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Hero, Don't Kill The Demon King! Chapter 2: What Once Was is Once More

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Finally, after a rollercoaster of a couple months, something familiar. Nashwa couldn't possibly throw the experience of the ancient advanced ruins into the back of her mind fast enough, and her few conversations during the remaining trip hadn't been enough. The grasslands of Hwein, though, allowed her to move on to think about why she was there to begin with, instead of wallowing in her nearly forced introspection surrounded by the stifling white of the wasteland. She needed her stuff back, and their first stop would be as good a place as any to get more info.

Chiaca was very familiar to the succubus, after all, it was one of her biggest sources of work. Enough so that Thesephine's call to keep a low profile just in case wasn't really going to apply for her. "I get the point, but I'm too much of a familiar face for it to matter. People will notice, but if I'm not with you, they won't put two and two together." Which was fine by her, since there were things she needed to do and people she wanted to check on. But first, she'd at least tell someone authoritative about her plans so she wouldn't be left on thin air if something happened, sliding on over to Nessraya for a brief moment. "General. I'll be back by dark, but if I don't show, check Greg's Gambling Gallery, the Trade Guild, sparring guild, and meadery. If you can't find me by anything people say and I'm not back at the inn yet, uh... I guess that's when you panic?" Not much of a suggestion, but they'd figure it out if it came to that, and she turned away with a shrug. "Anyway, see you later."

There was the question where to begin, though. The sparring guild likely wouldn't give too much and the meadery wasn't going to pick up until later, but the former two... Maybe it was still early enough that Greg could give her the time of day. People were looking at her once again as she walked along the streets, but this time she felt it was more because of her striking manner of dress, not that her magic was making people go crazy for her. The gazes felt much less oppressive, either way... though that could've just been placebo. Regardless, the gambling hall wasn't too much further, she'd just have to see what the going was like inside at this hour.


While the wasteland itself was a point of some curiosity for Ilvira, she had seen far too much of its nothingness already, and their arrival to Hwein promised much more for her. Yet she had become aware of something much more pressing for herself in that ruin, a problem that needed solving as soon as possible. Hopefully without any prying eyes present. The discussions she had had had greatly elucidated matters as to why the Demon King was headed this way and what the deal was with things beyond Xensat, but asking the lady herself could wait. "I must say, as much as relaxing at this lavish inn would be a good time, I simply must know what all this city can offer me! Do not worry, I will attempt to avoid attention to the best of my ability," she reassured, having a quite large tricorne she could hide her ears in.

That said, she did not actually know where she could find a blacksmith, nor did she want to clue anyone in to the fact she was looking for one specifically, instead going out to wander the streets until she would find her destination. Besides keeping her eye out for that, she could scout the town for interesting places on the way...

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Marina jumped a little as Agni appeared with questions over how she fared. She hadn't spoken with him since the labyrinth. Marina figured that he had been spending his time with Tali--the two had been remarkably close, and he had been the one that consoled her after Mixoco. "It was... difficult, but it was more the heat than anything else. I imagine it was a lot harder on everyone else." Physically was one thing. Mentally was another, and not something that she needed to concern Agni with. 

Marina shuffled in place. Despite Agni being one of the few that were definitely in her corner, she had avoided him after the labyrinth. Maybe even since Mixoco. There had always been a question that threatened to escape her lips, and every time she saw him it she'd wanted so desperately to ask it. Yet, her body shook at the thought; a violent conflict taking place within her. She wanted to know if Tali was doing okay, but she dreaded the idea that Agni would tell her that she wasn't. Even when she knew the answer. Marina questioned if she even had the right to feel sympathy, and to continue to pretend to be her friend.

Now that she couldn't simply hide herself, she had to take a firm stance or the battle inside of her would tear her apart. "I, uh... Agni... you don't have to say if you don't want to. But, but... is Tali-," but before she could ask her question, a familiar voice spoke up. Marina turned to the young dragon girl, "T-tali..."

Then Marina paused, as Tali apologized to her. Tali explained what she felt, what she had been feeling ever since Mixoco. Marina focused on the apology. Aren't... you supposed to hate me? To despise me for what I did? What I caused? I... made you feel this way. Why would you... 

'You didn't kill him.'

Marina hung on those words. They were but a simple truth; she hadn't been the one to end Ithraxl's life. Even still... she had been the catalyst for his downfall, and the one who'd spoken over his death. Yet, it was Tali who was the one asking her. Asking her to continuing being her friend. Do I... even have that right? 

Marina thought back to when she jumped into the hole. That nagging in the back of her head. The hope that the hole never ended. The hope that she never came back out. She wanted to run. To be done with these feelings, and self loathing. To give those who rightfully hated her what they wanted. It was... it was all so... selfish. Her solitude in the Sands, the hatred she imposed on Tali, all of it self-inflicted, her punishment for her actions, for being the Hero. 

Marina looked down at the ground, unable to look the girl in the eyes. "Tali... are you sure? Are you sure that you... want to continue being friends with me? I..  I don't know if I deserve to be your friend."


Lucille smiled, "I don't think I have all that much in mind... I would like to see the clothing stores. It's always nice to see different styles, and... hopefully I can see about an extra pair of tights." Lucille put a hand to her cheek, "I couldn't find any in Border, and my current ones are getting a little worn... But we can save that, I'm fine to just--"

Lucille stiffened as she heard the second-to-last person she wanted to hear. She turned slowly to see the red "changed" in all of her annoying glory, and sure enough, she was inserting herself right into their little excursion. Just my luck... She hadn't really noticed it back when they spoke, but Lucille realized that she was taller than Miz. Lucille never minded being short, but it was extremely rare that she was taller than anyone who wasn't considered a child, and it was one small thing that she had, literally, over the vastly superior, and haughty mage. There was the faintest smirk on Lucille's face before she shifted gears. "I... guess we can go together. Seilan would have a good idea of places you might want to go."

Her foot was slowly tapping the ground. Surely she wouldn't be anywhere near as annoying as she was that evening. She greatly would have preferred it if it was just her and Seilan, but someone was going to have to keep an eye on Miz. She could just hold onto the hope that Miz wouldn't cause too many issues. 

"Anything to add, Seilan?" With a swing of her hips, she faced Chiaca ahead of them. "If not, I suppose we could just start wandering." 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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"Hmm..." Hecate took notice of how Thesephine seemed to tense up in her presence... at one point, it was frustrating, with all the goodwill Hecate offered.

And then there was that... multi-eyed Changed. Miz's underling, spitting poison at her in the open. Hecate turned to look at her with a smirk.

It was starting to feel amusing. Was she truly one to ellicit such concern? If she was, at least, she didn't feel collectively threathened. "I had enough time beneath the ground for a lifetime... Xek'teth, was it? You are free to return to my home if it pleases you."

Taking her attention away, now holding a smirk in her doll-like face, Hecate once again addressed Thesephine. "I bear no desire to hurt my connection to home, Demon King. ...This way you treat me, one would think I'd burned your horses and walked off summers past." There was some cynicism coated in her tone, having made decent progress recovering her speech the last week. Adapting to the linguist quirks of recent years was taking some time --she was already a fan of the antiquated by Miz's time.

"So I should think of these lives as unthreathening, hm?" Hecate threw Thesephine a studious glance. "I had half a mind to study how changed the... Changed are, already. Explore the town we will." Finally breaking eye contact, Hecate turned to her creation, with a slight acknowledgement to follow. "Lapis."

First would be checking those who fight, to made good on Thesephine's suggestion...


"Marina... I think Tali--" Before Agni could rven assuage the Hero's concerns, Taliyah had down herself, bringing a smile to his face, admittedly. "Hah. Before you ask, this wasn't planned, Marina. I never pushed her to think of moving past. Her life was full of durress, and yours of hard choices. Some levity for the day would do just fine.


"Exhausted, is it, Lady Meri? Maybe the massage parlour would be a good choice --I remember it being a good spot for sore bodies... and I wager it hasn't changed." Fyl tilted his head, "We could also see to some clothing if you want to, a few good tailors set up shop in Hwein... although here we might just find branch shops."


""Oh? I'll... keep it in mind, Nashwa." Nessraya was amused by the list of places Nashwa told of in case of her absence. It still narrowed things down, but she would spend quite a time tracking Nashwa down regardless. Nessraya could hope Nash would not get too ahead of herself, seeing her off with a wave.

And now... what was Ness to do herself? She wasn't really in the mood to walk off much, having worn herself out with rhe warping --though not to her sister's extent, with succubus benefits. Thesephine had orders handled... and it still felt awkward to approach it all after their argument. Perhaps some time to herself would be fine.

And thus she moved towards the Relaxing Willow, maybe an appointment would do her good.

Edited by Xinnidy

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"A pair of tights shouldn't give us any difficulty to find in a city like this. I don't have to remember the finer details of the city to remember that there are plenty of clothing stores-"

His expression fell somewhat as Miz stepped, quite literally, into the middle of their conversation. Sudden intrusions on her part were something he was going to have to get accustomed to, it seemed; though in this case, the timing was rather unfortunate, even if she had something of a pitiable explanation for her request to tag along. It seemed that, for her part, she wasn't exactly thrilled to have to be joining them, either, but if her guardian wasn't going to be able to look after her someone would have to keep her from burning down anyone who gave her an odd glance. Well, so he thought, at least; if pressed, he would readily admit that it was a rather more imaginative take on her disposition than reality. Hopefully.

"...I suppose that's fine. Do know that we will be doing what we feel like in the city, though; so unless you're rather more specific about your interests in humanity you're going to be seeing whatever slice of it we find fit to run across." 

He nodded to Lucille, with a resigned smile conveying something along the lines of 'suppose there's no other choice'. "That's all from me. Let's be off for Chiaca, then."

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While Taiyou's greeting wasn't unwelcome she expected a certain cat instead. "Ah, well I've done a lot of thinking. Ouka isn't a normal foe I can defeat, so I needed some back up plans. Ren and my maid are going out to secure those plans. While I stay here to operate with you all."  She rose her head. "Otherwise...I'm doing fine." She put up her front again. When Ariana had arrived, she turned to her companion and gave her quite a smile.

Before she could answer, Mae had made herself known. Ayane still wasn't sure what to make of her, it was a little troubling. She still wanted some time alone with Ari, but she decided that keeping an eye on Mae and Taiyou may have been a good idea. So she looked Ari back in the eye and nodded. "Well, I suppose the more the merrier as they say. I think sticking together as a group would be fine for now." She leaned in to whisper to Ari. "And later we'll find time to...be alone." She blushed slightly. "...Ren was always much better at this than I am..." She grumbled slightly.

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"Hwah..." Sollowy was jostled from her dread as Thesephine dragged her towards the inn, pulled through the air without any resistance. When had three of the ancients approached them, though? Truth be told all of them concerned her, though not nearly as much as the onis did, especially the 'defector' that had attached herself to Taiyou. But if Thessy was willing to tolerate her then, until she had actual evidence worthy of suspicion, she would try to do the same.

"Hahh... We sure do have a perchance of attracting dangerous people to this group, Thessy." It wasn't like they could just let them go, though. Who knew what sort of trouble the ancients would get up to if left unsupervised? "It good to have a lot of bodies, but it still worries me all the same."


"Heya... Amera, right?" Ember turned towards the fist on her arm, looking down at the beastwoman that was attached to it. "Sounds like that'd be a good time, not like I had plans otherwise." Ember tapped her paw, debating a proposal. "Wanna make the spar interesting? Loser pays for lunch? You say you'll probably get wiped, but maybe if the motivation's there you can show me up?" A toothy smirk down at the cat. Just looking at her Ember knew she had her beat in strength, but that was far from everything when it came to fist-fighting. It certainly helped, but it wasn't a trump card.


Tundyssa noticed everyone splitting off into their own groups, as well as Tenna carefully approaching her... "I guess I can. It's not like we can let you wander around by yourself, especially as we get closer and closer to Coteon." The venom in her tone was still there as she mentioned the humans' country, even with the new responsibilities that had been placed on her when they were in the desert. Hess had told her the truth, no matter how ugly it was; however, that didn't mean she had to forgive the humans. Even if she were to do so, she couldn't think of a monster alive that would do the same. "You should at least wear a cloak or something then, or get some new clothes." She took a rare moment to actually look Tenna over. "Your dress stands out, and isn't getting any newer..."


Xetketh didn't give Hecate's barb the dignity of words, letting out a low growl instead as she left the witch and her servant to their devices. More importantly than bickering with her, Xetketh had a duty to safeguard her liege; regardless of her lack offensive potential at the moment. Perhaps she'd be able to find a tome somewhere around this, she hesitated to call this place a town, more a backwater village on the dredges of the empire. Yet this was where she found herself; she would make something work. Firstly though, was watching over her liege.

She spotted the duo made trio by Miz, not surprised by the two humans in her presence. While she herself was not about to get close to these people, Miz had taken in interest in at these two for one reason or another. She didn't understand, but wasn't going to try and tell her liege how she aught to act. "I'm sure you've room for another." She announced herself as she approached, stepping up behind Miz. She needn't explain her presence, all three could easily surmise why she was there.

Edited by Ursali

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Hearing her girlfriend's voice from behind her brought a smile to Jade's face, and she turned to show that to her. "Not interrupting at all," she assured her, echoing Astraea's assuagement, then stepping closer, leaning up on tiptoes to whisper into Lavinia's ear, "I think she's lonely, so honestly, the more the merrier." The zombie then both indulged herself, and badly attempted to cover things up by giving the vampire a kiss on the cheek on her way back down to normal standing height.

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Greg's Gambling Gallery was as quaint as the name suggested, on the surface. Like the name Greg, the building was simple, small on the outside at the very least, and without any real style or pomp. A simple sign cut out, perfectly, in wood, read in well painted but straightforward words, the name of the establishment. It was hung over a single wood door with a cross pattern window cut into it, the entrance to a well kept and carved brick establishment that looked as though it had been built yesterday. Greg kept the cleaners in Chiaca well paid.

As Nashwa stepped inside, a short, well built, musclebound man stared towards her. "Oh, hello. Welcome to the gambling gallery. I'm Greg." The gallery itself wasn't well populated at this hour. A few tables had people playing card games, another set of slots getting spun in the back. A marvel of technology in Hwein, the slot machine. Run by a closed circuit of thunder magic, one simply had to pull a lever to make three wheels spin. If they lined up all the same, a prize was won! All it cost per play was a single gold piece. Such a marvel.

Greg himself was rather unassuming. A dwarf, it seemed, with a simple white shirt and work pants on, bandana covering what was likely a bald or balding head, long grey beard running down his chest. "Don't see many women like yourself coming into my establishment, but you're welcome all the same. What can I help you with today?"


Taliyah was confused. "Of course I do?" Taliyah took Marina's hands and gave them a tight squeeze, trying to get her to pay attention. "Marina, I didn't work up all this courage to change my mind... I-I... You're one of the first people that's, treated me properly. Like a person. Like a friend... People like me... Half, monster, half human, we, don't really have a place anywhere. Maybe Hwein, if we keep to ourselves, but... There's always some level of prejudice, no matter what. You didn't show any of that to me. Of course I want to be your friend... As long as I'm still allowed, that courtesy. Heh... Maybe you're realizing it's best to not be close with people like me..." Taliyah slowly let go of her hands, that worked up courage starting to fade in the face of Marina's questioning. "I-It's okay if you don't want to, I... I understand."


"Then let us be off--" Miz hadn't noticed Xety's approach at all, turning to face her with a small start. "Er... Yes, of course. I'm sure, Xetketh... Uhm. Seilan, Lucille, this woman is Xetketh, my most trusted advisor. I would have been lost in many a moment of my past without her, so please treat her well... The same from you to them, Xety. I've taken an interest in these humans, so we shall both try and employ this... Mutual respect, they seem to adore so much. I wish to learn about the humans of this age, so the first step is making pleasant with them, yes?" She nodded as though her words were sagely, folding her arms. "Then, let us all be off~ Lead the way, Seilan."


The Spar for Sport arena was less of a full building and more an area of the town that had been dug down into and carved into natural seating and an area for people to fight against each other. There was currently a set of fighters attending each other, both wielding swords, trying to break past each others guards and score strikes to win the match. Lazuli made sure to walk one step in front of Hecate as a means to protect her, holding a hand out as they approached, the other hand holding tight to her cloak. "This appears to be the place where the humans and monsters of this city come to train, Mistress. Shall we inquire further as to the means of which we may participate, or shall we watch?"


"Mmm, a massage... I suppose it couldn't hurt..." Meridrya yawned again and started to walk, stretching as she moved. "Let's go then, Fyl~ See ourselves to the massage parlour. I suppose you'll be having one yourself?" She wasn't at all against a proper massage even if she felt like it was a bit of a waste to simply lay there for an hour or so... Well, no point in fussing over it. I want to feel good~


Ariana blushed faintly and nodded, but instead of leaving things private, she leaned in and gave Ayane a kiss on the cheek as she was pulling away, fidgeting a little afterwards. "What, uhm... What would the three of you like to do, then? While I've never been here before, I'm sure such a bustling city has plenty to offer... One of you should take charge as the leader, if we're to make it anywhere, today."

"Not it~" Mae spoke up, raising a hand. "Hmhm. Lady Taiyou or the Princess should lead us along, I believe. We're quite under their ranks, after all... And I would be happy to do whatever they want to, without complaint. Shall we, my Lady~?" Mae leaned over slightly in Taiyou's direction, all smiles.

Ariana let out a tiny sigh. "You still unnerve me..."


"There's nothing we can do about it at this point, Sollowy. We released them, even if by accident, so that makes them our responsibility now. Luckily, the ones I'm more worried about seem to have lost their abilities for the moment. I don't believe that Hecate would be foolish enough as to cause an upset in the middle of town, especially as she is now. She scares me... But if it came down to it, we could kill her. I just hope that remains true as she slowly remembers more of herself... I don't know the depth of her magic, and frankly, I don't want to know. Just want to keep her... On a little bit of a leash."

Thesephine went about ordering rooms for everyone, taking the key to hers and continuing to drag Sollowy along. "As for us... We're going to spend some time in our room. Privately. I've been missing this in all those travels... So please treat me well... Solly."


"Guess I'll be paying for lunch." Now that Amera was getting a better look at Ember, she was starting to realize she didn't quite stand a chance... The dog was beyond built and Amera had been slacking for a few weeks now. "Hoo boy... Well, let's head to the sparring grounds to see if this is even gonna be a match. Heh... Don't go too hard on me, okay?"


"I'm nnn, n, not gonn-na, get myself into trouble, Tundyssa..." Tenebria pouted just a little bit, looking down at her dress. "I don't think I'll nnn, n, need a cloak... I'm nn-not exactly a well recognnn, nized individual in Coteon... I don't get out much. This has been the longest I've been out of my room." It was a bit embarrassing to admit, but it was the truth. "I wouldn't mind getting some new clothes, though... Can we go together?" Tenna, in a moment that surprised even her, stepped up to Dyssa like it was normal, slowly taking hold of her claw. Whether it would remain in her hand was unlikely, but she was taking steps to push herself to be closer with the monsters that were treating her so well.


"Heh..." Lavinia was rather pleased with the positive welcome from both Jade and Astraea, nodding along with them. "Then let's go and get pampered, shall we? I'm sure it'll still feel good to be treated well for a while." Without another moment, Lavinia followed along after her companions, heading towards the Relaxing Willow.

The Willow itself was quite literal. A frighteningly large willow tree had been hollowed out in the middle of town, smaller buildings built onto and around it, the shade from the overhanging branches and leaves giving it quite the calm appearance. A few lanterns had been lit with small magically powered orbs atop them, giving off a faint purple hue, coloring the place further, as the large wooden double door opened up into the most lush and fragrant aroma of flowers, tea, and a hint of cinnamon.

"Welcome~" A blonde, well robed, quite well slept looking elf woman stood at attendance near the entry, behind a desk that had been either been carved into or made out of a section of the tree. "A party of three, is it? Shall I take your names and preferences for your stay today at the Willow?"

Lavinia was rather beside herself with this place, expecting some sort of parlour or regular building, not this... Extreme natural construct in the middle of a trade city. "Er... Yes. Just, massages, for myself... Jade, Astraea...?"


"Just wanna make me happy, huh~?" Asami giggled, latching onto his arm tight, squeezing herself up against it. "Alright~ Just walk me through Chiaca, then. We can find something along the way... Who knows, maybe you'll see something that you want or even need. It doesn't have to be all about me, right? Even if you're so obsessed with that, hmhmhm." She leaned up and kissed his cheek, whispering into his ear. "Try not to worry so much, Bladen. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere~" She slid back down, still clinging onto him, content in her position. "Shall we?"

Edited by Mel the DM

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This place sure looked the same as the last time, which Nashwa would rather forget about. It was to be expected she wouldn't be recognized that easily either, given she usually went around in her full suit of armor, but maybe a reminder of said last time would jog the man's memory a little. "Save the pleasantries, Greg. The last time I was here, I lost an all-in with Big Slick on the river and pissed off while the peanut gallery got a round of drinks on the winner. I know I'm hard to recognize without the armor, but that's why I'm back, not to make you or someone else rich. Don't have the money to spare either way."

If there was something to be found out here, it'd probably be best done not standing around in the middle of things, and so she took a seat at a nearby empty table. "You see and hear a lot of shit running this place, so there's one thing exactly I want to know. Heard anything at all about a group coming through Chiaca with a specialized suit of black armor and tower shield, or maybe people bragging about getting a fortune selling something like that?"


Despite her simple goal, Ilvira was not seeing much success going the way she felt most appropriate to search in. The main street seemed full of merchants for all sorts of things, though what she was looking for would require some specialized tools nobody in a simple roadside stall would have available. Neither was she interested in buying anything trivial for the immediate moment. Failing anything else, asking someone selling weapons for directions could be a good start, and so she directed herself to such a merchant. "Excuse me, would you be privy to the location of a skilled blacksmith? I require particular assistance in restoring a unique blade to good condition."

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'Of course I do?' The words that left Tali's lips had the lilt of confusion, as if it were impossible that they pair wouldn't be friends. Her seeming confusion, and then, Tali taking her hands, it was all so... warm feeling. Marina pulled her eyes up, finally meeting Tali's hopeful gaze. Where... where did that come from? It wasn't so long ago that Tali was bawling her eyes out, and hiding herself away. She had been crushed, but now, there was a glimmer in her eyes, and a warmth in her small hands. When Tali stepped back, her courage and warmth fading, Marina immediately took a step forward. A step forward that she needed to take. It was her turn to take Tali's hands. "Of, of course you have that right, Tali. I... I..." Marina took a deep breath, playing the words over in her head. "I, was just... worried about hurting you again. I want to be your friend, I, I hope I am your friend. I just... I'm afraid of hurting you again. I don't want you to have to feel anything like that ever again because of something I did." 

Marina forced herself to keep her eyes on Tali's, and to keep her tears from forming. "But, but..." Marina paused, and a smile slowly crossed her face, a genuine smile. "If, if you trust me enough to be your friend. I, I want to be."


Lucille jumped a little same as Miz did when, Xetketh--Miz's advisor--announced her own presence. Lucille had noticed the woman's presence, but she was more focused on how the day was becoming less and less appealing. Hopefully being Miz's advisor that meant that she wasn't as insufferable as Miz could be, but regardless of whether she was or not, she was unfortunately another wedge in this rare day. A glance over the newcomer was... well, Lucille wasn't exactly sure of anything aside from the fact that she had way too many eyes. Lucille very quickly moved in front of Seilan, so that he was between her and Xetketh, "I, uh, hello." The greeting was part courtesy, part annoyance, and mostly anxiety. She was just a tad unnerved. Mmm... How have I already gotten into a mess...

Lucille sighed, her reaction was a tad selfish. Miz and Xetketh had no idea what exactly they were supposed to do, and given Miz's general disposition, they were probably the only people that she was on reasonable enough terms with. She was still with Seilan, and it wasn't like they were going to do anything that necessitated them being alone. Except maybe explaining what she'd learned a couple nights ago from Miz, but she hadn't quite worked out exactly how she was going to explain it. "I, uh, right, clothes. That, that'll be fine for now, I think." Regardless of new developments, Chiaca awaited them, and hopefully new opportunities. They were just guiding Miz and Xetketh, they wouldn't cause any issues. Lucille thought to take Seilan's arm, but decided against it for the moment. She would have plenty of time to do so, and she wasn't exactly interested in hearing from the peanut gallery. 

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Xetketh's approach to their group - which had started as a pair - was admittedly not much of a surprise, at this point, though he could hardly feel particularly enthused about more self-inviting company. Hopefully there wouldn't be much trouble from the two of them, given that ostensibly they were being gracious enough to let themselves be led around, and not tout their haughtiness. How much success the two would have with "mutual respect" for humans was still to be seen, and while he was willing to let them do their best, it still felt as if it spoke volumes for that to be an active effort...

As Seilan turned back towards town, he saw that Lucille had moved in front of him, so that he was between her and Xetketh, and also that she was perhaps starting to be rather annoyed by those tagging along. Still, it was essentially let them come or... well, leave them with the wagons, and that was probably not a wise choice for some number of reasons. "Well; I don't see any reason why not. We're going to be doing as we like in town, so if you're content to follow along, then that's fine." 

"Let's see... to start, we can head down the main shopping street. There'll be clothes there for sure..." He thought back to the last times he'd been here. It hadn't been very often during his training; not too much of a particular use for a trade city there. The most recent one, though, had been with the rest of the mercenaries on the way to Hwein. It had been something of a bustling night - the consequence of thirty or so mercenaries with coin to spend stopping in town before marching far off from home. Home... oh, that gives me a bit of an idea. 

"...and if I remember correctly, the trade guild is at the end of the street. I'd like to stop by there briefly, actually. Let's be off; everything's that way..."


As Seilan lead on to the bustling main trade street, he glanced at his companions' reactions to the city between distant thoughts of trade terms; finance, metalwork, woodwork, conversations from quite some time ago, trying to remember and connect them to one another, starting a message in his mind. "Hope you're well"... "foreign trade is difficult right now"... "is weaponmaking restricted in the capital"...? Can't make it look like we're marching home...

Miz seemed dispassionate about everything they passed, save the occasional side street magic stall or staffmaker's, and it seemed to be more of an investigative interest than anything else, perhaps a step or two from enthusiasm. It was fairly plain to see she wasn't impressed; he idly wondered what might have been in her time, such that this trade city was little of note to her.

Xetketh, for her part, seemed to be giving everything at least a mildly interested look - was that how things always were, for her? - and he thought he might have caught one or two eyes on himself as he looked around, though it was hard to be sure.

He moved a bit closer to Lucille, walking next to her, hoping to at least mildly assuage any nerves that might be strained with the presence of the two monsters. He was somewhat certain that Miz gave her some sort of stress, and he couldn't imagine Xetketh causing much less, given how much of a relative stranger she was...


They eventually came across Chiaca's main street, and while it was still fairly busy he couldn't help but shake the feeling that perhaps the Coteon occupation was probably having something of an effect on the nation's trade. There was some kind of sense that just a bit of the spark was missing.

The road, roughly paved with cobbled stones, lead on for quite a while. At its end stood the trade guild, one of the more important buildings in town, and along it lay several stands, carrying all sorts of goods - ordinary weaponry for a mercenary's trade, clothing, plain and fine; the odd jewelry stand, less frequent and frequented by nature, but with a presence nonetheless; several knickknack shops, carrying all kinds of daily necessities and indulgences; and lastly, an old brick building standing distinct from the rest (that he wasn't sure was there last time he'd been here...?) with distinct signage out front, labeled Big Bob's Best Buys.

"Well, here we are. We don't have any shortage of time, so if anything strikes your fancy feel free to look."

Edited by mcd900

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"Mmm..." Bladen gave her arm a gentle squeeze, walking in the direction she indicated. "I know. But can you blame me for wanting to spoil you a little? I like you. I love you. I want to make you happy." He smiled at her, trying to mask the worry eating at his belly. "Maybe there will be something for me, maybe not. I'm pretty content with my current set up honestly. But really, I'm happy to just spend time with you. That's enough for me right now at least."


"A-ah..." Astraea looked between the other two women, shyly stepping back. "I am... afraid that I have no money. So, I can simply spend time with thee, rather than have any of these services. I should have thought of this before now, I apologize to you both." She looked down, embarrassed. She knew so little of these people, but still she should have realized before this moment that this would be an issue.

Edited by scorri

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Lucille wished that her constant looking around was just because of her curiosity at being in a place she'd never been before. The bustling street of Chiaca certain had a lot to look at; interesting stores, items, people, and it had been quite a few years since she'd just been able to enjoy herself without a Coteon knight breathing down her neck with steel at their hip. Unfortunately, the two tagalongs had Lucille constantly making sure that they hadn't wandered off, caused trouble, or were watching her. The first two were certainly true; they were behind them every step of the way, and Xetketh appeared to be as curious about things as she was. Though, Lucille definitely caught some glances from Xetketh's, literally, wandering eyes. Miz was one thing, and when she wasn't being difficult, like the morning after waking on her bed roll, she was tolerable, even somewhat cute. Lucille had no such information on Xetketh, and the staring was starting to bother Lucille, a quick spark up her gloved arm.

Seilan stepped closer to her, almost as if he was shielding her from something. Perhaps he noticed that she was starting to become uncomfortable with Xetketh's glances? Whatever his reason, Lucille found a smile, and despite deciding against it at first, gently took Seilan's arm. It didn't keep Lucille from checking every now and again, but it certainly helped with her nerves, and made the remaining walk to the main street that much more bearable. On their arrival, was a long street that ended in a building that stood alone, and just a little bit taller, which marked it as a fairly important building as far as Chiaca was concerned. The only building on that street that seemed to rival it was an old brick building with a snappy, alliterative name, Big Bob's Best Buys, and was supplemented by a number of stands with all sorts of things. Lucille couldn't help but lighten up a little at the sight. 

Clothing was at the forefront of Lucille's mind; she definitely needed replacement tights, but perhaps she could find something cute for the time that they remained out of combat. Not that that she didn't think her current wardrobe was fine, but it could always be supplemented by something new, and Hwein was certainly more modern than Coteon was. The building at the end might have been the Trade Union that Seilan had wanted to visit. Such a place would be a nexus of information, so even if Lucille had no particular stake in going inside, it could be interesting. Big Bob's also seemed to be intriguing, but the first thing to do was to see what the clothing was like. 

"Mmm... There's... a lot here. A lot of neat things, but... maybe we can start with something simple." Lucille wandered in the direction of the clothing shop, half forgetting that she was holding Seilan's arm, pulled herself to a halt. "Oh, right... s-sorry." She let go, but remained close to the mage as she moved to the stand.

"H-hello?"

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When Ariana leaned in for a sudden kiss on the cheek, Ayane didn't flinch she simply stood there in acceptance...but it took a moment for that to register of course. "!" A blush came across her cheeks, as tried to settle herself. She simply nodded at her cat friend and answered Mae. "Mm...I shall take point then if there are no objections from our priestess!" Before Taiyou could put across her thoughts, Ayane turned to lead the small group through the town. The oni was very quick to try to take her thoughts off of one thing going through her head: 'Ahhhhh...it's nice...'

Edited by TheRoon

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Susan's connections, from faint to strong, had gone off already. Some when she had been looking, and some when she hadn't. Some permanently, like when Ren got a ritual to deal with other matters, and some just temporarily, like Lucille going on a date with her boy-- her close friend, and a couple of clearly unwanted plus ones. If it hadn't been the red devil, she would have stepped up as a sister and tried to play interference, but interfering with Ishtaria herself was more than she could handle at the moment. The dragon and the redhead seemed to be spending time together as well, and while it was hard to get a solid read, probably better to leave them alone as well.

So that left Nisha, who she hadn't seen disappear, but if nothing else she could explore the city while looking for her. The axewoman hadn't had much presence to begin with, so it was no wonder Susan hadn't noticed, and probably meant the best places to go hunting were in shady alleys and backstreets. Such snooping around would also be informative whether or not she ended up successfully tracking her quarry, since you can tell a lot about a kingdom by the way it treats its least fortunate citizens. Beggars, whores, crazed doomsayers, if you took the time to listen, could grant interesting snatches of wisdom. Or complete loads of bollocks, you honestly never know what you're going to get. Thieves, cutpurses, urchins, more reliable--if more dangerous to get mixed up in, though without much in the way of assets she was pretty hard to rob at present.

Whatever she end up coming across, Susan would have to hope that playing the "out of town" card would explain enough of her being out of touch and out of time, without having to break out any of the impossible to believe truths. The magi headed off, alone, in a random direction, ending up behind Mead Mead Mead, and then continuing to wind her way through the backstreets, looking for signs of Nisha, or of something else interesting or informative.


The Willow was an impressive establishment, and were it not for having been forced to serve a literal witch for a time, the touch of mystery and magic mixed with more mundane magnificence of tamed natural wilds would have had much more of a breathtaking effect on Jade. Assuming she had been remembering to take breaths in the first place, which sometimes slipped the zombie's mind. As it was though, it was certainly a sight to take in. Lavinia seemed a bit gobsmacked, and only gave a faltering reply to the elven woman checking in customers, whose manner of query seemed to presuppose a level of familiarity that may not be entirely warranted.

"Lavinia has given you our names now, but I must admit a bit of curiosity on what you mean by preference? My awareness of this place and its services was mostly from vague reputation, so are you asking if we're looking for say, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, or what was that foreign one I was hearing of from... was it reiki or something? Or were you merely inquiring about a particular focus are of the body being sought, like say the legs," Jade glanced at Lavinia here, mostly because the vampire was tall and not because she knew that was a particular point of need, "one's neck," she rubbed her own, unconsciously as the thought came to mind, "or something else like the arms or back?"

The star here also chimed in, a bit wet-blanket like and ashamed at her lack of currency. Such behavior had to be put a stop to, and the merchant would see that it was. "No, don't be that way, Astraea. You shall have the same level of service as us, if not the same course or courses, I've enough coin to cover it, and enough mind to do so. We shall enjoy ourselves, all of us."

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Posted (edited)

"Taliyah..." Agni was pleasantly surprised at the lizard's conviction, even if her self-doubt came back at the end of her speech. He smiled softly, pleased with the development, and Marina's response. "You're both wonderful women with hearts to do good. Don't let the challenges we face stop you from realizing that." Agni was almost tempted to come closer, but he knew best than to disturb the mood.

"The hard choices you made were also for the consequences of those that came before, not just your own actions. It won't do anyone good to keep blaming themselves for the world." The comment was more pointedly directed at Marina, though not short of useful for Taliyah. That one had to make peace with her father's legacy, as Agni saw it. "...If you need me, I'll be going ahead to the Inn."

Agni really felt like he'd overspeak if he remained. A testament to how he felt about both women.


Oh. So Ariana and Ayane were a thing. This Taiyou did not know, as evident in her wide-eyed expression at the kiss. On top of that, there went Mae, throwing a suggestion that either Taiyou herself or Ayane lead the way, making the former feel like a deer in headlights.

"H-hold on, Mae, I--" Taiyou wouldn't struggle with the concept much, thanks to Ayane leading the way without as much as waiting for an answer. Thankful as Taiyou was, she wasn't one to voice it, motioning Mae to follow along with the couple. "Right, where to?"


"Spar for Sport, hmm..." Hecate lingered on the tacky name, face free of any expression. "With how this city seems jovial with its business names. You'd think these were times of peace." Quips like these were almost coming naturally, perhaps she was a natural at this once, or group's general dejection was simply stirring the cynic in her. For what it was worth, analyzing modern day culture was enough to entertain Hecate in this aimless excursion around town. She walked slowly into the building, noting how her feet rang in proper floor. Lighter steps would be needed to avoid further attention, and so she adjusted. It seemed like a softer compound than her time was the basis of the foundation. Not that back then would fare much better against the alloys she refined in her temporal cage.

Quickly analyzing an attendant, Hecate made her way to what she assumed was the reception counter, with Lazuli in tow. "Good day. I'm curious to see how people fight for sport around these parts. Are there any special rules?"


"Oh, I absolutely will if you would, Lady Meri. I've been around these parts. I don't suggest the parlor on a whim~." With a childish smirk and a flutter of the wings, Fyl led his escort towards the Relaxing Willow, "I hate being stuck for days on a wagon, but flying around at the Wastes isn't something I could do for long." He seemed quite glad at the chance to stretch his wings figuratively, and arms, literally. "Hnnn..."

Arriving at the establishment, Fyl spent no time greeting the receptionist. "Heeeellooooo~ Long time no see!" Waving as he floated in, Fyl gave a quick turn-around to mind his escort. "Ah! They have a variety of services, you should ask for options!"

"Ah..." And a voice came from behind them, no less strange to Meridrys, as it was her own big sister. "Came here to take a break too, sis?" Though she was definitely in better shape than the elf as far as magic reserves went, Ness still seemed wanting for some relaxation. "Hope my plan didn't drain you too much. And this is..."

"G-G-General!" Fyl seemed quite in shock for being addressed, flinching as Nessraya's gaze fell on him. "I'm Fyl --er, Captain Saluria, of the fifth reconnaissance division!"

"...Right. At ease, please. You're with sis."

Edited by Xinnidy

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"C'mon, it's no fun you go in not even thinking you can win." While the Helhound did tower over the smaller beastwoman, Amera looked to be lithe and, probably, nimble. Ember didn't know how she fought well enough, if at all now that she thought about it, so maybe the cat could surprise her if she put her spirit into it. "I always play for keeps so come at me with your best, yeah? Not a lot of people 'preciate fist fighting in this group save you and me... Well, there is the dragon, but she seems more like a tavern brawler than a proper martial artist. Anyway, let's get goin', yeah?" Spirits high, Ember began their walk towards Spar for Sport, her big fluffy tail softly wagging behind her.


"Mhhmm... I don't like it, but you're right. Can't have them going around and causing a rampage when things are so tense, or drawing attention to us... More than we already draw. And at least there is that. If those two retained their power, I imagine they'd already be trying to rebuild 'their empire' or something." The thought sent a chill down her spine, the power that had been brought to bear against the labyrinth released upon the continent with the intent to conquer.

The fairy had calmed down by the time Thessy had finished sorting the rooms, though as the medusa began to drag her up towards their room a soft hazel lit up her cheeks, blushing. "Of course, Thessy... Just how you like it." As she was dragged to their room her fingers locked with Thesephine's claw and held it tight.


"You just said you you were worried about it Tenna." Tundyssa grumbled softly, her tail flicking behind her. "You'll need one once we get to Coteon. Or some other sort of disguise when we get close to the capital of Hwein. I'm sure someone who's stationed there will be able to recognize you." Why she was resistant to the idea of hiding her identity was beyond the dragon, but she didn't feel like getting into a fight about it. Not until she could control herself better, anyway. She needed to apologize to Bladen about last time, properly.

Shaking her head she returned to reality, only to feel Tenna's fingers holding onto her claw. Instinctively, though much less violently than the first time Tenna had tried to touch her, Tundyssa took her claw back from the princess. "H, Hey! Don't go touching me while I'm distracted!" She crossed her arms across her chest, ensuring her claws were out of Tenna's reach, and began to head off in search of a clothing store. "C'mon, the clothes aren't gong to find themselves..."


"If that is what you wish to do then I shall try my best, Miz. I supposed it could be interesting at least to see what they've managed to scrape together in this magic deprived world." Though she didn't share her liege's perspective on how they ought to learn about the humans, she wasn't in any position to pursue that knowledge with her preferred methods. As Seilan led them throughout the streets of Chiaca, Xetketh let her eyes wander as they pleased, save for three that she kept on Miz and the humans; the eye on Miz was for her safety, the ones of the humans simply to observe them. What about them had captured her liege's attention? Nothing that could be physically observed, so clearly it was related to their magical ability in some way or another. Miz always was attracted to beings with peculiar magic.

As for what she what she saw of the trading village that Seilan led them through, she was both surprised and depressed to find that things had essentially reverted to the era before what this world called the Golden Age. Very few magically powered items, mostly just utility items like streetlights, horse-drawn carts... Her looks of interest were more a testament to the personality shift between her and her many eyes, their emotions much more on their sleeves than even she would prefer. 

Finally they arrived at their first destination, this 'Big Bob's Best Buys', or more likely the Trade Union building that the human had mentioned was near here. They were bade to go to stalls if something interested them, but that wasn't why she was here. "Is there anything here that interests you, Miz? They're off to look at clothes; if something else has your attention I can just as well escort you to said stall."

Edited by Ursali

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"Oh!" Greg nearly jumped, eyes going wide for a moment. "Nashwa!" He pointed at her like he'd seen a ghost, face still full of color, at the very least. "Well I'll be. I didn't recognize you, looking so beautiful... Always wearing that armor of yours. The unpleasant feeling seems to have subsided some as well... Finally reining it in, eh?" He smirked, chuckling. "As for your armor, I thought it was weird that the piece they were trying to pawn looked so familiar. Tried to bring it in here and offer it up against the house, but we only do money here. They should be somewhere in town trying to pawn it off or sucker some sap into gambling against it... I don't know how they got it from you, but good luck getting it back, aye?" He waved and began to walk away, pausing for a moment. "I'll say though, they didn't have your shield. I don't know if they left it somewhere or already pawned it off, but they only came around with the armor... Might want to check the Trade Guild." With that, he went off to another table to try and talk up some of the customers.


A rather absent looking man; short brown hair, dull eyes, travelling robes and a head wrap, looked up at Ilvira, before taking a big huff from a pipe. Whatever he was smoking, it was sending him somewhere. "Whoa... An elf. Crazy... Yeahhh, like... Blacksmith. You want, Bob. Big Bob. Brick building down the road, got his name on the sign... He's the biggest Bob in town, haha~" They giggled quietly to themselves for a full moment, before realizing they were still laughing, calming themselves down. "He's about the only guy in town that'll work on weapons... People are too scared to break something and have to pay for it otherwise. Lotta rare weapons come in and out..."


"Oh, Marina...!" Tali went from cowering to smiling in a split second as the girl finished talking, jumping her in a hug, squeezing her tight. "I was so scared! So worried... But I'm so glad... Heheh~ Agni! We're friends again!" She smiled at the man behind them, sighing and letting go of the poor hero, nodding. "W-We should go look around town then! I've never been to Hwein... But this place seems really big and bustling, and we only just got into the country! I can't imagine what the capital is like... Where, where should we go first?"


This city was... Mundane. It resembled human societies on the outskirts of Ishtaria in its prime, however, because of its size, it had to be a main hub for trade and life in this country. Miz was rather appalled, but instead of voicing complaints, she did her best to look at anything magical she could. The street lamps were an interesting idea at the very least. She'd never had thought to light an object with magic-- they seemed to house a magical stone. "I wonder how often they need to be recharged...?" Miz had simply placed lights made of a mote of her magic along points of the streets in Ishtaria, and kept them running every night with the snap of her fingers... This was mundane, but it was practical, especially at a height; it would provide more illumination from such a vantage point. "I suppose human magic is worth something..."

There were a few stalls that had magic for sale. All conduits, perhaps a trinket or two... They were normal and expected. She was, at the very least, pleased that magic hadn't been lost completely. Humans had always needed conduits for their casting, so it was no surprise that their evolution didn't grow past that need. Still, conduits were plenty fine, even for a learning monster, so she was content to see them proudly on display. "Nothing specific, Xety. All of what these humans have on sale is rather typical, even the magic... I am glad to see magic, though. Perhaps at this country's capital they have something more focused on magic, but given that this is a majorly human country... I doubt it."

As they approached this Big Bob's, Miz took a peek inside the store... " This appears to be a blacksmith-- Ahh!?" The person working the counter was... Green! Fanged! Tall! Intimidating... She immediately squirrelled herself behind Seilan, peeking out from around his arm. "What is that?"

As Miz panicked about the obvious orc tending to the armory, Lucille approached another stall, helmed by a woman with a fair tan to her skin, long black hair, and a robe wrapped around her body, a hood covering her hair just enough to avoid the elements if they were to approach. She had a half smirk that seemed permanently affixed to her face, even as she spoke. "Greetings, my dear. I do appreciate someone with a taste for fashion coming to my stall in search of more. Aimee; a pleasure." Lucille's outfit was certainly striking, definitely unique, but most of all, viably fashionable. "What were you looking for? Skirts? Shirts? A dress? Perhaps something more specific or... Designer. I've clothing from the capital, Vaia, even as far as Khach~"


"You want to spoil me..." Asami sighed, with a smile, letting herself lean into his arm further. "Walk me through the city, like I said, and see if you can find a piece of jewellery that looks good on me. Then, find us a nice quiet spot with some grass where I can lay down and you can give me a back massage~ There... Spoiled enough for you, Bladen? Onwards, my Chiaca guide." Truthfully, she'd been here plenty, but she really wanted to put him on the spot with how pushy he was being about spoiling her... He's so scared, but I suppose I can't blame him. I'm not worried, at least. I'll never go back.


"Off to wherever the princess delights, then~ Take us away, my liege..." Mae felt a bit of sarcasm wouldn't hurt, quickly fetching Taiyou's hand and starting to walk off after Ayane with the priestess in tow. "I hope you don't mind, my beloved~"

Ariana tried her best to ignore the quirky oni they'd managed to acquire, following after and catching up to Ayane. "Well, what would you like to do with the entourage, Ayane? It's a big city. It must have a lot to offer..."


"Hey." The voice came out of nowhere as Susan passed through the back alleys, as the form of their platinum blonde undead slowly manifested from a nearby shadow. "What're you... Looking for, anyway?" Nisha had disappeared quite quickly once the group arrived, not the best in a group and not one for large crowds of shopping. "Figured I'd tail you since I... Guess I saved you, from that egg. Thing. Whatever it was. You look like you're lost, though... And you probably shouldn't be wandering around in alleys, no matter how much you wanna stay away from folks. You're not me. You can't avoid something bad if it comes upon you." Nisha held her arm and looked away, grumbling a little bit.

"I... Don't like crowds, but if you, want something and don't wanna go alone, I guess... I can be around in person, instead of in a shadow. I'm gonna dip if it gets dangerous or... Or too much, though. You got that? Hate cities..." They weren't full of good memories for her, along with her other issues.


"Oh. My apologies for not being clear enough. Yes, that is exactly it. Please tell us the areas you would like attended to, or if you would prefer full body, as well as any additional services. We offer acupuncture here, as well as aromatherapy... I am not sure what this reiki is, but I'll be happy to look into it. As well, as have a sauna and a chilled pool for those looking into more extreme... Relaxation, hmhm." The elf nodded. "Our prices are not exorbitant. All should be allowed to find comfort in their own bodies. Since you are all here for the first time, you will be quite happy to know that any basic bodily massage is free to new customers. Use of the sauna or anything specialized will cost five hundred gold, though. With that all, hopefully, clarified, what may I help you all with?"

Lavinia was surprised to hear that the first massage was free, but wasn't about to complain. "Full body for me, then... Ah, and with someone that isn't squeamish around scars, as well. I wouldn't want to upset your staff when you're offering up such a service. Jade, Astraea? Especially you, Astraea, since you won't have to worry about paying, now... I think I'll avoid the sauna, though. I wouldn't want to stay too long and hurt myself, somehow."

It was then that another group arrived: Fyl, along with Nessraya's sister-- And Nessraya herself... Lavinia gave them all a cheerful wave, nodding towards Fyl's comment. "Yes, quite. It seems to be a wonderful place for some proper restoration. I do hope you all enjoy yourselves."

The receptionist greeted Fyl with a bright smile, ready to assist the next group once the fine ladies before them had decided on their courses of action.

"Oh, Nessraya. I didn't think you'd be looking for a spa of all places... But if it helps you rejuvenate yourself, far be it from me to worry. I'll survive, at least... This will do me plenty good, and I've good company on all sides, now~ Fyl, please, don't be so uptight around Nessy. She's not at all intimidating unless you're trying to harm her~" Meridrya reached an arm around her much shorter sister and gave her a squeeze, giggling some. "Like a... paper tiger, I think the term is? In any case, if you've been treating me casually, you can treat her the same. Unless... You didn't realize how prestigious I truly was~" Maybe it would be fun to mess with the fairy a little, given how harshly he'd reacted to Nessraya... Speaking of her, she seemed exhausted still. Perhaps she hadn't gotten enough of a fill? It wasn't her place to pry into, but she did worry...


A well built and lithe human with long greying hair and an age to him stood at attention for Hecate's approach, garbed in a tank top and some loose pants. "Any special rules? The most important rule here is that we don't fight to injure. I'm Lucas, miss. Any choice of weapon is allowed. We provided blunt tipped weapons and practice equipment for anyone that wants to go about doing more than fist fighting, though, direct combat is what we specialize in teaching, should there be people that wish to learn from our staff. If you'd like to take to the mats with your friend or one of our staff, we'd be happy to oblige. Though, fighting against each other is free and welcome, but if you wish to make use of the staff, it'll cost you a registration fee of five hundred gold. We've need of gold to maintain all the loan equipment, I'm sure you understand."

"If you wish to fight against me, Mistress, I would be happy to assist, though I do not believe I would be a challenge for you." Lazuli leaned in and commented on the situation, before glancing behind them and spotting two of their group's beastkin approaching the area. "Or, if you would prefer to watch, it seems we've two of the others here for similar."


"I'll... I'll give it my best." Amera really didn't think she stood a chance against Ember in a contest of pure strength, but she wasn't about to zap the woman with her magic in a sparring match... "Heh. Xalrei... Tundyssa? Whatever she's calling herself now, yeah. She's a bit of a messy fighter, but that's just a lack of teaching. I'm sure she could become a real menace if she got someone to impart a style onto her, but she seems pretty preoccupied with a lot..." The dragon, now princess, had been handed plenty recently.

Ember walked ahead and Amera made to catch up to her, but not before glancing at that tail... And what was below it-- Hey, stop that. Geez, you rebound off Nessraya to poor Seilan, and now you're already looking up the new girl like she's a piece of meat. How desperate are you? For Hess' sake... Calm down, Amera. This isn't healthy... It hadn't helped that Nashwa had... Cozied up to her, along the journey, but that was a biological necessity. This was far from that.

She caught herself up to Ember and spent most of their walk addressing the city with her eyes instead of laying them on the dog, taking time to mark a few places she wanted to visit later. As they came upon the building and entered it, that weird pair that had joined them from the labyrinth seemed to have beaten them to the punch. "Hey there... Hecate, was it? And Lazuli? You didn't strike me as combat types... Getting curious about fist fighting?"


As Dyssa pulled herself away, Tenna frowned, slowly folding her arms. "Coward." She didn't bother to hide her frustration, following after the dragon with a pout on her face. "I said that I hoped I didn't get recognnnn, nized, n, not that I thought I would. I barely left the castle, ever, so the people that would recognnn, n-nize me are probably still in Coteon. That's all. If you really think I should get nn, new clothes annn, nyway, then, fine. I suppose my dress is getting a little ratty and worn..." She sighed. She didn't like being frustrated, but Dyssa was being, so... So...! I'm, I'm trying so hard to find some common ground here. They've all proven to me that they aren't the kind of beings I used to think they were, but Xal-- Dyssa isn't even, she can't, even... It's because I'm Coteon's Princess. It has to be that. Even if I didn't have any part in what's happened to her, I'm still...

Tenna sighed, letting her arms down and shrinking a little. "Sorry for... Calling you a coward. Just... Thought it'd be... N-Nnn, n, never mind."

Edited by Mel the DM

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"And what if I felt like treating myself to a simpler pleasure from time to time~?" Nessraya smirked at her sister's remark, "It's no sin to treat my body to a different type of nourishment, after all." And in truth, it hadn't been enough at all. With Asami finding a squeeze, Thesephine in a new relationship, and Amera... moving on, it just left Nashwa, and a couple failed relationships to ruin Nessraya's mood.

Fyl, for his part, was taken a bit off-guard by Meridrys's teasing, a moment of panic as the thought he had been too familiar with her crossed the mind. "Ah... uh... Hm. Y-yeah. I guess I should be fine. Yeah? Haha..." Clearing his throat, the fairy tried again. "Sorry! It's just, the general reputation precedes her, so I guess things finally hit me, uh... you're probably right."

"My reputation, huh...?" Ness interjected, wanting to dig out a bit more from Fyl's remarks.

"Y-Yeah! Rising to the rank of general at such a young age, and being so apt with magic. A lot of mages hold you in high regard, Gene-- Ah... Lady Ness? Nessy? Uh..." Despite the fumbling, Fyl's explanation brought a more genuine chuckle tp Ness.

"Ness is fine, not Nessy. Not unless you want to help me replenish my reserves in the future~. Ah, but I should leave you for sis, shouldn't I?" Nessraya continued teasing the fairy, followed by a wink.

"Ah--Uh-- Mrr!" Fyl was cornered and blushing, the poor fairy not used used to being on the receiving end of pranks and teases. "Well! Well, alright, Ness it is." Pouting, he crossed his arms, turning to the receptionist line before more openings provided themselves, looking at Lavinia and Jade. "Haaah~ S-sorry for the commotion. I hope you two have a great time --I can vouch for this establishment!"

"Hehe~" Following along in her amusement, Ness waved back to Lavinia.


"I see... thank you. Mister. I'll be watching for now." So it was a facility for martial training. Hecate was slightly curious is battlemages used it, though it appeared unlikely. If they provided live weapons, she could figure out the average technology and martial prowess in one go, but it now only seemed the latter, which was still fine. "Hmm... maybe I should take up your offer to get used to moving again, Lazuli. Still..." And in her musings, the catlike Changed under Thesephine crossed paths, having entered the establishment for its more proper purpose, Hecate gathered. "Ah, hello."

Slowly turned around, Hecate sized up Amera and her Changed companion with her doll-like eyes, making the slightest smile out of necessity. "I wanted to see how people fight these days. I can't say it was ever my area of expertise, though I knew a few masters." Some that were too foolish and proud, some that were too dangerous... Arts that will never see the light of day again.

Edited by Xinnidy

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"Oh, uh, t-thank you." Lucille hadn't been prepared to be complimented on her outfit. She did put in a little effort to figure out something that suited her, and met all of her practical needs. It was nice for someone to notice that. "Um, I was mainly looking for tights, preferably those that could be worn while, uh, riding. That normally wouldn't be too difficult, but, well..." Lucille rested a hand on her hip, hoping that it was enough to get her point across. "A little hard to find proper ones in my size..."

Lucille did perk up a little hearing that she had clothing from all over. She doubted she'd have the kind of money necessary for any of it, but looking around couldn't hurt at all. Who knows... maybe there will be a reason to have a good dress about... Maybe... Lucille faintly flushed at her next thought, but quickly tucked it away. "I wouldn't mind seeing what else you have, but the tights are the most pressing." Lucille looked over her shoulder at Seilan, noticing that Miz had pulled herself behind Seilan, much like she'd done when Xetketh had been staring her down. It sounded like she'd seen something that she hadn't before. Lucille turned back to the stall, the faintest pout on her face before she relaxed. Miz appeared to be mildly frightened, so her hiding behind the most readily available hiding place made sense. Though, Xetketh was right there, too.


Warmth. It was a different kind of warmth from the heat of the Sands, or even the heat of Hwein. It was a soothing warmth, and one that Marina hadn't felt in... she didn't really know if she'd felt it at all since arriving on Xensat. At least, not since understanding the horrifying truth of what she'd caused. This warmth was special, and Tali's squeeze, and then radiant smile, seemed to cause something to melt inside of Marina. As tears started to stream down her face. Friend. Friends. They honestly weren't words that she expected to hear from Tali ever again, and only now was Marina realizing how terrified she was that she wouldn't ever hear them again. 

Marina sniffled tears back, wiped her face some, before Marina found her own smile. "I'm... so glad. I didn't realize how... glad I'd be. It's just... wow..." Marina nodded her head, and wiped her face again, "I... we can go where ever you want, Tali. I, uh... didn't really have any plans, or ideas, but... maybe we can go look at clothes again?" 

Maybe... maybe there is a turning point after all. A thought came through her head, a thought of times long past, back on Earth. Sometimes you have to see the bottom, before you can start going back up. The labyrinth, her jumping, her self imposed solitude... that was the bottom. Now maybe she could start climbing back up. 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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It was... comfortable, the bustling of the street, the occasional stallowner's yell advertising their product, everything. He could imagine the clanging of a hammer and anvil, the heat of the forge - he could almost have put aside in his mind the rather uninvited guests tagging along, if not for Miz's sudden decision to dash behind him. He looked over towards Lucille, apparently focused on the fashion stall's offerings, and where he'd probably be, if not for the... circumstances. There was a sense of mild exasperation that Miz was hiding behind him, this time...

"What is... what?" He glanced, somewhat quizzically, into the armory, not having seen the object of Miz's apparent fear. It sure is an armory... last I remember, she wasn't afraid of weaponry... what, the orc...? "That's... Bob. Big Bob. I think. What, have you never seen an orc before...? Even if you haven't, I thought you'd be rather more tolerant when it comes to monsters. You're lucky we're not already inside, or Bob would probably be offended." Especially seeing as far as monsters are concerned, you two are... er, unusual. 

"Are you going to be alright if we go in there? I don't think there's much chance to find anything besides more mundane magic anywhere else in this town, so if that's what you're interested in, then we have to head inside." He paused, a bit surprised at how panicky and discomposed her reaction had been. "...Why are you hiding behind me, anyway?"

Edited by mcd900

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"Hmm..." The oni thought as the group walked along. "Well, perhaps a drink would be nice. Let's find a bar we can rest in." She took a look around the city with a hum. "I personally don't drink that much booze...other than Ouka's gourd. So I'll just see if they have something light like orange juice. What do you like to drink, Ari?" Part of her assumed milk but...well that would be rude to call her out on. After a good walk the four ladies found themselves at a bar with a very apt name out front: "Mead Mead Mead!". Ayane couldn't help but raise a brow at the sign. "Well I'll admit, they know how to advertise their business. I think this will do." She looked back at the others. "Any objections? If not, I'm going in." As she stepped toward the door.

Edited by TheRoon

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"What did you just call me!?" Tundyssa's hairpin temper was triggered, the dragon's tail smacking against the ground with a crack as she turned around to glare at the human princess. As she started to take a step towards Tenna her brain turned back on, the fire in her eyes mellowing out as she cast her gaze aside sheepishly. "S, Sorry..." Though Tenna had more or less overcome her fear of monsters, acting so aggressively towards her couldn't be a good idea. "That might as well be the same thing. And like I said, I'm sure someone from Coteon has been instilled in Hwein; once we get closer to the capital it'll be too late to do emergency shopping." If anything, Tundyssa thought Tenna would be jumping at the prospect of going clothes shopping with her, with how she was always hanging around her and trying to touch her. "It's not like you have anything else to even wear right? Even I have extra outfits, even if they're just duplicates..."

Tenna apologized as well, so maybe it was best to just move past it? "...Thought it'd be what?" But she didn't, her curiosity peaked. There had to be something going on with the princess for her to, by default, try to spend time with the dragon; Tundyssa just couldn't imagine what it could possibly be.


"Well, she's got spirit if nothing else. I 'spose I could try to give her some direction in that regard, but she's a princess isn't she? Not sure I want to be throwing punches at one of Vaia's princesses, even if it would be done entirely for education purposes. Heh." There was something funny, in the sheer absurdity of it, of the thought of knocking one of Vaia's princesses on her ass while teaching her how to fight. As they moved through Chiaca the Helhound kept her eyes peeled for good looking places to eat, more occupied with thoughts of food than actually winning the upcoming sparring match. Perhaps to Amera's relief, this left her completely oblivious to the cat's ogling.

It seemed like two of the labyrinth dwellers had beaten them to the sparring guild. While she didn't appreciate being reminded of the place, so long as it wasn't the red terror Ember could handle being in their presence. "Well you're in luck then, we're about to have a sparring match to see who pays for lunch. You're welcome to observe if you'd like, we'll probably go a few rounds."


Miz seemed to see at least some merit in the humans' magic, which, in a purely practical standpoint given the sate of the world, Xetketh could agree with. "Very well then. Though I share your doubt. Perhaps in the capitals of the countries ruled by the Changed there will be something worth out interest. Unfortunately, this group does not seem to be heading anywhere near those places in the foreseeable future." Indeed, this group was headed in the entirely opposite direction and she greatly doubted they'd be left to their own devices for the foreseeable future. Xetketh had been following behind Miz as she approached the entrance to Big Bob's when her diminutive liege let out a cry and hid herself behind the human male. A foreign feeling took her, one she hadn't experienced in decades yet knew all too well. Jealousy. Why him!? She's known him a week and change and runs to him for shelter!?

Xetketh forced her main eye to not glare at Seilan in an effort to keep up this 'mutual respect' that Miz wanted; however, several of her stalks were glaring at him for her. "Whatever is the matter Miz?" Even her voice was straining to stay neutral as she peaked inside with a few of her stalks, revealing the green skinned man that had Miz running for cover. Though his stature was rather large, more so than any non-giant changed she was familiar with, she was not intimidated like Miz had been. Scholarly interest overwrote her restrained menace as she turned to Seilan. "An orc, you say? There were no such Changed around during our time... Are orcs a common race in this era? Are there more changed like them, races in-between giant and humanoid?"

Edited by Ursali

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"Sister, you know I don't need to feed like that... If you need Fyl, and he's willing, don't let me stop you." Meridrya shrugged, sighing. It was like Nessraya to tease her about that. She hadn't inherited any of their family's traits from her father, perhaps made even stronger than their mother due to his pure blood mixing with her half. Whatever the way the magic had worked, Meridrya was all elf. Amusing as it sounded to tease the fairy, she had no need to other than fun. "We'll just have some general full bodied massages, for myself and Fyl, anyway. Feel free to deal with the others before you lead us in, though." Meridrya looked around for a moment and spotted some lobby chairs, taking the weight off and sitting down. "Come on, Ness, take a load off. You can use our laps if you're tired of floating, Fyl~" Maybe just a little bit of teasing...


"Y-Yeah... Few rounds." Amera was really feeling out of her depth here, especially after having gotten a good look at more than Ember's ass. She was... Built. Amera found her way around combat with her magic, but in a straight up fist fight... "I don't know how accurate an example it'll be, or how good a show, but... If you wanna watch, we'll go for a few rounds, yeah." She didn't really know what the weird doll-like woman they'd picked up was looking for, wanting to see folks spar, but it seemed mundane enough. Amera stretched a little and took off her vest, heading over to the sparring area. The man running the place, Lucas, didn't say anything. Anyone was free to come and spar without a cost so long as they did so among themselves.

Amera took up stance and hopped on her feet a little, nodding. "Come on then. You swing, I swing. Let's keep it simple, yeah?"

"Mistress, it seems these two are willing to provide an example for us." Lazuli nodded and moved slowly to stand at the side and watch, curious as to what a 'fist fight' would really look like.


"Worry not, miss. You aren't the biggest I've ever had to cloth~" Aimee smiled and pointed to a case on the top left part of her stand, housing what could only be tights for those of rather wide interests. "I'll give you a set of five for ten gold. How's that sound? Tights aren't too hard to come by, even in your size. They stretch~" She smirked and shrugged, nodding. "Don't be shy if you need anything else~"

Miz grumbled as she pulled herself out from behind Seilan, clearing her throat. "As, as Xety has said, there weren't any... Changed, like that, when I was ruler. Either they didn't exist, or we hadn't run into them inside of Ishtaria. Ahem. Mm... As for why it was you, I, you, w-were just closest. That was all." Xety had been about the same distance away, but Miz wouldn't admit that she thought Seilan to be stronger at the moment, given their de-powering had affected Xety as well... "Let's, let's go inside. I care not for mundane weaponry, but I do not wish to wait outside like some, animal... If you've business inside, then let us be about it." Miz huffed and stepped in front of Seilan... Then paused. Clearly she hadn't overcome her fear entirely...


"Clothes! I'd love to look at clothes! Most of them don't fit me very well, but when I find something that does, I get really happy... So let's go see what Chiaca has. I'm sure it's got something for me, we're right on... Well, what's sort of the border... Heheh~" Taliyah was in high spirits now. She'd made up with Marina, Agni was with them, they were going to spend the day together! This sounded wonderful to the lizard girl, tail already wagging. "Let's go then, let's go!" She took Marina's hand, pulled her over to Agni, took his, and started walking off with the brightest smile on her face~


"No complaints from me." Ariana simply nodded and walked along after Ayane into the tavern, wondering what could-- "H-Huh?"

Inside, at the bar, bushy tail on full display... Was a fox. One that looked alarmingly like Asami. Ariana didn't move to strike at her, but her hand did find its way to her sword. "I... I think we should approach carefully." Ariana was going to let the princess take the lead on this... Even if this fox didn't seem aggressive or... Awake, really. Her green haired form had slumped over the bar's counter, one hand on a tankard, the other dangling lazily. "Is... She alright?"

"Ohhh, Chihaya... I was wondering where she was heading off to when she left Ouka's side... I'm surprised to see her here. I'm more surprised that Ouka would let her do anything~" Mae mused softly at the fox's form, also letting Ayane stay in the lead and take the charge. "How interesting~"


Dyssa had gotten as angry as Tenna had expected at the comment, making the girl flinch and shrink as her tail slammed into the ground. Her heart started pounding, but the dragon suddenly calmed down... Tenna managed to calm down as well, sighing as her nerves left her. "I, I'll get, n, nnn-new clothes. Sorry... I... I didn't mean to make a fuss about it, I..." There it was. She'd said too much, Dyssa picking up on it, not letting it go like Tenna had hoped. The princess slowly took hold of her twintails and hid her face behind them some, shaking her head. "It's nn, nnn-n, not a big deal... I..." She sighed, frustrated with herself. This is why you couldn't ever say anything to Marina, Tenna. You're too afraid. Too scared. Too scared to hear the response. But, you know what? There's no way that Tundyssa could possibly feel anything for you, so you don't have to be afraid of it. She'll just call you weird and you can move on.

Tenna sighed. "I, just... I think you're really, b-beautiful, okay? And I... I... I was hoping we could... G-Get closer. Slowly. But you keep, pushing me away, even the smallest things, so... So It's... Just, call me stupid so I can forget about these feelings. What a mess... Thought we could, relate and, and... And get to knnn, know each other, better, but you just... nn... No. It's my fault, for getting attached so easily. Ugh..." Tenna had stopped hiding behind her hair, sniffling a little, wiping a tear out of her eye before it could go anywhere. "I'm so stupid..."

Edited by Mel the DM

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Marina found Tali's smile infectious, and the glacier inside of her continued to recede thanks to the warm grasp of the beaming girl. It almost felt like when they shopping together for Tali's birthday. She even got to be around Agni for what felt like the first time since they spoke in Labyrinth. She had prepared to be alone for the remainder of the day, but now, with them being led off towards... did they actually know where they were going? Marina shrugged, as she let herself be led along to their location, admittedly, she didn't quite care where they were going. She looked over, and gave Agni a genuine smile, "I wonder if we'll see any of the others as we go... I wonder what they're all up to? Chiaca's... a lot larger when you start moving, it's really impressive." 

The size of Chiaca, and it's bustling nature did give Marina a bit of pause. Finding Yukari would be a whole lot harder if all of the Hweinese cities were like this, and the mirror was gone. The only thing Marina had was her gut, and her gut had been in knots for longer than she cared to admit. But maybe if she had help, she could find Yukari, and maybe even more than that... For now, it was best to focus on the here and now. 


Lucille breathed a sigh of relief. Realistically, tights were supposed to be the easiest part of her wardrobe because they did conform to the wearer. The last several she'd been to though admitted that she was a little too sizable for their tights in tandem with riding. So this was a needed breath of fresh air. She'd tried to manage before, but heat crept across her face as a memory played in her head. The pricing was what drew her back into the real world. "Five pairs for 10 gold? That's, wow. Especially after the last place said I'd need them custom made..." She looked at the case of tights, and they were all fairly decent quality, and in a wide variety of colors. Ten gold for five pairs of those was a steal, especially if they all worked. She let her head bob back and forth for a moment, before she looked over her shoulder again at Seilan, and their tagalongs. She sighed, and then turned back to, Aimee, a minor pout on her face. 

"Mmm, I'm interested in the tights, but I'll have to think about colors, and stuff like that. Do you also have skirts? Preferably those that one could ride with?" She did get one back in Border, but the selection her might be stronger, and they could fit better as well. She pulled her arm behind her, and started swaying, "I'm a little particular about the skirts since I need to be able to wear it while riding, and well, I hate pants, for a number of reasons..." 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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