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Thread: Spirit Pulse: Mugen No Sekai [OoC]

  1. #961
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    what an interesting deleted post

    be a shame if

    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    ---But an escape must still be in the cards somewhere, right?

    As the Rothschild Tamer's mind begins to resign to his fate, facing both old fears and new unknown fronts alike, his soul rebels the against the very notion.

    Spending time alone with the Karlfeldt Empress would be most assuredly give rise to another share of memories best repressed... if not the creation of scarred brain tissue. Even if she's much more friendly now that she's not surrounded in tiresome politics, she's still closer to a monster than a person. An immortal Dark Summoner that even Adala Lagerkvist would find issue with overcoming without some serious aid.

    As a Rothschild Tamer Ludwig is no stranger to pain, yet that doesn't mean he would willing throw yourself in a pit of despair if such a fate could be avoided altogether.

    Theresia Karlfeldt is an existence that threatens the Telepath's sanity every moment he would stay with her, and word she uttered could further bury him in a grave the boy did not realize he had been inside.

    So the Soul only sees one other option, one possibility for freedom, one way to escape the pain and torment that will descend eventually...

    Raz Stone.

    Despite the briefness of their encounter, the man was clearly incredibly human. A man that lived his life to the fullest at every moment he could, a Knight that was born to be in the spotlight. It was as if the world itself wanted to see this man shine and so granted him a charisma that could only be described as 'dazzling'.

    Yes... such a man would no doubt have empathy in droves... surely he could be trusted to be an ally of man.

    The plan is simple, too simple really, but time is of the essence. The Heir of Unity regards the red-haired SLEIPNIR companion once more, still lost in an increasing sea of caffeine, before steeling his resolve.

    Plain and simple, the boy would request the favor of the Knights of the Round's famous bard. An opening to escape this woman, a distraction to make sure he and his female friend could escape from her.

    From what future trauma surely she has in store for the pair.

    And so, a connection is established with the mind of -------

    ……………………

    ------------------------------------------

    ꧁㈤☉ㄾ𓂀ϟ⌥⌘㊂𓂀㈤☉ㄾ꧂



    Ludwig Karlfeldt

    Beyond the Silver Stars
    Time Immemorial

    Falling.

    Unlike any other experiences you've had as you speak directly into another's Mind, now the sensation of falling is all that can be experienced.

    When did you get here?

    Where did you go?

    Where is this?

    When is this?

    What was this?

    You behold stars fade into dark.

    You behold worlds coming to end.

    You see dreams begin and fade as something awakens.

    You behold the universe as it grows, halts, and recedes.

    Time itself bends.

    You witness realities within fractions of a second, all ending in the same manner...

    And at last.

    You see...

    It.



    And it...

    Sees you



    *looks directly into the camera*


    Someone quoted it!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bird of Hermes View Post
    The moment the opportunity arises for a pun, the one known as 'Taiga's Knight' will be there to deliver whether you like it or not.

  2. #962
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Quality Control
    ---------------------------------------------
    Cosmos Fairchild wakes up in her room.

    Getting up from her bed with an aching headache, the teal-haired girl clutches her head as she shut her eyes, trying to ward off the pain. When it doesn’t work, she opened her eyes again, accepting that she’d spend the rest of the day with a migraine, and scanned her surroundings.

    It’s her room, definitely. Her stash of chocolate cookies is on top of her desk, her beloved kettle and teapot along with an assortment of tea are there, and her precious hat lies just beside her bed. She took the hat absent-mindedly, thinking that maybe if she wears it the headache would stop or at least lessens, but of course it doesn’t. Her thoughts are everywhere, maybe she should go to Miss Lynx for a check-up--

    Oh, but isn’t it strange? Wasn’t she supposed to be somewhere else, laid to rest by a woman she just met in LOVELESS? Trembling and shaking from the revelation made by a certain clown…?

    No! That’s not right. She was just at the church, meeting her mother and Aunt Alisa, helping them decorate for Christmas. She even remember her mother’s warmth and scent from the hug, so that must mean this is her room in the North Pole--

    Huh? But then again she didn’t bring her cookies and kettle and teapot with her, right?

    In the first place, why would she be in her room?

    Does her room exist in LOVELESS? A secret pathway directly to her room?

    Maybe a perfect copy was made in the North Pole. Tamers organizations are supposed to be amazing, right? These kinds of small inconsistencies shouldn’t matter and can be explained as the work of NWAB, right?

    Huh? But that’s strange. Was she even supposed to be on the North Pole?

    A month has passed after all!

    But she was selected to join?

    She was a recluse, though, never even once stepped outside of the Vatican, so--

    Another world. She went to another world. That has to count for something.

    What does that have to do with the North Pole?

    Huh?

    Huh?

    Huh--?

    That’s strange.

    That’s strange…?

    The World is Strange--

    “Aaaaaaah!”

    It hurts. Her head felt like it was split open with a sword, and then someone took a hammer and hit her brain again and again without actually damaging anything, except she could still feel the pain. Cosmos likes to think that she’s more durable than most people, but this is too much, too painful even for her, so she screamed out in pain, clutching her head as her vision swam in and out, and she must have fallen from her bed because she felt her body hitting the floor…

    “No… No…”

    Illia. Where is Illia? A healing spell at least should help, right? At least it should lessen the pain until she could get into the medical ward, or barring that, just a call for help should do.

    With trembling hands, Cosmos slowly sat up, and through teary eyes and blurry vision she tried to look for her rosary, or listen to Illia’s voice for instructions--

    But she couldn’t find it. There’s no rosary, no familiar voice that’s always been with her for a decade, and it hurts so much she has difficulty seeing and has to just try to feel for it, knocking and breaking her teapot and kettle in her mad search for her COMP, and when it doesn’t bear fruit Cosmos crumpled to the floor, sobbing and whimpering as she prayed for reprieve or even death as the pain in her head tripled in intensity if that’s even possible, for what else could this be but divine punishment, because she had sinned and done something terrible to deserve this--

    “Help.. Please, God… Help me… Mother… It hurts so much…”

    What is she saying? Mother is dead, she couldn’t help her, but she was alive, they just hugged, it was all her fault anyway, so she deserves this, but it hurts, mother can help, mother couldn’t help--

    The door. God wouldn’t help those who wouldn’t help themselves. At the very least she should go out of her room first, and then hopefully someone else is in the hallway and can help her. Hitting the floor once, twice to focus her mind on anything other than the mind-numbing pain in her skull, Cosmos crawled slowly to the door through memory of her room’s layout. Every few seconds or so she would stop from the pain before she hits the floor again and again to regain her focus, and when that no longer worked, she swung her right arm as far back as possible with all her strength, and the pain of either dislocating her shoulder or breaking her right arm is enough for her to finally reach the door and out of her room.

    And then it was gone.

    Like it was never there, the pain in her head disappears the moment she was out of her room. Not only that, but her right arm is fine too.

    For a few seconds Cosmos stayed prone, tears still streaming down her face as she shakily looked at her right hand, and then raised it to confirm that it really is fine, before touching her head with that same hand slowly as if fearing that the pain will come back the moment she does…

    But there’s nothing. No pain. Even if she could still feel her head throbbing and her brain pulsating, there is no pain.

    But before she could process that fact--

    “So you’re finally here. Congratulations.”

    A voice greeted her.

    An impossible voice.

    Not because the owner is supposed to be dead or because the owner isn’t supposed to be here, no.

    Because--

    “It's honestly amazing what you can inflict on yourself when you put your mind into it. I think that amount of self-loathing is honestly impressive."

    Because it’s her own voice, coming from her own self.


    And that’s impossible. There is only one Cosmos Fairchild in this world, so this couldn’t be happening. No, this person standing in front of her must be an impostor, the same one who killed her mother--

    “Please, I am not an impostor of any kind. I am you.” The girl in front of her answered as if reading her mind, a smile still present as she looked down on her. “Do you not recognize this place? This place is your mind and heart.”

    Her mind… and heart…?

    “But… If this place is my mind and heart…” Cosmos said as she slowly got back up to her feet, the phantom pain still lingering in the back of her head even as she wiped her tears away with her sleeves, “Then… Who are you?”

    “I just said it a moment ago. I am you.”

    “Then… you are Cosmos Fairchild?”

    The girl in front of her laughed. “Oh, no. Not really. I am… Well, perhaps you can refer to me as The Mind of Fairchild, but I am not Cosmos Fairchild.”

    “I… See.” Cosmos said slowly. “Because I am Cosmos Fairchild, you are not.”

    “No, silly. I just told you, I am you.” The girl corrected with an amused smile. “If I am not Cosmos Fairchild, then you aren’t either.”

    “What? That doesn’t-- I am Cosmos Fairchild!”

    “Are you, now?” The girl mused. “Who is ‘Cosmos,’ really? The girl you refer to as ‘Preciel’ is Cosmos too, you know. It’s only fair to refer to you as ‘Fairchild’ when you refer to her as ‘Preciel,’ right? Cosmos is… well, she’s an elusive girl. She’ll only exist when both Fairchild and Preciel have accepted one another and become one, and that’s not happening anytime soon, I think.”

    Cosmos-- no, Fairchild couldn’t answer that. She opened her mouth, but closed it a second later when she couldn’t make a rebuttal.

    “So!” The Mind clapped her hands together. “Do you know why you are here?”

    “... I don’t know.” Fairchild mutters. “What is happening, anyway? What is real, and what is not? If this is my mind and heart, then what is happening in the real world…?”

    “That’s a difficult question.” The Mind answered with a frown. “Everything might be real, and everything might be a fantasy. I’m not even sure what is going on, to be honest, though I do have fun in piecing theories together to explain all these abnormalities.” She shrugged. “So let’s just forget all that for the moment, hm? What is happening in the real world doesn’t really matter here. Or wait, shoot, I don’t even know if those are happening in the real world, but the point is, those confusing things? Forget about them for now. You have a more immediate problem to face.”

    “A problem?”

    “Well, yes. Why do you think you suffered that headache back in your room? That’s a problem you know.”

    Fairchild slowly nodded. “Then, what… why did that happen?”

    The Mind, in response, tapped Illia once, twice to the ground, the staff ringing in response before laying down her verdict.

    “Because you want to be judged.”

    That…

    That doesn’t make sense…?

    At the very least, Fairchild didn’t get what that exactly means.

    “What that means is that you want someone to judge you for what you have done.” The Mind elaborates. “Mother is too kind to ever judge you for the last ten years while Illia will always see the best in you, and you don’t want to meet Alyx right now. So naturally, the task falls to yourself - to me - to judge whether you are worthy to be mother’s daughter.” The Mind smiled. “Simply put, you can think of this… as quality control for those who wished to become Mary’s daughter.”

    “I… see.” Fairchild muttered. “So, a test, I assume?”

    Seeing The Mind nods, Fairchild speaks more. “You said it’s quality control… so there must be a criteria. What are they?”

    “Perhaps you can begin by looking around for a bit first. Since you came out of your room, you haven’t really seen where we are after all.” The Mind said with her ever-present smile, and Fairchild obliges, finally taking her eyes off her identical image and darting her eyes around the place.

    They are currently standing in a hallway, not different from the ones outside of her room in Rose Cross, but while those had been lined up with doors upon doors while the hallway stretches far away, this one is much more limited; to her left, she could see the end of the hallway with a door similar to one that leads to her own room, the number “2” shining on top of it; on each of its sides are two doors facing each other, the number “1” and “3” shining on top of each. Meanwhile to her right is a single door at the end of the hallway, one patterned with the night sky and stars.

    “The three doors to your left are where you’ll undertake the tests.” The Mind explained once she had seen her complete her scan of her own mind/heart. “Each door will lead to a different scenario where you’d have to act and behave as a child of Mary should. You can tackle them in any order that you want, and I shall grade your performance in each. You will receive the judgment you so wished after you finished all three.” The Mind tilted her head. “Any questions?”

    Fairchild chewed the bottom of her lip. “I assume you’ll grade it with points… How much should I score in order to qualify as mother’s daughter?”

    “Normally? That would be zero.” At her look of surprise, The Mind laughed. “Oh please, why do you look surprised? It’s mother. As long as you don’t score in the negatives, she would accept and love you all the same. But of course, that’s not why you’re here.” The Mind regarded her with a glint in her eyes. “So rest assured, I am not as lenient or kind as our dear mother. Just do your best, and as mother’s daughter in reality, surely you would pass the quality control with flying colors.”

    Somehow Fairchild doubted that, and The Mind giggled - whether from amusement or something else, Fairchild doesn’t know. Still, she took a glance at the single room to her right, and following her gaze, The Mind speaks once again. “Curious? You should know what that room is.”

    “....Mm. Preciel’s, right?”

    “Right, and because we can’t open it, that room is irrelevant to our current situation.” With a tap of her staff, a wall came crashing down in front of the single door, and The Mind gestured to the three doors. “So why not get started?”

    With nothing else to do, Fairchild nodded and walked to the left hallway until she finally reached the end. The question is where to start; should she just follow the numerical order, or would doing it out of order would be the best?

    Taking a deep breath, Fairchild turned to her left, to the door labeled as “1.” Being an orderly person, this is what she’d normally do, and there’s no reason to try something different, especially when that seems more like what Alyx will do. Doing it in order sounds just fine to her.

    Thus, the door automatically opens to an expanse of nothingness, and for a second Fairchild hesitates. However, looking back at her Mind who gave her a silent nod, Fairchild gathers her courage and finally, after taking a deep breath, steps forward into the void--

    -----------------------------------------

    Fairchild
    Dive to the Heart / Quality Control I
    Garden of Sunlight


    Fairchild found herself in the inner gardens of the Vatican.

    There’s no mistake; the warmth of the sun, the singing birds, and the blooming flowers are a familiar sight to the girl who always comes early in the morning, when the sun’s light is warm instead of hot and a gentle breeze blows through.

    And, standing besides a small table with four chairs, is--

    “Good morning, Cosmos.” Mary greeted with a smile, opening her arms in a clear invitation for a hug, and Fairchild didn’t even think before she rushed in and carefully hugged her mother, the action practically automatic. They stayed like that for a while, basking in each other’s presence, before Mary released the hug to Fairchild’s disappointment; nevertheless she looked up at her mother’s eyes as she greeted her back.

    “Good morning, mother.”

    “Right on time again, today. Your streak is now one year on coming in on-time!” Mary praised with a brilliant smile, and Fairchild felt her heart flutter from the sight and praise, her cheeks reddening as she couldn’t help but to grin in response.

    “It’s nothing, really. It was only thanks to mother that I learned to become punctual.” Fairchild said bashfully, averting her gaze from the sheer brilliance of her mother, but a few pats on her back returned her attention back to the blinding light of her mother’s smile.

    “You are being too humble, Cosmos. Not everyone can be as dedicated to my lessons to the heart like you; it speaks a lot about your character.” Mary said before she leaned down, raised her hat a little, and kissed her on the forehead before drawing back, her smile still present. “So you can be proud of yourself for what you achieve today.”

    “I…” Words left her tongue as she stared at Mary’s different-colored eyes, filled with so much compassion and love that Fairchild couldn’t help but to be speechless. She tried to form words, articulate her thoughts, but found her eyes tearing up instead; and wordlessly, she hugged her mother again, for she knew words would have failed her.

    “There there, it’s okay…” Mary whispered as she gently pats her back, and once again she stayed in her mother’s embrace for a while, basking in her warmth and radiance, as she prayed for this moment to last forever. Mary is, after all, her light and her world; she means so much to her, so precious, the person dearest to her heart. So she whispered a quiet “I love you” to Mary, an affirmation and declaration of a fact more than anything else, and--

    “... Do you, little one?”

    That question came crashing down to her like lightning. Fast, sudden, unexpected, so much that it took her a few seconds to process that her mother had indeed said those words. But before she can fully comprehend what is going on, her mother speaks yet again.

    “Will you still love me, even without the light?”

    And impossibly, the familiar warmth that she always felt whenever she was in her mother’s embrace started to fade, and her mother’s presence, so bright and radiant that it never failed to lighten up the area wherever she goes, slowly recedes. Fairchild widened her eyes in shock as she released the hug, and when she finally saw her mother, she screamed.

    It was like watching a star die a quiet death. Her mother’s skin paled, her breathing ragged, and even her different-colored eyes, usually so full of life that they seemed to glow, has become dull. Mary fell to her knees, and when Fairchild immediately kneeled to help support her, only one thing permeated her mind.

    Her mother is cold.

    “Mother, mother, no! Please! What is-- what is going on?!” She cried, helpless and confused and scared as the familiar warmth and light that could always be felt around her mother is now utterly gone, and she couldn’t help but to think that her mother now felt like… felt like death, and, and--

    “If,” Mary muttered weakly, her voice so quiet and frail that she almost missed it. “If I would stay like this… For the rest of my life… Will you still love me, little one?”

    “I-That’s not important right now! We should-- I’ll carry you to Doctor Lynx, she’d know what to do and how to bring mother back to normal--”

    “Cosmos,” Mary rasped, and when Fairchild turned her attention back to her mother, her heart broke in two at the pleading look that her mother was giving her. “Please… Answer the question…”

    “I…”

    For a moment, she hesitated. The thought of spending the rest of her days with Mary like this, who has lost her warmth and light, is so utterly alien and terrifying that she wanted to reject it with all her heart; could she still love her mother when she felt like… when she felt like a corpse? When she is this weak, unfit to lead the church?

    But then… This is still her mother, is she not? She is still Mary Fairchild, the woman who found her so many years ago, and patiently took her in and made her her daughter. The woman who loved her, even when she doesn’t deserve it…

    Her answer should be obvious.

    “--Of course.” She sobbed. “Of course I will! Even if mother is like this… I will always love you! I will care for you, and I will protect you, even if no one else would, so please…” She looked at the dull eyes of her mother with tears in her eyes. “... Please don’t be afraid.”

    Her mother’s relieved, weary smile was the last thing that she saw before everything turned white--

    ---------------------------------------

    When Fairchild opened her eyes, she saw an identical image of herself leaning against the wall while jotting down on a notepad with a pen, muttering to herself with that ever-present smile and seemingly ignoring her presence. A quick check told her that she’s now back in the hallway in front of her room, and for an instant her thought wandered back to the garden and her mother, and she clutched her chest almost instinctively.

    The test… That was the first test. How could she have forgotten?

    And yet, from her ragged breathing, tear-stained cheeks, and the painful throb in her heart, Fairchild understood why she couldn’t remember that it was a test. It felt all too real for her to consider it as anything but reality. The happiness and terror that grasped her heart, if nothing else, was definitely real.

    “So, it seems you’ve sorted your thoughts.” The Mind finally speaks as the sound of a pen scribbling on a notepad came to an end. “Were you surprised? Of course the test won’t be so easy as to allow you to think that it is merely a test. No, if we want to do quality control, then obviously the scenario would be as real and lifelike as possible in order for the candidates to act as genuinely as possible.” The Mind giggled, and Fairchild decided that she doesn’t like the sound of her own giggles.

    Still…

    “... What was that scenario just now?” She asked quietly. “It… Where did you even get that from? Is it something that’s going to happen? Mother…” She trailed off, unable to finish.

    “In case you forgot, this place is your own mind and heart.” The Mind answered. “So that scenario was something born from you. Perhaps you had a nightmare like that and subconsciously remember it? Perhaps an idle thought of what you think will happen if mother is revived and you survived the process? Perhaps it was even a memory?” The Mind shrugged. “I don’t know, really. What matters is that it felt real. Whether it will happen in reality or not doesn’t matter.”

    Fairchild didn’t say anything in response to that, silently contemplating on what she’d do if it actually happens for real. She supposes that her answer back in the test at least proves that she’d do the right thing, that she’d love her mother and stay with her no matter what, but…

    Somehow, there is still doubt in her heart, and she hates herself for it.

    Even in loving her mother, she couldn’t truly fully devote herself. That she would even hesitate when asked that question is appalling.

    “So… How much did I score…?” Fairchild finally asked after a few seconds to take her mind off that train of thought. The Mind, for her part, lets out yet another giggle.

    “Not telling until you finish all three~” She said in a sing-song voice, and Fairchild wondered how the girl in front of her could possibly represent her mind. Shouldn’t she be more… serious? Professional? Because she has a hard time seeing the person in front of her as herself, really…

    “Anyhow, congratulations on finishing the first test. Do you want to continue, or do you need a quick break first?”

    To be honest she’d need a long break after that, but then again she has a feeling that time really isn’t on her side. So she calmed herself down, stood up, and gestured to the left, where the first door now has the words “Complete!” glowing while a teal barrier now prevents her from entering it again. “Might as well continue. At least when I start the test I won’t remember what happened previously.”

    “Nice observation.” The Mind praised, and from her tone Fairchild wanted to believe that it’s genuine. “Then please choose a door, and good luck.”

    Obviously because she’s following an order she’d choose number two, the door in the center. So she took a deep breath once again to calm her nerves, and as she stepped into the opened door that leads to the void, Fairchild couldn’t help but miss the reassuring and familiar voice of her COMP to accompany her in this dreary world.

    ---------------------------------------

    Fairchild
    Dive to the Heart / Quality Control II
    Cathedral of Doubt


    Fairchild wakes up to the smell of stone and wood.

    A quick inspection showed that she’s currently sitting on a wooden chair in a small room; in front of her is a wooden counter with a darkened glass panel, and it took her a few seconds to realize that she’s currently sitting inside a confessional booth in a church or cathedral, somewhere in the Vatican.

    Fairchild squirmed and got up, feeling uncomfortable. Despite being a spirit tamer and a sister for a decade, she had never ‘manned’ a confessional booth before; not only because that’s not really her job or role, but also because she’s not good with people. Listening to people’s problems and potentially being asked for advice on what to do terrifies her, because really, how could she when she’s still a mess herself? So she stood up and made to leave for the exit, unsure on how she got here in the first place--

    “--Um, excuse me… Is anyone there…?”

    Until a voice rang out from the other side of the glass.

    Fairchild freezes up. After all, she knew that voice; perhaps not too well, but it belongs to someone she knew regardless.

    “... The Father is currently out.” Fairchild said with a trembling voice. God, how could this happen? “If you would wait for a few minutes, I’m sure he’ll be back soon--”

    “Oh sister, thank goodness.” The voice of Saria Justus weakly called out in relief, and something resembling a mix of dread and terror slowly gripped her heart from the lack of cheer and energy in Saria’s voice. “It-it doesn’t have to be the Father. I just… P-please listen to me, I have a confession to make, and if I have to wait, then… Then I’m scared that I’ll lose the courage to do it, so please sister…” She pleads. “Please listen to me…”

    It was the voice of someone wishing for death, to stop existing and stop thinking.

    Fairchild would know. After all, even if she’s unsure when, she had definitely felt and spoke in a similar tone, once upon a time--

    “... Alright.” She finally said, steeling herself for the inevitable as she retook her seat on the wooden chair. “I shall listen.”

    After all, even if she doesn’t know her too well, Saria Justus is still a friend of Alyx, and that has to count for something. She’s not sure she could actually do anything, but listening to her troubles… She could at least do that much, right?

    After a chorus of whispered “thank you,” with Saria seemingly not recognizing her voice, the girl fidgeted for a bit with her hands before she finally began to speak.

    “I-I screwed up.” Saria started, the tremble in her voice unmistakable. “It was… it was an impulsive decision, really. I was- I was desperate, you see, which… which of course isn’t an excuse at all! But I don’t think… I wasn’t thinking clearly at the time. No, I see something I’ve been looking for all my life, and-- And I couldn’t resist not to jump on the chance!”

    Fairchild isn’t sure she’s actually following, but from the cries and sobs, Saria is definitely crying. So she stayed silent, listening as Saria rambled on.

    “It… It doesn’t, didn’t sound like a bad thing. I just have to stop my friends, and wipe their memories on what they’ve found.” Saria blabbered, and suddenly Fairchild could feel the hair on her neck standing. A terrifying sense of dread and disbelief filled her heart as she continued to listen silently. “But… But I screwed up. One friend of mine, she… she harbors something dangerous, something that had taken away my mother and sisters, and I-I don’t think I was thinking clearly then, even though she was practically just trying to survive and even warn me, I just felt so much anger and rage, and then I didn’t notice when that thing appears in the corridor, I took my eyes off for a bit, and-and…”

    Oh God. God, it couldn’t be--

    “And then everything went to hell, sister! My friends’ mothers, both of them, died… I could still see their faces, drenched in rain as they see the bodies, I could still hear their screams and cries, and… and God, it was all my fault…!” Saria wailed. “Now, now one of them just trains herself all the time, while the other shut herself in her room, and it was all my fault! My fault, my fault, my fault my fault, my fault-!”

    And as the cathedral is filled with the sound of Saria’s wails and sobs, Fairchild silently sagged down in her chair, eyes empty at what she just learned.

    Saria is a White Shroud.

    Saria is the White Shroud.

    Saria fooled her sister.

    Saria fooled them all.

    Saria is responsible for all this mess, Saria is the reason why her mother died--

    Fairchild would have laughed if she just doesn’t feel so… defeated. Drained. She thought she had been careful, and yet despite all her paranoia and effort to not let any zealot come near, in the end she still let one be so near--

    Her chest hurts from the sense of betrayal, and tears soon fell; it took all her willpower to choke down a sob, to not cry and lets out her grief lest Saria find out that she had been confessing to the one person she had hurt, and Fairchild doesn’t know why she’s doing this. She should have done so, let Saria suffer from the consequences of her actions, let her grovel and beg for forgiveness…

    But she doesn’t.

    Was it because the wails and cries were so filled with grief, so much anguish and self-hatred, that she couldn’t help but to relate? Was it because she knew Saria? Or was it because of something else?

    She doesn’t know. She’s not sure she even cares.

    Fairchild isn’t sure how long they’ve stayed like that, but eventually Saria’s sobs and cries grew quieter, and when the girl thanked her for listening to her, she simply nodded silently. Even as the silhouette and faint footsteps finally walked away and grew more and more distant, Fairchild simply stayed silent, not saying anything else.

    She just sat there, on the wooden chair, contemplating on what she had learned as the world finally went white--

    --------------------------------------

    She’s back to the hallway, sitting with her back to the wall, while her Mind sat on the opposite side, once again jotting down something in a notepad with a pen, but this time Fairchild didn’t waste any time to speak.

    “What… What sick joke was that…?”

    “Hm?” He Mind intoned without looking up.

    “I said, what… what kind of sick joke was that…? Saria as a White Shroud? What does-- what does that have to do with anything about being a good daughter?!”

    “Oh, it has everything to do with it, actually.” The Mind calmly replied as she finally finished writing and looked at her in the eyes, a faint smile present on her face. “How one reacts to betrayal, how one reacts to other people hurting them, especially one that they know… is yet another good indicator of one’s character. Not every test has to involve Mary to gauge whether you are a good daughter or not.”

    The Mind spun her pen before pointing it at her, and for her part, she’s still glaring at the smiling copy of herself.

    “Besides, all things considered you didn’t do badly! I was expecting you to torture poor Saria until she completely breaks, but you actually hold yourself back. You should be proud of what you’ve managed to accomplish.” The Mind finished, her tone proud.

    Too bad Fairchild doesn’t share the same sentiment at all.

    “... Was that true?” She finally asked after deciding that debating the point with the girl in front of her would be pointless. “Saria being the White Shroud. Was that… Is that supposed to be true in reality…?”

    “Goodness, here you go again about reality.” The Mind tutted in disappointment. “The answer is the same as usual: I don’t know. Saria being the White Shroud in that test was simply out of a process of elimination, you see; Mother and Aunt Alisa certainly couldn’t secretly be a zealot, and neither does Alyx, so that only leaves her as the candidate. That’s why her motives and stuff isn’t that clear, because we don’t really know much.” The Mind shrugged. “But Saria is an orphan, and the White Shroud said she lost her mother and sisters, so it’s possible. But again, that’s just circumstantial evidence, and whether or not that’s true is irrelevant.”

    “Irrelevant…?” Fairchild whispered. “She might have killed mother and fooled us all, and you dare to say it’s irrelevant?!” She snapped. “To hell with that! If she is really the White Shroud, then--”

    “Then what? You want to kill her? Torture her?” The Mind asked, and Fairchild stopped in her tracks as the ever-present smile on The Mind’s face is finally gone. “Do you really think that behavior fits that of Mary’s daughter? What do you gain from that? Will that bring mother back? Do you even know for sure that mother dying happens in reality?”

    “I- I…”

    “As I said: irrelevant. Focusing on such matters would only distract you from the test and your own heart and mind, so let’s drop the subject and focus on what truly matters.” The Mind pointed to the last door. “Namely, the last test. Of course, you’re free to rest up first and organize your thoughts, but do not forget why you’re here.”

    As The Mind went back to scribbling on her notepad, Fairchild sighed and stared at the hallway’s ceiling. Come to think of it, why is she even here? Sure the headache was a problem and she doesn’t want to experience it again, but… She could just wake up, right? Why is being judged by herself so important? This ‘Quality Control’ tests… Is there even any point in doing this, especially when the tests were like that? She had suffered enough in reality, so why should she suffer in her own mind too? And if the reality is the North Pole where she’s decorating with her mother, then why should she be concerned about this?

    But as she silently looked at her mirror self, a thought occurred to Fairchild. Perhaps… Perhaps this is to boost her own self-confidence and self-worth? The Mind at least has been somewhat supportive thus far, she praised her efforts on the tests, and she had been pushing her to do the tests… So maybe by seeing how she’d react in these extreme scenarios, she could gain a new appreciation for herself as long as she did good?

    Sighing, Fairchild once again stands up and head towards the last door.

    She suppose that’s good enough of a reason. Whether that’s true or not, at least with this it’ll finally be over.

    Thus, Fairchild stepped into the last door and into the void--

    --------------------------------------

    Fairchild
    Dive to the Heart / Quality Control III
    Altar of Despair


    “--lloo! Helloooo! Are you awake, midget?”

    Fairchild wakes up to an irritating voice yelling in her ear and a slap to the face.

    When her eyes flutter open, she find that she was bound to a chair in a dark place, her arms and legs completely chained up; every inch of her body hurts; and that standing right besides her, leaning in too close for comfort, is the face of a clown she had come to loathe.

    “... JESTER.” She coughed once, twice, and found blood. She glared at him with every ounce of hatred that she could muster. “What… are you doing here…?”

    “Ooooh, did you hit your head too hard? Was I being too rough that you gained short-term amnesia? Maaan, what’s with you and amnesia? Are you best buddies or something?” The clown taunted, and Fairchild gritted her teeth as JESTER made an exaggerated hand gesture at her. “I bet you don’t even remember the death of that NWAB Agent and Princess! How sad and tragic!”

    Fairchild froze. She must have misheard him, he must be lying, but JESTER lets out a loud cackle when he sees her expression. “So you really don’t! Maaan, you really are the best entertainment that I’ve ever found! Like, seriously, just how many times can you give me that look of despair?! Most people either succumb or develop certain ways to fight it off, but you… You just keep falling!! You shatter, pick the pieces up, only to shatter again! It’s the best shit I’ve seen all my life, let me tell you!”

    “S-shut up!” She growled, but even she found herself unconvincing as she struggled against the chains. “You… You won’t get away with this forever-!”

    JESTER simply laughed again. “Really, midget? That’s the best that you can come up with? I’ve been doing this for a long time you know, and do you know what anyone that ever tried to stop me has ever accomplished? Jack shit!” He placed a hand to his heart. “I must confess though, you neaaaarly did me in. I mean, successfully reviving your dear mother without my help! Even I broke out in cold sweat. Good thing I find out in time, eh?”

    Terror gripped her heart then and there. No, JESTER couldn’t possibly--

    A snap of a finger interrupted her thoughts, and light shined down on the area she’s in; after adjusting to the sudden brightness, Fairchild realized that she’s currently on an altar of sorts, a truly humongous one, and in front of her is--

    “M-mother-!”

    --Cosmos…?

    Indeed, it was her mother, sitting on an identical chair, and not a second later JESTER was besides her mother, harshly and quickly chaining her up, and as weak grunts of pain escaped her mother’s lips, Fairchild realized the numerous small tears on her dress, and with it, small wounds that bleeds red.

    Hurt.

    Her mother is hurt.

    “HOW DARE YOU!” She screamed murder and thrashed against her bindings. “HOW DARE YOU HURT MOTHER! HELL IS TOO GOOD FOR YOU, JESTER!!”

    “Ooooh, finally snapped eh? I’m soo scared!” JESTER taunted with fake terror in his voice. “Really, what do you think screaming at me will accomplish? That you’ll suddenly become stronger and break the chains out of concern for Miss Pope over here? P-L-E-A-S-E!” The clown laughed and brandished a knife, its silver edge seemingly shining from sheer sharpness. “Truth is, you can’t do anything but watch, midget. There’s nothing you can do about it! For example…”

    The clown grabbed her mother’s chin, and slowly but carefully, traced a thin, red line with his knife over her mother’s face, and she could do nothing but watch. Watch as her mother winces weakly from the pain, her eyes closed and breathing hitched as blood dripped down her face, obviously doing her best to not make a sound and give JESTER the satisfaction; and yet the sight must have been enough as the clown once again lets out an uproarious laughter. Fairchild cursed and tried again and again to break the chains holding her to no avail, and just as she cursed her lack of physical strength, JESTER speaks again with that damnable voice of his, a voice that she had grown to hate with her very being.

    “Aww, look at Miss Pope, doing her best to withstand the pain! Unfortunately for her, she’s unused to pain so it still shows in her face and mannerism, but points for holding back a sound! She must have guessed that I am a sadist that gets off from the screams and cries of women, especially holy ones!” JESTER cackled before once again holding her mother by the chin. “But what about… something more intimate, hm? Can you hold yourself? Does the Pope actually have any experience? Let’s find out folks!”

    --Time seemed to slow down for Fairchild as she watched JESTER’s hand moved under her mother’s skirt and stroke her legs, and she saw her mother shuddered from the action as JESTER carefully looked at her face, repeating the action a few more times with one hand while the other is still holding her mother’s chin; Even as she screamed and struggled against her bindings, she saw Mary keeping her composure this time, her face betraying nothing of what she’s enduring--

    Stop, God, please make this stop--

    And as if to mock her thoughts, his hand came out from under the skirt to immediately fondle Mary’s breast, and Fairchild shrieked. She screamed and thrashed against the chains so hard she could feel it biting down through her clothes and into her skin and drawing blood, cursing and kicking and doing everything that she could to break free and stop the demon in clown guise from tormenting her mother further--

    But she couldn’t break free. She couldn’t do anything but watch as her mother valiantly handled the situation, the only sign of distress being the slight furrow of her brows and her slightly ragged breathing, until JESTER lets out a quiet “Hmm” that is so uncharacteristic of him and turned away to face her, and despite the mask Fairchild felt like the clown is grinning at her.

    “What do you know, it seems the Pope has experience after all! She barely reacts to what I’m doing! Maybe dear Aunt Alisa has done this to her before? That’s certainly hot!” He cackled as he finally withdrawn his hands, and yet before Fairchild can thank God for the torture and harrassment and humiliation being over, JESTER spreads his arms wide. “But what if I rip her clothes off and try again? Do you think that will elect a different, more passionate reaction?!”

    “YOU MONS-”

    “Just kidding!”

    It was so sudden that Fairchild stopped mid-sentence, and JESTER started to slowly clap.

    “I could do that, but the reason why I am here is actually for a different purpose!” He said excitedly, hands still clapping. “You see, my dear midget, I am honestly impressed by what you’ve managed to accomplish! As I’ve said before, I never expected you to actually succeed! So just this once, I think I shall spare good ol’ Mary over here out of respect for what you’ve done, and torture you instead!”

    “... What?”

    “Oho, do you think I’d sexually assault you? Of course not, I’m not a pedophile! How dirty-minded, Cosmy!” He squealed, a truly disgusting sound to be heard, and he must have done it on purpose because he’s cackling again from her reaction. “You really ARE the best entertainer I could’ve asked for! But that aside, what I want you to do is to play a game!”

    With a gesture, suddenly another chair popped into existence a good few meters besides mother’s own, and sitting chained on it while unconscious is a nun with long red hair that I don’t recognize. Mother, however, let out a gasp.

    “Sister Riese…?”

    “It seems good ol’ Pope recognizes her, as expected! But what matters here is that you don’t!” JESTER made a sweeping gesture towards both mother and Sister Riese. “The game that I want you to play is simple! You must pick one of them, and the one that you don’t pick will die!” He said as a sword suddenly appeared in his hand. “That’s it! When the game is finished, I will let you and whoever you choose to go out of the goodwill in my heart!”

    Is he… being serious…?

    “Cosmos--” Mary started to speak, but before she could finish JESTER was already behind her, and with a single chop to the back of the neck, rendered her unconscious.

    “Ooops, almost forgot that you can’t exactly ask for an opinion here! This would be your decision alone, without interference from anyone else, and thankfully for you there will be no time limit!” JESTER exclaimed. “But, of course nobody can survive too long without sustenance, so please keep that in mind! Can’t have you or anyone else dying from that now, can we? Especially not after you managed to revive dear ol’ mom! Having her die of starvation would be a shit way to go after coming back to life!”

    Loud and noisy.

    She wanted to tell JESTER to shut up, to leave her in peace and quiet, but if she voiced that then the clown will just double down on what he’s doing. Her throat is still sore from all the screaming, her cheeks still wet from the tears and she could feel blood trickling down to her hand, but she must focus and think.

    The answer should be obvious. Choose mother rather than a stranger she doesn’t even know. And yet her mother’s lesson echoed in the back of her mind, to be good and kind even to strangers, and the thought of having the power to decide whether this nun lived or die - someone who surely has loved ones waiting for her return - made her feel sick.

    The moment she makes her choice, then one will die.

    She looked at the so-called Sister Riese, and found her to be young. She must be in her early twenties at the oldest. There’s still so much she has to see and experience, her life surely still long…

    And she’d condemn her to death, with Sister Riese not even realizing that fact.

    But what else could she do? She couldn’t break free. She could just wait for help to arrive, but she’s not sure how long she, her mother, or Sister Riese could hold on, and if she waits for too long then it might already be too late; the logical conclusion is to make a choice and walk out to get help…

    God, Daniel and Sophia were dead too, and it’s all her fault--

    “... Mother.” She finally said, silently asking for God and Sister Riese’s forgiveness. “I choose mother.”

    JESTER didn’t say anything. He merely swung his sword, and a second later the nun’s head dropped down to the floor. Fairchild tried to ignore it and look at her mother instead.

    “Bravo! That actually didn’t take too long. You’ve made the right choice for once, midget!” JESTER praised, and bizarrely, it sounds genuine.

    “Then do as you promise and let us out.” She said while still trying not to look away from her mother’s unconscious face. JESTER, for his part, lets out a chuckle.

    “I will, once the game is over! Unfortunately, I did not say that the game is only one round, did I?”

    “... What?”

    JESTER snapped his finger, the sound resounding around the altar, and just as Fairchild tore her attention away from the unconscious Mary in shock, she saw the corpse, blood and head of Sister Riese disappearing, replaced by another chair; this time, a man in casual clothes that once again she doesn’t recognize.

    “Hmmmmm! Now who will you choose, midget? Your mom, or this man? Obviously your mom, right? I’m sure the lives of two strangers don’t compare to the life of your mom. But the real game here is that you don’t know how many rounds we are playing!” JESTER laughed, a sickening, mad cackle that sent chills down her spine. “It might be two, five, ten, a hundred, or even as many as the whole population of the Vatican! You don’t know! So, Cosmos Fairchild, let me ask you a question!” He vanished and reappeared right in front of her face, the mask of a smiling clown staring down on her.

    “How much is your mother worth?”

    -------------------------------------

    Fairchild found herself back in the hallway with dead eyes and a newfound level of hatred for herself, wishing for death for what she had done, but the moment she laid her eyes on her mirror image - who is welcoming her back with a smile - all gloomy thoughts temporarily left her mind as she pushed The Mind to the opposite wall and grabbed her by the collar.

    Furious doesn’t even describe the sheer anger that she currently feels towards her.

    “What the hell was that test?!” She seethed. “What kind of twisted mind thought that-- that putting that was a good idea?!”

    “Yours.” The Mind replied, unfazed, and smiled upon seeing her flinch. “I never thought you’d actually go all the way for mother. The moment your body count has put even the most prolific serial killers to shame I thought for sure you would have stopped, but--”

    She pushed the girl harder against the wall, hissing. “Are you having fun doing this? Seeing me like this? Forcing mother into… into that kind of situation, before forcing me to kill people? Are you?!”

    “To be completely honest? Yes.”

    All mirth and smile is now gone from The Mind, and the suddenness was so off-putting that Fairchild lost her balance for a moment; not a second later, she found herself crashing against the opposite wall, and her mirror image looking down on her with a look of disgust.

    “You’re a terrible girl, Fairchild, and I think you know that, deep down.” The girl said calmly, though she could detect an underlying hint of anger. “As I’ve said before, I am a representation of your mind; in other words, I am you. And all the things I’ve done, all the things you’ve seen… are all the product of your own thoughts and mind.”

    “... Lies.”

    “Oh, you failed the test by the way.” The Mind continued, ignoring her. “You did pretty well on the first two, but you botched the third one midway through. And here I thought you’d at least perform well on all fonts, but I suppose I should have known you would have messed up somewhere along the way.”

    The Mind showed her notepad, and she saw the score of 30, 30 and 15 for the first, second and third test respectively, for a total of 75. She supposed curiosity got the better of her - or perhaps her pride as Mary’s daughter - as she swallowed and asked. “What… what’s the passing score?”

    The Mind smiled at her question. “You don’t know?”

    “Of course I don’t.”

    “Hm. A hundred.”

    Silence. She must have misheard. “What?”

    “A hundred.” The Mind repeated. “One-oh-oh. The perfect score. That’s the passing grade. Anything less, and you’re not worthy.”

    “Wha- that doesn’t even make sense! What kind of passing grade is one hundred?!”

    “The kind of passing grade needed to become the daughter of a perfect woman.” The Mind replied in a matter-of-fact manner. “Why are you so surprised? You loved, admired, and revered her. You saw her as being perfect. Obviously, any daughter of hers should be cut from the same cloth as Mary; in other words, being perfect herself.” Before she could say anything, The Mind interrupted her. “By the way, even if you score a perfect score on all three tests, you’d still fail, because doing so would net you a total score of ninety-nine. So you don’t need to feel down on failing, because the result is unchanged anyway.”

    Now, she just stared at her mirror image blankly, because she doesn’t even know what to think anymore. “Then… Then what was the point of doing the tests…?”

    “To hammer it down to you that you don’t deserve to be Mary’s daughter. Heck, that you don’t deserve her at all.” The Mind spat. “That even if you made the perfect choices along the way and behaved to the best of your abilities, it won’t be enough. Because in the end, no matter how you dressed yourself up, one part of yourself would remain that of a filthy, disgusting creature who is only concerned with herself and seeks to monopolize the light. A twisted girl with an equally twisted desire.”

    Hate.

    The Mind’s words were filled with so much hatred and disgust that it shook her to her very core; a part of her wanted to deny it, wanted to say that it’s not true and that The Mind is mistaken, but another part of her accepted it. Accepted the judgment that her own Mind laid to her, because on some level, she had known all along that The Mind was correct. She merely wanted someone else to say it to her face, to confirm her opinion on herself, because Mother, Illia, Sariel, or even Alyx would deny that she’s an utter garbage of a person who is beyond redemption.

    Still…

    As tears streamed down her face, Fairchild thought that hearing someone said that so clearly still hurts so much.

    Even though she knew. Even though she wanted this, the ache in her heart was painful beyond compare. So what could she do other than to cry and sob, clutching her chest and lamenting her useless existence?

    And as she cried and wailed, a primal sound of pain and heartbreak echoing throughout the hallway of her mind, The Mind who delivered the verdict disappeared into a newly-appeared door, and with her departure, the three test doors - along with the one she had just went into - disappeared from view, leaving the crying girl all alone.

    -----------------------------------
    Fairchild’s Mind
    Dive to the Heart
    Garden of Distorted Thoughts


    The sound of Fairchild’s cries and wails lingers in her memory as she stepped back into her own personal room.

    Unlike Fairchild’s room, which resembles her own quarters in reality, The Mind’s room is more abstract and ever-changing. Perhaps rather than a room it is more accurate to describe it as a space of sorts, a space where all of Fairchild’s thoughts and memory resides, but even within that space there is another, smaller room, tucked away in the deepest corner of the heart.

    The Mind didn’t know when exactly that room appeared, but she found herself spending more and more time in it as time goes on, and this time is no different. Taking a deep breath and steeling herself, The Mind opened the door and stepped into the room she had dubbed The Garden.

    Specifically, The Garden of Distorted Thoughts. A place located so deep within her subconscious that she doubted the girl herself realized it.

    It was a dark space, filled with a coalescence of colors that hurts to look at. Most of it was nonsense and gibberish that even she couldn’t decipher, and every few seconds a new color is added to the canvas of madness while another color is wiped clean, creating a swirling mass of things that is not worth looking into.

    But every now and then, there is coherent thought and scenario to be found - the ‘fruit’ of the Garden, so to speak, and there were three fruits thus far. Still, whenever she entered this room she’d inevitably hope that no new fruit had ripened, and in the process seeing all three of the old fruits all over again.

    In one, she saw and heard the cries of Mary, cradling a dying Fairchild as she begged her not to leave her; a fruit born from the desire to see Mary’s reaction if she were to die in front of her, to be savored when she dreamt of concern and wished for an absolute declaration of care and love that’s beyond the usual hugs and words of affection. In another, she saw and heard Mary’s pleading voice asking why, confused and not understanding why Fairchild is attacking her with a sword and drawing blood but not defending herself, only trying her best to dodge; a fruit to be savored when she dreamt of pain and wished for absolute proof of trust and care that Mary wouldn’t attack her even as she is threatened to be killed, that she would never raise a hand against her daughter. And in the last, she saw and heard Mary kneeling on the ground, clasping her ears with her hands as she tried to block out all the insults and hurtful words of failure that Fairchild is screaming at her, eyes widened in shock as tears pooled around her eyes and she apologized over and over; a fruit to be savored when she dreamt of imperfection and wished for her mother to be less than perfect, to see proofs and signs that her mother isn’t as flawless and impeccable as she always seems to be.

    All three fruits show just how rotten the girl known as Cosmos Fairchild truly is. What kind of girl dreamt and thought of these thoughts? What kind of daughter wished to see such a kind and loving mother to be in pain, to see her own daughter dying, to be insulted and mocked for all her efforts? What kind of a wretch could even think of such a thing when her life is practically perfect compared to so many other people?

    It disgusts her. It angers her.

    And yet--

    “We were lucky, Fairchild. Mother had found us, adopted us, taught us, and loved us.” She whispered to herself. “We didn’t lack a single thing. We had a practical Saint as our mother. We were lucky.”

    A sob escaped her lips as she looked at the canvas of madness, the swirling thoughts and dark desires left unspoken.

    “So when did everything go wrong?”
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


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    Topic: The Singing Bard (3rd Album Edition)
    In: Boards > Tamers Discussion >Round Table > Knights
    RoseThorns
    (Original poster) (Moderator)
    Posted on Sept 25th 2026:
    This is the 3rd thread to discuss a Knight of the Round Table, Raz Stone. Feel free to discuss the latest news, events, images and videos here. You can see the second thread here and the first thread here.

    Reminder that any fanfiction or other similar works should go to the Creative Writing forum, while ANY stories or anecdotes on Raz’s sexual life should go to its own thread here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


    (Showing page 65 of 100)
    >XxSword_MasterxX

    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    So, uh guys, I just heard that Raz apparently died… This isn’t true, right?

    >Eisenritter
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Is that supposed to be some kind of a new hoax or a joke?

    >2Fast4ThisWorld
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Pics or it didn’t happen

    >Silkwood Forest (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    There seems to be a commotion near the Round Table base, and I think I saw an ambulance and a body bag too. I think we shouldn’t dismiss it, but let’s hope that it isn’t true.

    >Lun4t1que
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Oh shit guys, I think this is actually true, just saw a pic floating around.
    EDIT: Here’s the pic, warning that it’s NSFL

    >2Fast4ThisWorld
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Again, pics or it didn’t happen, how many times should I say this.
    EDIT: FUCK ME

    >XxSword_MasterxX
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    >The_Sword_inthe_Stone
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Oh my God

    >Musee
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    I regret clicking that link, why, who could even do something that cruel...

    >Moon0ver (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Guys, calm down. It’s just a single pic, it could totally be faked, and there’s no official word from the Round Table either. Wait for the official news before panicking will you?

    End of Page. First, 55, 60,63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70, 75Last


    (Showing page 66 of 101)
    >FlowerFairy

    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Oh… Oh no… I was looking forward to his next concert too…

    >PraiseTheSun (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    I’m with Moon0ver here, y’all should take a chill pill and calm down. We all love to meme and make fun of Raz, but the guy’s still a Knight. He won’t just go down, or DIE, just like that.

    >Ayra_NumberOne_Fan
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    I’m just gonna say that the image is not edited. I’ve seen many photoshopped and edited images, and that pic is not one of them, as sad as it is. Also, this link have more images, though obviously NSFL.

    >JOKER_JESTER
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    [This post is deleted by a moderator for infringing on rule no. 1]
    [User was banned for this post]

    >ShiningJustice
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Uh, dude, are you sure you’re supposed to post that? Sharing an insider info when the crisis is still going on breaks rule no. 1 of the site.
    EDIT: That banhammer came so fast holy shit

    >Moon0ver (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Just shows that you should never fuck with rule no. 1. The mods will literally come at you faster than you can say “shit.”

    >XxSword_MasterxX
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Damn, I missed the post before it was deleted. What did it say?
    [User received an infraction for this post]

    >Lun4t1que
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Ignoring Sword_Master’s stupidity aside, who do you guys suppose did the deed? I heard that it happened in Avalon, so the culprit somehow manages to sneak in and killed a Knight in their home base. Which is just nuts.

    >2Fast4ThisWorld
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    Fuck if I know, I just hope that they can catch the guy real quick. Who knows what the guy can do to the other Knights or organization if left alone.

    >FlowerFairy
    Replied on Nov 11th 2026:
    I’m scared… What if they could kill a faction head in their base? If they could kill a Knight, then… Oh no…

    End of Page. First, 56, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 76Last

    --------------------------------------------------

    Topic: Underrated Tamers
    In: Boards > Tamers Discussion
    Wanderer
    (Original poster)
    Posted on Feb 22th, 2026:
    So there are plenty of discussions on famous tamers like the Aces or the Knights, but how about the lesser known tamers? Do you guys have any favorites that you think don’t get enough credit? Maybe you found a hidden gem and wanted to share? Unfortunately I myself don’t really know anyone, so I’d be looking forward to hearing you guys' responses!


    (Showing page 33 of 44)
    >Gracias_Bueno
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Okay, so I’ve been looking at the Rose Cross tamers that are stationed in the Vatican and I found someone really interesting. Apparently Mary has a daughter, and she’s a Tamer. Here’s the link to her basic profile.

    Any of you guys know more about her? Alyx has been mentioned a few times in this thread, so I’m surprised nobody has ever brought her up.

    >HeavenlyBlue
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Oh my God she’s so tiny! Totes huggable material there!

    >Lifelle (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    ...Huh. You learn something new everyday, I guess. She’s Mary’s daughter, so she should be good right? Maybe the girl follows her mother and just don’t get into fights or missions? That could explain why she’s an unknown.

    >Real Fiction (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    I think it’s simpler than that actually. You know how Alyx is a bodyguard for Mary? You’d think with this revelation that she has a daughter that role would fall to this Cosmos, but fact is that role falls to Alyx. So I’ll just say that Cosmos isn’t actually that good or powerful of a Tamer, which is why the position falls to someone more competent or powerful like Alyx. We never heard of her because she’s normal.

    >[email protected]
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Gonna say girl has some good fashion taste, the robe plus the hat makes for a really good image. Wonder why she’s not in more PR for Rose Cross, I bet it’d make for one hell of a successful campaign.

    >DearLutenis
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Agree with Real Fiction, just because you’re the daughter of the Pope doesn’t mean you get to be special.

    >Gracias_Bueno
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    C’mon guys, you don’t have to say it like that! Besides those are still speculation, I’m personally on Lifelle’s camp and think she just hasn’t gone out much. Having Mary as your mom would surely make her a pacifist.

    >Jerkass#1234
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    I know! What if she’s the polar opposite of Mary? The reason why we’ve never heard of her is because she’s a total embarrassment and would’ve totally ruined the Pope’s image if people knew!

    >[email protected]
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    @Jerkass I see you’re living up to your name, because that’s not funny.

    >Real Fiction (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Yeah no, I don’t think the apple fell far from the tree in this case. If she’s a trouble we’d have heard of her. The fact that we haven’t means she’s normal.

    End of Page. First, 23, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 43, 44


    (Showing page 34 of 44)
    >HeavenlyBlue

    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    I can’t believe you guys are bullying such an adorable girl! Just look at her! Who cares whether she’s strong or not, that’s not the face of someone bad!

    >Forbidden_Knowledge (Verified Rose Cross Tamer)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Alright, I shall try to clear up some things in regards to one Cosmos Fairchild. I do not personally know her, but I have seen her a few times around the base. She’s quiet and shy away from social interactions but never gets into trouble, always starts her patrol on time, and never missed a Sunday mass. And despite appearances, she’s Alyx’s sister/rival and often spars with her, so I believe she’s
    by no means weak or average. The reason why she’s not well-known is simply because the girl never left Vatican.

    >Lifelle (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Oh wow, thanks for the info Forbidden_Knowledge, she sounds like a really good girl. Good to know my guess wasn’t that far off, and her having a sisterly rivalry going on with Alyx makes sense. The contrast between the two is striking.

    >[email protected]
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Alright @Forbidden_Knowledge I have a very important question. Does she wear the hat all the time, wherever she goes?

    >Real Fiction (Veteran Member)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    I suppose I stand corrected, but then why does she never went out from Vatican unlike her sister? Is it really just out of shyness and being that much of an introvert?

    >Gracias_Bueno
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Ooooh, nice to know that my image of her isn’t wrong!

    @Real Fiction this is just my speculation, but maybe she’s the type that doesn’t want to screw up or disappoint her mother? I knew I’d be deathly afraid of attention too if The Pope is my mom. One screw up and people will link it back to Mary.

    >Forbidden_Knowledge (Verified Rose Cross Tamer)
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    @[email protected] I’ve never seen her without the hat, no. Actually I did once, but that’s Because Alyx stole it and put it on top of a tree, I think.

    >[email protected]
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Aww yes, she just went a few points up in my book. Also that incident sound hilarious, I think I’d pay to see some of those sisterly shenanigans.

    >XxSword_MasterxX
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    THE POPE HAS A DAUGHTER??? Who’s the lucky man who gets to be the Pope’s secret husband??!!

    >The_Sword_inthe_Stone
    Replied on Oct 4th 2026:
    Oh my God

    End of Page. First, 24, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 44

    --------------------------------------------------

    Topic: General COMP Discussion #5
    In: Boards > General Discussion > COMPs
    TheTrueName
    (Original poster) (Moderator)
    Posted on Sept 7th 2025:
    This is the thread to generally discuss about COMPs. If you want to get a COMP, click here. If you want to know the difference between civilian COMPs and Military-Grade COMP, click here. Otherwise, have fun discussing, standard rules apply.

    Previous Threads:
    1
    2
    3
    4



    (Showing page 850 of 1020)
    >TheTrueName
    (Original Poster) (Moderator)
    Posted on Jul 8th 2026
    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Derailing the thread until name-calling and giving people death threats are out of the line. Permanent ban to the responsible parties and temporary bans to everyone else who joins in instead of using the report button. Cool your head off people, and make sure this doesn't happen again.

    >Baby_DragonUwU (Veteran Member)
    Posted on Jul 8th 2026
    So… that happened.

    >YamunaFor3v4h(Veteran Member)
    Posted on Jul 8th 2026
    Let’s just move on and pretend the last ten pages or so never happened.

    >New Blood
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    Hello everyone, I’m kinda new on this forum, and I was debating whether to post this in the Get a COMP thread or here, but I think it’ll fit here more (Please just tell me if I post this in the wrong thread).

    So, I’m actually curious on the effects that a COMP could have on your mental health. I don’t have a COMP myself and I know that while it’s strange at first most people adapts just fine to having someone sharing a mindspace; I also know that most people have their COMPs become their best friends or partner, which is great. But are there actually cases where having a COMP would be bad for you? Not trying to start anything here just to be clear, I’m really just curious, but if it’s too sensitive of a topic then tell me and I’ll delete this post.

    >Hermit
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    Welcome to the Board! I don’t think your question is bad or anything, so you don’t need to be scared, but as someone who’s had a COMP for a few years now… honestly it’s been kinda great. I’m an introvert that gets social anxiety easily, so having a COMP who understands me and is always in my head is a blessing. Personally I can’t think of any demerits or negative effects to having a COMP, but then again that’s just me. I’ll just wait for others to chime in on the negative aspect thing.

    >StarGazer (Veteran Member)
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    Welcome New Blood! Don’t worry, despite the stereotypes most of us don’t actually think of COMPs as perfect with no flaws or faults, it’s just that we get riled up with misconceptions about COMPs that’s just not true at all. Because you’re already familiar with the advantages of COMPs (And Hermit has just answered that part too). I’ll try my best to explain how a COMP can be bad for you.

    The first is that because COMPs are based on your memories and experience, they can actually be bad for people with massive traumas or people who’s suffering from depression. Getting a COMP when your head is in a bad place is a surefire way to get either a COMP who’ll remind you of the worst times in your life, or an enabler who doubles down on all the bad things you’re thinking about yourself. And sharing a mind-space with someone like that isn’t good.

    Secondly, COMPs are also people, and they can disagree with you. They might act in your best interest, but your definition and their definition might be different. Now, most people can handle a difference in opinion - in fact having those are good - but be aware that they can disagree with you on some important decision in your life, or do things that they perceive to be ultimately good for you even if you disagree. If you can’t handle those and work it out in a healthy manner, then a COMP might not be for you.

    Lastly is the issue of attachment. If you’ve lost a loved one recently and then gets a COMP, chance are that COMP would take a form similar to that loved one, and this is a BAD THING. The COMP might take a similar form with a similar personality, but remember that more often than not they’d grow up to be different from their base. When this happens to someone who sees their COMP as a replacement, then the result won’t be pretty.

    >Western_Samurai (Verified Squire)
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    StarGazer’s last point is true. I know someone who got a COMP after her sister ran away from home, and it’s a sad thing to watch. She’ll constantly refers to her COMP as her sister, and while it helps her cope, I don’t really think it’s healthy.

    >1stof12 (Verified Rose Cross Tamer)
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    I’ve personally experienced the first, and while I won’t go into details, it was horrible. Thankfully with the support of a kind Father and my daughter I managed to get through it and have amicable relationship with my COMP, but yes, if you’re in a bad state of mind then it’s better to not get a COMP until you’re in a better place.

    >Cherry Blossom (Verified Rothschild Tamer)
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    While I mostly agree with 1stof12, I’d like to say that getting a COMP when you’re depressed can actually helps you, provided that you have a good memory to draw from. I’ve been in a bad place for a while and just a few hours before getting my COMP someone showed me kindness. That left an impact on me, so when I got my COMP she’s the sweetest girl you could possibly asked for, and massively helps me through with life.

    >[email protected]
    Posted on Jul 9th 2026
    COMP can be bad for you if you put them in an artificial body and made them your wife/husband/partner, because they’ll probably agree and thus you no longer need to find a girl/boy in real life.

    End of Page. First, 840, 845, 848, 849, 850, 851, 852, 855, 860Last

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Private message from All-Seeing_Eye (Verified SDCD Tamer) at 10:22 PM:
    All-Seeing_Eye: So StarGazer my good friend, I have something interesting for you
    All-Seeing_Eye: Amala.net
    StarGazer: I swear to God if that website is another one of your pranks then I WILL end you, even if you’re a Tamer
    All-Seeing_Eye: Hahaha, I’m flattered you think so highly of my prank, but no worries it’s not one this time.
    StarGazer: Alright, I’ll bite. What is it?
    All-Seeing_Eye: It’s a video website that only works from midnight to 1 AM.
    All-Seeing_Eye: Just try it out yourself later, you won’t regret it
    StarGazer: Kay then.

    Private message from All-Seeing_Eye (Verified SDCD Tamer) at 11:55 PM:
    All-Seeing_Eye: Just a reminder that it’ll be online soon!
    StarGazer: Okay, okay. Someone’s sure excited…

    Private message to All-Seeing_Eye (Verified SDCD Tamer) at 12:00 PM:
    StarGazer: Okay, there are a few options it seems. Which one do you recommend?
    All-Seeing_Eye: Whichever you like! All of them are mostly action-based, but the setting and genre are all different. You can try to see all of them and decide yourself.
    StarGazer: Kay, noted

    Private message from All-Seeing_Eye (Verified SDCD Tamer) at 01:01 AM:
    All-Seeing_Eye: So! What do you think?
    StarGazer: It was… good
    StarGazer: Action’s great and the realism of [Ruin] is something else
    All-Seeing_Eye: Good to hear! Which is your favorite?
    StarGazer: It’s [Lunar] for me
    All-Seeing_Eye: Aha, bunny-ears people is to your liking hm? *wiggle eyes*
    StarGazer: Nonono, that’s not the main reason
    StarGazer: The main character is a knocker though. Really pretty and beautiful, not to mention strong too.
    All-Seeing_Eye: Kagura is great yes. If she’s real I would’ve fallen in love for sure.
    Stargazer: So what do you think these video’s supposed to be?
    All-Seeing_Eye: Honestly I think it’s a new show, like Phoenix Rangers
    StarGazer: Why would they only air it from midnight to 1AM if it’s a show though
    StarGazer: Not to mention I haven’t seen any ads for it, and it airs in an obscure website
    StarGazer: And the budget for this must’ve been enormous, it looks so good and real
    All-Seeing_Eye: Who knows really
    All-Seeing_Eye: This is the magic age, maybe the demons produced it for fun and makes it kind of an easter egg thing
    All-Seeing_Eye: Not complaining tho, feels like in an exclusive club you know? The mainstream audience don’t know after all!
    StarGazer: I guess, yeah
    StarGazer: Thanks for sharing it with me
    All-Seeing_Eye: Anything for my dear friend!
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  4. #964
    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Logan faces a horde of golems, staff flashing through the night and dust scattering with each golem shattered. A series of strikes knocks him off balance before a heavy blow smashes him to the ground. He looks up at the stars as they fall apart, revealing the ceiling of the simulator.

    “I used to lie awake at night. Thinking about all of the people I left behind.”

    A brief flashback of golden bands of light wrapping around Logan, blocking the valiant and tired figure of Sarah from view.

    His outstretched arm, reaching toward the sky, falls to the ground. He grits his teeth.

    “I can’t ever catch up to them. But I have to try.”

    The scene changes to a rainy night. A redheaded man lies motionless in a puddle with an Aura Blade lodged in his back. A hooded figure approaches the corpse and wrenches the blade out, dismissing it into red particles that scatter in the rain. The image freezes and pans to reveal that it’s a paused recording emanating from a glowing table. Around it stand Adala and Logan.

    “An affiliate of ours sent us this footage yesterday. The man on the ground is Dawn Turnpike, a former Tamer of ours.”

    “You want me to find his killer?”

    She frowns. “No, she’s already been sealed - three years ago, when he originally died. I want you to figure out why a dead man was walking.”

    “Understood. I’ll prepare to leave immediately. Where am I headed?”

    A smile. “You ever been to Hollywood, Starbright?”

    The camera pans over the iconic Hollywood sign and various magitech attractions before refocusing on Logan as he steps out of a limousine and walks toward the doors of a lavish movie studio.

    “A dead guy at a movie studio, huh. Are we sure that wasn’t just an actor?” says Amelia.

    “There’s no way I’d be sent here just for that. I’ll talk to the owner about the situation; he said he’d greet me at the do-”

    Much to his shock, Eliza Cross greets him in a maid outfit. While he struggles to compose himself, a tall well-built blond man walks down the central steps of the expansive lobby, laughing. A black and gold nekomata lies curled around his neck.

    “Logan, my boy! You’re a difficult man to get a hold of!”

    “Uncle Ethan? What’s going on here?”

    Ethan laughs as he approaches them before poking Eliza’s cheek, which opens to reveal glowing circuitry. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a robot before!”

    Logan shakes his outstretched hand. “You caught me by surprise is all. But how did you get the rights to do this?”

    “I didn’t!” Another boisterous laugh. “But Mikazuki’s got another thing coming if she thinks she can beat my Demon lawyers! Enough talk, let me show you around!”

    Ethan leads Logan on a tour of the facilities, showcasing various movie sets and props as well as a massive hall of lifelike robots of superheroes, celebrities, and Spirit Tamers.

    “For the projects where I can’t get the real thing, I use these Starbots! No Plumes of Dusk or whatnot, but plenty of oomph for stunts and processing power for following scripts. No spirit signatures either, but they certainly look the part, don’t they?”

    “Y-Yeah,” says Logan, looking at a robotic version of the Pope. “Actually, I have a question for you. Did you ever-”

    “Make a Starbot for Dawn Turnpike?” Ethan frowns as they approach an empty display. “If we’re talking business, let’s get down to business then. We’ve been dealing with a vandal and a thief lately.” He guides Logan down a passageway, various doors opening as they walk down it before entering an elevator. “They’ve been attacking the studios for the last couple of weeks and making a mess of my Starbot security guards, even stealing a few for their own nefarious ends. They’re not strong enough to get what they’re really looking for, but they’re too strong to be caught.”

    “And you didn’t contact any Tamers about this? Why not?”

    The two men arrive at a massive vault door. Ethan extends his right hand and the nekomata jumps off his shoulders to form a black metallic glove around it - his COMP. The glove glows as he rests it against the door, and after a succession of beeps and flashing green lights, the door opens with several loud metallic thunks.

    “Because of what they’re aiming for. This.”

    An incredible supercomputer stands before the two, spirit power and electricity pulsing through circuits running through the machine, floors, and walls. A mechanical pod reminiscent of a scorpion sits in a corner.

    “I call it the Antares System.”

    The scene changes to Logan inside of a simulation identical to the one at the beginning of the trailer. As Logan demolishes the enemies he once failed against, Ethan speaks. “I use it for all of my stunts! It drastically enhances the abilities of anything it’s hooked to, device or Spirit Tamer! Hell, you could probably use more than one COMP at a time assuming they let you, the tetchy little gizmos.”

    A flash of Ziodyne from Amelia transitions to a bolt of lightning in a vicious storm as Logan pursues a caped figure. He outspeeds the rain with Phantasm Step, engaging his opponent in a flurry of gold and red flashes as Amelia collides with an Aura Blade. They narrowly dodge a swipe to the head, sending their hood fluttering down to reveal a familiar, yet youthful blonde.

    “Nice to meet you… Onii-chan.”

    “Sa...rah…?”

    “It’s Jessica, you siscon. And I’ll be bringing you back down to earth.”

    The ground erupts beneath him, knocking Logan off his feet. Jessica appears behind him to strike and he spins to block before being nailed in the back by a powerful punch. As he staggers, she spins around him to land impact after impact. He spits out blood before leaping back and charging forward, Amelia crackling with mystic lightning, and Jessica blocks his all-out attack with a single hand and a feral grin before grabbing Amelia and swinging Logan into the pavement with it. Logan rises shakily, and as his vision flickers and Eye of the Fates falls apart, Jessica transforms back and forth into Sarah as her position wavers.

    He closes his eyes and opens them again. Amelia stands before a younger Logan in a dusty gray-scale child’s room.

    “Why did you leave me behind?”

    Logan runs into the main exhibition hall of the studio, now filled with Starbots with ominously glowing eyes. He destroys machine after machine, dodging and flinging spells with incredible agility as he repels famed sword techniques and bursts through black fire with shining armor before spinning around Amelia like an unfurling flag to kick clean through a robotic Raz Stone’s head.

    “I will definitely save you.”

    Logan and Jessica fight in a rocky canyon, ricocheting off mesas and buttes as storms of stone streak through the sky, homing in on Logan. Blasts of spirit power and wind rip through the air as the two clash again and again, Jessica’s yells punctuating the clangs of staff and sword.

    “You ran away! Like you ran away from Sarah and everything else!”

    A battered Logan aglow with spirit power reaches out to a massive swirling vortex of energy like a galaxy swirling with potential.

    “Swirl of Samsara - Swingby Slingshot!”

    Logan pulls a white glove over his left hand before clenching it.

    “Please work with me one last time, Polaris!”

    SPIRIT PULSE: THE WAYWARD POLARIS

    COMING SOON TO THEATERS NEAR YOU

    “Look, I’m just saying that now that we know that clones are on the table that Ludwig’s very suspicious.”

    “Ludwig is not a clone of me. We’re different in lots of ways.”

    “I dunno, you’ve both got the white hair, the stoic demeanor…”

    “He’s older than me. And Almighty.”

    “...the zombie endurance, the counter-type Myth Manifests, the thing with the sisters…”

    “I will buy a car and use you as an axle.”

    RAVE REVIEWS
    “The Dark Souls of anime movies.”
    -Johnathan Seethe, Vtuber
    “My favorite part was when Logan saved his little sister from being mindbroken into his big sister by his uncle using the Antares System and Sarah’s old COMP.”
    -Break Daniels, child pageant judge
    “Endgame was better.”
    -Gehirn Red, Twitter personality
    “Surprising amount of pathos for a COMPshit flick.”
    -Ed M. Bishop, Admiral
    “I CANNOT HANDLE THE SCENE WHERE LOGAN’S ALL BRUISED AND BEATEN IN THE RAIN WITH HIS HAIR WET AND HIS COLLARBONE SHOWING AND…”
    -Homura Stan, receptionist
    “The must-see family movie of the year!”
    -Andrew Stewart, Capital Bulletin movie reviewer
    “There’s no way that Swirl of Samsara can do that, that makes no sense whatsoever. What, is Logan gonna jump into it and travel through time next?”
    -Border Colosseum, electrician
    “PINEAPPLE DOES NOT FUCKING GO ON PIZZA!!! ZERO STARS!!!!!”
    -Ganzey Riordan, food blogger
    “Maybe the real Polaris was the friends we made along the way.”
    -Cliff Park, Bionicle historian
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  5. #965
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Warning: The following is just my headcanon, and I don't actually know the personality and backstory for the characters involved. As such, please take it with a grain of salt, as it's likely to be debunked one way or another in the future. Essentially, you can think of this as a fanfic rather than something that really happened. See the reason why I write this at the end if you're curious!


    Fragments of a Memory
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    I love bathing.

    Or to be more precise, I love soaking myself in a tub or pool of hot water; something about it is rather calming and soothing, especially after a long day. It calms my nerves, soothes my muscles, and revitalizes my mind. I can spend a long time in a bath, just relaxing and unwind after a day of hard work.

    The best time to do so would be at night, preferably close to midnight. It would be peaceful, quiet, and serene, leaving me alone with my thoughts as I think back on the day and what I’ll have to do come morning. So normally, I’d have a quick bath in the morning and a long one at night; morning bath helps to wake me up, while midnight bath helps me to have a good night sleep. I’ll always be thankful that Sheol has its own bathhouse for that.

    --A splash of hot water interrupts my thoughts, striking me dead-on on the face.

    I blinked, broken out of my reverie, and saw a white-haired girl giggling not far from where I’m currently sitting in the pool.

    “You seem lost in thought, Cosmy. It’s fine when you’re bathing alone, but I’m here too! Let’s talk about something!”

    This girl is Honoka, the only person in Sheol whom I made an exception for in my midnight bathing session.

    With long white hair, a pair of ruby eyes that shines and sparkles like galaxies and a face and figure that rests somewhere between childhood and adulthood, Honoka is a really pretty girl. She’s cheerful, eternally curious, and brightens the mood whenever she goes, and everybody in Sheol loves her, including me. You’d think with how chipper she is I’d be annoyed, especially when I’m seeking peace and quiet in my midnight baths, but Honoka is more mature than she first seems; she always knows when to be chipper and when to be quiet, and she never fails to make me smile whenever she joins me. I like to think of her as my little sister, even if we’re not related by blood.

    “Sure, Honoka.” I answered with a small smile. “What do you want to talk about?”

    “Hmm…” She intoned, clearly thinking as she sways from side to side, until her face brightens up. It’s like looking at the sun rising from the horizon. “Oh! Have you started recording your thoughts and memories in the memory storage?”

    “... Ah.”

    Right. Memory storage. The diary the Doctor gave us a while back.

    “I haven’t.” I answered earnestly, feeling my mood souring. Honoka looked surprised at my answer.

    “You haven’t? You’re usually always on-time and even early when given assignments…”

    It’s given that Honoka would be surprised. As she said, I usually complete my tasks and assignments on-time, even early, and when the task is something as easy as this one it’s strange that I have yet to even begin working on it, even as the deadline gets closer. Perhaps noticing my mood, Honoka changes the subject.

    “Um, then how about the name?”

    I raised an eyebrow. “The name?”

    “You know, the name we wrote below the agreed message! Why did you put Preciel instead of Cosmos?”

    Or maybe not. Honoka can sometimes miss the cue that I don’t want to talk about certain things.

    But then again, the deadline is getting closer… I’d have to do it, sooner or later, and her curiosity is warranted…

    I took a deep breath, thankful for the calming effects of the hot water, and answered.

    “The only one who get to call me Cosmos are my family, here in Sheol. Other people only deserve to know me as Preciel, and not Cosmos.”

    She must have noticed the disdain in my voice, as despite the small smile on her face Honoka’s eyes are sporting a rare look: that of understanding, and sadness.

    “Even if those people are our future?” She asked softly, even though she must have known the answer.

    “Especially so.” I answered, anger and resentment barely hidden in my voice. “It’s why I haven’t recorded anything yet. It’s like admitting that we’ll lose the upcoming battle, and I don’t like the thought.”

    Honoka kept silent, listening as I ranted on.

    “The thought of forgetting you, Lord Zerah, and the others… it’s terrifying. The thought of not even remembering our own names and leading a completely new and different life… It’s like saying what we’ve done all this time is for naught! That we don’t even matter! The thought of helping someone who dares to forget everything disgust me!”

    That’s why I haven’t done what is asked of me. Even just looking at the memory storage is enough to make my chest feel tighter because of what it represents. It’s the back-up plan, the Doctor made it because our enemy would be so unbelievably strong that losing is a very real possibility, thus we’d need some way to inform those who live in the future of this threat, but…

    I’d rather die than to live as someone else, ignorant of everything we’ve done and accomplished. In my opinion, it’s a fate more terrifying and worse than death.

    So how could everyone else seemingly just accept it?

    “... Do you think we’ll succeed, Honoka?” I quietly asked after I calmed down. She gave a simple smile in return.

    “I don’t know. I’d give my all and do my best to win of course, but you know who we’re going to fight.” Honoka answered while playing with her hair; her nervous tick. “Our odds aren’t good, but that’s why the Doctor made the memory storages, right? ‘Hope for the best but prepare for the worst,’ as they say!”

    That’s the expected answer, really. Even Honoka couldn’t be so cheerful in the face of what we’re going against…

    But as if reading my thoughts, she keeps going. “But you don’t have to fear failure so much! Think of it like…” She paused, probably looking for the right words or analogy, before pressing on. “... Like starting a new game. Even if we initially forget one another, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t meet and form our bonds again, right? That means we can try again, maybe with more people!”

    “But we’re still going to forget everything.” I sourly replied. That doesn’t seem to deter Honoka at all though; in fact, she looks even more determined than before.

    “Or… Or, think of it like watching your favorite movie for the first time again! Sometimes you wish that you could experience something for the first time again, right? Think of it like that! You’d get to meet me, Lord Zerah, and everyone else for the first time again, so there’s nothing to fear!”

    Honestly there’s still a lot to be feared; Experiencing something for the first time again sounds good because you know the movie or game is great, and experiencing it for the first time again to discover that wonder and greatness is why it is a wishful thinking. But life doesn’t work like that, and if we lose our memories then that means we’ve lost; what’s so great about experiencing that for the first time again?

    But it’s impossible to stay gloomy and depressed all the time when you’re looking and listening to Honoka. She’s just so positive and cheerful and trying her best that you can’t help but to get carried by her positivity, at least a little bit. So I found myself smiling a little, even though in all honesty my feelings might not have changed that much.

    “... Hopefully we can be sisters again, then. I think I’d cut my hair short if you’re not with me, honestly.”

    Honoka balked at my comment, her eyes widening like saucers, and it’s adorable. “No way! You love your hair too much to do that!”

    “Yes, but it’d be a hassle to take care of without you around.” I easily replied, and it’s an honest answer. Taking care of my hair, which reaches my feet even after I tie it into twintails, would be a pain without someone to help me, and as much as I love my hair it really won’t be practical to keep it long without Honoka around. Not to mention the cost of shampoos and conditioners needed for that, future me probably won’t have the resources and amenities I’m enjoying right now. “So I’d really cut it short if it happens.”

    A smile bloomed on her face upon hearing that - she must be happy to hear I love her more than my hair - but she pouted not long after. Why must you be so precious, Honoka? “But, but I love your hair! It’s so long and silky!”

    “Then I guess we’d better win, hm?” I smiled. “Or barring that, make sure you’d be with me if we lose.”

    “Mrgrgr, consider me motivated! I don’t know what I’d do if I can’t help you take care of your hair!”

    We laughed, and I felt content. Happy. Fulfilled.

    How I wish these days could last forever…

    Honoka yawned, and I realized we’ve been in the bath for a while now. “Let’s get off. Don’t want to stay for too long that we faint.”

    “Yeah…” She nods, and we both get out of the bath and dry ourselves before getting dressed to sleep. Seeing her get dressed by herself reminds me of a time when I’d help her get dressed, Honoka being too sleepy and clumsy to do it herself. A fond, nostalgic memory that might soon be forgotten.

    “Cosmy?”

    I looked up, and found those ruby eyes looking at me with the vastness of galaxies. “Change can be scary - I’m scared of it too - but it’s not always bad. Sometimes I wonder if I’m strong enough, with everyone having to clear up my mess.”

    I wanted to speak, to reply, but I couldn’t. Not when she’s like this.

    “But you’ll be alright, I think.” She smiles. “You’re strong, Cosmy. If it’s you, you might even remember your name. So don’t worry too much, okay?”

    She gently hugged me then, and I hugged her back. Her warmth, her scent, I tried to commit all of them to my memory of this precious girl that I think of as my little sister. I don’t want to forget, to lose the bond we’ve forged…

    How could I not worry? How could I not be scared?

    Eventually Honoka released her hug, and I reluctantly did the same. She smiles, the same smile I’ve seen countless times before in this place, but at this moment it hit me that this might be the last time I’d see her smile like this, in the bath house.

    “Good night, Cosmy.” She said softly. “Don’t forget to record your thoughts and memories, okay?”

    I nodded, and watched silently as she turned and walked away, out through the door and out of my sight.

    Silently, I swore an oath to myself.

    I won’t lose.

    And I won’t ever forget.

    Reason
    So there are two reasons why I wrote this:

    1. I want to make an excuse on why everybody refers to Cosmos' past self as Preciel instead of Cosmos

    2. I just want Cosmos and Hyakka to have a scene together, and because it seems to be still far away to happen IC, I wrote this to fulfill the Hyakka-shaped hole in my heart
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  6. #966
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    The Pile

    Insert statement about all this being headcanon.


    ---------------------------

    "Phew... that's the last one for the day."

    The middle-aged man leaned back, stretching his arms over his head, feeling his bones popping into place as the tension slowly left his body. He rubbed his eyes, sore from squinting, exhaled, and finally nudged the edge of his desk with his foot, causing his ergonomic office chair to swivel 180 degrees, leaving him facing the other side of the small, cramped room. He peeked. And then grinned.

    "Guess I win again, eh, Suzuki? I'll take three sugars in my coffee, it's been a long day."

    Thud. The sound of a sudden impact. The other desk shook as Suzuki's head slammed into it. Grumbling, he straightened and pushed his own chair around.

    "You're cheating, Sawano," the man said. "Giving me all the tough ones."

    Where Sawano was short, pudgy, and balding, Suzuki was all muscle under his shirt, a face chiseled from rock squinting at his coworker with the suspicion of a detective who'd been through a hundred cases over his career. But Sawano didn't break a sweat (his forehead was already covered in a sheen of it, but that was from the over-tuned winter heater). He was too used to it by this point. Too used to finishing his job first, that is.

    "Tsk, tsk, tsk." Sawano chuckled. "Don't underestimate an office worker's experience. I've been doing this for forty years, y'know. Those streets of yours never taught you paperwork."

    "Taught me to avoid it." Suzuki's hands had trouble with keys sometimes. He still sometimes wondered if he should give up this job, ask for his position back, but... no, the younger generation had to take over. That was why they were here, after all. "Was a tough batch today," he mused, only half-using it as an excuse.

    "Oh, definitely. They're certainly not getting any easier!"

    Sawano and Suzuki were clerks. They were also administrators. But primarily, they were sorters. What did they sort? Applicants. Specifically...

    "It's getting bigger every damn week." Suzuki's eyes drifted to the neatly separated boxes taking up nearly half the desk. The piles of paper into which people were sorted.

    "Kids can't stay away from it, huh. Everyone wants to be a Tamer these days."

    Their job was to sort applicants to join the SDCD.

    Each week they got a pile of applications. Papers (electronic only was the standard, but they were old-fashioned) with names and details and hopes and dreams on them. They attended interviews, pored over test results, sometimes sent messages asking for clarification, and on rare occasions called applicants directly. Then they decided which pile to put an application into. They were not recruiters, nor did they administer any tests or teach anything. In fact, most of the time they never interacted with applicants at all. They just sorted.

    The largest pile, was the Proceed to Education pile. It was the for those regular folk who had applied, passed all the aptitude tests, which had a deliberately low bar, and had enough knowledge to proceed to courses on more advanced magical theory. It was mostly kids, teenagers with dreams in their hearts who'd watched enough television and been read enough bedtime stories to want to become heroes. It was common these days for kids to take some courses in middle school and be ready by high school. Those kids would go on to the academy, where they'd be put through the rest of their education, all the while...

    "...it's too big," Suzuki grumbled. He never liked looking at that pile.

    Sawano offered him a pat on the back. The two were friends, not just coworkers. Sawano knew a bit about what the other man had gone through. He'd been an officer way back. When the world wasn't nearly as colourful. They both remembered those days quite well. "Most of them will drop out. Or go into engineering or research or a hundred other fields. Normal jobs."

    "Mm. And some of those kids won't. They'll get sent out in a few months. Some still young enough to be bringing along bento their moms made for 'em."

    Policy was policy. Even if Suzuki disagreed with it, the ex-cop had to follow it. And the SDCD's policy, as with most other Tamer organizations, was to accept applicants as young as their early teens. He sometimes wondered if the world governments had been paid off to let this happen, or if common sense had just changed along with everything else. The world felt strange sometimes. Like he didn't belong in it. In the old world, officers were adults. They needed months, years of training, academia, discipline, before they were even allowed to touch a gun. Admission requirements to police academies were strict, often requiring prior degrees to ensure intelligence and problem-solving. There were strict physical requirements as well, and those who didn't cut it, didn't cut it. There would be only two piles in that world: Pass and Fail. And yet, here, in this world...

    Suzuki's eyes scanned over the half-dozen piles of applications. Refer to Engineering, one said, for applicants who preferred a background role rather than being a proper Tamer. Call guardians was for those so young they needed parental permission to enroll. Supplemental courses was for those many, many people who wandered in with little to no knowledge of magical theory. Instead of being rejected, they would instead be enrolled in preparatory courses, all on the SDCD's dime, and told to apply again in a few months. The Reject pile was tiny. That, too, was policy. Only those with severe personality defects or crippling issues that could not be remedied were ever rejected.

    But worst of all was the last pile. It was the second-largest. The fastest growing as well. It had a proper name, but Suzuki had printed out a sticker and covered it up with his own designation: Charity Cases. A pile for the below average. Those aggressively mediocre people, young and old alike, who walked through the door and made it clear as day that they had nothing to offer the SDCD; it the SDCD's job to help them. Drug addicts. Underachievers. High school dropouts. Homeless persons. People with no practical skills. And worse: those who were lazy or slow to learn. The ones who lacked the fire. Irresponsible idiots. Desperate nobodies with nothing to show for their wasted lives, unable to find or hold a single normal job. In short, the dregs of society. Some of them were filtered into the Reject pile. But not nearly enough.

    What would happen to those in that pile? Well, they would be given whatever they needed to move them into any of the other piles. Because it was policy. If an applicant didn't have a chance, you had to give them one. In many cases that meant many chances in a row.

    "They're gonna run out of money at this rate," Suzuki growled, staring at the pile as if he could shred it with his eyes. "Or some idiot's gonna end up dead in a ditch and public perception of Tamer's gonna turn on a dime."

    "H-hey now, that's the fatigue talking." Sawano knew very well what his friend meant, but could do little to answer it. Deep down, he agreed. "How about we forget the contest? I'll buy coffee. Hell, we can do dinner too. There's a nice place down the street in LOVELESS that just opened-."

    "Look at this one." Suzuki showed off an application. The one he'd been stuck on, his last for the day. On the front was a skinny, stone-faced girl wearing thick-rimmed glasses. Her eyes hadn't been able to look at the camera as her photo was taken. "A full-blown NEET. Waltzes out of her parents' house asking for a job, but she's got nothing. No education past high school, nothing on her record, no COMP, no part-time job except being a bakery attendant, and to top it off the transcript of her interview looks like someone fell asleep on the keyboard and shat out a bunch of periods. And management says we're supposed to take her."

    The other man peered at the application and winced.

    "It's not as bad as some of the others." By the others, he meant the others in the Charity Case pile. "She'll probably drop out anyway."

    "Yeah, after a few months of pissing away our money taking classes. Money that could've gone to establishing better patrol routes. Or upping the build quality on those COMPs they're handing out like free samples at a grocery store." Suzuki was incensed. He did not like his job. He knew that was why he was the best for it, but it didn't make things any easier. It had been a long day. A long week. Too long. The world was strange. It was like the days and weeks were beginning to blur together. Maybe he needed a vacation. But he hadn't taken one. No one to take it with anymore. "Do you know what happens, Sawano, when an organization like this one starts accepting anyone and everyone who walks through their doors with a sob story? I'll tell you what happens."

    "Here we go again..."

    Suzuki held up a finger. "One. The SDCD runs out of money. More and more people are showing up every week. It's common knowledge now that they'll put you through classes, no questions asked. They'll feed you. Give you dorms. A free COMP. All you gotta do is pretend to not be crazy. Tell them you just want a chance. Eventually they'll be spending more giving all these bozos a chance than they make keeping the streets safe. And then they'll run out of resources, and the whole organization will collapse under its own weight. Because it forgot it's not supposed to be a homeless shelter."

    He held up one more. "Two. Tamers botch jobs. Comparisons get made. The populace starts noticing, and thinking, and wondering: Hey, why do Japan's Tamers suck? Where did they pick 'em out of, a trash can? Sure the Roths are all weirdo workaholics, and the Rose Cross a bit too religious, and those Knights like their knights and armor way too much, but they all get the job done. They have standards. But us? We have quotas. We should be sending out the best of the best, but we're not. We're giving everyone a chance. Even the ones that aren't ready for the job and never will be. Like her. Can't even answer some simple interview questions without risking a nervous breakdown. And she's supposed to fight demons? What's she gonna do when she fucks up, blame it on social anxiety? What are the SDCD gonna do when the press asks why they'd put people's lives in the hands of someone like that? What'll they do when no one believes in them anymore because they don't know the meaning of quality control?"

    Sawano sighed. There was no stopping him when he got like this.

    "And three!" Suzuki held up one last finger, about to make his last, best point... before seeing the expression on Sawano's face. And his own, mirrored in the man's glasses. "...sorry. It's been a long day."

    They knew what the third point was: "We start sending out kids to their deaths."

    "It has, yeah." Sawano nodded, his smile worn thin. "Let's get out of here. Forget the coffee. I'm feeling like a beer or two. Maybe some ramen."

    "Yeah... that sounds good right now. But I can't. Gotta sort this last one."

    The pudgy man wheeled his chair over. The bespectacled girl really was the last application. Suzuki had almost beaten him this time. He was getting faster. Not quite fast enough though. "Seems like an open and shut charity case," he said. "Below average physical performance, absolutely no stamina to speak of, can't even lift weights without Harmonizer help. Never used a COMP in her life and when we gave her a fresh one it couldn't even hold onto a stable image, kept flicking between two forms. Plus she bombed the interview. Send her to remedial and see her in six months if she hasn't quit by then."

    "Top marks in theory." Suzuki stared at the downcast girl's picture with a pained expression. His own daughter would be about her age now.

    "To the labs then. Must've done some learning on her own time. Perfect for research or engineering. See, not too bad, right?" Sawano clapped Suzuki on the back. "Nice cushy lab job far from the front lines. Is that what got you all worked up?"

    "She specifically noted in her application that she wanted to be a Tamer, not a researcher or a smith. Front lines only."

    Sawano scratched at his balding head. There were always weird ones like that. "Geek like that, I would've figured the opposite. So it's fixing the application then. What's the hold-up?"

    "She left us a note."

    Sawano blinked. "Eh? You mean for the testers?"

    "No," Suzuki said. "For us."

    He flipped the page. There, wedged into the application at the very end, on the page only they ever bothered to flip to for the purposes of reviewing demographic information, was a small yellow sticky note with a message scrawled onto it in pencil.

    Good afternoon or good evening, Suzuki-san, Sawano-san.
    Thank you for all the work you do. The number of people applying to join this branch has increased exponentially over the past year, but its quarterly report indicates it has not hired any additional Assortment Administrators. The SDCD surely places a great deal of importance on your judgments of where candidates ought to be assigned. As do I.
    You've likely had a long day, so I will be brief: please do not send me to supplemental courses or application support. As a matter of policy, if sent there, I will instead reject myself. My application will have holes in it. I expect to perform poorly in the upcoming physical examination and aptitude interview. However, I believe that I will be able to do a good job regardless. If at any point that belief wavers, I will immediately excuse myself from the organization. I have a reason to hurry; the longer I take, the less people I will be able to help.
    Also, there is a security vulnerability in your web server. It may have been caused by a stray fairy's meddling. Please have your IT department double-check that only internal connections are able to access the employee list; I should not have been able to do so.
    Thank you again, and regards,
    Mokujima Chris


    Sawano rubbed his eyes. Blinked. Rubbed them again. He turned to Suzuki.

    "That vulnerability real?"

    "Just checked. It is. Already sent off a notice to the tech guys."

    "Well I'll be. You don't see that every day." He nodded to himself, clearly impressed. "But a note's just a note. I still say charity case. You don't get to just ask where to go; this isn't Harry Potter."

    "Sawano, she said she wouldn't go."

    He shrugged. "So?"

    "So," Suzuki said, face aghast. "We can't put her there. Because it's a matter of policy. They don't want us letting go of candidates we could've held onto."

    "Don't be ridiculous, Suzuki. We've had plenty of people quit day one after they realized they didn't get to go right to the fun stuff." Sawano was certain of it. You didn't get to be an officer worker for over forty years without figuring out some tricks. "Mokujima thinks she's smart, but she messed up. We can put whoever we want wherever we want so long as we can justify it. And there's plenty of justification for charity case here. If we wanted to be mean we could even reject her for illegal access of the servers. We're the policy."

    "...yeah, we are. So, Mr. Policy. Are you gonna let go of her? As a representative of the SDCD?"

    Sawano stared at the application. It took him a few seconds to realize, and when he did he wanted to laugh.

    "The kids get zanier every year, don't they?"

    "Every week." Suzuki snorted. "She's got gumption, even if the rest is typical hot air from a kid that thinks she's the center of the universe. Would be a shame to toss out a candidate like that. Especially when we're letting in everyone else. What do you say?"

    "I say..." Sawano paused. Pondered. Reached a conclusion. "I say these piles were a horrible idea. Put her where she wants. And then put a beer in my hand."

    "You really need to start exercising." Suzuki said as he left the application atop the first pile. He stood, stretched, and started packing as the lights in the office winked off one by one, leaving only the bright lights of Aoyama to illuminate the room.

    "No, my friend," said the smiling officer worker. "She needs to start exercising. Because the next month is going to be simulator hell."

    The door shut behind them. Their long day was over, but the next would be even longer.

    And of course, the piles would grow taller as well.
    Last edited by Bloble; April 26th, 2021 at 08:06 AM.

  7. #967
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    That was so good I'll think of it as canon. Well done bloble!
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  8. #968
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Distorted Thoughts
    ------------------------------------------------

    The Mind is a strange place.


    After all, thoughts are much more “free” than actions. No one can judge someone for what they think, perhaps with the exception of a few mind-readers and the Almighty God.

    And sometimes, thoughts will take a darker turn.

    It is only normal. For example, if she saw someone littering on the street, she’d pick the trash up and put them correctly in the bin, while thinking why they would litter. Did their parents didn’t teach them? Are they just lazy? Or perhaps they’re deliberately doing it?

    A thought crossed her mind.

    They should be punished.

    But of course, those are simply that: thoughts. She didn’t act on them, and merely sighed before continuing on her way. Perhaps sometimes scolding the perpetrator, but all too often she’d be dismissed thanks to her petite stature, so somewhere along the way she stopped trying and just went on her way.

    And it’s not like those thoughts are exactly rare either.

    Each time she saw her sister doing something she finds disagreeable, for example, her thoughts would take a darker turn for a brief moment.

    Does she find this fun?

    Does she not care what people would think of her and Aunt Alisa?

    She should be punished for behaving like this--

    But of course, she doesn’t act on them. The worst that would happen is a biting comment or two, and then they’d have their regular verbal spars. Even her mother and Aunt Alisa have gotten used to that by now.

    She doesn’t hate Alyx Kingsleigh. Not really.

    But that doesn’t stop her thoughts from going in that direction.

    The question, then, is simple.

    What would happen when she hates someone? Where would her thoughts go for someone she truly, genuinely hates from the bottom of her heart?

    It would be horrible, for sure. Such thoughts would be so horrible, so cursed and dark that if others heard of it, they would be appalled. Horrified.

    And Cosmos hates nobody other than herself.

    Her self-loathing, while certainly has always existed prior to Mary’s death, spiralled out of control after the tragedy takes place. Alone with only her thoughts, unable to hear Illia’s voice, even a mere week would’ve felt like an eternity for a mind who spent all of its time on hating itself, a spiral of dark thoughts that trapped her in an endless labyrinth of despair.

    Such things are illogical, but such is the nature of depression and self-loathing.

    Naturally, her thoughts would then drift off to her mother, in relation to herself.

    Does she really love me?

    It was a question with such an obvious answer that it might as well not be a question. Mary Fairchild has stated numerous times that Cosmos is her pride and joy, and has showered her numerous times with affection. There should be no doubt about the answer to such a question.

    But that’s not the case to a tortured mind.

    After all, Mary is a Saint. She’s kind and nice to everyone. Ergo, the kindness and affection that she showed to her wouldn’t change if she were to become any other person.

    Within that train of thought, in a swirl of dark musings, a small fragment of light still remained. And it tries to deny the endless self-loathing, trying to fight back and prove that Mary Fairchild did indeed love her. Thus, the Mind conjures up thoughts and scenarios that would be able to convince its much stronger, larger darker half.

    That scenario is what her mother’s reaction would be to her death.

    With a clearly defined purpose, it begins to work. Mary, cradling a dying Cosmos. She’s crying, proof that she’s hurt by her imminent death. She whispered, asked her not to go and leave her, a verbal proof that she truly cares. And she’s hugging her soon-to-be corpse, kissing her forehead, a physical affection to further convince her mind that yes, Mary Fairchild loves her dearly.

    Thus, the first “Fruit” was born.

    --Could such a thought be classified as dark?

    Or would it be more appropriate to classify it as something good, for it has saved her sanity?

    The answer most likely lies somewhere in-between.

    Alas, as mentioned before, the darker thoughts of her mind are vastly stronger and larger than its light counterpart. Such a Fruit might have sated and calmed it for a while, but soon enough it finds holes, having an epiphany that such images and actions from Mary is merely par the course. A Saint like her mother would weep and mourn the loss of any life, and her existence thus changes nothing.

    Before such thoughts could spiral even further, the light once again went to work. Conjuring up images of Mary being attacked by herself, but not fighting back. She’s hurt, and confused, but Mary Fairchild did not attack her daughter back. Even as she bleeds and gets worn out, she tried and tried and tried to bring her back, pleading for her to come back to her senses. Such thoughts would be sufficient proof that Mary loved her.

    The darker whole drank it greedily, savoring the images of their perfect and immaculate mother in pain, wincing and bleeding and panting for nobody but Cosmos. Such a new, vividly clear image elicits a new feeling that she had never felt before, a sinful euphoria, even as she realized that such a thing is wrong, wrong, wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong--

    Thus, the second “Fruit” came to be.

    But misery loves company. A mind spiralling into the dark hates being proven wrong in its misery, hates seeing something that tried to make it feel anything other than pain, and thus it inevitably scoffed at the second “Fruit” once it was devoured whole. Soon enough the fragment of light that remained was forced to think of another scenario, another solution to stop the sinking ship from sinking even further and self-terminate.

    Emotional pain is the answer that it reached. If enduring physical pain is not enough to convince its darker half, then emotional pain ought to do the trick. So it thought of Mary hunched over, covering her ears in a vain attempt to ward off the hurtful words and insults that her own daughter spat, and in order to convince its darker half the pain needs to be immense. So it thought of insults and curses that her real self would never have uttered, things that would have made her be hated by anyone who heard it, and even as it pained itself in conjuring such images, all too-aware that such things are wrong, it prioritize the survival of itself above all else.

    The darker whole cheered, climaxing into such a state of hellish bliss that it takes its time in savoring the third “Fruit.” So slowly it savors the taste of sin that the third “Fruit” would be the last that the mind conjured for a while, as a few days after that the Mind - or perhaps the Soul - was called to a crystal garden by a figure long forgotten.

    --Indeed, this was how the Garden of Distorted Thoughts came to be.

    A mixture of light and dark, an unholy union between self-loathing and self-preservation, and the resulting child of love and hate. The “Fruit” needs not to be accurate, logical, or true to how it would actually play out, for as long as the Mind as a whole could believe it, then it would be enough.

    Is such a thing, such thoughts, sinful?

    Hard to say.

    But Cosmos Fairchild subconsciously knew the answer she’d give.

    I am a sinner, aren’t I?

    --Misery loves company.

    Thus, by producing and consuming the “Fruits,” it would become all the proof that the Mind needs to conclude that it has always been a sinner. And sinners deserve nothing but punishment, to be thrown into hell and suffer for all eternity.

    Indeed.

    The coalescence of light and dark smiled as it sinks deeper and deeper into oblivion, rejecting hope and laughing at things supposedly getting better.

    Everything will lead to pain and suffering, in the end.

    Everything will become distorted, given enough color and perception--
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  9. #969
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Midsummer's Fae Dance

    ---------------------

    Aoyama, Streets
    Friday - Morning



    It was a hot summer's morning. The days were long and the clouds absent. Aoyama was usually home to bustling crowds, but now only the buzzing of cicadas filled the air. Most of the citizens had decided to stay home, even though it was a weekend. Even during the students' summer break. The parks and beaches were sparsely populated. A city that should have been celebrating had largely fallen silent.

    "Seriously...?" That silence was shattered by an incredulous remark. An unusual pair strode down the streets. One was a tall, stoic woman, and the other an uncharacteristically irritated young boy, who stared over and over again at the orders that had been sent in from above. "Chris, this is ridiculous," he said.

    "It's not like you to complain," she responded. Eyes forward. Ignoring the heat haze, the sweat running down her brows, and her own frustrations.

    "It's fairies," Daisuke said. "Sending us in alone to scoop up misbehaving fairies..."

    By fairies, he meant the gangs of low-ranking demons that gathered together and flew around Aoyama, playing pranks, stealing items, and generally bringing cheerful chaos wherever they went. They'd become so common that they had earned comparisons to the local squirrel or pigeon population. When asked, any higher ranking fae would just shrug, as if children misbehaving was completely normal. Being fairies, it was nearly impossible to get them to follow the rules, and since they were demons and manifestations of nature, one couldn't really get rid of them for long. They weren't actively malicious, so after a slap on the wrist they'd usually be released.

    In the end the ones who bore the brunt of fairy mischief were the citizens... and the Spirit Tamers sent in to deal with them.

    "Doesn't seem so bad. Are you scared? You can hug my leg if you want." Mokujima Chris didn't share her COMP's disappointment. In fact, she seemed almost bored with the situation, more concerned with the sun overhead than their task. "It's okay to feel that way. This is our first solo mission. I'm nervous too."

    By contrast, Daisuke's frustration was almost comically exaggerated. His facial rig was still primitive, so when one looked closer, he more resembled Pinocchio than a real boy. He wasn't even able to blush in the heat yet, but he could still frown.

    "It's not that," he said. "I looked at the forums. Apparently this isn't a real mission. It's a hazing thing. The first solo mission most Tamers get is exactly this. Go out, patrol the town, try and apprehend every misbehaving fairy you see. Except it's hard to get any at all, because they're fairies, so most of the time you end up coming home humiliated. And it's not like we're even helping the town; they'll just come back and forget to behave again. They never learn. All we'll end up doing is giving them a fun chase for a day."

    "...mm." Chris nodded. Her COMP wasn't wrong about the strange circumstances behind today's assignment. She'd suspected as much herself. "But it is a solo mission. And it's also a mission of Justice."

    "Justice!? You can't just call something Justice to get me to like it!"

    "Fufu." She ruffled Daisuke's hair as they turned the corner. With the sun above their head, the shadows had grown short. The world was too bright. It hurt her eyes, so she looked down at her COMP. "If there were no point to this mission, there would also be no point to rebuilding skyscrapers after an earthquake. Humanity can triumph over even the world's natural order. So instead of saying 'they never learn', you should be saying 'they haven't learned yet'. So long as one hero fights for justice, the battle isn't over."

    "Uuuuugh..." Rather than cheering him up, the woman's calm words were like a battering ram that smashed the boy's protests into the ground. "That's not fair... wasting such cool lines on a bunch of fairies... those should've been saved for a final boss..."

    "If we run into something like that, I'll come up with better ones."

    They turned the corner and... there. Perched on a utility pole, chattering at each other, were...



    "Waaaah! It's so hot! I'm gonna melt!"



    "But the heat makes it even better!"

    A pair of fairies. Ice fairies, splitting a sea salt popsicle between them.

    Daisuke froze in place. Chris came to a stop next to him. "There..." His arm slowly came up, index finger pointed straight forward like a gun.

    "Hold."
    Chris' voice resonated through the telepathic connection every Tamer and COMP shared. "Remember proper procedure."

    He paused. "Right!" The boy's eyes widened as the cameras within zoomed in on the unsuspecting targets and the area around them. Zoomed until he could see... a discarded plastic bag near the base of the pole. There was no wind to carry it away. He caught a flash of a receipt from a nearby convenience store in the bag. A quick search through the database and a review of the city's public security footage confirmed what he'd expected: "We had a report of petty theft by flying creatures just a few minutes ago. Matches up with the time on the proof of purchase. Camera footage caught a blur snatching this bag, has to be these two. I've estimated their speed and have corrected my aim for it."

    Chris nodded approvingly. "Mmhm. We have precedent." But when Daisuke lined up his shots again, she tapped his shoulder and shook her head. "Not yet."

    "Eh? How come? Did I forget something?"

    "Let them finish their ice cream first."

    "...but it's stolen ice cream."

    "Heh." Chris had her phone out, snapping a picture of the two friends cheerfully battling the heat together and sending it to the "Demons posting their W's" account. It would be up within the hour. "Someone's still eating it, so it's fulfilling its purpose. You'll understand when you're older."

    A minute later, two simultaneous blasts of spiritual energy were followed swiftly by the clattering of a popsicle stick onto the ground and the whirring of Daisuke's internal engine as the Data Capture system got to work.

    "I didn't think it'd be that easy... did we get lucky or something?" He stared at the light pole, blinking in confusion. The ice fairies hadn't even seen it coming. Sure, they weren't the strongest demons, but they were also not to be underestimated. A sufficiently agitated fae, even a minor one, could run circles around even a Tamer if left unchecked.

    "Mm. We were fortunate." Chris bent down, picked up the stick. Try again, it said. She tossed it in the nearby can. "Weaker fairies are carefree. They're driven by desire and don't fear humans. When they're indulging that desire, they rarely think past it. It's not like they can't be cunning or suspect trickery; in fact, they have a good nose for it. But after they've won, they'll certainly take that win for granted. Remember not to fall into the same trap, Daisuke."

    "R-right! Will do! Constant vigilance! So, um, should we keep going then?"

    Chris nodded. "Let's check the alleys next. They might be hiding from the heat in the shade. Keep your senses sharp; if they band together, they can weave potent illusions."

    "Will do!"


    ---------------------


    Aoyama, Alleys
    Friday - Afternoon



    The next hours were spent slipping between, behind, and around buildings, searching for any signs of their tiny targets. The pair's search took them all over the city, which had emptied out even more as the sun's heat grew harsher.

    They found little. A few delinquent thugs skipping school, whom Daisuke chastised while Chris averted her eyes and clammed up. Some overturned garbage cans, which Daisuke righted and cleaned up as a matter of principle. A lost walled, swiftly returned to the nearest police station. An old lady who needed help to cross the street. A bird with a broken wing. Fourteen unpaid parking tickets. A mysterious material that seemed interesting but would probably turn out to be junk. A waterlogged and torn-apart grimoire. A broken Raz Stone CD (which Chris had taken offense to). And then, finally...



    "Eh? Really? You'll give me that zappy wire if I tell you where the clubhouse is?"

    An uncommon lightning-type fairy chewing on a loose cable from a transformer.

    "Um... yep!" Daisuke nodded, a loop of Spider's Web in hand, crackling with electricity. "Just one of them is fine. The, uh, most crowded one!"

    "Hmm... I dunno..." The lightning fairy peered at him, suddenly as suspicious as he was hungry. "What're you gonna do when I tell you? The club's only for cool kids, and you look like a total square. Boss might get mad."

    It was a good thing Daisuke couldn't sweat, or else it would be pouring. He waited, stammering, for Chris to send over more instructions. Which she did after.

    "...seriously!? That's gonna give us away for sure-!"

    "Just trust me."

    He gulped. Gave a shaky thumbs-up with his free hand, and said: "Gonna pull a huge prank!"

    The other boy laughed. "Okay! Get 'em real good!"

    They left the fairy behind as he chewed on the reiki-infused wire, humming along happily to the pleasant buzz of electricity on his tongue and teeth.

    "I can't believe that worked..."

    Chris was beside him again. She'd stayed back for most of their encounters. Now she wiped at her neck with a damp cloth, clearly not immune to the heat, even if her poker face was. "I didn't think it would work either," she admitted.

    "Eh? Really!? Chriiiiis!"

    "Sorry, sorry."

    The small COMP crossed his arms and looked away with a 'hmph'. But he couldn't resist looking back after a moment. "How come you wanted to know about his clubhouse?"

    Chris was staring at something on her phone. She smiled, gave it a 'Like', and snapped the device shut. "Streets have been too quiet. According to the mission briefing, the city's fairy population has been acting up more than usual this week. But today's heat wave is keeping most of them indoors, so they must be taking that rowdiness somewhere the light doesn't shine. A Fairy Fountain."

    Daisuke's eyes widened. "I see... you want to go somewhere we could find a bunch of them at once! And then... and then..." He paused. "Why? We're just supposed to stick to the normal patrol route, aren't we? And, uh, I don't think we could take on that many at once... it's not like we're weak, but, you were saying they're not to be estimated, so..."

    Pat, pat.

    "I checked the forums," Chris said. "Did you know they have a leaderboard of how many troublemakers you bring back? On this 'hazing' mission. So far the one in the lead is Namasaki-san with four dozen in one day."

    Daisuke blinked. "Forty-eight all by himself on his first solo mission... whoa. I guess they don't call him the SDCD's Ace for nothing, huh? We're happy just to get two, but he's on another level entirely..."

    "Mm-mm." Chris shook her head. It might have just been the heat, but her cheeks had reddened. "We're going to beat his score. Today."

    "Eh?" If Daisuke had blood, it would've rushed out of his face. Instead he looked for a moment as if his strings had been snapped. "Um, Chris, that's, uh..."

    "We'll figure something out."

    "Well, but, even if that's the case, I don't think we could take on more than three... wouldn't it just be better to do it properly? We've done good enough, haven't we?"

    "No." Mokujima Chris' glasses glinted in the shadows. Her voice shifted from monotone to something else, carrying in it a manic energy even her COMP had rarely experienced. Only one other person in the world knew of the truth behind it, and she'd vanished before he'd been born. "Daisuke, if there's any lesson you remember for today, remember the one it took me my whole life to learn."



    "'Good enough' isn't good enough. If you're going to play, you play to win."


    ---------------------


    Aoyama, Alleys - Hidden Clubhouse
    Friday - Afternoon


    They found it behind a large, suspiciously clean-smelling dumpster in an alley near the edge of town.

    The forest was close by, a convenient escape and entry point. Even then, without specific instructions, they would have gone right past the entrance. It had been painted over with illusion after illusion, multiple small spells layering on top of each other to produce a hiding spot even a veteran Tamer couldn't find among the bricks and vents and containers. It was only after Daisuke thrust his hand through the wall that they were able to notice the slightest of seams, a break in their perceptions where brick met concrete.

    The path in was cramped and tight, perfect for a fairy but far too big for an adult.

    "I"ll wait outside," Chris said. Her phone was in hand and she tapped away at it. "Go ahead. Don't worry, I'll be there with you. Think of yourself as a Tamer and me as the COMP."

    "R-right." Daisuke refreshed his CPU, swallowing the fear coursing through by his logic circuits, and plunged into the darkness.

    The stone and metal were rough beneath his fingers. It was clearly more of a tunnel to fly rather than crawl through. Wires cris-crossed before him, making it clear that some earth-aligned fairy had sculpted the tunnel rather hastily. It led down, down, likely to either a cave or some basement. The lightning fairy had said there was only one entrance. What if he ran into someone on the way up? The path was tight even for Daisuke. He wasn't sure he could move well. If it fled, calling on its friends...

    "Chris, what was the plan again?" he called on his buddy. "We don't have any Ma-type spells, so how am I going to... I mean, there's going to be at least fifty of them in there, right? I don't think I could dodge if all of them started attacking at once..."

    "Just follow my lead. Keep your auto-skill inactive until the last moment. Then deploy that new spell we developed the other day, and reactivate it."

    "Um, wouldn't the auto-skill...?"

    "Yes, yes it will. When that happens, cast it again. And again. There won't be a fourth time."

    "If you say so..."

    "Daisuke. Sorry. You're going to have to do all the hard work again. It might hurt a lot, so... you get to pick which upgrade I work on next."

    "Oh? Oh!" The weight of the anxiety on his chest seemed to lighten. "Then, um... taste, please! I'd like to try some of that coffee you're always drinking! Oh, and your sweets! Mom and Dad keep talking about how you've gotten really good at baking, so could I...?"

    "Heh. Of course. I'll whip something up just for you. Might take a few months though."

    "That's fine! I'll wait! I can wait forever!"


    The dark crawl came to an end as they exchanged promises. The tunnel gradually evened out, and a pale light illuminated the room beyond.



    "Whoa... so this is a Fairy Fountain..."

    The room had been transformed. What might have once been a regular basement was now something approaching a sacred space. It was a junction of natural forces where the elements combined in peace. It was said that on occasion these fountains became visiting places for the fae courts. There didn't seem to be anyone special there now, though. Just the usual rowdy bunch. Springs of cool water flowed in from the walls, twining around rocks and pillars, creating music with the noises of nature. Up above, dozens of fairies flitted about, mingling, laughing, and singing. There were even some Jack Frosts lounging in the springs, lying back on tiny icebergs wearing sunglasses and sipping on iced tea.

    And also tossing around many objects he could easily identify as stolen, some of them quite valuable as well. Was that a priceless carving that had been taken from the nearby museum ages ago? Were they playing catch with it?

    So much for a 'sacred space'. This was just an oversized playground!

    Daisuke shook away his surprise and reached for the indignation beating strongly in his core. The urge for justice. He just needed to take that resolve, and channel it through Chris' plan.

    He clambered to his feet, adjusted his bow tie, stepped forward, and...



    "Hold it right there! You're all under arrest! Bright Justice has arrived to illuminate your hidden crimes!"

    Everything stopped as he called out.

    The water, the wind, the rumbling of rocks, the crackling of ice and lightning, all of it stopped, and for a moment there was only silence.

    The fairies, too, stopped in their tracks. For that one moment, all eyes were on the COMP striding boldly towards the center of the room, arms crossed and eyes stern.

    "Kyahaha."

    Then one of the fairies started laughing.

    "Kyahahahaha!"

    The rest joined in. A sea of laughs, of giggling, chuckling, cackling, and jeering, all for him.

    "Hee hee ho! Look! It's that short metal one! The one that got strung up in the power lines! The one that didn't know how to swim when we dunked him in the lake! The kid that hangs onto his big sister's leg when he gets scared!"

    Fists clenched. Daisuke stood, waiting, enduring as the fairies began to move again, swirling around him as a group, leaving him in the eye of the storm. They remembered. Not as well as he did, but they remembered. That on its own was rare enough, but now...

    "Are you here to play, kid? We've got all kinds of fun games!" The fairies were cheering now. Laughing again, as if his proclamation had been the prelude to the fun instead of a command. "We've been stuck inside all day, so it was getting boring. But now you're here, so we can play together! How about Cops and Robbers?"

    There was unanimous applause. Everyone liked that game.

    "You'll be the cop... and we'll be the robbers. Now what were the rules again?"

    For a moment the room was still again. Had they forgotten?

    "I remember!" suddenly, one nasally voice piped up from the back. "The rules are: all the robbers do whatever they want to the cop until he gives up or stops moving!"

    "..." Daisuke would've gulped if he had a reason to. Instead, he closed his eyes and made sure his heat was at its minimum. He'd need every bit of it. "I hate that game," he muttered.

    "GET HIM!"



    The serene Fairy Fountain became a battlefield in an instant, as Daisuke found himself beset on all sides.

    "Agi! Bufu! Garu! Zio!"

    Each element assaulted him. Times ten. Simultaneous spells launched at his position, filling up the space and making dodging impossible. The fairies wove around each other, firing at the center of the room in perfect sync.

    "Gh-!"

    He dove forward, away from the middle, arms in front of his head, taking the brunt of the spells head-on. Even then, his limbs were shredded, bludgeoned, frozen, and zapped all at once.

    "Haha! Look, he's dodging! More, more! Dodge this! Bufula! Zionga! Agilao! Garula!"

    Each fairy on its own was weak, but even a weak spell could overload a Harmonizer if applied several times. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that even an experienced Tamer's life would be in danger against a barrage of this calibre. For Daisuke, whose own durability was middling and who had little in the way of resistance to the array of elements, withstanding it was as much of an impossibility as dodging fifty simultaneous attacks. So there was no choice. Either use a dodging spell or... no. That wasn't an option. The only real option... was to sacrifice something to stay alive.

    "M-makara- gah!"

    Daisuke dove behind a pillar too late. One of his arms took a spell head-on and was frozen up to the elbow in ice, the circuits no longer responding. A heartbeat later, a dozen fairies appeared on each side, zipping through the air, spells at their fingertips, aimed right at him.

    "Hide and seek? We love hide and seek too! Try and hide from everyone! Go on!"

    "Gh. I've got to get out of here-."

    "No, let's stay here-ho."

    The shallow water beneath his feet froze over in an instant, courtesy of the lazy Jack Frost's spell. Even if he tried to dodge now, it would be too late.

    Daisuke grit his teeth, magical energy within his core finally ready to be unleashed.

    "If that's... how you want it...!"

    He opened them. All the ports on his body, venting steam, heat, and more. And then...

    "Crackling Chaff."

    Unleashed the spell he'd been holding back.



    Chaos.

    "What? I can't-! Where did he go?"

    "That's not fair! It's cheating! You can't turn the whole place into your hiding spot!"

    "Wah! I can't see!"


    "Who just bumped into me? Ruu, was that you!?"

    "No, you dummy, Ruu's not here! Neither is Boss! It's just him!"

    "Grrrr... fine, if that's how you want it-! Let's just use moves no one can hide from!"

    "Wait... wouldn't that-?"

    "MARAGI-!"




    An explosion enveloped the room. Far more powerful than any of the fairies had expected. In its wake...

    "Ow... you bozo! Who cast that!? You hit all of us!"

    "Who're you calling bozo, bozo?"

    "I'm calling you a bozo, you bozo! You're a double bozo!"

    "Oh yeah, well you're a triple bozo!"


    Fairies, hurt and dazed and confused. Jack Frost had lost his sunglasses and was blinking, partially melted.

    Daisuke stood in the center of the room, battered and beaten from a dozen different spells, his artificial skin torn in places.

    "Hah... hah..."

    "Ah! He's still there! Get him!"

    The buzzing started up again. He'd angered the nest. In another moment they'd unleash their most powerful spells again, so...

    "Crackling Chaff."

    ...

    "WAAAAH! NOT AGAIN!"

    "That's no fun! You're awful, metal boy! All that Law's gone to your head!"

    "I"ve got it! I'll get him!"

    "Wait, don't-!"


    "MABUFULA!"

    The room exploded once more.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    "Ugh... I can barely..."

    Once more, Daisuke stood, coughing, covered in patches of frost. He had to lean against a pillar for support. His Harmonizer was strained to its limits.

    But...

    "There the metal boy! Get him! Before he does that thing again!"

    About half of the fairies had fallen. Durability wasn't their strong suit. But the half that remained were no longer playing around.

    This 'Bright Justice' had invaded their fountain. Ruined their fun. And now he wasn't even playing the game properly.

    He sighed, surrounded once more, and...

    "It's not metal boy," he said. "My name's Daisuke."

    He cleared his throat of dust and ashes.

    "Crackling Chaff."

    ...

    ...

    ...

    "WAAAH! YOU'RE THE WORST!"

    "We won't forget this, Daisuke! You're a poopy-head! A buzzkill!"

    "I"m gonna pour water on you every time I see you!"

    "I'll pull down your pants!"

    "I'm gonna untie your shoelaces!"

    "You're our rival now! Regret it foreveeeer!"


    ...

    ...

    ...

    One could accuse fairies of being simple-minded. Forgetful, too. But they weren't stupid. Even the simplest among them, when shown something twice, would be able to figure out what would happen when it was done a third time. There was nothing to be done. No way of finding the elusive COMP, and no way of hitting him without hurting themselves.

    Perhaps a determined opponent would be willing to take that chance. Or an intelligent one would find a way for everyone to work together and track down their prey without using a multi-hit attack. But a fairy?

    The fairies did what they always did whenever things stopped going their way: They ran.

    All at once, as a group, they flew away. Up the tunnel. Towards freedom.

    In the room, Daisuke was left sitting in the center of the vandalized fountain, his clothes in tatters, limbs barely functional, and heat maxed out. His glasses had been lost somewhere in the fight and his hair was electrified, standing on all ends. His Data Capture system had noted two dozen more occupants, straining its capacity.

    He couldn't stay standing.

    "...ugh."

    He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, and started running diagnostics.

    "Hee ho, hee ho," remarked the nearby Jack Frost, who'd managed to hold onto his drink and dignity. "Up the chimney they go. That was fun."

    And up the chimney they did go. No one could catch a fairy on the run. Even if they were all hurt and weary, they were experts at escape who'd evaded Tamers for years.

    "Ow, don't elbow me!" "You're the one elbowing me, idiot!" "Only an idiot calls someone an idiot, idiot!"


    The ill-tempered jumble made its way up the path, until finally they saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Yes...

    The light.



    "Spider's Web - Wicked Weave."

    The cruel light that devoured all hope.

    ...

    Only one made it out, in the end.

    Of all the fairies that had sought to escape through that tunnel, only a single one reached the end. The others were all rendered into dust by the network of electrified razor wires, and absorbed by the Data Capture system.

    As for that last fairy... it only had its lightning resistance to thank. It had reached the alley, and could fly off in a moment once it regained its strength.

    Why had this happened? They were just fairies. They hadn't done anything that bad, had they? Sure, they took things occasionally, or messed with people, but they hadn't done anything serious.

    Yes, nothing awful. Nothing that would warrant this, surely! Nothing that would earn them this fate, of being caught like insects in a butterfly net!

    The sound of footsteps broke the silence in the alley.

    Step, step.

    A tall figure stepped towards the fallen fairy, regarding it with a strange expression.

    "Ah," the figure remarked.

    The fairy looked up and saw, standing above it...



    "Looks like free EXP."


    ---------------------


    Aoyama, Streets
    Friday - Evening

    "Forty six, forty seven, forty eight... hm."

    The count wouldn't change no matter how many times they went through it. In the end, they'd gotten exactly forty-eight.

    "Sorry, Chris... I should've at least tried to get Jack. He must've left through another exit while I wasn't looking."

    "It's fine."

    Only one of them was walking back to the base. Daisuke's limbs had sustained too much damage, so Chris insisted on carrying him. With the Harmonizer's help, that dream was reality.

    "But you wanted the high score, right? That's only enough to tie Namasaki-san's record."

    Chris nodded, staring ahead. The day had finally cooled down. People were re-emerging into the streets. It was getting rather embarassing, actually. They were staring at the strange woman carrying a battered and beaten boy in her arms.

    She much preferred the empty streets of before.

    "The second thing I learned," she said. "There are more important things than winning."

    "Um... I don't get it."

    "You don't have to. Not yet." She shifted her grip to a more comfortable one that hugged her COMP closer to her chest. "Besides... this will teach those fairies a lesson. Better than just locking them up, right? Those memories they made, playing with you... those will stick around for a while, even when they get let out. Maybe even long enough to scare them straight."

    "Really?"

    "Mm... probably not. But maybe."

    "Honestly... I felt like we were being kinda mean with that plan." Daisuke confessed. He could feel the captured demons in storage as data. Many of them were still confused or distressed. "Chris, I don't wanna do something like that. You do that to enemies, not people or demons you live with. If possible, couldn't we be friends with them instead? Scaring someone straight just doesn't sound like Bright Justice. I know it might be harder, but... you said something about not indulging desire, right? I think we should be careful about that too. If we only look at what we care about, we might miss something important."

    "Heh. You have a point. Still, it sounds impossible." Chris looked down at her COMP, wondering. Remembering. Considering. "But for you... it might not be."

    She stopped near a convenience store. It was still open. Her stomach twisted. They hadn't eaten all day, but even more than that, the idea of walking in there and buying something was terrifying.

    "We'll apologize together, then."

    Not as terrifying as the thought of disappointing Daisuke.

    Besides, she also felt kind of queasy about the whole thing. Real life wasn't a video game, after all.

    "U-um... ex-excuse... me... fifty... sea salt popsicles... please..."

    ---------------------

    Midsummer's Fae Dance - End
    Last edited by Bloble; April 30th, 2021 at 12:09 AM.

  10. #970
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Headcanon and Fanfic disclaimer!

    An Ordinary Friday
    -----------------------------------------------
    Vatican
    Friday, Dawn


    Among the countless cathedrals and churches that exist in the Holy City, a few of them are special in nature. Not in an easily-noticeable way, but more hidden, a leftover from the days before the Conception, from before the ascension of Mary Fairchild as a Pope.

    While some are just starting to wake up from their slumber, a figure silently entered one such cathedral.

    Walking into the pew at the center of the building, the figure stood silently before letting out some of their reiki to activate the hidden system and magic that resides at the cathedral. Ordinarily, such a burst of reiki - whether weak or strong - wouldn’t do anything.

    But the hidden magic and system was designed to only react to a certain kind of reiki; one that holds a righteous fire, so strong and absolute in their belief that it acts like a toxic poison against demonkind.

    In other words, the reiki of a zealot.

    Recognizing the reiki, the cathedral’s doors were immediately locked, illusion magic were cast, and a second later the pew descended like an elevator, though to an observer it’d seem as if the figure and the pew didn’t move at all. Now safe from any prying eyes or ears, the figure hummed a lullaby to themselves until they’ve reached their destination.

    As the figure stepped off the pew, they opened their hood - revealing a girl with long, pale wavy hair - as she opened the door and stepped into the chamber. Behind her, the pew ascended upstairs, returning to its original position.

    This is the place where she’d receive her briefings, don the mantle of the White Shroud, and go into the Demonic Server through a network made specifically for this purpose, ensuring that their mission went undetected and unregistered. Normally, there’d be instructions left for her to read and dispose, because the higher-ups don’t want to risk themselves being caught, no matter how unlikely the possibility is.

    But today seems to be different.

    Inside the chamber, a certain man awaits her, and he lets out a smile as she closes the door behind her.



    Good morning, Lifa. On time as always, I see.

    “Of course. How can I be late to do a mission from God?” She replied with a small smile of her own. “Surely my brothers and sisters also never come late to do their due diligence?”

    Abel Brauns let out an amused chuckle. “Indeed. Are you free this evening, by any chance?”

    “I am… Oh! Did mum and dad send another letter?” Lifa asked excitedly as her eyes lit up, and seeing the man she saw as her uncle nods sent her into a muted cheer. “I assume we’ll talk over dinner like usual then?”

    “You are correct. Meet me outside of LOVELESS at seven. There’s a restaurant you’d never been to that I think you’d like.”

    Her curiosity piqued, Lifa hummed as she tried to think on what kind of meal they’d be having. “Is it foreign cuisine?”

    “Telling you right now would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it?” Abel replied, amusement clear in his voice, and Life lets out an exaggerated sigh with a pout to express her dissatisfaction. “I suppose…” She trailed off, her lips forming a smile as she extended her pinky. Sella used to do this pinky promise with her all the time, as eventually her mum and dad too, and not once have they ever broken a promise when they did the little ritual.

    “Promise?”

    The priest intertwined his pinky with hers with a grin. “I promise.”

    A good dinner secured, Lifa lets out a small giggle in triumph. She couldn’t wait to see what kind of place and food they’d be having for dinner.

    “But I’m afraid we can’t chat for long, lest I miss my morning duty.” Abel said after they released their pinky, his face turning serious once again, and Lifa similarly straightened her posture, knowing that the time for her duty is nigh. “This is your assigned mission.” He handed her a piece of paper, and she read it silently before the paper was disintegrated by an invisible light.

    She pities the poor demon that serves as her target, but it can’t be helped that they exist only to be hunted down and killed by those who believe in the Almighty God. At the very least they should find solace in the fact that they’d help His believers to ascend to Heaven in the afterlife for this deed, just like live stocks would find solace that they’d serve as food for people, for the greater good.

    “Normal procedures, I assume?”

    Abel nodded.


    Understood. In the name of the Lord, I shall execute this divine duty entrusted to me without fail.

    ------------

    Vatican
    Friday, Early Morning


    Mornings have always been a busy time for Anastasia.

    As a spirit tamer, sister of the church, and a single mother, the black-haired young woman always woke up at dawn, took a bath, and prepared breakfast for both herself and her daughter before embarking on a morning patrol. It usually won’t take long, except if there’s an emergency assignment from headquarters, but such cases are rare - in fact, Anastasia had never been called for one.

    So she took her time in walking back to her home after finishing her patrol, enjoying the morning air and breeze while occasionally spotting angels flying in the sky on their own patrols, and silently thanked God for the life she’s gotten.

    She’d always be thankful that Lady Mary and her fellow tamers accepted her despite her circumstances; really, a nun with a daughter without a father would be a blemish on the image of Rose Cross should that information get out, but the Pope has accepted her with a smile and open arms. Truly, God is merciful and kind…

    She was broken out of her musings as she reached the end of the route - a small apartment at the outskirts of the city where she and her daughter live - and stepped into the building just as the morning drizzle started to fall. She’d need to bring umbrellas later.

    Taking the stairs to the third floor, Anastasia dug into her pockets for her keys, unlocking the door and opening it. The smell of eggs and sausages tickled her nostrils, and as she entered the room, she was greeted by the sight of her daughter warming up their breakfast.

    “I’m home, Angelica.” She called out. The girl spun on her heels, giving her a small smile as she ran and hugged her, and looking at her daughter’s eyes filled Anastasia’s chest with warmth and happiness.


    Welcome home, mother. Breakfast should be ready soon.

    “I can tell. From the smell.” She replied with a smile, and pats the girl’s head as she sees her not smiling anymore. “You don’t need to feel bad for not having it ready yet, sweetheart. Waiting for a minute or two won’t hurt anybody.”

    “But I want to time it right…” The girl murmured, and Anastasia gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead in response.

    “Maybe next time then. Have you taken a bath yet?”

    Angelica blushed, and she let out a small laugh in response. Angelica’s a firm believer in taking a bath and brushing her teeth at the same time - something Father Angelo apparently taught her - so she really couldn’t blame her for postponing it until after breakfast. Doesn’t mean she couldn’t tease her though. “M-mom!” Angelica whined.

    “Sorry, sorry! Alright, let’s have breakfast and then get ready. We don’t want to keep Father Angelo waiting, right?”

    Angelica nodded, and so after putting the plates on the small table, they began to have breakfast, chatting here and there for a while. Angelica then hurried up to take a bath and brush her teeth after she finished, and soon after her daughter finished she brushed her teeth too before they both departed for a certain church, black umbrella shielding them both from the light morning rain as they walked among the streets of the Holy City.

    It’s not a long walk; ten minutes later and they’ve arrived at the front door of their destination.

    “I’ll pick you up by evening.” She said as she smiled at her daughter. “Be good, okay?”

    “Mm.” Angelica nodded, fidgeting for a bit. Anastasia, noticing that the girl’s gathering her courage to ask for something, waited patiently.

    “Um… Sunday… Will mom be free on sunday?”

    “I’m not sure, honey.” She answered honestly. “Why did you ask?”

    “Oh, I… I just want to spend more time with mom after Sunday School…”

    Anastasia blinked in surprise, looking at the hopeful eyes of her daughter, before giving her a gentle smile as the memory of her own mother flashed briefly in her mind.

    She hasn’t been spending much time with Angelica lately, hasn’t she…?

    “I’ll try to make time, sweetheart. So maybe you can pray and ask God to help mom be free on Sunday?” She asked with a wink. Angelica gave a wide, bright smile at her answer, and promising to do just that and be good, the girl opened the door and entered the church, waving her a goodbye. She waved back, a smile on her face, and as the door shut to a close, she began her journey to the cathedral where she’d be replacing a sick priest on duty.

    Her steps felt light. The world seems brighter than it usually is despite the rain and grey clouds. As she entered the cathedral, a sister greeted her, offering to take and store her umbrella, and Anastasia nodded, thanking the sister with a smile. The sister smiled back as she walked to the pew of the church, readying herself mentally and offering her prayer to the Almighty God for the day.

    Soon enough, the sound of footsteps entered the cathedral, and Anastasia turned to greet the visitor.



    Welcome, kind stranger. How may I help you?
    ------------

    Vatican
    Friday, Late Morning


    “Another case? Are you sure?”

    Footsteps echoed in a certain office in the Holy City. A young woman with long hair that glimmers like wheat is walking around the office in circles as she listens to the report, the sound of morning rain serving as a background noise.

    “Have you double, triple-checked? I don’t want to hear another misunderstanding. The last time it happened, we became the laughing stock of the entire demon server for a week, as if Rose Cross could afford being looked down even more by demons than we currently are. Do realize that Lady Mary’s dreams and ideals are at stake.”

    This woman’s name is Sherry Garcia. A spirit tamer of Rose Cross, head of a special investigation unit dedicated to the activities of the elusive White Shroud in the Demonic Server, and someone personally invested and dedicated to stopping the zealots.



    ... Acknowledged. Just in case, remain in the server for one more hour and be on the lookout for any suspicious tamer activity. Should anything that could remotely even be related to the White Shroud happened, contact me immediately.

    With those words, she ended the transmission, massaged her temples, and sat down on her personal chair with a sigh. Sherry has never put much stock on spending their budget on furniture, but plopping down on this chair that some of her colleagues insist she’d need makes her reconsider her stance. Who knew a good chair would be such a big help?

    “Bellato. Look up for all records of Rose Cross tamers going in and out of the demonic server from 5 to 7 in the morning. Look up all the datas from every branch, just in case.”

    Not that that’d help, in her experience. The zealots never left such easy-to-track evidence, and most likely have their own way to go to the demonic server. Still, just in case one of them slips up or they’re actually using regular channels to do it, she always made sure to look these kinds of common information up. She’d also need to go around and ask the angels whether they’ve seen someone running up and about in the morning to get an idea on possible suspects and where they began their operations…

    Of course, in this matter some angels might refuse to cooperate, and even if they do and the list of possible suspects is reduced to one… then what? Such a sighting is unlikely to be hard evidence that someone is a White Shroud, and ordering an investigation on places of interest might get rejected because most of the buildings in the Vatican have historical and spiritual value. Turning a place upside-down just won’t be really acceptable, and basic investigations won’t likely turn up anything.

    And even if they miraculously are able to do all of the above… There’s a question of whether arresting and punishing said perpetrator would be worth it. It pains her to admit, but zealots on average are stronger than the regular Rose Cross tamers, and are essential assets to be had against threats that threaten humanity. Capturing and punishing one won’t be a problem, but don’t really change anything because there are enough zealots that it won’t really matter, but capturing and punishing too many will be a blow to Rose Cross capability against threats…

    Case in point, Isaac Angelos. Even without some of her informants - one of whom was an ex-zealot - telling her that he’s the original White Shroud, she’d have suspected him. Rumors of him having the “strongest holy summon,” capable of using a fire that burns in a distant mountain, are widespread enough, and someone as devout and good as he is are prime candidates for being a zealot in secret. The problem, of course, is the fact that he’s Rose Cross’ ace and role model, an “ideal tamer” whose reputation is so good that arresting him would be practically impossible; one could even argue that having him outweighs the benefit of arresting and punishing him for his actions as a White Shroud.

    Sherry leaned back on her chair, pinching her nose as she felt a headache coming.

    An impasse. That’s the situation between Mary’s faction and the zealots for several years now, and it’s really frustrating, irritating, and most of all stressful. This hidden schism within the church is honestly driving her mad, and the worst part is that she’s not seeing things getting better or resolved any time soon; after all, convincing them is nigh-impossible, as when you’d try to argue from a religious and theological point, most of the time the zealots have better arguments than you because they are more devout and pious, and catching or subduing them would be really hard because they’re stronger and better on average too. The only advantage Mary’s faction have is honestly numbers and the fact that public opinion favors them rather than the other way around.

    Data collection complete.” The voice of her COMP rang out, masculine with a hint of that man’s voice, but Sherry’s gotten used to it by now; in fact, that voice serves as a reminder on why she’s dedicating her life to this job. “Would you like to listen to the report now, or after interviewing the heavenly hosts my lady?

    Sherry closed her eyes and took a deep breath, memories of the past flashing briefly through her mind as a reminder of why the zealots need to be stopped, before she opened them resolutely and flipped her COMP - which took the form of a tome - open.

    So what if it likely won’t turn up anything, or if it is futile?

    She just has to try again and again, and believe that it’d make a difference, someday.



    Now. No need to delay what needs to be done.

    ------------

    Vatican
    Friday, Noon


    What does a spirit tamer normally do on a normal day?

    The answer seems simple. Go on a patrol, solve any incidents that occur, and then file in a report if something happens. Sometimes, there’d be an ongoing investigation, and patrol time would be increased while for others they’d have to do some detective work. Outside of these times, free times are used to relax, grab a meal, or just mingle with one’s colleagues.

    There is, however, one activity that can often take a tamer’s time.

    “Hah! Hah! Hah!”

    Namely, training.

    Whether it’s doing basic physical exercise or diving into combat simulators, training is a basic part of a tamer’s life. Keeping one’s body and combat ability in shape is important after all, especially when one won’t know when trouble will appear or what kind of foe they’d have to face.

    Among the four major organizations, Rothschild has a reputation as the strongest on average, with their tamers having the stereotype of being battle junkies who used all their free time on training. It has some merits of course, because even just being inside the SLEIPNIR is enough to count as training, but one might be surprised at which organization ranked second.

    It’s Rose Cross.

    “Fu---”

    Specifically, the headquarters in the Vatican.

    With the city being watched over by heavenly hosts in addition to tamers, no place is as peaceful and safe as the Holy City. Most tamers stationed there only do patrols out of obligation and routine, and any incidents they might find are usually of the harmless variety: people getting lost or a lost pet, for example, things that really don’t need any combat abilities at all. That’s why many tamers in the Vatican also do double duty as a priest or a sister, because most of the time there’s not much to do.

    “---Hah!”

    But that’s exactly why most use their time for training. The words of their instructor were taken to heart; as soldiers of God, violence should only be used as a last resort, but one must always be ready for violence.

    In a training room, a sound akin to that of an explosion rang out, and would have been heard throughout the entire building if the room was not soundproof. Standing in the middle of the room, fist smoking hot and a dummy blown to pieces, was a young man with curly, short pale hair, looking at his handiwork before letting out a sigh of satisfaction.



    That was amazing! I think you’re getting stronger than before!

    The man was not alone. A girl approached him with a smile, handing him a small towel, and he took it appreciatively, walking to a bench and sitting down before wiping out his sweat. The girl jogged off, exiting the room for a minute before returning with a bottle of water. “You’re thirsty, right? Here!”



    Ah, thanks. Water does sound nice.

    The man - Adelva - took the water from her hands, uncapped it, and drank half of the content in one gulp, letting out a content sigh after he did so. The girl giggled at the sight before taking a seat besides him.

    “So, Memoria…” He began while stretching his arm. “What day is it again?”

    “It’s Friday, Ava. Tanaka’s Amazing Commodities will be on tomorrow.” She answered without hiding her amusement. “You really do love that channel.”

    “Well, of course. I think I’m one of the very few people in the Holy City who actually knew about that channel, and until I managed to snag something rare, I’d never give up! Besides, even the normal items are sold at pretty good prices too.”

    “I always wonder why the items are sold so cheap.” The girl pondered. “It’s based on Japan, so shouldn’t there be extra cost for shipping? How could they keep the price uniform even when you order from half a globe away?”

    Adelva shrugged. “They must have their ways. It’s the magic age anyhow, there’s really no need to overthink it.”

    Memoria tilted her head in response. “You know, as someone who remembered the old world, I thought you’d be more… concerned about this kind of stuff.”

    “I’m trying to change, remember? I don’t really want to dwell on the past too much.” He easily answered, giving Memoria the towel back as he got dressed again. He’d need to have a shower in his room before going out for lunch. “Can you tidy the training room up for me? By the time--”

    “--You finished, I’d have finished my shower and we can go out to LOVELESS.” She finished with a smile. “I know, I know. I’d gladly clean the place up.”

    Adelva scratched his cheek while looking away. “It still feels weird to have you agree so readily. Or that I’m ordering you around, for that matter.”

    “Even though it’s been years now?”

    “I just… I guess I can’t help but to be reminded of her, and--” He stopped midway, realizing what he’s about to say before looking away in shame. “... Sorry.”

    Footsteps, before he felt a pair of hands cupping his face affectionately. His eyes and Memoria’s met, and he finds her giving him a gentle smile.

    “There’s nothing to apologize for.” She said softly. “I was born from your memories of her, no? It’s only natural to be reminded of her.”

    “It’s not fair to you.”

    “Perhaps not.” She agrees. “But you let me be my own person, and appreciate me for who I am. So it’s okay to be reminded of the past every now and then.” She reassured, kissing Adelva on the cheek before letting him go with a fond look. “So go now! If you don’t hurry, I’d be able to take a peek when you’re showering.”

    He lets out a small laugh, and Memoria counted that as a win.

    ------------

    Vatican
    Friday, Afternoon

    The Holy City doesn’t really have a formal education institution; while prospective tamers are given training and basic education on their job, unlike the SDCD there’s no affiliated schools or universities at the Vatican. People who want to pursue higher or formal education simply have to seek somewhere else, for the Holy City is, first and foremost, a religious and spiritual ground.

    However, that doesn’t mean there’s no form of education at all.

    Part of Mary Fairchild’s policies as a Pope was the establishment of the Sunday School program in churches and cathedrals. Every Sunday, children who live the closest to a particular church or cathedral will attend a class held by a priest or a nun; there, they’d be taught how to read and write, along with basic skills like math.

    However, the main focus of the Sunday School program is the building of morals, character, and of course religion. Children are taught how to act and behave, the role of demons and how they should be treated, and what it means to be tolerant and held on to their faith in this day and age.


    The program is, of course, free of charge, and is helpful not only to provide education for the less fortunate like orphans, but to also build a strong sense of community and family. “Love thy neighbors” are easier to do when you’ve known them since little, and the social distinction between the rich and the poor, or between an orphan and a child who still have both of their parents, can hopefully be lessened.



    Um…

    And right now, Angelica is currently lost in the Holy City.

    Today had been an uneventful day; she had helped Father Angelo clean the church and cook some light meal for lunch, where she spent them eating with a few other children who came to listen to the Father’s lessons and stories as they ate. Afterwards, she basically has nothing to do until evening, and wanting to make herself useful, asks whether there’s some errand that she could help with. Apparently this week’s Sunday School will have some drawing session, and there’s not enough pencils and crayons, so after convincing Father Angelo that she could do it on her own, he finally allowed her to go.

    Which is a good thing, she thought, because she overheard him mumbling about having a meeting in the afternoon. So by helping, Father Angelo could attend the meeting without worrying about forgetting to buy pencils and crayons. She’s sure her mom would be proud to hear what she’d done today.

    It started off so well too… She actually reached the shop without problem, and managed to buy the supplies she needs from the kind old lady. But then she tripped, dropped the newly-bought supplies, and after chasing around the rolling crayons and pencil realized that she doesn’t know where she is.

    She seems to be in some kind of garden… a big and beautiful one too. She’s never seen so many flowers and greens in one place before…

    “Oh!”

    She saw an angel passed by overhead and thought about shouting for help, but stopped before she could do it. It’s not polite, and to be honest most of the angels she saw is kind of intimidating…

    Besides, what if she’s actually not a good girl? What if the angel got mad, or even worse, disappointed in her? Angelica shivered at the thought and stayed silent, now fidgeting on what to do.

    “Excuse me? Are you okay?”

    “Waaah!” She jumped out in shock as she turned to the source of the voice, and came face-to-face with…

    A girl her age?

    “O-oh, I’m sorry to have surprised you.” The girl apologized. Angelica immediately noted her teal hair and the big, fluffy hat she’s wearing, which combined with her robes and shawl, makes for quite the cute sight. “I just saw you looking around, so I thought I’d make sure that you’re okay. I should have been more careful in alerting you to my presence.”

    The girl bowed in apology, and Angelica just stared. She’s so eloquent and polite…

    “Ah! I-it’s okay.” She hurriedly said after realizing the girl is still bowing, maybe waiting for her answer. “Um, I mean… I should have been more attentive to my surroundings, so you don’t have to be sorry.”

    “If you say so.” The other girl replied, finally standing straight again much to Angelica’s relief. “But my question still stands. Are you okay? Do you need help?”

    “Oh…” Right, she’s currently lost. She almost forgot about that. “I… I think I’m lost… but I can’t possibly bother you! I mean, what if you get lost too because of me…?”

    The girl lets out a giggle at that, which puzzled Angelica. Was there something funny in what she said…? “You don’t have to worry about me, I think I know the Holy City’s streets pretty well. So just tell me where you’re going and I’ll try my best to help you get there.”

    What a kind girl, she thought, and before she could stop herself she blurted out her agreement. “I-I’m going to the Rolent Church.”

    “Rolent Church… Ah, the one near the outskirts of the city?” The girl asked, and Angelica widened her eyes in surprise. She didn’t think a girl that seems to live far away from the outskirts would know. The teal-haired girl, nodding at her reaction, continues. “Well then, I’ll escort you…”

    A pause. The silence stretched on for several seconds before Angelica realized what’s going on. “Ah, I… My name is Angelica.” The other girl smiled before introducing herself too.



    I’m Cosmos. Let me escort you to the church then, Angelica.

    The newly-introduced Cosmos then began walking, and not wanting to get left behind, Angelica dutifully followed closely behind.

    The walk to the church was a fairly uneventful one, and while Cosmos seems to try and start a small talk on the way - such as what she’s doing with the supplies or why she’s going to a church instead of her home - soon enough the teal-haired girl ran out of topics, so it became her turn to be the one who ask questions, like where Cosmos got her hat from, which was apparently from the girl’s mother. Unfortunately, she’s not good at talking either, so in the end most of their walk was spent in awkward silence.

    Thankfully, Cosmos always makes sure she’s following closely behind, and it seems the teal-haired girl always keeps her pace not that much faster than her. Cosmos’ unique attire and giant hat also means it’s easy to pick her out when they’re passing through a crowd, so in the end they didn’t have trouble on the way.

    When they finally reach the door of the Rolent Church, it’s already evening, and she hopes that her mother hasn’t come to pick her up and become worried sick.

    “We’re here.” Cosmos finally said, turning to look at her. “You’ll be okay from here, right?”

    “Y-yeah. Thank you for helping me, Cosmos.” She bowed just like Cosmos did previously. “You didn’t have to, but you helped me… Thank you so much.”

    The teal-haired girl seems embarrassed before replying modestly.


    “You don’t have to thank me… I’m just doing my job.”

    Angelica blinked owlishly. Job…?

    But before she could ask, the door of the church opened, and her mother came flying before embracing her in a tight hug. Angelica could only let out a surprised squeal at the suddenness of the action.

    “Oh, Angelica, thank God you’re safe! Mother was so worried…! Imagine my worry when I managed to make my Sunday free only to find you missing-!”

    “M-mom-! I’m okay!” She squeaked. “Too tight… can’t breathe…”

    “A mother can’t help but to worry, it seems.” A deep voice said, and stepping out of the church was a figure Angelica saw as a grandfather: Father Angelo, the priest in charge of the Rolent Church.



    I have to thank you, Sister Cosmos. It must be by God’s will that the two of you managed to meet, and thus for you escort her safely back to this church.

    Angelica blinked again. Sister Cosmos…?

    “Oh, Sister Cosmos!” Her mother exclaimed, only now realizing the presence of the teal-haired girl, before letting her go and giving Cosmos a thankful smile. “I can’t thank you enough for escorting my daughter back here. If you’d need me for anything at the base, do not hesitate to ask! I’ll repay your kindness for sure.”

    “There is no need for that, really. As a spirit tamer of Rose Cross, I was only doing my duty, so there’s no need to be so thankful…”

    Spirit Tamer?

    “Anyway, I won’t be a bother for the three of you any longer. If you’ll excuse me.” She bowed, and soon enough Cosmos was gone from the premise while she’s still reeling from the new information she just learned.

    Sister? Spirit tamer? Cosmos couldn’t have been that much older than her… She must have misheard or misunderstood, but--

    “So that was Lady Mary’s daughter. Quite the modest and humble one, isn’t she?”

    “She’s a good girl. Her morning patrol schedule is usually after mine, and she has never come late, not even once. Lady Mary must be proud of her.”

    Bwuh?!

    “Angelica, honey? What’s wrong?”

    “... I want to be like her someday…”

    ------------

    Vatican
    Friday, Evening


    No one can work 24/7.

    Of course there are occasions where spirit tamers are forced to be awake for more than 24 hours, but no matter how someone pushes their body, sooner or later they’d need rest. Whether it’s a quiet time to themselves, listening to music, reading, playing games, chatting with friends, or other activities, people need to unwind in order to muster the energy needed to work the next day.

    That’s exactly what Sherry Garcia is currently doing, in LOVELESS. Unwinding after a long day at work.

    “Sherry? What are you doing?”

    And of course, someone has to interrupt this sacred time that she had chosen for herself.

    “What do you think, Adelva?” She bites back, giving him a half-glare as she honestly couldn’t muster the energy to be truly mad right now. “I’m drowning my stress and sorrow.”

    He blinked and looked at her table. Next to him, his COMP did the same. “I don’t see any liquor though?”

    “I’m drowning my stress and sorrow.” Sherry repeated, locking her eyes with the ex-zealot and daring him to avoid her gaze. “With parfaits.”

    Indeed, placed before her is a giant glass of chocolate-vanilla-strawberry parfait, one of the few things in this world that exist only to bring joy and bliss to Sherry Garcia.

    Adelva looked like he wanted to say something, but before he could say something to ruin the mood, his COMP spoke first.

    “Can we try that too, Ava? It looks so good…”

    Eyes glittering like stars as she admired the giant glass, Sherry found herself smiling just a tiny bit at the COMP’s reaction. At least someone understands the grandness of this special parfait. “Listen to your dear Memoria, Adelva. You can order one and eat it together, and if you’re afraid the two of you won’t be able to finish it, then rest assured that I’d gladly take any leftovers.”

    He raised an eyebrow. “Are you inviting me to eat with you, or…?”

    “I am not opposed to it.” Sherry said simply as she put another spoonful of the heavenly confection into her mouth. “Might as well have a chat now that we’ve met. Surely our meeting here is not a coincidence, but a part of the Lord’s grand plan, no?”

    “I…” Whatever he wanted to say died the moment he saw the puppy eyes of his own COMP, and Adelva let out a sigh. “Okay, fine, you two win.”

    Sherry silently watched as the two walked over to the counter, leaning back on her chair as she reflected on the strange pair while enjoying her tri-colored parfait.

    It’s hard to believe, but Adelva is one of her informants and a former zealot; well, the former part is actually debatable, because God knows his reiki still has that righteous fire that all zealots have, but at the very least he’s no longer mingling or taking missions from them.
    Sherry doesn’t know the details on why he left, but rumors said he came searching for Lady Mary one day, before breaking down and begging for help and forgiveness. It’s not really her place to pry, so she’s content to let him have his secrets; everyone has one, after all. What she does know is that the body for his COMP was given by Lady Mary as a gift, and that Lady Mary was the one who personally introduced him to her.

    She could see why. Adelva’s no longer a zealot, so obviously he could no longer mingle with his former friends and colleagues. However, he reeks so strongly of being one - in fact, there’s something sinister in just the way his soul felt, like that of a monster - that most people on Lady Mary’s side also tried their best to avoid him. Such is the nature of bias, and if she just randomly met him in the middle of a mission, she’s sure she’d avoid him too. Only by having him be introduced to her did she give him a chance, and turns out once you get past all that he’s a pretty normal fellow.

    Just another proof that Lady Mary is a good judge of character, she supposed.

    “So!” Adelva’s voice broke her out of her musing, placing down an identical glass of parfait as both he and Memoria took a seat across her. “Did you have a bad day, Sherry?”

    “What do you think?” She sarcastically replied before sighing. Despite being her informant, Adelva isn’t really working with her, per se. “Another case happened this morning, which makes it the fifth one in two weeks. Even for them, that’s highly unusual.” She paused to take a spoonful of parfait before continuing. “It’s often enough that we’re all high-strung on any possible case, and two days ago a missing demon we presumed was yet another case was just a case of the demon in question going to get some chocolate from Belgium.”

    He winced in sympathy. Memoria, for her part, is happily eating the parfait on her own. “Did we become the laughing stock of the demon server for a week?”

    “We became the laughing stock of the demon server for a week.” She confirmed as she took five spoonful of heavenly bliss to drown the memory in sugary sweetness. “Anyway, this makes me wonder if they have a new recruit lately, and if so, then they must be one hell of a good one.”

    Adelva nodded in understanding, before saying something truly ridiculous. “Have you considered taking a break?”

    She looked at him like he’s grown three heads. “A break? We’re in the middle of shroud-frenzy and you want me to take a break?”

    “Hey, I’m not saying that you should take a break right away.” He raised his hands in a placating gesture. “But you haven’t taken a break this year, right? Not even for a single day? I’m just saying that maybe having a break will clear your head and freshen you to stand against this new wave of cases.”

    Sherry tried to take a spoonful of parfaits, only to find it clinking with the glass. Empty already? Drat. “Yeah, I don’t think I will. Nothing’s more important than--”

    You have a message, my lady.’

    For God’s sake Bellato, can’t you see I’m in the middle of something right now?

    It’s from Lady Lumina.

    The name of her sister stopped her in her tracks, and perhaps realizing that she’s having a telepathic conversation, Adelva’s content to sit back and watch her in silence. “Excuse me.” She coughed before flipping her tome open and reading the message; she let out an exasperated smile after she finished reading it.

    “Something good happened?”

    “Amazing deduction, Sherlock.” She shot back as she closed her tome. “But yes, you could say that. It seems my family’s annual gathering is going to happen this month.”

    “Which means you’re taking a break soon.” He said with a grin. Sherry let out a sigh in defeat before nodding; she wonders if this is God’s way of saying that she should take it easier for a bit, because Lord knows she’d never miss her annual family gathering for anything. The thought of hearing Aina and Aila’s synchronized response, seeing Flora’s new paintings, Rosa showing off her latest outfit, or Lumina’s tales of her days as a medical student made her smile.

    Come to think of it, she hasn’t seen her sisters in a while, has she…?

    “Ava, say aaaaah--”

    Well, seeing these two acting lovey-dovey also brought a smile to her face too, sometimes. Like her feeding the parfait to a reluctant Adelva right now.

    Truth be told, it’s not hard to guess what must have happened to him just from seeing his interaction with Memoria alone, so seeing him have a healthy relationship with his COMP despite everything made her feel happy too.

    Everyone has their own struggles, and everyone has their own way to deal with life.

    “I’ll be back.” She said idly before getting up from her seat and walking to the counter.

    For her, well…

    Parfaits is one of her ways to deal with life.

    ------------

    Vatican
    Friday, Night


    “Is something the matter, Lifa?”

    “Hm? Oh, nothing Father.” Lifa easily replied back as she kept up her pace with the taller man, her dress fluttering as she did so. “I just thought I felt the reiki of a brother at that parfait place we just passed by.”

    “Is that so…? Alas, greeting a brother or sister in a place like this will accomplish nothing.” He chuckled. “Come to think of it, I haven’t congratulated you yet, have I? You did a good job on today’s mission, Lifa.”

    “Oh, it was nothing!” She replied sweetly. “Rather than that, are you sure you know where you’re going, Father? I thought LOVELESS’ layout changes every time?”

    “That is indeed the case, but there’s a few tricks that makes navigating it less of a chore.” Father Abel grinned. Lifa naturally asked the obvious question. “How? What do you have to do to not get lost?”

    “That is something you have to find out yourself.”

    Lifa pouted, and the priest smiled.

    The rest of their walk to the restaurant was spent in idle chatter, things like the merit of having a mall in the Holy City and whether or not it actually is a form of heresy or travesty. Sometimes other zealots would make their distaste of the place known, and while she could see why they think that way, Lifa could see the reality that most people are grateful for the place. As Father Abel said, compromise in the matter of humans is only to be expected after all, and right now they’re using the place to eat anyhow…

    Lifa won’t mind seeing the place get destroyed though. Something about it rubs her the wrong way, but then again maybe that’s her angel blood noticing something more primal?

    “We’re here.” Father Abel finally said, and Lifa read the sign of the restaurant.

    “Moon Under Water?” She questioned, puzzled by the name. She doesn’t really know what kind of a place it is just from the name alone.

    “It’s a Japanese restaurant.” He replied curtly before stepping in. Lifa blinked, happy that her guess earlier in the morning was right, and followed after the man a second later.

    Her eyes widened in wonder at the sight that greeted her.

    Rather than a restaurant, it’d be more accurate to describe the place as some kind of garden; wooden floors and foot paths wind around a massive Sakura tree, pink petals fluttering in gentle wind, while a crystal clear river travels alongside the foot paths, crossing under bridges and around walls. In the distance she could see a lake, along with what seems to be some sort of a bar area, and up above artificial starlight illuminates the garden…

    Simply put, it was a mesmerizing sight.

    “Beautiful, isn’t it?” Father Abel smiled. “Hard to believe that this is just a single restaurant inside a mall. It feels like stepping into another world altogether.”

    “Heavens above, this is…”

    She couldn’t really form words right now. In fact, she doesn’t even want to sit down and order some food. What Lifa wants to do at this very moment, first and foremost, is--

    “You can go explore the place if you want.” The priest said with amusement. “Our table would be near the lake. Just make sure not to be away for long, lest the food become cold.”

    She gave her uncle a brilliant smile. “Thank you! I won’t be away for long!”

    And with that, she began to explore the place.

    It’s wondrous. She had never seen a Sakura tree before, and thought the pink petals to be beautiful. The atmosphere of the place is also different from any restaurant her dad has brought her to in the past, and she’s half-tempted to just manifest her wings and fly around the place.

    “So this is what being in another country feels like…”

    She walked down the wooden stairs, wanting to get a closer look at the massive tree, admiring the sight and vistas before her…

    And then she stopped.

    She noticed two women sitting at the base of the tree, smiling and giggling as they enjoyed their meal while conversing with each other.

    Mary Fairchild and Alisa Kingsleigh.

    She doesn’t know how long she just stands there, looking at the Pope and her right-hand woman having a good time, until Mary noticed her staring and gave her a wave with a smile. Lifa waved back, a smile automatically present on her face, and now broken out of her reverie, began to walk away from the tree to the direction of the lake.

    Idly, she noted the fish swimming in the river besides her, thoughts swirling in a frenzy.

    What an unexpected encounter, so unexpected that it must be a sign from God. For what purpose did she see the two today, in a restaurant like this? What significance does it have? Who knew the Pope would love Japanese food? What were they talking about? Gossiping? Reminiscing on a memory? Or maybe about their daughters?

    How very human. Lifa thought it was lovely herself. An added charm point for the two most important women in Rose Cross, one could say, and she could only pray that one day they’d join her and her brothers and sisters in their righteous crusade in the future. She really doesn't want to make them her enemy, if she could help it.

    Lifa hummed a lullaby to herself as she walked, a smile still etched on her face when she reached the table where Father Abel is sitting, letters from her mum and dad placed on a small chair next to him.

    “You seem happy.” The man noted as she took a seat across him. “Did something good happen on the way?”

    “Hm?” She looked at the man she thought as her uncle, and smiled.



    “Oh, I just had the opportunity to meet two wonderful people today. The Lord sure works in mysterious ways.
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  11. #971
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Reverie Complex
    ------------------------------------------------------

    For the umpteenth time, Cosmos fell unceremoniously to the ground with a thud. She groaned, staying still and letting her body rest for a while as she looked upwards, where one of her most prized possessions lay nestled between tree branches.

    In other words, her hat.

    Alyx, the little rascal, had managed to once again got the better of her this sunday morning when she managed to swipe her hat off just after the designated tea time with her mother; the white-haired girl has excused herself first, claiming that she has an errand to run, and when she walked off to go enjoy a day off the tamer training, her sister did the deed just after they were out of her mother’s sight and hearing.

    Being the more athletic of the two - a fact that incensed Cosmos even now - Alyx managed to run around the inner gardens, climb a particularly tall tree, and put her hat there before she vanished like the wind, laughing all the way until she could no longer hear her. And for the past hour or two, Cosmos was trying without success to actually climb and retrieve her hat.

    Of course, she could always ask for help from someone like Aunt Alisa, but if she did that then Alyx would never let her hear the end of it, and she had enough of her mockery for the time being. So she’ll only ask for help as a last resort, because God knows that even with her physical capabilities and inability to climb, she’ll retrieve the first gift that her mother had given her without fail.

    Finally feeling rested enough, Cosmos stood up, looked up at her hat, and once again began trying to climb the tree.

    She’s aware that she must have looked stupid. A few times, people or tamers passed by - even the famous Isaac - and they either laughed, stared, or offered to help her. She ignored and refused them, saying that she’d overcome this trial by herself, and so she tried and tried and tried until finally, somehow, she managed to do it. She climbed all the way up, and with trembling and bruised hands, carefully picked the hat off the branches.

    Cosmos will admit that the feat managed to make her feel proud of herself.

    Still, being pretty high up, Cosmos took a moment to admire the view, and just by chance - or by God’s will - her eyes landed on a certain window.

    Namely, the window to her mother’s office.

    She never meant to pry or sneak a peek; she doesn’t even know that this particular tree is the one that could be seen from her mother’s office.


    But she’d never forget what she saw for the rest of her life.

    At first glance, it would seem that her mother was working; papers, letters and documents are sprawled on her table, and she seems to be reading one of them. And yet as Cosmos found herself entranced by the sight, after a minute or two she noticed something unusual.

    Namely, her mother isn’t moving at all.

    She doesn’t turn the document to the next page. She doesn’t put it down and takes a new one. She doesn’t sign it either, and there’s no change in her expression. No, strangely enough her mother is merely sitting still, seemingly having her eyes focused on the paper she is holding, though Cosmos doubts that her mother is reading it.

    Which is strange, because if Cosmos should name a quality of her mother that isn’t “kind,” “nice” or other similar qualities, then it is “hardworking.” Even from her first month of living with Mary, the woman is always busy, and she knows that her mother is not the type to slack off when working.

    So seeing her like this - seemingly daydreaming - is something new, and strange.

    So enthralled was she that she didn't even notice that her grip was loosening, and before long Cosmos Fairchild fell with a thud for the last time that day.

    She wished she could just fly so she would never have this problem ever again...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    It was night when she managed to visit her mother.

    Ever since her training as a tamer began, Cosmos began living in a shared space with other candidates, and the training and studying was hard enough that she really doesn’t have the time to visit her mother except on sunday. She missed the days when she spent the night with her mother everyday - sometimes even sleeping together if her mother doesn’t have anything urgent to attend to - but it’s a consequence that she accepted as a part of growing up. She wanted to help her mother after all, so it’s a small price to pay.

    That doesn’t mean she would miss the chance to spend a night with her mother. God knows that she needs some of her mother’s hugs, headpats, and lullabies after six days of sharing a room with Alyx non-stop.

    And today, God blessed her with not only the opportunity to visit her mother, but also to sleep with her. Of course that means she has to wake up earlier and run to not be late for the morning training session, but it’s a low price to pay to spend a night with her mother.

    So here she is, sitting on her mother’s bed and telling her the incident that happened earlier that day as Mary listened attentively, the room dark save for the small illumination that the lamp on the bedside provides; a few times her mother asked whether it hurts and whether she’s alright, worriedly making sure that there’s no leftover bruise or cuts, but Cosmos felt her heart soars when she saw her mother smiling and clapping when she tells her that she managed to get her hat back on her own, hugging her and congratulating her for a victory over Alyx that, admittedly, rarely happens.

    Of course, telling her mother that story also reminded her of what she saw through the window, and being curious, Cosmos decided to satiate that curiosity.

    “Mother?”

    “Yes, sweetheart?”

    “Do you like to daydream?”

    There was a pause as she saw her mother’s face showing surprise at the question before her usual smile once again graced her face. “I didn’t expect that question at all. Where did this come from, dear?”

    “Um, the tree that I was climbing was the tree just outside your office, and I happened to look inside. B-but I didn’t intend to look, honest!” Cosmos quickly claims, waving her hands around in panic. “My eyes just wander in somehow, but-but-”

    “Slow down Cosmos.” Her mother advised with a small giggle, melodious like winter chimes. “It’s okay, I’m not mad. There’s nothing wrong with looking inside a room through the window really, so you don’t need to be so nervous!”

    “R-right.” She nodded, and after taking a deep breath, continued her story. “So… I looked through the window, and I saw mother reading a document… or at least I thought so. But after a few minutes I realized that mother was not reading at all, instead being seemingly frozen in place. That’s why I asked whether mother likes to daydream, because I think what I saw was mother daydreaming.”

    Finishing her story, Cosmos looked at her mother’s face… and saw her cheeks reddening. It wasn’t much, and in the dim lighting it was almost unnoticeable, but Cosmos widened her eyes as she caught her mother blushing for the first time in her life.

    She’d make sure to record the moment in her memory forever.

    “Goodness, so you saw that. I never thought I'd ever be caught.” Her mother said with an embarrassed smile. “Please don’t tell Alyx or Aunt Alisa, okay? It would be our little secret.”

    “Oh, of course I won’t tell anybody, I promise!” She replied enthusiastically, giddy at the thought of being trusted with one of her mother’s secrets. “Especially not Alyx!”

    “Promise?” Her mother asked, offering her pinky. Cosmos intertwined her own pinky to her mother’s without hesitation.

    “Promise!”

    “Okay! Now I can share why I was daydreaming.” Her mother nodded with an angelic smile. “To be honest, it’s only fitting for you to find out; I really should tell you this, sooner or later. Perhaps you saw me because God guided your eyes there.”

    Intrigued, Cosmos scooted closer to her mother as Mary continued her story.

    “You see… just like you, I also don’t remember anything about my past.”

    She could feel her eyes widening at her mother’s words.

    “Of course, it no longer bothers me now. I have a duty to fulfill, people that I could call friends, and now, I have you too. But sometimes, my mind couldn’t help but to wonder.” Mary admitted as she looked at her eyes with a faraway gaze. “What was my life like before I woke up? Do I have anyone who misses me? Where did I come from?” She smiled. “It was part of the reason why I offered to adopt you, if I could be honest. A selfish part of myself wanted the company of someone with similar circumstances to me.”

    Gently, her mother began stroking her hair, and Cosmos stayed still as she listened.

    “So know that you are not alone, Cosmos. I might never regain my memory, and you might never regain yours; but at the very least, we now have each other, and I would always believe our meeting to be fate destined by God.”

    Without warning, Cosmos proceeds to gently hug her mother; Mary, for her part, never stopped stroking her hair.

    “--Thank you for telling me this, mother.” She looked up, giving her mother a big smile. “Never forget that it goes both ways, okay? I’ll also always be there for you!”

    “Of course you will.” Her mother readily agreed before she finally stopped stroking her hair; a part of Cosmos felt disappointed, but she stayed quiet after her mother gave her a kiss on her forehead. “We should sleep now. You have to get up early tomorrow, right?”

    “Right!” As if on command, Cosmos swiftly got inside the blanket and lay down, Mary following suit at a much slower and deliberate pace after turning off the bedside lamp.

    “Goodnight, mother.” She said with a yawn, just like whenever she sleeps with her mother, and the last thing that she saw before closing her eyes and drifting to sleep was her mother’s gentle smile.

    “Goodnight, sweetheart.”

    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  12. #972
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    The First Fruit
    -------------------------------

    Cosmos Fairchild had never really thought about death before.

    She knew about it of course, but it seems… distant, so far away that it’s not really something she’s concerned with, despite being a spirit tamer. After all, in this magic age healing and medical field has advanced far, to the point that harm and injuries done to the body are relatively easy to be healed; even something as bad as loss of limbs can now be healed with relative ease.

    Indeed, in this magic age, the danger of death only really came not from injuries to the body, but to the mind or soul; areas that are still not well understood even today. That’s why tamers are always careful when facing unknown magic or demons.

    And yet at this moment, Cosmos found herself on the verge of death due to injuries to her body. A mission gone wrong, she was captured to be used as a hostage - a bargaining chip to make her mother submit to the demands of these people, whoever they are. And to show that their threats are not empty, they began to torture her, all the while recording it and showing it in real time to her mother.

    Despite being relatively sheltered, it’s not as if Cosmos doesn’t know pain. She’s certainly gotten hurt on missions before, and while nothing seriously life-threatening, broken bones and flesh wounds is something she had experienced before.

    But those had always happened with her harmonizer turned on, and the injuries never last because she always has a healing spell ready. Without Illia or the harmonizer, she realized that her body is much more fragile than she had imagined.

    They beat her at first, punching and kicking at her body, and every hit managed to leave their mark; then they started to break her fingers one by one, and it took all of her willpower not to scream out in pain, because she knew these people hoped to make her scream and beg so that her mother will abandon caution to the wind and submit.

    That’s why she held on. That’s why she shouted for her mother not to give in, that she could handle this kind of pain just fine…

    Then they chopped her fingers off, one by one, and for the first time in her life Cosmos screamed and cried out in pain.

    It hurts. It hurts so much that tears welled up in her eyes, and for a few moments the thought of begging at her attackers to stop, for her mother to save her, flashed through her mind before she discarded it just as quickly.

    Cosmos told herself that her fingers could be healed. Her life and well-being doesn’t compare to the life and well-being of her mother. Better her that gets hurt rather than her mother, or countless other innocents and civilians. So she held on, and even if she couldn’t stop herself from screaming or crying, at the very least she didn’t reduce herself to a sobbing mess, begging for the pain to stop. She took solace in that fact.

    Her toes came next, and after that, her arms and legs. It hurts, it hurts so much, but she held on, praying to God for strength and repeating the mantra in her head that these wounds could be healed. That she just had to endure.

    Her tongue was taken sometime afterwards, perhaps after they’ve gotten sick of hearing her reciting the name of the Lord, and it was so painful that she was reduced to a sobbing mess; but she was grateful that she no longer has to watch her tongue from begging for mercy or for her mother, and counted the loss as a blessing in disguise.

    Cosmos didn’t know how long she was trapped and tortured there; time simply lost all meaning when every waking moment was filled with pain and more pain. A few times she wondered how she was not dead yet, but seeing the stump on her arms and legs reminded her that her captors had managed to stop the bleeding somehow, and she’s not really in the state of mind to question things.

    And some time after she had lost her tongue and had begun to go blind in one eye from all the beatings she endured, Cosmos could feel herself dying.

    It’s a strange thing. Even though the torture hurts, even though losing her fingers and limbs and tongue was painful beyond measure, she didn’t get the feeling that she’d die back then. But now, after God-knows how long, she could feel death approaching, a gentle whisper in her ear that said, your end draws near.

    That fact brought some form of peace to her mind.

    The pain will end soon. She no longer has anything to fear. Just waiting for the end to come, slowly but surely.

    Cosmos thought she had endured well. She felt some pride from her captors’ frustration when beating her, which told her that she had managed to convince her mother not to give in, one way or another. She felt happy that she managed to do her duty as a spirit tamer.

    If there’s any regret, or unfulfilled wish…

    She wished to see and hear her mother again, one last time.

    Thankfully, God is kind and merciful. Through her fading vision and damaged eardrums, the sound of combat rang, and people that she figured were Rose Cross tamers subdued her captors quickly and efficiently; someone broke the chains and bind that holds her in place, and she fell into the arms of a woman with a familiar scent.

    Her mother.

    Ah, how she wished she could speak to her mother one last time, to ask whether she had done a good job. Embrace her, and tell her how much she loved her…

    But this is fine.

    To die in the arms of her mother is more than she deserved; even if she couldn’t see or hear her mother clearly through her damaged eyes and ears, she felt grateful all the same, and--

    She could still barely see and hear her mother, even if she was crying.

    --Ah.

    Her mother is crying for her.

    As Cosmos Fairchild passed away, mere instants before healing magic was cast, her lips curled into a small smile.

    Content and happy to know that she was loved.

    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  13. #973
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Fates
    -------------------------------------

    It was a small room in the back of Rolent Church.

    Two sofas facing each other, a small table between them. Two glasses of water on top. And sitting on each sofa, two men, both men of the cloth, scrutinizing the other in their semi-regular, unscheduled meetings.

    Are they friends? Acquaintances? Enemies?

    Hard to say.

    The clock on the wall ticked quietly as time marches on, the only sound filling the silence of the room.



    ... So what do you want to discuss with me this time, Father Abel?

    In the end, it was the dark-skinned priest that broke the silence first.

    Does it even matter who spoke first?

    Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    Father Abel smiled.



    Do you believe in fate, Father Angelo?

    Father Angelo frowned. “Of course. Are there priests who don't believe in fate?”

    “Perhaps I should have worded it better.” Father Abel rectified, still with a smile. “For His believers, for us people of the cloth, to believe in fate is only natural. But how much do you believe in it? How much agency do you think us humans possess?” The man questioned. “I’m curious to hear your answer, Father Angelo.”

    “I see.” Father Angelo shifted his posture a little so he sits a little bit straighter. “I followed after Lady Mary’s belief on the matter of fate. Perhaps the path has already been decided, but us humans have always had the choice to choose which path to take. Where the path will lead us, only the Lord knows; but at the very least, we do have some agency and choice over the matter.”

    “An admirable answer.” Father Abel nodded. It’s hard to tell whether it’s genuine or not. “If you think so, then surely you must believe that whatever awaits you at the end of the path you’ve chosen, it is for the best? That the Lord knows better?”

    Father Angelo didn’t answer immediately. It seems tempting to answer immediately, and yet his experience of talking with the zealot had made him notice… little things, here and there. And right now, Father Abel is trying to make some kind of statement, disguised as a question with a seemingly obvious answer.

    “What are you trying to say?”

    At his response, the zealot’s smile widens a little.

    “Even for the people of the cloth, who believe in Him and fate, logic and rationality usually follows.” Father Abel began. “If one is to err and receive punishment, or to not try and fail, then it is easily accepted, for it follows logic. The opposite is also true.” The zealot leaned in, as if trying to share a secret. “But what if fate doesn’t follow logic? You’ve tried, and still fail. You erred, and received no punishment. Good people die, while sinners live. It is when faced with this dilemma that most started to falter.” Father Abel titled his head. “What about you, Father Angelo?”

    The dark-skinned priest mulled it over for a few moments.

    “It would be the height of human hubris to claim to know the will of the Lord.” He finally said. “Every one of us merely chooses a path that the Lord has made, and follows it to an end that the Lord has created. And along the way, paths meet and intersect with each other. To expect things to go the way you expect it to be would be foolish, and those who cannot accept where the path ends up means they simply don’t believe in the Lord enough.”

    --The moment he finished his sentence, Father Abel’s smile turned into a grin, a chuckle escaping his lips.

    Father Angelo frowned as Father Abel spoke.

    “A model answer for a man of the cloth. Would Lady Mary answer the same, I wonder?” The zealot took his glass of water and sipped it before placing it back on the table. “But indeed, I agree with you. Those who cannot accept where the path ends simply don’t believe in the Lord enough. It is only imperative for humans to struggle, to try their best, but if the end does not match their expectations, then they simply have to accept it, lest they fall into despair or curse the name of the Lord over something they perceive as unfair.”

    Father Angelo’s eyes widened in realization of what was going on.

    “... You have yet to make your point.” He spoke slowly, and Father Abel smiled.

    “My point, Father Angelo, is simple. Is it right to rebel against the end?”

    The dark-skinned priest narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?”

    “Let’s suppose an extreme scenario. Suppose that Doomsday, the Day of Judgment, happens tomorrow morning. Would it be right to try to avert it? To rebel against it? To change things so that it won’t happen?”

    Father Angelo frowned, finally realizing the trap he’s fallen into.

    But this time, he’d seen through the second trap waiting for him.

    “If it truly is the Day of Judgment, then it is wrong to try to avert it or rebel against it.” The dark-skinned priest concedes. “But at the same time, if it truly is the Day of Judgment, then there is no averting or rebelling against it, for it is final. When humanity can still struggle and fight, then Doomsday has yet to arrive, and thus it is only natural to try to avert it.”

    For once, Father Abel seems genuinely impressed.

    “Well-said, Father Angelo.” The zealot acknowledges with a nod. “But indulge me just a little bit more. If you have seen the end, the destination of a path that had been chosen, and given the ability to choose differently, to redo it over… Would it be right to try, if that end is not what we desire?”

    Father Angelo let out a chuckle, and Father Abel raised an eyebrow.

    “You aren’t finished yet.”

    Father Abel grinned in response, seemingly pleased that the dark-skinned priest had seen through him.

    “Indeed, you are correct. If it is right to try, to take the ability to choose differently, then what will you do when you realize that all the different paths lead to the same end?” The zealot questioned. “Should we try again and again, even when the destination remains the same, no matter which path we take? Does that not count as trying to go against fate, against the will of the Lord?”

    Father Angelo simply smiled.

    “And who are we, as humans, to presume to know how many paths exist and proclaim that all paths lead to the same end?” The dark-skinned priest asked back. “In this hypothetical scenario, the Lord has granted us the means to change the path we tread. If you believe that the Lord is kind and just, then it is only logical to believe that we are given the means to change the path we tread for a reason, is it not?”

    Father Angelo took his glass of water and held it in his hand.

    “If this means to change paths is limited in use, then if we still reach the same end as we used up all of our chances, it is time to accept reality and surrender ourselves to that end. There is no use to curse the Lord or to try again when there are no more chances. But as long as there is a chance, as long as the Lord has yet to take that means of changing the path away from us, then it is only expected of us to try to change it, no? For the Lord will not help those who do not try to help themselves.”

    With that said, the dark-skinned priest drank his glass until it was empty, before placing it back on the table and leaning back on the sofa as Father Abel did the same.

    Once again, silence reigned aside from the ticking of the clock mounted on the wall, the two men of the cloth eyeing each other.

    Once again, Father Angelo is the one to break the silence.

    “Do you have hopes for what lies at the end of the path, Father Abel?”

    The zealot raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

    “I think most of us choose a path and walk it with hope in our hearts. Hope that something wonderful awaits at the end of the road. That perhaps, our dreams and desires will come true. We pray, and we try, to make them come true, even if the destination might not exactly be what we are hoping for.” Father Angelo tilted his head. “But what about you, Father Abel? Do you have hopes and dreams you want to see realized?”

    Father Abel lets out a chuckle in response.

    “I do not dream or hope for the future. I have seen too many people with grand dreams and ambitions who destroyed themselves in the pursuit of their goals, who cannot accept the reality that awaits at the end of their paths. I have seen what people are willing to do in order to make their dreams come true, no matter the cost. And I shall not delude myself into thinking that I am incapable of making such mistakes.” Father Abel linked his fingers together. “Thus, I have no need for hopes or dreams. I can dedicate myself to the Lord, and accept whatever awaits at the end of the path I’ve chosen.”

    “Do you think that hope and dreams are harmful by nature, then?” Father Angelo asked as he refilled their cups with water. “Do you think it is wrong to dream and have hopes?”

    “I never said that it is wrong to dream or have hope.” The zealot shook his head with a smile. “Oftentimes, people’s dreams and hopes are wonderful. To protect others. To ensure that others don’t experience the same tragedy that they experienced. To create a world without conflict. To understand and coexist with one another.” He took his glass and swirled the water lightly. “But even if you can ensure that you yourself never stray, never do anything wrong in pursuit of that dream, you cannot guarantee that others will do the same.”

    Father Abel sipped his drink. Father Angelo spoke.

    “Is that how you see us?” The dark-skinned priest asked, trying to understand the zealot. “People who strayed in pursuit of our dreams and goals?”

    “Is that not how you see us too?” Father Abel asked back. “All of us in the Church seek the same thing, and yet we interpret the scripture and the words of the Lord differently. In doing what we perceive as right, as what the Lord would have wanted, we perceive the other as wrong, straying from the proper path. And so we come into conflict with one another, despite seeking the same thing and believing in the same God.”

    The zealot took a sip of his water before continuing.

    “Thus, I never dreamed or hoped for you to understand us, nor have I ever prayed for us to succeed. I accept that the majority sided with Lady Mary, and I also accept that despite being the minority, we are doing just fine. And whatever awaits at the end of the path - whether the Lord deemed us or Lady Mary to be the correct one - I shall accept it with a smile, because in the end we’d never know what it is that the Lord truly wants.”

    “I see.” Father Angelo nodded in understanding. "Even if nothing awaits us at the end, even if your efforts as a zealot means nothing, even if complete annihilation of the human race awaits at the end of the path... you would be able to accept it."

    "If it truly is the end of the path that the Lord has created, then indeed, that would be the case." Father Abel smiled. "And I imagine the same applies to you too."

    Father Angelo simply lets out an amused chuckle with a nod in response.

    Silence once again descended upon the room, Father Abel finishing his second glass of water as the clock mounted on the wall kept on ticking, and t
    his time, it was Father Abel who broke the silence between them.

    “It seems it is time for me to go.” He said as he stood up with a satisfied smile, placing his glass on the table. “It’s always been a pleasure to talk to you, Father Angelo. Lady Mary should be grateful to have someone like you on her side.”

    “I’m merely the priest of this humble church, and not someone whom Lady Mary should pay attention to. But I am thankful as well, Father Abel.” Father Angelo said with a smile as he, too, stood up. “Talking with you has always affirmed my faith in the Lord, and serves as a reminder of the pitfalls so many of us have easily fallen into. If all zealots have the same understanding of the faith as you, then they are in a good place to be.”

    The two men shakes hands, and--

    “It’s a shame our stance on demons must be irreconcilable.”

    Both said that at the same time, the disappointment was clear in their tone even as they smiled at each other.

    “Then again, God is merciful and all-loving.”

    “Indeed. I imagine He would show us some leniency in the afterlife, no matter which of us ends up being right.”

    --It’s a bizarre and complex relationship.

    Perhaps not even the two knew what exactly they were to each other.

    But they parted on amicable terms, and there is little doubt that they’d come to talk with each other again in the future.

    And so, another discussion between a zealot and a moderate came to an end.
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  14. #974
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Weaving Memories
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Cosmos Semesta Preciel absentmindedly followed Mary Fairchild, her thoughts blank.

    She had only woken up, with no memory but her own name: Cosmos Semesta Preciel, “The Order of the Universe Before the Sky.” Of that one thing, Cosmos is sure: that this name is her own, the very core of her being and existence.

    But everything other than her name was out of reach.

    Cosmos looked down at her right hand, intertwined with Mary’s as the woman guided her somewhere, before looking up at the blonde. Words entered her mind as she thought about what she knew about Mary from the little interaction they had back in the garden.

    Mary’s… kind. Warm. Smells nice, beautiful, and has really nice hair. The clothes she’s wearing also look pretty, and her different-colored eyes (Cosmos thought there’s a term for it, but it escaped her mind at the moment) are striking. Aside from all that, there’s also a strange feeling about Mary, something that puts her at ease…

    As if… she seems familiar, somehow…? Or that she somehow knew she could trust in this woman she just met?

    How curious…

    “We’re here.” Mary said, breaking her out of her reverie as Mary unlocked and opened the thing - the door, her mind supplied an instant after - and gave a warm smile as she gently guided her into the room. “Please, make yourself at home!”

    Cosmos’ eyes wandered as she curiously looked around, before her feet started to move on their own, driven by curiosity.

    The first thing that she noticed is that the place is huge. It seems to be divided into several different sections, and thankfully Mary named them all as she trailed behind her; The “living room” has a big carpet covering the floor, a modestly-sized table, two chairs, a tv, a clock hanging on the wall, and a big soft chair (her mind seems conflicted to call it either a couch or a sofa). Not too further behind is the kitchen, though the only notable thing she noticed at a first glance is the ice box (or a fridge, as Mary corrected her) and the cupboard filled with cups, glass, plates and other utensils.

    To the right of the living room is an area filled with cabinets and bookshelves, with a single table (a desk? She wonders why there are different names for the same thing…) and a chair at the very end. It is apparently called the study, and Cosmos felt that she liked the place and wondered whether that’s because of all the books. Was she a book-lover in the past? An avid reader, perhaps? Still, she couldn’t just take a book and read it without permission, if she’d even be allowed to at all, so Cosmos shelved those thoughts away for the moment.

    To the left of the living room is the “bedroom,” which appropriately has a huge bed that looks very comfy to sleep in, along with a nightstand (which is yet another table) and a lamp. There is also a door that leads to the “bathroom,” which is also pretty big and looks really nice, even having a shower and a bathtub. Completing the whole package are two machines - “air conditioners,” Mary helpfully supplied - that makes the whole place cool and pleasant.

    “Your home is… really nice.” She said honestly after exploring the whole place. Mary seems to be happy to hear that, which somehow makes her happy too, but the thought of home filled her with a strange feeling, and she thought she could feel a certain sense of melancholy when she thought about the subject.

    Cosmos wondered whether she has a home, a place to return to.

    “Okay,” Mary said as she knelt down and looked her in the eyes. “I need to go and pick a few things up. Can you be a good girl and wait here until I get back?”

    She nods, and in response Mary gently pats her head with a smile.

    Cosmos thought she liked being patted on the head.

    “I’ll try not to be out for long.” The blonde promised before finally standing up and leaving the place, closing the door with a click.

    For a few moments, Cosmos simply stared at the door, listening to Mary’s footsteps as it got further and further away until she couldn’t hear it anymore.

    Then, she turned her attention away to the clock hanging on the wall, the short hand resting at the number four, and
    remembered
    knew
    that the device is used to tell time.


    With nothing else to do, Cosmos sat down on the carpet and listened to the ticking of the clock, letting her mind wander while waiting for Mary to come back.

    ----------------------------

    "I'm home!"

    Mary came back when the short hand of the clock was resting at the number seven, breaking her out of her reverie; the woman was carrying several bags on each arm while holding a… different kind of bag, where she could smell a nice aroma wafting from it. Mary’s breathing is labored, seemingly out of breath - which made her wonder whether the woman ran back in a hurry - but the tired smile that’s present on her face slowly disappears as her different-colored eyes take her in, and Cosmos finds herself tensing up at the reaction.

    Did… did she do something wrong? She must have, because what other explanation is there for Mary to stop smiling? So Cosmos tries to think on what she could have done wrong, even though she was pretty sure she’d been sitting on the same spot all this time while waiting for Mary--

    “... Cosmos? Why are you sitting on the carpet?”

    Everything clicked into place with that comment, and Cosmos hurriedly stood up.

    “I-I’m sorry…! I-I sat on the carpet even though I hadn't asked for permission first, I shouldn’t have done that-!” She bowed in apology, eyes not daring to meet Mary’s as she reprimanded herself. Stupid, stupid Cosmos! She should have waited standing up instead of sitting down, and now she had made Mary angry even though the woman had been so kind and understanding…

    She could hear Mary’s footsteps as she walked towards her, and Cosmos stayed still, closing her eyes as she prepared herself for the inevitable punishment, like being thrown out; she could hear her heart beating in her chest like crazy, and when she felt a hand on her shoulder Cosmos couldn’t help but flinch.

    “Why are you apologizing, little one? You did nothing wrong. I’m just curious why you’re not sitting on the sofa instead.”

    … Huh?

    Opening her eyes and looking up, she saw Mary’s expression was that of confusion instead of anger, head tilted to the side a bit, and faced with an unexpected turn of events, Cosmos simply spoke the truth.

    “I… I don’t know whether you’d allow me to…”

    Mary blinked, understanding seemingly dawning on her face as she spoke again. “Was that why you apologized earlier? Because I did not give my express permission for you to sit on the carpet?”

    Cosmos nods silently, looking at the floor once again, before the sound of bag rustling could be heard as Mary knelt down, putting all of her things aside on the floor before gently raising her chin up so that their eyes could meet.

    “You don’t need to feel like you did something wrong, Cosmos. If anything, the blame lies on me for not making my intention clear enough.” Mary said apologetically. Cosmos tries to interrupt, to say that it’s not Mary’s fault, but the woman puts an index finger on her lips to stop her. “But you don’t need to feel so reserved; as I said when we first arrived, you can make yourself at home. You don’t need to ask for my permission to sit on the sofa, use the bathroom, or sleep on the bed; you can even take anything you want out of the fridge or the kitchen, like the cookies.” Mary gave a reassuring smile. “So cheer up, okay?”

    Cosmos doesn’t know what kind of expression she’s making right now, but…

    Mary isn’t angry.

    She didn’t upset the kind woman who had found her and brought her to her home.

    That fact brought relief to her heart, so Cosmos nodded. That seems to satisfy Mary, because the woman stands up, picking up the strange bag with a good aroma as she did, and then taking out two containers (?) before placing them on the table.

    “Well, I bought us dinner! It’s just spaghetti bolognaise, but hopefully you’ll like it.” Mary announced with a smile as she pulled one of the chairs out before gesturing for her to sit on it; Cosmos quietly obeyed and did so, looking as Mary went to the kitchen instead of sitting on the remaining empty chair.

    “What would you like to drink?” Mary asked as she poured some water into a kettle (at least, that’s what her mind tells her). Cosmos blinked, unsure, before deciding to ask.

    “Um… what kind of drinks can I have…?”

    “I have tea, coffee and milk if you want hot ones…” The woman replied as she began boiling the water before opening the fridge. “For the cold ones, I have… some juice, milk, tea and coffee.”

    So tea, coffee and milk can be drunk hot and cold…? How strange…

    Deciding that thinking about it is too confusing and difficult - she doesn’t remember what each of the drinks taste like anyway - she opted to choose the simplest solution. “I think I’d have whatever you’re having, please.”

    “Okay~” Mary acknowledged as she closed the fridge and prepared some cups, and before long Cosmos was absorbed in watching the woman work as Mary hummed a tune to herself. It’s honestly mesmerizing, somehow, and Cosmos thought that Mary had a beautiful voice as she listened to her humming.

    Come to think of it, she’d been admiring Mary all day, hasn’t she…?

    Before long, Mary has returned to the table, placing a teapot, two cups, and a jar of… white substance before finally taking her seat.

    “We’re having Jasmine hot tea.” Mary said as she took the teapot and poured the tea into both cups. “Do you want it with sugar?”

    Sugar… right, the white substance. Makes things sweet, if she wasn’t mistaken. “What do you recommend…?”

    “Some people like to drink it as it is, some like to add sugar, while others like it with milk-” Mary blinked, did a once-over to the table, before giggling sheepishly. “O-oh dear, I forgot to prepare the milk… if you want to, I can-”

    “Nonono, it's okay!” Cosmos quickly interjects, not wanting to cause more trouble for Mary. “How do you drink your tea, Miss Mary?”

    “I add two spoons of sugar for mine.” The woman replied as she did exactly that before stirring it. “Maybe you could try to drink it first as it is, and then try mine to compare?”

    “C-can I? It’s your tea though…”

    “There’s still plenty of tea left in the teapot, so you don’t have to worry.” Mary reassured with a smile. “And if we need more tea, I can simply make some more, so don’t be shy!”

    “If you say so…” Cosmos raised her cup slowly, blowing over it a few times when she realized how hot the drink was, before finally taking a sip.

    She tried not to wince, she really did, but despite the nice aroma the drink was bitter, and she must have let it show on her face as Mary actually laughed - a melodious laugh, but a laugh nonetheless - and Cosmos could feel her face heating up from embarrassment.

    “P-pardon me, I lost control for a moment. You won’t like coffee with that reaction, I think.” Mary apologized, her eyes still twinkling from amusement before offering her her cup; still embarrassed, Cosmos quickly tried it and decided that she likes to have her tea with sugar, and soon enough her cup is now the same as Mary’s.

    All that’s left now is to eat the food, but Mary clasped her hands together and muttered something that she couldn’t quite catch with closed eyes. She decided to politely wait until the woman is finished with whatever she’s doing before finally opening the container and looking at her dinner. It was a noodle (?) of sorts, with some kind of reddish sauce on it, and a fork was neatly placed inside of the container.

    Cosmos slowly and carefully took the utensil out, trying to
    remember
    figure out
    how to hold and use it for a few minutes; she knew the name of the utensil, and yet she couldn’t figure out how to use the thing…!


    “Cosmos,” Mary gently speaks, once again freezing her in place as she turns her attention to the blonde who’s looking rather concerned. “Do you know how to use a fork?”

    Shame filled her being as she looked away, mouthing a quiet “no” as tears started to form in her eyes; why is she being such a nuisance to Mary? Why couldn’t she do something right even on something as simple as eating a meal…?

    But the sound of a chair scraping the floor filled the silence, and soon enough Cosmos found herself in Mary’s warm embrace.

    “Shh, it’s okay, it’s okay.” The woman whispered while gently patting her back.

    “But… But!” She sobbed.

    “You can learn how to use it; I’ll teach you how to. So don’t cry, okay? It’s never too late to learn.” Mary reassured, and Cosmos buried her face into Mary’s arms as she continued to cry while giving a weak nod to the woman’s words.

    She’s truly lucky to be found by such a gentle and caring woman.

    ---------------------------------

    Steam filled the bathroom as Cosmos found herself sitting in the bathtub, with Mary diligently washing her back.

    After they finished their dinner and desserts of chocolate cookies, Mary had led her to the bathroom, carrying most of the bags she brought with her; turns out it mostly contains the tools needed to clean herself, like a towel, a sponge, and a toothbrush; Mary even bought soap and shampoo for her, even though she spied some in the bathroom earlier, but maybe Mary simply doesn’t want her to use those, which makes a certain amount of sense because the bottle for her soap and shampoo is colored teal like her hair (she’s surprised to find out that she can read the word ‘mint’ on the front) while Mary’s colored white and gold and reads… honey-something. It’s surprising to find that Mary could use honey for her hair without it turning sticky, but she suppose it explains why she smells so nice.

    Nevertheless, Cosmos concludes that maybe every person needs to use soap and shampoo whose bottle matches their hair color.

    Mary had then offered to help her bathe, which she eventually accepted because, as easy as bathing seems like, Cosmos soon found out that her arms couldn’t really reach her back…

    Which is how she currently found herself in this situation.

    “Um, Miss Mary…?”

    “Yes, Cosmos?”

    “Why… are you doing all this for me?” She timidly asks as she spies Mary taking the showerhead to rinse her back, and Cosmos lets out a content sigh when the warm water hits her back. “I’m thankful of course, but… isn’t this too much? I don’t remember anything, but it’s not like I’d stay here forever, right? So…”

    Mary lets out a hum in response, seemingly thinking, and Cosmos patiently waits while allowing herself to bask in the bliss of warm water. Eventually, the woman replies as she takes the new bottle of shampoo into her hands.

    “Tomorrow, I'll begin looking into your past and identity.” Mary began as Cosmos felt something cool and nice on her head - the mint shampoo, she’s guessing - as Mary slowly and gently began washing her hair. “But it won’t be simple, nor will it be fast; I’m quite sure you’re not from around here as I’m quite familiar with the children in the city. Besides, amnesia isn’t exactly something that commonly happens; there is a possibility that you might be involved in something dangerous, so I think it’d be best if you stay with me for now, at least until everything is resolved and we find out more about you.” A pause. “Of course, that’s only if you’re okay with staying with me until everything is finished, and if you want to stay elsewhere then we can try looking for a place you like tomorrow…”

    Was it just her imagination, or did Mary’s tone shift a little at the end? As if it’s not something the woman had really thought about before, and now reluctant to bring up…

    As Mary instructed her to crane her neck upwards, Cosmos voiced her answer while Mary was rinsing her hair.

    “I… I’d like to stay with Miss Mary, if it won’t be too much of a problem.”

    She couldn’t really see the woman’s expression with her back facing the blonde, but she thought she heard Mary letting out a relieved sigh after hearing her answer, and she could imagine a smile on Mary’s face as she did so.

    That fact made her chest feel warm somehow, and Cosmos found herself smiling too.

    It’s the obvious choice and answer, really. Mary had been nothing but kind, patient and helpful in the short time they’ve spent together, and while she doesn’t want to assume anything, she honestly doubted she’d meet anyone better if she were to look for a new place to stay. Besides, she felt safe around the blonde, not to mention the strange sense of familiarity that the woman exudes…

    And if she reads the room right, Mary seems… oddly prepared (eager? No, that can’t be it) to take her in, and while she couldn’t even begin to fathom why, she’d hate to disappoint Mary, so by accepting the offer everybody wins. Which is a good thing, hopefully.

    “It’s finished.” Mary announced, and Cosmos lowered her neck before she felt a towel on her head, and Mary began to gently dry her hair soon after. “I wasn’t too rough when washing your hair, was I?”

    “You were very gentle.” Cosmos truthfully answered, and she could just tell that Mary was smiling from hearing her response. “And, um… I think I can dry myself with the towel just fine. You don’t have to trouble yourself…”

    “If you insist.” Mary acknowledged, and Cosmos began to use the towel herself the moment she felt Mary’s hands leaving her head. It’s not as if she doesn’t like being coddled like this, because she does, but she’d feel guilty if she really just lets Mary do everything for her when the woman had done so much already…

    After she finished drying herself, Cosmos moved to wear the clothes she’d been wearing previously, but--

    “Ah, we can get those clothes cleaned tomorrow, so in the meantime you can use these instead!” Mary interrupted her cheerfully as she took one of the bags she brought over to the bathroom and pulled out what seems to be a cream-colored pajama. Cosmos stares, and the smile on Mary’s face gradually disappears as it’s replaced by one of confusion instead. “... Do you not like it?”

    “Um, I’m sorry for asking Miss Mary, but…” Cosmos gestured to the pajamas. “Did you buy those for me as well…?”

    “Hm? Ah, no no no.” Mary shook her head as the smile returned to her face. “I don’t really know your size, so I didn’t really want to buy any clothes without you coming along. This pajama is borrowed from my friend.”

    “You… have a friend my size?” Cosmos questioned with a tilt of her head, and Mary let out her second laugh of the day, as clear and beautiful as winter bells on a chilly night.

    “No no! I… wait, was Miyu around her size…?” She coughed. “Anyway! My friend actually has a daughter around your age, so I borrowed this with her permission; we’ll return it after we get you some new clothes tomorrow.”

    “Tomorrow…? But I thought Miss Mary said tomorrow is for looking into my background?”

    “We can do both.” Mary reassured with a smile. “From morning until just before noon, I’d begin looking into your background and past, and after that we can go out for lunch and do some shopping. Then we can buy dinner and eat back here, just like today. How does that sound?”

    “That sounds… okay.” She answered while looking at the pajamas. “But does that mean I’d go shopping in pajamas?”

    Mary froze at her question like a deer caught in headlights, and not a second later the blonde immediately began rummaging through the bag, pulling out pajamas after pajamas (she wonders why Mary borrowed so many) while muttering to herself, and--

    “There’s… only pajamas in here…”

    Finally said that with a look of absolute despair on her face.

    “I-I’m so sorry Cosmos! I’ll call Alisa right away and ask her for some clothes, you definitely don’t have to worry about going out in pajamas--”

    “Um, can’t you just do that tomorrow?” She interrupted, and for the second time Mary is once again frozen like a deer in the headlights. She could almost see the gears turning in the blonde’s head as the panic slowly disappeared from her face.

    “Right. Tomorrow. Yes, I can do that tomorrow.” Mary coughed once, twice as she regained her composure, even as her cheeks were still dusted pink from embarrassment. Cosmos thought it was rather cute. “Thank you for reminding me, little one.”

    “You don’t have to thank me for that…” She looked away, somehow feeling embarrassed. Mary giggled from her reaction.

    “Anyway, I’ve kept you waiting long enough.” Mary gave her the original cream-colored pajamas, and after she took it, began to neatly fold and tuck the remaining pajamas back into the bag. “I think I’ll take a bath as well… Ah, do you remember how to brush your teeth? It’s important to do so before you sleep.”

    As much as she wanted to say yes, Cosmos actually isn’t sure whether she remembered. So she decided to play it safe instead of making a fool of herself like with the fork.

    “Um, I think I’d like Miss Mary to show me how.”

    Mary smiled as she took out the newly-bought toothbrush (which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is colored white and teal) and gave it to her before going to the sink and taking out her own toothbrush.

    Surprisingly enough it isn’t colored gold, but purple and white instead.

    “I have an idea.” Mary suddenly said while holding the toothpaste tube. “How about I help you brush your teeth, and you can help me brush my hair after I take a bath?”

    Cosmos’ eyes light up like the stars at the suggestion, happy to finally be able to do something to help Mary. She nods enthusiastically at the suggestion with a smile, somehow confident that she knew how to brush a long hair.

    “Of course! Leave it to me!”

    ---------------------------------

    Her intuition that said Mary’s hair is nice turns out to be correct; no, if anything, it actually downplays it.

    In the dim lighting of the bedroom Mary’s hair seems to glimmer on its own, and as she carefully brushes it, the golden strands feel less like hair and more like silk from how soft and smooth it is.

    “Miss Mary has really nice hair…” She quietly compliments as she continues to do her work, sitting behind Mary as the woman sits at the edge of the bed.

    “You’re making me blush, Cosmos.” Mary cheerfully replied, now wearing a nightgown instead of her dress. “But your hair is nice as well, and I think long hair might actually suit you. Do you want to let it grow?”

    “No.” She automatically replied before she could even process what she had said. Mary quizzically tilted her head in response.

    “That was a quick answer.”

    “Um, ah…” She stuttered, unsure of why she had replied so quickly before letting out a weak chuckle. “I mean, it’d be hard to maintain it without someone else to help me…”

    “If that’s what you’re worried about, then have no fear: I’ll gladly help.” Mary nods as she puts a finger to her chin. “You’d need to wake up early though. Getting ready might actually take a while when you have long hair.”

    She shifted her posture a little. “Is that… part of the reason why you wake up early?”

    “Don’t tell anyone, but… yes.” Mary answered with a giggle. Cosmos could feel her lips curving into a smile too from hearing Mary’s answer.

    “I suppose I’ll… think about it.” She finally said as she brushed Mary’s hair one last time before stopping, satisfied. “It’s done.”

    “Thank you, Cosmos.” Mary runs a hand through the golden strands before nodding with that ever-present smile. “It’s perfect.”

    “I didn’t do anything special…”

    Mary hummed. “It’s time to sleep then. I’ll turn off the lights, okay?”

    “Ah, um… Are you sure I can sleep in the same bed? I can sleep on the sofa instead…” Cosmos asked again for the umpteenth time since they’re sitting on the bed. And just like all her previous attempts, Mary’s answer remains the same.

    “Hush, it’s really okay. I don’t mind if you hug me in your sleep, and the bed's too big for one person in the first place.” The blonde paused. “Though if you’re really bothered with the idea of sleeping with someone else, I can sleep on the sofa-”

    “O-okay, I understand! It’s okay, so please don’t sleep on the sofa!”

    Mary’s eyes twinkled with amusement, and Cosmos pouted after she realized what Mary had done. She didn’t try to refuse the offer again though, and before long the lights were out and they were sleeping together, facing each other.

    It’s strange. Cosmos thought she’d be more nervous or uneasy sleeping with someone else, but with Mary, that sense of reservation is just… absent. Is it because Mary smells nice? Because Mary radiates warmth? Because she feels… safe around her?

    “You can’t sleep if you don’t close your eyes, little one.”

    “Mm.”

    Cosmos closed her eyes, and just before she drifted off to sleep, realized why she felt so comfortable around Mary.

    Because Mary feels like home.

    Because this feels like where she belongs.

    ----------------------

    It hurts.

    It hurts all over.

    But that doesn’t matter.

    She needs to… She needs to reach her
    savior
    light
    . Her
    master
    light
    is hurt, her
    teacher
    light
    needs her help, she needs to protect her
    mentor
    light
    --

    She forces her body to move despite the pain, and it hurts; her body is barely holding up, bound to crumble at any moment, but she ignores it.

    Because her
    father
    light
    needs her.

    But...

    --She won’t make it.


    She knew she wouldn't make it.

    She screamed, partly because of the pain and partly because of frustration as she found her body too sluggish, too slow, and she could do nothing but watch. Watch helplessly as her
    messiah
    light
    gets snuffed out of existence, without being able to do anything.

    Her body shook, and wordlessly, she reached out her hand, and--

    Find warmth.

    The nightmare slowly dissolves and disappears as she faintly hears a lullaby, and the pain and agony is replaced by a soothing light as she feels herself embraced by warmth while sweet nothings are whispered to her ears.

    In her sleep, Cosmos Semesta Preciel smiled as her hand found Mary’s, the woman embracing her into a hug as she gently sang a lullaby into her ears.

    Relieved that this time, she managed to reach her
    mother
    light
    in time.
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


  15. #975
    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    When The Tamer is Sus!

    It was another extraordinary day at the extraordinary undertaking known as the X-Cross Base, a country-of-the-masterpiece facility created by all four Major Tamer Organizations to foster community among themselves and develop the next generation that’d lead the world to prosperity for decades to come. That being said, community wasn’t something that just formed by itself. Bonds were woven from events and time spent together to form sturdy, everlasting connections. And what was the best way, nay, the most time-honored tradition for large groups of people to grow closer to each other?

    A trust-building exercise!

    “Yes, that is why I called you all here today! You were all randomly picked to participate in a game for…” Burroughs looks down at a cue card and squints briefly before continuing. “For the purpose of fostering lifelong connections that will guide you through the darkest shadows and the strongest storms and bring joy to your life.” She clears her throat awkwardly and looks up at the motley cast of 11 that the reader doesn’t need a long-winded introduction for. “A-Anyways, today I’d like you to play this game!” The poor girl’s trying her best to smile, but the audience doesn’t seem particularly enthused. Will anyone save this lovely young maiden? Ah, there’s a hand being raised! It’s one Logan Starbright, the Tamer voted most likely to be found dead in a simulator after disappearing for a week; what will he say?

    “I’m sorry, but I think there’s been some sort of error. I was scheduled to use Simulator 12 for the next 20 hours.”

    And he fails her right off the bat! Leave it to Logan to let you down when it counts!

    Burroughs frowns and manifests a diary with a colorful cover that she begins to flip through. “That’s weird… It says right here that your reservation was rescinded an hour ago. The digital signature matches Miss Amelia too. Um, was that a mistake?”

    “You’re right,” says Logan, looking flatly over his shoulder at an innocently whistling Amelia. “That’s very weird.” Everyone’s favorite lovely, witty, and all-around flawless Amelia, who wasn’t included in the initial headcount because the COMPs don’t matter in this Pulitzer-worthy piece of literature, says, “Yeah, funny how that happened, isn’t it. Well, you’re here now, so you may as well, right? Just call it ‘Interpersonal Relationship Training’ or something, maybe tell a joke to break the ice!” He sighs, like the depressed doormat he is and accepts it with a defeated “Alright then.” like the cringey COMPphile he is.

    “Um, now that that’s settled-”

    “I was told that there would be food,” interrupts Chris “Hermit” Mokujima, one of the top three contenders for the #1 Misanthrope of the X-Cross. “And graphics cards.”

    “Ah, yes! Refreshments will be served after the game! They’ll be very good too, so don’t hungry! I mean, get worry! Uuuuuu….”

    Sho Amamiya, the self-proclaimed “Weakest One” and society-monikered “Poorest One” perks up at the mention of a free meal, despite the fact that all base meals are free. Cut the man some slack, he can’t help his poverty and growing teenage male instincts. Meanwhile poor Burroughs is on the verge of tears. Who even put her up to this?

    “I just wanted to see everyone having fun playing a game… but if no one wants to, then…”

    “What, no, I’d love to play!” “This game sounds like lots of fun!” “Will you be playing too, Burroughs-chan?” “Of course I’ll play, who wouldn’t?” “We’re all gonna play this, right?” “What’s this game called, Burroughs?”

    In the face of an S-rank calamity of making a little girl cry, these brilliant Spirit Tamers shelve their misgivings and step up to the plate! Her smile protected, Burroughs stands as tall as her short body allows her and begins to answer questions. “The game is called In Our Midst! Unfortunately I can’t play it because Dejah said that ‘a fish would do better in a desert than you would in that game’, but I will be happy to watch and cheer you all on! I asked Rice if she wanted to, but when I told her about it she sat down on the ground, hugged her knees, and started making soft crying noises. I had to get her a blanket and hug her for an hour until her eyes didn’t look flat anymore… Anyways, it is up to you!”

    Burroughs summons a blackboard and begins drawing a simple schematic of a ship much like the SLEIPNIR. “In Our Midst is a game where you are all astronauts in a ship that has been attacked by aliens!”

    Cosmos Fairchild, a girl with more abandonment issues than a foster care facility, looks around nervously, but no one seems to be glaring at her. Meanwhile Hyakka Onjouji, a girl who is as suspicious and untrustworthy as her player is not, watches Burrough draw on the bottom half of the chalkboard with rapt attention.

    “Your job is to fix the various problems with the ship caused by the alien attack. However…” She pauses for effect, confirming that everyone is paying attention before continuing, “two aliens have snuck aboard the ship, lurking IN OUR MIDST to kill all of the humans! Players must find these Imposters and vote them off the ship before the Imposters kill them all!” Burroughs explains the rest of the rules that everyone reading this already knows. “Oh, and you don’t need your Auto-Skills or Artificial Souls for this, since we’ll be using a special simulator!”

    “Going to need. Two graphics cards,” mumbles Chris.

    Burroughs claps. “Does anyone have any questions?”

    “Will the lovely Miss Dejah be joining us?” says Raz Stone, a man who makes Wilt Chamberlain look chaste. “Showing her stars would be my pleasure. And hers.”

    Burroughs blinks confusedly, as only an all-ages character confronted with an R-15 character can. “Dejah said she was busy today; something about dreams and observatories?” Raz clicks his tongue. He’d have to settle for Ludwig, or as others referred to him, Logan.

    And with no further questions, the game begins!

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    Red: Ayra
    Orange: Eva
    Yellow: Blaise
    Lime: Sho
    Green: Logan
    Cyan: Cosmos
    Blue: Chris
    Purple: Rossweisse
    Rose: Raz
    Black: Hyakka
    White: Ludwig

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    Ludwig Karlfeldt, a man who disappoints women despite literally being able to read their minds, spawns in the Cafeteria, casting quick glances at his compatriots as they scatter. Logan, Hyakka, Blaise, and Chris leave through the aft exit while Eva, Raz, and Sho walk through the fore exit to the Weapons chamber. Ayra and Rossweisse head toward the Storage chamber, leaving him alone in the room with Cosmos, who’s busy emptying the garbage.

    I’m not sensing any murderous intent.

    Satisfied, he leaves to enter the Admin chamber. Out of the various tasks he can see in his helmet, this area is the closest one that has one. There’s also the advantage that he can monitor people to an extent. As Ludwig approaches the Admin console, Rossweisse steps away from an electrical panel and leaves.

    Worried about me? Well, you don’t have to be… Unless you’re an Imposter, of course.

    Ludwig grins as he pulls out his wallet. Unlike the other players, he had a potent advantage: the ability to read minds. It took a bit more focus than usual thanks to the game’s Auto-Skill, but just by standing in the same room as someone he could tell if they wanted to kill him - and thus were an imposter.

    Sorry to the rest of you, but I won’t be holding back here.

    All he had to do was swipe his ID card through the console and he could continue his observations.

    [TOO SLOW. TRY AGAIN.]

    He frowned and swiped the card again.

    [TOO FAST. TRY AGAIN.]

    Another try.

    [TOO SLOW. TRY AGAIN.]

    Another try.

    [TOO SLOW. TRY AGAIN.]

    Another try.

    [TOO FAST. TRY AGAIN.]

    Ludwig takes a deep breath, his fists shaking, and tries once more.

    [BAD READ. TRY AGAIN.]

    Ich werde diese Fickmaschine zu einer Kugel zerknüllen und aus der Luftschleuse werfen.

    With 50 WIL, Ludwig narrowly restrains himself from destroying his ID card and swipes it through the console, marshalling every drop of concentration in his body.

    [ACCEPTED. THANK YOU.]

    Hmph, that wasn’t so difficult.

    Immediately afterward, the hallway doors slam shut. He spins around as an overwhelming wave of killing intent spills from the nearby vent and crashes against him before slumping against the console as a white-hot agony blossoms within his chest. Ludwig’s suit grows red as his vision goes dark. He coughs blood, staining his pained smile with impromptu rouge as he blearily beholds the gun of his killer, who’s already clambering back into the vent.

    What irony. Of course, it’d be… like this…

    15 seconds later, Logan reports his death.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    The remaining 10 Tamers stand around the cafeteria table, shifting unsteadily.

    “Damn, that was fast,” says Sho. “They must’ve killed him the moment they got the chance.”

    “Language!” interjects Cosmos. Sho rolls his eyes.

    Logan clears his throat. “I found Ludwig dead in Admin. I was downloading data in the Cafeteria when the doors closed. Once they opened, I went to Admin to swipe my card, and that’s when I saw him.” His voice quavers. “If only I’d swiped my card first; I could’ve been there to stop it!”

    “We all know how simila- how close you two were, Logan,” said Raz reassuringly. “But,” his voice takes on a steely edge, “we also have to consider the possibility that you killed him yourself and reported your own murder. Did anyone see Logan enter Admin before he called this in?”

    “I did,” says Rossweisse, a girl whose favorite songs are Vertigo, Purple Rain, and Vogue. “I was in Storage when the doors locked, so I waited by the port door until they opened. I wanted to see if anyone died by checking the Crewmate count in Admin, but as I went up I saw Logan go into Admin before me. I was right behind him when he found the body.”

    “I see. Was anyone with Rossweisse before the doors went down?”

    “I saw Miss Rossweisse fixing the wires in the Storage room when I went down to finish emptying the garbage,” says Cosmos.

    “And I saw her go into Admin at the start of the game while I went to Electrical,” adds Ayra Lilygrove, a woman who sings love songs in the shower when she thinks that no one’s listening.

    “Yes, that’s true. Ludwig walked into the room as I finished fixing the wires there, so I left.”

    Raz smiles. “Then our lovely little Logan is innocent! Now, where was everyone else during this fearsome fracas?”

    “Lovely…?”

    “I was in the Upper Engine Aligning Engine Output!” says Hyakka, capitalization evident in her words. Blaise Pendragon - a teenager who manages to be incurably chuuni despite quite literally being a dragon - chimes in, “Saw her there on my way to the Reactor.”

    Eva Ellet, a girl who’s experienced enough parental issues to qualify for Rothschild, speaks next. “I went to the Navigation chamber to fix some wires. You and Sho went the same direction as me.”

    “That I did, Eva! Had an oxygen filter to clean. Sho, how about you?”

    He sighs briefly. “Shields. Where I fixed the shields.”

    Hyakka laughs and a few others chuckle. “That is very like you, Onii- Um, Sho-senpai!”

    A loud ping punctures the flare of cheer as words inscribe themselves on the table’s display. Chris: Logan. You claim you were in the Cafeteria when the doors closed. Why didn’t you call an emergency meeting?

    As everyone looks at Logan, they see his fist tighten. “I wanted to save it for when I’d confirmed an Imposter. I thought that at least this early, that things would be alright.” He raises his fist, arm straining as a prelude to smashing it down - and lets it limply fall to his side. “But I was wrong. This was my fault.”

    “We all understand how you feel, Logan,” says Raz soothingly. “But we don’t have much time left.” He faces Chris. “Where were you, Chris?” She starts at suddenly receiving the full attention of Raz Stone, the object of many of her dreams. As her fingers hesitantly begin to type, Raz continues, his voice soft and kind. “I get that it’s difficult to be put on the spot like this. If you really need more time, then I can use my emergency meeting. But I saw the light was on on the camera when I went to do my task. Were you in Security? Just yes or no is fine.”

    Raz’s meticulously trained ears don’t miss the mumbled “yes”.

    An alarm goes off, signalling the end of discussion time and the start of voting time.

    “Do we have to vote for someone?” asks Hyakka. “No one did anything wrong.”

    “You can skip voting if you want,” says Ayra. “Mob justice is no true justice at all, after all.”

    And thus, voting concludes as Hyakka’s eyes glitter.

    VOTES:
    Logan: Chris, Sho
    Blaise: Raz
    Skip Voting: Ayra, Blaise, Cosmos, Eva, Hyakka, Logan, Rossweisse


    “Wait, why’d you vote for me?”

    Raz sighs. “It’s nothing personal, it’s just… I’m sorry, but I find overdeveloped muscles to be viscerally disgusting.”

    “You tried to get him killed for something like that?” sputters Cosmos. “Are you crazy?”

    The reckless rockstar pushes on the bottom of his visor, causing it to shine. “I can’t handle what I can’t handle, angel.”

    The game restarts before Cosmos can manage an incredulous response. Ayra, Blaise, and Logan head toward the back of the ship while Cosmos, Eva, and Sho walk toward its front. As Chris, Hyakka, Raz, and Rossweisse leave toward the Storage chamber, a warning flickers into everyone’s visors: Fix Lights (100%). The ship swiftly sinks into shadow. Chris can barely see Raz’s rose suit, let alone the pitch-black Hyakka. Ridiculous. Daisuke should’ve been doing this, not me. I’ll make that brat read The Very Hungry Morris Worm once this is over. But after Rossweisse peeled off into the Admin chamber, it was up to the three of them to bring brightness back. Not. You don’t need three people to screw in a lightbulb. There was no need for her to keep an eye on the two of them any longer than necessary; on the contrary, it could be a fatal mistake. If one of the two died, then the other would be the likely killer. If an Imposter vented in, then they’d be outnumbered. And in the worst case scenario where Hyakka’s an Imposter and the other Imposter vents in to spring the obvious trap, then they score an early double kill. That’s why Chris passes by the entrance to the Electrical chamber as Hyakka and Raz step inside. There’s more than one way to illuminate an Imposter.

    Chris skulks into the Security chamber, moving past a cluttered table to sit in front of the console. Now, where are you, Imposter? You can’t hide from me. She sees Cosmos fleeing the Navigation chamber with Sho in cold pursuit and Blaise sauntering toward the Upper Engine. But where’s the Imposter? Was I too slow? Or are they just out of sight? Chris drums her fingers impatiently. And what’s taking the lights so long? Was one of them actually a traitor after all? Should she head to the Cafeteria? She focuses intensely on the screen, brown eyes wide to catch even a pixel of suspicious activity. So intensely, that in sharpening her vision she tunes out her other senses. So intensely, that she doesn’t hear the creak of the vent. So intensely, that she doesn’t notice the figure looming behind her.

    A screwdriver erupts from her right eye, shattering her glasses and splattering the screen with blood.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    Ayra sighs as she turns a switch, causing the console to hum happily. Power diverted to Lower Engine. Raz and Hyakka still haven’t finished the lights? Was one of them a traitor? She leaves the chamber intent on checking the Electrical chamber when the lights turn on. Raz and Hyakka exit the room and head toward her. Raz was probably messing around again. Ayra turns around to head toward the Reactor and Security chambers. Come to think of it, she’d passed by a hurried Chris coming down here, hadn’t she? She strides forward: on the left is the Reactor chamber and on the right - closed doors.

    Ayra curses in a manner extremely unbefitting for a Knight.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    It is going to be okay, thought Cosmos as her footsteps rang terribly loud in the darkness. I just have to finish my tasks, and it will be okay. I’m definitely not an evil alien imposter. The evil alien imposters will lose. She was completely self-assured, as a woman of the cloth ought to be. She definitely wasn’t shaking so badly that if she was holding onto Ilia she could cast a Z-ranked spell. As Cosmos exited the Weapons chamber and continued through the inky shadows, she thought to herself: What would Mother say?

    “Oh Cosmos, my beloved beautiful daughter who I love far more than your immature delinquent little sister, you’ll be just fine! You just have to do your best. I’ll be waiting for you with your favorite tea cookies!”

    Cosmos’s shivers shift from fear to joy as her signature hat bobs through the darkness. No matter what this game throws at her, she’ll be okay. Even if Eva goes into the Oxygen chamber, leaving her alone with… With…

    She shudders as slimy sweat oozes down her back. Movement speed in the game is fixed; even the Gale Knight couldn’t exhibit her trademark celerity here. Meaning that there’s no escape from Sho Amamiya, the slimy scumbag who sent his contracted Demon into the women’s showers! There’s no way that was an accident! Who gets lost on the completely wrong side of the base chasing after a wayward Slime? A Slime that nearly ate my hat!

    Cosmos veers left toward the Navigation chamber, praying to the Lord that Sho will pass her by. She can complete one of her tasks while the other player oozes past. And yet, the young sister made a terrible mistake. When being chased, the last place you want to go is a dead end!

    Sho unerringly follows her down the hall, the red light of the nearby camera shining ominously on his visor like a baleful eye. Ah, she thinks. I’m going to be murdered by a pervert. I can see it now, Mother running through the rain, the drops replacing barely restrained tears as the filthy puddles ruin her dress and seep into her shoes before she sees my sodden body and cradles it close to her, paying no mind to the disgusting slime squelching against her chest as with the last of my energy I meet her beautiful heterochromatic eyes and weakly whisper ‘I’m so blessed… that I met you… Mother…’ before Sariel takes me to Heaven and only then will her tears finally begin to fall on the daughter that she loved most of all-

    The lights switch on as Sho walks to a console and stabilizes the ship’s steering. He then walks away.

    Cosmos walks toward another console to chart the ship’s course, blushing so fiercely that her hat turns bright red. Shortly after, an alarm goes off, summoning her to the Cafeteria.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    Ayra places Chris’s bloodied and cracked glasses on the table. “This was in Security.” Eva blanches. “Where was everyone? Logan, we’ll start with you.”

    “I was in Comms, downloading data. Where was everyone else?”

    “In the Lower Engine with the lovely little Hyakka,” Raz responds immediately. “We went to fix the lights. What about you, Cosmos?”

    Cosmos starts a bit before speaking, inadvertently cutting off Hyakka’s “Yup! They were harder th-” with “I-I went to the Navigation room and- oh, I’m so sorry, Hyakka-chan!” “You don’t have to be sorry, it was your turn!” “Sorry anyways!”

    It’s Logan who cuts off the apologetic loli noises with “Was anyone with you in Navigation?”

    “Sho,” she grumbles, the distaste clear in her voice. “Oh, Eva was behind us too! I think she went to the O2 room, though.”

    “Yes. I went back to the Cafeteria to fix the wires there.”

    “Wait,” interjects Blaise. “You went to Oxygen, and then back to the Cafeteria to do a task? Why didn’t you do the wires first?”

    “Um, that’s…” Eva hesitates. “We’re supposed to stay together, right? But I needed to do my tasks too, so I went back for it since I was nearby.”

    Raz frowns. “Eva, sweetie, you’re adorable, but I have to say: You’re looking kinda-”

    “Let’s move along, shall we?” interrupts Ayra. “We’re running out of time, and Eva was on the wrong side of the ship to kill Chris anyways. Sho, were you with Eva and Cosmos?”

    “Yeah, it’s like they said.”

    “Ross, you were with Chris at the start, correct?”

    “Yes. I went to swipe my card, then went to Storage to fuel the engines.”

    “Anyone else there?”

    “No.”

    “Alright. Blaise, you were with me at the start. Where did you go?”

    “Headed to the reactor to finish the task I got interrupted during last time. It’s done now.”

    “Which leaves Logan. You were following me at the start. Where’d you go?”

    His response is immediate. “Examining my samples. After that I went to Communications. You?”

    “I Unlocked Manifolds in the Reactor; Blaise was there too. After that I Accepted Diverted Power in the Lower Engine and headed to Security. That’s where I saw Chris’s corpse.” Ayra’s voice is like whipped cream on an iron bar. “Samples, huh? In the Medical Bay. That’s connected to Security, you know? By a vent.”

    Raz is the next one to speak. “Logan, you said you went to Comms.”

    “That’s correct.”

    “That means you must’ve gone through Storage. Did you see the ravishing Rossweisse on your way there?”

    “I didn’t, but…” Logan sounds uncertain. “It was still dark, so I couldn’t see much of anything.”

    “I didn’t see you either, but the lights were still off,” responds a flustered Rossweisse.

    “So that’s two people unaccounted for. Now, Braised Beef, where were you when the report happened?” An awkward silence fills the Cafeteria.

    “Is that supposed to be me?” says a mildly annoyed Blaise. “Because I was in the hallway headed to the Cafeteria.”

    “So you didn’t see Ayra report the body?”

    “I didn’t see Ayra at all after she left the Reactor.”

    “Thanks, HP Sauce. That makes three suspects.”

    “You’re not saying I self-reported, are you? This was obviously-”

    The discussion phase ends, cutting Ayra off.

    “Um, who should I vote for?” says Hyakka.

    “There are a lot of suspicious people this time around, so you can skip if you can’t decide,” says Raz soothingly. “We don’t want to eject an innocent through mob justice, after all.”

    “I get it! You really know what’s going on, Raz-san!”

    Ayra smiles placidly.

    VOTES:
    Ayra: Rossweisse
    Logan: Ayra, Cosmos, Sho
    Raz: Blaise
    Skip Voting: Eva, Hyakka, Logan, Raz


    “You didn’t vote for Ayra?” asks Rossweisse.

    “I don’t want to vote for anyone unless I’m absolutely certain.” Logan smiles. “But thanks for believing in me.”

    “Of course. We’re fellow Rothschild Tamers, aren’t we?”

    The game resumes, and it’s time for the Tamers to once more head to their tasks. Rossweisse walks into the Weapons chamber, Cosmos heads toward the Storage chamber, and Sho moves after her before reconsidering and leaving through the aft exit. But the rest of the Tamers pause as something quickly becomes evident. Namely, Ayra and Logan walking directly at each other. They stand by a Cafeteria table, opaque visors reflecting the other as the seconds pass. How long are you going to stoke this suspicion of me? Neither one of us will get anything done like this. Are you waiting to use your emergency meeting to get the others to vote me off? That’s not going to work.

    The other players shift awkwardly until finally Eva follows after Sho, dragging out the tension in the air like she’s deflating a tire. Ayra’s the first to move; she strides into the Admin chamber. Logan’s right on her heels, followed shortly by the rest of the Tamers as a veritable casino of card shuffling forms. Everyone’s probably swiped their card by now. Hyakka’s leaving, Raz Stone’s glued to her like he’s been all game, Ayra Lilygrove is checking Admin, and…

    Blaise Pendragon stands menacingly. Best to stay away, then. He follows after the exiting Tamers headed for the Storage chamber. Is she worried someone else died while she couldn’t see them? Not that it matters much; this is my chance to escape the people who want me dead. Ayra chases after him, Blaise by her side. There’s not much distance between them, so the moment he stops to perform a task she’ll be nipping at his heels, except-

    An alarm goes off as the ceiling lights flash red. The reactor is melting down. Logan takes distance down the fore hallway and Ayra pauses briefly before rushing toward the Reactor chamber, Blaise following shortly after. Sho and Eva went that way earlier, so that sabotage is handled. In that case… He smiles. I’m finally free to do my tasks.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    That’s the second set of wires done.

    Rossweisse closes the panel, frowning as the warning klaxon of the reactor meltdown continues. Sho headed that way at the start of the round. I saw Hyakka, Raz, and Cosmos earlier, so if they’re headed there now they might not make it in time. I wouldn’t make it in time, so it’s best to focus on my tasks, but… She can’t suppress her unease as the timer counts down. As Rossweisse walks to the data terminal to start downloading data, she notices someone enter from the corner of her eye. Oh, it’s Logan. He was in the area too? I thought for sure that he’d be headed toward the reactor. Maybe he also has to Download Data. It takes a while though, so be careful.

    Rossweisse’s tablet beeps, signaling the first stage of her task is complete. She’s alone in the Navigation chamber, and the reactor alarm stops with 16 seconds to spare. I guess he just needed to fix wires. As she leaves for her next task, a niggling thought itches in the back of her mind.

    While the alarm was going off, I thought I heard a vent for a second.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    Eva walks into the Cafeteria toward the starboard exit, passing a tray-laden table as Raz and Hyakka enter from the opposite exit and stand by the data terminal. She’d had to double back when the reactor was sabotaged, but it’d been fixed before she made it there. Part of her - specifically, her third through seventh logic centers - said she should’ve fixed the wires in the Security chamber, but she still hadn’t completed the most important task for proving her innocence. Agatha had said Now remember Eva, the most important thing to do is Swipe Card, and quickly! It’s the easiest task in the game, and anyone who takes more than five seconds on it is an Imposter, guaranteed. That’s why you’ve got to do it immediately, so no one thinks you’re an Imposter!

    Eva had wanted to follow Agatha’s advice, but at the start of the game everyone had avoided Ludwig for some reason. Maybe it was politeness, and only one person was supposed to swipe their card at a time? Whatever the reason, she hadn’t wanted to offend anyone, so she’d followed suit. Since he, a Rothschild Tamer, had died in the Admin chamber, swiping one’s card was obviously more difficult of a task than Agatha had made it seem. But now that the lights were on and there was no one else in the Admin chamber, she could finally swipe her card. Eva approached the console, taking deep breaths. She removed her card from her wallet and with trembling fingers began to swipe the card. Hopefully I don’t take too long on it… Five seconds would be nice, but even 10 would be okay…

    It beeps happily on the first try. Eva blinks in surprise and then sighs in relief. Now she just has to put away her card and she can continue with her tasks.

    Except the card won’t come out of the reader. Eva wonders briefly if this is part of the task, and tries tugging harder on the card; she’s stronger than the average Tamer. But the card doesn’t budge, even after she raises her arm up to her face, and then she realizes why.

    How can you lift up a card without a hand?

    Eva’s eyes widen as she stares at the severed steel and wiring of her stump. She tries to turn, but slumps onto the floor as her left leg crumples underneath her, no longer attached to her hip. Left thumb, left index and middle finger, left hand and forearm, right foot, right knee cap, left oblique, right floating chassis frame, diaphragm, right elbow, left shoulder, collarbone in two pieces, neck, and right eye fly into the air as her remaining eye, barely lodged in her lacerated head, thuds onto the ground.

    Before her stands Logan Starbright, the glow of his lightsaber tinting his visor a deep red.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    “Not Eva!” exclaims Cosmos forlornly.

    Ayra turns to the last remaining Rose Cross Tamer. “She was in-”

    “Admin,” interrupts Logan, speaking more loudly than he has all game. “Where you killed her and then self-reported!”

    “What?” Ayra retorts. “That’s ridic-”

    “I saw it on Security! You self-reported, just like last time.” “-ulous, this is a blatant frame job.” “Cosmos-” The small sister starts at her name. “You were in the hallway by Reactor and Security, I saw you on the cameras.” “You ran away from the Reactor when it got-” “And Rossweisse, you were-” “-sabotaged, only an Imposter would do th-” “-in the corridors by Navigation!” “You faked Card Swipe right in front of me!”

    Ayra’s and Logan’s voices raise and clash against each other like dragons dueling through the skies, until---

    “The others can’t hear you two over each other.”

    ---the divine tones of Raz assert themselves like the horns of Heaven. Logan lowers his pointed finger as Ayra laces her own.

    “Cosmos, were you by Security?”

    “Yes, I was,” she says, her own voice elevated to authority through the lingering majesty of Raz’s oration. “I was about to finish Fixing Wiring when the report went off.”

    “I see.” Raz turns to Rossweisse. “And Rossweisse, were you near Navigation?”

    “That’s correct,” answers the Rothschild Tamer.

    Raz claps. “By the looks of it, that settles things. Ayra’s the femme fatale this time around.”

    “I’m innocent, and Logan is lying because he’s an Imposter,” says Ayra with an almost imperceptible tinge of irritation.

    “I quite literally saw you kill her.”

    “I didn’t kill Eva! If anything, you did.” It’s Ayra’s turn to point.

    “She says after self-reporting twice in a row.”

    “That’s b-” Ayra catches herself. “Beyond rational belief. We all know you killed Chris, but-”

    Raz holds up a hand. “Ayra, right now Eva’s the maiden in the morgue. Was anyone with you when you found Eva? That would prove your innocence.”

    “I was.” All eyes turn to Blaise as he speaks. “We went together to fix the Reactor, met Sho there-” Sho nods, so he continues, “and headed back through Storage. Ayra’s been around me for most of the game, she’s-”

    “I didn’t see you.” Logan’s voice cuts through Blaise’s testimony.

    “I was with her-”

    “The entire time? Because you weren’t next to Ayra when she killed Eva.”

    “I didn’t. Kill. Eva. You Imposter.”

    Blaise clicks his tongue. “I stopped in Storage to Fix Wiring.”

    “And Ayra went ahead of you to Admin,” says Raz.

    Logan continues his sentence. “Where she killed Eva and self-reported before Blaise could catch up to-”

    “I didn’t kill her, alright!” Ayra slaps the table. “Besides, where have you been all game? Has anyone seen you do anything without dying?”

    “That’s… I have.” Rossweisse hesitates a bit before continuing. “While the Reactor was going off, we were both in Navigation with no one else around. If Logan was an Imposter, then I’d be dead.”

    Ayra grits her teeth.

    “I’m sorry Ayra, but I have to vote for you this time.” Raz is downright apologetic. “You’re definitely an Imposter.”

    “If you vote me off, you’re making a huge mistake!” The Gale Knight is well and truly tilted. “Logan is the Imposter, not me!”

    “Ayra-san… is the bad guy?” mumbles a confused and betrayed Hyakka.

    “I’m afraid so, kiddo,” says a somber Raz. “Whatever you think, we all need to vote; otherwise, the Imposter will keep killing people.”

    The discussion phase ends, and it’s time for the players to vote.

    VOTES:
    Ayra: Cosmos, Hyakka, Logan, Raz, Rossweisse
    Logan: Arya, Blaise, Sho


    An airlock opens, sucking out Ayra before she can mutter another word. All players watch her float into space, a single message playing out across their visors.

    .    。    •   ゚  。   .
       .      .     。   。 .  
    .   。      ඞ 。 .    •     •
      ゚   Ayra was not An Impostor.  。 .
      '    2 Impostors remain     。
      ゚   .   . ,    .  .

    Everyone stands still as the lights go out - except Logan, who casually walks in front of the emergency meeting button and stands still. Rossweisse can’t read minds like her deceased coworker once could. But even she can tell what Logan would say, were words allowed to them.

    Which one of you wants to die first?

    Not even a second later, she leaves for the Electrical chamber. I’ll make up for my mistake right now. Rothschild fixes its own problems. It’s not Logan that follows her, but the Rose-suited Knight of Song, followed closely by Hyakka. She can’t see Logan anymore; is he still in the Cafeteria, sizing up the others? Or is he rattling his way through a vent to slit her throat? Rossweisse shakes her head. Over halfway there. Once the lights are on, someone will use their emergency meeting to vote off Logan. She spares a glance for the two players behind her as she exits the Storage chamber. But who’s the other Imposter? They definitely voted for Ayra, so it’s either Cosmos, Hyakka, or Raz. Two of them are right behind me… Rossweisse ponders a terrifying notion. They’re going to do a double kill. Either Logan vents into Electrical to kill me, or he and his partner kill whoever’s left in the Cafeteria. But which one is it? Should I turn around? Raz and Hyakka come into sight in the hallway behind her, and she sighs in relief as she enters the Electrical chamber. One of them is probably an Imposter, but they’re both here. If the Imposter didn’t kill the other one in Storage, then there has to be someone behind them I can’t see. Rossweisse opens the maintenance panel and begins resetting the fuses. I’ll die doing this, but we’ll win this game.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    Should I kill her? No, that guy’s just waiting for me to slip up so he can get rid of me. Then how about that other guy? Logan will be here any second; why not make one kill into two? I can blame it on the Crewmate, the others will buy it for sure. I’m a bit sus after that last vote, but I can talk my way out of it. After all, I’ve been nothing but helpful all game!

    The Imposter looks at the player who followed them, and then at the soon-to-be patsy for murder most foul.

    ...Nah, that’s too easy. Let’s keep the game interesting, shall we?

    The lights flick on, and Logan impales Rossweisse in front of the other three players.

    ඞඞඞඞඞඞ

    “Vote for Logan,” says Sho. “No exceptions.”

    “It was terrible,” replies the accused. “Hyakka killed Ross right in front of me!”

    “No I didn’t! Your stomach opened up like GRAHHH and then your second tongue shot out and went straight through Ross-san before you pulled her in and ate her! With crunching noises!” Hyakka continues excitedly as Cosmos grows increasingly green until Raz speaks.

    “Hyakka, Blaise, and I all saw you kill Rossweisse right in front of us, Logan. Really, how shameless can you be?”

    Logan shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know what to say; I’m innocent.”

    “You vented right in front of me!” sputters Cosmos.

    “And me,” adds Sho. “Enough wasting time; we need to find the other Imposter. It’s ei-”

    “Either Hyakka, me, or Cosmos, right? Because we believed Logan.” Raz continues speaking, his oration leaving no room for interruption. “Hyakka and I have been together all game, we speak for each other.”

    “I’m sorry, Ayra-san!” A morose Hyakka chews her lip, her hands shaking. “I should’ve trusted you…”

    “It’s okay, Hyakka,” says Raz soothingly. “We all made the same mistake. It’s Logan who’s in the wrong for tricking us all.”

    “I know what I saw, it was on the cameras as clear as-”

    “Enough with the crocodile tears,” grumbles Blaise. “You two voted for Ayra, you knew what you were doing. It’s not Cosmos, or Sho would be dead.”

    “A bit hurtful, don’t you think?” snaps Raz. “What, a kid can’t make a mistake once or twice?”

    “What? No, I was talking abo-”

    “Besides, ‘It’s not Cosmos, or Sho would be dead’ was it? The dearly departed Rossweisse said much the same.”

    Blaise clicks his tongue. “Look, I mea-”

    “Besides, it’s pretty convenient that after hanging around Ayra all game you disappeared right when she could’ve used an ally. How do we know that wasn’t a setup?”

    “This is ridiculous, you’re full of sh-”

    “Language, young man!” Raz wags a finger chidingly. “There’s a child here.”

    A loud bang echoes through the Cafeteria, silencing everyone. Sho shakes the soreness from his hand and speaks. “Stop wasting time, you spoony bard. What tasks do you guys have left? I’m done.”

    “Just some wires and smaller stuff,” grumbles Blaise.

    “I have to Clear Asteroids!” says Hyakka excitedly. “I’ve never flown in space before! I think… maybe…?” She ponders briefly before grinning again. “It can’t be that hard, though!”

    Raz chuckles. “You’ll be in the ship for this one, Lady Onjouji.” As Hyakka’s eyes sparkle, he continues. “Got a few tasks left in Navigation.”

    “I finished all of my tasks before the last meeting,” says Cosmos with no Cosmos-sized amount of pride.

    “I see. So Hyakka and I have some tasks to do, cute Miss Cosmos is finished, Steroid Steer claims he’s just about done, and Sho apparently finished his tasks faster than he sent his slime to the women’s showers.”

    “It took the maintenance staff days getting all of the slime out of the pipes,” chimes in Logan.

    “I said it once and I’ll say it again: that was an accident! And that doesn’t even have anything to do with the game, you Imposter!”

    “You said Navigation, didn’t you Raz?” says Blaise, irritation plain in his voice.

    “That I did!” cheerily chirps Raz.

    “Then I’ll go with you. And since you’re so suspicious of me, Cosmos can come with; you trust her, don’t you? That fine, Cosmos?”

    Cosmos looks at Hyakka wistfully. “Alright then.”

    “Sho, stick with Hyakka. If you don’t call an Emergency Meeting in 40 seconds, I’ll assume she killed you.”

    Sho nods as Hyakka says, “Why would I kill Sho-senpai?”

    Raz shrugs his shoulders, the ‘What can you do?’ evident in his motion. “Be careful, Hyakka. Sho’s a dangerous one.”

    As Sho snidely retorts, Hyakka tilts her head in confusion. The voting begins, but not without a final sentence from Logan.

    “Go get ‘em, partner.”

    VOTES:
    Logan: Blaise, Cosmos, Hyakka, Raz, Sho


    Logan Starbright joins his namesakes in the darkness.

    .    。    •   ゚  。   .
       .      .     。   。 .  
    .   。      ඞ 。 .    •     •
      ゚   Logan was An Impostor.  。 .
      '    1 Impostor remains     。
      ゚   .   . ,    .  .

    All players head to the Weapons chamber; Sho watches carefully as Hyakka clambers into the chair as the other three continue onward toward the Navigation chamber. Raz reaches the farthest console, Blaise and Cosmos right behind him, and that’s when it happens - Reactor sabotage. Nobody moves as klaxons blare and red lights flash. Beneath their visor, the Imposter grins. What will you do, Cosmos? You’re a good little girl, aren’t you? Are you going to stand by while everyone’s in danger? Your little friend Hyakka won’t. You saw how she immediately ran for the lights the last time around; why, I nearly took her pretty little head! And she’s left all alone with that slimeball Sho, he can’t be trusted at all, you know. What if he kills her? Not only will your friend die, but everyone else will too! All because you didn’t move. It’s been ten seconds; the clock’s ticking, Cosmos. Tick tock. Tick tock.

    He smiles as Cosmos runs out of the room. That’s a good girl. The Imposter’s grin is practically lupine, revealing polished canines as the flashing warning lights imbue his visor with a sinister crimson gleam. And you there, so certain in your enmity.

    Raz Stone delights as he brings a meat cleaver down through Blaise’s skull.

    You shouldn’t have hesitated.

    ඞඞඞඞ

    Cosmos stops in the Storage chamber as the alarm ceases. Hyakka fixed the Reactor? She’s safe, but that means… Oh no! She chews her lip in frustration; her error got Raz or Blaise killed. Now what should I do? Do I meet up with Hyakka? She probably didn’t get to finish her task. Cosmos frowns, and then moves. I have to make it to the Cafeteria. We can vote out the surviving Imposter and win!

    Her cyan suit and signature hat bob as she hurries up the hallway past the Admin chamber, and a few seconds later she’s in the Cafeteria. Just a few more steps, and she’ll be able to end this game. And yet, she is just a few steps short.

    Raz Stone leaps out of the nearby vent to bisect Cosmos in a flash of light. As she collapses to the ground with twin thumps, Raz sheaths his blade and catches her falling hat, twirling it on one finger as Sho enters the Cafeteria.

    ඞඞඞ

    “Raz ki-”

    “Sho killed Cosmos right in front of me, Hyakka! I knew I had to get here to call a meeting, and Cosmos must’ve had the same idea. Right when I got here, I saw Sho cut her down and cackle madly as he reached for her hat!”

    “Not her hat!”

    “Yes, her hat. He was certainly brazen, I’ll give him th-”

    Sho’s practically yelling to be heard over Raz, who’s more than accustomed to dealing with hecklers. “-went with you to fix the Reactor! He killed Blaise!”

    “I’d never kill Blaise! Why, I’ve been meaning to ask him about exchanging cooking tips; I hear he has a passion for the culinary arts.”

    “Raz killed Blaise, Raz killed Cosmos, vote out Raz,” says Sho, repeating himself as many times as he can until he’s heard.

    “Now look,” Raz turns to Hyakka and speaks intimately, “Lady Onjouji. Miss Hyakka. Hyakka. Huh. We’ve been working together all game, you can trust me. Not once have I hurt you.”

    “Because you were marinating her!”

    “You can’t trust Sho; the man’s been invisible the whole game, lurking in the shadows to kill our fellow Crewmates.” “No I-” “Now I just need you to work with me one last time. We’ll vote out Sho together, and we’ll win!”

    “Hyakka we fixed the Reactor together, if I was an Imposter you’d be dead.”

    “That same old song! That ended well for Rossweisse, didn’t it?” Raz laughs derisively.

    Sho sighs. “Don’t be fooled, Hyakka. He’s looking down on you. You’re smart enough to see the truth.”

    “Appealing to intelligence, a classic manipulation technique. Don’t let him trick you, Hyakka. You’ve survived all game for this moment.” Raz throws open his arms. “Now, it’s time to vote! Let’s win together!”

    “Raz is the traitor, he’s been manipulating things all game.”

    Hyakka raises a hand to the bottom of her visor, scrunches her face, and thinks. Finally, she comes to a decision.

    “Raz-san, you were very nice all game and kept me company. I haven’t talked to Sho-senpai very much, or spent a lot of time with him. But even though Sho-senpai is not Onii-chan, a person named Sho can’t be a bad person! That’s why I’m voting for you! Sorry, Raz-san!”

    VOTES:
    Raz: Hyakka, Sho
    Sho: Raz


    Raz smiles wryly as the icy embrace of space begins to take him.

    “Did you have fun, Hyakka?”

    She grins.

    “I had lots of fun!”

    .    。    •   ゚  。   .
       .      .     。   。 .  
    .   。      ඞ 。 .    •     •
      ゚   Raz was An Impostor.  。 .
      '    0 Impostors remain     。
      ゚   .   . ,    .  .

    DEAD MAN’S CHAT
    Ludwig: Why am I always first to die…
    Chris: i knew it was out of character for logan to lurk around the start, downloading data my ass
    Chris: did logan kill you too?
    Ludwig: I’m afraid so.
    Chris: he really is worst boy
    Ludwig: I wouldn’t go that far. Who do you think the other traitor is?
    Chris: don’t you have tasks to do
    Ludwig: Oh, Ayra found your corpse.
    Ludwig: Logan’s a better liar than I figured.
    Chris: harder than...?
    Ludwig: Something wrong?
    Chris: ...no
    Ludwig: Cosmos doesn’t like Sho, I see.
    Chris: he sent a slime into the women's showers
    Ludwig: ...Ah.
    Ludwig: It’s not very surprising that Ayra and Raz are taking the lead here. Knights know how to lead the public, after all.
    Chris: get his ass
    Ludwig: Hopefully they’ll vote him out next time.
    Chris: no comms sabotage? careless
    Ludwig: Have you played this before?
    Chris: no. googled it a bit
    Ludwig: Logan sabotaged the Reactor to get Ayra and Blaise away from him.
    Ludwig: He's going for Ross next, huh.
    Chris: he left her alone? is she his type?
    Ludwig: ...I'm not sure he has a type. Any sign of the other Imposter?
    Chris: no. they're playing it slow
    Chris: might be... no, can't be.
    Eva: Did Logan kill you two as well?
    Chris: yup
    Ludwig: I'm afraid so.
    Eva: ...Did he use a lightsaber? This is a surprisingly violent game.
    Ludwig: No, just a gun.
    Chris: lame way to die lol
    Chris: are you ok, eva? any lingering pain? i can take a look at you later if you want in my room. how do you feel about rocket fists?
    Ludwig: Oh, Ayra found your body.
    Eva: He's accusing Ayra now?
    Ludwig: He's arguing better than I thought, given that Ayra's a Knight. Did he have public speaking lessons?
    Chris: they can't beat raz though.
    Eva: He's not lying about Security, I saw him while doing Fix Wiring.
    Chris: gale knight took the bait. she's bad at this
    Ludwig: Raz cut her off again. Maybe he's the other Imposter?
    Eva: Raz hasn't killed anyone, though. He's just followed Hyakka all game.
    Chris: ...could be marinating hyakka
    Ludwig: Maybe he's using Hyakka as an alibi.
    Eva: Marinating? Can Imposters eat people?
    Chris: only half of them lol
    Ludwig: Oh, that's why he didn't kill Ross. That's not good.
    Chris: there she goes
    Ayra: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Chris: f
    Ayra: I'm going to kill him.
    Ayra: In a simulator.
    Ludwig: Logan?
    Ayra: Raz. Logan can wait.
    Ludwig: We're scheduled to search for materials in the Demonic Server, I need him in one piece.
    Ludwig: Oh, that's what you meant.
    Chris: surprisingly buddy-buddy for roths
    Ludwig: Well, it's a beneficial arrangement.
    Chris: who would you say attacks and who defends?
    Ludwig: Logan tends to take the vanguard, why?
    Chris: no particular reason
    Eva: Ross is going for the lights.
    Ayra: Raz followed her; they're going to get double-killed.
    Ludwig: Blaise is following them though, would the other Imposter risk it?
    Chris: no reason not to if it's raz. he can kill blaise and get hyakka voted off. or vice versa
    Ayra: It's Raz.
    Ludwig: Cosmos and Sho haven't died, so neither one of them is the other Imposter. It has to be someone headed to Electrical.
    Ayra: Like Raz.
    Eva: This game is more complex than I thought. At least Swipe Card was easier than I thought it would be.
    Chris: only total noobs mess up card swipe. easiest task in the game
    Ludwig: ...Yeah.
    Rossweisse: I knew I heard a vent go off back then. I shouldn't have trusted Logan. Sorry for voting for you, Miss Lilygrove.
    Ayra: It's fine. And just Ayra is fine, Ross!
    Eva: Since only one person died, is the other Imposter not Raz?
    Chris: ...it's not like him to lose his nerve. maybe it's not him?
    Ayra: Or he's just messing around again.
    Ludwig: Raz cut off Sho this time. And now he's using Hyakka for legitimacy.
    Chris: he took control of the conversation. no one else can take the napkin like this
    Eva: They're in the Cafeteria, but I do not see any napkins.
    Chris: ...
    Rossweisse: How are you guys doing with tasks btw?
    Chris: done
    Ayra: I'm done.
    Eva: I just have one more.
    Ludwig: I still have a couple.
    Chris: you died first slacker
    Ludwig: Anyways, the next meeting will be the last one. They're breaking up Hyakka and Raz too.
    Logan: I should've played that better, but I got too greedy with that last vote.
    Ludwig: I think you've played quite effectively.
    Rossweisse: Either way, you can't win now. The way the groups are set up, Raz can't kill anyone. You've lost.
    Logan: No. No, no, no. You will all die.
    Chris: shut up palpatine
    Eva: The Reactor's sabotaged again.
    Ayra: It'll be fine, Sho and Hyakka can fix it. Cosmos and Blaise could fix it together too. As long as they don't split up, Raz has no chance.
    Eva: Cosmos just left on her own.
    Chris: welp
    Blaise: I should've chased after immediately.
    Logan: But you couldn't just leave him alone either, could you? You didn't trust Cosmos fully either, did you?
    Eva: Why wouldn't someone trust Cosmos?
    Ludwig: I sense deeply rooted emotional issues. Would you like to talk about them?
    Blaise: No.
    Rossweisse: Raz just vented.
    Eva: Even if he kills Cosmos, he won't be able to kill Sho or Hyakka before they make it back to the Cafeteria, right?
    Ludwig: If he does, there's only three players remaining. It'd come down to him vs. Sho.
    Ayra: And he's been marinating Hyakka all game.
    Cosmos: I should've known that Hyakka would be fine!
    Blaise: Not even that guy could talk his way out of this.
    Logan: I believe in Raz. He'll win.
    Chris: the same kind of stan, huh
    Rossweisse: The facts aren't on his side, though. Sho should be able to convince Hyakka, right?
    Chris: sho is pretty untrustworthy
    Eva: Is Sho really that um, sus as people playing this game tend to say?
    Cosmos: Yes.
    Chris: yes
    Ayra: Yes.
    Rossweisse: He did send his slime into the women's showers...
    Cosmos: Don't fall for it, Hyakka!
    Ludwig: That's quite the coincidence.
    Cosmos: hyakka can fly, logan. she always has the high ground
    Ayra: That's a relief.
    Rossweisse: I knew he was lying, and I still almost believed him. Raz is terrifying.
    Ayra: Not once I'm through with him!
    Ayra: In the simulator.
    Logan: If only I'd been smarter. I could've helped him.
    Logan: You say GG at times like these, right? Then GG.
    Chris: gg no re
    Blaise: GG
    Rossweisse: GG!
    Eva: What is this "GG"?
    Cosmos: It means Goodness Gracious, right?
    Chris: ...sure
    Last edited by Rafflesiac; December 9th, 2021 at 06:04 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  16. #976
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Mar 2015
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    Cosmos' First Valentine!
    __________________________________________________ _

    "Valentine?" Cosmos tilted her head quizzically while reading a book in the library. "What's that?"

    Illia blinked once, twice, even though Cosmos couldn't see her right now. "You... don't know what Valentine is?"

    Cosmos shook her head, and Illia took a few moments to process this revelation.

    Cosmos had at least spent a year training to become a tamer, and she never heard about Valentine? Illia almost found it hard to believe, but then again her dear Cosmos can be strange in many ways... Perhaps being an amnesiac with no identity or memory except for her name will do that, and Cosmos has always been rather shy, so it's possible she had never heard about it from other people.

    Then again, does Mary celebrate Valentine? Someone like the woman would definitely give Cosmos chocolate if she does celebrate the occasion, so this must mean Mary doesn't… hmm…

    Well, she supposed giving Cosmos a little nudge wouldn't hurt.

    "It's a day where you show someone your love by giving them chocolate." Illia explains. "It's now more like an event for couples than anything else, but giving chocolate to friends or family isn't unheard of."

    "A day where you show someone your love?" Cosmos repeated, her tone puzzled. "What's the point?"

    "Um?" Illia couldn't follow her master's logic.

    "I mean, if you truly love someone, you should show them that you love them everyday, right? At least, that's what I'd do. And I think I've shown my love for my mother everyday!" Cosmos happily answered. "I give her hugs and kisses everyday, and mother returns the favor, so there's no point in celebrating Valentine! By that logic, every day is Valentine's day for me!"

    Illia clutched her chest upon hearing Cosmos' response; it was so sweet and corny she's almost certain she could get diabetes... but this is why she loves Cosmos, and dammit she'd help her celebrate Valentine!

    "I concede that you may have a point." Illia began, her voice showing no hints of her almost dying from sheer HNGGGG, a proof of her masterful control over her emotions. "But there's no harm in doing this, right? You can think of it as another way to show your love for Mary. You can use the opportunity to learn how to bake or make chocolates!"

    "So, it should be handmade?" Cosmos questioned, her tone as unsure as someone who had never cooked before. Which Cosmos never did. "I don’t know Illia..."

    Alas, the COMP knows her master well. "Think about it. Mary loves sweets, right? I know she loves chocolate cookies." Seeing Cosmos nod, Illia continues. "Now, hear me out... What if you make her a jar of chocolate cookies to be eaten during your daily tea time? Wouldn't that be wonderful? Won't she be happy?"

    "!"

    Illia pumped her fist up in triumph upon seeing Cosmos lost in a daydream, no doubt imagining Mary's reaction at receiving the gift; she took the bait hook, line and sinker, and there's no way she'd refuse now!

    Of course, she'd done this to make Cosmos happy, and yet Illia couldn't help but to feel a strange, painful feeling in her chest at the thought of Cosmos giving Mary the cookies.

    Is this... Jealousy?

    But that's stupid. She's the one who brought the topic up, and as an AI she couldn't enjoy food anyway, so she was never a part of the equation to begin with. Besides, she has Mary to thank for her appearance and personality, so this is the least that she could do to repay the favor to the woman.

    "Illia? Are you listening?"

    "Hm? Ah, sorry, I was lost in thought for a moment. What is it?"

    "I asked what ingredients do we need to make chocolate cookies! We need to do some shopping!" Cosmos said excitedly as she bops up and down. How she has yet to invite the wrath of the librarian, Illia doesn't know. "Also, when is Valentine again?"

    "It's on the 14th, so four more days."

    "Alright! I'm going to learn baking and how to make chocolate cookies in four days!"

    --------------------------------------------------------

    “I can’t just suddenly learn baking in four days… this is impossible…”

    Maybe I should have seen this coming,’ Illia thought as Cosmos mourned the result of her first attempt at making cookies: a blackened, charred mess that most likely doesn’t taste like chocolate cookies at all.

    “I-I followed the recipe and instructions to the letter, right…? Where did it go wrong?” Cosmos tearfully asked as she took one of the burnt cookies; before Illia could stop her, she already put it in her mouth.

    ...How did it taste?

    “Like failure.”

    Illia snorted before she could stop herself, and Cosmos pouted. “You shouldn’t be laughing, Illia. This is our failure, not mine alone!”

    I’m sorry, I’m sorry! But you can be so unexpectedly funny sometimes, Cosmos. Did Mary ever tell you that?” Illia apologized half-heartedly with a grin, not that Cosmos could see it. “You must have made her laugh a few times before, no? How did that make you feel?

    “Mmngh, I suppose it makes me happy…” Cosmos replied as she took the tray full of the burnt cookies with a conflicted expression; if Illia had to guess, she’s conflicted whether to throw it out or finish them all as to not let it go to waste. “Mother has always been beautiful and radiant, but she’s even more dazzling when she’s happy. Do you know that mother rarely laughs out loud?”

    Mm-hm.

    “She smiles and giggles often, but her laughter is far more rare, at least in my experience.” Cosmos gushed, and perhaps powered by a daughter’s love for her mother, she began eating the burnt cookies absent-mindedly without complaint. “If I have to guess, she laughs more when she’s with Aunt Alisa because they’re best friends, but that makes the few times she does laugh in my presence all the more precious. I always make sure to commit them to my memory!”

    Of course, being born from Cosmos’ memory and love for Mary, Illia knew these facts already, but she allows her master to speak freely; Cosmos always looks so happy whenever she talks about Mary, and seeing Cosmos happy makes her happy too.

    “--Have you heard her sing Illia? Wait, have I slept with my mother again since I have you? Anyway, I don’t mean that she sings songs that people like Alyx love to listen to, but more like lullabies! She never fails to make me sleep soundly without nightmares! I bet mother’s good at choir too, and that reminds me I should maybe ask her to do choir together if she’s not busy–”

    Having said that, listening to her gushing about Mary can get tiring, and if she lets it get out of hand, then Illia will start to feel… unpleasant feelings in her chest. So before that could happen…

    Um, Cosmos? Sorry to interrupt, but you really shouldn’t finish eating all the burnt cookies. I think they’re not good for your health.

    Cosmos immediately stopped talking and looked at the half-eaten burnt cookie in her hand. “Wait, really? It’s hazardous to our health?”

    If you eat too much of it, yes.” Actually Illia wasn’t sure, but that sounds about right. She’s really not in the mood to confirm that whatsoever. “Back to the topic at hand, you won’t let a single failure stop you, right?

    “... I suppose not.” Cosmos nods, eyes once again blazing with determination. At least all that gushing on Mary manages to reignite her spirit. “It’s my first try, so failure is to be expected anyway! I still have three days, and we’re going to make this work, right Illia?”

    Of course.” Illia nods. “I’m with you every step on the way.

    —------------------------

    “We did it! It’s finally something edible!” Cosmos cheered at the successful batch of cookies. She can just store this prototype for herself, while the next successful and more refined batch will be for her mother. “We barely made it, but four days is actually enough after all!”

    Congratulations, Cosmos.” Illia said, her tone proud. “Make sure to make the final batch extra large, okay?

    “Huh? Why?” She questioned. While her mother loves cookies, it’s not as if she should make too much of it…

    Why, for your aunt and sister of course!” Illia chirped like it was the most obvious thing in the world.





    “Illia,” She began slowly, keeping her tone even. “Valentine is a day to show and celebrate love, yes?”

    Indeed.

    “Then why do you suggest I make some for Alyx?! Aunt Alisa is one thing, but I don’t want to make any for that rascal!”

    It was a truly outrageous suggestion. Sure, their relationship might have become more cordial ever since that incident at the church, but to say that they love each other would be a massive overstatement. Illia should have known this, so why-!

    Okay, I need you to calm down first Cosmos. Can you do that for me?” Illia said gently, and while far from being her mother’s voice, it’s enough for Cosmos to calm herself down, taking a seat in the meanwhile to better have this conversation.

    So,” Illia began, and Cosmos listened. “Let’s run the scenario. It’s valentine’s day, and on the usual tea time, you give Mary the cookies.

    Cosmos nods. Illia continues on.

    She’d likely be happy and try it, giving her seal of approval because thankfully this batch of cookies is pretty good; then again knowing her, maybe anything you made will be loved anyway, but I digress. Everything is going well, and tea time is proceeding as usual.” Illia paused. “But she’ll likely ask you a question after praising your cookies. Do you know what she’ll ask?

    “Um…” Cosmos trailed off, unsure, before the answer hit her like a lightning bolt. “Aaah!” She exclaimed, while she could hear Illia chuckling in her mind.

    It seems you’ve realized why I made the suggestion now.

    “She’ll ask whether I’ve prepared some for Aunt Alisa and Alyx too…” Cosmos groaned as she buried her face in her hands. “And if I don’t have anything prepared… I don’t even want to imagine the look on her face…”

    The thought of Mary giving her a look of disapproval, or even worse, disappointment, is enough to send shivers down her spine. She had yet to see her mother giving her such a look, and by God she had sworn to never give her mother any cause to do so-!

    “So that’s why you asked me to buy four jars… one for myself, one for mother, one for auntie, and one for Alyx.” Cosmos smiled. “You’ve certainly been thinking ahead, Illia.”

    Please, I’m only doing what any COMP will do for their master.

    “Well, whatever the case we’ll need to bake three batches now.” Cosmos stood back up and stretched. “What time is it now?”

    It’s ten past midnight.

    Cosmos hummed in response; definitely enough time to bake them all if she forgoes sleep…

    “I can’t believe I’m going to lose sleep to make something for Alyx.” She sighed; sometimes her mother’s kindness can be overwhelming.

    But then again, that’s exactly why she loves and admires her so much.

    “Alright then Illia, we’re going to bake all night. I hope you’re ready to accompany me without a wink of sleep!” She said resolutely, while she could see Illia smiling in her mind.

    Of course. I did say that I’m with you every step on the way.

    —----------------------------

    The moment morning came and all the cookies were finished and put into their respective jars, Cosmos hurriedly ran out of her room into the inner gardens to the sound of chirping birds.

    Despite staying true to her words and not getting a single wink of sleep, her steps are light, and her face radiates excitement that somewhat obscures the tired bags under her eyes; the feat of cooking something for her mother, and the image of her mother’s praises works as an extra fuel to power Cosmos for another day.

    As the gazebo entered her view, her steps slowed down to a walk as the figure of her mother got closer and closer. Mary is brewing tea, an assortment of sweets and cookies neatly placed on the center of the table, and as she enters the gazebo the blonde’s attention finally shifts to her as Mary gives a warm smile while placing the teapot on the table.

    “Good morning, Cosmos. You arrived just on time today, once again.”

    But before Cosmos could make a reply Mary’s smile disappeared, replaced by a concerned look as she stood up and walked up to her before she kneeled down and gently placed a hand on her face.

    “You have bags under your eyes… Was it the nightmares again? Do you need to sleep with me tonight, little one?” Mary inquires softly. Cosmos gives a smile in return - of course her mother would notice - before placing a hand on her mother’s in an attempt to reassure her.

    “It’s alright mother, it’s not the nightmares… I didn’t actually sleep tonight because I was baking these!”

    Reaching into her robes, Cosmos pulled out a yellow jar filled with her best-baked cookies as she offered it to her mother with a proud smile.

    “Happy Valentine, mother!”

    Mary blinks once, twice as she silently accepts the offering before opening the lid, the wafting aroma of freshly-baked cookies emanating out from the jar as she does so. When her eyes flickered back from the jar to Cosmos, the girl could see a myriad of emotions in her mother’s heterochromatic eyes, and thankfully she couldn’t see anything negative.

    “You… baked these yourself?”

    “Mm! It was hard, but I managed!”

    There was a few seconds of silence as Mary gave her a look that seemed to ask whether she could try it, and after seeing her nod, the blonde took out a single cookie before taking a small bite.

    Of course, Cosmos has tried all of the batches, and to be honest it was nothing to write about; store-bought chocolate cookies, like the one placed on the table right now, probably tastes better than hers. But Illia insisted that something made by her own hand will feel special, that there is something more to it than just taste that will be appreciated by the recipient…

    And when Cosmos saw her mother practically radiating joy and pride as she finished the cookie (she thought she saw her mother’s eyes becoming glassy and even shedding a tear, but surely that’s just her imagination) and turning back to face her, she could feel untold warmth and happiness filling her chest.

    “It’s a wonderful gift, Cosmos. I’m so very happy and proud of you!”

    Without warning, her mother went in to hug her, the jar of cookie still held on one hand as she did so, and Cosmos happily returned the hug as she basked in the blissful moment. They released the hug soon after, and nothing made Cosmos happier than seeing Mary’s radiant smile as they finally sat on the chairs and started their regular morning tea time.

    “But Valentine, hmm… Why do you suddenly decide to celebrate it, dear?”

    “Oh, Illia suggested it! She said it’s a day to show love to the people we care about, and I think learning a new way to show my love to you wasn’t a bad idea!”

    “Did she, now?” Mary turned her gaze to her rosary with a smile. “Thank you for inspiring Cosmos and teaching her how to bake, Illia. It’s a lovely gift.”

    It was nothing, really. As long as it makes you and Cosmos happy, I’m happy too.” The AI replied, and Cosmos thought Illia sounded rather bashful and happy to hear Mary’s gratitude, which is good, but that reminds her to mention something before her mother mentions it.

    “Oh, I made some for auntie and Alyx too!” Cosmos said as she took out a red and transparent jar. “I’m not sure where they are, so maybe mother can give these to them?”

    “You made some for Alisa and Alyx as well? You’ve grown so much…” The blonde said as she took the red jar, her eyes glinting with pride before looking at the transparent jar. “But you should give these to her yourself, sweetheart. Alyx is currently on a mission, but she should be back in the afternoon.”

    Cosmos internally groaned; she was hoping she doesn’t need to give it to Alyx personally. But her mother had spoken, and trying to refuse it will only make her mother question why she’s not willing to when she’s already made one for Alyx…


    So Cosmos nods, but perhaps noticing the slight hesitation, Mary smiled before voicing a question.

    “Ah, but I didn’t prepare anything for you even though you’ve given me these wonderful cookies… is there anything you want?”

    Cosmos’ eyes practically lit up in sparkles the moment she heard that.

    “Oh! Then, um, can I sleep with you today, mother? I’m not having any nightmares, but it’s been a while, and I think I can sleep better with you…”

    Mary lets out a melodious giggle in response, as if expecting her daughter’s answer. She probably did.

    “Then I’ll make sure to be free tonight so I can tell you stories and sing a lullaby.”

    —-----------------------------

    The sun was beginning to set when Cosmos heard that Alyx had returned from her mission.

    As she began searching for her sister, part of her mind was worried; Alyx returned later than expected, so did she encounter difficulties? Trouble? But another part of her reasoned that Alyx didn’t seem to visit the hospital on her return, so she’s probably okay.

    Besides, Alyx is strong, and she has returned safely. There’s nothing to worry about.

    Cosmos finally found her on the rooftop of the headquarters, sitting on the edge of the roof as she gazed at the sunset. Of course with her back facing her Cosmos couldn’t tell what expression Alyx is wearing, and yet the image seems to evoke a feeling that’s decidedly un-Alyx like.

    On Illia’s advice, Cosmos walked slowly to announce her presence through her footsteps before sitting next to the white-haired girl. She wanted to begin the conversation, but a look at Alyx’s expression stopped her; there was something there, something she’s not sure of, but she had never seen Alyx with that look on her eyes before and it made her falter. Unsure on how to proceed.

    So they sat in silence for a while, Cosmos resisting the urge to squirm or move from the uncomfortable silence as she fiddled with the transparent jar inside her robe. This doesn’t seem to be the appropriate moment to give Alyx the cookies, but then how could she give it to her? Should she try another day?

    And then, Alyx breaks the silence by asking her a strange question.

    “If you had to choose between Mary or your birth parent, who would you choose?”

    Cosmos turned to face Alyx from the unexpected question, and yet Alyx is not even looking her way; she’s still looking at the sunset, as if seeing something far out of reach, or something that only she could see.

    She wet her lips, wavering on how to proceed, before trying to answer her sister like she usually does.

    “Did you suddenly remember your birth parents? That’s really out of the blue.”

    “‘Course not.” Alyx scoffed, but it somehow lacked the usual bite. “This is hypothetical. A what-if. I think about it sometimes, and you must have too. So answer the question already.”

    Alyx is still not looking at her, but Cosmos decides to answer; she knows that this is serious, and thus decides to treat it appropriately.

    “I’ll choose mother - Mary, I mean.”

    There was no hesitation in her answer, and Alyx finally averted her gaze from the sunset and looked her straight in the eyes.

    “Why?”

    Cosmos met her gaze evenly as she answered.

    “Well, unless my memory somehow returns, then that’s the same as if I’m meeting my birth parents for the first time, right? I don’t know what they’re like, what they believe in, or their personality… But I’ve known my mother for a while now, and I know that she’s a kind, virtuous woman who stands for what is right. I love and trust her with all my heart, which I cannot say for sure about my birth parents.”

    A pause.

    “Of course, I’m hoping that my birth parents are good people as well… but if I have to choose no matter what, then I’ll always choose mother without hesitation.” She clutched her rosary. “Besides, there must be a reason why mother found me that fateful day… and in the same way, a reason why Aunt Alisa found you too. And if it is the Lord’s will, then it’s only natural to try to see it through.”

    She waited for a few seconds, but Alyx didn’t give any reply; there’s a strange look in her eyes, almost like a mix of admiration and hollowness, and Cosmos doesn’t know what to think of it, nor what she could do.

    So she did the only thing she could almost automatically: offering her sister the transparent jar full of chocolate cookies.

    “Happy Valentine.” She said at Alyx’s questioning look. “Chocolate cookies. You better take it because I’ve lost sleep baking this for you.”

    The white-haired girl took it silently, and as if in a trance, she opened the lid and took a cookie before nibbing on it.

    “Auntie’s cookies are better.”

    “Of course they are, but at least I baked it myself, which you can’t do!”

    “Oh yeah? How can you be so sure?”

    “Uhh… You never give auntie or mother anything baked?”

    Alyx lets out a chuckle, and Cosmos huffs even though she silently lets out a sigh of relief; that was more like their usual banter, and Alyx’s eyes seem to look more normal now, which is hopefully a good sign.

    “... Thanks.” Alyx said so quietly that she almost missed it. “Don’t expect anything back from me though.”

    “I never did.” Cosmos replied as she stood up. “I’ll be taking my leave then. Keep the jar, by the way; I have my own.”

    “Must be teal-colored or something.”

    Cosmos didn’t give a reply even as she silently wondered how Alyx could possibly guess, choosing to walk away with a wave. But as she opened the rooftop door to go back downstairs, she stopped to look at her sister one last time.

    Alyx is sitting down at the edge of the roof, facing the fading sun; the only thing that made it not an exact mirror of when she first found her is the transparent jar next to her.

    Wordlessly, Cosmos stepped through the door and closed it, leaving Alyx alone to gaze at the fading star.
    Random Regalia Hijinks

    <Mellon> But yeah. Don't play the waiting game too much guys. Just do what you want to do and let God (me) sort it out.

    <Erlkonig|Phone> Why get a gf, when Airen is your waifu?

    <Airen|Phone> I'll save everyone, it's fine

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

    <frantic> I actually hate reading your post because you're so fucking anime

    <Reiu> Regalia is a scary place desu...

    <Mellon> He who lives by the oneshot, dies by the oneshot

    <Airen> No character in ga rei is 100% serious


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

    <Erlkonig> I would fall for Pally if he was a qt shoujo manga lead girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Airen View Post
    Only pala is pure, the rest of ya are twisted


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    List of Episodes of Great Detective Burroughs! by Spirit Pulse Phantasm Release

    Revision History:
    TheLyricsTheyDoNothing (User): List edited to reflect episode inclusion with relevant BDs. [+1350]
    AbsorbEmotional (User): Corrected list to list episodes in broadcast order. [-50]
    TheLyricsTheyDoNothing (User): Edits reverted. The episodes were already in broadcast order. [+50]
    AbsorbEmotional (User): Removed extraneous information and updated article title. [-52]
    TheLyricsTheyDoNothing (User): Repaired vandalized article. Sockpuppeting is against site rules. I mention this because you're obviously incapable of reading, so you must've had someone else vandalize my page for you. [+52]
    AbsorbEmotional (User): Anyone who even gives a shit about SPP uses the SPP wiki, not the GDB wiki. The only sock I've ever puppeted is your mother. [-52]
    TheLyricsTheyDoNothing (User): Fuck you asshole coomer pedo I'll eat your guinea pig!!! [+613]
    CosmosDid1226 (Admin): You both know better; we have rules in place to stop edit wars like this. Lyrics gets a temp ban, Absorb gets a permaban, this article gets a lock, and I get a drink. End of discussion. [-561]

    Great Detective Burroughs! was originally released as a series of OVAs bundled with the Blu-Ray Discs of Spirit Pulse Phantasm, the comedy spinoff of Spirit Pulse: Mugen no Sekai. Its episodes are summarized below and listed by the corresponding Spirit Pulse Phantasm BD they were bundled with.

    BD Volume 1: Cosmos and Hyakka's Fight for Height!
    Episode 1: Welcome to Xanadu City!
    Xanadu City is a thriving metropolis home to industry and culture - and crime! But where there’s crime, there’s justice as well to solve any case! By day, young Burroughs attends Unity Academy with her friend Hiyori; but at night, she’s the assistant to the legendary detective DTG of the DTG Detective Agency! There’s a new mystery around every corner, but the Great Detective Burroughs is on the case!

    Episode 2: Law and Bright Justice
    Transfer student Daisuke arrives from the faraway Aoyama Gakuen and reveals himself as the young prodigy detective Bright Justice! The DTG Detective Agency doesn’t have his fancy gadgets, but that’s not going to make Burroughs lose to him! While on a case with DTG, businesslike cop Aster and gruff cop Amelia arrive to take jurisdiction of the case! And in a rainy alley, a mysterious girl collapses…


    BD Volume 2: Dragon and Stalker: Unlikely Aoyama Alliance
    Episode 3: The Masked Circle Lurks!
    While taking a shortcut to school after oversleeping, Burroughs meets a mysterious girl with rainbow hair! The girl runs away, revealing Kioka the dead body! Amelia and Aster search for the rainbow girl, but the DTG has a hunch: this crime has the hallmarks of the infamous crime ring The Masked Circle. Meanwhile, Daisuke attends a party hosted by the philanthropic socialite Lydia. But the gunslinging LUCID crashes the party!

    Episode 4: Dames, Damsels, and Danger
    LUCID holds the partygoers hostage to force the police to accede to her nefarious demands. The shooter tries to kill Lydia in a fit of pique, but Daisuke successfully intervenes, forcing her to flee! A mysterious sniper helps LUCID escape from police pursuit. On the other side of Xanadu City, the beguiling dame Dejah crosses DTG’s path once again with a warning - the Masked Circle’s eyeing the local yakuza. The next morning, Burroughs sneaks into the church run by Mother Ilia in search of the rainbow girl, and ends up face-to-face with her!


    BD Volume 3: Ludwig's Terrible No-Good Awful Day
    Episode 5: Verity’s the Name!
    The rainbow girl tries to flee, but knocks herself out by mistake. She wakes up to an apologetic Burroughs and introduces herself as Verity. Ilia catches Burroughs, but lets her stay for the day to talk to Verity, who’s on the run from the Masked Circle. But when Burroughs tells Verity that she goes to Unity Academy, Verity flees! That night, DTG heads to the Snow Dragon yakuza compound - but it’s under attack by ANIMA of the Masked Circle! He helps the yakuza boss Kagura defeat ANIMA, but on his way back to the agency gets shot in the back by the mysterious sniper CROW! As he falls into the sewers, a shadowy figure watches…

    Episode 6: The DTG Detective Agency Closes!
    Without DTG around, Burroughs can’t open the DTG Detective Agency. She goes to Unity Academy, still wondering why mentioning it made Verity run away. Burroughs breaks into the principal’s office to find information on her reaction, not noticing a silent alarm… Meanwhile, Daisuke accosts the Student Council President. Or, he should say, LUCID of the Masked Circle! A revealed LUCID tries to defeat him and loses, but Daisuke thinks that something’s off. He’s been caught in an illusion, and wakes up in a dungeon with JESTER of the Masked Circle! He’s been in the palm of JESTER’s hand since the moment he thought he contacted the police for backup before confronting LUCID. They’ll be having a lot of fun together, laughs the clown.


    BD Volume 4: Raz Can't Get Laid!
    Episode 7: Betrayal! Hiyori the Hitman!?
    The principal talks on the phone with an unseen woman. It seems there’s been a little rat scurrying around her office, so she’d like some fumigating. She’s got matters of her own to attend to, so she can leave it to the other woman, right? The other woman laughs and agrees, saying she’s got just the partner for the job. Elsewhere, Amelia and Aster interview the gloomy heiress Camelia - Kioka’s friend. Kioka’d sheltered Verity, but Camelia hasn’t seen either of them since. Burroughs goes to school like usual, but both Hiyori and Daisuke are absent. As she heads home, she gets attacked by the infamous hitman Agatha! Burroughs tries to escape, but she gets cornered by another hitman, who reveals herself as Hiyori! The young detective despairs, but she’s saved by a mysterious woman calling herself a Vigilante of Justice!

    Episode 8: The Burroughs Detective Agency Opens!
    Burroughs and the Vigilante of Justice flee into the sewers, evading the hitmen! Burroughs breaks down in tears, but a familiar voice tells her that she’ll never see any clues if she keeps crying. It’s DTG! He’s still recovering from being shot, but he’s fine! DTG reveals the mysterious woman as Aster, who bemoans needing to bother with the extrajudicial secrecy thanks to the Masked Circle. The older detective reveals that CROW is the principal of Unity Academy, and Burroughs sinks into depression at the number of enemies. But DTG encourages Burroughs to redo her deductions; does she really have as many enemies as she thinks? He can’t move, so it’s up to her to solve the case. Burroughs and Aster face off again against Agatha and Hiyori, but Burroughs knows that Hiyori is her friend - and Hiyori shoots Agatha, saving the day!


    BD Volume 5: Eva and the Smoky Laboratory
    Episode 9: Wake Up, Bright Justice!
    Burroughs remembers the talk she had with Verity and deduces where she’s hiding, but sees Verity being shipped away and runs into a brainwashed Daisuke calling himself Dark Villainy! His gadgets and JESTER’s support make it a tough battle, but she successfully frees her rival and friend. They contact Amelia and Aster and raid JESTER’s compound, apprehending the scoundrel! But the captured Verity’s in another facility…

    Episode 10: The Masked Circle Looms!
    The police surround Unity Academy, preparing to infiltrate to arrest CROW and LUCID. CROW attaches Verity to a nefarious machine, causing rainbow crystals to grow all over Xanadu City and attack people! Burroughs, Hiyori, and Daisuke take DTG back to the DTG Detective Agency, where they meet Dejah. Dejah tells them that Verity’s being used to make the crystals, and if the Masked Circle isn’t stopped, she’ll die. The three youths head to the scene to save her!


    BD Volume 6: Ayra and the Amazing Game Sho
    Episode 11: Leave It to Us!
    The Burroughs Detective Agency successfully sneaks into Unity Academy through a secret passage while the police fight the crystals outside. But on their way to Verity, LUCID attacks! Daisuke and Hiyori tell Burroughs to go on ahead - Leave It to Us! After a harsh battle, her two friends defeat LUCID, but are too drained to catch up with her. Burroughs hurries onward to save Verity and reaches the machine chamber, where she’s intercepted by CROW of the Masked Circle!

    Episode 12: The Culprit is You!
    CROW relentlessly attacks Burroughs, and it’s all she can do to dodge. The woman laughs, mocking Burroughs. But the young detective remains undaunted, analyzing the situation. CROW’s not playing with Burroughs, she’s too exhausted to finish her! There’s no way that Amelia, Aster, and the other police were easy to handle, and there’s no way that they’re already down for the count! And thanks to Burroughs moving CROW into the ideal position with a well-timed shot, the final executive of the Masked Circle gets taken out by the police’s sniping! Burroughs releases Verity from the machine, saving her and the day!


    BD Volume 7: Humanity’s Strongest Idols: SLEIP☆NIR
    Episode 13: Case Closed!
    The Masked Circle is disbanded, its members arrested by the police. Burroughs receives a commendation from the mayor, and proudly reopens the DTG Detective Agency for business! By day she attends Unity Academy, now run by the mysterious Dejah, with her friends Hiyori, Daisuke, and Verity; but at night, she assists DTG as a fellow Great Detective! There’s a new mystery around every corner in Xanadu City, but there’s nothing to fear with the Great Detective Burroughs on the case!
    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  18. #978
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Fix-It

    Insert statement about all this being headcanon.


    ---------------------------

    The clanging of metal against concrete wasn't enough to disrupt the screeching of cicadas.

    Wrench, half a dozen screwdrivers, power drill, wire stripper, pliers, all took their turn at the box in the corner of the small alley onto which the sun directly shone from up above. All were deployed and all proved useless. The man squinting at the box dropped the auger he'd been turning and blindly reached down, feeling around for another tool with his fingers. He found it finally: the mighty crowbar. The box was bent, its surface caved in and hard to open by normal means, so he would have to be more forceful.

    "...hm!"

    With a grunt, the lid creaked open, metal screeching against metal, revealing within a mess of wires and fuses.

    "...phew."

    The man took off his cap and waved it as if to clear out the dust and stir up something resembling a breeze. It was hot, heavy, and the sun beat down on him as if pushing away from the box and into the shade. He would not budge, though. With another grunt the man bent down and gathered together a handful of open zip ties, clutching them between his teeth as he started sifting through bundles of wire, sorting them out and lashing them together.

    From above, sitting on a light post, two fairies watched.



    "Waaaah! He's so boring! I'm gonna melt!"



    "But his dullness makes it even better!"

    "How come? Doesn't the dullness just make it dull?" asked the first fairy.

    "Nuh-uh," replied the second. "It'll be so cool when he finally snaps. I bet he'll lose all his hair. The quiet ones always squeak the loudest!"

    "But he's not snapping. He's fixing it."

    "Waaaah! The treasure we worked so hard on!"

    "D-don't get worked up! He might've gotten the box open, but that was the easiest part! He'll definitely get confused here, definitely!"

    Oblivious to the cheering above him, the man continued his work. With the loose wires finally tied off into sections, the real issue revealed itself: most of them had been disconnected, torn haphazardly from their connectors by tiny, mischievous hands.

    The man stared for a moment. A bead of sweat ran down his brow. He dabbed at it with a dusty handkerchief. Then he knelt down, opened the suitcase at his side, and withdrew a soldering gun and a pair of shielded glasses.

    Now was the time to fix the connections. It was just a matter of reconnecting them, sometimes even directly fusing the ends together. It would be tricky with no frame of reference, so the man pulled a device with a screen out of the satchel hanging around his waist and brought up the schematics for the model number of the box. It was a simple type, so with a bit of guesswork...

    The crackling of heat and metal filled the air, still failing to drown out the cicadas... or the fairies.

    "Waaaah! He's fixing it! We spent like five minutes messing it up and he's fixing it!"

    They hadn't planned on sticking around. Fairy playtime was forever and there were always new games to play. This power box had been the unfortunate target of a previous prank. The "shut off their electricity and watch them run around panicking" prank, to be exact. It had worked fine, and the fairy friends had been planning on moving onto their next target when they'd noticed something: The head honcho of the building that lost power had barked something to their COMP: "Call the guy."

    Who was 'the guy'? They'd stuck around to find out.

    Except, unfortunately, the guy was just a repairman. A boring looking adult with an even more boring bristle on his upper lip. Even now he drew from the water cooler at his feet a bottle of boring water, taking a boring gulp. What had taken them no time to break, he had spent hours fixing. He was the sort of guy that fairies disliked on principle... except when in a pranking mood.

    "Hehe. It's time."

    "He's nearly done. It's time "

    "Let's do it?"

    "Yeah, let's do it!"

    The fairies descended upon the repairman from above, dust glimmering in the wake of their wings. They laughed and hurled insults in the fae tongue while flying circles around the human, whipping up wind everywhere they went.

    The man's attention finally left the power box. He looked up at the fairies.



    "..."

    The silent glare of a man with nothing left to lose. An utterly deadpan stare that communicated nothing save disdain and the promise of retribution. An expression that, in other words, said "You don't wanna fuck with me."

    "Bleeeeeeeeh! Stupid human! You're too slow."

    Not that the fairies hesitated more than a moment. They were used to going up against Tamers; a single person couldn't possibly intimidate them.

    "Take this! Garu!"

    The miniature gust of wind slammed into the man, overwhelmed his civilian harmonizer, and knocked him out cold.

    "..."

    "..."

    "Ah... as expected."

    "As expected, just a weak human. This is boring. Let's come back later!"

    "See ya, loser!"

    With that, the fairies flew off, leaving the unconscious human under the burning sun, the power box he'd been working on now little more than metal scrap.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    When the fairies came back, they were tired and hot. The sun was overbearing today. Summer just wouldn't let up, as if saying it had to hold on with all its might or things would progress at an unacceptable pace. They felt lethargic and wanted to know whether the boring guy had given up. What they saw was enough to send them into a fit of giggles.



    "Wahahaha! He look so... so stupid!"

    "Hear that, human? You look like a tomato grew a mustache!"


    The fairies flew down and taunted the man, who had at some point woken up, pulled an entire new power box out of his suitcase, and started welding it in place over the old one. He was beet red from sunburn and his eyes had a glazed look in them, as if heatstroke was beginning to set in. He spared the fairies another piercing glance, before turning back to his work.

    "Are you dumb too?" One fairy asked. "We're just gonna break it again."

    That finally got the man to stop working. He turned to the fairy, stared at it, and shrugged.

    "What, that's it? C'mon, say something! Or I'll blast you!"

    "..." The man stared at the two fairies. The tablet at his side beeped. He glanced down, then looked back. "Tamers," he said. "En route."

    "Eh!? Tamers? They called the SDCD!?"

    Now that he mentioned it, they could feel the winds shifting. Not only was someone much stronger on the way, but they were nearly here. The fairies fluttered their wings and realized, too late, that the sun had weakened them. They couldn't fly away in time-!

    It happened as they turned to face the metaphorical firing squad. In an instant the Spirit Tamer would arrive from above. Three blocks away. Two. One-!

    Darkness descended on them from behind with no warning. A cold, crushing darkness full of ice and plastic. The box shook as it - and the fairies within - was slammed into the ground. They felt the box creaking as a weight settled down on top of it, trapping the fairies inside.

    They could always blast their way out, and indeed prepared to do so, causing a rattling stir within the icebox... but went still as the presence of a Tamer settled down right next to them.

    "Afternoon," they heard a muffled voice say. "I got a call about Demons causing property damage. Is this it?"

    "Mmhm." The boring man replied with an indistinct grunt.

    Footsteps. A whistle. "This looks pretty good! As new almost. Your handiwork?"

    "...yep."

    "Must've taken all day. That sunburn looks awful... I'd offer to take care of it, but... no healing spells, sorry. They were expecting troublemakers."

    "It's... fine."

    "You're a tough one... Mr. Fix-It, was it? Gotta be plenty of work in Aoyama for you. With things always getting broken in fights and all. I appreciate it. Tamers get all the credit but it's guys like you that keep things running. All we do is clean up the mess. And speaking of mess... see any fairies around here?"

    The Demons in the ice box shuddered, not from the cold and dark but from the promise of a prison even colder and darker. Most said being locked up in a COMP was like sleeping, but for them it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

    The silence outside stretched on, longer and longer, until finally...

    "...nope. All... quiet."

    The impossible answer preceded an even longer silence, during which the two prisoners clung to each other, silently shivering. When at last they could bear it no longer....

    "Ah well, guess they got moved on. All too common. Don't worry, we'll track them down eventually. You know who to call if you see anything. Have a good day! And buy some sunscreen next time!"

    With that, the footsteps - and the presence - receded into the distance. Only when they could no longer sense the aura of the faceless Tamer did the fairies calm down. At that same moment, as if by coincidence (because surely his senses couldn't be that good), the ice box flipped open and they fell onto the ground like a pair of wet towels.

    "Here." The boring man - who'd been sitting on the icebox until then, offered the fairies a pair of sea salt flavored popsicles.

    "...eh?"

    "Eh, eh?"

    They wordlessy broke apart the cold treat and started licking.

    "Whoa! It's salty but sweet!"

    "Whoa! It's sweet but salty!"

    ""Thanks, Mister! Sorry for calling you boring!""

    The man nodded, his stiff expression making way for a faint smile.

    "See... this?" He tapped the building onto which he'd affixed a brand new power box. Both fairies nodded in unison, silently licking away at their treats. "It's... a hospital. A children's hospital."

    "...oh."

    "Oops..."

    He continued, pointing up at the nearby power lines and tracing them into the distance. "But. Down... two blocks. Is a pachinko parlor. I... don't fix those."

    The fairies' faces lit up with joy.

    "Hehe."

    "Hehehe."

    ""Hehehehehehe! You're pretty good, Mister!""

    Fairy wings buzzed as the Demons took flight once more, their strength restored. They hovered above the man, ready to do once more what they did best.

    "One thing."

    "One more thing."

    "Why'd you help us out, Mister?"

    The man took a moment, then shrugged. "You... break things. I... fix things. Aoyama... goes along. It's fine."

    "Ooooooooooooh. So you're saying we're sworn enemies!"

    "No, doofus, he's saying we need each other! How're we supposed to mess things up if nothing is in order?"

    "Ooooooooh. That's almost deep! Almost!"

    "Take care, almost boring guy! Mess with you again sometime!"

    The fairies flew off. Left behind on the ground, the boring man waved goodbye before turning once more to his tools.

    "Say," one fairy said. "What do we do after we're finished with that gambling den?"

    "Hmm..." the other pondered. "How about some more ice cream?"

    "Great idea!"
    Last edited by Bloble; August 25th, 2022 at 01:39 AM.

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