755/Cat Wrangling

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Cat Wrangling
Date of Scene: 06 October 2014
Location: Misaki Town <MT>
Synopsis: Some cats are messier and harder to wrangle than others.
Cast of Characters: 253, 342, 482, 560, 566, 567, 591

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Welcome to Misaki! In the edge between the Town and the City are the poor areas, the run down houses and dark alleys people generally avoid, but where rent's so cheap due to being in a rural area with all the disadvantages of the rural and urban life, and basically none of the advantages of either. It is in those corners and shadows that the air seems stale and heavy, prompting some civilians to reconsider walking there. Magic is pretty heavy here too; this town, more than most modern cities, just reeks of magic. Some residual, some still active who knows where, and most under the land, through the leylines. It's obvious this place is a focal point for the supernatural.

    It is at one particular road crossing that people will eventually arrive, trying to sense the heart of the ongoing disruption. The feeling is pretty hostile, an effect meant to gather and actualize ideas, rumors, maybe just stray thoughts or fears. It would be hard to say exactly.

    But that's what it feels like, whether it makes sense or not.

    This part of town is empty right now.

    As soon as people arrive, shadows can be seen in the alleys. Limbs, bodies, blood. Like someone's been having a great old time devouring anyone who comes through and only half-bothered hiding the bodies.

    It is obviously night.

Psyber (253) has posed:
    Psyber does not have fond memories of the last time he dealt with Wallachia's bullshit. Mostly because it projected a shadowy murderous version of his then-best friend and then also did the same to his best friend and made them fight dramatically. It was really a bad time all around.

    Thus when he steps out of his car and responsibly locks it, he has a shotgun in his hands. He hadn't had much time to test these rounds against whatever Wallachia was, but it had been a vampire last time, so he was hoping the special formula in his rounds would work. If not, there was always more direct measures.

    The half-angel has an intensely annoyed look on his face that turns to one of even greater worry as he sees the shadows going after people and creating a mess. He scowls and then holds up a hand, channeling his holy energy into it and waving it around before whistling, "Heyo. Juicy target right here. Enough townsfolk, come take down big prey."

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Sir Bedivere of Dun Realtai arrives on foot, somewhat anticlimactically, and he arrives with a somewhat shorter, red-headed travelling partner.

For all that he might insist somewhat stubbornly that he's a normal man, Sir Bedivere is not normal. That is to say, he can sense, however faintly, that something in this place is abnormal. The heavy, stale quality to the air is enough to make even him frown as he arrives on foot in full knightly regalia, battered armour and sword at his hip, mantled white cloak rippling behind him.

His eyes narrow at the sight of the carnage. Slowly and quietly, he rests his hand on the hilt of his sword, though he does not draw the blade. Half a glance is flicked to Psyber, then back to the alleys with their shadowed horrors.

Very quietly, Bedivere draws his sword; the flat of the blade reflects the holy light from Psyber's hand as he flexes plate-gauntleted fingers around it. Wordlessly, he turns, keeping Psyber at his back and facing out to the nearest bank of alleyways, waiting.

That's alright, if whatever it is takes its time coming out. He's a patient man. He'll wait for as long as he needs to.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    'It'll be messy,' Psyber warned.

    He couldn't be more right, apparently. Shirou's coming here with Bedivere. Anything that the half-angel states will be 'messy' means 'very bad.' He can't let Bedivere get caught up in something like that without backup, now can he?

    So Shirou hurriedly donned his modern armor - a black vest of protective, light fibers worn over his normal clothing and nothing more. It protects his vitals while retaining flexibility and ease of movement. It's strong as steel in most ways, and FAR lighter.

    Bedivere needs to upgrade!

    "...." Shirou calmly regards the carnage about him. Calm, but at the same time... quite infuriated. Who'd do this? Only a monster of the worst sort, obviously. "...Trace, on."

    'Til now, he was empty-handed. No more. Golden light flickers in his grasp and extends, solidifies in just a single second. He's gotten really good at tracing several designs in the last week. CLARENT appears in his grasp.

    "Bedivere, we'd better stay back to back for this...!" He's a tad frightened of what is to come, no doubts there.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    Some people just have the worst luck, and it just so happens that Sieg is one of those people. He didn't end up here in Misaki strictly because he wanted to, but rather because he took a wrong turn in a warpgate. They're pretty disorienting for him to use, and each one has multiple destinations, so it wasn't hard to get off on the wrong 'exit'. The thing is though, that he's not the sort of person who really balks that much at taking a wrong turn into a strange situation. When he stepped foot in the wrong part of the world, he'd just kept going.

    There are Magi active in this place. He can feel it even from a distance. But it's not the distant thrum of workshop boundary fields that draws his attention. It's the big power that's emanating from the center. A forbidden magic that even he doesn't recognize for what it is. For that reason, the homunculus walks right into the trap long before he realizes the nature of it.

    The smell is familiar, though.

    A smell of blood, and pain, and death. Strangely however, Sieg doesn't seem perturbed by it. It's unnatural, even for a magus, to look upon such a sight without feeling some trepidation. A warmth spreads through Sieg's body as he activates his magic circuits, which is most likely when he becomes most apparent to Bedivere, Shirou, and Psyber.

    It takes him a moment to decide what to do, and the action he takes is itself an absurdity.


    The word is charged with power. A simple compulsion through magecraft that would easily slide off of even an average magus, though most 'regular' people would obey without question. There's no way it'll work against whatever is out there in the dark, but Sieg tries it anyway.

    This is a terrible idea.

Nozomi Houken (342) has posed:
    Nozomi does not know the Wallachia incidents. 'Some horror-ass bullshit', however, is enough to tell her that by all rights she should be terrified of showing up. This is in fact the worst possible idea. And yet, here she is. Riding on Taiga's back, with Taiga having followed along just behind Psyber's car. Even if it's horriffic... well, he was kind to her. Protective, even, and willing to take her on as a member of Heaven or Hell. So she's willing to help him.

    Even if she does already look nervous. Though you can probably blame the neighborhood.

    "This place is thick with magic," Taiga observes simply. "Nozomi, you may wish to dismount." She nods quietly, and slides off the back, only to quietly edge over behind Bedivere, who is a knight and thus clearly qualified to protect her. Right?

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
"Oy, Sieg! It's a little dangerous to go off like that, don't you think?" There was the low hum of a big touring motorbike as it and its rider pulled up behind Sieg. Speaking of its rider, he was currently dressed in his blue motorcycle leathers and boots, with his face concealed by the fully visored motorcycle helmet he wore. He swung a leg off the vehicle, killing the engine, and finally decided to take a look around instead of having to chase Sieg down through warpgates.

"Ah. Hmm. It looks like we have entered into a rather dicey situation, have we not?" he said to Sieg, kicking open one of the bike's many compartments. A rather heavy handgun was lifted, loaded with a magazine, and the slide pulled back as Sieg's companion started to take a look around.

Then Sieg lets loose with the magecraft. This caused his companion to doubletake, before giving a shrug and moving behind the homunculus, ready to defend him against anything that may have decided to take exception to his little stunt.

"Do you think that was wise? Though, I suppose, if anything is still here, then that is one way to lure it from the shadows, though it may be somewhat displeased with what you did!" he said, bracing himself with the firearm.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    The bodies, what little is left, are just that. Bits, pieces and chunks of people. Fitting with Psyber's expectations, the limbs strewn about don't generally have any blood left in them. The traces of blood around the street and alleys are more from struggles and attempts to crawl away. The murderer didn't want to waste any.

    There is a shift, briefly, in the nature of the field when Sieg shines with magecraft. He tries to lure the murderer out, who had remained silent even at Psyber's gauding, or how juicy a target Bedivere and Shirou might have been. Rather than hiding, now the target feels attacked. The field shimmers, snow forming in the air. It's a bit too hot to be snowing, but there it is anyway.

    A cat meows in the alley.

    A Reality Marble (or for all purposes, close enough of an effect to one to not matter) bursts out, engulfing people present. The air is chilling now. The clear sky showcases an immense blue and white moon, an endless flower field covered in snow their battlefield. Trees and large rocks stick out here and there, vaguely like landmarks, but as can be expected there's not much else to see here. Sieg could tell the field exists to amplify one's ability to actualize concepts and ideas into physical forms, and is elementally aligned with ice.

    The murderer is not one, but many.

    Shadowed humanoids, black and grey without colors at all, stand together before the intruders. The rumor of a psychotic nun, with three swords in each hand. The rumor of a high school boy with a knife leaving mounds of bodies in his wake. The rumors of a young female vampire that haunts the night, her fingers like claws. Very poor replicas of Ciel, Shiki and Arcueid glare, and immediatly they lunge at the party. !Ciel goes for Psyber, swiping those swords wildly. !Arcueid dashes for Bedivere, trying to claw into his armor. !Shiki merely attempts to knife Sieg after a flash-step. He doesn't appear particularily superhuman, and is actually someone Sieg could fight on even ground! ... the knife is INSANELY sharp though.

    Shirou gets a break from the cold, as the heat around him suddenly flares up. Flames spread from behind him, but don't threaten anyone but him. Moans and motions come from within, the cries of those less fortunate, begging for help, as the flames reach out towards the Faker, trying to grab him with fiery hands.

    Rider gets the oddest opponent, as the ground shakes, and a massive two-headed black bird pops out, with crowns on its heads, a scepter in one talon and another crown in the other. The walls of Moscow break out of the icy ground, ablaze-- behind Rider, preventing escape. It swoops for the Servant, trying two rapid beak snaps.

    From that one massive bird, a flock of sparrows and pigeons launch, taking to the sky. They start taking turns swooping down, straight at Nozomi and Taiga, aiming for the shiniest parts of their bodies. Eyes, jewelry, important looking pieces.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    "Hm? Well..." It looks like Sieg hadn't actually thought about what he was doing very much before doing it. It's not that he's particularly stupid, but he also doesn't necessarily think like other people do. The objectively true fact is that what he did was pretty reckless, but it wasn't deliberately so exactly. Which is probably more concerning than if he'd deliberately elected to be completely reckless. He gives Rider a bit of an embarassed look and nods his agreement. Even if he disagreed, Rider is definitely a person who knows better than him about this kind of thing.

    There is no great monster out in the alleys. There is just... a cat? The homunculus looks towards the cat in the alley, but something strange occurs immediately. The information about what has occurred is fairly easy to process. It is magecraft, so the homunculus is naturally designed to understand it. The problem is where the Reality Marble came from in the first place, what sustains it, and how long it will last.

    ... Truly, however, it is an unfortunate situation to be caught in. Sieg backs away towards Rider, his expression suddenly grim and wary. The rules of a reality marble can be much different from that of any other realm. It will doubtless favor the one who used it in some way, the question is just how.

    The actual functionality of THIS reality marble is bizarre. Comparable, he thinks, to how the Holy Grail War actualizes beings who no longer exist.

    "Jean-- !" Sieg pushes backwards in time to avoid getting his throat slashed from a strange angle, but the knife still carries close enough to him to gouge a shallow wound into his chest. There is something strange about the flesh underneath, but it's hard to put one's finger on exactly what.

    The fact that Rider has been swept into another portion of the reality marble escapes him entirely, for the time being.

Psyber (253) has posed:
    "I don't like this," Psyber says, looking around even as his hand glows. He looks to Bedivere carefully, trying to suss out what the knight thinks of this situation. And generally getting the feel that the man would agree. He internally admires Bedivere's natural knowledge to stand in the right positions and face to cover blind spots. And he positions to put Nozomi between the two of them for her own protection when she dismounts Taiga.

    Sieg gets a careful look from him at the burst of magic. And so does his guardian upon his arrival. Psyber starts to shout, "Hey! Be careful! You don't know what could-" He's cut off by the burst of power and the change of venue into a much darker affair. He cautiously looks around, sliding his foot, "-happen. Shit."

    "HEY CATCH! You're gonna need something a bit bigger!" Psyber says in the brief moment before he's attacked by the Not-Ciel. Psyber whips his arm back and tosses the shotgun right towards the strange man in Motorcycle Leathers. It's nothing too fancy, just your basic pump-action Mossberg 500. But when you're going bird hunting, yeah?

    Psyber himself then draws a pair of combat knives, facing down Ciel seriously. He twirls the twin Bowies in his hands and then steps in towards her. He meets the swords with loud clangs and tries to parry where he can, a couple shallow cuts appearing on his upper arm from where he was a little too slow.

    He twirls easily and shifts his grip, trying to end the fight pretty brutally by stabbing one through the head and one through the center of his opponent's chest.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Bedivere is indeed a magus, although perhaps not the same as the redhead he's standing beside. He is a magus, or something rather close to it, but from the ancient era -- from the Era of Legends, when such things were much closer to humanity than they are in the modern age. Even his magic circuits likely feel different. He is untrained, but is potential is still there, nonetheless; like a floodlight to the right senses.

Then there is the matter of that mark on his left hand... while hidden by his gauntlet, those with the right senses may nonetheless sense its presence.

In response to the Reality Marble's formation, Bedivere spins on his heel to face the other direction, whirling and raising his sword in a two-handed grip; blade pointing straight up, right arm level with his shoulder. His eyes flick left and right at the sudden unfamiliar surroundings, but this isn't any place that he recognises.

Plated sabatons crunch in sudden snow as he turns, narrowing his eyes; and then suddenly the battle is joined. The knight staggers backward with a battle-yell, whirling his sword and bringing it down on the girl clawing at his armour -- but not the blade. No, he's trying to smash her in the side of the head with the pommel, reluctant to strike at a young girl, even when he's being attacked by something that is most probably witchcraft. For the moment he has no chance at watching the others; he's too busy trying to keep Definitely Not Arcueid from gouging out his eyes.

In spite of the struggle, though, he's obviously making an attempt to stay close to Nozomi; every so often violet eyes flick in her direction, to confirm that she's still safe. For the most part, though, he's trying to keep Arcuied from poking holes where his eye should be.

Kiiiinda wishing he had a helmet right about now.

Nozomi Houken (342) has posed:
    The entire time, Nozomi is a bundle of nerves, with Taiga taking to the fore to let his sensors lead the way, so to speak. It's a good thing that Taiga is the combat power of the duo, too; getting a closer look at the crime scene has Nozomi huddling even closer to Psyber and especially Bedivere, and it's a solid bet that she'd be pretty much useless in an actual fight right now.

    Then comes the Reality Marble. Taiga immediately drops into a very feline fight-or-flight crouch, though it's too late to avoid actually being captured by far. His cannons, however, are quite ready for when they enter the snowy field, and among the many opponents who appear without warning, there is... a flock of birds. What?

    Unfortunately for him, this turns out to be exactly the wrong (or right?) thing to hurl at Nozomi. Because as soon as they start swooping and darting, she lets out a panicked yelp, falls into the snowy flowers, and begins flailing and hiding her face in fear. "AAH! NO-!" Taiga hurls through the cloud of them like a missile, cannons turning to fire up at any of them he passes by, while those right in his path...

    Well, he /is/ a cat. A cat made of magically-charged alloys. But a cat nonetheless.

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
"Sieg! Hey!" Rider blinked, getting only to see him attacked before he was swept off into his own little dungeon. Burning wooden buildings. A gigantic black bird, pecking and screeching like some sort of demonic eagle. The man was silent, the fires reflected in his black visor as he moved slightly, dodging the pecks and talon rakings, though one was enough to draw blood from the man's arms as he raised them. It was hard to say; was he completely dumbfounded or simply just confused? Or was he scared?

The thing that snapped the man back to reality, however, was the gift of a shotgun. As it flew through the air, Rider caught it in one swift motion, and with one hand, pointed it towards the bird.

"This is not the land of icy death. Things are different. Much different." he said grimly, before pulling the trigger. Buckshot, somehow magically enhanced by the virtue of being in the man's hands would fly out, hopefully damaging the bird, or at least driving it back. Rider didn't exactly have a lot of room to manuever, and if the big fat mutant bird decided that buckshot wasn't that big a deal, he'd be in serious trouble if he didn't draw something else.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    What the hell's happening here?! Even a crappy Magus like Shirou can feel the distortion. One moment they were there. The next, HERE is now not quite what it should be. "A magic field?!" He blurts, incredulous at the idea that magecraft could produce something so alien right in the middle of a city. He's instantly on guard, eyes scanning left and right while the others end up assaulted. But just as he's turning to go help Bedivere against the mysterious shadowy assailant--

    He's blocked by a wall of flames.

    The world is red, chokingly thick with heat. He's seen this before. A vision of hell itself. Faces he half-remembers, dying flails of the dead that sometimes haunt his dreams...

    Wordless fright flickers across his face. He's not scared of this in the normal sense of fear.

    It's just really good at freezing his emotions into pure misery. No, this is the one thing he doesn't want to ever have to see again. Why is it happening here?!

    "Stay away. Stay away! Everything would be a lie if I let you get close...." He babbles out stupidly, using the flat of Clarent to beat away at hands.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    !Arcueid's hit by the blunt of Bedivere's blade, obviously knocked off-balance by the blow, giving him a few seconds of respite in the assault. She behaves real enough-- shakes her head, growls, indicates she obviously didn't like him doing that. She's hardly so fast and strong as to overwhelm a trained knight, but she is relentless. The !vampire digs her hands into the ground, and pulls chains out from under the snow. They rattle loudly, and if Bedivere does not realize it quickly enough, they do so under him too. They burst out, trying to entangle his feet into the ground.

    Fortunately, he did make it to Nozomi first. He can shield the girl from the birds, just as Taiga rockets and starts eating and/or shooting birds out of the air. Slowly but surely the flock is thinning down, and Nozomi seems to be out of their path now thanks to Bedivere. On the other hand, if the knight has become rooted by the chains, the birds concentrate on him now, with beaks serrated enough to pierce steel.

    Psyber engages !Ciel in a knife fight, shanking her in the chest after she lands a few lucky blows. The Black Keys aren't too threatening as physical weapons go; a being on Psyber's level doesn't have to consider them anything more than fancy swords and knives, really.

    But they do have another function! !Ciel leaps back, and hurls three of her swords, broken halfway from impacts with Psyber's knife, towards the half-angel's shadow. If they strike it, he will be temporarily immobilized, and she's coming in with a sweeping kick and an arc from the three swords she still has left.

    Sieg's contents don't seem to interest !Shiki, who only seems to care about stabbing him a lot. He might not be very strong or even sturdy, but the copy is pretty fast, able to keep up with the retreating homunculus. Rider isn't too far, though; the group wasn't separated by a huge distance or anything. He'll be able to reach him in a couple of seconds, but until then, the knife-totting replica is coming in with another shank, this one aimed for a knee during a burst of speed beinging the two side-to-side.

    Rider has a shotgun, which is as good as anything else when confronting a fear. The bullets put large holes in the bird, though its assaults seem to only slightly slow down as a result. And from the holes, the distant sound of as military march, the echoes of perfectly synchronized musket fire, and bullets! A hailstorm of bullets, while the majestic bird stands tall without attacking.

    Shirou bats at the hands with his sword.
    It does keep them from grabbing him!

    The moans of those caught inside the flames intensify, and one man, half-burnt from head to toe, manages to finally crawl out, hand reaching out to grasp Shirou's ankle. It burns, if he manages to touch him. He gurgles something, it sounds like 'help' but his throat's too messed up to form words.

    IN THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ALL, atop one of the large stones, a white cat stands, licking one of its paws as it observes with unusually bright red eyes.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Bedivere staggers sideways, knocked off balance by the chains that try to entangle his boots. It isn't enough to stop him from surging forward to Nozomi's position, lunging for her with the intent of shoulder-checking her to the ground and otu of the way of the birds, even if it means he has to tank both the birds and the Definitely Not A Vampire trying to take a chunk out of him.

Which is exactly what they do. Both of them. Also, those beaks are freakishly sharp. One of them manages to tear through his left pauldron away, leaving a ragged, warped strip of steel over his shoulder, slicing through the chain hauberk underneath, and tearing away a not-inconsiderable chunk of flesh as well, along with a pained grunt from Bedivere.

He's had better days.

"Stay down!" he calls to Nozomi, lurching to his feet and whirling his blade as the birds take another advance. He waits for them to get a little closer, dropping his left arm and flexing his fingers experimentally. A deep wound, and a damned /painful/ one, but nothing lethal or concerning just yet. "And stay close!"

Blood spatters the snow underfoot.

Definitely had better days, he decides. And Arturia's probably going to scold him for coming home bloody.

The sword flashes again as the flock descends; trying to part wings from torsos, and heads from shoulders where he can. He's only one man, and certainly not fast enough or strong enough to stop them all. Hopefully, though, by attracting their attention, he can keep them away from Nozomi. If he has to get a little bloody (read: a lot bloody) and torn up, then so be it.

Oh, and his boots are still entangled, forcing him to do all of this while he's rooted to one spot. That may explain why, by the time the flock thins out a bit, the knight looks bloodied from head to toe. His armour, good steel all, is /shredded/; there are bits of chain link, and his cloak is in absolute tatters. He's a well-trained knight, one of the best of his world, but there are about two skillion of those birds and only one of him, sadly.

But he does not fall, and he does not stop, and he devotes the rest of his energy to staying in front of Nozomi.

Nozomi Houken (342) has posed:
    With the flock thinning out, Taiga skids to a stop in the snow and begins playing 'point defense' - shooting whatever birds he can get a lock on, but not leaping to attack, or really moving much. With his shoulder cannons independently tracking and firing, the TIGER hunkers down, and begins 'scenting' the air. Ears quirk left, then right. It's all very feline for something that is entirely a machine, but it serves a similar purpose to a real tiger: he's bringing his sensors to bear, trying to track down a source for this Reality Marble-esque pocket of reality. Hit the source, after all, and the whole thing collapses.

    Nozomi quickly climbs to her feet, but stays low, and gives Bedivere an extremely worried look. He's putting himself on the line pretty hard to protect her.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    Despite the fact that it was produced through a reality marble, the being that Sieg is currently fighting is still approximately human in strength. He strikes with perceivable speed and skill, but... that's still more than the homunculus has. He issues a grunt of pain at the sensation of the wound on his chest throbbing, and another reaches him in short order when it swipes across his knee. If it had been a completely successful stab he would have been stopped on the spot, but as it is it's just another cut -- albeit one that just shaved the skin from his kneecap. The problem is that even mounting shallow cuts are more than enough to kill him given a little bit of time.

    He continues to retreat in spite of receiving two significant injuries. If he stops now, then he won't be able to keep going, and this guy will catch up to him immediately. There isn't much space between them, but Sieg's movements are quick enough to force the knife-wielding boy to chase him. The short range of his weapon means that he simply can't attack as much as he could if they were standing still.

    How many more meters to Rider?


    Sieg slings an improvised spell out abruptly, directing his mana into the snow. He uses more than he would need to, having a hunch. The nature of a Reality Marble is that of a space that violates the normal rules of reality. Therefore, it is overwriting the reality of the world. However, because it has to "fight" an outside reality attempting to re-assert itself, Sieg theorizes that he will be able to get a lot more bang for his buck with his thaumaturgy here... especially if he simply works with things that are already happening in the marble itself.

    The spell is a simple one, an attempt to thicken the snow around himself and his pursuer. The idea is to make it harder to aim by lowering visibility -- nothing too dramatic, but an impediment to a human-level opponent all the same.

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
At his shot's efficacy, Rider gave the shotgun a good pump, the shell hitting the floor as the gun made a satisfying CH-CHK. He might have even grinned under the motorcycle helmet, but then the sound of marching, fifes and drums came to his ears, the source of which being that damned mutant bird. Then the musket fire came. The round lead bullets cut into the man's body as he tried to roll to the right, only to slam into a piece of flaming timber which came tumbling down. A low growl came from him as he quickly dodged the rest of the falling wood, but the shotgun was quickly discarded as the man ran forward.

"Perhaps cold steel could persuade you to quiet down!" he declared, as he drew a rather straight and heavy one edged sword from nowhere, with a curved bell handguard. With a growl, Rider bobbed and weaved past the onslaught of musket fire to try and close with his foe. Smoke and fire clouded his vision until he finally had enough room to make his strike.

With a yell, the man in motorcycle attire made one large and powerful lunge, using the straight cavalry sword to run the giant mutant of an eagle through, and if that was not enough, he would try and draw the sword down, carving a gigantic valley into the creature.

Psyber (253) has posed:
    Psyber swipes the knives at the three swords. Two of them are cast aside, but the third strikes just behind him and tags his shadow. He growls a bit and lunges forward towards Ciel, intending to just dice her apart with his knives. Instead he finds himself yanked back and immobilized by her sword. And this leaves him wide open for a huge attack on his side. The kick and all three swords land a painful gash across his side. He lets out a grunt of pain and then kicks the sword stuck in the ground, trying to free himself to move.

    "Don't have time to fuck around with this, need to end it fast," Psyber says harshly, stepping in for a move towards Ciel. As he does so, blood oozes from the heavy wound in his side which is struggling to shut itself.

    As he advances, he decides that he's had enough of this particular engagement and opts for sheer overwhelming force. He darts in with both knives, trying to catch his assailant in the shoulders, lifting her up and then slamming her down to the ground. The aim is to pin her to the ground in one powerful, sweeping motion. The coup de grace, if that is successful, is a single lethal punch on his prone and pinned target. A downward jab right into her throat, seeking to simultaneously crush her larynx and spine in one smooth strike of superhuman force. It's more brutal than he usually goes, but he didn't think a gunshot would work here.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Why. Why was his first impulse to react like that, and hurl people away who needed help? The more he tries to think about it with his mind burning up and throbbing, the harder it is to tell. Shirou freezes for a moment. Damn it, this isn't that fire, this isn't how he should be acting. There's someone here who needs help.

    But... is this real?

    Shirou's head contains to throb and pulse, threatening overload from the images that are flooding back to him.

    He freezes right where he is, and this lets the burning man get a grasp on him. "Hrrrrghhhh---!"

    And so Shirou's ankle burns. This snaps him out of his daze and brings him back to reality.

    "... No..." He can't save anyone who looks like that. There's no water around, how can he put this fire out....?!

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    The many BIRDS attacking Bedivere start getting hacked apart; black, featureless and monochrome blood flies everywhere, as wings are clipped off and birds crash into the snow, dissipating into nothing. The thick cloud of black feathers starts thinning more and more. Taiga clips more wings and chews on more birds-- they taste foul, like newspaper. Literally like newspaper. Kind of an odd taste. As he glances about, he will notice the cat, observing the scuffle. The Reality Marble seems to originate from the cat.

    Sieg manipulates the cold, and finds it is much easier here than outside. He definitely gets more bang for his buck within this field. The snow thickens, and as a bonus effect starts freezing around the pursuer's legs. He cuts the ice with his knife, but it slows him down enough Sieg can reach Rider before he catches up. By the time !Shiki catches up, Rider and Sieg would be able to act as a team and get an attack of opportunity, so to speak.

    With his dive forward, Rider plants his blade firmly into the bird. To be so close to it is absolutely chilling, the air almost crystallizing into ice. With effort he can ignore this, and continue the slash down, slicing the bird in twain at the cost of a few frostburns.

    It does not get up, and dissolves into the snow.

    This allows Rider to regroup with Sieg, as the prior segment said.

    Psyber goes full-force ahead, and pins !Ciel to the ground. He slams his fist into her throat, and immediatly kills her. The blades of her sword disappear, freeing Psyber from his shadow, and the corpse dissolves.

    Shirou doesn't do anything; unfortunately for him neither does the man begging for help. Having a hold on the boy's leg, now he tries to lift himself up, as if Shirou were a ladder. More victims are coming out of the flames, faces and screams that Shirou might blame himself for not having been able to help them.

    It's not like it was his fault.
    He's just such a do-gooder!

    The only threat left, really, is !Arcueid. She yanks on the chains, trying to trip Bedivere, and then dashes, trying to get past him to claw into Nozomi, each finger like a well-sharpened sword. !Shiki is also still up, trying to catch up to Sieg. The BIRDS have thinned enough there's barely a dozen left and they're scattering rather than fighting.

    The white cat seems extremely agitated.
    Is the Reality Marble losing consistency?

Psyber (253) has posed:
    Psyber pulls the knives out of the ground and wipes them off with a rag from inside his jacket. His side is already healed up, though the shirt there is torn and he's still pretty bloody. After wiping off the two knives, they vanish into his belt underneath the jacket with a professional smoothness of a practiced hunter.

    He takes a slow breath and tries to figure out his next move. Looking around carefully, he then perks up as he hears Taiga over the radio. Cat. Find the cat. Psyber looks around rapidly, scanning with red eyes and trying to locate the cat that is being referred to.

    Given enough time, he would locate said cat and then rapidly stride over to it. Unless it's particularly fast or evasive, Psyber's main goal is to lunge and grab it, picking it up, "Activate #1 Super Magical Cat Defeating Maneuver of All Time." He grips the cat tightly by the scruff of its neck and goes, "Tsst! Bad cat! Stop it!" Several times with a stern look on his face.

Nozomi Houken (342) has posed:
    With his cannons doing the job of thinning the flock, Taiga is free to hold still otherwise, giving him just long enough to nail down the source. There will be a moment where that white cat finds itself being stared at by a black counterpart in the form of a tiger robot, with a pair of gleaming yellow eyes. Before he can go on the attack, however, there is an Arcueid being problematic.

    And by 'problematic', we mean 'Going after his priority-1 protection subject as a target.'

    The !Arceuid will find her way barred by the black anti-magical weapon, who utters a low growl of challenge. The cannons are no longer pointing and shooting at random targets; they're both trained on the Not-Very-True-At-All Ancestor.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Although the birds leave the knight bitterly wounded, he still puts all of his energy into stopping their advance. To allow them to rip into the girl he protects would be unforgivable; perhaps she is an Elite of some manner, but to his eyes, she lacks the fortitude to survive an assault like that. He barely does, himself.

Blood stains the snow at the knight's feet. He feels weary, as he had at the end of other pitched battles in his memory. He remembers well the night Caliburn was sundered, and he had felt the same way, then, when his strength had finally left him; when the insane rage had finally let him go, and he had remembered for a brief instant where he was and what was happening before he had fallen unconscious.

He is not so far gone, this time, but he feels light-headed and weary, as he had then.

But there are still more birds, and his fight is not yet done. Bedivere of Dun Realtai squares his shoulders, gritting his teeth at the sharp pain in his left, where it had been torn open. He spins his sword hilt in his hands, gripping the leather-wrapped hilt with both gauntleted hands and swinging at the last of the birds.

Split apart, they bleed that featureless blood, and they dissipate like smoke. But there is still one thing left, and that is the foe that had tripped up his feet--

"/Nozomi!/" Bedivere's desperate warning is a full-throated roar, meant to carry over the din of battle, and perhaps surprisingly loud for those that know him. He knows he won't reach in time, even as he turns; feels his knee twist painfully, and hears the rattling of chains. His sabatons are still bound, and he can't move his feet. There is a sickening pop, and he feels his knee give way, his sword sent skittering from his grasp and into the snow as he finally loses his balance.

Once more Bedivere hauls himself to his feet, gritting his teeth again; as it turns out, snow in deep cuts is not particularly pleasant, and his passage leaves several red stains spattered against the snow. It does give him a moment to free himself from those chains, surging to his feet a moment later to lunge for the false Arcueid, trapped by Taiga. And that gives him the perfect opportunity to shove his blade forward with all his might, aiming for the back of Definitely Not Arcueid's torso.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    The escape is successful, more so than Sieg had imagined it would be. He also learns something that he didn't a moment ago -- ice magic appears to be enhanced here. That's a useful tidbit of information. He reaches Rider's side without further issue, and once he stops he knows he won't be able to go full tilt again. He's breathing heavily and much colder than he expected to be. Around the gash across his chest, there is a greenish gleam of light. It pulses in time with his heartbeat, a silent reminder of what lies within. Saber had the same mark, though this one is only really visible because his magic circuits are active.

    The enemy is a human. Physically, he cannot match him if he closes in. There is simply too big a disparity in physical ability and skill. Killing him with magecraft from a distance is possible, but for some reason it leaves a bad taste in the homunculus's mouth to consider it. It is an echo from within his heart, expressing disbelief at too safe a plan.

    Why give up the thrill of skirting the edge of death for the option that is sure to win?

    Sieg mistakes the echoes of his heart for his own thoughts, and comes to a decision. He swallows harshly, and mutters a spell he's seen used by somebody else. It is the finest example of Gradation Air that he's ever seen, so why should he not follow their example?

    "Trace, On."

    The words are unfamiliar, and if he were not a being specialized in analyzing raw information they would mean nothing to him. Because he is, Sieg can take them to heart. Not perfectly, and certainly not at all like Shirou himself. He does not possess the unique trait that allows reproduction of Noble Phantasms. But, he is a good enough magus that he can reproduce conventional Gradation Air just fine. He does not need a Noble Phantasm, merely a weapon.

    There is only one weapon that lingers in Sieg's mind. He modifies the blueprint and draws upon the surroundings to supplement the raw materials, flavoring the spell with "ice" on the fly. The result is deeply flawed, but it comes in an instant. The silhouette of a greatsword carved from ice materializes in his hands. In form alone, it is a greatsword that Rider has seen before, wielded by Saber of Black -- but it is only a mimicry of appearance. This weapon has no power. Its icy edge and jagged point is sharp enough to pierce a human, but its power is merely that of a chunk of ice. It is such a poor reproduction even of an ice sculpture of a sword that it is partially broken off at the end, where Sieg was simply unable to complete the spell satisfactorily.


    The weapon has reach that a knife does not, and Sieg does not need to be able to see the oncoming enemy perfectly to swing it successfully. He grasps the sword poorly, and his stance is unsteady due to his injured knee, but as the false Shiki approaches he readies it and swings it like a baseball bat.

    Most likely, it won't be enough. But that's what Rider is for.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    If he only focused on the fire around him, Shirou would be utterly caught up in this vision of horror. But in-between the flames, he makes out... the freakish shadows being cut down, his allies fighting probably for their lives.

    ... This... this cannot be real. There cannot be this fire here, in the middle of town. There cannot be faces he's seen before, right here. "..."

    The burning pain is real though! "Hgh... get off!" Shirou finally realizes the truth, and comes to his senses. This whole thing's a vivid, realistic illusion. An illusion that can kill, but it CAN'T be real.

    "Huooah!" Fearful nevertheless, he LEAPS away from the flames by putting everything he's got into Reinforcing his legs. The air is choking, the heat is too much. He will leave it all behind, and try to escape it. Ironically, it's the same decision as last time...

    "Sorry for getting caught up!" The boy yells, rushing over towards...

    Out of the corner of his eye, Shirou spots Sieg struggling to fight, and producing a weapon in a way not dissimilar to his own. Indeed, using the very same chant. There's no way that Sieg could have known why SHirou uses those words- they're a chant unique to Emiya Shirou. So this has to be... "Mimicry?" Imitating a faker.

    We're looking at a case of swordception here!

    Shirou focuses, infusing prana through his circuits! Blades of all shapes and sizes, including some of his Noble Phantasms form in the sky above and rain down on Bedivere's opponent from various angles. ten blades, to be precise!

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
As the gigantic bird is dealt with, one would notice that on Rider's motorcycle leathers and helmet, there was a large amount of ice and frost. He gave his free hand's fingers a few stiff movements before he picked up the shotgun as Sieg came into view, pursued by a boy in a school uniform with a knife.

"Sieg, come on! Get out of his ra-"

Then Sieg turns around and speaks the words. Magic words. The blade forms itself out of the ice; a broken blade. Yet, it was unmistakably the blade of Saber, who had crossed swords with Rider more than once. A fallen warrior, whose legacy still lived. The man gave a shake of his head, but he couldn't help but grin under the helmet.

"Foolish. But brave. Maybe it was the same way with him."

As Sieg swung his makeshift ice sword, Rider quickly jumped into action. The cavalry sword had vanished, being replaced with the USP that Rider had procured from his motorcycle. He leapt over Sieg as his opponent was momentarily distracted, and in that moment, Rider had his chance. His leap was just so that he was above the murderous knife-wielding student, and in that brief time, Rider let loose with the shotgun.

As he fell, more shots rang out from the pistol, a follow up to ensure that whatever it was that was chasing Sieg was put down into the ground. Just in case, Rider twisted in the air, landing in a crouch directly behind Sieg's assailant, ready to simply put him down with another shotgun blast if he was still standing.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    The !True Ancestor has cannons pointed at her.

    Unfortunately she is not so good a replica that she could just swipe them away, or even turn the bolts into candy with but a look. Her level of replica is more on the level of... let's say...
    Getting blasted to hell and back by the repeated shots. One arm blown off, then a leg, several scorches across her chest and face. She growls like a wild animal, still intent on advancing somehow.

    Bedivere's blade plunges into her in that instant.
    She falls, but grips onto the sword.
    With mad eyes she glares at Bedivere, trying to pull his sword deeper into her wound, so the knight's face is close enough to bite. Or his arm.

    Before that can happen, she is pierced by a small rain of swords, and that is her end. She dissolves into the snow, like the others.

    Sieg produces a great sword of ice; awful quality or not, !Shiki does not underestimate it. He adjusts his beeline towards Sieg to try and sidestep the ice blade, and the knife starts tracing a line from the tip of the blade, in the event if he can't fully dodge it. Might as well cut it. Seems he didn't think this all the way through-- reaching halfway, the knife abruptly stops, and stays lodged in the ice sword. Sieg continues his swing and slams into the replica, who's successfully knocked to the ground and disarmed. At that point, it's a trivial matter for Rider to use his speed to end up overhead-- and to discharge as much weaponry as he feels like it into the downed boy.

    Reduced to grey goop, the boy dissolves into the snow.

    The flames of Shirou's past are left behind.
    As acceptable a solution as any other.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    And the cat.

    The cat sees Psyber coming. It attempts to leap off the rock and-- gack! Caught by the scruff of its neck. It flails a bit. Finally, it transforms into a little girl, somewhere around the age of twelve or thirteen. White clothes, a fancy dress with a shawl. White hair. Red eyes. Pointed ears, but not much longer than a human's. Psyber is now holding her by the shawl of her dress and she, fustered, turns red.

    "Aaaah! Let me go you dummy!"

    Shards of ice attempt to slam into Psyber, but they're not very powerful, not even here. They'd barely draw blood, without time to prepare the spell. She does unclip her shawl though! White Len hits the ground, and her Reality Marble suddenly cracks and fades away. Just like that, everyone is in the alley again.

    The bodies are gone? So's the blood.

    Turning into a cat again, Len attempts to run into the shadows of the alley, still flustered. She audibly SLAMS into someone, and then gets picked up by the scruff again. A girl, about five foot three tall, with bright crimson hair and blue eyes, a plain white t-shirt and some jeans, steps forward, holding the cat out towards the group. There's a wooden trunk behind her, or maybe it's more a very large briefcase. Aoko sighs.

    "Geez. And where is your master this time?"
    The cat reverts to girl form again.
    She crosses her arms, huffs, does her best tsundere impression. "I don't care! He wanted to explore the rabbit hole so he left me to rot! I wanted to get my mind off it and play with some people."
    Aoko frowns. "You could have killed someone."
    White Len huffs again. "But I didn't, so there."

Psyber (253) has posed:
    "I'm not letting you go. You caused a lot of proble- Ow." Psyber says as the ice shards hit him and draw trace amounts of blood. With the shawl in his hand, Psyber watches the cat run off and starts to go after it.

    But it's intercepted moments later by someone he recognizes! Though he hasn't seen her in quite a long time, it's hard to forget someone who blows up a bar the first time you meet her. Psyber gets an amazed look on her face, "Aoko!" He says abruptly, holding out the shawl to her while he looks down at the 15-inches-shorter Magus, "Geez, it's been what? Two or three years, now? You look... the same." He says before looking to the catgirl and offering her the shawl back.

    "Who's your friend?"

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
The blade plunges into the replica, and the replica attempts to grip the blade and haul itself up the blade, much as a blood-mad boar might fight back against its hunters. In those times, boar spears had formidable cross bars that prevented the animal from heaving itself back up the shaft to ravage its attacker, but this is just a longsword. Bedivere has no such guarantee of keeping his attacker away.

So he simply wrenches the blade, raises a boot, and attempts to deal the false Arcueid a savage kick with a steel-plated sabaton. It's not enough to dislodge her, but it's enough that Shirou's traced weaponry rains down on her. He dances away with surprising grace in spite of his heavy plate mail; a flick of his wrist retrieving his sword as she falls.

Whirling, the knight pants, looking for his next foe, trying to ignore the burn of his wounds--

There are no more foes. Even the snow falls away, revealing the alley he had left behind. More curiously, the corpses and the blood that had been here before are absent. Bedivere straightens, frowning in evident puzzlement. What?

And then he looks sidelong, just in time to see Shirou, and offer him a nod. /My thanks. Well done./ Without the convenient sword spam, that creature would have fought its way back up the sword, and there's no telling what it might have done to the knight.

Also, there is a cat. First it's scooped up by Psyber, dropped, and then scooped up by a young lady who...

Bedivere frowns. Aoko, Psyber calls her, but the name draws no recognition. Still, something about her...

Carefully, he sheathes his sword, absently adjusting his gauntlets, wincing and surveying his wounds. They're numerous, but only a few are really worrying -- his torn-open shoulder, still bleeding, is perhaps the worst of these. So he calmly reaches down, ripping off a shred of the cloth shell of his hauberk and using his teeth and his left hand to wrap it around the worst of the wound. Going by his grimace, it's pretty painful, but that should hold it until he can have the wound treated.

Turning, then, he regards Aoko somewhat warily. He's not sure why, for she is by far shorter than he is, but something about her makes him ill at ease.

By the same token, aside from his obviously anachronistic nature, the magician might sense that there's something different about /him/ -- that undeniable echo of something, the whisper of power and the active bond of a Master bearing command seals.

He doesn't address her for now, though, instead looking to Psyber somewhat warily. Friend or foe?

Sieg (566) has posed:
    Even though it works, the imitation ice blade shatters on contact. The impact runs up Sieg's arms and the entire thing splinters between his fingers. The end result is a whole mess of cuts, but predictably, it ends much worse for Shiki than it does for Sieg. Relatively speaking, anyway. At a glance, his nice clothes have been torn up from waist to shoulder, one of his knees has the bone exposed, and his hands have... well, they haven't been cut to ribbons. But they are covered in quite a few minor cuts. He looks up towards Rider and is about to open his mouth and tell him how to get rid of this area, but...

    The source is captured and the reality marble is dispelled.

    Sieg winces, looking down towards his knee. It's easily his worst injury, even though the others look a lot nastier at a glance. He sends mana screaming through his magic circuits as he mutters a word, hands hovering over the top of the knee. There is a glow from there, and what WAS exposed bone merely turns into a very vicious gash... but the tissues are at least connecting over one another, and there's something to scab over.

    Now it's bleeding, though it'll be easier to walk.

    The homunculus hobbles over to Rider, "Thanks... that weapon wasn't good enough. If you hadn't been there to shoot him..." Well, it probably would've ended badly, but Sieg doesn't finish the thought. He looks over towards Shirou, smiling faintly at him. Yeah, I copied your move, his expression says.

    It probably would've been easier if he just had a baseball bat, really...

    "Oh, um..." Sieg looks up at Rider again. He can't get distracted from this, not even by the reality marble collapsing. "If something like this happens in the war, you need to use your biggest most destructive move immediately. That thing is called a Reality Marble, and it changes the rules to suit the person who can use it. It's like a world. But, because it's fighting against this world to exist, it's pretty fragile. So you can break it down if you blow it up hard enough."

    As for the cat/girl and the strange woman who scolds her... Sieg just looks on blankly, utterly perplexed as to what's going on. That woman has a really ominous aura. If he had any common sense at all, he'd run away.

    Instead, he recalls a conversation from the previous evening...

"Back in my days, said the old knight, when we wanted magical shit we had to do retarded ass quests to prove ourselves and then MAYBE Merlin would stop being an asshole long enough to give us toys, or they were obtained in the journey."

    Sieg inches towards Aoko, partially because he really can't move that fast, and partially to see whether or not this MYSTERY WOMAN with an AURA OF POWER might be of any use or not.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    "Oh! Bar-guy. Hang on, I'm good with names."
    Aoko appears pensive for a moment.
    "Your name had bear in it. I'm sure it had bear in it."
    Alright, maybe not so great. She shrugs.

    "Oh, her? That'd be White Len! Some folks kicked the thirteenth Dead Apostle Ancestor into the dirt and I happened to be passing by. You know what they say, waste not want not! I wanted a familiar so I stuffed its remains in a new body and she's what popped out. Cool, right?" The completely normal magus grins. Len grumbles something and turns her head in defiance.

    "Or, well, it would be, if we were compatible. Turns out we're not really, so, I let her roam around and pick her own master."
    "I don't have a master! I just have a jerk of a pretender who thought he was my white knight but went off to be a knight errant instead."

    "So yeah! That's that. White Len, apologize and swear you'll never do that to people except to defend yourself from a real, lethal threat."
    "I'm sorry!"
    "Theeeere you go. Now, now! I'm not much of a healer. I could probably close your surface wounds so you stop bleeding but you're gonna want a real doctor or something. A third-rate magus like me, doing complicated surgery? Hahaha~."

    She eyes Sieg curious at the quote, although if he's expecting a quest or a weapon out of her the best he'll get out of her trunk is a toothbrush, most likely. "Alchemy! Wow, it's been a long time since I've seen some. What family made you? Oh, how rude. My cat just almost killed all of you, I guess I should introduce myself. I'm Aozaki Aoko, nice to meet you."

Nozomi Houken (342) has posed:
    Nozomi is still busy being slightly panicked. The sudden divebombing by birds - already an idea that got under her skin even before the word 'killer' was prepended - has her sort of hunkered down and waiting to see that Taiga and Bedivere will be all right when...

    ...they're... back on the street? And the snowy place is gone? And so are the bodies? Wait, is that a cat- no, it's a girl- no wait, it's a cat again, and it's running awa- who is that woman?

    Nozomi just kind of... sits on the ground, blinking, with a very confused and slightly worried on her face. "...eh?"

    Taiga is a bit more useful, however. He's circling around to Bedivere's side, prepared to be the attacker to the knight's defender, when the Reality Marble goes away. His ears swivel and quirk, until he's apparently satisfied. Then he turns around to look straight at Aoko and White Len, sits down on the street, and stares. Staaaaaare.

    Kitty is watching you.

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
"Reality Marble? Oh, I get it. Well, we'll just have to see. Though, on that note...let your courage be one part of your decisions, but not all of it. That way leads the way to getting yourself, or a lot of other people getting killed." After shaking off the ice and making sure his gloved hand wasn't going to freeze anyone on contact, he gave Sieg a playful ruffle through his hair before looking to the ultimate culprit.

"Ah. A cat. I see. A familiar, so you say. She could even be cute, if she wasn't busy trying to kill people with their own fears. Sieg, she's a Magus, right?" Rider brushed more ice off of himself before tossing the shotgun to Psyber. "My appreciation for the weapon! A little more firepower never hurt in these sort of situations."

Rider took a look around, before suddenly noticing Bedivere was around. The visor was finally opened, revealing the man's sharp features as he approached the knight, waving. "Ah, Lord Bedivere! What occasion has brought you here to this motley gathering? I trust you're faring well, eh? Nothing like a little bit of a scrap to get the blood flowing." he said, apparently oblivious to how actually torn up Bedivere seemed to be.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    With the world breaking down and returning to how it was around him, Shirou's jammed emotions finally catch up to him. The boy collapses, leaning on the sword and panting hard. He's broken out in a cold sweat and is visibly somewhat shakey. Still, he catches the look from Sieg and manages to return the smile with a pained one of his own... though his whole face goes frightfully white when he spots.... "Sieg! ....and Bedivere... those are some pretty bad wounds-"

    He'll have to think about this mention of Reality Marbles later. For some reason or another, that point's sticking in his head.

    Blearily, he gets to his feet. He refuses to stager if the others are wounded while he's just a litle scorched.Even if his mind really is what REALLY got scorched, and is desperately trying to shut out those images as always.

    "Aozaki... Aoko?" Yeah, it's taken him a bit to come to his senses. But he gives White Len a foul stare. Disapprove! "She really could have killed someone if anyone else stumbled across this! ... Was that all an illusion..." Mutter, mutter. "I'm Emiya SHirou." And he's holding a Noble Phantasm for some reason.

Psyber (253) has posed:
    "Psyber. It's Psyber." The half-angel helps her out on trying to remember his name before he lets go of the shawl and leaves White Len to deal with it on her own. He steps back and wipes at the blood on his side before wiping it on the same rag he cleaned his knife off with earlier, seeming more bothered by the blood itself than the fact that he was injured.

    The rag is rung out onto the ground and then folded and stuffed back in a pocket, "This is Aoko something-or-other. She's a pretty cool lady, just don't let her cast magic indoors or near anything destructable, since she can't make it not explode." Psyber informs to the group at large correcting himself when she gives her full name, "Aozaki, right." The look he gives Bedivere, and the accompanying shrug, seem to imply that he should take that assessment at face value of 'Aoko is pretty neat as long as she's not causing property damage'.

    Psyber catches the shotgun and reaches into a pocket. He slides a couple shells in, prepping it for the next use and then tosses it up into the air. He takes out a pad of paper and flourishes writing something before it disappears into said pad, "Happy to help. Your friend called you Jean?" He asks, before giving a wave, "I'm Psyber. Nice to meet you." Polite to give introductions and all.

    And then he seems to let it drop since the man seems distracted. The half-angel looks towards Aoko, "So how've you been, Miss Collateral Damage?"

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    White Len nods to Shirou. "The bodies you saw were a lure. I set feelers out to see if anyone worthwhile would bite, and you locked on them expecting to find a messy murder scene, so a messy murder scene appeared. That one was all you, I didn't have input." Finally released from Aoko's grasp, she elegantly twirls, puts her shawl back on, and does a curtsy bow for everyone.

    "I'm White Len. I didn't target your fears myself, it was more like they came out on their own. It's very difficult to target specific fears from specific people, and pretty much impossible to control them. Maybe if my creator wasn't such a half-assed magus," she says, glaring up towards Aoko, who just grins.

    "Now now, don't worry! Nobody died. What's the point being angry about what ifs and what could have been, huh? Enjoy the present, because one day it'll be the past!" Then she replies to Psyber: "Hey, I said I could show you how stars are born and die! The die part implied a supernova, and that was completely voluntary on my part." Complete voluntary, shut up. On the other hand she never had to pay that bill, so it worked out.

    "Ah, there's not much to say. I've been seeing the world! It's a big, wonderful place full of surprises."

Sieg (566) has posed:
    "I guess I can see how it would get me killed, but... what's this about getting other people killed?" Sieg hasn't had the opportunity to consider the ramifications of fighting on behalf of others, exactly, so this has yet to come up. It won't be hard to understand once explained. At any rate, Rider seems to be the priority for his attention, but he isn't ignoring Aoko, "Yeah, she's... a magus, but she's strange. There's an aura coming off of her that's pretty heavy. I think I've heard her name before, but I'm not really sure where." It's outside of the scope of what was discussed in front of him, but it would be absurd for him never to have heard of such an infamous figure.

    The homunculus looks back towards Aoko, and evidently he didn't expect somebody to remark on the craftsmanship of his existence. Sieg looks torn on how he feels about this, but it can't be said that he looks unhappy exactly. He answers hesitantly, "My creator was of the Musik branch of the Yggdmillennia family." They're not precisely an obscure family, but their importance in the world is questionable overall.

    They're not a family that accepts only a single line, but instead combine many different lines working in parallel to have magi adept in all sorts of different fields. The Musik branch is known for its alchemical talent, and in the greater scheme of things was once a rival to the Einzbern family. Though they've fallen from their pedestal, Sieg could hardly be said to be inferior to an Einzbern homunculus.

    "My name is Sieg. My friend over there is Jean." Sieg points at Rider, and pauses when Shirou expresses concern for his injuries. He nods an affirmative concerning the severity of his injuries, which do need treatment. But, he addresses Shirou's question, "No... it wasn't an illusion. It was a world. A reality marble. You're a magus, so you must know what that is. I didn't know a familiar could have one, but I guess a familiar made from something like that WOULD be exceptional..."

    "Uh... sorry, I don't mean to talk like you're not there." He asides to White Len, apologetically.

Nozomi Houken (342) has posed:

    Nozomi's speaking up. How about that.

    "...there's lots of ways stars die... th-that aren't supernovas, I mean..." Her tone is still fairly shy, but underneath that there's a hint of... defensiveness? Is she actually sticking up for Psyber?

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    "Oh don't start with the auras and the oh my you're a monster thing, chin up! You're exceptional. Ah, geez, if Touko saw you you'd blow her dumb dolls and copies right out of the water. ... saaaaaay, would you like to meet my sister one day, Sieg?" is Aoko's immediate reply to what he says, mentally filing away his answer. It's not that she doesn't care, it's that discussing magi and their bloodlines is so tedious and boring. If she wants to read about it she'll just ask the Association for more books and insist she won't burn those. This time. Last time was just a test to see if they'd really send her books!

    "Weeeeeeell, White Len's little effect isn't quite a Reality Marble, but a Bounded Field of that level, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It was illusions, but you could say her special power is making illusions real."

    An overly simplified explanation.

    White Len shrugs at Sieg, but apparently seems quite happy at his remark afterwards. "That's alright. I AM exceptional, after all~. White is much better than black."

    Nozomi gets a glance from Aoko, but she just sort of dismissively wobbles a hand in the air. "Well, I can't make black holes, and simulating a star turning into a giant would have the same effect as it exploding, so you say two plus two, I say two times two."

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
"I have borne worse." Bedivere waves off Shirou's concern with a flick of plate-gauntleted fingers, the metal plates making a quiet sound as they resettle. Never mind that the worse were wounds that nearly killed him, but his idea of priorities are skewed when it comes to his own safety. That is to say, he could be bleeding out and he would probably still wave it off as insignificant.

Yep, gonna get yelled at later.

When Psyber indicates that the mage isn't anything worthy of especial concern, the knight merely watches her with muted curiosity and keeps his distance. Magicians bother him. The last he had any personal experience with was Merlin, and the old man left a sour taste in his mouth regarding anything to do with magic.

He just shakes his head, staggering a little and hanging back for a moment unless directly indicated. Seems the pale-haired knight is a little shy. Or maybe he's just trying to keep himself upright. Everything is in various states of 'discomfort' and 'bleeding.' But he eventually limps forward until he's standing near Nozomi, ensuring she's alright; and then he makes his way back over to Shirou, eyeing the youth to ensure he hasn't sported any horrific injuries either. No? No. Good.

And suddenly, there is a familiar voice calling him. Bedivere turns, regarding the Rider of Blue with a bit of an owlish blink. Ah, yes, the mysterious Jean, Servant and motorcyclist. "Sir Jean." He inclines his head, but he doesn't bow; his hand rises to clutch the strip of his hauberk to the wound at his right shoulder he'd tied it around. "I came to investigate. And I find your taste in humour somewhat odd, Sir Jean." His smile is thin, even as blood trickles from the wounds; there is a bit of red pooling around his right sabaton where a greave and part of the leg under it had been shredded; there is also blood running down his right hand, trickling from his torn-open shoulder. In short, he's a literal bloody mess. "And you? I thought I saw Master Sieg. You have been well, I hope?"

...Aoko is then eyed somewhat warily.

"You do feel strange," he finally offers to the red-headed magus. His voice is gentle, almost effeminate, although the lines of his throat suggest that this soft-featured knight is not a woman. "I cannot explain it. Ah, but forgive me, I have forgotten my manners. I am..." He considers for a moment, before shaking his head. Someone's bound to say his name sooner or later, and Psyber seems to think that she's not overly threatening, even if that aura makes his skin crawl. "I am Sir Bedivere." He offers Aoko a formal bow, ignoring the blood that spatters to the ground from one of his many wounds as he does. "I am honoured, Magician."

It might seem more like genuine honour if he didn't sound so apprehensive, anyway.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    "I've met real monsters. You feel like bad news, but..." Sieg looks away, contemplating his current mishmash of a social circle. It includes one of the most infamous knights in all of mythology, who put an end to Camelot. "... I've given people who are way worse chances too. But, um... I don't know... what's your sister like?" It's not that he's all that reluctant to meet new people, he's just weirded out at the fact that Aoko seems to want to parade him around like some kind of really nice car. It's not like he belongs to anybody! That's something he tried to get away from to start with.

    As for White Len, Sieg looks confused. "There's more than one of you? Can the other one also use a reality marble?" This is an extremely abnormal Familiar situation. He's really not sure what to make of it.

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
"When people look to you, and you see nothing but glory...ah, I'll tell you later. It's a rather long thing to speak about." Rider said to Sieg, coming up behind him. "Yes. This is Sieg, and I am Jean. A pleasure, I'm sure. It is not every day this happens, with such a gathering of people and individuals!"

Rider cracked a grin as the talking and everyone went on, but Sieg seemed to have it under control. Magi and familiars were something much out of his realm of expertise, so he mostly stood around, making sure that nobody else had any shenanigans planned on Sieg, before Bedivere spoke up.

"Sense of humor is something that one does have to have in the face of danger and adversity, don't you think? But I think this was as the cat said, a little bit of fun that grew out of hand." Feeling had finally returned in full to Rider's fingers, and he transferred the gun from hand to hand, squeezing his fingers to make sure they were all still there. Force of habit, really.

"I've been well, yes! Apart from a rather odd run-in with an extremely odd foe. Maybe we shall speak of such things over a good bottle of wine, or...there is some local spirit your land is famous for, is there not?"

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    These people are saying some pretty awful things. Buit Shirou's just staring at how Sieg's paying his nasty-looking wounds almost no mind. Bedivere at least can get away with shrugging them off for the moment, but the Homonculus?

    Ignoring, for the moment, the complicated discussions about Magic, and apparently not feeling ANY kind of worrisome thing from Aoko, he rushes over to Sieg with Clarent still in his grasp, if only loosely.

    "Wounds like that shouldn't be left alone for long. Why didn't you make something more durable?" Grumblegrouch... but Shirou's relieved. Sieg's okay! ... Okay enough.

Psyber (253) has posed:
    Psyber points to Nozomi, "Yeah, exactly. You didn't need to EXplode, why can't you learn IMploding?" He scowls at Aoko, objecting to it before crossing his arms, "You stuck me with an eight grand repair bill. I'm gonna take it out of you in spades." Psyber says jokingly, tossing a business card at her.

    Still, he looks back to Jean, "Jean, then. And Sieg. Nice to meet you both." He gives Jean a thumbs up, "Nice work with the guns! Though a USP? Come on, you want a 1911. The Cadillac of shooting fools in the face."

    Psyber reaches for his belt and pulls one out. A pretty nice one, "Here. Gift from me." He offers it to the man. Because Psyber firmly believes everyone who uses a gun should use a 1911.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
A little bit of fun? Bedivere regards Rider with some skepticism, but he doesn't critique the man's choice of description. Somehow, that touch of flamboyance suits him, as though he were meant to have that little bit of grandeur. Even if it's personally grating to the knight's own sensibilities, it feels strangely right, somehow.

"Perhaps." The pale-haired knight shakes his head. He had never personally maintained a sense of humour, at least not quite as one might think of it. While it's true he had occasionally played the deadpan snarker to a few of his closer contemporaries among the Round Table, he wasn't really the kind of person to laugh out loud at danger. "I am glad to hear you have been well, however. But please, do not call me Lord. That is not my title. I am but a knight." Both hands rise in a gesture of peaceable protest, and he ignores the blood that oozes from his elbow to spatter the ground.

"Extremely odd foe? I should like to hear of it, yes. I will see if wine can be found, and will look forward to your arrival in Dun Realtai... as to that, I do not know." There weren't really any brewers left when he took a tally of the villagers and their formal trades. A few craftsmen, and several stonemasons, but the more luxury trades like brewers and vintners seem to be absent from that list. "I have taken a tally, but such trades are not on that list, I fear. What wines I have were imported, primarily for guests, and for the villagers."

Liquid morale, doncha know.

He squints a little, stepping back and letting Psyber discuss firearms with the other Servant. For a moment he eschews paying attention to the others to gauge his own wounds, holding out an arm and flexing his fingers; checking less if they're all there and more if they all work the way they're supposed to. He looks like he got torn up pretty badly by those birds.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    "Nah, nah, don't call me Magician. Just Aoko's fine! Or... I don't know, call me Blue if you need a title. I don't like all the attention, it's kind of a bummer!" Aoko tells Bedivere, looking a bit embarassed at how easily she was found out. Without even having to do anything! Well, maybe handling Len that easily was a tip off, anyway.

    She nods to Sieg, and then explains: "Oh, my sister's a huge, jealous, petty, good for nothing jerk! She likes dolls and runes. I hate dolls and runes. But something like you, you're wonderful. Comparing you to her dolls would be like comparing Excalibur to some rusty old swords. I'd make her eat her hat in shame!" A bit excited, isn't she? At least she's honest.

    White Len explains to Sieg: "The other me, the black one, is a succubus. When she," she indicates Aoko, "made me, she didn't have enough data in Wallachia's remains to make a full person. So, we used that succubus' repressed personality, and here I am~! The great and wonderful White Len, whose wonderland is snowy and beautiful. Really, if the original's a five out of ten, I'm a fifteen."

    If Aoko noticed Bedivere is a master, she did not comment; instead, she took an interested step towards Rider, inspecting him closely. "And you! I'd heard about the Grail Wars but I rode into town a few days too late and missed the last one, haha. You're amazing to look at! You can really admire the work that went into the Third Magic. I wish I was half that good! Maybe I'll throw something together one day and see what happens."


    Aoko catches Psyber's business card, simply sticking her tongue out before she gravitates towards Sieg, as Shirou mention wounds. "Oh! Right, the skin sealing thing. Come here, I'll soothe the pain at least. It won't fix the problem though so you really should seek out a magus who knows what he's doing."

    Notarikon! Easy. The Aozaki specialty is restoration. It probably isn't Aoko's Origin, but it's a clan thing, and she's got the Crest. With just a finger, if he allows it, Aoko can touch Sieg's wounds, and tell his body it isn't actually wounded right now. Piecing a whole out of something incomplete. Her Magic Circuits hum a bit, but there's not much else to see. Just a bit of blue light. Still, the fact they make noise is pretty much unheard of.

    Drawback of Notarikon is, all Sieg has to do to undo its work is will it away, and it probably won't last very long. But as long as it does he'll be able to operate as if he weren't wounded, without worsening the wounds unless he gets injured more.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    Sieg frowns at Rider. "I wasn't really thinking of Glory... what do you mean?" Evidently he just doesn't get the subject at hand. This would be consistent with Siegfried's behavior as well, really. The man simply did things in a way that just couldn't be understood by people around him.

    "The last time I was physically attacked, I was beaten until my heart ruptured. I'm not that tough, but compared to that this doesn't feel too bad." Sieg answers Shirou, wincing a little as he looks down to get a look at himself. He might have been avoiding taking a look at himself on purpose so he could pretend it wasn't as bad as it is. But really, he needs to visit a hospital and get some stitches. It's not really a fatal wound even at a stretch, but it's not trivial either.

    Regarding his criticism though, the homunculus blinks. "Well, I've never cast gradation air before, and I was going off of seeing you do it. Hang on, I'll try it out again..."

    "Trace, on." Sieg echoes, shutting his eyes. He takes a moment to visualize the sword, this time made of 'normal' components instead of ice. He can't even begin to imagine the real Balmung in this way, so what he's imagining is in fact just a greatsword that looks like it. It has no history, no mystery. The homunculus breathes out.

    The sword shimmers into existence. It is a simple thing of steel with minimal decoration, a great crossguard hilt. Point of fact, though... it looms over Sieg, and he has to reach up painfully to prop the edge of it up. As 'simply a sword', the replication is nearly perfect. Much better than the half-broken ice sculpture he made. The imperfection in this one seems to be an issue with balance, which can't be seen without handling it.

    ... But Sieg couldn't pick it up if he tried. In fact, he steps back and lets it fall because holding it is making him bleed more. It hits the ground with a fairly loud CRASH.

    "Oh, uh-- hi, nice to meet you Psyber." He asides to Psyber, trying not to miss anybody talking to him. But, Sieg gets distracted when Aoko compares him to Excalibur. Ultimately he doesn't manage to respond to her, his face is flushed pretty badly and he winds up staring at White Len mutely. Actually, he doesn't even react to Aoko trying to heal him until he notices an oddity with her circuits.

    Sieg stares at the red haired woman in wonder, but he's not even looking at her so much as through her. Magic circuits shouldn't do that, but there she is doing something that just... doesn't... happen.

    Awestruck from too many directions, the homunculus simply looks awkwardly at the ground and lapses into embarassed silence.

Rider of Blue (567) has posed:
The offered gun was taken, and Jean looked it over. "'Shooting fools in the face' is a rather ineloquent way to put it, but I see. You believe in the craftsmanship of this weapon, yes?" The man looked over the gun, before tucking it away for future examination. "1911? American made, but fairly old. Still, reliability is something to be treasured. I look forward to testing your gift!" he exclaimed, before focusing his attention on Bedivere.

"Ah, but you look after people, do you not? No matter, I shall respect the way you wish to be addressed. For now, at least! Some day, you shall have to accept your burden, title and all." Jean said with a grin, clapping his hands. "Perhaps I shall bring something of my choosing! I do believe you have not totally enjoyed all the gifts of the humble grape, so maybe it will be an enlightening experience for you. In any case, we should talk, yes! I will visit sooner or later, though we shall have to see if Sieg wishes to come along."

As Sieg magicked a sword out of nowhere, the man blinked as it hit the ground with a clatter. In spite of its balance issues, Jean picked it up with a heave, examining it.

"This is...pretty good, actually. Weight aside."

Psyber (253) has posed:
    To Jean, Psyber nods his head, "I do believe in its craftsmanship. American made, but made right the first time. Design unchanged for a century, still one of the best guns around," He says with a big grin, "I hope you enjoy it."

    And then he's looking back towards White Len and Aoko. He rubs his chin a few moments and may be considering the fact that White Len and Hastur should proooobably never meet. He sighs a bit and then waves a hand at Aoko, "Stop breaking the poor kid." He says at her, noticing the awkwardness that is Sieg.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
Those violet eyes flick over to Aoko when he's addressed, and the knight shifts uncomfortably; and not just because he has a dozen or so wounds that are all demanding immediate attention. Something about that woman sets his very teeth on edge, and he can't really articulate what it is. She's definitely something, and whatever that something is, it's on the same order of being as Merlin. At least, it's very close. Close enough to make him extremely nervous.

No, as a matter of fact, Bedivere never really trusted the king's advisor and court magician. Something about the old man had always set his teeth on edge, and he can feel the same reaction brewing with this woman, although her personality is much less off-putting. Still, he's learned to trust his gut instincts over the years; he'll treat her with a certain amount of reserve until he can learn more.

His head cants very slightly to one side. "Why? You are a magician. Are you not? There is something about you that I can sense, though I am no such thing myself..." He frowns, but eventually shrugs, wincing slightly at the movement against his wounded shoulder. "Very well, then, Blue." It seems an odd sort of title, to him. Then again, the modern era is confusing, and this woman seems to be from a similar sort of era as so many of these others.

Eventually, his eyes slide away from Aoko when she's caught up in conversation with the others, shaking his head. He'd better return to Dun Realtai, soon, and oh, hey, he's being talked at by Jean again.

"I accept my burden, Sir Jean. I simply have no need of such title beyond my station," Bedivere responds, flatly. His tone isn't irritated, but something in the way he regards Jean so flatly suggests that he might be. Such authority disagrees with him; even when he was one of the most highly-ranked knights of Camelot's command structure, he had refused to bear heraldic arms or accept lands of his own. "Ah, and I prefer not to drink," he adds, and -- is his tone a little embarrassed? Yes, maybe. Bad things tend to happen when he drinks anything that isn't ninety percent watered-down.

He inclines his head politely, in any case. "I shall look forward to your visit, then, Sir Jean; and Master Sieg as well."

Violet eyes flick back to Aoko, curious, but he ultimately decides against addressing her again. She seems to be caught up in conversation with the others, and as much as he might like to satisfy his curiosity, he's still bleeding into the alley. "Ah. Pardon me. I should be going." A nebulous gesture is made to his state of affairs, which is mostly 'bloody and ragged.' "I should see to these. Good eve."

With that, the knight will turn and limp off to the nearest warpgate, provided nobody makes any attempt to stop him -- but his pace isn't entirely urgent. It's hard to feel urgent when he's this light-headed. Ugh.

Definitely going to get yelled at.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    "Oooh..." Shirou's startled - and impressed - by Sieg's sudden take on his own ability. "..Geeze. You said you couldn't make swords like me a few days ago..." Wait, did Sieg just say his HEART was ruptured?! ... "B-bwaohgh?! A ruptured heart? Then how--... well, you've still got to get this looked at... I'm sure someone at Dun Realtai can help." Yup. he's totally focused on the mundane issues at hand: Sieg's health.

    He does peer at Rider... but with Aoko so nearby and talking about some very crazy magical things, he blinks at her way instead. Aoko's given a studious look. Can she be trusted? ... Yeah, she loks trustworthy.

    To him.

    The cat aside.

    Oh well, whatever Sieg chooses. "hrmm... healing magics? Are those hard to use?" He asks Aoko, trying to figure out SOMETHING to speak to her about.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Oooh, Gradation Air. She's never tried that.
    Wouldn't, either. Fast circuits or not that's way too complicated for her. Not really useful either. What's she going to do, make swords? Bleh. She'll stick to her fists and lasers, thanks.

    Still, that's impressive. She whistles loudly in admiration.

    A look is given to Bedivere, before she realizes... "Oh! Oh. You meant magician like... magus! Right? Haha... ha... sure! I'm a magus. You know, in the modern era, magician has a totally different meaning. You have to intone it! Like, Magician! There's only two still alive, you know? Ah, one's an old undead geezer though, I mean, depending on your definition of alive..." She shrugs.

    She likes Zelretch, despite what people say about him.

    He's a cool guy.

    "Healing magic? Nah, this isn't the same thing. This is basic magecraft. You know how you can convey the meaning of a sentence without all its words? Like instead of saying, I wish to buy ten apples, please, you can just say, I buy apples? Four words less, more than half of it's missing, but the meaning is still the same. It's like that, but for things and people. Mostly things. So, I can tell Sieg's body that even if chunks of Sieg are missing, it's still Sieg, and it'll ignore the missing chunks. For a bit."

    Layman's terms, her favorite kind of terms.

    She crosses her arms and looks back towards Psyber, just smiling. "Alright, alright. Anyway, Len shouldn't be a problem anymore. She listens to me, usually. Right, kitty?"
    White Len huffs and faces away.

Sieg (566) has posed:
    Ultimately, Sieg isn't properly shaken out of his embarassment and awkwardness for the moment. An answer does come to Shirou's objections to his creation of a fine sword, but it's not direct. To begin with, the blade isn't a Noble Phantasm. Even though he projected a sword, it is merely a sword. If it clashed with the weapon in Shirou's hand, it would break. Also -- the projection is fraying already, even though it's an imperfect recreation of a normal weapon. It starts to crack and fade shortly after Rider has picked it up, because it's no longer being supported.

    The mundane things that Shirou makes last a long time, even if they're unattended.

    "Thanks, Ms. Aoko. But I think..." He looks towards Rider for help, "... maybe I should go visit a hospital now."