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2023 Updates!

Posted 3 weeks ago :: Last edited 3 weeks ago by NeonSlushie

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎉✨

Thank you everyone for your patience during the holidays! We are back in business to deliver you all a solid 2023 over here in Project Xero!
Let’s get to the announcements, starting with our DTE winner and the monthly prompts!

Click for all the details!

DRAW TO ENTER - X-133: RUDY

We want to thank you all for participating in our very first Draw To Enter! It was incredibly fun, and we will definitely do more in the future! How sweet of all the owners to donate your amazing art to a First Time Owner!

Our winner of the DTE was... FluffyRaven ! They are given X-133: RUDY for free, as well as 70 pieces of art and 2 stories! What an amazing start for a FTO!

If you wish to look over all the art, please check out their Toyhouse page or our Gallery!

 


Monthly Prompts

Thank you all for giving Aristotle some love and getting him out of his shell last month; our next XOTM is… Snugleaf 's Tapioca! (They/She)

Our next ARC Survey is up as well, be sure to check it out, as it includes a bit of lore about one of the other species found in AREZ!

 

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11 2022 XOTM: Snugleaf 's  X-384


What is XOTM? Each month, a new Xero will be picked at random to receive a plethora of gifts from the community! Draw, write, or create some mixed media crafts for the featured Xero and win a Mysterious ORB and a chance for your Xero to be featured next month!
Learn more about XOTM
arcsurvey.png

ARC Survey: 008


What do Xeros do to celebrate the day they were created, often known as the day of life, life day, hatch day… you see the trend; life tends to celebrate the great triumph of continuing to fight off entropy, to mark an anniversary of still being here. From the Korso's harvest day to that one thing those frog people do that we don’t talk about… It's in our nature to celebrate such things. How do you Xeros celebrate?

Participate in ARC's Survey


Wish Shards

Finally, have you all been collecting Wish Shards?
They've been appearing all over Owai-6 after the Meteor Shower that occurs during the Longest Night. We don’t know how many have dropped but they hold a very interesting property…


Here is a report from one of our premier ARC scientists on the properties of these shards:

The Twilight Shower has been studied rather thoroughly so we did not think there were many, if any, surprises left to find. The crystals are not so much a surprise, we have chemically detected them many times but until now, no physical studies have been conducted, and there is where it gets interesting. Testing reveals that this copper-oxalate compound has a very peculiar lattice structure enabling a strong antiferromagnetic effect on its long range ordering. This effect is not unique to just these crystals, but the accessibility of them will enable the scale production of high-temperature superconducting materials that may advance our computing efficiency exponentially. In short, this discovery marks what may be the most important step to a leap in material science and computing; their value to scientific research cannot be overstated.
Dr. Koobal
Physics Chair
Oasis University of Applied Sciences

ARC Lab is asking all of those willing to participate in furthering scientific research to please donate your shards to the lab for further testing and speed up our current technologies! What that means for all of you is: Collect 1000 Wish Shards to trade in for a MYO Slot!

This will replace the second 300 Prestige MYO slot, more details on this change below! ARC also understands that collecting so many shards is not easy to come by, and as such, they will be giving you an extra reward from the ARC Lab as a “thank you!” for furthering scientific development!

Wish Shards in their purest form are unable to be traded unlike other currencies, however, Comet Clusters, the larger rocks filled with veins of Wish Shards, have been found to be tradable! Some can give more shards than others, however! So get hunting! And who knows? Maybe they will have more purposes as ARC learns more about them! Only one way to find out!

Wish shards and Comet Clusters can currently only be found by Foraging! Get those hands dirty!



Project Xero is still a major Work In Progress, and as we continue to grow, our efforts are always to ensure the economy and game is balanced best for both the community and staff. We have a few updates for 2023, please read them at your convenience below!


Changes to Standard MYO Orbs

Since Project Xero's launch in 2021, free Xeros and Standard MYO orbs have had a base value of $50. Going forward, Xeros or MYO Orbs earned with Prestige/in-game currency or free raffles will have a base value of $0, since no money was paid for them.

Don't worry: Any Standard MYO Orbs earned before January 1st, 2023 and existing, completed MYO Xeros will retain their previous $50 value. We aren't going to take away value from something that previously had it, but going forward from here anything that is free will have that reflected in its sale value. This is a change that has been discussed for a while, and as such we will not be dialing back this decision.
 
  • All paid MYO slots will continue to have the value they are paid for. 
  • The ability to add on commissioned work for monetary value will stay the same, regardless of the Xero's starting base value.
  • Users are still able to resell their Xeros using our X1.8 modifier rule, if desired.
 
We are also changing how Standard Xero Orbs work. Free Orbs able to be earned with in-game currency will now be known as Basic Xero Orbs (with a new color!) to separate them from the Standard Xero Orbs worth $50 USD on-site. Basic Orbs are essentially the same as a Standard Orb in terms of what they can make; the only difference is the sale value. Standard Xero Orbs can still be purchased from staff MYO sales!  
 
Basic Xero Orbs can be earned a few ways: 
 1 x  per year earned with Prestige
 1 x per year earned with Wish Shards
:orb_mysterious:  Rare drop from opening Mysterious Orbs
🎫 Free raffles and giveaways
❓ More to come in the future!
 
At Project Xero's beginning in 2021, users were only able to earn one free Standard Xero Orb in total. This was eventually changed to be two Standard Xero Orbs total, with the second being twice as expensive, and then again changed to two total at the same price, and then again changed to two per year. The point is, things have changed a lot and we've always adjusted! Things might change more in the future as we continue to add to our game. Please note that all prices of our in-game items are subject to change at any time as we work on balancing our economy with the available activities, but we promise to always have free options available to members.
 
With the introduction of Wish Shards, users are now able to purchase 1 x Basic Xero Orb with 300 Prestige  (mainly earned from doing prompts) and 1 x Basic Xero Orb with Wish Shards (mainly earned from foraging / logging in daily). These two options are still completely free and provide a variety of options for users to earn MYOs, one that allows members to earn at their own pace by participating in activities, selling in-game items, or taking commissions within the community, and one that rewards users for site activity and foraging over time.
 
Wish Shards are intended to be each member's own personal journey to earn their MYO, and as such Wish Shards cannot be transferred to other users or grinded for- it's meant to encourage long-term activity! As foraging continues to be expanded and improved, Wish Shards (and Comet Clusters) will become a frequent drop in varying amounts to reward activity on our website. Wish Shards will likely have other future uses as well.
 
We understand that it may be difficult to participate in a species without spending money, and we do not want anyone to feel that we are gatekeeping or being elitist. This decision continues to allow users to earn MYOs and participate in community activities without spending anything other than time in our game. If anything, this change may help open further options to those who can't participate in our prompts for one reason or another.
 
We ask for your patience and understanding regarding this change! 
Minors and Sales

It has always been our rule that any users under 18 are prohibited from the Official Project Xero Discord and this is not changing. However, changes to on-site sales are occurring for users under the age of 18. Going forward after January 1st, 2023, minors are unable to participate in paid sales, regardless of users offering to pay for them. It brings unnecessary complexity into these monetary transactions. Minors on-site are still able to enter free raffles, DTE, and any on-site events that do not require payments. Until users are legally able to have a Paypal account in their name, they must wait to participate in sales.

Funneling and Multi Accounting

As per our TOS and code of conduct, multi-accounting is strictly prohibited. However, this also includes having a sibling/partner/friend/family member farm foraging items or rewards with no intention of playing the game themselves.

If you share a computer, internet connection, or such with another user, please note this to staff privately or on your profile. Any users who are suspected to be using someone else (family/partner/friend/etc.) to "farm" or "funnel" items, enter raffles, or forage will have those items revoked, given a strike, or be banned permanently from Project Xero.



Scenario Example #1: User A has a sibling, User B. Both users A and B play Project Xero together on the same IP address, and as such have alerted a mod. Over time, User B decides they would no longer like to participate in the species, and give their inventory and Prestige to User A. They may decide to return someday, but don't want User A to return their items. This is within our TOS and completely allowed.

Scenario Example #2: User A has a sibling, User B. Both users A and B play Project Xero together on the same IP address, and as such have alerted a mod. Over time, User B decides they would no longer like to participate in the species. To help out User A, User B continues to log in daily to Forage and send their foraged items to User A. They also occasionally enter raffles to give User A another chance to win, with intent to gift the Xero they may win to User A. This is against our TOS and both user's accounts will be banned.

Code of Conduct

We would also like to brush everyone up on our TOS and code of conduct! We have a few "general" chats: #general, #off-topic, and #afterdark. Users are free to chat about what they'd like here within reason. However, we must nudge the reminder that delving into personal topics at length is against our rules.

Users are expected to be kind and respectful to other members and staff. The Project Xero community is not a place for venting, ranting, or overt negativity. Please do not bring up any topics that may be harmful or upsetting to others. Please do your part to help maintain Project Xero’s positive and friendly atmosphere!

We do not want users to feel that they cannot speak up, but delving into deeply personal subjects in our public chats may make some users feel trapped or uncomfortable. Every user's situation is individual and different, but bringing up heavy topics may trigger anxiety and stress in someone else. As such, we encourage you to reach out to friends in private and keep upsetting personal discussion out of the server.
Selling discarded myo designs

Initially, we were unsure how to go about this and we attempted a trial run. At first it seemed that a user selling a scrapped MYO design would be funtionally the same as the user designing someone's MYO on commission. After further reflection, we have determined this not to be the case, as a user could, for example, make 10 "scrapped MYO ideas" they did not plan to use with the intention of selling them to other users.

At this time, we have determined that users are unable to sell their scrapped MYO designs to others. This is to discourage users from generating, essentially, "unofficial" Xeros to sell for other users to purchase for an MYO. If you would like to design an MYO for another user, we instead encourage you to post a design ad in our advertisement channel instead. As always, any user is able to design a MYO as long as the commissioner has a MYO orb to use!

Trades and Sales

Prestige, Astatine, and all in-game items (with the exception of paid MYO slots) do not have a real world monetary equivalent and there is no set conversion rate between currencies. We will not be introducing a set conversion rate at this time because our economy is still developing and changing. We would prefer users discuss trades amongst themselves and come to their own agreements for what constitutes a fair trade. Users should not try to tell others how much on-site currency or items are "worth" in order to discourage them from making a trade. 

Ultimately, all of our in-game items and currencies are "free" (unless otherwise specified) and if a user wants to trade their Xero for 5 Astatine or 50 Astatine, that is allowed. If a user wants to trade 20 Prestige for 1 million (Insert Species Currency Here), that is allowed, as long as it is allowed within that species' rules. The only thing not allowed is selling our in-game items or currency for real-life Human currency.
 
Additionally, users may only offer what another user is asking for in their ad.

Scenario Example #1: User A posts an advertisement wanting to trade thier Xero for a MYO, but is considering a USD resale for first time owners only. User B contacts them and asks if they can be pinged on Discord if User A wants to sell their Xero. This is allowed under our TOS and rules.

Scenario Example #2: User A posts an advertisement wanting to trade their Xero for a MYO. User B contacts them and offers a resale if they do not receive any MYO Orb offers. This is against our TOS and rules; User B may receive a warning or strike.

We want to ensure that everything is balanced, and that comes with needing to make changes or clarifications as we grow as a community. We hope every user understands why these changes and updates need to be made! 

 
Happy 2023 to all of you amazing participants in Project Xero! We hope to make this year our best year yet! 

Strange Meteorites...

Posted 1 month ago :: Last edited 1 month ago by NeonSlushie

 

This is La’Bri reporting from Oasis;

We are reaching the tail end of the annual Longest Night meteor shower. Besides the brilliant light show, with a bit of luck, finding your own meteorite has long been tradition for those with an adventurous spirit. However, several citizens have reported finding peculiar crystal formations in some of the impact sites. The material has been cleared as safe-to-handle by ARC field staff, but that’s all we have for you now. This has been your Oasis Update.

12 Days of Xeros!

Posted 1 month ago :: Last edited 1 month ago by NeonSlushie
Featuring designs from peanchiee, JollyMutt, pexl, grannypix, GreenEeveeSoup, Earth, woufe, MakiNirudi, yatomori, NeonSlushie, paradoxxpalms, & MicMac03!
 
It’s the season of giving and also the season of Guest Artists! We’ve collected a big group of guest artists and permanent artists to design you all some chilling and cool designs to be posted over the next 12 Days, from December 12th to 23rd! 🎄

 

Click for More Info!

The 12 Days Of Xeros is upon us! Which means, every day starting TOMORROW, there will be a new Xero design posted either for sale or for free until Dec 23rd! Every one of these will be done via a raffle here on the site, which gives everyone an equal chance to go after a Xero they love! Get into the groove with us each day anticipating which Xero will pop out next!

 A new Xero will be revealed each day at 8:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM EST every day and every raffle will be open until 8:00 PM PST / 11:00 PM EST! That gives you 12 hours to enter each day! Each design will be posted on our Sale Tab, so be sure to check it out!

  Aaaand… wink wink nudge nudge if you want to see each design a day early, consider joining our Project Xero Kofi! If you are Unusual Orb :orb_unusual: or up, you get previews of each design a day early! And also this month, one of the designs will be Kofi Exclusive for Notable Orb :orb_notable: members! Wow!

We’ll see you all tomorrow bright an early for our first design!!!!

12 2022 Updates!

Posted 1 month ago :: Last edited 1 month ago by NeonSlushie

The Alurizan Republic is a testament to the power of cooperation, mutual aid, and reason. By leveraging the skills of an accepting community it seems almost nothing is impossible. The guiding ethos of Alurizan culture, the Root Logic, started simply as a strateg to resist annihilation, and developed into a shared realization amongst the founding species that their former squabbles amounted to nothing compared to a true existential threat.

The Longest Night Celebration focuses on the time of the Harbor's winter solstice, as the Harbor is the center of the Republic. At this point, the name of the holiday is largely symbolic: as soon as we begin to discuss issues that span across multiple planets, the particular climate of one given planet becomes irrelevant. While there are nearly endless variations of the holiday across the diverse cultures of AREZ, there are some unifying tenets among them.

The Longest Night is a celebration of perseverance, community, and gratitude. It says: you have passed through the darkest times, you have survived the worst together, your future will only be brighter—just as Aluriza rose from near-destruction to its safety and security today.

There are a few staple traditions that any Alurizan cannot go without during the holiday, with first among them being the bonfires.

In the early days of Aluriza, it was said that many refugees had to survive long periods without access to energy and shelter, and would construct large communal fires. Tired refugees would gather around these fires to share resources, stories, and most importantly keep hope alive. These days, we carry on that tradition by sitting close to the fire and sharing in community, snacks, and hot mugs of various liquids, settling in and staying up to mark the longest night of the year.

Solstice in Owai cannot be complete without the annual winter meteor shower. Visible for a couple weeks but peaking around the Longest Night, the meteor shower has become a treasured solstice tradition. People can be seen gazing skyward at the brilliant azure lights, with the hope of maybe even finding a landed meteorite for themselves. As countless generations of Alurizans watch the same meteor shower each year, a popular folktale as emerged: it's said that someone who stays up all night to count one thousand shooting stars will have their wish granted.

 
Art by ParadoxxPalms
art by paradoxxpalms !

Monthly Activity Summary!

We have a Draw To Enter up! Draw or write about X-133 to be entered into a raffle to own them for yourself!
Galactic Gift's Prestige rewards have been doubled for the month of giving! Give some gifts to friends and get some end of the year Prestige!
The mushroom hunt is over, but you can still Forage daily for other goodies! More forageables to be added soon!


Don't forget our Monthly Prompts!
 Stay tuned! From December 12th to December 23rd, we will be having 12 days of free giveaways and sales, featuring 8 new Advent Guest Artists!

Click for all the details!

Rudy's size might be intimidating but don’t let that fool you, they are a sweetheart! Big, fluffy and adorable might be the best summary for this Tundra Xero! One of Rudy’s favorite activities is to go sledding in the mountains with friends or go on chilly winter hikes. While Rudy is right at home in the cold, they also make a mighty fine hot spiced sweetsap for those less arctic-inclined friends.

*The winner of this DTE is more than welcome to change the name, pronouns, and personality of this Xero!

MASTERLIST LINK  ★  TOYHOUSE LINK

What is a DTE (Draw To Enter)? Our DTE is a raffle-based event, in which you enter by submitting artwork. Draw, write, or create mixed media crafts for the featured Xero and win a fabulous prizes and a chance at owning this Xero yourself! This DTE character is Xero X-133: Rudy.

Click HERE for more information about this DTE!
 

Seasonal TRAITS!

We also have one new and one returning Seasonal Fruit!
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The Tato Fruit allows a Xero to have Patterned Skin! This can include markings of any shape on their ears, paw pads, tongue, or hairless sections if combined with that trait. These markings can only be darker or lighter than their normal skin color, unless combined with the Split trait.

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And the returning Astera Thistle! This plant allows a Xero to have Fur Pads, giving a Xero extra fluffy feet that covers their paw pads, like a rabbit or fennec fox! This adaptation can help protect their paws against extremely hot or cold conditions.

The Tato Fruit can be obtained from the Winter 2022 DTE or Secret Santa 2022, and the Astera Thistle can be purchased from the ARC Lab. Both can also be foraged! Be sure to stock up before they go out of season!


 

Monthly Prompts

Finally, as always, we still have our monthly repeating prompts, XOTM & ARC Survey!

 

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11 2022 XOTM: Dicti-tm 's  X-473


What is XOTM? Each month, a new Xero will be picked at random to receive a plethora of gifts from the community! Draw, write, or create some mixed media crafts for the featured Xero and win a Mysterious ORB and a chance for your Xero to be featured next month!
Learn more about XOTM
arcsurvey.png

ARC Survey: 007


Greetings! I hope that everyone had a chance to enjoy the Twilight Carnival and experience something new, but now it's time for us to move on to the present topic: this month's survey! With winter fast approaching, I'm sure we're all starting to busy ourselves with our various plans for the Solstice, so I'll keep this to the point! In the spirit of the holiday, what is your wish for this upcoming year?

Participate in ARC's Survey

Keep an eye on the sky this Longest Night, my Alurizan friends. Perhaps your wish will come true!

Twilight Carnival 2022

Posted 2 months ago :: Last edited 1 month ago by NeonSlushie


Time has forgotten who was first to propose the idea of The Twilight Carnival but one thing is certain: It’s the one event in AREZ you don’t wanna miss!
Taking place 30 days before the anniversary of the official beginning of the Alurizan Reserve, it is a celebration of many significant events: the traditional harvest season, a celebration of unity and coming together to be a greater collective.

To reflect this, a large component of the carnival revolves around getting together and sharing your culture with one another. Food, music, games, and more are all featured in a month long celebration of the differences that make us stronger and richer in life together. While each may have their own way of celebrating the holiday, the real place to be is the Capital City, where the largest Twilight Carnival is held. Decorated with the traditional carved lantern fruits and bringing in everything from street food vendors, to traditional craftsman and performers, its where you can see what the Alurizian people really have to show.
 
You might even treat yourself to some of the many games and festivities, maybe even win yourself some prizes of your own!

Event Activity Summary!

Forage daily for mushrooms & other goodies!

Participate in our Discord Xingo! A Xero-themed Bingo with prizes!

Free gifts in the shop weekly!

Earn tickets for our Mega Raffle!

Don't forget our Monthly Prompts & Limited Event Prompts!
 For some of the later events, (Quiz, GA opening, Donation Event, Sales) We will have more details closer to the dates they are scheduled! Thank you for your patience!

Click for all the details!


Calling All Volunteers!

As I'm sure you have heard by now, there has been an outbreak of non-native fungal spores in Harbor and the timing could not be worse. To help contain the outbreak, we're recruiting individuals with with previous experience or interest in the following fields: foraging, fungus identification, or mycology.

While the initial contamination has been contained, the existing fruits must be collected before they are allowed to produce more spores and succeed our containment capacities. Please report to the address below and await further instructions.

Thank you for your interest and assistance. Together we can ensure that this outbreak does not become a full-fledged spread of an invasive species!


Every day, you can attempt to collect a mushroom from our new site feature:
Foraging!

There are 12 new mushrooms in total; collect all 12 by the end of the month to gain a Twilight Carnival 2022 badge and 10 Raffle Tickets in our huge Twilight Carnival Mega Raffle! Please check out our Discord's Twilight Carnival section to trade your duplicate mushrooms and submit your completed collection for rewards.

Get out there and start foraging! We need all the help we can get!

 

NEW TRAITS!

Now what would be a special event month without some New Seasonal Produce? We have 2 that will be gracing us this Twilight Carnival!

All Xeros who currently have these traits will have them added automatically, but going forward MYO’s with these traits will require the items to make them possible! 

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The Hake Nut allows a Xero to gain an Ornamental Tail! This is a fancy tail tip made of hard keratin or cartilage. It can be almost any shape, as long as it’s placed on the end of the tail!

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And the Harvest Fairy! This seed allows a Xero to have a set of Frilled Ears! These ears have a grooved outer edge, giving them a jagged or wing-like appearance!  

Both new items can be purchased from ARC Lab, found in Autumn Produce Baskets, or foraged!

 

 
Mult Fruit, Goodroop Fruit, and Spikul Fruit are back as well!

They are available in limited quantities all month in the ARC Lab and Autumn Produce Baskets so make sure to stock up before they go out of season!

 

Limited Time Event Prompts

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Search for the Woodland Ghost

Now that the breach has been contained, ARC lab requires volunteers to go out and search for the elusive Woodland Ghost mushroom to ensure that the spread of an invasive species can be kept at bay. 

Draw or write about your Xero’s foraging excursion! Consider what tools they may need. Where do they decide to search? How and what do they collect? Are they doing this for ARC, or for their own research?

Participating in this prompt awards 1 Astatine, 1 Twilight Carnival Badge, 1 Autumn Produce Basket, 1 Autumn Foraging Basket, and 1 ticket to our Mega Raffle!
Join the Search

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Jam Jamboree

It is a widespread custom during the Twilight Carnival to make home-cooked foods. It is said exchanging cultural food helps us all come together; food transcends even the most arduous of borders. Not all of us are fantastic cooks, however- so this simple jam recipe is popular among many Alurizan residents.

Follow along with our recipe (or any other recipe) and try your hand at making some jam for the Twilight Carnival!

Participating in this prompt awards 1 Astatine, 1 Twilight Carnival Badge, 1 Autumn Produce Basket, 1 Autumn Foraging Basket, and 1 ticket to our Mega Raffle!

Get Jammin'

 

Prizes & Freebies

The Twilight Carnival is a holiday of sharing and celebration - what better way to give back to the community than with free items every week?

 

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During the Twilight Carnival, we will drop a free Gift Bag in the shops for everyone to pick up; the contents of this bag are a random surprise but will always contain the rare element Astatine! Open it from your inventory to see what kind of prizes you get!

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Join us in our Discord for our second Bingo Xingo - a Xero-themed Bingo game that lasts all month! Every day new words are called and when you get 5 in a row, you get a prize! Prizes include Prestige, Astatine, Autumn Baskets, and tickets to the Mega Raffle!



Twilight Carnival Mega Raffle

The Twilight Carnival Mega Raffle will run the entire month! There will be 10 winners with 10 different prizes! Raffle tickets can be earned by participating in the Event Prompts, Getting Xingos in our Discord, completing your Mushroom Foraging Collection, and more!

 

Monthly Prompts

Finally, as always, we still have our monthly repeating prompts, XOTM & ARC Survey!

 

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11 2022 XOTM: woufe's  X-338


What is XOTM? Each month, a new Xero will be picked at random to receive a plethora of gifts from the community! Draw, write, or create some mixed media crafts for the featured Xero and win a Mysterious ORB and a chance for your Xero to be featured next month!
Learn more about XOTM
arcsurvey.png

ARC Survey: 006


The lantern fruits are carved, the sweetsaps spiced, and the evenings are crisp; it must be Carnival time!

The question this time is: how do YOU celebrate it? We are ever so curious about what traditions you have taken up or what new Xero experiences you have to share and make Aluriza that much more vibrant!

Participate in ARC's Survey

The Breach (Part 9)

Posted 3 months ago :: Last edited 2 months ago by NeonSlushie



Half-buried in stacks of survey reports, Vas’an almost didn’t notice when Kellworth stopped by to hover over their desk. Almost. 
 
“Hmm? What is it now?” they grumbled, glancing up at him. “Another drone report? Add it to my inbox and I’ll—”
 
“No, no! Read it now!” Kellworth said eagerly, handing over the tablet. “This is a very good one. I need to see your reaction.”

 

Part 1

Vas’an sighed. “Are you going to keep standing here until I agree to read this?” they asked. It was a rhetorical question. They knew he would. “Fine. Let’s see what we’ve got. Forgive me if I can’t contain my excitement over yet another mineral report from some lifeless rock…” 

Vas’an trailed off as they scanned the report, their eyes widening in disbelief. Kellworth grinned in triumph. 

“Well,” Vas’an said eventually. “Has this information been confirmed?”

“Oh yes! Within the last day, in fact. The analysts were just as surprised as you were.” Kellworth retrieved a small device from his pocket and fiddled with it as lines of text raced across its small screen. “Of course the call is yours to make, Vas, but it seems like we have approval to send a manned survey team to investigate these findings. That would be an excellent idea, don’t you think? I believe we already have about all we can get just from using the drones. If the majority of the detected biomass is too deep for our external sensors—‘ 

Vas’an detected the early signs of a Kellworth ramble and politely tuned him out in favor of contemplating the report before them. The issue was not one of importance, but resources. With the Twilight Carnival fast approaching, Vas'an knew they were short on time—most of the surveyors would want to take the time to attend. The team would have to work fast. On the other hand…

“This must be quite a discovery for ARC,” Vas’an said. “After all, you came down here yourself to hand-deliver this.” they sighed. “How can I say no?” 

Vas'an copied the data to the station computer and handed back the tablet to a beaming Kellworth. “Just please have this all wrapped up by the start of the Carnival, or you'll have to be the one to personally explain why everyone on he team is going to miss the ‘celebration.” 

Still grinning, Kellworth gathered up his things and started for the door. “You worry too much, Vas! It’s just some preliminary sample collecting. The rest can be scheduled for after the Carnival ends. It won’t be a problem, I promise!”

Part 2

Survey Team Report 3
Chief Nyara to ARC Liaison Kellworth

Base camp has been established and initial infrasound scans have mapped the subterranean features outlined in the original survey. Biomass readings align with projected values; this confirms the hypothesis that this is indeed some sort of fungal colony. The team is currently preparing to collect samples. Will update with any further developments.


Survey Team Report 6
Chief Nyara to ARC Liaison Kellworth

The chamber has been successfully accessed: see analysis attached below. We took all available steps to prevent outside contamination, so hopefully the data should be clean. Must note that if it wasn’t for that survey map, it is unlikely that the team could have located the chamber. Considering all measurable environmental conditions, this exoplanet should be sterile; it appears that somehow, a pocket of life-sustaining atmosphere was trapped under the planet’s crust.

Reply
ARC Liaison Kellworth to Chief Nyara

Thanks for the update, Chief! I’ve got to say, these readings are incredible. We’re seeing at least three species that don’t match ANYTHING in our fungi genetic records. I’ve attaching a list of the fungi species that we’d like physical samples of; after that, bring your team back in time for the Carnival, otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it from Vas. Thanks!

 

Forwarded Message: Survey Team Report 6
ARC Liaison Kellworth to Survey Coordinator Vas’an

CHECK THIS OUT!!!!!!!

 

Reply
Survey Coordinator Vas’an to ARC Liaison Kellworth

Very promising. Is this what you were so excited about this morning? I could hear you shrieking even from down the hallway and through a closed door.

 

Survey Team Report 7
Chief Nyara to ARC Liaison Kellworth

We were able to collect the requested samples. After collection, four samples began to emit an unidentified type of spore and were rated biohazardous; have placed them in containment according to standard procedures. Fortunately, the crew has maintained zero exposure. We will be departing to the Owai system shortly.

Reply
ARC Liaison Kellworth to Chief Nyara

Copy! Thanks again for all your hard work! We’re all super excited to see your findings (even Vas). See you soon!

Part 3

The cargo ship began to decelerate as it approached the waystation. At this reduced speed, the name painted on its ventral side was visible: INGE-339.

As far as ships go, the INGE was rather unassuming, its paint faded from countless flights to far-off stars. But the ship’s pilots treated this wear and tear as badges of honor: after all, each of these flights had been for missions of utmost importance, expeditions that helped catalog and map the sector. Although the INGE was small, it often carried valuable cargo. This journey was no exception—inside one of its isolation chambers was something that emanated a dull blue-green glow.

“Okay, okay, should I go for a sweetsap foam first? Isn’t it around the time of year when they do a harvest? Oh wait, what about a jewel berry slushie? Those are great. Have you had one before? I actually haven’t. I’ve just heard they’re great—”

“Ecci,” Finjin said firmly, with a clack of his mandibles for extra emphasis. 'I know you're excited to see the Carnival for the first time, but if you don’t focus and help us finish the handshake procedure...”

“Oh! Oh, right. Sorry…” her feathers ruffled in embarrassment, Ecci concentrated once again on the console. Her short talons clacked rhythmically across the keyboards and control panels. “Annnnnd—yes! We’re locked into the Owai system station. Translocation in 30 seconds standard.”

Finjin checked his own console. “Confirmed. Good work as always.”

“You really think so?” Ecci puffed out her chest in pride. “Thanks, Fin.”

She's a good kid, Finjin mused to himself. And an absolute prodigy of a pilot. If she could learn to stay focused, she would receive solo certification in no time.

Ecci, meanwhile, was quietly brimming with joy. It was like what they said back home: an Avian belongs in the sky…well, she thought. Space certainly counts.

There was a slight shudder through the hull of the INGE as it passed into the station’s superluminal field. Ecci glanced at her monitor. “Confirming connection with Owai station. Autopilot locked-in," she reported. “Looks like we’ll be there in about four hours standard. Wow, these new Lorentzian stations are amazing! I can’t believe they finally finished building them. Once I read an article about—”

Finjin had been on far too many flights to share in her starry-eyed excitement, and was privately looking forward to a quiet trip home and some time off for the Carnival. He considered reminding her again not to get distracted, then decided against it. Ecci had done extremely well, all things considered, and they were in the last leg of their journey. Let her chat if she wanted to—at this point, there was very little that could go wrong.

Part 4

 

—REPORT 11987-A AREZ SECT 1 10:34:10 LOCAL AAR: WARDEN / OWAI SECRUITY—

Subject: Survey Craft ‘INGE-339' interdicted during transit to OWAI System Station 1
 
Assailants ambushed the unarmed craft during its transition to real space, issuing a demand for the crew to jettison the cargo. The surveyor team onboard recognized the intruders as Biopirates, who likely received word of the discovery and planned to fence the ship’s cargo. The crew of the INGE followed standard procedure, broadcasting a SOS over a secure channel and resisting the assailant’s demands while ensuring crew safety, understanding that it was of tantamount importance to avoid releasing an unknown biohazardous substance.

Of all nearby and available systems, the Owai System was deemed to have the fastest response time and a warden team was deployed to the broadcast position. Warden forces were able to repel and pursue the assailants, who evaded capture by retreating beyond Alurizian space. With only minor damage, the INGE was able to resume its transit and made a safe landing at ARC Harbor campus.
 
—END OF REPORT

Part 5

Vas'an usually was difficult to read, but today everyone could tell that they were in a dark mood. Kellworth could practically feel the concern radiating off them as they stood by their office window, staring out at the darkened sky. Their usual focus was completely absent: even the piles of overdue survey reports couldn’t draw their attention.

Kellworth didn’t blame them. They knew Vas’an wasn’t alone in feeling some sort of strain at the news—a strain that could only be lifted upon the safe return of the INGE’s crew. After all, these are people we all know, he thought. Although he tried to stay positive for himself and for the others, at the end of the day it was oddly freeing to succumb to his concerns and watch the skies with Vas’an, waiting for the cargo ship to return.

“Look,” Vas’an said suddenly, breaking the silence. “Do you see that?”

Kellworth squinted: there were three shapes in the distance, descending through the sky. “Yes! I think that’s them. Let’s meet them at the landing pad, I’m sure the ground crew could use a hand—”

But Vas’an had already started for the door. Kellworth grabbed his bag and followed.

 

As the crafts descended, two of them broke off and veered back towards orbit—likely escorts meant to ensure the Igne would land safely in Harbor. Members of the ground crew were scurrying about, preparing for the landing—and to aid the INGE’s crew, if necessary. But thankfully, as the ship approached, Kellworth could see that the damage to the hull damage seemed largely superficial, aside from a rather large blast mark near the engines.

Vas’an had noticed it too. “Looks like they tried to kill the power to the engines,” they said darkly, their tail swishing. “By the looks of it, these poachers knew what they were doing. Fortunately for the crew, Survey ships are built with plenty of backups to avoid getting stranded in the middle of uncharted space.”

The rescue crew immediately took position as the INGE settled onto the landing pad. But as the cargo door slid open, there was a collective sigh of relief: the INGE’s crew emerged looking mostly unharmed, aside from some minor bumps and bruises.
 
With a clack of his mandibles, the captain stepped forward. “Captain Finjin of the AREZ INGE, delivering cargo and samples as ordered—"
 
Kellworth cut him off. “You’re unharmed! I can’t thank you and your team enough, oh please don’t worry about the cargo! I’ll take care of it from here, you all make sure to get yourselves to the medical bay for a check-up!” He hurried to follow as the porters, who had already collected the contents of the isolation chamber, moved towards the lab entrance.
 
Vas’an sighed faintly in relief. “And don’t worry about the follow-up trip,” they added, glancing at Finjin and the rest of the crew. “I think you’ve more than earned your holiday.”
 
“You hear that?” Finjin said kindly to a calm but quietly exhausted Ecci, and gave her an encouraging pat on the shoulder. “Let’s get to medical, kid. Then why don’t you tell me more about your plans for the Carnival?”

Part 6

As they had been instructed, the porter drones took the cargo down to the ARC labs; Kellworth followed close behind. Different sections of the ARC flashed by as they hurried past: the greenhouses, the genetics lab, and of course, the Xero Wing that housed the classrooms, playrooms and computer labs where young Xeros learned.

Kellworth glanced through one of the classroom windows and made eye contact with a serious-looking baby Xero. He smiled. They gave him an evaluating look, then very solemnly waved. Briefly distracted by this, Kellworth walked through a doorway and nearly ran into a figure in a white lab coat.

“Oh! Oops, I—hey, Doctor,” he greeted. Dr. Ero M’Taw had come out to meet him, seemingly in a hurry: another young Xero was clinging onto their tail, peeking out at Kellworth. “Sorry, didn’t see you there. Where’d you want us to put the samples?”

“Lab #3, Kellworth—please and thank you. I had it cleared out this morning in preparation for the delivery,” they said, relaxing at Kellworth’s easy smile. “Now it’s time for you to get to your classroom, small one,” they said firmly to the young Xero, who reluctantly released their grip and walked off.

“Are you teaching the kids this afternoon?”

“Not today. I found this one hiding under a desk,” Dr. M’Taw said. “They remained quite silent on how they'd gotten there, but I believe they sneaked out of the dormitories. I gave t hem a snack and an explanation on lab safety.” They shook their head disapprovingly, although there was a fond glint in their many eyes. “Have you had lunch yet? I recently heard of this wonderful little place that I think you’d—“

They were cut off mid-sentence by two things: the first was the shrill sound of an alarm.

ALERT. UNKNOWN CONTAMINANT REPORTED. REMAIN IN YOUR CURRENT LOCATION AND AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS. THIS IS NOT A TEST.


The second was the cheerful jingle of Kellworth’s ringtone. He pulled out his pad and answered the call. “H-hello? Yes, I can hear you—uhh, yeah. Uh, what!? Hold on, Dr. M’Taw’s here, let me put you on speaker—“

Vas’an’s voice, urgent and controlled, came out through the pad’s speaker. “Yes, this is Vas'an. Preliminary medical exams revealed that the INGE’s crew came back covered in spores. Apparently there was a leak somewhere in the isolation chamber that they didn’t detect.”

“A leak!?” Kellworth said, taking in Dr. M’Taw’s startled expression. “Is the crew okay—“

“We’re tentatively classifying this as a Class 1A risk,” Vas’an said. “But we’re starting a lockdown to isolate any possible exposure, we can’t have any spores spreading to Harbor. Sit tight.”

Vas’an hung up. Kellworth pocketed his pad again, trying to collect his thoughts. “There must have been some micro-shrapnel damage or something from the attack,” he said out loud. “That could have broken through the isolation chamber…at least know we know how to track the spores.” But Dr. M’Taw still looked troubled. Kellworth’s heart sank a little.

“What is a Class 1A risk, anyways?” he asked. “I haven’t heard that classification before.”

Dr. M’Taw took a few seconds to answer, speaking very slowly and precisely. “It’s not common. The “1” indicates a low risk to the general population, even accounting for the spores’ dispersal through air. But an “A” indicates high risk of infection in immuno-compromised individuals. That includes the sick, the elderly…or the very young.”

With a vague feeling of dread, Kellworth followed Dr. M’Taw’s gaze to the doorway that the Xero had just walked through, to the wing of the ARC where the other young Xeros lived.

Part 7

—Personal Log Entry 1471 - Transcript—
Well, it looks like the rumors were true. There is a ship just in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a total mystery to me how or why it’s here: it’s got no registry number, no active transponder, and it doesn’t match any ship design I know. There are unusual organic readings within the craft, along with unknown energy signatures, but it does contain a habitable internal environment…curious. Well, maybe when Vas’an hears about this they’ll chew me out for being reckless, but what the Xeros told me has been right so far and we’ve come all this way…going to try and dock.
 
Although the ancient mechanisms creaked and protested, the massive door finally eased open with a groan. Behind it lay a large and dimly-lit room. Kellworth inhaled: the air was breathable but stale. That meant the active environmental processors were fairly old.
 
“Hello? Anyone home?” he called out, his voice echoing down the metallic hallway. No response. Behind Kellworth, the young Xero shifted uneasily and clutched his arm more tightly. They had been remarkably well-behaved so far, he thought, and pretty brave to boot.
 
Kellworth called out again. “My name is Kellworth. I heard that a biologist of great skill resides here, and we seek your services. If you’re there, could you answer us, please?”
 
 
 
A chill shot down Kellworth’s spine. The many-layered voice seemed to come from all directions, vibrating through the air oddly. The young Xero’s claws dug into his arm.
 
As the lights began to brighten, Kellworth’s eyes focused on an unsettling sight: an operating table with some sort creature sprawled across it, being poked and prodded at by various spindly robotic implements. For a moment Kellworth assumed that a dissection of some sort was being carried out: then, as were robotic arms retracted and the creature’s many marvelous eyes opened, he realized it was still alive.
 
“Gah!” he cried out in alarm, backpedaling and maneuvering himself between the creature and the young Xero behind him.

“My apologies. I should have made greater efforts to explain or perhaps censor my…work.” The strange creature moved off of the operating table. Their voice sounded less echoing and more solid, as if it was coming from the creature itself: catching a glimpse of many wall-mounted devices, Kellworth realized that their voice had previously been projected through an array of speakers.
 
“I was merely taking a moment to, how you say…evolve myself. Now this shape can vocalize in a way that will suit your comfort. You may call me the Curator. And you are Kellworth, you said?”
 
“Yes,” ‘Kellworth said,” taking a cautious step forward. “I sent you a message about—can you help?” Keeping a respectful distance, the Curator bent down for a closer look at the small Xero. Their darting eyes seemed to scan over the Xero’s fur and skin with pinpoint precision.
 

 
Then they reached out and poked one of the growths on the small Xero’s back. The Xero squeaked. The glow emitted a soft glow in response. The Curator drew back contemplatively. “Hmm, yes. Quite the predicament. Quite the predicament indeed. I suppose you’ve come to me in hopes that I can separate these two organisms? Perhaps I could help. But I will require as much data on this species as you possess. It is not known to me.”
 
With an alarmingly smooth motion, the Curator sprung up from their crouched position and began to pace. “No, it is not known. This species must be new to the system. How strange! At the very least, the fungi’s growth can be slowed or halted. Reversed? Perhaps not entirely. But—ah, you’re still here,” they said, catching sight of Kellworth again. “Your data! I need it, please.”
 
“Yes!” Kellworth said, snapping out of his daze: there was something about the sight of the Curator that was oddly mesmerizing. “I’ll transfer what we have and go get you the samples we collected—thank you, thank you! This is the first good news I’ve heard on this in—oh, I don’t know how long. What a relief!” he beamed down at the young Xero, who was still sticking close by him; they wanted to go home. “I’m so glad! I thought—well, I can’t help but feel it’s my fault that this little guy got into this mess,” he confessed.
 
And then it all came pouring out. “I know I couldn’t have predicted the biopirate attack and I didn’t make the breach itself, but maybe if I hadn’t rushed Vas’an—if the timing had been different—“
 
“Fault is irrelevant here,” said the Curator. “And blame cannot be placed on the shoulders of just one creature. Think! Your problem has a solution, and we shall find it.”
 
Something about the Curator’s odd, almost cheery self-assurance made Kellworth let out a sigh of relief—and wasn’t that a bit of a reversal of his usual role?
 
“You know what? I like your optimistic outlook. I’ll send a message when the samples are ready, but… I’d prefer it if you didn’t tell anyone I was here.’ Kellworth replied, a note of seriousness entering his usually light tone.
 
“As you wish!” said the Curator, blinking its many eyes. “And it is not optimistic. It is realistic. In this universe, there is nothing impossible. Only unknown.”
 
And for the first time since he stepped into this strange, uninviting ship, Kellworth felt hopeful.

Part 8

Calling all volunteers!

As I'm sure you have heard by now, there has been an outbreak of non-native fungal spores in Harbor and the timing could not be worse. To help contain the outbreak, we're recruiting individuals with with previous experience or interest in the following fields: foraging, fungus identification, or mycology.

While the initial contamination has been contained, the existing fruits must be collected before they are allowed to produce more spores and succeed our containment capacities. Please report to the address below and await further instructions.

Thank you for your interest and assistance. Together we can ensure that this outbreak does not become a full-fledged spread of an invasive species!

And hopefully, Kellworth thought as he finished typing up the notice and posted it to the Social Services board. The collected samples would provide enough data for that poor Xero's treatment as well...

Part 9

“After reviewing the provided samples,” the Curator announced, “I do believe there is a solution to our conundrum.”

Even after talking with the Curator for some time, Kellworth still found it difficult to understand them through whatever hacked-together encryption filtered their voice. But thankfully, there was no ambiguity in what they had just said. He perked up.

“Oh! How wonderful to hear! We haven’t been making much progress on our end other than just slowing the progression—well, and we prevented a weird fungus invasion, I suppose that certainly accounts for something. Even if—anyways! What was your solution?”

The Curator blinked slowly. “Ah, hmm. ARC’s inability to remove the fungal infection does not surprise me, as the fungi cannot be safely removed.”

“What?” Kellworth blurted out. He had not jumped through all of these hoops—locating the Curator’s ship, sneaking the young Xero out of containment, going behind Vas’an’s back—just for this, for nothing. “I thought you—you just said there was a solution! Don’t you get it!? This isn’t a game or a fun little experiment—“

“Calm yourself,” the Curator said. “And allow me to finish my explanation. The fungi cannot be safely removed, that is correct. However, there is still a solution.” They motioned to the corner of the lab, where a large cylindrical machine had been constructed: it extended from the floor to the ceiling, and its workings were beyond Kellworth’s ability to discern. “The reason why the fungi cannot be removed is because it has effectively become indistinguishable from the host’s tissue at the points of contact. As ARC likely discovered, the growth can be halted, but not surgically removed.”
 
“Okay, yes,” Kellworth said, nodding. Privately, he wondered once again about the Curator’s state of mind—forget sanity, was there even concern in there? Or just this strange scientific precision and laser-focused curiosity?
 
The Curator continued, either unaware of Kellworth’s uncertainty or tactfully ignoring it. “I have named this machine the Chrysalis. It works on a similar principle to the “Glitch Machine” as Xeros have dubbed it, but instead of simply modifying a specific type of tissue, its effect is applied to the entire organism.” They pointed to the center of the device: a transparent pod, large enough for a creature to climb into. “The Xero is in essence broken down into their base organic components. From there, we can input certain preset specifications to reassemble and effectively rebuild them.”
 
Kellworth took a little while to process this. “Hang on,” he said as it dawned on him. “Are you saying that we’re going to—melt down this Xero?” he sputtered. “Like—into goop?”
 
“That is what I meant when I specified that they would be broken down into their base organic components, yes.”
 
“And—“ Kellworth leaned forward, feeling a little crazed. “You’re absolutely, positively, one hundred percent super sure that you can put them back together afterwards, correct!?”
 
“Yes,” said the Curator calmly. “Do not look so shocked, Kellworth. This is a process that has been mastered by many organisms, and now it will be mastered by Xeros. I assure you that the neurological system remains intact during the process, so barring any major complications, the Xero’s memories and personality should be unaffected as well.”
 
Kellworth reached for a chair and sat down, suddenly feeling very tired. He had been advised that the Curator’s methods might seem a little…unusual but melting down a Xero? Melting?!
 
But what other option do we have? he thought bleakly. What else is left to try? At least the Curator was honest—maybe a little too direct for Kellworth’s stress levels, but honest.
 
And it isn’t up to me, he concluded. I’m not the one with alien mushrooms sprouting all over me. I did what I could to find answers. Now it’s time for Ghost to decide what they want to do…


Part 9 of (???), written by ScrapTeeth , Stardonyx , & Frouzon !  Art by ScrapTeeth & JollyMutt ! Stay tuned for more!

10 2022 Updates!

Posted 3 months ago :: Last edited 3 months ago by NeonSlushie
🎃 It's Spooky Season! Welcome to October! 🎃  
As usual, we have our two monthly prompts resetting, which you can see below!

 


 

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10 2022 XOTM: PrincelyPixels ' X-262!


What is XOTM? Each month, a new Xero will be picked at random to receive a plethora of gifts from the community! Draw, write, or create some mixed media crafts for the featured Xero and win a Mysterious ORB and a chance for your Xero to be featured next month!
Learn more about XOTM
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ARC Survey: 005


 Over the years, this season has become a home to many different cultural holidays in many different parts of Owai-6. A popular old fable debates whether its better to be charismatic or clever to achieve the protagonist's goals, and It begs of the the listener; what would they do themselves? So my festive little Xeros, that is your question; is it best to trick…. Or to treat?

Participate in ARC's Survey

 



 We are also bringing back a fan-favorite for the month of October, the Lantern Fruit Carving prompt!
Carve a gourd of your choice to win Prestige and a Lantern Fruit of your very own! Check out the prompt for more details!

 

Each of these prompts may only be submitted once per user! Click here for more activities!

THese prompts END Monday, October 31st AT 11:59 PM EST / 8:59 PM PST

Autumn Equinox Giveaway

Posted 4 months ago :: Last edited 4 months ago by NeonSlushie
 

FTO Autumn Equinox Giveaway!

Design by NeonSlushie !

Click for more info!

🍂 As the Autumn Equinox comes our way, we start bundling up into warmer clothes, seek cozy ways to beat the chilly weather, and enjoy the falling of the leaves…
 
🦊 And what better way to celebrate this shift but with a new Free Raffle Xero?
 
🍂 That’s right! This wonderful fox-like Xero is a raffle for FIRST TIME OWNERS! Meaning you have never owned a Xero before! What a way to wander into our community!
 
🦊 To enter, please join our Discord and add your username to our Thread in #Announcements! We will be adding you all to a raffle bot on the site! 
 
🍂 We will be rolling this Xero 24 hours from now September 23, @ 1:00 PM EST!
 
🦊 Good luck all first time owners, and to our Xero Owners, please tell your friends and spread the word!

Free Xero Giveaway!

Posted 7 months ago :: Last edited 6 months ago by NeonSlushie

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Click HERE for information and to join the free giveaway!

 

In celebration of our 1 year anniversary this weekend, we are giving away a free Xero! The winner can choose one of any of the Xeros shown here!

The Xeros not chosen by the winner will be sold in a special ✨ Gachapon Sale ✨ along with many other new designs on 6/26 - keep an eye out for that! 😉

Amazing art & designs by paradoxxpalms, wallabytea, grannypix, NeonSlushie, and Tarina!

Ends 6/25 @ 6pm EST!