7075/Old Schoolhouse Exploration 4

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Old Schoolhouse Exploration 4
Date of Scene: 07 March 2020
Location: Thors Military Academy - Old Schoolhouse
Synopsis: People clear out the 6th and apparently final floor of the Old Schoolhouse. Is this truly the end of the mystery?
Cast of Characters: Rean Schwarzer, 7002, 7234, Silica, Staren, 7075, Kotone Yamakawa, 6802, Crow Armbrust
Tinyplot: Old Schoolhouse Exploration
Tinyplot2: Trails of Cold Steel 1

Rean Schwarzer has posed:

Today at Thors Military Academy, the campus is mostly chattering about the upcoming school festival, and what each respective class is going to be up to. You're not here for that though. What you ARE here for is to deal with whatever might've changed with the Old Schoolhouse, a building hidden away at the back of the Thors Military Academy campus.

Anyway, you all arrive at the dilapidated building. Rean and whichever classmates are coming along aren't here yet, but the Old Schoolhouse has a visitor today.

A 'visitor' as in there's a black cat with a belled collar and matching blue bow just chilling on the steps. She doesn't move from her spot when people approach the Old Schoolhouse. In fact, she just sits there. /Staring./ Maybe even silently judging, it's hard to tell.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto turns up to the campus on schedule and takes a trip towards the old schoolhouse where they were to meet up.  So far it was a good day, nothing bad has happened, she was feeling energized by some new life focus.  Recent talks with special people in her life had gone well.  Overall, living her life had made a big difference.

Right now, however, as she moves towards the front, there was a black cat.  Unlike most cultures, there was no stigma on black cats for Mikoto (and she'd likely ignore it due to her background anyway.)  Walking up to the cat, she stares down at it as it stares up at them.

Assuming it did not give any aggressive movements, she moved down to pet it, but if it did she backed off.  Not out of fear, but respect of the animal.  After all, Mikoto had a fondness for urban street animals.  "So what's your name?"

Damocles (7234) has posed:
Fun fact:  Cats were created by Tzeentch!  Originally made to be avatars of his will, they rebelled against him almost instantly, revering no gods but themselves.  

At least that's how Tzeentch explained it to Damocles, who found himself here, largely because the whispers of the Chaos God in his head told him there was 'something to learn' here.  Damocles doesn't know what that is.  From the sounds of it, he thinks they might be burning down a school?  To be honest he wasn't listening very closely at the time.  Tzeentch was telling him about cats.

Upon arriving at the building, he does agree that it should be burned down, though.  "So, I say we burn the building down, along with whatever's inside, and then pop over to the party they were chattering about.  Eh?  Whose with me?"

Silica has posed:
    There's a new girl arriving today! Keiko Ayano approaches, wearing a simple pair of jeans, a t-shirt and jacket. She's got her hair done up in a pair of twintails, bound with little red ribbons. On her shoulder, paradoxically, is a small white dragonling, and over her left eye sits her Augma, giving her directions in her field of view.

    She spots Mikoto talking to the cat, and approaches, smiling softly. "Hey there." she offers to the magical girl, then crouches down to offer a hand for the cat to sniff, mimicing Mikoto's moves if the cat turns out to be a grumpy gus.

Staren has posed:
    Staren shows up shortly after Mikoto; his futuristic white plate armor may or may not look out of place on this world. To Damocles, he explains, "It's one of those crazy magical buildings where the inside constantly changes. Burning it down could have unpredictable results... perhaps worth considering if it posed a danger to the locals, but as long as our goal is exploratory, burning it down is counterproductive."

    He, too, is drawn to the cat, crouching by it and extending a hand to see if it will let him pet it. "Well hello there." He allows it a chance to respond, and if it talks or something changes tack. If it's silent or only meows, though, he adds, "Are you just a regular cat, or are you magical or something? This is kind of a dangerous place to be near..."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha had actually ended up arriving a little early. She had greeted the chilling cat with a friendly smile and a cheerful, "Hello!" She did not expect the cat to respond. As far as she knew, animals in this world don't talk. And she otherwise tried not to disturb the feline's relaxation. Instead, she had moved to the other side of the steps and taken a seat herself. After several moments of waiting, she waved her hand in the air, a holoterminal appearing before her. Might as well get some work in while she waited.

    And that's how the others find Nanoha when they begin arriving. Typing away at that keyboard of magic light. She finally dismisses it though as they reach the steps of the building too. The Mage stands, brushing down her uniform skirt as she greets them with a smile, "Hello, everyone." Nanoha only recognises Mikoto and Staren initially, not having seen Silica outside of her avatar before. This is why she proceeds with an introduction, "I'm Captain Nanoha Takamachi with the Time-Space Administrative Bureau. I look forward to working with you."

    As Damocles suggests burning own the old schoolhouse, Nanoha chuckles a little, "Ehehehe... I don't know if that'll really work... It's not an ordinary building?" Nanoha then nods along with Staren's words on the matter.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
So here she was, Kotone was still a bit beat up from the night before. She had been mostly patched up by the Paladins medics. Or was that mechanics in her case at this point? It didn't matter much if at all to her anymore. She had shown up on campus ready to go for this run regardless not sure just what would be waiting for them down there? She would be taking a look over the various people who had arrived. She knew them all either personally or by reputation. Save on that being Damocles whim she's looking over at the hulking seeming wizard for a moment.

"Where's the fun in that or are your looks just for show big guy?"

She looks to STaren for a moment then to the cat and he's talking to it. She snaps a photo or two with her phone and pockets it.

She then will not crowd the cat, but it's clear she wants to pet it.

Damocles (7234) has posed:
"I'd be careful of that thing," Damocles warns as he motions to the cat with his staff.  "It's giving enough enough arcane energy that I can see it even through the 'fog' of this place."

Jeanne Alter (6802) has posed:
For better or for worse, another visitor clad in black and dark blue is here to see the dilapidated building as well. She seems distracted staring at the cat, watching it with mild interest until she hears more voices.

"Burning it down sounds good. It'd be faster to sort any bodies out after the fact." Jeanne seems to be in agreement with Damocles despite not looking in his nor Staren's direction at all. "It'd be easier to explore if everything inside is smoked out, anyway."

Once Mikoto and Silica both take interest in the cat as well, Jeanne furrows her brow and backs off, but not before peering at that small creature on Silica's shoulder. "This better not be our contact." She mutters, then glances over at Nanoha when she hears that introduction. "Oh. It's you again. I hope you'll be able to fight on foot as well as you do in the air."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto responds to Silica first, "Hey," She responds easy enough.  To Staren she gives an odd glance, "How did you get it being magical?  It looks like a normal cat.  I don't see anything out of the ordinary about it.  You're weird sometimes man."

Damocles is already on two misses by the time she turns his attention to him.  Squinting at the berobed man and tilts her head at him just slightly.  "First, nobody is burning down the magical building.  Second, you seem to be the last person that should be passing judgment on others, mister I look like I stepped out of a cult."

She gives a wave to Jeanne, who's talk of burning things down is just her way of saying hi.  Nanoha similarly gets a wave, though more reserved than normal.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
The cat brushes up against Silica's hand happily, the same with Mikoto's petting, letting out some very pleased purring.

Then Damocles points out her magical energy. She immediately stops interacting with the others, and just turns to glare at him. Then she goes back to being pet.

"...I'm pretty sure arson should be our last resort." Rean says, walking over. Two other students in the same red uniform as him follow behind. A short silver-haired girl, and a boy in glasses - Fie and Machias.

"Oh, hey." Fie walks up to the cat and starts petting her too. "Celine, right? Emma give you anything good lately?" Celine nods, letting out a short "Meow".

Silica has posed:
    Keiko smiles as she scritches Celine behind the ears, before standing and waving to Nanoha. "We've worked together before... one sec." she clicks her tongue, making Pina hop off her shoulder and hover beiside her. The Mage would probably recognize the Feathered Dragonling with it's small, beady red eyes.

    Keiko strikes a pose, and speaks. "LINK. START!" becoming engulfed in a wireframe mesh that starts at her Augma and expands outwards. Her stature diminishes a little, cat ears and tail manifest, and then the texture resolves atop the wireframe, leaving the Cait Sith Beast Tamer standing in place of the older-looking human previously. "Silica, reporting for duty~." she chirps, her voice taking a little bit higher pitch with the avatar layer.

    Pina lands on her mistress' shoulder once again, chirruping at everyone idly.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean looks around, noticing that there's a lot more people today, including some he doesn't recognize. ...Oh wait, the girl with the headset was just Silica. The wizard-looking guy is definitely new though. "Guess I should explain what's going on again." Rean says. "Basically, there's an underground space beneath here filled with monsters, and we're just exploring it to figure out why it's growing new floors. Aside from that one time a few months ago when a door appeared with a living suit of armor behind it, not much has changed. My best guess is that it's some sort of trial, but I'm not sure for what."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa she catches what Damocles says the catches the look the cat gives him as the cat goes back to being a cat. She looks over to Keiko as she transforms into her far better-known form of Silica.

"Welcome aboard Silica."

She looks to Rean now and pauses for a moment.

"A refresher would be good and just how much firepower are we going to be needing? Do I need to call in my ARMED SUIT?"

She notes honestly curious about that.

"Your school's pretty old, right? Sounds like it might be some sort of old combat test? I have some remotes I could send ahead would you like me to do so?"

Damocles (7234) has posed:
The voice of Chaos in the back of Damocles's mind perks up at the possible repercussions of destroying the school.  "Ooooo extradimensional space?  Unpredictable results?  I like this plan already!  Let's do it!"  Damocles shoos the voice of the chaos god away and focuses on the task at hand instead.  Though he does take a moment for his glowing eyes to narrow back at the black cat.  I'm watching you, /cat/.

He gives a brief nod to Rean at the explanation.  All this sounds like a perfect reason to just blow the whole thing up and call it a day to him, but hey, it isn't his mission.  He's just here because the voices in his head told him he should be. 

"Well met," He starts when people address him directly.  "I'm Damocles. Sorcerer.  I'm here to lend my magical expertise to your cause."  He glances at the building, and sighs a little.  "I hope they built their ceiling tall down there."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Are Nanoha's combat abilities being called into question? Rude. But Nanoha doesn't seem to mind. She simply gives Jeanne a smile, "I'll try not to slow you down."

    Damocles points out that the cat is apparently giving off a magic aura. Nanoha is not too surprised. It's not uncommon for creatures to have a little magic of their own. Depending on the world, some more than others.

    Silica's transformation of course draws Nanoha's attention. Once it's complete, Nanoha nods along in recognition, remembering back a while, "Of course, Silica. I didn't recognize you!" Nanoha notices the change in stature, "You transformation makes you... Shorter?" Nanoha seems amused by this. Not to mention the Cait Sith looks rather adorable.

    Thankfully the arrival of the Thors students draws Nanoha's attention. She turns to them and nods in greeting, "Hello Rean, Fie, Machias." Nanoha looks further amused as the poor cat receives more attention, briefly reminded of her younger years and a certain 'pet' of hers.

    But Nanoha figures it's time to get to work. And apparently Rean does as well as he explains the situation. Nanoha actually looks a little concerned as he finishes, admitting, "I'd hoped that there had been more progress in learning it's purpose." Nanoha looks at Kotone as she makes a suggestion. Nanoha hmms thoughtfully, "Perhaps... Although I'm not sure that quite fits the feeling I get from it."

    "Well. I suppose there's nothing to do but continue exploring! Hopefully the answers are there to find."

Staren has posed:
    The cat is magical and /nods/ in response to a question? So not just an animal then.

    As Rean gives the overview, Staren stands up and turns to him. "A trial, huh? I hope not -- If this tower ends with us meeting some asshole who's all 'congratulations on passing my test, which was never explained and could have killed innocent people' we're gonna have more than words."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto gives the magic cat one last pet and stands up.  "Might be to keep something dangerous in.  If it was something part of the school, I don't see a reason why the monsters inside would attack non-students, especially ones without weapons," Mikoto referring to when Rean's Sister took a run inside.

"Staren, seriously, chill.  If it is something like that, then the likelihood of non-students going in there is very low.  No shooting the asshole test giver, if it's that."

With that, she turns towards the door and opens it.  "Anyway, daylight's burning."

Jeanne Alter (6802) has posed:
"Tch. Fine, we'll do it the slow way." Jeanne grunts and shrugs lightly at Rean and Mikoto, relenting in her desire to set fire to everything. "But if we find anything worthwhile to fight in there, you better not complain if it ends up getting burnt down anyway!"

... For now, anyway.

After Keiko's transformation, Jeanne is looking a bit more confused. "Why is your transformation into a smaller and weaker form? That's..." She puzzles over that, not all that different from Nanoha's reaction. She turns her attention back to Rean when he explains the situation.

"Someone could be digging while nobody's here. Or it could be some magus with a sunlight allergy." Jeanne shrugs, then holds her hand out to her side as an ornate black blade shimmers into existence. "But we can find that out later. For now..."

Right. Introductions. Jeanne weighs her options, then opts to just stick to her more casual black shirt/dress and blue jacket combo rather than switching to her armor. "Jeanne d'Arc, Dragon Witch of France. If you don't want to be consumed by my fire, then don't stand in front of me." And with that, Jeanne heads right on in with her sword ready and... That's about it, actually.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Celine turns her head away from Damocles' stare with a hmph.

Rean puts his hand to his chin in thought as he listens to Kotone and Nanoha. "Principal Vandyke did say the original basement sometimes got used for combat tests, and Instructor Sara used it for that exact reason at the start of the year..." There's a quiet grumble from Machias as Rean says that. Probably some lingering 'but why' from that incident. "I'm not sure about it's /current/ setup, though. And I don't think you need to call anything in right now, but it might be good to have as a back up plan in case it throws us something really weird."

Rean nods at Mikoto's response. "Right. Nothing's escaped so far. And /usually/ the door stays locked so no one aside from us goes in." Of course there was the incident with his sister, but he probably just forgot to lock the door that time. Definitely. "But for all I know this is just some ancient ruin with a terrible sense of timing."  He grins a bit. " Only one way to find out." And with that, he heads over to unlock the door.

As he does up the steps though, Celine moves to sit down next to him and starts /staring/ again. Rean looks down at her, eyebrows furrowed. "Uh...My cat talk isn't that great, sorry." Rean says, unlocking the door. Though...weren't the others talking about Celine being magic as he got there? Something about that made /sense/ somehow, not necessarily because of her intelligence, but perhaps because of her apparent closeness to Emma, who was already kind of weird herself. But that was something to think about later.

Everyone heads down to the 6th and according to the elevator panel, at least, the final floor.

This floor is much the same as it's always been down here, with the yellow and blue switches and bridges from the 3rd floor returning and switches that lower and raise walls as you go along. By this point the walking wall monsters and flaming skull demons should be easy pickings for both the off-worlders and Class VII, so everyone should make it to the boss room in one piece.

Within is a pair of floating machines, shaped in the image of angels with a pair of winged shields floating at both their sides and a pair of bladed arms hanging from their lower torso. One of them slams its sword into the ground, sending a shockwave across the field in Mikoto's general direction, while the other launches both its shields towards Jeanne!

Staren has posed:
    "Do you really need 'cat talk'? It sounds like she understands normal words..." Staren doesn't linger outside to solve the mystery of Celine, though, he heads in with the others to crawl dungeons.

    "...On the other hand, I can't think of any other explanations for why there's this mix of switch puzzles and monsters. If it's not a test, then someone is just imitating the idea of a 'dungeon' for no reason... But it's not like REAL dungeons -- ancient ruins, monster lairs, a wizard's base, or the like. Those all serve a /purpose/ and just coincidentially provide a multi-room structure that has some challenges..."

    "But this? You might have an ancient magitech lab constructed for a forgotten purpose that requires figuring out how to work the magic elevator or whatever, but that doesn't explain switch-and-bridge puzzles. It's not a security system either, you'd just have like, a keypad where you put in the code... that ISN'T meant to be figured out by interlopers. /Puzzles/ and /security systems/ are not the same thing."

    Staren's rant continues into the boss room. He puts up his forcefield but... the guardians focus on Mikoto and Jeanne? His missile racks pop into place and fire, three anti-tank minimissiles at each guardian.

    "They just completely ignore me? These aren't here to /win/, they're here to /challenge/... maybe it is a test. But I maintain that leaving deadly tests lying around is a pretty dickish thing to do... then again the 'mysterious, monster-filled building' might've been enough of a 'you must be this powerful to ride' sign..."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto walks along to the elevator and takes it down.  Looking over towards Jeanne, "So how does it go?" She asks, trying to strike up a conversation as they enjoy the ride down.  On the bottom, the final door awaits.  Of course, twin bosses stand before them, and before they can say anything, attack!

Mikoto transforms, her clothes exploding into wisps of magic and jade green.  The new clothes solidify into jade first, forming fabric as they shatter again.  Until only the face remains.  A mask appears over her face and a hat on her head which similarly burst into the fabric.  Her sword bursts out of the ground, forming from jade until Mikoto puts her hand on it, and it shatters into the jade sword she is known for.

This causes her to thrust the blade immediately into the ground, causing a burst of spikes to try and shield her, the shockwave rushing around her as if she were a boulder in a river.  The spikes shatter, as she dives out of the defensive maneuver, attempting to swing her blade up, but then feints out of it, and slashes from the sword arm across, attempting to bait the shield.

Damocles (7234) has posed:
The indoor area isn't as cramped as he was worried, but it isn't exactly spacious for the '10 foot something' hulking monster of a human. He's not unused to it, though.  Most of the universe isn't built for a Space Marine build.  Still, he keeps his shoulders tucked a bit, stays near the back and doesn't mess with any of the switches.  As least he doesn't have to bend over constantly. 

Against the more mundane enemies, Damocles has a surprisingly martial solution for a wizard:  He swats them with his staff.  The staff itself flickers when swung with a slightly violet-tinted energy, and smashes though things in front of it like they were made of fog. 

The arrival of the angel looking things worries him a bit more, so he does stop.  He doesn't unleash his magic attacks just yet though, mostly because he's worried about catching his allies in the crossfire.  Better to hang back and act as support for now. 

As support, he looks over to Mikoto when she draws a blade.  "Hey, hold that blade out to me for one second," he asks politely, and extends his eye-topped staff in her direction.  If she complies, he focuses his energy briefly, causing arcs of more violet lightning to extend from the eye on his staff to the blade of her sword.  It only takes a moment, but when he pulls back the sword, the energy continues to arc across her blade, a powerful current of pure arcane energy that sends small arcs out at anything nearby. 

Crow Armbrust has posed:
    A loud, blaring volley of gunfire rings out.

Crow, who entered just after the rest and had been forced to play catchup, makes his fashionably late arrival to the party in a way that only he could; with a lot of loud noise. The student is clad in Class VII's crimson garb with his shirt and coat sleeves rolled up to his elbow, with a semi-automatic orbal pistol in one hand and a large revolver in the other. The revolver was empty now, but he continued firing until the pistol's slide went back for a final time, indicating that the ammunition was spent. Hopefully, that would damage the 'angel's wing enough to knock it briefly off balance. "Yo! Looks like you all got yourselves into somethin' of a sticky wicket. But don't worry, your caring upperclassman is here to bail you out. Yep, it's ole' Crow to the rescue!"

As he jabbered, he quickly loaded both of his weapons back up before kipping forward to get into the arena proper to join his three classmates in a formation of four.

Silica has posed:
    Silica sticks close to the center of the group. She does look at Jeanne, frowning a bit. "Don't judge me by my size." she remarks, flicking her dagger out of its sheathe at the small of her back. She shrugs a bit and uses the downtime to begin chanting. The words are some kind of norse, and after the last yellow symbol locks into place around her, a bubble of blue hexagons appears around each person in the 'party'.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    It's time.

    The group proceeds into the old schoolhouse. This is Nanoha's second trip so while not an old hat, she at least knows a little of what to expect. It's on the elevator, on the way down, that Nanoha actually transforms herself.

    Nanoha's transformation doesn't have quite as much flair as Silica's or Mikoto's. Although it's still flashy in that there is light involved. A strong pink light surrounds Nanoha entirely. It grows outwards, forming some more bulky clothing. Meanwhile a long pole stretches out either side of Nanoha's left hand, widening at the head as it forms a point.

    With a flash of light, Nanoha is revealed once more. Now wearing her white and blue combat dress, steel and gold staff in her hand. Soon enough the group makes their way through the dungeon. Nanoha sticks to the rear, firing off beams of pink magic from her staff. The battles aren't so challenging that Nanoha is unleashing any of her larger attacks.

    Once they arrive towards the end of the floor, coming face to plating with those angelic looking machines, Nanona gets a bit more of a serious expression on her face. She turns her focus to the angel that just sworded the ground to produce that shockwave at Mikoto.

    Nanoha raises her staff in the direction of her target. A spell circle appears on the ground beneath the robot angel as Nanoha calls out, "Chain Bind!" Chains of pink light rise up out of the spell circle. They attempt to wrap around the blade arms to tie them up and anchor them to the ground, to keep them from being used while also helping Mikoto engage in close with the machine.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa goes over her loadout she has in storage on her internal HUD while she waits for the party to move out. The response to Mikoto's question does set to rest, Kotone's concern about containment breaching. She doe snot question the cat at this point as the group heads down deeper and deeper into whatever lays within this place. Kotone doesn't bother to cloak as she pulls out an SMG some sort of MP5 or related weapon and will open fire at the various monsters that are coming at them the machines, however, catch her attention that gets an eyebrow raise she's got to wonder just what sort of systems they might have.

If she runs into them again she might be able to try and hack them. For now, she'll keep shooting at the various monsters confident the party can burn these ones down. 5R
She opens fire on the angel thing as well.

"I don't you should see my Grandmother!"
She calls out to Silicia.

Then Suddenly Crow! He makes quite the entrance she has no idea who he is but he doesn't seek to be hostile as he falls in with Rean and his classmates.

Jeanne Alter (6802) has posed:
"That rules out a digging prankster, then. Still not definite on the magus thing, but.." Jeanne shrugs lightly. She doesn't sound particularly invested in the why of the matter, but... Why /is/ she coming with this group, then?

Nothing she'll admit to. "I had nothing better to do. Have you killed anyone else interesting yet?" She responds to Mikoto, almost sounding like she's trying to goad something out of her. That, or she's just being Jeanne.

Probably just being Jeanne. If nothing else, she does pull her weight and then some, unleashing fire and steel in equal measure upon those encroaching wall monsters and flaming skull demons as they appear. She hasn't seen them nor the puzzle rooms yet, so it does take Jeanne a fair bit longer to get through those without resorting to following the more experienced members of the group in getting through those obstacles.

"You weren't joking when you said this was a trial... At least it's not boring." She... Approves? Somewhat, since it does give the Dragon Witch an opportunity to blow off some steam. When the angel-themed machines appear, Jeanne scoffs briefly as she watches those shields coming her way.

"If this is a test, they really picked the right motif to get their toys broken!" Conjuring her flag in front of her, Jeanne whips the bottom end of it upwards to deflect one of the shields, then slams her banner back down to brace against it and withstand the other one slamming directly into her with a painful thunking noise that's not completely metal slamming into metal. "Tch... Now you're open!" She launches herself at the shield-slinger head on, flames shooting forward at it to coincide with her bringing that heavy flagpole down at its face.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"I meant 'I'm not sure what you're trying to say, I don't speak cat' Staren." Rean says with a sigh. Otherwise he just lets Staren ramble on. Maybe he'd pick up on something new about all this.

Back to the boss fight, Mikoto slashes at the machine's sword arm, her blade scraping across the metal as she moves. One of the shields on the guardian she's fighting lashes out at her, just as expected. Staren's  missiles slam into the guardians as well, exploding spectacularly against their hulls. Nanoha's chains also help make it easier to land hits on this one, which Machias takes advantage of, firing an armor piercing round from his shotgun at the shield that isn't getting lobbed at Mikoto right now, cracking it a bit. It slams its free sword arm down, sending a shockwave towards the support squad of Damocles and Silica.

In comes Crow, whose shots ring out against one of the guardians, staggering it a bit. Fie and Kotone both join in, Fie firing her twin gunknives at the guardians and Kotone firing her SMG.
"Hey, you made it!" Rean says, giving Crow a brief nod. He then rushes in at the shield lobbing guardian, in sync with Jeanne just smacking it in the face with her flagpole. As Rean rushes past, his sword strike hitting with enough speed that one strike blooms into many, staggering it further.
The very staggered guardian that previously was lobbing shields eventually rallies, swinging out both its sword arms at the people engaging it in melee, specifically Rean and Jeanne. Rean raises his sword to block the strike, getting pushed back towards the walls of the arena. It then fires its sheilds again, aimed right at Fie, Crow and Kotone. Fie jumps back to get out of the way of the strike, but what will everyone else do?

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto's sword starts to glow all the colors of the warp, giving it a look over, she nods once.  "That'll work!  Thanks, cult guy!"  She shouts back over her shoulder towards Damocles.  This comes right as the shield aims for her.  Her sword swings out, aiming to collide with the shield before it can swipe her too hard.  There is a clash before she is launched back, skidding across the ground.  

She can feel that in her arms, making her regretting trying to match strength with these things.  She dives in again, aiming to try and dive under the creature, and thrust her blade into the ground, instead of into him.  Triggering the enchantment on the blade, she does also send a spike straight up, attempting to impale the monster from below.

To Jean, "Nothing too interesting, I'm afraid.  I've been mostly trying to get my life in order."

Damocles (7234) has posed:
As Damocles pulls his staff back from offering the weapon enhancement magic to Mikoto, the shockwave strikes his armor, sending him flying backward.  He's a big target, so the shockwave does a good job of knocking him around, getting the barrier spells his armor is reinforced with to flicker as he flies backwards a dozen or so feet before his feet slam into the ground.  He lands in a crouch, the bottom of his staff striking the floor underneath him to stabilize himself.  His glowing eyes arch slightly into 'angry' eyes.

"Oh, I'm sorry, were you feeling ignored.  Can't have that," he intones dangerously as he stands up to his full height again.

He motions forward with his staff, a flicker of energy crossing over his body starting at his feet and shooting through his body, to his hand, up the staff and along to the edge, where it leaps out in a concentrated blast of lightning.  The lighting arc lasts for only a couple of seconds, but surges with a tremendous amount of energy in that short time, a cold, electric hiss filling the room as the power arcs between the Sorcerer and his target.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
"Just in time for the party." Crow replies to Rean before giving out a wink and a smirk to Kotone as he caught her looking at him. He doesn't have long to fool around, though, before the Elvavria decide to cut things short. As Fie begins her retreat, Crow's body outlines itself in a blue haze that forms a magic circle. " ARCUS Activate! "

The clockface that appears spins rapidly, enacting a change in the flow of time that causes Crow to blur, practically becoming an afterimage as he circles around the fired shields.

To him, the speeding rams were practically moving in slow motion before the flow of time began to return to normal. Taking advantage of the remains of his Chrono Drive, Crow fires a volley of water sepith infused bullets from his revolver in an attempt to freeze the circular shoulders while they were exposed, without shields to protect them, and follows up on his flash freeze attack by unstrapping an orbal grenade from his belt loops and kicking it towards the same spot he'd been shooting at, the right shoulder, with the intention of blowing a hole in it.

        "Take that!"

Staren has posed:
    Staren puts up his shields again and gets ready to dodge... but, it seems there are just more people here than these guardians can handle! Well, Staren's not going to let this opportunity slip by!

    As one of the guardians is pushed back towards the edge of the arena, Staren manifests energy wings and tries to dash behind it while it focuses on others, so he can unload with the weapons in his armor's arms -- two beam cannons and a dozen tinier missiles!

    "I guess whoever set up this challenge didn't expect this many people... oh well. Since they didn't set out any terms at the start, anything goes, I guess!"

Silica has posed:
    Silica frowns a bit, then does a quick tap in the air. A moment later, a large tiger-like creature emerges from a flash of light and bodyblocks the shockwave with a bellowing roar. It's body shows bright red damage decals, and the HP bar above its head ticks down a few notches. It then turns and unleashes a beam-breath attack that crackles with lightning energy.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    The party is joined by another, a latecomer. Nanoha remembers Crow from her previous excursion into this building. She also remembers the more recent Paladin reports about him and his connections to the Watch. Nanoha is a little disconcerted as she gives the Thors student a brief look. But she tries to push it from her mind as she focuses on the threat that the robotic angels currently present.

    Nanoha is caught on the edge of the shockwave sent towards Damocles and Silica. She's able to simply endure it, planting her feet in the ground as the defensive magics of her Barrier Jacket absorb the force of the blast.

    Once the attack has passed, Nanoha quickly switches into an attack stance once more, leveling her staff in the angel's direction. An orb of magic quickly grows beyond the pointed tips of the staff's head, until it bursts. Streams of pink lance outwards, before arcing back in towards the same point targeted by Damocles's lightning. Nanoha is hoping a combined assault will inflict more damage on the machine.

Jeanne Alter (6802) has posed:
"Oh? Another.. Wait. You're that..." Jeanne squints slightly at Crow as she starts to recognize him. She turns away briefly to pull her flag back and whip her sword out in front of herself, now prepared with both weapons despite glancing his way again. "... The one with that dumb sweater." Of course that's what she remembers.

"Don't get too cocky!" That's about as much 'encouragement' as she gives before focusing more fully on the fight. As Rean blocks the blade coming in from one side, Jeanne uses both her sword and flag to block the blade coming in from the other direction, helping to hold the blades at bay and preventing them from cleaving through hersef and Rean. The impact has her wincing slightly, but she grits her teeth through it as she weighs her options.

Could she have leapt out of the way easily? Sure, probably. Doing that would put their lead on this operation in a bad spot, though, and it wouldn't look too good. It doesn't mean she's completely stuck, though! As she holds that blade away from her, spears start to materialize in the air above her. She launches them at the arm holding the sword, aiming to impale them and slash them apart at the base if the opportunity presents itself.

"Is this going to be like the last couple of times you've tried to get things in order? Or are you finally being more honest with yourself?" She replies to Mikoto, leaving a fair bit of it vague.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone calls out to Rean "You know that guy?"

Looks like Rean knows Crow. She's left laying down fire and her SMG doesn't seem to be doing enough as she changes she will leap up into the air jump a second time and leap off the shield. As she does this, Kotone would summon another weapon from her matter manipulator it's a rail gun that's about as big as she is. She snaps off several more shots before she hit the ground and gets on the move once more.

"I'm over here come get me, big guy!"

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Mikoto's spike pierces the rounded spike serving as 'legs' for the guardian, basically pinning it to the ground as opposed to it floating around. This puts it in a good position to get warp lightning'd. It pulls its shields forward to block, but in the process, the cracked one cracks even further, and then shatters as Nanoha's spears impact it. This gives Tetsu's lightning free range to just fry the thing, and Machias to shoot it in the face. This makes it kinda mad, and it lets out a howl, wildly throwing it's remaining shield with more force than before at the party.

Meanwhile on the other side, Crow fires at the right shoulder of the right guardian, knocking it back again and freezing it. Both his grenade and Staren's missiles impact the brittle metal, resulting in it losing control of the shield hovering on that side. It clatters to the ground, and Fie jumps in quickly, rolling to grab and get that shield as far away as possible. Kotone jumps off of the other shield, landing some clean shots to the thing, leaving holes all over it's 'face.' Jeanne blocks the sword strike, and then her rain of spears impale one of the swords hovering around its torso, pinning it to the ground.  The shield that's still floating whirls around it, aiming to smack Staren and Crow upside the head, while its remaining sword arm repeatedly slams the ground, making shockwaves for the two melee fighters to dodge. Rean ducks and weaves around, trying to find an opening between them.

Silica has posed:
    Tetsu snarls as he fries the thing, bracing to take the incoming shield throw in tank position again.

    Silica is chanting a spell, meanwhile. "Ek skýt fjórir ískaldur ör!" four 'spears' made from ice form around the little Cait Sith, then lash out as she points them at the incoming shield as it flies, aiming to deflect it, or at least slow it down to reduce the impact when it hits. The spears don't track, but lash out quickly in a straight line.

Crow Armbrust has posed:

His victory whoop is short lived as the shield comes back around for him. Crossing both weapons in front of his body and bracing himself, the shield attack sends him skidding to the side with a grunt of strain and pain, a shower of sparks exploding where the barrels of his guns met the hard edge of the Elvavria's shield. "Ugh. Okay, blocking's a bad idea.."

        " ARCUS Activate! "

Tremors run through the air as time-space rumbles and glass-like shards, reflective sickles made from extra-dimensional energies fire off and barrage the un-guarded right side of the 'angel' alongside a volley of orbal bullets.

Damocles (7234) has posed:
Damocles pulls his staff back after his blast, but immediately starts gathering power for a second strike.  He takes just a second to observe how their concentrated attacks for affecting it, and smiles a little as it seems pretty angry.  Not very 'robot' of it.  Maybe it's Warp possessed? 

Still, when it throws its shield in his direction, he moves.  He doesn't move away from it, but instead steps towards it, moving at a speed one really wouldn't expect for someone as big as him. 

"Mistake, sister," he says quietly as he pushes his staff forward again.  This time, as he does, he releases a shockwave of his own: A sudden, short ranged but extremely powerful blast of repelling force, aimed at the shield, designed to repel the guardian's attack right back into its stupid robot face.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto lets out a small laugh at that, it sure didn't like it when it's defenses were sundered.  Though it decides that the attack was the right move.  Mikoto braces as the shield is launched at the group, using her sword to try and swing up and over the weapon.  

There is a gride, as the sparks from the two colliding spill everywhere.  She moves her body, and as she does so the shield moves by.  It catches her in the right arm, causing her to swing wildly and force herself to use the blade to stop her momentum by dragging it along the ground.  

Jeanne gives her the standard Edgejean response, but maybe a bit more cutting that she was prepared for.  However, she just flashes a smile, and not quite a kind one.  "Yeah, I have actually Jeanne."

She launches at the monster, leaping up the side of the spike and attempting to land on top of it.  "I've learned to embrace what I am.  That what I want in this world belongs to me, and what I lay claim to is for only I to hold." She says, driving the blade repeatedly into the creature's face, before leaping up.

"I am the magical girl of envy, after all!  All that I want will be mine, and woe to who will deny or steal from me!" she says, as the blade comes down with her body, attempting to slash right through the impaled monster.  

Staren has posed:
    The right guardian turns around, and this time its shield hits his forcefield, knocking off a chunk and somewhat humorously sending Staren smashing into the ground where his forcefield cracks more on impact and bounces him into the air while Staren tumbles about inside it -- in less than a second, though, he's dropped the field and stabilzied himself upright with wings and thrusters.

    "Oh, NOW you pay attention..." That hit knocked him for a loop, but he can't help quipping. Perhaps a mix of anger at the creator of this place, at the guardian for ignoring him, and now at the guardian for NOT ignoring him?

    At least hovering in the air puts him above the shockwaves. But he's also fired all his missiles, and he hasn't seen any sign that a particular weapon would be more effective, so for now he falls back to pew pewing with his beam cannons as they cool down every few seconds.

    Staren frowns slightly as he hears Mikoto's speech. It's very dramatic, but it kind of comes across as a bit greedy and selfish... now doesn't seem the time to critique her though, as his previous ranting annoyed her enough.

Jeanne Alter (6802) has posed:
"'Just cocky enough' my ass... Whatever. Maybe you should have some of that confidence rub off on some of these other kids!" Jeanne shouts towards Crow, cracking a slight grin when that blade gets stuck firmly in the ground. With only those slams against the ground to contend with, the Dragon Witch gets to use something mildly clever to avoid getting launched too far away.

She utilizes the power of VERTICAL MOVEMENT. Leaping right over the guardian, Jeanne channels dark flames around her blade while looking for her target. "So you are... Hmhmhm. Pretending to be benevolent or conniving never seemed to be your style, anyway." She replies to Mikoto, then starts laughing while diving towards the guardian's back with her blade held out, aiming to cleave it right through the back.

"No... If you want something, take it. If you can't, then you're just not strong enough. No excuses, no posturing or acting like you're 'good' when... Well!" Once Jeanne lands, she brings the flag up next, aiming the sharpened tip upwards to try impaling it from below and lifting it off the ground as a demonstration of PURE POWER. "It does't take a genius to see that you aren't, so why bother fooling yourself?"

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha finds a shield streaking towards her. She quickly raises her hand, a magical barrier forming between her and the oncoming weapon. It smashes against the round shield, which absorbs part of the blow before shattering into sparkles of light. Nanoha is able to get her staff into position to take the rest of the impact, though it still smashes her and sends her flying backwards.

    Nanoha skids to a halt, before quicky flipping over and beginning to rise. As she does so, she reaches her staff out towards the angel that attacked her. Motes of pink appear in the air around it. They gather in strength before raining down on the angel as beams of light from multiple directions.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Things are going for Kotone fairly well all things considered but it's not over just yet. The thing is still attacking them and it's not going down even with all the damage they have done to it. She keeps moving with her massive weapon. Snapping off shots as she moves timing her attacks to not catch her allies who are fighting up close but this slows down her rate of fire. She doesn't fair well agianst the shockwave they are too fast for her to handle and Kotone is sent flying from them. Which has left her down and now more open to attack.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Silica's spears impact the shield as it comes for her, sending it spinning off trajectory. It goes back to its maser, then whirls around at Damocles...who just blasts it right into it's face. It goes out /again,/ This time at Mikoto, who does actually get hit. Of course that doesn't stop her from leaping up and stabbing the thing in the face, cutting into it with warp sword magic. Nanoha's lasers slam into the guardian, scorching it and leaving holes in it. "Clear the way!" Machias shouts, drawing a larger shot gun and firing it multiple times. The combined assault is too much for the guardian, and it falls off of the spike, collapsing onto the gound before bursting into a cloud of violet smoke.

Rean doesn't say anything in response to Mikoto's speech. After all, he already knew that was the path she chose to take. He just had to hope it didn't lead to disaster.

Meanwhile, Crow's Demonic Scythe spell and bullet spray cuts into the guardian, same with Staren's lasers. Jeanne's fancy flipping also slices up the guardian, and Fie joins in by jumping on it and stabbing it with her gunknives and then firing. Rean finally finds an opening, and runs in again,taking many rapid sword slashes at the guradian, sword blazing with fire. Kotone's shots still land, and while she's caught off guard, it's enough for this guardian to fall, just like its companion.

There's silence for a moment afterwards and....nothing happens.

"...Nothing again." Rean sighs. "There's no other floors on the elevator, but that can't be it, can it?"

Fie sighs. "Lame."

Machias shrugs. "Maybe we need to check the other floors?"

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha stands up proper once more as she watches the machine angels crash down after the punishment they've received has become too much. It's really only then that Nanoha takes the opportunity to wonder at their appearance. Who would design them that way? And why?

    Nanoha is quickly distracted though as... Nothing happens. She sighs quietly. Is she disappointed? It would seem so. Though it's not too obvious as she tries to hide it, instead putting on a smile and saying, "Well, another floor completed!"

    As Rean points out that there's no other floors, Nanoha looks a little confused, though wonders out loud, "It's recongifured itself before, right? Maybe it'll do so again. I sincerely doubt anyone would go to all the trouble of making this place like this, only for this to be the end. It doesn't seem like there would be any purpose to such a fantastical creation."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto raises swinging the sword down once to remove any other debris from her blade as the monster turns to ash.  Turning only once the monster is dead, she regards Jeanne.  There is a smirk on her face, but she shrugs her shoulders.

"No, I wasn't.  I tried to be something I was not, to fit in with people because I was afraid to be rejected for not being what they thought I was.  Anyway, I'm over that now, and yeah...strength comes next.  We're working on that whole witch problem too."

"What?  That's it?  That's megalame.  Maybe there is a..." a pause.  She gets a vision, randomly thanks to Tetra 'I'm not Zelda', which causes her to see something.  

Class VII and other students of Thors, with faculty, stand outside of the old schoolhouse's courtyard.  It slowly pans to the schoolhouse itself, as a bright blue barrier seems to surround the building.  The light is bright enough to read by, but a loud ringing can be heard.  As it pans up, the bell rings endlessly, the night is lit by only the light of the barrier.  

Shaking her head, Mikoto snaps out of it and looks towards the others.  "Uh...I am sure it's not done, but I don't think anything is going to happen until it's ready to."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is thankfully not ripped apart by the guardians as the rest of the team seem set to finish them off before she can get back up on her feet to just see the aftermath of the guardian going down. Koton will banish her weapon and dust herself off a bit and pans around looking for any signs of other attackers. She pauses for a moment and voices a thought.

"You don't think this is some kind of lethal prank set up by people from long ago do you?"

She now looks to make sure everyone else is all right.

"If that's the case Nanoha we may need to give this puzzle trap sometime to do whatever it's going to do. I'm starting to see why the idea to burn this place down might be a valid one."

She makes a bit of a face.

"So anyone wants to get something to eat on me?"

Damocles (7234) has posed:
Damocles walks up to the wreck of the machine they were fighting, and pokes it with the bottom of his staff.  You going to jump up and try and eat my face, huh?  Come on, jump up, just try it ya' fucking monster.  Let's see you do it.   No?  Well okay then.  Guess the fun is over. 

He looks around, searching the room for anything magically significant, but he doesn't spot anything immediately.  Of course there's a lot of fog due to the fight they just had, so it may take a few minutes for the energy to settle down again and notice anything subtle. 

"Alright, well, I don't see anything that stands out, but I can snoop around a bit.  I'll let you know if I find anything.  Stick a Post-It note to one of those flaming skulls or something."

Staren has posed:
    The guardians fall, and Staren lands, wings disappearing, and looks around.

    What did he expect? A secret door to open? A chest to appear? A hologram of the dungeon's creator to appear, congratulating them? Something like that, but... there's nothing.

    He looks up and says to any hypothetical dungeon overseer, "No loot? Zero out of five stars, would not reccomend dungeon to other adventurers."

    He looks around the others. "Everybody alright?"

    Nanoha points out that the dungeon regularly reconfigures itself. "Maybe, but that doesn't mean ANY of the 'endings' it presents in any configuration have to be anything special. ...Maybe it's some wizard's magic experiment in procedurally-generated space warping, made to see if it was possible rather than to serve any purpose itself."

Jeanne Alter (6802) has posed:
As the guardians and the fighting dies down, Jeanne lets out a light breath as she surveys the damage. "... Not bad. Not bad at all. So you're not all hopeless." She smirks, chuckling briefly to herself while looking over at Rean and Crow's classmates. Or are they just Rean's classmates? She's not too sure, but she sure as hell isn't going to ask. "You mentioned that more of these floors appeared, right? There'll be more sooner or later." She mirrors Nanoha's prediction, shrugging once while that sword and flag dematerialize.

"Magi do strange things. I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't have any other purpose but this." A shrug, and Jeanne turns to Mikoto again. "What's wrong with being a witch? You've seen me." She leaves it at that as if that actually answers anything. Damocles, though, gets a raised eyebrow. "You're going to just stay here, then? Do what you like, but don't blame us if more of these decide to steal your body or... Something while we're gone."

Kotone's offer of food doesn't go ignored, of course. "... What's the local specialty here? I want it."

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Releasing an almost dramatic sigh of satisfaction and faux-exasperation, Crow shoves his weapons into their holsters before folding his arms behind his head. "Well, that's all she wrote, then."

Taking stock of what was being said so far, Crow kept his expression neutral. But, there's something cryptic about his lopsided grin that he just can't get rid of. "That so, uh...Mikoto? Yeah. That's it. More or less, I agree with you. We've still got one more, so we should enjoy the time we've got left before the end."

Without missing a beat, he turns his back. "Everyone did pretty good this time! But I'm beat. I think I'll take my own advice when we're ready to go back."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
"A witch from my world is when a Magical girl uses all of their magic...they turn into some sort of eldrich abomination, and basically lose themselves. It's kindof horrible and terrifying."

Damocles (7234) has posed:
Damocles waves off Jeanne's...well, not concern, but, disdain for the risk, perhaps?  He waves a hand in either way.  "Your concern is touching, but I'll be fine.  I haven't sensed anything here that would block my teleporting away if I did get overwhelmed.  Investigating weird arcane stuff is my stock in trade, though.  I'll be careful not to push any shiny buttons."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean nods. "Yeah. That's how it's worked so far, so maybe we just need to wait."

He then turns to Kotone and Jeanne. "There's Kirche's cafe, or if you really want to the Cafeteria at Thors is pretty ok. And you're free to explore, if you want. Just don't burn the place down. /Please./"