Description: Having re-awakened to her identity just in time to NOT marry a death metal frontman, Elphelt Valentine is on the run from functionally everybody, which is probably how she ended up at a D-tier anime convention in the southern US. But don't worry: someone's coming to save her from a grisly fate. Probably. Almost certainly.
LAST TIME ON ELPHELT: THE NEXT GENERATION
No, it has nothing to do with the main deflector dish.
Elphelt Valentine, of the Backyard Valentines, served as a commander in the Gear Army during the 2017 events that saw major upheavals in world events. As luck(?) would have it, she faced off with a squad combining MI6 operatives and Ikari Warriors that ended in a kinda-sorta draw, by which I mean everyone ended up unconscious and Elphelt Valentine, Gear Commander, kinda-sorta fell sideways off a bridge over the Tsushima Strait and floated around in the Suo-nada Sea for like, about a week? Maybe longer.
Needless to say this was traumatic, meaning that when she finally washed up ashore on a private beach near Fukuoka her memories of her identity were foggy at best. Taken in by, of all things, a Japanese death metal singer, they had a whirlwind romance for months.
ABOUT A MONTH AGO AT THE WEDDING:
"And do you, Rose, take Yashiro to be your lawfully wedded husband, for as long as you both shall live?" asks a kindly priest, in a perfect white chapel overlooking the sea.
This is not a setting in which one expects to see a young busty woman in the most elaborate wedding gown ever suddenly go wide-eyed, shout "OH NOOOOOOOOOO" and bolt out the door of the chapel so hard one door is left swinging half off the hinge and the other is literally knocked straight out of the frame and off into the distance like someone losing a match of Smash Bros.
So, you're a Gear, or so everyone tells you. The United Nations wants to staple you to a rocket and fire you into the sun. The Novus Orbis Librarium wants to dissect you and then probably build like, ten evil clones of you because that's what fascist dictatorships do. Every bounty hunter, mercenary, and similar soldier of fortune from here to Timbuktu is looking for you, and the only people you have any sort of positive or identifiable memory of at all -- Ramlethal, Jack-O, Justice -- are either missing, dead, or possibly both missing AND dead.
So the best thing to do is get out of the country as fast as possible and try to find somewhere to lay low until this all gets better. Problem 1: you have what can only be called a DISTINCTIVE physical appearance. Problem 2: all the firearms you're carrying REALLY upset the TSA. Problem 3: you have no money, no resources, and no contacts.
There is no need to strictly speaking recap two weeks of all sorts of crimes, from petty things like "jaywalking" all the way up to "stealing a private plane, flying it into Anchorage, Alaska, fencing it for cash, and getting on a Greyhound for the continental United States where you're less likely to be beaten to death by a biker named Shotgun."
But the result is that Elphelt now finds herself in Morgantown, West Virginia. Specifically she is in the giant student center dubbed the "Mountainlair," which right now is full of people milling about in cosplay of all sorts of characters: video games, anime, manga, American comics. Apparently there's not a huge number of weeb nerds in Appalachia but this is a college town and as a result, there is a small but consistent anime convention held on the WVU campus every winter, right before students come back from break. And if your day-to-day wear mostly consists of a massively elaborate wedding gown with bunny ears and on occasion a Barbie Dream Shotgun, the best place to hide out from a bounty hunter you MIGHT HAVE accidentally upset would be here, because who's going to bother looking for you in WEST VIRGINIA.
As she nervously stands in the food court, trying to think of her next move, Elphelt Valentine is approached by two girls dressed as Cure White and Cure Black from Precure, who suddenly whip out their phones to take pictures (WITHOUT ASKING) of what they think is cosplay. "This is so good! Did you make it yourself?!" squeals 'Cure White'. "Is this a Wedding Peach thing?!"
"ORIGINAL CHARACTER!" El blurts at the top of her lungs, slapping the phones out of the girls' hands. "DO NOT STEAL!"
And now she's outside in an alley, because that could not have possibly gone worse.
Alleyways are great places to hide. You're out of the public sphere but not really. You can still hear the traffic and perhaps see pedestrians if you're not around a corner -- and if you don't want to see traffic and pedestrians then there's that corner that just got mentioned. It's the perfect place to mope without admitting to yourself that you're moping.
It's also the perfect place to get attacked by the plot of a supernatural romance-thriller.
The hall exit to the alley is kept propped open by a well-worn brick that looks like it's been at this duty for years. It's probably standard for the events staff here to sneak out for smokes, and dealing with the roulette of what doors janitorial decided to lock or unlock is much less appealing than the loving care of Mr. Brick. It does mean that just about anyone can enter and exit a theoretically secure door (score one for Elphelt), but it also means that the legendary vagabond bunny gets to hear a rising chorus of screams from the inside.
This is really only a problem if Elphelt has a sanity meter. For Gears this remains to be seen.
The building shudders. Something roars. Someone starts some kind of magical chant until a woman shrieks "YOU IDIOT THAT'S A PROP WAND!" All of this seems like it's going to become Elphelt's problem when the door slams open with a jarring BANG, but the trio of cosplayers who barreled through the exit with force enough to introduce metal door to brick wall immediately took off sprinting toward the street rather than sticking around for exposition. It turns out that Naruto cosplayer is not committed enough to properly ninja run. For shame.
Just after the con refugees make it out of sight, the door is creaking slowly shut. It gently taps into the faithful loose brick. This peaceful scene lasts a moment. Immediately afterward, the wall around the door comes collapsing down, with chunks of debris hurled across the alley to hit the opposite building. Something has linebacker tackled its way through -- something that is also an original character do not steal.
The dust of shattered wall settles. The thing is a hulking, vaguely bipedal shape that might have been some kind of simian once. Now its flesh is an elaborate latticework of greenish-yellow scars; now its face is a circular maw of prehensile fangs; now its body pumps sickly oil-like fluid through glassy-chitinous tubes and its limbs are thick with growths that are curiously like safety razor blades. Where the blades would have a logo, instead there are tiny etchings of nonsense phrases that seem one part biblical and two parts philosophical.
Now it is a Gear.
The Gear turns its eyeless maw-face toward Elphelt. It makes a clicking noise deep in its fleshy throat as its fangs rustle and shift.
The next few moments are not great. Hopefully Elphelt still has her Barbie Dream Shotgun, because this is one of those situations that a lady carries such things for -- especially if the power of Gear Command is attempted. The creature does not respond. Is there a kind of Wild Gear?
The monster is not an elegant fighter, nor a clever one, but its berserker focus comes with unholy endurance and the ability to eat bullets. This will prove both figurative and literal if Elphelt tries shooting it in the mouth, and, let's face it, there's a lot of mouth to shoot. It is difficult to gauge who is winning thanks to the terrible quality of Gears being able to fight beyond sane bodily limitations. Short seconds pass in long moments as can only happen in a pitched battle. And then --
The Gear beast staggers back and roars, confused. It grasps numbly at a rose that has planted itself in its chest, severing one of its transparent chitinous bio-tubes. The head of the rose, on closer inspection, appears to be crafted from arranged layers of red and pink guitar picks.
Above! A strum of strings!
An androgynous figure stands atop the nearby building, balanced on the edge. They lift another rose in a white-gloved hand, their red cape billowing to the side to reveal a sleekly-cut red tuxedo matched by a top hat, hair pinned back. On their face: a mask... and a beauty mark.
"Turning a sacred place of horny animes into a battlefield is an outrage. Now, Cleavage Cottontail! Show him how big your guns really are!"
The Gear beast remains very confused.
"Okay, Elphelt," the Gear Bride says to herself, clenching her fists and leaning her torso forward a bit, which is the universal anime girl sign for 'I must succeed'. "You have no home. You're almost out of money. Everyone thinks you're a promotional act for a KPop band. But! You! Will! Per! Se! V--"
A metallic door weighs approximately like a million pounds so when it impacts a solid object it vibrates and thus resonantes which is why it is usually extremely *loud*. Such is the case with the sudden attempted exit of the cosplayers and their method of egress, cutting El off in mid-soliloquy. She blinks and turns to watch them go, just in time for the wall itself to explode outwards in a shower of brick shards (FINALLY Mr. Brick rejoins his people, in death), most of which sail right by her as the shockwave from the blow sends her dress fluttering.
She slowly turns to her right to find... well, it's a Gear. Probably (this IS West Virginia). Elphelt stares at it blankly for a moment, and then her eyes start to water, a look of desperate sadness coming across her face. "Oh COME ON! This isn't fair!" Waggling a finger, she points it at the Gear with a dramatic gesture. "Hey! You stop this right now, understand!"
There's about 8 seconds of silent tableau but as is narratively required in these situations, the monster then responds by getting up near her and roaring extremely loudly, enough to make her cover her ears and squint her eyes shut.
But lo! Just as El recovers from this... Spanish guitar! A rose, probably(*)! Is that Tilda Swinton or David Bowie up there? Is Naruto really a 'horny anime' or is that really the fandom's fault?
"Oh... *wow*!" For a moment, Elphelt is genuinely enchanted and awed by this figure, mouth turning into a tiny :o of surprise (and interest; let's face it, a dramatically-fluttering cape looks good on basically anybody). Then the content of the sentence hits her on like a 20 second delay and the bridal battler's brows beetle up. "Wait, what?"
The Gear chooses this moment to roar, again, spurred to anger by the pain of getting Tuxedo Mask-ed right in the old hydraulics. But apparently the presence of this savior(?) emboldens El, who removes something -- as foretold by prophecy -- from her decolletage.
It's a giant strawberry, because of course it is.
"Could you QUIET DOWN?!" she yells at the gear, hurling the strawberry at it before smoothly drawing the pinkest, girliest sci-fi handgun imaginable and shooting the strawberry, which normally would result in juice everywhere BUT IN FACT that strawberry is uhhhhhh a grenade, so it explodes. A lot.
Over the sound of the blast, El can be heard shrieking, "I'M TRYING TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE!"
* [narrator voice] it wasn't
Luckily 'a lot' is the number we were looking for. When the strawberry explosion clears, the weakened Gear beast is sprawled in a pile of jagged limbs, rapidly surrounded by a pool of its own nastyjuice. This is a technical term. It probably should have thought twice about having such obvious weak points if it was going up against someone capable of saturation bombing, but to be fair all of its brain space was instead allocated to mouth.
The androgynous tuxedo'd figure alights upon the ground with one of those graceful unreal leaps that do not obey normal laws of momentum. However, moving really fast and then casually landing with a click of dress shoes on pavement does look very stylish. Masked Tuxedo reaches out a hand to Elphelt, gracefully poised with a slender arm reaching out with cape tossed over shoulder.
"We don't have much time. Come with me before the police arrive. They don't understand you... but I do."
On cue, sirens creep into audible range. Tuxedo's plush lips press thinner as they spread into a sharp smile.
[DATING SIM TEXT BOX] While she had successfully fought off the rampaging Gear, Elphelt was now faced with a difficult choice. The entrancing stranger speaks quickly and of impending danger, offering a hand of assistance where none had come her way in some time. Cheeks flushing red, she was faced with a difficult choice...
> Escape with the stranger (turn to page 93)
> Are you kidding me? You don't know this person!!!! (turn to page 44)
There's a moment of clear panic on Elphelt's part, the cogwheels of her thought process churning through a combination of worst case scenarios and imagining what her children would look like with this individual and if you can even GET a two-car garage on a single income in this economy because *she* clearly will be a homemaker. Against all logic, Elphelt is actually doing that thing one sees in pop culture where a manically indecisive person is turning toward and away the source of their choice paralysis while they work it out.
In the distance, slightly over the approaching but still-distant sound of sirens, an aggrieved voice can be heard shouting "DID THAT WEDDING PEACH BITCH WHO CRACKED MY PHONE SCREEN JUST HAVE A GUN?!"
El freezes in place for a second at that.
And then she thrusts her hand into the mysterious stranger's, because that decision has been made for her, basically. "Yes! Good! Yes! Let's go!"
Since this is clearly a dating sim, the mysterious groomsman remains posed as Elphelt goes through several elaborate AU sequences in her head. Their cape continues to gently and rhythmically ripple in a breeze that doesn't seem to exist for anyone else.
A fateful narrative declaration comes from inside the building, clearly heard because now the exit has upgraded from Mr. Brick to giant monster hole. Elphelt freezes, as bunnies are wont to do. The masked they tilts their head to the side, top hat rakishly sliding to the side.
And then, gloved hand on gloved hand. The stranger pulls Elphelt in, spinning her regardless of what she has to say about the choreography. They lean Elphelt away as they lean inward after her, one hand entwined with hers finger by finger, their other hand on the small of Elphelt's back. Their face comes dangerously close, enough that their next words bring a warm caress of breath on Elphelt's neck.
"You made the right choice... Elphelt."
And then, with a flourish of cape and enough speed to make it a bit confusing how exactly the positions were swapped so easily, the masked person has swept Elphelt into a bridal carry -- and they jump downward, somehow, into the street.
The two of them go sailing into nothingness, a great expanse of endless white where movement can only be judged by the sensation of falling and the trail left by the stranger's cape. It's strange: the cape always moved without wind but there should be some kind of feeling of air as they're plummeting. Yet, nothing but pure white.
Is this... the wedding dimension?!
Fortunately, the timelessness of complete featurelessness does not stay long enough to cause philosophical insanity. Just as quickly as the two found themselves in the void, reality snaps back into view as the two land on finely-pulverized gravel. A city horizon stretches all around them, with the height immediately suggesting that this rooftop is in fact a tall building.
The mystery person sets Elphelt down, tilts their head back, and exhales. It's with a completely different set of bodily carriage that they turn and take a few steps away.
"Jeeesus, I can't fuckin' believe you fell for that."
This is now very much a woman's voice. It's the same voice, but perhaps without affecting a deeper tone and flatter, masculine intonation. She reaches up and flicks the top hat off her head.
"I mean, you had me worried there for a sec! What the fuck's wrong with you that you were thinking of passing up a fine piece of ass who's into twenny-four seven bridal couture like you? Match made in goddamn heaven."
The woman turns around, in the middle of undoing buttons on her button-up shirt after having already dealt with her jacket and waistcoat. She makes a slicing gesture with her nail down the tight garment underneath, which immediately RIIIIPs to expose a highly improbable amount of cleavage in an improbably lacy bra. Really, the bra is improbable also considering everything it was underneath.
"Fuckin' binders. I'm sorry, ladies, momma had to lock you up for being too good."
Page 93 is just the words BAD END, DUMBASS in 96 point Times New Roman.
There is a lot going on to process here information-wise, and the Avenging Androgyne knowing her name shortly before Inceptioning her through the entire CG budget in one go (cutscenes!) is just the start of it.
The physical proximity which the bridal carry brings only intensifies El's blush and nervousness, which it would for any reasonable person and thus it's about ten million times more effective on Elphelt, an unreasonable person by any reckoning of that word. But one can see the gradation of her response slowly shift from "Oh~" to "Oh?" to "UH" in the process of her kidnapping, her cheeks going from a rich blushing red to a pale white, her eyes going from [anime_hearts.png] to nearly pupil-less. It's a lot to take in.
As I-No -- for it can be no other, not that El knows the name or the person -- sheds her tux (hope it's not a rental) and slips into something more [extremely Madeline Kahn voice] comfortable, the runaway bride stumbles out of the grasp she was just enfolded in, stumbles a few steps away, and turns to watch the not-exactly-a-striptease with a stunned look.
As I-No's bosoms settle into their typical orbit, El is staring with a sort of vacant-eyed expression for a second or two.
And then she points an accusing finger at her captor/rescuer/both.
You better interrupt this quick because she apparently has the lung capacity to keep this going for A While.
I-No catches the movement of Elphelt's hand in her peripheral vision. She looks up toward the accusing finger with only a lopsided grin for defense. Considering the sheer power of her cocky aura, it's a pretty good defense. The witch reaches up and undoes her tie with a single tug, letting the rest of her button-up shirt come tumbling apart into a deep V.
"Hah," she breathes. She plucks the mask from her face, twirling it around between two fingers. Her hair falls out of its pins all at once. She widens her fiercely-lined eyes, her irises flicking through red and pink and white and gold as she shifts her weight and leans in.
"Is this where I make a dirty joke about your lung capacity?"
But Elphelt keeps screaming. I-No narrows her eyes and her smile thins to a displeased pout.
"Fuck, okay, genuinely impressive."
The red witch tosses the mask aside and strides forward. She closes the distance between the two with startling speed, whereupon she places her hands on Elphelt's cheeks to hold her head still as she presses close. Unlike last time, pressing close is now a much more crowded feeling for a few significant reasons.
"What's the matter?" I-No hisses. "I wasn't satisfactory as the trouser role?"
The witch smiles wide. Her breath escapes between her shiny white teeth and faintly exaggerated incisors.
"Your performance was still exquisite."
If Elphelt is still screaming, I-No proceeds to shut her up with her mouth.
How long can Elphelt play chicken with the universe?
The answer, as I-No discovers about 2cm from a lawsuit, is: not long enough.
"GIRL!" is the exclamation point on Elphelt's dissertation-length expression of primal emotion. This also prompts an immediate backpedal, both arms extended with palms out. Perhaps the best part is that she gay panics her way across the ground in utter defiance of physics because SOMEHOW she's 5 feet from her previous position AND YET her legs and feet do not appear to have moved, which would be obvious from their impact on the gravel.
There's a pause, and El shuts her eyes, putting a hand to her own killer rack and exhaling a deep, cleansing breath. Okay. Yes, she's been abducted by a sultry and sarcastic big tity bombshell. Yes, she appears to be at the top of a very tall building. Yes, she is confronting some very problematic internal feelings about the kissability of those lips, because let's be real, she was tempted for a non-trivial period of time.
"Okay, El," she says, aloud, because she's astonishingly bad at being a person. "Get it together."
Then she opens her eyes, looking at I-No (the blush comes back and El pretends it has not). Clearing her throat, Elphelt tries to talk in a normal voice, emphasis tries. "How do you know my name? Who are you? Where is this? What just happened? Why did you rescue me?"
There's a pause as the former command gear actually checks to see if she used all 5 W's, before adding her last question. "Where did you get that bra?"
I-No, for once in her life, backs off. It's not actually a for once in her life type of situation because she's been through a lot, but considering her demeanor it always feels like one. Elphelt remains safe exactly one gay panic length away from I-No, which is a recognized legal term in West Virginia but not in London.
Spoilers, they're in London. Explains why Big Ben is off in the distance over there.
The witch shifts her weight to one leg, cocking her hips to the side as she rests a hand on her waist. Wait, were those hips always there?! They are definitely not androgynous and also beg questions about if the eternal white void of scenery change comes equipped with an invisible tailor. Stranger things walk the earth.
Like I-No, whose irises have currently settled on a blend of pastel green and neon blue.
"Wow, look at little miss investigative reporter. They teach you to get all the facts about someone fast so you could get to the heavy petting?"
I-No rolls her eyes away and presents a hand with a theatrical gesture. She counts down on her fingers.
"I know your name because you're a Command Gear with memorable tits, I'm a witch with memorable tits, this is the goddamn Brexit timeline, I took you through the Backyard while managing not to grope your backyard -- you're welcome, and you're now my sidekick because the alternative is I lock you up in a dungeon until I figure out what to do with you."
That's the last finger. I-No shifts her gaze back to Elphelt. Her smile grows small and wicked as she turns to deliver profile while tucking her forearm underneath her bust for presentation.
"Why do you ask? Y'wanna try it on? I'd have to take it off."
"NO." It's too fast, actually. A casual 'no that's okay' would have been sufficient for a normal person. Elphelt's answer is too immediate to be reasonable, meaning that there's currently a Dynasty Warriors-level internal battle going on in her head. At the moment, the forces of Don't Approach Lu Breasts is winning, but for how long?
Meanwhile, the witch just sort of rattles off a series of facts in quick succession with absolutely no fanfare or circuitous talk whatsoever. Considering who Elphelt was used to dealing with in her short life so far -- e.g. Ram, UN scientists on the Gear project, that one British girl who called her a whore and then tried to cut her in half with a sword -- this is actually an astonishing leap forward in communication skills, entendres or no, and this is probably why El has that stunned deer look for a few seconds more.
For a moment she puts a hand up to the back of her head, elbow out, and laugh off the idea that she's 1.) a command gear, 2.) knows what heavy petting is, or 3.) was seriously considering it, before she pauses and then just hangs her arms at her sides, face falling a bit. "Oh my god this has been a nightmare. Some screamy girl and her ugly boyfriends beat me up! I fell off a bridge! I didn't know who I was and I almost got married! And now everyone wants to kill me. It's VERY STRESSFUL."
There is a brief pause, before she adds, almost as an aside, "You don't want to kill me, right? You'd have said that upfront if that was your plan."
I-No drops her bust presentation arm and returns her hands to her hips. She watches Elphelt unravel the narrative through half-lidded eyes.
"I can tell you with total certainty that I am completely over the idea of killing you. It doesn't change anything."
The witch turns to face away from the sun and holds out both hands with palms up. From somewhere offscreen -- it is unclear -- a large, red hat with a scary face comes fluttering down into her waiting arms. She shifts it around to hold it by the top and gives it a few firm shakes, each one dropping a different article of clothing out. I-No unceremoniously tosses the hat to the side afterward.
"It was a real fuckin' pain in my glorious ass to find you." I-No shrugs off her jacket, and then goes through the slightly more involved task of disentangling herself from her waistcoat. That gets dropped to the side also.
"But that's your thing, isn't it? Running around screaming until someone scoops you up. Count your lucky goddamn stars I decided it's gonna be me this time. If it had been those fuckin' Ikari circlejerkers you'd have an eyepatch and a kid by now."
I-No unbuckles her belt, then pauses to look back to the other woman.
"Hey, you got anything weird and ominous to say about choruses or mothers, by the way? Get out of your system right now."
Somehow getting teleported out of West Virginia Anime Hell didn't faze her, but I-No's remarkable sangfroid about things that, to Elphelt's dim recollection, are actually pretty serious, does somewhat. The hat appearing is no big deal, surprisingly, but we are talking about someone who has a three and a half foot rifle nestled Somewhere that she can sort of retrieve at will, and that's not even the biggest weapon in her considerable and extremely femme arsenal. I-No's not the only one here to weaponize femininity; it's just that Elphelt takes that phrase to a considerably more literal extent.
There's a bit of laughter with not so much a nervous edge as two or possibly four nervous edges, when I-No says she has no plans to kill El because it probably wouldn't matter (SICK BURN).
"Hey!" the bridal Gear says huffily, preparing to be entirely indignant about the idea that her current role in life is 'Heavily Armed Luggage'. "I'll have you knGIRL!" The sentence comes to an abrupt end as El turns away, red-cheeked, while I-No does whatever is involved in getting her standard red outfit on her body, which presumably involves spirit gum or maybe an airbrush. Looking at the sky, the floor, or for at least four solid seconds I-No's ass, Elphelt continues her thought. "I've had it rough, thank you! You think I want to be riding buses across America, of all places, trying to make small talk with Bob the Trucker who breathes too loud?!" Okay, settle down there, El.
She lets the idea of her having an eyepatch and a kid go, which is probably good news for Faolan if the two ever meet again. Then I-No asks her a verrrrrrrry unusual question, making Elphelt blink in confusion. "Do I... no? Should I? I don't think I even remember my... mother..."
About 2 more minutes of silence pass before Elphelt hacksaws the silence into tiny bits, voice rising in volume and pitch because she wouldn't know a poker face if it Lady Gaga'ed its way onto her head.
"Wait, wait. Sidekick? What? Dungeon? What?!"
"GIRL!" I-No mimics a high-pitched reply, followed by laughter. Elphelt is spared the sight of the rest of I-No's undressing, except for when she doesn't want to be. Did you know that you have to wear extremely abbreviated underwear to make sure there's no lines visible on a skirt that tight?
Elphelt now knows this.
As the other woman lapses into silence, I-No shrugs -- for the benefit of the invisible audience since Elphelt is turned around and lost in thought -- and finishes dressing. She's running her hands through her hair to massage her scalp and get everything settled right when the other shoe finally drops. Or maybe the other bouquet. That seems more themely.
"What, you prefer the dungeon?"
I-No slides into Elphelt's field of view without taking any visible steps. The bad news is that I-No's new outfit is skintight in all the most concerning ways and also serves the eye-catching combination of keyhole cleavage AND undercleavage. Then, for the real perverts in the house, there is the
The witch offers Elphelt a serene smile that is undercut by her irises being currently settled on fiery red and black shadows.
"It's real simple, bunny. I already got Rammy and Jackie tucked in my unmentionables. You come with me, I keep the book police and the crusade LARPers off your pretty little garterbelt. I give you places to stay, money to... well, the other two like food, but I get the feeling you might like eating something else. All you gotta do is help me save the world."
"What, like... pie?"
This is going to be a very very long day for everyone involved.
That said, Elphelt perks up at the mention of Ramlethal, if only because she *should* have been able to sense Ram once her memory came back, and she couldn't... which had Elphelt worried something bad had happened to her, in spite of the fact that in 9/10 instances, Ram is the something bad that happens to other people.
Waving her hands in front of her rapidly, El responds a little too swiftly -- again -- with a "No! No, dungeon bad, alternative to dungeon good!" And after all, the rest of this sales pitch isn't too bad: she gets to see Ramlethal again, there's money and food, she never has to hear another asthmatic nerd harrangue her on a bus, and she'd be in I-No's underw[RECORD SCRATCH]
"So Ram was with you the whole time?" she says, and despite the ten thousand horsepower histronics that Elphelt has been running with since these two encountered each other, there's real relief in her voice at that. "Alright. I like the idea of saving the world. I guess I'm in."
I-No narrows her eyes from merely sultry to undeniably inquisitive when Elphelt's tone shifts to relief. She studies the other woman's face for a long, quiet moment.
Then, finally, she straightens up and turns to walk away with a grandly telegraphed shrug.
"I don't get you two, but I'm gonna hope to fuck that you calm each other down. I got too much shit to do to raise a kitten full time. Thank the dark lords the bunny is already grown."
This isn't just recreational abandonment: I-No is walking toward a door that must lead to the building's stairwell. Her hat comes flying over on a sudden breeze, allowing her to snatch it from the air and place it on her head.
The witch rests her hand on the door knob and turns to look back to Elphelt as she waits for the other woman to catch up.
"Welcome to the team. The bad news is that I'm gonna make you shoot people. The good news is you get all the sleepovers your Malibu fuckin' Dreamhouse of a heart can take."
I-No hesitates. Her gaze drops for a moment, and then travels back up. She leans into the door as if to force it open with her weight, but all this ends up doing for now is arching her back and shifting her hips.
"Plus..." she breathes, all the crude edge in her voice gone, replaced by a luxurious purr. "Don't you want to see where this goes?"
Click. I-No turns the knob. The door swings open to the darkened stairwell, and the witch slips inside.
Log created on 19:21:09 01/10/2019 by Elphelt, and last modified on 00:31:40 01/14/2019.