V [Crawl #0001] A Clockwork World

Iron Butler

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"Erm, ma'am?" Mr. Jarvis begun to say as he was ushered to the back, "If it wouldn't be terribly inconvenient, I would much prefer to sit in a non-smoking area-"

The Iron Butler turned around and noticed the back-room. How odd, to place a front desk in the back of an establishment. Quite the irregular arrangement.

"Speaking of irregular, where did Ms. Frizzle go off to this time?" the butler silently wondered to himself, quite a bit irritated.

Mr. Jarvis's head was buzzing. By this point, STARC was sending some stray pulses of some sort towards his brain as he scanned the environment. And the one woman who had a similar scientific understanding to STARC's was a disheveled and unstable woman who vanished to do something incredibly dangerous. While Mr. Jarvis had found her antics amusing at first, he found that now he did not approve of her behavior.

"Evening, sir," the butler said to the man at the front-desk in the back, "If it would be alright, I was hoping to watch a dog-fight."

"Sir, this is a restaurant," the man said almost expectantly, "We don't participate in non-culinary activities, particularly illicit ones such as that. If I may, what was your order?"

"Fried viperatl," Mr. Jarvis enunciated, "Over wild grains. Kindly add on mushrooms, and extra spicy, if you could."

The man raised an eyebrow, then nodded. "Very well, if you could sit at those benches for a moment, you'll be admitted shortly."

The butler and the three apparently ancient young ladies sat at the chairs the man gestured towards.

"Jarvis," STARC said, opening a new window in the armor's internal holographic display, "I'd tell you I got something, but I can't hack that laptop."

"Hack, sir?"

"Trying to keep it brief, Jarvis," STARC snapped, creating a window that zoomed in on the laptop. The back was composed of taut steel wires and spinning gears, which Mr. Jarvis had initially assumed to be purely aesthetic.

"It's an analog laptop," STARC muttered, "Which... makes no sense. Even I wouldn't know how to make that. There it is, though."

"That's unfortunate," Mr. Jarvis replied, "And-"

"Nope," STARC sighed, "Not a single digital thing in this room besides you. Some complex electrical gadgets here and there, but none of them has a digital interface at all. It's not like the technology doesn't exist, though. See those doors?"

Mr. Jarvis moved his eyes, keeping his head subtly still.

"Those are lined with a cocktail of metals that's hard to make even these days. It's messing with all my scanners, so I can't even tell if there's anyone behind it."

Mr. Jarvis looked down, and the internal buzzing stopped. Then STARC opened a series of windows in a panic.

"Jarvis! Teleport signal incoming-"

With a warp of blue energy, Mr. Jarvis fell unconscious as the arc reactor in his chestpiece overloaded.

***

Ms. Frizzle screamed, but her fearful bellowing was muffled heavily by the rag in her mouth. Her fiery hair was even more disheveled than usual, flailing and careening into impossible angles as the schoolteacher struggled.

Across from her, a figure with a hood and long cloak watched her struggle.

"This is..." the figure paused, "Disappointing. Forgive me, I don't mean to demean you. I had simply imagined you to be an impressive woman, to have wrangled such a mighty beast. Instead... I find a creature of self-indulgence."

The figure turned to Liz, who was surrounded by sheets of metal which used to be a Dispensable Armor Module. The dragon was trying to claw off an advanced collar. She shrunk into her iguana form, and the collar followed suit.

"That having been said, I am grateful. If it weren't for you, I imagine I could not have found such a beast without your help. And I assure you, I will be taking excellent care of her. I unfortunately will have to cause some initial... discomfort to her, but I will do so with no small displeasure. It is simply the circumstance. But it will be my honor to otherwise host her in my home and to ensure her happiness."

The figure crouched down next to Ms. Frizzle.

"I say this," the figure said with a hush, "so you may pass with the consolation that you have not failed your friend."

The figure flicked at the top of a syringe before bowing reverently. Two furry tendrils slipped out from beneath the hood. They quivered in the air.

***

When Mr. Jarvis woke up, he coughed twice before trying to stand up. He found that the Iron Butler armor was cold and completely rigid. He couldn't move at all, and his armor was now a perfect prison.

The butler looked side-to-side. He couldn't see a bloody thing except for the two slots in the visor which were largely aesthetic. None of the emergency power-up systems were active, which Edwin noted as he twitched his fingers to pump the back-up generator.

"Where the bloody hell is this?" Mr. Jarvis grunted.

"You're awake," someone said.

Mr. Jarvis attempted to turn his head, but his helmet was rigid in place. Thankfully, this would mean that it would also still protect him, but it was keeping him from moving. Whoever spoke was stepping towards him, as Mr. Jarvis could hear her footsteps.

"You're the ones," the woman chuckled, "who ordered fried viperatl over wild grains, add on mushrooms, extra spicy. Do you even know what that means?"

The woman leaned forward, and her face peeked out in front of Mr. Jarvis' visor. She grinned, revealing a jaw lined entirely with gleaming, pitch-black teeth.

"Fried viperatl means you're fighters," the woman chuckled, "wild grains means you blackmailed a friend of mine, mushrooms means you're new here, not many connections. Spicy..."

The woman leaned in. Her breath crept into Mr. Jarvis' helmet, filling it with the smell of chewed tobacco and oddly enough, caviar.

"Spicy means you'll be quite the performance."

The woman stood up and started walking away.

"Hope you like the gladiator life," she says, her voice getting farther as she left.

1014 words. Sorry, just barfed everywhere at the end.
 

Tenshi Hinanawi

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There was a flash of blue, and then the old coot was on the ground.

Under normal circumstances Okina would have scoffed and given his chair a shake to wake him, but unfortunately, these circumstances were far from normal. In fact, these circumstances were beginning to border on extremely threatening as the man behind the desk pulled what appeared to be a clockwork taser from his drawer.

With a grimace from the goddess, a great pair of doors swung open on the back of her chair, their pair opening behind one of the customers in the restaurant as Okina squirmed and crawled her way out.

This caused Shion's face to be summarily slammed into the table as a middle aged woman clambered out of her back. Then slammed into it even harder as Mai jumped on top of Okina, wriggling her way completely through the door before her master could make it even halfway and leaping off of her back and onto the table. Satono, for her part, gave Okina a shove through instead to help her clear it- but quickly found herself unconscious at the hands of the electrical device, unable to make it through before the door slammed shut.

To her credit, Jo'on was at least swift in her disdainful response of "Ugh, fuck, you again?"

...

“Ugh, this place is a lot bigger than I thought...”

The blue-haired girl had been walking the streets for a while, already. In that time, it was pretty clear: Save for a few parts, the entire city looked all the same from inside. Every twist and turn she took, there was the vastly dominating theme of spinning gears, greasy crowded walkways, and all sorts of suspicious stores selling Heaven-knows-what. It even looked like some of the people around here were kinds of youkai she’d never seen! Just what kind of strange place did Yukari throw her into...

To make matters worse, any passerby happening to walk the same street as her, was even able to witness a heavenly being in these dirtied clothes! As if she was one of these plebeians! If that gap youkai wanted to make Tenshi feel miserable, then she succeeded. Very, very well. On her mind, she thought that maybe a short break would be nice. She hasn’t felt too well since her arrival on this new world, after all.

As the girl’s slightly hurried pace came to a halt, her eyes scanned the very store she stopped by.

The sign speaks this store’s rather clever name of “Sulfr”. That conceit had passed completely over her head, though. Celestial education wasn’t exactly... up-to-date. Nevermind that the thing looked completely enigmatic and shady as hell. She was more concerned with the cuisine of this city, thinking it inferior to what she had back home. Plus, given the run-down, disgusting, slummy theme of this area, a celestial with refined tastes like her probably shouldn’t expect much at all! But whatever. It’s a much better option to getting tired and lost in the middle of the city. Probably. She faced the doorway, ready to face whatever this... Sulfr had to offer.

The door opens.

“Lo and behold! For this great celestial has taken pity and allowed herself to bless this shop with… her… presence…”

At the first sight, Tenshi bore witness to a rowdy situation. Rowdy meaning a bunch of goddesses and other girls smacked together like a rogue game of Human Jenga. Among them were a few familiar faces.

Looking at the fancily-dressed pestilence god, the celestial said: “Hang on, aren’t you Shion’s-”

“Aaahhh! Lady Tenshi, please help!” Shion pleaded, a couple of embedded rotten grapes rolling off her face, “This weird woman is on top of me!” Perched on the poverty goddess was the aforementioned woman who seems to have come out of a door with another girl knocked out in it.

An unusual sight, even for those who had seen Gensokyo.

“Why can’t I even have a regular meal without everybody else fucking around?” Jo’on complained, probably thinking about blaming her unlucky sister. Before anyone else could point fingers though, a door along the back of the restaurant opened to reveal a man with well-done blonde hair. He looked to be the one in charge, and said man was also holding a peculiar weapon buzzing in his hand.

At that moment, a few of the restaurant staff took notice and summarily took out similar-looking stun guns. Wearing a confident — and perhaps, nefarious — smile, the bossman commanded:

“Take them out. No witnesses.”

Before the celestial knew it, she was in the midst of combat. A green-dressed girl had dashed for a bamboo spear next to Tenshi, before rushing back to one of the aisles. Without any thought, she brought out the Hisou-no-Tsurugi, complete with fire blade, and also marched forwards into the fray.

Mai caused trouble for the employees with sharp bamboo, poking and swinging in the confined space of the room. However, as she advanced, one of them weaved past and — though slightly grazed by the spear — now stood behind the douji. Meanwhile, Jo’on had stood herself up, and decided that she really wanted to punch some guys in the face. Tenshi charged right through the aisle opposite Mai’s and punched a hole in the formation, leaving the pestilence god a clear path to the guy in charge.

She pressed forwards, confronting the man. “You’re the boss, right?” the con artist asked, rhetorically. “That means... you’ve got all the money!” With a swift punch to the face, she knocked him just hard enough to make him stumble, quickly grabbing the wallet that conveniently fell out of his pocket. Jo’on then managed to get a hit on a mook sneaking up behind her, but she couldn’t keep up as a couple more arrived to double-team her. Shortly after, the pestilence god was stunned and fell to the ground.

The rest of the staff had arrived, now numbering almost twice as much as the otherworldly girls.

Not knowing what to do, Shion ran— er, floated away, leaving the helpless Okina to be quickly subdued. One of the workers charged at her with a stun gun, but slipped on the wet floor left by the commotion earlier. Good thing is, somehow the worker ended up tazing themselves. Bad thing is, Shion also got caught in the shock. The two of them then collapsed. In another corner, Mai’s situation was hopeless. Without the help of her partner Satono, she was surrounded. Unable to keep them at bay, they got through her only line of defense and took her down. That left the celestial.

As the lone girl stood against about six left standing, her eyes pranced around as if searching for a weakness. Not that she really understood tactics, though. She then stepped ahead and swung the Hisou, its flames lashing out on her enemies, and burning one. The only waiter of Sulfr took this opportunity to taze Tenshi from behind. However, the angel seemed to take the hit. “Heh, is that all you mortals can do?!” she shouted.

One of them clicked a setting on their weapon. They set the shock output to high. The others followed.

“If you have no plans to treat a celestial like me with respect,” she said, “then maybe I shall burn this entire place down!” Scarlet mist began to arrive in the room, gathering around the heavenly girl. It was quite a spectacular sight for the audience before her.

And then one of them rushed and hit her with a powerful electric shock.

The electricity painfully seizing her entire body, she could no longer stand. Like with all the others, she’d been defeated. By a bunch of lowly earthlings, no less. How humiliating…

As the world seemed to fade into black, she heard one last voice from above.

“Take them away. We’re putting them in the rings...”

1317 words, according to wordcounter.net. Sorry for being late! ^^;
 

Okina Matara

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Damage control was like playing with matches. It starts with just a careless flick of the wrist. One oversight.

And then suddenly the house is on fire, and you're stuck with a bunch of unconscious lesbians.

Well okay maybe not that last part.

They hadn't been as lucky with the girls as they had been with Jarvis. With the exception of Okina, who merely needed to be handcuffed and sat in seiza position, the others required more... serious restraints. Satono and Mai, clearly a set, had been cuffed together, Mai's left to Satono's right, at both the wrists and ankles- which in and of itself they wouldn't have found difficult to work around, but their ankle braces were chained tightly to a wall. Okina couldn't see the other three from where she was, but she presumed they had met a similar fate.

Though, she could hear the distinct whining sound of "hey! That was expensive, asshole!" somewhere in the distance, so she presumed at least Jo'on was still here.

Thankfully enough the Douji had not yet devolved into telling her things she already knew, such as how they sure were in trouble huh, and were instead sitting in dejected silence, unmoving- almost unbreathing. Okina was sure they weren't dead, but they certainly were not in good shape mentally.

"I suppose we should have expected you to fight back."

The voice echoing from some dark corner of the room or another was barely worth raising her head for. In fact, for several seconds she merely continued spacing out as the woman went on about some meaning behind everything they'd said, which she truly could not care less about. She instead briefly considered making an attempt to break out of these handcuffs, but just as quickly decided it too much effort, so instead she simply shifted in place a bit, trying to see if she could spot the pretentious halfwits, brat, or metal man in the distance of what appeared to be some sort of unfinished basement.

Needless to say, there were about a hundred things on Okina's mind right now, the woman speaking being none of them. This rightfully pissed said woman off, as she took a step forward towards where Okina could see her- though the black teeth and oddly inhuman stature of the woman were blatant tip offs that perhaps she was far from human, that didn't particularly bother Okina either. In fact, it was mostly just her presence in general that pissed the secret god off, given she didn't like being woken up in the morning, let alone woken up in the afternoon post tazing.

"And bold of you not to care about what I've been telling you, since it will be the de-"

"Can you shut up for like ten seconds?"

Okina's words were commanding, forceful, and most of all attention-rending, as the woman very suddenly found her mind blanked of all information. Not stolen, just gone.

"Right." Okina cleared her throat this time, glancing off to the side she had caught the sound of an upset goddess from before. Her intonation dropped a lot of its formality instantly. "Well, thanks for the help, guys. You suuuuure made this situation better."

"Fuck off!" Came a reply almost as whiny as the prior objection, matching in source. "You're blaming me for this? You're the reason we're in this shithole in the first place!"

"She is!" Mai was the first to pipe in, head seemingly back on her shoulders at last.

"Yep! Well, blaming you that is." Satono agreed emphatically.

"And where's your little Celestial girl gotten off to?"

"She's here, but..." Unlike her sister and the rest of them, Shion was completely unbound, and freely floating about. The restraints around her bony wrists and ankles were too large to be effective, and she hadn't even needed to try to slip out of them. Not that she was going anywhere, given the only two people who liked her were both also tied up here. "Looks like she's pretty out of it... I don't think she'll be up for a while..."

That was a problem.

The blacktoothed woman shaking her head and coming back to her senses was a bigger one.

"Well," she hissed, "if you're so impatient as to ignore my warnings, then that's your problem now. It won't be my fault when you regret it."

With her statements finished, the cloaked woman once again slunk into the shadows, seeming to meld with them into nothingness.

747 words, Okina used Focus on Forget Your Name. (which is transferrable now. i'm going to update my profile rn i swear)

This, again, could have used an actual ending, but that's my fault for putting it off until the literal last minute!
 

Okina Matara

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She was tossed into the bars of the narrow holding cell by her collar like a bag of particularly rank trash. Though at least she wasn't in poor company- soon finding the butler chucked beside her as well with a metallic crash and a groan as he hit the concrete floor. Though still dim, light now filtered down through the ceiling beyond the bars- iron and blue-tinted plexiglass shining as a skylight far in the distance, revealing a great pit the bars would open up to. Even further through said bars and across said pit she spotted the flickering flames of the Yorigami sisters, though they were in separate directions.

Indeed, while they had pried Jo'on off separately, Shion had stayed by Tenshi's side. They, too, were thrown like trash into a holding cell to Okina's right. However, this time, Tenshi was actually awake thanks to that rude impact with the wall- and unlike the rest of them, she had been able to get to her feet and was now pacing impatiently, like a tiny tiger in an even tinier zoo. In fact, she actually had some words to say to the people who had put them here- but seeing as they weren't anything Okina couldn't guess, she couldn't truly be bothered to pay attention to the specifics. She, too, was in this shitty situation (shituation?) and didn't need to be told she was miserable.

To her left was Jo'on, whomst she could hear literally punching the wall in fury. This wasn't working out for her, however, as not only were her hands cuffed together, she had taken off her rings prior so as not to damage them. (Not that they weren't already damaged in the "journey" here.) Okina could also hear within a voice she didn't recognize whatsoever, pleading with the violent plague god that she just give up- it was doubtful they'd be living through this experience anyway, and tiring herself out beforehand wouldn't help. Though Jo'on scoffed at his statement, she did slowly ease off the little dent she was making in the concrete to turn towards him, as he spoke to her in rushed and hushed tones.

"So, do you owe someone money too?" He fidgeted as he spoke.

Jo'on's response was a curt and simple "what the fuck are you talking about?"

"She probably killed someone!" chimed in a voice infinitely more familiar from directly across from Okina, as Satono approached the bars, pulling Mai behind her. Both were still chained tightly together, so it wasn't as if Mai had a choice- though the girl's smirk seemed to say she was willing anyway. "I mean, it just seems like the kind of thing she would do," continued Satono, leaning into the bars casually. As if the concept of being locked in somewhere she didn't want to be was so entirely foreign to her she couldn't even comprehend the situation. Or it had become so routine she didn't notice anymore.

"I wish," Mai cut in with about as much sarcasm as an idiot could muster, "clearly in a contest of taking someone's money or life she's got her own priorities."

"Not that there's anything wrong with that!" Shion's weak voice carried from across the arena.

Though this conversation was certainly... riveting, it was cut off before it could truly blossom by a buzzing voice from the loudspeakers above.

"Well well, it looks like we'll be seeing our debts repaid in blood today. I hope you're all prepared for the fight of your lives," the announcer's gravelly voice filled the stagnant air. The implication was that the latter sentence was meant to be taken literally, but to two gods who had never "lived" at all, one who was firmly Buddhist and had been reincarnated dozens of times prior, and a teenager straight outta Heaven, the threat fell flat. The man in Jo'on's cell flinched though, so at least he had gotten some mileage out of it.

The ground rumbled ominously below their feet, as something rose into the dim light from the pit. At first it was a mere cage of bars, but soon the platform came into full view- revealing a great snarling dragon at its center, flanked on all sides by pairs of the Cerclops. Had Okina cared to pay attention, she would have immediately recognized the beast as a well and properly roided-out Liz.

This was not her forte, however, so the responsibility fell to Jarvis- who reacted with the customary grunt-gasp of horror. Hey. He was in pain. "Then, Miss Frizzle has-"

"Hah! We have bigger problems. Save the thought for the conclusion," Okina's suggestion was perhaps emblematic of many of her faults as a person, but she wasn't quite self-aware enough to realize that.

The announcer cut back in. "But enough waiting, let's get this show started!"

Okina began struggling and failing to get to her feet, managing only to get on one knee. Jarvis stood and attempted to help her up, without much success.

"Three!"

The man in Jo'on's cell grit his teeth as she scrambled to get her rings back on the proper fingers.

"Two!"

Shion finally finished unclasping the cuffs from Tenshi's wrists, freeing her arms.

"One!"

Satono and Mai clasped their chain-linked hands.

"Go!"

The bars around the fighters, man and beast, opened with a clatter.

888 words and I am so sorry for like Filler: Part 2! I'll post an extra time if need be to get fight content in.
 

Tenshi Hinanawi

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Agh! What the hell?!

The agitated celestial’s mind was summed up in those words. Ever since she was (rudely!) hurled into this trashy box of a waiting room, Tenshi had been briskly circling what little room the cage had to offer. Shion idled by in that same area, sometimes joining the outside chatter through the bars. However, the two faced away from each other, as if showing the vast difference between their thoughts. The celestial’s cuffed hands banging against the metallic doorway, she once again barked orders to her captors like they would listen.

“Unbind me this instant, you shameless insects!”

A pause. The door refused to budge.

At that point, Tenshi finally slumped down in defeat. She now shared that feeling of futility that her misfortune-stricken companion learned to accept long ago. Finished with small talk, Shion looked back, noticing her resentful partner’s silence. The poverty god offered her help to the celestial. It was almost out of pity, but really it was of goodwill: as two friends, helping each other!


The nearly heartwarming moment was reduced to one of urgency. A certain loud announcer was to blame, reminding the group that they were in a show of entertainment, and that they were literally about to be thrown in with their lives on the line. Tenshi wasn’t fazed by that concealed threat, though. Several centuries of combat with those troublesome shinigami, she thought. What’s another few moments against some earthly beasts?

Glancing through the bars, everyone noticed the true size of their opponent. Pairs of one-eyed hounds, circling a giant dragon. Good news? They were encaged just like everyone else. Bad news? Not for long.

“Is that a dragon?!” Tenshi exclaimed. She recalled the images of Chinese dragons on her textbooks; the western kind looked just a bit different. “That looks like a dragon!!” Almost hopping out in excitement, Shion was still slightly disturbed in trying to unlock the shabby restraints.

“But enough waiting, let’s get this show started!”

“Three!” The lock on the cuffs clicked open.

“Two!” They clattered onto the floor, setting her arms and hands free.

“One!”

“Go!” The bars on each cage receded. Let battle be joined! First in the mad dash were the hot-blooded fighters. Tenshi ran ahead, nearly leaving Shion as a trailing “wait for me!” sounded from behind. Nearly each side mimicked this pattern. To the celestial’s right, the green-dressed Mai initially rushed in, delayed in the idea that her bamboo spear was missing in her hands. Nevermind Satono, who would’ve been dragged along the floor by her ankles if not for the duo’s one-minded nature. Not that they really have much of a mind. “Mai, you scatterbrain!” Satono said. “Your spear!” The pink-colored douji was hardly holding two sets of plants by now. She tossed the bamboo over to its rightful owner, Mai, who caught it with a quick snag.

Jo’on shared just about the same sentiment as the celestial. With a touch of really wanting to punch someone’s face in right now. So much so that the pestilence god forgot the man behind her, whose name she didn’t even know. On the last side, Okina seemed to be having a bit of trouble. The Iron Butler tried to get her up. At this point though, the Cerclopes were going to close in, ready to play their game of “tear the flesh”… Kind of a crappy game, really. Not for kids.



As Tenshi darted towards the Cerclopes, the Sword of Hisou was readied in her hands, flaming with energy. The celestial then planted her foot, gave a kick, then swiped fire at the enemy. Caught unprepared, the front dog slammed straight into leather boots and was promptly knocked back. The one behind anticipated it though, and narrowly grazed by the searing heat of the scarlet blade. It took advantage of the moment and went in for the bite!

The Cerclops tried to shut its jaws… but its teeth was stopped by steel. Or what felt like steel, slowly realizing there was naught to stop its attack but the skin of its victim. “Huh? Was that supposed to hurt?” Tenshi asked almost genuinely, which one would expect her to say in an off-puttingly arrogant tone. “Whatever you’re doing, stay away!” With a swing of her sword, hot orange fire burned the one-eyed wolf on her leg, making it back off and whine in pain.

A short pause.

The one Cerclops that had been kicked was now on its feet again, and probably a bit angrier too. However that wasn’t what caught her attention. No, what the celestial noticed was the roar of the dragon far behind, like it had just grasped the situation and was ready to lock on target. As the giant Liz took flight under the relatively low ceiling of the arena, said target became clear. Of course, who better to be that unfortunate soul (well, goddess) but Shion Yorigami?

Tenshi looked back at the poverty god. “Shion!” she called out her name in concern. With a loud bark, the growling wolves were preparing for another charge. Shion saw the dragon planning to descend on her. Then, the unlucky girl floated away seeking safety, pleading for help. “Ahh!! Help, please!”

Tch. Why can’t these beasts just fight me? Am I not worthy?! Mixed with annoyance and worry, the celestial now had to rush back out and keep her partner safe. The Cerclopes also began pursuing the two as if in a race, desiring blood in revenge. Every step took them a bit closer to the center of attention. For Tenshi, however, complications were ramping up by the second. It seemed like the big guns were needed. So she did exactly that. Drawing out a piece of paper from thin air, she desperately called for the power of a spell card.

Battle had went its course in the arena, and the first big shot was about to go off. A rather big one.

The card vanished just as quickly, and then the arena shook under the sudden spike in power. Along the fall of dust and rubble from the sky, scarlet energy was rapidly manifesting and whirling around the heavenly being. Spiritual pressure mounted, and it was filling the air with a deep, heavy hum.

Tenshi turned around. Everything seemed to converge at that one point. The wolves readied themselves for the strike. A great dragon was nearing its prey. And last but definitely not least, her spell of mass destruction was ready.

Scarlet…” the sound of two dogs marching in near-perfect unison could be heard.

...Weather…” the celestial looked away, as though she could not bear the result with her own two eyes.

...Rhapsody!!” And with that, a neon red streak soared through the air, ready to blaze anything and everything. And it was glorious.

Either way, this wasn’t gonna end well.

Hey it's me, Tenshi-who-only-needed-seven-words-but-got-late-anyway! 1143 words with wordcounter.net, one Focus spent to cast "Scarlet Weather Rhapsody".
 

Iron Butler

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Edwin Jarvis was tired. The brand new arc reactor was already damaged. STARC was automatically switched off to conserve power, so now Mr. Jarvis was stuck with a broken suit he could not repair.

The butler scrambled clunkily to the right as a Cerclops lunged for his throat. This was by far the least combat-able side of the room. Mr. Jarvis was a middle-aged man trapped in a high-tech exoskeleton, and Ms. Matara couldn’t walk. It was likely to shed some blood early to entertain the audience. Mr. Jarvis shuddered. If only he could get his suit online again, he could participate in this fight...

The butler grimaced as one of the mutated dogs clawed at the crawling Ms. Matara. Her servants were struggling to make their way towards their mistress, but they were dealing with Cerclopes and a fairly angry...

“Oh my,” Edwin whispered to himself, “Is that Elizabeth?”

The titanic lizard in front of them was a darker shade of green than Liz, but it otherwise seemed to be the same draconic iguana that accompanied the eccentric Ms. Frizzle. It was thrashing about in great pain. The butler scowled. It was hard to watch without feeling some sense of pity towards the beast. Alas, Mr. Jarvis found he had little room for pity in his thoughts as a Cerclops knocked him down, pouncing in his chest.

The suit, however, was still made of a special, tough metal and turned the vicious mauling into paint scratches. Annoyed nonetheless and remembering his boxing training, Mr. Jarvis threw a haymaker hard enough to knock the Cerclops off. The hound tried to poison Mr. Jarvis, but a well-placed if slow kick knocked it back again.

The butler leaned hard to the left and used the weight of the armor to swing his body around. He picked himself up and readied his hands for the next lunge from the engaging Cerclops. As the beast lunged, Mr. Jarvis’ armored hands dug into the hound’s jawline as he attempted to latch onto the dog. Using its momentum, Mr. Jarvis twisted in place, throwing the dog into the Cerclops attacking Okina.

The pair of hounds snarled and turned their attention to Mr. Jarvis.

“Oh dear.”

The butler begun to flee the best he could, but got knocked down by the two hounds. Mr. Jarvis shut his eyes, waiting for the sudden cold of fresh air mixed with the warm feeling of blood. But there was a brief pause. They seemed to be arguing whether or not to shred into their meal together.

SUIT INTEGRITY LOW
ENGAGING EMERGENCY POWER

The Iron Butler’s palms and feet suddenly detonated as the armor shot forward on the ground, the gravel on the ground creating a thousand scratches in the armor’s paint (to Mr. Jarvis’ great chagrin). Edwin instinctively engaged his boot-jets and rearranged his legs to tumble on the ground, sliding into a three-point landing.

“Seriously, Jarvis?” STARC sighed, “Did you really forget about the emergency power?”

“Beg your pardon, Mr. STARC, but any coy comments will not be welcome this evening,” Edwin said with incredible relief, “If you would inform me how to best engage the enemy-“

“Looks like a loose connection,” STARC sighed, “Just... turn the arc reactor to the right.”

Mr. Jarvis turned around, his armor largely intact but... rather dinged up. The two hounds were now chasing their prey. The Iron Butler lifted a palm, blasting both dogs away. With his other hand, the butler twisted the reactor like a screw to the right.

“Other right,” STARC snapped.

Mr. Jarvis twisted it the other way, and the suit suddenly lit up. The butler winced as everything came online at once. He only had that one moment of hesitation before the dogs were on him again. The butler lifted both palms this time and blasted off into the air knocking one more back down with an airborne punch.

The Iron Butler’s systems continued to reengage. The radar returned, blipping at least four hostiles, possibly more. It would be clearer once the radar continued to repair itself and also recognized Liz as a hostile.

The Iron Butler optically marked friendly targets and twitched his toe.

“I’ll need verbal confirmation,” STARC said with an audible smirk.

“Engage Dispensable Armor Modules-“

“Nuh-uh,” STARC interrupted, “You know what you need to say.”

“I’d like to give some DAMs,” the man begrudgingly said.

The Iron Butler’s armor hissed as many of its compartments opened, sending a number of metal packs into the air. They left a trail of smoke as they trailed through the air, spinning and whirling until they reached their targets.

Okina knew what was coming, and opened her arms to embrace the oncoming Armor Module. The mysterious male stranger in the other less mysterious stranger’s cell whimpered and grunted as the armor tessellated over him.

Liz noticed the Iron Butler and started snarling. Edwin Jarvis swallowed hard as he rocketed into a strafe, barely dodging a column of fire scorching where he stood moments ago.

"If it wouldn't be too much trouble," Edwin shouted, blasting Liz as he continued to strafe, "could I have some assistance in this one matter?"

861 words
 

Jo'on Yorigami

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What a load of bullshit.

What a load of absolute bullshit. Red-hot blood, set alight by the fire of Jo’on’s rage, roared through her ringing ears, leaving her very alone to her own thoughts. Not that there was much left between the anger, the rage, and of course, the pounding agony in her temples that had only gotten worse since she’d been fucking tazed. Few sounds of actual consequence managed to pierce the veil of adrenaline blocking out her hearing. A little bit of indeterminate yelling, lots of explosions, the occasional, earth-shaking roar of the god damn fucking dragon she was being forced to fight.

Oh, and the rattle of her handcuffs and the slowly-dying whimpers of the weird hellbeast monstrosity she was currently choking out with said handcuffs. Jo’on clenched her teeth, her numbed and bleeding arms straining against the desperate spasms of the furred beast in her grasp. Tiny chips of stone and brick dug into the pestilence god’s right knee, and her left foot braced against the ground with all the strength she could muster as she wrestled the Cerclops to the ground.

Everyone was going to pay for this bullshit. Everyone. With a deep grunt, pulled the choking chain harder, forcing a wheezing yelp from the not-quite-hound. That shitty fucking waitress for being such a shitty fucking waitress, Yukari 2.0 for getting her into this fucking mess, the bossman for fucking tazing her, and of course the better, purpler Yukari for just fucking...

“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble!” (It would be). Finally, one of the myriads of incoherent shouts reached Jo’on’s ears, tearing her from her own revenge-driven thoughts. “Could I have some assistance in this matter!?”

Jo’on’s eyes shot away from the matted fur of the monstrosity she was garroting and towards the source of the voice; the weird metal man that had been in Okina’s cell, flying about, peppering the dragon’s hide with blasts of energy, and in general doing a whole lotta nothing.

“Sorry!” The pestilence god snapped, the Cerclops taking full advantage of her moment of distraction to try wriggling free one last time. She grunted, boot and knee starting to slip (painfully) beneath her. “But I can’t hear you over the sound of trying not to die.” Black flashed in her vision, another of the hellhound’s pack diving to come save it. Jo’on sucked in a deep breath, shifting her weight and dragging the half-dead Cerclops around as a shield. She wrenched her arms, wrists pressing painfully against the cold steel of her shackles. And suddenly they clicked open, as though they hadn’t actually been locked this entire time, and the glamorous god threw her arms out of harm's way.

“Yeah, what she said!” From a distant corner of the arena, the soulless-yet-excited cheer of one of the Secret God’s Douji sounded. Which one exactly was something Jo’on didn’t know nor care enough to find out. The second Cerclops chomped down mightily on his packmate, poisoned, needle-like teeth sinking deep. Immediately, Jo’on snapped her handcuffs around its collar, a shock collar similar in design to the one locked around the dragon’s neck. Another swift movement, from someone obviously used to dealing with cuffs, and both beasts were locked together.

The gaudy god threw herself up and back, jumping to a shaky stand, and immediately started looking for her next target. Her eyes darted around the arena as the two chained Cerclops in front of her started fighting to free themselves, all focus taken off the competitors. The crazy metal man was still ineffectively blasting the dragon (which wasn’t even looking at him, mind), the useless pile of trash that had been dirtying up her cell was now in a garbage can where he belonged (as was Okina, much to Jo’on’s delight). The bratty celestial girl-

“Scarlet!”

Oh fuck. That sword was pointed in her direction.

“Weather!”

Oh fuck that sword was pointed in her direction.

“Rhapsody!”

There were many, many words running through Jo’on’s mind as that red beam of misty light exploded from the Hisou no Tsurugi. All of which might have been some variation of “fuck.” Hellish heat washed over Jo’on as she scrambled desperately to safety, barely grazing the attack in time, the fringes of her clothing sparking into bright embers.

“What in the fucking name of fuck are you fucks fucking doing!” Some of the nigh-incomprehensible stream of profanity flooding her mind managed to escape from her mouth, actually making at least a vague amount of sense. “Do you even fucking know how much this jacket cost!” Jo’on’s voice was hoarse, her breath raspy from all her shouting. With a quick and desperate hand, she slapped out the little flames eating at her purple pimp coat.

Tenshi, for what it was worth, actually looked slightly taken aback by the god’s shouting. Only slightly, and any witty response she would have thrown back was quickly shot in the kneecaps by the sight of poor, poor Shion, lying facedown on the arena’s brickwork floor. “Shion!” The celestial immediately began running for her friend, hopping over corpse after charred Cerclops corpse. The poverty god’s already-shitty attire was somehow looking even more bedraggled, what with all the fire on it. And the few (expensive) pieces of broken jewelry she’d managed to get from Jo’on were in a bunch of sad little puddles of molten gold on the ground. Jo’on’s heart stopped for a second, her blood draining from her face.

... Until Tenshi fell to her knees and started desperately giving the vagrant god a shake, prompting her to lift up one weak hand and give a shaky thumbs-up for just a moment, before it fell back to the ground. Her sister was alive. Jo’on heaved a deep sigh of relief, quickly ‘composing’ herself once again.

“Hey! Shion!” The pestilence god cupped her hands and shouted. “Stay out of the way! It’s hard enough keeping myself alive!” For just a second, Jo’on thought she could see her sister’s shimmering blue hair glow brightly, before the dragon’s enraged roar caught her attention instead.

“Careful out there, you little scamps~” Completely and entirely unimpressed by the dragon’s earth-shaking call, Okina wasted no time in trying to one-up Jo’on in niceness, even adding a friendly tone to her usually condescending voice. Not that it was really fooling anyone. “This is actually a dangerous fight.”

"Master, what's a scamp?" The green one asked, as she was trying to help the disabled goddess to her feet. Okina's answer was disappointment.

“Girls, please!” Aaaand there was the metal guy again. The pestilence god rolled her eyes, allowing him a single, pompous glance just so he’d know how little she actually cared about his input. “We have more important matters to att-”

A glance that came just in time to marvel as the dragon reared up on its hind legs and slap the everloving shit out of the flying knight. The Iron Butler became naught but a grey, blurry missile that shot out of the sky and absolutely clobbered The Iron Mysterious Stranger, sending them both sprawling into a heap way on the other side of the arena. Jo’on simply mouthed a silent ‘what the fuck.’ The dragon let out a victorious, arena-shaking roar, throwing its head up and flaring out its wings.

Jo’on breathed in deeply, the corners of her mouth just beginning to turn up into a smug grin. “Well, you know what they say...” A brilliant golden flame sprung to life around her numbed right hand, before fading away and leaving one trendy-looking Gucci purse. “If you want something done, you’ve gotta do it yourself.” She carelessly twirled the bag around her finger. Finally, it was her time to shine. “Alright you overgrown lizard! Get ready because I am going to make the most fabulous pair of boots out of you!”

Hearing her shouts, the dragon craned its neck to face her, shifting from its unstable position on its hind legs, still standing triumphantly. Until suddenly it wasn’t. Right before her eyes, the dragon suddenly tottered dramatically to the side, letting out a panicked roar. Its body flailed spastically, desperately trying to catch itself mid-trip. A tremendous thud rattled the building as it hit the ground on its side, massive head bouncing off the ground. The behemoth thrashed, and one accidental swipe of its tail slammed Okina and her Douji right back into the ground, just as she’d managed to stand.

Jo’on’s mouth fell open in shock, and she let go of her purse, sending sailing up into the unknown. Huge claws scrabbled against the ground, carving shallow furrows into the stonework, and again, the dragon had righted itself. A furious roar rose up from it, its crocodilian eyes settling on the fallen form of Shion, who it had tripped over. It took in a deep breath, smoke seeping from its maw dancing in the small sunbeams.

Wait, sunbeams?

And then a giant slab of brickwork from the ceiling shattered against its skull, and the dragon collapsed like, well, a slab of bricks, falling still on the ground. The arena fell strangely silent, the jeers and shouts from the audience disappearing completely. Jo’on and Tenshi, the last ones standing, could do little but stare. Jo’on not flinching even as her Gucci purse bounced off her head and teleported her a grand total of three feet into the air. A fall she landed numbly from, but landed at least on her feet.

Welp, there was only one thing left to do. Jo’on retrieved a pair of gaudy, furred Juliana fans from... somewhere, and started waving them around triumphantly, a smug smile on her beaten and battered face.

Words: 1613
Used one (1) Focus to amplify Poverty God’s Aura from Luck Debuff 4 to Luck Debuff 7.
Used Consumable Gucci Purse because Luck Debuff 7
 

Okina Matara

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The celebration ended quickly, though.

The sound of brickwork shifting and collapsing inward from the newly introduced hole in the ceiling roared to life, causing what little crowd was left in their seats to shriek in panic- all rushing towards the exits at once, like a flood through a pinhole.

At ground level things were no better. In the chaos, Jo'on scattered first- it was every woman for herself, after all. Tenshi, once she had helped Shion to her feet, was next, following the gaudy woman through the ungated door they had originally gotten in through. The stranger followed closely behind them, not willing to risk his neck for anyone else.

That left Okina, still on the ground, and three people doing their best to help her up. Though it was significantly easier when they were not being torn apart by venomous cyclopean wolves, they were now on a pretty strict time limit to manage it before being thoroughly clobbered by bits of concrete and brickwork raining from the ceiling. Still, with some effort and help from Jarvis, the yet-chained douji righted their metal plated master, dancing around her into their positions, linked arms behind her back, in perfect sync with practiced steps. The restraints at their ankles were more of an issue than those at their wrists, causing the trio's already stilted movement with Okina limping along to become even slower.

Slower, of course, not being a thing you wanted to be while the roof was caving in.

Jarvis, however, was plenty quick enough to reach the door with the others. Quick enough to turn around right in time to see the Secret God and her slaves get slammed to the ground by a massive chunk of ceiling, then rapidly buried in rubble.

-

Fortunately or unfortunately for Jo'on, she'd still have plenty of time to use those rings of hers.

It was probably about an hour later that through the help of... well, mostly just Tenshi and Jarvis, with Jo'on occasionally calling out a word of either support or dismissal, and Shion and their new "friend" standing awkwardly aside, the great slab of concrete above the triple threat of useless was dislodged enough for Okina to get a word in. A word which was a vague, wheezing approximation of "fuck," but it was a word enough. She was alive.

(Unfortunately.)

"Took you long enough," began the god's quiet complaining, "now get me out of here. I can't feel my legs."

"Master, you can never feel your legs." Satono's voice was loud and clear from her position cradled underneath Okina's arm, having been somewhat protected from the impact along with Mai by using their master as a makeshift meatshield. Meat and metal shield, perhaps, given the Dispensable Armor Module? Still, it was uncharacteristic of one of the Douji to bicker, but perhaps Okina being so concussed had knocked some sense back into her slaves.

"I thought I named you Nishida, not Smart-ass." Okina's grumbled response was undignified, but she didn't much care when addressing the Douji. "Remind me to fix that when we get out of here."

Truth be told, no amount of her "fixing" would ever work if what Okina had already done to Satono's mind hadn't taken that trait away from her. Both of them, on some level, knew that already. But that didn't mean she wouldn't try.

Eventually, however, the mess of lesbians was pried from their predicament. The dancers found their way off to a corner of the cleared holding cell to stretch, both rubbing at the red imprints at their wrists and ankles where their restraints formerly were (Jo'on was at least kind enough to undo those, for the low low price of any pocket money Okina had previously given them). All the while Okina sat in place on the pile of rubble that used to be the stadium, leaned against the slab of concrete that had entrapped her, trying to sound slightly dignified while she nearly coughed up a lung, and perhaps a little blood from her several broken ribs.

"...Wh-what do we do now?" It was the voice of the mysterious man who had been in the cell with Jo'on that finally broke the relative silence. "We won, but... I don't think they'll be coming back to help us, at this rate..."

"Dunno." Replied the plague goddess, flipping open a wallet to file the coin she had just been given by the Douji. "Think a hospital trip might be the first order of business-"

Shion's eyes lit up.

"That is, assuming that you all can pay for it, given the price of healthcare these days."

And then that light vanished in an instant.

"Right, that's a solid choice of action. But I suppose we'll first need to find a way out of here," corrected Jarvis, pointing to the bars on the other entrance to the cell. He and Shion, of course, could just fly up to a higher level now that the underground complex was sans-roof, but that left more than half of the others still stuck in this situation. "And I have the strangest feeling that they won't be making that too easy on us."

Okina groaned at the thought of being asked to walk even an inch after that.

878 words, post 1/8 for the round.
 

Jo'on Yorigami

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Dull beams of light streamed down from the great gaping hole in the earth above, catching on the suspended brick dust and casting swirling shadows. Sharing about the same amount of enthusiasm for having to walk as Okina did, Jo’on couldn’t help but copy her sigh, strained lungs taking in the dirty air. Now how the hell were they supposed to get out of this predicament?

Contrary to the serenity the still-ish air provided, the arena was actually quite... chaotic. Shouts and screams echoed hollowly around the wide open space, as spectator and staff alike fled desperately for their lives, eager to escape before any more of the street above decided to give out and crush them. A chaos that would no doubt give the group ample time to run away themselves, and free themselves before they got put in any more shows. Like hell Jo’on was gonna willingly put herself in any show that wasn’t a fashion show.

... But all that hinged on whether any of the battered contestants actually wanted to move.

“Hey Oki-chan,” Jo’on started, reaching into the pocket of her slightly singed jacket and pulling out a pack of luxury cigarettes. “Don’t ya got that backdoor world of yours? How ‘bout you make yourself worth something and gap us out of here?” Not even bothering to look in the backdoor god’s direction, the spendthrift neatly and fluidly slid one of the sticks from the pack, and lighting it with a small flick of golden flames from her fingertips. Had it not been for the incoherent background screaming, the silence between the group would have been palpable.

Waiting for Okina’s no-doubt indignant response, Jo’on took a long drag, the hammering of her heart slowly calming. “W-Wait...” their as-of-yet unnamed friend stammered. “She can do what now?”

“Our Master is the master of Ushirodo-no-Kuni!” The green slave chimed in cheerfully, completely and entirely unaware of the sheer size of the bus she was about to throw the secret god under. Jo’on laughed silently, exhaling a cloud of smoke. “A dimension full of doors that leads anywhere and everywhere!”

“Excuse me, you have what?” The Iron Butler balked. “You mean, you could have gotten us out of here at any time? And you didn’t think to bring it up?”

“You never asked.” Though the secret god’s voice was as level as she could make it, Jo’on could still hear the rage simmering beneath the surface, and she couldn’t help but crack a crooked smile. “And anyway, we were all jailed separately, so it’s not like we could have escaped at any time.”

“A-And how do you all know each other?” The stranger stuttered. Boy this was turning into quite the grilling session. “And where did you get those cigarettes! And that wallet! I thought they took all our stuff?”

“All your shit, maybe,” Jo’on retorted with another puff of smoke. “I’m too crafty for that. Bet the big boss doesn’t even know I nicked his wallet.”

“Anyhow, this is all well and good,” Jarvis began, exasperation in his voice. “But shouldn’t we get mo- wait, you stole his wallet?”

The fashionista spun flamboyantly towards the iron-suited man, sporting a cocky grin and raising the brown leather purse between two fingers. “You bet your bottom dollar I did. Plucked it right from his pocket mid-scuffle. Inexperienced trash like that don’t know how to deal with a real con artist!”

“Heh, that’s me and my sis for you~” Shion saw fit to chime in, a singing note to her tired voice, as though she had anything to do with anything, really. “The most despicable duo, that can make even a mob boss cry.” Jo’on could see in his face that it took the butler every ounce of his willpower to regain his composure.

“Are you aware of what this means?” Just like Okina’s earlier, Jarvis’ voice was as calm as he could reasonably make it while still being obviously agitated. “If you’ve got his wallet-” Before he could finish his thought, another chunk of the collapsing street above slammed down into the demolished arena with an earth-shaking crash and a massive cloud of dust. “Nevermind, let's get to safety first, then we can talk.” He said this whilst looking expectantly at the secret god, a guilt-tripping look that absolutely delighted Jo’on.

To this, Okina heaved the deep, irritated sigh of a teenager who was told to do their chores but really didn’t want to. A faint click could be heard, before an ornate wooden door swung open on her back. “Just... go. I’ll meet you in.”

“Gladly~” The pestilence god’s voice absolutely dripped with a smug superiority. Anything to get one over on Okina. “Alright Shion,” she turned to her sister, smiling. “You fir-”

Aaaand The Iron Butler had already stepped through. What a fucking idiot. Well, it wasn’t like he knew that just being near Shion caused bad luck so she couldn’t really fault him for stepping on that landmine...

... Just kidding! What kind of absolute fucking moron didn’t first send a human (or rather, god) sacrifice into the unknown! Jesus Christ man didn’t you have any sensibility? Taking another, anxious drag from her cigarette, Jo’on simply leaned over and shoved the poverty goddess through the door, eliciting a weak shout from her before it cut off as she went... wherever the fuck she went. And then Jo’on hopped through herself.

---

And back to wonderful safety. Jo’on yawned deeply, simply hanging in the floating embrace of the groundless void that was Ushirodo-no-Kuni. No worries, just float. Man, could she get used to this... If only she didn’t have more things to worry about than there were digits in her bank account. She let loose another cloud of nicotine-laced smoke, almost at the end of her cig.

“Hey! No smoking in Ushirodo-no-Kuni!” Okina protested, something the pestilence god either didn’t hear or just flat-out ignored. First things first, assess the damages. Carelessly flicking her cigarette butt into the void, Jo’on began by examining the sparkling rings on each of her fingers. They’d survived the ordeal just fine, shiny as ever, so that was nice at least.

“No don’t throw it away like that!” Again, the con artist didn’t particularly care. Her gorgeous, custom-made purple long coat? Singed around the edges. Worthless now. Fifteen hundred bucks down the drain. Lovely. Well, she couldn’t be seen in public in this ratty thing anymore. She shrugged it off and tossed it to the side.

“This isn’t a laundromat!” Okina’s voice was slowly growing more exasperated. What about her belt? Missing a buckle. God that was the finest leather she could get a hold of too. Five hundred gone, just like that. Necklace? Well, it wasn’t even on her anymore. One K off in some gutter, probably. Wonderful. Boots? Needed to be replaced but she’d still wear them until she got some new ones.

“Say, how about we do some shopping?” Jo’on said offhandedly, checking to see if she’d need to replace her pink Gucci dress too (the answer to that was yes, even though it was fully intact).

“On your own time!” The secret god’s anger was starting to reach its limit. “We’ve got more important things to deal with right now! Like, wait, where’s Jarvis?”

“Who now?” Tenshi, Shion, and Jo’on all said in unison, the former two floating off in another “corner” doing something that didn’t concern the pestilence god.

“The metal guy!” Mai chirped helpfully, interrupting what her master was about to say.

“The guy who was flying around all fight!” Added Satono.

“Oh, him? Iunno.” Jo’on only spared a brief glance away from her very important business, before pulling out the stolen wallet. “He went through the door before Shion so he could be anywhere.”

“It’s not like I asked him to do that!” The mentioned poverty goddess called indignantly from where she was chilling with Tenshi. Of course, no one really paid any mind to her protest.

“Ugh,” Okina groaned heavily, “If he’s gone, that means we’ve actually gotta like, think.” She paused for a second, before turning her gaze to the stranger that they’d apparently adopted by this point, flailing his arms spastically as he tumbled through the zero-gravity dimension. “You, how would you like to be the brains of my team!”

“Brains?” He asked, absolute confusion in his voice as he tried to figure out which way was up, literally.

“Excellent! What did Jarvis mean when he asked us what the wallet meant? Also what’s your name!”

“Um...” Okina’s bombardment of questions was doing little to help him.

“Ohhhh!” Before he could say anything, Jo’on sang excitedly, waving around some small paper slips she pulled from the wallet. “French Gallagher! Looks like the big boss’s got some tickets to an exclusive party! Bet there’s gonna be some rich bitches to swindle there.”

“Jonathan Guy...” The quite meek and aimlessly floating stranger said. “Pleased to meet-”

“Nah boss’s name is French not Jon.” Jo’on cut him off, dollar signs in her eyes as she took in all the wonderful, wonderful credit cards to his name. Oh, the things she could buy with these.

“That’s my name...” Jon’s voice fell to a mere whisper.

“Oooooo,” excitement shone in Shion’s eyes, the prospect of some good ole extortion bringing her over to the group proper. She now wore all the clothing that Jo’on had just discarded.

“You guys thinkin what I’m thinkin?” The plague god said ominously.

1577 Words, Post 2/8
 

Okina Matara

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While she would have vastly preferred her chair, Okina had, in fact, taken a note from Jo'on's book- as she now lounged in the zero-gravity environment of her base, in a pose as if she were five seconds away from idly tossing a stress ball in the air. Had she a stress ball, anyway. Plenty of stress, but no outlet for it. She grabbed her left leg with her arms and manually pulled it over her right leg at the knee, so they were crossed, then readjusted her skirt. There. That looked more suitable for being condescending.

"Is petty theft what you're thinking? As far as I can tell, that's the only thing I've ever seen you think about."

The irony of that statement was lost on Okina.

"Actually, it was identity theft and credit card fraud. God, what do you take me for, some kind of fucking amateur?"

"...Brain boy, got any better ideas?"

It took John a hot second to realize Okina's now heavily disappointed glance had landed on him. "Uh... W-well... Why don't we just let her explain her idea a little more, and go from there?"

This earned him naught but a scoff. Still, Okina rolled her eyes and fixed her gaze back on Jo'on, expectantly.

"Wellllll," Jo'on drew out the word like she was pulling taffy, clearly having fun wasting just a few more milliseconds of Okina's theoretically infinite life, "we have all his stuff, don't we? Let's just take a trip around town, make a couple purchases, and maybe see if we can swing by his party later. Wouldn't want to let our illicit gains go to waste, now would we?"

"And where, exactly, would that get us?"


"'Bout his credit card limit richer. And into a party, obviously."

Despite the malevolent glare in Okina's eye directed towards her sister, Shion nonchalantly cleared her throat. "...She means to say that we might get some valuable information or connections at the party."

"Yeah! I mean like, credit card information that is. I dunno what you shmucks would want for revenge. Personally, I prefer making folks pay in cash." She flipped through the stack of the man's credit cards like a poker hand, pulling one out of the bunch, placing it at the front. With another glance, she wrinkled her nose, yanking out another card that seemed to offend her in some way. "Here. Shion, you take the giftcard to the fucking clown emporium. Oki-chan, you can have the 'Arcadian Express'."

This was punctuated by Jo'on hurling a bright crimson card with a golden W on it vaguely in Shion's direction, and a blue card with the design of an earthlike planet sporting a ring at Okina.

Shion scrambled for the card like a starving dog for a treat, catching it, losing her grip, dropping it into the abyss, and then shooting off after it.

Okina let hers hit her directly in the face, and heaved out a sigh as she slowly moved her arm to retrieve it. "...Whatever. If that's seriously the best idea we have-" she paused a moment to survey the crowd. Shion was not paying any sort of attention anymore, seemingly instead formulating a dream order of food in her head. Tenshi seemed more focused on trying to figure out the concept of a credit card. The Douji stared on idly, wearing their soulless smiles. Johnathan, once he had had eyes on him, shrugged. Useless, the lot of them. "I guess we're going shopping for a party."

Stuffing the cards back in the wallet, Jo'on cheered. "Hell yeah! Shion, Tenshi, Whats-your-face, you guys stay here."

A cacophony of disillusionment followed.

"Wha-"

"Um, I-"

"Whatever, sounds bor-"

"Ugh!" Okina's disgust cut through all the voices. "I'm not going to let you just leave all these people unattended in Ushirodo-no-Kuni!" There was not even an ounce of sympathy for Shion and John in that sentence, just one hundred percent farm fresh exasperation at the thought of leaving anyone alone in her backdoor realm. Even if there was really nothing they could do in it beyond accidentally end up somewhere totally different and get themselves killed. Hell, they barely had a bed and a chair between them in the place, just hundreds of doors. "Satono, Mai, you two stay here and make sure they don't do anything stupid."

"You got it, master!" Cheered Mai in response, hardly waiting for Okina to finish her sentence.

"No promises." Satono's reply was reserved by comparison, though with something of a smug aura instead. "But we'll try our best."

"Awww, you're not bringing your little slave girls?" Feigned disappointment barely concealed Jo'on's obvious jab at Okina's business practices. "What a shame. I wanted someone to carry my bags for me, and the one looks like she already has a coat rack with her." Her eyes landed on Mai's spear as she said this. The comparison sailed right over the slave's head, who hardly even seemed to notice as she was now corralling the bluenettes and John away from her master and Jo'on.

"Shut up and get going before I change my mind." Came Okina's not-so-graceful snipe back, with a snap of her fingers.

On cue, to Jo'on's left, one of the enormous doors that dotted the "skyline" opened up, revealing a vaguely familiar alleyway through it. Still vindicated by her fellow god's inability to respond, her smirk never faded as she took a step through it.

907 words, post 3/8
 

Jo'on Yorigami

The Yakubyou-est Kami
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Now this... This was the life. Hustle and bustle, glitz and glam! Jo’on’s driven and no-nonsense stride stopped, something shiny and new catching her eyes... A ring-covered hand lifted her new pair of round sunglasses from her face, letting her get a better look. Watches, bangles, and bracelets, oh my! Disturbingly high numbers adorned their tags; proof of their quality. That golden sheen, those glittering gems, and was that..? Setting her sunglasses atop her head, Jo’on leaned in, eyes sparkling nearly as much as the diamonds embedded in that beautiful, beautiful necklace. Oh she just had to have it!

Wait! But what about that one? A large ruby set into the pendant of a vibrant gold chain caught her eye. To die for. And so were the silver and sapphire bangles on display in the next case over. There were just so many to choose from! Which did she want? Which one of these would she like the most...

Psyche!
Like hell she was gonna choose! Why would she ever? Who did you think she was? Someone without several stolen credit cards? A toothy smile spread across the pestilence god’s face, her eyes turning up to meet the hapless cashier’s gaze, an almost hungry glint in them. “I’ll take what’s in this display.” Though her grin could be taken for menacing, her words were short, sweet, and matter-of-fact. The worker froze for a moment, a look of absolute incredulity painting her face.

“The entire display?” Miss... Jo’on glanced down to her nametag, Kim asked for confirmation, her voice level but her posture giving away something different. The spendthrift heaved a deep sigh, rolling her eyes. Why did she always need to repeat herself?

“You heard me.” Her tone turned terse, her smile falling into a neutral expression. She jabbed a finger down towards the display filled mostly with necklaces. “All of it.” That seemed to get her point across, and the cashier finally hopped to, ringing the myriad of items up, though still keeping them in the display. Presumably in case the deal fell through or something. Not that Jo’on was particularly worried about such a thing.

The pestilence god snapped her fingers condescendingly, before lifting her hand behind her, palm up, expectantly. Right on (rehearsed) cue, a wallet was gently placed in her hand. Ah, not even a day and she’d already trained him so well. One forged signature on a stolen credit card later - something Jo’on was exceptionally skilled at - and she was on her way again, servant boy silently in tow.

Jo’on hummed cheerfully, donning some of her ill-gotten gains as she absently made her way over to the next store in line. Bangles on each wrist, some replaced rings, an oversized pendant around her neck... She rounded the corner, more delightfully focused on her loot than where she was actually walking.

... So it came as no surprise when someone ran headlong into her, wrenching her quite rudely from her fantasies with a solid thump. To put it quite mildly, she ate shit, only barely saving herself from beaning her head on the tile flooring thanks to the quick decision to almost break her arm catching herself. “Fucker!” Jo’on wasted no time in berating the poor soul she’d walked into, already feeling the new bruise forming. “I just bought this! Watch where you’re going!” Though of course, her concern was more on her brand new dress. A cute, yellow, sleeveless little thing, accompanied by a snazzy lilac suitcoat. Both Govio Ermorni of course. Near as she could tell, that was the go-to brand.

“Oh sure, blame the cripple.” And there came the familiar voice, belonging to a certain secret god who’d gotten left behind and lost at the start of Jo’on’s shopping spree. “Shame you can’t buy yourself a functioning pair of eyes with that money.” The sudden quip paused Jo’on for a second, as she flipped herself back over to verify that yes, it was indeed Okina.

“Oh, there you are!” Her mood seemed to flip on a switch, though inwardly she was still disgruntled. “We were looking all over the place for you!” With that blatant lie out of the way, the goddess made a show of helping herself to her feet, and wiping some non-existent dirt off her outfit.

“Were you now?” Okina, on the other hand, made no effort to hide her obvious annoyance, glowering at Jo’on. “I suppose since you were shopping during it,” a nod towards the blatantly new outfit and accessories she was wearing, “then you at least picked up what we need for the party, right?” Her glare switched over Guy, an unspoken order to help her up in her eyes. He didn’t wait a moment before hopping over.

“Erm...” she hesitated. “Yeah, of course. In fact...” she fished one of her unworn pieces of jewelry from her new pink bag (she was still a little bit salty she’d lost her Gucci one) and tossed it at the still floor-bound god. “A mystical locket that turns you invisible.” Okina caught it, staring incredulously. “350 bucks. Shell up.”

“Ugh, why? You’re not even buying these with your own-”

“Shshsh,” Jo’on shushed her, holding out a finger. “350, take it or leave it.”

“Leave.” Matara threw it back in an instant. “It’s not even magical.”

Jo’on scoffed, shoving it back into her bag. Fucker saw right through her...

“Okay, since clearly I have to hold your hand through this...” Finally, with help, the secret god rose to a shaky stand. “It’s... what time is it?”

Rolling her eyes, Jo’on dramatically pulled up one of her sleeves to take a look at her new watch. “6:47 pm.”

“Oh, less time than I thought...” Okina mumbled mostly to herself. “We’ve got an hour to get to the party, and you still haven’t bought the shit we need.”

“Buy your own shit. I’ve already got everything I need.”

“Remind me again...” She was only growing more annoyed by the minute. “Which one of us has the stolen cre-”

“Shhhh!” Jo’on took a step closer, lifting one hand well above her head to forcefully silence the much-taller god with a finger. “We’re still in public, got it?” Their eyes locked, anger shimmering beneath the surface. They stood like that for a solid several seconds, before Jo’on slowly dropped her finger. Okina opened her mouth, sucking in a breath.

“Stolen c-”

“Ugh fine! I’ll buy your shit too!” Jo’on threw back her head in exasperation. “What do you want?”

Okina smiled. “I’m glad you asked...”

1091 Words. Post 4/8
 
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