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Thread: Spirit Pulse: Echo of Ephemeral Moment

  1. #41
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Northern Cross Church
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Alisa
    "Star it is, looks like I win Mary."
    Quote Originally Posted by Dearest Mother
    "Yes, seems so."
    "O-oh..."

    For a moment, there was a feeling of disappointment welling up in Cosmos' chest; after all, she had failed in choosing the one her mother wanted, and the lingering sense of failure that whispered she doesn't know her mother all that well after all was akin to a fly constantly buzzing around her. It distracts her and makes her uncomfortable.

    Perhaps she should have chosen herself...?

    Illia's usually right about this sort of thing...

    But those thoughts only last for a moment. In this world where Mary Fairchild is alive and well, where she smiled at her friend's victory, Cosmos Fairchild had no reason to dwell on such thoughts. She found herself pouting, but congratulates her aunt with a smile afterwards.

    "But I am curious, why did mother want the angel one? I thought for sure Aunt Alisa would be the one to propose that kind of change..."

    As she said that, Cosmos looked up at the treetop - which is unreachable thanks to her petite frame - before quietly activating an Auto-Skill, and a second later her feet had left the ground, floating up in the air as she carefully put the star on the treetop.

    "Oh, but maybe we can use the angel somewhere else? Or hang some decorations from the ceiling!" She excitedly suggest with a smile.

    Wise Up!
    Into the Sky
    Auto-Skill

    Grants Cosmos and her allies the ability to fly and float as long as it is within the harmonizer range. It's intended use is to avoid physical confrontation and provide effective use of Aster against multiple enemies where she doesn’t need Stargazer to lock on all of them, but it seems to also be useful to solve problems that requires height too...

    --------------------------------------------
    Illia
    Digital Space
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 or 3


    Illia absent-mindedly noted Cosmos' excited chatter and the activation of Into the Sky as she sat on her throne, finding herself smiling a little as a bookshelf no taller than she is came into being right in front of her. With a mental command, books flew out from their shelves and positioned themselves within arms reach before Illia picked one at random and started reading.

    Oddly enough as she quickly read the book, the usual feeling of envy and jealousy at Mary is absent, or at least toned down enough that she doesn't notice it. She just felt... happy that Cosmos is feeling happy despite choosing the wrong decoration.

    In a sense, maybe she's growing up...?

    Shelving those thoughts and feeling to the back of her mind, Illia quickly fell into a rhythm as she read books upon books on X-Cross, nodding to herself as she found everything to be in order and as she remembered it. Well, except for the weird feeling she got when she read the reason why X-Cross was founded, but Illia dismissed those feelings aside as she continued to read.

    A few books, of course, refused to fly out of their shelves - meaning those are classified information - and Illia let them be. It's not like this is some serious investigation or anything, after all.

    Still, to her intrigue there were three data that took the form not as books, but as newspaper clipping instead. Raising an eyebrow, Illia quickly set her current book aside and took each of the newspaper one by one, quickly reading them through.

    At a first glance, there seems to be no relation between these three clippings aside from being written by the same person - one Aleta Gaumond. A quick search on the network doesn't turn up any pictures, so she's likely not a big name, and Illia's first thought was to dismiss these information as irrelevant. After all, why should she care about the Akarana family or celestial bodies?

    But she didn't. Something in the back of her mind screamed at her to carefully consider these data. Aside from the fact that someone had sorted these data, something in each of these articles managed to evoke a reaction from her; Illia isn't sure what, but it was as if something deep in her subconscious recognized these terms as important.

    From the first, it was "Masked Circle."

    From the second, "Akarana."

    And the third, "Celestial Body;" or perhaps more generally, outer space and stars.

    Illia frowned.

    Something doesn't feel right.

    But before she could try to pursue any of these information further--

    Quote Originally Posted by Danica
    "...Abandoned again, huh?"
    A familiar voice rang out, as the angel-like form of the AI materialized into being within her domain.

    Alyx's COMP, Danica.

    Unlike Cosmos and Alyx, the relationship between the two AIs are much friendlier. At least Illia liked to think so, as the playful jab only evoke a small smile of amusement from her.



    "I'm afraid you're right. You know how she gets whenever Mary is involved." Illia said as she lets out an exaggerated sigh while she sank back on her throne. "But I am used to it. Besides, I noticed Alyx playing around with Saria earlier, so I'd guess that you're in the same predicament as myself." She playfully shot back, even as she willed a comfy white sofa to materialize for the other AI to sit in.

    It's the least she could do for the only person she could call a friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danica
    "Watcha doin? Boredom reading?"
    "You could say that, though these three caught my eye." She replied as she let the three clippings flew to Danica for her to look at if she so wishes. "I don't know why either, and the reason for why X-Cross was formed seemed off too, but I don't have any evidence whatsoever. Just a feeling."

    It's not often she admitted to finding something off based on feelings alone, but this is one of those rare cases. Maybe Danica can shed some light on them, but Illia wouldn't mind if she doesn't take it seriously either.

    "But what about you? Do you have stories to tell, or something to share?" Illia asked with a smile. "Or maybe you just came here to see me?" She teased.
    Last edited by palad1n; December 16th, 2020 at 12:36 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


  2. #42
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Ayra Lilygrove
    Northern Cross University - Pool Building
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---A quick clap of the hands, along with the declaration of a certain rule, quickly return a sense of Order to the Chaos that had been threatening to swallow you whole...

    Indeed, Ayra Lilygrove is used to this sort of thing, of course, while a number of people might find having a constant storm of fangirls to be a completely pleasant thing (and on some level you did seem to enjoy it) there were a number of factors that made it just as mildly annoying as it was mildly pleasant, for instance...

    The existence of the fellow knightess (and ex) nearby, who (in a shocking move of good cheer) you were pretty sure had made a whistling sound upon your entrance into the pool building, which had seemed to excite the crowd even more for some reason... Of course if one thought of it like that, then it was possible that she had made the sound simply to excite the clearly flower-based crowd (and thus mess with you some) but you hadn't actually been able to see her do it, simply hear the sound and recognize it as having probably come from her, but...

    She does little else other than laugh, watching from a distance as the line forms and moves, as things are signed with a practiced hand, and not a single person cuts in line in order to avoid being ousted from this particularly rare event, but...

    As the line nears it's end, the final person before you are able to swim (after all, its not like anyone wants to stop you, they seem quite eager about the idea really) your fellow knightess does make a different expression as a certain redhead wanders up to you, a more serious one, one that has you focus on her for a second, long enough to see and comprehend her mouth the word "reporter," before...

    "Oh, my turn? Hi! Hello! It's an honor to meet you Ms. Lilygrove!"

    ...a woman with burning red hair (seemingly styled in the shape of a rooster) and with rather striking looks of her own (enough that even you notice) parks herself in front of you with an open notebook and an outstretched hand, as if rather than a signature, what she wanted was a more formal greeting? A hand shake?

    "I'm a big fan! Love the Knight of Lilies angle you've got going, think it fits you really well-! Prince-types are really popular nowadays right? Makes me want to swoon a bit myself, but I'll save that for later~"

    ...Her voice is pleasant enough, but the excitable way she talks (flirts?) well...

    It does sorta scream reporter...

    "My name is Aleta Gaumond, a reporter with Lucent Visions, doing an independent piece on the X-Cross Members. Mind if I ask you a few questions before you go on your swim? Nothing too serious~ If you don't have time though I completely understand, it's Christmas Eve after all, so no hard feelings~"

    Well...

    At least she admits it...



    Encountered: Aleta Gaumond

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

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  3. #43
    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    ---That's strange.

    The words of her User didn't make sense to Lydia, but she had understood that he wanted to convey them. That there was some merit to the perceived madness. It would make sense that a complete stranger would also have no idea what Ludwig is on about.

    So then, why is this simple guitarist talking about this 'river' like she knows what's being conveyed? As if, despite what her words indicate, the message Ludwig sent was received more or less after all.

    Did she know more of what seemed to be going on? Supernatural entities did have the nasty habit of being unable to just speak plainly, and this person is certainly showing more and more of her unnatural sides.

    The charisma of a Goddess, a strange familiarity to Yamuna, an entity that has strong ties to the Sea of Souls...

    Certainly supernatural, yet... there's something else about her.

    That verbal tick...

    Perhaps Lydia's little brother simply acknowledged that entities like this wouldn't be able to just be honest and open, whether that's about a truth left unspoken or even with themselves.

    However, the AI maiden doesn't wish to explore this topic too deeply. She already had the impression that she was left behind in ignorance, while her User and this person knew more than they wished too share. But, was there perhaps another reason why Ludwig had sent Lydia out to find this person?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacquie
    "It is not that easy unfortunately, ...one will never grow if they rely on their elders too much... When things grow out of their means, I will try to be there for them, but I am not a reliable enough person to say I can do so all the h- time... If you cannot always be there for someone, then sheltering them isn't doing them any favors... Like it or not, one most acquire some strength of their own in life, if not, you will simply drag others down, stagnate, and be lost the moment no one is around to protect you anymore.

    So today is not our true day of reunion... It is just a passing meeting, a tiny fantasy, little more."
    "Ah, I see. A little fantasy is it?"

    Perhaps there was.

    "I won't even pretend to know what your relation to those girls is, or why you think you can only be there for them as their Guardian. I don't remember mentioning to go pamper and shelter anyone, but... Too Cold Jacquie-!"

    A sudden offensive stance?

    "Why not enjoy the fantasy yourself as well huh? You aren't going to convince me that deep down you don't want to hee ho go to them. It's okay to show some affection, doesn't hurt anyone, you silly girl-!"

    While the sudden fire in her eyes could be taken as something like passion, the tone Lydia uses to carry her words do give of the impression that she isn't actually angry or annoyed. Lydia isn't the type to scold some stranger she just met, especially one that seems to be an existence far beyond her, but...

    "If anything, I find that people fight harder then ever for what they love and cherish. That no matter how much the World throws at them, they'll keep going to reach for those precious bonds in their heart."

    When had she gotten closer?

    Was her arm always around your shoulder?
    Did that light-made finger always point at the heart of this 'simple guitarist' girl?

    "And you know what I think? I think you're not being honest with yourself. That this thing here is telling you to go down there and strengthen that bond, because you know that time is precious. It's a little fantasy right, so be part of it. What kind of Christmas would it be if you can't be with the ones you love."

    'Your choice will bring you no scorn, but if this is a little fantasy, then why not enjoy it.' That is what the eyes of this strange COMP AI is trying to convey in her passionate rambling.
    It's an outlook that chooses to be somewhat selfish, even childish. But, it's also one of hope and joy.

    And if now with Christmas Eve nearing isn't the time for that... then when is?

    "Don't close of your hee ho heart, regardless of what you are. Who you wish to be. A little love won't melt you, it's okay to simply be there in a little fantasy. That meaning may well be etched in their hearts, as a new source of strength. Humans are strange like that, their hearts and minds are a wonderous mystery."

    And with an impish wink, the girl returns to a more solemn calm. Still smiling over the souls gathered below, with a warmth that can certainly be felt.
    Last edited by Zurvan; December 16th, 2020 at 09:03 AM.

  4. #44
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Raz Stone & Ludwig
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Where one embraces his nature, another comes to grips with burnt in, lingering fears.

    Once one comes to perceive her, the woman that Ludwig had called "Kaiserin," a figure of what seemed like natural nobility and grace, becomes a figure that one has a difficult time moving their eyes from voluntarily... It's like the flip of a switch, that which had been imperceptible had been seen, and that which had been seen was beautiful, beautiful and also horrific, a presence that was not unlike that of a vampire, but far far worse, far heavier, dangerous in a way that is difficult to describe, like...

    By existing here, her presence becomes the most real thing here...

    It's something like that, a beacon, a scorching lighthouse that illuminates everything around her, banishing the dark and all of the illusions that lie inside of it, yes...

    It's a heavy presence, that of Ludwig Karlfeldt's "grandmother," one that your brain labels as a sort of "monster" automatically, nevertheless...



    "Ah... You are an amusing one, Mr. Stone."

    Her laughing voice seems to break that spell, the enchantment that had kept the eyes of all locked on her, yes...

    The danger fades.

    All one is left with, is the grinning woman whose voice carries like a bell naturally, as if the air itself knew better than to attempt to muffle her.

    "You flatter me. I am an old woman, far too old for someone like yourself, but you make me blush nonetheless... Yes, it's been awhile since I was approached like a common maiden... Refreshing in it's own way, yes..."

    She laughs again, then...

    Her eyes go up and down your form, it's a shameless gaze, a clear attempt at sizing you up in spite of her words, and giggling to herself at the end of it, the woman eventually turns her gaze to Ludwig, that beautiful but definitely inhuman smile crossing her features again as she stares at her grandson, perhaps...

    Feeling the fear?

    The shame?

    Either way...

    The smile that eventually appears wouldn't appear out of place on a Cheshire cat...

    "My, my boy. You and I always run into each other at the most strange of moments, do we not?"

    The grin widens.

    ...As always, she simply calls you boy.

    Was it a sign of affection?

    With her, impossible to tell, even so...

    She tilts her head to the side, then, with a laugh gestures to Raz...

    "Is this one your type? You should let me know these sorts of things earlier, you know? I could have hired more butlers than maids back at the estate... Of course it's not bad taste, tall, dark and handsome... Yes, a classical design, if a bit fantastical~"

    ...And says something truly absurd, or perhaps...

    Something about as absurd as what you had expected? After all, this person has a history of dishing out damage, but...

    You hadn't expected it to be... Social damage...

    "I did not mean to steal him from you, but if you are not interested in finishing what you seem to have started, perhaps I'll take him up on his offer?"

    ...She's talking about the coffee right?

    Right?

    Right?

    ...Again, with her...

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

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  5. #45
    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


    "..."

    In the face of such overwhelming positivity, so much cheerful words and smiles, the artificial intelligence known as Rice can only freeze up in place, as if unsure of how to respond to the sudden surge of attention, indeed...

    Of the three "mainframe," A.I installed within the architecture of this base, Rice was easily the most anti-social; she often sits alone, watches t.v alone, grumpily sits on the roof alone, or, more rarely, comes out from her self-imposed corner in cases like right now, amongst small groups of people rather than the large groups that didn't seem to bother the other two at all, yes...

    Burroughs was... Like everyone's kid sister... She didn't mind just sort of popping up in the activities of others, and Dejah was much like a spoiled princess, confident and social, someone who would drag the others on base into her mess rather than the other way around, but Rice...

    Well...

    Rice just... Kept to herself...

    And that's why...

    "Uh...Uh...Uh..."

    She has a difficult time processing all of the information that is being presented to her, she had already gone somewhat pale at the idea of knowingly letting Krampus enter the building, color draining out of her face in a way that seemed to indicate she actually, secretly super thought that Krampus might be real and was in fact afraid of it (an idea that was about as adorable as it was sad), add on Daisuke's constant chatter to that, and well...

    "Uhm... Okay...?"

    ...Somehow, she winds up with the coffee in her hands.

    "And, uh... Yeah... If you guys lost to a weirdo demon like that, you'd be sorry excuses for Tamers, so... Nothing to worry about, yeah, yep, mhm..."

    ...It hurts a little to watch her struggle, but...

    "So... Uh, thanks for the coffee..."

    Well... She does her best...!

    Meanwhile...

    "...Adorable."

    A decisive nod comes from the woman that had been a simple pen-pal up until now...

    "They never stay in the cute kid phase as long as I'd like them too, so you're a lucky one."

    A smile.

    It's one akin to that of an elder sibling, the natural warm smile of someone who -naturally- winds up taking care of the people around them, whether they actually set out to do so or not...

    "Body seems to be working fine... No obvious spiritual instabilities, plume feels like it's working correctly, generally cute mannerisms, it..."

    She closes one eye, and flashes you a thumbs up-!

    "...Gets a passing grade from me-!"

    Of course, drawn over by your motion (somewhat unable to refuse due to his nature as the ever helpful senpai of the SDCD) Shuichi seems to be deep in thought as he arrives at your side, thinking, mostly, about your earlier proposal to just let a certain Christmas Demon into the base... Unlike everyone else, that takes it all with an air of amusement, the dark-haired boy seems amusingly serious about both the demon and his attempts to repel it...

    Must have some sort of history with it?

    Either way...

    "...Could ambush it, I suppose."

    That's the conclusion he comes too, talking to both himself and you...

    "Was gonna deal with it alone, but if you're curious... Well, I suppose we could make a party out of it, close off all other entrances on base, bait him into here, take him out early, save Christmas."

    The young man suggests a team-up of sorts for his own reasons, reasons that are probably, if not entirely, motivated out of his own sudden realization that this room was full of loner types...

    "What do you two think?"

    He asks to both Alexia and you, and well...

    "Fighting off weird Christmas spirits huh... Sounds interesting I guess, better than this endless draw game."

    She says that, (to which Shuichi reaffirms the 50 turn draw rule) and you...
    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?



  6. #46
    The Long-Forgotten Sight Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    Logan Starbright
    Northern Cross - Arcade
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    “Morning.” A disinterested voice echoes from Logan’s pocket.

    Rossweisse is as composed as usual, while Hiyori continues at her usual pace. He hasn’t spoken to them much, but they seem to be the same as always. Meanwhile Lexie stares at him for a brief eternity like a small woodland creature weighing its options of fight and flight. I’m not sure why she’s so panicked though; her chewing away before was rather cute. She reminds him of Calydon, the guinea pig Sarah used to own, who’d chew away at a zucchini without a care in the world.

    "Oh, it's Logan."
    And just like that, the famously ebullient and unflappable Tamer returns.

    "The chronic overwork guy, I could tell right away... Good morning!"
    : Yup, it’s as bad as usual. Don’t give up, Amelia! You’ll save his social life yet!

    : We’re exchanging pleasantries. Isn’t that already fine?

    : ...Why are you satisfied with just that!? She’s looking at you like you’re a talking tree! Do you want to be a Shel Silverstein tree!?

    : No…?

    : Then you need to shape up! You’ve gotta have more to talk about than that one time where you p-

    : Not that again, please. I’m stronger now.

    ‘Hey Logan and Amelia! You haven’t eaten yet right? Here have some!’
    Amelia’s long-suffering sighs in his head give way to Hiyori’s hospitality. “Thank you, Hiyori,” says Logan as he catches the scone. While he eats, Amelia manifests and walks toward the sitting AI. She takes the offered fritter with a ‘Thanks’ and walks back to Logan, who’s wiping his face with a handkerchief. “Here, eat this for me.”

    Logan frowns. “You sure you don’t want it for yourself?”

    “You know food doesn’t agree with me.” She grimaces. “Especially not after the Observatory Incident.”

    “I’m pretty sure that’s just because Loki made those cookies, but alright then.” A short while later he finishes the fritter, wiping his mouth again before replacing the handkerchief. “They were delicious, thank you. Did you cook them Hiyori, or was it Rossweisse?”

    "You here to play Blazred? I just got Astral'd a minute ago so my will to keep playing is a little low, but... Hmm..."
    Behind Logan, Amelia nods approvingly at a kindred spirit.

    "So how about we skip Blazred for now, and play some sort of party game, like... I dunno... Tamer Party 12? That's something we could all play together!"
    “Tamer Party 12?” Logan furrows his brow in thought. He’s never heard of that game before. He considers looking it up online, but elects against it. Best to prepare himself for unforeseen dangers whenever possible. “Then I’ll take you up on your offer, thank you. What about you, Amelia?”

    : “Sure about that? I’ll rip you apart like a toddler playing with their older brother’s hard-earned allowance.”

    : “Then I’ll have to insist. A Tamer wouldn’t run away from a challenge, after all.”

    At that...



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

  7. #47
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris
    Northern Cross Academy ~ Common Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    "You're welcome, Rice-chan! Or actually, please thank Mr. Stone next time you see him; he made the coffee!"



    The COMP known as Daisuke flits about the couch and the confused AI parked on it, much like a certain winged pest. He inspects the chimney, the charms hung above it, the steam wafting up from the drink in Rice's hands, and anything and everything that might be a relevant variable. Except rather than being irritating, he exudes altogether too much positive energy. The boy eventually decides to settle down since it seems his partner won't be moving, and plops down onto the couch right next to the withdrawn girl.

    "There. Now if something happens, I'll be right here to catch it. You can count on us, Rice-chan."

    For her protection, in case she's still worried about monsters crawling out of chimneys. Though, being a hard light construct, the danger to this current body is nonexistent...

    "So watcha doing?" Daisuke asks, trying his best to act like a big brother. "Were you watching that TV show? What's it about? Do you like it? Have you been having fun?"

    The barrage of friendliness shows no signs of stopping.

    Meanwhile, at the table...

    One could easily call Mokujima Chris gloomy and unsociable.

    Her stony demeanor and penchant for holing up in her room for days at a time do nothing to erase that impression. Standoffish or completely silent around strangers and certain people, slow to open up even to coworkers, and often absent from meetings and classes (with her COMP taking her place), she certainly doesn't at all fit the image of a friendly, outgoing SDCD Tamer. The moniker 'Hermit' has made the rounds of the X-Cross base as of late, one to which she responds only with the nonchalant shrug of someone who grew used to such barbs from a young age. Even as she speaks to Alexia, with whom she's had nearly a year of back-and-forth remote communication, and Shuichi, who she has recently gotten to know over a series of chance meetings, that gloomy aura persists. Stilted, quiet, low-energy speech. Eyes glued to a phone or other distraction. A sense of not really wanting to be here. It doesn't take a genius to see that Chris doesn't much like interacting with others.

    Yet that obvious conclusion couldn't be further from the truth.

    The woman sitting at this table, half asleep, isn't the sort that allows herself to be dragged into things she doesn't approve of. If she had not wanted to talk to her friends, Mokujima Chris would've never left her room.

    It's certainly an easy mistake to make. But an even easier one to dispel.





    Because no gloomy person would ever make an expression like that as she looks upon the two kids having fun from afar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexia Wright
    "...Adorable."
    "...yeah."

    More-so even than his body's performance or her own achievements, or even the approval of the closest thing she has to a mentor, Mokujima Chris is proud of that boy's smile.

    Even if it won't last forever, and one day he'll grow up beyond her reach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Namasaki Shuichi
    "What do you two think?"
    And then the moment has passed. Chris' attention returns to the conversation at hand, her mouth straightening into a flat line and the gentleness vanishing from her eyes.

    "Good," is the conclusion she comes to, giving a nod of approval to Shuichi's plan of ambushing the hypothetical holiday haunter. "Better than, handling it, by yourself, in the background, Senpai."

    Chris has not really been able to view the young man, years younger and still in high school, with the same reverence as most SDCD Tamers. Not since actually getting to know him at any rate. Her initial distant crush has long since faded into something else. Now when she uses his nickname it is teasing, like an inside joke that gets funnier each time you tell it.

    "...could get combat data... field experience, much better than simulators."

    She's never liked simulator training too much. It's good for refining techniques, but nothing beats the real thing.

    "Too many people... could be trouble, for teamwork. Should be fine with us three? More, maybe?"

    Perhaps Alexia and Shuichi have some potential teammates in mind, to rope into things.

    But, in the first place, it's better to get all the info first.

    "Shuichi. You have, history with Krampus?"

    The boy did seem abnormally worried...

  8. #48
    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Perhaps ironically, it wasn't his state of undress in winter that had caused a chill to run down the ESPer's spine.

    Normally a family reunion should be a joyful and welcome delight, especially as the year is ending, yet...

    This woman doesn't bring forth such a sentiment. Far from it, the words that elegantly flow from her lips only bring forth bad memories. Her laughter takes away some of the pressure that she carries with her naturally (or at least she does so in Ludwig's mind) yet even that doesn't calm the young Karlfeldt down.

    No, that smile... that wicked smile hails forth the sounding of various alarms. Her mere grin causing Ludwig's ocean-like mindscape to fill with storms.

    Bit by bit, word for word, that stoic mask he so rarely ever loses tears itself apart at the seams.

    Anna is best left undisturbed, her reaction to this person is one that Ludwig doesn't wish to find out. Lydia was sent away, meaning the boy is alone, half naked, with his only salvation being a gamble that may either prove a ticking time bomb or a charming distraction...

    But, there was one other technique left. One mental defense that had been employed against Ludwig before.

    "Type? Do you mean the outfit? It's a bit much for me, but I think he put on this get up for you, Grandmother."

    Yes, the mental defense that is "being dense", A fortified mind so thick all suggestive wording becomes meaningless.

    "Mr Stone, I introduce you to Empress Theresia, the head of the Karlfeldt family. She's my grandmother, so I appreciate that you dressed yourself up... somehow."

    "Speaking of, after having coffee poured over me I wish to dress up myself, if you'll excuse me. Feel free to enjoy the coffee... I'll be back later."

    Hopefully with the tasty treat focused and placed before her, the pair won't mind the swift departure of Ludwig.
    Last edited by Zurvan; December 17th, 2020 at 06:59 AM.

  9. #49
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Eva Ellet
    Northern Cross Academy - Hallways
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    “A gift is fine as long as it comes from the heart…”

    Repeating Agatha’s advice, and having it slowly sink in, she nodded.

    “No, I think that’s fine. It makes sense. It is, however… a little hard to just act on, since I feel like it is also natural to want to try and find the best possible present for your friend… At least, that’s what I think my friend would say. But that makes sense. I will keep it in mind.”

    What the advice amounted to was not to stress over it too much- advice that she could tell was certainly sound, but still had a hard time truly using. In contrast, the divination that Agatha had provided was something that was very easy to put into practice…

    “Still… a case of Cola…?”

    …and also, very amusing. A very Agatha-like request. She did not know if the woman had picked up on the particular reason behind her request, or if this truly was an application of her fortune telling talents- but either way, Eva knew just upon hearing it that this was certainly a gift that the other woman would want.

    “...I suppose it makes sense. In that case, it should be fairly easy for me to…”



    Realizing she had begun to speak her plans aloud; Eva quickly adjusted her words.

    “...to let my friend know. I’m sure she will be able to make good use of this information.”

  10. #50
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Raz Stone & Ludwig
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    An amused monster.

    A timid rabbit.

    ..Well, that's now many would see it. In truth, that was probably the objectively correct way to view the current situation. Raz's instincts as a knight, and long history battling monsters both beautiful and deadly, informed him in no uncertain terms that if angered this creature could swiftly turn terrifying. Despite this however, despite all logic, Raz didn't see a monster and and a rabbit.

    ...No, he saw a cute little bunny, and a bigger, and even more enticing little rabbit.

    "Ah mademoiselle, my tender, most delicate flower, believe me when I say any favor you could offer would be welcomed with wide open arms, and I’ll have no more talk of age from such a a young belle clearly within the first blooms of her transient and frail beauty."

    ...Raz wasn't crazy.

    Or at least, there was a method to his madness.

    The grandmother to Raz's newest protégé was beautiful, so much so that he was not likely the first man with enough bravery and/or foolishness to risk seeking her embrace.

    ...Well, he almost certainly wasn't considering her title of "Grandmother" after all. Unless that was some sort of honorary title.

    ...But even if she must have some experience with this type of shameless charmer, Raz had an idea that most would be paramours would shower her with words praising both her loveliness and her surely endless strength as a superior being.

    To put that another way, while she almost certainly had some experience with a flirtatious rogue, words like "delicate flower" and "frail beauty" would be using terms she probably wasn't accustomed to hearing applied to her.

    ...And to an immortal, there was little more precious in this life or the next then an unexpected surprise. Raz had used similar strategies to great effect when negotiating with elder demons in the past.

    Though sometimes they became offended and Raz ended up fighting for his life, but what the hell, to love was to put your life on the line!

    However, it was right around then Raz began to notice an interesting dynamic at play. The incarnated spirit found Raz amusing, and therefor he at least momentarily had her attentions, and certainly even the momentary indulgence of an immortal was a hard won prize.

    ...But, the way, ease, and evident enjoyment with which she fell into baiting young Ludwig, and the boy’s push towards headlong flight suggested a long running and entirely one side game of predator and prey.

    A game it appeared was a rare and welcome reprieve from the endless boredom agelessness brought. Further, if one processed the white haired warrior’s panic, when even Raz’s exuberant affections had yielded little more then an enticing luminescent blush, then at face value the Kingdom’s hard could only assume he was watching only the latest sortie in what surely must be a far larger and more advanced set of skirmishes and tactical retreats.

    This idea was significantly corroborated when the embarrassed and winsome boy engaged in what appeared to be a quite unfamiliar to him moment of fear-inspired diplomacy.

    See if one factored in Raz’s experiences with the fetching lad, he presented himself as one a bit to earnest to understand social complexities and subtext. Therefore his rather inspired, if hastily cobbled together excuse must be the product of desperation born cleverness. Why, it might have even worked!

    ...Might have indeed, were it not for one thing.

    ...yes...

    The sudden, tight grip Ludwig found clenched hard to his shoulder. Attached of course, to one Raz Stone, naked save a light cloth and shades of light which presented him as a mask clad courtier.

    How had that happened? Sara Cross could have answered. She had seen this phenomenon once before!

    The bard of the kingdom was no great warrior. On his own, he had no ability to catch a true warrior like Ludwig, well versed and far better trained in combat, and possessed of significant physical status. Buuuuut...

    The light hues of green and multi-colored rainbows which surrounded Raz’s hand told a different tale. Raz was a COMP user. He traded martial skill for the ability to gather information, to react and interpret his surroundings. And where he lacked combat magecraft and the power of a spellslinger, he possessed great skill in enhancement. What that meant was...

    As long as he could Sense something, say the subtle bunching of Ludwig’s body and the slim hope of egress that colored his voice as he claimed the need to retreat, Raz could approach the warrior’s battle talents.

    Of course, in an all out melee, surely just had the matador done so, the young tamer could use his pure combat abilities to break or reverse Raz’s magically reinforced movements.

    ...But to do so would be to give the lie to the almighty user’s claim he was merely leaving to dry off.

    “That won’t be necessary, my young apprentice.” Raz said gaily, a strange crack in the air accompanying his pleasing baritone. A crack which shortly explained itself by means of the soft towel Raz had given a playful flick with his off hand, before offering the long white cloth to Ludwig with a flourish.

    Raz...wasn’t actually dressed to the nines. That was just an illusion. But it was very clear that he was offering an actual item to the grandchild of the immortal to dry off with. It begged the question as to where exactly Raz had acquired such an object, and where it might have been located when one considered the only actual thing he was wearing was a single long, white cloth.

    ...

    ......

    ...But maybe certain questions were best left unanswered.

    ”My apologies once more my dearest, I would hate to have made you uncomfortable, please by all means, make use of that and feel free to enjoy the warmth of my body that lay within. But our lesson has not yet completed. In particular, when a noble presents herself to your care, a ceremony is appropriate.”

    The black haired man grinned with unabashed delight at seeing the bait that might tempt the true game closer make itself known. “Come! my most winsome and comely maiden, sit! Let your cares flow to the wayside, and allow me and my young apprentice to dote on you a while. He will learn a useful lesson about properly serving coffee, and I will of course ask no further reward or payment beyond your continued company.”
    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. #51
    approaching euthymia Katie's Avatar
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    Ayra Lilygrove
    Northern Cross University - Pool Building
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Aster: Wow, I didn’t know being an aloof workaholic was princely. Sure have low standards for royalty these days.

    Yeah, I don’t get it either…

    In the end, Ayra resists the urge to sigh. Her hopes, the light at the end of the tunnel, dashed by the terrors of mass media. To be quite honest, she’d love to refuse, but as a Knight she is given more leeway and thus doesn’t have a set schedule, and considering it was Christmas Eve, there wasn’t much to do. In other words, there wasn’t much of a reason to reject her, other than simply saying she didn’t feel like it.

    And that sort of ungrounded refusal—“I don’t want to”—was unacceptable for a Knight. Perhaps someone like Raz or Zerah could get away with it, but even then, those had conditions of their own. Outright refusal was something she couldn’t get away with. After all, with Aster’s essential silence, it was more on her to bear the burden of feeding public relations.

    “Sure,” Ayra says, putting on her best efforts to look ecstatic. “What did you want to ask?”

  12. #52
    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    And so, the sole factor that could have offered salvation presents itself not as a ticking timebomb nor a charming distraction. Instead the bard revealed himself to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    …Awfully little clothing in fact.

    The pondering thought of where and how this man procured a single white fabric in his state of undress is one that comes up naturally, yet is suppressed instantly. Indeed, certain questions are best left unanswered, some mysteries are best left unknown, even for a soul as curious as Ludwig Karlfeldt.

    Regardless, the movements and gesture of this troublesome individual does place the ESPer in somewhat of a bind. To force the issue would hinder his attempt at reinforced density while to play along would leave him temporarily in the clutches of Raz, only to eventually be delivered back to the Karlfeldt Empress.

    ---A sigh of defeat forms itself, as a thought presents itself.

    "...Thank you... Sir Stone."

    Ludwig's reply to the unique (and possibily-naked) Knight of the Round is one that is almost certainly forced, quite painful too, even his expression is one of annoyance. His calm state of mind and mask along with it still not having fully recovered, the boy simply gives in.

    "Although it doesn't change my own state of undress..."

    Not because the Knight's grip on both his shoulder and situation at large were beyond the Inheritor's expectations, no. It is because of a simple thought that the boy resigns himself to fate.

    Because as soon as he rose, he had grasped what likely was transpiring. What this was.

    A fragment of what he had learned before, an understanding he could not simply forget, a lucidity that shouldn't be yet is.

    "...Lydia will return soon enough, she can provide that much for me. If it is your wish to continue your tutelage in the art of brewing, I'll gladly accept."

    The forcefulness in his earlier tone gives way to something more lively and hopeful.

    Because, even if his esteemed Grandmother sends shivers down Ludwig's spine when she arrived unnoticed, she's still family in the end.

    And what better time was there to be with family than on this most holy of nights?

    Such was the thought in the Inheritor's mind.

    Perhaps it's time to face those old fears, just for today. To be united together with family and friends, that doesn't sound half bad.

    "Do you have any wishes or requests …Großmama, or would you want Sir Stone to select something for you? Who knows what his …eccentric mind could conjure up for you."


    While the interaction may be awkward between the Karlfeldt pair, the spirit is undoubtedly present in his suggestion.

    After all, now is not the time for fighting, fleeing or stubbornly holding on to the past.

    Now is the time to be with others, a time to live and laugh, and to simply have a good time.

  13. #53
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Cafeteria
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    Quote Originally Posted by Child
    "...Although being tall is pretty useful..."
    "Mhm. Kitchen countertops aren't designed with kids in mind," Blaise replied with a nod. "Just give it a few years and you'll have no trouble doing this on your own. But for now..."

    He paused for a moment, looking at the ingredients he had gathered. First of all, he needed to get that rice-cooker going. Then he would need to start on the fish. Those were the two most important things to get out of the way. While he grilled the fish, he could also take time to deal with whatever this child was up to. Thus, the blonde boy made an universal gesture of "wait just a moment" and he walked over to said rice cooker. After topping it up and pressing a few buttons, the machine came to life and started its endless work of providing the staple of all Eastern kitchens.

    With that done, the boy finally turned back to the kid.

    "Besides, it's not about just your self. I'm immune to fire as well, but that doesn't mean I can just fool around in the kitchen," Blaise continued, patting the spatula he was holding against his shoulder like a sword. "There's many other things to watch out for, too. Oil fires aren't a joke. For example..."

    He pointed at the shirt of the child.

    "Your clothes could catch fire. That'd be unpleasant, whether or not you're immune," he explained. "Or the fire could spread to the kitchen itself. You might be fine, but that'd be an inconvenience for the others at best, a serious health hazard at worst. In a place like this, it's always good to keep in mind how your actions affect others."

    Even Blaise himself realized that he was starting to sound like a cooking instructor or a strict mother lecturing their child, but he pushed that uncomfortable thought out of his head for now. The kid needed to understand that being immune to it didn't mean you could, pardon the pun, play with fire. Blaise himself had learned that lesson the hard way in his youth, and he wanted to spare the kid from such harrowing experiences.

    With a little sigh, he walked over to the stovetop and turned it up to medium-high. Flickering blue flames lit up and he set a pan upon it, throwing a light amount of water onto the pan after setting the grill rack above it. While the water started slowly boiling, he got to work with the fish, preparing a mix of ginger, spring onion and soy sauce to pour over it. While he worked, he glanced at the child and motioned her to start too.

    "Still, as said, I can help you out while I'm here," he said. "Just tell me what you're working on."

    Yes, it was best to just focus on making the breakfast and making sure the kid didn't hurt herself or the others.

    Just work and push any intrusive thoughts out of one's mind.

    Like the appearance of the child's flames and the fact that she could breath them.

    That uncomfortable knot in his stomach when he saw the ability.

    That twisting sensation of horror laying at the back of his head.

    And the desire to scream out loud...

    Old maaaaaan!? What have you doooooone!?

  14. #54
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Cafeteria
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    Phase 1 of 3


    "...Ohhhhh..."

    Eyes open wide, the sudden sound the child makes at the end of your explanation, of the hidden dangers that come from being too carefree with one's powers and failing to think about others, is a sound that makes it clear her entire attention was really focused on you; indeed, the unblinking gaze has become akin to that of a student looking up at a teacher, or perhaps a younger sibling looking up at an older one, indeed...

    That is often how children see teenagers.

    Bigger, stronger, but more relatable because they aren't adults yet...

    Of course, this realization gives rise to even more troubling thoughts; thoughts of how a certain old man must have certainly screwed up something real big this time, those far-too familiar flames still dancing their way across the table, a waltz of reiki and fire that ends with them scattering like stardust, leaving absolutely no damage in their wake, but...

    Don't think about it.

    Don't think about it.

    For now, you'll just work on your own cooking and help the child when she needs you too, and to that end...

    "It's nothing too hard! Just french toast!"

    ...The child seems to be going for something relatively simple; of course, in comparison to certain friends of yours that basically can't cook at all, she is showing a remarkable level of independence...

    "I think I'll just need you to flip it for me... So what was it? A teaspoon of cinnamon? A pinch of nutmeg... Some milk... Four eggs... Vanilla extract..."

    Yes.

    A bit of a precocious child.

    "No that's fake vanilla ew... Oh, here's the real stuff! Get out the bread and put it a plate..."

    Whisking ingredients cheerfully into a bowl as she goes, talking herself through the recipe that seems to exist mainly in her mind, buried in half-forgotten memories, the child eventually pauses in her movements as she turns back to you, as if realizing something, yes...

    "Ah, so mister, you said you were immune to fire too?"

    She smiles at you, drawing closer again...

    "Does that mean you can breathe it too? What's yours look like? Show me! Show me!"

    ...This was making it rather hard to ignore the screaming voice in the back of your head...
    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. #55
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Precocious Child
    "Ah, so mister, you said you were immune to fire too? Does that mean you can breathe it too? What's yours look like? Show me! Show me!"
    Blaise Pendragon flinched.

    He had just finished applying the mixture to the fish which was now happily being grilled over the gridle, and had started his work on the side-dishes and the miso soup. However, for some reason all the knowledge and know-how of cooking in his mind suddenly felt like it was somewher far, far away. Mostly because the child, in her typical child-like innonce, had made a request that was both hard to fulfill yet also hard to ignore. The fact that Blaised had seen her work hard on her simple breakfast had lifted his opinion of the child. After all, she was certainly more driven and self-sufficient when it came to food than certain others he knew. Honestly, a certain vampire mostly relied on him for food these days. He felt as if he had spoiled a wild animal too much and it had forgotten how to hunt for food on its own.

    No, but more importantly... how to deal with this request?

    It would have been simple enough to lie. Yes, he could just lie and be done with this. Just put on a bit of a charade for the moment. But at the same time...

    --- Somehow, this whole morning felt awfully refreshing.

    Maybe it was the fact that he had woke up bright and early, or maybe it was because he was allowed to work in peace and quiet at the kitchen? Or perhaps it was the fact that for the first time in gods know how long he had met a female who didn't claim to be younger than they actually were? The mere fact that this girl wasn't a forty-something (older) woman masquerading as a teenager was such a novel sensation that Blaise felt a bit taken-aback by it. Of course, that in turn made him realize just how screwed up his life was. And what screwed up group of friends he had.

    He really needed to get out more.

    THat being said... what to do...

    ... Aw heck.

    "Well... sure," Blaise finally grunted. "It's nothing special but..."

    With an expert touch, he drew a sharp breath and shot out a small billowing flame aimed squarely at the pan before him. White and blue flames danced in carefully aimed trajectory and coated the surface of the pan completely for a moment. This wasn't just him showing off, but by applying the flames to the fish, he could also grill it slightly on the spiritual side, making sure it would not only satisfy the body but the mind as well. For a moment more those snowflake-like flames danced on the metal surface, before disappearing into the air like scattering flower petals.

    And then it was gone. That very familiar dance of fire.

    "Oh. Remember to coat both sides evenly," Blaise commented, glancing at the French Toast the girl was making. "You don't want it end up looking funny. And careful with the vanilla. You don't need much, or otherwise it'll just taste weird."

    Yes, steer the conversation back to the food and act as if nothing had happened.

    The Zen of Dense surrounded Blaise.

    He just had to not think about things too much, despite the fact that he felt awfully lot like strangling his father at the moment...!

  16. #56
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    "...!"

    ---Starstruck eyes watch the dance of very familiar flames, so closely in fact that a bottle of vanilla extract is almost emptied whole-heartedly into a bowl, were it not for your sudden reflexive intervention...

    "It's just like mine!"

    Naturally, she is a precocious child, so this sort of connection is not beyond her to make; it's not even a difficult one to draw, while the reiki signatures were different (and even then only vaguely, which was worrying in it's own regard) their look, apparent power, and control were all quite similar in nature, and well...

    That doesn't really happen, or rather, it's not the sort of thing that usually happens between strangers... Even if both of you happened to be dragon-descended, the nature of your flames was just as much a consequence of your father as your mother, that was where the snow-esque effect came from, so...

    Who is this?!

    That is, perhaps, the question you might be asking...

    Were it not for your automatic defense systems, the Zen of Dense, or rather, purposeful obliviousness to a line of coincidences that absolutely is not coincidence and probably requires further inspection-!

    Yes!

    Ignore it!

    It's fine-!

    Or it would be, if not for the fact that it seems like she wants to keep pressing-!

    Yes, ignoring her own mistake with the vanilla, the smaller girl steps forward and-!

    "That's so cool! I found someone just like me!"

    Lets it go with something like that?

    There are no sudden accusations or anything, no mysterious declarations of sibling-hood, no...

    Turning back to her process, the soaking of bread in the mixture, and the toss of it upon the pan to cook, she...

    "Although that's a little strange, Daddy always said I was special! But I think it's cooler there's two of us!"

    ...Makes small comments like that...

    "Oh, can you flip this please?"

    And continues on as if nothing is wrong...
    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. #57
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
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    Phase 1 of 3

    Quote Originally Posted by Oh God Who Is This
    "Oh, can you flip this please?"
    "Uh... sure."

    With experienced hands, Blaise moved over from his own breakfast preparations, hoping that a small delay wouldn't lead into catastrophic results at the cafeteria. Still, since the girl had so diligently asked for his help, despite her quite precocious nature... and since he had already told her that she should leave all the difficult stuff to the one "adult" in the room (Blaise was nowhere near old enough to consider himself one)... his body had already moved. He grabbed a hold of the pan, inspected the results of the girl's hard work and let out a thoughtful hum. Well, even with the vanilla being everywhere, things could still be saved.

    It would taste a little odd, perhaps, but it nowhere near inedible.

    Still... flipping things in a pan was a skill that one could not be natural at. It was always the result of a hard work.

    And at the level he was right now...

    "-----!"

    Blaise focused his gaze, and with a simple one-handed flick of his wrist, performed some culinary magic!

    Yes... slaving over the stove both to feed his mother, support his store, and nowadays to keep Aoyama free of a vampire rampage, he had ascended to a truly higher level of cooking arts. Something like this was child's play to him...!

    --- Though it was best not to get cocky.

    "And, well... I don't think there's a little out there who isn't 'special' to their own dad. Indeed, it might have just been that your father meant it that way," Blaise continued talking, hoping to direct this conversation out of troublesome waters. "Mm, that's the way it's supposed to be. Sounds like you've got quite the good father, then."

    Not like one shitty old man I know...

    The last thing Blaise only grumbled in his mind.

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