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File 153032571705.png - (287.52KB , 600x600 , Cover2.png )
890533 No. 890533 ID: bd5c42

Sentinel Key is a magical girl action/slice of life quest. It may contain blood, gore, body horror, and mild sexual content. Catch up on the ill-fated beginning here: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/graveyard/res/851282.html
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>>
No. 890534 ID: bd5c42

SENTINEL KEY IS NOT DEAD.
>>
No. 890535 ID: bd5c42
File 153032578583.png - (271.59KB , 600x600 , 8.png )
890535

Yeah, so you keep saying. And as I keep saying, I don't know what the fuck that means. I don't have time for your usual vague nonsense. We need to get going.

But first. There's some business that needs to be taken care of before we can fight this demon.

Transforming takes time, and demons won't just stop mid-battle to let you do it. That would be ridiculous.
>>
No. 890536 ID: bd5c42
File 153032582881.png - (361.41KB , 600x600 , 9.png )
890536

"Guardian of peace and the ocean! Sentinal Cyan!"

"Soldier of justice and flame! Sentinal Yellow!"

"Savior of strength and love! Sentinel Magenta!"

Much better.
>>
No. 890537 ID: bd5c42
File 153032588675.png - (344.07KB , 600x600 , 10.png )
890537

Warning: Image contains body and eye horror.


It doesn't take long to get to the site of the attack. Sentinels move fast, and rooftops are quicker than side-streets.

"Okay girls, just like we talked about. Yellow, distract that thing. Cyan? Pull the fire alarm. See if we can't get some of these suckers out of here."

We enter through the window. The library ceiling is barely tall enough to accomodate the demon. It's huge and grotesque, and if I didn't know any better, I'd think it was absurd that nobody seems to see it. But the worst thing, the IMPORTANT thing, is that the demon has a few bystanders clasped in its hands, catatonic and sobbing. One of its three heads catches my eye and it grins at me.

Welp. That wasn't in the plan.

I have to get those hostages free. What's the plan?
>>
No. 890539 ID: 094652

I don't like the muscle distribution in those arms. Attack the limbs first to release the hostages, then run really fast with as many people in your arms as possible and let the S.W.A.T. team bomb them to hell.
>>
No. 890692 ID: 4f1cbc

>>890537
Well, Yellow should probably still be engaging the monster. Harass it, keep it busy and distracted. Cyan pulling the fire alarm might get people who can move out of there, but it won't help the people being held (also gives us a time limit- we want this done before the fire department shows up).

Heart is sort of a tricky power to apply in abstract to combat. Can your support powers wake up the catatonic, or get them to be less zonked by the demon? You are wielding a club or hammer- while it's distracted, you might want to smack it in the joints to force it to release hostages. Tricky bit there is it might require two of you per rescue- one to attack the demon arm or hand to force it to release or drop the hostage, another to catch the falling hostage.
>>
No. 890703 ID: dbf422

>>890692
Also it's risky to rescue one at a time. If the monster gets angry at being attacked or losing hostages, it might hurt the remaining ones. The best chance is to find a way to catch them without being under them, like a net, a mattress or special power. If that's not possible, then your plan wins out.

But how does love apply to combat? Charm spells? That could help.
>>
No. 890736 ID: bd5c42
File 153048971861.png - (177.58KB , 600x600 , 11.png )
890736

>I don't like the muscle distribution in those arms. Attack the limbs first to release the hostages, then run really fast with as many people in your arms as possible and let the S.W.A.T. team bomb them to hell.

S.W.A.T. team? You must really be new here.
>>
No. 890737 ID: bd5c42
File 153048975897.png - (252.95KB , 600x600 , 12.png )
890737

We are the S.W.A.T. team.

>The best chance is to find a way to catch them without being under them, like a net, a mattress or special power.

I try to give it a look as I'm falling towards the demon. It's the library, so I'm guessing we're going to be a little thin on nets and mattresses. But...if Cyan sets off the fire alarm...

"Cyan!" I shout over the rushing air around me. "I have a plan!"
>>
No. 890738 ID: bd5c42
File 153048979779.png - (267.48KB , 600x600 , 13.png )
890738

"Okay, baby," Yellow shouts, grinning. "Let's tango!"

According to plan, Cyan zips toward the fire alarm while Yellow distracts the demon. Yellow is doing a good job holding her own for now, but she's going to need backup. Which makes it good that I'm here now.

The fire alarm goes off the moment my bat makes contact with the demon, and it's deafening. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch Yellow clapping her hands over her ears, a split second before the demon's free hand slaps her across the room.

"Yellow!" I shout over the din. "Are you okay?!"

It doesn't seem like she can hear me, not with the background noise, but I can see her already climbing back to her feet. Shit. I probably should have planned for this. Yellow doesn't do well with loud noises, in or out of costume. I'm going to have to apologize for this later.

Finally, the sprinklers turn on, and Cyan zips back over to our location. A few of the bystanders have started to stir, and a few are slowly making their way to the exits.

"Ready?" I yell breathlessly. She nods.

The water falling from the sprinklers stops and hovers in midair before forming into a thick sheet, more than thick enough to catch any falling freshmen. Imani and I climb into position, ready to strike at the demon's wrists, and-
>>
No. 890739 ID: bd5c42
File 153048984844.png - (320.28KB , 600x600 , 14.png )
890739

-ohmygodwhatthefuck
>>
No. 890742 ID: dbf422

Uh I'm also confused. Was that a newcomer attacking the monster or the monster attacking you? Well, luckily the "net" works just as well on you. Retreat a bit and figure out what happened.
>>
No. 891217 ID: bd5c42
File 153075743890.png - (258.75KB , 600x600 , 15.png )
891217

>Uh I'm also confused. Was that a newcomer attacking the monster or the monster attacking you? Well, luckily the "net" works just as well on you. Retreat a bit and figure out what happened.

Your guess is as good as mine! But something was weird. I was the one who broke the demon's hand, but that blast didn't feel demonic.


I mean. It felt like sentinel magic. But the only sentinels I know of are on my team already. ...Right?
>>
No. 891218 ID: bd5c42
File 153075747838.png - (253.00KB , 600x600 , 16.png )
891218

Oh shit, that's the hostage. Okay.

I dive a bit deeper into the net to catch the sinking hostage. She seems....familiar. I think she might be in my Mathematics for Theater Students course, but maybe she just has a theater kid face.

Humans can't breathe underwater. Gotta bring her to the surface.
>>
No. 891220 ID: bd5c42
File 153075753492.png - (307.79KB , 600x600 , 17.png )
891220

Warning: Image contains body horror

Oh good. The alarm is still going off. Looks like Yellow has rejoined the fray, although I'm willing to bet she still can't hear anything. Cyan is still fighting also, but it looks like they have someone else on their plate now. A figure cloaked in shadow. It looks like they're fighting WITH the demon. Hmm.

The girl in my arms coughs up a LOT of water. Good. I guess that means she's still breathing.

"Are you okay?" I ask, still having to shout over the alarm.

She whispers something that I can't hear over the noise, but it looks like it starts with a "what" or a "where."

Elsewhere in the net, a very large demon hand slams into the water.

I need to get back up there ASAP, and I don't have time to waste figuring out what I'm going to tell this girl. Gotta ditch her somewhere safe.

Thoughts, o wise and powerful spirits?
>>
No. 891224 ID: c1eaac

Let's worry about the girl first, and get her someplace safe.

Say, if that new person is a Sentinel, what are the chances they can hear us too?
>>
No. 891238 ID: dbf422

I can't think of anything good. Time is an issue but the safest option is leaving the battle with her, setting her down there, and coming back. But if you want to stay here, the best you can do is lay her on her back, calm her, and get her to float.
>>
No. 891333 ID: 4f1cbc

>Thoughts, o wise and powerful spirits?
Where the heck did all that water come from? Fire suppression sprinklers don't flood rooms, not that deep or that fast.

Unless you're willing to let the civilian drown, you're going to need to stick her somewhere above water, or away from the water. Can't really be more specific than that, haven't gotten a good look at the surroundings since you got here.
>>
No. 891371 ID: dbf422

>>891333
Magic.
>>
No. 891402 ID: bd5c42

WE TRIED TO WARN YOU, YOU KNOW. THE TRAITOR LIVES.
>>
No. 892687 ID: bd5c42
File 153153441418.png - (294.62KB , 600x600 , 18.png )
892687

>Say, if that new person is a Sentinel, what are the chances they can hear us too?

I mean...low, right? Out of my team, I'm the only one who can hear you, so unless this newcomer is somehow ALSO a Sentinel Magenta... but that's impossible, because there are never duplicates within a generation. Besides-

>WE TRIED TO WARN YOU, YOU KNOW. THE TRAITOR LIVES.

Besides, this lovely individual seems to be implying that this stranger is "Sentinel Key." Which....I think I've heard that name before. Key...

>Let's worry about the girl first, and get her someplace safe.

>I can't think of anything good. Time is an issue but the safest option is leaving the battle with her, setting her down there, and coming back

>Unless you're willing to let the civilian drown, you're going to need to stick her somewhere above water, or away from the water. Can't really be more specific than that, haven't gotten a good look at the surroundings since you got here.

I glance at the fight up above, then at the civilian in my arms. There isn't time to deliberate, someone needs to make a snap decision. And mine is that I need to get this girl out of here.

"Cyan?" I yell up towards the fight. "Getting bystanders out of the crossfires! Can you hold your own without me?"

"Probably!" she cries back at me, still engaged in combat with the mound of flesh that is the demon. "Don't dawdle!"

I turn to the girl in my arms, still kicking my legs to keep her afloat.

"Hey," I say quickly, trying to still sound kind. "Hey. Can you tell me your name?"

"Roni," she replies. Ah. Now I know where I know her from. She IS in my math class, but I've also run into her at temple. She's nice, and that's just about all I know about her.

"Okay Roni," I reply. "I'm Magenta. You're having a stress dream. Has this happened to you before?"

She nods mutely.

"Okay. Then you know you're going to wake up in a while. For now, I need you to take a deep breath and hold it. We're going back under, and I'm going to get you out of here."

She nods again, and we take the plunge.
>>
No. 892688 ID: bd5c42
File 153153447638.png - (288.06KB , 600x600 , 19.png )
892688

It doesn't take long to swim down and through the bottom of the net. From there, it's only about a ten foot drop to the floor of the library.

"Okay," I say, "You can breathe now. I need you to take a deep breath, like this."

I demonstrate. Breathe in: four seconds. Hold: four seconds. Breathe out: six seconds. She breathes with me, and I mentally thank God that I have experience with this sort of thing. (Probably the only time I've ever done that.)

"Keep doing that," I add. "Can you walk if you lean on my shoulder?"

She nods.

"Okay. We're going to walk towards the front door. Just try to take it one breath at a time. We'll be out before you know it."

A few other hostages are stirring around me, and a few are making their way towards the exit. That's good. It means they don't need much interference from me. It's a straight shot to the door. We don't have any trouble getting out.

I set Roni down on the curb outside and

MAGENTA YOU NEED TO GET THE FUCK BACK IN HERE NOW

Yellow's voice in my head is DEAFENING. It sounds like she's in pain. Shit.

Roni looks like she's going to be fine. I dash back into the library.
>>
No. 892690 ID: bd5c42
File 153153457410.png - (360.96KB , 600x600 , 20.png )
892690

(Gore/Body horror/fleshy nonsense warning for this post and the accompanying image)



The moment I break the net's surface, I can tell something is wrong. The flesh of the demon has broken, its body peeling apart like the petals on a lotus flower, or perhaps a banana. Underneath its flesh is just mounds and piles of exposed, unwound brain matter.

I want to throw up a little bit.

Yellow is wound up in the midst of the brain matter. She's bleeding profusely from a pretty concerning wound in her side. Cyan seems occupied with an assault from another branch of the demon, and the stranger (Sentinel Key?) is fast approaching. Now that I can see her better, she really DOES look familiar. Like I saw her in a dream somewhere.

Cyan is busy, so this is all me. The real question is, which is more important? Should I focus on healing and freeing Yellow, or fighting off the stranger so she can't hurt her even more?
>>
No. 892691 ID: 8af1e3

Hm. Gross. Sentinel Key is the Hinata from your dream, right? Try yelling her civilian name and see what happens. It might distract her for a second.
>>
No. 892692 ID: b1b4f3

Sentinel Key's name is Hinata, she fights with a bow, and you should not hesitate for a second. Cut her down.
>>
No. 892693 ID: 60f0cc

grab yellow and book it my dude let the newcomer fight the monster
>>
No. 892701 ID: dbf422

>>892693
Nah, you have it wrong. This newcomer is what hurt Yellow in the first place. Or helped her get hurt at least.

But, getting Yellow free is priority. Even if it gives Key a free hit, you're better off making sure that brain matter doesn't have any... extra surprises. And getting Yellow mobile is its own benefit.
>>
No. 892780 ID: 4f1cbc

>Like I saw her in a dream somewhere
I guess being spirits we get to remember your dreams better than you do.

Before Brigid and Imani woke you, you dreamt of Sentinel Key, and you called her Hinata. She was an old friend. You had a family and a daughter, and carried a hammer instead of a club. You begged and apologized to your friend for an some unknown transgression, but didn't fight back as Key drew her bow and executed you.

I don't know if that was a vision from a past life, or a past Sentinel Magenta (you implied the roles or titles appear in different incarnations across generations), or something prophetic.

If we wanna trust what Lazarus is yelling in all caps, it's something that happened in the past, but that 'lovely individual' isn't exactly the same as the rest of us, and may have their own agenda, or at the very least a problem sharing information or communicating effectively.

>Should I focus on healing and freeing Yellow, or fighting off the stranger so she can't hurt her even more?
You're heart, and the support. Your strongest when you're helping or enabling others, so I'd say go to yellow.

Also, if you dream was accurate
>"I can't fight you, Hinata," you tell her, choking back the sobs. "You know that. I could never hurt you."
You might not do well against her in a direct fight.

One important question, is conflict between Sentinals normal, or is it shocking or unusual to meet another who's prioritizing attacking Yellow over the demon?
>>
No. 892881 ID: bd5c42

>>892780

WE ARE NOT DIFFERENT. I JUST REMEMBER BETTER THAN YOU DO.
>>
No. 894144 ID: a1d6dc
File 153239966858.png - (240.27KB , 600x600 , 21.png )
894144

(Warning: Image still has gross flesh stuff.)

>Before Brigid and Imani woke you, you dreamt of Sentinel Key, and you called her Hinata. She was an old friend. You had a family and a daughter, and carried a hammer instead of a club. You begged and apologized to your friend for an some unknown transgression, but didn't fight back as Key drew her bow and executed you.

>Hm. Gross. Sentinel Key is the Hinata from your dream, right? Try yelling her civilian name and see what happens. It might distract her for a second.

Uh. Guess it's....worth a shot.

I scramble over to Yellow, beginning to try to work her out of the mass of brain. I can get a better shot at healing her if I can actually see the wound.

Key is approaching in a slow circling fashion, almost as if she's giving me time to work Yellow free. I have to wonder if she's trying to fight fair, or just playing with her food.

"Hey. Hinata, right? Can we talk about this?" I call, in an attempt to distract her. Her lip quirks up on one side.
>>
No. 894145 ID: a1d6dc
File 153239971383.png - (168.64KB , 600x600 , 22.png )
894145

"What I heard is true, then," she replies casually, almost cheerfully.

Yellow grunts in pain as the brain matter around her constricts and puts pressure on the wound. I don't envy her, but that's probably a blessing in disguise. The demon is probably inadvertently keeping the blood inside her body.

"You and your merry band of head-passengers are pretty quick on the uptake," Key continues, still circling. I don't have an eye on her, but I can hear the sounds of something mechanical sliding and clicking into place as she speaks.

Yellow slides out of the demon's grasp. I clap my hands together until I can feel them getting warm, then hot. I press them to Yellow's wound.

"But you have it a little mixed up," Key says, finally halting her approach. "See. My name is Kimiko Koizumi."

I can hear her tone drop into something much darker.
>>
No. 894146 ID: a1d6dc
File 153239975519.png - (221.23KB , 600x600 , 23.png )
894146

I turn to face Key finally, nearly giving myself whiplash from turning so quickly. She's...young. Like, barely my age. And she looks PISSED.

"Hinata is my fucking mother."

Shit. That is not a bow and arrow.
>>
No. 894147 ID: a1d6dc
File 153239980158.png - (208.03KB , 600x600 , 24.png )
894147

A lot of things happen very very quickly and I am not particularly clued into any of them. I'm really not entirely sure what just happened except that I'm pretty sure Yellow is back on her feet and in the fight and I am VERY much not and in VERY MUCH PAIN THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

There's a BLINDING pain in my shoulder, and I know well enough to know that it's probably not good. I vaguely remember the sound of crystal hitting flesh and then, later, flesh hitting water. Someone is hauling me to my feet.

"Magenta, are you alright?!" the voice of Sentinel Yellow all but screams in my ear.

"No," I groan. I can feel her shoulders moving underneath me as she chuckles in relief. "Don't laugh. I'm fucked up."

"You'll live," she replies. "Where'd your bat go?"

The sound of the alarm blaring in my ear is suddenly underscored with a siren, approaching quickly from the distance.

Ahh, fuck, that'll be the fire department. If they walk in here right now, they'll be in danger too. I don't know where Key ended up, but I can't fight ANYTHING without a weapon.
>>
No. 894148 ID: c1eaac

Let's get us a weapon, then. What are our options?

Lazarus, since you seem to remember so much, you know anything about Hinata having a daughter?
>>
No. 894150 ID: 60f0cc

I bet Hinata was from another generation of sentinels. One that CLEARLY did not get on with the rest of them - a trait she's passed down to her daughter.

For now, I think the best course of action is to heal yourself. You're a support, right? Healing is your jam. The flesh-monster can't win if you and your friends don't stay down.
>>
No. 894203 ID: dbf422

Well, your bat is probably back where Yellow was. Within a small area beneath it, probably. So you gotta look around there.
>>
No. 896666 ID: bd5c42

>>894148
I DON'T REMEMBER ANY DAUGHTER.

SHE WAS EXPECTING WHEN I KNEW HER.
>>
No. 896681 ID: bd5c42
File 153393915713.png - (206.23KB , 600x600 , 25.png )
896681

Hell, I'm in pain. A cursory examination of my shoulder doesn't seem good. The beam from Key's cannon hasn't even had the decency to cauterize the wound, so the whole shoulder area of my shirt is damp and sticky. I already feel a bit woozy, and the chances of me using that shoulder with much dexterity aren't looking great.

But at least it looks like Yellow managed to knock Key into the water. That's good, right?

...Well. That's good unless my bat fell into the water when Key knocked me off the demon. Which it did. Fuck.

>For now, I think the best course of action is to heal yourself. You're a support, right? Healing is your jam. The flesh-monster can't win if you and your friends don't stay down.

I'm not nearly as good at healing myself as I am at healing others, but at the very least I can numb the pain.

"Yellow," I call. "Get in contact with Cyan and set me up for the Psyche Home Run. I'm gonna get my bat."

"What about your a-" Yellow starts, but I can't hear her finish her sentence over the rushing air as I dive off the tendril of brain matter and into the net of water.
>>
No. 896682 ID: bd5c42
File 153393919297.png - (231.95KB , 600x600 , 26.png )
896682

And it's back into the drink I go. I don't see Key. I don't even know where in here she fell. But I do see my bat, and that's the important bit. It's near the bottom of the net, before it breaks into plain open air. Probably a good idea to get it quick, Cyan has to be getting tired of holding up all this water, especially considering the effort of summoning so much water from such small sprinklers.

I grab the bat and surface, grabbing on to a handhold of flesh and hoping to God that the others have set me up like I told them to.
>>
No. 896683 ID: bd5c42
File 153393923582.png - (223.28KB , 600x600 , 27.png )
896683

Yellow's hand grabs mine and hauls me to my feet. Cyan shoots me a quick nod, and I nod back. A go signal. Cyan and Yellow clasp their hands under my foot and throw me, the way they've done at least a dozen times before. The airtime gives me precious time to scream the incantation, throat raw from shouting over the alarms, power building inside the coils of my muscles.

"FOUL DEMON OF SUFFERING AND PAIN, IN THE NAME OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS, I BANISH YOU."

My bat makes contact, my shoulder erupts in pain worse than before, and I black out.
>>
No. 896684 ID: bd5c42
File 153393926661.png - (1.12KB , 600x600 , 28.png )
896684

Guardian spirits, you remember something vague, but real from your life as a Sentinel. Share it with the group. Memories from life are hard to come by, after all.
>>
No. 896685 ID: bd5c42

I THREW AWAY WHAT I LOVED, AND I LOST EVERYTHING. IT'S NO NEW FACT.
>>
No. 896695 ID: 094652

"The first time I could have saved someone, I hid in a bush and made loud screeching noises. They panicked and threw the girl on a rock, killing her, and were arrested for murder instead of kidnapping. I never told anyone that I was the terrorist who accidentally caused her death."
>>
No. 896699 ID: 70df1e

i remember when we were CYMK and not CYM. i miss key.
>>
No. 896704 ID: 39a5c5

I was jealous of Magenta. I thought I would have been the better choice to lead.
>>
No. 896714 ID: dbf422

I don't I ever did enough. It's like every fight I was in was a pyrrhic victory.
>>
No. 897800 ID: bd5c42
File 153463533302.png - (291.13KB , 600x600 , 29.png )
897800

I have weird dreams. I'm pretty used to weird. It's fine. I don't remember faces or places, but the voices....they stick with me. They're always so much more persistant than anything else.

https://instaud.io/2zyK
>>
No. 897801 ID: bd5c42
File 153463536377.png - (144.58KB , 600x600 , 30.png )
897801

I wake to a fluorescent light blaring in my eyes. I move to shield them with my hand, and get an unpleasant feeling telling me there's a needle in my arm. A needle connected to a tube, in fact.

Not my favorite thing to wake up to.

I try to sit up, and immediately my head spins. It's not long before a surprisingly strong pair of pale arms pushes me back down into a lying down position.

"Don't get up, idiot. Anesthesia's still wearing off."

"Brigid?" I groan under my breath. "Where the fuck am I?"

"Hospital," she replies shortly. Brigid can be a little inscrutible sometimes, but even I can tell she's upset.
>>
No. 897802 ID: bd5c42
File 153463539657.png - (163.28KB , 600x600 , 31.png )
897802

I lie in place, breathing deeply for what feels like forever until my head stops spinning enough for me to slowly, carefully sit up. Brigid is perched on a chair next to my bed, gargoyle-style. She has bags under her eyes that weren't there last time I saw her. Her clothes have changed, too. How long have I even been out?

"I'm up," I say. "Now what the hell am I-"

Oh shit. My arm. I reach over with my good arm, terrified of what I might find, and...there it is. The arm's all still there. Bandaged, granted, and badly aching, but all still attached to my body. I wiggle my fingers a little, just to be sure.

"Huh." I mumble. "Better than I expected."

"Okay, so you're awake," Brigid replies, looking even more disgruntled than before. She hops off the chair and approaches the bed-
>>
No. 897803 ID: bd5c42
File 153463543762.png - (102.53KB , 600x600 , 32.png )
897803

And smacks me hard across the face. Ow.

"Idiot," she hisses. I press a hand to my cheek. It smarts, but she didn't hit me hard enough to bruise.

"I'm sorry," I mumble, barely audible. "I'm sorry- I should have remembered about the fire alarm, I could have gotten you really hurt."

This doesn't seem to have the intended effect. Brigid just seems madder.

"Dumbass!" she retorts. "You think I care about that? That was my fault, we all forgot. I care that your recklessness, and- and the fact that you don't take care of your own safety almost got you killed today! You could have lost your arm, Petra. You could have bled to death."

"I didn't, though," I muster halfheartedly, but Brigid cuts me off.

"You were already injured. Imani and I could have taken that demon, but you just had to be the hero and almost off yourself protecting us! You can't..." She seems to notice her voice has climbed too high and drops it to a harsh whisper. "You can't do that, Petra. We need you. And I don't hear the voices in your head, but I'm pretty sure no guardian spirit worth its salt would have told you to do that. Did you even ask them?"

I didn't, but I can't bring myself to say it.

Haha. Guess I did fuck up this time.
>>
No. 897811 ID: dbf422

You were in a bad spot. Between the demon, the fire department on the way, and most importantly the enemy Sentinel, it's not surprising you weren't thinking clearly. Brigid's right about that, but it's not fair to take it completely out of its context.

You just need to do better next time.
>>
No. 897815 ID: 094652

You were dealing with a high-level rival agent, one with an agenda and potentially a squad of more period-jumped hitmanhookers. At that point, ending the fight as quickly as possible was your highest priority. You weren't allowed to run away when there were still hostages, and healing wasn't working, so...

About that girl. Hinata Junior. She's clearly a glitzooker, not exactly low-profile here. Any police records of a psycho magical girl hunting down rescue magical girls?
>>
No. 897865 ID: 70df1e

You panicked. Fighting another magical girl doesn't exactly come with a handbook. Explain, and apologize.
>>
No. 897928 ID: bd5c42

Oh hey, note! For those who are newcomers since the last thread, please note the (sadly rather underused) disthread here: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/119146.html ! Tell me about your Sentinelsonas! Ask questions about the world! Check out some art and lame excuses for long breaks between updates! Fun time for the whole family at the Sentinel Key Disthread!
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No. 897956 ID: c1eaac

Panicking in the middle of battle doesn't really warrant being smacked, does it? Brigid seems a little out of line here.
>>
No. 898156 ID: 4f1cbc

>>897803
Own up to your mistake. Don't make excuses.

Your friend is right, and the only way she's going to start feeling better about this is if she thinks she's getting through to you and that you'll think twice before doing something like that again.

>>896685
Might be helpful if you told us how or why, late magenta.

>>894146
I'm curious what kind of grudge carries over across incarnations. Whatever happened between last generation's Magenta and Key, why is this Key gunning for you?
>>
No. 898382 ID: bd5c42
File 153488534025.png - (101.50KB , 600x600 , 33.png )
898382

>About that girl. Hinata Junior. She's clearly a glitzooker, not exactly low-profile here. Any police records of a psycho magical girl hunting down rescue magical girls?

I'm not sure what a glitzooker is, but I kinda doubt it. The police don't exactly "know" "about us." Nobody does, for the most part anyway. And where would I even get access to those?

>You panicked. Fighting another magical girl doesn't exactly come with a handbook. Explain, and apologize.

>You were in a bad spot. Between the demon, the fire department on the way, and most importantly the enemy Sentinel, it's not surprising you weren't thinking clearly. Brigid's right about that, but it's not fair to take it completely out of its context.

I rub the side of my cheek.

You're right. I made a mistake. I just have to do better in the future.

"I know," I say softly. "I fucked it, I'm sorry. I was worried about the demon, and the fire department was going to show any second, and I just wanted to put an end to it. I...I know this is a pattern for me. I'll try to be more careful."

She frowns, but backs off a bit.

"Brigid," I say softly, "I really don't like that you hit me."

Brigid gets bogged down in social minutiae pretty easily. I find it's usually best to just be direct with her.

"Oh," she says.

"It hurt," I add.

"I'm sorry. I just..." she hesitates, rolling over words in her head. "I was scared. You were in surgery for three hours, and they weren't sure if the muscular damage from the injury was going to be permanent- I mean I know we heal faster but there wasn't any guarantee you were going to be able to USE that arm and...."
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No. 898383 ID: bd5c42
File 153488538487.png - (118.46KB , 600x600 , 34.png )
898383

"WHERE is my GIRL????"

"Brigid," I hiss under my breath. "Did you call my aunt?"

"Uh," she shoots me an awkward look. "Uh, Imani did. She's passed out in the waiting room."

"Shit!"

I try to scramble off the bed and hide underneath it, or perhaps behind the privacy divider, but it's too late. The hospital room door slams open and Aunt Elena is Here.
>>
No. 898384 ID: bd5c42
File 153488541824.png - (189.27KB , 600x600 , 35.png )
898384

"Petra!" Aunt Elena cries, and she's next to my bed before I can move. I think she shoves Brigid out of the way, but I can't really tell with how fast she moved. "How did this happen? Who did this to you? Petra, who do I have to kill? Because you know your uncle and I still have that cricket bat in the basement, and-"

"I'm fine," I try to interrupt, but break off when she abruptly hugs me.

"Oh, Petra," she tsks, "You're so damn skinny! I knew it, they've been starving you out here. Have you been eating? I know you sometimes forget to eat."

"Aunt Elena," I wheeze. "My shoulder."

"Ah!" she exclaims, letting go quickly and moving on to pinch my cheeks. "I wouldn't have to hug you if you ever called, you know. You could be rotting away up here for all I know, and you never check in! And you've been here so long you'd think you would have found a pretty girl to marry."

She grabs Brigid by the shoulder before she can escape.

"Look at this Brigid, she's such a lovely girl, and frankly you could do to marry a doctor if you're going to be an ACTRESS. Obviously you're a star in the making but in the MEANTIME I don't want you starving on the streets of New York while you wait tables and look at her, she's clearly smitten with you-"

She's clearly not.

"Aunt Elena, I've known Brigid since I was two," I chuckle awkwardly.

"Then you're already BASICALLY married," she replies.

"Uh. Can I get a word in edgewise?" I ask, placing a hand on her wrist. "I have...I have just so many questions."

She falls silent.

I'm gonna be honest, I didn't even expect to get this far. I know my aunt knows things...about my mom, about her friends, about what she did for a living. But the past day has been so weird and wild for me that I don't even know where to START. What do you even ask about the deceased mom you barely even knew, who you're starting to think was a lot more important to your current situation than you were lead to believe?
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No. 898410 ID: 4f1cbc

>I'm not sure what a glitzooker is
>Google: About 2 results
>One is this thread
I've no idea either!

>What do you even ask about the deceased mom you barely even knew, who you're starting to think was a lot more important to your current situation than you were lead to believe?
>How did this happen? Who did this to you? Petra, who do I have to kill?
Ask the question that answers her question.

Did... mom know someone called Hinata? Was there some kind of bad blood or grudge? Because she had a daughter, and she's pissed, and I don't know why outside of some fragmented dreams I can't quite remember.
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No. 898420 ID: 094652

>>898410
Glitzooker as in "Glitz And Glamour RPG Wielder" - She's the main distraction, and if everyone on the enemy team is stupid enough to ignore her, their explosive doom. I figured that she was distracting us so her other team members could slowly pick your teammates off. Someone with an overspecialized weapon doesn't do well alone.

And yeah, this appears to be a classic family feud. Ask about Hinata.
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No. 898435 ID: 70df1e

rescue brigid from your aunt. possibly make something up about sentinels not being allowed to date and wait for that to bite you later

also ask your aunt whats up with your mom and whatever her key did. somehow i get the feeling they arent exactly rattling around in here with the rest of us former sentinels, so this is the best lead youve got
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No. 898479 ID: dbf422

>>898384
Is Brigid alright? You seem to handle that relationship pressure alright but does she? If not, get your aunt to lay off this with her.

After that, your only lead is the name Hinata and the Sentinel known as Key. If your aunt is reluctant, mention that you almost dying was because you didn't know about that. Mean, but you can't risk old promises getting in the way of protecting you and your friends.
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No. 898498 ID: bd5c42

>>898156

I REMEMBER WHAT I REMEMBER. YOU GIVE ME A POINT BY POINT RUNDOWN OF YOUR DEATH, WHY DON'T YOU.
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No. 898576 ID: 4f1cbc

>>898498
Car crash. I'd say it was the other driver's fault, but it's not as if I was in a position to stick around and hear who the cops and the insurance companies decided was at fault. An ignoble end for a Land Rover kept running past it's prime, at least. So it goes.

If you wanna keep talking about my life, I'm glad to, but we should probably take it to spirit private messaging since it doesn't have anything to do with Petra.
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No. 899341 ID: bd5c42
File 153543192524.png - (104.78KB , 600x600 , 36.png )
899341

>Is Brigid alright? You seem to handle that relationship pressure alright but does she? If not, get your aunt to lay off this with her.

>rescue brigid from your aunt. possibly make something up about sentinels not being allowed to date and wait for that to bite you later

I'm gonna be honest. I don't know if Aunt Elena even knows about uh. The whole Sentinel thing. It never really...came up.

"Aunt Elena," I say softly, eye-gesturing in Brigid's direction.

Brigid mumbles something that sounds like "don'tlikebeingtouched" and Aunt Elena drops her like a hot coal. And now that that's dealt with.

"Can...I ask you something about Mom?" I continue. Bringing this up is...weird to me. We never really talked about what happened to my mom. I brought it up once or twice when I was a kid, but it always seemed like she was kind of an...off-limits topic.

Aunt Elena remains very, very quiet. I take that as a signal to continue.

"Did...Mom know anyone named Hinata? Hinata, uh...Koizumi, maybe?" Still silence. "I know you don't like to talk about her, but this is important. I...I don't know how much I can tell you. But I'm in some trouble, and I think it might be related to her. Or, uh, her daughter anyway. So if you know something..."
>>
No. 899343 ID: bd5c42
File 153543197834.png - (263.43KB , 600x600 , 37.png )
899343

Aunt Elena sighs.

"Hinata Koizumi was your mother's best friend when she was about your age," she says. "They started this stupid band in the 80's. Prismatic, I think they were calling it. They weren't good, but they had fun. It was Natalie, Hinata, Brigid's father, and one of their other friends. Emma Russel. I was never really involved with their friend group or anything, so I don't know much about it."

I frown. I'm not sure which of Brigid's dads Aunt Elena is talking about, but I know them both. Her papa was a Sentinel. He clued us in when our powers first showed up.

"I used to joke about them being secret superheroes," Aunt Elena continues. "They used to vanish at weird hours of the day, show up inexplicably late to work or family engagements. That sort of thing. I don't know. All I know is Hinata and Natalie had a falling out around the time you were born, and the band broke up. Hinata moved out to the West coast, and it wasn't that long after that that your parents passed away."

She sighs and sits down on the edge of my bed, which is officially two too many people sitting on my bed.

"Petra," she says gravely. "If you're in trouble, if there's something putting you in danger, you know you can tell me. Even if you think you've done something wrong. I can get you out of this, but you need to tell me what's going on."
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No. 899344 ID: bd5c42
File 153543202350.png - (132.99KB , 600x600 , 38.png )
899344

...
>>
No. 899346 ID: 70df1e

why are we asking your aunt when we could be asking brigids dad? ask brigid to text him?

also tell your aunt a Safe amount of information. that hinata moved in nearby and started making trouble over this beef that both of your moms had. make it sound like a normal beef though, not a supernatural magical girl one
>>
No. 899348 ID: 094652

Things to tell your aunt:

- Yes, you (and your parents) do some vigilante work, mostly against these sick cultist pricks who blatantly kidnap entire buildings of people in broad daylight. No, you are not superheroes. (You're magical girls, there's a difference.)
- You found some evidence that Hinata shot your mother in the face. Or was that just a dream? If it was, how did you know Hinata was your mother's friend?
- What you know for certain is that Kimiko came out of nowhere and shot you in the arm with a @#$%ing HAND CANNON. Hence the injury.

So to answer your aunt's question, please murderhobo the Koizumis until they can't move their arms.
>>
No. 899367 ID: dbf422

>>899346
Because we didn't know that he would know Hinata until she told us? Because she's right here?

Well anyway, tell your aunt that whatever happened with your mom and Hinata sins of the mother'd to you. Her daughter is the one that hurt you, and it's probably going to be on going. She doesn't need to know about the super powers, yet at least, but she should know enough that she can support you if you need that. Describe Kimiko, too.
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No. 899382 ID: c1eaac

>>899346

seconding this! say something along the lines of 'hinata's kid showed up and dragged me into a fight at school' but insist that your aunt not get involved. also, let's definitely ask brigid's dad about hinata when we get a chance.
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No. 899651 ID: bd5c42
File 153566443552.png - (127.74KB , 600x600 , 39.png )
899651

>So to answer your aunt's question, please murderhobo the Koizumis until they can't move their arms.

As...tempting as it is to clue Aunt Elena in and have her take care of my problems for me, I'm an adult. And I just don't know how good an idea it is to let a human get involved in Sentinel affairs.

I think she'd just get hurt.

>also tell your aunt a Safe amount of information. that hinata moved in nearby and started making trouble over this beef that both of your moms had. make it sound like a normal beef though, not a supernatural magical girl one

>numerous other suggestions to the same effect

"It's really not a big deal," I lie. "It's just. I ran into her daughter, Kimiko, and she seemed like she was really mad about something that happened between Hinata and Mom. So there was, uh, a little bit of a scuffle. I promise I'm okay."
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No. 899652 ID: bd5c42
File 153566448292.png - (145.92KB , 600x600 , 40.png )
899652

"Okay?" Aunt Elena replies. "Is that how you got a piece of rebar through your shoulder?"

My eyebrow shoots up at Brigid. She gives me a helpless shrug.

The fire department was going to be there, and you were out cold! It wasn't like they were going to believe you got shot with a magic hand cannon.

"Uh," Brigid says out loud, "That was actually sort of incidental to the fight...Petra passed out in the street and a truck sorta, uh, ran over a piece of building debris and slingshotted it into her shoulder."

My eyebrow shoots up further.

"The police are, uh, saying there was a gas leak in the library," she continues. "A lot of students passed out or had mild hallucinations, but everyone's pretty much okay. It's just good someone pulled the fire alarm is all."

I guess that's a CHOICE as far as cover stories go. I shake my head.

"Uhhh, anyway," I say, "I can handle it on my own, I just figured you might...know something. Brigid, would it be okay if I asked you to text your papa? I think we should maybe talk to him about this."

Brigid nods, already tapping at her phone.

On it. I have some QUESTIONS for him, too.

The atmosphere in the room is weird. I feel bad for sandwiching Brigid into my extremely awkward family drama, and I ALSO feel bad for bringing up something my aunt always seemed so intent on not talking about. But...it's WEIRD, right? My aunt and, apparently, Brigid's papa both knew my mom really well, so why is nobody willing to talk about her? Something here doesn't sit right, and I'm sure my aunt knows more than she's saying, but I don't think I'm getting anything else out of her while she's leaned over my hospital bed.

What I really need is some space.

"Well," Brigid says, awkwardly standing. She's already one step ahead of me, looks like. "I think...maybe we should let Petra sleep, Ms. Shein. She's had a long day."

Aunt Elena looks like she wants to argue, but the two of them slip out of the door and it closes behind me, leaving me in total silence.
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No. 899653 ID: bd5c42
File 153566452891.png - (111.58KB , 600x600 , 41.png )
899653

For about two fucking seconds before there's a crash as someone tumbles in through my window.

God dammit. Fuckin hospitals. Can't get a moment's peace.

I can hardly see who it is for a moment, before I get a glimpse at a very familiar pair of brown eyes.

"You," I hiss.

"Me," mumbles Kimiko Koizumi.
>>
No. 899654 ID: 70df1e

>scream

they literally just shut the door behind you if brigid and your aunt didnt hear the glass theyll sure as hell hear you. also i think most hospitals have like, an emergency button you can push to summon a nurse? push that like a lot
>>
No. 899658 ID: 4f1cbc

>>899653
So... you wanna tell me what's going on? I've got cryptic dreams and forgetful spirits and rather less than a full picture.

Our moms fucked each other over, clearly, but it looked like yours got the last shot in. So if she got her revenge, why are you picking a fight with me now? Why isn't whatever happened over?
>>
No. 899659 ID: 0e2ebe

>>899654
It would be useful to see if this visit is social, but you can't risk it. I agree that you need to alert as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Dangerous or not for the civilians, maybe Kimiko isn't willing to do anything with people watching. And if she does... Well that's something you deal with if necessary. Either way it'll say exactly what she's willing to do.
>>
No. 899663 ID: 094652

Based on previous experience:

YANK THE LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS OUT OF YOUR WRIST AND ROLL OFF THE BED AND HUNKER DOWN!

Okey?
>>
No. 899666 ID: 92766e

telepathically ask brigid to find a reason to double back and join you, without alerting your aunt to the fact that something's up. it'd be good to have backup.
>>
No. 899716 ID: 2202fb

The other two probably arent even five feet away from the door yet, just throw something at the door really hard, make some noise, push the damn nurse call button.
>>
No. 899852 ID: bd5c42
File 153576730421.png - (97.25KB , 600x600 , 42.png )
899852

"UHHHHHHH, BRIGID?" I call out loud, slamming the nurse call button repeatedly. I wish I could just shoot my thoughts into her head, but unfortunately, that road only goes one way. "BRIGID? TROUBLE."

"Shit," Kimiko hisses. "No don't bother- fuck it."
>>
No. 899853 ID: bd5c42
File 153576733496.png - (137.11KB , 600x600 , 43.png )
899853

Brigid all but knocks down the door getting back into the hotel room, Aunt Elena at her heels, and a nurse following shortly after. I nearly startle out of bed at the noise

"What's wrong?" she demands, glance shooting around the room, but seeing nothing.

"Um," I reply, perplexed. "What do you mean, what's wrong? I'm fine."

The nurse pushes his way into the room, brow furrowed.

"You pushed the call button."

"No, I didn't," I say.

I really have no idea what he's talking about.

"I'm okay," I repeat slowly. "What's going on?"

The nurse frowns and turns to leave.

"You should only push that button if you actually need help," he explains in a tone far too patronizing for my liking. "We have a lot of patients to attend to."

Aunt Elena shakes her head and quietly slips out of the room. Brigid stays.

"Petra," says Brigid flatly. "You shouted for me. What the hell happened?"

Good question.
>>
No. 899855 ID: bd5c42
File 153576739598.png - (155.45KB , 600x600 , 44.png )
899855

Apropos of nothing, now seems like a good time to talk about Sentinel colors, powers, and weapons. Because I'm thinking this has something to do with that.

From what I've come to understand, mostly from Mr. Lane, Sentinels usually don't have the same weapon as their predecessors, and they don't even necessarily need to be the same TYPE of weapon. What is consistent, though, is their role in a combat situation. For instance: Brigid has a pair of crystal brass knuckles, while her father had a blunt baton, but both of them are the tanks of the group. Cyan is always a DPS type, but doesn't always have a precision melee weapon, and Magenta is always a healer, but doesn't always have a blunt melee weapon. I didn't know Sentinel Key existed until literally tonight, but. I have to guess based on what you've given me and what I've seen that she's supposed to be a sniper.

But that doesn't seem particularly well-adapted for solo work.

In addition, Sentinels usually have two powers that, near as I can tell, are the same in every generation. Brigid has classified these into "elemental" powers and "psychic powers," built for use in and outside of battle, respectively. Here's a quick mental chart, if that makes this easier.

Color--------------Element-------------Psychic
Magenta------Heart (healing/buffs)-----Spirit contact
Cyan----------------Water--------------Demon sense (type and location)
Yellow--------------Fire---------------Telepathy (broadcast only)

I have no idea what Key's powers are, but I have to hazard that they have something to do with what happened to the demon at the library, right?
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No. 899857 ID: 70df1e

if key is a sniper, maybe it's a power that helps her keep hidden? some sort of invisibility and memory erasure? or something that masks or erases her presence entirely. that could explain why she popped up so suddenly, but why she broke in through the window.

also sentinel key is in your room right now, and broke the window. is that window still broken? maybe have brigid use her telepathic powers to broadcast a message to key?
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No. 899858 ID: 4f1cbc

>"Petra," says Brigid flatly. "You shouted for me. What the hell happened?"
>Good question.
Key showed up as soon as you were alone. You pressed the call button and called for Brigid.

...and then you forgot it happened and she disappeared. I guess we know one of her powers. Some kind of selective amnesia or preternatural stealth. Or teleportation. Or some kind of retcon power so she was never here, but I'd really hope the sniper with a grudge can't roll back time when it's convenient for her.

Since she bugged out instead of shooting you my guess is she was here to talk instead of finishing the job.
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No. 899875 ID: c1eaac

gonna go out on a limb here and say that key's element is shadow, and she's got stealth powers. seconding checking out the window, and asking brigid to try and telepathically ping anyone who could be hidden in the room.
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No. 899920 ID: dbf422

>>899858
Yeah, and check the window, she busted in through there. If it's whole, she's got a ranged mulligan and that's pretty fucking scary. Unless it's some sort of illusion, though even that's pretty bad if it's this convincing. I hope she's leaving your mind alone, even if the alternative is time travel.

Anyway, it's a fair guess by her reaction Kimiko was there to talk, but if it just ended with that I'd be very surprised.

So what's the chance Brigid would believe all that? Or you for that matter? It's a lot.
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No. 900161 ID: bd5c42
File 153593680390.png - (153.88KB , 600x600 , 45.png )
900161

>A lot of messages to the effect of "Sentinel Key was here and you forgot her."

>Yeah, and check the window, she busted in through there. If it's whole, she's got a ranged mulligan and that's pretty fucking scar

What, no, the window's f-

fine.

Oh, what the FUCK.

I take a moment to collect myself.

"The spirits say Key was here. Broke in through the window. But I don't...I don't remember that at all. I think maybe...she has some sort of stealth power. Or memory? I don't...I don't really know."
>>
No. 900162 ID: bd5c42
File 153593684134.png - (139.80KB , 600x600 , 46.png )
900162

The door swings open AGAIN. Honestly, I'm getting pretty sick of this. Imani closes the door behind her, still rubbing her eyes. Bundled up in her arms is Zoloft. I don't even WANT to know how Imani got Zo into the hospital.

"I heard a commotion," she starts, before her eyes settle on the other side of the room. "Uh. Petra, did you break the window?"

I groan, and the two of us catch her up.

--

"Okay," Imani says slowly, when we've finished. "That seems...bad."

"Understatement of the century," mutters Brigid. "If it's even true."

"Brigid," I say, frowning. "I don't think the spirits would lie to me. They have no reason to."

"They have no reason not to," she retorts. "I mean, we don't even really know what they want out of this, anyway."

Guh. Don't listen to her. She's just stressed.

Zoloft stirs and jumps out of Imani's arms, balancing precariously on the back of my bed. Imani frowns.
>>
No. 900163 ID: bd5c42
File 153593688911.png - (79.66KB , 600x600 , 47.png )
900163

"We'd like to know with whom we have the pleasure of speaking," Zoloft says in a soft, human voice. There's a bit of an echo to it, as if she was speaking in a large, empty concert hall.

"What," I squeak.

"Not you," the voice coming from my cat continues. "Them. I do not hold conversations with people I cannot put names and colors to. Eras wouldn't hurt either."

I WOULD UH. I WOULD LIKE TO CLARIFY THAT THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR FOR MY COMPLETELY ORDINARY THERAPY CAT. THIS BEHAVIOR IS, IN FACT, MAKING ME CONSIDERABLY MORE STRESSED.

This is a good opportunity to develop more about your Sentinel personas, if interested! Sentinels have existed throughout human history, so the only time periods off limits are the current generation and the group functioning through the 80's and early 90's (already spoken for, whoops.) And also the 1430s, for...reasons. For anyone who wants to retcon references to modern stuff they've already made, they can do that, but there was probably also a team active from the late 90's to the 2000's before Petra and her team came of age, so that's an option too. Have fun!
>>
No. 900171 ID: c1eaac

sentinel key from the 70s checking in. not sharing my real name. i don't trust a talking cat that easily.
>>
No. 900172 ID: 270774

sentinel yellow from the 1920's, at your service! just gonna go by F, if it's all the same to you.
>>
No. 900185 ID: 70df1e

I am sentinel yellow and I hail from the land of Hellas! It has been a long time, and my memories are rather hazy. I believe my name was Calix. I remember slaying many monsters of legend with my comrades, and keeping the people of our home safe. Some people thought us demi-gods, but we are just as human as you.

I remember fighting with a hoplon and a spear, and I could summon my homelands special fire: it burnt, even upon water.

It is an honor to serve alongside the sentinels even in death! May you come back with your shield, or come back on it.
>>
No. 900186 ID: dbf422

Well, I was a Sentinel Magenta. I'm not exactly sure when but the hospitals and schools didn't look much like these. You asked for a name, so I go by Alex. Good to meet you, Zoloft? Assuming that's the name you keep for yourself.

Uh and Petra? Think this through. Magic and demons are your life. So your cat talks? Maybe it'll be cool. Like a mascot! Or at least not horrifying.
And maybe we should talk to Brigid some time. But later. Of course.
>>
No. 900191 ID: 094652

Hi I'm kome naaah, I'll play along.

This is Copernicus Nine, and I'm not a sentinel. I'm an ex-supervillain. Relax, I went legit.

I'm a cyborg with some demon-based technology to keep my body from pushing my implants out of their sockets. Most of this stuff is obsolete, but the magic broadcast thing still works.
>>
No. 900703 ID: bd5c42
File 153626459531.png - (87.28KB , 600x600 , 48.png )
900703

>Uh and Petra? Think this through. Magic and demons are your life. So your cat talks? Maybe it'll be cool. Like a mascot! Or at least not horrifying.

This is a nice thought, but usually shit getting weird in my life is followed by said shit trying to kill me. So I don't know how I feel about this.

Zoloft sits down on the headboard and licks her paw.

>Spirit Roll Call

"It's our pleasure," Zoloft says, in a way that I might have called "dry" if I didn't know any better.
>>
No. 900704 ID: bd5c42
File 153626462865.png - (158.77KB , 600x600 , 49.png )
900704

Brigid and Imani shoot each other a nervous glance. I guess this must be confusing for them, since they can't hear you.

"Zoloft?" I ask, sounding a little choked. "Uh. Could you talk this whole time, or is this, like, a new thing?"

"We are not your cat, Sentinel Magenta," she...it? replies. "We would prefer not to be called after your ridiculous human medicines."

Frankly, I resent that, but now doesn't seem the time to debate the importance of psychiatric medications.

"Okay," I mutter. "What are you, then? If you're, like, a demon, I'd really prefer it if you'd get out of my cat."

"We aren't a demon," Zoloft says, before hopping off into my lap and immediately going to sleep.
>>
No. 900705 ID: bd5c42
File 153626466553.png - (158.60KB , 600x600 , 50.png )
900705

"But you can call us Janus, if you must," says Brigid suddenly. "Is this form preferable to you, Sentinel Magenta?"

"No!" I squeak. "That's MUCH worse!"

Janus shrugs Brigid's shoulders and takes off her hat so it can straighten her hair. Seems like Janus isn't GOING anywhere, so I might as well interrogate it.
>>
No. 900723 ID: c1eaac

>>900705

yeah, this is worse. tell whatever that thing is to go back to the cat.

also, the fact that they're named after a god who's become synonymous with two-faced traitors doesn't make me inclined to trust them at all.
>>
No. 900727 ID: 094652

Can the spirit check the vitals and bacterial colonies of whatever they're possessing? Because I'm thinking we can just capture a few mice and take the one without any diseases.

So, on to the big question: Why Sentinel Key?
- Why the hell does the team use the CYMK color scheme and not, oh say, whatever dogma the magical girls are indoctrinated to respect, like their national flag?
- Why did Hinata defect / go rogue? I mean, sure the old Mag might have been a backstabbing &!+(# but that's no excuse to execute a defenseless, powerless retiree.
- Why do the Koizumis still retain their powers despite being labeled as murderers?
- And what kind of BEEF does Kimiko have that she would track down a stranger who took up the mantle and is doing the best they can to live up to their job?
>>
No. 900759 ID: 70df1e

Slay this foul beast, sentinel magenta! This foul trickster is a god of the Romans! Nothing good will come of having its fickle favor.
>>
No. 900767 ID: 4f1cbc

>"Brigid," I say, frowning. "I don't think the spirits would lie to me. They have no reason to."
>"They have no reason not to," she retorts. "I mean, we don't even really know what they want out of this, anyway."
I'll point out we're a group of people talking in your head essentially in front of you. A lie would require coordination which is sort of difficult in these circumstances. How can we lie effectively if you're going to hear us arguing about it, or any one of us could break ranks and speak their mind?

Also what we get out of it is pretty easy. Being dead is boring, life is interesting, and we've generally decided helping is a better alternative to watching things happen passively. There's value in being part of something, you know?

>>900705
Rude, Janus, you're cutting out one of the participants of the conversation.
>>
No. 900792 ID: dbf422

Okay having the name of the two-faced god is worrying, but less than you stealing the body of Petra's friend. Please leave it, and go back to the cat. And then please do not take over an ally's body again, unless no other option is available. At the very least.

Then could you tell us why you're here and what you want?
>>
No. 901254 ID: 7c0194

tell it to go back into the cat - also, ask it what the FUCK is it doing anyway?
>>
No. 901477 ID: ce950c
File 153678577196.png - (142.46KB , 600x600 , 51.png )
901477

>Slay this foul beast, sentinel magenta! This foul trickster is a god of the Romans! Nothing good will come of having its fickle favor.

Well, I'm not going to do that while it's in my friend OR my cat.

>tell it to go back into the cat

"We don't need to be told twice," says Janus. "We thought perhaps the face of a friend would be more comforting to you, but we can see that we misread."

Brigid stumbles, and Imani catches her fall. She looks deeply, deeply distressed.

Zoloft hops into my arms.
>>
No. 901479 ID: ce950c
File 153678581282.png - (139.20KB , 600x600 , 52.png )
901479

>also, ask it what the FUCK is it doing anyway?

"We have been observing since the Sentinels began," Janus says with Zoloft's mouth. "It hasn't been until now that the situation warrented intervention. We must take responsibility for what we created, mustn't we?"

>Why the hell does the team use the CYMK color scheme and not, oh say, whatever dogma the magical girls are indoctrinated to respect, like their national flag?

"Sentinels don't have national loyalties," says Janus with barely disguised disdain. "Petty human borders. Don't make us laugh. It makes far more sense to pattern yourselves after the fundamental nature of images, doesn't it?"

>Why did Hinata defect / go rogue? I mean, sure the old Mag might have been a backstabbing &!+(# but that's no excuse to execute a defenseless, powerless retiree.
>Why do the Koizumis still retain their powers despite being labeled as murderers?
>And what kind of BEEF does Kimiko have that she would track down a stranger who took up the mantle and is doing the best they can to live up to their job?

"We have no way of knowing what is going on in Sentinel Key's head," says Janus. "And we understand that her retaining her powers is...troubling."

"Troubling?" Brigid wheezes. "She nearly killed Petra!"

"Yes, well, as we were saying. If it helps in any way, Hinata Koizumi does not retain her powers. One can hardly have two Sentinel Keys running around. In any case, the best of our understanding is that the former Sentinels Magenta and Key had a disagreement of philosophy. The current Sentinel Key is likely following orders from her mother."

"A disagreement of philosophy hardly seems like a justification for murdering your best friend," Imani says dryly. "No offense, Petra."

"None taken," I mutter. It still seems weird. I keep getting bits and pieces from people who knew them, but none of it seems to make any goddamn sense.

"Hey," Brigid adds. "If you created the Sentinels, and you're so goddamn worried about Koizumi, why can't you just fucking take away her powers?"

Janus looks almost...uncomfortable. As far as a cat can look uncomfortable, anyway.

"We...er...no longer have that authority," it says slowly. "We lost our direct control over the powers of the Sentinels shortly after their creation."

"Convenient," Brigid mutters.

Imani sighs.

"As enlightening as this is, can we just cut to the chase? You're worried about the Koizumis, I guess? What do you want us to do about it?"

"We will not sugarcoat this," Janus replies frankly. "As long as Sentinel Key remains on the board, she is a threat to everything you fight to protect. She needs to be removed from the equation."
>>
No. 901481 ID: 7f370d

what makes a sentinel have to pass their powers on to someone else? why not find a way to make a new key and strip hinata of her powers?

also, this sounds like a good time to bring up that hinata may still be in the room.
>>
No. 901504 ID: 70df1e

I do not believe we should do anything this trickster tells us! If it wishes to see your Sentinel Key removed, then it is only to further its own agenda! I understand that you are in a disagreement with your Key, but the Key I knew was loyal and true! We need to discover this foul tricksters agenda so we may know whether or not it aligns with that of the Sentinels.

It is no easy thing to be on the wrong side of a battle. It is not a mistake I would wish on you, Sentinel Magenta. This Roman god is drawing sides. Do not feel indebted to it because it claims to have created you. Even Cronus ate his own children. The attentions of gods are fickle at best, and this Janus is not your friend.
>>
No. 901506 ID: 094652

>petty human boarders
>fundamental nature of images
You're talking about a tiny segment of an entire spectrum that represents a single perception standard across a limited number of layers, one that is invisible to specific people. That means the color scheme relates to a VERY specific target audience anyway.

>Deal with Key
Already planning on it. Non-lethal approach may be viable if we can steal her powers. Are the power sources limited by inheritance or just plain genetically inherent?

>Philosophical Differences
You sure? It sounded like Magenta Senior screwed the Koizumis over. Could you elaborate?
>>
No. 901508 ID: afdebc

>It makes far more sense to pattern yourselves after the fundamental nature of images, doesn't it?
If images and their printing blocks were something fundamental and not an artifice of human perception and biology, perhaps.

>"We will not sugarcoat this," Janus replies frankly. "As long as Sentinel Key remains on the board, she is a threat to everything you fight to protect. She needs to be removed from the equation."
No offense, but we're operating on very little information and no preestablished trust. If you want the sentinels to enact your preferred outcome (especially when that's killing someone), and not do whatever they decide is in their best interest, you're going to need to earn that trust, or start filling in more blanks.
>>
No. 901529 ID: 0e2ebe

It doesn't matter what the "disagreement" was. The last Key was a murderer, and the current Key is an attempted murderer. She would be stopped regardless of whatever the last Magenta did, as Petra is innocent.

If a non-lethal approach is possible I will not fight it, but if not, there is nothing wrong with ending Key's life. Not that I don't understand that it's not easy to kill. But self-defense is no sin.

Good to hear about not being a nationalist organization long after it started, though.
>>
No. 901552 ID: f14764

ain't that just a kick in the head. why does this here varmint want you to murder the gal insteada tryin to fix things? if 'es been a-watchin' the sentinels this whole time, he should know what done happened between your ma and her ma. why doesn't he tell y'all and help ya figure out how ta make peace with your Key?
philosophical differences my ass. why's he all intentionally vague? now i may be just a simple ole 1870 cyan but i know a real bastard when i see one.
>>
No. 901556 ID: 1e9311

>>901504
(Janus isn't a trickster god, he's a god of transition and time. He's called the 'two-faced god' because he literally has two faces; one that looks to the future, the other to the past.)

We need to gather more info about this whole situation. If you can tell any more about the situation between the parents, Janus, that'd be appreciated.

Even that aside, we should keep an eye out for her and make contingencies for her appearance. We're operating on precious little info, and I'm not a fan of making moves before I know all the details. It's how I kicked the bucket as a Sentinel Cyan (blame a moment of emotional weakness, 1889 was a rough year) and I hate risking repeating it, even now.
>>
No. 901561 ID: 70df1e

>>901556

That's what the Romans WANT you to think! Do not fall for their lies, my friend!
>>
No. 902127 ID: ce950c
File 153722504816.png - (260.10KB , 600x600 , 53.png )
902127

>Various expressions of "uh, no!"

"What," I stammer, "are you fucking kidding me? I'm not going to murder someone on the orders of someone or something I just met!"

Janus tsks under its breath.

>We need to gather more info about this whole situation. If you can tell any more about the situation between the parents, Janus, that'd be appreciated.

"We've told you what we know," it says utterly unhelpfully. "We cannot be watching all the time. We have other duties to attend to that do not involve the personal business of humans and Sentinels."

"Listen up, motherfucker," Brigid growls, disentangling herself from Imani's arms. "If you're gonna come into this room and start making demands of us, you better be willing to give us more than that to go on!"

"Brigid," Imani murmurs. "It may be best not to strangle Petra's cat."

>Are the power sources limited by inheritance or just plain genetically inherent?

>what makes a sentinel have to pass their powers on to someone else? why not find a way to make a new key and strip hinata of her powers?

"Was this not told to you?" Janus complains. "Tsk. When a Sentinel perishes or willingly relinquishes their power, the power seeks out a new host, usually one around the age of eighteen. The power has a certain tendency to choose hosts with which it is already familiar; descendants, adoptive children, or children of friends are common, although it may also go for a total stranger if it cannot find anyone suitable. So, you can see that the only reliable way to strip Sentinel Key of her powers would be to kill her."

>No offense, but we're operating on very little information and no preestablished trust. If you want the sentinels to enact your preferred outcome (especially when that's killing someone), and not do whatever they decide is in their best interest, you're going to need to earn that trust, or start filling in more blanks.

Janus sighs.

"We can see that this will be a harder sell than we anticipated," it mutters. "Ah, well. You will need something to do while Sentinel Magenta recovers from her injury, in any case. I will be in contact."

"Is this a bad time to mention that Key might still be in here?" I interrupt.

"Yes," says Janus flatly. "And she is long gone. I would know if another sentinel was present, even one with her abilities."

"Her abilities?" I ask. "Wait, do you know what her powers are?"

Zoloft meows at me and goes to sleep.

"I'm going to fucking kill that thing," Brigid says.

I'm not inclined to disagree.
>>
No. 902128 ID: ce950c
File 153722509116.png - (211.58KB , 600x600 , 54.png )
902128

The hospital wants me in physical therapy for months. My aunt agrees. Neither of them know that I probably won't need it. My arm aches less every day. It takes me a week of pushing the issue before they let me check myself out of the hospital. They roll me out in a hospital-issued wheelchair, which I find a little fucking patronizing. When I get out the front door, I'm greeted to a familiar face.

"Hey, twinsies!" says Roni, beaming at me from a wheelchair of her own as I climb out of mine. Hers doesn't look hospital-issue though. Seems like it belongs to her. "I didn't know you were getting out today, too. Petra, right? I'm Roni, you know, from-"

"Temple," I finish, a little perplexed.

"Right!" she replies. "I heard you were at the library during the gas leak, too. Scary, right? I'm just really glad nobody died or anything, but I'm really sorry you got hurt!"

God, this is a weird conversation.
>>
No. 902129 ID: 70df1e

An ally from your temple of worship! A blessing from your divine, surely! We should be grateful for her company. Perhaps she has come to deliver unto us news, or a blessing?
>>
No. 902143 ID: ce950c

>>902138

This is a general notice that this kind of language for developmental disabilities is completely fucking unacceptable and I won't have it in my thread. I have a zero tolerance policy on this. I've seen you behave this way in other threads before, and you are no longer welcome in this thread.
>>
No. 902147 ID: 2c6729

....hey, talk to her about what shes seen. it could be useful!
>>
No. 902155 ID: 0e2ebe

Remember to mention the rebar. Ask what's up, I guess? Maybe if she somehow saw Kimiko? Or if she knows her? Because she's an old friend and you saw her nearby the school and hope she's alright.

Wow that plan took a lot to put together.
>>
No. 902156 ID: 270774

yeah, definitely find a way to steer the conversation towards her experience at the library, though i feel like asking straight out might come off a little ghoulish. she seems more than willing to discuss it, though!
>>
No. 902157 ID: afdebc

>So, you can see that the only reliable way to strip Sentinel Key of her powers would be to kill her.
Well, it's arguably more expedient than compelling her to surrender them... but seeking some solution to the underlying conflict could also be possible.

>"Her abilities?" I ask. "Wait, do you know what her powers are?"
>Zoloft meows at me and goes to sleep.
Hmm. Odd that Janus clammed up. If it wanted Key dead, making sure you knew her strengths and weaknesses and the exact details of her power would serve that end.

Either Janus is just being petty over our suspicion, or it's not after what it claimed.

>They roll me out in a hospital-issued wheelchair, which I find a little fucking patronizing.
If it makes you feel better, it likely wasn't person, and they probably didn't have a choice. Between liability and insurance and policy sometimes choices are limited if you don't want to leave yourself open to a lawsuit, or insurance finding an excuse to not pay up.

>God, this is a weird conversation.
You helped her, even if she can't remember the particulars, and now she's well and able to talk to you. That's a good thing overall, isn't it?

Perhaps agree that it was scary, and reassure her you'll be all right.
>>
No. 902388 ID: ce950c
File 153739518568.png - (162.13KB , 600x600 , 55.png )
902388

It's not that I don't WANT to talk to Roni. I mean, she's really nice, and kinda cute, not gonna lie, but...

I've just never had a face-to-face conversation with someone I saved before.

>Perhaps agree that it was scary, and reassure her you'll be all right.

>Remember to mention the rebar. Ask what's up, I guess? Maybe if she somehow saw Kimiko? Or if she knows her? Because she's an old friend and you saw her nearby the school and hope she's alright.

"Yeah," I agree. "It was...scary. But I'll be alright. Gonna take a lot more than a stick of rebar to keep me down. And the doc says I should get my arm function back...eventually, so you know. It's fine."

Roni chuckles.

"Well, it's good that you can joke about it!" she replies. "I'm just glad all I got was a little loss of consciousness. They only kept me this long because they wanted to make sure I didn't aggrivate my joint thing."

"Well, I'm glad you're okay," I say sincerely. "But, uh...while you were there, you didn't happen to see...there's a friend of mine, Kimiko Koizumi, and-"

"Oh, I know Kimiko!" she replies. "Kind of a space case, real sweet? I didn't know you two were friends! I don't think I saw her at the library, but it's all kind of a blur so I'm not sure I could tell you for sure. Have you not heard from her?"

Okay. That, I was not expecting.

"Um, sort of," I say. Not a lie. "She was just pretty...vague."

"Oh." Roni's brow furrows. "Well, I'll try to get in touch. But. Uhhhh. Can I ask you kind of a weird question?"

"Hit me."
>>
No. 902392 ID: ce950c
File 153739530378.png - (179.77KB , 600x600 , 56.png )
902392

Roni frowns, fidgeting with the grip tape on her wheelchair's hand rim.

"Did you see anything...weird during the gas leak?"
>>
No. 902395 ID: c1eaac

let's play it cool. weird like what? like gas leak hallucination weird, or something else?
>>
No. 902396 ID: 70df1e

If she knows what has truly occurred and is friends with the sentinel we seek, I see no reason to hide the truth from her. Tell her that you too saw strange things, and that is the reason you must get in contact with Sentinel Key! I am sure this Roni will gladly provide her assistance once she understands the nature of our plight.
>>
No. 902409 ID: afdebc

>"Oh, I know Kimiko!" she replies. "Kind of a space case, real sweet?
Well, nice to know she's not generally a jerk who shoots people, then. She's got a reason.

The opportunity to try and talk to her as civilians at some point is tempting but there's also the risk it could escalate. Might be possible to maneuver her into a situation where neither of you is willing to bust out powers, but that would amount to implicitly holding civilians hostage or similar.

>"Did you see anything...weird during the gas leak?"
Weird like... what?

Important question: what happens to muggles if they becomes aware of what's really going on? Does knowing about demons make you more vulnerable?
>>
No. 902434 ID: 0e2ebe

Okay so she's probably going to let Kimiko know you're looking for info on her, but she'd probably assume that anyway. That's fine. Maybe that'll work out somehow.

I mean, of course you saw something weird. Everyone did, because of the gas leak. Though I'd let her lead the talk about it. You can help her come to terms with it however you like, just avoid volunteering anything she doesn't bring up first. She probably just wants to be told what she saw wasn't real.
>>
No. 902436 ID: 270774

i’m assuming she saw something Substantial, so if it doesn’t seem like you know what she’s talking about she’ll probably assume you didn’t see anything at all and she’ll just clam up immediately because she doesn’t want to sound ridiculous. for the sake of information on what’s been seen, allow yourself to look as uneasy as you probably actually feel when you say “weird like what?”
worst case scenario, we can brush it off with “well, it was all weird” and something about hallucinating because of the..... gas
>>
No. 902485 ID: 977456

"I saw lots of weird stuff, but it sounds like you had something specific in mind? I didn't notice any looters or whatever taking advantage..."
>>
No. 902509 ID: c557a9

"yeah, i did. it was...pretty fucked up. what'd you see?"
>>
No. 903477 ID: ce950c
File 153801638021.png - (218.12KB , 600x600 , 57.png )
903477

I frown. It could be that Roni saw something significant, or it could just be a dream or something. Only...there wasn't actually a gas leak. Nobody should have been hallucinating.

>Important question: what happens to muggles if they becomes aware of what's really going on? Does knowing about demons make you more vulnerable?

Uh. I really don't know. As far as I know, it's never happened. Humans can't see demons, so usually they wouldn't believe anything we told them about the truth. But knowing about this shit has never done anything good for MY life, and if Roni is nosy, it could be dangerous for her to know.

Trouble is, I really don't know her that well.

"I dunno, maybe," I say finally. It's not hard to act perturbed, like I maybe saw something. "Weird like how?"

Roni sighs.

"This is going to sound completely absurd," she admits. "And I don't know. Maybe it was just a gas leak hallucination, but it was really...REALLY vivid. Concrete, I guess."

"I won't judge," I promise. Frankly, her saying this has me more convinced she saw what really happened.

"Haha, okay. Well...I didn't get a good look because I had the mother of all migraines, but I remember, uh. Okay, so like. What if human flesh was like, taffy? And you had like, a big fuckin...tree? Made out of flesh taffy, with big heads and arms and shit. And the heads were like, leaking brain matter? And I remember being really high up?"

Well. She definitely saw the demon.

"Well-" I start.
>>
No. 903478 ID: ce950c
File 153801641193.png - (155.71KB , 600x600 , 58.png )
903478

"Wait," she interrupts me. "So there was that, which I could take or leave, but what I definitely remember is that there was this girl, who grabbed me and dragged me out of the building. And apparently the EMTs found me outside the building, where I definitely didn't walk because they found my cane inside and I wouldn't have just left it. I don't remember her face very well, but she had this like...bright pink hair. And she was, you know, the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, no biggie. She probably saved my life, so."

Hm, well, shit.
>>
No. 903479 ID: 70df1e

Her heart is fond of you, good sentinel magenta! You should tell her of your great deeds and of her magnificent beauty, and be merrily wed at once!
>>
No. 903481 ID: c1eaac

>>903478

let's not blow our cover, here. tell her that maybe a student with pink hair got her out, and the hallucinations from the gas leak embellished the rest. sounds wild though. and that pink-haired student sounds pretty cool.
>>
No. 903516 ID: dbf422

Think very deeply about the concept of gratitude and how she clearly doesn't recognize you. Then think about how that's a lot less important than the fact that she's apparently innately magical.

Since you don't have a precedent, it's up to you to decide if you tell her. I would, I take pride in open honesty, and if she can see demons she should know what she's dealing with. Though, given your response regarding telling your aunt, I imagine you might not agree. Or is Roni's sight enough to change your mind?
>>
No. 904827 ID: afdebc

>And she was, you know, the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, no biggie
Gosh dang don't you wish you could take credit for that now.

I'm tempted to say screw maintaining the masquerade for the masquerade's sake. But of course if you flip to telling the truth you have to come clean about the lies you already told. And there's the whole enemy you apparently just inherited mess (who she apparently knows).

I guess it comes down to- do you want to take a risk on someone who thinks your beautiful?
>>
No. 907114 ID: ce950c
File 153966751433.png - (330.67KB , 600x600 , 59.png )
907114

>Think very deeply about the concept of gratitude and how she clearly doesn't recognize you. Then think about how that's a lot less important than the fact that she's apparently innately magical.

>Though, given your response regarding telling your aunt, I imagine you might not agree. Or is Roni's sight enough to change your mind?

>I guess it comes down to- do you want to take a risk on someone who thinks your beautiful?

Oh great, I love it when a problem has nuance.

I just...I dunno. I don't think it would be fair or right to put Roni in what could be real danger just because she thinks I'm pretty. Just. That would be pretty vapid of me, wouldn't it? I think that...for now, I can't be sure telling Roni is a good idea until I get a better idea of what's going on, and who she IS.

> And there's the whole enemy you apparently just inherited mess (who she apparently knows).

And then there's this. I know it probably sounds paranoid but...if I start telling Roni things, I can't be sure that information won't make it to Kimiko. I mean, Kimiko knows who I am already, but I don't want to give her an in with the Sentinels, even by proxy.

"Uh, Petra?" Roni asks, shifting nervously in her chair. I snap back to reality.

"Yeah," I say, blinking furiously. Man, I gotta stop zoning out listening to you guys in the middle of a conversation. "Yeah, sorry. I was just...hoping to hear something else, I guess. We all saw some pretty crazy things in there."

Roni looks...disappointed. I almost feel bad.

"But, uh, maybe a pink-haired girl really did pull you out of the library," I say quickly. "I mean, it seems like SOMEONE did, and there are a lot of people with weird hair in the art majors?"

"Yeah, maybe," Roni says, frowning.

I can't tell if she's just disappointed, or if she doesn't believe me. I'm going to have to keep an eye on her for a while, I think. Make sure she doesn't stumble into anything she shouldn't.

Just then, a loud BEEP startles me from behind as a blue minivan pulls up to the curb next to us.
>>
No. 907115 ID: ce950c
File 153966754497.png - (370.43KB , 600x600 , 60.png )
907115

"Get in, Petra" says Imani, leaning out the driver's side window. "We're going shopping."
"Shopping?" I ask.

Imani glances over and makes brief eye contact with Roni. She clears her throat.

"I'll explain on the ride there. C'mon."

"Sorry, Roni," I say, already circling around to the passenger seat. "We'll pick this up later, alright?"

"Alright," she says.
>>
No. 907116 ID: ce950c
File 153966758231.png - (439.69KB , 600x600 , 61.png )
907116

[IMG]
The car door closes behind me and Imani starts driving away. I sigh and recline my seat a few clicks.

"Okay, what's the deal?" I ask.

"Janus got back in contact," Imani replies. I groan. "It says there's going to be a demon attack this weekend at the Rices' charity gala."

Elizabeth and Karolis Rice. Wealthy old money folks. Their lumber business has been running in New England since the 1800s. They've been planning this gala for nearly a year, and only the fanciest, upper-crustiest jerks in the Northeast are invited.

"How the hell are we going to get into the Rice's charity gala?" I ask.

"We're going to have invitations," Imani replies. "Janus can forge like nobody's business."

"So we're out here shopping for gala gowns?" I continue, frowning. "God, I feel like I passed out in the hospital and woke up in Ocean's Eight."

Imani chuckles.

"Yeah," she says. "So. Anyway, I was just wondering if I could talk to you a bit. You know, while we're driving."

I frown.

"That question never starts a good conversation," I point out. "But yeah. Hit me."
>>
No. 907117 ID: ce950c
File 153966761640.png - (306.17KB , 600x600 , 62.png )
907117

"It's about Janus, actually. I know it's...kinda chronically untrustworthy. And it creeps me out too, I understand. I just...I think you might be jumping the gun a little on its advice. And I don't think we can commit 100% to not killing Kimiko Koizumi, at least- I mean, if she presents a clear threat to your safety, I-"

"We are not killing Koizumi," I interrupt firmly. "God, Imani. We're Sentinels. We exist to protect people, not extrajudicially execute them."

"We exist to protect humans," Imani corrects me. "And as you keep reminding us, we're not human. And neither is Kimiko Koizumi. I'm not saying we should leap before looking, or kill her on the spot before we have all the facts, but I just. I want you to promise me that when we do know the whole truth, you'll consider EVERY option available to you. Not just the ones you find...palatable."
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No. 907123 ID: 977456

You might want to rethink that. Judicial is not an option for you. If she is flinging around lethal attacks, then refusing to reciprocate is a huge risk. What if you believe that she is about to kill someone? Killing her is a bad outcome. Disabling would be preferable. Redemption is the goal. Sometimes the best result isn't possible. Don't aim to kill her, but consider that holding back could be worse than the alternative, and if something tragic happens, try not to be too hard on the responsible parties.
>>
No. 907142 ID: 1872dc

It'll be important to keep in touch with Roni. It wouldn't be right to both keep the truth away and also ignore her. It would be very easy for someone in that situation to feel isolated and scared.

Strange that Janus would suddenly appear and direct your actions. Stranger that it's for such a notable family. Could certainly be coincidence, but Imani has a point about trustworthiness.

We've discussed killing already, and I will not badger you about it. But I will remind you that it's more than just you at stake. If Kimiko had hurt you worse, a lot of humans could have died. What if that becomes a pattern? I will leave the method to you, but she must be stopped permanently somehow.
But we don't know her intentions yet. She may not even actually be trying to kill you. Maybe she wanted a captive audience. Or to torment you.

Be careful, Petra.
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No. 907154 ID: 5f3f48

>>907114
>Just. That would be pretty vapid of me, wouldn't it?
Would depends on your motive, really. It's hard to justify putting people at risk for petty or temporary acknowledgement, but real human connections and relationships? That can be worth taking risks, sometimes.

>I want you to promise me that when we do know the whole truth, you'll consider EVERY option available to you. Not just the ones you find...palatable.
That's fair. You have every reason to not trust Janus and be afraid it's offering you a quick or easy solution, or one that serves its interests. But you can promise yourself to think things over again when you have all the facts.

In the worst case, someone with sentinel powers, seriously killing or hurting innocent people, and there's no way to contain her or deny her access to those powers? Death might be the only solution. (Not that I'm advocating killing her, just acknowledging the scenario is conceivable. But coming to terms with her, or perhaps cornering her and pressuring her to surrender her powers are possible. Maybe other things too).
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No. 907185 ID: 1872dc

>>907142
oh yeah, I had a different id for that. suffice it to say I was all "killing a killer ain't bad, and probably smart, but I get that Petra isn't necessarily down for that"
>>
No. 907200 ID: 70df1e

As much as it pains me to endorse the death of a fellow Sentinel, your Imani is right. If Sentinel Key is fighting to kill, you must be prepared to respond in kind. It is always better when such measures are not necessary, but it is not always a luxury we sentinels can afford.

Our duty comes first. It must always come first.
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No. 909252 ID: 986b2d
File 154117697842.png - (199.51KB , 600x600 , 63.png )
909252

"Sounds like the spirits agree with you," I mutter.

"Of course they do," Imani jokes, although you'd never know it from her face. "I'm always right."

"Fine," I say. "If it's in the heat of battle, and she's shooting to kill, I'm not gonna hold back. But NONE of us are going to be executing someone in cold blood. Pretty sure that would be a hard sell to my rabbi."

Rabbi Jacobson doesn't know about the Sentinels, obviously, but I have the feeling that if she did, she'd have some STRONG feelings about putting a girl who isn't even any older than I am in front of a firing squad.

"Mmm," Imani hums, eyes firmly on the road. "Yeah. That's a very 'you' answer."

I open my mouth to respond.

"Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing," she says before I can say anything. "I get it. You're the kind of person who believes that because you're given power, you have a moral obligation to use it to do the most good possible, right? That's what you believe in. Obligation and rules."

"And you don't?" I reply.

"I believe in consequences," she says. "Cause and effect. It's simple stuff, really. Sometimes to do the most good in the world, you have to make certain choices. And a lot of the time, that lines up with your rules. But sometimes you make the calculation and the thing you have to do is the ugly thing, the 'wrong' thing, you know? And I know you're not that person, who needs to make the calculation and do what's necessary at all costs, you don't have to be. You're not a sword, you're a shield."

"Uh huh," I murmur. "Righhht. And what does that make you?"

Imani is quiet for a moment. She takes a right turn off of the main road. There's a shop here, with a small parking lot.
>>
No. 909253 ID: 986b2d
File 154117704447.png - (131.03KB , 600x600 , 64.png )
909253

"A scalpel," she says firmly.

The car pulls into a spot and Imani puts on the parking break. I grab her gently by the shoulder.

"Imani," I say quietly. "Promise me. Nobody dies. Not if we can help it."

The wind escapes her lungs in a short gust, whistling through gritted teeth. She doesn't look happy, but she doesn't have a "plotting mutiny" face either.

"You're the leader," she says, and opens the car door.
>>
No. 909254 ID: 986b2d
File 154117708281.png - (149.30KB , 600x600 , 65.png )
909254

Now that we're out of the car, I can read the sign above the shop. It says just: Dianne's. I recognize this place, but I've never actually....been.

Standing just outside the door is Brigid. She's hard to miss, waving this wildly. We make our way over to her.

"Hey," I say. "Does someone want to explain to me why we're at the fancy costume shop and not, say, Macy's?"

"Oh, did Imani not tell you?" Brigid asks. "The gala's themed. We're meant to be going as the characters of Shakespeare."

"We'll be masked, obviously," says Imani, "but it might be a good idea to be transformed while we're there, anyway? In the interests of not being caught crashing a high society party with our civilian faces."

Brigid pushes the door open, ringing a little bell as we make our way into the store. The woman at the register is engrossed in a phone call, and gives us little more than a passing glance as we file in.

"Okay!" Brigid says, clapping her hands together. "Petra, you first! Pop on into the dressing room and we'll bring you whatever you want. They have, like, eeeeverything here!"
>>
No. 909255 ID: 986b2d
File 154117720220.png - (137.11KB , 600x600 , 66.png )
909255

(Content warning: Not NSFW strictly speaking, but Petra IS in her underwear)

I do as I'm told.

Shakespere, huh? This is gonna be one hell of a party.

This is a dress-up update! I'll keep this post open for a good couple days at least. Feel free to suggest by drawing over the paper doll, using a dress up doll game online, or describing the kind of outfit you want to suggest! Have fun!
>>
No. 909264 ID: 1872dc

The problem with Imani's line of thinking is that it leads one to believe that they always know what the correct solution is. That there always is a correct solution. I know exactly how badly that can go.

Go as Hamlet with a more subtle tragic mask. Or a skull mask if you're feeling spooky.
>>
No. 909267 ID: 05ebc7

She's not entirely WRONG, but she's not entirely RIGHT, either. Similar to how >>909264 said, that line of thinking tends to make people think in absolutes- or worse, that there ALWAYS needs to be a sacrifice. That there ALWAYS needs to be some exchange. Even if she said 'most of the time', that's usually less sincere from my experience- a smokescreen to make themselves comfortable with the atrocities they commit, convinced that 'if no one else, then it falls to me'- because their life has been pain enough for them to accept that they'll always hurt. Problem is, that's a fallacy. There's nothing more that I hate than a senseless sacrifice because someone wasn't aware of all the possibilities available to them.

...In fairness, however, I DID say she's not entirely WRONG either. Sometimes it really is for the best that the hard choices need be made. There may be a day when you have to pick between a 'bad' result and a 'worse' result. Should that day ever come- and I hope it never does- I'd hope you'd be able to make that decision and understand that it was the best you could do with what you had. That some rare days, the good of the many really DOES outweigh the good of a few.

But it doesn't mean it's a choice to be taken lightly, OR regularly with so-called grit teeth and squared back. Eventually, that weight DOES get to be too much. Beware staring too long into the abyss, and all that.

Oh, and go with a Titania theme from A Midsummer Night's Dream. That'll be funny to me.
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No. 909842 ID: c1eaac
File 154154687402.png - (127.96KB , 600x600 , dressup.png )
909842

if we're going to be transformed, might as well be fairies, and wear something easy to fight in. let's go as puck.
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No. 909846 ID: 9125e0
File 154154893364.png - (151.24KB , 600x600 , Sorry had to do it.png )
909846

Hey you forgot something
>>
No. 910365 ID: 70df1e

>>909842
OOHH IM DIGGING THIS
>>
No. 912926 ID: 986b2d
File 154388741408.png - (482.42KB , 600x600 , 67.png )
912926

I go through a few outfits. There are a lot of things to think about. I DO want something I can fight in, for sure, but I also have to be fancy enough to fit in.

Ultimately, I end up following the Hamlet concept. It's not my usual style, but...I have to admit that it flatters me.

Brigid wolf whistles when I come out the door. I take a deep bow.

It seems like in the time I took to decide on my outfit, Imani and Brigid have already pulled theirs together. They seem to have gone the matching route: Imani in a dress with a high-low train and an exposed midriff and Brigid in a very fancy suit. Both have flowers in their hair.

"And what are you two supposed to be?" I ask.

"Oberon and Titania, obviously," says Brigid, grinning.

I glance between the two of them, eyebrows raised, but say nothing.

"How are we even paying for this, anyway?" I ask, changing the subject. "This place is kinda....a lot."

"Don't worry about that," Imani replies, already pulling out a credit card. "My dad's treating us."

"Would, uh. Would he even be okay with that?" asks Brigid.

"He will be," Imani grumbles. "It's the least he can do."

That seems like a topic I...also should not probe, but I do offer Imani a brief pat on the back.

"Anyway," Imani says. "We should probably just focus on being ready for the gala."
>>
No. 912927 ID: 986b2d
File 154388747061.png - (467.59KB , 600x600 , 68.png )
912927

God, it's freezing.

Most of the gala guests show up in stretch limos or luxury cars. Imani, Brigid and I take the train (and get some WEIRD looks). My coat isn't as nice as I'd like it to be, but the moment I get inside, it's immediately whisked away from me and stored in some coat room, so I guess it doesn't really matter.

"Now, you'll be aware that the party has a dress code," says the doorman as he takes my invitation. "Mr. and Mrs. Rice have requested that everyone remain anonymous, and refer to one another by their character names. Enjoy the party."

The ballroom is...enormous. I'm serious, I've never seen a room this big, or this dripping in gold. The ostentatiousness of it is actually starting to give me a migraine. And it's absolutely packed with rich people, all masked and dressed to the nines.

"So," I mumble. "What are we looking at, here?"

Imani closes her eyes.

"There's definitely a demon here," she murmurs. "The energy is....powerful. Even a human should be able to see something this strong, but I don't....see anything."

"Class D," Brigid says, gritting her teeth. "Visible to the human eye. The demon is disguised as one of the guests."

Fuck. My life is never allowed to be easy, is it?

"I can't sense which one is the demon," Imani says, rubbing her temple. "There's too much ambient energy in here. We're going to have to investigate in person."

"Excuse me," says a soft voice from behind me.
>>
No. 912928 ID: 986b2d
File 154388751121.png - (334.06KB , 600x600 , 69.png )
912928

I turn. The speaker is not, as I'd feared, the doorman here to kick me out of the party, but a stranger. It's hard to tell what they're supposed to be dressed as, but their costume is heavy on the rose motifs, complete with an ornate silver domino mask. Their hair is long and silver, but it's clear that they're not nearly old enough for it to be natural. By their side is a silver and red cane.

"Pardon me," they say, offering a short bow. "I didn't mean to interrupt. I just saw you from across the room and was wondering if you would do me the honor of this dance."
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No. 912935 ID: e0ca8d

>>912928
Well it would get you onto the dance floor for some investigating. It's also really strange and suspicious. Considering you have someone actually after you, this could be dangerous.

You're supposed to be more careful, but for now, I don't actually think this is going to be anything more than a little uncomfortable.
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No. 912952 ID: e0ca8d

>>912935
Ugh I wish my IP address was fixed so my ID would stop changing. Especially for a quest where I've got an oc. Sorry if that ever causes problems.
>>
No. 912975 ID: 986b2d

>>912952
Don't worry about it too much! It might help a bit if you chose a name to post under when you suggest, but I'm not gonna be accusing you of identity theft, lol.
>>
No. 913062 ID: afdebc

>>912928
Might as well, you have to blend to look around the party and try to find the demon.

Be careful, since they could be the demon, of course.

Introduce yourself (in character) and find out who their costume is supposed to be.
>>
No. 913079 ID: e0ca8d

>>912975
Alright, I'll give that a go. Starting now, because I have to see if I can do it right.
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