Friends On Opposite Sides

Nightbell apologizes to Rashmi for smashing her through a building. The ensuing conversation goes a lot better than she expected.

Date: 2018-09-01
Pose Count: 27
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 17:37:01 96775
It's a nice and sunny Saturday morning, though as usual, it's pretty hot out at the moment. Nightbell is sitting cross-legged on the rooftop of a building across the street from Korma Chameleon, wearing a raincoat with the hood pulled up to conceal her face. She's holding Rubindorn in pendant form.

"Crap," she mutters. She's been trying not to get cold feet. "Ugh. Rubindorn, you might as well just start scanning."

Ping! <<OK, HERRIN!>> says the pendant, in a cutesy version of Bell's voice. Rubindorn activates a searching-spell, trying to find any sign of any other Device-users. ... Well, okay, it's searching for Nicomachea in particular. If found, it will relay a simple message: Bell's location, and a request for a meeting to talk.
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 17:42:42 96776
Nicomachea's not hard to find; Rashmi does live just above the Korma, after all. It's not long before a window opens up, and Rashmi crawls out onto the fire escape, and after a brief check to see that nobody's actively looking up...

She activates Barrier Jacket and Flier Fin, and flits across the street to land on the rooftop, just out of Rubindorn's swing range. The redheaded Mahou looks puzzled, perhaps a bit guarded, but Nicomachea is held closed against her chest with both hands, and Rashmi doesn't look at all lik she's spoiling for a fight. "Um.... Hi? Can I help you?"
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 17:47:54 96777
Bell slowly and pointedly puts Rubindorn on the ground, then gingerly gets to her feet, steps away from her Device, and pushes back her hood. "Um ... hi." Yep, it's Nightbell all right, glowing red eyes and face-markings and all ...

... except, she looks fairly miserable. Everything about her posture shows that she's incredibly tense, and she's wearing a mixture of worry and embarrassment and guilt on her face. She looks like she's having trouble finding her words at first.

Finally, she manages to get out, "I ... uh. Lacrima-san, um, told me your name. It ... uh ... wasn't ... that hard to find you after that." (She leaves out the part where Rashmi hosted her birthday party the previous weekend.) And then she's right back to having trouble talking again.
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 17:54:04 96778
This is information that causes Rashmi to blink in surprise for a moment, head tilting to one side. "Ah," she says, after a good few moments' silence. "So you are working with Eclipse. Well... that's a shame, but, Lacchan wouldn't have told you where I live if she thought you wanted to hurt me. So... What's up?"
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 18:04:24 96779
Nightbell laughs nervously. "I found it on my own, actually, but ... I ..." Bell can't quite meet Rashmi's gaze. She almost looks like she thinks Rashmi is going to hit her.

'This is pointless,' says the voice of darkness in her mind. 'Just knock her off the building.' Bell flinches slightly; the darkness always chooses "fight" over "flight", but, well, as Lacrima pointed out, it hasn't been that hard for her to ignore it.

It takes another moment for her to get talking again, but when she does start, the words start coming out much more easily, as if she doesn't want to lose momentum. "... when you ... when I attacked you that night," she says, "I was ... I was just following whatever urges the Dark Energy gave me." She shrugs. "I, I didn't even realize that's what I was doing at the time. And the Doctor didn't know any better because she doesn't know battle from a hole in the ground. I didn't even realize what was going on until I made a really stupid ..." She backtracks a bit. "... well, I lost control and went completely berserk, and, well, the Doctor got put in the hospital by someone we were fighting. And ... it made me realize just what an idiot I'd been, every other time I fought someone who wasn't in Eclipse. And, and Lacrima-san has been helping, but ... I ..."

She sighs softly, looks Rashmi in the eye, and says, "I'm sorry. For ... attacking you, and Stahlritter-san, and, uh ... what's her name, the Yellow girl."

Rubindorn pings on the ground. <<PRISMA PRINZESSIN GELB!>> The cutesy voice sounds slightly unsure.

"Uh, right," says Bell. "Prism Princess Yellow."
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 18:12:53 96780
Yet another surprise, but this one pleasant enough to bring a gentle smile to Rashmi's face. "Hey," she says gently, "it's okay. I don't hold it against you, y'know... Honestly it was kind of embarrassing, just being slapped down like that, and it's got me rethinking my strategies. C'mon, let's sit down and talk, you look like you're waiting for me to kick you in the mouth," she says, gesturing to the raised edge of the roof.
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 18:18:01 96781
Bell blinks. "Oh ... uh ... okay," she says softly, as if she feels like she'd deserve it. She reluctantly picks up Rubindorn, and goes over to sit next to Rashmi at the edge of the rooftop.

She really has no idea where the conversation should go from here.
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 18:20:38 96782
And with a smile... Rashmi lets her Barrier Jacket shatter into nothingness, Nicomachea collapsing into his standby mode a moment later. Now completely defenseless, she sits back against the ledge, thinking for a moment in silence. "So your Doctor got hurt... what happened? Is she okay now?"
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 18:30:41 96783
Bell shrugs uncomfortably. "She's been in one of Eclipse's hospital since mid-June, when someone we were fighting dropped her off a building, and someone else had knocked her onto the next building over," she says uncomfortably. "She's gonna get out in a few weeks, though." She grimaces. "And then I'm probably going to have to get Riventon-sama to deny any requests she makes for field-work anywhere near a combat zone, because that was the second time someone smashed the shield I'd put around her, she has no self-preservation."

'She's still an enemy,' says the voice in her head, and she flinches visibly.
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 18:37:02 96784
"That's.... concerning," Rashmi murmurs, brow furrowing. "I'm not trying to understate it, just... most of us don't treat noncombatants like that, and the ones that would try very hard to not. Well... Next time you see her, tell her I'm sorry she got hurt, but that I agree. She doesn't need to be near fighting until she learns how to avoid tunnel vision."

Rubbing her hands over her face and through the top of her hair, Rashmi looses a long, loud sigh. "Y'know... It'd be a jerk move of me to give you any speech about working for Eclipse. Mostly because one of my best friends works right under Riventon. So, I won't. Just... honestly I can only think of one thing I need to say that matters here."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 18:46:31 96785
Nightbell snorts. "Yeah, I can't say that tunnel-vision wasn't one of my problems, too," she says dryly. "We made the mistake of thinking that my shield would be enough, and she overruled me when I told her she should stay behind after the first time someone broke it."

She blinks, looking over at Rashmi as she starts to talk. "... Go on?" she says, tensing up again slightly. Logically, she knows Rashmi isn't going to try to attack her or anything right after saying she was actively trying not to be a jerk, but ...
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 18:50:16 96786
When prompted, Rashmi shrugs. "Just because we're not on the same side," she says, "doesn't mean we have to be enemies. I mean... when Lacchan has a bad day, she knows she can put in an order at the restaurant and get a side of friendship with her order, y'know? Just... as long as nobody starts anything at the restaurant, everyone's welcome. Even 'spooky evil dark wizards,'" those last words, accompanies with a low voice and wiggled fingers, "just want some bhajjis and lassi sometimes."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 19:08:51 96787
Bell listens to this for a moment. She frowns thoughtfully, looking down over the street way beneath them.

And then she actually laughs out loud. "You know what?" she says. "You're right. You're absolutely right. I can't disagree with a single word of that. It just ... sounds right." She grins at Rashmi. "... And, y'know. Even a Belkan AI with a synthetic Linker Core and a body that's basically a mage's familiar without a base-form can enjoy snacks. Even if I've never had that kind of food before," she adds, just to add another difference between herself and Akari. "Lacrima-san did suggest social interaction to keep me grounded, so that's good, too!"

She glances in the direction of the Korma. "... Does your place do deliveries, by the way? I mean, it'd probably be weird and awkward hiding my face all the time if I went in there."
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 19:31:26 96788
"Now and again," Rashmi says, bobbing her head. "Usually it depends on how busy the store is, which means whether or not we can spare someone to go out and deliver, but... Often enough, yeah. And hey, I absolutely do not mind being social, especially if it helps you kick Dark Energy aftereffects. Seriously... Be careful around that stuff, hey? Artificial or not, you have a Linker Core, and Dark energy is..... it lingers. Builds up."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 19:40:49 96789
Nightbell nods. "Got it," she says, smiling. She groans and nods. "Yeah, tell me about it," she says. "I'm just shy of 40% Dark Energy by volume and Rubindorn's around 38, and, uh ... considering the Storage Device that contained me was sitting in the Dusk Zone for the better part of a thousand years before it got salvaged, I'm surprised it isn't closer to a hundred percent."

She thinks a moment. "Hey, uh, can I make a sort of ... well, uh." She shrugs awkwardly. "Do you think you could teach Rubindorn how to create that time-space barrier? Couple weeks ago, I helped Lacrima-san, Denkeki Shoujo-san, and Fate Testarossa-san fight some kind of sand-monster, and, uh ..." She shrugs. "Let's just say it could've been worse on the collateral-damage front, considering there was just a bunch of glassed sand lying around afterward, but I also felt like it could've been better."
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 19:51:33 96791
"Absolutely," Rashmi says without hesitation. "Just... well. It's going to be a Midchildan formula, so Rubindorn's going to need to do the conversion herself. And it's going to be the basic one, too," she adds, smiling a bit wryly. "But as far as I'm concerned, anyone who wants it and has a Device can have it."

A moment later, she blinks, tilting her head. "Wait... Sand-monster? That's.... was it going after Dengeki herself?"
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 19:53:27 96792
Rubindorn pings. <<ES SOLLTE KEIN PROBLEM SEIN, FRAU RASHMI!>> The ruby inlaid in the pendant flickers.

Bell nods. "Yep, as far as we could tell," she says. "She still didn't know what that was all about any more than I did, but still."
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 19:57:28 96793
"Okay... Nicomachea? Send it over."

*ping!* << YES, MASTER, >> Nicomachea says. << DATA TRANSFER BEGIN. >>

As the mind-twistingly complex formulae are being transmitted, Rashmi frowns. ".....Yeah that's worrying. The last time I saw one of those -- the only time, really -- is when she learned she was magical. So until I get better information, I have to assume that they're out for Dengeki personally."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 20:00:22 96794
Nightbell nods, watching as Rubindorn receives the transmission and begins processing the data. "Seems like the obvious conclusion," she says. "I mean, you'd know better about all that stuff than I would, I mean I was only activated for the first time this past April, so I'm still behind on a lot of things." She smiles. "And I know even less about your side, soooo, yeah."
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 20:13:08 96797
"And I only know the basics about almost everything," Rashmi sighs. "Just... here, this'll help put everything into perspective. Did you know that this city, not the entire world just this city, is basically the battlefield for..." Trailing off, she starts mouthing words, counting on her fingers. "...close to a dozen proxy wars, with one side willing and able to either field almost-endless numbers of soldiers in order to conquer, rule, destroy, or irrevocably alter all life on the world... And the other side, if they're lucky, has ten teenagers with magical powers, most of whom have to learn what to do by fighting, to fight back. Usually less."

Looking up, she gives Nightbell a crooked smile. "And most of those vast armies don't even have anything to do with Eclipse. But most of what Eclipse does tends to make things worse for the outnumbered side."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 20:20:04 96798
Nightbell is just listening along, nodding along ... right until that last sentence. "... Ah," she says flatly. "Well, uh ... That's ... certainly ... a point of view you have there." It's clear that she doesn't actually believe Rashmi, but she doesn't want to come out and say it. "I mean, I'm not gonna lie and say that Eclipse doesn't have more than its share of bad apples, but ..." She shrugs, not entirely sure what to say next. "... I mean, on the other hand, you guys definitely fill in gaps we can't always cover."

The data-transmission finishes, Rubindorn finishes processing, and then pings. <<ERLEDIGT!>> The Device's cutesy voice sounds eager. <<KANN ICH ES VERSUCHEN? KANN ICH, KANN ICH?>>

Bell chortles. "Uh, is it okay if we try this out, anyway?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 20:23:21 96799
"I can't think of any reason why not," Rashmi says. "As Rubindorn gets more familiar with it, she'll be able to tune what gets through and what doesn't to some degree. Just... Bear in mind there's a pretty decent upkeep cost involved." Settling back, the redhead looks skyward, waiting to see what a Belkan variant of this spell might look like.

"Could you do me a favor though, in return? If something's going on, and Eclipse loyalties aren't a factor.... help us out?"
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 20:40:03 96800
Nightbell nods. "You got it!" she says, getting to her feet. "I've actually been kind of doing that already, after I figured out how badly the dark energy messed with my head. A Wraith, the sand-monster, and one Clow Card ..." She hesitates. "... uh, before I joined UMBRA and found out that Riventon-sama was interested in 'em," she finishes awkwardly.

She politely takes a few steps away, and holds the pendant in both hands, facing away from Rashmi. "Okay, Rubindorn? Let's do this thing! Schwertform!"

In a surge of dark energy, Rubindorn transforms into the massive sword, then pings. <<ZEIT-RAUM-SCHRANKE!>>

A blood-red Belkan spell-triangle forms around Nightbell's feet, and a magical dome forms -- slightly sluggishly at first, but picking up speed a moment later -- red and garish black, with an eerie purple light suffusing the barrier, caused by trace amounts of dark energy mixed in with Nightbell's mana -- dark energy which actually seems to come from her Linker Core. Otherwise, it behaves exactly like Rashmi's version.

"How we doing, Rubindorn?" says Bell.

Rubindorn pings. <<SIEHT ZIEMLICH GUT, HERRIN!>> the cutesy voice says confidently.

Bell looks to Rashmi for confirmation. "You picking up anything unusual?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 20:46:45 96802
"Well the Dark Energy's worrying," Rashmi says, shrugging. "But... that's not exactly something you can help, given where you've been the last forever. Other than that... It's looking pretty good, yeah."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 20:49:22 96803
Bell nods and shrugs, before deactivating the barrier. "Yeah, not a whole lot we can do about that," she says. She stretches, then smiles down at Rashmi. "... Wow, this whole conversation went, uh, way better than I was expecting when I got here, heh."
Rashmi Terios 2018-09-01 20:55:27 96805
Rashmi grins, climbing to her feet. "Hey... I don't like to fight if I can help it, y'know? Sometimes, just talking solves the problem. Just remember; if we do end up on opposite sides sometime? It's not personal. And besides, last time it showed me I was getting too reliant on old tricks."
Rosalie Janus 2018-09-01 21:47:46 96809
Bell smiles and nods. "Exactly what I was thinking!" she says. "Though I'm not sure, uh ..." She thinks a moment, then smiles. "Yeah, you were trying to put everything into kickback, and ended up not putting enough into blocking, weren't you? I hope you have a better trick than that next time!"

She steps back away from Rashmi. "I guess I'll be seeing you around, huh?" she says. "Take care, will ya? No matter which respective sides we're on."

And with that, she vanishes into a black portal with an eerie ringing sound.