5805/Dark Lady: Hunt 2

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Dark Lady: Hunt 2
Date of Scene: 13 April 2018
Location: UQ Holder <UQ>
Synopsis: Pending
Cast of Characters: Tomoe, Yuuki Konno, Josuke Higashikata, Iria, Priscilla, Staren, Xiaomu, Kirito


Tomoe has posed:
Last time on the Dark Lady

One of the Twins was defeated by Kirito finally progressing the quest somewhat and with the bonus of not killing the NPC. Tomoe state in the Dark Lady appearance had change her wings had gone from normal Salamander wings to dragon like ones, and that is troubling her. She also may be hanging back as she really not in the best mood about the costume for her role and the only way to be rid of it is to clear this quest it seems.

Thankfully thanks to Touta Konoe capturing a map during the last staging point? The location of several more staging points and idea of how to approach this one. Which is on wrecked ship, it can't be natural though given it seems to be a vessel from ALO rather than something from the world before everything went splat.

Tomoe would have organized with everyone else on this she's sitting back on the dragon that Josuke kept alive some time. She's over seeing the site some distance away on the dragon, the plan for attacking the ship was to come from either end of the beach. The hulking magical sailing ship wreck was plain to see m made from mighty timbers? It was fairly intact, one might even think it could be repaired with enough time and the right people to work on it.

Today it looks like the 'heroes' are far more entrenched than one might have expected them to be. There were what could be magical turrets of some sort along the deck and bow, possibly made using one shot spell crystals for munitions.

One can see the lurking form of Bolt Vanderhugh and the Priestess on deck, the male of spiggan twins is there as well, if there are more? It might be harder to tell given the decks and there's a few golems it looks like, hinting that the mysterious cloaked mage might be about as well.

"Go forth my minions and attack."

Tomoe laughs, she has to laugh this whole quest line is insane and if she didn't laugh she might go utterly stark raving mad. As for her allies they been set up on points either out in the water if they chose to or behind some large rock formations this part of the North America seems infested with.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Of course Yuuki utterly loves the insanity of this quest. Well, more accurate to say she loves having fun questing with her friends. This particular quest might be insane but it surely allows them liberty to have fun. "Don't forget rule 20!" Yuuki calls out to Tomoe, arcanely, in pursuit of this.

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Evil Overlord List: Rule 20. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
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    With a mad cackle (or at least a giggle) of her own, Yuuki dispatches a picture to Tomoe from the maddening list, then blurs into the air. She hasn't really FOUGHT anyone much in this fight. Destroying supplies and carving up tents and stuff is fun, but not as much fun as she *could* be having here! It's time for the evil ninja to show her stuff!

    Of course this is Yuuki. Charging in, while very much her style, isn't a mindless act. She makes a rush in at the ship, fully prepared to dodge the hell out of any magic projectiles. Having fought dozens of duels against Alfheim Online magic, she's quite familiar with its limitations and abilities. Lacking the time to aim and the protection of a wall of tanks, wizards are at best glass cannons. Perfectly appropriate for them to also be spell crystals!

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke is in his 'Dark Priest' outfit again, with the wings and the hooded robe. It's a big hood, so it doesn't mess his hair up, of course. He's still carrying that book, yes. And he's still employing Crazy Diamond to lift him up so it looks like he's floating. Y'know. Just in case there's a 'hero' watching him from where he's set up.

Right so. Turrets. Those are gonna have to be the first things to go. Disabling them will make the others' approach less dangerous. So, when Tomoe says the word, Josuke sighs. "...Well, here goes nothing..." he murmurs. He's not going to ham it up yet. Right now this is SERIOUSLY him trying to decrease the danger of the approach.

With a loud "DOUUURRRRA!" the Stand throws Josuke towards one of the turrets. He soon moves out of range of the Stand, and it disappears. However, when he's within range of the turret, he exclaims, "<CRAZY DIAMOND!>" To those who can see the Stand, it will appear and immediately begin pummeling at the turret.

Hopefully the heroes are amongst those who can't. Because if they can't, it's gonna look like he just flew in on those black wings high speeds, and that 'Crazy Diamond' is the name of a super-destructive evil spell!

Iria has posed:
Even though Kirito defeated one of the Twins, it seemed like things only went from bad to worse with Tomoe. She went from a Salamander to something far worse, at least in appearance. It's almost like the further they're getting into this whole thing, the worse things are going for Tomoe. But they've come this far, so there's no use in turning back, right?

That's what Iria keeps telling herself as she goes along with this whole thing. The further into the quest they go, the harsher things seem to become in general. "No rest for the wicked," Iria comments to herself sarcastically as she flies in on her Deppandai in glider mode, giving herself a bit of extra speed as she approaches with the others. She scowls as she approaches the ship, realizing that she's not in the best method of transportation for aerial combat.

"Had I known THIS was gonna happen," Iria says to nobody in particular as she slows down a little while firing the guns on her glider at the nearest turret to her, "I would've brought my spacecraft!" She sighs angrily. "Live and learn, I suppose. Just as long as Fujikuro doesn't find out..."

Priscilla has posed:
    It's been a really long time since Priscilla had properly been here. The first time since CARDINAL's restructuring of this world, at least. Thankfully, she needs no catching up on the deal of how MMOs work, since she had worked through the SAO crisis and part of the Death Gun chase, but admittedly, the nature of this quest confuses her a little.

    First off, Tomoe is dressed like an evil JRPG overlord and apparently sending minions to attack some would-be heroes. She even got a new set of wings. Second, she /really/ isn't sure about whether these heroes are NPCs or real people. For the occasion, at least, she's dug up her old account (surprised it exists, actually, but she recalls the password when presented with the login option by CARDINAL) and equipped the black Imp outfit she'd gotten from ALO and the bone reaper scythe she'd luckily rolled from the floor 75 boss of SAO. The fact it fits in with the edgy villain aesthetic, for the most part, is sheer good fortune.

    Still, she lingers by Tomoe for the moment, like a right hand lieutenant ('dragon' would be too much of a pun), just surveying the field for a moment, because she has questions. Exactly those ones, in fact.

    "Lady Tomoe, I admit I must ask of thee how it is thou found thineself on this side of such a battle. What precisely is it that compels thee to this? And what precisely is it that the good members of the Gatecrashers now task their blades towards others of the sort?" A flat, distant stare goes off to the people on the ship deck. "Art those fellow players? Wouldst I be to understand that this is a 'Pee Vee Pee' event of sorts? Or art they foes simply generated sheerly to provide thee opposition?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren thought he had it figured out when Kirito destroyed that sword and the quest advanced: We just have to destroy all their gear!

    Kirito suspects it might be that specific gear has to be destroyed by specific people. So, there goes that idea... except, Staren has no BETTER idea, and if CARDINAL is that picky... well, fuck CARDINAL. It is their current whim to avoid trying to break the game, but they're multiversal elites. If CARDINAL pulls some sort of 'haha you didn't do it exactly right now the game is unwinnable!' shenanigans, the gloves will come off.

    Staren hasn't noticed that Tomoe is bothered by having dragon wings. Perhaps a combination of not seeing bodies as a big deal and assuming that if Tomoe were unhappy with her avatar she would voice her concerns, as she has about her armor.

    Anyway, Staren's 'villain outfit' consists of a howie-style labcoat with huge black buttons, instead of his usual open one, and has his goggles pushed up onto his forehead. His hair is deliberately uncombed to be extra-wild. Over the coat he wears some kind of chest harness with magic or tech-y looking discs on it, which are actually forcefield projectors. His usual messenger bag hangs at his side. Completing the outfit are military black slacks and matching shiny black boots and long gloves.

    Staren is once again piloting his walker golem -- A bipedal construct made of wood painted to look like metal. Where one might expect an upper torso and head, however, has been replaced with something like the inside of a car -- places for a few people to sit, and a control panel in front of the driver -- the shape of this 'cockpit' exposes the upper bodies of the occupants, in this case Staren, who we'll get to in a moment. Two arms hang down from the 'body', each of which is holding an assault rifle with a double-cylinder magazine. All in all it's maybe 9½ feet tall, 11 if you count the exposed part of its occupant.

    As before, accompanying Staren are three large figures, ten or eleven feet tall, appearing to be bulky, humanoid clockwork robots -- golems of wood or stone, painted to look bronze and with gears and bits stuck on for looks. They're armed this time -- two with giant spiked maces, and the third has a pair of... chainsword katars sized for its body and slightly more detailed armor to make it look 'elite'.

    "Stop." Staren orders his troops, once he spies what look suspiciously like turrets. And do they have their own golems now? Damn copycats! Staren takes a moment to think about what a 'turret' might be weak do, then decides it doesn't matter: This whole shebang runs on game rules, the turrets probably have HP, he just needs to deplete them.

    So, from a distance, he turns his riding golem's twin assault rifles on one of the turrets and starts shooting, to see if he can get any indication of how much damage is needed.

Xiaomu has posed:
Xiaomu can't really attack by air, and charging in by land is going to make her a terribly easy target. For that matter, if the heroes are smart enough to expect incoming, they're probably expecting attack by air as well.

So the sage fox comes in by sea instead: a slab of ice, easily large enough for her to stand on without trouble, possibly big enough for passengers if anyone else is crazy enough to hitch a ride with her - and it's quite the hair-raising ride, as the slab of ice simply speeds across the water's surface, almost like a jetski. Just that there's no engine - it's propelled through an ongoing application of Xiaomu's magic.

With Yuuki, Josuke, and Iria taking the visible lead - *especially* Josuke, not just highly visible but highly *audible* too - Xiaomu's content to make a slightly more subdued approach; her mobile ice floe zigs and zags lazily, just in case anybody noticed her to try taking potshots ... but once she's confident enough to close in, the slab of ice picks up more speed, settling onto a gently curving course towards the wreck's seaward flank ...

Kirito has posed:
    Kirito's starting to get worried about Tomoe. He casts an uneasy glance over his shoulder at her, a bit of dread forming. He hopes nothing freaky's going on... Cardinal's strange influence over the world and chosen role for her has raised some CONCERNS.

    With Priscilla nearby, he actually feels just a bit reassured though. Having someone around with Occult Familiarity is a boon, to be sure!

    As usual, he's dolled up his Black Swordsman attire with the black spikey shoulder armor and the Demon Mask. Not much more is needed to make him look Dark Generalish!

    ... That, or, he simply refuses to alter his outfit more than he absolutely has to.

    "It looks like we're up against Alfheim natives, actually. NPCs." He answers Priscilla with no small amount of anxiety tinging his voice. After all he views NPCs as basically people, especially in this new world.

    He does NOT want to be a murderer, so long as any other options remain!

Tomoe has posed:
Rule 20, comes up and Tomoe stops mid laugh and simply says to Yuuki.

"Spoil sport!" She folds her arms and from her draconic perch she'll watch how things unfold, given she knows id she goes down in a fight? She does not know what the quest will do then. Also she's still playing the part after all. In a bizarre way this whole mess is a sanity valve with what she's dealing with in creation and in Luminer. Though she can't help giggling a bit, Yuuki was certainly on point.

As ever her patron saint of Leeroy? Yuuki is charging on in, and the magic projectiles are coming at her chewing up the sand and other flotsam on the beach and she's certainly drawing fire for whomever might try to follow her soon after.

As fire is being drawn? Josuke now makes for targeting the turret with Crazy Diamond, the stand. The 'heroes' can't see the stand so they cry out and are moving into action as the dark Priest has cast some sort of crazy dark spell and the priest calls out.

"Look out!"

She's already moving to chant several buffing spells on her allies while Bolt is getting ready but then from below decks there is a commotion. Someone else is coming from below!

The male of the twins tries to throw a few knives at Josuke even as he's moving into action. Not all the turrets are down, yet? Their numbers are reduced and the Golems are leaping off the ship moving to intercept plodding across the sans of the beach.

Iria joins the fray now as she muses over Tomoe possibly getting an end boss form? She will take some fire but it's a lot less than she would have got, and as for her approach if she can mange to avoid not getting hit she should be able to make landing though almost certainly Golems will be waiting for them when she does.

Tomoe does give a look to Priscilla. She was surprised, yet happy to have her along. She looks to Priscilla for a moment before she departs.

"I can tell you, I foolishly tried to solo a quest where the boss the original Dark Lady had a possession mechanic. I was lucky to get free but in the process we kinda umm broke the entire quest chain, Cardinal seems to be running with that now. I keep looking like this whenever I come into the region my hope is to clear this so I'm not trotting around looking like a Japanese role playing game, villain. As for them they seem to be NPCs but a few seems to be questioning things like the NPCs on the last floor we were on in the death game. Also if we don't clear this quest this area will remain active and be trouble for the people who live here. The lines seem to be blurring now my friend and it's good to have you along. So this is not a Pee Vee Pee event as far as I know but Cardinal has done that before."

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is indeed bothered by it. Losing control over her appearance in such a way, every time she's tried to change clothing she's found the effect locked and she had no idea where this would end she took a look to Staren but it seems Staren is the man with a plan here. Some of the golems move to engage Starens own while even more turrets are exploded by the assault it shouldn't be long before the turrets are no longer an issue though the Golems. Which on the other hand? Are just getting started, though with the rate of ranged fire and several golems go down, yet more are on the way hopefully they are not a constantly spawning stage hazard.

Xiaomu has joined the battle now and it will seem she's got a good opening as everyone so distracting the Heroes' golems and turrets? She's free to operate and make for the ship, she might have to contend with a small handful of turrets facing the ocean that might still be operational but that will be it.

It could be wise for Kirito to talk to Tomoe later or to others bout this as who knows how much influence Cardinal has over her during this quest chain? Which could raise some disturbing questions for Aguma users, how much influence does Cardinal have over them?.

Bolt meanwhile is bellowing in challenge after the ass kicking he got last time he's not in a good mood but what bothers him more is what they said, he's started looking into thing and doe snot like what he sees as one more heroes arrives on the deck it's Brick Slabmeat who disturbingly looks like he could be related to Tomoe is someone shoved a male sibling of hers through a 30s pulp hero filter and dialed the asshole up to Gaston.

"You think you can defeat us the lights on our side and you foul master Oberon will have no hold here!" His wings flare out and he joins the battle.

Staren has posed:
    The turrets are going down good before the melee can /really/ get started, that's good!

    Enemy golems approaching! "Fight their golems!" Staren orders his constructs. He may have given them weapons specialized for armor damage, but given their limited combat skill, fighting (hopefully) low-skilled golems will be a better use for them than pitting them against the heroes immediately.

    And then HULK SLABMEAT joins the battle! "Ugh, /Oberon/. Like we'd work for /him/." Staren scoffs, while reaching for something under his seat. He pulls out: A man-portable railgun! It actually looks a lot like a vaguely futuristic assault rifle. This isn't like the superheavy SMG he brought to Lumiere that needed robot strength to wield -- this is much lighter, and fires slugs sized like normal bullets, which he's further enhanced by making the slugs from hardened armor-piercing alloys.

    He sights the weapon (although it does have a smartlink) and fires at the airborne salamander, hoping that this choice of weapon will shoot right through him to do armor damage coming and going, in case the armor is his relic. Will it work? Who knows. Staren does, of course, keep an eye on Bulk's HP bar -- He doesn't want to KILL the guy, since they're not sure these 'heroes' can respawn.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke is concentrating on the turret, and on not going splat. Since he can't really fly, he only looks like he can. His Stand, once finished with the turret, catches him and makes to toss him to a safe area...

And then the knives are thrown. One slices across his arm, and the other grazes his shoulder. "Agh!" And in his lack of concentration, he actually loses the mental grip on his Stand. So of course, he starts to fall! Fortunately, the Stand re-manifests as he nears the ground, and catches him, so he avoids going splat!

('Time to ham it up!') Josuke realizes. He looks in the male twin's direction. "FOOL! I will deal with you soon enough!" he declares, in an overblown pseudo-evil voice. He's not going to attack right now, because he's still concentrating on getting the stationary defenses taken care of. The fewer defenses at the location, the less danger his allies are in.

So instead of going for the male twin, he uses his Stand to throw him at another turret, to try to wreck it!

Priscilla has posed:
    As Tomoe explains, Priscilla looks her up and down for a moment, quickly but not subtly. The flitting ghost of chagrin crosses her features. "Thou hast mine sympathies. I can imagine very well why thou wouldst be eager to be done with this business." She turns away to the end, looking back to the unfolding battle with a critical eye, talking to Tomoe with a greater degree of distance, now that her attention is far away. "Very well, then. Such simplifies matters, to a degree. As before, thou hast mine aid in times such as these. After all, thou hast more than earned it, even if it is thine desire to remaineth neutral as possible."

    Just after, Priscilla begins walking, in no great hurry. She takes a few steps forward, and the faintest impression of a hop clears her a good few feet from the higher ground she'd taken, putting her through a not-insignificant drop that has a wind whipping through her hair. Just as she'd hit the beach, the sand, or perhaps the space that contains the sand, splashes like water. Ripples spread out from the point of contact, and translucent droplets of . . . something, briefly burst upward from nowhere, before falling into nothing and disappearing once more. A small hiss of black fog surrounds Priscilla where she touches down, and she then disappears. It is eerily close to exactly the look and sound of all those times Tomoe was pulled into the Painted World before.

    It isn't a creepy graphic applied to invisibility. It is mere moments later than Priscilla appears on the deck of the ship itself, bypassing the turrets completely and striding confidently out of thin air, taking a few seconds to fade in, as if she weren't quite real. Right out in the open, she gestures wide with her bone scythe, turning it to point a full arc around the topside of the wreck.

    "Art thou any amongst thee brave enough to step forth from thine petty fortress? Wouldst any of thee do battle, rather than cower behind thine walls whilst paying only lip service to thine supposed heroism?" She sounds more than a little villainous, though frankly, it isn't even intentional. Without melodrama, the way she already speaks is cold and apathetic. This is how to make things quick.

Xiaomu has posed:
If Xiaomu had heard Tomoe's explanation to Priscilla, she would probably have snarked that the look is only natural - after all, Tomoe *is* a JRPG villainess now, why *shouldn't* she look the part?

Fortunately for all concerned, though, the sage fox is far enough away for the discussion to go unheard and unremarked - and besides Xiaomu has somewhat more immediate concerns, namely those turrets which are actually pointing in her general direction. She starts zigging and zagging more actively (and erratically), hunkering down low on her improvised magical ice-raft ...

Right up until it comes to an abrupt halt, whether due to hitting the wreck's side or simply running aground.

Xiaomu rolls with the sudden stop as well as circumstances allow, then draws Suiren out of her staff, examining the hull before she tries sliding her sword through a gap in the planks, followed by trying to conjure more ice to just force that gap further open. It's not like doing this is going to *sink* the ship, after all ... and if there are any 'Heroes' inside the ship's belowdecks, they might blow their cover while she still has layers of wood and a bunch of ice separating her from them.

It probably bears mentioning that rather than her normal qipao and vest, or even the hooded cloak and robe she wore during the battle at the camp, Xiaomu is attired in a moderately plush but still flattering bodysuit, covered from collar to toes with just her head and hands left bare. She's sporting two shoulder holsters (one under each arm) plus a third holster at her back for her three handguns, and a belt laden with pouches is snugged about her waist, presumably carrying everything from spare clips to fried tofu. Of course, if she has to *draw* any of her handguns in a scenario such as this one, something has no doubt gone terribly wrong ...

Iria has posed:
Fortunately, being in a glider like Iria's in, she's able to avoid the turrets rather quickly. "Ha, you can't kill someone you can't hit!" Iria says with a sly, albeit cocky, grin on her face. "I'm too fast for you to handle!" Iria says as she thumbs her noses at the turrets until she gets close enough to land...

...And finds herself face-to-face with the golems. "Oh damn it," Iria says, her cocky grin replaced with a scowl. "Looks like I've bitten off more than I can chew... or have I?" The grin returns as Iria attempts to use her agility to give herself some distance between herself and the golems as she goes for her assault rifle. "See how ya like a little of this!" Iria yells out as she fires off a three round burst of gunfire at the golems.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Diving and darting, the black-clad imp (looking a little like Kirito but WAY cuter and more fashionable) streaks on in. Most spells she dodges. Homing spells she outranges if possible. In one case she can't, so she meets it head-on instead. The resulting explosion as she detonates the spell with her blade is a bit annoying, but nothing she can't handle.

    It also gives her an idea. She draws back her blade, charging dark energy into it. "Hyaaaaaaaah~!" she cries out, spinning in midair as she slams blade-first into a turret. The smokescreen that surrounds her, an effect she considers *particularly* ninjalike, conceals her and lets her set up her NEXT move... assuming of course she's quick enough. Then again, this is Yuuki.

    Even pausing a bit to admire Priscilla's entrance won't slow Yuuki down TOO much. She applauds, briefly but sincerely, then salutes with her sword before charging in. She doesn't bother waiting for someone to challenge her, no, she's out to cut down someone who's manning the guns! Or womaning the guns or whatever. Not to maim them particularly badly of course, just to put them into the red and out of the fight.

Kirito has posed:
    Kirito can't justify hanging back forever. NOt with all of his friends charging in. He gives Tomoe one last glance. "Just don't get TOO in-character, right?" Then his own Spriggan wings unfold from the ether, spread and catch the heavenly light... and revv up with a musical thrumming! WHOOOOSH! One kick off the ground and he's off, unsheathing both Holy Sword Excaliber and Dark Repulsor just the same as last time. He swoops in low at first, but then makes a HIGH upwards arc to confuse those turrets and attempts to place himself UP ABOVE the ship and drop down from above.

    BAM. He's onto the deck in no time at all, having pushed his flight speed to the limits like only a truly experienced flier can manage!

    Just in time to get a good gander at Priscilla.

    "... It's been forever since I've seen you waving that thing around." The Black Swordsman shivers almost imperceptibly. Bad memories of the Skull Reaper. Bad memories indeed!

Tomoe has posed:
The golems are moving after Staren's creations and the battle is getting underway, they seem intend to fight Staren's own creation and that should keep them busy and out of both side's hair for good or ill. Brick Slabmeat is here in the fight now and Tomoe makes a face as he sees him. Oh if there was one she's stop playing around on being the Dark Lady? It would be for that jackass. Even the Bar Maid didn't like him and found the company of the Dark Generals to be an improvement over him. He evades some shots but takes other leaving a ripple of red wire-frames from the impacts but it's clear he's tanky, maybe Cardinal cribbed Tomoe's build for this? It could be very possible there.

Josuke meanwhile has ? Taken some serious damage but it seems hes interrupted by the throwing knives and his foe is soon to switch. However, it seem to be the Priestess who has wavered a bit in the past from her role in the fight she's chanting and bolts of holy magic star flying at Josuke .

"You should worry about me DARK ONE!"

She calls out to him as it seems the male twin is busy dealing with the fact Josuke is now having to be chased and he could be open to someone else getting him while the Priest makes her attack as another turret is wrecked.

"Thank you, for understanding my friend. I'm thankful for your help and more so being someone I can consider a friend."

With that Priscilla is moving in, she's new she's unexpected and they have no idea where she went after she flickered out. Tomoe has a very good idea of where this is likely going and she can't hero but grin.

Brick looks up to see Priscilla there's something about there that seems to resonance, like a smaller predator seeing an Apex. Not that he thinks of it that way.

"A new one?! Let's see how you do against Bolt Vanderhugh"

The beastmaster summons several beats and will make a go at Priscilla as he makes ready with his war-hammer, He's big he's rough but he is out of his league with someone like Priscilla, not that he knows it yet.

The turrets that were on the ocean side are not long for this world as Xiaomu is able to get past them by using High Speed Xiaomu mode.

Once she's in range to do he thing she's able to make the ice wedge into the ship, with everyone on the fight she's free to work for now but where is Punchfist? The Undyine monk?

Iria drops into the Golems and soon is finding she's got one bigger one trying to hammer blow her into the ground with a good deal of force even as some oft he other take hits a few go down? The bounty hunter and bane of the Zerman? Is going to have to worry about becoming a pancake unless she thinks fast.

Yuuki meanwhile is Zekkening about the combat and more taking a page from a long vanished ninja operative of the union who loved orange jumpsuits. Be low and get the enemy's attention so others can do their thing more easily.

The Skull Reaper should have been where Tomoe died, if not for Klein hanging on to a seemingly useless item, which was Tomoe's salvation that day. Kirito is watched by Tomoe as she replies.

"What and make all of you part of my harem? No I'll be good, but not too good."

She smirks as Kirito now gets into the fray with Kirito overwhelming the turrets? He's able to land on the deck not with too much issue but he would find the male Spiggan trying to pounce him the moment he lands as he breaks off form Josuke.

"You'll pay for what you did to my sister!"

He launches into a sword art, oddly was that one of the one favored by some of the Laughing Coffin??

Brick Slabmeat meanwhile starts chanting and seems to be charging up for something what does the man have in mind even as he's assault he seems to endure it for now.

Staren has posed:
    Golem fights golem! The two golems with a giant spiked maces basically just walk up to their targets and swing at them. If the enemy constructs are slow enough, Staren's golems might actually be able to dodge them. The third golem, the 'elite' one fights with more skill, trying to target joints or where armor plates meet, and actually dodging and even parrying with reasonable speed. Of course, if the enemy constructs are swinging their FISTS at it, getting parried with chainswords probably won't work out well for them.

    Staren, meanwhile, is shooting Brick Slabmeat when he STANDS STILL AND CASTS A SPELL. What the heck?! This seems like a tactical mistake, the moment you strike and punish with your super move or whatever! Unfortunately, Staren doesn't really have a 'super move' ready -- he just fires the railgun full-auto, and if he empties the magazine, he drops it and continues firing with his walker's guns instead!

    "'Dark, dark dark'! You guys keep saying that! DARK is not EVIL! She's not the EVIL LADY TOMOE, after all! DARK just means whatever society considers icky! And you're ones to talk, considering you're copying me now!"

Iria has posed:
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Unfortunately, there's a bigger one that wants to smash her into the ground. And while the golem might be keen on turning Iria into a pancake, the bounty hunter herself is not in the mood to be turned into a giant's breakfast. "Oh no, you don't!" Iria exclaims as she jumps backwards and then somersaults into the air, attempting to move laterally beside the golem while putting her agility to good use.

Once Iria lands, she stops to catch her breath, albeit very briefly. "Wow, and I thought the game itself was difficult. I'm glad it's not this tiring in real life!" The brunette runs a hand through her hair. "Then again, video games wouldn't be as unhealthy as they say... or would they?" She shrugs as she considers the consequences of being crushed in real life by a golem far worse than the risks of regular video games. Speaking of which...

"And now it's time to break you down!" Iria exclaims as she switches her assault rifle for her grenade launcher. Loading a large grenade round into the large cannon, Iria fires the explosive at the golem while diving away simultaneously in hopes of keeping a good distance from that huge hulk of rock!

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
This time Josuke's keeping his wits about him. And when he hears the sound of the Priestess's voice, he moves. Quickly! Crazy Diamond tries to grab the pummeled turret and throw it, not at the Priestess, but at her attack. Hit or miss he's still getting out of the way. The bolt just BARELY misses him, though.

Quickly he finds a place he can 'land', and has his Stand hold him aloft. "Ah! There you are, bright fool." HEY, give him a break, his 'evil overlord' vocabulary is still kinda small. He does remember the radio talk of the relics, though. Does she have one? He needs to stall so he can look.

So, how does an evil villain stall? By talking, of course. "I give you this chance... join us," Josuke offers, extending his free hand to the Priestess. "Join me at the Dark Lady's side and know power beyond your greatest imagining!" And while he's talking, he's trying to carfully examine the Priestess for anything that might look important -- a pendant, a weapon, a particular very important piece of armor...

Xiaomu has posed:
No gunfire. No spells. No sudden swordings from ambush, or arrows, or *anything*.

Xiaomu stays cautious as she slips through that gap into the old wreck's hold, giving her eyes time to adjust and looking around ... she's not sure whether to be suspicious or relieved that the alleged heroes left *this* kind of a loophole in their defenses. It seems too good to be true, really.

.... oh well. They do have relics to look for, so Xiaomu puts the lack of hostiles to good use, picking through the hold to see if any relics were left down here so they wouldn't be in use on the front lines. Just in case, y'know?

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla had something extra lined up to say, but when the Hero she draws the attention of announces that name, her expression, cold and unconcerned as a permanent glacier, furrows into a shadow of disbelief. "Bolt . . . Vanderhugh?" she cannot help but repeat. The rest is sort of implicit.

"Very well." She even waits around until he's finished summoning, standing perfectly still while he gets his beasts out, in true villain fashion. She even waits until they've closed in from all sides, lunging into melee and firing their ranged attacks, before lowering her stance, whirling her scythe behind her back and braced behind her shoulder, and then disappears.

    There's an edge to the combat invisibility this time. Just hiding herself wouldn't stop the crash of claws and elemental attacks from smashing into her from every side. No, when she fades out, she doesn't just fade out of sight and hearing, but out of existence completely, going Somewhere Else for just a moment, and ending up on the outside of the circle without a sound.

    From there, there is a incredibly lethal, and possibly completely terrifying string of lightning fast attacks from nowhere, jumping from beast to beast as each one is rapidly hit in succession with full through-body slashes. Though the bone reaper scythe doesn't amplify the effect quite as severely, the /explosion/ of pixelated blood effects, far in excess of what should normally happen, is unmistakable, each proc chopping off massive chunks of total HP, and then leaving any survivors with a crippling list of slows and absurd DoTs. Beast after Beast is ripped through with glowing red slash marks and massive virtual bleeding, until the point where there are none left able to fight back, without Priscilla ever revealing herself.

    When she gets that moment, she intentionally leaves a long pause, not immediately assaulting the Beastmaster, but letting it sink in that she could be anywhere. All the way across the ship, inches away from his face --it doesn't matter. What actually happens, when he's had plenty of time to get his guard up and settle on a direction, is that Priscilla silently maneuvers to the exact opposite, and a horrible knife-on-chalkboard keening sound penetrates her target, and brands a searing, fiery orange eye on him like a stigmata. Specifically, it brands on his gear.

    Someone had said something about destroying it, so she has intentionally applied a huge damage multiplier to his equipment, but not him. That means when she starts laying into him a second later, the damage /should/ pile up to the point of equipment break /before/ the secondary effect kills the user. Hopefully. She's not entirely confident.

Kirito has posed:
    "I've done nothing but defend myself!" Kirito asserts in the closest thign to an angry roar he tends to ever make in the middle of a battle! A cry of frustration and exasperation mixed with determination. Against a thinking, feeling being... he can't really exult in a battle of life and death the way he can going hunting against Lizard Men and the sort...

    Instead, he's deadly focused, mind entering a deep flowing focus of highly refined reactions. He moves largely without thinking, triggering his 'Slant' technique. Excaliber whips up wreathed in emerald light, clashing against the offending Sword Skill with expert timing!

    Kirito's knocked backwards several feet, but tumbles into a reverse somersault that brings him up to a crouch with Dark Repulsor held at his side, pointed for the boy's leg...

    "You came here with weapons drawn and guns blazing! No demands, no diplomacy, no nothing, and you cry foul when we defend ourselves! Yeah, that's -REALLY- heroic. I wouldn't call myself a Hero of Justice or anything, but... swordsmanship is all about what feelings you put behind your weapon. And I've never seen such flawed motivations before!"

Tomoe has posed:
It's like some kind of crazy rock type vs metal type pokemon fight with the golems going at it, Staren has done well to keep Brick from having their support his spell though is starting to go off, the shouting the, rail-guns shot are lost in the aftermath of Brick's spell Staren's word may have weight from them. Either Brick? Does not care, is not listening or can't hear as he fires a massive light element laser for Staren even with all the damage he has taken, this could be a problem.

Iria grenade embeds in the golem it does not explode right away but when the thing does? There's not a shower of rock but a shower of shards of light, as is the sign of the end of about anything Cardinal has a hand in. She's got a breather, where she might be able to aid one of her allies or help with keeping the diminishing Golem horde under control.

Josuke and his old foe the Priestess are going at it again she's not speeching but she seems not in a good space much like Bolt seems to be.

"For power?! I want this to /stop/ I want the life my people and before you showed up before Bolt fell in with Brick!"

She counters but she is distracted she does seem to have an ornate gauntlet on one arm, even as she focus on another cast. She doesn't seem to be moving to attack him but she does cast a barrier spell rapidly. The Gauntet does look promising.

Expert Ship-cracker?! Xiaomu is doing her thing, when she'll find it's disturbingly empty down here, rotting supplies and bits of thing are here sure, but nothing fresh nothing clearly from the empty or so it seems until she delve deeper in to the ship here she finds what seem to be a shrine to Titania who does look exactly like Asuna's avatar while she was kidnapped by Oberon, funny that here an there are texted, some candles but also what looks to be someone's journal likely the Priestess own.

Bolt is going to have a very bad time here, a very bad time, of all the party Brick should be the one facing Priscilla but he's been pulled off by Staren. This will leave Bolt to be facing down one of the most dangerous people in the Multiverse.

"Yes Bolt Vanderhugh!"

Is his reply to her question he seems confused it seems to be a perfectly good name isn't it? Then it goes to hell in a hand-basket for Bolt, Priscilla is seemingly everywhere some beast he's summoned take the hits but it's just well a brutal ass kicking for the large and local warrior, given he is from the village where the band of 'heroes' first met everyone.

"I ... couldn't find it, I went looking for Grandia...Why doesn't it exist Tomoe razed it! but ... no one knows where it was!"

The city state all the heroes claimed that Tomoe and company had razed.

Priscilla has been an expected wildcard that has shaken him firstly but it's also clear he's getting his ass kicked and his allies are in no shape to be able to help him. He does attempt to attack with his war-hammer and his beast who are still up attempt to do so as well. It's clear he's shaken and fading. Priscilla is clearly above his weight class and he's covered in the damage to prove it.

The male thief is now locked in combat with Kirito, counters him moves to keep the thief from being able t0 land a good hit his berthing is ragged.

"I...wait what but we're ...."

He has a moment of confusion at Kirito's words there's a pause in attacks and Kirito has an opening.

"Then why did you raze Grandia I...."

Grandia seems to be an flaw in the quest design of Cardinals working of this or was it ... deliberate?

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
That Gauntlet. It looks pretty ornate. And that's what a relic is supposed to look like, right? Shiny and important? Well at least... in a video game. But more than that, it's what the Priestess says that draws his attention. Brick seems to be the problem here, at least for her.

Unfortunately, Josuke's stall tactic has given the Priestess time to put up a barrier. Well, that's one of the dangers of stalling and monologuing. But at least he's got some extra information.

"And if I could give you that?" Josuke tries, hoping to distract the Priestess. He's trying to break her concentration, hoping her barrier is concentration-based. "If I could do away with Brick for you?" No, he's not going to go murdering someone.

Xiaomu has posed:
Oh hey, a journal. You should never turn down a chance to pick up lore about the quest you're in the middle of; Xiaomu immediately scoops the journal up, giving it a cursory inspection for obvious signs of curses or traps. Not that she really expects it to be trapped - they clearly didn't think anyone would just come through the side of the ship or they would've had guards.

(Come to think of it, she muses, does that mean she just glitched through the level geometry as far as the Heroes are concerned ... ? She almost feels bad about doing it, considered in that light.)

The rest of the shrine - seriously, to TitaniAsuna? That seems kinda creepy - seems in really poor taste, though, and Xiaomu finds herself wishing she'd brought grenades. She's tempted to go ahead and tip the candles over or something, but actually burning the shipwreck down might be not only inadvisable, but impossible. Xiaomu looks around just a bit more, then heads up a set of stairs towards the main deck, listening carefully as she goes. She'd sooner come out into the open and get the drop on somebody hostile from behind, rather than popping up like a whack-a-mole with a mallet (or something) already poised to come down on *her* head.

Priscilla has posed:
    Bolt Vanderhugh. Dear lords. The only reason Priscilla doesn't have a retort is because it'd give away her position. Retaliatory warhammer attacks are something she regards carefully, but which don't dissuade her. Wild swings at where one had last struck from is the first thing any combatant who relies on invisibility has to deal with, and should learn to deal with. Strike and fade, reposition, attack from the rear a couple of times, then when they're expecting it, the flanks, alternate until a frontal assault becomes unthinkable, move even when they've lost you, stay at the maximum reach of your weapon, be prepared for an immediate counterattack with every blow.

    It's an entirely different game from clashing blades head to head, and Priscilla is an old expert at it. One heavy swing comes dangerously close to slamming her upside the head by chance, but she's just quick enough to angle up the butt end of her scythe to intercept it, albeit having to brace her entire body and strain to hold it back with such poor leverage, having no time to properly parry and only able to pull it off due to the angle being so close. She doesn't hit to slash and maim, but uses the point of her scythe almost like a pick, repeatedly striking the central points of his armour over and over again to rack up the equipment damage, and then if she can get it to break, deftly slipping the scythe under one of his swings, twisting and hooking the curved blade under the head of the warhammer, and wrenching it out of his grasp.

Staren has posed:
    Staren fails to force a concentration check on Brick, or maybe he's just good enough to make the DC... This is a problem, because it means Brick gets to fire a high-level magical girl light laser right at Staren!

    He really didn't think the spell would go off.

    The forcefield around Staren shines an opaque white as it takes the hit, then shatters into fading sparkles... And it's apparent that at the same time, the discs worn on the harness over his coat also exploded and are now on fire, leaving Staren with his coat blackened and ears ringing.

    He can't hear what they're saying, now, but he's taken it for granted that every NPC treats some village as destroyed because that is the Quest Backstory, so what are you going to do about it? Try and convince the NPCs that CARDINAL lied to them? Yeah, fat chance.

    Anyway, now that he's on fire and nigh-defenseless, it's time to go. He turns his ride around and heads for the hills -- if the 'heroes' give chase, he may even have to abandon it and fly! Once the fight's over, he can recall the golems by radio.

Kirito has posed:
    "The people who live in that castle," Kirito grouches out solidly, once again wielding his expert knowledge of Sword Skills to keep clashing and countering... but he doesn't, not once, take a chance to counter attack seriously!

    "What if I said they're not who you think they are, that we already BEAT the owner of that place and took their stuff? What's it going to take to convince you guys you're on a fool's errand?! What proof do you want?! I've never been to this Grandia place! None of my fellows have!

Tomoe has posed:
Josuke gets his intel on the Priestess is gained her relic has been found.

"What do you mean by that?"

She's distracted all right she's also now got a look of horror, but in this moment? She shows her true nature. The thought of killing an asshole like Brick is abhorrent to her. She's also distracted enough her barrier drops, and the opening has been made for Josuke to act.

Xiaomu has found the Shrine, it seems that Cardinal is intend to use Asuna's image for Titania even after she's changed her avatar. The journal is picked up, the worst thing she finds is language is in Norse or something close to it, thankfully it's the in game language used in ALO, so that much is useful for her. She finds some coins maybe a few healing pots in her search but nothing else of note as she's moving up for the deck with no one in the way, oddly enough.

Bolt is being pushed hard he keeps going trying to connect with Priscilla and he's having no luck but several near hits not that he knows that and then comes the attack as she just cuts into his armour his torso armour gives out in a cloud of light shard, followed by his war-hammer being pulled form his grasp and it going flying. A thought strikes him, why didn't she just out right kill him? His beasts are not well off and he's without his weapon.

The Priestss sees this that on all fronts they are failing her and attempts to back off from Josuke she's starting to work on a spell.

She seems to be taking over from Brick who is focused in the fact Staren has run there's no time to gloat though.

"We are living Brick."

The theif starees a bit longer now he's now at a stand still with kirito and he hears the call.

"Never been there, but why do I ... Remeber?!"

However he's running nowa ss the Priestess casts her spell and in flashes of light the Heores vanish, but not before Brick is and ass and shouts out.

"This is not yet OVER! WE WILL PREVAIL OVER YOU AND YOUR DARKNESS!"

As for Brick's warhammer? It is not caught up in the teleport...

Tomoe watches from on high now rising off her mount wings flapping.

"hummmmm, yes that's right run."

Sha ahkes her head, and has to wonder about her own shouting at others she's confrotned in the past....

Tomoe has posed:
As for the remaining Golems they just explode in light shards leaving drops of col and other items in their wake...."

Xiaomu has posed:
So the fighting is already over?

Xiaomu isn't sure how upset she actually *is* about missing the chance to beat up a Hero or two .... but, well, she's not sorry to avoid getting beaten up in turn, and she may have found some Useful Things in the process. She heads back down the same stairs she came up, casually dodging some chunks of an exploding golem just before her head vanishes belowdeck, and goes about a more extensive search of the hold.

Think 'fine-toothed comb' search. Tomoe's okayed destroying the shrine (and perhaps the entire wreck of a ship) via radio, but the sage fox is going to make *absolutely* sure everything of worth has been gathered up before she sets any fires. Or whatever she does to destroy the shrine.