Two Knights and a Monster

Nightbell and Stahlritter have the world's most uneasy teamup against a shadowy dragon-youma.

Date: 2018-09-29
Pose Count: 17
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 19:29:14 98463
It's a nice and sunny day out, the early autumn air is crisp, and Akari is walking around downtown after school in her school uniform. There's an uncontrollable grin on her face; she just can't get last night out of her mind! She was only barely able to avoid being distracted from her schoolwork.

Meanwhile, there's a long and serpentine shadow on the roof of a nearby building. A somewhat dragon-like youma is resting there, coiled up and resting, but after a moment, it begins to stir ...
Stahlritter 2018-09-29 20:33:01 98464
    And then there's an Alexis. It's just after school, so he's not quite in Stahlritter guise yet to undergo his usual patrol routine. Instead, he's... out walking Hope. Hope likes the more lush areas of Mitakihara, you see, so the leather jacket clad german is idly prowling through, with the corgi at the end of a leash long enough to allow the tiny ball of joy some freedom in going to greet people who just can't handle the cuteness of her without providing tribute of scritchies.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 20:41:46 98465
Akari walks right past Alexis the other way, not even noticing the cute doggy! Her head is in the girlfriend-clouds a little too much at the moment --

At that moment, the shadowy dragon-form slithers down the side of the building in an alleyway across the street! There's an intense sensation of dark energy as it begins draining energy from people on the sidewalk, and people across the street just start to ... collapse, one by one.

Akari stares, affecting the look of someone frozen in place with shock as she memorizes what this place looks like, then bolts away and ducks into a nearby alleyway. Alex might hear a brief eerie ringing sound behind him ...
Stahlritter 2018-09-29 20:57:24 98466
    That's Hope noticing the dragon and FREAKING OUT. Because. You know. EVIL DRAGON.
    Of course Alexis notices it too-- and in a hurry, he picks up the corgi, and quickly leaps back several paces, before locking her leash to a light pole with a firm order of "STAY!"
    With that done, he makes another leap-- this one much larger and longer than the last, for it comes with a flash of light around his hands that set Kriegsfauste into Active mode. And right on the heels of that, come his Knight Armor.
    With a flutter of a long leather coat in the air, Stahlritter spins through his trajectory, over the dragon and down again-- and down to slamming his large steel fist towards the thing with a reverbating "ORA!!!!"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 21:16:31 98468
Well, that certainly caught the dragon's attention. It lets out a high-pitched metallic screech, the fist leaving a dark purple bruise in the black shadowy form. It slitheres away at high speed, before opening its mouth, and belching forth a large stream of darkness!

And then there's a noise like the eerie ringing from before played in reverse as a disc of blackness forms right where Akari was standing a moment ago, and Nightbell leaps out, wielding her long blood-red sword Rubindorn.

Her sword pings. <<ZEIT-RAUM-SCHRANKE!>> it says, in that cutesy version of Nightbell's own voice. A red spell-triangle forms around Nightbell's feet, and a circle of roiling red and black fractal light forms above her head. Somewhat sluggishly at first, it spreads out to form a dome around the surrounding neighborhood, shifting the battlefield slightly sideways dimension-wise and filtering out all non-magical life. And also bathing the area in an eerie purple glow, caused by trace amounts of dark energy that got mixed into the spell.

... While this is going on, Nightbell sees Stahlritter, and she freezes up for a second, glowing red eyes widening with near-panic. "... ah."
Stahlritter 2018-09-29 21:25:27 98469
    At the end of the spinning punch, Stahlritter lands on the ground-- for all of half a second. He knows better than to hold still for more than he absolutely has to. ANd good thing, too, on account of the stream of dark energy being spat out by the slithering thing. The motion turns him up to a high, backflipping leap that in turn lands him on top of a lightpole.
    ...Right in time for Nightbell to come out. And for him to notice that and glance back. Wait. That's-- Oh son of a bitch.
    "YOU!" the Knight of Steel roars out, in a fit of misguided fury. A hand grabs at the pole underneath him, as the other reaches out, sending out a chain to grabbing at a building to the side, pulling him off away from the pole-- and pulling the pole off of the ground with a piece of rubble at the base. "YOU SET THIS UP?!" The accusatory yell comes with the pole getting sent towards the dragon, with Kriegsfauste announcing <<SPANNSTUCK>> as it's sent with a burst of mana at the youma like a railgunprojectile, only to end up exploding right before contact in a massive cloud of smoke.
    And he's turned, just like that, to charging at Nightbell.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 21:35:55 98470
The dragon lets out another screech from Stahlritter's debris-attack, and it rears back, purple bruises pockmarking the front of its body.

Nightbell's expression is just pure, unadulterated panic. "What!? No!" she exclaims, flying up into the air to try to get out of Stahlritter's range. "I-I set up the barrier so we could fight this thing!" Her tone of voice is currently uncomfortably close to her Akari-voice, but she doesn't have quite as many "filters" when she's out of infiltration mode.

At that moment, the dragon lets out a screech, and lunges forward after Stahlritter, attempting to bite down on him!
Stahlritter 2018-09-29 22:04:43 98471
    When Stahlritter lands where NIghtbell used to be, he actually stomps at the ground to crack it-- probably intending to grab one of the pieces of rubble to use as projectile against her. But he pauses just momentarily at her words. He doesn't... really seem like he believes her. At least
    But he can yell at her some more in a moment. Because SOMETHING IS COMING UP BEHIND HIM.
    The Knight spins around quickly to face the dragon, and-- he actually grabs at the thing with both of his hands, by each jaw, feet skidding along the ground a meter or so backwards from the weight of the monster pressing in on him as he struggles to keep those jaws open and AWAY FROM HIM.
    Not for long though. At the end of that skidding slide, he shifts his own center of balance with a violent roar of exertion, his bared biceps bulging and flexing up intensely with the effort of hoisting the creature up, over himself-- and then letting go to just send the damned thing sailing off past himself.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 22:17:05 98472
The dragon is very surprised by this turn of events! It struggles against Stahlritter's strength, trying to clamp down on him, tail thrashing around behind it, and not really giving any thought to tactical considerations.

Which is why it goes flying, surprising it even more as it crashes into the ground, leaving a lurid purple scrape along its body.

However, it quickly rights itself, turning its head around to face Stahlritter. Its mouth opens wide to breathe dark energy on him again ...

... and at the last second, Nightbell swoops down with a yell of "MUDAAAAAAA", slashing at the side of its head and causing it to send its breath-attack wildly off into the wrong direction, tearing a chunk out of a nearby building!

However ... the slash doesn't seem to have done any damage at all.

Bell blinks. "Oh right, dark --" She's cut off as the monster's tail whips around and smacks her out of the sky.
Stahlritter 2018-09-29 22:44:13 98473
    Okay. Stahlritter actually looks genuinely surprised by both 1) Bell attacking this creature and 2) The creature attacking Bell. Huh. Well what do you know.
    No time to worry about that, though. If anything, he'll take advantage of it. While the creature is bringing the tailwhip to fruitition, he-- nudges his foot to shift some of the rubble around? For some reason?
    "Come on, you ugly bitch!" The Knight roars out, upon taking a couple steps backwards, fists held up in a boxer's posture while he remains facing the dragon. "Try me again would ya."
    Underneath the rubble, as it happens, between him and the dragon, lays a mostly concealed rune.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 22:52:06 98474
Nightbell lets out a soft groan where she landed, and she struggles to get back to her feet. Her limbs are showing multiple scratches and bruises now.

The dragon isn't all that bright, but it has multiple methods of attack. It lets out another screech, and starts charging forward at Stahlritter, at the same time opening its mouth to breathe dark energy at him once again!
Stahlritter 2018-09-29 23:10:53 98475
    Stahlritter backs up just a bit more-- and then, at the very last second, he leaps up, flipping forwards. And in the same instant, the rune flashes right underneath the dragon's head. Mana forms into several red chains, shooting up from the ground and wrapping around the head and neck and pulling downwards again.
    And up in the air, Stahlritter sails right above the dragon-- and as his head is pointing right downwards, a red, triangular shield forms at his feet, only to collapse right after to launch him down. Both gauntlets vibrate with gathering power, and just before he slams face-first in, he throws his fist down in.
    Now just one of those punches is enough to crater the ground, but... there's not just one. In rapid succession, his fists pummel downwards, fast enough that trails of mana are left in their wake, causing an illusion of several fists punching down at the dragon.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-29 23:18:59 98476
Bell manages to get to her feet. She puts her sword on her back, and a gun-trigger setup sticks out of the handle. Ping! <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> She pulls the trigger, there's a thunderclap, the sword vents black steam, and ... <<HANDGELENKE DES HERKULES!>> There's a metallic crack and red sparks fly from her gauntlets and sabatons, even as she charges forward at an unsteady gait to strike it almost at a right angle from Stahlritter's strikes.


And with that, the dragon's entire body turns purple, before it simply disintegrates into black smoke.

Nightbell stumbles over to the nearest halfway-intact wall, and leans heavily against it. "... well, that worked," she says weakly. She looks around, and then starts staggering over to a nearby alleyway.
Stahlritter 2018-09-30 14:42:14 98501
    Just as she's making for the alleyway, a small piece of rubble flies right past her at mach speed and hits the wall, just besides where her head was. Oh dear.
    "I don't typically have qualms about attacking enemies from behind," Stahlritter's voice rumbles from a few paces behind. "So you better appreciate the fact that I only went for a warning shot just now. Now--"
    The heavy sound of Stahlritter's armored boots stomping on the ground approaches, with the Knight's right hand held up, with rocks hold between each finger as though prepared ammunition.
    "Last time I saw you, you nearly turned a friend of mine into a splatter. So you better start explaining yourself before I lose my temper."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-30 14:58:20 98503
Nightbell freezes up. "... yeah," she says softly in a hollow voice, turning around to face him and just slumping back against the wall. "... At the time ... w-when I first attacked you ... I was basically just a dark energy monster. Just ... doing the most aggressive thing possible, and the Doctor kept ... throwing me at heroes because she didn't know anything about fighting at all." She doesn't even bother to try to self-correct as 'self-proclaimed heroes' or anything like that. "It wasn't until I ... let it take me over completely, and the Doctor got put into the hospital, that I realized." Her actions in the early part of her Eclipse career have really weighed heavily on her mind, and she keeps feeling like 'Akari', if she was a different person, would disagree that she's improved to any significant degree at all.

'What is the point of this?' says the voice of darkness in her mind. 'He is an enemy. Terios is an enemy. You would be entirely justified in destroying both of them.'

Bell flinches, trying to push these "thoughts" aside. She tries to look straight at Stahlritter's visor, despair in her glowing red eyes. "T-Terios-san didn't bother to hit me back when I apologized to her, but ... I figure at least one of you ..." She swallows. "W-we ... should probably go to a rooftop, though, because my barrier won't last very long ..." In a surge of darkness, Rubindorn becomes a pendant again, and her Knight Clothing disappears, replaced by a simple blood-red dress with her Rubindorn's-pendant-form emblem on the front.
Stahlritter 2018-09-30 15:05:35 98504
    Stahlritter doesn't say anything at first. That fiery-orange visor just keeps staring at her, menacingly. Fingers tighten about the rocks between them. He's ready to attack. He's ready to accelerate ever single one of those rocks and throw them at her before charging in himself. He wants to. He really does.
    But, once the person before him is left into a dress, instead...
    The fingers loosen around the rocks enough to leave them falling away from his grip and clattering on the ground.
    "Get the hell out of here," he growls. "Before I change my mind."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-09-30 15:09:18 98505
Nightbell blinks, mildly surprised, and looks like she's about to protest. But ... well, she doesn't actually think this is a good idea. She stumbles off into the alleyway as fast as she can. Once she's out of sight of the main road, she grasps her pendant. "R-Rubindorn?"

Ping! <<JA!>> The barrier fades, erasing the collateral damage and restoring her and Stahlritter to the real world.

Bell nods, and disappears into a black circular portal accompanied with an eerie ringing sound.