A Special Gift


In an attempt to steal christmas, the Grinches and Krampuses of the dream realm swipe something more deeply important. The mahous give chase and find more than they bargained for as a result.

Date: 2018-12-22
Pose Count: 43
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-22 20:45:20 101984
    It's getting on closer and closer to Christmas, and children are crawling into their beds all over Tokyo brimming with excitement. Calendars are marked. Another day goes by. Christmas Eve approaches and yet no matter how close it is, it always seems so far away.
    When eyes open, everyone will find themselves... Not in their beds, but in a land of snow and joy. As far as the eye can see it's a winter wonderland, gingerbread houses in the distance with bright and festive christmas lights. Candy canes stick up from the snow and colorful lights and snowflakes twinkle everywhere.
    Ariel is here, dressed in a heinous green sweater with a christmas tree on it, her nose is REALLY red, and she's sniffling from the cold. She has on a dark purple scarf and is wearing a reindeer antler headband.
    Of course she's mounted on Lucky as well, the giant hound wearing a similarly heinous sweater and reindeer headband, and the two are busily chatting with someone very familiar.
    "Wh- what do you mean someone stole all the presents?" The little unicorn asks, earning a heavy sigh as Santa Claus wipes at his brow.
    "Ho ho... I mean it little one. Just now a roving band of Christmas Nightmares swooped in and ransacked the factory. If nothing is done then there will be many disappointed little dreams this year."
Lacrima 2018-12-22 21:01:37 101985
Lacrima wakes up in!---- a snowdrift. She makes a face as she crawls up and dusts herself off. She has no idea why she woke up in a snow drift. She's dressed in her usual fancy dress. Except the flower that's usually in her hair seems to be a piece of holly. She sighs and looks around and--- huh. It's like... she's in the middle of one of those little holiday displays in a store window except it's life sized. She taps a candy cane---- she resists trying to lick it to see if it's real. It'd look really weird.

Oh-- okay there's Ariel-- that's expected-- primarily because the only reason she wakes up somewhere else is because Ariel usually has an issue and needs some sort of help.

She'll get closer and see that there is..... is...

Is--is---S..Santa Claus@!? Saint Nick!? Kris Kringle!? Sinterklaus!? She blinks rapidly.

She approaches with big eyes. She just sort of slides up in frame next to Ariel with big wide sparkle eyes. She actually doesn't say anything awkwardly for a full moment.

"H---Hi Ariel. Um..."

"Mister Clause? Santa-san? I dunno..." she doesn't know the proper address here.

A pause.

"Is.. is there a problem?" she finally thinks to ask.
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-22 21:09:00 101986
A tall Belkan girl with short golden hair trudges through the snow, looking a bit dazed and confused. She's wearing your basic red suit with white fur lining plus black boots, and there's a pendant hanging around her neck shaped like a double-barred cross with a rosy pinkish-red gem inlaid at the crux of the upper bar. "Was ist los?" she mutters. What is this?

And then she catches sight of Straight-Up Actual Santa Claus, and does a double take. She grabs a lock of her hair and pulls it into her field of vision. "Oh, another Clara dream," she says uneasily.

The pendant pings. <<HERRIN?>> Mistress?

The girl blinks, and grabs her pendant. "Rubindorn!?" she says. Suddenly, everything makes negative amounts of sense. "Wh ... Why does it feel like you're drawing on my Linker Core in a dream!?"

Then she sees Lacrima approaching Ariel and Santa. "Oh! Lacrima-chan!" she says, hurrying over. She's clearly considerably less ... awed by Santa Claus than Lacrima. "Do you ... I mean ... what's going on here?"

And then she blinks. "Oh, uh, I'm Akari," she says. "I'm ... I keep having dreams about being Clara Meriva, my brain-scan template, and ... yeah." She certainly sounds like Akari, even though her voice is different.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-12-22 21:09:29 101987
    Kokoro Akakuma wakes with a start.

    Or rather, 'wakes' with a start.

    Or maybe it's better to say Dengeki Shou-

    Let's start over.

    Dengeki Shoujo opens her eyes with a start. The fact that she's standing when she does this - leaned against a candy cane, to be precise - means that she immediately loses her balance, slides to one side, and flumps into the snow with a grunt that is both surprised and irritated. "...the hell," she mutters, pushing herself to her feet. "I-"

    Violet eyes find Ariel. "...oh. This again."

    Over tromps the thundergirl, step by step. Already clad in a fair bit of crimson, her outfit appears to have been decorated only with a simple santa hat atop her head, and a red-and-white striped ribbon tied around her hammer, just below the head. "Never really been much of a Christmas person. But I guess if someone needs a beating for messing with it..." Kokoro, Santa is /right there/, dang it.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-12-22 21:12:13 101988
Ikiko Hisakata wasn't expecting to dream about the North Pole, but it is Christmas time. And while she's used to her wolfmotes being bigger than usual in dreams (fist-sized instead of thumb-sized), she's not used to them "blinking" like a strand of decorative lights... but again, it's Christmas time. Even the illogical geometries needed for the design of her sweater to be fully visible makes sense for being in a dream, but she's not sure why the design is of a large pack of sled dogs hauling a sled carrying Santa Claus and eight napping reindeer (with the caption "LOW ALTITUDE RELIEF CREW", no less!).

But when she sees Ariel talking with Santa Claus himself, it all makes a lot more sense.

Ikiko walks over to Ariel and the others, nodding to those she recognizes and listening attentively to Santa Claus. Even her wolf ears, translucent though they are with their visibility increased here, are swiveled towards St. Nick.
Millie White 2018-12-22 21:14:14 101989
Christmas was a holiday dear to Millie's heart, specifically because of how much it meant to her mother. The Canadian had many fond memories of sitting close to the fire while wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate, but she had just as many memories of the snow. Back home Christmas was a cold and snowy affair, and playing in the snow was just part of the wonderland package.

That was why Millie White was vaguely confused when she opened her eyes to see the familiar scene. Well, mostly familiar... were those entire houses built out of Gingerbread? Judging by the giant candy canes sticking up from the ground, it was highly likely that this wasn't reality. One look down at herself confirmed that. She appeared to be wearing what could be considered an 'Ugly Christmas Sweater', though she didn't remember actually owning such a thing. It was green and had knights on it, though their weapons were replaced by festive candy canes and shields exchanged for roast-sized serving platters, with borders of holly and snow.

From the corner of her eye she noticed a few others, and she swore some of them looked familiar. Wait a tick... was that Lacrima and Ariel? There were others she didn't recognize, but that didn't stop her. Millie's boots crunched softly in the snow as she made her way over to the familiar duo, only to realize that they were talking to... O' Holy Night, was that SANTA CLAUS? Yep. She definitely had to be dreaming. Millie quietly made her way over to stand on Ariel's other side, offering an awkward wave to both she and Lacrima, as well as the people she didn't know. How was one supposed to greet Santa Claus, of all people? The Canuck settled on a polite nod, preferring to stay silent than interrupt the conversation. One learned more by listening, anyhow.
Seishi Tamashige 2018-12-22 21:42:08 101990
In such a setting as this, the rhythmic tinkle of a set of jingle bells fits right in. The source of the noise isn't a sleigh, however - it's a big dark horse, shaggy with its winter coat and decked out in the tack of the Tokyo Mounted Police with the holiday addition of bells and, yes, a pair of fake reindeer antlers attached to its bridle.

If this is an offense to the police horse's dignity, he bears it stoically as he forges through the fallen snow.

On the horse's back, Akashimaru takes in the snowy landscape and the figure Ariel has been talking to with an expression that screams 'yeah, this might as well happen.' Her samurai garb is its usual crimson, with only the addition of a dark green fir wreath with a jaunty red bow sitting slightly askew atop her head.

"Hey," she offers as greeting to the others as she comes near enough to speak. Most of those here are familiar faces, acknowledged with a little tip of her head - Akari and Millie, the only two she doesn't recognize, she regards more curiously.
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-22 21:56:13 101991
    That is, in fact, Santa Claus.
    Red coat. White trim. Beard. Joly smile, even in the midst of this crisis.
    "Ho hoooo, it looks like your friends have all shown up, as well, little one." He asides to Ariel as the others begin to arrive. "Hello, Norie! Hello, Akari, Dengeki Shoujo, Ikiko, Millie, Akashimaru."
    Of COURSE Santa Claus would know everyone by name. Even if he defers to henshin names where possible to respect identities. But the jolly old elf sets his hands on his hips. "Well, I'll say there's a problem..."
    "Mister Santa says some nightmares just came by and stole all the gifts." Ariel laments.
    "I have the elves working double time to make up for lost inventory, but even still if nothing is done, I'm afraid not every little dream will have a merry Christmas this year." Santa says heaving a sigh.
    "I was thinking maybe we could all help him?" The little unicorn suggests looking from face to face hopefully, while reaching up to adjust her antler headband. If anything she looks relieved to see Kokoro, Lacrima, Ikiko and Akashimaru, but Millie and Akari at least deserve some explanation. "Um. This is a dream, by the way. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try-- Christmas is important and--"
    And there's a rumbling in the distance. And the rumbling turns to cackling. And cackling turns into a squad of black furred Krampus-looking and Grinch-like beasts mounted on rickety sleds, let by snarling dark wolves charging the encampment of gingerbread houses.
    "Oh no!" "Ho ho hoooooo not again!"
    There is dustcloud violence, and then the Krampuses and Grinches are riding off with sacks of the new presents and putting on speed.
    "Lucky, go!" Ariel doesn't need to command her noble steed twice, the great big hound leaps into a bound and starts rushing after them.
    Good then there are unmanned sleds and sleighs nearby already hooked up to reindeer or dog teams. ... Or for the daring, there's Santa's flying sleigh as well.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-12-22 22:09:35 101993
    Oh, there's new people here. Millie and Akari both receive a curious glance, but not much else. Kokoro's primary focus is on Ariel and Santa. "Well, alright, I'll help, but..." A glance at Santa. "You know there's only one kinda help I really offer, right?" Somehow, she finds herself concerned that Santa will be a little put off by her standard method of problem-solving, so she at least feels a need to-

    There's a commotion on the horizon. There's a horde of humbugs. There's a violent and menacing theft of Christmas.

    "...yeah, I ain't gonna lose much sleep smashin' these chumps for Christmas."

    Dengeki Shoujo takes a pair of loping steps, a long leap, and lands square on the back of a sled, lifting her hammer and crackling with a building glimmer of electricity. "OI, DOGS, GET MOVIN'! THEY AIN'T LEAVING HERE EXCEPT ON STRETCHERS!" Kokoro. Kokoro, please.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-12-22 22:12:38 101994
Ikiko Hisakata goes to reply to Ariel, but is interrupted by the sudden raid.

Well, actions make a better response than words, anyhow.

"Go!" Ikiko barks to her wolfmotes, pointing towards the sleds. As they start to move, both girl and glowy wolves are obscured for a moment by a sudden updraft flurry of snow, which clears to reveal Cute Wolf Tsukiko and her 9-19 husky-sized miniwolves (larger than their usual lapdog size, because dreams).

The miniwolves group up alongside the malamutes pulling the sled the wolfgirl lands on, and the entire extended pack takes off in pursuit of the Nightmare raiders. Cute Wolf Tsukiko (with clip-on LED Christmas light earrings, natch) glances back at the others to make sure everyone has a ride, then turns her attention back to the canine horde she's traveling with. "Tonight, we hunt Nightmares!" she howls in caninespeak.
Lacrima 2018-12-22 22:13:45 101995
Lacrima listens with wide eyed enchantment. Also she's totally not surprise Santa knows her name because he's Santa Claus. She still blinks at Ariel and turns to her. "...Of course I'll try to help! I just... what should we do? Go try to figure out what's happn----"

"Oh! H..hi --- Akari...-chan?" she blinks at her explanation. "Ah. Well-- yeah. This is a dream. So no worry about... anything here." anything, cryptic. She looks towards Millie and blinks. "Hi... Millie-san, was it? Right-- What Ariel said. Dream. Ariel-chan needs help with helping Santa Claus...!" she says.

Because that's a thing she actually just said. She turns back to Dengeki Shoujo-chan! Hello!" She's about to say something when there's a bunch of... weird black creatures and--- are those... Grinches? Like from the movie Dad used to make the family watch? She huffs and makes for a sled-- "On... um...." she squint. "...um.. I dunno know your name Mister Reindeer but please go chase Ariel-chan and those things!?" the vampires asks with wide rapid eyes. The reindeer basically rolls it's eyes and huffs like it's the most annoying thing to be asked to do this--- but gets going as Lacrima takes after Ariel and the creatures...!

The tag on it's collar reads 'Surly'.
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-22 22:16:47 101996
Akari ... Clara? ... Nope, nope, nope, not getting sucked into that existential nonsense. Akari takes a deep breath. "Hi, Millie-chan ... somehow. Oh, Dengeki-san!" She blinks. "I ... was Nightbell. Back when we fought that sand-gorilla? But I ..." She frowns down at herself. "... still look different from this most of the time." She grins nervously to the newcomers, both familiar and not. "I'm just going by Akari Hayabusa ... now that I ... quit Eclipse and got purified from the darkness that had corrupted me."

She nods to Lacrima and smiles. "No worries," she says. Leaving everything else unsaid for now. No need to worry everyone else indiscriminately.

She raises her eyebrows at Santa's explanation. "Oh, okay," she says. "A magical dream, then? I can ... probably deal with this, I think." She snorts, and grins to Millie. "You really do see something new in Tokyo everyd--"

She gulps at the sudden attack. "Ohhh, boy," she says, and she grabs her pendant in both hands. "Knight Clothing, set up!" But even as she says this, she realizes that this might not work properly in a dream --

She's surrounded by a surge of rosy pinkish-red light, and then she's ... wearing a red and white version of her Knight Clothing, with a sleigh bell for a brooch. Rubindorn, now in sword form (which is longer that she's tall!), has a wreath hanging around the hilt. "... Okay, then!" she says. She rockets into the air and starts flying after the Scrooge Squad under her own power, sword at the ready!
Millie White 2018-12-22 22:34:01 101997
Quite a few others shambled up to Santa Claus as well, but she only recognized Lacrima and Ariel. Santa began to speak and Millie blinked slowly at him. Saint Nick just said Akari. Dumbly, Millie's gaze swept over those gathered. Yep. No Akari there. So that meant Akari was a popular name, the actual Akari was one of these people she didn't recognize, or poor ol' Saint Nick drank too much eggnog.

As it turned out, Santa had not had too much eggnog. The blonde she didn't recognize was actually Akari, which she wouldn't even pretend to understand for a moment. The Canuck frowned in confusion but didn't have time to ask questions as a rumbling made itself known in the distance. Cackling joined the rumbling and ... a Christmas/Halloween hybrid action flick started up right in the middle of Christmas Town. Before they knew it, the offenders had made off with the new presents. Millie didn't even need to think twice, Santa and Ariel didn't even need to ask; of course she would help! ... Even if she didn't have her magic. Did that even matter in dreams? The defunct Cure guessed she would find out.

"SorrySaintNickI'mgointoborrowthisthanks!" Millie said rather quickly to Santa Claus before bolting for the aforementioned jolly man's famous Sleigh. Thankfully it was hooked up to all the Reindeer of Legend: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and even Rudolph at the front. Millie vaulted into the Sleigh proper and grabbed the reigns. "Alright Reindeer Squad, I hope you're ready to save Christmas!" Millie cried before giving the reigns the universal MUSH motion. The Sleigh rocketed into the air with the sound of familiar jingling bells. Rudolph's nose began to shine bright red, emulating a revolving Police siren as Christmas Cop Millie gave chase, determined to enact some Holiday Justice.
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-22 22:44:46 101998
    "I don't mind." Santa notes very pointedly to the hammer-wielding mahou.
    Annnnnd they're off. With the scroogemares leading the pack, the Dream Defenders- both official and honorary are giving chase, and its like something out of the Wacky Races.
    Ariel leans forward, making herself as small and aerodynamic as possible as Lucky begins to sprint, while others commandeer sleds snd sleighs.
    Aside from Surly, who requires a little coaxing and will probably give poor Lacrima grief for much of the ride, the dogs and reindeer are fleet of paw and fleet of hoof... And then...
    AND THEN...
    "Ho... Hooooo... Daring." Santa murmurs when Millie hijacks the legendary sleigh and team.
    What begins next is a top speed chase through the realm of Christmas, sleds and sleighs leave trails in the snow as a light white powder begins to fall from the sky. ... And then giant snowflakes.
    Lucky yelps. Ariel adjusts her head, nubby little horn aimed straight onward-- and the two plow through a giant snowflake in an explosion of snow, on;y to have to jump!
    Great pits open up as the ice and snowy ground cracks, making the land itself an obstacle as the Grinches swerve and leap their sleds over the newly formed race course.
Seishi Tamashige 2018-12-22 22:54:47 101999
The thumbnail explanation of what's going on dreamside draws a crooked smile from Akashimaru. "Ariel," she says, "you should know by now you don't have to ask--"

That's about as far as she gets before the ruckus starts. "...speaking of people who should know by now," the samurai girl mutters to herself, rolling her eyes, and then reaches for the tessen that's tucked in its usual place in her belt. With a flash of red light, the iron fan changes shape in her hand, elongating into the curve of a short bow; the dark bay horse crow-hops and wheels around of his own accord, and the chase is on.

Knee-deep snow may not normally be kind footing for a horse, but nobody's told Akashimaru's dream-mount that and he doesn't much seem to care, kicking up a veritable rooster-tail of churned-up snow and glittering fragments of frost in his wake as he gallops at full speed after the present-stealing pack of Nightmares. Akashimaru sticks in the saddle like she's welded there, even once the landscape begins to break up into crevasses and the ride gets that much rougher - letting the horse have his head, she draws back the red string of her bow and lets fly arrow after arrow, each shot streaking ahead of her with a thin trail of red sparkles aimed either at the escaping Nightmares or, now and then, at one of the giant snowflakes that threatens to block the pursuit.
Lacrima 2018-12-22 22:57:26 102000
Lacrima is having trouble with 'Surly', she should had really went for a reindeer named like; 'Happy' or 'Helpful' or 'Useful'. But she wasn't paying attention so she's stuck with Surly the Rude Reindeer. Who secretly hated Christmas until some other reindeer taught him the true meaning of it-- though he's still kind of rude; on sale now from 'Golden Books'!

Anyways, she watches Ariel go super fast on Lucky and she tries to make Surly go faster. This is hard to do for many reasons because A: She doesn't know how to ride a reindeer driven snow sleigh and B: Surly can't really go much faster C: Surly is already going faster than he actually wants to.

Oh man, did Millie just steal The Sleigh? That one!? Oh man. Good luck Millie.

Then a giant snowflake thuds down nearly in front of Surly's path and his eyes go wide and she has to pull to the right fast and avoid it and the sleigh tilts with one rail up a moment before tinking back down to the ground as she moves to make a ground cracked jump. "Come on, come on, come you can do it, come on." she urges Surly.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-12-22 23:04:36 102001
    Wait.

    That girl just said she was Nightbell?

    Akari gets a brief, puzzled stare from Dengeki Shoujo. Huh. Have to ask about that later.

    For now, it's giving the reins a few light flicks, making sure her sled dogs are moving it as hard as they can. Which becomes a problem when the ground suddenly starts opening up, and massive snowflakes start falling from the sky. "WHOA-!" It's a panicked swerve after another, and Kokoro very nearly goes over the side of her sled - and only a quick hand saves her Santa hat. For a second, she stares at it, before tossing it over her shoulder-

    -only to have it reappear on her head.

    Scowl.

    "Oi, you dogs eat too much for dinner?! Let's move it!" It's less beratement and more Kokoro's own brand of encouragement; the tall girl is urging the sled team to try their hardest to catch up. Already, a faint charge is building up at the head of her hammer, which swings out every now and again to smash a snowflake apart before it can bury her in /too/ much snow.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-12-22 23:05:51 102002
There are several different styles of handling the reins of a dogsled, based on who trained you and how you trained your sled dogs.

None of them involve riding the sled like a surfboard, using the shifts of your weight to direct the team.

But that's just what Tsukiko does, directing her sled team to careen around dire snowflakes and trusting in her miniwolves to give slight vertical bumps to help clear the jumps across the crevasses. When a dire snowflake can't be dodged around, the wolfgirl sweeps a hand forward as if throwing something, and one of her miniwolves launches forward to crash the 'flake into powder.

"This is fun!" Tsukiko calls to the other mahou, a grin on her face. "If it wasn't for the seriousness of all of this, I could enjoy this part of the dream all night!"
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-22 23:08:49 102003
Clarakari is sailing above the snow. As a result, the huge snowflakes are pretty much her only concern. "Ah, danmaku," she says dryly. She slashes one of them with her sword as it falls directly towards her.

Ping! <<NEIN.>> No. Rubindorn's cutesy voice is unusually firm. <<... DAS HEISST, JA. ABER NEIN.>> That is, yes. But no.

She blinks as she sees Millie in ... the sleigh. "Did she just ...?"

Ping! <<JA.>> Yes.

Akari shrugs. "Oh well, whatever works!" she says, slashing through another dire snowflake. "She's helping to save Christmas, so she probably isn't going to get ... whatever it is ... in her stocking ..."

Akari is still slightly shaky on Japanese culture, let alone the more Western conception of Christmas. Oh well.
Millie White 2018-12-22 23:24:55 102004
This was the Legendary Sleigh, the one and only, the vehicle of choice for Santa Claus himself. It was lead by the most elite team of Reindeer, highly trained and specialized in their field, and that was only partially because they were the ONLY Reindeer trained to do what they did. There was no way a little snow was going to get in their way.

"YOU GOT THIS, BLITZEN!" Millie roared, pulling back on the left side of the reins. The aforementioned Reindeer hesitated for a moment; this was not Santa, who did she think she-- but even the proud Blitzen saw the giant snowflake coming and reacted on instinct. The Sleigh turned and tilted as Blitzen's antlers lowered and instantly struck upwards, disintegrating the snowflake with a small and nearly comical 'Poof'.

Millie grinned in triumph before the ground began to crack and split. Being a flying sleigh it didn't affect her, but she worried for those on the ground. "LETS HELP THEM OUT!" She called to the Reindeer Squad before mushing the reins once more. The Sleigh was bigger and probably more sturdy, so she would use that advantage. The Sleigh took off and, instead of directly giving chase to the Christmas thieves, concentrated its efforts on intercepting the dire snowflakes before they reached the others. The Sleigh plowed through them without stopping, the snow exploding outwards comically like ships exploding in a movie. Some of course would make it through, but if she could make things easier for her allies on the ground, she would.
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-22 23:32:41 102005
    It's high speed chaos- a game of jump jump slide slide- as sleds barrel through the Christmas wonderland. But A hatted-Kokoro is not the only one scowling.
    The Grinches are forced to swerve or be shot as Akashimaru's festive arrows hail down on them. They duck in their sleds and jink wildly to the left and right. But it is to no avail!
    An arrow pierces one of the stolen sacks of gifts, causing it to spill open. A spare santa coat goes flying at Kokoro in the process.
    "Get the gifts!" Ariel calls out as Lucky leaps a gap, she reeeeaaaches for a box as it flies by and snatches it out of the air just as her canine steed lands.
    Presents are going everywhere, but most importantly, the Krampuses are looking like they're starting to lose control, making a wild break for a dark and ominous cave mouth in the snow.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-12-22 23:42:18 102006
Cute Wolf Tsukiko bellows "FETCH!" and makes a circling motion with one arm before pointing to the sled. Her miniwolves scatter, gently grabbing the presents in their mouths and hauling them back to put on the sled.

Meanwhile, the wolfgirl brings her sled to a halt, then pets the sled dog team and murmurs some appreciation to them in caninespeak. "Guess it's time to follow them on foot," she notes to the other magical girls as they close in on the cave mouth. "Close quarters and teams of sled animals don't exactly mix well."

And with that, Tsukiko cautiously starts walking into the cave.
Lacrima 2018-12-22 23:42:37 102007
There's two emergencies. One is that gifts are now being scattered everywhere! Two is that Dengeki Shoujo is in danger of becoming more festive! She decides that the first is more important and moves to intercept a few of the packages with Surly- The Rude Reindeer. Coming to a Rankin/Bass Production!

Lacrima manages to snag a few, as she hastily places them in her sleigh. She does a quick loop to catch some more and manages to catch a good few but quickly makes a dash to following those creatures to that cave. Because darn it, she's gonna teach some Krampuses and some Grinches the meaning for Christmas if she has to FORCE IT INTO THEM WITH A CRAZY STRAW.
Seishi Tamashige 2018-12-22 23:47:05 102008
"K'so--!" Akashimaru bites off the curse as brightly-colored parcels spill out across the snow ahead. With no time for second thoughts, she flings her bow upward - as it transforms back into a tessen in a shower of red sparks, she kicks her leg over the saddle in front of her and, with the other foot jammed into the stirrup, gripping the pommel of the saddle with one hand, she manages to lean precariously out and down just in time to snatch one of the dropped presents off the ground by its decorative bow as her horse thunders past it at full stride.

An inch further off balance and she'd lose her grip and faceplant into the snow at Kentucky Derby speed. Any of the fellow pursuers close enough to see her face are treated to a glimpse of the wild-eyed look on the samurai girl's face for the split second before she manages to swing herself back astride. The package she caught gets tossed into the nearest friendly sleigh, just in time for her to snatch the Shinken back out of the air as it comes back down on its return arc.

"What the actual fffOH NO YOU DON'T. HIRAISEN!" Of its own accord, Akashimaru's arm cocks back and she hurls her tessen again, this time sending it spinning out after a straggling Krampus before it can reach the cave.
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-22 23:49:57 102009
Clarakari cuts through another dire snowflake. "This is just a little bit cumbersome when you're bigger than me, Ruby ..."

Ping! <<NA, SO ETWAS.>> You don't say.

She shrugs. "I mean, if we were to get rid of my limiter -- whoa!" Suddenly, they have presents to rescue! Akari puts the sword on her back where it clicks into place, and she swerves this way and that through the air, grabbing an armful of presents! She then swoops down to Millie's sleigh ("Millie's" sleigh ...) and sets them down.

"Okay!" She sits down next to Millie, draws her sword again, and frowns. "Looks like we have our destination, huh."
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-12-22 23:51:28 102010
    Oh hey, here comes a santa jacke- NO. No no no no. Without skipping a beat, Dengeki Shoujo ducks, letting the garment pass right over her head. Part of her hopes the hat will go with it. No dice. "We can grab presents on the way back, long as we stop these guys!" The fewer of them get into the cave, the better; preferably ALL of them, but the frontrunners are probably too far ahead for that. But they can at least stop a few. "C'mon, move your furry butts! One last push! We ain't gonna let them get away with all that, are we? Huh?!" Urging her dogs on, Dengeki clambers up onto the front of the sled, edging herself forward, then crouches down - and puts all of her strength into a powerful, forward leap.

    It's like watching a catapult launch a person, and she's aiming for the frontmost Krampus sleigh she can. Her plan? Hammer it from above, then plant herself as a Wall of Smashings to any other Krampuses (Krampi?) that try to get by.
Millie White 2018-12-23 00:13:45 102012
The thieves were losing control. This was both good and bad, as it meant that technically the good guys were winning, but now gifts were scattering everywhere. The gifts were what they were trying to save, but the Krampus lookin' uglies would just come back and steal more; they had to concentrate on stopping the problem at the source. BlondeKari suddenly landed in the Sleigh to deposit presents she had caught, and Millie could only offer her a wild lopsided grin.

"Hold on, Akari-san!" Millie cried as she wrenched right on the reigns, sharply maneuvering the Legendary Sleigh right at the group of Krampususus heading for the cave. Millie braced herself and wrenched right and up once more. "CHRISTMAS DRIIIIIIFT!" The runners on one side of the Legendary Sleigh barely made contact with the ice and snow as Santa's Sleigh DRIFTED directly into three Krampus sleds, sending the thieves AND presents flying as the sleds were crushed under Santa's much sturdier vehicle. Millie struggled to keep the reins taught as the Sleigh slid, catching the presents before they could fall into the snow. Santa's Sleigh finally came to a stop just a small distance from the mouth of the cave, the Reindeer Squad snorting triumphantly. She hadn't hit all of them, but the ones she had weren't getting up any time soon. Millie looked back at Akari to make sure she was alright.
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-23 00:18:17 102013
    Yeah it's... This is over. The Grinches and Krampi aren't going to reach the cave. Not at this rate. Even with the rush to grab presents flying about, the varied festive mahou heroes are catching up and soon to overtake the--
    There goes Kokoro sailing through the air and flattening a grinch.
    Of course now with a very angry wall blocking off the cavem the rest of them are forced to try and scatter. No dice. Not with the tessen taking out the stragglers, the others capturing errant presents, and Lacrima's clear and present intent to forcibly inject the spirit of Christmas into their bodies with a crazy straw.
    And then Millie.
    Millie's expert handling of the legendary sleigh batters the remaining grinches and their smaller sleds, which were clearly not designed to survive being beared down on by great reindeer-pulled sleighs.
    There are several crashes into a few drifts of snow, and the Krampii are left face down and buried in the powder. The chase is over. The new gifts are saved, but Ariel and Lucky come to a halt at the mouth of the cave.
    "The rest must be in there, if this is where they were headed..." Ariel notes, peeking her head into the darkness.
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-23 00:33:44 102014
At Millie's exclamation, Clarakari doesn't hesitate at Millie's command. She puts Rubindorn on her back again, and holds on as tight as she can. When it becomes hard to hold on, she uses her flight magic to provide some downward thrust, although she nearly screws that up and has to work even harder to stop herself from going flying.

She shakes her head. "Millie-chan," she says, "that was amazing!" She's grinning ear to ear.

Ping! <<NUN ... JA.>> Well ... yes.

She rises back off the ground, and floats over to the cave entrance, holding her sword at the ready. "Rubindorn, any enemies?"

Ping! <<NEIN.>> No. A moment of hesitation. <<ES GIBT JEDOCH EIN STARKES MAGISCHES SIGNAL UNGEWISSER HERKUNFT.>> However, there is a powerful magical signal of uncertain origin.

Akari frowns. "Powerful magical signal ...?" she says. "You mean, like a Lost Logia?"

Ping! <<VVVVVVVVVVIELLEICHT ...?>> Mmmmmmmmmmaybe?
Seishi Tamashige 2018-12-23 00:40:36 102015
Akashimaru settles back in the saddle, slowing her mount to a gradual halt amongst the others near the cave entrance. The dark bay tosses his head with a wild jingling of bells and flopping of plush reindeer "antlers," then stretches his neck out, blowing a breath out through his nose with a loud snort.

His rider's expression mirrors the contempt of the sound as she regards the darkness inside the cave. "...Super," Akashimaru says dryly. "I guess we're going in?"

It's clear she's not in a hurry to dismount. She takes her time reeling her tessen back to her hand at the end of a long red cord that definitely wasn't attached to it before, looking around to the others from the vantage of the saddle.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-12-23 00:40:48 102016
    Smash. One down, a few more to go. They're smart enough to scatter away from Dengeki Shoujo, apparently - but with the net closing in, that's exactly the wrong course of action. All she has to do is stand and wait, providing an impassable wall, and the job is almost done.

    Almost.

    Kokoro spares a glance at her sled team to make sure they're alright, and satisfied with the dogs' safety, she turns around to amble up towards the mouth of the cave, stopping beside Ariel. "Yup." She does, briefly, glance back towards Millie, with a simple, "...nice driving." It doesn't actually seem to be sarcastic, either. But that's all she has to offer before turning to just head right on into the cave, heedless of 'Possible Lost Logia' warnings... or possibly just accepting the danger and moving forward.

    Or maybe worried about Tsukiko having already gone in.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-12-23 00:42:41 102017
Cute Wolf Tsukiko occasionally glances back towards the others, but most of her focus is on the caves ahead. She's mostly waiting for the others to catch up, while still keeping an eye (and two ears and a nose) out for the other Krampii.
Lacrima 2018-12-23 00:43:09 102018
Lacrima watches as the Krampi and the Grump of Grinches aren't going to make it to the cave. She woooooos and comes to a stop near the front of the cave somewhere next to Ariel and beams! While Surly 'huffs' because he's told to stop. He rolls his eyes dramatically. Lacrima looks towards Ariel as she gently bites her lip and hops off the sleigh and walks to the reindeer to pet it and thank it and--- it's name is '...Surly'. "O--oh! T..thank you... um. Surly..." that.. sure is a name.

She turns to the cave blinks. "Huh..." she says as she checks Paige. "You're right." she says to Akari as she puts the odd bracelet down as it Pings politely in a British way... somehow.

"--and it isn't dark energy." she says. "-Which begs the question..." she says.

"What or who wanted to try to ruin Christmas is dreamland?" she asks curiously.

She'll start to walk towards the cave mouth unless someone stops her to try to enter, following the Cute Wolf. She isn't afraid. Surly decides now is a good time to chill out. Surly knows they got this. Surly has better things to do. Just like the song goes! What song?

You never heard the song of Surly the Rude Reindeer!? LOOK IT UP GEEZE.
Millie White 2018-12-23 00:53:09 102019
Akari was fine, which was good, and Millie grinned. The Canuck scratched the back of her head sheepishly at the compliment, but merely nodded before she vaulted out of the Sleigh. A quick moment was spent offering Santa's Reindeer her gratitude, and that she would definitely pay for the paint that scratched off the runners during the drift. Once that was squared away, she jogged over to join the others at the mouth of the cave. Dengeki's compliment hadn't gone unnoticed either, and Millie offered a polite nod.

"Lost Logia is Device User lingo, isn't it?" Millie asked Akari with a tone of voice that suggested she was someone that asked questions like this often and was never disappointed. The others were already entering the cave and so Millie looked back at Akari and gave a familiar shrug, moving to follow those entering the cave. From what she had seen so far, not having access to her magic wouldn't be a problem. She wasn't sure HOW quite yet, but there was no better time to learn than the present.
Seishi Tamashige 2018-12-23 00:55:11 102020
That definitely answers that. Decision clear, Akashimaru throws her leg over the horse's back and drops to the ground, leaving her mount to handle himself while she follows the others into the cave.

"I can think of two options," she tells Lacrima. "I don't like either of them, but if there's someone else pulling crap like this that's probably even worse."
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-23 01:01:47 102021
    Well the cave is dark and spooky, that's a given. But Tsukiko was the first in and that means she's the first to find... Everything.
    See the cave doesn't go very deep, and the others should be able to catch up to the cutest wolf in no time, to find... Presents. Stacks upon stacks of presents, lining up to the ceiling on every wall. Save for one standing out in the center... A black box with black ribbon. It looks like it's been smashed open by someone, but the contents are still inside.
    It looks like a gem. A small red, glass-like, shard of some un-cut kind of rock. Ruby perhaps? Maybe. The exact type is hard to tell at a glance, but it glows with a faint warmth that says it must be pretty important. ... Considering the whispering voices that begin to murmur in everyone's ears as soon as they lay eyes on it... And somewhere in Tokyo... In Seishi Tamashige's room... An old notebook flips open and begins scrawling in itself while she slumbers nearby.

Once upon a time there was a young boy who dreamed of being a prince.

Though he had a hard life by day, the boy looked forward to each night in bed, with dreams of adventures dancing in his head. From these dreams a prince was born, righteous and noble, he took his new friend, on adventures all across dreamland. But soon a nightmare arose so great, the prince could not hope to defeat. The Eater of Dreams came and then gone; having a succulent new dream to feed on.

The prince, now alone and beaten, vowed 'never again...' and pulled from himself something more precious than a gem. Shattering it, its pieces he spread. Hoping it would never be found again...
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-23 01:07:30 102022
Clarakari blinks at Millie. "Oh, yes," she says. "Lost Logia are artifacts from dead worlds that have been corrupted away from their original purpose and are highly dangerous as a result." She gives a lopsided smile, which looks ever-so-slightly strained. "Like me," she adds. It's not entirely clear how serious she's being ...

She stops as she sees the gem. She opens her mouth. "Ru--"

And then the whispering begins.

When it's finished, she blinks a few times. "... Rubindorn, did you get that?" she says urgently.

Ping! <<JA! ICH HABE ES AUCH AUFGENOMMEN!>> Yes! I recorded it, too!

Akari turns to the others. "... Any idea what that's about?" she says. "A prince ...?"
Seishi Tamashige 2018-12-23 01:12:56 102023
Akashimaru steps forward to answer Akari, and her face is grim. "The Prince of Nightmares," she explains. "We've run into him before. Like it said - he used to be a dream defender, but things went... wrong."

With a whisper of fabric, she slides her tessen into her belt and moves to where the shard lies glittering in the smashed box. She kneels down to look at it, but makes no move to touch yet. "This has to be a piece of--" The samurai girl hesitates a moment, frowning. "--would you call it his heart, maybe?" When she lifts her head, it's to focus on Ariel in particular. "Regardless, we can't leave it lying around."
Lacrima 2018-12-23 01:14:02 102024
Lacrima looks towards Akashimaru. "Either The Prince of Nightmares or-- the being you-- um.. I dunno. Deal with?..." she asks softly. "-- Eater of.. Dreams? I apologize. We should talk more out of these.. adventures." she says a little guiltily. "Maybe Ariel can drag me over one day soon..." she says lightly as she taps her bottom lip a moment before she turns back around.

She enters behind somewhere behind Tsukiko and looks around. "Whelp.. found the gifts." she says softly.

She looks around and there's a black one that sort of stands out upon frilly bright packages. Then a whispering voice.

The voice tells a story so she falls dead silent. The candor of the story sounds slightly familiar, but she can't place it right now. She's seen the book before, and it's story already in there in the past. When they we're after saving Ariel's mom and all that.

She turns towards Akari. She relates the story, also for Millie's sake. "About... a year ago? We found a book in a Dream. That... I think it was telling the story of 'The Prince of Nightmares'." she says. "-- someone who's been... causing bad issues... kidnapped Ari-chan's mother, who we saved -- tried to fill the waking world with Nightmares by weakening the fabric between the worlds --- sent something horrid to kill me and also actually nearly succeeded..." she says softly.

"---but this sounds more... clearer? Than the start of it." she says as she rests a head on her hand.

"...That gem." she says. "--right." she says to Akashimaru. "We can't leave it here." she shakes her head. "Someone has to take it, if it's important."
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-12-23 01:15:35 102025
Cute Wolf Tsukiko looks to Ariel and Akashimaru. "I suspect the two of you are the best to handle that particular item," she notes, nodding in agreement with Lacrima. "The rest of us can start getting the presents back to the sleds and sleighs."

And with that, she carefully starts unstacking the presents.
Millie White 2018-12-23 01:25:02 102026
Now she knew what Lost Logia were. At this rate she might even start to understand the conversations Akari, Rashmi, and Alexis had with one another, though she had her doubts about that. Millie nodded to Akari to show she understood. It didn't take the group long to find those that had gone ahead, and Millie's emerald gaze roved around the room.

Presents were stacked to the roof, presumably those that had been stolen from Santa. That was good, they had found what they had come here for. They could load them into the sleds and Sleighs outside and then-- Then she saw the gem. The sudden whispers made her jump and at that moment she missed her shield terribly. The whispers told a story of a prince, and Millie listened carefully. When it ended, she looked around in confusion only to note that it seemed everyone else had heard the whispers as well.

The explanation came from multiple sources, but Millie was able to piece them together. The Prince of Nightmares...a fallen Dream Defender. It felt like a potentially tragic story, but she didn't know enough to do more than frown a bit sadly at the tale. The little wolf suddenly spoke up and relayed a plan, and Millie nodded. None of this dream stuff made much sense to her, but she could definitely do menial labour. The defunct Cure began helping Tsukiko unstack the stolen gifts in preparation to get them to the sleds and Sleighs outside. She made sure to keep at least one eye on Akari, a little suspicious and worried since her friend had mentioned Lost Logia.
Ariel Theodore 2018-12-23 01:36:58 102027
    So the presents have been found. And so has something deeper.
    Ariel purses her lips as she looks at the stone, floppy ears perked as the tale hits her as well, she exchanges a glance with Akashimaru.
    "It... Could be?" She ventures, before reaching into the smashed present. "Whatever it is, I'll find a safe place to hold onto it." She says, plucking the stone free and tucking it into her hideous christmas sweater for safe keeping with a weary sigh. "I really don't like this. But I guess we can think about it a little later. For now let's get these back to Santa~."
    Hooray. Christmas in the dream realm has been saved~.
Rosalie Janus 2018-12-23 01:37:41 102028
Clarakari frowns. Then she dispels her Knight Clothing, and lets Rubindorn hang around her neck in pendant form. "Well, you can count me in if I ever end up in one of these dreams again," she says.

She glances down at herself. "... hopefully, I'll be my real self next time," she adds under her breath. She looks between Millie and Dengeki Shoujo. "... I'm basically a robot hologram thing from Ancient Belka, and my brain was scanned from my creator, Clara Meriva," she says for the latter's benefit. "Sometimes I have dreams where I am Clara Meriva, and ... I guess this is one of them."

She joins in helping get the presents back in order. She's thrown herself into the heroing business with gusto, and this is just another way she can help out.