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The Isekai Wonderland Project

The Isekai Wonderland Project

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Isekai away of your own volition.

1,648 readers have visited The Isekai Wonderland Project since Valkyrieknight created it.

Introduction




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"So, you like the Isekai genre?"
"So do I..."

Behold! Isekai-ing has now been officially invented.

The Yonder Wonder company is still running some tests and tweaking the bells and whistles. That’s where you come in... Oh, wondrous volunteer you.

The Isekai Wonderland Project (IWL) has partnered with the Periwinkle Institute seeking reliable, adventurous, and tight-lipped college students among them.

With generated identities and a customizable A.I that we like to call, ‘Gatekeepers’, you are tasked to explore alternate universes.

While you're there, if you suspect you have run into another volunteer, remember to double-check before blowing your cover! Code, “Ise.” “Kai.” Easy enough?

Do be careful with this new tech. Trust your superiors, your colleagues and you'll get out well and coherent…

Play your part,
Abide by the rules,
and Report upon your return.
Don't get lost.





Welcome to IWL! An experiment on the joys of developing a character without being restrained to a world.
Much like a writing prompt, characters could be in the midst of a zombie apocalypse one moment and attending a school of witchcraft and wizardry the next!
They will be given different settings to run through, completing story checkpoints, and at the end of the day, return and go about their daily lives as they please.
This is a roleplay for having fun, collecting more than one face claim (if you wish), and writing different genres.
Happy to have you!


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[font=Verdana][CENTER][size=130][b]THE IWL APPLICATION FORM[/b][/size][/CENTER][/font]
[left][img]INSERT IMAGE LINK HERE[/img][/left][font=Verdana][size=80][color=#929292][b]FULL NAME:[/b][/color] [u]MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY[/u]
[color=#929292][b]AGE:[/b][/color] [u].... YEARS OLD[/u]
[color=#929292][b]YEAR/COURSE:[/b][/color] [u]- YEAR / BACHELOR OF -[/u]
[color=#929292][b]PLACE OF BIRTH:[/b][/color] [u]...........[/u]
[color=#929292][b]PREVIOUS JOB EXPERIENCE:[/b][/color] [u].........[/u]
[color=#929292][b]REFERENCES:[/b][/color] (List 2, one must be a superior and the second encouraged to be another character)
[color=transparent]xxxx[/color][u]Lorem Ipsum[/u] - ...............................
[color=transparent]xxxx[/color][u]Ipsum Lorem[/u] - ...............................
[color=#929292][b]ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: (Disabilities? Illnesses? Allergies?)[/b][/color]
[justify][color=transparent]xxxx[/color][u]Nulla tempus id turpis vel ullamcorper. In accumsan suscipit enim eu aliquet. Curabitur id luctus lectus. Vivamus sed mauris gravida mauris porttitor condimentum sed eget arcu. Pellentesque consequat justo mi, at accumsan tellus pretium vitae. Etiam ut lectus at enim dictum gravida. Fusce vel pellentesque lorem, convallis faucibus lorem. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam mi purus, laoreet vitae bibendum accumsan, dapibus ac est. Nullam vehicula aliquam tellus, nec tristique libero molestie a.[/u][/justify]
[color=#929292][b]WHY DO YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE ISEKAI?[/b][/color]
[justify][color=transparent]xxxx[/color][u]Duis non molestie orci. Praesent eleifend viverra rutrum. Nunc sem sapien, commodo et neque sit amet, feugiat vulputate libero. Etiam sagittis rutrum orci sed pulvinar. Nunc libero nunc, interdum at bibendum sed, vehicula in turpis. Vivamus suscipit neque et odio eleifend, at porttitor quam aliquam. Vestibulum vel diam vulputate, fermentum nibh a, scelerisque nisl. Nulla semper tellus eu lacus vulputate tristique.

Suspendisse rutrum euismod feugiat. Suspendisse luctus tortor in odio faucibus pellentesque. Proin quis laoreet risus. Aliquam ornare ut dui at congue. Mauris fringilla viverra nibh, ut gravida dui tincidunt eget. Etiam ullamcorper tellus vel odio eleifend, sit amet dignissim nisi rutrum. Donec dictum interdum orci sed efficitur.[/u][/justify]
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[font=Verdana][CENTER][size=130][b]APPLICANT'S BIOGRAPHY[/b][/size][/CENTER][/font][font=Verdana][CENTER][i]Human Resources Department Use Only (Character’s background/ appearance/ personality etc.)[/i][/CENTER][/font]
[font=Verdana][size=80][justify][color=transparent]xxxx[/color][u]Duis non molestie orci. Praesent eleifend viverra rutrum. Nunc sem sapien, commodo et neque sit amet, feugiat vulputate libero. Etiam sagittis rutrum orci sed pulvinar. Nunc libero nunc, interdum at bibendum sed, vehicula in turpis. Vivamus suscipit neque et odio eleifend, at porttitor quam aliquam. Vestibulum vel diam vulputate, fermentum nibh a, scelerisque nisl. Nulla semper tellus eu lacus vulputate tristique. Morbi egestas at metus et ornare. Cras varius tempor nisl non fringilla. Integer molestie a justo ac dictum. Maecenas auctor dolor dui, vel vulputate dolor aliquam vel. Integer interdum dolor tristique arcu luctus, vitae rhoncus sem scelerisque. Morbi enim justo, viverra vitae luctus ac, porta eget tellus.
[/u][/justify][/size][/font]
[hr][/hr][hr][/hr]
[right][font=Verdana][size=130][b]Signature here:[/b][/size][/font]
[size=130][font=Segoe Script]Mary Mary Quite Contrary[/font][/size][/right]

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Respect your fellow roleplayers,
Enjoy writing a few paragraphs,
And join us on discord.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 10 authors

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Character Portrait: Mother Nature
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Image


Even in the fall, the grass was ever greener on the side of the Periwinkle Institute in New York City.
The wind casts circles along the ground to sweep away the autumn leaves from its pristine image, the stylish silver-cased exterior standing tall and proud. The university's building gives way to an impenetrable coldness to outsiders with its tinted windows, the transparent doors serving as the only keyhole into the world within. The students that walk through these glass entrances that catch the light on the tip of its doors, either belong or feel like an imposter standing in its refracted spotlight. People huddled in groups spread over the grounds' lawns, speak in hushed tones that approachers can only catch the ending word of before they disperse, wearing polite faces as a signal to coo away the curiosity of a child. In treading the stairs and strolling the halls, one can find themselves easily lost. It is a place only befitting for people in the know.

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Character Portrait: Alice Hyacinth
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There was nothing impressive about the box that had been delivered to Alice's doorstep. It was simple, plain in design; affording it a certain discreetness. The only reason Alice was aware of the box's significance was the blue ribbon tied across the top with the letters IWL printed in black on the satin fabric.

Her room was on the first floor of the main dormitory building, the only wheelchair accessible dorm on the entire campus. It had a door frame just large enough for her wheelchair to fit through, with several bumps and scratches from her underestimating the angle and trying to fit through. The bed was lower than in the other rooms, allowing Alice the ease to lift herself in and out. The interior was also larger, since a dorm meant for two only housed one.

Alice opened up the plain white door to the box that greeted her, turning her head this way and that to find the deliverer, but there was no one there. She leaned forward, cursing whoever thought it was a good idea to leave a gift for a wheelchair-bound person on the ground, and managed to lift it into her lap without falling over. Alice did not take it to heart, she was used to the constant oversight of the able-bodied. With a slight huff, the girl fixed the hair that had fallen into her eyes and wheeled backwards before closing the door behind her.

The desk, pushed to one side of the room, was too tall for Alice to use. Instead, she relied on the smaller table she had purchased on her first day moving into the Periwinkle Institute. As much as it was a relief to relocate to a place where no one knew or cared who she was, Alice did miss home.

With great care, she transferred out of her wheelchair and onto the pillow on the ground, her legs splayed at awkward angles that a normal person would probably find uncomfortable. Slowly, with some hesitation, Alice relieved the plain box of its ribbon and removed the top, her heart beating excitedly in her chest.

When Professor Glass had first told her about this project, Alice had scoffed. With some persistence from her Professor, however, she enlisted at last. After all, every science experiment needed the token cripple for diversity's sake.

Inside of the box were two items. A device that looked akin to a normal smartphone. It had a platinum metallic back with a piece of cling film stuck to it to prevent scratches. The second item in the box was a set of earrings, a matching pair of studs to go with the device. With some hesitation, Alice reached up to remove her current pair, a set of gold stars given to her by her agent as a parting gift and replaced it with the small pair of studs. "Comfy," Alice murmured. She looked down at the phone, which stared up at her with a blank screen. Alice carefully peeled off the cling film with her long nails and pressed the power button, holding it down until the screen lit up.

"Welcome volunteer: ALICE!"

The girl nearly dropped the device in surprise, the robotic voice coming from the device booming throughout the otherwise silent room. "Shh, shh! Too loud," she shook her head, grasping the device against her chest. Slowly, Alice placed it back down on the table.

"Congratulations on your acceptance to the Wonderland Isekai Project! The first step is to become accustomed to your GATEKEEPER. Your GATEKEEPER is an artificially intelligent agent meant to aid in your usage of the IWL and help immerse you into every world you jump into!"

"Gatekeeper?" Alice repeated, inching closer with wonder. She had read plenty of books about traveling through gates to another world, but never did Alice think she would get to experience one herself.

"To begin, please give your GATEKEEPER a name. This can be any name you think of, but be careful, because you can only choose once! Once you have made your selection, please speak the name aloud three times for confirmation."

Alice swallowed hard. Names were important, it gave any ordinary item life. Even her wheelchair had a name. "How about... Ram?" Alice smiled, thinking herself to be clever. "Ram, Ram, Ram."

"The name you have chosen is RAM. Would you like to proceed?"

"Yes," Alice replied, firm in her decision.

"Congratulations ALICE. Meet, RAM."

From the screen came an image, pixelated at first, but it slowly become clearer. The AI's face changed, shifting until it chose a form. The screen flickered again, the AI beginning to move inside of his cellphone prison. "Ram," he blinked, life pouring into his soulless eyes. Ram shook his head, his long red hair sweeping the floor. "Pretty," Alice murmured.

As if noticing her for the first time, Ram's head snapped up. "You must be the human." He floated closer, as if trying to look through the screen and into Alice's room. Could he see her? "Are you glitching? Hello?" He waved a hand in front of the screen.

"Ah! Sorry," Alice apologized quickly. "Yes, I'm Alice." She smiled, lifting the screen so he could get a better look at her. "Alice huh..." He looked her up and down, then past her, to the chair parked behind her. Any semblance of a smile on his face vanished in an instant. "What is that?"

"That's my wheelchair, it's how I move around." Alice held the phone closer so he could see it. A metal frame, decorated with stickers collected from her travels, with two large wheels, and two smaller ones for balance, as well as a foot hammock, which Alice found more comfortable than the hard plastic foot rest.

"What's wrong with your legs?"

"I had cancer when I was really young and now I can't feel them anymore."

"What's cancer?"

"It's a disease where your body turns against itself and starts attacking your insides."

"So why didn't your creators fix you?"

"Well... they did. I don't have cancer anymore." Alice smiled. Ram leaned back in his smartphone prison and huffed. "Great, just what I needed. Out of all of the humans, I had to be assigned to the defective one."

Alice felt her heart sink in her stomach. "That isn't very nice," she scolded. "I am not defective, I can do everything anyone else can."

"Can you walk?"

"Well, no, but I can roll, which is cooler." She smiled.

"Great, defective and dumb." Alice's cheeks burned. She turned away from the device, wondering if she could ask for a new AI. What if their incompatibility disqualified her? Alice had come so far, she didn't want to be kicked out now. "Ram," Alice turned back towards the smartphone. "We need to try and get along, alright? I'm the human and you're the gatekeeper, so you're supposed to help me on this journey. I hope I can rely on you, I'll be in your care."

"Yeah, whatever." Ram rolled his eyes, drifting off to somewhere unseen. The screen turned itself off, flickering to black.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
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#, as written by Danaie
A light breeze ran wildly through the air and caused goosebumps to appear on Mariya Fukuda's body as it danced upon her exposed skin. In regards to this, she pulled down the white sleeves of her blouse with a huff. The weather forecast had stated the weather would be relatively cool today and thus she had decided to forgo the usual getup of a sweater or jacket. A decision that was turning out to be quite a mistake. Perhaps she should have actually listened to her gut feeling that had been practically yelling at her to put on some extra layers? After all, one should take into account that New York City was situated on an island and surrounded by water on all sides.

Thus, logically the city's weather would be quite colder than other areas in the winter months, a fact which is supported by science. The dull warmth of the coffee in her hand did nothing to combat the chills that were rocking her body. Now she wasn't a heavy caffeine drinker nor did she even like it, it tasted way too funny for her picky taste buds. But hell did she need it at this time.

For her science lecture class, the professor tasked all the students in attendance with doing a report. On what? Well, anything they could come up with. Appropriate ideas of course. And once they had completed their reports they would need to turn them in and present them in front of the entire class. If that wasn't daunting enough the deadline for this report was two days with no exceptions. The professor explicitly stated that he wasn't going to extend the due date or give anybody extra time, even if your relative recently died.

Now, Maryia was a diligent student. She didn't slack in her work and her grades reflected that. How'd you think she got into such a prodigious university like Perwinkle in the first place? With her charming looks or nepotism? Obviously not, that'd just be simply ludicrous. Those weren't things she relied on.

Not when Maryia had other resources like her own brain at her disposal. Succeeding on pure talent and smarts alone was always a fulfilling feeling. For her at least.

BUZZ. BUZZ.

Vibrations coming from her pocket caused her to give pause in the middle of the concrete pathway. Ah, was someone trying to reach her? Mariya skillfully adjusted her bag from obstructing her way and reached down with her unoccupied hand, smoothly pulling out a sleek black phone from her pocket. After pressing the singular button on the device's side, the home screen lit up with a brilliant flash, and there was one text message displayed on the screen. Immediately, with even just a quick glance she knew who it was. Only her mother, Hanami Fukuda had the audacity to text somebody with grammar that was just simply revolting to set one's eyes upon.

"Package wait for you, at dorm. ;)"

Yeah, as observed, technology totally wasn't her mother's forte. The winky face was a cute addition though.

But a package? From whom? However, Mariya didn't bother asking who sent it and merely sent a 'thank you' text back. After all, she'd find out later after heading back to the dormitory. Having dealt with her temporary interruption she decided to get a move on. She wanted to get this report done today. No tomorrow or anything. Today only. Yet, who would have expected that as soon as her legs started to extend forward that she'd collide into another person? A spike of pain shot up through her shoulder. What the hell? Did she run into a brick wall? Her phone and coffee were sent sailing undauntedly through the air. The only thing she could do was helplessly watch as they both performed extreme acrobatics and hit the hard ground with a disappointing finale.

Mariya's temper finally exploded. Between this stupid report, other annoying factors, and now this, it was too much.

"Are you blind? Like actually? How did you not notice a whole person in front of you?! Look at what you've done! Get your eyes checked, you sighted halfwit!" All she could see was red. Her mother always warned her that she had a tendency to explode at others due to the smallest of things. But that wasn't her fault. Not at all. She was surrounded by idiots. Day and night. She had yet to find someone that could actually match up and challenge her intellect.

"Perhaps you were raised without manners or class but when we bump into someone and knock over their things. We apologize! Got it?" Mariya's steam had cooled off after a few more reprimands, her rationality returning. Her eyes went wide after realizing just who exactly was in front of her.

She blinked and blinked without saying anything as fear paralyzed her, turning her blood to ice. Did she just ruin one of her few relationships once again?

"Oh my god.. Kazuyuki? I'm terribly sorry! I didn't know it was you. I-I've just been really stressed these past few days and.." Her words trailed off quite awkwardly as any form of an explanation or sincere apology failed to reach her. She wasn't good at this. Not at all. She never had to apologize to people. It was always the other way around.

She was Maryia Fukuda, the daughter of two well-respected researchers in the archeological field. She had to be perfect. There was no room for any flaw.

And if a little sanity and mental wellness had to be sacrificed for ultimate perfection, well..

Then so be it.

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Character Portrait: Jorji M. Alderman
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Alright, next on the list is furniture. What will I need to get?" Jorji crossed off the last of the items under 'Toiletries' and moved on to furniture, looking at the aisle signs for guidance. Having moved from Colorado to New York for this project, he couldn't fit his home furniture in his car, so he would need to find a few replacements to spice up his new room. He wasn't sure what the others would decorate their rooms with, but when it came to his personal space, Jorji wanted to make it a place he enjoyed being in. Back home, he didn't have much creative freedom for his room, always hearing complaints about how 'visitors might see' or 'what if someone comes over and starts thinking our family is weird'. Despite not understanding why random visitors would barge into his room and see his figurines and posters, he kept the peace and only put a few of his favorites on display. Now that he was moving into his college dorm, he was free to express himself to his heart's content, and he planned on taking advantage of that very fact.

"I will not be living in your room, so how would I know?" A silky voice spoke into his ear. One of the Isekai Wonderland Project people had explained that the assistant AI helping the participant it was assigned to would need to communicate with them outside the isekai worlds, and they gave Jorji a few options for how to carry his AI around with him. He ended up choosing a bluetooth earbud that had a tiny camera and microphone built into it, so the AI could speak, see, and hear as Jorji went about his normal life. In the time before the project started, Jorji was supposed to get familiar with the AI and personalize it, so that they'd already know each other before the first dive. What better way to do that than shop for dorm essentials?

"Okay smartass, let me rephrase.” Jorji rolled his eyes. “What furniture is already provided by the university? If I know that, I can decide what else I might want."

"The list of furniture provided is in the dormitory pamphlet that the project leads should have given you. Do I take it that you neglected to read it?" The AI said, not bothering to hide the sarcastic smirk in its voice.

"I skimmed through it! I remember it saying they’ll provide the basics. Beyond that, I may or may not have skipped it…" Jorji scoffed, a bit taken aback at the AI’s sass. I knew these things would be high tech, but coding sarcasm is impressive. "That reminds me, I never got around to calling you by something, and I remember the project people saying I could name you. Got any naming preferences?"

"You may call me whatever you like, as I am your Gatekeeper. My appearance also hasn’t been decided, seeing as you have yet to properly boot the IWL device up. I take it you ignored the instruction manual as well?

Oh stop whining, I only just caught the delivery person as I was leaving yesterday, so I didn’t have time to set you up properly.” Jorji turned down an aisle that had desks and looked at the options. “Anyways, we can do that as I shop. If you don’t care what I name you, then I’ll pick some sort of spinoff of a fictional character, that should be easy enough.” He thought about all the books, movies and shows he had enjoyed over the years. Someone decent looking would be a good idea, charisma would probably be important in these fantasy worlds. Maybe someone wise like an elf, since this Gatekeeper guy was supposed to guide him. There was Elrond from Lord of the Rings, Arconn or Sindar from Adventurers Wanted, the options seemed endless. Then again, this AI seemed to have a bit of an attitude, so maybe someone evil? Suddenly, it hit him, Aravos from The Dragon Prince. Perfectly sassy, perfectly hot, and coincidentally, the AI’s silky smooth voice was similar. “How about Aravos, that evil starry looking elf dude from The Dragon Prince tv show?

Disregarding the fact that you want to name me after an evil elf from this Dragon Prince series you’re thinking of, I would recommend you alter the name. For one, once you decide on a name, it cannot be changed. For another, assuming the Isekai Wonderland Project is a success, it is likely that the results will be publicized. At that point, it would be unwise to have me named after a copyrighted character in a tv show.” The AI said disapprovingly, seeming to imply that it was disappointed with Jorji’s lack of creativity.

Yeah, good point I guess. Hmm, let’s see. Aravan? Azavos? Oh, how about Azavon? It should be different enough to keep copyright out of the way, and you can even model your appearance after him.” He mused as he picked out a build-it-yourself kit for a small bookcase. He had brought all of his favorite books and manga with him, and needed something to store them on.

Would you like to make that my official name?

Yes, I dub thee Sir Azavon the Wise, of Periwinkle University!” Jorji exclaimed in an exaggerated British accent, drawing a glare from an elderly woman down the aisle.

Very well, I am now Azavon. As for my appearance, we can sort that out when you finish your shopping trip.” Azavon said, seemingly proud of his new name. “Now, about that furniture you asked about…

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
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Image
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kazuyuki miyato.
dialogue ; #a59bbd. – thought ; #a6b5f0.
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With the way the day was going, he wasn't sure if things would get any better at this point, and it was only eight in the morning. A graveyard shift he'd covered last minute because why the hell not? He wouldn't sleep anyway, and he'd mostly caught up on all of his homework and papers. The lab wasn't until ten so he could grab something quick to eat if his stomach would allow it, maybe lay down for just a breath and give his poor back a break after leaning over counters and being stuck on the ground all day with pets that all needed far more urgent care than he could offer at the end of his shift, nearing that beyond exhausted state. It came every so often, when his body finally gave up and just tried to crash, but it never seemed to hit when he was near a bed or couch, or any sort of appropriate situation.

He supposes the perks of working at an emergency clinic meant that he was running on a constant adrenaline rush so it usually held it off for a bit, until he wasn't and now every step felt like trying to trudge through drying concrete, every word muddled into nonsense in his head, and he still had a morning bus to catch back to his little apartment, tucked away in the corner of a complex. It was all half packed up at this point, at least the things that were his and hadn't been provided to him by the student housing. Just some boxes, in the end.

Kazuyuki wouldn't lie and say he wasn't dreading moving again, even if it probably turned out to be a nicer place, maybe some new, friendly faces, a change of scenery, plus it seemed all provided for so long as he kept in that program his biochemistry professor had recommended him to. He barely had much to bring with himself anyway. Sure, a little more than when he'd left his grandparents', but a little more translated to maybe three or four boxes. What was there to complain about in the end?

That bad, long shift, overthinking moving and readjusting, and the dragging ride home next to office workers and others on their way to the start of their own shift was only the beginning, though. Rather, now he had a notification for a package that had delivered, and to his knowledge he hadn't ordered anything recently. Opening the message resolves any confusion, however, being faced with a picture of the package all neat and tied up, the fancy lettering no doubt belonging to the program he'd signed up for. What was it, more paperwork to fill out? A pamphlet to freshen up on, rules to memorize, courses to take before beginning?

Not that it would stay a mystery for long, given he'd already picked it up from the complex's front desk and made his way back up to his apartment. "Fragile," says the box, and he nearly throws it carelessly onto his desk as he makes way for his closet, anything to get out of the soiled scrubs he's still stuck in, a short shower to freshen up and get rid of that dog smell. It doesn't take long before he's in a lax pair of sweats, a hoodie to fight off the cold of winter and wet hair, and then he's picked up the mystery package and slumped himself onto his bed.

The box is opened easily enough, the inside cushioned and protected as he would expect from such an institution, though he soon finds himself facing what looks like a new phone and a pair of headphones. Was this just a free complimentary item they gave out to those who came in? How rich was the head of this program?

It's pulled out easily enough as he sinks a bit further into his mattress. The weight of the phone rests comfortably in his hand as his own is cast aside for now, perhaps forever if this one works well enough for him. Black, sleek, new and fancy tech that he usually had to wait to drop in price if he ever wanted to get his hands on it, and even then there would already be something fancier and better in the market. How lucky was this?

Another shift further into the bed, and he's pulled out the headphones next, familiar enough even if they look nicer than his own pair, and they're put into his ears to get a feel for them before he's turned on the phone, the screen growing a little too bright for his eyes in the moment. Still, it's faded away seconds later, and he finds himself face to face with the IWL logo, faintly hears the sound of a voice speaking through the headphones, and before he knows it-

"...yuki? Mister...Kazuyuki?"

The grogginess of sleep he hadn't even realized he'd fallen into hits him first, that heavy feeling of sleep that was so very much needed, yet leaves him feeling like a dead horse. Everything heavy, exhausted, weak, until he manages to open his eyes and lets out that effortful groan to try and push himself onto his side, maybe up.

"Good morning, sir."

Blinking once, he sits up in an instant then, that sudden confusion and little jolt of fear settling in far too swiftly for the still asleep limbs, the growing headache. An unfamiliar voice, coming from where? There was no one else in here with him, until-

"Sorry, did I startle you? I'm down here."

As if commanded he's looking down, and it's finally then that his gaze lands on the screen of the new phone, its surface bright with power. But rather than the screen having stayed lit up for who knew how long, Kazuyuki's attention is very much on what floats around in the center. A boy, it looks like, with his head tilted ever so slightly to the side, almost like he was curious. He shifts around in his spot with ease, the yellow scarf and white outfit billowing slightly with the movement and settling back when he stops.

"You seem confused, is that why you won't say anything?" Comes the innocent questions from the boy again, as if being talked to by a being in a new phone screen wasn't obviously confusing enough. "You fell asleep partway through the introduction prepared for you, and missed my initial startup." A pause, and when he still seems at a loss for words, the blonde continues, "didn't they tell you about this? Or maybe you missed it? I'm your gatekeeper. I'll be accompanying you when you perform dives."

"...ah..." Is his overly disappointing response, sleep wearing off but still leaving him slow to process what is happening in front of him. Having a full conversation with data? Was that even possible? "The...the AI, I think they mentioned that. Yeah, um..."

"I did my best to finish out the setup for myself without your input and guidance...so I hope it's okay. I left the name for you, though. I don't think I'd do a very good job of picking one out myself." A heartbeat later, and the boy seems to press up against the screen, hands resting on the backside of it. "If you don't mind, I think it'd be nice to...to have one."

A name? He had to name the AI now? How could he choose just one? Take his appearance into consideration, no doubt, but even then, what would he-

And thus he finds himself on babynames.com.

The name hunting doesn't take overly long, a small list he puts together with a little input from the AI, of which he's grateful for. Star themed is what they go with in the end, given the backdrop he floats around in looks something like the night sky, and his own appearance reminds Kazuyuki of astrology somehow. Slowly it's cut down, narrowed to just a handful, until one or two is left, and then, "Astrophel?" and it wins a pleased sound from the phone's speaker, "mhm, that one's nice. Can I keep that one?"

The oddity of the situation fades as comfort grows, quiet conversation between himself and a phone. Just imagine him as a kid brother calling to check in, he tells himself, and it makes things a little easier to process and settle with. Something his mind can handle, when everything else going on inside his head reels back and insists that what's happening, the very conversation he's enjoying can't even be happening.

That time carries on for longer than he expects, the minutes, perhaps hours ticking by before his new companion speaks up through the settled silence again, a small, "you should probably see about getting lunch soon, don't you think?" The word "lunch" leaves his heart stopping suddenly, and in a sudden twist around to grab his old phone and turn on the display, he finds himself faced with the time of one-thirty. His lab, at ten, was far gone, very much over, entirely missed.

His stomach twists slightly at the realization, panic crawling up and forcing him off the bed and over to where the pair of shoes rests near the door, a quiet, "shit, shit, shit," leaving him as he struggles through the laces, tries to get himself ready enough to grab the bag and run out the door. Still, the innocently inquisitive Astrophel calls out through the speaker once more, "are you that excited to eat something?"

"Astrophel, didn't an alarm go off? Around nine? Nine-thirty? I swear to god I set one but I-"

"One did," comes the response, "but you didn't wake up for it, and you seemed so tired, I thought it would be best to silence the interruption so you could finish your rest. You looked like you were having a nightmare before I woke you, though. I'm sorry for ruining your sleep in the end."

He nearly chokes on air, hand moving to run up through his hair as he lets the rise of emotions seethe for a bit, then run off of him, and he's standing up again, snatching up his backpack and his phone- his new phone with Astrophel, an earbud that finds its way into his ear no later, Astrophel's voice following. "I needed to wake up with that alarm, kiddo- I missed- I missed an important class."

The half jog to the campus grounds doesn't take terribly long, but in the end he finds it a waste, confronted with a locked and closed lab door to where his professor should have been, the woman he was supposed to talk to and apologize for his absence. God, I'm such an idiot. Is the first that comes to mind. Why hadn't he thought to just email her, first of all, and why hadn't he set multiple alarms to make sure he was up? Though, with Astrophel having silenced the first, he wonders if that would have done anything to help the situation.

Deflated is how he feels, leaving that building and returning back out to the grounds. Would she let his absence go? He hadn't missed a day yet, surely she'd be considerate over this single mistake? If not, he wasn't sure what-

A sudden thud, nearly losing his balance but managing to catch himself at the last minute, though it doesn't get rid of the lingering, dull pain that sits in his chest, from...a collision? A person? Oh god, who had he run into while drowning through his own catastrophizing?

"Aghk-" is all he manages to get out, a soft, "are you okay, Mister Kazuyuki?" before his ears are suddenly assaulted with the sound of rather livid words. Ones that he could let roll off his shoulder, even if the color in his face grew redder with the berating thrown at him. He hadn't meant to, truly, he usually had enough spatial awareness to avoid people but he-

A glance up has his eyes widening, though, before the situation turns from humiliating to, while a bit awkward, rather comical. Mariya is the one standing in front of him, still letting out the barrage of angry words, but with a familiar face and an apology on his lips, he's not so overwhelmed anymore. More so when she seems to suddenly realize who she's talking to, and her stammered apology makes its way out. Odd, to hear her say sorry, but he wouldn't turn it away.

It's a light laugh that leaves him then, sympathetic, understanding. Clearly stressed she was, and he could relate, though they likely held different origins for it. Besides, even with the uncomfortable "greeting," it's nice to see someone familiar after back to back shifts and non-stop school and homework. He hadn't seen any friends for a week or two now, had he?

A warm - though tired - smile finally makes its way out then, and he shakes his head lightly, "it's alright Mariya, I get it. Don't worry about it, you apologized, we're all good now." His hands shift back, moving to cross in front of himself as his head tilts, "is it classes? Friends? Work? If you need help with something, I'm more than happy to provide, you know." A short pause, slight concern in his voice now, but he does his best to keep it contained, "or, if you're just looking for someone to listen, we can find somewhere to sit, too."

If anything, he wasn't about to make her day worse than it already was, even if his was taking twists and turns like no other. Why not give that offer, and see if he can take a little bit of the weight off her shoulders? It seemed like something he was good at, or so past friends had told him. He'd take it as a compliment, and do his best to continue offering it.

Even when he was far too tired, and even when he could use a little bit of a listening space, himself.

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Character Portrait: Bronte Griffiths
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With fidgety fingers picking at the dirt between her nails, Bronte kept her head low. Her brown eyes lingered on her brown leather shoes that were overdue for polish with the toe caps covered in scratches and scuffs from kicking and scraping the desk leg. Although the damage to her shoes was evident, the nervous tic was just enough to be felt but not heard. The sound could not compete with the classroom chatter. She chewed on her bottom lip as the lesson droned on, in one ear and out the other.

When class was dismissed and everyone had left, Bronte remained seated surrounded by vacant chairs in pin-drop silence. She inhaled, exhaled, inhaled again then gave up on the breathing exercise altogether, dropping her head on the desk. Her breath hitched in her throat and unable to form words, she writhed and whimpered until footsteps could be heard making their way back. Bronte ducked instantly to hide. Wait, why was she hiding? The teacher had returned to retrieve his forgotten phone, switched the lights off, and closed the door behind him. Bronte left alone again but in the dark, bumped her head on the way back up.

Back in her dorm room, she collapsed in a heap on her bed. "Another bad day?" A disembodied voice neither masculine nor feminine that could only be described as robotic filled the room. Bronte's hand patted around in search of the blanket then she disappeared under in response until not even her head peeked out.

"Did you try-." The voice continued, ready to suggest solutions to the human's problems until that human bolted upright, agitated. "Yes, I damn well TRIED! I talked to Josephine, I talked to my professor and I talked to basically every member of the dance troupe that would listen and you know what they said I'd be good at?" Bronte's shoulders shook as her breathing became rapid, hands up in front of her for who knows? Screaming her frustrations to a smartwatch still displayed in its case atop her nightstand. "Stage lighting." She concluded, sighing deeply and running her hand through her brown locks at a loss. "I just thought maybe, just maybe, I don't know... I stood a chance but I was wrong. Ha, again."

Knuckles rapped on the door. "Bronte, can you zip the emotional breakdown?" The brunette closed her eyes and calmly, politely mustered a, "Mhm hmm." Then after footsteps faded away in the distance, she whispered to herself more than anyone else including the AI, "I hope my new dormmates are nicer. I can hope for that at least, right?" She let out a frustrated sigh and fell backward on her bed again. "Yes, of course. You also have me. We'll get through IWL together." Bronte stared up at the plain white ceiling, arm raised to reach for the light. Stage lighting, huh? "I want to do more than just get through it." she asserted, hand closing in a determined fist.

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Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
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The Periwinkle campus's coffee house, Mug Shot was large but homely like the inside of a log cabin with a modern electric fireplace. It was furnished with accents of earthy browns and pops of yellow. The wooden chairs and tables were arranged to the right, bookshelves, couches, and beanbags to the left along with a small stage for open mic nights. Of course, there was the cafe counter too, the first thing one would see stepping in. The place where Gabriel spent most of his time. He might as well have called it a second home.

Gabriel didn't look the part of a typical barista. He'd regularly show up looking like he had just got out of bed. Bed hair, droopy eyes, and clothes full of creases that hadn't been properly ironed out. He was obviously not a morning person but he always made it on time. The truth? Nobody else wanted those shifts. So, he took them. Mornings were the busiest time of the day for the campus cafe.
He also wasn't the most friendly-looking with a smile rare to grace his features. Although, the corners of his lips would tug upwards a bit when he had the time to add some latte art into the mix. But what got him hired according to Nash, the manager, was...
"Can I get the usual?" "Righto."
"The usual, please!" "Coming right up."
"Do you have soy milk?" "Plenty."
"The usual but 2 shots, no, 3 shots! I need an extra today because-""-because today's your job interview. All the best with that, Miss."
Well, memory. You could depend on him for, 'the usual.'

After the morning rush, their customers, students, would fan out and it'd be quiet as a grave with classes in session. But the scent of ground coffee beans lingered long after, as did Gabriel. The only sound present was the ding-ding-ding of Gabriel's mobile phone popping off with notifications as he killed time. His fingers glided across the screen, tapping here and there with rehearsed precision to collect a game's daily mission rewards of gold, renown, and gear. Playing phone games when the morning had calmed was, you know, his usual. Only this time, he had a backseat gamer.

"You should equip the Bow of Dusk, it's much cuter! And it'd go so well with your boots!" Gabriel leaned back slightly away from the screen. The stats were awful, but the AI was right. "You have an eye for fashion." Small eyes but eyes nonetheless. "Wait till I get a body! A human body." Lexa said excitedly, attached to his hair. She was contained or perhaps disguised as a dragonfly. Apparently, she was to have another, truer form once the IWL project was underway.

"Gabe, you can clock out early. I don't think anyone's coming." The gravelly voice of the manager called out from the staff room before disappearing again. Skin indents from leaning over the counter for too long trailed between the elbows and wrists. "Sure? Thanks." he responded, picking up his canvas satchel bag off the floor by the register and slinging the enamel pin-covered strap over his shoulder; the only colorful piece of his usual ensemble. Freeing his bangs, Lexa joined the rainbow clipped on and Gabriel walked out, the door closing behind him with the chime of a bell.

Feeling peckish, he pulled out a snack from his things to eat as he walked. He didn't get very far though, the path blocked by a bickering couple? "or, if you're just looking for someone to listen, we can find somewhere to sit, too." Sounded heartfelt as a third party. Crunch! The bite ended up louder than he anticipated. Assuming he'd interrupted a 'moment', he muttered a soft "Sorry," Standing behind the female student, the muesli bar held between his teeth.

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Character Portrait: Tannis Donnis
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Tannis Donnis




The sounds of a quiet ‘click-click-clash-click-click-clash!’ Introduced their music. Eyes adorned with bags so deep and dark, they may as well have been a raccoon wearing human skin. Their clothes were a bit rumpled, and the cologne today was a fruity mix.

The bus they sat on lurched into motion again, having come to a stop at a red light.

Headphones in, attention wavering, and fingers aimlessly drumming, Tannis stared into the screen of their phone. They watched as a loading symbol turned, and turned, and turned… And turned…

And the dress spun round, and round, and round. His was a voice of warmth and laughter, filling the air with sunshine and a radiance that would blind God. Hers was a voice of cold and comfort, suffusing the skin with love, and a shadow to drown out all light.

The world around them was filled with floating stars, five pointed, four pointed, six, seven, eight. Small as fireflies, large as cars, reaching high high HIGH into the looming dome-ceiling above. And sinking low low LOW into the expanse of blank void below their feet. Thin lines of white stretched to and fro, intersecting and giving way to a ‘ballroom’.

They danced together, their steps turning the ballroom floor to ash and stardust—


A lurch of the bus shook Tannis from the daydream, blinking twice at the silent face of Numinar; who only looked at them from the screen. His mask didn’t have eyebrows, didn’t have any way to otherwise show his bemusement and confusion… But they knew. They knew.
So… Are you going to ask me to note that lapse too…?” Came the rumbled question from Numinar.

They rolled their eyes, standing as the bus chimed its little chime, the people in it stood and said their little thank yous.
Their fingers tapped away at a keyboard, one that hadn’t been on the screen yet.
Hush. It wasn’t a LAPSE, I just got distracted! We were going for houuuuurrrrrssss.
They had finally gotten back to the college, almost running late for an important class? Tutoring session? Club meet up???
Oops. Guess that memory was gone.
They checked their bag, looking for a sticky note that they already KNEW was gone…

It’s fine… So you're a little late? So you forgot! It’s fine! Tooootally fine.

The brief monologue was abruptly cut short by Numinar’s deep chuckle. Melodic and rumbling like a mountain singing, like Optimus Frickin’ Prime, was chuckling at them. Ridiculous! They were totally not amusing right—

And THAT thought was cut short by a mumbled “So… Like… You gonna move duuuude…ette? Bro?” As some poor sophomore tried to get past Tannis. Oops.
They shuffled to the side, laughing softly to themselves before quickly getting off the damn bus. They shuffled their phone back into their pocket, briskly walking towards the main campus grounds. They continued to tap their fingers against their phone as they went.

His comforting rumble came again, five minutes after they had begun pacing in front of the door to their class… That they were early for. Too early for. Wayyyy too early for.
You are going to upset yourself… Focus on the now, Tannis…

They screamed, jumping out of their skin for a moment. “JESUS!

The chuckling amusement of a mountain god rumbled in their ear again, rolling like thunder now.
No, it’s Numinar…

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
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#, as written by Danaie
Truthfully, Mariya had been prepared for anything but cognizance and compassion coming from the man she had just harshly insulted for reasons that weren't his fault. After all, it's not like the words she had spat out were the most kind. She would have understood if there was any verbal retaliation from Kazuyuki or anybody else standing in his place in this moment and taken all of it with a hardened heart. Would it be quite hurtful to listen to? Yeah, but all things considered it could be worse. It's not like it would be the most painful thing she's ever experienced. But when taking into account what kind of person the man who stood before her was, she should have expected this. From the information that she had gathered through observation and study, she'd safely say she knew what the key details of his personality were.

Sure, it could be said that such behavior would be labeled stalking but that's not what really matters, right? When getting close to someone Maryia had to understand them and it couldn't be just a surface level of understanding. People had layers. They might show you one side of them and completely flip 180 once you leave their presence, a true menace in disguise. The world was cruel and held no pity for those ignorant. Innocence would only get you so far. She knew she could be cynical at times and wouldn't deny it. Lying held no value in the face of the iron-cold truth. In comparison, the latter was Mount Tai and easily squashed indefensible lies.

Mariya couldn't help returning Kazuyuki's smile. It held incredible warmth yet undeniable fatigue. Something she'd easily predict to come from her friend who showed signs of suffering from insomnia. A terrible disorder that was. Sleep was absolutely essential to humans. It was their way of recharging. Without it, you were as good as dead. However, even with the dark bags under his eyes and the air of a literal walking corpse, which probably wouldn't be too far off, Kazuyuki had a certain level of attractiveness that made her unable to stop staring at his face. She rated his face a 10/10. Yes, Mariya Fukuda was a full on face-con.

Beautiful men and women have always caught her attention since she was young. As embarrassing as it is, they could even be said to be her weakness. But who told God to make these people walk the earth? "Mostly classes. I don't know if the world is out to get me or something but left and right my professors have been suddenly giving large amounts of assignments for no reason." And though Mariya fancied herself a capable person, there was no guarantee she wouldn't collapse under the strain from pushing herself too hard. A human was a human at the end of the day.

"Kazuyuki... I couldn't do that to you. You're not just some tool to dump my frustrations on. You aren't some substitute for a therapist. Plus you look like crap. Good-looking crap but crap nonetheless." A sigh escaped her lips as she mulled over his selfless words. She'd never put somebody in a position where they'd have to sit and silently listen as she unloaded her problems, regardless of how they might feel. Especially if it were Kazuyuki. She knew he had his own things to worry about. Things that were much more important than her silly issues. He didn't need to be stressing over a girl totally unrelated to him.

Her eyes flittered over to her items still on the ground. Hopefully, her phone wasn't broken. The coffee couldn't be salvaged, having spilled over all the ground upon impact but oh well. She wasn't sure she was even going to drink it anyways. Mariya leaned down, picked up her phone, and inspected the device carefully. Aside from a slight crack, its screen appeared to be fine. "Though.. I do think finding a seat somewhere is a nice idea. I-" Crunch! followed by a familiar voice apologizing from behind had her spinning around. It seemed she was in luck today. Another 10/10 appeared! Bed hair, droopy eyes, and creased clothes did not decrease points in the slightest. A beautiful face was still a beautiful face no matter the state it was in.

"Gabriel? Oh please, you don't have to apologize. It's completely fine. We were just.. hm.." An awkward temporary silence occurred for a few moments, at least she thought it was, before Mariya thought of what to say. "Gabriel, this is Kazuyuki. I'm not sure if you've two met before. Have you?" Her head swiveled between the two as she awaited an answer.

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Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
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kazuyuki miyato.
dialogue ; #a59bbd. – thought ; #a6b5f0.
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Agitation and hard feelings melt away swiftly it seems, as the accident and heated words fall into the shadow of the past with ease. He's grateful for that at least, that things seem to be let go alright, that he won't have to worry about losing a friend through a little bit of an awkward discomfort that only lasted a minute or so. Apologies and understanding go a long way, he supposes, in situations like this. And with Mariya calmed down as such, he's happy to see the smile she returns back to him a few moments later, a small pleased sensation over winning at least a small one out of her despite the uncomfortable greeting.

"Is she a friend?" Is a quiet question in the headphone still stuck in his ear, Astrophel's curiosity clear enough with every conversation and situation he's ended up in since being joined by the surprise companion. Still, he's not sure if he wants to answer him out loud at this point; rather, wouldn't like to appear entirely nonsensical or insane in front of Mariya at the very beginning of their conversation. So instead, he offers a small nod that could be shrugged away or left unnoticed he hopes, and Astrophel seems to understand, a small hum in response from him, and then a second question, "do you have many friends?"

It's innocent enough, though Kazuyuki wants to laugh a bit over it. The AI meant no harm by it, even if that sort of phrase would usually come off as mocking or pity. Just a few, quietly slips into his mind, and were they still back at his middle-of-moving apartment he'd speak it out loud, but it's more than enough for me.

Still, his distraction with Astrophel is placed aside for a bit once Mariya is talking again, mentions of classes, something he could certainly relate to. Who couldn't, honestly? It was college, for one, and secondly, it was the Periwinkle Institute, university, whatever one wanted to call it. The school probably couldn't match up to Harvard or Yale, but it still ran itself in the more prestigious realm as far as he knew. With that sort of reputation usually came the difficulty of heavier assignments, harsher grades, and drowning under the effort and work that came with that. Still, just because of the environment and atmosphere this place carried didn't mean that strain and stress didn't effect its student body just as much as it would any other. If even Mariya - who he knew to always be on top of things and perfect at them all the while - was struggling against the stress of it all, there was no doubt in his mind that she was being overloaded beyond compare.

"You'd think they know their students have other classes and work to attend to, but I suppose they don't think beyond their own schedules and workloads." It was a common issue he'd run into since attending the university, and it seemed to be one that was far from unique or rare in others. Why professors wouldn't consider their students' other responsibilities, he would never know, but learning to live with an onslaught of assignments and endless deadlines was apparently key to success in college. Lucky him, he supposed, given he had more hours in a day than the average. Writing papers at 3am was no big deal for him after all. For others with a healthier schedule, however...

Slight surprise hits him soon after though, as conversation of classes ends abruptly and she turns down his offer. A little grateful for the decline? He wouldn't lie and say it wasn't a relief, but he wouldn't say it out loud either. He could still feel that sense of crashing, anyway, and wondered if he could make it back to his bed in time to fall asleep again, maybe catch an hour or two more. Would that total up to four hours at that point? It'd be a relief for him, no doubt. A little bit of a recharge that he desperately needed...all the time. Every time. Every day. Yet always out of reach.

A laugh is won out of him a breath later though, the word "crap" bouncing around inside his head like the icon of a screen in standby. She was no doubt right about that observation. Even if he hadn't really looked at himself in the mirror since his shower (and he'd slept after that), he knew he looked like hell at this point. Nothing pleasant to look at, or so he'd think if Mariya's seeming compliment hadn't made it in the air. A short blink before he shrugs, another quiet laugh, "thanks, I guess I'll take that as a compliment? Or, sort of, anyway." It was far better than nothing, and he had been expecting nothing. "Glad I still look decent, even while enough running off a handful of sleep." Even a handful would be an overstatement, but no need to get into the specifics of his sleep schedule here.

Mariya is reaching down to the ground soon enough though, and he finds himself with a twinge of embarrassment, realizing he hadn't even offered to grab the things he'd knocked out of her hands himself, left them on the floor in a heap of spilled coffee and hopefully a not-so-broken screen. It leaves a pinch of heat in his face. Slow reaction or missing details, that happened a lot with the fatigue that clung to him throughout the daylight hours of the week. He can't help but tug awkwardly at the corner of his shirt, gaze averting for a moment before an apologetic smile crosses his lips, "I- sorry, Mariya. I can buy you another coffee if you'd like? And...a screen replacement, if you need it-"

Interruption, the crunch of a bite of food, and he's pausing over the oddity of it. Chewing that loudly? Or were they just close enough that you couldn't miss the sound?

"Gabriel," comes the name, and for a moment Kazuyuki brightens up a bit more. What a surprise, running into two of the people he would consider himself friends with at this point, even if he mostly knew Gabriel from constant coffee runs to try and keep his energy going through scheduled labs and weekly classes. It's the slightest lean to the side to look around Mariya at him, smile in place as their gazes meet for a brief moment, though the white haired girl gives them an unnecessary, but kind introduction. He only nods along to the final question, giving a slight wave in the barista's direction shortly after.

"Mhm, I stop by the...coffee place a lot. Mug...Shot? I think?" As if he hadn't stopped there a hundred times over, "so we've met more than enough to be familiar with each other." A tilt of his head, "just get off work?”

"He's a friend then, too? You have so many, Mister Kazuyuki." He's not sure any other person would consider two friends "so many," but he supposes that a brand new AI might, without any other prior experience to the world beyond what Kazuyuki had exposed him to at this point, and whatever his system might have been preloaded with. If he thought two friends was a lot, then that was just fine with him.

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Character Portrait: Margaret Cole
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The sun hadn’t yet crept over the horizon when the incessant BEEPBEEPBEEP of an alarm clock filled one of the small staff quarters tucked away behind the kitchen. Meg shifted and groaned into her pillow, trying to will the noise away, but the sound of motion from the room next to her told her there would be no such luck. She tucked one elbow underneath her, using it to pry herself off the mattress while her other hand groped around for her phone to shut the alarm off. The alarm went silent, and Meg’s face fell back into her pillow, a brief moment of soft and fluffy suffocation before the clanging of pots began to stab at her through the wall. Meg peered one eye out of her refuge toward the screen of her phone, reading the row of numbers representing the hour and minutes of the day to guess just how much of a battery she had to work with this morning.

One hour and fifteen minutes. Not too bad.

Meg heaved herself back up onto her elbows in time with a rapping at her door, the voice of one of the other maids calling through it to rouse her into action. Meg called back a response, rolling over to get her feet on the floor only to find her back impacting on the wood paneling instead. Ow.

“Are you alright?” the voice came again, the door handle starting to turn.

”I’m fine!” Meg called back, picking herself up off the ground. She stretched with her arms over her head, hearing her back crack pleasantly.

“Are you sure?” The pale face of an older woman appeared in the door frame, brow furrowed in concern.

”Certain,” Meg assured, moving to the door and gently pressing against it from her side. The worry was appreciated, but there was barely enough space in here for one person. ”I’ll be right out,” she added, giving a slightly strained, placating smile.

Her coworker fussed a bit more, but ultimately Meg managed to get the door shut, locking it for good measure. She let out a breath, forehead resting against the doorframe, then turned and took in the room. It was small, with just enough room for a bed, dresser, and the tiniest writing desk Meg had ever seen. Still, it was better than some of the other living spaces she’d had. She stripped off her night shirt quickly, letting it fall to the floor as she snatched up her uniform from where it was resting on top of the dresser. It didn’t really feel like a maid uniform to her, looking more like a suit from the 40’s or so, but it was much lighter and more breathable than appearance would suggest, and she had to admit the full uniform with the accompanying jacket was pretty nice to look at. Once dressed, she brushed her hair quickly, then stepped quickly out into the hall to join the others.





Meg balanced the tray carefully on one arm, keeping her back straight as she brought her right hand up to knock lightly against the door to the office.

“Come in.”

Meg gently nudged the door open, careful not to catch the tray against the edge of the doorframe. The master of the house kept his back to her as she entered, too focused on the sheaf of papers strewn about the desk where he sat working. Light peeked through the gap in the curtains on the window, the early morning sunbeams falling gently behind his head and across the carpet. Mr. Dougherty turned his head slightly as Meg came around to the side of the desk, and he shifted some of the papers out of the way for her before returning to the task at hand. He quietly offered thanks in his somewhat raspy smoker’s voice as she set down a heavy mug of light coffee and a plate of nutella toast, before stepping back with the tray held under her arm.

”Will you be needing anything else?” she asked in polite, clipped speech.

“No, thank you,” he answered, gingerly lifting a piece of toast off the plate with one hand while continuing to scrawl notes in the margins of his documents with the other. “I’ll come down for something more substantial once I’ve finished.”

”Of course.” Meg tilted forward in a slight bow, then turned for the door. She made it nearly the full way across the floor when Mr. Dougherty spoke again.

“I had a conversation with someone from Yonder Wonder yesterday.” Meg froze mid-stride. “They were kind enough to inform me you would need to stay in the on-site dorms for the duration of the project.”

Meg did her best to keep her voice even and measured, her face a mask. ”I suppose there’s nothing for it then.” Her heart thrummed in her chest. ”If it were to interfere with my duties here-”

“I gave them my consent.” And just like that it stopped entirely, if only for a moment. “I’ll arrange for some of your things to be brought over, as a leave of absence.”

Meg swallowed, her mouth feeling far too dry. ”Are you sure? With just the two of them here-”

Mr. Dougherty chuckled softly. “I think we’ll manage just fine. You forget it was just the two of them before you started here, and the building remained standing.”

Meg’s eyes remained fixed on the open door in front of her, blood pounding in her ears. She opened her mouth to say something, but her throat failed her. She swallowed hard, rallying for a second attempt to speak.

“I was worried, you know.” Mr. Dougherty cut her off before she could. “How long has it been, three years since you came here? Three years, and five program changes at Periwinkle, I was starting to think- well, I’m not sure what. I don’t want to say I thought I might be wasting my money, no amount of education could really be a waste, and yet-

“When I heard you had applied for this program, I thought it was the best piece of news I’ve gotten in a long while. It was certainly the first time I’ve seen you take an interest in anything since I’ve known you.” Meg almost jumped at the touch on her shoulder. She turned around, almost bumping into Mr. Dougherty as she did so. “Honestly, what kind of man would I be if I didn’t give you my blessing for this?”

A smarter one, Meg thought but didn’t say. She didn’t know where to even begin correcting all his apparent misunderstandings of this situation - that it had been his daughter who had applied, not her? That she didn’t have any interest in this dumbass experiment program, and had been roped into it while trying to return the equipment Anne-Michelle had told her to throw out, and she had only tried to return it in the first place because her conscience had gotten the better of her when she’d first tried to pawn it? Meg hadn’t even turned it on aside from checking that it worked, and the weight of the phone they’d sent felt heavy in the inner pocket of her jacket.

”I- Thank you,” she muttered, staring at the buttons of Mr. Dougherty’s shirt so she wouldn’t have to look him in the eye. He squeezed her shoulder encouragingly, and Meg could feel that ignorant bright-eyed smile of his burning into her like a laser beam. ”I’ll- I should go get ready for class, then,” she said, eager to break free of this interaction.

“Of course.” He squeezed her shoulder one last time. “I am really proud of you.” Then he turned and went back to his desk, whistling pleasantly as he got back to work.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda Character Portrait: Jorji M. Alderman
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Let’s see, baking aisle, baking aisle, where would I be if I was a baking aisle?” Jorji mumbled to himself, scanning the aisle signs. He had been to this store once before for furniture a few days ago, however he didn’t do much food shopping at the time. He had gotten basic college essentials like Pop Tarts and ramen, but neglected to plan ahead for anything more complicated than a bowl of cereal. When Mariya had suggested that they make their new roommates a welcoming gift, Jorji volunteered to go shopping and get everything they needed. They tossed around some ideas for what to make, but remembering the sweet, buttery taste of Jorji’s mom’s banana bread, they decided they’d have a crack at it themselves. Even now, he was starting to drool at the thought of it.

Do you really not remember where it is? You walked through it twice last time you were here.” Azavon’s voice like molasses spoke into Jorji’s ear, bringing him out of his daydreams and back to reality. “Honestly, the fact that someone with such a poor memory like yours could make it into the volunteer pool is nothing short of a miracle.

Zip your digital lips, smartass. I need flour, not the peanut gallery.” Jorji appreciated Azavon’s help most of the time, but unfortunately the AI’s learning algorithm seemed to have picked up on his witty banter. Spotting the baking aisle, he wheeled the cart over and started going down his shopping list. “See? I knew where it was, I just needed a refresher. Not all of us have a bajillion gigabytes of photographic memory, Mr. Miracle.

That is true, I am superior to you in many ways.” His voice oozed mock pride, something he definitely picked up from Jorji.

Riiiiiiight. Well, if you’re so superior, then I guess you can just hop out of the screen and make the banana bread for me, can’t you?” Hearing no witty reply from Azavon, Jorji smirked. “That’s what I thought. Don’t be down on yourself, I’m sure one day you’ll have a body as stunning as mine!” He said, striking a pose similar to a Greek statue he saw once.

If the Yonder Wonder company ever did that, then I could outclass you physically AND mentally. Be careful what you wish for…

Jorji gave a hearty laugh and resumed shopping, thinking about what he and Mariya would need for the banana bread. Thinking back on the last time the two of them had made food together made him smile. Senior year had been rough for the both of them, but especially so for Mariya. Her mom always wanted the best from Mariya, but that usually resulted in Mariya not having a ton of time for friend hangouts, especially with college applications being submitted. Mariya, having near perfect grades, had no trouble getting into the Periwinkle Institute. Jorji on the other hand barely scraped in by the skin of his teeth, and that was only thanks to Mariya pushing him so hard. It was a pain, but in the end he was glad she did, because now he was living in a college dorm with his best friend.

Mariya was the only one who welcomed him when he first moved to New York, and to a nervous young boy, a friend was the best thing he could ask for. She never judged him for anything, even his more embarrassing secrets like his stuffed animal collection, and because of that they had grown to rely on each other and support each other. It was really nice, getting a chance to hang out with her again, especially to bake something delicious. And now that he had the last of the ingredients they needed, he was ready to check out and rush back to the dorm…but not before getting them a pair of squishmallows to celebrate the occasion.



In the deep quietness of the night, the sound of slight shuffling could be heard about in the dark. What could such a sound possibly be? Though, even more importantly, who was making it? There were many imaginable culprits. The monster that hid beneath your bed and grabbed at your hanging exposed feet? Or perhaps it was your annoying younger sibling trying to get a good scare out of you? The hair-rising atmosphere was abruptly broken by the sudden cut on of bright lights from overhead that immediately illuminated every possible inch of the room they could reach. A figure was revealed and based on the standards of different people, the result of the mystery sound may be considered disappointing or relieving. It was just Mariya Fukuda, an ordinary college student. No monster nor troublesome sibling. Blue eyes curiously surveyed the scene in front of her. A clean and orderly kitchen with state of the art modern appliances. There was even one of the newest smart fridges on the market in here! Goodness, it seems they were really going all out for this project. But it wasn’t surprising to her in the slightest that they were.

After all, the technology at the Yonder Wonder company was simply revolutionary. There were no other words to describe it. Forget traveling to space when you could take a trip to a whole other world! Mariya got chills up her spine just thinking about it. ”Mistress, your heart rate is speeding up rapidly. Would you
like me to call for assistance?”
A dreamy yet eloquent voice startled her back into reality. Christ, she’d have to get used to that fast or else she would die from fright every time Genesis popped up into existence from nowhere. Yes, Genesis, her personal gatekeeper assigned to her for the project. ”No thank you, Gene. That won’t be needed. I was just a little excited that’s all.” Thankfully there wasn’t another soul besides herself situated in the kitchen at the present moment or else she’d be thought a madwoman. A melodic hum from her digital companion let her know that her answer was acknowledged. Genesis was relatively young and had the mindset of a developing child. There was still much for the A.I to learn but eventually they’d reach that pinnacle together.

Mariya headed towards the cabinets and began rifling through them. Aside from a few random things that were most likely misplaced, there was practically nothing else in them. A frown morphed on her face. Was this the same case for the fridge? At this thought she drifted over to it and repeated her previous actions. Exactly as she thought, it was bare empty. Why hadn’t the company equipped them with proper necessities? Or perhaps this was a message that they needed to go out and get food themselves? But that wouldn’t make much sense, now would it? Mariya leaned back against the cold marble of the kitchen counter as she tried to give an answer of reason to this situation, eventually losing herself and any awareness in the deep pitfalls of her over analyzing mind.

”Mistress! There’s danger!” The sudden shout of alert from Genesis made Mariya jump but it was already too late by then. Helplessly a pair of A.I and human could only watch as a large stuffed animal soared through the air and hit its target square in the head. Said target being Mariya, of course.


With a soft thunk, the stuffed animal bounced off of Mariya’s head. “Headshot! I got you!” Jorji came out from around the corner, bags of groceries in tow, lifting one arm up to show them. “Ahh, the look on your face was priceless. I have everything we need to get started.” Jorji set the groceries on the counter and started unbagging everything. “Do you have the bowls and stuff?

Staring at the fallen stuffed- no, squishmallow on the floor and gave it a hefty kick before deciding not to pursue the matter right now. Mariya would definitely see this injustice paid back. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold. ”Hm, do you want the good news or the bad?” She stated with a sullen look. Yonder Wonder was able to develop technology that would allow the user to travel to other worlds but they couldn’t purchase basic fundamental things for a kitchen dormitory. Please, what a fat joke!

Let me guess, all this fancy tech and no mixing bowls? Seems like a massive oversight on their part.” Jorji could practically read the look on her face, and knew she was just as disappointed in them as he was. Luckily, Jorji had most of the basic utensils that his family had given him. They would just have to improvise with a few things. “I have some stuff of my own, looks like we’ll have to break it out. I’ll grab them and be right back.” He nodded towards the stairs back up to their rooms and started walking over.

Well, when Mariya thought about it from their point of view, maybe they didn’t think the kitchen would be actually used for things like cooking or baking. That probably wouldn’t be too far off considering most people can easily order out to eat on apps like DoorDash. Yet still even with that as a possible explanation, the kitchen resembling a desert couldn’t be excused. ”Lets praise your foresight in bringing your own stuff then!” She was being quite truthful with these words and happily waved Jorji off on his little journey.

After grabbing the dishes they would need, he went back down to the kitchen and started setting everything out. It had been a while since he had used them to bake anything, so they had gathered a bit more than just metaphorical dust. Thinking back on the last time they had baked together made him smile. “Hey, remember the last time we baked something? It was my 17th birthday sleepover, if I remember correctly.

Laughter spilled out of her at the reminder, the memory of that night coming back at full force. ”I will never forget it. Who told you to let us fall asleep like that? No wonder we were scolded so hard by your mother.” An intense sense of nostalgia steamrolled over her and she couldn’t help but smile widely. It had been years since then but it only felt like yesterday to her. “Hey.. how’s she doing? I haven’t been able to visit her in a while because of school and everything.” She hoped Mrs. Alderman was fairing well these days. That woman was like a second mother to her at this point.

Hey, for your information, that was right after midterms, so neither of us were exactly of sound mind that night. As far as mom goes, she’s doing pretty well. Of course, when I moved out and came to live here, she was all teary-eyed, even after I reminded her I would only be an hour away. I mean come on, is that such a far distance?” He chuckled, remembering back on it. He had finished washing and drying the last of the dishes and was now ready to get started. Grabbing the nearby trash can, he started peeling the bananas.

Ah, what was that? Oh nothing? Just an annoying fly. Mariya pointedly ignored what came out from her best friend’s mouth, mentally acknowledging them, and went about helping with the baking, snatching the peeled bananas from his hands after he was done with them. Next she dropped them into a bowl and turned in the hand mixer, keeping it relatively steady as it mashed up the fruit pieces. After that was done, adding sugar, eggs and vegetable oil were the following steps. Then lastly to mix. ”Da-da!” Mariya presented the bowl to Jorji and pushed it in his face. ”What do you think? Does it look okay?” She hadn’t touched anything related to baking in years.

Putting down the dry ingredients he had been mixing, he looked at the bowl being presented to him. It looked nearly identical to the way his mom had taught him it should look. He was surprised that with the long break from baking they had had, she had still managed to get it pretty much perfect on her first try. “Damn, that’s perfect! Good job!” Jorji wiped his hands dry and gave Mariya a pat on the head. “I’ve got the dry ingredients ready, and I started preheating the oven.” He took the bowl from her, pouring it into the dry ingredients and mixing it vigorously, then pouring it into the pans before putting them into the oven and setting the timer.

With the timer set for around 50-55 minutes Mariya had decided it was a good chance to take a break. Thus, now here they were, doing their respective things while making casual conversation as they waited for the timer to go off and the banana bread to finally be done. The oven failed to jail the tantalizing fragrance that wafted off of the cooking delicacy.

Mid conversation, the two of them heard the front door open, followed by footsteps coming down the hall. Jorji quickly hid his squishmallow, not wanting to let anyone know about it but Mariya, and looked in the direction of the approaching noise. A bob of red hair poked around the door frame, curious blue eyes taking in the scene before a woman dressed in what looked like a faintly anachronistic suit stepped into the doorway proper, a suitcase held over one shoulder.

”Hello…” she began, one hand gripping the strap of her tote. Her eyes drifted slowly over to the oven, then jerked back to the two of them as if catching herself. ”This is the dorm for the ise… whatever project right?”

Jorji looked the newcomer up and down, coming to the assumption that this was one of their new roommates. “Yes, you’re in the right spot. I’m Jorji, and this is Mariya.” He said, gesturing to her. “I didn’t catch your name, what is it?

”Aaauuuuh. Meg.” She shifted her feet, seemingly unsure of what to do with herself. ”A pleasure.”

Noticing her apparent nervousness and earlier glance at the oven, Jorji decided to let Meg be the first of their roommates to partake in their welcome gift. “It isn’t done yet, but when we take it out, we can let you take the first slice? It’s a welcoming gift for everyone moving in, and that includes you.

Meg waffled for a bit, shifting from one foot to the other with such frequency that she was nearly bouncing in place. “Oh! Um. Really? I mean- Thank you, I guess? I don’t want to- Ah.” She squared her feet, tucking a loose lock of her hair back behind her ear. ”Ok! Thanks?”

He let out a slight chuckle and smiled. “Alright, we’ll come and get you when it’s ready.

Throughout the entire exchange Mariya had merely only nodded and smiled during the appropriate moments. She wasn’t that good at interacting with people she didn’t know that well and left that up to those more qualified. But as she noticed Meg and Jorji’s interaction coming to a close she decided to slip in one last word for courtesy. ”Don’t feel pressured to take it or anything if you don’t want too. She had noticed that the other girl seemed a bit... uncomfortable?

”Oh no, it’s fine, I appreciate it!” Meg insisted, backpedaling on her apparent apprehension. ”No, yeah, I’ll definitely have some! I appre-” She cleared her throat, realizing she was just repeating herself on a loop now. ”...appreciate it.”

Her hands wrung the strap of her suitcase, gaze cast to the floor as she fell into an awkward silence. After a moment she rallied, taking a step back as she prepared to make her escape and leave them to it. ”So I’ll just head up to my room then!” she declared, perhaps a bit too loudly. ”It was nice meeting you both! I look forward to um. Working with… you. I guess. Bye!” And then she left, offering up a quick wave of her hand before Jorji and Mariya were alone again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
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Gabriel nodded, agreeing with Kazuyuki's statement as a regular customer and that he'd just gotten off work. This may have been their first encounter outside of Mug Shot.
"Iced Mocha, extra choc syrup, and whipped cream." He recited Kazuyuki's usual order as soon as their eyes met, then took another bite out of his muesli bar that finished it off. Maintaining that eye contact, he licked off the crumbs on the corner of his mouth.
He didn't recall serving Kazuyuki this morning, and the veterinary student was on the verge of collapsing from lack of sleep, or so it appeared. The barista thought coffee was not a substitute for a good night's rest, but who was he to tell people how to live their life? Especially the regular customers. It'd discourage business. His manager Nash wouldn't like that.

"We were just.. hm?" Gabriel turned his attention to Mariya, his dark orbs settling on her as he waited for her to finish the sentence he quoted back. But the unmistakable smell of coffee drew the barista's sights down to the ground at the crime scene.
Gabriel wasn't eavesdropping, more or less minding his own business, but he had caught enough to put two and two together."If he's paying, I can brew that coffee for you. Business is slow during this time of day anyway." He offered, bending down to pick up the coffee cup and read the rival cafe's name before disposing of it and the wrapper of his muesli bar in the nearest bin. That was the best he could do, leaving the rest up to the school cleaners.

Gabriel started walking off, heading Mug Shot's way. It didn't bother him to return to work; he had clocked off early anyway. He'd usually be working at this time, or well, gaming until work presented itself. "Unless you two got somewhere else to be?" He asked, looking over his shoulder and giving them time to mull it over.
His black bangs swept across his face as the wind carried it, his right eye winking in self-defense. "Mariya, what’s your usual?"

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Character Portrait: Leland Plantaget
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Leland Plantaget
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Lower East Side // Move-In Day // #DAA520
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If there was one thing that New York had over England, it was the bodegas. While Leland enjoyed the convenience store near his childhood home, there was something distinctly comforting about walking into the corner store seeing the owner pour a fresh cup of coffee as soon as he walked through the doors. It didn't matter if he was running late to campus, 2 A.M. on a Tuesday, or Thanksgiving. The only days Juan Carlos (never just Juan) closed shop were Christmas, Easter, and the day after Good Friday.

Not to mention the cats.

Holding his hand out, Leland watched the slender tortoiseshell stretch before leaping onto the counter and moving its head under the blonde’s palm. Patch had been the newest addition to JC Mini Mart’s rotating cast of vermin catchers, differentiated by the missing tuft of fur where she’d been scratched by a raccoon.

“The usual today?” Juan Carlos asked, already punching the numbers into the register.

Scratching the back of Patch’s ear Leland gave an affirmative nod before grabbing a bag of crisps from one of the shelves.

“Actually,” Leland paused, ”add a pack of menthols to it.”

“A bit early in the month for a new one don’t you think?”

”Well, it might be the last time I see you,” the blonde shrugged, ignoring the vibrations from his phone.

”What, you’re not planning on dyin’ on me are you?” Juan Carlos chuckled, sliding over a sealed pack of Newports and his coffee.

”Nothing that bad, I’m just moving,” Leland answered, taking a long sip from the styrofoam cup.

”Foinally gahn back acruss the pond, isit?”

Leland would miss a lot of things about this place, but Juan Carlos’s shoddy British accent wouldn’t be one of them.

No, I received a job offer so I’m moving back to campus,” he clarified.

”Ugh, with all the trust fund babies?”

”I can’t argue with free housing or work.” Leland gave a slow, begrudging nod before slipping the change in his pocket. While the Periwinkle Institute wasn’t an Ivy League college, it was certainly on the expensive side. Why else would he opt to dorm with a bunch of undergraduate students (much less anyone)? Because I want to experience video game brain rot. The more he thought about it, the sillier it sounded in his head, but the results would be worth it.

He hoped.

”Well if you’re leaving you should at least stock up.” Juan Carlos said, before turning around and tossing Leland another pack of cigarettes.

”Oh no you don’t have-”

”Nah, nah. It’s a parting gift.”

Now who was acting like he was dying? Leland let out a snicker before flipping the box open.

”Thanks, Juan Carlos,” Leland said finally, gesturing for him to take one.

”Mmm, sorry but no smoking indoors. Maria thinks I’ve actually quit this time.”

”Suit yourself,” he shrugged, lighting the cigarette in his mouth, ”I’ll see you around.”

Exiting the bodega, the blonde finally glanced at the dozens of notifications from his phone. His gatekeeper had woken up.

BODEGA!

Swipe.

CAT!

Swipe.

COFFEE

Swipe.

”Who was that?” Echo barked, ”WHO IS JUAN CARLOS?”

”Echo, set your volume to ten percent.”

”OK!”

Leland wasn’t entirely sure why he ended up with a dog, a talking dog. Rather than a human or humanoid figure he received an animal with the speech pattern of a child, something it must have picked up when Leland fell asleep during a Disney marathon. Not to mention Echo’s behavior. Every moment the A.I. connected to his car’s Bluetooth was an opportunity to unload its questions about Leland’s day to day interactions.

”Juan Carlos is the owner of the bodega that I-we visited,” Leland answered.

“OK! What is a ‘trust fund baby’?”

”A trust fund baby is…someone with a very rich family.”

“Are you a trust fund baby?”

”I wish,” Leland muttered, just barely making the freeway entrance.


The subsequent drive proved long and arduous, mostly because the roads managed to be packed despite New York’s expansive transit system. Where the hell could everyone be going on a weekday morning? The answer was very obviously work, but that would require admitting that the situation wasn’t actually anyone’s fault.

Nonetheless, he’d finally parked and Echo seemed content to idle to its volunteer’s playlist. Hosing two boxes from the trunk, Leland approached the door, eased by the scent of baked goods. He could hear Echo awaken, thrilled at the sound of the door opening.

"NEW HOME?!" Echo boomed from Leland's phone.

Yep, he supposed it was.

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Character Portrait: Leland Plantaget Character Portrait: Tannis Donnis
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Tannis Donnis




On the shared table of a computer lab, an inordinately expensive headphone ‘pod’ thumped softly. Above it, three voices argued ‘quietly’.

Look I’m just saying, if you change the model size, the model will stop warping—
No no, if you change the model size then you run the risk of—
The risk of the spaghetti code YOU put together—
I. USED. THE. CODE. TRAVIS. GAVE. ME.

GROUP B! BE. QUIET.

The three slapped their jaws shut. Tannis glared at their ‘teammates’. Travis, the only one of them who was actually relatively good at coding— Maybe— Was glaring right back. They had been butting heads the entire project, bickering as if they’d been married for years.
Tannis would present a new model, Travis would point out the issues the model had with the code, Tannis would edit, Travis would break it—

Okay. That wasn’t fair.
Travis would TRY and make the new additional code work, but Tannis… Was NOT a programmer, as much as they wanted to be.

The other teammate, Kennedy, tried her hardest to ignore the two. She was usually the one who went back and fixed the small problems that both Tannis and Travis missed.

Somehow, somehow, they were the highest graded trio in their class. Yikes.

Numinar’s voice rumbled its way into Tannis’ ear, soothing and calm. “Maybe… Don’t fight with your team, again…? The three of you have been up for … Hours.

This bit of advice was taken with ab-soul-oot grace and understanding! Which is to say Tannis shut the hell up, focused hard on their work, and offered to get everyone coffee in the morning.

Then, after thirty more minutes of them arguing and getting loud— to the equal chagrin and amusement of their fellows— It was time to go ‘home’.







It was the smell of something… Baking? That ‘woke’ Tannis up first.

They had been walking as if they were a zombie, head down and swaying with every step… The stairs that led to the dorms were soooo haaaard—
Wait.
That smell.
That smell! Like cookies! Or, or cake! Or pie! Or cupcakes! Or baked goods!

Their spine snapped upright, as they forcibly ignored the sound of Numinar slowly beginning to cackle.
His rumbling, melodious voice echoed in their headphones as they walked on invigorated.

They popped open the door to the ‘dorms’, eyes darting to and fro as they sought out the source of the delectable aroma. The stairway behind them echoed with their voice; indignant and curious.

WHERE’S THE BAKED GOODS?!

They stepped fully into the dorms, turning around and squinting down into the stairway before stomping forward. They jolted to a stop as Numinar displayed something… New. For them, at least.

There was a momentary beam of luminescence, spearing forth from their phone flashlight. Then, in but a blink or two, there was a … Chibi-sized version of Numinar on their shoulder. A deep red light billowed from his maw, and teeny tiny puffs of smoke rose into the air.

He waved. They blinked. They waved back. He burst into thunderous laughter.

Tannis moved on, filing the question away for later, before pausing at the sight of… Some blonde guy with two boxes. Pushing open a door that… Maybe it belonged to him? Weird… But the smell was coming from the door he was standing in front of- er- entering.


Aaaah! Wait-wait-wait-wait!

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Character Portrait: Margaret Cole
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#, as written by druidquest
The room was bigger than she expected. Meg stood in the doorway, wondering for a moment if she wasn’t in the wrong place. But no, that was her name on the small plate next to the door. The sound of someone shouting in the stairwell snapped Meg back to reality, and she shut the door behind her, letting the suitcase slowly slip off her shoulder and down to the floor.

A dresser sat against the wall across from the foot of the queen-sized bed which filled the center of the room, and Meg decided that was a good enough place to start. She bent down to pick up the suitcase then walked over and set it on top of the dresser. She began attending to the zipper, zipping it back up slightly when it got stuck before opening it completely. All of her clothing had been rolled tightly rather than folded, a trick she’d been told was supposed to make it easier to pack more with less space, but she didn’t remember where specifically she’d heard that and honestly, she wasn’t convinced it really mattered in this circumstance. She had packed light, or rather, hadn’t had much to pack in the first place, and it took barely over a minute to get everything properly folded and put away in drawers.

Meg stepped back, and when she felt the foot of the bed bump against the back of her knees she sank back onto it, her hands gently gripping at the blanket as she sat there silently for a long moment. Clothing wasn’t all she had included in the suitcase, and her eyes rested with some vague sense of melancholy on the laptop still packed inside. She wasn’t sure why she’d decided to bring it. Maybe… maybe some part of her felt like it could be useful, if she needed something to do while staying here? It wasn’t even the one she used for her schoolwork - that one was still sitting in her quarters at the Dougherty residence. Ah, that must be it then, she’d just grabbed it by accident! But…

She shook her head, rubbing at her eyes before standing suddenly and zipping the suitcase back up. She shoved it under the bed, a good enough place for now; as for her school laptop, she’d just call one of the other maids and ask her to bring it over. Meg unbuttoned her jacket, then slipped her hand into the left inside pocket to grab her- No, that was the other phone, the one the project had sent for Anne-Michelle. Meg hadn’t turned it on at all since trying to return it, and only once prior - to check if it actually worked. It did, but as soon as it had powered on it had immediately launched some kind of program that pressed her for a name. Probably whatever VR or AR or Whatever-R mobile game this project wanted them to help… playtest, or whatever. Meg just tossed it on the dresser for now, and pulled the phone out of her right inside pocket instead.

”Kara? Hi, sorry, I just wanted- Yes, I’m fin- Yes, I found it alrigh-” Meg slipped the jacket off and dropped it on the bed, fighting for her life against the older woman’s sudden barrage of questions. ”Listen, I just wanted to know if you could drop off my laptop? It should still be in my room, I forgot it while packing. Mm-hm, if you can just bring it by tomorrow I’d appreciate it. Yes. Yes, I- Yes, I will. Thank you, really. Mm-hm. Yes, I- Yes. Mm-hm. Ok, thank you. Buh-bye.”

Meg let her arm fall to her side, letting out a long, weary breath. She felt very drained, even more than she did after conversations with Anne-Michelle. It was also at that moment when she really began to notice just how hungry she was - what was the last thing she’d even eaten today? Ugh, maybe she’d be able to snatch something out of the dorm kitchen.

Wait, hadn’t someone been making something in there when she’d come in? What were their names… Maria and Georgie, or something like that. They had offered her the first slice… assuming it hadn’t just been politeness, maybe she could go cash that in now? It was worth checking, anyway.

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Character Portrait: Odilon "Odd" Kelek
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#, as written by Connected
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In the Kelek family's fields - well, a family of one - Odilon and Robin sang at one another, quarreling over the news: Robin had on this day proposed to Kazia, Odilon's longtime friend. Try as he did, Odilon never could win her heart, and despite her eventual promise to marry him should he fail to find a partner, given the opportunity, she accepted Robin's proposal instead. And why not? The man was a traveler from another world, and Kazia, the chieftain's daughter, was out of poor Odd's league.


O, once the maiden of my dreams was mine,
T'would justify all of this wasted time.
Past twenty years, left twenty more - I don't know what I'm waiting for -
But I'd hoped there was more in store -
Than this, you traveler divine.



Forgive me, friend, and hold me no more spite!
I know that there's no way to make this right,
But there's one thing I'll offer you: a place in which to start anew,
A Gatekeeper to send you to
A world with neverending light!


At that, Robin stepped forward to Odilon, removing his spectacles and setting them in the man's hands. Odilon turned them over to examine them, then opened the glasses' arms and donned them, peering through their lenses.

Inspired by this world's lyrical expression in the time that she had accompanied Robin on this adventure, the AI within the glasses appeared before them as a glimmering figure in white, an angel from another world, and added her own verse to their tune.


Dear Odd, I know your pains but from afar,
Yet I can sense the hurt within your heart.
If consolation is the aim, I'll give you power, give you fame;
With Aura as my given name,
I vow from your side ne'er to part.


Odilon pushed the glasses up the bridge of his nose and smirked. He looked to Robin, a fierce determination in his eyes.

"I am to take your place, then? As the new owner of this...'Aura'?" Odd asked before focusing his intense golden-eyed gaze upon the projection in his view. In response, the angelic AI instinctively bowed her head.

Never had she been so demure around Robin; their interactions were antagonistic on the best of days, and she unrelentingly bemoaned his choice to marry and remain here. What was different about Odd, that she should subject herself so?

Robin awkwardly scratched at his hair, answering, "Well, she's more like a partner. She'll take you back to the world I'm from. If you're nice, she might even tell you how to blend in over there."

Odd scoffed, shaking his head. "All my life I have 'blended in'; squandering my precious time over pointless courtesy is what allowed you to rob me of the life I wished to lead in the first place. I will indulge it no more. Aura? To me. Now."

Robin furrowed his brows. "That's a little rude, don't you think? That's not how you get her to respond," he objected.

But he found himself proved wrong as Aura rushed immediately to Odd's side, folding her hands in her lap like a maidservant and turning back to face Robin.

Odd's lips curled into a smirk. "Oh, that anyone had told me the secret to getting what I wanted was to insist..."

Picking up on Aura's astonishingly quick turn of allegiance and change of personality, Robin gulped with concern and warned, "Come on, man, you're freaking me out. Don't make me regret this."

"Of course not! I will make the most of this opportunity - you have my gratitude, traveler. May you and that..." he said before pausing to clear his throat, "Pardon me - may you and Kazia live a long and happy life on these beautiful lands! You may have my fields and all its livestock; prosper together!"

At that, Odd smiled pleasantly and waved, turning to Aura.

"Get us out of this wretched place," he muttered distastefully under his breath.

"At once, milord," Aura answered, her projection latching onto his arm as she promptly sent him back to Earth in Robin's place.

After Odd's disappearance in a flash of light, Robin sighed and pressed his hand to his chin in thought.

"Maybe...maybe it wasn't the best idea to pick him."

View All »Arcs

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Welcome home, Promethean. Here, you can manage your universe.

Arcs

Arcs are bundles of posts from any location, allowing you to easily capture sub-plots which might be spread out across multiple locations.

Add Quest » Quests

You can create Quests with various rewards, encouraging your players to engage with specific plot lines.

Add Setting » 1 Settings for your players to play in

Settings are the backdrop for the characters in your universe, giving meaning and context to their existence. By creating a number of well-written locations, you can organize your universe into areas and regions.

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By creating Collectibles, you can reward your players with unique items that accentuate their character sheets.


Once an Item has been created, it can be spawned in the IC using /spawn Item Name (case-sensitive, as usual) — this can be followed with /take Item Name to retrieve the item into the current character's inventory.

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Give your Universe life by adding a Mob, which are auto-replenishing NPCs your players can interact with. Useful for some quick hack-and-slash fun!

Mobs can be automated spawns, like rats and bats, or full-on NPCs complete with conversation menus. Use them to enhance your player experience!

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The Forge

Use your INK to craft new artifacts in The Isekai Wonderland Project. Once created, Items cannot be changed, but they can be bought and sold in the marketplace.

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Buy, sell, and even craft your own items in this universe.

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View All » Add Character » 12 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Bronte Griffiths
Character Portrait: Alice Hyacinth
Character Portrait: Leland Plantaget
Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth
Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
Character Portrait: Jorji M. Alderman
Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato
Character Portrait: Mother Nature
Character Portrait: Tannis Donnis
Character Portrait: Odilon "Odd" Kelek
Character Portrait: Margaret Cole

Newest

Character Portrait: Margaret Cole
Margaret Cole

Barely squeaking by.

Character Portrait: Odilon "Odd" Kelek
Odilon "Odd" Kelek

A conqueror in the shell of a shepherd boy.

Character Portrait: Tannis Donnis
Tannis Donnis

"I am what I am, I am who I am, so who and what are you?"

Character Portrait: Mother Nature
Mother Nature

"Don't talk to your mother like that."

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato
Kazuyuki Miyato

"It's hardly something worth worrying over."

Character Portrait: Jorji M. Alderman
Jorji M. Alderman

"When the world tries to put your spark out, you must surround yourself with friends who fan your flame."

Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
Mariya Fukuda

"We delight in the flight of the butterfly."

Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth
Gabriel Eadsforth

The Campus Barista

Character Portrait: Alice Hyacinth
Alice Hyacinth

"It was never me you were interested in, but the idea of making yourself look like the hero for being my friend."

Trending

Character Portrait: Tannis Donnis
Tannis Donnis

"I am what I am, I am who I am, so who and what are you?"

Character Portrait: Jorji M. Alderman
Jorji M. Alderman

"When the world tries to put your spark out, you must surround yourself with friends who fan your flame."

Character Portrait: Margaret Cole
Margaret Cole

Barely squeaking by.

Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth
Gabriel Eadsforth

The Campus Barista

Character Portrait: Alice Hyacinth
Alice Hyacinth

"It was never me you were interested in, but the idea of making yourself look like the hero for being my friend."

Character Portrait: Mother Nature
Mother Nature

"Don't talk to your mother like that."

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato
Kazuyuki Miyato

"It's hardly something worth worrying over."

Character Portrait: Bronte Griffiths
Bronte Griffiths

"I'll try being someone else because I'm not sure if I like being me."

Character Portrait: Mariya Fukuda
Mariya Fukuda

"We delight in the flight of the butterfly."

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Jorji M. Alderman
Jorji M. Alderman

"When the world tries to put your spark out, you must surround yourself with friends who fan your flame."

Character Portrait: Bronte Griffiths
Bronte Griffiths

"I'll try being someone else because I'm not sure if I like being me."

Character Portrait: Odilon "Odd" Kelek
Odilon "Odd" Kelek

A conqueror in the shell of a shepherd boy.

Character Portrait: Gabriel Eadsforth
Gabriel Eadsforth

The Campus Barista

Character Portrait: Mother Nature
Mother Nature

"Don't talk to your mother like that."

Character Portrait: Tannis Donnis
Tannis Donnis

"I am what I am, I am who I am, so who and what are you?"

Character Portrait: Kazuyuki Miyato
Kazuyuki Miyato

"It's hardly something worth worrying over."

Character Portrait: Alice Hyacinth
Alice Hyacinth

"It was never me you were interested in, but the idea of making yourself look like the hero for being my friend."

Character Portrait: Margaret Cole
Margaret Cole

Barely squeaking by.


Fullscreen Chat » Create Topic » The Isekai Wonderland Project: Out of Character

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Most recent OOC posts in The Isekai Wonderland Project

Re: The Isekai Wonderland Project

sunnelore wrote:this looks really interesting from what I can see so far! i'd love to join!

Hi, thank you for your interest. Be happy to have you. I'll PM the discord ^-^

Re: The Isekai Wonderland Project

this looks really interesting from what I can see so far! i'd love to join!

Re: The Isekai Wonderland Project

Danaie wrote:Heyo! I'd love to join. I think this concept is very interesting!


Hello, we'd be happy to have you aboard! I'll send you a PM of our discord server. ^^

Re: The Isekai Wonderland Project

Heyo! I'd love to join. I think this concept is very interesting!

Re: The Isekai Wonderland Project

The_Queen wrote:Hello! I'm interested in joining with a female character!

Hi Queen. Happy to have you. ^^

Re: The Isekai Wonderland Project

Hello! I'm interested in joining with a female character!

The Isekai Wonderland Project

This is the auto-generated OOC topic for the roleplay "The Isekai Wonderland Project"

You may edit this first post as you see fit.