5778/P:WtWM - Final Breaker

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P:WtWM - Final Breaker
Date of Scene: 29 March 2018
Location: The Mirror Forest
Synopsis: Elites fell the Majordomo, the last member of the Black Queen's Court
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, Ainsley, Rebecca Chambers, 999, Robert Speedwagon, August Kohler, William Pauwel, Yuna Kagurazaka, Kotone Yamakawa


Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Black Queen's Castle is angry now.

    Not that you would realize it as an objective observer of Die Reisende walking its halls. There are no Shadows, no traps, and the path is the same as it was before. No menaces stand in their way, but it's like every surface of the glassy walls, the floor, the roof... it's like they all sprouted eyes to stare balefully at them.

    The atmosphere is like a physical thing, a crushing weight placed on everyone's shoulders as they trudge towards their goal. The darkness is thicker, blotting out anything beyond ten feet in front of you. Just one more door between they and Queen, but it's like she's here, all around them. Sitting. Waiting. Preparing.

    As that waiting room finally comes into view, a crashing wave of relief rushes through Janine. She rushes forward, and looks back at everyone. "This is it. Time to nut up or-" She never gets to finish that particular vulgarity, due to a massive, meaty palm falling upon her good shoulder. "Not quite yet," says the Majordomo, having emerged from the darkness that seems to radiate from the doors to the throne room. He's the same hulking mass of muscles Die Reisende saw when they first entered the castle. But now, the tails on his coat are much longer, trailing away beyond sight.

    "You've done far more than I could have anticipated. But this is your last chance. Turn back now. Give up on this meaningless effort. Mortal creatures such as you are fated to die, but you can delay it. Perhaps you can have a whole lifetime to yourself if you surrender now. Please, spare me the effort of cleaning you off the walls."

    As he's talking, he's keeping a firm grip on Janine's arm, keeping her from pulling away or drawing her sword. She's looking to the glass walls, but the light is too dim to get a proper reflection. She's a hostage, but too small to be a human shield.

    And, more concealingly, that jacket on the Majordomo seems to be shrinking.

Ainsley has posed:
    Ainsley is once more accompanying Die Riesende. She walks through the castle with her eyes lidded, her reptilian visage showing only the slightest frown, her eyes lidding. She keeps her eyes on their surroundings, not wanting to get caught off-guard for one second. They could be killed if they get too cocky, especially this deep into the castle, with so many of the stronger Shadows already destroyed. She hadn't been able to participate in some of those battles, and she deeply regrets that, and so as they reach the waiting room she is already drawing her longsword from its sheath.

    But then Janine rushes forward, and the Majordomo is there to correct her in her brief moment of overconfidence. The reptile woman doesn't wait for this to get bad, instead she strikes a pose to point her index and middle finger toward the Majordomo. She speaks a few words of primal meaning, and a flash of green and blue light emits from her hand. She tries to cast a spell to disrupt the Majordomo's cognition, to slow him down, distract him, or otherwise dizzy him for long enough for someone to respond and rescue Janine.

    "You'd think you would know better by now," Ainsley quips back at the Majordomo.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Anger is one of those emotions that everyone has to deal with. Both humans and animals. OK, other living beings too that are within the Multiverse as well. But castles too?

Well, apparently in this world, castles can feel emotions. Or something to that effect. It's so surreal yet it's so powerful that Rebecca can sense it herself. Of course that could be because she's angry too.

Despite the fact that the whole atmosphere is pushing down on her like some kind of force trying to stop her, Rebecca isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Her MP5K is gripped, and she has that look on her face that tells you she's not in the best of moods right now. And hell hath no fury like Rebecca peeved!

Even when they reach the waiting room, Rebecca isn't letting up at all. In fact, when the hand falls upon Janine's shoulder, Rebecca aims her MP5K at it, only to widen her eyes and step away as she realizes where that hand is coming from. She lowers her aim slightly as if to indicate she's not going to shoot in case Majordomo thinks otherwise.

Despite this, Rebecca's scowl returns to her face. "We're all going to die sometime, but we're not dying today!" She narrows her eyes. "You might think you'll be cleaning us off the walls, but all I can say is that you're delusional!"

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    Forward they march. The oppressive air of the castle's displeasure descends on them so heavily that even Emily's usual even, calm demeanor has given way - but only to a cool, defiant sternness, a rising refusal to even countenance the thought of stopping. No, not when they're this close. Not when they can round the corner and see the waiting room so very close, and-

    *SNAP*SNAP*SNAP*SNAP*SNAP*

    There is no warning. There is no delay. The lengthy coil that is Strands of Fate snakes outward, whipped into impossibly fast movement and snapped with inhuman precision - right at the Majorodomo's elbow. Again and again, so fast as to sound like machine gun fire, with Emily's arm an absolute blur.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    That's about what Robert Speedwagon expected. This close, things have gotten oppressive, but not anything that he could specifically pinpoint -- it's all around them, pressing in like a vice. All three of the Ogre Street gang feel it, and it's got all of them on edge. Tattoo is looking around him, Kempo's keeping it mostly under wraps but it noticeably tense, and Speedwagon himself has his teeth clenched.

    He's armed to the teeth, at least as much as he ever is -- his sledgehammer and that bladed hat. He hasn't bothered putting the concealing brims back on, so he is visibly wearing a bowler with four curved blades around it. Tattoo has his knives in hands; Kempo has an advantage in that his HANDS are his weapons.

    Janine moves forward and he makes to follow. And then suddenly... "...Right. Might'a known." Because that was just WAY too easy. "Was waitin' for the other shoe ter drop." He hefts the sledgehammer, not intending to use it when Janine's so close to the Majordomo, but there WILL be sledgehammering soon.

August Kohler has posed:
It's time. August is as ready as he'll ever be, even if he's clearly not slept. Gun and knife, check. Vest, check. Mirrored bracelet, check. The redhead's expression is sullen, and he doesn't speak up except to say one thing. "Let's do this."

Though, as they're approaching, the castle itself is seeming angry. August glances around briefly, taking a deep breath, when as they approach, Janine moves to start speaking. August's hand moves to his mirrored bracelet the second something starts moving through the shadows. The Majordomo. The last one left. "Shut the hell up. You're just another screwed up piece of humanity like the rest of them. I'll burn through you like the rest...so get your hand off her!"

As the others start to move, August does too. Ainsley's moving to do something to him, and Emily's moving to grab his arm, so August makes sure the mirror is at eye-level as he shouts. "Set him ablaze, Tin Soldier!" The burn-scarred robot soldier manifests in front of him, as the pair of man and Persona rush forward, that gun-leg pointed up at the hulk of a Shadow.

The gun goes off. A burst of flames is aimed specifically for his coat, trying to soak some of it in fire. "His coat's made out of Shadows, be careful!" If he can hinder the Majordomo's use of it, that'd be great, but it's definitely not going to be this easy.

William Pauwel has posed:
Will has been in plenty of supernaturally oppressive areas before. They really don't get any better no matter how many times you find yourself in one. The gunslinger has returned once again to the halls of the Black Queen's castle to put an end to this chapter for good though. He can't just run away with his tail between his legs on account of some kind of super spooky malaise clinging to the place.

It helps that Judgment's light seems to shine as bright as it always does. The glow is reassuring in this palace of shadows-- especially when the Majorodomo appears. Will doesn't even bother hesitating. He moves almost when Emily does, quickdrawing hand lifting to fire bolts of brilliant, coruscating light once, twice, three times into the withering cloak of shadows.

"I hear you," Will replies to August. "I wager he's filled the entire area with the things. 'Course, ain't no guarantee he wouldn't sicc 'em on us the moment we turned tail. So ain't nothing to do but to fight! Let's finish this, Kohler!"

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Yuna is not at her best tonight. The recent foray to Maslow Peak took a lot out of her - maybe not in terms of injury, but in its toll on her energy reserves, and a good night's sleep and a day spent mostly-resting haven't quite got her back into full fighting form. But if you weren't there, you wouldn't necessarily be able to tell: the luminance of her battlesuit is stable, and she doesn't move as if she's favoring any injured limbs, joints, or other parts.

She may, however, be relying more than usual on the Matrix of Light. She's been in Powered Form for the bulk of this run, even if she hasn't technically needed most of its features, while Erina, Marina, and of course Elner have stuck close to her, ready to assist however she needs.

So when the Majordomo manifests with Janine in his clutches, the look which crosses Yuna's face is primarily an expression of 'you're kidding, right?' ... not that she's entirely surprised to have one more enemy to fight on the way to the Black Queen. "I can appreciate loyalty to your Queen," Yuna admits, "but this isn't going to end with our retreat *or* our deaths. What you call a 'meaningless effort' ... it's important enough to risk our lives. Doesn't that tell you it's meaningful to us?"

She doesn't seem to be taking aim at the Majordomo, although she has the Matrix Divider in a steady grip ... and as she finishes her question, there's a distinct gleam of light from the weapon's business end, the assembly which serves as either barrel or blade depending on her needs. Her finger tightens on the Divider's trigger - and a single pulse of light erupts from the tip.

If the floor and walls are reflective *enough*, that beam is intended to bounce off at a shallow angle and, with (admittedly a lot of) luck, put a new hole in the Majordomo's jacket. August's warning came at a really good time for Yuna to try this, so she'll have to thank him when they have a chance to talk later.

And they WILL have that chance. She plans to make sure of it.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
The castle was angry now not that Kotone would know that directly bu there were no shadows, no traps? That left the cyborg very worried. It can't be this easy can it? No it had to be a trap, there had to be something to worry about and soon it's shown why. Someone has been waiting for the collective group's arrival. She's armed and ready for trouble today she's not carrying a SMG, she's got the MM unit in hand though as she's making ready.

"Let my friend go."

She's doesn't summon a weapon just yet, she's rapidly crunching numbers s it were in her head to try and figure out the best way to attack without putting Janine at more risk there. Then comes Ainsley who is making use of some of her magic and that's when she'll start to get a move on.

"Tch, nothing lives forever not even the likes of you."

Taunt them get them attacking her, she's far easier to patch up in her mind than anyone else responding here. So that's what she does she taunts and tries to draw attention on to her and off the others.

"I'm just the puppet woman who cheated her death with a body made of metal and plastic."

Janine Liberi has posed:
tA lot of things happen in a few short moments.

    Ainsley dazzles the Majordomo with her mystical words, causing his eyes to blink rapidly and his grip to slack. Janine wastes no time in trying to slip away, but his massive fingers pinch down on the back of her dress, keeping her from getting away. "I do know you, Lizard Woman. Well enough to be wary of your words."

    But Emily charges in, and lashes her whip, over and over, again and again. In an instant, she's carved the Majordomo's elbow down to the tendons, his grip going fully slack. Janine slips out, and rushes back over to Die Reisende, while August sets his coat ablaze, William and Yuna sinking shots into it. He seems genuinely aggreived by this. "Smart boy. Looking to the objective first. But your friend there has the wrong of it." His jacket is down to a few scraps now, exposing his ripped body for all to see. Black veins are bulging out of the skin, the muscles swelling. "Your fight with the Blacksmith and the Standard Bearer proves that a mob of enemies are nothing to you. So I took every remaining Shadow in the castle, and assimilated them to increase my own power."

    Many small black hands stretch over the wound Emily inflicted, pulling on the lower arm to keep it connected. He wriggles the fingers on that hand, then makes a fist.

    "You said I would not be cleaning you off the walls," he notes to Rebecca. "You're right. There won't be enough of all of you to clean up."

==============================HANGED MAN REVERSED===============================

--------------------------MANIFESTATION OF REFLECTION---------------------------

                        THE MAJORDOMO ALWAYS AT HER SIDE                        
                     HE WHOSE GREATEST SERVICE IS GIVING UP                    

-------------------------------PREPARE FOR BATTLE-------------------------------

======================================XII=======================================

    He raises that fist, and throws a single punch. That one blow generates a shockwave akin to Janine's own wind attacks. It buffets the party, threatening to blow them all out of the room if they don't ground themselves!

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    Janine is freed, and Emily immediately moves into a defensive position, whip in hand, staring down the Majordomo steadily. She can do little but watch the shadows start to hold that arm together, though; and only slightly more about the sudden shockwave that blasts the group. But her reaction times, at least, are as lightning-fast as ever, and an instant after the blast hits, her whip is snapping out to the nearest anchor. It stops her from losing too much ground, and the moment the shockwave passes, the butler darts forward in a sudden burst of inhuman speed.

    The instant it looks like another shockwave is coming, she'll anchor herself with her whip again; she's aiming to lose as little ground as possible this time, and then cover that much more in the interim. If she can get behind him like that, she absolutely will - and then the Majordomo will be on the receiving end of another whip barrage, this one aimed center-of-mass.

Ainsley has posed:
    Ainsley is briefly satisfied by them getting the Majordomo to release their ally, and smiles wryly at his noting of her presence. She's glad he remembers her, because she wants to look the Black Queen in the eye pretty soon as this dance of despair is brought to a close. But the reptile woman's smile washes away quickly when she realizes the Majordomo has become... huge. The power of this being makes her hesitate, and she widens her eyes when she realizes what he's doing. His fist raises, and she lifts her sword and STABS it into the ground, and leans forward...!

    She's hit harder than the rest of the party. She screams in pain as magical wind rips feathers out and slices at her skin, and sends her sliding backwards with a spray of sparks, her sword dulling in the floor of the castle. When the wind clears, she staggers and gasps, holding herself up by her weapon.

    "O-oh... oh shit..."

    Ainsley's voice quavers, and her knees shake, and blood trickles down from the impact of his attack. Then she grits her sharp teeth, growls and jerks her weapon out of the ground, and rushes to the side so she will at least get blown into a wall and not out of the fight if he does that again. She pulls her metal-bound journal from her belt and calls her Persona, with a shimmer of light shards and the turtle man appearing with a grave frown on his face. His eye opens and he flashes a bright red and black blast of energy, which seeks to debilitate the Majordomo and reduce his combat effectiveness... because if the Majordomo has consumed innumerable shadows, he may be vulnerable to being slowed down by that very power.

    "Urashima Taro!"

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    Emily's seemed to tear the Majordomo's arm up pretty badly. "HA! Good shot!" Speedwagon encourages. But then he starts... healing? Not exactly, according to what he's hearing. Still. Robert is taken aback. "So THAT'S why there weren't nothin' else attackin' on the way... yer ATE 'em all!" Reducing it down to a base instinct/need, isn't that just like a human?

    Suddenly there's a shockwave from that punch! The Ogre Street Gang hunkers down, trying to weather it, but that's not easy. They're very likely the only three people here who don't have some sort of supernatural powers to aid them here. And they're starting to be pushed back...

    Speedwagon quickly swings his sledgehammer, trying to crack the floor. Not for an attack, no. He's just trying to get some leverage for the sledgehammer to catch in, so Tattoo and Kempo can hold onto him, and he to the sledgehammer, to avoid being swept out of the room.

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Fortunately for Yuna, Powered Form is *also* too heavy to get blown away even by that hurricane-force shockwave of wind - at least, so long as its feet are grounded firmly. At that moment, thankfully, they were ... but the wind still slams into Yuna like the proverbial runaway train, forcing her to dig in further, even conjuring her kite shield and driving Shugoseiheki's lower point into the ground to help anchor herself.

Even with that heavy armor and the shield, though? When the shockwave passes, she can feel fatigue already tugging at her like an anchor's chain. If this fight drags on too long, she'll go down no matter how many or how few hits the Majordomo lands on her. At least now they know why the castle was utterly devoid of lesser Shadows this time in ... all of them, every single mook or minion, is powering him up.

Yuna grits her teeth, hefts the Matrix Divider - actually laying it along one of Powered Form's exo-arms, since it's her own two hands which hold the weapon - and starts firing shots, a couple of seconds apart. Partly it's testing to see how rapidly he recovers from minor injuries, partly seeing if she can whittle away at him.

Mostly it's pitching in without overextending herself, and buying time to see if she can draw together the energy to fire off her beam cannons.

William Pauwel has posed:
Sometimes, Will is glad to be wrong.

This is not one of those times.

"Ah hell," he observes as the Majordomo becomes approximately as swole as your average Heracles. "That's the exact opposite of what I reckon--"

                                  **WHAM**                                  

One moment there was a Will there. The next moment, there's a vaguely Will-shaped blur hurtling at ridiculous speeds down the corridor. Will has only experienced being transformed into a projectile once, and it wasn't pleasant then. It certainly is not pleasant right here and right now. The gunslinger doesn't make a sound as he's smashed straight through a castle wall and disappears into the hollow within.

The good news: The Majordomo ate all the shadows that would almost certainly be swarming all over him by now.

The bad news: Ow all Will's bones.

For a moment, there is not even a peep from the hole in the wall. And then there is motion. And from motion, there comes a single, blazing bolt fired from the barrel of an ultra-futuristic scifi sniper rifle. Two more follow in quick succession, each one glowing with the light of a living star. "D-damnit," Will grunts, wiping the blood from his brow. "Damn near got me there."

His ears are still ringing. He doesn't quite notice that he can't actually hear a damn thing right now.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Emily moves in, Ainsley uses her own powers to try and hinder Janine being held she moves now with inhuman speed there is no hiding what she is today. With Janine lose now to at least having a chance the MM unit is used and rather than the normal SMG Kotone often uses? She has a MEK Trooper issue Mini-gun with the ease of someone carrying rifle normally.

"I was about to say the same to you!...you devoured your own forces?!"

The weapon is wound up and she starts o let lose as spray of bullets at the Major Domo, with pauses in fire for when allies might chose to getting up and close.

She sees Emily has Janine, in hand and it's really time to go to town here. Brass is flying everywhere in her wake as she fire on the move, she knows she'll have to change weapons soon but hitting the ground running is the best bet with someone like this. Then comes the shock wave, she stops she stomps with such force driving her feet into the ground shattering it under foot as to anchor herself in the face of the powerful attack. She does not escape harm but she does escape being sent flying at the very least.

August Kohler has posed:
They said the Majordomo was the most powerful of the Queen's minions. The sheer fact he could assimilate himself with all of the Shadows in the castle...how is that possible? How powerful is this guy? August keeps on guard, as the jacket is burned, but the Shadows keep him attached anyways. "How...ugh!" Before August can say anything else, though, that punch is flying forward.

August is blasted back by the shockwave, narrowly catching himself at the expense of several bruises and the fact that he's left entirely off-guard for future strikes. After several moments, the redhead recollects himself, the Tin Soldier lifting its gun back up to send out a big blast of fire, trying to torch the Majordomo some more. "Keep the pressure on, everyone! If you're bleeding, bleed later. Right now, we need to kill him!"

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
"Tough talk," Rebecca says, still scowling. "But I'll have you know I've faced off against far worse than you!"

Unfortunately, Rebecca isn't expecting such a huge shockwave to occur. Her scowl turns into a look of shock and then fear as she finds herself being hit by the shockwave, which does hit harder than she thinks it would. She finds herself being hit by the magic wind so hard that it literally cuts into her flesh and knocks her down, causing her to cry out.

Fortunately, she's not blown away, but she is bleeding a little. Unfortunately for Majordomo, this makes Rebecca even angrier. Despite the injuries she's sustained, she's even more determined than ever as she gets back up! "You've picked the wrong medic to mess with!" Rebecca yells as she levels her MP5K. "Now pay the price!" She fires off a three round burst of gunfire.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Everyone opens up on the Majordomo. Gunfire rattles, flames bellow, energy blasts sear. Each one finds their home, the Majordomo not even bothering to block. Each wound is quickly tended to by those little hands. Bullets are pushed out and the holes tugged shut. Burns are peeled away by the hands, their mass filling the gap in his skin. "Can you afford to waste time trying to solve this puzzle? I am not going to stand around and wait.

    Neither is Emily, as she finally gets her opening to get behind him. Her whip snaps, over and over, soon creating a hefty wounds upon his back. The darkness within writes as it struggles to pull it closed. When she just keeps making more, they give up, and reach out for her instead, intent to tear her apart.

    And then Ainsley invokes Urashima Taro.

    The Majordomo slumps, while Emily gets a prime look at the darkness within him bubbling furiously. The massive Shadow slams a palm to the side of his head, and it seems to soothe. "All right, none of that." He rises, and sinks his fingers into the ground to pull up a chunk of glass. With a casual toss, he lobs it into the air, and punches it on the way down. Once again, there is a massive shockwave, but now it is punctuated by a shotgun blast of broken glass. Now he's aiming to carve everyone to ribbons!

    At the same time, he moves with a sudden rush of speed, more than he should be able to. His intent is to catch Emily before she can rush to Janine's aid. If he succeeds, he'll immediately spike her to the floor. "As fellow manservants, I have the advantage here. My master is not present, so I can fight to my full extent. What of you? Can you protect her when you separate yourself from her?

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    Once there's a break in the shockwave, Speedwagon stands up again. Getting close to that guy just isn't happening, and even if he did, there wouldn't be much he could do up close. "Tattoo, see what damage yer can do," he instructs. "Try ter cause enough damage so that those Shadows gotta concentrate more on keepin' 'im together than on attackin'! Kempo, with me!" Both Robert and Kempo are basically bruisers, so they're not going to be able to do much in the way of damage.

    So Tattoo starts to circle the Majordomo, to see where he can make an attack. However, when the Shadows start reaching out for Emily, Speedwagon growls, "Oh no yer don't!" He picks up that bladed hat (which he had somehow miraculously managed not to lose) and flings it in the direction of those reachy, grabby Shadows. He's trying to sever them before they get to her.

    The 'shotgun blast' of glass throws him into a wall, imbedding pieces of glass in his front, and the glass behind him cracks. Tattoo and Kempo have about the same luck against it. Give those three a few, they're going to need to collect themselves after that. Speedwagon's still cursing, though, so he's probably not dead.

Ainsley has posed:
    Ainsley carefully observes the reaction the Majordomo has to her attack. She briefly squints at the sight of the Shadows falling into chaos from the use of her ability... then she frowns with determination. She brings her arms up to protect her face as the glass and shockwave hits her, and her body slams into the wall behind her. Pain ripples through her, and she gasps in agony, enough that any normal person might've collapsed by now. Running entirely on adrenaline at this point, Ainsley ignores the burning sting of the glass sticking out of her scales, her hide the only thing stopping her from getting a more serious wound.

    She is certainly not strong enough to do a lot of damage to Majordomo, so she's forced to get creative. She decides to reach out with her mind, and her emotions, to the Shadows acting as the Majordomo's power. She tries to touch their simpler minds, and she tries to hit them with complex emotions. Her emotions of desperation, of the need to defeat the Majordomo, she tries to tell them to disobey the Majordomo just for a moment.

    A pulse of magical energy connects from her outstretched hand and the Majordomo as she sends her emotions, her will, her message to the Shadows. Do they listen, or do they disregard her completely? It depends on how gullible they are. She's done it before, although briefly.

    "Listen to me!" she cries out.

August Kohler has posed:
Even though the fire is obviously hitting the Majordomo, the Shadows keep plugging him up. The group's going to have to work together, August realizes. As he's considering a plan, though, glass comes flying forward, cutting into the Tin Soldier's metal flesh and puncturing against August's skin, causing him to scream as he tears it out. "Don't need to waste time. Can just carve you OPEN!" August's arms and face are bleeding, as he calls his plan over the radio, and charges forward...desummoning the Tin Soldier.

August isn't using his Persona. No, he's leaping forward, moving to slice into the Majordomo with his knife which he's quickly drawing. His goal isn't to cut the Majordomo, necessarily - it's to cut through the hands of those Shadows, trying to thin their numbers from up-close. At the cost of putting August in melee range with the brutish manservant!

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Simple air-pressure shockwaves are one thing; relatively blunt force, painful but not *usually* a matter requiring medical attention ... unless you get slammed hard enough to break things, by the wind itself or by subsequent impact with a large, heavy object or other flat and unforgiving surface.

Add a cloud of shattered glass to the shockwave, though, and - well, Yuna's eyes go wide, and she ignites her thrusters without even thinking about what she's doing. "Get behind me!" she yells to any of her allies who are close enough to benefit ...

And with Shugoseiheki raised to guard her face, Yuna hurls herself forward, trying to get in front of as many of her allies as she can - to take the brunt of as much of the glass as she can.

Of course it comes at a cost: besides the additional drain of that sudden exertion, she's trying to tank a *lot* of sharp little pieces as well as the blunt-force pressure wave that's propelling them. By the time Yuna's exo-armor slides to a stop (thankfully still on her feet), there's a small but steady frisson of instability slithering all around Powered Form's bulky form.

And this time, Yuna *isn't* able to resume firing. She's cautious about lowering any of her guard, but if there's no more of that glass flying at her at the moment, she cautiously lowers the kite shield enough to see what's in front of her. Which is really most of what she *can* do, given how August's going in with his knife and others are similarly dependent on close range ...

William Pauwel has posed:
There are few times that Will would ever be glad to have been punched through a wall. The ensuing storm of glass and concussive force is one of those times. He ducks behind the makeshift cover his hidey-hole has provided just as those deadly shards begin raining down. Crystal fragments crack, shatter and fall to the ground in a disconcertingly melodical clangor. Only when the shockwave passes does the sniper peek back up over his wall.

This time, he's not just firing blind.

The Chaser whispers a hiss as he taps at his earpiece, not quite aware that it's not the machine that's broken, but his eardrum. He cranks up the volume and makes do, hearing just barely what Ainsley has planning. He nods and answers, "You open him up, I'll shoot him through. T' might be we can't beat him 'less we get in there and purge those shadows proper, but I've an idea for that."

The idea is, apparently, to switch to Terminal Judgment's primary firing mode. Will leans into his scope, waiting for just the right moment to fire. The barrel begins to glow as Judgment slowly accumulates power. It shines brighter and brighter and brighter in the dark until the blaze at the heart of the weapon burns blindingly from the end of its barrel.

As soon as he sees a chink open up in that armor, he depresses the trigger.

Terminal Judgment fires a focused, charged blast of impossibly focused plasma with enough force to actually recoil. Will grits his teeth as the kickback hammers into his already half-broken shoulder. The might of the Ancients is unleashed as a slug of pure, radiant power-- but will it be enough to banish the shadows completely? Certainly, the boom on impact might be big enough...!

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
The gunfire goes off but it doesn't seem to do much good. Then again, at the beginning of a battle, things like that generally don't do much good at first.

Especially because this thing seems intent on healing itself using whatever powers it has to do so.

Of course, that pales in comparison to the next situation. A shockwave punctuated with a shotgun blast of glass?

Unfortunately, even Rebecca herself isn't able to avoid this completely. The shockwave hits hard, and several pieces of glass cut her exposed flesh, while the majority of them hit her vest thankfully. Bloodied and bruised, Rebecca tries to pick herself back up and apply a first-aid spray to her wounds, more intent on stopping the bleeding...

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    The bladed hat toss from Speedwagon slices through the air between Emily and the Majordomo - the air and, quite possibly, other things as well. It certainly makes the butler's defense quite a bit easier. She certainly doesn't relax, though, keeping that whip moving in a whirling pattern that will allow her to snap it out at any given moment. But while she thinks she spots an opening, and the lunge has already begun, it's too late to abort when she realizes that the glass is going to be coming down in a deadly hail. The whip is whirled around in a defensive flourish above Emily, but quite a few still get through, cutting her coat open and drawing blood in spots where the garment isn't protectively lined.

    Then comes the Majordomo, shockingly fast. Only the woman's own speed saves her from a direct hit, and even then she still eats the shockwave almost point-blank, blasted off to the side. But in the same heartbeat, the whip snaps out again, snagging his arm, and yanks her forward... sliding along the ground between his legs.

    "You and I differ on that point," she calls as she slides. "You fight in your master's stead. I fight at my master's side. I've every faith in her to take care of herself - I shall be there in an instant should she need me, but until then I can fight to my fullest, just as she'd have me do!"

    Slide, turn, crouch - and that whip lashes out at the Majordomo's back again. This time, it's all focused strikes, all slamming at the same wound, over and over. A concentrated strike to see how deeply she can wound him, how those hands respond to a deep injury... and, perhaps, if an idea that's come to her will be feasible.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa does not think the opening moves of this fight owuld bring the enemy down, maybe put him off balance, weaken him somewhat? Sure? That's certainly possibe but downing them in the inital salvo? That's not so likely and now she moves to pull herself free from the floor to face the enemey down. The battle rager on but she sees the Majordomo slump? Is it done? No it can't be done he was holding back it seems there's anotehr shockwave and this time?

She's ready and she leasp once once but at the apex of her jumpo she jumps a second time vaulint into the auir, she's forced to drop her minigun however and is going to ahve to chance weapons, she drops down. Kotone has another weapon in hand a braton given to her some time ago by Kushiko the weapon was fist with corrive rounds which might just do a number on the shadow. Or at least that's what Tomoe homes these exoitc ap rounds more or less can do as she fires off several controlled bursts at the shadow leader.

"So she's not here? Well then...she can't bail you out now can she?!"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Ainsley cry sinks into the Majordomo. The Shadows within writhe, being marshalled not by unified purpose, but by the Majordomo's own will. Her voice reaches them, and they bestill their struggles for a moment. This has ramifications for the Majordomo, as his regeneration slows down.

    This gives August his opening to begin slicing their hands off, keeping the wounds from closing. Speedwagon's hat gets the ones that are out of reach, snipping them and sending them to wiggle uselessly on the floor. The Majordomo is not well pleased, and his great palm comes up to try and slam down on the German's head, aiming to drive him into the floor. His other hand swipes in a vicious chop, aiming to strike down Speedwagon's hat and catch the side of Yuna's head as she peeks from behind the shield, all in a single motion. "Your defences are an irritant. Disappear."

    And then that superheated plasma slug makes contact.

    A hole is blown clean through the Majordomo, and the Shadows within him do nothing to close it. But he's not down yet. His teeth clench, and his form abruptly shrinks. His muscles less impressive, but the reduced mass means the wound becomes smaller. He bounces on his feet and looks about, spotting Rebecca trying to heal herself. He moves, fast. Much much faster, almost on par with Emily herself, and tries to punch the medic in the head and claim the healing spray for himself. If successful, he goes to apply it to himself.

    Emily retorts as she snaps at the smaller wounds on his back, making him scowl. "If you need to fight alongside your master, you are a poor servant indeed. You should be able to crush anything that would threaten them on your own." He turns to face her, and uses his heightened speed to start smacking away her whip while closing the distance to aim a vicious kick at her knee.

    Corrosive rounds from Kotone begin eating through him, and he looks up at her. "No, she is here. She merely has far more important matters to tend to. You are mere whelps, a mosquito bite." He crouches, and leaps up, delivering a bicycle kick to try and catch her on the way down!

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Oh no, you don't. Rebecca's already sprayed a good portion of the spray onto herself.

Not to mention, just as the fist comes at her, Rebecca drops and rolls away, while the can goes rolling in another direction. "That was too close," Rebecca says to herself. "I can't believe what I get myself into sometimes."

Once Rebecca's finished her roll, she drops into a crouched position and opens fire again.

August Kohler has posed:
The movement worked. In return, August gets slammed downwards, a powerful blow knocking him upside the head, rendering him blurry, and sending him into the ground with a hard crack. He's lucky it didn't kill him, the natural resistance from his Persona assisting, as the redhead lies on the floor for several moments. But he can't stop fighting. Not here.

August rises to his feet, the German lifting up the mirror to his eyes. "Once...once more, Tin Soldier!" It's difficult to speak, but calling a Persona is as natural to him as breathing when he does so. "Shut up! I'm going to burn you to ash! TAKE THIS!" The Tin Soldier manifests in front of August, fire fanning around that gun-leg, which begins to grow and grow. It's forming into a massive burst of flame...as it and August move to line up their shot to not hit the others. Trying to hit it center-mass, trying to time it with the Majordomo's movements. "Now!"

The fireball flies forward, and hopefully, impacts with the Majordomo and burns into him, dealing as much damage as possible when it explodes!

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa says "Mosquitos can kill a human."

Kotone notes as the fight carries on the Bratons rounds are working and she's going to keep it up with that as she slams a fresh clip in and start to drop and whelp? She gets a full on kick to the chin, she's far heavier than a woman of her size an buuld should be, though that doesn't help too much as she's kicked an goes spinning landing frace down on the floor cracking it and leaving an small impact crater as she attemp to get back up and into the fire, shooting even as she rises back up.

"Okay I didn't think I could find you more of a pain in the ass? Yet somehow you have!"

Then the bursts of fire pause and she tosses a plasma grenade into the mix the weapob beeps a few secounds after impact and explodes in a burst of plama hoping to ruin the guyy's day and adding to the havoc Emily is hoping to cause along side August turning up the heat yet again.

Emily Branford (999) has posed:
    That speed is impressive - Even now, Emily is a bit faster, but unlike her, he can use that speed persistently. Hers is available only in bursts, and while she can chain them just about seamlessly, that gets tiring fast. So, as the Majordomo approaches, she reconsiders her options... and then just keeps right on whipping. "Utter nonsense," she scoffs. "Who said I /need/ anything of the sort? My master wishes to take the battlefield. That is the beginning and end of my consideration - if that is how she wishes to fight, then that is how we fight."

    Whipcrack after whipcrack is deflected, until at last the swift Shadow draws near enough to swing a kick at her knee. It's a smart choice; the most stable stance for Emily to chain strikes with her whip is one that keeps her knee out, leaving it by far the easiest target for anyone who gets in close.

    It's also a trap.

    The kick swings in, and the butler suddenly shifts, expecting it the entire time. The move is fluid, almost dancelike in a way, but absolutely efficient. In the same movement, she snaps her own leg out, 'tapping' the back of the Majordomo's knee in such a way as to push him off balance. It will only be slight. Only for a moment. Only just enough to delay him for a split second. But that's all Emily is looking for. Just enough time to shift forward and around him, so that she can get behind him and swing her fist towards one of his shrunken wounds. It probably just feels like a particularly brutal punch at first.

    But about the time the Majordomo leaps into the air, the spoon and pin from the grenade both hit the floor. Clink.

    The only question is how well the smaller wound will hold the grenade in place until it goes off.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    The hat is batted away, bouncing about the room and rolling on the floor. Which is about what it would have done anyway, since Speedwagon's not standing up to catch it. The Ogre Street gang is kind of not quite collected yet!

    It's Kempo who rights himself first, and pauses a moment, long enough to void some of his body of the pieces of glass from his body via muscle contractions of his arms. He's a martial artist, he can do that. Quickly Kempo heads to assist the others. Tattoo seems all right, if cut up quite a bit. And Speedwagon himself is... noticeably worse for wear, his suit ripped and the edges of the cuts dark with his blood. "Thank yer," he offers, and then goes to retrieve his hat. Thankfully it's still in reasonably good, serviceable shape.

    He has an idea now. "Hem 'im in," he suggests. "If 'e's the fast sort, cuttin' off his movement might bring lock 'im down." So the three of them will try to get close to the Majordomo and try to make it more difficult for the Majordomo to zip around. Yes, this is a really stupid idea, and could result in friendly fire. But the three of them are doing the best thing they can figure out.

    They're also trying to distract the speedy Shadow. Particularly Speedwagon, as he tries to get in close and slice at the Majordomo with his hat held in one hand -- slash damage has seemed to work better, and he's not willing to experiment right now. This guy's too strong for that. "Is it TRUST?! RESPECT?! Or FEAR?! Do you serve because you WANT to, or because you're AFRAID NOT TO?!"

    He knows that, if the Majordomo even dignifies the question with an answer, he's just going to get brainwashed Shadow talk anyway. So he's not even going to pay any mind to it. The sole reason he yelled that was to draw attention to himself. Because if it's on him, the others might have better chances of getting this guy off-guard.

    Besides, he's expendable. They're not.

William Pauwel has posed:
'Right, stungun shotgun. Got it!'

The Majordomo's adaptability is impressive. Of course, it would have to be. This guy isn't just a powerful shadow, he's the Queen's right hand man. Will winces, still recovering from that last blast as the shadow collapses in on himself, sacrificing power for raw, blisteringly fast speed.

Which incidentally has the added benefit of reducing the lethality of that gaping hole in its midsection.

No matter.

Will gets decent advice as usual.

He pushes himself up out of his hole in the wall, his weapon disassembling and reassembling in a flurry of Ancient metal and unknowable light. The Majordomo isn't the only one who can adapt to changing circumstances. Will doesn't bother properly aiming. He levels a stocky weapon coruscating with rippling, nearly invisible energies in the vague direction of the blur that is the Majordomo. "Hey," Will calls as he pulls the trigger. "Slow down. You're movin' too fast."

He fires... A broad wave of crackling, stunning electromagnetic madness. If it hits, it'll probably do a little worse than just inducing convulsive fits.

Ainsley has posed:
    Ainsley is finally not hammered by explosions of wind or glass for five seconds, giving her enough time to catch her breath. She gives a little pained fist pump to herself as she catches the sight of the Shadows powering up the Majordomo ceasing in their efforts to help him. She then lifts her sword and sniffs in, carefully watching for the Majordomo's movements. She flicks her eyes to the others to make sure she isn't caught in the crossfire, and keeps herself moving so she doesn't get singled out too easily in the chaos.

    As Emily moves to try and blow the Shadow up with a grenade, and Will takes a shot to try and stun him with a big zap, Ainsley brings her book up and shouts "Persona!!!"

    Urashima Taro, the turtle savior, appears. His arms are lifted, palms facing each other, as if holding a box. He claps his hands together firmly with a loud crystalline noise, and tries to manifest the reflective barrier around ... the Majordomo!?

    No, it's inverted. Ainsley is trying to contain the grenade's blastwave and maximize it's damage, reflecting the blast inward again like a big pressure cooker.

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Powered Form is *very* bulky with armor - but Yuna's face is still visible, protected mostly by the defensive field - which is already working overtime in the face of Yuna's overall enervated state. So while the blow to her face doesn't do much *actual* damage, it still rattles Yuna's focus, breaking her concentration, and allows the Majordomo to zip on to the next target.

To her credit, she *still* isn't pulling out of the fray - much as she wants to just de-transform, go home, and sleep for a week. But she can't de-transform here, and more to the point, no matter how much she feels like she's taken enough, she does *NOT* want to leave her allies in the lurch. And let's face it: this particular fight is about as much of a lurch as she can imagine.

She still can't quite muster the energy for her beam cannons - and more to the point, the Majordomo is all over the place *way* too fast for her to cut loose; she would probably miss him entirely, with or without the fact that her allies are liable to be in almost any line of fire. She keeps trying, though - turning to track the Majordomo, Matrix Divider attempting to follow his movements, and if he actually *stops* moving long enough, she'll squeeze off a shot - trying to kneecap him, for however much good that'll do. Or maybe just blow through the joint, much as she *still* cringes at the thought of doing that kind of harm - but still, she reminds herself, this is a Shadow. Or a whole mass of them, all wrapped up in one seemingly-human shape, driven by a mind solely dedicated to serving his Queen.

If the Majordomo actually STOPS moving for any length of time, she can try charging up for her beam cannons - but otherwise, Yuna is being conservative with her firepower. She's not about to give the Majordomo time enough to regenerate, if she can help it, but she knows where she is relative to her limits.

(Not that she'll mind at all if the fight is concluded without her having to fire off her big guns.)

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Majordomo scowls as Rebecca weaves away from his attack, denying him another means of healing himself. And so he turned his attention to Emily, forcing him to absorb the medic's shots in the back. He kicks Kotone in the middle of defending himself, and then lunges in to go for that open knee.

    That was his first mistake.

    The trap is sprung, and he takes a blow to his wounds. Clenching his teeth, he lashes out as he turns, trying to swat Emily away. And while Speedwagon's call might not amount to much, it does something. Something small, but massive in the grand scheme of things.

    It obscures the sound of the grenade pin hitting the floor.

    "You misunderstand. I-" he starts, only to be nailed by Will's stunning shot. Electricity arcs as his muscles convules, squeezing down on the grenade and pushing it deeper inside. Only now does he realize something is wrong, and it's too late. Many attacks converge at once, and Ainsley's shield comes up just in time to contain them all. August's Agidyne mingles with Kotone's plasma grenade mingles with Yuna's beam cannons while Emily's grenade detonates, carving a scoop of him out neatly, the conflagration filling the protective bubble, keeping everyone else safe.

    When the flames and smoke clears, the Majordomo is a charred mess. Whisps of darkness spill from his burned, slumped form, parts of him crumbling away. His lips move, a hoarse whisper leaking from them, even in spite of his lack of lungs. "Before I was interrupted..." he begins, addressing Speedwagon. "The Queen did something... I thought impossible. She earned my devotion..." He exhales, ashes of himself leaving his innards with the slight breath.

    "But... perhaps you all might do something more impossible... but as I live, I serve her. So I issue you an ultimatum. I'm opening the doors to the throne room for you..." As he says this, the doors do open, leading only to bottomless darkness. "But in five minutes, the whole castle shall shuffle. You will not find this place again. If you retreat to recoup, your quest will meet its end. But if you press on, you'll have your chance..."

    He finally collapses, leaving a pile of soot on the floor. In the distance is a raven's cry, mingling with his final words. "Good luck..."

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    Speedwagon's not going to completely discount the Queen having EARNED this creature's devotion. He's seen some people who were incredibly charismatic and yet perfectly horrible and irredeemably evil. So yeah. He's not going to doubt that. Then again, he's not really sure how much of these Shadows they've been facing are truly 'human' -- even if, as in this case, they look that way.

    And the words of them having five minutes? "Oh bloody hell," he curses, as the Majordomo collapses into a pile of ash. He's mainly talking to Tattoo and Kempo with the next, but he does say it loud enough for the others. Because he's kind of a loud guy anyway. "C'mon, ya heard the man! Five minutes!" But in the next breath as the oppressive time limit, he encourages, "Almost there, ladies and gents! Just a little further now an' all this'll be over an' done with!"

Ainsley has posed:
    Ainsley flinches from the explosion, and her Persona fades once more. Her feathers briefly puff up, and she shudders as he speaks his last words, before evaporating into dust before them. She stares at the sight of him, and swallows dryly at what he says. It really puts them in a difficult place. So... She approaches the others.

    "I'll tend to some of our wounds before we head further," she tells the others, as her head turns to view the open darkness that lays ahead of them.

    Her pupils shrink and a chill climbs her spine as she remembers her deepest fears for a moment, and finds herself with the inescapable urge to push forward regardless of that. She hovers over to each wounded party member to provide some mystical first aid, to put people into at least a moderately combat ready state. Her magic glows a soft pink, white and red. She puffs and huffs as she finishes her work, because she's starting to feel exhausted already... But she can't stop now.

    Not until she sees the end of the Black Queen.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Takes a powerful kick, if she still had a normach stomach? she'd likely have been hit so hard she'd throw up, she's sent back she's hurt though that has done some internal damage of some sort but she looks upon the combined assault and the terrible harvest that the Marjordomo reaps.

She watches in the aftermath looking on and listening.

"So we have no choice we're going onward then as he meets his end. There's no time for healing, time for repairs, maybe just time to reload and move on. Or Ainsley might be able to help some of them while they have time.

"Right we can't wait for too long we need to see this through to the end."