PoD: Test of Metal


The final musical key leads to a big black knight. No more keys left. So now what?.... !?

Date: 2019-04-27
Pose Count: 27
Lacrima 2019-04-28 00:01:43 104639
Lacrima was mostly tapping at the keys of the grand piano. This music was... odd. This piece was odd. Maybe... she's reading the music wrong? She is not the best piano player. She's a dancer. She sings a little. But she isn't a piano player and it's making this piece difficult. What's strange is that, the sheet is doing the glowly thing that suggests she's getting it right but the music still.... sounds odd and weird like someone notated 'throw your hands all over the keyboard and play whatever' somehow.

She seems angry at this, but if it's gonna work, it's gonna work and she looks to Jiaying. "I have a bad feeling about this one..." she says pensively. "-and I still can't remember anything. But ten to one I will when we walk through the door. Like always." she says miserably.

"....This is the... last sheet I have. I'm pretty sure that's right to. I'm not sure what happens." she says. She folds her arms over her chest as she shifts uncomfortably.

"...This feeling is strange." she admits. "Let me know when you're ready to open the door, Jiaying." she says as she looks to the assembled peoples.
Rei Hino 2019-04-28 00:04:06 104640
Sailor Mars crosses her arms with a confident nod. "Whatever it is, we can handle it. Even if it comes down to dance-fighting."
Jiaying Maki 2019-04-28 00:05:42 104641
Jiaying Maki tilts her head and Norie tries to bang away on the keys. She drums her fingers on her seat where she's sitting crosslegged and adds unhelpfully, "It sounds like free form jazz. Maybe it's about the feel." She emphasizes that with a pair of hand motions. Then shrugs. "As usual, we kind of have to improvise, you and I do it often enough, we should be used to it right?"

"Strange? Like what kind of strange?" even as she stands, brushing herself off, each brush of her hand seeming to change her outfit until she's back in her kung fu getup. Mars' comment is met with a flat, "I have no idea what you're talking about." before she takes her sketch book and begins to set the papers in place.
Ariel Theodore 2019-04-28 00:07:03 104642
    You know, at this point. Whatever happens probably will not surprise Ariel. Between pirates, invisible ghosts, and disco dancing nights, nothing short of Poderoso himself showing face will probably faze her this time.
    "Oh, I can moonwalk again if need be." She chirrups at Rei's comment.
    Wait what? Again?
    Lucky is with her this time, and she knows the giant hound will probably not make things easy on Jiaying, which she is sorry for, but the big guy was starting to get grumpy about being left behind so much.
    "Wurf."
Millie White 2019-04-28 00:08:37 104643
Cure Shield found herself at Lacrima's manor with a group of other hero types. The Canadian had been pretty scarce lately, dealing with a multitude of personal issues, but her presence had been lacking enough that she felt poorly for it. That was why she had made up her mind to head over to help Lacrima the moment she caught wind of another mansion endeavor. She had promised Akari... no, Bell... she had promised Bell that she would protect Lacrima too and, seeing as she had failed to protect Bell, she had to succeed here at the very least.

Considering she was likely one of the least knowledgeable of the actual events that had transpired or were about to transpire, Cure Shield was content to simply stay quiet as Lacrima played the piano piece. The music itself was... disconcerting. It gave her the same feeling a horror movie did right before it got into the thick of the plot. At the mention of a dance-fight and Ariel's massive moon walk threat, she offered a tight smile, but mostly kept her eyes on the piano.
Miho Kagami 2019-04-28 00:15:17 104644
Life Witch Joy nods to Rei and Ariel. "Oh, totally," she says, in that clear and bright voice which is almost but not quite exactly unlike her scratchy and androgynous out-of-henshin voice. The almost-sixteen-year-old witch frowns at the music. "... Yeah, something's making me kind of antsy this time around," she says. "I know I've said that basically every time we've jumped in there, but, uh ... yeah."

She looks over at Cure Shield, noticing her pensive expression. "You doing all right?" she says gently. "Just ... we're going to be fighting at least one vampire ghost. As long as you're careful not to hit Lacchan with your purification, you'll do fine."
Alexis Raskoph 2019-04-28 00:23:14 104645
    "Didn't realize vampire hunting involved so much piano," a deeply-rumbling voice booms over from just behind everyone else. And back there, leaned against a wall with arms folded over is... a certain Steel Knight, who hadn't made much draw to himself until now. Was... was he always there??

    When he pushes away from the wall and unfolds his thick, gauntlet-bearing arms, he turns his t-shaped visor towards Cure Shield, considering her silently for a few seconds before bobbing the helmet in a nod. "Show me how your training's paid off."
Lacrima 2019-04-28 00:45:50 104646
Lacrima gives Stahlritter a grumpy face. "I stink at piano playing. But we've been accessing these little dimensional pockets through sheet music. This is the last piece...." she says softly. She looks at Jiaying and Ariel and Miho and Mars as she sighs a little. "Strange like.... I don't wanna say. Scared or dread?" she asks.

"But- just..." she says. "Something..." she says as she sighs. "Right then..."

She gently turns back around to the piano and plays while Jiaying does her focusing thing to open the door. The door that pops into existence sort of spins itself into existence slowly. The door seems broken and burned. Lacrima blinks a little as she shifts a bit uncomfortably. Why? "I know that door design." she says bluntly.

Ariel's seen it before. In Lacrima's dreamscape.

Lacrima pushes the door carefully, which holds despite it's state as she leaves it opens as she pushes through, expecting the others to follow.....

---- ON THE OTHER SIDE is flame and fire. Something big is burning to the ground. It appears to be a large, elaborate manor-- mansion... castle? It's hard to tell. The area around seems to be a thick woods. With a main path the group is standing on.

There's a large, figure, shillouted against the flames, he's turned away, watching it burn. "He came here!" he calls out. "He told me you would come!" he calls out. The giant, large... man(?) lifts two curved sabers high into the air.

"BEHOLD MY FAILURE!" he calls out. "But BEHOLD MY REDEMPTION!." he says as he turns around. That is... a giant suit of armor, containing... something black and awful. Like one of the type of vampires Lacrima is, in it's shadow form just inhabiting a suit of armor. It leaps into the air and brings down the two swords onto the group as it lands in front of Lacrima and Lacrima just--- jumps backwards suddenly in a sudden flit of black energy. "--Ah---!" she goes!

"I MAY HAVE FAILED ONCE." he yells. "BUT I WON'T FAIL MY LORD AGAIN. I'LL BRING YOU TO HIM...."

Whelp! Lacrima makes an attempt to-- step a few feet back on the path. "Oh.. oh no. Just--- don't feel bad. About this one..." is all she can finally say.
Rei Hino 2019-04-28 00:49:52 104647
Rolling out of the way of the figure's strike and stopping on one knee, Sailor Mars glances to Lacrima as she speaks and, not comprehending the relevance of what she's said, tersely replies, "I'll do my best." Before extending her arms and releasing a blast of fire with a cry of "Fire Soul!"
Jiaying Maki 2019-04-28 00:52:59 104648
Jiaying Maki had been walking the circle, not watching when she hears the dog bark. Those papers all go into the air and she jumps forward a pretty good distance. Snatching the papers out of the air, frazzled hair and ears, annoyed look and a steady stream of Chinese to herself as she tries to ignore the giant dog in the room. It takes a moment to re-organize the papers, but she's finished soon enough. Then she immediately crosses the room as far as she can to get away from giant dog, but close enough to do what he's supposed to.

With the door open, she stamps the last sheet in place, locking it for the time being in time to turn around to see a fire. "I swear I remember you talking about a dream about them, with that happening. Where's the..." she scowls. Pauses, then asks, "Stabby guys. The hunters?" And then suddenly monologues. It takes a moment to register, but she takes a half-step back, a second step then a third larger step as she lands lightly, hands up in a defensive stance. "Those who don't learn from history, are doomed to failure." She offers, trying to maybe taunt the creature her way, complete with a 'Come on' hand gesture that turns into her summoning her guandao. Which with a staggered, left, right left pattern has her quickly advancing towards the creature to lash out with the blade of her spear.

At least the creepy monster knight thing has made her forget about the dog for now.
Ariel Theodore 2019-04-28 01:01:49 104649
    Oh hey there's Stahlritter.
    "Hi~." Ariel chirrups, before Lacrima gets into the act of playing the piano and she steels herself. With a silvery flare of light the girl's clothes are replaced with her dreamsteel platemail, matching barding appearing on her great hound steed as she climbs onto her back and...
    "That door..."
    She has seen that door before, and almost immediately a sense of dread grips Ariel's throat as it opens to reveals theblazing sight of a manor in flames and a great dark armored figure on the path. A figure that comes straight for them.
    "NORIE!"
    There's no thought to the act, as soon as Lacrima leaps backwards, Ariel spurs Lucky to take position in front of her.
    "--You stay behind me." She says, manifesting a hefty heater shield to her left arm as she takes up a defensive position while others move on the offensive.
Millie White 2019-04-28 01:02:55 104650
At Joy's voice, the Cure looked over. Images of what she had done to Tarnished with her purification flashed before her eyes and for a moment her expression was all but unreadable. A second after, she offered a gentle smile.

"I'm alright. I'll be careful, promise." She said with a low growl of a chuckle. When Stahlritter spoke up next, her gaze swept in his direction. Training... right. She HAD been training hard, not just with him, but with Bell as well. Cure Shield only offered her steel knight sensei a firm nod; there was no room for failure tonight it seemed. No pressure, she could do this.

Her attention returned to the piano as Lacrima finished the piece, and her grip tightened on her shield. As the vampire stepped through, the Cure followed diligently. The landscape beyond was awash with fire and destruction, and in the distance, a huge silhouette of... was that armour? It carried two huge sabers, and it boomed about failure and redemption before charging at the group. Immediately the green knight held her shield aloft.

"EMERALD GUARD!" She roared as the gemdial at the front of her shield spun, green energy erupting from the shield to create a wide barrier that would protect her and anyone standing behind or beside her. The sabers hit the barrier with the eerie sound of metal on magic, and Cure Shield's boots crunched into the ground at the force. This way she could gauge her enemy's strength right off the bat... and she had gathered that this thing was strong. The barrier held and she did her best to shove the sabers back with a yell, hoping to give the others an opening to attack.
Miho Kagami 2019-04-28 01:08:23 104651
Miho nods to Millie and shoots her a smile. Between the knowledge of what happened to Tarnished and Miho's own anxieties, Miho is Careful with a capital C. Which probably doesn't help her existing anxieties, but oh well. She's practically gotten used to helping out Lacrima.

And then she follows the group through, and pauses at the sight of the armored figure. Her reaction to the attack is immediate. She summons her broomstick/staff/broomstaff, shoots into the air while riding it side-saddle -- she doesn't specifically need the broomstaff in order to fly, it just makes her movements more precise -- and she thrusts her hand out, as the heart-emblem on the back of her glove glows emerald green. "Jade Light Arrow!" she calls, and a dart made out of minty-green light shoots out of the emblem towards the knight!

... Here's hoping she has more luck than she had when Poderoso himself showed up ...
Alexis Raskoph 2019-04-28 01:17:03 104652
    The STeel Knight is too stoic to respond to Ariel's greeting with the same sort of energy-- but on the other hand, the fact that his helmet dips into a respectful bow of a nod probably speaks virtues from him, too. "Ariel."

    Either way. The Knight follows after everyone else, armor strangely making barely any sound with his movements. He doesn't say anything when he watches over the scenery that unfolds before everyone. People more familiar with everything are much better at forming words regarding it than him, who is merely interloping now.

    But then there's the Dark Knight.

    In an instant, STahlritter moves to move, towards LAcrima first-- but between her dodging and Ariel's move to protect her, he redirects his own vector of movement again. Rather than getting in the middle of everyone moving to attack, he takes a split second to study the situation. THe opponent. The surroundings. Everyone else moving in to throw their attacks in.

    IN the next instant, he's circled around Cure Shield and her wall of a defense-- and with a stomp of an armored boot on the ground that seems to cause the surroundings to shake, his arms pull back on-- a chain? Yes, a crimson chain extending from one of his forearms furls up, just behind Cure Shield and extending around to latch on one of the Black Knight's arm, with the intent on pulling him in a diagonal angle towards the shield itself -- and the blade of Jia's spear.
Lacrima 2019-04-28 01:38:50 104654
Jiaying remembers the stories Lacrima have told countless times. "Yes. They burned the castle... manor? Down. This is.... his bodyguard...." she says with a frown. "You failed. Yes. If you want to die again for a loser, you're welcome to." she says angrily. She calms down when Ariel calls out her name though and she gets somewhere behind Ariel. She'll stay there. She's no good here.

The sabers hit Cure Shield's.... shield and the hit is strong. It might force that boot deeper into the ground if Shield doesn't deflect it with her... shield... away from her anyways.

The knight gets bathed in fire. This doesn't bother the knight as much as you think it would.... it's been staring into flame for the past tens of years. He still calls out in pain but he isn't slowed in his assault! Using the anger to throw himself forward into the fray still.

Jiaying tries to taunt the beastly knight and this causes him to roar out. "I have lived in my failure for countless years...!" no lie there. "It will not repeat." he bellows as he brings the blades down to deflect Jiaying's spear.

Arrows of green light moves to smash into the knight from Joy and he leaps into the air...!? Away from it as he comes down somewhere to the right of the group. Say what you want, this guy is fast for his size.

He is, however, caught by that chain-- an unexpected weapon in the sea of shields and spears and 'arrows' that he's dragged back towards Jiaying's spear and Shield's.... shield. Causing the knight to take a strong hit in the process from the chain'ed assault.

"We don't have to do this....!" Lacrima calls out. The knight just gnashes and gets angry. Lacrima does mean that. There was the pirate vampire right? That didn't end.... too badly? Right?...
Rei Hino 2019-04-28 01:41:42 104655
Sailor Mars lets loose a torrent of flame that, by the time it's over, leaves her panting softly. "Ah... Crud...! I don't know how much I can do here; I could try to teach the melting point for magical cursed armor, but I'd probably just hurt all of you!" Sailor Mars clenches her jaw in frustration, muttering "Dang it...!" before lobbing a good few more fireballs the armor's way. She can at least still distract it, if nothing else.
Jiaying Maki 2019-04-28 01:54:48 104656
The guandao is thrust forward, Jia putting her weight into it, then stabbing downward trying to pin the knight down, following by her vaulting forward, up and back down followed by a quick hop-step away. Norie's trying to talk their way out of it and... while it's admirable, the guy's definitely a burger and fries short of a bento box, has been living near a burning manor for who knows how long and was trapped behind chaotic and strange music that felt of dread.

That said, she's mostly trying to keep the thing distracted, if it works, it works right? "You should listen to her." and of course, she can see the others properly now. And should Lucky be visible, she would slo-... quickly sidestep to get him out of her line of sight while keeping some pressure on the knight. "She's offering a better option than the alternatives and I can give you a ride to a better place after." Of course, there is a flamethrower and she has to keep to the side of that, so more sidestepping just to be safe and... shields, so she steps the otehr way and a hop back, a huff and a look around, clearly not used to fighting with quite so many friendly sorts around!
Ariel Theodore 2019-04-28 02:01:10 104657
    Lacrima may have said to not feel so bad for this one but... Ariel can't help it. What kind of terrible fate is it to fail at your task, only to have to watch it burn down in front of you for so long?
    She remains right where she is in front of Lacrima though, unmoving, ready to defend at a moment's notice in the event that dark knight makes it past all the others in the fray.
    "You don't have to keep living in failure." She offers in suggestion in the middle of the fight. "You're a knight aren't you? What does it mean to be a knight?" The little unicorn asks before drawing a slow breath.

    "A knight is sworn to valor.
    His heart knows only virtue.
    A knight's conviction is an unassailable fortress.
    His ideal is a bastion alone in resolve.
    His blade defends the helpless.
    His might upholds the weak.
    His word speaks only truth.
    His wrath undoes the wicked." She recites by memory.

    "Did you not swear by this code when you took up your blade and your shield? Why fight for a master who left you to wallow in your failure? For a man who would not release you from your pain, when you can find a new cause for yourself and help us?"
Alexis Raskoph 2019-04-28 02:11:52 104658
    THe chain unlatches again from the knight with the dual saber after the initial hit-- it wasn't going to be able to hold on to him at this rate anyhow.

    Stahlritter himself remains quiet still. Inside that helmet, his brain is still evaluating things, and...

    And then it forms.

    He takes a single step back, setting himself firmly behind Millie, while lights flicker along one of his gauntlets. There was a spell Rashmi always employed. He doubts he can properly replicate it, but-- maybe he can manage short, quick bursts of telepathy at the very least.

    And so, to Miho: << SUPPRESSIVE FIRE -- FORCE HIM TO GUARD >>

    TO Jiaying: << WAIT FOR ENEMY DEFENSE, THEN HIT BLADES DIRECTLY TO BREAK GUARD >>

    To Cure Shield: << GET READY WITH SHIELD, ON MY MARK >> ... Whatever that is, it must be related to something they have gone through before, the two of them.

    ...Unfortunately, he isn't really familiar enough with Rei to be able to figure out the proper waves to send a message out to for her, so to her, he instead yells out physically, "MARS! SMOKESCREEN! NOW!"
Miho Kagami 2019-04-28 02:18:55 104659
Miho groans as the arrow misses, and adjusts her position so that she's straddling the broomstaff. "Okay, at this point I should, like, design that to be homing," she says. "Or maybe see if I can, like ... guide it in midair ..."

But at Lacrima's protest that it doesn't have to be that way, she actually frowns, and pauses. She knows it isn't always possible, but she prefers the merciful way of handling things if the possibility hasn't been exhausted. Yeah, Ariel has the right idea, you go girl! She sighs softly as the knight just gets angrier.

Well, at the very least, she can do suppressive fire with what is still her weakest attack. Of course, what it lacks in power it makes up for in purification, so ... at this point in the fight, whatever. She thrusts her hand out. "Jade Barrage!" she calls out, and jade-green pellets of purifying light fire out at the Black Knight.
Rei Hino 2019-04-28 02:23:14 104660
Sailor Mars gives one slightly bewildered blink, before a lightbulb goes off in her head. "Right!" She calls and drops to one knee, placing her hands on the ground and pouring fire directly into it with no place to spread under her hands, quickly creating a peal of smoke that rises from the ground and fills the area.
Millie White 2019-04-28 02:29:37 104661
Okay so it was maybe stronger than she first anticipated. The Cure grit her teeth as the force actually created a small crater around her before her shove deflected the sabers away from her. Mars' fire seemed to glance off the creature while Joy's arrows peppered it, and her eyes caught Stahlritter bringing out his trusty chain as Jiaying's spear distracted it. The black knight jumped and landed to their right as the chain caught its arm, bringing it back towards the spear and her shield. This was a perfect chance, and Stahlritter seemed to think so too as he began issuing orders; she knew what this meant. They had practiced this.

Cure Shield immediately looked around for Lacrima, noticing that she was farther away behind Ariel. Good, good. "Lacrima-san, stay back!" She called a warning anyway, just to be extra sure her friend would not be caught in the blast. She felt a little bad as both of them were trying to reason with the knight, but they couldn't wait around for something as potentially deadly as this. The gemdial began to spin once more and the face of her shield began to glow with a white-hot green energy. Her stance shifted slightly to brace herself as she trusted Stahlritter to set up the attack.

"VERDANT..." The face of her shield got brighter and brighter. She had never tried to purify something quite as strong as this before, and so she poured as much of her power into it as she could, but she needed time for it to charge for this team attack to work. It all depended on if Stahlritter could direct his attack the way they had practiced. If he couldn't, she was basically just a sitting duck.
Jiaying Maki 2019-04-28 02:36:12 104662
Jiaying Maki isn't used to receiving psychic messages or the like, that's definitely not normal and it throws her off her game briefly. Recovering with a quick head shake and resuming her stance, she swings her guandao up, bringing the base around to try and bludgeon the night, then nods. There's a step back, a flourish and a quick flick of her hands to bring the guandao's blade away, behind her while she waits for the signal.
Alexis Raskoph 2019-04-28 02:40:05 104663
    The plan might not have been as obvious from the get go from Stahl's orders alone - psychic and vocal both - but as things unfold, it grows clearer. Mars's smokescreen to provide concealment around the saber-wielding Knight. Joy's barrage of light purification attacks to force him to go on the defensive. Jia's spear to break the guard and knock the knight off balance.

    And in the instant Jia's spear makes contact, Stahlritter suddenly bursts through from within the smokescreen, wrapping up his arms around the other knight and pouncing up into the air with him. In the air, he spins around, bringing both their heads facing downwards while large Belkan shield forms at his feet.

    "NOW!!!"

    WIth that signal out, the shield bursts up, releasing energy that launches Stahlritter, with the other knight held just so that his opponent's head goes just ahead of his own, spinning along their own axis as they plummet down towards the ground at the force of a meteor.

    Or rather, towards Cure SHield.

    "DUAL KNIGHT--!!!!!!"
Lacrima 2019-04-28 03:02:42 104664
The growly, angry 'knight guard' takes all of a moment to scream into Ariel halfway through her earnest statement. "Little girl..." he says angrily. "Thinking I have not heard this before..." he says as he raises his large sabers again. "IS FOOLISH, EXEMPLIFIED!" he bellows out as he attempts to literally come down on Ariel with them.

Lacrima pushes a little closer to Ariel, she shakes her head. "Leal. That's this one's name." she says quietly. "It isn't worth it." she says quietly. Leal. 'Loyal'. There's probably no swaying this one. Lacrima's face also belies a distaste. She might know things the others don't.

Which is good that Purifying bullets hit both as fire does at the same time, causing the giant , rough knight to take many heavy hits at once as the world is suddenly clouded into fog-----

Smoke screen hides the exact specifics but there's a bright sheen of green through the smoke as Cure Shield's shield grows bright emerald green as various more attacks thud into where the knight was---

As Stahlritter's carefully laid plain comes to fruitition as the giant knight is piled driven into the purifying shield, releasing a loud, unearthly screech that lets loose throughout the entire location------!

Before there's a sudden, hard-- 'thrum'--- a rush of air--- as the group suddenly finds itself.... back in Lacrima's manor? That's a new one. The door also collapses to the ground in sudden ash behind everyone.

"I... uhm... I think we... won?..." she asks quietly.

Indeed, the sheet music has followed the door, little bits of ash in the music stand- like the others as she looks to the instrument.

Then she immediately falls downward onto herself onto the floor as her eyes close suddenly with a loud thud. Well. That isn't good. What... what just happened!?
Miho Kagami 2019-04-28 03:05:29 104665
Joy breaks into a grin as Millie calls out the same warning Miho herself has done numerous times before.

And then her eyes go wide as Lacrima collapses. "Lacchan!" she exclaims, rushing to her side. She stops short of touching her, however; her abilities are made of purification, after all, and she doesn't want a repeat of ... well ... Leal, for example.
Millie White 2019-04-28 03:12:42 104666
Her shield shook with the amount of energy she was pouring into it. They hadn't actually tried this on an actual enemy yet, so this was definitely a trial by fire. She just had to hit the damn black knight with as much purifying energy as she could muster. The green knight heard her steel sensei call out the next part of the attack, and she knew it was time.

"....BLAST!" The white-hot green energy that had been building up in her shield was immediately released upwards directly into the face and body of the black knight. The beam widened as it got farther from her shield, but it wasn't enough to completely encompass the hulking armour, only a good portion of it. The force of the energy releasing cracked the ground around her, kicking up dirt and debris as she did her best to hold the beam as long as possible for maximum effect....

And suddenly they were back in Lacrima's mansion. It was a bit disorienting and Cure Shield swayed for a moment before she got her footing back. Verdant Blast usually used a lot of energy, but that had been more than usual. She shook her head to clear it as she made her way towards Lacrima, only for the vampire to collapse and Joy to cry out.

"Lacrima-san!" The green knight stayed back a bit for the same reason as Joy, but also so that Ariel could get to Lacrima faster.