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Only Monsters Left Alive (IC, open)

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Spring 2024 


Freedom City teenagers in 2024 had been small children when the Deep One invasion of 2011 had happened. Some of them had seen Deep Ones themselves, or heard stories of the terrible consequences of their invasion in the years growing up. Mindless cannibals, demented fanatics, terrible fiends - and certainly their lessons at Claremont about the poorly understood race of psychopathic cannibal abominations that shared the ocean with Atlanteans and who sought the doom of all Surface-Men had been little reassuring on the subject. 


This made it all the more exciting, then, that they'd been offered a chance to meet Sea Devil, widely known in the hero community as the only good Deep One. Here they were in the back of a school van being driven out to the Waterfront by Mrs. Harcourt, a veteran classroom teacher who generally brooked no nonsense but had a reputation for fairness. "Remember," she was saying, "Ms. Innsmouth has been living away from her people for many years, but this may be a shocking experience for some of you. I'm counting on all of you to show her the best traditions of our school and the spirit of our students." Aquaria had come to campus a few years ago and there'd been something of an - altercation, the students had all heard - so now seeing the Deep One was strictly voluntary. They'd had to get their parents and guardians to sign off on it, even. 

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Cerebral and Cerebellum 

Iris and Daniel didn't really have any parents, well they did but those people were not in their life anymore. So to get to see this, they had the Headmistress to sign off on this trip. Which they managed to convince her to do. In fact it was Iris this time who was pushing through it, her mind thirsted for knowledge and because of this she wanted to see the Deep One she had read so much about. Daniel thought he would tag along because of pure curiousity. 


So now they were on the bus, listening to Ms Harcourt. Excited as to what they would see.

Edited by Dracostern
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Lawrence Harrow was seated in the school van, listening to Ms. Harcourt as they made their way to meet Sea Devil. While the blond teen had heard of her, he really knew very little about Deep Ones, so when the opportunity came up for a field trip to meet with Sea Devil he had signed up.

While the field trip had required special permission from his parents, that had not been difficult for Lawrence to get. After all, his mother was a member of the Freedom League, and while she did not really know Aquaria, she was familiar enough with her situation.

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Parents wise, Michael was pretty lucky! He had both of his, and his mom was part of the PTA. That gave him easy access to someone signing his permission slip. It had still been a bit of a fight though. Stella Adon did not like Superheroes, not really. And she definitely didn't like Deep Ones- she remembered the Deep One attacks on the city, and the idea of 'the good Deep One' seemed very doubtful to her-. But Michael and Thomas had, eventually, managed to convince her that this one was fine; it was sponsored by the school, after all. It was all good. She still wasn't convinced, but they managed to at least get her to accept that Michael was going. Compared to the more obvious Superheroes, the ones Michael had spent a lot of time reading and learning about, he knew almost nothing about Sea Devil, and that increased his curiosity, his hunger for knowledge was difficult to sate, and finding out about Sea Devil was a chance to learn more about how Heroes could help the city without always having to fight people- he knew Sea Devil did a lot of post-battle cleanup and trash collection-.


So Michael was seated on the bus with the others and being as polite and a good student as Ms. Harcourt could ask for. Michael was, after all, always trying to be a model student.

Edited by Poncho
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The van led away from the more upscale parts of the Waterfront, Mrs. Harcourt stopping to peer at her phone's MAPS app a few times before they reached their evident destination. 


At first it didn't look terribly promising. This part of the Waterfront was mostly abandoned, with one dockside warehouse obviously burned down recently and its outbuildings looking long abandoned. There was graffiti here, some of it good, some of it of indifferent quality - and grass growing up through the cracks in the sidewalk. Once she'd parked and rounded everyone up, however, Mrs. Harcourt didn't look put off by the strange surroundings. "Come along, she shouldn't be far away..." 


Walking out onto the wooden dock at the edge of the water, for a moment it appeared they had no company other than the gulls and particularly hardy fish that might be swimming around the brackish, dirty water here where the river merged with the sea and the subsequent mix mixed with the detritus of a large city. 


And then something climbed out of the water. The armor was no taller than a man but thick and barrel-chested, with a massive torso and glowing blue fingers (three on each feet), without the obvious humanoid shape of the usual armored hero like Daedalus or Dragonfly. The armor gleamed like iridescent pearl, seeming to catch and reflect in all the colors of the rainbow. A massive iron trident hung from its black, dark wrought iron that tipped in strange spirals. Dripping wet and muddy, the armored heroine spoke in a booming, electronic buzz like a cross between the buzzing of a bee and the booming of a gigantic bullfrog. There was no sign of a face behind the armor, not yet, and the voice said 


"Hello, young ones! Did you have a good trip?! I was just down in the water!


"A pleasure, Ms. Innsmouth," said Mrs. Harcourt. "Thank you for meeting us." 


"It is okay! I like to be here! I don't live here though!" she added to the teens. "It is too dirty for that! Oh, I forgot-!


She snapped one of her three-fingered hands and a plate in the upper center of her armor seemed to slide open. There was the distinct smell of water and sound of sloshing, revealing a face that looked like nothing more than a gigantic green-and-white frog's with two bulging eyes, a snout, and a mouth that was full of sharp, serrated teeth like a shark's. "I will not smile so that I do not frighten you! But I am happy to see you!" Even without the armor's voder, she boomed and buzzed as she talked.  



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Cerebral and Cerebellum 

Iris and Daniel disembarked from the bus and followed Ms Harcourt, they seemed to be heading quite far away from the other docks. Which seemed to make sense considering what they going to see. The twins would stare in awe as the Deep One appeared! Daniel's mouth hung open in surprise but Iris just looked excited, she figured that she couldn't move closer without permission.


"Nice to meet you Ms Innsmouth! My name is Iris, it's a pleasure to meet you! There is a lot I'd like to know about your culture!

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"Woah, giant fr-." Michael bit his tongue. Don't say that, stupid! Be respectful to the superhero! He smoothed out his Claremont shirt and smiled as best he could. Honestly it was a bizarre creature! The power armor was cool, so was the trident, but it wasn't hard to say that this creature was sort of spooky and creepy. He had encounters with non-humans before, The Star-Khan and Paradigm, came to mind, but those two were humanoids- even if he was still pretty sure The Star Khan was an elf-, maybe not passing as human but at the very least not being outside of design. This creature, with her giant frog's face, her snout full of shark's teeth, and her strange vocal sound, could never manage that.


But Michael was not going to be rude to someone just because they looked weird, he had more respect for people, especially superheroes, than that. So he walked up as confidently as possible to try and make the best first impression he could- and provide an example for the other students-, and extended his hand.


"Miss Innsmouth, it's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Michael Adon. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today."

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Lawrence was mostly quiet during the trip to the waterfront, seemingly contemplating something during the dive. Once they arrived, he followed along with the group as Ms. Harcourt led them down to a small wooden dock by the water. Stopping along with the other students, the blond teen watched as Sea Devil’s form emerged from the water.

Although he had never seen a Deep One before, Lawence had spent time on CoVic Station, so he had seen many different aliens, including several of the more unusual members of the Pretorians, so Sea Devil’s appearance was not as shocking or strange as it might be to some of his fellow classmates.


He gave Sea Devil a warm smile. "A pleasure to meet you Ms. Innsmouth. Lawrence Harrow."

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Blue Bolt


Vueriz had expected to have to fight tooth and nail to get here. Her guardian was alright, but given what she'd heard about the Deep Ones she'd expected him to deny her request. She'd come up with so many arguments as to how it could be useful, why she was interested, why it would all be fine, and then he just looked at her and signed the form. Regardless, she wasn't gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.


She inspected the hero's armour intently as she arrived, towering over her. It was quite impressive, and she would love to take it apart and analyse the components, but she was staring, and that was rude. She drew her eyes up to the amphibious face of the heroine. She didn't seem that scary, she had seen scarier aliens on Zirtimzar. Although she supposed with how fragile humans apparently were on average she could see how they could be dangerous. "Hey! I'm Vueriz, from planet Zirtimzar. It is nice to meet you." There, she was a master of the conversation. Just pretend she's an alien, she's seen those before. 

From a distance.


(It'll be fine.)

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Parker's parents had always gone on about how he should broaden his horizons, take in everything that he could do, meet all kinds of people and experience all kinds of things, so his mom all but jumped when he wrote them about the permission. Parker himself had been mostly quiet on the ride. He honestly isn't sure how much he would like to be there or not. Unlike most of the others, it seems, he has experienced Deep Ones before, back when he was a child during in 2011, just 4 years old. He had not been hurt, but he felt afraid for his life.


As they leave the van and Sea Devil appears and lowers her helmet, he flinches. He can't help it. The others introduce themselves, but he remains silent, staying a bit back.


Intellectually, he knows that Sea Devil is a hero. She's trustworthy, she keeps people safe, but... She's also a Deep One, and he used to have nightmares about her people.

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Sea Devil 


"I have many things to tell you!" Aquaria told Iris ebulliently. "All of them true!" she added firmly with a wave of her hand. With none of the children screaming or voiding their bowels - or for that matter looking hostile, she made a gesture with her left hand and her armor cracked open. In a cascade of brackish water, she stepped out and faced the young heroes. She was taller than some of them and squat-bodied, her white belly and green skin adorned with blue tattoos and scars that looked ritual in nature; her mien somewhere between fish and frog but closer to the latter than the former. She didn't quite look like the Deep Ones who had invaded Freedom City - but she was close. 


She looked around, casting goggle eyes at everyone. "Hello! Hello! You are all so well-mannered!" she thrummed. "Your elders must teach you well. Verrry different from young Deep Ones!" she added cheerfully, not sounding that bothered by the manners of her own young people. "Much less biting!" She studied Blue Bolt for a moment and sniffed the air, the sound like the snorting of a large seal. "You are from the Sea of Stars!" she exclaimed, almost infrasonic delight in her voice. "I have been there! That is where I got this!" she said, banging loudly on the side of her armor with her trident. "It belonged to a Star Knight, but he is dead now! A lot of bad robots killed him! It was very sad," she throbbed, her throat visibly bulging. "But I use it for good!


Hopping from foot to foot (green and three-toed, just like her fingers) she double-bent her knees and said "Today I am going to take you through a magic portal so you can see how Deep Ones live. And I will tell you about me, and how I live! I live in an apartment with my best friend. And her dog! Do you have any questions?" 

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Michael's best attempts at not judging a book by it's cover were being tested by the frog lady. He didn't want them to be, but there was only so much a Freedom City kid could do against his own history; he couldn't help but be really concerned about the idea of 'getting armor from a dead Star Knight', and thinking the worst possibilities of that; he wanted to be different, but at this moment he couldn't help but have concern creep in. Even more so at the idea of going somewhere to see how the Deep Ones 'lived'. going to a Secondary Location just seemed like such a bad idea. But he trusted Mrs. Harcourt, and she wasn't going to feed them to some sea monster, right? 


Unless she was brainwashed. But no one would do something like that.


He continued to offer a smile as he stepped back, he looked to the side a bit and looked at Parker, then at Lawrence, for the most obvious moral support he had; he always felt the most confident when he knew they were around or handling things, after all. He kept his voice even, but he was also standing a little closer to Parker now


"How they live? Like...under the water? Are uh, are we going to need to hold our breath?" Did she even mean 'dog' like he thought of a dog? What if it was some kind of weird undersea monster thing? 

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Again, Aquaria reveling her full appearance did not seem to bother Lawrence, as he had seen plenty of bizarre beings on CoVic Station. The blond teen thought he had an idea what she meant about "bad robots" killing a Star Knight, but felt it was best not to bring it up. They were here to learn about Deep Ones, not a recent history of space.


Some of the others seemed a bit…concerned, either by Aquaria's appearance, some of what she said, or a combination of both. Lawrence knew the League had a good bit of information about Sea Devil, his mom not mentioning the details. If they felt she was trustworthy enough, that was good enough for him.

He glanced over to Parker, giving his friend a slight nudge with his elbow. "Hey, you okay? Look a bit pale." He asked quietly.

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Aquaria laughed nervously, wondering what they were teaching the children at the Surfacer school. She tried to make eye contact with their teacher but she was busy checking on the boy in the back, the one from space? but no the little one with the handsome tail was from pace, she remembered that. 


"Hah-hah, nooooo!" she throbbed, her throat bulging as she wrapped her long fingers around each other. "You wouldn't want to go there. The ones who live Below would not be friendly to you! No indeed!" She looked away, her mind seeming to take in some distant scene, before she shook herself all over and . "No indeed. We will be visiting a place where a tribe has settled. They hunt the fish and whales that live in deep waters, but they live close to the Surface! Not as close as me though!" She considered what to say next, then said, "Do any of you speak Lemurian - or perhaps its - ah, sister tongue, Atlantean?


As she spoke, she raised her trident and seemed to poke the air, producing a startling magical effect as a portal _wriggled_ open - there was no better word for it, an iris made of tentacles writhing open to reveal a sickly green gateway. "I know it looks strange to your eyes!" she croaked, "but do not worry! It is the magic of Mother Hydra, who is not bad! She is just very strong!" 

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Cerebral and Cerebellum 


Now Iris was excited about all of this, she was ready to bombard Aquaria with questions but paused. She may be ready to learn but she was also well....Iris...and as such she was a little bit suspicious with the whole 'going through a portal to an underwater city' thing. Though this had less to do about what Aquaria was but more the logic behind that. Neither she nor Daniel had any reason to hate her personally. They had never encountered the Deep Ones before, as such there was less personal bias with them.


Daniel would be the one to speak however as he finally opened his mouth. "Thank you Ms Aquaria but umm...will we be ok down there? I'm a little concerned about the safety-." Of course logically both knew their teachers wouldn't put them in harm's way. But he just needed to be sure.

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The wriggling portal is unnerving, to say the least. Parker stares at it, arms still crossed as he remains at the back of the group. Deep One tech. Or magic. Or whatever it is. He's willing to accept much, but this is just unsettling.


He barely notices at first when Lawrence nudges him with his elbow and asks if he is ok, too lost in his own head at the moment.


"No, I'm not, but I'll power through." He has to. He's the strong, stoic guy. Everyone expects him to power through.

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Blue Bolt 


Vueriz barely followed Aquaria's spouted words, gathering that she had identified her as an alien and gotten her armour from space, although she barely suppressed a snort at the 'magic portal' comment.


She wasn't good at reading people, especially given the differences between Zirtimzara and Humans, no tails thrashing or ears moving, although the blush reflex seemed the same. As such it was a small miracle that she could read Parker's tension, even if she was very wrong on what she thought it was from. 


As such, her schoolmate probably wasn't particularly reassured when she patted him on the leg and said "Don't worry, we all know magic isn't real."


Still, she watched the portal writhed against the reality that rejected it, trying to spot any activation that had caused it. She had to admit, she'd give her right arm to take the trident apart she study the components that let it open a gateway like that. (Of course, she would then build a replacement that used such technology to cement her place as a cool cyborg rebel who could open gateways to other worlds, but the loss of the arm was the important part, not what she would do after.)


When the Deep One queried their linguistic capacity she raised her hand pronouncing "My breathing mask contains a Universal Translator. There isn't a language across the stars that I cannot understand!"

Edited by Kaede Kimura
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Oh this was definitely not okay.


Michael sucked air in through his teeth and tried not to let it show just how not okay he was with walking through a portal ripped through the air by a bunch of tentacles. He was supposed to be an ambassador here, right? At least in some ways. Whatever this was was not something he wanted to be anywhere near. Why did he always end up around weird magic; this was just like that Crococonda he'd had to fight in that swamp. Not good, not fun at all.

"N..no. I don't speak anything like that. And yeah, uh. yeah. That would be good...that we don't go too deep. I don't think most of us can breathe underwater. So...yeah..." he looked at the portal again. "...She's strong enough to tear a hole in space like that? That's..." he really couldn't help himself. "That's pretty cool...actually."


He still really was wary of actually walking into the portal

Edited by Poncho
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Sea Devil 


"Do not worry!" Aquaria croaked for the benefit of the children and their teacher, who now looked ready to go. "I would not take you underwater without telling you! That would not be safe!" she added broadly. When Blue Bolt spoke she stared goggle-eyed at the tiny alien, because that was an insane thing to say. (That didn't bother her too much, because many people on the Surface said insane things all the time.) But when nobody corrected her, not even the teacher, Aquaria laughed nervously, her throat ballooning rapidly as she said, "Hahaha! I am not supposed to talk to you about religion! You will hear many things if you can understand our language!"


She struck the ground with her trident and said "Here! I will show you!" With that, she climbed up into her armor, which made a wet, gurgling sound as it closed around her. Then she squatted down, then hopped through the portal, vanishing with an audible, slightly wet sucking sound. 


"Does anyone need a dramamine?" offered Miss Harcourt, stopping to take a pill from a small vial in her pocket. "This makes me nauseous sometimes," she admitted, "and you don't want to get sick halfway through." 




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Cerebral and Cerebellum 


The twins stared at the portal after Aquaria jumped through it then at each other. They seemed to be having a telepathic conversation for a few seconds before Iris sighed and nodded. Then she moved over to Miss Harcourt and would accept the offer for the pill, shallowing it before turning to her brother whom was already making his way to the portal.


"Hey Danny, take some Dramamine!"


"I'll be fine! W-We should be fine!"


He was clearly nervous but would take a deep breath before closing his eyes and diving into the portal akin to how one would dive into water. 
Iris blinked then rushed in and jumped in after him with a rather annoyed expression on her face. 

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Michael also took a pill and got one for Parker as they got passed around. He looked at Parker and held the pill out, placing a hand on his friend's shoulder supportively as the group of students moved on.


"Hey...Uh...we're both not doing great. I know. But between me, you, and Lawrence...we can handle it if something goes bad, right?" he whispered to Parker, keeping his eyes locked with the other super strong student. "So...let's put faith in each other, at the least." he finished. He straightened up as the twins jumped in.


"Iris, Daniel, wait for us!" he called, moving towards the portal and jumping into it after them.

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Lawrence had a faint trace of a frown as Paker mentioned powering through whatever was bothering him. Of course, the blond teen did not comment on that, after all, he had something of ‘stiff upper lip’ himself for a lot of things weighing on him, something he had reveled during the trip to Fiji.

He looked at Vueriz as she commented about magic not being real, but decided now as not the time to enter into a debate about magic with their rather scientifically focused classmate.


In many ways, Lawrence found Aquaria's demeanor somewhat innocent, and a bit culturally awkward.


He shook his head at the offered Dramamine before looking back to Parker and offering him a reassuring smile. "Common, let's go." Before jumping through the portal as well.

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Aquaria's teleportation was - tactile. They were definitely passing through something warm, clinging, and just a little wet - with a vague scent of brine. But then they were on the other side! 


A proud Sea Devil stood by to greet the teen heroes as they arrived at their destination; high above the North Atlantic! 


They were at the top of the oil rig Aquaria had mentioned and towered a city rooftop high above a near-mirror-smooth, wine-dark sea. Puffy white clouds filled the skies. The structure around them showed signs of abandonment; rust and thick with seagull droppings. There was even a nest of them on a nearby rusted-out crane, one that immediately began cawing and hollering up a storm at the sight of the teleported teens. 

Standing next to Aquaria was a Deep One, a hideous frog-fish thing with great goggling eyes and a white, scaly body, topped off with an enormous blue hat that shielded its gigantic eyes from the sun. Most of the heroes heard an exchange of grunts and bellows, Aquaria banging on her armor with her trident; the smaller Deep One squatting and hopping around Aquaria, before finally gesturing for them to follow it below before it hopped away towards the stairs. 


What Sea Devil said to the teens was: "Ah! Boal says the tribe has been feasting! A fine time to see them - there will be no trouble! Be warned," she added grandly. "What you see may be shocking to your eyes! But it is how a hungry people eat when they have no other means of food!" Heading down the stairs after Boal, they passed by strange signs of various sorts, each drawn on the metal, plastic, and wood of the rig by some alien hand - and eye. 


"Be careful not to look too long at the Deep One art," said Ms. Harcourt, who had taken up the rear of the little makeshift tour. "Its non-Euclidean nature can make your nausea worse." Come to think of it, they could all smell something coming up from below...


What Boal had said to Aquaria was in the form of a song; a song that sounded a little something like this: 


"Great One! You come along us again!" 

"Yes, by Hydra's power - and my teeth! Come, I have strong champions to - What is that smell?" 

"We had a whale, great one! We have feasted all day!" 

"A whale - oh that sounds good! There is so little whale Up There - What kind?" 

"A humpback. We brought it down all by ourselves!" 

"You are strong, flesh of my flesh! And - oh the humpbacks are so good!" 

"We saved you some of its guts!" 

"Oh I had better not...maybe a little! But later, later...come, we have to take these children to see that you are strong!"  




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Blue Bolt 


Vueriz was confused about the comment about religion, but didn't have time to question before the Deep One retreated through her portal. She decided not to take the offered pill, not sure how it would affect her physiology. She looked at the portal, planning on walking through when some part of her refused. Like trying to step off of her skyboard a mile up, some survival instinct gripped at her, refused her brain's instructions.


She watched, paralysed as the others walked through, until it was just her and Parker. Her tail tense, writhing in tight, nervous knots she looked up at her classmate. He was so strong, but stuck just like her. The knot in her chest eased, as she held her hand out to him. 

Now that it was just them her voice had lost its bravado, instead just being tense. "I- I don't think I'll be able to go through on my own." She swallowed thickly, "Together?"


The portal was unpleasant, the slimy warmth making Vueriz think of how it must feel to be in the belly of some great beast, she emerged on the other side unscathed but heart racing, ears frantically twitching for the faintest noise and tail coiled into a tight loop, ready to lash out at the slightest movement. Her breath oozed from her as she tried to exhale her tension. The singing tones of the Deep Ones translated told her little, not knowing what a 'whale' was, although the stated goal of 'showing that they were strong' sounded... sinister. She looked around the others, looking for some sign that they understood. 

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"Thank you,  but I'll be fine," Parker says when Michael tries to hand him the pill. "I don't get motion sickness."


He doesn't comment on the rest. He can do this. He has to do this. He watches the others as they pass through the writhing mass that is the portal and... Vueriz is there too. 


Parker looks down at her. They all have issues going through this portal, it is alien to all of them, even her, and... He can do this. He has to.


"C'mon," he says, offering her his hand. "We can do this." 


Stepping through the portal, his senses are immediately bombarded with a cacophony of distances and entrances and exits and everything all around them and...


Then he's on the other side.


He did not get motion sickness. He knew exactly where everything was, but the moment he steps through and feels all the non-euclidian shapes and distances around them.


"Are you alright?" he asks Vueriz, as he lets go of her hand. He doesn't like what Sea Devil is saying about what they might see here...

Edited by RocketLord
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