/simu/ - Simulacrum

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>Date: August 20th, 2017
>Time: 12:00 PM [Relative to Sanctuary City]
>Location: The Axiom

{"Remember to breathe in. Focus."}

>The air feels stale in the large open void of space - the large magical platforms filling the void being the only source of footing.

>A woman with blonde hair slowly practices her breathing techniques - with a flickering radiance of multi-color lights softly manifesting around her body.

{"Good. That'll help me maintain my efficiency with mana."}

>Through instinct, the blonde woman quickly cycles through a series of arcane hand gestures with both hands, not even looking at the gestures. Thousands of years of experience course through her motor neurons - guiding the dexterous motions of her fingers and thumbs.

>Larger emanations of magical lights begin to ripple from the space between her hands as she continues making the gestures - moving faster over time.

>Throughout all of this, visions flash in her mind, all situated around a woman with white hair.

{"Mother…..I miss you so much."}

>The blonde woman's face then begins to slowly darken in sadness - until she hears a voice calling out from behind her.

"Stella! There you are!"

>Recognizing the voice, Stella turns around to see Isaac lightly jogging to her location in the open space of the arena.


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>As Isaac arrives at the arena platform, he stops jogging to stand right before her. Not breaking a sweat whatsoever, Isaac takes one hand out of his pocket waves at her.

"Sorry I was late for your big day! I had something that I had to clear up. Still in the middle of it actually."

>Understanding the rather strange nature of Isaac's job as Sorcerer Supreme, Stella nods in response.

"Yes, I understand. Thank you for supporting me all this time, Isaac. I'm not sure how far I would've come if it wasn't for you."

>Isaac then shakes his head, still giving Stella a genuine smile.

"Don't sell yourself short like that, Stella. I've seen how much you've grown, compared to before."

>Nodding over at the far exterior of the platform, Isaac reminisces about Stella's past.

"When you first arrived here, you could barely channel enough power to handle an incantation."

>Stella looks to the side, seemingly seeing aware of her past actions.

>She almost visualizes it again in her mind - a blonde woman with an ornate blue robe, highlighted with pink accents. A large, glistering staff in her hand - harboring a red orb that glows with energy.

"The staff. I still miss it, in a way."

"I'd say it was a crutch - one that you've long outgrown."

"Maybe. But it was still the last memento I had of my family. Of my life……"

>Stella then closes her eyes and sighs as she thinks to herself:

{"What would my mother say about this? Or my old friends? Or……."}

>Almost intuiting her thoughts, Isaac then surprises Stella with his response.

"I'm sure Aiden would tell you that your feelings aren't mutually exclusive. You can ruminate about your past, while still building a better future."

>Silent for a moment, Stella then sighs again before smiling.

"You remind me of him a lot, honestly.


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>Isaac crosses his arms, giving an amused look.

"I'd like to take that as a compliment - given how much he's changed as well."

>Stella gives an enthused scoff in response.

"He has changed a lot, yes. But the core of who he is - I feel that can't ever be shaken."

>Raising her hand up, Stella makes a brief hand gesture - causing the night sky of space to drastically reshape itself with regards to the constellations in the distance.

>Perking up, Isaac's eyebrow shifts slightly as he observes Stella's handiwork.

"….You're aware that all of those bright dots in the sky are actual stars - right Stella?"

>Stella nods casually as she brings up her other hand to continue the motions.

>As Stella continues her work - entire star systems in the distance continue to shift and shake around - distorting, merging and reforming in an instant.

"Light years away - yet you're guiding them as if they're next door. Are you Chronoskimming?"

>Isaac says, aware of the temporal technique used to perceive relative time, regardless of spatial distance.

>Stella nods once more, as she continues her cosmic artistry.

"Then you really have changed, for the better."

>Isaac then ponders one final question, as he begins to notice a wave of bright white light gradually coursing through Stella's body.

"….You mentioned to me a long time ago, that your mother was chosen to marry your father as per the rites and customs of Thaumaturgic society, correct?"

>Isaac waits for Stella to nod in response, which she does.

"You never actually explained to me why Lucian chose her - why he chose Cordia to be his wife."

>Stella then looks at Isaac, her irises now glowing white as a familiar radiance now shines brightly across her body. Her voice distorts with magical power as she responds.

"Because my mother was the first attempt at creating life through Thaumaturgy."

>Isaac's eyes widen in response - despite this being confirmation of his suspicions.

"….That's why they created the Djinn afterwards, to-"

"To test the idea with artificial bodies - before perfecting it. Which they later did."

>Stella then feels the bright energy and white light rapidly dissipate from her body - as her irises turn hazel once more.

"…By creating me."


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>Isaac then immediately puts together the chain of events in his mind before speaking.

"…After your birth, your father outlawed the ritual to ensure that no one else would be created to challenge him."

>Stella's face darkens at the mention of her father and his actions.

"He either created or converted people into Djinn to sustain their society, at the cost of people's autonomy and free will."

>Her face darkens further, a shadow covering her eyes as she grits her teeth.

"When your mother attempted to overthrow him - he banished her from your dimension, and gave you her research position."

>Visible trembling and shaking begins around Stella's body.

"Then it all came to breaking point when your brother Ignis was turned into a Djinn - Iblis. That's when you-"

>Stella then immediately shouts out in a kneejerk reaction.

"That's when I started making up for everything that I had been complicit in!"

>Silence fills the air, as Stella sighs again. Her cheeks are somewhat red, and her eyes are watery. Her voice is shaking as she musters up the strength to say:

"I nearly allowed the entirety of my people to be subjugated under the rule of a madman. My own father."

>Looking up at Isaac with a determined expression on her face, her eyes stare daggers at Isaac - though her intent isn't aimed at him.

>The expression causes Isaac to reflexively take a step back - surprised by the resolve in her eyes.

"I won't let that happen again. Ever."

>Isaac nods, a solemn expression on his face.

"Yes, I can see that now."

>Silent for another moment, Isaac then walks forward to Stella and speaks.

"For what it's worth, I do think that you've made up for your actions, tenfold. Your father was brought to justice before the Gods. The souls of your civilization can now rest in peace."

>He then places a hand on Stella's shoulder, giving her a nod of encouragement.

"….Also, you're the last Thaumaturge. I can't think of a better person to represent the best in them - mistakes and all. Their collective spirit is carried through you - no matter what."

>Stella looks at Isaac with a sense of genuine gratitude in her eyes. She then moves forward and gives him a hug.

"Thank you Isaac. Thank you so much…."

>Isaac nods.

"I know what it's like to feel as though something's missing. I've got a person or two that I'm trying to get back myself. Just like you with your mother. You'll get her back, I promise."

>Isaac then removes himself from the hug and taps Stella on the shoulder once more - before turning to walk away.

"Stephanie will like drop by soon, just to get an assessment of your progress. I think you've shown a substantial amount of growth - so let her see that too."

>Waving behind to Stella as he walks away, Isaac then exits the arena platform and walks back into the halls of the Axiom - leaving Stella alone once more with her thoughts.


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>Date: August 21st, 2017
>Location: Northeastern United States
>Time: 11:00 AM

>Andromeda flies above the skies of the Northeastern United States, flying across a forestry region high above the clouds. Her mind is calm, a pervasive serenity gradually empowering her thoughts - as she continues weaving through the open stratosphere.

{"I should really find better ways to use my vacation days. Still, Aiden said he was busy - and Suisei…."}

>Feeling her mouth reflexively turn into a smile at the mention of both people, Andromeda then thinks to herself.

{"I'm surprised by how much I respect her. Wait….What's that in the distance?"}

>Narrowing her eyes behind her mystical visor for a moment, Andromeda sees a brief flicker of light in the forest down below. Curious, she then begins flying lower - her instincts telling her to prepare a stealth spell just in case……


>Down below in the forestry areas - a pair of figures are working on what seems to be a ritual of sorts. A glowing rune system appears beneath the feet of the two figures - one man and one woman.

{"There's no mistaking it. Those are large arcane runes. Which means these two are magicians…."}

>Andromeda watches from a tree branch - a quarter of a mile off. Her body is protected by a reinforced stealth spell which keeps her protected from detection. Using her mystical visor to view the ritual in the distance, she continues assessing its progress.

{"This is concerning. I might have to call Isaac or Stephanie for this. Maybe even Aiden… Or-"}

>Andromeda then catches herself, thinking and reevaluating her thoughts.

{"….No. I can handle this. All of my training with Isaac and Stephanie has been for moments like this. I can do this!"}

>Determined, Andromeda then flies up into the air - and begins flying forward in an arcing pattern, attempting to flank the two figures from a distance…..


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"Hurry it up, Shade. We're wasting valuable time if we can't establish the leylines."

>The blonde woman from before in Paradise City turns her attention to her partner - the same man with red hair from before.

>The man, seemingly named Shadow, scoffs at his partner's impatience.

"We're being covert precisely because of our last altercation with this world's 'heroes'. Did you forget that, Gale?"

>Gale, the woman with blonde hair, rolls her eyes as she snaps her fingers - generating a large gust of wind in Shadow's direction.

"Enough of your prattling. Finish the binding ritual so that we can anchor this point in space to our dimension. Chrono and Ashe are already at work elsewhere."

"Yes I know-"

>Immediately falling silent, Shadow then feels a disturbance in their ritual as his eyes dart around, scanning for an anomalous phenomenon.

"Something's disrupted the mana pathways for the ritual!"

"What? That's impossible! There's no on here but us-"

>Before Gale can respond, a blur appears in an instant, delivering a swift burst of force to her chest - and forcing her backwards. As she's knocked back into the ground, Gale curses to herself in pain as she snarls.

"Who has the audacity to-"

>Gale attempts to speak again, as the same blurry figure grabs her and spin kicks her into the air.

>The area immediately grows dark - turning to night time in an instant as Shadow's powers flare up.

"If you're the same woman from before - Hyperia, then I won't hesitate to-"

>A large burst of bright magical light cuts through the veil of darkness that lies over the area. Almost in an instant, the visage of night time falls away - to reveal the afternoon rays of the Sun once more.

"Impossible…..You…..You're a magical being like us, aren't you?"

>Andromeda then comes to a halt, saying to herself:

"After what Hyperia told me? Yes, I'm very much aware of what you are. I can sense it in you."

>Moving directly up to Shadow, Andromeda grabs him by the face and slams him into the ground - dragging him until he comes to a stop dozens of meters away.


>Andromeda then makes a hand gesture - creating a magical spell that disrupts the binding ritual. The accumulated mana and magical energy then disperses, completely falling away into nothingness.


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>Gale remains high up in the air, spinning around in annoyance as she looks for her target down below.

"Argh! Bitch!"

>Flying down at rapid speeds, Gale summons a massive surge of high pressure wind around her - pressurized enough to slice through steel as she barrels down below towards her target.

>Andromeda immediately feels the pressure of the air current rushing towards her from above. The sky rapidly turns dark - stormy weather manifesting before her eyes now.

"Much stronger than I expected….Still…"

>She pulls her hand back, generating a plume of pink light and energy in her palm as she speaks.

"I can outdo this!"

>Striking forward with her palm, Andromeda causes a massive surge of pink energy to appear from her hand - completely outclassing the size of the air current. The air current is completely disrupted and the air pressure of the area is normalized once more.

>At the same time, Shadow gradually rises to his feet - still somewhat stunned by the attack displayed by Andromeda.

"You….You're stronger than the others, aren't you?"

>Lunging at her once more, Andromeda easily backsteps and vaults to the side - putting her hands together to deliver a dual backhanded strike to Shadow's face. The sheer force of the strike breaks the sound barrier - sending Shadow spiraling into the ground once more.


>As Shadow spirals across the ground, Gale is taken aback by the sheer force of the magic attack. Unable to block the attack, she instead chooses to avoid it as much as she can.


>Part of her body is charred by the attack - causing her to fall to the ground, due to the pain.


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"I've got you!'

>Andromeda instinctively moves to fly towards Gale's position - catching her as she falls to the ground.

>Surprised by Andromeda's selfless action, Gale then asks:

"….Why did you save me?!"

>Andromeda looks at Gale and says:

"Because I'm not trying to kill you. I'm just trying to stop you from making a mistake."

>Gale looks away, irritated.

"…Fine. I can recognize your superior strength, whoever you are."

>Andromeda still has Gale in her arms as she speaks.

"Andromeda. Also sorry, but this is going to hurt a bit."

>Andromeda begins whispering an incantation, as Gale looks on in surprise.

"What are you-"

>Andromeda then watches as a bright pink light appears around Gale.

"What is this….GYAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!"

>The pink light grows brighter in luminosity causing Gale to warp and distort into a small artifact that now hovers above Andromeda's hand.

"Sealing. Always was my specialty."


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>Andromeda then turns around to see Shadow rushing towards her - albeit far too quickly for the man to anticipate.

"What did you do to Gale- OOF!"

>The wind is knocked out of Shadow as Andromeda knees him in the chest. The sheer strength of her strike is enough to send Shadow skirting backwards quickly, while he struggles to regain his footing.

"Ack! ACK!"

>As he falls to the ground - he immediately coughs loudly, trying to gasp for air to fill his lungs. After a few seconds, he can hear the slow footsteps of Andromeda walking towards him.

>Thinking instinctively, Shadow materializes a cloud of darkness around him - attempting to protect himself from Andromeda. He sinks into the darkness and begins to transport himself rapidly - and away from the area.


>Location: Eastern Seaboard

>Hundreds of miles away, at the shoreline of the East Coast - Shadow reappears in his physical form. Coughing and gasping for air as the transportation took up most of his energy and effort.

"Need….to get….away…..Warn the others….."

>Shadow then reaches the shore's waters - attempting to reach into the ocean itself.

"There! The darkness of the ocean floor will protect me! I can…get there….I can….Get……there!"

>Suddenly, a foot presses itself softly on top of his gloved fingers - as a wave of despair rushes over Shadow's body.

"Oh…Oh no….It's you isn't it?"

>Slowly looking up, as his body trembles in fear - Shadow can see the form of Andromeda standing over him, crossing her arms.

"Yes, it's me, Shadow. I'm very much still present here, aren't I?"

>Shadow then shouts in panic and fear, as a pink light envelops him as well - turning him into another artifact that hovers in Andromeda's hand.

"Now to get you to safe hands…."

>Turning around, Andromeda then flies off into the distance, using her magic in order to make a call.

"….Hello? Isaac? I think I have something for you and Stephanie….."

>Andromeda says as she flies off at massively hypersonic speeds.


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>Location: The Axiom
>Time: Irrelevant

"Here you go, Isaac."

>Andromeda hands the set of large artifacts to Doctor, watching as he then performs a hand gesture to displace both of the objects within a magic barrier. After a few more hand gestures, he displaces them into the same jail-like dimension as the rest of the hostile forces they've captured.

"Thanks, Stella. I believe I know what these beings are."

>A tome then flies into the Axiom's living quarters, opening itself up to the right page as Doctor begins to trace his gloved finger across the pages. After a few moments, he finds the exact line that he's looking for.

"These are Parahelions."

"….That name sounds intriguing."

"They very much are. Parahelions are sentient magical stars, given form through the awareness of their own existence and power."

>Andromeda then assumes a thinking position as she speaks.

"…So that Ouranos man must have encountered them in a separate dimension and started a confrontation with them."

>Doctor nods as he closes the tome in one of his hands.

"Likely. He seems to be the brash and impulsive type. Once he realized that he couldn't be the victor in the fight - he must have tricked them into that TTC machine of his. It has a spatial-temporal profile similar to that of the Axiom, although far smaller."

>Assuming a thinking position himself, Doctor then elaborates further.

"Given the hyper-dimensional nature of that machine structure, he should have been able to contain them - at least long enough for him to make his way to Earth. Then the internal damage started, as Aiden explained to me - leading to their break out."

>Nodding, Andromeda then says:

"Well, now we've captured them. At least two of them. Hopefully we'll find the rest of them soon enough."

>Doctor nods in response.

"Yes, I'll set up a tracking spell based on Shadow and Gale's energy signatures. Once we've captured all of the Parahelions - we can send them back to their home dimension."

>Andromeda nods back at Doctor and then waves as she begins to teleport herself out of the Axiom.

"Thank you again, Isaac! See you soon!"

>Doctor waves back, as Andromeda disappears from the Axiom in a flash of bright pink light, leaving him alone again.

"What an amazing sorceress she's becoming….."


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Residential Sector
>Time: 5:00 PM

>As Stella finishes up cooking for the night, she brings the tray of food out to Aiden and Suisei. Both of them look hungrier than usual.

"Hey, thanks Stella."

>Aiden says, as he helps her place the various food contents down on the table. As he does so, Suisei inspects the food carefully, before showing a facial expression akin to approval.

"The presentation is impressive….But what about the quality…."

>Taking her utensils, Suisei begins to eat her food - only for her eyes to light up in surprise.

"The consistency and texture….The seasoning…."

>Turning her head to face Stella, Suisei then exclaims:

"The food is wondrous, Stellara! I cannot praise you enough!"

>Suisei then continues digging in, surprising both Aiden and Stella.



>Aiden then turns towards Stella, saying:

"I mean at this point, you can start tasting your handiwork yourself. You've more than earned it honey."

>Suisei's ears perk up at Aiden's last word - causing both her and Stella to look at him.

>An awkward silence fills the air as Aiden then blinks behind his sunglasses. After a moment, he then acknowledges what he said.

"…..Sorry, it was a kneejerk reaction."

>Suisei narrows her eyes as she then speaks up:

"Oh? Then what of my cooking by comparison? Am I not on par with Stella's capabilities?"

>Aiden then looks at Suisei and says:

"That's not what I meant honey!"

>Again, Aiden finds himself tripping up, as his instinctual responses are clear as day.

>Both Stella and Suisei look satisfied at Aiden's responses - each of them having a smug look on their faces.

"Good. We wouldn't want you to feel partial towards either of us, dear."

"Absolutely. Fairness and equity is a hallmark trait of a good husband, isn't it, dear?"

>Aiden groans and buries his head in his hands, muttering behind his hands.

"Neither of you are going to give up, are you?"

>Stella and Suisei continue eating their food, as they both reply, seemingly in unison.

"We already told you before, Aiden. Neither of us are interested in any other man."

"Either you commit to us, or you commit to no one else."


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>Time: 9:30 PM

>After everyone's finished eating, they start preparing to go sleep. However, Stella is still in the kitchen, tidying up the place one last time.

>As she continues cleaning up the area, Aiden knocks on the entrance to the kitchen and speaks.

"Can I come in?"

>Stella, not looking at Aiden, responds:

"Of course you can, honey."

>Sighing, Aiden then walks into the kitchen, looking at her as she cleans. He then speaks up.

"….I'm sorry for making this awkward. I just didn't really know if I believed the idea that either of you were serious about this."

>Aiden looks off to the side, crossing his arms as he sighs.

"Besides, I can be a bit of a jerk."

>Stella continues cleaning as she whistles to herself.

"Understatement of the year, Aiden. You're a massive jerk. A complete egoist. A prideful and stubborn buffoon."

>As she finishes cleaning, she then turns around to face Aiden and walk towards him. Now standing before him, she places her hands on his face and softly rubs his cheeks.

"But I can say that of any person. We're all deeply flawed people, Aiden. But it's your good traits that balance out the bad."

>Stella continues pinching at Aiden's cheeks playfully as she continues to speak.

"Your compassion and empathy. Your willingness to stand by the people you care about no matter what."

>Suisei then appears from behind Aiden, placing her hand on his shoulder.

"Your tenacity and perseverance in the face of adversity."

>Both Stella and Suisei then place their hands at their sides.

"It's quite remarkable."

>Still feeling somewhat remorseful and sad, Aiden looks away from both women, starting to ruminate again.

"I still don't feel like I'm worth your time and effort. I've made way too many mistakes."

>Stella and Suisei both look irritated as they both guide his face, with their hands, back towards their direction.

"It's precisely that modesty that makes us care about you even more - you complete idiot."

"You really are dense, aren't you?"


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>Aiden then looks between Stella and Suisei, before he then says:

"….You both really are serious about this, aren't you?"

>Stella and Suisei each place their hands on their hips - clearly irritated by Aiden's slow realization.

"Ace detective you are, Mister Grayson."

"Really, a masterclass at deductive reasoning."

>Sighing, Aiden then thinks long and intently before he then says his next words.

"…..Alright. I can't really pick between either of you anyways, and I'm through with second guessing myself."

>Aiden looks at both of them and then says:

"I'm more than happy to be with you both."

>Stella and Suisei then exhale - both of them holding in extra air than they realized.

"Finally, you let us in."

"Took you long enough."

>Aiden exhales himself and then sighs, stating:

"I already know I'm going to get so much blowback for this. I can tell."

>Stella and Suisei each then grab Aiden by one of his arms.

"Neither of us care Aiden."

"Life is far too short for us to care."

>Aiden looks between Stella and Suisei and then sighs once more.

"That may be, but neither of you are in a position to decide what I'm interested in either."

>Stella and Suisei both look at each other, somewhat taken aback.

"….We wouldn't presume to say that, Aiden."

"Absolutely not. We're just being honest."

>Aiden nods in affirmation, before replying.

"I'm aware, but there's still the matter of my own perspective, and my own wishes."

>He then pauses for a moment to exhale.

"I'm not sure if I'm ready for that type of commitment yet."


File: 1699322254668-0.jpeg (140.52 KB, 850x1203, Aiden - 50.jpeg)

File: 1699322254668-1.jpeg (314.44 KB, 1242x2048, Stella - 6.jpeg)

File: 1699322254668-2.jpeg (140.72 KB, 850x1111, Suisei.jpeg)

>Stella and Suisei both look at Aiden, each with an inquisitive expression on their face.

>Suisei then crosses her arms and looks away, closing her eyes as she smiles softly.

"Fair enough, Aiden. I can get the message."

>Stella gives a somewhat sour expression, as she then sighs to herself, twirling a small set of strands in her hair.

"….I suppose I do as well.

>Stella then looks back at Aiden and says:

"…In that case, I'll try and give you some space. I'm sure Suisei will feel the same way."

>Suisei nods slowly as she keeps her arms crossed.

"I wouldn't want to nudge you into a decision that you wouldn't find yourself comfortable with, Aiden. I'm in agreement with Stella."

>Aiden looks at both women, giving them a thankful grin.

"I appreciate it, really."


File: 1699323030291-0.jpeg (94.68 KB, 850x1159, Aiden - 48.jpeg)

File: 1699323030291-1.jpeg (252.66 KB, 1184x2048, Stella.jpeg)

File: 1699323030291-2.jpeg (132.51 KB, 642x1182, Suisei - 2.jpeg)

File: 1699323030291-3.jpg (54.38 KB, 800x371, Sci Fi Kitchen.jpg)

>Aiden then looks at the clock in the kitchen, as he sees the time.

"…..Well, time to get ready for tomorrow. Stella, you can help Suisei with her stuff if she still needs to get herself settled in properly."

>Aiden then finishes putting away the last of the dishes from the sink - as he turns around and waves at both Stella and Suisei.

"See you two tomorrow morning. I've got stuff that I need to prepare for. Work."

>Stella responds to Aiden as he walks away.

"I'm going with you to the office tomorrow, remember?"

>Aiden nods as he speaks from the hallway.

"Yeah, I know. Good night Stella. Good night Suisei. See you both tomorrow."

>As Aiden leaves, Stella turns to Suisei and taps her chin awkwardly.

"…..Right…..So……do you want to arrange your stuff? I can help you with that if that's not too awkward."

>Suisei gives a soft laugh as she responds.

"Certainly. You're much more pleasant when you're not adversarial, Stella."

>Stella quickly waves her hands in front of her face, instinctively.

"N-No! That wasn't how I normally am! I swear! I'm sorry about that Suisei!"

>Suisei then laughs in response.

"I understand, Stella. Yes I'd like your help. Thank you."

>Suisei then leaves the kitchen area, with Stella walking beside her.

>The kitchen then falls silent, as the lights are turned off - with everyone going off into the hallway afterwards.

[The End]

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