More Intense Practice in the Park

While Akari and Millie are training in the park in the hopes of someday being able to take on the Wolkenritter, Kukai drops in.

Date: 2018-11-23
Pose Count: 19
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 18:24:34 100805
It's only been a few days since the encounter in the Eclipse warehouse, but they've each independently come to the conclusion that they need to train. Of course, it's not entirely clear how they're going to get on the level of legendary warriors with thousands of years of experience, one of whom deflected Akari's cartridge-boosted sword with her sheath, but that, in Akari's opinion, was quitter's talk.

Now the two of them are having a practice-duel in the park using training swords -- not really anything formalized, they're just seeing what they can do. They're out of henshin, because Akari felt that 1. if you need magic to fight, you're missing some fundamentals, and 2. it should be reasonable to resume training if either of them got drained by the book. It's a cool afternoon hours after school; Akari's dressed in her usual blue track suit, with Rubindorn hanging around her neck in pendant-form.

... Akari's style would be immediately obvious to anyone who knows Belkan swordplay. Still, not many people on Earth know Belkan swordplay, so basically, they're safe.
Millie White 2018-11-23 18:48:52 100806
The cool afternoon air was a blessing in disguise as it softly brushed the bangs from Millie's eyes. It had been a few days since the Warehouse incident, but both she and Akari seemed to have the same idea; they really needed to get stronger if they wanted to stand any chance against the Wolkenritter. Just remembering how she had barely landed a single hit on the dog-eared knight filled her with a burning in her gut that was likely half anger and half shame. That was how the two found themselves in the park, engaged in a duel of sorts.

Honestly Millie wouldn't call it a duel so much as a learning experience. She had never seen Belkan swordplay up close like this and she was eager to deconstruct and analyze. Her own style was a defensive one, which wasn't shocking considering it was Millie, but the surprising part was how practical it actually was. In the midst of the craziness that magic brought, it was easy to scoff at mundane sources of power, but Millie proved that it was all about application. Her stances were solid and her environmental awareness was rather keen, giving her a perceptive and reactive style.

This worked out in Akari's favour because it meant the Belkan could practice breaking through defenses... which both of them seemed to struggle with during their last fight. Millie held the training sword carefully in both hands, much like a long sword. She was used to somewhat shorter swords that paired with shields, but she had some experience with wielding a blade two-handed. She locked eyes with Akari and nodded, taking up a defensive stance.

"Are you going to hit me, Hayabusa-san?" She asked calmly but not without a friendly grin.
Kukai Souma 2018-11-23 19:11:22 100807
It's a good day for training, when it comes to winter. The sun's shining, and the wind is cool, so it's comfortable for exercise. That means there's a familiar brown haired figure dressed in a green and brown striped hoodie, long grey pants, and white sneakers, trailed by a small floating blue haired figure jogging in midair after him, running steadily through the park. Kukai Souma is somewhere between 'out for a jog' and 'out on patrol', which is his usual. It's useful to be able to do more than one thing at a time!

Of course, odd noises and odd sights are the sort of thing Kukai looks out for when he's on patrol, so when he hears a loud, decisive clacking noise from off the side path he's on, his head perks up and he looks off that direction. It takes him a minute or two to find the hidden route off the park's path that leads into the little opening, but the last thing he expected to see when he got there was a pair of girls squared off against one another with long two handed bokken.

Kukai goes quiet for a second, motioning to Daichi (who's alit on his shoulder) to be quiet, staying back and letting the two of them continue their fight. Practice fight? Real fight? No idea. It's interesting to watch, especially from someone who loves sports but never learned a combat skill.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 19:28:52 100808
Akari chuckles, pressing her advantage. "Well, that's what we're here to find out!" she says, jumping in with a series of strikes roughly equivalent to what she tried to deal against Signum. "So I'm gonna say ... yes." Another standard-seeming series of blows ... and then she suddenly jumps to the side, swinging her sword towards at Millie's side!

Regardless of whether it hits or not, Rubindorn silently alerts her to the fact that the two have a watcher. Akari leaps back away from Millie, and turns to face the newcomer. "Oh, hello ... there ...?" She frowns, peering at Daichi; her hand goes up to her pendant, which is shaped like a black double-barred-cross with a rosy red gemstone inlaid at the crux of the upper bar. Rubindorn, give that ... him ... a scan, will you? she says telepathically.

IF I CAN AT LOW POWER, MISTRESS, her Device replies.
Millie White 2018-11-23 19:57:28 100810
Akari was a trained fighter and so she took her attacks seriously. The first series of blows were either blocked or deflected with the wooden blade she held in her hands. Each strike was powerful and rang out with sharp clacks of wood on wood, echoing briefly in the cool afternoon air. Even out of henshin Akari was definitely a force to be reckoned with and Millie was glad they were on the same side.

A wild yet pleased smile split her features as Akari came at her again with another series of strikes. Millie pivoted slightly and dug her boots into the ground in order to deny Akari any benefit of momentum, blocking or deflecting the incoming strikes with another cacophony of stinging wooden clacks. The sudden dodge to the side did manage to catch her a bit by surprise, but the foreigner adapted rapidly.

There was no way she would get the sword up in time to block or deflect the strike, she knew that. Instead, Millie shifted her weight slightly and her offhand shot out to block the strike. The wood of Akari's blade made contact with Millie's left arm as it defended her side, positioned as if there was a shield held in her grip. Millie wasted no time in jumping back with a wince, but the smile never left her face. "I'll count that since I didn't have my shield. This time." She affirmed encouragingly. When she looked up, Akari was turned around and looking at something. Not something... someone. Akari didn't seem to know them, and Millie took a protective step closer to her blue-haired friend. She nodded her head silently in greeting to the man, polite at the very least, while she waited for him to respond to Akari.
Kukai Souma 2018-11-23 20:02:56 100811
Kukai winced in sympathy as Akari's training sword whacks against Millie's arm, like a club cracking into the unprotected skin. "Oh. Ow, that looked like it hurt." He grins at Akari and holds up both hands. "I'm friendly, I'm friendly!" Daichi blinks as the scan goes over him - he's a magical being, full of positive light energy, linked and connected to Kukai in some fashion. Kukai waves to the two of them. "Sorry! I was on a jog and heard something going on over here, so I decided to come take a look. I didn't mean to bother you. My name's Kukai, Kukai Souma."

Kukai looks from one girl to the other. "So... I don't actually think I know either of you. That's pretty cool. For the most part, at least." He hasn't exactly picked up on either of them being magical yet, but that black cross the one girl's wearing sure looks unique. "Do you go to a local school? Either of you? I go to Seiyou Public."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 20:16:02 100812
Akari blinks and focuses back on Kukai. "Oh, uh, I go to Infinity High. I'm Akari Hayabusa," she says, though she doesn't look Japanese, "and this is Millie White." Her gaze clearly shifts off Kukai's face and back onto Daichi. "Uh ..."

And then the gem on the pendant flickers, and lets out an audible ping. <<HERR SOUMA HAT EINEN STAND!>> it says, in a tinny voice which sounds like a more cutesy version of Akari's voice. Mr. Souma has a Stand!

Akari blinks down at her pendant. "What do you mean he has a Stand?"

Ping! <<NUN, DAS BEDEUTET WAHRSCHEINLICH, DASS HERR SOUMA HAT EINEN STAND.>> Well, it probably means that Mr. Souma has a Stand.

Akari laughs. "You mean that ... little ... dude?" She grins hesitantly at Kukai, and gestures with the pendant. "... aaaand this is Rubindorn."
Millie White 2018-11-23 20:29:14 100813
Millie took a quick sniff in Souma's direction. There wasn't a hint of dark magic she could detect on him. Quite the opposite, really. A few more sniffs revealed a scent emanating mostly from what Akari had called his Stand. It smelled kind of like grass now that she thought about it, but mixed with something else she couldn't quite put her finger on. The Canuck looked at Akari and shrugged.

"Smells clean, no dark magic." She offered quietly to the bluenette beside her. Returning her attention to Kukai, Millie nodded. "I go to Verone. It's a pleasure to meet you." She offered a somewhat stiff bow, not quite sure if she could trust this guy yet. The lack of dark magic had at least put her a bit at ease. She still had a duty to protect Akari in case Eclipse kicked in the door. That coupled with what happened at the Warehouse had her a bit on edge recently.

Millie looked right at Daichi and, feeling like there was nothing else she could do, she awkwardly waved to the small familiar so as not to be rude. Familiar? No, Akari had called him a Stand. Yes, she waved to the Stand.
Kukai Souma 2018-11-23 20:58:05 100814
Kukai huhs, first at the girl sniffing in his direction, thens at the little flickering gem. "...a Stand? What the heck is a Stand?" Kukai looks over at Daichi, who shrugs. "Daichi is my Chara. I'm a Guardian, he's a Chara. And no.. no dark magic." He grins at them, as Daichi waves back at Millie and hops up, hovering over towards the two of them. He smiles and gives them both a big wave. "Hi!"

Kukai smiles and nods his head. "OK! Well.. Nice to meet Rubindorn, too, I guess. And it's nice to meet you both. Uh, so, yeah." He scratches the back of his head, thinking. "Were you two practicing with training swords back here for... any reason or just to keep your hand in?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 21:15:12 100815
Akari blinks. "Oh, uh, it's an anime reference, heh ..." She shakes her head. "So, uh, hi to you too, Daichi! And yeah, Rubindorn is my Device."

She's trying to think; Kukai seems to be taking all this in stride, suggesting he isn't new to all the magical business. And a 'Chara' is odd, but she isn't sure he can be trusted, either; she knows Lacrima doesn't actually want to successfully capture her, but she isn't entirely sure the shadowy figure on the screen isn't trying dirtier tactics.

Well ... hmm. "Mostly trying to improve ourselves, basically," she says. She glances at Millie. ".... Think we should just tell him about the thing at the Eclipse warehouse the other night, White-san?" She doesn't want to reveal Millie's identity as a Pretty Cure if she isn't willing to be up-front about it. And meanwhile, maybe namedropping Eclipse will elicit a useful reaction from Kukai ...
Millie White 2018-11-23 21:35:10 100816
Okay so... not a familiar, not a stand either, he was a Chara. Got it. She smiled hesitantly when Daichi floated over to give them a big wave and a hello. Akari's question caught her off guard at first. It wasn't generally a good idea to just talk about this stuff out in the open... but then again this guy had a magical mascot floating around out in the open, so was secrecy really a concern at the moment? She offered Akari a nod.

"I think it's best we warn him." She mentioned, grateful for the time being that Akari was keeping her Cure status a secret. Her emerald gaze turned back to Kukai, curiosity swirling within it.

"You said you're a Guardian." Millie mentioned, crossing her arms over her chest. "What are you the Guardian of?" It was a valid question, she felt, but honestly she was just really curious.
Kukai Souma 2018-11-23 21:47:57 100817
Kukai huhs. "I.. never saw it. But ok. Yeah. Hi!" He smiles and leans against a nearby tree, letting the two of them work through him. "Yeah, that's great! Training is the best thing you can do. The more and the harder you train, the better! It keeps you from getting smashed in the game. Er, in combat." He grins weakly. "I haven't actually fought anything bigger than minor youma in a while, so I've been doing a lot of training."

Kukai perked up, standing up on both feet. "Wait. What's going on with Eclipse? What are they doing now?" He cocks his head and looks over at Millie, then smiles. "I am the Jack of Guardians for Seiyou Public School. I am the protector of all the hopes and dreams and heart's wishes of the students there - and by extension, all of Tokyo, all of Japan, all of Earth, since their dreams stretch across the planet, and in a couple cases, beyond. So, that's me." He doesn't look like much of an intergalactic hero, really.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 21:58:57 100818
Akari nods slowly, looking Kukai up and down. Then she looks at Daichi. "Well, Tokyo's a place where you see something new every day," she says. "Okay, first of all ... I'm a Belkan robot hologram thing called a 'living magical program', and I'm on the run from Eclipse because ... well, I tried to quit, but a certain shadowy figure on the screen still thinks of me as one of Eclipse's assets and wants me to get captured for 'reprogramming'." She shudders slightly. "And ... I don't suppose you know of someone named Lacrima ...?"

She pauses, trying to think of the best way of putting it. "Second of all, it's not Eclipse who's responsible for the other night, they actually got attacked," she says. "There's a group of living magical programs running around Tokyo called the Wolkenritter, or Cloud Knights. They kicked my ass, and that of a Pretty Cure who was with me at the time, Cure Shield --" (Who's standing right next to her, but Millie hasn't indicated she wants to be known.) "-- and they used a strange magical book to drain and damage the Linker Core of a Midchildan Device-user named Nanoha Takamachi ..." She hesitates. "... which means ... well, if she's even conscious by now, she probably won't be able to use any kind of magic for the time being."
Millie White 2018-11-23 22:15:27 100819
Millie blinked when Akari launched into the whole explanation. She was more thinking just what had happened at the Warehouse, but if Akari had decided she trusted this person, then perhaps she was being a bit too guarded herself. The Canadian let out a small sigh.

"We don't know for what purpose they are draining linker cores. Obviously it's to power the book, but we dunno what they're gonna do with it, or even what it's capable of." Millie said carefully before looking at Souma with a calm but concerned look in her eyes.

"We also aren't sure how they pick targets, so just... be careful walking around, alright?" Her gaze flickered from Souma to Daichi before she subconsciously rubbed her left arm. There was likely going to be a welt there, but that was small stuff all things considered. Her thoughts drifted back to Nanoha... she really hoped she would be alright. The imagery of a hand through the girl's chest was a difficult one to forget.

At Souma's explanation of what he was a Guardian of, Millie couldn't help the small smile that lit her face. It sounded awfully similar to what the Pretty Cure pride themselves on protecting. Perhaps it would be a good idea to invite him to train with them? The gears spun in the Canuck's head.
Kukai Souma 2018-11-23 22:32:35 100820
Kukai blinks again at Akari. "You are a... uh. huh. Huuuh. So I knew what a couple of those words were, but you look like a girl to me. And yeah, I know Lacrima. She and I are.. well. What do you call someone you're friends with but have fights with from time to time?"

He blinks, thinking. "The... Cloud Knights? Cure Shield? ...Nanoha got damaged?! Jeez. How did that happen? I thought she was really tough and stuff." He rubs his chin. "Well. If they're doing it by force, they need to be stopped, no matter what it does. And yeah. I don't think I wanna have anything to do with them by myself. I'll keep my eyes open." He grins. "I'm plenty fast when I need to be, and getting help when I need it is part of the job."

Kukai sighs and thinks. "Well. I'm not against Eclipse getting blasted, but maybe I need to touch base with Lacrima and see what happened from their end. There's 'shut down peacefully and going away' and 'we got torn up and all our dangerous stuff got stolen'. Only one of those is the right end."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 22:45:50 100821
Akari smiles wanly at the 'look like a girl' comment. "Rubindorn, is there anyone around who's likely to stumble upon us shortly?"

Ping! <<NEIN.>> No.

"Okay, you know what to do."

Ping! <<OK!>>

Then Akari's surrounded by a surge of pale blue light, and when it clears ... she's closer to seven feet tall than she was before, she has glowing golden cat-eyes, and there's triangular dark blue markings on her cheeks. The track suit has to stretch to fit her properly.

"So, uh, yeah," she says dryly. "The Wolkenritter look human, though. Or, mostly human. As for what happened ..." She grimaces. "Well, they knocked out everybody in this Eclipse warehouse and drained everyone there. Takamachi-san walked right up to them, wanting to help, and asked if Eclipse had taken anything from them, and then ..." She looks away. "... their leader just grabbed her Linker Core and drained her."

She hesitates. "If you know how to get in touch with Fate Testarossa Waldia, she'll probably have a clearer idea of Takamachi-san's current state," she says. "I dropped her off at the Waldians' home. But ... if you see a pink-haired Knight named Signum with a sword named Laevatein, or a tan-skinned silver-haired man in navy blue with wolf ears, then ... those are the ones we fought." She grins nervously. "No real idea whether that's all of them. They're literally from legends, but I know quite a few different versions of that particular legend, I don't know how to sort through them for potential accuracy."
Millie White 2018-11-23 22:58:11 100822
Millie wasn't expecting Akari to transform and when she did, she took a half step back. The scent of Akari's magic was allowed to burst forth and Millie's nose wiggled slightly as she got used to the sudden potent smell. Even though she clearly heard Rubindorn's affirmation that no one would find them while Akari was transformed, Millie couldn't help looking up and around every few seconds just to make sure. Hopefully no one from Eclipse was nearby and felt Akari henshin.

"They do need to be stopped. That's why we're training." Millie confirmed. "I can't really speak for Signum's fighting style, but the knight with the wolf ears is a shield bearer. I can't be sure, but I think he might have defense-busting magic. So far we only know of the two of them. The shield knight's name is Zafira." She responded, getting everything she knew out on the table for the other two. She had definitely heard Signum yell the Zafira once they sliced the roof off the warehouse.

Millie looked from Daichi to Souma. "I don't suppose you would like to join us in training, Souma-san?" She asked. Her Japanese was slow and had an accent, but it perfectly understandable.
Kukai Souma 2018-11-23 23:23:57 100826
Kukai leans back as Akari transforms, watching her grow and expand. "...Wow. OK. Cool." He winces, listening to the story. "Oh, boy. They just assaulted her after she tried to help them? Jerks..." He shakes his head, thinking. "I can probably get ahold of Fate, sure. I'll try later. I hope she's ok." He nods, making a mental note of their descriptions. "Great. So there's an unknown number of them? Cheerful thought."

Kukai watches Millie take a similar step back to himself and grins. "Takes you aback, doesn't it?" He nods, thinking. "Well. I use... soccer balls and skateboards, so I don't know if I have any defenses to bust. Some of my friends though, I'll mention it to them. Maybe it'll help."

Kukai huhs and then grins, stepping forward. "Well, sure! But I don't know anything about martial arts or anything. I just fight. I can help you work out, though! We can do my Super Extra Speed Roadwork Routine, if you want!"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-11-23 23:37:09 100832
Akari nods at Millie. "Right, Zafira," she says, then turns back to Kukai. "Got a phone number I can get in touch with you by? I'll text you the photos Rubindorn took when I have access to a machine that can convert Belkan Device data into JPEGs."

She smiles. "Any kind of practice would be good, really," she says. She grasps Rubindorn, and then transforms back into her 'human' form. "This is probably going to be the first major crisis that I've actually been around to participate in, and I have a feeling that we're gonna need all the help we can get ..."