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File: 1547952172782.jpg (Spoiler Image, 26.47 KB, 249x384, 1044750965_turesDream.jpg)

Shining Light: A Time of Heroes Thread 2 - Hopes and Dreams The Prince of Stories!pinkie78OsCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41552420[View All]

#Ask/Invite #Canon: Lost Light Universe #Era: Shining Light #Superheroes #IC

>it is a realm beyond rational knowledge, beyond any mortal concept of space or time

>it is a place with only the vaguest concept of form, ever-changing as if on the whims of an artist
>it is the home to all manner of creatures, great and small, innocent and frightening, all as random and incoherent as the land itself
>it is a place none can reach of their own free will, and yet all have been there
>from the mightiest of overlords, to the most inconsequential of paupers
>from the kindest, to the cruelest, and all in-between
>from the most complicated of beings whose thoughts concern whole galaxies, to the most simple who can just barely form a thought
>and even you have been there before
>you would not recall it very well, for it hangs just on the edges of your memory, but when you fell into a deep sleep, you were there
>for it is the Land of the Dreaming

>like all lands, this one has a creator, and a ruler

>this ruler lives in a castle of his own making, all at once crystalline and stone, spectacular and inviting, while cold and haunting
>in this castle, the ruler governs his land and his people - which includes all those who enter it
>he is a quiet, reclusive ruler - respected, but feared
>for few can understand what goes through his eternal, ageless mind, as his desires are simple, while his dedication to his work is unprecedented
>but what would a being such as him do when there is no work to be done?

>often, he reflects on what he has done, for a being as eternal as he has done very much

>he reflects on love lost, on acts both selfish and selfless, on what it means to engage with mortals whose lives end so quickly, on his presence in their lives and their views of him
>and he often ponders on what his future holds, for even a being as old as he will one day reach his end, and what meaning his actions will have when that time comes
>but for today, he decides to pursue one of his favourite hobbies
>he reads

>in his castle is a most special library

>within its endless halls are every book ever written, from the most popular and largely known, to the most obscure and rarely-seen, and even those forever lost to the sands of time
>it also contains the tomes that will be written, whether as early as tomorrow, or as far away as the end of all things
>and it contains the stories that have never been written, that will never come to be, and remain in the minds of their creators, with pen never having been put to page
>for what is a story but an idea someone first created in their mind?
>and what is an idea but a dream that simply took form?

>in this library, he idly picks up a single book

>it is the second volume of an ongoing tale, its end not yet come to pass
>it is both a simple and complicated story
>it is a tale of heroes and villains, and their opposing ideologies clashing in a never-ending struggle
>it is a tale of love, of life, of growth and learning
>it is a tale of happiness, sorrow, anger, and fear
>it is a tale that has been told many times before, and will be told many times since
>and yet, he reads it all the same, and takes no less enjoyment out of it
>for all stories are precious, and are worth telling and reading, as they all mean something special to someone

>he is the Prince of Stories and Ideas

>he is the ruler of the Land of the Dreaming
>he has gone by many names, but you may know him simply as the Sandman
>and like you, he enjoys a good story
>perhaps you will enjoy this one too


664 posts and 521 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555442


>from the outside looking in, Dis looked pretty much exactly as Virn had described; a dull, depressing little husk of a town that looked like it hadn’t so much “seen better days” as it had “once vaguely heard of the concept of better days in passing from a stranger in a bar 40 years ago”.

>everything seemed almost impossibly dull and lifeless; the sky, ground, and everything in between being the same joy-draining shade of gray. a faded wood sign on the side of the road read ”Welcome to Dis! Where You Have Nothing To Hide”. what an absolutely not suspicious motto!
>pinned on the sign directly beside that slogan was just about the only splash of actual color to be seen; a surprisingly fresh-looking photo of some tan lady wearing a red dress and smiling widely, with “STAY OUT” heavily penned underneath. wonder what she did.

>venturing deeper into the town, the atmosphere hardly changed. something about the place simply felt off, though it was hard to tell how much of that as actual and how much was just nerves.

>no shadowy G-men peeking out from alleyways just yet, but there was something undefinably wrong in the air. something artificial, like something, somewhere, was ever so slightly fake.
>part of that wrongness stemmed from the fact that, for such a small and desolate town in the middle of nowhere, Dis seemed remarkably dense. dozens of slightly gothic-flavored buildings lined each end of the streets, faded signs advertising all sorts of businesses, including ones that seemed far too niche for such a nonexistent population.
>granted, all of those businesses seemed to be long-abandoned, with burnt-out signs and boarded windows as far as the eye could see.
>but why the hell did such a dead-end shithole have a freaking boba place? let alone one that seemed to have closed up shop 30 years before its products became trendy?

>just about the only place that seemed to still be running was a dusty old gas station off the side of the main street in and out of town, the flickering lights along the parking lot sticking out from a mile away amidst the dull dim gray of the rest of the town.

>and here was also the first actual person to be seen since entering Dis, along with another rare splash of actual color; a perfectly normal-looking young woman in a bright red shirt, sitting on the sidewalk outside the store with an equally red slushie in one hand and a phone in the other.

>clearly the perfect first lead to start yanking on in the name of investigative journalism!

Virn O'Raidhin!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555443

File: 1555608366912.jpg (13.59 KB, 256x192, Im good.jpg)

>Virn's pace slowed down, but not out of kindness towards her disoriented partner
>she just needed to look back at Seras with a dead, barely restrained look in her eyes as she shakily questioned:
W-...What killer clown stories...?

>the quick arrival at the town itself managed to pry Virn out of her existential crisis for losing a dumb made-up competition between herself and a literal mass of land
>quickly reaching for her trusty camera, the sing was the first thing Virn chose to focus on, taking a few quick shots from more angles than a welcome sign probably needed
>she studied the photo taped to the sign, which definitely raised some questions: who was this lady; what had she done that had made her a pariah in Dis; and were those actually real?

>something to definitely inquire to... the tumbleweeds, no doubt

>Virn certainly expected to find herself in a rundown ghost town, but this went just a tad beyond what she expected
>not just the town, but even the air around them had that unmistakable feeling of a neglected retirement home
>Virn's camera was quickly put to use, taking as many scenery shots as she could without ever stopping for more than five seconds
Well, I can safely say, this place somehow both exceeded and fell way short of my expectations.

Definitely giving it a 0.2 on the Chernobyl scale, but...
>she focused on some of the anachronistic shops with a curious leer, quickly taking some pictures
Something definitely does not add up. Not unless this place has some really freak weather that would do this much damage to buildings in a short amount of time.

>Virn was halfway tempted to let herself glow, if only to liven up the place even just a bit

>but a big bright splotch of red amidst the pale dead everything caught her eye just in time
<"Holy cow, a people!"
And here I thought I'd have to start tossing rocks at people's windows...
>she might or might not have been a little disappointed she wouldn't have to
Hey! 'Scuse me, miss! Miss~!
>she quickly skipped over, closer to the young lady in red
'Scuse me, but, are you a resident here?

Seras Victoria!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555444

File: 1555611863248.png (267.21 KB, 519x345, 1386408451008.png)

>Seras didn't have the heart to go into details for Virn, nor that the story in question was over 30 years old by this point
>she just opted to follow behind her as they stepped deeper into Dis, leaving that whole matter alone
>Seras hadn't given the welcome or wanted signs much focus, as she was distracted by something more significant
>as they moved into the town properly, that feeling of something just being "off" was very palpable for Seras in particular, so much so that she lagged behind Virn as she examined each building in turn
>she couldn't really put her finger on what it was, but it was as if she had this lingering feeling in her mind
>as if she could see the town as it used to be, or how it should be, instead of how it was
>instead of the buildings being derelict and abandoned, they were restored to their true potential, even keeping in tune with the Gothic theme
>the streets were lively and filled with people too
>or rather, "people" in a specific sense
>undoubtedly, monsters once lived here, of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds
>they lived just as any other populace would, hidden away from the world at large, separated from anyone who might seek to do them harm
>it was strange, but Seras could almost see them now, even while she was staring at the actually empty streets
>and...were they watching her?


...Virn, Oi wouldn' dismiss this jus'-

>after wandering in a daze, she looked to Virn to try and explain what she was seeing, somehow, only for her to have pulled ahead


Oy! Wait up!

>she gave chase, though she had to weave around a number of not-really-there people in pursuit, again delaying her

>she wasn't entirely sure what to believe but she was certain there was something to this place now

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555447



>the girl suddenly jolted at Virn’s voice and desperately tried to cough up a bunch of little bits of red ice in the hopes of not choking to death on her drink.
>granted, choking to death would at least be keeping with the style of the town, but.
>she righted herself pretty quickly though, quickly jumping up to her feet to greet Virn properly.

Hi, yes! Hello! Can I help you!

>her reaction was a bit overenthusiastic, but that could just as easily be chalked up to being plain ol’ surprised to see an actual person, let alone two.

>getting a closer look at the girl, she seemed… unexpectedly normal. black hair, brown eyes, looked around her late teens, a little shorter than usual, apparently some kind of Asian, a little broad-built but not overly so perhaps even “thick” as the youth of today might say.
>definitely not the kind of weird inbred redneck that the location and atmosphere would’ve suggested.

...Eheh, sorry. I was just kind of surprised to actually see anyone out today! You can probably guess that we, uh, we don’t get a lot of visitors here.

>she gave a slightly sheepish smile that seemed entirely out of place with the world around her.

But, yeah, I… sssorta live here, I guess! It’s a little complicated, but I’m staying over there for awhile.

>she pointed off at an old building not too far in the distance; an old Spanish mission church, exceptionally out of place for this part of the country, sitting on a hill overlooking the center of town. it looked only marginally more cared for than the rest of the buildings, just enough so that it was only slightly suspect that this girl claimed to live there.

-Ah! Aw geez, I forgot to even introduce myself! My name’s Sadako! What brings you guys here?

Eddie Riggs!RpQzSCoUtsCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555449

File: 1555635629616.jpg (92.97 KB, 1280x720, Eddie_Scream.jpg)

<"Okay man, you got this...

>So this was STAR Academy...

>When he saw that they were looking for a music teacher, he was expecting just little more glit. He thought they'd be a lot more up their own ass. But y'know what? That put Eddie at ease. They were a top-of-the-line exclusive high school, but they clearly remembered that they were still human, and weren't better than everyone else.

>Eddie could get down with that, if they'd get down with him. They'd have done some research on him before calling him in for an interview, right? They'd have seen the articles about his storied roadie career. As well as the ones bemoaning his decision to stop touring, and maybe even the ones about his incidental hero work.

>And if that wasn't enough, the way he'd dressed a bit nicer for this interview would, right? Eddie had his hair back in a neat ponytail, he'd put on his best pair of khakis, a button up shirt, hell, even a bowtie. His inner teenage rebel would never forgive him for that one...

<"Alright, let's do this."

>And so Eddie took his first step towards this interview...

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555452


>the room Eddie was led into was pretty normal, really. almost underwhelming, even. just a plain, quiet meeting room that would fit in any office just about anywhere in the world. just gray carpet, white walls, and a long table right in the center of the room.

>kinda dreary, really. guess even fancy private schools couldn’t be all flash all the time.
>but in sharp contrast to that dreariness was the woman sitting at the table directly across from the door, busily digging into a small pile of paperwork and file folders of god knows what.
>she glanced up as soon as the door opened with a brief look of surprise.

Wh-oh! You’re earlier than I expected!

>she quickly stood up and moved around the table to greet Eddie directly with a handshake and a bright smile.

You must be Mr. Riggs, right? My name is Jasmine Nicholau, I’m the principal here at STAR Academy; but you can just call me Jasmine, or Jas, or whatever you want to really! Take a seat and we can get started right away!

>while Jasmine was plain in her own right, that wasn’t a bad thing. for someone in charge of a fancy private school, she was remarkably unpretentious in presentation- no high class grooming or expensive fashion; just a bob cut, a smile, and a blazer and pencil skirt over a colorful t shirt and old sneakers.

>even just from a first impression, she immediately gave off an extremely welcoming atmosphere. even in this dull gray room, just looking at her sunny smile immediately gave off mental images of happy puppies and hugs from your mom.
>just about the only thing that seemed a little out of place was how tall she was standing up, even a good bit above most men. though, maybe that just helped contribute to her general momly aura.

>meanwhile, Jasmine was taking a moment to get a look at Eddie as well.


>she brought her free hand to her mouth, trying to hold back giggles.

I-I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh! It’s just – you don’t dress like this normally, do you? It’s a good look, I promise! You just seem a bit, you know, uncomfortable. You don’t have to be so formal if you don’t want to!

Virn O'Raidhin!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555454

File: 1555654673275.jpg (14.23 KB, 256x192, cocky.jpg)

>Virn wasn't at all paying attention to Seras's odd behavior, her attention focused exclusively on the one person they'd seen since arriving
>and she seemed perfectly nice and friendly; awesome!
>"You can probably guess we, uh, we don't get a lot of visitors here."
<"I'd be surprised if you get any births, let alone visitors..."
>Sadako's claim that she didn't actually live here was a bit of a bummer, but you don't look a gift horse in the mouth and all
Nice to meet'cha, Sadako!

Name's Ada. Ada Kong.
>she then motioned to the other girl approaching
And this here's my bud; Jill Patrick.
>she then glanced at Seras, noting her odd expression with a raised eyebrow
You alright there, Patty?

>but then quickly turned to Sadako again to answer her question

Weeell, curiosity, mostly!
>her arm snaked its way around Seras's, suddenly yanking her closer to her
See, we've been travelin' together on a grand road trip across America to really get to know the often-ignored nooks and crannies of the country. The simple places, like Innsmouth, Smallville; y'know the ones.
>she slipped out from besides Seras, confident she got with the program, and to not reveal their true identities like some weenie
We heard a lot about- well, OK, I heard a lot about Dis, and I just had to toss aside Patty's carefully made travel schedule, and drag her over to this place!
>giving Sadako a friendly smirk, she finally moved on the offense:
So, y'said you're staying in the church, right? Do they make a habit of letting strangers crash there, because y'see, we're running a little bit light on the wallet side of things- also, is there a holiday goin' on or something?
>she motioned vaguely around at the empty streets
This post was edited by its author on .

Seras Victoria!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555466

File: 1555681650412.png (604.96 KB, 890x701, seras_victoria_color_by_gantzt…)

>Seras did catch up soon enough, although she was still distracted by the not-quite-there faces she saw roaming around them
>she did manage to hear her new name get mentioned, causing her to do a double-take at Virn/Ada, which was really because of her name choice, but could've easily been because of her reaction to her bewilderment
>still, she needed to play her part, and she suddenly had an idea that was probably going to screw it all up, but she felt the urge to try anyway
>so she straightened up, put on a big smile, and responded:

Roight as rain, Ada me luv!

>if you've ever heard someone with a natural Cockney accent attempt to imitate an Irish accent, you can probably guess how Seras sounded right now

>not very good, in essence

>she thankfully had the sense to let Virn/Ada do most of the talking, all while she gave Sadako a once-over

>strangely enough, despite the ever-present oddity of the town around them, she couldn't really see or smell anything odd about her
>somehow, she really was just an ordinary girl in the middle of an abandoned town that was once - or may still be - inhabited with monsters of all varieties
>if there was an explanation for this, Seras hadn't found it yet

>unfortunately, Virn had to mention the church, causing Seras to bristle a bit

>and promptly slap a hand on her shoulder, though she kept up the jovial demeanor

Oh Ada, we don' need ta trouble them!

Oi'm shoor we c'n foind a place t' stay an' leave th' noice churchgoin' folk alone!

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555467


>Sadako politely nodded along with “Ada”’s explanation, though her attention was a bit split.

>that is to say -
>”Roight as rain, Ada me luv!”
>- she was staring straight at “Jill” with a blank, vacant smile on her face for quite a while, for a couple of reasons.
>first and most importantly of all what was that accent?
>but secondly, why was she acting like that? she kept stumbling around and glancing around at nothing, almost like…
>oh, hang on. duh. pale skin, red eyes, pointy teeth? of course she could see it, why wouldn’t she? her friend didn’t seem to be the same, but maybe there was something weird about her too?
>if she’d heard so much about Dis that made her want to drop everything and come here, then she must be in the know too, right?

>at least, that’s what Sadako thought until she heard the holiday question. maybe this lady didn’t know what was going on??

>geez, this was hard. one lady that belonged here and could see through the tricks and her girlfriend that didn’t and couldn’t. what to do?
>they were girlfriends, right? that’s what the “me luv” was about? or was that just a regular term of endearment wherever she was from?

>wait, duh! of course! they were asking for a place to stay! that meant bringing them to Santa Muerte, and she’d totally know what to do!

>right as Sadako was about to enthusiastically offer a spare room, “Jill” interrupted her just a little too curtly.
>duh again, obviously a vampire would be uncomfortable with religiousy stuff!

Oh, no, no, it’s fine! It’s not really much of a church anymore anyways! It’s more like a… hostel, I guess! Just a place for people with nowhere else to stay. As long as you’re willing to pitch in on chores, you can stay as long as you need to, no churchy stuff necessary! Promise! It’s run by this really really nice old lady, and I’m sure she’d just love to meet you guys!

>she flashed her most encouraging smile, then briefly turned back to Virn.

Oh, and to answer your question – no, it’s just always like this. Always has been, as far as I know.

Ada Kong!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555468

File: 1555690733695.jpg (15.23 KB, 256x192, I am shocked.jpg)

>what was that?
>was that a drunken parrot trying to speak Welsh-
>wait, no, that was...
>that was Seras
>that was... Seras...

>the slap on the shoulder, followed by Jill's not-so-subtle pushiness towards the church subject gave Ada a slight pause

>she stared at Jill with a flat look, quietly grumbling under her breath:
You can survive sunlight but churches still scare you; you really confuse me sometimes...
>Sadako's cheerful explanation that the church wasn't really a church anymore brought Virn's plans back on track
>"As long as you're willing to pitch in on chores..."
>aaaaand almost immediately popped a cap right on the back of their head with that
>Ada didn't even attempt to mask her expression of contempt towards the word "chores"
>for a few seconds, Ada had to really consider if this entire investigation was worth it after all
>on one hand, it was their best lead towards possibly finding someone who can give answers...
>but on the other hand, surely they could find some cardboard and a bridge just lying around, right?

Mmmmmmyyyeah, sure, that works out.
>that was a painful thing to agree to
>at least she had something to get her mind off of things and stop herself from immediately regretting this decision
>"It's just always like this. Always has been, as far as I know."
Izzat so...
>reaching into her pocket, Ada took out her phone
Hey, before I forget!
>she then showed Sadako the image of the disheveled young woman that had gone lost in the area
Have you by any chance seen this girl around here?

We were supposed to meet her along the way, but she just never showed up.

Eddie Riggs!RpQzSCoUtsCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555469

>This was starting to feel a lot less like a job interview and much more like visiting the surrogate mom he never knew he had. Not that Eddie was complaining.
>In any case he would confirm that he was, in fact, Mr. Riggs and take a seat when he was offered one.

<"Alright, I guess I was overdressed after all."

>Once Jasmine invited him to loosen up, he whispered "Oh thank god" and immediately loosened his bowtie.

"Figured I'd dress the part, applying to work at a fancy, respected high school."

>There's a pause before Eddie adds

"Wait, you're not just sayin' that? This looks good?"

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555470

File: 1555692351212.png (383.05 KB, 716x980, SerasVictoria.png)

>"Jill" heard Sadako mention that it technically wasn't a church, so that was a bit of a relief
>though Jill didn't profess to know the rules of how this worked
>was it just the fact that it used to be a church at all still going to be a problem?
>was it the religious iconography?
>it wasn't like she could consult the right expert on it, especially since he wasn't affected by it at all
>Jill remained oblivious about Sadako figuring out what the deal with her was, just focusing on the subject at hand
>she quickly replied to Ada with an equally hushed tone, albeit through clenched teeth

Is not loike Oi make th' rules abou' this...

>it wasn't like being in a church actively hurt her or anything

>but there was that constant feeling that she just shouldn't be there, and that put her on edge for as long as she was near anything religious
>it had more to do with her as a person, really
>she was a good law-abiding and law-protecting citizen, so if she wasn't supposed to be in a church, she wasn't going to be in one, simple as that

>she didn't add anything to Ada's question, instead looking around them a little more

>she kept blinking a few times, starting to wonder if she was actually going crazy
>one minute she could see the beings wandering around the town, plain as anything, and then the next they were gone
>she didn't think to ask about that, and if she did, she'd dismiss the idea shortly thereafter
>because then she'd sound like she was crazy too

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555473

File: 1555700098821.png (3.39 MB, 3800x3500, vespa.png)

>with her classes finish, Vespa had all day to do what she wanted
>but what would she do today?
>she was still getting use to this new body. Turning into a walking bug was one thing, but turning into a living hive was another; people would consider it one of the grosser powers around campus.

>the young hive was kneeling down next to an ant hill that miraculously remained unstomped despite the rowdy teenagers on campus.

>removing a bag of chips from her jacket, still an integral part of her attire, even after changing species, she crushed one of the chips and sprinkled the crumbs along the edge of the ant hill, like some sort of benevolent insect god.

>Several ants were quick to pick up on it, carrying to pieces back to the hill.

There you guys go!

>Ant Hill Status: Fed

>standing back up, the bee looked for what else she could do.

>Maybe stay here a while. Sometimes it was nice to just sit and watch the busy ants, even letting a few crawl on her arm.

Ada & ???!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555474

>STAR Academy was a place of many varied and interesting students; both in physical appearance as well as temperament
>Vespa was far from the only arthromorph, let alone the only animorph, so at any moment one could find themselves staring at someone who looked as inhuman as you could possibly get
Aw shweet! Afternoon shnack!
>Aaron Turnzmeed was, by all intents and purposes, a rather standard student, with decent grades and little tendency to get into any trouble
>but a big reason for the latter is usually because very few students care to try and start trouble with Aaron
>if one were to ask him, Aaron didn't find his mutation to be any sort of curse; he had always enjoyed it to its fullest
>it made his body big and powerful, without actually needing to concern himself with any rigorous training; all he needed to do was eat
>his long tongue helped pick up where his proportionately stubby arms fell short of, and the length proboscis that was his entire face let him sniff out his next meal from quite a long way away
>apart from his slight speech impediment, Aaron had always been thankful that, through sheer girth and the strength accompanying it, he could count the number of students that had tried to mess with him after the first few week in the Academy on just one and a half hands

>unfortunately for Vespa, Aaron would be the very last student she'd probably ever want to come across

>while Aaron would most certainly never try to eat a fellow student just because they happened to look like his favorite meal
>the sight of a 6-foot-tall sumo-sized bipedal ant eater was going to be a bit of a shock to the system

Hey, you finished with that?
>he asked, pointing down at the molehill
>he wasn't totally sure what a bee-girl was doing so close to an anthill, but he assumed she might've been feeding on it
>bugs with chips; why had he never thought of that!

Vespa!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555475

>taking her childhood into account, Vespa was always happy that the bizarre became the norm, here at STAR.


>Vespa's antenna raised in surprise.

>she had seen Aaron around school now and again but never approached him. He was just one of those "Guy I sometimes see in the crowd but never approached" kind of people.
>She was thankful that he was just an anteater and not a bee eater, otherwise she'd be a buffet for him.

>standing up straight, one pair of arms behind her back and the other pair clasped in front of her, standing before the oversized Pilosa, she shook her head.

No they're my friends! I foster all the bugs on campus.

Ada & ???!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555477

>when Vespa stood up and made her declaration, Aaron came to a full stop as he stared at the girl
>his expression was often difficult to read due to the bizarre head shape of his, but that look of "is this girl for real" was one that was hard to miss no matter what
You for real...? You can't foshter all the bugsh; who gave you that right!
>he stepped closer with a slight stomp of his thick legs
If you're not eating 'em, then shtep ashide already! I haven't eaten shince this mornin'!

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555478


>Sadako was almost ready to turn on the puppy dog eyes in response to “Ada”’s obvious loathing for the concept of physical labor, but fortunately that wasn’t necessary to get her to crack.

Awesome! Just follow me, I’ll-
>”Hey, before I forget!”
>Sadako stopped mid-step to look at the photooooooooooooooh fuck.
Uuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh, y-yeah! She, uh, came into town awhile back, but I haven’t seen her in awhile.
>okay sadako think fast try to explain this in a way that won’t totally give the secret away
Sheeeeee... actually stayed with us for a little while! Sh-she left pretty quickly though, and I haven’t really seen her since. B-but I’m sure she’s still around!
>nailed it, totally smooth and inconspicuous! and technically, it wasn’t even a lie! she just left out the parts about how Jenny had immediately fled the joint the second she was asked to do any actual work. after all, if she was a friend of these two, it wouldn’t be a great first impression to start accusing her of laziness, right?

>suddenly Sadako was really interested in avoiding eye contact and taking a long sip from her drink.

>truly, she was the best at lying.

...IIIIIIIIII’m just gonna start walking that way and I can take any other questions along the way, ‘kay?

>without waiting for a response, she started walking away, leading the way into the infinite expanse of dreary gray that was the city center of Dis.

Vespa!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555479

>Usually she didn't mind animals being eaten. Arthropods were at the bottom of the food chain (or food web if you wanted to get more technical), so it wasn't like them being eaten was an atrocity.
>but she had practically bonded with this anthill! She wasn't about to let it get eaten!

There's probably an anthill else where in the school!

>she said, how holding her upper pair of arms in front of her defensively.

This one is mine.

>out from the palm of her hands, a pair of large bee-like creatures emerged, resembling wasps more than bees actually. Each about the size of a dollar coin.

>her antenna lowering like the furrowing of a brow, Vespa made an attempt to stand up for herself.
I don't want to hurt another student.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555491


>likewise, Jasmine retook her spot across the table, clearly glad to see Eddie loosening up a bit.

Well, I think the most important thing is to have confidence in how you look, no matter how you choose to style yourself. But yes, I’m pretty confident saying that you could clean up nicely if you wanted to!

Not that it’s strictly required, of course – we’re pretty lenient about dress codes, see? So long as you’re not wearing anything totally inappropriate for kids, we can be pretty accomodating. Heck, you should’ve seen what Mallory was wearing for awhile!

>she paused for just a moment, quietly chuckling to herself. truth be told, she was a little sad to see the weird body stocking go.

>sure, it was a bit risque, and sure Mallory claimed to hate it, but Jasmine had a feeling that it was ultimately a good experience for her. everyone deserved to be empowered by their looks, and some mischievous little part of Jasmine was certain that those cheeky youthful stares Mallory had been drawing could’ve only bolstered her self-confidence.!

Anyways! Introductions are made, so let’s get down to business!

>Jasmine put on her official Serious Business face (which was still pretty gentle, really) and resumed digging into the pile of folders in front of her.

>fortunately, having the backing and connections of STAR Labs meant that background checks for prospective employees were exceptionally thorough, especially given the secretive nature of the school; meaning that Jasmine never had to worry that her faith in a new hire would be misplaced.

Just to be positive, Mr. Riggs, you’ve been briefed on what sets us apart from normal private schools, right? I’m sure you are – you wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t signed all the non-disclosure agreements! - but it never hurts to be entirely certain.

Ada & ???!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555495

File: 1555758123269.jpg (15.08 KB, 256x192, very distracted.jpg)

>a totally normal and not at all suspicious reaction to that question
>if Virn wasn't sure something was going down already, she certainly was now
>that reaction couldn't say "definitely hiding something" any more strongly without just coming out and spilling the entirety of the bean aisle in the supermarket

>Virn gave Seras a slight look, raising her eyebrows knowingly

>she was pretty sure her partner would've reached the same conclusion she had
>when Sadako started moving, Virn was quick to follow along and act casually
Aah, shoot! Guess we'll just miss each other for a while longer then! No real biggie; I'm sure we'll bump into each other eventually.
>readying her camera, "Ada" continued taking photos of the town, albeit at a slower pace this time
So how long have you been squatting 'round here, Sadie? Mind if I call you Sadie? My great-aunt was called Sadako, and now I can't see that name without thinking of gaudy aqua-green dresses, sloppy too-much-lipstick old lady kisses, and curious dog-like smells despite never owning a dog in her life.

Ada & ???!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555496

File: 1555759760227.jpg (70.1 KB, 640x360, its a mess.jpg)

>Aaron stared down at the small bug-girl, his expressionless glare unflinching
>until the wasp-like creatures emerged from Vespa's hand, and she made her "threat"



>and the boy quickly started laughing
Heeheeh-hoo-hoo! A-Are you sh-sherioush!? You're sherioushly tryin' to shcare me with shome bugsh!? Hahahah!
>he kept his laughter going for a few more seconds, before finally taking a deep breath and calming down
>but then, Aaron's entire demeanor seemingly changed on a whim
>it was easy to overlook past Aaron given his goofy appearance and speech quirks
>but at the end of the day, when a 6-foot-plus, 300 pound anteater is glaring down on you
>you can just feel that
Look, I'm shtartin' to loshe my patience, girl. I'm not in the mood to have to shcour the entire shchool when there'sh a perfectly good anthill right in front of me.
>just for emphasis, Aaron lifted his foot, only to stomp it on the ground to cause it to noticeably shake
They're jusht bugsh. More importantly, they're bugsh in the wild. If ya wanted to own 'em, ya should've thought about gettin' an ant farm shooner!

Ash they are, they're fair game to eat! Sho you better shtep ashide before I add thoshe beesh of yoursh to the menu-

>right before Aaron could finish, something flew straight at his head
>a brick had collided directly to Aaron's skull, actually breaking upon impact
>Aaron himself had only stumbled to the side, grabbing the side of his head which was now stinging like a bitch
>only for his voice to die in his throat as soon as he turned to the one responsible

>by no means was Aaron one to back down from a fight, and there were very few students that he would ever admit to be intimidated by

>but the difference between most students in the school, and the short, scrawny kid that was glaring in his direction was: most students weren't likely to just stab a knife in your eyes
>he'd heard all the stories and rumors; Woods "Woomy" Mielson wasn't someone who got into ordinary fights
>his fighting style was more in line with what you'd see in a prison yard riot, than a schoolyard brawl
Get lost, lard-ass.
>a short and simple order, but an effective one

>Aaron looked between Vespa and Woomy, his pride battling with his desire to not get repeatedly stabbed

>with a loud grunt, Aaron turned and began walking away without another word given
>this wasn't a fight worth having just for a measly anthill

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555498


>well she didn’t immediately call Sadako out on how obviously suspicious she was being, so clearly that meant she was doing something right!

>man, Cory had no idea what she was talking about. lying is easy.

Ech, don’t call it “squatting” that makes it sound… bad. Buuut, feel free to call me whatever you want! Just about everyone goes with “Sadie” anyways.

About how long, though? I’d say only a little over a year or so. See, I had some… family problems back home, and I just had to go somewhere else for awhile. Can’t say Dis was really my first pick, but it’s not that bad once you get used to it!

>as she led the way deeper into town, it was pretty hard to guess what she considered “not so bad” about it. the center of Dis was just as gray and desolate as the rest of it, with a small central park filled with gnarled dead trees and surrounded by rings of even more densely-packed streets.

>and yet, there still wasn’t a single person to be seen besides Sadako.
>she circled around the park and took a right at one of those circling streets, leading to a road straight up the hill to that old church. the closer they got, the easier it was to see the place in detail.
>while the church still wasn’t in great shape, it was far and away the most livable looking building in Dis so far. still a bit creepy and run down, but in a weirdly… homey sort of way. like it was worn down by use from the countless people who had lived there, rather than whatever extreme entropy had hit the rest of the town.
>the most eye catching thing, though, was the oddly pristine sign hanging over the gates of the church grounds; “San Samael’s Home For Restless Spirits”.
>that was… strange wording.

Well, here it is! Home sweet home!

>Sadako cheerfully hurried up to the front doors, the old wood creaking loudly in protest as she held it open for the other two women.

>inside was what appeared to be a sort of lobby. on one end was a pretty fancy old wooden desk, covered in tidily organized binders and stationery. on the other end of the room was a couple of faded but comfortable-looking armchairs around a coffee table bearing a stack of magazines decades out of date.
>and a single volume of some… weird monstergirl harem manga, oddly enough.
>overall the interior of the building was much the same as the outside, clearly just as tired as everything else in Dis, but with just a little touch of life still running through it. but there was something else wrong, something entirely different in the air.
>it still had that weird tinge of fakeness, but there was something more to it than that.
>you know the feeling when you know something bad is going to happen, but you don’t know what or when? or the same feeling, but for something good? San Samael’s somehow managed to combine both feelings into one; a very faint, weird sort of contradictory bittersweetness, equal parts dread and comfort.

>not that Sadako seemed to notice it at all, staying just as cheerful as she had the entire way up here. she turned to give “Ada” and “Jill” another bright smile while she backed up towards a hallway leading deeper into the building.

Alrighty! Feel free to make yourselves at home, I’m just gonna go grab Ms. Muerte and let her know you’re here, ‘kay? Be right back!

Eddie Riggs!RpQzSCoUtsCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555499

File: 1555786439602.jpg (348.9 KB, 1536x1080, EddieRiggs4.jpg)

<"So I can wear the battle vest around here. Hell yeah!"

>Of course, Eddie knew better than to exclaim "Hell yeah!" in front of his possible boss, but Jasmine would be able to see that he was quite happy to hear that.

>Oop. Serious business time. Better level with that. Eddie readjusted his posture to demonstrate that he was with Jasmine on the tonal shift.

"The whole 'Superpowered teenagers that need a safe place to learn' thing? Yeah, they told me. Honestly made me even more interested in the job."

>Truth be told, Eddie hadn't dealt with kids a whole lot as a roadie, but high schoolers? Those were basically adults without the experience being grownups, right? He'd figure it out.

Ada & ???!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555500

File: 1555788151368.jpg (13.62 KB, 256x192, listen to me.jpg)

>Virn had managed to remain relatively silent throughout the journey; as painful of an experience as that was for the chatterbox
>although a keep ear would've picked up a very light snort of amusement as she saw the sign by the gate
>this was almost too good to be true

>"Well, here it is! Home sweet home!"

>Virn had no snarky comments to make there
>having been acquainted with the homeless life at a younger age, she had never shaken off that feeling of "as long as there's a roof over your head" gratitude
>as spooky and it-is-highly-advised-you-get-a-tetanus-shot-before-entering-y as the place may be, a place to sleep is a place to sleep no matter what
>Sadako's quick retreat couldn't have happened at the best time; "Ada" happily waved at the girl with a "thanks, we will"
>but as soon as she was gone, Virn took over and immediately began her snooping
So, what's your take on this?
>she spoke up at Seras while making her way over to the fancy desk
>carefully, she tried to quickly peruse through anything of interest that might've been on top of it at the time
>although her eyes couldn't help but wander over to the coffee table on the other end of the room
>and the brightly colored thing that certainly did not belong among all those old magazines
>Virn let out a quiet snort, rolling her eyes as she couldn't help but comment:
"I'm An Apprentice Baker At A Monstergirl College!?", really...? That's such a normie pick.

It's just a blatant ripoff of "Student Painter At An Undead Highschool", but since it's got way more money behind it, it got shoved in everyone's faces. That just makes me sick sometimes, y'know that?

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555503

File: 1555790867876.png (870.61 KB, 1091x704, tumblr_nhomjiBoWy1tqg0sto1_128…)

>Seras followed along as they headed towards the church/hostel/potential murder site/haunting grounds/whatever it was, but much like before she was a tad distracted by all the "sights" around her
>especially since it was becoming clear that these not-quite-there beings could definitely see her in turn
>what did it mean, exactly?
>were they hidden by some magic spell and it was wavering before her eyes?
>was this place trapped between the past and the present, and she was seeing through the veil?
>was she really just going crazy?


>either way, she could tell when she was being leered at

>she walked by what looked like a gang of fellow vampires, glaring at them as at least one of them let his eyes roam over her
>she didn't say anything, but she made a short hissing noise as they moved by, just to make it clear she wasn't going to tolerate that
>which didn't look crazy at all
>definitely not

>once they arrived at the "church", Seras tried to brace herself for what was to come once they stepped over the threshhold

>the oddity of it being named after Samael was lost on her, as she was just focused on not being sacrilegious too much
>so the old doors opened, and Seras stopped before them for a just a second
>she closed her eyes, inhaled, and stepped inside


>well she definitely felt weird, but not in the same sense as she did whenever she got near anything holy

>she definitely felt a sense of danger and possible wrongness, but it was like another feeling of relaxation was actively fighting against it
>which all just helped to put her more on edge than before

>once Sadie was gone, Seras hurried behind Virn and came to a stop just as she noticed the magazines
>which she totally ignored, suddenly grabbing Virn by the shoulders and turning her so she was staring right into her eyes

Your Ultra powers or whatevuh they are.

Can they see things tha' aren't actually there? Loike on othuh planes of reality or somefin'?

Because Oi really need confirmation that Oi'm not losin' my moind 'ere, Virn.

>she spoke in a quiet enough tone not to alert the retreating Sadie, but with enough tension to let Virn know that she was trying to keep it together right now

Ada & ???!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555504

File: 1555791517891.jpg (15.08 KB, 256x192, very distracted.jpg)

>even Virn couldn't help but jolt a bit when Seras grabbed her the way she did
>and she was definitely ready to make some sort of joke over how close they were, and how deep that stares was going
>but the tension in Seras's voice was enough indication to Virn that wasn't the right time
Uhhh... 'fraid not... pretty sure, anyway...

I can kinda move through dimensions, buuut it's complicated and takes way too much energy, generally speaking...
>she glanced around them, clearly not being able to pick up on anything strange at all
>then turned back to Seras with a genuinely concerned look on her face for her friend
You OK there, Vickie? Can you see something around us?

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555505

File: 1555793071872.jpg (28.56 KB, 600x360, 434702-12seras_regret.jpg)

>Seras wasn't too happy with that answer, but the spicy scent of being so close to Virn helped to distract her from her panic
>which was enough to get her to focus and pull back a little giving a dissatisfied grunt while she did

Yeah, plenty...

It's loike...

>she looked around their immediate surroundings, but surprisingly it was actually empty, so that would just make her sound even nuttier

It's loike Oi c'n see an entirely different place 'ere.

One filled wif monstuhs jus'...livin' out in th' open, loike is totally normal...

Oi blink an' it goes back t' bein' empty an' deserted, but...

>she looks back to Virn, now totally confused about what this actually meant

OI can't jus' be imaginin' it, roigh'...?

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555506

File: 1555793936864.jpg (14.23 KB, 256x192, cocky.jpg)

>Virn listened intently to what little details Seras was able to relay to her
>at no point did Virn's expression ever show doubt of confusion; quite the opposite, her mind was working at full capacity right now
>a hidden monster city, kept separate from the human world in some sort of magic world-bubble?
>or perhaps Seras was seeing the memories of what this place once was?
>or maybe some secret experiment going on that induced hallucinations on the undead?
>there were a lot of possibilities, each one wilder than the next, but that wasn't top priority right
>making sure her friend knew she wasn't crazy was top priority

>Virn gained a friendly smirk as she raised her hand

>and quickly placed it right above Seras's entire face, shoving that spicy Virn-scent as close to her nose as possible
In this day and age, not believing in strange nonsense if the crazy thing to do.

I don't think you're imagining anything, but obviously, you're the one who's most attuned to... whatever's going on around here.
>crossing her arms with a light, thoughtful hum, Virn was already trying to plan their next move
For now, just try to ignore it as best you can while we try and get some answers. If we can't find anything here, then... well, desperate times, desperate measures, right?

Assuming there is something beyond here, I might be able to brute force a way inside as a last measure. So try not to worry too much, OK? We'll get to bottom of this on way or another!
>grinning, she lightly bumped Seras's arm with her fist
Ain't nothing's escaped this dream team yet, right~? Even if all we find is another gay orgy at the end of the tunnel.

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555507

File: 1555796278753.jpg (126.64 KB, 1024x576, tumblr_static_seras.victoria.f…)



>Seras wrinkled her nose after getting a blast of Virn's hot-sauce-aroma right to her nostrils

>she tried to get used to that odd scent that came from her being part-Ultra, but every so often it was still powerful enough to daze her just a little

>Seras did appreciate her assuring her that there was clearly more to this than just her losing her mind, so she did manage a shaky smile when Virn finished speaking

>and the prospect of making sense of all of this was a comforting one, and if it was just a matter of monsters hiding from the outside world, that was a comforting outcome
>she hoped, anyway

>still, Virn's last remark earned a more disdainful look from the police girl, trying not to think too much about that fateful night

>or the next one
>or the next

Oi sweah, it's yew somehow.

Oi nevuh accidentally came across three gay orgies inna row b'fore Oi met yew.

Vespa!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555510

They're stings are very painful! I've stopped a thief with one once!

>you can boss her around, maybe, but when you insult her bugs, that's when things get personal!

>meanwhile, Vespa was exerting her control on the ants, commanding them to crawl onto her, like a rescue ship in the event of a crisis.

>Just bugs...

<"To you at least..."

>she kept telling herself that she would make her move. Yeah, that's right. She'd show this anteater what it's like to kick the living hornet's nest.

>yet, she found herself hesitating further and further, until she found herself nearly stumbling backwards on to the very anthill she found herself trying to rescue.

>...And just like that, the anthill was saved, thanks to... This kid. Someone who's reputation betrayed his innocuous appearance.

Bzzz... That was a close one.

>she said, holding her hands in gratitude. The pair of bugs from before moved location, flying and settling down on Vespa's head.

...A brick is a bit much though, don't you think. But my Formicoidea friends would be lunch if it wasn't for you.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555515


Mhm! As it stands, it’s unlikely to come into things much, but it would still be good to keep in mind; your students are still just kids, but they’re kids capable of exceptional things, and many of them are still learning to properly control themselves.

>Jasmine sighed and shifted uncomfortably in her seat, her expression getting a bit solemn

While metahuman intolerance has been dropping fast, it’s still not gone entirely, and many of our kids come from… less than ideal homes. They’re good at heart, but some can be a little difficult – I’m sure you know how emotional things can be at that age, especially with so much stress coming from home.

>she sighed again, but suddenly seemed to remember where she was and straightened back up with a sheepish smile.

Sorry, sorry! Didn’t mean to get so gloomy there – I don’t mean to make it sound like the students are a threat or you have to be on guard, just… well, I realize that this is a little weird to request from a man with the kind of career you’ve had, but…

Be gentle with them, okay?

They’re good kids, but they don’t know their own strength and many of them have been through a lot. The job is pretty much all lined up if you want it, but I just want to be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

>she paused for a moment, glancing down at the open file in front of her; an abridged bullet point list of Eddie’s personal background and career history.

>...oh. that could make things a little awkward.
>Jasmine’s smile turned even more awkward as she nervously drummed her fingers on the table.

Ssssssssspeaking of which, um, just to be sure – you wouldn’t happen to have any problem working with students or faculty with certain, um… demonic ancestry, would you?

Eddie Riggs!RpQzSCoUtsCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555525

File: 1555864813975.jpg (215.4 KB, 1280x720, brutal_legend_20090403124755.j…)

"Yeah, I've had kids backstage before. Sometimes they're cooler than the adults."

>Kids who'd been through a lot, huh? Sounded like the audience for some of the bands Eddie'd worked with. Sometimes he'd look out past the band, into the pit and wonder "What kind of life are these kids going home to tonight?"

"I'm not too worried about them breaking equipment, if that's what you're saying. I can fix just about anything that makes music."

>Demonic ancestry... He'd heard whispers about that kind of thing, and at this point Eddie wouldn't be surprised if it was true. But to ask about that specifically... That got him to raise an eyebrow.

"I... don't see why I would have a problem with that."

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555526

File: 1555872212590.jpg (69.09 KB, 639x480, its on now.jpg)

>as Aaron left the scene, Woomy sluggishly made his approach
>he reached down, grabbing the slightly-broken brick off the ground with a slight frown
>"A brick is a bit much though, don't you think."
>Woomy instantly snapped towards Vespa, holding up the brick in his hand
It wasn't my first choice either, y'know! I was savin' this brick for someone else, but it was the only thing on hand that could've even caught that fat-ass's attention!

The fuck else did you expect me to do!? He could've ran over both of us with just his ass cheeks if he really wanted to!
>with a loud growl, Woomy tossed the brick as hard as he could away from him, hurling it towards a nearby wall to fully shatter it this time
Now I gotta think of another way to get back at that monkey bitch... and I was really proud of that one, too! It was, like, totally ironic and shit, right!?

She smashes my face in with a brick; I punch her on the back of her head with the same brick! It was genius, dammit!
>with a gruff sigh, he seemed to calm back down with somewhat-worrying speed
>he looked back at Vespa, lifting a finger to point at the bugs
You got some things on your head.
>clearly he hadn't quite put two plus two together just yet

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555527


>there wasn’t really anything particularly spicy in the books on the desk; mostly just a guest log, chore lists, and budget spreadsheets. Sadako’s name came up quite a few times, alongside “Bea”, “Corinthia”, and “Mortimer”.

>well, it wasn’t anything super fascinating, but it suggested some other leads to go pulling on.

>shortly after Seras and Virn concluded their conversation, Sadako came back around the corner. her smile was gone, replaced by a confused, thoughtful sort of look.

Ooookay, so! We’ve got a spare room you guys can use as long as you need to, but you should probably know…


>geez, how the hell was she supposed to tackle this?

>… the same way she tackled everything in her life, she supposed; bluntly and violently.
>she suddenly snapped to face Seras, approaching the elephant in the room with all the subtlety of an actual elephant.

So you’re a vampire, right?
>and then to Virn
And you’re some sorta, like, space ghost-hybrid-thing?

>she kept talking at a rapid pace, completely ignoring the obvious question of how the hell she knew either of those things.

Alright, so you probably figured out there’s something up with Dis. Hell, you probably saw it already. Soooo, uh.

Monsters. It’s monsters. Monsters live here.
>that was a remarkably swift confirmation of that theory.
It’s a secret. That’s why the town looks like such a total dumphole. It’s actually a nice place, promise!

It’s a bunch of magicky stuff I don’t really understand, but it’s sorta like the town you saw is a… costume. You just gotta know the trick to see what’s underneath it, y’know?

>Sadako looked downright sheepish admitting all of this, nervously wringing her hands and insistently avoiding eye contact.

>it’s almost like she realized how ludicrous this would sound to anyone who wasn’t already an actual for real vampire and/or friends with an actual for real vampire.

Sooo, uh. Sorry for tricking you, I guess?

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555528

File: 1555888365663.png (3.39 MB, 3800x3500, vespa.png)

>Vespa's antennas were raised in alert
>this kid was even scarier than the last guy in terms of personality. But at least he didn't want to eat her bugs, so that's what mattered.
>there wasn't much point in letting one threatened anthill ruin her day!

>as much as she wanted to point out that a brick is normally for buildings and not the object entering someone's skull, it wasn't polite to question someone after they helped you... Especially someone as angry as this one.

No, no! Really, I'm thankful. Haven't had someone save me or my friends before. Especially not from a scary anteater.
<"Don't think that's irony either."
>she didn't want to get into the details of what is and isn't irony.

>holding a finger to her head, she let one of the bugs crawl onto her hand. From its appearance, it didn't quite look like a bee, but not quite like a wasp.

>Vespa called them bees to make it easy

Them? They're my friends! Ever since I transformed, they've been living inside of me.
>she said, holding her palm flat, to reveal a small whole in her palm, which the bee then crawled into out of sight.

>with her enthusiasm raising, now that the anteater was gone, she let the other bee buzz circles around her.

They call me Vespa.

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555536

File: 1555934890362.jpg (13.62 KB, 256x192, listen to me.jpg)

>well... that certainly saved quite a bit of time trying to get to the bottom of the situation
>Seras being quickly found out as a vampire wasn't that out of the ordinary; she didn't actually seem to go through much trouble to try and hide it
>but how in the hell did this random girl know about her space-ghost-hybrid-thingy-ness!?
>Virn visibly jolted, not very happy that her secret identity was in jeopardy again, but since Sadako didn't go into any details, hopefully that'd be the full extent of her knowledge
>"Sooo, uh. Sorry for tricking you, I guess?"

Don't worry about it.
>"Ada" was quick to answer
>but like hell was she going to give out her real name
Sometimes you need a lil' smoke and mirrors to have a normal life, right? Just like Gorilla City.
>of course, now she would probably just feel bad trying to get any photos of this place published
>if they were hiding away like this, surely they had good reason to
>then again, there was nothing saying that good reason wasn't bad, either...
>clearing her throat, Virn quickly followed up with:
Sooo... where does that leave our friend though? Did she actually come by here or what?

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555537

File: 1555936043685.jpg (24.74 KB, 176x229, natural state.jpg)

>Woomy reached up to rub at the back of his neck, letting out a short yawn as Vespa talked
>"Them? They're my friends!"
...you have bugs as friends?
>he asked, stepping closer to Vespa to get a better look at the buzzing bees
Oh, you mean... like pets, right?

Yeah, sure, I can get that. I had a shoe box with silkworms as a kid once too. They were pretty cool.

Dunno about letting them live inside of me, though... I've heard of people who've had bug eggs inside of them, and that just sound gross.

...no offense.
>at last he had the courtesy to add that
>his eyes trailed down at Vespa's hand, noticing the hole
Does that mean you're, like... hollow? Or just your bones?

...do bugs have bones...?

...bug boners, heh heh...
>he snickered to himself for a couple of seconds
>then focused back on the girl with the most important question:
Why do they call you that?

Oh, right, uhh... they call me Woomy. Because of my name, see? It's Woods Mielson, so you just take the first three letters of both names and squish them together, and you get "Woomie".

Took me a while to figure that out.

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555538

File: 1555943137973.png (223.38 KB, 440x333, 1386468625257.png)

>Seras looked over at Sadie once she returned, wondering if she should bring up the subject and how she'd go about doing that
>but then Sadie just threw out her big secret like that, taking the choice away from her, and leaving her to wonder what she did to tip her off
>maybe hissing at those passerby was a bit too impulsive
>though she was equally surprised to find that she'd discovered Virn's secret too
>she looked to Virn for a second, figuring there was no way she could've given away who she was
>unless someone was listening in while they were talking?

>she let Virn discuss what was going on with Sadie, looking away from the two and up to the ceiling

>she attuned her senses as best as she could, focusing her hearing and sense of smell for any signs of someone else in the hostel
>now that she knew there were other beings in town and it wasn't just an illusion or her mind playing tricks on her, she'd have an easier time finding someone
>even if they had a good reason for hiding from the rest of the world, that didn't mean they weren't doing anything suspicious

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555540

<"Woomy? What a cute name for such a tough looking guy. But anyone who had pet bugs in the past is a friend of mine!"
>then again, not all names should be what they are on the tin... Such as a bee and wasp themed girl who called herself Vespa.
That's a nice name. Vespa is just a name I gave myself as well.

>now looking at her hand, she did wonder just what was going on inside of her, how her body now worked.

...But like... I can feel them moving around inside of me, it was kinda weird at first, but now I've gotten use to it. Don't know if I'm hollow or not, but it's like I'm their hive.

>tapping her chest with her fist, she smiled

Besides, my skeleton is on the outside, not the inside.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555541


>well that went remarkably well! they didn’t even freak out about her knowing their secrets!

>granted, they still probably might freak out if they knew that she knew that because an omniscient incarnation of death sitting in the next room over told her, even if that incarnation of death was really just a nice old lady busy with knitting while watching telenovelas, but still! they weren’t freaking out yet, small victories!
>”Sooo... where does that leave our friend though?”

Oh, right, right! Jenny! She actually stayed here for a few days a little while back, but she kinda… ran away. specifically when Bea asked her to help with laundry. But she’s still in town! I’m pretty sure I could help you find her if you want!

>meanwhile, while Seras tried to get a better feel for the place, there… wasn’t really much to notice, to be honest. besides a soft clicking and the faint sound of Mexican soap operas from elsewhere in the building, there wasn’t a lot to hear.

>deeper into the old church, there was the faint tapping of a keyboard, pages being turned in a book, and a running shower. the place was just plain quiet. not really a sinister quiet, just a “almost nobody is home right now” quiet.
>as for smell, there still wasn’t much more to latch on to; a sterile, astringent sort of smell of something rotting being preserved, something sweet and smoky, so on.
>getting anything more specific would be hard, as there was one scent above all that absolutely flooded the building, overpowering almost anything else, an overwhelming combination of two things;
>cheap, overly-sweet teenage girl perfume, and cat. an absolute fuckton of cat.

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555571

File: 1556024256399.jpg (32.29 KB, 253x202, what do you want.jpg)

>"Vespa is just a name I gave myself as well."
Ah, I getcha!

Man, kinda jealous of that... Naming yourself is really cool! You get to pick anything!

If I could've picked my name, I'd probably have gone with something like... Lord Awesome Kickbuttalot!
>he paused, his mind quickly wandering
Wait... can you use "Lord" as a first name...? Should you even...? If your first name's "Doctor", that doesn't make you a doctor, right? Just because your first name's "Lord", that doesn't mean you're a lord either...
>he tapped his chin, clearly giving this odd path some thought
...maybe I have to rethink that... I'll get back to you on it another time.

>"I can feel them moving around inside of me..."

>"My skeleton is on the outside..."


Wild, dude...

So they're all just... crawling around in your insides and stuff? That's gross, but in a cool kinda way; know what I mean?

Like those slime things that have rubber insects inside them you see on toy stores, and they're super weird to touch and squish? But you can't stop because it's cool that it's so gross?

>he then paused again, looking over at Vespa

>she had all those bugs buzzing around her
>and he could spot the ants that were still crawling up and down her leg
...how do you stop them from, like... killing each other anyway? Do you just have different sections for bug-eating bugs and not-bug-eating bugs?

>his eyes narrowed in thought once more
...is that bug apartheid...?

But it makes sense there, right? I mean... carnivores are gonna need meat; that's just their nature...

That one... Disney movie, I think...? Zoo-something? It made it look like a bad thing, but... I guess if the carnivore proves they can play nice with everyone else, there's no big deal...

I still don't know if a lot of people would feel safe riding a train with... bears... and tigers...


Would sharks ride trains...? I don't remember seeing any fish in that movie... was there a fish apartheid going on instead...?

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555572

File: 1556024922179.jpg (25.34 KB, 146x478, all casual.jpg)

>"Specifically when Bea asked her to help with laundry."
<"Sounds like a woman out of my own heart..."
>"Ada" managed a small smile, casually waving her hand to politely decline
No, no, there's no need for that! You've done enough for us as it is.

She can handle herself just fine; one more night by herself shouldn't kill her. Personally, I'm just pooped!
>she looked over at "Jill"
Are you, perhaps, pooped, Patty? Because I don't think I quite have the energy to look around town right now.
>she then quickly turned to Sadako again
Oh! Right" The town!

So is there some magic spell or something that'll let us see the real town? Not that I don't appreciate the "grey and more grey" color palette, but something about the thought of wandering the streets while phasing through people I can't see seems awfully rude of us!

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555573

File: 1556028810469.png (870.61 KB, 1091x704, tumblr_nhomjiBoWy1tqg0sto1_128…)

>well it seemed like there was someone around to spy on them, though it didn't look like anyone actually did
>from what Seras could discern, there were other people in the hostel, (she tried to view it as that, lest she get awkward about being in c a church) but most of them were too busy with other things to pay them much mind
>so then how did they know about Virn's alien-ness?
>and why did this place reek of cats?
>just how many did they have skulking about around here?

>she was still a bit distracted by this, in particular with trying to endure the combination of cat hair and cheap perfume now plaguing her nostrils, rubbing her nose while her eyes screwed shut for a moment
>though Virn directly addressing her pulled her out of that, looking to her with a slightly confused look for a second, before falling back into line with the story she was providing

U-Uh, yeah, Oi'm not feelin' moi best roight now, t' be honest with ye!

Must be th' sun an' oall!

>which was somewhat true, but it wasn't deadly to her or anything, so she was exaggerating just a little

>though when "Ada" brought up the spell over the town, she couldn't help but chime in with

Oh yeah, Oi 'eard about somefin' loike that!

Is one 'f those...whaddya call 'em...


>and yes, she was still keeping up her mangled Irish accent all the while

>she was nothing if not committed to the gimmick

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555579

>Lord Awesome Kickbuttalot?
>Well... It tells people what you are like before they even talk to you. Might not do you any favors during job interviews though.

I knew a girl named Nurse and a guy named Colonel. So I think doctor and lord are acceptable names. Maybe become a doctor and change you name to doctor, marry a girl with the last name doctor, so they can call you Dr Doctor Doctor.

>Vespa's wings buzzed with excitement.

>when the buzzing stopped, the bug girl calming down, Vespa looked down at herself for a moment. She didn't really think about the specifics of it actually. Bugs living inside of her.
>bugs living inside of someone wasn't anything new, considering parasites exist, but this was far different.
>it was a symbiotic relationship after all. They protected her and she acted as their home.


>Vespa's antenna lowered, as if hurt, but immediately raised as Woomy added "But in a cool way." Even complimenting her.

>Could this be another bug lover?

Ehheheh... Thanks... I'm glad you find it neat. I just recently became this. My powers started as simply controlling bugs, then I became this.

It's just the food chain. Bugs eating other bugs, so I don't stop it... I just don't let them kill each other inside of me.

>Maybe she'd go get an x-ray just to see what she looked like on the inside.

>...Or would an ultrasound work better? Weird to use one when she wasn't pregnant.

...Er... You really find it interesting?

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555580


Ohhhhhhhh thank God.

>Jasmine slumped back in her seat with a nervous smile, finally letting go of the breath she’d been holding.

Sorry, it’s just – it’s always a gamble with this sorta thing. I know Surprise was a little nervous when she heard you had been offered a job, and I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t any kind of bad blood or anything.

>she sat that way for a few moments before suddenly remembering, no, bad Jasmine! serious boss business time!

>she snapped back to attention, sitting back up in her seat and returning her attention to Eddie’s file.

Right, well! I just wanted to be sure that our students would be in good hands on a more personal level, you know? Even if we’ve already confirmed that you’re qualified to teach, I had to make sure for myself if you were qualified to be a teacher, if that makes sense. The job is just as much a matter of knowing your students as it is knowing the lessons.

But I already have a good feeling about you, Mr. Riggs. Even if your career is a bit rough around the edges, you strike me as someone I can trust.

>maybe it was because of the bow tie. nobody suspicious would ever wear a bow tie.

>speaking of suspicious, Jasmine was struck by a sudden realization as she shuffled through the papers in her hands. particularly about how those papers got there.
>her smile suddenly became uncomfortably nervous again as she scooted in closer, trying to look as calm and serious as she could.
>it wasn’t working.

Sooooo, right, um. Speaking of trust! Something you’d probably want to know. Like I said, we already know you’re qualified for the job – we’ve done a pretty thorough background check on your work history.

But, heh. Given the nature of what we do here, we’ve got to keep things a secret, right? While we’re a regular school first and foremost, we do still train aspiring superheroes here, and we have some pretty extensive connections to the greater hero community. So if, say, we hired a new teacher who turned out to have some kinda nasty plot and they started digging into student records and finding the secret identities of our alumni, that would be absolutely disastrous! So, naturally, we have to be discerning and carefully vet any prospective new hires, making sure they can be trusted before we ever allow them near our students.

Ssssssssssoooooooooo, uh. All of this to say that we’ve kiiiiinda soooooorta maaaaaaaaybe just a little bit have been spying on you around the clock for about six months.

Eheh. S-sorry.

Eddie Riggs!RpQzSCoUtsCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555581

File: 1556061945332.jpg (121.85 KB, 1000x563, Eddie_Slaying_Hot_Girls.jpg)

>Well shit.
>Eddie was stunned, frightened, and impressed all in equal measure.
>Did that mean they saw all those times he went to scratch below the belt and thought he'd gone total stealth mode with it?
>Every smoke break, every power nap?

"Wait... I was on tour with a band for the past eight months. Does that mean..."

>She did say around the clock for six months.

"In Paris? New Riviere? Johannesburg?..."

>Eddie didn't know what possessed him to do this, but he couldn't help but golf clap.

"I don't know whether I should be impressed or terrified."

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555604

File: 1556115794838.jpg (39.39 KB, 306x479, stand back.jpg)

>"...a guy named Colonel."

Colonel's a weird word... it has an "L" in it, but... you read it as an "R"... it's kinda dumb...
>Woomy was distracted very easily, it would seem
>"I just don't let them kill each other inside of me."
That makes sense. Having a bunch of bug corpses inside of you must be kinda gross. Not the cool kinda gross though.

...then again, I guess I have a bit of chicken corpse inside of me right now, after that sandwich I got for lunch... but that's, like... in my stomach, right? It's meant to hold corpses.

If I had a dead chicken in my liver or something, that'd be gross. And weird. Probably pretty painful too...

>"You really find it interesting?"

>Woomy blinked focusing back at Vespa with a lazy smirk
Yeah! Controlling bugs and being a bug yourself? That's gotta be really cool!

Cooler than what I can do, anyway...
>he held up his hand, a strange colorful rainbow glistening from the liquid begin to pour out of his skin
I mean, I guess I save up a bunch on, like... ink. I can just make my own, and I can actually see the colors with that, so...
>he shrugged, lowering his hand again
It's still kinda lame compared to most of the stuff in the school, right? All I can really do is paint stuff, or use it as glue.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555607


Oh, yeah! It’s pretty easy, actually! It’s a little weird to explain, but once you know how to do it, it comes pretty naturally.

See, it’s sorta one of those things where you just gotta believe really hard until it becomes real, y’know? Like, you focus really hard on “I’m going to be in the real town now”, and it’ll come true. Works the same way the other way around.

>as she talked, Sadako walked past Seras and Virn back to the front door.

It’s a lot easier if you use a door, though. I guess it’s just easier to convince your brain that way, since you can focus really hard on “when I open this door it’s going to cross through the glamour”, instead of just doing it all willy-nilly out in the open with nothing to focus on.

Let me demonstrate!
>she grabbed the door handle, closed her eyes, and focused for a few seconds before suddenly throwing the door open.
>the eerie silence suddenly broke, the air filled with the sounds of regular city life. honest-to-God sunlight streamed in through the door instead of the gloomy gray overcast sky that was there before. oddly, the sunlight wouldn’t actually bother Seras at all, even despite the whole vampire thing. guess they did something to accommodate for that?
>from San Samael’s position up on the hill, it was easy to see almost all of Dis right from the front door, and the changes were stark. the grass was green, the streets were bustling, and while the buildings along the streets still had a slightly creepy vibe, it seemed to be more an intentional architectural decision than just being a consequence of time.

>guess when you had a town full of ghosts and monsters, you were expected to maintain a certain Nightmare Before Christmas-y sorta aesthetic.

>just a short distance away, there was a more firsthand example of the true face of Dis; a short imp-like figure dressed in child-sized clothes leaning against a nearby tree. it was kinda cute in a way, with reddish-purple skin, stubby little horns, a pointy little devil tail, and oddly enough, seemingly no mouth at all. its face was just sorta a pair of eyes and not much else.

>yet despite that lack of a mouth, the imp-thing was… just having a smoke break, apparently, with a cigarette just sorta floating in the air in front of its non-mouth and giving off a sweet red smoke. guess that’s where that smell was coming from.

Wh- dammit! Manny, I told you a hundred times! No smoking near the garden, you’re going to burn something! If you’re gonna do that, go out the gate and do it on the street!

>Manny (apparently) flinched at Sadako’s sudden shouting and raised his hands in surrender. with a silent groan (or at least what his body language suggested was a groan), he pushed off the tree and trudged down the path and out the main gate.

>once he was off the church grounds, Sadako quietly huffed to herself and shut the door, only now remembering the people in the room with her.

oh shit, right.

>she spun on her heel, again facing Virn and Seras with a very nervous, forced smile on her face.

Soooooo, right, uh! If you’re gonna be staying the night here, here’s the awkward part. That nice old lady I mentioned who runs this place, she likes to personally meet everyone who comes here, so she’s going to want to meet you guys too. The problem is that she’s kinda…

Okay, don’t freak out, alright? Promise you won’t freak out? She’s…

Death. Like, the Grim Reaper.

At least, a Death. There’s multiple, apparently. But it’s nothing to worry about, I promise! Like I said, she’s super super nice, she’s like the ultimate grandma! It’s just that when you first meet her, you’re gonna be pretty scared. Like, you’re going to feel every instinct you have screaming at you that you’re in danger and you’re going to die and you need to run, but just ignore that. You get used to it pretty fast, but I’m just warning you so you know what to expect.

Ada & Woomy!E2Vbn7o74sCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555608

File: 1556140783869.jpg (14.98 KB, 256x192, what a surprise.jpg)

>Virn's reaction was very quick as Sadako moved towards opening the door
>as soon as the first rays of sunlight peeked through, she reached up to flick her sunglasses back over her eyes
>the sudden difference in brightness would've been way too uncomfortable without them, even for her

>she stepped forward, letting out an impressed whistle as she viewed the real Dis from the church's advantage point

>she admired the commitment to the aesthetic, if nothing else
>Manny's appearance didn't seem to be shocking or anything of the sort for her; he just looked goofy

>but then, when Sadako focused back on them, came the much more curious exposition

>"She's... Death. Like, the Grim Reaper."


>on one hand, Virn wasn't going to pretend she was that surprised Death was simply hanging around in a town in New England

>nor was she all that shocked to hear there were multiple Deaths
>but one the other hand, meeting "Big D" Death, even just one of them, wasn't something she was chomping at the bits to do any time soon
>especially since she was pretty sure she'd slipped out of their grasp one too many times already that she might've made an enemy out of someone on the other side

>Sadako's warning about the instinctive reaction to meeting her, but it at least let Virn's curious mind to take over, and replace much of that terror

>Virn was bonded with a being that was literally millions of years old, from a race with members that could and did exist for billions more
>she wasn't even sure if Ultras had a mortality rate whatsoever, so she was starting to wonder how that would affect this encounter
>maybe she just wouldn't freak out at all, what it being possibly-functionally-immortal?


Th-...Thanks for the heads up...
>she glanced aside at Seras; a very weird glance coming from Virn
>a glance that was entirely unsure about the situation she had just dragged the two into, completely replacing her usual reckless abandonment
>Virn may have had a lot of confidence on her powers, and some might say too much confidence in their ability to get her out of any situation
>but if Death itself loses its patience, she had absolutely no idea what she could do to that
>could she punch Death in the face?
>she spat in its face a handful of times, sure, but that's not the same, now is it

Jill Patrick!CrONAHEG2cCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41555610

File: 1556143450736.gif (611.15 KB, 500x275, tumblr_mxpcbeQupf1solfhro1_500…)

>Seras watched as Sadie prepared to open the door, moving a bit closer in turn
>she figured this wouldn't be too hard, considering she was already halfway into seeing the real Dis as it was
>and if it really was a matter of belief, she could visualize this easily

>even so, she wasn't quite ready for the blast of sunlight that shone in through the open door

>not because it hurt her or anything, but just from the sheer brightness of it causing her to flinch
>which was rather weird, considering she was used to the sun at the very least making her feel more tired, so for it to not really have an effect on her beyond that was...
>nostalgic, in a way
>she could feel the sun on her skin and feel no aftereffects in this town
>something she hadn't experienced for decades at this point

>so she wasn't all too concerned with the how or why about this, and about Dis as a whole

>she was just happy to see it like this, and a smile was growing wider on her face as she saw the town fully realized
>back home, the monster community existed, but they had to abide by the rules of human society, and it wasn't always easy
>she still viewed it as necessary, co-existence with the rest of the world was required to live peacefully
>but to see a town fully realized, solely of monsters and living completely normally, was a very hopeful and warming thought

>she might've stayed in that mood, if not for Sadie bringing up that the head of this hostel was literally Death
>she reacted much in the same way as Virn, her smile vanishing and replaced with a nervous look in Sadie's direction
>like Virn, her mere existence proved that she had cheated Death on one pivotal occasion, and a fair few times after that
>so to be in their presence, even remotely, was a very worrying thought
>even if Sadie tried to reassure her it wasn't as big a deal as she thought, it didn't stop her from fearing the worst

>though she was surprised to notice that Virn was just as nervous as her, going by the look she was giving her

>Seras, being a member of the undead, would naturally be unnerved meeting Death
>but maybe the same applied to nigh-immortal aliens?
>she looked past Virn at Sadie again, wearing a shaky smile as she answered

Y-Yeah, thanks...

We'll prolly talk t' her inna bit, OK?

>she figured if Sadie let them be for a bit they could discuss their next move

>whether that be gearing up for a confrontation or to run screaming, that wasn't clear at the moment

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