A Beautiful Song


Date: 2019-01-05
Pose Count: 44
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 20:08:24 102275
    Everything had been normal up until the point that people started to fall asleep. It was a night just like any other in Tokyo and as heads rest down on their pillows and sleepers began to drift where they lay... Somewhere an old book flipped open its pages and began to scribble away.

    Come now children, one and all, I'll tell you a tale so asleep you will fall. A story of a prince, once gallant and shining... Now broken in pieces, his heart left pining. To the singer he gave a shard, to rest in the care of a gorgeous bard. Fascinated by its purity she hid it away, quite frankly behind too much security. Deep in the fair you'll find her lair, but beware her siren song and rushing headlong into where you don't belong...

    Voices whisper in to each ear, of a place where many would dread and fear. A carnival dark and forboding, long abandoned and now eroding... When eyes open, a surprise you might find-- no longer in your bed are you so warm and reclined.

    Because it's a dark and dreary night, and the dim lights of the abandoned fairgrounds flicker and sputter. Rides grind slowly to life and fireworks pop in the night sky above, illuminating the rusted shell of a roller coaster and a grand castle.
    Ariel is at the entrance to the fairgrounds, pacing agitatedly and... Oddly dressed in vibrantly bright clothes, face done up in clown's paint, once again with a big red nose. Lucky is at her side of course, not exactly looking too happy about being done up in a huge ruffled tutu.
Lacrima 2019-01-05 20:20:41 102278
Lacrima has been having fitful rests. She can't relax. She finds herself staring awake for half hour intervals at the lid of her coffin from within. She's bothered a lot currently. It's her fault. She should had acted faster. She should had done something about her brother before he started transforming into a dumb knight.

Something eventually forces her to sleep though-- at least deep enough to dream-- and she sort of appears somewhere in Ariel's general vicinity. She's dressed her intensely fancy outfit- with a parasol. She basically looks like one of those ultra creepy Victorian circus goers by default, anyways, so she doesn't need much more detail. She frowns a little, as she looks over to Ariel. "This is a really creepy circus." she mutters, as she looks up at the weird fairgrounds.

"--why are we here, Ariel...?" she asks Ariel softly, a little dourly than usual as she looks back up and sighs. "Ugh..."
Seishi Tamashige 2019-01-05 20:21:11 102279
Clop clop-clop clop, clop clop-clop clop. The sound of hooves on dirt is a familiar one by now, and likely welcome. The tall shape of the dark bay gelding emerges into the unsteady light near the entrance not far behind the sound of his hooves... but something's missing. The horse wears not a scrap of his usual modern Tokyo Mounted Police tack; no saddle, no bridle, nothing but a broad leather band buckled around the barrel of his ribcage just behind his forelegs, and some dusty-pale smears of rosin along his broad dark back.

Astride the horse, Akashimaru - Seishi? Akashimaru? it's currently hard to tell, as she's dressed in a scarlet ballerina outfit instead of any more recognizable garb - looks considerably nonplussed.

"I'm guessing there's something here we need to find," she states in the wake of Lacrima's question. "I'm hoping it comes with something we can punch."
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-05 20:21:50 102280
    Blink. Blink blink.

    Oh. Oh, this again. Huh.

    "Guess I better find Ariel."

    As Kokoro's boots thump against the cracked walkway, she privately muses that she's far too used to this. Before she came back to Tokyo, her life never involved weird things like 'suddenly lucid dreaming in a shared dreamscape'. But it does now; no sense getting cranky about it. Besides, if she's here, Ariel needs some help.

    So it is that Ariel and Lacrima find themselves approached by Carnival Strongwoman Koko, crimson-haired and flickering with the occasional faint voltage. Lacrima gets a brief glance and nod, but Ariel... Ariel gets a lingering stare. "...You'd worn that three months ago, you'd have the scariest costume at Halloween." Did... she just make a joke?
Erato Ishin 2019-01-05 20:23:54 102281
Erato Ishin groaned as her eyes opened and... dirt? Why was she... Was that a carnival? She blinked blearily. Why was she on the ground? "Kyubey?" she called out. If anyone understood, it'd be kyubey. But... Kyubey didn't respond. "Kyubey? KYUBEY?!" she cried out, panic rising in her voice. She was in a labyrinth! She had to be!

She held out her hand and... Transformed and!

Okay, NOW she screamed. And then bursts of giggles and just... "Kyubey what in the world IS THIS?! IS THIS A WITCHES LABYRINTH?! WHERE ARE YOU?!" she screamed out. Kyubey was SUPPOSED to come with her! THAT WAS THE DEAL! HE GUIDED HER! GOSH DARN IT!

When she transformed, rather than her normal look... she had a big poofy red dress, an umbrella and... she looked like a tight rope walker.

And as she became more aware of what was going on... She finally noticed there were other girls here. And she turned towards them.

And stared. And finally... They didn't seem dazed. Or confused. She spoke up, slowly. "Are... you all puella Magi too? Do you know where Kyubey is? Do you know where we are? What kind of witch is this? They aren't supposed to stop us transforming, are they? Kyubey never said they could do that? How do we get out of here so we can transform for real? IS any of my magic going to work?"

Ah yes, back to the default Erato response. Ask all the questions until you stop wanting to hyperventilate. Truly the best defense response.

Nevrmind in her tight rope makeup she looked super silly.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-05 20:33:56 102282
Kotomi is having an interesting dream! She's wearing a black and blue jester outfit with bright green shoes and a green and yellow ruff. Also there seems to be a plush tail hanging from the back of the outfit with a T-shaped tip. She's also slightly dazed -- she almost seems sleep-fogged. Used to taking action within dreams, she ain't.

She gravitates towards the group. At the moment, she's just going with the flow, but due to her general ... shyness, the flow comes to a stop before she gets too close to them. The uniclown and the vampire look sort of interesting, and the other characters look like they fit reasonably well in a carnival or circus, but that other little girl --

When Erato starts peppering the group with questions, Kotomi actually takes a step away. She's starting to become more self-aware of the dream now.
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 20:42:11 102283
    "Are you okay?" That is first and foremost to Lacrima before anything else- before even getting into her own problems, Ariel checks up on the vampire as soon as she even notices the hint of being more dour than the norm. But there are others arriving, and the littlest clown purses her lips as she starts taking a headcount.
    "I don't understand? It's just a clown costume, what's so scary about it?" She asks of the mighty carnival strongwoman. And then there's Akashimaru. ... Or ballerina Seishi. It's... An odd sight, but between Kokoro and Seishi, Ariel is already looking a little less agitated, even if she's still shuffling on her feet.
    "Um. Puella Magi? No I'm not one of them-- this isn't a Labyrinth, you're dreaming. ... As are the rest of us." She tries to explain to the new girl... The first of them anyway. Ariel looks from Erato to Kotomi and bites her lip. "Um! Hello! ... You might want to stick a little closer, these dreams can get kind of dangerous. ... And scary." She offers the safety of numbers before looking back to the gates.
    "There's something here though. I can feel it deeper in. The castle I think, but it looked like the bridge was broken so we'll have to find another way in." Explained as she hops on Lucky's back and her intrepid canine steed begins forging onward.
    The courtyard leading into the carnival takes the group past a series of turnstyles and... Into a street lined with decrepit and decaying souvenier stores and buildings that once held all manners of bright and gaily decorated walls, now long faded by time. But the avenue isn't empty. A parade of dolls come shambling by, juggling, blowing trumpets in discordant tunes, their clothes are tattered. The strings holding them up and controlling them give them erratic and eerily jerky movements, and the paint on their permanently smiling carved faces is chipped and fading.
    They don't seem hostile, and pass by in a clatter by the time the group makes it to a tilted over ferris wheel leaning against the castle, the entrance to an active rollercoaster that passes between the castle spinarets is nearby, leaving two pretty daring options for getting in, because as Ariel said, the bridge to the castle is out.
    "Uhhhhh... Do we climb, or do we ride?"
Seishi Tamashige 2019-01-05 20:53:40 102284
"Wow." Astride her mount, Seishi surveys their possible entrance routes with a look of deep displeasure and faint dismay. "I hate both of these options. But I guess beggars can't be choosers."

She sighs, and seems about to dismount before she thinks better of it and instead pulls her feet up underneath her on the horse's back, careful to find good footing on the leather strap that's replaced her saddle before she rises up into a standing position in hopes that the slightly taller vantage might give her a better sense of what lies ahead of them.

"For the record," she says to the others, "I vote climb. Once we get on one of those cars, I think we're kind of stuck. At least the other way we can change our minds if we have to."
Lacrima 2019-01-05 20:55:04 102285
Lacrima gently looks to Ariel and mutters. "No.. No I'm not okay but now isn't a good time to talk about it..." she says quietly. She looks to the others as they arrive and then there's Erato and she blinks at the new comers she hasn't seen before. "....ah...." she says softly. "--no this isn't a witch-- in that sense of Puella Magi." she says to Erato.

She looks over to Kotomi. "Um. Hello." she says softly. She looks over to Kokoro as she manages a very low smile, but only for a moment, before she looks at Akashirmaru. "....Yes... this is.. no offense I mean, But if something put me in that- I'd wanna punch it a lot too." she says quietly.

"Yes, Climbing sounds more safer for now. If that fails- we can ride 'The Beast' over there." she mutters. She sighs a little, as she so wants to hide under that parasol.
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-05 20:56:47 102286
    "You don't think clowns are scary?" Kokoro replies to Ariel, her look one of mild surprise. She hefts her hammer up to idly rest on her shoulder, and looks like she's about to say more- when they're accosted by a girl babbling endlessly in a panic. The redhead just looks all the more baffled, trying to follow all of it... and only partially succeeding. "Uh... look, you're asleep right now. I dunno how we all keep getting pulled into a shared dream or whatever, but all of us got some kinda magic, I guess, so don't hurt yourself thinking too hard. Just roll with it." Seishi's here too, so at least the regular crew is all set... plus another girl? Huh. "Yo," Kokoro calls out to Kotomi. "You're gonna wanna stick close. This place is probably gonna get rough."

    In and through they go, and while Dengeki Shoujo eyes the dolls warily and her hammer crackles a little, she doesn't take the first swing, and that proves to be the correct choice. Ahead, however, is another issue, one that prompts a furrowed brow. "...why can't I just jump across?"
Erato Ishin 2019-01-05 20:57:32 102287
Erato Ishin stares at them. What. "A... dream? Wait, it's..." And now she looked even more frightened. Her hands reached down and touched over her body. She quickly let out a sigh of relief. Thank you. Not a boy. Good. Still a girl. So it's not THAT kind of horrifying, torturous dream. "Oh, wait, if it's a dream... can I..." She closed her eyes and focused REALLY, REALLY hard. Okay, she could do this. FOCUS!

She couldn't do it. But, fortunately for her, she DID shift a bit.

Now she was a lion tamer. In an adorable little tiny black top hat. She blinked and stared at herself, then glanced to her whip. "Well... I guess this is... better. I have a whip now." She smacked it on the ground.

And then clowns. She shrieked and moved by the big dog, letting them pass. "Okay, usually the familiars try to kill me so this is all VERY weird. Kyubey never mentioned anything about this. Is it possible to wake up?" She then pinched herself. "OW! Owie, no, ow, are you sure this is a dream?" she asked, shaking her head. And then the options. "Oh, climb. Definitely climb. Climb climb. Riding is bad. I do NOT do rollercoasters. Did you know if you put a penny on the track, it'll fly off the track entirely? Or if..." And she began listing EVERY fake myth and horrible story about rollercoasters. Most of which didn't make sense unless you were twelve. "And if you go upside down and hold your breath, your ears will explode and..." Oh my gosh.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-05 21:01:17 102288
Kotomi shrinks back slightly as the uniclown, the vampire, and the strongwoman address her directly! And then she blinks. "Oh. Safety. R-right," she stammers, and she hurries over to stick with the group. "Um. I'm. Kotomi Kobana," she adds. She's still radiating nervousness.

And then something occurs to her. "Wait," she says. "If this is a dream and I'm aware of it, does that mean ..." She blinks at Erato's sudden transformation. "... I can do anything?"

She hops slightly. Then she hops again, and frowns. "Hmm ... I ... can't just fly, looks like ..."

And then Erato starts babbling portents of doom, and Kotomi hurriedly scoots over to the opposite side of the group from the lion-tamer-Puella. She grabs the plush tail and hugs it close as if for comfort.
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 21:20:22 102290
    Ariel stares at Kokoro like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming mack truck.
    "Nnnnnnnnnnnoooo...?" She ventures, genuinely bewildered. "A-and not all of us can jump across too." She points out, while squeezing Lacrima's hand. "Tell me about it soon?" Whispered a little more softly. But yes, back to the options of traversing.
    "I really don't like the climb. But then again I've never been on a roller coaster before." Ariel notes a little daringly. "Honestly I don't like either option too." She does sigh and--
    There goes Lion Tamer Erato, listing off all the possible Bad Ends to a game of Roller Coaster Tycoon, and that leaves Ariel staring at her horrified.
    Ahem.
    Ariel rallies. "Usually you can do almost anything in a dream!" She does confirm for Kotomi, putting on a thin smile. "But it looks like we're a little more limited here tonight. There's probably a Nightmare somewhere nearby-- But it's okay! There's a lot of us here, I'm sure we can handle it! ... I'm Ariel, by the way."
    That just leaves... The actual climb now. and Ariel has to hop off Lucky's back with a sigh. "We'll be back soon okay boy? " "Wurf." "--Well no- I mean yes but." "Wurf ruff!" "I'll be fine, the others will" "RUFF!" "Well no, not entirely, I-" "WURF!" "Okay okay fine!"
    It takes her a second, horn glowing faintly as she weaves the very gossamer stuff that dreams are made of into a series of ropes and hooks and begins passing them around. It's not going to be an easy climb without them.
    Especially when the dolls begin doubling back up the path, with red blazing eyes and brandish their instruments more like weapons now.
    "PlAY wIth uS! pLAy wiTh Us! STay! pLaY!"
Seishi Tamashige 2019-01-05 21:21:59 102291
The dark horse pins his ears back, lifting his head to toss his mane in agitation as Erato's litany of potential doon gets going. Seishi grimaces, slipping back down to sit astride so she can place her hand on the gelding's neck.

"Okay, okay, simmer down." This is probably a bad time to point out that dreams can also react to your subconscious expectations. Instead she turns a wry smile toward Kotomi. "It's a bit more complicated when you're visiting someone else's dream," she says. "But Ariel's right, we'll manage."

Even once the decision is made and Ariel starts passing out dream-woven equipment, it seems Seishi is in no hurry to dismount herself. And when the parade of dolls starts back towards them, perhaps it's just as well. Immediately Seishi presses her heels against her mount's sides, wheeling him around to face the mob as her tessen appears in her hand in a flurry of red sparks. "You guys get going!" she calls to the rest of the group. "I'll bring up the rear!"
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-05 21:26:33 102292
    Erato has earned herself another look. Kokoro doesn't say it, but her expression practically screams 'Is this girl for real?'

    Instead, the redhead just silently shakes her head. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I oughta cover you guys." However, Kokoro doesn't take a hook and rope; instead, she simply takes an approach that borders on 'wild woman'. A single high leap, a grab onto a crossbeam, and then she 'throws' herself straight up to the next, adding a kick with her boots for extra height. However, halfway up, the march of the dolls begins, and the strongwoman halts, turning to look with a frown.

    Her first instinct is to drop down and hit the dolls - but Akashimaru's already down there, and staying behind as well would leave the group deprived of a frontline powerhouse. Tch. "...Oi, Aka," she calls out. "You better finish up fast. I ain't carrying this group the whole way." The words are arrogant, but the tone is as close to playful as Kokoro gets. Coming from someone else, that would be more along the lines of 'Be careful, okay?'
Lacrima 2019-01-05 21:30:28 102293
Lacrima squeeezes Ariel's hand tightly. Ariel gets the sensation Lacrima is a hot mess and is hiding it just well enough to make it look like she's just mildly bothered. She sighs and looks up the leaned Ferris wheel as Ariel provides hooks and ropes. She looks back to Erato. "Y--you um. Might wanna. Calm down... okay? I know this is scary? But it's a bad time to be frightened. If there's a Nightmare here-- you don't want it knowing what you're afraid of anyways I think." she says softly.

"...Oh.. yeah. Nope. Just nope." she says to creepy dolls double backing. "Too many for me to try to hijack." she says as she sighs and spins the rope and tosses it into the air to try to grab onto one of the carts of the Ferris wheel, giving it a tug before she starts climbing upwards.

"I am so glad I don't hate Phys. Ed." she mutters under her breath. "So so very glad." she mutters. "Akashimaru- right. Don't stay behind too long." she calls out. "Please?" she asks politely.
Erato Ishin 2019-01-05 21:34:51 102294
Erato Ishin nodded. "I'm just saying that like... roller coasters are bad. And dangerous. And should NEVER, EVER be ridden by anybody. Climbing is much better." She ignored the climbing equipment... And instead she did puella things! Namely, jumping, using her whip to grab onto some outcropping and...

Moments later she's on the ground, eyes swirling. "I'll... I'll take one of the hooks... a-after all..." she groaned. She'd take the hook, and this time make a MUCH better show of climbing up. She was accurate with it, at least, and coiled her whip around her arm as she went up. She was agile enough, if not very experienced with climbing. But meh. It's a dream. What's the worst that could happen?
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-05 21:38:42 102295
Kotomi manages to be slightly reassured by Ariel. "Oh," she says softly. She blinks in surprise as Ariel manages to conjure up ropes, and she quickly accepts one. "Right," she murmurs.
And then she whirls around as the dolls come at them! "Uh-oh!" She frowns, looking worriedly over at Seishi as she takes command. "Um, I, I know we just met, but, um ... b-be careful!"

And with that, she begins her ascent. Her eyes widen as she watches Kokoro just climb up like it was nothing, but she looks over at what Lacrima's doing and imitates her instead. Kotomi isn't that athletic, but she's perfectly fit, and she manages to keep up with the rest of the group without any problems.

Somehow, some instinct tells her that "just a dream" doesn't apply here. But now that her whole talking-to-strangers thing isn't an issue? She has a core of determination, and she can put her anxieties aside and just focus. The idea of giving up, or surrendering to her fears, doesn't even occur to her.
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 21:47:59 102296
    Worried glances are cast Lacrima's way when Ariel's hand gets that squeeze, but the unicorn says nothing about how tight that grip is. Because the approaching dolls means it's time to move. Now. And fast.
    The climb is not going to be easy. Though the ferris wheel has fallen at an angle that one could, in theory, walk all the way up to the castle at an angle, it's a dangerous matter of choosing where to STEP, judging from the bleat and the sudden screech of wrenching metal. Ariel manages to hop back in time from a rusted beam that falls out from under her, and thus marks the beginning of the harrowing and treacherous trip upwards once she's passed Erato a hook and line, and offers Kotomi her hand at several points on the way up.
    The beams rattle and quake underfoot, groaning and screeching, some collapse under the lightest touch, others threaten to drop out but hold into place, for a harrowing and wobbly crossings for everyone. The only reason the dolls never make it to the ferris wheel is...
    "PlAY WiTH US! plaY wITh uS!"
    They barrel right towards Akashimaru en masse, focusing entirely on the ballerina in red when they see a target. They are fragile though and only have numbers to go for them, jerky movements carrying them toward the dream samurai as they toot their horns and screech on violins and assail her with dissonant and painfully loud blast of sound as they're carrie forward on jerking strings.
    The strongwoman-- Kokoro is the first to reach where the ferris wheel reaches over the lip of the castle ledge, after passing over a drop into the dark waters of the moat below, it looks like the path into the castle from here is a glass skylight that seems to give a view down into a theater like chamber below.
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-05 21:55:19 102297
    Once or twice, there's a terrifying moment of Kokoro's footing giving out. She's a little more cautious about choosing her next jump after that. And when she finally gets far enough along the ferris wheel to see their destination... huh. Okay. That could actually be a problem. ...well, it's a dream, so maybe not, but still.

    *SKRRRRUNK*

    Reaching aside to a spot out of everyone's direct path, the electric strongwoman rips out a chunk of crossbeam, and throws it down ahead of her, letting the heavy steel smash through the glass so she and the others won't have to.

    Then she jumps down, turning to look upward after she lands and yelling, "I can catch folks if I gotta. Don't worry about jumping down."
Seishi Tamashige 2019-01-05 22:01:43 102298
Akashimaru flicks her tessen in a quick salute to the voices calling after her. "I got it, now move your asses!"

Even lacking most of her normal gear, in this situation she still has her two best weapons. One is, of course, the Shinken, its magic no less effective in the hands of Akashimaru the bareback ballerina than it is for Akashimaru the samurai.

The other is beneath her.

Even as the discordant cacophony hits her in a nearly physical wave, she urges her mount straight towards the center of the crowd of dolls, meeting them with a battering ram made of about 1200 pounds of charging horse.

"Come, the wind that scatters lies--!" The tessen in her hand glows red-gold as she sweeps it outward, calling up a surge of air in counter to the noise of those awful instruments. "San-kyo-sen!"

Then it's an episode of Bowling For Marionettes, and she's going for the strike, lashing out to either side with her Shinken even as her horse rears, plunges, and kicks out in a flying capriole fit to make the Spanish Riding School proud.
Lacrima 2019-01-05 22:03:19 102299
Lacrima eyes widen "Ari-chan...!" she calls out as the beam gives out from under Ariel and whew-- she's okay. She slows down a moment while she makes sure Ariel gets ahead a little and hopefully over the lip as she looks back down towards Akashirmaru. Dammit, she hopes she's okay. Don't stay down there too long- she thinks.

When they get to the top, she looks down a skylight? She'll choose to land through the hole Kokoro made-- though she doesn't need to be caught-- she can land on her feet just fine at this point.

Also. She has a parasol. Maybe this helps slow her descent some.

"--this looks like a theater of some sort?" she asks with a blink. She at least know theaters. "Ariel... is the Nightmare-like feelings emanating from deeper in the castle?" she asks.

"....this may be difficult if it is. I don't know this place."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-05 22:06:27 102300
Erato Ishin would, of course, being young and a bit... Naive... She almost jumps across the ferris wheel when they're on it. Maybe it's lucky. Maybe it's the heavens smiling on her. Either way, aside from a few bad moments, she makes it across despite her reckless movements. After all, it's only a *dream*, it wouldn't REALLY hurt them. Well, it would hurt but... If she got hurt, she'd wake up.

That and she was trying to make up for her earlier panic and try to look a bit 'cool' by not being scared.

Although, even in a dream, jumping off this was a little nerve wracking. She stared down, watching where the other, strong woman landed. "Just a dream, just a dream. If you get hurt, you'll wake up, nothing will have happened. You can't die in a dream. Just a dream..." she said to herself. "Okay, catch me!" she yelled before jumping off and flying towards the other girl. Flailing but BARELY resisting screaming.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-05 22:09:47 102301
Kotomi hears Ariel's sudden bleat, and tenses up. But that's a speed bump, not a roadblock. "Good grief," she mutters. "Sufferin' Sappho." She's very careful about choosing where to put her ropes and hooks, and gives very gentle tugs to check the strength each time.

She raises her eyebrows as Kokoro breaks in. "... Do we even need to worry about ... about falling damage here?" she says, only half-serious. But she keeps on keeping on until she reaches the top.

She frowns at Erato. Still, if what that vampire said is correct ... it's probably not a good idea to exacerbate the poor girl's fears. She waits to give Kokoro time to catch Erato, then jumps in after her.
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 22:25:40 102302
    "I'm fine! I'm fine!" Ariel calls back when people worry. But it's still a harrowing way up.
    The dolls aren't really much of a match for Seishi's charge, even if they have sheer numbers on her, it's like they're made of porcelain or rotted wood; easily shattered under the stamping hooves of the police horse in full charge, tessen easily snapping the thin threads holding them up and controlling them, causing them to drop without locomotion. Ariel left some rope behind for Akashimaru to catch up once she's done.
    But what of the others? The beam shatters the skylight easily enough, and Ariel lowers a rope, beginning to shimmy her way down and follow, and with Dengeki Shoujo alreay at the bottom in the theater to catch people it's just a matter of navigating the castle now.
    "Well you'll be fine in the waking world, but if you fall here it'll just really, really, hurt, if it doesn't wake you up instantly." Ariel warns. "And that's usually kind of scary anyway so try to not land too hard?" She replies to Kotomi, before... "Ummmmm... It's... Here." That's to Lacrima. And no sooner than Ariel says it, the bright red curtains on the stage draw back.
    The figure behind them is titanic in stature. Womanly in shape and adorned in a flaring bell gown, is a nightmare opera singer made entirely of shadows. And as soon as she turns blazing red eyes upon the invaders to her theater she draws a breath...
    "Laaaaaaa~o/` LAAAAAAAA~o/` LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA~~~o/`"
    The sheer force of her voice is enough to make glass shatter, carrying a concussive force that' enough to blow Ariel clean off her feet and slam her into the nearest wall with a bleat of shock and pain. ... As well as anyone else caught off guard.
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-05 22:34:16 102303
    And one, and two. Strong arms catch Erato and Kotomi in turn, setting them down carefully. When both are down, she hefts her hammer back up onto her shoulder, moving out of sheer habit to take point for the group and start investigating.

    She gets three steps before the curtain draws back.

    "Oh."

    She hits the wall about a tenth of a second after Ariel does. "GHK!"

    The moment Kokoro's boots touch the ground, however, she's already standing tall and walking forward, arcs of lighting starting to dance across her arms and the length of her hammer. "Oi, loudmouth." After just a few steps, she suddenly erupts into a full charge, crossing the distance and shifting her weapon of choice into a two-handed grip. All the better to smash the singing nightmare with; a high leap and a roar of battle lead into a ferocious opening strike. "SHUT YER HOLE ALREADY!"
Lacrima 2019-01-05 22:40:29 102304
Lacrima blinks as Ariel says that and she turns around to face a large, huge figure that belts out a large concussive wave. She'd go save Ariel but the fact of the matter is it blows her off her feet as easily as Ariel also sending her into a grand theater pillar with a thud as she "Gachts!" in pain and frowns, pulling herself to her feet.

She does make checking on Ariel her first item though as she gets back to her feet via turning into a mass of shadow and quickly reforming on her feet--- which is quicker primarily because she an move at the same time.

"A--Ariel! Are you okay!?" she says. She'll try to help the unicorn to her feet as she frowns quite heavily and turns around back towards the figure as she narrows her eyes.

She'll start storming down the hallway. "Oh my god. That is terribly off key. I hate choir club, all they do there is stand there and sing. HEY. Dancing Club? We sing AND dance at the same time!? Ohhh big girl just standing on that bleacher belting out-- no other substance!."

Lacrima may just be projecting bad feelings outward at the moment. She'll let loose fly a bolt of dark energy towards the giant singer. "I'D COUNTER YOUR HORRID ACT WITH MY OWN. BUT YOU'RE NOT WORTH THE EFFORT." also said bad feelings would make her terrible at her favorite pasttime.
Erato Ishin 2019-01-05 22:48:32 102305
Erato Ishin was caught, and put down, she let out a sigh of relief. She then hopped around and... Her eyes fell on the big beast. And the singing and just... She was slammed back into the wall as well, breaking into a daze for a moment as she fell to her knees. She shook her head. "Oh... Ow..."

She slowly got to her head and then... "Oh... You like to sing? I know how to deal with that!" she said, her eyes gleaming. It was just like a witch. And hey, she wouldn't DIE from it! And it probably didn't drain her power and... Then again. She didn't have HER whip. She had a whip. But... she had to try.

She put a hand to her chest and then... "One... Two... three and...."

"Tsumibito to seito-tachi zen'in no uchi o ayumu!" And then the spell wove. As she sang, they';d ALL feel the urge to just FOCUS on her. To give her ALL their attention. To watch her like she's the most important thing in the world.

And as she sang, she ran at the other thing. Moving so she wasn't coming quite at the same angle as the others, as best she could, her whip trailing behind her. Yup. She could handle a witch, she was sure. "Kon'ya wa watashitachi ga korera no chen o nugu tsumorida yoru!"
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-05 22:49:47 102306
Kotomi smiles faintly at Kokoro. "Thanks," she says softly. She looks around curiously. "I wonder if --" The curtains draw back. "-- oh."

She yelps and hits the wall at the same time as Ariel! She falls flat on her face, and hurriedly scrambles back to her feet, clutching her tail.

She boggles at everyone else just ... ripping into the Nightmare with their powers. "Okay. Okay, okay, I'm a clown. What can clowns do ...?" She doesn't consider for a minute that she might be totally useless here.

She stares up at the nightmarish opera singer, and starts hopping from one foot to the other, moving her hands in a sort of juggling motion. After a moment, black and blue balls appear, and she starts juggling them! Still hopping from one foot to the other, she starts pitching them at the Nightmare at fastball speeds!

She doesn't seem to run out of them, either. "This 'just works', right?" she says. "It's ... it's dream-logic!" She grins.
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 22:59:23 102307
    Ariel is dazed from both the sound and force, leaving the unicorn wobbling in Lacrima's grasp as she's helped to stand, staring vacantly and with liquid silver trickling from her poor, sensitive ears.
    "... WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU, LACRIMA. HUH?"
    Oh dear. That might be a problem.
    Then Kokoro comes swinging in for the sucker punch.
    With a hammer.
    The force of the blow hits the nightmarish singer with the impact of a truck, sending her upper body jerking like a ragdoll, but as she staggers back upright and holds up a deadly clawed hand dripping with darkness...
    Someone else begins to sing.
    "... No... No nO NO No NonoNonONONONONO! THiS Is MY sTaGE!" She suddenly shrieks.
    Well it got all attention on Erato that's for certain as the monstrous swipes she was going to take at Lacrima's taunts and Kokoro in retaliation are suddenly directed with fully murderous intent on the Puella Magi, while she's pelted with Kotomi's fastball juggling balls, jerking violently with each impact.
    But then the singing nightmare shrieks.
    From the ceiling, marionnetes and dolls drop on strings, some held up by crucifixes formed of old metal and wooden beams, others dangling on slack strings, others tangled, it's a mess of dolls that fill the theater, filling each seat and beginning to leap down onto the stage and the seatless arena where the mahous are.
    And soon enough each doll opens a mouth.
    LAAAAAAA! LAAAAAAAA! LAAAAAAA!
    Mimicing the singer's voice and sending blastwaves of concussive force around the arena.
    But a lot of that focus is on Erato.
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-05 23:07:41 102308
    Rebounding from her first smash, Kokoro drops back into a guarded stance. She flourishes her hammer once, crackling with electricity and preparing herself for a counterattack, but just then, Erato begins to sing. And oh, the nightmare does not seem to like that at all.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out what's coming next, and with Kokoro's instincts, she's moving to intercept even before she can think about it. Ticking off something that big is going to invite counterattack. The thundergirl's charge puts her in reach to smash one strike out of the way with her hammer, but the momentum on the weapon means that she can only block the second swipe with her body. There's a grunt of pain, but once again, she simply grits her teeth and keeps going, tough enough to keep fighting full steam even after a direct hit from that.

    She does, however, briefly look over her shoulder at Erato. "Keep singin'. I'll cover you."

    Then the hammer swings, and swings again. It's a carefully-woven tapestry of thunderous strikes meant to keep the space around Erato clear of any dolls; and every once in a while, Dengeki simply plants her hammer and parks right in front of the Puella, taking those concussive blasts directly so that the shorter girl can keep singing.
Erato Ishin 2019-01-05 23:16:19 102309
Erato Ishin smirked as she sang. Ha. Aggro, drawn! Which was fine, she wasn't really sure how t ofight without her whip. Besides, she'd just dodge the blast and...

And suddenly she had a shield in front of herself. Huh. That was useful. She skid to a stop. "Are you okayyyyy~?" she sang. Oh, it didn't matter what she sang, at least. As long as she sang. And then the other girl told her to sing, and she'd guard her. Oh. THIS she could do. She grinned, a mischievious grin on her face. And... she sang in english!

"Define your meanin' of fun. To me it's what we do when we're bored. I feel the heat comin' off of the blacktop, and it makes me want it more," The other girl was shielding her but... She'd move, too. Moving to evade it. Sure, the other girl kept her safe., but she'd do her best to limit how much the other girl COULD hit her. "Because I'm hyped up, outta control. If it's a fight I'm ready to go. I wouldn't put my money on the other guy. If you know what I already know." She'd flick her wrist, the whip moving out to strike those that got close. She was still a puella, she could fight and sing but... she focused mroe on her aggro song, letting Kokoro protect her from the brunt... And likely piss everything off even *more.*
Lacrima 2019-01-05 23:25:34 102310
Lacrima's performance sensibilities are being tested. "Oh my god, the stage is meant to be shared you selfish creature!" she complains really loudly. Oh dear, Ariel's ears are bleeding that isn't good. She looks on concerned but right now the creature is a threat and you don't need to hear to see it means business.

Besides, what's Ariel gonna wanna do, blaze forward and boop it in the snoot? That's like the least Ariel thing to do, right? Well the most Lacrima thing to do is to throw a stronger, double bolt of dark energy...

This blast is a little more stronger than the last one... and overall more stronger than it usually is on any given day.

Look, when you're filled with despair- and a dark energy being- you know what to use to give the most kick.

She does glance around for Akashiramu a tad worried.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-05 23:29:35 102311
Kotomi briefly gets distracted by Erato! Three juggling balls fall to the ground!

And then she just gets bowled over by the singing-attack, and she lets out a scream that doesn't sound particularly feminine. She grumbles, and bounces back to her feet. "... ow. Okay, what else can I do, uh ..." Think, Kotomi, think ...

She thrusts one hand out. "... uhhhh ..." She lowers her hand. "... I wonder if I can do some kind of ... anti-nightmare thing ..." She frowns, wracking her brain. "This thing's 'darkness', right? So maybe ..."

She focuses her will, and then thrusts her hand outward again. "PIEDOUKEN!" A glowing pie materializes, filled with purifying light, and goes flying out towards the Nightmare's face!
Seishi Tamashige 2019-01-05 23:30:35 102312
It's a low hum at first - a vibration, really, felt through the bones rather than heard by the ears, easily ignored and overlooked in the much more immediate heat of battle. But it grows in strength steadily and quickly, from a hum to a rattle to a clattering roar that shakes the floor under their feet--

--and faintly in the midst of it, dopplering swiftly nearer from the distance, a voice:

    "...ohhhhhhh shiiiiiIIIIIII----!!!"

In a catastrophic kraTHOOM! of impact, the theater wall behind the monstrous diva explodes into flying chunks of shattered stone and splintered timber, burst inward by nothing less than the lead car of that ominous roller coaster. Freed of its tracks, it skids across the stage in a screeching of tortured metal, outright flattening several dolls luckless enough to be in its path as it barrels towards the singer--

--and perched in a crouch on the frontmost seat, hunkered down and clinging for dear life as she rides the wreck of the coaster to its ultimate destination, is a scarlet figure no longer dressed as a ballerina, but as a samurai, her long ponytail and the crimson sleeves of her kimono flapping wildly with the speed of her entry.
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-05 23:57:08 102313
    Sound and force are coming from every direction, but the singer's rage is focused on one. Erato. Though Kokoro's defense is astoundingly admirable- battering dolls aside like they were made of playwood, soaking monstrous levels of sound and violence with her body, it's an utterly herculean display as lesser people would have woken up from the pain by now.
    And that means nothing gets through to Erato, her song only continuing to enrage the opera singer, Lacrima not helping-- or very much helping the situation by throwing in her own taunts, she's left unscathed and free to launch her dark blasts without retaliation each one knocking the singer's blows aside and preventing them from actually getting those claws to reach anyone as...
    The singer is hit in the face with a pie.
    Time seems to stand still for a moment before the Nightmare's body recognizes the purifying force this pie is made from and begins to smolder.
    "GHAHHHAHHAHHHHHHHH!" The singer shrieks, clawing at her face, paying no mind to--...
    "EVERYONE LOOK OUT!" Ariel has regained her hearing just in time for the wall to explode inwards. The little unicorn immediately throws up an array of shields form from glimmering dreamstuff that soak and bat the destroyed masonry aside as...
    Akashimaru comes in riding The Beast. Because the roller coaster's ultimate destination is smack into the Nightmare's midsection, blowing her out through the stage wall behind her with one final cry of dismay as she is discourteously escorted off the stage. And as soon as she's blown through the wall, the dolls fo limp, their master no longer controlling them and dropping something very important on the center of the arena.
    Another glimmering red shard.
Lacrima 2019-01-06 00:08:14 102315
Lacrima brings her hand up in front of her face as the roller coast careens through and Ariel's shields stop her from eating a bunch of no doubt delicious masonry. She takes a deep breath as she relaxes as best she can as she flexes her hands. "NNrgh...." she mutters, wilting. Yeah. Using despair as an energy source is never a good idea- even if there's no long term repercussions for a thing like her.

She shakes it off as best as she can as she sighs and brushes her hair a bit as she frowns over to where the creature was. "Oh... another... gem." she says with concern as she looks over to Ariel, then walks over and gently offers a squeeze of a hand. Mostly to make sure she's okay-

And because mostly she needs some short order of emotional support right now and even the short squeeze helps a load right now.

"Um--- that gem is important." she calls out. "Can someone get it, and get it over to Ariel-chan, please?" she asks out. "I don't really want to risk touching it right now." she offers.
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-06 00:14:03 102316
    Pant. Pant. Pant. That was... that one made her work a bit. It takes an entirely different kind of focus to remain asleep through dreamed pain, than it does to remain conscious through the real one. Even now, Kokoro's on the verge. But somehow, she manages to stand up straight in the wake of Akashimaru's thunderous rollercoaster assault, planting her hammer and resting one hand on it.

    She does look a bit battered when she turns around to look Erato over, but she still maintains an even tone. "You alright? First time in a dream like this is always kinda..." Pause. What's a good word for it? "...weird."
Erato Ishin 2019-01-06 00:24:40 102317
Erato Ishin kept her song going, only stopping for a beat when... a massive... A ball of dark energy. THEN THE PIEDOKEN. Oh my gosh that was so cool. But she quickly continued. "It's been a long time comin'. And the table's turned around. 'Cause one of us is goin'. One of us is goin' down!"

And then a coaster. Just... just a roller coaster. Missile. A roller coaster missile. She jsut... went silent. Because how did you out taunt THAT?! She watched as it slammed into the other... into the monster. And she just stared. Finally, after what was frankly FAR too long a silence for her... She let out an almost ear piercing shriek. "Oh my gosh THAT WAS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER! You were all 'Ahhhh!' and the mosnter was all 'SINGING OFF KEY!' and then you were like BOOM! And that was like one of those awesome movies with all the explosions and like, robots and stuff!" she said, almost hopping up and down with excitement at the SHEER UNBRIDLED AWESOME SHE JUST WITNESSED! "This is DEFINITELY one of my top ten dreams of all time!" she said with giddy delight then... looked to Kokoro. "Hey... are you okay? You took a lot for me there, thanks. Really helped me keep my song going. We make a good team!" she said happily, smiling up at the bigger girl. "And it wasn't so bad. I used to dream about way worse things," she said with a laugh. "This one was cool. We got to do all kinds of havok!" she said with a happy giggle.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-06 00:27:20 102318
Kotomi is actually startled when the opera singer is starts clutching her face. "W-wow, that actually worked!?"

And then she whirls around and promptly dodges to the side as Akashimaru brings the house down, succeeding where the opera singer failed. "Oh yeah," she mutters; in all the excitement, she'd actually forgotten about the other member of the group.

She turns back towards the glowing red shard. "... Huh." She gingerly picks it up, and carries it back over to Ariel. "Um. So ... what is this thing, anyway?" To her surprise, her usual anxiety is sort of on the back burner at the moment. Maybe it's the fact that together, they all just won some sort of ... dream boss battle. Got to count for some kind of closeness. Or whatever.
Seishi Tamashige 2019-01-06 00:30:40 102319
The settling dust in the aftermath of the Nightmare's fall finds Akashimaru sprawled flat on her back amidst the rubble scattered across the floor, dazed and winded from the impact. For a little while there, all she can really do is wheeze.

"...knew that was a bad idea..."

The voices of the others reach her through the ringing in her ears, most particularly Erato's startling shriek and Lacrima mentioning the gem. It's enough to get the samurai girl pulling herself together and pushing herself upwards - at least enough to confirm that Kotomi has retrieved the shard, and give the girl a grateful nod.

"Kind of a long story," she answers, voice rasping in her throat, "but... if we can find all of them, maybe we can save someone who needs to be saved."

A beat, and then she flomps back down onto the floor with a grunt. "...gonna be sore in the morning."
Kokoro Akakuma 2019-01-06 00:35:57 102320
    Is she okay?

    Grunt.

    "I ain't got magical tricks or purifying powers or whatever, but I take a hit better'n anyone." Pause. "...better than anyone," she corrects herself, scratching the back of her head. There's a touch of embarrassment there. "Anyway, uh..." Right, the part where she has to introduce herself. "Call me Dengeki Shoujo for now. I don't just give out my real name to anyone. Good chance we'll run into each other again sooner or later, though."
Ariel Theodore 2019-01-06 00:39:30 102322
    A slow breath in and Ariel heaves out a tiny sigh. Fingers lace with Lacrima's as soon as that hand is in range and Ariel leans up against her, ears flicking.
    "My ears are still ringing." She admits. "IS everyone okay?" ... Well Erato seems okay at least. "Eheh heh..."
    But Ariel purses her lips when Kotomi brings over the shard; Ariel gingerly accepts it in cupped hands.R    "I'm not quite sure... We're still figuring that out but... It's like Akashimaru said, they're very important."
    Ariel pauses.
    "Well I don't think it was a bad idea." She asides to Seishi.
    The roller coaster solved the problem at least, right?
    All's well that ends well on this show of the evening.
Yasumi Yumeji 2019-01-06 00:45:35 102323
Kotomi frowns and nods. "Wow," she says. "I ... guess we'll have to meet in another dream so, uh, so you can tell me more." She blinks. "Or ... wait, is it actually possible to get in touch in the real world? Uh, the waking world ...?"

Meanwhile, a silver-haired cat-eared figure briefly peers into the hole created by Akashimaru's roller coaster. "... Hmmm."