerations, but no serious injuries as their new.. Friends interrupt her progress.
"Outta the way stupid. We don't have time for small-fry like you. Doresido."
Tot responds with a snap of her fingers. Though it seems innocent, for either of the Heracles it hits it would seem as if the sound is coming from all directions, in front, behind, and even within their heads, aiming to cause confusion if leaving them with little more damage than a headache.
As Hee Ho laughs at her barely trying to get through the crowd, let alone dance, she pouts at him. Though she can't blame him. She was doing horribly. Tabitha would probably be the exact same way. And father...doesn't really matter at this point.
"Penny doesn't understand dance. Penny likes things going boom more. Mr. Bugbear does too."
As she walked over to Hee-Ho, or; stepped and pause to close distance, Penny felt the need to giggle at what seemed to be him suffering from getting into the party too much. She didn't understand what anyone here was doing, so she didn't feel the need to do the same. Plus if she even tried to dance, her Bugbear would be free to roam and do whatever. That's a bit risky.
"We can't have our emperor be a melted puddle in the middle of a dance-floor for people to slip on. Let's move out!...Wherever we need to go. Hmmm..."
The little girl grabbed Hee-Ho's hand and tried to navigate through the crowd once again, holding her bear close to her and her looking back at her companion in hopes that he doesn't slip out of her grip. Mostly because of the dancing. In secret, she was heading back to wherever Takeno was in hopes that she could appreciate the backup at the very least. Nowhere else that she thinks is right to go after all.
"Oh yeah, and try not to look at the party too much. Blink or something. Penny doesn't know herself. Don't recite the lyrics to that song either."
"Daleth... the one Aleph was fighting?"
If her memory was correct, yes. Her musings on the implications of this are brushed aside as the man passes them. For a second, he looks all too familiar.
After staring at him for a few seconds, she shakes her head. No, it couldn't be. Not the same name, but something about him bothers her.
"Is it alright if I go after him?"
She clearly wants to follow the man, but knows how important it is to catch up with this world's Raidou. Still, the two men would meet at the GYM eventually, so they wouldn't be separated for long, right? Still, she lets her question for her Raidou decide. If he's fine with it, then she'll try following Yoshio.
Rowan deploys his tactics to place himself behind the backs of the two onis that Senri was facing, thrusting espada straight through the back of one and trying to withdraw the sword as quickly as possible to throw a quick horizontal slash at the other near their arm level. Focusing on keeping the enemy distracted for a brief moment, he turns to Senri and bellows out to her.
"Vibe check! How's everyone else holding up?"
He then tries to finish off what remained of the enemy with somewhat standard swordplay, focusing on not overexerting himself.
Great more annoying stuff to deal with. Like this weird maze isn't that enough already!
Ene snaps these words out and then just raises her arms for effect. Fully intending for her basic lightening spell to be cast so this fight can be done already.
Take pressed her ear to the wall to get a better listen as to what was going on inside the classroom, her brow raised about as high as it could go initially.
"There's no way Kazuya's out here! Doesn't even sound like the one I know. Though... is that a harem I hear? I guess they got that right."
Once she heard the sound of her own voice she practically jumped in place, her eyes wide in confusion and dread. She reached for the door, trying to open it as slowly as possible to get a peak into the room.
Raidou's interests are mostly piqued by the man bearing his title, but that other man, Yoshio, his resemblance to Yuji was a bit uncanny as well. He nodded to Prima, deciding it was better to split up in this scenario. He gave her a hopefully reassuring pat on the shoulder, and smiled.
Go on. We can meet up later.
With that, he would follow the Raidou of this time into the Temple Knight HQ, mostly trying to observe for now.
[Punk would use his strong Gryva and hold the closest Oni in place, who was fighting against the Senri. As that happens, Naoki and Setanta simply stand and watch as the battle finally comes to an end by the hand of Rowan. His first attack would kill the one Punk was holding down on the spot, and his second one would heavily damage the last one standing, all thanks to his Espada, which can Pierce through the Physical attack resistance. Finally, Senri would concentrate her Wind magic and finish off the now armless demon.]
Senri: "So there are more humans, huh~?"
[Setanta would hit the ground with his spear, Senri would make a quick jump in the air, and Naoki would simply cross his arms while smirking. They had won the battle.]
You guys took an awful lot of time to get down here. I figured you would just jump right after me.
[He would shrug and continue walking downwards towards yet another circular gate, closely followed by Senri and Setanta who start speaking among each other.]
Senri: "Are they really human, though~?"
Setanta: "They might."
[The corridor doesn't just go down, however, as it also goes upwards.]
[Prima would follow Yoshio and Raidou would follow his current successor. Prima would head inside the GYM that the man resembling Yuji had gone into, and she would find herself surrounded by dozens of men battling each other with training swords, axes, lances and daggers. Most would be wearing nothing but boxing trunks, protection for the legs and head guards. The establishment itself was spotless, and it was very ample with one ring after another perfectly lined up to the left. No one was resting, and even if most seemed to be close to passing out, they were hard at work, and as such, had not noticed Prima's appearance, not even Yoshio's.]
Yoshio: "Ah! Mister Waruo, how is it going?"
[Yoshio approaches a man with short, black spiky hair and glasses who was wearing an awfully simple white tank top. This man had an uncanny resemblance to Takeshi, and was slightly shorter than Yoshio.]
Waruo: "Stop it with the 'Mister' talk."
Yoshio: "Hahaha! Sorry, I just wanted to mess with you for a bit, I swear... you never smile!"
Waruo: "Rest assured, I smile whenever I punch your face."
Yoshio: "That's mean...!"
Waruo: "Well, did you get Raidou? We kind of have to decide for a new representative. Daleth's..."
Yoshio: "I know... but... does anyone else...?"
Waruo: "No, not for now."
[Raidou would head inside of the Temple Knight HQ, and would immediately be stopped by a tall man wearing white robes, which had one very simple symbol in the shape of a blue shield.]
Knight: "Hey, stop right there."
[Raidou 20XX would stop walking and would then turn around, watching Raidou with curiosity. It didn't seem to be common for just anyone to head inside the HQ.]
Knight: "Did something happen, sir? If it's about demons, speak now."
- 0 -
[Heracles 2 would hold his head and thrash around not hitting anything but the walls. Doresido hadn't really done much damage, but the effect was clear, he was under the effects of Confusion. Heracles 1 was more lucky, as he was hit indeed, but not affected like his partner.]
Heracles 1: "Aw that's just it, I'm gonna split you in two!!"
Heracles 2: "Scissors...! 61...!"
[Ene's Zio does have a larger effect on the enemies at large, but it isn't enough, as only Heracles 1 is hit, being Shocked right there, unable to move and susceptible to attacks.]
Heracles 1: "H-Hey!! Get back to your sense!!"
Heracles 2: "Stop roleplaying!!!"
Heracles 1: "WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING, YOU DAMN FAILURE!?!?"
[The Lilim would all laugh at the same time, finding Quintus' behavior to be amusing.]
Lilim 1: "Escape what? You aren't making any sense, lover boy~"
Lilim 6: "If you mean the Angels running away or something, then no, nothing happened. We simply left and found this place~"
Lilim 3: "It was full of drinks and all these hot guys and girls... Actually, I'm getting hungry."
[The demon would leave the group slowly and approach a high school kid, almost like a hunter approaching its prey.]
Lilim 2: "But the Angels all dress like slaves, you think they are into BDSM? They act like prunes.”
[The Lilim that had left previously would pass the group by as she takes the kid into one of the "bathrooms". She was liking her lips right before. The rest of her sisters would giggle before realizing Quintus still exists.]
Lilim 1: "Oh you're right, it is weird it's on a high school...~"
Lilim 4: "Whatever works, teenagers are all too easy to get into bed, easy food~"
Lilim 1: "I've heard the new Emperor is but a high school kid who took the throne by force, using his own power and demons alike. Maybe that's the reason? After all, he's somewhere inside of this building~"
[On another end of the hallway, Hee-Ho would stop dancing and let out a small sigh, covering his own body in gentle frost to recover his composure. He would then nod and follow behind Penny, who was already making her way back to Takeno.]
Hee-Ho: "Okay, Short Stuff! The new Emperor must keep his energy in check so to take the throne, ho!"
[As the girl makes it back, she is able to gaze into the classroom as Takeno herself slowly opens it. Inside, she would see Takeno herself inside, although with purple hair instead of her current black. Besides her, it was filled with other women of different ages and appearance. First, she may recognize the one with pigtails and blue hair as Ene; by her side was another one with a more petite body, but also blue hair. Further to the left was a group of three taller women. The first had short, black hair and eyes so piercing, so full of devious intent that they seemed more like those of a snake; next to her were two similarly looking girls with wavy and long pink hair. Near the center was a pair of brunettes so similar, they were like twins. They were sitting on each side of the young man with brown hair and grey eyes.]
Kazuya?: "I'm glad. I'll make sure your throat doesn't get too damaged."
Ene?: "Show her who's boss, Master~!"
[Both Kazuya and Yoshiko would have nothing from the waist up, and simple blades on their hands. The pair would look at each other for a moment before engaging in battle. Yoshiko would to land a horizontal slash to his neck, but Kazuya would quickly duck and hit her on the throat with the hilt of his blade; the girl would take a few steps back, and he would follow up by running at her full speed, forcing her into the ground by striking her on the back before she can even react. The girl, however, would not resist. Yoshiko would start panting, and as soon as Kazuya realized this, he would use his blade to cut her back wide open again and again; a translucent liquid would fall to the ground instead of blood. Eventually, Yoshiko would let out a single scream of pain after one last particularly harsh slash that leave her showing her spine.]
Kazuya?: "You always talk big, but you never really put up any fight. Most of the other girls at least had some fight in them."
Snake-eyed Woman: "What, Nanaka too?"
Kazuya?: "I said most, Yuriko."
[Yoshiko would not be moving on the floor, and she was in no condition to even reply; blood would be flowing out of her mouth . Kazuya would sigh and cross his arms before going back to the two brunettes, sitting on throne. Indeed, that was what Penny saw. Takeno, who was also gazing into classroom, saw something entirely different. I can't describe cuz imma get in trouble, you can imagine what Take saw.]
“Oh man, you guys are a mess!”
Tot let’s out a lighthearted laugh, this little display of dominance building up the girl’s confidence. Sure these things were big, but they didn’t seem very capable. She might have taken them on head-first if she had her axe, but for now she’s stuck with magic... And her gum.
While the two Heracles are busy Tot pops another stick of gum in her mouth before moving on with her next attack
“Just so ya know, running’s an option. Do. Re. La.”
As before, Tot snaps her fingers with each syllable of the attack, sending 0-3 medium bursts of sound at Heracles 1
Rowan walks up to the gate, waving his hand in a "follow me" motion before relaxing his arms and cocking his head slightly, looking back at punk.
"We should make more haste, next time. Don't suppose you've got a spell for that? If so, we may have to recruit some demon allies on the main world."
He snickers before walking through the gate.
The Spell Punk would follow right behind Rowan and just nod at what he says.
“Would not mind such. This is a large void maze of tunnels and chasms if we can wrap things up more quickly it would go quite better for us. Don’t believe I have any of my enchanting wind on me though what a shame...”
It would stretch his hand a bit acknowledging what he gains and lost coming in and out of here. But quickly brushes such groans away and keeps speaking its mind.
“We probably find some way to exploit and quicken this up if I put my mind to it but I never been renowned on such craftiness going my way so it looks like we take the long way.”
This sounds like an issue that couples therapy is meant to deal with.
Ene deadpans as her hands spark once again.
So not my problem!
She claps her hands in an exaggerated manner and recasts Zio on Heracles 1. Ene then shoves her hands back into her cloak after the cast.
The area reminds her of Kalib's GYM, or even the training pokemon in the new Alola League underwent. She makes her way through the room till she can hear the duo's conversation better. She steps from foot to foot in place nearby, unsure of how to act. Despite all the possible greetings in her head, she's not sure if they'll brush her off or not. So, she just keeps listening in. If they greet her, she'll introduce herself. That'll be that.
Quintus hadn't quite expected that response. He had imagined that whatever was causing all this would either be some monstrous behemoth or dark lord of some kind. A high-school student with enough power to rule over demons? It seemed absurd but this whole place was absurd in a way.
One thing was also certain though, these Lilim certainly were dangerous in a multitude of ways.
"I see, to think a student would be capable of all of that. Guess all these students seem pretty ok with demons though so maybe that's just how things are in this world?
I think I should see this emperor for myself though. I want to see just how impressive they really are. If you'll excuse me..."
Quintus remembered that they were on the roof but he also recalled that he had made a promise with a certain frosty demon. That demon was probably with Takeno or Penny right now so he had to locate them first. He'd take a look around to see if he could still spot them.
She ran towards the classroom hallway that Takeno was at, one hand holding Hee-Ho's hand while the other holds onto her teddy bear. When she spoke out, she was actually relatively quiet for once.
"I came back, miss."
As Penny peeked her tiny head into the classroom, she didn't even actually pay much mind to what could be considered a grotesque scene. Instead, her priorities were more jumbled, and her eyes tried to follow the splatters of blood, or what would be there for blood. A translucent liquid? That's weird.
"Uh, do you know what's happening?"
The girl whispered to her bear, holding it's head in the doorway for it to see the moment that the girl's spine would show. But just like the girl, the bear was just as unphased. Her bugbear simply shook it's head. Penny then turned her head to the emperor she had brought along, stumped to figure out anything.
"Hee-Ho, are you thinking that there's gonna be a fight coming along? Penny doesn't know what's happening."
Take's eyes grew wide and her face flushed, pressing her back to the door and saving herself the sight of the classroom for the moment. She'd look down at Penny, shaking her head with a wavering chuckle.
"I-It's best that I not be the one to explain such things to you, kiddo! We'll save that conversation for later! For now I think it's better we leave whatever's going on there alone!"
As if she couldn't control her own curiosity, she peaked inside the door again, stopping herself after no more than a second, her eyes shut tight as she let out a growl of frustration.
"Get it together Yoshiko! You're fine! Everything's fine! Huff... Alright, the roof... there should be more stairs around here right? Let's regroup, I-I think I'm quite ready to move on now!"
Raidou would bow deeply to the knight. He had expected this place to be a rather tightly run ship, but had gotten a bit to rambunctious in his attempt to meet his successor.
Forgive me for my rudeness. I do not come bearing news of demons.
Raidou righted himself, before pointing a finger at the Raidou of this time. He couldn't quite explain it, but the older Kuzunoha could just FEEL something in the air. It was hard to help himself.
However, I am here on urgent business. I humbly request an audience with that man. Raidou Kuzunoha, correct? I believe I have something of value to show you. Our time is short, so please, allow me this rudeness.
[Once the group makes it past the circular door and this one slides away, they are all engulfed by a very bright, blinding light that makes them feel like they are floating in the middle of nowhere. A voice would soon come to their ears, echoing in the white void.]
???: "And so… you try to invade MY realm, and don't even try to get a permit, or even seek an audience with yours truly. Perhaps not even the most horrid and fiery flames of the bottoms of hell would be punishment enough for your insolence...but I'm a merciful God, the powerful Deity Emperor of the entire Abyss!"
[Once the voice stops speaking with its arrogant tone and it lets out a chuckle, the group finds itself in a large corridor with no visible ceiling; this one being but a black, empty space. The walls are colored yellow and are layered with an unknown material. Finally, the floor was more like a glass in the which they could see strange red energy flowing forward, towards the way they may have to follow.]
This...isn't right, not at all. We're inside the Amala Network, when we should be in a new labyrinth.
Stay sharp, even here, there are demons lurking around.
[Is what Naoki would say before moving forward, deciding not to comment on the voice at all. The horn on his back would vibrate for a moment and Senri would return into it by turning into a blue lightning. After this, the same lightning would make Pixie appear, who would sit on Setanta's left shoulder.]
Pixie: What are we even doing here?
Setanta: Beats me, Fairy.
[Behind them was nothing but a dead end, but to their front, the way would split into two, one corridor would take you to the left, and the other to the right.]
Don't explore too much, or you'll end up getting lost and join the Elementals, Haunts and those Fouls forever.
But do look around, we'll have to take any exit we can. Either an “Amala Drum” will work or a "light at the end of the tunnel".
Heracles 1: "What are ya singing fo-!!"
[To the Demonoid's horrible luck, all three strikes hit him square on his face, which prompts him to cover his face in absolute pain. But his suffering would not be over, not by a longshot, as Ene's Zio would finally kill the creature. Heracles 1's body is covered in electricity as his body vanishes into binary numbers. Heracles 2 would not notice this happening, as he remained in his Confused state.]
Heracles 2: "Ahhhh!! Dancing..."
[The Demonoid would quickly rush at Tot and land a full-force punch on her gut.]
Heracles 2: "MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!"
- 0 -
[Waruo and Yoshio would keep talking to pass the time. Upon closer inspection even, it would be clear that Waruo had been training recently, as his body shows sweat, and his cheeks are all red. After a few moments, he would notice the girl just staring at them. He would make eye contact with her, blink a couple of times and then look at Yoshio.]
Waruo: "You...have a new girlfriend?"
Yoshio: "What do you mean? I'm still going out with Maki."
Waruo: "Then do you know her? She's been looking at us for a while now."
[Yoshio himself would turn around and smile at Prima before turning one final time towards his friend.]
Yoshio: "Now, don't be rude Waruo. Let's act properly."
Waruo: "...Yeah, you're right."
[Both young men would decide to walk closer to Prima. Yoshio would be smiling, but Waruo would simply grin with both hands inside his pockets.]
Yoshio: "Hello miss. My name is Yoshio Toshiki, and this man here is Waruo Tetsuo, the owner of this GYM."
Waruo: "Do you need any help? Perhaps you wish to join it? Don't be afraid to speak, we'll help."
[The Temple Knight was about to speak once again, clearly to ask the man to go out, but Raidou 20XX would place a hand on his shoulder to stop him.]
Raidou: "That's okay, I can deal with him right now. I have nothing better to do."
Guard: "But Master Kuzunoha did tell you to go meet him at once."
Raidou: "Hey, this will take a second. This entire thing is uncommon so I might as well go and take care of it, right? After all, for a man to come here and ask for audience only means this is very important indeed."
Guard: "In that case I'll go tell the Master, just so you know."
[The Temple Knight Guard would say coldly before turning around and approaching another man dressed just like him. This second man would take the first one's position as he makes his way deeper into the base. Raidou 20XX would shrug but have this look in his eyes that made it clear he knew he just got in even bigger trouble.]
Raidou: "You got yourself a few minutes. Let's go talk outside."
[Raidou 20XX would lead Raidou outside, back to the spot he was using before, taking the same exact stance he was using before going back in.]
Raidou: "So you know about the Kuzunoha. I did feel something when I saw you back at the party...er, don't take that the wrong way."
[The man would rub the back of his head.]
Raidou: "I guess it's the right thing to do, even if you sorta know me already. My name is Raidou Kuzunoha the 40th, I serve as a Temple Knight for the Center as the apprentice of my predecessor, Raidou Kuzunoha the 39th. And you are...?"
Lilim 1: "Aww but why would you do that, when we could all... you, and I, and my sister, have so much fun together...~"
Lilim 2: "You are no match for the great Deity Emperor anyway, so why lose all your blood when we can suck you dry~?"
[The Lilim group had in fact trapped Quintus by making a circle around him, hugging to his arms and pressing their chest against them, even the legs; their hands rubbing the man's upper legs. As much as Quintus looked around, he could not find any trace of Takeno, Penny, or even Hee-Ho. Instead, he would see the teenagers making out with various humanoid demons of all kinds while pressed against the walls, even a man with brown hair and a red coat, though only for a moment.]
Lilim 1: "I like you...very, very much... lover-boy. If you drink this...~"
[The Lilim with a fixation on Quintus would reach out to grab a single empty cup. She would reach out to the barrel with a flaming sword design on it and fill it with a red liquid. The man felt indeed a strong internal impulse to drink it.]
Lilim 1: "Give into desire, that's the only way to survive a Full Moon Sabbath...~"
[Hee-Ho would look up at Takeno, inside and then go back to Penny.]
Hee-Ho: "That guy inside looks like a weakling, Ho! Just like you and your group of misfits!"
[Hee-Ho would laugh quietly as his foot taps at the rhythm of the music once more. Then, it's both feet, and soon enough his whole body follows it, like he can't even help himself. At the same time, Penny would feel similarly, like a wild need to follow the rhythm. This is but a mere impulse, nothing too strong; indeed, it was an incredibly weak impulse. At the same time, every other blink she would see the entire place empty and back to "normal", as the previous floor was; she even saw, although for a moment, Quintus standing all alone at the end of the hallway, right before the turn to the left that leads towards the stairs. Inside the classroom, she would not see anyone. Interestingly, the throne remained, although vacant.]
Kazuya?: “Oh…? Don’t tell me, Yoshiko. Are you ready to go again? It’s not like I need you to do it. Plenty of other people around me would die to get such treatment. If you died right there on the floor, do you really believe anyone would bat an eye?”
[In the brief moment Takeno looked back inside into the mess that was made out of “herself”, trying to get back on her feet, she would notice “Kazuya” looking straight towards her eyes, making it all too obvious he already knew she was there already. For a moment, she felt the strong need to look back inside again, an impulse telling her she should go into the classroom. Other than that, she would still see the hallway filled with people all around, and no sign of Quintus anywhere.]
-Eihara loaded a round into her sub-machine pistol, and pulls out Eihatokoshen, her iai blade, from her umbrella.- Where are you?!
Though she opened her mouth to try and object Hee-Ho from going back to the dance floor, her brain actually hampered her from saying anything as it tried to process what he was saying to them. Her bugbear tried to do what she wanted for her, but her grip tightened to the point where it gave up.
"...Miss, what's a misfit?"
Penny looked inside the classroom once more, her own eyes finding it empty with a lone throne. Her otherwise confused expression turned pouty again, and her overall understanding of the situation was extremely cloudy In regards to the impulse that tried to persuade the little girl, the only thing it really did was pout even more, as more thoughts scrambled for her head. She blinked her eyes everytime, but can't really find a clear solution.
"Ok, Penny's annoyed."
Penny blinked her eyes one more time, intentionally making herself go to the "normal" atmosphere instead of the party-heavy one that was starting to give her tiny head a headache. Now that she's here, she carefully walks towards what seems to be Quintus in the lone hallway. Her voice being quieter than usual as she lets out an inquiry.
Are you okay!?
Ene quickly looks to Tot with concern after having witnessed the strike. Her first instinct is to run over and check Tot for injuries but she suppresses that to follow after Heracles. This time instead of zio she tries to land a physical slash on him with her knife.
Raidou unknowingly mimicked his successor, nervously rubbing the back of his head as he struggled with getting his story straight.
Well, I suppose this will be somewhat difficult to believe. Still, I feel an obligation to you and your mentor, it is only right that I do this.
Reaching once again into his pocket, Raidou withdrew one of his trusted summoning tubes once again.
I understand these might be a bit antiquated to you now, but surely you know what this is, yes? By extension, I believe you know what this being in my possession means. I am a Kuzunoha as well, a Raidou from long before this time. My visit here is not merely for tourism, you could call it a... detour, perhaps.
Gouto merely sat in silence on his Raidou's shoulder, peering at the XXXIX with curiosity in his eyes. This wasn't the first time Raidou had met a summoner of a future era, but this was his first time encountering a future holder of his title. While Gouto couldn't help but wonder what had become of himself in this time, he was far more interested in how these meeting would go.
“You know the constant change in scenery would be nice but spoiled due to the labyrinth nature I have to work my brain rather then relax it and enjoy the view quite bothersome and a shame.”
The Spell punk follows along in suit before reaching the branching paths. With such little indication to go off which is better or not it would chose to just pick one anyway rather then stall around gesturing to the others to try the right pathway.
“Though I’m not always keen on making such quick choices with little to go off of, but I say we should go to the right and just cover ground otherwise we’re gonna have a long stay or the voice will just wish us to some new labyrinth again.”
It would move along the right path and check back to see the other follow or not if there was a better objection.
"Ha! Piece of..."
Tot had taken the death of the competent one to mean victory was assured, leaving her wide open for an unexpected smack. The girl gets blown back into the wall and coughs a fair bit, but is still able to get to her feet, wiping off her mouth with her usual cocky grin
"That was nothing.. Heh. Teach used to hit me harder."
of course, that was back when she had her own super strength, her mostly normal body is definitely going to be feeling that for a while, but Ene seemed to be worried enough as is. For now, Tot makes a simple snap of her fingers, sending a light Dore at the Heracles
Prima was so focused on the two in front of her she’d nearly forgotten what she was doing till Waruo noticed her. She bows to the two.
“My apologies. I couldn’t find a good opportunity to interrupt. I’m Primarina, but just call me Prima. I’m relatively new here, and this GYM reminded me of another place I’m familiar with, so I was curious. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to stay here for a while.”
It would make it easier to get a feel for this place in space-time, anyway.
"Misfit? Someone who causes trouble regularly! I imagine for all the folks here we're causing lots of tr-"
Take's statement was cut off entirely as she noticed 'Kazuya' stare at her, closing the door with force as she did. She'd blink a few times before looking down at Penny and Hee-Ho nervously.
"I don't mean to alarm you but I am one-hundred percent certain they saw me just now. I-I mean I guess there's not too much to worry about, there's loads of people. We could just lose them in the crowd!"
She tried to laugh off the situation, failing miserably and finding herself unable to fight the desire to check inside the room once more, this time extremely cautiously opening the door an inch a second. She'd peer inside one last time, despite every single instinct in her body telling her to avoid that entirely.
Rowan surveys his new surroundings, keeping track of the two pathes ahead.
He glances at Naoki for a second, looking between them and the path.
"How good are you mapping skills? Do you have any way of telling what pathes you've gone down?"
He then begins to march slowly towards the way Punk went, craning his neck to the side, listening for a response.
Quintus wouldn't exactly be surprised by this result. It was clear that the Lilim would hold a grudge of sorts after the last time...and he definitely wouldn't be making that any better now.
"Give into desire? You all certainly don't make playing hard to get easy..."
H'ed allow the red liquid to reach his mouth, it was better to play along if even for a moment. As soon as it had crossed his lips though and he felt as though the Lilim's would drop their guard he would try to create a swirl of wind around his body to try and pry them off.
"Truthfully, I've already been giving into desire in my own way. My only desire is to become stronger. If I can't even handle someone who claims to be a deity then I have no hope of ever overcoming YHVH.
Besides....Did you really expect me to be as easy as these high-schoolers?"
He'd then try and aim the wind towards the ground. They were on the second floor, then that should mean the floor here became hollow after a certain point. If he could break the floor he might be able to get away fast enough.
Yeah, I have my head. I don't have much problem keeping track of the way I'm going.
You just take care of yourself, we'll go this way, and if you find an exit, don't wait for us.
[Naoki would grin at Rowan as he made his way into the void that was the left pathway, and his demons would follow too as they wave at the pair of strange visitors.]
Pixie: "See you outside~!"
[The right pathway would take the pair into more of the same; the walls had the same exact appearance and so did the stream of red energy right under them. In the distance they would hear the noise of lightning striking flesh and skin being cut, making it clear someone was fighting fiercely somewhere within the depths. At the same time, the giggling of young women was surrounding them, and finally, the voice from before would finally come back as more pathways reveal to them.]
???: "You choose to ignore my words, huh? Such insolence, I'll have you know that my servants will gut and eat you two whole! So, let's play a game, alright? A bit of a puzzle game, a simple trivia!"
[A white light would cover the entire area, changing the entire layout of the apparent maze. Three rather simple paths would await them, from left to middle to right.]
???: "If you get it right, then you will simply move on to the next stage, but if you get it wrong, then you will have to face mi minions! Try not to get too many wrong, however, because the punishment will only get worse! Then again, that is what makes things interesting."
[The young man would laugh, his voice bouncing everywhere.]
???: "You have been blessed with the declaration of love from a girl, or perhaps boy. They have poured their entire heart into this letter as they nervously hand it over to you. What do you do?"
"Tear it apart?" "Respectfully reject them?" "Accept their feelings?"
[The voice awaits their answer.]
[The final Heracles would be slashed by Ene's knife in the exact moment it was distracted enjoying the fact he landed a hit on the girl. He winces in pain, as his body isn't really resistant to this type of damage. In fact, his "skin" felt the exact same to that of just another human being.]
Heracles 2: "Thank you, I can think now!"
[The Demonoid would immediately grab Ene's head and hit her on the face with his knee with great force. With his back turned, then Tot's Dore would hit him and deal some more damage. The yellow humanoid didn't exactly look happy, or even to be in the best of shapes. It was clear to see that he had more fight in him than his already dead companion.]
Heracles 2: "You better kill me quick, or you'll find yourself WISHING to die quick!!"
[He would crack his knuckles as he says this, and then quickly prepare to rush at Tot. He would lower himself and take a starting position with eyes full of anger and a lust for blood. Something had changed with the creature, as a faint melody plays in the distance without the chiptune of the already banging background battle music. Tot would feel a kind of chill run down her spine.]
- 0 -
[Waruo would gaze at Yoshio before turning back to Prima.]
Waruo: "Ah, you must be from the outside world then. I have never heard such a name in the past, or maybe your parents were from the outside?"
Yoshio: "What kind of question is that? It matters not, and besides, what's important here is the service to be provided."
Waruo: "Why are you so uppity all of a sudden?"
Yoshio: "Because you never get so personally interested in costumers."
[Waruo would loudly clear his throat after the words of his friend and would continue.]
Waruo: "I-I'm sorry for that. If you are curious, we can indeed show you around, maybe you will become interested in the kind of training we do here. We have all kinds of programs: From magic control, to close quarters battles, even VR Training. I can explain anything that needs to be explained."
Yoshio: “As Mister Owner here said, if you are into fighting and want to get better, you came to the right place!”
[Yoshio would keep looking at Prima with a kind of expression. His eyes seemed to show him being fond of Prima, like some sort of nostalgic wave of emotion was getting to him. However, he would keep doing his very best to not make it too obvious. A quick look at Waruo would reveal something similar, and he was only making it more obvious as he talked.]
[The young man would look deep into Raidou's eyes with suspicion, unable to fully trust whatever story it he was being told for the moment. Normally, he would have this man arrested and had his Summoning Tubes confiscated to be taken back to his Master, but he also was blessed with privileged information. The Akarana Corridor, and the history of the Kuzunoha, especially those of the main family. He grins with some semblance of hope, like an idea was completing itself deep within.]
Raidou: "Difficult to believe? You are right, but lucky for you, I know how this works. I'm just surprised someone from so far back could make it here and retain their physical form. I believe you, there is no one else within this city who would trust in anything you say but my Master and I, other than madmen, that is."
[Amused, he would place two of his own fingers over his right cheek.]
Raidou: "Judging by the look of your Summoning Tubes, I can imagine you are from a generation previous to the 20th, even the 18th. It's a pleasure to meet you, Raidou Kuzunoha the Time Tourist."
[He would extend his hand, offering a simple handshake. It was clear he had much to say now, but he would settle for a simple question.]
Raidou: "What is it that my predecessor needs from me?"
[Penny and Hee-Ho would be gone from Takeno's sight in the instant she decided to look into the classroom. Although it had been mere moments since she noticed "Kazuya" looking at her from the back of the classroom, sitting on the strange throne, he was not waiting right behind the door Takeno was slowly opening, their eyes meeting. It was then that the girl would find herself already inside of the classroom and sitting on a chair facing a large table.]
Mature-sounding girl: "Hey, Kazuya is talking to you, Yoshiko. Snap out of it."
[The girl talking to her was wearing a tight short black dress and long heel boots; her hair was brown and long, falling on her right side. Her eyes being the color of hazel.]
Hopeful-sounding girl: "You were pretty out of it, are you sure you are doing okay?"
[The one talking to her looked almost exactly the same as the one before her, almost like a perfect copy. The only difference was that she was just slightly more younger looking, and her eyes' hazel color was lighter. Takeno would realize that they were sitting next to her, the first one to her left, and the second to her right. At the other end of the table, right in front of this trio, were "Kazuya", the woman with snake-like eyes and "Ene". "Kazuya" was wearing his usual heavy-looking green jacket, "Ene" as she was right before being pulled in with the rest of the group, and the last woman, who was significantly older than the rest, easily past her 20s but not beyond 35, was wearing an open black blazer with a low cut white shirt, a short pencil skirt and stockings. Her long black hair was pulled back, and her icy blue eyes were like daggers piercing right through with ease.]
Kazuya?: "...I can repeat the question, if you are feeling okay now. What are your hobbies? Remember that after answering you have to ask a question to any of us."
Snake-eyed woman: "Make it interesting."
[She would wink at her before curling her lips into a devious smile. There no sign of her "other self", or any other woman. In fact, it truly seemed like nothing had really happened at all, and even the music from the party was absent.]
[At the same time, Quintus would use his wind to push away the group of Lilim from himself, and even the liquid would completely disappear. The demons, as well as the high schoolers and various corrupted humanoids were furious. Who would dare interrupt their Sabbath? It was him, indeed, the one with the sickening yet attractive, familiar face who longed for power absolute. At that moment, they realized that if they were to kill him, then they would be one step closer toward absolute pleasure. The floor under the man had been indeed damaged, but not anywhere close enough to make it give in.]
Lilim 1: "To be quite honest, I was wishing a stud such as yourself would finally give in, but I see I'll have to chain you up first~!"
[The demon would prepare herself to attack Quintus by simply lunging at him, but Penny's nearby presence would have an effect on him. The very moment he blinked, he would see the entire place empty and being the exact same as the previous floor. This does not last however, as the very moment he "makes it back" into the Sabbath, he is given a quite simple punch from the solitary, lustful Lilim.]
Lilim 1: "What~? Don't tell me, you were looking at my chest, weren't you~? If you are a good boy, I can even be your mommy~"
[While the demon laughs at her own achievement, Penny manages to break away from the Sabbath. She no longer has to blink to see the "true" image of the floor, and in fact, she merely saw Quintus use a powerful force against the floor, only to punch himself in the face.]
Hee-Ho: "Hyaheehohohohee! That Gloomy Guy sure is weak, Ho! That one demon got him right on the jaw! But, aren't you going to help him, Short Stuff?"
[Hee-Ho, still dancing, was able to see a demon Penny could not see, and that was perhaps never there to begin with.]
The girl covered her face with her free arm, her short legs trying their best to keep her from flying backwards. Though instead of trying to keep hold of her bear any longer, she just peeped to look at Quintus now transitioning to his fist travelign towards his own face. She tilted her head in confusion.
"...Penny doesn't think that's supposed to happen...but wait, what do you mean by hel- ooooohhhhhhhhh. That's extremely stupid."
She scratched her head in discomfort, her short and clean hair now being unkempt as it was shook around, white strands sticking out almost making the flower on her head fall off. Nevertheless, she tried her best to stay calm, taking a deep breath, and looking at her Bugbear to think of a plan.
"Penny-no, I need to stop acting. Getting myself out of whatever that stupid place was actually didn't even help that much. Mr. Bear, would you help me try to find where this demon is so their head can go boom? And Hee-Ho, please stop dancing. Blink or something, tee-hee!"
The bugbear with it's button eyes looked around at the empty atmosphere, and actually made some sound, much to Penny's shock. Creepy laughter emanated from the seemingly mute stuffed toy as its stomach opened to reveal the skulls inside, the bear itself stretching it's limbs forward to make sure it hits anything with it's Masukunda.
Meanwhile, Penny kept tabs on Hee-Ho, pouting at it after she did her own little gigle. She didn't know how to actually get somebody out of that place herself, so all she could really do is impatiently wait for him to blink or something himself instead of stop dancing. The little girl was actually contemplating on poking the Jack Frost in both of it's eyes in order to force a blink, but then she's worried that might not work.
Raidou hesitated for a moment, and shared a glance with Gouto. Raidou Kuzunoha, 40th in line. His allegiance with the Temple Knights only made things even more clear. Still, it seemed he was no threat for the time being, just another inheritor of the Kuzunoha name. For now. Raidou disregarded his worries for the time being, and accepted the handshake.
I come to you now with but one request, for you and your master.
Raidou bows deeply, a showing of deep respect even for a man like the 40th, one Raidou himself would have to put down eventually, or perhaps had already put down.
Throughout my journeys through many different times, I have encountered other Kuzunohas many a time. Kyouji Kuzunoha comes to mind, but also many summoners who lack our mantle, and yet still control demons with ease for the sake of the future. The safety of Japan is out first concern, my successor, as I am certain you have been reminded countless times.
Holding his bow, Raidou would look up to see his successor's face. This was the man who would later become his first great adversary.
With that in mind, I see it only fit to offer you and your master the training you both surely deserve. I myself am interested in seeing the developments in our techniques as well. So please, from myself, Raidou Kuzunoha XIV, I humbly request the chance to test you, your master, and myself.
The feeling of familiarity is mutual. She allows herself to relax a little. One of the men reminds her of Yuji, yes, but something tells her she can trust them, too.
“I’m not fron here, yes. Although I can’t say I know much about the outside world, as I lived on an island most of my life.”
That part was true. Only the Nexus throwing her to the mainland had caused her to explore outside Alola. She pauses for a moment to focus on the energy of this form. She could feel her ice magic, but her light magic was different than before. Must be stronger after Daisoujou.
“It wouldn’t hurt to do some magic training. It’s been a while, so I’d rather not be rusty.”
Tot shivers, it was a feeling of bloodlust she hadn't felt in a while, not since her first real fight in fact, and being brought up by this worthless mook was more than a bit humiliating. However, she wasn't one to back down, instead the girl would try to blow it off as she backs away
"All bark and no bite per usual, come on then lets see if you like this as much as your buddy.
Do. Re. La."
wanting to finish this ASAP, Tot begins snapping her fingers again, though its more exhausting to use a spell like that than she was willing to let on, it seemed better to exhaust herself a bit than to risk something happening.
The Spell punk would blink and groan as the voice was playing its tricks and making it harder to navigate around here. It would decided to play along though seeing as their is no other option, but even so if finds itself a bit dumbfounded and confused.
“Hmm...usually letters are for documents on the magical crafts or decrees of sort. Do you know why someone would ship this ‘love’ in such a formal way of messaging it would certainly rile some of my people.”
It has no idea what it was talking about showing how forgiven it was but decided it’s rude to deny letters perhaps being something or formal importance.
“You may as well accept what ever they are presenting? It could be some kind of spell or something they are offering, I’ve had that happen before.”
For a moment, Quintus had wondered what just happened. His reflexes weren't so slow as to be hit so easily yet that attack had sent him onto the ground. For a moment he saw something, another area, devoid of anything.
Before, he thought he saw a figure that looked like Tatsuya, now it was becoming clear. Of course, how could the Lilim have survived?
"Is this some kind of twisted joke? How pointless..."
He chose to just ignore the Lilim for now, he needed to calm down above all else.
"Sorry, but I'll turn down your offer, this isn't where I'm suppose to be...I'm not just a memory yet..."
He'd get back up and look directly ahead. One thing was clear, he needed to escape from whatever this is. Fighting back might prove too dangerous considering his lack of insight into this situation.
He just needed an escape, he'd look around seeing if there was any openings in the crowd from before.
As her surroundings changed, she blinked a few times, looking around with visible confusion. She'd stare at what she thought was the door she was just looking through.
She turned her attention to "Kazuya", then the snake-eyed woman, then the girls around her. Suddenly, she spat on the floor, her gaze turning to an icy, predatory glare as she glowered at the man.
"Oh I'm fine, don't worry about me! As for my hobbies, they consist of beating you to death unless you cut the act! You think you can wear the face of someone I care about so casually and get away with it?! Tell me what the hell is going on! Now!!!"
Her earlier hesitation and fear was tossed right out the window, like a switch flipped in her head, her fist slamming into the table loudly, gritting her teeth furiously.
Who, in god's name, would change the area on us?! I almost died! So, what do we do? -She glanced around, looking for any extra shadows. She found none-.
[Punk would indeed choose wisely, and as such, the scenery would be filled with light once again, but with no demons in sight. This time around, the flow of red energy below would completely stop, and the yellow stones that were once covering the walls was now totally yellow.]
???: "Not bad at all. You got it right immediately, even if your reasoning was all over the place. Doesn't matter, I don't care what method you use as long as you get it right."
[He would laugh, and distorted voices would also follow.]
???: "My minions are getting anxious, however. They want to have a taste of you; therefore, we are moving along. Now, imagine you are feeling terrible, horrible in fact. Your family has all but rejected you and left you behind with a family member, someone close to you, that will do nothing but abuse and torment you. Desperate, you seek the comfort of someone anyone. This person is listening to you, and you plead for them to accept you...and reject you too. What would you do?"
"Insist" "Accept their answer" "Find another solution"
[Once again, the voice awaits an answer.]
- 0 -
[The ferocious Heracles would roar with great force as Tot's Dorela hits him twice, very narrowly missing the third and last blast. In the end, it simply was not enough to put him down, and as such, the ground under him cracks while his feet and hands break through it.]
Heracles 2: "Biting it is then, let's dance...DANCE-TO THE DEATH! A macabre dance!"
[Completely out of it, the Heracles dashes towards Tot at full speed with each step following the rhythm of a far off violin playing madly. It would be too quick to properly react, as Heracles takes hold of Tot and dashes with her towards the end of the hallway, specifically the one to the East, which was used by the man in the wheelchair. After a couple of moments, Tot's back would be slammed against the sturdy wall as the demonoid bites her left arm, not letting go at all. His intense eyes would keep looking at the girl's own, filled with anger and lust for blood, her blood. Tot could hear an unseen figure cackle.]
Yoshio: "Ah! I see, so that must be why you were able to last so long before coming to Millennium. This also means you are very strong, considering you managed to get here through the demon infested Earth safely."
Waruo: "Hoy, Yoshio! Now you're the one getting too excited over this. Prima, if you really want to train your magic, then Yoshio is the guy to go. I'm mostly experienced in hand-to-hand combat and weapons, meanwhile this guy focuses on spells and gunplay."
[Yoshio would let out a quick smiles before nodding his head. The pair would move towards another section entirely, separate from the rings and exercise. This one was filled from side to side with all types of pods ample for an adult of any size could get in.]
Yoshio: "This is the VR Training area, in here, we can connect to the Virtual Battler Network and train against virtual enemies without any issue. You must be aware already, but magic is deeply connected to one's own spirit, and the "essence" of one's soul is what dictates the form it will take in the physical realm. Some may be able to simply aid their companions in battle, as some may be capable of mastering all elements. Whatever is the case, through the Virtual Battler, we connect our minds, and as such, our souls, to a simulation that allows us to train with absolute freedom."
Waruo: "What he's trying to is if you enter the VR Pod and use your magic, and you 'run out of juice', you won't be in bed for days due to the mental exhaustion. That's how it was for the 'mages' of old."
Yoshio: "A-Ah! Yes, that is right. We only train the mind rather than physical capabilities, and so, it's almost like meditation."
[Waruo would walk over to a large computer and open up a pair of empty pods. Yoshio would quickly approach one while looking at Prima.]
Yoshio: "I would suggest that, if we are to try this system, we must now. These spaces are limited, and, in a few minutes, the entire Network and the rooms will become filled with visitors. I'm...saddened to admit we do not own private servers."
Waruo: "Shut-UP, Yoshio. No need to open up about everything. Prima, what difficulty would you prefer? We have... Rookie, Gaean, Hero, Reality and finally Messiah. The types of enemies that appear are different based on your choice, as well as their smarts and power."
Raidou: "The 14th? As in... that far back...!? The clothes and tubes are one thing but even then, that's a long time ago...! Are you telling me it truly is possible to move that far back...!?"
[40th was certainly taken aback by this answer and this request. He was not one to hold back, or to doubt fighting, especially if it's for training, but even then, he found himself thinking. On his face, a strange, almost child-like grin would cover his face. His eyes filled with hope before he went back to his sarcastic, stoic self.]
Raidou: "Whatever the case... I can very much battle without problem, but my Master, he may not be up for it. He can probably buy you being a Kuzunoha, but the 14!? That's...that's a stretch, to the highest possible degree. What I want to say is-"
???: "Late again, Raidou?"
[From the front door, a very tall man with black spiked hair would walk out, with eyes that seemed to cast the Expanse itself from them. He would stare at both younger men like they had killed his own children.]
Master: "You will explain to me what the meaning of this is, Raidou. You've run around alone for far too long, so it would seem I will need to watch over you even now."
[After saying his piece for the 40th, who wanted to do nothing but disappear, he would turn to Raidou and Gouto.]
Master: "If he caused you trouble of any kind, I sincerely apologize on his behalf. He doesn't quite understand the teachings of the church and has turned out to be quite the rebellious youth. But I can assure you he is learning."
[The man would bow to Raidou, while also forcing his student to do the same.]
[Although Mr. Bear was able to move around freely and without any issue, it would not be able to pick up on any kind of demonic presence nearby, or at least, nothing coming from the first floor or the second floor. Rather, any hint of demonic power was coming from above, but it wasn't clear from which exact point. Hee-Ho, on the other hand, would scratch his chin wondering what the small girl even meant.]
Hee-Ho: "But... I can't blink, ho! I have no eyel-hee-ds! Hee-Ho doesn't need them if that means losing sight of those Lilims hee hee ho!"
[Would be the only thing the smaller demon would say as it keeps looking in Quintus' general direction. At least, he is not dancing anymore. Meanwhile, Quintus' words would have a strange effect on the world around him as he saw it. All the Lilim would stop on their track and their expressions would show a kind of fear never seen in just any demon. At the same time, and as Quintus tries to find an opening, the very same people who would not even notice his existence was now looking at him with the very same expression. A large flash would go off in the distance, visible through the windows, and the entire group of people would be lost into the nothingness of the pure white light. The music would fail, and even the dark would be replaced with a well-lit hallway. Soon enough, Quintus would realize he was back again in a hallway with nothing to it besides Penny, her "Mister Bear" and Hee-Ho. At this, a voice would come out from the school speaker, that of a teenager.]
???: "I was hoping you would allow yourself to experience the joys of sex, drugs and alcohol. But I suppose they are beneath your gloomy self. Then again, had it not been for that annoying brat you wouldn't have been able to escape so easily. Unlike that girl."
[Amused and full of himself, the voice chuckled. Meanwhile, "Kazuya's" face would twist in absolute and total confusion. Not knowing what this was all about, he tried to laugh it off.]
Kazuya?: "W-Well, that's...one way to say something..."
Snake-eyes woman: "My my, straight to the point then, I like that."
[The woman would find the entire situation amusing, and while giggling, she would snap her fingers, making the fake Kazuya disappear completely, and so would "Ene". The other two remaining girls would stay sit without reacting, merely watching Takeno's every move.]
Yuriko: "My name... well, you may call me Yuriko, and all I wanted was to meet you, that's all. See how strong you really are, if you are even up to par, or perhaps...if I am."
[She would stand up and the pair would follow, joining her on each side soon enough.]
Yuriko: "You already know this, but this place is the Emperor's domain, based on the place he used to go to school to...as far as I am aware. As such, he only allows the strongest of demons to do as they please with anyone that comes here. Any person that has a potential for corruption and even the slightest hint of desire can and will be taken advantage of."
[The woman would walk up to Takeno and sit on the table right in front of her. She would gently caress her cheeks. The woman's eyes would feel like they are piercing right through her very mind.]
Yuriko: "You should be thankful, I stopped that Incubus as soon as it tried to force his will onto you. We don't want you to be taken away by a copy of the real deal. What would your family think once you come back impregnated with the child of a low-class demon? Then again, you should be able to tell the difference between such trash and your partner. After all, you two should know each other closely by now."
Quintus would look around, the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to come together. It seemed to him that their memories were being manipulated and used against them. Though, there was the question of why Penny could break out so easily. Perhaps her age had something to do with it? That actually made sense based on the things the voice mentioned. A child wouldn't have much interest in such things.
Regardless, he'd turn to Penny before continuing on.
"I guess I should say thanks...though I'm not exactly sure what you did. Now's not the time though. Do you know where that other girl went? She might still be under the effects of whatever this is.
Probably for the best we try to snap her out of it before finding this Emperor."
Penny simply smiled to herself, keeping her head turned in Hee-Ho’s direction as she gazed at him with an unreadable expression. She picked up her bugbear, smiling at it before bopping it’s head with her tiny fist to express how annoyed the little girl is. The bugbear shakes it’s head and holds it with his stubby arms.
As she speaks to Quintus, her voice has an odd sense of unattachment.
“Penny doesn’t like listening to the voices. Or following blindly. It annoys Penny. Miss lady you’re talking about also is still under the effects. Whatever it is.”
Penny puts a hand under her chin as she ponders, this time the innocent emotion she puts into her words now coming back a little bit.
“That being said, I thought we were already with the emperor. Is Hee-Ho not actually the emperor?”
Following along, Rowan nods as he listens to Punk's answer, grunting annoyedly as the next question was presented. He steps in front of Punk and groans.
"'Find another solution' sounds like something an anime character would say, so surely that's the answer you want."
He then shakes his head and looks down, holding his hand to his forehead.
“Spells and guns? He should be a perfect match, then.”
She rests a hand on the Tundra Seal as she listens to the explanation. Technology has never been Prima’s strong suit, but thankfully Waruo was able to put it in a way she could understand. It was like training in real life, but not exhausting. Granted, magic wasn’t entirely like pokémon moves, but the premise was simple enough. For such a thing to exist... this “Millennium” place was impressive. It was likely a necessity given the state of the outside world.
She smiles and tries not to dwell on that part.
“I suppose I’ll choose Hero.”
It’s the middle option, so it shouldn’t be too overwhelming. It sounds like a challenge, and it’s less risky-sounding than the options above it.
Ene's vision swims as she tries to recover from the strike previously taken to the head. Her nose throbs with residual pain as she blood arrives at her upper lip, but she carefully manages to stand again. Even though her body feels a little lighter than it was before and she tastes the color of the air. Whatever that means. Makes perfect sense for her right now.
Oww that actually hurt you dastards ...
She whines before slowly lifting up her hand again to cast yet another zio. Without another thought she aims it at the Heracles that previously attacked her.
Tot gasps, unable to get out of the way, instead she's shocked as the monster slams her against the far wall, but even staring into what seemed to be the jaws of death its not enough to break her spirit, instead the girl is incited, practically spitting at the Heracles
"G... H... Hey. Hands off the merchandise you big dolt!"
Tot is forced to stare down this monster that just refused to die. This close she wouldn't be able to focus for a spell, and without a weapon that left her to try kicking the monster in the chest, for all that's worth.
The Spell Punk would just stare curiously again at the crossroad and the answer presented. They were still rather unfamiliar responses to an oddity like itself but takes Rowans words into consideration.
"That does rather make sense..usually my superiors would try similar harsh treatment without the close bond I guess. But finding solutions around the current matter is better than trying to persist with the torment I guess. This doesn't really make much logical sense but leaps can be made."
The Spell Punk would go along with Rowan's response since it could not best formulate the idea itself since that would be nonsensical for it to conjure up.
Take tried to slap Yuriko's hand away from her face, meeting the serpentine woman's eyes with a fierce glare of her own, her hands trembling for a moment, as if hesitating ever so slightly before she absolutely doubled down, slamming her fists on the table with a violent growl.
"Don't touch me, you snake-eyed harlot!! I'm not here to socialize with demons who think they can just play around with my mind and get away with it! Now let me out of here before I lose my patience and use your head to bust the door open!!!"
Despite knowing she definitely wasn't prepared to fight a demon just yet, she couldn't exactly keep her tongue in check either. Her hand rested on the handle to her blade, prepared for a fight to break out any moment.
(edited by Takeno)
Raidou returned the bow to his successors, with even Gouto doing so as well. As best as a cat can bow, anyway.
Not at all. Being entirely honest, it is an honor to meet with the both of you. It brings me great joy to see the future of the country is still in good hands.
Raidou examined the elder man a bit closer. At even a glance it was easy to see the experience the man carried on his broad shoulders. Considering the purpose of this training exercise, while Raidou would love to spar with someone clearly so skilled, he found it more pressing to focus on the 40th for now. Especially considering what was in store for him.
I apologize for keeping your student from you, that was inconsiderate of me. However, I find myself in a pressing situation. You see, I too share the title of Kuzunoha, though I believe by this time my inheritance has already been passed on.
He would repeat his action from earlier, holding his summoning tube forward for the elder man to see.
I come from a time long forgone, I was... we'll say, misdirected during my work. For the time being, I am merely a time tourist. My luck seems to have held strong, though, as I've had the fortune of meeting with the Kuzunohas of this time. If I may, would you do me the honor of a duel with your student here? I believe it may be beneficial to both his development, and my own.
???: "I hate to admit it hunter guy, but you got it right. It's necessary to find another solution, since people are not worth it at that point. Once you are alone and rejected, what else remains? Power, absolute."
[The pair is taken through their option, which luckily, was the correct one. A white light would shower them with recovery magic so they could have their stamina and spirit back to their absolute best. Indeed, they didn't exactly fight, but their roll was enough for the voice to give them something. Finally, another set of paths is laid before them. One of the three has a white, distant light at the end of it, but any time you blink, the position changes, making it impossible to truly figure out what was the way to go.]
???: "It would seem that my minions will have to feats in the flesh of others. This is your final question, so make sure you answer properly this time around, and then I will allow you to leave. And so, it goes...!"
[The voice laughs.]
???: "You've chosen the third option, and while looking through any means of revenge from the abuse, from the loneliness, and you find a strange tome in an antique shop. Out of curiosity, you try out the instructions it had, that of the ritualistic call for a devil that will grant you power beyond your wildest dreams, enough to shape the fabric of the world as you please. It's guaranteed that it'll work, but there is no telling what will happen to anyone else. And so..."
"Do you go through with it, despite the risk?" "Not do anything but keep the tome?"
"Not do anything and destroy the tome?"
[The voice would wait for their final answer.]
- 0 -
Waruo: "Got it, I'll look for a "Hero" difficulty room."
[Yoshio would help Prima into the pod and would put on the helmet over her head, which would completely obscure her view. She would hear the pod closing and then nothing but the sound of her own breathing while inside it. After a couple of moment, she would notice a muffled rumbling sounds before her sight is covered in binary numbers, as they created a black and green landscape, that soon turns into a maze of white walls. She would see a long corridor to the left taking to new directions, but also another one right to the front of her; this one would have a path to the left and another at the end of it that leads to the right. Finally, to her immediate right was a closed automatic door with no signs of it being locked. Yoshio would tap her on the shoulder before moving ahead, allowing the girl to choose where to go.]
Yoshio: "This may come out of nowhere, Prima. But for how long have you been around? I can swear I've seen you before. If not then, ignore me. I just have the strangest feeling of deja vu when I see you."
[He would think about it before shaking his head.]
Yoshio: "Ah, please choose any way to go. We will be finished after taking down the floor's boss, but part of the exercise is to find him."
[At the same time, and finally, Heracles would let go of Tot as it falls to the ground right after being struck by Ene's Zio, dead. His body would evaporate and become mere numbers. Now, the area silent and the floor with drops of blood, the only way to go is the corridor to the right, from the which a rather frightening and powerful aura was coming from. That feeling is gone at the same instant the pair of girls pick up on it, however. Instead, it becomes like an invitation for them to come meet however it was that awaited. There was no ill intent, that much was clear. This person's voice would come from around the corner.]
???: "Do not be afraid, I merely want us to have a short conversation."
[Master Kuzunoha would look up to see the summoning tubes, and the man's eyes would get so wide, it was almost as if he was like a kid looking up at a hero. He had a smile 40th had clearly never seen before, given his current amused expression.]
Master: "Ah! That settles it, Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th! That tube alone is proof and your mention of a 'Time Tourist' is the final piece of evidence. Someone like you does not need to ask me for any permission whatsoever. Instead, allow me take to the Kuzunoha training grounds right away."
Raidou: "Wh...? He never really told me everything."
[Master Kuzunoha would then lead 40th and 14th back into the HQ. Although the guard approached the man to ask for the current situation, the man simply explained it as yet a new student looking to become part of the Elite, wishing to keep order and protect Tokyo above all. The interiors of the HQ were clean and painted in an elegant blue, as well as a pure white and details of gold. The general look of it was more of a mansion, like a luxurious residence for the top of the top, with no apparent locker rooms, armory rooms or even training facilities. Instead, the most common type of rooms were personal offices for all types of ranks. Among the visible ones, Raidou may spot names such as "Zayin", "Beth", "Raidou 40th" and even "Aleph", although the last one was empty.]
Master: "That feline that is coming with you, that must be Lord Gouto. If it is you, Master 14th, there is no other possible companion for you. That said, I want to greet you as well, Master. I must apologize for my rude behavior just as my pupil's. He is not a bad kid, but he is at that age in which he questions everything around him, even the teachings of our clan. He does not seem to trust the Messian Church and he breaks the rules too often. I feel he is frustrated at something I cannot see, and he won’t tell. At the very least, he seems to get just fine with Aleph. The other day I caught them chatting so casually. I only found out through our Messiah that he had lent him a book about the history of Tokyo".
[Master would laugh at the last bit. 40th had been leading the way the entire time under the orders of 39th. It would seem that the Master didn't want him to listen in on this conversation.]
Master: "Things have changed so much since your time, Master, that much is obvious. We Kuzunoha are not a rare breed anymore. The state of Tokyo and the world as a whole has made it so that us Kuzunoha are past history, not the hidden sole protectors of Tokyo, but another name to write down in the Memorials once we fall in battle alongside our comrades. In today's day and age, we are just like anyone else. When one puts it that way, you could even say that upholding traditions is pointless."
[They would reach the back of the HQ and head out into a vast forest area with an artificial blue sky and a small pond to the side with a group of white flowers, some younger and healthier than others, and among them, there is a single sprout.]
Master: "I can tell he sees something wrong with the world, like comparing to an ideal place in which the world was not struck by the Great Cataclysm and invaded by the Abyss. When I see his eyes, I fear he will be the very last Raidou Kuzunoha with that reckless attitude of his, but at the same time, I see the great things he could accomplish."
[40th would go ahead and pick up a pair of training wooden swords, one of which he would throw at Raidou before heading towards the ample center.]
Master: "If anyone can test his potential, that is you, the finest Raidou. I believe this kid has the capacity to change the world in his own way, even if I cannot get him"
Raidou: "Hurry, or I’ll start thinking you aren't all that!"
[The Master seemed ready to punch 40th on his face due to his insolence, but decided against it when he saw the way his eyes were shinning in excitement to see what the 14th could do.]
Hee-Ho: "Hee-Ho isn't the Emperor but I will be once we go to the rooftop place and punch the current Emperor in the face, ho! That is the guy that's talking to us right now, ho!"
Emperor: "It's only natural for a minion to know its rightful place and recognize their superiors right away. Even if that thing's desires are pitiful. It's not like you could ever become as powerful as I, or anything beyond trash, Jack Frost!"
[Hee-Ho would kick the floor frustrated while the Emperor laughs. At that moment too, Quintus and Penny would hear a faint voice yelling from the floor above, as well as the sound of a table being slammed.]
Yuriko: "But I'm just telling you the truth, love. I simply cannot understand what he saw in someone as unimpressive as you. As much as I hate her, Yuka is truly powerful and his destined partner. And you are..."
[The woman would not feel not even the slight bit of intimidation coming from Takeno, but Takeno could feel how powerful this woman truly was, way above her current weakened state. Her spirit alone was able to burn away the entire classroom without any effort.]
Yuriko: "I just wanted to see what it was all about and I'm very disappointed. You may tell me your name now, it's rude not to properly introduce yourself."
[Back at the second floor, the Emperor would laugh loudly.]
Emperor: "No point in hiding it but yes, whatever it is you are thinking is correct. The only reason you lot were able to break away from the illusions was because that child does not exactly have an interest in the things other older people tend to have, even when they deny it so much. Everyone is a freak on the inside. You may as well come meet me, it's not like I can play around anymore."
[A strong wind would come from the set of stairs on the other end of the hallway, signaling them for the path they would take.]
Emperor: "Come to the rooftop if you dare, or simply leave this realm by going downstairs and through the main gate. I don't really care which it is, so decide quickly."
"Ha.. Ha... T.. Thanks sparky."
Tot is clearly exhausted, though she probably could fight again it would be preferred to avoid it, especially with her arm bleeding as it is. The girl holds onto the wound, in order to staunch the bleeding as she thanks her partner
"Don't see us having another choice anyways. So lets get out there!"
The last bit is spoken with a hint of her usual cheer as Tot follows after the voice, shoutung to ensure they can hear her
"I'm not in the best mood right now but go ahead. I'm not against a little chit-chat, there a reason you decided just to watch that?"
"That" of course referring to the fight, they seemed to have been aware of Tot and Ene, and thus likely their struggle, so if they were cool they probably would have felt a need to help out.
Rowan smirks, gripping the seathe of his katana and bending his knees to a defensive stance.
"Well, I suppose 'power beyond your wildest dreams' is all you naive assholes of this dimension care about, so I suppose the 'right' answer would be to go through with it despite the risk. Oh, and..."
Rowan puts ones knee forward, gritting his teeth aggressively.
"Make no mistake, I have no intention of leaving. After all, we've played your game, so it's only fair that you play mine."
The Spell Punk would sigh at Rowan's comments but in it's mind it at least commend it a bit.
"I guess I have no say in the matter, usually negotiating games with omnipotent beings never goes swell but you are really always leaping into this stuff. Though I guess you would be right in taking the risk, my superiors would have commanded me all the same so I guess we must go through and through. Lead on sir."
After its little grumbling it would follow in tow just to keep it and Rowan more in check when dealing with such powers and hoping they didn't just seal themselves into a deal of imprisonment in its eyes.
Prima stays completely still as the numbers flash in front of her eyes, not moving a muscle until she’s certain the change is complete. She’d never experienced anything close to VR, so the tension was like a roller coaster climbing up a hill. She relaxes her shoulders upon realizing Yoshio had come along.
“Let’s see... I’m unsure of the exact year, so I can’t exactly answer that, as strange as that may sound. It’s a long story.”
But you remind me of someone as well. Why is that? She adjusts the clip in her hair. It’s one of the two items that had come with her to this world. She leaves that confusion for later. She examines each path before heading to the one in front of her. Her goal is the turn to the right at the end, but she’ll glance at the left branch as she goes.
"Wow, that guy is weird. Is he going to narrate over us all the time now?"
The little girl said out loud, waving to the air for no reason other than to see if the disembodied voice would respond at all. Mr. Bear, as always, is disappointed that he didn't get to see things go boom just as Penny is. But with the emperor's proposition, the girl is left thinking to herself.
"Penny would leave, but miss lady is still on the...second floor? I dunno, it's just somewhere else. Penny doesn't feel like leaving anyone behind, she wants to see someone go boom! What do you think, mister?"
She tugs Quintus' sleeve like she always does to get the attention of the adults, seemingly forgetting how her existence managed to have them make it out of the bizarre world quicklier than usual.
Take glanced around nervously, seeing her intimidation tactic has failed miserably. Still, she was quite adamant to defy anything the snake-eyed woman told her.
"Quit playing games! You already know my name, Kazuya was saying it when you were messing around in here. And I don't think you're in much place to demand courtesy of me considering I'm being held against my will."
She was still searching for an opportunity to leave, her grip on the handle of her blade faltering as she felt the overwhelming power of Yuriko. Seeing no obvious opportunities, she opted instead for what might be the most useless option, shouting into the heavens and hoping the classroom wasn't sound-proofed.
"HEY! I'M IN ONE OF THE CLASSROOMS! IS ANYONE THERE?! HEE-HO?! SOMEONE???"
Your welcome but maybe we shouldn't ...
Ene watches as Tot immediately pursues the voice and suppresses a groan. Not like the two of them almost got their bodies pummelled to the ground just a few seconds ago.
Ene delicately cups her hurt face and follow after being left with no choice once again. She contemplates getting a child leash for her companion to avoid this in the future.
Quintus would try to filter out the voice of the emperor, they had to at least make sure their other companion was alright first but he could feel himself growing more resentful with each word.
"It's your desires that are pitiful. I've seen what you consider to be desire and it's rather disappointing. If you're all about the same things then I'd hardly even call you an emperor at all, at least not one anyone's gonna bother remembering."
The roof, that's where they were waiting. Quintus didn't want to wait and let this guy talk anymore.
"Penny was it? Go find that other girl. I believe you're the key to breaking us out of whatever this is anyway.
Hee-Ho, what do you say we teach this Emperor who's really in charge and who's really the minion around here?"
Quintus would wait for a response from the Jack Frost before heading to the nearest staircase leading up to the roof. Even if they got cold feet now that wasn't gonna stop him.
In some ways he was more curious than anything. He wanted to see first hand what someone who simply followed their desires to gain power looked like.
[A familiar white light would envelop the pair of survivors as they are taken to the top of a plain and gray building with its edges surrounded by an equally plain metal fence. The sky was pitch black, and its extension was towards an infinite abyss anyone could fall into with no hope of ever returning if one were to gaze too long into it. Behind them was a simple door leading downstairs, but most interesting of all, was the young man looking out towards the bottom of the building by the fence. He had a pure white school uniform, as well as white gloves, black shoes and wavy black hair.]
???: "But what game can you truly play if you do not even qualify as a player? You may have passed the questions, but I never truly wanted you gone, not yet at least. After all, being the Emperor can be taxing, plenty of work with no true way of enjoying such position, but you remain mine all the same."
[The young man would turn around and gaze at the pair with a confident smile, and cold, condescending eyes.]
Hazama: "I'm Ideo Hazama, but you may call me Deity Emperor of the Demon World. Now bow, vermin."
[Hazama would point his right hand at them, like commanding them. In the distance, glowing eyes of all shapes and sizes would be watching. At that moment, a small Jack Frost waring a school uniform would appear from the door behind the pair, as well as Quintus.]
- 0 -
[Following the path she had chosen, Prima would be closely followed by Yoshio who seems more prepared to observe rather than to actually help her out in case anything happened, more than to, perhaps, allow her to escape in case some weird glitch got in their way. Once she turns to look through the left corridor, a shadow would quickly rush her and get in her way. This "blob" would slowly take up a small, winged humanoid form. Her hair was spiky and blue, her arms were covered by a pair of purple long gloves, and other than her purple shoes and black leggings, her body would be protected by a silver armor. Above her head, her name would be displayed as "High Pixie".]
High Pixie: "Hey cutie pie, are you lost? I hope not, because you came to the right place~!"
[The area had been playing a faint song up until the moment High Pixie attacked, changing it for a more intense battle theme. The Fairy would charge up electricity between her palms as she unleashes a Zionga on Prima. Yoshio would keep his distance in silence, wanting to see if the girl he found so familiar can actually fight. At the same time, deeper into the maze, both Tot and Ene would see the owner of the voice calling to them approach. They would see the familiar man with glasses, gray hair and a red suit. Sitting on his rather advanced wheelchair, he would smile at the girls.]
???: "There was no need for me to help you, since within the Virtual Battler, one's own life is normally not in true danger. You didn't stop the fight, even if the demons were dangerously close to inflicting incredible pain. I wish to congratulate your tenacity and courage."
[The man would place a hand on his chest.]
Stephen: "My name is Stephen, and I come to you due to some strange series of events, so let's go through the subjects one by one. You two are involved with a being known as Melbourne, correct? And you two are not truly part of this world or time. If so, I would appreciate it if you would tell me."
[The reflection on Stephen's glasses and his perpetual smile made it hard to properly pinpoint his true intents. Even if they didn't seem to go against theirs, there was also no way to guarantee he was with them. The man's whole aura, his entire being was covered by a palpable mystery.]
[The voice would narrate no longer as it seems to have become occupied with something else entirely. At the same time, it seemed like Hee-Ho was able to snap out of the strange illusion they were all trapped in. He would take a moment to try and understand what just happened.]
Hee-Ho: "Wait! Where is the people? The music? The hos? Someone was messing with my hee-head, and that cannot be forgiven, ho!"
[Hee-Ho would turn towards Quintus and make one spin before clenching his fists and agreeing immediately.]
Hee-Ho: "Hee hee ho! Gloomy guy is right, ho! I will follow you to the rooftop place and then I will become the Hee-Ho-mperor!"
[Full of himself, Hee-Ho would tag along with Quintus as he makes his way upstairs, leaving Penny behind. Both young man and girl would hear the faint voice of Takeno somewhere; for Penny, it was in the floor above with no other indication; Quintus, who had made to the third floor, would quickly realize that she was in the very same floor he currently was in, but could not tell from which classroom her voice was coming from while standing between the third floor's stairs and the ones leading to the rooftop.]
Hee-Ho: "I wonder how the Emperor looks like, ho! Muscular? Sexy? Stylish? I cannot wait, ho!"
[Hee-Ho would rush the door and lead towards the rooftop where three people were currently standing, two of them being Rowan and Punk, meanwhile the other wearing in a white school uniform simply offers them his hand.]
Hee-Ho: "Emperor, we hee-have come to punch you in the face, ho! So, come out wherever you are!"
[The young man in white would lower his hand and chuckle, not saying much more.]
Yuriko: "I have to say, you at least pay attention to the things around you. You talk like you are some big scary monster, but you really can't bring yourself to attack me, can you? You bark and bark, but still no bite."
[Yuriko would take a seat once again, like expecting the girl to do something while keeping eye contact. The room temperature would go from hot to cold randomly.]
Yuriko: "Have you even said 'hi' to the girls around you? Their name is Yuka; the mature one is Yuka Takahara, and the more hopeful one is just Yuka."
[Without saying a word, Takahara would point a submachine gun at Takeno, meanwhile Yuka would pull out a revolver and point it at her all the same.]
Yuriko: "Now, I believe I'm in the perfect position to ask for some courtesy, considering that you will die if you don't listen to my every word. I just want a new friend, that's all. Especially since you have this...way of thinking that very much aligns with the Cult of Gaea... the ideal of 'Chaos'. Have you heard about it before?"
"Heh, as if that title means anything to me."
Rowan takes a step forward threateningly, looking out to the space behind the emperor.
"Listen up here, Idiot Hazama, you may think resisting you means death; In reality, obedience is death. Obedience means sacrificing everything that life means, whether it be to faith or to power. That's why it is the responsibility of the weak to resist the authority of the strong. If you want me to lower my head you'll have to plant it six feet underground! Engarde!"
Rowan draws Espada from its seathe, rushing towards Hazama and quickly slashing it from the right when within close range, intending to cut through the opponent's arm.
“You’re saying I could stop the fight?”
Tot blinks for a moment as she gives Stephen a blank stare. Tot may have been skilled, but no one would call her smart, at least not when the big picture is involved. The girl plays it off with a giggle as she looks to her injured arm.
“You could totally call me brave. I’ve done a lot of rough things to keep my girls safe.”
Tot gives her friend Sparky a stupid-looking grin, seemingly proud of herself before looking back to Stephen.
“Name’s Jessica Praise, but you can call me Tot Pop. Rebel type as you might expect. Dunno much about this ‘Melbourne’ guy though. I’m just here for a mission.”
“Must you be so quick to draw your weapon? No less in front of such a potent individual?”
It’s calls were rather pointless though since Rowan already dragged them into the deep end again so rather then be irritated or complain it ready itself to guard Rowan and maybe itself if it was lucky.
“Very well then let’s see how this unravels I guess I don’t see much else to go anyway so you want to do something with us here I assume?”
“Aw, Penny was hoping that you would come with. Oh well, I’ll be on it, Mister.”
Penny looked up as she heard Takeno’s voice, now getting a bit annoyed that she would have been better off following the older person anyway. She almost threw a small tantrum, but decides that she’s better off trying to actually progress towards her little goal.
“Wait, wait for me Mister! Penny has short legs!”
She heads up the stairs, hurrying towards the third floor in order to get closer to the sound of Takeno’s voice, but getting confused as soon as she stops there. She waits once more for Takeno to say something as she catches her breath. Thinking that there’s no reason to wait, Mr. Bear leaps out of her tiny arms and floats over to the hallway to try and pinpoint the location himself.
Gouto would shake his head slightly as he and his partner were lead deeper inside the facility, that was easier than he expected, honestly. Walking alongside the pair, Raidou would be rather overwhelmed by the robust interior of the whole place. He was still new to this whole time period, and found it all a bit overwhelming.
"Ah, yeah, that's me. Gouto-Douji, at your service. I was prepared to let Raidou here handle the heavy lifting, hard to really help out much without thumbs and all. Still, I can see what you mean about that kid, he's certainly an odd one. I don't know all too much about your church or anything of that sort, but I can tell you guys are making the best with what you've got. The duty of our kind is to work to protect Japan, though, so I suppose cooperating with systems you don't fully agree with isn't necessarily part of the job description, y'know? The country just needs to be safe for the next one to take up the mantle, who ensures the same. I'm sure you get that."
Hearing the next part of the elder man's speech, Gouto would simply nod, he expected the traditions of the Kuzunohas to dissipate over time, it was natural.
"Of course. The goal is more important than anything, so I believe it is only natural for our less important customs to fade away, especially in these trying times. It's a shame, truly, but one we have to be willing to live with. If anything, I think I welcome to change. I'd rather not see anymore Kuzunohas die alone. If they're going to face the horrors of demonkind, they can at least have some backup now."
At that last bit, Raidou cast a concerned glanced towards Gouto on his shoulder, but the feline didn't seem all too keen on elaborating on that point further. Instead, he'd simply motion towards the younger Kuzunoha in the room as Raidou caught the sword.
"Well, don't keep him waiting."
Getting the message, Raidou nodded, and allowed Gouto to hop off as he approached the center of the arena as well, opposite from the 40th. Seeing as he was the elder here to test his junior, Raidou simply held his footing, holding out his free hand to gesture at the 40th in a "Come at me." sort of way.
Take widens her eyes as she sees the two firearms pointed at her, sighing and raising her hands above her head. She bites her lip out of stress, looking around for some way to create noise again. She chuckled nervously, gesturing to the two women.
"Ladies." She simply mumbled in greeting.
Upon hearing about a cult, she raised a brow in interest.
"A cult interested in chaos huh? Can't say I'm too familiar, but I assume you're about to fill me in."
[i]Her facial expression took quite a turn, her eyes still laser focused on Yuriko's, but instead of a hostile glare she'd switched it with what seemed to be intrigue, her expression softer and a bit more accepting, a light smirk across her face.
More like I kept you safe after you rushed in.
Ene glares at Tot. She then coils a strand of her hair around her index finger as she studies Stephen. At first glance, he was an old man in a wheelchair, but Ene could suspect him of being a conspirator with Melbourne. Or Stephen could just be another trick of this location like the other monsters around. Wanting to keep her cards close and her options open, Ene simply states.
My name is Ene and I was sort of roped into coming here.
She then gives a non-committal shrug and does not say more.
(edited by Ene)
"Hey, I ran in so you wouldn't have to. A leader's gotta head the charge y'know?"
Tot doesn't seem to notice, or care about the harsh look she's getting in response, she simply smiles back at Ene, making a half-joking effort to defend herself in front of her peer
"Besides, it all worked out."
Quintus would stop short of the area where the emperor resided, along with the others who seemed to come from thin air. He obviously recognized him and was almost surprised that one of them would be taking rash action before he could even think about it.
"Well...Hee-Ho, do you think we should stand by and watch for a moment? Seems like the Emperor has some other guests to attend to. Seems more convenient to let them tests the waters first for us. Though I will admit to feeling bad for the passive seeming one I think it would be wise to let them whittle the emperor down a bit first.
You're the one calling the shots though so I'll let you make the decision."
The Pixie isn’t too new to her. She’d seen one vaguely like it before, but this one has a different color. An “evolution” of demon maybe? She’s too caught off guard to dodge the attack, but the lightning doesn’t faze her as much it normally would. She actually looks more surprised it didn’t hurt more. Good thing this human body isn’t water-type.
She retaliates with an icicle fired at the fairy’s body. It breaks as soon as it’s launched, but rather than make the spell useless, it just adds to the number of icy needles attacking the fairy. Maybe I’ll eventually get a bona-fide Icy Wind eventually.
[Hazama would merely grab Rowan's blade with his right hand with no issues whatsoever. He would then scoff at the poor attempt at an attack and flick his hair with his left hand.]
Hazama: "Call me Emperor now, insect. And maybe then I'll let you live."
[The high school-aged Emperor would look ahead and notice Hee-Ho, alongside Quintus. For him, they were never truly hidden, because he was able to tell everything that was happening while inside of his own domain.]
Hazama: "I take it you are Hee-Ho, the lowlife Fairy that thinks can overthrow me and attain godhood, accompanied by the gloomy-looking celibate. I find it funny you would even try, but it could be fun."
[His teeth would be gritted, but his mouth still had the shape of an overconfident smile.]
Hazama: "If you truly want an audience with me, perhaps I will humor you…should you get rid of this Insect and the Dung following behind it first. Jack Frost and Quintus, I trust you can take them on no problems."
[Hazama would let go of the sword and unleash a wave of almighty energy that should be enough to push Rowan back and slam him against the fence at the other side of the rooftop. After this, he would rub his right hand with his left, as his right hand's globe now had a scratch. Hee-Ho’s perpetually open eyes would change their shape suddenly into one of worry, as he takes a single step backwards.]
- 0 -
[The High Pixie would be too distracted to notice the subtle change in the attack itself. The ice itself was not particularly effective against her, but it was clear she was not done for just yet. However, the icy needles would puncture her left wing, making her agility drop considerably.]
High Pixie: "Hey, that is not fair, lady! You have two legs! I can't walk like you do!"
[Worried about this, the small demon would focus all her energy into using Dia, healing her wings and recovering the ability to properly move around the area. After doing this, the Fairy would turn around and show her but at Prima, spanking it as she shows her tongue.]
High Pixie: "But now I get to fly again, what do you say to that, loser~?"
[Yoshio would keep his distance. The Bufula was already proof enough the girl had experience, because most of the humans he knew had to fight relentlessly to even launch a few Bufu, and Bufula was something only he had been able to achieve, and that after at least a year of practice.]
Stephen: "I understand, you two were forced into this terrible situation, were you not? That is indeed bad news. I want to assure you however, I am in no way affiliated with that being... in fact, it would be for the best if it did not exist at all."
[The man in the wheelchair would advance forward and towards the area in which the Heracles fell to the pair.]
Stephen: "If you have been forced upon his game, then this can only mean someone set the events into motion to begin with. This 'Melbourne' never begins this kind of event on his own, because he feels it is boring that way, and it is impossible to tell how far back this scheme truly goes to. Is this your first time through this kind of experience?"
[40th would scoff at his predecessor's action. He would take a deep breath and look at Raidou with an intense glare full of determination and a certain desire to prove something that remain unknown. He would separate his two legs as he lowers his torso slightly. Turning it to the side, he would hold the sword over his head, the edge of his wooden blade facing up; the tip pointed straight at his sparring partner.]
Raidou: "Can you really defeat me? We share the same title, and are about the same age... I can tell."
[The young man would keep his breath steady before rushing in and going for a horizontal, right to left slash aimed at neck. Master Kuzunoha would nod as he replies to his senior.]
Master: "Wise words indeed, Master. If we are to evolve then we must do so in the name of Millennium, because... Japan as it once was is no more, just like the rest of the world. You must be already aware, but the Great Cataclysm was not just centered around our land, but it affected all of humanity. In the current year, there are just a handful of places left besides Tokyo Millennium in which any life can survive. The concept of nations, patriots and heroes have all but faded away."
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[The third floor would be the exact same as the one below, boring and pale. As such, Mr. Bear was able to properly identify the only three classrooms possible to choose from. In particular, it was able to recognize noise coming from both the second classroom and the third one, both of which had speaking voices. The first classroom was absolutely silent.]
Yuriko: "Oh? He didn't tell you, I wonder why."
[Yuriko would giggle before crossing her legs and holding her arms right under her breasts, not breaking eye contact.]
Yuriko: "The Cult of Gaea, or Ring of Gaea, whichever you prefer, is a group of humans and demons with longing for the original state of this Earth, as well as the true essence of humanity: Freedom. Long ago, deities of all types would be brought into this world to rule, help or punish the humans who worshiped them. Many, many deities came to be, and humanity was free to choose which one to worship, if they decided to do so at all. The more people believed in one deity or group of them, the more powerful these became. And eventually, one took it upon himself to gain absolute control."
[Yuriko would playfully point up with her left index finger.]
Yuriko: "That guy above. He somehow managed to make himself the first thing people think of whenever anyone says 'God'; it became more than a title or state of being, but a name. Once he did that, he cursed all other deities to remain under him and even be forgotten, while also keeping a tight leash on every single human being born into this world. Imagine a shepherd leading his sheep; that's the state of humanity as a whole currently. The gaeans however, they are against it, combining their collective ideals into one: Chaos."
[She would lift three fingers.]
Yuriko: "The three essentials of Chaos are: 'Power', because those who hold it can do as they please, even break through their own limits. 'Individual', because it is importance to recognize the value behind being one alone, to stand above the others and not be swayed by the words of just anyone. And finally, 'Freedom', because all humans are born slaves to his will and whims, like playthings to be used and discarded."
[It would be quite apparent that Yuriko truly believed in what she was talking about, and her voice would spout nothing but venom at any point she talked about "God", the one who currently stands above it all. At the very least, she was being fully honest.]
Yuriko: "What do you think? I believe I saw some of this within you. Chaos is the true state of humanity, and we want to recover that from the joke of a peace that is YHVH's reign."
“I tried telling you that head strong nature of yours was dragging us from the deep end into some danger. Just get up now cause we have company in the most unfortunate of circumstances.”
The Spell Punk would flip through its own head to find the spell a best suited spell. It was only able to cast a mediarama on the top of its memory to top Rowan up from the throw and keep both of themselves in good shape just in case. It then turned its attention to the other two while helping Rowan back up.
“Fellow gentlemen how goes? Being in the many tunnels and portal hops I thought I wouldn’t see one of the original familiar faces for a even longer while. It’s just a shame that this is how we end up cross paths at the worst timing ever don’t ya agree?”
It personally did not like this Hazama’s words and intentions but it was coming at a rather fast pace not desirable at all. Even with just this small talk the Spell Punk wanted to slow down the pace of the situation and not jump straight into fighting much to this emperor’s delight apparently.
Penny came up the stairs to run towards Mr. Bear, almost scooping him back up in her grasps until she saw the door. Mainly the second and third doors, because the first door just looks like something she’d kick out of frustration. Her head tilted as she crouched down to look at Mr. Bear in his beady eyes.
“Are these two things supposed to be different? Penny is confused.”
Her bugbear almost walked on the ground and tried to beckon for the little girl to hold him until he just gives up and floats towards Penny’s head, poking her face with his stubby arm. She almost hit back in reflex, but instead looks at him for a second before looking at the two doors.
“I don’t know how this works. Let’s pick a random one!”
The girl shouts out happily, putting her hand on the third classroom door and opening it without even trying to think of any possible consequences or surprises. Surely this would be the strategy that will find Takeno without any problems.