Beats on the Beach


Dream thiefs attack a poor girl at a beachside concert! Luckily, magical girls are there to help -- and a new one awakens to join their fight!

Date: 2016-08-21
Pose Count: 40
Fiore 2016-08-21 23:46:55 51891
It's the end of summer as we know it, and if people aren't feeling fine, you certainly wouldn't know it from the beach tonight.

The flyers for the concert have been floating around Tokyo for weeks, neon and eye-searing, promising a good time for any and all who wish to end their summer vacations with a bang. Admission was advertized quite cheap, with a student discount to boot, so the crowds came out to the beach tonight in droves, lining up for good spots long before the sun fell. Those who follow the club music scene came for the mix of established artists and newer talent; the rest because it was easy on their wallets, and they needed something to take their minds off the rapidly approaching school term.

Whatever their reason, the beach is packed to bursting just as the sun dips below the horizon. The main event draws the most attention, centered on the beach front and lit from all sides with strobes and colored lights, but there are a few side stages for those who want a break from the crowds, or for those who are most interested in Tokyo's up and coming artists.

It's loud, it's bright, and for those in the throng of thousands, it's hot as hell -- but how else would anyone want to send off the summer?
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-21 23:53:21 51893
"...you're sure about this?" Seishi murmurs in the general direction of her knees. She's over by one of the side stages where the crowd's not so thick, eyeing the throng of people and lights with a certain apprehension. A shadow huddles close behind her feet like a dropped duffel bag: O-Yasu, the baku's rounded shape indistinct in the uncertain light.

"That person's dreams smelled like sake and gunpowder," he replies.

Seishi turns an exasperated look downwards. "I don't even know what that means," she says. "If I come home smelling like alcohol and gunpowder, my father's going to have a conniption."

O-Yasu makes a grumbling sound and doesn't answer.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-21 23:57:29 51895
Sound checked, music loaded and things set as close to as comfortable as she's going to get. Yuzu's act as Nagame isn't drawing a huge crowd, being a side stage, she's definitely taking it as seriously as she can though. Looking out over the crowd, hood pulled up and shadowing her eyes, headphones around her neck, red painter's mask splashed with white paint and a pair of shades on her forehead in case the lights get too bright.

Everything's good to go and her music starts, a low steady drumbeat to start. She doesn't look too nervous at the moment, though it's hard to tell between her hood and mask. She's going through the motions of adjusting the music on the fly, trying to watch the crowd reactions as she works. She doesn't recognize anyone in the crowds right away, but the waving chemlights, the stage lights and everything make that so much harder.
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-22 00:02:32 51897
In the Crowd, at Yuzuki's stage, is a girl with a glowlight and there is a seagull on her head. Who ALSO has a glowlight in his beak. This is Haruna Kuorsawa, who's come to cheer her friend on!

Because she promised! So she's here! She'll have the weird glowlight to prove it! She knows it's a big crowd.

Is-- is she supposed to yell or cheer? She doesn't know. So she does so anyways.

"Woooo! Gooooo Nagammmme." she cheers.

She probably looks like a dork. BUT THAT'S OKAY!
Ariel Theodore 2016-08-22 00:04:02 51899
    "What's sake?"
    That's a voice from pretty close to Seishi and O-Yasu. And it is a familiar voice, Truth be told, it is Ariel's first concert, but it is said you always remember your first. The music is probably not to her taste, and it took her a bit to scrounge up the money for admission despite how cheap it was; even with student discount. Though the music probably isn't to her taste, but it gives her something to do, and maybe a chance to meet new people before vacation ends.
    Of course, even on a beach, and in the middle of a musical festival, she is not without her loyal canine steed. No one questions why Lucky is without a leash, it seems. Ariel is currently perched on the massive shaggy hound's back anyway. She even made a little makeshift saddle for him. She has written 'SERVICE DOG' on it.
    Ariel and Lucky are practically untouchable.
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-22 00:27:33 51903
Seishi startles a little at Ariel's question, hastily turning toward the familiar voice; behind her legs, O-Yasu seems to draw in on himself for a moment, but then it passes and the baku resumes looking indifferent as Seishi begins to recover from her surprise. "Ariel!" She flashes a quick, uncertain smile. "Hey. You and Lucky came to see the party?"

"Sake is wine fermented from rice," O-Yasu puts in, in his usual dry tone. "You can't have any, you're too young."

Seishi raises her hand to her face for a moment. "Oh my god." With a sigh, she lets it drop and focuses on the unicorn girl again. "--O-Yasu thought he smelled a familiar dream. I'm not sure how we're supposed to find it here, though."
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-22 00:37:18 51905
Yuzuki Amemori finally manages to spot someone! Well two someone's actually. First she starts to wave to Haruna, mostly caught thanks to the cheering since her stage had been kind of quiet at first. As the music begins to actually kick into gear though, it becomes harder to hear on this side. Luckily, her surprise at seeing Ariel and that giant dog gets masked by her... mask. They get a wave too, just as big a wave as Haruna got, mostly because she wants to leave a good impression, recognized or not.

Making adjustments on the fly, pushing the tempo and bass up, she then leans forward and lifts a headphone to her ear to listen, making sure nothing is coming through distorted. Then suddenly, she's distracted. Did she really see yet another weird thing in the crowd? She stands up on her toes and tries scanning the crowd again. Her mask muffles the question, "Was that a weird dog?" luckily.
Fiore 2016-08-22 00:43:49 51907
Despite the massive size of the concert -- and it is fairly massive -- the sponsors couldn't purchase the whole beach for an evening, and there are a few people wandering the edges of its marked off territory, whether hoping to catch some free music or just going about their business is anybody's guess.

It's quieter, out beyond the soundstages, but the thrum of the bass and the cacophony of many tracks played at once can only be drowned out so much. Those living along the beach might already be complaining about the noise -- who on Earth can *sleep* through something like this?

Evidently, one person can. A girl, about high school age, with a pair of oversized glasses and frizzy brunette hair done in two braids, watches the rainbow of lights from a distance, knees pulled into her chest as she sits in the sand. Pages of her notebook blow back and forth in the breeze, revealing math problems and class notes that grow increasingly sloppy, until they fade into nothing at all. Perhaps she really did come here to do her homework; perhaps she brought the notebook only as an excuse.

Either way, she's not doing much of anything right now. Her head bobs and jerks up every few seconds, eyelids fluttering to stay open. Club music is a bizarre lullaby, but perhaps when one is tired enough, circumstances don't much matter.

With a final breath, her head lolls forward onto her knees, and the Nightmare finds its foothold.

The beach goes up in a tornado of sand, buffeting the pulsating strobe lights and drowning out the music that seemed so loud before.
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-22 00:53:03 51911
Haruna Kurosawa beams, she got waved at! Horray! That glowstick gets waved back. Then Corvus blinks and tugs the glowstick from his beak and says to Haruna as he seems to shiver a bit. "Haruna. Dark force." he says. The general warning of 'there's something dark and horrible nearby that Corvus knows isn't a Terribad'.

Haruna Kurosawa bites her lip and whines. "Argh..." she mutters.

"S--sorry Yuzu-chan..." she mutters as she gently begins to swim her way through the crowd at Corvus's pointing. Swim swim swim!
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-22 01:14:21 51916
The waving from the DJ catches Seishi's attention; her head lifts. "Hey look," she remarks aside to Ariel, "it looks like the DJ's waving at you."

O-Yasu takes notice as well. For just a moment, as DJ Nagame scans the crowd, he opens his eyes fully and looks back... and just for a moment, Yuzuki is met with a two glowing points of red-gold light, like embers glowing on the beach. A pair of blazing eyes.

"There," he says.

And then, of course, all hell breaks loose. The beach concert erupts into a roaring column of sand, and Seishi yelps in surprise: "*Seriously?*"

"Hurry up and transform!" O-Yasu barks, shoving impatiently against Seishi's legs. "You find the dreamer, I'll see to the other!"

"Right!" It's not a time to argue - automatically moving closer to Ariel and Lucky, Seishi reaches up to yank the red ribbon from her hair. "Twist the cord of fate!"

In a swirl of red cord, Seishi disappears and the samurai in red takes her place.
Ariel Theodore 2016-08-22 01:17:32 51917
    Asking what sake is, is a pretty valid question for a tiny foreign girl. Ariel tilts her head, looking almost bewildered when Seishi wheels around to face her so quickly. But she's quickly putting on a pretty vibrant smile. "Yes!" Yes, she came. But then furrows her brow when sake is both explained and denied to her in the same sentence. "Oh."
    Well that makes sense at least. But topaz eyes blink at the mention of a familiar dream. "Ah, did you want some help?" Offered earnestly.
    Then the wave. With the mask on and hood up, Ariel doesn't quite recognize Yuzuki as well thanks to the mask and the hood, getting a slight tilt of the head. "Huh, looks like it." She confirms. But she's waved at, so she waves back pretty cheerfuly! But then...
    Ariel twitches. Lucky tenses beneath her, a low growl building in the massive dog's throat, at the first sensation of something, somewhere near-ish by, starts to drag itself into the waking world. "... Seishi did you feel tha-"
    And then there's sand blowing everywhere. With a bleat, she buries her face in Luck's shaggy fur to protect her eyes from the whirling sands, fumbling at the pendant around her neck.
    In a flash of silvery light the glamour of her human form vanishes and her armor is in place, Lucky glowing a golden starlight colore beneath the silver-plated unicorn.
    "B-bad timing huh? I'll help out, though." Asided to Seishi- now Akashimaru.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-22 01:38:02 51922
Yuzuki Amemori surely did see something strange aside from a giant dog! There's a glimps of that thing again. She was about to tug the hood down so she can focus on the show and maybe consider mental help in the morning, but this is unfortunately interrupted by a sudden sandstorm almost literally roaring up behind her. Covering her head with both arms, she struggles for a moment and pulls her glasses down over her eyes to provide some protection!

Then suddenly, eyes. She stands confused, then looks over her shoulders and abandons her station to try and check behind to see what's causing the sandstorm. She's mid-stride and she comes to a stop when she starts seeing yet more strangeness! The mask is pulled off and down, around her neck and she glances around the crowd, then around the back end of the stage with the equipment. Then, back to the samurai, tapir and unicorn? If there's not anyone in immediate danger of the sandstorm behind the stage though, she hurries down off of the stage in case the winds pick up even higher, landing heavily in front of the crowd while working on pulling her hood down and mask off since it's not super easy to breath in!
Fiore 2016-08-22 02:09:55 51928
When the cyclone of sand clears, the girl no one noticed is gone. They are still at a concert, yes -- everyone who got pulled into this dream dimension that tore itself open. But they are not at the beach.

Instead, they stand in a throng of faceless people at the base of a dark spire, lit only by the flashing neon lights of a rave, shrouded in smoke from some unseen fog machine. The crowd shifts and gyrates in time with the music, though from down here, it is little more than an echo. Above them, dotted around the spire, are glowing soundstages, each with its own mass of a crowd, each playing its own brand of music, similar to what had been playing on the beach, but wholly original -- something not even the most dedicated of the music scene will have heard before.

By all accounts, strange though it is, this should be a music lover's paradise. So why, then, is this bizarre pocket world a Nightmare?

The Dream Thieves may have something to do with it.

Swift as a shadow, and just as hard to see in this low light, a figure darts through the crowd, clearing a path through the bystanders with a slash of his katana. The faceless people fall apart at its touch, scattered like dry sand in the wind -- there's no resistance as the cloaked thief makes his way through the brand new opening. He attacks again, and again, more and more sand billowing through the air of the Nightmare. And he is not alone.

On the other side of the spire, a quicker thief leaps up to the lowest platform, eyes set on the DJ there, who is too focused on her music to notice as her audience is torn to shreds by his blade.
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-22 02:26:59 51935
Haruna Kurosawa finally gets to a safe area--- relative to 'safe' at the moment, as She pulls out her Pretty Change Mirror. Cards get shoved into it in order first-- the Transformation card set...!

< Rollin' Mirror Change! T-t-time to change!

A transformation here happens fairly quickly

"The Hope That Soars Across the Seas! Cure Gull!".

But then quickly-- another card!

< N-n-ninja! Time to Change! >

There's yet another flash as Cure Gull becomes well... a Ninja. Corvus also has a similar outfit and also an adorable little katana.

Gull leaps into the air with grace and speed as she levies a feathered kunai as she sails through the air and comes down with a stab trying to come down onto the lowest platform on the otherside of the spire--- to try to catch the thief with her bladed feather-like weapon.

"Ni!"
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-22 02:42:02 51939
Akashimaru flashes Ariel a quick, grateful smile, strained though it may be given the circumstances. "The worst timing," she agrees. "Thanks, though." Tiny though she may be, Seishi knows very well how reliable a help Ariel can be in a Nightmare.

She draws the Shinken from her belt and snaps the fan open with a flick of her wrist, frowning over the seething crowd. The dark, cloaked figures aren't hard to spot, headed for the stage - "Looks like they're going for the DJ," she says. "That must be our dreamer. We need to get there first!"

Trying to push forward through the crowd immediately demonstrates the immediate problem with this plan - the moment Akashimaru so much as brushes against one of the figures ahead of her, it collapses into sand, just like the people the dream-thieves are mowing through. That can't be good.

Grimacing, Akashimaru falls back a step and raises the Shinken before her. An arcing flash of red light transforms the tessen to a bow as her fingers find the red string out of thin air and begins to draw it back, sighting along the heavy black arrow for the thief nearer to the DJ.

MEANWHILE--

"Girl!" A rough masculine voice calls to Yuzuki from approximately knee-level. When she looks down, the odd creature she saw in the crowd moments ago is there - a creature something like a tapir with striped paws like a tiger's. The rounded, stubby shape of him would be comical, like an overstuffed plush toy, if it weren't for the flame of his eyes. Wide open and staring right at her, like embers in a fire.

"A dream is being stolen, right in front of you," he says. "Will you stop it?"
Ariel Theodore 2016-08-22 02:50:34 51941
    This is... Different. The environment changing, as if in a dream, making the concert into an almost exaggerated version of itself is... Perhaps it is the moment Ariel realizes the dream has spread outwards; tobaz eyes darting from one faceless figure to the next. For a moment, she clasps her hands over her ears, the pulsing music much more of a distraction for floppy ears. She squints, the flashing strobe-like lights and colors disorienting, it's Lucky's louder growling that draws her attention. The shadowy figure striking down the figures of the audience draws a sharp bleat of dismay from the tiny unicorn.
    There is a glance to Akashimaru, and Haruna and she bites on her lip.
    "Are those what you call ninjas?"
    Ariel is not a fighter. She has never been a fighter. But she knows this can't go on. At least Gull can start thwarting the appearance of a DREAM NINJA or two.
    "They're damaging the dream..."
    Another dawning realization strikes. The DJ is here. "... A... Akashimaru, the DJ is here too. The one that was waving at me." And further realization dawns when Yuzuki's mask is tugged down. "A-ah! I know her!"
    Next she knows, Lucky is bounding over, leaping rather nimbly through the 'crowd' without making contact and leaving his rider clutching the massive glowing hound tightly, as he comes to a stop at Yuzuki's side- only to skid to a halt at the sight of the tapir beast.
    The trail of stardust he leaves in his wake should serve as a mild deterrent and protective force for a very short while, for at least some of the faceless crowd, as it hangs in the air. But that won't last long.
    "Umm! Hi! Wow, this is kind of awkward..."
    It is a bit of an awkward reunion. But she stops herself short before she can interrupt the tapir and Yuzuki's very important answer to come.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-22 03:04:21 51948
Yuzuki Amemori is watching this ninja thing make people poof into sand. That's a very, very strange thing. It's been a bit too much lately and she leans heavily against the stage, looking down at her feet, trying to figure out what's actually happening. Taking slow, steady breaths, she seems to be talking to herself that it's definitely a dream and she's really not going crazy.

This is gruffly interrupted by the tapir-thing talking to her. "How do you even steal a dream?" What, that's the first thing that comes to mind. Standing up straight though, hopping away out of reflex at the giant dog bounding over, she looks at the others present, especially the unicorn- was she a unicorn last time? "Is this a dream too?" She asks, looking down. Does the tapir look familiar? She's seen him somewhere right? She calms down slowly, then asks, "If it is- I can help right? What do I need to do?" Hadn't she seen what to do just recently? It's right there at the tip of her tongue. "I will help!" fortunately, before she can run off, she remembers the giant dog, which helps. "What do I do?" she finally asks.
Fiore 2016-08-22 03:34:17 51955
There is one who's awakening to her powers -- but Dream Thieves are nothing if not single-minded, purpose-driven to the point of blindness. They set their sights on nothing but the dreams they are after, and right now, those dreams take the form of DJs on floating platforms, playing out there hearts before a crowd of illusions.

The thief on the lowest platform is about to strike the first of the DJs when his blade is met by another, a sharpened feather in the form of a katana, wielded by someone playing at the role of ninja. He's thrown back from the stage and into the crowd, smashing onlookers to dust as he lands, red eyes narrowing. It doesn't appear that these monsters are capable of speech: the sound that leaves his mouth is a piercing screech that nearly drowns out the music, and from his hands shoot talons of steel, which he throws like shuriken towards Cure Gull.

He fights at an advantage here. He can move as he pleases, strike as he pleases, even in the crowd. What does collateral damage matter to him? It is the dream that he's after, not the dreamer.

Meanwhile, if Akashimaru looks closely, she will see the thief in her sights bound along the surface of the spire, running with inhuman speed towards the stage at the top. Around him, on the other floating platform, sand whirls up and blows away almost in rhythm to the music. Who knows how many thieves are in this Nightmare -- and who knows which of them is closest to the real dreamer. Does she trust her intstincts enough to make the shot?

Are there allies enough here to save this dream from ruin?
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-22 03:52:37 51960
Cure Gull watches as incoming talons come shooting at her. Her eyes go wide as talons rip into her! Horrid!!!!--- then there's a cloud of smoke rather than a scream. Spinning to the ground is a big log with a feather hairclip and a decoy dove nailed to it. Cure Gull relands from some vauge upwards direction on another platform.

There's pretending and playing at being a ninja. Then there's using a magic card that makes your dream of being a Ninja a reality. "Ni!" she calls out.

"GONNA HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT JERKBUTT!" she screams out.

She throws another flurry of feathered-like Kunai down at the jerk as she moves to jump back towards her original platform...

"HEY GUYS." she calls to the others.

"Could use some help!" she calls out.
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-22 04:03:16 51963
Are those ninjas? "Looks like it," Akashimaru manages to answer Ariel, still sighting down her arrow. At least one ninja, but that one's helping--

This is no good, she realizes suddenly as Cure Gull calls out to them. Abruptly, Akashimaru shifts her aim, tipping the bow back to angle the arrow upward, far over the heads of everyone. "On my way!" she shouts back to Gull, and lets loose. The black arrow streaks away - trailing a line of red cord as it flashes overhead, arcing along its path. In the next moment, it thunks home into the very top of the tallest stage structure.

The line of red cord pulls tight.

BELOW--

In the midst of the throng below the stage, O-Yasu's burning eyes have not wavered from Yuzuki. "Remember," he tells her, voice heavy with significance. "Awaken the Flame of Courage you have dreamed of. The warrior's spirit that sleeps within."

ABOVE--

With an inarticulate shout, Akashimaru comes swinging towards the stage in a flutter of flying red sleeves. She lets go of the cord in mid-air and it dissolves into sparks, leaving her hurtling towards the dream-thief Gull was fighting, tessen in hand.

"Let the cord of fate guide you," O-Yasu tells Yuzuki.
Ariel Theodore 2016-08-22 04:14:22 51968
    Ninjas, then.
    Ariel has never dealt with ninjas before. Or is the plural ninja?
    While the tiny unicorn has an internal grammatical dilemma, Gull needs an assist, and though Akashimaru goes to her aid, Ariel bites on her lip. She hops off Lucky.
    "Stay."
    That is actually to keep him near Yuzuki while she makes her decision, because Ariel is eyeing the layoug of the land so to speak.
    A dream-like concert of pulsing music... She nods to herself, and then her horn glows, as she reaches into the very patterns of gossamer dreamstuff, and begins tugging and weaving it to suit her needs.
    Until there are a few giant speakers.
    The armored little unicorn starts fumbling with connections and cords and wires that she honestly has no idea how to work or properly connect, and the only thing that seems to matter is that she believes they work.
    Once she is sufficiently satisfied she takes a breath.
    "I'm so sorry."
    Ariel isn't a fighter. But turning the volume switch to 11 is not an aggressive act. Just a disorienting one that she can hope will throw dream ninja(s!?) off their groove.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-22 04:33:35 51973
Looks really confused for a moment, what memories? Then there's an almost visible lightbulb over her head, the look of revelation so clear. "Really?" She asks incredulously. She blocks out all of the distractions, all of the weird things and finally the old smoker guy voice because that's really offputting coming from a tapir. Reaching out, she calls out, "Grasp the cord of fate!" and pulls, a red cord coming free from... somewhere. She won't think too hard on that right now. Especially since there's a mass of red cord and a flash of powder followed by wisps of smoke swirling around her that smell mostly of gunpowder. When the cord pulls away, she's dressed in samurai armor and ornate clothes embossed with the image of botan, the peony. There's also a rather large sword and a pair of heavy flintlocks and it sort of throws her off balance, which after a heroic entrance, is clearly the best way to start your heroic career. Regaining her balance, there's a few choice words about her dreams having a bad taste in conventional weapons. A beat passes and holding out her heavily armored left arm, she says, "That is so awesome." Also ninjas.

This means she should probably try to help there! She doesn't have the nifty rope trick that Akashimaru used, instead she steps forward and takes a running leap, which doesn't look that impressive until a pillar of earth erupts beneath her at the same time to launch her towards the ninja that isn't being teamed up on! It's about halfway through that she realizes this is kind of an insane way to travel and almost loses her cool. Luckily, she manages to regain her composure and land with a resounding boom, hopefully between the ninja and the DJ. Wobbling a touch, she adjusts her stance by memory and draws the massive, dark bladed nodachi and assumes a defensive stance.
Fiore 2016-08-27 00:46:32 52640
The dream thief fighting Cure Gull slashes his talons in a wide arc -- only to find that he hits wood? He holds a moment, as though stunned, not entirely sure what he's seeing is fact. Of course, it's silly to look for 'fact' in dreams, where reality is malleable and thin, but he can scarcely help it. That half moment's pause -- and the floor-shaking BOOM of music turned up to maximum volume -- is enough to catch him off guard when she sends down a hail of feathered kunai down upon him, and when Akashimaru's arrow flies toward him, it finds its target.

One down.

But many, many to go. At the top of the spire, the head of this thieves guild slashes his way through the crowds of sand that stand between him and the stage, hacking a greater number of them away than any of his fellows. The heightened noise throws him only a bit, perhaps making his steps a fraction less sure; he is experienced in navigating dreams, obstacles like that will not hold him for long. There is only one thing that will.

An opponent. And it seems, in Hakuomaru, he has found one.

The girl falls back, ready to meet an attack from his blade, but he would not have lasted as long as he has if he played to expectation. He does pull out his katana of blackened metal -- instead of charging in attack, however, he circles around her in a blur. The dancers disappear, a cloud of sand rises in their place. And, with a snap of his finger, it triples in volume and shoots into the air.

The dream is consumed by a sandstorm (rather more appropriately than the thief could have guessed), buffeting those who would save the dreamer, stinging them, pushing them back. Only now that he has the field advantage does the thief stab towards Hakuomaru with his sword.
Ariel Theodore 2016-08-27 01:16:07 52646
    And that's the story of how the little unicorn became an impromptu DJ(?)
    Though cranking up the volume doesn't technically count, does it? Still, the blasting sound system is, in retrospect, maybe not the best idea as she clamps hands down over her ears, when the music hits maximum decibels.
    For a moment, for Ariel, the world is nothing but a series of 'untz untz untz untz untz'es. She, thankfully, does not keep it pumping for very long, fumbling to crank the dial back DOWN to something much more manageable. But her distraction is done. Mischief has been managed.
    She plops down, looking a bit dizzy, only vaguely realizing that there is sand everywhere, and Lucky is now on top of her to cover her from it.
    Also she learns that club music has a lot of ringing bells incorporated in its style.
    Or maybe that's just bad tinnitis.
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-27 01:22:06 52649
Cure Gull drops out of her super cool Ninja mode to just Cure Gull when she gets the chance as she frowns. It's a sandstorm. Her wings alight to life from the bow on her back-- two seagull-like wings as she pushes forward with all her might to fight it. Yup this sucks.

Right now she's too busy trying not to be blown away to launch any sort of specific attack.

At least she's good at flying.
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-27 01:23:06 52650
It catches Seishi off-guard, as she's picking herself up from her tumbling landing onto the stage and gets her first sight of Yuzuki's transformation into Hakuomaru. It's not just recognition - there's a jolt almost of elation, like meeting an old friend she hasn't seen in a long time. "HAKU!"

The voice that roars over the music won't be familiar to Yuzuki. The cadence of it, though, blunt and fierce in a way that doesn't at all suit a teenaged girl, might strike a chord somewhere. "Took you long eno--"

This is at roughly the point that Ariel's dream-speakers kick in. Abruptly Akashimaru's voice is lost in the wall of sound that slams into her, physically staggering, hair and sleeves blown wildly by the sheer force of WUB WUB WUB.

The look she shoots the unicorn girl is wide-eyed and laughing.

The enemy's still on the move, though, facing off now against Hakuomaru. Akashimaru looks for Cure Gull, seeking to catch her eye - she can't hear a damn thing any more, so she doesn't bother talking, just points to the dreamer, the DJ girl at the laptop. Then she raises her tessen, mouth soundlessly forming the words as her body moves into the stance: san-kyo-sen.

The fan sweeps out in a flash of red light,. A gust of wind answers the gesture, slicing through the sandstorm, clearing the air around Hakuomaru and giving the other samurai freedom to move.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-27 01:31:39 52654
Hakuomaru doesn't feel too sure of her landing, but she doesn't have any time to really comment on it to herself, complain about it or ask for improvement as she's suddenly under attack by that really aggravating jok-sandstorm. Now it's stuck in her head and that is really aggravating. Lifting her sword in both hands in a defensive stance, trying to watch the leader of the thieves dash around and around, buffeting her with sand. Before she can attempt a resolution to the whole sandstorm problem, like waiting for an attack and trying something stupid, something important happens! And not just the booming music. She's probably about the only one not cringing from the music. What, she does these shows live and they're always loud! And even her samurai-self liked things that caused hearing damage!

The voice calling out doesn't sound familiar, but the name totally does, which is briefly disorienting for the girl. When Akashimaru manages to blow the sandstorm away. Sword lifted and at the ready, she slams her foot into the sand and creates a pillar of sand while at the same time performing a spinning slash at the thief, attempting to catch him off guard from two sides!

Risking the time needed, she looks around for what the thief had been looking for, figuring it wasn't in the crowd with the way he was moving. Backing up with a defensive stance in case it's capable of still attacking, she checks behind her on the stage, thinking maybe there are other people up there, maybe one of them?
Fiore 2016-08-27 02:02:20 52663
The music quiets, the sandstorm dies down. Peace is not the dream thieves' element, especially not he who caused the chaos in the first place. His blade deflected by Hakuomaru's quick footwork, he realizes just how many there are that stand against him here. Two samurai, a flying ninja, a *unicorn* that can manipulate the dream itself -- many as they are, the thieves are not suited for this. They must abandon this dreamer quickly, if they are to survive. Fortunately, if his instincts are correct, he's already found the dream.

He takes his eyes off Hakuomaru for but a moment, flitting over to the DJ on the stage, and that is his fatal mistake. When the samurai comes at him with a spinning attack, he is unprepared, and though he steps backward to not be beheaded, the edge catches him in his side, and he begins to bleed sparks of black from his open wound.

He screeches, reflexively clutching at his side -- but he is not dead yet. If he can just seize those dreams and make off without another hit, perhaps he can make it to the Eater of Dreams before --

The thief doesn't finish the thought. In a fraction of a second, he's turned from his battle with Hakuomaru, propelled himself into the air, his katana whistling in the wind as he brings it down on the dreamer's head.

They have seconds, if that, to save this girl's dreams.
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-27 02:18:37 52668
Seconds to act, to react, and Akashimaru moves on purest reflex as the dream-thief comes hurtling towards his target. In one swift motion she slides in between the dreamer and the incoming menace, flourishing her tessen outward to meet the blade of the sword as it comes down. "Hansha-sen!"

Metal meets metal with a flash of light like the sun off a mirror, the ringing sound of a bell striking.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-27 02:27:49 52673
Hakuomaru had been half a step from launching herself at the thief as he leapt after the dreamer, but Akashimaru is faster, by far! Skidding to a stop in the sand, she swings her sword around and slams it into the ground, then draws one of her two flintlocks and sets it against the hilt of the blade and fires off a quick shot at the thief. The trim on the gun glows a deep orange-white and the round fire is less a musket and more of a flaming dart. Before the round is even fired, she flips the second free and lines up the second shot with the aid of her sword, firing an earth spike right behind the first!

Both shots impact the thief, throwing him away from both the dreamer and Akashimaru, not that her reaction indicates she noticed as she runs towards the stage, grabbing the sword by the handle and charging up there just to skid to a stop- realizing that for the moment, things are okay!
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-27 02:54:51 52680
Cure Gull is still trying to fight sandstorms for a moment. Also, she's no longer a Ninja! (She dropped the precard guise. Now she's just Cure Gull! Ninjas don't have wings. Silly.)

Then the sandstorm dies down.

But Cure Gull is still kinda going full tilt on flying- so something like a streak of green--- a literaly laser light line of seafoam green light collides with the stage's backdrop and richoets off.

"Ow...." says Cure Gull grabbing her head.

She ends up falling a moment to her butt as she gets back up and moves to try to get back into the fight! Past the Window!---

Wait. Window?

She sort of peeks at the computer screen.

She tenativly pokes the screen a moment. "Thaaaaaaat's not a DJ setup."
Fiore 2016-08-27 03:16:31 52686
A window it is -- and not just any window. It is the window of a bedroom, suffocatingly quiet compared to the noise and life of the soundstages, kept perfectly neat and without decoration, nearly devoid of any sign of life. Except one.

A girl, much less blurry than any of the djs and the crowd, easier to see, hunched over piles and piles of homework on her desk. A set of expensive headphones, crimson red, are the only bit of color in this grey room of hers, and they sit atop a closed laptop that's accumulating a fine layer of dust.

"That'll never be me," the girl says, empty eyes looking out the window. "People like me don't fit in there."

Suddenly -- whenver it is they move at all, even to twitch their eyes to one side -- the four fighters are inside the bedroom with her, no longer in the throng of people and music that this girl gazes at from afar. It would seem they have found their dreamer, at long last.

But finding the dreamer and saving her dreams are not necessarily one and the same.
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-27 03:34:05 52690
Hakuomaru looks around the room, thrown off by the monochrome, though she recognizes the headphones. "Those are really expensive" She notes to no one in particular. Seeing as how they're the only thing in color, the girl's words and where the dream happened... she nudges them with a finger and says, "We just need to get her to try and embrace the dream right?" Looking to the dreamer herself.

There's some familiarity with the pile of homework, the overwhelming workload and the attempts to balance music with it. "You know we're all a bunch of geeks most of the time right? I know at least three of us up on stage have to balance homework, music and goofing off doing geeky things all too often." She's not shy of being a geek it seems. "You don't even have to get up on stage these days, you can upload your music to so many places and get feedback on the fly. It's a great way to learn and improve."
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-27 03:42:46 52695
"Wh--" Akashimaru only just barely gets a chance to feel satisfied at work well done before Gull speaks, drawing her attention. The DJ isn't--?

With a wrench, the stage gives way to this small dusty room, and in that instant Akashimaru understands where she was wrong. "...of course this was where you were," she murmurs, more to herself than to the girl. "That's why it's a Nightmare."

As Hakuomaru is speaking, Akashimaru turns to face the girl at the desk, shoving her tessen into her belt. It's a different kind of battle from here. "Why can't you?" she asks, bluntly, face set in an expression of determination. "If it's something you love, you should go for it with your head held up. Yeah, it might be tough at first, but you'll never know how far you can go if you don't at least try."
Haruna Kurosawa 2016-08-27 03:45:53 52697
Cure Gull blinks. Then they're suddenly in a bedroom. Up, down, left right!

"Waugh!" she goes. "Why are we in someone elses bedroom!?" she then purses her lips and turnnnns around. Wait. Are they talking to that girl? Are people giving pep talks.

She kind of clears her throats.

"Anyone can do anything if they put thier mind to it!" she says matter of factly.

"Like. People said. That. my hairclips were ugly like. When I was in sixth grade! But my sister told me not to give up! and now I'm selling them in small shops!" she says.

"N... I'm opening up a shop soon!" she says.

"Anything!" she says matter of factly.

"Cuz If a birdbrain like me can do it. Someone like you can!" she says. Finger point.

Corvus makes this a poster later on.
Ariel Theodore 2016-08-27 03:50:40 52699
    It was a little touch and go there, for Ariel. She spent a chunk of the aftermath hiding beneath Lucky until the coast cleared. And when it did, and the tiny unicorn finally poked her head out, scooting to join the others, it seems like congratulations are in order.
    "WHAT?"
    Unfortunately, Ariel can not properly congratulate anyone when all she can hear is a buzzing eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
    "HUH? DID YOU GUYS SAY SOMETHING?" The tiny unicorn bleats, eyes wide as saucers, floppy goat-like ears pricked straight up, uselessly. "IS IT OVER?"
    It would seem so- at least the dream thief is done with. Everything changes when she follows into the room with the girl.
    "OH THAT MUST BE H--" She cuts herself off, still somewhat deafened, and lowers her volume a loud sotto voce, which really just whispering at normal conversational volume. Like Keifer Sutherland in 24 during any dramatic moment. "I think she's the dreamer." She announces kind of stating the obvious. "I'M GLAD WE FOUND HER AFTER ALL THAT." She says, beaming brightly.
    Her volume control is a little broken right now. So it's up to Akashimaru and Hakuomaru to rescue the girl's dreams.
Fiore 2016-08-27 04:19:05 52703
For a moment, it almost seems like she doesn't hear. She lets them speak without response, her eyes affixed to the window of the world she feels so separate from. Perhaps she's deaf? Perhaps she's lost her ability to hear her music, and is mourning that? Perhaps they'll have to figure out another way to save her dream --

But then she turns around on her chair, slow as anything, until she faces the four of them. There's no curiosity on her face, no question of how they got in her room. As so many dreamers do, she accepts this bizarre turn of events in her personal hellscape, and though she betrays one moment of hope as their words sink in, it doesn't last.

How many times has she heard that? 'Just follow your dreams?' Did anyone really believe that was possible for her? Have they *seen* her? Frumpy clothes, frumpy hair, glasses half the size of her face, too shy to carry on a real conversation.

Her dream isn't just impossible. It's ridiculous. It's *laughable.*

"Don't you understand?" she says, lowering her head. "I'm nothing like those people out there. I don't have any friends to go to shows with. I get nervous when I'm up on stage. I don't even -- I can't even do my hair like a normal person, or wear normal clothes, or put on make up, or dance. The only thing I'm good for are my grades!"

Behind her, the crimson red headphones gather more dust, until their color is blotted out by rapidly expanding spots of grey.

"How am I supposed to follow my dreams, when I'm -- when I'm *me*?"
Seishi Tamashige 2016-08-27 04:45:21 52706
"You can do it because you're you." Moving forward, Akashimaru reaches to place her hand on the girl's shoulder. "Whoever's been telling you that grades are the only thing you're good for is wrong."

Akashimaru leans in, hand still on the girl's shoulder, dark eyes blazing with intensity. "You have something to share that nobody else can offer. The music in your heart is something nobody else has ever heard before. The rest are just details. They don't matter. The things that you don't like about yourself, you can change. But none of that will happen if you give up before you even start."
Yuzuki Amemori 2016-08-27 04:54:49 52709
Hakuomaru watches the headphones as the dust gathers on them. Scooping them up, she carries them over to the girl and says, "I got started uploading my music under a pseudonym. How you look doesn't matter at all. It's all about how good you are. Some people never even do live shows, but they've got thousands of fans." She offers those headphones out to her and asks, "Don't let some idiot tell you you're no good. Prove them wrong."

She smiles and leans forward, "You were at the show, did you get a look at us? Masks, glasses, geeky shirts, geeky sets. Most of us do it for the passion- we do it because we love the music and we love seeing other people enjoy our music. You think the same way right? Come on! I bet your music is great." She fiddles around under her armor both front and back, pulling what looks like a hood over her face, sliding her normal similarly large, albeit thin framed glasses and painter's mask and asks her with the muffled voice, "This is the only way I can even try to force myself on stage. I get it, I really do." She might have to change her stage presence here soon. Like tonight soon.
Fiore 2016-08-27 05:26:56 52712
Even as Akashimaru places her hand on the girl's shoulder, she doesn't look up. It's not that she's not listening -- it's not that she doesn't care, or that she doesn't appreciate this girl's efforts to cheer her up. It's only that she's *tried* to be herself before. She's tried to loves the parts of her she dislikes, and to put herself out there, and it hasn't worked. She only ever felt strange, totally and completely out of place. If loving herself was what it took to show the world the music in her heart, maybe the world was never meant to hear it --

But then Hakuomaru's thrust those precious headphones of hers out for her to accept, and at the sight of them, her thoughts grow quiet. In this great storm of self-hatred and doubt, she'd almost forgotten they were there.

"You mean..." she begins, eyes fixed on the crimson headphones in front of her, a set she'd saved so much to finally purchase. "You mean, how I look doesn't matter? I don't have to show my face -- or even go to concerts -- and I can still share my music with everyone?"

She didn't know why she hadn't thought of that before -- she's not exactly new to this scene, but it never quite occurred to her that it could be *her* behind that anonymity. That the grey faces online and the masked djs at shows were people like her, with insecurity and stage fright of their own. If she put on a mask herself...would that be the first step toward her dream?

Maybe. A step. Not a completed journey, not a perfect solution, but a step in the right direction. And maybe someday, she wouldn't need a mask at all.

She can only dream.

Light returning to her eyes, the girl looks from Akashimaru, to Cure Gull, to little Ariel, and finally to Akashimaru, before she accepts the crimson headphones and puts them on at last.

The world shimmers around them, like a dream forgotten shortly after waking, and they return to a beach that's well past sundown. In the distance, a girl with two braids jerks up from her nap, looks up at the concert in the distance, stands -- and, with a deep breath, walks over to it from her self-imposed exile.