Night time in the capitol building wasn't the exciting scene one would want to walk into after having had to stressfully arrange a late-night mail shipping with the local post office and as one made one's way back to one's bedroom. Well, at least it wasn't as exciting as Chi had expect it to be for a bunch of people from just about everywhere converging in one place: there were no pajama parties yet, no noisy, excited chatter and the ambient wasn't of excitement still--but, rather, of worry. Just the way it had been when she left some two hours before.
The rogue demoness wasn't precisely an empath mind you, but there was just about enough restlessness in the air around the chatting aspirants as well as their speaking tones and gestures to make it clear for her that they were nervous. And then there was the anxious tension in the air around the ones that kept to themselves. That was all she really needed to tell that these folks probably had much more to lose than her if they had to go home the next morning. Or at least, it mattered much more to them than her own goal did for her.
Not that she didn't care about bringing hope to her home world either, but the Namalians had been doing a pretty good work at re-establishing peace all over the planet, and more than once she'd found herself vouching for them before factions that would otherwise have continued their underground fights.
However, these people didn't seem to have any sort of hope to fall back on should they need to go back home empty-handed, so she considered trying to cheer them up as she walked among them on her way back to her room. Taking her apron off for the sole sake of seeing the look on the faces of anyone turning over to look at her seemed like a good idea at first, but then she figured Vespera wouldn't tolerate her hopping around in the nude for the sole sake of driving the others' thoughts away from their worries if at all anyway. Besides, some of the entrants were underage and she'd long ago learnt to behave around children--what with being a mother and all that. It would only lead to awkward scenes and people asking uncomfortable questions.
Which is why she instead went for the more traditional approach to cheering someone up: engaging in conversation with them. Or at least trying to, since some of them (the ever-sulking Arezo, the untrusting Jason and the fiendish Hawthorn included) were just not looking forward to making friends. She figured that, of these three, Arezo would be the best option to try to befriend, but she also figured it'd be a long project and not just one she'd break within minutes.
Thus, she left her for later and instead moved on to the more friendly ones: Leah, an Elemental Guardian of Nature whom had already befriended two other entrants (and whom Chi was beyond eager to talk to due to the whole 'living plant' kind of deal she had going on), was her first stop. Apparently, the poor thing had been accidentally misteleported into a series of mishaps that at one point or another involved fellow friendly entrants Mar'lynn -who outside of being crafty with technology seemed to be a bit on the paranoid side- and Chouko -a small red panda with a bit of a soda addiction-, and eventually led her to the Race. However, Chi instead gave her a cropped version of her own story before moving on--right now she couldn't have anyone mistrusting her, now could she?
Anyway, her next stop, Syradeus the wildlife researcher (who was certainly a breath of fresh air compared to the Prahmian scientists from her home world, and whom she'd already briefly mentioned to her pet), had been trapped in this dimension as well, but he'd agreed to joining the race in hopes that winning would help him afford a safe means to get back home.
Chigi, the... chameleon-like thing on the other hand (whom she'd also mentioned to her pet), was a local, joining to be able to save his sister; and the cyborg Atticus, another local, had a debt to pay for lest he wanted to pay for it with his life. Nami hoped to enter to get the love of someone she had a bit of a thing for, Capricorn had been basically forced into joining, and Iris had also accidentally ended up in this planet, being requested to join once the governess' secretary and spokeswoman saw her ability to shift sizes.
As she talked to all these people, the millennial demoness started to realize she'd need to take them from what was perhaps their last hope to either get back home, accomplish their dreams or even keep their life should she need to race them if she wanted to win. And even if she didn't race them: just being in the race would mean that she'd be on the way to accomplish her own goal while those that dropped along the way would inevitably be left with a broken dream.
By the time she approached Echo, a dragon kind of creature, and her odd companion thing (whom she later learnt was called Ymp) she figured it'd be hard to listen to everyone's tales without wanting to resign for their sake.
The dragon-like female seemed more willing to shy away from Chi's presence than to talk to her though, even when the thing's small companion seemed curious instead; so even though Chi really wanted to talk to this one (there was just no way for any living creature to shy away like that who wouldn't appreciate a kind gesture), she instead simply tried to approach her and see if she could pet her.
It didn't work though, even though the chimera's curious companion gleefully accepted the offered treats, so she instead found herself struggling to maintain a steady walk away from them and back to her room: she indeed had written to her pet that she wanted to start trying dresses on, and that's what she intended to do, then. If she couldn't get any one of these people to smile for her, trying to choose what to wear should at least get her mind distracted from her concerns for a while. And perhaps after some rest she'd be able to smile more honestly: she was aware of her own likeliness to being turned down too, and all things considered, she was sure that was the reason why she herself wasn't any more chipper.
"Well hello there, cutie~" she suddenly heard from beside her, and she found herself turning her attention away from her thoughts to look down at the speaker: a quadruped canine with knife holsters on his pinions and a weird rune on his rump was just walking beside her. She could only stare at him in surprise at first, but she smiled at the compliment nonetheless--it was quite flattering indeed to be the one approached, let alone the recipient for small flirting.
At least she figured it was innocent flirting since he smiled in return, "what's your name?" he playfully asked, and she stopped in turn with a chuckle leaving her muzzle at the irony. Just a minute had passed since she'd given up on cheering everyone up, and here she was being cheered up by someone else already. So she crouched down before him so as to be at eye-to-eye level.
"My name's Chi Darkfire." She merrily introduced herself, stretching a hand out as if expecting him to shake it, then realized what it was she was doing at the last moment (how would a quad shake hands with her anyway?) and quickly withdrew it--though not before her new acquaintance could get to lick it in a way that made her think of a gentleman's kiss-the-wrist kind of greeting; which of course, brought an amused giggle from her.
"Noel Alexander. A pleasure to meet you." Was his response, and she nodded at him as she stood back up, a wide smile plastered over her muzzle. It was really uplifting to know that not everyone was just moping and sulking in corners and that there were such enthusiastic people among the aspirants--even if, much like herself, they too seemed to be pretty troubled. Oh yes, she'd noticed the brief hesitation and his eye's movement, as well as that eager tone: he too was trying to shun the worries away from his behavior, and expected her to help him. Even if he himself didn't realize it.
"The pleasure is mine. I was just on my way back to my room though, so care to join me?" she asked in light of this, and he nodded in return. She figured it'd be nice to get to know this one a bit more, just to know what worried him, so the demoness used the short time it took them to reach her room (since they weren't very far away from it) to question Noel and learn about his story: from what she could make out, he belong to a kind of warriors known as 'Hunters' whose main purpose was to vanquish demons from existence. It was both amusing and worrying that he'd belong to such a race, but she kept her thoughts to herself on this--after all, it wasn't the first time she'd talked to something like him, and she could infer he'd done something wrong in the past and was hoping to make up for it here.
It's just how the good-guy groups worked and that's why she'd abandoned the Namalians in the first place: if you were to work for peace, you had to be unable of causing harm, and she wasn't going to give up her sinful nature if she could use it for good.
But back to Noel, he could turn out to seek out for a middle way for his species' purposes to be achieved without turning into the bad guys as much as he could simply try to murder her once he found out what she was. As such, she didn't tell him he'd just been walking by exactly the kind of creature he was supposed to destroy--at least, not at that moment.
When they did reach her bedroom though, and after an awkward moment of silence (since he had been all they'd talked about, basically), Chi reached over to gently scratch behind one of Noel's ears in appreciation for the company, and in she went.
Now for the dresses.
However, instead of solitude, she found yet another aspirant sitting inside: Rehn, the one anthropomorphic whatever that seemed to be somewhat normal among all the bizarre entrants, was getting ready to hop into bed.
Chi let out a mild chuckle as she closed the door behind herself, since she'd forgotten they were sharing the bedroom--and the awkward scene from earlier for that matter, when they'd first met and Rehn thought she'd walked into the wrong room. But the canid-looking girl further tucked herself under her sheets instead, and Chi could only guess the girl was still a bit freaked out from the demoness' normal way of writing letters: not everyday do you walk in on someone that uses their own bones as a pen and their blood for ink.
She let out a sigh at this, figuring it was best to leave the poor girl alone and moved on to take a look at her wardrobe. No kinky outfits, no bizarre-looking garb, but it was still full of exactly the sort of stuff she'd wear should she be forced to wear clothes (as the case was); so, after a bit of comparing colors and designs, she decided to try on a green and pink dress that was somewhere around the middle.
As usual, she unceremoniously dropped her apron (not paying much mind to the brief movement in Rehn's bed as the girl shuffled to shield her eyes from the sight), folded it, and placed it in a corner. She took a brief moment to reprimand herself for not sending it along with the letter, but she could request to have it sent in the morning if she made it in, right?
Anyway, she moved on to try on the new dress and, after looking at herself in the full-body mirror in the wardrobe's door, she too hopped into bed: the dress was made of silk, which meant she wouldn't sleep uncomfortably from obnoxious textile corners at all.