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|Jonathan Joestar|| LAST TIME:
The gang splits up to solve an assortment of odd puzzles to obtain a set of keys, as well as open the path needed to use them. During this quest in which they explore the exterior as well as the lower level of the temple, the two find themselves assailed by their foes. The first group finds themselves pitted against an assassin named Charlie, and her Swarm-type Stand, King Bee.
King Bee was capable of producing an army of blade-stinging hornets far larger and far stronger than usual which would automatically seek and attack targets based on priority.
Using a clever trap involving Zero's sleeping powder and Ben's magic, as well as Yuuki's 530,000 IQ Mental CPU and Jonathan's Hamon, they're able to successfully subdue her without casualty and obtain the Red Sun Key.
Meanwhile, deep below, the second group has to deal with a cave-in and a relatively simple set of security mechanisms to obtain the Blue Moon Key. Upon doing so, they're confronted with Itsuki, a high-schooler who'd become infatuated with Charlie after she wound up saving him from a spot of trouble on the way to Egypt. He ran away from his parents to join her and obtained his Stand, Ab-Soul, with the Golden Arrow. Ab-Soul was a medium-range power-type Stand capable of manifesting skull corresponding to different concepts and abilities, based on chance. Itsuki, with his incredible and noteworthy luck, was able to use it to fend off the rest of the Elites for a time, but experience wound up winning the day with Lilian Rook and Hibiki Tachibana's well-executed team attack pushing him straight into a corner, until he pushed himself too far and wound up succumbing to his injuries, both self-inflicted and otherwise.
Carrying Itsuki was Faith, and with both groups having obtained their keys and subdued their foes, it's time for ...
Both groups have reconvened in the central chamber, with the middle passage having opened up, numerous stone walls shifting downwards to form a floor to walk them forwards through a wide path depicting the sun, moon, and stars along the way. At the end of the path are statues of two kneeling priests, their heads having been shattered and leaving their visages unrecognizable.
"Ah ... such a loss of culture ... " JoJo murmurs, disappointed. The statues held their hands out, as if to receive something. "Yeah, I don't really remember which goes where, but you'll need to slot those keys into their hands." Faith says.
He'd left Itsuki back in the main chamber, with the sleeping Charlie, after Jonathan had removed his flesh bud.
|Tina Natsumi||"Can't be too hard to figure out, can it? There's only of two of 'em." Tina asks with her more familiar upbeat bravado, finding herself a little more rejuvenated in both body and mind following the Blue Moon Key group's not-quite-ultra-violence against Itsuki. With her cowboy hat held in hand for once to let her head breathe a little (or at least as much as it can deep underground), she looks at the pair of statues with a furrowed eyebrow.
"I mean, unless they're rigged to crush us under the ceiling or summat if we put them in the wrong slots. Then..." She points at the statue on the right. "Red sun." And then she points at the statue on the left. "Blue moon."
She waits for absolutely nobody to ask before going right into her explanation for the convenience of the viewers back home! (Because she's totally recording this on her phone). "Sun rise to sun set, starts reddish in the morning, turns bluish at night." The faux-cowgirl chuckles confidently while slipping her hat back on, checking her revolver and phone to make sure they're both ready to fire at a moment's notice. "Pretty sound logic, if I don't say so myself."
|Yuuki Kuran||"But you just did say-so yourself, Tina." Yuuki observes, dusting off her palms from some dry duff. Her expression lifts amusededly as she crosses her arms before her chest. "Either way is fine. If Jonathan didn't just solve it himself that's as good a logic as any."
She doesn't feel like she has 530,000 IQ, because that'd be a lot of numbers for her two braincells to hold at once and numbers sound heavy.
"You know, I could ask a wizard friend of mine if he could repair the statues. Actually, I believe I have a wizard friend right here, don't I, Ben?"
|Zero Kiryu||"Tell me what you remember about passing through this chamber last. Who was with you?" Zero directs towards Faith, his voice distant. He hovers at Yuuki's side, his eyes raised towards the missing heads of the statues.
Towards Jonathan, he remarks, "Civilizations come, and go. This one is so buried in my world that we hardly know anything about it anymore. Though... that probably just means there are many more interesting ruins for you to find, if you were interested."
"It's been ten thousand years since our first civilizations reached an approximately modern state," he adds.
But his actual attention is focused on Faith's mind. Just because he can't recall consciously doesn't mean that Zero can't sift through his memories of the event itself as he retells it.
Which was the purpose of his questioning!
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Though she doesn't openly say as much, it's fairly obvious that Hibiki is happy to see that the other group's encounter didn't have to end in anyone dying either - Itsuki waking up to that would have just been too cruel. So far, since reaching Kom Ombo, things have worked out for everybody, somehow or another...
Leaving just one last thing to tie up. Their goal should be right beyond these last two statues...and they finally have what they need to get through them. Now it's just putting them in the right places, huh?
"Morning sunlight, and dark night..." She mulls over Tina's helpful exposition for the opener to this episode, then nods. "Makes sense to me. Then I'll do one. If something does go wrong, I can handle it." And her group still has the BLUE MOON KEY in hand from when they came back up anyway, which she holds up.
This statue-repairing and Zero's shenanigans will very much probably help with avoiding the 'going wrong' part though, so she'll be on standby until the time is ripe to give it a shot.
|Crys Gattz||Things have been getting pretty darn intense when the fight with Itsuki had finished. Faith was helping out by carrying the young man as the lower team got on the move once more. It was very fortunate that they had both Tina and Lilian on the lower team at least for Itsuki's sake. Things are far from over at this point and she'll look to Jojoj for a moment.
"When this is over it might be worth sending a proper team to study this place and record what is left."
With Itsuki out of harm's way and sleeping things off? Crys seem pretty much set for whatever might come next.
"At least this place is not the cage for an evil demigod."
She looks to Zero for a moment.
"That's true and it sounds like your world is having a good run of it."
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| When Ben returns to regroup with everyone else, he's without that heavy coinpurse, but the nervousness from before is gone from him. His smile even seems sincere.
oO0(Repair them? No... not unless I were to raise some laborers. Were there any left, I'm certain I'd have found them. However...)
"Not repair, no--but..." He lifts his sword, whispering a word of power that seems to echo into itself, like the murmurings of hermit-scholars down the winding halls of some secluded library. A grey, vaporous wisp travels up along the blade of the sword, and...
Dissipates. Ben sighs. "Well, I suppose it was wishful thinking to expect that to work in a temple." He shrugs his shoulders, but nods with a bright smile after Tina's suggestion. "I *could* try it outside--but her idea, or, better yet," adds Ben, with a gesture towards Faith, trailing off. If he remembers it, then there's no reason to leave it to chance.
"In any case, Lord Joestar--you do have a point about the lost culture. Provided this Dio doesn't completely trounce us, I'd be glad to discuss an endeavor to have the place restored." There's a pause, and his sword lowers.
"Ahem. Yes, I'm ready, incidentally."
|Jonathan Joestar||Faith scratches his scruffy chin, "Uh...well, I hadn't been paying too much attention. I didn't really care."
But Zero, who is a mind-reader, can grasp at a blurry image as Faith tries to remember. "It was me, Itsuki, Charlie, and Ramone. There was someone else already inside, but the rest of us weren't allowed to see -- only Ramone."
From this, Zero can infer that Ramone is the 'playboy' looking guy with sunken eyes and a variety of colorful pins on his white armani suit that he'd seen prior, when looking through the memories of the three assassins.
Jonathan smiles, "I'd love to see what secrets your world has hidden, buried under the earth. If that's the case, there is doubtlessly an abundance of ancient history, just waiting to be rediscovered."
"Although, I think that the keys corresponded to the corridors you took to get them?"
The fuzzy image in his head sharpens slightly, to the Red Sun Key resting in the hands of the Left Statue, while the Blue Moon Key rests in the hands of the right statue.
"Right, yeah, Itsuki thought we'd suffer some kind of curse if we got it wrong. But, that's someone whose spirit is still in eighth grade, for you."
Jonathan nods his head, "I see ... although, that this place would be so feverishly protected from necromancy .. I suppose it makes sense, considering that there were many soldiers and revered animals buried here. However, is that the only reason..?"
Speedwagon, moving with Hibiki, works to put the keys in the right spots. With that out of the way, the door opens up to reveal ... a very, very large, circular chamber. More of a dome, truthfully, with a staircase spiraling upwards. Moving, like a corkscrew. "Look! It's lifting some kind of platform to the top of the temple!" Speedwagon noticed, before directing his pointing finger downwards. "And..in front of it is..!"
"Ramone..." Faith mutters with a frown.
He's a muscular man, of about six feet tall. Lithe, though, and with a carefully maintained mop of blonde hair. His white armani suit blends well with his bright pink, collared shirt and his heart-shaped sunglasses. The pins adorning him are colored in a wide variety and shaped to resemble playing card suits; Heart, Spade, Diamond, etc.
"But, if you're here, then ... " Faith says, looking back to the spiral staircase. Something seems to click into place for him, "Whoever you were meeting with to pass off the arrows .. they must be there."
"That's about right," Ramone confirms, flippantly and with a lethargic voice, as if he were doing something frustrating -- like taking out the trash just after dinner. No, that was probably exactly what he thought he was doing.
Jonathan begins to step forward, only to be stopped by Faith's hand on his shoulder, "No. If you really want to get that junk back before it's too late, you all need to race up that staircase as fast as you can. Otherwise, they'll probably slip out of your grasp."
Faith sucks in a breath, and walks ahead of the others, pointing to himself with his thumb.
"Leave Ramone to me."
|Yuuki Kuran||"Faith, I'm touched that you would. It's incredible, the transformation you've already made. You placed your Faith in us, and I want to reward that Faith. As a show of Faith. A good Faith--" Yuuki laughs, lifting her wrist before her lips. "I'll stop, I'll stop."
Second Yuuki (long-hair) steps out from behind Jonathan, smirking darkly. "And I'll go. You can't make me choose just one."
First Yuuki steps forward to Faith's side. "Jonathan can double back to remove that wriggling thing in your head after he's recovered the precious thing." She announces, rolling her sleeves up to the elbows performatively.
Second Yuuki tugs on Jonathan and Zero's arm, urging them upstairs.
The first, because it is Jonathan's dream she's ensuring. The second...
Because she expects to need a metal forest to stop the flight of whomever is running off.
|Zero Kiryu||"Yes... although... now that I think about it, some of it might be rather frivolous. Mass manufacturing was more than a bit out of control prior to the collapse," Zero muses aloud towards Jonathan.
He instructs the others on the image he saw in Faith's mind, assisting in the placement of the keys. It's not as much as he'd have liked-- but it's enough to get them through the situation at hand.
The opsec these guys have is kind of remarkable, though. Or... more accurately he supposes, the complete lack of trust between individuals is remarkable. That must be the case when cooperation stems from a deeply negative place, he supposes.
A decision looms. Zero nods towards Faith. He produces a fruit in the center of his palm and tosses it to Faith. "Eat."
He says nothing further, falling in with Second Yuuki and Jonathan on what is sure to be a hasty ascent.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| Is that the only reason? It's a good question. In his experience, no--guarding like that requires something specific. What it is, its cost, how much of it one needs--these are variable, depending on the world. Sometime's it's a god's favor, or maybe it's artifice far beyond his understanding. Sometimes it's the kind of arcane knowledge he's familiar with. But no matter what, as a thief, he's known the motive to be material in the majority of times he's encountered this type of warding.
In other words...
oO0(Heroes and honored animals are one thing--but even those don't often have protections this paranoid. There's something else here.)
He smiles cryptically at Jonathan. "All the more reason for us to prevail this day," he says jovially. "For if we lose, we shan't find out!" It looks like he'll be making that trip outside after all--or at least, he intends to, once this is over.
Ben takes a step back, when the staircase is revealed along the edge of the newly opened-up room, and Ramone steps out. Faith offers to take care of him, that everyone else might catch up before their prize is lost. "...right!"
Ben's sword his held high again, and another word of power uttered. He leaps. Which is to say, it looks like he's on a wire, to see how absurdly high and long it is. His palm gently presses against the wall along with the flat of his boot, and he gracefully slides down, breaking into a sprint and making intermittent long leaps to cut daring corners across the ascending spiral. There's a look down, back at Ramone and Faith squaring off...
oO0(The voices were right, in a way. I wanted to save him... not because I *am* pathetic, but because I have been before. He's hit his lowest point, and now, he's trying to see where to go. Then... let me give him a light to see by!)
"Good hunting, Faith! Believe in us, as we believe in you!" One last final leap, and he attempts to slow the elevator with strategically hurled rays of freezing cold at the edges, attempting to warp and enbrittle the mechanisms from outside, or at least ice up the space it's meant to occupy. Even if his ability to interact with it is limited, every second is precious when dealing with adversaries who have slipped their grasp so often.
"Yeah, that makes sense. Still, Yuuki. I gotta show off at least once in a while, yeah?" Tina laughs at her own understatement, then glances at Ben when his name is brought up. "Is that a thing you can do? Dang... Remind me to give Flamel a call about that mind.. Palace thing sometime."
She laughs again, but she probably means it. She listens in on Zero and Faith at the question about the chamber, although the more intricate parts of his strategy are loston her. That doesn't mean it can't hurt to listen, though.
"I gotcha covered if anything explodes, too, so don't worry 'bout a thing!" Smacking herself on the chest once, Tina brings out Uncle Sam, and it waits near the statues in case something really does explode.
"An evil...? Ah, shit, don't jinx us now." She laughs again at Crys' statement, then rubs her chin lightly once Ben brings up DIO's name. "I mean... What if, right? We've been chasing after the arrows he wants, and he's got this many folks under his thumb, so..."
She shakes her head. "Eh, no sense worryin' 'bout it at this point. We'll get it done, or we'll all die horribly. Nothin' to it!"
And so, it's time to head in (with the actual solution, even). Their first obstacle is a beefy guy that has Tina tipping her hat back briefly to get a better look at him, frowning after a few moments. "How the heck did we miss someone dressed like that...?" She mutters quietly before shaking her head, then pulls herself onto Uncle Sam's back.
At first, she doesn't say anything as the Persona starts marching up those stairs steadily, although she does maintain eye-contact with Ramone the whole time. If he doesn't do anything, she keeps going until stopping besides him.
"If I've learned one thing in my line of work, it's that splitting the party rarely ever works. People'll screw up on basic mechanics all the time, tryin' to speedrun to the boss room means nothin' with a party wipe, and math's... Yeah, math's just impossible. But with these kinds of numbers? Best thing to do is-"
Tina hip-fires her revolver at Ramone from the arm further away from him, having tried to hide her shot despite that dramatically obvious monologue. Uncle Sam, meanwhile, contorts itself into a more hunched over formation to give the Persona-user some cover as she finally finishes that sentence from the last page. "-a Z*** rush!"
|Hibiki Tachibana|| With a nod to Speedwagon and the correct placement of the keys thanks to Zero and Faith, the way forward is safely opened...! Already being at the forefront, Hibiki takes only a step forward before she's also caught looking upwards, to the staircase leading up to the apex of the ruins. She doesn't stop to appreciate the architecture this time - it's only that little bit further. And...
...There's still someone blocking their path. The last of the group they've been chasing, which Faith quickly confirms. She's already in the process of tensing herself up for a confrontation alongside Jonathan. With how DIO's minions are, they'll at least need to disable him before...
"Faith--?" Hibiki's train of thought is broken as she watches him walk past incredulously, until his point hits and she's left clenching her teeth without anything to say. She's instinctively against leaving him behind, but at the same time... "If the Arrows have already been handed over...they're going to be leaving soon..."
After a few moments of some serious internal debate...she eases up on her tension. Partially because of everyone else offering up their support, and partially because she's come to her own decision. She steps up forward besides Faith, and turns partway to look up at him. There's a serious look on her face, but also something in her eyes. "...You have a lot of living to still do. Not that I have to tell you that now. So I'll see you when we get back." A simple nod, and she faces back forward--
And she suddenly slams a foot down on the floor in front of her, then putting more strength into it to crater it--through some Martial Artist Stunting, the force travels to a point almost directly below Ramone, threatening to slam into him as it erupts upwards in a column of stone and rubble several meters high.
While she doesn't expect it to actually hit him, it's enough to potentially cut him off at the word 'privilege', and to make a suitable ramp for Hibiki to immediately sprint at, up, and leap off of to reach partway up the stairwell in one go, where she can keep sprinting straight up. She yells back down as she and the others go up, "And Yuuki! Tina! ...Thanks!"
She doesn't really need to yell to Yuuki because they still have a Yuuki here, but she does anyway.
|Crys Gattz||Crys Gattz humms abut the wards to protect the dead from necromancy.,
"It does make sense given what we do know about it or was it not only out of some respect for the dead? A security measure to keep them from being weaponized against the complex by an invader? Maybe it was to protect the living from something that might otherwise raise the dead?"
Crys hushes up after her musing. For it's about time to make use of the keys. She's already got her claws back out, she's standing ready. If something tries to jump them as the keys are being put to use? She will be ready to hopefully intercept it.
Oh look here the guy in question is, she looks over to Faith. She nods she gets where Faith is coming from. Tina and Yuuki offer to backup Faith while the rest head forward to deal with what lays ahead.
She'll push on at this point as Faith is not left to stand alone.
|Lilian Rook|| "All culture eventually disappears." Lilian opines to Jonathan, glad to do something other than be miffed over Itsuki knocking himself out with his giant white blaster skull, about par for the course on names and intellectual property here.
"On small scales, individuals and families, tight knit and mobile communities, can do things to preserve their traditions, language, handiworks and values, but grand monuments and big cities have an expiration date. They're built at the peak of the culture, and begin dying shortly after." She waves her fingers vaguely. "There are things you can do, but your interest isn't really in restoring it, yes? It's in learning more about it."
"Frankly, I'm a little done with the sand traps and puzzle switches and evil mask talk, I think they had a good run. And by that I mean I'm glad they aren't building any more." She hefts the moon key. Press X for contextual prompt.
|Jonathan Joestar||Faith's eyes widen before he looks away, the rush of support surprising him. For someone who still struggled to find the value in himself, in others, in tomorrow -- he just wasn't used to this feeling at all. But it .. wasn't bad, he supposed. Zero provides him with a fruit of some sort, and recalling how hardy his plants had been, Faith goes on a limb and obliges, taking a meaty chunk out of it and swallowing.
His body shudders as he feels a rush of some sort beginning to quickly run through him. Filling him up to the bursting point with energy, as his muscles visibly expand, even if only a little bit.
Jonathan smiles slightly and nods, "Thank you, Faith. Yuuki. .. no, thank you, everyone. We'll believe in eachother, and come out on top, I know it. Now, let's go!"
The large man takes off, as Ramone obliges Faith's terms, only ...
Hibiki makes sure to make herself known on her way to the moving stairs. Indeed, the blow doesn't land; mysteriously, not even the dust touches his person as she bounds away. " -- hm? What's that?! Even after I so graciously allow you to continue with your existant ignorance, you'd trample all over my good will?"
Ramone's face twists into something truly ugly. Faith nods with a grin at Crys and the rest as they move on, before turning his gaze to Ramone. With Yuuki and Tina at his side, surely they'd be able to either overcome him or, barring that, hold him down long enough for the others to get back what had been stolen from them.
Believe in them, they'll believe in me. Right. Right. I can do this, can't I?
Everyone had offered their support, and so .. surely, he could do it, if everyone's belief pushed him forward.
"U n a c c e p t a b l e."
Ramone grinds this out, the gunshot fired seeming to unaffect him. Rather, it was like it had been intercepted by something. The bullet was completely annihilated the moment it got too close. Speedwagon frowns severely, "This guy ... he's really got the personality of puke, huh."
In the meantime, the rest of the gang is travelling up the winding staircase as quickly as they can, pumping legs, kicking off of walls, doing everything they can to beat the moving obstacle to the top. But can they outpace the ancient engineering?
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| "Wait a moment..." Ben laughs affably. "Khyber, I've been here, getting my daily constitutional's worth..." He stops in his tracks, quickly forming himself a lipped platform of ice (complete with a Great Value flying buttress) and leaping out of his allies' way. "...when this whole time, the solution's been so simple." Simple, he says, as he wastes time constructing a crude 'cone' of ice before him, into which he shouts:
"You up there on the elevator! There's a good chance what I'm about to do will be received very poorly by you. To that, I say: understandable!" One hand around the wrist of his sword arm, he fires a steady, constant stream of acid at the bottom of the elevator, attempting to burn a hole through the floor.
|Zero Kiryu||Ascending the moving elevator is rough, although as Zero doesn't have much in the way of a limited constitution, and he's fed reasonably recently at all, there's no actual "fatigue" to speak of. He is, however, rather slower than Yuuki when she decides to go at pace. He ends up falling a little behind, which isn't an actual problem because the twist of vine that is usually hidden somewhere on Yuuki's person lets him catch up without issues.
That being the case, he decides to take things at a relaxed pace.
Falling behind on purpose, Zero scatters a series of seeds off the side of the ascending staircase. They clatter to the ground below, and then as expected begin to grow. They reach a fairly colossal size in short order-- the base spreads out in a circle and then collapses inward, forming a ring that constricts around the bottom of the elevator with a shriek of metal-and-fiber as the already-started mechanism pulls and protests at the matter of the vines.
The outer ring of the vine tangle takes a different approach. It begins to grow up, and up, bypassing the need to use the staircase entirely and forming its own circular elevator that ascends towards the heavens alongside the one that got its head start.
|Lilian Rook|| "Please tell me this is the last one." Lilian says, only half a question, to Faith when Ramone ascends the elevator, repetitively flexing her fingers back as a sort of stretch-based proxy for someone whose knuckles don't crack and also isn't that bancho.
She's told two things in pretty quick sequence. The arrows aren't behind him, and also Tina's bullets vapourize near him. So, Don't Bother plus Nope equals Out Of Here.
Shrugging faintly, she passes behind Faith, and says "You weren't all that bad, so don't think you need to be a hero here too. If you think your number is up, just get out. They won't get ahead of me." Then she gets out.
Rather, Lilian Gets Out. If it's a contest of speed, or more accurately, a context of before and after, she won't lose. Her hovering around Faith giving vaguely encouraging advice is sufficient calm before the storm to rev up some sixty seconds without issue, especially after softballing vs Itsuki (albeit at the cost of some of her clothes and a burned forearm).
"Get up the stairs quickly enough" is a total non-issue. If there's a timed QTE door, she'll hold it for Jonathan and the rest. If there's a guy just about to metaphorically leave on a helicopter, she'll shoot first and make a distracting speech later (preferably at an obvious briefcase-like object). She's not fixated on trying to do everything solo at this moment; though that's only because stairs are a limited quantity and the others will arrive pretty shortly after her either way.
|Yuuki Kuran||SIDE STAIRCASE:
Second Yuuki, in perfect anime opening motions, jogs up a spiralling staircase. From flowing hair to long strides, she resembles...
An anime opening. You know the one. With the staircase that's endless and the characters essentially running in place.
Touching a silver rose-bracelet that hangs from her wrist, she flashes a grin at Zero. "Do you think the tower can withstand you stopping the elevator early? I'd rather they not fly out of here."
She addresses a blank spot in the air. "Huh? Jonathan, did you see where Zero--"
Another blank space in the air. Jonathan is far ahead, having focused on HAMONISTHENICS. "Mouuuh!" She grumbles annoyedly, and pumps her arms to try and beat him there on pure stairmaster power.
SIDE FAITH'S HILL TO DIE ON FT. THE RAMONES
"Mouh!" First Yuuki harrumphs. "I didn't like any of that. And especially not your attitude."
The shadows around her lengthen and distort as cones of air-distorting force spin into tangible being in a corona about her. "I appreciate you letting us through, though. Thank you. I think that people should appreciate when nice things are done to them, because it makes it more likely people will continue to do nice things for them."
Her smile darkens, losing the color for professional 'you are the scum of the earth' energy. "Making fun of progress is something I don't appreciate at all."
With a gesture and finger-curl, the force funnels zip out to probe Ramone's barrier with tearing pressure.
"You're why my friends have complexes and low self-esteem."
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Despite Ramone's apparent invulnerability, Hibiki doesn't slow up at all. She believes in Faith, Yuuki, and Tina. They'll be fine. Even if they're fighting on two separate fronts, the bonds they've made as a team don't care about physical distance.
What /does/ is the platform that the stairwell is bringing higher and higher, and Hibiki quickly realizes that even racing up the stairwell at full speed is less than optimal, especially by virtue of spiral staircases being hell to maneuver up while you're in a rush. So she ends up planting a foot off the side, and using it to spring off into the open air.
The chamber is too big to make purely flipping off the walls a good idea, but fortunately, Hibiki has more than that - after planting her boots on the side of the dome, she springs back off aimed upwards, igniting her Symphogear's skirt thrusters the moment she begins losing speed and altitude. They carry her upwards in a sudden burst of acceleration, and when /that/ peters out, the pistons built into her leg armor extend out forward a meter before slamming back in. The shockwaves rippling out behind her send her flying up again - then her gauntlet pilebunkers pulls back and slams in as she twists to punch it behind her, repeating the process of 'extremely unconventional airtime' over and over again.
Hopskotching herself higher and higher to catch up with the elevator, Hibiki ends with one final blast with pistons and boosters both, to try and throw herself in an arc aimed not at elevator, but /above/ it--where she can come down from above. If there's a ceiling to the top platform, she'll strike right through it. If there's not, the force going out in all directions on touchdown from her sudden landing will probably be enough to blow anyone unprepared (i.e. their man) right off their feet.
|Tina Natsumi||"Hard to say. We've only heard him say... Like. Three sentences?" Tina replies to Speedwagon as she watches her bullet evaporate into nothingness, furrowing her brow as her mind races through the possibilities of what that could mean in-between trying to keep the banter going.
"Better first impression than that Itsuki kid, at least. Although he had the... Being a dumb kid thing on his side." A force? that wouldn't dust a bullet like that. Lasers? Too invisible. Elements? Not without something catching on fire.
"I'd like to say I didn't know a student or ten like that back in the day, but..." Tina sighs, backing up a few feet to keep Ramone in her sights even as Uncle Sam continues to stand there as a defensive bulwark between the two. Instead of firing at him again for no potential payoff, however, she lowers the gun and grabs her phone. There's a long pause as she glances over at Faith and Yuuki, makes sure her phone is only recording locally, then gets the flashlight on and taps on the top of the device conspicuously.
"Smile for the camera, Ramone. You're about to be a star." And then Uncle Sam charges forward, moving with superhuman speed greater than something its size should be able to accomplish. Once it's within arm's reach and a bit off to the side of Ramone, it hurls a big-ish right hook at him, relying mostly on raw speed and power to try and break through whatever defenses he has up his sleeves.
Best case scenario, Tina might be able to figure out what he's doing. Worst case scenario, her own arm (and self-esteem, thanks for reminding me YUUKI) might be hurting fairly soon.
|Crys Gattz||Crys Gattz says "Aye, lets get moving Jojo." She catches Faith's look. The man put up a fight against a group of experienced elites. Even more so he's got Tina and Lilian at his back. She's confident in their survival as she moves on. Crys starts bounding as she goes into a high-speed run, she's used to tearing through old forgotten places like this after all. She'll even use her claws where she needs to get a grip though she'll try to avoid anything that's that might be valuable. Still, she keeps moving.
"We can't stop for anything at this point."
|Jonathan Joestar||Walking forward to close the distance, Faith grimaces. Just now. What was that? Was that his Stand? I don't know what caliber her revolver is, but I'd wager that the bullet was probably going somewhere around twelve hundred feet per second. If it was his Stand that stopped it, does that mean his Stand is an Automatic-type?
What's his effective range?
He didn't know just how much his body had been enhanced by Zero's fruit, but to test the waters, he intends to wordlessly step forward and try to drive his fist into Ramone's sternum. Ramone, who watches this listlessly, scowls.
Faith's stomache visible deforms as he slides back, a circular dent having been beaten into his gut in one go. What?!
"You're such a pain, Faith." Ramone sighs, "Why do I have to put up with this?"
Pain almost overwhelms him as pressure comes at him from both sides of his body, nearly crushing his organs into paste, leaving him on the ground. "You're making my life so hard. Really, you're violating my right to have a peaceful and stress free evening after a job well done. How dare you? Who gave you permission to do this?"
His range .. he didn't attack me until I got this close, but is that just his arrogance, or is his Stand a short-range one .. gh ..
If not for Zero's fruit, he'd be dying right now for sure.
Truthfully, he's shocked that he's not. Ramone is already writing him off as dead, too.
Shockwaves ripple out, threatening to tear up the ground as Yuuki's force-funnels meet his point-defense. Each strike is deflected perfectly and without fail, as Faith watches from his position, regenerating beneath Ramone's notice. The range his defense deploys at .. it's the same every time. It's not just arrogance, that's how far his range extends! Two meters!
At this moment, Tina also enters this range. Faith's eyes widen, "No, don't -- !!"
But it's too late, "You two. You girls, you're annoying! You're noisy! Stop talking, honestly, don't you have any consideration for others? If I could make it so none of you were born, I truly would. The world would be better off without annoying people like you on it."
The blow from Tina's Persona is, like Yuuki's attempts at probing him earlier, perfectly deflected with just the right amount of force that sends a spraining pain that rattles the bones of her arm ringing up her body, a second one, in retaliation, comes moments later and attempts to splatter her skull into a thousand pieces.
"It can attack as well as defend after all!" Speedwagon yells out, his own revolver drawn. He hadn't fired, after seeing how fruitless Tina's attempt was. Faith, for his part, attempts to get the drop on Ramone by grabbing at his leg, only for the other man to deftly dodge his attempt and deliver a powerful kick in the same spot he'd been struck prior, sending him flying like a torpedo straight into Yuuki.
|Jonathan Joestar||In the meantime, on the staircase, Jonathan and Yuuki are taking the lead up the sides as the others go about enacting their own plans to try and slow the elevator down. And indeed, it does slow, between Ben's poison beginning to slowly leak down into the mechanism as it eats away at the stone floor below, combined with Zero's springing sprouts that were themselves capable of resisting the corrosive and ensuring that the massive structure didn't fall over and kill them all, along with clogging up the various gears and mechanisms making such a function possible. It had slowed down considerably.
Lilian, though, cheats and skips this preamble in its entirety and arrives first. And what she finds is ... not what she was expecting most likely. Rather than a person of any sort, she finds an avian. Not a bird-man, or even a particularly giant bird. Although it was quite large and hardy, it was not truly 'abnormal' in terms of size.
It wore a purple scarf around its neck, and a metal cap on its head with a great, prussian colored plume sticking out, and its talons clasped around the handle of a case that doubtlessly contained the arrows.
But its eyes contained a very human intelligence, and somehow, it was able to convey the full weight of its malice by smirking with its beak.
The rest manage to make their way up, now that the staircase was no longer fighting against them so viciously, just in time to see the bird attempt to skewer Lilian where she stood with a spear of ice that flies through the air. A hail of smaller projectiles rain on them a moment later as it notices them, and glares cruelly. Behind it, a skeletal pterodactyl creature with rubies encrusted its eyes has apparated, stubby arms roling down its spinal column as it leers.
|Tina Natsumi||That's definitely going to be a hit to her arm and her pride. As Uncle Sam rushes in, the Persona's arm crackles as something counteracts it utterly, and Tina can feel it even with the Persona's enhanced durability dulling the pain somewhat. She lets out a pained yell while drawing the Persona back to her side again, and it's only then that she realizes that the pain is following her.
This time, though, she doesn't just power through the pain. She backs off rapidly, the Persona coming with her as well as she tries to figure this out in her head as well through the pounding headache that's threatening to seep right in.
"... Okay. Yeah. His personality really is pretty pukey." She admits with a dramatic sigh to Speedwagon's observation earlier, rotating her arm a few times to shake what she can of the pain off before letting out a low sigh. "A shame. You ain't dressed too badly, so you'd definitely have a niche if you just applied yourself to streamin'."
Ramone's anger, however, gives Tina an idea as she keeps her distance from not only Ramone, but Yuuki and Faith and Speedwagon as well. She pulls her phone back out flicking its light on and off once, makes sure the stream is still completely off, then...
"Howdy, y'all! It's ya girl, @FreedomWithFries here, and we're live from the scenic Temple o' Kom Ombo! We got a special guest 'ere with us, Mister...!" She sweeps the camera at Ramone just as the Persona draws what looks like a cartoonishly large bazooka out of its chest, then laughs in the most obnoxiously loud and echoing tone she can.
"Who cares? This guy's gonna be more smoked than a Texas barbecue!" The attempt at drawing his attention her way is fairly obvious, but she /is/ quite good at being obnoxiously loud when she tries. The bazooka, meanwhile, doesn't fire any solid explosives at Ramone, but instead blasts a wave of concentrated noise at him with bone-churning force!
|Lilian Rook|| A bird is not what Lilian expected to see at the top. She only needs glimpse the purple scarf to get the idea that it is a trained one. Weird as it is, it wouldn't be even close to the strangest thing she's seen here for a skilled falconer to have tamed this great big thing and had it arrive to fly off with the arrows. Like a messenger pigeon, but considerably beefier, to reflect both the weight and value of its cargo.
But it doesn't take her much longer to pick up something more important than that. Something that she intuits by supernatural feel more than anything. Something that can only be picked up from humans, full of intelligent secrets and desires, wants and lies, goals and fears. Animals don't *think* malevolently.
/Is that . . . no way. That can't-- no wait, I remember hearing about the gorilla! It's--/
It's just enough for her to leap in time from the icy spear that is summoned out of nowhere, leaning forward and reaching out for a moment in flight, before deciding that anything made by a Stand is best not touched until known safe, and kicking off the top of it instead, to drive it into the ground and launch herself higher.
"Thanks for being a fucking bird." she mutters, retrieving the sidearm she'd taken to the market from through her lightning-scorched skirt and blasting six shots in succession at the Stand-user on the way down, arms straight up, using her falling momentum to absorb the recoil, drawing a chain of flowering muzzle flames through her arc until she's close enough to try and kick the briefcase out of its claws.
|Yuuki Kuran||AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS:
Second up the stairs but third on the scene, Second Yuuki has just enough time to see Lilian dispatch the ice arrow shot before lightly shieldinging her eyes with a hand and forearm against the backsplash of cold.
"A bird? Doesn't matter - remember everyone, secure the arrow and protect Jonathan! A big bird, stand power or not-" She presumes the bird has a sliding block puzzle based stand. That's about where she is with Stands and the minions of DIO.
"-Is just another obstacle between us and restoration!"
Pulling the vine-twist bracelet off her wrist, she tosses it up high into the air, in an arc towards the bird. "Zero! I choose you!"
She laughs at her private joke, because she had been watching Guzma too much. It wasn't very private, though.
Torpedoing his killer aurora directly towards Yuuki is nothing if not colorful. As Ramone closes, Yuuki's expression - normally bright and caring - hardens more and more, the words he said one irredeemably trash thing after another.
Shimmering barriers of psychokinetic force flare like ghostflame against the proximity-attack of the torpedoing man, but his force falls short of even connecting with Yuuki as physics bounces him back -- right into a kick she pivots into with her heel from standing, toetip aimed to cueball Ramone's head off into Tina's line of fire and taunts.
"This really isn't the time to convince me it'd be easier to harm you. But I believe this, too, is DIO's work. You have no choice but to talk that garbage!"
Her jaw sets. "That doesn't mean I have to like it. If you have nothing to say, be silent!"
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| Ben's form nimbly twirls at the apex of one of his impressive leaps. His hands manage to find purchase on one of Zero's growths, and he's just barely capable of hefting himself over the edge. Rolling across the floor to come to a knee, he rises just in time to see the ice spear hurled Lilian's way.
He hurriedly stands up straight, spreading out his stance to brace for impact. A wall of ice rises rapidly up from the ground. Those spears crash into it--but one smashes through. Ben's sword is brought up in time to deflect it from his face, but all that does is direct it into his right arm. Gritting his teeth, he conjures a gust of wind beneath his feet to rapidly push him across the floor.
He leaps into the air at the end of his momentum, twirling in a whirlwind lateral motion. As the edge of his sword is pointed towards the bird, an arc of projectiles is thrown--both razor sharp ice of his own creation, and bubbling darts of conjured poison. "Right you are, Lady Yuuki! Fight, chums, and wisely!" He lands, and hurls a blinding curse in the bird's path. "Don't assume our foe is any less ruthless or cunning, for the shape of him--but overcome him we must, for Lord Joestar!"
|Zero Kiryu||< You're underestimating how tough your body is now,> Zero's voice echoes in Faith's mind. < You're experiencing a form of phantom limb syndrome. A sensation band that doesn't apply to you in your current state. You fought me, so you can gauge how difficult it was to hurt me. In that regard, you're in the same category at the moment. >
< And also... even if he were to strike a blow that is fatal to your current body, you would recover. You're recovering now. >
Simultaneously he flicker-steps to the second Yuuki, who does a gimmick that he's reasonably inclined to indulge. His appearance alongside the twist of vine is accompaned by a shriek like ice scraping against stone -- because that is basically what happens, he teleports into one of the ice masses being flung across the room -- leaving harsh white lines across his body as if he had scuffed his skin.
He generates a vine from his left hand on descent, whipping it forward in an overhead strike towards the hateful-looking bird.
Zero doesn't reach the ground, though. He flickers again, re-appearing beside Yuuki. Only now does he really have the chance to survey the situation in depth.
"Soporific again, do you suppose? It worked well last time," He wonders aloud, gesturing towards the Obvious Stand at the bird's back.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| Needless to say, a bird is /not/ what Hibiki was expecting, leaving her frozen for a moment with upraised fists as she takes in THE TERRIFYING PET SHOP. Though 'terrifying' isn't what she'd normally think of first, she's has enough utterly awful experiences with killer animals in recent times that she's not going to inherently underestimate it. And unlike them, you can tell it knows exactly what it's doing.
And that's nearly trying to skewer Lilian.
"A Stand--! It's a Stand user!" She has just enough time to point out the obvious as she starts forward, only to get immediately forced back again by the showers of ice fired off at the rest of the group. Her arms come up, and she braces herself against the chilling projectiles smashing against her armor and threatening to break through her defenses. The Gungnir girl is sturdy enough that, for the most part, only this much just manages to break apart on contact, and from a gap between her crossed limbs, her eye narrows at the bird...and the manifestation that's appeared behind it.
'So this thing has ice powers, or is it something more...? And that case is definitely carrying the Arrows! The staircase is stabilized some, but I have to be careful, or I might blow it...maybe...'
Their opponent being a bird means just stopping the elevator doesn't necessarily mean there's no escape. There's only one option here. "--Then I'll just rush right in!" Works every time. That, and close combat against what seems to be a ranged Stand is as good a place to start as any! Kicking off the floor, Symphogear user closes the distance in a flash to engage Stand user.
"...And clip those wings!" Her method of doing so is delivering a thrusting jab with her momentum behind it towards the avian the moment she's in range--followed up with a shift of her weight and a lift of her opposite arm, to bring down in an elbow strike intended to smash it down into the floor below. Hard. If they get the case and disable the user, the Stand shouldn't matter...!
|Crys Gattz||Ben's skills work well with Zero's. Ben help opens up the way while Zero's sprouts are able to keep things from falling apart. Which would lead to the building falling down on them. This avoids so they can keep pushing on. Things seem to not be over yet as they make their way up to the top. She sees what's about to happen to Lilian. There's no time to react to that attack however she's can react to the things coming at her. She'll bring up her photon barrier to intercept some of but others get through and dig into her body she'll have to deal with those later.
She launches herself into a flying leap at the strange skeletal pterodactyl intending to dig the dark pint photon claws into it.
|Jonathan Joestar||Faith, on the ground after being ragdolled around between Yuuki and Ramone, is shocked. Huh?
But, there wasn't any blood. Zero's psychic voice was re-assuring. Although there had certainly been internal damage delivered to him, he wasn't dead. His brain was telling him that he should be. His nervous system was failing to comprehend how it was that he hadn't been slain like an insect.
In that case, could he actually stand up to Ramone's Stand without being folded like a piece of laundry?
Yuuki's kick is met by another pinpoint force as something stops her attack flat. But, unlike before --
Ramone's eyes widen slightly, his hand stinging. The flesh is pressed down and deformed in the curled shape of Yuuki's heel. " ... ?"
Every word out of her mouth seemed to disappear, going in one ear and out the other as he stares at it. Speedwagon, in the meantime, takes this opportunity to try and shoot at him.
The loud bang rings out and brings Ramone back from his stupor. The bullet is destroyed, just like Tina's was, and a face of raw fury erects itself on his features. "Y...you .... you hurt me. Trash like you actually marked my flesh, even through the power of my Stand, my Havana Affair?"
Sonic waves assault the prideful man and bring him low -- but if his Stand was defensive in nature, then it didn't make sense for an attack like that to work, right?
No, rather .. I think, his Stand's power has nothing at all to do with defending. It's just that fast and strong.
Sucking in through his teeth, Ramone roars, "ENOUGH!"
Charging forward on his own initiative, he gets back into Yuuki's personal space and unleashes a hail of relentless force that batters at her like cannonfire, and unseen hands attempt to clasp onto her skull before tossing her viciously into the wall so that they could drag her through it and send her skidding, face first, towards Tina.
"You -- !!" Speedwagon hurls his buzz-saw bladed bowler hat at the man, only forst it to be crushed in the air, blade and all. But Speedwagon was not one to be demoralized so easily, and fires off several more bullets, all of which meet the same fate as previous attempts. "Gh..!"
Calling out, Faith intercedes between the two, exchanging blows with the invisible strikes. As long as he remembered what Zero said, then, his body would acclimate, wouldn't it?
"Faaaaith! Have you no diligence?! I already sentenced you to death, yet you haven't died! I hate it!"
With a strong biff, Faith is forced to the ground as several invisible fists pummel him at once, actually managing to draw blood. It splatters under a consective assault that leaves his midsection crushed, and the man coughing in pain.
Even still, he did not die. Not even as the full force of Havana Affair was unleashed in a precise attack on his body. I...I can still get back up. My stomach feels like its been pulverized. I should be dead. But my body is tougher than that now.
|Jonathan Joestar||Horus, Pet Shop's stand, wraps two wings of ice around the avian like a mighty shield that prevents it from being killed instantaneously by a littney of gunshots, whipping vines, and devastating fists. But through their combined effort, they break through the defense, and -- !!
"]" ]" ]" ]" ]"... SHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
Pet Shop had, in reality, moved behind his Stand while he had been blocked from view and quietly circled around them while they assaulted the fortress of ice that Horus had erected around itself!
These humans. I've met dogs smarter than they are! Did you underestimate I, the great Pet Shop, because of what I am? Foolishness! Now die!
Thinking this to itself, Pet Shop attempts to tear out Lilian's jugular vein with one of his talons, Horus screeching as he attacks the rest with a variety of icy weaponry, from spears, to swords, to axes, and even a billhook. The ice is so cold, it could instantly apply freezer burn to whatever they touch.
Even Crys is rebuked, with a cry as Pet Shop darts by to rejoin his Stand, whipping around to curiously bludgeon her with the case containing the arrows.
|Jonathan Joestar||>attack zero=3/F:Horus - Cut In Two By An Axe Of Ice|
|Zero Kiryu||"No," Zero says, to Pet Shop.
The thoughts didn't go missed at all. They're projected outwards, so there's no way that he would miss them.
"No one here has underestimated their opposition. Dio's company is formidable, if depressing. Even so..."
The vine detaches from his arm and begins to spread across the platform, flowers blooming along its length and beginning to put off soporific powder that fills the air. It's quite avoidant of Zero's allies, however-- curiously so.
"I won't pretend that it wasn't a little surprising," he cedes, as an ice axe falls across the front of his chest. As before there is a powerful ringing as it scrapes across mass more similar to stone than to flesh; it carves a shallow trench where a splash of red is drawn before shattering, though blood does not begin to flow from the wound.
A glance is cast towards Ben-- he seems to be expecting some sort of similar follow-through based on their prior exchange.
|Tina Natsumi||"You're having an affair? What? Can't hear ya, Razor!" Tina's taunts continue even as Ramone closes the distance with the group, shifting into a more defensive stance as he goes after Yuuki first. Uncle Sam is forced to stop firing at that range, moving in front of Tina to intercept the incoming Concord leader.
Somewhere, in the back of Tina's mind, she has to wonder if this would be an international incident or a local thing.
Either way, the Persona is actually quite adept at catching flying people! It even spins Yuuki around once to not cut her momentum immediately, although Tina herself ends up taking the brunt of that impact herself along with getting hit int he face by her own Persona's arms swinging around madly. The impact nearly takes Tina right off her feet, although she catches herself on a wall just in time to not fall down some stairs herself.
"Son of a...! Geez. If I didn't know any better, I'd say the spirit of 'Murica likes you more than me." Even in that situation, she still manages to crack quips, although its muddied somewhat by the wet cough she lets out moments later.
At least Tina's not coughing blood directly on Yuuki or anyone.
"Yeesh... Y'know, for someone that hates hearing people talk, you sure do it a lot yourself. But unluckily for you..." Bracing herself on the Persona's back once again, Tina slides her revolver over to Faith semi-subtly as the Persona brings out a shotgun this time in favor of that sonic cannon.
"You really think we'd let this guy die so easy? I... Almost did, and that was with the help of all these other folks." Brushing her nose off once, Tina smacks the Persona on the back as it starts firing powerful slugs at the suited man. "What makes you think you'd be able to do it on yer lonesome with us backin' him up?!"
|Lilian Rook|| Despite the surprise maneuver --which most certainly had taken Lilian by surprise-- she reacts to the bait and switch attack from Pet Shop too fast --or rather, too soon-- to be entirely natural. A natural grimace turns the corner of her lips even as she tilts her head and turns her body mid-fall, bending her back to move herself as far out of the line of the bird's claws as possible. Though it can be said that they savage her already pretty badly beat up outfit, drawing red lines on the skin revealed beneath, it cannot be said that they grasp any hair on the way past. That may have been intentional.
The awkward posture causes Lilian to have to take to the ground with a gymnastic action tumble, flicking her weapon up and firing several more shots at the erratically moving bird, trying to snake shots past the ice, before finally just tossing the pistol (with an unusually heavy clunk) rather than bothering to reload it.
"You misunderstood me, 'Pet Shop'." She's talking to the fucking bird. "I really am grateful you're a filthy animal." She removes one of her gloves, pulling all the fingers at once and throwing it away. A perfect circle of red and black fire turns layers into existence in her palm. "That means I can roast you without reservation." She says that, but when she grips her wrist and unleashes a roaring streamer of fire at the Stand-User, snaking after it and lashing across its defensive ice formation in a way almost controlled like a whip, the black tongues and crimson embers feel equally 'corrosive' as they do 'hot.'
|Yuuki Kuran||A tantrum. That's the only thing this is. "In one ear and out the other. Like a cup with no bottom. Utterly useless as a vessel." Yuuki observes dryly, though the overwhelming force of Ramone - screaming, as he does, about how he hates Faith's survival - grips her by the forehead and smashes her through the ground.
The floorstones crack and shatter underneath Yuuki's back as she's dragged through them, before she's smashed once, into the wall, and hurled towards Tina and her Persona.
The entire time her face deepens within its disgust, fully visible when the palm leaves her face without print.
Her eyes flash cardinal as she tumbles into Tina's large stand.
A life flashes before her eyes, lived by a rancid man. She paws through his memories, skimming through a life ill-lived, and searches, and doubles back over something that makes her choke -- on impact with the ALL-AMERICAN weapons platform and Tina -- with vocally expressed displeasure.
"You have lived the life of someone who has always been powerful!" Yuuki calls, springing off the Persona's spin to land in a heel-skid. "And it's completely worthless. There's only one good thing I can say about you and this fight:"
Her eyes remain lambent red, locked onto Ramone. "I'm so glad there are no dogs around here that aren't you. Today is the day you unfortunately met someone strong enough to do something about how much of a stain you are."
Her sheer ire cracks the rest of the surface of the floor in a pressured-downward microcrater that surges shards and dust into the air. Underneath Ramone, and all around him, psychokinetic rings of cardinal fire spring to life in geysering pillars, as black mist forms into swarms of bat-shapes that screech and keen and cut like knives.
SIDE BIRD IS THE WORD
Second Yuuki spin-kicks a shard of ice that had been on a path to hit Joestar while he was busy with his own defense. "Jonathan! The arrow! If you focus on dislodging the arrow from Pet Shop's grasp, Lilian can take it! Otherwise, it'll get carried away! Just focus on the treasure, and we'll make your dreams reality!"
"I'll move heaven and earth for you - we all will."
|Hibiki Tachibana|| "...!"
The ice shatters, and Pet Shop...isn't there! Hibiki has just enough time to sense the presence of an overwhelming negative energy directly behind her, looking over her shoulder as the camera pans out and a purple filter is overlaid over the scene--at least, that's what it feels like. Getting the case back won't be as easy as she thought...then again, nothing involving these enemy Stand users ever is!
"Don't think that'll be enough to take us down--!" Yes, she's quipping with it. A turn on her heel has her spinning to meet the rush of icy constructs produced by Horus, whose physical nature she takes advantage of by meeting it head on. Her turn comes with a hook to meet the blade trying to skewer her through, smashing into its flat and both deflecting and shattering it before it hits home. The sheer cold gets her to wince after, sticking to her fist after the fact, though it only causes her to clench it tighter and focus back on the Stand responsible.
The gauntlet on the same arm shifts as its pilebunker slots back, and a buildup of gold light within the empty space begins leaking out, burning away the layer of frost on the limb. "Haaaah--!" She kicks off the floor, with well-timed blasts of her armor's thrusters and spins to the sides used to avoid the onslaught.
And she's going to slam her fist into Horus as hard as she can when she closes in, gauntlet hammering in after to deliver a literal one-two punch as the resulting shockwave will attempt to rip straight through the Stand - if it had organs, those would probably be in danger - and out through the other side like a visible blast of wind and raw force. In fact, Pet Shop himself will be at risk of getting blown back away from it if he's too close!
|Crys Gattz||Pet Shop is proving to be quite the issue to deal with. Their stand Horus is pretty dangerous and it's proving that this is going to be a far longer than expected fight if she's even still standing when this is over. She feels the darts pulling out of her body and then she gets smacked upside the head with the arrow case. She goes reeling, her one violet eye looking dazed for a moment. She shifts her body trying to get back into motion and make a go for Ped Shop, she'll slide in leap up and attempt to catch him by surprise with a combo of attack intent trying to get him to drop the case if she's lucky. If not it might make an opening for one of her companions.|
|Ben d'Tarkanan||oO0(This creature's aim is impeccable--I can barely stay put a second before I'm forced to move again! I need to get back.)
His way of doing that is to leap backwards, making another wall of ice to attempt to keep those through. This time, it's purely to buy time.
oO0(And now... let us even the gulf between us!)
Another word is murmured, both his hand and his sword arm extended forward. It's as if there was more than one spoken as once--and sure enough, two spells are flung. "An animal may still be deadly, Dame Rook..."
One is a ray of light in a dark, dirty kind of red, attempting to sap the bird's intellect by artificially induced aging. "But seldom does the fiercest beast escape the snare of old age."
The other is hurling a rapidly accumulating mass of conjured spider webs, seeking to bind the bird's movement and obstruct his sight for their sheer abundance.
"Yes!" He calls, after Yuuki's inspiring command, "Try it now!"
When he lands, two new shards are stuck through him--one in his leg, the other having ludged intself in his upper arm. When he lands, there's a stagger, but he's able to keep from falling over.
oO0He's quickly catching wise to my weaknesses... But if I show any... I can't have that.)
|Jonathan Joestar||Hmph. They've survived too long. That girl who got here first .. and then the man with silver hair .. are the most dangerous. Horus will have the toughest time killing him, and I don't like the look in her eyes.
Pet Shop flaps his wings, beside his Stand. That magic man. I can't let him touch me or I'm done for. Even if I survived, somehow, I would never live down that disgrace. I'll kill him first of all, so that he doesn't have a chance to interfere with my return to Lord DIO further. He's the only one of them who can seemingly keep up with me in the air by using his magic, next to that punching girl.
In order to kill effectively, one must establish the order of the matter. Pet Shop understood this, for he was smarter than any mere animal. In his mind, he ordered his targets like so: Ben, because he was troublesome. Lilian, because he was wary of her and she was susceptible to his attacks. Hibiki and Jonathan equally, because he couldn't effectively pour all his attention on Zero if either of them were still alive. Zero, because he was the toughest nut for Pet Shop to crack, and finally, Crys, as Pet Shop felt that her offensive and defensive abilities weren't great enough to influence his battle with Zero.
The revelation that Zero, in reality, could hear his thoughts is startling. This is bad!
Pet Shop could feel the pressure, even as he ducked and weaved through the air, before being winged by a debilitating ray from Ben that the avian very scarecly avoids being cursed dead on by.
After all, he was still a falcon, and so his lifespan was also much shorter than a human's. Accelerating his age artificially, for his mind, was horrifying.
Pet Shop visibly stutters in the air while Horus roars, a wave of ice forming in front of Hibiki like a glacier. Yet, she punches through it with her pile bunker, and strikes Horus dead in the skull. The defense had worked its charm and staggered her momentum, however, and prevented its destruction as it used its meaty head to block her attack.
Pet Shop's helmet explodes as he pitches in the air, twirling back around.
Horus' immediate counter-attack is immediately stopped by Lilian. Damnit! She's slowing down Horus' ability to create and control ice! I have to kill her and that magician now!
Getting as close to Horus as he could, Pet Shop screeches alongside his Stand, as he first fires a shotgun spray of ice at the group at large so that he could focus his efforts. Ben first, given his injuries. The white haired one can read my ailing mind ... so ... I have to do this while I still have all my faculties!
A long and sharp rod of ice is fired like a missile, aimed to skewer Ben directly. It was thicker and faster than any of the arrows or shards he'd fired before, and he was sure if it hit him dead on, it would be fatal. Die!
Per Yuuki's advice, Jonathan had been waiting for his opening between his defenses. And now he had it, with Pet Shop hovering so close, he risks careening to his death as he leaps forward, and snatches the box from his Talons. No! The Arrows that Lord DIO..!
|Jonathan Joestar||Forced to break off from Faith with a powerful blow that sends him down to the floor, only to content with Speedwagon's knuckles crashing into his face and dislocating his nose, Ramone reels backwards. "M..my nose...you broke my nose...!"
"I'll break a whole lot more than that if I catch you out again, you bleeding slag!" Speedwagon promises with a spit.
The invisible fists of Havana Affair sling out at lightning speed as he's forced to use them purely for defense to block the onslaught of gunfire from Tina. In this time, Yuuki has a moment to review the memories she could skim out of him; his mind is relatively defenseless, after all.
And she finds someone who had lived a life without challenge. Everything he did, he excelled at. He was born with a power that made him virtually invincible. He was born to a good, upper-middle class family in Spain. Academics, sports, work -- everything he did, he was the best at it.
He was vapid and shallow, and completely irredeemable. Unlike Itsuki, Charlie, and Faith, who all had their own problems and reasons for being there, Ramone didn't have a sob story or love story of any kind.
He, was much closer to being like Mystery Tree, or Forever the gorilla. A genuine piece of shit who was a slave to his own vices.
I'm so glad there are no dogs around here that aren't you. Today is the day you unfortunately met someone strong enough to do something about how much of a stain you are.
"Wh .. ?"
Ramone is consumed by Yuuki Kuran's wrath. Faith picks himself back up and spies the revolver on the ground.
Havana Affair cannot block an attack that its fists can't pummel. Becuase of that, in the few seconds he was being consumed by Yuuki's anger ...
Ramone's body jerks, as he is shot cleanly through the chest by Faith, whose own Stand is now clutched firmly in his mouth. "Firefly!"
A swirling stream of burning ash fuels Yuuki's flames and makes them hotter. Brighter. Deeper.
Ramone screams, and his Stand's invisible form is outlined in the smoke and heat. A humanoid with a thin, emaciated chest, two bulky legs, and eight meaty, vascular arms topped off with a bearded head adorned with a king's crown.
|Zero Kiryu||"That's not a bad evaluation," Zero remarks to Pet Shop. He turns towards Ben and remarks, "What you were doing is effective. Even though it is extraordinary for its species, it is still limited by the biology of that species. That is to say that it has less years to work at all."
He's about to move to intercept the attack on Ben when a flash of ice shrapnel embeds itself across his torso, some in the still-healing line that stretches his chest. This stops him from doing anything at all to help Ben, largely because of sheer momentary distraction.
But it gives him the time and space to get an idea.
Down below, Faith is able to invoke his Stand. Ash blows through the surroundings.
Zero Kiryu can use any person who has partaken of his power as a teleport point, and observe through their perceptions. For a fleeting moment some of the ash that gusts out towards Ramone is whisked away.
Up above, the vines that Zero used to encircle the elevator's perimeter suddenly bloom flowers of black and grey, which spill out towards Pet Shop and his Stand in a great plume from multiple directions.
< Faith. Anything that your Stand touches becomes your Stand, does it not? I'm using that to my advantage just now. Tell me if you feel anything. >
|Lilian Rook|| "You think I don't know that d'Tarkanan?" Lilian half-spits. "The difference is that I don't have to care about the condition this thing ends up in once the arrows change hands. Stand or not, it's a man-killing beast; it gets the bullet, no second thoughts." If he had to pin it-- no, there's no room for interpretation. The mental image is somehow intrusively available. That tone of disgust, rather than arrogance, is like someone wandering in on a hideously large spider eating a bird. Finding hateful revulsion in such a perverse break from the natural order.
Hearing her name on Yuuki's lips is more of a surprise. "That's a lot of trust you're putting in someone who doesn't work for you." Lilian says, snapping her fingers shut as the torrent of faerie fire runs dry. "Especially someone who hasn't historically appreciated you and yours. What makes you think I feel inclined to move anything, never mind heaven and earth, when this is taken care of?"
/That thing-- no, all of them are so cowed by this DIO person. This one's mind isn't being controlled, but it's so loyal. It doesn't seem like he intended to ever pay his assassins. So is this thing his familiar? It sort of seems like it's . . . afraid of him?/
Though Lilian leaves room for an answer, she doesn't wait on one. "It hates what you're doing d'Tarkanan, so keep doing it. I don't think our two elements are exactly opposite, but the ice is at least incompatible with what I'm doing, so I'll keep at it and see if I can contain its reach. Jonathan, nice catch, but do what you need to and get out of the way fast. Block it with your back if you have to; you have plenty to spare. Rookie, you're not going to get many more free shots like that. It's still a falcon. Don't focus on big power moves unless it's rendered stationary by its defense; you should have more than enough mobility." She leaves Zero out of the callouts because she already knows that he knows what Pet Shop knows.
/That's right you nasty piece of shit. Your animal instincts are telling you something is wrong, but you won't know what it is until it's too late. I didn't bring a battlesuit out to this sweaty-ass archeological expedition, but I can handle that level of suppressing fire without it. I'll keep pulling out extra line. Even before this fight is won, I need to have a fully primed loop waiting for the right moment. I'll keep its attention on my fire for the time being. It looks like it has to trade out power when it splits its attacks over such a wide area. It'll come focusing on me next, so I just have to be ready for it. If I can maneuver it correctly, that should be my opportunity./
Lilian reacts to the suppressing wall of ice pellets as someone who has no other options, but who also knows what 'suppressing fire' is well enough to weigh the risks associated with gambling on it. A sharp snap of her fingers throws up a billowing wall of unseelie flames, casting crazy shadows in many directions at once and causing the air to shimmer dark for a moment, in the direction of Horus; her own suppression, traded through the wall of ice pellets which she turns herself sideways to, pistol dueling stanced, to cause most of them to miss her and the remainder to hit her shoulder, upper arm, and thigh, where she can concentrate on reinforcing magical energy into the muscle.
She throws out her remaining gloved hand in the direction of Jonathan, signalling him to throw.
|Ben d'Tarkanan||Because if I do...
A massive spear of ice is hurled in the air, catching him before he can get clear. Its size and momentum are enough to splay his arms and legs wide, nearly losing his grip on his sword. If it weren't for his unnatural toughness, Pet Shop would be correct.
Then my allies can't focus on our prize. I...
Sucking in a breath of ragged air, his left elbow crashes into the glacier right before they both impact the ground. A huge crack travels up its surface--but even with this, the landing is violent enough to stain the glaier a scarlet red.
I refuse to be the reason we fail!
With a rallying cry, Ben drives the pommel of his sword into the frozen mass like a pick, furthering the crack and hurling it off of himself in great, jagged pieces. He rises in an uncoordinated heap, using the blade to keep himself from falling over.
His leather jerkin is pierced and stained red in a distressingly large area--but he's undaunted by this, standing upright with a grunt of effort. "Right you are, Master Kiryu. And right *you* are, Dame Rook. Hmm... Well then." He chuckles, spitting something red as his balance wavers.
"HAVE AT YOU!" With a sudden start, he flings a barrage of crescent-shaped curses--these, too, are meant to sap the bird's age. It's also clearly, from the look of it, a last ditch attempt, meant to shock with its audacity. Zero can see as well as Pet Shop that he's hurling Too Much for his current level of mental stamina, his eyes beginning to glaze over.
This is the last that's in the tank.
|Tina Natsumi||Yuuki's abrupt callout of Ramone's past catches Tina off guard. Just how does the leader of the Concord know this sort of stuff? Is she being fed enough by some kind of crazy informant network? That's the only reasonable explanation and definitely not some kind of other innate power, and that gives the cowgirl-poser just a little bit more reason not to get on her bad side.
Luckily, that ire is aimed at Ramone, and the combined efforts of the group has Ramone on the ropes with a rather vile-looking chest wound. Even then, however, holding back could be the difference between life and death, and so, she brings out Uncle Sam's biggest guns. Rather, the Persona brings four of them out in its hands, tossing a pair of Tommy guns to Tina while it braces a pair of LMGs under its arms.
"I think I get it now. Your Stand's just crazy fast and tough. No tricks, no gimmicks... It's just like Yuukio said. Definitely the type most folks would be jealous if it's strong enough to never need to try hard! But there's the difference between folks like you and us..."
She tips her hat upwards briefly for dramatic effect. "Y'ain't never had a friend in the world, have you?" And so, Tina runs in one direction while Uncle Sam slides in the other, the pair with their four guns circling arund their adversary while concentrating an obscene number of bullets into Ramone's Stand. Even in this kind of situation, she can't bring herself to aim for headshots or center mass, but she has no qualms about asolutely mutilating the crap out of Havana Affair's arms and legs!
|Yuuki Kuran||SIDE ROOFTOP:
Inspiring people, and calling for Lilian as part of the plan, gets questioned in the moment. Everything executes brilliantly. Zero, above, twists the situation masterfully.
"Oh, you must've heard me wrong, Lilian, but that's fine. I trust that you would be less insufferable than DIO with the treasure."
She gives a double v-for-victory fingers and a fanged grin. "Plus, you were so fast going up! I thought you were the capable rogue type, so I planned accordingly."
Second Yuuki loves it when things go her way, but she doesn't mind a little banter or scenic routing.
It's the journey. Despite angling towards Ben to catch him if he falls, she's a lot happier than...
First Yuuki, who is powerfully livid. A problem that cannot be brute forced with fists, she advances towards the envasculated Stand and the burning man while [Firefly] turns the pillars of her ire brooding-dark and ashy-ember spewing.
Snapping out a baton at her side with a flick of her arm, a lightningbolt flash crackles down her arm and springs the collapsed metal rod open - one end growing batwing-like spines and tines like a viciously-bladed lancetip. "I see that you're wearing a king's crown. Unfortunately, you won't die a king's death." Yuuki growls, drawing up her spear bent-armed over her soulder. In a single smooth motion her whole body snaps and lunges with the speartip in one explosive throw, the air before the tip booming outward as air friction sparks across the yellow-hot tip of the immortal slaying missile-spear to Ramone's chest, strength of the vascular interceptor be damned.
|Hibiki Tachibana|| "Got him!" Punching through a barrier this thick wasn't something she planned for, but forcing her way through worked out well enough--and the glacier-shattering damage definitely carried through to Pet Shop through Horus, there's no doubt about that. Between Ben and Zero's extremely effective debiliation (and the mind reading), as well as Lilian's assault, they're starting to turn this fight around...! Or so it seems. A desperate fighter is never down for the count.
As evidenced by the brutal attack that's launched towards Ben, leaving Hibiki wide-eyed for a second--right before the storm of ice catches her while her attention is split, blowing her backwards and stopping her from even thinking about doing anything about it. Shards of ice embed themselves in armor, but also bare skin, as a result of her guard momentarily dropping. "Damnit...!"
But Yuuki's advice was sound, proven by Jonathan's gambit--one that rewards the risk with the safe retrieval of the Arrows! And that also means...there's no reason left to need to hold back on Pet Shop. Tensing up her body, she slams her legs back down onto solid ground and comes to a skidding halt, the opposite fist as before reared back and pilebunker pulling in reverse. She's going to make the most of the chance.
"Yeah, it IS!" Open, that is. With a roar, she thrusts forward, the same golden shine signalling Gungnir's explosive inner energy being put to use leaking out from within her arm's mechanisms. But instead of reinforcing her punch, it erupts outwards this time, taking the form of light that focuses itself and coalesces into a spiraling whirlwind lashing out and burning like fire - in fact, if it wasn't for the radiant color, it'd for all intents and purposes be a horizontal cyclone of actual flame aimed squarely at Pet Shop and Horus.
But it'll burn well enough like the real deal, and hotly enough to threaten any ice-based defenses in the same vein Lilian's earlier use of heat worked against the Stand! If a good singing of tailfeathers doesn't hammer in that it and DIO have lost here, nothing probably will.
|Crys Gattz||Crys Gattz is still in the fight for a moment even if she's getting pretty messed up right now, she's looking more than a little roughed up. She seems to have been somewhat looked over. This will give her a chance to make ready for what she's going to attempt to do now. As Zero has Pet Shop's attention for the most part. However she's not entirely forgotten about as the sice comes, so much ice is coming her way. Jojo has made his go for the box, good now she can be less restrained against Pet Shop.
She stikes the lunge comes the techs are mixed into it a bolt of lightning is launched from her body as she closes in and the claws are readied once more. The twin-bladed melee weapons are brought in play as she tries to take it down. Hoping to give those recovering the box more time.
She will take hits but that's fine that's what she's there for after all she could burn out tomorrow, Jojo and miss Yuuki have much more time left before them. She doesn't mind taking such a risk and away she goes.
|Jonathan Joestar||Ramone, consumed as he was by the flames, refuses to die. This is not jut a testament to his tenacity, but an effect of being filled up with Firefly's ashes. "How could I....to .... be killed by you ... I won't accept it .... I won't!"
The apparation of a Stand is based upon one's willpower. That it remained fully out like this, still trying to fight, just went to show how deep his convictions about his sense of self ran. It was however, fruitless. Between Yuuki and Tina, Ramone is forced to capitulate.
"They've got him! In the end, he's just a human. Even if he was being kept alive by the power of Firefly, the moment you decide to deactivate it, he'll be ...!"
"Yeah," Faith picks up for Speedwagon, eyes narrowed, "He's pushed himself too far because of Firefly. Once its gone, he'll disappear with it."
Puffing on his Stand, Faith removes it from his mouth, and smushes its tip against the ground. It disappears easily, and without it...
Ramone collapses. His limbs, his skull, his organs, they all burst into cauterized embers and .., cigarette ash.
Leaving a fossilized shell behind. Faith rests against the ground, "...we really did it, huh."
STAND USER: STAND NAME:
RAMONE HAVANA AFFAIR
The box containing the arrows are chucked Lilian's way, passing the proverbial football as Pet Shop screeches and attempts to gouge Jonathan's eyes out, only to be rebuffed by a powerful, Hamon-charged blow. "ZOOM PUNCH!"
The telescoping attack knocks Pet Shop back and rattles his bird brain, before he finds himself well and truly cut off. Attacks to Horus were reflected on his body, after all, and Horus was far less nimble than he was, even if it was capable of defending itself far better. No! Not like this!
But unfortunately, it was like that. Lightning and slashing claws, a typhoon of strength from powered fists, that terrible black ash that filled up his lungs and set him ablaze, a hail of curses that rapidly age him to his limit ..
At the end of it all, an ancient bird, unable to even lift its broken wings, is left slumped on the floor. His eyes no longer held any intelligence, and appeared to have gained cataracts.
Pet Shop was no longer capable of giving out a single coherent thought. No, even if he were healed, the effects of the aging on his mind has left him veritably brain dead, the only thing keeping his now bulbous and charred body alive being the power of Firefly. Embers can be seen flowing from his beak, mixed in with his own drool as Horus dissipates. The willpower necessary to maintain him it is, after all, gone. And without Firefly, the flame inside is extinguished, leaving Pet Shop to revert to a pathetic and crumpled form, cigarette ash leaking from his nostrils and eyes.
STAND USER: STAND NAME:
PET SHOP HORUS
Jonathan breathes out, "Finally."
|Lilian Rook|| In the midst of the battle, Lilian multitasks exactly how she'd prepared. Her fire aimed at Horus' ice, Lilian pivots as far as her stance allows her and reaches out her hand to catch the case thrown from Jonathan, valiantly passed before the wicked bird can reclaim its offering to DIO. The exact instant that Pet Shop's vicious claws and beating wings obscure the man's vision, and the suitcase makes contact with the tips of Lilian's fingers--
"Hup." Lilian stands up on her tippy toes, reaches out, and flips the latches on the case. Carefully not to disturb its aerial momentum, her deft fingertips raise the lid more on her nails than anything else, letting it fall from her causal wake the instant she lets go, and leaving the two halves partially opened like a pizza box, albeit one hanging in the air and tilted at a crazy angle.
"Just in time." she says, a smile-grimacing at the awful choice of words a subjective second later. "Let's see, let's see . . . one, two, three, four, five . . . six is too many. What are they going to do with half a dozen of these things?" Carefully selecting one of the arrows with her gloved hand, like a crane claw, Lilian cautiously uncaps a point of crystal chalk, wets it in red ink, and draws a shallow spiral of concealment runes along the shaft, blowing on it quickly to dry it, and then adding it to her travel pack, on the floor not far from her now. "Really, you just went and openly lampshaded it you know? I'll let you off with just the one this time."
Hurrying up the process as she feels the sideways timeline she'd shot off starting to lose its momentum, and the drag of causality beginning to resist further alterations, she hops back, flips the case closed, locks it again, takes up her stage-place, and allows that recalcitrant self-correcting property to smooth over the last miniscule deviances.
--she lunges up to the fullest extent of her reach, grabs the handle, brings it down, and swings it around in both hands, ducking and rolling as the storm of bullshit flies over her head, and emphatically RETIRES Pet Shop for good. "Well, excepting the fact that we'd only just gotten here in time, that didn't go too badly." she says. Getting one hand under the bottom of the case, she winds it up towards Jonathan, pulls it back, then pitches it to him with a relatively gentle underhand. "I'll check on Tina just to make sure she didn't bite it downstairs. Oh, and Faith too." Saying that, she walks a short ways to pick up her bag, companion in the bazaar, the desert, and the earlier temple, to then tap her radio. "Ahh . . . all these stairs though." Lilian says, before deciding to shroud her feet in a little inky black vapour and just take the lazy way down.