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Thread: Spirit Pulse: Echo of Ephemeral Moment

  1. #21
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Rossweisse & Logan Starbright (Eventually)
    Norther Cross - Arcade
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Pastries in one hand, and a barely conscious A.I more or less hanging off of your other, the training that has been burned into you as a member of the Rothschild seems to have persisted in spite of the much more relaxed state of the X-Cross Base in comparison to the SLEIPNIR, indeed, the lack of artificial gravity trying to force you to the ground at all times is so pleasant as to feel almost alien, and well...

    There's a lot of life around, obvious life, rather than the cold metallic halls of the SLEIPNIR, where -more often than not- everybody was always busy doing their own thing, the rare exception being meal times, where...

    Everyone's lust for food drives them to be more social, of course, such things are ingrained in every form of life... Eating is a necessity after all, and with all of the energy Tamers burn doing Tamer things, well...

    Of course they love food, even the most stoic, anti-social, bratty Tamer possible... Would still drag themselves into a cafeteria from time to time, hitting it like a natural disaster, and in this regard...

    Lexie Davis was no different than anyone else.

    Indeed, clad in the usual black and purple hoodie (although still wearing shorts even in this weather for some reason) the rather tall figure of Lexie Davis is one that you are able to recognize from afar, violet hair swaying energetically back and forth as she cheerfully pounds away at the buttons on the Blazred Machine before her... It's a pretty fitting image, even for someone like you, who had only met this girl about two weeks ago, it was pretty obvious that this is where she'd be hanging out, in the cafeteria going insane over videogames, it's an image that somehow feels nostalgic, although...

    ---She should be shorter.

    It's a thought that passes through your head from time to time, like the nostalgia wasn't quite as intense as it should be, because she was a bit too tall, nevertheless, putting those strange thoughts aside, she...

    "...Food, huh? Gimme a sec, Hiyori-!"

    A questioning voice, but also the voice of someone who was somewhat distracted by the match going on in front of her; indeed, even though she responds to your words right away, it's the sort of automatic response gamers give to passing family members as they move through their space, in other words, she isn't really listening quite as much as she should be, but...

    As stated before, most Tamers love food, and...

    "Apple fritters?!"

    ...This one loves junk food; you're not sure how she gets away with eating like she does while maintaining her (basically ideal) figure, but-!

    "Ah?!"

    When it clicks in her brain, her posture shoots up slightly, an overreaction to the body suddenly realizing that food is both nearby and being offered for basically nothing; it's a small movement, but also one that distracts her just a little bit, and...

    "Nonononono-!"

    ...confirm into Astral, you can hear the music blaring from over the speakers, the guitar instrumental replaced with the theme song of the latest entry "End Gazer," and...

    "Skyeeeeeeee-!"

    She calls out, over a pair of half-worn headphones, and... You can sorta hear laughter coming back over it...

    Or...

    Like cackling?

    Well either way...

    "Astral's me and runs off? That how it is, of course she would, course she would..."

    An over-exaggerated collapse on the arcade machine, like she had been dealt some sort of death blow... This lasts for about fifteen seconds, or to put it bluntly, about the amount of time it takes for her to remember that she's being offered food, and well-!

    "Ah well, win some you lose some!"

    She jumps easily back to life, spinning to face you with a wink-!

    "So what's this about apple fritters Rossie?"

    ---And thus, that's how Logan stumbles upon the group himself, with the violet haired girl sitting down next to Hiyori on a bench; the journey for the boy was quite a bit more simple, lacking the early morning cooking, although the crowd that's gathered in the arcade (gathered around a certain Goddess that is kindly crushing them all in that way only she really seems to be able to do) the sheer noise difference between this and the ship back home again becomes staggering, but...

    Eventually, you are able to come across someone you know, Rossweisse and Hiyori, sitting alongside Lexie Davis, an SDCD Tamer who possessed a rather powerful sort of personality, the charismatic dork, the shut-in that willingly leaves the house, a big-sister type who seems to pull in everyone around her in a manner reminiscent of a vortex, yes...

    Lexie Davis.

    Her name and face were rather easy to remember, although the position you find her in is somewhat... Amusing?

    Halfway through her first apple fritter, tearing it apart in a boyish manner that had her cheeks stuffed full, and her eyes turned up towards you almost like a deer in headlights, like she hadn't expected someone other than the two with her to watch her basically inhale her breakfast, and well...

    It's not that bad really, you being you, you might not even notice it, but for her, well...

    The choked way in which she forces it down, suddenly, seems to imply that she finds her gluttonous behavior somewhat embarrassing? Like she had lost some sort of grace as a person?

    Maybe some strange sort of complex you just didn't get?

    People were weird after all, Tamers even more so, and the people dragged into the X-Cross most of all-!

    That much you had learned over the course of two weeks-!

    "Y-yeah that's me, Lexie Davis, at your service!"

    Still coughing a bit, but managing to respond to your greeting in kind, the girl pulls herself together after a moment to really study exactly who was talking to her, and...

    "Oh, it's Logan."

    Somehow, she knows your face right away.

    Well, this girl does have a distressing amount of social power for a shut-in type, so that much may simply be expected, but...

    "The chronic overwork guy, I could tell right away... Good morning!"

    ...Even has your habits known too, or rather... It seems she was able to simply see it on your face?

    "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... Sudden new party member, and it's one that'll lock himself away if you give him the chance, can't have that, it's Christmas Eve..."

    Muttering this to herself, she seems to come to some sort of conclusion, and...

    "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?

    The Mario Party Spin-off?

    Known to many as potentially the most malicious virtual board game of all time?

    And her behavior... Was she...

    Trying to adopt you into this little circle?
    Last edited by Airen; December 2nd, 2020 at 05:36 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  2. #22
    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    "That was amazing! You're amazing!!! You're so good you, you have to tell me what your stage name is, I'm going to listen to all your songs! I'm sure a voice like yours could even tame Demons into following you! Is this really the level of casual musicians these days?"

    Where one maiden takes a humble, or perhaps slightly embarrassed stance, Lydia overloads her with unfiltered, unbridled enthusiasm that only exists in those that just heard something mesmerizing. The kind of happiness one can only find after finding a new song, and playing it over and over and over again.

    Because a certain someone only listens to one particular idol, Lydia couldn't help but get the impression that her voice somehow had a similarity to this Idol of Mankind.

    But that might be a little awkward to bring up, if it would end up outing her User.

    "Do you write your own songs, those are some very interesting lyrics. It was almost like, arghh how to put it, I could almost picture it? The people, the story you meant to convey? I'm not very good at this am I, hehehe~"

    Still, somehow the AI maiden got the feeling like a conclusion was formed somewhere in the back of her mind. Had she left a background process to run for an indefinite amount of time, or was it something she had forgotten the importance of herself? Even the song itself had somehow... sparked something...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludwig
    "Lydia, I need you to find someone that smells like him and pass them a message. Think you can do that?"
    When first her little brother woke from his brief slumber, he had said some very strange things to her. Two errands to run, each more impossible than the next. Yet, Lydia had accepted them, catching a glimpse into that boy's eyes of motivation, as well as a deep understanding.

    It would be unlike her to ignore her little brother, so she had went out to accomplish her tasks to the best of ability, but even she had to admit that the behavior was rather strange for her Tamer-boy.

    ---But perhaps, after hearing that song here in the outskirts of the Academy, song by a stranger that seemed to pierce more than just the icy winds...

    Had that boy understood something in the small moments between dreaming and lucidity?

    "I'm sorry this might come across as strange, but you wouldn't happen to know a boy named Ludwig Karlfeldt, or a man named Vincent Brooks by any chance would you?"

    Lydia, slightly worried her little brother is involved in something strange --or worse has been meeting this cute thing behind Big Sis's back-- unwittingly reveals part of the reason why she had been here overlooking the base and it's people. She can't help but display that same curiosity her partner gets himself lost in so often.

    There should be no way for Lud to have met someone like this and keep it to himself, I'm just making sure, yup! But if this girl really is who he was talking about...

    Is what goes through her mind.

    Somehow the impossible request of a brother had turned into a chance encounter for his sister, along with a mystery that left her wondering.

  3. #23
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Rossweisse
    Northern Cross - Arcade
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Life at the Northern Cross was nice. It felt like a place to live compared to the SLEPNIR. While outside of the walls, the North Pole was monocolor as well. Inside the walls, the Northern Cross felt more homely. Even when we were making the initial buildings, the materials used had more warm colors and variation to it compared to the dull greys of the SLEPNIR’s halls. While it took some getting used to the lack of constant graveyard while “at home.” It did make things easier to relax and think about other things than training. Granted, even if I felt like training Hiyori would’ve just dragged me away from the simulators. Not that it wouldn’t be difficult to overpower her but...


    Quote Originally Posted by Lexie
    "...Food, huh? Gimme a sec, Hiyori-!"
    ‘Oh you’re playing against Lia again? C’mon you can do it! Astral her!’


    There was something nice… No... Nostalgic about seeing those two in front of me together like this. There was something off about it though. Was it the perspective? Because I got the feeling I should be taller than the two of them. However, Lexie was a little shorter than my height and Hiyori was a little bit shorter than her. And there was this slight feeling that something was missing… Another person? I was broken out of my weird nostalgia feeling when Lexie reacted excitedly to my listing of the things I baked today. While I figured she would like it… I didn’t expect her to jump up like that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lexie
    "Ah?! Nonononono- Skyeeeeeeee-!"
    ‘Lia wins with an astral finish due to Rossweisse’s untimely assistance!’

    “Lexie sorry! I didn’t mean to distract you!”


    Seeing Lexie in her current state made me feel extremely guilty. Maybe if I didn’t mention that I brought food that I knew she would like, she could’ve won. Or at the very least, she wouldn’t have been so onesidedly Astral finished. Hiyori on the other hand...


    Quote Originally Posted by Lexie
    “Astral's me and runs off? That how it is, of course she would, course she would...”
    ‘It happens. But next time, you can always return the favor!’


    She started headpatting Lexie a bit gently. It would almost be a picturesque moment of someone consoling another… If it wasn’t for the fact that Lexie was 172cm and Hiyori was 160cm… The only way for Hiyori to headpat her was for her to float in midair to accomplish said act. All things considered it looked ridiculous. In fact, if Hiyori looked more ghostlike. It would be less of a consoling scene and more like a ghost haunting Lexie… I’ll have to keep that to myself otherwise she might start ‘haunting’ people around base.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lexie
    "Ah well, win some you lose some! So what's this about apple fritters Rossie?"
    Thankfully, she jumps back to life easily. Taking the loss with ease… I think.


    “Uh yeah I figured you and Hiyori would like something like this. Before that, let’s go find a bench so you can sit down while you eat.”


    Thankfully, there wasn’t a bench too far away from where we were at. It was situated just close enough for us to see Yamuna crush anyone who dared to challenge her at one of the dancing games, but far enough away that we could still talk to each other normally. I handed them both an apple fritter and watched… As they pigged out on them.


    “...I get that it tastes good, but shouldn’t both of you eat a bit more calmly? It’s not like they’re going to go anywhere. Last thing you want is for someone to have a negative first impression on you two...”


    Regardless, they kept digging in nonchalantly until…


    Quote Originally Posted by Logan
    “Good morning, Rossweisse, Hiyori. And to you as well… Lexie, was it?”
    Someone else showed up. If I call correctly, they were Logan and Amelia from Roth as well. While Lexie tried to make herself look presentable… The same couldn’t be said for Hiyori. She continued to eat nonchalantly.


    “Morning Logan and Amelia.”


    ‘Morning Logan! Morning Amelia!’


    Quote Originally Posted by Lexie
    "Y-yeah that's me, Lexie Davis, at your service! Oh, it's Logan."
    After realizing who it was, Lexie relaxed again. It was almost as if she already heard about Logan and Amelia or just knowing her. Her surprisingly, incredible social skills allowed her to tell that Logan wasn’t a threat to her or her reputation. I thought about hammering in my point from earlier, but I figured it was okay today…


    “Here’s a napkin and another apple fritter Lexie...”


    ‘Hey Logan and Amelia! You haven’t eaten yet right? Here have some!’


    At those words, Hiyori dug into the picnic basket I was carrying the pastries in and pulled out a cheddar bacon scone and an apple fritter. Then she promptly tossed the cheddar bacon scone to Logan and then held out an apple fritter in her free hand for presumably Amelia to eat as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lexie
    "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… I guess that would be the most fair game for everyone. It’s not exactly fully calculating to where I would get an advantage due to my methodical kind of play… But at the same point in time… It’s not full gameplay that leaves me at a disadvantage compared to the two obsessive gamers in front of me. However, Logan and Amelia would be a wildcard to the game.


    ‘Tamer Party 12? Sure! I was hoping to win at Blazred, but Tamer Party 12 works too!’


    “Sure...”


    Actually I’m not too sure about this already because while Tamer Party 12 sounds like an innocent game at first. I forgot some key details. The two gaming maniacs both hate to lose, Logan and Amelia are also from the Rothschild who are known sore losers, and I was the only one who probably doesn’t care too strongly about winning… Hopefully, things aren’t chaotic as I think it will be.

  4. #24
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Kaguya
    Cafeteria
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    "UGHYAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"

    Twisting, squirming, trashing... all possible ways of escape were tried and used in that moment of desperation. Pinned by the sorry excuse for a vampire that had become desperate enough to try to make light itself into her meal, Kaguya descended into a rapid (rabbit?) flurry of punches and kickes and overall flailing that achieved practically nothing. Indeed, while she might have portrayed herself as a tough guy and be a rather tough when the push came to shove, there were times when her panic meters rose too rapidly (rabbitly?) and the only thing she could do was, well, ineffectually trash around.

    One could say it was a reaction truly fitting the ears flopping around on her head.

    "GAAAAH! Stop it stop it stop it! Ya shitty four-eyes, get offa me! I ain't yer breakfast, lunch or dinner! Ya can't just eat up a maiden whenever ya want ya sicko, gyaaaaahhh!" Kaguya howled so that the whole cafeteria rang with her voice. "Yer gettin' yer damn food so leave me alone! Not a bit, not even a nibble! None of that is allowed! So staaaaaahp!"

    While the flailing had failed, Kaguya had decided to resort into another way of escape.

    Namely, spinning her arms and legs around like she was about to take off in a Flintstones mobile, hoping to get enough friction to escape the vampire's clutches.

    At the same time, fully red on her face, she continued screaming like her head was about to be chomped off.

    "Mayday mayday! Rabbit 'bout to be eaten by a hungry beast! Poacher! Pervert! GET OFFA ME OR I'LL CALL PETA!"

    It was rather pitiful to look at...

    "KYAAAAAAAH, DON'T YA DARE TOUCH ME THERE! HEEELP! OFFICERS, SHE'S MOLESTING MEEEEE!"

    ... Very pitiful.




    Blaise Pendragon
    Cafeteria
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    Blaise blinked.

    "... Alright."

    And then, with that curt answer, he walked over to the shelf and easily reached out for one of the bowls and set it on the table before the kid. As a man of the kitchen, he figured it was not his place to step in too much, but if the child specifically asked him for help, he couldn't leave them hanging. So, instead, he did exactly what was promised. Afterwards he started to go through the same shelves, looking for a frying pan, spatula and some other essentials. There should have been a rice cooker here too, and hopefully some pickled side-dishes in the fridge.

    So rice, grilled fish, some side-dishes, seaweed, oh and miso soup.

    Couldn't forget miso soup...

    "....."

    Blaise frowned a little bit at himself as he found his movements slightly delayed. While he could whip up a breakfast on an autopilot any day of the week, this time there was something else in the kitchen that required his attention. Namely, the kid. While he usually wasn't that good with children (other than making them sweets and handing them out), now that one was in his "kingdom" so to speak...

    ... He couldn't help but to feel he needed to fuss over them.

    Maybe it was because he was wearing an apron.

    "... You'll get yourself hurt if you need to cook while standing on a stool," Blaise commented, looking at the kid while gathering his own ingredients. "The stove is no place to take risks. Getting burned is the last thing you want."

    Another frown.

    Then, a sigh that he tried to hide.

    ... Well, guess he was doing this. It shouldn't slow him down, anyways.

    "--- Want me to help? With the parts that need height, that is," Blaise asked, wording it so that it didn't seem like he was doubting the child's skills. "Should make it go faster for you."

  5. #25
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Raz Stone & Ludwig
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Under normal circumstances, the squires might perhaps have saved one of you from the other; considering the known nature of the wolf amidst the sheep, it is certainly a form of attack that the squires could have both spotted and intercepted, one of the many usual daily routines that exist within the confines of their far-too stressful life, but...

    Right now, the squires are busy.

    Not just under the watchful eye of Serena either, no, the squires being the squires, a number of them are distracted by the yelling and flailing of a distant a.i who seems to have been ensnared by a wolf of her own (or perhaps a bat?), and thus, the normally watchful eyes aren't paying as much attention as they perhaps should be, and because of that...

    A wolf manages to lead a sheep away, the sheep's only other guardian, a certain participant in the coffee game, so wired on the substance that was practically her life blood, that she can barely focus on anything else, yes...

    ---Where one might think the Tamers of the Rothschild are the most obviously dangerous, in this case, the Knight was the one that had to be watched out for; but it's too late, yes...

    Leaving the contest behind for now, the whoops and cheers of the crowd that had gathered around them fading into silence behind you, the walls of the Brewed Awakenings tent are, to be frank...

    Clearly in violation of the laws of physics.

    Much bigger on the inside than on the outside, one of the tricks alchemists loved to employ, simply because it often meant they were capable of carrying around their workshops inside of their pockets. As a result of this odd spatial warping, things sound both closer to you and further away than they would normally be... Of course such things don't actually matter, and as a half-naked lesson in coffee brewing commences (and of course it is half naked, after all, that seems to be the proper method according to the knight, no?) it's only a matter of time before a separate crowd will begin to appear around the both of you, doing so for quite a different reason, but...

    ---No such crowd appears.

    No.

    Just a single person makes her way inside the tent after the both of you, moving with a grace so absolute it might as well be silent, yes...



    "..."

    Smiling an enigmatic smile as she sits upon a bar stool, quietly watching the two as they do... Whatever it is they seem to be doing, this woman, who seems much like an empress from the olden days...

    "..."

    Seems content to just watch for now.

    A spark of something like amusement alight in her eyes.
    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. #26
    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


    ---The X-Cross Base certainly had a different feeling to it than Avalon; the squires back home were the sort that were used to the presence of the Knights, to them, your existences weren't such a big deal, they were used to the unnaturally good looks of the Knights, and thus didn't give off the same sort of paparazzi esque vibe that a lot of others did around you, but...

    Here, the younger Tamers are not just the squires, no, there are people from all around the World on base, and thus...

    "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod-!"


    ...These sorts of overblown responses were a bit more common here; the other factions didn't quite have the same level of fame resistance as the squires... To a number of them you were something akin to an idol, a celebrity, a person to aspire to be, and thus the symphony of sounds that come from inside of the inner pool as you walk through the hallway, as a group of Tamers sticks their head out into the hallway, as the laughter of a certain fellow knightess seems to almost egg them on...

    None of it is surprising, even so...

    There are a few things that are a bit out of the norm, namely...

    1.) They don't seem to be controlling themselves very well, as the cascade of people rushing out to meet you in a manner similar to a stampede attest to...

    2.) They all seem to be girls.

    Was everyone really this excitable today? It was certainly the Holidays, and it was the first time you had dragged yourself to the pool while you were here... And your ratings had always been higher with female viewers than male viewers (for some reason) but...

    Looking at the stampede, yes...

    Wasn't this a bit much...?

    It was like a storm, moving to swallow you whole, into a mass of flailing limbs and requests for autographs, as the rest of the class (those that had maintained their sanity) just...

    Watch with sympathy...?

    ...Oh no.

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

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  7. #27
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    This day is fantastic!

    Even though it was barely time, according to a normal schedule (and normal place on the globe) for the sun to began peeking over the horizon, Raz was already having a great time. He had gotten to participate in an honorable duel, gotten a chance to provide some nice gifts for the needy, gotten a new toy...

    And of course, said new Toy had not in anyway gotten old. Making use of the workshop had required a little mental adjustment on his part. He had not been paying full attention earlier as he had been so rushed to prepare arms for the duel as well as caffeinate a bunch of bleary eyed Tamers, so when he had his cute little kitten back in his mind he had been picturing a vision of a crowded workplace, chock full of accidental contacts and sexy chances. Instead, Raz found himself in an almost dreamlike state, surrounded by beans, fresh roasted, yet to be roasted, pre-ground, even still in the ground as one of the walls had a clever little miniature garden that seemed devoted to growing new strains of coffee.

    Now that Raz had a moment to more fully process his environment, it was that last one caused Raz an almost physical pain not to disturb. He had never had the greatest amount of self control and was a big believer in instant gratification, so not partaking of the opportunity to try hitherto never before tasted coffee was, needless to say, extraordinarily difficult.

    Still, it wasn't his. The treasures of the workshop were absolutely not his to use, and a knight did not steal. It was one thing to use the already set up coffee counter. That has been designed and brought forward for the services of a barista, there was nothing immoral about using it. Personal consumption of the more exotic treasures would constitute nothing short of unlawful plundering, therefor Raz could do nothing but sign enviously and divert his attentions elsewhere.

    And fortunately for him, an amusing diversion was already at hand!

    ...Now, to be fair, he probably wasn't quiiiiiiiite as far along at the seduction as it probably seemed. Despite the usual level of success intimated with close proximity in a state of undress, the young bard was fairly certain that in fact his current target, whilst mildly confused, was actually quite naïve, and thus was playing along not out of open to the idea of a pleasant encounter but lack of enough self and social awareness to have processed that Raz's actions constituted advances. That however was perfectly fine! sometimes it was boring if there was no chase at all. And thus the current situation unfolded.

    Said situation probably resembled something out of a certain type of manga popular with girl but rarely displayed in public book wracks, as Raz placed his naked chest against the white haired young man, showing him the proper way to add foam to a well made brew.

    "There you go..." Raz breathed silkily, holding onto the White haired Tamer's wrist. Always go nice and light with your motions. End of the day, a little froth, or cream if you like, is meant to enhance the flavor of the coffee, not over power it."

    It wasn't as good a cup as had Raz made it himself, but it had probably reached the level of something served by a disinterested barista who had been working at Moonbucks for a decent while. In other words, restaurant quality but only barely so. It was probably better then most of the coffee Ludwig had imbibed.

    Its not like Raz knew the boy personally he but he had an air about him and enough taut muscle definition that suggested long hours in combat or closely allied combat related training. Such people often found themselves mindlessly gulping day old cold coffee from crappy coffee pots. Raz would be proud if he was able to impart a new skill as well as a new...stance on romantic partners.

    Of course....that's when fate decided to intervene.

    Oh my...somehow, Santa must have decided I was a really good by this year...cant imagine why...!

    Long, flowing raven black hair, chill as the night and with all of the nights darkest, sweetest promises.

    Legs that went on forever. A firm body that gave well to the swell of a soft and welcoming bosom.

    Captivating red eyes, filled with the promise of danger, and yet with a certain carefree charm, warm and cold, fire and ice inside a single body.

    Raz after a moment's staring, caught himself, and then looked over at the white haired boy half in his arms.

    He looked back at the charming vision that graced the stall.

    He looked at Ludwig.

    Again towards the beautiful woman.

    "Welcome...find warmth and comfort, mademoiselle!" The black haired knight said gaily, releasing from his arms a certain likely somewhat reserved young boy.

    "Please, tell me both your orders and your desires, I have not the honor of your name, lovely lady, but allow me to offer my most sincere compliments to this dusky beauty that graces this humble....Oh, pardon me!" Raz interrupted his rather expected ingratiating opening to peer at himself, as if only just now recognizing his near nakedness.

    "Oh my, this wont do at all. Not the way to meet a lovely new....countess, perhaps? let me see what I can do." The Kingdom's bard said, touching lightly his dark, light reflecting shades.

    It was then that things began to...happen.

    Yes, as he spread his arms out wide, across his naked shoulders, from the bright morning came darkness, as a fine cloak, pitch black on one side, red as blood on the other came to rest over his bare shoulders. And yet, within one motion of his suddenly white gloved hands, his shoulders were bare no more! The fine white silk of an undershirt that flared to existence only for a moment before being covered but a dark tuxedo jacket, burnished with fine gold buttons that splashed color and light across an otherwise midnight black coat. A fine gold topped cane, its body also black as pitch served as a combination walking stick and fashion statement.

    A single rose, idly tossed aside, was quickly replaced by a wide brimmed top hat, easily 10 inches in depth, which was used as an accoutrement to the deep bow the overly enthusiastic knight offered, the very same as one might give a dance partner before a waltz. When he placed said top hat across his brow, he hadn't bothered to change his physical appearance much this time, though he had tastefully softened his features a tad, carefully hidden some of his more tousled hair. His shades however, had also changed.

    To what one might ask? Well, does it even need to be asked? Dare dare it be said at all...?

    Why, what else could they have become, but that which drew this entire outfit together...

    A Tuxedo Mask!



    "Please by all mean, come in and warm up, I can assure you, Me and my young apprentice would be happy to offer you something that would warm you from the outside to your innermost depths." Raz smiled, holding out a freshly made cup off off coffee.

    ...Surely that's what he had been referring to....right?
    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.

  8. #28
    Ludwig Karlfeldt
    Brewed Awakenings ~ Tent
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Perhaps it was because of the holiday spirit slowly seeping in, that the ESPer had become a little too carefree...

    Even in a place like this, reality could not be avoided. Could not be escaped.

    Awakening in high spirits, Ludwig had seen fit to send his trusted companion off on an errand, confident that the company of both new and old individuals would bring out a new joy in all.

    And yet, now having been led away from prying eyes by the positively bizarre Knight, that joy was swiftly replaced.

    Of course the Inheritor had been half naked, lured in by an experienced mentor in the art of making coffee. The image of being able to offer Anna a brewing made by himself had been one that went unquestioned, simply because the idea had appealed to the boy so much.

    So...

    "...Kaiserin."

    ---When did that boy's ever present, stoic mask shatter?

    ---When had that boy instinctively lowered his head, as if to welcome royalty or bow in reverence?

    ---When had that cheer of apricity been supplanted by a chilling fear?

    And thus, the Karlfeldt Inheritor meets the head of the Karlfeldt family, in what can only be described as less than stellar conditions.

    The boy is quick to recover of course, dealing with the absurd is a Tamer's duty, even if this isn't the usual kind of absurdity.

    Then again, it's completely normal for a grandchild and his grandmother to spend Christmas Eve together isn't it?

    Judging by the look of her eyes she was simply amused at this strange sight, so perhaps things could yet be salvaged...

    But before that, Ludwig quickly peers over to the former Karlfeldt maid and current pilot of the SLEINPIR.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz Stone
    "Welcome...find warmth and comfort, mademoiselle!"
    ---One should never overlook the existence that is Raz Stone...

    As Ludwig looked back, the events had already been set in motion.

    Just how deep did the ESPer dig his own grave?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Absolute Madman
    "Please, tell me both your orders and your desires, I have not the honor of your name, lovely lady, but allow me to offer my most sincere compliments to this dusky beauty that graces this humble... Oh, pardon me! Oh my, this wont do at all. Not the way to meet a lovely new....countess, perhaps? Let me see what I can do."
    Shirtless, his hair still carrying the aroma of coffee, the boy simply stood frozen in place, mouth left ajar as the bard continues to go from crazy to ludicrous in a heartbeat.

    Perhaps... the Karlfeldt Empress could simply laugh it off as the wonderfully foolish display that only the youths could manage. Simply smiling as she finds something 'interesting' compared to a dullness she had grown accustomed to.

    Or perhaps, nothing so joyous awaits...

    The boy could only watch, hoping beyond hope that this truly was only a dream that will pass away when the dreamer awoke.

  9. #29
    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


    A long time ago, the six-year-old Ayra Lilygrove wanted to be famous. The current Ayra Lilygrove thinks her younger self is an idiot.

    Aster: You walked straight into this one.

    I just wanted some exercise, for Christ’s sake.

    Aster: Yeah, yeah, whatever.

    Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for her, Ayra has simply been exposed to this phenomena too many times to not know how to deal with it. Hiding her annoyance behind a perfected smile, she claps her hands, the sound barely managing to pierce the din of fangirl squealing. She loves her fans, she truly does, but she would also like to go about her daily routine without interruptions like this.

    “Alright! One line, single file! Anyone who cuts is out! And I’d like to go for a swim myself, so let’s make it quick!”

    Aster: You’re evil, dangling the prize at the end like that.

    Shut up, you’re watching the line, not me.

    Aster: I hate you.

    Spoiler:
    Minor Trait: -Tinted Glass-
    Ayra has always been used to being what she wanted to be, but upon becoming a Knight, and especially upon becoming a part of Joker, she understands the need to be what others want her to be. Out of necessity she can act in front of the cameras and lie relentlessly to conceal her objectives. While her skill in deception is rather rough around the edges, she is situated in an environment where people often take her at face value, which helps cover up her inexperience.
    Last edited by Katie; December 8th, 2020 at 02:43 AM.

  10. #30
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Eva Ellet
    Northern Cross Academy - Hallways
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    “Ahem.”

    While certainly very entertaining, Eva felt like if she did not cut off Agatha’s introduction soon then there was a very likely chance that she was going to learn some information that she would have been better off not knowing. Such as, for example, the origins behind the hammering noises next door.

    Offering up silent sympathies to the individual in question, she nonetheless continued onward with her original goal.

    Figuring out what sort of presents her recipients would appreciate the most.

    Unfortunately, it was not a question she could just up and ask directly.

    There was a certain song and dance to the process. People enjoyed surprises- there was some hard to quantify value in making sure the recipients of gifts or parties were kept in the dark about it until the last moment. It was not merely a means of guaranteeing that the recipient could not be too disappointed by the end result- there was something that people genuinely enjoyed about surprise presents.

    Eva herself didn’t really understand it very well. Nor did she know if Agatha was one of the individuals who enjoyed it- there were certainly people who were fine either way.

    But she did know that she was grateful for her companionship over the short period of time that they had known each other.

    That alone meant there was meaning in trying to keep it a surprise.


    Thankfully, Eva had a plan. Doing her best to appear casual, as if it was a problem unrelated to her, she began to speak.

    “There is… something that I was hoping to receive some guidance on… I guess it’s rather minor compared to the secrets of the universe. But, well, tomorrow is Christmas… -not to say that Christmas isn’t an important occasion, of course. It is a highly significant day, as the day of the birth of Christ... and even for those who are not of faith there are significant historical reasons as a celebration that has occurred for many centuries, as well as the precedent they have set in making people expect presents, and…”

    Realizing that her rambling was having the opposite effect, she got to the point.

    “Anyways, it’s… about a friend.”

    Half true.

    “They wanted to know what would make a good Christmas present for their friends. But there are a lot of factors to consider- even ignoring general things such as economic concerns, it heavily depends on the particular desires of the individual, so it was hard to give them a good answer… I was wondering if you knew what constituted a good present. Or, if that is too general or philosophical a question to ask, then something more specific that could be divined…”

    Putting on her best act to hide her interest in the answer, she continued.

    “…Maybe something you think these people would like?”

  11. #31
    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


    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmos
    "But, umm... Can we sleep together like we used to? J-just for tonight, and I understand if mother is busy--!"
    A pause, as the woman raises a finger to her chin in thought.

    "Well, I believe the celebration plans have everyone up till sometime after midnight..."

    Although the thoughtful expression is ultimately replaced with a smile all the same:

    "But that's fine I suppose, if you need me, I'll be there."

    That is, after all, the nature of Mary Fairchild as a parent; while the woman's body is physically weak in comparison to most others, her spirit is indomitable and warm, a saint-like guardian who doesn't mind granting a childish wish from time to time... Of course, some might say she is babying you, indeed, if Alyx was around to see this right now she certainly would have made some sarcastic crack about you secretly still being four years old, and how Aunt Mary shouldn't coddle you so much, but well...

    There's a loud thunking sound from outside, like a massive pile of snow falling from the top of the roof onto someone...

    This is shortly followed by a shrieking noise, and-

    "SARIA?! WHAT THE ACTUAL HE-"

    -laughter, lots of laughter.

    Laughter and yelling, and the sound of dual footsteps (one running away while the other is in pursuit) circling the entirety of the church building outside...

    Yeah...

    Seems like Alyx was having her own troubles right now, so there's not much you'll have to worry about from her, still...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmos
    "Mother and Aunt Alisa's decorating the church for Christmas, right? Let me help!"
    "Of course," Smiling at you, Mary Fairchild gestures towards her best friend with the briefest of nods, the blind red-head somehow (like always) aware of even this tiniest of physical motions as she digs through a box of decorations, "Alisa and I were just discussing whether we should use an angel or a star for the tree topper... Naturally, since it's just the two of us, we've only really agreed to disagree."

    In other words, they need a tiebreaker.

    "Yes, your mother is being quite stubborn today kiddo..."

    Although...

    They seem to also knowingly...

    Not be saying whose opinion is what...

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

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  12. #32
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    "That was amazing! You're amazing!!! You're so good you, you have to tell me what your stage name is, I'm going to listen to all your songs! I'm sure a voice like yours could even tame Demons into following you! Is this really the level of casual musicians these days?"
    ---The woman blinks, as if a bit surprised by your sudden burst of enthusiasm, then-

    "That's quite kind of you to say."

    -smiles, before turning her gaze back towards overlooking the base, or rather, by following her gaze it becomes pretty clear that she's not actually looking over the base in it's entirety, rather...

    Her eyes move between two different spots every once in awhile... Starting with the distant race-track, following the lead car with something resembling heavy interest, and moving from there to the church building, where a silver-haired young woman was chasing a raven-haired one around the outside of the building, pelting each other with snowballs the entire time...

    "But my stage name... Well, it's just h- Jacquie..."

    She smiles, just a bit, although her gaze doesn't leave her chosen targets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    "Do you write your own songs, those are some very interesting lyrics. It was almost like, arghh how to put it, I could almost picture it? The people, the story you meant to convey? I'm not very good at this am I, hehehe~"
    "...My Lady wrote it for me."

    Lightly strumming at the guitar now, the woman sighs to herself at these words, although the melancholic smile that appears after is still, well, a smile...

    "She had a better stage name, Aurora. Although... That was really all she called herself anyway."

    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    "I'm sorry this might come across as strange, but you wouldn't happen to know a boy named Ludwig Karlfeldt, or a man named Vincent Brooks by any chance would you?"
    As for this, well...

    "Ludwig? That's the uh... Karlfeldt heir, right? Should be down below, in the base."

    She doesn't seem to know your User very well, just enough to be aware of the fact that he exists down below, but when it comes to Vincent...

    "As for Vincent Brooks... Yeah, I h- know a Vincent. We haven't talked in a long time, but we used to get coffee together a lot. Poor guy was always complaining about nightmares, so he was h- tired all the time..."
    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. #33
    Chasing Daybreak palad1n's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Northern Cross Church
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Quote Originally Posted by Dearest Mother
    "Well, I believe the celebration plans have everyone up till sometime after midnight... But that's fine I suppose, if you need me, I'll be there."
    Hearing her mother's reply, a true smile bloomed on Cosmos' face, one that could only be described as 'pure happiness' as she hugged Mary once again as a thank you, with a muffled "I love you, mom!" as she buried her face in her mother's dress, though this time she didn't linger for long, quickly shifting her attention to the matters at hand.

    Namely, the fact that the choice of the tree topper seemed to have fallen on her shoulders, and she didn't know which one her mother is fighting for.

    The importance of this assignment couldn't be understated; her voice is the tiebreaker, the decider of what people will see on top of the tree when they enter the church. She alone, and no one else, held the power to decide this...

    What a heavy responsibility.

    But she wouldn't run away. After all, she has to make the correct choice on which decoration her mother would want, and in that sense this is a test... a trial to see how well she knew her mother, one that she must overcome-!

    Of course there's no real consequences for failing, and agreeing with Aunt Alisa isn't actually a wrong or even a bad prospect, but still-!

    So Cosmos' eyes darted between the star and the angel while her mind is whirling at high speed. Her mother is a modest woman, so the traditional star seems like the choice she'd fight for... But at the same time, she's also cheerful, and want to make other people happy. Shaking things up a little by changing the tree topper to an angel seems possible too.

    Reaching the limit of her thought process, Cosmos naturally turned to her, just like she always did.

    'What do you think, Illia? Which one is mother likely fighting for?'

    The AI, who had been silent up to this point, replied thusly:

    'Rather than thinking about that, why don't you choose the one you like more?'

    It was a natural response and advice, one that promotes independent thinking.

    But--

    'Oh, don't be silly Illia. Whatever mother want is what I'd want too! So, which is it?'

    It was brushed off with a smile.

    Quietly, without a single sound, Illia lets out a silent sigh that went unnoticed by her master before she proceeds to give her recommendation, all too used by the teal-haired girl's answers.

    'I think Mary will pick the star, though I cannot be 100% sure.'

    'Okay! Thanks, Illia!'

    Thus, as Cosmos told the two women on her choice, Illia fell silent once again, busying herself with looking over the X-Cross's records of activities in the past two weeks or so and list of people that maybe Cosmos could try to get along with after this mother-daughter bonding session is over.

    After all, there had never been a place for her whenever Cosmos spends her time with Mary.
    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. #34
    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    Eyes trail along with the artist's view, regarding the existences that are Nadia Starr and Saria Justus. Once again it's peculiar, like a piece of a puzzle had begun to click. A puzzle from a different time, perhaps it was in the past, perhaps it had been in a dream. A background process that flickers through the haze of time, a picture becoming clearer...

    Y6, Y7?

    Terms that carry no meaning here.

    Judging by the shift in Jacquie's mannerisms, Lydia sensed she had hit a bit of a painful note as the name Aurora came up. With the power of the internet one could learn that she was just a small-time artist, didn't have any popularity until the year 2010 and disappeared about a decade ago.

    Strange lack of conspiracy theories however, as if it's purposefully not being talked about...

    "She was that important to you huh... I'm sorry for your loss. I'm certain she was someone really special."

    Evidently she was aware of Ludwig's existence, though given the words they certainly weren't well acquainted. Then again, given Lydia's task to find what is most likely this person, perhaps all things considered he had been aware of her?

    He had been aware of something at least, Lydia concludes to herself after hearing that indeed this stranger had some connection to Vincent.

    "I'll make sure my little brother will listen to the words Aurora left behind... but I believe now that he sent me here to find you. He... has a message for you, strange as that may sound."

    Thank you for granting the apricity that I could not.
    It may be some time, but the frozen river will flow again.
    The abyss of memories is throbbing faintly within the long slumber.
    All dreams end eventually, but that doesn't mean that what happened in them was without meaning.

    No matter what awaits, I'll continue to move forward.
    I hope we'll meet there, in future called hope.

    "...I'll be honest, I have no idea what it means hehe~

    But, what I can say is that this is a time for joy and laughter, a time for a family to reunite... and enjoy each others company.

    So, Jacquie, be sure to talk to those two... Call it a big-sister instinct, but I think it'll do you three good."

    A soft and sympathetic smile beams of the mingling COMP AI, her tone gentle yet encouraging. She simply sits there along with the enigmatic artist, content for the moment to simply be there in silence.

    ---After all, despite the cold winds, overlooking the base and the souls gathered below...

    …It's a strangely heartwarming sight.

  15. #35
    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


    ---Winning by not losing.

    That was certainly one way to look at the situation of the lone King on the board... His army has fallen, no one remains except himself, and yet, as long as he stays standing, the winner is not you decided... There is no way for him to claim victory by himself, but if he holds out long enough, well...

    Maybe something will change?

    The game will start again?

    A rematch?

    Yes, it's certainly an interesting point of view, but while Alexia considers your question with earnest thought, one finger on her chin as she ponders whether or not she's really willing to sit through another game with herself...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris
    "It's Christmas Eve, huh..."
    These words emerge.

    Words that point out a certain fact, the truth that, where everyone else has seemingly wandered off to do something with their friends, in this room...

    There were a lot of loners.

    People doing their own thing, yeah...

    It's a statement that not only seems to divert Alexia's attention a bit, but also...

    "Indeed it is, that's why I'm ensuring all the fireplaces are protected."

    ...grabs the attention of a certain beloved senpai of the SDCD, the ever-calm pretty boy ace, a young man of even words and unshakeable convictions, so much so that his declaration of protecting fireplaces comes across as absolute in it's sincerity in spite of it's absurdity, and thus no one asks him about it immediately, no, it simply passes by as a sort of fact of life, until...

    "Protected from what?"

    ...Rice asks from her spot on the couch, apparently listening to all of you talk in spite of the absolute focus her avatar had apparently been having on the television screen, flipping around in her seat to face everyone.

    "Krampus."

    A simple answer.

    "That's not a real thing, you're making that up."

    A simple (if bratty) response.

    "Sure it is, you know about Krampus, right Chris?"

    ---A spirit that was said to haunt Aoyama around this time of year, in other words, an evil variation on the Santa Claus myth; due to the nature of cognition, a number of stories can lead to the births of differing versions of the same entity, in other words, it was perfectly possible for a normal Santa Claus and an evil Santa Claus to exist simultaneously, provided there was enough belief in both of their existences being separate, but...

    While you had certainly heard of Krampus, well...

    You had never actually seen him, in spite of living in Aoyama, the one place he was said to actually visit this year, and really...

    The nature of the stories was always sort of sketchy, contradictory descriptions of what it even looked according to witnesses... Could just be fairies pretending to be a malevolent version of Santa Claus, so...

    Was he real?

    Hard to say.

    Even in the magic era, some stories turned out to be false ones...

    Still...

    Quote Originally Posted by Daisuke
    "Ah, Alexia-san! Thanks for watching Chris. Should I get something for you too?"
    Blinking as she is addressed, as if the words themselves had drawn her out of her own sense of self-reverie, Alexia...

    "No problem. I am a master at watching over the drowsy. None of my students were ever morning people, you know?"

    She winks at the boy.

    "As for getting me something... Nah, I'm good... I had a few shots of espresso earlier this morning, don't want to trouble my already caffeine-strained heart any more than necessary."

    ---There was more self-control in that statement than most Tamers possessed at least...

    Turning down caffeine... That was a real test of heroic willpower...
    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?



  16. #36
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Mokujima Chris
    Northern Cross Academy ~ Common Room
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3

    "Already had coffee earlier...?" Daisuke frowns. "Alexia-san, please be responsible. Getting up too early is going to cut into your sleep. If you don't get eight hours it'll impact your work, y'know? Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"

    It may be instinct. Or just a hypothesis that this person, who his partner has been constantly talking with from a distance, is the same kind as his buddy. If so, then she needs to be scolded just as much!

    "But if there's anything else I can do for you, just say the word, okay?"

    As the young COMP lightly admonishes the woman whose advice indirectly led to his current form, Mokujima Chris...

    Is deep in thought.

    "Krampus..."

    It's certainly not a common word, but also, Chris has certainly heard it before. The legend of the 'bad' Santa who punishes naughty children may have been scrubbed from pop culture, but it still exists as a vestige of itself in the form of the Naughty and Nice list. Misbehaving children get coal, kidnapping, or worse.

    For Mokujima Chris, however, the word 'Krampus' holds another meaning.

    "...heh. Raid boss."

    It might be impossible to tell, given that her facial expression hasn't changed in the slightest, but the brunette's eyes look a bit more alive than before. Perhaps it's just the coffee kicking in. It certainly couldn't be that the prospect facing down an evil legendary spirit is to her somehow more exciting than Christmas. Maybe some people just prefer their presents to come from a defeated opponent.

    Besides, yearly events like this shouldn't be ignored, especially since it's her first Christmas as a Tamer. Would it drop enchanted coal from the deepest pits of Hell, perhaps? Could be a useful material...

    "If it's not real... then... leave one open." She closes an eye, thinks, and takes a sip of coffee as her eyes flit about the room and lock onto the closest fireplace that hasn't yet been warded, just next to Shuichi and Rice. "How about, that one? Then, something interesting, might come through."

    Certainly, as she doesn't believe in it, Rice won't mind, right?

    "Chriiiis. Why are you teasing her like that? She might get scared for real!"

    Almost immediately a protest is beamed right into her mind as Daisuke pouts at his Tamer.

    She sends back the mental equivalent of a shrug: "No particular reason. You can play Senpai if you want. As an AI, you're her senior after all."

    Yes, no particular reason...

    In response, the young COMP sends back a grumble at her strange childishness, before, in the physical world...

    Stepping over for a moment, towards the girl lying on a couch, not realizing that he'd been manipulated.

    "Rice-chan, don't worry about Krampus. Everyone here is strong, so even if he exists, we'll keep you safe. Besides, he only comes for bad kids, right? But you haven't done anything wrong, so if anyone comes it'll be Santa!"

    Yes, there's no better way to break a loner than to send a Pollyanna after them.

    "Here, do you want my coffee? Mr. Stone said it's extra sweet. And he added a lot of cream too! Have you ever had coffee? A frappe? An iced cappuccino with whipped cream on top? A pumpkin spice latte? They're amazing! How about we go for some later? Oh, and sweets! Did you know my buddy makes the best sweets? She can bake anything! I could ask her to cook some for you! They go great with a nice hot drink..."

    As the young COMP is set upon his new target without mercy, Chris lazily beckons Shuichi to join them at the table. Perhaps he'll have a way to resolve this impossible chess match.

    "What do you think?" she whispers to Alexia.

    That small, excitable COMP is her pride and joy after all...
    Last edited by Bloble; December 12th, 2020 at 06:52 PM.

  17. #37
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Eva Ellet
    Northern Cross Academy - Hallways
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    Quote Originally Posted by Eva
    “…Maybe something you think these people would like?”
    "...Hmmm."

    ---Audible humming, the overdramatic sound of someone who was doing her best to come across as a blatantly mysterious fortune teller, in spite of the fact that you both knew where she lived (hell you had a key to what was effectively her house) and could actually see her now, dressed in a plain blue cloak that only sort of hides her face, face that you can still see, as she raises her hands over what seems like some sort of crystal ball?

    Yes, she's certainly getting into the role, the Velvet Room's usual opera song blaring out through the opponent of the tent like there was some sort of speaker system inside, so...

    "Very well child of the Altjira, I will do my best to divine this inquiry for you, using the flow of the river of the unconscious itself!"

    She says it with energy-!

    Conviction-!

    A booming voice that is clearly trying to be grandiose, and somewhat succeeding in that attempt, yes-!

    Light shines.

    In the crystal ball that you could have sworn was absolutely fake -probably made of plastic- a light begins to burn in it's depths, light that shines like a compressed star, light that seems to escape from the ball as you watch it, yes...

    ---For an instant, the world around you darkens, as if the artificial sun had simply been blown away by the presence of this woman's power, the escaping light scattering around you like so many circling stars, stars that spin and streak endlessly as the world itself seems to quake, tiny fires spinning and spinning and spinning in a way that makes you dizzy to really comprehend, but, after a moment...

    They all fade away.

    No, the return to the sphere from whence they came, the light fades out, the planet stops shaking, and...

    "The person you are thinking of, their desire is..."

    Her voice booming out, playing the role of the mysterious fortune teller until the very end (even as the thumping sounds continue) the woman sounds quite confident in her answer, almost giddy, excited, as if she was happy to be able to do something like this for you...

    "...A case of Cola. My, my... You must have very high-class friends. That sounds like an excellent gift!"

    ...Cheerful.

    A naivety that is almost on the level of a child...

    "Although when it comes to gifts, humans tend to overthink things! As long as it comes from the heart it is fine, right? That is what the other attendants say! If you tell your friend that, I am sure they will come to understand this gripping truth of reality for themselves!"

    Although, all the same...

    She seems to know the more philosophical answer too...

    A strange mix of immature and mature, yes...

    Velvet Room Attendants really are something...

    "Are these answers sufficient? Or would you like me to pull out the tarot deck? Palm reading? I have many methods to drag information out of the collective unconscious, so I am sure I will be able to rip a good answer out of the cognition if I try for long enough!"
    Last edited by Airen; December 12th, 2020 at 06:54 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  18. #38
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Lydia
    Northern Cross Academy,
    Outdoors
    12/24/2026
    Thursday - Early Morning


    ---Strange words, words that border on madness, or an outright delusion by a certain member of the Karlfeldt Family. Indeed, of course the boy's words don't make sense, they sound more like poetry than anything concrete, and certainly shouldn't mean anything to this rose-haired woman, the goddess-like stranger atop a mountain of ice and snow, and indeed...

    "Oh dear..."

    ...Chuckling to herself at the words, the woman shifts slightly in place as her hands return to the strings of the guitar.

    "Your User is a verbose one, huh? That's a doozy to try to figure out."

    She laughs.

    ...It's definitely the laugh of a Goddess, light and carefree, but so deeply ingrained with power that, for a moment, everything around the woman other than her own self seems to become far less... Real... In the face of her own existence...

    It's a strange moment.

    One that has you blinking for a second in the face of it, but...

    "But really, I don't quite know what he's trying to say... But frozen river? What would make him think the river is frozen? You can't stop the river or go upstream anymore, that's not something anyone has the authority to do nowadays."

    She chuckles.

    "Ah well, the World is Strange, and I am simply a guitarist. The thoughts of humans are beyond me, at times."

    ---Painfully enigmatic.

    Or rather, an annoying tendency of those supernatural beings that were deeply entrenched in the spiritual side of the World, the Great Sea through which everything in existence was born...

    Namely.

    An annoying tendency to speak without speaking, the aura of someone that perhaps knows more than they're letting on, but at the same time, comes across as completely innocent, yes...

    She says she is simply a guitarist.

    And in spite of all the evidence pointing at her being something Divine, well...

    Her words make you want to believe her.

    ---That in itself is a bit strange, still...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lydia
    So, Jacquie, be sure to talk to those two... Call it a big-sister instinct, but I think it'll do you three good."
    ...When it comes to this, the woman frowns, then...

    "It is not that easy unfortunately," again, the melancholic smile, "...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."

    At this, she frowns, looking down at her own body, like she half expected it to fade to dust or turn to snow, and thus be blown away by the wind, but...

    "So today is not our true day of reunion... It is just a passing meeting, a tiny fantasy, little more."

    ...It's hard to tell what emotion lies in these words.

    What she says makes some sense, but all the same... You hadn't talked to her about sheltering anyone, so...

    Did she see her own existence as something like that? Think they would think of her as that sort of existence if they saw her? Or, perhaps...

    She knows she can't stay with them for some reason, and thinks its simply less painful for all involved if they just don't meet right now at all?

    Whatever it is, with the scenery down below remaining that heartwarming sight for now, you...
    Last edited by Airen; December 15th, 2020 at 07:25 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  19. #39
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Blaise Pendragon
    Cafeteria
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---Blaise Pendragon is secretly a Mother Hen.

    Well, perhaps secretly isn't the best word to use, anyone that watches him interact with children would probably be able to spot it just in the way you carry yourself around them alone, but...

    You have an image to maintain, that being said...

    ...You can't help yourself, it would bother you to no end if she accidentally got hurt within your 'territory,' nevertheless...

    Quote Originally Posted by Blaise
    "... You'll get yourself hurt if you need to cook while standing on a stool," Blaise commented, looking at the kid while gathering his own ingredients. "The stove is no place to take risks. Getting burned is the last thing you want."
    ...The girl, when she hears you say this, turns to you from her precarious spot on the stool, and... Sort of stares at you for a bit? It's the same stare as before, the stare of someone that is trying to figure out exactly what it is you're doing here, what you want (if anything) and why you happen to be so worried about her, but whatever the conclusion she reaches is...

    "You don't need to worry about that."

    ...It seems to be a positive one, as she lightly smiles, tilting her head slightly to the side as she regards you.

    "I can't get burned. Doesn't matter how hot the flame is."

    She says so decisively, then nods her head once, a spark of excitement in her eyes at her sudden decision to show off to an "older kid," and...

    "See, watch this..."

    ...Like a tiny dragon, the small girl takes a deep breath of air, and...

    Exhales it as flames.

    ...Blue and white flames.

    Flames that flicker and dance through the air like falling snowflakes... No, their movements are like tiny, living flames, flames that she catches in her hands, bounces off her fingers, giggling to herself as she rhythmically passes the spiritual fire from finger to finger, holding it up to you so you could get a good look at it...

    "See? No burns!"

    A pause, then...

    "...Although being tall is pretty useful..."

    ...having not thought this all the way through...

    She does acknowledge a certain facet you have that she does not, namely...

    Height...
    Last edited by Airen; December 15th, 2020 at 07:20 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

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


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


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

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  20. #40
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Cosmos Fairchild
    Northern Cross Church
    Christmas Eve
    Phase 1 of 3


    ---If one thinks about it, it's a bit of a tragedy.

    The point of a question like this is to encourage independent thinking, that's why these two had phrased it the way they had... Of course, such a thing is a fact that only Ilia seems to pick up on, after all...

    This particular daughter has an obsession with the Mother... There is no reason to think for oneself, after all, Mother's happiness is her happiness... There are a number of things that could be said about this, some positive, some negative, but, if there is one clear thing, it's that...

    ...Well, it's a bit childish, but also understandable...

    One can't really grow like this, but...

    That's a story for another time, perhaps...?

    Still...

    "...Heh."

    ...In the end, the one that smirks is the red-haired vice leader of the Rose Cross...

    "Star it is, looks like I win Mary."

    "Yes, seems so."

    Of course, Mary takes it well; while she can be surprisingly stubborn (hardheaded) when she needs to be, this sort of family argument was something had in good fun, after all, Alisa Kingsleigh was her closest friend, an existence close to that of what one might expect from a sibling of about the same age, and indeed...

    It doesn't seem to bother her at all, in fact, she smiles at her friend's victory in spite of her loss, but you...

    Well...

    What about you?

    It's not a big deal, but...

    Meanwhile...

    ---Leaving your User to fall victim to a certain unfortunate habit of hers, you decide to look into the past of this organization's activities, or at least, as far into the system as you are authorized to go... Of course, one might think that you should already know about what it is that you're doing up here, and indeed you should, but for some reason, well...

    It wasn't coming to mind too easily, not that it mattered, after all...

    Files on the activities of the X-Cross were rather easy to get too... Well, you were certain that there were some classified files somewhere on the base (one of the three mainframe A.I were always on guard duty for a reason after all) but the base itself hadn't existed for very long, and it wasn't like you had all done that much up here yet anyway, although...

    The public records you find... They're sort of sorted a little oddly?

    Some of it is simple and concise, stuff that sounds about right once you read it with your own eyes, for instance, the X-Cross itself had been formed as an attempt to reinforce global unity and goodwill around the world, a big show of everyone working together to get something done, of course, that meant that there needed to be something for you all to get done in the first place in order to get the excuse to form the organization, and that was...

    Investigation of a certain phenomena, located 100 miles north of your current position; code-name Schwarzwelt, a rapidly expanding polar storm of sorts that had been surrounded by a thick plasma barrier, necessitating the use of military grade magi-tech to investigate the interior; destruction of the Schwarzwelt had been confirmed a week ago, cause of the termination...

    X-Cross Tamers.

    You had all cleaned it up rather fast, all things considered...

    Not much had been inside of it, other than shadows, wraiths, general human vengeful spirits of varying levels of power, nothing particularly bizarre.

    At least... Not as far as you can remember. There had been a weird-looking gate and some OOPart technology at the heart of the phenomena, but the researchers had managed to shut the storm down after tinkering with the items, and now...

    Research teams were working on it.

    A substation just outside the range of the Tamer Base itself had become the new resting place for the found technology, and they were carefully trying to figure out what it did, naturally...

    Anything more than that is classified, however...

    As stated earlier, some of this is weird...

    It's like one of the technicians had been sorting things last night, and had simply stopped near the end... Probably succumbing to the fatigue that so plagued the humans that worked with the supernatural...

    Yes.

    There were broken newspaper esque files just laying around out in the open, stuff like...

    File 1
    NORTHERN STATIC
    Last night, the Harmonizer Towers picked up a consistent storm of FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts) erupting from the northernmost areas of the planet every fifteen minutes or so; amateur attempts to decipher the messages have produced inconsistent results, however, there is a group online, known as the "Masked Circle" (relation to the pre-magic era cult unconfirmed as of yet) that has declared the FRBs can all be translated as different pleas for help.

    While the Tamer Organizations have confirmed they are looking into the case, details of what they have found out so far are sparse; however, rumors of an expedition to the North to investigate have also begun to appear...



    File 2
    A NEW HEAD - THE TURMOIL OF THE AKARANA FAMILY REACHES A FEVER PITCH
    In a rather sad conclusion to last week's documentary on the declining health of the Akarana Family Head, it has been confirmed, by the family itself, that the legendary entrepreneur has passed due to complications in his health; succeeding him as CEO of Akarana Industries is his daughter, Charlotte Akarana, former head of the Electronics Division of the Family Business.

    Of course, due to the turbulent nature of the family's relationships with each other, foul play has been suggested by a number of theorists online, especially because -as our readers know- Charlotte herself is the one that was reported to have found her Father collapsed in his mansion home on the outskirts of Aoyama, however, the new CEO has denied all truth in such "disgusting rumors," and explains her father's presence in Aoyama as the family's final attempt to use the natural healing atmosphere of the area to prolong his life.

    After giving this statement, the young Akarana has refused to give more.

    Her younger brother, Akarana Lloyd, has been similarly reluctant to answer the call of this reporter.




    File 3
    INCOMING VISITOR (?) - 148780 ALTJIRA LEAVES IT'S HOME

    In a rather bizarre turn of events, the classical Kuiper Belt Object has lost it's orbit around Neptune and is currently on a path towards Earth; researchers are unable to agree upon why this sudden shift in orbit has taken place, but conspiracy theories seem to place the blame around the Xanadu Labs new "Moon Tower," and the experiments with spatial teleportation they have been conducting in the upper atmosphere. Head Researchers Claire Mongeau and Nakamura Megumi have denied having anything to do with the movements of the celestial body, and have instead used the appearance of this situation to stress the importance of having a reliable means of warding off future collisions with celestial bodies, after all, it is an "inevitability," rather than a "possibility," for a full report on the statement by Claire Mongeau, please follow the link below...



    And while all the data was broken, they all seemed to be articles written by the same person, namely...

    An "Aleta Gaumond."

    ...You had never really heard of her, but she seems to be some sort of reporter?

    Not a big one either, judging by how impossible it was to find a picture of her, nevertheless...

    As you continue your diving...

    "...Abandoned again, huh?"

    Another A.I appears to speak with you.

    ---It's a familiar one, well, about as familiar as these sorts of things were to you anyway, namely...

    It was Danica.

    Alyx's A.I Companion...

    One who, rather than Alisa...

    More resembled the girl's guardian angel...

    "Watcha doin? Boredom reading?"
    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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