5958/Escape From Facinaturu

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Escape From Facinaturu
Date of Scene: 05 August 2018
Location: Facinaturu
Synopsis: Elites from multiple factions as well those unaligned try to rescue Asellus and White Rose from the tyranny of Chateau Aiguille, run by Mystic Lord Orlouge.
Cast of Characters: 1162, 1103, Rarity, Leyanne Mace, Maya, Staren, Josuke Higashikata, 829


Asellus (1162) has posed:
    There are only a few ways to reach Facinaturu: by Region Ship, a vessel that can traverse the chaotic dimensional seas that separate the worlds known as Regions; by powerful magic, generally of the teleportation variety; or, less known, by accessing it from a connected Region. Unfortunately, the third option isn't available right now, purely due to ignorance of the possibility, the second requires having visited before or being sent by someone who has, and no one on the trip to Facinaturu owns a Region Ship.

    Thankfully, preparations have been made both outside and inside Facinaturu to facilitate both options 1 and 2 simultaneously. Marisa Kirisame has been scouting for an ideal route in and out, and a Region Ship pilot who sneaks in and out of Facinaturu to smuggle goods (and sometimes people) has been hired to bring a bunch of people from one of the only Regions with a known pathway to Facinaturu: Owmi.

    After arriving in Owmi by Warp Gate, rescuers will have had some time to get a run-down of the situation, a loose summary of the nature of these worlds and how they're connected, and basically all of the other information already mentioned. What a Mystic is (bloodsucking, illusion-using, usually-people-looking-but-not-always, immortal monsters), what a Region refers to (each world, whether it's no bigger than a city or as vast as an entire planet), and so on and so forth. They are also informed of the data more pertinent to their mission: That they are here to rescue a human girl who died and was brought back as a Mystic (or a Half-Mystic, at least, whatever that is) against her will, who is now also being held against her will, that Marisa is already there, and that a local Mystic intends to help them by stirring up chaos and confusion so that the Region's defenders will be too busy with that to stop them.

    The ride by Region Ship takes a few hours. It is a flight upon what kind of looks like a weird twin-propeller plane, above a sea of blue energy. The gaps between the smokey streams of dimensional forces reveal only pockets of black.

    At the end of the flight, they are deposited at the edge of a cliff, with a glowing cave leading into the underground caves beneath Facinaturu's human-inhabited village, Rootville. It is here that people will likely find Marisa waiting for them (or maybe not, who knows, she's unpredictable like that). Though if she is, the plus side is she has probably cleared out all the monsters between here and the secret entrance into Rootville, meaning they won't be entering the enemy's domain at less than full fighting strength.

    The orange-haired, bandana-wearing pilot says, "I'll wait here. When you need a ride back, just let me know." and stands by with his arms folded.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus takes a position on the Region Ship near the front, as far forward as possible. Arms folded, an unhinged grin on her narrow face and her eyes scanning the streams of energy. "Amazing, simply amazing. This reminds me of Duty Space!" she says, mostly to herself, though it's going to be hard to ignore her raving.

    Once the vessel moors against the landmass, she disembarks, flourishing a staff from pixelated code fragments into her hand as she does so. "This will not take long, good sir." she says to the pilot, then heads off toward the rendezvous point, confidence oozing off of her like magic sparkles from a fairy.

Rarity has posed:
It took some long and dirty extra gemhunting to be able to help pay for the Region Ship's services, but this was a matter of friends and opression and saving the day so Rarity had pushed through with little complain. As well as dig up some old contacts from the days before the recent state of affairs. This was important to her, and nothing important was ever done.. oh.. what's the human venacular for it... Half assed? Though how you can have half a mule is beyond her.

... Wonderful, a cliff in a cave. What a lovely way to start off this mission. But again, important, so Rarity keeps her whining to herself as she disembarks the Ship and gives the Captain a polite nod in gratitude.

She at least, true to form, came prepared in appropriate attire. A dark black and grey 'sneaking suit' style bodysuit, with a few violet highlights here and there to break up the otherwise dreary lack of colors. Still dark enough to conceal in the shadows. Both her mane and tail have been tighed back and up to keep them from getting in the way, though the ends still curl as usual, and the bangs are still draped down one side of her face, which helps her look all the more rogue and mysterious.

Leyanne Mace has posed:
Leyanne hops off the ship, carrying a large hardcase over one shoulder. She steps out of the way and opens up the case, taking a moment to assemble her old favourite cannon-for-all-situations, her Bushmaster 25mm cannon on its steadicam rig. Once it's situated and the ammo feed has cycled arounds into the gun, the mouse turns to Rarity.

    "You dealt with the fare, right? Remind me when we get back to chip in." She looks to Theurgus, admiring her getup before heading to the RV point.

    "You know." She observes. "If we're doing this stealthy, I should probably hang back in reserve. I'm not exactly hard to spot, you know? If shit goes south, that's when you'll need me."

Maya has posed:
Rarity had called for some help, she still had a few connections from her Union days. One of them being Maya, who was more than happy to come. Her reaction when Rarity gave her the rundown? Might have been seen is a bit on the intense side which wasn't the norm for those who knew her. A very big red button had been hit. Maya's clothing is dimple desert gear she wears but she's got a dark cloak which also has a mask to cover her lower face on as she falls in behind Rarity.

Staren has posed:
    Staren hasn't spent much time on this world, but rescuing people from tyrants is rescuing people from tyrants. So, this mission calls for some stealth, but fighting is expected. But maaaybe he shouldn't bring his mecha and just knock over the building. So Staren instead opts to bring a squad of robots for backup. They're dressed in armor like soldiers, but for anyone curious about them, Staren has them take off their helmets and show the robotic 'face' -- optics and speaker grille -- beneath, and talk in robotic tones. Staren himself is in his trusty powered armor.

    Staren gives the pilot a curious look as they dismount. "...How do we know the defenders won't attack you to cut off our escape?" Perhaps not the BEST thing to ask the pilot, but if he seems concerned, Staren can leave the robots to guard.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke knows he's going to need all the focus he can muster for this. So on the trip in the ship, he's mainly keeping to himself. Why? Because he's meditating. Carefully regulating his breathing. Breathe out. Get ALL the air out. Hold. Breathe in. Fill the lungs completely. Hold. Breathe out again. Rinse, lather, repeat. While he's doing this, those who can sense life energy might sense a lot of it being produced by Josuke right now!

He usually wears dark clothing, and this time is no exception. Dark blue this time, though the gold accents might draw some attention if he's seen. Much like Leyanne, Josuke does not exactly do 'stealthy'. He is prepared to act as a diversion if need be. Once the pilot drops them off, Josuke offers a pleasant smile and a wave. "Thanks!" And then he joins the others.

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
What do you do when you're a perfectly ordinary magician about to take on a veritable army of angry sparklelord vampire-wannabes? How do you prepare for something like that? Well, Marisa Kirisame has her ways!

Also, she's not on the ship.

She's not on the ship because she never actually left Fascinaturu.

Instead, she's been waiting, preparing, biding her time, potentially planting caches of useful tools and makeshift, magically-activated explosives at critical crossroads and junctures. You know, stuff like that. Stuff that could be useful against enemies with such a massive home-field advantage.

Her advantage, though, is that she has... Certain fore-knowledge about what's about to happen. A knack for chaos, too. When the time comes, she'll be ready.

But for now, she sits and waits at a conveniently hidden location, quietly mixing another batch of combustible brew. Soon... Soon...!

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    The pilot answers Staren, "They don't know about this entrance or I'd have been captured a long time ago. But if it comes down to it, I'll take off and wait for you to return before coming close again!"

    A trend that the intruders will have to familiarize themselves with starting now is that Facinaturu is dark, and the only regular illumination seems to come from a glowing crystalline structures that are either placed or occur naturally (or magically?). Many times they resembles flowers or ornamentation of some kind, particularly when they have been shaped that way by the Mystics who live here, but at least for now as they make their way through dark cave tunnels with striated patterns and grooved textures on almost plant-like walls, the crystals are just bundled together where they formed and take on whatever form they would normally have developed as they light the way.

    Those sensitive to magic can probably feel it surging in the air, and only growing stronger as they move deeper into Facinaturu. This is a Region strong in mystical forces, perfectly suited to its natives. The tunnels seem like the kind of place one would find monsters, but there's no sign of them. There IS the smell of somthing recently burned, but also no sign of whatever was burning. Maybe Marisa lasered all the monsters ahead of time. The journey through the tunnels is relatively uneventful, and eventually terminates in a steep wooden staircase leading to the back of a wardrobe, which has handles built into it for swinging it aside. Beyond that wardrobe... A room, inside of a house. Dimly lit, like the tunnels aside glowing crystals. There's a gurgling slime with googly eyes bubbling and bobbing at the foot of a dresser, but it just watches all the people coming out of the secret exit without interfering. Staren may remember that when he visited Koorong there was a slime there as well, just acting like any other resident of that Region.

    And beyond the house's front door... The group's first look at Rootville. It is a small village, the various glowing crystals situated around in the perpetual night giving it a practically festive, Christmas-like appearance. It's pretty. And yet somehow also very sad.

    Looking up into the endless dark reveals the home of the Mystics. An enormous castle that stretches up and and up and up and up. It resembles a monstrous, dark tree or rose or something, that never stopped growing. A mad castle that its builder wouldn't stop adding onto in their attempts to touch the stars.

    The ominous, crushing aura of power that fills this Region seems to emanate from there. Moments after everyone exits out into Rootville, there is a sudden flare of light, and a few seconds later a distant *boom*. No siren sounds, but the atmosphere shifts to one of greater tension, as secondary explosions ripple down one side of the castle, and then others start appearing in other places. Swarms of flying shapes seem to be circling... Giant bats? Or something worse? Either way, they are much higher up. Hopefully, the rescuers will never meet them.

    It seems the insider has begun the distraction. And that just leaves Marisa to find Asellus and White Rose, and the rest of them to clear the path between Rootville and Chateau Aiguille! There's a long set of steps seeming carved into the side of the huge castle-tree's 'roots' leading up towards said castle, and a large gate visible beyond. That must be the way to go!

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Meanwhile, inside Chateau Aiguille, a green-haired young woman and a brunette in a flowery dress and a big flower bonnet are talking in Asellus's room. "What's going on?" Asellus asks tensely, hearing and feeling the explosions that are much less distant and much louder where she is, along with the sound of yells and... Roars?

    "I don't know, Lady Asellus. It sounds as though the castle is under attack, but who would dare to challenge Lord Orlouge?" the Arch-Princess wonders.

    Suddenly, a man with emerald-hued hair in purple-blue armor appears.

    "Ildon!" White Rose exclaims.

    "Good. You're still here." the male Mystic says.

    "What's happening? Who is attacking?" Asellus presses, confusion and fear pushing her to try to find answers. Her life since waking up from death has just been one long string of bewilderment, terror, and pain.

    "The charm magic keeping some monsters from entering the rest of the castle has fallen." Ildon replies, looking more and more antsy, clearly wanting to get back to the battle.

    White Rose furrows her brow in worry. "How could that happen? Those spells were put into place by Orlouge himself."

    Testily, Ildon snaps, "I'll tell you when I know more. For now, stay here."

    "But--!" Asellus begins, but Ildon has already vanished.

    "What do you wish to do, Asellus?" White Rose asks as she turns to her charge.

    Asellus doesn't have to think very long. "Well, I'm not staying here. This may be my chance to escape!"

    "I see. We'd be get going then."

    A few moments later, a Half-Mystic and a Mystic are sneaking out of the coffin-filled chamber downstairs from Asellus's bedroom, for a short time out in the open as they navigate the many stairs leading downwards.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke isn't sensitive to magic, but he's keeping his wits about him as they head down the dark path. Hopefully there's at least enough light to navigate by, if not enough to actually SEE by. Once they end up in the wardrobe, Josuke looks around carefully before exiting, as quietly as he can manage. The slime does produce a moment of startlement, but if it doesn't seem like it's going to attack him -- no reaching towards him, no bowing up and trying to engulf him -- he isn't going to waste his time with it. It might blow their cover before it's time.

Once they're out in the village proper, Josuke pauses a moment to take it all in... and to look for immediate danger! The explosions, of course, definitely draw his attention. "What the...?!" Well, if there's a ruckus, that means there's a distraction. Which means that there's probably going to be fewer people in their way. "Good. Hopefully that'll pull some attention away from us," he notes, as he heads for the castle.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's magic sensors indicate levels that look more like home or Ainsley's world than most Earths. Man, it sure would be useful to be able to use magic at times like this. A leyline walker on a leyline is truly a fearsome combatant... But, he's brought weapons that work regardless of the local magic level.

    Darkness isn't a problem for his sensors, and he'll happily provide additional light for any who need it. "That's not a monster!" he warns, when they see the slime living in a house.

    He only has just enough time to take in the village before the explosions begin. Does an order even need to be given? He and his squad of robots rush towards the castle, the machines searching for ingress at ground level while Staren flies up and looks for a way in in the first few stories.

Rarity has posed:
As long as the slime isn't a Smooze, there's no problem from the pony with it.

Exiting the dark caves through the house and into the somewhat less dark comparitively speaking town Rarity lifts her head to gaze up towards the castle. And then shakes it a bit. They're too far away, with how dense magic is in this world she wouldn't be able to push through it to scan for the friendship braclet she'd given Asellus without exhausting herself. Which would not do them any good for the escape.

"We need to get closer," Rarity remarks, before taking off after Josuke towards the castle. And those accursed flights of stairs. At least this time she isn't wearing high heels.

While she'd rather avoid fighting if possible she does have her bejeweled shortbow and of all things a collapsed bumbershoot slung across her back, just in case...

Maya has posed:
Maya holds nothing against the pilots plan to keep their distance heck it's a smart one and she also notes Staren is along for the ride on this. All right another person she has experience working with. She feels a level of magic akin to her home, but that does not set her at ease, no it leaves her warier. Still, her core rifle might be able to make use of that much magic being in the environment.

She looks up at the castle and takes a moment to look at the thing, it gives her an ominous feeling and the old Elite presses onwards with the team.

Maya takes off right after Rairty and Josuke running at a good clip.

Leyanne Mace has posed:
Leyanne tries to move as quietly as she can, following Josuke, Rarity and the others. "Way too quiet." She mutters, commenting on the lack of hostiles along the way. She gives the slime a pleasant nod, only to catch the top of her head on the doorway on her way out. She pauses, checks the damage, and then looks to the slime. "Sorry about the dent." She says, ducking out of the door to follow the others.

She watches the explosions ripple up the castle, nodding to Rarity and Josuke. "Lead the way." She says, scanning around with her cannon. She only shoots at things which make hostile moves.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus strides through the tunnels, using her staff as a makeshift lantern by limming the marble in the head with pale blue light. She doesn't break her stride, despite the lack of threats where there really should be some. The magical aura emanating from further ahead gets that broad grin on her lips again. "Powerful magicks here. A treasure trove." She chuckles, a little unhinged, a little brash.

    She opens the doors, looks to the slime and when it doesn't immediately begin attacking, ignores it and proceeds outside.

    The explosions begin, and her blue eyes glitter in the magics being expelled from them. "Wahahahah! Amazing, simply spectacular! The Organization will never know what hit them!" she raves, summoning a small silver 'spike' which she tosses into a nearby wall. It opens up like a flower, and begins taking a 'beam' of energy in from somewhere. "Fine then, let us add to the pandemonium! ACCESS!"

    Theurgus's form is engulfed in a pillar of chromatic light, obscuring her from view as code fragments lace around them. The pillar bursts after a moment, revealing the form of Diamond Soul. Her body clad in a form fitting suit, a billowing halfskirt around her hips, and large clockwork-like armour segments adorning her feet, hips, shoulders and atop her head and on her hands. "KNOW THAT DIAMOND SOUL HAS ARRIVED! Show me the respect I deserve and you shall be spared!" she bellows, lifting into the air and making a great show and dance of being a really loud and obviously antagonistic being, the 'wings' of her Processors flaring out and gleaming as light catches on the metallic parts.

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
Explosions! Great big fireballs that light up the night in the best possible ways. There's no better way to attract attention than by sending up a great big boom, especially from the more dubious quarters of society.

Also a witch.

A very peculiar witch.

A witch who REALLY likes explosions.

Marisa stares at the glittering, explodifying castle through a pair of dark goggles. Her lips curl, split, and unleashes a terribly witchy cackle. It's the kind of cackle that suggests that she's probably spent a good deal of time in front of a mirror perfecting it. She howls with laughter as she rises into the sky, a witch-shaped shadow against a glowing sky. "Hoo boy, I didn't think he was serious! But he was! Ahahahahaha! Let's get this party started!"

Marisa drops low against her broom, wiggling herself into position like a cat getting ready to pounce. The bristles spark, hiss, fume, and finally explode!!

Marisa shoots through the sky, a witch turned meteor. Her laughs are lost in the boom of the rushing wind as she rockets at breakneck speed toward that tower she oh-so-casually got a bird's eye view of all those weeks ago, when she first laid eyes on it. She sweeps her hand through the air, a solid hemisphere of magic lensing open in front of her as she goes to plunge deep into the construction and the staircase beyond. "HEY ASELLUS!" Marisa yells as she brakes, her ~magical barrier~ dissolving into motes of prismatic light. "Grab your girlfriend and come with me if you want to live!"

Beat.

"And escape! That too! I'm here to rescue you, is what I'm saying here!"

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    There's a pair of large, sturdy-looking, ornate gates that look as though they stretch up some 40 or 50 feet at least at ground level when closed, after coming up the stairs, but they appear to be retracted up, leaving the way inside the castle open, much as it was when some people here came for the party at Chateau Aiguille where they met Asellus and learned of her plight in the first place... Convenient. Just more help from their local benefactor, or perhaps from Marisa. The former seems more likely, since he might actually know the magic to open the gates. And inside is the same large circular room with branching stairways to the left and right that once served as the banquet room, and the large doorway beyond to the north that leads into the throne room. Too close to the Region's ruler's favorite chair for comfort, perhaps. Hopefully they don't run into him or anyo--OH GOD.

    A green-haired man in tangerine-hued nobleman's attire appears in the middle of the room. He teleports in just as he did when he welcomed the Multiversal visitors to that party. He is smiling broadly, as he was then, and speaks cheerfully as his voice booms throughout the room. "I wish I could bid you welcome to my lord's castle, but you are, unfortunately, intruding. As such, welcoming you would be inappropriate. However, I do have some friends who are glad to see you here." Rastaban raises a hand and snaps his fingers. Five giant bats come swooping in and take up formation in the middle of the room, surrounding a huge minotaur with a very long axe-bladed polearm. "I'll leave you in his care..." the Mystic says as he fades out of existence.

    Whether this is due to Theurgus's yelling or if Rastaban was going to ambush them regardless because he noticed the gates were open is unclear, but either way, attention has been drawn. Perhaps some of them should fight off this boss encounter while the rest continue upwards to find those they are here to rescue. Rarity and Josuke may recall the left-hand staircase leads further up the castle, while the right-hand one dead-ends in a magical training room.

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Sneak, sneak, sneak! Asellus and White Rose pop outside right as Marisa comes in dive-bombing them. Asellus jumps backwards, one hand going for the Mystic's arm, while White Rose remains composed and patient as Marisa calls for them to hop aboard. "Wha--Marisa? Are you behind this?" Asellus asks. Then, belatedly, "She's not my girlfriend!"

    "Lady Marisa, I take it you know a way out of here? Lady Asellus was informed of one as well, but that's..."

    Then a pair of white-haired Mystics teleport in suddenly. "Not so fast!" one of them yells. Compulsory non-coded random encounter start!

    The two warriors, draw glowing mystic blades and prepare to attack. One of them manages to get off a blast of stone gas from a glove he's wearing thanks to the ambush, but the other is a bit slower. Seems Marisa, Asellus, and White Rose have their work cut out for them!

Rarity has posed:
Oh look, their mysterious friend left the gates open. Now they can get inside and fi--And it's an ambush. Of course.

For a moment Rarity's ears splay back as she rolls her eyes with a sigh of exasperation. It's times like this Rarity kind of wonders why people like Twilight put so much effort into extended planning. Plans never seem to remain intact as soon as enemies appear.

Then she snaps back into heroine mode. "Oh just what we need, a tacky Iron Will fanclub." Because minotaurs. Got to make a reference somewhere. "Very well then." The unicorn lowers her head and scraps a hoof on the floor a few times as if readying for the fight.

Though it is hardly an attack she's readying, now that they're in the castle she can start magic-scanning for the bracelet. As well as recalling their previous tour of location. The left was the way that went into the castle's other floors, she doesn't need magic to recall that.

"Uncouth brutes. Don't have the time to deal with you. TALLY HO!" Rarity launches herself into a faux charge, using her smaller size and nimble hoofwork to duck around one of the minotaurs and make a beeline for the left stairway.

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
    "I'm not hearing a lot of denial from Snow White over there. But yeah, there's a way out. Like, one that doesn't involve burning. I don't know if you know, but witches are very flammable!" Marisa laughs and drops lower to allow 1.5 mystics to hop onboard the Witchy Express. Unfortunately, that number increases to 3.5 mystics because it turns out that ramming a castle tower at meteoric velocities tends to attract unwanted attention.

The stone gas (!?) blasts out in a great gout which Marisa just barely manages to dodge, darting and barrel-rolling around the periphery as she makes to grab hold of something lodged into the bristles of her broom. She clicks her teeth as the very tippy top of her hat is abruptly petrified and dimples the rest of the distinctly conical (if floppy) headpiece. "That was one of my favorite hats, you jerk! I'm gonna have to disenchant it and then RE-enchant it now!"

Marisa flips upright again and gestures boldly, summoning a veritable barrage of magical projectiles! The emerald bolts arc forward, bursting not on impact but just as they draw near. But probably more worrying for those two Mystics than the magical flak exploding nearby is that those bolts seem to be draining ambient magic within their area of effect... And funneling it to the witch responsible!

Is SHE a mystic, too!?

That distinctly sharky grin might just make it seem that way.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke skids to a stop when he sees the green-haired man appear suddenly. "...Crap," he spits. Of course there are monsters... because of COURSE there are. Josuke bares his teeth, not bothering to give any retort. Not that the green-haired man leaves any time.

Everything in Josuke's nature tells him to stay, to help. He doesn't want to leave friends to deal with this alone. But Rarity's going on up the stairs, and he doesn't want HER to have to deal with any resistance she finds alone. And this WAS why he asked the Gatecrashers for help.

So he grits his teeth... and heads up behind Rarity. "Be careful!" he calls back to those staying to fight the minotaur and bats.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Diamond Soul continues to hover a foot or two above the ground, even when 'resting'. She brandishes her staff at Rastaban when he appears, "The days of The Organization are numbered! Surrender and your death will be sw--- hey come back here!" She doesn't even get to finish her 'Heroic' warcry before the noble Mystic vanishes away and the Minotaur steps into view. "Hah, prodigious size has no intrinsic merit!" she recovers, easing back from the very frontline so someone with a bit more 'tank' can take the hits for her. "Come then, I shall show you the magicks of the Diamond Drive!"

    A twirl of her staff, she begins to charge power into the marble at the head of her non-euclidian Geordian Knot of a staff. The marble cycles through the elemental colours of The System, Ice Flame Lightning Wind Light and Darkness. She isn't loosing off anything yet, but the magical field in the area begins to warp and fold around that staff's head, drawing energy into the seemingly bottomless abyss within the gem.

Staren has posed:
    Okay, so there's a giant gate left open for them by their people on the inside. Staren and his squad move in... and enemies were just waiting there? Suspicious... staying here for long might not be a good idea, but he certainly can't let the monsters chase his allies! Staren fires plasma missiles into the air, trying to fry the bats, while his squad of robots fire their rifles at the minotaur's upper body.

    "You know, you're a pretty rude host! What kind of entertainment is this, it will only last for a few seconds!" Staren taunts the disappearing mystic. Maybe he'll reform and they can shoot him?

Leyanne Mace has posed:
Leyanne skids to a halt as she spots the dude in orange. "You know, that suit with that hair." She calls out to him. "Makes you look like a piece of fruit."

She listens to his speech, looking bored. Hopefully this will give Jo and Rarity a chance to dart past, especially with how obnoxious Staren's being. He seems to be trying to take the 'tank' role... Theurgus needs cover. That she can do. Planting her feet, the mouse opens up with that Bushmaster cannon of hers, letting the muzzle play across minotaur and bat alike

Maya has posed:
Maya has a lot of firepowers it's true but she was one of the top healers in the old Union as well if there are people to get out? Healing aid could be of use in the rescue attempts she'll move to follow after Rarity and her sprints.

"Let's keep going I trust the others to be able to handle this."

She knows several of them and has heard of the others, there should be little issue with their ability to handle this. Maya bound and sprints after her friend.

"Anything else I'd need to know about this Rarity?"

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Theurgus's attack may not have done any damage, but it seems she is building up power nicely. The ambient magic here is sufficient to bolster her already prodigious power! Staren's missile barrage deals damage to all of the bats in a spectacular display of plasma pyrotechnics, though the Minotaur swings its axe in an arc, somehow severing and casting away the missiles that would have hit it before they can damage it. Leyanne's barrage strikes all of her targets, and none of them seem happy about the scratches and wounds and burns, though the boss monster seems less fazed than its adds. And thennnnn the true terror of a bunch of giant bats is exposed.

    Waves of piercing, agonizing sound radiate from one of the bats, engulfing all targets in a cone in front of it. And then the next bat does the same. And then the next... Thankfully the remaining two flap into melee range to slash with their claws, one against Staren, and one against Leyanne, but sound attacks may be surprisingly painful! Though nothing compared to what the Minotaur unleashes. It slams its axe into the ground and the shockwaves released as it seems like the whole bottom half of the castle is trembling are damaging in and of themselves!

    Meanwhile, as Rarity, Maya, and Josuke run upstairs, they encounter some of the monsters Zozma released as a distraction. Thankfully not whatever terrifying ones are making things explode higher up, but still fairly unpleasant. A frill-necked lizard 2.5 times taller than a human comes charging in, accompanied by some kind of oversized pill bug. The lizard wastes no time in dashing at them at super speed, trying to just ram them when they reach the platform it's stalking for prey on, while the giant bug breathes out some kind of acid bug juice that tries to splash down on the group. Better get out of the way!

    Marisa's bombardment damages the enemy Mystics. Asellus has grown a bit stronger since she started off in Ildon's training regimine of death, it seems, because while she isn't turned to stone, when she takes damage she doesn't immediately keel over dead! ...That's an improvement, honestly! Asellus draws her sword, a glowing red blade that trembles with rage all its own, and charges the enemy in a sequence of moves that cause the blade to seemingly grow to a huge size and much longer as she slashes repeatedly, and then brings it down in an overhead swing! Combined with Marisa's energy-sapping attacks, the first Mystic falls. The second seems to take his buddy's demise under advisement and casts a spell, summoning a shield of glass to protect himself! White Rose summons a nightmarish ghost like creature for a moment to attack the guard, and it seems magic bypasses the shield because he is soon thrown into a temporary slumber by the magic invading and damaging his mind.

    Something large is flapping its wings, so it sounds like they'll have more company soon. Maybe airborne evacuation isn't the best route to take with all these critters flying through the air... But since when has Marisa ever listened to common sense?

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus is lucky that she isn't touching the ground, floating a few feet from it in fact. So, when those bats start screaming sonic cones out, and the Minotaur slams its axe into the ground to send a shockwave out, she lifts further up into the air, "Impressive strength, however, as I said before, prodigious size alone has no intrinsic merit!" she says, aiming along her staff at the Minotaur.

    The marble at the head of her staff locks into a single colour, and an orb of collected energy forms, expanding outwards to engulf the entire head of the staff, pulsing with Marbled White light. "Luminous Wall, Great Bulwark, bring unto me the runtimes that thine processes doth bare; as I render unto you. Ensure that the attempts of the malicious Virii prove fruitless! Annihilate their offences! Vanquish their hopes! Rend the Null! Divine Pulsar!" The energy bows outward from the orb, splitting it open into a beam that rushes down at the giant bullman in a torrent of Light-elemental power, searing a path through the air to its target.

Staren has posed:
    Staren was kiiind of hoping that would just kill the bats. Turns out they're even tougher than he expected... and he also didn't expect ranged attacks from bats! The sonic attack shakes his suit, loosening plates and interfering with his robots' electronics. At least he gets his forcefield up in time to block the claw... which scratches the surface of the field and sends him tumbling through the air before he steadies himself and drops the field again to fire a scattered pair of beam shots at the closest bat, trying to drive it away... though that won't really help against sonic, will it?

    On the floor, the robots seem to hesitate as their systems are disrupted. They certainly aren't programmed to deal with earthquakes, and are left tumbling to the floor and being shaken around. Only when it stops can they roll into prone firing position and fire again at the minotaur -- their underbarrel launchers fire tiny, pen-sized missiles that try to blow holes in any armor it may have.

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
Ha ha ha, common sense.

In Gensokyo?

Surely you jest! Gensokyo does not permit such things! It's another facet of ordinary humanity that's effectively vestigal and useless in a true and proper Top Dog of Paradise! Marisa hears the beating of wings and realizes two things.

One: There is a giant winged monster coming her way.

Two: Ehhhh, I can probably still outrun it.

And with White Rose incapacitating the second of the two Mystics, Marisa wastes little time in going about attempting /exactly that./ "Come on! We gotta move!" The witch yells, moving to foist the 1.5 mystics that she's actually here to retrieve onto her broom. "Snowy, sounds like we got company. Can you do some more of those illusion-y tricks and distract it while we make a break for it?"

Marisa doesn't have common sense.

That doesn't mean she can't still make decent plans! Speaking of.

"Oh, also. You're going to want to hold on tight. I go /real/ fast." It's true! She is the (second) zippiest in all of Gensokyo.

(Tengu are dirty cheaters)

Leyanne Mace has posed:
Leyanne actually seems to deal quite well with the screeching; possibly turning something off or cutting the sensitivity of her ears to block the sound out. It 's hard to tell. She fares a little less well when the bat gets in her face and slashes at her armour, slicing through the armoured bodysuit between the hardcase components. She snarls, letting go of her cannon and grabbing at the bat with her left hand.

Should she succeed, she'll slam it against the floor several times to put it out of the fight, before throwing it at the bat that's going for Staren, hoping to take /that/ out of the fight too.

THen the shockwave hits, knocking the mouse down to one knee, and further compounding the damage from the claw strike. "Damn."

Rarity has posed:
"Just be ready for anything," Rarity calls back to Maya's question. "We don't know what other creeps he has running around this chateau."

Case in point as they come onto the platform only to find creatures already lurking there. Pause. Then another sigh. "Sometimes I hate being right."

No one would really expect a prissy fashionista to be a seasoned adventurer, but after all the things she's been through with her friends and the Multiverse as a whole?
Rarity barely flinchs. In one smooth motion she twirls aside the lizard almost like a dance step, pulling the bumbershoot from her back as she's on her hindlegs and opening it up in front of herself more akin to a shield than it's typical usage. The bug vomit splashes over it and starts to eat away at the fabric and frame, leaving a horrible stench in its wake. But that's better than eating their flesh, right?

"Oh bother." She tosses the dissolving remains off over her shoulder. "But I have an entire closet of them." At least it wasn't a designer one. "As for you." Rarity uses her gemstone magic to summon a large one and launch it at the pill bug, trying to gag it's mouth-parts with something that won't be so easily corroded.

"We don't have time for a drawn out fight, disable them so we can move on!" she calls to the others.

Maya has posed:
Maya is not bothere by giant bugs, her world is full of them the lizard though? That thing makes Maya's skin crawl. She tagets it first opening fire at it with her rifle as she keeps trying to move, the bug juice that's bad news and she may very well pay for it. 5R
"Looks like we have an idea now!"

Maya is mostly using her rifle to keep the things at bay while her allies work. Her cloak gets caught and she's forced to throw it away before the acid gets onto her. This gives the monsters and opening to strike at her while she trist to rish out a fate card and unleahs a water spell at the bug and lizard.

"I know if you have to go on ahead without me."

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
The giant pillbug's acid spit is the greater threat, Josuke realizes. And so he summons his Stand to pick himself up by the front of his jacket and toss him to the side a little, to avoid the acid spit. He doesn't QUITE get completely out of the way, though. Or at least, his Stand doesn't. The acid manages to splash against the Stand's back before Josuke can demanifest it. Josuke gives a hiss as the skin on his back, exactly in the same place as Crazy Diamond was hit, despite his clothes not taking the damage.

While Rarity tries to 'gum up the works', so to speak, with her magic, Josuke decides to try to further assist with pest control duties. He throws out a hand, palm aimed in front of him. "<CRAZY DIAMOND!>" he calls, for the sake of focus.

At his words, the Stand appears, lunging towards the (hopefully gummed-up) pillbug creature and aiming a flurry of quick punches at it. "DORARARARARARARA!"

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Theurgus's attack tears through two bats on its way to the Minotaur, and the flapping SonicBats fade out of existence in a prismatic array of colors, releasing some kind of energy in the process. The Minotaur takes the powerful wave of magical force to the face, its head thrown back as it bellows in pain, its body smoldering... But not yet fallen. Tough monster! It's roughly five times taller than the tallest person here, so it's somewhat to be expected, but it's not called a boss monster for nothing.

    Staren's attacks combined with those of his robots dole out additional damage to bats and Minotaur alike. The beams eliminate a third of the tough bats, one piercing its wing, the other its body. It likewise disintegrates in a flash. The Minotaur wears no armor. It just has a very tough hide and awesome muscles. I guess you could say it's rather... Beefy.

    It still roars in pain as the stinging missiles explode along its flesh. A fourth bat is grabbed by Leyanne and slammed into the ground repeatedly, creating a dust cloud from the previously shattered floor where no one can see what's going on until it clears. A native of this world might think she's just used the Scuffle technique. Only one oversized flying rat remains!

    The Minotaur, weakened and injured, lifts its huge axe and swings it over its head repeatedly. Then it begins racing around the area, trying to trample and slam all of its challengers while chopping them with its axe. Between the tremors of its hooves and the impacts of hits blows, hit or miss, the ground is shaking enough to send everyone tumbling around or possibly knock flying Elites around in the air.

    Meanwhile, Josuke, Maya, and Rarity confront the pair of random encounter monsters. Rarity manages to confuse the Armorpilla, lending it to damage itself as it dries to use Bug Juice again but can't, just winding up hurting its own mouth parts.

    The Frillneck is zapped with Maya's laser rifle and then struck by her water attack, and the Armorpilla alongside it for the second one as well. Josuke pummels the Armorpilla repeatedly until it disintegrates into multicolored light. The Frillneck was washed off the platform, falling to its doom. Yay! They can move forward! Josuke, Rarity, and Maya can ascent the castle to link up with--Suddenly, Marisa, with Asellus and Marisa on her broom, may come flying down towards them. In their wake is...

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Several seconds ago, Marisa asked White Rose to deal with whatever was coming. The Arch-Princess turns, arms around Asellus's waist from behind, and Asellus's around Marisa's, and she doesn't say anything immediately, perhaps leading to worry as the sound of those wing beats get louder and louder. "I think that..." she begins. "...Is a little bit beyond me."

    Asellus turns to look too, and her green eyes widen. Even with the boost to her abilities gained from absorbing energy from that one Mystic, it is still a meager increase for one still starting out. She is not going to be able to handle... THAT!

    A huge, twisted face, like something between a lion and a human, with a body that is likewise a foul mix of woman and lion, but with large bird-like wings, and a crown upon its wicked brow, is flying very close behind them. Close enough the air pressure from its wing beats buffets them. It tries to drive bomb them, creating such turbulence with its own flight that it might well force Marisa down by the force of its passage... Though thankfully they may pass right by Josuke, Rarity, and Maya in the process.

    And they get a good look at the giant Sphinx that chases their ally and their rescue targets, as it uses its most deadly attack. "What is black and blue and red all over?" Ancient magics crackle on its teeth as it opens its mouth horrifyingly wide, easily big enough to swallow Marisa and crew whole and still have room for Josuke, Maya, and half of Rarity. "YOU, WHEN I'M FINISHED!" A powerful curse flashes outwards, expanding and expanding, until it strikes Asellus in a flash of power that turns everything black and white, and then inverts the colors.

    Asellus faints from the instant kill power of the Sphinx Riddle, falls from the broom, plummeting towards a certain firey cave on the outskirts of Rootville, and taking White Rose, hanging on so tight, along with her.

    There may be an opportunity for the allies on the platform to blindside and lay into the Sphinx before it fully passes them by, and keep it from chasing down Marisa or finishing the job it started with the two Mystic ladies. And with Josuke's power... Maybe it's not too late to save Asellus if he can get rid down to the Mystic Flame called Kurenai.

Staren has posed:
    Bats disintigrate. It feels like they're making progress! Staren keeps his distance as the minotaur runs around swinging its axe. One of the robots is trampled, unable to get away fast enough, but the rest retreat to the edges of the room and take aim -- they have plenty of shots left.

    As does Staren. He holds out his arms, and six magic marker-sized missiles launch from the forearms. These seek the minotaur and airburst inches away, exploding into jets of weaponized physics that could each put a nasty hole through the beast...

    The robots', meanwhile, are a bit more conventional aside from their small size -- they use impact-fuse explosives to soften up the target for a high-speed kinetic penetrator behind the warhead.

    Staren really hopes this takes it down. This is the last salvo of missiles he can fire without reloading.

Leyanne Mace has posed:
Leyanne snarls and manages to duck out of the way of the axe, only to get shoulder-barged out of the way by the minotaur himself. She hits the ground and rolls, drawing her pistol from its holster as she does so. As her chain gun rattles and clicks as it tries to clear itself, she switches her aimpoint to the minotaur's knees. She wants to slow it down so it doesn't hurt so much next time around, and at the same time it'll be easier for her allies to hit. She hopes, at least.

"C'mon." she mutters "Unjam you piece of shit!"

Rarity has posed:
"Well that takes care of that." As the creatures are defeated and discarded Rarity heads for the next set of stairs .... only to yelp and duck down as Marisa comes blasting through on her broom. She peaks out from under one hoof. "Oh good, she found the--"

And then covers her face again as the Sphinx roars past in pursuit with its horrible riddle that is barely a riddle. Yet somehow is terribly lethal.

"Of all the worst possible things..." And that, seeing their intended rescuee and her friend sent tumbling towards whatever lies below is what snaps her back to reality, rising to her hooves and grasping Crystal Stitcher. "... IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO TO YOU FOR THAT!" Ooh, changing up the lines a little there.

Hey it's no worse than the Sphinx's so-called riddle.

Rarity draws the magic bow back, several sharp gem-tipped arrows appearing as she does, and scowls in an extremely unlady-like fashion. She takes aim, using skill and magic alike, brow furrowed... Aim, Breath... and Fire! Multiple projectiles are fired, aimed for the Sphinx's wings and back to try and disrupt it's ability to continue it's pursuit.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Diamond Soul twirls her staff once the beam fades out. She is suitably shocked when the Minotaur is still standing, despite being pretty beaten up. "I guess prodigious size does have one intrinsic merit." she remarks, floating above the battlefield...

    And then the Minotaur makes like a giant bullish blender and she's disrupted out of the air, and straight into a wall, slamming into it hard and cracking several of her Processors in the... process. She lands on her feet, unsteady and using her staff to balance, big red spiderwebs of damaged code covering her body. "A little tougher than I expected, but that's The Organization for you. Unpredictable. No matter!" She sets her stance, lifting back into the air again and twirling her staff. "You shall fall here. "Ye lord! Mask of bits and code, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Program! Proc and codec, upon this aggregated compilation of encoding unleash but slightly the wrath of your claws! PHOENIX TALON SURGE!"

    With a sweep of her staff, she engulfs the minotaur in a burning ring of flame, attempting to both contain its motion and damage it at the same time.

Maya has posed:
Maya is ascending up the castle with the monsters handled but then comes something unexpected. Marisa has Asellus on a broom, they also have things following down after them. Is a Sphinx? She knows of the creature type from Earth Myths and her own adventures in the multiverse but that only goes so far as how it looks after that all bets are off and she knows it. She nearly gets knocked over but she's managed to not get hit by the wake.

"Jinac!"

Is all that comes out of Maya's mouth in response to the Sphinx a reference to her world's hell, this is bad, very bad. Asellus is hit with some sort of curse. Reality turns on its head and it leaves Maya odd balance for a moment.

"My hair's already blue!"

Maya calls out hoping to distract the creature, while she preps some more serious magic, she has two cards in hand now, one is green and one is red. She holds both Law and Chaos in her hands, blue fire bleeds out of her body that anyone unaided can see it and it flows into the card,s they glow with the same blue aura as she holds them. Well failing the odd effect the creature has caused then it's various glowing shades of grey.

"JOSUKE GO! We'll hold this thing off!"

She returns to her spell muttering in something to herself as she focused.

"When creation was made law and chaos met and the result was destruction that leads to creation! DESTROYER!"

Maya lets full her unrestrained magical power for a moment on the beast pulling at it very forms it might feel like something is trying to rip it apart with some serious cosmic energy.

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
That.

Is a sphinx.

Now, Marisa has never actually seen a sphinx in person. She's aware of their existence. She's read about them. She once had a laser-fight with a giant magical robot that kind of had a very passing resemblance with them. But fighting them is another thing entirely. "What," Marisa deadpans as the massive thing flies up and...

And...

That... Riddle.

Colors drain from the world. Marisa yelps in surprise and pain as the magic takes hold. But there are a few things here that keep Marisa from suffering quite as much as Asellus just did.

First, Asellus took most of the hit.

Second, Marisa is ALREADY monochromatic. The black-white witch being what she is, a simple color-drain isn't going to murder her.

But, third-- and most importantly--

"WHAT THE HELL," Marisa yells, "KIND OF RIDDLE IS THAT!?"

--Is that Marisa is just /so totally unimpressed/ by the sphinx's supposedly legendary riddling skills.

"At least ask about three legs at night or SOMETHING. Come /on!/" Marisa squawks furiously as she lifts high overhead a strange, octagonal device emblazoned with the signs of the eight trigrams. "My adorable book comes up with better riddles and she's ALMOST LITERALLY TWELVE. And look at what you did!" Marisa gestures at her dress. It's... Gone all backwards. The colors have gone from black and white to white and black. It all just looks /wrong./ "You're gonna pay for this! And for what you did to Asellus! Now, riddle me this! What's red and orange and yellow and green and blue and indigo and violet all over!?"

"THAT'S RIGHT!" Marisa grins, flourishing her broom in mid-air such that the strange octagon ends up wedged back in its bristles. She points, aims, mounts, and then... "It's my very own love-colored magic! Roar, my Mini-Hakkero! Behold, the shooting star that captures all the lights in the sky!"

The octagon- the mini-Hakkero- shines! It glows with seven colors of light at the very minimum! Marisa laughs, standing tall atop her broom, "HERE WE GO!"

                            COMET - BLAZING STAR!!                            

The Hakkero flashes! It unleashes a peal of thunder that can be heard for miles and releases a massive cone of rainbow light and asterial sorcery that cuts the sky in two and smashes right into the Sphinx! Marisa cackles madly as she rockets away in the opposite direction-- but only for a moment. She tilts her broom upward, arcs around, and finally swings back down toward the pair of bodies tumbling to the earth...

And goes to snatch them up at just the last moment...!

"I've gotcha," Marisa growls against the booming air around her ears as she banks down towards that blazing cave, "Hold on tight, we're going to have to go for plan B!"

Is she... planning on going in with them?

Nah, probably not. Marisa's dumb, not suicidal. 'Plan B' might just involve... Getting them to the ground without dying. And, potentially, somewhere close enough for Josuke to get to them and heal Asellus' wounds...?

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
The group Josuke is a part of tops the stairs to see the Sphinx. And to see what just happened with Marisa, Asellus, and White Rose. The Sphinx is still a threat, and it's liable to double back and try for Marisa too. There's also the problem of the KO'd Asellus -- even if White Rose is with her, that is a HELL of a drop!

With Rarity and Marisa handling the Sphinx, Josuke's attention is drawn to the falling Mystic and Half-Mystic. Almost before Maya speaks up, Josuke is already heading for the drop. "Asellus! White Rose! Hang on!" Not that there's much else they can do. But Josuke does something incredibly stupid. He runs at the edge of the drop...

And vaults over.

In fact, he resummons his Stand to THROW him even faster, trying to catch up with the two. He'll quickly move out of his Stand's effective range, and the entity will disappear. But as he nears the girls, he calls Crazy Diamond again. And while he grabs hold of the Stand, the Stand tries to grab hold of the girls. Great, now there's FOUR people falling! Well, three and a half really, since Josuke's Stand is part of him.

Even if he does manage to grab them both, this whole thing is going to be quite harrowing. But it DOES give him time to call out over the wind, "Go limp! This isn't gonna be a soft landing!" And then he'll try to start redirecting the momentum into another direction instead of down. After all, that's what gets ya -- it's not the fall. It's the sudden stop at the end. Josuke's trying to make sure that momentum stops gradually enough not to kill them all instantly. Which might result in them being rolled forward like bowling balls... but any landing you can walk away from, right?

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
OH NO, JOSUKE JUMPED ON TOO. "Damnit Jojo!" Marisa shrieks as she TRIES NOT TO DIE. "My broom is NOT calibrated for this much muscle!" THIS COULD BE BAD. Or maybe just hilarious. One of the two.

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Missile after missile slams into the Minotaur, the explosions taking out the final bat in the area of effect. Detonations ripple across the huge monster's body, creating blinding flashes of light and searing waves of heat. Leyanne's attacks strike the Minotaur's knees as it stands there shielding its head with its arms and axe, dealing serious damage that brings it down to ground level with a thunderous impact. It is thus in no condition to dodge Theurgus's attack as her ring of flame surrounds and closes in on the beastly foe, catching it on fire and sending up walls of smoke that obscure it as it howls and bellows in rage and pain.

    The air smells like burning meat. Eventually, the sound subsides, leaving only the crackling of flames, the possible ringing in one's ears, and the echoes of more scattered and less frequent explosions higher up in Chateau Aiguille, indicating the disruptive monsters are being put down or re-charmed to resume their guard duties.

    At least it all seems to be over now--There's a silhouette in the gradually thinning smoke. A very broad and tall silhouette. Two points of red light flare up. Then the Minotaur tears forth from the smoke, perhaps kicking away or trampling any robots in its way, its legs highly damaged, its flesh still smoldering, but still possesing the strength to launch one final offensive!

    Its massive axe comes cleaving downwards at Leyanne, forcefully enough to produce a pressure wave that blasts outwards like a bomb just exploded, regardless of who (or what) it actually winds up hitting! Why Leyanne? Because it would have at least had a chance of dodging if its legs hadn't been criticalled like that! Now it's doomed, and it wants to take down at least one enemy before it goes!

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Rarity's arrows riddle (hehehe) the Sphinx's wings, piercing into its feathers and bones, and drawing a bloodcurdling half-woman/half-lion/half-bird screech of fury (AND YES THAT'S TOO MANY HALVES). Its flight slows and then its attention is stolen away by Maya unleashes a huge magic attack that tears huge chunks of the Sphinx's skin off like massive invisible cosmic hands are tearing at it. The Sphinx turns fully to face its attackers, flapping such that it hovers backwards, trying to fix its gaze on its new targets that are inflicting so much pain. And so, it is distracted when Marisa blasts her own tremendous magical attack up at it, practically shearing off half its face, dealing enormous damage to its body and right wing, and leaving a burning hole where its right eye used to be.

    Its screams become even more terrible as it beats its wings frantically to try to stay upright, no longer able to tell up from down. Wind and blood lash outwards in all directions as it eventually takes off, screaming its agony and rage to the perpetual night, and flying off into the dark to endure its torments away from any further attacks. It won't be bothering them anymore.

    Marisa manages to grab hold of Asellus's floofy kerchief whatsit on her outfit, White Rose still holding onto her waist, trying vainly to take the damage from the fall in the Charm 'Prince's place. Success!

    The floofy neckwhatsit tears in Marisa's grip, leaving her holding a scrap of fabric. OH NO!

    Then JoJo and his Stand grab hold of them both, and thanks to Marisa briefly slowing their momentum, and then Josuke grabbing hold of each of them with both his own hands and his Stand's hands, all five of them (counting Crazy Diamond) go tumbling inside of Kurenai's cave, rolling along the bridge to where the tools for crafting mystic impliments lie gathering dust, and the purple-red flames that sing with magical energy as they drift upwards slowly like a lava lamp.

    White Rose doesnt even take time to check her own injuries before she is casting healing magic on Asellus, a huge golden star manifesting and raining down healing energy upon the Half-Mystic. "Starlight Heal!" White Rose intones. Then she repeats it for each of the others, if Josuke doesn't get to them first. She saves herself for last (again, unless Josuke gets to her first). Asellus awakens groggily, sitting up and shaking her head...

    And then, outside Kurenai's cave, dozens of Mystics start teleporting in, with Ildon in the lead. "Return Asellus and Princess White Rose at once!" Ildon announces, his sword drawn. Uh-oh. Looks like they're trapped!

Rarity has posed:
The wailing from the Sphinx is so terrible that it could count as an attack in itself almost. As is Rarity has to cover her ears with her forehooves (her bow is held by magic) and she's still shuddering from the aweful noise until the Sphinx finally says to hell with this and flies off. Once the noise is passed she shakes some of the dust whipped up by it's flailing about, and smiles at Maya. "Knew I made a good choice for assistance."

She glances over the edge, mostly just to see where the others fell towards, and then turns and starts to hurry back down. Nothing left for them up here, that's for sure.

JoJo jumped over to help the ladies, so she's got little doubt they're okay to a relative degree down there. She doesn't want to be around for something worse than a Sphinx showing up.

Leyanne Mace has posed:
Leyanne just manages to get her Bushmaster cleared when the minotaur emerges from the smoke. She attempts to bring the gun up in time, but sadly doesn't make it, diving to one side as the axe comes down. The blade cleaves clean through the barrel of her gun, smashing the mouse aside with its shockwave. She bounces on landing, the damaged steadicam rig shearing away completely before the mouse comes to a halt in a little heap.

"Ow..." She mutters, picking herself up. She takes a look at the damage to her cannon... and then at the damage to her armour and cybernetics. Her green cybernetic eye suddenly flicks to red, while the status lights on her cybernetic arm turn from red to yellow.

With a snarl, the mouse launches herself at the minotaur, leaving herself wide open to counter-attack because she's just that angry that he broke her favourite gun. She swings what's left of it like a club, disconnecting the ammo feed as she swings, attempting to smash the monster's head in with the remains of the bushmaster cannon. One might almost think the minotaur had called her a rat...

Marisa Kirisame (829) has posed:
"AAAA, JOJO IF WE DIE I'M HAUNTING YOU," Marisa screams as the quintet hurtle into the fiery dark. Fortunately for everyone, Marisa does NOT turn into Mima 2.0 /quite/ yet. Instead of becoming the second coming of the Evil Spirit, Marisa instead earns quite a bump on the head and a groan-worthy ache in the tush. "Guhhh. You guys alright--?" She forces herself up just in time to see...

Mystics.

Great.

"Uuuugh. Alright, we'll do it your way then. But I want a trade." Marisa sighs, scratching her head. "You give me your magic and your princesses, and I won't proper-exterminate you faux vampire jerks."

Beat.

"I'll take a down payment now," Marisa gestures cutely, a tiny mote of stardust twinkling away from her fingers... And toward the mystics.

Then it explodes.

The little sparkle blossoms into a great big gold-and-blue sphere that rapidly drains magical energies away from everything in its radius (read: those mystic jerks) and siphons it all... Right into the witch responsible. That just leaves them open for... "Josuke, punch 'em hard!"

If, you know, he's not presently busy.

If he is, Marisa's probably gonna look pretty silly here.

Staren has posed:
    Holy shit, it's still up? Staren mentally sighs as he plans for the long game, reviewing his armory and planning out how to wear the minotaur down. He checks in with the exfiltration team on the radio. Seems it's time to go. And since everyone can hear the radio, he just starts leaving, sparing the minotaur only one last glance when Leyanne declares it hers. The catboy flies down to retrieve his fallen robot and drag it away; the rest of the squad run to the door. Once he's made it safely back to the cave, he passes the robot to them. Seems like they should be free and clear now.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
By the time he finally comes to a stop, Josuke knows what it feels like to be in a rock tumbler. Mainly because he's tumbling over rocks. When he finally stops tumbling, he emits a grunt of pain and his Stand disappears. He'll probably need healing, since he can't heal himself with Crazy Diamond, and he needs time and quiet to meditate in order to heal himself with Hamon. But no, he's not going to just lay there and do nothing.

Even if he can't get to his feet just yet, he'll reach out for the first person he can touch who needs healing, whoever that may be, and try to heal them. With his Stand, because he's not sure what Hamon would do to a Mystic. Or rather, he IS (at least he thinks he is), and it's not what he wants to happen to Asellus or White Rose. Lots of heals going around. Once the heal-frenzy is over, though, he'll get to his feet. "Is everybody okay?" Though that's about all he has time to say before...

"...That's just <great>."

He turns to watch as the Mystics start to teleport in. Quickly he takes up position to block as many of the Mystics as possible from getting past him. To aid him he arranges Crazy Diamond next to him, so he'll have TWO shoulder-breadths blocking the way. But he's still touching his Stand; their legs are overlapping at the shins, Josuke's leg being solid and phasing through Crazy Diamond's

He scowls at the command, his eyes narrowing. "If they want to come back to you, I won't stop them," Josuke states firmly. "But if they don't, I'm not letting you past." He's not going to bother with the 'over my dead body', because that's kind of a given here. And he doesn't want to give these guys any ideas.

But since he is touching his Stand, he has an idea. This is going to require him to get super-close to the Mystics. Ordinarily this would be super-dumb, but hopefully Marisa's magic-drain will distract them long enough -- even if it doesn't do much damage, maybe it'll startle them long enough for him to get a few punches in.

"Right!" Josuke calls in response to Marisa's words. He empties every bit of air out of his lungs, with a forceful inwards contraction of his abdominal muscles. Hold... Then draw in a deep breath of air, completely filling those lungs -- like the breath a drowning man takes after being denied air for so long... or that of a newborn infant's first gasp of breath in the world...

He rushes forward, Stand keeping pace with him, his whole body suddenly sparking with crackling yellow energy, like lightning -- but for those magic-sensitive Mystics? It is pure life. It's with that pure life that the Stand attacks -- Josuke's voice, carried by that energy farther than it should normally, "SENDO!"

And a heartbeat later, a barrage of Hamon-charged fists thrown by Crazy Diamond. "DORARARARARARARA!"

They're NOT vampires, so it won't hurt like they were. But even still, it's a super-speed flurry of punches from a super-strong poltergeist. And even if it won't melt the flesh, the Hamon WILL still increase the damage, as well as possibly leaving behind an uncomfortable pins-and-needles sensation -- ironically, much like a sunburn.

Maya has posed:
Maya watches as the Sphinx shuts up and flees from the powerful assault it just weathered. It ran? That ranks it as more dangerou7s than most things like that Maya has run into. It's smart enough to go I can't win, I'm running. WIth that though Maya now turns her. It seems are getting bad.

"I think not."

Maya has her rifle out now and the housing parts, a moment later it will fire a number of energy shots on Marissa's mark joining the assault from her allies.

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    Asellus doesn't know how she got inside Kurenai's cave, but she understands their current situation when she hears Ildon's voice outside. She practically expects him to call out, 'You're completely surrounded!' like some IRPO agent. She chuckles humorlessly at her own awful luck. Her friends came for her, White Rose was willing to help her escape, they made it so far, and now this. She gets to her feet, and says, "This is it. What Zozma told me about." She turns to look at the magic flames behind her, feeling the tingle of raw magic power waiting to shape and be shaped, but controlled by a will that has transcended mortal existence. "Was the story you told me about how Rei escaped true?

    White Rose looks at Asellus, her soft brown eyes tightening around the edges, her doll-like face looking more human in her pain than in her typically serene and comforting demeanor. "Yes, it's true." She understands what Asellus is asking.

    Marisa and Josuke are fighting to save them. They came here, risked their lives, suffered pain and fear, for two people they barely know. But there's only one way out now. One way to save them, by removing what Orlouge is looking for. To make them no longer exist in Facinaturu to be recaptured. Asellus walks up to the edge of the platform, and looks down into the flames.

    "Well, if we plunge in here.... we'll be burnt to a crisp."

    * Believe Zozma        * Don't believe him

    Marisa drains magic from the Mystics, denying them the resources to cast spells. Ildon catches sight of Josuke coming and manages to leap up and away with a curse, but the Mystics around him aren't so fortunate and get pummeled by the super fast and super strong punches, charged with burning life energy that hurls them backwards. They start unleashing the attacks in their mystic weapons. Flamethrower streams, acid jets, huge phantasmal claw slashes, and more, all trying to take down Josuke and Marisa.

    Asellus's friends are powerful. But she doesn't want them to get hurt anymore for her.

    * Believe Zozma

    "I shall accompany you as well." White Rose says quietly as she steps up beside Asellus.

    "White Rose... are you sure?" Asellus can't quite believe it. She has appreciated White Rose's kindness and compassion, but... The Arch-Princess would do this for her? WITH her? Not knowing what might happen?

    "I have been charged by Lord Orlouge with the education of Lady Asellus." White Rose replies in a lecturing tone. "It is my duty to accompany her." Then she tilts her head and smiles.

    Asellus has no words. She looks over her shoulder at Marisa and Josuke one last time. Then the two of them turn so their backs are to the fire and step up onto the ledge. White Rose takes Asellus's hand. "Thank you, White Rose."

    The flames speak, their soft, female voice possibly being what finally clues Marisa and Josuke into what's happening behind them. "Be safe, White Rose... Please protect Lady Asellus."

    White Rose smiles wider. "Thank you, Princess Kurenai."

    Asellus can't manage to force a smile. Not even for the sake of White Rose and Marisa and Josuke. She just falls backwards into the fire, and takes White Rose with her. She begins to burn on the way down, and remembers the story of Princess Rei, Orlouge's First Princess, who committed suicide to get away from him and was reincarnated as a human.

    .oO(If this doesn't work... I wonder what I'll come back as.)

    She holds on tight to White Rose's hand. Then the flames making thinking impossible.

Asellus (1162) has posed:
    ....

    Moments later, as some horribly large shape begins to thunder its way down from Chateau Aiguille, its bulk enough to blot out the sky and make internal organs jump from the impacts of its feet, Zozma teleports in, trying to clap one hand onto Josuke's shoulder, and another onto Marisa's. "We leave NOW." he says very clearly, and then teleports away with the two of them in tow, appearing underneath Facinaturu, where the others have made it to the Region Ship after their mad flight through Rootville, hounded by the death cries of the disintegrating Minotaur, and the sound of those massive impacts as if something very large were hopping its way down to them, one leap at a time.

    The caves trembled and shuddered as they ran through them, the cave ceilings drizzling dirt and stone, and threatening collapse. But they made it aboard, where the very frightened pilot is already doing his final engine checks. When the last two (where'd Zozma go?) people get aboard, he immediately floors it, sending the plane-like ship flying up into the sky and back into the sea of dimensional energies.

    "Wow. That was intense." he says once they're in the clear. "I'm not coming back HERE for awhile! Did you get what you came for?"

    The question may make an already sour situation feel even more so.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke hopes Asellus knows what she's doing. He stands by her, whatever it is she's doing. It's her decision, it's up to her. If she wants to take the chance, then that is her decision, and damned if Josuke's not going to defend it. He's worried that it might not work, but that voice... it's a soft and caring one. Surely it would stop Asellus if this wasn't the right way... Though at this point Josuke can only hope. Still, even if they ARE dead, isn't that a preferrable fate for both of them than just being Orlouge's plaything for all of eternity?

Still... he wants to stop them, and he can't help but feel the heaviness of dread in his stomach.

Though of course the next thing he feels is the slashing of a claw against Crazy Diamond's front, opening identical wounds on Josuke, underneath his clothes. Crazy Diamond crosses its arms against the fire and acid. The attacks are forcing him back... He can't go too far back, or he'll fall in the fire too! He'll die too!

It's just then that Zozma teleports in, pulling Josuke's buns out of the fire -- almost literally! "Thanks," he says tiredly. It's not done yet, there's running. Whatever that beast is, he's not keen on meeting it, not when he's so spent. He's practically on autopilot as he makes it to the ship at last, and gratefully collapses in a seat when it's safely off and away.

...Did they do the right thing? Or was it all for nothing? Victory, maybe... they did get her away from Orlouge. But... what now? For a 'victory', it feels mighty hollow...