Amulets, Kings, and Princesses

Tadase, Amu, and Runealy try to restore a child's dream turned wrong!

Date: 2015-08-10
Pose Count: 40
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 18:14:23 7069
"Impossible! Impossible! Impossible!" the tiny little shadowy humanoid with the big white X on its head shouts, hurtling pens and pencils with razor sharp ends towards Tadase and Amulet Heart, who are in hot pursuit as the creature rounds the corner. Where there was once the heart's egg of a child who dreamed of being a top math student, now there is only this hostile little mirror image.

"Don't let it get away!" Kiseki shouts, dodging the shots as all three of them run into a park. The X-Chara stops and unleashes a new, more focused blast of large, very real numbers that crash down upon the pavement."HOLY CROWN!" Tadase shouts as he gets between those numbers and Amulet Heart, providing some cover.
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 18:24:41 7070
    Some magical girls really wish the monsters they had to deal with were smaller. In time, they will realize that they're ALL problems, regardless of the size. For example, when they're the size of your regular shugo chara, it makes catching them really hard!

    Also, in an entirely unfair turn of events, this guy is able to make numbers which are bigger than him. If you knocked two of them together and it added up to ten or more, would they explode?

    Amulet Heart isn't willing to find out. She hasn't been doing this sort of thing for very long so far! And now she's chasing an X-Chara down this street. "Tadase!"

    Always think in three dimensions! If we're going around a blind corner, then-

    Amulet Heart runs up a wall! With her athleticism, it's as easy as running on a flat surface. She's got to get behind the X-Chara!

    "Please, stop!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 18:29:14 7071
Parks continue to be an interesting source of leads in Rune's quest, though she has found she often regrets going to them at night; terrifying, dangerous things have been found. So what happens if she patrols them during the day? In this case, she comes upon something still dangerous but not as alien as a Witch. There's a shadow-figure running about. "Huh? Is that a Demon? It looks pretty small to be one, but..." At this distance, she can't tell. It's time to move closer.

She gets an answer though, as... /numbers/ take form and barrage two people up ahead. People she does not recognize, but are fighting it all the same. Numbers. That rules out 'very tiny Demon' quite handily, and now the princess is left baffled. Doubly so as Amulet Heart shouts for the situation to stop, and Tadase seems to be staying on the defensive.

So when Runealy brings her wand in-hand and takes aim at the creature, she doesn't attack right away. Instead, she calls out as honest, confused inquiry in the hopes either of these new faces can answer: "Is there any reason I shouldn't be trying to hit this as hard as I can? What's going on?"
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 18:35:28 7072
This isn't the first time Tadase has had to do a lot of explaining pretty quickly to fellow heroes without Guardian Characters. Luckily, Kiseki is on it too. While Tadase keeps covering himself from the number barrage, the tiny king floats over to Runealy and gives her the lowdown - albiet in an authoritative tone.

"That thing is a child's dream!

If you destroy it, you'll destroy his dreams and hopes too!" he says, practically flying around near Runealy's face in a sudden panic. "We need to weaken it so we can fix it!" he adds. "I have to protect my subjects - you help me, commoner! Just be careful!" Kiseki adds.

Meanwhile, the X-Chara finally stops the number barrage - and turns on Amulet Heart with another storm of pencils! "IMPOSSIBLEEEEEEEEE"
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 18:46:30 7073
    Amulet Heart's got the moves! But Runealy's got the ... words?

    She's honestly kind of confused by what's happening. Even though Ran hatched from her egg and Tadase introduced her to the magical world around her school, that's actually /as/ far as she got- Amu hasn't met another magical girl in the last week yet, forget about other magical monsters.

    She's sure gonna be surprised when she realizes that not all of her enemies are micro-sized.

    Of course, at the moment she's mostly surprised by Kiseki, who... yeah. Has to mouth off.

    "For a little king, he sure does have a big mouth..."

    Then a giant pencil slams down inches away from her, and Amulet Heart stiffens and shivers. And there's more where that came from! Dodge dodge dodge!

    "You can see it?" she shouts out to Runealy. Then, back to the X-Chara- "Calm down. You're going to hurt other people by lashing out like this! Remember, I thought you wanted them to be proud of you!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 18:49:56 7074
Runealy reacts to Kiseki's approach with eyes-raised curiosity; she has never seen anything quite like him before. "A child's dream?" She repeats that with a mix of confusion and alarm, listening to the rest of the explanation... and wincing as she's called 'commoner.' "We don't talk down on people like that where I'm from, but... I probably deserve the insult in this case. Still, I understand."

She refocuses her aim on the X-Chara and comments aside to Kiseki, "It sounds like you're telling me to hit it, but not as hard as I can. To hold back some... because otherwise I'll crush his hopes. I... have some idea what that might be like." Runealy's mind is quick to visualize this; some child - Rune is technically still one herself, but fourteen year olds are loathe to accept the label of course - having their spirit utterly crushed. Would they go through life with no real purpose or joy from then on? Perhaps, and it's not something she's going to allow in the name of being 'combat efficient.'

So instead of launching one of her wand's orbs, she opts to fire a trio of thin red rays as the X-Chara. One of these will miss outright; it's a pretty long-range shot on a small target, but the others have the potential to be on-target. If the tiny math monster wasn't interested in her before, perhaps it will be now that Runealy has openly picked a fight with it. She shouts a reply to Amulet Heart, not out of anger but due to the distance between them: "See what? The monster? It's small, but it's right there!" Amu might have meant Kiseki, but if so Rune has misunderstood in the heat of the moment. "In any case, don't worry! Your friend just told me what this is about, I won't go all-out on it!"
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 18:56:28 7075
Runealy's beams do a good job of diverting it from continuing to harass Amulet Heart, and it turns to Rune. It fires a few of those massive numbers at her! Thankfully, like most X-Charas, it doesn't have a huge amount of long term 'gas in the tank' so to speak.

And more than that, Amulet Heart's words are getting to it. "It's impossible for them to be proud of me. No matter how hard I try I'm never on top." the small voice comes from within the X-Chara, but is vastly different than the hostile voice it was using.

The arithmatic barrage stops for a moment while it wavers back and forth between the two sides of hope and despair - of dreams, and the loss of them.

Kiseki nods approvingly at Runealy. "Good job, subject!" he says. Tadase turns to him. "Kiseki, be nice!" Then back to Amulet Heart "I think you're getting through to him!"
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 19:09:56 7076
The key to a successful chance encounter is a good first impression, after all. That may not have been a good first impression, for exaNUMBERS.

    Sob! /More/ numbers. But, Amulet Heart does kind of have the grain of an inkling of a plan here.

    "I didn't really know if you could or not! I didn't know how many other people there were around this neighborhood who... well, it doesn't matter."

    Amu's getting into her groove, now. When she moves to dodge this time, it's a cool sidestep here and there, rather than running. "That's true, but you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, right?"

    With Runealy here, she's going to use the presence of a third person to a sort of advantage which might be sneaky, but I'm sure it can be forgiven. "Nobody can change right away, but it's a lot easier to break down good will than to build it up. Peoples' good will towards you grows as you make positive progress...! ...but a bad first impression makes it harder to endear yourself to someone." She looks at Runealy. "You'd grow closer to someone as you saw them keep working to achieve something they believed in, right?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 19:13:16 7077
"Hn!?" Runealy shouldn't be surprised by the X-Chara's counter-attack, but she is. Tense and wide-eyed, her boot wings light up with a silver glow as she's sent on a boosted leap up and aside from the first number. A similar energy pulse diverts her falling path to avoid a second one, yet a third one clips her leg and sends her crashing to the ground on her knees! "Ghh...!" A fourth comes, and she has to encase herself in a red energy bubble to shield against it. The barrier ripples and begins to crack, but successfully deflects the number all the same before fading. "That thing hits pretty hard," she realizes aloud. That could have gone a lot worse if that one hit was fully on-center with her!

The X-Chara airs its complaints and worries, and... the alien princess has to stop and stare at this while she picks herself up. Should she open fire while it seems to have let its guard down? Maybe. She's not sure. Its words cut through her thoughts... she doesn't have that exact problem, but inadequacy is something Rune is familiar with in a different way. Enough so to give her pause.

Pause in which Kiseki can continue to talk down on her and Tadase can protest the wording in question. "No, it's fine. In this case it's totally fine... but, listen." Her attention turns to the X-Chara, as she struggles with the concept of trying to 'talk down a monster.' It seems absurd; back home, this is simply out of the question. Yet... the others seem to be focusing more on defense and words than they are on beating the threat down. Maybe it's worth a try. Amulet Heart's ideas get to her, in the end: "If it was something good, something worth working toward, yes. It takes a lot of work for anything like that, though. So..."

So now she's able to speak to the X-Chara. "There's working hard, and working different. Both are important, but... have you really tried everything? Or just tried one or two things as hard as you could? Maybe there's another solution? Some way to adapt and make things work?"
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 19:26:13 7078
It's the combined words of the two girls that really get through to the X-Chara - or, more accurately, to the hopes and dreams of the child it was created from. "Do you... do you really think people will respect me for the work I put in, rather than only the end result?" the small voice asks. And the X-Chara stops attacking, just adopting a slumped over, almost defeated pose.

"Amulet Heart! Now!" Tadase and Kiseki yell together, pointing to the X-Chara. In moments like this it's easy to tell that they're definantly shards of the same person.

"The two of you have gotten through to it!"
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 19:37:31 7079
    "These are all good things to think about!" Amulet Heart replies, and gives Runealy a jolly thumbs up. And the X-Chara, too, really! It may well even /sparkle/.
    "Negative heart, lock on!" First, you make a heart symbol with your fingers.
    "Open my heart!" Shout softly into the Dumpty Lock...

    And unleash your Open Heart of love~!

Amulet Heart creates her purifying energy attack now that the X-Chara has calmed down, so that it's surrounded by the heart-shaped beam. The big red X on its head disintegrates, and the little fairy changes back to the way it should be- a tiny little fairy, smartly dressed with a protractor and a pocket protector.

    And then it returns to its egg, and from there to the kid whom it belongs to!

    And so Amu can add a second thumbs up to the first one.

    "Nice! Thanks for your help!"
    "...I don't even know who you are!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 19:50:47 7080
Will they respect the work rather than the result? Runealy thinks on this. "I can't say that," she honestly can't, since she's facing a problem where the end result really does matter more than 'you tried your best.' This doesn't entirely derail her point, though. She finishes it: "But what I can tell you is there is more than one way to the results you want. If your current method isn't working, keep trying new options. Figure out where you're slipping up, fix those, and give it another go. Eventually you should find the right way." It's not quite the same point Amulet Heart was making, but it's not a bad moral.

'Now! You've gotten through!' This notion surprises her. It... worked? Runealy watches in confusion, waiting to see what Amulet Heart is about to do. Was this all a trick to get it to utterly lower its guard, perhaps?

No. Far from it. Rune isn't sure what to make of the heart-beam at first, but it does seem to be working. The X is gone, and the creature turns from a tiny shadow into... something much more benign and cute. "I guess you weren't kidding. That's pretty incredible!"

They don't know who she is? Huh. Perhaps word of her misdeeds hasn't spread /that/ far and wide just yet. "No, thank you. You protected someone's goals and dreams, didn't you? I'll tell you who I am, but first... I'd like to hear about you. History should know about you," She nods to Amulet Heart, then Tadase, "And you," then Kiseki. "And you too. Tell me who you are, what matters to you? Not for my sake, but for future generations who will learn to admire you."
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 19:57:54 7081
Tadase smiles, and nearly runs over and hugs Amulet Heart - the idea of purifying an X-Chara directly, rather than sealing it and running it to Tsukasa (or worse, destroying it!) is such an amazing thing, and only increases his respect for Amu (and especially Amulet Heart in particular.)"That's amazing, Amu!"

Then he turns to Runealy. "And thank you too. You were a help as well!" he adds. Then, he listens to Runealy's comments and questions. "well..." and then there's Kiseki, butting in.

"He is Tadase, and I'm Kiseki!" he says, hands on his hips. "And yes, tell us your name, helpful commoner!" he adds. Tadase's crown vanishes for now, and with it his scepter. He's feeling pretty good, as the X-Chara's now purified egg floats into the sky, off to return to it's owner.
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 20:09:14 7083
Wow this is so cool. Amu practically giggles. She only just met this girl, and they're really working together so well! She sure has some interesting things to say.

    It gives you an enormous sense of well-being, being able to give kids a pep talk and stop their corrupt inner feelings from smashing things with giant pencils, that's for sure.

    'History should know about you?' Well, if there's one thing that gets Amu clutching her hands together and replacing her eyes with plus-sign-shaped-sparkles- even if only briefly- then it would definitely be that.
    "Un! I'm Amu Hinamori." A flash of pink, and there's a little cheerleader here who also wants to join in on the introductions. "And I'm Ran!" "We're all with the Guardians!"

    She offers Runealy a handshake. "Strange incidents have been happening more often recently. Lots of kids are losing faith in their dreams. So I help them so they don't give up."

And again with Kiseki calling Runealy a commoner. Flies? Honey? Vinegar? Where's a small bucket when you need one.
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 20:18:04 7085
"'Commoner, commoner, commoner.' There you go again with that word." Runealy's mood darkens as she stares at Kiseki, even as the egg flies off. "Stop it. I said something kind of like that once. Then I was shown just how much you need them. Someone has to grow the food. Someone has to patrol the roads. Someone has to build houses, do leatherworking, and handle the blacksmithing. All of them have to do their little parts so people like you and me have a big, comfortable place to grow and learn in so we can focus on the things that keep them safe. You can talk down on me all you want, but the way you keep saying 'commoner' makes me think you use it to everyone else, too."

Amu's introduction snaps her out of this mood, instead shifting to confusion once again as Amulet Heart splits into being Amu and Ran. "The Guardians? No you aren't, I know every single Guardian Kni-- wait. ...A different group of 'Guardians' then, isn't it?"

Notably, the hand isn't taken. "I won't insult you by shaking hands or bowing. You, who want history to remember you as protectors of childrens' dreams, to keep children safe... you shouldn't dignify me with that sort of kind gesture. I'll tell you who I am. There are four of you though," apparently the fairies count, "so I won't pretend I'd be able to win this fairly." That probably sounds rather off-topic.

She reaches into her dress' bow, and produces a diamond-shaped crystal, one able to fit into her palm. It has many jagged edges, an ugly thing with black and purple energy swirling within. "I'm 'The Princess', and... I protect dreams too. The way I have to do it involves hurting people like you, though. History is going to remember you as heroes, but for right now... I'm sorry."
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 20:26:58 7087
Tadase is somewhat mortified by the manner in which Kiseki took over the introduction, and the rightfully correct verbal thrashing Runealy gave him. He reaches up, both hands around Kiseki's head (mostly his over-active mouth) and yanks him back. Muffled noises can be heard. Tadase looks, largely, very embarassed.

There is a moment of pause. "It's not an insult to accept credit for your help." he says, plainly and calmly. Then, a sudden uptick in his voice. "Win what? We've already wo..." about that time Kiseki squirms away in panic from the hold.

"Tadase! There is still something very wrong lurking about!" he says, suddenly all seriousness. Then he points to what Runealy is holding. "IT'S THAT THING!"

And it all comes together for him based on what he's heard - the self-defeating commentary, the way it seems like one of them is preparing for another fight, and the crystal Kiseki is pointing sharply at. "Amu, stay back." he says, firmly - as though Amu isn't substantially more combat-capable than he is. He interposes himself between the two girls, and the crown is back and the scepter is, too.

"You're the Princess I've heard about, aren't you." Suddenly Tadase, like Kiseki, is all business - even moreso than he was for the X-Character. "This girl is dangerous, Amu."
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 20:37:09 7090
Amu also can't resist giving Kiseki a disapproving look- but she quickly stops doing it, because, well, Runealy's done something, and Tadase's got a handle on the situation, and after a point you can only really heap /so/ much disapproval on a person before it becomes too much. She doesn't want to be a hypocrite, either!

    Amu's hand hovers there, notably shaking empty air for a few moments instead of hand, and so she slowly, somewhat awkwardly lowers it, experiencing that special kind of embarrassment that you get when you mak a social gesture and then the other person doesn't return it. Awkward.

    But it can always get worse! "Nani?"

    ...what on earth is that crystal? That doesn't look... right, somehow. And then Runealy says...

    "Y-you're joking, right?" Ran replies, and flies closer to Amu. Seeing her perturbed by that crystal is a very unwelcome sight for Amu, almost as much as how perturbed /she/ is.

    "W-what? No way! What are you doing?" Amu - practically shouts at Runealy, her voice louder and sharper than even she expected. "-but you just helped us! I don't want to fight you!"

    She looks helplessly at the boy next to her. "Tadase?!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 20:41:45 7092
"So you knew my name, but not what I look like?" That's surprising to Runealy, but she's quick to confirm Tadase's conclusions. "That's right. That's me, and I am dangerous. I'm going to hurt you to get what I need. If you run away, I'll hurt someone else instead. Think of it as me taking hostages, if you want. It's sick," She says this with obvious contempt for her own tactics, "but otherwise everyone here refuses to fight me and I can't do what I need to if that keeps happening!"

"No, I'm not joking. This," She holds up the dark crystal while facing Ran and Amu, "think of it as a crutch. The kind of crutch I need to win. I don't want to fight either, but something tells me you won't just lie down and let me take your energy. It hurts. A lot. So those are the two options... either you give it to me even though it's going to feel awful, or fight and try to stop me." Then a nod to Tadase, who is trying to keep between them. "And the same goes for you."
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-10 20:49:53 7093
Tadase looks sternly at Runealy. "Maybe I just didn't want to believe what I heard was true, or that someone who showed up to help could harbor such plans." he adds. "But I can see it in your eyes." he says, pointing his own scepter at Runealy.

"That doesn't mean I don't want to help you, or to understand you. You're not a monster, or a demon. You're a person." he says, firmly. "So you know this is wrong - and you're still doing it. So you must have a reason." he adds, half trying to get through to her and half simply trying to stall.

"Why do this? You look so much more sad than you did when you were helping us. You obviously don't want to be doing this." At the same time, Kiseki is trying to convince Amu and Ran to back away.

"This isn't like an X-Chara, Amu! Get out of here and let Tadase handle this. It's a King's duty to protect his subjects!" he adds. Despite the commentary, in this case, Kiseki is 100% serious. This isn't about pride - this is about concern for Amu and Ran, and perhaps even this girl.
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-10 20:59:48 7095
Something begins to bubble up in Amu's brain. Something that's distinctly unlike the kinds of things she usually feels. Ran gives her a confused look all of a sudden, but there's a rather determined look on Amu's face now as she looks away from Tadase and Kiseki...

    She hears what Tadase has to say, and she both agrees and disagrees inside. Agrees with the first part... disagrees with the second.

    One thing that you have to understand is that when Amu is in the 'cool zone'... well. She /knows/ something about this is very 'incorrect', and she doesn't like it. She doesn't feel like this is /right/ at all, for sure, and that she's not being told everything, and that this definitely is not the 'right' way things should be.

    And that's why she just walks up to Runealy and tries to take that crystal, as if she's plucking a pair of scissors out of the hands of a grade schooler.

    "We're not going to do this. We're going to sit down and the three of us are going to explain to one another what's really going on here. I have the feeling that there's something you're not telling us, so let us help you rather than trying to threaten us!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-10 21:07:21 7096
"I know you want to help!" Runealy snaps to Tadase, frustrated. "And I do have a reason! But you can't know. None of you can. If even one person finds out... things will happen that will make my methods look pretty tame in comparison. You're right," Her gaze lowers, tone more quiet as her eyes turn heavy, 'lidded' in a way. "I don't want to do this. But I've tried every other option, this is the only one left. It's not even your fault. When you say you want to understand, I believe you. I just saw you do something wonderful and right, I know you're the kind of person people would love to know. You're not the problem, but there are people out there who are. I wish I could attack them instead to get what I need."

Kiseki talks about noblesse oblige. In less formal wording, but the idea is there. "You got that part of royalty right, at least. It's good to see you're not all talk. You... ...huh?"

She's cut off by Amu approaching. The princess goes tense, and while Amu is doing something bold and brave... in this case Runealy is willing to make good on her threats; pressing her forces her hand as she jumps backward to get some space. "Get away from me! I can't tell you! I absolutely can't, or I would have done it already!" Then... she smashes the crystal to the side of her neck. It dissolves into purple and black mist, flowing into Runealy even as she begins to thrash around, screaming as she feels like she just set herself on fire. A few seconds later, the gem-tip of her wand has changed colors to mix in that same purple and black with its usual green... and her eyes are sealed over by glowing yellow energy replacing them. A straight-upward jump lets her aim past Amu, firing a gem down at Tadase. Whether it hits him, the ground, or is deflected somehow, whatever it strikes will be subject to the sphere bursting into tri-color sparkles!
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 17:39:34 7253
Tadase is trying to get in front of Amu when she fails to snag the crystal out of Runealy's hands, which means when she moves to the air and attacks him, he's close by to Amu.

And that's why instead of shielding himself, he pushes her back - and takes the gem full force. The enhanced strength (and the fact that, frankly, Tadase in Chara-Change is only slightly tougher than Tadase normally) causes the burst of sparkles to slam him to the ground and send him rolling across the dirt.

It takes him a little bit before he can even really get to his feet, and he does so with a lot of groaning. "Amu - run." is largely what comes out, but he's still got his scepter in his hand and he's still moving to interpose himself between Amu and Rune.

Looking up to her, pained determination on his face. "HOLY CROWN!" he shouts, and the massive, silver-gold burst erupts out of his scepter, an attack aimed at Rune. Largely, to hopefully give Amu time. Even still, he tries to talk to Runealy.

"Don't do this." he says as the attack erupts. "I'm sure we can help you if you let us. This doesn't have to be a fight!"
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-11 17:46:53 7254

    Amu is not hit at the same force as Tadase was by that attack, but she was still definitely knocked off her feet. This isn't good, though! What did this girl even do to herself? She's shaking, but not because she's scared- it's because Amu's just actually /angry/ at Runealy for being so needlessly ... what does she mean we 'can't' know?

    She feels something tug at her wrist- it's Ran, who is kind of scuffed and dizzy but clearly-

    "Amucchi! We've gotta help Tadase! You're tougher than he is...!"
    "Can we do it again so soon?"
    "Of course! Don't think twice!"

    As much as Tadase might not like it... Amu is surrounded by energy which fills her entire body. She uses her fingers to frame the Dumpty Lock against her chest and-

    "My own heart - Unlock!"

    Ran makes a flourish, and snaps back inside her heart's egg. Taking it in one hand, Amu brings it back into her body, and the whirlwind of sparkles rises up from underneath her to surround her body.

    "Chara Nari- Amulet Heart!"

    .oO(But what do I do?) Amulet Heart thinks, now that she's back in the form she only so recently left. She doesn't know what to do, even though she's running right up to Runealy, so she--

    Moves her hands hesitantly towards her, and- tries to... grab Runealy by the wrist. "A-are you being told to do something bad? Isn't there someone like a- someone older you can talk to?"

Junior high school videos about coercion aren't really the best thing to reference right now, Amu!
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 17:57:48 7255
Runealy lands a few moments after her shot strikes Tadase, shouting an objection to his advice for Amu: "Don't you dare run! If you leave, I can't get what I need!" On its own, that's not a compelling reason to stay here; the smart move in such a case would be to flee the area. Thus she reiterates her earlier, disgusting threat: "We're in the middle of Tokyo. If I don't get it from you, I'll go after others."

Brilliant, beautiful light rushes toward her just as she finishes saying that. It serves as a contrast to the twisted blasts she's now using, something not lost on her. Even though she has seen Tadase's radiance just minutes before, it surprises Runealy this time. "That looks just like..." She doesn't get to finish the thought, having to try to leap above the light.

This proves to be a split-second too late, and everything from her mid-section down is caught. She ends up flipping end over end, landing in a hurt heap on the ground and coughing. Amulet Heart is able to move in and seize her wrist, though Runealy tries to ward her off by creating a red energy bubble around herself. The forcefield pulses with black-purple lines weaving through it, dark energy twisting what was previously a perfectly normal magic-shield shown against the X-Chara's attacks.

Regardless of whether she immediately dislodges Amulet Heart, Runealy swings her wand in a wide bashing motion at her 'attacker' - one who is being quite restrained about this fight.

"I know you'd help. Your light," a flicked glance to Tadase, "and your actions," her eyes return to Amulet Heart, "both prove it! It's not you! I'm not worried about what you would do! But if you find out, then others will too and eventually news will get to the exact wrong people and everything will fall apart! So I can't just sit down and talk this through! And there isn't someone I can ta-- ...!" She cuts that sentence off with a gasp.

Something Amulet Heart said seems to have cut deep. Despite Runealy's eyes being hidden from view by the solid yellow glow 'replacing' them, tears begin to stream down from them. "So the only way this wouldn't be a fight is if you lay down and let me take what I need, and you have no good reason to do that!" She makes a wild haymaker swing at Amulet Heart with her wand, like a furious child might if they were putting all their misguided effort into hitting a home run.
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 18:10:09 7256
Tadase feels pretty terrible right now. I mean, there's the pain, and that sucks. But Tadase can fight through the pain - that's what hosptials are for. Largely, it's the fact that he feels like he can't really stand up against the Princess, and he can't seem to keep Amu out of danger.

It's combining to not make him feel like the greatest king ever. But he's also not ready to give up.

"Why do you think we'd tell anyone! I want to help, not share your secrets!" he adds, hostily. "And of course we're not going to lie down. You're not just aiming to hurt us - you're hurting yourself now, too! I'm not going to lie down while you hurt yourself!" he shouts.

But when Runealy /swings/ at Amu, regardless of her success, Tadase switches from words back to action. "ROYAL SHOT!" he calls out, and a burst of rapid magical energy, in the shape of an orb, sails out to hopefully make contact with the Princess and knock her away from Amu.
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-11 18:20:26 7257
This has absolutely never happened before.

    Amu is panicking, even though she's doing her best not to let it show on the surface. Her hand, for example, feels like it's taken the mother of all static shocks when it's warded off by the princess' energy field, but what makes her flinch isn't the pain- it's the fact that she understands that that crystal Runealy practically /drove into her neck/ has caused that dark energy to permeate through her.

    And why? Why is is that the first other magical girl she's met has to be one who is- doing bad things to herself?

    Doing bad things to /her/, come to that? Amu brings her arms up to block, a vauge memory of the first karate self-defence class that everyone goes to at this kind of age because they want to emulate super sentai- but the attack judders all the way down her forearms with a pain that's quite unlike any of the knocks and scrapes she's got from X-Charas before.

    Tadase, of course, poor noble Tadase, keeps trying to help her. "Tadase, don't-"

    She jumps back. "I really, really don't want to hurt her! We can't!"

    "If you take what you want from me, will you at least let us listen to you and /help/ you?"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 18:31:59 7258
"You really can't guarantee that," Runealy snaps back to Tadase. "And I can't take that chance. The last thing I need is some conqueror," her words invoke an event she's not even sure these two were present for, remembering Ail announcing himself as such as one of the first things she saw upon arriving in Tokyo. "getting involved! So even though you're right, even though this is wrong, I...!" She's cut off by another bright blast from Tadase, an orb this time.

She creates another energy-bubble shield to ward it off. This averts a direct hit, but it does accomplish several things. As the orb splashes out into a wider light washing over her barrier, it knocks Runealy - shield and all - skidding several feet along the grass. Tadase has what he wants; he put some distance between her and Amulet Heart. Yet even though he did not manage to hit the alien princess, she's shuddering and coughing again. This delays any response to Amu's generous offer, but one does come after a few seconds.

"You're not the first...!" Another cough, then Runealy is able to speak clearly afterward: "Not the first to offer that. You probably won't be the last. And I can't accept. The only thing I need from you is your energy! And it has to be yours. If I could use theirs, I would be hunting monsters instead. I'd make Tokyo safer by striking down Witches and conquerors and officers of kingdoms that think killing people is a tax they're due," also possibly a reference to events these two might not be aware of, but Runealy shouts about it anyway. "And everyone would win in that case!" That's not entirely true; visiting 'wrong methods' upon monsters isn't quite a solution even if it might sound good in theory to some. "But I can't use their energy, it would do the exact opposite of what I need! This is the way it has to be, I've tried every other option. So Tokyo will have to be less happy, less protected, and all I can say is what I'm doing it for is worth even that! So fight!"

She's not attacking at the moment, but Rune's demeanor is one of anger, frustration, and raw 'hurt'... another assault may be very likely at this rate.
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 18:38:05 7259
Tadase listens - really listens - to what Rune has to say. He looks into her eyes. Regardless of what she did to herself, what tools she's using, there's still some of the core person there. That anger, frustration, and hurt - he can see that, too. He's aware of the idea, on some level, of doing bad things to achieve a good outcome.

So he calls out to her as he walks towards her. "Are you sure there's no other way to do what you need to do? Are you sure that you're making the best choices? For everyone else, and for you? Are you sure nobody is using you - is lying to you, is tricking you?" he says, the barrage of questions coming, each a question he sincerly wishes for an answer to, as he walks shakily closer to Rune.

If it wasn't for the inner strength Kiseki is letting him access, he wouldn't even be on his feet now, so powerful is Rune's attack, and so much did the last orb to protect Amu cost him. And even still as he walks, he's /still/ making sure to interpose himself between Amu and Rune, as if his exhausted body could do any good there.

In a way, he hasn't quite understood - or chooses not to understand - the different magical level both girls are on from him.
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-11 18:52:40 7260
    Runealy sure is talking about a lot of things. Conquerors and witches and murderers(?!) and an awful lots of things that--

    "Hnnnnnn, I don't /understand/ half of what you're saying! It all sounds so crazy to me!" Amulet Heart shouts- /really/ shouts, an exasperated, desperate yell that marks the fact that her anger at the situation is boiling over and her frustration at being unable to do anything meaningful here- when she's managed, so far, to help so many of her classmates and juniors- is peaking over.

    But one thing she /does/ understand, better than Tadase himself probably does in fact- is the fact that the King can't keep putting himself fruitlessly inbetween her and Runealy. And he's going to /keep/ doing it, so the only thing she can do is-!

    "I'm not going to fight you! I'm going to get rid of that darkness that's filling you up!"

    As soon as she begins to do it, Amu knows that she shouldn't have done it. Doing this twice- transforming into Amulet Heart twice- in the course of the last hour or so is more than she bargained for. She can feel her stomach growling. Ran's too!

    But what else can you do?

    "Ne-ne-negative heart, lock on!"

    Amu brings her hands up, even though her arms are shaking!

    "O-open... hea-art!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 19:09:38 7261
"Do you really think I haven't thought this through!?" Runealy shrieks at Tadase. "That one of my first choices was to start unprovoked attacks on good people, as the first thing they ever see about my friends and I!?" That's not quite what he said, but it's the interpretation she's going with. "We'll never be able to show our faces in Tokyo again once we finish this. Some of you have even sworn to hunt me down as 'less than a dog'," Among other remarks made by Miss White, "and you're /right/ to do that! Everything else has been tried, nobody is manipulating me, and this is how it has to be because the alternatives are even worse!"

Then Amulet Heart says something kind and wonderful, a very gentle approach to this battle; 'fight the darkness' rather than seeking to specifically strike Rune herself down. In most cases, this would be a fantastic idea. In this case, it's also still a mostly good idea but has some quirks to it. Runealy responds to Amu's sparkling energy by raising her forcefield again, and at first this seems to stop it. Yet the 'attack' persists, and the princess speaks to her even as cracks begin to form in the shield: "You're right. It's insane, and none of this should be happening! But it is, and I can't back d--- ggh!" She's cut off by her barrier shattering, Open Heart washing over her...

...And driving her to her knees, shuddering and coughing anew. Several things happen all at once as Runealy cries out, most of them visual and easy to see. One of her eyes returns to normal, though the other remains sealed behind the yellow glow. Her wand's tip loses some of its black and purple coloration, more of its proper green showing through. "Stop it! I need this! Don't you dare...!" Another sharp cough, "Take it from me!" Wand aimed in Amu's and Tadase's general direction, she launches the wand's orb tip. It splits apart in mid-air, a spray of tri-color sparkles aiming to pepper both of them! The attack is too unfocused to serve as an obvious finishing blow against either, but she's desperate to try to regain some momentum, to land any sort of strike on either one of her... it's hard to describe them as enemies when they're acting the near opposite. 'Opponents' is perhaps more apt for now.
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 19:35:47 7262
Tadase continues, frankly, to be amazed at what Amulet Heart can do. She really is amazing, to him; this is good, because he really isn't in any shape to dodge Runealy's next attack now, and those sparkles rain down on him.

Tadase, at least, isn't in any shape to fight anymore. And really, the answers Runealy has given sort of preclude that. Really, he's come to a strange answer, a strange sort of neccessity. At least for him, he knows he can't fight Runealy anymore. "You're saying even if we ran... you'd find someone else. So, if I don't run... I can protect someone else, from whatever things you're going to do - if you just do it to me. That's someone else you don't have to hurt?" he asks.

"But will you let my friend go? She can do things I can't do. She can protect the dreams of children, and bring them hope, in a way I can't." he says to Runealy, pointing at Amulet Heart. "She can do this without me. I can't do it without her." he says, still somehow full of at least a little fire and determination.

"Let her continue to protect those dreams - if you hurt her, if you take away her strength, there may be children who's dreams are shattered and they will never get them back."
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-11 19:48:36 7264
    .oO(Amucchi! You can't keep going! What are we gonna do?)
    (I can't leave Tadase behind!)Oo.

    Amu sees that, ill advised as it was, what she did to Runealy was working. But she's feeling like she's been doing P.E. for two hours on an empty stomach, and even the extremes of human athleticism that Amulet Heart are reaching their limits. She's cursing herself that she's at the limits of how she could think to handle this situation. If only she was more creative with her plans, if only she could push herself to care even more...

    Back at home, in their bed, Amu's blue and green eggs shiver...

    Raising her arms can only do much, and it especially can't protect her from a spray attack like this, which scratches her up pretty bad. She looks like she's been dragged through a hedge backwards.

    "Stop it," she says desperately, although it's not obvious who she's talking to. Maybe both. "Stop hurting... stop bringing all this pain on yourself."

    She keeps trying to walk towards Runealy. "You /don't/ need this darkness... this despair... please!"

    Desperate. "Tell me what your name is! TELL ME WHAT YOUR DREAM IS!"
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 19:56:29 7265
"That's right." Runealy confirms her choice of tactics to Tadase. "If I don't do that, all of you just run away and refuse to fight me! And if you keep doing that, things will get worse and worse. So I have to do something that unfair, to make you do what you won't do any other way. What you're doing right now though... nnhn..." A frustrated, but fairly low noise, "it makes it sound like you're negotiating surrender or something."

Her mouth opens to say a little more, but Tadase gives her a compelling reason to pause. The alien princess' gaze lowers as anger fades, leaving her feeling unsettled. Despairing, as Amu described it. Quietly so, but it's still weighing her mood down greatly. "That's pretty smart. Holding their dreams against me if I strike her down... taking what I'm doing to you, and turning it around to use right back at me. Maybe you shouldn't underestimate yourself," she tries to stare at Tadase while offering that odd praise, but finds she can't meet his gaze for more than a split-second before looking away.

Amu presses for more information. This time, she gets a little something. Not all of what she was hoping for, but one more clue mixed in with the other bits and pieces Runealy has offered. "I can't tell you my name. 'Princess', 'bandit', 'traitor', any of those will have to do for now. My dream, though? Mm... I can explain some of that. Look around you. I won't strike; just look around. Look around the whole area."

Her wand lowers, aimed down and to the side so as not to be immediately threatening either of them. "Both of you look, and tell me what you see around you. Ignore me. Pretend I'm not here, when you explain what is around you."
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 20:05:44 7266
Tadase humors her, a bit combat-woozy as he might be. "I don't know. Trees? Houses? People?" he's grasping with his words, like he's searching for a right answer. Like there is one. "Home." he adds, after a moment. "Home, and a place full of people and things I want to protect. And dreams." he adds, a call back to his earlier plea.

"That's what I see. Is it what you see?" he asks, looking to her. She might not be able to meet his gaze, but that's not stopping him. "what do you see when you look around? I have a suspicion it's more than just targets, more than just energy, or you wouldn't look so sad. Or you wouldn't have helped us purify that X-Chara." he says, firmly. Then he store of staggers a bit before regaining his footing.
Amu Hinamori 2015-08-11 20:17:34 7267
    Amu is-- there. Well, of course she's there.
    Granted, she needs Tadase to help support herself as much as he needs her to support him, but that's kind of what they're there for, aren't they? Helping one another out.

    She's a princess, apparently, as if this needed to be any more disillusioning for Amu. Japan doesn't have princesses, so this isn't her home. She needs to have people fight her- good people, rather than bad. She thinks that everyone judges her the same way, even if people are... people are...

    She's too tired to keep thinking very hard. She tries to shake the fuzz out of her head.

    "I see... a park that got messed up because someone with a dream lost hope, let darkness get them down... then something went out of control and bad things happened." Breathe. "And then I /talked/ to them and reassured them and I was able to give them something to believe in!" Breathe. "But the damage is still there...? Because darkness does bad things and people get /hurt/."
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 20:27:32 7268
"You're not wrong," Runealy calls back to Tadase. "Or rather, everything you've listed is right but it leaves out just one thing. There are trees, houses, people... people and home. People you want to protect, but that's only half of it. They have to be protected /and/ happy in order to be truly safe." She's still not meeting his gaze, and his efforts to force it are bringing a very real shame to her demeanor.

Amu's words have a similar effect, albeit one bringing this conversation on a slightly different route. "And you're right too. I saw what you two did. It was pretty amazing, and maybe you," a nod to Amu in particular, "were able to help them find the other half of what was missing. To make the decision to find that hope, and be happy for it. So you're both seeing the same thing I am."

"And this has gotten out of control. I can't just stop and make it be 'in control' again, though. But I'll tell you my dream, as we look at the same people around us. I want to see them happy and protected too. The world isn't that generous, though. Right now... one of Tokyo's protectors, someone like you, but older, said what I'm doing is dumb. He's right, but it's the last option I have left to run with. I'm doing something dumb so they," her free hand makes a wide sweeping gesture in a circle all around herself, indicating the whole area. "Can be safe. I'll have to answer for that when my friends and I have finished our work, of course. Saying 'I'm sorry' won't fix the damage, but that's okay. What I'm doing absolutely is worth the cost, and for that... if you're serious?"

She finally works up the nerve to face them. First Amu, then Tadase. "I... would accept those terms. Taking your," her eyes remain on Tadase, "your energy, but not yours," a look to Amu. "I know the phone numbers to send for Tokyo's healers. I'll stay here until they arrive for you. It wouldn't be right for a Witch to come upon you while you're hurt, after all."
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 20:35:56 7269
Tadase listens to her intently, again. He feels that feeling welling up inside, though. It's not a good feeling. Is it anger, or fear? He can't place it.

It doesn't feel very noble, though.

"Do whatever it is that you think you need to do." he adds, holding his tounge against adding any more vitriol to the speech. "I'll be fine. Take my 'energy' and go. There's no need for you to stay around." he adds, and his tone is getting a little more hostile towards her the more he talks, before he stuffs it back down.

He turns to Amu. "I'm sure I'll be fine. You're the holder of the Lock. You can do things nobody else can. And that's why it's so important that you keep doing them. I'm sure I'll be okay soon either way - but even if I'm not, you have to go on protecting the dreams of others - so that you can understand your dreams. That's what the Founding King said your duty was."

He turns back to stare down the Princess, but he really can't prevent himself from scowling at her.
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 20:54:31 7270
"It's not what I 'think' I have to do," Runealy insists. "I know I do." Nonetheless, she hesitates. Her walk toward Tadase is slow, as she begins digging around in her dress' bow for another crystal. This one is different from the one she used earlier. It's also diamond-shaped and able to fit in the hand with ease, but it's clear with a tint of blue to it. Pretty, rather than threatening and twisted as the other one was.

"The Founding King sounds pretty wonderful, if they've gone to all this trouble to get people who can keep dreams safe. Both of you are pretty incredible, too. I know this doesn't help, that this is going to hurt anyway and you're going to be upset." he already seems to be, but Runealy is now next to Tadase, holding the crystal up for him to see.

"All I can say is that this is going to help tremendously. Your energy is probably some of the best I'll ever find for re..." A headshake as she abruptly cuts herself off, realizing the wording slip that was about to happen. "You really are a hero, and I'm... I'm sorry." She taps the top of the crystal.

And unless someone or something moves to stop her, Runealy will give the word. "Transfuse." Should that happen, a thin 'clear' energy line will flow from the crystal, to Tadase. It will change colors to match something suited to him, as it digs in and begins to rip out energy in an invasive, chilling process.
Tadase Hotori 2015-08-11 21:16:11 7271
Tadase tries, valliantly, to stay stable through the pain that the energy drain causes - and he might have a chance, if it wasn't for all of the wounds within combat he'd taken. It's not too long before his silence breaks and it goes from a groan to an outright small scream that mercifully only lasts a moment before he passes out from the pain.

Kiseki isn't anywhere to be seen - largely because he's acting on his own to make sure that someone trustworthy is able to help Tadase - and largely because he's frankly incapable of watching what goes on.
Runealy Waldia 2015-08-11 21:27:23 7272
It's a noise that sticks clearly in Runealy's mind. She'll remember that, as she returns 'home' to write down what she learned today about two more of Tokyo's heroes, to make sure her world's history knows about them.

She won't do that right now, of course. She looks down at the unconscious Tadase, then at the filled crystal... one she puts away. It's perfect for her needs, one more step closer to saving her world, but even this accomplishment feels hollow as she stares at what has been wrought.

True to her word, she does back away and find a place to hide and watch until proper help arrives. Only then does she slip away and leave, tears flowing anew as she insists to herself, "This has to be worth it...!" She can't imagine what it would be like if, after all this, things do not work out as hoped.