The Vault of Stars

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Re: The Vault of Stars

Post by Shadowcaller »

Dena had been willing to come with them to the cells.

It had seemed like a reasonable argument.

At least until she got that information from Reina.

So she stops dead in her tracks. Letting the others pass her by before she speaking up. "Hold on." She remarks, waiting a moment to let them stop and turn towards her. "All these cells are empty, where are all the prisoners? In fact, why do you even have so many unused rooms?" She didn't like this at all knowing now what Reina had told her.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"I mean, it's kind of both." Oniko says to Asami. "They call the place the 'Vault of Stars'. That's us. We're the stars. And this is the vault; the safe little box they put us in until they need us. Nobody inside can get out, nobody outside can get in, not unless they're supposed to."

"...Wait."

Yorumi stops in her tracks and turns back to face Dena, something about what she just said seeming to pique her interest.

"...What do you mean, 'unused'?" Yorumi inquires. "There should be dozens of people up here. Like that one there; that's where Yukiko should be. And Haruki, just across the hall... and down there, Ikari, and Ryuko, and..." She frowns. "...You don't mean to tell me you haven't seen any of them?"

Oniko, meanwhile, shrinks back a little, tapping her fingers together nervously. "...I told you, you wouldn't like it..." She mutters.





The door looks simple enough; a slab of crystal with a set of hinges on Reina's side of it, off to the left, with a latch to the right. Really, if she wanted to get out, it doesn't look like it would be much harder than just... opening it and walking away.

But, even amid these observations, more scratches appear on the door, directly in her line of sight; apparently, the author still wants to get her attention.

N O W A Y O U T

T O W E R H E A R S W I S H E S

C A N T L E A V E I F Y O U W A N T T O
Last edited by Ironsmith on Sep 16, 2023 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"Out?" Reina mulls for a second with a frown. "I don't want out. I want to stay and... alleviate the rooms of their dusty unused artifacts." Rob the place blind.

"Why, does this tower specifically do anti-wishes then? Isn't that directly contrary to... I dunno... stars in general? I know this place is the vault of stars. Ohhh... does that mean it's trying to lock away all the wishes?" Reina doesn't think it'll work, but it would be even more foolish if she doesn't try. So the cat leaps up and tries to turn the handle to just... open the door.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Dena stopping caused Asami little pause. She barely even turned towards the older woman, wholly uninterested in her concerns. As Oniko elaborates, however, Asami tilts her head and furrows her brow. Undaunted by the turn of events, she crosses her arms and inquires of Oniko, "You seem to know more than you let on. I take it you're aware of my memory loss too?"

Asami places her right thumb under her chin and index finger on the side of her face, resting her right elbow in the palm of her left hand. She continues, "Maybe piecing together a timeline of events would help me recall something? Just how long has it been since I left the vault?"
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Dena glances at Oniko. Not liking a word of that muttering.
But given her situation she couldn't afford to just abscond from these people. She had to hear them out.
"No, the only people I've seen since coming here were the two guards that grabbed my friend." She turns to look at the others. Especially Oniko. At least Asami seemed genuinely clueless which made her trust her slightly more than the other two.
"Would you guys please tell me what's going on instead of playing the secret game? Since it's not going to do you any favors."
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"Honestly I'm almost as in the dark as you are. I spent the past... I dunno how long, in my room, but clearly long enough for some shit to go down." Yorumi explains, giving her little sister a sidelong hug.

"I would guess our last encounter was... I want to say twelve years ago? Potentially longer." Oniko says, looking over Asami. "...Yeah, that looks about right. Twelve years. You still haven't grown all the way back, it looks like."

The horned girl rests her chin on her three-fingered fist and looks back up toward Dena. "...Right. You're not... okay. I guess this is all a bit confusing if you haven't been living with it for a few centuries." She knocks her fist against the wall, a soft ping reverberating through the hallways. "Like I said, this place is a Vault. Our kind... what's the word mortals use for us again? As... Astrans? Do I have that right?"

"Iunno."

"...We'll just keep it simple and say 'star-people'. When we go back home, we take a wish with us. Don't as me how it works, you wouldn't get it, I barely do. Just take that part in mind; send a star-person back home, and you get a wish granted." She shrugs. "Well and good. But then someone realized that we all had to go to the same place for it, and so started holding us captive so they'd have a steady supply of wishes to use however they wanted. They built this vault for that purpose... this one and several others, kind of iterating the design each time. This one's built for maximum efficiency in its defenses... it won't react at all to things that aren't an attempt to escape."

The girl turns and points suddenly to a random wall, a bolt of lightning flying from her fingertips and striking a spot about halfway up, leaving a heated glow where it landed.

"...But if you actually try to leave, the tower can tell and will foil it. I'd show you, but it usually informs the guards and I kinda don't want to bring them up here again." She grimaces. "...Is that what you're looking for, Miss Ssotha?"





Reina would be forgiven for thinking "Hey I'm gonna just go and steal all your stuff, cool? Cool." would provoke the spirits waiting in the walls, but there's surprisingly little response to that, apart from more text appearing on the door in front of her.

B A D I D E A

T H E F T T R I P S A L A R M

G E T C A U G H T

Meanwhile, Reina finds the handle to be in easy reach from where she sits on the floor; a small hop up to it and-

chink!

The cat will find herself holding the handle which is no longer attached to the door in any way, and therefore, neither is she. Despite what this might imply about the locking mechanism, it would appear as though the door is still being held shut by other means, so even when she hits the floor again she'll find she's made no net progress. The door is already growing a new handle, as well... presumably just to taunt her.

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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"Is that what happened to you? Did Vaultkeeper Sato come around and shove your souls into the walls? Or is he in there with you all?" Can't trust disembodied soul crystals. They probably were trying to steal all the good things for themselves!

All Reina has for her trouble is a handle. And it's regrowing one. Hmm... that certainly suggests an infinite supply of material to work with. There's some potential there Reina supposes. The cat waits for the handle to fully regrow before leaping up to tear it down again, to see if it'll grow back once more. If it does, then she will be repeating this process many more times.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Asami reciprocates the hug with a contented look on her face. As the shared history between the stars is revealed, her face looks like her mind is occupied. The lecture coming to its conclusion, looks at her sister dumbfoundedly and says, "So, let me get this straight, you spent twelve years just wasting away in our room? And you think it takes that long to get a soda? Nee-san, you know you're a baka, right?" She tilts her head in Oniko's direction, continuing on, "And you're no better, either. Why would you just tell some random stranger we can make wishes? As if they're just gonna take that information and do nothing with it."

A beat.

"And about those defenses. The stranger and her hot friend, er, they just used some sort of sniper rifle and shot at the top of the tower and that beam of comfortable temperature just kinda parted. And they came in shortly after that and started going through people's stuff at random. So I'd say all this talk about how no one can get in or out is a big 'according to your knowledge'." She shrugs and turns to Dena, "Come to think of it, you may just be Astrans too and have forgotten like me. Funny how that works out."
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Dena had never been offered a wish but from what she knew from rumors around the nexus, it could be a huge mistake taking up the offer.
"This does not strike me as the home of people who have been granted a near endless amount of wishes. Like, what the did they wish for? Peace and quiet?" This sounded more ridiculous by the second.
But there was some limits to what she would accept here. Like Asami's notion.
"No, I can tell you right now that I remember my life pretty well." She shakes her head, not truly giving the thought any consideration. "Anyway, there had to be some limit to those wishes I assume, right? Since it still doesn't explain why this place is completely empty. Since those weren't all prison cells we passed by. Did someone make a really dumb wish or something?"
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"That sounds intentional." Yorumi notes. "This vault was built with an outer perimeter wall and had guards assigned to patrol it. They probably wanted a manual override of some sort in case one of said guards did something stupid." The girl pauses for a moment before giving Asami a little punch in the shoulder. "Baka."

"Not that it matters. From what Miss Ssotha tells me, we're not where we used to be. So in order for one of these strangers to get a wish from one of us, they'd have to figure out where we are relative to where we left, takes us back there, and then from there to Mount Kuruan, without running afoul of her imperial highness's soldiers, then do that crazy specific ritual to send us back. If they can manage that, they deserve that wish. And also we get to go home so yay." Oniko smiles.

Only to frown again when Dena makes her thoughts known. "Of course not. This is where those people keep those wishes. They get to rewrite reality, we just get to go home." She gestures at the crystal hallway around them. "This place uses only a handful of wishes to keep us 'safe', 'comfortable' and here. It's not really intended for maximum luxury, exactly. More so than what you mortals normally do for prisons, sure, but it's still a prison."





There's a moment before new text appears on the door, followed by a frustrated screatching sound.

YNEOS

Something of a controversial subject among the trapped souls, apparently.

When Reina leaps for the handle, she's going to find that the door's magic apparently isn't consistent; where before the handle snapped off at the lightest provocation, this time, the second all her paws are off the ground, it retracts into the door, leaving nothing but a sheer surface for her to smack into.

Which doesn't open the door, either.

Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Reina stops just short of smacking the door, her entire body becoming pink and cat just hovering/floating there for a moment before floating away a few inches. Well. There goes the interesting route.

The souls seem to be in disagreement about a topic that Reina would not have imagined disagreement on. Huh. "Well who exactly is responsible for your state then?" Maybe it would be illuminating. Maybe not.

More importantly, the door is clearly cheating. Well fine. Reina can cheat back. A lot of doors are poorly designed for cats like her. Jumping doesn't much help if it's a pull door for example. And they make the locks so darn high. So the feline waves her paw and draws upon one of only two spells she was able to master despite her species' aversion to magic. A simple, yet effective arcane convenience that should unlock and open any door. Particularly, today, this door as Reina directs the spell. Being able to open doors as a tiny cat made the early years of walking around without a humanoid body or will o'wisp blood much more bearable.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"Ow," Asami instinctively replies as Yorumi hits her, regardless of the force. "...Bully," she grumbles before quickly moving on.

She turns to Dena and smiles sarcastically, snarking, "Anyways, you're saying you remember being born? Conceived even? Even not accounting for infantile amnesia, your whole life would be a lot to remember- I mean, uh, not that you're-" Suddenly at a loss for words, Asami quickly looks off to the side and blushes, tapping her index fingers together. And then she turns to Oniko, trying to skip past the awkward moment.

"Right... So the place we're in is called 'The Nexus' and that encompasses a large mesh of people and places from all across the multiverse. I just arrived a few months ago via space travel, myself. But, for a lot of other people, it seems like they just 'show up' here out of the blue. Unfortunately, what that means is getting back home isn't very feasible."

A beat.

"I've never heard of Mount Kuruan before. And this empire... you're not talking about Japan, are you? Because the empire was dissolved after World War 2. Though, I suppose history itself could've also been changed through wishes." She crosses her arms, not looking particularly deep in thought and instead merely idly musing.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Ah, more terms she didn't recognize.
Not that it mattered.
But it looked like she had been thinking too small here.

"Right, so we're talking about an entire society based around harnessing these wishes." It boggled the mind really. "Or rather, the top of said society."

Wishes were dangerous that way. Since once you had them you couldn't let anyone get their hands on them. Since what if they wished you out of existence? Or undid all your wishes? Or simply worded the wish wrong? They must be doing everything and anything to not give anyone else that power.

"Maybe someone wished for this place to be out of reach for everyone else and it ended up here?" She speculates. "Either way, so what exactly was your plan for getting us of here? Since I wasn't perfectly clear on that. Is it something involving a wish?"

She glances at Asami. "No. If I did that, I would probably not be a mortal. Since we don't usually do that."
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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As soon as Reina asks, several answers start appearing on the wall at once:

S A T O
E M P E R O R
A N C E S T O R S
O G R E S S

No obvious consensus, apparently.

Meanwhile, the cat will find that her spell to open the door seems to have worked!

...Sort of.

The door is apparently attached to a sheer wall by its hinges, such that when it opens for Reina, there's nothing on the other side but a door-shaped indent in the crystal. The door politely re-closes itself after a moment of the cat taking this information in.





"So now we're two degrees removed from our home. And still in a cage! Fricking fantastic! Yorumi groans.

"...That does... change things." Oniko notes, rubbing at her chin. "I thought you'd reincarnated somewhere in the empire, but if you ended up here..." Her eyes widen. "...Oh. Oh. That's... I am so sorry, Asami... if I'd known that's how it would play out, I never would have..."

Oniko turns to Dena, knitting her fingers together. "I couldn't give you a wish. Neither could any of the other stars here. There's a specific ritual for that, but we don't have the materials and we're in the wrong place." She looks down at the floor. "My plan was..."

Her shoulders shake as she inhales extensively for a minute. "The tower foils any attempt to get out of it." She begins breathlessly. "You can't leave by any means. Not walking out, not teleporting, not even wishing, thanks to some nonsense the empire did when constructing this place." She looks back up at Dena. "So how do you think you get out? When is an attempt at escape not an attempt at escape?"

Last edited by Ironsmith on Oct 03, 2023 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"The mastermind appears to be Emperor Sato, an Ancient Ogress," Reina relays to Dena. "Or there's a whole bunch of people who worked together to cause this." Reina likes her answer better though.

When did the hallway become a wall? Reina will test the veracity of this with her paw, making sure it's not an optical illusion. If it's not, she leaves behind a thick gum-like substance as she pulls her paw away and gets out of the way of the closing door. Reina retreats to the center of the room and closes her eyes.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"Ah, so you're saying I escaped by dying, right? Welp, that explains the memory loss!" She chuckles gleefully, an air of exuberance suddenly overcoming her.

She then turns to Stosha, smirking, "Which means how well you remember your life is irrelevant."

Before the gorgon can reply, Asami gets an uncomfortably close distance in front of Oniko and holds hands with her, smiling. "We were friends, right? What's your name."
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Dena rubs her forehead tiredly. Asami was frustrating her.
"Lady, you just said you suffered memory loss from escaping here. The others seem to remember being star-people just fine."

She looks over to Oniko. "Okay? But being brought back to life isn't really a thing where I'm from if that's your plan. Now, I'm not a warlock or anything but impression was that resurrection doesn't work flawlessly across different... worlds. Since there's differences with our gengangare... ghosts, whatever terms you use for that."
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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"...You're not... mad?" The horned girl looks incredulous at first, but quickly pushes that away in favor of hugging Asami, letting out a relieved laugh and giving her a far-too-tight squeeze. "Yes! Yes, we're friends!" She crows.

"...Yeah, those two are gonna be useless for a minute." Yorumi notes, turning to talk to Dena. "So that thing Oniko did is out, whatever it was. Both because it probably wouldn't work for you and because I'm going to have to end her if she tries that shit on my sister again." She crosses her arms. "But you look like you've gotten out of some tough scrapes before. So how about it? How do we get out without breaking out?"





L A T T E R

That one looks like consensus. Apparently they all agree there's plenty of blame to go around on this one.

The wall does indeed appear to be real, but when the door closes again, she'll be able to see through the little crack under the door that the wall's gone shortly thereafter; the effect evidently wasn't permanent. The wall also does nothing to resist her placing the gum on it, though the point make quickly become moot when the wall disappears again.

Who're you? ...Don't matter.

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Here's to us!
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Reina waits a little longer, having intended for Dena to come down and tell her if the wall was still there or not, but it seems the door is purposefully allowing a tease. No matter. That doesn't mean she can leave here. Not while being here anyways.

The cat tries to pull out a pack of cards from her hammerspace to shuffle. "Want to see a magic trick?"
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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Asami looks a little worried for a second, though more relaxed when Oniko comes in for the hug. Asami closes her eyes and returns the squeeze with a snug embrace of her own, a rainbow forming in her corona. She talks serenely, "Of course not. Why would I be mad? I chose this, didn't I?" She giggles a little. "If anything, its just a little disorientating, being recognized by people I don't remember. I feel like Roxas right now." Suddenly, Asami gets a little jumpy. "Ooh, ooh, do we have any special weapons we can summon, like the other organization members?" She asks excitedly.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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It wasn't a great sign when you were asked something that sounded like pure nonsense.

"Forcing whoever's in charge here to let us out?" She suggests as it was the first idea that came to her. "Like, I'm not even sure how this wish-force is preventing us from leaving. Is it like a force field? A mental compulsion?" Since those sounded like things she could work with as opposed to finding loopholes in a damn magical wish.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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[2F]

Y E S
I M E A N I G U E S S

Come the replies on the walls. Really, they've been stuck here a while, and Reina's either about to pull off a spectacular escape or is about to unironically show them a card trick. Either way it'd be the most entertainment they've had in a while.

[21F]

"...What's a Roxas?" Oniko stares at Asami blankly, not seeming to at all grasp the flurry of references just thrown in her direction.

Fortunately, the confusion doesn't last long. Oniko is not among those who can resist the allure of a rainbow hug.

Yorumi, on the other hand, remains immersed in her conversation with Dena. "Well, if it works anything like other wishes, it probably isn't anything that concrete." She speculates, rubbing a finger on her chin. "The terms define what is done but it's rare for anyone to be particular about the how. Maybe it's a mental compulsion. Maybe it's a forcefield. Maybe it's a dimensional loop. Maybe it's just some space-bendjng shenanigans that prevent you from ever reaching an exit. Maybe it's all of those but never the same way twice. I don't know, I've never tried to escape."
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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[21F]

"And you've never seen anyone else trying to escape either then?" Since in that case she'd know. "Well, in that case I'm going to have my drone attempt a daring escape and we'll see what happens. Worst case I will just have to get a new drone." That would be pretty bad but if it gave her a chance to escape this place she'd take it.

Violet will at this point appear in the open. The drone levitating about a meter off the ground.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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[2F]

"Just" Reina's shuffle is aggressive and theatrical, cards flipping from one paw to the next. "watch" Suddenly Reina tosses the cards into the air, the colorful paper twisting and turning, all fifty-four of them flying erratically into the empty space above her. "as" In Reina's paws appears a box of ten clear glass orbs, looking a little like snowglobes without a base or snow. "I" Reina grabs one and smashes it violently into the ground, a plume of thick, harmless smoke pouring from the shattered sphere. "dissa-"

Reina finishes the word, but it's very unlikely that anyone hears it. The cat may be called deranged for putting a bunch of smoke in her already thin air cell. It's not like a smoke bomb is very useful if there's no where else to go. These particular smoke bombs, however, were gifted to her one Thanksmas by the divine goddess of hunting and tracking, Kynegetis. Anyone bathing in the smoke bomb will become undetectable for a few minutes to the point where at its most powerful, people will forget and be unable to recall or notice that person. And the more concentrated the smoke is, the more powerful the effect, so this room may be where they're the strongest of all. After all, why chase after something that just... doesn't exist? And for the next three minutes, did Reina ever really exist? What's a Reina?

Everything Reina's seen suggests that this place has some level of magical consciousness that enables it to react to her actions. So she needs to escape from that consciousness if only long enough for her to try to cast her knock spell one more time to get that door open and dart through it. The door opening may be strange, but she figures maybe the Vault won't react if it doesn't remember having anyone it wants to keep locked away.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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[21F]

"Sora's nobody from Kingdom Hearts 2," says Asami, still similarily allured by the feeling of being hugged for so long. They were old friends, after all, so she wanted this to last. "So... Do you have anything I can learn about my past life from? Like old photos or something?"
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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[21F]

"Then why'd you bring them up?" Oniko asks, before the subject changes back to something she understands a little better. "Oh, um... well, no photos, no, neither of us were big on using a camera... ooh! But we did keep a couple of diaries! I've still got them stashed in my room, under the bed. I can show you if you want."

"Your what? Oh." Yorumi watches as the little drone hovers into view. "Well, that's a cute little friend you've got there. Hey, little guy. Or gal. Either or." The girl reaches up and attempts to stroke along the side of the drone's chassis, in what she hopes is a gesture understood to be friendly. "Where've you been hiding all this time, hm?"


[2F]

The rooms is silent, other than the low hiss of the smoke spreading out, but once that settles, Reina will find the door opens quite easily, and there doesn't seem to be anything preventing her from heading back out into the hallway; even the sentries are gone, leaving her free and clear to return to the teleporter.
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Re: The Vault of Stars

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[2F -> 21F]

Oh good. If that didn't work, Reina would probably have to lie down and die. She scurries to the elevator and spins it up to the 21st floor, appearing near Dena and the Trinary.

"Hey Dena! What the heck?! What part of follow me was..." Reina trails off as she realizes that she still doesn't exist to anyone else for another two minutes. The cat glances at the people keeping Dena busy. Well they aren't trying to murder each other, so this must be a gathering information thing. Or the children are just in Dena's way and Dena has been proven to be deathly allergic to children. That would make them an extremely effective barrier honestly.

Reina will shift back into her technically dressed catgirl form and slide a pair of the smoke bombs into her ill-fitting adventuring belt. The rest get thrown back into her hammerspace and the catgirl finds a wall to lean against while she waits another hundred seconds for the effects to wear off.
► SHOW SPOILER
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[brackets lover]
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Re: The Vault of Stars

Post by [brackets lover] »

Oniko's confusion elicits laughter from Asami, who clarifies further, "A nobody is what someone's body and soul becomes after their heart gets lost." Asami beams, demonstrating an excited eagerness as she suddenly breaks from the hug, "Ooh, that's great! I'd love to see them! And, you should check out these cool new devices called 'smartphones'. They can take pictures, send messages from across the world, and are super compact." She attempts to reach for her own phone only to suddenly remember the fact she had changed into a kimono earlier, leaving her dirty clothes behind. "Ah, I left my own phone in my room. I really need to get that too, its irreplaceable."

As she begins to move, she notices Yorumi's own antics, giggling with adoration.
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Shadowcaller
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Re: The Vault of Stars

Post by Shadowcaller »

[2F -> 21F]

"Been scouting around the premise, that's her purpose after all." Dena explains as Yorumi reaches out to touch the drone.

Which remains unresponsive to it. Not reacting to her touch at all. Still she can feel that there's a warmth to Violet. As if the drone was biological in some way. Yet it feels just as stiff and hard as its gem-like exterior would suggest.

"She can't talk unfortunately, or really communicate besides with me." That was a bit of a simplification but Dena didn't feel like getting into the details.
At some point during this Reina arrives but can of course not be perceived. Violet does turn in her direction as she comes over but doesn't actually seem to detect her. Perhaps the drone just detected the displacement of air. She could detect invisible creatures of course but Reina's means of hiding was a bit beyond simple invisibility.

Either way, Dena continues. "So I'll send her out and we can see what happens to her." A beat. "Though it might be best to free my friend first in case Violet does get destroyed by whatever force is keeping us from leaving." Would be harder to free the catgirl without Violet's assistance, that's for sure.
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Ironsmith
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Re: The Vault of Stars

Post by Ironsmith »

[21F]

Reina seems to have lucked out in that the teleporter relies on something being physically present in the center of the room to activate, rather than relying on intent like her cell did, further solidifying the elevator parallel. It brings her to her destination without a hitch.

Meanwhile, ignorant of the catgirl among them, Oniko and Yorumi continue with their respective conversations.

"...Um... y-yeah, I guess you don't want to leave that behind." The horned girl nods, crossing her arms after Asami breaks out of them. "We can go grab that right now, if you want. It sounds like something useful to have."

"Oh. Well then." Yorumi gives the drone an affectionate pat on the side, as though she were dealing with a floating crystalline puppy. "I can see that... maybe working? It would depend a bit on whether she's smart enough to realize she's going outside, I guess."
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