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My Fanfics :
Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:
A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic
Summary: Cissnei wanted to save Zack that night, only to find that it was too late. Though she couldn’t bring him back to life, she could keep his legacy alive. That was why she refused to abandon Cloud on his journey, despite going against her former friends and colleagues.
A Naruto Fanfic
Summary: A/U: Leaves spiral in the soft eddy as Naruto meets Karin in the Forest of Death. From that moment on, the two bearing the Clan name carried with them the fate of the Uzumaki and would be forever entwined.
A Pokemon Fanfic
Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime. So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving… Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.
A Nanoha Fanfic
Summary: There’s no such thing as happily ever after. Life goes on – even dearly bought. All Precia’s plans may come to nought as shadowy actors take to the stage. But nothing unmasks a man like his use of power. Second of the Gamesverse series.
A FSN / SAO Fanfic
Summary: Ilya likes to play video games, and in the time she has remaining, Shirou is more than willing to play the new VR game with her. But when they are trapped inside the game, [Sword Art Online], they determine something even more distressing: Kayaba Akihiko is definitely a Magus.
A SAO Fanfiction
Summary: AU reboot of the entire SAO storyline, beginning from the premise that Kayaba Akihiko was obsessed with magic and Norse Mythology rather than swords and pure melee. As a result, he created the Death Game of Alfheim Online rather than the floating castle of Aincrad—a world in which PvP is not a crime, and the nine player races are in competition to escape.
A Worm/ Dishonored Fanfiction
Summary: When Taylor went into the locker, she drew the attention of two beings. One offered an absent thought, and a broken tool that wasn’t even meant for her. The other took a more personal approach.
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: In the wake of the Locker Incident, Taylor goes comatose. Wracked with guilt, Emma and Madison trigger. Things spiral from there as they quickly go different routes, both seeking redemption in a different way.
A Worm / Supreme Commander Fanfiction
Summary: Frustrated with her school life, Taylor Hebert dons an unfinished costume and goes off into the night to fight crime as a superhero. She stumbles across an infamous crime lord, Lung, talking about killing some kids. Taylor decides she has no choice but to act……and Lung kicks her ass.Not because she’s weak. Far from it. Taylor Hebert is hamstrung by being a moral person with an exceptionally lethal power set, one with horrifying and even potentially global implications.
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: Quarrel was allergic to bee stings, and now Taylor is the Butcher – but the Administrator shard is strong enough to hold off the voices in her head, for now. What will Taylor do, when circumstances conspire to keep her on the wrong side of the law?
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: A continuation fic focusing on Taylor Hebert’s life following the climactic conclusion of Golden Morning and a lengthy recovery period. Taylor has her feet under her now, and grimly prepares to face a world she had thought beyond her, that of a normal young woman.
A Worm/ Bloodborne Fanfiction
Summary: Taylor becomes a Hunter and stalks the streets of Brockton Bay every full moon. Gangsters beware, and let all Fear the Old Blood.
A Worm / Pokemon Fanfiction
Summary: Taylor Hebert gets sent to the pokemon world by Bakuda’s bombs with her powers intact. Yes, she does connect with bug-types. You may run now.
A Young Justice Fanfic
Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.
So that’s what happens missing ships. Dark.
For some totally strange and obviously unexplainable reason, the Crossroads staff apparently didn’t think that sending our team off completely on our own for this hunt was a very good idea. Well, technically they didn’t send any of the teams on their own, but when they announced that fact, everyone else pretty much immediately looked straight at us. So their reasoning wasn’t exactly much of a secret.
Instead, each team was being escorted by two members of the security team and a teacher. In our case, that was Wyatt, one of the other security guys, and Professor Dare. They weren’t supposed to interact with us or actually help at all unless there was something went wrong with the hunt. Instead, they would stand nearby and keep an eye on everything that was happening. That way, they’d be there to intervene in case Trice or anyone else ended up…
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Interlude – Kane Himuro
Soft music filled the air of the second room on the eleventh floor of the Semina Apartments, located in Shinto’s Kurokizaka district. Each floor of the complex had two apartments, and each apartment contained four bedrooms, a living room, and kitchen. It was a luxury apartment befitting those who could afford the four figure monthly rent.
In one of these rooms, Kane Himuro carefully brought a brush against the canvas that was set up, while listening to classical western music. Her father was working late as always, while her mother was with a friend, so it left her without any obligations. She often painted in her free time, when not occupied with Track Club or taking one of her walks throughout Fuyuki, from the Sea Side Park beneath the Big Bridge to the Temple. It really depended on her mood and whether or not she had inspiration to paint.
Recently she had come across a mystery that blossomed into unrivaled inspiration, so she was trying to get the painting done while it was fresh in her mind. At least she would be if she wasn’t stuck listening to Kaede Makidera through her phone’s speaker.
“It’s not fair! Why did the Archery Club get the chance to set up a training camp in the mountain while we don’t?”
She had been complaining nonstop for some time now. It wasn’t a surprise since her approach towards the Student President for the sake of having a training camp on the mountains was poorly thought out. Her enthusiasm got the best of her so much that she often refused to think things through.
Someone like that normally got on Kane’s nerves. But after three years of knowing her it had become so ingrained that when Makidera acted like a yamato nadeshiko in her own home, manners and all, it bothered her.
Continuing to paint, Kane simply asked, “Maki, have you considered the Archery Club’s membership being a factor?”
“Leaving aside the fact that you literally burst through the door while he was in a conversation to start making demands without subtly or tact, Emiya is the person he maintains close ties with and remains an unofficial member of the club despite having quit. And Mitsuzuri has been building a rapport with him from the tone of her words with Matou at the mall.”
It was a habit of Kane’s when it came to affairs of romance to take the couple or potential couple and view them like portrait in her mind. Considering how well Mitsuzuri and Ryuudou seemed within that frame, she could see them becoming close enough to be friends through propinquity. Lovers even.
Shelving that aside, she finished her explanation to Makidera. “In contrast, you have ties with Tohsaka. Given his propensity to become guarded and outright hostile around Tohsaka, despite normally being rather dutiful and cordial, their rivalry is rather well-known. When you take that into account, along with her influence among the sports clubs and the fact that Emiya and Tohsaka are in a relationship, he wouldn’t be inclined to allow for an activity that goes outside his duty as the council president.”
“I still don’t see what she sees in that guy,” Makidera responded as usual to that bit of information. Whenever it came up, she tended to rage around a while since the time she spent with someone she considered a friend was cut down because of Tohsaka’s obligations to her boyfriend. “He doesn’t fit with her at all.”
Kane actually agreed with her there. Emiya wasn’t bad per se. He had qualities that she could admire in spades, but compared to the honor student and idol that Tohsaka had established herself as the two were as different as night and day to one another. But it was something of common knowledge around the school now since April and nothing could be done.
Makidera spent a few minutes ranting onwards before settling down. During that time, Kane continued her painting of the coat with its fur collar that splayed outwards in a ring. Getting the details of it with a brush was easier said than done compared to the rest of its body outline.
Then Makidera sighed in exhaustion before speaking seriously, “I just thought it might be a good way to get Yukicchi’s mind off…”
“The red calling cards,” Kane finished for her in lieu of Makidera’s hesitation. It was understandable, given that even she was wary of what happened after the last time she spoke carelessly of it and the one who gave them the cards. It was a humbling and terrifying experience, to say the least.
Kane stepped back and observed the painting. The portrait was a pristine facsimile of the humanoid creature that was strangely avian in nature as it appeared in her dream. It was dressed in a white coat with red trimming, with a starry background of the cosmos and a fleeting light in the distance steadily growing closer to the planet, extending its long arms to hand over the card to her.
She had been chasing rumors of the red cards for some time now because it was in her nature to do so, seeking out logical explanations for the unknown. Things had to have a reason to fit them under her world view. That was how it was for her.
Yet it was the unexplored and unseen things that captivated her. They made her heart race in excitement beneath the placid exterior she wore, a guilty pleasure that led to her searching for the rumored card. So, for such an enigma to appear in her dreams and somehow leave a card behind gave her inspiration, even as the nebulous nature of it nagged her mind as she tried to find a logical reason for how all three of them had the same dream and ended up with the calling card by their bedsides when they woke.
Makidera was wary, viewing it a sick game of some kind with rules printed on the back of the cards. Yukika, on the other hand, had been terrified considering the rumors that the red card marked you for death. More than that, the thought of someone breaking into the home where her family slept and leaving the card behind left her fearing for her little brothers’ safety.
It had brought her to tears.
If there was one absolute both she and Makidera shared it was their desire to look after Yukika. If something threatened her, they would be the ones to shelter and defend her against it. If there was something she was uncomfortable with, they wouldn’t pursue it in her presence. Making her cry or worry was the equivalent of an unforgivable sin, so they decided to try and find the one behind it to put Yukika’s mind to ease.
But they had to be careful until they figured out who was behind everything. There had to be a logical reason for the enigma that was the painted figure that stood before her. Unraveling it would be the best course of action if they wanted to be free.
So she would.
*Reads first part of chapter* Whelp, there goes my view of sharks until we see her school/shiver devour someone.
“You know, a lot of people would be pretty freaked out at the idea of having a bunch of sharks as pets.”
After murmuring those words, Koren looked over at me as the two of us continued to tread water a good distance away from the beach. We’d come out this far so that my ocean-bound friends could visit without freaking out the rest of the students who were trying to swim and enjoy themselves.
It was Friday, the eighth of December, about a week since that little hospital trip. December. In Wyoming, I would’ve been slugging my way through a foot or so of snow, freezing my tookus off. Here, I was swimming in the ocean.
My shiver of sharks had found us immediately, the six them swimming around us, preening and vying for attention. “But you just sort of roll with it,” Koren continued, “like they’re puppies…
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If she changes the future, won’t that mean that the future her past self gets transferred to won’t exist? So doesn’t that mean she doesn’t exist in the future as is? Or will it create a branching timeline, which means that the past Flick goes to the new future, or… or…
Ow, my head…
Five Years From Now, In An Alternate Dimension
“My Lord?” the soft voice of a young female with teal skin and bright white hair spoke up tentatively.
Nicholas Petan turned away from the window of the ship where he had been studying the green and brown planet that they were approaching. He took in the sight of the Nereid, pausing for a moment to remember her name. At one time, it wouldn’t even have taken him that long. But, as the years and centuries passed, the number of those he was responsible for had grown beyond what he could have imagined when he was still young. Even then, however, it often felt as though he had done too little.
After that brief pause that actually only lasted a couple of seconds, he had it. “Yes, Dexamene?”
“Um, I was just… I was wondering, sir…” Dexamene hesitated. She looked…
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So many jinxes in this chapter. Do they not know to not tempt fate?
Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude posted a couple days ago focused on some personal interaction among the team. If you haven’t read that yet, feel free to click the previous chapter button above.
“Okay, okay…” Sands was pacing back and forth, her expression almost hilariously wild. “Okayokayokay… so you’re saying that she’s—that her mom—that she’s related to—that she’s really–”
“Breathe, Mason,” Avalon muttered quietly without looking at the other girl. Her gaze was focused solely on the grass in front of her, expression pretty much completely unreadable. “And calm down.”
“Calm down?” Sands blurted, eyes snapping that way. “Calm down? This is like—it’s like if a Bystander—if–” She stopped, frowning before looking to me. “Help, I need an equivalent Bystander.”
Blinking at the girl, I shrugged. “Uh, maybe George Washington would work? Or Jesus Christ?”
Shaking her head, Sands retorted, “I said Bystander, not—never mind…
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Oh sure, the Jerkin is cute now. Wait until it gets bigger again.
Please note that the following commissioned mini-interlude takes place before the events of the current arc, during the week between Thanksgiving and the trip to the hospital.
“Do we have to do this out here?” Sands groaned the question as she and the rest of their team, plus Shiori, walked along the beach far away from the rest of the school. “I already promised not to say anything about the… you-know-what.”
“He has a name,” the Asian girl pointed out a little primly. “It’s Choo. And trust me, Sands, you are gonna love the little guy if you give him a chance. He’s so adorable.”
“Yeah,” Sands grunted. “An adorable little murder–” Stopping herself, she breathed out hard. “Sorry.”
Shiori flinched noticeably, but shook her head. “It’s okay. I know you’re trying. And at least you’ll remember to keep him a secret.”
Ouch. Sands didn’t even have…
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‘Whe… s he… ing to ge… here…’
The foreign thoughts come flowing into my mind fragmented as I focus on the girl standing beneath my perch against the railing on the top floor of the Verde.
She’s largely unremarkable, a ‘6’ in terms of appearance at best with a ‘Cute’ appeal. Not bad, but still a bit below my usual standards and not my preference when it comes to women.
And I have to dock points for her being so wrapped up with her cell phone that she doesn’t notice that she’s being given my attention. That’s just rude. Ah well, its brains I’m after right now, not beauty.
Between us is a silver cord, a sliver of moonlight invisible to the naked eye as it ran from my hand to the top of her brown bed of hair. It was a connection between us forged of ether (at least that’s what I think it is), a building block element in magecraft that could basically become anything in the hands of a magus. Illusions made real until they disappeared, they allow for the realization of supernatural phenomenon in the outside world.
In this case, I’m using it to create a vessel to transmit trance waves in a condensed form. A cable meant to transmit information directly from one point to another, rather than sending out signals unprotected like a satellite dish using pure visualization—exchanging range for clarity. It’s still subjected to the being influenced by the atmospheric conditions, but at the same time the ether shell acts as a shield to protect the more sensitive trance waves that flow into it and allows for mind-reading.
‘He’d be…r no…be with Oriana again.’
Because it’s difficult to hold the connection with the world trying to crush, I can’t properly read her thoughts. But if the others were right about our abilities scaling over time, and being easier to use in the future, I can use it more effectively later on. With enough practice, I should be able to read thoughts, send my own, and interpret the signals to the brain for the senses—at least that’s what I gleamed from the Old Worm’s collection.
Then again, how much of that’s a coincidence?
It’s only because I had access to the Matou Library and the Old Worm’s work over the centuries (and my own natural talent) that I could fabricate the creation of this connection in such a short time. Combined with the fact that I leaned towards Trance while it was underdeveloped among our group, it seems like I was born for furthering it and may have been part of the reason Nemesis Q dragged me into this.
Natural-born psychic abilities are usually seen as the result of a defect written into the soul that had to be repaired once it went through reincarnation within the Akasha. Because a psychic perceived reality from a different angle from the moment of their birth, interacting with that perception and realizing a supernatural phenomenon should come as easily as breathing. It wouldn’t be wrong to call them sapient Mystic Codes, living wands meant to perform specialized feats.
Though they usually lasted a single generation, it was possible to pass on some abilities through bloodlines. That involved the introduction of inhuman blood (resulting in mixed-bloods) or by interbreeding and removing oneself away from the trappings of normal society. For someone raised far away from society, surrounded by similar individuals that possess an abnormal channel from birth, that abnormal perception would instead become normal and maximize the chances of it settling in.
In contrast, magi exchanged ease of use with versatility. They could shift their ability to interact with the world through Magic Circuits, which could be passed on along with their craft through bloodlines naturally. They weren’t hindered by the same social issues as natural-born psychics were, but because they could manipulate the world in ways others couldn’t imagine, there’s a clear line drawn between them and the rest of the unaware world.
Drifters appear to be something in the middle of that. We weren’t psychics, born differently from everyone. But we weren’t magi either, who were still linked to the normal perception of society and could turn off their ability to interact with it through circuits. If I had to take an educated guess, we were an intentional effort at turning humans into weapons—artificial psychics with the capabilities of modern magi.
Our abilities aren’t as natural because we weren’t initially born with the mutation necessary to perceive the world differently than the whole of society. But we are able to cause supernatural phenomena with only our minds and not circuits. More so, it seems that we have a stable foundation that serves as the base of our powers, and we can be taught how to refine our abilities and practice them in a more structured manner.
Ayako had been right that Nemesis Q had turned us into living tools for whatever it had planned to supposedly save the future. But, more than that, she may also be right that it’s picking and choosing who lives and dies in terms of how valuable they are as an asset. Not just in terms of abilities, but connections.
If she hadn’t been lying about the amount of power she could bring forth, and the fact that our abilities supposedly grew over time, then Ayako could easily do enough damage to be considered irreplaceable. But she had been becoming more and more fragile from the stress of it; to the extent I picked up on it easily. Since the Student President couldn’t accompany her, she had been going alone and felt like an outcast because no one could understand what she was actively going through barring him—and his time was limited given his duties.
How long until she got depressed to the point of suicidal or overworked herself without care in hopes of saving anyone so they could understand what she was doing?
Yet, she managed to pass herself off as normal to those girls from the Track Club after a single day. The person she’s been since yesterday is a strong contrast to how she’s been lately. The major difference is that Gai and I are now involved.
Though she may feel guilty about our involvement, on some level I believe that she is happy that she doesn’t have to do it alone. And some of that guilt is absolved because she’s not directly responsible, both of us seemingly ended up finding cards through our own efforts. Likewise, the veterans feel the need to help others like them because they are still the only ones that can relate to them and it gives them purpose in this time of peace.
Though we’re a small community, we’re functionally becoming the same as clans and families that possess psychic powers. Because we’re a group, we can function better in society and have more mental stability. And because the veterans can train us, our ability to survive the increasingly dangerous scenarios rises as well.
Ironically, I feel like even more of an outcast compared to even the other Drifters—I may not be a magus, but I know more of the Moonlit world than all of them. And I can’t tell any of them about it considering what I did during the Holy Grail War. The last thing I need right now was for that to get out—
‘What exactly do you think you’re doing, Matou? ’
The abrupt intrusion of the mental voice shatters my concentration. I look away from the girl as the connection breaks and find the Student President on the ground floor. He’s staring up at me while adjusting his glasses with one hand.
And next to him is Emiya, holding a notepad and pen in his hands.
The autumn sun has started setting as the Student President, Emiya, and I make our way across the Big Bridge.
The pair had come to the Verde to finish their arrangements for the cultural festival and, in Emiya’s case, do some light shopping for dinner ingredients since he was there. The nearing of winter has left the air chilled enough that the field where children play soccer is abandoned. The only sound to be heard aloud is the stirring water from the river beneath the bridge, and the wind as whistles along its journey.
‘—it is the ethics of doing so on ordinary people that is the problem! ’
‘I’m doing what I need to in order to improve. Get over it. ’
In our minds, it was a different story. Since then I’ve had to put up with the mental blathering of the third wheel and his refusal to leave me alone to do my experimentation. In fact, he had actually threatened to teleport me all the way back to the Copenhagen if I didn’t comply, making the trip home longer than it needs to be.
‘Have you no sense of boundaries? ’
‘Trust me when I say there was nothing you wouldn’t expect to find in a teenage girl’s mind there. Not that you’d really know about women in general, but the point stands. ’
I have to unravel the strings being pulled and untangle myself from all of this. I won’t allow myself to be played like I was by Gilgamesh and was turned into… ugh. To that end, I need to improve where I can and live long enough to find a way out of Nemesis Q’s grasp.
He glares at me from behind. ‘That answers my question. Apparently, you do not. ’
‘I really don’t care about the privacy of someone I don’t know when my life is on the line, and I won’t waste the effort pretending otherwise just to follow your beliefs. ’
Emiya, ignorant of our mental exchange, breaks the audible silence between us with a question. “Any idea what the Archery Club will be doing for the Cultural Festival?”
I shrug. “You’d have to ask Mitsuzuri since she’s the one handling that.”
The Student President speaks up to that. “They had an idea for a cake shop, but I had to refuse it since the food and drink group has already been filled. They’ll simply have to resubmit a different proposal by tomorrow.”
I look over my shoulder towards him and frown. ‘You know that Mitsuzuri has enough to deal with without the obstruction and with Sakura’s talent for pastries it could work. Just give the club a pass rather than making them do the paperwork over again. ’
‘While I may make exemptions for matters related to our other activities, I must remain impartial to school functions. ’
‘What good is having a position of power if you’re not going to use it to make life easier for yourself and the people you actually care about? ’
‘Unlike you, I actually hold being responsible and fair, as one in my position is supposed to do, as values to live by. It is not as though they will die from my refusal. ’
“Shinji.” Emiya’s voice grabs my attention. “Issei told me that the Archery Club is having a training camp at the Temple. Are you going to be participating?”
I scoff. “Of course not. I have better things to do with my time and Sakura needs to take the reins. We can’t hold her hand all the time.”
“Will you be attending, Emiya?” asks the thorn in my side.
“No, I’m not a part of the Archery Club so I don’t really have any right to go there.”
A part of me wonders if I’m responsible for that. “You know, you didn’t have to leave just because of what I said back then. If you’ve got regrets about it, then feel free to join back up. Mitsuzuri and Sakura won’t complain having an ace on board for the upcoming tournament.”
He merely shakes his head. “I have no real regrets. There was nothing further I could learn from the club. You simply gave me an excuse so that I could pursue something else to lead me to where I need to go.”
Where he needs to go, huh? Given its Tohsaka he’s been hanging around, I suspect that she intends to drag him off to the Clocktower for a formal education in magecraft. Stupid of her, considering she’s supposed to be the Second Owner of this land and once she’s gone there won’t be any more magi to oversee it.
She wouldn’t dare hand the reins over to Sakura after her family had sold her to ours. Not to mention Sakura didn’t have any formal training to defend the territory. And the only other person from that side of the world would be the old man that had taken the Priest’s place after Lancer gouged out his heart, but since the land she was in charge of was given to her by the Mage’s Association, I doubt they’d let the Church seriously overlook it.
Either way, I guess I should be supportive of him. “Well, if it’s something you find interesting then chances are that I don’t care about it. As long as it makes you happy then that’s fine.”
“I still believe that the lifestyle of a monk would suit Emiya best, but I shall nonetheless pray for whatever your aspirations are to come to pass.”
“Knowing that you’re praying for my success is a relief,” he says to that in a tone that sounds sincere, somehow. Then he turns to me. “What about you, Shinji? Fuji-nee mentioned that you didn’t fill out your Higher Education Aspiration Form. I know Issei intends to go into training at the Temple, but I thought for certain you would be making an attempt to attend a prestigious university or something?”
“Don’t be an idiot. I’m the heir to my family fortune, meaning I can’t leave Fuyuki long enough to attend any of the good universities.” Not that I need it, given I live in a manor bigger than Tohsaka’s. “Though that means Sakura’s free to do whatever she wants when she graduates. If she wants to go somewhere to better herself, I can afford to pay her way so she can contribute to the household.”
Emiya’s brows fold in slightly. “Hmm… now that I think about it, I don’t recall Sakura mentioning what she wants to do in the future either.”
“Have you actually asked her?” If there’s anyone who she’d tell, it’d be Emiya. “She’s not the type that speaks up on her own unless pressed into it. There’s a reason Mitsuzuri and I have been guiding her until now, and while she’s improved she still needs a push every now and again.”
Though, considering how things were before the Old Worm was taken care of, she probably didn’t have anything planned out in the long-run. Now she has the freedom to choose, but I can’t help but wonder if she actually intends to use it. I should probably look into sending her off and ensuring she has enough education to manage the estate and everything in it, should the worse happen between the nightmares and what I’ve gotten myself involved in.
“It’s never come up, but I guess I can ask.” He looks down at the bags he’s carrying. “Actually, would both of you like to come over for dinner tonight? There should be enough for five or six easily, and Sakura’s making dessert. I know Issei visited a little while ago, but I don’t think you’ve ever come inside. I can give you a tour before dinner.”
He’s right. In the five years we’ve known each other, I’ve never been beyond his front-door. But, during the times when I held nothing but contempt for Sakura, Emiya’s home was a safe-haven for her. I could do whatever I wanted before and after she left there, but inside she had a reprieve.
I don’t want to intrude on it now. “… Thanks, but no thanks.”
“I see.” And just like that he drops it, nothing further needing to be said on the subject. He doesn’t need to know the reason why. He doesn’t try to convince me over something pointless. He may be an idiot, but I could appreciate that much from him.
“Unfortunately, I have matters to attend to with my Brother Reikan at the Temple. So I must pass on the offer as well.”
Emiya nods in understanding. “Another time then.”
‘Matou. ’ I turn my attention to the Student President at the prodding to find the expression on his face was one of utmost seriousness. The type of look that promised retribution if crossed, unlike before. It suited him somewhat. ‘I don’t think I need to state this, but don’t mention anything about what we do to Emiya. I will not allow him to become involved in this. ’
…He doesn’t know Emiya as well as he thinks. There’s no one I know more qualified than him to handle this. But, since I learn from my mistakes, I’m not willing to risk getting myself killed again by Nemesis Q trying to bring him into the loop a second time.
Besides, someone has to look after Sakura while this eats up my time. ‘Didn’t plan on it. The idiot is more useful here right now anyway. ’
Silence descends once more. Both conversations come to a close with nothing further needing to be said and the walk to our homes continue without any further abnormality. It would be a thing to be missed in the weeks to come.
Ah, killing for inheritance from first heretic. Makes sense in a politics angle.
It seemed to take forever for the doctors to move on. Yeah, it was really only a couple minutes or so. But with the information that I was sitting on, those two minutes felt like several dozen eternities.
I used the time as wisely as I could, quickly checking through the files for what I knew had to be there. Sure enough, now that I knew what to look for, my eyes quickly found the note about a third blood sample that had been taken a year before the first one. It had been taken from a different subject than either of the first two. Three different subjects, three different blood samples, all connected. I knew why they existed, and that realization made me want to tell the doctors in the hall to hurry the hell up and stop blocking Tangle’s room. But I restrained the impulse, since…
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Honestly, I kind of agree with Flick. With everything that’s happened, it’s more of a surprise that he isn’t someone she knows.
Despite the distraction and impatience of waiting for an opportunity to get on with our real reason for being at the medical facility, the tour was actually incredibly interesting. On the surface and at first glance, the place looked like any old normal Bystander hospital. But it was far more than that. Doctor Therasis showed us rooms with various magical healing runes that were used to enhance Heretic regeneration, other rooms where they used these special tools to extract various Stranger venoms and poisons, and even an area where they kept patients who were being hurt by some outside influence. If a Heretic was marked by some creature that could control, hurt, or otherwise affect them and there wasn’t an easy or quick way to fix it, they were brought to that last section. The place was heavily shielded somehow against any magic or ability, so it kept…
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Chapter 6: Return to the Fifth Floor
Bell’s first sight upon returning to the Hunter’s Dream was once more the Plain Doll, who stood at the base of the stairway that led to the flower-strewn field. The soft, unblemished features of her porcelain face contrasted the downtrodden and bloodstained visage that Bell wore. Exhaustion and hopelessness were all that composed him beneath the blood that covered him from the Cleric Beast as his Saw Cleaver hacked through its skin.
“Welcome Home, Good Hunter,” she said in greeting. “The Little Ones have been making quite a stir recently. It would seem that something has caught their attention within the field.”
Bell looked over to the field from his perch to see there, in the middle of the moonlit flowers, stood a new headstone. It was a phantasm, much like the lanterns, and shrouded in pale flames that danced beneath the gaze of the moon that watched over the Hunter’s Dream. His sorrow and exhaustion were forgotten as it enthralled him, drawing his feet closer to it of their own accord.
Where Bell went, the Doll followed. She tilted her head as she observed the new fixture that was before them. “…How strange. I have never seen this particular headstone, nor do I recognize the words.”
“I recognize them,” Bell said as the Messengers parted so that he could kneel in front of it. “It’s the language of my home. The top reads my name, so I think it’s mine? The words beneath it… ‘A Hunter’s Respite’ from the look of it.”
The moment he brushed his fingers over the words, a vision flashed into his head. It showed him the moment when the Minotaur first accosted him on the Fifth Floor. He jerked his hand back and the vision faded.
Was… was that the moment of his death, in the Dungeon? If the headstones were the method by which he could leave the Dream, did that mean it was his way home too? The thought left his hands trembling, with the very idea of returning to his Goddess’ side threatening to spill crystalline tears from his eyes.
“Is there something that ails you, Good Hunter?” the Doll asked as she kneeled beside him.
“N-No…” He wiped his eyes with his forearm as he stood up. If he really was returning home, at the point where he died, then that Minotaur would be there, just like with the Beast when he died there and returned to the Dream. He needed to be ready for it. “Can you channel the Blood Echoes I gained from the Beast?”
“Of course.” She reached for his hand and tenderly took it into her grasp. The warm, all encompassing sensation of the echoes thrumming to life spread across his body. “What do you wish to be emboldened?”
His thoughts shifted to the Minotaur and how it had ran him down. Compared to the Cleric Beast, it was slower. But it was still capable of overtaking him if he wasn’t faster. And he needed to be stronger, so that his body didn’t break under the weight of its fist a second time. The need called to the roused echoes and they rushed to fulfill that desire, leaving him feeling more than he was before.
“I’m going back home,” he told her after she’d finished.
She nodded. “I will be here when you return from your respite, to continue the Hunt.”
Bell didn’t exactly intend to return to the Dream or Yharnam at all if he could help it. He wanted out of the Hunt. So once he crossed that threshold, he wouldn’t come back. But all the same, he was grateful to her and the Little Ones. “Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
“There is no need to thank me, Good Hunter,” she said humbly. “I exist to aid you.”
Bell pressed his hand against the headstone and then focused on the vision that came to his mind. Diving into it, Bell felt like he was falling and the world melted. Then he opened his eyes again with a heavy gasp to find he was back in the Dungeon.
It was the wide-square room where he’d met his end before, after being chased on the Fifth Floor by the Minotaur. He’d run through hall after hall, screaming for help and doing his best to survive. And it had all been for naught.
He wanted to think it had all been a nightmare, a hallucination bought on by the stress. That made the most sense. He’d simply passed out and had a bad dream… except, he could feel the weight of the Saw Cleaver in his hand.
He brought it closer to his face. The scent of the blood from the giant Beast was still lingering on it, wafting off it with a poignant scent that prickled his tongue for what he decided was an inexplicable reason. He shut his eyes, exhaling a staggering breath.
The sound of a deep, bovine roar snapped his eyes opened. The Minotaur stood off ahead of him, a bull-headed creature composed of corded muscle that towered over him by almost twice his height. It bore the same crimson eyes of rage that shone like devilish stars as it peered down upon him, took the same heaving breaths that made its chest rise and fall, and frothed at the mouth from a long chase.
It was the moment of his death, beneath its mighty fist. His head had been utterly crushed, the pain brief but memorable. That was when the Hunt began for Bell for the first time, a fate from which he had just escaped.
Would dying here a second time send him once more into those filthy and beast-laden streets? Would he once more have to face abominations like the Beast? He could still recall the three deaths he suffered at the hands of the creature that towered over him even more than the Minotaur—death by crushing, death by falling, and death by devouring.
His fingers trembled in his grasp at the thought of returning to the Hunt. Then fear turned to anger as the monster responsible lumbered forward. It sought to send him back that place he’d just escaped.
“URROOAARRR!!!” roared the Minotaur before charging him once more.
“RRRRAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!” Bell roared right back, determination and fury threading his vocal cords and muscles as he met its charge with one of his own. He wouldn’t die a second time. He wouldn’t go back there!
Ais’ legs carried her through the Sixth Floor with haste towards the exit, where one of the Minotaurs that fled from the lower floors had gone. A number of them had ran from her Familia on their way back from an expedition, and now the race was on to stop them before they ended up killing some unfortunate upper-floor adventurers,
Waiting for her along the way were Wall Shadows, numerous and right in her path. The Dungeon had been spawning monsters left and right as though to stall her, fodder they may have been. They’d cost her seconds already on the way up, and every one counted from this point on.
“Blow Through!”Churning winds veiled her in armor as she pressed ahead, tearing apart the claws of solidified shadows as they tried to strike her down. Rocketing forward through the halls and up the stairs, the wind wrapping Ais dispersed as she came to an abrupt stop.
An overwhelming scent slammed into her like a brick wall. It was one she’d never encountered before, powerful enough to leave her ears deaf and her vision blurred, all while her brain throbbed. Was it some kind of magic?
She held a hand to her head as the sensation lessened, even though the scent was still lingering in the air. Her ears caught the sound of a hide being torn into, a roar of indignation, and a fevered shout. The sounds of battle—someone had met with one of the Minotaurs. Ais forced herself towards it, vaulting through the halls until she came across the battle being waged in slow-motion at her level.
The Minotaur was there. Its massive frame was dotted with red lines, crimson streamlets flowing freely in the air as it swung its massive arm with all the strength its corded muscles could afford to unleash. The fist came within a hair’s breadth of smashing in the smaller figure that rolled out of the way, allowing it to hit the wall of the Dungeon and leave a crater in its wake.
The adventurer, a boy, rose to his feet from the roll and brought his butcher’s weapon around. The teeth of the slab of metal were like fangs that forced themselves into the thick hide of the monster, biting into it on impact. With a roar, he pulled it out the side and the fangs tore themselves free with a spray of crimson that painted his white-hair with splotches of red.
Pain and fury and spittle left the Minotaur’s throat as it kicked back with its hoof. The boy brought the weapon around to intercept it with the flat of the blade, only for it to carry him along and send him flying through the air. He cried out as he hit the ground, curling up to vomit a mixture of blood and stomach fluids. The monster leapt for his downed form, both arms chambered to crush him on impact.
Ais’ legs tensed to move and cut it down mid-flight. The only reason she stalled was because she saw the boy falling back into a roll that would carry him out of the way of the crushing attack. There were unwritten rules against kill-stealing between adventurers, or at least those that sought to honor them, so she wouldn’t intervene unless he needed it.
Sure enough he escaped in time from the attack, getting back to his feet as the monster realized it missed. It then charged for him with the intention of goring him on its horns. He wavered for a moment, wincing in pain from the hoof, and then he leaned forward onto the balls of his feet and jumped over its charge.
His empty hand came up and grasped a horn, allowing him to remain on its back. The other slid up the weapon to flick a switch on the handle, unfurling it with a click. Bracing himself, he brought the backside down on the opening between the Minotaur’s neck and shoulder.
The sound of bone breaking reached Ais’ ears before the roar of the Minotaur. It flailed its arms in retaliation, trying to knock him free. The boy ducked under the first grasp, but was forced to bring his arm up to shield his head as the other fist came around and knocked him loose.
He fell onto the hard ground headfirst; blood seeping from the gash where his skin was ripped open before his skull. It sounded like he was crying as he rose up again, struggling onto his feet as the Minotaur pulled the weapon out of its body and then threw at him. He narrowly avoided being split open as it sawed past his head and clattered onto the ground behind him.
Huffing, the Minotaur readied for another charge at the boy as he reached another object tucked away on his person and raised it up to meet the incoming threat. With the sound of caged thunder, a piece of metal left the opening of the weapon with a burst of smoke. The Minotaur’s right eye burst open on contact as it crossed the distance between them. It roared in agony, bloody fingers coming up to cradle the wound as it dropped to its knees, its charge halted for the moment.
The boy rushed in. Deprived of his fangs, he used his claws. Shoving his hand into the furrow he carved into the thick hide of the Minotaur, widening the wound to where it’s very life cascaded over him, he grasped something deep within the monster. Then he pulled, mouth gaping wide as a scream forced itself out with the blood-soaked arm to reveal the Minotaur’s magic stone within his clinched fingers as its body turned into dust.
Haggard, heavy breaths left his mouth like that of a ragged beast. His body remained tensed, ready to spring into action as his eyes scanned the room for anymore signs of danger. Then they settled onto her.
The moment those red eyes peered at Ais, a shiver crawled up her spine. Her mind flickered as his figure turned into something that she couldn’t register, something so alien that the whisper of an inhuman threat came to mind. She brandished her blade on instinct; shifting one foot back and lining herself up so that she could easily kick off the ground and launch herself into a thrust.
The whisper faded when she blinked, only to see the figure was a boy again, staring at her in confusion. He looked down at the weapon in her hand, pointed at him, and then to his blood-drenched arm and the magic stone in it. Horror painted his face in that instant as he took a few steps back, only for his foot to brush the discarded weapon and tripped him onto the ground.
The sight of disarmed her entirely. Ais let loose a breath she didn’t know she had been holding as the ominous feeling that riled her on an instinctive level vanished. She lowered her sword and opened her mouth to ask if he was alright, but the words didn’t come out before he snatched his weapon up and ran towards the floor exit.
There was a knot of guilt in her chest at scaring him off. She didn’t mean to react like that. Whatever that abnormal scent clinging to him was must’ve done something to her. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t properly place it. In fact, just thinking about it too much made her head ache.
Ais shook her head once and then brushed it off. She had to make sure that no other Minotaurs were left. That abnormal scent and an apology could come later on.
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Tiger & Might – Chapter 4: Mei Hatsume
“I probably should have brought an umbrella,” Izuku mused as he looked up at the curtain of dark-grey clouds in the autumn sky, running with weights tied around his wrists and ankles. It was morning and winter was on the horizon, so the chilled air stung his lungs as every breath that he took left a plume of frost in his wake. Fortunately, he was dressed in his tracksuit and it was well-insulated enough that he remained warm as he made his way to Mister Kaburagi’s place, to get ready for the day’s training.
It had been a few months now since he started training under the veteran hero, and the results were evident to an extent. He could run longer and his upper-body strength was enough to easily support his own weight. Getting around was so much easier, but he didn’t have as much free time as he did before he’d started.
Then again, that was just as well. His extra studies were helpful and training now was better than sitting around and just recording facts that he noticed. He was actually doing something with that knowledge, and that was likely to be the key to his success. Though, he still had some reservations around working with his granddaughter, Miss Kasumi.
She had introduced herself as a relatively new hero called Myriad, stationed at Hosu City at the moment. Her Quirk was a variation of a Power Copy that allowed her to take on the powers of others one at a time—which apparently ran in their family. Normally she had to maintain contact with someone to use it, but there was a slot built into her forearm bracer that allowed her to slip a card into it that let her swap out her powers. Miss Kasumi never said what exactly those cards were made of, but given how she had access to her grandfather’s ability and how Mister Kaburagi rubbed his arm when she mentioned it, Izuku had a vague idea.
He was at the final stretch when the rain had begun to pour, cold and fat drops splashing down against his sweat-laden face. He redoubled his efforts, shielding his eyes until he arrived at Mister Kaburagi’s place and knocked on the door. His granddaughter answered.
“Hey, Junior.” That was her nickname for him, for some reason. “Gramps will be with you in a minute. He’s a bit—”
“I just want to take a little look at them,” an unfamiliar voice said. “I’ll put them back together. I promise.”
“—occupied,” she finished in an annoyed tone as she opened the door wider for him to enter. “Come on in and get dried off.”
Curious at the source of the young, feminine voice, Izuku peeked around the corner to see that there was a girl who looked around his age. She had goggles on her bed of pink hair that was woven into dreadlocks, and wore cargo pants, an oversized winter coat, and a backpack by her feet.
“Now that you’re here, maybe Gramps will finally kick her out,” Miss Kasumi said as she closed the door. “The girl’s annoying.”
The girl glared over in their direction at that, revealing she had yellow eyes with pupils that were like crosshairs. Miss Kasumi, standing with her hands on her hips, sent the same look right back at her. For a moment, Izuku could swear that he could see bolt of lightning between them.
“What’s going on exactly?” he asked cautiously, taking a step back to be safe.
“This girl just popped up and told Gramps she wanted to take his suits,” she said, pointing to the Hero Suits that were placed on a stand, in an alcove with lights above them, almost as though they were a shrine to times gone by.
“I just want to take them apart to see if I can reverse-engineer them,” the girl said. “They’re wasted sitting here like this!”
“That’s not for you to decide.”
“Kasumi, calm down,” Mister Kaburagi said as he entered the living room and set a cup of tea down on the table for the girl. “As for you, Young Miss, you should probably start by introducing yourself and telling me how you learned that I had these suits in the first place. That’s something only a few people know given what happened and their history.”
“My name’s Mei Hatsume,” she said as she reached into her backpack and pulled out a tablet. “I’m planning on getting into U.A. and becoming an engineer in Hero Support, since I’ve always been good with my hands and designing things since I was young. I stayed with my grandmother a lot, who was a fan of the old-time heroes like Sky High, so she had a lot of memorabilia from your age. I noticed the suits in one of the posters she had and did some research into the person who made them—Doctor Saito Mekanicu.”
Izuku moved closer as she set the tablet on the table for them to view. There was a video playing, with a younger Mister Kaburagi standing in broken armor to reveal a toned figure. He’d seen that footage before as well.
Kasumi let out a sound of recognition at it too. “I remember that. Mom told me about that being the time when that Memory-Manipulator framed you and then tried to replace all of you with robots.”
Mei ignored her. “It’s because of this incident that your identity as Wild Tiger isn’t all that much of a secret, it’s just been so long that it’s basically like history—just before things got really bad. Only someone really interested would do the work involved in finding you. When I came across this footage and the post-interview about it, I decided to do some calculations based on the damage to the structure. The output of that blast should have been enough to obliterate you if it could cause that sort of damage from the explosion when you were directly in the path of it and soaked up most of the initial force. Even taking into account most of the protective gear for heroes today and materials used in their manufacturing process, that would have still cut through them like a hot knife through butter.”
Despite that horrifying news, Mister Kaburagi merely nodded. “They always did say he was a genius ahead of his time.”
“I know right!” Her enthusiasm was briefly lived before her expression grew somber. “But when Sternbild sank he died, and all his work went with him. So I took a gamble and tried to find anyone involved in his work to see if there was anything left, and I looked up your address. The armored suits that were developed for yourself and your partner are possibly the last traces of his work left. I want to analyze them so that I can possibly recreate them with enough time and materials.”
“What are you, like twelve?” Kasumi asked, a layer of condescension wrapped around her words. “If he was really that skilled, what makes you think that you can replicate his work?”
Mister Kaburagi gave her a side-glance. “Kasumi, behave.”
“I’m fourteen!” Mei shot back, rising from her seat as she glared at the older woman. “And I’ll have you know I’ve already made a bunch of babies!”
The turn of phrase gave them all pause until she pulled her equipment out of her bag, revealing that was how she referred to them. One looked like a set of gloves that had streaks running along the front and a battery on the back. Another looked like a short-metal rod with spheres on the end. There was also some kind of visor with grid screen on it.
“What exactly do they do?” Izuku asked. It wasn’t like they could tell at a glance after all.
She hovered her hands over the gloves and rod. “The gloves can be used to take electricity from the battery and then channel it through them to deliver a shock. And this is a telescopic baton that releases a pulse of pure kinetic force on impact.” Then she picked up the visor, pressed a spot on the side of the frame that caused a low hum to be heard as the lenses were tinted, and held them out towards Izuku. “The visor works through AR and can be programmed to allow the user to see things in different perspectives. Try them for yourself.”
He put them over his eyes to see that the others were outlined in red. “They allow you to identify people?”
She nodded. “Using a compatible device, you can program them to recognize a number of things like heat signatures or x-ray, or outline a path for the user to take.”
Izuku took them off and handed them to Mister Kaburagi. The veteran hero put them over his eyes for a moment to check for himself. “Impressive.”
“I know, right?”
Miss Kasumi was the next to check them out. “Okay, maybe you’ve got some talent. But that doesn’t mean Gramps is obligated to give up his suits. They have sentimental value to him.”
“…Actually, I might be willing to allow her to the look over the White Tiger suit under one condition,” he said after staring down at his watch for a moment. “But first I need to test you for myself.”
“If it’ll get me the chance to take the suit, I’ll do it.”
“Straightforward to a point, I see.” He set down his watch onto the table. “Then see if you can improve the design and functionality of this. It was also made by Saito, so it should be of some interest to you.”
She picked it up and fixed her eyes over it inquisitively. “Isn’t this the grappling system you used while you were being chased? It must be over a half-a-century old. Does it still work?”
“It does, but it was made specifically for my use.” He tilted his head over to Izuku. “I need for you to make it so that my young friend over here can use it. Once you’re finished developing it, I’ll have a friend at Helios Energy take a look at the workmanship. If they deem it’s passable then we’ll discuss letting you look over the Wild Tiger suit in exchange for putting that engineering talent of yours to work in helping him accomplish his dream. He wants to be a hero and plans on attending U.A. as well, and he could use some support.”
“You got it!” She ran over to Izuku’s side eagerly, seeing him as her ticket to getting what she desired no doubt. “What’s your Quirk? Are there Limitations? Drawbacks you need balanced out?”
“I… don’t have one,” he said with a hint of shame.
Her brows folded in, crinkling. “Normally tools and support devices are used to diversify a hero’s abilities or give them qualities they didn’t have before—range, mobility, and so on. Not having anything means there’s no immediate direction for me work on improving.”
“I’d think of it as more of an opportunity,” Mister Kaburagi said. “Because he has no Quirk, it simply means that he’s a blank canvas that can be made to adapt to the circumstances he faces. So if there’s a tool he needs for a job then you’ll need to create it.”
“Well, necessity and failures are the mothers of all invention.” She nodded to herself. “And anything I make for you will likely be capable of supporting other heroes with a little tweaking, since it’s not specialized in the first place. I’ll have a more babies to show off for the Support Department ahead of time.”
Then she eyed the watch carefully, looking it up and down. “Plus, I’ve never had a chance to make an effective grappling system this compact. The force of an abrupt stop should pull your arm out of the socket or snap the line entirely… You don’t mind if I take whatever I develop from it for other uses do you?”
“Not at all,” the veteran hero said. “As long as you promise that it won’t end up in villainous hands, you have the right to use them however you see fit.”
She smiled brightly at that and nodded. Then she rose to her feet and grabbed Izuku by the hand. “Come on. I want to take some measurements for the sake of our new baby, so I need you to strip down in the bathroom.”
He was left stuttering as she dragged him off in surprise.
“Gramps, is that really okay?” Kasumi asked her grandfather. “Aren’t those suits important to you?”
“Talent and drive should be nurtured, and all good heroes need support,” he said, looking over to the Hero Suits of his former partner and career. “Besides, I don’t need my suit as a reminder of the past anymore. If letting her tinker with it can ensure that the world gains more heroes and tools they need to make their jobs easier and safer, then that’s more than enough. Better to let Saito’s work be part of a new legacy than sit here and gather dust.”
“That’s cheesy, Gramps.” Though touching, she’d admit to herself. He was really placing a lot on Izuku’s shoulders.
“Perhaps so, but this is how I choose to leave the world a better place than it is.”
“Do you really need to strip me!?” they heard Izuku say through the door.
“I need to take a good measure of the muscle mass in your arms and legs for the adjustments, and you were taking too long,” Mei said, a casual tone to an awkward question. “Are those All Might boxers?”
Ignoring Izuku’s timid, nonsensical series of sounds to that question, Kasumi shook her head. “That girl still rubs me the wrong way.”
“She does need to work on her social skills,” he agreed. “In fact, she reminds me of you when you were her age with Karina’s granddaughter.”
Kasumi’s brows folded in offended at that. “I was never like that with her. You sure you’re not going senile?”
“My memories are just fine.” He could almost put Fuyumi in Izuku’s place and Kasumi in Mei’s. The only real difference was instead of technology and gadgets; she was all about the Quirks. “Anyway, I’m also hoping that working with him might help her there. As someone who will work with heroes in support, she’ll need to be able to hold a rapport with them. Izuku-kun should be friendly enough to help her with that, so it’s for the best.”
She sighed in resignation. “If you say so, Gramps. I’ll put up with her for yours and Junior’s sake.”
[-CHAPTER 4 END-]
They’re kind of half-doing it on the murder attempts. You had her paralyzed and helpless. Was stabbing not enough? Or using a more lethal poison? Don’t try to drag it out.
“I swear to Prosser, Chambers,” Avalon’s grumpy voice insisted as the two of us walked down the hallway, “if you ask me one more time if I’m all right, I’m going to be forced to hurt you very, very badly.”
It was about a week after the events of Thanksgiving. Friday morning, to be specific. Breakfast was over, and we were both on our way to our first class of the day: Introduction to Heretical Magic.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I held up both hands apologetically while walking backwards so I could face the other girl. “It’s just that, well… you know.” Trailing off weakly, I looked up to see her glaring at me.
“Just what?” She leaned on her crutches (yeah, crutches) and squinted at me pointedly. “Even with these things, I could still kick your ass up and down this corridor. You want me to prove…
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These memory manipulation spells are messed up, that feeling of knowing something is off but interference by an outside presence is screwing with you. Not even able to remember someone you loved…
For as long as she could remember, Abigail Fellows had been outraged by the concept of those in positions of authority abusing their power. Even before her name had been Fellows, back when she was Abigail Carter, she had thrown herself in as an advocate on the side of people she believed were being taken advantage of. As a student, she’d involved herself in various marches and protests before eventually finding that the best way to fix the system was from inside it. That’s when she decided to become a lawyer. For the rest of her school career, she focused on getting the best education she could.
If pressed, she wouldn’t have been able to say what actually drove this feeling. All the woman knew was that she had this great sense of an incredibly injustice abuse of power that had to be corrected. It was that sense…
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