2017-12-12: The Locus

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=============================<* Humphrey's Peak *>==============================

Humphrey's Peak is a small town built on the side of the tallest mountain on Stark's Island. The eponymous peak towers over the town, while the altitude makes Humphrey's Peak cooler than the cities in Aveh and the Badlands. It is a small, largely pleasant village. Homes are in good repair and the people here have made a decent living with herds of sheep and goats, along with some mining. The homes are orderly and some manage to grow a few gardens, too.

There is a small school in Humphrey's Peak, built on the north end of town. The two-story building includes classrooms and professors, who teach using the records and artifacts acquired from the ruins across the Badlands. Some of the experts on the Metal Demon Wars and other past eras can be found here, working hard on their research, and a small but significant library of pre-Day of Collapse literature can be found.

Nonetheless, despite its relative happiness, Humphrey's Peak shows signs of desertification. Canals carved along the outskirts of the town and up its middle have gone dry. Snowmelt from the mountains is less and less common, and the people of Humphrey's Peak find that their wells are going dry. Life may be more orderly here, but there are ever reminders of Filgaia's desperation.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WVqKTCx7Ug
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

There's a sale on at Wynne Chester! Until Glove Day, all gloves are half-off. This has been driving traffic up, but so has Carina's appearance at the CaraKin event, before the end of which she wheeled in some of the armor the store sells. Due to the size of some of this stuff, she could only bring a sampler, and so people interested in seeing more wares were directed to the store proper.

Wynne Chester (yes, it's too late to change the name) is more or less what a clothes store looks like in an an environment where everyone is at least a tiny bit violent and crazy. There are CLOTHES, sure, some of them even reasonably fashionable, from your simple tunic to your absurd protagonist array of belts, but also sturdy leather vests, metallic pauldrons, you name it.

There's even a suit of full plate standing right there! It's unclear who'd want to wear THAT thing in the Badlands heat, but if you do, THEY'VE GOT YOU COVERED. You never know when someone would want to do something unbelievably stupid. This place is very popular with Drifters, incidentally.

Business has been pretty good today, and Carina is right here on the frontlines, manning the counter. She's actually the only one working today, with Mom out on errands ("She's on a mats run!") and Dad out sick ("He's sleepin' upstairs, try not to raise a ruckus!")

"Whew, barely past noon and I'm already exhausted," she says, sighing out a little puff of anime air before slumping right over the counter. "Everybody findin' what you're lookin' for?" she asks, out loud, to the few customers already present... and is she hearing more coming in?! Oh, boy.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata's been feeling under the weather, but even she can't just stay still in the CaraKin all day long. Instead, she's wandered towards the Wynne Chester in search of... well, not something she expects to find, but something Ge Ramda's been nagging for her to find.

As she looks to Carina, she waves gently at her and holds up a... really rough crayon-drawn picture of... samurai armor?

"Umm, do you have anything like this in stock? I'm really sorry, I don't expect you to... Ge Ramda's been nagging me about this for ages..."

If Carina can perceive her, Ge Ramda's busy pretending to be dressed in a full suit of samurai gear, complete with an oni mask and a crescent moon stuck on her helmet. ... is is that important to her?

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna's armour was pulled together pretty hastily; it's starting to wear out on her after shockingly little time. A higher-quality bustier would certainly be up her alley right about now.

Indeed, she's carrying said armour object cradled in the crook of one arm as she sifts through the armourer's wares. Looking up, she blinks as she recognizes the young woman behind the counter. After what happened last time the CaraKin set up shop, it's hard for her to forget a face.

"Hello again," she greets politely as she moves over to where Carina is standing. "I am sorry if we are wearing you out... but it is good to see you again.

"Ah... do you carry anything similar to this armour...?"

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

"... mmm... I still think you'd look way too bulky for the desert like that. Can't we find you somethin' lighter, maybe a bit prettier? Like you could get just the breastplate, an' maybe a dress, and a big ol' ribbon for your hair or something..." grouses Lunata's friend, a broadly-smiling mechanic with a complete mess of vivid pink hair held in place by a brightly coloured bobble hat.

She's already made her purchase, which is currently hanging over one shoulder of the battered red coat she wears - a pair of significantly thick-looking leather gauntlets, tough and probably insulated but mostly just hard-wearing. Not so much designed for armor as for construction, she's already taken something of a liking to them - though that doesn't seem to dissuade her from digging through the rest of the store.

"Maybe I should have a change too? I mean, I'm even gettin' hot out here sometimes," she comments as if she weren't wearing multiple layers in the desert, most of her clothes baggy and extremely well-loved in how worn they are. "Jay, Jay, what do you think?" she adds as she hops around in a turn, showing one of the other shoppers the cropped top she's holding against herself with a grin. "Think I can pull it off?"

Goodness, girl, put that away or you might show m-m-midriff!

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline had liked what she saw, when Carina had rolled out some of her family's wares. So much so that, when she heard some of her crew were going to visit the store, Jacqueline had decided to tag along. She'd separated from her friends, strolling up and down the store, until eventually she finds what she's looking for.

There on the shelf is a pair of gloves. Nice and durable, but with plenty of room for movement. Perfect for her alchemy work. Her old pair were starting to get a little worn out, and she needed to find a replacement before any incidents happened - it was largely a bad idea to get experimental potions on your bare hands! What better time than the week leading up to Glove Day?

"I did, actually! Right here..." Jacqueline says, walking up the counter. She sends Lunata and Catenna a smile, before setting the gloves on the counter, along with some gella for payment.

As she does so, she gives Carina an assessing look, then offers her a sympathetic smile before drawing a potion - for extra energy - from her bags and setting it on the counter. She knew that look.

"Hang in there." She says, before she hears Shalune calling her name. Jacqueline turns slightly, and studies Shalune along with the garment she's chosen.

"I'm sure you'd look cute, but...that's a little, um...bold...compared to what I'm used to." She replies, with a thoughtful frown.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

Someone is examining the Wynne Chester's storefront display.

There's no love lost between the leader of Althena's Guard and the 'CaraKin' outfit, namely because of the fact they're sheltering a known deserter and sympathizer to the Lord of Calamity's dire cause. It's a good thing that Leo's not here! Instead, there is a man who looks exactly like Leo, except wearing fairly standard trail clothes that were probably new a couple months ago. This man is standing in front of the store, looking at the plate on display--it would be right at home back on the Silver Star, but on the Blue Star, it's an oddity.

(Let's be real, it's) Leo takes one last look around the shop's perimeter, mostly out of habit, and then walks inside, the doorchime doing its merry little jingle. He walks right up to the plate, and starts to inspect it, growing more and more impressed all the while. "Excuse me," he says, to the young lady manning the counter. "This--is this your family's work?"

<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

The war effort is ceaseless. It seems to invite a back-and-forth escalation between all parties involved. The use of corpse materials into grueseome weapons. Entire earth-salting weapons of mass destruction. The list goes on and on, really.

SOME TIME AGO

Some time ago, Yarobeleedt found a sickly, wounded Drifter to feel all tough and mighty and exaggerate about destroying... sort of!

The 'sort of' is because the actual coup de grace took three tries. (A 'try' in this case is defined as 'an attempt to rapidly stab them over and over,' and hair splitters would instead insist a single strike should count as a 'try' which would re-define this as at least sixty-eight tries, but this point is digressing.)

Why was that human not dying so easily? Yarobeleedt fearfully rolls over the corpse after at least a good hour passes - to be safe - running a warped, jagged sword-claw over the tattered, bloodied cloth of the fallen human.

"What! Is maid of ^Winch Easter^?" Yarobeleedt gasps. The humans must have found some great, amazing new metal alloy. That is bad! That is not good. Which is why it is bad, instead of good. He scrapes a claw against the article in question - a breastplate that withstood his assault a lot better than it seems like it should have.

He has to get someone else to do something about this! But they'll make fun of him for even suggesting humans could have such good armor.

He must find the secret of the ^Winch Easter^. It is to be one of his most terrifying, death-defying forays into the humans' blood-curdling arsenal yet.

Once he spends another few hours wriggling all the sand out of his lower body because eeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuugh

SOME TIME NOW

A shadow slithers about the storefront, beady (kinda googly) eyes staring at ongoing capitalism in action as customers (some familiar, some less so) seem to be considering how best to utilize the ^Winch Easter^ material. (Yarobeleedt kind of wonders why humans would proudly say this is where this stuff is! This seems like a big military secret.)

But wait! He thinks. Maybe he could destroy the ^Winch Easter^ before any of them use it? Some are already removing current armor, probably as part of some kind of weird molting thing or something. Since they won't be wearing the ^Winch Easter^ they will be vulnerable and easy to push around, like freshly-emerged neonates in the way of his favorite snack (which is to say, their food).

Two appendeges of presently indescribable shape and character scrape mischievously. The serpent-worm-slug thing darts in further through the shop floor with expert speed and timing to just escape the gaze of everyone's eyes.

Then an armor stand falls over with a loud, loud clatter. The moment eyes go that way, there's a yellowish metallic abomination just standing there, half-frozen from surprise.

It is awkward. There's a low gurgling that is probably the biological equivalent of throat clearing.

"Oh. It is ^Winch Easter^. It fall over. Because bad and weak. Not be effect of push." He totally did knock it over all clumsy-like. He at least seems to catch something of an almost believable reason. "Silly silly. Fufufu. Shed carapace for weak ^Winch Easter^?" That giggling doesn't seem too confident by half-melted monstrosity standards, but he's choosing this reason to be good enough for an opening salvo to inflict fear and sabotage on the Filgaians (and tourist).

To make a point, one of his forearms reform into a scythe-like shape and just start hammering at the overturned armor. It mostly accomplishes being noisy!

(Time to check the insurance policy to see if it covers Metal Demons...)

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Carina doesn't have supernatural senses, and so she doesn't see Ge Ramda being weird and cute. She takes Lunata's picture and hums, looking thoughtful.

"Mmmmaybe not in stock, no, but I've seen stuff like this before. It's a real exotic style. If you don't mind payin' a little extra we could always try'n make it for your... grandma, you said? You must be a real nice granddaughter." Shalune chimes in. "Breastplates 'n' ribbons, though, we have plenty of those!"

Then comes Catenna, who earns herself a grin. Carina remembers her all right. "Hey hey! Naw, not at all. Yeah, we might've somethin' you need, right by the window on your left."

She rings up Jay, who throws in a free potion as tip. "Oh, hey, that's mighty nice of ya, thanks!" And she immediately drinks it! She rises up to her full height once more, striking a strongman pose. "Ah, that's the stuff! Tastes like electrolytes!"

And then comes in Leo, whom Carina doesn't immediately recognize. She tilts her head to look past the CaraKin folks. "Oh yeah!! Mom made this one. Don't get many people lookin' to wear it, but you never know, right? You like it?"

Someone else comes in. Carina doesn't immediately notice because she can only serve so many customers at once. Then something clatters because-- BECAUSE IT'S BAD AND WEAK? THAT DOESN'T SOUND RIGHT AT ALL!

There's a click of a gun's barrel. The shopkeeper is holding up an ordinary six-shooter in the monstrosity's direction. "HEY, YOU QUIT THAT RIGHT THIS SECOND!" The young woman looks thoroughly confused, but also confident that she has the right tool for the situation, whatever it even is.

And right that particular second, a bullet flies out in Yarobeleedt's general direction. It's unlikely to help much.

GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Yarobeleedt with Ordinary Gun of Barely Baseline Justice!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

"... e-err, Grandma... er, yeah, I suppose so," says Lunata, scratching her cheek as she looks to Shalune for a moment. "Aah, you think so too, right? I'm not so sure about Ge Ramda's style myself."

She looks at Catenna with a bit of a flush at her choice of armoring, before looking to Jay and That Man Who's Certainly Not Leo...

... but it's the creature that particularly has her interest.

She squints, and walks towards Yarobeleedt for a moment closer.

"You're..." A pause, as she flashes back for a moment. "You're the one who nearly squeezed me to death back in Adlehyde!"

There's a... well, I would call it uncharacteristic, but perhaps recently, Lunata's been rather quick on the trigger as she holds her hand up and manifests Orochi-Agito, intent on dicing up one of Yarobeleedt's scythes to stop him from smashing stuff up.

"Get out before I force you out," comes the snarl from the ex-waitress.

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Yarobeleedt with Cherry Ronde!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Yarobeleedt with Ordinary Gun of Barely Baseline Justice!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Yarobeleedt takes a glancing hit from Carina Wynne's Ordinary Gun of Barely Baseline Justice for 26 hit points!
GS: Yarobeleedt critically Guards a hit from Lunata Croze's Cherry Ronde for 17 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"That would be lovely," Catenna says with a gentle smile back at Carina as she sets her armour down on the counter for a moment. "Will I be able to have something fit to me purposefully, should it come to--"

Something garbled this way comes.

Startled, Catenna pivots away from the counter, staring for a moment as the familiar blob of a Metal Demon makes his presence felt. Then starts pounding on the armour. The entire scene is so absurd that all Catenna can do for the first six seconds is stare in utter disbelief. The next two is spent trying to figure out what the hell Yarobeleedt just said.

After that is when she starts to actually act. With Yarobeleedt that close, Catenna's not going to be able to belt a spell out.

"Miss, please stay back!" she urges Carina as she draws the short sword from her waist with a steely hiss. She'll have to do this in her ligher gear - no armour, but it doesn't matter. Darting forward, she flicks her sword forward in a lightning-quick slash aimed to take a chunk out of Yarobeleedt while he's preoccupied with someone else.

She'll have to get some distance in a few seconds. She doesn't want to be locked in a melee with a Metal monstrosity.

GS: Catenna has attacked Yarobeleedt with Welcome to Corneria!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Yarobeleedt takes a glancing hit from Catenna's Welcome to Corneria for 78 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

"This is impeccable craftsmanship," Leo says. "I hadn't thought the people of this--" No, don't say 'world'. "--part of the world had much interest in these forms of armoring! Especially with all of those ARMs around." Something scrapes unpleasantly. Leo glances in the sound's direction, but Yarobeleedt is already gone. He shakes his head.

CRASH

That's a bit more substantial. Leo whirls on the intruder, one hand already halfway to his blade--he was suspecting a thief, given the lawless nature of this city, but not... not that. His face twists into a look of mingled recognition and disgust, as though he's just figured out what was on the bottom of his shoe.

Which--considering what happened the last time he ran into this creature--isn't too far off the mark.

"Demon!" Leo snarls. "You've menaced the wrong people this day!" The Beastman surges towards Yarobeleedt, blade drawn, intent on pulling him off the presumably-less-awesome Drifters, and onto himself. He leads with a vicious yet perfectly-controlled chopping motion, a strike that could cut an unprepared opponent in two across the diagonal.

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Yarobeleedt with School of Georg Heldalf!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"It's no problem...I've been where you are before, so I know how it can be." Jacqueline replies, chuckling as her potion obviously has the intended effect. It isn't long before things go wrong, however - it starts with the sound of something clattering to the floor, followed by that something being struck repeatedly. Jacqueline turns, seeing...

...A Metal Demon? Here? Clearly not one of Riesenlied's. She's about to speak, when she hears Lunata say something.

"...It did what?" Jacqueline replies. She remembers, suddenly, Lunata's condition after the invasion of Adlehyde. "...That was this one?"

There's a darker look on her face than normal.

"...I see."

Jacqueline draws her Crest, but Catenna's warning to Carina, and Lunata's comment, does remind her of the situation. ...They didn't want to fight here. This place was too tight, quarters too close, and they ran the risk of damaging Carina's merchandise.

"Everyone, we need to force it out of the store! We can't fight it in here!" Jacqueline shouts. With any luck, people would stay away from the combat, and maybe more would come to their aid.

Jacqueline invokes her Crest, sending a burst of concussive force at Yarobeleedt in an attempt to force him backwards.

Ordinarily she wouldn't jump straight to violence, but...

...This was an exception.

DC: MISS! Yarobeleedt completely evades School of Georg Heldalf from White Knight Leo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Yarobeleedt with Concussion Blast!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

Shalune snickers brightly at Jacqueline. "I dunno how I get any less bold than normal, though, y'know?" she points out, waggling her baggy-sleeved arms for good measure - but at least she mercifully sets the top down on top of the pile from which she got it, leaving it for later at the very least.

Instead, she turns to nod towards Lunata, her face a frown of understanding. "Right? Ge-Ge, you've gotta get with the times! Lunie can look cool in battle and be functional, I'm pretty sure - though I guess I could try knocking some decent armor together sometime. It wouldn't be any good as protection, but we could get an idea--"

For an instant, she catches sight of Leo out of the corner of her eye. She's... more welcoming than most of the CaraKin, at least as far as Althena vs. Guardians are concerned, though at the same time she's kind of forced to keep Hiro's words and Lunata's convictions about the Guard at the back of her mind, at least until she can know for sure.

More importantly, though, there's a sudden commotion, and she perks up as she looks over the top of the store shelf she's leant up against. Before she can really process it, Lunata is on the attack, and Shalune has to scramble for the side of her pack where her unextended shotstaff hangs.

"Wah! Lunie, wait, what if--" is about as far as she gets before she manages to process Lunata's words. That was... before Ge Ramda joined her. Not exactly one of the good ones, then.

... there's a moment of silence before, thin-lipped, Shalune sweeps her staff around to impact with a mannequin and send parts of it raining down on the metal demon.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Yarobeleedt with Get A Head!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
DC: MISS! Yarobeleedt completely evades Concussion Blast from Jacqueline Barber!
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Get A Head for 96 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

When that gunshot flies, the raised emotion over the insulting of one's wares may eventually give rise to a different one instead. The shop crasher's upper body dips low, shifting the bulk of their upper body to allow the gunsmoke ARM's bullet to glance just past the lower back and up their left... elbow...?

Just as the other arm, the weird misshapen scythe-like thing, gets caught and hooked in Lunata's Orochi-Agito... and kind of stuck. The young woman whom has found themselves with a complicated relationship to death itself snarls with all the determination that she will not be a victim again - that things have changed so much since that day, for her.

"Y-You take out!" Yarobeleedt whines, the attacking hand stuck as Catenna makes good on this distraction to get in a good slice against his midsection, a splatter of quicksilver ruining some fabric tunic over yonder. The damage is somewhat mitigated by just how much the thing is squirming about - it's tough to get a solid hit in close quarters against something so quick and not beholden to the same anatomical limitations of the rest, as demonstrated when a capable swordsman of White Knight Leo-like skill whom is here as a matter of pure coincidence sees them twisting back in such way that only the air is cleaved.

A concussive blast fills the air that used to hold Yarobeleedt's face as he's finally able to get one of his weapon-arms loose by retracting it and reforming it into something more hammer-like. He deftly ducks underneath the initial staff sweep by Shalune as he slithers back at a lightning pace into a display for armored leggings, feeling all smug about this until the pieces of mannequin catch up with him. The effect is vaguely comical.

"What! Nonono. No leaf. Not until the ^Winch Easter^ is no moor!" Yarobeleedt babbles as they rear back the other arm. With a flick, it takes on something of a stretchy, whip-like quality that travels across the racks, the displays, threatening to just knock stuff into people and otherwise make ground movement that much harder.

And also make it harder for dad upstairs to sleep. Poor dad.

GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Shalune Amira with Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked White Knight Leo with Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint!
GS: Yarobeleedt enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Catenna with Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Lunata Croze with Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Carina Wynne with Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint!
GS: Yarobeleedt has completed its action.
GS: Jacqueline Barber critically Guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint for 20 hit points!
DC: MISS! Catenna completely evades Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint from Yarobeleedt!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a glancing hit from Yarobeleedt's Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint for 99 hit points!
GS: Jacqueline Barber used the Force Action Protect! She takes Yarobeleedt's attack on Carina Wynne on herself!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has activated a Force Action!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber critically Guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint for 28 hit points!
GS: Poison! Statuses applied to Jacqueline Barber!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata growls just a little as she stares a bit more furiously towards Yarobeleedt, her eyes kind of tunneled in as she presses her blade in an inexpert and possibly dangerous manner. Leo's shouts and Jay's urging for them to get out seem to kind of wash in the wake of--

--of getting smashed in the face with Yaro's sweeping scythe and getting pinned underneath an armor display piece, with a shout that's kind of wordless and a little unintellegible.

Not that it seems to matter, because--

"Sorry!"

--the stand explodes underneath a sheen of white light a moment later, the curved katana-like blade of Lunata's ancient weapon shimmering with radiant and pulsating light as she readies herself into a stance.

"If you're not leaving, then I'm forcing you out!"

There's a glint, as she charges forward in a sweeping motion, the blade lashing and knocking more things over as she bolts up through another fallen stand to exclaim:

"Spirit Arte!! Rosario Impale!"

She drives the blade down, lashing divine energy onto the misshapen creature.

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Yarobeleedt with Rosario Impale!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Shalune Amira guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint for 106 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"We mustn't fight him in here, no," Catenna murmurs with a glance towards Jacqueline. Pivoting away, she jumps back to put some distance between herself and the squirming blob of a metal man. Fighting him in a melee seems like it's going to be a very bad idea.

And indeed, Yarobeleedt demonstrates this with his whiplike limb; it does more damage to the racks than to Catenna, the priestess able to throw herself to the ground and roll away as the lash whistles over her head in a hard arc. Instead it collides with the decor. Catenna winces, looking sympathetically towards Carina's counter.

This shouldn't be happening. This girl isn't a fighter; she's innocent in all of this. She of all people should not have to bear this.

Jacqueline's already on the move. Catenna bites her bottom lip. "Miss Carina, please be safe!" she calls back as she darts over to a spot beside Carina and Jacqueline. Shifting her sword to her off hand, she traces her fingertips over her Medium with a little whisper, uttering something in the obscure language of the Zortroa.

Catenna may not be a duelist, but one thing she has going for her is that she's a master of Celesdue's power over gravity. Abruptly, an immense gravitic force plows towards Yarobeleedt. It's as if the universe itself is attempting to grip him and throw him bodily backwards - and Catenna's lined him up just right so that she can try to propel him not just into the back row, but out through the front door!

The backwash of the gravitic force buffers her, serving mostly to push her back a few feet and widen the gap.

GS: Catenna has attacked Yarobeleedt with Reverse Polarity!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a glancing hit from Lunata Croze's Rosario Impale for 72 hit points!
DC: MISS! Yarobeleedt completely evades Reverse Polarity from Catenna!
GS: White Knight Leo critically Guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Inn Ben's Story Man Age Mint for 19 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline frowns slightly. This thing was fast...it avoided her spell almost instinctually. And what's more, it's flailing about was sending equipment everyone!

Jacqueline catches a breastplate that comes flying at her before it can cause serious harm, but drops it just as suddenly as she sees another one heading right for Carina...

Jacqueline moves quickly, intercepting it. It was a little sudden and she hadn't had time to brace herself, so she's a little winded afterward...but at least Carina was alright. That was the important thing.

"M-Miss Carina...is there a back door here? If there's anyone else in the store, please, take them and go...I'll do what I can to make sure nothing too terrible happens." She says, placing the breastplate on the counter.

"I've...lost a store of my own before. I wouldn't want that to happen to your family, but...the important thing is that you all survive."

With that, she turns back toward the Metal Demon, where her friends - and a Mysterious Stranger Who Certainly Isn't Leo - are fighting valiantly.

She invokes her Crest, once more sending a burst of force at Yarobeleedt.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Yarobeleedt with Concussion Blast!
GS: Jacqueline Barber takes 7 damage from Poison!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

Really, Shalune could have done with thinking this through a little - because the one thing she doesn't really have in this situation is the space to swing a six-foot staff around. When she pulls back from the initial sweep, it leads to her accidentally bashing the end of it against one wooden counter, kind of tugged by the motion into going off balance.

She yelps as she brings up her hands, because that's left her in the path of some suddenly-arching armour, a heavy-looking breastplate bearing her down to a stumbling position for a moment as she staggers forwards under its weight.

That's about when Jacqueline's call, easily the most sensible thing she's heard today, rolls into her ears; on impulse, she decides to use the stumbling position she's found herself in - and barrels forwards into the side of one crate shoulder-first, gritting her teeth first against the impact, and then as she pushes against the floor, picking up speed as she elects to just turn herself into a wooden-box-based missile.

"--Lunie! Comin' through!" she calls, since even if this isn't the sort of situation where she can hope to rein the Death Waitress in, she can at least give a warning to get out the way as she ploughs through. Abruptly, she drops to a sitting position, bringing her shotstaff to her shoulder - and firing a 'round' point blank into the container's side to propel it forward all the faster.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Yarobeleedt with Crate Expectations!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Concussion Blast for 81 hit points!
GS: Yarobeleedt guards a hit from Shalune Amira's Crate Expectations for 52 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Carina's bullet hits a mark, but it's far from the mark, and she only has five more left. Catenna urges her to stay back. Every other customer is drawing a sword. People reminisce about one of them nearly being squeezed to death.

It quickly becomes clear that this unsatisfied customer is... one tough customer!!

Carina's Gunsmoke ARM-holding hand shakes. Tendrils whip every which way, making a right mess of things. Equipment is flying around everywhere, including towards Carina. She can't react fast enough, she's not a cool Drifter like these people--

"MISS JAY!" Jacqueline takes the attack meant for her, and tells her to take her dad and run. Carina grits her teeth, closes her eyes and ducks behind the counter.

That's a solid plan, but the stairs are all the way over there and she's over here. If she makes a run for it, that thing could kill her! Stupid, lazy, cowardly Carina. Tears are beading in her eyes. Think, Carina, think.

Wait, what about the plate mail? --No good, it's knocked over, sending all of its components rolling every which way.

A metallic item stored behind the counter clatters next to the shopkeeper.

"Melody's belt," Carina whispers.

The blonde woman takes it and hurriedly puts it on. "Come on, you stupid thing, do... whatever it is that you're supposed to do."

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

Yarobeleedt triggers something of a chain reaction. The handsome suit of armor Leo was looking at earlier gets hit dead-on, and knocked free of its nice store display. Leo ducks under Yarobeleedt's flailing, whip-like tendril, but the motion almost ends him him getting clobbered by the falling suit of armor. Almost. A low, metallic groan is all the cue he needs to raise an arm, and shove the display back into place, at the cost of mild annoyance and a slightly-jarred wrist.

The woman with the strange magic has the right idea, though. They need to get Yarobeleedt out of the store before he can cause any more damage, and then deal with him. "Duck, Miss Barber!" Too late. Leo winces, but that's all the distraction he allows himself. Leo rushes Yaro as Lunata does, opting for a slightly more measured approach. He's quick on his feet, but his stance leaves few openings, even for a flexible fighter like Yaro. His blade blurs through the air.

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Yarobeleedt with Flash Blade!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
GS: Yarobeleedt guards a hit from White Knight Leo's Flash Blade for 66 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

To think, it was only so many months ago that Lunata fearfully pleaded to the kinda-blobby Metal Demon that there would be more ^Big Flower^ for them. The monster before them remained steadfast on the path of ruin and death, as a fully willing and unrepetant actor of aggression and tragedy. That much has not changed.

The intensity in Lunata's eyes see the foul creature's own widen as he squirms and throws himself to the floor, a deep cut made a bit less deep with a pained squeal as their bulk takes a hard left while they try to go up a wall.

Catenna doesn't allow it to happen, calling upon the power lent to her by Celesdue. Their slug-like lower body painfully compresses as an invisible hand of gravity scoops them up tightly into an invisible fist, and starts trying to drag him out... which he resists by digging his arms into the walls, over and over, shrieking as he only so much wins the effort to stay in the store.

It sets up what comes next - a concussive blast of Crest Sorcery pries one of the arms free as it flails about dangerously. It only incidentally parries the speed of the Flash Blade as a matter of panic rather than as an act of premeditated acknowledgement of the sword coming in, sending a violent shock through that arm and seeing one of the hardened bone-like metal parts cracking.

The oncoming box gets sliced open. The smaller part of it maintains its momentum and beans Yarobeleedt in the face, and with that, the Metal Demon flops off onto the ground with a metallic clatter on top of everything else that also clatters. His lower body pulsates, stretching itself and convulsing as it struggles to deal with the change of pressure after the grasp of gravity.

The foul creature comes upright, whipping its head back and making all sorts of miserable-sounding grunting noises before the maw of the Metal Demon opens wide to a wet, squelchy escape of foul-looking fluids - kinda silvery, mostly in the color of ick (what 'ick' represents is best left up to the reader to decide), threatening to drench almost everyone.

As if the stock weren't already at risk of having to be written off at a loss, this may have to include the floor. The smell is overwhelmingly acrid and foul and...

...Really, ewwwww.

GS: Yarobeleedt has activated a Force Action!
GS: Yarobeleedt enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Lunata Croze with Pail Faes!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Pail Faes!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked White Knight Leo with Pail Faes!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Shalune Amira with Pail Faes!
GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Catenna with Pail Faes!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a glancing hit from Yarobeleedt's Pail Faes for 42 hit points!
GS: Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Yarobeleedt's Pail Faes for 39 hit points!
GS: Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Catenna!
GS: Shalune Amira guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Pail Faes for 85 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Pail Faes for 65 hit points!
GS: Poison and Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Jacqueline Barber!
GS: White Knight Leo guards a hit from Yarobeleedt's Pail Faes for 43 hit points!
GS: Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to White Knight Leo!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata catches eyes with Yarobeleedt's own, her gaze just seemingly staring harder and harder towards him; it's such that she doesn't quite meet her mark with her blade, her swordplay, Leo would note, amateurish save for what muscle memory she's gaining from Ge Ramda.

"You get out of here--"

She doesn't get to finish her sentence, because the next moment, the Metal Demon's maw lurches and icky silvery liquid splashes over her and starts to burnnnn-- uuuugh!

"Enough, enough, enooough!!"

She's sheathed the strange-looking katana in the wake of the foul stench burning through her dress, leaping back and landing on the counter. She glances at what Carina's doing for a moment, before saying, "We'll protect you! Let's go!"

There's a faint howl echoing through her blade, and she descends downwards as she blasts through with an artful strike that leaves the scattering of petals fluttering about the messy store.

"Tres Flores!"

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Yarobeleedt with Tres Flores!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Celesdue damn it, he's ruining the nice lady's shop.

Catenna clenches her jaw and tries to force the spell, but there is only so far she can push a screaming blob who's embedded in the walls. Besides, Leo and Jacqueline have got the blobby monstrosity of a Metal Demon well under control.

Until Yarobeleedt starts vomiting up vile quicksilver. Catenna recoils without thinking, cupping her hand over her mouth. "Oh, how rancid," she gags, her cheeks taking on a pale greenish cast. Somehow. (She had a lovely coffee complexion just a few minutes ago, y'know.)

The thought of washing this monster out of the store occurs to Catenna; she dismisses it right away. Calling up the waters of Lucadia would only do more damage to Carina's property. She can't possibly be a party to that.

"No... we cannot lose the store," Catenna agrees, shooting Jacqueline a look.

As Lunata goes to town on Yaro, Catenna begins to invoke the spells of Celesdue again - nice, safe spells that probably won't damage of the furniture but might damage the sluglike Metal Demon. And yet, the spell she weaves is no hammerblow.

Rather, it is a simple... heaviness. Yaro will suddenly find his body feeling like it weighs thrice its normal weight; even lifting his arms will begin to feel like a chore. The force of gravity is seeking to encumber him, exterting a heavy downward force upon him. It might even start to visibly deform the blobby demon.

GS: Catenna has attacked Yarobeleedt with Encumber!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Yarobeleedt takes a glancing hit from Lunata Croze's Tres Flores for 131 hit points!
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Catenna's Encumber for 0 hit points!
GS: Break and Slow! Statuses applied to Yarobeleedt!
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Carina remains behind the counter, crying in earnest as she tries to find a button or SOMETHING on that belt. Why couldn't her sister send an instruction manual?

"Come on, come on! Abracadabra! Shazam! Activate your forcefield bubble thing or whatever! You were supposed to protect us when we were in trouble! Well, my dad's in trouble, I'm in trouble, my store's in trouble! And I wanna protect them all! And now I'm SCARED and YELLING at a weird-lookin' CLOTHING ACCESSORY and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!"

Screw this. She turns towards the stairwell, at the opposite side of the room. She prepares to make a run for it...

There a bleep. The symbological runes adorning the belt light up. A synthetic voice makes itself heard.

NEW USER REGISTERED::::::::::::::::LOCUS ON_

There is a flash of light coming from behind the counter. Then, nothing except for a few confused noises, until...

A young woman in a sleek armor of shining red and chrome vaults over the counter. A very long, blonde ponytail trails behind her, light as air. Her suit is strange, with metallic bands wrapped around the wrists and ankles, bearing symbological runes. What is oddest, however, is the helmet, with large, multifaceted insectoid eyes and long antennae.

"HEY! This is a family store, not some kinda poop zone!" the woman shouts, with a voice almost exactly like Carina's.

The mystery warrior who is statistically likely to be Carina lands onto the vile gunk on the floor. The bottom of her boots hiss, but that's a problem for another time.

"Get..." She draws her arm back. The symbols around the arm glow yellow. Electricity arcs between her antennae.

"OUT!" she shouts, as her clenched fist shoots forward, bringing forth an explosion of crackling lightning and deafening thunder.

GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Yarobeleedt with Courageous Explosion Punch!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

For an instant, Shalune looks victorious as the crate crashes into the Metal Demon - but then she's skittered back on her hands and feet, still pretty much in a sitting position, as the metal demon's maw opens.

... her impression of a 'metal demon' is probably off from most people's, with all the time she's spent in Wayside. Indeed, for someone who thinks of her inventions as having an identity, the Ebony Wings are immediately understandable, and she's never had a problem thinking of them as 'basically like us'. This... is something different.

The first hiss of the bubbling liquid makes her flinch, and there's an instinctive understanding that it would be a terrifically bad idea to let that get in her face - so instead she yanks her bobble hat down over her as if she were a very technicolor burglar, relying on the thickness of her multiple layers to cope with the rest of the substance as she stays down.

Besides, there's an unexpected advantage to being on the floor: space. She braces herself, bringing the staff up and over her shoulder as she begins to sight along it, trying to pick a vector that won't hit the rampaging Lunata . "--Lunie! C-calm down! We can get him, okay?! You don't gotta-- pf-- pf--" It's hard to talk with cherry petals getting on your tongue.

Rather than finish the sentence, she presses the button, and lances a bolt of white light across the room. Never mind the attack, the ensuing noise is way louder than expected... not least because she didn't have anything to do with it.

"--wah!" she blurts, kind of muffled with her hat over her face.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Yarobeleedt with Rusty Sky!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata comes to a skidding halt at the other end as her attack finishes, and as she exhales and regains her breath, stares as the masked warrior with the hair that's totally just like Carina's punches the Metal Demon!

Pause.

Pause.

"W-whoa?! Where'd you come from, and where'd Carina go?! I hope she's safe..."

... Never change, Lunata.

DC: Carina Wynne switches forms to Metal Digger Locus!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline sends Leo a thankful nod, even if it came a moment too late. Hey, he tried! And thankfully, Carina was now ducking behind the counter...that should at least keep her out of harms way, assuming they can keep this creature away from her.

And then, something terrible happens.

Jacqueline pauses in her attacking as the creature starts to make horrible sounds. Was it...ill? Her guard lowers briefly, only to directly receive a blast of terrible fluids. It makes her feel ill, and for a moment, her balance wavers. She has to hold tight onto one of the shelves to keep her from falling over as she digs into her bags, pulling out a bright blue potion and downing it.

But, as she's regaining her composure...she sees it.

A flash of light from behind the counter before, suddenly, a mysterious armored woman leaps over it.

...It was probably Carina, all things considered, but Jacqueline can't help be awed as she releases a powerful burst of electricity from her first, straight toward Yarobleedt.

"W-wow..." She says.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

Leo's eyes narrow as he feels his blade hit something that isn't exactly gummy Demon flesh. He steps back, sinking into a defensive stance as Yaro flails against the force of heightened gravity--with those limbs going everywhere, there's a chance the slug-thing might hit him on accident, and that just wouldn't do. Yarobeleedt's mouth distends, horribly. Leo wrinkles his nose.

And then, a torrent of noxious, liquid horror erupts from the Demon. Leo ducks back behind one of the armor stands, but the stuff gets everywhere; the leather jacket on the stand starts to smoke, and so do the bits of Leo's jacket that got doused in Yaro-ick. The Beastman just grabs part of the jacket that isn't covered in puke, and tears it off, throwing it aside. (He still has a shirt on underneath, fortunately. Or perhaps unfortunately.) He can hear the young lady behind the counter panicking, though, which makes everything a bit more grave.

"Miss, withdraw with all due haste!" Leo cries. "We will handle this villain!"

A flash of light. Leo watches in amazement--and, truth be told, a fair bit of confusion--as a masked warrior comes out of nowhere to clock the Demon in the name of justice! He's never seen armor like that before. "Reinforcements?" Leo says. "About time! Miss Barber, find that young lady and get her out of here!" She's probably passed out from panic.

Leo rounds on the encumbered Yarobeleedt, and swings his blade in a mighty slash; a coil of energy leaps from the weapon's blade to the floor, racing towards Yarobeleedt at high speed. Fortunately, it's not terribly likely to cause damage to the surroundings.

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Yarobeleedt with Demon Fang!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Potent Panacea!
GS: Jacqueline Barber takes 7 damage from Poison!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
GS: Jacqueline Barber takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Potent Panacea for 0 hit points!
GS: Lock and State! Statuses applied to Jacqueline Barber!
GS: Restore! Jacqueline Barber clears debuffs from Jacqueline Barber!
GS: Yarobeleedt critically Guards a hit from Shalune Amira's Rusty Sky for 18 hit points!
GS: Yarobeleedt critically Guards a hit from White Knight Leo's Demon Fang for 25 hit points!
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Carina Wynne's Courageous Explosion Punch for 117 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

The creature looks positively dessicated after all that. Some more dribbles down their mouth as a tongue lolls out the side, making a few more pathetic groans for... good...? Ill...? Ambivalent measure.

"Fufufu... still want ^Winch Easter^?" Yarobeleedt sneers... then goes back to pathetic yelping as Lunata comes in fast to a flutter of petals, and also because a few petals got in his throat and they TASTE COMPLETELY DISGUSTING (look who's talking)!! He slinks away off to the right, a little too close to the counter, but the blade cuts deeply down through the tip of Yarobeleedt's blobby butt, cutting open a visceral slit to paint Lunata's blade once more.

Yarobeleedt really wants to go to the back, raising up as he catches the sight of Carina's panicking backside, rearing back an arm with a dark chort--

His arm grows so heavy that his shoulder nearly snaps off the joint, as he finds himself compressed against the floor. A little more vomit dribbles out as he feels himself being squeezed, squeezed, squeezed - held in place, he's kind of helpless in his ability to move.

What movement he has from the elbows down, he puts to desparate but effective use. The rusty ray bounce off a tarnished, bloodied (quicksilvered?) blade. The Demon Fang's energy rays meet a makeshift shield with numerous protruding slits to dampen apart the impact of the energy blade, dispersing it up his arm in smaller sparks.

It's a stalemate, even as he looks more and more smooshed by the moment. Can the five of them get him back out the storefront...?

There is a great flash of light. Yarobeleedt stretches his neck about as far as humanly (Metal Demonly) possible, lolling up and back with curiosity.

POW!

Yarobeleedt slide-tumbles across the length of the store, out into the streets where a crowd may be gathering to look upon the commotion. A Metal Demon, wrapped and covered around their own vomit, in front of a storefront in rapidly deteriorating condition and ABHORRENT ODOR.

Slowly, they rise. They flex out their body to a respectable height, their unstable, eternally-melting lower body finding its equilibrium of form and stability to something serpentine and snakelike.

"^Winch Easter^...? That is that, is that? That. That is." Yarobeleedt can't decide if he's in awe, or in fear, of seeing this strange metal body. "Silly... silly! I take out a ^Winch Easter^ easy!" Yeah after sixty-something thrusts from earlier, the narrative will remind, on someone already half-dead. "It will be as no thing to be nothing! Fufufu."

He lunges towards this newly-emerged armored hero, swinging an arm in the shape of a sword!

The other, in the shape of a club!

The first one again, now a stabbing spear!

The second, a jagged axe!

Once again, the first takes on something of a giant makeshift claw!

The second one, one last time, a giant hammer.

Six brutal attacks, from a creature capable of reconfiguring their arms into a variety of deadly melee weapons. An armor cannot possibly protect against all of these forms of damage, from so many different angles - there must be a chink somewhere to utterly demolish this...!

He's moving far too fast for the others to help...

"THAT IS A TWISTED ENDING BY YOURS!!"

GS: Yarobeleedt has attacked Carina Wynne with Sly Sing!
GS: CRITICAL! Carina Wynne takes a solid hit from Yarobeleedt's Sly Sing for 61 hit points!
GS: Poison! Statuses applied to Carina Wynne!
GS: Yarobeleedt has completed its action.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Yarobeleedt goes flying out. Good. The bug-masked woman pants, shaking her fist. Errant sparks go flying.

The armored one who is almost certainly Carina points at herself when Lunata addresses her.

"What? I'm not actually sure mys--" She shakes her head. Antennae wobble. "Actually, yeah, I did a distraction and she got to safety! But we should REALLY get that fart boss away from all the cool stuff m-- her parents made!"

A pause. "Hey, watch out, there's a weird thing behind you!" she shouts, pointing at Ge Ramda, before whirling right back towards the entrance, taking off into a run to make sure that... thing STAYS OUT.

It unleashes a whirlwind of attacks on her. The masked warrior reacts with moves she never knew she had. She weaves past the club, fluidly, swipes her arm to deflect the spear, ducks under the axe, kicks the claw away and holds up her arms in a cross to weather the hammer's blow. Unstoppable force clashes with an object that is, for a brief, shining moment, immovable--

And then something breaks. The ponytailed warrior is flattened into the ground, as metallic shards of... whatever that armor is made of break off from it.

A crowd is gathering in the streets, keeping a safe distance from the battle. There is anxious chatter. Are two Metal Demons fighting in their streets? Is the bug-headed one FRICKIN' DEAD?

It almost seems that way for a moment, but no. Yarobeleedt may be taking a moment to celebrate his victory over the apparent avatar of Super Alloy W, but his opponent twitches back to life. She peels herself off the ground, and...

She turns her head to look back at the semi-ruined store and the Drifters within. "Everybody's watching! Let's show 'em what we can do!" She's grinning under her helmet, but quickly realizes that they can't see that. And so, instead, she flashes them a BIG THUMBS-UP.

And she turns back around, in one fluid motion, raising her leg to deliver a wide roundhouse kick with an extra surprise: SHOTGUN FEET.

*BLAM!*

GS: Carina Wynne has activated a Force Action!
GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Yarobeleedt with Pretty Shotgun Kick!
GS: Carina Wynne takes 7 damage from Poison!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The last thing Catenna was expecting was for someone with Carina's voice to come hurtling over the counter in a fancy suit of armour so outlandishly sleek that she's never seen the likes of it. The Priestess of Celesdue catches herself staring, her mouth open just slightly. "Mis... Carina...?" she asks with a certain wonder.

There must've been some magic in that old steel belt she found, Catenna realizes - for when she placed it on her waist, she began to kick Yaro around.

Yarobeleedt kicks back. Catenna widens her eyes and gasps as the blob monster shoulders free of the gravitic grip and goes on the attack. "Do not!" she calls out sharply, holding her hand out - but it's not like Yaro's going to listen to what she has to say. He's not like Riese, after all, or even one of Riese's companions.

But then, this makes it a little easier. Of all the Metal Demons, this one is among those who has refused to show any sort of humanity, nor willingness to listen to what the Guardians have to say. And right now he's hurting one of her customers - and her proprietor. Easing off to one side, Catenna focuses, sizing up the way Yaro moves and the way the armoured Carina plays each of his strokes.

Then she splays her right-hand fingers, before curling her wrist and gesturing towards the roof.

With little fanfare, Yaro will suddenly find gravity reversing itself. Instead of pulling him down towards the floor, it's suddenly pulling him up towards the ceiling. If Catenna can get a good enough magical grip, the gravitic reversal will hurl the Metal Demon into the ceiling, then let him drop back to earth to deal with the lingering muscle spasms and aches caused by all that heavy gravity at work.

"Whatever you are doing," she urges Carina, "please continue...!"

GS: Catenna has attacked Yarobeleedt with Grav!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata looks just a bit startled, but gives a thumbs up to Carina as she reassures Carina's safety. She gasps as Yarobeleedt keeps charging at her, though, but watching as the bug-helmeted warrior--

--keeps on moving. The look of horror and surprise turns to one of relief as she says, "Yeah! Now that I'm out here... Ge Ramda!"

The spooky creature floats behind her, and she sheathes her blade as a wellspring of power glowers over her.

~Stock footage from the Lacour Tournament Arc plays~

A taiko drum beats against the background. A shakuhachi flute wails with a low whistle.

Though its scent lingers everlong

The form of a flower shall inevitably fade away...

An eerie blue spectre alights with the character for 'Snow', for the harsh and wintry chill of nature that takes us all is akin to the palm of a Reaper that sees fit to take where it has once sown.

The banging of the wooden drum reaches a crescendo. From out of nowhere, a male voice enunciates lowly, 'Iyooooooooo-h!'

For whom shall the glory of this world

remain unspoiled and unchanged?

An enigmatic yellow spectre alights with the character for 'Moon', for the forlorn beauty of Lunar, looming high in the sky, implores us to ever higher reaches.

Arrive ye today at the yonder side

Of a mountain evanescent in existence...

An eerie floral spectre alights with the character for 'Blossom', for the reblooming of spring that shall shine beautifully, the evident power of life once more repeating the cycle...

~End stock footage here. Kono MUSH wa goran no sponsor no teikyou de okurishimassss~

Lunata emerges next to the garbed warrior, following after her wide kick as she unsheathes in one smooth motion, her strike carving the image of a crescent moon as she announces:

"True Spirit Arte!

Midare... Setsugekkaaaa--!!"

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Yarobeleedt with Midare Setsugekka!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Catenna's Grav for 113 hit points!
GS: Poison! Statuses applied to Yarobeleedt!
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's Midare Setsugekka for 183 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

Yaro goes flying. Leo watches his inglorious, ungracious exit from Carina's family's property with something resembling satisfaction--he would be more satisfied if he hadn't been doused in that awful creature's vomit. The smell is going to be with him for days after this. "Good work, strange armored citizen!" says Leo, with a smile. "Wh--"

Leo whirls around, spotting the phantasmal form of Ge Ramda floating along behind Lunata. This, of course, is no surprise to Leo, but of course it was a surprise to someone who's never seen the lich before! Obviously this armored woman hasn't. Ge Ramda gets a polite (if vaguely creeped out) nod.

The White Knight hurries out of the store--closing the door behind him, because he wasn't raised in a barn--only to see the mysterious masked hero fall before the alien invader's onslaught! "Gh!" Leo chokes out. "Get away from her, you--!"

SHOTGUN KICK

Leo's eyes widen a little, but he's quicker to recover this time. The Beastman sweeps his blade through a series of blindingly-fast strikes, the air itself carrying the focused intent behind them. Blades of scything force race at Yarobeleedt from every angle!

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Yarobeleedt with Buzz Blade!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's Buzz Blade for 173 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline knew that Carina wasn't underneath the counter anymore, but the Mysterious Stranger Who Definitely Isn't Leo clearly didn't know that. Fortunately, after knocking the Metal Demon out of the store, Carina - er, rather the Armored Woman - says she got her to safety.

But, not too long after that, the Metal Demon unleashes a powerful assault on her!

Jacqueline rushes out, seeing the Ally of Justice flattened into the ground.

"A-Are you alright!?" Jacqueline asks, concerned. She goes to help her up...but suddenly, the Masked Hero stands, and offers them all a...thumbs-up!?

Jacqueline offers her a smile.

"...Alright. Let's do it!" She says, and invokes her Crest, causing a pillar of earth to shut up forcefully from beneath Yarobeleedt!

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Yarobeleedt with Her Trademark Move!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Her Trademark Move for 109 hit points!
GS: Yarobeleedt takes a solid hit from Carina Wynne's Pretty Shotgun Kick for 123 hit points!
GS: Break! Statuses applied to Yarobeleedt!
<Pose Tracker> Yarobeleedt has posed.

"Fufufu." Yarobeleedt has chortles, and also fury at this development as this newly arrived armored ally seems to be pasted. He looks ready to slither back to deal with the rest of them---

They're back up. Yarobeleedt's jaw somehow both drops and tightens and frankly it's such a mind-boggling picture this paradox is best left alone as we proceed to the ways they all rally anew.

Catenna hefts him up into the ceiling, splattering him against it and ensuring that a few more foul droplets of Yarobeleedt Ickiness(tm) will be dripping for a while to come, writhing and twisting under the change in pressures to his less stable biomass.

Jay aggravates this landing with about the best-shaped earth pillar she could conjure for the situation, splaying Yarobeleedt out on his back for a while in a dizzy-looking lull.

Cue the stock footage from the Lacour Tournament Arc, as Lunata moves in with an artful, ritualistic precision that dances upon the very edge of death, displaying the concept of finality with a beautiful, romanticized fast draw of the sword that seems to cut so deep that it doesn't spray Yarobeleedt blood everywhere. (Wait for it.)

Leo comes in from every conceivable angle, so fast. They chip at the current manifestations of his arm-weapons, destabilizing and shattering them into a sludge that seems to only just stick to the greater biomass of the Metal Demon who seems to most encompass the wrathful, genocidal aim of his people among those who regularly venture out into the wastes.

Yarobeleedt rolls off the pillar, as blood sprays anew in spurts from where Lunata cut him. He starts to crawl away, to reposition, his instincts of self-preservation starting to kick in, when..

*BLAM!*

Yarobeleedt screeches one last time as the roundhouse kick lands square in the anatomical equivalent of the solar plexus. The larger, heftier, messier, more incomprehensible creature finds full lift up and off the ground, taken leave of the surface of Filgaia at a sharp angle for quite a distance as their screech resounds about the streets.

Nobody quite sees where he lands, except 'not there.'

This foul monster was felled, today, by none other than... the Pretty Shotgun Kick!!

There's a gathering crowd all around. Some cheer. A fair portion kind of wrinkle their noses because wow, the odor of the place now, the worst possible slurry of something metallic, something acrid, something bitter, just... you know what, let's not focus on that.

The general consensus among those gathered, is that this was totally awesome!!!!