pixiv ID: 26889430
⚡ history ⚡
Pao-Lin's life proceeded as outlined here
up until first grade. Where her canonical counterpart did her best to not cause trouble, Pao-Lin eventually got sick of the teasing, and decided to fight back. The other students already feared her, and she hated school and didn't have good grades; she had very little left to lose.
After a couple more incidents where she had to endure the bullying in silence, she snapped and electrocuted two of her tormentors, leaving them in critical condition. The results were predictable: she was instantly thrown out of her school.
But Pao-Lin didn't care. More importantly, she was proud (albeit a bit bitterly) of defending herself. In her mind, she was in the right. Those other students knew
she could do this; that was the whole reason they were teasing her in the first place. Frankly, they got what they deserved.
The Huangs enrolled Pao-Lin in another school, but she quickly got herself expelled from that one as well for unruly behavior. She went through two more schools before the Huangs finally gave up on getting her to attend formal classes. An attempt was made at homeschooling, but Pao-Lin held little to no respect for her non-NEXT parents, and so any lessons quickly proved fruitless. Pao-Lin spent her days roving the streets of her hometown, sometimes not even returning home for meals (why do that when you could just steal junk food from the store?). She made acquaintances of some of the local delinquents, but the relationships didn't go beyond a superficial, mercenary level.
Around age 11, the Huangs decided to send Pao-Lin abroad for schooling. She was to live with an aunt in Sternbild and attend boarding school. Her parents hoped that with Sternbild supposedly being more accepting of NEXTs, the school administrators would be less inclined to automatically vilify Pao-Lin. Too, they hoped she would make NEXT friends in Sternbild so she would be less lonely. This was a wish that would come true -- albeit not in the way they were hoping.
For her part, Pao-Lin was actually glad to get away from her hometown and her parents. She wasn't too enthused at the idea of having to live with some relative she didn't even know she had
, but she figured that it should be easy enough to disappear into the city.
And disappear she did. A couple of months into her stay, Pao-Lin fled from her aunt's house with a couple of dollars, some snacks, and one change of clothes, and never looked back. She bounced around, alternating between hitting up homeless shelters and sleeping on the streets or elsewhere. The lack of material comforts barely bothered her. If she needed food, she knew how to get it without having to pay for it (or, barring that, she knew how to get the money to pay for it). She wasn't overly concerned with having clean clothes. Mostly she was glad for the freedom to go wherever she wanted and do whatever she wanted -- including pick fights. Anyone who tried to mess with her quickly found out their mistake whenever she displayed her lightning powers. Being a cute, tiny Asian girl wandering the streets of a big city by herself, Pao-Lin was perhaps disproportionately targeted by miscreants. It got to the point where after a while, Pao-Lin would amuse herself by taking down any would-be assailants without
using her powers. Eventually, however, word got around to the urban wanderers that there was a certain blonde Chinese chick that shouldn't be messed with.
This news filtered to a certain woman with a certain organization, who was interested in the potential services Pao-Lin might be able to provide. Eventually tracking her down, the woman introduced herself as Kriem, with Ouroboros, and offered Pao-Lin food, money...and a place to belong. A place where she could be with other people like her, a place where she could put her powers to use, and a place that was working to right the wrongs inflicted on NEXTs by seeking to create a society in which the NEXTs were superior to the non-NEXTs.
There was no question of it. Pao-Lin was in from the word go. Ouroboros found in her an enthusiastic (and deceptively innocent-looking) heavyhitter, and employed her as an "assistant" in "interrogations" or simply as muscle to protect other Ouroboros agents whose NEXT powers weren't as easily applicable for offense or defense. Having already engaged in violence multiple times before, Pao-Lin saw no real issue with taking up this line of work.
⚡ personality ⚡
Despite living on her own and doing the unsavory (to others) work she does with Ouroboros, Pao-Lin is still a child in many ways. She doesn't hold an overly nuanced view of the world, nor is she given much to contemplative thought. She's rather simple-minded: it only takes either good food or a good fight to please her. The opportunity to have a sanctioned outlet for her pugilistic tendencies is part of what Ouroboros provides to her. Of course she's aware of the supposed goals of Ouroboros (as told to her by Kriem) and certainly supports them, but she won't think any harder on them than she has to. She will acknowledge that not all non-NEXTs are horrible or worthless people (her sifu was a non-NEXT, after all), but she's typically not inclined to converse with one long enough these days if she doesn't have to.
Ouroboros also provides a certain sense of solidarity and community for her, albeit a somewhat broken one. There are very few people she might consider herself close to or whom she'd be willing to call friends, but in the abstract, Pao-Lin is much more relaxed knowing that everyone else around her in Ouroboros is a "freak" just like her. Upon successfully integrating herself into the organization, Pao-Lin regains some of her childhood cheerfulness and playfulness. Alas, there's cyanide in that sugar, and she can turn quite vicious and foul-mouthed when she's provoked. But as long as one doesn't poke the dragon, she's generally amiable and civil.
One thing she would be hard-pressed to admit is how much she actually misses her parents. Pao-Lin doesn't want to ever live with them again, but sometimes she wonders about talking to them once in a while. She's done the cliche trick of calling her old home phone and simply not saying anything when one of her parents answers, just listening to their voices. She knows that she would have a lot of explaining to do were she to actually inform them of what her life was actually like, and that's a big hassle, to say the least. So she usually tells herself that it's not worth being yelled at or scolded.
Her parents are probably better off without a freak like her, anyway.
⚡ kouhaivan ⚡
A few years into her time with Ouroboros, Pao-Lin was entrusted with the training of a former Hero Academy student named Ivan. Not because Kriem necessarily believed that Pao-Lin would make a good teacher, but because she believed that Pao-Lin's easygoing personality would reveal any potential cracks in Ivan's new loyalty to the organization by luring Ivan to drop his guard around her. He fortunately proved to be a steadfast acolyte, helped by Pao-Lin vouching for him whenever the issue of his background came up. Indeed, after a couple of years acting as Ivan's mentor and guide, Pao-Lin trusts him more than she does Kriem. Not that she has grown disillusioned with either Kriem, Jake or Ouroboros in general, but having to work as closely as she's had to with Ivan inevitably brought the two closer to the same level in terms of both skill and understanding the other person. Kriem is a parent -- but Ivan is her partner
The role of being Ivan's mentor (or "handler" in Ouroboros parlance) has given Pao-Lin a stronger sense of purpose and responsibility than even paying back Kriem for taking her in. With Ivan under her (draconic) wing, Pao-Lin has become a little more aware of the world outside of her little bubble of training, eating, surviving, and working. She is more conscious of the effect her actions (or non-actions) have on others, and -- as evidenced by her support of him in the face of Ouroboros skepticism -- is quite protective of Ivan. While she initially tried her best as a handler in order to make Kriem happy, eventually her support and training of Ivan was something she did because she believed in it herself.
Simultaneously (and perhaps a little paradoxically), Pao-Lin gets to be more of a teenager around Ivan. She is naturally flippant and relaxed (particularly in times when she shouldn't be), but it's with Ivan that she cracks more jokes (one could call it handler privileges to tease him). It helps that they both share similar interests in anime, video games, and Eastern martial arts. While Pao-Lin has her share of friendly acquaintances close to her age in the organization, Ivan is probably the only one she can call a true friend. Certainly he's the one she trusts the most.
⚡ miscellaneous ⚡
Pao-Lin typically prefers athletic-oriented clothes as a rule, such as sweatpants, sneakers, and track jackets -- things that are comfortable and easy to move around in (and typically not very "girly"). However, whenever on "official" Ouroboros business, she can sometimes be seen in outfits with a more gothic flair, the most common one being a sleeveless white button-up blouse with red suspenders, a red clip-on tie, black pants, and black studded gloves. Such vestments are hand-me-downs from Kriem, who was horrified by the state of Pao-Lin's street clothes when she initially took Pao-Lin into Ouroboros. Pao-Lin resisted some of Kriem's frillier offerings (and refused to wear anything resembling skirts), but out of gratitude to the woman for looking after her, she consents to wearing at least some of the clothes some of the time to make Kriem happy.
At some point, Ivan managed to procure a Chinese dragon version of this blade
as a gift for Pao-Lin.