3512/On Creatures of Darkness

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On Creatures of Darkness
Date of Scene: 09 November 2018
Location: Uminari City - Shopping Strip
Synopsis: Akari and Millie happen to cross paths, and team up to fight a panther-youma. Millie then adds herself to the growing number of people who are willing to defend Akari against Lacrima.
Cast of Characters: Akari Hayabusa, Millie White


Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari is making her way through the shopping strip towards the Game Center Crown, after a somewhat intense training-session by the docks. She's dressed in a blue track suit, and there's a long bag with the handle of her kendo sword sticking out.

She's smiling as she casually saunters down the street, in a way which completely belies the fact that she's on full alert. Tucked into her shirt, her Armed Device Rubindorn is keeping track of literally everyone around her in case someone makes any funny moves toward her.

In this form, she's a perfect replica of a human. The fact that her body is a magical construct is only faintly detectable, and the five-percent darkness even less-so.
Millie White has posed:
The past week had been the busiest of her life, without a doubt. It was like meeting Kurosawa-san had opened the floodgate and now her entire life was flipped upside down. It was crazy how one conversation could change someone's perspective so drastically. From meeting Stahlritter and getting thrown into the harbour to startling poor Kagami-san and learning more about her powers, everything had been go go go since she got to Tokyo.

Today she found herself in Uminari, specifically heading towards Game Center Crown. What better way to unwind than to play video games? Granted, her game of choice wasn't a popular option in arcades, but every once in a while she liked to play an old school scrolling beat-em-up. Arcades generally had a nice selection of those, and she had heard good things about Game Center Crown. So lost in her own thoughts, she didn't realize she had hastily turned the corner without looking until--

Millie bumped into a girl in a blue track suit none-too-gently. Reflex had Millie's hand shooting out to grasp the other person's shoulder to steady them in case she almost knocked them over. The tall foreigner's gentle green eyes had flown wide in concern. "W-Whoa, sorry, are you alright?"
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Rubindorn sends Akari a telepathic message, but in a less-than-urgent tone of voice. MISTRESS, WATCH OUT --

Akari lets out a yelp and recoils at the collision, as if she was expecting to be attacked! But she hurriedly tries to get herself back under control. "Sorry!" she exclaims. "I wasn't looking where I ..."

And then she blinks at the only-slightly-shorter girl in front of her, an expression of astonishment on her face. Even if she's been embracing her identity as 'Akari, the heroic magical construct from Ancient Belka', she hasn't stopped using her infiltration-mode programming in mundane contexts, and it seems natural that in her 'Akari, the ethnically-non-Japanese orphan raised in Japan', she'd instantly become interested at meeting someone who is also non-Japanese. "Oh! Um, hi, yes, I'm fine," she says, a faintly-nervous smile forming on her face. "Sorry, um, my name is Akari Hayabusa! What's yours?"
Millie White has posed:
This girl was... taller than her. That was an odd feeling considering she had towered over everyone when she had first landed in Tokyo. The confusion lasted only a moment before she realized she was still gently grasping the other girl's shoulder. Awkwardly, the Canadian let go and took a polite half-step back, grinning sheepishly as she bowed in greeting.

"H-Hey," she said, "It's nice to meet you Hayabusa-san. I'm Millie White." With introductions out of the way, her gaze flitted to the bag the other girl carried. There was a Shinai poking out of it, she realized, and her expression eased into a gentle smile. This person was also a student of the sword! Millie returned her gaze to Akari.

"I was heading to the Arcade and I wasn't watching where I was going. I apologize for running into you like that, it was careless of me." Her Japanese was slow and accented, clearly not her native language, but at least perfectly understandable. When she spoke her voice was lower in pitch and rich in tone with only a hint of a rasp.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari's smile becomes more natural. "Oh, um, pleased to meet you, White-san!" she says, and she steps back and bows. Okay, no need to 'pretend' anymore, it's obviously a different situation. "The Crown, you mean?" she says. "I was heading there myself, I've been practicing my kendo forms, and I was going to grab a lemonade --"

MISTRESS, I AM DETECTING AN ENERGY DRAIN NEARBY, Rubindorn says telepathically.

The scent of Darkness wafts from a nearby alleyway. And not just a scent; those of a magical persuasion tend to be able to sense energy drains and surges of darkness from a distance in general.

"-- uh ..." Akari hesitates. She's never been in this kind of situation before. "Actually, is it okay if I ... run off ahead?" she says, a little too casually, and with timing that may or my not make it pretty obvious that she can sense it too.
Millie White has posed:
The conversation eased to a more natural pace and Millie found herself letting out a small sigh of relief. The Canuck found herself nodding when the taller girl mentioned The Crown, amused that they appeared to be heading for the same destination. At the mention of kendo forms, a lopsided grin appeared on Millie's face. She too was learning kendo, as a supplement the swordsmanship she already knew. Perhaps she could ask her for a few pointers later? Akari froze mid sentence and Millie was about to ask why when it hit her.

Something foul smelling wafted from an alleyway nearby and Millie's gaze sharpened, turning her head towards the alleyway and taking a small sniff. That was definitely bad. Only evil magic or darkness could smell this bad, right? Millie's gaze snapped back to Akari and she was about to make an excuse so she could slip away, but to her surprise, Akari did first.

"Wait, Hayabusa-san!" She blurted out suddenly. Millie paused for a moment, weighing the chances of this being a coincidence. Either they both felt that dark pulse and were going to do something about it, or Akari didn't actually know about magic and her sudden excuse was a complete coincidence. How was she supposed to know which one it was? She would just have to go with her gut instinct, and it was telling her this wasn't a coincidence. Millie carefully made eye contact with Akari before her eyes flickered to the alleyway in question, as if asking, 'Shall we?'
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari blinks in surprise as Millie actually sniffs towards the alleyway where Rubindorn detected the energy drain. When Millie meets her gaze, she gives her an appraising look. As Millie indicates the the alleyway, she inclines her head slightly in half of a nod, and then fishes a pendant out of her shirt.

It looks like a double-barred cross made of black metal, with a red gemstone embedded in a ring at the crux of the other bar. Smells two-fifths like darkness, and three-fifths like magic that might be similar to Stahlritter.

She leads Millie into the alley. "I should warn you," she says, "I'm not that great against creatures of darkness, because my Armed Device Rubindorn and I are partly corrupted by darkness ourselves." She sounds slightly uncomfortable. "I can punch things, as far as blunt force trauma actually works on magical creatures, but --"

The red gem flickers and lets out a ping. <<HERRIN!>> it exclaims, in what sounds like a tinny, cutesy version of Akari's own voice. Mistress!

At that moment, a large black catlike creature with glowing purple stripes leaps out from behind a box and lunges towards the pair!
Millie White has posed:
At the half-nod, a look of appreciation appears in her eyes before she returns the nod. The taller girl pulled something out of her shirt as she lead her towards the alleyway, and Millie couldn't help but sniff again. The warning about not being effective against darkness due to being partially corrupted themselves made sense with what she was smelling. For whatever reason it reminded her of Stahlritter... perhaps they used similar magical tech? She made a mental note to ask each of them about it later.

The gem in Akari's device flashed and Millie was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell of dark magic. It was acrid thick, instantly making her miss fresh air. She barely heard the tiny Akari-like voice as her eyes snapped to sudden movement, widening when she saw the cat. It had already jumped; she didn't think she'd have enough time to henshin, but her body was already moving.

"Look out!" She shouted, bursting forward and shoving Akari out of the way of the large creature. The feline barely missed the Canadian herself as she managed roll out of the way, scrambling to her feet beside Akari again. Without hesitating she grabbed the mirror and cards out of her pocket and activated her henshin.

"Precure Rollin' Mirror Change!" Her form was enveloped by a blinding white-green light and, when it faded, Millie White was replaced by Cure Shield. She held her shield up defensively in front of her, sidestepping so she was between Akari and the creature. "Ready?" She called back to her companion as the creature circled around for round two.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari lets out a startled squawk as Millie suddenly pushes her out of the way, and the cat-monster stumbles past them! Still, there's gratefulness in Akari's eyes at how quick the other girl was on the uptake. She jumps back several feet from Millie, and holds out Rubindorn in both hands. "Knight Clothing, Set Up!"

And then ...

There was a magical scent on Akari, but it was barely noticeable until now. Suddenly, the scent surges up to a higher level as she's surrounded by a pale blue light. Then it seems to glitch out, and it's followed by the scent of darkness as the light turns deep purple.

When it fades, there's ... Well, she's nearly seven feet tall, her hair is purple instead of pink, and she has glowing red cat-eyes and strange skin-markings. She's dressed in a red and black and gray knight-like uniform, and in place of her pendant is a six-foot longsword with a gun-trigger setup sticking out of the handle. She smells three-fifths like the scent she had immediately before, and two-fifths like darkness.

"You can still just call me 'Akari Hayabusa'," she says, putting the sword on her back, where it seems to click into place. "Rubindorn?"

The sword pings. <<ZEIT-RAUM-SCHRANKE!>> Time-Space Barrier. A blood-red spell-triangle appears below Akari's feet, and a circle of red and black fractal light appears directly above her head, extending to form a dome that places them inside the usual anti-collateral-damage barrier.

The cat-monster doesn't seem to react to either their transformations or the barrier. Actually, it doesn't quite seem to be paying attention to Akari anymore. It lets out bizarre screech, then fires purple beams of dark energy from its eyes right at Cure Shield!
Millie White has posed:
The burst of magic at Akari's henshin smelled familiar and alien all at the same time. The familiar scent was more powerful, but the underlying scent was disconcerting to say the least. Regardless, the transformation allowed Akari to set down a Time-Space Barrier, something the Canadian was only familiar with due to Stahlritter having used something similar at the harbour. Good, this made it easier to fight freely.

No sooner had the barrier been set up did the creature attack again. This time it let out an otherworldly screech and fired beams of dark energy at her. Cure Shield growled and held her ground, holding up her shield to protect herself.

"Emerald Guard!" She shouted as the gem dial on the face of her shield began to spin. Green energy exploded from the edges of her shield to create a larger barrier with which to protect herself and Akari. The dark energy beams hit the barrier with an angry hiss, the continuous beam trying to punch through her defenses. Cure Shield tried to dig her boots into the ground but she could feel herself shifting slightly. She was slowly getting pushed back but she didn't let up on the barrier.

"NAIL IT!" She shouted over the sound of the beams to Akari, gritting her teeth as she fought against the force of the beams.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari hangs back slightly as Cure Shield handles the ... shields, but she grimaces as the beams start to push back. "Right!" she says.

Ping! <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Cartridge ready! Akari pulls the trigger on Rubindorn's handle. There's a thunderclap, and her sword vents black steam. <<HANDGELENKE DES HERKULES!>> Wrists of Hercules. There's a metallic crack and her gauntlets and sabatons emit red sparks as the spell multiplies Akari's strength.

She leaps into the air and flies over Millie, then swoops down onto the monster fists first. "MUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDA ...!"

The monster staggers back and lets out its assault. It looks like it was injured, but not enough to put it out of the fight. It yowls, its stripes flashing brighter purple, and then slashes at Akari with glowing claws before zapping her with another pair of eye-beams!

It doesn't seem to have much of an effect at first.

But then Akari hurriedly thrusts her hand up. Ping! <<PANZERSCHILD!>> Another blood-red spell-triangle appears, and this one seems to be a shield which simply absorbs the brunt of the attack. If anything, the dark energy seems to make it glow brighter.

But the smell of darkness on Akari is also intensifying.

Akari glances over at Cure Shield, slight nervousness in her eyes. "... Wanna switch?"
Millie White has posed:
These mages liked to punch just as much as Pretty Cure's, didn't they? The moment Akari's attack lands, the beams cease and the pressure is relieved from her shield. Cure Shield lets out a breath as the creature howled its displeasure with the recent turn of events. No time to rest, however, because the beast was descending upon Akari now.

The dark beams were stopped by the red shield, but something didn't feel right. The glow of the shield could mean anything, but why was that awful smell getting stronger? It made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end, and even before Akari had made eye contact to ask for assistance, Cure Shield was dashing in to interview. She needed to keep the creature's attention on her and its dark attacks away from Akari, because whatever that smell was it couldn't be anything good. The gem dial on her shield began to spin as the Cure threw herself in front of the beam without hesitation.

"EMERALD GUARD!" She roared again in English, the green barrier flaring to life once more and covering Akari. She could feel the heat and the pressure of the beams even through the shield and she grit her teeth, her boots once again skidding on the pavement. She wasn't actually sure how long she could keep this shield up, but she knew it wasn't indefinitely. It didn't matter, she would keep the shield up for however long Akari needed it, she didn't have much of a choice pinned down as she was.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
The instant the Emerald Shield goes back up, Akari staggers back slightly. She brings her shield back slightly so that it overlaps with Millie's; the mixed light looks yellow. The monster lets out an annoyed yowl, and slashes ineffectively at the shields, but their combined strength is more than enough to overcome it.

Akari glances at Millie, still holding one hand up to keep the shield in place. "Rubindorn is kind of ineffective against another creature of darkness," she says. Another? Oh dear. "D-darkness can't fight darkness, at best it's kind of ineffective, at worst ..." She looks through the shield at the monster. "... you're putting more darkness into it." Well, that explains the intensified smell ...

There's a 'ripple' in Akari's darkness. 'This is pointless,' says a voice inside her head. 'Everything was so much simpler when you belonged to Eclipse.'

"GAH!" She clutches her head with her free hand, and the shield sputters for a couple of seconds. She frowns, mind racing. "Maybe if ... I can find ... another way of hitting ..." She looks at Millie. "I'm gonna try something," she says, grabbing Rubindorn's handle. "You think you can hold up your shield by yourself a minute?"
Millie White has posed:
The green shield bearer didn't miss when Akari staggered back and she was about to ask if she was alright before the taller girl recovered enough to add her shield's strength to her own. Akari explained that Darkness couldn't overcome Darkness, that a worse case scenario is that it would just make the Darkness stronger, and the foreigner frowned slightly. It wasn't directed at Akari, in fact, it looked like a concerned frown now that she knew why the smell had intensified.

"Understood! That means we should--" The Cure was interrupted as Akari suddenly cried out, grasping her head with one hand. Cure Shield wanted to reach out and make sure the taller girl was alright but Akari's shield faltered. It was only a moment but the suddenness of it had the Canadian struggling to compensate with her own shield, sweat beading her forehead. Relief flooded her when Akari looked at her and spoke, since that meant she was relatively alright for now.

"It will hold." She grunted, giving the now much taller girl a strained but determined smile. The green barrier was holding, but it was starting to show weaknesses. A few hairline cracks had appeared on the surface as the beams continued to hiss against it.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
The monster snarls and yowls, and lets up the lasers to begin clawing at the shield!

Akari nods, and takes a deep breath. "Okay!" she says. She lowers her hand and draws Rubindorn. "Menschenmengeform!"

Ping! <<MENSCHENMENGEFORM!>> Crowd form. In a half-mechanical and half-magical transformation, the six-foot sword becomes a nine-foot double-ended spontoon spear, with the gun-trigger setup sticking out of the center. <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>>

Akari lets out a growl and pulls the trigger. There's another thunderclap and the gun vents black steam again, and the entire polearm begins to thrum with power. She leaps out of the shield and swings the polearm vertically like a fan, and sends the panther flying into the air, smashing it into the wall of the alleyway and leaving a crater. It collapses on the ground.

Akari lands behind Millie. "Okay ..." She takes a deep breath. "I think we ..."

The panther lets out a weak yowl, wobbles back to its feet, and staggers towards Cure Shield, unsteadily swiping the air with its claws! It's clearly on its last legs, though.

Akari groans. "If you'd told me five months ago I'd be wishing there was someone here with purification powers ..."
Millie White has posed:
The claws tore away at the shield and the Cure's arm was jarred painfully with each strike as Akari sets up her assault. The device that Akari was using, the one that smelled like Stahlritter's, was extremely interesting to her but she didn't have time to jot down notes about how it operated right now. It appeared to change form before starting to gather power. Akari flew from behind the barrier and struck at the creature so effectively that it smashed into the alley wall before collapsing. There was a moment of silence as Akari landed behind her. had they done it? When the youma didn't move and Akari began speaking again, Cure Shield let the tension in her shoulders ease. She turned to look at Akari, a smile forming on her face. That was a mistake that she would learn to regret.

"...!" The Cure heard a yowl and whirled her head back to look at the youma, but it was too late. It staggered towards her with a swipe of its claws and she had just enough time to bring up her shield. The claws hit the metal with an uncomfortable screeching sound and as hard as she fought to brace herself, Cure Shield stumbled backwards at the force. The youma pressed the advantage and lunged to bite, knocking the shield bearer onto her back. The only thing that saved her throat from its fangs was her shield as she frantically shoved it into the creature's mouth instead to stop it from biting down.

"W-What are purification powers?!" She shouted wildly to Akari as she fought to keep the thing from eating her. Currently she was on her back with the youma on top of her, it's mouth closed around her shield and arm and one paw placed heavily on her chest to hold her down. She used her other arm to ward off its other paw full of claws as she desperately tried to kick the huge creature off her with her boots, with not a lot of success.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari doesn't have time to answer before the monster leaps into action. She lets out another yell, and stabs at the monster with one end of the spear. It pushes it part of the way off Millie, but it doesn't actually seem to cause it any injury.

"The kind of power which scours away the darkness!" she exclaims. "Darkness like me, or Terribads, or this thing! My ..." The monster, still standing over Millie, swipes its claws at Rubindorn, to equally-minimal effect. "WAUGH!" She lets loose a stream of profanity in German(?), and tries to slam the polearm into the monster again, but it seems to be holding on too tightly. "WILL YOU STOP THAT ALREADY!" she yells, and finally manages to pull Rubindorn clear, leaping back away from them and falling onto her backside. "OW!"
Millie White has posed:
The pressure of the paw on her chest was relieved when Akari stabbed at the creature, pushing it somewhat off her form. The answer to her question wasn't quite what she had been expecting, but she figured that was the best she was going to get in her current situation. The creature was swiping at Akari now and she swore she heard German over the snarling of the creature. This was quickly getting out of hand, how were they supposed to take this thing down? How had she taken out the Terribad a year ago? She remembered shouting something and then a lot of green light...

Akari managed to get her weapon clear of the Youma and jumped back, crying out as she fell onto her backside. For a split second as the Cure looked up at the monster standing over her, she saw what it was planning. It's eyes had fallen on Akari and since it's current target was proving hard to bite down on, it figured it would go for the other target in her moment of weakness. Fear ripped at her heart as she felt the creature tense to pounce, it's jaws letting go of her shield. She couldn't let this thing near Akari, not after what she had told her about the Darkness!

"HEY!" She roared up at the Youma, realizing that getting its attention while she was still belly up was likely a bad idea. It spared a second to glance down at her, but that second was all she needed. A familiar feeling welled up inside her chest, warm and bright, something she hadn't felt for over a year now. The gem dial on the face of her shield began to spin, but the shield face also began to burn with white-green energy. "Light of the Heart, turn into sacred power! Love PreBrace!"

The Youma looked down in surprise at smaller creature beneath it. The dark feline had just enough time to snarl, lifting a paw to swipe at the light. "VERDANT FLARE!" A column of white hot green energy exploded from the face of the shield, enveloping the Youma with a howl and shooting straight up into the sky like a beacon. The light was blinding, and if Akari were listening carefully, she would hear, "Heart, return to the skies..."
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari scrambles back to her feet, and holds her polearm in a defensive posture. It's kind of cumbersome within the confines of the alleyway, but she's going with what's actually within her abilities at the moment.

But then Millie reveals something unexpected within her own abilities. Akari's glowing red eyes go wide at the sight of the brilliant green light, and she recoils with a yelp, as if the light itself was affecting her. Fortunately, it's more surprise than anything else.

When the light clears, the panther has been reduced to a handful of wisps of black smoke with a couple of purple ones mixed in. It soon dissipates, leaving nothing behind.

Akari exhales, and shakes her head. "Okay," she says. "Anything else, Rubindorn?"

Her polearm pings. <<NEIN.>> No.

Akari nods. "Okay, revert then!" The barrier vanishes, and with it the damage to the alleyway. She's engulfed with darkness once again, which glitches out and turns blue, dissipating to reveal human-looking-girl Akari in her blue tracksuit, with Rubindorn hanging around her neck in pendant form. "Whew!" She shakes her head, and smiles weakly at Millie. "Nice work there."
Millie White has posed:
The light was too bright and the Cure had been forced to close her eyes as all became white-green. When the light faded, there was a slight ringing in her ears and she didn't open her eyes right away. The Canuck heard Akari's voice and a small ping. With a tired sigh she opened her eyes just as the barrier went down. She was still laying on her back looking up at the sky. Cure Shield sat up as Akari spoke again, turning her head to look at her.

"I didn't know I could do that." She said seriously scratching the back of her head with the hand not holding her shield. The green knight got to her feet and, for a moment her body was enveloped in green light. When it cleared, Millie White stood in her place. The foreigner flexed her right hand before rolling her sore wrist. When she looked back up, there was concern in her emerald gaze.

"You alright? I could smell the darkness getting stronger. Does your head hurt?" She asked, canting her head ever so slightly in an inquisitive manner. Akari had grabbed her head when the shield failed for a moment, and Millie hadn't forgotten.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari takes a few deep breaths, and leans against the alley wall. "Wow," she says. "That was amazing, White-san!" She carefully tucks the pendant back into her shirt out of sight.

That faint scent which formed two-fifths of her 'magical scent' in the other form might still be recognizable, now that Millie has smelled it in full. Akari frowns. "Physically, I'm all right," she says. "All of its attacks were based on dark energy, and I didn't get directly hit myself." She runs a hand through her hair. "It's just that I'm kind of ..." She doesn't want to say 'there's an evil voice in my head'. "... well, uh, I got hit with an old ... 'complication' ... from being forty percent dark energy by volume in that form." She glances down at herself. "In this form it's about five percent, by the way." She shrugs. "But I hadn't had that complication since before I --"

And then she hesitates, and looks worriedly over at Millie. But oh well, might as well just rip the bandaid off and say it. "... um ... since before I quit Eclipse."
Millie White has posed:
Akari having to lean against the wall gave her cause for concern, but she settled when she was just getting her breath back. At the compliment, the tips of Millie's ear burned red in embarrassment, only partially hidden by her hair.

"It was technically an accident." She admitted sheepishly. It had sort of just happened, she hadn't exactly planned on doing it. Now that she had, though, she could aim to reproduce it in the future. A purification power, eh? Pretty Cures never ceased to amaze her the more she learned about them. Millie listened carefully as Akari explained her condition and mentioned an old complication. That didn't sound good at all, and Millie's brows furrowed further in concern. Only for her brows to shoot skyward when Akari mentioned Eclipse.

"Eclipse?" Millie mumbled almost to herself, mulling over the information she had just received. Although she didn't know a lot about Eclipse, just what Stahlritter had mentioned, she didn't feel like Akari Hayabusa and Eclipse belonged in the same sentence together. Granted she had only just met Akari, but it was a gut feeling and her father had always told her to trust her gut instincts. "Why'd you quit?"
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari nods slowly; that astonished reaction was pretty much what she was expecting. "I'm ... not human," she says. "I'm a magical construct, created by this conspiracy on an ancient lost world named Belka." She shrugs. "But before they could activate me, I got blasted into the Dusk Zone, this dark-energy-filled dimension between worlds, and it just ... corrupted me. I got salvaged by Eclipse in April." She just sounds depressed and guilty now. "The darkness just made me pick the most aggressive option at any minute."

She smiles faintly. "As for why I quit ... a girl named Sakura Kinomoto on the hero side 'adopted' me, and ..." She shrugs. "I guess I was desperate for a family. I decided that I cared more about Sakura-imoutochan than I cared about Eclipse, and that I'd rather be someone she could approve of. So I tried to quit Eclipse. And now I really need to get purified," she adds under her breath.
Millie White has posed:
Akari wasn't... human? For a moment all Millie could do was blink as she tried to process that. Sure, learning you were a magical girl capable of helping the world fight back against the Darkness was weird, but she hadn't stopped to consider alternate life forms before now. It seemed so obvious a possibility now that she was actively thinking about it, she felt kind of dumb.

When the taller girl mentions another girl named Sakura, Millie's brows furrowed gently. Someone had saved her from the corruption? Partially, anyway, since she was still a percentage Darkness. The Canadian's gaze softened. Akari had chosen to value someone else over the influence of Eclipse. A lopsided but gentle smile spread across her face.

"Lucky for you, being human and being alive are not mutually exclusive." Her tone was soft and her expression genuine. The Canuck crossed her arms over her chest and looked determinedly at the taller girl. "So. How can I help, Hayabusa-san? You said you need to get purified, but how do we do that?" Did she just sign herself up for the Hayabusa Militia? Looks like it.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari shrugs. "I'm still wrapping my mind around everything," she says. "I actually had trouble realizing that 'Akari' was the 'real' me, and that ..." She grimaces. "... 'Nightbell' ... was the corruption. So it's a whole huge change in perspective." She shrugs. "And as far as Eclipse goes, my old bosses were perfectly willing to let me go, but the shadowy figure who got me into Eclipse ... wants me kidnapped and taken back." She shrugs. "So, uh, yeah, that's my life these days!"

She considers this a moment. "My girlfriend, Mikoto Nakajima, has been trying to get in touch with people who can purify me," she says. "The problem is my Linker Core, uh, which you can think of as the metaphorical organ which produces magical power for you to use. Mine is actually producing dark energy. It's suppressed in this form, which is why I have so much less dark energy as Akari."

She glances down at herself. "The first time I went on an Eclipse mission, I got hit with what was practically an orbital strike of purification magic, which shattered Rubindorn and knocked me out for half a day," she says. "But I was back up to full-darkness by the time the weekend was over. Purifying my Linker Core would probably take a lot more finesse than that."
Millie White has posed:
So Akari's corrupted form was named Nightbell, and the person who corrupted her in the first place was trying to kidnap her? A sudden and unexpected fierceness appeared in Millie's usual gentle eyes and her gaze narrowed ever so slightly. That wouldn't happen, not on her watch.

Akari went on to explain how her girlfriend Nakajima was looking for folks who could purify Akari, which made sense. The issue was, apparently, with the Linker Core. Akari's emits darkness.. she leaned in slightly and took a quick experimental sniff. Her nose wrinkled ever so slightly. That was unmistakably the scent of Dark magic, that was for sure, no matter how faint. If even an orbitally dropped purification failed, who could they turn to? Millie shook her head before looking up at Akari.

"I'm uh... I'm kinda new to this whole thing, so I don't really know anyone with Purification that powerful." She said sadly, but her gaze remained resolute. "But no one is taking you anywhere you don't wanna go, understand? I may be new, but I know now that I can fight. I'll do everything I can to protect you, Hayabusa-san, I swear it." The grin she offered was lopsided but genuine. When someone needed help, you help them, right?
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari blinks a bit, then breaks into a smile. "... It still feels so weird that everyone just wants to help me with no questions asked," she says. "But that's probably 'Nightbell' talking, so ... thank you." She shrugs. "The thing is, there's lots of other people who want to help me out, too. Mikoto-chan, Sakura-imouto, at least one Sailor Senshi ..."

She shrugs. "Well, actually, what's happening is ... my old boss, Lacrima, doesn't want to capture me," she says. "Because in UMBRA, the division of Eclipse I was attached to, they're under the mistaken impression that they have standards and that they're less evil than the rest of Eclipse. But she's apparently been going around and asking people to defend me from ... herself." She grins. "It's kind of crazy business, even by my own relatively inexperienced standards. But basically I think I'm gonna be just fine, at least for the immediate future." She shrugs. "I mean, I won't object if you want to join in, the more the merrier I guess."
Millie White has posed:
Helping just came naturally to her, wether she was born like this or it was a product of how she was raised. Lots of people were probably helpers, there were always a few kicking around. It was good to know that Akari had a whole Squad out to defend her, it eased the worry in her heart slightly. At the news of Lacrima and UMBRA, however, a thoughtful expression crosses her features.

"Won't this... Lacrima... get in trouble with Eclipse if they find out what she's doig?" She mused, running a hand through her hair. She wasn't to sure on the entirety of the situation, but it sounded like 'warning the enemy you were going to attack before you attack' might not go over well with the person trying to kidnap Akari. Millie let out a low thoughtful hum.
"Of course I'll join in. Better safe than sorry and whatnot."
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari shrugs. "That is one of the things I've been a little worried about," she admits. "The shadowy figure doesn't work with her, though." She grimaces. "... A part of me feels like the solution is just to let that be her problem, but ... honestly, I don't think Lacrima-san is really a bad person underneath it all."

And then she blinks. "Oh, wow, I'm already talking like Sakura-imouto!" She laughs, and shakes her head. "Jeez, no wonder she convinced me to quite Eclipse so quickly!" She smiles. "Okay, I'm officially a hopeless hero, no turning back to the Dark Side for me."

She smiles at Millie. "Seriously, though, thanks a lot," she says. "At this point, I won't turn down any help." She hesitates. "Do stick to shielding me, though. It's an actual goal for me to work towards, but ... Lacrima-san is a vampire, and she's made of dark energy. Purification would kill her."
Millie White has posed:
Not a bad person, eh? At the realization that Akari couldn't just let Lacrima be because she actually cares about her, a wide grin split Millie's face. The foreigner placed a reassuring hand on Akari's shoulder.

"Then I'll protect Lacrima-san too." She said with absolute confidence. It was really that simple for her. Akari needed help? Help her. Akari was worried about Lacrima? Help her too! She just had to make sure it didn't look like she was protecting the vampire. She could handle that, right? If Lacrima was important to Akari, she would do whatever she could to make sure both of them made it through this. At the comment of sticking to shielding, she let out an amused chuckle.

"Don't worry, I'll be careful not to hurt her. My shield will be at your side whenever you need it." She affirmed with a smile to the other hopeless hero. Slowly but surely Millie was building a list of goals for herself, and she mentally added 'Protect Hayabusa-san and Lacrima-san' to the list. Even though it was a mental list, she added a star next to this objective to show it's importance.
Akari Hayabusa has posed:
Akari immediately returns the grin. Millie's hopeless-heroic-ness is equally obvious to Akari herself. "Sounds good to me!" she says. She shrugs. "She's ... had troubles of her own, really." She isn't sure whether or not to tell her that Lacrima is actually that girl Norie Okana who went missing a couple years ago, since Lacrima herself has been fairly open about it, but Millie probably wouldn't recognize the story. "She definitely helped me get through my own issues with being partly made of darkness."

She stretches, and walks over and picks her shinai bag back up. "So, that was certainly some exercise I wasn't expecting," she says dryly. "Why don't we head over to the Crown and grab some lemonade?"