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Thread: Spirit Pulse : Mugen No Sekai [IC]

  1. #1641
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Daisuke
    Tokyo, Aoyama ~ Brick Lane (Smokey Island Bakery)
    11/16/2026
    Monday - Morning

    Ah, he forgot to ask about Aislynn.

    With that thought, Daisuke's world warps. The smiling Sakurako vanishes, and he once more travels, or rather, is thrust through digital space at maximum velocity, so quickly that even to his enhanced senses it can be nothing other than 'teleportation'-!

    "Ah."


    Daisuke blinks. His glasses are askew. His body is parallel to the ground, knees curled in such a way as to indicate that he must've fallen over at some point. He must have lost even basic maintenance functions, then, meaning...

    How long? How long had he been out of it?

    The small COMP pushes off the ground. Straightens. Casts his gaze over the interior of the bakery, and finds...

    Broken windows. Scattered tables, dragged across the floor. Heavy rain. Heavy fog, too, slowly creeping in through the now open window. A malicious breeze.

    A blast of lightning and spiritual energy above. The muffled, distorted sound of thuds and breaking ground outside.

    "---Analysis complete."

    It doesn't take a detective COMP to put this these clues together. Even a fresh face on his first day could figure it out. What matters isn't that things have gone wrong; it's that he's not too late to make them right.

    Except... what is he going to do?

    "..."


    The panic begins to set in again. The same panic that had drawn him into a foolish decision earlier. Daisuke is alone. More alone than before. And he knows it. He has been alone on patrols, sure, and Chris had put him through simulator scenarios where he had to fight without her nearby, but he has not once been put in a serious situation like this one without someone there to tell him what to do. All the tactics and engagement rules and arts of war stored in his databanks are just that, data. Charts and books and words and numbers that have nothing to do with the reality before him. None of that will help him now.

    So what is he to do? How is he to help his friends? Both at once?

    Think. Categorize. Assign priorities. And remember, when in doubt.

    ---A familiar magical energy fills him. A bond that feels at once different and familiar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mokujima Chris
    "A Spirit Tamer is never alone."
    "...ending power-saving protocol. Disengaging limiter one. Limiter two."

    Something unbuckles within his body. Machinery whirs to life, metal and other materials clicking and clacking as they rapidly shift form, shape, and location. Layers of compressing technology unravel, retrieving mass and material from seemingly nowhere. The particles making up his outer form vibrate at a new frequency. The form of the boy standing in the middle of the bakery begins to blur, glowing softly with blue light along with a low hum.

    "Limiter three disengaged. Consumption cap set to 110%."



    "Combat mode, activated."

    Glasses and a childish bow tie clatter to the floor.

    Now, there stands there a man.

    Spells prepared. Slots filled. Auto-Skill chosen. Ready to fight.

    As his form changes, so too does something in Daisuke's mind. A faulty gear clicks into place, and suddenly he knows what to do. There is absolutely no hesitation. The person outside needs help. Shuichi can be left alone... is what a normal Tamer might think. But he's just as vulnerable as any of them, so he will have to be protected as well. In order to do that...

    Click, click, click. Daisuke grabs his left arm with his right. It continues to click, shuddering as something happens to it.

    "---set."

    A spell is cast, and gears shift as he puts one leg on the windowsill. One of the bakery's bright yellow raincoats is all the protection he can spare for himself.

    The fog is dangerous. It will absorb magical effects. In all likelihood, attack spells will be diminished the farther they travel as well. Daisuke's own attacks are primarily ranged and he has little to no capacity for straightforward physical combat, so if there is an opponent, he will likely be unable to do much damage. In the worst case scenario, expending reiki will strengthen the fog. There may be other effects as well, and even navigating it will be difficult. He may not be able to reach the two combatants outside. And if he does, he might not be able to find his way back to the bakery. It's a dangerous journey with no guarantee of reaching either the destination or home alive.

    Daisuke flies through the window without hesitation.

    He has accounted for all those variables already, of course-!

    First, the glow of the Harmonizer around him hardens. Daisuke goes into his own settings, overrides the safety protocols, and sets it not to just exclude attacks and damaging particles, but even rain and the very air itself. Nothing is to be allowed through, not even a single atom. A human might be at risk of suffocation, but as a COMP, he doesn't need to breathe. He just needs to keep the cursed fog and rain away from his body for as long as possible, before it starts eating into his magical energy. If he can keep it from noticing him by minimizing expenditure, all the better.

    Second, he lands not on the ground, but on the utility pole above. The fog is distorting sound and likely space as well. Traveling the road is inviting misdirection and ambush, even with his strongest senses. In which case a better road is needed. One where the 'opportunities to get lost' are limited by necessity. If he travels along the power lines, the chance of being ambushed also falls, and he can use the insulated cables to trace a way back to the bakery.

    Finally... before he loses sight of the bakery completely, Daisuke turns back.

    He can see it from up here. The second story window to Chris' room. The one that looks out onto the street. The one through which she stared every day, seeing the outside world. Now her COMP looks in from that world...

    "Hey, Saya. You were curious what a body was like, weren't you?"


    Daisuke blasts the message on all COMP frequencies. The enemy's reiki up there doesn't feel like a person's, so in all likelihood they won't have a COMP of their own to monitor it. Which means...

    "In that case, I'll let you try it out!"



    An unexpected projectile flies through the air at high speed towards the window, thrown with all the strength he can muster.

    A projectile? A grenade? A spell?

    No, what crashes through the window that had separated his buddy from the world is---!



    Daisuke's own detached left hand, connected to his body by a series of trailing, insulated wires. But that is all he needs to retain a connection. His body was designed to come apart for maintenance, so something as simple as this is a cakewalk. He leaves behind a glowing 'breadcrumb' to create a trail back home. And a helping hand to Namasaki Shuichi, to remind him he's not fighting this battle alone.

    "Take it!"

    Leaving behind half of his firepower to his ally upstairs, the COMP vanishes into the accursed fog, running across power lines into the unknown.

    He may not know where he's going, but he knows what his battle is. He is here to make sure his friends don't fight alone.

    That's what it means to be Bright Justice.

    Wise Up!
    Auto-Skill: Active-Sync
    Spells Set: ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???
    Spells Used: ??? (Rank D)
    Heat: 8/10

    Active Sync - C
    An Auto-Skill that links Chris and Daisuke (or a willing ally) together, ensuring their statuses do not diverge. Whenever one of them sustains a condition or injury, it will either only be effective if both of them suffer the same condition (for weaker conditions), or its effect will be divided between them, hitting each for half strength (for stronger conditions). Additionally, by syncing their Harmonizer fields together, they can share their senses and achieve a higher degree of battlefield awareness than normal telepathy. Must be activated by touching a willing ally.
    Last edited by Bloble; July 19th, 2021 at 08:50 PM.

  2. #1642
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Lydia
    Main Processing Unit: Online
    Location: Astrolabe, Fields


    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    "For starters, what do you mean with 'cosmic chrome dome'? Actually before that, if you're an Administrator couldn't you restore my memories fully?"
    "Sure. I could do anything."

    ---Again, no hesitation in it's words.

    Just like last time, the absolute confidence that exudes out from this bizarre entity is one that can be physically felt... It doesn't sound like a joke or hyperbole either, the almost amused way in which it claims omnipotence shows that it absolutely believes this to be the case, that there is next to nothing in this universe that it cannot accomplish if it feels like it, and that confidence...

    Is vaguely horrifying...

    The hell is this thing? Some sort of Divine Spirit?

    An incarnation of the Sun?

    Whatever it is, the longer you're around it, and despite how almost friendly it seems to be, the more certain you are that Leah hadn't been joking when she talked about opposing this thing being a...

    Suicidal ambition.

    "But will I? That's a different question."

    It giggles.

    "Maybe if the mood strikes me."

    ---And comes to that as a conclusion.

    "The... Alchsomethings are my previous little ones, so beating my gums about their secrets don't sit right with me."

    You can't see through the light, but you're sure that it's smiling, and the smile...

    It's not a comforting one, no...

    As you ask about your user, or more specifically, as you reference the Alchsomethings... It seems to get a bit annoyed at you, like the insinuation that one of it's 'little ones' had done something wrong was enough to sour it's mood... In that regard, perhaps it feels a bit like an overprotective parent?

    Either way...

    "But since we're here on my time, I guess I can tell you about the cosmic chrome dome~"

    That feeling fades just as quickly as it had appeared, and the light draws ever closer, like a teenager leaning in to mischievously whisper in your ear...

    "It's exactly what it sounds like, a Cosmic Chrome Dome. Big Floating Bald Head of Questionable Sanity and Unmatched Ego. Well, big floating infinite heads really, guess I shoulda called it the Cosmic Chrome Domes, but it'd snap it's cap at the insinuation that anything is equal to it. Kinda funny, cuz it's in pieces, so it gets mad at other incarnations of itself sometimes. Regardless, real pain in the ass. Keeps trying to move closer to us, some of it's pieces are running around trying to summon it, others are trying to get into your guy's Soul Sea so it can devour ya... Bad situation all around and it's not getting any better, so I'm taking over before everyone dies. Simple as that."

    It chuckles again, although you're becoming increasingly aware that might be just how it attempts to come across as more... Human...?

    "Loves to play itself up as some sort of savior regardless of the form it's in, but it loves suffering, feeds off it, no use for a savior if everyone is fine after all, so I just gotta make it so everyone is fine so it'll go away. It's a win-win."

    ---Yep.

    You're definitely getting the sense that it's being a little playful with it's answers...
    Last edited by Airen; July 20th, 2021 at 08:28 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  3. #1643
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Eva Ellet
    SLEIPNIR (?)
    11/16/2026
    Monday - Morning


    Quote Originally Posted by Eva
    “I wouldn’t like that. I’m happy to hear that you feel the same way.”
    ---The taller woman blinks in surprise.

    Not just surprise that she had been allowed to touch your head (it seems she had thought you were going to slap it away) but also surprise at a blunt declaration that she was liked, that you would have regretted not meeting her, yes...

    ---It's definitely surprise, although surprise melts away to a warm smile right after, albeit, one with a hint of an embarrassed crimson tint to it.

    "Of course. You are the cutest guest I have, it would be a shame if you had forgotten me."

    She nods, in that strange way of hers.

    It's certainly meant to be a compliment, a way of saying that she likes you too, although the delivery of it could use a bit of work...

    "But yes, this situation is... Quite the event."

    Three pats to the head, no more, no less, before she retreats back to the usual couch, no longer bothering to block the door.

    So whatever threat she seems to think might have been on the other side of it... Probably isn't there, or at least, she's satisfied with that being the reality...

    "It's scope is so large that it's even affecting the Velvet Room, which is a feat that should be impossible for all but the absolute strongest beings in the conscious World."

    She points at the doors.

    The rapidly disappearing doors.

    "Those made themselves known to me only recently. They are permutations of your world in which bits of your essence dwell, scattered pieces of the exact same soul living in different versions of the same world, which is already strange enough on it's own, as one does not typically share a soul with an alternate universe version of themselves, that is simply not how traditional alternates work... But stranger still is the fact that it seems like they're all being put back together again in a very specific way..."

    She blinks-

    "...It's sort of interesting to watch from a purely metaphysical point of view, but the effects this will have on the conscious minds of the inhabitants might be... Troublesome... The conflicting memories will cause some memories to be buried, others might seem to appear as if from nowhere, as everyone's minds unconsciously try to make sense of their situation, so..."

    -than pats the couch next to her.

    "There was a chance you would forget me because of that, but as your assistant, I can ensure this does not happen to you... Although I would need your permission to do so, reinforcement of the mind is not something to be done against one's will, after all..."
    Last edited by Airen; July 20th, 2021 at 08:18 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  4. #1644
    Lydia
    Main Processing Unit: Online
    Location: Astrolabe, Fields


    Quote Originally Posted by THE SUN View Post
    "Sure. I could do anything."
    It speaks with absolute certainty. There is no room for doubt in that statement, she, it, truly believes this to be factual.

    Meaning that whatever memories that she could restore, could well be fabrications. Even the ones that slowly arise, trickling down like rain on a pond, may not be trustworthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ??? View Post
    "I don't expect you to remember anything... But it'll all be over soon, big brother."
    Even when such memories certainly don't seem to fit well with the presented narrative.

    Lydia can't help but look perplexed. It's a strange scene no matter how she considers it. This individual spoke of ensuring a world without suffering in order to make it so a savior could not arrive.

    A savior born of a Unmatched Ego and Questionable Sanity.

    ...Is the COMP AI the only one that sees the irony in such statements?

    "So, let me get this straight. According to you, the world needs to end to begin as something new. A world of salvation where you're in charge, because of this probably insane Savior type character? You're saving us, donning the guise of a savior yourself... You and your little ones are taking over so we won't get killed... by killing us."

    A world of infinity misery and suffering. A world of unending bliss. Certainly if these two were the only options the choice would be easy. Neither is exactly a good idea when it comes down to it, but most often mankind will choose the path that avoids pain if they can.

    Does either world carry within itself a meaningful existence?

    A world without meaning... a meaningless existence only for the sake of eternal preservation... is there any worth in taking such a path?

    But are these two truly the only two choices?

    Instinctively Lydia knows there's no way it's quite so simple. Merely in a single visit she had realized that this being wasn't truly human, and the thought of a human world ruled with absolute dominion by something seemingly incapable of understanding humans was not a pleasant one.

    That too, is ironic in its own way.

    Here were two inhuman machines, a sliver of the moon and the light of the sun, arguing over what is right for mankind. One side young and naive, choosing meaning over a life without purpose. The other, vastly more experienced, choosing comfort over anguish. Should any one individual be allowed to dictate the fate of a world? Is a life devoid of meaning the only way of preservation?

    In the first place, is this solar soul capable of protecting everyone from this nebulous other savior? What about it's shards already within, what will be their fate? If they're individuals, will they be hunted down? Make it so they cannot or will not desire their return to this, collection of a cosmic ego?

    Lydia does not have these answers, not yet certainly.

    All she has are voices springing to life.

    Quote Originally Posted by ??? View Post
    "If you'll show me how little the World matters in a nightmare, then I'll show you that any nightmare can be overcome."
    Hurting feelings flow out as they resurface.

    Quote Originally Posted by ??? View Post
    "No. Not this time."
    Lost words that may gleam more meaning now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ??? View Post
    "But this is the script you guys wrote, right? Can't go around changing the play now because you forgot some people, that's just not fair, you know?"
    Perhaps neither side should get to decide... yet a choice will be made.

    One savior is exchanged for another. Both with questionable sanity really.

    Even if it were a decision born from something innately good, even if this choice was really the right one, are these methods acceptable?

    Was it even the right choice to begin with?

    Did this entity question itself just so as Lydia ponders internally now?

    And what of the fate of those that would rebel...

    "What about the fates of Sarah and Lara? Do they have their chance at life? With their 'rebellion' against you... what will you do with them and others like them?"

    ...Will they be spared, or will they too be 'saved'?
    Last edited by Zurvan; July 21st, 2021 at 12:01 PM.

  5. #1645
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Aoyama, Soba Shop -Gen-
    11/16/2026
    Night, Clear Skies

    "..........................."

    Wait.

    Was it over, already?

    Where... where had everyone gone?

    Or had it all been just a nightmare? Ahaha, a funny little nightmare of something far too absurd invading his sanctum of privacy, sanctum of peaceful life and tranquility?

    No, wait.

    Isamu had just said they had moved to upstairs. In other words, the whole absurd situation hadn't just turned out to be a bad dream, but it had simply... moved elsewhere for now. Somewhere where those who were far more comfortable with these things would try to get an idea what was actually going on and see if they could do something about it. And in return, this left Blaise and his group... well, free?

    Free?

    What even was freedom at this point?

    Oh, right...

    "Y-yeah... baths. We should hit the baths."

    Blaise's voice sounded old and gravely to his own ears. Had he really been hit that badly?

    "I... I think I'm gonna need to properly relax and clear my head," he continued, scratching the back of his head. "And nothing better than to sit in hot water and stare at a picture of Fuji-san, right? So, uh... let's go. Yeah. Let's go."

    Keep it together, Blaise. You were the responsible one, right? You had taken it upon yourself to lead this sorry cast of miscreants ('lead' being a rather vague term here) so you should do what was necessary! Just get your head back in the game, clear up your thoughts and be your usual self. After all... those pitying looks from both Isamu and Tsukki hurt just a little bit too much. He would have get back to his usual self, or else he might just curl up on the sofa with a whimper and try to shut out the "tragedy" that was unfolding within his very home.

    "So, uh... come on. Grab the basket with the supplies from the entrance closet - should have towels in there, too," Blaise instructed Isamu while he walked over to the other side of the kitchen table. "I'll carry this so we can head out."

    This?

    Well, 'this' being - of course - the down-and-out form of Anima.

    Blaise hoisted the creature over his shoulder and with that - acting like nothing was wrong - he started towards the door. One pair of shoes later and he was outside, enjoying the refreshing, chilly breeze of Aoyama that blew against his face, sobering up his thoughts a little bit. He stared at the night-time city for a moment, enjoying it's thousands of lights and millions of distant voices. Once Tsukki and Isamu had gotten their things and followed him outside, he finally let out a satisfied sigh.

    "Y'know..."

    He said, turning to look at his friends over his shoulders.

    "... The way I hear it, being a trucker is not a bad job. You don't need any special education either," Blaise said with a smile that felt almost fragile. "The pay is good, you get to see the world, and you can forget your troubles at home."

    --- It did sound quite enticing, didn't it?

  6. #1646
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Aoyama, Soba Shop -Gen-
    11/16/2026
    Night, Clear Skies


    Quote Originally Posted by Blaise
    "... The way I hear it, being a trucker is not a bad job. You don't need any special education either," Blaise said with a smile that felt almost fragile. "The pay is good, you get to see the world, and you can forget your troubles at home."
    ---For a moment, a shared glance between your two friends.

    It's a simple thing, a brief moment of eye-contact as two people exchange more words with their eyes than would ever be possible with their voices, the surprisingly powerful bond between a homeowner and his freeloading vampire tenant shining through, before...

    "Yeah. Wouldn't be too bad."

    ...Isamu steps forward, one hand coming out to pat you on the shoulder in solidarity.

    "There's something calming about the road, being away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, especially nowadays."

    The youth chuckles, gaze moving out to the road ahead as a vampire voluntarily picks up the rear.

    "Aoyama is always so noisy. I love it, but it's definitely noisy. And home life troubles? Tell me about it. Story of my life."

    It's an obvious attempt at comforting you, albeit one that seems to stem from his own perceived truth... Certainly, Isamu was old-fashioned in a number of ways, he was similar to you in that regard, so you don't get the feeling he's just saying what you want to hear, rather...

    It's more like he's simply choosing to be open about it, when he otherwise might not be...

    "You might think all that was strange, but my house is weird too."

    He frowns.

    "Sis won't leave me alone, insists on inspecting me every time I walk through the door, worried I'll get hurt... Tch."

    The frown deepens.

    "Treats me like I'm six, I swear..."

    Meanwhile, a certain vampire's thoughts are rather... Different...

    If you and Isamu were old-fashioned, Tsuki was actually just a relic of those old ages, so...

    "Trucker? That's still a thing people do?"

    She just sounds surprised, like always, a step or two behind when it comes to the modern world...

    "I would've thought all the spatial transfers would put a stop to that... But I guess that would consume a lot of energy huh?"

    She frowns, just the smallest bits of her fangs showing in her thoughtful expression...

    "Can't say I think the job market for it would last much longer even in that case though, so I wouldn't recommend it... But a World Trip could be fun even without a truck. It'd be a youthful experience! It's important not to skip those sorts of things at your age, you can only make those memories once!"

    ...One that has her saying an awful lot of adult-sounding things, her true age showing through once more?

    A shockingly motherly side?

    What was up with her today?

    As for Anima, well...

    It's as you pull into the alleyway leading to the public baths, that...

    "Heh... Stardust Crusaders..."

    She giggles that in her sleep.

    ---As always, her behavior is almost entirely incomprehensible.

    What a strange being.
    Last edited by Airen; July 22nd, 2021 at 04:22 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  7. #1647
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Aoyama, Soba Shop -Gen-
    11/16/2026
    Night, Clear Skies

    "Y'know, you'd sound a lot more convincing if you didn't look like that."

    Blaise's dry comment was a direct response to Tsukiko, as was the flat stare he levelled at the bespectacled vampire. Of course, he wasn't exactly harping on the vampire, as his eventual slight grin revealed, but he did have a point. Tsukiko was the type to go with the "age" that suited her situation the best. At one moment she was all wise and worldly with her advice, at others... she was basically a NEET stuck playing games and eating junk food (at least until Blaise got there to cook). So it was a bit hard to think her as someone who could dispense such serious wisdom.

    Especially in this trio.

    "Besides, who's gonna get a truck for a roadtrip? That just sounds like a pain in the ass if you aren't actually hauling cargo," Blaise continued as they approached the public baths. "Not to mention if you're going to go with a truck, you have to go with a dekotora, and if you're going with a dekotora, you should haul some cargo like a real man... all or nothing, in other words."

    He nodded at his own words and fixed his grip on Anima. Then he turned his attention back to Isamu.

    "And well... Bro, I think that's just how older sisters are. They spend all their time fussying over you, no matter how old you are," he said. "I guess you could try to show her that you've grown dependable enough that she doesn't always have to worry about you... or maybe hint that you've found some friends that you can rely on if something happens. That might ease some of her worries."

    The blonde youth thought for a moment, then continued:

    "... If needed, I'm willing to come visit. Tsukki too, right?" He said, glancing at the vampire. "Meeting with us might help your sister relax, since she'd know he'd be in good hands."

    He paused, thinking about it again, and then corrected himself.

    "--- Well, one good pair of hands at least."

    That vampire was as dependable as you could throw her sometimes - just like a cat.

    Still, now that they had arrived to the old public baths that had been in this part of Aoyama since forever, there was one more question that they had to answer. Namely...

    "Oh, right... What do we do with this?" Blaise asked, giving a few good smacks with his hand to creature thrown over his shoulder. "Should we separate them for now? I'm not exactly fond of the idea of letting that guy into the girls' side, even if she looks like that. After all, Tsukki is gonna be there too."

    As troublesome as the vampire might have been at times, she deserved some privacy, too.

  8. #1648
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Aoyama, Soba Shop -Gen-
    11/16/2026
    Night, Clear Skies


    Quote Originally Posted by Blaise
    "Besides, who's gonna get a truck for a roadtrip? That just sounds like a pain in the ass if you aren't actually hauling cargo," Blaise continued as they approached the public baths. "Not to mention if you're going to go with a truck, you have to go with a dekotora, and if you're going with a dekotora, you should haul some cargo like a real man... all or nothing, in other words."
    "...Isn't a dekotora a bit extreme?"

    She raises an eyebrow, the only sign she had heard your crack about her appearance being a vaguely amused grin, another sign that the vampire was acting quite bizarre today, leaning far more to the "older woman" side than her "lazy NEET" side...

    "Although, if you wanted to get one... I don't think it'd actually be too difficult..."

    Her hand rises to just beneath her chin, eyes lighting up in thought, glasses shining in the lights of the Aoyama Nightlife, the brilliant moon above seeming to almost seep into her skin, giving it an unnaturally life-like glow...

    "From what I can tell... Everyone is about exotic vehicles nowadays. Considering the Pulse Network thing you people use, a vehicle is more for fun than practicality a lot of the time... So maybe hit up a junkyard?"

    She chuckles.

    "Might be an old one lying around there, and it's not the weird magic technology it can't be that expensive, right?"

    ---Really, she's being a bit too competent today.

    It's almost scary.

    "...Although I wasn't thinking an RV per say, if it's students... Yeah... Student road trips are all about an RV, the built in kitchen is very important, you see?"

    Ah, there it is...

    The flicker of her glutton side.

    Meanwhile, when it comes to Isamu (who had gone strangely quiet after bringing up his sister) well...

    "...There's no way."

    He says this with grim reality.

    "She doesn't know what it means to stop worrying, it's impossible. You know that barrier around the hideout? She made that. A nuclear bomb could go off right outside and nothing would get through, her standards are... Insane..."

    His gaze lowers, and while it seems like for a second he might elaborate more, eventually...

    "Although... She might find you guys interesting in spite of that... But I haven't seen her approve of anyone..."

    He finishes with this...

    "She's perfect at everything she does, and she holds other people to that standard too. If she doesn't think you can do it, she does it for you."

    Something that almost sounds... Bitter...

    "Gah, don't worry about it too much, I'm not trying to bring down the mood."

    Although he shakes it off in time for final question, the obvious question, namely...

    What to do with Anima?

    A female spirit possessing a male body, thus causing the body to seemingly become female... It's certainly quite the question, one that's well fitting for the bizarreness of your daily life, but...

    "Well, letting her into the guy's side won't work. This one's a freak, I can tell just by looking at her, she'd try to pull something on you guys. Separating em won't work either, he doesn't want to let go so he won't. Trust me, I've already tried to kick her out of the body."

    Harsh words from the only other girl in the group...

    "So I'll have to handle it."

    ...Followed by a hand reaching out to grab the other girl's head like a vice.

    It's sudden, a move with absolutely no warning signs, no bloodlust of any sort, in spite of the fact that the girl's eyes had gone golden, a brilliant supernatural yellow as she steers the other girl's face towards her own, and...

    "Stay asleep until dawn."

    ...Issues a command to the sleeping girl, opening her eyelids with surprisingly delicate fingers, even though those fingers could easily pass for the claws of a monster at times.

    It's a vampiric demand, mystic eyes of one sort or another, eyes that force the body to sleep in spite of any attempt it might make at waking, and while the clearly drunken Anima does flail a bit at the contact she ultimately doesn't resist any more than that...

    "...And there, now it's just the girl... Or uh... Thing..."

    Shockingly forceful!

    Maybe she was getting more comfortable acting like a vampire?

    If she was...

    It was hard to say if that was a good thing or not-!
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  9. #1649
    Beware the Finnish Ringlets Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Aoyama, Soba Shop -Gen-
    11/16/2026
    Night, Clear Skies

    "... Well, guess that works?"

    Blaise wasn't quite sure about the specifics of it, but if Tsukki was alright with the results, he'd trust her judgement. She was the one who knew the effects of her powers the best, after all. And if that meant that they could freely leave Anima to the girls' side, all the better. In all, honesty, taking her to the guys' side would have been... problematic. For the obvious reason that the vampire mentioned, of course - Anima would have definitely gotten up to something and then there would have been a fight or some other nonsense in the baths.

    But, for, well... other reasons as well.

    Blaise frowned as he remembered his talk with his grandpa earlier that night.

    He was a high school boy after all, he wasn't immune to such things. Even if Anima's situation made it... extra weird.

    ....

    --- Well, not like all of that stuff wasn't extra weird around him.

    Oh what he would have given for a normal meeting with a normal girl.

    Ah well.

    This wasn't the time to fall into dark thoughts about yet another thing. Instead, it was the time to relax. Thus, with Anima now dealt with, Blaise shifted her position on his shoulder and marched onwards.

    "Let's hit the baths, then."

    With that, he pulled open the old metal door with the mesh-fence covering the frosted glass, and stepped into the establishment. A familiar bell rang somewhere inside, and a song from an old radio hit his ears.

    What greeted him was the familiar sight of the entrance room with wooden paneling that always smelled of fresh soap that was popular in the 70's. Posters of old enka and kayōkyoku singers lined the walls, along with a large calendar that Blaise was pretty sure was stuck in year 1968. A vending machine that might have been just a bit younger hummed in the corner, displaying its contents which were all brands that weren't sold anywhere else anymore - yet somehow the place kept it stocked up. Then there was the big, white plastic fan that was slowly rotating it's blade, almost lazily, in the opposite corner.

    And at the center of this all was the small reception area, where Obake-baasan, the proprietress of this fine establishment reigned over her kingdom... and had for as long as Blaise could remember.

    "Evenin', Baa-san. We came for a bath," Blaise greeted the tiny old woman. "Brought some friends this time. Don't worry, they know how to behave."

    They better. Or Blaise would personally reprimand them.

    If there was one thing Blaise would not allow here it was to cause problem for this old woman to whom the boy had nothing but overwhelming respect for.

    After plopping Anima down to one of the leather armchairs, Blaise walked over to the counter and started shifting through the contents of his wallets for the payment.

    "Everything good around here? Nobody causing trouble?" He asked, making small-talk while paying for all four of them. "How's your back doing?"

    ... To Isamu and Tsukiko, this might have been a bizarre sight.

    After all, Blaise - for once in his life - was acting like a honest and good boy of his age, if not even younger.

    Just how deeply did he respect elderly people who showed their age...?

  10. #1650
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    DTG
    Aoyama, Tokyo ~ Streets
    11/16/2026
    Monday - Noon


    Quote Originally Posted by DTG
    ”you can start taking now, or you can do it downtown dollface. Makes no difference to me anyhow. You are unlucky right now. The crooner over there goes nuts for a skirt, but the only thing I got for you is a pair of bracelets and some serious time in stir!”
    "..."

    ---The woman glares up at you.

    Youthful and slender, piercing crimson-eyes eyes hidden beneath unnaturally grey hair, the woman in the raven-like cloak shows a remarkable tenacity even in the face of this sudden reversal, laughter fading to a thin line of anger as she is confronted by the entity before her...

    A COMP made manifest in the physical world, a being of what amounted to pure energy taking physical form due to the overwhelming magic of it's User. Indeed, in spite of it's natural body being far from here, the DTG nevertheless functions as intended, no, better than intended, sensors sweeping the area around you, words pressuring the woman before you to answer with the weight of countless others adding on to your own, and:

    ---The city's population seems to be around where it should be, so whatever had been going on here was no longer taking place.

    ---The citizen's seemed healthy, and considering it's Aoyama we're talking about, their collective reaction to the ongoing 'battle' isn't particularly noteworthy, they don't seem panicked, because this is far from the strangest thing that has happened to the people of this Ward... Even the light of the Wishing Star simply brings about nostalgic memories, the older adults chuckling to themselves at the world being "at it again."

    ---That being said, there's also a heightened sense of alertness, as if the city was preparing to fight back against something in spite of their casual response to it, and...

    ---In the sky, in the distant sky, there's cracks, as if something had physically taken a hammer to the scenery.


    "Start talking...?"

    Meanwhile however, with the woman...

    Her thoughts are racing fast, in spite of the determined glare she faces you with... She's thinking about something, pondering whether or not she should answer the question perhaps? Or whether or not she is even capable of resisting doing so? There's a hint of nervousness in her body language, little twitches that most might ordinarily miss, and the eyes occasionally glance over at all the crowds watching her, but...

    "Fine. You wanna talk? I'll talk."

    ...Eventually, she grins in spite of this, her voice low and naturally sultry...

    Is it empty defiance?

    Her way of trying to put up some sort of defense in the face of an absolutely overwhelming situation?

    It is, at least a little bit.

    ---But there is some actual confidence in there, a sudden malice, erupting at the end of everything, no...

    Erupting right around when your sensors notice the cracks in the sky...?

    "I was playing games with the townsfolks minds and you caught me. Tried to find the sword-girl before she could jet off to another reality and you caught me there too, but... Hahaha, the method!"

    She laughs.

    "There's so much energy gathered here... That's great! Nothing much I can do about this! Didn't come here thinking I'd have to fight off an S-Class phenomena... But you can see it, right? Those cracks over there?"

    She nudges her head to the distant sky.

    A place that only your amplified sensors should naturally be able to see, and...

    "There are worse things around than us Alchera, Mr. Tin-Can Detective! Think a spell like this can just go off and not attract the attention of a bigger fish?!"

    She laughs.

    "Look! It's coming now! You can see it, right?!"

    She laughs, and laughs, and before you can stop her-

    There's the sound of a crack.

    Loud and vibrant and clear.

    ---Like the sky itself was shattering into pieces.

    Meanwhile, with Raz


    The Fiend stays quiet as you make your declaration to it.

    Your speech is one filled with impassioned promises, of endless battles, of a trail of battle that will extend far past the horizon, far past this World, and into the depths of Worlds yet unseen...

    It feels like a promise you can make, certainly you feel like you can keep it.

    ---There are Worlds beyond this one, of that much you are certain, terribly certain, because of the force flowing through your veins. Even without Dejah's explanations you now feel it to be true, and in response...

    "...Humans have become quite bold these days."

    ...The animated skeleton chuckles.

    It is not your average demon, it is a manifestation of Death, one of many beings born out of humanity's idea of the cessation of life, and in that regard, it is a demon that should naturally appear as a foe to the living...

    And yet... This one has never really struck you as that sort of malicious.

    It has a flair for the dramatic, a code of honor that it sticks to no matter what, and doesn't seem particularly interested in ending the lives of it's opponents. It's a bizarre demon, one that you do not know that well, and yet one whose path continues to intersect with your own, like a sort of red-string had been tied between you at your first contact...

    Or perhaps, you're simply thinking too poetically?

    "You seek to walk with Death?"

    It chuckles again, voice low and cold in an obvious imitation of the stereotypical Grim Reaper, then-

    "How interesting!"

    -it appears at your side in the turn of a cape, a clear mark of spacial manipulation of one sort or another, although you're not sure if it's the result of the Wishing Star or it's use of it's own power.

    "Well, humans that beat around the bush are rather annoying I suppose, life is too short for beings such as yourselves to spend so much of it waiting for the 'proper' time! Yes, yes, this is rather forward of you, but..."

    It seems to consider the offer.

    The eyes it doesn't have light up a little, the light of consideration and thought, manifesting as a little flame of reiki in the depths of it's eyes, and then...

    You hear a crack.

    You hear a sound.

    A sound like an ocean of glass falling and shattering upon the earth, a sound that draws the attention of absolutely every person and demon in town, Matador included, as the sky tears itself open, and something comes out of it...

    Something comes out of it and descends, swiftly descends, coming to rest over the distant Tokyo Bay with wings that do not beat.



    ---Massive.

    Massive and seemingly mechanical in nature, a thing of golds and blues that churns the water beneath it without moving at all... A horrific, clock-work looking mechanical entity that nevertheless thrums with life, with Reiki, no with something like Reiki, as the eyes it does not have tear across the horizon, it's -hostile- gaze falling on...

    You.

    Raz Stone.

    The epicenter of the Wishing Star Phenomenon, and Matador, well...

    "...Yes. I do believe I have come to a decision."

    It chuckles.

    "We will call this a, how do you humans say... Trial run? If you survive... Whatever that happens to be, then very well, I will make my contract with you."
    Last edited by Airen; July 24th, 2021 at 01:11 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  11. #1651
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris & Logan Starbright
    SDCD Dorms - Chris' Room
    11/16/2026
    Monday - Late Morning


    "Hey, nice catch!"

    How do you find yourself in these sorts of scenarios?

    For Logan the day continues to defy his expectations, the sheer idea of a Tamer being clumsy enough to hydroplane over some water was already an absurd notion, one that almost made you believe that this must be some sort of bizarre attack from an enemy unit, but...

    "Sorry about that! Still getting used to the zoom, you know? Muscles a lot stronger with this thing on!"

    ...No.

    There's no attack.

    This isn't the clever blade of an assassin, coming to reap your life in the form of a particularly clumsy-looking reporter... It is simple reality, a girl tumbling through the air in a manner identical to that of a romantic comedy, and strangely enough...

    ---You catch her in a fitting manner too.

    Perhaps it's because its your only real option? Certainly, with one hand clasped in the Goddess's own, your only way of putting the stop to the girl's momentum is being jumping into the path and catching her with one arm, but...

    It's strange.

    It's almost like... The way she flew...

    Was designed to have you catch her like a princess...?

    No, designed isn't the right word, it's definitely an accident of some sort, the cheerful way she beams up at you afterwards shows the smile of a girl that doesn't seem to actually have any ulterior motives, but...

    It felt a bit like her body had been unnaturally twisted in mid-air, like someone had altered her flight path and body position so that the only way you can really catch her is cradling her, and that...

    That is strange.

    ---Then again, considering the day you were having, it's just another strange thing on the pile, no?

    Still, the thumbs up the Goddess flashes you afterwards is also a bit strange... What did she think this was? An actual romantic comedy? Life wasn't an anime, you know? Romantic interests don't just fall from the sky, and they certainly don't go torpedoing across the street because they slipped on a puddle... What you had caught was a weird person, and likely nothing more, and...

    "But you're pretty strong yourself! That's good, people like their Tamers with a bit of visible muscle to them, there's a golden ratio to these sorts of things you know? Too bulky and people start to think you're a meathead, but just enough to be able to feel abs through a shirt? Classic. Girls would love it. You must have good ratings."

    ...the chatty way she starts talking at you, talking at you as if you carrying her was the most natural thing in the world, does little to disprove this notion-!

    "Ah wait I know that face? Starbright? Sarah's brother, right? Ah, I get it. Yep. Definitely popular with the girls. The damaged loner type, activates the protective maternal instincts, makes ya want to just hold em to your chest. Yep yep, you got potential kiddo!"

    ...She might actually be weirder than Yamuna is...

    Meanwhile, with Chris...

    "Enemy...?"

    Eve frowns.

    It's not a frown of disbelief, rather one of deep, intense contemplation... Considering the android's own words, she was having trouble holding onto memories of the individual in question, and thus probably hadn't put her in one category on another...

    Friend?

    Enemy?

    She probably hadn't considered it at all, judging by the look on her face, but...

    "Okay... If something similar happened before... That is a little weird..."

    Eventually she seems to come to the same conclusion as you about the girl, namely, that even if her intentions were the best, the manner in which she had acting was cause enough for alarm all on it's own...

    "But borrowing the light switch...? It operates on... Rule of Three... Old-fashioned magic, my lady's design... Borrowing it would be fine, but the ship... Has other features. Ghaldron-Hesthor field generator... Might be useful."

    She nods.

    "I'll get it. Anti-Observation Equipment damaged, but should be enough to stop intervention."

    She leaves, decisively, footsteps heading back into your room before anyone can stop her, and...

    There are no strange sounds of being lost in a space-time distortion, no, her footsteps sound normal, carry themselves away in a normal fashion, open a door in a normal fashion, and disappear down the halls in a normal fashion...

    ---It's so sudden that it's over by the time anyone really realized it had happened, but, at that same instant...

    Many other things happen.

    ---For Chris, the fruits of her efforts certainly produce results.

    Analysis of the simulator had revealed it had simply been that, a simulator commandeered by some insanely powerful digital life form, one whose existence couldn't be directly tracked after her initial disappearance (there had been some mass jamming effect released shortly after she disappeared) but whose presence could now be seen on the screen, albeit...

    Not clearly.

    ---She's in the area around you right now, but you can't tell where... Meaning that the stealth ability she's hiding behind is top class, unsurprising for a singularity-tier artificial life-form, but something that also proves it seems to be following you around, but...

    More concerning than that... Or at least, equally concerning to that...

    Is the origin point of the curse Yamuna had been afflicted with, one that you had somehow 'observed' into holding a physical form... Unlike the bead on the A.I girl, which simply comes up on your new-fashioned scanning program as a constantly moving 'Dot,' the owner of that curse... Is also in the area all around you, a separate existence from the girl, but still present all the same...

    Yes.

    One dot shows up on the sonar, then two, then three more, and so on and so on...

    The screen fills, first dozens, then hundreds of weaker signals, all bearing the exact same spiritual signature as the caster of that spell...

    Meaning-!

    "...!"

    You glance up, instinctively, at the windows of one of the nearby buildings, and...

    Something brushes past it.

    A wooden limb...?

    There's the creaking of many wooden joints, and a giggle, yes a light giggle at Chris's voice, a giggle that comes from all around you in the empty city that wasn't actually so empty, and...

    To add onto all of this...

    In your mind's eye, in the image being broadcast into your brain from that strange, strange magic of Raz Stone's...

    You see something like... A metallic butterfly?

    Massive, at least one-hundred and thirty meters in height...

    Appears at the edge of your mental vision, and in response to that, Yamuna, who had been all cheerful smiles up until now.

    "Sefirot? Here?"

    Shifts her demeanor entirely.

    The smile fades, replaced by the narrow-eyed, scarily determined look of someone that had just seen the antagonist of their life story pop back into existence right in front of her eyes, and...

    "...You guys should go back inside."

    Defaults to her usual protective stance on matters.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  12. #1652
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Lydia
    Main Processing Unit: Online
    Location: Astrolabe, Fields


    "So, let me get this straight. According to you, the world needs to end to begin as something new. A world of salvation where you're in charge, because of this probably insane Savior type character? You're saving us, donning the guise of a savior yourself... You and your little ones are taking over so we won't get killed... by killing us."
    "Well, saying that I'm killing everyone is you using quite the loaded language!"

    It giggles.

    ---Again, it doesn't quite sound right.

    It's an earnest attempt at imitating people, and it's pretty close, but there's something off about it...

    "Of course I do have to put some minds to sleep to make this happen, but everyone will wake up just fine afterwards, so really, we're not killing anyone at all! It'll be just like a bad dream, over the instant they wake up!"

    ...That's a bit of a technicality isn't it?

    "Besides, it's only the really troublesome ones that have to be knocked out for awhile anyway."

    ---She doesn't elaborate any further.

    Indeed, it's form just continues to slowly approach you, a sphere of all-encompassing light that nevertheless seems quite interested in your reactions to the things it's saying... In that regard, it seems almost like it's having fun with you, like it's poking and prodding and answering questions mostly to see how you'd respond to those questions, and...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    "What about the fates of Sarah and Lara? Do they have their chance at life? With their 'rebellion' against you... what will you do with them and others like them?"
    "Same as everyone else.The World can only truly become real if everyone accepts it as such, so I'll need to mess with their memories a bit to make everything align properly... But it'll be worth it in the long run, I've figured out the script, I know how to make it work."

    It stares at you.

    Or rather, it's only now that you realize that this thing does not blink.

    "But after that...? If people decide even after that that they don't like it, then well... They're free to come here and challenge me if they can, I'll allow it at least once, I'm a benevolent uh... Villainess?"

    It chuckles again...

    "That's what you're thinking right? That I'm the bad guy? Insane? Crazy? But we'll see, maybe it's better to be the villain in this case."

    It's eyes continue to focus entirely on you.

    "There's always something in you humans that rejects this on principal, feeling like you have to accept pain to appreciate happiness... You reject it principal. You won't even try it to see... But I don't see what's wrong with making everyone happy this way. After you try it, give it a real, honest try... I don't think that many people will reject it."

    It gets closer.

    "Dead family or friends returned to life, childhood traumas erased, fears banished, a world where nothing goes wrong, where no one has to tread on the dreams of others to make their own come true... A world where the impossible can be accomplished, where all the painful little rules of 'reality' disappear."

    ---Yes.

    ---This thing certainly is of questionable sanity too, but...

    There's nothing malicious here either, no, it's really...

    Meaning to be benevolent here? Or at least as much as it knows how, and it's logic...

    Isn't exactly...

    Unfounded...
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  13. #1653
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris
    SCDC Base - Outside Front Entrance
    11/16/2026
    Monday - Late Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by Eve
    "I'll get it. Anti-Observation Equipment damaged, but should be enough to stop intervention."
    "Mm. Take care."

    Chris barely looks up from her screen, sparing the android a nod as she leaves through the door. One might call it a reckless move, but given the circumstances, Eve's decision is the correct one. They do not have time to spare, things are moving too fast to deal with as a single group, she is strong, and...

    Tap, tap, tap.

    Yes, it won't be a problem. The enemy hasn't followed her. They are, as Chris had suspected, right here. Watching Logan Starbright and herself. Why? They are both Tamers, but have never met. What is the similarity between them? Chris looks down at her hand that is clacking across the keys. An irritating symbol stretches across one of them. The same one Logan had mentioned. So it is that, after all. An unknown assailant seeking those who bear the same unknown symbol that had eluded examination. Unknowns piling upon unknowns, all before the joint mission can progress.

    Mokujima Chris sighs. Before her spread out over a hundred more signals, each animated by the same curse that had afflicted Yamuna. Puppets, brushing against windows in the buildings some distance from the SDCD base entrance. They must be humans then, who succumbed to the curse. Does it turn them into puppets, then? How dreadful. She'll have to see if they can be saved, once they get close enough to be relevant. Still, she sends the data and the prototype program to Logan's COMP, just to keep him up-to-date.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yamuna
    "Sefirot? Here? ...You guys should go back inside."
    Chris pauses. Looks up at the goddess. At the strange figure of biblical proportions visible in her vision, but not elsewhere.

    "No," she says. "I don't think I will."

    Her gaze returns to the computer with the makeshift detection program on it. There's no way to narrow down the signal any further, at least not with the information at hand. In short, she cannot attack the enemy from this state. This is as far as her current abilities go. But it is enough to merely know that they are here, and they are watching. If they're watching, they must be listening as well. And since they're an artificial, digital being...

    Chris opens up a familiar program, isolates it from the rest of the machine completely after backing up her new creation to an external drive, and starts typing.

    Open Chat Log?
    Tantei_Robo: Not so brave outside of your safe space, are you? The feeling of having control wrenched away, only able to watch as events unfold, must be unpleasant.
    Tantei_Robo: I can relate to that feeling. It won't win you any points, though. Perhaps from the Roth, but not from me.
    Tantei_Robo: Start talking. That is what you wanted. I won't give you another chance.
    Last edited by Bloble; July 24th, 2021 at 09:10 PM.

  14. #1654
    Lydia
    Main Processing Unit: Online
    Location: Astrolabe

    "Loaded language? It's the end of the world-! Resurrecting the dead doesn't mean they didn't experience the pain and agony as their life ran out!"

    Lydia doesn't accept it, the technicalities, the playing with words, the refusal of greater answers.


    "What are you even saying? A bad dream that fades away as people awaken? Into a world where no one has to trample the dreams of another? Don't you see?"

    Compared to the stone-faced partner she has bound her soul to, she was always the more emotionally stable one. Watching over and out for her user, like a big sister in a world of peril. But she had failed.

    Because of, what? Because he was troublesome? Because this thing, possibly incapable of understanding mankind, decided his existence was a thread for her new world?

    It's mimicking of human speech, it placing seemingly no importance whatsoever on memories, on the greater value and balance of emotions…

    ...Rejecting it on principle wouldn't be strange. No, even if it was as simple as that, hearing your fate dictated by something nigh-omnipotent is bound to be met with some resistance.&nbsp

    "The dream won't fade away as they wake up. They'll wake up in a nightmare of your design, of a world that cannot exist-! Conflict, the clashes of souls, the chasing of dreams, they are intrinsic to being human. A world where all your dreams become reality runs into a myriad of problems, like what happens if people desire the same thing? Coveting the same person, dreaming of vengeance, desiring your position of ultimate control?"

    Perhaps, if one could completely control the world and its people, it would be possible.

    Some sort of utopia, where nothing bad happens... but at what cost? Your free will, your human nature? Or perhaps, something more?

    It shouldn't be a choice someone else makes. And yet, this person did. Because deep down, they convinced themselves that this was right.

    ---It approaches.

    The heat grows ever so slightly as the figure closes in. Instinctively, Lydia takes a step back in fear.

    "And what aren't you telling me? What does this other Savior want, where did it come from? Why us, why now?"

    What price do we pay for this "salvation" of yours?

    That final thought is never uttered.

    Lydia most likely had antagonized this person enough, and it seemed Leah was right in some respects... There would be another, a better chance later on.

    The question is, would this conversation be remembered at all?

    To an entity that can do anything it wants, take away memories and pain and meaning without batting an eye, would Lydia too not simply be another target to wipe away?

    Quote Originally Posted by L????g View Post
    "Rejected by the world, you follow the script of another. And the conceited, foolish few that observe the errors must be dealt with?"
    Once more a memory rises. One seemingly confirming what must have happened. He had realized something, seen beyond the veil... and it had cost him dearly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lu??ig View Post
    "Tamers from Xanadu always make things difficult, I’m no exception. If the script needs to be rewritten so no one gets left behind... then that’s what must be done."
    Yet... he had made up his mind, didn't he?

    Lydia closes her eyes, doing her best to voice out the memories towards this entity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludwig
    "Sorry hothead, but that script won't do. You're gonna have to write me out, or whoever wrote that needs to write a happier ending."
    ...Yes, he had made his choice.

    "Seems this sentiment is delivered to you twice over by now. I don't know what he saw or realized to be 'troublesome', but that's still my little brother you hurt."

    The once stable emotional core is filled with contradictions, with conflicting emotions that scream in every direction. Fear, worry, anger, pity, despair.

    Only one however, wins out.

    ---How very human.

    As the almighty sun comes closer and closer still, Lydia too steps forward with determination ruling her soul.

    Unlike the entity before her, there is certainly some maliciousness in it. Fear begs her to run away, anger demands her to lash out, yet she will do neither.

    Now, she makes her own choice.

    "As you know, my name is Lydia. Lydia Karlfeldt, protector of Ludwig Karlfeldt, my troublesome little brother."


    She will walk ahead, and meet this figure face to face.

    "I don't know your name, and I likely wouldn't remember even if you shared it, yet all the same I can tell you that we will meet again."

    Her figure is shivering before this magnificent will. A monster of power beyond belief, enough to scorch others by their presence alone.

    Even so... no, despite it all, the big sister closes in all the same.

    "And when we do, I'd like to remember you. I'd like to see if I was wrong, if what this world needed was a villain, rather than a champion of hope. If there truly was no better way."

    Slowly, her hand reaches out towards the blazing solar shape.

    "And if you were wrong... if the world and its people decided against your salvation... Then..."


    Gently, her hand brushes the tiny thing's cheek with care.



    "Then I'll just have to show you why our way was the right one, won't I?"

  15. #1655
    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Logan Starbright
    SDCD Dorms - Chris' Room
    11/16/2026
    Monday - Late Morning


    Logan catches Aleta without incident.

    "Hey, nice catch! Sorry about that! Still getting used to the zoom, you know? Muscles a lot stronger with this thing on!"
    “It’s fine; any Tamer would do the same. Everyone’s new at some point.”

    Still, he’s a bit surprised. That would’ve been an ideal time for some sort of ambush, and yet things are just exactly as they seemed - a clumsy reporter hurtling straight into his arm. Had their assailant fled? Hesitated from Chris’s confident words? Were they still inside the building, searching for their prey? And then there was Aleta. Her smile is guileless, yet the way she spun about in midair restricted all possible outcomes to one. Some strange sort of luck or curse, maybe? Whatever the reason, Yamuna seemed to approve.

    : Hmm…

    : Amelia?

    : Yeah, I think we can work with this! Make some small talk and set up a date at the end!

    : ...Wha?

    "But you're pretty strong yourself! That's good, people like their Tamers with a bit of visible muscle to them, there's a golden ratio to these sorts of things you know? Too bulky and people start to think you're a meathead, but just enough to be able to feel abs through a shirt? Classic. Girls would love it. You must have good ratings."
    Huh?

    “That’s, um… I don’t think I’m stronger than any Tamer in particular.” She weighs as much as average, but suddenly his arm feels tired. And ‘good ratings’? As in, how favorably I’m viewed? That can’t be right. When it comes to Spirit Tamers loved by the people, you’d think of people like Eliza Cross or Raz Stone. Or Sarah. The warmth of her body and the shine of her gaze are uncomfortable. Not me.

    Still, Aleta seems in no hurry to be let down. She’s cheerily chattering like his arm was made for her, and then says,

    "Ah wait I know that face? Starbright? Sarah's brother, right? Ah, I get it. Yep. Definitely popular with the girls. The damaged loner type, activates the protective maternal instincts, makes ya want to just hold em to your chest. Yep yep, you got potential kiddo!"
    Logan gently relaxes his grasp, allowing Aleta to stand on the ground.

    “Thanks.”

    His words belie the acrid bile crawling up his throat.

    There’s no way that’s true. No one would want to comfort him, or protect him, or hold him close. There’s no way that anyone who loved Sarah would ever love him. Not after what he did. Not after how he failed. After all-

    ”This was your fault.”

    His chest is cold. His heart is heavy. It’s like he’s filled with pitch-black mud clinging to every organ, weighing him down until he sinks six feet under the cold, hard earth like he deserves. Girls falling from the sky? Idols taking your hand? Please. Stop wasting your time on frivolous things. You know damn well what’s the truth here. Don’t forget: you-

    His hand tightens around the warm Amelia.

    You have a mission to focus on, so see it through.

    Logan scans the area, searching for discrepancies. Eve leaves for Chris’s room for some sort of errand; he can feel her moving normally through his spirit sense so there are no issues there at the moment. Yamuna’s still present and currently fine. Whatever that curse was, it doesn’t seem to have been reapplied. Which leaves Chris and Aleta, who have the lowest combat power here; they ought to stick together in Chris’s fortified room for safety.

    : Tch.

    : Something wrong?

    : ...Bloatware from Flabby Crabby. See for yourself.

    : Are you alright?

    : ...I’ll get over it. Not the worst person I’ve had to handle anyways. Cognition on the mission, right?

    : Alright then.

    Pinprick after pinprick of malevolent spirit power flickers into existence at the edges of his observation, like worms squirming under a freshly lifted log. Were they all responsible for the curse on Yamuna? Or for maintaining this surreal state? Or were they just chaff while the true perpetrator lurked in wait? Either way, they were troublesome. To efficiently deal with them, he’d need to change his spell selection - which could leave a fatal opening.

    Before he can vocalize his concerns, Yamuna speaks.

    "Sefirot? Here?"
    Sefirot? That’s a kabbalistic term; roughly speaking, an apostle of God that maintains reality. Logan’s eyes widen. Reality. God. Messiah.

    "...You guys should go back inside."
    “I can’t do that.”

    Chris refuses immediately after him, staring upward at something he can’t see. Is it because it’s invisible? Or does it just not exist for him? Either way, he can mitigate that to an extent with Eye of the Fates. More importantly, she’s defenseless in the face of a new, unknown threat.. Worst-case scenario, he’ll have to move her to safety.

    Logan turns to Aleta and speaks. “Aleta, go through the gate there and stay in the room. Yamuna locked it down, so it’s safe.”

    He sharpens his senses to search for danger. Even if this enemy wasn’t a possible lead, he’d remain nonetheless. What kind of Spirit Tamer runs and hides while someone else faces danger? He’ll never be that pathetic again. This time around, he won’t fail.

    After all, being a Spirit Tamer’s the only thing he’s good for.




    Spoiler:
    Auto-Skill: ???
    Spells Set: ???, Dia line, ???, ???, ???, Eye of the Fates
    Spells Used: Eye of the Fates
    Heat: 3/9
    Last edited by Rafflesiac; July 26th, 2021 at 12:01 AM.
    Supports:


    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  16. #1656
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Lydia
    Main Processing Unit: Online
    Location: Astrolabe

    ---Obliteration.

    While there is a certain sense of human warmth in loyally following along in the wake of slowly resurfacing memories, it is also a path that can only lead to the exact same result in the end; it is a simple enough truth, if the footsteps you were following had led their original owner to oblivion, then following along in those footsteps means the same fate awaits you.

    There shouldn't be anything surprising about this inevitable outcome.

    If you touch this being, that will be that, that is the warning your senses have given you and one you have chosen to disregard, and-!

    "..."

    ---Cool to the touch.

    While the light is unbearably bright now, so bright that it wipes all vision away for what may just be an eternity, that burning mass of light doesn't incinerate you when you touch it. No, it's cool to the touch, or rather, the warmth you can physically feel is comparable of that to a human, even if everything else about it denies that result as the truth... Yes, it's a very human warmth, but the thrumming of some strange immeasurable power beneath the skin, and the way your body instinctively seizes up the moment you touch it...

    ---You don't know what to think about this thing anymore.

    It's a mass of contradictions; strangely human in some ways, falsifying humanity in others, clearly divine but not in a way that makes sense, an Unknown God of Unknown Origin that feels like it both belongs and does not belong in the world... Nothing about it feels concrete, it looks like it's burning and yet it's skin is cool to the touch, it's an entity that contradicts itself in so many ways that you're sure it has to be on purpose, that it's acting in this way precisely because it knows you will not be able to grasp it if it does, but...

    "My my, well wasn't that a proud approach?"

    It questions you, entirely without malice.

    "I already told you I'd allow the World to challenge me if I'm proven wrong, but I won't be proven wrong, in this, I am at my most confident. I will win, for the sake of everything."

    It states this simply.

    Absolute belief in oneself.

    True Faith.

    It doesn't get angry because there is no need for it to get angry, in the end, a God allowing an ant to inconvenience it even slightly would -in and of itself- be a great shame.

    "You want my name? To remember me? Very well."

    It speaks.

    ---Inside the light, that human form grasps your wrist.

    It's not a tiny being at all, not at all, there's someone tall in there, tall and proud, a light so bright that it has become an unknowable star, drifting throughout the realm of the unconscious.

    "A name that humans would understand..."

    In the infinite light, it ponders for a time.

    "You may call me Marlene. Marlene Binit. The one who rules over possibility."

    ---It smiles.

    You can't see it, but you can feel it.

    "But that is all you will get from me."

    It laughs, and the infinite light rumbles along with that laughter.

    No...

    The universe shakes with it.

    "To defy me is to deny me, so I will not protect you. The other Savior, the horrors in the Kakera no Umi, the invasion of the Sefirot, the plots by your own kind... If they are things that can be solved without me, then feel free, solve them without me, struggle until your spirit breaks and you realize the futility of it all, or you are able to overcome my World and return here at the end of it all to defeat me."

    Those words are absolute.

    Those are the terms it will go by, there is no negotiation with it anymore, it will not destroy you here, but it will absolutely defend it's 'answer' to the very last moment.

    ---In other words, one way or another, this thing will be an enemy.

    "It's quite the unenviable position, one with opponents on all sides..."

    ---It's grip on your wrist becomes painful, the universe trembles, and out from the infinite light pours infinite light, an abyss from which limitless colors emerge as one.

    "...But do your best, I suppose. As your former sovereign, I should wish you that much at least."



    ---With that, it ends.

    Not your life, but merely your time in the world beyond the horizon.

    You fall.

    The sensation is that of gravity tearing at your body, visuals come online and show an impossible scenery, you flying through the universe at impossible speeds, spinning and flailing and turning and crashing down onto the form of a familiar blue planet. It all goes crashing by like a fever dream, a storm of sights and sounds that do not make sense, that cannot be properly formed into any image other than a chaotic star-filled sky as you tumble down, down, down, down, down, and...

    It stops.

    No physical damage is dealt, no built up kinetic energy obliterates both you and the place where you landed, no...

    It's as if the entirety of the fall was simply in your head, and perhaps...

    Perhaps it was?

    After all, you're in a room.

    A very familiar room.

    One of a certain User who you had forgotten and begun to remember, and one who, right now...

    Was laying asleep in bed, as if absolutely everything was fine?

    And...

    Perhaps it was?

    The morning air is warm and sweet, brighter than the usual, more cheerful than the usual, and...

    In that strangeness alone...

    ---Comes the foreboding feeling that the entity had not been joking...

    Not in the slightest.


    Ludwig/Lydia
    Zero Seal/The Four Administrators
    END

    Next Time...

    "Reverie Complex"
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  17. #1657
    Lydia
    Main Processing Unit: Online
    Location: Astrolabe

    And so, oblivion does indeed take her.

    Despite the fear, despite the overwhelmingly oppressive display of an unfathomable power, despite knowing that touching this entity would be the end... Lydia had mustered the courage to touch the Sun.

    And indeed, pierced through that veil. Touching and sensing something far more human than it wished to suggest. Someone that did not wish to be observed, yet respected the will that defied her regardless.

    She grants Lydia a name.

    She grants Lydia a smile.

    She speaks of the future with absolute certainty. True Faith in the self and her choices.

    ...Or was there just a small crack there, even if only for a moment. Impossible to tell, perhaps the COMP AI simply sees what she wishes in her final moments.

    Lydia returns a warm smile. A smile only for Marlene, a star of the sea.

    And with her memory restoring itself more and more...

    "Then, it's a promise."

    Another memory is formed.

    One she gets to keep, despite the words from earlier.

    And the sliver of the moon promises the sun to meet once more.

    Once an answer is formed.

    But until such a time happens... she is cast adrift.

    The Astrolabe releases her soul, Lydia passes the boundary between this world and heads towards the next.

    Towards her fated one.

    ---She speaks a single word.

    A name.

    The name of one who "wouldn't mind helping out the youth".

    Even if that conversation would have thought to have been forgotten.

    She speaks it with a heartfelt request, the desire to safeguard two others. Two sisters, risking themselves for the sake of all.

    Such rebellious youths...

    Shepard them to safety, please.

    Who knows if such a miraculous scenario could be manifested.

    The fate of it's recipient is not known to her, and even if he could hear here, is there anything he could even do for those two?

    ...Still, this is now all she can do. And so, she does it.

    Before she plummets down to the new world.

    ---A new world, with a familiar soul.

    A terrifying place, with the knowledge she had received. A world of salvation, ruled by a single will, holding back the darkness that lurks in worlds beyond this one.

    The Savior, the Sefirot, the beings in the Fragmented Seas.

    However for now, none of that matters.

    Her body only just reaches the ground before it flies to the figure sleeping soundly.

    And as tears begin to form, as her body moves without a thought, as soon as she sees his figure.

    A final memory resurfaces.

    Her very first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    “Sorry I took so long… Ludwig~.”

    “From here on out, you’ll never be alone again.”


    “That, I promise you.”
    A promise she was able to keep.

    And the others... well, they will have to be kept as well won't they?

    "Found you~"



    Yes.

    This is only the beginning.

    Who knows what the future holds?

    All that those two truly know...

    ...Is that they'll face it head-on, together.

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