Back in the Saddle

Nightbell tries out Dr. Murano's new Zerobot, a robotic horse. Things go ''very badly'' as a result of Sakura-imouto showing up.

Date: 2018-09-09
Pose Count: 55
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-09 21:28:38 97345
It's a warm summer evening with clear skies. The stars are just starting to come out, when the peaceful sky above the Pikarigaoka residential district is suddenly interrupted by the sounds of eerie, mechanical hoofbeats. Well ... sort of like hoofbeats, anyway. A sleek white ten-foot-tall robotic horse with a built-in saddle is galloping through the air; instead of eyes, it just has a black infinity symbol. Its rider is an indistinct figure in a dark gray raincoat with the hood over their head, hiding their face from view ... except for an indistinct red glow.

Right now, the figure is talking on one of those sleek black Eclipse phones. "Yeah, Doc, all systems are green on my end!" says Nightbell. Her grin is faintly visible. "Yep! Okay, yes Rubindorn will get you the Zerobot's readings later. Right, Doc, g'bye!"

She puts away her phone, and fishes a pendant out from the depths of her coat. It's made out of black metal and shaped like a double-barred cross, with a round ruby inlaid into the crux of the upper bar. "Rubindorn? Activate it."

The pendant pings. <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> it says, in what sounds like a cutesy version of Nightbell's own voice. Certainly, Mistress!

The Zerobot-horse shakes its head. "ZEROOO-O-O-O-O!" it neighs, before hatches open up in the sides of its flanks and strange satellite-dish machinery pokes out. An eerie hum joins the clanking hoofbeats as the robotic horse starts draining energy from the people in the region ...
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-09 21:50:33 97349
Today, Rune has been 'leading' her friends around Tokyo in the hopes of finding some kind of sign as to why the portal between their worlds suddenly reactivated when it had previously been too tiny to send anything through. However, her leadership only extended as far as setting that broad goal; she had to rely on them to pick out good landmarks and directions to move in.

Thus, when they emerged from a train in this area, she had defaulted to simply wandering the streets. "Everything looks fine here. At least, nothing here has changed all that much from what I remem-- what the?!"

She does not remember a ten foot tall robo-horse being part of this street, and notices it off in the distance when its bellowing neigh rings through the area. "By the Barrier... that thing is enormous! And that noise..." People do not seem to be reacting well to it. "Gao, Hino, I think we have a more pressing problem than research! Summoning Princess' Tiara!"

Rune's royal headwear appears in one hand, arms crossed in front of herself as the jewelry makes an energy-hum of its own. "The Line of Succession..." It's passed from one hand to the next, "Transform!" And brought onto her head. A flash of red energy engulfs Runealy, and when it fades she's in full magical gear with wand in hand!
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-09 21:53:11 97350
Sakura Kinomoto was on patrol! Sorta. Okay, not really. She had a baggie of cookies, and was wearing her adorable little maid outfit. Pink. Cute. And adorable. Also, roller skates. She had been flying through the streets and then... Blinks as people begin to start... collapsing. She frowns. How...

Then her eyes widened. She closed her eyes, skidding to a stop. Then... Reaching out with her senses. Just like the clow cards, but a ltitle different.

It took her longer than she liked, but soon she felt it. The magic. She glanced up. "Release!" Her wand came into being. "Jump card!" she called. She leaped up, jumping through the city and bounding off walls until... She caught sight of a giant... metal horse. Sucking up energy.

"Hey! Stop! Bad horse!" Welp... if bell ever wanted to see Sakura in an adorable, pink maid outfit, today was that day!
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-09 22:01:11 97354
Mikoto was just delivering some homework to a sick student who lived in Pikarigaoka. "Now, once you've done the worksheets," she explained, "Read chapters four through six, and then the two Kipling sets, the ones we picked out in class. Don't worry, they may be in English, but they're good reading anyway." She flashes a grin at her classmate, who nods glumly... and then slumps in her bed, out cold.

"Mucking heck..." Carnwennan?

    "Energy drain, Meister. Source is nearby."

Welp. That won't do.

A minute's run sees her out on the street, ducking into an alley between buildings, a flash of azure light announcing her transformation -- and her immediate launch into the sky!

"Right," she calls out as she clears the buildings, "Who's messing about with what they shouldn't be?"
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-09 22:03:40 97355
Gaofele's main contribution to the search around Tokyo was in striking a balance between detailed coverage and area covered, then looking at the plants when they get there for signs of anomalies. Slow going, but fortunately the weekend means more time available than if it was a school day.

The loud neigh catches his attention, as does Rune's words. Glancing towards a nearby shrub that was starting to wilt, he nods to Rune. "Whatever it is, it needs to be stopped," he agrees, pulling out his bracer and sliding it onto his arm. "To protect the lands, I am Guardian Gao!" he shouts.

There's a flash of green, and the forester turns into Guardian Gao, his bow at the ready as he sizes up the construct.
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-09 22:07:07 97357
Hinote Kagari walks along and looks over towards Runealy and nods. "Yeah. So far nothing out of the ordinary. There's a few new places but they're not out of the ordinary either." he says. "Mostly businesses." he asides.

He's dressed casually, but still high class in his usual modern manner rather than Waldian manner at the moment. "Do you think we should sp---" a pause when Runealy stops and he blinks. "Uh... huh. Thattttts a giant robot horse." he says as if it needed explaining.

He draws his Guardian Relic up, the bracelet on his right arm. "To protect justice, I am Guardian Hino!" he calls out.

A flash of brilliant firey red, and much like goa he falls out in his guardian form as he grips the hilt of his long sword.

"DARK RIDER." he bellows. He means Bell.

"WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS ASSAULT!?" he calls out. Because maybe words might work. Someday. In another dimension. In Bizzaro World.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-09 22:17:39 97359
Nakusu Miki was out for a walk. She had a book opened. An older text of 'Saint George and the Dragon', a book she found her head buried in more often in the past few months. She also had a sharpie in her other hand. She was writing in the book. Underlining things. Adding question marks, questions to it. She didn't know why. Everything was wrong. "Then Saint George...mar... No. No that feels wrong." she says underlining the passage near the end of the small book. She was about to elaborate more talking to herself, like some sort of strange person...

Except there was something happening. The feeling of tired. Weak. Not hit as hard as the others in the area. She doesn't collapses but she lurches a moment. She feels ill. What is that? She looks up.

That is a strange horse? A robot horse? With radar dishes? She looks around and steps off behind a mailbox. This feels familiar.

She's perhaps seen a fight before of some sort. But she does peek from over it. There is a small girl in a maid outfit and a staff? There is something approaching the sky.

...There is a girl that calls out Summoning Princesses' Tiara. The two boys near her follow suit. Tiara...?

She absently flits through the top of her hair. As if she felt something was missing. She can't place it. But it makes her feel sad for some reason.

Odd feelings out of the blue are not a new thing for her. This is obviously not the first time she's seen such magical things. She still obviously also doesn't understand them except as 'still explicable'. She'll stay over here, thank you!
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-09 22:22:42 97360
Nightbell looks around. "Okay, collapsing is a bit extreme," she says. "Let's cut the intake down to twenty percent."

Ping! <<OK, HERRIN!>> says Rubindorn. The eerie hum sinks in volume and pitch as it continues draining, but only down to a fifth. That's totally an improvement, right? ... Right ...?

"Any response yet?" Bell says conversationally.

Rubindorn pings, and somewhat nervously says, <<EIN PAAR FEINDE KOMMEN NAHER, AUCH EINE SCHWESTER.>> A few enemies are approaching, including a sister.

"What!?" Bell gestures, and the horse comes to a stop in midair. Her head whips around, still mostly hidden by her hood. "... Sakura-imouto!? What are you doing --" She groans. "Wait, no, I know exactly what you're doing here. Uh ... sorry about the draining, I've just turned it down, and, uh ..." She sighs softly. "I ... don't suppose you'd be willing to sit this out?"

At Hino's outburst, Bell turns to the Waldians. "... well, this is a bit more awkward a reveal than I was expecting," she says flatly. She pulls back her hood, revealing a mop of purple hair, glowing red catlike slitted eyes, and glowing face markings on her cheeks shaped like downward-pointing triangles. "My name's Nightbell," she says without rancor, "and I'm here gathering energy for UMBRA." Well ... at the very least, words haven't failed right off the bat.

Rubindorn interjects, <<ICH DENKE TESSEN NAHERT SICH AUCH!>> I think Tessen is approaching, too!

Bell immediately breaks into a smile. "Oh, well then!"
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-09 22:28:23 97361
"A robot?" Rune could guess that's what it was, "So it's particularly advanced, even for Earth's standards?" What Hino considered obvious, she takes as a meaningful warning. "We'll need to be extra cautious, then."

Then to Gao, "I'll back you up!" She runs to be a little behind Gao, somewhat off to the side as he prepares his bow. "Be careful, there might be people still running around!" Rune thinks she saw a bit of blue movement --- Nakusu, perhaps -- off in one direction. Tessen's arrival in the air confirms a different aspect of 'others running around', in any event.

Sakura's own shouts draw a look in the card captor's direction; Rune seems only vaguely aware of who she is... but is receptive all the same. "If you're able to move that well, I'm guessing you're here to help! We'll cooperate with you, so don't worry about that!"

Then the hooded figure atop the horse addresses them, and Rune's head swings sharply to meet her gaze... and that's when Bell makes introductions. "Hmm? Gathering energy...? Is there something you need it for?" Rune's wand lowers. She's still very tense and on guard, but isn't immediately threatening Bell. Mere seconds ago the princess had planned to join Gao in opening fire from afar... but this revelation is enough to give her pause.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-09 22:31:17 97362
Sakura Kinomoto arrives on the scene and... Her eyes widen. Is that... Bell? On a horsie?! Oh my gosh, that's so cooool! but... "You know I can't, Onee-san," she said, shaking her head. "You know--"

And then... Oh my gosh. "O-oh my gosh!" she said, squealing a bit at the guardians. "T-that's so COOL!" she squealed. Then eeped. "N-not that you're not! I mean, the horse is totally awesome! But, well. I mean. They're NOT trying to ummm... hurt people. So... Wait, does this mean we're going to have to beat up a horsie?" she asked, suddenly looking horrified. "No no no-- Wait, focus! Right!"

But oh my gosh it was so hard to focus! There was like. A WHOLE squad of magical girls! And a cool, metal horse! She jumped down from the roof, landing lightly on the street as the jump card ended. "I don't WANT to fight you, Onee-san. But you're hurting people... So I have to stop you. I'm sorry. But..." She drew a card. "Daddy always says punishments are okay if they're given out of love! And don't worry, I still love you onee-san!" she said... Oh gosh. Then... "Windy! Bind!" she yelled. She tapped on the card... And the winds would shoot out, attempting to bind up the horse... and Bell.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-09 22:41:31 97364
Indeed, Tessen is not far away at all, swooping down from the sky to alight on the sidewalk nearby. "Well, well, well. Greetings, your highness," she offers a brief bow to Runealy.

Shaking her head, though, she walks over to Sakura. "Hey, neighbor. Made a friend, did we? That's good." She looks back up to Bell and grins.

"If you make this girl cry... I will hurt you." A flick of her fingers, and her fans explode into being, blue-glowing panels of energy between steel spikes. She gives them a wave, sending spirals of energy into the wind Sakura sends, carried by it to add their strength to the binding.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-09 22:42:01 97365
Guardian Gao nods to Rune. "I'll try to keep things focused where we have a clear view," he confirms.

He does a slight doubletake at Sakura's reaction to them; sure, it's been about 3 years since they last saw each other, and... come to think of it, he's not sure if he ever met her while in henshin. Heck, as far as he could recall, she didn't even have a henshin back then! "If we encounter a worn-out futon during all of this, I am going to laaaaaugh," he sighs with a wry grin.

Nightbell's explanation makes a certain amount of sense, and the forester lowers his bow slightly... but his eyes narrow in the process. "And just who are you draining the energy from?" Gao demands.
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-09 22:45:29 97368
Gathering energy. Okay. He does not immediately lift off into a fight. He does eye Runealy though, as he steps forward a little. They're not strangers to forcefully gathering energy. "Right. What do you need it for?" he asks, as he crosses his arms.

"Please don't jinx it." he says to Gao grimly about the futon. He then looks around. "Right. It seems like you're just kind of mass draining a quiet neighborhood." he says dryly.

He looks to Sakura and blinks a bit, he looks between Gao and Runealy and the girl on the horse.

"My german's a lil off but I think that said something about a sister..." a pause "...or it asked where the nearest bathroom was." he says a little more sheepishly.

"...or said hello how are you..."

Look there's no German in Waldia. He got out of practice.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-09 22:54:53 97369
Nakusu is watching with worry from behind the mailbox. She's trying to keep a low profile. She feels weak, but not so weak as to not keep awake like some others are not. She is holding that book close. Like it might protect her. It won't.

A princess and her knights? That's really romantic right? She means this isn't romantic. This is the opposite of romance. This looks like it's going to get ugly. She's entranced by what's going on though. Watching from the mailbox. At least it's bolted to the cement in the sidewalk? That's something right?

Her eyes scan back and forth, up and down as she takes this all in mentally. Does she remember a knight? She's not sure. If she did.

Not like those two. Not even a little like those two. Why does it feel like something inside her just sank and hit the pavement emotionally?
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-09 22:59:18 97371
Nightbell shrugs in response to the Princess. "There's all kinds of things Eclipse needs it for at any given moment," she says conversationally. "This Zerobot's even powered by some of the energy we've had before." So, clearly not some sort of life-or-death overriding concern the way Runealy herself had in the past.

At Sakura's words, she grimaces, flinching back slightly. "... ugh ... why did you have to put it like that," she says softly. Still, though -- not that there's any way she'd voice this to Sakura's face -- this only reinforces her impression that the opposite side is a bunch of naive.

But now it's time to move. She leaps off the horse's back and flies away from the binding, and it neighs out a loud "ZEROOO-O-O-O-O!" and starts stampeding wildly around the sky.

"Oh, you got it, Tessen-san!" says Bell. "I don't want it any more than you do!" She frowns at Gao and Hino. "Uh ... people who couldn't possibly put it to a better use than we ever could?" she says uncertainly. Her tone isn't mocking or obviously 'evil' or aanything like that; she just sounds slightly confused. She actually believes what she's saying there.

'Kill them all,' says the voice of darkness in Bell's head, and she grimaces. "... nrghh ..." Still, she can't defend herself like this. She holds her pendant out in both hands. "Rubindorn? Schwertform."

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> In a surge of dark energy, the pendant transforms into a giant longsword, nearly as long as Bell is tall -- and Bell herself is closer to seven feet tall than six feet.

"Knight Clothing, set up!" says Bell. Another surge of darkness engulfs her entire body, and then she's in her Knight Clothing. She frowns, holding her sword in a defensive posture as the horse continues scampering around wildly behind her. "Just so we're on the same page ... notwithstanding my sister, this is nothing personal," she says. "My mission is to defend this Zerobot while it does its thing. It is not to kill or seriously injure anyone who comes to stop us. I won't do anything unnecessary, all right?"

She still hasn't noticed Nakusu yet.
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-09 23:09:44 97373
"Futon?" Rune repeats incredulously, then realizes what Gao means... that gives a litle more context for her to properly understand Sakura, adding to the card captor: "You look quite impressive yourself, in your own way!" She might say more, but a wind card howls over the conversation for a moment.

It's a moment she uses to call over to Hino, "You understand what was said? Please translate if anything urgent is said, then; I'll be counting on you!" Her homeworld has equivalent concepts for a few things from the German language, but little that's directly the same; her ability to understand the Device is very limited as a result.

Nakusu is doing well enough at hiding that Runealy isn't aware of her current whereabouts; the brief 'blur of movement' the alien princess saw earlier has since been lost track of.

Then Bell transforms, clearly equipped for a battle. "You might not want to kill, but it can happen. Fighting is a very sudden thing where the situation can change in an instant! Nonetheless... 'nothing personal'; I'm not hoping or trying to kill you, either." The alien princess is at least willing to agree to the non-lethal intent presented.

However, it's clearly time to stop talking. "Gao, Hino! Let's go! Help out those two if you can!" Rune gestures at Sakura and Tessen, indicating them.

Still standing a bit behind and beside Gao, Rune raises her wand again and launches a green orb off its tip. It flies through the air, heading toward the robo-horse with intent to 'explode' into emerald sparkles on impact!
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-09 23:16:00 97377
Sakura Kinomoto glanced over as... someone tried to defend her honor. "W-what? No! I'm not gonna cry!" she said quickly. "She's really sweet, I know she is! I've had cake and cookies with her! She's really not a bad person at all!" then glanced back to Bell as she escaped her winds. "Even if some times she DOES do really bad things!" she scolded.

Then her eyes widened. "I look--" Then blinked. Looked down. And...

"O-oh! I was working at the gull cafe! Um, um, come for all your baking needs, they're really good! Haruna-sempai works there and-- Oh my gosh I dropped my delivery, oh no oh no oh no where'd I put it?!" She almost started to run off... Then... Realized that would probably be a bad idea. "Err, right. AFTER we deal with this." She drew two cards. Yes, she MAY be able to do three cards. No, she REALLY didn't want to. "Jump, power!" She called...

Then she jumped RIGHT up at the horse... Aiming for it... Before swinging around and trying to drop kick it.

"Gull-sempai KICK!" Yes. Yes she was trying to mimic her big sister's kick. She was not as good.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-09 23:22:05 97378
"Wrong answer," Gao growls at Nightbell's remark about the targets of the drain. He nods to Rune; if Nightbell's goal is to protect the robo-horse, then a simple non-lethal option is to keep Nightbell from defending the robo-horse. And since it's hard to defend what you can't reach...

"NETTLE BARRAGE!" the forester calls out as he fires an arrow of energy between Nightbell and the robo-horse. As the arrow clears the bow, it fragments into a swarm of needle-like shafts to fill the gap. Easy enough for Nightbell to avoid... unless, of course, she tries to move towards the robo-horse!
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-09 23:26:50 97381
Tessen nods and lays a hand on Sakura's shoulder. "Don't worry, nobody holds your working uniform against you." She smiles lightly. Then she has to lean away as the girl jumps up to throw a kick! Impressive!

Like most of the others, she doesn't notice Nakusu, the girl passing unnoticed in the face of the obvious threat. Instead, she focuses on Bell. "Look, Bell. I get that this is 'just a job' for you." She punctuates her words with blasts swiped out from her fans, more aimed to simply keep Nightbell from moving about, rather than to directly attack her. "People need that energy to live. Have you considered what would happen to someone who's already low?" Another set of blasts lash out, the same as the first.

"I just came from visiting a friend. She's sick. She needs to heal. Not to have her energy drained off for whatever mad-science experiments you've got in mind."
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-09 23:28:43 97383
When you are a rich actors son and travel the world you learn languages. Being multilingual is useful! "I think it just said 'Yes, sir' or something like that." he mutters. "It's speaking a really old dialect of German I think It sounds. Weird." he says as he tries to concentrate on that.

" that a device like Fate's?" he asks. He nods to the Princesses' command though, moving to race after Tessen and Sakura. "Hey you two, we're back up." he says. He draws up his sword finally, metal 'shiiiiing'ing out as he draws the ornate longsword. He does raise his hand and snaps, flame igniting from the spark. "IGNITE!" he calls out, a quick spark in the air near Nightbell as a warning, that explodes into a burst of fire.

"Look. It'd be one thing if you had a need but it looks like you're just being a cow's behind." he says. He looks at Tessen. "HEY. It looks like you two know things, who is this?" he calls out to Sakura and Tessen both.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-09 23:37:26 97386
Nakusu remains hidden. No one has seen her. She risks lifting her head more to get a better view of everyone. An old blue themed warrior. A girl in a delivery girl's outfit. Two knights and their princesss. Fighting another girl and a robot horse. She also isn't going insane and she knows it. She looks at the weapons the knights are using and the princess are using. Some sort of energy projecting wand. A bow of some sort? A longsword. Oh!

"Oh!" she goes lightly to herself, making some kind of noise as she scrambles to open her book and flips, underling the word 'spear' and then adding in the margin 'Spear or Sword? And why do I think it's somehow both?...' she scribbles with her pen. It's a good point. One she didn't notice.

Why does she care so much about inaccuracies in a hundreds year old story?
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-09 23:59:38 97389
Nightbell nods to the Princess. "Understood," she says seriously. "May the best woman win."

And then the action begins. Gao's strategy is easy enough to counteract against. Nightbell dives into the path of the nettles just before they reach her, and holds Rubindorn in a defensive posture. Ping! <<PANZERSCHILD!>> A magical triangle of blood-red light appears, blocking the Nettle Barrage ... right until one of Tessen's blasts cracks it badly, and Nightbell has to leap out of the way, towards the flying horse, just as the shield shatters. That said, she's too late to stop the initial attacks, and it lets out a high-pitched "ZEROOO-O-O-O-O!" as the attacks leave several dents in its side. "You're okay with jumping that high, right, Sakura-chan?" she murmurs as she passes right by her, and climbs into the saddle in one graceful motion.

But Tessen's words make her frown. "... mmhh ..." The darkness gives her another whisper, 'Ignore her. All that matters is the mission.' She grimaces and shakes her head. "Rubindorn? Switch to narrow-beam, and turn collection down to five percent."

Ping! <<EHM, OK!>> The satellite-dishes point straight down as she starts riding the horse down the street.

"Also, my Device is Belkan!" she calls down at Hino. "Testarossa's is Midchildan! Different things!" (Well ... she knows that technically she's Fate Testarossa Waldia now, but she only found out about that in her Akari persona.) "Speaking of which? Menschenmengeform!" Crowd Form.

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> And with that, in a transformation which is as much mechanical as it is magical, Rubindorn becomes a ten-foot double-ended polearm, the shaft just a little bit wider than the blade had been.
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-10 00:08:23 97393
Rune spares a moment to raise a curious eye at how Sakura is fighting; the princess hadn't quite understood at first, but pulling 'jump' and 'power' cards in sequence to do a kick offers clear enough insights on Sakura's abilities that Rune finally figures out enough to guess at it: "Cards to change your abilities?" She sounds intrigued and impressed, but doesn't have enough time to say more about it just yet.

Hino offers more translations... and speculations on similarities to Bardiche. "You think Fate might know something about this? I don't know what the distinction between 'Belkan' and 'Midchildan' is!" It's something to try asking about later, Rune silently decides.

Still unaware that Nakusu is observing her, Rune carries on fighting... and says a little more after Tessen does, addressing Nightbell: "Raw energy isn't as helpful as you'd think, unless you're out to accomplish something that will make this very personal... whether it's personal to Tessen or someone else!"

Gao's plan catches Rune's attention, and she wonders if it's worth imitating. The magic-shield suggests that just copying Gao's attacks with her own equivalents might not be a good idea, yet she has some praise for his efforts all the same: "She's reacting to what you're doing, maybe we can use that! Or maybe...!" Nightbell is advancing; this cuts off any more remarks from Runealy at the moment other than a deeply breathed gasp.

Nightbell might not be in range to attack just yet, but Rune has no doubts that it could happen within moments and could be very significant. Thus, she starts moving. Running aside from where Gao is, Rune aims low and launches another wand-orb at the massive horse... this time trying to blast it in one of its legs!
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-10 00:12:47 97394
Sakura Kinomoto would land, and then give a nod. "Yeah, as long as I have the card active, I can jump for miles!" she said. She then looked to Hino. "This is Nightbell! I know she's doing something really, really bad right now, but she's a really great person on the inside, trust me! We've had a cake and I was at her birthday party! She just hard trouble behaving!" ... Really? What was she, five? "But she really is a good person. I bet she even does her chores on time!" she said with a nod... Really?

"I'm really sorry, but... Loop card!" she called.

And when Nightbell tried to race out of the way... She'd find herself... Coming back in from the other side of the little area she made, making the other woman come back to them.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-10 00:19:59 97397
Guardian Gao frowns slightly as Nightbell takes the more reckless route through the barrage, but shrugs. "Well, that's one way to use defensive magic," he murmurs as he nocks another arrow.

Well, if discouraging movement isn't feasible, how about outright immobilization? Running the other direction from Rune in an attempt to outflank the robo-horse, Gao yells "BRAMBLE GRASP!" and lets another arrow fly. This one splits radially lengthwise as it travels, opening into a thorn-studded net of plants to try to entangle horse and rider. "How about turning collection down to zero percent?" he calls to Nightbell.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-10 00:22:34 97398
Tessen steps reluctantly away from Sakura, circling around to keep up the pressure on Nightbell. Does her chores on time? Ok, that's a little.... enh. She shrugs. "Look, Bell, if you want a fight I'll fight you. I've got nothing against that. But you're still hurting people that aren't part of this."

She waits, pausing whilst Gao's brambles make their grasp at Knight and Steed. "Better yet, negative! Give back what you've taken, before it kills someone!" Then she unleashes another volley of her own, even as she charges straight in towards the foe!
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-10 00:28:57 97401
Guardian Hino watches as his burst of flame has no effect. He grimly purses his lips. This kid seems to have a really innocent view of people. "I'm sure she is." he says in a tone that is not condescending or patronizing. "But right now she's doing bad and needs to be stopped." he says.

He calls back at Runealy. "Yeah we should ask Fate-chan later!" he calls out. "Right now..." he hold out his hand. "COMBUSTION!" he calls out as a blast originates from his palm, firing out a ball of flame that travels through the air towards Bell.

He blinks though. Did he just. See movement? Like a flash of something, as he turns his head to the right. He's looking directly at Nakusu. He blinks. Uh... that girl.. what is she doing? Why isn't she running? Or unconscious? Or joining in.

Well this is a distraction for a moment. He does to his credit, not immediately point out the girl's presence by yelling out to her.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-10 00:35:48 97403
Nakusu Miki is too caught up in writing for a moment that when she looks back up she sees eyes on her and she suddenly fumbles and makes a dive downwards again. Did he see her? Crap he saw her. She should probably run, but she doesn't want to yet. This um. Whatever is happening here is obviously triggering feelings and thoughts and that's important for some reason. She shuts her book tight. She doesn't hear anyone call after her. Maybe they're just going to let her hide.

...or maybe they think she's in leauge with this other person!? Oh dear that's a bad thought! Isn't it? She looks down to her book and back up. Come on stalwart mailbox, keep her safe and out of view. You're bolted into the pavement! Nothing can possibly happen to you, right?
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-10 00:52:24 97405
Nightbell just smiles thinly at Princess Runealy; seems she's misjudged what Bell is actually doing, so ... she just doesn't respond to her words. Instead, she swings the shaft of her polearm to block the exploding emerald, just far enough away that it doesn't hurt the horse unduly --

And then she's caught in the Loop Card. "... This isn't gonna work, Sakura-chan, I helped you with this card!" she calls out.

Ping! <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Cartridge ready! A gun-trigger setup sticks out of the side of the polearm, and Bell ... has to move her hand down the shaft to manually pull the trigger. "Scheisse ..." she mutters. (Which will go untranslated, thank you very much.) The distraction is just long enough to get her tangled up in brambles. "Augh!"

But she successfully pulls the trigger. There's a sound like a gunshot, the device vents black steam, and ... <<HANDGELENKE DES HERKULES!>> Wrists of Hercules. There's a loud metallic crack as red sparks burst from Nightbell's gauntlets and sabatons, and she rips her polearm out of the brambles, uses it to tear through the entanglement, and then ...

... pulls it away from the fireball, hoping it will at least damage the brambles enough to get out, but the Zerobot shrieks, "ZERO-O-O-O-O!" Yeah, it's looking kind of dented now. It's showing signs of damage where the earlier attacks hit, too. Maybe heat is the way to go?

"... Tessen, I can only do that if it's intact enough," says Bell, standing up on the horse's saddle ... and then, still with her enhanced strength, she starts spinning the polearm back and forth, attempting to cut through the loop. If it's narrow enough that dodging isn't all that useful, then it should be narrow enough to reach with both ends of a ten-foot pole, which Sakura didn't know about before ...
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-10 00:56:39 97407
Sakura Kinomoto nodded. "Yes. But we can stop her without hurting her! After all... we're the good guys, right?" she said with a smile. "Magical girls aren't supposed to really hurt people!" Pause. "O-or magical boys. Sorry! You're helping too!" she said, flailing a bit as she worried she totally hit him in the confidence!

Then... Oh. Right. She did. Sakura had no choice. She had to STOP her. Sakura turned and ran into the opposite end of the loop, popping out... in front of Bell. Oh crud... And... as the sword came down to cut the loop...

"SHIELD!" she called. How many cards did this girl bloody have?! She held it up as a barrier formed around her... and the barrier. It wasn't going to be that easy to get that thing out of here... But...

With a single strike of that sword and the shield would crack. Two, and it'd heavily crack... Three...

And it'd shatter.
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-10 01:02:37 97409
Rune blinks at Sakura's spirited defense of their opponent's character. "I wouldn't know much about chores," the princess hasn't done many of them in her life, only recently doing so in order to help chip in a bit at the home she shares with her friends and family, "but I get what you're trying to say. I'll keep this 'not personal' if she does the same," in other words Runealy isn't out to fight to the death.

Then Gao and Tessen basically have the math to express what she was going to say; she lets them make the demands to cease and return stolen energy. This gives her a moment to ask Hino, "Did you see something?!" She's not angry; she's having to call out to him because he's pretty far away from her. Nonetheless, Rune noticed him looking elsewhere and she is curious about that.

Sakura's Loop card is puzzling. "Wait, wasn't she just...?" The question trails off as Runealy tries to figure out how Sakura seemingly 'bent reality' like that. More importantly, this gives her a very good chance to observe Nightbell's skills a bit closer up than Rune would have liked. Blocking the wand orb is fairly impressive on its own, but the actual attacks that follow are even more worrying. Nightbell swings for space-clearance, and the princess is very inclined to let her have it! Boot-wings lighting up with a silvery glow, she 'boost leaps' away from horse and rider. It doesn't matter that Nightbell is swinging a good several feet above Runealy; the princess does not want to risk an accidental hit or the rider suddenly having a change of heart!

"You helped with that card, you say? ...Do you create cards?" Rune reaches the wrong conclusion about Nightbell, while her main wand vanishes. A smaller one appears in Rune's hand instead, this one used to fire a few thin red beams at the robo-horse's legs! They're weaker than the orbs Rune was firing, but hopefully faster and harder to defend against.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-10 01:12:07 97412
Tessen sighs, shaking her head, and flicks her fans together, the pair joining into a slender blade that she now wields with one hand as she closes in on Nightbell. Hopping from one parked car to another, she closes in on the rider. "All you have to do is flip a switch, Bell, come on. Just do it." Send the energy back where you got it, and don't hurt poor Akane-chan.

"And I know you've got that, it's a basic safety measure," she continues. She pauses for a moment, turning towards Runealy. "I don't think they make new ones, just locate old ones, and keep them from making trouble. That's what happened when I ran into Sakura before."

Except while she was turned away, Bell's polearm smashes into Sakura's shield. Oh, she's not having any of that. "HEY!" she snaps out, levelling her slender blade at Nightbell. "I WARNED YOU!" She runs straight at the dark knight, now, caution thrown to the wind.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-10 01:21:28 97415
Guardian Gao glances in the direction Hino was looking, but by that point Nakusu had ducked back down. Well. One issue at a time...

He sizes up Nightbell's actions and thinks about his attacks. A Pinecone Spiker might put a sizable dent in the robo-horse, but the possible explosion is a bad idea with friendlies in close proximity. Staffwork barriers to assist Sakura might be an idea, but getting that close to a spinning polearm is a bad idea.

But what if the polearm wasn't spinning?

"BRAMBLE GRAPPLE!" he shout, firing another radially-splitting arrow, this time towards Rubindorn. Unlike the prior Grasp, these vines are smooth -- and while some of them try to wrap around the polearm, the others wrap around Gao's arm. Grabbing the vines with both hands, Gao pulls as hard as he can while small plants erupt around his feet and try to root him in place.
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-10 01:24:18 97417
Guardian Hino turns back suddenly. "I'm pretty sure there's someone hiding nearby now. I'm not sure if they're someone innocent, someone just hiding or someone working with this person here." he sputters. Once again, he doesn't state 'where'. "HEY, you hiding. You need help? Call out." he calls out.

Wait, what the heck is happening over near Runealy? That looks really weird. Like a time loop? But... not....?

He shakes his head and decides to fire off another basic ball of fire because he needs to hear what that voice answers or doesn't answer back and he can't help someone if he's all the way over there trying to get into blade range.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-10 01:32:33 97419
"I'M OKAY!" yells out the voice. "I PROMISE!" she yells. It's true. She is okay. She isn't hurt. Maybe a little rattled given the situation but she isn't hurt or bleeding or even not that physically uncomfortable. She takes a deep breath and just leans up against the back of the mailbox.


Just stay here, Naku. Just stay here.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-10 01:39:44 97421
Nightbell lets out a yelp as she pulls her polearm away from Sakura at the last possible instant! (Possibly an Akari-like yelp, but anyway.) And then she lets out a squawk and falls off the horse as Princess Runealy attacks its legs, hurriedly righting herself just in time to get tangled up in smooth vines. She doesn't even move to try to defend against Tessen.

But her first urge is to look over at Sakura. She looks ... frankly horrified, actually. "I-I-I didn't hurt you, did I?" she says, actual worry and fear in her voice. "Ahahaha ... ughhh ... why did I even bother, I knew I couldn't fight my little sister ... let alone if it was five against one ..." She doesn't bother to try to struggle or anything. "Rubindorn?"

<<JA ...>> The cutesy voice sounds meek and embarrassed now. The satellite-dish devices switch back to their original positions, and then, with a much-less eerie hum, they start transmitting the energy they'd previously drained, more-or-less back to their original owners.

She glances over at Nakusu, but doesn't comment. It does seem kind of weird to her that a civilian was ... "aware" enough to pay attention, but that's not important right now.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-10 01:45:08 97424
Sakura Kinomoto let out a sigh of relief. Yayyy! She... she gave in. Bell gave in. Sakura... Wait. Tessen! Sakura squeaked and... Raced forward, getting in front of Bell. Between her and tessen, the undamaged shield still up.

"Wait! Don't! It was me, not her! I got in the way of her attack, it wasn't her trying to attack me! DON'T HURT MY ONEE-SAN!" Well, she gave up... There was no way Sakura would let her get hurt now. Assuming Tessen backed off, she'd then turn and... Hug Bell. Tight. "I knew you'd do the right thing, Onee-san. Always!" she said firmly, despite the vines she'd hug her friend, tight. "IT's okay. You didn't hurt me. Besides. The shield card can block anything." No. No it cannot.
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-10 01:45:43 97425
Princess Runealy says, "Old cards? So she's acquiring them...?" Rune gets closer to the truth thanks to Tessen's clarification, but doesn't get long to ponder it; Hino has noticed something important. "So it's an innocent or an ambush, you think? Gao, do you see anyone hiding?" Apparently the princess trusts Gao's sharper vision than she does her own... but with Nakusu shouting out just after that question, she won't need it to at least get the basic location. "We'll do that! Ah, Gao... do you have anything that can give her a little more protection, just in case? I'm willing to believe this is 'not personal' for our enemy, but accidents can happen."

"...Or... wait... is... everything okay after all?" Protecting Nakusu might not be required, it turns out. What went in is now flowing out, and Nightbell's remarks suggest the fight might be over. "Hold on... Hino, Gao, stand down for a moment." Rune lowers her wand, remaining wary but no longer attacking. With Sakura now right next to Nightbell, there are two reasons to hold off."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-10 01:53:24 97431
The familiar sound of the yelp is noted in the back of Tessen's mind, but filed away for consideration later, for now. Instead her focus is on getting the dark knight away from Sakura. Only the sudden intervention of Sakura herself stops her charge, her blade whipped to the side just before it would have met the smaller girl's chest.

"What the heck?" she demands of Sakura, finding it hard to believe at first. But... well. She's been in that position before, herself. Defending Ikuto, for example. "Sakura, please, get out of my way. I won't hurt her too badly. I just need to make sure - "

    "Meister. Energy flow reversing."

"... oh. Well. Er." She slumps, sighing softly. She slides the blade into a scabbard that forms at her hip, and she looks up at Nightbell, then back to Sakura. "Thank you." She might well be speaking to either... or both.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-10 01:55:33 97432
With the polearm no longer a threat, Gao releases the vines of the Grapple (both physically and magically) and shakes his feet free of their planty moorings.

He wanders over to where Nakusu's voice came from, and peeks around the mailbox. "Ah. Hello," he says with a small nod, then steps back around the mailbox so he's between it and the rest of the group. Summon-swapping his bow for his staff, he taps the end of the staff to the ground and says "Forest Wall." A barrier of plants arises, growing to about waist height -- low enough to avoid impeding the view, while ready to grow into a sturdy barricade in case the battle resumes and an errant attack comes this direction.
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-10 02:02:24 97435
Guardian Hino stands down when asked because that's what you do when the person you have an oath to tells you to stand down. He doesn't put away his weapon yet. He sighs a little at this as he looks to Runealy and nods. "Alright." he says. He looks over to Gao. "Hey is whoever there okay?" he asks as he looks back to the group over closer to Runealy by now.

"Alright so is this over?" he asks. "Because if we're not fighting anymore, that's great." he says. "Words are always better." he insists. "Also words don't physically burn or hurt or stab." he asides.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-10 02:11:06 97437
"I..I'm fine!" she says as she stands up finally as this wall of vines and such constructs in front of her. She stumbles back a bit at that but doesn't fall backwards. "Ah...l..let a girl know when you do something so sudden, please." she manages to ask as politely and quietly as she can despite the situation. She dusts herself off. "H..Hi. I'm okay. Is this over?" she asks.

"Are you guys real knights? Is that girl a real princess? Sorry this is only my third..ish time. Seeing stuff like this. Usually I'm far enough way but it happened like a few feet over there so I just hid." she says with sudden worry.

"Are um. Are you all okay?" she asks with wide eyes, as she clutches her book a little tigher to her stomach.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-10 02:17:33 97438
Bell just takes this all in. "Ugghhh ... yeah." When the vines release her, she shakes her head, and in a burst of dark energy, she's back in the raincoat, and Rubindorn is a pendant again. "... I think after I take this Zerobot home, I might have to go and be miserable in the Dusk Zone for a little while," she says softly. "... oh right, I could've just ..." She shakes her head. "... or, no, it's probably too big to dusk step with. But I still could've teleported to it, uh ..."

She shrugs, and turns to Sakura, though she can't quite meet her gaze. "Hey, uh, can you text me in a few hours? Either number," she adds in a low voice. "I am ... probably not really gonna want to talk about this, but, uh, just in general."

She glances over towards Nakusu. She wants to ask about her, but she just ... doesn't have the energy right now. Being partly made of dark energy is gloomy.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-10 02:21:14 97440
Sakura Kinomoto blinked a few times as the other girl... came out. "Oh... ummmm..." she said, gulping... then... She turned to Bell. Well... "... I don't think you should go," she said firmly, reaching up to hold onto Bell's hands. "I think... you should stay. And meet everyone. Everyone! This is Nightbell! She's a really sweet girl. And I am Sakura! I'm... ummm. I'm the wielder of the clow cards. And ummm..."

She flushed. "Daddy always says the first step of making friends is introducing yourself. So... I think you should, Onee-san. Because you're still a wonderful person, who needs friends! And of course, you can call me any time!"
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-10 02:24:02 97442
"Thanks, Gao!" Rune is pleased the plant-barrier went up even though things seem to have turned peaceful. "And Hino, I'm really glad you noticed her... I was about to start moving that way, and if this fight kept going..." Rune lets the implications go unsaid.

She then nods over to Nakusu, "Hiding was smart, in that case. Glad you're okay!" Rune is very tempted to take a hardline stance on the 'Zerobot' and insist it needs to be scrapped, but pressing a fight in the middle of the city for an unknown gain versus a very known risk to bystanders is just at the edge of what she'll tolerate. Rune swings her current wand behind her back, and it disappears.

"Sakura, was it? Do you have this in hand? If so... I'm willing to leave."

Then she finally answers Nakusu's questions: "Yes. I am Princess Runealy of Waldia, and these are my sworn friends and knights... Guardian Gao," a nod to the forester, "And Guardian Hino," a nod to the blazing swordfighter. "We may seem strange, but I assure you we're friends of the people of Earth!"
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-10 02:30:16 97446
Guardian Gao glances over at Nakusu. "Sorry about that; I was trying for slow and low-powered, but it is still a lot faster than most plants grow," he smiles apologetically, easing the wall's rate of energy down so that it shrinks to knee height.

Noticing how tightly she's holding the book, he adds, "I take it that book is important to you?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-10 02:30:27 97447
Tessen shrugs, and seems drained of motivation by the sudden end of the fight. She reaches up to clap Sakura on the shoulder again, nodding. "Thanks, Sakura-chan." She manages a small smile, now. "Hello, Nightbell. Good to meet you again for the first time. Hi, I'm Tessen." She actually manages to joke about their previous meetings, since they already know each other's alias.

"Your father sounds like a wise man, Sakura-chan." She falls silent for a time, as Runealy introduce herself and her knights. "It's true," she confirms. "They're decent people. Good fighters, too."
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-10 02:54:10 97457
Guardian Hino gives a bow. "Hello!" he says. "Yes we are knights. And yes. She is a real princess. One of two to be precise! She's the crown one though." he says with a raised brow before he does eye the book too and then back up. He can't get a good look at the title from here. So he doesn't press the issue.

"I think... things have calmed down here enough we can all relax." he says. "Do you have a name you're willing to tell us?" he asks with some concern to the girl.
Nakusu Miki 2018-09-10 02:54:32 97458
"Nakusu Miki." the girl replies fairly quickly. "I was taking notes in my book... yeah. Um. Not. REALLY important. It's nothing but an old copy of.. um.. here." she shows the book. "Saint George and the Dragon?" she asks. "It's always been my favorite but a lot recently I've been feeling like stuff about the story is wrong. I've been making notes. It's just weird and stuff. Since it's make believe, right?" she says.

Right?. She goes back to holding the book more loosely. "Wow!" she says with wide eyes. "Earth? Are you like. From space?" she asks. She does have a certain wonder to her voice. "Oh! I'm sorry-- um. I shouldn't be asking questions like this." she says as she tries to stuff the book into her backpack. "I should g-go. Right yes, go!" she says suddenly rather hurriedly as she makes a rush away down the side walk.

That's definitly the book she shoved in her backpack on the ground! Yup.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-10 03:02:36 97461
Nightbell's expression at Sakura's painfully naive summation is a carefully painted picture. "I honestly don't know what you see in me," she says flatly. She chortles. "Hi, Tessen. I cannot believe that after our first encounter, you get to see me at my worst twice in a row." She looks back down at Sakura. "... seriously, though, I'm at least gonna need to take this thing back. I was on a mission, I can't just chill out with you guys." She blinks at Nakusu. St. George ...? Well ... no, it's probably just a coincidence, Lacrima did say it was just another myth.

At that moment, the Zerobot's draining-device goes silent, and Rubindorn pings. <<DIE ENERGIERUCKGABE IST ABGESCHLOSSEN!>> The energy return is completed!

Bell nods. "Okay, got it," she says. "We can --"

And then, boom. The backside of the horse explodes, thankfully away from the group, and it collapses onto its side. Bell was just about to tackle Sakura to the ground to try to shield her with her own body, but she just comes to a stop when she realizes that there was nothing dangerous actually towards them.

Bell just stares for a moment, then just ... sighs. "... I'll just ... yeah, bye." And then she vanishes into a black portal accompanied by an eerie ringing noise.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-09-10 03:05:00 97462
Sakura Kinomoto nodded, smiling up at Tessen. "Daddy is the smartest man ever! he's a professor, too!" she said with a nod. Then... she glanced to Runely and the others. "W-wow! You're a real princess? That's so cool! I've met a few princesses! That must be why you're so refined and pretty!"

"It-- OH GOSH!" she shrieked. "The cookies! I really gotta go deliver them of my gosh I'm so sorry it was great meeting all of you but I really have to go it was so good to meet you all BYE!"

And then, with the jump card, she was off to make her delivery.... where did she put those cookies?! She didn't eat them, she swears!
Runealy Waldia 2018-09-10 03:08:07 97463
"Saint George and the Dragon... I feel like I've heard that name a few times recently, but..." Rune can't immediately place the full significance of the title. "As for being from space? No... no, we're not. I don't think anyone can be from space, can they? We're from another world, but not space exactly. We'd be glad to explain a little more when... ah...?" She cuts off as Nakusu flees.

Then a more alarmed "Hnn?!" as an explosion rings out! Rune twirls to face it, reaching behind her back to start summoning a wand... and reconsiders when she sees there's no fight going on. Bell just left, instead. "Is everyone alri--" Sakura interrupts her with a question. "Thank you, but I..." ...Sakura is leaving. "Be well!" Rune offers in an awkward parting remark.

That leaves the princess and knights. "Ahn... that... was strange. I feel like we can't underestimate them. They were holding back, but it looked like if they had decided this was 'personal' that things might have turned out a lot differently."

She plucks her tiara off her head. It disappears, and a red energy flash leaves Rune standing in her normal attire. "Even though I'm a bit worried... thank you, both of you... you did great!"
Gaofele Doiru 2018-09-10 03:13:15 97464
With Bell having exited stage dusk, Gao sends his staff back into magicspace, and soon after the remaining plant wall vanishes as well. "Definitely not someone I'd want to face with a handicap," the forester remarks as he removes his bracer and likewise reverts to normal attire. "Hard to do defensive melee magics when the needed area is being swept like that."
Hinote Kagari 2018-09-10 03:15:28 97465
Guardian Hino blinks and lets the transformation flash off as he leans down and picks up the book. He flips through it. There's notes on a lot of pages. A lot. In different inks and writing implements. He flips all the way to the end where it says 'And the Knight and the Princess lived happily ever after'. It has been highlighted over with a large arrow pointing off the margin with a big 'NO!' written next to it in black permanent marker. He blinks as he closes it.

"Well that isn't ominous at all." he says as he slips the book into his coat for now. It's juuust small enough.

"We have her name so we should be able to find her again I bet if we ask around. I mean. She didn't seem phased by the magic stuff. She has got to know someone else, right?" he shrugs.

"Let's get back to looking around for things about our problem now that the current one is over."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-09-10 03:17:08 97467
Tessen sighs and shrugs as Bell departs. She casts a brief look over at the strange new girl, but the Knights seem to have things in hand, there. So it's not her problem to deal with. "So," she muses, "Sakura-chan... wanna go get ice cream?" ... wait, where'd she go?