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Thread: Spirit Pulse: Echo of Ephemeral Moment

  1. #1
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Spirit Pulse: Echo of Ephemeral Moment

    Vincent Brooks
    Sometime, Somewhere
    Phase 0 of 3



    There was something different about the Earth, much as technology might try to simulate the planet, anything that wasn't a genuine part of humanity's cradle would always feel a little off to him; it might just be a bit of nostalgia from his own time as a simple person, where he walked concrete streets instead of steel halls, where life was so much simpler...

    And so much more complicated, although...

    "Heh..."

    That's the sort of thought that can only really exist in the present; that's the pain of nostalgia, looking back on things in a way that wasn't quite accurate.... Some things are remembered too fondly, others aren't remembered fondly enough, problems of the past don't seem so bad now that they're long gone, and problems of the future seem insurmountable, after all...

    They have yet to be solved, yes...

    ---Perhaps things were as complicated as they always were?

    ---Perhaps things were as simple as they always had been?

    He laughs again, footsteps carrying him down the sands of a long lost beach.

    Who was he kidding?

    Life was always complex.

    He wouldn't have it any other way.

    Reaching for his cigarettes, the ever-present bartender finds himself watching the end of the night; the orange glow of the morning sun was peeking over the horizon, his customers had come and gone for the night, and while they would return just as soon as he did, this was a rare time of breaks and noncommittal tasks, where he can simply enjoy life as a single existence for awhile, rather than enjoying it in the company of others.

    Don't get him wrong of course, he loves other people as much as anyone else; in a sense, he probably loved humans more than most.

    He wouldn't have opened up that shop otherwise, but still..

    There are times when even the bartender wants to appreciate the quiet, his own thoughts, the cold sands, the vibrant stars, and the splashing waves...

    Yes.

    He certainly enjoys doing so from time to time, but...

    ---It seems like now won't be the time for that, after all-



    "Heya Vince."

    -contrary to expectations, or rather contrary to beliefs, a certain customer had actually managed to follow him out of the bar.

    Such things should -to be frank- impossible for the typical patron, this particular seaside is not one that many can casually walk, the strength of soul necessary to do is simply not practical to manifest, but...

    "Jacquie."

    ...It didn't surprise him that this person could; it's in the nature of their existence to be walking miracles, hell, even more than the usual, everything about this person was a miracle, so doing impossible things was a perfectly rational outcome for her path through life.

    ---Well, not that he could call her existence too absurd, after all, in the end he was still alive himself too, difficult as that had been to maintain in his more reckless youth...

    Or well, mid-life crisis really.



    "So, what's up?"

    She must want something.

    That was another thing that separated her from the other members of her 'family,' this one took the art of mischief to a whole nother level under the idea of doing a "good thing," for other people; that's why the man braces himself slightly, as the words he's sure she'll speak are ones that will ultimately be insane, but also come from a good place in the heart, thus forcing him to go along with her whims, and, as expected...

    "...You're joking right, I don't have the power for something like that."

    ...He can only respond to her whispered plan with mild complaints, unconsciously rubbing at hair that never got any longer or shorter, his most striking feature that made it impossible to hide from certain aspects of his past, and...

    "No, you don't have it either, quit joking around."

    ...sometimes, he wonders if it's the hair that attracts troublesome women to him, indeed, it was only after he grew it out like this that these sorts of impossible to argue with types had started to zone in on his life, but thinking about it again, he was really just looking for something to blame for his inevitable weakness, the reality that he will crack without putting up too much of a fight in the face of a plan that won't harm anyone, and well...

    When she gives him the "I'll freeze you solid right here if you don't agree," look at his struggling form, he...

    "...Gah, fine, fine! We can give it a try, but I don't think it'll work, geez... Your normal form is way less pushy."

    Breaks under the pressure.

    "Is it? Is it really?"

    She laughs, and he realizes she's completely right.

    She's never once been a reasonable person, not a single time in her life.

    Never been an unreasonable one either.

    The sun continues to rise.

    Golden light streaking through the brilliant blue sky, the sign of a world of darkness coming to an end, a certain bartender flicks the lit cigarette away from him, an eternity of practiced aim launching it straight into the trashcan outside of his shop, and...

    "Come on then, let's get to it."

    Marches back inside, a grinning Goddess at his heels.




    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Suddenly, you wake up.

    It's always a disorienting thing, coming out of the depths of a dream; one's consciousness takes time to truly return to oneself, the flailing of a brain that desperately tries to remember exactly who they were and where they are, is a common enough feeling in the morning that it doesn't raise too much of a fuss, indeed...

    ---While a part of you certainly feels something akin to whiplash, having practically shot up in bed for what seems like no discernible reason at all (almost as if you had been doing something else entirely and had somehow wound up here instead) the reality of your situation becomes apparent soon enough, namely...

    ---This is your room, you're lying in bed, and everything is about as fine as it can possibly be.

    Well, perhaps that's putting it a bit too simply? After all, while this bed is yours, and while this room is also yours, it's not like you can say they really feel like yours just yet, after all...

    You'd only been here for what... Two weeks now?

    Yes.

    That's right, this wasn't your usual room, no...

    It was your room at the Northernmost part of the planet, a mostly unconquered landscape of ice and snow greeting you from outside the windows of your assigned quarters; yes, this is the room you had been assigned after taking the assignment that had landed you in this frozen land in the first place, or at least for some of you that was the case...

    Others had the assignment forced onto them by the outside, by the higher ups, a (perhaps) sad reality of life that one cannot simply disobey their commanding officers in spite of how cynical or jaded a person might be, yes...

    The assignment to the North Pole.

    Formation of the Tamer Team "X-Cross," a name that was still temporary of course, one that had come up in the initial meeting as a placeholder sort of thing, but that had slowly began to stick over time...

    ...Was it temporary?

    Hard to say nowadays.

    Back to the point, the X-Cross, as you had come to understand it, was the brainchild of the four Major Tamer Organizations, a place to funnel the promising youth of the current generation into a single place to study and train, fostering international cooperation and the like, of course, that also meant putting the weirdest of the weird Tamers into one place together, a smashing selection of the greatest hits from all over the World (or so they claimed, some of the people that had wound up here aren't even officially Tamers, and others had been shockingly anti-social) and to that...

    Life had become somewhat chaotic...

    ---Like, all the time.

    Pretty much constantly.

    Right now for instance, six A.M, a time where sane people (or at least those that didn't get the graveyard shift) would probably still be in bed, is the time where you can hear engines come roaring to life along with the rising of the sun, and well...

    ---It seems people were racing out on the ice outside.

    Already.

    At six in the morning...

    There's chatter coming from out in the halls too, and the smell of food being cooked...

    Wait a second... Wasn't today...?

    Ah.

    That's right-!

    Christmas Eve...

    A holiday that had become somewhat more complex under the lens of all myths being true, but...

    One that the majority of the planet celebrates anyway-!

    And thus, a question appears, namely...

    What to do with the day?

    Sit inside your room? Go out and join the others?

    Go back to bed?

    Up to you.

    X-Cross Base (Northern Cross Academy)


    X-Cross Base (General Information)

    The Headquarters of the newly founded "X-Cross" faction of Spirit Tamers, built with the support of all Four of the Major Tamer Organizations at the heart of the North Pole and doubling as a supernatural Academy, it is perhaps the most technologically advanced of all of the Tamer Bases active today, with the possible exception of the NWAB's Moon Base, and even that may not be the case...

    Consisting mostly of four main buildings, the Dormitory, the Academy Building, the Library and the Communications Hub/Astral Observatory, there are nevertheless a number of smaller structures that exist outside of the heart of the base, such as a Church built by the Rose Cross, a Formula Zero track that was planted here by the manager of a certain famous racer (complete with artificial environment generators), a pool building that perhaps a bit too much money was thrown into, and a sports field, placed here in a (mostly futile) attempt to remind people that training doesn't always have to happen inside of simulators.

    The base itself is equipped with three different A.I who have been regarded as "experimental," although no one is quite sure what the higher ups mean when they say the word "experimental." Going by the names of "Burroughs," "Rice," and "Dejah," (because the last of the three claimed that Edgar wasn't cute enough for her) after the favorite author of their apparent creator, the three have varying personalities, have been encouraged to interact with the people on Campus for one reason or another, are notified when they're called by name (although don't always answer), and are responsible for general maintenance and security of the facility, and are often the ones ensuring that the Tamers don't accidentally break anything...

    Due to a "Hard Light," auto-skill existing on the base grounds, it is possible for A.I to directly manifest themselves in a manner similar to wraiths on the premises, although a lot of them find the experience "disconcerting," and stick to their usual virtual forms.

    Northern Cross Academy Dorms

    The Dorms used by members of the X-Cross, connected to four different towers (each representative of the four Tamer Organizations, and where the individual rooms of the agents are) and connected to a central common room that all four share as the base of the building in an attempt to foster international cooperation; large swaths of velvet carpet, stuffed armchairs, and countless entertainment centers in various side rooms (one of which has been packed with arcade machines from both the pre and post magic era) make the common and dorm rooms inviting place to be...

    Although the fireplace is a bit retro considering the modern age...

    Northern Cross Academy Cafeteria

    The place where on-base personnel typically eat; because of the nature of the X-Cross as an invitation only organization, it is capable of holding every registered member of the team at once, including non-Tamer staff such as the cooks, technicians, and janitors. Spotless and pristine, with plenty of menus, numerous food lines (many of whom represent restaurants from around the world, although one kitchen is open to Tamer Use), it's own Brewed Awakening's booth (normally manned by Vincent), and numerous television sets that are always tuned to the World News, the cafeteria is open from 7AM to Midnight on most days, and gets a decent amount of traffic at all times of the day on holidays...

    Northern Cross Academy - University

    Modern University Building, complete with assembly hall, open-use laboratories, general classrooms, and a (locked) gate into the Demonic Server. The education of a Spirit Tamer never actually ends, considering how fast knowledge of magitech and demon culture progresses nowadays. While it doesn't see much use on base-wide holidays it remains mostly open (the A.I won't let anyone into the server room) to on site personnel, with a number of people using it as a theoretical escape from the chaos, since it's usually the quietest area during the holidays...

    Usually.

    The Four Faction heads arrived here last night, and three of them seem to be plotting something in the Headmaster's Office... Which is currently locked, locked and barred, really it's a hell of a magical seal...


    Northern Cross Academy - Communications Hub/Astral Observatory

    The most obvious military facility of the X-Cross Base, a place of computer systems and communication networks, responsible for the continued function of the RAILS network in the area, as well as the place that processes reiki spikes detected by the four Harmonizer Towers, orders from the NWAB, and communications with the other Tamer Bases, with rumors stating that this building itself may go on to become another Harmonizer Tower in the future.

    Normally only utilized for serious operations in the area, there is one part of the building that is open to general use, that being the Astral Observatory near the entrance of the facility; holding a high-powered telescope that's open to on-site personnel to use for Astronomy and Divination studies, although the latter is thought to be somewhat of a joke area of study...

    Northern Cross Academy - Library

    A place boasting a massive collection of books donated from the Four Major Tamer Organizations (with Alexia apparently sneaking some of the NWAB books in here too. As a result, it really can't be beaten by any other library on the planet, and is about the size of the school building all by itself; much like the school building it is open to all on-site personnel to do with as they like, although it seems that a painful fate awaits those that damage the books or return them late, considering you have to sign a contract to take anything out of here...

    Said painful fate is also rumored to happen if you try to steal the books...


    Pool Building

    Olympic Style Indoor Swimming Pool with (rather expensive) temperature control and water purification technologies; while there's something inherently worrying about seeing snow falling outside while one is completely submerged in water, those inside of this place could be forgiven for forgetting that an eternal winter is rampaging around outside...


    Outdoors

    The great outdoors! Embrace of Mother Nature! Although considering the X-Cross Base is where it is, smack dab in the heart of the North Pole, it's a land of obvious extreme cold, still-!

    Amidst the various ice and snow hills lies a pseudo-town that connects the different areas of the base together, constructed paths that naturally repel the falling snow and keep temperatures somewhat reasonable at all times. Such artificial environment manipulation is present at the Formula Zero Course and Sports Field as well, enabling that those particular facilities can actually be feasibly utilized in this sort of location...

    Far off in the distance, a barrier of sorts shields the entirety of the base... Or at least you're pretty sure that's the case, it's not really visible, but Tamer Organizations always have some sort of Bounded Field up around their areas, it's their way of claiming the land...


    Events of Interest (X-Cross Base - Morning Phase!)


    Northern Cross Academy Dorms

    (!) Namasaki Shuichi seems to be messing around with the fireplace for some reason, hunched over it and muttering spells and incantations under his breath... Just what is that boy doing?

    (!) Alexia Wright, NWAB member extraordinaire, seems to be engaged in a chess match with... Herself for some reason? It's a bit sad really, is she that lonely, or...?

    (!) Rice, one of the three Academy A.I, seems to be devouring just... Impossible amounts of pudding all on her own... With the oddest look of... Irritation on her face? Something must be up...

    (!) Yamuna has been in the Arcade all night. You know this because her presence hasn't faded from the dorms at all for the past twenty four hours... There's a line of people waiting to play her in Dance Dance Revolution, and as expected, she crushes them all with a sweet smile and absolutely no mercy... Well, that's humanity's Goddess for ya...

    (!) Having attached herself to a Blazred Machine in the arcade, it seems that Lexie Davis has absolutely no intention of being useful to anyone for the rest of the morning...

    Cafeteria

    (!) A dark-haired vampire seems to have collapsed by the food lines... What was her name again...? Did she not realize the normal workers don't open shop until 7? Well, she makes noises when people come by, so she's still alive, but there's a desperate aura around her that's definitely keeping people away...

    (!) Vincent vs Anna?! An early morning disagreement about who loves coffee the most seems to have ended in the only possible way... A battle... Or a sort of battle anyway... Three thermoses down and counting... Is this... Is this safe...? Hearts don't explode from caffeine overdose, right?

    (!) Having been given some sort of task by Serena, who's watching over them sternly, it seems the squires are building some sort of wooden stage against one of the walls of the room? Messing with a lot of sound equipment too...

    Northern Cross Academy: University Building

    (!) A woman calling herself Agatha (that only Eva actually seems to recognize) has set up a tent in the hallways of the University, claiming that she is able to see the future, and offering to divine certain things for passerby like their future success in love. but... There's an ominous sort of feeling...

    (!) Mochizuki Noriko seems to be having a crisis of sorts. Yes. Having more or less barricaded herself in the Assembly Hall with a massive jar of cookies (that she spent yesterday baking) the woman has seemingly decided that spending all morning watching Christmas Movies from her youth and stuffing herself full of sugar is a perfectly fine thing for an adult to do...

    Northern Cross Academy: Library

    (!) Alexander is being Alexander. Sitting in the library working his way through the various occult tomes brought over by the other organizations, doing his best to not get involved with any of the shenanigans (of which there are a lot) happening in the other parts of the base.

    ...One could always become the shenanigans, but...

    (!) As one enters the library, it is possible to see Catherine Thornely being what could only be described as "boldly thrown," out of one of the aisles... For some reason... Found a book the library decided she shouldn't be touching maybe? Or...

    Astral Observatory

    (!) Xavier has been here all night it seems, peering through the telescope into the stars at... Something...? It's not very clear what he's doing, but-!

    Northern Cross Church

    (!) Mary Fairchild and Alisa Kingsleigh seem to be doing some last minute decoration of the Church building, nothing particularly strenuous or out of the ordinary as far as tasks go, but considering it's the Pope and one of her Hands being on base, well...

    (!) In an act of shocking normalcy, Alyx Kingsleigh... Is making snowmen outside? Considering the existence of Jack Frosts, is that offensive? Probably not. Well, Saria Justice seems to be hiding on the roof with about two dozen pre-made snowballs and obviously 'hostile' intent, so she'll probably have something else to worry about in a bit-!

    Outdoors

    (!) Atop the ice-hills overlooking the city sits a woman with rose colored hair and scarf, playing at a guitar that reverberates quite nicely throughout the cold air of the North Pole... She seems familiar, although you can't quite recall her name...

    Thankfully enough, she seems to have a name-tag on her scarf, "Jacquie."

    (!) With Formula Zero racing prodigy Nadia Starr as a member of the X-Cross, the addition of a racetrack (made with her money seemingly) to the base was more or less inevitable... It's a bit extra considering the purpose of this facility, but all the same, no one can deny it's fun-! Seems like Nadia's at it again early this morning, looking for volunteers to fill out some more spots on the course...

    Eliza Cross seems to be interested...

    (!) Seemingly enthused with the races, another of the Academy's A.I, Burroughs, is cheering in the stands for basically everyone! Because of this, the poor girl seems to be tiring herself out rather quickly...

    (!) Loki, in his usual guise of a well-dressed man in a suit... Is sort of... Cackling by the main entrance of the base for reasons that no one is quite sure of... As a result, almost everyone has taken to walking out of the side doors instead of dealing with his nonsense, but...

    (!) A remarkable big sister energy? Astra Palesch and Ikushima Kaori seem to have independently started a game of football against each other with some of the younger kids from the side staff on their teams...

    Pool Building

    (!) In the absence of her squires, it seems that Knight of the Round Tsukiko has taken to training some of the SDCD Tamers in the art of marathon swimming... In a no mercy, almost Spartan-esque style...

    Not even taking the holidays off huh? Tamers.

    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?



  2. #2
    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning



    ---Why did it have to be this way?

    "C'mooonnnn Anna! You've downed coffee for years FOR THIS VERY MOMENT!!!"

    While the importance of sleep shouldn't be underestimated for even the heroes of the modern day, certain Rothschild members consider sleep to be more of a suggestion than a necessity. Ludwig is one such individual, contending himself with only a few hours else he would suffer his COMP AI's wrath. One of the 'perks' of this 'Hard Light', or so she claimed with the wicked smile of a fox.

    Being up and about around 6 AM is certainly not a strange thing for the Tamer, but...

    Standing in the Cafeteria with the palm of his hand firmly placed on his forehead --as that very same COMP AI is gleefully encouraging a certain ship's pilot-- the boy does find himself into something unusual.

    An argument turning into a competition is far from peculiar either, Rothschild members are prone to such events such as during game nights. No, the the strange part of this particular competition is the people involved, that being Vincent and Anna --who are usually more level-headed about these sorts of things-- battling over who loves coffee more.

    He hadn't been absent for that long had he? How something like this have happened, when all was well when he had left?

    The only immediate distractions that show themselves are a number of Knights' squires, seemingly quite intent on building... something. One of the Knights, Serena if memory serves, is watching over them with a strict gaze. Kind of like, a mother hen maybe? She certainly doesn't appear to want to see her horde to join this battle of caffeine.

    There had been one other distraction, a dark haired girl whose very being seemed to echo the temperament best described as anger built of hunger or simply put: 'hangry'.

    Someone that was best avoided, for now at least!

    Neither option seemed particularly helpful in this particular instance, so the Karlfeldt Tamer had put it on himself to spectate this 'battle' to make sure neither side ended up drinking so much they wouldn't be able to sleep for weeks even if they tried.

    But...

    "It'll be Christmas Eve tonight, the time to come together and enjoy each other's company you know? Wouldn't it be better to set aside who loves it more and for you both to simply enjoy what you love about coffee in the first place?

    Perhaps the villainous 'common foe' approach that the silver haired Tamer intends isn't the smartest thing to do here?

    "Priding yourself on who can stomach the most seems more like a surefire way to spoil the taste you both adore so much than it is to prove who loves it the most."

    Then again, maybe because these two are so used to the Rothschild way something like this would work.

    While Ludwig's sets his ploy in motion, Lydia simply continues to cheer on the side of youth, seemingly not interested in aiding the boy in this endeavor.

    Or, she may just be waiting to see where things go from here.

    Regardless, Ludwig sighs as he speaks the words.

    "Besides..."

    Words that may well irrevocably bring forth...

    "It's just coffee."

    …his own doom. Especially if any others over that particular phrase-!
    Last edited by Zurvan; December 2nd, 2020 at 09:00 AM.

  3. #3
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    For a few seconds, Cosmos stayed still on her bed, a certain feeling of hollowness and emptiness prevalent in her chest, before she finally looked around, recognizing the place as her room. And then, whether out of habit or something else, Cosmos got off from the comfort of her bed, washing her face and changing into her Tamer outfit before stepping outside of her room.

    Her legs moved on its own, her steps light.

    Passing through the hallway, stepping outside of the dorms as the chilly morning air of the North Pole greeted her, Cosmos Fairchild nevertheless move forward. Right leg forward, left leg forward, passing through places and people, absent-mindedly greeting anyone who greeted her while recognizing all the facilities she passed through in the back of her mind.

    To be honest, it doesn't feel real.

    It feels like waking up from a long dream.

    Or perhaps this is the dream...?

    Cosmos doesn't know. She doesn't know why she's having those thoughts, or why she looked at her own hands every few seconds as if expecting something to happen, or why her heart felt heavy whens she tried to remember her dream.

    Soon enough, she stood outside of the recently-built church, passing through Alyx who's making a snowman as she did so.

    Did she greeted her sister?

    Did her sister greeted her?

    Cosmos doesn't know, nor does she put much thought into it.

    --Silently, she opened the church's door.

    And inside, decorating the interiors of the church for Christmas, is a red-haired woman and a blonde-haired woman that Cosmos Fairchild knew so well.

    How long did she stand still, watching as her mother work alongside her aunt?

    How long did it take before she started to walk towards Mary Fairchild?

    Cosmos doesn't know, and she doesn't care.

    She merely silently, gently, hugged her mother from behind.

    And when it becomes clear that her mother didn't disappear, that the warmth that she felt is real, Cosmos Fairchild spoke with tearful eyes, even though she knew it's only been 2 weeks since she left and that her mother is fine and sound.

    "I missed you, mom."
    Last edited by palad1n; November 26th, 2020 at 11:59 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


  4. #4
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Raz Stone
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    "You...philistine!"

    These words cracked throughout the kitchen, accompanied by the sound of hot water hissing and splashing.

    ...No, water wasn't quite, liquid yes, but not water. It was coffee. Hot, hot coffee... that had just been dumped unceremoniously over the head of a certain Tamer who had the temerity to look down his nose at an honest duel. The source of such? A certain apron clad bard, who had just stepped out of the brewed awakenings booth. As Vincent was engaged in his duel, someone else was needed to prepare the weapons and tools of this caffeine drenched battlefield. And who else to oversee an honorable duel but a knight!

    ..And who better to dispense undoubtedly deserved justice, in the form of a haughtily dumped mug of whip cream topped coffee over the head of a boy who, in all honestly, probably had good intentions but chose to express those intentions in the most insulting possible way. 'Its just coffee'. The nerve!

    There were interesting differences that occurred when a certain knight donned his "Sing for your supper!" apron and set about to work. Squires always seemed to surround him, looking for treats and ways to assist, even if for some odd reason they always seemed to make it more difficult to finish whatever he was preparing.

    This however, was only true when Raz prepared food. There was a certain other skill set he possessed which also was somewhat well known, but usually did not immediately result in an unruly mob of like minded individuals getting in his way with no doubt the best of intentions. That skill set was being pushed to the limit now. After all it wasn't just the duel that had to be managed. In between readying pot after pot for the combatents, there were a great many others in the vicinity.

    Some were inspired by the battle to hone their own skills, noble effort. Some were bleary eyed individuals just looking for a pick me up or a bit of blessed warmth against the chill winds that blew in whenever the doors were opened. Some, like the adorable young COMP who had presented just before the altercation taking place, had either volunteered or been volunteered as couriers. Angel's of mercy delivering dark brewed salvation to the needy.

    Raz had handed the glasses wearing boy a large round plate that had one steaming extra large mug with a small carafe of cream and a few packets of sugar on it.

    "Here, that one has a quintuple shot of expresso in it. I imagine even your girl will be able to keep her eyes open with that kinda kick. And for you as well, a gift. "Raz had also placed a small cup, with a generous dallop of cream and dusted with cinnamon onto the tray. A gift for a hard working young lad!"

    Raz had taken several such orders already and had nothing but respect for the poor COMPs trying to save some of the more socially awkward Tamers from a night walled off in their rooms. Shortly after, he had headed back to the duel, wherein he had encountered a white haired Tamer whom he had delivered divine judgement in the form of a head full of coffee.


    "Order up!" Raz said, delivering the next reound.

    "Our next option is todays mystery brew. 75% of this is Yirgacheffe. LET ME EXPLAIN why I selected this brew for the next stage of your duel. As your fight has continued, this coffee, coming from some of the highest plantations not created magically, boasts high sugars developed in the bean. Therefor, while strong, the flavor will be quite fruity, with lots of spice on the finish. I believe it will fortify you for the sake of your battle. Now then, I blended this with another coffee. Please note the mild, almost milky flavor. While I wont say it is required that you be able to deduce what has gone into your morning cup to enjoy it, as you are dueling with your pride on the line, it would be a mark in your favor if you could demonstrate your skill. To the both of you, I wish you a hearty battle, fight as long as you like!"

    Yup, Raz stone could make a damn good cup of coffee! He had been a natural fit for the job of combination overseer and field supplier for this match up. Had another person of his general skills been both willing and available, he would have been pounding back mugs himself, eager to demonstrate his heroic resolve, but even the hero knew sometimes the spotlight belonged to someone else.

    That didn't however mean that he couldn't deliver a tongue lashing to a Tamer who had the temerity to look down on a gift greater then any magic, warmer then any lover's touch, bringer of more joy then any song could even Raz create, wonderful, wonderful coffee!

    "Now then, see here sir!" Raz began, pointing an accusing finger, I have half a mind to..."

    Raz's building tirade towards the younger boy trailed off.

    As a noticeable eyebrow cocked as the black haired bard gave a closer look to the other lad...whose body was polished and brought into focus, wet clothes sticking to skin unblemished by overly large muscles.

    "Oh dear God..." A certain detective said, who had carefully placed himself well away from the scene to reduce the chance of being caught up in the usual sort of shenanigan's that occurred when multiple Tamers were in the same place. "Oh here we go..."

    That hand and finger that Raz had pointed accusingly pulled back, and became a speculative rub to the chin, followed with an obvious gleam bright behind sunglasses clad eyes.

    As Raz walked towards the duel's intruder, his demeanor notably changed...muscles bunched....and burst out with a loud Thwack! as he slammed one hand over the shoulder and onto the wall behind Ludwig.

    "You know, obviously I dont think your actions were correct, but I'm starting to think the job of of a knight isn't to punish but correct...spend some time with me...I promise I could teach you a great many things..." The knight's tone left little doubt as to what he was referring to...little of which involved coffee.

    Wise up!

    Mundane skill revealed:

    Brewed awakenings regular: though Raz’s failures of the kitchen are well known, he is a well-known caffeine addict and can regularly give a informed opinion on various beans and roaring practices. He can brew coffee and craft expresso with ease and facility. For obvious reasons, he is always assigned coffee duty, not kitchen duty, during Avalon missions
    Quote Originally Posted by Bird of Hermes View Post
    The moment the opportunity arises for a pun, the one known as 'Taiga's Knight' will be there to deliver whether you like it or not.

  5. #5
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris
    Northern Cross Academy Dorms
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Six AM is far too early a time for human beings to wake up.

    Mokujima Chris would prefer to sleep until noon at least, but recently she has been compromising with reality and waking up at eight or nine. But six? Six is just torture. Waking up early is infinitely worse than going to bed late. And no, it doesn't matter that everyone is active; this is the North Pole! There aren't even four hours of actual daylight on Christmas! The sun won't show up until ten!

    And yet, there is a reason the tall girl, half-clothed in pastel pajamas and oversized fluffy slippers, wanders into the central common room of her own volition instead of covering her head with a pillow and sleeping another four hours as she would normally do. Simply put, her room isn't her room. Even if she could carry over most of her equipment and establish an even more cramped workshop, she doesn't have the same access or functions she had back at the SDCD dorms. Namely, the option to deploy metal sound-blocking shutters over the windows and cancel all noise and ruckus coming into the room. There is always the option to modify her harmonizer to register all noise as a 'sound-based attack', but that would leave her functionally deaf and vulnerable to attack. So, reluctantly, having given up on having a nice fun calm Christmas Eve by herself, Mokujiima Chris has been forced awake by the ruckus going on outside.

    The common room should be quieter, right? If not there, then maybe somewhere peaceful, like the generators or main system mainframe room...

    "Ah, there she is," Daisuke remarks, pointing to the person Chris had mentioned wanting to talk to. The COMP tightly holds onto his partner's hand, guiding the half-asleep girl around corners and interpreting her mumblings as best he can. "Just sit there and I'll get us some coffee, okay? It looks like Vincent is busy so I'll borrow his bar for a bit."

    Chris, her eyes shut, makes a vague noise that sounds like agreement.

    Thus, Daisuke guides his partner to their destination: the seat across from Alexia Wright, who is playing chess by herself. He tugs on Chris' arm and she wordlessly plops onto the unoccupied chair.

    "Hey, um, could you watch my buddy for a sec? She's not used to getting up this early. It'll just be a minute! Or five! Thanks!"

    With a glowing smile and a wave, Daisuke scoots off, so hyperactive that Alexia is not allowed to get a word in edgewise before he is across the room, preparing fresh coffee. It is a technique he has learned from his interactions with fairies: if you talk and act fast enough, you can get away with nearly anything. He scoots by the ruckus brewing in that direction to duck into the bar and whip something up himself. Hopefully without anyone interrupting. It's a dangerous job, but someone's gotta do it.

    Which leaves just Chris and the NWAB Tamer at the same table. The tall brunette might as well be carved of stone. Or perhaps wax. Wax that is half-melted and drooping and about to fall over. But, instead of falling over, Mokujima Chris slowly opens her eyes just a smidge, takes in the face of the person in front of her, and...

    "Yo."

    Nods. Takes a slow look at the state of the chessboard. Looks back up.

    "...winning?"
    Last edited by Bloble; November 26th, 2020 at 01:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room

    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3
    Blaise Pendragon





    "All ready Banchou!"

    By the time clock hit 06:00 sharp, such words rang out through Blaise's room like an army officer shouting the privates up from their bed. Kaguya, who else, was standing by the door of the ascetic room while making a salute of sorts. While it wasn't nearly enough to be a mockery of a military salute, there was no real seriousness in it either, and thus either extreme was lacking. However, that was just the style of the bunny-eared AI - that's just how she rolled.

    As for the blonde boy in the room?

    "--- Good. We'll be heading out immediately."

    Blaise Pendragon was already wide awake, having showered, brushed his teeth, combed his hair and gotten dressed. For someone whose normal routine included waking up every morning at 5am, heading out at this time was a luxury of sorts. Not that he actually had the luxury of just taking it easy this morning. No matter where they were, it was still Christmas Eve. Even on normal days, there were some responsibilities that Blaise had to carry, and on a special day like this, well... they were even more important than normally. North Pole or not, a man always stood by his word, and thus here he was, getting ready to head out and conquer the kitchen before the local chefs (not that he thought much of them when it came to their skills) would arrive. After all, while they might think that opening up at seven might be enough, Blaise knew that was far from the case.

    That being said... North Pole, huh?

    Blaise wasn't exactly sure how he had ended up here. The vague memories he had were ephemeral at best, confusing at worst, and as such, he thought that it was best not to think of it too hard. If he started thinking about it, he would start to worry about it, and that would just get in the way of what he needed to do today. He would just let it flow in from one ear and out of the another, and hoped that by the time he couldn't ignore the absurd nature of his current situation anymore, things would be back to normal.

    "Come on, let's go."



    And with that, the duo was off. The tall, blonde youth with his hair on a ponytail and eyes sweeping the corridors like a hunter of sorts, and the COMP AI that looked and acted far too much like a juvenile delinquent to make any sort of good impression to the people who saw her.


    Still, while Kaguya would have been more than fine with just meandering and wandering through the halls and corridors of this mystifying structure, Blaise was making a beeline towards the cafeteria. The few people he saw out in the hallways were given a curt nod, if even that, and passed by without saying a single word. On his way, Blaise's ears picked up local morning gossip about this and that, and while one of the rumours was worrying enough that the boy had to file it under "deal with later, you bad little brother", first things first.

    There was a disaster he needed to avoid at all costs. A catastrophe just waiting to happen. A time bomb ticking away and threatening the existence of them all.

    Which means that their first stop of the day would be…




    "... Damn. So noisy from the top of the day..."

    Blaise muttered this with slight distaste as he realized what sort of cacophonic mess was happening over at the cafeteria. With his brow furrowing and mouth in a stern line, he glanced over the battle of coffee that was brewing up in the other part of the room. However that chaos would end, it would not be good for anyone. Not only would they completely disregard the taste of coffee and just chug it down like it was water, those fools would most likely give themselves heartburns just from looking at the contest, much less participating in it. Blaise made a mental note for himself to prepare some ginger tea and oatmeal (perhaps some bananas, too) for the group after getting through his initial hurdle. That should help to calm their stomachs down for the time being, especially since there still was the matter of Christmas food that loomed in the future like the greatest of monsters.

    But for now...

    "Kaguya. Go inform her that I've come. Get her prepared," Blaise ordered while marching towards the kitchens with determination. "Half an hour and the first batch is ready."

    Throwing another salute again, Kaguya zoomed through the cafeteria, floating towards the table where a certain dark-haired vampire was whimpering at her fate, cursing the fact that there would be no food served before an hour had passed. Like a saving angel, the bunny-eared AI descended upon the table, grinning with gleeful intent as she gazed down at the other girl - almost like looking at some pathetic animal that she had deigned to gaze with her goodwill.

    "Yo, four-eyes! Time ta rejoice, young girl!" Kaguya bellowed out, hands on her hips and nose towards the air. "Banchou's decided ta help ya out from yer jam! He said he'd be handlin' the breakfast immediately, so wash that neck an' wait! Thirty mins, tops! An' ya better be super grateful, y'hear!"

    Blaise, on the other hand, could only sigh and shake his head as he heard his COMP AI display her usual bravado.

    But he had no time to fix that possible disaster. Instead, he waded his way through the crowds of people towards the kitchens, grabbed an apron from the hook (one that read 'Kiss the Dragon') and put it on. Then, with a look of a man on a mission...

    "--- Flee while you can. It's breakfast time."

    ... He fell upon the kitchens like an oncoming storm!

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

  7. #7
    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    "..."

    His stoic mask never breaks, even as the hot liquid pours over his face. Of course it wouldn't, the boy is an ESPer, a super human existence in a way. Scalding hot water certainly wouldn't faze him, a lot more would be needed before the boy would be harmed in any meaningful way but...

    For a few moments the boy had certainly not spoken.

    He wanted to of course, this turn of events is most certainly objectionable in many ways. It's just that this cascade is so bizarre, too bizarre even for him.

    He could fight Tamers and Demons perhaps even Gods while remaining calm and collected, his mind is honed to an extreme degree to maintaining a strong disciplined sense of self.

    However, on the more social fronts, things like advances or flirting... his mind wasn't used to that.

    And so, for a time the boy remained silent towards the Knight that had seemingly cornered him, looking into those seemingly sparkling eyes covered only by the shades that the black haired bard wore. Even indoors, on the Northpole.

    Raz Stone, Ludwig had only briefly checked on the people that would be accompanying him and the others of Rothschild for this mission. Amongst them, this was without doubt the most famous of the bunch.

    A true troublemaker with a heart of gold, if the internet was to be believed.

    Certainly, the Telepath couldn't object to that earlier sentiment.

    Ludwig's trustworthy ally and partner Lydia however...

    "So Mr. E the DTG, how often does your philanthropist waste coffee like this? He's gone and made my boy all hot and bothered~"

    Offers no help whatsoever!

    Instead she wraps an arm around the retreating older COMP, not intending for him to look away and take it easy.

    Laughing along with the madness with a laugh, she even goes as far as shooting a knowing look towards Anna.

    Almost as if, she knew this would happen... As if she knew just where this was going to go-?

    Yes... Ludwig Karlfeldt wouldn't have caught on to the obvious change in tone...

    This might be a great chance to learn under a master, as well as a way to connect with the heroic Knights.

    That was the intent of this place after all, wasn't it? A place to study and train as the youths connect with one another to foster international connections?

    If I learn how to brew like him, then maybe...

    Catching himself in a weird thought as the boy looks over to Anna momentarily, he steels his determination.

    And the Karlfeldt Inheritor's silence breaks.

    "...Very well. If you'll have me, I do wish to learn a lot more about it."

    Continues to dig his grave a little deeper.

  8. #8
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Rossweisse
    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    Exactly at 0400, I woke up to Hiyori ‘drooling’ on my arm and mumbling about how she won’t lose the match this time. While most A.I seemed to find the Hard Light auto-skill to be weird or even disconcerting, Hiyori enjoyed the ability to move in a bigger form than just her power-saving form. Granted, she was already a weirdo in the sense that she enjoyed socializing with everyone and being independent as a COMP A.I... I untangled myself from her and carefully placed a pillow to act as my substitute. After a quick shower, I decided to kill some time by baking some pastries in the Tamer kitchen. The X-Cross dorms and kitchen were quiet due to it being an exceptional early for most people not working. Once I got to the Tamer allowed kitchen, I went through the pantry and took stock. Despite the Tamer kitchen having a less dedicated pantry than the cafeteria’s various restaurants, it seemed to have practically everything. For the past… two weeks, I haven’t repeated recipes. This was a massive improvement over cooking in the SLEPNIR, since my ingredients were limited to whatever I bought at ports.

    Let's see... I think I'll make two pastries this morning. Something for me and then something sweet for those two gluttons...


    Approximately 1.5 Hours Later


    I finished baking today’s pastries. Today, I made a Bacon Cheddar Chive scone for me. It suited my needs for being a filling yet tasty breakfast. You could almost say that I was eating a condensed sandwich with its bacon cheese flavoring albeit it would be dryer than a sandwich until you added some hollandaise sauce. As for the two gluttons, I figured they would like something fried and covered in icing so I decided on making them an apple fritter. The sweetness of the icing would be complemented by the tart apples and the coffee they drink. With both of those done, I went back to my room to find Hiyori in the same drooling mess as I left her. I considered letting her sleep in and just let her head out whenever she wanted. However the one time, I decided to let her sleep in she got super pouty about how I left her. So I decided to lightly shake her.

    “Hiyori… Hiyori… Come on wake up...”

    Eventually, she started to blearily open her eyes. After looking around the room a few times, she eventually gave me a carefree smile while yawning occasionally.

    ‘Good morning Rossweisse… Whatcha cook today… It smells delicious…’

    “Just wait till we get to the arcade so that way I can just explain it once okay?”

    ‘Sure…’

    After a quick drink of coffee (thankfully she didn’t spill it), Hiyori gained her usual, high energy and started walking swiftly to the arcade. She started confidently strutting until she spotted a certain person nearby an old fashioned arcade cabinet of BlazRed.

    ‘Lexie! I’ve come to duel you!’

    As soon as she saw Lexie, Hiyori decided to immediately challenge her. Despite there being more gamers here since X-Cross was made up of members from all four factions, Hiyori took a shine to Lexie Davis and her little sister. I would like to say she enjoyed them due to different reasons though. She got along great with Lexie due to similar interests such as gaming, manga, and anime. While she liked Myra for being an ‘adorable little cinnamon bun that must be protected!’

    “Good morning Lexie, if you’re hungry today I’ve made bacon cheddar scones and apple fritters.”

    ‘Hmm if we’re eating before the match… I’ll take some of the apple fritters!’’

    Hopefully, she doesn’t make as much of a mess this time around… While she’s getting better at eating physical food, let’s just say the Hard Light auto skill wasn’t made in consideration of COMPs eating and drinking.

    Rossweisse Trait Revealed
    Minor Trait:
    • Cooking: One of the few hobbies that Rossweisse has that doesn’t have some correlation to training in some way shape or form. For the most part, she seems to have most continental European food recipes down pat with a specialization in German foods. Weirdly enough, she seems to pick up Japanese style recipes relatively quickly.
    Last edited by Kuroyuki; November 27th, 2020 at 10:32 AM.

  9. #9
    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Logan Starbright
    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Logan snaps awake, eyes beholding a still unfamiliar ceiling. Sturdy wooden beams higher up than the SLEIPNIR’s ceiling… a hanging light with a fan instead of LED strips too. He looks around, his comforter sliding down as he takes in the polished golden brown walls and the slightest hint of light poking through a crack in the curtains.

    “Overslept, huh.”

    Right, this wasn’t his normal room in the SLEIPNIR, but his temporary room in the X-Cross dormitories. Though how temporary it really was he wasn’t sure; this was quite the extravagant facility, so it was more a matter of how long he’d be stationed here. Logan climbed out of bed and stretched. He’d taken advantage of the room customization options to make his room resemble a cabin he’d stayed at in Telluride once during a family trip. Drawing a clear line between this fleeting assignment and his usual tenure in the cold steel of the SLEIPNIR would eliminate any errant expectations when he inevitably returned - or so he’d thought. Instead it’d felt like he was more weightless than ever. Is this what college is supposed to be like? He sighs. I just can’t get used to this.

    At any rate, morning hygiene remains a usual routine. Once that’s over, he’ll have to redouble his efforts in the simulator to make up for this sloth-

    : “OH NO YOU DON’T!”

    : “What do you mean, Amelia?”

    : “You were just thinking ‘Hmm, I suppose I’ll have to spend the next twelve hours in the simulator under x20 gravity in the Mercury zone fighting space horrors that cause mental damage just by perceiving them’, weren’t you?”

    : “Given the lower gravity on Mercury, it’d actually have to be around x50 to get the same results.”

    : “And you’re still not doing that! Don’t you remember what day it is?”

    Logan cradles his chin in thought.

    : “The 24th, no?”

    : “And that day is?”

    The 24th… the 24th… what happens on the 24th? What did I have to do then? Did I make any promises? Last year was training, and then before that was… oh right.

    : “Oh, Christmas Eve.”

    : “It really depresses me how you manage to miss these things.”

    : “Well, sorry for depressing you.”

    : “Anyways, no locking yourself away for high-intensity training! This is a holiday, so take it easy, talk with people, end up under the mistletoe with someone special! No spending it alone!”

    : “You’d be with me either way, though.”

    Another sigh. “Look,” Amelia says as motes of light spin into an exasperated young woman. “Just because I can do this now doesn’t mean you get to skimp out on your social life. It’s not like you’re here forever, yeah?”

    “Yeah. You’re right.”

    She hugs him briefly, then fades away. “Now go! Enjoy your Christmas Eve!”

    Logan chuckles. “Mission acknowledged.”

    He jogs down flights of steps to reach the common room. Sure there were elevators, or just jumping out of the window if you were really late, but after a pack of salamanders had ignited the hotel his family had stayed at when he was 9, he took the stairs whenever he could. It’d also help shake off some of the sleepiness. The next question is: What should he do today? He’s of no mind to have Amelia physically drag him from a simulator, so that option is right out. Swimming? No, too early in the day for that. An outside jog around the perimeter? That could work. Though him failing to wake up on time is more of a mental problem than a physical one. In which case, should he meditate or test his reflexes? Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. He feels energized just thinking about it. Heck, there’s even a line of people trying to do the exact same thing-

    : “Yeah no, we’re going this way.”

    Amelia manifests to tug him away from a disconcertingly large crowd toward a room filled with arcade machines. In the far corner is a stage for Clash of Fates - the Star Wars VR Lightsaber duel game (with Force action!) and all along the walls are various arcade cabinets - Pokken, Gooey Ichor, Super Bash Sisters, Divekick, the FlavorTown Experience, Aquapazza, A Certain Fighting Game, Mahou Shoujo Wish Festival, Blazred, and more.

    : “Fighting games? I suppose that could work. Though wouldn’t a zombie shooter work better, since it’s ostensibly more life-threatening?”

    : “There’s always the Mustafar stage on Clash of Fates.”

    : “I guess, but everyone always wanted to play that during birthday parties. It always ends up the same way when someone gets the high ground.”

    Amelia fades away once more, and as Logan searches for a fitting reflex training machine he sees a group of girls clustered by the Blazred machine.

    “Good morning, Rossweisse, Hiyori. And to you as well… Lexie, was it?”
    Supports:


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

  10. #10
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Raz Stone
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    Oh god, on this day in celebration of your many gifts, I offer gratitude and thanks for this meal thou hast set in front of me.

    Whether or not one believed in the Christian God specifically, the winter solstice was always a time of miracles, gifts, a time of finding warmth in the darkness, and Raz...?



    Well, lets just say that the wolf gets hungrier when the scent of its prey is near.

    Still, he was the type of person to leave his favorite food for last.

    "It would be my pleasure, my young student!" Raz said, wiping away a fleck of blood that appeared at one of his nostrils.

    "First, for most, we bow to those we have wronged. That is the way of a knight. Come, I shall bow with you." And with that, he took the young warrior's hand in his and turned to the dueling combatants, inclining his head in a gestrure of apology. THis in of itself was rather innocuous, but the canny might have noted that Raz declined to let go of said hand afterwards. And indeed, a glasses wearing girl appeared to be snapping pictures on her phone. Raz wasn't sure if she was Tamer or staff but suspected his fansite would have a few updates when next he checked.

    "To our dueling warriors, this boy and I apologize for his remarks regarding your duel. To make it up to you, he and I will prepare something special for the next phase of your glorious bout."

    After that, the pair could be found in the Brewed Awakening's tent. Indeed, whatever other machinations Raz
    definitely
    may have
    had, he nevertheless appeared to be quite honestly doing his best to provide a good overview on the quickest way to become reasonably competent at brewing. One might have even been forgiven for thinking that assumptions about Raz's endgame may have been an overblown preconception based upon rumors about him except for...

    "Oh, and by the way, when a man get serious..." Raz had said, shortly after the lesson began, gripping his jacket along his left shoulder...and some how, with just a single pull, his entire top as well as his pants were pulled away, leaving nothing but a pleasingly muscled body clad in nothing but a fundoshi. "its important to strip away what isnt needed...!"

    ...The ability to somehow yank away almost all clothes in a single move without tearing them could hardly be called the most unusual thing a Tamer could do but....it was still a strange skill to know.

    DTG
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning

    "Woman, you ain't got a heart eh? I was working really hard to convince everyone...or at least myself that I dont know him." The second generation COMP lamented, embarrassingly pulling his fedora over his eyes as if he could disappear underneath it.

    "The rookie wasting things ain't nothing new toots. Though usually its perfectly good ingredients. Aint hardly worth giving him a tongue lashing after it. He will just say 'its fine! ill take responsibility' And start brewing ten more pots or something. Sorry about your boy. For what its worth, the gumshoe wont do anything time and a few therapy sessions wont heal at any rate." At that the older man pulled a small, cheap flask from his pocket and quaffed a mouthful, the smell of cheap whisky looming large over the area. After a moment's thought he offered that same bottle to the younger COMP who had accosted him. "Ain't much, but I reckon I can at least offer a drink for not keeping him in line."
    Quote Originally Posted by Bird of Hermes View Post
    The moment the opportunity arises for a pun, the one known as 'Taiga's Knight' will be there to deliver whether you like it or not.

  11. #11
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Eva Ellet
    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    … Christmas Eve.

    It was supposed to be a joyous occasion. The day before the annual celebration of Christmas. For a select few, the day was of religious significance- but for most people, it was a holiday that could be celebrated and enjoyed without assigning it any deeper meaning, a festive occasion to share presents with friends and family. Christmas Eve was special to people simply because it was before such a day. There was no doubt that there were many children around the world who had spent the better part of the last month looking forward to today and the day that would come after.

    And yet…

    For Eva, the realization that today was Christmas Eve was not a completely welcome one.

    It wasn’t like she had completely forgotten about the holiday- but with how busy life had become here at X-Cross, she had put it off thinking that she could think about it later… and now in a blink of an eye, what should have been a couple weeks had shrunk into a couple days.

    It was a bit of a shock.

    Enough to make her immediately discard any ideas about spending the morning in her room, as she had originally planned. Instead, she began to think intently about how to make the most of the short time that was left, and after mulling it over for a quite a while, the android came to a conclusion:

    … she could use some advice.

    And thankfully, Eva thought as she got dressed and headed out the door, she knew exactly where to get it. She had a firm destination in mind: she’d heard that Agatha had set up a tent in the hallways of the University that had been erected here, and was now running a sort of divination service for those who were interested…

    To be honest, Eva herself was not particularly big on this particular form of the occult, but in this particular, very special case, she thought that it was the perfect solution. There was no doubt in her mind that this particular divination session would be very helpful.

    After all, who better to give her advice on the perfect Christmas present to give…

    … than one of the people she was going to give one to?

  12. #12
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Northern Cross Dormitory - Your Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    "...?"

    Mary Fairchild has always been a warm existence. A person who seems to literally shine inside of the confines of the World, shine like there's a miniature sun burning away inside of her in spite of her frailty of body, and yes...

    Even right now she is warm.

    Remarkably so, although you can't fathom the reason as to why you're so surprised by this; it's a bit like a lingering feeling from some other time, a nightmare perhaps, the linger remnants of some sort of bad dream, but...

    "Oh my, I missed you too, little one."

    In spite of your strange fears, the woman does not disappear. Indeed, while you've buried yourself into her back (a pose that quickly becomes a hug from the front as the woman spins you around with a mother's gentle strength) and thus can't see her face past her platinum-like hair, you know the sort of voice your mother uses when she's smiling at you, and she is...

    Although...

    "Hmm? Tears?"

    ---Naturally, her instinct as a mother is completely on point. Had she felt the tears? Seen the tears? Understood the meaning of the strange vibrations your body was making, and deduce that there was a problem through pure motherly spirit?

    It was hard to say, but...

    "Why are you crying dear? Is something wrong? I thought you were having fun up here?"

    Either way, the woman's head tilts slightly to the side in worry...

    "Have you been sleeping properly? Is it the nightmares again?"

    ...Yes.

    Automatic concern, the woman's slightly fussy nature rapidly rising to the surface as she tries to hunt down the cause for your tears, and...

    "If so, don't worry, I will sing you to sleep tonight like always... That would help, right?"

    Yes.

    A warm smile.

    One that quietly says 'everything is fine now,' without a single ounce of hesitation or doubt in it.

    It's impossible not to believe in it.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  13. #13
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Northern Cross Church
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Warm.

    Her mother felt warm.

    It's a warmth that Cosmos Fairchild knew well, but that didn't stop the girl from basking in it; her mother's warmth and presence, which never failed to comfort her, is something that she treasured dearly. Even without the nightmares or the lingering feeling in her chest, Cosmos would never miss a chance to hug Mary Fairchild whenever she's able, a show of her love and devotion to the woman she cherished the most.

    Still, even for her it's quite the long hug-- as if she wanted to to cherish it as long as she could, as if she wanted to truly, absolutely commit the feeling she's experiencing to her memory so that she'll never forget...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dearest Mother
    "Have you been sleeping properly? Is it the nightmares again? If so, don't worry, I will sing you to sleep tonight like always... That would help, right?"
    Of course, such an irrational feeling and fears give away as she listened to her mother's words.

    "Y-yes, of course it'll help!" She replied immediately, finally releasing herself from the hug, and Cosmos thought she remembered joy and happiness when she looked up at her mother's smile. "But, umm... Can we sleep together like we used to? J-just for tonight, and I understand if mother is busy--!" She added hastily, face reddening with embarrassment, but she just missed Mary so much!

    She missed her so much...

    "Look at me, acting like this..." Cosmos sniffed as she wiped her tears away with her sleeves. "I'm acting like a child again, even though it's only been two weeks... and some nightmares..."

    Alyx would have laughed if she saw her right now.

    But still, she couldn't help but to be a child in front of her mother. Asking for childish things like sleeping together, or for lullabies that lull her to sleep... Unlike some who seems to get embarrassed by their parents as they grow up, Cosmos practically relish in it. Showing affection to her mother, and being loved in return, is perhaps the greatest joy that she could ever felt.

    That's why even though a part of her wanted to grow up and be more mature, she didn't regret asking her mother for comfort. That's why she still hoped for her mother to accept her selfish and childish request.

    Because Mary Fairchild is her
    world
    mother
    .

    "A-anyway, that aside I've been enjoying my time here!" Cosmos finally said with more cheer and enthusiasm than before, her energy and happiness meter now charged to the max. "Mother and Aunt Alisa's decorating the church for Christmas, right? Let me help!"

    Everything is fine now.
    Random Regalia Hijinks

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

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

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

    <Snaxies> Airen is totally Jesus again

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

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

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

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


    Personal Compliments

    <@RacingeR> Pally would be a perfect shoujo lead

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

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


  14. #14
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Eva Ellet
    Northern Cross Academy - Hallways
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---There was an awful lot of noise in the University today.

    Of course today was Christmas Eve, that most universal of holidays, and thus the sheer amount of energy that can be sensed in your surroundings wasn't entirely unexpected, but still...

    Some of the noises were just... Strange...

    Like the sound of a hammer, of someone banging on the walls of the school building with a hammer; it's an easy enough to sound to identify at a glance, distinct from the usual rumblings of chatter, or of the honest to god street race going on outside, it was the sound of someone seemingly barricading themselves inside of a room with wooden planks... Specifically, you are able to tell it's coming from the nearby Assembly Hall, but...

    ---Such strange behavior is not why you are here, no, the only reason you pay it any real mind at all is because of the pale blue... Tent... That seems to have been set up a few meters away from it, tent that seems to be emitting a combination of mist and sound, a familiar opera song that normally only plays inside of a certain room that only a few you can see, yes...

    While you hadn't been here to see her until now, that is obviously the area where Agatha has set up divination booth... It's quite strange, having seemingly appeared her sometime last night, as if aware of the approaching holiday in spite of her many implications that she does not experience time like you do, the woman and her works actually seem to be visible to the general populace for once, as if the strange masquerade that blocked her from view most of the time simply wasn't acting properly, or hadn't been put up at all, yes...

    Although...

    Looking at the name of the booth itself...

    'Long Nosed Fortune Teller.'


    It was a bit... On the nose perhaps?

    Was Igor in there too? Did Igor even leave the Velvet Room?

    Could he even leave the Velvet Room?

    Questions for another time perhaps, yes, it's as you step forward into the embrace of the light mist hovering around your ankles, that the familiar voice of your attendant drifts out from within the dark confines of the tent itself, and-

    "Welcome, welcome, child of the World~"

    -it's a theatrical voice, deeper and more drawn out than usual, to the point where it's obvious the woman is doing her absolute best to come across as the sort of mysterious shady fortune teller that one might see in old television shows or movies, in other words...

    "Step closer, and allow me to reveal to you the secrets of the Universe itself, the Winding Roads of the Dreamtime, the path of future romance, the moment when Krampus will inevitably invade through an unattended fireplace, or even today's menu from the Pendragon boy and whether they'll fit your tastes~! All these things and more I can tell you, so step forward and speak thy desires clearly~"

    She's really... Hamming it up pretty hard...

    Does she not recognize you yet? The clarity in her (usually a bit more hesitant) voice implies that this whole speech is something she's been practicing for awhile, probably in front of her mirror in the Velvet Room, cursing the lack of both internet and cell-phone reception in what amounted to a separate layer of reality entirely, yes...

    "Do not be afraid~ The cries of the woman from next door are not my fault, the realization that led to her current state is entirely self-inflicted and not an accidentally brushed upon sensitive truth, I swear~"

    Either way...

    That last part is a bit too specific perhaps?

    She seems like she'll keep rambling until you actually say something back, so...
    Last edited by Airen; November 30th, 2020 at 11:00 AM.
    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?



  15. #15
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Ayra Lilygrove
    Northern Cross University - Pool Building
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Ayra trudges through freshly fallen snow at six in the morning, clutching a thermos full of coffee, its warmth a reprieve from the elements. A swim bag hangs from her shoulder, swaying in the cold wind. Tomorrow, she goes home for the holidays, to see family she hasn’t spoken to in ages. But for now, on this Christmas Eve, she has decided to go on her morning swim, to clear her head.

    Aster: Ayra, you still haven’t told me why you like swimming so much.

    It was just my first competitive sport, that’s all.

    Aster: And that’s reason enough to make you do it at six in the morning?

    I’d rather do it with no one around.

    That isn’t the entire reason, but Aster has no need to know everything about her. But what she said was true enough. Though she’d gotten used to being under the public gaze, Ayra much rather preferred leisurely being out of view. For a Knight, image meant everything, and her mask was not quite as genuine as she made it look.

    It’s as she approaches the entrance to the somewhat glassy pool building that she realizes something is wrong. Namely, the footsteps in the snow that are shallow enough to be recent but not so deep as to be old. Taking a sip from the thermos, Ayra lets curiosity take a hold of her, peeking through one of the many windows.

    Damnit.

    Inside she can see a class do who knows what inside the massive pool. It looks like they’re just running laps, but at the same time, they’re swimming in any style they please, so she can’t really make a solid guess one way or another. Her eyes search for the instructor, only to spot a certain person she would love to see in a swimsuit again and again, but with that now in mind, she almost turns to leave. Ayra wanted a peaceful morning, not one that forced her to rub two brain cells together to dance around issues only she seemed to care about.

    Then she notices one of the students on the bleachers, staring at her slack-jawed and wide-eyed, and by reflex, she waves and gives them a bread-winning smile.

    Crap.

    Aster: What?

    We both saw each other. I can’t leave.

    Aster: The hell are you, a Pokémon Trainer?

    I don’t want people to spread any weird gossip about me… Doesn’t it look weird if I wave and then dip? I’m already here, even.

    Aster: Ayra, I really have no idea what kind of mental gymnastics you’re trying to pull on me right now, so do whatever.

    Ayra takes another swig of her coffee, and with a sigh, opens the door to the pool building.

  16. #16
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris
    Northern Cross Academy ~ Common Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---If there was one thing the Common Room had going for it, it was that everyone treated it as something of a neutral zone, a place where only activities that aren't louder than the Common Room Television itself were allowed without getting dirty looks from everyone currently crashing in it.

    And crash people did...

    After all, the population of this base were Tamers, people notorious for a tendency to overwork, feeding whatever particular drive it was that had them throwing themselves headlong into the depths of the World's supernatural core, thus...

    People sleeping on the couch simply wasn't an uncommon sight. It was almost like their strength simply failed some of them upon reaching the Common Room, and they collapse -blissfully- onto couches that -while high quality- still weren't quite right for not waking up with mild pains of the back, something that has one or two of the late risers groaning to themselves as they drag themselves from the room and towards the outside, likely heading towards the kitchen, leaving...

    "...Alright, this one should hold up tonight."

    A strangely determined Namasaki Shuichi, the normally gently smiling senpai staring at the fireplace with a look of bizarre passion, as if satisfied that he was in the process of defeating some great evil... Before walking off towards another one, kneeling down next to it, and beginning some series of incantations again, incantations that you can't quite make out in your current state, and not one that you're focusing on, while...

    Away from you, on the couches, watching some show about some high school in Washington, was one of the Base's three Principal A.I, clad in her physical body, stuffing down absurd amounts of pudding with an appetite that borders on the impossible, like there was a young girl (about 13 or 14 appearance wise) who was actually secretly some sort of singularity through which food disappeared, yes...

    She seems annoyed about something, you're not quite sure what it is, but...

    For some reason, you feel a flicker of annoyance too, although that also goes unexplained, fading away just as quickly as it had first emerged, after all...

    Rice was harmless.

    Just a bit moody, the most emotional and defensive of the three about, well, everything...

    But such things don't matter.

    After all, with Daisuke running off to the cafeteria to acquire coffee, and with a certain chess-playing NWAB agent being left with babysitting duty before she can get a word in edgewise (something that she seems to chuckle about as the boy runs off) your attention is focused mostly on her, well, first the board...

    Which... Is set in a draw?

    Of course, such things could be considered obvious when playing a game with oneself; yes, apparently not even playing her COMP (as one might expect) this woman had been sincerely playing both sides of the chess game in a way that implied she was actually trying to beat herself, strange as that sounded... It would have been easy to set up a win scenario under these conditions (after all, she is making all the moves) but no, she had somehow, for some reason, gone through all the effort of actually making the game impossible for either side to win, or rather...

    It's a King and two Knights against a lone King, technically, that's a game where victory is possible with assistance from one's opponent, but she is offering no such aid to herself, resisting herself the while time, thus, it's a game that's locked in stalemate, in other words...

    Right away, after meeting this person in well... Person, you can tell that she's rather strange...

    Considering she's seemingly been at this for a few hours, there is no real reason to go through these sorts of motions other than, perhaps, as a bizarre form of meditation or ritual?

    Either way...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris
    "...winning?"
    When you ask her this, she...



    "Not really."

    Looks up at you with a grin, eyes sparkling in the early morning light...

    Does she recognize who you are?

    That twinkle seems to imply so...

    "My opponent's being a real pain, won't give up no matter what I do."

    An answer given with a perfectly even voice, yes...

    "How about you? Work on the kid going okay?"

    Tilting her head slightly to the side, the warm grin persists in an earnest sort of way.

    "Seems like he has a lot of energy."
    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. #17
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Kaguya
    Cafeteria
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---How easily this girl falls victim to her own hunger.

    Yes. Collapsed upon a table alone, the aura of desperation around her so palpable that you could almost physically see it hovering around her, a certain four-eyes vampire grandma can only groan at first at the light that appears up above her, looking down on the vampire that was too incompetent (or perhaps simply too hungry) to just walk into the free-use kitchen and pull something out of the refrigerator, indeed...

    Nose held high, looking down on the poor girl like she was some sort of suffering animal... It's the sort of thing that normally gets you a witty retort from the girl, something sarcastic and rebellious, but today...

    Today she just groans in response, which...

    Yeah.

    That's not good at all, in fact, that's a-

    "...!"

    Hands rise up to somehow grab your form.


    -warning sign, sign that the disaster is almost here, yes-!

    "Thirty minutes huh..."

    ...This girl was normally a pretty poor excuse for a vampire, all things considered; she lacked the old-fashioned grace and charm, being a bit of an unmotivated sloth, more like a house cat than anything else, but...

    "But I could eat an annoying rabbit right now?"

    ...When no one feeds her, well...

    The more vampiric traits come roaring back-! Yes, much like how you had thought of her as an animal for awhile, said animal has now pinned your form -made of light- beneath her with her knees, and well...

    The red eyes, and the quiet, shiver inducing voice of the night itself...

    She really might try it.

    Even if there's no way it would work, and that, more than anything else...

    Is probably the most terrifying bit?

    Who had forgotten to feed her last night?!

    ---

    Blaise Pendragon
    Cafeteria
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3



    ---The doors to the free-use kitchen open with all the rush of a storm-!

    The dishes next to the sink at the back wall seem to imply that someone was here recently, but all the same, the kitchen itself was as immaculate as ever; considering the many Governments of the World had basically poured obscene amounts of money into this place, so supplies were never a problem and the place itself was a shining cathedral of steel, but...

    Not many use it this early in the morning; there are some other Tamers that wander in here in the afternoons, as there seemed to be at least a handful of other competent chefs amongst the Tamers, but...

    No one in the mornings.

    ---At least not normally.

    Yes.

    Normally there shouldn't be anyone in here, but...



    "..."

    Today that doesn't seem to be the case...

    There's a child here, a girl, looking somewhere around the age of ten or eleven, standing up on a stool that she had clearly dragged in from the back, using it as a crutch to reach some of the bowls on the higher shelves...

    "..."

    Bowls that she still can't reach, even with the help of her not-so-handy tool, and...

    "..."

    She freezes in place when she sees you.

    It's a silent stare from her end, the stare of someone who was trying to figure out your purpose perhaps? A child's curiosity? Then...

    "...You can reach it, right?"

    Pointing up at the steel bowls above, she...

    "Please?"

    Asks a simple question...

    Considering the eggs that had been brought out of the refrigerator, was she...

    Was she trying to cook something?
    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. #18
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris
    Northern Cross Academy ~ Common Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    "...lot's of energy, huh..."

    The bleary eyes of the bespectacled girl slowly rise from the chessboard, meet Alexia's for a moment, and then drift in the direction of the kitchen.

    The sight Chris sees is indescribable. She must still be sleeping, because dreams are starting to leak into reality. Otherwise Raz Stone wouldn't be handing her COMP a plate of coffee.

    "Figured out... a more efficient reiki converter around the core." Chris' gaze slowly returns to their table. "So he could run around more... Cooling is a problem though." Contrary to her half-asleep state, the girl's words are precise and measured. "It shouldn't have been in the head... input from primary senses arrives quicker, but generates too much heat. Has to vent the excess... through the cheeks."

    As Chris gives her update, Daisuke reaches up on the tips of his toes to shake the tall Tamer's hand, and responds with cheeks glowing a healthy red: "Thanks, Mister! My buddy's a big fan of yours!"

    He happily runs back, carefully balancing the tray so that it doesn't spill.

    "Now though... been working on swapping out the last of the stock parts. And integrating some magical armaments into his chassis. Keeping the core sync stable without compromising circuit... integrity..." Chris' explanation is punctuated by a yawn that has her tensing up while covering her mouth. When she finally blinks her teary eyes clear, she realizes...

    "Oh. The game."

    She looks back down at the board, then frowns.

    "If 50 turns have passed... since a pawn moved or piece was taken... it ends as a draw. The game. Or the universe."

    The rule exists to prevent endless games, but there is another interpretation of it as well: that such a rule was put in place to set a minimum standard for victory. It is not simply enough, in chess, for one side to eke out a small advantage over another and then prolong the game infinitely. A win must be decisive. It must be clear and beyond doubt, and it must showcase superiority of one over another. The game called chess does not accept a half-assed or ambiguous outcome. The fact that the situation is stuck at two knights and a king against a lone king... means that the lone king has snatched away the other's victory with their tenacity.

    Had that been what the King was aiming for? To not lose, even if it could never win? Perhaps, at the end of those fifty turns, was...

    "Gonna restart then? Until you can surpass yourself?"

    A chance in the rematch.

    Chris momentarily acknowledges the existence of the room around her. Shuichi fiddling with the fireplace, that weirdly familiar AI being as sour as usual...

    "It's Christmas Eve, huh..."

    The quiet, bleary words are delivered less to Alexia herself, and more to all the loners in the room, as if to say it's a shame they're spending this time alone.

    Not the Chris herself cares about some stupid holiday, of course.

    Finally, Daisuke returns, holding up the platter.

    "Here you go! The big one's for you! Nii-san said it's a quadruple espresso-!"

    But the taller girl, not really caring how the caffeine is delivered, already has the cup in her hands and is taking a sip...

    "Ah, Alexia-san! Thanks for watching Chris. Should I get something for you too?"
    Last edited by Bloble; November 30th, 2020 at 08:45 PM.

  19. #19
    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    "Teehee~ sorry about that DetecTor Gadget, I had to be sure what kind of man your razzle dazzling star is. You can tell quite a lot about someone by their partner, and judging by your reaction~~~"

    As the young AI’s gaze falls on the flask, the playful tone in Lydia’s voice shifts to one of -definitely feigned- solemnity.

    "…You must have it tough, drinking at 6 AM on Christmas Eve. As heartwarming as the offer is, I’ll have to decline. Besides Lud told me to go on some errand, I can't really go around the base with that kind of scent, think of the children-!"

    Her eyes then wander over to the nigh naked bard, her soft smirk growing at the edges. Almost as if she knew her User would misunderstand the situation that he was in.

    A misunderstanding she had no intention of clearing up whatsoever.

    "I wouldn’t worry if I were you, your Rockstar will need to do some unspeakable things if he wishes to even make a dent in that thick skull of Ludwig. You’re free to hide away as you please, but I do expect you to be a merry gentleman come nightfall Mister E."

    And with a wink, the good spirited COMP vanishes with a flash.


    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Northern Cross Academy, Cafeteria
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    When Anna and Ludwig first spoke about the nature of the North Pole assignment and the busy days ahead, the boy had mentioned how he was unsure of how to interact with the grander-than-life Knights.

    -----How right he was.

    Within a moment’s notice, the respect that the bardic knight had garnered as a seemingly almost respectable mentor figure was stripped away along with most of his clothes.

    Truly, how the squires gathered here could accept this behavior as if it was the most natural thing… just how much have these troopers needed to endure?

    Unless...

    …Maybe, this was simply that knight’s way of doing things? He went out of his way to create an environment where it wouldn’t be strange for Ludwig to rid himself of his coffee stained shirt.

    Yes, that must be it. There’s no way someone that would strip at a moment’s notice, in front of strangers no less, would become a famous Knight of the Round. It’s a little strange that such a compassionate man would pour coffee over someone in the first place, but perhaps he just loves coffee that much?

    Regardless of the oddity that is Raz Stone, the boy joins his example as he slowly pulls his soaked shirt over him, revealing a sleek, streamlined body without a single scar.

    ”You have an intriguing way of doing things, Mister Stone. I can see that you are a true Knight at heart.”

    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning

    Due to the Academy's special Hard Light field, COMP AI's could manage to manifest and move about freely from their partners. The experience is a bit jarring, but for someone like Lydia who had always sneaked out and about to socialize that was a small price to pay.

    While somewhat frustrated that she was technically doing what Ludwig had told her as he awakened, she was nonetheless pleased to be able to check things out on her own.

    And she had made her way here, lured in by the melody of a guitar that one couldn't help but bob their head along with.

    Waiting for a bit so as to not disturb the lovely sounds that a certain stranger made, the big sister AI came closer as the song seemed to near it's end.

    "Excuse me, is this seat taken?"

    And approached with a warm smile.

  20. #20
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning




    ---Somehow, in spite of the roaring winds of the World outside the comfort of the settlement, the voice of the mysterious singer echoes strongly throughout the icy hills and mountains.

    It's a voice that comes across as both familiar and unfamiliar, the voice of someone you certainly hadn't talked to before, but someone that you may have heard speaking somewhere else perhaps? Yes, it's a difficult feeling to put into words, the strangely deep voice of what seemed like a young woman calling out throughout the early morning hours alongside an acoustic guitar, reminding you almost of a certain Goddess that even now was showing the Tamers in the Arcade what it really meant to be a gamer, yes...

    This woman's voice... Sort of reminds you of Yamuna, just a little bit, a tiny bit, and...

    Taking your time so as to not disturb her as you go, you are able to hear much of what she says quite clearly, yes...

    It goes, at least as far as you can tell...

    Like this:




    Mad world beats
    Outside our hearts
    Times of need
    We are apart

    Under stars
    We are alone

    Under stars

    Knuckles move under his skin
    He wraps his heart and drives it in
    And they move it all around
    Until we cry

    Under stars
    Under stars

    Mother cries and turns around
    Walks outside without a soul
    The rain against the skin
    While she faces every sin

    Under stars
    Under stars

    They have only fallen asleep
    They have only fallen asleep
    They have only fallen asleep
    They have only fallen asleep
    They have only fallen asleep
    They have only fallen asleep

    I've seen it many times
    Each time they close their eyes and say goodbye
    Rest in peace and give yourself to harmony

    I've seen it many times
    Each time they close their eyes and say goodbye
    Rest in peace and give yourself to harmony

    Give yourself to harmony
    Underneath the stars (huh, huh)

    Afterwards... As the woman's hand stops it's gentle dance along the strings, an obvious sign of a momentary rest, of preparing herself for another go at it again, up here alone on the mountains, overlooking the base in it's entirety, you step forward and ask to sit alongside her, and...

    "Of course."

    ---Just like her singing, the voice of the woman herself is deep, far more princely in nature than her cute (dazzling really) appearance might suggest, and the woman shifts slightly in place, moving over on the makeshift log that she had been using as a bench...

    "I do not have very good seating I'm afraid, but what I do have, you are free to share."

    Her voice is a bit staggered, like she's knowingly suppressing an accent, or perhaps isn't used to speaking English as her primary language, and perhaps knowing this, she smiles in a sort of self conscious way:

    "I come up here to practice often, I have a bit of a verbal tic... You see? It comes out a lot when I sing, so I wanted to make sure I could speak clearly tonight, for the concert in the Assembly Hall."

    She blinks, then:

    "How did I do? I thought the wind would cover me up, but it seems that h-" she pauses for a moment, as if suppressing the verbal tick she had mentioned before continuing with, "-someone was drawn to me anyway. Was my voice clear? No words sounded h- strange? Did you want to laugh? It is okay if you did, I am no idol, just a casual musician."
    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?



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