5922/P:WtWM: Even Speedwagon is Taken!

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P:WtWM: Even Speedwagon is Taken!
Date of Scene: 30 June 2018
Location: The Mirror Forest
Synopsis: Die Reisende rush a tower in the Mirror Forest to save Speedwagon
Cast of Characters: Janine Liberi, August Kohler, Alexis Maaka, 901, Staren, Kotone Yamakawa, Robert Speedwagon


Janine Liberi has posed:
    It's been a while.

    Die Reisende return to the Forest at the urging of Tattoo, Kenpo, and the other Ogre Street boys. Their frantic claims of 'another Speedwagon' showing up to spirit the real one away is shocking, but even more so is their mention of the other Speedwagon having bright yellow eyes, the same as a Shadow. This should not be; the Piper was supposed to be the only one who could move between the real world and the Forest.

    Janine is aggravted by this news, and insists that it's probably some other 'Multiversal bulllshit,' but eventually concedes to let the Pig sniff at Speedwagon's trademark bladed bowler. Obviously, she only gets more aggravated when the Pig actually goes trotting off, following the scent into the thick glass trees.

    The Pig's meandering nose eventually leads it to a clearing in the trees. Said clearing is utterly dominated by a massive tower that extends into the endless grey sky above. It's composed of grey stone, with a single entrance of heavy wood doors, and a single window at the very top, closed off with iron bars.

    "This is some Rapunzel-ass shit," Janine bemoans, before drawing her sword and peering into it's polished surface, drawing forward Binacabella. A blast of wind is launched at the doors, blasting it off its hinges before she rushes inside, with the sound of fighting soon following.

    No time to stand around!

August Kohler has posed:
August follows behind Janine. He's not happy, and it's clear on his face. He's dressed in a long-sleeved t-shirt and jeans with his gun and knife at his side, and he moves to take point beside her. "When we find his Shadow, beat the shit out of it, and then let Speedwagon handle the rest. He has to be able to accept himself, otherwise stuff will probably go horribly wrong."

Once the door is blasted open, August raises his own mirrored bracelet to his wrist. "Persona." The Tin Soldier appears in a flash of blue, and then they slam into the door. The minute August sees opposition or Shadows, he'll attack them with a mixture of bullets and fire, using his Persona to tank wounds to his real body, all the while looking for a lead on where Shadow Speedwagon is. It's go time.

Alexis Maaka has posed:
    Maaka's checking her FN FNX-45 as she arrives. Watching the pig trot off, the cyborg shrugs her shoulder at Janine before taking off after her. Sidearm only today, mostly because trying to sneak an HK416 into the town would be a nightmare. It was hard enough hiding her matter manipulator as it is. If she sees Shadows, and there's a good chance she will, Maaka opens fire with her .45. Time to go get Speedwagon.

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
    After Hoshi's escape from the grips of the Forest not so long ago, she'd suspected she would be drawn back in fairly quickly. No matter what Kohler had said, it seemed obvious that whatever dark things were stirring in that abominable place were nowhere near at an end. She's dismayed and angered when she lears just who had been targetted by the eldritch forces this time: one of her saviours from before. THerefore, when the expedition is mounted, the kendo champ is among the first to answer the call.

    She seems no more pleased to be here than either Janine or August; in fact, the act of just being here is bringing uncomfortable flashes of her imprisonment back before her eyes. "Ugh..." With a grunt, Hoshi touches her locket, hanging and shining dimly over her kendo gear, trying to gather strength from it. "I feel gross just being back. Why would Mr. Speedwagon have been targetted? Is this the first time someone outside of our world has had this kind of problem?"

    Looking over the rising tower before them, Hoshi scowls lightly and lets her hair tie-katana grow in her hand, ready for use. "Assaulting a tower, huh? If it /is/ Rapunzel like the story, we might need to watch out for a scary mother-Shadow-thing, along with whatever came from Mr. Speedwagon."

Staren has posed:
    Staren's not on the best of terms with August or most of the rest of Die Resende, but a rescue mission is a rescue mission. Personal and political issues can be set aside for a bit. He's in his armor, as always, and follows the pig somewhat impatiently. If only it could run directly towards the target.

    And then they get to a freaking Rapunzel tower. Before anyone can decide on tactics, though, Janine's charging in. "Geeze." Staren mutters, running after to see what she's fighting and support with beam cannon fire.

    He does smile briefly when he sees that Amakasu still has that katana, though.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
It's been a while, Kotone had expected activity to just taper off into nothing with the fall of the Queen. That does not seem to be the case here as it's come to her awareness something has happened to Robert. With the tip off from Tatoo, Kenpo and the rest of the Ogre Street boys. She was deeply concerned given what she was told it seemed to be a Shadow that had run off with Robert.

She has no idea what the hell is going on now with this still being active.

She doesn't argue with Jaine she wants it to be other multiveral bullshit, herself. She was now arriving at the tower and looking up at it.

"Could be because he was involved with the Forest? Could be a crazy sort resarcher who wants to see how this works.

A Tower assault, that's when Kotone grins a little at Hoshi and the rest.

"I think, I'll be able to help with it."

She has an assault rifle today rather than an SMG and she's quick to move in aiming to keep pace with Hoshi today.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Those who pursue Janine into the tower would see her clashing with towering knight Shadows. The swords they carry are downright dinky, but they carry massive tower shields. As such, they can easily hunker down to shrug off Janine's wind attacks. "Fight me properly shitbirds!" she yells as the others come in to assist.

    The combined assault of bullets, fire, and energy waves manages to overcome the defences of one, making it topple back. But the other immediately starts backing up the stairs to the next floor, blocking it with its massive shield. "Oh fuck this," Janine declares, before making wind strike it from behind, sending it tumbling down. "Move on up!" she barks, urging everyone upstairs.

    The second floor is suspiciously barren. However, the numerous holes, gaps, slits, and partitions in the walls, floor, and ceiling speak of a multitude of traps that bar the path.

    "Oh my gooooooood," Janine groans as she stares at it. "Any bright ideas?"

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
    Seeing Janine in such trouble, Hoshi quickly charges into the fray to confront one of the shield-bearing SHadow mooks with her katana, for all the good that it does her. Her katana certainly can't breach a wall of metal, leaving her to just push against it with all of the strength she could muster in herself. Of course, that was fine; her greatest weapon was never her sword in the first place, and screw caring about honor and fair fights against a Shadow.

    "Rosamond!" She calls out, and her mirrored locket shines clear as the giant shrouded woman appeared behind her mark and buried her broadsword into the Shadow's back with all of her incredible strength. Though it's not quite dead, the giant blade sticking out of it leaves it easy pickings for the rest of the group.

    From there, Hoshi grimaces and charges up to the next floor after Janine clears the way, but when she sees what awaits them she comes to a screeching halt just before stepping out into the death trap. "Uh... Crap. Well, our Personas could carry us, but everyone else..."

Alexis Maaka has posed:
    Maaka raises her pistol to fire at the shadows. She can see a black blurry thing, which seems about right. Dodging their strikes, she replies with pinpoint accurate shots and joint locks. Can these things get their arms broken? Whatever, Maaka's gonna find out in a second or two. In any case, she helps clear the room as reinforcements pile in. "For fuck's sakes..." She growls harshly, swiftly reloading her sidearm.

    Then the trap room. She backs off, just in case August decides on burninating.

    It's usually burninating with that kid.

August Kohler has posed:
As they fight through the Shadows, August is especially driven, giving them no mercy. He replies to Hoshi as they fight. "Once. They got a Persona by accepting their Shadow." And then, Janine knocks one of the Shadows down, letting them past into the second floor. Which is littered with holes for traps. Traps after traps after traps. August takes a moment to see if anyone else has ideas, notices that no one really seems to, and decides to do it his way.

The Tin Soldier raises its rifle...and then August leaps on its back, charging forward. The Tin Soldier pivots as it moves, moving to spray its gun as it runs and try and seep flames into as many trap holes as it can to damage the trap mechanisms so the others can pass behind him. If this leads to some flaming projectiles, well, they'll just have to deal with that, won't they?

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is quick to make user of her matter maniplator to pull a spare weapon out with some mags. She'll pass the SMG off to Maaka quickly before putting the storage unit back on her hip. With that handled she will be moving in and opening fireat the defences.

"I have options that should give me a chance to travese this so long as I don't take a head shot I'll be okay in the end."

As August does his thing she opens fire with her rifle on any shadows in the way. She's going to then sprint ahead, just after the wake of the fire, she's also not slowing down, a little reminder she's nearly fast as a car when she's running on foot, in the wake of such a Trogdoiran tatic on August's part.

Staren has posed:
    Aaand knights down! Staren reaches into his bag and tosses Maaka a caseless SMG, "Maaka, catch!" and, as he passes the knight Janine knocked down, he pulls a heavy pistol out of his bag and gives it a couple of headshots to make sure it stays down. The bullets burst into tiny lances of energy that may melt right through it and the floor.

    Up the stairs they go... to the obvious trap room. Staren considers this. He could try to gum up the works with foam, or start disassembling it and exposing the traps with the matter manipulator.

    And then while he's thinking, August charges ahead. Well then. Any traps that still go off behind August after the fire, he fires little missiles that explode into quick-hardening foam into, and then hurries to catch up.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Flames fill the trap room, flooding each little nook with burning goodness. There is the sound of weights falling as the ropes that suspend them burn. Some spike traps pre-emptively erupt as their mechanisms fall apart. Staren follows up with foam missiles, gumming up the ones that start to trigger as the redhead runs through. They're clear!

    The stairs to the next floor lead to no floor, but a massive vertical chamber that seems to stretch the rest of the way to the top. This chamber is filled with stairs that fork and branch in strange ways, but they all lead to the same place. A simple wooden door, far above.

    "I hate this. Spread out, just in case," Janine bemoans as she begins running up the stairs. The forks are all fine and stable, there's no 'true path' with the others being traps. But as everyone gets close to the top, something happens.

    Paritions open in the roof above, and from them, massive iron balls fall. They begin to slam into the stairs, collapsing them around the party. Not to mention the massive heavy weights threatening to crush them, now their path up and back is falling apart!

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
     Lucky for them, August's method of burning the place down... doesn't actually burn the place down, how convenient! Of course, Staren helps too, but Hoshi can't help but sigh and rub her face slightly in exasperation. "It /really/ doesn't always have to be fire," she mutters, more to herself than anyone else. She's quick to push her way through the series of damaged traps as fast as her legs can carry her, and push into the next room...

    Only to be confronted by something out of an M. C. Escher painting. "Guuuh... It's always traps and puzzles and riddles!" Her one weakness! So, she picks one at random and goes as fast as she dares, which at least seems to be working. Until... Hoshi stops dead and glares up at the giant ball as it falls upon her stairway, seemingly about to challenge it instead of let it put her aside. But no... she turns to the side and jumps from where she stands, out into the thin air. "Persona!" Rosamond responds by catching her summoner in the air and pushing her further up, towards what seems to be their exit.

Alexis Maaka has posed:
    Maaka accepts Kotone's SMG with a grin, before returning the one Staren tosses her. "I'm good, thanks." She says, before taking off once burning does begin! She produces a chest rig and stuffs the spare mags in there. This is a pretty nice piece, she thinks to herself. Maaka takes off in a dead sprint, moving quickly just in case traps still kick in. She really doesn't wanna get held down in this place.

    The cyborg goes up the stairs, covering exits as suddenly iron balls fall. "Shit!" She slams herself against a wall, trying to get out of the balls' path. "You wanna try burning -them- too?" She asks August with a hint of sarcasm. She uses the Escher styled geometry to her advantage, as she leaps from one set of stairs to another, mostly to avoid being smooshed by these balls, going from stairway to stairway whenever one gets too close on her way up.

August Kohler has posed:
August sighs as the flames are successful. If he hears Hoshi's under-breath comment, he's ignoring it, but does reply to Maaka's directed one, as he stares up at the giant iron balls and moves to start dashing forward up the steps. "I could if I wanted to!"

Dashing upwards, August considers his approach...and has the Tin Soldier pick him up and /throw/ him up the staircase with its superhuman might. The impact is probably going to hurt, and he'll have to desummon the Persona rapidly upon impact to stop it from getting crushed by an iron ball and killing him, but even with whatever bruises he'll get, he should make it to the next door if he's lucky.

Staren has posed:
    Staren follows someone else up one of the stairways. He can fly, but there's no point in flying up alone.

    And then balls fall, breaking the stairs.

    He trusts that the others will be able to handle the fall and balls somehow, and leaps off the stairs, flying this way and that to avoid the balls and make his way up to the door. Once there, he'll find some way to affix a rope for the others to climb up!

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is quick to spread out and keeps moving her body is looking to be running pretty hard.

"Oh you ahve to be kidding me..."

The balls fall and Kotone is moving to bunce off them, the walls or anything she can get her feet on, when she's at the apex of a jump she will double jump as she goes, a tell tale sign of some Flotilia tech.She wants to help but there's not much she can do right now, though if she makes it up there? She'll help Staren with the rope...

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The stairs collapse underfoot as everyone races to get to the top. Janine launches herself with a gust of wind while her compatriots fly, parkour or have their Persona throw them. Eventually, they all stand on the last bit of unbroken stairs before the door, watching the balls impact through the roof of the second floor, sending tremors through the tower. "All right, let's do this," Janine says, before blasting the doors open with wind.

    On the other side is a lavish bedroom. A fire burns warmly in a fireplace, the floor is richly carpeted, thick curtains obscure the window they saw from outside, and massive four poster-bed contains Speedwagon. However, he is unable to get up due to the blankets being tucked around him far too tight, along with the iron bars that block each side of the bed.

    Before them is Shadow Speedwagon, looking much the same save for the intense yellow eyes. "Ah, salutations friends! I'm glad you could make it. That means I can protect you all as well!" he says, wringing his hands together with an eager-to-please smile on his face. "Frightening place out there, wouldn't you say? All manner of nasty things waiting to take away anything you care about. But here, everything you care about is safe and protected! Nothing gets in, so nothing new to worry about. Nothing to hurt you! So c'mon, pull up a chair! I think Robert's been lonely without you all!"

Alexis Maaka has posed:
    Maaka uses her grappling hook to get to the top of the stairs, before the group reaches Shadow Speedwagon.

    The yellow eyes don't exactly bode well, and the apparition begins to talk before Maaka asks anything. "Where is Speedwagon?" She demands, training her SMG's sights on this doppleganger's beedy eyed mug. "Give him over or this is gonna end bloodily, mate."

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
    Rosamond fades as she gently deposits Hoshi safely upon the landing; the kendo ace pauses to catch her breath and look around to see that everyone had made it, then gives Janine a firm nod. "Okay. When you're ready, Ms. Liberi." THe doors blast open with a WHOOSH, and Hoshi marches inside and sets herself into a swordsman's ready stance. Her lips are pressed into a firm, no-nonsense line while the Shadow waxes poetic about how safe they are here. Of course, it's bullshit.

    "There's no point in trying to spin this. We know just what 'safe' means in a place like this. Let Mr. Speedwagon go."

August Kohler has posed:
As August gets thrown up the stairs, he gets a few bruises, but toughs through them, forcing himself up to his feet as Janine blasts the doors open. The Tin Soldier is desummoned and resummoned, moving forward to spot...Speedwagon trapped in a bed, and the very obvious Shadow Speedwagon. The Tin Soldier raises its gun at Shadow Speedwagon, August almost hissing as he speaks. "So what's your problem, afraid of the big bad world out there? You're not going to let Speedwagon go with words alone, I know that. So..."

As the others talk to the Shadow and try and negotiate freedom for Speedwagon, the Tin Soldier suddenly dashes to shouldercheck those bars and try and see how durable they are. As August follows after, he shouts out. "Hold off the Shadow! I'll try and break Speedwagon out!" If smashing the bars doesn't start to break them, August will actually try to burn through them as well, using small amounts of fire to see if they'll melt, while being careful not to set the bedsheets aflame.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    Just because Speedwagon CAN'T get out doesn't mean he isn't TRYING. He's thrashing under the covers, trying to loosen or dislodge them, and he looks to have been at it for some time. And his lack of gentlemanly upbringing is clear here, as he's emitting a stream of curses as he wriggles to get free that would make a sailor give him the stink-eye!

    Of course, all that struggling and cursing comes to a stop when he hears other voices. Hopefully he can still see, in which case he'll look out that way (if not, he'll probably recognize voices)... and he freezes. "Oh no. Oh no yer don't..." He suddenly snarls loudly, "DON'T YER EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! Let 'em go ya demon!" And his struggles (and curses) begin anew.

Staren has posed:
    As some people try to diplomacize the Shadow (it does seem to be a Shadow, as far as Staren can tell, it isn't obviously some other multiverse shenanigan), Staren starts to ask, "Does talking to them ever work?"

    And then August provokes the shadow, and Robert starts yelling -- "We'll be fine!" Staren shouts back -- and he starts moving to get between August and the Shadow, levelling his beam cannons at it. "Look, buddy. ...Okay, seriously, does talking to them ever work? I'm not gonna waste my breath if it doesn't."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa sees the rest of the party has made it up and now she ends up turning her attention to what lays ahead of them all. She sees the bedroom she walks slowly keeping her rifle at the ready an she looks to the Shadow of Speedwagon for a moment.

"Where's Robert?"

That question is answered qickly enough as she sees Robert's tied to a bed in a cage? Okay this was getting to a level of creepy she didn't like.

"So let him go, this place is the last place one should consider safe."

She sees her frriend fighting to get lose this is good.

"Safe? If I wanted safe I'd have never stepped through a warp gate."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Shadow Speedwagon is afraid!

    He cowers away as everyone refuses to engage with him meaningfully. "I'm just trying to look out for you! I know I can't do much, but I'm trying! Yer all a bunch of godlike folk but I can worry! You all makin' me owrry then sneer at me when I show it!"

    His form begins to twist and bulge, his scarred face shifting to a hideous sneer. "Well I'll show ya! Lemme elucidate on somethin'. Ya stuck here with me now! We'll see how tough you all are!"

    His back erupts into a scarred, battered turtle shell that rapidly engulfs his whole form, his face distending into a sharp beak. One of his eyes becomes blind as his hands become clawed fins . That bowler hat remains on his head as his skin become a mottled blue. And he grows and grows and grows, almost filling the whole room.

================================LOVERS REVERSED=================================

----------------------------EMBODIMENT OF REFLECTION----------------------------

                                  THE GUARDIAN                                  
                           HE WHO PROTECTS FROM AFAR                            

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

=======================================VI=======================================

    the attack is immediate, as the towerng turtle Shadow withdraws into its shell before spinning. Water begins to gust from each hole like a hose, flooding the room and knocking down anyone it strikes. All the water flows through the open door, out into the long drop below!

August Kohler has posed:
The bars don't budge or melt. That's a problem. August is glad he had the time to check, but it looks like they're going to have to fight if they're going to get Speedwagon out of there. As he turns*, August does consider the Shadow's words. He's saying them for a reason, after all. "I don't sneer at anyone for worrying. If you worry, you can show it. But when you hurt others in the process? When you're a twisted fragment of humanity inside a /death castle/? I have a problem with you."

The Shadow transforms and starts to attack, water blasting against the Tin Soldier and trying to knock it down. Due to being next to the bed, it grabs onto the iron bars, and August grabs onto the Tin Soldier, which is showing rusty, falling apart metal from the damaging burst of water. "Hhhh, take this!" The Tin Soldier's gun-leg rises, and it sprays a hail of bullets on the turtle, aiming to try and crack through that shell with force. Though, with every blast of water, the grip on the bed starts to weaken, and if it keeps it up, August is going to find himself knocked off out the door, besides all the damage he's taking!

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
    So much for maybe taking the peaceful route. Hoshi grimaces and starts to move, trying to circle the Shadow and go for the bed, maybe to help the Tin Soldier by adding Rosamond's strength. She's unfortunately cut off as the creature suddenly begins to change it's form, growing and bulging into a gross turtle-like monstrosity that takes up a lot of space in this enclosed area. "Damn. Mr. Speedwagon!" She calls out. "This thing is a part of you, right? So you have to understand--crap!" With nothing to hide behind to blunt the watery assault, Hoshi gets swept off her feet and crashes into a wall with a grunt.

    She manages to grab hold and dig her fingers into a raised bit of stone, so she doesn't get sent flying outside with the draining current. A critical eye on the situation says that swords will be pretty much useless against that thick shell. "Rosamond, light it up!" The hooded bride appears and points her sword at the spinning creature, waiting until one of it's holes is almost level with her before firing a stream of golden light inside of it, trying to harm the softer flesh hidden inside.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    For once, Speedwagon is NOT afraid! Or so it seems. Maybe because it's not really him that's in danger. But there are people he cares about that ARE in danger!

    ...Actually that's a more frightening thought...

    He does wince though -- that's fire, and fire's HOT! "Nngh... don't worry about gettin' me out! Get rid 'a THAT thing first!" Mind, this is before he notices what's happened.

    Though as he notes the sudden change over there, he looks up again. "What the blue 'ell?!" he exclaims. "'E just... changed inta some kind 'f monster?!" Now it really IS a 'thing' that needs to be got rid of, isn't it?

    And as water starts spraying from the monster, he tries to shout, "LOOK OUT!" It's a little too late, really... and besides, where's anybody gonna go to take cover?

    Hoshi's words draw his attention, and he looks towards her. They're lost in the water and her getting swept off her feet from the water. But he catches some of it. "Part 'a me?! THIS bloody monster?!" He's been reading up on these Shadows and all... though a lot of it has gone over his head. Jonathan would have understood it, he knows.

    Suddenly he gets an idea. "Take cover be'ind the bed!" he calls out. "If this bloody monster's serious about 'protectin' me, it might not risk hittin' me!" He hopes. It doesn't matter though. Better that than have friends get hurt over him.

    Ugh, and that's what makes this all the more unpalatable. Friends are getting hurt... because of HIM. Because this thing chose to take an unhealthy interest in keeping him 'safe'.

Alexis Maaka has posed:
    Maaak opens fire upon the doppleganger Speedwagon. In the corner of her eye, she can see August have little luck with the bars. "Goddammit," She mutters under her breath, setting off bursts of SMG fire at the Shadow Speedy.

    She jukes the spinning turtle as it heads toward her, before she spies the holes Hoshi points out. Dodging with a leap, Maaka's swept off her feet as water fills the room.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Well now things are going to get crazy and Kotone springs into action as the towering turtle shadow pulls into it's shell and fires water at them. She springg from the ground with such force it cracks as she opens fire with her rifle while she's mid jump, spraying rounds for the holes when there's a pause in the water, and if not she'll attempt to try and get a shot or two through.

"On it Hoshi!"

She also has an idea about the shell but she'll need to get in close enough to that, for now she's shooting at the hooles.

She keeps going though keeps moving, and she's going to try to get in close...

Staren has posed:
    Well, Staren doesn't just stand there. He starts firing the moment the Shadow threatens them... but it's probably not enough to kill it before the transformation is over.

    He's /certainly/ not expecting water to gush from it. That is so unexpected, that Staren doesn't even realize he needs to dodge. The water slams into him, washing him towards the bed. He scrambles to grab onto the bars, misses, and ends up grabbing onto the tin soldier as well! The catboy immediately sets to climbing towards the bed to get a grip on the bars and help the tin soldier and August hold on! He... has not figured out how to attack in this situation just yet.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The torrent of water threatens to wash everyone away. Janine is swept up in it first, but she manages to find footing on the stairs before calling Binacabella. A vortex of wind is conjured, blowing the water aside and creating a safe zone for anyone that slips and washes away.

    However, those that stand their ground launch a counterattack. The bullets that August fires bounce off the battered shell. In spite of the obvious wear, it's hard as rock, and will take more than that to break. Hoshi has a smarter idea, firing a stream of light into one of the shell openings. The spin loses momentum as the Shadow takes damage, the water coming to a stop as it emerges. Just in time to hear Speedwagon's suggestion.

    "DON'T YOU DARE!" he bellows, before scooting over to the bed and trying to flip it onto the back of his shell. But his new form makes this tricky, and he's so invested in doing this that he's stopped attacking.

    Now would be the time for lining up a sure-kill attack!

August Kohler has posed:
The bullets don't work as well as August would have hoped. As the water comes to a stop, he comes to a better conclusion: pure physical assault. Hanging onto the bars, the Tin Soldier is close enough to let go of August and suddenly dash for the Shadow, moving to shoulder-rush it and slam its fists hard into the Shadow, with superhuman might backing it up. As it does so, August shouts out.

"Everyone! It's open, go in for an all-out attack!" Hopefully together they can subdue it, August thinks.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone sees Janine is swept up by the water,r still she's managed to keep from washing away and makes a safe zone. This is where Kotone moves now the rifle is slung over her shoulder. The water is stopped thanks to those fighting for the weak point. She hears the plan Robert has made. It's a good one,

"Go."

She notes to the party and now she's making for how distracted the Shadow now is? Kotone springs at them with inhuman speed and will attempt to latch her hands on to the turtle shadow's shell. Her hands will try to crush into the plates, given her strength, this could be possible and then Kotone will Wrench and tea trying to one, hold on and two rip part of the shell free of the shadow to leave it with a bigger exposed point. There is strain from her body through as she attempts to do something it's not made purely for there are several alarms going off as she moves to try and make a hole for everyone else.

"GO!"

"HIT IT NOW!"

At worse she might be able to hold it for a moment if she can make a hole? Well then it's all good right?

As this happens though one of her arms starts to give out and Kotone cries out in pain as she does so.

Alexis Maaka has posed:
    Maaka stumbles, but she remains standing as she sees what Kotone has in mind, and she gives a quick command over comms. Then, she rifles through a pouch on her jacket and produces a grenade. As Kotone tries to rip the turtle's shell open, the elder cyborg pulls the pin as she hurls the grenade like a football. Hopefully her aim with hurling is as good as it is with shooting things.

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
    Hoshi manages to find her feet, thanks to Janine's quick thinking and the creature's sudden preoccupation with protecting Speedwagon instead of fighting them off. Still, she's left in an untenable position; her Persona's magical skills were still less than stellar compared to their sword work, and they wouldn't pierce an inch into that stupidly thick shell. Kotone and Maaka seem to come up with a plan of action, though; one that definitely looks like it will cost Kotone some pain, especially now that explosives were involved!

    Still, now the thing was distracted, and it was time to strike. Hoshi points towards their foe, with Rosamond mirroring her actions.

    Light gathers again along the tip of the Persona's sword, and fires into the new hole created by Kotone, hopefully making the grenade go off sooner so that Hoshi herself can charge in with a battle cry, and attempt to bury her katana as deep into the thing's guts as she can go.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    There's a cringe from Speedwagon at the cry of pain from Kotone. But he notices that the turtle-thing is distracted trying to get to him now. So of course he's going to alert the group, because that's what he does. "NOW! 'E's left yer an openin'! Knock 'im down!" Or whatever they have to do to get this thing to stop what it's doing.

    He's hoping he can at least get a kick to the corpse in once he gets free, but right now he's more worried about stopping this thing from hurting friends. Particularly if it IS part of him.

Staren has posed:
    See, the monster's mistake was A. letting someone shoot it in the weak point (okay, it couldn't help that) and 2. stopping the waves of water. Now Staren can attack!

    Staren lets go of the bars, wings briefly buzzing to get him into position for a straight shot at one of the shell openings (or the exposed head if it's out).

    PEW PEW! The beam cannons and six tiny missiles launched from the forearms fire, conceiving to propel a lot of high-energy, high-velocity particles into the shadow's squishy parts!

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Tin Solider slams into the Shadow, driving it back from the bed and keeping it occupied. With an almighty wrench, Kotone manages to rip up one of the chipped sections of the shell, drawing a pained roar from the Shadow, but leaving a nice meaty gap for everyone to focus their attacks on. The grenade is tossed, and speared by Rosamond's sword to drive it deep. It gets buried in the wound created by the sword, before Staren's barrage impacts it, setting it off to create a massive blasts that mingles with his own missiles.

    When the smoke clears, a massive scoop has been carved from the Shadow's back. The explosion also tore open the bars around the bed, freeing Speedwagon. Black motes issue from the turtle as it reverts to a clone of the Englishman. "It's not fair..." he croaks. "All I can do is worry about ya. I can't pick the wings from a fly at 100 yards or lift a mountain. I couldn't even mug a ponce from the countryside when he wandered in on my turf. All of ya look out for me, and I can't return the favor..."

    He lies there, defeated, speaking the words that Speedwagon never could.

August Kohler has posed:
As the smoke clears and the Shadow is defeated, August coughs, covering his face as the Persona disappears. He stands over it and moves to respond, but his eyes turn up to Speedwagon instead. "Do you really think that? You've been a part of the team. You might not have the flashiest stuff, but you're pretty tough for a normal guy. You've fought Shadows, you've put your own against them, hell, you have the coolest hat I've ever seen. But I'm not going to tell you not to feel that way. I can understand it, honestly. Just, if you do..."

"Be honest about it. Speak up, damn it." The Shadow needs to be accepted, even if August is giving advice he doesn't normally follow.. That's why August isn't continuing his assault. He wants to see if Speedwagon accepts his Shadow, or if they need to shoot it again.

Hoshi Amakasu (901) has posed:
    The grim work seems to be finished for now, and Rosamond fades away while Hoshi takes a tired seat on the wet floor. "I can't say that I know why you feel this way, or what things have happened since I was in that prison, Mr. Speedwagon. It doesn't really matter, though: you helped save me. You got me out of this hell, and that's all I could have ever asked for." Said simply, the kendo ace sighs and rests the tip of her katana in the stone, wincing as she feels bruises on her back starting to form now that the adrenaline has washed away.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa has had an arm go limp and it's likely not falln away due to the nature of the body armour Kotone is wearing right now but it's clear she's in pain. She's not one to turn her ability to feel pain. She is ho;lding the shoulder trtying to keep the arm inplace and she shoots a look to Robert.

"Be honest, don't hide how your feel and Robert Speedwagon. I hadn't even thought we might have made you feel helpless."

Staren has posed:
    Staren's not sure what to say at first. So, this Speedwagon guy is insecure. He can kind of identify with it -- while he's pretty competent, he kind of has spent years trying to get stronger so he can be on par with heavy hitters that can fight /anything/. But since Speedwagon doesn't know him, there's little point in comisserating.

    So what can he say?

    Well, he's Staren. And he thinks people should become what they want to become.

    Staren turns from the shadow to look at Robert. "So get stronger. There's a whole Multiverse out there, with power for the taking. Learn magic, or get some alien supertech armor that's been left in some ruins somewhere, or... I mean, those are just examples. Maybe picking up some kind of ki manipulation martial art is more your style, I dunno. But there's a whole Multiverse out there, with power for the taking. If you feel too weak to help... then do something about it."

    Staren smiles. "We'll help! Just like others helped us get where we are. But the first step is not hiding it or keeping it in. What do you say?" He holds out his hand invitingly... although, if Robert's still stuck in the bed, maybe that can't really work. Still, it's the gesture that's important.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    One might expect Speedwagon to have a snappy comeback, or to gripe at the Shadow for hurting the people here. Though the 'snappy comeback' energy was probably spent in getting himself free from his confinement. So instead of racing over and kicking the defeat Shadow in the chin while it was down, he meanders over slowly. The words from the Shadow have... kind of sapped him. Well, that and struggling to much.

    But what he's got to say? "...Yeah. S'all true," he admits quietly, when August looks his way. "Said it once before an' I'll say it again -- I'm always on the sidelines. When I went with Mr. Joestar ta face Dio, I always found meself watchin' while he or Baron Zeppeli took on the threats. I did what I could, but more often that not, I had ta just watch horrible things happen ter 'em... The Baron died before me eyes, an' there wasn't a bloody thing I could do!"

    There may or may not be MANLY TEARS involved with that statement.

    Hoshi gets a shake of his head. "I jus' did what I could, ev'ryone else was more of a help," he notes. "I'm glad yer got outta there, though." And Kotone's words? "No, no! That's nobody's fault but mine. I made a promise I'd do whatever I could ter 'elp, whatever little that was. I couldn't bring the Baron back... but dashed if I wasn't gonna try ta make sure it never 'appened ter anoybody else!"

    He sighs. "Comin' 'ere... ta this Multiverse... made me wonder why I couldn't 'f changed more. Why couldn't I 'ave gotten stronger? I didn't want anybody ter 'have t' suffer over me. I'm sorry."

    Staren's got a point. There are more worlds than his own to consider now. "Yer may 'ave somethin' there. Sure, I've not got the discipline for Hamon... but there's gotta be SOMETHIN' out there I can do. Worlds and worlds 'f possibilities, right?"

    Speedwagon, of course, is still Speedwagon, even when depressed. And he's still got an attitude. And there's someone else he hasn't addressed. The Shadow. So it's the Shadow that gets the edge of that attitude. Appropriate enough -- he was harder on no one more than himself. "All right then... if yer ARE part 'f me? Then LISTEN UP!" he growls at Shadow Speedwagon (Shadowwagon? Speedshadow?). He does kick at the Shadow's foot, but it's for emphasis moreso than actually trying to hurt it. "Look what ya did, ya ruddy buffoon! Yer hurt the very people we've been trying ta protect this whole time! All the times we went inta danger, it was so they wouldn't have ta! Yer became one 'f the very things we've always wanted ter protect ev'rybody from!"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is just going to hang back for the moment as she listens to her friend. "That's good to hear and your not without power you network like no one else. Why not organize to protect people in a different way from Baron Zeppeli or Mr. Joestar?" What if what the things Speedwagon faced come up again and there's no one in the future who has an idea of how to fight it?

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The Shadow lays there quietly as everyone addresses it and Speedwagon both. There's no need for it to speak, because Speedwagon does all the answering for it. The air gets lighter as the tower becomes insubstantial as the two finally speak. It flinches as its foot is kicked, but manages a weak grin at Speedwagon. "Heh... you shoulda been there ta look out for 'em... guess that's my fault."

    He begins to glow, blue light coming off his form as he fades away, a hovering figure taking its place. It resembles a mermaid floating in midair. The classical tail looks more like cobblestone than scales, and it's chest is clad in unisex finery, with a black tailcoat over a white stuffed blouse. A deep red cravat is stuffed down its front, and it's head is completely overtaken by a jaunty, psychedelic top hat that constantly shifts pattern and colours. It speaks in a voice only Speedwagon can hear.

===================================THE LOVERS===================================

                                   I AM THOU                                    
                                   THOU ART I                                  

        I AM THE LITTLE MERMAID, STRENGTH THAT ARISES FROM YOUR WEAKNESS        

                   TOGETHER, WE WILL DEFEND THOSE DEAR TO US.                  

=======================================VI=======================================

    The shimmering form vanishes, and so does the tower, thankfully leaving everyone on the Forest floor.

Robert Speedwagon has posed:
    "OUR fault," Speedwagon corrects firmly. Yeah, he's not cutting his Shadow any slack, even if he does accept it. Though he takes a step back when the Shadow starts to glow. He makes to place himself between the glowing figure and as many of the others as possible, just in case the Shadow's pulling some last-ditch thing.

    ...And suddenly there's a floating mermaid -- Mermaid? Or merman? It's hard to tell. "What--?" Before he can get any further than that, he hears the voice. And now he's confused. Wasn't this Shadow supposed to... go back inside him, where it came from? Or something like that?

    Though... there is the rest of this to deal with. "Well. That was... a thing, wasn't it?" He turns to the group, scratching at the back of his head. A sigh. "I'm sorry about that. I thought I was keepin' it under wraps well enough. Guess not. But thank yer all for bailin' me outta... well, I s'pose that was me own trap, wasn't it?" Yeah, he does NOT feel good about what just happened. He's glad it's over, though.