Red Blade, Blue Fans

Nightbell and Dr. Murano's second test run is interrupted when Tessen shows up. A rivalry is born.

Date: 2018-06-25
Pose Count: 23
Bell 2018-06-25 00:33:36 92207
It's a cloudy and faintly drizzly evening, and a black van with tinted windows is driving through Mitakihara's residential district. It seems to be taking a circuitous route through the neighborhood, as if the driver doesn't want anyone to know where they're coming from.

It stops in a dark lot behind an apartment building, and Dr. Murano climbs out of the driver's seat, dressed in a plain gray raincoat. "... not sure why we didn't think of using your old Storage Device sooner, it's such an optimal idea!"

"Eh." Nightbell dramatically leaps out of the passenger's side, dressed in a similar raincoat, once again with the hood pulled up to conceal her face. "You probably know better than I do how sudden inspirations strike, Doctor."

Four Eclipse-brand youma-bots clamber out of the back of the van, carrying various machinery. One of them is holding what appears to be a large round black bell with the double-barred-cross-with-an-open-circle emblem etched into the side, which it hands to Dr. Murano; the bell lets out a brief ping, and then the robots set to work putting together all the machinery.

Nightbell pulls her Device's pendant out of her coat. "Lemme know the instant someone unexpected shows up, Rubindorn."

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!!>> replies the pendant.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-25 01:13:08 92209
A cloudy night is just the right thing for a flight over the city... wait, no, this is someone sane we're talking about. Still, Mikoto finds herself needing to clear her head after fighting her way through some particularly unpleasant homework. So a flight is just what she needs.

    She was actually considering heading in to the WPS offices, but this late at night, she'd just be bothering the late-staff... besides, she doesn't have any experiments running there at the moment. It's all in her warehouse. Maybe she should stop for ice cr --

    Ping! <~Energy signature detected, Meister!~>

    "Well. Maybe I'll get to work things out the old-fashioned way after all." Beating up on a bunch of youma can be so cathartic. "Plot me a ground course and switch to mode T." The Device pings again, and a ripple passes over the young Knight, her garments overwritten by a recently-designed Barrier Jacket as she settles in an alley not too far at all from the source.
Bell 2018-06-25 01:32:52 92210
Rubindorn pings excitedly. <<ICH HABE EINEN RITTER GEFUNDEN, HERRIN!>>

"Only one Knight, huh," says Bell, turning. She side-eyes Dr. Murano. "Told you someone was gonna detect them remotely, Doc."

Dr. Murano grumbles. "Get into defensive formation," she orders the robots, moving to stand in the center of the equipment. The robots hurriedly put the machinery down unfinished around her, then move to stand by Bell. In a blur of motion, each of them transforms their right arm into a bladed weapon, shifting into a combat-ready stance.

Bell adjusts her hood to make sure her face is still shadowed -- although a faint red glow is still visible -- then turns to the pile of equipment and rips off the pendant, holding it in both hands. "Rubindorn, Schwertform!" In a surge of dark energy, Rubindorn transforms into its sword-form, the blood-red blade clearly visible against the darkness.

Ping! <<ROSENSCHILD!>> Rubindorn fires a beam that creates a pyramid-shaped barrier around the Doctor and the equipment, ruby red but clouded with darkness.

Dr. Murano looks at the bell in her hands. "Ritterglocke, start recording." The bell lets out a soft ping.

Bell turns back towards the direction of the incoming Knight. "Now, Doctor, don't try anything action-oriented," she says. "That's just a Storage Device, not a weapon, it can't even give you Knight Clothing."

"Right," mutters Dr. Murano.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-25 01:44:28 92212
It's only a brief walk from where she'd landed to the site of the energy readings, and Mikoto opts to walk casually, rather than charge into battle. After all, it might be some totally innocent ... something.

Yeah, yeah, we all know better.

"Good evening," she calls out, friendly and cheerful, as she comes around the corner and into sight of the pair and their youma-bots. "Such a beautiful evening, I had to take advantage of it. You know how it goes." She shrugs, showing empty hands. "I'd listen to the young lady if I were you, Doc, it sounds like she knows what she's talking about. Which is going to make this all the more interesting."

Then she walks up and actually taps on the shield. *Ting* "Hmmm, not bad, not bad. Looks like... gamma-grade, at least. Mil-spec thaumware. Stuff will keep turning up... it's odd how much finds its way here to Earth, don't you think?"
Bell 2018-06-25 01:54:41 92213
Nightbell is amused enough that she just lets the other knight walk over. The shield ripples with dark energy as Tessen pokes it, and Dr. Murano flinches back slightly and nearly trips over one of the machines. Bell, meanwhile, directs the four robots to stand in a circle, facing inward; they aren't quite pointing their weapons at Tessen, but it's clear from their bearing that they're ready to start using them at a moment's notice.

"Oh, I know!" Bell says, her tone one of insincere friendliness. "And that's just the stuff that was brought here deliberately, like me. It's like this planet is one big Belkan reunion, isn't it?" She waits for Tessen to turn back to face her, and pulls back her raincoat's hood to reveal her glowing red cat-eyes and triangular cheek-markings. "My name is Nightbell, by the way," she says lazily.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-25 02:05:41 92214
Tessen nods, a light smile flickering across her face as she takes in the revealed appearance. "I go by 'Tessen', these days. You won't find it in any Knightly Order's membership list, but..." She shrugs again, and suddenly she's holding what looks like ordinary folding paper fans, one in each hand... except the panels are made of gleaming panels of silver-blue mana.

"I do know an UMBRA-Tech Type-Six battledrone when I see one." She's disassembled a few of them for parts, after all. "Soooooo.... you wanna tell me what you're up to out here so late at night? Or do I have to explain to the guy who owns the pizza place why his wall is all messed up?"
Bell 2018-06-25 02:14:04 92215
Nightbell nods, smiling. "Tessen. Nice to meet you," she says sardonically. "And you won't find me in any registries, either. Especially on the so-called heroes' side."

Dr. Murano mumbles, "We're not with UMBRA, we just requisitioned these units through Eclipse for ..." She just nervously shakes her head and stops talking.

Nightbell grins at the fans. "Oh, you know, we're here for the usual," she says. "Testing new energy-draining equipment, testing a new weapon's combat capabilities." She holds her sword at the ready, ready for Tessen to charge forward at any second like the last knight she fought. "As for messing up the pizza place's wall ... well, the night is still young, y'know?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-25 02:26:18 92216
"Umbra, Schmumbra. Riventon's an idiot and a hackjob of a scientist, anyways." She chuckles softly, hands rolling in brief circles, flourishing her weapons. She casts a brief glance over at the van, and the various machinery the bots are assembling.

Finally, she tests one of her fans against the shield, a snap of her wrist folding it into a single projection, the tip slowly tracing a line down the face of the shield. "New weapons are always fun. There's so many ways they can go wrong... blow up... shoot through the wall and hit someone you weren't aiming at... suck out your soul and drive you insane..." She shrugs again, then gives the shield another poke.

She's a bit less straightforward than most Knights, despite the blatant approach. And an enemy who gives her time to build up a stock of well-nigh-invisible (especially in the dark and rain) flicker-shots is just begging for her to drag it out. The longer it takes for actual fighting to start, the more prepared she'll be.

"That it is," she agrees. "Of course, you could just agree to disagree, scuttle the 'bots, and the three of us could go in and buy some pizza, get out of this rain...."
Bell 2018-06-25 02:35:56 92217
Nightbell shrugs at the commentary about new weapons. "Yeah, well, I'm not that kind of weapon," she says. "I'm the kind that you just point me, and the target's destroyed."

She's about to make a snide remark in response to Tessen's suggestion, when Rubindorn suddenly says, <<WARNUNG: DER FEINDLICHE RITTER PRODUZIERT MAGISCHE ENERGIE!>>

A brief expression of worry crosses Bell's face, but she quickly brings up a smirk. "Nah," she says quickly. She leaps into the air in complete defiance of gravity, Knight Clothes materializing and replacing the raincoat in a surge of dark energy, and then descends upon Tessen, swinging Rubindorn's six-foot blade as if it was made of cardboard. The robots charge at Tessen at the same moment on the ground, all four moving as one.

A screen appears above the bell in Dr. Murano's hands, showing her a tactical readout as the Storage Device begins recording the battle.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-25 02:47:15 92218
Tessen laughs again, bright and bell-like, her eyes agleam with interest now that battle is properly joined. The opening verbal fencing is always fun, but it's just the appetizer. Now it's time for the entree.

She leaps back, just as inhumanly nimble as her foe, crossing her folded fans above her head to intercept the descending blade. <~Panzerschild!~> speaks her Device's mechanical voice, and a shimmering field of energy appears briefly to intercept attacks incoming from the bots, to allow her to focus on the swordfight.

"Those can be the most fun," she jibes, keeping one fan folded to parry with while the other flutters and turns about, drawing attention to itself. "Just say what you want dead... and like a good shinobi, she goes and kills it. A more elegant way of casting death upon one's foes than simply tossing mega-blasts around, isn't it?"
Bell 2018-06-25 03:00:38 92219
Nightbell lets out a laugh of her own as Tessen parries the blow from her sword ... and then she remains hovering a couple feet off the ground. "Well, maybe!" she says, darting back in midair and firing a burst of dark energy bullets from one hand. "It's all a matter of picking the right weapon for the job!" She swoops back down, swinging Rubindorn in a feint, then darting to the side to slash from another angle. "Sometimes you need an explosion!"

Dr. Murano frowns at Tessen's shields. "Hmm ... I wonder if ..." She sends a telepathic command to the Storage Device, and then suddenly the robots move to crowd around one of the shields, all of them striking against the same spot repeatedly in an effort to break through.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-25 03:11:49 92220
"Oh, true enough, true enough," Tessen agrees, flicking open the fan she'd reserved to bat away the bullets as she flips back another pace. She parries with the other hand, this time, still holding on the defensive, making no move to attack. She seems to be going for the feint... but somehow the fan is in just the right position to flick down and parry the actual blow. Almost. The blade shoves past the fan to impact on her jacket, although it doesn't seem to penetrate.

"So tell me," she continues bantering, as she lets the blade push her off to the side. "Those loons at Eclipse treating you okay? How's the pay? Enough to get by? I gotta look out for my fellow Knights here, you know..." She grins and bounces back once again, getting room for another flourishing maneuver meant to entrap the incoming blade once again. "Do they at least have a decent health insurance plan?"
Bell 2018-06-27 01:37:21 92262
As of now, Bell isn't seriously aware that not being in Eclipse is an actual option. "Just fine, just fine!" she says, smirking as she lands that glancing blow. "How's the self-appointed vigilante business? Is that getting you, uh, anything?" Noticing that Tessen hasn't been directly fighting back, she draws back a dozen or so feet in midair and holds Rubindorn in a defensive posture; this is only her second battle, and her first one-on-one duel, but the other knight's reticence is ... suspicious. Rubindorn, can you keep an eye on that magical energy she's been tossing out? You too, Doc.

"As I understand, not all of them are self-appointed," says Dr. Murano, not looking up from Ritterglocke's screen. But she does follow Bell's lead, and has the bots step away from Tessen, adopting defensive postures of their own.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-27 01:56:38 92263
"Oh, I take my satisfaction from the pleasure of ruining Riventon's day," Tessen assures her rival Knight. "He chooses to delve into the dark and unethical corners of science, and I explain to him what a stupid idea that is." She flourishes her fans, the energy blades gleaming softly in the dark night air, and sets herself in a classic - quite recognizeable - defensive stance of Belkan origin.

As for non self-appointed, Tessen figures that's a reference to the various 'chosen one' types, like Senshi and Precures. She's quite familiar with them, in a general sense, at least. "And of course there's always the question of 'do police and such count as self-appointed or no', since it's not like they draft people for the job." She shrugs. "But, whatever. Senbonzakura time!" And that's when the rain of flickers begins to wash down from the sky above, spreading what seems like thousands of shards of light between the Umbra-bots and the shield over the not-so-good-Doctor's machinery. (Not a bit of it, it would seem, aimed at Nightbell or the not-so-good Doctor... coincidence? Unlikely.)
Bell 2018-06-27 02:17:28 92264
Nightbell shrugs. "Haven't met Riventon," she says. "Gonna reserve judgment on doing unwholesome things with Science, though I gotta say ... I ..."

And then the rain of flickers begins happen. Nightbell's eyes nearly pop out of her head, and Dr. Murano just starts screaming. "Scheisse!" Bell blurts out, thrusting her hand skyward, palm up. "PANZERSCHILD!"

Ping! <<PANZERSCHILD!>> A blood-red magic triangle appears above her hand ... but she immediately notices that the rain of destructive force is missing it completely. "Wh --"

Rubindorn is a bit quicker. <<HERRIN, DER DOKTOR! DIE MASCHINEN!>> Bell looks down just in time for the robots to be destroyed completely; the pyramid-barrier starts to crack and shatter, and the arrows destroy the machines around Dr. Murano as well. Through it all, the Doctor continues just standing there and screaming, clutching Ritterglocke in her hands.

Nightbell lowers her shield. "Right, then!" she says. "Rubindorn?"

A gun-trigger setup sticks out of Rubindorn's hilt. <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>>

Bell pulls the trigger, the sword's hilt vents black steam, and the blade begins crackling with electrical dark energy. Bell charges at Tessen at top speed; she knows she's bigger and stronger than Tessen and has better reach than a pair of fans, and she puts all of her strength into one powerful swing right at Tessen's midsection.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-27 02:37:32 92266
Tessen smiles to herself as the flickers do their work, demolishing the machinery of Mad Science!(tm). "Sorry about the mess," she says, her tone light and teasing, her fans flourished once more. "I do hope that wasn't anything important." A lie. She hopes it was important. After all, what else is the point of breaking it?

And then there's an amazon flying at her, sword upraised, and she flits back. She raises her fans to intercept the strike, but the force behind it is more than enough to send her flying into a nearby wall, despite the quality of her defense.

"Oooh, that smarts," she chides the taller Knight as she peels herself out of the Tessen-shaped crater in the wall. "Gonna feel that one in the morning."

She slashes out at the air with both fans, certainly not to strike the other Knight with them... but she doesn't need to. <~BLITZERSTORT!~> A jagged beam of blue lashes out like a whip from each fan, slicing towards Nightbell with clear intent.
Bell 2018-06-27 03:03:02 92267
Dr. Murano just manages to recover enough of her breath to mutter, "We didn't even get a chance to test them ..."

Nightbell takes the opportunity to put another pyramid-shield over the Doctor, then lets out a full-tilt evil cackle at Tessen's remarks. "Well, I'm glad I'm not the only who's pulling her weight around this battlefield!" she says, dodging and weaving around the jagged bolts for a moment. She then flies straight up out of their immediate vicinity. "It's just not nice when I'm the only one who's actually doing anything, y'know? Takes two to tango, and all that." Rubindorn, let's try that spell I came up with in the Dusk Zone!

<<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Bell pulls the trigger again, and there's another hiss of black smoke, and Rubindorn's blade is completely engulfed in dark energy. <<ROSENWIND!>> Bell swings once, launching a single slash of dark energy with a blood-red tinge, headed directly at Tessen ... and the blade remains almost completely covered in darkness. It's nowhere near as dangerous as actually getting hit by the blade, but it will still hurt if it hits its mark.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-27 03:23:44 92269
Already flying towards Nightbell with intent to launch her own strike, Tessen has little time to dodge. Instead she again interposes her fans, swiping at an angle in an attempt to deflect the blast at an angle.

Carnwennan, it would seem, disagrees with her about how wise this is, but cannot override her master's wishes. Instead, the Device acts to support them. <~BLITZSCHILD!~> A handful of Flickers form in the air around her, then slam into the fans just before the blast does, reinforcing their energy fields. It's just barely enough to keep them from shattering under the force. Small cracks are visible in the blades as she is once again thrown back, this time - thanks to her attempt at deflection - up into the air.

"Good shot, there! Are you sufficiently amused? Or shall we carry on?" She could easily just fly off...
Bell 2018-06-27 03:35:34 92270
Bell smirks as she sees the damage to the fans, her red eyes flashing brighter for a brief instant. "I dunno," she says. "Does either of us have any reason to be here anymore?" She gestures at the still-smoking piles of machinery and youma-bot parts. "You smashed half the point of my mission, but if the Doctor wants more combat data ..."

"No thanks, I'm good," says Dr. Murano flatly, clearly not fully recovered from the shield shattering around her.

Bell shrugs. "Well, I never got a full test of Rosenwind, soooo ..." She swings Rubindorn a few more times at slightly different angles to try to box Tessen in between the slashes of darkness ... but her third slash completely depletes the dark energy that was wrapped around the blade, and is visibly less powerful, leaving a wide opening for Tessen to dodge straight over them. "Whoops, okay then!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-27 03:45:14 92271
Up is a quite natural direction for a flyer to dodge, and Tessen zips out of the way of the final blasts with ease. She does, however, seem to be impressed by the power in them. "Wow. If that'd hit... well, I'm trying to cut down on hospital time this semseter. Hope you aren't disappointed." She actually winks this time.

"So, I suppose I'll see you next time," she offers. "Maybe leave the mad science at home next time, and we can grab a milkshake or something?" She waves cheerily as she puts a little more distance between her and the tall Knight, getting more room to dodge, just in case.
Bell 2018-06-27 03:55:00 92272
Nightbell shoots Tessen a thumbs-up, grinning ear to ear. It's not an entirely evil grin, either. "Hey, I'm fine either way!" she says, dispelling the shield around Dr. Murano. "Let's just call this a draw." There's a surge of dark energy, and her Knight Clothing disappears, leaving behind the raincoat and with Rubindorn in its pendant form.

Dr. Murano slumps incredulously at the offer of milkshakes. "What."

Nightbell grins as she puts the pendant back around her neck. "Maybe! I don't exactly have a whole lot of free time at the moment, what with the Doctor and everyone still trying to figure me out, but I gotta say, this was really fun." She puts her hood back up. "Good to know that the 'hero'-types aren't all like that trio of snores I fought the other night."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-27 04:05:47 92273
"A draw it is, then," Tessen agrees, saluting with one fan, that she then flicks closed and tucks away in her belt. She doesn't discard her own protection just yet - unwilling to give up the disguise that makes her unrecognizeable - but the other fan is flicked closed and put away as well.

"Yes, Doctor, milkshakes. You know. Ice cream. Milk. Blender. Straw. That kind of thing. You're dealing with, for the most part, teenagers, who are out to save and-slash-or conquer the world, here. Did you expect shots of rotgut whiskey at a dive bar or something?" She shrugs. "You're welcome to it, if that's what you want."

She stands straight up on nothing at all, and makes a formal, respectful bow to Nightbell. "I'm sure you'll find an opportunity," she muses, "And in the meantime, we'll have the occasional fight to enjoy, at least." She smiles again. "Maybe we'll play shogi. Or Acquire." She pauses and hmms. "Most of the really fun strategy games don't work too well with only two players, though. Maybe we should bring a team next time?"
Bell 2018-06-27 04:15:28 92274
Nightbell just salutes with Rubindorn's pendant, in lieu of having her weapon out. She just nods in approval at Tessen's decision to stay armored; it would just be too easy if she revealed herself now, wouldn't it? Bell herself doesn't s seem concerned about being "out of disguise" when her Knight Clothing isn't present, because who else has glowing red cat-eyes and vaguely eldritch markings? (She has ... another arrangement.)

Dr. Murano just grumbles, and heads for the mercifully-intact van. "Let's just get out of here, Nightbell," she growls.

"Suit yourself, Doc," says Bell. She smiles at Tessen, and gives a formal bow of her own. "I haven't been on Earth long enough to learn any of the strategy games, and like I said, I don't know when I'll have free time." She heads back towards the van herself. "But for a fight? You're on!"