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Balancing Time (Tsuki)

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    Balancing Time (Tsuki)

    Spoiler


    "Soooooo are you going?" Cydonia prattled lightly as they passed yet another poster stapled to one of the many corkboards adorning the walls of the sprawling campus of Acheron University. The extremely varied makeup of the college's students - as well as its staff and the city in which it had been constructed - meant that people who looked human like Ailis - or were actually human like the shy, stringy, orange haired girl walking next to her - were the exception rather than the rule. The poster to which her eyes were drawn, visible intermittently through the bodies of students going in either direction towards their next bit of academic responsibility, was for the autumnal welcome dance celebrating both the turning of the seasons and the beginning of the semester. The colorful bit of advertisement had seemingly constantly been on Cydonia's mind, who seemed to change her decision on whether or not she was interested in the event every ten minutes or so.

    The festive dance would undoubtedly be enjoyed by as varied a racial makeup as they were walking among now; they passed an orc and an elf - both male - chatting about some sort of magical theory, a trio of demonic girls of all different shapes and colors giggling about something undoubtedly inane or depraved... Or both. A man so impossibly beautiful that the light smile he sent their way turned Cydonia's face bright red who could only be one of the greater faeries, the sidhe, a dour faced quartet of humans of mixed genders who wore badges marking them as part of the military academy, even a group of alraune with identical facial features but slightly different coloration wandered by. They were united by their uniform, an outfit consisting of a jacket similar to a tunic that fully covered the torso whose lower half could be worn effectively as a skirt with leggings, or with pants underneath instead. Preventing the demons and others who might opt to wear as little as possible if given the option from having their way kept the overall look far less lewd than one might generally think of the demon city, and even if there were still the occasional risque displays courtesy of those who wore their skirts shorter and public acts of depravity, they were far fewer and farther between than what one might find out on the streets.

    Cydonia wasn't exactly the most graceful socially girl on campus and generally tried to keep to herself. She was clumsy, somewhat scatterbrained, and lacked confidence in any significant degree. Despite all of that, however, she regularly managed to force herself to try and become more social, and it seemed that she was gearing up for another go. Having attached herself to Ailis on their very first day in their very first class, the willowy culinary major had ended up in most of the same time slots for most of their classes, which at least left Ailis with some company. The nature of their major meant that they didn't tend to have much homework barring their electives and general education courses, offering Ailis plenty of time for her secret hobby, and given the nature of the area around campus and Acheron itself there were always plenty of ne'er-do-wells for her to practice her other favored craft on, or at least there would be now that the start of semester rush was settling.

    They had just left their last class for the day on the first day of their second week. Ailis still had most of her afternoon left to her, and no homework to speak of just yet. The local guards had been having issues, as they always did given the sheer number of problems that they had to deal with, of which the university's students had been made aware of as a means of warning. Even with magic and advanced technology on their side, there were those who elected to cause trouble for all manner of reasons, and some possessed powers and equipment equivalent to those possessed by the city guard. There had been attacks taking place late at night already, always on young women, that left them dazed and totally drained of energy. A group of masked goblins had been robbing students and places of business that served them, usually at night but sometimes even in the early evening. A noble's daughter had disappeared just after the second day of classes, and a reward had been offered for finding her by her family. Finally, a group of students had begun causing trouble on campus, using their status as the scions of nobles to harass other students and deface university property despite what little disciplinary action could be taken against them.
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    #2
    An idle "Hmmm" came in response to Cydonia's question. Ailis habitually adjusted her glasses as her eyes skimmed through the poster as though she hadn't read it a dozen or more times, as if she kept track, over the past several days on campus. Not to mention the numerous times she's heard Cydonia talk about it. "Maybe? I mean I probably will go. How bad could it be? At worst, we can always duck out if it's terrible."

    "Besides, what else would we do with our night anyway?" Ailis added.

    'Certainly wouldn't spend our night skulking around looking for some mischief makers. Why, that would be absurd!'

    As she chatted, Ailis took in the sights around her. It was so exciting seeing so many different people all getting along, though the sight of some of the demons' alterations to the official uniform made her hands reach down to adjust her skirt subconsciously. She was caught off guard for only a moment before she returned the smile of the fae, perhaps a bit more sultry than she had intended. When she noticed her friend's reaction to the man, Ailis gave a gentle elbow to Cydonia's ribs. "There's also always the chance of meeting some interesting people there. Who knows, you might catch the eye of some handsome man who will ask you to dance with him," she teased. "Actually, this is Acheron U. How much dancing will there be at this thing versus 'dancing?'"

    "Anyway," the bespectacled student sighed, "What are we even going to do with the rest of the day? Iím not used to having this free time." Of course, she had plans for that night, but that was still some hours away. "Maybe go look around town or something?"
    Last edited by Tsuki; 6th November 2017, 05:12.

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      #3
      Spoiler


      The dance, to come at the end of the next week of classes, was a formal event at which all students - and anyone that one of them elected to bring as a date - would be welcome. It was free to attend and financed by certain organizations within the school and various noble patrons, and as she and Cydonia traveled down the hall, Ailis would see the central group of one of the school teams that worked to both fund and set up the grand social event up ahead. Iadreth moved at the head, trailed and practically orbited by her younger sister Elnoru. While age wasn't much of a designation in a city of immortals sporting many varieties of such, numerous long lived creatures, and numerous inhabitants with lives even shorter than a human, most of the university's students tended to be young adults of their race at this point. Iadreth stood head and shoulders over many of them, but her statuesque frame was as alluring as it was intimidating. The half-dragon bore a plait of long red hair that reached down to her waist, contained and tied among a crown of three pairs of curving horns that grew longer and thicker as they spread along her skull. A tail ending in what looked like a straight blade made of bone jutted from her back, protruding from a slot made in the uniform of the Acheron University cheerleading squad, which she was the official head of. Piercing blue eyes gazed upon anyone who stepped into her path with barely concealed disdain, and any who stared too long at her curvaceous but still athletic frame with scorn.

      Elnoru could not have been more different from her older sister if she tried. Shorter to the point that she was of a height with Cydonia and Ailis, less pleasingly shaped though by no means ugly, the freckle-faced dragonkin lacked any signs of her sister's confidence. Other than stories of accidentally setting her bed on fire in her sleep at one point, she lacked any hint of her draconic heritage barring her slightly sibilant eyes, and certainly lacked Iadreth's fearsome reputation.

      Two steps behind Iadreth walked Andona, a night elven girl who strode with casual ease. Bearing sharp ears, a short bob of white hair, and rectangular spectacles covering her emerald eyes, Andona looked at everyone she passed with a relaxed if somewhat vacant smile. Her overall demeanor and general reputation for being easygoing and adventurous often gave the impression that if it weren't for Iadreth parting any crowd they passed through, she might have been swept along with any sufficiently large group.

      Finally, there was Prilthyia, the one some said was actually responsible for most of the decisions regarding the cheerleading squad's various extracurricular activities. The demon girl's hair was ever a work of personal art, always artfully crafted to go with her horns, which today meant light blue streaks curling over her head in perfect alignment with the curves of her black horns, with violet strands curling from her brow to circle her head and trail down the lightly curling strands of shiny black that went all the way to the small of her back. She, like the rest, was clad in the cheerleading outfit that was a good bit more revealing than the normal uniform, and she filled it out perfectly while moving in it with a grace that made Andona look lanky, Iadreth appear as stiff as a board, and Elnoru seem like she didn't even exist.

      The quartet, often seen together, shared many courses with Ailis and Cydonia, and so were a common enough sight for the two. They had raised quite a bit of money this year to support and spruce up the welcome dance, and were doing a lot of the work the final portions of organization.

      "Welllll..... I don't think we have anything else to do... It's not like we'll have any big projects to worry about by then, right!?" There was a tinge of nervous panic to Cydonia's statement that was poorly hidden by the giggle that ended it. Ailis' ensuing bout of suggestion straightened her spine even more than the light elbow that preceded it, and added a bit of color to her cheeks. By the time the "handsome man" sentence was over she was as bright red as a demon's gaze, and gave a little murmur of nervousness as she clutched her bag so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. The further suggestion hinting at the type of "dancing" that might actually go on - not an impossible or even unlikely event given where they were - left her flabbergasted and shrinking inwards.

      "You know.... They wouldn't... They can't.... N-not in public! Just like that!" She squeaked, though the distant look and slight sway adopted into her step suggested that her imagination was going somewhere. Fortunately, Ailis distracted her from whatever fantasies were starting to play through her mind by wondering aloud what they might do with the rest of their time that very day. "Oh..... I don't know really. Going into Acheron proper sounds scary, but we'll have to do it eventually, won't we? Maybe we should go exploring... Though, I've got a bit of homework to do..." Cydonia descended into waffling as they made it out of the concourse connecting a number of lecture halls, exiting into the pleasantly warm autumn air. It was sunny, and the leaves were only just starting to change colors; this area of Badaria had a long summer.

      The campus itself was separated from Acheron proper by a short stretch of cultivated woodlands. Built in a clearing sculpted by magic a ways to the Northeast of the city, the campus had expanded over time and now encompassed about two dozen builds of varying sizes and shapes. Smaller classrooms, larger lectures halls, workshops for all manner of disciplines, the stadium, and the dormitories were spread across a couple of miles of ground, each of the buildings connected by a series of half-buried tunnels that were kept cool in summer and warm in the winter. The main lecture and classroom halls surrounded a main square, in which Ailis and Cydonia now walked, which had a fountain, a number of picnic tables and benches, some in the shade of remaining trees and some deliberately out of it, and a mind boggling number of people - students and staff alike - walking across it, crisscrossing in every direction.

      The five buildings nearby were all primarily lecture halls and classrooms. The upper floors - for they were all built tall and wide - were offices for the staff and certain student organizations. To the South lay the dormitories, and the transit system that could take them to Acheron the city. To the North were the smaller buildings containing the numerous workshops necessary to teach the practical skills offered at the university, where many of their more practical courses would be taking place over the course of their Academic careers. To the Northwest was a section of dense faerie woodlands, supposedly a fairly dangerous place, while directly to the West the forest between the city and the campus lay.

      (Oh hey look, I made a map of the campus!)
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        #4
        "If we have big projects by the end of week two, I'm dropping out," Ailis joked as she snickered at Cydonia's reactions. As adorable as it was, she couldn't help but wonder, somewhere in the back of her mind, how someone could sign up for Acheron U and not think at least some adult oriented action was going to happen at any big social gathering, if not even expect it to happen. It was like walking into a brothel and not expect people to be bumping uglies.

        "But, really, if we have anything big we can just not go. It won't be a big deal. Well, unless you're getting a date that fast, then you might just have to go. We both know that you're on the hunt 24/7," she prodded before deciding to give the poor girl a break from the teasing, as her attention was drawn past Cydonia to the cheer squad.

        Iadreth was hard to miss. She just had a presence; part of that was her imposing stature, part of that was just the regal-ness of her dragon lineage. Though, that draconic ancestry certainly didn't help Elnoru, so maybe being part dragon didn't help that much. Ailis' eyes then turned to Andona, whom the former found nice enough. The stark contrast between the grandiose Iadreth and nonchalant Andona made Ailis wonder how the group got along or if it was just the cheer-leading that brought them together.The last member of that group was Prilthyia, whom Ailis' eyes couldn't resist a quick wonder up and down (which she was sure everyone did). Even as a fellow shapeshifter, the freshman was sure Prilthyia was cheating. There was just no way to look that damn good all the time. It was hardly fair.

        Ailis took a deep breath of fresh air to get over her faux jealousy-powered huff. "Anyway, I know Acheron has a bit of a reputation, but it's not as if questionable things can be going around every corner. Things just wouldn't work as a city if it was, right?" Ailis neglected to mention the rumors she'd already been hearing about with the guards and their problems. "Besides, I wasn't planning on being out late. But if you wanted to stay and do your homework and take it a little slower with the new stuff, that's fine. I'm not going to force you to go."
        Last edited by Tsuki; 26th November 2017, 19:50. Reason: Forgot spaces or... somethin.

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          #5
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          Cydonia's cheeks brightened anew at Ailis' continued teasing, her lips momentarily pursing tightly before she blurted out some incomprehensible sounds of protest, only to quickly go silent again. "A-ahm not!" she finally muttered, and unless Ailis opted to prolong her teasing further would opt to leave the subject behind. It was true that Acheron University was more sexually open than most places of warning, to be sure. Rather than ignore the subject entirely or denounce it, the powers that be merely ensured that it wouldn't take place in obvious locations, admonished those who did it irresponsibly, and ensured that there were numerous utilities on hand so that everyone had access to safe sex. Dispensers for condoms in numerous sizes and shapes, with some even available for those possessing more unusually shaped appendages, were in every dormitory and both the transit and hub buildings. Short courses about sexuality and magical corruption were available for free at generally convenient hours for all students, and alchemical answers were available at cost for the consequences of both potential problems from the chemical sciences department. Reminder flyers for the rules about sex on campus and suggestions for safe sex and the free sex ed courses were always up among the event flyers, and Cydonia seemed to study them intently every day.

          "Well.... You're right. It can't be THAT bad, right? We should go out... But, where should we go? Just looking around the city? I don't know of any parties or anything, a-a-and I've never really... Gone to, you know.... A bar before. A-anyway, I want to drop off my books and get changed first... Should we meet up in a little bit? Maaaybe outside Transit?"

          Towards the tail end of Cydonia's response, Andona would break off from her fellow cheerleaders, strolling off in a seemingly random direction with a loping stroll. She would quickly notice Cydonia and Ailis, however, and casually diverted her path towards them with a smile on her face. Ailis would have a few moments to respond to Cydonia's suggestion before the elf was upon them, at which point she casually inserted herself between them and through an arm around either of their shoulders. "Hello friends! Couldn't help but overhear ya, and gotta say.... Great idea! Capital I'd say! It just so happens that I know of a little get together going on in the city tonight. Drinks are free for we of the fairer sex, pants are to stay on... But only in public~ And there'll be booooys there! Boys who are available and willing and adventurous and looking for partners of like dispositions!!" Ailis could feel Cydonia's cheeks heat up in embarrassment at the renewed implication from across Andona, but if her teasing was directed at Cydonia specifically it wasn't left clear in her body language.

          "Girls too, if that's your preference," she continued offhandedly, and if anything Cydonia brightened even further at the notion. At Acheron University she might be, but she was still quite obviously a Badarian country girl in temperament. "Aaanyway, we'll be going... The cheerleading squad and our assorted hangers on. Best to come and go in groups, you know, keep anyone from wandering off and getting into trouble. Don't wanna end up found passed out in some alley or robbed by ickle masked gubbins. Wanna come?" She paused, grinning and glancing from Ailis to Cydonia and back. Her offer and attached suggestions as to what they might find at this party were making Cydonia quietly stutter and fidget, albeit in what seemed like interest... Or at least not outright disinterest. That left Ailis with an opportunity to be the one to respond primarily for the two of them, if she so wished.
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            #6
            "Meeting up at transit sounds good. And we can go shopping maybe?" Ailis shrugged. "Could find some dresses for the dance. We'll find something to do I'm sure."

            Ailis only noticed Andona was actually descending on herself and Cydonia a moment before there was an arm around her. "Oh! Hey Andona." the spider greeted as she listened to the grand plan for the night. She couldn't help but grin as Cydonia became ever more flustered. Ailis' tongue poked out from her lips ever so slightly as she fought to her hold back a giggle at her friend's reaction. How could someone just be so precious all the way in Acheron?

            As for the plan itself, Ailis mulled it over for only a second before nodding at Andona. "Sounds good to me. Saves us from the trouble of planning things out. What do you think Cydonia? We'll be with plenty of other people so it'll be nice and safe. Don't have to drink too much if you don't want to do that. Good way for us to dip our feet into going to the city," she reasoned before leaning in closer to Cydonia. "Like I was saying with the dance, if you don't like it we can always duck out early," Ailis whispered. She wasn't quite sure how good the elf's hearing was but, regardless, being quieter about this kind of thing would, she hoped, keep her friend from feeling too pressured. As much as she was feeling adventurous, Ailis didn't want to just abandon her.

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              #7
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              "Ooooh! Shopping! That's a GREAT idea!" Cydonia replied, a bit of excited energy replacing the nervousness she'd been projecting up until that point. It didn't last long given Andona's arrival and reversion of their conversation towards carnal implications, of course, but Ailis had apparently found something that could get her excited.

              "Uh-uhmmmm.... Wellllll," Cydonia waffled while Andona's gaze drifted from staring at her expectantly to gazing off into the distance as if in a trance. That offered Ailis the opportunity to lean across the elf and whisper to Cydonia, who finally nodded. "Capital idea!" Andona remarked brightly, "get a little experience under your belt, see if you can find something you like! That's the only way to live! Just make sure to get something pretty to wear~ It's not a formal event, but maaaaybe something a lil sexy... A lil risque would be in order? Eh? Eh? Aaanyway.... Shall I come retrieve you two from your dorms later, or do you wanna meet up somewhere?"

              Cydonia was blushing again, but wore a sort of eager look along with it now. She also seemed a bit lost in thought, however, leaving Ailis to respond to Andona's offer as she wished. From there, however, the night elf would issue some parting words and then disentangle herself from the pair, leaving Ailis and Cydonia alone - or as alone as two people could be in a crowded courtyard - while she wandered off on her own. "A-alright, so... I'll see you in a bit by the transit center then?" She said, turning to Ailis with a nervous grin, "We should get going soon, if we want to find someplace to get some nice clothes." Cydonia would deliver her own goodbye, albeit a short term one, and make her way towards her own dormitory with long skirt swaying with her hastened steps. With a bit of time to use for her own devices, Ailis could return to her own dormitory, or perhaps spend a bit of time wandering campus if she thought she could drop off her things and clean up to whatever extent that she wished faster than Cydonia and wished to find out a bit more about things that might be going on.
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