Dark Knights and Stars


Dr. Murano sets up an energy-draining device on an apartment building in order to draw in heroes for a test of Nightbell's combat abilities. It goes about as well as you'd expect when someone filled with dark energy picks a fight with someone who has purification powers.

Date: 2018-06-21
Pose Count: 20
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-21 18:59:56 92155
Today was warm and sunny, but the evening so far has been comfortably cool ... with, perhaps, a faint chill. And now, someone is up to no good.

On the roof of one of the apartment buildings in Pikarigaoka, a severe-looking woman woman in a plain white lab coat is fiddling with a strange machine connected to a small tank with a window on one side. A few dozen feet behind her, someone else sits crosslegged, inexplicably wearing a hooded raincoat which hides her face in shadow.

The woman in the lab coat finishes her fiddling and stands up straight. "All right, that should do it," she says. "Bell?"

The hooded figure nods. "Yes, Dr. Murano," she says, in a much younger voice. From the depths of her raincoat, she withdraws a small pendant in the shape of a double-barred cross with a ruby inlaid at the crux of the upper bar. "Rubindorn, activate it."

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> says the pendant enthusiastically, in a tinny voice that sounds like Bell affecting a high-pitched cutesy tone. It briefly shines a faint red light on the machine, which promptly begins letting out an eerie hum, and an unsettling purple glow begins forming inside the tank as the machine begins draining energy from the people in the uppermost stories of the apartment building ...

Bell puts away the pendant. "You were right, I can feel the energy drain in my own magic," she says. "Should be detectable from a fair distance, too. How long do you think it'll be until someone else shows up?"

"Not too long, I think," says Dr. Murano uncertainly.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-06-21 19:09:14 92156
Hoshi's out on a nearby rooftop watching the sky, trying to see if she can find a planet within the city's light or if she'll have to wait for the weekend so she can retreat to the family estates. She's disturbed from her quest by the clear sign of energy draining, and she sighs. She fishes out a glowing yellow crystal and yells, "Chroma Prism Yellow. Transform!"

A pair of stars come out and wrap Hoshi in a miko's outfit, yellow on top with a white skirt. They swiftly tie a large white ribbon around her waist as three more stars come out to attach themselves to her forehead, the first two join them on the side forming a glowing tiara. In her hand, she claims countless stars forming a sceptre that's visiually induistingishable from a miniature galaxy.

Butterfly wings on her back, Prism Princess Yellow flies across the rooftops and heads towards the source of the draining. "Stop that right now!" She yells, in clear anger.
Stahlritter 2018-06-21 19:38:05 92157
((JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO))

Alexis had asked for Rashmi to come along on patrol with him, tonight-- saying he could use the analysis capacity of Nicomachea for something.

And as it turned out quickly enough, it wasn't purely a matter of patrolling in the German's mind. Rather, he lead the redhead along rather purposefully, until settling on a rooftop high enough to overlook several city blocks down below.

"There's the routes the couriers are taking," Stahlritter's rumbling voice boomed out from beneath his ornate, t-visored helmet, while one large, gauntlet-bearing hand was held up, with a holographic display projected out and transferred to Nicomachea, in an effort to outline logistical lines over the web of the streets below. "I am not certain how deeply related to the Yakuza or my Mother they are, but there has to be at least a tangential relation. Mercury already identified one of their destinations as a subsidiary property of the Raskoph Conglomera--"

And that's when the sense of something very, very wrong hits in.

<ANOMALIE ERKANNT>

The golden visor of the Knight turns to seek out the assumed direction of the source, even as he asks, "Nicomachea can trace that down, can't he?" ... Right before leaping off the rooftop, and swinging off with the assistance of a magically-formed chain.

((NOW))

The end of a red chain attaches to the very edge of the next building over, vibrating faintly as what's on the other end rapidly retracts towards that point. And right before the retracting owuld cause an impact, the chain detaches, and instead sends Stahlritter sailing right over the rooftop, and towards the building the energy-draining machine, the mysterious knight and the equally mysterious doctor are settled on. High in the air, the dark longcoat of Steel Knight spreads out in the winds, on either side of him, creating a bizarre illusion of wings, even if only momentarily so, while he falls downwards to the way of the roof from the apex of the chain-assisted leap.
Rashmi Terios 2018-06-21 19:54:30 92158
((THEN))

The overlay gets transferred to one of Nicomachea's screens, and Riashmi nods along with Stahlritter's explanations, curious as to where this might be headed. But at the same moment he gets cut off, Nicomachea chimes in with a deep warning tone.

*BONG!* << LARGE ANOMALY DETECTED, MASTER. >>

"Yeah," is all she says, as golden wings shimmer into existence over her back and ankles. "Let's go."

(( NOW ))

Flying is convenient for a number of reasons; direct point to point travel being one of them, without all the fiddly messing about with swing-line vectors. It does mean that one loses a bit of intimidation upon arrival, but, Rashmi has never really been the intimidating sort.

Coming to a halt over the rooftop, Rashmi beams a cheerful smile at Prism Princess Yellow, as a half-dozen screens blink into existence above the armored book in her hand. "Hi, Yellow-chan!" she says, as her Device begins to gather data on the machine, and its users.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-21 20:08:59 92160
Rubindorn pings within Bell's coat. <<HERRIN, DREI FEINDE NAHERN SICH!>>

"Three sounds about right," says Bell, pulling out the pendant. "Either way, showti--"

<<EINER VON IHNEN IST EIN RITTER!>>

Bell pauses. "A knight," she says. She lets out a faintly nervous chuckle. "Well, then!"

The heroes begin arriving. Bell holds the tip of her hood as she tilts her head up, keeping her face shaded as she watches them; a faint red glow is visible underneath, as is an unfriendly smile. She nods in approval at the other knight's intimidating entrance, but doesn't actually seem affected. Dr. Murano cowers behind the machine, however.

Dr. Murano will register in Nicomachea's as an ordinary human, a bit of aptitude as a mage but not one who uses a Device full time. Bell, on the other hand, is a living magical program. She's also full of dark energy, as if she was partly constructed out of it -- or had spent quite a bit of time getting corrupted by it.

When the girl in yellow makes her demand, Bell smirks. "Stop?" she says cheerfully. "Okay!" She rips off her pendant, holding it out towards Dr. Murano with both hands. "Rubindorn, protect the Doctor! Schwertform!"

There's ping, followed by a surge of dark energy, and the pendant transforms into a longsword with a nearly six-foot-long blood-red blade, with an emblem shaped approximately like the pendant. <<ROSENSCHILD!>> A beam of light fires out at Dr. Murano, and a pyramid of ruby-red light tainted with shadows forms around her and the draining-machine, which -- in all fairness -- does promptly shut down. Dr. Murano is visibly relieved.

Only then does Bell stand up, rising up to her full height, which is ... closer to seven feet tall than six feet, put it like that. "Thanks for stopping by for this live battle test!" she says sardonically, holding Rubindorn off to the side. "My name is Nightbell, and I'm Eclipse's newest ... mm ... asset."

Dr. Murano grumbles, and shrinks back further behind the machine.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-06-21 20:34:47 92161
"I am Prism Princess Yellow." Hoshi answers Nightbell as she moves away from her group and tries to get around the latest Eclipse asset to set up a flank. She's more comfortable in her fighting style than she used to be. "You don't want to be Eclipse's asset. They'll use you for as long as you're useful to them, then throw you away like you're trash. You deserve better than that."

Accompanying the flanking action is a swing at the air with her scepter, a handful of stars peeling loose and rushing for Nightbell, they oscillate between being low energy and high, each pulse of energy full of purifying colour energy. They don't hit, they actively avoid contact--though contact would send a big pulse of colour energy in what they hit--rather they seek to whizz and zoom around Nightbell's head, each flash unlikely to meaningfully hurt; but to anything vulnerable to purification this is likely to be incredibly distracting.
Stahlritter 2018-06-21 20:57:20 92162
Stahlritter lands upon the rooftop with a heavy, imposing sound, lowering down to one knee with it as the previously-fluttering coat falls back down to flowing about him again, before rising up again, smoothly, to standing on both feet.

And it comes immediately with a stomp forward, even while Bell speaks out, with that massive sword out. "Then you've chosen poorly on who to follow," his voice rumbles out, artificially booming from within the helmet.

"But you do not really care, do you?"

The whole time, from beneath that visor, he studies the figure before him. Analyzing whatever's there, filing information up.

She's partly Dark Energy. The thought is telepathically carried over through Kriegsfauste to Nicomachea, and through there to Rashmi. The Prism girl is a Purifier. Give her support; she will likely be a priority target when the thing realizes. I will try to keep it busy otherwise.

And thus, when those pulses of stars come flying about Nightbell, Stahlritter makes to take advantage-- by launching himself through rooftop only distantly lit by the lights of the city below, and towards the opponent.

A sword that big has to have enough energy to cut through my chains. A direct application of them is not an option. So in other words--

In nearly an instant, with the assistsance of a short-range Phase Shift spell, Stahlritter is right within the reach of that dreadfully large sword, with one of those massive gauntlets brought up to swinging for her.

--no choice but keep her busy in close combat!
Rashmi Terios 2018-06-21 21:03:53 92163
She's also a magical AI, Rashmi answers, frowning at her screens. That's two that exist now, what... nevermind, flagging that for Mizuno-senpai. She nods at the suggestions given, she draws in a deep breath, as a Midchildan magical circle spreads out wide beneath her feet.

*bing!* << TIME-SPACE BARRIER >>

A point rather a ways above the dome Becomes a circle of fractal, roiling green-black light, and the circle spreads into a dome that closes over the building, and a good piece of the surrounding neighborhood, shifting the battlefield half a dimension over and filtering out non-magical life. Which means that the machine is out of humans to harvest from, yay!

And now there's nothing to hold Nightbell back. .....Yay?
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-21 21:23:06 92165
Nightbell has never experienced anything except Eclipse's positive interest in her, and this is the first time she's even encountered the idea that she could be on the receiving end of that sort of nastiness (rather than the giving end). At Yellow and Stahlritter's protests, she lets out a disbelieving chuckle, and turns her head towards Dr. Murano. The Doctor doesn't seem amused, though. Bell shrugs, and watches Yellow break away from the group, letting Rubindorn keep track of the others. "Then I guess I'd better make sure I'm 'useful' for as long as I can!" she says sarcastically.

She does, however, react to the stars. She reacts as if they were arcs of electricity showering sparks onto her, and she flinches slightly every time one of them comes near. As a result, she completely fails to notice Stahlritter's attack.

Her sword, however, is much more attentive. <<HERRIN!>> At the last possible second, Nightbell whirls around and thrusts her hand forward, palm outward. "Panzerschild!" A blood-red magic triangle appears, blocking the other knight's swinging fist, and then Bell dodges back and ... rises off the ground, floating backwards out of melee range and away from Yellow's stars.

Her raincoat's hood falls, exposing her mop of maroon hair. Her catlike slitted eyes are glowing red, and there are strange red downward-pointing triangular markings under her eyes. "Wow!" she says, grinning as if she's having fun. "I was gonna offer to return the energy we've drained if you win, but if you wanna jump right into playing rough? Can do!" She raises her sword above her head. "Knight Clothing, set up!"

With a surge of dark energy, her Knight Clothing glitches into existence, replacing her superfluous raincoat, and revealing similar triangular markings running up and down her arms and legs. She holds her sword at the ready, and quickly scans the battlefield. "By the way, book-girl," she adds, "this barrier is useful. Guess your Mid-Childan toys can actually come in handy sometimes!"

And then she fires a quick stream of dark energy bullets at Rashmi, the kind you can get from any bog-standard youma, and swoops down on Alex, preparing to slash down at him with her sword!
Hoshi Kogane 2018-06-21 21:30:53 92166
"I'll be ready to tell you 'I told you so' the moment you realize I'm right. Until then, I'm going to limit how useful you can be to them. Sorry." Yellow answers Nightbell without hesitation, watching the artificial creature attack away from her. The response to the opening salvo told her enough already, and she does not hesitate to attack properly this time.

The Prism Keeper spins her scepter, and a couple of stars fly loose, each wearing a face obscuring mask that fails to actually hide the fact they have a face. They go off into the distance, nowhere near Nightbell. What does go towards Bightbell is a beam of energy that paints whatever it touches Yellow, and purifies it while it's at it. It's got enough energy in it to hurt even those not susceptible to purification, but it's not an overwhelmingly powerful attack.

Those'll come later.
Stahlritter 2018-06-21 21:48:45 92167
Stahlritter's steel-covered fist rebounds off the shield, with a shattering of mana before drawing back.

It was painfully apparent already that his opponent was of Belkan make, but now it's definitely well and confirmed, isn't it?

Stahlritter, unsurprisingly to anyone who happens to know him (coughRashmicough), doesn't actually go flying or floating or anything of the sort after Nightbell, but he does seem just about ready to leap upwards after her.

That is, before she launches an attack at Rashmi and comes sweeping right back down at him.

The attack directed at the redhead doesn't go unnoticed or unconsidered. A part of the man is tempted to try and intercept that, but-- he has to trust her to be able to look after herself. If it was something bigger, he would be concerned.

He doesn't respond to the incoming attack by bringing up his own shield, mind you. Instead, he smoothly shifts to the side just out of the way, and pounces up along the length of the blade. Trying to turn the size of the weapon against it's user, and swinging his fist in an uppercut at her--!

Just kidding.

At the very last second, the incoming fist suddenly redirects off to the side, as if though expecting the reactive defenses of the Device itself to intercept him again, and as the fist opens up once more, a red-glowing chain unfurls from within. looping around his arm and then around hers, to try and pull her along by it and down into the ground.

And keep her in the way of the Yellow Beam.

I mean, sure, that will probably mean he will get hit by it too, but that's only a secondary thought currently.
Rashmi Terios 2018-06-21 21:56:06 92168
*bing!* << SOLAR SHIELD >>

A globe of transparent yellow light shimmers into being around Rashmi, but she doesn't rely on that to keep her safe; jinking to one side, she starts flying in a curving arc opposite Yellow, a half-dozen summon Bullets fading into view, revolving around the shield's equator. But she doesn't release them, not yet. Now, she has a different job.

*bing!* << BARRET BOOST UP >>

A ribbon of rne-etched light emerges from between the pages of her open book, eeling through the air and wrapping around Yellow's scepter. The magic of the color Yellow, warmed by at least an analog of the yellow sun.

"You could still stop this," she calls down to Nightbell. "We don't like hurting people. Stand down and go, give back the energy, and there won't be hard feelings!"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-21 22:32:39 92169
Nightbell was programmed and developed to be a highly skilled fighter, and notwithstanding the shortfalls of the project, this was in fact largely successful. It's just that this fight is the first actual experience she's gotten.

This is why she forgot to fire anything at Yellow, and why Stahlritter's feint takes her completely by surprise.

She lets out a squawk and comes crashing to the ground, well in the path of the yellow beam. "Rosenschild!"

Ping! <<ROSENSCHILD!>> A ruby pyramid barrier surrounds Nightbell and Stahlritter just in time for the beam to hit. And then the pyramid turns a rosy reddish-pink, the shadows vanish completely, the shield cracks, breaks, and then shatters. Bell screams as it hits, the purification beam clearly painful, but the she manages to stay upright even as she gets turned yellow ...

... and Stahlritter's chain shatters as well.

Nightbell flies up out of the beam, and lets out a full-on evil cackle. "Are you kidding, Mid-Childa!?" she says. "I'm just getting started! Now, for a change in priorities ..."

"Nightbell!" shouts Dr. Murano, trying to move around so that the machine is constantly between her and the combatants. "That Yellow girl is a purifier! You need to --"

"YES, THANK YOU DOCTOR, I GOT THAT!" growls Bell.

She flies towards Yellow with her sword at the ready, flitting this way and that in a wild corkscrewing zigzagging pattern -- both to make it harder to hit her, and to make it harder to see where to dodge when she swings her blade!
Hoshi Kogane 2018-06-21 22:38:24 92170
Yellow is not a tank, she's not sturdy enough to be one. Nor is she fast enough to really avoid the full on attention of a dark energy infused killing machine person, and so she does the only thing she can. She lands and swings her scepter once again, sending several stars flying straight for Nightbell. Each boosted by Rashmi's magic.

At the same time, those stars which flew off in the distance before this now return with a vengeance. Circling in from behind Nightbell to strike from there. Weaker than the ones with Rashmi's boost, but still strong enough. Now, of course, this series of attacks may slow down or otherwise temper the incoming onslaught, but Yellow is still in for a lot of pain if nobody does anything to shield her. She crosses her arms in front her, purifying scepter first, to try to temper the blow.

It's not going to help much.
Stahlritter 2018-06-21 22:52:18 92172
Nightbell is not the only one who comes leaping out of the beam. Shortly just behind her, is Stahlritter, who despite also taking it head on, seems to more or less only sport a couple odd tears along his coat. And he has, of all things, a piece of rubble in his hand, that immediately gets crushed into a fine dust within the metallic fingers. And that? That gets tossed into the general direction of the swordswoman charging at Yellow.

<<SPANNSTUCK: NEBELGRANATE>>

The ground-up rubble suddenly accelerates across through the space above the rooftop, before exploding just before reaching Nightbell and Yellow, in a massive cloud of blinding dust. Followed immediately by another familiar, blunt sound of the roof underneath Stahlritter cracking with him launching himself off--

And ending up flying right for Rashmi.

"SLINGSHOT!" is all he yells at the redhead-- and that's all he expects to be good enough to let her know to launch him off again with a collapsible shield, at the two, with mach-like speeds.

And thus bring him swooping right past Nightbell, with Yellow caught into one arm to snatch her out of the way of the sword.
Rashmi Terios 2018-06-21 23:01:37 92174
"Yellow!" Rashmi shouts, horrified to see Nightbell launch herself toward the unsuspecting Princess. Her revolving Bullets arc out, coming in fast and wide to try and bat the dark AI off her trajectory, and begins to move in after her... But Stahlritter has a better idea.

One screen flips to a bumbling kitten trying to bat at a fuzzy ball on a spring, and another flickers through a series of geometric calculations. Rashmi's flight stops in midair, then swoops down to 'catch' the Knight on her shield, positioned just-so to aim him at Nightbell. Once done...

*bing!* << RED SHIFT >>

And Rashmi's golden bubble is surrounded by an aiming ring for a moment, then shatters outward, transferring all its kinetic-repulsion power into kinetic *action.*

And while she can't fly nearly as fast as Stahlritter is at this moment, she *is* speeding after him toward the new battle location, another Shield wrapping around her... and then another, and another, and another.

"There are three of us," she shouts in answer to Nightbell's boast, "And we're just getting started too! Seriously, back down or this will end very badly for you!"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-21 23:34:24 92176
Even if Nightbell had thought that the Mid-Childan and the enemy knight were going to work together to rescue Yellow, she had no idea they were going to do it this ... efficiently. Or effectively, for that matter. The sudden dust-projectile was certainly out of left-field, and she dodges to the side, then dodges in another direction to avoid the bullets!

She actually pauses at Rashmi's words. "That's another neat trick," she murmurs, considering this for a moment. "Hmm ..." She shoots the Doctor a questioning look.

"Well, I mean, this was just a test-run, and even this much is ... well, barely enough data," Dr. Murano calls out. "... I don't know, it's your call. What's your Device's status?"

Bell shrugs, and looks down at her sword. How're we doing? she says telepathically.

ALL IN ALL, WE'RE DOING PRETTY GOOD! her device replies in Belkan. EXCEPT WE'RE ALSO YELLOW.

Nightbell smiles thinly. "Nah," she says. "'Sides. Fighting smarter tends to work better than fighting harder! Rubindorn, Menschenmengeform!" Crowd form.

A black cylindrical metal sheath covers the blade, then extends another four feet in the opposite direction as the crossguard retracts, forming a ten-foot-long pole. A pair of blood-red spontoon-heads stick out of either end, and then Bell twirls it around above her head. "But do fight harder! Rubindorn?"

A slot opens on the side of the polearm, and what appears to be a gun-trigger setup sticks out. <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Bell pulls the tricker ...

There's a thunderclap, and the polearm vents black steam, and Nightbell cackles as she charges right towards Rashmi, swinging a magically-empowered ten-foot solid-metal pole at her as if it was a cardboard tube.
Rashmi Terios 2018-06-21 23:47:13 92177
There are several downsides to having a Device that is not remotely weaponlike. Chief among them, in this instant, being that there is simply no defense Rashmi has against the incoming attack other than her magic. And the sudden change in direction and tactics catch both her and Nicomachea by surprise.

To his credit, the book *attempts* to mount a reactive defense...

*BONG!* << RED SH-- >>

....But there's just no time, and the shields were tuned to maximize kinetic kickback over blocking strength. So the good news, at least, is that the recoil of four layers of shielding shattering at once punts Nightbell several meters back the way she came.

The bad news, however, is that with the boost provided by the Cartridge, there was more than enough force left in the blow to send Rashmi down onto the rooft--

--through the rooftop into the level below.

And as the powerup she'd given Yellow fades from the Princess' scepter, it's pretty clear that she's not going to be in the fight anytime soon.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-06-22 00:01:10 92178
Rashmi is down, Yellow is hurting and this opponent is going all out. "Okay. Playtime is over." She says in a cool tone and then there's a very quick but incredibly tiny and weak beam sent towards Nightbell. The point of it is not to hurt, the point is to tag Nightbell with it. If the first misses, she'll try again, as long as it takes to land that tag. Once she does, there's an announcement.

"Prism Aegis Power! Yellow Starfall!

Up in orbit around Earth, a sleepy but sizable yellow star wakes up. He stretches and the little tag is brilliant like a beacon to it. Waiting for a clear angle, the star takes a deep breath, beats it chest and simply drops out of orbit, accelerating on the way down. This thing is massive, and composed entirely of purifying yellow energy with a straight bead on its target.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-22 00:13:08 92179
Nightbell topples head-over-heels as she gets thrown away by Rashmi's shields, but she quickly rights herself. She cackles as the Time-Space Barrier starts to flicker, twirling Rubindorn over her head. The yellow coloration starts to melt away, too, as her dark energy starts to overtake the remains of the color-powers. "You won't be trying that trick again --"

She easily dodges the first tag-bolt. "What?" The second one hits her leg.

And then, boom.

Nightbell lies on her back on the rooftop, unconscious, Knight Clothing glitched completely out and leaving behind her raincoat. For a moment, her hair is a shade of pale blue, and her markings are ultramarine ...

Rubindorn lies next to her, shattered in several places -- and with the spontoon-blades turned a rosy shade, just like the barriers when they'd been hit. <<WARNUNG: ICH HABE ... KRITISCHEN ... SCHADEN ... ERLITTEN,>> it says, in a considerably less-cutesy tone than usual, before it, too, glitches out and reverts to its pendant form.

And then Bell's colorations fade back to their original darker shades.

Dr. Murano crouches behind the machine, now without any kind of protective barrier. "I'll just ... turn on the reversal, shall I?" she says, before going to fiddle with it. After a moment, the device begins pouring the stolen energy back into the apartment, returning to its rightful owners.

And with her back to the heroes for a moment, Dr. Murano allows herself to smile. This did give her a goodly, productive amount of data on Nightbell's operations ...