Let This Cruel Shell Be Ripped Away

Akari and Mikoto visit the Waldians' house in Mitakihara, so that Runealy can attempt to purify her. The results are initially ... painful, but better than expected.

Date: 2018-11-12
Pose Count: 31
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 02:12:38 100157
Akari can't actually use her magic when she isn't in her 'Nightbell' form, so in lieu of magical disguises, she and Mikoto have made their way towards the Waldians' home in Mitakihara via alleyways and less-trafficked streets; Akari is wearing a hoodie and sunglasses to keep her face hidden, although she's slightly worried that this would be more attention-getting in general, and there are probably very few teenage girls in Tokyo who are 175cm tall. On the other hand, she's bursting with excitement that they're finally doing this.

Finally, the two approach the Waldians' home. "Okay!" says Akari. Rubindorn, tucked into her shirt, attempts to send Bardiche a notification that they're here. Without further ado, Akari walks right up to the front door, takes off her sunglasses, and knocks.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 02:18:33 100158
Mikoto walks along with Akari, keeping up a subtle search spell to survey the area, keeping an eye out for anyone following them as they make their way to the Waldians' home. Their disguises are simple enough, not trying to be invisible, just unimportant to look at. Even her own magic is mostly suppressed, leaving only enough to run the single searcher.

She walks up to the door with Akari, pausing to look about as she crosses the street, and waits while Akari knocks. "So far, so good," she murmurs.

On a rooftop nearby, a small grey cat lurks, Mikoto's Famliar keeping her own watch on the pair. Just in case.
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 02:21:42 100159
Rune did not follow Akari and Mikoto. Having enough sense to realize a large group might draw attention, she settled for urging them to call her if they were attacked on the way over and took a different route back home on foot. Hinote had hurried ahead to tend to things at the house, it appears.

Once back home, Rune had her own preparations to do. One of the living room couches had its internal bed unfolded, with a few pillows arranged atop it. Other space such as small chairs and tables had been cleared out to offer more floor space. "Fate, you're quite welcome to watch this. Honestly, I would be glad if you are. I will be too exhausted to do much after the ritual, so if someone has followed them here and attacks... I may well have to rely on you."

Then the knocking comes. "They're here..." Rune is presuming that's Akari and Mikoto, in any event. She goes to the door, taking a moment to check it, then opens it up. "Please, come in. We're ready when you are!" Her tone has some sharp breathing to it, like someone preparing for a major exam that is about to start any moment now; a bit stressed, but not angry.
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 02:34:33 100160
Fate T. Waldia looks at Runealy with some softness. "Of course I want to watch it..." she relates. She doesn't specify on why, but she has her reasons. Probably reasons she isn't ready to ask Runealy about just yet. She nods. "Of course. If you're too tried and someone followed them..." she says with some concern.

Well, that just won't do! When there's knocking, she lets Runealy get the door and she offers a slight bow. "Hello." she says more stoically than when she was just speaking to Runealy. "I'll go make sure various distractions are 'off'." she says. She begins to walk around, making sure phone ringers are off and electronics that might 'go off' suddenly for whatever reason. Better to be safer than sorry.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 02:43:34 100161
Akari grabs Mikoto's hand and squeezes it. "Okay!" she says. "Hello, Your Highness." She smiles as she steps in. "And once again, thank you." She looks around. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary that she can see. "Really, honestly, I ... I don't know what to say!" She shakes her head. "Honestly, it's just ... I only ... decided to quite Eclipse exactly a month ago, but it seems like this is practically ... I dunno, the culmination of all this?" She shrugs. "And it's also been exactly seven months since I was activated for the first time. I dunno, it's just ... I thought it'd take longer, heh ..."

She realizes she's babbling, and just clams up. But only for a few seconds. "So, uh." She shrugs. "Just tell me what to do and where to put myself, and ... I'll leave myself in your capable hands, ahaha."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 02:46:30 100162
Mikoto simply nods as the door opens. "Your highness," she murmurs, letting Akari gush. "So far as I know," she eventually adds, "We have been unobserved. But I cannot guarantee that." Still, she smiles. "It's good to see you again, though."
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 02:50:07 100163
"Thank you, that will be a tremendous help," Rune calls over to Fate, while showing their guests inside. She notes to Mikoto, "I appreciate your caution, so I'll trust that 'as far as I know' is good enough."

Then her tone is a bit more 'sober' and low as she regards Akari. "I don't know what to say yet either, because we don't know if this is going to work. I'm confident that even if I fail, no harm will result from it... but I cannot guarantee success. So we'll figure out what to say afterward. What I need from you... is to get comfortable."

She gestures to the couch-bed. "You may lie down, sit down, or even stand, but you will need to remain within a magic circle I am going to create. If you don't want to lie down, we can fold the bed back up. All three choices are equally good for me, so your comfort is the only concern here."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 02:57:20 100164
Fate T. Waldia nods with enthusiasm as she walks across to the far side of the room and sits in a chair she steals from the kitchen area. She should be well out of the way of any ritual going ons over here as she observes with curious eyes.

"If it doesn't work, I'm sure we can find someone else who may be able to do it." she says. "I know there are others out there. The key is finding them without giving too much information out, obviously at this point."

"Though hopefully this works." she offers as support.
Hinote Kagari 2018-11-12 03:02:31 100165
Hinote Kagari steps slowly down the stairs and sits on the edge of them as he gives a wave. "The safe room is setup if our guests end up staying the night or something." he says with a short smile. "Are you guys going on with the ritual now?" he asks. He digs out his phone to turn it off. He then shoves it back into his pants pocket.

He gives a little wave to everyone as he looks over to Fate and then Runealy.

He politely quiets down- if the ritual is to begin in a moment or two.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 03:10:26 100166
Akari hesitates, and looks to Fate. "Honestly, I'm not sure what harm putting the word out would do," she says. "Eclipse knows both of my names -- they gave me both of my names -- and if you can get someone who can purify me, they can just contact me through you."

She pulls off her hoodie, revealing that she's wearing an overly-loose tank top underneath, and she grasps her Rubindorn-pendant. "Might as well hit me while I'm not being suppressed," she says. "Rubindorn?"

Ping! <<JA!>> She's surrounded by blue energy, which glitches out and becomes purple with dark energy. Then she's in her Nightbell form again, the tank top fitting properly and with her pants stretching to fit her new form. There's excitement in her glowing red eyes. "I'm ready!" she says, moving to lie down on the couch-bed.

And then she hesitates. "... I just realized that this might be painful," she says. "Is, uh, that going to do anything bad to your concentration? If I ... react?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 03:18:54 100167
Mikoto sets her own hoodie aside, revealing the same jeans and blouse she wore earlier. "We could set up a new identity for you, but I'm not sure how much good it would do." She shrugs and steps over to the foot of the bed. "Thank you for trying, Highness, Fate-san, whatever actually happens."

She agrees with working while Akari's Dark Energy source is not suppressed. The idea is to get rid of it, after all. The actual change, however, catches her attention as it always does. With a little smile on her lips, she waits.

The smile disappears with Bell's question, however. "I could apply a bind, if it would help."
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 03:20:15 100168
"'Simple and honest', without naming who we're helping, may be the order of the day in that case," Rune comments to her sister's suggestion of seeking alternate help. When Hinote returns, she looks back to him with a slight smile. "Thank you. I would feel much better if they stay, so I'm glad you had it ready. And, yes... I believe we are just about ready."

She nods to Akari. "Do not be alarmed, it is going to look as though I'm preparing to fight." Once Akari is in place, the elder princess calls out: "Summoning Princess' Tiara!" Jeweled headwear appears in one hand, energy audibly humming. "The Line of Succession..." It's passed to her other hand, which brings it to her forehead in the same motion. "Transform!"

With a flash of red light, Rune reappears in magical attire. Her main wand is already in hand, tip low to the ground as she begins walking in a circle around Akari. A gold energy line marks the wand's path, encircling Akari.

Even as she draws the circle, Rune responds to that question: "Not especially. Not unless your reaction physically jars me, or would be alarming enough to startle me. In fact, if you want someone by your side during this... that would be absolutely fine." Notably, Rune is staring at the ground during this; she's moving slowly and focusing on her circle-trace. "It might be even better than any sort of 'Bind', for that matter."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 03:27:22 100169
Fate T. Waldia looks as Runealy transforms and gets ready for the ritual. She watches with curious eyes, but otherwise keeps quiet. She's tracing a circle along the ground. A gold energy line. She doesn't have magic like this. Her magic is different and more for... hitting things hard. So she finds this fascinating.

"Dark energy removal hurts." she says softly, from personal experience. "I'm thinking what she's suggesting is that she might gnash and make painful noises." she says. "So I might expect that, depending on how this goes." she offers, as an insight.
Hinote Kagari 2018-11-12 03:35:21 100170
Hintoe Kagari remains silent on matters since Fate brings up what he was going to suggest more or less. He leans back and says. "I'm not sure how to help with fake IDs." he says to the two. "or how we could help with that." he says.

He otherwise keeps quiet, politely now.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 03:39:38 100171
At Rune's words, Akari reaches over and grabs Mikoto's hand. "Yeah," she says softly, nodding to Fate. She's incredibly tense at this point. She takes a deep breath. "Okay," she says. "I ... am as ready as I'm going to get."

Ping! <<ICH AUCH!>> says Rubindorn. Me too!

Akari smiles. "Rubindorn's ready, too!" She closes her eyes, takes another deep breath, and waits.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 03:46:41 100173
"We trust you," Mikoto advises Runealy as the princess moves to start her transformation. As it finishes, she steps around to the side of the bed, sinking down to sit by Akari's side to take her hand.

"I'll be right here, Akari-chan. No matter what happens."

((~As will I.~))

Mikoto nods. "Let's do this."
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 03:50:27 100174
Rune considers Fate's elaboration, while finishing the circle-drawing. "When my mother did it, it did not hurt the person she was helping. I was there and watched her do it flawlessly. That said... circumstances are different. I cannot guarantee it will be painless. Still, I will try to be careful about that."

"I won't be able to say much during the rest of this, so forgive me if I'm a poor conversation partner starting in just a few moments. I'll certainly need that trust." She nods to Akari and Mikoto, then spins and flings her staff toward the ceiling!

It doesn't get very far, as it begins hovering in place once it's several feet above Bell. Rune paces several steps away from the bed, then begins to dance. It's a slow piece, mostly built around wide steps and fairly gradual spins... but the wand reacts to it, beginning to twirl in sync with the elder princess' movements. Thin energy rays, gold in color, begin to trace down from it and connect to the circle around Mikoto and Akari... it would almost look like a cage, except the gap between the lines is wide enough that they could easily step out if they want.

True to her word, Runealy is saying absolutely nothing right now; she only dances, with the occasional hand gesture directing the energy lines to shift slightly every so often.

A distinct, rising hum of energy building can be heard around the circle and Rune's staff; it's getting slightly louder (not painfully so) and notably higher in pitch with each moment that passes. After a few seconds, the lines then create additional copies of themselves, at the middle of each one, that then try to attach themselves to Akari's arms, legs, and forehead. They dim and brighten, pulsing as they try to physically draw dark energy out of Akari. On its own, this won't be sufficient to purge the darkness even if it succeeds... this is merely the next step in the process, trying to bring it up for further efforts to take place.
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 03:55:00 100175
Fate T. Waldia nods to Runealy but says nothing now, watching with curiosity and awe as Runealy begins to work. She has Bardiche quiet, not wanting to have him scanning noisily into this. She is curious about it's workings but sometimes...

Maybe sometimes a little mystery is good. She is watching, though, in case something terrible happens, or someone bursts through a door or window that may have followed the two here.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 03:57:01 100176
Akari gasps softly at the feel of the golden rays. Her eyes remain closed, however, at least for the moment. As it begins drawing on the darkness, a faint glowing orb manifests right in the middle of her chest, pulsing unpleasantly with dark energy: a manifestation of Akari's Linker Core, the source of magic within her. It also seems to tug at her limbs and her face -- specifically, at her glowing red magical tattoos.

Still, in this form, forty percent of her body is actually made of dark energy, so aside from her Linker Core, trying to 'draw it out' is going to be difficult. She flinches slightly at first, but she does her best to settle back down once she understands what's happening.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 04:02:18 100177
Mikoto nods and settles in to watch and wait, letting Runealy do her thing without interruption. It's difficult for her to not look worried at this point, and she doesn't bother to try. As Akari's Linker Core comes into sight, her grip on the girl's hand tightens.

Her own magic flexes and flows as Akari's flares, and she ruthlessly pushes it back down under control. Only the small stream of flickers, ready in case she needs a bind, give any clue visible without magic, to the effect it has on her.
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 04:12:31 100178
Rune continues her dance routine even as Akari begins to react. This is not quite what the elder princess expected, watching as only part of the expected darkness emerges, but she presses on regardless.

Her tone becomes more formal, with a slight echo to it as she begins chanting: "Though few can be said to be wholly of the light, the light within any of us cannot shine if it is encased in darkness. So that her light might be seen by all, let this cruel shell be ripped away!" A final, wide and fast spin is made to punctuate this.

As soon as the spin completes, the circle around Akari and Mikoto suddenly expands! It's now encompassing most of the living room and even some of the nearby kitchen, and bursts upward as a flash of rippling energy-light in a prism of several colors: Shades of white, green, blue, and purple are joined by thin ascending rays of silver.

It's a 'one-two' attack, with the wide circle trying to engulf whatever dark energy Runealy managed to draw out, and the silver rays trying to pierce through any remaining energy.

It lasts only a second or two, then the whole display fades as Rune falls to her knees, looking at Akari and Mikoto to see what results have been obtained.
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 04:17:32 100179
Fate T. Waldia watches with wide eyes, awestruck. She can't dance like that, even in a manner where it's required. There's a sudden pang of panic there for a completely other reason when she imagines stepping on Nanoha's feet a lot at a dance, but it fades fast enough because this is the here and now right at the second.

When Runealy falls to her knees, she blinks and gets up and takes a few steps over and to squat down a little. "Are you okay, Runealy-chan!?" she asks worried in a quiet tone. She's assumed the ritual is over as things fade.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 04:24:33 100181
Akari flinches, trembles, and shudders. As Runealy begins to speak, wisps of darkness exude from her markings and from beneath her eyelids -- as well as coming out from Rubindorn as well. She lets out a gasp as the circle expands, squeezing Mikoto's hand more tightly.

And then she lets out sudden uncontrollable scream as silver energy-sparkles appear, cascading over her body like glitter. As the sparkles fall over her hair, it changes from purple to the same shade of blue she has in her other form. Her glowing tattoos flicker and sputter like a malfunctioning lightbulb before turning black; some of them bleed in a few places. At the same time, Rubindorn's gem changes color to a rosier shade of red.

And then Akari falls back and goes still. "... ouch," she mutters hoarsely, right before her tattoos sputter back to life -- except now, they're ultramarine.

Rubindorn lets out a distorted ping. <<ICH STIMME ZU!>> I agree!

Akari weakly opens her eyes. Now they're glowing golden instead.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 04:30:21 100182
Every flinch and tremble leaves Mikoto clinging tighter to Akari's hand, her flickers whirling madly as she suppresses her worry, her concern for her friend's pain. As she watches the whisps of darkness flit away, each whisp is pierced by a flicker, a glassy shard of mana darting through the air to neutralize the dark energy and dissipate it.

She bites her lip as the sparkles pour over Akari's form, but the relief she feels as she sees the blue wash over Akari's hair is almost palpable. "You're going to be fine, Akari-chan," she murmurs, but her eyes go wide as she starts to see blood...

No. No. She trusts Runealy. A little blood doesn't mean serious injury. Give it time. "Going to be fine," she repeats, as much to comfort herself as for Akari's sake.

When the tattoos flare blue, she slumps against the bed, almost collapsing, clinging tightly to Akari's hand.
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 04:33:04 100183
"I'm fine," Rune offers in a soft tone to Fate, "Thank you though, sister. I think the real question is whether she is. That did not sound healthy at all... it looked correct, but... Akari, are you okay? It should not have hurt like that, as far as I know. The citizen my mother helped said it felt... 'tiring, but wonderful.' Mm..."

She glances to Mikoto in particular to ask, "Is she well?"

Meanwhile, Rune's staff stops spinning. It floats back to the elder princess' side, then disappears in a soft flash of light... followed by the rest of her transformed state, as Rune reverts to normal form.
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 04:41:57 100184
Fate T. Waldia watches as a color shift happens. She knows enough to know this means 'something changed.'. She nods. "I think it worked... though... sister." she says as Runealy also uses that term. She smiles widely as she offers to help Runealy up to her feet if she needs the help.

"I think things will be fine, but I think they both might need rest... Hinote-kun said the upstairs room is ready. I can show you to it... I know where it is. I spent enough time in there in the past." she says with a lighter tone.

She'll wait patiently, regardless, to make sure everything seems to be fine.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 04:46:55 100185
Akari tries to push herself into a sitting position, and promptly falls onto her back. "Ow!" She laughs nervously, and then pushes herself harder into a sitting position. "Oh, wow, am I physically weaker!? Or is it just because this hurt?"

Rubindorn pings, and gives a long report in pseudo-German.

Akari nods slowly, looking over her arms and staring openly at the new color of her tattoos. "Okay," she says. "Rubindorn says I'm slightly weaker, my general abilities have been lost. And ... I have injuries, but only minor ones." She frowns. "... Also, the software containing my purpose has been deleted, because it was just completely corrupted by the Darkness." She looks up at Mikoto and grins. "Also, she wants a note so she doesn't have to go to school."

She smiles at Rune and Fate. "I mean ... staying here for a few days while Rubindorn repairs and my injuries heal might not be a bad idea," she says. "But ..." She shakes her head. "Thank you so much, Your Highness. This ..." She laughs, and then coughs slightly. "... yeah. Thank you."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-11-12 04:53:15 100186
Mikoto's eyes flicker open as she hears Akari's voice, and she manages to lift her head. "You're alright, Akari-chan. Everything's going to be alright now," she whispers, tears unshed glimmering in her eyes.

The thought of returning to school after this elicits a little chuckle from her. "I'm fine, Akari. You're going to be fine. That's what's important right now." She leans in and kisses the girl's cheek, then looks up at Runealy and Fate. "Thank you," she adds to Akari's thanks. "Thank you."
Runealy Waldia 2018-11-12 04:58:33 100187
Rune takes the offered hand, and takes some breaths as well. "Mm... looks like you're right, Fate. I suppose it makes sense it didn't go perfectly, the ritual was being used well outside its normal purpose. Still, please do show them to the Safe Room once they're ready. And thank you, again, for being here through all this!"

Then she raises an eye at Akari's request, smiling. "I'm very happy for you, it sounds like this will be a huge shift in your life. I won't pretend to understand talk of program deletion, but... if you're in a better place now, then I'm glad! As for the note? I can do that, but are your instructors going to understand? I thought most individuals on Earth were unaware of your situation, our abilities, or any such thing."

It is possible Rune misunderstood who is being asked to provide the note.

Mikoto's gratitude is met with the smile persisting. "Certainly. I'm delighted we could help! And in a sense, this brings me one step closer to being ready for what I need to be, so... we all gained something from this. In the meantime, however?"

She gestures over to Fate, "My sister can show you to the Safe Room. She and our Knights stand ready, so you will have both components of safety as we define it on our world: Your happiness, secured by our protection. That said," Rune's posture sags, "I believe I need to rest, very soon. That took quite a bit out of me."
Fate T. Waldia 2018-11-12 05:03:07 100188
Fate T. Waldia shakes her head. "This was all Runealy's doing. From here on out, it's just making sure you're safe." she says. She nods a little as she looks over to Hinote then back to Runealy. "I'm sure Hino-kun can help Runealy to her room if she needs help. I'll guide you two to the safe room." she says softly.

"-and Akari-san? If you get a chance, I'd like to talk to you. In private. Nothing pressing. But. We share something in common." she says lightly. "and I'd like to talk about it with you."

She'll guide them to the safe room when they're ready, and otherwise retire back to her room.

Probably to continue to take anime notes for the rest of the night.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-12 05:03:56 100189
Akari smiles up at Mikoto. There's tears in her own eyes. "Thank you, then," she says softly. "Yeah, sure, of course, Fate-san! Whenever you want to --"

Then she blinks, golden eyes going wide. "Oh, wow," she says softly. "I just realized! Now I actually feel like Akari in this form!"