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Damn, Magallan is already hyper powerful in Fugimist, even at Elite 1 level 1. I may E2 her next just to have a powerful summoner.

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Eyja when she walks into the Fungimist squad room and the only other people there are a level 15 Fang and Reserve Sniper:

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Y A L L

My first fungimist victory, which was also my first time seeing the boss of area 5, which I also did perfectly because I was at 1 health going in. The entire team were stars but I especially want to kiss Gravel on the mouth for her performance.

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Nian is huge in my heart for many a similar reason as Platinum is: She’s explicitly there because she likes to hang out with you.

The primordial difference here is that Platinum is actually signed with Rhodes Island as an Operator: She’s a human resource with responsibilities and contractual duties. Even if she’s infamously capricious and shirks her domestic duties on the regular, she doesn’t really have any malicious intent and carries through her combat duties with flying colors, so she’s given a pass. However, it is very much a reality that Kal’tsit or any such high authority has pull over here because, again, she’s a human resource bound by contract.

The same is not true for Nian.

Nian is explicitly not a human resource. She’s not been hired by Rhodes Island; Attempts were made, but she refused. She’s a vagrant, so to speak, an incredibly skilled and ever nomadic blacksmith that doesn’t seem to settle, and she comes and goes from Rhodes Island as she pleases. What’s her condition? What’s her species? No clue, she won’t let herself be examined, she doesn’t answer questions, and swooces right out of serious topics with a light hearted jest.

The incredible thing is that Nian, simultaneously, lives up to her name as a beast of destruction (that’s a link to the Wikipedia article of the Nian) while subverting her very nature.

The Nian is characterized by a few things: Large monster that eats people and livestock, destroys villages, and shows up during Chinese New Year (in winter, when food is scarce, hence why it only shows up during CNY, the rest of the year, it supposedly survives by eating wild animals), and deathly afraid of loud noises, fire, and the color red.

Every decision behind Nian in Arknights is extremely deliberate when you keep this in mind:

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Wears some red clothes, highlights and accessories, and is a blacksmith, y’know, a profession known for having to work very intimately with fire and loud noises, the former more so than the latter. And keep in mind, a blacksmith is someone who fundamentally creates, not what you’d expect a monster known for destruction to have as a profession. One might argue that, indeed, with a blacksmith’s creations one can also destroy, but it’s also made clear that Nian is incredibly selective about who she creates for, meaning they are not used for wanton, irresponsible destruction.

As suggested during her event’s half-truths and implications, it seems Nian is more or less retired by now. She enjoys a fun life of frivolities now, instead of being a monster of destruction. Symbolic of this is her embracing pretty much everything that was once used to drive her away: Red, Fire, and (to some degree) Loud Noises.

Ah, but old habits do indeed die hard! How hard? Well, despite all of this, she still plays a role as a creature of destruction, just, on a much smaller, playful scale:

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Nian gets quite a kick out of destroying Doctor’s work schedule by constantly pestering them with toys and sudden outings. Nian will stride right into Doctor’s office, hand them a cursed doll that disappears if you don’t look at it, and then fireman carry them shopping at the mall. Or one could say she enjoys annihilating Kal’tsit’s nerves, because Kal’tsit, in the ocean of her immense wisdom, likely knows what Nian really is (or was?), and knows there’s quite literally nothing she can do to make Nian stop from grabbing Captain Warcrimes like a particularly light sack of potatoes and carrying them away to watch Wohn Jick 3 for the seventh time this month after an intense impromptu shopping spree. And that’s not to mention how much she loves playing around with Lava. You KNOW they have the best worst tabletop sessions.

But, of course, this is all hyperbole, to call that “destruction” is only on a nominal basis at best. But for someone as capricious and free as Nian, perhaps that’s precisely enough for her to feel content.

Nian certainly seems to have a keen eye for interesting people: In Lava’s Files, she’s stated to have a lot of potential, and sure enough, Lava will eventually become Purgatory. Likewise, Nian states she’d gladly forge a sword for Doctor, meaning she finds them worthy and interesting enough, and the only reason she doesn’t go through with it is her rationale that it’d be wasted on Doctor simply because they wouldn’t use it, as they don’t fight. That’s consistent with another facet of Nian: She sees tools as tools, in a very respectful way.

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When she says “people are like tools”, it’s in the most affectionate, respectful way possible, not in the usual cruel, utilitarian manner: You can classify them, they all have their intended purpose and things they are good at, and some, some are more interesting that others. Just like she respects Doctor, she also respects the theoretical swords she could make for them, in that they’d be ceremonial at best, and thus it’s better not to exist if you can’t really do what you you’re meant to do. This is also an interesting contrast with Pre-Amnesia Doctor, in that they considered people like tools as well, just, very much in that usual cruel and utilitarian manner, like chess pieces.

Nian is a free-wheeling, capricious cloud of a person, but don’t make the mistake of thinking she’s airheaded or that she doesn’t like to think for it, her way of speaking is casual and informal, but the words she says are nonetheless wise, coming from one who is seasoned. It’s because she has led a colorful, full life that she can enjoy the little, carefree parts.

It’s things like this that make her such a fascinating character.

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*cough* for your consideration:

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I mean, nothing we don’t already know, but good to see the devs at ak know exactly where to critically strike the gays

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(requested by mathmaticalknight; continuing a series)

“Ya know, I dunno why I thought she mighta been jokin’ ‘bout the tuxes.” Croissant was blushing brightly as she was getting her measurements taken.

Mostima shrugged. “I don’t ever plan on getting married, but one of us was bound to tie the knot sooner or later, and Texas needs to find an officiant who will sign two certificates for her discreetly before it’s even an option for her. Where are your hanger-ons, by the way?”

“With Angelina, doing the same thing we are.” The Lupo had a Pocky stick in her mouth like a cigar, taking it all in. “I wouldn’t marry Sora, though. Exu maybe, but not Sora. She’s a good girl, but the whole ‘idol worship’ is a bit much.”

“She’d really want you to praise her that much?” The Sarkaz smirked.

Texas rolled her eyes. “Funny.”

“If any’n’s worshippin’ any’n, it ain’t Tex.” The Forte chuckled, but had to stop when the tape measure came ‘round again. “Hey, how tight this need ta be? Least gimme a lil’ room ta breathe ‘ere.”

“Don’t question my judgment, ‘less you wan’a punishment. I been wearin’ this look a lot longer than you.” Emperor bit back, making the last few notes he needed.

The three shared a glance. “You wear T-shirts over your feathers, though,” Mostima observed.

“Well, yeah, cuz’ I like the style,” he replied, “but if ya ever see me rockin’ my birthday suit, you’d know I’m just as fuckin’ classy. Got killer shoes to boot.”

“What, yer feet?” Croissant glanced down at the penguin’s openly-visible legs.

He nodded. “Damn straight. The boys will have your suit to ya within a couple days; when’s the big shindig, anyways?”

“Uh…I dunno.” The Forte shrugged. “We’re gonna sign the papers a week from now, but we don’t have money for a ceremony.”

“Well, then, imma have to do it myself.” Emperor opened his notes again and walked away, pen scribbling faster than before.

Texas shook her head. “That’s how you know you’re the Boss’s favorite, Cross.”

“Aw, shucks, I didn’ wan’im to pay fer it.” She sighed. “I’m gonna be payin’im back ferever at this rate.”

“Could be worse - if he died before forever came along, the debt would probably go right back to the company.” And with that, the Sankta left, the other two not too far behind, to meet Bison in the lobby.

Meanwhile, Magallan was moving at a more leisurely pace, listening to Angie recount the proposal story. “That sounds exactly like I imagined. Empy’s was a lot more ostentatious, but I had no idea what was coming, either. WIth him, he could’ve been holding an impromptu concert.”

“That’s the Emperor, alright.” Exusiai sighed. “I can’t imagine what it’d be like to go through something like this. Can you, Sora?”

“Hmm?” The ‘Lupo’ had been doing just that, actually.

Angelina smiled. “Oh, I think she can. I’ve had that look on my face for the past week now…It’s too bad we can’t afford to have a ceremony, though.”

“You can’t?” The Liberi measuring her stopped. “Oh, dear, why didn’t you tell me? I’m sure Empy and I can help you with that; consider it our wedding gift to you both.”

“You’d really do that? But they’re so expensive…” Her fiance’s sense for money was rubbing off on her.

Magallan chirped merrily. “Oh, it’s no big deal; we’re making so much, it’s a drop in the bucket. How does three weeks from today sound?”

“Oh, Magallan, I can’t just blindly agree without talking to my Croissantwich first…buuut that’ll probably be okay.” The Vulpo was about to explode from happiness; luckily, they were done with measurements at this point (because of Liberi efficiency), so she was free to detonate with glee as she burst out of the dressing room. “Croissaaaaaant!”

“Angie?!” The Forte heard her and turned around in time to be slammed by a full-speed makeout machine which managed through sheer enthusiasm to knock her to the floor.

Texas nodded as the other two followed out. “Ceremony?”

“Ceremony,” Exusiai confirmed. “Emp and Maggie paying for the whole thing?”

“That’s what he said…Wonder if he’ll pay for ours.”

Two Penguin Logistics members turned bright red as Bison and Mostima had an intense but muted conversation off to the side…Yep, just another day in Penguin Logistics.

———–

“Wow. They really did pull out all the stops, didn’t they?” The Doctor and Amiya took back their IDs from the door guard as they walked into the auditorium that’d been taken over. “It’ll be hard to match for ours.”

“Doctor darling, we probably shouldn’t compete with the Emperor like that. He doesn’t like to back down from a fight.” Besides, why would she need a grand ceremony? Just her and the Doctor at the altar, Kal’tsit as the Maid of Honor, Savage and Blaze as bridesmaids-

There was a tap on her shoulder as her date gestured to the seating. “I wonder if they expect to fill the place tonight.”

“Everyone’s sitting so close to the front, it’s hard to tell.” The Cautus shrugged. “Let’s sit back here. It’s a bit crowded there…So many emotions at once might overload me.”

“As you wish~ Oh, they’re about to start, I think. One question: why is Texas on the other side and wearing a suit? And why isn’t Emperor, even though Lappland is in one?”

Amiya shrugged. “Hard to say, Doctor. How did Lappland get to be a groomsman when Bison is- Oh! He’s the officiant.”

“When did he get that certifi-” He stopped as soon as Bison began to read.

“Friends, colleagues, and esteemed leaders of Rhodes Island,” the Forte began. “While I stand before you today acting in a merely ceremonial capacity in this celebration, I cannot begin to tell you how exciting a day this is not just for us at Penguin Logistics, but for Rhodes Island as a whole. Never have I seen a pair more in love than the two who come here today to declare their union in holy matrimony. Will the groom please come forward?”

From a door off to their right, there was a bit of a ruckus, followed by Croissant stepping through with a sheepish smile on her face as Emperor walked her to the altar before taking a front-row seat. Evidently, she’d knocked over a coat rack or something as she’d approached the door, but that wasn’t what grabbed people’s attention.

The Doctor squeezed Amiya’s hand. “Our Croissant is a rather handsome woman, isn’t she?”

“Oh, hush, dear.” She lightly slapped his hand, which was resting atop hers on the chair arm between them. “I think she looks lovely.”

“That’s what I meant, darling, just in a masculine sense. The style matches her perfectly, and the tailoring is also impeccable, honestly.”

She gave him a look. “Have you been studying this sort of thing?”

“It’s important to have a broad knowledge base.” He smiled as the Forte stepped up to the altar, clearly noticed she’d missed her mark, and shuffled a little to get into place. “Oh, Cross…”

“Uh…thank y’all for comin’. Wudn’t sure how many people’d wanna come when we’d already tied the knot on our own, but uh…It means a lot ta both of us, I know. Uh…” She probably had more, but she choked up with tears in her eyes in the face of Rhodes Island’s full support on display. “Th-thank y’all so much…”

As Texas patted her on the shoulder, Bison continued. “Is the bride ready?”

“As ready as she’ll ever be,” Mostima muttered as the opposite door opened to reveal a procession: Greyy with a pair of rings displayed on a pillow walking with Gummy, who was sprinkling the floor behind them with flowers. Behind them, Magallan was arm-in-arm with Angelina, who was wearing a suit of her own.

“Oh my God,” Amiya gasped in wonder. “Doctor-”

He nodded, squeezing her hand. “I see her, too, dear.”

“Hot damn,” Emperor audibly muttered, catching the attendees off-guard and eliciting more than a few laughs.

“Thank you, Emperor.” Angie smiled at him before turning to the crowd as Maggie took a seat. “My parents aren’t here, and I doubt they’d have agreed to attend if I’d told them, but Penguin Logistics is more like my family than anyone. The other day, I finally married into it, and…I just wanna say, to everyone from Rhodes Island who was able to make it, and the folks who had work to do, I appreciate everything you’ve all done for Cross and me since I got here. Even if this probably isn’t what any of you saw coming…Bison?”

He smiled. “Greyy, if you would?” The Perro held out the pillow for the couple to each take a ring. “Excellent. Now, as I wasn’t able to be fully ordained in time for this ceremony, I can’t lead the two in a recital of their vows, but they asked to be able to each say something here today. Angelina, if you will?”

“I think my wifesband should go first,” she teased, grinning at the blush that turn of phrase created.

“Well, ya only get ta do this right once, huh…” The Forte wiped at her eye. “Hoo boy. I was there the night Angie realized her feelin’s fer me, but I’ll a’mit, e’er since the firs’ day I saw ‘er, I ‘ad a pretty good ide-er just ‘ow wun’erful she is. Ain’t a lotta girls in’a world that got both a good ‘ead on ‘er shoulders and a warm ‘eart like she got, but ‘at ain’t e’ry’in ta love ‘bout ‘er either. Not sure if she ‘members this, but first time we met was back when she aksidelly went’n PL lookin’ fer the Doctor. Nothin’ like ‘avin’ some’n so gorjus tell ya ‘Sorry, was lookin’ fer some’n else,’ ya know?”

A bit of laughter from the crowd before she continued. “I reckon I ‘ad the last laugh there, tho’, cuz’ guess ‘oo gets to call ‘erself Mrs. Ajimu now…Angelface, we were friends long ‘fore I thought we ‘ad a chance at bein’ lovers, so you know when I say I’ve seen ya at yer best and yer worst, I ain’t tryin’a diss ya. There ain’t a nuther person in ‘is room as lucky as me t’day, ‘cuz the love of my life loves meh back…Ya prolly shud stop meh, else I’ll just keep ram’lin’.”

“That’s alright; even if these folks have other places to be, I’d listen to every word. You know, darling, if it was a nightmare that inspired you to propose to me when you did, I have to wonder what happens when you have a good dream, but I think I’ve been living in one since the day we had our first date. Between movie nights with the company and waking up to your smile in the mornings, it’s like living in one of the cheesy teen novels I loved reading after floating up to one of my usual spots. Loving you is a flashback and a memory and a dream and a reality all rolled up in knowing that, whatever happens - arguments, deployments that separate us, maybe even one of us getting hurt - there’s nothing in the world that’ll stop me from needing you, wanting you, standing by your side…Meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to me…” Having said her piece, tears in her eyes, Angie reached out and slid her ring on Cross’s finger, who did the same in turn.

“I think I’m gonna cry,” the Doctor whispered to his date, who already was. “G-good call on the back sea–” And there went the water works.

Across most of the auditorium, actually, save for those physically incapable, and Bison, who soldiered on regardless. “That said, before we get to the festivities provided by Emperor and Magallan for the evening, it’s my duty to ask: if anyone here has any objection to this union - not that it will matter from a legal standpoint - speak now or forever hold your peace…Good, because I’d punch you myself if you did. Then, by the power invested in me by Rhodes Island and subsidiary company Penguin Logistics-”

“When did that happen?” Amiya asked in a hushed voice. “I thought we were just partners with them?”

“Closure and Emperor came to some kind of understanding. I wasn’t there for the process, I just signed the agreement.”

“-I now announce you to the world as Mrs. and Mrs. Ajimu. You may now kiss your bride.”

You didn’t have to ask them twice.

The celebration afterwards was wild as hell. Emperor had an impromptu concert (as expected); Bison proposed to Mostima, who actually agreed before falling apart in a spectacular show of emotion Exusiai had thought was impossible for her; the Doctor and Amiya tore up the dance competition that broke out, but narrowly lost to Croissantwich and Angelface in the karaoke contest afterwards; Lappland admitted that she wasn’t actually in love with Texas but trying to rile her up into a duel so she could get to Exusiai the entire time, which actually got the Texas family’s most composed to go full Mafia Samurai on her ass as the Sankta and the idol looked on in a mix of horror and “omg I knew it;” and through it all, drink was had, and merry was made.

Terra was a difficult place to live in. Poverty, inequality, terror, bloodshed, fear, hatred, jealousy - they’re no less potent or prominent on its surface than any other world’s, a product of the inevitable confluence of humanity’s imperfections magnified across a barely-numerable and broadly-scattered population. With all that said, though, there was much to live for, and as Angelina and Croissant made it home and threw themselves out of their clothes for the ‘real’ celebration of the evening, none of that mattered. Tomorrow would come, or it wouldn’t, but that night was theirs in a way no other would be…

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GUYS GUYS GUYS HOLY SHIT

Arknights you are so kind to me ily

It took me about 20-30 pills but damn was she worth it

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Jesus Christ my brawler yearning has been sated thank you <3

Aaandd along the way we picked up a Rosa!

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V nice v nice, sad bears are almost all home!(Zima pls your gf are waiting for you)

(Also picked up Meteorite n Specter dupes which was a quite a ride before i was blessed with Flint but still so good)

The actual emotional whiplash T-T

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