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  1. Lavinia hadn't expected Marina to cling so tightly... Was she truly scared to be here? Maybe something was spooking her, but there was another human with them, walking about as if nothing had happened. Lavinia gave the girl a gentle squeeze in return, smiling as much as she could from under her hood. "Things will be fine, Marina." Hopefully, at least. This Amera seemed to know Nessraya, but Lavinia knew nothing of the girl personally. Tepel was still standing, so there was a good chance she at least knew what she was doing in regards to running the place. A moment of walking later and the group was inside the fort. It was in immaculate condition, likely able to hold out under any assault that managed to breach the walls of the city... That wasn't exactly the problem that would arise if the walls, fell, but it was heartwarming for the vampire, just a touch. At the least, the citizens could retreat inside and be kept safe. Amera led them along to a rather large meeting room, enough space for all of them to stand around the table situated in the middle of the room. "Alright, Nessraya, miss head knight, let's hear your whole deal... This is Seilan, by the way. Now acting captain of a squad of men that had come from Hwein. I'll let him explain his issue once you're done talking... Hopefully we can help him with that once everything here in Vaia is settled." Amera lazily sat herself up on the edge of the table, one leg curled under her, the other hanging off the edge. "Oh, go grab the problem from the jail." She motioned to the guard that had followed with them. It took him a moment, but he nodded and made his way out of the room. Lavinia wasn't quite sure what to make of her, even now... She was far too carefree, were all beastmen like this? "Right... Well, let's get the hostilities out of the way." "Hostilities?" Amera was taken aback by that, a small frown developing as her fists balled and tightened. "Yes. This... Is the Hero that Coteon brought through Vaia." Lavinia stayed in front of Marina, to her right, hand on the hilt of the sword she carried. If Amera moved to attack her, she would defend the girl without a moment's notice. Tepel's commander couldn't help the instant scowl, smile, and twitching of her eyes that followed, as if she'd been told a joke too bad to be true, yet still infuriating. "Is she?" "She is... And from orders of the Demon King, she is helping us with the restructuring of Vaia through the defeat of Ithraxl, and tasks beyond, like recirculating trade in Hwein." "Wow, you aren't fucking with me. Hoo, boy! You sure are lucky Nessraya is here or I'd be bounding across the table to twist that sprout's neck, through your sword or not!" It was impossible for the cat to hide her anger towards the very reason they were currently under siege, but rather than kill herself trying to remove what she perceived as a problem, she simply growled and hopped off the table, arms folded, trying to contain her feelings. "Alright, sweet! We can have the damn 'hero' swing her holy sword right through Ithraxl's stupid mug and end this ridiculous coup he's trying to push." Lavinia let out a sigh she hadn't been completely aware she was holding. A part of her was convinced that was about to get bloody... She could only be glad it hadn't. "Marina will do all that she can... That is the biggest announcement I had to bring to your attention, Amera. I'll let Sir Seilan speak before I go into anything else, given your issue hasn't shown up either." "Fine, whatever." The frustrated cat growled again and started pacing, unsure of what to do with the broil of emotions that had just been set. "Well, this is a party," Asami idly commented, going at her nails with a small nail fi... Where did she get that? As Ren walked away from Ayane's little stroll, leaving the princess defenseless... Without a whisper of sound on the wind, an armored figure approached her, hand reaching for her shoulder... "Excuse me, miss. Might I have a moment of your time?" The voice, a girl's, held an oddly familiar tone, one Ayane might recognize with a bit of thinking. Her identity, though, would have to wait. Save for her mouth, a dark blue mask covered the entirety of her face, in contrast to the stark white of her armor. From what little Ayane would be able to make out under the mask, her skin was dark, either natural or tanned, and her hair was a dull white, close to silver, fitting in with the palette of her armor. "I'm visiting this town for the first time, and was hoping someone would show me around, but the guards suddenly went away with another group... I've no guide at the moment, and It is definitely a bit rude to impose, but given that you're armed..." Taking her hand away from Ayane, the girl gestured a gauntlet to the sword at her hip, tilting her head with a smirk. "Perhaps a stretch, given that and your appearance, I assumed you one of the city's personnel as well. Was I wrong?" Despite seeing almost nothing of her face, the bright green of her eyes behind the mask's small slits was certainly striking. The bar tender took Ren's money and set a second drink for him, leaving him to his moment. No one else gave Ren a second glance, assuming him just another tired soldier, given the weaponry he was carrying... Until. "Oh, poor, poor oni, all tired and sad~" A rather familiar and likely annoying voice graced his ears, Asami sitting down next to him. "Surely you didn't just come all the way out here to wallow in booze, hmmmm? Come on, lend me your ear, I haven't had the chance to speak with you this whole time we've been together~" Obviously because they hated each other, but Asami was more than please to see Ren so down and out of sorts... Her amusement aside, she did have something to tell him, but she wanted to tease the life out of him first. When else would she get such a chance? "Hwah!?" Erephis jumped, glancing back towards Taiyute. She hadn't expected any of the group to want to bother with her little chores, let alone the Genasi, but it wouldn't hurt to have her along, would it? With a small nod, Erephis sighed to catch her breath, and started back towards the vendor. "I-I don't mind, T, Ta-Taiyute. Sure..." Why her, anyway? No use in thinking about it much longer, having another person suited to magic would make shopping easier, if nothing else. Approaching the vendor with her new tag along in tow, Erephis gave a gentle wave to the spider running the shop and quickly went about looking over the tomes on the shelf. Should... Sh-Should I talk with her? I don't think I've ever spoken at length with a Genasi before... uhm... I-I wonder what she'd want to talk about. Maybe she likes magic too? Or maybe she's bored of it since, she's made of, it... I, hmm... I don't know... "R-Really!?" Taliyah looked so happy at Agni's agreement, it was like she'd forgotten her father was soon to be on the group's chopping block. "Th-That's great!" That was, until Bridgit reminded her of who else they were buying gifts for. "Ahh... I, r-right... If you r-really want to, I mean... I, I guess..." She shrunk a bit at that, but nodded, and agreed, not wanting to fight their wishes. "As... L-Long as we do both, I, suppose." Aithlin was a bit weirded out by the sudden diffusing of that happiness bomb, taking a moment to pat the lizard on the back. "It'll be fine, Taliyah, we'll get it all done. Hope y'all don't mind if I lead us, then~" Aithlin started off, the lizard awkwardly following along after her. "Y-Yes, we will! Uhm... L, Let's go, Agni! Bridgit!" The city, while dotted with plenty of housing, was rather compact, and it only took minutes to reach a suitable destination. "Thrift store, huh..." Aithlin eyed the sign, 'Tia's Thrift', shrugging as she made her way inside. An excitable beastgirl smiled at the sudden customers, tail on full wag. "Hello! Welcome! Soldiers? From the fort? How can I help you all?" "Well... I do suppose since we're working with them now, that isn't inaccurate. Little miss here's gonna ask you what she's looking for, though. The elf pushed Taliyah in front of her, taking a step back towards the others in their group. "I wha!? I, hwahh, ahh... Can... C-Caaaaaan, I ssee what, magical items you... Have, f-for, sale...?" Taliyah had flushed a brilliant red upon becoming the star of this show, the owner of the store giving her a pitying smile and nodding gently. "O' course you can. Give me a moment to fish them out of the back." Off she went, tail still wagging one mile a minute, disappearing behind a curtain just beyond the counter. "Hwahhhhhhh..." Taliyah melted on the spot, almost melting, held up by her tail. "Cute, ain't she?" Aithlin gave Agni's shoulder a pay, before staring at Bridgit. "Agni can handle the lizard and Marina's little present. You and me, we're gonna find Taliyah something in here. Sound good?" The thrift shop itself looked more like a clothes store, though what of it was used and new, would be impossible to tell. This Tia seemed to keep everything in tip top shape. On shelves were hats, cloves, boots, and other apparel, that would be less needed upon racks. There was another small show case with several necklaces and rings inside, but, given she'd retired to behind the storefront, the magical wears were kept elsewhere.
  2. "Mrowr~ Wait until we're inside the fort~" Amera could barely contain herself, much to the chagrin of Lavinia, who was hoping they would meet a more professional squad of soldiers taking care of one of their most important strategic positions. Hopefully discussions would proceed in a proper manner, at least. With a sigh, she almost missed Marina having run up to them, her quiet voice catching the vampire's ears at the perfect moment between words. "Ah, Marina. Yes, you're coming, of course. You're the star, after all." Hopefully the reveal would cause few problems, they hadn't exactly been able to send a messenger ahead. With Nessraya here, at least, it seemed things would be tense, but amiable, at worst. "She's the star? Little girl like her...? Hmm. Well, I'm sure you'll explain once we're inside. It only took another ten minutes to get the wagon into Tepel proper. Despite the look of the outside walls, what was still standing of the city looked almost untouched. What was still standing, at least. There were several houses that had been collapsed, and a look into the ruins provided the answer as to why: trebuchet. Large boulders had collapsed their roofs and taken the walls with them... "Siege weaponry, really? What kind of madman is Ithraxl, really? There are innocent people living here, this isn't a military only institution." In reality, only the trade of weapons and tomes, as well as the fort the city was named for, were run by any of Vaia's military personnel. The rest of the people living and trading in Tepel were Vaia's citizens, and they were the ones under siege from this madness. Amera and her guards led Jade's cart towards the fort, nodding at one of them to inform Braksen that he was going to be housing some horses. "Alright! This is our fine fort Tepel, and you are all welcome to sleep here. 'Cept for your nightmares, miss Zombie, those will have to stay at the temporary stall we have setup at Braksen's pub. Ithraxl's trebuchets took our cavalry quarters out in his last assault, else we'd gladly set you up here. The rest of you! Take any room that's empty in the fort. If it is, the key will be on the bed, and you can use it until you need to leave. Don't exactly know how long you people will be staying here, I'll square that out with Lavinia and the general~" Amera couldn't help the lilt in her voice when addressing Nessraya, her affection painfully evident. "Right... Then, Asami? Please pay the fine folk we've had traveling with us. You heard her, I assume! Your rooms are taken care of, so spend or save this gold wisely. We'll likely be here for several days, and given the fort hasn't fallen, I assume Tepel's weapons manufacturing is in full swing. Restock or take a load off, see what the town has to offer for the lot of you... We've, had a lot of travel, so I'm sure the lot of us could use some proper normalcy." They hadn't been attacked again during their travels after the woods, but camping and constantly moving by wagon was far from what one might consider normal. A good bed, warm food, nice people. It was these they were fighting to protect, and what Lavinia assumed everyone needed to get their energy back proper. "Iiiiii'm on iiiiit~" Asami had already produced several pouches of gold, somehow. Where the fox kept her items, only Bladen might have known, as no one else had been under that yukata enough. "One thousand gold for each of ya~ Use it how you like! I'm sure the town has plenty to offer." With that said, the fox hopped out and headed over to Lavinia and the general, smiling at them both. "Well then? Shall we have this wonderful strategy meeting~?" "Yes, we shall. Marina! Come along. Agni, if you feel the need to be with her, you may come as well." Lavinia turned towards the fort, knowing the right people would be in tow. "Heyyyyyy, Seilan! I know you watched us come in! Get yer butt over here and join us." Amera was sure that mage had crept along and kept tabs on things, she'd seen him atop the fort's walls. With his actual captain dead and gone, her joke of calling him the leader had become reality. As such, whatever this meeting was going to entail, he'd need to be present. "Don't mind the human, Nessraya, he's just a bit slow~ I'm sure this will go smoothly, and then we'll have aaaaaaall the time in the world to ourselves." It was more than clear that Amera didn't care much for humans... With all that taken care of, Taliyah slowly picked up her share of the gold, surprised she'd even been given any. After pocketing the coins, she jumped to Agni's side. "Uhm! Uh! I-I know that Lavinia offered for you to watch over Marina, but... W-Well... If y, y-you don't mind going around, the town I... W-Was hoping to get her a gift. And f-ffffor, you, t-to come too." The lizard was all stutters, and finally jumped, when Aithlin put a hand on her shoulder. The elf had armored back up, easier to carry the set around on her body than in a trunk on the wagon. She was confident she wouldn't look out of place in a fort swarming with militia, anyway. "Wanted me and the boss knight's sister to come along, if you don't mind, Agni. Ain't that right, Bridgit!?" Aithlin called over at the girl just to make sure. They'd invited Nessraya as well, but the general seemed to have very pressing matters to attend to. She could catch up if she cared to, right? Erephis, meanwhile, had already been given her gold before Asami started doling out bags, quietly slipping off the wagon and slithering into town towards the vendor. She'd been meaning to pick up a few personal supplies, and big gatherings like that weren't her forte. She wouldn't have minded stopping to speak with Ren for a moment before going, though...
  3. As time passed, the ANF's main fleet caught itself up to the Riese. While the damage was extensive, with the few hours they had to spare, they were at the very least able to shut the hole that had been opened by the bridge's destruction, and get the ship's E-Field functioning properly again. So long as it held out, the ship was likely to be fine... It had definitely seen better days, though. Captain Miller set the rendezvous point to the far north of Canada, a few miles out from Resolute, Nunavut. From the data and triangulations, the Apotheosis ship was located just off the cost of Cornwallis Island. It would be a battle over the snow for their final encounter... The pilots on both the Riese and the Avalon had their time to rest. While Jessica was still without legs-- even Ignatius couldn't fabricate them that quickly, not to match her designations --she was still flying the ship remotely from the infirmary. "Looks like we're coming up on the designated rally point. No enemy readings yet, so things should be-- Speak of the devil and he shall appear. That is the saying, right, XO?" Jess had asked that Roxanna remain in the infirmary to coordinate their leading better, while ensign Calvin stayed in the meeting room for better monitoring. They were a communicator's press away, so things were running as smoothly as they could. "I'm picking up... Three mobile suits. Two look to be of the Knight designation, around the same size and design as the ones we fought before... While one is... That's big." "All hands! It's time for the final battle!" I think! "Please man your suits and launch! The enemy force is approaching, ETA two minutes to contact--" "Kazue Fujiwara, launching!" Immediately Jess received a response from one of the smaller suits, the Crescent Moon. It had already been loaded into the elevator, and it seemed to be the first to take off. "Uh, y-yes! Good work soldier! Wow, that, was fast..." Suited back up, taking steady breaths to try and remain calm, Christina stared ahead at Kim in the pilot seat of the Artemis. "H... Hey. Uhm... This, this is it, right? After this... No more fighting?" She could only hope. If this was the fight to determine their future against an alien race and a bunch of terrorists, she could only hope it would go well. "We're... We're gonna win. We have to win. We, w-we gotta..." Despite knowing she needed to have confidence for this sort of thing, Christina was doing everything she could to stop herself from outright panicking. "Kim... If, th-this is the last time I get to tell you this? I love you. Thank you... F-For liking, someone like me." "Alriana, are you sure that you're alright?" Tristan was squared away in the meeting room, several panels repurposed into life support and machine monitors. He had been tasked with keeping eyes on pilots since Jessica could handle the ship's systems, navigations, and weaponry all by herself now. "I, just... Be safe, out there. I want all of the Riese's pilote to be safe, but with what happened..." He couldn't help himself. After all, he'd seen the results of her getting her claws on a Sacarian. If she couldn't control her anger... Was she ready to launch? Would she do so anyway? Vera had holed herself up in the cockpit of the machine she'd been given since they got back from their fight with... Thinking about her family and loved one no longer being there, she felt her stomach churn, holding back another moment of vomit. She'd even had a hand in Duane's death, her outrage over Andy, Astin refusing to back down, everything had been too much. She'd have pressed the self destruct and rammed someone if it hadn't been for Esther... The one person she hadn't wanted getting too close, was now the only person keeping her from killing herself. "She deserves better than a broken woman being her only guide." A pitying chuckle, Vera flipped the switches to turn the Velite on. It wasn't the most impressive machine and she was in no state to be piloting... But she still had a reason. One reason. As long as she had that... One more fight wouldn't be too much. "Hannah, ready for launch." The Reign had been tuned up as much as was possible in such a short period of time. Hannah was confident she could make it work against what was left of Apoth, survive, and make it even more her own machine. It felt like an extension of her own body while piloting, so she just had to find the theoretical limit to the machine's motions. That was something to aim for once they were done here... Once they had dealt with the alien threat looming over planet Earth. "Firmia, the Riese is launching machines. Are we good to go?" "What, all too eager to fight, Hannah~?" Louise had suited up as well, choosing a regular suit instead of her dress this time. Perhaps the atmosphere, even for her, dictated a more serious approach. Whatever the case, she looked like a proper pilot as the Luna's systems lit up, all green. "You'll get your chances, I'm sure, I'm sure... Just don't get shot down. I'd have to have to play comfort for Firmia~" "Focus on keeping yourself in the air, Louise. I can handle myself just fine." "Of course, of course... Give us the go ahead whenever, Captain~"
  4. The travel continued on, as spirits lifted ever so gently. The fight against the undead had been a draining experience, but with proper resting, camping, and a lack of being attacked once again on the way to Tepel, morale was starting to bloom properly once again. That would either hold, or drop, as the fortress city came into view... It had seen better days. "Jade, hold here." Lavinia spotted a set of guards coming out of the fort to greet their wagon. They would need to provide proper identification in the current times. If the damage to the fort's exterior was any indication, Ithraxl had been making constant assaults on the city. Whether it would hold up or fall likely depended on the group's actions going forward. "Nessraya, come with me." Seeing the general with her would be good for two things. If the fort had already fallen, Ithraxl's men wouldn't be able to resist seeing Nessraya so 'vulnerable', within striking distance. It would easily tell them if they had to retreat. If not, there was no one else like her, it would make identification much quicker. "Well, this place has certainly seen better days..." Nessraya noted to herself, shaking her head lightly as she floated out of the back of the travelling wagon, hovering next to Lavinia as the knight dismounted. Could they give it better times ahead, or would they fail? Was it already too late? Thinking about such things didn't really... help, but the brain will wander without permission, at times. "I'm sure with us here it will stand to see even more. Let's get this over with so the tired of our group can rest in proper beds and quarters, yes?" Lavinia smirked as they approached the guards, a vampire, a beastman, and a beastwoman, that-- "Wait... That smell, you're-- Nessraya!" The beastwoman of the group's eyes suddenly lit up, making a dive for the succubus! "Nessraaaaayaaaaaa!" "Wh-What!?" Lavinia moved to fetch a sword she always kept at her side, but it was too late, Nessraya was already-- Getting... Hugged...? "Wh... What's, going on?" Lavinia looked towards the other guards, they had no idea from the shrugs and confused looks they gave. "Nessy! Nessraya, I've missed you so much~!" The catgirl seemed to know the general, rather personally, with how tight she'd been apprehended... As she heard her name being called out, Nessraya's eyes snapped to proper attention. She knew it wouldn't take long to be recognized, but this quickly? Before she could determine whether the cry came from friend or foe, she was being lunged at. But that voice, that appearance... here? Her hand was already poised to skewer the charging beast-girl with magic, but a spell never came. Instead, Nessraya relaxed her body, knowing that tensing would simply make it more likely for something to go wrong, and allowed herself to be bowled over and subsequently cuddled by the cat. "It has certainly been a long time, Amera. I didn't think that if I saw you again, it would be in a situation like this..." Nessraya replied, gently petting the guard's hair and ears as the duo landed in a heap on the ground. "Nyahhh~" Content with the petting she was receiving, she quieted down, started purring, and didn't bother to say another word. "I... Well, then. Er... I, am Lavinia Vasilia, head knight of castle Attisio. If, your captain's actions are any indication, this is general Nessraya... And since you aren't attacking her for it, I take it that Tepel has yet to fall?" "Correct, Lady Vasilia," the vampire present spoke up, nodding from under his hood. "If your group is reinforcements sent by the King, we will welcome them with as much as we can. While our walls have begun to crumble, our rations and weapons have yet to run low. We will restock you as best as we can... Er... S-So long as you can afford it. We do, still need to make ends meet with the traders and local farmers." "Of course. The economy rolls on, insurrection or not... I will need to speak with your... Amera, was it? Along with a few others. It is good to know we will be received well, at least. Jade!" Lavinia called over, for the wagon to be driven up proper. "And, Nessraya, please find a way to pick yourself up, with the cat, too." "I will do my best, Lavinia." Nessraya replied, as the formal dealings continued despite her incapacitation. Well, it was about the best possible news they could have hoped for, so that was certainly something to be celebrated. As for the actual task of getting off the road... Amera was built well, but her particular brand of beastfolk were lithe by design, so it wasn't terribly difficult to hover off of the ground even with Amera laying on top of her... luckily her flight wasn't entirely mechanical... had magic not played a part, getting off the ground from this sort of position would have proven nigh-on impossible. Still, she would need to either convince Amera to walk alongside her or get onto the roof of the wagon, she wasn't going to make much distance still acting as a bed for the purring cat. In the interim, however, she was content to give Amera a few more ear scritches and pets... it had been a long while, after all. "Mrrrrr... Fine." Nessraya floating up was enough indication that it was time to let go, Amera hopping off of the general, with a bit of a sigh. "Then a talk we shall have, Lady Vasilia. I've my own little problem to introduce to you lot, anyway... Some humans from Hwein who demanded they be able to help here at the fort." Not entirely accurate of what had transpired, but close enough. "Bring your problem along to come and meet mine~ I'm sure it'll be a blast." "Right... Well, that might cheer her up, a bit." Lavinia meant, Marina, of course. More humans was a good thing for the girl, wasn't it? She'd been managing, but they wouldn't hold any ire for her at face value. Surely...
  5. Before Lavinia could get words in again about the Cerberus, she was bombarded with Jade's enthusiasm, an unfortunately worded phrase, and then Marina's claim of them being cute. If her skin was just a bit younger, a bit closer to having turned, perhaps she'd have been turning crimson. As it stood, blood fresh in her, a faint hue managed on her cheeks, flustered stumbling over words following. "I, that's... L-Listen, both of you. That... P-Please, work on your phrasing-- And, Marina! I, a-am a knight, please. Such compliments are not, uhm. Necessary. Yes..." After having dealt with Nessraya so long, and knowing how people tended to respond to these sorts of reactions (according to the succubus), Lavinia steeled herself for further compliments, taking a quick breath to resolve herself. "In, any case... I used to use firearms, but Thesephine made me promise to swear off of them. I can't feel the recoil properly on larger weapons, and I've broken more than a few bones because of it, before I was taught proper etiquette for handling a gun... I've tried to convince her of this several times, but she's still worried. A bow and arrow provides similar tactical advantages, even if it's slower, so I'm not fussed. Still, if you wouldn't mind me taking a shot, I swear I've learned how to keep my body safe." With a smile, and an outstretched arm, Lavinia hoped Jade wouldn't find worry in her story, and would give her a moment to try. "I'll make sure to walk you through my equipment later, as thanks." "Y-Yes... Or, wwwwwwwell, it was my birthday. They just w-want to get me a gift, since it passed." Taliyah gave Bridgit a quick explanation as she was asked about her birthday, and then let Nessraya go into a rather long explanation about how Dullahans worked. It seemed as though Aithlin had messed with some rather serious magic, but came out on top of things in the end. How lucky... Maybe? "Now now, I'm sure she's just playing around. You've already got a volunteer, so let's not point any fingers... Not to hear that the magic I've donned is that special, though. Guess I don't feel as bad for putting it on~" Aithlin smiled wide as Nessraya's explanation finished, feeling less dumb now than she did before. She'd learned a lesson about trying on gear out of nowhere, and would definitely make sure not to, again.
  6. "I'm... Not sure introducing Rex to Louise would be the best situation. He's already on edge with Firmia, if he finds out we're picking up the remnants and the revived of Apotheosis' forces..." Hannah sighed and stared at Tonya, not the most sure of what to do with the woman. Her instincts brought her a lot of things, but belief that her long dead partner was still alive? The android wasn't one to stir the pot, not like Rex, so she wouldn't fight Tonya on it so long as it wasn't getting anyone else on the Avalon in trouble, but... "Oh, well... She'll probably show up to waffles anyway. She doesn't seem to enjoy being alone for too long." Hannah gave a tired shrug and started towards the cafeteria, Lily in tow. "You wanna make some waffles too, Lily?" "Can I!? That sounds fun! We didn't get to make our own food at the mansion, so... Well... I-I'll do my best not to ruin them!" Hannah smirked and gently pet her hair. "I'm sure Brant and Chris will help you. You'll do just fine." Chris gave Hannah and Lily a small wave, leaning onto Brant again. "Chip in all you want. I'm beat. Super beat... Let's, go get changed, see how Aki's doing, and then meet with your brother. Again... I really hope Louise doesn't poke her head in." "Aces?" Christina couldn't help a bit of a laugh, letting Kim say her piece. "She's right, you know. Kim might be an ace, but I'm just keeping a few systems in check... I don't think I'd be able to pilot to save my life. If you're helping Tarquin, I'm sure you're doing plenty. His machine's pretty unique already in being such a long ranged piece of work, but that rifle can't be easy to maintain in the middle of a battle. Don't sell yourself short, hmm?" Hoping it wouldn't be too much, Christina gave Jess a small pat on her shoulder, trying her best to smile properly. "We're all doing our part, right? And my part is getting something to eat, then taking a nap..." With a sigh, and all her energy spent, Christina turned to close her locker, shuffling towards the door. "Comfy bed... Come to meeeee..." "Kiir'Heln. Do not worry yourself about learning to say it, Caroline. You are not the first human to have issues with our names." Leaving the girl a smile, Kiir couldn't help but notice the intrigue hitting her from behind, tail wagging gently as she glanced at Aliza. "Ah, yes. Welcome. Eriksson was simply treating us to some food as a mean to recover after such a battle... My, apologies if I participated in some of your current exhaustions. Fighting against our race cannot be easy." Nina let the cat engage with the other, her focus kept on Esther. A hand met the cyber's back, gently patting it. "She... Will get better. Wounds heal with time, yes? That is something that I learned from these memories. I am sure that... Even if it takes a long time, that she will be able to overcome things." "Of course, XO. The main fleet will catch up in about half an hour... It's good to hear that Tycho didn't get himself killed in action. I hope an extra body was helpful against the enemy forces." It was a shame to hear that the Riese had suffered such serious damage this close to the finish line, but letting it get to the chain of command wouldn't help things. "Is the Captain alright? I'm surprised she didn't pick up first. Taking care of something more serious, I take it? And before you interrupt again, Sergeant, it's good to hear you're alive! Don't break anything barking over comms, over!"
  7. This Bridgit girl was using a lot of 'we's to refer to herself. Was it a nobility thing? A pureblood thing? "I dunno about 'coming back', really... Mostly just... Well, I put on some armor, my head fell off, and it got stuffed into a chest. I was conscious the whole time... Guess that magic works fast!" It had been an interesting experience, putting it mildly, and she was curious to know how the whole thing was supposed to work. Maybe Bridgit or Nessraya knew? If it was neat enough to be spoken about, Aithlin was sure one of them would. "Uhm... Y-Yeah. What, N, Nessraya said. She'd been, uhm... T-Taking it really, hard, recently... S-So..." Tali hoped that got the point of why they were doing this across, trying her best to smile now that she wasn't being teased. "Y-You can come with us, if you, w-want. It's shopping for all of us, too... I-I guess. What do you say, Bridgit?" Tali ignored mention of her own birthday. The lizard still had trouble seeing it as something so important. Asami's eyes narrowed and her smile curled into a really wide grin, giggling ever so quietly. "I tend to win." With that said, she leaned up properly and planted a kiss on Bladen, not a quick peck, but a nice, held smooch. Her message relayed, she hopped away from him and waved for him to follow, heading for her tent. "Don't be a stranger, then~ Let's go get cozy... I promise, I won't do anything you don't want me to~" The head did understand, and so did the rest of the Cerberus, charging out after the shot hit its mark. That was right when Lavinia arrived... Rather troubled, but not going to stop her approach, waving at the girls. "Well... I'm sure someone can explain the Cerberus, but if it isn't attacking either of you, I suppose it's friendly enough." It seemed as though jade was practicing her shooting, was Marina participating as well? "It's good to see the two of you getting along." Lavinia was pleased by this for two reasons, really. Jade had been human not too long ago, so having one converse with her as normal was likely doing her wonders... On the flipside, a monster that didn't hate Marina for existing, what a treat for the tired girl. A hand met Marina's hair, petting it gently, this time without gauntlet. "I'm glad to see you doing well, Marina. Jade, you don't mind if I interrupt and take a shot as well, do you? It's been quite a while since I've used any firearms." Her aim with a bow was still fantastic, and she could see almost perfectly in the night. Surely it would go well.
  8. "No waffles, then." Chris sighed just a bit, but at least Brant had managed to get Rex to not simply run off. "Alright, then, stinky, lets go get clean and presentable... Tonya, can I trust you and Hannah to handle Lily while we're changing?" "Nothing'll happen to her on my watch," Hannah promised, giving Rex a glance after his final words with Tonya. That was something that only hard evidence would fix; Tonya needed a body. Alive or dead. "Do you mind coming with me to the cafeteria, Liliana?" "O-Of course! I don't mind... Mom and Dad will be along shortly, anyway. Yeah. It'll be okay." Liliana was still a bit cautious around the androids, even if Hannah was an Abrams by her father's word. The other one had left a rather painful impression from how she acted, even if she was nice to Aki and herself. "L-Let's go." "Er, what? I never said--" Her thoughts. Right... That stung a bit, leaving Christina frowning and donning somewhat of a scowl. She'd thought a few harsh things, but they were passing thoughts, unaided by how the hangar had been making her feel. She hadn't said them because she didn't want Kim acting on them, yet here she was... "Look, never mind any of that. I didn't even say any of that, so don't just--" Before she could get into things, another of the change room doors opened... That was, Barnes? One of the ones they'd picked up at Central? Sporting a real, uncertain cloud of feelings... Probably the best timing, even if it was escaping the discussion. "H-Hey... Uhm, are you okay?" Christina finished stuffing herself into her clothes, catching up to the Sergeant. "Gonna... Uhm, be up front, I'm, a Telekinetic, and... Well, you seem pretty upset. C-Can, we help? At all...?" If she wanted to be alone, then she'd probably make it clear. Christina and Kim were going to be leaving the hangar, anyway, and really, the blonde didn't want to argue with Kim. Any out was good. "It is not just uncommon, Tarquin... Er, typically, we only subsist on meats. This... Wheat bred dish, it quite odd." They seemed to be enjoyed by the humans around her, all of them, so it was likely a common meal here on Earth. How they were satiated by something so fluffy and lacking in nutrition was beyond her, though... "That isn't to say we could not digest something like this, it is, simply... Not something we consider." She was going to try it either way, that was that. As well as this, iced cream? A quick peak into Caroline's mind informed her that this was a frozen dairy dessert, something sweet, meant to be enjoyed ice cold... How curious. How did humans come up with such food items? Was it by accident? Were there scientists devoted to coming up with intricate and confusing food items? "Memories? No... Not my own. I know what a waffle is, thanks to Chris and, Christina... But I have never had one before. I'm looking forward to it." She smiled at Esther's concern, sitting comfortably next to the cyber TK. "I hope that, uhm... You can look forward to it too." She didn't want to directly bring Vera back up, but Esther seemed... So very out of it. Between fighting her old comrades, and Esther's mood, was there much that could be done for the girl? Nina wanted to do whatever she could... "... iese crew? Come in. Does anyone copy!?" Miller's voice finally came through on Roxanna's communicator, the Kraken class ships had caught up! "What is your status, over!" Their main cameras likely couldn't see the level of damage the Riese had taken yet, but they were in broadcasting range, now that the fighting had finally stopped. Owed big, was she? "I'm collecting tonight, then. Prepare yourself, hot stuff." Calina gave Abby some narrow eyes and a smile, before heading towards the exit of the hangar. She had a really sad gamer to try and reconcile with. As for their new feline friend... "I will simply stay in my machine and make adjustments until you return, then, Captain. Would rather do something stupid while you're around than not!" With another chuckle-- Reed seemed rather easily amused by her own words --the Sacarian turned towards her Praxis model. It had taken some damage from the fight, but it was nothing the machine's own repair modules couldn't handle. Likely better than whatever the Deliverance could offer for such an advanced machine.
  9. The three headed pooch didn't seem at all bothered by Jade's naming scheme, settling up next to her, only one of the heads bothering to address Marina's suggestion when it was said. A quizzical head-tilt met her, the rest of the heads too focused on their new master, staring out at the trees as if awaiting further orders for more animal retrieval. "I'm sure you can handle it." Lavinia smiled as Bridgit walked off to speak with at least one familiar person, scanning around the group and picking herself up. She'd seen Marina walk off a moment ago, perhaps towards the gunfire? Jade was likely practicing then. It wasn't the safest of things to be doing while they were on sort of a run from Ithraxl's forces and otherwise, but with how long they'd managed to go without attack, it wasn't like Lavinia could scold her for wishing to practice her aim or take some stress out. "Best to see what they're up to, then... Make sure Marina is alright, as well." With a small stretch and the popping of a bone, Lavinia smirked, and headed that way. Love? Already~? He's adorable, so very adorable. So young and naive... But that's fine. That's the most fun~ Asami couldn't stifle a single giggle at Bladen's expense, leaning back into his little bubble and pressing up against him in a hug, smiling up at the bird. "Theeeeen... Help me, help you, to open up just a biiiit more. You already kissed me all on your own, my lovely little birdy~ I'm sure you can more than that with the right pushes, and prods... Perhaps, even head towards that love you're already thinking about, hmhmhmhmhm~" If she didn't tease him about it now, would she have remembered to do it later? Possibly, but fresh wounds were the best to twist something into. "Let's have you think just a little bit less about your worldy worries, just for tonight, just... A small amount. Let me take some of it away. Let's have you wake up to something pleasant, yes? Even if it's in the middle of the night, even if you have a terrible dream... Let me be there for you so you know you aren't alone." A small shush met his ear, as Asami cuddled herself closer. "I don't think I'm asking for all that much, Bladen~ Not yet, at least..." Despite quite enjoying the advances from Nessraya, Bridgit was exactly the out the elf needed to correct the situation for the moment, to at least stop Taliyah from being too embarrassed to even talk. "Perhaps the vampire is right, Nessraya... Save it for later, I'm sure you can." Giving the general a knowing smile, Aithlin didn't bother pushing her away, she could sit that close if she wished. "You were... uh, miss Lavinia's sister, right? Bridgit?" The elf held a hand out proper to shake. "Name's Aithlin, I don't think we've gotten the chance to actually talk. Pretty cool to have so many undead around, huh? Not that I really counted until last weak, but, I figured it'd be a lot more... Spooky! Than it actually is. You know, coming back from the afterlife, and all that... Really not that bad~" Taliyah managed to uncurl herself as the topic switched away from Nessraya getting into her shorts, giving Bridgit a timid glance. "H... H-Hello, Bridgit. Uhm... I-I'm, Taliyah. I don't think we've s-spoken much, either..." It was nice to see another girl about her size with them... Though, she didn't want to act too friendly over nothing, yet. Vampires came in all shapes and sizes, and especially all ages. Even if Bridgit looked younger than Lavinia, it was likely their ages weren't that far apart.
  10. "... So... How's about we discuss this over some food, huh? I can cook. Make some mean waffles." The obvious tension between the Abrams family reunion and Tonya's newfound struggle could've been cut with a rock, it was barely liquid holding together, let alone warm butter. "Maybe things will feel better on a full stomach? I'm sure the kids would like that, too..." Hannah, meanwhile, had placed herself right next to Tonya, a little afraid the woman might do something dumb after being both challenged by Rex and pushed by him over this call. It didn't sound like a bad idea, at least. She'd get her student and even be able to keep an eye on Rex so he didn't do anything stupid... Was she that attached to Firmia and the rest of the crew? She'd been in over her head for Brant's situation, but that was resolved, so now... "Huh?" Christina tilted her head towards Kim, slowly getting herself out of her own SKIN suit. "I don't have a problem with you coming with me... Is something wrong?" Christina fished another sweater out of the locker provided, burying herself in it. "I didn't say something, did I?" In the heat of her panic and the fight ending, it had slipped Christina's mind that Kim had a rather new ability. "If you want me to go alone I can... Sorry if I'm being a burden, or anything." Tights met legs and Christina was as dressed as she cared to be, right now, blowing some idle hair out of her face. "Hoof... Tired... I think a nap is in order, either way..."
  11. There was some serious friction going on here between Tonya and Rex, Chris could see that much. They weren't going to come to a sincere conclusion on what should be done, not any time soon. "Alright, alright." Chris stepped forward a bit, again, putting herself between the frustrated blonde and the new dad. "Tonya, he's not staying here, and you need to stop trying to make it happen. I know you want your new student, but unless you're gonna make it work with Rex, you have no say. Stop." She then turned to Rex, pointy finger out. "And you. Unless you've got a safe place to put Vasiliy, and I mean an actually safe one, not your average-grade mobile suit that any space cat could shoot down, I'm gonna ask you real nice to leave him here only until we've dealt with the Sacarians and Apotheosis... Alright?" Hopefully that was alright... "I don't want to even pretend, for one minute, that you don't deserve to be with your own son. If Brant's anything go base off of, Abrams make for great dads... But things are not at all safe right now. Not for the kids... I won't make a fuss when you come to pick him up after, no matter your plans. Just... Please, don't take him into life combat. I know the ship's aren't exactly avoiding it... But they'll be hanging back. It's safer." Would her plea reach? There was no real way for her to tell, Rex was a mystery. "Not right away, by the way," she clarified further, taking a step back. "I'm sure you want to talk to Vasiliy plenty, without us, so... Go be a dad for a bit, and the fine details can be talked about after." Hannah didn't interrupt, it seemed like a fairly good suggestion. She did definitely agree with Chris on Tonya, at least. The woman was desperate to keep Vasiliy around as her new student, she really wanted that hole filled, for whatever reason... But Vasiliy wasn't her son, and she didn't seem very interested in buddying up to Rex. It wasn't her call. Kiir wasn't quite sure if she had a place eating with these humans, but considering the invitation remained open, and none of them were running off to check after Jess, wouldn't it have been rude of her to turn them down? With a moment's apprehension, the Sacarian followed after them with the prospect of pancakes settled happily in her mind. The fluffy objects themselves hadn't seemed that appealing at first glance, but everyone around had seemed rather excited for them. She couldn't help a bit of anxious excitement with things cooking up in the kitchen, propped up a bit awkwardly on one of the provided stools for the counter. While she was not considerably wider than the average human, her height made their conventional sitting tools somewhat difficult to completely apply herself to. Seated as best as she could be, she gave Tarquin's plate of fried gluten a curious stare, slowly raising her hand. "If... It would not be, too much trouble, I do suppose I am interested in this... Dish." It had seemingly no real nutritional value, sugar, perhaps a few vitamins depending on the toppings, and a mountain of carbs... How did humans remain in proper shape? Was this the norm? "Perhaps their bodies are simply... Tuned, to such high carb intake..." A mumble left her as she tried to puzzle it out. The Sacarian diet was heavy in meat, mostly lean, or what they could get their hands on. "If inspiring anger in your crewmate will provide assistance to her current situation, Captain, I will strive to do so. Without hurting her, of course." Reed had cheated in her mind reading for a moment just to ascertain who exactly this Sena and Hilling were, not wanting to run into them on accident and cause problems inadvertently. "She didn't mean actively, furball. Passively. Being here, as what you are... Might stir Sena into action. Just, don't go goading her, or anything dumb like that." Calina slowly let go of Abby, sighing hard. "I did say I was gonna talk to her, so, just... Go deal with Jess and I'll see if Sena's gonna open the door or, anything." "Avoiding provocations! Understood, understood. I shall meet all aggression with a hearty laugh!" Reed let one of her ideal laughs out after saying that, making Calina sigh. "That won't work as well as you think it will, cat..."
  12. "Hey, whoa, Nessraya... You're gonna break the poor girl." Aithlin was right on the money, Nessraya's comments turning Taliyah as red as her scales, mumbled noises and stutters escaping her instead of any words. "Ahhh, geez... Maybe she's too young for this kinda stuff? I'd be more than willing to take her place, if you really need to be satisfied~ I even have some experience!" Not that her ex had any real idea of how to please a woman... Not, that I know any better, but... Nope, bad thoughts, think about the hot succubus. Aithlin didn't really want to add much more to her offer, this was Taliyah's plate, after all. "Mmmm... Hey, maybe you can ask the hero what she'd like, Nessraya? I'm, uh... Not great at beating around the bush, and I'm afraid l'il miss Tali here will just blurt out what we're doing if she gets near." "I, th-that... Hahhhhawawawa..." She was too flustered to even counter the comment, hiding her face behind her claws. Aithlin gently pet her hair, despite the girl's flinch, and sighed. "See if you can ask, at least, Nessraya." "So what?" she spoke immediately, leaning up to his turned cheek and planting a kiss on it. "Look, Bladen... I realize you're hurting, and I'm not exactly asking to fuck you tonight. I just... Don't want you to keep being alone with these thoughts. I don't mind being a little bit patient to get those clothes off of you, so long as you don't mind being around me, you know...?" Thinking it would help her point, Asami pulled back to a perhaps more comfortable distance, leaving her hands on his shoulders. "I'm not flirting with anyone else here, and I'm not just going to leave you to dry up if you're serious~ I just need you... To prove to me, that all this, trying to be close to you is going to bear... Something. Like I just said, it doesn't have to be sex... Even if it's just laying there with you in the same bed. Let me be the distraction you need right now, hmm? Is having help once in a while truly so bad?" "Uhm... Y... Y-Yessss..." Erephis felt herself bite her tongue, flinching slightly, before nodding. "My apologiesss for taking up your t-time. It... It, uhm, was niccce to sssspeak with you, both." She'd ended up hissing in her worry and anxiety, having practically told royalty that their dearest sibling had only a chance of even returning to them without being so distorted. "I-It was nicce to ssssee you as well, Ren. Erm... If, we c-could ssspeak more, that would be... I-I'd, like that. I... I-I will, be off then." Erephis turned towards the wagon, but spotted Gabriela there, talking. It wouldn't do to disrupt them, so she looked for the nearest vacant tree instead, and slithered off. "There is always time for fun and chit chat when there is no danger, Bridgit. We are on an expedition, not guarding the castle... Now is in fact, the best time to idly get to know your fellow soldiers. The rest before battle is always so very, very brief." Lavinia held a wry smile at that, petting Bridgit's hair further. "Now, don't be so cheeky, alright? In fact, I have a wonderful idea as your first little test, getting to know everyone else." Lavinia's eyes drifted across the fire in front of them, to the three across the way. "Go and say hi to those three, yes? You already know Nessraya, so it should be rather simple to slip in and follow their conversation. Surely that won't be much issue, yes?" Lavinia didn't have anything to do, so she wasn't trying to chase Bridgit off. She truly did wish for the girl to expand that sister-only bubble further, and now, while they were free from the chaos of battle... Fond memories could be fostered. As Marina's shot rang off and missed, the squirrel scurried back into the woods... For a moment, before it was caught, and its tiny cry slipped out. The crunching of leaves and twigs met the ears of the zombie and the hero, as the form of a large dog began to fill out in the moonlight. Rather than looking angry or bothered, the middle and right mouth held the squirrels that had been made target practice; the one hit and then one missed. Perhaps familiar to Jade, its left head held a rather dejected look, only glancing at her for a moment before looking away, as if embarrassed. Without a growl or a whine, the cerberus set the catch down in front of Jade, before sitting up and swinging its plated tail around gently, leaves brushing underneath it. The middle head, proud as ever, looked at her with almost a smile, as if expecting praise.
  13. Hannah stepped away from Rex's moment with Vasiliy, settling next to Tonya before giving the sight a smile. "She stayed in the hangar for a moment, went to talk to the cat. I think I'm doing a good job of handling it, so there shouldn't be any problems." Galatea was likely watching, ready to report to Firmia if anything went wrong, anyway. Chris had also stepped back, sniffling a little bit. "Ahhh... Don't think it'll ever get easier to see." She slowly walked over to Brant and latched onto his arm, pleased by the sight of another dad reunited with the child he thought had been lost forever. "We did a good thing, didn't we? Well... Hannah and Firmia, I mean... Bringing them all back." Lily didn't quite know what to say or think at the moment, she was simply happy to cling onto Brant at this point. A part of her was happy, though, that Vasiliy had met his own father... There was, however, a worry eating at her. "D-Dad... Does this, mean Vasiliy is gonna leave?" It was quite pleasing to hear that Tarquin was more than alright with her presence. This dissenting feeling was definitely coming from someone, though, and when Jess spoke up, the Sacarian felt an odd sensation. The woman had walked off before anything could be said, leaving her with confused thoughts and an inability to know what to press forward with. "She is... Upset at me... No, not 'me', rather, my race. She has... Lost people, because of my own. Her injuries are because of my own. Even if I had no part in what happened, it will take time before such a wound can close. That is what you humans say, yes? Time heals wounds? Sacarians do not suffer such mental wounds due to dissatisfaction from another... Though I believe I am feeling it right now. I cannot explain what this sensation is, so I can only hope that continued exposure to this crew will help me come to terms with what is going on." Kiir smiled apologetically at Thorvald. "I believe I should find time to speak with her and offer an apology, yes? Even if I did not directly cause the pain, I am reminding her of it... I made a comment about her injuries that was likely not appropriate, as well. Hmm. This may be tougher than I had expected... If you wish to make time for your old friend, Thorvald, I do not mind staying here in my machine. I am already overjoyed enough to have been accepted into the home of such a vibrant group of humans. I do not wish to then, immediately step in between the relationships that already existed in this place. If my exclusion from this outing will make Jess feel more comfortable with going with you to eat, please, do not mind me." San'Xuur, captain. He was Leo, like your zodiac signs, I believe? Something amusing about human constellations. Reed didn't speak up once Abigail had finished speaking, looking over the humans present with a big smile, foregoing her teeth in a moment's worry for scaring them with her teeth. Abigail's speech was met with silence... Almost deafening silence, were it not for the hums and whirs of the ship's own engine and mechanical moving parts. Terry was too shocked by the current situation to really grasp what was happening, taking a moment to wipe his eyes with his hands and drag them across his face, idly scratching at his stubble. "Jesus Christ," was all he could manage, shaking his head and turning back to head towards the bridge. "I'll... Be piloting. That's yer crazy cat, long as she ain't gonna kill us, no problem." He couldn't quite grasp that Sacarians would just, surrender like that, but here this one was, claiming to be on their side, not a hostile move on her part. "Crazy..." The rest of the crew started to disperse quickly, Abigail was right about their minor damage; one of the side gun turrets had been struck hard and needed repaired, along with the machine that had been manning it. No one had been hurt, but it had been rather shocking for the hangar crew to suddenly see a Velite Mk.III get launched back like that. Calina joined her captain, throwing an arm around her shoulder, giving her a bit of a hug. "Alright. No one here gave you shit for this... Sena?" A cocked eyebrow and a real look met Abby's face, causing confusion on Reed's. "I have not yet pried into who this Sena is as you said I should respect boundaries, in more profane terms, but... Is this someone I should go about avoiding? I can stay in my machine, if it will provide more ease for--" "Ah, Jesus, stop that. Yer a part of the crew, you heard the Captain, right? Stop. We'll... Deal with anyone that has problems ourselves. That's what it means to be in charge." Sena was going to have several, though... And no one had been closer to her than Hilling... "Be a real serious problem, though..."
  14. "Oh, Bladen... You don't have to forgive her." Asami corrected herself a bit whilst still leaning onto him, letting the hug go just a bit. "I know I won't. Just blindly accepting whatever that foul church spits out... No, not the church, the filth at the head of things. Ilrios used a be a respectable organization, and now..." Asami let out a hefty sigh, as if she was remembering better times. "Either way, you don't need to forgive her, Bladen. Even if she helps things, even if she fixes her mistakes, those aren't simply little things. She took lives... Fixing things won't bring them back, even if it's right for her to do so. So... If it's not in your heart to do, don't forgive her for what she's done. Others might blame you, but I won't. She doesn't quite understand the severity of the issues she's brought about..." More things eluded to but not explained, Asami closed her eyes and rested closer to Bladen. "You didn't hurt me, I just got lonely. We seemed to be hitting it off rather well... Even if you're still so very, very bashful." A giggle finally made its way out of her, content where she was resting. "You have your own issues, Marina has hers... You don't owe her anything, so you don't need to act like you were at fault, hun. I'm on your side, if no one else is... Though I'm sure a certain little dragon shares similar feelings." Xalrei being the second princess of Vaia, and hating Marina as she did... What was going to come of that? Asami was interested, that much as true... "Perhaps... I can stay with you tonight, and help take your thoughts away to a better place~?" Words spoken, Asami was back on her game, giving Bladen a wink and pressing up against him rather... Softly. "Well... E-Ermm..." Maybe Ren wasn't quite, understanding things. She had to spell this out better... At least Ayane was taking the news well. "The... Th-The necrofication that, uhm... Suzume is under. It's, v-very unique. It... I, can only assume that sh-she is desperately trying to... Hold onto her humanity. That is the only r-reason it hasn't finished... Turning her completely under Ouka's control. So... Well, l-let's just say there are, two outcomes. Uhm... Either, Ouka manages to work her magic completely... A-And there will be no, coming back at all... Or... We, t-try this spell, and she... Has a chance of surviving." Erephis couldn't help swallowing hard, she felt very out of place saying these things to foreign royalty... "Asking Jade... I don't... Think it would, do anything. Er, to explain... R-Ren... Jade's zombification is, a type of magic, yes. If she were t-to bite someone, that had poor resistance to magic, and they did not disinfect the wound... Th-They too would, eventually zombify. But... Her, innate magic isn't... It, doesn't hold a candle to what Ouka is, doing. I'd never seen anything l-like it. This sort of thing is... Just, myth, in all of my books. Even this spell... I-It's very old. I'd have to give it some more research to... T-To really see." "In-- Instincts!?" Taliyah almost jumped out of her seat next to the fire, flinching back a little bit, unsure of what at all Nessraya was talking about... Given she was a succubus, she could fathom a guess, and it was a terrifying one. Why had she licked her lips, too!? "P... P-Please, don't eat me...!" "Pft-- Hah! Hahaha!" Aithlin couldn't help herself, Taliyah's reaction far, far too innocent and pure. "Taliyah, you're killing m... Well I guess you can't do that anymore, but you know what I mean. So innocent... She's not going to eat you. Not like that. Ahem, as for Marina... Figured we could shop around and get her a gift or something. Something... Not related to all this fighting. I know I only got here a week ago, but the girl's been cracking something fierce. A pleasant reminder of normality might help bring her down a bit." Not like how she was thinking? H-How would Nessraya eat her, then? "Uhm... Y-Yeah. That... Maybe I can get myself something too..." Taliyah had muttered that, but apparently not quietly enough. "Something for yourself? Why not?" "Awa, ahh... I... I just... No one ever celebrates my birthday, b-but I finally have gold so I--" "Wait, it's your birthday? Why didn't you say so! This is great~ Me and Nessraya can get something for you, and you can help out Marina." "I... Th-That's..." Her birthday had been several days ago, but the gesture was so sweet. "No one r-really... Ever... Celebra..." Taliyah trailed off as she slowly hid her face, tearing up a bit. "Th-Thank you..." Bridgit's reasons were about what Lavinia expected. She'd been lonely, so she flew off. Lavinia was more than thankful a maid had at least gone with her, but... "Oh, Bridgit..." Lavinia ruffled her hair just a little bit. "Well, we're too far out to safely send you back now. Just... Take care of yourself. I understand you were lonely, but..." It was far too dangerous for her to be here, especially with what was coming up. If Marina were not in the position she currently was in, Lavinia would be asking her not to fight as well. Taliyah too. Far too many young soldiers sat in their camp. "I won't leave you behind. Come here." Lavinia extended an arm around Bridgit and pulled her in for a side hug, resting her hand on the girl's hair again. "I'm right here. Thank you for what you said. I do hope you can get along with everyone here... There are a few that are your age range, as well." Not literally, but with how slow Bridgit was maturing... Purebloods definitely had strange early lifespans. "Try to make what fun of this that you can." The fighting would be soon, so that fun would likely disappear...
  15. "I know that, stupid--" Asami cut herself off by diving into Bladen and giving him a massive hug, squeezing herself against him. "There! Now you can't get away!" A huff, she sighed, continuing to rest against him. "Why are you so upset? Was it because of what happened before with Marina? Well, so what? You're right, anyway. She did something stupid, what's wrong with telling her she did so?" Asami didn't quite understand what the big deal was, if Marina was going to act like an idiot, wasn't it there job to call it out and get her to stop? It wasn't like Bladen was barking at her for every little thing. "AND on top of being so upset, you've been ignoring me! You're breaking my poor heart here, Bladen... Honestly, after all those strong words about being around me, you're just going to let one moment of an idiot get your feathers so ruffled that you ignore someone so... Striking? Beautiful~? Captivating? Truly, truly cruel..." She wasn't letting go, though, he'd have to pry her off of him if he wanted out of this hug. She was getting her fill of bird. "Of course... A-And thank you, Ren. A-Ahem..." Erephis was taken aback by the disarmingly pleasant smile of the oni, trying to smile back at Ren before slowly opening an old tome she'd brandished. "Ahh... R-Right. I've found an old spell-- A v-very old spell, about reversing the zombification of those partially undead... It... Uhm, would nnn, not work on someone like Jade, who has completely necrofied, but... Well, er... I-If we can hold your sister, down... We... Might be able to, uhm, r-reverse what Ouka has done to her. I..." She gulped, intimidated by Ayane's resting face, shrinking a bit as her tail sunk. "It... Just, m-might kill... H-Her... For good." Lavinia couldn't help a small smile at Bridgit's discomfort; she was still the same girl that the knight had left waiting at the castle. Sitting down with her at the fire, across from the other little group, Lavinia gently began to pet her hair, still smiling. "I'm not upset with you, Bridgit, before you become worried. I am simply... Worried. I don't quite understand why you followed after me. That... And..." Lavinia looked around the group, before settling back on the small vampire. "You haven't been making much of an effort to get along with those here, you know? If you're going to stay with us, you'll have to speak with more than myself and Nessraya... I'm glad you've warmed up to Jade, at least." Hopefully her words would help any of the girl's fears, Lavinia leaning back and resting on her hands. "Now... I'd like you to tell me why you followed after me, without missing a beat. I'll decide on what I should be doing with you, after hearing it." Lavinia was just trying to spook her a bit, now. There was no way to send her home at this point, but maybe Bridgit didn't realize that. "Uwah! N-Nessraya... Ahh... W-We, we were just..." Taliyah was quite spooked by the sudden appearance of someone so important, not to mention attractive. She was taken aback, her words failing her, but luckily Aithlin was there for the save. "Worry not, general, we're just planning something nice for the little hero. Taliyah's a real sweetheart, even if she'll never admit it. Maybe you can join us in finding something appropriate for Marina?" The elf had a suave head on her shoulders, when there wasn't a battle raging around her. "Uhm... Y-Yeah. That was all... I-I'd be, more than pleased, if you came along Nnnn... G-General. No, N-Nessraya... I... We're all allies here, I'm not a sssoldier... Uhm... Sorry. Used to having to re-respect people above me... But! Y-You can, come along if you want! I'll p-pay for, stuff." "Oh, dear, you've gone and spooked her... Ness is just another girl, like us, Taliyah~ You don't gotta be so scared." "Aha... I'll... Mmm, try."
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