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    Enter the Black Maria!

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 22nd March 2022, 9:19 am

    Job Description



    It had been said by a number of ancient sources that the Interdimensional Sea was a place where all worlds and planes of existence connected. It bore many names and many designs, because it was not considered to be a finite place. Space and time were turned on their heads in the Interdimensional Sea, because it seemed to follow no rules but its own. A number of people had learned to harness its qualities, granting them incredible space-time powers, and the ability to travel vast distances in space in a mere matter of seconds. Some knew the Interdimensional Sea as the Void, some knew it as the World of Dreams, some called it the plane of Otherness, some labelled it as the Wellspring of Magic, some knew it as the Place at the End of all Things, and they were all correct, and at the same time, they were not very accurate, for the Interdimensional Sea encompassed everything, in ways which the understanding of mortals could not even begin to dare to grasp. And it was this infinite nature of the Interdimensional Sea that made it possible for someone to create channels through the Void without having said channels hijacked by another entity, unless said entity was a master of the form of travel that its target was using to traverse the Interdimensional Sea. Because even though the ancients believed that the Interdimensional Sea engulfed and connected all things, individual travelers through the Sea were in dimensions all their own, and many of these travelers were masters of the dimensions through which they performed their fare, and yet none was truly lord of the Void. The Interdimensional Sea served everything, and served nothing. As a matter of fact, many of the ancients believed that the Interdimensional Sea was everything and nothing. One’s experience in the Void could be incredibly different from that of another, and this was why someone would travel through the Interdimensional Sea and reemerge on the physical plane smelling of brimstone, and yet another would travel through the same void, without having any physical evidence that they had just completed an incredibly long journey. Others still, when traveling through the Interdimensional Sea, would experience a particular sensation at a particular time, and yet a much different one if they traveled through the Interdimensional Sea at another time, or in another fashion. And of such people, the Pergrandian woman known to many as Nita Fortune could claim association.

    Among those who believed the Interdimensional Sea was synonymous with the World of Dreams, there were many who opined that during sleep, one’s mind bled out of their body, and got lost in the Interdimensional Sea, encountering the many denizens that called the place home. Encounters with dangerous and frightening entities were referred to as nightmares, and what saved a person from such nightmares was the subconscious ability of the mind to return to its physical frame, for the soul served as a mooring rope that anchored the mind to the body. If this mooring rope was snapped, then the mind got lost and drifted forever in the Interdimensional Sea, or ended up being the food of horrors of unspeakable attributes, or was harvested by the gods to which it had pledged devotion. In any case, the result of this was death, and its victim was said to have died in their sleep; a death many desired to die, perhaps because they did not realize the full details of what had caused such a demise. For those who had, while in the Interdimensional Sea, experienced divine occasions of such beauty that their mind willingly severed the anchor of the soul, so as to more fully and permanently experience these wonders, yes, such death was enviable. But this was not always the case. There were some who had experienced quite the opposite: a terrible amount of trauma to the mind in the Interdimensional Sea could cause the one who had experienced it to suffer a recoil so drastic that the life force of such a person degenerated into nothingness while trying to resist the experience of such a horror, or escape it. And once the life force, which is the primary constituent of the soul, has been depleted completely, the mooring rope that tethers the mind to the body is gone, and the mind and the body become complete strangers from that point on, unless by some miraculous feat, a new mooring rope can be used to reattach the mind to the body, or in a most horrible case, a foreign mind, with its own mooring rope, finds the empty body, and makes a home in the vacant shell. This is one of the many theories that have been set forward to attempt to explain the nature and mechanisms of possession. In some more fortunate cases of possession, (these cases are only fortunate because there is still hope that such problems can be rectified), a stranger from the Interdimensional Sea may invade a mind, if a doorway has somehow been provided for it to travel from the Interdimensional Sea into a living body (some strangers latch on to a mind as it returns to its body, thus joyriding their way into a living host), and such a stranger will force the original owner of the physical body into a mental prison, while the stranger uses the body for whatever purposes it desires. This scenario seemed to be the most likely explanation for what Nita fortune presently faced, except that, to her personal consternation, this situation seemed more like some idiots had decided, of their own free wills, to allow extraplanar foreigners from the more eldritch patches of the World of Dreams, to infest their bodies, although to what purpose this had been done, the Luminous Rose mage could only venture guesses. In any case, what this meant was that dangerous raving lunatics were roaming the streets of Crocus at night, and kidnapping people, who were never heard of again. In some cases, sloppy attempts at kidnapping allowed potential victims to escape, and it was from the mouths of these victims that Nita had been able to acquire important clues that helped her piece the nature of the present menace in Fiore’s capital. Needless to say, for all the sloppiness of these lunatics, they seemed to be quite adept at evading the authorities, and they tended to target the seedier members of Crocus’ underbelly, seeing as every large city had its own share of the undesirables. If a few beggars and street roughs got missing, nobody would really complain, and the times security forces had been alerted to the threat, it only seemed like some silly minor gang retaliation occurrence, which did not disturb the ‘more important’ members of society, and thus was mostly left ignored. However, a noble with a precarious position in Fiore’s court had had a relative disappear under shady circumstances, and the scandalous nature of this disappearance had elicited him to seek help privately, without informing the authorities, as his political enemies would be quick to vilify him, should they catch wind of his situation. It was for this reason that Nita had come to Crocus for the first time in her life, to work as a private detective of sorts. And she was not going to do this alone. Having arrived earlier than the stipulated time for the rendezvous, the Pergrandian sat at a table in an out-of-the-way café, waiting for her partner and client to arrive.


    WC: 1250


    Last edited by Fraag on 23rd March 2022, 8:43 pm; edited 1 time in total


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 22nd March 2022, 1:44 pm

    As expected of the capital city of Fiore and home of the royal family, Crocus was majestic in appearance. It sprawled into the distance, with the castle, a bastion of lavish security, sitting roughly in its center. The rich and privileged also laid claim to this  city, calling it their abode, and Terumi, despite the beauty of the place, couldn't shake the feeling that getting a comfortable apartment would require a lot of political intrigue.

    Or recognition from influential people.

    The latter was more likely her ticket into this place, if she was interested in living here, anyway, because she was too straightforward and naïve, according to some, to play the politics card right. She might not have been really hyped about getting a mansion here, but she did not mind being recognized by most people as someone they could trust to protect and defend them. That was why she  had taken up the "Senka" moniker and persona. It was successful to an extent, because a character in a black spandex outfit was easily recognized and remembered. However, Terumi was starting to think that she was not getting the reactions she wanted from people. True, most people expressed gratitude at her timely interventions, but it seemed black did not give them the optimistic, wide-eyed hope she expected. She had asked some questions, and it seemed like the color she chose for her superhero stints was the major issue. At some points,  she hadn't known whether to be amused or slightly offended by the antics of people. Someone had been shocked that she had "such a cute face". Another person had pointed out that her voice was not scary. To his credit, he had admitted that it bore a sort of charisma, but not one  that demanded dreadful awe. Someone else had thought she was a ninja. Eh, she could easily take on clandestine missions, but stealth wasn't really her thing. Another person, a criminal this time, had made fun of how black didn't fit her "bright" persona, and had immediately tried to hit on her in a ribald manner. She had hit him without any puns intended. In the minds of people, black seemed to be more tailored to a gritty vigilante, the bare knuckle brawler that struck fear into the hearts of her enemies.

    Fear. Not a concept she really wanted to be known for.

    Maybe one of these days, she would play around with brighter colors and see if they would give the desired result of hope and light. Today, she would don her black battle suit once more, and the reactions of those she interacted with would influence her decision. And perhaps would be a good enough time to find out where she would go with her signature colors. After all, she had just gotten a mission, one that seemed tough. Terumi wasn't sure she could boldly say she liked challenges, but she was very cognizant of the fact that as long as they didn't break her, they made her stronger. Still, she had faced some situations in the past she would have loved to run away from, because she hadn't had the strength to defend her ideals.

    She needed to change that.

    It was a mission that needed some investigative work. It appeared that people had been missing, having been kidnapped, as was alleged, by some sinister gang or something. Terumi had considered the issue long, and weighed the viable options. Why would anyone want to nab the dwellers of Crocus' underbelly? It was almost plain that these people had a dash of secrecy to their activities; they didn't want to attract too much attention. Next, she reasoned that their basis for kidnapping was not likely to obtain a ransom; their targets probably couldn't rack up enough jewels to save their lives, otherwise, they would not be in the position they were. It was more likely that they were going to be used, or already being used, as some sort of raw material. Perhaps forced labor... or something more abhorrent. Whichever it was, she was going to track them down and bring their plots to an end.

    It was ironic how the justice system worked. These kidnappers had obviously been operating for a while, but it seemed like no one could be bothered, no one of high repute, anyway. That had been so until someone connected to a "high repute" individual had been kidnapped, and then the money flowed to get someone to discreetly resolve the issue. Well, that was why she was here. The mission was not a solo run; she was going to work with someone. Hopefully, the person would be friendly, they would get off on the rightest of feet, and she could attempt to pry their honest opinion about her color code from them.

    Being the kind  of person who valued preparations, Terumi had tried to sniff around a little, get an idea of who the kidnappers might be. However, she met with a brick wall every time. The low class citizens of Crocus either couldn't be bothered enough to help, and if anyone seemed to know anything, they were not eager to be involved. was it fear, or just plain old selfishness? She would have to get details from her client. That would at least give her a point she could start her search from.

    Terumi looked at herself in the mirror of her little hotel room. As usual, she was in her dark colored outfit. She had always liked its design... though right now, she wondered whether the domino mask was not a little bit redundant. Most people said it was, since they could easily identify her, and she wasn't even trying to be incognito, anyway. She had felt it was iconic... somehow. With a shrug, she stepped a little away from the mirror, then activated her Firestep, and vanished in a flash of green light.

    A second or two later, she stepped out of a fireball that had sprung to life just outside of a virtually non-descript cafe. Smiling and raising her hands to reassure the startled people that she intended no harm, she walked into the building. And almost immediately, she saw the blonde hair, freckles and heterochromic eyes. Very few people fit such a description, and Terumi broke into a very delighted smile.

    "Nita! It's so good to see you here. How are you?" She hurried in for a long, warm hug. "A lot has been going on, we haven't had time to sit down and just chat." She drew back her head so she could look into her friend's eyes. "Wait, you're here for the mission, too?" her expression had gained a tang of curiosity, but she was still beaming. Then she stepped back. "What do you think about my outfit? Honest opinion. Tell me what it's evocative of. I won't be offended," she said as she twirled around once. Most people who had met Terumi on a normal day usually described her as quiet, but it was her friends who usually got to bring out this more expressive side of her.

    WC: 1187
    TWC: 2437

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 22nd March 2022, 10:20 pm

    As Nita sat and waited for the arrivals of the client and her partner, she could not help but feel a little amount of discomfort. It was like she could tell that something was not particularly right, but at present, she could not just place her hand on it. Something of growing concern to her was the fact that “the voice in her head” was becoming more and more audible; perhaps it was that observation that was making her uneasy. Nita had no idea what would happen if the voice kept getting stronger. Would it get stronger until the day it could hijack her body from being controlled by her mind? She knew such a thing had happened once, thanks to the meddling of a dark mage in Talonia, and even though since then Nita had had an improving relationship with the Primordial consciousness that lived rent-free in her head, she did not know whether the entity would be glad to take over her body like it had done before, if given the chance, and if it did, how long she would be kept in the backseat. But the most worrisome of these thoughts was the fear that the Primordial’s consciousness might be getting stronger, at the expense of her own mental strength, and that a day would one day come when the Primordial took over completely, and the real Nita Fortune’s mind ceased to exist.

    Her worrisome thoughts were distracted as a light sprang into existence outside the café. As most of the walls of the eating area were made of glass, the young Pergrandian had a very good view of what was going on in the street. As the fire receded, a form in a black stylized leotard, domino mask and characteristic mint green hair emerged. Her partner had arrived. The Luminous Rose mage’s worries vanished for a moment as she grinned, watching Terumi enter the café. Their eyes met, and the Midijin hurried over to her, reaching out to hug her, a gesture she responded to eagerly. ”Well, look at you, Terumi dear!” Nita intoned happily. ”You look well. You’re right, it’s a pity we’ve never had time to just sit and share stories, but the whole world seems to be in an irritating hurry. And damn right you are about being here for the mission.” Nita watched as her friend asked about her outfit. ”You look like a superhero, or something close,” came the reply. ”Not very sure what the mask is for, since it doesn’t really hide anything, but it does add to the caped crusader feel…” there was a pause, ”except you don’t have a cape. And don’t even go there, I wouldn’t recommend a cape, not unless you want to do most of your fighting from a more stationary position.” The blonde Pergrandian grinned again and drew a seat for her friend. ”Take a seat, take a seat. I’m hoping we’ll have a bit of time to talk before our client shows up.” She happily waved over a waiter. ”Drink’s on me, hon.” She turned to the waiter, who handed her the menu. ”You serve sundaes? Why, of course I’ll have one! Hot fudge, if you please!”

    After the waiter had taken Terumi’s order and sauntered off, Nita laced her fingers together and exhaled. ”So, the reason you’re here is because I made sure to send you a mission invite. It was originally sent to me, but I won’t lie, in view of the past events that have happened over the last months, and the fact that I cannot shake the feeling that something is awfully wrong about this mission, I decided I didn’t want to do it alone. I don’t have much details; the client is supposed to come here and explain the particulars of this job to us.” The waiter returned in record time with their orders, setting them before the two young women. As Nita was about getting her purse, a new voice chimed in: ”Em, allow me to pay for your treats. You’re here for the job, yes?” The voice belonged to a rather overweight, sweaty fellow in an ill-fitting tracksuit, dark sunshades and fake mustache (it was so obviously fake). He took a seat uninvited; it would be more accurate to say he flopped into the seat like a dying fish. And he had not come alone. Taking the last seat at the table was an even more obese woman, who looked as if she’d swallowed a ruptured gallbladder. While Nita was quite sorry for the seat the woman had descended on, the Pergrandian simply kept her lips sealed, as she smiled at the newcomers. Oh, there was a last person: silent, muscled and thankfully in a well-fitting tracksuit. He also wore black shades, and had a rather thick, comical, but real, mustache, and he took his position behind the chair of the fat man.

    The fat fellow looked greedily at Nita’s ice cream. ”I’ll have--” he started, just before the venomous eyes of the obese woman landed on him with a gaze so vitriolic that even the waiter paled, ”—black tea,” he finished weakly, a defeated expression on his face. ”I shall have what the strumpet is taking,” the pudgy woman said, gesturing at Nita’s sundae. The Pergrandian raised an eyebrow but said nothing. Eager to get away from the uncomfortable atmosphere, the waiter hurried off, more eager to escape the acidity than to carry out his orders. ”Yes, so let’s get down to business,” the sweating man said, reaching behind him, as the muscular man placed a napkin in his hand, which he used to dab at his face. ”I am Mr. Skand, who summoned you here for this job, and this is my--” the pause was obvious, ”beautiful wife, Mrs--” The sound of a choked laughter unable to be held back cut him off, as Nita exploded into high pitched unrestrained fits. Many folks tended to say that the Pergrandian had a rather lovely laugh, but then she had not been laughing at them. While pleasant sounding, Nita’s laugh was the epitome of mockery when directed at a person. The fat woman slammed meaty fists on the table in rage, and tried to get up with incredible difficulty. ”Oh, no need to move your bulk from your position, ‘beautiful wife’ dearest,” the blonde mage said, having managed to control her laughter. ”You look like you’d die before you reached me.”

    ”Harold! Will you allow this skank to insult me?” the irate woman roared. ”I don’t see why not,” Nita answered before Harold Skand could reply. ”After all, he seems to allow a lot of things, doesn’t he? Mild suggestion, Harold love,” the Pergrandian said, noting with glee that the term of endearment enraged Mrs. Skand further, ”you need to teach your wife manners. There are some that would have ripped her tongue out as soon as she uttered the word ‘strumpet’.”

    ”Apologies, ma’am,” Harold replied, looking nervous. ”You’re apologizing to her? TO HER?!” As Mrs. Skand began an incredibly loud rant, Harold wearily gestured to his bodyguard, who pulled out a phone, found something on it, and held it before the irate woman. She stared at the phone, stared at Nita in shock, and then slapped the phone with as much violence as she could muster. It did not leave the man’s hand, and the obese woman settled to muttering under her breath. Nita tried looking at what the bodyguard had shown Mrs. Skand, and to her surprise (and no small delight), she saw footage from her last job on the Cloud Sea. Seemed like the monster hunters she had saved had uploaded all the videos recorded during her battles with the powers of the sea. ”Yes,” Harold said weakly, ”There’s no mistaking it: she’s the black card girl.” Nita took a smug pose, index and middle fingers in a V-position, before suddenly staring at Mr. Skand.

    ”Wait, is that what they call me these days?” The man nodded, then looked at Terumi. ”I don’t think I know her, though.”

    ”I don’t know your lovely tallow hag, and do you see me complaining?” Nita asked. ”Well, if you must know, that there is Senka of the Verdant Flame, a name you will be wise to remember.” Nita said that last part with the air of a herald who was introducing a regent to unworthy ears.


    WC:1400
    PWC: 2650
    TWC: 3837


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 23rd March 2022, 2:36 pm

    Terumi could never get tired of the ebullience of her blonde friend. They were two rather different women at the core of their composition, but their friendship seemed to be a near perfect mix. On the one hand was Nita, social, outgoing and occasional troublemaker. On the other, Terumi: taciturn, introverted and occasional brooder. Yet, the two had just struck off a chord with each other when they had first met, like destiny had it planned that they would meet. Perhaps their fates were intertwined somehow, but Terumi was not in any mood to think about the future. It could take care of itself, she reckoned.

    Okay, Nita was the umpteenth person who didn't really understand the purpose of the domino mask, but ironically, her guess was the closest to the truth, if it didn't hit the nail on the head. Terumi felt the mask was just meant to add to her "superhero" look, but perhaps she could drop it and pick up another accessory which she hadn't really thought of before, until Nita had mentioned it: a cape. Many people thought of capes as unwieldy, but if handled right, they could impose a larger-than-life presence on the wearer, in more ways than a mask could hope to achieve. Terumi was mildly surprised that her blonde friend didn't even bother to mention anything about her outfit's color. Perhaps there was nothing really wrong with black, but Terumi was of the opinion that having a change of color might give her the effect she desired. Besides, a dark outfit seemed to  go better with a dark cape, and then, without a doubt, she would be going along the "dark vigilante" trope. That, she was strongly convinced, would be a disaster, because almost all the time, people, even her enemies, looked at her and didn't consider her dangerous. Cute, pretty, annoying (a few times), but never fear inspiring. She was better off evoking brighter emotions in the people she wanted to serve and protect.

    Taking her seat, she rested her elbows on the table, leaning forward a little as she prepared toengage in conversation. Nita, being the social butterfly, correctly deduced that chats went better with something to snack on, because she instantly called a waiter over. She was going for a sundae, and Terumi thought that was a brilliant idea. "I'll have a strawberry, please. Thank you."

    As she waited for her ice cream, Nita explained that she had sent her the invitation. That was a little surprising. However, her friend had had a feeling about the whole thing, and the green haired woman saw the wisdom in venturing into this sort of thing with back up. "Well, you did good calling on me.  Whatever is going on, we'll get to the bottom of it. You can count on me, Nita."

    It was at that moment that their client revealed himself. Terumi was not expecting him to bring  everyone in his immediate family to the debriefing, especially since he had called for secrecy. Okay, the muscular dude with the athletic body was obviously not their son, but come on, the client with his fake mustache and ridiculous tracksuit could have just come alone. Terumi had no idea why the overweight woman had tagged along. For starters, she looked like coming here was a big inconvenience for her. And she seemed to look at everything with an air of derision. The chair on which she descended sagged, but the poor thing managed to hold her weight. It was not often that Terumi disliked someone just a few seconds after meeting them, but this was one of those rare cases. She would keep her "business air" about her, being cordial enough, but if anyone tried to offer her insult, she would put them in their place. Hopefully, it wouldn't come to that.

    Terumi managed to keep a straight face when the obese woman shot down the fat man's attempt at ordering a sundae for himself; what sort of person was this? However, her expression visibly darkened with the words that came next from the woman's mouth. "Strumpet"? How dare she? Terumi looked at her friend, but Nita had only raised an eyebrow, and not responded in any way. Honestly, if Nita had reached over and slapped the rude woman hard across the face, it would have been somewhat justified. Still, her friend did not lose her temper. Terumi respected that. Since the one who had been insulted had not acted on it, Terumi decided to keep her thoughts to herself, but her expression was a little stonier than before.

    The man introduced himself as Skand, and when he was about to get to his wife, the unexpected happened. Nita virtually exploded. Into laughter. Terumi gave her friend a slightly exasperated look, but she should have known better. Being somewhat capricious, Nita could not be easily predicted, but from what Terumi knew about her bestie, the blonde hardly ever lost in a battle of wits. "Oh, Nita..." Terumi thought to herself, but she was actually tickled, herself. Still, in Senka style, no expression slipped from behind her stoic exterior. She was not even bothered that the woman would try to get physical. It was almost impossible for her to come out on top if she tried fighting Nita. And as for the bodyguard, Terumi had already sized him up with her magic sensor. It was a "bad habit" she often did nowadays, ever since her run in with the dark angel, Medeia. The guard might be physically fit, but if he had any magic power, it was minimal at best.

    As the temper of Mrs. Skand flared, Terumi rested her chin on her hands, elbows on the table, and watched without a word. As expected, Nita easily dominated Skand in this confrontation, but Terumi was growing weary of the unnecessarily loud woman. As the woman began virtually barking, Terumi noticed Mr. Skand signal his bodyguard, who presented his phone to the near-rabid woman, showing her something on its screen. She was mildly curious, but she stayed seated. She  would ask Nita for details, if she felt she really needed to know.  What was important was that whatever the woman saw was enough to shut her up.

    "The 'Black Card Girl'..." Terumi murmured to herself. Sounded like a reference to Nita's magic, most likely. She hadn't witnessed the Pergrandian's magic, but it likely had something to do with "black cards". Terumi found Nita's surprise at the  moniker amusing, though her expression remained stoic. When Mr. Skand referred to her eventually, stating that he did not know who she was, Terumi did not reply, but just watched him silently. Nita was the one who introduced her, and not without a great deal of verbal flair. That got a smile out of Terumi; very slight it was, but she smiled.

    Nita was a handful, but that was what she liked about her.

    The waiter arrived with a large tray, set out their orders and disappeared all in record time. "Pleased to meet you, the Skands, and your bodyguard," Terumi finally spoke, giving the muscled mustache guy a nod of acknowledgement. No response from his end. "Now that we are done with all the... pleasant formalities, we would like to know what exactly you are getting us into."

    "Well, we need someone to help us quietly investigate something," Skand said, still dabbing at his face with the napkin. "You see, my..." A subtle but dangerous look from his wife changed whatever was originally going to come out of his mouth next. "Er... some people have been missing, and we want to find out who is responsible, so that these kidnappings may stop."

    Terumi looked at Mrs. Skand with a question written on her face, but the woman ignored her. What exactly was it they were hiding? "And why would you be interested in these missing people?" Terumi asked. "From what I know about this place, upper class Crocus doesn't mingle with the Crocus underbelly." "Er... well, you know, I want my city to be safe. If something bad is happening out of sight of the law, it may eventually become emboldened to attack the upper citizens. And uh, since I am benevolent, I felt it would be good if I helped the less privileged, without asking anything in return." Terumi nodded like she bought it. "Mmm, you must be one fine nobleman. So, tell me, benevolent Skand," her purple, piercing eyes bored into his, "how come you suddenly became benevolent circa a day to three days ago? The kidnappings have been on for more than a month, and you had been conveniently blind, then." "Are you accusing my husband of something?" Mrs. Skand asked, her voice tinged with aggression. "Of course not, ma'am," Terumi replied patiently. "It's just too convenient, however, and things are not adding up." "You ask too many questions..." the obese woman muttered.

    "Have you ever been to a doctor, Mrs. Skand?" Terumi's voice sounded a little more animated than before. "'Good day, doctor.' 'Oh, good day, patient. How may I help you?' 'I'm sick, doc.' 'Okay, what are your ailments?' 'I'm just sick. Treat me.' 'No can do, patient. I've got to know what's wrong first.' 'You ask too many questions, doc.'" She interlocked her fingers and placed her hands on the table. "Really?!" The irritation was barely evident in her voice, but it was there. "No need to get offended, Miss Senka, but I've told you..."

    "... everything I figured out for myself, sir, do I don't need to be reminded. I'll tell you what I think, since you are so unwilling to divulge information: you initially couldn't be bothered about the nabbings, but then someone close to you got pinched. Or, maybe not close per se, but connected to you somehow, connected in a way that might indict you. The kidnapping of this person has put you in a strait, since you've probably got some skeletons dancing in your closet, so you would like someone to help you find out what's become of this person. Am I correct?"

    Skand just stared at her, and did not reply. "So, here's the thing: I don't support criminals, so the best thing to do would be to decline helping you deal with this mission. Sure, you can always find another mage, but the number of people who learn a little more about your secret is increasing. And the more people know, the more likely the cat gets let out someday. Discretion, you wanted, but already you put yourself at a disadvantage by bringing other people here..." She frowned at the rotund woman. "Or, she muscled you into bringing her here. Thus, my guess is that whoever you're looking for is more connected to her than yourself. Otherwise, I fail to see why she would care so much. So..." her gaze moved from husband to wife and back. "Whom do you want us to find?"

    Mrs. Skand sagged in her chair. Obviously, she had not wanted any details to come out, but it was obvious that the only thing Terumi lacked was a name, but since she already had the "Skand" name at hand, it would take very little to ask around and find out who it was she wanted to find. Skand looked at his wife, but she didn't give him any dirty looks, so he drew a photo from his tracksuit and placed it on the table. "My wife's brother, Irwin. He had recently started mingling with unscrupulous elements, and we really tried to curb him, but he was too stubborn. Now look where it got him." Terumi picked the picture and looked at it. This brother was quite the opposite of his sister. He was almost gaunt, but he seemed to have an unsettling light in his eyes. Like a weasel. "You want us to find him and bring him back?" "Yes, and nobody must know that he was meddling in such an area, please." Terumi shrugged. "And bring the kidnappers to justice while we're at it, right?" "Yes, that goes without saying."

    Terumi smiled at the both of them. "I'm glad we could all be reasonable, but I have one more question: do you have any idea where he was last seen?" Mr. Skand nodded. "The servant who reported him missing, who had followed him on that fateful night, last saw him at the alley that leads away from the Butcher's Corner."

    Butcher's Corner. Sounded ominous.

    Terumi looked at Nita. "I'm done needling them for answers. Want to start round two?" she said quietly, her grin mischievous. Then she looked a bit disappointed.

    "Aw, my sundae's now a milkshake."

    WC: 2118
    TWC: 5955

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 23rd March 2022, 9:29 pm

    After Nita’s introduction of her friend, the Pergrandian mage decided to sit back and watch the proceedings as they unfolded, watching Senka with no little degree of admiration as she began to eat her sundae. Unlike herself, the green haired mage knew how to get all businesslike and focused on the matter at hand, deflecting and rebuffing her verbal detractors without being abrasive. Nita had to smile. The Pergrandian was sure she could be all serious and down-to-business, if the situation called for it, but she would leave that sort of style to people like Senka. Her own style was to use the same energy to respond to those she interacted with. Those who were warm would meet a very pleasant version of herself. Those who were rude would discover that they weren’t as good at being saucy as she was. One didn’t have to be loquacious to be pleasant. Terumi, after all, was not the talkative sort, though like every other normal human, she was more vocal with people or in situations that made her comfortable. Watching the Midijin as she probed away at the details presented by the Skands, the young Pergrandian acknowledged that she had made the right choice in inviting her Midijin friend as a companion on this quest.

    And it wasn’t only Terumi’s competence that was impressive. Just by listening to the barest of details, Terumi had arrived at their correct conclusions, making it impossible for the clients to hide information from the questing mages. Nita found it rather ironic how most people who were naturally acrid and unpleasant ended up having a lot of failings of their own. One would think that having such failings would make them more empathetic to the issues of others, or at least less inclined to be rude or unpleasant to anyone they came across. But the truth was, like the average playground bully, most of these unpleasant people simply tried to put others down, with the hope that by doing so, they would find themselves superior. It was stupidly vain at best and downright harmful at worst. But many people, Nita had observed, were cursed with the inability to evaluate themselves, and so they ended up spewing their poison on a world that was neither ready for, nor deserved, their nonsense. Such people would be put in their place, if they crossed her. She would consistently make sure of it.

    So far, it sounded like an average “missing person” mission. Except that they were required to try keeping things hush-hush as regarded finding this missing fellow. It was Mrs. Skand’s brother, and Nita, just by looking at his image in the photo, could assume, if she was of the more superstitious sort, that unpleasantness ran in Mr. Skand’s in-law family. As Terumi asked her last question, Nita raised an eyebrow again, as she heard the answer. Why would a place in the city be called Butcher’s Corner? Of course, it could have been where the meat traders plied their occupation, but the Pergrandian had a feeling that this wasn’t the case. Nita responded to Terumi’s grin with one of her own, but declined the offer. ”Sorry hon, but I can’t waste my good vibes on sour rubbish.” Still, she was gracious enough not to say it loud enough that any other person could hear. ”And sorry about your sundae, but on the flipside, milkshakes are good for a number of purposes, including for tossing at the faces of unpleasant nonces.” She would wait until Terumi had concluded matters with the melted strawberry sundae, then rise to her feet. ”My suggestion would be for the both of you to go home and wait for results. And I hope for your brother’s sake, Mrs. Skand, that he’s a lot more pleasant than you. Else you might remember him having more teeth the last time you saw him. Ta.”

    Having said thus, the Pergrandian jauntily marched towards the café’s counter, to the tune of Mrs. Skand complaining to her husband about the moral decadence of young women who concluded interactions with ‘ta’. After asking directions from the waiter who’d served them, and secretly paying for Terumi’s and her drink (it wasn’t her business whether the Skands would pay for theirs), the blonde mage left the café and waited for Terumi to join her. ”The café chap said Butcher’s corner is at the turning of the next street.” For a moment, she was silent, then Nita decided to attempt to unburden her mind to her friend. ”I can’t recall whether I’ve told you about how I got my powers, have I? As you know, I’m from Pergrande, and as a rule, we don’t use magic. But I ended up absorbing this Primordial’s essence; when you hear ‘Primordial‘, read eldritch deity, and voila, Black Card Girl descends upon Fiore to haunt it. To my consternation though, I seem to have absorbed the consciousness of the Primordial, and before it only seemed to be a patch of fuzz, like an uncomfortable feeling at the back of my mind. But now I can hear a distinct voice in my head, and I’m sure that’s the textbook definition of ‘cuckoo cuckoo’. I’m worried, because since it’s my mind, I can tell if the Primordial is trying to lie to me or not, and so far, the thing seems to be unwilling to deceive me. But its words seem very insincere, despite my awareness of its apparent honesty.”

    Nita paused, as the two arrived at the Butcher’s corner. It was dark, unlit, and smelt of stale alcohol and cigarette smoke, the kind of smell that would not leave in days, due to the frequency with which it had been infused into the very walls and earth of the place. At the bend of the road was an alley, a doorway into even deeper darkness. Before continuing down Butcher’s Corner, Nita answered the question, whether spoken or unspoken by Terumi: the content of the Primordial’s words. ”It tells me that I need to trust it. That I need to give it agency; that I’ll be stronger that way. Problem is, when it last had agency, it tried to curse me into a rather uncomely thing. Primordials call them ‘Chosen’; I have no idea why. They look more like ill-favored malnourished zombies, and I hope we never have the bad luck of meeting any such thing again.” Of course, the Pergrandian had no idea that she would have just that bad luck. ”Now, of course, you must be wondering what all this Primordial nonsense has to do with this job. Well, the reason I asked for you to join me is because I have learned from experience that when something is about to happen that entails me meeting a Primordial, I tend to have very nasty nightmares the night before. I had one such the night before I received this mission. Fortunately, my meeting with Primordials is few and far-between, because they are extraplanar beings, and cannot survive long on our plane without being anchored to it by a host of sorts. But for every time I have encountered their ilk, I have dreamed horrid dreams; I guess it’s because my absorption of the Primordial’s powers connected me to an infinite plane called the Interdimensional Sea, and Primordials were accomplished travelers through that void, because they seem to have a mystic connection to it. So anytime one of them breaches the fabric of our plane by reaching through the bounds of the Interdimensional Sea, I’m alerted to their intrusion, thanks to the weird nightmares. So you’re here, because I’m scared of facing them alone. Oh, did I mention that they can cause madness when humans are exposed too long to them? Hence my reluctance to interact with their ilk.”

    There was another pause. "Yeah, I think they're also pissed that a puny human is dancing around with their powers."


    WC: 1320
    PWC: 3970
    TWC: 7275


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 24th March 2022, 1:39 pm

    There was no way Terumi was going to try out Nita's suggestion on how to use the sundae, but she was amused nonetheless. She chuckled and shook her head. "Nope. Bad idea for now, although I admit there is a certain allure in the act. Let's look for a less messy way to make good use of this slosh."

    Would hot ice cream taste lovely? Terumi had never tried it, but she had a feeling that she might not be so impressed with the results. Being a master of fire and many of its applications, it would be no hassle for her to warm up the melted sundae to boiling point without damaging the container in which it sat, but as stated earlier, she was not convinced it would be taste-worthy. She could always order for another sundae, but she didn't really like wasting food, and someone had graciously opted to pay for it. That would put a greater strain on their bill, and she didn't want to be an inconvenience, even if they had no financial difficulties buying all the sundaes in the café. At this  point, she briefly wondered whether Nita was the one who  would foot the bill, or Mr. Skand. Both had offered to pay, even if at different times. Well, whomever it was between the two of them, Terumi was too considerate and too courteous to demand another dessert. So, instead, she ordered for a straw.

    She stirred the fluid for a moment with the straw, then put it to her lips and began sucking up the melted sundae. It still retained a lot of its coolness, and it was almost no less refreshing, though she knew that very few things beat scooping the creamy, fluffy ice cream into her mouth the normal way it was intended to be eaten. Ignoring the looks of the Skand couple, she made very short work of the sundae in an almost alarmingly short time, then exhaled with a satisfied smile. "This should be fuel enough for this journey," she said to herself as she got to her feet. Knowing her crazy metabolic rate, she would probably be hungry before the mission was completed, but she could always treat Nita and herself to a lavish meal when everything had been settled. She responded to Mrs. Skand's scandalized look and Mr. Skand's helpless grimace with a demure smile and a little wave of her hand, and then followed  Nita to the counter, where she learned that the Butcher's Corner was not far from the café in which they were. Was that a sign of serendipity, or a portent of doom? Only time would tell.

    As the two young women stepped out into the street, there was a pause between them, before Nita began to unburden her heart to Terumi. Terumi knew quite a lot about her friend's winsome personality (which people on the wrong side of found annoying), but she knew next to nothing about her magic. She knew that Nita was Pergrandian; her accent was enough to venture a guess, but she had assumed that her bestie was one of the "unfortunate" ones who had been "cursed" with magic, and as a result, had had to flee the "Magiphobic" country (yes, it was a coined word, Terumi knew, but it sounded right enough). She listened quietly, processing the information her friend shared, patiently. So, Nita's powers were not inborn, but unexpectedly, and most likely, unwillingly granted her by this "Primordial". She knew just about as much of eldritch otherworldly beings as the next Jenny who read her books, and that was enough to tell her that those eldritch things were hardly ever friendly. And according to what Nita told her, the Primordial's consciousness still persisted, and seemed to be growing stronger by the day. According to all textbook indications, that was not a good sign.

    "What does it say?"she asked softly, barely noticing the repulsive smell due to her concern for her friend. Nita answered, but her words only confused her more. If the Primordial could not lie to her, and yet had tried to ruin her sanity (and her looks), did that mean that the 'ill-favored malnourished zombie" was a being more powerful than Nita was? There had to be some clause the both of them were missing, because Nita was apparently just as confused as she was as to why the Primordial in her head had tried to turn her into one of these "Chosen" things.

    Nita explained further that she was expecting to run into one of these Primordials on this mission, thanks to her warning nightmares, and she had done the wisest thing by choosing to face them with the help of someone else. Terumi was inwardly pleased that Nita trusted her enough to come to her with such a burden. She would do her utmost best not to let her down.

    "Like I said before, Nita, you can count on me. Thank you for believing in me enough to ask for my help. I'll do everything I can to see you come out of this, alive and well. However, let's consider some things: firstly, there is the possibility that this mission is an orchestrated trap. Good news is, I'm a factor unaccounted for, unless they made provision for your friends. We'll have to be careful, though, for the life of me, I'm not too sure what that's supposed to entail."

    She  found herself staring into the narrow alley that led away from the Butcher's Corner, its visage looking like something  straight out of a horror movie.

    "Ugh... I hate darkness," Terumi muttered as she considered creating a light. Seeing as they were likely expected, it would be more advantageous to light up the area. Sneaking about was going to avail them little, for they did not have the element of surprise on their side. Terumi suddenly frowned. "Nita," she said, her voice barely a whisper, "there's something unhuman in that darkness. I'm turning on the lights. Be ready!"

    The words had  barely left her mouth when there was a sudden scrabbling sound, and with a loud hiss, a bloated, slavering monstrosity with a humongous head flung itself out of the gloom, its clawed extended hands reaching for the two women. "Sunfire Tech: Firefly Bombs!" It didn't manage to get close enough before it was smacked in the face by a small fireball, which sent it off course to crash into the alley wall. There was a loud hiss from above and behind them, which was answered by another. Terumi clenched her fists as her silky hair exploded into green flame, and a series of burning spheres, akin to the one that derailed the first attacking monster, winked into existence around her, forming an arc that started from beside one shoulder and curved over her head to end at her other shoulder.

    "We're surrounded," Terumi warned, as she activated her Tengan, to reduce the chances of being blindsided by a surprise attack. "Would that thing I just fried be one of those 'Chosen' things you were telling me about?"

    WC: 1185
    TWC: 8460

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 27th March 2022, 9:37 pm

    Nita was grateful for her friend’s offer to tag along and help her with this mission. It didn’t take long for Terumi to come to the same conclusion that Nita had been considering since the mission caught her attention: that this might be a trap. But the advantage of having a friend tag along was that when a trap was sprung, with some good fortune and proper planning, one could help the other get out of it. She nodded at her friend with a smile. ”Thank you for agreeing to come along with me, Mimi-chan,” she said, creating a hypocorism for her best friend on the spot. As a fluent speaker of the Midijin tongue, she was acquainted with the honorifics they used, and even though Terumi did not refer to her using honorifics, most likely because the Midijin was aware that honorifics were not used in other climes the way they were used in Midi, Nita was certain her friend would have no problems with being referred to with the right honorifics. The Pergrandian smiled. She liked the sound of the name. Hopefully, Terumi would as well; as a matter of fact, Nita was almost a hundred percent certain that she would see no issue with being called ‘Mimi’, being the congenial person Terumi was.

    While Nita didn’t hate darkness, strictly speaking, the eyes were made to see light, and light was always a welcome commodity, when it wasn’t too bright. The fact that Terumi had been able to detect something lurking in the darkness was an obvious indication of her friend’s ability to detect things without the use of natural human senses, seeing as whatever was in the darkness had been quiet and still. Nita had sensed it too, thanks to her Aspect of Knowledge ability. As the Midijin announced her intention to bring illumination to the area, the young Pergrandian nodded silently, preparing herself for battle. The form of whatever was skulking in the shadows was reminiscent of something she had encountered before, but a part of the Luminous Rose mage hoped that she would not be right, that her senses were somehow confounding her. Still, she was not too surprised to see the ugly visage of the Chosen, as it suddenly loomed out of the darkness with its nasty claws and jagged, uneven teeth. Terumi, however, was not taken by surprise, whacking the misshapen monstrosity with a small fireball that winked out of nowhere. Still, she could not help but recoil, seeing the creature with an oversized head, a proof of the fact that it had been touched, and tainted, by a Primordial’s miasma.

    ”Apparently, my descriptive ability is top notch,” the blonde mage replied, trying to use jollity to keep herself from reacting hysterically due to fear, as she backed her friend to ensure that they were facing different directions to prevent attacks from behind. If Chosen were here, then surely a Primordial was close by. Those things could not survive long without basking in the corrupted atmosphere created by Primordials. If they were geographically separated from that miasma, they weakened, like beings deprived of their nutrition, although for thee abominations, their degeneration was much faster. In about a day, they would die. That the creatures which were hissing around the two mages were apparently quite energetic was proof that they had very recently been in the presence of a Primordial. ”Those are Chosen, alright. And the fact that they are this happy to see us means that there’s probably a Primordial somewhere in this city. Otherwise, they seem to lose their raison d’etre as the minutes pass, until they die of heartbreak, or misery, or something like that, before the day is over. This is definitely a trap, but press on we must! Wild Card: Bezique!!”

    As she finished speaking, a black card formed in Nita’s hand, and she flicked it at the closest Chosen, the creature already snarling and airborne. As the card struck it, a ripple went out from the card, which disintegrated into a flameless explosion. Although it exploded in all directions, Terumi would notice that the spell would only move her hair and any loose clothing items; it did not however interact with the green haired Midijin, much less injure her. The Chosen that were close were not as lucky, though. The explosion flung them all across the place like ragdolls, even as the walls themselves shook under the brunt of the blast. There were still more coming over the wall, which had been protected from Nita’s Bezique by the sturdy boundaries of the alley. It wasn’t going to be a problem, though. Chosen were not particularly powerful, and even if they had the advantage in numbers, Nita was sure that both she and her friend were well able to keep their numbers from overwhelming them.

    ”To think that this is what that Primordial had tried to turn me into,” the Pergrandian said with no little degree of bitterness. ”Really, what would have happened to my lovely hair?” She suddenly felt a stirring in her mind, and her heart sank. Definitely, Nita expected the Primordial presence to communicate with her, seeing that something of its ilk was somewhere around. ”You should really be more forgiving, you know?” it said in a coaxing tone. ”If not for my powers, you won’t be here showing off to your bestie.”

    ”Yeah, I’ll probably be safe and sound in Pergrande, progressing with my life,” Nita spat back. ”Or you could be dead. I don’t have to remind you that your dear country has chosen to tread the warpath for frivolous reasons.” Nita had to confess. She still though that the Pergrandian declaration of war was a whole load of bull. She had been actually expecting that it would be Bellum, who had been worse off as far as the Joyan summit had turned out, that would declare war. It was getting more and more difficult to side with, and rationalize the actions of a country that only seemed interested in maintaining its imperial might and lording it over other countries. ”That would be left for fate to decide, and you’re not a god of fate or whatever, so don’t try to use my words against me.” There was some silence, and then the voice came again, but this time sounding rather sad, ”You are right. I’m not a god of fate, not anymore. I am not even a Primordial, not anymore.”

    ”What are you, then?” Nita asked, feeling pity for the voice. She felt angry that she pitied it, and what made the whole thing worse was that the voice was not manipulating her to feel sorry for it. Her sympathy was her own. ”I have no identity,” replied the voice. Nita was about to continue the mental discussion, when a streak of darkness shaped like a spear darted at her from above. Thanks to her Aspect of Knowledge sense, she detected, and dodged it. Looking up, she saw a bearded man on the wall of the alley. Dressed in a black robe with a difficult to discern emblem on it. ”Oh great! And now we have human fans of the Primordials. Weren’t you ugly enough when your mama birthed you, that you desire so much to be made even uglier by your associates?”


    WC: 1220
    PWC: 5190
    TWC: 9680


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 28th March 2022, 3:42 pm

    Terumi had almost giggled out loud when Nita called her "Mimi-chan". Her friend had chosen a cute sounding nickname for her, but what she found hilarious was that in Midijin, "mimi" had to do with the ears. Actually, if read in different ways, it could mean a whole lot of things. Terumi had considered giving Nita a nickname, too, but if she had remembered correctly, the blonde's name was a diminutive of "Fortunita", so her friend had beaten her to the punch there. She wasn't really good at such things anyway: picking names for people that they would like. So, she just resorted to being her simple sweet self, and Nita had never complained about that. She smiled to herself. She didn't mind the nickname, not at all.

    Back to the present, the Firefly Bombs lit up a good portion of the alley that led away from the Butcher's Corner, and it was now much easier to see the score (or more) of bloated big heads that clambered over the walls or scuttled into view from the darkness at the further end of the alley. They were quite many; obviously, their strength lay in swarm tactics and not one on one encounters, as her Firefly Bomb had revealed. That being the case, such enemies were weak against a "crowd control" spell: one that had good range and packed a decent punch. Terumi could think up something just for them.

    As she listened to Nita talk about the Chosen, her eyes narrowed. They were completely dependent on the Primordial that created them, and simply being away meant a sure death, even if it was not immediate. Could these things even be called living beings anymore? A strong revulsion churned in the pit of her stomach, but thankfully it was not sufficient to cause her to throw up the sundae milkshake she had had some minutes ago. If, as Nita had informed her, the Primordial was here in Crocus, it was imperative that this malevolent entity was taken out as soon as possible. This was probably where all those missing humans were going. That made sense, because very little skill or talent was required by the target to be transformed into such a mockery of life. Terumi's guild, Sabertooth, was all about defending Earthland from extradimensional incursions that threatened the people of Ishgar. This was right up her job description.

    "I hope Irwin wasn't turned into one of those things," Terumi said, as she flicked Firefly Bombs, one by one, at the approaching chosen. "How would we even be able to identify him, if he's already suffered such a horrid fate?"

    A thought suddenly struck her: could these Chosen be healed of their maladies? Theoretically, her Exorcist Flames could do the trick, but only if they were still alive. Those flames were healing flames, but they could not raise the dead. The best thing would be to try it on them, and if she was able to undo the transformation that had befallen them, that would give her no little sense of joy.

    "Voidfire Tech: Exorcist Flames!"

    White flames sprang into existence all around Terumi, reaching out into the alley and climbing the walls to engulf the approaching Chosen. The creatures that were hit by the Exorcist Flames let out terrible shrieks, as their bodies turned to ash. So, that was it then: these Chosen were undead. Her Exorcist Flames had a similar effect on most zombies, though she knew that some more powerful classes of those who walked the earth again after their deaths might be able to resist the spell, or even benefit from it if they were allies. Whatever this Primordial was, Terumi was going to bring it to justice for murder, if not anything else.

    Terumi pointed both hands towards the alley space before her, and thick streams of fire issued forth from her fingers, washing through the alley and burning away everything that was eldritch zombie. She knew that her flames would not affect Nita, being her friend, so she stirred her flames to also flow around her and into the side of the alley Nita faced. One of the advantages of her Psyfire Burst was how easily it flowed around things like a cloud of gas. The flames, however, did not alight on anything else, and the walls, trashcans and even litter were unaffected by her fiery waves.

    And just as the numbers of Chosen dwindled, she sensed the presence of another enemy. There were more than one. No doubt, wherever they were coming from, which she managed to get the general location of with her Tengan, for the meantime, was likely where the Chosen also emerged, and where the Primordial was hiding. Once Nita and herself were done with these new foes, they could explore this alley more.

    "Humans?"

    Honestly, Terumi was not meant to be surprised. Human beings were the most divisive, confused and irrational creatures she had come across. There would always be someone to back a strange, destructive ideal, which on the normal, should not have gotten any following  whatsoever. Humans were the ones who summoned demons, unleashed plagues, made pacts with terrors from the Outside, and performed other deeds that would cause non-human sentients to wonder at the logic of  their actions. She was sure that if she tried to get the reason for their bowing to the whims of a creature whose very presence was detrimental to humans, she would get an answer as silly as "for power", or some selfish similar motivation.

    There was a man on the wall, looking down at Nita. Further away, emerging from the gloom, was another man, who was entirely hairless, even without eyebrows. "Who are you people," Terumi asked him, "and what are you doing to the people of Crocus?" There was no response for a few seconds, then the man moved.
    He muttered something, most likely the words of a spell, and then stretched forth a bony hand. A ball of fire appeared before his fingers, and with a flick of them, was sent hurtling at Terumi. Fire. Lovely. She simply opened her mouth and swallowed the burning projectile. "You might  want to use a bigger spell than that, if you really want to take me down," Terumi taunted, but in actuality, this was very untrue. For the most part, Terumi had quite the stratagem to overcoming fire attacks. No matter the size of his spell, it was very unlikely that, once it was fire, it would be able to even harm her.

    Silently, another robed figure joined the hairless cultist, one almost just as gaunt as his comrade. The both of them pointed, and this time, an impressively large fireball spun into existence. Then they thrust their hands forward as one. The massive projectile whooshed through the air, but Terumi held up a hand and stopped it in its tracks. Then, the fireball shifted from its normal orange hue to a green color, much like the flames that currently crowned Terumi's head. She then funneled the fireball into her mouth, and it was gone completely.

    "Alright... I think it's time I got serious."

    WC: 1192
    TWC: 10,872

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 28th March 2022, 9:04 pm

    With Terumi’s question about how they would be able to find Irwin if he had been changed into a Chosen, Nita had to admit she did not have an answer to that. She was sure that she could perhaps attempt using her psychometric ability to try to read the histories of these creatures, to search for which one was Irwin, except for one thing: attempting it would definitely kill her, seeing as trying to interact psychically with the corrupted essence of undead souls caused her a good deal of harm. That simply meant that unless Terumi had a safer means of gathering past information about slavering undead, it was unlikely that they would be able to get any useful information from the Chosen. ”Ah, I guess we’ll just call in and declare him MIA,” she replied. ”But I’m sure we should be able to find some clues as to his whereabouts, or his fate. I hope he’s still alive. And at the same time, I’m not sure I want to interact with him, if his sister is any indication of whatever special brand of sweetness runs in their family. Here’s to hoping he’s a better sort.” All indications pointed to the likelihood that he would not be.

    In any case, something had to be done about the man on the wall. Nita suspected she had an idea of what his plan was: use the advantage of high ground to fire spells at her. If he was overwhelmed, he could always drop back to the other side of the wall, in order to recuperate before attacking again, or setting a trap for her. Pity he would not be able to do so. Nita held up her hand and four cards formed in front of her. ”Wild Card: Canasta!” One of the cards zipped at the man, slow enough for him to evade it, which he did, and fired another spell at the Pergrandian. The next thing he knew, something grabbed him from behind, and he was suddenly in the alley, right before the spell he had just cast hit him in the face. Before he could recover from the impact of the spell, Nita planted a roundhouse kick on the side of his head from behind, smashing the cultist’s face into the alley wall. Pity he had assumed that her Canasta spell was a projectile spell of sorts, and had dodged the card Nita sent at him, not knowing it was a portal, which she used to bring him to her previous position to set him up for the very spell he had fired. His fault for going up against her.

    As the cultist crumbled into a heap, another cultist appeared, summoning a ball of darkness, which he flung at the Pergrandian. Nita drew a card out of thin air, which impacted with the flying darkness spell. There was a flash of light, and the ball of darkness, the card, and the Pergrandian were gone. The cultist blinked, surprised for a moment, at the unexpected development, but then he concluded that he had vanquished the light mage, and decided to attempt to blindside her partner with an attack. As he raised his hand to cast another spell, a series of heavy blows sent him spinning into the alley wall, before Nita sandwiched his head between her foot and the wall. ”Fool!” she said as he sank to the ground unconscious. It was very likely that these goons were just here to waste the time of the light mages, which meant that they were most likely expected by the planners of this lovely party. Well, it was best not to keep their hosts waiting.

    Nita looked over to Terumi. ”Shall we continue? I have a feeling that these guys are just here to delay us.” By this time, Terumi would have concluded her scuffle with her opponents, seeing as Nita had heard her announce that she was going to get serious. Stepping over the unconscious forms of the cultists she had made a mess of, Nita noticed a rectangular door cut into the side of one of the alley walls. It had stairs leading down into darkness, and the smell that told them they had found the sewers was very obvious. ”Ewww…” Nita said, pinching her nose between her index finger and her thumb. ”Why couldn’t they choose a more prestigious place to hang out? Anyway, it’s most likely as the saying goes: home is where the heart is.” So saying, she proceeded down the stairs, her senses peeled for action. Something had cheered her: none of the Chosen nor the cultists she had so far encountered seemed to be wet with sewer water, so hopefully, despite the smell, their paths would lead them along places where they would not have to step into anything untoward. Reaching out with her senses, Nita began to detect a disturbing presence. While it wasn’t pleasant to track, she knew it would lead them to where they were going. After a bit of walking and twisting down dank sewer tunnels, the tunnel they were in opened up into a wide space, lit with a great number of torches, all burning with a strange green flame. There were a number of Chosen gathered round what looked like an ugly twisted altar, and four cultists attending to the altar, at which a cultist with tattoos on his shaved pate seemed to be performing some unholy incantation. Further at the far end of the room were three statues; the first two were huge and monstrous, and they were situated on either side of the third, which was a human statue, a little larger than life size…except the head, which was so huge it was seven feet from crown to jaw. The statues had been smeared copiously with some dark red liquid; Nita did not have to guess what that was, and the same liquid ran along in rivulets on the ground.

    As the two mages arrived, everything living (or animated) in the room turned to look at the mouth of the tunnel. There was apparently no point in hiding, since everyone in the room seemed to be aware of their presence.

    ”Come in, come in,” said the cultist high priest, holding out his hands in welcome, one of which clutched a bloody dagger. ”We have been expecting you. Don’t be shy. If you wish to speak to us, we will do so peacefully. Our great god has foretold of your arrival. This is indeed an auspicious night.” The four cultists had turned to face the tunnel mouth as well, their forms at ease but ready to spring or fight if it was necessary. Except one. He slouched and seemed more craven than the rest, and eager to hide. As he moved, the light caught his features. It was Irwin.


    WC: 1140
    PWC: 6330
    TWC: 12012


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 30th March 2022, 2:12 pm

    It would seem that Terumi's friend was not eager to make Irwin's acquaintance. The Midijin maiden figured that it had a lot to do with the unfriendly family he was associated with, but she hoped for two unlikely things: one, that he would be quite the opposite (despite his looks) of his overweight sister, and two, that he would still be alive and unharmed when they found him. She was however aware of the school of thought that believed that the innocent, good ones were always slaughtered first. Didn't that make the world worse, every time a good person died? That thought soured her mood to an extent, and she decided to take out these humans that were associated with the Chosen.

    The two cultists obviously realized that fire was not  going to work on her, because their tone of chanting changed, and unlike before, when they created a ball of fire, it was a churning mass of darkness that began to form. Half a heartbeat later, Terumi was suddenly sinking her clenched fist into the stomach of the first cultist that had showed up to attack her. The second cultist's eyes widened with absolute shock, because he could not fathom how she had managed to close the gap between herself and them in less than a second. Most long ranged fighters made getting across to them very difficult, but they often had little contingencies for when someone got in close, personal and violent. That was the hallmark of a seasoned fighter: they had to have a useful response to almost every battle scenario.  Terumi could have teleported behind the two of them, but she often liked using the Ryūsei, just for the flavor of surprise it gave her opponents who were not expecting it. At the point just before she had used the Ryūsei to dash over to them, she had activated her Restricted Void Tech up to the Fifth level. That was strong enough to even send opponents much larger than the average human flying.

    The punched cultist was flung further into the alley, as Terumi turned on the second one. He opened his mouth to scream, as his magic flailed around him, but it was weak and undirected. She grabbed his bony head and rapped it against the alley wall. The man's eyes rolled into the back of his head, as he went unconscious, but that did not stop Terumi from flinging him across the alley to join his cultist companion a good distance away. Dusting her hands together, she nodded in agreement to Nita's observation that these enemies here  were just meant to stall for time. But for what? "I think so too. The cultists we faced showed up like they were coming to meet us, as opposed to bumping into us by chance."

    She watched her blonde friend as she located the door in the alley wall. That was the position her Tengan had sensed the cultists show up from. Without a doubt, that was where they were headed. As Nita opened the door, Terumi recoiled slightly at the darkness that faced them, but then forced herself to stay calm and follow her friend. There was nothing about darkness that she liked, especially when it seemed unnatural, and while  it did not seem to be crafted by some unholy means, there seemed to be a lurking presence in the gloom that made her hair stand on end. It was a good thing her incandescent hair was luminous enough to give enough light to see by, and it kept the darkness, and her fear of it, at bay.  Silently, she followed her friend, even though she would have liked to run out of this place and into the brightness of a well lit room. It was her loyalty that kept her there, even if she didn't feel very heroic right now. A part of her was amused at how Nita still managed to crack a joke just before they descended into the murk, and she was thankful that, whether this mission was meant for her or she had been invited, she was not alone.

    She probably couldn't sense the entity as acutely as Nita could, but it was  clear her friend knew where she was going, and so she followed. Navigating by the light of her hair, they walked down many a tunnel, until Terumi espied light coming from the end of the tunnel. She knew that they had found what, or perhaps, who they were looking for. The room she stepped into was massive, and Terumi took in all the sights silently as she walked slowly forward, after her friend. She had to admit that the chamber was impressive, but its contents were very disturbing. There was obvious human sacrifice involved; Terumi was very sure the red fluid was not dye, or the blood of a rat, and there were more cultists and an asymmetric altar, and some sort of ritual, but her eyes always kept returning to the statues at the end of the room. Whatever they were or  whomever they represented, the girl was not sure she wanted to see their manifestations walking in the waking world... especially the one with the big head in the center. Big headed was even an understatement for what she was looking at. Whichever the case, she found herself considering, for some reason she could not really point to, that she would rather that the two flanking statues were larger, more grotesque and alive, than the humongous headed thing start walking about before her. She would not find it even remotely funny.

    "You send cannibalistic zombies and malnourished nutcases after us, and you expect us to accept your 'warm' welcome? I'd rather cut to the chase and start destroying everything I can so much as sense here, but that would give you reason enough to start some boring diatribe of how good and evil are societal constructs, so I'd rather not."

    She watched the ready forms of the cultists, leaving the rest of the questions to Nita, as it  was more likely her friend would have more informed questions than she would. Her eyes finally settled on the cultist that seemed the most eager to get away, and she stopped short.

    "Irwin? Irwin?!! You're the one we came all the way here to get, and you're one of them?!!" Terumi's voice had risen to almost hysterical pitch, but it calmed suddenly. When the next words came, they were calm. Disturbingly calm. "Your family is waiting. Come."

    WC: 1089
    TWC: 13,101

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 30th March 2022, 6:25 pm

    Nita was frankly just as shocked as her friend to see the man, whom they had been paid to find and return safely to his family, cavorting with their enemies. Terumi was the first to speak, though, and Nita was sure she shared the same sentiments as her friend. Nita had to admit she was a fan of how the Midijin’s voice suddenly became ominously calm, thinking to herself that she would probably have felt a little degree of worry, if she were the one to whom the green haired mage’s command was addressed. She was sure, had she been the first to react, that she would probably have responded in a slightly more violent manner to Irwin. Sure, he was way out of her reach. But then again, there were many things she could throw at him. For a moment, it seemed Terumi’s threatening tone would do the trick, as Irwin visibly paled, and then looked uneasily at the chief cultist, who did not return his gaze, staring instead at the two light mages with an infuriating grin plastered on his face. Then Irwin, in some foolish attempt at bravery, shook his head. ”No!” he said in a voice that sounded like a hoarse squeak, before he cleared his throat and continued more assertively, ”I’m not coming! All my life, everyone has been treating me like I can’t make my own decisions, like I can’t make my own choices. What right do you have to tell me what to do?”

    The Pergrandian was truthfully surprised that the head cultist’s smile could grow even larger than it had been. ”And that, dear friends, is the truth about our religion: freedom. The great Xavuul offers everyone who comes to them freedom, freedom to be more than the miserable failures that we naturally are as humans.” He held out his hands again, apparently quite fond of dramatics. Nita, however, was not particularly impressed. ”Well, that’s quite relieving to hear,” she said sarcastically. ”And what about the Chosen, huh? Are those unfortunate abominations what you describe as freedom?”

    ”Your problem, child, is your lack of enlightenment,” replied the cultist. ”These Chosen are so named because they have been chosen by Xavuul as their children. They must go through trials to purge them of the weakness of human flesh, and then they will, like butterflies out of their cocoons, break out of their presently garish forms to attain godhood, and rule this planet with Xavuul, granting freedom and equity to everyone. We here, are their humble shepherds, to lead and care for them until they attain the height of godhood. Their ascension will inspire many others to undertake the trials of the Chosen and achieve apotheosis as well. And when I have ensured the apotheosis of everyone in this city, and the establishment of shrines to Xavuul across the country, I shall see whether Xavuul wishes me to continue to lead others to the blessed darkness, or to join them in godhood.” For a moment, Nita was silent. Then she said, ”wow! You really believe that. Good for you. Now, listen up, Iris, or whatever you call yourself. In as much as I’m all for religious tolerance as the next damsel, I am not going to allow this Cult of Baboon, or whatever they call themselves, to continue to kidnap people and destroy them by turning them into those wretches. I suggest you take the advice of the lovely lady beside me, because it’s going to get rather wild soon.”

    ”Do you see, Irwin?” asked the chief cultist. ”Which would you prefer? To go with a bunch of people who don’t even care about you enough to pronounce your name correctly, or to stay with us, who have treated you well from the get go. This is what I’ve been saying all along: those who pronounce themselves as proponents of justice are all about domination and control of the masses. Think for yourself, Irwin. Do you want to go back to the life you had before? Where everyone treated you like some foolish child who couldn’t make his own decisions? Or will you stay with us, who have shown you the true meaning of freedom?”

    Nita chuckled. ”Right you are, head honcho. Tell me, Elvis,” at this point, she turned to Irwin, names be damned, ”have you ever seen the, whatchamacallit, apotheosis of a Chosen? I’m sure you have. Tell me, did that thing look like something undergoing metamorphosis, or something worse than a slow, painful and horrific death?” Irwin gulped. Nita had seen people get corrupted to become Chosen. It wasn’t a pretty sight. ”You hear bones snapping as they scream, you see blood pouring through their orifices, you see their bodies contort in ways impossible for normal existence to allow. In short, you see them die. And not pleasantly too.  And you’re cool with that? Tell me, was it everyone that underwent apotheosis that wanted to? I know, because I’ve seen it happen. And I know there was a lot of screaming and begging, as they became Chosen.  If your religion is really one of freedom, why did you not allow those who screamed to be released to go? Why did you force them to undergo such trauma? See, chief priest, I know so much about your cult, because I have a relative of your precious Baboon floating around in my skull, and guess what, I’ve never seen as great a disdain for human life as I saw that day.” Irwin looked again at the chief cultist. The smile remained on the cultist’s face, but it was strained now. ”Now, Alvin, be a good boy and hop over here, or face the full weight of the law, along with your friends. This isn’t a matter of freedom, it’s a matter of actions and consequences.”

    Irwin looked at the mages, then at the chief cultist. ”Freedom is good.” The cultist’s smile broadened again. ”I—uh, I’ll be going now. I guess my sister is worried about me.” The cultist’s visage changed into one of demonic ire. ”You will go nowhere! Guards, destroy them all, including the apostate!” he shrieked, pointing a long bony finger at Irwin.

    ” Suit of Hearts: Misère!” Nita stated, as a black card materialized in her hand. As soon as it did, the card imploded, pulling her with it into nothingness. Almost immediately, she reappeared between the chief cultist and Irwin. ”Move before this—aaaaaaaargh!” A group of runes burst to light on the ground beneath the Pergrandian, and she cried out in pain, her head snapping backwards, as though she had received sudden force to the head. She collapsed to the ground, curled into a fetal position, even as the runes continued to glow. Irwin fled towards Terumi, as the cultists began chanting, even as the chief cultist held out his hand, and an arcane shield sprang up to shield the cultists; Irwin barely escaped it as it appeared.
    ”Xavuul is all wise!” screamed the chief cultist. ”This is exactly how they predicted the sacrifice would behave. You supposed followers of light are so stupid. But you know, after the light burns out, only darkness remains.” Nita curled tighter into a ball, as a spout of green flame erupted from her back, throwing the room into brighter light and deeper shadows. With one communal hiss, the Chosen swarmed towards Terumi, claws outstretched and teeth clacking, hungry for the Midijin's blood.


    WC: 1240
    PWC: 7570
    TWC: 14341


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 31st March 2022, 1:11 pm

    Terumi's eyes widened in surprised indignation as she listened to the sheer nonsense that tumbled out of Irwin's mouth. Was something very wrong with his ability to understand a serious situation? Actually, she wasn't supposed to be that surprised; such a behavior was usual with entitled people. No matter how much they had, no matter what liberties they were given, it always wasn't enough. It was a greed and covetousness that could not be cured, save by a healthy dose of common sense being talked into the person... provided they were willing to take it.

    It was silly how most morally corrupt people considered the law to be stifling, holding them in chains, and once they had power, they "broke  those chains" that restricted them. And yet, for all their talk of freedom, they robbed others of their own rights with the power they wielded. If Irwin wanted to go down the path of the "what right do you have to tell me what to do?" question, Terumi was this close from showing him that she would earn that right by curb stomping everyone here if she had to, and beating him all the way back to his awkward family... but she restrained herself. Control was key to becoming the Senka she could be proud of.

    Like Nita, Terumi was not in the least moved by the high priest cultist's speech, which she found as boring as it was full of religious clichés. She had already decided she would let Nita do the talking, so she folded her arms and waited. And her friend's first question was on point. She had never assumed, even for the fraction of a second, that anybody had willingly wanted to become a "Chosen". If this Xavuul was all about freedom, then why did it warp other creatures into a pitiful existence of thralldom? Why did its worshippers steal the freedom and lives of hapless people in Crocus, just to further a useless idol's goals? When the head cultist started talking about how the Chosen were some sort of larval or pupal stage of godhood, Terumi scoffed. She had a very strong feeling that he had been lied to, and he had taken the bait not only hook, line and sinker, but also fisherman, boat and a good helping of seawater as well. If these Chosen were so special, then why were they so expendable?

    She listened to the smooth words of the head cultist, and how her friend dashed them down with the stark reality of the whole thing. Terumi was sure she did not want to have anything to do with their "apotheosis", even if it was just to be a spectator. The ashen look on Irwin's face only lent credence to the fact that Nita was telling him the truth, and he knew it. At this point, Terumi wanted to lob a fireball into the high priest's face, just to get rid of that useless smile, but once again, she let her self control hold the reins. Still, she derived an inward sense of pleasure seeing the strain on his smile.

    Irwin eventually made up his mind; it was a good thing that the little used part of his brain responsible for common sense had not been rendered completely vestigial due to disuse. The speed at which the high priest shifted emotions from the wide smile to an almost abnormal malice was a huge pointer at just how much of the truth he had been telling with all those words. "'Destroy them all', huh? Well, I suppose 'freedom' is not synonymous with 'humane', so I should not be disappointed."

    As everyone prepared for battle, Terumi's hair burned bright once again, as flames began to dance around her arms. She took a step towards Irwin, ready to start lobbing all sorts of flaming, burning and exploding projectiles until she had gotten to the spoilt idiot. Then, they could clear out this room, and perhaps destroy those statues... especially that humongous head thing. As Nita vanished, Terumi was not bothered; her friend had shown times without number that she was capable of protecting herself and dealing damage effectively. However, the blonde played right into the enemy's hands.

    "Nita!"

    Her friend was down on the floor, incapacitated by a series of runes that were beneath her. Terumi was not savvy with arcane writings, but nobody needed to be told that her friend was in peril. The cultists instantly put up a shield to protect whatever nefarious ritual they had planned, and fortunately for Irwin, he managed to get beyond its perimeter in time. Normally, some people would have ignored him, leaving him to fend for himself. Many others would have taken his head, not only for being part of this problem, but for this problem endangering the life of their friend. Terumi, however, always wanted to do the right thing, even if it looked weak or stupid. She couldn't charge through the shield as easily as she would have liked; there were numerous Chosen swarming her way, and cultists who were bolstering the barrier.  She was afraid for Nita, but she would have to be calm, and keep Irwin safe until the whole ordeal was done. She had considered teleporting him out of this place with her Firestep, but who knew what stupid thing he would do, or whether he wouldn't wander into the jaws of death, or something? Much as she loathed the idea, he was safest with her.

    "Keep behind me, Irwin, and don't do anything stupid. Heck, don't do anything at all." "Do-don't do anything...?" he stammered, but she cut him off. "Fine! You can run, stay out of my way, and scream to your heart's content, but if you're too loud, I will slap you silly. That is not a joke. And don't get out of my sight. I will roast you, if you do."

    So saying, she unleashed torrents of fire from her fingers at the incoming horde, burning them to nothing more than ashes, almost in an instant. She didn't have the time to be fooling around; she had to get through that shield. It was a sturdy defense, because it held against her flames. Perhaps it was time to unleash the full force of her strength against it, and see if it would still hold. She took a deep breath...

    ... and suddenly ducked to the side as a spear of darkness lanced through where her head should have been. It was one of the cultists, trying to surprise her fatally. She also noticed something else: he had not been there, prior to this time, or her Tengen would have alerted her  of his presence. Also it seemed there was one less cultist behind the shield. This gave Terumi a bit of hope. If her magic had had no effect on the shield, they would have stayed within its safety and mocked her. For one of them to have to come out to try to subdue her meant that she was putting pressure on the shield, and he was trying to stop her. With a burst of blinding speed, Terumi was in front of the cultist, planting a solid kick to the side of his head. He blasted off into the wall, and she tuned back to the shield. By this time, a strange green fire was flowing out of Nita, and  the head cultist wouldn't keep his gums shut. Using her Tengan, she could safely say that the only cultists in the room were the ones behind the shield.

    "Stay where you are for now, Irwin, and don't try to follow me. I can't have you becoming collateral damage, now that you're still alive."

    As he shrank back, Terumi took note of the shield. There were six cultists within, including the high priest. The odds were not too bad. She took in a deep breath again, and this time, there was no one to inhibit her. Then she blew out a powerful stream of fire that struck the shield with terrifying force. There was a small explosion, but Terumi sensed that the shield was down.  Even without waiting for the smoke and dust to clear, she began attacking the cultists. The first caught a blast of fire to the face, and went down screaming. The second drew a dagger and charged. He got a fistful of inhuman strength and was punched into the week after next. The third began casting a darkness spell, where a thick blanket of black began spreading out from under his feet. Terumi pointed at him and fired off a quick blast of fire from her fingers. It stopped him, and his darkness, together. The fourth cultist began trying to form another shield, but a well aimed Firefly Bomb took him out. The fifth cultist stayed  by the chief cultist, like he was his bodyguard or something. Terumi walked towards them, the flames that danced around her putting the room lighting into even more contrast.

    "Only darkness remains after the lights burn out, you say?" she asked, as she prepared to send her most powerful fireball their way. She wouldn't have to worry about Nita, because her fire never harmed her friends... unless in certain situations. "Well, this light's going to keep burning till the darkness is no more."

    WC: 1556
    TWC: 15,897

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 31st March 2022, 9:24 pm

    While the battle raged on around her, while her friend sought to rescue her from her present predicament, Nita remained unaware of it all. For her mind had been cast adrift on the Interdimensional Sea, although it was still tethered to her body, else she would have probably died. She recognized the place: it was her personal sanctum in the sea of the void, the Ark she had managed to appropriate from the Primordial that had tried to destroy her, back then in Pergrande.  What was she doing here, she wondered. Now was not the time to be dawdling about, not when she was supposed to be dealing with a mission. Besides, the true threat, the Primordial that had instigated all the Xavuul nonsense, had not yet revealed itself. Nita was absolutely unwilling, despite her fear of the Primordial and its ilk, to allow her closest friend face the menace alone. But no matter how she tried to will a portal open in this place, she could not leave. She could not even step out of the bubble library and into the Sea. For all intents and purposes, she was effectively trapped in this place. But the question was, for what reason?

    The low sound of someone humming alarmed her; she had thought she was to be alone in this place. The young Pergrandian noted to her dismay that she didn’t even have any weapon with which to defend herself, if the owner of the humming voice was an enemy. But the sooner she figured out what was going on, the sooner she would be able to leave and return to Earthland, where some butts were in need of serious kicking. Steeling herself for whatever would show up, Nita began trying to track the voice. She was surprised at how successful she was. Behind one of the giant bookshelves stood an old man in a long, mystic-looking robe. His hair was full and long, and so was his beard, both of them being white in color. He hummed to himself as he ran his hand along the volumes of books, although he didn’t seem to be looking for any book in particular. ”Hello?” Nita said, trying to get his attention. For a moment, he seemed oblivious of her presence, then he looked up and smiled. ”Hello yourself, child,” he said happily, grinning from ear to ear. While Nita wouldn’t have minded socializing with the nearest available wizard, she felt time was not on her side.

    ”Who are you? And why am I trapped here? I need to get back to Earthland.” the young mage said, stepping towards the man.

    ”Oh, but you are in Earthland,” he replied. ”Or technically your body is. Your mind, however, is in another place… perhaps another time. The Interdimensional Sea does seem to have no respect for the laws of space and time, you know. I’ve been waiting for you for a long time… or was that three minutes ago? It gets awfully difficult to keep track of time.” He began humming again to himself. ”Uh, why exactly have you been waiting for me? And do you know how to get me back into my body? Oh, and I almost forgot the question you so cleverly refused to answer: who are you? If you work on my questions from the last asked to the first, that would really be great.” The old man laughed. ”Youth and their impatience. Very well, if you must know, I am… I’m--” There was a long pause, as he seemed to be trying to remember something. And then just like that, he began walking away and humming again. Nita ran round him and planted herself in front of him, an annoyed look on her face. He looked up at her, a surprised expression on his own. ”Hello, pretty damsel. I didn’t notice you here. Do you need anything from me?”

    Nita screamed in frustration, clapping her hands to the sides of her head. ”Will you stop screaming like a night hag?” the old man snapped, looking angry. ”Don’t you know anything about the sanctity of libraries?” Nita screamed again, louder this time. The bearded man held up his hands. ”Enough! Brats of nowadays. I can’t understand why Arcanos would pick such an impatient, irascible imp.”

    ”I’m going to take one of these books and shove it up your impatient, irascible—wait, what?!” The old man gave her an irritated look. ”Yes, Arcanos, you emptyheaded Betty.” ”I know who or what Arcanos is, you discombobulated peabrain,” Nita shot back. ”What I want to know is, what do you mean Arcanos picked me? And who in the name of the mighty god of magic’s--” Nita was shushed by a hand on her mouth. ”You’d want to be more polite when talking about your patron deity, dear child,” the man said, to Nita’s surprise, in a gentle voice, a nostalgic smile on his face. ”I’ll tell you everything I think you should know. So, I’ve forgotten my name, honest. But I know I am—was—a proponent of Arcanos. That god has a funny choice of champions. Your attempted blasphemy reminded me of my younger self, haha. Now where was I? Oh yes. Arcanos has chosen you, because apparently he feels he wants a champion. The details I don’t know, and I never did. Yes, it may sound strange to you, but think about it: why did you have that incredible luck that ended up with you having a Primordial’s powers? Do you think all your successes have been because you’re merely lucky? No, child. It’s because Arcanos has marked you for great things. So I’ve been trying to reach you in the Interdimensional Sea, but you seem to have raised up incredible defenses around your mind, so I could not reach you. Whatever happened to you in Earthland must have tried to tear your mind forcefully from your body in order to make it an empty vessel. Fortunately for you, your second soul has prevented you from leaving permanently. It’s rare to find a human with two souls. I think I had two souls too, but that was such a long time ago. No matter. There’s another Champion of Arcanos now. My work is done.” And then an uncomfortable expression came over the man’s face, like he was struggling with constipation. ”What are you doing?” Nita asked, an expression of curiosity and disgust. ”And do you know you’ve only gotten me more confused?”

    The old man stopped and gave the young mage an even look. ”What I’m doing is trying to disappear. Vanish into the void. Move on. I have handed the baton of Championship of Arcanos to the next victim—ah sorry, candidate, and I would very much like to cross over to the afterlife, now.” Having said this, he began to fade. ”Yes!” he crowed, pumping a fist in the air. ”Yes!! Goodbye, little brat of Arcanos. Three things you must remember: one: don’t eat your heart out about worshipping your patron deity; Arcanos does not give a single shit about details; two: be sure to fulfil your mission on Earthland so you don’t end up like me; and three: if you follow your heart, you will not miss the way.” And he was gone, leaving Nita adequately confused, and still with no way of getting out of the Interdimensional Sea.

    Meanwhile, the high priest was still gloating. ”Your actions are in vain, fiery one. Do you know why we wanted your friend? Her body seems to have adequately been acclimatized to the powers of Xavuul’s kin, and Xavuul requires a body that will not degenerate when they possess it. Through your friend, Xavuul will walk the earth once more! And we will--” There was an audible crack, as the cultist guarding the chief priest was suddenly flung across the room, his neck twisted all the way round, thanks to the backhanded blow that Nita planted on his face as she rose suddenly. Or was that Nita? She looked for a moment at her hand, a worried expression on her face, then looked at Terumi. ”’Mimi-chan’. How cute.” It was Nita’s voice, but different, more subtle, more sultry. She looked at her hand again, the worried look returning. ”I forget how weak humans are. Well, better a quick death than a Chosen life, I suppose.” The blonde’s attention turned to Terumi once more. “I’m sure Nita hasn’t told you about me. Naughty girl. I am the source of her powers. She should treat me more nicely.”

    The chief cultist shrieked in rage. ”Defiler! Abomination!” he screamed. ”Xavuul told me about you… about your disgrace. How you succumbed to become the slave of a puny human child.” He spat. The strange Nita turned towards him, her countenance darkening. He quickly took a step back. ”While I want to tear out your throat, I somehow think Nita would not approve. But surely, if you give me a reason to, I will gladly mingle your blood with its similar constitution of the sewer filth at our feet. So please, give me a reason.” The cultist took another step backward. And then the giant-headed statue opened its eyes and mouth, a pale green light filling the makeshift temple. Then the light sprang out of the statue and landed on the cultist, who began to scream as his body twisted in unnatural positions. ”But Xavuul! This was not what we discussed! You said--” As he screamed, Alternate Nita raised a hand, and a black card formed; she obviously wanted to throw it at the cultist. But then the other two monstrous statues came to life; each punched the ceiling in tandem with the other, and the roof of the sewer temple caved in on everyone.

    ”Suit of Clubs: Full House!” Alternate Nita called out, as she backtracked towards Terumi. Black cards appeared around herself, Terumi and Irwin, even as the huge stones and concrete descended on everything in the temple. Irwin was screaming. Alternate Nita ignored him, and used her cards to begin trying to dig them out. ”While the bitch is busy emptying out his lungs, be a darling and give me a hand, Mimi dear,” said Alternate Nita. The advantage of her Full House spell was that she could move her cards, enabling her to dislodge the stones atop her shield. But maintaining the shield and trying to dig was not as easy as she had thought. Eventually, with good teamwork, the stones atop the shield were removed. As the cards swept to either side to reveal the desolation of the caved-in street around them, Alternate Nita lifted her gaze to the pale moon in the sky. ”Fortunately, it seems like a large part of the street, not buildings, crumbled, so I don’t think there were casualties,” she said. ”Still, we’re not out of the woods. I don’t care what Irwin the Heroically Screaming Boy Bitch wants to do, as long as he stays out of our way. We’ve got Gallu to slay. And yes, Mimi dear, the Disfigured Disgusting Duo of Dire Devilry? Those are Gallu.”


    WC: 1850
    PWC: 9420
    TWC: 17747


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 1st April 2022, 1:44 pm

    The hogwash that the chief cultist was spewing did not appeal to Terumi in any way; the only reason she had not shut him up was because her agent for silencing him was being created. And once she had formed the high pressure fireball, she would launch it at him, whether he was though with his monologue or not. And it would take a lot more than brazen words or even a puny shield spell, to stop what was coming...

    Terumi started as Nita rose to her feet and almost literally backhanded the head off the cultist that was acting as a bodyguard for his chief priest. "Nita?" Terumi asked uncertainly. That fatally savage blow did not seem too much like the Fortunita Terumi knew, but she could understand if her Pergrandian friend was thoroughly incensed at being almost kicked out of her own body by a bunch of third rate cultists. The way she looked down at her hand was a bit suspicious, though, as though it was not really her body, but when she spoke, Terumi knew that this was not her friend. At least, it wasn't her consciousness. For one, she considered Nita's nickname for Terumi to be endearing. If she was actually Nita, there would be no point to mention that. She had offered the name, Terumi had accepted it, and a couple of minutes and events had elapsed since then.

    When the entity currently controlling Nita's body introduced herself, Terumi was slightly relieved, but no less wary. It was much better than if that Xavuul thing had found its way into her friend's body and was now manipulating it. Still, Terumi did not know what this being wanted, if it and Nita had conflicting interests, or if it had malevolent plans for Earthland. But she said nothing, because the high priest and the consciousness in Nita's body had a brief exchange of words. And as the priest backed away, another surprise happened. This time, it was humongous head that belched out some sort of green light, which descended on the chief priest. For someone who had, just moments ago, been praising the Primordial known as Xavuul for being a god of freedom, his words and screams seemed to be very contradictory to that idea. It was obvious that, without a care for his own plans, thoughts or desires, Xavuul forced his will and whatever else it was on the priest, subjecting him to excruciating pains, which looked lethal. Nita, or this "other" Nita, wanted to interrupt whatever was going on with an attack, but the other two large, foreboding statues suddenly came to life and brought down the roof over their heads.

    Terumi wasted no time in heading towards Nita, pulling Irwin along. She wanted to create a shield that would protect them all together, but Nita activated hers first, protecting them from the crushing tons of rubble that descended upon them. Other Nita asked her for her help in getting them to the surface. Sometimes, she was a bit ashamed to say it, because it didn't sound like something that would fit in a hero's CV, but when it came to sheer destructive properties, Terumi's magic was very sufficient.

    "Leave it to me!" she said, holding out her palm upwards. It was a good thing she had not used the compressed ball of flames on the cultist, because it was still with her, and she had not activated it yet. Still, she would need even more firepower to dig them out. A thick conflagration of flames erupted around her open palm, over which the small fireball floated, then these flames wrapped themselves tightly around the fireball, increasing its capacity for destruction. She extended her Tengan, ensuring that nothing alive was directly above their position, and when she was satisfied, she launched the fireball.

    The tiny fireball exploded outwards with cataclysmic force, but the heat emitted was even more terrifying. The blast vaporized everything above them, leaving a shaft through the earth to the ground level above, a shaft that was rimmed with smoking, bubbling, glass. Any other loose earth, stones or debris that tried to slide into Terumi's explosive excavation was easily moved aside by Other Nita's shifting cards. In no time, they were out. Terumi stepped onto the shattered street and looked around. Then she turned back, her eyebrows raised in incredulity. Irwin was still screaming. She cupped his face in both her hands tenderly, and he stopped and stared at her, his expression a mixture of fear and wonder.  "I promised to slap you hard if you screamed too loud, so shush..." she cooed. Despite the fact that he had some reckoning to face, Terumi wanted him out of here and in a safer environment, so  that Nita and herself could freely take on whatever horrors were out in Crocus, thanks to the stupid cultists' rituals, without having to babysit anyone. She smiled. "I'm going to send you out of here, but when we're done, I'll find you. And like it or not, you will have to answer for your dealings with this Primordial cult. It will be in your best interest, when the time comes, to do the right thing. You can neither run nor hide from me; I will find you, and your family won't protect you from me, should it come to that."

    So saying, she clicked her fingers, activated her Firestep, and teleported him out of the area. She sent him straight to the café where they had met the Skands. If he tried to evade her, she  could easily track him down. Right now, however, they had "Gallu" to kill. She turned to Alternate Nita. "To her credit, Nita told me about you, though Iwould like to know your name. Please, take good care of her." It seemed so far that this being did not wish Nita any harm or ill will, so Terumi would work with her until her friend returned. And if her friend did not return, there was bound to be a big problem. Hopefully, that event would not happen. Rather than asking Other Nita when the real Nita would return, and risk offending her, Terumi decided to focus on the pressing task at hand.

    "I assume the 'Gallu' are like the humongous head thing's bodyguards or something... and I think they're coming."

    She had barely finished speaking when a large black humanoid dropped to the ground about ten meters away, the ground shuddering beneath its weight. One side of its body was visibly larger than the other, and it had a misshapen head. Its left arm, which was the larger side, had been twisted into a huge macabre contraption that looked like a drill, and its other arm was just more or less tentacles. On its back, it had two distorted wings, but Terumi was very sure that it was still capable of flight.

    "Here's Ugly One..."

    WC: 1154
    TWC: 18,901

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 1st April 2022, 11:52 pm

    Alternate Nita stood quietly by, as Terumi admonished Irwin, before clicking her fingers and causing the weasel-faced fellow to vanish. When Terumi said that Nita had mentioned her, a slight smile crept up on her face. The smile vanished though when the green-haired mage asked for her name, being replaced by a look of momentary sorrow. ”My name? I’m afraid I do not have one. I have preferred to be called Ms. Fortune, which is ultimately still Nita’s name, so I feel like an impostor when I do. Yet, am I? I am Nita Fortune, and yet I most certainly am not. Your friend has been rather unwilling to give me a name, although I think it’s more of her being reluctant to interact with me in general. I did attempt to turn her into a Chosen once.” A look of mild embarrassment crossed her features. ”That was quite a while ago, mind you. Also, then I was not bound to this body. And my connection to Nita seems to have changed me a great deal, as I have changed her. In any case, every human has a body, a mind and a soul, right? Think of your dearest friend Nita having one body, two minds and a single fused soul, an amalgamation of god and mortal. I’d have said ‘Primordial’, but I’m not quite that anymore. I don’t know what exactly I am now, though.  And yes, I will take good care of her. An injury to her is done to me.”

    There was a lot Alternate Nita wanted to say, but with the likelihood that the Gallu had seen the eruption of Terumi’s flames and were making their way to attack, now was the worst possible time for discussion. Still, something could be done. Thoughts flowed much aster than words. Creating a telepathic platform, Alternate Nita began discussing psychically with Terumi. ”The Gallu? They are slaves,” Alternate Nita said mentally, a tone of disgust carried on her thoughts. ”The Primordials were only ever good at enslaving things. I hear that there are many myths in Earthland documenting battles between older gods and younger ones. It seems to be the same in civilizations everywhere. But what I find shocking is that in your myths, the younger gods prevail. In Primordial history, the opposite happened. The Gallu are the younger generation of gods, whose subjugation to Primordial essence has twisted and corrupted them. After losing the war, they were enslaved by the Primordials, who fled our dimension in plane-traversing vessels, because the war destroyed our dimension. Most of the Primordials are scattered adrift on the Interdimensional Sea, which is an infinite space between spaces. Some, like myself, managed to discover Earthland, and… let’s just say that, after normal Primordial fashion, I sought to learn about the denizens of this strange dimension, so that I could properly manifest myself in it.” Alternate Nita looked very ashamed of herself, her expression that of a child who had just been given a rather good telling-off. ”So I sent my Gallu to capture a number of humans from what seemed to be a battlefield, so they would be assumed among the slain, took them to my vessel, and I—I experimented on some of them, to their destruction, a good number of them being converted into Chosen. Then came Nita, one of the beings I had abducted, and began making a mess of things. So I decided to teach her a rather cruel lesson, by warping her into a Chosen via a long and painful process. It was at this point one of my Gallu surprisingly rebelled, and attacked me, the result being that I got absorbed into, and fused with your friend. So,” she laughed nervously, ”here we are.”

    The malformed creature landed not too far away, Terumi designating a name for it. ”And here’s Ugly Two!” Alternate Nita said aloud, as the second Gallu came in a similar manner as its partner, landing on the other side of the hole, so that the two mages were between the Gallu. It was more symmetrical than the first, but no less disturbing to look at. What looked like an octopus was its head, connected to the thoracic vertebrae and ribcage of a gigantic cobra, coated with green slime. This caused its head to tower a good eight feet above the rest of its body, which was humanoid, but covered with long scales and green slime, its limbs ending in sloth-like claws. ”You called Ugly One, so dibs on Ugly Two!” So saying, Alternate Nita leaped out of the hole, her flexible card shield still whirling about her. The Gallu  reared back and spat a black, slimy goo, which, despite her shield, Alternate Nita was eager to dodge. The slime bubbled and hissed fiercely as it ate effortlessly into the stony ground of the street. ”Eww….” Alternate Nita said, charging the Gallu with her shield. The creature shrieked as the shield shredded it, and tried to swipe her with its long claws. Nita responded by summoning Sirius as a great axe, which she used to block the attack, before retaliating with a devastating cleave. The creature shrieked again and swung, but Nita dodged and hacked it again. The creature fell to one knee, placing its ‘hand’ on the ground, before suddenly a tentacle whipped out of the earth under Alternate Nita, wrapping her legs and lifting her off the ground upside down. Without losing a beat, the Pergrandian transformed Sirius into a one-handed axe, and lopped the tentacle clean off. Even as she fell and righted herself, she flung the axe, its blade glinting wickedly in the moonlight, just before the thrown weapon lodged into the Gallu’s octopus head.

    For a moment, the creature stood unmoving, then the axe dislodged itself and flew back to Niat’s hand, while the monster made a gurgling sound and fell to the ground lifeless. ”How are you doing with Ugly One?” Alternate Nita asked. ”Need any help?” But before she could come to help her friend, the twisted body of the chief cultist exploded forth from the rubble beneath. There were two major issues with him, though. First, his mouth hung open too wide. Secondly, a strange green light emanated from his eyes and mouth. Oh yes, his head had also elongated to disturbing proportions. ”It is you who shall be needing help, abomination. I shall feast on your soul!”

    And in her strange prison in the Interdimensional Sea, Nita suddenly began to feel a surge of power. It wasn’t the Primordial’s magic; it seemed like she was actually and truly generating magic power of her own. Hopeful, the Pergrandian held forth her hand, and the library that was her ark receded into a little bubble, with her consciousness free in the Interdimensional Sea. ”Hell yeah!” Nita whooped, as a portal appeared before her to return her to her body.


    WC: 1150
    PWC: 10570
    TWC: 20051


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Digit v2
    Digit v2

    Player 
    Lineage : Successor of Flame
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 400
    Guild : Sabertooth
    Cosmic Coins : 50
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : None
    Experience : 2,502,666

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ???
    Second Magic: ???
    Third Magic: ???

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Digit v2 2nd April 2022, 1:55 pm

    Terumi felt a little sad for the entity that spoke with her, especially when she broached the topic of an identity crisis. It was a really difficult thing to understand, when she said she was Nita, and then she wasn't Nita. Science, technology, machines and gizmos were considered by many to be a complicated field, but they came easy to Terumi. For most other things, though, Terumi preferred them simple and sweet. So, she couldn't say she understood everything Alternate Nita was telling her. Still, she knew enough to discern that this being, which was now a part of the woman that was Nita, did not consider herself to be different enough to have conflicting goals or such stuff. And if she was of no harm to Nita, then Terumi would have no qualms getting along with her.

    Terumi wanted to give her a big hug, just to make her feel better; hugs did wonders for the Midijin girl. However, she was a bit taken aback by the sudden flow of thoughts into her mind. It did not freak her out, though, for she was not a foreigner to the concept of telepathy. Terumi came to the conclusion that the reason Nita had chosen to speak via telepathy was because it was much faster than conventional speech, and that choice proved to be wise, as "Ugly One" showed up almost immediately Nita was done talking to her.

    "Whether it's the 'Nita' side or the 'Fortune' side I talk to after this, remind me to give you a nice big hug," she said, as the other Gallu showed up on the other side. The hug would have been best when Alternate Nita had been feeling a little blue, but opportunity was not particularly liberal at this point. So, the next best time would be later. Right now, it was time to send these monstrosities out of Earthland. Permanently.

    Ugly One juddered violently as it placed its right hand on the ground and pointed the drill mass at her. "Oh no you don't!" Terumi thought with revulsion, as a cyan wall of flames sprang up between the both of them. With a clapping sound, Ugly One's left arm extended with frightening speed and force. The drill smote the Quartzfire Rampart with an  uncanny ferocity, shattering the shield into a thousand pieces. But beyond the literal wall of flames, Terumi was gone.

    "Kakyojin no Senken!" Terumi yelled from above.

    She threw a punch downwards, and a blast of fire extended from her fist and struck Ugly One in the head. The force of the blow pushed Ugly One down against the ground, but the beast fought back, getting its feet back under it. In a show of resilience and strength, Ugly One roared and leapt into the flames, unfurling its wings and charging upwards, right into Terumi. The tentacles that were its right arm wrapped around the Sabertooth mage, and before she could react or liberate herself, Ugly One smashed her through an adjacent wall. The monstrosity landed heavily on the ground, turned towards the place it had flung Terumi, and drew back its drill arm. Then it rushed head-on into the debris, thrusting the drill ahead of it. Fortunately for Terumi, the attack, despite its strength, was not enough to cause her head to swim, and so she was still quite alert when the monster approached.

    "Sunfire Tech: Fluidfire Splash!"

    For all intents and purposes, the flames that surged out of her fingertips were like a rushing stream of liquid, stopping the Gallu in its tracks as it was held fast. The Gallu pushed against its restraints, seemingly oblivious of the heat of the Fluidfire Splash, even though Terumi could see that the liquid fire was burning its skin. That being the case, if Ugly One was good  at ignoring damage, she would just have to hit it with something that would completely destroy its body. Terumi got to her feet as she took in a deep breath of air, and allowed her ethernano to heat it up to terrifying temperatures. Then she let it all out.

    "Kakyojin no Himei!"

    The fire blast shredded into the Gallu, even as it put its left arm before its face. Terumi increased the intensity of the flames she was breathing, and she soon noticed that its skin began to crack. She refused to relent, because she did not want to stop, only to discover that the monster had some sort of high speed regeneration.  And even though this thing had really thick skin, the advantage of a heat based attack was that, given time, its insides would soon begin to cook. Eventually, the monster fell to its knees, as flames of fire burst out of its mouth and eyes, but Terumi persisted until she was completely out of breath, before she stopped, clutching at her chest and gasping for air. She had really pushed herself to the limit, but the effort was worth it. A smoking, charred husk sat before her, parts of it already crumbling away to ash. "What a tough bugger," she muttered, as she made her way back to the broken street, to check on Nita.

    She heard Nita asking if she needed any help, just as she came into view, but something suddenly burst out of the ground. It was the chief cultist, only that Xavuul had turned him into something else. Terumi was very sure that the cultist was as dead as a doornail now, and all that was left was a wretch of a body possessed by some malevolent ugliness. Its voice even came out different, as it talked some nonsense about feasting on Nita's soul. Terumi wondered whom the dramatic longwinded statements belonged to: the cultist or Xavuul. Whichever or whomever it was, he, it, whatever, had gone uninterrupted for long enough.

    "Eat this, instead!" Terumi yelled, as she drew back her hand, gathering a gigantic amount of flames, which she instantly compressed to a miniature sun and flung at Xavuul.

    WC: 1004
    TWC: 21,055

    Fraag
    Fraag

    Player 
    Lineage : Progeny of Arcanos
    Position : None
    Faction : The Luminous Covenant
    Posts : 1014
    Guild : Luminous Rose
    Cosmic Coins : 60
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 3,051,234

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Arcane Fate Magic
    Second Magic: Night God Slayer
    Third Magic: Relativity God Slayer

    Enter the Black Maria! Empty Re: Enter the Black Maria!

    Post by Fraag 2nd April 2022, 7:26 pm

    As Nita swam towards the opening portal to enter it, she sensed something, or someone, coming through the same portal.  Her first thought was to flee, but the Pergrandian noted two reasons fleeing was not in her best interests: firstly, for some inexplicable reason, she sensed that whoever was coming through the portal was meant to be encountered, and was more likely an ally than a foe. Secondly, in the Interdimensional Sea, with the way it defied the logical functioning of space and time, if something or someone had both the desire and the ability to locate you in this strange void ocean, trying to flee would be as effective as running on the spot, and expecting to escape a pursuant who had set their sights on you. So she waited patiently before the portal. And out of the portal came… herself. Her eyes widened as she stared at this doppelganger, who stared at her in surprise as well. At first, Nita almost thought she was looking at a reflection, but then the Alternate Nita frowned in mild confusion. ”You look all blurry and stuff… oh, I see.” Nita ‘saw’ as well. The realization was that what she was looking at was the other personality in her mind, with her own perception and opinion of who she thought she was reflected by the personality. And as her alternate personality presently had an identity crisis due to a lack of appellation, it seemed, that personality’s image was blurred in its own eyes.

    ”I’ll do something about giving you a name very soon, but it will have to be a name that I accept, since I realize that you’re, for better or worse, a part of me,” Nita said to her alternate personality. The other Nita nodded. ”You have to be quick about it, then.” Nita scoffed. ”Don’t rush me. And…” her expression softened, ”thanks for taking care of my body.” It was the other Nita’s turn to scoff. ”Our body, you mean, dumbass. And so, since you can’t be thanking me for looking after my own interests, apology accepted, for your wicked treatment of poor old me.” Nita rolled her eyes and stepped towards the portal, even as the other Nita stepped away from it, the two Nitas walking past each other. Then there was a pause. ”What was with the whole Arcanos thing?” Of course, just as Nita could not hide secrets from her alternate persona, so the other being’s thoughts were totally transparent to her. ”I’m just as confused as you,” the Pergrandian answered, ”but I think somehow, Fiore’s god of magic seems to have selected me as his favorite Fiorean, a real irony seeing my nationality. His interest does make a lot of sense, with the weird twists our lives have taken, and how we’ve turned out. Well, whatever it entails, it looks like we’ll just have to figure everything out for ourselves, and adapt as we go on. And keep in mind the adage, ‘those whom the gods love die young’.” The other Nita sighed in exasperation. ”You need to stop underestimating me. When we fused, you became part goddess. And I don’t see love affairs among the gods ending in either of the parties dying.”

    ”Yeah well, I’d prefer the object of my love affairs to be flesh and blood.” She stepped partially into the portal, as her alternate laughed. ”For all your innocence, you have a dirty mind, Nita.”

    ”And we both know where, or rather whom I got it from.”

    Xavuul’s avatar did not turn to face the compressed sun flung by Terumi, but the former priest’s body seemed to ‘glitch’ as it cast a reality manipulating spell, changing the vectors of the cast spell, so that it ‘glitched’ around the monster, redirecting itself at Nita. ”Wild Card: Canasta!” The flying sun connected with one of Nita’s black cards and vanished, reemerging from another card and flying straight into the back of Xavuul’s avatar. The aberration screamed as the projectile tore a large hole through its torso, and wheeled to face Terumi, its distended mouth beginning to elongate even longer. And what Nita could only describe as inspiration dropped into her mind, surprising her and making her realize that perhaps all that talk about being chosen by Arcanos wasn’t a lie. A pale gleam seemed to emanate from her form, as a prayer almost automatically flowed out of her mouth, and a flow of glowing runes bathed the Primordial’s twisted puppet. Then a beam of bright golden fire descended from the sky and smashed into the former cultist, disintegrating his corrupted flesh and leaving nothing but a twisted skeleton, on whose frame the golden flames slowly died.

    ”Wow!” the Pergrandian said, looking up at the sky, then redirecting her attention to Terumi. ”Yeah, I think I’ll cash in on the hug now, ” she said, hurrying to her friend to hug her. ”You’ve no idea how grateful I am that you accompanied me here. And there’s no ‘Fortune’ side of me; my surname is ‘Fortune’.” She was about to say more, but the sound of clapping distracted her. There were quite a number of people spectating, apparently. ”Okay, I did not expect this…” the Pergrandian said, but she was not too surprised. Definitely, the sound of the street caving in would have alerted people to check on what was going on, and in the days of iLacs and other devices with which could record videos, there was a lot of physical and electronic witness. And it seemed nobody had been hurt. Nita couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion, so far.

    ”Hey, isn’t that the Verdant Flame of Sabertooth?” Nita heard someone in the crowd ask. ”Yeah, and she seems to be tag-teaming with that Black Maria girl!” another excitedly said. The Black Maria? Nita couldn’t help but try to listen carefully to the discussions. ”You mean you haven’t seen that vid on that monster hunter channel? Where that blonde, card-using chick fought all those sea monsters?” the person was saying. Nita remembered the Cloud Sea incident. Seemed that the hunters she had saved went ahead and uploaded the videos recorded by the AI ship that she’d used to carry out the mission. She wasn’t complaining though. ”Wait, they’re the same person?” the other person was saying in wonder. ”She’s so short in real life!” On another day, Nita would have probably taken offense. Today, however, she was feeling rather magnanimous. Things had turned out unexpectedly, but amazingly so. And she had settled on the name her alternate persona would bear.

    ”Maria? I approve.” The Pergrandian heard in her mind. She smiled. The monicker ‘Black Maria’ was fitting. ”Senka and the Black Maria. Grand!”


    WC: 1120
    PWC: 11690
    TWC: 22175


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      Current date/time is 4th February 2023, 7:35 am