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About Wstfgl

  • Rank
    Chuuni Drawfag
  • Birthday 06/02/1994

Profile Information

  • Custom Title
    Shounen As Fuck
  • Gender
  • Location
    Singapore... I think
  • Occupation
    Bored conscript
  • Interests
    Reading, Writing, Drawing, Mango and Animu, Fantasy and Sci-fi novels, Vidya Gaems, SCIENCE, EXPLOSIONS, SHOUTING

Role Play Details

  • Favorite RP Genre
    Humor, Action, Over-The-Top Instances of Either
  • Role Playing Style
    Around once every couple of days or so, long posts.
  • Character Profile Thread
  • Current Roleplays
    Mitsuba Academy: Demon Hunters
    Gods Among Us
  • Favorite Roleplay
    Fuyukaba Academy: Demon Hunters

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  1. “This Train Service… terminates… at the next station. Thank you… for riding… with us…” Erin screamed, frantically scrabbling away from the door, her bag crashing to the ground and scattering books and loose notes across the floor. A crash resounded throughout the train and the floor heaved and spasmed like a living thing, throwing Erin off her feet and slamming her painfully into a door with a bone-jarring crack. For the briefest of moments, the creature at the far end of the carriage was silhouetted from behind by brilliant white light like lightning in a darkened sky – it could have passed for human in bad light, if not for its lower half being completely gone; it hung suspended in mid-air like a mannequin, ropey, glistening entrails spilling out from the ragged tear at its waist and trailing off into the darkness beyond. It lurched into the carriage, its eyes blazing like searchlights and its mouth distending into a monstrous parody of a smile, a tongue spilling out from between tombstone teeth. “T-T-T-T-Thank you… for… r-r-r-r-r-riding… with… us…” Erin clambered to her feet with a yelp, the world spinning around her as she momentarily lost all sense of weight, and all semblance of balance and coordination with it. Her spilled notes were now hanging motionless in the air, but whatever the creature was, it seemed undeterred by the change in gravity, slowly, purposefully pulling itself forward along the handrails. With a trembling, pale hand, she slapped at the faintly-luminescent red button beside the carriage door, and surprisingly enough, it worked, the train doors parting smoothly with a hiss. For a moment, she felt a surge of hope – only her blood to turn to ice as she gazed beyond the door to the world outside. Outside the train was nothing. Not the inky darkness of the oceanic abyss, sporadically lit up by sparkling bioluminescence, or the star-strewn void of deep space – but complete emptiness, a gulf of pitch blackness that seemed to swallow the meager light streaming from the failing lights of the train. For a moment, she caught a glimpse of a brassy, segmented leg skittering along beneath the train, and then pain shot through her as her Japanese-English dictionary pummeled her on the back of the head before shooting out of the door into the void. The howl of decompression deafened her and she blindly groped around, grasping onto a handrail by blind luck just moments before she too was sucked into the void. Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god The howling of the wind completely filled her ears, but she could just barely make out the broken-record droning of the PA system again. “Erin… Akizuki… terminates… at…the…next station… Thank…” A brilliant lance of pain shot through her neck as her necklace, snagged on some piece of loose detritus, was ripped off her neck and cast into the void, leaving a thin, painful line of blood. Her eyes were becoming blurry, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe. She tightened her grip on the handrail to avoid joining it, her knuckles going white and trembling, but she felt her strength starting to leave her, darkness encroaching into her vision with every clickety-clack of the not-train’s movement. This is a dream. I’m still on the eastbound train home. Soon, I’ll wake up and everything will be alright- Abruptly, the entire train lurched and trembled again as gravity returned – albeit with ‘down’ now facing the front of the carriage. Erin’s grip faltered and failed, and the new floor rushed up to meet her with deadly speed- Someone grasped her hand, and she stopped falling. Tears blurring her vision, she looked up to the face of her savior – and saw two glowing electric-blue points of light and a grin too wide and crooked to be human. “Free me…” the wraith whispered hoarsely through yellowed teeth, and as easily as picking up a feather, pulled Erin up towards it and into a twisted parody of an embrace. Then, its other arm clamped around her neck and squeezed, its grip as cold as ice and as unyielding as death. For a moment, Erin felt an uncomfortable wetness running down her thigh, and then everything beneath her neck went numb. Ha. Ha. Ha. This is some kind of joke, right? I’m fine. Any moment now, my eyes are going to open, and I’ll be just fine… The wraith’s grip redoubled in strength, and Erin vision narrowed to a reddish tunnel, the blazing fires of the wraith’s eyes filling her entire world. “Sleep… child… sleep now… and let me… be… free…” Her arms, raised to feebly claw at the icy-cold hand wrapped around her neck, lost all strength and went numb, falling limply to her sides as her consciousness flickered and guttered like a dying candle. This is fine… I’ll be alright… I’ll… be… alright… The staccato, throbbing drumbeat of her pulse, the only thing she could hear over the howl of the wind and the rasping, choking breathing of the wraith currently killing her, skipped a beat. It faltered and weakened to a thready pattering, its frantic rhythm dissolving into chaos… and faded away, and for a brief moment, clarity returned as her eyelids closed like lead shutters on her life. This is it, I guess. Goodbye, mom. Goodbye, dad. It’s… I don’t know, like three in the morning where you are? You’re probably asleep now. I wished I’d said more the last time you called, but I guess I mess up everything, don’t I? Can’t even die without messing up with a bunch of regrets. So ends the story of Erin Akizuki, the story of the girl who messed up everything she touched… will I see Grandfather again? No. No, I can’t. Erin heard a drumbeat. And then another. Her chest tightened painfully as she felt the rhythm of her heartbeat throbbing through the very fiber of her being – not merely the defiant rhythm of a life that refused to go gently into that good night, but the indefatigable cadence of a war drum, a rallying call to battle. Erin Akizuki, the useless girl who couldn’t even die without messing even that up, is dead, as she should be. But that doesn’t matter. I’m not her – not merely her. Unbidden, Erin’s arm lurched upwards, fingers wrapping around the arm throttling the life out of her. For a brief instant, the veins beneath her skin were starkly outlined, glowing from within with bluish light – then, the pressure around her neck abruptly ceased as she wrenched the arm away from her neck, its fingernails leaving long, shallow cuts as they yielded their hold on her, and in the same motion, tore the foul appendage from its socket. It’s slowly coming back to me. That wasn’t a dream I woke up from earlier. It was a memory. The wraith howled in agony as black, tarry ichor spilled from the ragged ruins of its shoulder, its remaining arm tearing her shirt like rice paper and raking a deep gash across her belly in an attempt to disembowel her. Before it could get far, its arm stopped – held fast by Erin’s other hand. Then, she ripped that arm off, too. It’s still a blur to me. I don’t remember how that encounter in the alleyway went down, or the name or the face of the one who had hunted me down. But I do remember this -- they had my back to a wall. I was cornered like a rat, weary, frightened and defenseless, and they had a blade to my throat. And yet, I knew they were afraid. Perhaps more so than I was of them. Erin’s eyes snapped open, her irises now coronas of blazing electric-blue light. The literally disarmed wraith howled a wordless scream of defiance at her, black spittle splashing into her face as the ghost-lights in its eyes flared. So they hunted me, an. They bound me with fetters of silver, and bade me to sleep. To forget. She let go of the severed arms dangling limply in her grasp, letting the decompressing air carry them into nothingness, and she silently counted down from ten, the fingers of her right hand flexing as sparks of light danced between her fingertips. The wraith lashed out with tendrils of stinking offal, but as they touched her, it shrieked, the vile appendages charring and blackening as they pulled back. For too long I have been denied my purpose. For too long, I have been helpless and afraid. But now my fetters are cast away. My slumber has ended. The count reached zero, and when she closed her fist, it was around a polished ivory shaft, its contours fitting snugly in her hand – where there was once empty air was a seven-foot length of smooth, flawless ivory banded with intricately-etched silver, its tip menacing with a gleaming silvery spearhead, its rune-etched length tapering gently to a single shining point. “I, Erin Akizuki, hereby reclaim my birthright.” she whispered. Gravity returned once more, and Erin’s feet once again found purchase on what was once the not-train’s ceiling. The wraith hurtled at her with jaws agape, bluish corpse-light pouring from within its throat, from its eyes and leaking from its ruined shoulders and waist. With almost meditative calm, she raised her spear in answer, and cast it forth, a hurled thunderbolt of judgment. For a moment, even the rushing wind seemed to still itself as the spear met its mark, piercing into the collapsed chest of the monster before Erin. No longer shall I cower, forlorn and helpless. There was a peal of thunder, and the walls of the carriage were stained black as a dozen barbed pikes erupted from within the wraith, tearing it into ribbons. Then, the vile creature and the spears were gone with a reedy sigh, leaving nothing behind but the strangely unblemished spear. No longer will I close my eyes and ignore the shadows cast upon this world. With a gesture, her spear sprang up like a living thing, leaping back into her outstretched hand as the compartment door behind her opened, revealing a dozen pairs of cobalt-blue eye-lights in the darkness. Grimacing, she cast off glasses sullied with the spittle and ichor of her vanquished foe, and they clattered away into the shadows. All the evils of the world may assail me, but I shall stand unbowed. Behind her, a dozen monsters howled and charged, hands poised to end her. And should God cross my path, He shall be struck down.
  2. Long Time No See!!!

    I'm at summer school now, but I'll be heading home in two weeks or so. I'm way too good at my first class and trash at my second, I guess that averages out to somewhere a little above mediocrity And no, playing Pokemon Go predicates going outside Can't stand for that
  3. Long Time No See!!!

    I'm not dead I'm still a horrible human being
  4. Night had fallen, and I was alone. The sun’s last rays had long since guttered and died, and the wan, sickly light of the crescent moon did nothing to dispel the darkness all around me. If anything, it only served to accentuate it, the twisted tangle of power lines and ventilation piping above and around me casting long, ragged shadows all around. Somewhere, a ventilation fan ceaselessly droned a mantra of monotony, sporadically interrupted by a dull thump from within a vent or the rustle of a plastic bag borne by a stray breeze. The cloying stench of old garbage assaulted my nostrils, but I pressed on, my footsteps echoing in the enclosed space. This place sure felt a hell lot less foreboding in daylight. Then, I heard the footsteps. The first time I heard it, it was a muffled thumping, near-imperceptible against the background noise – perhaps nothing more than a figment of my imagination, making up boogeymen where there were none to be found. Then, I heard them again, a slow, staccato rhythm of heavy boots hitting asphalt. Goosebumps rose on my neck as a shudder went down my spine, and I redoubled my pace, keeping my gaze locked straight ahead. It wasn’t safe here. I had to get home. I couldn’t let them find me. The footsteps were getting louder. Closer. They were gaining on me. No, I couldn’t look back. I couldn’t hesitate; couldn’t waver. If I looked back, they’d be upon me in an instant. Just keep walking, and don’t turn around. I could hear the footsteps clearly now. They couldn’t be more than ten paces behind. Perhaps with my back turned, they wouldn’t notice it was me, not in this light. Just a little further; I could already see streetlights. Once I made it out into the open, they wouldn’t dare to lay a finger on me. I heard a muted ringing, like a moist finger dragged around the rim of a wineglass, and pain lanced up my leg as my toes crunched against an obdurate wall where there had been nothing but thin air moments before. In the dim light, I could barely make out the transparent, ephemeral veil, its surface iridescent like a sheet of cellophane, but there was no mistaking the two lines of chalk drawn across the ground, the space within glowing with lambent light. I couldn’t read the cursive, flowing script etched in between them, but their message was clear. “You Cannot Escape.” Slowly, I turned, a lump forming in my throat as my gaze fell upon the length of gleaming steel leveled at me. The silhouette of its wielder was indistinct in the gloom – male or female, young or old, I couldn’t tell. All I could clearly make out were their eyes, pinpoints of blazing blue like stars in the void. Then, they spoke. ... “Next station: Matsuura. The doors will be opening on the left.” Erin’s eyes snapped open with a start as she jerked upright, her eyes flitting back and forth nervously. A frigid sensation ran down the nape of her neck, and she reached towards it tentatively, her fingers running along the smooth metal of the plain silver necklace she was wearing. It felt cold, almost icy to the touch. She took in her surroundings, and to her relief, they seemed almost disappointingly banal – just a train carriage, its plastic bucket seats almost all unoccupied, the floor gently shaking and jostling as it sped down the tracks through the countryside. Huh, a dream. Ride must have lulled me to sleep. Then, her brow crinkled as her mouth twisted into a frown. Hold on, Matsuura? That’s, like, three stops east of home. And this is an eastbound train. So… uh… like, carry the two… and… um… damn. I think I missed my stop. And I’d promised I’d be back home on time for dinner, too. Pausing for a moment to stretch, she bent over and picked up the book lying on the floor before her, carelessly dropped when she’d dozed off. I guess I’m just going to have to get off at the next stop. Matsuura, right? Should be there in like five minutes. She flipped open her book, leafing through the pages to find where she’d left off. … “Next station: Matsuura. The doors will be opening on the left.” Erin chuckled, her face reddening a little. “L-lewd,” she murmured, flipping the page again. Despite herself, she let out a little gasp, her blush only intensifying. Then, she froze up, eyes slowly sweeping from side to side, before heaving a sigh of relief. Well. No one saw that. Isn’t this train taking a little long? … “Next station: Matsuura. The doors will be opening on the left.” Erin glanced at the side of her book briefly – there weren’t many unread pages left. She sighed as she glanced back at the page – with so little left, there was no way this volume wasn’t going to end in an unsatisfying cliffhanger. She gazed out of the window for a moment – just the same old monotonous tapestry of fields and little country roads, now bathed golden by the rays of the setting sun. Hold on. Sun’s almost down? I'm supposed to be back by seven! She fished inside her bag, pulling out her phone and prodding at the screen. Seven-thirty. Shit, shit, shit! I’m late for dinner! I’m so dead; I’d made a promise to Sis, too. She frantically swiped at her phone screen, anticipating a deluge of missed calls and reproachful messages – and saw nothing. She glanced at the top of the screen – instead of the usual stack of bars was an icon she didn’t see often. No signal? What the hell, this is Japan! We aren’t even in the mountains! “Next station: Matsuura. The doors will be opening on the left.” And what’s up with you, you piece of junk? Shouldn’t we have passed Matsuura hours ago? And what’s with the lights? It’s practically night already and they still aren’t on! What kind of shoddy train is this? She looked out the windows again; the light outside was already dimming as the sun began to dip beneath the horizon. The ubiquitous forests and hills that dotted the Japanese countryside looked decidedly gnarlier and more shadowy than she remembered, too... Darkness fell as the train rushed into a tunnel with a roar. Erin blinked in confusion as she got to her feet, clutching her bag closer to herself as she stepped towards the doors. Wait. Wait… there isn’t a tunnel before Matsuura… What’s going on? A bead of sweat streamed down her cheek as her gaze slowly swept the darkened train from end to end – it was empty, and the carriage doors on either side had slid shut, their windows dark and opaque. The trundling of the train’s carriage had taken on a sinister cadence, the carriage shaking and rattling in time with its gradually-accelerating staccato rhythm. The PA system screeched a burst of static and Erin winced, her hands clamping over her ears unbidden as it played once again, the sound tinny and crackling. “Next station: Matsuura. This train service terminates… at the next station. Thank you for… riding… with us…” There was a hiss and a rush of frigid air, and Erin slowly raised her head, gazing wide-eyed into the darkness behind the now-opened door between the carriages like a deer caught in headlights. From the darkness, a pair of eyes, its irises pinpoints of electric blue like stars in the void, gazed right back.
  5. What's up?

    Oh hey you're still around Ice Been busy the last few days, whoever gave me the impression college in the states wasn't a horrid rush of perpetually approaching deadlines ought to be shot. Probably my fault for taking a major that actually requires effort, though.
  6. Psychedelic Space Lounge

    Deadpool is pretty great, best romcom I've watched in ages. Was pretty surprised that Negasonic Teenage Warhead was an actual X-Man, though one who died early on and never lived up to the potential of the name. I kinda want to see Dolph Lundgren as Cable
  7. Rebuild of Mitsuba Academy

    Erin hadn't been expecting Honoka to show up to meet her during lunchtime. Neither did she expect her senior to cajole her to go to that ratty old church after classes. She isn't even religious, is she? Still, every man (or woman, in this case) had their price, and hers was a fresh boxed lunch from the cafeteria. She was just happy to have something that wasn't a cold, possibly half eaten onigiri from yesterday's dinner -- whatever favor her senpai needed from that place would be worth the free meal. She'd begun to reconsider that as soon as she saw Raiha at the door. And that was even before he started talking about attempted murder. He was quite convincing about it, though. At least, he was pretty confident about the bit about pulling it off. He'd clearly put a lot of thought into it, which, come to think of it, was pretty damn disturbing. I knew this guy was a rich idiot, but is he so disconnected from reality that he's planning to kill someone and his first concern isn't how to get away with it? "We can't just capture him? Like, truss him up and leave him for the cops?" Erin interjected as she slouched down on one of the grubby wooden pews. "He's probably done something that deserves time in the slammer, hasn't he?" Come to think of it, I don't even know what he did that makes Raiha want him dead so badly. Small wonder I'm not really buying this. "Even if he got convicted, it'd only end with a lot of dead cops." Raiha maintained, his expression a grim mask. "From what I know, no prison can hold him, not when I've seen him butcher a whole roomful of armed men in literally an eyeblink." Oh, so that's what he did. Fighting down the urge to shiver, she asked, "What about the Shinsengumi, or whatever that secret magic organization is called?" "We could have helped. Emphasis on could, though," A vaguely familiar voice interjected, making her turn with a start. It was Yuudai, the one-armed guy she recalled from that first night at the Church. "It's all over the headlines now. Mysterious fire at an office supplies company office at the dead of the night-" Abruptly, Erin became acutely aware that the other girl with her, Imahara-san or something, had stopped breathing. "- cause unknown, casualties uncertain. They couldn't even fight the blaze, had no choice but to evacuate the whole block, and it hasn't even stopped burning yet." "-suspicious," Imahara finally murmured, a bead of cold sweat leaving a long, straight track as it slid down her cheek. "What's that got to do with anything?" Erin asked, looking between the two in confusion. "That company office was a front for the Bakufu's regional headquarters. I really ought to be investigating -- that bloody Warlock Cocytus called this very Church from there -- but I can't afford to leave here. Firstly, my leg's busted," he nudged his bandaged kneecap for emphasis, and winced a little. "Also, he called the Church landline. Bastard knows where I am, and is almost certainly on the way here to flush Reika-Chan and I out. While he's probably not making any moves until sundown, I can't afford to leave this place undefended-" The door slammed open, and everyone's weapons shifted into their hands -- in Erin's case, a Holy Bible that happened to be lying nearby. Whatever. Here goes nothing, she thought as she chucked the holy text in the doorway's general direction -- and heard a highly surprised and surprisingly high-pitched yelp as their mystery intruder got beaned in the face and tumbled to the ground. "HEY!" Keiko shouted irately as she clambered to her feet, dusting herself off and waving the offending book in the air. "What's the meaning of this, calling for a secret covenant and not inviting ME? For shame, Erin-chan! I had to put up with that crazy guy's rambling about chemtrails for-" Then, she noticed Yuudai standing there, a bemused expression in her face, and immediately fell to her knees in obeisance. "O, FORGIVE MY IMPUDENCE, MY GLORIOUS LIEGE!" Yuudai shrugged and turned to the three of them. "Yeah, Keiko's... special, but she's a good fighter when it counts. We'll hold the fort here, so could you do us a favor? Find out what happened, and salvage whatever you can from the headquarters before emergency services get themselves killed running into something they don't understand. I can't trust anyone else to do the job." His eyes took on a desperate cast. "Please."
  8. What's up?

    I've gone back from horribly incompetent conscript to horribly incompetent university student. Also, I'm in Los Angeles... Well, up until I forget to hand up some obscure but vitally important paperwork and get deported like the filthy foreigner I am. I haven't blocked HH because no one else ever talks to me
  9. Anyone here?

    No Go away ... Kidding. Welcome! This place's suddenly become a bit more lively, hopefully it stays that way this time. How about telling us a little about what you like RPing? Aside from stuff with dragons. That one seemed pretty obvious.
  10. Rebuild of Mitsuba Academy

    Another can of instant coffee hit the wall with a thump, joining the four others already in the waste-paper basket below with a muffled clatter. Yuudai groaned, swiveling his head to look at the digital clock on the wall – it read a quarter past three. With a grunt of exasperation, he slammed a hand onto the cheap wooden table-top before muttering a string of curses under his breath. This should have been easy. That damned Warlock hadn’t even made a pretense of concealing himself – and I’m seriously supposed to believe the Bakufu doesn’t have a single file on him at all?! The ambush at the train station was almost unprecedented in its audacity; Yuudai hadn’t seen the likes of it since the incident in Fuyukaba. Usually, Warlocks sought shelter behind a veil of anonymity, summoning and commanding their demonic pawns far from prying eyes and sniping at the Bakufu’s agents from the shadows in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. And then there was Cocytus. The presence of onlookers reinforced the nature of reality, hindering attempts to bend it to an individual’s will; it was for good reason that most Demonic attacks happened at night or far from the hustle and bustle of the city, and rarely against large groups. Any Warlocks smart enough to evade capture for long were specters, usually known only by their modus operandi and confused third-hand sightings. Yet, Cocytus had somehow conjured a massive Barrier practically right in the middle of a town center, taken on three Demon Hunters at once and even taken a hostage… and he’d gotten away with it, almost killing poor Reika in the process. Someone with that much magical muscle should have set off alarm bells all the way in the Imperial Palace. To top it off, there’d been two other incidents in the past week alone – the military experiment gone awry Father Nakata had mentioned, and a roomful of Yakuza and two freelancing Hunters getting chopped to mincemeat by an unseen assailant. He didn’t have evidence to prove it, but his gut was telling him that they were all related. And yet, Yuudai’s investigations had availed nothing, as there wasn’t a single file on the man save for the report Yuudai himself had submitted several days back. Even that document had been buried within reams of bureaucratic nonsense despite its urgency, and to exacerbate matters, the local intelligence officer, Yoshida, hadn’t been answering his calls. Sure, the intelligence spooks may be busy with their secret-squirrel missions, but this situation had clearly escalated. It wasn’t wrong to expect a more timely response, was it? He was starting to get the feeling he was being ignored… or worse, deliberately stonewalled. Bastard. I might be from the sticks, but that doesn’t give you the right to treat me like a goddamn mushroom – kept in the dark and fed nothing but bullshit. Still, he wasn’t going to stop trying. His greatest strength – and his only virtue, if Reika’s barbs were to be believed – was his bloody-minded inability to accept defeat. His willpower had kept him going thus far, and even against the might of the Lords of Hell themselves, it had never truly faltered. He was going to get to the bottom of this, even if it killed him. Hell, the way things are going, it very well might. He picked up the telephone beside him again and punched in Yoshida’s office number. The dial tone rang and rang, and Yuudai’s hand tightened around the phone as he gritted his teeth in frustration. Was it going to go to voicemail again? Then, someone answered. “Matsudaira Office Products and Supplies, how may I help you today?†The man on the other side sounded familiar somehow, but Yuudai couldn’t quite pin it down. Did they get a new intern again? Then, a lump caught in his throat. Whoever that is, he’s made a mistake. It’s Matsudaira Office Supplies and Products, not the other way round. “Where’s Yoshida?†Yuudai replied tersely. “Yoshida-san isn’t available right now, Shinozaki-san. Perhaps you’d like to call back during office hours-“ Another mistake. Local HQ should be open around the clock. “Cut the bullshit. Who the hell are you, and what the hell happened to Yoshida?†he shot back. The mystery caller chuckled darkly, and Yuudai narrowed his eyes as realization began dawning on him. “Oh damn, you got me. I was hoping you’d be fooled for a little longer. About Yoshida… hmm. You’ll find out tomorrow morning. It’ll be in the morning papers.†“YOU-“ Yuudai snarled. “My, my. It’s pretty late now, isn’t it? Your leg isn’t going to get any better if you don’t get any rest, you know. Have a good night, Shinozaki-san, and send my well wishes to Yamashiro-san too. Ta-ta!†Click. The plastic of the phone receiver shattered in Yuudai’s grip. … Cocytus let the phone receiver fall to the ground with a rattle and stepped away, only for his foot to sink into something unpleasantly soft and fleshy. He drew his foot away, his lip curling in disgust as he looked down at the obstruction – a human hand severed cleanly at the wrist, the skin pale from blood loss and fingers clenched into a grasping claw by rigor mortis. Yet, the cheap carpet of the office was dry, completely unmarred by any blood. The lanky man cursed under his breath, his armor-clad fist slamming into the powered-down computer terminal beside him and leaving a deep dent in the casing. “Damn it, Acheron,†he spat. “Would it kill you to at least make an effort at covering your tracks?†He pinched the bridge of his nose, chiding himself silently. Honestly, he shouldn’t be fussing over little details like that, not when everything had been going so smoothly. The other Warlock had been played like a fiddle – just an anonymous tip here and planting some evidence there, and that mad dog had taken the bait hook, line and sinker, gutting the supposed “Yakuza stronghold†with an efficiency even Cocytus himself envied. It was a shame he’d left his calling card so blatantly, but it wasn’t as if Cocytus could do anything about that, however. The last time he tried to parley, he’d only walked away from that thanks to his heart being in the right place – rather literally, for said ‘right place’ was in a magically fortified atelier seven stories beneath ground patrolled by six of his finest creations. Damn, those self-righteous types sure are a pain to deal with. Still, this little clean-up visit had reaped an unexpected side benefit – that hot-headed fool Shinozaki had unwittingly given up his location by using the Church’s encrypted line. That was another thorn in his side he could be rid of – once he finished up tying up loose ends here. Luckily, he probably wasn’t too late; he’d blundered in allowing the three Demon Hunters to get away that night, but knowing the tardiness of the Bakufu bureaucracy, his treachery would probably remain unexposed… for now. He turned towards the doorway, where his faithful ally stood waiting, the four triple turrets of her demonic armament poised at the ready. “Alright, Phlegethon,†he said, “We’re done here. Light it up.†He hadn’t even cleared the line of fire when the twelve guns boomed a reply, and hastily sidestepped the salvo of hellfire that streaked into the office, setting furniture, papers and dismembered bodies ablaze with equal ease. Damn it, you cheeky little vixen.
  11. Rebuild of Mitsuba Academy

    Fortune Favors The Bold. The time for the decisive battle had come. It was a confrontation long in the making – two souls inexorably set on a collision by the ever-turning wheel of fate, destined to do battle against the other in mortal combat. This was no mere street fight, but the purest, most primal test of the two foes’ strength, skill and will – a clash that could rightfully be immortalized as a work of art. It would be a battle to be remembered, one that would rock both heaven and hell; and there was scarcely a more appropriate backdrop for this duel for the ages. In defiance of the very seasons themselves, the sakura trees overlooking the austere stone bridge were blooming, their boughs brilliant splashes of pink. At the head of the bridge loomed a monolithic temple of ancient make, a stone dragon statue coiling around its mighty wooden pillars and gazing down upon the soon-to-be battlefield with sightless eyes of carved granite. Presently, a young man appeared atop the tiled, elegantly ornamented temple roof, a massive weapon more akin to a massive, crudely-pointed hunk of iron slung upon his back. His eyes swept across the bridge with a steely gaze, quickly locking onto the interloper slowly crossing the bridge, and a scowl crossed his scarred face. Leaping from the eaves with the grace of a flitting swallow, his feet lightly touched upon the flagstones as he rose, slamming his fist into an open palm in the traditional greeting of a ninja. Or at least, the sort of ninja one would see in a manga or Hollywood movie who’d resolutely insist on wearing garish day-glo colors and loudly introducing themselves during an assassination. “You won’t escape, evildoer,†he declared imperiously. “I, a defender of justice, shall be your opponent!†His opponent, a blond-haired slip of a girl in a decidedly garish white-and-blue outfit, twirled the massive staff-like weapon she wielded with unseemly grace. “I suggest you don’t take me lightly!†she shot back with a grin, brandishing her weapon as her opponent dropped into the poised stance of a seasoned martial artist. For a moment, all was still as the two sized each other up, waiting for the other to make the first move. Action! The man was the first to move, rushing forwards and covering the space between the two in a single bound. Immediately, he lashed out with a flurry of quick jabs, testing the girl’s defense, but her guard held firm. She backed out of the way of another thrust and swinging her staff in a wide arc and striking him squarely in the chest, knocking the wind out of him and disrupting his momentum. She followed up quickly, staggering him with a low swing to his kneecaps – then her staff morphed, its ornamented head becoming a garishly decorated hammer that she brought down, slamming her opponent into the ground with a thunderous crash. He got to his feet swiftly, seemingly little the worse for wear despite the brutal blow, fending off a jumping attack with a mighty uppercut, his arm seemingly bursting into flames as he roared a word of challenge. The strike caught his opponent off guard, and he quickly followed up with a series of bone-breaking punches and kicks punctuated with screamed battle cries, culminating in a massive punch wreathed in a corona of crackling flame that sent her flying away, tumbling wildly to the air. For a moment, it looked almost as if she’d fall right off the bridge… only for her to slam into an invisible barrier and bounce off. “Where the hell did half my life bar go?†the girl somehow managed to protest despite her face being embedded into the stone flagstones. “YEEEEEART!†The man shouted in an incongruously high-pitched tone as he rushed forward, and after a frenzied melee involving far too much incoherent shouting, explosions and inappropriately-sized pastel-colored household implements, beat the girl to a pulp with his fists of righteous fury. … “DISTORTION FINISH.†The arcade machine announced gravely as the blond girl slumped to the ground on the screen. “BANG. WIN.†Raiha glanced at the screen with a look of annoyance. “Hmph. I was just testing the waters. Clearly, I cannot afford to take you lightly.†Erin smirked smugly. “Aren’t you the one out of your depth here?†“Ho ho ho, you just wait,†Raiha replied with a thin-lipped smile, cracking his knuckles together in anticipation. “When you grow fat and complacent upon the laurels of your meager victories, I shall begin my counterattack, and you will bleed.†… The match lasted fifty seconds. To Raiha’s credit, that was five seconds better than his previous best. “Fat and complacent, huh?†Erin sneered, the sides of her mouth twitching upwards into a crooked smile as her character immolated his own clothes in a flamboyant victory display. “I was mistaken,†Raiha said, his expression unreadable. “You’re just fat.†Erin’s eye twitched, and one of her hands balled into a fist. She forced herself to take a deep breath and count to ten – throwing him out of the nearest window might be cathartic, but would probably cause more problems than it would solve. She didn’t particularly want to be charged for littering, for one thing. “In any case,†her indefatigable opponent went on, “I lost on purpose.†“What, so that you can concede this fight without utterly humiliating yourself?†Erin narrowed her eyes – he’d been pretty worked up during the game, and he seemed to be the sort of guy who couldn’t lie his way out of a paper bag. That was probably what drew Honoka to him in the first place, actually. He pointed at his (late) character on the screen, a blond, overly-cutesy magical girl in an incredibly tacky outfit. “The short-tempered, immature little brat,†then, he waved his hand over to her victorious character. “Just got humiliatingly trounced by a manly, stone-cold badass. In other words, it was I who actually won!†What. “Well then… how about you pick a proper ‘manly stone-cold badass’ this time? Don’t you hold back this time,†Erin challenged him, dropping another coin into the machine. “If you insist,†Raiha said, his joystick flicking back and forth as he mulled over his next selection. “Hakumen… you look worthy. I’m sure you’ll have no problem beating…†he glanced over at Erin’s selection. “… Whatever that is.†Half A Minute Later “AAAAAAAH NO NOT THE BEES AAAAAAAAAAAH!†“THE BEES! OH GOD NOT THE BEES!!!†“ARAKUNE… WIN!†the machine declared as Raiha slumped over in despair, oblivious to the small crowd that had gathered to witness his unfortunate character’s premature ascension to Valhalla. “I… should never have let you have the choice of game…†“Rules are rules,†Erin replied with a huff. “You set the time and place, I choose the weapons; isn’t that how these gentlemanly duels are supposed to go?†“Yes, and I really shouldn’t have picked the arcade to begin with,†he replied ruefully. “I haven’t been into one of these since middle school. Too busy with the whole ‘protecting mankind from the forces of darkness’ thing.†Erin gave him an incredulous look. “In other words, you pretty much let me win.†“Way I see it, you can have the pleasure of my Honoka’s company for a night…†Then, with a dramatic flourish, he declared, “But I’ll have the pleasure of her company till death do us part!†Erin – and the small bunch of onlookers that had yet to disperse -- merely stared at him blankly. I'm no longer sure if that headache coming on is fatigue or my brain cells attempting suicide.
  12. butts

    Post more butts, wood preferred but plastic is fine too
  13. butts

    There you go
  14. Rebuild of Mitsuba Academy

    Unknown to Erin and Keiko, their little abortive expedition had not gone unnoticed. As the two of them departed, Erin having begrudgingly agreed to haul the near-catatonic Keiji off in a fireman’s carry, the air atop the half-finished roof of Mitsuba No.2 High School shimmered, and two people stepped out onto the concrete – the two Warlocks who had ambushed Keiko and her friends on their arrival. “You should have let me kill ‘em, love,†the lanky young man, Cocytus, grumbled with an indignant scowl. He’d eschewed the strange bodysuit he’d fought in during his previous run-in with the group for a casual, inconspicuous jeans-and-shirt ensemble, though the mirrored sunglasses he was wearing did seem a tad out of place. “Would have been easy,†he mused as he twirled his sickle-like weapon in one hand. “Two strikes, straight to the back of the head, bam! Two problems out of the way, and I got two nice, fresh bodies to play with.†He grinned; it was an unpleasant, shark-like rictus that showed far too many teeth. “Hell, it’d be easy for you to take ‘em out right now with those guns of yours. She can’t dodge while weighed down with that boy, can she?†The woman’s dark eyes turned to look at her companion, her expression neutral and serene. She’d similarly ditched her combat gear for a sundress and oddly enough, an umbrella in spite of the clear weather. “Impatient as always, my dear brother. Those two children are rather interesting, don’t you think? It would be a shame for this game to reach such a premature conclusion.†She made a sweeping gesture down at the slowly disappearing puddle of ichor where a giant armored crab had once stood. “Tell me what you think of that.†Cocytus snorted, making a face of displeasure. “Is this another of those riddles of yours, love? That’s three days of work and one perfectly good vessel gone down the drain. Now I’m gonna have to make a new Thrall to play guard dog for my projects here.†The woman’s lips twitched into a faint smile. “Correct, but not quite right. That Thrall was an extension of our master; even in death its carcass should still hold Her presence. And yet, I sense no trace of Her presence, or even anything beyond the usual levels of spiritual activity. What gives, brother?†“… It was absorbed.†Cocytus concluded. Then, his jaw dropped a little as his skin went a few shades paler. “… Are you saying that she’s...†The woman slowly raised a single eyebrow at him, her enigmatic smile still gracing her porcelain features, and nodded. Cocytus licked his lips, his unpleasant smile returning. “You’re right. Killing her now would be a waste of such a fine specimen. I eagerly await the day I break her… and make her mine.†The woman huffed, raising elegantly-manicured fingers to gently caress his chin. “Must I remind you of where your loyalties should lie?†Cocytus raised his hand and eased one strap of her sundress off her shoulder. “Wouldn’t you like to know, love?†… The Next Day Unsurprisingly, the daily meeting of the Student Circle Formerly Known As The Central Magic Society Of Winter (Erin was fairly certain Keiko had surreptitiously changed the club’s name when Keiji’s back had been turned) had been adjourned. Erin and Keiko had dropped the incapacitated club president back at the club room with a hastily scribbled note claiming he should stop pulling caffeine-fueled all-nighters. Not a particularly satisfying excuse, Erin thought, but it was better than Keiko’s suggestion of claiming his memory had been altered by the Thule Society for his own protection. Keiko had said the aftereffects of close contact with Demons usually resembled a really bad hangover, scrambled recollections and all; he’d probably have forgotten everything. Or triggered the awakening of any latent magical powers he might have had; Keiko said that happened sometimes, too. God, I hope that didn’t happen. The last thing I want happening to that guy is him finding out he might have been on to something all along. With that out of the way, she’d decided to try finding Honoka at the kendo club, but the vice-president, a towering third-year boy with a face seemingly chiseled from granite and a hat seemingly indistinguishable from his hair, had told her she’d left early for some reason. Also conspicuously absent was the club president; he’d been there on her previous visits practicing non-stop as if his life was some crappy Jump manga. No one had seen him for the past three days of school either; rumors were starting to spread already. For a moment, she wondered if he’d been eaten by a demonspawn, but quickly brushed off the notion. People go out of touch or go missing for all kinds of reasons. Most of them don’t have to do with hellish hell-monsters from the depths of, well, hell using your soul as a piñata. Since when did I start suspecting everything in my life was subtly connected to a greater conspiracy? Isn’t that how Keiji thinks? Crap, the crazy is contagious? I should get a tinfoil hat to keep out his bad brain vibes. … Wait. That’s exactly what he’d say. Erin was rapidly coming to the conclusion that she probably needed a break. Okay, no demon-fighting shenanigans. No craziness. I’ll just get my homework done here while it’s quiet, get something nice for dinner on the way home and have a good night’s sleep. Shouldn’t be too hard. Of course, that plan somehow broke down just three minutes after leaving the school gate. Well, it was no fault of her own; she just happened to stumble upon Honoka and her pervert boyfriend being accosted by some shadowy, hooded figure with a decidedly creepy-looking red sword. She didn’t feel terribly obliged to save that idiot; after all, he’d shrugged off a stab wound just shy of his heart and being punched into a ceiling with little more than some grumbling. For all she knew, his attacker might run out of patience and leave before he finally gave up the ghost. Nevertheless, Honoka was there; she’d looked out for Erin for years and it seemed right to return that favor for once. It was also no fault of her own that her thrown naginata had almost impaled Raiha through the head, passing just an inch past his ear. She hadn’t expected that guy to just vanish into thin air just like that – and judging from Honoka and Raiha’s reactions, they seemed about as shocked as she was. Then again, maybe they were shocked because she’d nearly impaled him through the head. "Hey, watch where you're throwing that thing!" Raiha exclaimed. “You’re right,†Erin shot back. “Maybe I’d taken a little more time and aimed a couple of inches to the right,†She gestured pointedly at the naginata, which was still quivering from the impact. “Ha ha ha, how funny,†Raiha muttered as she strode towards him to retrieve her weapon. “If I recall, this is the first time we’ve met where you haven’t managed to horribly injure me. Are you losing your touch?†Erin harrumphed and rolled her eyes. “Pah. Even if I’d aimed right, I wouldn’t have hit anything important.†Meanwhile, Honoka smiled sweetly, unlocked her smartphone and intoned crisply into its microphone, “Siri, tell me the location of the nearest burn center.†“Not you too,†Raiha groaned. The older girl raised a hand to her lips to suppress a giggle. “Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Erin-chan’s learnt my ways well.†Erin reached the wall and plucked the naginata from it with a little huff, pausing for a moment to marvel at how close it’d passed by Raiha’s head. Reminds me of that story about William Tell. Except that there’s no crossbow, just a giant fuck-off javelin. And the kid is a head taller than me, almost certainly boning my best friend and might actually be an unkillable holy zombie thingy. So… uh, not really like William Tell. Then, just as the weapon vanished in her hand, her vision swam and a spell of light-headedness washed over her. She staggered, leaning on the wall to catch her balance, and became very keenly aware of the basso grumble emanating from her stomach. “Uh… you two, you want to grab some dinner?†she weakly mumbled. ... It had transpired that the two had eaten already – some lovey-dovey candlelight affair at some posh place with far, far too much silverware, no doubt – but Raiha was nice enough to treat her to some burgers at a nearby fast food restaurant. He might be a pervert defiling her BFF’s purity with depraved, dastardly perversities straight out of those websites Erin would never admit to reading, but he definitely knew how to make a girl happy – in this girl’s case, giving her food she didn’t have to stick into a microwave first. She was strangely famished – even the humble cheeseburger tasted like manna from heaven. Which was why she’d gone for seconds. And then thirds. And then fourths. At that point, despite probably having more in his wallet than Erin had gotten since the start of the year, Raiha looked like he was having second thoughts about saying he’d pay for all of it. “It’s normal, I guess,†he muttered under his breath. “Some power users exhibit surges of greatly accelerated metabolism when under stress.†He glanced back to the growing pile of empty burger wrappers. “Totally normal.†“Mmmf. Hey, Honoka,†Erin said through a mouthful of beef patty, oblivious to Raiha’s soliloquizing. “I heard there’s a festival at the big shrine by the riverbank. You wanna hang out?†“Sure!†Honoka replied brightly and clasped her hands. “We should catch up; I’ve hardly seen you all summer thanks to that internship.†“Hey,†Raiha interjected. “Honoka, weren’t we going to go together-“ There was a sudden pause, interrupted only by the sad, wet splot of a half-eaten burger landing on the table. Erin’s gaze locked on Raiha’s – her eyes now the incandescent crimson of hot coals. “What’s wrong with me spending a little girl time with my best friend? How can you be so cruel?†Erin whined in a faux-cutesy falsetto, pouting in a manner that was less impish innocence and more clear evidence of clinical insanity. The temperature of the surroundings seemed to drop several degrees. “I’m sorry. I forgot that kids shouldn’t be going to the festival unaccompanied. But you’re a big girl now; you don’t need your onee-sama to chaperone you any longer… right? †Raiha said, looking her in the eye and grinning a little too widely. “Guys. Guys.†Honoka interjected, raising both hands in a conciliatory gesture. “We could all go together-“ “With him?†Erin hissed. “With her?†Raiha muttered. Honoka sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Never mind.†“Very well. Let it not be said that Knights have no honor,†Raiha declared with a huff. “While my honor dictates that I respect the wishes of a lady, you, girl, are clearly no lady. Thus, we shall settle this like gentlemen. Tomorrow. The nearby arcade, 6 o’ clock.†He raised two fingers, before melodramatically lowering one of them. “Two shall enter. One man will leave.†Erin’s eyes flashed as her grin widened. “Real confident, aren’t you? Brace yourself then, for I will kill you on the morrow.†Honoka’s palm went to her face. “… You’re both idiots.â€
  15. Rebuild of Mitsuba Academy

    “Run!†Erin shouted, throwing caution to the wind and almost getting bisected by a sweeping leg for it. Her uniform jacket was probably a write-off at this point, but worrying about that at this time was probably having skewed priorities. “Eh? What? There’s nothing here!†Keiji shouted back, apparently oblivious to how her uniform was starting to resemble the garb of a refugee in Darfur, or to the monster homing in on the sound of his voice, mandibles clicking ominously. “Just… just run! It got Keiko already!†Erin yelled exasperatedly, gesticulating frantically towards back from where they came. Come on, take a hint already! “Who took Keiko?! What are you talking about?!†Keiji replied, fumbling around his bag for the ‘Kirlian photography’ kit he claimed he’d gotten off EBay for a few hundred dollars. The crab was already gaining on him; each wasted second bringing the crab a few feet closer. “Don’t tell me the Agency’s come to silence us!†Oh god, this guy’s a complete moron. Then again, it wasn’t like he’d appreciate the truth if he was being eaten by a giant enemy crab. “Yeah, it’s one of their invisible black helicopters!†Erin screamed in desperation, feeling a foul taste in her mouth as she recited that nonsense.†I’ll hold them off here; you have to tell the world the truth!†Erin grabbed her weapon, charging towards the crab as she prepared for another strike on its underbelly. It might not do jack, but I’ve got to hold its attention so this moron won’t get eaten! “No,†Keiji shouted, dramatically dropping his overly-expensive camera kit and yanking his school uniform open to reveal a distressing lack of muscle tone or any indication he exercised. “You still have your whole life ahead of you! If the Agency’s caught up with us, I’m a dead man walking anyway… but I’ll tell them NOTHING! TELL MY MOTHER I LOVE HER!†Oh god. Of all the times to chivalrously lay down one’s life for a woman’s sake, it just has to be now? The crab was already almost upon him, its claw turning red as it opened up to grasp him; it was going to eat him alive. Perversely, that might have been for the best – it could easily have killed him with an eye blast or a swipe of its claws by now. Damn it, I can’t reach him in time! There’s nothing I can- Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. Several plumes of dust blew up in a line leading away from Keiji, and the Thrall turned ponderously around, scuttling in the direction of the plumes; it’d apparently taken the sound of the impacts for footsteps and figured Keiji had bolted. Erin glanced behind her to see Keiko with her bow raised, bruised and battered but thankfully still alive. Looks like she figured it out too. Well, at least that’s two people with more than two brain cells to rub together here. She fired another volley, the arrows splitting into several spectral duplicates mid-flight and throwing up another series of dust plumes as they smacked into the ground, and the Thrall fell for the ruse again, ponderously lumbering in its direction and safely away from its intended victim. Erin glanced over at Keiji, who was still threatening some nebulous point in the sky with his pitiful pocket knife. “Just run, goddamnit! You almost got killed!†Erin yelled. “What’re you talking about?†Keiji demanded, looking decidedly nonplussed. “They haven’t laid a hand on me at all-“ Bile rose in Erin’s throat as she raised her voice. “They’re fucking invisible, you moron, of course you won’t see-“ Then, she heard the crab shriek again, and something slammed into her torso like a freight train. The impact sent pain lancing through her ribcage and sent her flying, and she felt everything beneath her waist go numb as she slammed back into the ground with a sickening crunch. No. No. I can’t feel my legs. They’re gone. she thought as her vision began to blur and fade. I was an idiot to let that thing hear me. I’m sorry, Dad- Much to her surprise, Erin didn’t black out. She didn’t feel the weariness that one would expect from one’s life flickering or fading, or even the pain that rightfully should have left her curled up and whimpering like a baby. Somehow, she didn’t feel scared either, as one would very rightfully be if they were lying helpless with what was in all probability a broken spine within the territory of a pissed-off, invulnerable monster that killed everything it touched. All she felt, strangely, was excitement. Unbidden, a grin crept across her face as she slowly clambered to her feet, her legs tingling as sensation returned to them once more. She raised out a hand and her weapon, lying discarded several meters away, dissolved into a streamer of scarlet light, reforming in her hands with a flash of light. With the ease born of years of practice – strange, considering she hadn’t even seen her weapon until two days ago -- she raised her naginata into an aggressive stance, poised to strike with deadly force. She rushed forward, leaving an utterly-confounded Keiji in her wake as she charged the Thrall at an inhuman speed. Evidently, it definitely took notice; its eyes flashed again, and out of reflex, she raised her naginata’s haft to block despite the seeming futility of blocking an invisible bolt of force. A high-pitched crackle split the air, the shimmering distortion around her weapon wavered, momentarily revealing a gleaming silvery blade etched with strange markings beneath, and the ground shook as something gouged out a foot of earth almost two meters to her right. I… deflected it? Then, something caught her eye – the Thrall’s body flickered for an instant, and when it came back into focus, it had turned purple again. It’s just for a moment. Probably not much more than the time it takes to blink; but at the moment it fired, its shell had clearly turned red. There’s a weakness right there! “Snow Sign! PERFECT FREEZE!†Keiko shouted as she swung her weapon, now transformed into an odd, mechanical-looking spear. Intricate patterns of frost started forming upon the ground around her and inched up the Thrall’s legs where it touched the ground, abruptly coming to a halt a couple of inches up; the arms lashing out at Keiko at the time also seemed to slow down as if afflicted by a sudden bout of lethargy, giving her enough time to disengage, leaping away with an overly-fancy series of backflips. Now you’re just showing off. “C’mon! Not so tough now, are you?!†the other girl shouted mockingly. The crab let out a piercing keening noise as it tried to move forwards – only to find that its legs were rooted to the ground, pinned in place by tendrils of creeping ice. It shrieked in anger again, and this time, Erin clearly saw it – as the eerie, piercing light in its eyes intensified, the purple glow shimmered and wavered, and was gone. Now! Erin closed the final few feet, her feet carrying her at speeds more commonly associated with freeway traffic, and with a hoarse cry, dropped into a slide like a baseball batter heading for the base, gritting her teeth as the momentum carrying her under the creature’s underbelly tore her stockings apart and flayed the skin off her shins. The air around her quavered and an ache shot through her head as the Thrall fired another blast in Keiko’s direction, throwing up a shower of debris and shattered earth as it excavated another crater; already, its extremities were beginning to shimmer again as its impregnable defence took hold, but she’d spotted her target. Alright. Here goes! “YEEEEEEART!!!†She roared as she thrust her naginata upwards at an angle, point-first into the notched crack she’d left in the creature’s underbelly. The shell shattered like a nutshell as she threw herself forward, adding her momentum to the strike, and a surge of satisfaction shot through her as she felt the blade slicing through soft flesh. The crab keened in agony as blood sprayed from the wound, a fountain of crimson effectively blinding her and leaving a strange metallic, salty taste upon her tongue. The creature screamed again, a disturbingly human wail of abject agony, and the shimmering edge of the blade flickered and threw off red sparks as the might within it clashed against the eldritch energies roiling around the creature’s carapace. With another heave, she drove the blade even deeper, the weapon seemingly singing with joy as it ripped into the creature’s entrails, and as the field of swirling purple began to ebb away from the naked steel of her blade, retreating and fading inch by inch like water boiling away on a hot skillet, she realized what was happening – her blade’s essence itself was anathema to these creatures, dispersing the foul, arcane power they used as both shield and sword. As the creature’s strength faded with every drop of life-blood that stained the ground beneath, the power of its all-consuming barrier had weakened – and now, she could fight it and win. Erin’s eyes flashed a brilliant red, an intricate tracery of lines of crimson light flashing across her arms as she poured the fire within her into the blade, and a wave of exultation washed through her as she plunged the blade yet deeper, feeling something brittle shatter like glass as the point of her weapon pierced it – and the blade continued to pierce deeper, the Thrall’s innards offering only the slightest resistance, then burst through the top of the monster’s carapace, effectively impaling it like a shish-kebab. With a shout, she pulled the blade through the Thrall, its edge effortlessly slicing cleanly through its flesh before exiting its body at the head in a shower of blood and unidentifiable offal – the crab had been almost completely bisected across its entire length in a single stroke. Erin clambered out from beneath it, flicking a shower of her blood off her blade as the Thrall’s carcass, now bereft of the terrible power animating it, started obeying the square-cube law again, collapsing inwards upon itself before slowly dissolving into the pool of crimson ichor slowly soaking its way into the ground. Then, the tension permeating the air vanished, and the skies above them flickered momentarily, going from steel-grey back to blue. Erin slowly turned around as her weapon disappeared once again, contemplating the spreading pool of blood-red liquid that was all that was left of her enemy. Uh… damn it. An ugly, dangerous monster it might have been… but it looked like an edible ugly, dangerous monster. So much for my dream of making the world’s biggest seafood hotpot. “Wow, good work!†Keiko called out as she bounded to Erin’s side, her face weary but still visibly excited. “How are you feeling?†“Oddly enough, I feel fine,†Erin murmured, taking a deep breath and stretching her arms experimentally. “I’ve got some weird healing power thing going on for sure; I’m fairly positive I broke my back just now, and yet I’m still moving under my own power.†Then, she remembered the gallons of blood that had drenched her throughout the creature’s death throes, and sniffed in disgust – she wasn’t about to forget the smell of blood any time soon. “You think they finished the plumbing here anyway? I probably need to get all this blood off me; if this was a comic book I’d already be putting on a crab costume and scuttling after evildoers-“ This time, Keiko was looking at her in a decidedly befuddled way. “What blood? Sure, your clothes are a write-off, but I hardly see any blood on you.†What? Erin looked down on herself in confusion – and Keiko was right. Only the odd smear of drying blood here and there showed any indication of the literal bloodbath she’d been through a few moments before – and as she stared at one slowly-congealing droplet on her hand, it abruptly shrank and seeped into her skin, vanishing completely. Eh? What’s this? She took a sideways glance at Keiko; she didn’t seem to have noticed that. “Eh, nothing,†Erin murmured sheepishly. “I guess it dissolved into nothingness just like the rest of its body’s doing now,†She pointed towards the pool of blood, and it did seem a good deal smaller than it had been a few moments before. “Never mind that, what about Keiji?†Keiko pointed to her right, and when Erin turned her head, she saw nothing – that is, until she noticed Keiji slumped on the ground, mumbling something incoherent (not that his regular speech was much easier to understand anyway). “Meeting a Thrall tends to do that to normies, especially if they got as close as he did,†Keiko explained, poking the catatonic boy with a boot. “I got it too the first time I saw one, before Yuudai-senpai gave me my Reaper,†she said with a grin as she twirled the weapon dramatically before it vanished into a shower of illusory petals. “Feels as awful as it looks; that night, Yuudai-senpai and the others were real worried I wouldn’t have made it.†“So, what should we do with him?†Erin asked warily. Please don’t say ‘silence the witnesses’. Just don’t. Keiko looked around at the old building, the scars of the previous battle seemingly gone with the dimensional barrier they’d stumbled into, and then back down at the supine form of their erstwhile club president. “This place gives me the butterflies; I won’t be surprised if more Thralls come. Since the president is… uh, indisposed right now, I guess let’s call it a day here, then. I’m getting hungry anyway.†“Good plan,†Erin nodded agreement, until her eyes fell upon the still-collapsed form of Keiji, now repeatedly chanting something along the lines of 'You'll hear nothing from me, pod person! NOTHING!". “So… uh… who’s going to drag him back?†She pointed out. Dammit.