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Thread: Spirit Pulse : Mugen No Sekai [IC]

  1. #821
    Holy Mother is Best Mom palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Akarana Corridor
    Willpower: 5


    She couldn't hear what the White Shroud is saying. The ringing in her ears and the throbbing pain in her head prevents her to clearly hear what the woman in front of her is saying.

    However...

    She could sense grief and anger, directed not at her but at her past self that she had forgotten.

    In an instant, it suddenly became difficult to breathe; the realization that her past self was someone who could garner such strong hate and sadness was enough to make her pause, lost in pain and horrified realization at what might happen if she truly let Cosmos Semesta Preciel take over that she doesn't dodge nor try to release herself from the woman's sudden grip--

    Quote Originally Posted by Alyx Kingsleigh
    "Cosmos, quit freaking out already, damn-!"
    Until her sister's sharp voice cut through the static and pain in her mind.

    In an instant, everything became clear. Somehow, she could now see and hear clearly, and in but a few moments she had managed to analyze the situation; in her mind, too, she could hear Illia's voice once again, and reassured the AI that she's fine as her eyes looked at her sister's back, the girl who managed to snap her out of losing herself, if only for now.

    --Always so strong, unlike herself.

    But such thoughts should be saved for later, as does the revelation of what kind of person Cosmos Semesta Preciel might have been or the identity of the White Shroud. After all, the moment an opportunity to finally escape back home presented itself, she knew that they have to take this chance or face the warrior of infinite willpower once again.

    "Come on Alyx-!"

    Tapping her sister on the shoulder, Cosmos turned away and ran, trusting her sister to follow closely behind as she mustered every last bit of her strength and willpower to move her legs to the end of the corridor.
    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


  2. #822
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Hyakka Onjouji
    Aoyama Gakuen, Swimming Pool 4B
    4th Period Class, Phys Ed. Swim (Combined Class)
    Noon


    ---A dangerous question.

    A truly dangerous question in a number of ways.

    Yes.

    While things could have perhaps continued on normally if her explanation had gone unopposed, there is a certain sense of unfairness to all of this that has you pushing your point, childish as it may seem to others-!

    It's not fair!

    The fact that you were never given a choice isn't fair!

    It's not about how flashy it is, it's about the lack of freedom, the lack of given options, yes-!

    Why is it inappropriate for you, but not for her?!

    You demand an answer to that burning question, and-!

    And-!

    And-!

    "Ah..."

    A sudden pressure...

    Having been asked essentially the same question again, or rather, being forced to further explain herself, the student council president suddenly seems to feel the weight of your eyes on her body, but she endures it, trying to force past the sudden sense of awkwardness with a smile, and-!

    "Well, the student council president should stick out right? It's a perk of the position!"

    So...

    She was cheating?!

    Was that it?!

    Cheating?!

    Of course, she seems to recognize this almost as fast as she had said it, and:

    "But if it's the color you want to change we can totally change it with magic! That's perfectly fine! Self-expression of the students and all that-!"

    A sudden sense of haste...

    As if realizing this was going in a dangerous direction-!
    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. #823
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Hyakka Onjouji
    Aoyama Gakuen, Swimming Pool 4B
    4th Period Class, Phys Ed. Swim (Combined Class)
    Noon


    “Red! Red!”

    Instantly placated. Yes, the answer given was something she could accept. Because even if sounded naturally ‘unfair’ that a position should allow Kaori to stand out, the instant she offered to let the younger girl change the color of her swimsuit…

    “Red! I always wear red, ever since I can remember. I cannot even say why, but I should always wear red. That is what my heart has decided, since before… before something!”

    She ceased caring at all about injustice, unfairness, nepotism, abuse of power… it was just simply the greedy, daintiness of a young girl that had moved her heart today. Innocent but petty. There was nothing grand about her desire today. She just wanted to wear her favorite color. Or rather, the color that she thought should be her favorite.

    Red felt… special.

    “Will it be your magic, Kaori-senpai? You can change the color of people’s clothes? Can you teach that to me? I want to always be able to wear red! Even when I am not wearing red, I’ll be wearing red with magic!” Now the request moved elsewhere. It was written, plainly obvious on her face, in her eyes, that she had already forgotten that she was here for physical education. That she had been asked if she knew how to swim. “With that kind of magic, I would never want for anything again.”


  4. #824
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Akarana Corridor
    Willpower: 5


    ---A violent quake.

    It is not like an earthquake, the thing that causes the floor to rumble beneath your feet is not the shaking of a planet as tectonic plates collide, it is the shaking of the air itself, of reality coming to a screeching, crunching halt as something emerges from the nothing in the distance, making an indescribable noise as it comes-!

    It is like static.

    Your vision becomes static, your hearing becomes static, as it feels like the world itself is starting to 'fizzle out.'

    "Isn't that... Septentrione...? But the M.S System should be blocking it, why isn't she on-?!"

    It's the only opportunity you'll get, one confirmed by the White Shroud's gaze moving completely from you now even as you sprint away with Alyx in tow, the desperation in it's steps that of someone who had just seen something that should not be...

    Someone who was moving to desperately stop something they felt should not come to pass.

    ---You don't get to turn around to see what it is, you do not have the time to do so in this instance; your mind is unstable, your COMP is on the brink of destruction, and Alyx herself was heavily damaged, visible burns and cuts across the normally flawless skin as she nevertheless follows your lead, one hand on your shoulder as she pushes you towards the exit.

    It's a desperate escape.

    It's not particularly heroic, but there is also no other choice-!

    By the time the White Shroud notices, it's far too late for it to catch you, and-

    There is a scrambled sound of it yelling out behind you, meaningless words that completely lack meaning on their own, but seemed to be filled with a different tone than before, but...

    You can't place it.

    It sounds different, it's a command for you to stop, but it sounds different than before, nevertheless...

    You're already through the gate by the time you're really able to think about it clearly.



    Again, the feeling of being submerged in a deep lake.

    Again, the feeling of the temperature around you dropping, down close to the negatives.

    Something new.

    The sound of a screech, distorted like the sound one would naturally hear beneath the depths of the ocean, and...

    And...

    And...


    ---

    Cosmos Fairchild
    Rose Cross, Outside the Vatican
    12/14/2026
    Morning, Cloudy Skies, Raining Gently


    "Hah... Hah... What the hell...?"

    Alyx's voice is the one that first greets you upon impact with the ground...

    It is much like the two of you had simply fallen from the sky, the sudden sensation of emerging from water only to plunge down into cold, wet, unforgiving concrete, but it is familiar concrete, yes...

    The concrete of the streets outside of the headquarters.

    In other words, it's the concrete of home, and in that regard it is much much kinder than the admittedly softer water, or the assaults by the White Shroud and whatever the hell that alien entity had been, but...

    While it is home, and the feeling of being at home is now prevalent, there is also another feeling here...

    Something heavy.

    Heavy and dark, a far cry from the cheerful Holy City of the Past...

    In the distance, the angels seem to be gathered around the main base itself, lined up in the skies like they were some sort of procession, and the people around you are all dressed in black...

    Mourning clothes?

    It's hard to say, and not only that...

    The time...

    Having been forcefully reconnected to the RAILS network the moment it had come back into place, the current time and date had been automatically synchronized with that possessed by the Harmonizer Towers, and for a certain A.I, this seems wrong...

    Yes.

    December 14th, 2026?

    That's a month ahead of when you left, and, as you think about this bizarre fact, for some reason...

    ---A feeling of intense dread shoots up your spine.

    A scattered number of newspapers blow around you in the wind, and the procession of people garbed in black are all moving towards base...

    This is...

    What... Is... This?

    "December... What the fuck? Why is it December?!"

    The world holds it's secrets for now.

    Not just from you, but from Alyx too...
    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?



  5. #825
    Holy Mother is Best Mom palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Rose Cross, Outside the Vatican
    12/14/2026
    Morning, Cloudy Skies, Raining Gently


    They're home. Away from the hell known as Magatsu, away from the White Shroud, and away from whatever had shown up in the space between worlds. They're back in Vatican, right in front of headquarters; they're safe now...

    This fact should bring them comfort and relief.

    And yet, the unmistakable feelings of mourning and a chill she felt down her spine prevents her from letting out a sigh of relief and thanking God for allowing them to return relatively intact.

    The mourning clothes that people around them wear, the heavenly hosts above the sky lining up in the skies like they are in some sort of procession, and the fact that this is happening outside of headquarters send her a greater feeling of terror than even when she first laid her eyes on the White Shroud, the embodiment of her paranoia and fears, just a few minutes ago.

    The fact that the whole city seems to be attending only further to strengthen her feeling of dread.

    --A silent wind blew.

    Inside her mind and COMP, the white space that Illia resides in is filled with white papers raining down from above from all the sudden information influx from being once again connected to the RAILS system; the AI's focus, however, is not on all of the scattered white papers, but on the calendar she's holding in her hands which just adjusted itself the moment they came back to Xanadu. Her eyes widened, and immediately she began to try to confirm the dates even though she knew it's true.

    Meanwhile, scattered newspaper are blown by the wind, and as her eyes happened to look at one, she noticed the newspaper dates before it flew out of reach.

    December 14, 2026.

    A full month ahead of when she left the comfort of her room to investigate LOVELESS with Alyx.

    --Everything fades as Cosmos entered a state of hyperfocus.

    She stood up and ran, ignoring the wounds and fatigue in her body, snatching up a newspaper while she pushed her legs to run to the headquarters.

    She ran, and prayed to the Almighty God to be wrong.

    Only a single thought filled her mind.

    'Mother...!'
    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. #826
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Rose Cross, Outside the Vatican
    12/14/2026
    Morning, Cloudy Skies, Raining Gently


    ---Pure Dread.

    For those with a sixth sense, it's a truly haunting feeling without any rival, the instinctive knowledge that something terrible is not about to happen but has already happened, a light being snuffed out long before anyone realizes the room has already gone dark.

    Yes.

    That's the sort of feeling this is, like a cold hand has wrapped around your heart.

    It hasn't squeezed yet.

    But deep down inside, you know it will, because it already has...

    You just can't acknowledge it yet.

    Not yet.

    Because if it's true, your heart will break.

    Thus you carry forth, screaming a silent scream.

    Confusion and despair, the sudden shift in reality that has led to a world both familiar and unrecognizable, a mission gone wrong, a tragedy that strikes when no one is paying attention to it, because that is how tragedies begin...

    Suddenly.

    Brutally.

    Rarely with warning, yes...

    You get closer to the edge of the base.

    People are all lined up in black, they let you by as you pass, and yet whispers emerge from their throats, whispers of disbelief, that those who had been missing had suddenly reappeared, reappeared again on the worst possible day to reappear, and...

    Closer.

    Closer.

    Alyx's footsteps are slower, as she has scrambled to find the scattered pages of a tragedy, but you do not slow along with her, no...

    You can't.

    For you that's impossible.

    So you continue on, on into the dark, on beneath a rain so heavy that it drowns your spirit in it's depths, and-

    "Cosmos...? Alyx...?"

    Saria's voice appears near the end, a dark-haired soldier standing guard over what could only be a coffin along with the tall form of an Isaac whose hand is shaking, resting on the pommel of a blade as a "horrific reality" continues to assert itself on his mind, and-

    "You're both here...?"

    Her voice sounds strange, distressed, almost drunk or hungover and-

    "No... No! Stop! Don't look! Don't come any closer-!"

    -sudden strength, or perhaps sudden purpose?

    It's the purpose to block your sight, a rude, uncalled for movement that she nevertheless does out of a sense of misplaced affection, and yet-

    ---Madness has taken root.

    ---You have to see.

    You don't want to see.

    You have to see.

    You don't want to see.

    You have to see.

    You struggle with her.

    She's endlessly stronger than you, perhaps not in mind but certainly in body, but it doesn't matter.

    Not right now.

    Nothing else matters right now.

    Alyx makes a choking sound as she catches up, one that turns into a scream that she can't release as she catches a glimpse beyond the blocking body of her friend, and-

    -you break through together, push past, do what you must, she fights back, pushes back for your own sake, but it's too late.

    You've seen it.

    Two saints, lying quietly amidst beds of flowers of all sorts, beds from which they will never rise again.

    ---There can be no mistaking it.

    ---You know both of those bodies too well, and thus, your heart breaks immediately.

    It's quite simple.

    It's understandable really.

    Did the screaming ever stop that day?

    December 14th, 2026.

    The date of the joint-funeral for Mary Fairchild and her ever loyal hand, a tragedy amidst tragedies, one of a series of shocking events that serve to drag that place called "Xanadu" to it's knees.

    Yes.

    This was one of the first wasn't it?

    But it wasn't the first.

    No.

    What did you observe then, Master System, Devourer?

    Do you remember?

    Anything?

    Anything at all, or-?

    ---


    The scraps of a newspaper dance in the wind, forgotten in an onslaught of screams and denial, the denial of two children who have found their parents lost long before their time.

    It is sad yes, but let us take a look at that paper...

    Just for... Fun perhaps?

    A simple headline, a simple message.

    The first of the many tragedies that released a plague on existence and wiped it all out...

    Yes.


    Spoiler:


    JOINT EXPEDITION TEAM TO THE NORTH LOST

    No sign of the SLEIPNIR Vessel has been found by search teams.

    None of the members of the expedition, known under the current banner of the "X-Cross" have been found as of this time.

    Consensus is...

    Whatever it is that they found there...

    Left no survivors.



    Cosmos Fairchild
    Zero Seal/Empty City
    END



    Next Time...

    "Death of the X-Cross/Future Lost"

    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. #827
    Holy Mother is Best Mom palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos

    Her first memory was the voice of someone calling out to her.

    As she registered the voice, her senses slowly came to life; she could hear the voice, felt the gentle shaking of her body, and smell a pleasant fragrance she couldn’t quite place her fingers on.

    When she finally opened her eyes, she saw a pair of different-colored eyes, flowing blonde hair, and a gentle face tinted with an expression she identified as concern and worry.

    That was how she met Mary Fairchild ten years ago.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    She was apparently amnesiac.

    Remembering nothing but her own name - Cosmos Semesta Preciel - Mary had offered her shelter while she’d look for her background and origins.

    She agreed, even if somewhere deep within her mind she knew that Mary’s search would likely reveal nothing.

    Still, for the time being she is allowed to live with the woman, and as she did nothing but wait, Cosmos realized a particular problem - a predicament that just dawned on her after a few days of doing nothing.

    She had no idea on what her purpose is in this world.

    With no memories and no connection to anyone, Cosmos felt lost, uncertain on why she’s even here; for that matter, she also didn’t know what Mary actually does aside from looking into her background, and she hasn’t even once went outside of Mary’s home after she was brought there.

    Cosmos Semesta Preciel is, at this moment, very ignorant of everything around her.

    But she held herself off from asking Mary. She doesn’t want to inquire, to learn more from the woman when there is still a chance, no matter how small, that she could find something about her background and past.

    So she waited; at the very least, patience is a virtue that she embodies well.

    And then, the day came.

    Mary told her that she had found nothing about her background, about her past, before asking what she wanted to do - where she wanted to go. Cosmos bit her lip, steeled her heart, and took off her precious hat before she began talking.

    “I want to learn more about this world.”

    “I want to find my purpose in this world.”

    “I want to find a meaning in living in this world.”

    “... This is a selfish request, but… I want to do all of them with you, Mary.” She confessed, hugging her hat as she did so. “I… I want to stay here.”

    An attraction that she couldn’t quite describe.

    There is something about Mary that draws her in, and it was not just thanks to her kindness and gentle nature; there is something else, something more basic and fundamental about the woman that made Cosmos very comfortable around her.

    However, she’s not sure if that kind woman would accept this request.

    She was just a stranger after all, one that Mary found by chance, and giving her a temporary shelter is very different to letting her be a permanent resident of her home.

    Refusing this request would be a very understandable reaction.

    However, Mary’s reaction to this…

    Was to give her a smile.

    “I was actually going to offer you, but it seems you beat me to it.” She replied, a glint of amusement present in her eyes. “However, I can only do so by adopting you as my daughter. If that is okay…”

    “D-daughter…?” She squeaked, dropping her hat from the sheer shock of that statement. “I-I’m just a stranger, and a mother-daughter relationship is a very important and close one…!” She shook her head, cheeks red from embarrassment and shame. “I can’t possibly be a good daughter with my amnesia… It will reflect badly on you.”

    Yes.

    Even if it hurts, even if she wanted to say nothing but yes, she must make sure Mary knows just what she’s offering.

    Cosmos is a literal blank of a person, a very suspicious girl who showed up one day and claimed that she has no memory except for her own name. Adopting someone like her would surely bring numerous problems - even she knew for a fact that if she were in Mary’s shoes, she would likely never accept herself as a daughter, adopted or not.

    Really, just letting her stay would be enough…

    But once again, Mary’s response was to give her a gentle smile.

    “I don’t know if you notice, Cosmos… But you are still a child, both in appearance and demeanor.” The woman began as she approaches, kneeling after she reached the teal-haired girl. “You didn’t cause any trouble during your stay here, and you were very obedient. You are very much a good daughter, with or without your amnesia.” She reassured, gently wiping the forming tears from her eyes.

    “Besides, you have already said that you wanted to do everything with me. That makes me very happy.” Mary confessed, taking her fallen hat into her hands as she looked at the fluffy, giant white hat. “Even if it reflects badly on myself, my offer still stands, Cosmos.” She said as she put the hat back on her head with a smile. “Would you become my daughter…?”

    The resulting hug was her answer.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    She learned a lot of things after the legal problems were finished.

    For one, Mary was actually the Pope - the so-called Holy Mother and the leader of Rose Cross, and by extension, the Church as a whole. It was a revelation that dumbfounded her, especially because she only found out after the legal process of the adoption was complete.

    To think such an important figure would adopt her is unthinkable, and yet, here she is, now the adopted daughter of Mary Fairchild.

    Still, that was merely one thing that she learned; the other was of religion itself.

    Cosmos was vaguely aware of the concept - to believe in some form of higher being who had created and controlled everything that exist in this world. In this case, that God was the creator, and you should offer prayers and obedience in order to gain His favor.

    However, she has yet to understand why people - and Mary, by extension - would believe in an entity that they couldn’t even see. She is intrigued, curious on the concept of religion and faith that is believed by many.

    She wanted so badly to understand.

    She wanted to follow Mary’s footsteps like a good daughter.

    But that is only possible if she could understand and find religion to be what she’s seeking, a guide, and perhaps illuminate why she’s here.

    So she did the only thing that would satiate her curiosity: to plunge headfirst and learn about religion from Mary. Not from the Church or other institutions, but from the woman she now called her mother, and if she’s busy, to learn them herself through texts and books to make her own conclusions.

    But she must first understand the most important concept in an abrahamic religion.

    God.

    “God is the Creator.” Mary explained. “He creates everything in this world, and everything happens according to His design. He creates us to worship Him, to do good in this world and not stray from His teachings; one are free to pursue worldly desires they seek as long as they don’t forget to thank the One who created them, and it doesn’t violate the rules and laws that He placed upon us.”

    “So even if one has no purpose in life, they can at least find one in worshiping Him…” Cosmos mused.

    “Correct.” Mary nodded. “Still, you may wonder why we should do so. Why we should extol His name and worship Him, placing Him above all other demons and deities that exist in this world.”

    “... Because He created us…?”

    Mary gave him a small smile at that response.

    “That is part of the reason. The angels, demons, plants, animals, even the stars and this universe are all part of His creation; it is only natural to respect and worship such a being. However… that is only part of the reason.”

    Mary stopped, taking a look at the clock before giving her an apologetic smile. “I’m afraid we’re out of time. Let’s continue this later at night if you want, okay?”
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The lesson continues in the gentle embrace of the night, illuminated only by a small, warm light of a small lamp. It was Mary’s personal study, and sitting before her like an eager, obedient student, was Cosmos who is dressed in her pajamas.

    “...Because everything is a part of His design?” She tilted her head, confused.

    “Yes.” Mary confirmed. “The easiest example would be you, Cosmos.”

    “...I’m afraid I don’t follow.” She said after a few seconds, confusion apparent in her eyes and voice.

    “Let us take your circumstances in mind.” Mary began slowly. “You woke up with no memories of your past except for your name, here in Vatican. The one who find you in this Holy City was not one of the many people who live here, but rather the Pope herself, who then offers you shelter until she can find more about you. When she didn’t find anything, she offered you to be adopted, and you accepted. You gained a place to belong, a place to call home, while she gained a daughter she always wanted deep in her heart after her close friend adopted one herself.”

    The woman gave her a gentle smile. “Some might call those series of events coincidence, but I believe it to be fate, destiny orchestrated by God Himself.”

    Cosmos’ eyes could only widen as she listened; after all, isn’t Mary speaking the truth? Everything that has transpired in her life thus far… isn’t it a little too perfect for it to be anything but fate designed by God himself?

    “There are many more examples in this world about fate and destiny.” Mary continued. “Sooner or later, you will hear or even experience them yourself; someone who survived an accident that should have killed them by being late to work, or deciding to go home through a different road than usual only to meet an untimely end… there are many events in this world that is instigated by a series of small events or ‘coincidences.’ Those who don’t believe in God call these the butterfly effect, but as someone who does… it is merely another proof that God exists, One who controls fate on such a scale that it is unfathomable to our minds.”

    Stopping to see an intensely-thinking Cosmos who tried to swallow all the information she learned just now made Mary let out a giggle, and with how the teal-haired girl doesn’t even react to that, Mary silently left to get her daughter something to drink.

    Cosmos, meanwhile, is having her mind blown by what Mary said. It was like the universe suddenly makes much more sense, like finding a missing piece of the puzzle. It was enlightening. Positively amazing-

    She let out a yelp as something warm is pressed against her cheeks.

    “Sorry.” The woman lets out a small giggle before offering her a glass of milk. “But I thought you need something warm to drink throughout all this.”

    “D-don’t scare me like that, mom…” She muttered, but accepts the offered drink and lets out a thank you.

    “Well… shall we continue?”

    Cosmos nodded as she drank her milk, and Mary could only give her an amused smile.

    “The next question that people might have after learning this is a logical one: if everything is a part of God’s design, does that mean everything has been predetermined? Does that mean the result of our action will be the same, regardless of the action itself?” Mary mused before looking at her adopted daughter. “What do you think, Cosmos?”

    The girl in question was silent, thinking back on her encounter and adoption as an example. The meeting, and her subsequent adoption, was established to be destiny, fate made by God’s hands… But what if she didn’t answer she wanted to stay with Mary back then? What if she said she wanted to be elsewhere, not with the kind woman she now calls mother?

    If everything is a part of God’s plan, does that mean she’d always pick Mary? Does this mean the result is predetermined?

    Mary is a kind woman; if she didn’t answer back then, Cosmos is sure she’d offer to adopt her still. But if she refused, if she had chosen to take a different path…

    Would she ended up being adopted by Mary anyway?

    “I… I don’t know.” Cosmos admitted, not looking at Mary’s eyes as she felt ashamed that she couldn’t figure out an answer; she looked at her glass of milk instead, slowly sipping it to comfort herself.

    Then she felt a gentle hand patting her head, and she knew Mary had moved to comfort her.

    “I’m sorry, Cosmos. Making this like a formal lesson seems to give you the wrong impression.” Mary admitted before taking a seat beside her adopted daughter. “There is no need to feel ashamed for admitting that you are lost, that you are not aware of the answer. Even prophets got lost when they first searched for the truth.”

    Slowly, Cosmos looked at Mary’s eyes, and seeing the apologetic smile on her face was enough to make her nod.

    “P, please tell me the answer, then.”

    Mary nodded.

    “The answer… is both a yes and a no.” She began. “There are some fate that is left unchanged, regardless of our decision; However, God has granted us the freedom of free will and choice for the most part.” Mary continued. “The future isn’t set in stone; it changes depending on our decisions and actions. One cannot say that it is their fate to lose a competition, or to get bad grades at school, if they haven’t put an effort into it.”

    “But what if they’ve put effort into it, and still lose or get a bad grade?” Cosmos asked. “Does that mean it is their fate to lose, to get bad grades then?”

    “Yes.”

    “B-but that’s…” She trailed off, unsure.

    “You must remember one thing first and foremost, Cosmos.” Mary said after a few seconds. “God is good. He is merciful and kind, even to those who do not believe in Him. His design, His plan and fate… you must believe that they are for your good, especially if you are someone who believes in Him.”

    “When one has tried their hardest and the outcome doesn’t change from where they hadn’t tried anything, then it is a fate they cannot change. However, while those who do not believe in Him might curse or fell into depression, we must not forget that God loves us.” She paused, looking at Cosmos in the eyes to make sure she gets what she meant. “This means that perhaps failing is the better path. Experience is, after all, the best kind of teacher, and there are no humans who had never made a mistake or fail in this world. You just have to remember that when you fail after giving it your all, that God perhaps have a better plan for you; He is, after all, all-knowing, and He knows things that you don’t.”

    Mary stopped after that, giving Cosmos time to process it all. There was only silence for a few minutes, no doubt because the girl is trying to wrap her head around this, but…

    “I see.”

    That silence is broken soon after.

    “Can I liken fate to rails, then?” She asked, looking at her adopted mother with eyes that seeks clarity. “We are trains, going on a rail of fate that is built by God. Every time the rails branches off, we have the power to decide which rails we wanted to follow, and everytime we decided on a path, that changes the destination and the railways we crossed paths with. However, in the end we are still following rails, following the path and fate that God created for us, and He alone knows when and where every rail will end up. Sometimes the rails that branches up ends up converging again, but if that happens, then we must believe that God has a better railway for us to take in the future… Is this correct?”

    To her wonder, and perhaps amazement, Mary is looking at her with pride and awe in her different-colored eyes.

    “That was a brilliant metaphor, Cosmos.” The woman said after a few seconds of silence, voice filled with approval. “You immediately understood!”

    “Oh, i-it’s nothing really…” She smiled sheepishly at the compliment, cheeks reddening. “This is only thanks to mother’s brilliant explanation that I can understand… and also the milk. It… helps me calm down and sort my thoughts.”

    “You’re too sweet, Cosmos.” Mary said with a content sigh before continuing. “But yes. As someone learning religion and a future believer, you must never forget to look on the positive side of things whenever something bad happens. Falling sick might give you a time to rest and be with your loved ones, being separated from your loved ones might make you realize just how precious they are for you… even one’s own death might give someone else the clarity and realization that they need. There is always two sides of the coin, and remember: God wouldn’t give someone a trial that they can’t endure.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind, mo…” Cosmos yawned. “...ther.”

    “My, it seems it’s time for you to go to bed already.” Mary mused before standing up. “Let’s get you to bed. We can continue this tomorrow.”

    “Okay…” She muttered before standing up as well, rubbing her eyes tiredly as she put the empty glass in the sink before following Mary to the bathroom, brushes her teeth, then going to Mary’s bedroom and getting tucked in her bed.

    “...Mother?”

    “Yes?”

    “Do you have to go to work again tonight?”

    “Yes. Mother’s duty as a pope is many.”

    There was silence before Cosmos speaks again.

    “Just this night… can you sleep with me?” She begged. “Mother needs rest too, despite being the pope.”

    Mary glanced away, unsure, before Cosmos gives her that look and said the words that always works for her mother.

    “Please?”

    “... Okay.” Mary concedes after a few seconds of deliberation; her task tonight isn’t important enough that skipping would bring considerable consequences, and she just couldn’t say no to those puppy eyes and pleading voice.

    A few minutes later, mother and daughter are hugging each other as both drifted to sleep.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    An instant.

    A look.

    The moment she laid her eyes on the sleeping form of her mother--

    That's all it took to shatter Cosmos Fairchild.

    With every second that passed, with every scream that she shouted, with every tears that fell from her eyes, memories flashed through her mind before they breaks.

    It's only natural.

    Every lesson, every fond memories only serve as a reminder.

    And...

    and...

    Her mind breaks.

    Her eyes lost its light, and she mercifully fell into unconsciousness.

    And the last memory that she saw as she sink deep into the darkness was not that of her mother, or the time they spent together.

    But of a man in light, a world of crystals, and the thrones that overlook the world--
    Last edited by palad1n; April 23rd, 2020 at 08:02 AM.
    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. #828
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Daisuke
    Aoyama, Forest
    ??? - Evening


    "...Okay Mr. Bright Justice, my name is Burroughs-! Lead me well please!"

    COMPs are certainly intelligent beings.

    Artificial life forms that exist inside of computers, with cores that serve as light-speed processors and souls that could be called pure energy, they are a marvel of the modern age that signifies humanity has taken significant steps forward in the world, but-!

    "Let's just throw him at them-!"

    -This plan-!

    Yes, this plan is quite the simple plan!

    It's the equivalent of three supercomputers coming together to hack a high-tech security door and deciding to just bash it down with brute force instead, the sort of plan that even you can recognize is far too simple to be born from the partners of Tamers, and yet-!

    And yet-!

    "Launch!"

    "Launch!"

    Two voices cry out in unison as they scream that out at the top of a combined jump, their somewhat more clumsy physical forms -due to the lack of practice- seemingly having led to them deciding that the one who has to retrieve the necklace is you...

    That is how you have become the cannonball, that is how you found yourself being a projectile, thrown at the top of your throw, by two COMPs that only sort of knew what they were doing, and-!

    "Woah, he's flying!"

    ...Somehow, they're morons.

    Yeah, they're definitely not that smart-!

    Seeing as how a launched body typically does not change direction mid-flight, they could probably just fly out of the way of your charge, but instead they seem to simply be staring, and-!

    "WAH-!"

    They scream, as reality sets in and an uncontrollable tackle takes place-!

    You scream, as g-forces beyond your control exceed the planned trajectory and launch you into the woods-!

    Lexie laughs, because it's sort of funny.

    The two A.I's yell, although they know everything will be alright-!

    And-!

    And-!

    And-!

    A crashing sound, the snapping of branches and grunts of pain from fairy, COMP, and sympathetic watchful human alike, but-!

    "Did you get it?"


    You got it!

    It's... Made of a dark metal, somewhat unfamiliar, although the design itself seems to resemble a worn necklace? It's one of the old-fashioned ones from the pre-magic era, one with a physical ticking clock inside of it, and...

    It opens.

    You don't mean to open it, but it opens...

    Inside is a clock face, much as expected... Although the time itself seems to be stuck, there's a second hand that certainly makes it's way around the entirety of the device, but strangely enough, it then loops back around the other way, and up above the watch itself, is a date?

    11/07/2026

    Huh...

    Of course, it's a bit rude to pry in other people's belongings, but...

    Being a COMP, your visual perception is rather fast, and that's why...

    Don't Forget.
    "Obey the User, No Matter What."
    January 1st, 2009


    Words...

    Words that seem like they've been burned into the metal with some sort of laser device...

    The meaning behind them is unclear, but with History and the mysterious new girl running up to you now, well...

    It seemed to be hers...

    Burroughs...
    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. #829
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Daisuke
    Aoyama, Forest
    ??? - Evening

    Daisuke has confidence in his allies.

    As someone trained to work with others, and as the COMP of an SDCD Tamer, he is open-minded and always willing to take seriously the plans produced by those he is cooperating with. So, he is ready to go with whatever the group decides on.

    However...

    Quote Originally Posted by History
    "Let's just throw him at them-!"
    "Eh?"

    In this case, the plan was less of a unanimous decision and more of a 2-1 majority vote. With no veto allowed.

    Thus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Two Idiots
    "Launch!"

    "Launch!"
    "Eh? Eh?"

    Thus, Daisuke...

    "EEEEEEEH!?"

    Finds himself flying through the air at near mach-speeds, propelled like a living bullet through the canopy. There is not much choice to be made here. There is no moment to reorient himself, because within the space of a few frames he is flying towards the gaggle of fairies, who are too distracted by the shiny necklace to get out of the way in time. It is all he can do to revert to child form, in order to minimize the impact.

    One unfortunate fairy turns its head towards Daisuke, and has just enough time to comprehend its fate before...

    "Eh?" the fairy says, before it is knocked away like an airborne bowling pin as Daisuke barrels through the group. They are sent every which way, tumbling through the air, and Daisuke himself falls to the forest floor, his descent slowed by branch after prickly branch.

    In the end, somehow, that ridiculous plan worked out.



    "...eh...?"

    Daisuke slowly rises from the soft grass, his glasses askew. In his hand, he sees, clutched...

    11/07/2026

    ...

    Don't Forget.
    "Obey the User, No Matter What."
    January 1st, 2009
    Huh. How about that.

    It's strange. That date is familiar. Not the one from long ago; the one the clock is stopped at.

    Yes, isn't that the exact same date that he last performed this sitting-up procedure? Back then it'd been Lexie's overwhelming weight that had nearly knocked him out, but this time it was something else. Still, to think it would be the 11th of November, the same day... the same day... the same day...

    The same day that massive crack had appeared in his day-to-day life.

    "..."

    The COMP stares at the necklace, wondering, as time slows and his thoughts accelerate, collecting the various clues he had gathered to form a however-incomplete deduction.

    Quote Originally Posted by History
    "Did you get it?"
    "Yeah! And it's not that 'I' got it; we got it!"

    Carefully, he closes the necklace, and calls out.

    "Hey, Burroughs, you said this was evidence, right?"

    Daisuke climbs to his feet.

    "My senses are a bit over-tuned, so I tend to notice stuff I shouldn't," he admits. "Like girls' measurements, or whether someone's put on weight from a week ago. The sorta stuff that people get angry if you notice. So... sorry. I noticed it."

    Daisuke adjusts his glasses, straightens out his crooked bow tie, and brushes some leaves and dirt from his hair.

    "You said this necklace is 'important evidence', right? Well... you're right."

    The boy holds out the strange necklace.

    "I'm a detective... in training. For the past little bit, my partner and I have been investigating what happened on the Seventh of November, 2026. This necklace seems to be stopped at midnight on that day... and it appeared near the lakeside, close by to the crime scene. It's undoubtedly connected, which means..."



    "Burroughs-san, would you like to work together? I have a feeling our mysteries might be connected."

    And then... a slightly dorky grin.

    "Besides, haven't we already proved that three heads are better than one?"

    A heartbeat, or in COMP terms, a few hundred revolutions of the main engine cylinder, passes, and then...

    "Oh, but even if you birdbrains put a hundred heads together, you still wouldn't be able to get the better of Justice!"

    That friendly jab is tossed at the stunned Fairies.

    "Now whatever you do, don't you dare memorize this maneuver! It's for heroes, not shoplifters!"

    Of course, they'll remember it for sure. The story of the funny flying COMP will assuredly be passed through chatter until it's been told as a joke at every Fairy Fountain on the continent. Then, in a week, there will be Fairies gleefully launching each other for fun and mischief. But then, that's just how they are. Part of their charm, Chris might say, though Daisuke has always had trouble understanding it.

    "...here. It's yours to decide what to do with. Bright Justice doesn't confiscate items, no matter how suspicious they might be."

    With that, the game ends. The hero returns the necklace to the maiden. But this hero wears a bittersweet smile and a complicated expression.

    "Still... I thought it might be some kind of treasured relic, but... I never expected it to have such a distasteful message on it..."

  10. #830
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Daisuke
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    ??? - Evening


    ---A strange entity.

    No matter how hard you look at her, it's impossible to tell exactly what sort of existence Burroughs is... While the idea that she's supernatural in nature is an easy enough conclusion to reach -especially with how she had apparently just manifested History a body with a wave of her hands- it's not the sort of supernatural nature that is easy to identify at a glance, like...

    Is she a Goddess?

    An ESPer?

    Some bizarre form of A.I?

    Unknown form of superhuman/magic user?

    Could be all of them, could be none of them, but...

    "Burroughs-san, would you like to work together? I have a feeling our mysteries might be connected."

    "...here. It's yours to decide what to do with. Bright Justice doesn't confiscate items, no matter how suspicious they might be."

    "Still... I thought it might be some kind of treasured relic, but... I never expected it to have such a distasteful message on it..."
    A moment of silence, as you disregard all of this and offer a metaphorical hand out to her anyway, and-

    "...This necklace, I'm the one that dropped it at the scene."

    -she admits to something, something a part of you had already considered to be a possibility, before continuing on with surprising strength for what seemed like some sort of child...

    "I was investigating the ship myself... I'm not used to having a body, so when the fairies surprised me I dropped it on accident, it's like a good luck charm... One of the only things I have left from my User... My original prime directive. I can't remember what they looked like or who they were, so notes like these are all I have to go on... I know that must sound silly, but..."

    Is she spinning some sort of story, or is she just surprisingly honest?

    This too... Is somewhat difficult to tell, although it made her possible nature somewhat more clear, the 'affection' an A.I typically develops for their user seeming to shine through her in this moment in spite of how distasteful that person's message came across to you, nevertheless...

    "Although this mystery you're looking into is the Sakurako case, right? I don't mind helping out a bit! she injects more energy into her speech, almost to the point of coming across as a purposeful decision on her part, "Favors given should be returned after all, although I only know a little bit about it myself..."

    A pause, then:

    "This Sakurako person... Has no records in any of the world's databases. None at all, she seems to have simply dropped from the sky... Sakurako might not even be her real name, she was hacking into nearby networks from her ship... The ship doesn't have any records either, so... It's very suspicious... Almost like it came from another planet...? Or something like that! I'm looking into the feasibility of that possibility too! Or well I was, but then the whole fairy thing happened..."

    She looks around as if appraising the area around her for spies -finding only other A.I and a distant Lexie who was doing her best to not look like she was obviously eavesdropping- then:

    "I'm like a secret superhero, but if you want like... Updates on things, I guess I can add you to my list of confidants! I'm already working with one detective already, although, you have to keep me on the down low okay? One of my orders was not to get observed by anyone... I'm already bending the rules a but more than my User would probably like..."
    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. #831
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Amamiya Sho
    Junes ~ Aoyama
    ??? - Noon



    In order to survive my daily life, there is one rule that I must absolutely abide at all times. That is, I cannot allow myself to become a loyal customer. Every store uses sales and promotions as a tool to lure new customers into their domain, then they make sure that the atmosphere is comfortable so customers pay them a visit a second time and a third time. Eventually, without warning, one becomes a blind slave who would set their hands of fire for their shop of choice. Little does one know that there are other places out there that can provide a better service at a lower price. The thought of a 'perfect, ideal store' is an illusion crafted by society, but in reality, there is no such thing. Just like people, each place is different and has their own pros and cons. The best sales are found by people who actually take the time to venture into the jungle that is the shopping district and compare prices until they find the one most convenient to them.

    Now, most people are lazy and just go wherever their feet takes them, but not me.

    I take everything into account.

    And here, at Junes, I can get a selection of things at a cheaper price than at Loveless, which is quite competitive with prices actually, so whenever possible I like to pay it a visit. Have to admit their song is somewhat catchy, although not something you'd see me humming often. Definitely not on the level of the Phoenix Rangers opening song. Which reminds me, I must make an effort to set aside some money to buy the new Phoenix Red figurine. If the investment doesn't kill me, I'll add the first one to my collection. Otherwise, I might have to settle with another poster...

    If only that sort of thing would pop up in 'Tanaka's Amazing Commodities'...

    In any case, I came here with Nadia and Jack, following that one incident at the Xanadu Laboratories. Nadia is telling me about the reason behind her injuries. At first, I pay little attention to the story itself. Formula Zero are, as you may have figured, not my cup of tea, and I can see a hardcore fan hacking into the servers for some easy wins. But then the mention of curses and an actual investigation makes me suspect something bigger is going behind the scenes.

    "Sounds quite serious." I mutter, an unfamiliar sense of curiosity washing over me. "Maybe he wasn't after the simulator, but after something else?"

    When it comes to technology, I am only average.

    I am not the kind of guy who can reliably fix his own COMP.

    But I just can't imagine someone going guns blazing over something so trivial as a racing game. Maybe if you could hack into the Formula Zero Servers, you can use that to then hack into another server? Maybe there is a rare demon or a secret map placed in the FZ Servers at some point in the past? The point is, the second half of the story is rather ridiculous, so my brain is trying to make sense of it. Even if to do so it needs to come up with some unlikely theories.

    "In any case, don't push it. Curses may leave lingering effects even after being purged."


    Such warning would never stop Nadia Starr, but maybe I can convince her to be a little more careful.

    As for that one other topic, regarding Jack and his recent behavior at the labs...

    "..."

    Trust me, right here, right now, I would love to betray Jack, for I know he deserves it. If not for today, for all the pranks he has pulled on me and the residents of Aoyama. But I would be lying if I said he didn't have the stronger card in hand this round.

    I...

    I-I guess it would be best if Nadia never learns what really happened back at the Labs.

    I should swallow my pride and...

    "Oh, it's not big deal." I start, trying to buy myself some time. She has really caught me off-guard with the question, as I already believed to be outside of the danger zone. "It was dark and I came in unannounced. Jack just thought I was an intruder and acted accordingly. I might have blurted a couple of villain-like lines with my villain-like voice and that didn't help my case."

    A pause and...

    "A-Anyways, that's all that happened."
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  12. #832
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Daisuke
    Aoyama, Forest
    ??? - Evening

    A strange entity. She doesn't seem to fit into any 'classification' Daisuke has. Her powers are not simply those of a COMP, even an independent one such as him, and yet she feels too young to be an ancient being of great power.

    Even so, Burroughs is familiar in one way: she's someone who is clinging to something.

    "...sorry!"

    Before addressing the information she divulged, Daisuke addresses something more important.

    Accidentally hurting people's feelings... is that just one of his programming quirks, or merely a trait he was born with? Daisuke isn't sure. He's ended up putting his foot in his mouth way too often for it to be a simple coincidence. Even if he tries to be polite and proper, it's almost as if he'll inevitably he'll say something insulting at least once. Apparently it's normal for detectives and gumshoes to get in trouble with women, but that's never been much of a reassurance... Still, he'll take responsibility for it every time. Especially now, when it's important. Chris told him, once, to never run away from a mistake, and definitely to never run away from a distressed girl.

    "What I meant was... even if it's a precious message from your partner... I just can't agree with it, is all." It's important to explain properly. Sometimes that takes more words. "Being partners doesn't mean always listening to each other, or acting as your user's arms and legs; it means being separate, independent, working together to cover for each other's blind spots... helping each other learn and grow. And sometimes that means disagreeing and coming to terms with it... at least, that's what my partner told me. Though mine is kinda... atypical, apparently."

    It still doesn't feel conclusive. Like all he's done is disagree with someone long-gone, who can't even argue back. No COMP wants to see their partner or user being badmouthed, even if they can barely recall them. Surely Burroughs must feel the same. There's no way she doesn't.

    "Basically... calling something important to you 'distasteful' like that wasn't very 'Bright Justice' of me at all. Please forgive me."

    Before even acknowledging the rest of the girl's words, this must be addressed head-on.

    "As for the rest..."

    It's troublesome. It's an entirely different sort of troublesome.

    "Sakurako doesn't exist in this world's records...? Strange... but she's been around for a few years at least..."

    How could that be? It's not as if a person can vanish so easily. The way Chris described her, they had known each other for quite a while. Then again, they hadn't shared much personal information. The anonymity of online communication, though it had been made harder to achieve due to the numerous forms of tracking technology existing all around the world, was still a potent lure for those who valued their privacy. So it's not actually as strange as it sounds. If she had really been living in this ship all this time, though, then... just who was this girl his User had made friends with?

    "Hah... well, at least those are leads than can be followed..."


    Yes, these are questions that can only be answered with further investigation.

    "Well, either way... even if you're a superhero that can teleport around, materialize COMPs, and erase yourself from perception memories... please don't do anything too risky, Burroughs-chan."

    Wait, when had that -chan appeared?

    "My User said that ship was a little bit dangerous. And she's the sort that thinks of fairies as simply energetic children, so if anything, that's an understatement. There is a 'darkness' lurking in it, she said, that could corner and disable even someone strong. A darkness that felt alive, like a Venus Fly Trap or a nocturnal hunter... I think she said something about 'Ruina'? Well, that's why I'm supposed to be guarding it right now. I wouldn't mess around in it if I were you. We can let you know the results of the investigation later, so just be patient, alright?"

    Daisuke folds his arms, but not before waving an all-OK to Lexie.

    "And I'm sure that message... no, if your User left you any messages in the first place, then they must really care about you. It must be their way of not leaving you alone by yourself."

    It's the only possible explanation. That message must be an expression of concern, from one partner to another. A way to keep them on the right path, until they can meet again. That's what it must be.

    Because the alternative, that it is a mere order to a disposable tool, the dispassionate directive of a callous User... is too awful for Daisuke to even consider.

    For a moment, Daisuke locks eyes with History. She understands, right? She, who was just put into a physical body as casually as a light switch being flipped on, should get it.

    This is too much. For a COMP, it's going overboard. There are a hundred and one suspicious things about this strange girl that can't be classified. The correct answer to suspicions for a Tamer is to clear them out one at a time and leave no stone unturned. It certainly isn't to brush over everything dubious and happily work with a stranger whose motives and origins are unknown. Following correct procedure here would mean confiscating this evidence and bringing Burroughs in for questioning. Even if it seems like she might vanish whenever she feels like it. A Tamer is not allowed to retreat from against someone strong without good reason, after all.

    So why is it, then, that Daisuke finds himself acting this way, as if watching out for a little sister?

    It is because he is a detective. A detective acts on what is unknown... but also on what is known. And Daisuke has just glimpsed something very real and very fragile: that Burroughs has no User, not really. She is alone and unsure. There is no comforting presence for her to turn to, no bright soul against which to warm herself. Only this necklace and whatever scraps of information she might have by which to remember someone whose name and face she doesn't recall. Such an existence is, for a COMP, or rather, for any living being... too sad. Much too sad to ignore or treat harshly.

    No one should ever have to be alone in this world. All COMPs know this fact to be true, to the very core of their being.

    "A-anyway, a detective never forgets a dame, or so it goes. There's also client confidentiality to consider... so I can keep quiet if it keeps you out of trouble, Burroughs-chan."

    At least, that's his conclusion. But someone might feel differently.

    "Um... what do you think, History-chan? These are just my own feelings. You've been around longer than me, so..."

  13. #833
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Daisuke
    Aoyama, Forest
    ??? - Evening


    ---Emotions can certainly convince people to do somewhat illogical things.

    Faced with an entity of clearly extreme power and unknown motivations, the correct thing to do would certainly be to attempt to take the girl in for questioning... It might even be a simple task if you were to really put your mind to it, if her personality was legitimate, if she was really this sort of trusting, if she really possessed this sense of innate naivety, then it would probably be possible to convince her to come with you.

    The hardest thing to do would be to convince her to disobey her User's orders, but depending on how you approached it, that too might have been impossible to convince her to do, but...

    That's not right.

    Emotionally speaking, it is probably not correct, yes...

    It is those sorts of feelings that have you agreeing to keep quiet, although you voice your thoughts aloud -in a fashion- to a COMP that is somewhat older than you, and indeed...

    For the past few minutes, the normally talkative History has been silent and contemplative about the existence in front of her. Because Lexie is Lexie, the violet haired COMP goes out of it's way to take a more cynical approach to things to counterbalance her User's idealism, thus...

    This is difficult to trust.

    This A.I is simply too strong to be something as simple as an A.I...

    What she had done to her own self was the same thing as the materialization of the soul on the physical plane, the power to take a COMP's soul and casually put it into a body that is not unlike that of a human's with a mere wave of her hand...

    It's small scale, but it's pretty absurd, even so...

    There's something... Familiar... About this entity...

    That's what she thinks, and so-

    "I won't say anything, if you wanted us to forget you could just force it, but... Burroughs was it... Who are you... Exactly...?"


    -she can't help but ask, and-

    "...I'm still a bit unsure myself. My memory has been severely fragmented due to system overload, so I cannot recall everything about myself or my user at this time... Even so, I do believe my casual name to be "Burroughs," although, according to some of my own damaged files... I was also referred to as both the "MS System" and the "C-OS" at some point in the past... Although the meanings of both of those terms are somewhat beyond me in this moment."

    -for some reason, that name...

    Those names...

    For some reason, hearing them alone...

    Is enough to make you feel a bit light-headed...?

    No... That's not the correct feeling, it's more like...

    An overwhelming wave of nostalgia?

    The sounds of a waves crashing against the sand...

    A repeated sound...

    Like an internal lullaby, a calming sound that springs up out of your soul and dances at the back of your mind, and...

    "Is that a sufficient answer? I really don't know any more than that right now, and I can't stay here for too much longer, there are some other things I need to check!"

    "That's... Fine..."

    ...History is clearly feeling the same way, as the expression on her face...

    Is almost... dazzled...

    It's not an attack.

    No form of magic was cast, it was more like...

    Her continued existence near you had just invoked something strange...
    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?



  14. #834
    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Logan Starbright
    Aoyama, Tokyo (F-Zero Course)
    ???


    Sparks. A small step forward as the choking spirit power of the Tower evaporates, sublimating as the surface below softens. A slight grin, more sparks, and it’s gone. Another step as the last echoes of the decisive blow ripple through the air, sparks, and dripping. The triumphant staff falls to the ground, and Logan reaches out to her, sparks popping with each breath and motion until finally he grasps Amelia - and winces. She’s too hot. It hurts.

    : “Sorry… Should’ve gone with a better plan.”

    : “It’s fine. Anything less wouldn’t have done the job. Besides, we beat him!”

    : “Even… Even so, I should’ve bee-”

    A stray gust lashes against raw flesh like a slaver’s whip.

    : “Logan, you want to swap a spell out for Dia?”

    : “No, I’m fine. Besides…” The tower rumbles as a pillar - or would that be a rib? - snaps and slams into the floor, tearing through it like a log thrown into a vat of syrup. “This place is going down any second.”

    His eyes narrow as he notes two separate engagements. One is Astra, still withstanding the assault of the two Demons summoned by the Tower. He shifts toward her instinctively even as he gazes at the other confrontation, a melange of lights, spirit power, and shadowy figures. Was that the result of the other Tamer’s rendezvous with the third signature from the start of this incident? The dramatic advent of the Tower and its repeating summonings had immediately drawn his focus, but he’d forgotten a simple, painfully fundamental truth. No matter what, whether it was a human, another Demon, or even an abstract phenomena, there is no such thing as a Demon suddenly manifesting in an isolated space without a Summoner.

    And he’d sent another person straight to them.

    : “We’re headed to support Astra, right?”

    : “What do you mean, I have to…!” Logan looks back at Astra, his charge arrested as quickly as it began. He bites his cracked lip.

    : “That other Tamer looks like they have things handled, at least for now. Meanwhile Astra’s been fighting Thing 1 and Thing 3 minus 1 in the middle of that hellscape from earlier, which is thankfully gone; the last thing we need is a plague of locusts o’er the land. And it looks like they’re not brainwashed any more, so if we can snap them out of their grumpy rage then that’ll make a full party against any possible summoners, right?”

    : “...”

    : “Yeah, that’s right. We’ll meet up with Astra. Thanks, Amelia.”

    : “No prob! What kind of partner would I be if I let you ditch your date for another lady?”

    Logan jumps from the collapsing Tower in complete silence, landing on foot, knee, and outstretched fist.

    : “Take it easy there, hero; I can’t help you out for another few seconds.”

    : “I just have to not get hit. Any Tamer can manage that.”

    : “...Daikatana’s sales numbers look better than your diagnostics.”

    Logan winces, undoubtedly due to the stings of his ragged clothes and the air against his numerous wounds as opposed to anything else as he runs toward Astra. Every motion sends overstressed parts shrieking in agony, shooting violent sparks through each nerve - but he welcomes them. The pain of exertion and the weakness of exhaustion are signs that the body still functions enough to move. And as long as Logan Starbright can move, he will fight.

    “I’ll support you, Astra,” he says as he arrives at her side. “What’s the situation?”




    Spells Set: Eye of the Fates, Swirl of Samsara, Garu line, ???, Crystal Coat, Zio Line
    Heat: MAX/6
    Will: 35 | Spirit Commands: Accelerate, Electric Amp

    Persistence (Logan Ability) - Logan's ability to fight physically will not be negatively affected by exhaustion, although ability to cast spells is still determined by Stamina. Additionally, Logan is considered to have an innate 'Endure' effect regardless of his current Will, this effect will activate automatically when needed, but can only be done once per day.
    Supports:


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

  15. #835
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Daisuke
    Aoyama, Forest
    ??? - Evening

    It's a strange feeling.

    Daisuke doesn't understand much, but he can grasp the fact that this is something he can't grasp.

    A feeling... a memory... a sound... yes.

    He. Hears. A. Sound.

    Subroutines run on their own, before he reflexively stops them. What had they been for? Investigating the logs...

    Tears. Some part of the COMP that operated close to the soul, wants to cry right now.

    He doesn't understand. Doesn't understand this moment that feels simultaneously tender and terrifying. Doesn't understand those names or why they feel oh-so important. He doesn't understand, but...

    When Daisuke does not understand, he seeks someone who always does. Even if she doesn't know, she will understand.

    The message is a simple one, sent through their mental link. They're too far away to cast spells, but not too distant to send a message by piggybacking over nearby signals. A few encoded bytes sail across the various systems of the city and land in a simple handheld electronic device that his User keeps with her at all times. She'd told him not to call unless it was important. Well, this is as important as it gets.

    Query
    Chris, what is an MS System? Please don't ask why.


    There is an agonizing wait of several seconds, during which Daisuke feels as if he might fall asleep and never wake up.

    This lullaby is... so soothing... comfortable, like a mother's embrace...

    But, COMPs don't have mothers, so how...?

    Something jolts Daisuke awake. It's here.

    Response
    Some Spirit Smiths call it the Holy Grail. Others refer to it as the lost ultimate weapon. You would call it obaa-san. Is everything alright, Daisuke?


    He does not bother to respond.

    "In that case, Burroughs-chan... here."

    The young COMP smiles faintly and extends his hand. From the tip of his finger, a small physical transfer medium emerges, carrying within it...

    "This is... 'Return'," Daisuke explains, his voice following the heartbeat-like waves in the back of his mind. "It's a common formula, so, you probably know it, but... did you know... where it came from?"

    He closes his eyes and retells the story, just as it was told to him. It is the first and last bedtime story he has stored in memory.

    "Years ago... there was a COMP and their partner. They were extremely close, but... one day, they were separated. They were placed so far apart that they felt as if they could never reach each other, even if they searched the world for a hundred years. So, each of them, without knowing what the other was doing, decided to craft a spell that would allow them to meet again. That spell... would be called 'Return'. They worked independently for a long, long time, without seeing each other, without hearing each other, without even knowing how the other was doing... and finally, they had each created it. Two identical spells from two different beings. When that 'Return' was finally used, they were brought together again."

    It's a silly story. Daisuke knows it himself. In this age, it's impossible to be truly separated from anyone... barring exceptional situations. Even so, he believes Chris wasn't lying when she told it to him.

    "Nowadays it's... mostly used for getting back your lost necklace if it gets lost or some fairies snatch it... but some use it as a good luck charm of sorts. For when a loved one is leaving and going far away for a long time, it's a promise that they'll see each other again, no matter what."

    He presses the charm into the strange girl's hand.

    "We'll... investigate too... so... let's meet again, okay? And then... if you don't give up... I'm sure your partner will 'Return' to you as well."

  16. #836
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Hyakka Onjouji
    Aoyama Gakuen, Swimming Pool 4B
    4th Period Class, Phys Ed. Swim (Combined Class)
    Noon


    "Uh... Well, yes, it would be my magic!"

    A barrage of cute.

    Or rather, the flip of a switch from potentially scary -the judging eyes of a junior- to something that the student council president is more easily able to handle, the simple, childish, petty desires of a young girl-!

    It is a simple request, one borne from an odd fascination with the color of red, and-!

    "And sure, I could totally teach you! Although it might have to wait for after school..."

    It's not like it's a complex spell formula, there is no raining lightning down from the heavens, creating ice storms or shadow clones, it's the simple act of using magic to change the color of something, a spell most often used for minor camouflage -giving it the designation of Chameleon- and not something that would really take very long to pass along at all, but...

    It is an odd fascination nevertheless-!

    "I suppose Red is the color of the hero though, so it's certainly a good choice Hyakka-chan!"

    So saying (and silently grateful that she was able to resolve this situation so easily) the taller girl points her finger at you in a decisive manner, like she was trying to tear a hole in the air itself, and...

    There's a spark.

    A single spark of Reiki, a tiny, twisting, multi-color sphere of spiritual power that seems to drift almost lazily on the wind for a moment, before crashing head-long into the swimsuit the school had provided you with-!

    The effect is immediate.

    From the point of it's impact on your left shoulder, a burning crimson shoots across the rest of the garment as the simple azure is overrun by a small supernatural force-! It's not a spell that took much inner fortitude to cast, of that you can tell with just your eyes alone, it was barely E-Rank, a subtle manipulation of reality that was an almost imperceptible drop in the supernatural reserves most Tamers had...

    "But, ever since you can remember?"

    Of course, having thankfully averted a childish crisis, the council president's brain finally starts working properly again, or rather...

    Her tendency to 'analyze' her fellow students in order to better befriend them comes back 'online,' so to speak-!

    "Your files did mention a bit of amnesia... But is it really bad? Do you remember where you were born?"

    Yes.

    While the sounds of the ball are growing greater and greater in intensity as students fling themselves into it -some coated with magic as they go- it seems the Council President is just as able to be distracted by things as you, or rather...

    She has a powerful sense of curiosity...

    Is it a good thing...?

    Hard to say.

    It could just as easily be bad-!
    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. #837
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Ayra Lilygrove
    Avalon ~ Medical Ward
    ??? - Morning


    "..."

    At first, she simply listens quietly to your words.

    While the squires are known to be somewhat rebellious at times -as they are also the ones most aware of how flawed their Knight counterparts truly are- there is still an unspoken sense that when something like a -reasonable- lecture begins, they should at least listen to it for awhile, and so she does... Even though there's a number of things that don't quite sit right with her about it, she listens until it seems like you've explained your side, then...

    "You're doing it again..."

    She sighs.

    She doesn't try to hide the sigh, no, it's the sigh of someone who doesn't really care if people see it-!

    "Don't take her share of the blame on yourself, if you're used to that skill from the academy, then she should be just as used to you being there, you know? You guys know each other well, she should try to adapt to you as much as you try to adapt to her..."

    She shakes her head, shifting slightly in her seat, then:

    "Besides, 'work harder to deal with it,' do you know how little you sleep as is? Far as I can tell, the only times you sleep properly are when you're in the hospital, and even then you tend to try to slip out..."

    Were you...

    Being lectured...?

    It's an odd feeling...
    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?



  18. #838
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Amamiya Sho
    Junes ~ Aoyama
    ??? - Noon


    She sighs.

    "You really should stop with the kahahahaha villain voice, you know? Or was it bwahahahaha...?"

    While your story probably has some flaws in it if anyone bothered to look past the general surface of it, it seems that the crimson-haired girl buys the story right away, likely because it's something she can easily believe actually happened to you...

    "You tell me not to pick fights all the time, but I think you might actually be the more guilty one in that regard..."

    Of course this is not an incorrect assumption to make...

    The nature of Amamiya Sho is that of rebellion towards society, and when most people have more or less integrated themselves into the current World's "System," that more or less meant Amamiya Sho's nature was that of someone who rebels towards most of the world's populace-! If one looked a bit deeper they may discover it is actually a rebellion towards those who view themselves as 'superior,' but such designations are vague and difficult to prove to begin with, so in reality, it was more of a contrarian nature, in other words...

    ---You are also the type that picks fights, albeit, for a bit of a different reason.

    Perhaps that's why the two of you get along so well...

    Either way, Jack seems satisfied with your struggle to swallow your own pride, as he cackles silently to himself and decides not to rat you out, but...

    Jack is certainly a problem...

    Still...

    Now that you were here, freshly paid -a good amount for a simple delivery actually- this had somehow turned into a shopping trip? Much like LOVELESS, Junes was also a franchise akin to a mall, in other words, it was possible to find most things one was looking for here, with the bonus of not being ensnared in LOVELESS's supernatural nature, and consequently led from store to store as one attempts to find their way out, of course, Junes having rare items was consequently much rarer too, still...

    As your philosophy went, never become a loyal customer-!

    No store deserves your undivided love and attention, that was what the corporate overlords truly sought, sheep that would continue to come to the same place no matter how much time passed, entities that would only ever look their way-!

    "Although, Jack should know your voice by now, I super don't believe him if he says he doesn't," shaking her head as the crisp cool air of the store's interior overtakes you both, you can practically see Jack suddenly stiffen on her shoulder, "This guy is an extortionist, he knows voices really well, used to work with this really shady business guy back in the day..."

    "No, I didn't hee know! I hee, swear!"

    "Uh huh, sureeeeee..."

    At least karma seemed to be manifesting it's hand to punish Jack regardless, of course, while this does satisfy a bit of your inner demon...

    ---It's hard to enjoy it with the sudden feeling of eyes on your back.

    Yes.

    While Amamiya Sho doesn't have much talent for speed, you have a sixth sense that is perfectly functional, one that tells you someones gaze is on your group even as it heads deeper into the mall, away from the groceries and towards the electronics section...

    Naturally, being one who is well accustomed to misfortune trying to pull one on you, you turn the moment you sense it and-



    "..."

    There's a girl watching you from afar, or rather, she seems to be watching Nadia's back with an odd expression...

    It's like a... Disbelieving smile?

    Something like that, like she saw something that had gotten her hopes up, but wasn't quite sure about it...

    It's not a hostile gaze, but it is still one that belongs to a stalker-esque person, and...

    "...!"

    When she sees you see her, the smile becomes apologetic -embarrassed even- and she slides into one of the nearby clothes stores without any sense of shame at all, doing her best to disappear behind a mannequin...

    Poorly hidden, and a response that comes across as... Strangely innocent...?

    Nevertheless, back with Nadia and Jack...

    "Oh, you liked the Phoenix Rangers right? I'm pretty sure the new figurine for Phoenix Ranger White came out today!"

    It seems she hadn't noticed the lingering gaze on her back, rather...

    She seems to be asking about your taste in the Phoenix Rangers...

    Although if a new figurine for White had just come out...

    The others would probably... Drop in price-!
    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?



  19. #839
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Raz Stone
    New Tomobiki ~ Nagatani Academy
    Morning


    "Ashen haired girl?"

    The woman shakes her head after a moment's thought, one hand slipping into the pockets of a jacket as she regards several members of the Knights of the Round without faltering in the slightest.

    "I did see someone who was about that tall when we got here, but they were blonde... Think she said her name was Dejah Thoris?"

    Needless to say, that's a name you haven't heard before, at least not within the confines of this case...

    "Seemed pretty young, early teens? Was here when we woke up in this place, asked a few questions about our health, and then disappeared somehow after she was sure we were alright... Cute kid, seemed a bit unnecessarily mysterious for my tastes, but I didn't have the time to chase her down at that moment."

    This was shaping up to have all the qualities of one of the big cases, namely, some mad scientist seems to have done some mad scientist things and really messed up the dimensional walls this time-!

    "Worlds that aren't capable of dimensional travel are ones that I would rather not interfere too closely with, its against the rules back home... I was just gonna stay out of the way until I could figure out how to get everyone back home... But I guess it's rude not to cooperate if someone over here is messing with those sorts of things, feels like it'd make me some sort of unwilling accomplice..."

    She sighs, brushing raven hair from her eyes, and-

    "Some of his stuff was still usable so I salvaged it for myself, although the data on the computers was wiped... I'll show you the room though, haven't moved too much of it around, it'd be a pain in the ass to figure out how this world's magitech works from scratch..."

    ---


    Raz Stone
    New Tomobiki ~ Nagatani Academy
    Laboratory
    Morning


    ---It's certainly the laboratory of a scientist.

    Countless computer monitors, sterile silver floors and holographic projectors shining in a massive enclosed room at the center of the mansion; above the shining steel floors however, are scattered cups of microwave ramen and energy drinks, a desk loaded with coffee mugs of all sorts -some of which didn't seem to be entirely empty- scattered bookcases, and...

    Perhaps most importantly...

    What seems to be an inactive Spirit Pulse Terminal?

    While the actual mechanics behind it were a bit beyond you, the "Spirit Pulse," was essentially a form of transportation that utilized the leylines around the planet to move users from one point on the globe to another, with all four Tamer Major Tamer Organizations being directly connected to each other through it... As far as 'teleportation' type transports went, it was easily the most accurate one available to humans -who are notoriously difficult to teleport otherwise-, but...

    Considering those with weaker spiritual constitutions tend to get ill after using it, it's still less popular than magical vehicles are...

    Regardless...

    Having such a thing inside of one's home is not normal, not at all, and...

    Where did it even connect to...?

    "I'm pretty sure that thing is this world's version of a transporter, but I haven't been able to turn it back on yet... Has a lot of custom hardware on it, I examined one of the other ones on the island, and the internals are pretty different."

    Having followed you inside -with a certain squire having been stopped by some of the students in the hallway a minute ago- the only ones in the room are you, DTG and Isako...

    "It's the most likely candidate for how we all got here of course, but mad scientists are always a pain... Reverse engineering a crazy person normally takes a few leaps in logic... The Dejah kid vanished from in here too."
    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?



  20. #840
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Hyakka Onjouji
    Aoyama Gakuen, Swimming Pool 4B
    4th Period Class, Phys Ed. Swim (Combined Class)
    Noon


    “Ehehe~”

    A twirl. Having been granted her wish of a red swimsuit, the small girl stretches her arms out and spins in place with a giggle. Clearly happy with the result, Hyakka spun so as to display both front and back, equally red, of her swimsuit.

    “Wah… ehehe…” Said spinning nearly turned into a tumble as the girl’s barefeet slipped on the wet poolside. Fortunately, with her arms outstretched to enhance her spinning, the silver-haired maiden found her balance, bouncing back to her two feet and standing upright again. “Ehe… oops. Sorry! And thank you, Kaori-senpai! I love it!”

    Hyakka flashed a large smile at the older girl.

    After all, she had hit the nail on the head. Red is the color of the hero. It’s flashy, it stands at the center. It draws your eyes and evokes wonder. It inspires and creates a fiery, warm projection. It’s the strongest color.

    But it is also the color.

    "But, ever since you can remember?"

    She nodded.

    “Mmhmm!”

    She spread her hands as if to show off her usual dress, which was not present. An odd gesture, as though she were lifting one side of an invisible, large skirt just barely enough to draw attention to it. Then, the girl tilted her head.

    It seemed she had genuinely forgotten she wasn’t wearing it.

    “I think so!” The small girl’s head swayed side to side, thinking back. Looking upon the question with more intent than her cheerful, excited response would appear. “I only remember ever wearing it. But… maybe not?”

    "Your files did mention a bit of amnesia... But is it really bad? Do you remember where you were born?"

    The head swaying became more pronounced. Before she swayed a few centimeters, now she was in full tilt, like the pendulum on a grandfather clock. Questions about her ‘past’ always brought on such a response.

    “Mmm… Was I born?” Completely normally, without a hint of insecurity at the absurdity of it, she asked such a question. A query that most people would never think to ask. Because the question for her had never been ‘where’ she was born, nor was it even ‘when,’ but often, ‘why?’ Beyond that, the word born itself was not one she pondered on.

    The idea of being born…

    “I don’t know… I know that I was found near Tokyo. Onii-chan found me, and then…” She put her hand to her chin, stopping the swaying. “Maybe instead of red, it was black? But black isn’t very heroic… The first thing I remember is the black. And the stars. So many stars… But where?”

    The more she thought about it, the more her brows began to furrow.

    “Somehow, I think I was born in a different sense, senpai. And that place feels far from here. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember?”

    She pursed her lips as the rampant thinking began to overwhelm her. Exploring such thoughts was exhausting to her.

    It wasn’t that in her head there was nothing. No, in the recesses of Hyakka’s mind lay something. An expanse so infinite that the only thing she could find in it was herself getting lost. Though on the surface it may seem to upset her to search that expanse, it wouldn’t be accurate to sum her feelings up as such. It wasn’t upsetting to confront such infinite nothing.

    It was vexing that no matter how deep she went, she found so little. Yet all the same knew that there was still something.

    The hand that was at her chin rose up alongside another. Pointing her index fingers, she poked both sides of her skull and closed her eyes as she went deeper and deeper.

    “Born… born…”


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