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Hero, Don't Kill The Demon King! Chapter 1: Lives Not Yet Thrown Away

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"Tracking...through me?" Well that was a surprise. Ayane was no magician, but she knew the moment she turned into an oni her strength increased by quite a bit. Perhaps the blood had it's own magic. "So you mean to use me..." She let out a small "humph" as she spoke. "...then again...if you can use me to find her that would save me a lot of issues locating her."

The truth was Ayane wasn't familiar with this land. She wasn't sure how long Ouka had been here, but all things considered this was her best chance. That said, she had to work with this group knowing the fox's angle. This one wasn't to be trusted. But the rest of the party may be a different story. "Hmmm." She took a moment to think some more on it. "...so tell me one thing." She turned to Bladen. "What is the purpose of this group? You all seem very strong in your own right, but it doesn't seem like you're some average platoon or band of mercenaries." She could at least trust Bladen to give her a straight answer.

Edited by TheRoon

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"Not really..." Considering how her last stint at a tavern had went, she should probably lay off the alcoholic beverages entirely; she wasn't looking to ruin everyone's fun. Xalrei shook her head, pointing at the excitable lizardgirl as she dashed off. "Taliyah was pretty down after dinner, so we were gonna take her out for a night on the town. She wanted to come here, so... Here we are."

Speaking of her friend, a glance in her direction sent Xalrei into a miniature panic. Another Oni!? At least this one hadn't immediately drawn his weapon. She tried to relax, not wanting to rush over and nag Taliyah when she seemed to be doing okay. This was a tavern, no one was going to pull a weapon on her. Hopefully. She turned back to Nessraya.

"What about you, Nessraya? I know you subsist on..." She fought the forming blush, her face still tinging red despite her efforts. "Magic. But what about 'spirits'?" 

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After getting hit with a pretty half-assed answer from Taliyah, she zoomed away to a table in the back, where a man was sitting, and Gabriela was just close enough to hear Taliyah mention Ayane's name. This could be bad.. Gabriela ran after Taliyah who seemed to be making conversation. "Taliyah, it's rude to-" 

When Gabriela looked at the man, she was surprised. Not just because it was another Oni-looking monster, but also because of how handsome he was. Gabriela couldn't help herself anymore, and grabbed a chair, placed it near the table and sat down. "Well, aren't you a handsome one? Those horns certainly do look familiar indeed. Ayane is with us now, I think she might be coming along with us on a journey. But what about you? What's your name? I'm Gabriela, a siren. You should hear me sing sometime. Taliyah over here can confirm that it's very soothing." Gabriela gave a little wink in the direction of the horned man, hoping he would be flattered.

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Before he could get an answer from the peculiar reptile like demon, Ren couldn't help the startling look once more as another approached them and made herself comfortable.  He blinked, the compliment going over his head for now before the rest of her words registered in his brain.  His brows furrowed, pursing his lips at this new information about his dear cousin joining some rag tag group while in such an unfamiliar place.  Journey?  Wh-

"Wait, could you explain from the top?  What do you mean journey?  I don't understand-" he started, before everything else clicked in his head.  His face gradually turned a flushed red, not able to articulate his words as he gently waved his hands in front of him.  "A-Ah, that's...that's very k-kind of you to s-say that.  I am very f-flattered, and I-I'm sure you h-have a very l-lovely singing v-voice...N-Not that your regular v-voice isn't n-nice!  It is, I...u-um..."

In the end, Ren simply looked away as he hid his mouth behind his hand before running it over his face with a sigh.  "Sorry, usually I'm more c-composed than this.  You just c-caught me off guard..."

Edited by sweet podado

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Bladen chuckled. "Ah, you're asking the wrong person, probably." It all made sense, her questions. Asami had come out with the plan to track this threat through Ayane, but had thrown enough extra in there to leave things confusing. And given all the information that had been given to her, looking to someone else for some answers wasn't unreasonable. Still, even though he was the only option, he wasn't exactly a good one. "You see, I just recently joined up with the group as well. I've got the story, but if you don't trust a story, I could have been fed the same one."
 

He turned serious though, considering her question and his answer. "I suppose... The best way to explain it is to say that we're here to bring order to the country. We recently suffered a grave attack from the human armies, due to someone they call their Hero. It's the second time this has happened, and it leaves the country hurting. We have stragglers from her army, we have rebels who are upset with the way the country is being run taking the opportunity to try and steal power... As well as other threats, such as your enemy. We're doing our best to set things right. To help those hurting from the attacks and to take down those trying to profit from a tragedy." He left out the identity of Marina, feeling that was not his place to tell. But everything else... Well that was what they were doing, right?

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A bit of a prideful smile came to Jade's face when Lavinia mentioned their earlier shopping visit. She raised a hand and rubbed under her nose a bit, somewhat concealing it, but it was still obvious from the corners of her eyes to anyone paying attention. A couple of moments later the zombie felt she'd regained enough control and, while still smiling, felt she was wearing a more normal, happy expression, not something that had runaway on its own sense of self-worth.

"Well, it would have been rude not to haggle with him at all," the merchant hedged, "But you're right, I don't think he fully anticipated what he was getting himself into."

At some point the vampire had linked arms with her, a fact Jade only noticed when a slight tug arrived with the suggestion of moving to the stands. Softly laughing, she countered. "I only mind a little," and tugging back, she explained with accompanying nod of the head toward the nightmare. "Stables first, then we'll return to the stands. Won't take long, because you're right, we do want to see every fight she's up against." Then looking at the Hero directly, she added. "We'll be cheering you on, of course."

 


 

Jade was frankly astonished how easily the Hero dispatched the first foe. She'd definitely remembered the fight against Galahad being more of a struggle. Rounds two and three were a breeze as well, of course, but that just seemed to be how the roster was set up. The zombie clapped excitedly, and eagerly awaited the matches to come.

Edited by Balcerzak

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"Well how self-sacrificing of you~ To bring her here even if it isn't to your taste... how noble. You do seem quite fond of our cute little lizard, Xalrei~" Nessraya teased, stroking underneath Xalrei's chin with the tip of her tail. Keeping one eye on Taliyah just in case her socializing went South was a good plan, but there was still more than enough of her to tend to Xalrei.

"As for alcohol? I can drink it, of course... it doesn't settle in my blood as readily as with most, so I could probably drink even seasoned tavern-goers under the table if I wished to... of course, it also means I miss out on a bit of the fun unless I let quite a bit loose... ups and downs~" Nessraya added, floating a little bit closer and placing her hand on Xalrei's tail, giving it a gentle stroke with her fingertips.

"And... as I'm sure you're aware... if this place isn't quite your speed... I can certainly help you let loose, as well~" The General whispered into the dragonewt's ear, ending in an amused giggle.

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"Of course I mean to use you, where else am I going to find an oni that wants to cooperate? Or at least is vaguely interested in cooperating." Ayane still seemed to be putting up a strong front, hopefully Asami could figure out a way to get her to, even begrudgingly, accept working together. She did seem curious enough to ask what this was about, Bladen giving her a... Mostly straight answer. "The only thing that Bladen has failed to mention is that Marina, the little human working with us, is said Hero. She had a wonderful bout of guilt, and has accepted the Demon King's 'request' for assistance in righting this country's wrongs. She did cause most of them, after all..."

Asami narrowed her eyes a bit, smirking. "So where does that leave us, pr-- ... Ayane? Are you going to continue to chase after this woman yourself, only to be struck down, and join her army... Or are you going to come along with us, and have a fighting chance?"


"How do we know her? Well--" Taliyah couldn't quite continue before Gabriela swooped in like a storm, chewing into the guy like he was a fresh piece of meat. She'd seen this sort of thing before... Dang, Gabriela... You work fast!

"Er, we're a part of a group tryin'a help stuff around the country... Ayane brought a problem with her, and ended up talking to someone from our group that knows about it, so... We'll probably end up trying to fix it together! So, what's your name mister oni?"


"Right, stables first." Lavinia slipped her hood back on, as Jade brought her wonderful companion back to rest for later.

-

Marina seemed to be doing quite well. No real issues so far... Would that change with the arena's sudden high wall? This, Puff fellow seemed to be placed here to stop most on their little challenge up to the top. Would he stop Marina as well? It would certainly be an appropriate test of her strength. If she can hold herself here, she should be able to hold herself going forward... Or so I hope.

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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Mayhaps Jade had taken his comment too seriously, indeed. Agni shook his head, mostly agreeing with the assessment that followed. Lavinia chimed in with her own words of confidence towards the zombie... unneeded, but it served to reinforce the point. "I meant only to compliment your abilities, and certainly not to change bygones. Worry not."

Now, for the little hero that could... a nod would suffice. Marina would surely remember her training when push came to shove --Heroes were not trained cheap. Still, with her mentality, it could be hard to see combat as a sport, in the same way many of these duelist's did. It was interesting to see how well she would adapt to fighting with a shield, as well.

"I shall go to the stands first, then." Personally, Agni had enough of his share of experiences with the nightmares for a while.

--

And Marina did not disappoint so far. Agni keenly watched her moves, satisfied with the current results. "Not bad, not bad. What are your expectations, Lavinia. Surely she must perform as well as Jade did." Agni was certanly hoping to see a complete gauntlet win from the Hero.

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"Hmmm? A-Ah, Agni... Well..." Lavinia couldn't help the moment of scarlet on her face as she was so readily addressed, clearing her throat to try and focus on his question. "I'm sure Marina will do well, but Jade has a very important facet that Marina doesn't. Her toughness. Marina may be swift, but the shield will definitely weigh her down, and even with the defense it provides, she herself isn't quite made for taking hits. Being able to take strikes simply comes with the territory of us undead. When you don't feel pain, you pay it less heed... Blows matter less, and it allows combat to flow better. A double edged sword it may be, but in an environment like this, one versus one... It definitely gives Jade the advantage. Marina?" Lavinia glanced back down as their blonde haired obstacle walked out into the arena. "We'll have to see."

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Puff Trouble, both terrified and completely confused, IT’S LITERALLY CLOUD FROM FINAL FANTASY WHAT IS GOING ON? Anyway, she calmed her senses, this was the moment she feared the most. Now it was time to face her fears.

She made her first charge, a quick slash. Easily blocked by the literal BUSTER SWORD in this man’s hands, and he pushed her back. Puff replied by charging at her, and she went to block with the shield. The force of the sword colliding into her still threw her to the side and she almost went flying. Thrown a few yards or so, she was able to quickly regather herself before Puff brought down his sword on her. Rolling to the side, she got to her knees and made another strike, getting him in one of his legs.

He went at her with a side slash as Marina jumped, caught by surprise as she found herself being held up in the air, standing on the giant blade still held up by her opponent. Their eyes momentarily locked as if the whole world slowed down around them. Puff intended to fling her off, but she was ahead, leaping over the elf’s body, rolling to the ground and quickly getting back on her feet.

Her breathing was heavy, but it seemed like Puff Trouble was having some trouble //teehee// of his own. They were both running out of steam, but Marina still had that drive, she wasn’t gonna lose. The man came in again with his sword, another downward slash, and Marina was able to block it again, pushing her back again, but she was able to stay on her feet.

God, my arm…! The shield was definitely saving her, but it started to strain her. She had to finish this fight and quick, or she’d be down a limb going up against that. A deep breath, she remembered one of her old fights, the fight that jumpstarted her journey to begin with.

You madwoman! Asger Oweyn’s words echoed, followed by his laugh that day. And he was right.

I am a madwoman, time to do something mad. And that she did. She stabbed her sword into a gap in the arena floor. Going in with just her shield, once again, a foolhardy plan that could easily backfire if it didn’t work. She charged at full speed, Puff making a side slash to go for an easy win, but this wouldn’t be an easy win, Not for you! She ducked under the swing, setting her shield above her. With a war cry, she leaped back up, hitting the sword with such force that it flung from Puff Trouble’s hands. Taking her free hand, she grabbed at the man’s shirt, and slammed her head directly into his face, and he fell backwards. Marina took a step back, shield still in hand in case he tried getting back up again.

It seemed he was down, a hefty sigh as she wasn’t ready for him to get back up and fight some more. Easing her stance, she walked over to her defeated opponent, holding out her hand to him. What she didn’t expect was such a dismissive response, slapping her hand away as he got back up and walked away. Said response was followed by boos from the crowd.

Retrieving her sword and returning back to her starting zone, she was quickly fixed up by the arena’s healers. After Puff’s dismissal, the booing returned to cheers. Was it… for her?

Rile up the crowd, Marina! So she did something she didn’t expect to be able to do. Before her next opponent showed up, she circled around, getting a view of the crowd, raising her sword, and giving a victory cry, and it seemed the crowd was into it; it was empowering and Marina embraced it. She didn’t expect to win against someone so strong, and it made her feel so much stronger, bigger than she felt she was. Maybe for now, she was just ‘Cianna Katarn’, a nobody vampire to the crowd of monsters, but she was fine with that. All the same, it made her feel stronger.

-

Jurius, just… Jurius. How come THIS is just exactly what I’m imagining? Thankfully, not as strong as the Jurius she was aware of, another quick victory, despite the increasing discomfort the shield was giving her.

-

And with that, Marina unfortunately had to tap out. She felt as her her arm had gone numb after fighting with Jurius, as she left the arena with a bow, and made her way back to the front desk. Upon returning, she removed the shield from her arm. Setting it against her leg, as she pulled her right arm close to her chest, taking a deep breath as she tried to get it to unnumb.

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Ayane took the story in from Bladen. The country was in turmoil, a war begun by some hero. It wasn't something Ayane was a stranger to, Izuna had it's fair share of battle. The oni was just one example. But learning that Marina was that hero did surprise her. Marina...that girl Asami called out to. Ayane saw her for but a moment, but it was all it took to get a grasp on her by sight alone. She didn't seem the type to cause a crisis on her own, there must have been some catch. But she was human herself, despite losing to the oni blood somewhat she knew what it was like. "So that girl is this hero...the one you said had to handle this problem as well. Interesting..."

When Asami finished the conversation it made the oni think. It was a shaky situation. She didn't want to be involved in some other land's war. But it appeared there was no choice. Not only was Ouka raising her own army, this peacekeeping force was also very determined to stop her at all costs. Even going as far as placing responsibility on Marina, the hero. Or perhaps in Ayane's homeland the "general". In those situations it falls to a general to defeat an enemy general. So Marina may have to behead Ouka...

"...no, that won't do." She shook her head and turned to Asami. "I'll join your cause, with one condition." She narrowed her eyes. "You claim Marina has a responsibility to this, but I have an even greater obligation. The one to behead that damned witch will be me, I allow no one else that duty. Not even this so called hero." She folded her arms. "If all parties are willing to accept this then my blade is your's."

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"--You're sure Cianna will do well." Agni rose a finger in front of his lips, carefully glancing back at Lavinia, his eyebrow raised. "Hmm, so you're saying the inability to feel pain proper would be an advantage in such short bouts? Considering the short respite between fights... perhaps you have a point." Curious. Agni looked onwards as Marina's next foe. The weirdly named fighter with the large sword.

Honestly, that thing was too big to be called a sword. Too big, too thick, too heavy, and too rough, it was more like a large hunk of iron.

An elf wielding that, huh? Well, that'd be an interesting fight, if nothing else. Marina definitely started on the right track, making use of her litheness despite the unwieldliness of her shield. "--Yes. Good job!" It was motivaing to see her do so well, she cornered the swordfighter... before long, things were over, following and undoubtedly risky choice of attack by Marina. "...I didn't teach her that." Honestly, it could've gone much worse...

The cheers Marina received were deserved, Agni contributed with his own claps, and continued to observe her prowess until she decided to stop after the dark mage.

"Well, it was bound to happen. She'd never been used to fighting with a shield... splendid performance, all things considered." Agni would admit he was content with said results, although he believed that not to be the full extent of his training in practice. Perhaps Marina had room to learn more from watching...

Edited by Xinnidy

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"Er... Right. Cianna... Sorry, I've become so comfortable in our little stop that I've let my guard down." Embarrassing as it was, Lavinia had to remember that Marina was using a guise currently, a necessary one. All it would take was one monster to recognize the name Marina, and they would be driven out of town. Cianna... For the rest of the evening, Cianna. "But, yes, exactly that. So we'll see how long Marina's stamina lasts."

It lasted long enough for her to overcome two walls that Lavinia had expected she'd have considerable trouble with. "Very impressive! Good work!" She didn't know if her words would make it over the din of the crowd, but they were heartfelt, Marina was quite the fighter. "Let's give her congratulations in person, shall we? Agni, Jade?" Lavinia turned for the stands exit first, slowly taking off her hood. The sun had drifted behind the high walls of the coliseum's seating, and her hair had almost returned to its vibrant blue black. Perhaps Agni's time fighting would give her the last moments she needed to feel the night's embrace once again.


"Mrrr... I owe her an apology, I was... Too frustrated in my dealing with her... As far as Ouka is concerned, fine by me~ I'm not much of a fighter, dealing with her is far from my style." Asami slipped off of the bed and held a hand out for Ayane to shake, smiling wryly as she did. "For the moment, then... Allies, princess~?" Asami wondered for a moment if Bladen had any input on this... Or if he was still curious about her past. Maybe she could sneak out of this without answering any of that~ That would just make her night.

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"We'll see how long Cianna's stamina lasts." Agni smirked as he corrected once again. Still, it was mostly his concern that dictated he corrected Lavinia, Cianna was a name to be discarded soon enough.

--

Remaining in the stands at this point would be surely pointless. "Of course."Agni followed Lavinia with few words, taking note of the setting sun... time had passed by rather quick. His time in the arena was next, and then it'd be a good time to retreat with Marina to the inn.

...Well, surely they would have time to watch Lavinia. Agni would not take long.

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She took a look at the fox's hand. "...yes." She reached for the hand and shook it. "Allies for the moment." Between the hands however seemed to be some sort of flicker, heat was building up. But don't panic Asami, the heat was so weak at worst it would only cause a very minor singe if that. She pulled her hand away before it could go past that and simply smiled at Asami. "Just remember our deal and you won't be burned...past that small warning." She turned and walked to the door. "I'll leave informing the group to you and Bladen, I'll be outside meditating." She opened the door and walked out toward the inn doors.

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Agni had headed to the stands first, to save their spots--not that Jade had any real expectation that someone would, but there was no real harm in it neither. She and the vampire had parted arms when they sat, Lavinia situating herself between Jade and Agni. It had been rather fun for the zombie, especially the little tugs at the start, so coupled with her win at the arena she was in an exceptionally good mood. Watching Marina struggle rather significantly with Puff Trouble, compared to her own relative ease at dispatching the elf was like a cherry on the top. Self-absorbed as she was, she'd mostly tuned out the little discussion the human and the vampire were having, but neither of them seemed to mind, or were waiting on her input, so all was well.

It looked like the Hero was throwing in the towel after the dark mage though? Perhaps having watched Jade square off with the final two had biased her decision. Or maybe it was the right call regardless? Still, a part of the zombie felt... unsatisfied. Anyway, it was time to head down and congratulate for the victories Marina had earned. Lavinia had headed down first, and Agni moved to quickly follow. Before he got too far though, Jade reached out an arm, clapping a hand on his shoulder, and hopefully grabbing his attention.

"Um," the zombie had found she'd acted before quite finishing her thoughts, so she need another moment or two to properly order what she was trying to say. "When we're congratulating her down there, I thought it best to keep it all about her. But, well... Good luck on your challenge too." A slightly awkward smile, but honest feelings.

Edited by Balcerzak

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"Cianna!" Lavinia smiled at their little hero, heading over to her and patting her head, gently ruffling her hair. "You did wonderfully in there, I hope you know. Where exactly did you get the idea use the shield like that?" Lavinia chuckled, giving Marina a small bit of space to speak with. She also went about beginning to unfasten a small few sections of her armor, as she wouldn't need to wear all of it. "As I had suspected, the shield proved to be a bit too much for you, didn't it? You weren't using one with your sword before, so I'd figured you for two handed swordfighter, but..." Lavinia smirked. "You did very well with that shield. Perhaps with some more training, and a lighter model, you could become quite strong with sword and board. What do you think?"

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Marina was caught off guard by the description of her performance, "I-I did? But I..." I didn't win... She shook the thought away as she gave a small chuckle at Lavinia's question, "It was just my... way of fighting, I suppose. Something I learned..." At the castle, with Prince Asger. But she isn't supposed to be from the castle, "A bit of self-teaching. Because of my, weaknesses, I have to find more creative, less traditional means to fight, yeah?"

Of course, the thought about her using a shield was brought up, "Y-Yeah, I never really fought with a shield before. I thought it'd help. Honestly, I think it did help a lot. Maybe yeah, I think you have a good idea in mind, Lavinia," Marina smiled a bit, it was good to know that even if she wasn't happy with only beating five of her opponents, Lavinia was still proud of her. "Also... did you just say 'sword and board'?"

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Having recovered considerably, Ren cleared his throat and directed his attention back to Taliyah.  "The princess didn't bring a problem with her.  Said problem simply changed objectives, and Ayane quickly followed.  Most likely to get rid of the problem herself," he explained, placing hand against his chin in thought.  "So you say your group is helping this country?  From what exactly?  Sorry for being ignorant, but there's not much I know about this place.  My father-"

Quickly changing that line of thought, he tackled the next subject at hand.

"So someone from your group knows of our situation.  Tell me, what are they like?" he asks, before blinking once more as she brought up another point.  "Working together?  I doubt that would bode well with the princess, but...Hm, this is a rather strange turn of events."  When setting forth to Xensat, Ren only assumed he would meet up with Ayane, get back his weapon (after a thorough beating), and march forth to bring down Ouka before she caused great damage here.

He never thought of adding rogue elements into the equation.

"Oh, I guess I haven't properly introduced myself," he suddenly says, breaking away from his thoughts to offer a polite smile to them both.  "My name is Ren Itou, cousin of Ayane and her personal guard," he says with a polite bow of his head.  "And this...is Ukogi!" he says, presenting a lovely checkered pigeon of copper and white that had been resting snugly against the inside of his furred collar.

Said bird simply ruffled it's feathers, before looking at the girls and letting out several soft chirps.

"He says hello," he mused, gently rubbing a finger against the bird's head, but then...his smile slowly left his face as realization kicked in.  "Ah, it...would be best if you didn't tell Ayane that I am here.  At least, not yet," he says, on the verge of pleading as he quickly grins at the girls.

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Gabriela stared him down while he was telling his story. He was so cute when he was flustered. So this guy is Ayane's bodyguard? Gabriela didn't doubt it, but it would be a little bit of a shame to let her fun end there, right? This was a tavern after all, it's not often she was somewhere like here.

"You're Ayane's bodyguard? A likely story! And i'm the king's elder sister." Gabriela laughed. "Of course, you could just.... come with us and prove your connection? Or did I just catch you in your lie, ha ha ha..." Gabriela was clearly having a lot of fun teasing Ren. "What a simply adorable pigeon, much like it's owner. I have wings just like him. What do you think?" Gabriela showed off her white wings, hoping to impress the guy.

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"It's not that it isn't to my taste, exactly..." Xalrei was determined to dance around the subject as much as possible. She wasn't proud of getting kicked out of the very first tavern she'd gone to, nor did she want to admit that to Nessraya. "There's nothing wrong with that, is there? She's my friend, so I gotta watch out for her." She grumbled a bit, but didn't let the teasing get to her otherwise. "It sounds like she's had it rough, too, so I don't want her to feel down about herself."

"It takes a lot to get me drunk too; though, probably not for the same reasons. Wonder who can last the longest..." Any further musing was cut short by the succubus' approach, Nessraya deciding to try a 'hands-on' approach.

"He-Hey!" Xalrei squeaked as a shiver ran through her body and a crimson hue took to her face. She quickly took a step back from the succubus once her own tail got involved, maneuvering it out of her grasp during her retreat. "Don't do that here!" She added in an angry whisper, crossing her arms and taking up her best attempt at a defensive position. "That's off-limits, okay?" She added, softer. "I'll let you know if I'm up for... That later, alright? Right now I just want to relax... The kind without your magic."

Edited by Ursali

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And here it was. A lull in the conversation where he could ask about Asami. Find out about her past, the secrets she was offering up. And yet... Even though the moment was here, the words were not. What even would he ask? There was so much he didn't know, it was impossible to find a place to start. And even if he found the words, could he really ignore the quiet voice reminding him that only a few hours ago, she had wanted to do anything but talk about her past? He slumped even further in the chair, staring at his hands, waiting until Ayane had left. It seemed she still had a bit of a bite to her, even if she was willing to work with them. Not surprising, even if she was trying to threaten one of the worst possible targets. He didn't expect her words to phase Asami much, but still, he glanced at her retreating back and shook his head.

The door closed behind her and he pushed himself up, finally looking back at Asami. "She's a unique one, to say the least. But I think we'll be glad to have her on our side nonetheless. What did she mean by the warning comment? Did she do something while you were shaking hands?" That was safe. Talk about other things, not Asami. He was doing the right thing by letting her keep her past to herself. Right?

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"Hmmm? Is there something wrong with that phrase?"


"Oh, cute bird!" Taliyah was momentarily absorbed by the sudden reveal and forgot what they were talking about... Momentarily. "Wait... Hey, Gabriela's right!" Taliyah stood up straight and huffed! "Before I tell you anything, how do we know you're telling the truth? You know Ayane, but you can't go meet her? How do we know you aren't one of those... Bad onis... Ayane told us about Ouka. Maybe this is a trap! Sit here and look all, innocent and sweet. And then... Bwam!" She slammed her claws on the table again, frowning. "You get us to help you ambush her! Getchur self up, mister! If you want us to believe you... Then you'd best be meeting her head on!" Taliyah smiled, closed her eyes, and folded her arms. She was feeling real smart right about now.


"Oh, cute." Asami didn't flinch at the little physical remark, chuckling as Ayane left. She glanced down at her hand, as the small burn slowly vanished. "She was just trying to be coy, Bladen~ Nothing else... The little princess thinks very highly of herself. Confidence is good, but... She'll get herself killed if she runs headfirst at everything. Ouka is far, far too smart for that sort of approach." Another sigh, Asami slowly moved towards the door, glancing over at Bladen. "Is... That all, then?"

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She kept leaving openings but then the way she was acting, heading for the door... "Yeah, that... That's it. We've got a plan for moving forward, we have a new ally... Guess we should tell the others though. So they know. And let Marina know that Ayane knows who she really is.... Did they say where they were going? I uh... Wasn't really paying attention to that..." It was better this way. If she wanted to tell him, she could, but he wasn't going to pry. Not when she clearly just wanted to get out of there.

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