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Ask to Join The Alabastor Chronicles: Race to the Golden Gate (REMASTERED)

Discussion in 'General Role Play' started by Gamefreak1996, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. In the world of Alabastor, there exists the Golden Gate, beyond which lies the Azoth. Said to possess the ability to grant any desire, this mysterious artifact had always been out of mankind's reach. But now, an opportunity to find the Azoth has arisen, and the race to find it might shake Alabastor to it's very core.

    Link to the mythos and discussion: https://pokecharms.com/threads/the-...-the-golden-gate-remastered-discussion.18928/
     
  2. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this..." famed archaeologist Professor Miles Donovan muttered as he walked down the cobblestone streets of Shire, a large port town on the west coast of the Victorian Empire. At his side, his adoptive son Zanku Akimore simply grinned, excited about the adventure they were about to partake in. "What about your education?"

    "I already packed my textbooks, and I have you to teach me. What's there to worry about?" Zanku replied. Placing his hands behind his head, he walked ahead, then turned around, walking backwards as he faced his father figure. "Though, if you don't mind, I'd prefer we focused more on the adventure at hand..."

    "Yeah, not happening." Miles laughed, "What kinda parent would I be if I didn't take your academic progress into account?" He smiled as Zanku gave a childish pout.

    "So how come I still have to study, but you get to bring all those sweets with you?" He demanded, pointing at the two bags of candy in Miles' left hand, which were filled to nearly bursting.

    "Oh, come on, Zanku, you know I'll share." the professor reasoned, as Zanku gave him a suspicious look. "You can even take a piece now if you feel like it." he added. After a moment of hesitation, Zanku gave in and took a piece of saltwater taffy, unwrapping it and popping it into his mouth.
     
  3. Deep Within an Empty Alleyway:

    "No! No! No!" a random individual exclaimed, "Please give me another chance! I'll give you the crowns as soon as I can!"

    A mysterious figure looked down upon the man, and said, "Aww~. You low-lives are so adorable when you plead for your life. It's very pleasing to watch you suffer right now~. But, I've already given you way too many chances and my patience is wearing thin."

    "Please, just this once," the man said, "I can give you the crowns by tomorrow! I'm begging you-!" But before the man could say anything else, fire, shaped like that of a halberd, was shot through his chest.

    "You keep babbling on-and-on, but I never see any results," the mysterious figure said, "Just do us both a favor, and shut up .... for good."

    The man's eyes then went completely blank, and he fell unto the lifeless.

    The mysterious figure then started laughing maniacally, and outside of the alleyway they were in, posters read....

    "BEWARE OF

    Scarlet Du Sang".​
     
    #3 SS-I Never, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  4. After a seemingly endless journey, the sound of large hooves trotting came to a slow, and eventually went quiet. The source of the sound came from a muscular white stallion with a long growing grey mane. The prominent steed stood on edge of a cliff as he was gently reared to a halt with its silver reigns, currently being handled by a dainty, almost elfin-like young lady who sat atop of its back. The pale girl wore long white boots, and a matching colored utility jacket with multiple zippers and pockets. As if there wasn't enough white, her gloves and even hair (currently in a high ponytail) was the same snowy complexion - except there were short and random linings of a faint blue within her hair, and eyes that matched the bright sky. The girl went to pull her jacket's fur hood down, and got a good view at the vast outlook before her...the Victorian Empire.

    Anastasia had just spent the past week and a half traveling non-stop all the way from her own Kingdom of Cordella in the East, in which she discretely snuck away due to her father, King Adylon, was being a pain and would surely disrupt the process of returning the kingdom to the state it was in pre-Eclipse. She believed that the Azoth and power of the Astra were the only things that could truly reconstruct her lands back to their thriving fulfillment...but was easily ignored by her father and older brother, who would soon be protruding towards the throne with terrible ideas of sovereignty. She was convinced she knew best, and began her search for the true cure to suffrage and took it into her own hands; quite literally being the casual runaway princess. The 20 year old didn't put much thought into whatever would happen within her lands whenever they found out she was gone, but that would not be as important as the time when she would surely return home with the single object that would make her the savior of the kingdom.

    She gazed upon the entrance of the empire before her with her icey blue stare, figuring that with the size and population of the place, someone had to know of the great journal's pages, or there would be some kind of hint as to how she could obtain them. Staysia had tried in multiple towns before, but any leads that she had gotten were either false or useless. The princess knew that she would most likely not be recognized within these lands, as she was thousands of miles away from home, but just as precautionary she removed her earring containing her family jewel from her left ear and slipped it in her pocket. She then threw her hood up once more and tapped her heel against the belly of her horse.

    "Sorry that I've been running you ragged lately, girl, but I have a good feeling about our search. Once we reach an Inn you can have a long rest. Alright, lets go." She spoke aloud, and caused the horse to recommence its galloping down the hill and into the new country.
     
    #4 Platinum_, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  5. "Come on come one, what's keeping this guy? I'd figure the "best hired hand in the land" or whatever would not be one to keep potential clients waiting."

    In the back of an old bar that had been named "Heartbreaker Hub" which seemed rather fitting. Given that from what Pandora had seen the place had been rather a dump with only a collection or thugs or in general other low lives hung out. Not helped was the fact that this bar was within the well...one could say "less economic beneficial districts" of the empire to try and phrase it as kindly as it could sat Pandora; a seemingly unassuming young girl who seemed to be waiting for something or someone to arrive. Though given her scowl and the way she had been tapping on that table for the past couple minutes, it seemed she had began to grow impatient. Pandora had managed to get in contact with an individual named Zander; a mercenary for hire who was said to be among the best in his field. To what extent that held true Pandora had no way of knowing, but either way the word of mouth she had heard in the city's underground had been enough to convince her he was the right man for the job she had in mind.

    Though what that job was, or whether this "Zander" would have shown up at all remained to be seen. Though just outside the bar, a cloaked figure stood outside the bar entrance with his hands in his pockets as the figure scanned the establishment.

    Well then, I wonder what somebody who desired to meet me in the literal bottom barrel of society has in store. I guess there's but one way to find out...
     
  6. "Hold on, Zanku, I'd like to stop for a drink, if you don't mind. We've got time before the ferry docks close." Miles said, looking up at the Heartbreaker's Hub sign. "Besides, it'll give me more time to think of the next stop on our journey."

    "Huh. I didn't really take you to be the type to drink..." Zanku said, following him into the bar.

    "Only on rare occasions. Kind of hard to buy alcohol on a teacher's salary." Miles replied with a small chuckle. "And before you ask, the money I recieve for my expeditions comes from the emperor's pockets, not mine." As he said this, he sat down at the bar and gave the bartender a nod as he approached. "A pint of McGuniess mead, please, and a glass of water for the kid."
     
  7. Zander had opted to simply walk past many of the occupants, including a pair of new arrivals including one that appeared to be around the age of his would-be employer. This had caused Zander to give Zanku a curious glance, but eventually he had decided whoever requested him would come alone and sure enough saw Pandora in a back table. Pandora glanced at the cloaked figure and had a smile on her face.

    "Finally! Took you long enough I gotta say. Beginning to worry you'd no show." Pandora said as Zander sat down, removing the hood of his cloak as he locked eyes with the young girl.

    "For one thing, when discussion a job that requires my...talents, you'd best keep your voice down." Zander advised, as Pandora had realized Zander had a point and made a point to keep her future speaking tone to a whisper before she began to reach to a bag she had brought with her.

    "Alright, onto business. Job itself is possibly filed with peril, and could be a long-term one. Though I have a feeling if we see it to the end the reward will mean you never will have to work again." Pandora explained as Zander had an eyebrow raised, though had refrained from passing judgement as Pandora searched for her item of interest.
     
  8. In the slums of the County of Jenzobah, Victoria, mafia activities were at an all-time high. The Ice Breakers were the leading mob in the town and Two-Bit Timothy was making a move. What were they after? Only a rare supply of ancient artifacts, brought back from the Garan Desert by Professor Everest Blackstone. Gemstones, runes, ancient statues, the like. It would make quite a profit on the black market, if Professor Blackstone had chosen to go that route. It seemed that Mr. Frost wanted to take advantage of the fact that Everest was giving them to a museum instead.
    "Which is where we come in."
    "Duke Dudsley, maybe stop self-narrating while we're on a mission?"
    "Alright, I'll do it silently, my boy."
    Ever since my good source told me about this operation, I've been preparing for it. The Duke thought to himself, creeping along the walkway. His trusty musket was clutched in his hands. Jerome wall-jumped up to the higher level, creeping around. And now that the time has come, I'm sure we can handle i-
    "Move it, will ya?"
    The Duke froze. Trouble. The Ice Breakers, I'd wager. he thought, hiding himself behind a corner. He peeked out slightly, and noticed five mobsters holding a man with white hair at gunpoint. This man had quite the mustache.
    "Opening the cars take t-time, be patient!" the man replied.
    "Well Two-Bit here don't have time for patience! Ain't that right, boss?" one of the mobsters stated.
    "Don't speak for me, ya wheezel." Two-Bit ordered, walking up. "Ah would have destroyed this door ahlready if ah didn't have instructions to get the shit intact. So hurry up!"
    "I'm trying!" the man said.
    They're not paying attention. The Duke thought. It's the perfect time for the Duke to strike! Duke Dudsley whirled around with his musket, pointing it at the crowd. "Hands to the sky, buggers, or I pull the trigger!"
    The five mobsters turned around, four of them pointing their guns at the Duke.
    "...ah. It seems I'm outgunned. Unfortunate."
    "Keel 'im!" Two-Bit ordered. The quartet fired their flintlocks towards the Duke, who ducked back behind the corner.
    "Damn it, Dudsley!" Jerome shouted, firing off two shots towards the mobsters from above. One of the blasts hit the gun out of a mobster's hand, the other went through a mobster's leg. Both cringed in pain. The Duke then ran out and fired his musket at the two remaining grunts, who were both hit by the metal - not killing them, but knocking them out.
    The Duke reloaded his gun, and Jerome slid down a wire. The pair looked at Two-Bit Timothy and the man.
    "Back away from the truck, Two-Bit!" Dudsley ordered. "Wouldn't want to have to get frosty with ya."
    "You think ya're funny?" Two-Bit smiled. "Well now. Lemme show ya jus' whay they call meh Two-Bit."
    Two-Bit then karate-chopped towards the pair, who dodged out of the way of the purple energy wave he sent out. Good call - as it destroyed the wall behind them.
    "It's 'cause I cut 'em awl inta two bits!"
     
  9. "Here y'go, Miles. That'll be 110 crowns." The bartender said, handing the two their drinks. "I added extra honey, too, just as you like."

    "You're a true friend, Lawrence." Miles chuckled, paying the man. "It's really a shame we won't be seeing much of you anymore."

    "Oh? And why's that?" The bartender called Lawrence questioned, raising an eyebrow as his eye glanced down at Miles' notebook. In it the archaeologist had written something, but...Wait, what language IS that?! He thought.

    "Excuse me, sir, my eyes are up here." Miles chimed, prompting an annoyed Lawrence to snap his gaze back upward. "And to answer your question, the emperor's sent me off on another expedition, and this one's bound to take a while."

    "R-right...of course..." Lawrence said, getting back to his work.

    As this conversation unfolded, Zanku looked around quietly as he gulped down his water.
     
  10. "I want you to answer me this, what do you know of the Golden Gate?" Pandora asked, speaking with a whisper as she had taken Zander's advice to heart and tried to avoid having anyone listen in on their conversation. Zander, blanked faced and all, simply had folded his arms over his chest before he responded.

    "Some stupid story that has little to no basis in fact." Zander replied matter of factly. It appeared that Zander had been skeptical over this entire legend, though if that had been an issue for Pandora her expression showed no sign of it. Soon enough, a single paper had been pulled from Pandora's bag as she had given Zander a peak at it. Which had caught the stoic mercenary off guard to have said the least.

    In Pandora's hands had been one of the fabled pages. And from what Zander had seen, it had not appeared to be a fake.
     
  11. Outside the tavern, a teenager with a pompadour hairstyle put up one of many posters he was carrying:

    THE O'LANTERN ENERGY ENTERPRISE
    ANNUAL TOURNAMENT
    Where Grand Adventure Is The Grand Prize

    On the 23rd of July, 1072 A.E., I, Sir Jack O'Lantern, owner and CEO of O'Lantern Energy
    Enterprise, will be holding a tournament for adventurers to show off their skills! Come one,
    come all, to this open-invitation event! The grand prize for whomever wins the tournament
    will be 100,000 Crowns, a ship of their very own, and a page of the journal of Xavius the Wise!
    No kidding! So, if you wish to jump at this rare opportunity, the gathering session will be held
    at the Emerald Forest, near the east border of the Victorian Empire. I look forward to seeing the
    next generation of adventurers!

    Signed Sincerely,
    Sir Jack O'Lantern
    All across the empire, these posters were being placed. Some by a girl with a feline tail and hoodie, others by a teen riding a blazing skateboard, others still by the same boy who was now leaving the tavern, hands in his coat pockets.
     
  12. "What to do? What to do? What to do?" a woman mumbled to herself as she walked down the streets of the Victorian Empire. She held a cigarette in hand, and stopped to take a little break near a café shop.

    I haven't had any clients ever since I killed that man, and I don't have anyone to play with anymore. Oh well, it's not like any of them were compitent. All of them begged for mercy, but they should all understand by now that that's not how it works in life. No one's going to give you mercy just because you asked them to, you have to learn to take care of yourself, and it was obvious those men didn't know how to care for themselves.

    The woman then took a sip from the tea she had ordered, and observed the busy streets she was in. But then something caught her eye... a poster.

    "Ooo~ And what might this be?" the woman said aloud as she went up to the poster and grabbed it. She read through it, and a smirk grew on her face. "It looks like I know what I'm going to do today~"

    The poster the woman held then combusted into flames, and so did many of the other posters that surrounded her.

    "This will surely be fun~" the woman said as she then walked out of the streets of the Victorian empire.

    --------------------------------

    Meanwhile,

    "WHAT HAPPENED TO MY POSTERS!?" the girl with a feline tail and hoodie exclaimed.
     
  13. Pandora smirked as clearly she had gotten Zander's interest.

    "So, still think this is all fluff. What I have is one piece to the puzzle to make our literal dreams come true. For this mission I ask you provide escort and protection as I find the other pages. Once we reach the Golden Gate, I will reward you handsomely." Pandora assured as Zander's shock had given way to skepticism.

    "Okay, even if that is...a page....that is but one of many. Where would we even begin to try and find the others?" Zander asked, as Pandora thought it over before she saw what appeared to be a poster posted on a pole she observed from the bar winder. With a grin, as she squinted to see the contents, she turned to Pandora.

    "Hold that thought." Pandora said as she had quickly dashed outside the bar and pulled a poster down before she dashed back inside and laid it on a table to show to Zander.

    "This. If you participate and win this tournament not only do we get a second page but also a boat for travel and some additional funds. It's perfect." Pandora explained, having done her best to keep her voice down while Zander eyed the poster and considered his options.
     
  14. Jerome ran around Two-Bit clockwise, careful to keep out of the way of his destructive chop. He fired off two blasts from his flintlocks, which were both caught and destroyed by the mobster.
    The Duke, however, wasn't being so strategic. He ran towards Two-Bit, musket in hand. He swung it down on the mobster's head, who flinched in pain before stumbling back. His hand lightly touched the train car, breaking it wide open. An artifact flew down towards Dudsley, who safely caught it and put it down securely.
    "This makes things harder." Jerome stated, running up to Two-Bit and kicking him away from the train cars. Two-Bit slid across the ground, skidding to a halt with a trail of fractured stone left behind him.
    "Then let's crank 't up to elevan!" Two-Bit shouted, dashing towards the young man. Duke Dudsley jumped in front of his protege and fired a shot point-blank, sending Two-Bit flying back and knocked unconscious.
    "Well. Quite a good outing, my chap." Dudsley stated. He then noticed something weird. "Jerome, my boy. Do you see that?"
    Jerome noticed it, of course. The pair walked over to find a strange paper in the middle of the path of destruction Two-Bit had made after Jerome's kick. Astonishingly, despite the stone around it being fractured apart, the paper was perfectly intact.
    "What's this, now?"
     
  15. A woman with purple hair walked into town. She looked around and found a poster talking about a tournament to win a page of Xavius' journal. "What's this?" She said. "Well, this could be most useful. I could use a ship, more money couldn't hurt and most important of all, a journal page." She said to herself before walking away with a smirk.
     
  16. Zanku and Miles walked out the bar once the latter had finished his notes on his "prized relic" and tucked it into his coat pocket again. Behind him, Lawrence growled in frustration, but that frustration quickly grew into fear when he felt something sinister in his bones. He looked around, and when his eyes met those of a figure in a cloak, his face paled. He had seen everything, especially his failure. Frantically, Lawrence tried to throw the barstand open so he could run, but as he reached the door, a playing card pierced his throat. Letting out a last, choked scream, the bartender fell to the ground, the ground beneath him turning red.

    What a shame. Seems the professor is smarter than we assumed. The figure thought, his purple eyes gleaming. Good thing I have a backup plan.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Well...what happened here?" Dustin muttered, looking around at the smoldering embers of burned posters. "Looks like what happened after Blaize tried that stunt of his last week...except the buildings are still intact." He had already finished putting up his posters for Shire and the capital, but on his way to the next town, he had noticed the embers. "I hope Lyza didn't get into any trouble..."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Hey Miles, look at this!" Zanku said excitedly, holding up a poster he grabbed on their way to the inn. "If we win this, we could get another page to follow, AND we won't have to worry about paying any travel fees with a ship of our own!"

    "As great a reward that is, I'm gonna have to say no." Miles dismissed flatly.

    "Oh, come on, we can do it! I mean, I've never lost a fight at school, so that's gotta count for something, right?" Zanku pointed out.

    "Yes, you won every fight against other kids who don't know how to use Astra," Miles countered, "a far cry from experienced adults. You haven't even been taught the components! And even if we did win, there's the chance that page doesn't reveal any real hints. We'd have taken a huge gamble for nothing."

    "Isn't that true for the page we already have?" Zanku asked.

    "Well, I've almost finished translating it, so yes, that risk runs true for us even now." Miles sighed, looking back to his notes and the page. The ancient sheet of paper shimmered in the candlelight, distorting it in odd ways. "So far, nothing."

    "And then there's also the chance that page really DOES lead somewhere! It could be the one that tells us how to get right there!" Zanku said.

    "Yes, that's also tr-...Zanku, I just don't want to see you wind up hurt in a gamble that could give you nothing. We don't have enough experience to participate in this!" Miles said, "Look, I'll finish translating this, and we'll see what we can do from there. Okay?"

    "Yeah, okay..." Zanku sighed. "G'night." Miles watched as he went to his bedroom to get some rest, then smiled a little before going back to his work.
     
  17. "DUSTIN!!!"

    Someone appeared to be yelling, and her voice could basically be heard from a mile away. The voice belonged to Lyza, a humanoid cheetah with a bunch of attitude to come with.

    She and Dustin have been in a relationship, mostly because from all of the rough things that had happened with them, they were able to find happiness with each other.

    But....Lyza did not come running towards Dustin in a loving mood, she looked pissed and it looked like she wanted to hit something badly.

    "Dustin! SOMEONE DESTROYED ALL OF MY POSTERS!" Lyza exclaimed ferciously, "I spent a good damn amount of my time to put them all up! I SWEAR I'LL KILL THE BASTARD WHO DID THIS!"
     
    #17 SS-I Never, Mar 20, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  18. "Hey, take it easy, Lyza." Dustin said, somewhat unnerved by just how fiery her temper was. He then looked to the building walls and posts the posters were on. "Judging from the lack of damage to the structures themselves, it does seem the posters alone were targeted. However, if they were trying to sabotage Mr. J's tournament by preventing others from seeing the posters, one town alone isn't going to be enough to cut it. Espeically since Blaize has probably already finished his route. We'll still have plenty of contestants." After quieting down a moment to take in the scene, he couldn't exactly find some motive that would explain why someone would do this. Were they showing off? Probably, given they would've wanted to avoid collaterol but still demonstrate their power. But what would burning posters prove? Was someone messing with them? Definitely possible, but a bit of a stretch. They hadn't done anything wrong, and Mr. J was certain to get permission to hang these posters up. "Look, I don't know why someone would do this, but I'll help you replace them." He finally said. "We still have plenty of time before the tournament. It's only the 20th."
     
    #18 Gamefreak1996, Mar 20, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  19. Lyza sat down on a nearby boulder, and said, "Fine. I'm still a bit peeved about the whole situation, though. Why would someone be so mean!?" She sounded a bit muffled because she was pouting.

    She then started putting up more posters, with a bit of an annoyed look on her face.

    -------------------------------------------

    After a while, Lyza finished putting up all of the posters that were destroyed prior.

    She then went up to Dustin, and hugged him from behind. "I'm sorry for yelling like that," Lyza said, "I didn't mean to lash out all of my anger on you. I wasn't thinking straight, and was just really annoyed. Please forgive me."
     
  20. After finishing with his half of re-hanging the posters, Dustin glanced back when he felt Lyza hug him from behind. Carefully turning around in her grasp, he wrapped his arms around her as well. "Ah, don't worry about it. I understand." he chuckled, kissing her on the head. "C'mon, let's get home."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Miles rubbed his eyes as he looked up from the page and out the window at the star-laden night. Smiling, he opened it and allowed himself a moment of a summer night's breeze. Then, he made his way back to his desk. "Still no sign of where to start... This might actually be one of the pages that describes what he learns in the ruins..." he sighed. "And with no lead, we can't get anywhere. I might have to put this whole trip off." Unbenownst to him, however, Zanku was listening from the other side of the door. And after what he said, the boy decided to take matters into his own hands. With their odds, they had to get another page.

    "Sorry, Miles, but even if the odds are against me... we won't have any chance if I don't try." he muttered. And so, leaping out of his bedroom window, he landed quietly on the street below with some money, a spare set of clothes, and snacks in his bag. Looking back for a moment, he took off, headed toward the Emerald Forest.
     
  21. After what seemed to be countless minutes of mental deliberation, Zander eventually let out a sigh as he faced Pandora who had been on the edge of her seat as she waited to see what the famed mercenary had to say about her proposal.

    "Fine. As much as I think this leads to nothing, I've got no work lined up for a good while. And if this tournament is part of the job, some extra funds is always a positive. I'll see to escorting, guarding and helping you obtain these pages. But only as long as I deem reasonable, and when I see it is no longer as such I will back out." Zander said, which caused Pandora to let out a little squeal before she had quickly covered her mouth.

    "Yes, and with you and I in the tournament that boat, prize and page are as good as ours." Pandora said which caused Zander to raise an eyebrow.

    "You desire to partake in the tournament as well?" Zander asked, curious as evident by his tone as Pandora grinned and offered a nod.

    "Yeah, I figure if we both enter it doubles our chances. I mean I'm not the most polished with Astra but I figure I should be good enough to take care of some of the less experienced fighters while you take out the big guys." Pandora said, as a rational for her idea though Zander had his issues with it as evident by his expression of almost disapproval.

    "I'll have to decline that offer. For these pages people are going to be bringing their A-Game. Wouldn't shock me if it was made up purely of Astra users. Either those with their own desires or hired hands. You'd get in the way." Zander explained which caused Pandora to pout.

    "Hey, I can be pretty crafty. And maybe we'll have some time to train so you can get me off to a running start." Pandora proposed as Zander let out a sigh.

    Learning how to use Astra, even the bare basics, is nothing that simple. Certainly nothing that can be done prior to this tournament effectively. But I feel I might not have a choice here, this girl seems rather stubborn.
     
  22. "This mysterious page was undamaged, even by powerful destruction magic." Jerome pondered, holding the page out in front of him back at the Duke's manor. "I wonder where it came from?"
    "My boy! What if it's... a page from the journal of Xavius the Wise?!" Dudsley piped up.
    "That old legend?"
    "Well, it fits, doesn't it?" Dudsley stated. "Legends say that nothing could destroy those pages - raging fire, tumultuous waves, the sharpest blades... only the wrath of the gods themselves could destroy it!"
    "And where's the proof, again?" Jerome replied. "It's just an old tale. No one has been able to find the ruins of the supposed Golden Gate for centuries. That's a huge indication it doesn't exist."
    "But this is an indication of the opposite!" Dudsley snatched the paper out of Jerome's hand. "Look at this, my boy! This could be a key to the greatest adventure of all time!"
    Suddenly, a knock came from the door. Jerome got up and walked over, opening the door. It was the gardener.
    "Maxwell?" Jerome asked.
    "Someone ran over and put this on one of the trees. I thought you might want to see it." the gardener stated, handing Jerome a poster. Jerome took the poster and walked back over to Dudsley.
    "Duke, this mentions the journal of Xavius..."
    "WHAT DOES IT SAY?! WHERE DOES IT SAY TO GO?!" The Duke exclaimed, grabbing his shotgun and loading it.
    "D-Dudsley, I haven't even explained what it says..."
     
  23. As Zanku continued his solo trek across the empire (he was now in Shire's countryside), he hopped onto the back of a passing steam truck that was going his direction. "'Scuse me, sir, where's this truck headed?" he asked the driver.

    "Alamein County, cub, in the southeast area of the empire." The old man replied, "Though, d'ya mind if I ask what yer doin' on my truck, and where yer parents're at?"

    "They know where I am, if that's what you're worried about." Zanku replied, Or, at least, Miles will know when the sun comes up... He nervously added in the back of his head. The driver gave him a suspicious look, but shrugged and accepted Zanku's story.

    "Fine, but don't ruin the goods back." he said, looking back ahead of the road. "And if ye think I'm gonna let ye hitchhike on the back of me truck for nothin, you've got another thing comin'."

    "I got 60 crowns on me, if ya want it." Zanku said, showing him the six ten-crown coins he packed.

    "Seems a fair enough pay, I 'spose." The driver sighed, taking the money. Zanku sat down between a couple bales of hay and as the rickety old truck made it's way down the dirt road, he looked up at the clear night sky, drifting to sleep.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 23rd had arrived quite quickly, or at least Zanku thought so. For the last three days, he had journeyed through the empire, and he had now finally arrived at the gathering area for the "O'Lantern Enterprises Adventure Tourney". At least that's what the large banners surrounding the camps called it. Dozens of applicants had gathered from across the empire, some of which were warming up, others swapping stories and sharing a drink, and some eating breakfast.
     
  24. "Deep breath, deep breath...you can do this...."

    Pandora had been off seemingly by herself in on open field within the camps, though in truth Zander had been observing her carefully from a tree branch above as it appeared that Pandora seemed to be in deep concentration as it appeared she seemed to be trying something.

    For non-Astra users, it seemed it was nothing more than the girl pressing her palm against the floor while she had been crouched down. Which didn't seem to mean much of anything.

    However, for those who had that ability, she appeared to be trying to pull off a summon. Try, being the operative word here as between the visible sweat and the vain protruding on the side of her forehead her efforts had yielded not the best results. Even with her training with Zander.

    Come on, you can do this. I know you can....just concentrate. Picture that gate and send the call through...
     
  25. "Damn it, Hideki, why does your son have to be so much like you?!" Miles growled under his breath as he sped down the countryside road in a rented automobile. "When I get my hands on him, he's in so much trouble."

    -------------------------------------
    While Zanku wandered around the camp, observing the other campers, he shrugged his backpack off his shoulder and pulled out a snack bar, munching on it as he sat down to rest from his trip. Gotta say, that trek was a bit more tiring than I thought it'd be. He thought, watching as a cloaked figure strode by, juggling a few spheres of astra. Then his eye shifted to a dark-skinned girl about his age who seemed to be trying to summon, except she was failing. Finishing his snack and tucking the wrapper into his shorts pocket, he got up and walked over behind her, watching quietly at first. After a few moments, he finally spoke up: "Wouldn't it be easier if you drew the gate into the dirt first?"
     
  26. Zander, who did his best to mask his own presence, watched someone who appeared to be around Pandora's age offer some advice to Pandora, who glanced up as she took a pause from her concentration and listened to the guy as he made his advice offer to her. Pandora at this point showed her right hand and a symbol she seemed to have written on it. The symbol was three black triangles that seemed interlocked with each other.

    "I was aiming to use myself as a gate. I was told that if the user's body acted as the bridge it would make it easier to form a connection with whatever is summoned. Do you think I need to add the symbol to the ground to complete the link?" Pandora asked, as she wondered if that had been her flaw. Zander had advised her to draw the gate symbol to set up a "link" between the realm of where the summons lived and their world. Though maybe using the same symbol on the floor below might be the thing she had overlooked.
     
  27. "Oh, I didn't see that at first." Zanku said, rubbing his chin as he pondered. "Well, I really don't know how to summon myself, but I was told that having the gate etched out on the ground helps when starters are struggling. It sort of guides the Astra into the right formation. Kinda like training wheels on a bike." Looking around, he picked up a twig and handed it to Pandora. "It's worth a try."
     
  28. Scarlet stood where all of the applicants were, but she distanced herself from them with the best of her ability. None, and she meant none, seemed to pose any kind of threat.

    She sighed. I wanted to at least have a bit of a challenge to have some fun, but most of these guys I could easily stop with a flick of a wrist. Oh well, it'll, make it easier for me to get that page in my hands!

    She then smoked in her cigarrette, and waited for the contest to begin.
     
  29. Zander kept his eyes focused on the conversation between Pandora as well as the newcomer her age, though he also took a moment to scout the rest of the competition. Including a woman who seemed to be doing much the same. Zander was similarly unimpressed with the bulk of the competition, though she seemed a little different. But Zander only had his best guess on that one before he resumed watch of Pandora and the newcomer.

    Pandora considered his words before she accepted the stick with a small smile.

    "It's worth a try, I appreciate it. By the way you got a name?" Pandora asked as she began to draw the same symbol on the back of her hand on the dirt floor, using said symbol as a reference.
     
  30. "Yeah. My name's Zanku Akimore. Nice meetin' ya." Zanku said with a smile.

    Elsewhere in the camp, Iscarro decided it was finally time to get rid of this dreadfully hot cloak. As he slid it off, he tossed it aside into one of the campfires. The flames eagerly accepted the new fuel, burning away at the fabric as the folks around it tried to put it out. Once the flames were smothered, one of them turned to the jester. "Hey! You trying to get us all killed?!" he shouted.

    "Pity it didn't happen, but no, I wasn't." Iscarro replied with a chuckle. The look of irritation on the man's face made him even more amused.

    Brother, let me at him. It's been a while since poor Judarus got his hands dirty! A voice in his head begged.

    All in due time, Judarus...All in due time. For now though, we keep a low profile. Iscarro thought.
     
  31. Mina stood with her arms crossed at the camp where the tourney was suppose to be taking place in. "Sure are a lot of people here, must mean either the prize really isn't a scam or this many people are falling for it." She said. "Then again, I'm here too so calling others gullible is a bit egotistical." She added with a chuckle.
     
  32. "Nice to meet you. I go by Pandora." Pandora replied, giving no last name as she soon finished the symbol on the ground. As Pandora set her stick aside, she took a deep breath before she placed her hand that also bared the symbol on the back of it.

    Pandora then began to channel her Astra, just as Zander had shown her, through her body to the symbol on the back of her hand. This time however, she also began to pump it into the ground below which started to cause both symbols to glow.

    "Gates of a world beyond our own I ask of thee....hear my cry and come to me!" Pandora called out, and rather than just a glowing symbol on the back of her hand after she recited that chant instead both it and the symbol she drew on the dirt shinned brighter and soon enough a portal began to ripple open. Due to Pandora's lack of experience, and lack of Astra she could have channeled, the portal proved to be not so big. And it failed to remain open for long, long enough for something to emerge from it, but Pandora had been focused on the process she failed to notice it before the portal closed and she had been knocked back. Pandora took a moment to shake her head as she sat up, panting a bit as the effort to open the portal hat taken a toll, but saw nothing immediately before her which caused her to frown.

    Darn it....what did I do wrong? Was I supp....

    Pandora had been brought out of her thoughts when she felt...something, tug on her shirt. As she glanced to her side what she saw surprised her.

    It was a young, black-fur, goat with short but strong looking horns that seemed to have been interested in her shirt as it began to try and chew on it. Pandora was stunned, and quickly jerked her hand away so that the goat could not get another bite before a look of wonder befell her face.

    "I....I did it!" Pandora cried out as she gave her summoned beast a hug. The goat made no effort to protest this, merely it tried to bit her shirt again but Pandora broke the hug too quickly for that.

    "A-alright, now then what should I call you..." Pandora mused but found her mental debate broken up by a new voice.

    "W-well I go by Tanngrisnir. If that is what you mean." The goat replied which stunned Pandora.

    "Y-you can talk?" Pandora asked, surprised as the young goat gave a nod.

    "Yeah, I can talk. Is that uncommon?" Tanngrisnir asked as Pandora was shocked but tried to think over an appropriate response. During this process, Zander had lept down and acted as a shield to try and obscure the summon to prevent too many wandering eyes to focus on them while he eyed the summoned goat.
     
  33. "Oh, wow, that's pretty awesome! Congrats on your first summon, Pandora." Zanku said, patting Pandora on the back with a smile. Then, across the whole camp, a fanfare rose from the front of the clearing as a set of railroad tracks materialized from the forest. After a long whistle, a large locomotive headed by a pumpkin face steamed up in front of the camp, towing only a single carriage. A man dressed like a scarecrow stepped out of the carriage as it, the tracks, and the train disappeared.

    "Greetings, applicants of the O'Lantern Enterprises Adventure Tourney!" he addressed, "You have gathered here today from near and far to compete for the rights to glory, adventure, and thrills! 208 of you are here now, but only one of you will come out on top!" He held out his hand, and it began to glow with Astra, a small brick building separated into booths with desks forming from the earth, with small indents around it showing where the matter was drawn from. "Now, then, everyone is to register their names with one of the staff attending these booths, and in turn will recieve a white badge. Do not lose this item, as it's important to your qualification in the tournament. When all of you have recieved your badges, I will explain the rules for the first portion of the tournament."

    After his announcement, he hopped down and walked over to the first booth as other staff manned the others. As the lines got gradually shorter, Zanku finally got to jot his name down and recieved his badge. As he exited, however, he felt an all too familiar scowl pressing on him, and he swallowed. Slowly glancing over his shoulder, he felt as if his heart was gonna pop out of his mouth. Standing behind him...was Miles.
     
  34. While Pandora deisred more time to get to know her new summon, she knew she had to register. Much like Zander had to, as the both of them made their way over to the booths. Zander and Pandora, who herself had been accompanied by her newfound summon Tanngrisnir as both signed up for the tournament and as such received their badges. Soon, the newfound trio gathered as Zander took a moment to scan Tanngrisnir over.

    "Well, you performed a summon. If nothing else you have a semi-fighting chance. 10% in your first match if I had to put it to odds." Zander explained as Pandora frowned at that. Tanngrisnir as well.

    Thanks for the support....
     
  35. "I told you not to come here because you might get hurt! Some of the people here could kill you given the chance!" Miles scolded, he and Zanku in the middle of a heated argument. "You can't even apply your Astra into the components, yet! How do you plan on beating anyone here who can?"

    "I don't know, Miles, but I'm not backing out of the only chance we have of getting our first step!" Zanku replied, his eyes ablaze as he dropped his voice to a whisper. "Yeah, I know I could die, but I also know we're at a dead end unless we get ahold of that page! You promised we could set off on this adventure, and I'm not letting you back out of it."

    "I know what I promised, but look at what you're asking of me. We have no leads whatsoever, and the only way to get another is to risk life and limb in some sort of crazy tournament." Miles pointed out, "We aren't experienced enough for something of this calibur."

    "How do you know?" Zanku snapped, getting tired of this conversation, "Have you even considered trying for once? Look, I understand science and logic and all that dictates we aren't ready, but they've been wrong before! How can we say we're not ready unless we've actually stepped up and tried?!" Miles was silent, the boy before him having brought up a fine point. "If there's even the slightest chance this could help us, would it be better to take it instead of just giving up?"

    "...Alright, you've convinced me. But you stay by my side the whole time. Got it?" Miles said, Zanku nodding in response. "Good." After that, Miles registered his name onto the roster and recieved his badge.
     
  36. Prior 3 years...

    Amadeus walked along the long, winding road, an almost inhumane look in his eyes. Nothing about his demeanor carried what used to be him and the life he had lived. His deep green eyes that had once held a bright glimmer in them were now cloudy and dull. The soles of Amadeus' bare feet were tattered and bloody from the endless, grueling walking that had started days ago. His hair was incredibly messy, and dust had collected on his face, arms, and legs. Despite each painful, heavy step, Amadeus remained unfazed, or at least he seemed so. He looked at the palms of his hands, not seeing the dust or cuts, but something much worse as a single thought festered in his mind.
    I took a life with these hands. After a few more seconds of staring blankly at these cursed hands, Amadeus let his arms go limp as he continued walking. An hour later, he looked up to see an arching gate with big bold letters: THE VICTORIAN EMPIRE. Amadeus stared at the letters, making out the words as he began to comprehend what they meant until suddenly, his vision went black and the boy fell face-down into the ground, unconscious.

    Present Day...

    Amadeus, now 14 years old, silently stared at a corpse in an old alleyway. A knife had embedded itself into the back of the unlucky soul's head, and a pool of red appeared under the still body. He hated to admit it, but Amadeus had felt a very brief pang of pity for the target, whose name was Brent Simmons. Poor chap never even saw him coming. The 14-year old assassin pulled out his old school phone and called his client. "Yeah, he's dead. Wire the Crowns to my account, will you? Pleasure doing business with you." Amadeus hung up and ran a hand through his dusty brown hair, which was neatly smoothed to the right. He looked to the left and noticed a poster calling anyone who would care to look to compete in a tournament of some sort. Sounds interesting. Maybe I'll give it a shot. Amadeus exited the alleyway and headed east to the Emerald Forest.

    Amadeus studied his white badge as he left the booth at which he had received the token and stashed it in his trouser pocket. Suddenly, he heard a somewhat stern voice ring into the air and turned to see a grown man scolding a kid-- possibly younger than Amadeus-- with a white badge in his hand. After a brief verbal squabble, the grown man seemed to comply and walked to the line to receive a badge as well. Amadeus silently watched with an emotionless expression before walking to a bench and sitting down, waiting for the tournament to begin.
     
  37. Once everyone had recieved their badges for the tournament, the booths vanished back into the ground, filling the holes made by their creation. Then, the announcer spoke. "Now then, your objective for the first portion of the Adventurer's Tourney is simple: reach the castle at the center of the forest with a white or red badge (not particularly your own). That is where the second half of the tournament shall be held. However, the process of getting there will be difficult. First of all, those badges of yours have a specially attuned enchantment: whenever two contestants enter a radius of twenty meters from one another, an arena will enclose around them, and they'll have to battle it out to continue. The loser is the one who is either defeated or surrenders, and their badge will be destroyed. And that's just the first threat you'll find in this forest. You'll also have to worry about the various flora and fauna of the forest, and three others, labeled as the 'Bosses'. If you manage to best one of these powerful foes, and bring their red badge in, you'll start the second half of the contest with some sort of...advantage. A reward for all your extra effort." Looking about the crowd of people with a pause, the announcer continued. "Starting this noon, you have until dawn of the day after tomorrow to reach the castle (that's 36 hours). If you do not make it in time, you will be disqualified from the tournament. Another thing to note is that you don't have to compete with every other contestant here. If you feel working together is more your forte, you have the option to do so. Simply tap your badge with the desired teammates, and you can form an alliance with them." At this, Zanku and Miles did so right away, and Zanku's badge then included Miles number of 22 along with his own 47.

    Soon, high noon had arrived, and the contestants lined up at the gates surrounding the forest. Zanku felt that buzz in his head he felt whenever he was at a ruins Miles was investigating; the feeling of excitement. "Here goes nothing." he whispered to himself as the gates were flung open all at once.

    "LET THE TOURNAMENT COMMENCE!!"
     
  38. Scarlet heard the announcement, and made her way towards the booth.

    Unfortunately for her, there was a big line, and she didn't want to wait. So she did the only thing anybody would do, and cut throught the line.

    Many people got angry, and started yelling at her, but she merely scoffed them off. It wasn't until someone took grab of her, and exclaimed, "Hey! What do you think you're doing cutting the line!?"

    He would immediately regret his decision, as Scarlet would then glare at him with an extremely unpleased look, and he could then feel a burning sensation on his foot, as Scarlet had shot multiple bolts of flames at his foot, even though she really only needed one. The pain the man felt was unbearble, and he fell unto the floor in pure agony.

    Most people in the crowd saw this, and they vowed to stay out of Scarlet's path, which made it faster for her to get her badge from the booth.

    Honestly, that man had it coming. What right does he think he has for TOUCHING ME!? SCARLET DU SANG! I'll make anyone rue their existence if they ever try to cross my path!

    Scarlet then flipped her hair, and waited for the tournament to begin.

    Woo-hoo! The tournament is ready to begin! With the gates opened, Scarlet was ready to dive in and get the sweet taste of victory.
     
    #38 SS-I Never, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  39. As both Pandora and Zander listened to the first part of this tournament, they realized this was far from a typical tournament. Thankfully, there had been a system for teamwork as quickly Pandora and Zander slammed their buttons against each other for the partnership clause that had been provided for them. With no fear now of being possible

    Pandora herself was nervous but confident, while she had insisted to Zander she could handle herself if needed for this she had little fighting experience and only had just performed her first summon. So having Zander as a partner through this was good insurance. Tanngrisnir seemed to sense this slight nervousness, as the goat rubbed against Pandora affectionately. Pandora smiled as Zander thought the situation over.

    "Alright, ideally you need to remain close to me to ensure I can handle the direct fighting as we move to the castle. Avoid fighting if possible, focus on just following me to the castle as quickly as possible. If you do end up in a fight by some unfortunate circumstance, and the fight goes bad for you at ANY point. Forfeit. Your life is not worth more than your life. And you will not pull off a miracle win when you are losing. And people won't hesitate to kill for a chance at a page on top of the boat and monetary reward. Do you understand?" Zander asked, as Pandora kept from a witty quip as she and Tanngrisnir understood the seriousness of the situation and nodded in agreement.

    Once the tournemanet began, Zander dashed off towards the forest with Pandora and Tanngrsnir right in toe with him.
     
    #39 Godjacob, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  40. Amadeus gathered with the others who were partaking in the tournament and listened to the explanation made by the announcer. He watched as groups of people warily touched their badges together and looked at his own, reading the number that was imprinted on the white token, 38. Suddenly, a man nearby fell to the ground and began to writhe in agony, one of his feet engulfed in flames. Bystanders watched with widened eyes and slowly turned to stare at the woman who had supposedly caused it, and Amadeus turned to get a good look at her. Brown hair, a red streak, crimson scarf wrapped around her neck, and small earpieces that jutted out on top of her ears implied a pair of sunglasses. As far as he knew in his underground work, the only one with that much ruthlessness and fashion taste was none other than Scarlet Du Sang. Amadeus internally shrugged the thought away and braced himself as the gates began to open. Once the announcer had begun the tournament, all of the contestants began to sprint into the forest, Amadeus following suit monotonously. This is gonna get quite interesting.
     

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