2020-03-27: Here Be Wyverns

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<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

In recent days, rumors have swirled. The farmers of Honeysday report that their sheep have been eaten, by strange shadow monsters. The largest of these has been an enormous wyvern: a draconic creature, made entirely shadowstuff, that has consumed whole flocks of sheep. The shepherds, mercifully, have gotten away.

But they have called out for help, from the Drifters: help that requests Gears come, given the terrific size of the wyvern.

The wyvern has been spotted a little north of Honeysday, in some rolling hills. Heavy forest helps hide much of the scenery, but the wyvern is visible: a huge beast, all black and violet, save for several massive steel collars -- one on its neck, one on each hind leg, and another on the tail. Those collars have panel lines and hints of machinery.

The wyvern reaches out, with its jaws -- and then snaps down on a tree.

It appears to be alone. Appears. Nevermind that the woods are thick enough to hide Gears...

<Pose Tracker> Yue Rohay has posed.

    One of the Gears hidden within the woods is... ironically, one of the broken Veruni Gears who saved Honeysday from the bandits. But that was that, a matter of... as some members of the Ministry would say-- 'protecting their interests', and this is this, 'identifying the threat that humans pose'.

    It's all orders in the end.

    And it is such that the Aura is half-hidden within the trees; its colouration isn't well suited to stealth, with its white and blue colour scheme, with highlights of yellow talons, the green gem on its chest, and splashes of red.

    At least she's not still internally bleeding out (yet), though the bandages remain on her. She's piloting out of one eye today.

    "You look to be... having fun," Yue offers to Scathach, musing about her wyvern lashing about.

DC: Emeralda Kasim switches forms to Winged Gear Crescens!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Honeysday has had a rough time as of late. A village of its size just can't properly afford to outfit a permanent defense force that can deal with gear-sized threats. Heck, they were just halfway destroyed by one such threat not a couple of weeks ago!

It just so happens that some of the drifters who had come to the town's defense then are... Actually still around.

One of those drifters arrives in frankly unnecessary speeds. The gear is a lithe thing, and about a full third of it seems to be made up of a rather expansive booster system. In other words, it's something clearly made to GO FAST.

In this case, it's going fast... Sword-first, right into the too-huge wyvern. "Looks like we've found our sheep-muncher. I'll try to keep it from flying off. Everyone, take it down while I've got it occupie--"

Beat.

Cyre turns his head sloooowly toward the gear hiding in the woods.

"..." He's just, completely dumbstruck. And then he asks: "Uh. Are you sitting there because the Wyvern kicked your ass already, or are you just here to watch?"

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim probably shouldn't be here.

She heard that people in Honeysday were having their sheep eaten by a GIANT MONSTER, though, and that almost immediately convinced her to go help out. Giant monsters are bad! You're supposed to fight giant monsters in a Gear, which is what a Gear is for! And Crescens hadn't been used in a while, and was sitting around, all ready to go...

Which is why, despite what she *should* be doing, Emeralda Kasim is here anyway. The strangely shaped Gear - extremely long-legged with sleek legs and boots, and possessing no arms, just stubby thrusters affixed to the shoulders and giant wings that sprout from the sides of its head - hovers about three feet above the ground, neatly avoiding rough terrain and low obstacles but still obliging it to go around the forest and approach by the open hills.

Emeralda slows Crescens a little as she gets close enough to see the wyvern, though. It's bigger than she expected. And... wait, are those collars?

It never occurs to her to look in the forest for hidden Gears.

DC: Kaguya switches forms to Modified Gear Queklain!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

Indeed, the forests are thick enough to hide Gears. It was fortuitous, that, but then again, that was why they had been chosen in the first place. Where the wyvern draws attention, appearing to be completely on its own, others instead operate through stealth.

As tall and slender as Ambrosius's Golem Nimue - a steel blue machine with long arms, an almost serpentine body, and a bestial face - is one might think that hiding is difficult. But it has other talents that prove beneficial. Indeed - at the moment it is presently hiding beneath the ground itself, only its head visible - and even that is concealed by trees and foliage, making it impossible to spot. And with its systems largely turned off to avoid giving out any signals... Ambrosius is in prime position to launch an ambush.

For now, however, he sits back and waits, his eyes shut for the time when the trap is sprung.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    For Avril, it was not far at all to go. She, after all, had already been in Honeysday assisting with the rebuilding efforts--

    Or somewhat more accurately, had been afield (in Capel Coffa to be precise) obtaining materials to generate the funds to help the rebuilding efforts. She'd heard about the disappearing sheep shortly thereafter and...

    Over friendly communication lines, she speaks openly: "I see the wyverns. However, something seems rather amiss..."

    A modified Aveh Gear, the only notable thing at a distance about Skadi is the massive blade the Gear bears, currently held magnetically across the machine's back.

    Within the cockpit, Avril leans forwards, as if this could make a differnce with discerning the details she can sight through her cameras.

    "Around their necks. Are those... collars?"

    There is a pause.

    "Cyre? Do you see something in the..."

    Avril's silence once she shifts her incoming feed to an auxilary camera is palpable. She feels her pulse quicken; her grasp on the Skadi's controls tightens.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"Nice," Kaguya comments to Scathach as she peers over the display of the Wyvern. She thinks it's pretty cool in fact. But her own Gear is rather better-hidden than Yue's; the modified gear 'Queklain' is done up in dark and pale greens and smooth planes and curves. It's large, in that the armoring on its legs, arms, and torso is both thick and wide, and there are plenty of guns hidden in various compartments and ready to be deployed at any given moment. It is not a Veruni Golem, as will be plain when it's time to see it--way too blocky. ...Particularly with certain bright colors to catch the attention, she remains hidden for now...

In the cockpit of her own Gear Kaguya 'hmmms' a little and tilts her head. "It's called 'mutton' when you eat them, right? The sheep." This doesn't go anywhere. It's just what she says before she starts flicking more switches in preparation.

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    Acacia isn't really the sort to get lost in thought, especially not when she's seated behind the controls of her Gear. The ancient machine, gifted to her by Yue and visibly an alternate and much better preserved version of the Veruni's own, is perhaps a little overtuned for her - and with that comes having to concentrate more on what she's doing so she doesn't overextend herself and bounce off a copse of trees. An experienced pilot she is not, even if she's getting there.

    But she can't help but huff slightly. No rest for the wicked, right? No rest for anyone else either, it feels like. Maybe that's not fair of her - it's been a while since they rescued Xiumei, and she has gotten some quality apartment time in with Kamui and Gami. She just kind of wishes she'd had maybe another week or two to roll around, put out a copy of her paper, and generally focus on a peaceful life.

    "Okay, so, what's the plan here?" she wonders aloud into her radio, but even as she says that her eyes stray to the collars that clamp down on the wyvern's scales, and she feels her lips tighten into a line. That means this isn't some kind of random wildlife attack - someone owns that thing, someone is probably commanding that thing, someone is probably right nearby, if she doesn't miss her guess.

    ... which is when she catches sight of a flash of familiar colour amongst the bushes, and her expression drops into a deadpan frown as she sags in her chair. "You're kidding, right?" she mutters, after a glance to ensure that her radio is off. It's not a look of disappointment this time, but more sympathy; the idea of Yue accompanying something like this voluntarily is not one that Acacia can imagine, which means she's probably here out of duty instead.

    The part she's not sure about is whether anyone else is, too.

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


Rebecca flips on her comm at Cyre's comment.

"Kind of a relief you know?"

Keeping the Eurydice focused on the Wyvern in the distance, she watches it snap a tree.

"After everything Honesday has been through lately - a monster stealing sheep feels pretty normal."

Throttling it forward gently, the clanks of her Gear's steps come at a less staccato pace, becoming a drawn outas she tries to sneak up on it.

The Gear's hand draws the sidearm cannon, and the grip shifts to lock into place around both sides of her Gear's hands, causing a light on the back of it to glow.

The normalcy of the whole thing in respect to their whole quest prompts her to send a light tease Avril's way, that feels like half apology, "Guess today Johnny Appleseed is just gonna have to deal with being stuck between a Wyvern and a Flock of Mutton."

However then Avril makes that observation about the Wyvern, and Rebecca just stops, focusing it into view.

"Collars?"

The sudden complication, tips it in favor of this not being just a random monster in her head, and her grip tenses up, as Avril asks Cyre what's going on in the woods.

"... Maybe we should back off for a while - until we know what we're dealing with."

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    Giant monsters eating sheep is bad for business. Nevermind Gwen is a good-hearted sort, prone to just doing things because she feels it's somehow 'the Right Thing To Do.'

    A courier prefers it when towns are able to do the thing they need to do in order to have people who want to hire her to move the things around to other places.

    Pilotting a squat, extremely standard-looking Gear that looks like it was scavenged from the Thames (which indeed it was) with some changes here and there (and a blue-green color job), Gwen is flying in, pleasantly basking in the piped in heat coming out of the small vent to her left. One thing of note is the hole in the back of the gear's armor, as if someone had stabbed something very sharp into it. Like a bayonet.

    "..... Oh, there's the wyvern. Annnnd- oh hey there, strangers!" was gwen going to really take on a wyvern by herself or was she just expecting people to be here

    "Collars, y'say?" One can hear the amusement in Gwen's voice. "... Maybe someone figured out how t'manage the problem on their" *CHOMP* "..... own...."

    "I'd almost suggest we go in by foot t'scout, but I think we've lost the element of surprise needed for that t'work." She does not, in fact, rush in.

    Gear repairs cost money!!!

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Weltall is here too but, well. It's mostly here to beat up wyverns and--Lets face it--spend time with his robot daughter who also pilots a high tech super robot! You can tell it's super because it looks a little weird and has wings. Wings on a giant robot always means it means business.

"Huh," He says as he notices the collars--they are pretty large--"That means they aren't just wild beasts, right? Someone must be controlling them." He frowns. "Or...tracking them?"

He immediately goes from 'chill' to 'remarkably alert' as he scans his surroundingsfor anybody suspicious.

Anybody more suspicious than Fei Fong Wong that is.

<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

"Gwahaha!" Scathach laughs, unnecessarily -- and quietly -- at Yue's remark. Quietly because she still throws her head back and cackles, but she covers her mouth with her hand. "They'll never see us coming! We'll be sure to surprise them!"

Her black eyes reflect the light filtering down through the woods, as she gets a good look at her wyvern. Its tail swishes back and forth, making the blades of grass blow side to side.

She is standing a little close to Yue's Gear. When Cyre's Gear comes to a stop, seeming to notice her, she leaps into the bushes. A few leaves pop up into the air, as she looks. "They saw us!" she hisses. And, indeed, it seems that this is prompting hesitation throughout their ranks; she spots Rebecca's and Avril's Gears, holding back. Weltall staying put and looking about is the final straw.

Her eyebrow twitches.

She decides to employ an age-old strategy: declare victory before anyone can call it a defeat.

Which is how a blue-haired, pointy-eared woman wearing a blue and crimson dress leaps out of the bushes, fist clenched and held over her head. "MWAHAHAHA!" she laughs, loudly -- she's literally projecting so she can be heard. "Foolish humans! You've fallen right into my trap!"

When she laughs, it is clear she has slightly pronounced fangs. "And now, you shall pay the price... for contesting the night itself!"

The Wyvern rises on its feet, each leaving a massive claw-mark in the ground where they impact. It opens up wings that are reptilian and slightly translucent; one can see through the shadow there, like looking through a film. And its mouth is draconic, but there is just a red glow in its mouth, and more the outline of a jaw and teeth than the actual appendage.

It is a creature of sorcery, not of nature. It roars, bellowing towards the Gears, and spreads its wings wide.

Scathach rises up on a column of shadow -- it lifts up rapidly, and vanishes as she steps off it, and onto the Wyvern's shoulder.

She crosses her arms and grins, toothily.

<Pose Tracker> Yue Rohay has posed.

    "I suppose you could say that," Yue answers noncomittally to Cyre. "I am merely here..."

    Yue lifts her head, her lips pressed a little more firmly as she looks towards the assembled Gear. Her heart wrenches again when she sees the Skadi, the Eurydice... and the Nephele. As well as the Weltall, and Crescens, who she's far less familiar with. But on the other hand, Kaguya and Ambrosius are with her as well, so she wouldn't have to worry too much about Scathach's plan going awry...

    "I am here to be a disappointing adult today."

    The Aura's eyes flash green as it rises and steps out of its poor foliage cover, and takes a step as its wings menacingly fold--

    *SCREEEEEEE*

    --and promptly enter mechanical failure as it only half-unfolds and lets out a--

    *LA-HEEEEEE*

    --of a scream, before smoke starts coming out of it.

    "It is as she has said. This is a... 'trap'," she muses, as if her entrance wasn't just totally ruined. The Aura is facing in the direction of the Nephele.

    "Shall we?"

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

The fiendess responsible for this devious ambush reveals herself. The Huracan is silent in the face of the mighty, bellowing wyvern. Its pilot fixes Scathach with a thoughtful, utterly baffled stare. The words he speaks next come to his lips unbidden, as if summoned there by a deep and primal impulse, called by something utterly fundamental to Cyre's nature.

"...Who," Cyre asks, aloud, with his external speakers still turned way up, "...Is this lost sassy child?" The Huracan's head cranes toward Yue, then: "...Is she yours? I don't think this is the best place to take a pet for a walk, you know?"

There's a beat as the Huracan turns toward the shackled wyvern. "I don't know what's going on here," the shaman says to the others, "But it looks like they're trying to ambush us? Is... Is this a thing that happens a lot out here?" Yue confirms, and the Huracan shrugs. "It is what it is, ambush or not, we can't let these faker-dragons keep terrorizing Honeysday. Blow them up!" Cyre doesn't blow them up-- he certainly can. He has weapons that go boom! But he doesn't, not yet. Instead, he settles with just shooting the wyvern with a railgun.

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Scathach with KRSW-XIV Rail Cannon!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Scathach critically Guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's KRSW-XIV Rail Cannon for 66 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"Wait a minute! There were Gears hiding!!"

Crescens slows even further as Emeralda becomes momentarily taken aback by the sudden appearance of the Veruni Gears (she saw most of the Drifters' Gears even if she didn't recognize most of them). She hesitates, until two things happen that she can focus on, one after another.

"I'm not a child!" Emeralda practically yells into her speakers after Cyre speaks in a distinctly childlike tone of voice, before she reconsiders and corrects herself: "I'm not sassy! And I'm not lost! Fei is right there!!" Yes, it wasn't directed at her, but come on, she can't let that pass.

And second, the wyvern roars. Emeralda does something in the cockpit, judging by the sounds of moving that her still-active speakers echo until she remembers to turn them off; Crescens stretches out one of its wings, spreading its pinions like fingers, and swirling ice starts to form around the head of the shadow wyvern, squeezing the mouth closed. More rime starts to form on the sides of the shadowy dragon, though how effective it is is an open question...

"Bad dragon!" Emeralda banks Crescens to the left, trying to keep an eye on all the other Gears at once. Crescens' head pivots rapidly, getting each on visuals one after another.

GS: Emeralda Kasim has attacked Scathach with Ice Grip!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
GS: Scathach guards a hit from Emeralda Kasim's Ice Grip for 156 hit points!
GS: Hyper and Quick! applied to Emeralda Kasim!
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"Quick thinking," Kaguya's voice comes over the comms. "But we're quick, too."

From the forest comes a blast of rising plantlife, a trail of vines and flowers erupting forward until they swing up sharply at Weltall. Despite being made of plants and flowers, the branches that appear are plenty sharp enough to damage a Gear. An instant later, a great green Gear rushes forward, bulky and powerful with its thrusters speeding it along--to throw a Gear-scale fist at Skadi!

"There were Gears hiding! And now the one performing an ambush is me, Kaguya!!"

Kaguya laughs over radio, but then grows serious. "I mentioned strength. I want to see yours--both of you."

GS: Kaguya has attacked Fei Fong Wong with Bloom Rush!
GS: Kaguya has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Kaguya has attacked Kaguya with Dynamo Punch!
GS: Kaguya has completed her action.
GS: Kaguya has canceled their attack on Fei Fong Wong.
GS: Kaguya has canceled their attack on Kaguya.
GS: Kaguya has attacked Fei Fong Wong with Bloom Rush!
GS: Kaguya has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Kaguya has attacked Avril Vent Fleur with Dynamo Punch!
GS: Kaguya has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

One by one, Drifters filter into the forest. And then, Scathach springs the trap in the way in the way only she can - by loudly announcing her presence to them.

"It is time." Ambrosius remarks over the Veruni's private communications. "Do be careful - they should not be taken likely."

And then, as the last of the Drifters wanders in, the earth beneath their feet begins to rumble. The ground shakes... and then, suddenly, with a roar, the Golem Nimue bursts from the earth. It's a tall, slender thing, steel blue in color. Its long arms are tipped with sharp, segmented claws, and its bestial face stares down the nearest of the Gears. It raises one arm and the cannon in the palm fires a shot - a shot that misses narrowly, by intention, flying into the distance and shearing through the ground nearby like it was nothing.

He doesn't yet realise who the pilot of that Gear is - it might be a little awkward once he does.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Warning Shot!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: Gwen Whitlock takes a glancing hit from Ambrosius's Warning Shot for 0 hit points!
GS: Gwen Whitlock's Force Evade activates!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur guards a hit from Kaguya's Dynamo Punch for 135 hit points!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    Acacia had expected an ambush, she'd just had no idea of where exactly it might be coming from - so it's kind of a relief when the Veruni(?) woman just launches out of the bushes and into a speech, because it gives her something more to focus on than the rampaging Wyvern. Still, it's only ... kind of a relief. Because something about Scathach's mannerisms definitely feels dangerously familiar, akin to something locked away deep in Acacia's past, when she was a very different kind of kid.

    She has a feeling that if she revealed that, she'd be the most disappointing adult around here right now.

    "... I'm going after the Aura," she informs everyone else via her radio, and then lands to face the aforementioned Gear, watching with a glum look on her face as its wings snap and nearly tear. "You know, you keep saying that, but I've yet to actually believe it," she grumbles in a quietly protective way. "But you've really gotta get someone to fix that poor thing up already."

    She hesitates when Yue calls her forwards, her hand tightening on the control sticks of her Gear as she gives herself just enough time to breathe in and out, slowly and evenly. It's not that she thinks Yue will do anything truly dangerous to her - but she's got her pride to think of, and she'd at least like to make sure she can hold up to the Veruni's expectations.

    That, and she wants to be ready in case the Aura outright bursts into flames again, which is looking increasingly likely.

    Still, she's fought the Aura enough to know that the best way to try to handle Yue is not to hang back too much, and that pressing forward on the attack helps ensure that Yue can't pull out any of her weirder tricks. When she moves, it's to sweep the Nephele forward and in an arc, concentrating as the Gear pools its hands. A spark of blue light shines between them, and the unexpected attack is a barrage of ice towards the overheating, smoking sections of the Aura's wings.

    ... it appears to be a clumsy attempt to put the smoke out, never mind that it risks damaging the metal. Acacia's version of 'killing them with kindness', perhaps.

GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Yue Rohay with Insult and Injury!
GS: Acacia Saitani has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay takes a glancing hit from Acacia Saitani's Insult and Injury for 144 hit points!
GS: Disease! applied to Yue Rohay!
GS: Fei Fong Wong takes a solid hit from Kaguya's Bloom Rush for 260 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    Halcyon stops, its pilot blinking at Scathach's display of might. "Oh man. It's like... Zed, all over again. Like, not entirely Zed, obviously, but man... maybe a distant relative?"

    Wait, is she Hyadean?

    The appearance of Yue disproves that theory very quickly. "Oh... Yue..." The sound is a breath of equal parts recognition and resignation.

    Adding more whip cream to the disappointment pie is the appearance of Kaguya, further solidifying what's going on.

    .... It's the Veruni.

    "What in the world is goin' on here, then? What's this all about? Can't we just settle this all peaceful-like?"

    A shot from another party answers Gwen's reply, whether intentionally or not. "Well, be that way, then!"

    With some effort towards manipulating several switches and levers, Gwen produces her answer to this answer: by attempting to deposit the full weight of her Gear straight on the seeming source of the shot.

    She, of course, does not know this is Ambrosius.

    It... wouldn't change anything, but it would be awkward.

GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Ambrosius with Stamp Act!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

The Huracan's railgun fires, a blinding streak of light and rolling concussive wave that distorts the very air. The Wyvern raises one huge claw -- and the supersonic round hits it, and then comes to a stop, as the shadow engulfs it, slows it, and then crushes it. Fire explodes between its claws.

"I," Scathach yells, "am not a sassy child!" She does, to her credit, look to be in her late teens or early twenties. Even if her dress has a certain ridiculously gothy quality, with its dark blues, blacks, reds, and a few excess belts. "I am Scathach, the Shadow Mage! Commander of the night! Mistress of the umbral calami--"

Ice slams into the Wyvern's head, and knocks it backward. It slams into a tree, and Scathach wobbles on the shoulder -- but seems to have a hard time falling off, as she bounces back. She clutches the metal collar, with a gloved hand.

And she glowers. "Very well! I will demonstrate the eldritch draconic fury... of my expertly crafted SHADOW! WYVERN!"

She makes sure to enunciate every last syllable.

And then the Wyvern soars forward. It shoots up at Crescens, which got ahead of the rest -- and it slams its large, meaty (or shadow-meaty) tail at the side of the strange armless Gear. Its feet slam into the ground, and then it raises up a clawed arm.

And it rakes that claw down Huracan, with a red-tinged streak of shadow left in its wake!

GS: Scathach has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Tail Smash!
GS: Scathach has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Wyvern Claw Strike!
GS: Scathach has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Scathach has completed her action.
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Scathach's Wyvern Claw Strike for 298 hit points!
GS: Emeralda Kasim takes a glancing hit from Scathach's Tail Smash for 141 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Scathach!
GS: FP up!
GS: CRITICAL! Ambrosius takes a solid hit from Gwen Whitlock's Stamp Act for 355 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"Um." Fei says to the cackling Scathach. He has no idea who this person is, why they are cackling, why they are declaring victory, or really what's going on here anymore. He thought it was just a bunch off monsters roaming out of their territory, but now it seems like it's not just that but rather some kind of scheme? Some kind of nefarious plot? Someone cackling aboout humans and whatnot?

"Uh." He says. The goofiness feels out of place to him what with the surprising power packed behind these creatures. "Yeah I'm right here. Though to be honest, I am pretty lost here. Not in the 'I don't know where I am' sense but in the 'what is going on' sense? Anyway, if Emmy's being sassy its probably well earned because she's a good kid and--"

KAGUYAED!!

Weltall is Kaguyaed right in the chin and with enough force that it gets knocked flat onto its back, sparking considerably from the system damage as the cameras stutter from the impact.

"Aw geeze." Fei says. "I know the arms race is eternal but it's really hard to keep up with Hammer's prices."

He hops Weltall back up to his feet and adds, "Mine? What about...mine?" He asks. "i'm not really very strong but--okay I guess!"

He jogs forward and throws a Weltall series of palm strikes for Kaguya's green gear.

GS: Fei Fong Wong has attacked Kaguya with Hazen!
GS: Fei Fong Wong has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Fei Fong Wong has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Distracted -- by the Wyvern, of all things -- Avril only barely parses the little tease sent her way, instead continuing to gaze at her display pensively within her Gear. "Oh? What is a 'flock of mutton'?" she answers, a touch absently.

    Before noting the collars. These are... someone's pets?

    And, that isn't the least of it. What Cyre has just spotted -- what Avril thinks she can see...

    "...Yue..." she murmurs, barely above a breath.

    She hopes she's wrong. But she knows she isn't.

    The Skadi, perhaps at Rebecca's suggestion, angles back half a step. That is precisely as far as she gets, as far as is possible before suddenly a woman emerges from the forest.

    "A trap?" She turns, facing the forest dead-on.
    The Wyverns aren't truly flesh and blood. But those are the least of their problems. There are Gears. Golems. Veruni.

    Over external speakers now, she diverts her conversation: "But why have you--"

    Her answer is, apparently a fist to the face.
    Or rather, a fist to the Skadi's left forearm, as she (a natural, it seems, or is that just muscle memory?) deflects the strike; cracks spider along the Skadi's only recently replaced plating. She isn't the only one Kaguya lashes out against: Fei, too, is struck, landing close to her. "Fei--" But he rises, nontheless, and her attention turns back to her attacker.

    "...Kaguya? Why are you... why are any of you doing this?" Just the other day... just the other day, in fact, they had been allies of a sort.

    Because she wants to see their -- her -- strength.

    "...My strength." Her grasp eases on the controls. Within the cockpit of the Skadi, Avril bows her head, as if in silent meditation.

    "...Very well. Then, you shall witness it! Fei, let us go, together!"

    She pulls Gambanteinn free with a scream of steel on steal, the massive blade's blunted edge catching the sun. Charging for Kaguya, she bears it in both hands before it transitions into a lunge, a swing for Queklain.

GS: Avril Vent Fleur has attacked Kaguya with Shearing Blossom!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"It's... what sheep become on the dinner table." Rebecca replies, a little sheepishly, because she had to explain her sheep joke.

-=-=-

"Can't be good either way." Before replying to Avril's suggestion of a trap with, "Might be. I don't feel good about this mission anymore... What in the..."

The Eurydice points its ARM at Scathach defensively as the Veruni rises up on a column of shadow - torn between pointing it at the Wyvern and her.

"Ambush!"

Backing her Gear up, her heart starts to pound in her chest. Did they come here for Avril? Is that their objective? Were they foolish enough to fall into a Veruni trap?

"No no no- not like this...!"

Mentally beating herself up, on it, another voice crackles over the comms. And Rebecca suddenly has the Eurydice start to aim at her in a sort of defensive paranoia.

"Kaguya! Is this some kind of game to you?!"

Rebecca shouts, nerves thoroughly wracked. The on again off again ally being part of this ambush just turning her preconceptions on their head.

And then another familiar voice, forces her to rapidly pivot the Eurydice towards the oncoming threat.

"I know that voice..."

The SCREEE of wings menacingly fold - before a system failure and a scream finally prompt her to act - her nerves shot to the point where she's just reacting to the perceived threat, and no longer understanding that it was just a system failure.

Rebecca pulls the trigger. And her Gear responds by snapping the sidearm. A shell erupts with a KRAK-THOOM of force and hurtles down towards the Aura just as it approaches the Nephele, streaming a tracer of crimson behind it.

It's only then that Rebecca remembers that she'd had it loaded with anti-personnel ammunition for the Wyvern.

That doesn't necessarily mean its useless against a Gear though. If it strikes the Aura, it would fragment, shredding outward from the point of impact.

"I know I'm disappointed! I thought we had an understanding! You said you didn't have any interest in this Avril! What are you doing ambushing us with the Veruni!?"

GS: Rebecca Streisand has attacked Yue Rohay with Heart Seeker!
GS: Rebecca Streisand has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay completely evades a hit from Rebecca Streisand's Heart Seeker!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

It takes Ambrosius a second to register the voice of the pilot who's Gear he attacked. It puts him off guard for just a moment - but even that is long enough for Gwen to retaliate, slamming her Gear into his machine with enough force to send the Nimue toppling backward through the trees.

"...Miss Whitlock." Ambrosius observes, the Nimue rising. "I did not expect to see you here. ...My apologies - if you are here, then we must fight."

The Nimue raises a hand again. This time, Ambrosius doesn't intend to miss - though he doesn't aim to destroy, either. The palm cannon fires off a beam of bright green corrosive energy - the kind that'll quickly eat away at a Gear's armor if it makes contact.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Corrosive Beam!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: Kaguya guards a hit from Fei Fong Wong's Hazen for 163 hit points!
GS: Kaguya's Force Guard activates!
GS: FP up!
GS: Kaguya critically Guards a hit from Avril Vent Fleur's Shearing Blossom for 55 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Wh-- no, not you Emeralda! I know you're a very good girl, whose father is definitely extremely proud of her," who also is not at all utterly terrifying. It's not like Fei Fong Wong is some kind of living incarnation of destruction hiding behind the mask of a completely ordinary dragon-slaying slacker.

Incidentally, why isn't he helping them fight this thing?

"Hm," Cyre observes as his railgun slug *explodes* into the shadow wyvern's claws... To basically no effect!? "This could be a problem."

It is, in fact, problem.

"Oh, you're one of those," Cyre observes as the wyvern's claw comes crashing down hard-- into the Huracan's shield. Metal screams as a spray of sparks erupts from underneath the wyvern's claws. The lightweight gear reels back, metal shavings carved right out of its shield raining down into the grassy pasture. "Ghh- well, miss darkness beyond blackest pitch, lady deeper than the deepest dark, I think you need to..."

"LIGHTEN UP!" There's a sound like a *cla-clack* as a half-dozen micro-missile pods open up all across the Huracan's frame. Each one launches a trio of guided projectiles...

With adorable ':3's painted onto the front end.

They each burst into very bright explosions.

You didn't think Cyre was just making a clever pun, did you?

(He was, because he's awful)

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz spends 1 Combo on Poison!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Scathach with NY-4N Micromissile Swarm!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Gwen Whitlock guards a hit from Ambrosius's Corrosive Beam for 132 hit points!
GS: Corrode! applied to Gwen Whitlock!
GS: Gwen Whitlock's Force Guard activates!
GS: Scathach guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's NY-4N Micromissile Swarm for 190 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to Scathach!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim sounds like a kid, so perhaps it made sense for her to assume it was directed at her. "Well, good! Also, hi Cyre," Emeralda adds, because she's polite.

She is also pleased to hear Fei say she's a good kid, but she's not going to admit to it over the radio. Instead: "Wow, a shadow mage? Mistress of the Umbral Calami? Is that like a salami?"

As it turns out, it's easy to keep talking while you're piloting if you're Emeralda, because her barrage of words does nothing to slow Crescens' movements. The wyvern is too big, and moving too fast, for Emeralda to completely bail out of the way of, but she rolls with the blow, allowing Crescens to be launched upward and away by accelerating in the direction she was already being launched.

A couple moments later, and she drops back down in a steep dive, not trying to go through the wyvern so much as hit it and bounce off, regaining the air. Crescens can apparently fly but Emeralda is preferring to keep it closer to the ground right now, for whatever reason. Maybe it maneuvers better lower?

<Pose Tracker> Yue Rohay has posed.

    "She is not a child... and she is not mine either," Yue answers Cyre rather quietly.

    But she's got her hands full before long -- because Acacia's stepping up after her. She gives her the usual lip -- that she doesn't believe it, whether it's orders or being disappointing.

    "If it were truly repaired, perhaps it would only be a hazard to Filgaia," Yue offers as an answer to Acacia.

    Gwen asks if they can settle them all peaceful-like. "Unfortunately, I do not believe that is possible today, Gwen."

    A pause, and rather privately to Ambrosius:

    "Ambrosius... do not risk yourself or defy orders, but take care with that one too. I owe Frea a favour."

    There's only so much talk she can do, because Yue senses the Nepehle sweeping forward, the Gear pooling its hands and--

    "So... you have learnt the fundaments of channeling Ether into the Gear."

    The ice skims straight on through and frosts the rest of the wing; what fire is in there does stop smoking, though it comes with significant damage to the appendage as well.

    Rebecca challenges her as well, loading anti-personnel ammunition that prompts Yue to narrow her eyes in recognition of its danger--

    "I am still a Veruni, Rebecca," Yue answers. She pauses, thinking of how much that sentence hurts, even as she raises a... half-melted shield and hides behind it; the ammunition RINGS against the surface and further shatters what little it's useful for anymore.

    "You must know it is not simple. Not for me... nor for Avril either. Being 'this' Avril, and 'that' Avril... ...you once said..."

    A pause, as she interrupts that thought; the Gear's eyes flash again as it launches into... er, well, action. Action... of a kind. Which is--

                           CAST IN THE NAME OF SHAL
                              YE SHAL BE AS GODS

    --to pop open its plates, as a small horde of Tiny Shals (shal!) leap out and start bobbling and wandering around the Nephele and Eurydice and doing HORRIBLE things like--

    *poip*

    --scribbling on their paint job with cute drawings! And otherwise being a distraction. One of them even holds up a flower, and another is playing paper airplanes.

GS: Yue Rohay has attacked Acacia Saitani with DIY Pop Knight!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has attacked Scathach with Devil Bird!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay has attacked Rebecca Streisand with DIY Shock Soldier!
GS: Yue Rohay has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Yue Rohay has completed her action.
GS: Rebecca Streisand takes a glancing hit from Yue Rohay's DIY Shock Soldier for 88 hit points!
GS: Slow! applied to Rebecca Streisand!
GS: FP up!
GS: Scathach guards a hit from Emeralda Kasim's Devil Bird for 170 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Scathach!
GS: FP up!
GS: Acacia Saitani completely evades a hit from Yue Rohay's DIY Pop Knight!
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"I mean, I'm kind of a tech head. I'm always upgrading," Kaguya offers Fei. "If you show me what you can do, hey..." As he's rising, Kaguya gets a question. "No," Kaguya answers Rebecca. "I'm completely serious. My projections can't proceed without more data." She focuses on Avril as her Gear comes out into the open, "...You know how it is. Just like on Spira, I've got a job to do." And from here, it's Weltall's chance to counterattack first; Kaguya works the controls on her Gear, but primarily just shifts the machine's heavily-armored shoulder into the blows, relying on armor plating to withstand. Nevertheless the plating buckles in places; that spot won't protect another attack.

There's a need for a differnt kind of defense against avril's weapon, and the passive blade comes at her--Kaguya swings forward with the other arm, and sacrifices a large piece of plating on her forearm to deflect the attack from the rest of her important systems; slashed through almost completely, she pulls back and writes it off. Instead, a gun rises from a compartment on the other arm, and as she moves back from Avril, she fires it at Fei's Weltall. It's a fairly ordinary assault rifle just very very big.

For Avril insteadd, she finishes maneuvering, and suddenly her thrusters on the other leg fire at full blast, propelling the Gear's foot towards Skadi's midsection.

"So don't hold back!"

GS: Kaguya has attacked Fei Fong Wong with ST-AG 92 Assault Rifle!
GS: Kaguya has attacked Avril Vent Fleur with Thruster Kick!
GS: Kaguya has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "Ambrosius," Gwen says, at the same time Ambrosius says hers. "..... Fancy seein' you here."

    'Unfortunately, I do not believe that is possible today, Gwen.'
    'My apologies - if you are here, then we must fight.'

    "... Do we, though?" The rhetorical tone of the question is made further clear by the way Gwen sets the Halcyon a set amount of distance back, its arms held up to shield the cockpit from the bright corrosive energy.

    Gwen has thankfully taken her hand off the intercom button when she begins to swear at the warning sensors going off, her gear arms attempting to flip the reminder of.

    The intercom crackles back on. "Apology's noted, though." Panels slide off on the sides of the gear, issuing an expulsion of steam as the inner workings begin to whirr to life.

    "Let's, uh, let's get this over with, then?"

GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Breakdown!
GS: Gwen Whitlock takes 44 damage from Corrode!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: Gwen Whitlock takes a solid hit from Gwen Whitlock's Breakdown for 250 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Gwen Whitlock!
GS: Gwen Whitlock assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Fei Fong Wong guards a hit from Kaguya's ST-AG 92 Assault Rifle for 193 hit points!
GS: Fei Fong Wong's Force Guard activates!
<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

The missiles slam into the Wyvern, knocking the thing backward. Scathach shouts with an incoherent type of rage, having gotten a glimpse of the cute little faces drawn on the warheads of each micro-missile. For a moment, though, the shadowy beast is lost behind a a dozen explosions.

Then the flame and smoke clear, as it beats its wings and swishes its tail. Its body shows places where it has ripples in it, disruptions caused by the explosions that are slow to mend.

"IT IS NOT LIKE A SALAMI!"

Emeralda drops her Gear down, and Crescens slams into the Wyvern from above. Scathach yelps and hugs onto the Wyvern's neck as it belly-skids across the forest floor. A couple of trees are felled, before it claws its way back to its feet. The Wyvern shrieks, bellowing terrifically. Then, it opens its mouth wider.

"Observe! The shadow that grips your souls and IS NOTHING LIKE PROCESSED MEAT!" Scathach yells. The Wyvern's mouth fills with a red glow -- and then looses three, rapid-fire bursts of fire that explode into balls of cinder, smoke,, and flame on impact. Those fly at Crescens.

And the Wyvern flies past, soaring at high speed, and comes careening towards the Huracan, trying to smash into it. Scathach has to grip tight as it takes off.

GS: Scathach enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Scathach has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Cinder Strafe!
GS: Scathach has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Scathach spends 1 Combo on Interrupt!
GS: Scathach has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with High-Speed Bodyslam!
GS: Scathach takes 26 damage from Poison!
GS: Scathach has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "Ambrosius," Gwen says, at the same time Ambrosius says hers. "..... Fancy seein' you here."

    'Unfortunately, I do not believe that is possible today, Gwen.'
    'My apologies - if you are here, then we must fight.'

    "... Do we, though?" The rhetorical tone of the question is made further clear by the way Gwen sets the Halcyon a set amount of distance back, its arms held up to shield the cockpit from the bright corrosive energy.

    Gwen has thankfully taken her hand off the intercom button when she begins to swear at the warning sensors going off, her gear arms attempting to flip the reminder of.

    The intercom crackles back on. "Apology's noted, though." Panels slide off on the sides of the gear, issuing an expulsion of steam as the inner workings begin to whirr to life.

    "Let's, uh, let's get this over with, then?" She then rushes forward at full speed, fully intending on clocking the poor Veruni.

GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Ambrosius with Breakdown!
GS: Gwen Whitlock takes 54 damage from Corrode!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: Ambrosius guards a hit from Gwen Whitlock's Breakdown for 124 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Gwen Whitlock!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei says, "Well, good!" simultaneously with Emeralda. He isn't helping fight the dragon because he is getting his ass beat by Kaguya. It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it or she'll just go after someone else and Fei knows he is good for it.

He looks towards Avril--well her gear rather. He likes Avril and, more than that, he trusts her. Semi-amnesia buddies with spooky past alter egos gotta stick together!

"Yeah."He says to her. "We've got this."

As soon as he says this, Kaguya basts several chunks of armor off of Weltall's chest plating.

"We've probably got this!" Fei corrects as he leaps his gear into the air and throws his feet down rapidly for the green gear's head in a seris of rapid strikes. It's definitely a stranger way to fight than just using guns and fists.

"I don't know," Fei says to Kaguya. "If this would really qualify as lab conditions. This seems more like barely controlled chaos to me. Yeah, pretty sure it's that not like ideal data driven science--"

GS: Emeralda Kasim guards a hit from Scathach's Cinder Strafe for 171 hit points!
GS: FP up!
GS: Fei Fong Wong has attacked Kaguya with Reppu!
GS: Fei Fong Wong has completed his action.
GS: Avril Vent Fleur takes a solid hit from Kaguya's Thruster Kick for 222 hit points!
GS: Riposte! applied to Kaguya!
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


Her Gear has the barrel of its ARM continually pointed at Yue, a wisp of smoke obscuring that moment when her shot shatters against the shield.

"Yeah."

The girl hyperventilates, sucking in one breath after another as she tries to get a handle on her nerves.

"Guess I do at that. Stupid of me to think that someone would ever let some old grudge go."

A hatch pops open on Yue's gear, and Rebecca starts snapping switches. "Stupid..." She says again, as she decides she must be some naive little kid for believing otherwise.

Suddenly as the Tiny Shals start surrounding her.

"Hey get away - get! I don't want to step on you! I'll do it!"

Her Gear stamps around wildly as if to try to escape the annoying Shals, but doesn't manage to. It's like someone trying to avoid stepping on flowers in a field. For all of her threat, she never lets her Gear stamp down on a single one.

Then suddenly her tone changes from threatening to conciliatory

"Please? Dean would never forgive me if I stepped on a golem..."

Rebecca notes one of them scribbling on a leg.

"Hey that's crossing the line! No vandalism! You little... delinquent golems!"

It does have the effect of at least getting her to refocus in. As suddenly she realizes how easily she was distracted as Kaguya announces frustratingly little of her motive.

"Data?! Projections!? What's that got to do with Avril?"

Suddenly she snaps down a hand on her Artificial Medium. A blue Hexagon as energy rises up around her as she faces the Aura again.

"Anyhow let's make things real simple."

The ground around the Aura rumbles, before suddenly a wellspring of brackish water geysers out of the ground like a drill that just struck oil. That sudden violent blast of water attempting to smash into the Aura from below.

"You're not committing Regicide ever again. Not while I'm around!"

GS: Rebecca Streisand has attacked Yue Rohay with Stygian Blast!
GS: Rebecca Streisand has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Rebecca Streisand has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay takes a glancing hit from Rebecca Streisand's Stygian Blast for 134 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

"I understand - I am aware of the situation." Ambrosius replies privately to Yue. "This is not our first encounter. I do not relish fighting Miss Whitlock again... but as you say, I must not defy orders."

And then, Gwen. 'Do we, though?', she asks. Ambrosius is quiet for a moment.

"I am afraid so." He replies, with a hint of resignation. And, to her desire to finish this quickly, "...Indeed."

Gwen rushes him at full speed, then, coming in for a melee attack. This time, Ambrosius is ready for her charge - one of the Nimue's arms rises to intercept the attack. There's the sound of grinding metal as the two machines connect, the Nimue being pushed back by the force of the punch. It backs away before raising its arms up... but, rather then going in for a direct attack, the Nimue buries its claws into the ground.

This is followed shortly after by the sound of rushing water underground, before suddenly a massive geyser bursts up through the ground beneath Gwen's Gear with great force.

It'll take a second for the claws to retract - the Nimue will be vulnerable during that time... but the sound of rushing water is still audible beneath the ground.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Burst Geyser!
GS: Ambrosius enters a Counter stance!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: Kaguya takes a solid hit from Fei Fong Wong's Reppu for 184 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Kaguya!
GS: Kaguya enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Gwen Whitlock critically Guards a hit from Ambrosius's Burst Geyser for 63 hit points!
GS: Gwen Whitlock's Force Guard activates!
GS: Gwen Whitlock enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Infect!! All debuffs' duration extended by 2 rounds!!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"I think salami is dried, not processed...?" This is everything Emeralda knows about salami (besides the fact that she likes it on a cheese sandwich, but that doesn't seem helpful to add).

Though she does kind of want a sandwich now.

Emeralda spares a glance at Weltall and almost gets her Gear exploded for her trouble. A trio of fireballs lances straight at the hovering Crescens, but Emeralda's reactions are good; Crescens curls its wings in front of its torso almost like a shield, and two of the balls of flame detonate against them, leaving scorched patches of metal feathers and sending it drifting backwards from the force of the explosions.

But the third...

Emeralda has, somehow, caught it. A strange ripple of Ether, detectable to the Veruni, as she crushes it in front of Crescens, the flame dispersing with a cough of smoke. But there's still the impending feeling of Ether around Crescens, channeled through both the pilot and the Gear itself.

"I can do better!" she calls back. "Maybe I should be the wizard instead! Do I get a hat? Or a dress like that? I don't think I can wear a dress like that."

Emeralda releases the flame, and a little spark of white-red light flies right back to the wyvern. On contact, it erupts into a pillar of flame that rises upward, forming a volcano-like plume; little fireballs fall down and around it, scattering. Fortunately it does not create a forest fire, though there are a few smouldering patches of hillside, the largest of which Emeralda lands on and has Crescens jump on a few times to put out.

GS: Emeralda Kasim has attacked Scathach with Thermo Geist!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
GS: Scathach guards a hit from Emeralda Kasim's Thermo Geist for 236 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    "Wait, 'crafted' Wyvern?" Acacia mutters to herself, her eyebrows raising up just enough in surprise as she manages to catch Scathach's yell. She's not exactly sure whether she should take that at face value or whether it's just a bit of a catchphrase from the overeager Veruni, but it's something she scribbles down at the back of her mind for later.

    Evidently, she can rely on Rebecca to say the things that she's learning to hold back. Which... makes her feel a little nostalgic, really. She's pretty sure at one point that she was that sort of idealistic - that that was why she went into journalism in the first place. But since then, she's seen and encountered enough that she's ended up very cautious - not quite jaded, but a step or two off of it.

    It makes her eyes prick a little, and she draws out a tiny little breath of uncertainty, covered by Yue's relatively gentle lecture to Rebecca.

    "If it were truly repaired, at least I'd worry about you a little less," the reporter shoots back to Yue just as quickly, as if she were expecting the reply - but she can't help the soft puff of pride that comes afterwards as her opponent compliments her Ether usage. "I'm getting there. Bit by bit, right?"

    The horde of Tiny Shals bear down on her Gear, but... they seem to recognize it as a companion to the Aura. When they clamber over its frame, it's more akin to a pack of joyful dogs seeing a friend for the first time in ages, leaping and climbing until there's an array of them sat confortably on the Nephele's shoulders.

    She winces as Rebecca shouts again, drawing out a breath as she thinks of Minder, of the girl's worries for Yue set against Yue's need to keep her safe. "... I understand you're kind of stuck here... but like I said before, that's okay. If I need to stop you again, I'll just stop you again. Her bravado doesn't quite feel fully-formed, but there's a sense of belief behind it that wasn't quite there before.

    She huffs under her breath, as the Nephele twists around, taking some care not to dislodge too many of the Tiny Shals. A two-pronged spike rotates out of one wrist, electricity crackling between the prongs - and she thrusts the fist forwards to propel a bolt of lightning forwards, following up on Rebecca's water-based attack with the charge.

GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Yue Rohay with Ixion Bolt!
GS: Acacia Saitani has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay takes a glancing hit from Acacia Saitani's Ixion Bolt for 143 hit points!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Have they come for her?

    That's an open and unavoidable question. Had Kaguya told them she was in Honeysday, assisting? Or, possibly, had someone else noticed that the missing queen had been present in town and passed along word, somehow? Or...
    A chill has begun to crawl its way down her spine. No, not yet. She cannot return just yet. --Perhaps it might be possible to yet fight their way through and escape--

    Until Kaguya engages her directly, removing all (immediate) hope of that. Separated from Rebecca in the ensuing melee and with the pressing threat of Queklain to wrangle with, they both need to stand their grounds.

    "Rebecca," she transmits over private channels, "I do not intend to give in, if that is their aim. If it becomes necessary, please retreat."

    For now, she knows only that Kaguya has designs on seeing her 'power'.

    A hint, perhaps, of that thing that the Veruni want from her--
    The thing that made their Ice Queen such a dreaded name, once upon a time.

    Her blade impacts weightily, taking with it that section of plating. But it isn't close to enough: it was merely a sacrificial lamb, so to speak. Somehow, Avril knows that's all it was, can feel it all the way down into her bones.

    'My projections can't proceed without more data.'

    "Data?" Avril utters, before Kaguya goes on. "Harrassing the villagers and robbing them of their mutton? This is truly what you must be doing?"

    There is a pause as Fei, too, voices the issues with Kaguya's aims here and now. "What are you doing, Kaguya?" she asks again. "What are you truly doing here?"

    The kick might be a response, of a sort: it strikes Skadi dead-on, sending the lighter-frame Gear stumbling backwards to nearly fall heavily atop the fields; the Gear compensates for its loss of balance, angling the blade as a counterweight as Avril rights herself.
    And then keeps going, using the momentum in time with the verniers to jolt herself forward, to align herself with Fei's Weltall on the field. "Here," she says, positioning herself carefully on the field. "Please stay in formation with me, Fei, and I will lend you what aid I am able."

    Perhaps this might just be an advantageous position for the both of them, with her and her blade covering his flank and ready to return whatever Kaguya might deal out...!

GS: Avril Vent Fleur spends 1 Combo on Reload!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur has attacked Fei Fong Wong with Twinflower Maneuver!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Yue Rohay has posed.

    Rebecca calls it a grudge. Is it a grudge? She searches her heart just for a moment for an answer, but she doesn't find one. She feels so helplessly lost, when it comes to Avril.

    "... I suppose so," Yue answers. "A grudge... it haunts you, no matter how much you wish to try to escape it, does it not?"

    Rebecca's Gear creates a spike of sensor readings around the Aura; Yue grimaces for a moment, and murmurs, "A Ley surge..."

    She tries to step out of the way. An actuator goes *HISS* and fails to move, as the rest of the Gear gets pummeled and gets flung out of the woods and down to one knee with a skid.

    The Veruni grimaces through the impact of her shock absorber-less cockpit; there's a groan as something turns a little red through her bandages.

    Then Acacia's thunder comes, electricity flying and nearly frying the Aura through to the cockpit -- a visible and emergency action as an Ether-barrier erupts on one side of the Gear, possibly cast by the actual pilot herself.

    "That is good, Acacia... that is a resolve you will need to help Marivel through this difficult time."

    A shaky breath, as she looks back towards the Eurydice.

    It is at this time that Yue launches her counterattack -- the Aura... still doesn't display any weapons, just -- gag props like the Tiny Shals, who are retreating in the wake of Rebecca's protests! And jumping away from Acacia too.

    The sound of rapid typing can be heard inside cockpit, even as she awaits her opponent's responses.

    "You once said to me that you accept 'both' Avrils. Do you understand what doing that for someone truly means?"

    There is a glow from the Aura's chest gem... and slowly-- a reverberating presence echoes throughout the woods; Rebecca and Acacia both might notice their sorcerous implements start to flicker and weaken, as Yue deploys a home-made jammer to stymie the offense.

GS: Yue Rohay has attacked Acacia Saitani with Homebrew Jammer!
GS: Yue Rohay enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Yue Rohay has attacked Rebecca Streisand with Homebrew Jammer!
GS: Yue Rohay has completed her action.
GS: Rebecca Streisand completely evades a hit from Yue Rohay's Homebrew Jammer!
GS: Rebecca Streisand's Force Evade activates!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a glancing hit from Scathach's High-Speed Bodyslam for 113 hit points!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has lost 2 Combo from Interrupt!
GS: Fei Fong Wong takes a solid hit from Avril Vent Fleur's Twinflower Maneuver for 0 hit points!
GS: Riposte! applied to Avril Vent Fleur!
GS: Reload! Fei Fong Wong gains 15 extra FP from Avril Vent Fleur!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Acacia Saitani takes a solid hit from Yue Rohay's Homebrew Jammer for 156 hit points!
GS: Weaken! applied to Acacia Saitani!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    It is perhaps a blessing that Frea sees the frequent clashes Gwen has with fellow Veruni as 'building character'.

    Translation: 'Don't kill her.'

    Beyond that, her influence would become too evident, and possibly invite the wrath of far more dangerous leaders.

    "... Yeah. I know." Gwen has only met Volsung once, but that was all she needed to understand exactly what sort of hold he had. It was a dangerous sort of charisma, reinforced by powers beyond what Gwen was expecting, even for the Veruni's leader.

    Metal grinds against metal, the remnants of that corrosive energy still working at the metal exteriors of Halycon's arms. "Why are you guys here? Why are you tryin' to lure Drifters in?"

    If the question has already been answered, Gwen is too focused on piloting to really take stock of what's being said around her.

    Backing away as Ambrosius does the same, Gwen sees the claws of the Nimue go into the earth and reacts, rushing forward again in order to stop Ambrosius in his tracks.

    She's not fast enough. "Ghgh!" The Halcyon is blown into the air, its pilot suddenly aware of every strap holding her into her seat as the gear comes tumbling down.

    Urging her Gear to her feet, Gwen directs Halycon to direct a fist towards Nimue, the hand rotating off to reveal a compartment for a spear inside. With a burst of smoke, the spear fires, electricity arcing across its metal surface. "Ngh!"

GS: Gwen Whitlock enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Ambrosius with Sting Jet!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: COUNTER! Ambrosius counterattacks Gwen Whitlockwith Counter Attack!
GS: Ambrosius takes a solid hit from Gwen Whitlock's Sting Jet for 218 hit points!
GS: Gwen Whitlock completely evades a hit from Ambrosius's Counter Attack!
GS: Gwen Whitlock's Force Evade activates!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

His missiles explode in a cloud of rolling thunder, and Cyre just smiles like he's got the PERFECT follow up to Scathach's speechless fury. "What's wrong," he says with a cheshire grin, "Cat got your tongue?"

He regrets saying what he does basically immediately. The Huracan's shield, busted as it is, can only deflect the Shadow Wyvern's bodyslam by taking extreme measures. Hidden within the shield, a set of energy capacitors flip open and discharge, blasting the two apart before the Wyvern can smash the Huracan into the ground.

"I mean," Cyre shrugs, which isn't exactly properly reflected by the Huracan's metal frame. And is also very painful, because the entire inside of the gear is shaking hard enough to bruise his kidneys. "It's kind of like a salami. In that it's meat, and you made it, so it's processed meat. Right?

Not... Not exactly.

...

Cyre discretely pushes a red button. A pair of gunports on the Huracan's shoulders hinge open. With a sudden crack, they discharge a pair of kinetic rods at incredible speeds. Not railgun rounds, but heavy ceramic rods that splinter painfully on contact!

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Scathach with EVA-01-F Impact Bolt!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Scathach guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's EVA-01-F Impact Bolt for 138 hit points!
GS: Break! applied to Scathach!
<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

"She caught it!" Scathach says, a little hoarsely, as she sees the way Crescens -- somehow -- stopped it with her own Ether. Her eyes widen, sharply, as the fireball swings back. The pillar of fire explodes underneath the Wyvern, the blast echoing upward. Scathach manages to duck aside from some embers that fly off.

The body of the Shadow Wyvern, though, looks worse for the wear; here and there, it has patches torn away, which glow. Other parts flicker between solid and translucent, before finally fixing in place.

It turns, to face the Huracan -- and Scathach's expression screws up. "It is nothing like a salami! Now, then--Shadow Wyvern! Destr--oh crap!"

She hugs against the neck, as the two rods slam into the shadowy flesh of the Wyvern, piercing through, and shattering. The Wyvern stumbles, before righting itself. Then, it flies forward. Once again, one of the foreclaws slams down at Huracan. The slash cuts down, as the Wyvern's wings beat, and it flies straight upward. The draconic thing turns its head down.

"Let us see what you can do... with this!" Scathach shouts into the wind.

The Wyvern opens its jaws -- and breaths down a cone of cinders and flame, that scar across the ground before rushing for Crescens and trying to engulf it. When it closes its jaw, smoke and cinders puff away.

And then it SHRIEKS, before it falls into a dive, tries to slam into Crescens -- and then ram Crescens, in turn, into Huracan, before kicking away.

GS: Scathach has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Wyvern Claw Strike!
GS: Scathach has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Scathach spends 1 Combo on Link!
GS: Formation! Scathach has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Cinder Bombard!
GS: Scathach has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Scathach has launched an attack Link!
GS: Scathach spends 3 Combo on Gatling, loading 3 into Gatling!
GS: Formation! Scathach has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Terror Dive!
GS: Scathach has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Emeralda Kasim guards a hit from Scathach's Cinder Bombard for 223 hit points!
GS: Scathach assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Scathach takes 19 damage from Poison!
GS: Disrupt and Poison expired!
GS: Scathach has completed her action.
GS: Emeralda Kasim takes a glancing hit from Scathach's Terror Dive for 251 hit points!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz completely evades a hit from Scathach's Wyvern Claw Strike!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


The idea of Avril telling her retreat, suddenly causes her heart to skip a beat.

Maybe she isn't saying it outright... but sometimes a girl just wants to hear...

The thought though is sobering, as she flips the comm over to that channel.

"Because the smart thing to do would be to retreat and stage a rescue right?"

Rebecca says calmly. Like she's on board with the idea.

"That's not happening. Not without you."

She says, her tone firm, as if she's resolved on this point.

"I can cover you if you need to break for it." She says, even having heard Avril's statement she has no intention of submission, "Then I'll be right behind you."

Yue's response causes her to flip back. "That's what I've heard. Can't say I've ever held a grudge over something so serious."

Suddenly trying to break for it past the line of Shals as they retreat, she breaks into a run, sighting the Aura down with the reticle of the Eurydice's ARM. As if trying to flank the Aura to both give herself a clean shot and give Acacia a distraction to get a clean hit on her own.

However she hesitates, when she hears Yue's next comment. "Not entirely." She admits. "I want to find out though."

Her hesitation nearly costs her, as she sees the glow form in the Aura's chest gem.

In desperation, she clamps down her hand on the Artificial Medium, and suddenly Yellow Hexagonal Ley energy rises around her Gear.

The sorcerous jamming wave erupts outwards, and crashes into a sudden wall of rock that's taller than the Eurydice.

It only lasts a few brief moments before the animating magic causes it to crumble into dust, revealing a knelt down Gear - its ARM already pointed straight at the Aura.

Pulling the trigger inside the Gear the Cylinder of it turns rapidly, firing off a trio of armor-piercing shells at the Aura so rapidly that it's like all three shots fired at the same time causing a triangular pattern of violet tracer streamers.

"If it means making you my enemy. Then I think I can live with that."

GS: Rebecca Streisand spends 2 Combo on Gatling, loading 2 into Gatling!
GS: Rebecca Streisand has attacked Yue Rohay with Guilty Joy!
GS: Rebecca Streisand has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay completely evades a hit from Rebecca Streisand's Guilty Joy!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

'Why are they here'? A good question.

"I am afraid I cannot tell you. These are simply our orders." Ambrosius replies. "...I am aware it is not a very good excuse."

The first geyser knocks the Halcyon into the air, but it isn't enough to stop the machine - it comes in with what Ambrosius initially believes to be a punch. But, that is not what happens - a spear is fired off, piercing the Nimue's shoulder. Electricity courses over the Golem and it recoils back, pulling its claws from the ground - but not before sending another geyser Gwen's way.

Before the water vapor clears from the air the Nimue rushes forward with surprising, an arm lashing out with claws capable of shearing right through steel to try and weaken the Gear's defenses.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Crush Claw!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

Rapid strikes from a Gear; that tkaes some doing. But the whole Gear leaping at Kaguya does force her onto the defensive, Queklain's thrusters activating but not in time to spare the hit; the vibrations reverberate through the system, and for the moment, it seems to have jerkier movements, less smooth.

"You might have this," Kaguya allows. "I know you both could." She flips a few more switches and puts hands again on the maneuvering controls, stepping back further as she begins to open up weaponry; the pauldrons roll down like a folding fan might, and two large barrels rise out of them--and then point forward, locking back into place.

"True," Kaguya answers Fei about lab conditions. "It's not completely ideal. But I don't have the resources to test Gears fully in a laboratory setting. ...And I think you'd agree that people are different in real combat than in training and simulation, right?"

But her jaw sets, and there is brief silence from the normally boastful, talkative Kaguya. The Gear is still, after that kick, as the two form up.

"No, that's not my thing," she answers finally, less glib than her talk about science. "Look, this is..." She looks at her display, and looks over the other Veruni machines on it.

"I don't have a choice here. Which means, since you care about these people you've never met, that you don't either. So let's just go."

Kaguya's Gear sets its stance, and from another cannon that emerges, fires a single buzzing round that jams up systems, and Kaguya whirls into motion to deploy a second from the same barrel straight at Skadi.

The Gear seems to be charging something, from the ominous hum suddenly filling the air.

GS: Kaguya enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Kaguya has attacked Fei Fong Wong with CGE-433 Disruption Round - MK. II!
GS: Kaguya enters a Counter stance!
GS: Kaguya has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Kaguya has attacked Avril Vent Fleur with CGE-433 Disruption Round - MK. II!
GS: Kaguya enters a Counter stance!
GS: Kaguya has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Kaguya has completed her action.
GS: Gwen Whitlock takes a glancing hit from Ambrosius's Crush Claw for 93 hit points!
GS: Break! applied to Gwen Whitlock!
GS: Gwen Whitlock's Force Evade activates!
GS: Fei Fong Wong takes a solid hit from Kaguya's CGE-433 Disruption Round - MK. II for 126 hit points!
GS: Jam! applied to Fei Fong Wong!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur takes a glancing hit from Kaguya's CGE-433 Disruption Round - MK. II for 53 hit points!
GS: Jam! applied to Avril Vent Fleur!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    "If you think the only person I'm interested in helping is Marivel, boy do I have news for you," notes Acacia, and she's a little surprised to realize that she's wearing a toothy sort of grin as she shakes her head. "C'mon, didn't you learn anything from Minder's yelling last time? Maybe I should start having her ride with me so she can grump in real-time."

    ... she kind of puts that idea on the back burner. There's something tempting about it, not that she'd ever seriously go for it. But maybe it'd at least let Minder feel she's contributing to things in some small way.

    Acacia knows what the frantic sound of typing means when it comes from Yue's Gear, but-- well, it's not like she knows anything about electronic countermeasures, whether it's how to write her own or how to defend against them other than running away. There's a dangerous sound of something powering down amongst the Nephele, and the reporter winces under her breath with effort as even moving the machine feels like it gets suddenly harder, like swimming through treacle.

    "If it's any consolation, I don't think Yue is gonna to be the one to try to kidnap her," she notes over the radio; her voice is a little distant, but only because she's still mulling over Rebecca's conviction, and what Yue's reaction to it might be. ... probably exactly what Yue wants to hear, she decides with a glum frown - and forces herself out of it with another puff of air, raising her voice to something more cocksure as she sets her worries aside. "Anyway! What the heck are the rest of us here, chopped meat? We'll cover the both of you, if it comes to that."

    She switches between power circuits, trying to find one that hasn't been too impacted by the loss of performance, when an idea comes to her - and spurring her machine forwards at what speed she can muster. As she gets closer, it's impressed upon her once more what a mess the Aura is - and that perhaps it's time to start playing dirty again, and leverage that face.

    "Bet you didn't even fix that leg yet," she mutters to herself as she banks the Nephele. It isn't exactly a kick that her Gear delivers, more just a ram of ankle against ankle as she aims for a busted-up actuator, following up with a shot to Yue's wing - trying to force the Aura down towards the ground.

GS: Acacia Saitani spends 1 Combo on Interrupt!
GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Yue Rohay with Takedown Request!
GS: Acacia Saitani has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Yue Rohay takes a solid hit from Acacia Saitani's Takedown Request for 322 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Yue Rohay!
GS: Yue Rohay has lost 2 Combo from Interrupt!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "Well, I 'spose gettin' a simple answer wouldn't exactly be that easy," Gwen sighs, wiping a sweaty curl from her forehead. "Nah, I met your leader a while ago. That's as good an excuse as any."

    Only with a man like Volsung could those two sentences be together and make sense.

    The geyser misses Gwen completely, but it gives Ambrosius the necessary amount of camouflage to gain on the courier's gear quickly. Nimue's claw parts through the falling droplets, effectively masked from view until they're too close to completely evade, shearing through the top parts of Gwen's gear, flicks of blue-green enamel coming away from that one swipe as the courier ducks away.

    "Damn, this is gonna get expensive..."

    Water is, however, a *very* good conductor of electricity.

    "Might as well go all out, then!"

    Now it's Gwen's turn to part the lingering mist as she leaps forward, her gear's fist glistening with sparky gold energy, fully intending on delivering a mighty blow to Ambrosius.

GS: Gwen Whitlock has activated a Force Action!
GS: Gwen Whitlock enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Ambrosius with Spark Plug!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: Emeralda Kasim has activated a Force Action!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Even Emeralda isn't entirely sure how she does things with Ether. It comes naturally to her - and instinctively, without any real training. She's powerful, but a little uncontrolled.

And while she could figure out how to stop a single fireball, this is a little bit beyond her.

Crescens is bathed in cinders and flame, and Emeralda yells in startlement as her screen goes black and red. She can't see a thing! She's glad she landed earlier, at least. Crescens flails its wings, trying to blow away the cloud of cinders that still surrounds the Gear.

And that's when the wyvern slams into her.

Crescens goes flying through the air, tumbling head over heels until Emeralda manages to catch herself; Crescens' wings spread as she hovers in place, upside-down at first until she flips right-way up. She managed to not hit Cyre, at least - it helps that Crescens has pretty good air control - but Crescens is also battered, visibly dented in one side where the wyvern hit her.

"You need to go away and stop making your shadow monster eat sheep! Stop being a - mean - jerk!!" Emeralda laces her fingers together in the cockpit and stretches her fingers out, popping them... and Crescens mimics the motion, its wings meeting in front, feathers touching feathers. The wings flex and move in an unnatural manner, moving more like hands than anything else.

Emeralda rushes the wyvern, gunning Crescens' engine. She comes in for a melee attack, looking like she's going to strike with those wings - but instead she goes for a grab, the enormous 'hands' of Crescens' wings wrapping around part of the wyvern as she literally tries to pick it up, holding it overhead.

Then, she jumps, flipping backwards and inverting - and attempting to plant the wyvern's head right in the ground, just like a champion wrestler! "SUPLEEEX," Emeralda yells, even though it is technically not a suplex.

Don't tell her. She's very excited.

GS: Formation! Emeralda Kasim has attacked Scathach with Dead Drive!
GS: Hyper and Quick expired!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
GS: Ambrosius critically Guards a hit from Gwen Whitlock's Spark Plug for 26 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Gwen Whitlock!
GS: Scathach critically Guards a hit from Emeralda Kasim's Dead Drive for 74 hit points!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Yue Rohay has posed.

    If it means making you my enemy, then I think I can live with that.

    "... ... ..."

    Yue's stunned silence lets Acacia get the word in, as she asks if Minder's yelling hasn't done anything for her last time. It's a good point. But being a disappointing adult is truly an unfathomable role, as it were.

    "Until the Minder understands more... until she can truly make a decision on her own..."

    A long pause.

    "It is all I can do to delay that. And that means disappointing you, disappointing Marivel... sounding like a broken record, over and over again."

    A LONG TIME AGO

    "My precious daughter," speaks a Veruni woman with a particular violet crest-tattoo on her right cheek. She leans forward on her desk, dressed in the resplendent garment of office of the Veruni Academy, her hands chauffeur-gloved and laced together.

    "My wonderful daughter," speaks a Veruni man, his hair tousled rough and a scar on his cheek. He wears a rugged laboratory coat as he turns around from his office chair, a thrum of underground intelligence streams flowing on his monitors.

    "You will flourish under my guidance. I shall have you promoted to our elite fighting force. Forget about the rebels. Do not stray, and I shall show you what it means to have the world at your palm..."

    "Together we can make the world better. I will have you looking into the deepest, blackest secrets. Forget about the Radicals. Do not stray, and I shall show you what it means to upend the world order."

    A single Yue is standing in front of them.

    One half, dressed in the uniform of the Veruni elite. The other, in the uniform of a rebel cell. Her face is emotionless as she speaks:

    "Yes, mother."
    "Yes, father."

    NOW

    "... Rebecca ... if I am the only enemy you have to make ... let us hope for that," Yue answers. "Let us hope you never have to make murky choices for her."

    And yet she knows that will not be the case.

    Best case, she makes an enemy out of the Sentinels. The Radicals. Volsung.

    Worst case...

    "Now... allow me to test how well you can handle your Gear systems."

    She still hasn't raised a single weapon against them. Everything she has done has been on an electronic warfare level; and this one is no exception as--

    A melody plays.

    The Aura's wings stretch without effort this time, as it spreads its arms to the sides of its hips; transcluent feathers cascade from the machine, seemingly shedding holographic mirages.

    A soft, pearlescent aura (like its namesake) surrounds the immediate area the three Gears -- the Nephele, the Eurydice and the Aura -- are engaged in;

    Soft and harmonious; crystalline, like the strings of a harp being plucked one at a time.

    It's the absolute antithesis of an attack, calming and soothing, and... perhaps that's what it almost is, because Gear systems -- radars, monitors, controls, hydraulics, seem to be lulled to this siren-like melody whose true, rhythmic emotion can only be understood by machines.

GS: Yue Rohay enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Yue Rohay has attacked Acacia Saitani with a freestyled Mec Sonata!
GS: Yue Rohay has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Yue Rohay has attacked Rebecca Streisand with a freestyled Mec Sonata!
GS: Yue Rohay has completed her action.
GS: Rebecca Streisand has activated a Force Action!
GS: Rebecca Streisand takes a glancing hit from Yue Rohay's a freestyled Mec Sonata for 183 hit points!
GS: Rebecca Streisand's Force Evade activates!
GS: FP up!
GS: Yue Rohay drains Rebecca Streisand! Yue Rohay gains 184 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Hi Emeralda," Cyre answers, belatedly. He can probably be forgiven for being a little tardy. They're both kind of dealing with a giant angry wyvern. The kind that's very interested in goomba stomping the Huracan into the ground. Cyre hisses a curse, and just barely manages to wedge his mangled shield under the Shadow Wyvern's talons. Wicked claws slam into the bulwark, crashing into... Already badly shredded metal.

It's not like his shield can get more jacked up.

The Huracan is sent staggering back. It nearly trips over a toppled tree, but corrects itself with a quick burst of booster fire. Treetops are scorched by thruster cones, but are spared from being crushed under a sharp, metal chassis.

And, perhaps more importantly, they're also safe from being smashed by a two-gear-one-wyvern pileup. "Emeralda," Cyre manages, righting his gear out of its makeshift evasive maneuver, "You alright? Looks like you might've taken a pretty big hit. We need to finish this up before it's not just a few sheep that're gonna get hurt."

The Hurcan's thrusters hinge shut. Its rifle snaps shut as well, barrel beginning to glow and crackle, energy coruscating across its outer shell. Its... Sharp... Bladed outer shell. "Hey, Shadow Queen, you know, there's at least one thing that your fake-dragon's got in common with a market sausage," Cyre smirks and... Jams his gun-sword into the lip of his shield.

...

Metal shrieks and deforms as damaged actuators within the shield push and struggle, before finally those hidden capacitors snap open again. Lightning flashes and crackles across the bulwark as the Huracan suddenly lunges!

"I like to stick pointy things through the both of them!" Cyre draws his blade from his shield, a branching bolt of high-voltage electricity arcing from one to the other! As Crescens slams the Wyvern down, Cyre plunges the supercharged blade up and in! Falling wyvern meet rising sword!

Cyre... Is trying to turn the wyvern into a dragon kebab!!

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has activated a Force Action!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz spends 3 Combo on Headshot and Gatling, loading 1 into Gatling!
GS: Formation! Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Scathach with Capacitor Discharge - Charged Blade!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Scathach critically Guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Capacitor Discharge - Charged Blade for 103 hit
points!
GS: Hyper and Quick! applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
GS: Acacia Saitani takes a solid hit from Yue Rohay's a freestyled Mec Sonata for 370 hit points!
GS: Yue Rohay drains Acacia Saitani! Yue Rohay gains 370 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

"Ah, I see. I was not aware of this." Ambrosius comments with a wry chuckle. It would definitely explain a lot. "Lord Volsung has my respect, though I will admit there is one I fear more. You may already be aware of him - but if you are not, then you should be."

Gwen moves in, a fist glistening with sparking gold energy. It's true - water is a gold conductor. Ambrosius knows this, but he's also an experienced engineer - he has ways of mitigating its effects. The surface of the Golem heats up, the water beginning to evaporate just as the Halcyon's fist impacts against one of Nimue's arms.

Before Gwen can moves away the Nimue's free arm recoils back, the claws connecting into a single impaling point as it thrusts forward toward the previously-damaged sections in a surgical strike, in an attempt to incapacitate the Gear while avoiding damage to any critical systems.

That does not make it any less brutal to witness, however.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Savage Impale!
GS: Ambrosius has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

"Gwahaha! The sheep served their purpose! To find out just what you humans--or... human-ish types..." She wrinkles her nose. Scathach heard something about beastmen, but she doesn't begin to know the differences between them. Her experience with non-Veruni is limited. "--are capable of!"

Crescens slams into the Wyvern. It bounces backward, and the wings of the strange Gear reach out -- starting to wrap about it -- but then its wings beat, powerfully, and lift the Gear over it, before Emeralda can suplex the Wyvern into the ground.

Raised up like that, Scathach and her Wyvern can see the approach of the Huracan. They can certainly both hear it, with the screech of steel on steel, and the blade slashes upward.

And the tail swings -- blade slamming into the ring, which sends sparks flying, and keeps the worst of it away. The ring, however, is bent -- and the tail crackles, becoming translucent.

The Wyvern doesn't fall, though. Scathach smirks, standing on the dragon-like shadow's shoulder, one hand holding onto the collar about its neck. "I'm no queen! The Veruni only have one queen. But... I am the dark mistress of ETERNAL NIGHT! GWAHAHAHA! Shadow Wyvern, KNOCK THEM ALL DOWN!"

"Gwarrgh," the Shadow Wyvern groans.

"WHAT WAS THAT."

"...GRAAAAAAAAAARR!!"

"More like it," Scathach sighs.

The dragon rears its head back. Flame and ash dance across its mouth, cinders spilling out -- and then it breathes. Another cone hits the ground; this one is a pressurized blast of cinders and flame, so powerful that it makes a crater. Some trees and blades of grass do ignite, though they snuff out quickly; the Ether-fueled fire sucks a lot of the oxygen away.

The Wyvern drags the cone of pressurized cinders towards the Huracan, and then back towards the Crescens, before it sputters into nothing, and leaves a few cinders and ash flakes falling instead.

GS: Scathach has activated a Force Action!
GS: Scathach has activated a Force Action!
GS: Scathach has activated a Force Action!
GS: Scathach has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Nightmare Cinder Breath!
GS: Scathach has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Nightmare Cinder Breath!
GS: Scathach has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has activated a Force Action!
GS: CRITICAL! Emeralda Kasim takes a solid hit from Scathach's Nightmare Cinder Breath for 604 hit points!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a glancing hit from Scathach's Nightmare Cinder Breath for 215 hit points!
GS: Gwen Whitlock takes a glancing hit from Ambrosius's Savage Impale for 151 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"I don't know," Fei admits. "I've never done gear training or simulation. I don't know what it's like. But probably? I mean... gears in actual battle usually kill a lot of people so I'm not sure doing 'murder' tests is really ideal either? Maybe testing gears isn't really something worth doing. They are kind of too powerful already? Like, okay, I guess it wasn't exactly an accident, but it wasn't exactly on purpose either--One robot shouldn't be able to take out a village! It should be hard to ruin so many peoples' lives. If you make it too easy, then every stupid asshole is going to do it and then where will we be? In a world in which nobody gets to be happy at all because they have to worryy about some rando blowing up their hometown every day. That isn't a way to live." Part of Fei still hates gears and fighting even if he is kinda more about grudgingly accepting gears and fighting now simply because it has been too difficult to avoid.

Fei is an empathic person. He can't not care about the people he is fighting. Sometimes this isn't a good thing for the people he is fighitng because sometimes he cares a bit too much and he just...

            * S N A P S *

But right now he is okay. He is mostly calm. He is trying to understand and failing.

"H...how do you not have a choice? I mean, you've probably done more for the Veruni than anybody haven't you?"

Weltall's systems short out and spark when Kaguya hits it with another cannon shot. Fei grimaces, letting out a pained gasp.

"What...?" He asks quietly. "You do all this for 'em, you get them a nice foothold on Lunar where they can live better than they can on Filgaia... and they start forcing you to do things you don't wanna? Like you're some common grunt? That's pretty weak. You biding your time, or you just afraid to make a move and take your people for yourself."

There is a small moment where Avril asks him to stay in formation. Fei pauses a moment, clears his throat and says, "Y-yeah, okay."

He stumbles into position, shaking his head to clear it. "Okay... that means I should probably... Okay got it. Gonna move in...now!"

He darts forward, his gear briefly crackling with blue energy as it channels a dark energy into its hands--

--and unnleashes a quick burst for Kaguya's gear before following up with a FLIP KICK SOMEHOW and landing back near Avril.

GS: Fei Fong Wong has activated a Force Action!
GS: Fei Fong Wong spends 2 Combo on Gatling, loading 2 into Gatling!
GS: Fei Fong Wong has attacked Kaguya with Ryuten!
GS: Fei Fong Wong has completed his action.
GS: COUNTER! Kaguya counterattacks Fei Fong Wongwith Counter Attack!
GS: CRITICAL! Kaguya takes a solid hit from Fei Fong Wong's Ryuten for 442 hit points!
GS: Kaguya enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Fei Fong Wong guards a hit from Kaguya's Counter Attack for 136 hit points!
GS: FP up!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Human or human-ish types?

Emeralda is technically... well, human-ish? Sort of? But she doesn't really feel like explaining that to Scathach, because she's been alternately a little sensitive and a little proud about it lately and mostly just feels awkward pointing it out.

It's like puberty, but for robots. It's really awkward.

"I'm good!" Emeralda calls back to Cyre, which is true. SHE'S fine. Crescens isn't, really, but Emeralda herself is perfectly fine in there! She's not watching him, though; she's watching Scathach and her wyvern. To escape from her grab once... she won't let her do it again!

"Eternal night doesn't sound like it would be very fun," Emeralda decides after a moment. "Anyway, you couldn't grow any plants and we need to eat those. And you couldn't see where you were going without a light. So I'm just going to have to say no! And... protect the sheep of Honeysday!!"

Crescens starts to rush again, but the exhalation of flame catches Emeralda off-guard. She leaps in an attempt to avoid it, but the wash of cinders and flames slams into Crescens with a palpable force, launching the lightweight Gear backwards to slam into a rocky hillside.

Emeralda yelps as she's slammed around in her cockpit, nearly launched right out of her seat. She maneuvers the controls, both visibly and through nearly-invisible threads from her hands, and Crescens fails to move at all, trailing a wisp of smoke from where a pile of cinders has landed on it and is scorching the green paint off.

"..."

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "... There's someone else?"

    Gwen hesitates, an action that translates through the movements of her Gear. "... Like, is this your leader's boss or somethin' else?"

    No, Gwen doesn't know that man's name. Frea made sure of it, as far as her influence could travel.

    ... Even if it meant turning Gwen into an unknowning Veruni informant.

    Maybe this is why Gwen isn't fast enough to completely evade Nimue's claws, a single sharp digit ripping into Halcyon's chest as Gwen tries to pilot it out of harm's way.

    Seeing Crescens crash into a rocky hillside, Gwen's lips thin nervously. ".... this gear wasn't really meant for this," she mumbles privately below her breath, "but it wasn't like I was either, when I first stepped out..."

    Extending both arms, with a burst of gunsmoke, Gwen fires two harpoons from compartments inside, the line drawing taut before they reach Ambrosius.

    But that's not Gwen's true intent. Using those two harpoons, she swings them around, their weight going around in an arc before she attempts to crash them straight into Ambrosius.

    ".... Aha!!"

     ..... it's probably for the best if she and Kartikeya don't meet, at all, ever

GS: Gwen Whitlock has activated a Force Action!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has activated a Force Action!
GS: Gwen Whitlock spends 3 Combo on Gatling, loading 3 into Gatling!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Ambrosius with Gwen Reaper!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    Acacia pauses in turn, as Yue starts to speak and then goes silent - and then feels her jaw set hard in place and a fire light in her eyes. "Yue, you--!"

    Her Gear goes unexpected haywire all of a sudden, her monitors winking out and half of her thrusters suddenly losing enough power that they become dead weights, and there is a disorienting moment where Acacia feels the whole of the Nephele spin sideways as she fights to get it under control. In many ways, this is the sort of attack most debilitating for her - where the systems she's relied upon to pilot up until now are taken away from her, leaving her more or less blind in the air.

    Controlled by the melody of the Aura, it's all that the redhead can do to get the Nephele down safely to the ground, the impact heavier than she'd like as she grits her teeth and takes the impact against her pilot seat. Lulled by the song, her Gear seems to drift into dormancy, and there doesn't seem to be much she can do to get it going again - so she chooses not to. Or rather, she's drawn into not doing so, because the moment the Nephele hits the ground she's slammed the open cockpit button.

    Not that it'll help, but she at least wants to visibly watch the Aura when she next speaks. Hopefully her radio still works, or she's going to feel really dumb later.

    "Okay-- look--" she starts to say, and then realizes she has absolutely no way how to word it. Quickly, she draws in a breath and then lets it out again. "I'm gonna say it plainly just this once. Minder'll kick my ass later, but who cares. She doesn't want to make a decision without you. She wants to make a decision taking you into account. With your advice, even!" she blurts.

    "She needs family. And you're a lot more her family than anyone else, at this point. I get you don't wanna influence her, but there's a hell of a line between that and just being there for her. Filling her in on what she doesn't know. Helping her learn. ... besides," she mutters, more to herself. "Some kids just want the people they know there with them, okay?"

    Scathach's conflagration makes her audibly yelp, and that's when it filters in that she's left herself open in the middle of a Gear fight. Hurriedly, she ducks back into the relative safety of her cockpit.

GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Acacia Saitani with Auto-Repair System!
GS: Acacia Saitani has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Acacia Saitani heals Acacia Saitani! She gains 400 temporary hit points!
GS: Quick! applied to Acacia Saitani!
GS: Ambrosius takes a solid hit from Gwen Whitlock's Gwen Reaper for 336 hit points!
GS: Ambrosius has Fallen! He is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Yes. If it comes down to that, Rebecca, you should--"

    Except Rebecca tells her, flat out, that that's just not going to happen.
    In spite of herself -- in spite of the situation -- Avril finds herself smiling. "I understand. Then, if it becomes necessary... shall we escape, together?"

    ...This probably does not mean, in this case, an elopement.

    But the time -- or opportunity -- for a retreat is not yet upon them. For now, all they can do is fight.

    Here and now, she alights in formation, close by Fei's Gear.

    'This isn't her thing,' Kaguya insists.

    Fei answers her.
    And briefly, Avril shudders. Something about his voice then was...

    ...was...

    But he sounds like himself again when he addresses her directly. "Then I shall defend your flank!" she shouts--

    Though it may be difficult against what comes. A single round rips through the air moments after; Avril attempts to sidestep but something frazzles systems, several internals throwing up red error lights in response to whatever was just done to them.

    But all that Avril needs is to swing her blade. All she needs are the bare essentials of a fighting machine, she realizes, that thought clarifying something for her.

    '...since you care about these people you've never met...'

    "...!" Avril gasps after a moment, having realized something in particular about that comment.
    Kaguya knows she's been here -- she's met her in Honeysday soon after the bandit attacks. She knows she's been working out of here lately, assisting the people in the village. So then...

    It's not for her that the statement was meant. It was for the sake of Kaguya's colleagues.

    "...I see," she says, leveling that blade at Kaguya's Queklain.

    "If that is your wish, Kaguya, then I shall--"

    She veers right, pulling in alongside Fei as he channels energy in his Gear's hands, following his flight as he snaps a kick out for Queklain.

    Her blade flashes once.

    "--show you--"

    And again.

    "--of what I am capable!"

    And once more, as graceful -- whatever the many-ton sword may otherwise suggest -- as a windstrewn storm of blossoms.

    She only falls back once the last swing has completed, aligning herself in formation with Fei as he similarly pulls back.

GS: Avril Vent Fleur has activated a Force Action!
GS: You have activated the Force Action Full Clip!
GS: Formation! Avril Vent Fleur has attacked Kaguya with Blossom Dance!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Avril Vent Fleur has completed her action.
GS: Kaguya takes a glancing hit from Avril Vent Fleur's Blossom Dance for 175 hit points!
GS: Kaguya's Force Evade activates!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Seriously!?" Cyre yelps, utterly and completely incredulous. How does a big shadow wyvern absorb so much punishment? It's not even made of anything actually real, is it!? It's a shadow! A shadow! Shadow isn't supposed to be able to take a sword to the anything and stay intact!

But it does. And it goes to knock them all down...!

WITH FIRE.

"That's just rude!" Cyre protests as a wave of ether-flame washes out of the wyvern's maw. Impossibly hot, roiling with glowing embers and flash-carbonized ash, it's the kind of flame that can melt even by proximity. Cyre guns the thrusters, the flying gear hurtling into the sky just in time to avoid being... directly obliterated by the cascading conflagration.

Unlike Emeralda, who is nowhere near as lucky.

"Em! Damnit, Fei's gonna kill me--" Hopefully not literally. And also hopefully not because the wyvern kills him first. His only saving grace is that the Crescens is still intact-- but the Huracan is being pushed to its limits. Even with its narrow dodge, a nightmarish chorus of internal temperature alarms are blaring in Cyre's fluffy ears. He winces at the noise, quietly thanking his lucky stars that he decided to install an override switch for this kind of thing.

Temperature warnings are only important when you hit your fuel's flash point, after all.

"Hey, Mistress of Darkness or whatever! You leave her alone!" Cyre growls, his sword splitting down its centerline. The two sword-halves fork away, the weapon reverting to railgun mode... Except it's still glowing with excess energy. Apparently, blocked blow didn't fully discharge the gunblade. "That is, unless you want me to fill your precious sausage full of magnetized spikes!"

He fires anyway, weapon discharging with a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning. The railgun round shatters the sound barrier and leaves a half-dozen mach cones in its wake. It may not be a proper rod from god, but it's certainly the next best thing.

GS: Formation! Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Scathach with Capacitor Discharge - Relativistic Round!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Scathach guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Capacitor Discharge - Relativistic Round for 292 hit points!
GS: Scathach has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


And just like that... Rebecca is smiling too.

"Yeah. That's a plan I can get on board with."

The words that boil down to 'I protect you. You protect me.' could make her smile any day.

"Together - if it comes down to it."

Acacia's comment though, unfortunately, forces grim reality back upon her, causing her anxiety to suddenly spike. "That's not what I'm worried about." Rebecca says quickly over the radio back to Acacia. And indeed that's the truth, though not the whole truth. It's not that she's afraid of Yue kidnapping Avril. It's that she's afraid Yue decides that there's enough of the Avril she knew in her to consider executing her on the spot.

"Look. Let's just disable that Gear of hers before what I'm worried about becomes an issue!"

Wincing as shots don't hit home, she brings the Eurydice back up into a standing position, with a slow grinding of her Gear's gears.

"Are you saying you're kinder than any other enemy I might make? Even if that's true - you and I both know you're not the only one. Not while I'm trying to protect her. You think I don't know how many enemies I've already made because of that?"

A Melody begins to play, and suddenly her grip grows a little lax on her controls, like she's just had a revelation she can't articulate.

Then she tries to work the controls. Nothing happens.

"What's going on? There's no errors on the diagnostics-! What did she do?"

Again. Nothing happens.

It's like her Gear's systems are entirely becalmed. The computer isn't even targetting Yue even though she's right there. The radar isn't picking her up.

Flipping three switches, she finally gets a message on the computer.

Emergency Reboot Protocol.
Voice Locked. Please input.

Flipping off the comms briefly, she says it aloud in the privacy of her cockpit, a line of poetry that noone would ever think to say aloud but her. "This honey bosomed Maiden yearns for your mighty arms to envelop me."

The screens go dark then whirr back to life, and suddenly there's a ping on her radar where the Aura is. Somehow with this level of privacy she manages to keep herself from blushing.

"Thank you Hans for reminding me to set that up..."

Suddenly flipping up some safety glass, she hits a button.

>Activating Orpheus System - Targetting.<

A reticle suddenly appears over the Aura's visual sensors, two lines over a circle that begin to slide towards the center as her viewscreen slowly zooms in.

>Lock Acquired.<

"I'm really not in the mood for some evaluation."

The Eurydice's arm suddenly moves up automatically, cylinder spinning, as it unloads six shots on its target - the Aura's 'eyes', with uncanny accuracy, the Gear's systems attempting to adjust for however she moves.

"But I aim to pass anyway."

Each one of these shells detonates on impact, blossoming into an explosive punishment.

GS: Rebecca Streisand has attacked Yue Rohay with Orpheus System!
GS: Rebecca Streisand has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Scathach has posed.

"Eternal night is a metaphor!" Scathach says back to Emeralda. "A metaphor for the darkness of--oh, ow, that looks like it hurt."

She makes a face as Crescens crashes, her eyebrow twitching lightly. But the Shadow Wyvern is battered, with portions of it flickering and some fading. She looks at Cyre -- and she blinks, as she sees the Huracan's sword split. Her mouth makes an 'O' of surprise.

The railgun round slams through the chest of the Shadow Wyvern. It blasts out of the back. There is no blood, no viscera; the shadow just suddenly vanishes and crumples, as the collars collapse in on themselves. Scathach yelps -- but a hand of shadow rises, catching her.

A second catches all the contracted control rings, which have attached together. Scathach grabs them, then scowls up at Cyre.

"I won't forget this... and I have some new data to go over!" she calls out. "Gwahaha! Good show! Make sure that kid is okay!"

The shadowy hand engulfs her, a moment later -- and then sinks into the ground. When it does, she isn't standing there.

GS: Yue Rohay takes a solid hit from Rebecca Streisand's Orpheus System for 312 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

"No. But he is one of the Sentinels. If you are going to continue to insist on getting involved in Veruni matters... then it is best that you know." Ambrosius says. "His name is Kartikeya, and he cannot be reasoned with. He does not know mercy. If you hear that he is in the area, then ensure that you are elsewhere."

And if Frea got mad at him for telling her...then, well, the only thing he could do was apologise. He wouldn't wish the possibility of learning about Kartikeya the hard way on anyone, and the more she got involved the more likely that possibility would become.

But now, he has to focus on the fight. He observes as the Halcyon launches a pair of harpoons. Quickly, the Nimue moves to evade their initial fire... but then, at the last second, they're swung around. They smash into Nimue and the Golem is sent flying, crashing through the forest floor.

With a grunt, the Nimue forces itself up off the ground... just in time to observe Scathach's wyvern being dispersed, and Scathach herself disappearing.

"...It would appear this battle has reached a conclusion." Ambrosius observes. "You are a talented pilot, Miss Whitlock. I will retreat, for now - I see no reason to continue this fight further."

He says. The Nimue begins to back away, though briefly glances in Yue's direction.

"...Do take care of yourself." He bids Gwen one last time, before disappearing.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

You know, teeechnically, Cyre only said he'd shoot if Scathach went after Emeralda.

But Cyre is also a dirty, awful liar and- more importantly- some kind of asshole cat. Acting totally innocent and then knocking your favorite coffee mug off the table is exactly the kind of thing that at least half of his genome is instinctively driven to do. "Whoops," Cyre says as the wyvern dissolves. You can almost hear the ':3' plastered to his face. "I guess my trigger finger slipped!"

(It didn't, that was completely on purpose)

"Yeah, yeah, you go run off to your boudoir of iniquity," the shaman grouses. Huracan descends, touching down right next to a smoldering Crescens, "You'll face justice next time we meet, or whatever." 'Heroing' apparently isn't in Cyre's wheelhouse, but fussing over beat up friends clearly is. The Huracan drops to a knee, its cockpit pops open, and Cyre scrambles out-- only to immediately double-back as the lingering heat slams into his face like a screen door.

There's a flash of emerald light. The shaman clutches at a silver tablet as a chill wind from the upper atmosphere sweeps in and begins cooling both the air and the immobilized gear. "Emeralda!" Cyre calls, "Hey! You okay!?"

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

    "Kartikeya, huh..." The sober tone in Gwen's translates well enough over the intercom. "... If someone like you is cautious, then... yeah, I'll not take him lightly."

    It could be something to ask Elvis about, if he's still able to be communicated with. If this is a sign that the Veruni are on the move, he may not be.

    Then again, how can someone get Elvis to do anything he truly doesn't want to do?

    When Ambrosius's Gear stills, Gwen, for the most part, doesn't attempt to continue their match. It's done.

    Gwen, in her cockpit, smiles. "I'll take it as a compliment. It's... not the first time I've had to learn how to use something like it was my own body."

    As he begins to disappear, the courier states her response, a solemn note in her voice. "You too."

    Now with her battle out of the way, Gwen turns up the volume on her gear, turning her Gear's camera to look for any others still fighting. "Anybody need assistance? My gear can help lug anybody's t'safety! It's... pretty much just me delivering you to another place, after all!"

     Kartikeya, huh. Just who is this person?

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

How does she not have a choice? Kaguya opens her mouth and closes it without actually radioing anything other than a few seconds of silence on the channel.

Kaguya is further quiet after a moment Fei may not remember, with a quiet voice. Rather than an immediate response, she turns her Gear to face his. He moves into position--and the energy crashes right into Kaguya's Gear, blasting off chunks of armor in the process. The Gear has quite a lot of it, but it's a telling hit even before Weltall flip-kicks and knocks one of the two main cannons off-axis entirely, causing it to hang awkwardly as the whole of Queklain is forced backwards, a few titanic steps at a time. Avril's Skadi comes in at much the same time, and Kaguya abrubtly floors her maneuvering thrusters, pushing to one side, then the other, then straight back precariously. When the chaos of the moment resolves, a chunk of the Gear's shoulder simply shears off, where that last kick damaged the armor, and the hanging cannon slips its mount, thudding down to the forest floor.

"That's my will," Kaguya answers that. "Good..."

She looks over to another viewscreen and sees how the battle with the Wyvern is progressing, setting her jaw thoughtfully. As she looks back to her main display, the two Gears have moved into a solid formation.

"Yeah," she says then. "They're probably too powerful as it is. But we're already at that point--where you have to worry about things just blowing up on you for no reason. Nice words aren't going to settle the world."

She sounds thoughtful, though. "You..." She pauses, and focuses on Avril. "That's some good data. I'll have to take some time decoding it and getting something useful out of it."

She catches Scathach teleporting out. Ambrosius, disappearing.

"Guess that'd be me against a bunch of you now, wouldn't it...?" She pauses. Kaguya hovers in place, rising, and starts to go. But before she does--

"...If I were planning anything new," she says, "I'd need to take some time to figure out my target. So... I'll see you both again."

She turns to go, leaving what dropped where it fell for now, taking off into the air at some speed.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

It's a voice Kaguya will recognize. Though it's a bit different in that rather than looking down upon Kaguya alongside all her people, there is more respect there. Not for the Veruni, oh no no no, but for Kaguya herself. she has MADE MOVES, she has WORKED DARK MIRACLES. And yet her people, to whom she works for, to whom she has murdered and conquered for--speaks as if she is beholden to them. Id understands biding one's time, but he is still an impulsive creature, pushed by whims and hurts.

Kaguya's cannon still blasts into Weltall's arm oslidly. But it's still Weltall. You can wreck that gear but if he takes over, this is nothing.

But a brief slip of Id is not the same as Id taking over. Fei takes back over shortly after. Kaguya hints at her plans, just a bit and Fei lets her go. He isn't entirely sure why, but he lets her go. He mutters a bit about 'the datas' but he lets her go. It's not worth leaving Emeralda over.

Emeralda...

He struggles to pull his shot cameras back online and he sees an image of her fallen mech.

"Em..." He says. "Emeralda!! Emeralda! Are you okay??"

A moment of panic--

--but he gets a response on the comms nad he calms down before anything comes of it. He says, "Hope I could help a little," to Avril. "But I really need to check on my daughter. Thanks for backing me up. Without your help, she would have walked all over me." Instead of getting Kaguyaed once or twice he would've been Kaguyaed all over.

He guides his gear to Crescens and picks it up with Weltall's arms before buzzing off to a safer location so he can properly check on Emeralda.

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Crescens sits there. Well, lies there; it's kind of at a weird angle.

Emeralda isn't really sitting in her seat anymore so much as kind of perched on it, because it's not angled properly for her to sit in very well. She wiggles the control again a few times, then gives up.

"I'm okay," she says, once she gets the comms working again (it takes two tries). "But I can't make Crescens get up..." She sounds unhappy. Fortunately, Fei is ON THE CASE - and Crescens is, thankfully, a lot lighter than most Gears.

"Bye Cyre!" she calls, as she's carried. "Sorry I didn't help at the end...!"

<Pose Tracker> Yue Rohay has posed.

    Rebecca asks her if she's kinder than any other enemy she might make. But she says she already knows how many enemies she's made trying to protect her.

    A pause, as Yue's focus is on the melody -- and the Eurydice works through it, rebooting and setting back up;

    "No. It is not cruelty that is the problem..."

    A pause.

    "If all you had to make enemies of were cruel people, people so evil you could dedicate all your life to fighting to protect her..."

    There is a longer pause.

    "Then that would be... fine."

    But to truly follow in the footsteps of the Ice Queen, to protect and agree with her no matter what? She can only hope the worst case does not have to come.

    The Eurydice's arm spins up and unloads six shots from its armament; there's a CRUNCH as the payload hits -- the first two take the green glow out of its eyes; the wing-like fin is next to go as its very 'head' becomes little more than a skeletal structure.

    "That would indeed be... just fine."

    Ambrosius has retreates; Scathach's illusion has been dispelled, and she herself has fled -- a relief for Yue, who isn't quite certain how the new agent would fare in a battlefield. Looks like there was nothing to worry about.

    And Kaguya, too-- the Queklain takes off to the air.

    It's just her now.

    But it's Acacia who continues speaking even as the Nephele settles down, and she doesn't quite--

    She comes out of the cockpit.

    "... you should absolutely not do that," Yue growls quietly. It's perhaps the first sign of any emotion other than deflated resignation she's shown this fight.

    A pause, as Acacia speaks, however.

    There's an actual flash of-- something reaching anger, perhaps frustration.

    "What the Minder has yet to know... might break her. It may just. Do you wish for me to be the one to possibly shatter her, Acacia? Do you?"

    There is a grimace for a deeper moment.

    "You said you will stop me. But the truth is, Acacia..."

    The Veruni grimaces harder as she feels that open wound of hers filtrating further; her vision is a little red now. Or perhaps it's from how tilted she's become.

    It's time to go.

    The Aura rises to the air, following the impact of the Eurydice's shots; it's little more than... one third? of a Gear? given it started the battle at maybe more than half; it still has enough to kind of...

    Fold in on itself... stick its shield on its head (you're not fooling anyone)... pull its legs up... and turn into something... like an aircraft, in the same way you pretend a five year old's drawing of something is a plane.

    "I wished for more than for you to stop me, back in the Valeria Chateau. And that is why I will remain a disappointing adult."

    The Aura -- errr -- it doesn't quite 'fly off into the sky', it kind of... potters on out and about, keeling to one side on a trail of smoke.

    How dramatic.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Several things happen in a hurry. Scathach's wyvern falls -- a fact that Avril will only appreciate later, once the dust settles -- and in a similar fashion, Ambrosius also removes himself from the field. The gap that is left behind is palpable though, whatever her capacity for noticing what plays out in the world beyond her immediate field of combat.

    Kaguya, too, notices it.

    'Nice words aren't going to settle the world.'

    'That's some good data.'

    This... wasn't an attempt to capture her. She's not sure what it was.
    And that unsettles her beyond all else.

    "...What is it that you are attempting, Kaguya?"
    She asks it again; she will get no direct answer now anymore than she did before.

    Kaguya begins to rise. Shoving her blade into the earth, Avril briefly breaks formation. "Wait--"

    To no avail. The young Veruni botanist, duchess, researcher... she takes to the sky, leaving Avril within the Skadi to stare after her.

    Fei intrudes.

    "Ah? Oh--"
    A pause.
    "...I had thought that human children took longer to grow," she muses, settling back in her seat, then shakes her head. "Yes, by all means, please do. I shall..." She reaches out to grasp the hilt of her blade.

    "I shall meet up with Rebecca. I suppose that this may end the situation with the mutton."

    That's sheep, Avril. They're not mutton yet.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"Oh um, she actually did take a while to grow, I think? But she was sort of in semi-stasis for a while, kind of? I think that's how it went? I'm not sure uh...I mean, it's not all that strange. I heard some folks are actually trees so."

He is about to poof off.

"Oh uh." Fei says, having paid Cyre no attention. "Thanks Cyre for looking after her." It seems like Fei isn't going to try and murder you today Cyre but it was, honestly, a near thing. Be grateful to those who build your radios! They help us stay connected!!

"Hammer'll get her running again." Fei says. "Don't you worry, she'll be okay. And you too." That's what's important to him right now.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Cyre, who is just thankful to not be down one of his remaining lives, gives Fei a happy thumbs-up as the Weltall lifts off.

"Don't worry about it, Em. You did good," Cyre says, too, because he's also glad Em is okay for reasons that don't involve Id's fist going through his face. "Sometimes that's just how it goes. Sometimes the dragon decides to breathe right on top of you. I'm just glad you're okay."

And then she's gone, because Fei is a protective papa. Cyre can appreciate that.

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

    "You're gonna break her for sure by piling loneliness and expectations on her, dumbass!" Acacia yells, but it's much too late - the Aura is well out of sight and earshot now, and it's not like the reporter is actually saying it into her radio rather than generally yelling into her cockpit, huffing heavily to herself as she settles back into her chair. "... do you think I'm so stupid I don't know that? Jeez..." she mutters afterwards, in the darkness of her cockpit.

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


Rebecca is dead silent in the Eurydice's cockpit as Yue says all of that to her. As she reduces the Aura down to... less than it was.

She doesn't know what Acacia is talking about, and less so why Yue is angry in response. Some part of her wishes she knew.

Another part of her wonders if she has the luxury of understanding a foe as powerful as Yue.

The Aura takes off, and she flips her comm off, curling up in her seat, for a moment, just alone to herself.

"It was never about kindness or cruelty. It's about surviving when I'm just some girl from Capo Bronco. And all of you are... powerful enough that I'm just trying to survive you."

She whispers to herself, feeling infinitely vulnerable and exposed once again to the idea that she's making herself the enemy to the entire Veruni race.

She never wanted that.

But she's taking it on anyway.

It'll be a moment, but eventually she decides to suck it up. Flip back on the comms and...

... just in time to hear Avril speaking seriously about mutton. And suddenly, she bursts out laughing in such a wild shift of mood.

"S-Suppose it just might Avril..."

Sometimes simple things like that are enough to remind her why she's taking on such odds, rather than running away and never looking back.