The Good, the Bad, and the Crunchy

Part of this complete Stahlfist! A breakfast cereal youma goes on a rampage, and Nightbell is the first to the plate for getting rid of it. The cornflakes get soggy as the fight goes on, meaning that "crunchy" is less-than-accurate for the monster. It soon becomes clear to the heroes that "bad" isn't all that accurate for Akari, either.

Date: 2018-10-21
Pose Count: 24
Rosalie Janus 2018-10-24 23:23:00 99233
It's a nice peaceful evening over by the docks. The weather seems to be cooling off nicely as November draws nearer, there's a pleasant breeze from the direction of the ocean, and the skies are clear, red and orange in the west and starry in the east.

But it seems that not everything is nice. Those of a more magical persuasion, however, might be able to detect that all is not right. Something in an alleyway is draining energy, creating a sensation of ... darkness that hangs over the area, with an obvious source one could feel from a distance.

The alleyway happens to be a stone's throw from Mikoto's warehouse hideout -- or to be more accurate at the moment, Mikoto and Akari's hideout.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-24 23:31:43 99234
Mikoto herself is on her way there. With three people living there almost-full-time (Hikari counts! And is spending more time in human form, rather than a kitten, because Akari needs All The Hugs) they need more groceries. So she's walking back from the grocery store a few blocks away, pushing a little handcart full of all sorts of tasty ingredients. Including ice cream. Chocolate, of course. Because Ice Cream, that's why.

About halfway on her route from grocery to lair, she pauses and looks up, squinting at the dimming sky. "'kari-imouto? Something feel off to you?"

The catgirl familiar hmmms, takes a few sniffs of the air, and nods. "Definitely, nee-chan. Can't tell what from here, though."

Mikoto nods, and hmmms to herself. They'd left Akari alone back at the lair, giving her some time alone, but that may, it now seems, not have been the best plan.
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-10-24 23:32:40 99235
Nanoha Takamachi hasn't visit Mikoto's warehouse for a while. She's bringing a big box of muffins over, for Mikoto and Hikari. There's more than enough for a third. or a fourth. or a fifth. Really, Nanoha overdoes it with the muffins. It practically rains muffins when she's around. (These particular are blueberry and we're gonna be trashed since they're a littttle too sweet. Poppa wasn't paying attention to the sugar measurement this time but sweet is good maybe.

That's when she feels something bad in the area. Something isn't right and this usually means something bad.

She looks down at the muffins, and summons up Raising Heart and the ENTIRE BOX gets shoved into Raising Heart's storage compartment.

She huffs. "Set up...."

Soon Nanoha Takamachi is in her barrier jacket, hovering over rooftops and looking around. "Raising Heart... wide area search..." < Yes Master. > replies Raising Heart as two , magenta balls are cast from Raising Heart and begin helping her to search the area.
Alexis Raskoph 2018-10-24 23:38:44 99237
    Lately, Alexis Raskoph has been spending more and more time as Stahlritter when he is not in school. Especially so during the later hours of the day-- and night. Tonight is no different.
    For tonight, he is moving along the rooftops of the harbor district, as part of his typical patrol procedure. Mostly unseen, save for the briefest glances of a flapping black cloth or a bizarre chain across the sky, seen just in the corner of the eye.
    That sweep through the rooftops comes to a halt, however, upon that... sensation. That familiar sensation. The sensation he knows all too well from personal experience-- on both sides of it. Kriegsfauste might not have the kind of scanning capabilities that many Midchildan Devices or even certain Belkan Devices do, but that doesn't stop him from sensing it. ANd putting together *where* it is.
    THe approach to the alleyway is stalled, however, upon the sensing of *something else*. Namely Nanoha. He isn't qujite aware of her nature yet, so pure instinct and pragmacy tells him to swoop into the shadows just nearby, off of the obvious sight right atop the rooftops. He can only hope he can hide his presence adequately enough to not be detected by magical means, but every type of magic is too different from the other to be fully certain of that.
Rei Hino 2018-10-24 23:41:49 99238
Rei Hino, for her part, is here as a civiian, following her nose in a less literal sense than Mikoto, not as Sailor Mars just yet, but as Perfectly Normal Civilian Rei Hino. Sailor Mars is a bit of an attention grabber, you see, and she's not totally sure what she's looking for apart from following a strange feeling, peering cautiously as she paces through the alleyways. Without a medium or some aggressive power use on display, she's not really equipped to track youma, unfortunately.
Rosalie Janus 2018-10-24 23:54:08 99239
As the assembled heroes approach the alleyway, there's the thunderclap of a discharged Belkan cartridge, followed almost immediately by a yelp.

A familiar yelp, at least to Stahlritter, Rei, and Mikoto.

There's an enormous monster at a junction between two alleyways. An amorphous monster, its body made out of cornflakes and milk! Cornflakes and milk which are glowing ultraviolet with dark energy! Nearby lie the prone forms of two teenage boys in scruffy "delinquent"-type clothing, damp and with random cornflakes on them; evidently, they got drained into unconsciousness.

The source of the thunderclap is Nightbell, wearing her purple hair in a ponytail. (Like Akari, except not blue.) She's in her black and gray and red Knight Clothing, with her longsword Rubindorn affixed to her back, and she's struggling to pull a third teenager out of the monster's mass, and kicking at it with her sabatons.

Her general attitude is also noticeably different from the last time Rei and Stahlritter saw her; she's a bit more excited, a bit more expressive. (More Akari-like, in other words.) "Let go of him you little --" She blinks as she sees the other arrivals, eyes widening nervously. "Uh ... hi?"

While she's distracted, the monster launches a cereal-pseudopod out and smacks her into the alley wall!
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-25 00:01:24 99241
The moment Mikoto hears the yelp, all pretense of caution is thrown to the wind. "Stay here and keep the civvies out," she snaps to Hikari, who nods and takes the grocery cart from her.

A few moments and a flashy lightshow later, Hagane is racing for the alleyway in question, blade held at her side, ready for action. She rounds the corner, takes in the scene, and...

"Hey, Bell-chan. Busy day, huh?"

Without waiting for an answer, she slashes at the air with her blade, and a vortex of air and mana forms in its wake to be flung off towards the youma, aimed a bit above the teenager Nightbell is trying to help.

Nanoha Takamachi 2018-10-25 00:03:45 99242
Nanoha Takamachi is able to locate the source, as she peers through the wide area search bit. "O..Oh. Is that..." she says. "Are those cornflakes?" she asks.

"Barrier!" < Barrier! > goes Raising Heart as the world shifts into the greys of a space time barrier. Maybe hoping to dislodge the kids from the beast if she can. This might not work if the beast is holding on that tight.

She doesn't see Stahlritter-- he keeps away. Rei is a bystandaer as far as she can understand right now.

Hey it's Mikoto! She hovers overhead. "Ugh..." she says. "What is that thing. They are supposed to be a part of a balanced breakfast not the other way around right?" she asks.

She calls up orbs. "Divine Shoot!" she calls out as the balls lance into a barrage of lasers towards the creature's general... body region, and not the arms. She's trying to get it's attention with a bunch of weaker shots.
Alexis Raskoph 2018-10-25 00:10:24 99243
    In the middle of all the other attacks, something moves in the shadows of the alleyway. It takes advantage of the darkness and the chaos alike to get close--
    ANd then the darkness lights up with the red light of gathering mana around a large, vibrating steel fist, and it reveals with it the tall, heavy figure of the Knight of Steel.
    With that, all that gathered power explodes out as the fist is thrown into a punch right after into the creature of milk and cereal. Even if the creature isn't particularly 'solid'-- the instant the fist makes contact, all that energy releases, too, and it ripples through the air in form of intense air pressure. An explosion of pure force and strength.
Rei Hino 2018-10-25 00:15:52 99245
Rei's eyes go wide at first sight of the creature. On further examination this response is deemed inadequette, and her eyes grow large enough that they might leave her face to fully appreciate the baffling horror of Kellog's Monster.

Rei throws her arms in front of herself reflexively when the barrier spreads. She definitely recalls that from her last encounter with Akari, and for a split second after Rei sees Bell struggling with the creature, her brow knits in consternation as she sees what she thinks is a youma ringleader returning to her antics - and after all that with Sakura-san, no less! - before blasts of energy start flying the monster's way.

Grabbing her transformation wand, Rei determines that it's time to...!

... retreat, actually; she's pretty sure none of these people know who she is, and she'd like to keep it that way if she could. She sprints away until she can put a building or two between her and the fight. "Haa... haaa... okay." She pants, and raises her hand, "Mars Power Make-up!"

A few moments later Sailor Mars as bounded onto a rooftop overlooking the monster, and decides the person stuck in the creature's body could use a bit of a distraction so people can free him. "A-HEM!" Sailor Mars announces her presence, and puts her hands on her hips. "A balanced breakfast is the bedrock of a child's morning! They depend on it for nutrition, and for its simple delicious flavors to give them strength for the day! How dare you corrupt this sacred cycle! In the name of Mars... I will chastise you!"
Rosalie Janus 2018-10-25 00:23:38 99246
The two prone teenagers vanish into the barrier-world, but the one the monster is still grabbing remains. When it gets hit by the attacks, there's a loud, excitable sloshing noise, and the shockwave of the Stahl Streik sends it staggering back to the side. Still, however, it has a single "arm" of cereal and milk draped over the prone boy.

Bell pushes herself to her feet. "Yeah, uh ... Rubindorn detected the draining, and I guess I was closer!" she says. To Rei, she might sound like she did after Sakura snapped her out of her little moment -- less gruff, her voice at a slightly higher register. To Mikoto, of course, she sounds like Akari. Either way, she just looks more nervous than Stahlritter might be familiar with.

She gives Stahlritter a nervous look, then nods to Nanoha. "Looks like it!" she says. "My name is N--"

And then, for the briefest of instants, she hesitates as she realizes that she doesn't have to introduce herself as Nightbell. She ... she doesn't have to introduce herself as Nightbell!

"My name is Akari Hayabusa!" she says, and there's the faintest hint of relief in her voice. "I, uh, I'm corrupted by darkness, so I-I'm kind of useless at the moment since this thing is --"

However, the monster picks that moment to make its counterattack. Shaking with liquid fury, it launches cornflake-covered dark energy bullets at Hagane, Nanoha, Stahlritter, and Akari herself! Not Sailor Mars, however; it seems that justice speeches aren't enough to get its attention.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-25 00:40:04 99249
At least the barrier has two of the kids out of danger. "Good thinking," she calls to Nanoha. Then she starts towards Nightbell. It's not like it's unusual for her to be seen fighting alongside darksiders, after all. Rei's speech is attention-grabbing and all that, but Mikoto has never been particularly impressed by speeches. So she doesn't bother to do more than wave hello to Mars.

She grins wide as Akari introduces herself, pleased to see the girl take pride in her name and her choice of path. "Good to see you, Akari-chan! Don't worry, we've got your back!"

Just in time to get slammed by a cornflake-crusted fried dark energy bullet and launched back into a building wall. Whoops.

"It's okay! I'm fine!" she calls out as she peels herself out of the hole, a cloud of glass-like slivers of light forming around her as she starts conjuring up Flickers. A small handful of them is sent at the youma, just to keep it honest, but she's saving most of them for a bigger strike later.
Alexis Raskoph 2018-10-25 00:52:34 99250
    Through the blasts of cereal and such, Stahlritter crouches down and smoothly runs through along-- weaving and ducking his way past most of them, though there's plenty that still chink off his armor and tear through the coat framing him. ON the way, his hand grabs an empty can of soda left along by... you know, whoever. There's a brief glow in that hand, and a rune is left imprinted into the piece of trash.
    With the approach, the Knight leaps up off the ground suddenly, flipping himself around vertically over the limb grabbing onto the unfortunate teen-- and on the way, shoves the can against the limb. Even if the amorphous matter doesn't 'swallow' it, *something* seems to cause it to stick.
    The flip ends with him landing on the other side, and leaping off further, one fist raised up with a thumb raised and hooked as if though he were holding a detonator. And then, that thumb smashes down against the other fingers.
    And the can EXPLODES in a glorious display of light and energy.
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-10-25 00:59:59 99251
Akari? Isn't that a familiar name? She isn't able to think on it too much because her eyes go wide and she throws up her hand, a 'round shield' autocasting from her hand to absorb the hits as she nrgs against the barrage of dark energy... cornflake balls.

She lowers the shield when she's able to get free of the serious cereal barrage and watches as another... Belkan Knight....? Comes out and just punches the thing. Huh.....

She huffs as she aims Raising Heart. "Raising Heart. Let's try what we've been practicing. Get really to throw." she says. < Affirmative, Master! > goes Raising Heart as it goes into a slight different bombardment throw. She huffs. "Sorry... these we're meant for friends but...."

"Divine Muffin Shoot!" calls out Nanoha.

Then magenta-mana empowered, homemmade with love, Blueberry muffins get launched at an outstanding speed towards the dark, not homemmade cereal monster. At least six of them!
Rei Hino 2018-10-25 01:01:45 99252
Sailor Mars looks... almost offended to be ignored that way, and the friendly wave almost makes it worse! Waste of a perfectly good justice speech. Her brow twitches once, and then raises in alarm as Hagane is blasted away, drawing in a sharp hiss of breath through clenched teeth as she refocuses on the monster.

To heck with it. She can't rain fire on this thing while there's a civilian attached to it, much less a civilian AND their would-be rescuer, so Rei dives off of the rooftop and goomba-stomps the monster, digging both heels into its head before jumping off behind him, grabbing two handfulls of teeanger and puuuullling with all her might to try to help Akari get him out of there before Stahlritter makes their move, a barrage of blueberry muffins falling all around them.

Somewhere, deep in her heart, pulling a teenager out of a cereal-and-milk monster in an alleyway being pelted with muffins, Sailor Mars wonders what her life even is anymore.
Rosalie Janus 2018-10-25 01:10:58 99253
Akari lets out a squeak and recoils as the bullet hits her, and she gets some cornflakes splattered onto her Knight Clothing, but she doesn't seem unduly harmed. "... hah, the one benefit of being dark myself," she mutters. She nods to Rei. "Right!" With that, she and Rei pull the boy out to a safe distance.

The flickers tear into the monster, and the muffins clearly do even more damage! Stahlritter's explosive attack tears the "limb" right off, reducing it to a spatter of milk and corn flakes on the pavement. Soggy corn flakes, in fact; it seems that, on the whole, the monster's cornflakes are starting to get soggier and soggier as the fight wears on.

Akari looks at the monster, then down at the boy. "Right," she says. "Rubindorn?"

Her sword pings. <<ALLE ZIVILISTEN WURDEN ENTFERNT!>> Her Device seems to just have a cutesy version of Akari's own voice.

"All civilians have been removed!" Akari translates. She pulls the boy a bit further away. "Rubindorn, Rosenschild!"

Ping! <<ROSENSCHILD!>> A pyramid of ruby-red light tainted with darkness forms around herself, Sailor Mars, and the boy.

Akari blinks at Sailor Mars. "Oh, uh, it's permeable on the inside, you can just walk out."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-25 01:26:03 99254
With Akari and the civilians safe, Mikoto is satisfied. There's no longer a reason to hold back. Good. "Well done, Akari-chan!" she calls out, smiling broadly. This critter's upset her deeply. Not only has it annoyed Akari, but it's ruined her plans for breakfast. And it's ruined Nanoha's Muffins. No one ruins Takamachi Muffins and gets away with it!

She levels her blade and advances on the creature, more and more flickers forming around her as she advances, batting aside more strikes.


Shards of light spiral about her blade, each one adhering to its gleaming length as she closes in, pressing on to drive the blade home and release the built-up energy in a massive explosion. "Crumble and fall!"
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-10-25 01:40:53 99255
Nanoha watches her basically railgun muffins slam through the creatures. She 'hahs!' and looks down at a counter that Raising Heart is emitting it's a.. muffin ammo counter. She's six down from twenty. She hang heads- disappointed. But getting this creature out of commission is more important than muffins. More muffins can be made later.

She draws another bead on the monster... "Hey uh..."

"Is.. is it loosing cohesion?" she asks. She does eye the it's inherent sogginess so maybe it's just that? She fires off another barrage of Divine Muffins through Raising Heart, phooooming through the air like magenta streaks!
Rei Hino 2018-10-25 01:43:54 99256
Sailor Mars nods once sharply, glancing around the magical shield, and frowns. "I'm gonna use this as cover to get him farther away from here." She looks apologetic and admits, "I... don't think I should be throwing fire around in a cramped space like this. I'll come back as soon as I can."

Rei gathers up the young man - and odd feeling to say the least, and smiles softly, "Good luck... Akari-san." She says, sounding almost proud to see you fighting against the youma before she leaps away to deliver the teen somewhere away from all this.
Rosalie Janus 2018-10-25 02:00:43 99257
Akari smiles weakly at Rei, and nods. Her expression looks almost odd, what with the glowing eyes and the eldritch face-markings, and this close, it's obvious that she's fairly uncomfortable about all this, but ... well, this simply Akari, being truer to herself than she'd been as Eclipse's monster.

The monster is indeed losing cohesion! In fact, between the muffins and the explosion of flickers, it seems that barely anything is left. It lets out one last distressed sloshing sound, and then collapses onto the ground, like ... well ... exactly like someone spilled several gallons of milk and soggy cornflakes.

Akari exhales with relief, and dispels the shield. "Wow," she says. In a surge of darkness, Rubindorn changes to its pendant form. "Rubindorn? Uh, revert, I guess is how I should be phrasing that."

Rubindorn's ruby flickers silently ... then pings. <<AHM, RICHTIG, JA!>> Um, right, yes! Akari is engulfed in a surge of darkness ...

... which then seems to glitch out, before turning pale blue! When it dissipates, there's an ordinary human-looking girl with blue hair and brown eyes, dressed in a loose but stretchy-looking gray sweatshirt and sweatpants (evidently so that she can wear them comfortably in both forms). She's shorter than she is in the other form, although she's still taller than most adult Japanese woman ... but, well, she still has the same ethnically-Belkan face as "Nightbell", just without the face markings or glowing eyes. "Okay," says Akari. "Wow, ahahaha. That ... was worse than I was expecting."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-25 02:12:31 99258
Mikoto leaps back from the youma as her Flickers explode, trying to avoid the splash of milk and soggy cereal. "And that is what happens to those who threaten breakfast!" she yells, then finally slides her blade back into its sheathe.

"Good work, all. Thanks for the help, Mars-san, Nanoha-chan, Stahlritter-san." She smiles and waves to the three as she walks over to Akari, wrapping her arms around the girl for a tight hug.

(Whatever Akari might say about her 'Nightbell' form, Mikoto doesn't argue. She just reminds her friend that she finds it just as beautiful as her 'Akari' form.)

"You did great, Akari-chan. I'm glad you're okay."
Nanoha Takamachi 2018-10-25 02:22:32 99259
Nanoha Takamachi has only a few muffins left. Sad. She lands nearby and brushes off her barrier jacket and smiles with a bow. "You're welcome! What was that? Just... a random.. thing or..?" she scratches the top of her head. She sighs and steps forward and head tilts at Akari. "Oh..! Don't I know you?..." she asks, head tilting. "You we're in... the Crown I think..." she says as she taps her bottom lip.

"Anyways, hello! I'm Nanoha Takamachi!" she says. "I was on my way to deliver um. Some muffins to.. um..." she doesn't know what name to use.

"Hagane's Hideout..." yeah that works. "Because I haven't visited in a while!" she says. "Fate was out with her sister tonight I think... she said she had things to do so she couldn't come." she says. "But um. I kind of used most of the muffins in the fight." she says.

"S-so sorry about that! I'll visit again soon with more muffins!" she says.
Rei Hino 2018-10-25 02:28:04 99261
Sailor Mars rushes back into the alley and skids to a halt "I'm back! Every get-" a tense expression turns to bewilderment, and then understanding as she comprehends the gorey mass of soggy corn flakes. "... Oh. Well then." She puts one hand to the back of her head and looks sheepish, just saying, "Good job everyone." With a short bow, though her gaze is on Akari when she straightens back up,. "And... Akari-san. Glad to see you're... doing well." She says with a cautious but genuine smile.
Rosalie Janus 2018-10-25 02:45:31 99263
Akari hugs Hagane tightly, and lightly kisses her cheek. Yes, in front of everyone else here! "I didn't really do much at all, but thank you," she says. She shakes her head. "Wow I need to get my Linker Core purified!"

She smiles weakly up at Nanoha. "Yeah, yeah, uh, it was all of once, but I guess we have met, haven't we? I, uh, had actually already heard about you ..." She grimaces. "... when I was in Eclipse." She shakes her head. "I've quit now, though!"

With one arm still around Mikoto's shoulders, she gingerly turns back to Sailor Mars as she returns, her smile much easier now. "I've been staying with Hagane-chan," she says. "I spoke with Vice-Director Lacrima, and she agreed to let me leave UMBRA without any fuss as long as I didn't divulge any company secrets and stuff." She pauses. "I agreed because none of them are a danger to anyone, except for the one that's only a danger to Riventon-san, so, uh, whatever I guess."

She smiles. "Anyway, Frau Doktor just sent in my paperwork to get me out of Eclipse altogether. I'd still like to get a chance to talk with Princess Runealy, but it looks like I'm basically getting out of there without any problems!"

... Unfortunately, not that anyone here has any way of knowing it, but she's completely wrong about that last part.