"Do not presume to demand things of a Seraph mortal. Only my Pantheon may do so. Remember your place before a new Arch Priestess is needed..." Rikka stared down at the woman for a moment before she turned to Ellie and smiled to her, though her lips were hidden under the hood of her cowl. All that was seen was the squint of the side of her eyes.
"Ellie was it? I will be with you on the ship, to make sure nothing bad happens. I promise you, I will protect you ok?" She offered the little girl and held a gauntleted hand out to her as she kneeled down to hopefully make herself a little less intimidating. She knew that she would meet the angel on the ship when they entered, but she wanted to make sure Ellie was safe and comfortable for the time being.
"I need a moment to compose myself, I shall be in the craft if you need me Shàoxiào." Kikyo then proceeded to walk towards the lowering gate, a slight tremor coming over her as she turned. Kikyo hated being a threat, she already had been a victim for too long but to her this was the only way to continue. She began to wonder if she'd made the right choice or not.
Royama shifted in her squatting position to look towards Kikyo as she turned tail to go calm herself down in a somewhat more private area, "Hey- Hey. Kikyo. Look over here for a second." She called out over comms once again, her own helmet still very retracted, "Ellie will be just fine- trust me on this one. I'm not bragging when I say that this is the very thing I'm here for. I specialize in Xenobiology- specifically in the study of lesser known or undiscovered species. Ellie's in very capable hands- I'll treat her with just as much respect and care as I would any patient. I've been doing this since you were still popping pimples in high school. I won't let any of the brass up on the ship do anything that would hurt her- promise." The Doctor held up her pinkie high enough in the air that Kikyo could see it- and then turned back towards Ellie to offer her a smile and a wink, as if she were sharing a secret, "You know the -ah- lady that sent us here might just have something in your size for you to wear, and she has very good taste. I'm sure she'd be more than happy to share an outfit or two with you. I swear her style is a lot better than what we've got going on here. I know bodysuits are a little out of style."
"Oh, come on you big feather floof!" Viz continued to accost the Angel. "You know Angels are supposed to serve mortals. It's why that big dummy Luci threw a fit, and now all the young and edgy Angels are copy-catting him all the time!" the blue haired woman accusingly pointed a finger at Rikka. "I hope you're not one of them, since you're looking extra-edgy with your outfit! Especially with how you're saying I'll get replaced!" she kept running her mouth as the other soldiers mounted up. Turning towards the good doctor, she quickly blew a raspberry before picking up where she left off. "You should really know better, after all, people capable of being an Archpriestess are only once in a hundred years! I'm practically the Sec - THWACK" Before she could say more Sif slapped her across the back of her head, reactivating her helmet. With her head engulfed, the loud holy woman quickly became a mime as she wildly gestured about, only to finally puff her cheeks up in a pout and board the ship, arms crossed in childish anger.
"Ellie," Sif began. "We are going to lift you and the soil around you out of the ground. You will be flying, and will not fall. This is routine." Though she nodded to the bodysuit clad woman, she took more from both Rikka and Royama. First quietly smiling at the Angel - eyes fearful as she tried to be brave - before her face lit up in surprise at what the doctor was saying.
"This lady will have pretty things for me to try?" Gulping nervously, she shook her head up and down, gathering her resolve. In the end of the day, Ellie was still a little girl, and things like nice dresses, princesses and unicorns appealed to her. As they all boarded the drop ships, the ships took off, a blue glow soon projecting from their underbellies. Like a building block, the earth around Ellie and her tree smoothly rose out of the ground with the sound of grumbling dirt.
And just as quickly, they were off.
"Ara, ara," a certain woman exclaimed. "This turned out to be quite an impressive first-haul," Sakamoto remarked, clad in one of her favorite crimson and gold dresses. Fingers touching her lips, the exotic woman's sleeve of feathers half-hid her face as she smiled, if only for a moment. In the background, the adventurers were being offloaded while being vigorously examined by a swarm of medical professionals. "And here they said you'd all just crash and burn, or maybe blow yourselves up with your own weapons on accident!" Within the walls of the star fortress, another drop-ship was already lifting up a massive cube of soil, only for Ellie's to be slid down in its place. "Really, you all did well. Normal Taianese soldiers would have just marked her for another team to follow up with, but I think she might have been able to walk away judging by how she revealed that little trove of treasures of hers," she pointed out to them all. "And, more importantly, you've all brought me not one, but two guests!"
"My name is Sakamoto Hina of The Empire of Tai Pan," the woman graciously bowed. "I'm sure you and all the others have so many questions, hm?" she asked, her colorful plume of feathers standing tall.
As they were ushered out and the plot of land was placed within the new fortress, Rikka couldn't help but marvel a little at the size and scope of just where they were. For something not crafted by the gods, it seemed to be fairly impressive. Her blue eyes continued to take in everything as they were spoken to by some woman with a plume of colorful feathers yet she seemed to ignore her until she was addressed. She turned her gaze back to Sakamoto and for a moment stared at her before she dipped into a bow of her own. Arm across her waist and shield at her side, she spoke as she straightened up.
"I am Rikka Araqiel, Aspect of Justice of the Otrides Pantheon. My only concern, for now, is for the well being of the girl that was brought aboard, Ellie. I would see she is not harmed in your testing or curiosity." She stated simply as she kept her eyes on the woman before her.
Once the cock quailed her call of questions, Kikyo finally wanted to pipe up. After Rikka finished her statement Kikyo swallowed her fears and spoke in her best stoic Sif impression. "Was the last drop the only time we were going to peter around and not go for true objectives? I feel we're still in the proving grounds." The Catgirl spoke somewhat hamfistedly, but truthfully. She thought this last drop was either designed to weed out the weak or prove that they could operate as a separate entity. They may be auxiliary, but they were supposedly working towards upgrades in citizenship. That meant two things: she would no longer be feeding off the scraps of the higher-ups, and she'd be truly the Catgirl she was trying to camouflage as.
"Uh, what's frilly?" Ellie asked, scratching her head.
"Bleh-hahahaha!" Viz suddenly recoiled in disgust, only to burst out into mocking laughter a moment later. "Forget that evil tree! We're gonna wash the aphids out of your hair first!" she replied, the Rooster with the rest of the group chatting away in the background. "Now where's that stuff these star weirdos were calling 'pesticides'? And a tub! I need a tub!" the priestess then started marching about in her search. Noticing this, Sif began to turn her attention in that direction, quietly observing as she always did as the Rooster crowed over the hodgepodge squad.
"Worry not, she's in perfectly good care," Sakamoto reassuringly replied to the angel, ignoring the chatter going on nearby. "More importantly, we've been trying to establish contact with your people since we arrived. I would hope your assistance would help in our attempts to keep the order as the others have at other worlds." Turning her attention to Kikyo, she continued, addressing the feline-hopeful, "In no way would I say what you were doing was puttering around. This is, in fact, some of the most important work in The Empire, and all of you have done better than I expected from my own Taianese, which is something they are already sore about," Sakamoto mischievously smiled, her golden gaze flicking to the side, the Taianese patrols seeming to stiffen under her gaze. She did mention the squad acted in ways the Tigers would not have, after all. "Haven't you noticed? Ellie is magical, something we have little experience with," the exotically feathered woman reminded them. "Which is why your assistance would be appreciated," she added, now addressing Rikka.
Despite these flattering words, the way she looked at the Angel could have undressed her then and there.
"I would be more than happy to help with Ellie. I just wish to see her receive fair treatment under your watch. As for the heavens..." Rikka let out a small sigh and swept a hand low and to the side with her palm up.
"I've been tasked with contacting them, to act as an emissary and further our relations with them. Yet since I've been here... I've felt nothing. No contact, no direction, no whiff of them so to say. I have yet to even feel the essence of another of my kind on this planet. They are either holed up and worried due to the unintentional visitors, or something worse I fear. I know not just yet, but I plan to get a better understanding of the situation so I may report back to my Pantheon." Her hand reached up and scratched the side of her head for a moment as she took in a deep breath.
"Any help in establishing contact with them would be appreciated, and in turn, of course, I will help with Ellie in the best of my capacity. I suppose this means, for now, we will be working together then?" She asked the feathered woman before her. It always helped for Rikka to know where her lines and allies lay, especially in a strange situation such as this.
"Of course," the exotically feathered woman replied. "We'll be unraveling the mystery of this world together then," Sakamoto smiled. "As for the rest of you, you've all done a splendid job. This is likely not what you envisioned to be a soldier's job, but in truth, this is a lot of what it is," she than began to explain. "Initially, the soldiers of Tai Pan were forged for the high intensity combat we all envision a war to be, but we've been finding out that there's so much more to it, and you being here to show the way helps with that," her tall tail feathers gently swished back and forward. "I'm looking forward to seeing what else you all have in store. Go ahead to the debriefing, and after that, relax."
As always, Sakamoto smiled.
Research Base Apple One
Barracks Unit 4
Outside their barracks, Taianese soldiers marched like a legion of lock-step soldiers as their patrol routes brought them by. But in truth, the intimidating staccato of their footsteps belied their numbers. There weren't honestly that many of them actually on guard duty or patrol, but the noise made it seem that way to anyone that tried to listen from outside the base. In truth, all the things that needed to be done - debriefing, cleaning, repairing and training and all that - had been taken care of already. The things that Squad 4 could have done were all mostly taken care of by the Taianese themselves with many too-courteous remarks such as, "No, please, allow me. You'd be hard pressed to do this right," or "I wouldn't want to trouble you, this is very complicated," and so forth. Marching away in their lock-step fashion as to make as much ordered noise as possible, the Taianese soldiers left behind the squad's pristine equipment.
"It took me some time - " Sif began in the living room, " - but after a while, I understood that it was its own form of insult, treating me and now you like children," she remarked, a recommended old favorite of Sakamoto's playing on the nearby screen as their weapons were being maintained by the neighboring unit. "I suppose it doesn't matter. Both sides get some of what they want. They, looking down on us and that feeling of superiority, and us, their superior maintenance." Sitting on top of the couch cushion, Sif lounged about on her side as she munched on a giant pop-corn kernel the size of her head. Of course, considering how she was only about 6 or 7 inches tall, this was expected. What wasn't though, was her size. Not that she had explained it, then again, nobody had asked yet. "Too much spare time though."
"Ahhh, the finest booze in all of existence!" Viz smacked her lips after chugging down some sort of mixed drink from the mini-kitchen's fridge. While Rikka was quickly caught up on modern civilization, the arch-priestess practically partied, celebrating the success of their first mission with alcohol and the best food her ration tickets would get. In a sense, they were all lucky - the facilities they got were luxurious in comparison to the standard they were told. After all, Sakamoto liked testing her products, and these field accommodations were one of them. Just a few feet away from the small living/dining room and the mini-kitchen were their rows of capsules. "With those things called tommy guns, I'll usher in a new age of civilization and super yummy alcohol as soon as Sakamoto awards us all even more!" Viz then hiccuped, plopping down onto the couch by the comparatively tiny Sif.
The tiny Tigress didn't seem to mind at first, however, she soon perked up.
"We have...orders. I believe," she began uncertainly. Pausing the movie she was watching, the screen changed over to several different camera shots. Something that they all immediately recognized as a work order or job bulletin board. Though the language was foreign on these snap shots, there was someone who could read it all. "It would appear that Sakamoto has accepted several jobs from nearby guilds in exchange for various rewards," The tiny tigress rubbed her chin. "The first is offering a set of mithril chain mail and money in exchange for dealing with a dragon that is accosting a walled city," Sif began reading them off. "
"AH!" Viz suddenly perked up, shooting right up onto her unsteady feet, face still flushed from drinking. "There's a cemetery outside another one, and the undead are rising out of it! We'll get a shiny new staff of explosions if we do!" she excitedly began. "We have to clean the undead filth from the world! We're definitely taking that one!" the blue haired priestess jumped about, annoyingly bouncing around as she did so.
"This other one seems stereotypical. A princess is asking for help with an artifact of doom. Gold and her favor are the rewards." A small but rare, smug smirk on the tiny woman's face. She soon frowned however. "There are also two other offers that are not from the guild listing," she added, noting the two pieces of beautifully written handwriting at the bottom. "Sakamoto wants for us to either retrieve something for her from a nearby city, or deliver a package to a high-end cafe. No rewards listed for those, but knowing Sakamoto..." Once again, Sif returned to her bored, stoic self on reading that. "What say you all?" she then asked, the modified Tianshi Hardsuit she rode marching over. As the cockpit pod slid out of its back, the miniature Tigress leaped in, Sif's face holographically appearing as though she was simply its wearer.
"So this... keeps your food cold? For how long? Drinks too? And does the light stay on when the door closes?" She asked as she looked at the refrigerator in wonder. She looked it over left and right before she opened the door. She saw the light and slowly closed the door to see if she could spot the light turning off or not. But as she heard the job offers, her mind went to work and she looked over to Viz and Sif spoke up.
"I say either the undead or the dragon. They seem to be the most immediate threats to the safety of the people." She offered up her answer to the question posed to the group before she went back to her investigation.
"It keeps things cold as long as it's powered- the same sort of energy that keeps the ships running. The light turns off when the door shuts- because it's not needed anymore." The Doctor snorted- finally speaking up after having sat in silence for so long, "I'd love to agree, however, given the real reason that our little ragtag group has been formed it would be ideal to 'play the game' as often as we can get away with without completely sacrificing our dignity and integrity. Not to mention I'm not sure if we have the coordination to take on something as serious as a Dragon-or an army of the dead for that matter. That's my personal opinion as someone who just witnessed the massive clusterfuck that was us- and my professional opinion as the doctor that's going to have piece you all back together." Royama said quite seriously, "I'll do my best to support the lot of you no matter what you chose- but use your damn heads."
Research Base Apple One
Barracks Unit 4
Rikka suddenly felt a presence by her side.
"It's definitely one of the mysteries of the universe!" the beyond buzzed Viz accusingly pointed a finger at the refrigerator. "Each time you open the door, is the light on or off? It's like that cat inna box you don't know is dead or not!" she began rapidly opening and closing the door, its contents jingling about. Suddenly pointing another finger at Royama following the doctor's comments, she shouted, "You don't know that for sure! U-unless...you've been in there?!" She unsteadily stood. "But, how could you fit? Maybe if you were chopped up like in that mov - BLEHHHHHH!" the blue haired woman turned to vomit in the sink.
"I believe that no matter what mission we select, we will be challenged," Sif began as the priestess continued to retch. Pacing with tiny footsteps atop the couch, the doll sized Tigress mulled over their options. "Though team cohesion and competency are potential issues, there are several factors that offset this I believe," she began. "First off, we are well armed and armored. Second, we now have a new member who most likely offers offensive spell-casting ability," Sif's gaze turned to Rikka, nodding. "Third, and perhaps most importantly, is that we have a magic user capable of resurrecting the recently dead. We are very well off, all things considered," the small woman tried to reassure them. The sight of Viz hunched over the sink however, was not. "Dragon or zombies, we should be fine. We have plasma grenade launchers after all," she pointed out, her voice deadpan.
At that, a rod like pod slid out of the back of the Tianshi standing by, and with a few hops, Sif had landed in its opening before vanishing into the machine's interior, its 'face' holographically turning into her own.
"Are zombie shooters still popular? If not, dragons remain a classic," she pointed out, opening and closing one of her oversized fists.
"But if you put the cat in the box, don't you know if it's alive or not before you put it in?" She asked as she finished her spell to look to the side only to catch the tiny Sif just as she slipped into the armor. "Wa-wait..." Her eyes went wider as she realized Sif was really a tiny little thing and for some reason, she felt... Joy? Maybe adoration? No that was the wrong word... She just needed to hug the tiny tigress for a bit, not understanding just yet the feeling of needing to hold something so adorable looking. It took her a few moments before she spoke, but again confusion arose as she heard the last question.
"Zombie... shooters? Like with bows? How is that popular?" The angel tilted her head as her blue eyes blinked a little and found themselves narrowed to show confusion as best as her featureless face could.
With unnatural disgrace, she tried to flip her way up from her seat but managed to stumble and barely remain on her feet. She stopped for a mere second before continuing on, albeit with a somewhat embarrassed face. "I'm up for either, though I feel zombies would suit our lack of real combat experience more. I don't think half of us know how to shoot a large, flying, flamethrower. The others likely not well."
Research Base Apple One
Barracks Unit 4
As Viz slowly recovered from her now dry heaving, she idly stood by the sink with a dazed expression, but the moment Rikka cast her magic, she seemed to come alive again. Turning around with eyes wide in shock and horror, the priestess loudly wailed out, "What did you do?! I was buzzed! Buzzed! All that alcohol I drank went to waste!" she pathetically threw herself against the angel in pleading desperation. With the sound of a face sliding down glass as she pressed against Rikka's armor, Viz continued to cry, "My buzz! My buzz! It's all gone!!!!" before she devolved into incoherent babbling and groveling.
Sif, to her credit, seemed completely unmoved and patiently waited for the lament to die down so that Viz sank to the angel's feet and was quiet enough to speak. "Schrödinger's cat is an...alchemical or philosophical theory. Or something along those lines," she cautiously began. "Something called 'science', but that isn't important to us," the now properly sized woman remarked, glancing at the display of Adventurer's Guild joblist again. "As shooting zombies is a pastime of people from their culture, I do not believe taking on that job offer will be challenging," she pointed out. "However, my officer's information feed says this type of event has never happened at that location before, which seems suspicious." Tail swishing, the Tigress began to pace back and forward. "Yes. And something is abnormal about this dragon as well. The city hasn't been significantly damaged yet, despite having been accosted for three days already. Very peculiar."
Crossing her arms, she then began to walk out of the barracks unit. "I will go talk with Ellie. You may all follow. Or not."
"I cured you! You were getting sick you daft woman, why would you want to get sick like that and not be cured?" She asked incredulously. She half listened to the explanation of the jobs but as Ellie's name was uttered, her head snapped around and Sif would find the large angel a step behind her.
"You're going to see Ellie? I'll come with you, I want to see her."
Research Base Apple One
Barracks Unit 4
"But people drink booze to feel like thi-hiiiss!" Viz wailed, a puddle of misery on the floor. Though the angel turned to make ready to leave after Sif, the Taianese woman stopped, pausing as the priestess eventually rubbed her eyes and sobbed her way over to their housing unit's refrigerator. "And my mouth even tastes like bleh still!" she whined before gulping down one of Sakamoto's hard lemonades. "Aaaahhhh!~" Viz sighed, smacking her lips as she was 'revitalized' again. Turning her beautifully glimmering blue eyes on them, her gaze became captivating as she lingered on them all. "Hey, so what are we doing? Are we gonna punch that dragon in the snout, or go dust some of those filthy undead?"
Naturally, her boorish personality just didn't match her saintly good looks at all.
"I feel we need more information," Sif explained, turning to leave proper. Outside, the other squads were mustering, and were already preparing to leave, their equipment ready for inspection as they waited. Several units down, the familiar feathers of a certain woman could be seen as she inspected the troops, her florally colored rear facing them all as she continued walking away from them. Minding her own business, Sakamoto was unaware of Squad 4's emergence. Of course, Sif wasn't interested in her, at least, not for now. Marching across the courtyard, she soon came up to a certain small tree planted in the midst of it all. "Do any of you have questions of your own to ask? Thinking about what you are about to do, especially regarding what you know, do not know, and what you potentially do not know you know is important," she pointed out to them.
"Actually, I'm kinda surprised you peasants don't wanna take the job with the princess - I thought peasants liked princesses?" she shrugged. Gulping down the last of her drink, Viz carelessly tossed the bottle away, only for a drone to catch it and put it in the proper receptacle for her, its normally kawaii-cute eye display looking distressed with a >.< expression.
As Sif marched however, her stoic expression said something along the lines of, 'I wasn't asking you.'
Her mind was interrupted with with screechy voice that belonged only to the drunkard next to her. While Sif was mostly stoic, Kikyo's left ear was ramrod erect and her right eye twitched. "Do you forget that to almost everyone here you and I and everyone else in this squad minus Miss Tianshi over here are lower class? You're careless and I less want you here than anyone else. You're a liability. I've never seen Taianese soldiers fall, and I don't want you to prove me wrong."
She turned to face her, the catgirls eyes bearing down on the priestess, "I'll put it in simple-speak since your brain is no bigger than your bust. Shut. Your. Fanatic. Facehole."
With that, she simply seemed to reset and went back to facing Sif with a raised eyebrow to receive whatever answer she was willing to give.
Outside, the other squads were mustering, and were already preparing to leave, their equipment ready for inspection as they waited. Several units down, the familiar feathers of a certain woman could be seen as she inspected the troops, her florally colored rear facing them all as she continued walking away from them. Minding her own business, Sakamoto was unaware of Squad 4's emergence. Of course, Sif wasn't interested in her, at least, not for now. Marching across the courtyard, she lead the group towards a certain tree and its little girl, but just as she took in a breath to reply, let it out in a sigh as someone else did first.
"Dumb catgirl wannabe!" Viz angrily began, waving a fist about in the air in an unpriestesslike fashion. "I'll have you know that lots of people want me around! You'd beg me to stay if you caught Two Left Feet, or Ruby Rose or Mad Mage Virus or even Wommblosis!" Crossing her arms with a "Hmph!" she then angrily looked away, before starting to stare at her bust in thought. "Not as big as Princess Adelaide's, but maybe..." Viz muttered under her breath.
"The Tianshi hardsuit was made by the Taianese for non-Taianese with the hopes of the latter achieving better combat performance," Sif began to explain, the priestess following beside her now fondling her breasts in an attempt to conceptualize their combined size. "They are too expensive given their performance," the snowy haired Tigress added. Glancing back at her, and perhaps wanting to let Kikyo down easier, she added, "I am currently part of an experiment where the Tianshi hardsuits are converted from hardsuits to miniature mecha, the space originally meant for normal users being filled with more equipment. You will have to be magically shrunken however." As they neared Ellie, the Priestess sprang forward.
"Hey evil tree! Evil tree! We got some stuff to ask you!" Viz began, hand raised in the air like a preschooler shouting out her question. Seeing them come, the green haired little girl initially smiled at them all before becoming wary thanks to the rude greeting. However, her dress new, her hair was washed, and now neatly done up in a pair of girlish pigtails. Never mind the basketball sized science-drones floating about. "There's a dragon flying around, some zombies that are coming out of a cemetary that never had zombies before, and something about a princess doing stuff with an evil artifact or something. Do you know anything about them?" she demanded.
"M-maybe?" Ellie replied, instinctively taking one of the nearby science drones to hide behind like a ball, much to its shock judging by the OwO face on its display. Whatever the little girl did know about, they were going to have to gently coax it out of her thanks to a certain someone.
Whether she hit or not, Rikka walked closer to Ellie and crouched down, her eyes scrunched up at the sides like a person was want to do when smiling. "Ellie, your hair is so pretty! I love what they did with it, and your dress is beautiful! Have you been having fun with the drones?" She asked of the girl.
"Oh, that's an easy one!" Viz immediately bounced back at Rikka. "If something happens to one of us, the other can heal them!" she replied, her words abnormally reasonable and far sighted. "Pretty angels like you have been falling from grace or getting impaled by some Handsome Devils left and right - some people think it's the end times! But then, suddenly, everything went quiet and n - OWWWWW!" Collapsing onto the floor, the blue haired woman began to roll about and cry as she massively over-reacted to the furious Angel's blow. "She punched a holy arch-priestess! The second coming! She's falling! She's totally falling!" Viz childishly wailed.
Meanwhile, Ellie looked back at Rikka, unperturbed by the background noise.
"T-thank you! Miss Sakamoto gave me a bath, and then we played dress-up together! She has all these neat pieces of clothing, but some of the stuff like this 'linguini' looked weird," the little girl explained. Looking at the drone the drone she held, Ellie offered it up to the Angel. "They're like faeries!" she smiled. "Except without the part where they're all tricky and do mean stuff."
Ears up, she looked towards the downed priestess and gave out an audible sigh. She turned to Sif and shook her head, "Excuse me." Without waiting for any answer she walked over to the wailing ball of tears and gripped her by the scruff of her neck. "Come on, You and Sister Kikyo are gonna go have a talk." Her voice was like ice, but her footing and placements were rugged and determined. She was hell-bent on getting her out of the room for a while.
"We'll be back."
Planted out in the middle of the courtyard, the only thing that'd help gaining any privacy for Kikyo and Viz was distance. "Ah, what are we gonna do? That angel is falling from grace!" Viz exclaimed, her teary eyes looking up to the aesthetically upgraded catgirl. "Maybe some hymns or a choir? That might be too old fashioned, and we can't get a whole bunch of beefcakey angel guys to discipline her either!" It was perhaps for the best that they were most likely out of Ellie's earshot.
"I'll definitely ask, but Miss Sakamoto made sure I have everything I need! I'm really glad to be here, since I'm not getting crowded by the taller trees, and the fertilizer is yummy," the little girl's eyes lit up with excitement. "I only need a little bit!" she exclaimed, gesturing with her hands a rough cup-full. "Though, I wish these 'Tai Pan' people were better at conversations. The adventurers would tell me all sorts of stories." Looking up at them all, Ellie asked, "Are you gonna tell me stories too?"
"We're here to ask you about the stories they told you," Sif interjected, if only for a moment. "Could you tell us a little about these stories?" she asked, her demeanor stoic.
"Oh, I've never ever done that before!" Ellie realized. "What do you wanna talk about?" she tilted her green topped head. "They talked lots about these things called demons, rescuing princess people, chopping up zombies or these big flying things with fire." The little girl then paused for a moment. "Some of them also talked about boobies, but I think miss angel can talk about them better since hers are bestest," she admitted.
Needless to say, it was clear that Ellie had been exposed to a wide variety of people.
"I would love to hear about the flying things with fire! I always loved stories about dragons, though the zombies would be helpful too. Zombies are not good, they hurt people so they need to be stopped." The angel explained, still crouched in front of Ellie her eyes again took on a confused look. She lifted her arms and looked around herself as if she tried to find something.
"Boobies? Where? I don't see any birds around here..."
"Hey! Dumb catgirl weeb! What are we gonna do?!" Viz grabbed the silent Kikyo, shaking her about in the background. "Don't ignore me!"
"Thanks Miss Doktor Royama!" the little girl smiled back. However, her own bewilderment began to match Rikka's. "Um. You know. Boobies?" Ellie prodded the angel for emphasis. "Not that any of their stories about them made any sense though. The ones about dragons and zombies were a lot cooler!" the little girl began, excitement in her eyes. "They said that dragons are really clever, and some of these big places with lots of people would give dragons stuff to defend them, but other ones were mean and would just take whatever they wanted," she explained to them, brushing aside her now aphid-free green hair. "And those ones, they'd talk about getting other adventurers together, and making this group called a party, and luring the dragons out so they could...um, well. Hit them with lots of Dee-Pee-Ess from their squishies while they tanked..." her voice trailed off. "I don't really get it," Ellie admitted. "But it sounded really cool, with how they talked about all these flashing bright lights and loud noises!"
"Zombies sounded boring in comparison though. Well, at first anyways," she quickly added. "Like, I remember the adventurers said that when they were kids, the zombies would shamble out of the dark," Ellie stood, doing her best zombie impression. "But, they'd say, 'Moooom, the zombies are back! They're stepping on the tomatoes!' and stuff like that." The little girl sat down again, visibly shivering at the thought. "Those poor tomatoes..." her voice trailed off. "But, then things get interesting! Apparently, if you don't regularly kill your zombies, there's gonna be a bunch of weird super zombies, with super powers, and eventually a zombie that makes more zombies!" She then held up a finger for dramatic effect. "And worse, is when someone gets bit and turned into a zombie - they're super fast, and a single bite will get someone incested. But some people get incested on purpose, so they can be these zombies that tell all the other zombies what to do!" Fear ran through her voice as she trembled at the thought. "You guys gotta save the tomatoes! The squash and beans won't stand a chance!"
"Squad Four? Can any of you fly?"
From the stern, albeit feminine, tone it wasn't exactly clear if this new comer was asking a question or stating the obvious. They certainly looked like a fresh recruit, so fresh that they had not even changed out of their civilian clothing. A small back-pack held all of her belongings, and her body was covered in a mis-mash of baggy clothing that included a worn down blue track suit with stripes that seemed several sizes too big. Her hands were covered by black gloves that had seen better days, and the sleeves of the oversized track suit that extended far past her fingers. Even her face was mostly covered by the hood of the track suit pulled over a red baseball cap and large aviator sunglasses. Only just a little bit of short white fur could be seen on what parts of the fox-like face that weren't covered.
"...Because Dragons can fly. You should take on the Zombies."
Just from watching the group talk amongst itself, it seemed impossible to determine exactly who was in charge. Regrettably, she would have to ask.
"... and which if you is in charge?"
"I didn't waste my childhood living in a warzone nor my last five years in the hell that was Topia and claw at every tooth and nail so I could damned well sleep with at least some food in my stomach just to listen your holier-than-thou priestess bullshit! You want attention, I'll give it to you day and night but you will not appreciate it. You are here to do a job, you are here to be a soldier. Not a priestess, not a drunkard, a soldiers of one of the mightiest armies anyone has ever seen. I will not have you make the Auxiliary a worthless affair."
The catgirl let the priestess go, her left eye twitching as adrenaline boiled through her blood. Her raven hair was messed up again, small strands dropping ahead of her eyes causing her to scoff and try and fix them as she walked away from Viz.
She looked to the newcomer with a heightened curiosity before motioning towards Sif. "She is." Kikyo just began walking towards the bathrooms before looking to Sif right at the entrance. "Just pick a damn mission, you're the Tigress."
"O-oh... Boobies. I see..." Her thoughts drifted off to the idea, she had rarely been seen by anyone out of her armor, much less in the nude. She had even bathed in private almost her entire life save for when she had been a child. Thank the Gods the newcomer had posed a question that allowed Rikka to stand and quickly move past her embarrassment as she shifted her wings from their smoky corporeal form to their true size. Six large white wings spread out from behind her in a flurry of feathers.
"I can fly just fine." She explained and gave her wings a small flap to get a gust of wind to pick up just barely before she allowed them to shift back to their smoky form again. They looked like six tendrils that drifted out from her back.
"That said, I will aid in whatever we do. I am always interested in helping as many people as I can, so I would suggest taking on all the tasks, but that is just me."
The new comer just watched as what she hoped was play fighting continue, maintaining an overly defensive distance between herself and the others around her even as Rikka demonstrated her flying abilities.
"A dragon would still eat you." She stated, flat as possible, not wanting to show that slight annoyance that came with facing down new information that contradicted her own previous assumptions. "We should fight Zombies."
That said, it was time to introduce herself to the squad leader.
"You." She turned her attention towards Sif, choosing to just simply face the leader who's name she'd yet to discover, "I am Zhang Wu. I have been assigned to this unit."
For the longest moment, it seemed like Viz was listening. However, Kikyo never got as far as speaking to Sif. Moments after the catgirl let the priestess go, the priestess let forth a stream of holy rainbows and flowers onto the gene-modded woman's feet, the punch to her gut having taken a few moments for their effects to kick in. Stained with tears and rainbows, the priestess fell to her side moments later, limbs twitching in agony. This seemed to go largely unnoticed by the snowy haired Tigress that presided over them all however. Instead, Sif's attention was fixated on the newcomer. Though she remained silently staring, others were plenty content to speak.
"Yep, those are boobies!" Ellie replied matter of factly. "They're really important, since lots of adventurers talk about them and stuff, though it doesn't make any sense," the tree bound little girl admitted. "I think it's some sort of magic," she added, only to let out a surprised squeal of excitement when Rikka later showed off her wings. "Pretty!" she happily cheered. "I wanna touch them!" Despite her desire however, Sif waved her down as the newcomer spoke again, but this time, she replied. Stepping forward, the snowy haired Tigress placed both her hands on the baggily clothed woman's shoulders.
"Zhang Wu," she began, eye to eye and voice grim. "You have my pity. And my axe." With that, Sif turned her attention to the rest of the squad. "Give Ellie your farewells. We are moving out," and with that, she strode away.
"How about when I get back I let you play with them?" She asked before she looked around the ground. A hand reached out and scooped up a feather from the ground and held it out from the small girl. "And when I get back, I'll see about maybe putting a braid in your hair, and one of my feathers in that if you'd like it?"
Rikka smiled and stood after a moment and turned to head off with the others though as she neared the exit she turned to give Ellie one last wave.