Light for the Future (Eradicator Arc Finale)

(Big thanks to Fusion once again for editing this post while I was working on the monstrous part 7. Granted, he took months on it, seemingly unable to keep focus on it for one reason or another, while flat-out refusing to let anyone else handle it with his busy schedule to the point I had to use it as a threat to him, numerous times so he’d finally get it done, but he got it done, and I appreciate him for that. Hopefully y’all enjoy the end to this massive roller-coaster of a story arc. -Editor Fizz)

(This is the finale of a huge, Multi-part side story. Links to part 1/part 2/part 3/part 4/part 5/part 6/part 7)

*A few days after the Eradicator stuff ended, people involved were coming into a party at Club Nightshade. The place was looking much more high-tech with all its recent upgrades. The bar had more drinks and more machines, the DJ setup was upgraded, there were more lights, and the arcade was bigger. Zelda was at the DJ booth mixing the jams, Ada and Jill were at the bar, and the rest of the usual Club Nightshade residents were scattered around, having conversations and whatnot. The same went for all the AAaF crew, and all their friends. Everyone was just kinda enjoying themselves, save for Chez, who was pretty out of it, still kinda tired and dazed with how much energy he used during the battle with Zaanel, but was still at least trying to keep up with everything by following Arleen around, while Fizz was leaned up against a wall, hands in his pockets as he was looking down…*

Aviva: *Grabs a random spoon, tapping it loudly against her glass* Nightshade and friends, gather ’round. Got a toast to give.

*Fizz hanged back, not out of rudeness, more just him kinda not being in the mood for a toast. It got Arleen, Emma, and Celeste’s attention though, as well as Lucian and Athena’s*

Aviva: …Zelda, put it on automix or some s**t and get over here.

Zelda: *Walks over, pressing a button on her watch* Yeah, yeah, I’m here.

Aviva: So, any of y’all ever heard of the Adventurer’s Toast?

Lucian: …Nnnope, can’t say I have.

Emma: What, that cheesy thing in movies that happens after the big adventure where someone in the group makes a big, grandiose speech about it with drinks or whatever?

Arleen: Don’t gotta sound so rude about it, Em’…

Athena: Nothin’ rude about realism, gal…

Aviva: Not exactly.

Vampette: It’s a toast to adventurers new and old, experienced PCs or complete noobs, and maaaaay or may not be something I found browsing D&D stuff online.

Aviva: So the actual toast, not the trope itself.

Lucian: Of cooourse ya did… But hey, I’m not complaining. A crap ton of stuff about that Eradicator stuff was cheesy anyway, so I’m starting to kinda enjoy cheese.

Emma: *Rolls her eyes, with a light smirk* Luci took what I was gonna say…

Celeste: Well get on with it then!

Vampette: Babe, mind doing the honors of starting off?

Aviva: *Raises her glass* To our victories past, and the adventures to come, may we have all that we need and then some.

Vampette: *Raises her glass as well* To our companions dear, and the ones yet discovered, may we benefit each other through joys and through sorrows.

*Celeste raises her glass up vigorously. Arleen does the same, though not with quite as much enthusiasm. Emma sighs a bit, holding hers up out of courtesy while looking to the side. Luci did the same, along with Athena just for the h**l of it*

Vampette and Aviva: And to the chapter ahead, with promise and fresh starts, let us journey it together with valiant hearts. *Both clink their glasses against each other’s* Cheers.

Celeste: Cheers!

Arleen: Cheers, hehe. X3

Emma: Yeah yeeaaah…

Aviva: *Takes a shot of a pinkish liquid in her glass and gulps it down* Aight, that’s the toast, y’all are good to do whatever now.

*Everyone did just that, going back to chatting and enjoying themselves. Aviva noticed Fizz was just kinda to the side, not interacting or doing anything, so she thought to go try talking, as well as just generally checking up on him, doing so by popping up next to him*

Aviva: You-know-who has so far avoided my gaze. Surprising it’s gone for this long… You doin’ alright?

Fizzson: Yeah. I’m fine, I think….

Aviva: Fair enough. What’s on your mind?

Fizzson: Ah, I dunno. Just… Still thinking about the whole Eradicator thing and all. How I got… Corrupted… *Looks away, sighing slightly*

Aviva: …Mmm. I wanna say something along the lines of “Happens to the best of us”, but I feel like that’s not the right thing to say. I guess what I’m trying to say is all of us have weaknesses. Even if we’re the strongest in the world, we all have an Achilles heel. I make a constant joke about having no weakness when in all honestly, I just can’t deal with anything revolving bugs or consuming vegetables. So when it comes to being weak in regards to keeping Eradicators from corrupting you, it’s natural for you to worry about others, and that may be your weakness. If anything, what you need to do is train that weakness and make it a strength. *Goes silent for a moment* …Don’t ask me how, I’m not sure.

Fizzson: …Yeah, I guess you’re right. At the very least, there’s no sense in just moping around about it, right?

Aviva: Yup. *Takes another look around, saying something inaudible under her breath*

Lucian: *Looks over at Fizz, smirking and calling out* GET OUTTA THE CORNER YOU SAD LOOKIN’ WIMP AND GET YOUR A** OVER HERE!

Fizzson: *Looks back at Luci, shrugging and walking over* What’s up, Luci?

Aviva: *Decides to join, following after him* Honestly couldn’t tell if you were talking to him or me.

Lucian: *Points at Fizz* You. You’re being a whiny lookin’ little s**t. Don’t be a wimp, try a drink or somethin’. The LAST THING I wanna see from you after you beat the s**t outta me is you feeling bad… I still owe you big time for that by the way. Don’t think you’re gettin’ off easy just cause it was some weird possession type s**t.

Ada: *From a ways away* Aye, did one o’ you fat twats say a drink?

Jill: Ada, be nice.

Lucian: YES I DID, YOU GONNA DO SOMETHIN’ ABOUT IT YA LITTLE S**T?

Ada: Recreate one o’ Jill’s drinks on the house for ya? I got the s**t.

Lucian: Then get it goin’ please! How much is it?

Ada: I don’t think you understand the meanin’ o’ on the house, larda**.

Lucian: Yer puttin’ it on the f**kin’ roof or something are ya? I said gimme a price, I still wanna give something ya dense f**k.

Ada: F**k, I dunno, depends on the drink. Cobalt Velvet, Suplex, or Flaming Moai?

Lucian: Cobalt for me and Suplex for the green c**t. Put some real cobalt in it too why don’t ya? I’d be down to celebrate this with f**kin’ dyin’.

Jill: It doesn’t actually have cobalt. Just so you’re aware.

Ada: If that’s the case, total’ll be $440. Yeah, it’s expensive shit, but you wanted to pay, so pay up.

Aviva: Jill, Sugar Rush for me.

Jill: *She slides over a vial containing a pink drink* Gotcha. Had it prepared just in case.

Lucian: …Ah h**l, I didn’t expect I’d be payin’ more hundreds than my d**n life’s worth. *Walks over to Ada, taking out his wallet, then handing over 4 hundreds and a 50* Ain’t got no 20’s at the moment, so take it or leave it. I gotta cut back on eatin’ anyway, so draining my budget for these next few weeks oughta help anyway.

Ada: Hah. Serves ya’ right, ya beanbag lookin’ f**k. *Gets to work on the drinks*

*A portal a ways away appears, with a mixture of blue and yellow, and Aviva sighs*

Aviva: Finally, they’re here.

Fizzson: *Just watches the stuff between Luci and Ada* …So I don’t get a say about that, then…

Lucian: NO YOU DON’T. Now get over here, I just blew off half of my godd**n snack salary on your wimpy a**.

Fizzson: *Sighs, sitting down next to Luci* I don’t normally drink, but I can’t really turn it down with how much money you spent…

Lucian: It’s not about the money, it’s about you not bein’ a coward. I expect to get you godd**n smashed by the end of today. You got that?

Fizzson: Ffffiiiine. I hear ya.

Lucian: Good plant-cat. Now just wait ’til it comes.

Ada: Alright, here ya go, lads. *Sets down one drink that’s a blue-ish color, and another that’s a yellow-ish color* I’ll let ya guess which one’s which.

Lucian: *Grabs the blue one for himself* Cobalt blue, I’mma guess. Fizzy, take the other.

Fizzson: Alright. *Grabs the drink, taking a semi-cautious sip, his tongue starting to burn slightly*

Ada: Damn. The fata** was smart. Who’d’ve known?

Aviva: Have you never heard of Discord admins?

Lucian: Fiiizzz, you shoulda had milk or water or somethin’ ready. That’s just basic! *Just kinda ignores Ada’s comment, one-upping Fizz with a bigger sip*

Fizzson: Well, how was I supposed to know you got me something spicy as s**t-

Lucian: Go get something if it’s that big a deal, you wuss.

Aviva: Jill, Moonblast.

Jill: On it. *Puts some ingredients in one of her machines, sliding it to Fizz* Here you go. Should cool down the tongue.

Fizzson: Alright, thanks. *Grabs the drink, taking a larger sip then with the other one, and cooling his tongue down significantly*

Aviva: Yep, that should do it. My Sugar Rush and the Moonblast are good, right?

Jill: Yup. Good to go, no payment necessary.

Lucian: Hee hee, my Moonblast is better… But this stuff is real good, thanks Ada.

Ada: Aye, no problem. Make sure you start workin’ out, lose all the flab I’m seein’, y’know?

Lucian: Y’all worry too much, it’s barely anythin’. But suuure… I will.

Aviva: In other news, uhhhh, Fizz. Remember when I mentioned a third Battle of the Bands?

Fizzson: Yeeaah, what about it?

Aviva: I maaaay or may not have already gotten a host and a judge for our side taken care of and invited them to the victory celebration so you could meet ’em.

Fizzson: *Sighs* Alriight, where are they?

Aviva: They were the two I was waiting for. Yo, M, Z, get over here!

*A woman with a blue hat and a blue bag would walk up from where the portal was, followed by a Zelda lookalike with a different hairstyle*

???: Yo. Guessing this is the infamous Fizz you keep referring to? *Adjusts her bag*

Aviva: Yup. Fizz, this is Marie and Zelda. They run a smaller version of Nightshade in another dimension. Since we already have a Zelda though, I’m open to name ideas for the second one.

Marie: Please. I can tell in the back of your mind that you’re thinking Mipha.

Aviva: D**n, am I that readable?

Fizzson: Mm. Well it’s nice to meet the both of you.

Mipha: Nice to meet’cha too!

Marie: Yeah, it’s a pleasure.

Mipha: And y’know what, Vi? Mipha sounds nice.

Aviva: Ah, good good. Anyway, Fizz, I’m gonna leave you alone with the two. Me and Vee are gonna go searching for you-know-who. *Snaps and disappears*

Fizzson: *Shrugs, taking a larger sip of his spicier drink, then chasing it down with his cool drink* So I guess we’re actually doing this third Battle of the Bands then, huh?

Marie: Apparently so. Aviva’s been helping us out a lot, what with putting Atmey in captivity, so when she asked me to host and Zel- er, Mipha to judge, we figured it was the best way to repay her.

Mipha: Quick question, who’s this “Vee?”

Fizzson: Vampette, I think. Aviva’s girlfriend, or maybe wife. Heck if I can ever keep track of that stuff….

*Marie and Mipha look at each other, back to Fizz for a moment, and then back to each other*

Marie: Oh, Neo’s gonna get p**sed when we tell her.

Mipha: D**n straight.

Fizzson: Take it there’s some kinda drama there that I’m not aware of then…

Marie: Ah, it’s nothing you need to know about. Don’t worry about it.

Fizzson: If you say so… *Takes more sips from his two drinks*

Marie: Out of curiosity, how’d you get to know Vi?

Fizzson: Oh, she showed up to Club Nightshade one day under the name Mia. Said she was the “Reincarnation” of Vampette, who was thought to be dead by that point, and kinda just took everything over from there, including being the one I contacted for stuff over here. We… Didn’t get off to a great start, honestly, but she’s matured a lot, and I’d call her a pretty good friend at this point.

*Arleen walks over to the bar, sitting down on the other side of Luci*

Arleen: Ey, what’s goin’ on over here?

Chez: *Walks over next to Arleen, since he’d pretty much just been following her around, sitting down on the opposite side from her*

Lucian: …I just blew an ungodly amount of money, and now I’m relaxing with a drink. That’s what’s going on. I’m also gonna make it a personal duty to be sure fizz gets smashed by the end of tonight, so there’s that.

Chez: Wha…? Heey… No smashing of friend faces…

Arleen: *Snickers a bit* …Not what he means by that Chez. X3

Chez: …Um… Okay…? then what?

Fizzson: Ah, don’t worry about it Chez. Just know I maaay be acting a little wonky later today.

Chez: Well… I might be acting a little “wonky” myself, I assume… So no worries, heh.

Marie: Aviva also left us to chat with Fizz while she goes to find “A certain someone.” I’ll speak for her when I say if you know about the Battle of the Bands, I’m the host and my best friend Zel- er, Mipha, here, is gonna be one of the judges.

Arleen: Oh, nice to meet you two! Guess the third Battle of the Bands is gonna be happening at some point.

Fizzson: Against my will, yeah. *Takes more sips from his two drinks*

Mipha: Really? Vi told us you agreed to it.

Chez: …Yeah, why would ya do something you don’t want to?

Fizzson: I don’t… Think I did. It was a big thing that I really didn’t want a third Battle of the Bands, and I wouldn’t at all put it past Vi to have gone and started preparations behind my back… But I might be misremembering, and I ended up caving in at one point. *Shrugs*

Chez: Oh…

Fizzson: …Oh, I should probably ask… How’re you holding up, Chez? I know the fight with Zaanel tired you out more then anyone else….

Lucian: Wish I coulda seen Chez f**k ’em up.

Chez: Oh, thanks Fizz… I’m doing alright for the most part, just having trouble staying focused and… Still kind of tired even now… Hehe… *Looks over at Luci* Well, basically it was a lot of purple everywhere… And with a red, gooey center… Like a cherry or something…

Fizzson: Well at least you’re doing alright. Plus doing that to Zaanel must’ve been some d**n good stress relief.

Chez: yeah… It was nice to take it all out on ’em… Actually, what did happen to them after? did I take ’em out outright or something?

Fizzson: Oh no. You knocked him out, Celeste brought him to me and my… Friends, we all stripped him of his powers, then we gave him to Mel and Athena, who’re gonna treat him like a “plaything” for a very long time.

Chez: Ooh hah, a taste of their own medicine, that’s perfect… Haha. Sounds like something I would’ve come up with, honestly…

Lucian: *Snickers a little, deciding to mess with Chez a bit* Well I still think it’s a bit mean… Why not give ’em a mercy kill, hmmm?

Chez: I… Well, I mean… They literally were treating us like playthings, Luci… I honestly wanted them to see that… Until I gave up towards the end there…

Lucian: I’m joooking, I’m joking… You did good up there though. I’m proud of ya~

Fizzson: Same here. Sounds like you really pulled your weight and helped everyone out.

Chez: O-Oh, heh, thanks… ^^”

Lucian: I just hope Mel shares ’em. I’m sure a fair few people, even Chez, would wanna “toy” with him like that…

Chez: Oh, yeah, I’d love to at least check it out one day, hah…

Marie: Hm. In turn, something the two of us don’t necessarily know about. Neat.

Miriam: *Flies down from elsewhere* Jill, the usual.

Jill: Brandtini?

Miriam: Yup. *Looks over* Ah, Chez, forgot you’re back from the unconscious. Doin’ well, bud?

Chez: Oh, hey. Yeah I’m doing better, thanks- *Pauses, looking at Jill, and tilting their head curiously*

Miriam: *Notices where Chez was looking* Ah. Jill, stop being rude and introduce yourself.

Jill: First, I thought he already knew who I was. Second, you’re not my boss, Aviva is. *Turns to Chez* Jill Stingray, friendly neighborhood bartender.

Marie: How Aviva’s able to keep track of all these alternate universe people is beyond me, seriously.

Chez: Oh, well hello, I’m Chez. ^^ *waves at Jill a little from under their blanket, then looks at Mipha* …Also, alternate universes aren’t too hard to understand… It just takes getting used to at first.

Lucian: Says you. That’s one thing you get and I barely do.

Chez: Hehe… We have knowledge in different things. Multiverse stuff is what I know, and social things are yours. ^^”

Lucian: I guess so.

Marie: Well, anyway… Aviva’s been out a while, so whoever this “Someone” is, they’re hella sneaky.

Fizzson: If this “Someone” is who I think they are, they have every reason to be slinking around and hiding right now…. *Says this with a slight hint of aggression*

Mipha: Who do you think this someone is?

Fizzson: Someone I haven’t seen in a very long time, and have fair reason to believe is the primary reason Kate and Vampette had that little “Stunt” with their fake deaths….

Chez: Eh?

Ada: Aye, I think the lass is askin’ for a name, not your history with ’em.

Fizzson: *Rolls his eyes, sighing* …It’s probably Kimiko, if I had to guess.

Lucian: Hahaaahhh… Lil’ b**ch can’t take a drink without havin’ to cool it off but he’s tryna sound aggressive.

Chez: No clue who that is…

Aviva: *Pops up next to them* In short Chez, an old friend of Fizz’s, Vampette and Kate’s sister, and, according to Kate, annoying as h**l. I suspect she’s in the club, but no matter how much I look, I can’t find her.

Marie: How do you know she’s not invisible?

Vampette: *Walks up behind Aviva* Too obvious.

Chez: Huh… Doesn’t seem so bad…

Fizzson: “Old Friend” she says, as if they aren’t the most egotistical, mildly power mad b**ch on the face of the planet…. *Gulps down the rest of his drinks, sighing a bit afterwards*

Ada: Aye, now ye’ve got a reason to drink! *Chuckles*

*Chez just shrugs, beginning to sleepily lean their head onto Arleen’s shoulder randomly…*

Arleen: *Looks at Chez, chuckling slightly and petting him on the head*

*Starts purring slowly at this, nuzzling into Arleen’s pets…*

Lucian: *Shrugs a bit at Ada’s remark* Eh, so long as I get to see what he’s like drunk by the end’a tonight. That’d be funny… Wonder who he’s gonna drunk text.

Fizzson: It’s probably gonna be Jack and I’m gonna f**kin’ hate myself for it later….

Lucian: Oh you gotta give me the details then… S**t, don’t worry about the fact you’ll regret it later. I’ll prolly do the same too, but one thing I sure as h**l ain’t regrettin’ is havin’ gone down the path that got me sittin’ here and enjoyin’ myself instead’a rottin’ six feet under like I prolly woulda if I didn’t!

Ada: Cheers to that, lad! *Grabs a bottle of root beer from under her station and raises it*

Saiko: *From Aviva’s pocket radio* “Vi, we got some b**ch in a waitress outfit trying to get in. What do I do?”

Aviva: *Grabs her pocket radio, pressing a button on it to speak into it* Ask her name. I may have invited her.

Saiko: Says she’s named Valerie. I don’t trust her.

Aviva: Ah, the waitress from Intelligentsia. Let her in, I invited her. And to be fair, you don’t trust anyone.

Lucian: …”Intelligentsia.” Ironic that a place named that has an extremely dumb, uncreative name.

Fizzson: *Chuckles* True there, Luci.

*The girl in the waitress outfit walks up to the bar soon after*

Valerie: Whew. Hard day at work… Ada, was it? Can I get some coffee or somethin’?

Ada: Hot chocolate, comin’ right up.

Valerie: Thank you kindly.

*Arleen giggles, continuing to pet Chez as she looks at Valerie*

Arleen: Uh… Heya. Nice to meet you… Valerie, from what Vi was saying? I’m Arleen. ^^

*Chez suddenly hugged Arleen kinda sleepily, not even fully aware of his surroundings…*

Arleen: *Jumps a bit in surprise, smiling and hugging back, causing Chez to just purr louder…*

Valerie: Ah, you’re the Arleen that Vi keeps mentioning. Nice to meet’cha. And ah… *She looks at Fizz for a moment, pondering something, then has a sort of lightbulb moment as she jumps slightly and smiles* Photosynthe-Fizz.

Aviva: I call him that one time offscreen, and you make a big deal out of it.

Valerie: What? It sounds funny.

Fizzson: *Stares at Valerie, a bit oddly* Hm… Nice to meet you, I suppose.

Valerie: *She raises an eyebrow* What’s with the odd stare? Vi talks a lot about you too, if you’re trying to get across that you feel left out.

Fizzson: …Nah, it’s not that. Don’t worry about it.

Lucian: *Stands up, grabbing the drink he had and starting to gulp it down a bit excessively* He’s extreeemely weird and stuff… Don’t take him too seriously. Truuust me.

Valerie: Aww… Now that you’re telling me not to worry about it, I’m worried about it… *Stays silent for a moment, then chuckles* Ah, I’m just teasin’.

Lucian: No need to tell me that, it’s obvious enough…

Arleen: *Sighs a bit, continuing to hug Chez*

Fizzson: Mm… *Looks over at Jill* Ay Jill, could I get another Moonblast over here? That’s some good s**t.

Jill: *Makes another one, sliding it over* No problemo.

Lucian: Oh I can give you one too~

Fizzson: No thank you, Luci, but thanks Jill. *Takes the drink, taking a pretty big sip from it*

*Slowly, Chez started to blink a bit, waking up*

Chez: Mmn… Eh?

*Chez quickly realized they were basically on top of Arleen, quickly getting off of ’em, thinking they were being rude or something*

Chez: S-Sorry, I must’ve passed out… Heh ^^”

Arleen: Ah it’s fiiiine, I didn’t mind.

Chez: heh… A-Alright- *Embarrassedly starts sinking into their blanket*

Valerie: Hey, I thought it was pretty cute.

Fizzson: Careful. Saying someone’s “Cute” is practically fighting words around some people at the table.

Arleen: Pfff, too true. X3

Lucian: I dunno who that’d be.

Fizzson: Now don’t you start, ya fat b****rd. You know darn well who I mean.

Lucian: I absolutely do not. And what if I do start? F**k’ll you do, wuuussss?

Chez: *Quickly sinks in completely* …I’m not cute-

Valerie: Jeez, you weren’t kidding. I mean, I knew Lucian would be, Aviva’s talked about it once or twice, but y’all’s lil’ latex buddy? Wouldn’t expect it.

Chez: Hey-! *Pops their head out of the blanket, eyes flickering red for a sec as they looked at Valerie

Valerie: *Holds her hands up innocenctly* Hey, if you say you’re not cute, you’re not cute. Unlike one of my usuals, I’m willing to admit a lie.

Chez: …Hmph… Alright… Just try not to lie in the first place then-

Valerie: Can’t promise anything, but I’ll try.

Fizzson: …Yeesh. Didn’t think he’d get that defensive about it….

Chez: I’ve… Just… I… *Sighs* I’d rather not talk about it right now…

Fizzson: Whatever, dude… *Sips his drink again* …Gotta wonder what sorta stuff Mel’s doing with Zaanel right now.

Arleen: Could be any sort of super random and chaotic thing, knowing her.

Chez: I wish I could find out… *Looks around at the drinks, wanting something, but being too shy to ask, after what just happened*

Arleen: *Notices Chez eyeing the drinks, making a mental note to get something for him when there was a good chance to do so*

Aviva: I figured she’d be here too. Guess not.

Fizzson: Well regardless, I just hope she’s giving him just what he deserves. If there’s anyone I trust to mess someone up in exactly the right ways, it’s Mel. Especially with how bad she got to Kimiko….

Chez: *Snickers a little at the thought*

Aviva: Wait, what happened with her and Kimiko?

Fizzson: Oh, you don’t know? Mel taunted Kimiko to high h**l about her ego and how she wasn’t as strong as Mel. About the angriest I’ve ever seen her be at someone, which is impressive with what Smiley did, kidnapping Vampette, E, and I earlier in the year.

Valerie: *To herself* Oh, now I remember… Yeah, that problem should be fixed already…

Fizzson: *Sips his drink, smirking* …Heard that, “Valerie.” Got a truth you’d like to share?

“Valerie”: Hmph. What was that, 2 hours acting time, 3 months editing time? Took ya long enough.

Fizzson: Honey, I knew the minute I saw and heard you. You really ain’t slick.

Kimiko: D**n, my flair of surprise is failing me. I trusted, you, flair, and you let me down.

(…Although I will say, looking at how outdated this line is now makes me feel more personally attacked. -Editor Fizz)

Arleen: *Stares at Valerie, eyes widening* …Wait…

Kimiko: *Takes a sip of her hot chocolate, smirking at Arleen* Heyyy, now those gears are turnin’. Needed a bit of WD-40 there.

Lucian: …Oh f**k. Ada can I please have another Cobalt? I need it. Please don’t charge me… *Finishes his first, setting the glass down on the table* Sorry if it’s any trouble.

Ada: No worries, mate.

Arleen: *Groans a bit* Well, now I feel kinda dumb… Before I forget, could you get Chez a soda please, Jill?

Jill: No problem.

*The two set their drinks out at the same time; Lucian receiving another Cobalt Velvet from Ada while Jill gives Chez a Sprite*

Lucian: *Immediately takes the glass and takes a big sip* Thanks a ton.

Chez: Oh… Uhm, thanks, but I don’t think I can have a lot of this… There’s too much water in it. *Quickly takes a small sip, then wipes their damp paw on their blanket* Do ya have something like… that’s less water and more soda-ey?

Jill: Chez, all sodas are carbonated water.

Lucian: Just give him pure sugar or some crap, I guess. I don’t think you can drink many, if any, sodas that don’t have a trace of water.

Jill: Will chocolate milk work?

Chez: I know, but I’ve learned some sodas are more sugar than water… Water itself isn’t a problem, just having too much… uhm… Chocolate milk would be fine instead, actually, thanks.

Lucian: Make sure it’s whole, not watered down.

Chez: Luci, I’m fine… *sighs*

Lucian: I’m kidding around, Chez, shush. You needa learn my tones better.

Chez: Hmm… Alright… Like I’ve said, I can’t really tell with that kind of stuff.

Jill: One chocolate milk coming up, then. *Steps back, opening up a sort of secret vault filled with plastic bottles of chocolate milk that look refrigerated, then wipes it down with a towel) It’s a joke that chocolate milk’s referred to as the “secret drink” here, so we put it in a vault to make it seem more secret.

Chez: Ooh, that’s funny, hehe. Secret chocolate. ^^”

Kate: *Walks over* Speaking of secrets… *Sits down next to Kimiko, slugging her in the shoulder* Why didn’t you reveal yoruself earlier?

Kimiko: F**k, I dunno. Journey to find myself or some s**t? Valerie was my cover while I was soul-searching or whatever, guess I just got too into it? Don’t ask me.

Fizzson: Y’know, you’re not much better there, Kate. You and Vamp had every opportunity to tell someone what was happening on the down low. Could’ve said something very shortly after the ATG attack instead of making everyone grieve and worry over you. I was able to keep my feelings in about it for a while, but only because I knew Kim was the one who saved you and hid you without a word in the first place, and made it take so long for anyone to realize that you might not actually be dead.

Lucian: *Backs up a bit, drinking some more with a smirk* Oooh, draaaama! I wanna see someone throw hands!

Vampette: Actually, we hid ourselves. Nobody else was around, we just hopped out a window and found a place to bunker down. Kimiko didn’t help at all.

Kimiko: F**k you two for putting me on cleanup duty. I’m no Ms. Pauling.

Fizzson: Well that just gives me more to talk to you two about, then. Especially considering one of you had the brilliant idea to tug at people’s heart-strings by showing up outta nowhere as a “Special guest” during a music competition.

Lucian: Oh I’m gonna watch Fizz throw hands with someone. Cheeez, come watch with me. No popcorn but whatever.

Chez: *Sipping his chocolate milk, slowly looking over at Lucian* Hm…?

Lucian: A fight’s gonna go doooown… I think. *Sits right back down, giggling while practically chugging the rest of his second Cobalt Velvet, about to be over half done with it*

Fizzson: Luci, you hush. I’m angry, but I’m not about to actually fight someone over this.

Chez: Y’all better not actually fight, that won’t happen on my watch. -w-

Lucian: FIGHT! I ENDORSE THIS MATCH!

Chez: Well, I un-endorse it, then! *Sets down his chocolate milk*

Vampette: I’m pretty sure everyone knows the hierarchy here, ‘cept for Marie and Mipha, but to keep it short, Vi’s too lazy, I take it Kimiko doesn’t wanna get her hand dirty, and he’d kick my a**.

Kate: In other words, Luci, f**k your fight.

Lucian: Y’all got no sense of fuuun… You’ll put in the effort for a whole a** music contest but not a plain ol’ fisticuffs.

Fizzson: *Rolls his eyes* …Either way, I guess it doesn’t matter. What’s done is done, and you’re back now, so… Whatever.

Arleen: Mm. Nice to see you back at least, Kim.

Kimiko: Y’know, I think I’ve gotten so used to being called Valerie that I may as well just go by that… Maybe we should take a poll. I’m fine with y’all forcing me on Kimiko, but Vampi and Itch are now Vampette and Kate, and I wanna hop in on the trend.

Arleen: I’d be fine with calling you Valerie. ^^

Fizzson: Ehh… It’d be kinda hard to get used to, but you should be called by what you wanna be called by. If you wanna be Valerie, then you go ahead and be Valerie.

Lucian: I haven’t called you Kimiko in months anyway. Valerie it is.

Valerie: Valerie it is, then. And hey, you guys never said you’re welcome for protecting this place. Virtually no damages.

Aviva: Yeah, yeah, you’re welcome. Stop with the ego bulls**t.

Valerie: I’m trying my best here…

Fizzson: *Sighs, taking a big gulp of his drink, it was almost finished now* I’m just glad the Eradicators were, like… Dealt with, n stuff… Without all the damage…. *The drinks were starting to have an effect on him now, as evidenced by how he was speaking*

Lucian: Without all the damage? F**ker, you mean without all the damage here. You ain’t taken a step outside otherwise. Your house got trashed… Albeit… Mostly cause of me, but still.

Valerie: Right, forgot y’all were fighting too. Who did the final blow on the BBEG?

Lucian: Chez did. He just kinda lost his crap and went at it, from what I heard.

Chez: Heh… Well I sort of had to, cause they were not listening to reason like… At all. *Pauses* …It was not fun getting to that point, I have to say. *Slowly sips their chocolate milk with a blank expression*

Valerie: Ey, congrats. Good that you stopped when you did, otherwise Miri would’ve gone way farther.

Chez: Hmn… Well thanks, I guess… only reason I really stopped was because I had to… I’m actually a bit scared thinking of how I had acted then.

Lucian: From what I hear it was impressive! *He finishes up his second and last glass of the Cobalt, putting it down with a slow smirk* You quit worryin’ so much is what I say.

Chez: Well… I can’t really help it, I guess. ^^” *…Takes a smol sip*

Arleen: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it either. You had reason to be angry at him and go as far as you did, I think.

Chez: Alright. I suppose you’re right… Though I’m more worried about how it felt. It felt similar to losing control, which I’m very worried about…

Lucian: *Giggles a bit, looking at Chez* Hey Cheezzzzz…?

Chez: …Hm? yeah, Luci?

Lucian: Start drippin’ or somethin’. Now’s a good time, I’m curious what latex tastes like… And I don’t wanna eat a glove.

Chez: Oh, uh… I mean… suure, but I’ll actually be able to feel the latex while it’s in you. Which is… Kind of weird, but doable.

Lucian: …Oooh, that makes it twice as fuuun~ *Giggles again, more perversely at that, with a smirk still on his face*

Arleen: *Tilts her head* Ey, cut it out Luci. You’re clearly a bit tipsy.

Fizzson: Aaah, let’im have his fun, Arly. It’ll be fiiinne.

Arleen: You too-

Chez: Um… Fun? How would it be fun for ya?

Ada: As much as I’d like to keep servin’ ya, we barkeeps know the limits. No more drinks for you two or I get Saiko on yer a**es.

Lucian: Cause it might taste good. Now lemme tryyyy, Chezzaroni~ Also, I wasn’t gonna ask for more… So haaaa.

Chez: Aw… But my chocolate milk-

Arleen: She just means Luci and Fizz, Chez. You’re fine.

Chez: Oh heh, nice- ^^” *Pauses, looking back at Luci* …Hmn, you know, I can give it to you if you really want.

Arleen: Chez, don’t.

Chez: Wha- Why?

Lucian: It’ll feeeeel nice, so go ahead! Don’t listen to her she’s drunk.

Arleen: Luci isn’t thinking straight, and I don’t want his insides potentially gettin’ messed up by latex or whatever.

Lucian: DON’T LISTEN TO HER CHEZ SHE’S DRUNK-!

Chez: Um… It’s actually kind of safe to have, just doesn’t taste good, and feels weird for me. -w- *Pauses* …Though for some reason there are people who actually like how my latex tastes. Still haven’t found out how or why.

Lucian: Then lemme try ittt!

Chez: …Can ya give me a reason? Heh…

Lucian: Curiosity.

Chez: hm… fair- *He takes a small chunk off of himself and hands it to Luci*

Arleen: *Sighs* Whatever. So long as it doesn’t hurt or change him…

Lucian: *Holds his paw out excitedly, taking it and sticking his tongue out at Arleen* Ha haaaa, you suuuuck, I won~

Chez: Don’t blame me if you don’t like it though, heh… >w>

Luci: Uh-huh, can’t hear youuu… *Pops it in his mouth, not chewing or anything, just swallowing it whole*

Chez: …Pff, h-heh… *Sips the last of his chocolate milk*

Lucian: …yeah it’s weird. Not bad, weird…

Chez: Oh, huh. Alright… So no regrets? Heh…

Lucian: Nope! *Walks over to Arleen, kinda leaning a bit on her from the side once he got next to her* Arlyyyy deaaar… I gotta questionnnn…

Arleen: *Sighs a bit* What is it, Luci?

Lucian: I wanna celebrate with youuuu when I- We… Whatever… Get home. A movie night or somethin…

Chez: Oh? that sounds fun-

Arleen: *Looks at Chez* You shouldn’t come. Trust me.

Lucian: Whyyyy? It’s nothin baaaddd…

Chez: Uh… Yeah. Isn’t it just a movie or something…?

Lucian: Is just me n… A faceful of you n some funnily-bad horror movies… And maybe chez toooo…

Chez: faceful of what?

Lucian: Arleeeennn, duh…

Chez: But… How would… Huh?

Arleen: Please just stop asking about it and ignore him, Chez-

Lucian: Let him coooome! He won’t understand so it won’t be badddd…

Arleen: Keep talking about it, and I’ll slam you into the d**n wall.

Lucian: Kinkyyyyy~

Chez: I… Wha…?

Valerie: Ah, it’s good to be back.

Miriam: She says, amidst the chaos.

Arleen: Right. You’ve had enough celebrating today, mister. I’m taking you home. *Calls out* Mind watching Chez, Celeste? Normally the person who’d be doing that is Fizz, but he’s also drunk.

Fizzson: I’m fiiiine. You worry too much, hun~

Arleen: You don’t get a say in this, hush up.

Fizzson: *Snickers lightly*

Celeste: Yeah, I can watch Chez no problem! :3

Chez: Oh… Well, alright then…

Marie: Yeah, Mipha and I should probably head back to our universe. Gotta make sure Gavin, Narukami, and Adachi got back safe.

Mipha: Seeya guys!

Fizzson: Byyyeeee… *Gives a small hiccup*

Arleen: See you two later, yeah.

*Mipha goes through the portal first*

Aviva: Yo, Marie, before you go.

Marie: Hm?

Aviva: *Tosses a couple bracelets to Marie* Had Kate get ’em custom rigged to fit your colors. Yours is the blue and yellow, Mipha’s is the cyan and purple. Now you have your own portals here and back.

Marie: *Catches them* Ah, thanks. *to self* Heh, the Narukamis are gonna p**s themselves when they see this. *Follows Mipha through the portal, it closing behind her*

Lucian: You’ll never take me alive. You’re meeean, I’m stayin’ with Fizz.

Arleen: No you’re not, Luci. *Takes on a Sylv form, using Telekinesis to pick Luci up from where he sat*

Lucian: Wh… hEY, NO! FIIIZZZ, CHEZ, HEEELP- I’M BEING ABDUCTED-!!

Fizzson: *Giggles* You’re in trooouuble. Just what ya get for not listenin to Arly when she’s aaangry~

Lucian: FIZZ YOU ASSHOLE HELP MEEEE- *Isn’t bothering to struggle or anything, but sure seemed insistent that Fizz help*

Fizzson: *Just snickers a bit, watching Arleen drag Luci away* Couldn’ help if I wanted to, sorryyyyy~

Arleen: *Sighs, walking towards the door while Luci floated just above her, looking back right before stepping out* See you guys later. Sorry I had to leave with such a scene.

Valerie: Hey, no worries. Quick question, mind if I come to next AAaF session just to catch up? Won’t stay but for just the one.

Arleen: Uhh… Should probably talk to Fizz about that when he’s less drunk… ^^”

Valerie: Fair enough. Ciao, Arleen.

Fizzson: Baaaiiii~

Emma: *Calls out* Later, Arl.

Trixie & Celeste: See ya! ^^

Aviva: Seeya.

Vampette and Kate: Later.

Arleen: Mhm, see ya! *Heads out the door now, with Luci brought forcefully along with her*

Chez: Wh- I uh… Alright. Bye, friends… *Slowly and confusedly waves bye to Arleen and Luci as they left…*

*Marie’s blue and yellow portal from earlier pops up, but nobody comes out*

Aviva: Oh, she must be showing the portal to people at their Nightshade… Wait, s**t, that means I’m missing the shift- *Pauses, shrugging* …Ah well. They can survive without me.

Celeste: *Walks over, sitting down next to Chez with a smile* Guess I’m gonna be hanging with ya for a bit.

Chez: Oh yeah I guess so, hi- ^^” *Waves at Celeste, who was right next to them at that point*

Celeste: Hiya Chez. How’re ya holding up?

Chez: I’m doing alright for now, thanks… You doing okay as well?

Celeste: Yeah, I’m doing alright. Still worried about Ultia though….

Chez: Oh? What’s up with them?

Celeste: Uh… We got down from the Anomaly to find out a close friend of hers was… Killed, during the fight. Didn’t even have a corpse. Some piles of stardust were all that was left….

Chez: O-Oh… I see…. I’m so sorry to hear that- *Suddenly hugs Celeste*

Celeste: *Is a bit surprised by this* Uh, thanks… But I didn’t actually know him personally. It’s Ultia who could use the comfort….

Chez: Oh… Well, I assumed you did, since you said you were worried about them and all… >.>

Celeste: I said that about Ultia, Chez… ^^”

Valerie: *listening in* Do you uh… Know where Ultia’s at right now?

Celeste: I think she’s chilling outside the club. Was able to come after getting her arm fixed up at Proria, but didn’t really feel like coming inside the club at all…

Valerie: Ah. I’m gonna… Go check up on her, if that’s alright with you guys.

Aviva: If they’re alright with it, I am. Rest of the Nightshade crew could probably care less about whether or not you do.

Celeste: Yeah, it’s fine if you wanna check up on her. Just try to be gentle and all….

Valerie: Of course. *Get up, bringing her hot chocolate with as she walks out the front door*

Chez: Yeah… Is it okay if I go out to check on them as well, or do I have to stick close to you…? *Slowly breaks away from Celeste*

Celeste: Go ahead, Chez. Not like I expect ya to get in any trouble from leaving my sight for a few minutes or so, heh…

Chez: oh, alright. Thank you. ^^” *Gets up, starting to slowly head outside after Valerie*


*Ultia was sitting outside, on the edge of the sidewalk near the front of Nightshade. Her arm had been remade as a prosthetic of sorts, but you could hardly tell that from looking with how realistic it seemed. Even felt surprisingly real, with no seams where it got torn or anything… Valerie poked her head outside, looking around while calling out*

Valerie: Ey, Ultia! You out here?

*Ultia stayed silent, staring forward as she sat in place, not moving or anything. She looked kinda… Empty, almost. Not crying, not particularly sad or happy. Just… Neutral, with no noticeable emotions to pick up from it, which was even more worrying then if she’d just been sad…*

Valerie: *Heads out fully, looking around a bit longer before spotting Ultia, then walking over and just sitting down next to her*

Chez: *Follows right after Valerie, looking for a moment before spotting her and Ultia, quickly inching themselves beside the both of them, acting a bit shy to speak at first*

*Ultia noticed both Chez and Valerie there, but didn’t really acknowledge them. She just kinda kept staring forward, silently…*

Valerie: …Chez, I’ll let you speak first. I need to figure out how to word what I’m trying to say without making it sound insensitive.

Chez: I-I… Uh… O-Okay…

*Chez still had no idea how to properly put his words together, so they just slowly tried to walk over and gently hug Ultia, looking extremely nervous all of a sudden*

Chez: …Hey there. ^^”

Ultia: *Sighs a bit, not really opposed to the hug, but not returning it either, still not saying anything as she gave a slight glance to Chez*

*Chez was even more panicked now, taking this as a sign that something was really wrong. He stuttered a little, still wanting to say something to help, but being at a complete loss for any coherent wording…*

Valerie: …Guess I should jump in. I may not have known them… The person that died… But I bet they were a great person. After all, you were friends with them, so… *Smiles for a moment, looking at Ultia, then goes back to her semi-frown* I guess what I’m trying to say is… They may be dead, but their memory can still live on. *Sighs* …I’m sorry if I sound insensitive, I’m just… Not good at putting words into a better fashion.

*Ultia stared over at Valerie, a bit… Coldly for a moment, then looking forward again, with another sigh, larger this time*

Ultia: He… Didn’t even leave a body behind. Alive or dead, that last look and farewell before heading into the Anomaly is the… Last I’ll ever see of him. If less time had been wasted with Zaanel, if I just hadn’t gotten trapped up by his “Puppet strings”, or you’d been helped and gotten on your feet faster… *Glances at Chez* …Could he have been saved before he was threatened?

*Ultia finally shows a bit of emotion on her end, tears welling up in her eyes as she slowly hugs her knees, looking to the side*

Ultia: …I don’t know. And since I’m a one of a kind creation in the Multiverse, I can’t ask “others” how they handled it… So it’s a question that’ll be left to haunt me. For… I don’t know how long…

*Chez started feeling… Kinda out of place at this point, slowly giving Ultia their blanket by wrapping it around onto them, before just sitting on the floor between her and Val, having given up on what to say currently, since they probably weren’t even in the best spot to help others just yet, only barely managing to stammer something out*

Chez: I-I’m sorry…

Valerie: As am I…

Ultia: *Takes a deep, albeit kinda shaky breath, looking at the both of them* …Thanks for trying to help, both of you. It… Means a lot that you’d come out to try and comfort me, despite me not really… Associating with either of you much. It’ll take a long… Long while to accept this, but… I-I think I’ll be okay. I just need time… A lot of it.

Valerie: Of course. If you need anything, anything at all, miniscule or huge… We at Nightshade have your back. Just let us know and we’ll do the best we can.

Chez: Mh… *Slowly looks down, covering their face with their legs* I understand what you mean… And uh, same here. I’ll be here for you if you need, if I can help with anything.

Ultia: I’ll… Keep that in mind. Thank you.

Valerie: *Hugs Ultia* No problem.

*Ultia actually hugged back this time, a few tears going down her face, though she’d mostly been trying to keep them in*

*Chez tried to keep out of the way, feeling like they’d messed up somehow in not really saying anything, keeping their face covered to try and hide their emotions…*

Ultia: *Looks at Chez, gathering how they might’ve been feeling from their body language* Hey, don’t feel bad, alright? I appreciate both of you coming out here to talk and comfort me. You both helped a bit, even if not by much…

Chez: O-Oh? *Suddenly looks up at Ultia, their eyes flickering blue* Well… T-Thank you for saying that… I just…

*Chez’s sentence trailed off as they quickly stood up, joining in on the hug*

Valerie: If you need to let the tears flow, feel free to cry on my shirt. My laundry day’s tomorrow anyway.

*Ultia nodded, crying a bit longer, before finally getting a hold of herself, taking a few more deep breaths…*

Ultia: …You two should head back in, I think. I’ll join you in a little bit….

Valerie: Alright. Take as long as you need. We’ll be here.

Chez: But… Are you well enough for that yet..?

Ultia: I-I don’t know, but… I guess it just feels a bit rude to show up only to not actually go into the party, so I at least want to try and have some form of a good time while I’m here.

Valerie: I mean, if you’re not feeling well, we won’t force you to join us, but if you insist… *Smirks a bit* Word of advice when you do come in: Ignore Fizz. He’s drunk off his a**.

Ultia: *Chuckles* Surprising for him, but duly noted. And… Thanks again. I know I’ve said that a lot already, but… Yeah…

Valerie: It’s seriously no problem. You take as long as you need, if you need any help let us know… You know the whole ordeal by now.

Chez: Yeah… No worries, friend…

Ultia: Right. See you soon.

Valerie: *Nods, standing up and heading right back inside*

*Chez slowly inched towards the door, but didn’t go far, wanting to stay with Ultia a bit longer out of worrying for them. Ultia noticed this, trying to give a sort of comforting smile to him*

Ultia: Go on. I’ll be fine for now.

Chez: Ya promise…?

Ultia: Absolutely.

Chez: Alright… See ya in a moment, then… *Slowly gets up, following Val back in*

*Ultia looked out to the distance again, thinking, then sighing one last time, eventually getting up, and heading inside after Chez and Val, the door closing behind her*

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s