Rolling in the interlude with this chapter too because it's only 1.7k words and it's funny so I figured it'd be a neat April Fool's thing.

Interlude 9.1: PHO

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Topic: Menagerie AMA

In: Boards ► United States ► New Hampshire ► Brockton Bay ► General

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Posted On Jan 20th 2011:

Hello everyone, my name is Menagerie.

Most of you have seen me around. I started my hero life this year and have since moved the tanker, healed people at the hospital, made berry gardens for low-income communities, and made Vista very, very sad.

All things considered, I think I've done pretty well for myself.

Anyway, I thought I'd introduce myself to the city and the wider internet more formally. Here I am; ask me anything.

PS: Vista's cool. She should really let her hair down more though, or she's going to go bald before she's twenty.

(Showing page 1 of 4)

Nevertime (RNGod)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Good to see a new hero in the Bay. Can you tell us more about your powers?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

I'm a changer who turns into different forms that I call pokemon (pocket monsters). I have over a thousand forms. I told Glory Girl and Panacea this, but they don't believe me and I'm not going to just sit around all day swapping forms. Take that as you will.

Nevertime (RNGod)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Wut. A-Are you changer-Eidolon?


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Ooh, a new hero!

[Here's] a video of your spheal. Can you give me a calendar of your cutest pokemon? I have a lot of time on my hands and need something to look at.


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Moar spheal! When will we see more of the adorable fluffball?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Winged_One: A calendar? Just twelve? That's nowhere near enough. But feel free to compile one for your own amusement. I'm sure there will be enough people taking pictures around the Bay.

BabySealClub: When I next feel like being labeled an emotional terrorist. Seriously, look at [this] picture of Vista. She looks crushed and I've never been happier.


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

lol What do you have against Vista?

And for real though, can I get a Spheal of Approval?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Vista's cool. [Here's] a picture of her riding meganium that someone took today. I don't have anything against her, but she tries very hard to be all grown up and I think it's the most childish thing she can do.

There are times when life will ask that she steps up to be a hero. But other times, life just wants her to be a cowgirl riding a flower-dino and that's okay too, you know?

As for the Spheal of Approval (caps required), no. You may not. It is a sacred seal of virtue and glory that is bestowed by the Paragon of Arceus. None but the most magnificent of men may claim this honor.


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:


lol That's oddly deep. Fair enough. I endeavor to be worthy of that honor one day.

End of Page. 1, 2, 3, 4

(Showing page 2 of 4)

Bagrat (Veteran Member) (The Guy in the Know)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Woah, and here I was sitting around updating your wiki page, Menagerie_Official. Is my timing perfect or what?

Now, serious question. You move the tanker, right? If you're so powerful, why haven't you fought the gangs yet?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

For a lot of reasons, but ultimately, it all boils down to me not wanting to fight. I don't understand why every cape seems to get it in their head that punching each other is the best way to make the world a better place.

Well, I don't. Panacea saves more lives in an hour than Armsmaster does in a month. At least. I just spent an evening making gardens for people in the city. How many people were living paycheck to paycheck and can now get things to eat for cheap?

Or with the tanker, how much more good can be done for the city if people just... stopped fighting? What if we developed the Graveyard? What if we invested in businesses and education?

Don't get me wrong, I don't fear fighting. I will if pushed, but ultimately, I look at this city and feel that I can do more good as a healer and civil servant than just another rent-a-cop.

Bagrat (Veteran Member) (The Guy in the Know)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Oof, that makes a lot of sense. I just found it odd of you because you seem to be one of the few capes who are uniquely non-violent despite having a very combat-capable power.

On another note, you clearly have a lot of respect for Panacea. Is she the reason you're a hero?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

I wouldn't say she's my reason, but she's definitely one of the heroes I look up to most, the others being Dragon, Masamune, and Uppercrust.

As I said, I respect people who make the world a better place, not just try to figure out how to make the biggest explosion.

Brocktonite03 (Veteran Member)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Woah, nice to see you here, Menagerie! You fixed up my baby sister's broken leg so you're chill in my book.

Say, people have been saying you and Panacea get along really well. Like, really, really well. Better than any other cape besides Glory Girl herself. Any hint of a healer power couple in the future? ;)


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

lolol Brocktonite03, not just capes. I go to Arcadia and Panacea's kind of a bitch.

I know, I know, she's supposed to be the super-healer and all, but damn if she comes off cold as ice. I don't know anyone besides her sister she talks to.

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

No, we are not dating. She's actually really funny in a snarky way when you talk to her though. As for the future, who can say?

Panacea (Verified Cape) (New Wave)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Me. I can say. I say no.

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Ah, speak of our lady of thistles and she shall appear. Oh my heart, be still~

Panacea (Verified Cape) (New Wave)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

STFU, Menagerie. I'm going to kick you in the dick so hard your grandkids will be coughing theirs.

End of Page. 1, 2, 3, 4

(Showing page 3 of 4)

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Hehehe, messing with Panpan will never get old.

But yeah, we're just friends, guys. We happen to have pretty similar hobbies (besides healing). She did take me home on the very first night we met though...


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

lol I can confirm. My sister definitely brought a boy home. Rode him all through the city, even.

Panacea, you've gotten pretty far with him, you know.

Panacea (Verified Cape) (New Wave)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:


Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:


Point_Me_at_The_Sky, Glory Girl? Why don't you have a verified tag?


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Because this is my civvie account. I can use it to troll my sister without Aunt Sarah finding out. And don't none of you tell her ;)

Brocktonite03 (Veteran Member)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

lol We won't Vicky.


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

So... Are your forms... anatomically accurate?

Nevertime (RNGod)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Ooh, I've got another one. What's the cutest form you can transform into?


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Why do some of your Pokémon look cool while others look like your power ran out of ideas?

Like see, [here's] you as a big dino with flowers. Then [here's] you that's a... jar with eyes...?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Specific_Protagonist, How 'bout you come find out? ;)

Nevertime, Personally? I really like ninetales. It's a nine tailed fox (duh). Pretty sure it's sacrilege to be one in Japan or something lol

Noveltry, I don't know? I mean, that claydol (the jar) is actually pretty powerful. I don't really have an answer for you except that pokemon can be pretty weird.

*This user has received an infraction: Nope. We don't solicit those kinds of services. Please don't joke about that.

End of Page. 1, 2, 3

(Showing page 4 of 4)

Tin_Mother (Moderator)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Take an infraction. You said nothing explicit, but we all know what you meant.

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:


Tin_Mother (Moderator)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

This is a family-friendly site and you are a hero. Behave.

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

*cries in spheal*

Bagrat (Veteran Member) (The Guy in the Know)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Okay, to get us back on track...

Menagerie, how did you move the tanker?


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Also, what's your strongest form do you think?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Bagrat, I moved it with the power of friendship. By believing in the bonds between me and Arceus, I was able to muster aura, the light of my soul. I harnessed this divine light and moved the tanker.

AllSeeingEye, I... don't know...? Garchomp? Dragonite? Metagross? Tyranitar? Hydreigon is definitely the most violent. I don't think I should do that anytime soon. Umm... Depends on how you define "strongest."

Like... fastest? Most physical power? What about weird magic effects?


Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

... You're serious... You fucking overpowered Eidolon wannabe...

How 'bout you start from the top?

Menagerie_Official (Original Poster) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 20th 2011:

Whoops, I think I've said too much. ;)

Guess that's all from me, folks. Menagerie out.

End of Page. 1, 2, 3, 4

10. Sugar and spice and everything ice.

Brockton Bay, NH, USA
Friday, January 21, 2011

I woke up before everyone save Mrs. Wells. The matronly woman was graying around the temples but still hearty and hale. She was outside in the garden, picking some of the blackberries I planted yesterday.

The PSA had come in that very evening: Glory Girl had flown Panacea around a few of the parks and confirmed that they were in fact just normal berries, albeit incredibly plump and healthy. I hoped that would help some of the lower-income communities I visited.

I stepped out into the garden to join her, snapping a few berries off the bush and popping them into my mouth. It was good to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

"Morning, Mrs. Wells," I called.

"Blake, good morning," she replied with a smile. "Aren't you going to rush off on your run?"

"I have a few minutes. Besides, Menagerie went out of his way to plant all these for us so I figure I may as well enjoy some."

"Yes, he really is a sweetheart. Here, try some of the elderberries; they're wonderfully tart."

I accepted the proffered berry and felt the warm and fuzzies in my tummy. "Yeah, they're nice. Think they'd go well in a pie?"

She gave me a pointed look. "Are you going to be around for dinner if I make some?"

"Ehehehe… I'll try…?"

"Blake, I have one rule in this house. You know that."

"I know, I've just… been busy."

"Just tell me one thing, sonny. Is what you're doing worth it?"

She eyed me intently and I was reminded again that for all her laisse faire attitude towards us older kids, she cared. She was the woman who raised Derek and watched him become a Merchant. She raised Leah and watched her turn tricks for weed. She raised me, for good and for ill.

I couldn't lie to her.

I swallowed. "Yeah, Mrs. Wells. I think it's worth it."

"Good. You've always been the responsible one. The little ones look up to you, you know."

"Me? Pretty sure it's Marcus they look up to. B-boy, athletic, good-looking."

"Yes, you. Him too, but you're not far off either. You're the one who read stories to them when I was busy. You're the one who taught them to make smores off the grill and bummed the neighbor's firewood when it got cold."

"I'm just doing what I can."

"And that's a rare thing, Blake. Now go on, get on with your run. I'll save you some pie for whenever you turn up tonight."

I smiled wanly. "Thanks, Mrs. Wells. For trusting me. It means a lot."


The school was abuzz with the latest on Menagerie. Oddly enough, it had nothing to do with my newfound gardening skills. Conversation seemed to be dominated by my relationship with the Dallon sisters and the female Wards, because of course it was.

I rolled my eyes as I took a seat in algebra. Next to me was Chris, that weird kid who kept drawing robots and spaceships in the margins of his workbook.

"Sup," I said.

"Sup," he said back. He then ducked right back to his drawing. This time, it was some sort of turret with an extra-long barrel and some kind of energy coiling along the outside.

No lie, it looked like it could be a Team Rocket invention or something designed to copy a pokemon move.

"Cool gun."

"Huh? Oh, yeah, thanks."

"You like scifi?"


"What's your favorite book? Or movie too, I guess."

"Back to the Future."

"Huh, neat…"


I gave up. Talking to that guy was like pulling teeth. I didn't know if he was just that socially awkward or he just didn't like me much, but I sat around quietly and waited for class to start.


I went over the short story prompt we were supposed to write in English. We were studying Hemmingway so, like him, we were to become "masters of concise prose" or something like that.

Worse, the teacher had explicitly forbidden any cape-fic.

I ignored the collective bitching of my classmates and hammered out a quick outline. Five pages wasn't a long assignment; the main difficulty would be in actually coming up with a viable idea. Imposter syndrome was a bitch.

In my case, it was a simple matter. Campfire stories were as old as campfires and I'd spent over a decade swapping tall tales with countless fellow travelers. A heavily abridged parody of Sir Arion of Rota's adventures sounded like a suitable option.

"You're done?" I heard Dean whisper next to me.

"As much as I can do during class," I told him.

"That's fast."

"Ehh, stick to the basics. Play on a few classic tropes. Writing's easy when you stop caring about the results."

"I think the idea is to care."

"But not care too much. Or care about the wrong thing. You're never going to write an original story. Every single thing worth saying has been said before by someone long dead. Just write what feels fun in the moment and you'll do fine."

"That's good advice, thanks."

The bell rang and the two of us packed up with the rest of class. Dean, being ever-courteous, tugged on my sleeve and held me back until people could exit. It explained why he was always one of the last to lunch.

"So, what exactly do you do when you're not here?" I asked. "Like, for your work-study stuff."

"I work at my dad's real estate company," he replied with an easy smile. "It's honestly really boring, but it's the family business, you know?"

"I don't. Orphan. But yeah, that sounds kinda lame."

"Sorry I'm boring."

"That's okay, I need you to not drown in estrogen and teen spirit over lunch."

"Heh, they're not that bad."

"They are and the only reason any of us eat with each other is because we all got sucked into your and Vicky's orbit," I told him bluntly as we headed for our lunch table. "Like seriously, can you imagine me hanging out with Britney and Courtney?"

"Briana and Chelsea," he corrected automatically, "but you've got a point. You seem to be getting along with Amy though."

"Because making fun of her burgeoning romance with Menagerie is hilarious."

"I don't think she sees it like that."

"I sure as hell don't," Amy cut in, her glare burning a smoldering hole in my head.

"Ah, Ames, welcome," I greeted, arms spread wide for a hug.

"Fuck you, Blake, and fuck that trolling son of a bitch."

"Oof, to be fair, Menagerie made berry bushes grow in my orphanage for the little ones so he's chill as far as I'm concerned."

"Wait, you're an orphan Blake?" Chelsea… or Briana… asked.

"Yup, did I not mention that?"

"No, I just thought you liked dressing like a hobo."

The other one gasped. "Bri, you can't say that! He's… grunge…"

"And fuck you ladies both," I snorted, both middle fingers raised in twin salute. If I wasn't decades older than them, that might have actually hurt.

A wave of aura washed over us. It wasn't enough to shock, but it drew our attention, making me scrunch my nose in distaste. That would never stop annoying me. "Enough," Vicky said, a stern glare on her flawless face. "You don't make fun of someone for being an orphan."

"We weren't-"

"I don't mind," I told her with a shrug. "Seriously, I can't miss something I never had. Anyway, I just said that to mention Menagerie stopping by my orphanage. Pretty sure he made a pitstop over every park in the northern half of the city."

"Yeah, and that green dino! I want to ride it!" Vicky squealed.

"You can fly," Dean drawled, taking a bite of a pesto bake he'd packed.

"But it's a dino, Dean. I mean, come on, you wouldn't ride one if he offered?"

"You got me there."


I rolled my eyes and let the schoolyard conversation wash over me. It wasn't like I didn't understand; meganium were wonderful pokemon. I ate my lunch and checked out of the conversation so I could think about what I wanted to do.

Sabah did say I could visit for my measurements so I figured I'd call her up after school. After that, I wanted to pay Emily a visit, if only to make sure she still had food.

Truth be told, I wasn't sure how to approach my homeless friend. She had powers, I was certain of that, but she clearly wasn't a villain. It was a conversation we'd been dancing around ever since we'd met.


Lunch ended and we went our separate ways. Vicky to take a class in the university because she was surprisingly nerdy, Amy to be the grouchiest doctor ever, and Dean to be his dad's mini-me.

I exited the faraday cage around Arcadia and gave Sabah a call.

"Hello?" Her voice came through the line.

"Hey, Sabah, do you have time today to chat about the costume?"

"Oh, Menagerie? Yes, I just got out of class for the week. I'm available."

"Usual place?"

"That's fine."

"Great, give me fifteen minutes."

The university looked like a misty Hogwarts, as usual. Seeing the campus gave me an idea. Despite it being the middle of January, it had been a mild winter in Brockton Bay this year. There hadn't been enough snow days in my opinion. And who better to give them the gift of a winter wonderland but me?

I ducked out of sight for a moment, then held my arms up as if in prayer. "Shfit, Alolan ninetales!"

I fell to all fours and immediately felt a wave of revulsion wash over me. This alley was filthy! What was I thinking allowing myself to be here? Ugh, human-Blake clearly had no idea of my own worth, my divinely ordained worth.

I was a benevolent deity, or at least the Paragon of Arceus. I deserved better!

In my indignation, I lashed my tails and let loose a flurry of ice crystals from my fur. Nose high and tails lifted so they wouldn't drag along the ground, I stalked out of the alley like I owned the university, like every single mortal that laid eyes on me should count this day the most fortuitous day of their lives.

They should. It was.

Then I remembered why I shifted into this form in the first place. Snow day, right.

My aura was normally best described as a shifting gear, always ticking along. As a ninetales, that gear was replaced by a frozen mountaintop stretching endlessly towards an ever-distant moon. Ice. Fairy. Stillness. Mystery.

I called and my aura answered. It started as a gentle stirring like newly fallen snow, but even a whisper can cause an avalanche.

People had begun to pull out their phones, and the sight filled me with distaste. I was not some zoo creature to be gawked over. With a contemptuous flick of my tails, the campus quad experienced whiteout conditions. I made sure to quell the blizzard, leaving soft snow and refreshing breeze instead of the bitter wrath of winter.

There, near invisible to all, I became like a phantom. I allowed the Ice to shroud me in a shawl of northern lights. It was as though I was wearing a literal veil, magnificent and eye-catching even in the snowstorm. If they wanted to take pictures of me, clearly, they deserved to see me in all my glory.

With poise and elegance that spoke of divinity, I stalked to the Wyatt Hall. Perhaps, if I was in a benevolent mood, I would permit Sabah to groom me. The honor would be hers.


The pretty Arabic girl stared, eyes wide as I stalked into her workshop. The pure, unadulterated awe on her face was positively delicious.

"Yes, dear. Awestruck wonder is a lovely look on you," I rumbled, my voice as mysterious as the moon, as beautiful as the frozen peak of Lanakila. "Worship would have been acceptable too."

"I… What? Menagerie?"

"Is there any other?"

"Y-You're a fox."

"No. I am the fox. The most magnificent, beautiful, and splendid fox of all."

"Don't forget humble," she mumbled under her breath, but not quiet enough to escape my ears.

A flash of annoyance shot through me. Humility? What need had I for that? I was a ninetales! A creature worshiped as a god!

I barely stopped myself from snapping at her. This wasn't me. I wasn't this arrogant normally. Sabah was a friend, not some pilgrim seeking the blessing of Lanakila's guardian spirit. A bit of selfish indulgence was fine, but I refused to treat my friends like servants.

I shifted back.

"Sorry," I apologized. "Some of my forms have… attitude problems."

"Huh, so your power has some downsides?"

"Yeah, you could say that. They can impact my personality a bit more than I intend. Not enough for me to suddenly go evil or anything, but it's a bit like putting on a pair of shades. Colored perceptions, you know?"

"That's… potentially dangerous," she warned. "Is that why you decided the college needed a snow day?"

"No, that was human-Menagerie. The snow day is why I chose the fox. The unbridled ego was fox-Menagerie."

"Ah. If it helps, that form is really beautiful. Is that where the fur comes from? The white bundles at least?"

"Yeah. Real fox fur, ethically sourced," I joked. "Anyway, costume?"

"Costume," she nodded. She pulled out a domino mask out of her pocket. "Let's get your measurements. First, take off your helmet and wear that so I can get an idea of how big the hood and mask have to be without a bike helmet in the way."

"Fair enough, give me a sec."

I turned around and pulled off the helmet before donning the domino mask.

Sabah eyed me strangely. "You know, I thought you'd be older."


"Yeah, I guess you have a bit of a worldly air. Like, you remind me of dad's friends if that makes sense?"

"It does. People have been telling me I'm an old soul all my life," I said, shrugging off my jacket. "You need me to take off my shirt?"

She smirked. "No, that's fine. Sorry to disappoint you."

I grinned and flexed my thin arms. "You're missing a gun show."

"No. Never do that again. I might die of cringe overdose."

"Oof, oww… but fair."

We joked with each other as Sabah took out a measuring tape. It only took her a few minutes of work to get my measurements, though I did have to remove my shoes.

Then, she rummaged in the closet and pulled out whole bolts of silk cloth as white as pristine snow. "I called in a favor and had this woven as fast as possible," she told me.

"Wow, is that the silk I gave you? I thought it'd take a lot longer."

"Yup. I wanted to show you that I've been busy on my end even without your measurements. After all you've done for me, it's the least I can do."

"You owe me nothing, Sabah," I said emphatically. "Your dad just happened to be at the right place at the right time, remember?"

"Right. Well call it a thank you anyway." She next pulled out a tan, leather backpack. It was no hammerspace bag, but it looked well-made and sturdy, designed for both ease of access and rugged outdoor use. "I also made this for the costume. No matter the look you decide on, I figure it'll come in handy."

"I don't recall letting you skin me."

"That's because you didn't. I had some leather on hand, okay?"

"This is really impressive. Can I at least pay you for the bag if not the costume?"

"I'm already getting more exposure than I could have expected. Just keep being an awesome hero and tell people Sabah Azimi is your designer."

"Free silk," I declared. "Free silk forever."

"Pfft, sure. I might hold you to that."


She smiled and tucked her bangs behind an ear. It was an innocent action that drew my eye to her face. She was really pretty. And short. "Menagerie?"

I was so distracted by Sabah's looks that I missed what she said. So, I said the first thing that came to mind. "You're short."

She eyed me with a mildly affronted stare. "Yes, thank you for pointing out the obvious. Anything else?"

"I-No, sorry. I was just thinking and… Can we move on before I put my foot in my mouth again?"

"Fine, come look at this. I made a few more drawings. Tell me which one you want."

I tapped the second drawing. "This one," I told her. "I like the armored kilt. Is it a kilt?"

"Skirt, kilt, who cares?" she shrugged. "I've heard it called both. This version's definitely the most protective, but I'll warn you that it's also the most cumbersome. It'll probably take you some time to put it on and take it off."

"That's fine. I think the extra protection's worth it."

"You know, when you originally asked, you wanted something with a balance of mobility and defense, something closer to the first or third."

"Yeah, but… dino-knight…"

She rolled her eyes goodnaturedly. "Boys."

"So, what next?"

"Next you give me a week to make the darn thing… Or… Say, do you know anything that can cut your scales? Because I can't. I've tried."

"Yeah, I have a few pokemon that can manage it. Do you need me to shape anything right now?"

She shook her head. "No, not right now. I need to draw it all out in individual parts. I'll probably draw the lines directly on the scales in marker and let you have at it one afternoon. Come back tomorrow?"

"Maybe. I might have something going on," I said. I hated that I couldn't guarantee a type. I put my helmet back on. "I'll call you?"

"That's fine, just know that I may or may not have something going on too. I do have a life, you know."

"Of course, that's fair."

I stood and got ready to leave, when I heard knocking against the glass. We turned around to find Glory Girl and Laserdream peaking through the window, both in their civilian outfits. Crystal waved at Sabah with a sheepish smile.

Sabah rolled her eyes and made a come hither motion, causing them to fly away. A minute later, they were inside.

"Hey, Sabah," Crystal called. "It's been a while. How're things?"

"Pretty good. What's with all the capes visiting me? I feel popular."

"You're the hot topic on campus. Well, you and him."

I proffered her notebook to them. "In my defense, she's a really good artist. I mean, look at these. I'm pretty sure I'd be happy with any of them."

Vicky hovered above her cousin. "Woah, these are great! Oh, and hi, Sabah! I'm Vicky."

"Yes, I've gathered," she said dryly. "Why are you here, Crys?"

"What? I can't visit a girlfriend? Don't you like me?" Crystal mock-pouted.

"W-Well, you can. I-It's just that I.." Sabah stammered. The older blonde said it with a playful wink, but I could see Sabah shuffling shyly. Was-Was that a blush? Was she gay? I thought that was a stereotype for men in fashion. I felt a little bit disappointed at that, though to be fair, I didn't know her well beyond her appearance.

"Relax, Sabs, I'm just messin' with ya. But yeah, Menagerie, you're really getting the VIP treatment from her. I almost wish New Wave had her on retainer."


"Yeah, these designs are great."

"Get in line," I grumbled, tapping my beat up helmet. "I clearly need Sabah's expertise more."

"True, true. You can't keep wandering around disguised as a hobo," Vicky joked.

"So Sabah, anything else you need from me?"

"Umm, no… but umm… CanIrideyouaroundschool?" she babbled out. I could barely understand what she was saying.

"Aww, boo!" Vicky complained.

"Heh, she beat you to it, cous."

I laughed. I didn't think the whole thing would blow up like it did when I gave Vista a ride. Still, this was fun too. "You girls can fly, why do you want to ride a dinosaur?"

"It's a dinosaur!"

"She's got a point," Crystal smirked, eyebrows wiggling. "Look at you, Menagerie, already have girls fighting to let them ride you. Feel popular?"

"Eww," Sabah made a mock gagging gesture. "Must everything be a sex joke with you, Crys?"

"Yeah, I have a boyfriend."

"Ehh, it's college. Everything already is a sex joke."

I rolled my eyes. "Fine, whatever, let's all ride the Menagerie Express."

"Hey, chin up, buddy," Crystal grinned, placing an elbow on my shoulder. "You've got three hot girls begging for your time."


"What? Like Vicky said, it's a dinosaur."

"You all just want me for my body," I grumbled.

"Eww, you too, Menagerie?"

"Crystal's contagious," I defended myself.

I rolled my eyes as Hurricane Victoria grabbed me by the hand and dragged me out into the quad. It was a good thing I had ice type today because not all types had dinosaurs.

"Okay, all you, Menagerie. Show us some dino!" the bombastic blonde cheered, getting more than a few curious onlookers.

"Well, you're good for hype if nothing else," I grunted. Still, I did as she said and moved away from them a ways. I'd need some space for this form. I crossed my hands in front of my chest before pumping my fist into the air. "Shift, aurorus!"

I felt myself fall onto four limbs once more. My neck elongated and two brilliant sails made of captured auroras ran parallel down my spine. Clusters of ice crystals shaped like diamonds stood out along my sides and I could feel a whiplike tail sprout behind me.

I was an aurorus, one of the most beautiful pokemon in the world. I stood a daunting ten feet at the shoulder and extended an impressive thirty-two feet in length.

Mindful of my new bulk, I carefully twisted my neck around to level the girls with a smug smile. "So, how do I look?"

"Woah, this isn't the dino from last night," Victoria gasped.

"A thousand forms, I said. Believe me now, princess?"

"Princess? I can still chuck you over the building."

"But then you wouldn't get your ride, cous," Crystal laughed. "Okay, this fits us all, right?"

I made a show of rolling my eyes. "No, I think you're a tad heavy now that you mention it."


"I'm kidding. Hop on." Then, I got a wicked idea. "Actually, Crystal, can youg give Sabah a lift? The last thing I want is the shorty dry humping her way up my tail."

"Hey, buster, I'll hold your costume hosta-EEEE! CRYSTAL!" Sabah shrieked in surprise.

I laughed as the older blonde lifted the bite-sized fashionista by the armpits. Crystal might not be a brute like her cousin, but she was still a heroine, and quite fit. She had no trouble picking up her friend, especially if flight was doing most of the legwork.

She deposited Sabah on my back before settling behind her. When I felt Vicky take a seat behind Crystal, I bucked gently and caused Sabah to slide back into her friend Turning, I saw her nestled comfortably in Crystal's arms with an atomic blush on her face that showed even through her dusky skin.

I said with a wink, "Just your wing-dinosaur helping a buddy out."

Vicky looked at me with undisguised hope. "Sails? Wait, do these neck-thingies let you fly?"

That made me almost bust a gut laughing. Judging by the mortified glower on her face, I didn't doubt the feisty shortstack would make me pay for this later somehow, but that was future-Blake's problem. "Nope, sorry. I meant sails. Grab them and hang tight, Sabah. Crys, can you lean forward and hold her? She's the only one who can't fly on her own and I don't want her to fly off."

"Yeah, sure," she said obliviously, reaching around to place her arms on Sabah's waist.

And then we were off. I made a few rounds around the quad before giving them a lift around the neighborhood. The best part was the gobsmacked looks on people's faces as an ice-dino, two local heroines, and some random girl pulled up in a car lane.

"Alright, I don't actually know how to drive so one of you are going to have to tell me how traffic laws work," I told them.

I could feel Crystal shrug. "Green means go. Red means stop."

"Thanks, very helpful."

"Hey, your sarcasm is not appreciated, mister."

That broke Sabah out of her happily embarrassed haze. "Wait, you can't drive, Crystal?"

"No one in my family drives except dad. We all fly. I think mom knows? Maybe? Haven't seen her drive in years though."

"Yeah, I thought about getting a license, but why would I?" Vicky chimed in. "Mom and dad drive, but if I need to give Amy a ride, I'll just pick her up and take her there."

I could practically feel Sabah die a little inside. "I guess that makes sense… Okay, Menagerie, welcome to Sabah's Driver's Ed. Let's not get us killed."

"Ehh," I shrugged, bouncing all three girls for a moment. "It's mostly just you."

"Let's not get me killed," she stressed. "See that light over there? That's a car's turn signal…"

I ferried them around on my back for half an hour, occasionally shifting to reset the timer. It didn't take long for me to drop the driving lesson.

"Sabah, how about you just kick your legs when you want me to go or stop and tug on my sails for left and right?" I called back.

"What? Can't read traffic signs?"

"Driving is for civilians."

"Yup," Crystal nodded.

"Truth, brother," Vicky chimed in.

"Ugh, you three are impossible."

"But you love us, Sabs."

"Vicky, don't make me turn this dino around."

"Hey, am I just a fancy ride to you?" I whined.



"Don't ask questions you don't want the answers to."

"Ugh, you three are impossible," I repeated. "Sabah, let's turn around. I'm getting hungry."

"Ooh! Can we go grab some wings?" Vicky added, "I'm in the mood for wings. DrumStix anyone?"

After a quick round of assent, Vicky looked up the address on her phone and began to direct me there. DrumStix was apparently a local chicken place that specialized in lightly battered chicken that was made to order. It was located smack dab between Hillside Mall and the university, so got plenty of customers at all hours.

I shifted back one final time before stepping into the drive-thru line. I grinned as I looked at the menu. Half a dozen cars gave me a sizable berth and I had to curl my tail into a tightly wound ball before I could fully fit into the lane. Still, I managed to get my head next to the black intercom.

"U-Umm… H-Hello, welcome to DrumStix, where we drumbeat the competition!" I heard some poor girl gibber out the restaurant's slogan. She sounded absolutely panicked and I didn't know whether I should pity her or laugh. "W-What can I d-do for you?"

"Hello, can you make the order out to Menagerie?"

"Umm, Y-Yes sir."

"Lovely. I'll have the…" I trailed off dramatically. "A-Are those dino-nuggets?"

"Yes, sir?"


"I'm sorry?" she yelped at my outburst.

"I'll take a large, please. Twelve pieces. Volcano mash potatoes and cole slaw jungle."


Sabah sighed. "I'm so sorry my friend is an idiot. He thinks he's funnier than he is."

"Aha! But I'm your friend now!" I crowed. "Progress!"

"Against my better judgment."

We got through the rest of our order in quick succession. Five minutes later, we were standing by the cashier's window. "Thank you. That'll be $63.92. A-And can I please take a picture?"

Crystal laughed lightly and gave her an encouraging smile. "Of course. Me and Vicky aren't in costume, but we're not exactly being discrete."

"So, any of you have your wallet on you?" I asked.

"What? You're out with three ladies and you're making us pay?"

"Dinos don't have pockets, sorry."

"Huh. Now that you mention it, where does all your stuff go?"

I shrugged, bouncing them all on my back. "Only Arceus knows."

"Who's Arceus?" Vicky asked, making Sabah groan.

"He says that sometimes. His… God…?"

"The Origin of All," I corrected. "I mentioned him on PHO last night."

Crystal pulled out a card and paid for us. We made our way to a nearby park and took a seat around a bench before distributing the food. She flipped through her phone for a moment and held it out to us.

"So speaking of PHO, you're already front page… again…"

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Topic: Menagerie... Again...

In: Boards ► United States ► New Hampshire ► Brockton Bay ► General

Brocktonite03 (Original Poster) (Veteran Member)

Posted On Jan 1st 2011:

Yup. He's back. The Bay's newest hero is out and about right now with Laserdream and Glory Girl of New Wave and some other chick I don't recognize.

[Here's] the picture.


(Showing page 1 of 2)

►White Fairy (Veteran Member)

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

Awww that's so cute! Think he's giving rides for fun now? Because I call dibs.


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

lol Second.


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

Heh, he's getting ridden all over town. Get it?

Mane Magenta

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

Oh, fuck off, Void. Let us have one good thing in the Bay without you ruining it.

Brocktonite03 (Original Poster) (Veteran Member)

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

So what's the benefit of the big dino do you think? Yesterday, he made a bunch of gardens grow.


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

He dumped nearly a foot of snow in the college quad, but he was a nine tailed fox. [Here.]

And HOLY SHIT he was right. That really is the cutest fucking fox ever. I want all the cuddles.


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

So... Anatomically accurate...?

Brocktonite03 (Original Poster) (Veteran Member)

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

God, how are you somehow as bad as Void?


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

I don't think there is anything going on in the streets. I saw them as I was driving from work and the tan girl was... teaching him traffic laws...? Think this is some weird superhero driver's ed?

End of Page. 1

(Showing page 2 of 2)


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

lol With 2 members of New Wave for backup? That's hilarious though. I mean, does the dino need to do anything?

If I had a chance to hang out with three gorgeous girls, I'd take it too. Not everything needs to be a civil service.

Vista (Wards ENE) (Verified Cape)

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:



Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

lol Tomorrow's headline: "New dinosaur species ridden to extinction by two heroes and stranger."


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

Umm... guys...?

[They] just stopped by DrumStix. I recorded the whole visit. It was HILARIOUS.

Mane Magenta

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

That's it then. I'm dead. My standup career is over. I can't top that.


Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

What? That vid's material. Pure MATERIAL.

White Fairy (Veteran Member)

Replied On Jan 21st 2011:

Wow, this might be the only video of someone messing with a fast food worker that I've ever been okay with.

End of Page. 1, 2

We laughed about the forum and gorged ourselves for another two hours before we finally decided to break things off and head home. On the way, I picked up another burner phone for Emily. I'd give it to her when I saw her next.

Author's Note

Obligatory animal fact: Alligator snapping turtles are the biggest snapping turtles in the world and can grow up to 200 lbs. They cannot stretch their necks so use lures from their tongues that wiggle like worms to attract prey. They are capable of holding their breath for ~50 minutes and can bite through a person's finger with ease.

On another note, "noodling" is the supremely idiotic practice of sticking your hand into a murky riverbed and wiggling your finger around as bait to catch catfish. Catfish aren't the only things that bite and their dorsal fins are poisonous so I have no idea why hillbillies in Mississippi do this.

Anyway, thanks to all my patrons: Bapping, Austin, Stephon Harris, Amadi238, Big ToFu, John Dale, Kraxus, Jmatt890, Darth Bayes, Ryan Roberts, SupremeRuler17, Shattered97, Alex, Patrick, Ishmu, Daniel Aasa, AjiTae, Anon, darien page, Adam Albright, Mischief_24, TC, JchuckS, JustaLurker, Softee, random_debuff, Drew Kerstens, Mrsnuuggles88, Barry Zimmerman, Marco, Shurukkah, Dicky wongsonegoro, Jorge Benedicto, Dang Tran, Julian Rivera, Narasan, Sean Feeney, Blyth Septimus, Paul Mouttet, victor a lopez-barron, Andreyebidu, Zerak, fluffybutt, NazNar21, Rairarku, David Zimmerle, Celestial_Drago, 0xFFF1, Sam Slade, Andrew, Glader, Pluviam, Liam, Zer0 forhire, Casper Bielders, DraconianGreed, MethodinMayhem, Magic Pajac, Faultlesselm16, BG, Nikhil More, whateverlol, Fireblade, Mike, Creature of Grimm, Felix S, PoG, Jaykay2307, Angel, voljin2, Archaicx1, xerzate, Ash, caleb boggs, Aspect of Chaos, Ramzawing04, Arakhil, Trespitry, Keith Miller, Shirou0emiya, Metro Man, Heraclitus, Fred-Ole Nyborg, Ahmet Koçak, Michael og, Harry Williams, Simmie, Matthew McRoyall, Hazza Vanderbyl, ReadingOverSleeping, Alsb, Jeffrey See, Jonathan Seah, Meda, Griffin J, NatureKills, Brock Humphries, Amonre9, DogmaPiece, My name is Klondike, Gloxinia, Tyler, Taire, Sparkz, Christopher Magrath, Nick McKelvey, MochiLeaf, Raptor, obviousPenname, T4ndoris, Tactical Paladin, Adam parker, tien, Martin Franco, Incraze, Streetwise, Vexdt, Frank, Manowargs, Temmie, Xisaro, Legion_13, Alex Black, AnonymousJohn, AJ, Cc, Ore0man, Ab9999, Flipflop, Kcx1, Master Kuma, Brian, NorthMountain, AblazedNightmare, Mp Gaming, Baron_Dio, Edgar, Dan B, Trent Cannon, dark helmet9, Abdulla, KDN, Drake_Azathoth, Dull Pen, Nick Gabbard, Amon, Paul Becker, CrusaderElmo, Non Non, Sam Richardson, Retexks, abdd, M, Jakob Lefevre, , Alexander Beers, mouad maataoui, Yuri Latten, SpeX, Ramon Diaz, Spencer seidel, Deteriator, Johnworm, ilovebullets, Tavernlandlord, Evelyn Antoinette, Primordi, Adam Bell, Jake Hand, Oddfall, r3d3v3, AbyssalMage, Daniel I Beer, Coalman95, PbookR, Drake, JayK, Helios, Starfall20, Anh Duy Ly, Matthew Powell, oliman, Bookmaggot, Uriel Torres, Empty Shelf, DeValve, jack kreutner, Savagesmiley, Apallo Berryman, Noctis117, costochondritis, Sage Berthelsen, Euth, Phong Truong, Night Drifter, Khetsun XD, abdullah khan, Hunter Rhoades, Hector Gregorio, and Chrishenk.