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|Jonathan Joestar|| LAST TIME:
The Elites split up upon making their way to the Temple of Kom Ombo and solve a troublesome puzzle to open the front gates, causing the Temple to shift as structures raise from the earth, and ancient mechanisms come to life. Once inside, they confronted the Stand User, Faith, and his ability to enhance and manipulate anything he filled with the ash of his cigarette shaped Stand, Firefly.
With the proper countermeasures taken to disarm him, the power of friendship and understanding lit the way to bring him onto their side.
Utilizing his Hamon, Jonathan sends a burst of ripple into Faith's head utilizing negative-hamon in one hand, and positive-hamon in the other. This prevents any kind of brain damage that might otherwise be incurred in the disposal of the flesh bud planted inside of him.
Jonathan breathes out uneasily as he removes his hand from the former assassin's head, "That should take care of it ... are you feeling fine?" he asks, to which the other man rubs the back of his head, "Honestly, I feel like I could collapse. But there's not a lot of time for me to rest up, huh ... gh."
Although Jonathan had restored his broken ribs and treated his wounds to the best of his ability, Faith had taken a truly swift pummeling at the hands of the others, and that wasn't something that could so easily be washed away -- Jonathan's application of mecial Hamon was rather lacking, after all.
"Sorry to say, but I don't have much in the way of useful information for you ... we all kept our abilities relatively close to our chests, for obvious reasons."
Faith raises one finger up, "For a Stand User, usually, our abilities are troublesome, and letting someone know too much about it means they would be able to overcome it easily ... but even besides that, the element of surprise is important."
In other words, they had all been prepared to come to blows with eachother at some point. Or maybe, it was just for the peace of mind, knowing that they wouldn't be defeated easily by the others.
Speedwagon folds his arms, "So you didn't trust eachother a lick, huh?"
With a frown, Faith reaches for a real, actual cigarette to strike a light for, "Chances are, the others have split up to attack you now that you're worn down ... there are two mechanisms you'll need to activate and some "keys" you'll need to retrieve in order to enter the inner chamber. That's where Ramone -- that playboy in the white suit -- went to pass off the arrows."
Frowning, Jonathan nods his head, "I see .. judging by the way this Temple is contruscted, and the way it changed after the mechanism outside activated ... I'm guessing that we'll have to move to the lower and upper levels respectively?"
Faith nods, "More or less. I don't know the specifics, but I know that activating the mechanisms in those two spots will give you the "keys" necessary to unlock the way forward. But, let me open the stairways for you. I can do that much."
On each side of the room are a set of four clay murals. They each represented a different form of death or execution, with the number of victims in each one varying from one to four.
There are furthermore, three blocked off passages. One, on each side of the room, lined up with the clay murals.
Faith shifts the clay murals around, organizing them in a certain way on both sides and, once he was finished, the two passages off to each side of the room slide open and reveal a set of stairs going up and down, respectively, left and right.
"Then ... " Jonathan narrows his eyes, "It looks like we'll need to split up, again."
|Zero Kiryu||"Yuuki and I will take the upstairs," Zero has been relatively quiet since Faith was cleared of his Dio Transmitted Disease. Before he heads out though, he plants a vine gateway at the midpoint between the two staircases, and then hands a seed off to the first person to indicate they're going down.
"Put the seed down when you get to what you judge to be the main area," he says.
He reaches out towards Jojo, prodding him in the forehead. A twist of plant winds around his head, producing a pronounced laurel.
"So I can keep an eye on you. But Yuuki probably will anyway."
With that having been said and done he heads towards the ASCENDING staircase.
"Are the implanted objects something that all vampires of this world are capable of, or are they unique to Dio?" He wonders at Jojo, through the wreath. Evidently he can do just about anything through the plants he produces.
|Tina Natsumi||The group's encounter with Faith still has Tina on shaky footing. Although she had finally been convinved to relent in calling for his head, there's a lingering unease in her everything. Weirdly enough, though, it's not even directed at him. It's directed primarily at herself, although...
It's still really awkward just going near him. She /had/ called for his ehad, after all, and she's not quite so sure how much he'd trust her after that. That's why she gives him some distance as he explains what he knows of the other Stand users, committing Ramone's name and appearance to memory (maybe) and taking her phone out when he gets to work on the clay murals. She takes pictures of each mural in their completed pattern, both as a souvenir and just in case they'll need it later, then takes Zero's seed before tapping her hand against her hat.
"Will do. And... Uh. Thanks for... Yeah." She mutters to him in passing, the awkwardness easily evident in her tone. She clears her throat before turning to Faith next, forcing a weak grin in the process. "And sorry about the... Y'know. Wantin' to kill ya thing."
Best to get to work before she says or does anything else particularly stupid. "Anyway. Looks like you two got enough meat on your side, so I'll make sure the kids comin' downstairs are safe enough." Finding some of her confidence again, Tina even laughs before heading DOWNSTAIRS. "Don't fall behind now, but don't stick too close in case the floor drops out from under me!"
|Zero Kiryu||Zero pauses briefly to look towards Tina. He shakes his head, "I'm a killer. Killing out of mercy, killing to protect others, killing because the target is in the way of the wishes of the Concord. I told you off because you seemed to not want to be that person. If you do, that IS your prerogative. It is a way for a person 'like us' to live. But it's an easy... sinkhole to fall into accidentally."
He carries on as he was after that.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Hibiki is, probably very unnecessary to say, immensely relieved that Faith is going to be just fine. A lot of that is their fault, yeah, but still. If they didn't fight so hard, they might not have come to this ending in the first place...well, it is what it is. She gives Jonathan a nod of thanks for doing what he can, and also removing DIO's headbug. The fact he does that to them in the first place is...
"So even though you're technically on the same side, you didn't work with each other at all...no, more like you just didn't have any faith in each other." No pun intended. Still transformed, her frown is hidden underneath her Symphogear's scarf. The fact they're going to need to deal with another puzzle to keep proceeding isn't unexpected, but it is a little annoying. She can't be too impatient though, especially when Faith helps them cheat a little.
"Up and down...I'd be more surprised if we didn't get attacked." Hibiki punches a hand into her palm. "But they're acting alone, and we're together. That won't stop us." She sounds wholly confident in that. Managing to actually succeed in giving Faith his second chance has filled her with a strong fire, and it's not one that's going to be diminished easily at all. And she won't let all of that effort go to waste, either. She gives the man a seriousy stare and a nod before she opts to follow behind Tina, heading towards the DOWN STAIRCASE.
"Right behind you! And, uh..." As Hibiki falls into step behind her, her voice falls some into a bit of an awkward tone herself, and her head momentarily turns to the side. "...Thanks. For changing your mind."
|Crys Gattz||Crys watched as Jojo manages to save Faith from the flesh bud that was in his brain. It looks like it worked but there might be a need for some time to rest. Faith answers honestly about what he knows which isn't much, it makes sense though. Keeping what their stand does under wraps made sense no matter what your worldview was. If you were in a situation where you didn't fully trust the other people you were working with. If someone knew how it worked they could take advantage of that. He does have some info about what they have to do, which proves useful to her.
She looks to Zero as he lays out part of his plan.
"I'll head down then."
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| "Incredible," says Ben breathlessly, at the sight of Jonathan's Ripple-based de-programming. "I never knew such a thing could be done." It's actually both truthful and sincere, for once.
And when Faith apologizes for lack of 'useful information...' "It's quite alright, Faith," he says with that same sincerity, absent any of his usual smoke-blowing cheer.
oO0(Why *did* I insist that he be given this chance? I still don't know. But it seems right...)
"Though I am a bit annoyed that you claimed all the choicest specimens for yourself," he teases, as Faith moves to open up the passages.
"I shall head upstairs, in any case, with Lady Kuran and Master Kiryu." His left hand rests on the tentacled, grinning pommel of his sword, and he vanishes from sight, though the sounds of his steps can still be heard.
|Jonathan Joestar||With the laurel wound firmly around his head, Jonathan blinks as he realizes its purpose, "Oh..! I see. That's an excellent idea, Zero."
The englishman frowns in thought as to how best answer the question that follows, though, before finally speaking up. "DIO is the only one that I'm aware of who can do it, but .. I believe it stands to reason that all Vampires created by the Stone Mask, or through DIO's essence would also be capable of it."
He thinks back to Straizo, or rather, the version of the man who'd come to assault him from another world. He'd been capable of many of the advanced feats DIO had been capable of, too.
Chuckling in Ben's direction, Faith shrugs his shoulders, listlessly. "Sorry about that."
He tilts his head slightly as Tina addresses him, smoke trailing from his nose as he scratches his chin, "Don't worry about it, I guess. You ... no, nevermind. I'm only a couple of years older than you, so I probably shouldn't be trying to pry like an old man."
Speedwagon nearly tilts over, "Huh?! W..wait, just how old are you?!"
"I'm nineteen." Faith replies, eyeing Speedwagon as if he had grown a second head, "Although, most people seem to assume that isn't the case.."
Grumbling, Speedwagon fumbles with his bowler hat, "As if that's a shock? Bloody hell .."
"Anyway, I'll probably head down with them. I don't know how much help I'll be, but it is what it is."
Faith follows Hibiki, Tina, and Crys DOWN.
"Then, Speedwagon and I will head to the upper level." Jonathan says, with his long-haired companion nodding enthusiastically, "Right! Let's go!"
As the group ascends the long, winding stone stairs, they're given time to appreciate how advanced this Temple was, even in the cramped corridors. The torches lighting the wall were gas-lit, and seemed to have been activated by the mechanisms outside. As if the Temple were opening itself up, layer by layer.
Eventually, they arrive in some kind of hub .. a stony room, covered in dust and various pots and other miscellaneous items. "It seems like this was a kind of crossroads ... although most of the doors of this level seem to be closed, or have collapsed." Jonathan notes. "Ah, but there seems to be a way leading outside. Given thoee structures we saw before, perhaps this is the path they used to move items around the complex?"
Speedwagon approaches the one exit to the outside that wasn't visibly damaged or shut off, whistling, "That'd be a long drop down ... but, there are struts connecting this place to the other ones that rose up from the ground."
After a similar trip down to the basement level, a cave in of some kind has led to it being flooded by a sea of sand, dirt, and gravel. It seems to have been a giant antechamber that went even further into the earth at some point, but now, this was all that was left accessible.
"Huh ... " Faith grumbles, eyeing the poorly lit room.
"I heard that this whole place seems obsessed with sets of two. There are two duplicates of every room, they even worshipped two sets of gods. I don't remember which is which, though."
Two statues whose heads peeked out over the sandy burial were that of a crocodile, and a man with a sun disk placed within the crook of a crescent moon adorning his head. A third statue seems like it would have been placed with them, but it appears to have crumbled long ago if that were the case.
"Maybe we should try feeling along the walls, to see if there's a switch or something? It feels like that'd fit."
|Yuuki Kuran||Yuuki had patiently waited for Jonathan to do his work, the Hamon energy once again used to show care and mercy rather than corrupt and control and kill. Even if it was a power that caused her to shrink away, the Ripple and its sun-waves had that same energy as a noontime nap.
She waits for Faith's recovery besides Speedwagon, lightly elbowing the far broader and taller man. "If you want to learn, I still do not think it is impossible for you. I can tell, the way you watch it, that your heart pines that it is not you with the solar touch. Like I said earlier:"
She winks up at the man's razor hat brim. "Take a breath. Jonathan always does."
Yuuki pulls out a plastic-wrapped fresh deck of playing cards. "Cards?"
SECOND (First?) YUUKI returns with a vengeance at Zero's side, the marching order of 'one whole Yuuki to mind the stay-behind crew, one whole Yuuki to be useless at puzzles' still in effect. "I'll keep a full set of eyes on them." She agrees serenely, looping an arm around Zero's as they walk up the stairs.
The comment to Tina...
Stay Behind Yuuki nods, with Upstairs Yuuki ascending off to PUZZLE TOWN ver. Up. "It's about finding something you won't regret, and doing that. That's what kind of person can survive anything."
|Zero Kiryu||"Looks like they're with us this time," Zero observes to Yuuki, who does not have to be split up this time! He leans against Yuuki a little along the way, easing up when they come to the intersection. He guides their path after Jonathan, glancing down the drop.
He tosses a couple of seeds down, which immediately sprout and begin growing upwards, flattening out at the top and producing a column topped with a stretch of ramp that follows the struts towards the new structure(s). Another couple of seeds follow, and then another.
He's pretty much just making a platform-and-bridge network.
"Does this stone mask still exist?" He wonders.
After a moment, "d'Tarkanan, are you still there? If you are, have you the means to clear any of the passages we passed?"
|Tina Natsumi||"Am I really that easy to read...?" Tina mutters to herself after Zero and Yuuki head downwards, their comments still weighing heavily in her head as she adjusts the brim of her hat. "Definitely not wrong there, though. Almost messed up real bad back there..." She chuckles a little more easily after that, then raises an eyebrow a Faith when he mentions prying.
"Just how old are...? Y'know what, better not to ask. Don't wanna trip any death flags for anyone 'round here." She laughs with some of her usual confidence returning, then looks over at Hibiki and grins with that more familiar bravado.
"Well, of course! What kinda role model would I be if I didn't pay no heed... Mind to what the folks really want after sayin' I would? That sorta thing would just make me like some kinda pol..." She trails off at that, furrowing her brow for a moment before shrugging her shoulders. "Anyways. Let's get this business here finished, shall we?"
Heading down with Faith, Hibiki, and Crys, Tina takes the lead as she keeps one hand on her revolver while keeping a close-ish eye on their surroundings. "Two statues to turn around when we were upstairs, too. Being able to do that body double thing like Yuuki sure would be a boon right about now."
Spotting the two statues, Tina draws out her Persona and approaches the crocodile headed statue. "Not a bad plan. If the statues ain't hiding anything, then whatever ways they got of getting in could be hidden or worn down." With that, Tina (through Uncle Sam) gives the crocodile statue a few pushes, twists, and nudges to see if it moves or does anything before starting her search along the walls to try and brute force her way through this. She even takes some time to knock against the walls to try and listen for obviously hollow spots!
|Hibiki Tachibana|| "...Yeah. The sooner the better." Hibiki nods in agreement with Tina, not pressing her on what she trailed off about. 'Pol'...? She can probably guess what that would've been...
Down in THE ANTECHAMBER, she pauses briefly once they make it down to glance around the once-glorious space. Like much of the temple, she can tell that it really must've been amazing back in its heyday, if it still can give off that kind of feeling. Remembering what Tina said before about the flooring dropping out from under her, her first steps further ahead are tentative ones that test to make sure the sand making up the 'floor' will hold. With how deep this place once was, she'd hate to imagine how far she'd sink...
"Two sets of gods...I wonder what used to be here, then?" After ensuring she's not going to get swallowed up by quicksand or something, Hibiki maneuvers along the wall until she gets close to where the third statue once presumably sat, looking over the spot curiously. She takes some time to investigate the remains and the area around it with plenty of hand-sliding and knocking.
"Whatever's left of it is probably buried underneath all of this sand, if it's not dust." She'll check around the base and even displace some of the grains in an attempt to see if anything happens to be directly beneath it, before continuing to investigate along the nearby walls. If anything gives way more than the rest, that's probably something, right?
|Yuuki Kuran||Stay-Behind-Yuuki becoming unneeded, thanks to big brains going down with Faith, and Yuuki's smol brain going up top with the help of Jonathan and Speedwagon. Just because she can have another body around doesn't double her brain power.
If anything, splitting her attention too much would also necessarily split her two available braincells into orphaned and unbalanced singles.
Without something to fight or protect, it was easier to collapse her attention to a single point, arm-in-arm with Zero.
"So, then, Vampires from your world aren't infectious? A special mask is required? That's..."
Trusting Zero's bridges implicitly, Yuuki carries on while talking. "Ben, do you have vampires in your world? Do they also require some artifact? It sounds so... artificial."
|Crys Gattz||Crys Gattz :looks to Faith, Hibiki and Tina. Crys' mag hovers near her shoulder making a beeping sound for a moment as she keeps with the group.
"So sets and twins? I wonder if that's important to the builders in some way." She would look at the statues for a moment she nods.
"Sounds like a plan to me. Do watch for traps though."
She will also start physically checking out the wall as Tina gets to work with her persona.
"There's duality on my world too."
Hibiki could be going somewhere with her plan to deal with the stand a bit.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| "A long drop, you say?" The necromancer's voice rings out from invisibility, instantly confirming Zero's question. Yes, he's still here! Step, step, step. "My," his disembodied voice says, from beside Speedwagon, "But you're right, Goodman Robert. I'd much sooner trust Master Kiryu's construction at this height, than what's available to me at present."
"I have several available means to clear out the blocked passages. I shall scout ahead, ensure they're worth clearing and safe to clear."
There's a deep breath from the empty air. He's marshalling himself for something. Though he's invisible, that scar-like marking on his neck is still there. It's always there. The power of his aberrant Dragonmark is called upon, and any trace of his presence is gone. His feet make no sounds, leave no trace upon the floor. There's no sound of his breathing.
True to his earlier fears upon arrival at the temple, the mark wastes no time in its torment.
*We know why you did it. All of us are dead because you're pathetic.*
He attempts to ignore it, gritting his teeth as he approaches one of the blocked off passages--for the sake of his own comfort, it's the one closest to them. That he might only have to endure this a short time. As he attempts to pass through the solid matter and peer into the other side, his eyes will have no trouble seeing in pitch darkness.
*That's why you asked them to save Faith. Because you're pathetic. Because you felt like you were saving yourself. It felt right because you only think of yourself.*
The very moment he passes through the other side, he terminates the mark's power--but the wince, the exhale of breath he didn't know he'd been holding, gives him away despite his invisibility.
|Yuuki Kuran||Second Yuuki's grand re-appearance is just to float behind Ben, in the dark, and hug him from behind.
"You're not pathetic." She whispers in his ear, floating along at his back as he moves across Zero's bridge.
"Someone who asks others for help can't only be thinking about themselves. They have to think about others first."
|Lilian Rook|| Catching up shortly from dealing with and smoothing out the after-mess in town from chasing some particular individuals, and doing a little external studying of the temple, Lilian is just in time to be caught up to speed on the battle after, and express some intense revulsion at seeing one of those 'flesh buds' in person, shortly before it's annihilated, of course having to put forward the inevitable question of what those have to do with Stands or vampires or anything.
The subject of the culture Stand users, though, is a familiar one. "Even if you trust each other plenty, there's no point in telling everyone precisely how your abilities work; especially if you only have the one, and it's all that elevates you over an ordinary person. Doubly so if you all work alone. Not playing your entire hand in every single exchange is just common sense. I mean, look what happened to that shadow woman."
Given that the upwards-bound party appears to be four members of the Concord and nobody else, Lilian isn't quite so absurd as to situate herself in the middle of that group. The head-down party may have the very recent villain, but also an ally, someone she already thinks of as a rookie, and someone she doesn't think of at all. "Sacred numbers are very common across plenty of cultures." says Lilian. A snap of her fingers conjures a set of floating, green-blue flames into existence, which she spreads throughout the room with a wave. She points to the third, empty statue space. "So what exactly went there? It might have been removed well before this place was abandoned, but there's no way of knowing. Unless there is, in which case speak up and do it now."
Given the sheer degree of nuisance the cave-in has caused, Lilian trudges carefully over the sand and rock filling most of the room, up to the neck-deep carved pair. Crouching down on the debris, back to the group, a lot of scratching and scraping, repeated trips of her hands into her bag, flicks of liquid or smoke, and some muttered words follow. After a minute, this results in the piled earth and stonework burying the statues gradually draining away, as if very, very slowly falling into a clockwise whirlpool, though in reality it is condensing into a few hunks of extremely dense rock on the ground.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
"Unfortunately," Jonathan confirms to Zero. Speedwagon tests out the bridge, strengthened by his sprouting greenery, as Yuuki moves along it herself, to the nearest structure. It's a tall pillar with a single room visible from its entrance.
"As far as I'm aware of it, it remains in the hands of Dio; the one from my world, rather than the one antagonizing us at this juncture."
Speedwagon nods in agreement with Ben, stepping fully onto the plant bridge, "You can say that twice. If I had to shimmy along those struts, I'd probably just fall straight onto my head."
Jonathan walks only a step behind Yuuki and Zero, so as to not take up an excess of space on the bridge, "Not..quite. Vampires were originally created by the Stone Mask, at least I'm fairly certain. Vampires can further create more Vampires by infusing others with their essence, who can then do the same ... any who have had their blood drained by them, as well, would become a bloodthristy zombie, a shell of their former self."
Ben finds confirmation of Jonathan's suspicions. The passage, and presumably all the other blocked off passages, lead out to the four structures outside the Temple. As far as he can tell, the room they had ascended to at first was a hub which would disperse items to those four points, which would then transfer them to another section of the Temple. It was, especially given the time it was constructed, shockingly efficient.
Once the rest arrive at the first structure, they find it to be a similar room as before. Only, there was a crank perpendicular to the ground and fairly large in size. "Ah, some kind of mechanism ... allow me." Jonathan says, and moves to begin pushing it. He struggles and strains, even as large and powerful as he was, but the stubborn thing slowly but surely gives way, and begins to move. The tower rumbles, as it "activates".
The top of the structure shifts open to reveal a the head of a falcon, or a hawk, and a wooden rope ladder drops down into the room below, causing Speedwagon to look up and blink. "Huh.."
Tina has trouble brute-forcing her way through, as the Statues seem to be rather sturdily locked in place. At least, in relative terms -- she actually damages them somewhat with all her manhandling.
Nothing bad seems to happen because of it, though. Tapping along the walls seems to be unfruitful, as well. Faith, unable to really help in this situation, stands there awkwardly.
Hibiki finds evidence, digging around, that the statue had indeed crumbled during the cave in. It's difficult for her to discern what precisely it was supposed to be a statue of.
Thankfully for everyone, when Lilian begins to drain the sand out utilizing her mystical arts, no one was located in a position where they'd be left unfortunately sinking into the whirlpool as well. The sand drains away like a bathtub, and reveals a pitch black abyss below them. But, more importantly ...
The granite steps they can take to two corners of the room, on perfectly opposite sides about fourty feet down, are two glyphs. There is a third on the other end of the chamber, forming a triangle of sorts. Each crest was different, but seemed like they could be pressed inwards where they were.
Faith coughs, "Three statues, three crests ... maybe each one represents a different one of the gods worshipped in this part of the Temple?"
|Zero Kiryu||"I see. What are the side-effects? That is to say, is Dio's behavior at all connected to the usage of the mask?" Zero asks. He regards the rope ladder dubiously, and instead of stepping up to climb it, he raises a hand to extend a tendril of plant life towards the upper area. He can see through that, and doesn't especially see a need to push his primary mass into the area-- or require anyone else to do so, though he leaves plenty of room for any of the others to ascend the ladder.
At any rate, he's more comfortable remaining here with Yuuki on his arm than bothering with the tedium of climbing sketchy rope ladders in ancient temples.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| The voices are silent, when next Ben calls upon the Mark. A quiet, simple warmth suffuses him. To know that someone else could not only hear them, but disagree so simply, in so uncertain terms... he hadn't imagined that possibility. He imagines they hadn't, either.
oO0(I feel as if every day spent in this country shifts some part of me, as surely as the sands comprising its vast deserts shift each day. What will be revealed, when those sands have settled?)
"Thank you," he quietly utters. This passage is safe. And if the earlier room is a hub, then clearing it for the others is only a good thing. His first thought is to freeze it over, and shatter it with his strength--but much of this looks to be rubble from a cave-in.
A more nuanced approach is necessary. "Apologies, Lady Kuran, should this offend your sinuses." With his left arm extended, he utters some kind of Phrase which seems to echo upon itself, and there's an invisible thrum in the air like standing near a power line. A stream of acid steadily flows from his hand, melting the rubble.
That's only half of his approach. The other half involves, with his right arm (shorter and seeming more 'his' than the left), creating sturdy pillars of ice to prevent further cave-ins or damage, and attempting as well to melt through the door. If there's time, he'll likewise do this for other passages, as he assumes the state of disrepair and the grinding march of time can't have been good for the mechanisms meant to control the doors.
|Tina Natsumi||"If got something to do with two Sets, maybe we should keep our eyes open for anything to do with Osiris." Tina laughs at her own joke, looking towards the rest of the group as if expecting someone to catch it.
Regardless of whether or not she's disappointed, she continues her work! At least, until Lilian starts moving the sand wholesale while Tina backs up to give her plenty of breathing and working space to do just that. She whistles lightly when it bears fruit in the form of a big hole, peering into the abyss while keeping her feet steady on the steps once she finds her way around.
"... Dang. I was just joking about the floor fallin' away before. Didn't think they'd really have this kinda thing dug out. Although..." She glances back up at the statues briefly before following the steps down. "How would anyone even get down here normally if they /can't/ do something nuts like that?"
Finding her way to the glyph at the far end of the room, Tina eyes the crest closely while keeping her Persona ready behind her. "I've got a decently bad feeling about this, but... Come on. Shiny button." Is it even shiny? Doesn't matter. "On three, then? I figure it's got a higher chance than not that if they rigged it up to kill one person running around hitting all of 'em, then it won't do that if it's three separate people that know how this thing works."
She could also be worrying about nothing, but Tina's still going to try and coordinate the pressing just in case. Uncle Sam, meanwhile, is on standby just in case she needs protection from something dropping from above.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| "...No, it seems like it actually crumbled away," Hibiki calls back towards Lilian, while moving back to make sure she's not at risk of being caught up in the draining of sand. Thank goodness she's here, or else they might've never managed to try something like that easily--though something that the other girl said to her before has been lingering on her mind, she won't be bringing that up now. Not right now, anyway.
The abyss reveals itself, which she's sure to give a wide berth, but the stairways immediately strike her as important. One, two... "...There's three of them. One of them was for the missing statue, I'd guess." From a distance, she investigates the glyphs, though she's not really a person who'd be able to discern any meaning from them. Or how they'd relate to the statues if at all, since her Egyptian knowledge is about zero. Hibiki instead goes for a closer look, navigating towards one of the closer stairways and keeping close to the wall while she moves downwards. "...Maybe this place was /meant/ for people who can do that sort of thing. She replies to Tina while glancing down over the edge.
Even if she fell, she'd probably be able to get back up...but she'd rather not. Really.
Moving to one glyph herself, Hibiki drops to a knee and hoverhands it, nodding across the room. "On three. Seems like as good an idea as any. We were looking for things to press, after all." She's all ready for Coordinated Thing Pressing.
|Lilian Rook|| With the work done, Lilian scuffs out the runes she'd used and smears the inks and ashes into the remaining sand to either side. Seeing the tremendous drop in the room, she gestures and sends a floating flame down below, circling wide to try and illuminate its walls and get a sense of its depth, though she doesn't have high hopes. In all likelihood, she may just end up avoiding it. "Watch your step." she says. A useless heads up, but it's little things like that which minimize tension within a group and prevent unnecessary anxious thinking.
"If there are three of those, then the three statues must have been an intentional set. I suppose it's not unusual, if they're part of a mechanism. The entry hall had four sets of four, after all." She only really contemplates this one for a few seconds. "It's extremely unlikely all three need to be pressed simultaneously. That's a security measure, to require a minimum number of cooperating personnel, so no one person can run off with the nuclear codes. There's no doubt a specific order, or only one is correct and two are dummy options. One moment."
Lilian pretends to be deep in analytical thought. She is not. She is engaging a shallow trance, prophetically reading a wide sample of very short term futures within the room. Specifically, about herself, examining the potential routes she might back and forth around the room, looking for the path between glyphs and the exit that results in leaving back upstairs at a normal pace at the end. With such highly specific and near future criteria, it's very easy to get a clear view.
However, once she has that, she immediately changes those potential futures by ordering someone else to do it in the order she'd foreseen. No sense in taking any risks herself.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
Ben, with dedication and effort, manages to clear out all of the passages with magically summoned acid, before reinforcing them with his frosty minstrations. The result is that the original function of the strut system is now fully operational once again! ... although, for them, this mostly meant an ease of travelling the upper level of the complex. They could now tackle the pillars in any order they wished, rather than having to go to one after the other.
Zero can see that the statuette has two grips to adjust, meaning that it could be rotated. There were two peculiar gems encrusted into its eyes; they did not seem as if they were immediately precious, but their cut was unusual. Jonathan scrunches his face from beside Zero, "I wonder, could it be a depiction of Horus .. ?"
Lilian's ability to read the potential futures of the room comes in handy, but, she was mistaken about the detail she'd just been speaking of, or atleast, partly so -- she was correct in her assertion that needing a coordinated activation of a mechanism is a security measure. Where she was wrong, was ruling out this as a possibility.
"Well," Faith says, fumbling with his lighter, "This place is also used to block access fo the inner chambers, so .. "
He seemed unsure of this, however, but Lilian is able to discern the truth. Pressing only a single one of the crests, even just a single one, or in any combination, results in any number of bizarre and odd penalties, from the stairs collapsing to them all being assaulted by the remaining two statues.
The future in which they leave, is the one in which they time their actions and press all three crests in, with a coordinated effort.
At the bottom, hundreds of feet below, the flickering flame is snuffed out as the floor begins to raise upon a stone pole, the walls sliding to lock into place and provide a support for it as it ascends, until it stops level with the stairs they all found themselves on. A pedastal raises from the pole, a worn away inscription below a sturdy looking lock, and a circular crank to turn.
|Crys Gattz||Lilian has also joined the search given her better mastery of the Occult and knowing more about the subject in relation to earth? She would honestly welcome her skill set here. This feeling is proven justified in her min in very short order as Lilian too helps deal with a lot of the sand as well. Crys is checking the walls but doesn't get too much. She'll stop checking out the walls as well there's no need to that the moment she'll look at the way down for a moment.
"I better not slip, and I'm more disposable as well."
She takes a note there an odd way to look at oneself. She doesn't seem to argue with Lilian asking someone else to do one of them. She'll get on the job if it's needed, at least it's going to be exciting right? She'll follow what directions she'll be given on this.
It so far has not ended horribly for the group, so that's good news right?
|Yuuki Kuran||At the bottom of the rope ladder, First Yuuki remains arm-in-arm with Zero, resting the side of her head against his bicep as her brown hair falls in a great curtain down her back. "So they are capable of infusing others... And the flesh seeds are part of that. More control than uplifting. That's..."
She 'can't' say awful. She doesn't believe that. She could do the same thing, given effort, though her commands would be less unsightly and destructive. Still, did she have a right to talk about another's power like that?
Yes. But it felt wrong anyway.
Jonathan moves to adjust a stone mechanism, and Yuuki's eyes light up not with a red light, but with the knowing appreciation of having a STRONG PUZZLE PROFESSOR JOESTAR here to solve their contraption-array issues with gusto and big watermelon arms.
SECOND YUUKI lets Ben go, drifting back a bit to land silently and carry on at his flank while he makes his observations. She hovers, and frets visibly as he looks about, but...
The rude voice does not return. She smiles. "I am glad it takes only a little bit of talking to help you. See? With just a little help, you're amazing. Standing alone isn't really a power anyway - it's just a weakness you haven't overcome yet. Your power... creates strength via teamwork, doesn't it? Like the camels in the field, or your constructs in the previous fight."
Ben offers apologies if it 'offends her sinuses'. "Oh, it's fine. All the dusty old blood has given me a case of the sniffles already."
It hasn't, but it's nice to say. Plus... it's not *entirely* untrue.
"Even if it made me sneeze, that's no reason to not use the powers you have to create new possibilities."
|Zero Kiryu||Zero elevates the tendril a bit further, raising it to inspect the gems in the eyes of the statue. There is a light, brief pressure from Jonathan's laurel that might be the equivalent of a nod. "An African God. I don't know much about it, though. Does it preside over a particular direction? Journey in a specific way?"
He, on the other hand, has no compunction about talking shit and completes Yuuki's thought: "Useless. The superiority of people like 'us' rides on their ability to dream and reach. It's one thing to protect yourself, and another to cut them off at the knees while you still have them working for you."
"You may as well build robots if all you need is 'close enough'."
After a moment's thought, he speaks to Ben through the bridge beneath him, "Check and see the configurations of the next nearest platform. If you can move the mechanism as Jonathan did, do so. If the mechanisms are similar, it should open a passage above, containing... something."
|Tina Natsumi||"Someone with two Stretch Armstrarms, maybe? Or... Uh." Tina jerks a thumb at Uncle Sam, although she frowns a moment later. "But two of 'em. Hm. Would be useful if I could turn this big guy into two, though..."
Something to try later, maybe. She laughs when Lilian shoots holes in her logic, unaware of just how badly it could have gone. "Yeah, probably. I mean, if you're getting in this far already, then whoever's trying to get in probably has those contingencies figured out already. Still, can't hurt to try."
And so, the crests are pushed, the DOWNSTAIRS group's path is revealed, and Tina's none the wiser to what could have happened as she once again takes the... There's no lead to take. She watches as the floor comes towards them for once, tensing up considerably the closer it gets and when the walls move. She has Uncle Sam resting its hands on the ground ahead of time, as if preparing for the possibility of hurling people upstairs to get them to safety should the walls close in around them.
Thankfully, that doesn't happen, and she's instead staring at a strange pedestal with a crank. "... Huh. Okay, that coulda gone worse. Anyone wanna take the crank or thel ock? I'll have plan B ready in case we need to knock boots." A beat, and then Tina coughs into her hand while saying "JET." very loudly. Uncle Sam, meanwhile, readies a shotgun loaded with a heavy-duty slug in it while standing close to the lock.
Apparently, Tina's plan B will be to just shoot the lock really hard if it can't be picked open or unlocked the safe/puzzle-solving way.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Buttons are pressed, TEAMWORK (can you call pushing buttons at the same time teamwork? yes) wins the day, and Lilian's guidance and Tina's gut feeling prevents them all from suffering horrible spike traps, mummy curses, or some equally unfortunate fates. As the floor begins moving upwards and the chamber shifts, Hibiki remains at the ready until it's revealed that they certainly did the right thing and there's no danger, ending off with a little exhale of relief.
"One security measure goes right to another...? They really guarded thos chambers well." She maneuvers herself onto the floor proper to make her way over towards the pedestal, lock, and crank, looking between each of them in turn. Her first instinct is to check them for any sign of outside tampering, like with the owls, but she doubts there's any of that.
So Hibiki instead reads the inscription first, because not doing that is probably a bad thing. "...Whatever we need to move the crank for, I should be able to manage. Lilian, what do you think?" Hopefully, these are instructions and not some cryptic message that won't actually do them much good. Deciphering will probably be needed either way, and that's definitely not her strong point.
|Yuuki Kuran||Yuuki snort-laughs at that, breaking out into bright, bubbling giggles and snickers as Zero completes her thought.
"You can't be rude to Cantio like that. Not only is she trying her best, she's becoming more than she was before. As for DIO..."
She nods, firm and convinced. "Turning people into your slaves and drones is turning strength into weakness."
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| "That's certainly the most common aspect," he says. "At least, of necromancy. What I did before that," he says, gesturing to his work, as the fumes clear out, "The reason you heard them, that is... it's unique to me."
He's quiet... but not for a bad reason. Just surveying his work, with a smile. No sweat pools on his brow to wipe off with a sleeve, for magical exertion is different. A dull kind of ache at the temples, a sensation of being tired without the physical urge to sleep.
Similar to physical exertion, however, the aches from putting one's strength to work are bearable, and indeed enjoyable, when one is able to direct their strength as they choose. To create new possibilities, for instance.
But something else tugs at his mind. Another doubt, like a thread from a garment which rears its head again just days after being pulled. He can't elaborate what it is, for it refuses to be pinned down, more than a nagging feeling. For now, it's dismissed, as he makes his way back to Zero, Jonathan, and Speedwagon.
"The passages are cleared, chums," he says with pride. "We should be able to travel freely, now." He pauses, listening to Zero's message.
"The next nearest platform, you say? Very well, old chap--describe that mechanism to me, and I'll be about it shortly." He waits on the bridge for a description, and then finishes crossing.
If indeed there's a mechanism in the next area, he'll put his unnatural, immense strength to the task of moving it. It's... a bit strange, to see a relatively average guy, of average height, put forth the kind of strength necessary to budge it, even with the grunting and the sheen of sweat the work elicits. Or perhaps it would be, were his company not a Yuuki.
|Zero Kiryu||"I'm not talking about machine people. Machines are just fine at doing mindless tasks repeatedly. You, personally, have dozens of them making medicine. Turning 'people' into automation is pointless," Zero replies to Yuuki.
Meanwhile, with Ben: "It should be a crank. It's large enough you can't miss it, if it's there."
|Yuuki Kuran||"Oh. Well..." Yuuki sighs, her good cheer dashed on the rocks of reality. Zero is right. He--
"Hey! You knew what I meant!" Yuuki complains, moving her head back incrementally to forehead-bump his bicep.
"But I knew what you meant too. I just wanted to say a nice thing about Cantio."
|Zero Kiryu||"I'm sure Cantio appreciates it," Zero responds. He's not in a position to actually meaningfully push back at Yuuki, so he just does it telepathically. This doesn't work especially well because her psychic presence is bigger than his.|
|Yuuki Kuran||Yuuki's hair is fluffed like there is a breeze as she withstands, resolutely, the petty psychic onslaught sent back her way, like a child pushed at the forehead while she windmill armed back.
Second Yuuki, at Ben's side near the open passage, taps her foot at First Yuuki's antics. "If the passage is cleared, let's go! If there's another two-side puzzle like before we don't want to have the other team stuck waiting!"
Still, she pantomimes re-joining the group before disappearing when Ben is in direct cohesion with First Yuuki.
The braincells must return to their host for proper function.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
Jonathan shakes his head, "No, Horus was ... a god of many things, according to what we know of the culture. But most prominently, he was associated with the right to rule. If I'm not mistaken, this Temple is perfectly symmetrical and is known for worshipping two sets of gods. While I do not know the order of what gods were worshipped in what order or in which part of the Temple, the ones venerated here were Horus and Tefnet, a goddess of the sky who is closely related to Horus. Sobek, a god who was believed to have formed the earth, Hathor, the mother of Horus and a goddess with similarities to Tefnet, and Khonsu, a god similar to Thoth and associated with the passage of time."
"Good job, Ben!"
Speedwagon slaps the necromancer on the shoulder with a smile, "I'll also head along to one of the other pillars! If they all have a mechanism like that, then we can figure things out easier if we put all the pieces on the table!"
With that, Speedwagon takes off for one of the other pillars. Jonathan rubs his chin, "That's three ... then, I'll head off as well, to the last pillar unaccounted for."
The most Zero can discern of those gems, is that they're cut in such a way that they could provide an excellent focus for something, able to magnufy whatever shined through them to a fine point.
With all three men working together, they open up all of the pillars and reveal the statuettes .. and find that there is an identical statue of the falcon directly across from the first one, where Ben had gone.
Speedwagon and Jonathan reveal a woman's head; the one at Jonathan's pillar having a large, jeweled orb upon her skull, while Speedwagon's possesses eyes similar to the two falcon statuettes.
"This orb .. is different than the others. I think, perhaps, this mechanism can only be activated at a certain time of day?"
But clearly, that time wasn't now. Thankfully, Jonathan was capable of generating those conditions by himself. "Kooooooh!"
His ripple surges into the sphere, and it shines brilliantly like a star, before firing a laser off into the distance. " .. !"
"I wonder .. if these statues could be turned, then, we just need to find the correct order to face them in that the laser will return to this orb."
|Lilian Rook|| "Guarding it well shows that it was worth guarding." Lilian replies to Hibiki. "Or rather, we might as well consider what's enshrine in here closer to the nuclear codes example than I'd have initially liked to believe." She glances at the inscription too, though her ancient Egyptian is pretty much exclusively restricted to knowing particular occult or mystical catchphrases and keywords, and not at all suited to actually reading instructional sentences.
"Well, I'd say that it's clearly an elevator, but, in honesty, I'm not certain how you'd build a counterweight into this. It's just a bit baffling." She prods at the lock. "Plus, what is that even locking? You'd think the crank itself, if it were a lift, and someone would need to pull a key in order to get further down. But the only way that would work is a spiral turncrank, to slowly lower yourself back down."
Finally, Lilian ends her examination with an experimental push to each side, and then with a shrug. "Well, I'm not a coward." she says. Provided she figures out which way it turns, she then just gets to balancing on her back foot and giving it a powerful straight kick in that direction, knocking it out of whatever dusty position it'd sat in for a millennia for Hibiki to start pushing with her punch hero biceps.
|Jonathan Joestar|| DOWN:
Lilian gives the crank a rough kick to give Hibiki an advantage on her Strength Check TN Very Hard. Faith, having watched all of this, simply strikes up another cigarette.
With Hibiki working hard on turning the crank, the whole room rumbles. It was as if it were setting in motion an entirely different mechanism that, once the click echoes through the entire complex, becomes clear it was operating something back in the main chamber. And whatever mechanism there had been activated, causes the platform to rumble. The lock clicks, and the pedastal opens up with both ends folding outwards -- like a book being opened.
Set inside of a crevice is a large crescent, a key shaped like the moon.
Faith startles, as a Japanese teenager with bright green hair lands on the ground, having leaped just across from the assorted group from the entrance of the antechamber. Garbed in a simple gakuren adorned with the pin for a first year student, he suddenly breaks from his overly-dramatic crouch to launch an overly dramatic point.
"There's a lot of pretty girls here! How about a date?!"
Faith, now having his bearings once more, frowns. "Itsuki ... "
Sheepishly, the teenager rubs the back of his messy head, "Right, right, I'm supposed to kill all of you, or something like that .. it sounds like a drag, though ... but, Faith, you're not a cute girl, so -- I'll be sure to beat you within an inch of your life. That should get you off the hook."
As if he were doing everyone here a huge favor, the newly identified Itsuki gives an exaggerated wink.
|Tina Natsumi||Tina looks just a little disappointed that she doesn't need to blow the lock off with Uncle Sam, but her disappointment soon turns to... Not quite relief, but the energy has somewhere to actually go as she and the Persona take on more defensive stances when a new figure arrives.
"Forward, ain'tcha? Not that I mind or nothin', though." Despite the gravity of the situation and the teenager's rather obvious allegiances, she still manages to find an opportunity to engage in witty (to her) banter and waggle her eyebrows like some kind of dirty old man. She shrugs a moment later, letting out a faux-dejected sigh in the process.
"Eh, I figured as much. I was wondering where your boss' next guy would show up. Still, I wasn't expecting someone this young." Tina comments as she looks Itsuki over, eventually shaking her head. "Maybe in another four years or so, eh?" She winks in return, then flicks her revolver out of its holster and fires a quick shot at Itsuki's feet as a warning while Uncle Sam keeps its shotgun readied. "But let's leave that for after we get your head screwed back on right. We doin' this easy way or the hard way?"
|Zero Kiryu||Zero listens to what's said about the configuration of the statues in the ceilings. Two tracks make sense to him: Either they create circle that routes directly into the orb, or they fire into the center and route through something in the center in order to get where they're going. Given that there are three one-eyed statues however...
"Unless there is a mechanism in the center that we have yet to spot, it is likely that we simply need to orient these to create a loop into the single gem configuration. I have a way to cheat this altogether, but for the moment let's see what happens if we create that loop as-is," he says, through vine and body alike.
Expanding the vine that he's using to probe the upper area, Zero moves "his" statue into the configuration described.
But he doesn't miss the broadcast impatience of Second Yuuki. Zero allows the vine he's using for manipulation to disconnect from his body entirely -- he doesn't need to be unified to exert his full strength -- and taps First Yuuki on the chin.
<< Are you impatient with yourself, or with me? >>
|Ben d'Tarkanan||oO0(That Speedwagon... he's quite admirable, to be so loyal, so unflappable. Joestar has a powerful ally in him.)
As the mechanisms click and the statuette is revealed, he rubs his chin. "A falcon... with eyes of precious stone, or something like it." It's not difficult to spot a laser. Things like that tend to stand out! Remembering the owl statue, from before their encounter with Faith, his first instinct is to attempt, somehow, to rotate the falcon statuette. Finding that he's able to do so...
He experiments with a few different directions. "I presume this is used to reflect that laser, somehow... I shall wait for it." He pauses, doing exactly that. When he sees the laser appear, he cautiously takes cover behind the statuette (assuming that it might be dangerous for unbelievers or those not privy to the temple's rituals).
Using the radio, he begins coordinating with the others, pinpointing where they're located, describing the location of his own platform, and attempting to ascertain where the laser will need to go.
Once it's reflected towards his position, he carefully adjusts the statuette so as not to inadvertently laser someone. He doesn't know, maybe that's a risk! Places like this he's accustomed to being fairly mean about people coming in to loot the place.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| "I guess these ancient Egyptians...had some real crazy ideas...on how to build...!" Hibiki huffs while turning the crank hard as she can, with one final extra heavy exhale after the rumbling and shifting all results in the BLUE MOON KEY being revealed. Their part in needing to unlock the way to the inner chambers where their goal resides, so they just need to get back and make sure the others succeed as well! A little fist pump of success is given as she straightens back up--
Only for someone to reveal themselves. Could it be...!?
"Not interested!" She already has a totally platonic life partner waiting for her back home, thank you. The Gungnir girl responds to the boy's playful with with her fists brought up as the ready, as she moves to place herself close by Faith in particular before she puts herself up into a defensive stance. "...And you're not going to hurt him either!"
She was surprised this guy didn't ambush them while they were busy figuring out the secrets of the antechamber, but having the chance to fully focus upon him is just fine by her. He really is young--or at least he looks it, Faith is proof that looks can be deceiving. Can't be that far apart from her, and that gets Hibiki to narrow her eyes some. "How did DIO end up getting his claws on you? Can't you see that following him isn't going to go anywhere good?" Is he another Stand User? If he was, there's no way of telling what his could be yet. One fist comes a bit higher, to briefly brush across her mouth before settling back. "...It's sure not going to get you a date."
|Lilian Rook|| "Figures." says Lilian, standing back while someone else does the work, as the room first rumbles with the churn of ancient mechanisms set into motion once again. "So the entire thing is a set of two-key authorizations tied to a larger two-key authorization. Nobody at all was meant to get to the end of this without the cooperation of the whole priestly body."
This time, a flame conjured by a fingersnap is the real deal, held out to her side to light up Faith's cigarette without really looking. "Hear that though? All those tons of stone being moved by that crank? That's the power of the simple machines; namely the venerable lever. 'Give me one long enough and I'll move the world', or whatever." She finally looks on with something approaching excitement when the answer to her prior, semi-rhetorical question is revealed, and along with it, the temple mcguffin. "And that's what they had behind lock and key. Going by that statue earlier, there must be a sun key as well, right?"
She's halfway across the room to taking it when Itsuki leaps in from far behind. Lilian freezes up. It's up to Itsuki if he can notice that just her right index finger twitches. ". . . who is this clown? Was he with you people earlier?" she asks, turning to Tina and Hibiki. When Faith identifies him though, she continues with "Christ. Really? More assassins even at this point? How many of you *are* there? Certainly none of you have been getting paid, I suppose." She squeezes the fingers of her right hand together, thumb and fingers on the hairline edge of another snap. "No offense meant, but get lost." Those ghostly green flames scattered about earlier converge from the corners of the darkened room around Itsuki, and then with one more snap of Lilian's fingers, ignite into bright, scorching flashes.
|Yuuki Kuran||A laser puzzle? Well, if there was need to create reflectors...
No. It's better to have this respected. And, furthermore, they have Ben and Jonathan Joestar! Puzzle-temple experts. With a few simple gemstone eyes to spin, there wasn't anything more for Yuuki to do, but...
Her preferences were to let the experts handle it, and spend her talents elsewhere.
First Yuuki's chin is drawn up, and her smile is gentle. "No, not at all. It's easier to think with two sets of hands in the same room if both are thinking different things. That's just... 'the other me'." She replies simply, as if that explains everything.
"Ben, where you are from, are there often dangerous traps like this? You seem positively at home in this temple."
|Crys Gattz||With Hibiki turning the tank it should be possible for them to get going sooner or later she looks to Faith for a moment. She seems somewhat impressed about him asking. "Bit young for me I'm afraid but i'm flattered." She seems to mean it. She would watch as the room finishes shifting and changing. She'll take a look at the pedastal for a moment then someone else arrive she stare for a moment looking at teen and then her eye barrows as she makes ready.
"So, your working for that man I presume?"
She'll summon a photon pistol and take a phot shot at them.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| "All across the continent," says Ben with a smile. "The reasons differ, as do the nature of the place where the traps may lie."
He steps back from the statuette, pausing to have a drink of water from a waterskin hanging at his hip. "Sometimes the ones who built them still live there, sometimes they don't," he continues, wiping his mouth. "But always, there's the desire to keep certain sorts out."
Extending a finger of his right hand for each, "Unbelievers, enemies, outsiders, subordinates," he lists off conversationally. "Thieves."
He chuckles. "Ideally, it's best to know a little about the nature of the builder, to deduce how they think. If you have, for instance, a temple, as this one... well." There's a shrug of his shoulders. "If people can rob the gods and get away with it, then the temple's reliquary and its authority both are in danger. The punishment must be as swift and decisive as the gods themselves," he says with a nod towards the laser. In other words, he's not certain if it's the disintegrating kind of laser, but certainly doesn't want to find out.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
With the coordinated effort of the entire group, they manage to get the correct array ... the laser enters one eye of the Horus statue that Zero had been manipulating and fires out the other. The laser enters one of the eyes of the statue of Tefnet and fires out of her other eye. It enters the eye of the second Horus statue, and fires out of his opposing eye.
This brings it full circle to strike into the jewel serving as the center piece of the other Tefnet statue, where the laser had originated. This intensifies the beam for a moment before it all dies out, and a sharp click allows Jonathan to dislodge the gem that had otherwise been firmly planted, revealing a delicately shaped key at the end of it that had been keeping it in place. Jonathan holds up the RED SUN KEY.
The rumbling of the Temple is momentary, as the second mechanism in the main chamber activates. Speedwagon, ever helpful, provide commentary. "Uoh! This must mean that both the mechanisms for the keys, and the keys themselves are in our hands! With that, we can finally enter the inner chamber...!"
... if not for the sharp buzzing of a massive insect, a green hornet with a stinger more like a sword that attempts to cut the man in half!
"Ah?!" Speedwagon cries, barely avoiding getting killed and walking away with a gash along his shoulder. As a matter of fact, the entire outside of the Temple is now swarming with these critters!
Leaning against one of the entrances back into the temple, the one they had initially travelled along, is a woman with modest pink hair, and a light yellow shirt covered in lime green buprints, along with white khaki pants and sneakers. There's a dab of sunscreen on her nose.
"Having to fight alone with my 'King Bee' ... aaahh ... I'm so mad right now, I could pop."
"Aaaaah?! BIG SHOCK!"
Being turned down basically by three girls at the same time hurt his soul. He looks physically pained, but its all exaggerated.
Faith, with his magically lit cigarette, narrows his eyes. "If only he were that easy to shake off," he complains lightly, as Hibiki places herself between him and their foe.
The gunshot smacks the ground just next to the teenager's foot, and its a shocking show of bravery -- or stupidity -- that he doesn't even flinch. "Honestly, that was way too harsh, but .. that's just how I like it! Wow! You girls are seriously cool!"
Pulling one hand to his side, he shoots the other over his shoulder in some kind of weird pose. He probably thought he looked really cool right now.
With that empowered shout, the room is filled with floating, spectral skulls giving off every color of the rainbow. Some are red and hot, like a flame, blue and cold, like ice, some are green and sharp, like wind .. some don't make any sense at all. "Why? Well, it's super simple, genki girl!"
He then points at Hibiki, "By pure chance, I happened to come across a super cute and cool assassin with pink hair! And since I wanted to impress her, I ran away with these guys to transport the arrows!"
Faith interjects, "He's only had that Stand for a few days. But, even before then, it's like he had some seriously weird sense of timing."
One of the freezing skulls intercept Lilian's flames and dissipates with it, effectively sacrificing itself for its master. Oddly, like Shocking Blue, this Stand didn't seem to immediately reflect damage to its owner. Or, maybe, because there were so many bodies, the damage taken by one instance of it was so minimal it didn't matter?
Swiping his hand, a barrage of red skulls fly at Lilian and Tina, exploding on contact, while a green colored skull flies straight for Hibiki, and releases a cutting whirlwind to try and toss her straight into the air on contact.
|Zero Kiryu||<< Is that so. >> The thought echoes into Yuuki's mind. Zero apparently isn't inclined to share this exchange, but returns momentarily to speaking openly, "I suppose I'll need to pay closer attention to how you're partitioned. Try not to separate along too lopsided a divide... if that's how that works at all."
His hand slips away from Yuuki's chin with the sudden approach of... someone, something, a combination of both of those things. Zero looks annoyed at the arrival of another interloper, his mind flicking momentarily back towards the insects that had assaulted them early on, but seemed to have no particular source.
There is not even a need for him to "spread out". Already, his substance dominates this region, replacing the structures that no doubt provided access hundreds of years ago.
With a click of his fingers he causes them to start producing soporific. The first gust of it is a few yards behind the pink-haired woman, emerging from a blossoming flower that absolutely vomits a thick cloud of the powdery substance as it opens and blooms.
|Tina Natsumi||"Ab... Soul? Is thatl ike some kind of...?"
Tina's unfinished question is answered rather quickly as the spectral skulls appear sans abs, although several other questions are anwered rather quickly between Itsuki's demonstration of his skulls' heat and cold-based abilities as well as Faith's exposition about some of the green-haired teenager's history as a soldier for DIO.
"So you joined up with him because... You wanted to get some?" She almost looks disgusted, but abruptly pivots into a vaguely understanding shrug and 'eh' noise. "At that age, yeah... Doesn't make it any better, but still. Was I dumb when I was your age...?"
A moment later, and she grimaces, both from cringing at her own behavior as well as the red skulls flying towards her. Luckily, Uncle Sam's there to weather the explosions in Tina's stead, her Persona absorbing the brunt of the damage and only leaving a few scorch marks on the Persona user herself even as it discards that melted shotgun.
"'Your age'. Gah. Now /I'm/ startin' to yap like an old geezer." Tina complains, forming up behind her Persona with her revolver held close to her chest. "But really, you're gonna risk your neck just for one gal and one psycho when you've got four hotties right here?"
Tina's not counting one person there, but she's sure as hell not going to say who it is. Instead, she ducks back out of cover to fire off three shots at Itsuki's knees, then two more at the wall behind him to try and ricochet them into his legs from what she can only assume might be a blind spot. Afterwards, she dips behind the Persona once again, using that steely cover to reload.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Hibiki shifts her body a bit, just enough to let out a quiet groan at Faith's words. Yeah, if only it was as simple as that. But once again, it looks like they're going to have to work for it. She's...not really sure what to make of Itsuki. Accept turned out to have a very sad story behind it all in the end. Faith was obviously carrying some immense baggage from the start. This guy...is kind of a goof.
A dangerous goof though, as she recognizes these skulls. "These are the same skulls from our ride to the temple...!" Of course she'd remember them. They exploded when she tried to grab them. It worked out, but still. Her rapid glancing between the multicolored horde of skulls ends up right back on the Stand user himself, with her squint only worsening as her mouth falls partway open. "You joined DIO to try and get with a girl...?"
'Weird' is right. Though her attempts to wrap her head around someone going this far just for that have to get cut short, with the battle starting in earnest! Expecting it to try and explode against her like the others, she's caught off guard at the burst of wind as it catches her head-on and tears at her body while throwing her into the air! But with Faith right behind her, she probably wouldn't have done anything but take it anyway. "You'd practically sell yourself to him just for that...!?"
Luckily, Hibiki isn't helpless off the ground--a burst of her Symphogear's skirt thrusters helps her right herself in the air, and a second ignition sends her flying forward! Rather than engaging with these skulls and probably getting a faceful of pain, Hibiki makes to maneuver between them all to get to the man responsible, banking on him being less effective at close range just like Faith. A combination of her boosting and her leg-pistons slamming in to help realign herself quickly and kick herself around the obstacles will help get her to him.
"Didn't you practically just meet her!?" Is this a battle or a debate about dating? Regardless, Hibiki attempts to double up on the pressure exerted on Itsuki if she can draw close enough--following up on Tina's shots by coming down with a heavy kick from above...! She's not actually trying to strike him head on though, it's a feint. She's actually going to land in front of him and try to palm strike him to the floor and blow the wind out of him. If he /is/ an ordinary guy, she'd rather not kick a hole through him.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| "Well," cheerily notes Ben, turning his head to face Yuuki. "I believe that's that. Let's head--" The sound of buzzing is warning enough for him to begin formulating something.
oO0(More insects. The same as before? How can I remove them? Perhaps make a spell of poison... no, wait a moment.)
He has no more moments to wait. They're faster than he gives them credit for, enough to get on him and momentarily stab through the tough flesh of his shoulder. He grabs the bladed stinger with his hand and forces it free, throwing the insect off of him just long enough to get his sword up to deflect another strike.
Sparks fly as the steel clashes with the insect's blade.
oO0(What if it isn't an insect at all? The zombies from before were Faith's Stand. So could this be someone else's? If so...)
Then treating it like an insect is ill-advised. Treating it like an extension of a human being's will, however... Another clang, as blades cross, the insect's strength enough to push him backwards across the dusty floor. "Lady Yuuki, can you see in darkness?" The platform where he and Yuuki stand, following her answer, is immediately awash in conjured darkness. "Capital."
That darkness is then haphazardly filled with traps of *his* making. Glyphs which, when disturbed, erupt into jets of acid, razor-sharp spikes of ice, icy clubs. More deviously, those which erupt into gusts of wind to disorient and push it into other traps, among which there are cobwebs, strength-sapping and mind-muddling curses.
|Yuuki Kuran||Insects. It's always insects. Is it something about Stand Power that causes so many of the characters to use stinging insects? Is it perhaps a trait of the lands of Egypt that cause locusts and other pests to attack?
Does Yuuki even have the context to make that observation?
Yuuki smiles. "It's fine. We share the same house. Closer than sisters, even if we were seperated at a young age. It's easier for me, that's all. To let my inside voices do the outside talking, now and then?"
She laughs. "Self-censoring hasn't ever been my skill."
As the insects attack with bladed stingers, a shot directly to her heart-place is intercepted mid-air by a parrying palm, straight on slapping aside the insect with a disproportionately thunderous force. Shaking off the palm that struck against the blade as the wound closes without a drop of blood spilled, Yuuki turns her smile to Ben.
"They're bees this time, yes? Try some smoke! It may put them to sleep!"
|Crys Gattz||Well the teen has been turned down she was being honest but it seems he's ready to throw down. Crys is getting ready to counter-attack she'll end up getting hit with a burst of fire. She's a bit cooked from it and she doesn't look happy now.
"All right then."
In one hand she has her photon pistol, in the other a claw materialize and she'll blitz at the new young stand user.
"So all this to impress a girl? The deal you made with Dio may very likely be the end of you."
She'll fire several shots as she tries to close with them and if she gets up close she'll put that energy claw to use.
|Lilian Rook|| "Are you not his age?" This is the burning question on Lilian's mind, distracting her every so briefly from the summoning of the assassin's Stand, that she just has to get out. However, what Hibiki has to say is certainly more important. As the explosion from the ice skulls meeting her faerie fire clears, Lilian peers through the fading magic-light wearing the shadow of an impatient, yet tempered, grimace.
"You've been causing us problems for a little while then. I can't quite decide whether to give you some more credit, or decide you need to be punished harder." She glances sidelong at Tina, her voice smoothly lowering a more dangerous octave. "His Stand's true body is elsewhere, or it's split up too much to matter. Assume he has an effectively unlimited number of those. You don't deal in elemental magic, so focus on volume of fire. The more of he has to dedicate to intercepting your shots, the more freedom of movement the others have. They're both his shields, his main weapon, and his means of controlling space."
Lilian then leaps back away from the incoming crush of incendiary skulls. Fire-aspected energy torches the hem of her skirt and sleeves, and the staggered series of blasts itself throws her off her aerial balance, turning an attempt to get airborne into a backwards somersault into the cloud of unsettled dust and smoke.
Then, right after Hibiki executes her feint, during the palm strike portion of her attack routine, Lilian reappears directly behind Itsuki, opposite the Relic-user, without any clear means of having gotten there. A targeted kick snaps out into the back of the knee, simultaneously leading into the momentum of Hibiki tackling him down from the front. A sharp elbow strike to the base of the neck follows, as a painful opportunistic stun, and then she shifts fluidly from the path of Hibki's attack with a full turn and a revolving backfist strike aimed the side of his face.
"Though, it's not as if I don't understand wanting to impress someone, this was a more than ridiculous idea to do it. Don't you think your power is a little half-baked to be trying to wow professional assassins at their own game? It seems premature to me."
|Zero Kiryu||"No. You're decent at it. But only until something is about to blow up catastrophically for somebody else," Zero replies to Yuuki, bluntly. He folds his arms over his chest, one of the enormous bees raking along his shoulder in a shower of... it's hard to say what, exactly. It's not stone, as hard as the surface of his flesh suggests. It's more crystalline, flaking off of him like the trailing tail of a comet.
"At that point, though, you just won't keep quiet," he says, his voice an uneven mixture of exasperated and affectionate. The blend leans far more on the latter than the former, however.
Despite being the one that was attacked more-or-less-successfully, Zero reclines against the wall of the temple and crosses his arms over his chest, surveying the Yuuki with him with a momentary shine of red at the very heart of his eyes. "But perhaps..."
The vines on the platform around Ben expand outwards and assault the BEES that are currently harassing him.
"I'm worried about playing favorites between your selves," Zero suggests, coolly.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
The growth of the plant, and its subsequent dispersal of soporifics forces the woman's hand, as she pivots and sprints away, covering her mouth and nose. Unfortunately, this leads her directly into a cleverly laid trap by Ben .. but the assassin shows just how nimble she is, even with the sudden darkness practically blinding her. Her instinct was so sharp, and her feet so fleet, that she was able to make it to one of the other exists without being instantly defeated. Yet, the acid burns marring her skin tell the tale of an almost gruesome end. As did the spike of ice planted firmly in her shoulder. "Uh ... huh ... having to fight directly like this, it's no good after all .. !"
Jonathan in the meantime, has his hands full fending off swarming insectoids utilizing carefully applied Overdrives. Utilizing his Hamon allowed him to zap the Stand's apparitions and destroy them quickly, and efficiently, but it seemed almost endless. At least, until ... she wobbles on her feet. "What...?"
In the end, she just hadn't been prepared for the sleeping powder.
All it had taken was one, unfortunate, errant whiff and no matter how hard she'd tried to run from it, it eventually dispersed through her system and left her so woozy, that the King Bee was beginning to flicker. A Stand was a manifestation of willpower, and being so close to passing out, she struggled to maintain it.
" 'Get some'? Like, /some/ some? I mean, I wouldn't say no, but .."
You'd sell yourself just for that... ?!
Itsuki grins, and points his thumb to himself, "Yep! Because ... "
She really did captivate him. Sure, all of these girls were major cuties, just like Tina said. Going on a date with each of them would be super fun, he bet. But, even then, there was just something about her that got his attention. Something that drew him like a moth to flame.
Tina taking shots at him results in Itsuki sending in a green skull that protects him with a razor-sharp whirlwind. Only, he underestimates the danger of richochets, and finds himself winged in the back of the leg. "Guh?!"
A flash of pain runs across his face as Hibiki closes in. Reaching, he grasps a Pink Skull from the air and holds it close to himself. Instead of exploding violently like the 'attack type' skulls, this one enveloped him in an aura of some kind.
Itsuki covers himself with his arms, folding them in a cross-shape to catch Hibiki's blow directly. The ground cracks under the force of the strike, but --
Even with a pained grimace on his face, Itsuki stood strong. Pushing against her to throw her off balance, he pulls one arm back and shoots it forward in a straightforward, simple jab; yet, it carries an absolutely colossal force.
Crys' assault is intercepted by a swarm of cool, blue skulls that explode into freezing cold flashes as they swarm her, attempting to freeze her to the spot; several of them are blasted down before they even reach her, but she still has a handful to contend with.
In the mean time, Lilian's expertly launched blows find purchase, yet, Itsuki seems relatively unaffected by them. That glow around his body, it was like a film of power that she was failing to break through .. until it disappears just in time for him to get kicked hard enough to send him reeling to the ground.
It lasted precisely five seconds from the moment he used that Pink Skull to empower himself.
Holding his hand out to direct them, a swarm of red skulls and a single green one shoot off towards Lilian, exploding together to create a burning hot hurricane of flame.
"Heh heh ... maybe! I don't really have a good answer for you."
He ... just really wanted to help her out. Itsuki rubs the bleeding wound on his head, the sting nearly making him topple over again.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| Yuuki makes a suggestion.
<Tac-Concord>  Ben d'Tarkanan says, "Smoke? Easily done--worth a try!"
<Tac-Concord>  Yuuki Kuran says, "It makes bees sleepy! I just looked it up on my phone."
Ben isn't a beekeeper, and wouldn't know. What he does know is that their opponent has just stumbled in, and that there appears to be a clear link between her struggle to maintain consciousness, and the Bee's.
There's a thick curtain of fog which billows through the darkness, aimed at the bee. He doesn't imagine it will be totally effective, given it pretty clearly appears to be a Stand--
Which is why he speaks up. "You should rest a while." Perhaps in her drugged state, he might be able to overpower Dio's control, through a command not as flagrantly against the vampire's interest as Ben's last attempt.
|Tina Natsumi||"... Well. Can't fault a guy for bein' honest, at least." Tina sighs again, both in exasperation and vague approval at Itsuki's forthright response. Anything to keep her from getting too heated during this fight over what he's gotten himself involved in.
Anything to keep her from nearly making the same mistake twice.
Hearing Lilian's plan, Tina cracks a confident grin while holstering that revolver. "That sounds just fine to me... I've been meaning to try out something I picked up on the side, anyway." She replies with a similarly ominous, but decisively more mischievous tone. "Whether it works or not'll be something else entirely, but..." Reaching into Uncle Sam's back, Tina withdraws a submachine gun with an oversized drum magazine while her Persona does the same with a pair of Thompsons.
"Neat fire control and shield... Thing you got with that Stand there! But how's it /stand/ up to the power of all-American guns, I wonder?" Tina and the Persona both start firing their trio of guns rapidly at Itsuki shortly after she finishes issuing that challenge.
Although it seems random at first, all of Tina and her Persona's shots come out with frightening control, the excessive spray of not-actually-but-adjacent-to-bullets intended to graze and distract him with the sheer quantity of projectiles coming from so many directions at once. Although they don't carry the same punch as the very real bullets from her revolver, the sheer quantity of the shots should more than make up for it.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
Rest a while?
The compulsion, with her state of mind, finds little to no resistance that cannot be overcome. Tilting over, the assassin - Charlie - hits Zero's bridge of greenery easily, the lights already out before she even finished hitting the ground. The swarm of King Bee, accordingly, disappeared as well. " ... ?!"
Jonathan lowers his arms, looking around confused, before spotting the downed Stand User, and the rest of his compatriots. "Good work, everyone...! It looks like she's down, at least, for now."
Speedwagon, who had been fighting off his own fair share of the swarm with his buzzsaw blade bowler hat, breathes out in relief. "Finally..."
|Zero Kiryu||Flickering, in-and-out bees are actually rather more difficult to deal with than bees that are totally consistent-- to a degree. Zero isn't altogether certain what to anticipate, but he does manage to get decently out of the way of the charging insect that comes after him. It nicks him in passing, not quite managing to draw down a small line of scarlet. Instead there's a light divot in his flesh, but not one that runs deep or red.
It flickers in and out as it carries on. He makes an aggravated noise.
"I'm in the middle of a conversation. Let's say... that d'Tarkanan has the right idea," he says.
Sudden flowerings begin to occur all around the woman controlling the bees, bright, dangerously colorful blooms coming into being, emitting their sickly-sweet powder, and then gradually withering away in her immediate surroundings.
Swiping lightly at his injuries with a hand, Zero continues to speak to Yuuki the First, "All of this reminds me that I... have been cleaning up the house in the mountains, for a little while now. But..."
Tilting his head a little, he wonders, "How much meaning do we still ascribe to the places we came from? Should I be thinking about such things as 'my cottage' or 'your castle', or..."
"Should I be thinking of Grand Dorado, and places beyond?"
|Crys Gattz||Crys Gattz listens to the young man as he admits to why he sold himself for that. Tina really has Itsuki's attention and she'll make use of it. While she odes come under attack the cold flashes hit her. She's caught by the skulls here and there she's even left frozen in place for a moment before she breaks loose. All and all he's doing some damage to Crys. Still, she's more armoured than she appeared to be. She comes out the other side still moving, and the young stand user will fins Crys can use ice as well.
It causes a surge of ice to rushes towards him as Crys moves now firing shots from her pistol and then again trying to get into melee launching another combo of Claw strikes.
"Your honest about what you want but it's kind of sad...
|Yuuki Kuran||With her suggestion taken and run with to the logical end-point -- and more! -- Yuuki beams pleasedly. A phantom-ing bee makes a run for her, but its ephemeral blade-stinger simply bounces off of her without form or substance to sustain it as the King Bee and its controller hit the ground.
"Fantastic job, Ben! See? Teamwork!" She calls, Second Yuuki appearing over the fallen woman and holding out a hand where a clear halo-pulse of force limns the fallen woman's head.
"Quickly, Jonathan, her DIO plant, and then we can claim absolute victory!"
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Hibiki has only a second to be surprised by the aura enveloping their enemy, a second in which her attack is already coming through! Though the stone underneath them quakes and the force transmits like a shockwave through the air around them, he...doesn't move!? When she was expecting his physical ability to be pretty weak, /and/ she's unused to her raw strength not getting her anywhere, this leaves her very, very off guard.
Leaving her totally open to getting her defenses thrown wide open, and the punch to land home. It smashes into her cheek with both a massive impact and the crunching sound of her lights being clocked out, the force carrying through to blow her off of her feet and sending her spinning back through the air. There's a dramatic close-up of her face, one eye tightly shut, before time speeds back up to normal and gravity carries her back down to the edge of the floor leading to the abyss.
Thankfully, she doesn't end up falling down it, and pushing back to her knees and spitting out some blood a few seconds later. "That was..." She shakes her head clear, just fast enough that she's able to see the final blow of Lilian's follow-up strike home as the aura fades. So it doesn't last forever. But Hibiki is more caught up on his response to Lilian, and his own (cut-off) one to her earlier.
"You must really like her if you'd go this far," she groans while getting back to her feet, focus returning to her eyes sharper than before as she stances back up. "...But are you just trying to impress her, or do you actually want what's best for her?" Bracing a foot against the ground, Hibiki puts her strength into launching herself forward! "Because if you really care...!"
But not at Itsuki. Remembering the previous exploding skulls, and now the one he just used...she's on a dash for the nearest Pink Skull. To grab it not only deny him from getting out of being cornered again, but emulate the same aura-boost he just gave himself. Which will only be for a few seconds, apparently, but for that little bit of time...
Well, she'd probably be pretty scary. Maybe even scary enough to discourage him from continuing to fight. Even if she /does/ manage it, she's only going to turn and stare him down for the first moment. "...You'd be trying to get her out of this life! And it's not too late for that!"
Second Yuuki, a bit more smug in her short-haired glory, switches tacks to appear behind the shoulders of Zero, draping over his back and having her arms fall across his shoulders, so that her hands clasp a bit under his chin. Too short to stand there -- Zero was a good bit taller than her -- she hovers, like she did previously with Ben, legs perpendicular to the ground at the knees.
"Why compromise? There's no reason to. I'm glad you're knocking the cobwebs off of your past and clearing out the dust from your spaces. Would you like to spend time there? We can, whenever you like. One of me is always available for you. Still..."
Second Yuuki pauses, smiles, and whispers it in Zero's ear, before leaning her chin against his right shoulder and peering over it as Jonathan and First Yuuki work together to harmlessly free the trapped and controlled Stand User.
|Lilian Rook|| One can absolutely bet that the timing of Itsuki's defensive bubble is being kept track of in Lilian's head. The colour of the corresponding skull, the number being directed at once, the combination of effects he calls up, revisions of his personal durability and how hard she can strike, the speed of his sub-stands, their explosive radius; all are naturally factored into Lilian's plan of attack here. Even a punk kid who's supposedly had his abilities for such a short while is worth devoting some significant portion of her tactical analytics when it comes to the absurdly natured clashes she'd heard of, and then seen, in this world.
"Infatuation isn't that logical." she says to Hibiki, strutting away from the place where Itsuki initially falls. With her back turned to her enemy, shoes clicking on the dusty old temple floor, she must be exceedingly confident about something. Or bluffing. Or just like that. "Rather, it doesn't bend to logic at all. Whether or not something is good for someone you've gone head over heels for at first sight; thoughts like that aren't exactly on your mind. What matters is making them yours, and everything after that, you can figure out later. Isn't that right?"
This time, the attack sequence coming at her is thrice as big and twice as many elements. The addition of the green skull mixer dramatically changes the nature of the attack in an instant. The combo attack is very different from what had just nearly hit Lilian. But as the smoke clears, she is only behind Itsuki again. The airflow, with so much flying about, is crazy. The echoes of gunfire and rocket punches are deafening. She may as well have been invisible, on top of that kind of speed. She must have moved the instant Tina cleared a path through the skulls. Threading the route Hibiki had monopolized by colliding with one of the pink ones.
"Seen it." she says, so uncomfortably close. She doesn't follow with anything more wordy, not wanting to give him time to react --no, wanting to give him a very *precise* amount of time to react. A thin layer of stone tile splinters under an audio-peaking stomp of one foot beneath her. As a pink skull flies back to defend him, her shoulder bends, hips pivot, fingers curl. A wave of power rushes down the length of her arm, waist, and legs the moment the barrier forms. Tension uncoils all at once, and the weight of her body pivots and explodes forward along the length of her arm, behind a gunshot swift fist.
Lilian persists with the blunt trauma to the resilient barrier not with the strict purpose of trying to break through it with brute force, but to take advantage of a simple fact that Itsuki, evidently a novice to this kind of battlefield, has overlooked: the sheer kinetic energy absorbed by the Stand should be enough to launch him like a pinball, giving her a good chance to see how he interacts with walls and floors at high speed, whilst messing up the teen inside with violent, brutalizing whiplash.
"It looks like you have a talent for controlling that thing, but you don't have much combat experience, right? Your attacks are very straightforward. Doubly so for anyone used to elemental magic. You can't take a veteran off guard with that kind of combination. Furthermore, you can't keep that bubble up for very long at one time, right?"
|Zero Kiryu||Weight shifts against Zero's back. He feels her before he sees her, but he doesn't react until she's already latched on. His head turns, slightly, to survey the short-haired Yuuki with the smug demeanor. He looks away, seemingly to weigh the particulars of her question.
When he turns back to whisper to her though, he's sure to keep what remains of the conversation buried in the shadows.
|Jonathan Joestar|| UP:
With Zero putting her to extra sleep, and Yuuki providing him an opening, Jonathan nods fiercely and makes an incredible leap from his position, the RED SUN KEY in hand as he makes the impressive distance between his pillar and the strut that woman had fallen on in a single bound. "I'm on it! With my Hamon, I'll wipe that flesh bud out before it has a chance to take her out...!"
"C'mon .... Ab-Soul...!"
Holding his hand out, the multi-colored skulls move both to protect him, and counter-attack. Explosions of wind, flame, and ice retort and serve as a deafening backdrop, even as Itsuki stumbles to get his bearings once again. And by the time he does ... Hibiki had already gotten her hands on one of his Life Skulls!
Wait..ah, man, Ab-Soul is already ..
There were almost no skulls left for him to use. Lilian, Tina, and Crys had put him in a position where he'd had no choice but to use almost all of them up to avoid getting put down like a dog.
"Charlie's super-duper special," Itsuki responds to Hibiki, his mind racing. He was someone who never really had to try all that hard to succeed; things usually just went his way. Like Faith had said, his sense of timing was just that good.
But, Hibiki does make him pause, a troubled look coming over his face. "W...well ... that's ... "
He actually sounds stumped. Of course, he /is/ just a first-year high-schooler. He was really lucky, he was probably fairly smart, and naturally talented at many things, but -- an inexperienced kid, is still an inexperienced kid. Lilian hits the nail straight on the head.
"I guess you have a point," he admits. " ... but going against DIO isn't so easy. It's not just him, either. Maybe, after this job is done ... but .. !"
A blazing flame burns to life in his eyes as he pulls his arms to the side. "If I give up now, that future's never gonna' come, 'cause we'd both get killed here!"
"That's why, I'll risk my life right now .. !"
The handful of skulls that apparate from Ab-Soul .. the 'elements' are always random. The pink was the rarest one he'd discovered so far, but even he didn't fully understand the full capabilities of his Stand. That he'd gotten a pink one earlier had been nothing more than his absurd luck. Lilian's assault leaves him on the floor, the barrier fading out. Hibiki still had a moment of her own to use boost the skull gave her
And, just now ... in his moment of need, that absurd luck reared its head again. A bright white skull floats ahead.
"That color, I've never seen it before, but ... I'll stake all I've got on it! C'mon.....!"
He was a total novice at fighting. His Stand was strong, it had a lot of potential -- and he was plenty clever in using it, but this was the difference in Experience. Even his lucky break, with this skull exploding in the air as a flashing strike of lightning that roars loudly ...
In his heart, he knows he can't win against any of them, much less the highly-experienced and calculating Lilian. But he couldn't accept not giving it his all.
Itsuki nearly pitches onto his face afterwards. In fact, he does so, his willpower and energy exhausted. The strain of manifesting Stand Power varied from person to person ... but, the beatings he'd taken, on top of pushing himself well past his limits, it was bound to only end one way. With Itsuki face down on the floor, and Ab-Soul completely ab-sent.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| The darkness is no longer necessary, and it's best not to make Jonathan use his Hamon unnecessarily. It vanishes, revealing the complex patchwork of glyphs on the ground.
"Careful, Lord Joestar--mind the traps." His sword, glimmering in the light, is sheathed, bearing a few nicks from the Stand's stinger.
In anticipation of Jonathan making his anti-bud technique, Ben procures... a quill and a scrap of parchment? He can't just stand and do nothing.
I didn't have the chance to gauge your character. It's hard to do so, when one is influenced as you were. Enjoy this as a gift. Use it however you like. You may join us, if you feel so inclined. We shan't be hard to find.
The note is slipped into the dozing Stand user's hand, and his coinpurse, in its entirety, is tied shut and placed in her opposite hand. "I don't know the life Dio took her away from... but do you think this might help her get back to it?"
|Tina Natsumi||Hibiki's getting through to him. Good. Breathing a little bit easier, Tina's already in the middle of reloading as Uncle Sam works on whittling down Itsuki's defenses with that sustained barrage of gunfire. She grimaces, however, when things come back to DIO's influence again, but she's not nearly as quick to get her murder-hand going this time around.
"Sounds like you got a rough, pardner. But you know what? We..." She pauses. "... They got him out of the hole breaking through all this crap, so don't think they'll let you down, neither!" Shoving her SMG back into Uncle Sam's back, she braces against the brack of her Persona's armored form to brace herself for the attack that even Itsuki doesn't recognize: A white skull.
Actually, what would a white skull attack entail? She's seen fire and ice alraedy, the wind from green, but white... She's drawing a blank on that one. With Lilian's assessment still fresh in Tina's mind, though, she just braces for a raw onslaught of power rather than anything tricky, and the prediction proves to work in her favor. The steely machine man takes the brunt of the lightning admirably, although even the residual effects have the streamer losing feeling in her body at the literal shock of it all running through her system.
By the time it ends, though, Tina's still standing, and Itsuki is not. She's still twitching erratically as she and her Persona approach his fallen form, still keeping a hand on her revolver just in case. "Think... Uh. I think we're good. Let's... Let's get him to Jonathan and see if we can't get that brain worm outta there, huh?"
If no objections are sent her way or if nobody else goes for it themselves, Tina's next move will be trying to haul the teenager upstairs. Instead of using her Persona to do it, she'll just do it by hand! Fortunately or unfortunately for him, however, she'll opt for the princess carry.
|Crys Gattz||The kid is good if he got someone to train and guide him? He could go pretty far, just by he hasn't been floored by the group yet says that. It's also true everyone he's facing is very experienced in the multiverse. The kid still got one last card to play and it's a damn doozy. She's knocked off her feet and her barriers are just about overloaded dealing with it. Her mag has flown for cover and is only peeping out from it once it's over. Crys slowly gets up and looks at the young man he doesn't/ seem to be fighting anymore so she'll lower her weapon and sighs a bit.
"Right with you Tina, shall we haul his ass up there before the worm goes off?" She'll get to work on hauling him off with anyone else intet to help her.
"Not bad for a kid..."
|Hibiki Tachibana|| "...You're right," Hibiki has to admit to Lilian. No, maybe asking him to think about it straightly is too much to ask. In fact, if things bent to logic in such a way, she probably wouldn't be here right now...she understands that well. And it's why she purses her lips at Itsuki's confirmation that this girl is special to him. Maybe, he can see reason...? Just like Faith...!
But his resolve comes back in full force and then some, with Hibiki's tightened fists loosening up somewhat as he shouts out. "Wait--!" Risk his life? They're not going to kill him...! Ab-Soul is enacted again, and a mysterious new skull shows itself, as if in response to his willpower...was it that, or really just dumb luck? There's /something/ she could do here, something she races to do as she starts forward and opens her mouth.
But the skull bursts, and lightning crackles through the room a moment too soon. It strikes Hibiki head on, and forces her teeth shut in a clench so hard it hurts. She can't speak, and she can hardly move with the searing pain rippling through her body and threatening to seize up her muscles, but she keeps pushing on anyway. Maybe only because of the boost from the pink skull still shrouding and enhancing her. She's going to get to him--
And not throw a completely body-shattering punch. Hibiki's just going to catch him, right as the aura fades away. She couldn't stop him, but the least she can do is stop him from hitting the floor. With a groan that's equal parts pain and relief, when she takes a moment to confirm he didn't actually /kill/ himself with that stunt, she closes her eyes. "...If you put your life on the line, how are you going to get that future, you idiot..."
Everything hurts. And kind of stings. She's more than happy to let Tina and the others do the job of actually carrying him onwards and upwards to get properly healed up, because she needs a minute. But at least...it didn't go as badly as it could've. And that's reason enough to be relieved. As long as you're alive...
|Lilian Rook|| "Here's a better way of thinking of it, then." Lilian says as the barrier falls once again. "Even if you impress her now, she isn't really going to be yours. As long as this is going on, she belongs to DIO, doesn't she? If you think you can't go against him, then is she going to in your place?"
Lilian acquires Gun from bag. There is a menacing click-whine slide action charge. "Good attitude, but 'I'm ready to die' is always easy to say your first time." Aimed. Finger in the trigger guard.
Sudden white skull. An enclosed room is a garbage awful place to go when someone suddenly detonates a suicide AoE, never mind an effectively instant travel kind like a lightning blast. Established as already having shown up without armour, Lilian's only countermeasure is the split-second forewarning of extreme immediate danger from where that ultra rare colour of Ab-Soul intersects with her timeline, able only to vanish in the same infinitesimal moment that the leading edge of the consuming white flash collides with and envelops her.
What happens next isn't particularly anyone's concern, given their own significant worries at that same moment, but there's a sharp tumbling sound for an instant, and then a second later, a lot of coughing and loud rustling and thwapping as Lilian resolves at the edge of the room, patting out her smoking clothes. Unfortunately, most of the fashionable facade is ruined, exposing the partially melted inserts and thin layers of things thankfully better insulating than linen.
"--almighty, that little punk went for it anyways. Now what am I supposed to do with him? What's he going to learn except yelling about risking your life makes you go out 'all cool-looking?'. Annoying up to the last minute." That said, Lilian does have *something* in mind (or, had something, pointedly), as she procures black plastic zip ties from her bag and uses them to make sure his hands aren't going anywhere while he's unconscious, once Tina is the designated pack mule. Lilian resumes heading back up stairs, bouncing the moon piece up and down in her palm. Not really clear on when she took it.