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Star Guardians: A New Era

Sketchie

it's about the CUBES
Andrea MacKellen
Jinx
Warehouses

*Pop!*

Furry white half-jacket? Check. Hot pink bandeau underneath? Check. Cut off denim shorts, with the fishnets and hot pink sneakers? Check, check, double check. The rhinestoned up star sunglasses with red frames and rosy lenses? Oh, buddy, you better fuckin' believe it. Andrea strutted the empty streets with her hands in her pockets. She blew another bubblegum bubble. *Pop!* It was quiet, all except for Kuro and Shiro squeaking excitedly in her bag. Dusk in this part of town was always quiet, and while the warehouse scenery wasn't exactly scenic, it was empty. Perfect for a night's walk. *Pop!*

Kuro popped out of the bag, eyes aglow with mischief and a silly grin on his face. "Hey, you," Andrea giggled, pausing on her walk to pat his head, "Playing nice with your brother in there?" Kuro beeped at her, before burrowing back into the bag. Andrea took a deep breath. The stars were staring to come out. She wondered if the First Light was among them. *Pop!* Not a part of any team, she didn't have any real patrol routes, except maybe Zaun. She wasn't sure that place had ever seen another Star Guardian before, let alone anyone willing to help. Even here, she always felt drawn to places she was sure didn't get patrolled as often. Just in case.

*Pop!*

*BOOM!*


Andrea ducked and covered her head instinctively. She could hear shouting and cursing in the distance, but it was too far off to be heard clearly. Shiro and Kuro popped out of the bag, alarmed at the sudden noise. She looked at them and nodded. Duty calls. After checking her surroundings, she quickly ducked into an alleyway, holding Kuro and Shiro close. They became enveloped in red light, and her feet slowly lifted off the ground. The boys turned into two large, heavy guns, and ribbons and stars decorated Andrea's form until she emerged in a burst of starlight. "Let's go," she breathed, shooting up into the sky.

It wasn't hard to find the source of the explosion from above. Not wanting to be seen, she crept from rooftop to rooftop, easing closer and closer to a pillar of smoke rising from one of the warehouses. She finally got close enough to be able to peek over the gabling, and...

What the hell is going on?
 
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VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
Masaru
Athembury City (Athembury City Park) > Lenora's Place


Though Masaru had tried not to make too big a deal about the wave incident on their leader's request, some fighting ensued among the others and Conner stormed off, and not before calling someone a child, as if he was so mature. Leona was forced to stop Conner from leaving long enough to confirm a date with him. Honestly, he made Masaru feel like the mature one sometimes.

***

Meetings were often awkward. For example, today they were at Leona's place; Masaru knew a lot of guys who'd like to case a joint like this. It looked simple enough, but it was spacious and probably had some 'hidden gems'. . . he knew he probably shouldn't think like this, and he'd never break into someone's home, but it was what it was. He was used to thinking like a con.

She started the meeting much like their last mission had ended, thanking them and then bringing up in-fighting again. Masaru cringed. Forge, who was hanging lazily round his neck like a snake, lifted his head and looked up at him, then dropped it back down again. Masaru was pretty sure he knew how this was going to go, but she glossed past it at a decent pace (which may have been a strategy to avoid discussing it) and basically said setting up regular practices would fix it, though Masaru doubted that. Then she barreled past that subject as well, saying that they might soon be unable to keep up with incidents if they didn't figure out how to stop it.

Okay, well, he was pretty sure they could all agree that was a problem, even if they didn't agree on much else.

Conner surprisingly to Masaru, agreed to practices without much push. Maybe he wasn't as much a hothead as Masaru thought. Then he suggested jumping into the void. Was that something they could actually do? Clare seemed to think they should team-up with others. Masaru was new to this, and was now curious how many other groups there might be. Both she and Miu agreed to practices.

Masaru figured that meant it was his turn to speak. He picked up a cookie, mostly so his hands would have something to do. Holding it lightly, he agreed, “I don't think practice wold hurt at all, and a couple times a week sounds. . . reasonable. Memorizing your moves, your patter,” he paused, comparing this to cons was probably not ingratiating. He shifted the cookie between his hands, “It tends to keep you out of trouble. . . But look, you all know I haven't been at this long. So, and this may be a stupid question, but are those actually options? Could we jump into a void? Without dying? Or something? And are there others that could help us? 'Cause it seems like they might be busy themselves if they aren't already here helping us.”
 

Skillfulness

Well-Known Member
Leona
Leona's Apartment


Leona was taking mental notes as her teammates spoke up. Clare made a good suggestion about trying to coordinate with other Guardians. She knew of a few in neighboring areas that might be able to lend more insight. She also made sure to note Conner’s idea involving jumping into the void. As horrifying as it sounded, Leona considered investigating them on her own at first--she could never risk her teammates like that. Miu was mostly quiet so she planned to have a one-on-one with her later. Their newest member Masaru was rightfully concerned so Leona decided to address it now.

“Masaru is right. We aren’t entirely certain what happens to creatures that attempt going through the rifts, unless those creatures are void. We could perhaps design some experiments to test the boundaries of the rifts, but it won’t be easy. Voidlings will be crawling out as long as it stays open so Clares point about coordination with others may be the way to go for now. I’ll see if I can get in touch with some old teammates that might still be around.” Leona paused and looked around the room with a smile.

“Miu, talk with me a moment?” She gestured towards her bedroom for a short private conversation with her. “There’s more cookies in the kitchen if you guys want, otherwise we can end here and I’ll send out more information when we start planning practices. Feel free to stay and chat a while though or get going if you have things to do.” While she walked down the short hall, one picture of a pretty seaside scene hung there, Leona pulled out a notebook to start jotting down anything important from the meeting. She’d have to dig through some old files and hope her friends hadn’t changed their contact information. But for now, she had to talk with her youngest member. It was odd having their youngest have the most experience, but Miu had proven herself time and time again, surprisingly mature for her age.

“Hey Miu, you doing ok? You were kind of quiet today and I wanted to make sure you were doing alright. Is there anything you’d like to bring up privately?”

————————————

Lamb and Wolf
Woods near Anthembury Hospital


Zoe giggled to herself while skipping through the air, zipping between trees in the forest, all while staying just out of sight of the ghost girl. The trail of her hair was enough for the lone Guardian to follow and Zoe would lead her right to where her minion would be waiting. As soon as Violet was in sight, Zoe waved happily to her and popped into one of her portals, disappearing for good. The rest would be up to her corrupted friend.

————————————

Violet - Six

“Six,” you hear the voice resonate within your head. Another telepathic message from Zoe, your leader. She likely had another mission planned for you and never really cared that you might be in the middle of something when she told you about it.

“I need you in the woods by the hospital in Athembury soon. We’re going to ambush the Lamb and Wolf Star Guardian--you’ll be on your own after I lead them there. Let me know when you arrive and I will give you notice when I begin the chase. After that, you will be on your own to cause some… chaos. Have some fun.” And with a giggle, the voice is gone. You’d best be on your way to do your job.

————————————

Jinx
Warehouse Roof


In the center of the warehouse, you see a tall man, though it’s hard to make out details in the dim of the interior. He must have been the cause of the explosion, but what exactly was he doing down there? You catch a glimpse of a girl with colorful hair stepping through a hole in the ground with a box. The hole closes before you can make anything out about her; what is going on here?

————————————

Oliver - Diamond

“Oh Diamond~” The playful voice in your head is none other than Zoe’s, your corrupted leader. As always, she simply pops into your head, regardless of time of day. She likely had something for you to do, thought hopefully it wouldn’t be right away, it rarely was.

“This evening, I need you to steal something for me. There’s a warehouse with a special chemical I need. Secure it, and I’ll arrive to take it back with me. After that, cause a bit of a scene, cover your tracks, by whatever means you desire. Let me know when you’re there and I’ll tell you what to look for.” Silence follows after her commands. Looks like you’ll have some time before you have to get going.
 

Sketchie

it's about the CUBES
Andrea MacKellen
Jinx
Warehouses
As the smoke cleared, Andrea could start to see a figure down below. Two for a moment, actually, but before she could really react to the figure with colorful hair it disappeared into a portal of some sort. She narrowed her eyes. Something told her this wasn't any normal explosion-causing figure. That disappearing figure... it gave her the same vibes her old teammates had last she ran into them. Kuro beeped, handing her her cell phone. "Thanks, Kuro," she whispered, quickly snapping a pic of the situation over the rooftops before handing it back to Kuro. Might come in handy to have a shot of what's going on in case she needed to call for backup.

"Okay," she said, ducking behind the gable and pulling Shiro and Kuro close, "If this really is one of my old teammates, we can totally take them. Even still, just one guy? We got this!" Shiro gave a silent nod, while Kuro squeaked excitedly, shimmering with anticipation. "Ready?" she giggled, a wild glint in her eyes. She scooped up Shiro as he transformed into his machine gun form, while Kuro floated just above her shoulder. She had the advantage. The figure's back was turned. Andrea grinned. "Let's go!"

Andrea jumped over the gable and slid down the warehouse roof, leaping at the edge with a "wahoo!". She landed squarely behind the strange figure, holding Shiro in a ready position. "Alright, mister," she said, a crazed laugh growing in her voice. You could see the determination in her eyes, alongside a glimmer that looked almost deranged. "I'm going to tell you exactly what's going to happen. You're going to turn around, tell me what was in that box, and then, I'm going to shoot you! Ahahaha!"

~~~~~

Violet MacKellen
Six
Bar -> Woods in Athenbury
"Come on, Vi, it would be fun!"

Violet looked up from her dishwashing to glance at her coworker, who was leaning across the bar with her face in her hands. Caitlyn was pretty. She had long purple hair that she kept in a braid while working, and piercing gunmetal blue eyes. It was sometimes a little hard not to melt at her cheery personality, but here and now was not the time to be making new friends or more. "Not now, Caity, I... I have a lot of stuff going on."

Caitlyn sighed. "You always have a lot going on. Just one night? You, me, we'll leave a table down after the closing checklist is done, and maybe I can see what that smile of yours really looks like."

"Caitlyn, I..." Violet trailed off, looking up from her glasses with a pained expression. "I just can't be going on dates right now. It sounds lovely, it really does, and you're a really nice girl and everything, but I just... I really don't think you should be wasting your time on me."

"Alright, Vi." Caitlyn nodded, deflating a little. "Maybe... take a rain check..?"

"Alright, Caity. I'll take the raincheck." Violet sighed, and looked back down at her glasses. It was hard to put her down every time. She had to admit, Caitlyn really was growing on her, as was the temptation to say yes to one of her propositions. Maybe Cait would let her go back on her word this time... she just had to ask...

“Six,” echoed a voice in her head. Violet bit her tongue. Guess she really couldn't stay after all. Zoe needed her. "I need you in the woods by the hospital in Athembury soon. We’re going to ambush the Lamb and Wolf Star Guardian--you’ll be on your own after I lead them there. Let me know when you arrive and I will give you notice when I begin the chase. After that, you will be on your own to cause some… chaos. Have some fun.” Zoe giggled, and the voice was gone.

"Hey, Cait?" Violet said, sighing, "Hey, I know this is super last minute, but we're almost done, and I just looked at the clock and realized I'm late for an engagement. What are the chances you can lock up for me so I can jet."

Caitlyn nodded, shooing her off. "Yeah, yeah, go be busy somewhere. I'll cover for you."

"Thanks, Cait." Violet put down the glass she was on, and headed to the back to grab her jacket. She exited through the back door, into a dark alleyway. Above her, she heard a crow's caw getting closer. It flew down, landing softly on her shoulder. Violet smiled weakly. "Hello, Ravah," she cooed, gently petting the feathers on the top of her head. She started in Athembury's direction, picking up the pace as she went. "Zoe needs us. We're going after a guardian. I didn't get exactly what she wanted, though, whether she wants Lamb and Wolf back like us, or if she wants them out of the picture totally... I suppose we'll find out."

As soon as she felt far enough away from the bar, Violet ducked into a nearby alleyway. "Let's go, Ravah," she said quietly, closing her eyes. Blue flames erupted from her chest, creeping over her body and leaving the black and blue uniform in its wake. More fire spread over her hips and calves, transforming into dark bronze armor, finishing up with the bow at her back, and the starred crown atop her head. With a deep breath, she held Ravah in her hands as the bird transformed into her signature gauntlets. She shot up into the air, and flew off into the night.

Violet touched down in the treetops. "I'm here," she thought, giving Zoe the head's up. Violet narrowed her eyes, scanning the forest for Zoe, and this Lamb and Wolf guardian. They had to be around here somewhere. Of course, the Lamb guardian would be far behind, there was no way she could keep up with Zoe's portals, but one could never be too sure. She watched, and waited, until suddenly, a glimmer of colorful hair appeared between the trees. Violet nodded as Zoe gave a wave, and disappeared.

Violet took a deep breath, and readied to pounce.
 

Monster Guy

Fairy type Trainer
Conner Water
Riptide
Leona’s Apartment


Conner sat and listened. Leona said she would test the boundaries of the rift. Conner shrugged his shoulders. If those voidlings could get through alright, it didn't seem like there would much trouble for them. Whatever, Leona knew better he supposed. She also said she would contact some other Star Guardian friends of hers to come help them. Then she went to have a private chat with Miu. Conner rolled his eyes.

As soon as Miu and Leona left, Conner went to the kitchen, and came back with another plate of cookies. "Of course, the child prodigy genius gets a private talk." Conner began as sat back in his chair, and angrily took a bite of yet another cookie. “I grew up with someone like her. When I was a kid, I managed to get a small part in the school play. I was so proud of myself that I managed to get any kind of role. I ran home to tell my parents, only for my older sister to come in moments later to announce that she had gotten a lead role! All of a sudden it was as if I didn't exist. Or the time I managed to ace a major exam, only for her to come home with straight As on her report card. Crap like this would happen again and again. My parents never fail to me ask me why I can't be more like my sister, and rub in how perfect she is, and I'm not."

Conner sighed, and took another bite of his cookie. "When the First Light chose me and not her, I thought this would finally be my chance to be special for once. Oh but no. Every damn day, I have to be upstaged by a freaking child! She never fails to rub in her experience in my face either."

—-

Oliver Cobalt
Diamond
Warehouse


For Oliver, today had been relatively uneventful. He went to class, then went shopping at the mall because he had enough money to do so. Things got more interesting when Zoe sent him a message to steal some chemicals from the warehouse. ‘Am I thief for hire now?’ Still, Oliver thought it best to do what she said. So, that night he transformed and flew to the warehouse she had told him to go to.

Once he arrived, stealing the chemicals Zoe wanted proved to be relatively easy. You would think they would have their chemicals guarded better. Once he had what he came for, Zoe was outside the warehouse waiting. After handing her the boxes, he threw some crystals at some crates, creating a big explosion. What exactly they were hiding here Oliver did not know, nor care. The explosion would probably be a good enough distraction for their purposes.

Then he heard someone screaming “Wahoo!” He rolled his eyes to see a young woman with red and purple hair who was armed with a gun. ‘How juvenile and unimaginative’ Oliver thought with a roll of his eyes. “How about no.” He tapped the group with his lance, causing several purple crystals to sprout beneath her feet. “I wish they had sent a cute boy after me, but you’ll do I suppose...” He then raised his lance, and fired some crystals at her.
 
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Sketchie

it's about the CUBES
Andrea MacKellen
Jinx
Warehouses
The purple man gave off only one vibe: BORING. “How about no," he said, tapping his stick on the ground. Before Andrea could react, crystals started growing around her feet. “I wish they had sent a cute boy after me, but you’ll do I suppose...” The man raised his stick and shot a couple crystals her direction. Her finger readied on the trigger.

Now, the best part about owning a minigun, especially one with three barrels, is that accuracy becomes less important when you can simply rain a hellova lotta bullets in your opponent's direction.

DTA-DTA-DTA-DTA! went the minigun, as Andrea shot his crystals to bits. By the time they hit her, it felt more like cat litter than crystals. Unpleasant, but not life threatening. Andrea giggled. "That was cute," she said, releasing Shiro and summoning Kuro's rocket launcher, "Now watch this!" She took aim at the figure, before juking her gun to the ground and firing at her feet. The force shot her straight into the air, with a "Wheeeeee!-hee-hee-hee-hA-HA-HA!" as she ascended. She twisted at the top of her arc, aiming right at the man's feet. With a quick "bang!" and a pull of the trigger, she shot three Kuro-shaped chompers at his legs. One chomped right onto the man's ankle and started slowly beeping, while the others spun aimlessly nearby, looking for something to sink their Kuro-shaped teeth into.

Andrea landed with a thud, laughing the whole time. "Aww, I'm having so much fun! I'm sooo sorry I'm not that cute boy you ordered but..." She gestured at his form and snorted. "A cute boy's never gonna fall in love with a boring old bad guy like you." Andrea aimed her rocket launcher at the man once more, this time with a bit more seriousness. "Anyway! I was so inspired by those crystals, that I thought you'd like my version! And the best part is?" Andrea giggled, clapping her hands with excitement, "Mine explode! So, I'm gonna ask one more time, before they do. What was in the box? And don't worry about me snitching."

The trigger was calling. Just one more bit of pressure, and she'd send a rocket right at his dumb face. "It's not like I have friends."
 
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Vern

Why not both?
Clare
Leona’s Apartment


The rest of the meeting passed somewhat uneventfully. Clare smiled when Leona acknowledged her suggestion – acknowledgment from their leader had always meant something special to her, in a way she couldn’t quite pinpoint. If she had to guess, it’d be that it was a recognition of her transition. Any time Leona agreed with her, it was proof that she was moving further into her world.

As Leona took Miu to the side and the others lapsed into their own casual conversations, Clare found herself once again feeling bored. She half-listened as Conner ranted about his insecurities and his frustration, debating whether or not to say anything. Socially, perhaps it was her role as a more experienced member to correct that sort of thinking – but at the same time, she found his childishness… uninteresting. She’d seen many such people before. It was always the same sort of story. The meeting was already over, so she had no reason to stay. However, just as she was about to check out of the conversation, she caught the last part of Conner’s rant.

"When the First Light chose me and not her,” he was saying, “I thought this would finally be my chance to be special for once. Oh but no. Every damn day, I have to be upstaged by a freaking child! She never fails to rub in her experience in my face either."

“You are special.” Clare said, “Out of everyone on this planet, the first light chose us. It chose you.”

It would be wrong to say that his comment had angered her – Conner’s sentiments didn’t make her feel any particular way. But she couldn’t deny that there was a certain injustice to it: how, after gaining access to this wonderful, magical world, all he could see was the fact that he wasn’t the star, while she would have begged for the chance to so much as be an extra, a prop. But she wouldn’t blame him for it, nor did it bother her. She was simply different from him, that was all. Just as she was different from everyone else. A hollow, worthless person.

There was a short pause, and she continued, deciding to, at least for now, assume her role as advisor. “Don’t be too bothered about Miu,” she said in a perfect replica of a supporting, optimistic tone, “She’s been doing this for longer than all of us, so there’s no shame in being upstaged by her. It’s not our fault we were all chosen later – after you get some more experience, I’m sure Leona and everyone else will look at you the same way.” With that, she stood up and moved towards the door. “It’s getting a little late, so I’m going to head out now – say goodbye to Leona for me!”

Athembury City Streets

Clare wandered down the streets of Athembury, headphones in and her hands in her pockets. For a while, she wondered if she’d made a mistake, leaving like that – while the guardians knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t the biggest fan of mundane socialising, perhaps it was irresponsible to her to have just left with so many tensions running rampant. What if they ended up disbanding because it all got out of hand? Maybe she should’ve done more, tried to placate Conner more, smooth things over, like she’d gotten so good at doing…

No, no, you’re overthinking it. Leona knew what she was doing – if anything, she’d probably pulled Miu aside to talk about all this. She would have things under control. Have some faith, Clare.

She’d left the meeting because she didn’t want to go through the effort of socializing with everyone, but at the same time, the prospect of returning home didn’t fill her with enthusiasm. It was getting late, and her parents were probably expecting her for dinner – but she could tell them band practice dragged on, and that was more than excuse enough. Doing so would have the side effect of avoiding another awkward dinner conversation, and that, she assured herself, would be good for both sides.

So instead, she decided to spend some time scouting around the city, looking for any hints of voidling activity. It wasn’t like she expected to find a void rift, or even that she was hoping to find one (not that she would mind if she did). All it was was a distraction, a temporary postponement of her inevitable return to the real world.

The streets were different when she was looking for rifts. In fact, the entire city seemed to take on a new sort of life – all those too-familiar walls and streets became new, fascinating puzzles to be deciphered, hiding secret corners and alcoves away from the light where infestations could grow without detection. The overwhelming mundanity of pedestrians and other uninteresting people became a background, a distraction, rather than a relentless tapping at the back of her head, reminding her how utterly alien this world really was to her. It was a pleasant change.

Smiling, she stepped into a small alleyway, where a vending machine was standing, allowing the city sounds to fade slightly as she dug around her pocket for some change. She could really use a coffee right now, and maybe a little snack to temper her hunger a little. “Lu Chien,” she whispered, peering down into her jacket to where her familiar was nestled, “Do you want anything?”
 

Andydemon

Nanomachines, Son!
Lamb and Wolf
Athembury Woods


Lamb leapt from tree branch to tree branch in pursuit of the girl, who strangely seemed to be able to stay just far enough away that the only way one could make out was her hair. She didn't need to catch up to them to know who they were though. She knows all names, she knew who this was, she knew what this was. They weren't alone.

Soon enough, Zoe vanished from sight, seemingly into a portal of sorts. To the Kindred it was a more primitive way of moving around quickly, then again, the omnipresence that comes with being Death itself means they can appear anywhere at will. They could simply leave, leave the one lying in wait alone, but what fun would that be?

"It's gone, Lamb." Wolf stated in disappointment.

The pair's voices reverberated throughout the woods. The one hiding from them could hear their every word loud and clear. It was like the woods themselves were haunted, by something far more dangerous than a mere ghost.

"She may be gone, but there's another waiting to take her place. They think they can hide from us~." Lamb responded, she looked off to the side and faded away, becoming invisible. Unable to be seen, and unable to be touched except by those who have died.

"I smell it, Lamb. It's close, close enough to chase!" Wolf said eagerly as he faded away along with her afterwards.

"It thinks it can hunt us. They think we're its prey~" Lamb explained.

"It wants to chase us? Wolf does not be chased, he only does the chasing!" Wolf declared loudly.

"It is not their time yet, Dear Wolf. She has come to us, so we will give her a choice. She can either leave peacefully and live to die at her destined time, or she can cross our path sooner~" Lamb said out loud, her voice reverberating all throughout the woods and right into Violet's ear.

"There won't be a chase here, Little Lamb?" Wolf's voice could be heard questioning.

"That is for her to decide whether she wants to be part of the game or not, Dear Wolf~" Lamb's voice stated, coming from everywhere, but at the same time nowhere.

"The choice is yours now, Violet~" Lamb's voice resounded right into the Corrupted Guardian's ear, as if she were right behind her. "Will you play with us tonight~?"
 
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GoldenHouou

antagoonist
Miu Meizhu
The Candy Witch
Leona’s Apartment


Throughout the rest of the meeting, Miu was uncharacteristically interested in the cookies. She kept her gaze on them firmly, counting every piece of chocolate that jutted out from the baked dough. Ten. The one Maru was eating had ten large pieces. Leona had been generous with the chocolate. Miu loved that about her.

The mention of potential additions to their team yanked Miu from her thoughts. A red-hot dread churned her insides, but she refused to raise her gaze. Why would they bring up the topic of new recruits now, of all times? Was it because... because they planned to replace her? They must've talked about it before she arrived. This was their way of letting her know without saying it directly. That's what adults did. They never said anything directly.

All of a sudden, Miu was drowning in what ifs and what thens. If she was kicked out, would she be fine alone? She had to be. She had to defeat the voidlings, or she'd never be able to return home. It had been three years!

Miu clenched her fists on her lap, her voice so tiny it was easily buried under the sound of Maru obliterating a yet another cookie. "Mom..."

Then Leona called for her by name, and Miu's shakily maintained facade threatened to falter. When she turned to Leona, she did so with eyes wide as saucers, staring at her as if she was the scariest monster she'd faced so far.

Without a word, she stood up and followed Leona to the bedroom. Maru gathered as many cookies as he could carry, then bolted after them.

---​

“Hey Miu, you doing ok?"

Leona said more after that, but Miu figured they were just filler words to better mask what she really wanted to say. That she'd messed up, or that she wasn't meeting expectations, or that she wasn't needed anymore. Could she still convince Leona otherwise? She didn't know, but she had to try.

"Yes," Miu mumbled, meeting Leona's eyes with her usual, aloof look. Her voice remained monotone, even as her feelings threatened to boil over. "I'm sorry. You don't need to worry. I'll do better, next time. So..."

She bent her back into a bow, desperation seeping into her words in a rare display of emotion. "Please let me stay in the team."
 

VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
Masaru
Leona's Apartment


Leona started talking about experimenting on the rifts and seeing if she could get in contact with others. So, she did think there might be others that had time to help them? It sounded kind of dangerous though. And with that she ended the session saying she wanted to talk to Miu alone. Interesting, but not enough for Masaru to try and spy on them. Besides, he had a feeling what, or rather who, it might be about.

He glanced at Conner as he snapped his cookie in half and started to nibble on the end of one of the halves. And on cue, Conner started to rant, about Miu getting special treatment, about his sister, and how she often upstaged him. . . Masaru stuffed the rest of the half a cookie in his mouth, chewing slowly as he watched Conner continue to rant. . . About being a chosen one, and still being upstaged by a child he claimed was upstaging him on purpose.

Clare tried to reassure him he was special, but at this point it it seemed akin to coddling. . . Well, at least she did trt to explain it by reminding him of Miu's extra experience, but Masaru still couldn’t help looking at it little differently. He knew Conner's type, the golden children that had everything handed to them, but it still was never enough. Masaru at least had an excuse to want more, there certainly weren't any older relatives buying him cars or surfboards. As Clare mentioned she was heading out, Masaru stood up with a smirk, shaking his head slightly. Forge still hung lazily around his neck like a scaly boa. He turned to Conner, “Maybe you wouldn't be upstaged by a child if you didn't act like one.”

Masaru then headed for the door himself, knowing full well Conner might have another tantrum, and he didn't want to be around for that. Still, it felt so good to have said something that made one more comment as he opened the door, “We all gotta grow up sometime.”

Streets
Masaru unzipped his backpack for Forge to get inside before exiting the apartment building, he dropped the other half a cookie in there too encase the little dragon wanted it. He didn't really have plans for the night, but sticking around here seemed like a bad idea. Might as well head to the bus stop and go home to see if any of his roommates were awake, or at least to make sure none of them had gotten arrested.
 

Monster Guy

Fairy type Trainer
Oliver Cobalt/Diamond
Warehouse


From what Oliver could tell, this girl was clearly mentally unstable. She laughed as she fired a barrage of bullets. Oliver yawned and put up a shield of diamonds. The bullets caused the diamond shields to blow up into shards of crystal, leaving sparkling dust everywhere. In Oliver's opinion, it was beautiful. Then, she shot three black blobs at his legs. One chomped right onto his ankle and started slowly beeping, while the others floated nearby. Oliver quickly shot the two floating blobs nearby, causing them to explode, but he couldn't stop the one that latched on his ankle from explosing, causing him to fall on the floor, and fall on his face. "Ow!"

"A cute boy's never gonna fall in love with a boring old bad guy like you." she said as she aimed her rocket launcher at his face while he was still on the ground. "Anyway! I was so inspired by those crystals, that I thought you'd like my version! And the best part is?" She giggled, clapping her hands. Yep, definitely unstable. "Mine explode! So, I'm gonna ask one more time, before they do. What was in the box? And don't worry about me snitching. "It's not like I have friends."

Now Oliver was upset. "It's none of your business!" He slowly rose to his feet. He winced as felt a sharp pain in his ankle where the bomb went off. He would bewalking with a limp for a while. "You little twerp. You want to play hardball. Fine deal with this. Diamond Storm!" He raised the arm holding his lance as a tornado of diamonds formed behind him. Then pointed at the gun wielder, and sent the tornado barreling her way.

Conner Waters/Riptide
Leona's Apartment


The others didn't seem to have any issue with being bossed around by a kid. Clare tried to be nice, and brought up that had more experience and whatever. Honestly, that was exactly the problem. This child prodigy genius made him feel dumb every time she opened her mouth. Just because the First Light chose her earlier.

Masaru's comments didn't help matters either. Conner just rolled his his eyes. None of them understood. It was unfortunate. Conner had a lot of respect for Masaru. After all, he was the only other guy in this group. Fine. If he wants to be a jerk, Conner could play that game too. Both Clare and Masaru left, and Conner followed suit. Loudly slamming the door behind him as he left.
 

Skillfulness

Well-Known Member
Leona
Leona's Apartment


Leona was a bit taken aback with Miu’s behaviour. Though at first she seemed her usual self, Leona could sense the turmoil underneath, hence her asking to talk in the first place. Then she apologized and begged to stay on the team, bowing to drive the point home. It was shocking enough that for a moment, Leona couldn’t think of anything to say. Gathering her thoughts, she finally spoke up.

“Miu, I have no thoughts on kicking you off the team. It hasn’t even crossed my mind! If anything, your maturity and experience helps balance the fairly newer guardians on our team. Heck, I would’ve made you second in command already if I wasn’t unsure of my ability to keep a team together.” Leona chuckled, a touch of unease and something to hopefully lighten the mood. As she did, there was the sound of her door slamming and it made her jump. Without a word, she quickly peeked into the main room of her apartment to find it empty. Oh dear, I hope nothing bad happened while we were talking...

“Anyway,” she spoke to Miu again, “I know things have been hard, but that’s why I asked to talk with you. It looks like you’re… struggling. Not in the sense of on the battlefield, but emotionally. You can confide in me if you need to Miu. I want to make sure my team is being taken care of. Even though the First Light guides us, we’re brought together to guide and help each other too.”

Clare
Streets of Athembury


You feel a cool breeze come over you, leaves rippling past. Though you dismiss it at first and continue fiddling with the vending machine, something catches your eye. There’s a subtle glow hidden in the leaves. As you focus on it, the glow morphs to the solid form of a butterfly, flitting between the leaves. They exit the alley and you can see the butterfly begin fluttering down the street, though it never leaves your vision. It feels like it's calling to you, but that would be silly, right?

Do you follow it?

Masaru
Athembury Bus


On the bus, there’s only three other strangers with you. Sharing in the gentle hum of the machine, it’s sort of hypnotizing. Your thoughts stall, your vision blurs, the world around you gradually disappears.

In the back of your head, you realize you’re still on the bus, but before you is a vision of a scene. Like a dream, you see the room come into focus; plain walls lined with weapons and tools. Some look familiar. Two figures stand in the center, one over the other. You see the face of your brother, crouched on the ground and bleeding. Above him is a strange girl with colorful hair, unfamiliar. She sneers down at him and though her mouth moves, you can’t hear anything. With a flourish, she exits the room and other people enter but you can’t see their faces. The room gets further away and you see your brother being carried off in the distance. The scene becomes just a pinprick of grey when your vision suddenly clears. You’re still on the bus, but you aren’t quite sure what you just experienced.

What will you do?

Conner
Streets of Athembury


After leaving the apartment in a huff, you walk the street back towards your house. It’s a quiet evening, very few people on the streets even though it’s not that late yet. Even the nocturnal critters have gone silent and only the leaves crunching under your feet penetrante the silence. That is until you hear the familiar screech of a voidling off in the distance. Right there, at the edge of the prairie you spot one. It’s running full speed at you, alone, sharp teeth barred. As you ready yourself, distracted, another voidling appears from the trees above you and pounces on your shoulder, clawing away. More chattering stirs up and you realize the reason you hadn’t heard any natural sounds earlier. At least a dozen voildings were converging on you. This didn’t look too good.

What will you do?
 

Monster Guy

Fairy type Trainer
Conner Waters/Riptide
Streets of Athenbury


Conner walked home from Leona’s apartment on the quiet streets of Athenbury. He didn’t think he was at Leona’s apartment for that long but there was no one to be seen or heard. He walked slowly to delay the inevitable lecture that was coming from his parents when he got home. Questioning where he was and all that. Seriously, there was no noise to be heard besides the crunching of dead leaves under his feet. It was eerie...

Then his ears perked up when he heard the familiar sound of a voidling screeching. He could see it charging at him with it’s teeth bared. Just as he was getting ready to transform, another one pounced on his shoulder, and clawed at him. He immediately grabbed it, and tossed it away. That thing left scratches on his shoulder, it wasn’t any too serious. Then he heard more chattering. There were a lot of voildings converging on him. He was surrounded.

And Conner smirked. “Perfect.” No Miu to boss him around, no Masaru to criticize him, and no one around to accidentally drench with a tidal wave. He could handle a few voidlings by himself... right? “Chesi, let’s go!”

With that, Conner transformed into Riptide, then he flew up, and raised his trident, summoming a tsunami to wash a few of these bugs away! “Ha! Take that you little buggers!” Conner smiled to himself. He almost wished the others could see him now. Handling a bunch of voidlings just fine on his own. “This is going to be a piece of cake!”
 

VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
Masaru
Athembury City > Bus to Pellico City


Masaru stumped up against a wall at the bus stop. Sure he could fly home, but that was effort, a possible misuse of his special abilities, and a waste of a perfectly good monthly bus pass - though it was admittedly of dubious origins. He sighed and watched as a man in a slightly disheveled suit approached the platform. There were obvious signs that someone was having an affair, and the man struck him as possible mark, but he didn't usually work such scams alone. . . or in Leona's town. He huffed softly to himself and let the thought go. He had other things to worry about. Like whatever the hell was going on with so many of their team members being uptight.

The bus arrived and he climbed up, flashing his pass and selecting a window seat near the middle. The bus was pretty empty this time of night and he could at least get a little alone time to decompress. He gazed out the window, letting the town drift by.

Then suddenly, he can see a room, as if watching it on a TV screen. The kind of room you'd see on TV, lined with weapons of all sorts and what appears to be the end result of confrontation in the center. Masaru feels his breathing quicken as the bloodied figure on the floor looks up. He's not seen that face in years, but it's instantly recognizable, Naruki. Brother. The rainbow haired woman over him talks silently as more people enter, and suddenly Masaru feels the scene slipping away.

Then suddenly he's aware he hasn't left the bus, hand out-stretched and panting. He blinks and looks around. Forge is moving restlessly in his bag. An older woman sitting a few seats away is staring at him, having paused her knitting. Blushing from embarrassment, Masaru turns and presses the next stop button, then proceeds to look down until the bus comes to a screeching stop. He climbs off at the last stop before the bus gets on the highway to go to Pellico, still shaken, and starts running back towards Leona's.
 

Sketchie

it's about the CUBES
Andrea MacKellen
Jinx
Warehouses

"It's none of your business," the man hissed, hobbling to his feet. "You little twerp. You want to play hardball. Fine deal with this. Diamond Storm!" He raised the arm holding his lance. Andrea watched as he summoned a tornado of swirling crystals and launched it right at her.

"Oof--!" Attempts to dodge were futile as the tornado rammed straight into Andrea, knocking her back into a warehouse roof. She shook her head, getting back on her feet and brushing herself off. "You're starting to bore me," she growled, shooting back into the sky, a little shaky as she regained her balance. "Shiro!" she called, as her little white blobby friend morphed into the shiny minigun once more. From the sky, she rained down a hail of bullets, all directed at the man below her, flitting around randomly to keep the angle fresh.

Kuro whimpered. This was maybe getting a little too stressful for him. Those shadowy guys were always scary, and they always made it out of them barely; probably only because the shadowy guys they've fought before were Andrea's old teammates, and they always got too angry to effectively fight. This guy wasn't someone they knew. Kuro tugged on Andrea's ponytail. "Bahhh, bah bah?"

Andrea rolled her eyes. "Don't worry, Kuro," Andrea said through gritted teeth, a little annoyed at his suggestion. "We have this under control, we don't need to get help." She quickly dashed to her right again, leaving Kuro to float as she continued her bullet barrage.

"Bah..." Kuro floated over to a warehouse window, out of sight. With a hurk and a blagh, Kuro threw up Andrea's phone, holding it in his little nubby hands. (Being an interdimensional blobby guy had some perks, such as being a living pocket.) He looked around to make sure no one was watching.

Tap.
Contacts.

Tap.
Leona.
...
...
...

Tap.
Send location.

And with that, Kuro swallowed up the phone, and casually bopped back to Andrea.
 

Vern

Why not both?
Clare
Athembury City Streets –> Woods around Hospital


A cool breeze brushes past Clare’s hair as she retrieves a can of coffee, bringing with it a sudden flurry of rustling leaves. Inside her jacket, Lu Chien stirs uneasily, as if sensing something ominous about it. She raises her head up, following the direction of the breeze, and her eyes settle on a faint glow in the vegetation.

A butterfly.

As the creature flutters out of the alleyway and into the larger street, Clare follows it, the coffee now tucked into her jacket, forgotten. Something about its ethereal form calls to her, beckoning her to follow. She did just that, allowing it to lead her out of the city streets and into a more forested area, which she recognises as the woods surrounding the hospital.

There’s a certain sinister aura about the place – a kind of heaviness in the air that Clare knew indicated danger. Her instincts were good and she trusted them. Narrowing her eyes, she slows down her pace, taking deliberate care to avoid making noise as she moves through the trees. Suddenly, she can no longer see the butterfly that lead her here – it must’ve gone somewhere while she was looking around for movement in the vegetation.

There – a step.

Readying herself for danger, Clare manifested a needle in her palm, keeping it hidden inside her sleeve. An eerie voice resonated through the trees – no, two.

She can either leave peacefully and live to die at her destined time, or she can cross our path sooner~”
There won't be a chase here, Little Lamb?”
"That is for her to decide whether she wants to be part of the game or not, Dear Wolf~”
"The choice is yours now, Violet~ Will you play with us tonight~?"


The voice comes from all around her, like the air itself is speaking. Clare stops walking, focusing her attention on her surroundings, trying to pinpoint the source of the sound, or at least ready herself in case something happens. The voices don’t seem to be talking to her, which means she’s undetected – or at the very least, not yet a participant in whatever is about to unfold.

In the silence, she can feel the beating of her heart in her chest, the tingling of adrenaline in her veins. It’s only when doing things like this that she remembers she exists in this world, and that she is alive.

Without realising it, her mouth curls into a faint smile.
 

Skillfulness

Well-Known Member
Leona, Miu, and Masaru
Leona's Apartment -> Warehouses


Leona was hopeful that her words had made a difference for Miu. She cared as deeply for her teammates as she would a family member and would do her best to help them. She felt that way about all her past teammates and guardians she met in passing too. And they had not forgotten her either, for as they stood in her room, Leona got a message on her phone. It was from Jinx. The message was simply a link to an app that showed her current location.

“Um, Miu, I think I have a... Guardian acquaintance that needs me. Could I ask you to come with me in case there’s trouble?” She grabbed her coat and moved towards the door as Miu agreed and followed. They left out the front of the apartment, Leona’s mind a flurry of thoughts about what Jinx would need from her. She had a past with the Guardian, though not specifically on her own team, a different one she was familiar with. The girl was on her own at the time and though Leona offered an invitation to join her team, Jinx turned it down. They had swapped numbers at least and keep in touch with big void events. Now it seemed she had greater needs. A message with no context like that was worrying to say the least. She had to consider that this could be a trap.

Before they got very far though, Leona heard running footsteps around the corner from the building and stopped, holding Miu back protectively. Masaru came bursting around the corner, breathing hard as if he’d run a long distance. “Masaru! Hey, take it easy, catch your breath. What happened, are you alright?”

After he could speak clearly again, Masaru told them of the vision he had. Leona listened intently, but couldn’t really make much of it. While it likely was a vision given by the First Light, the meaning of it was lost on her. Perhaps it was the past, the future, or something else entirely. But, that discussion could happen at another time. There was a more urgent matter at hand.

“Alright Masaru, we can figure this out, but we have a minor situation at the moment. A Guardian I met in passing has sent me her location with no other information. It could be trouble and I’d like you to come with as backup just in case. We’ll talk about your vision afterwards, I promise.” With Masaru agreeing to join them, the three made their way to where the location from the message was leading them.

A lengthy walk later, the group arrived in the industrial district of town and heard some explosions off in the distance. Leona picked up the pace and realized the source came from one of the many warehouses. She ran to the door and heaved it open with a loud scraping sound to make the scene visible, thoughts of a trap now pushed to the back of her mind. A crystalline Corrupted Guardian was in battle with the Guardian Jinx, who looked rather hurt and might be on her last leg. Crystals and bullets were flying past as they quickly took in what was going on.

“Look out!” Leona yelled while she transformed, with Zelgar morphing into her sword and shield. A dark crystal was headed straight for the red headed Star Guardian’s chest.

Conner
Streets of Athembury


As the voidlings kept coming, the watery Guardian keeps beating them back. It’s clear their numbers are beginning to dwindle, so Zoe decides now would be the best time to step in. She opens a portal and pops up just in vision, and just out of range, of Conner.

“Oh sweet, innocent Conner,” she coos, “Taking on the voidlings all on your own, like your team doesn't trust you. But for what?” She smiles playfully and disappears back into her portal, dodging all shots taken at her. The voice is distracting, childish, and it sounds like a strange echo in an empty room.

“Don’t you want more power?” she asked from a new position, glowing portal giving her an eerie light. “I could give you more power to do whatever you wanted.” She falls back in and it closes up behind her. This girl is taunting Conner in the most infuriating way. A giggle sounds from above, but no one is there and it gives the voidlings an opening to attack.

“I could kill you right now, all vulnerable on your own, but that would be no fun.” There’s a clear pout in her voice as it now comes from behind Conner. She’s scoffs now, “I'd rather give you some time to think about what you want. I promise it's not something The First Light can provide. But I can, and I will have you.” Disappearing again, reappearing further away. “I will break you and you will join us in corruption to fight against the light.” Grinning, she spins and skips away into the forest.
 

GoldenHouou

antagoonist
Miu Meizhu
The Candy Witch
Leona’s Apartment


... Huh?

Miu's eyes fluttered open, but all she could see from her current position were her own socks. She stared at them with the same bafflement she would have shown Leona, had she dared straighten her back.

What... was Leona saying...? Miu played out this conversation in her mind multiple times in the time it had taken Leona to gather her thoughts, but none of the iterations had went like this. Leona didn't sound angry, or disappointed, or apologetic for having to kick her out. She was nothing but gentle, singing her praises instead of critiquing her conduct. Second in command? Her? ...Stupid Conner would never let it happen...

Leona even let slip a hint of vulnerability, mentioning how she wasn't sure if she could keep a team together. What did that mean? Why wouldn't she? She was Leona! She was amazing!

Miu felt stupid. So, so, stupid. Leona was so kind, and all she'd done to repay it was cause her trouble and worry over and over again. It must've been difficult for her, too. To try and keep together a bunch of... of bickering kids. Even so, Leona promised to be there if she had any worries. She reminded her of her mom. Caring and... and so mature.

She gripped the fabric of her shirt tightly, desperately holding back tears. She wouldn't cry. No matter how much her eyes stung, or how badly her throat burned, she wouldn't make Leona worry even more. But... not saying anything was rude, too. She hadn't even looked Leona in the eye yet. In a situation like this, what was she supposed to...?

As if on cue, Leona's phone buzzed.

While Leona fished it out, Miu took the opportunity to recompose herself. She straightened her back and whirled around, hastily wiping at her eyes to catch any loose tears. Okay. She could do this. Once she turned around, she was going to be a professional again. She was going to thank Leona, and offer to let her confide in her too, and she was going to sound reassuring about it.

She drew in a breath and turned, ready to unleash the thoughts she'd been holding. "Thank y-"

“Um, Miu, I think I have a... Guardian acquaintance that needs me. Could I ask you to come with me in case there’s trouble?”

Miu's face hardened into a serious expression, and her mind cleared of all sentimentality.

"Yes," her voice no longer trembled, replaced instead with urgency - and a hint of relief. "Leave it to me."

She was bad at words, but she was good at fighting. This was her chance to thank Leona and apologize to her, all in one fell swoop. She'd prove her worth. She'd prove that Leona wasn't in the wrong to trust her.

---​

Warehouses

By the time they arrived to the scene, their numbers had increased by one. They'd found Masaru on the way, shaken by a weird 'vision'. Whatever it had been, it needed to wait. Leona's friend was in trouble. At this rate--

She scooped Maru from her shoulder, and once her arm straightened, he'd already taken the form of her trusty lollipop hammer. She swung it forward, sending a stream of rainbow coloured candies crashing straight into the incoming diamonds.

"Fall back!" She shouted at the unknown redhead, pulling her arm back in preparation for another swing.
 

Sketchie

it's about the CUBES
Violet MacKellen
Six
Woods in Athenbury
It wasn't long before she could hear the voices of the other guardian. "She may be gone, but there's another waiting to take her place. They think they can hide from us," it said. It seemed to come from nowhere, yet everywhere at once as it reverberated through the woods. Violet braced from the treetop, looking around with bated breath.

"I smell it, Lamb. It's close, close enough to chase!"
"It thinks it can hunt us. They think we're its prey."
"It wants to chase us? Wolf does not be chased, he only does the chasing!"


Violet tightened her grip, waiting with a steeled resolve. Words can only do so much when your heart is broken.

"It is not their time yet, Dear Wolf. She has come to us, so we will give her a choice. She can either leave peacefully and live to die at her destined time, or she can cross our path sooner."

Violet scoffed. "Is that so?" she murmured to herself.

"There won't be a chase here, Little Lamb?"
"That is for her to decide whether she wants to be part of the game or not, Dear Wolf."


Suddenly, the voice came from right behind her. "The choice is yours now, Violet." Violet jumped from the tree, a chill running down her spine. How did they know her name?

"Will you play with us tonight?"

Flames erupted from her gauntlets as she burned the swaths of forest around her, creating a circle of blue fire around her. "I'm not scared of you!" she shouted into the air, ready to strike at anyone who came near. "You don't fucking know me," she hissed. And why should they? Butting into business they shouldn't. She'd give them hell, whoever they were.

Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw something move. Straining her head a little, she could see... a girl? Shit. What on earth is some girl doing here, this late at night, in this part of the city? Did Zoe just miss her? She shook it off. Violet wasn't about to let this Lamb or Wolf guardian get near the girl. Zoe, Violet thought, still watching the forest carefully. There's a civilian here. This doesn't seem part of the plan.
 
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VampirateMace

Internet Overlord
Masaru
Athembury City (near Leona's Apartment > Warehouses)


Darting around the corner, Masaru could see Leona and Miu coming from the opposite direction. Leona directed him to calm down and explain as he got close. Masaru nodded, hunched and huffing, but he was too anxious to wait too long. Soon he quickly started to explain, “I-I think I had a vision? I was on the bus back to Pellico, but I saw. . . I saw. . . this room, a torture chamber really. And there were two people, one of them was my brother, and the other was this woman. . . I didn't recognize her. . . and I don't know, does The Calling cause visions? Is he literally in danger? Even if it does, I don't know can I help him if I don't know where he is.”

He grimaced as she counter explained that she had something that seemed more pressing in her mind, but he nodded and agreed to go along, “Yeah okay.” He assumed that the sooner they handled her thing, the sooner they could get to his thing, though wasn't this just what people in power always did? They put their needs before the needs of the people they considered lesser. He looked at the ground as they started off, knowing it couldn't be helped right now, he'd just have to go along with it if he wanted to get to them helping him figure out his vision.

The group's pace picked up as they neared some warehouses, and sense that things might be getting dicey (either because Leona was prompting them to walk faster or because they were hearing explosions - probably the explosions), Masaru unzipped his backpack to let Forge out. The miniscule dragon floated around looking curiously at this change of destination. He didn't stray far, keeping close to Masaru who was still following Leona intently.

Leona heaved open the door to reveal a battle between a corrupt guardian and a red-headed guardian. She acted quickly, transforming and shouting to the distressed guardian. Masaru put out his hand to Forge, initiating their own transformation. Miu and Masu did the same, and she swung first, giving a command to the red-headed guardian to fall back as she parried a diamond attack.

The woman didn't look very good though, so Masaru reached out to her with his off hand to assist, holding his whip at the ready in the other hand to counter another attack. But realizing it didn't have the wide surface for deflecting like Leona's shield or Miu's lolipop, he decided to summon his will-o'-wisps as well. Lifting his hand higher, three tiny fire balls burst into existence and started slowly orbiting his weapon hand.
 
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