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Grief, Part Two

elgeonmb Apr 19th, 2015 435 Never
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  1. Mar 08
  2. <Pose Tracker> Akemi Ohashi [U] has posed.
  3. Time ticks down. Shatters. Inky blobs well up from the ground here and there as the world locks itself away from the
  4.  
  5. primal horrors of the Dark Hour.
  6.  
  7.  Sometimes locks break.
  8.  
  9.  The Shadow wanders through the hospital- a young boy carried on a liter supported by faceless, mishapen horrors. Dark
  10.  
  11. liquid pools on the surface of the liter and drips down onto the servants and the floor. Its face is so thouroughly
  12.  
  13. pockmarked and bloody it's as though it doesn't have one, but yet it still looks around with some malicious intelligence,
  14.  
  15. slowly peering into all the beds of the hospital. Upon finding they contain only coffins, it moves on to the next one. And
  16.  
  17. the next one, and the next one, and the next one, until finally there's a one containing only a softly sleeping woman
  18.  
  19. connected to a breath-mask- and here it pounces, small, misformed hands taking ahold of the prey. At this point, however,
  20.  
  21. its presence is announced to anyone sensitive like a firework of phychic energy.
  22.  
  23. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has summoned the Persona Tsarevich to Slot 2.
  24. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has activated Tsarevich.
  25. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has entered Boss Mode for 3 opponents.
  26. <Pose Tracker> Ran Itoh [SEES] has posed.
  27.  
  28.         Ran doesn't hate hospitals. They're places of healing, and she can totally get behind that cause! But she hates
  29.  
  30. them during the Dark Hour, when everything gets suuuuper creepy-looking. Add that to a darkened hospital's already scary
  31.  
  32. ambiance, and it's like something out of a horror movie!!
  33.  
  34.         She'd planned to sleep right through it if at all possible - after all, she'd mercilessly guilted Shinjiro into
  35.  
  36. going home to get some actual sleep, so it's not like she'll have anyone to keep her company anyway, right?
  37.  
  38.         But then Enoha Koinose had shown up, and Ran wasn't sleepy anyway... She's found out just how much time has passed
  39.  
  40. since she succumbed to pollution sickness, and Ran keeps coming back to the fact that she's lost half a year. It's times
  41.  
  42. like this that a distraction is most welcome.
  43.  
  44.         The blonde sits cross-legged on her hospital bed, the covers bunched up around her hips. "I think there are some
  45.  
  46. lights around here that Kirijo had rigged to work during the Dark Hour," she offers, sliding her feet into... regular,
  47.  
  48. non-bunny slippers because no. "Do you think we cou--"
  49.  
  50.         Something bad is here. Something dark and hungry, why is it here, why -- "Enoha-san," Ran glances over. "Did you
  51.  
  52. feel that?" Slipping her cell phone into the breast pocket of her pajamas, Ran hurries out into the hallway.
  53. <Pose Tracker> Miya Aikawa [U] has posed.
  54.  
  55.         The Dark Hour.
  56.  
  57.         Her Labyrinth.
  58.  
  59.         Miya Aikawa is surely a known quantity to SEES, by now. She used to be with them, used to be like them, and now...
  60.  
  61. well, now they clash every now and then, though the dark-skinned woman generally refuses to engage them for too long.
  62.  
  63.         Her hair is wild and frayed, her skin is rough and her hands calloused. Her clothes, those bright sunset-coloured
  64.  
  65. things which /dare/ someone to comment, have seen better days. But it's all contained under a tyrian longcoat, sleeves
  66.  
  67. rolled up to keep her hands free, hands encased in fingerless, metal-studded gloves. Her red hair's contained with a
  68.  
  69. golden hairband and a ribbon which makes a half-hearted attempt to hold it all together at the end.
  70.  
  71.         She's rough, she's in bad shape, but she'd die before she let anyone look close enough to see it.
  72.  
  73.         Because Miya Aikawa is in control, and Sumaru is her Labyrinth, and the Dark Hour has a special meaning to her.
  74.  
  75. It's hers, hers, hers.
  76.  
  77.         And something, /something/, is daring to disturb that fact, and the Minotaur can't stand it.
  78.  
  79.         So here she is, following the smell of strange shadows, and psychic input which registers as movements from the
  80.  
  81. corner of her eyes when she's in this human shell with its crushing limitations. (She should be able to see everything.
  82.  
  83. Nothing should escape her. That's how she works, now, that's how she really works.) She finds her way to the hospital, of
  84.  
  85. course -- finds her way there and finds herself stalking up and down the halls, because the sense diffuses, and she can't
  86.  
  87. figure out--
  88.  
  89.         I'M HERE I'M HERE I'M HERE I'M HERE screams the thing which shouldn't be, or at least it may have /well/. Miya
  90.  
  91. takes a step back and snorts, her boot stamping upon the ground.
  92.  
  93.         "There you are," she growls, her voice as rough as the rest of her as she turns and follows those fireworks down
  94.  
  95. the hall. Her eyes are a bright, sickly yellow, and they glare accusingly at every coffin she passes.
  96. <Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [D4] has posed.
  97.          Watching some late night program on the TV provided while chatting, Enoha's eyes naturally sway towards the clock
  98.  
  99. as the world transforms, growing red and black against a green moon-lit sky. She had lost track of time, honestly, and
  100.  
  101. having not made any nightly visits to Port Island lately, it's easy to forget, if subconsciously, that the Dark Hour
  102.  
  103. exists at all.
  104.  
  105.          But that's why she's here, right? With Ran in the hospital for observation and Enoha probably the best and most
  106.  
  107. available person to go visit with her, it seemed like a good setup. Enoha would visit Ran and, if it got late, she could
  108.  
  109. stay over, allowing one of Ran's first forays into the Dark Hour after her SHU session to go as smoothly as possible.
  110.  
  111.          "Oh? I came prepared." Enoha reaches into her handbag, producing a few packs of various card games, some candle
  112.  
  113. sticks, and a lighter. "See?" It's card games by candlelight time!
  114.  
  115.          Except... something is lurking around. "I didn't think any shadows would be lurking in the hospital," Enoha says
  116.  
  117. worriedly, following Ran into the hallway. This feeling... something's out there that's much worse than some stray shadow.
  118.  
  119. "Ran-chan, if things get messy, just stick by me. I don't want you exhausting yourself while you're still recovering,
  120.  
  121. especially when you don't need to."
  122.  
  123.          Nearing the source, Enoha is surprised to notice another presence- this one also a shadow. No, shadow-possessed.
  124.  
  125. Is this young woman the source? "H-hey!"
  126. <Pose Tracker> Akemi Ohashi [U] has posed.
  127. Impulsiveness wins the day as the Shadow throws down its feast in disgust. The servants double-time it out of the hallway,
  128.  
  129. black ichor sloshing all over the place, coating everything. "Y-you!", says the voice of a teenage girl, echoing obscenely
  130.  
  131. from the maws of all the twisted servants and the torn and twisted mouth of the Tsarevich itself. "S-stop! You can't
  132.  
  133. understand! The world is wretched! Isn't it only natural to grieve for what has happened to you?"
  134.  
  135.  The ichor on the floor twists like a pile of maggots as it emits vile fumes, cloying and choaking.
  136. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Stagnant Air on Ran Itoh for 0 Almighty, applying Cursed!    
  137. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Stagnant Air on Miya Aikawa for 0 Almighty, applying Cursed!    
  138. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Stagnant Air on Enoha Koinose for 0 Almighty, applying Cursed!    
  139. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has ended her turn.
  140. <Pose Tracker> Ran Itoh [SEES] has posed.
  141.  
  142.         Enoha's always so practical! Ran would be absolutely thrilled to spend the Hour playing card games with a friend
  143.  
  144. if there wasn't some kind of very, very freaky shadowy-thing trying to EAT one of the other patients! There's no coffin
  145.  
  146. that could belong to her - is she an Awakened? Or does she just have the Potential...?
  147.  
  148.         Ran reins in her wandering imagination, trying to focus on the here and now. It's strange, adjusting to reality
  149.  
  150. again. "Enoha-san, I'll try my best, okay?" Because Ran has a job to do, and she and Enoha may be the only ones here who
  151.  
  152. can do it. (Even so, she pushed the emergency beacon button on her phone as they rounded a corner.)
  153.  
  154.         That girl... "You can't use that as an excuse!" she protests hotly, but her momentum is arrested by the sudden
  155.  
  156. wash of miasma. "U-ugh..." The blonde shakes her head, calling on her Persona to clear the hall with a torrent of wind
  157.  
  158. from its central fan. "Verthandi!"
  159. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Me Patra on Miya Aikawa for 0 Heal, applying Patra! Mind Ailments Cleared!    
  160. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Me Patra on Enoha Koinose for 0 Heal, applying Patra! Mind Ailments Cleared!    
  161. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Me Patra on Ran Itoh for 0 Heal, applying Patra! Mind Ailments Cleared!    
  162. COMBAT: Ran Itoh has ended her turn.
  163. <Pose Tracker> Miya Aikawa [U] has posed.
  164.  
  165.         A pair of human women clamber out into the hall. One tries to get her attention, and Miya turns, glaring at her.
  166.  
  167.         "Fuck off, I'm busy here--"
  168.  
  169.         And then she sees the other woman. Itoh. Not someone she knew personally, but someone she remembered...
  170.  
  171.         "/Fuck off,/" Miya snaps again, and there's an added thread of venom to it as she turns and storms down the hall
  172.  
  173. towards the source of the noise and the furor. It doesn't take long before the sickly Shadow shows itself, and Miya
  174.  
  175. clutches her hand into a fist and bellows.
  176.  
  177.         Muscles explode outwards and there's a /crunching/ sound as her body reforms itself until she is the Minotaur,
  178.  
  179. well and truly, towering over the height she once had.
  180.  
  181.         Her skin remains skin, remains the same tone, even as everything else gains bovine features and her sunset clothes
  182.  
  183. are replaced by golden chains.
  184.  
  185.         She bellows with her real lungs as she lunges forward, one great fist plunging towards the signal and the sound
  186.  
  187. even as the fumes make it difficult to see. It's an animal sound, made more vicious from the way the bad air claws at her
  188.  
  189. throat, and an animal motion. She might as soon hit the wall as she does the Tsarevich.
  190.  
  191.         "Do I look like I give a shit 'bout your problems?! Get the fuck outta my beat!"
  192.  
  193.         That the woman she insulted clears the air as she lunges doesn't seem to register to her. Or perhaps she's saving
  194.  
  195. her gratitude for after the shadow's dealt with? Wonders never cease.
  196.  
  197. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa uses Gigantic Fist on Akemi Ohashi for 103 Strike!    
  198. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa has ended her turn. Healed 12 HP from her regenerate passive! Healed 3 SP from her invigorate passive!
  199. COMBAT: Momentum self-applied!
  200. <Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [D4] has posed.
  201.          "Sorry, but we're barging in here," Enoha says in response to Miya. "It's our business too."
  202.  
  203.          The other shadow's words are confusing to Enoha. Grieve? She doesn't understand? She needs to stop? Stop doing
  204.  
  205. what? "My goal here is to protect the patients. What you do is your own business, as long as you don't hurt anyon-"
  206.  
  207. Coughing as dank smoke clouds her lungs, Enoha vainly waves a hand in front of her face, as if airing herself would be the
  208.  
  209. one thing that could relieve her of the supernatural smoke. Thankfully, Ran is there to purify the air for her. "T-thanks,
  210.  
  211. Ran-chan..."
  212.  
  213.          However, it's in that time that Miya has transformed, confirming Enoha's earlier assessment. A shadow
  214.  
  215. possessed... fighting another shadow? Considering that the shadow-possessed can control weaker shadows... "If you can't
  216.  
  217. control it yourself, that means it's at least equal to your strength, right?" Enoha steps forward, the vicious appearance
  218.  
  219. of the Miyataur only disturbing to her in how this form retains some of the young woman's humanoid appearance. Maybe...
  220.  
  221. Ran knows this girl? Enoha can't ask questions now, however.
  222.  
  223.          "Koi-no-Takinobori!" Summoning the carp dragon in a flurry of white and orange scales and gossamer fins, Enoha
  224.  
  225. directs her persona to take advantage of the shadow-possessed girl's attack, having her persona sweep in for a series of
  226.  
  227. vicious, quick strikes. "Defeating it together would allow you to get back to what you were doing faster."
  228. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose uses Kill Rush on Akemi Ohashi for 27 Strike, 27 Strike, and 46 Strike (Critical!)!    
  229. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose has ended her turn.
  230. <Pose Tracker> Akemi Ohashi [U] has posed.
  231. The wind picked up blowing away the noxious fumes- but the ichor is incouragable, and the fumes still rise. There is no
  232.  
  233. respite.
  234.  
  235.  Ichor gushes forth as the lacerations that mark the Tsarevich's face widen further, giving a vague impression of
  236.  
  237. surprise. Enoha and Miya's combined assualt bypassess entirely the servants as the young and bloody figure is battered by
  238.  
  239. blow after blow, from Persona and fellow-Shadow both. The thing recoils like an animal, shirking back to the edge of the
  240.  
  241. liter. The servants assist in further increasing the gap between themselves and the enemy, bearing the liter backwards at
  242.  
  243. unnatural speeds. The Tsarevich issues a silent, yet at the same time obvious, hacking cough. The diseased air flies
  244.  
  245. freely from its lungs forward buffetting the first person with whom it comes into contact and smeering the flesh with more
  246.  
  247. ichor, looking to make long tears in its foe matching its own wounds.
  248. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi regains her balance!
  249. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Wind Slash on Enoha Koinose for 48 Wind and 48 Slash!    
  250. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has ended her turn.
  251. <Pose Tracker> Ran Itoh [SEES] has posed.
  252.  
  253.         Maybe she's not as good to go as she thought... While the rest of the foul air is cleared from the hall, Ran
  254.  
  255. doesn't feel any less cursed. She'll just have to hope that Enoha hasn't realized that Ran just made a rookie mistake!
  256.  
  257. She's supposed to be SEES's most senior combat medic, after all - Ran doesn't want to have to put the training wheels back
  258.  
  259. on!
  260.  
  261.         And speaking of SEES... Isn't that other girl... well, sort of familiar? At least, up until she Shadows out into a
  262.  
  263. Miyataur?! 'Fuck you'??? What's going on here, anyway...?
  264.  
  265.         She definitely probably shouldn't have gotten out of bed, Ran decides.
  266.  
  267.         "Careful, Enoha-san," the blonde cautions, though the bookseller has the right idea. It WOULD be better to team up
  268.  
  269. if at all possible. Well, until the Miyataur becomes aggressive towards the two of them, Ran will treat her like an ally.
  270.  
  271.         She calls her Persona forth again, trying to focus past the cottony remnants of dreams, blasting power forth.
  272. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Dia on Enoha Koinose for 74 Heal!    
  273. COMBAT: Ran Itoh has ended her turn.
  274. <Pose Tracker> Miya Aikawa [U] has posed.
  275.  
  276.         "Who says I can't control it?! I just do things this way!" Miya snaps, as she pulls her fist back, noting with
  277.  
  278. satisfaction the way the shadows back up. She really can't control them, and she knows it, deep in that primal part of her
  279.  
  280. brain given over to her psyche. But admitting that?
  281.  
  282.         Get real.
  283.  
  284.         "I don't /need/ your help!" But she's already summoning her -- giant fish? What the fuck -- Persona, and Miya
  285.  
  286. decides to prioritise her battles, stomping one giant foot against the ground. "Ugh, just -- whatever! Do what you want!"
  287.  
  288.         Right now, the thing pissing her off most is the Shadow trying to backpedal away from her. The humans take back
  289.  
  290. seat to that.
  291.  
  292.         "You think you're so fuckin' good," she rumbles, deep in her chest, glaring at the Tsarevich, "like I can't do
  293.  
  294. that, too. Well I /can/, and I'm /better/ at it than you."
  295.  
  296.         She stomps forward again, with such force that a nearby gurney falls onto its side, and bellows at the Shadow. The
  297.  
  298. sound isn't much like the stinking miasma, but...
  299.  
  300.         It still feels just the same.
  301.  
  302. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa uses Foul Breath on Akemi Ohashi for 0 Almighty, applying Cursed!    
  303. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa has ended her turn. Healed 12 HP from her regenerate passive! Healed 3 SP from her invigorate passive!
  304. <Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [D4] has posed.
  305.          "Then teaming up still applies!" If Ran thinks she's messing up, Enoha doesn't seem to notice at all. Granted,
  306.  
  307. Enoha did tell her to not push herself- as long as Ran doesn't run in front of her and engage this strange shadow being
  308.  
  309. head on, Enoha's fine.
  310.  
  311.          Besides, tactics like those is an Enoha's job, not a Ran's!
  312.  
  313.          Diseased air flies togethers Enoha, ichor splattering on her skin. It's too bad that another SEES member isn't
  314.  
  315. here- Enoha has no idea who this shadow-possessed person is, or the shadow that is retreating. By simply applying force,
  316.  
  317. is Enoha doing the right thing? Maybe this could be related to Ran's SHU incident? If only one of those spotter-type
  318.  
  319. people were here... "You ain't getting away!"
  320.  
  321.          Summoning her giant fish again, Enoha stays clear of Miya's breath attack, letting her persona tumble and sail
  322.  
  323. around and past the shadow-possessed young woman, towards the retreating shadow. "There!"
  324. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose uses Weary Thrust on Akemi Ohashi for 78 Strike!    
  325. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose has ended her turn.
  326. COMBAT: Momentum self-applied!
  327. <Pose Tracker> Akemi Ohashi [U] has posed.
  328. The servants recoil from the healing, but then stop, stock still, opening their mouths again and once more allowing the
  329.  
  330. girl's voice to flow forth.
  331.  
  332.  "I've learned from last time! You can't do that again! You will all grieve when I'm through with you!" she says. The
  333.  
  334. arrayed figures seem to regain their composure.
  335.  
  336.  Only for Miya to rob it from them again. They seem to hiss at the roar- but they're silent, always silent except for when
  337.  
  338. the girl speaks.
  339.  
  340.  Enoha's attack bisects a servant, and the remaining servants sag ever more under the strain. New, sympathetic cuts open
  341.  
  342. in the principle shadow's body, his ichor running ever freer.
  343.  
  344.  The Tsarevich looks at his servants and turns to those who would destroy him. The wind that issues from him this time is
  345.  
  346. broader and softer- it buffets, doesn't cut. But ichor still gets everywhere.
  347. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Magarula on Ran Itoh for 55 Wind (Strong!)!    
  348. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Magarula on Miya Aikawa for 85 Wind!    
  349. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Magarula on Enoha Koinose for 81 Wind, applying Dizzy!    
  350. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has ended her turn.
  351. <Pose Tracker> Ran Itoh [SEES] has posed.
  352.  
  353.         They'll all grieve? Last time? Ran's eyes narrow as she observes the squelching shadow figures. They're all
  354.  
  355. connected to the center one, aren't they? Two strategies spring up in her mind immediately, years of being directed by
  356.  
  357. Mitsuru Kirijo not gone to waste. But this Shadow emperor thinks its grief allows it a free pass to eat whoever it wants?
  358.  
  359. Ran doesn't have a weapon. She's not like Enoha, who can use her fists or a gun. But this is her city. This hospital has
  360.  
  361. served her and her friends for years.
  362.  
  363.         "No, I won't let you."
  364.  
  365.         Simple as that. Ran weathers the windstorm rather better than Enoha and the stranger, but slicing winds open up
  366.  
  367. thin cuts beneath her hospital pajamas. Blood blooms like roses underneath the pristine cotton, but Ran doesn't go down.
  368.  
  369. "Get out of here! This isn't yours-- These people aren't food!" Ran raises a hand to the ceiling, sweeping it down like
  370.  
  371. letting a spear go... and the clockwork Norn ghosts in ahead of her, releasing a poison-dipped lance at subsonic speeds.
  372. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Poison Needle on Akemi Ohashi for 37 Pierce, applying Poison!    
  373. COMBAT: Ran Itoh has ended her turn.
  374. COMBAT: Focused self-applied!
  375. <Pose Tracker> Miya Aikawa [U] has posed.
  376.  
  377. Miya just snorts in response to Enoha and her teamwork. If it were a different situation, she might argue the point,
  378.  
  379. but...
  380.  
  381.         Well, there's something more important in front of her right now.
  382.  
  383.         "Do I look like some crybaby to you?!" Miya bellows in response to the Tsarevich. "Go ask some bleeding heart!"
  384.  
  385. Her reward for her callousness is more heavy wind, thick with sickness and despair, and it slices at the thick skin which
  386.  
  387. really ought to be furred.
  388.  
  389.         Thin cuts open, even against her tough leather hide, and black liquid droplets seep over her muscles and down to
  390.  
  391. patter against the ground.
  392.  
  393.         Miya narrows her eyes, those spheres of yellow with no hint of schlera or pupil to hint to where she's looking,
  394.  
  395. and lowers her head down. Her bare foot scrapes against the ground, stomps. Once, twice.
  396.  
  397.         And then she charges the liter and its aggravating occupant, seeking to give him a few cuts of his own to
  398.  
  399. remember.
  400.  
  401. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa uses Gore on Akemi Ohashi for 75 Pierce, applying Dizzy!    
  402. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa has ended her turn. Healed 12 HP from her regenerate passive! Healed 3 SP from her invigorate passive!
  403. <Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [D4] has posed.
  404.          "So you've attacked before?" Enoha asks, attempting to encourage more information from the mysterious shadow
  405.  
  406. legion. Though, what does he/she/it mean by 'you can't do that again'? Does the shadow(s) mean what they're doing right
  407.  
  408. now? What if Enoha jumped the gun a bit here?
  409.  
  410.          Enoha can't ask much more beyond that, however, as winds splatter ichor everywhere, pressing Enoha against, and
  411.  
  412. eventually over, an overturned cart. "Gh! Ran?!" She hears Ran's voice. Getting up from her spill, Enoha spots the blonde,
  413.  
  414. worry wrinkling her face. In that hospital gown, Ran looks so fragile, so weak compared to the Miyataur and the attacking
  415.  
  416. shadow beyond. Scrambling from behind the cart, she stumbles to move in front of Ran, even if she, standing at 5' 2",
  417.  
  418. can't really seem to do much in the way of covering.
  419.  
  420.          It's what Enoha does, damn it.
  421.  
  422.          Summoning her aquatic persona once more, the unsteady Enoha instructs it with a wavering motion of her arm.
  423.  
  424. Instead of dealing a purely physical attack like before, however, it drills down towards the shadows in a double fury of
  425.  
  426. water and force, water spray soaking the air. "Ngh!"
  427. COVER: Enoha Koinose is now covering Ran Itoh.
  428. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose uses Diluvian Force on Akemi Ohashi for 69 Strike and 72 Water, applying Soak!    
  429. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose has ended her turn.  Dizzy expired.
  430. <Pose Tracker> Akemi Ohashi [U] has posed.
  431. The three attacks come fast, furious, and frankly the young Tsar-to-be can't do shit about it. The spear lances through
  432.  
  433. its chest, piercing through the liter and mixing a noxious purple with the black ichor that cascades from the liter's
  434.  
  435. surface like an obscene waterfall onto the hands and heads of the servants. In the blink of an eye, Miya's vicious attack
  436.  
  437. cuts again the servants, and the remander are positively crushed under the weight. And then the water comes. It comes like
  438.  
  439. the hammer of God, battering the occupants, wiping away the flow of ichor and threatening to unseat the central figure.
  440.  
  441. Said figure appears to have a temper tantrum, bashing the liter along random points, feeble fists not even cracking the
  442.  
  443. surface. From its howling, bleeding mouth issues that same young girl's voice. "Grieve!" she says simply, as rippling wind
  444.  
  445. tears through the hospital, sending trolleys and stretchers and the other accoutrements of hospital hallways. It seeks out
  446.  
  447. with seeming malice those who had hurt the Tsareviech, determined to break them down.
  448. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has taken aim and focused!
  449. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose takes the attack for Ran Itoh!
  450. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Divine Wind on Enoha Koinose for 121 Wind, applying Dizzy!    
  451. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Divine Wind on Miya Aikawa for 135 Wind, applying Dizzy!    
  452. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi uses Divine Wind on Enoha Koinose for 118 Wind, applying Dizzy!    
  453. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has ended her turn. Takes 13 HP from Poison!  Dizzy and Soak expired.
  454. <Pose Tracker> Ran Itoh [SEES] has posed.
  455.  
  456.         Whoever the bovine Shadow-possessed is, Ran has to hope that she won't turn on her and Enoha after the royal
  457.  
  458. Shadow is taken out. Because it WILL be killed, Ran is certain of that. She and Enoha have been doing this for too long...
  459.  
  460. there's no doubt in her mind!
  461.  
  462.         But she's less certain about their chances of defeating the brutish force of the Minotaur.
  463.  
  464.         So should she play it safe and draw this out...? Conserve her energy and remain ready in case the Minotaur
  465.  
  466. attacks, or rush in and try to end this decisively?
  467.  
  468.         A burst of wind so strong that even she can't withstand it bowls her over, knocking her back against a door; the
  469.  
  470. impact makes her see stars, and it's a few moments before Ran can stand again.
  471.  
  472.         Ran swipes at the blood sticking her clothes to her skin as Enoha moves in to cover her. She wishes she hadn't
  473.  
  474. sent Shinji home. Then again... he's grieved enough for all of them. She doesn't want anyone else to feel like that, ever
  475.  
  476. again. "I won't," Ran murmurs, eyes darkening. "I REFUSE TO SPEND MY LIFE CRYING!"
  477.  
  478.         A single mote of light flares at the center of the room, fed by Ran's determination. Brighter and brighter, hotter
  479.  
  480. and louder, until sight and hearing are completely overwhelmed by its singularity.
  481. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Eternal White on Akemi Ohashi for 38 Light (Strong!) (Critical!), 23 Light (Strong!), and 22 Light
  482.  
  483. (Strong!)!    
  484. COMBAT: Ran Itoh has ended her turn.  Cursed expired.
  485. COMBAT: Boost self-applied! 6 SP restored!
  486. <Pose Tracker> Miya Aikawa [U] has posed.
  487.  
  488.         'Grieve'.
  489.  
  490.         Grieve, the young voice commands, as Miya lifts her head to glare at the Tsarevich, its servants gored and
  491.  
  492. trampled and crushed like so much gravel underfoot.
  493.  
  494.         Grieve, she says, as fists bang against the liter.
  495.  
  496.         Grieve, she says, as wind howls, /howls/ through the hall. Even the great bulk of the Minotaur is forced to
  497.  
  498. stagger back, one great arm coming up to shield her face as the air jangles her golden chains like so many windchimes.
  499.  
  500.         (They're not blown away, of course, for all the noise they make. They're as much a part of her as her skin or her
  501.  
  502. horns.)
  503.  
  504.         Her tail whips in the wind, the long red hair of her tail -- the only hair she has, in this form -- trailing out
  505.  
  506. behind her. But the wind cannot force her down, as much as it forces her back, as much as the cuts which open on her
  507.  
  508. leather-hide grow deep and seep shadow-ichor like blood. Miya shakes her great head and snorts, focusing on the Tsarevich
  509.  
  510. once more.
  511.  
  512.         "You think you know what grievin' is?!" Miya demands, and there is bitterness in her voice, a hatred which she
  513.  
  514. doesn't bother controlling. "Maybe I oughta give you a fucking education!"
  515.  
  516.         And she charges the liter again. If the shadow doesn't manage to leave her path... they might be trampled, just
  517.  
  518. like their servants.
  519.  
  520. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa has taken aim and focused!
  521. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa uses God's Hand on Akemi Ohashi for 134 Strike!    
  522. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has been knocked out!
  523. COMBAT: Miya Aikawa has ended her turn. Healed 12 HP from her regenerate passive! Healed 3 SP from her invigorate passive!
  524.  
  525.  Cursed and Dizzy expired.
  526. COMBAT: Momentum self-applied!
  527. <Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [D4] has posed.
  528.          Petite as she may be, Enoha takes on the onslaught of furious wind like a concrete wall. "Hgh..." She grits her
  529.  
  530. teeth against the slicing pain of the shadow's attack, only allowing herself to slump down to one knee after the wind
  531.  
  532. ceases. "H-hey, Ran-chan. You okay?" She gives the blonde young woman behind her a slight smile, though with her ichor
  533.  
  534. stained face, hair, and askew glasses, it may not have the effect she intended.
  535.  
  536.          Really, it's clear that Enoha may not be able to take much more.
  537.  
  538.          This could all lead to tragedy, even after everything Ran has been through. But Ran refuses to spend her life
  539.  
  540. crying.
  541.  
  542.          It was a good thing the shadow-possessed young woman was there, even if she might turn on Enoha and Ran once it
  543.  
  544. was all over. But maybe, if Enoha looks still capable of taking her on? She straights to a stand then, summoning her
  545.  
  546. persona for a final attack. The Miyataur may have placed the final blow, but Enoha will make sure it stays down for good,
  547.  
  548. or, at the very least, retreat away.
  549. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose has charged up!
  550. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose uses Gigantic Fist on Akemi Ohashi but she dodges!
  551. COMBAT: Akemi Ohashi has been knocked out!
  552. COMBAT: Enoha Koinose has ended her turn.  Cursed and Dizzy expired.
  553. <Pose Tracker> Akemi Ohashi [U] has posed.
  554. The light sears away those few remaining servants, and the liter clatters to the floor, the Tsarevich barely manageing to
  555.  
  556. stay on the platform. It only looks on in mute horror as Miya rapidly deconstructs both it and it's arguements, the liter
  557.  
  558. shattering into spliters of darkness that fade away. The ichor pooling on the floor vaporizes harmlessly as the thoroughly
  559.  
  560. dethroned Shadow writhes, and by the time Koi-no-Takinobori comes to it there's only a little bit left. That, and a torn
  561.  
  562. and crumpled photograph. It's a knot of young girls, grinning, in Gekkoukan Middle uniforms. The photo is damaged but
  563.  
  564. mostly still comprehensible, except that one of the girls is missing their head, that region of the photo torn and
  565.  
  566. scorched. But the presence fades, and the Shadow is no more.
  567. <Pose Tracker> Ran Itoh [SEES] has posed.
  568.  
  569.         There's a relief, an unfamiliar tickle of satisfaction as the Tsarevich is mowed down. Ran doesn't stop to analyze
  570.  
  571. it, doesn't pause to ask herself if this is really like her. She can't stop and doubt. Ran just surveys the damage with a
  572.  
  573. practiced eye, smiling at Enoha even as the shorter woman looks like she just fought off an entire crowd. "I, I'm good,
  574.  
  575. Enoha-san. I didn't think I'd get back into the swing of things this soon, you know?"
  576.  
  577.         Taking a good long look at the Minotaur, Ran takes another chance, including her in the last round of heals. Don't
  578.  
  579. make her regret this, okay?!
  580. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Media on Miya Aikawa for 69 Heal!    
  581. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Media on Enoha Koinose for 69 Heal, applying Energy!    
  582. COMBAT: Ran Itoh uses Media on Ran Itoh for 50 Heal!    
  583. COMBAT: Ran Itoh has ended her turn.
  584. <Pose Tracker> Miya Aikawa [U] has posed.
  585.  
  586.         The Tsarevich is crushed underfoot as Miya stampedes, and she bellows her superiority as it shatters and fades.
  587.  
  588.         This is her Labyrinth. This is /her/ personal Hell.
  589.  
  590.         She doesn't recall inviting any unusual Shadows, with their strange signals and their grotesque forms.
  591.  
  592.         And now it's done...
  593.         There's just one more thing to take care of, isn't there?
  594.  
  595.         But the way her chest heaves with each whuff and huff betrays the effort she put into utterly destroying that
  596.  
  597. foreign thing. She turns to face the SEES woman and her bodyguard, and --
  598.  
  599.         Itoh heals her.
  600.  
  601.         "Tch -- I don't need your pity," the Minotaur says, a heavy /whuff/ stirring the nose ring which pierces her
  602.  
  603. nostrils. "Take it and shove it, SEES. Just stay the hell out of my way and be glad I don't feel like dealing with your
  604.  
  605. shit right now."
  606.  
  607.         With that, the shadow-possessed woman, still in her horrible half-bovine form, stomps past the two of them. She
  608.  
  609. only changes back when she gets to the doorway -- she doesn't feel like shifting her flesh to squeeze through it, not
  610.  
  611. right now.
  612.  
  613.         That dark skin and red hair might almost seem familiar. The way her hand lifts up to flip them off without even
  614.  
  615. looking back, it's the same rude mannerism of someone who used to be live in the dorms... once upon a time.
  616. <Pose Tracker> Enoha Koinose [D4] has posed.
  617.          It's gone. Or, is it more like 'they'? But there's still the matter of the other shadow- well, the shadow-
  618.  
  619. possessed girl. Warily eying the Minotaur now as she regards the two of them, Enoha straightens to her full height (not
  620.  
  621. exactly impressive) and nods. A thank you would be in order, but would that infuriate the minotaur even more? Ran's
  622.  
  623. healing seems like enough.
  624.  
  625.          SEES. There's some history here, between this young woman and SEES, it seems.
  626.  
  627.          It's only when Miya leaves that Enoha moves over and kneels, in order to pick up the photograph carefully. "Ran-
  628.  
  629. chan, I might have to leave this with you." Offering the photo to Ran (Enoha will pocket it if Ran doesn't accept),
  630.  
  631. Enoha's expression is kindly doting. "You did pretty well, considering. Shinji-kun's gonna throw a fit when he finds out
  632.  
  633. though, y'know...? Let's get you back to your room. And, uh, I think I might have to lay down on the bed next to you,
  634.  
  635. haha..."
  636.  
  637.          It will only be, when she finally does lay down, that the extent of her injuries are made clear enough. She
  638.  
  639. quickly collapses into a rest after her injuries are healed, leaving Ran alone, for now.
  640.  
  641.          But at least Ran has those cards.
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