[ Mad Scientist's Convention: ]
Serrator: *Has gotten a bowl of fish soup from the concessions stand* What an absurd conglomeration of individuals.
Octoroo: Ooh-ah-oooooh...I don't know which frightens me more, the catgirl with glasses, or that haughty mage!
Merhiem: HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!!! IT IS CUTE TO SEE YOU BOTH PURRPLEXED.
Serrator: I would ask you to maintain your inside voice, if it weren't such a vain notion to consider.
Octoroo: *Takes out a megaphone* He said to shut your mouth, you unruly lout!!
Merhiem: HEE HEE. *Makes a zipper motion over her lips* (='ω'=)
Serrator & Octoroo: *Unified Facepalm Maneuver*
[ Datrio, West City: ]
*Talons clacking, Vanth walks down the moonlit street*
*Hot and torpid, no one is out and about but her; however, little vermin can be seen, their red eyes glowering from the alleys*
*Down one of these alleys, she turns rapidly; she heads all the way down, then turns into a back alley*
*There, she stops at a large wooden door, and raises one wing to gently knock in what must have once been an awkward motion*
*No answer is given, and Vanth sighs tiredly*
Vanth: Dammit, Stringer! Open up the door. I need to talk to you about something.
*She hears nothing, and then, her blood runs cold*
*With a feral screech, her lavender halo lights up, and the door shudders itself to splinters on the floor and street*
*What she finds inside is so terrible, she keeps her halo on and shouts*
Vanth: SLIDGET!! SAFEHOUSE!! SHE GOT TO STRINGER FIRST!! *Her voice echoes all over West City*
*Within, Stringer is up against the wall - Secured by an iron stake plunged through both of his hands*
*His clothes lie in tatters, blood is spattered all over every last inch of his body (as well as much of the walls and floors), and his eyes are staring, unseeing, at a spot above the doorway*
*As Vanth enters, she sees a message scrawled on one wall in blood*
I HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED, VIRIATHUS
[ Hei Fon 4, Mountains Outside of Lang City: ]
*Still, Sagihime waits at the exit to the caverns*
*It has been three days, and still, Namah has yet to emerge*
*Next to her stands Qufang, arms crossed in her typical cold way*
Qufang: ...If she doesn't emerge today, I'm telling Zev. I don't care what you do to me, and I don't care how much faith you have invested in her capacity to become a Master.
Sagihime: The Millenium Earl has decided in his whimsical fashion to target the descendants of the Fourteenth. I won't bemoan the fact that my nephew will have to fight that horrid sorceror many centuries too young, yet I will bemoan the fact that a member of our family should have been such a dread reincarnation. In fact, I find it truly terrible that his love for his brother was so very, very strong that it would start such a cascade of misery for both of our families.
Qufang: The Millenium Earl is possessed of terrible abilities, ones which I doubt my Guildmasters could stand against without terrible casualties. It will require all of us to stand up to him; honor has no bearing in such a war. *Looks over to Sagihime, arctic blue eyes softening the slightest bit* I know from experience...A cohesive group, especially not one so centered on a family like yours, can never be built upon half-truths and deceit. You cannot keep lying to your nephew about his heritage. You can't keep Misaki's nature hidden from him, when you're willing to confide in an outsider like me.
*She lightly touches a spot on her side; the fur is pale, and rather thin, enough that the gesture could draw one's eye to a twisted and poorly-healed scar*
Qufang: You think that lying to the boy will protect him from the pain that is his lot in life. It won't. Sooner or later, he's going to come abreast the knowledge of why his path has crossed with so many individuals, and why the Netherworld accepted his power. And if he has to discover you misled him, on top of all of that, you'll only make him suffer worse, for temporarily making you feel better.
Sagihime: ... *Bows her head, eyes closed, and sighs; for a moment, all of her many years show on her face, and she looks almost gray with the weight of forbidden knowledge* ...Doubtless, the Earl will be sending one of his demented family to shatter our ever-brief peace. Then, Zev will be better able to comprehend the beginnings of what - He must...Know...?
*From within the cavern, an ominous wind has begun to pulse outwards in waves*
*Soon, pink-tinged tendrils of transient forces curl their way out, wrapping around rocky crags*
*Then, a thin figure, illuminated by the halo above her head, begins to emerge; leaning against the wall, pulling herself along with both hands, as well as the tendrils which have anchored her to the surface*
*Her clothes are ragged, and barely hang to her emaciated frame; her skin is dry, faded, and she's covered in grime*
*As she totters to the surface, her halo extinguishes; the tendrils dissipate; and she collapses lightly into Sagihime's arms*
Namah: *Struggles to breathe, grasping for something that isn't there* Uuh...Uuhhh...Agh...Uh...
Sagihime: *Removes a soft cloth from her robes, and wipes the grime off of Namah's face* I'm so proud of you. I am so, so proud of you. *Struggles to find the words, looking at what has become of the girl*
Namah: *Opens her eyes, showing them to still be bright, alive, lucid* ...If you cry...I am...Going back in...Until you...Settle... *Wheeze*
Sagihime: *Hmph* Presumptuous as ever, I see. *Smiles, despite herself, and takes out a flask* I'm sure I don't have to warn against shocking your system?
Namah: *Forces herself to take cautious sips, despite how heavenly the cool water is* Would you be surprised...If I told you...I've been in this state...A few times...?
Sagihime: I've heard second-hand accounts of a little excursion you once made on your home planet. The Diony Desert, it was...?
Namah: Your nephew...Is a hopeless gossip. If he wasn't so nice...I'd consider...Slapping...Him...Hmmmmm...
*Between one second and the next, she's completely drifted off to sleep*
Qufang: Your nephew just surrounds himself with phenomenal people.
Sagihime: And half of them have considered killing him before. He is truly Azusa's son.
Qufang: Speaking of which, how does his training with Mikihisa go?
Sagihime: Quite well.
[ Meanwhile, On a Plateau Across the City: ]
*Boulders rain down everywhere*
*Piggybacking on Zev, Asabana shouts directions due to a blinding curse on her master*
Tamao: *Maintains the curse* You are hopeless, Brother! Utterly and unequivocally hopeless!
Mikihisa: Imari, Shigaraki, rough him up a little bit. It's time to take the gloves off and treat him as an equal opponent.
*Abruptly, Imari darts in from the left and tackles Zev through the air*
*He manages to regain his footing and do a haphazard roll, just as Shigaraki impacts the ground in his statue form*
Asabana: IT'S OVER!! IT'S ALL OVER!! *Desperately deflects a boulder with her mirror*
*With a sweep of his tail, Shigaraki sends the boulder back at greater speed*
Asabana: Rebounding boulder, six-o'-clock! SPEED!! SPEED!!
Zev: *Darts to the side to avoid, and casts a rapid barrier spell*
Imari: *Snaps her jaws rapidly against the shield, before kicking away*
*The training continues in a state of bedlam*
~ ~ ~
OOS: I've wanted to introduce this diabolical cretin for years.
I don't know how I've forgotten.
... ... ...