7167/Intermission: Returning Home

From Multiverse Crisis MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Intermission: Returning Home
Date of Scene: 23 May 2020
Location: Ymir, Erebonia
Synopsis: Class VII and Allies go to Rean's hometown of Ymir for some relaxation...only for a certain phantom thief to ruin everything far more than anyone would have expected. Secret identities are revealed (again) and the worst happens to Mikoto...
Thanks to: Thanks Mikoto (or I guess Sumiko now) for the boss suggestion >>
Cast of Characters: Rean Schwarzer, Kotone Yamakawa, 7002, Touta Konoe, 6936, 7075, 7228

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
The village of Ymir is in a word, quaint. It's main claim to fame is The Phoenix Wings, an inn with a hot springs, apparently a gift from the Imperial family generations ago. The trip itself is a gift from the current Imperial family for Class VII and allies for helping defend the Empire.

You all arrive by funicular cable car in the late afternoon, alongside Class VII, Towa, George, Angelica and Instuctor Sara.  It's supposed to only be an overnight stay, but given how quiet it was up here...Maybe it would be enough to get their minds off of how things have changed for all of them recently.  Ymir is also Rean's hometown, so at one point or another he disappears to go visit his family (possibly with Mikoto or anyone else who wants to see them in tow) since Elise is also taking a day off from school to be here. Otherwise, it's just an average small town mountain village. Not much to do here, except relax.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
It was a very quaint place and the name of Ymir did get Kotone's attention. Why certain gods and things were multiversal happenings had always made her wonder. Then again so were humans so maybe it was something to do with that. The important thing was hot springs, which had the cyborg quite eager for a little downtime today. had a duffle over her shoulder with some extra clothing, she'd also brought some local from where she lived to share with Rean's family as well.

"Hot Springs and meeting Rean's family? This sounds like it should be a nice relaxing day. I'm from what's considered a small town for where I'm form and I'm liking what I see here, Rean."

She was also curious to check out the town as well if time premitted.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Mikoto arrives, being dragged along with Rean.  She's somewhat disinterested, not because she's mean but because something seems to be weighing on her mind lately. She goes through the motions of socially acceptable greetings and mostly stays quiet.  Eyes on the town around her as she sighs.  The snow was a nice change of pace, she admits...

Though at Kotone's words she gives him a sly look out of the corner of her eye, "Ooooh?  What's gotten you so excited to see Rean's family?  Is there something you are Rean want to tell me?  Found love unexpectantly in each other's arms?" She says, obviously teasing.  

That did seem to cheer her mood up a little, but when hasn't she used Rean as a chew toy, and it had not cheered her up a little?

Touta Konoe has posed:
    Touta didn't need as much dragging along. He was curious more often than not what Rean's hometown was like, so he was eager to tag along with the group. As they enjoy themselves on the funicular cable car. He hadn't spoken to Rean or the others in a while, though going by the mood of those in the car he tries to keep the conversation light. "Hotsprings huh, that should be great. Hey Rean, how good to you think they'll be? You know Mikoto and I will be very thorough judges if they aren't ya know." He nudges Mikoto a little, a bit to tease her but also a bit to tell her to ease up on teasing Rean. "Anyway, thanks for inviting all of us again. Been looking forward to coming here for a while. Feel like it's way over due."

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Glancing around curiously, Cordelay moves with a skip in her step the warrior didn't normally display as a pack bounces on her back with each step. "Ah, how lovely if that is true! A romance that spans worlds!" Her tone is teasing yet friendy as she surveys the area, eager to experience the rumored hot springs. "I must admit to some curiosity as well. Not every family can produce a warrior of Master Rean's caliber. And these hot springs have me fascinated - Levail territory contains nothing of the sort."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    "Woooooooow! This looks amazing! I can't wait to get there."

    The young blonde girl stands on the tips of her toes as she looks out the window of the cable car at the mountain vista spread out below.

    Standing beside her daughter, Nanoha grins at the enthusiasm. But in true mum fashion, cautions her, "Now, Vivio, remember to have warm clothing ready when you're outside. It'll likely be cold." Nanoha moves a hand to gently pat Vivio's head.

    Vivio beams at the attention, replying, "Yes, mama."

    After having participated in several missions to assist the Empire, this gift of a stay at a hot springs village presented a good opportunity for Nanoha to take a vacation with her daughter. If only for a short time. As her work load has picked up more since expanding her efforts out into the Multiverse, there hasn't been as much time for family getaways like this. Nanoha can't help but briefly giggle though as she notices Vivio staring at Touta. The young girl is a little wide-eyed, whispering to her mother, "You know all the coolest people, mama!"

    Nanoha will take the opportunity to meet Rean's family, if only to simply introduce herself and ensure them that their son is working diligently and has numerous friends and allies looking out for him. Plus Nanoha understands that Rean's sister will be there. From what she's heard, Nanoha has no doubts Vivio will get along with her.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Angelica gives Kotone a brief wave, remembering her from the bike race. "Nice to see you again." She says, though there's a bit of a somber look on her face.

And of course, Mikoto is teasing him again. He's used to it at this point though. "That's not what's going on here..." Rean says. He then sidles up next to Mikoto, a light smile on his face. "Though, you're not wrong about the 'romance that spans universes' thing. You've just got the wrong person."

Rean nods to Touta. "Yeah, it has. I'm surprised you didn't come up sooner. And, well it's my point of comparison for this sort of thing, so I think it's good at least. Fairyland Hall has one, too, right?"

When everyone arrives at the Schwarzer mansion, You're greeted by Lady Schwarzer. "Oh, hello." She says. "I wasn't expecting this many people to come visit."

"Umm...Hi Mom." Rean says, "Sorry, they all wanted to come see you guys too, and I wouldn't be surprised if my classmates come over later-"

It's then that Lady Schwarzer pulls him into a tight hug, even with him standing a full head taller than her. "Welcome home, Rean."

"Mom-" Rean starts, slightly embarrassed. then he sighs. "Glad to be back."

"Mother, is that Rean!?" a girl's voice sounds from inside, alongside some frantic running. Past Lady Schwarzer, is a girl with dark hair and blue eyes like her mother - Rean's sister Elise. She then looks across the large group that's formed - Mikoto especially - and sighs, her excitement fading. "Welcome home, brother. And hello, everyone." She says, giving a small curtsy to the group.

Everyone is invited inside for some tea, and to talk some more. Baron Schwarzer is also inside, a stocky man with short brown hair. "Nice to meet all of you." He says."

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Mikoto is nudged by an elbow, to which she looks almost /hurt/ at Touta.  She, while flashing a sort of grin, shrugs though and then gets it turned around on her when Rean does his own spans the universes thing.  She gets a slight flush in her cheeks but turns her head away.  "Oh whatever, let's go.  Hopefully your sister won't make me feel like an outcast this time."

She looks at Vivio, to which she gives a small wave.  She doesn't dislike kids or even feels that strongly about them.  

When showing up at the house, Mikoto looks amused at Rean's mother giving him a hug in front of all of his friends.  "Hello, Mrs. Schwarzer..." of course there is the call from upstairs she was dreading.  With her own sigh, she waits for Elise to give her own disappointed sigh.  

"Hello Elise, run headfirst into any dungeons lately?" she says, a bit teasingly to probably gain some control of the situation.  Eventually tea is set and Mikoto quietly is back sipping hers.  

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Cordelay offers a curtsey to the Schwarzers and states, "I am Cordelay Levail, daughter of Sartaire the Dragon of Sioran. It is an honor to meet the family that raised such a skilled man as Master Rean." A small smile graces her lips as she straightens again, pulling her pack off her back as she continues inside and producing an ornate blade in an equally ornate scabbard from inside before offering it to the Baron. "A gift from my father, as a token of respect."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa says "I'm Curious and honestly it far more enjoyable than what I been having to do lately, back home. Namely exterminating invasive multiversal lifeforms that got into the public works tunnels under Vancouver."

She makes a face about that. She looks over to Cordelay for a moment.

"With Hotsprings you in for quite the enjoyable experience."


"Ever thought of getting a Stream cast about reviewing hot springs."

Nanoha gets a look and Kotone grins, she also pauses at Vivio and smiles at them.

"Hello it's good to meet you!"

She may have candy for Nanoha's daughter, but that's for later. For now she'll rise up and looks over to Angelica.

"It is, and I should invite you for a ride along with one of the highways back in Canada at some point it might help give you some ideas."

Soon she's meeting up with Rean's family and she hears the little girl she grins watching the kid dart out for Rean and everyone else.

"Hello I'm Kotone Yamakawa."

Once she's invited in she would share her gift a slab of vacuum-packed smoked salmon. It's pretty good and there's a slight maple flavour to it once someone tries it.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Vivio is waved at. The energetic young girl waves back happily. She also replies to Kotone, "Hello!" She definitely seems friendly!

    The group arrives at the Schwarzer home, where they are met by Rean's mother. As she gives him a hug, Nanoha can't help but smile at the sight. It's always good to see that people have someone around who cares for them.

    As Rean's sister comes running out to meet him, Vivio's eyes go a little wide as she looks at the older girl. She then whispers to her mother, "Wow, she's pretty!" Nanoha simply gives Vivio a smile and nod in agreement.

    The group are led inside for tea and to meet the Baron. As it comes time for introductions, Nanoha bows to the Schwarzers, "Hello. I am Captain Nanoha Takamachi with the Time-Space Administrative Bureau. It's a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for your hospitality. I expect we won't intrude on it for too long."

    Beside Nanoha, Vivio also gives a bit of a bow, "I'm Vivio Takamachi. It's nice to meet you!"

    Soon tea is served and Nanoha and Vivio joins the group. Between sips, Nanoha says to Rean's parents, "I've been assisting your son with some of his missions. Rest assured that he has been doing quite well, along with the rest of his class."

Touta Konoe has posed:
    This trip was already more pleasant than he expected, he could only hope she felt the same even if he was teasing her just a bit. Being able to relax with his adopted sister, Mikoto. Seeing a few more familiar faces, and even a 'fan' of his! Heck, if he had known Nanoha was bringing her daughter he would have brought her a gift or something. Unlike Mikoto he didn't seem to have an issue with kids. After all, part of his job back home was playing with the orphanage children they had at Fairyland Hall. So of course chatting with someone who had a similar background to his was fun for him as well!

    Nods when he asks about Fairyland hall's hotsprings. "Yep! We're a hotsprings inn, it's literally part of the whole reason we have some of our guests come visit us. And uh, yeah, things were kinda crazy for a while. But now that they calmed down a bit I'm glad I can sorta just take time to check up on my pals and all that stuff. Never one when something crazy's gonna pop up so gotta enjoy those moments, ya know." It's something he's started to realize. Something he can reflect on.

    Though rather than talk about all that, let's skip to where Rean sees his family again! Touta can't help but give an honestly sincere smile. There's nothing that honestly made him feel smirk as much as seeing Rean's mom hug him so tightly even as old as he was and well...It kinda made him headpat Mikoto for a second. As if to try and share that sort of familial bond if only a fraction of what Rean's family had. Though when there's noise from upstairs and the sound of a sighing, he realizes the situation quickly with a chuckle. "Oh Rean, this is your sister? Huh, she looks nothing like ya. Not that it's a bad thing, still pretty cute though. Nice meeting ya! Name's Touta, I'm Mikoto's brother and a buddy of Rean's."

    As per usual Touta has the /best/ ice breakers...Sorta. Though as he sees Rean's father come down as well, he actually takes a moment to look over the family. He actually wanted to say some words to the family but it seems like Nanoha beats him to it as she assures them of his performance as a Paladin...And this is when Touta does something...Very formal.

    He walks up beside Nanoha and gives a respectful bow to both his parents. "Uh...I should give a proper introduction too. My name is Touta Konoe, I'm Mikoto's foster brother, but also a friend of Rean. I know Miss Takamichi just said that your son's been handling his missions very well, but uh...I just wanted to give my thanks to you guys for raising him the way you did. Rean's become a close buddy, a trusted friend, and someone I've come to respect. I can only imagine part of that is because of the way you raised him, so I wanted to say how great it is to finally meet you all, and definitely reassure you guys that Rean really is making a difference out there..."

    Okay, maybe he was laying it on the family real thick right there but well...When Touta has respect for someone, he gives respect. And this is one of the rare occassions he's meeting someone's family as well. Of course this was the level of courtesy he had to give!

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Baron Schwarzer takes the dagger and places it somewhere for safekeeping.

"Guys..." Rean says, listening to everyone's very glowing opinion of him.

"That's good to hear." Baron Schwarzer says with a laugh. "We've always tried to do what's best for him for the last 12 years."

Meanwhile, Elise and Mikoto are...Not getting along that well.

"...You don't know anything at all." She mutters to herself, after Mikoto's last barb. Her fists are clenched and she's leering at Mikoto.

Rean sighs. "Ok, come on you two." What was wrong with Elise.

Lady Schwarzer notices that her daughter is getting riled up. "Oh no...Elise, honey could you put this away?" She says, holding out the smoked salmon tray.

Elise nods then takes the fish with her into the kitchen. "...Yes, Mother." On her way out, though she gets one last shot at Mikoto.

"It seems I'm mistaken then. After all, I'm sure Rean has the sense to not date a bully."

"Elise-!" Baron Schwarzer says.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
"Pot and kettle," Mikoto says, with a bit of an edge in her voice, "But it's fine, it seems to be a common trait of those in a higher station.  I'm not good enough.  For either the affection of your brother or your respect.  I mean, I only was responsible for the saving of your life on two occasions, one of which nearly cost me my own," Mikoto says finishing her tea.  

"It was delicious, Mr. and Mrs. Schwarzer, I will excuse myself," she says, standing up and bowing.  "I will meet you all back in town," She says to the others and walks towards the door.  

Once outside, she took a look at her gem, pulling the item out of her ring to look at its murky surface.  Sigh...she should cleanse this before it got too bad.  "I'm sorry, I'll try and control that more.." She says, talking to the crystal?  Who can say?

Touta Konoe has posed:
    Can't help but smirk at Baron's laughter. It was hearty and relaxing. The kind of laugh you'd expect from a good father. Though as nice as the family bonding seems to be, the two sisters appear to be butting heads. While it might have been expected for a sibling and a girlfriend to be at each other's throats he was actually...Surprised how things were escalaint, "Ehehe, yeah come on Mikoto. Let's try to play nice, we're guests here still right?" It seemed that something really was getting under Mikoto's skin about Elise as well...

    Like a good mother though, Rean's mom can read the room and takes action to try and aid the situation, unfortunately like an upset teen, Elise decides she needs the last word. It's enough that it encourages some rather harsh words from Mikoto as well. "Mikoto..." He knew that she could be a bit rough sometimes but this felt a bit more rough than usual. Then to go as far as leaving out of the blue, "Mikoto? Wait, hold on! Sorry Rean, I'll go check up on her!" He excuses himself quickly following Mikoto out. He doesn't know what's up but he can hear a brief mumbling as she looks at her ring. "Hey...Mikoto...Is everything alright? I know Elise was being prickly, but I've seen you roll with the punches way worse than what she was dishing out. Something up?" He tries to stand by his sister's side, to try to be there and support her as unconditionally as he could. Like family should.

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
After watching the exchange between Elise and Mikoto and their subsequent depatures, Cordelay sighs softly. "You have my sympathies, Master Rean. I cannot hope to understand their situation without knowing the history behind it, but I sincerely hope they can learn to respect each other. Hopefully Lady Mikoto will recover her composure in time for our excursion to the hot springs." With Mikoto and Touta having left, she seems unsure of exactly what to say, settling for simply standing in solidarity with Rean. "That aside, Lady Elise is still quite young. Hopefully time will mend their bonds."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Vivio doesn't fail to notice the tension between Mikoto and Elise as she looks between them. As Elise begins to carry the tray of salmon off, Vivio quickly hops down from her seat, exclaiming, "I'll help!" She rushes over to catch up to the older girl and follows into the kitchen. As they do so, Vivio strikes up a conversation, "Mama says you go to a fancy school. Vivio is in the fourth grade at the St. Hilde Academy of Magic. What's your school like?"

    Nanoha watches the Elise and Mikoto leave in their own directions. The rivalry is clear, even if Nanoha isn't particularly aware of the reasoning. She gives the older Schwarzers a bit of a sheepish look.

    Hoping to try and improve the mood, Nanoha tries for a totally-not-obvious subject change, "So. Do you recommend anywhere in particular that we should visit while we're here?"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa enjoys her tea as well she enjoys things like this and is happy to get a chance to try it. She seems pretty happy with her day so far and she looks to Rean for a moment and then to Baron Schwarzer. She keeps out of the verbal sparring match with Mikoto and Rean's sister. She watches as the Salmon is taken to the kitchen and she hopes Rean's family gets a chance to enjoy it.

"It's right She is young she will lean eventually right? Yes I'm wondering what are parts of the village that would be good for us to visit aside from the hot springs?"

Rean Schwarzer has posed:

"Mikoto, wait--" What was going on? Both of them were extremely prickly today. Since Touta was handling Mikoto, he turned to look at the entrance to the kitchen. "Should I..."

Lady Schwarzer shakes her head. "I think she needs some alone time right now. I'll go talk to her in a moment."

Rean nods, once everyone pitches in about her hopefully growing into it. "I hope so too."  

"Hmmm..." Baron Schwarzer says to Kotone and Nanoha, crossing his arms over his chest. "There's the Valley's Echo Tavern, and the area around the village is rather scenic."

"It's unfortunate that it's not winter, there's a long hill that the children use to snowboard or sled down." Lady Schwarzer says. "Otherwise, there's a nice area to fish over in the Ymir Valley. Though monsters sometimes appear near that road, I'm sure you all can handle it if something goes awry."

"Oh, Rean. Before I forget, a letter came for you." Baron Schwarzer says. He hands Rean a plain envelope, labeled with his name in familiar calligraphy. "Is this...?"

"It's from Master Ka-Fai." Baron Schwarzer says with a nod. "He visited not too long ago."

"I see.." Rean says, opening the letter. "Master Yun Ka-fai is the man who taught me everything I know about swordsmanship." Rean says, explaining to the others. "He's known as the Sword Hermit, because he's pretty much always on the move." He flips through the pages

"He seems healthy, at least. Though..." He's eyeing a sentence at the end of the letter. "...Even after all this time, he somehow knows how to see right through me."

There's no one outside right now, just Mikoto, her Soul Gem, and Touta.
It's also starting to snow, despite not quite being the correct time of year for it.

Suddenly, there's a whirlwind of petals, passing over Mikoto and Touta. Touta might sense someone passing by in the storm...But there's something more important to notice once the petals cease.

Mikoto's Soul Gem is gone. Near her, be it in her hands in its place or on the ground next to her, is a brown envelope with the Thors horned lion emblem on it.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Touta can see from his angle that the Gem was murky.  It was probably why Mikoto was on edge and a bit touchy.  It was also likely why she came outside, to get away and cleansed the gem as to not be a bother.  She looks up to Touta coming out with another sigh.  This wasn't working, she knew it.  

Maybe if she said something, explained the situation out?  Then the fear of what might happen once that was let out of the bag would...

Snow?  Her head was turned up for a moment.  That's...?  It shouldn't be snowing here now, right?  A freak storm?  No it was still too warm for that...

The whirlwind of petals catches the Japanese girl off guard, staggering through the sudden breeze, only to have the item in her hand carried off.  Oh no....

Oh no no no no.  Mikoto's eyes became round.  She looks around, only to see the envelope.  "Oh f-!" Mikoto keels over, falling to the ground but instead of hitting the ground in a slump, her body hits the ground like shattering glass.  Instead of being in tiny pieces of Mikoto, however, the glass laid on the ground as it slowly started to fade away like magic.

Instead, what was there was a DIFFERENT young woman, her clothing tattered, dirt on her arms and legs, as well as various scars.  Her body was mostly covered by a Pancho-like covering that had seen better days and was in various bits of tattered.  The hair of the woman was long instead of short like Mikoto's.  Her eyes were also a brilliant green color, unnaturally glowing.

She looks at her hand, the nails a bit too long.  Her skin is a bit too pale.  The voice is, oddly the same.  "Son of a bitch...he stole what was mine from me!" she says sneering, as she moves to take the letter.  "Worse she's not even ready for this yet...damn!  Right when those two were ready to find a way to sustain her.  No no, maybe if we act fast..." she seems to be talking to herself out loud.  

Opening the note as fast as she can.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Sumiko opens the letter and finds a piece of paper with the following on it: "'Ladies and gentlemen of Class VII, and those from beyond Zemuria:'" Rean says, reading the letter aloud. "'I write in the hopes of entrusting you with an additional field study task. Journey along the Ymir Valley, and may you bring an end to this extraordinary snowfall, and retrieve the crystal heart of a beloved maiden. As this calamity affects many things that are dear to him in particular, Rean Schwarzer must come along.'" It seems whoever wrote this was expecting someone from Class VII to find Mikoto unconcious on the ground with it and not...this.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha nods along as she listens to the suggestions from the Schwarzers. Maybe the tavern will be a good place to get some dinner later. Her eyes widen a little at the mention of the road through the valley, "Monsters?" She taps her chin, "Maybe it could be a good opportunity for Vivio to practice fighting something other than her fellow competitors."

    Nanoha is still pondering the idea of taking her ten-year-old daughter out hunting monsters when the gem hanging around her neck softly flashes to life, saying, <Caution, Master. There is a disturbance outside.> Nanoha blinks, looking down at her Device. She then gets a concerned look. Raising Heart wouldn't mention something like this if it wasn't serious.

    Nanoha wordlessly stands, swiftly walking towards the exit and making her way out of the Schwarzer's home.

    Upon exiting, Nanoha notices a distinct lack of Mikoto and instead someone unfamiliar. Nanoha looks confused, "Who...?" She looks at Touta, "Touta, what's going on?"

Touta Konoe has posed:
    Walking out and asking what was the issue, he notices the Soul Gem. How murky it wasa and what that had meant for Mikoto. It seemed like the obvious reason that she would be concerned. He could offer to try and extract some of it if she wanted, but rather than offer it he knew that it was better to see if she wanted him to. So as she gives her sigh, he waits patiently for her to speak. though just as she's about to speak...

    "Mmmm? Snow?" He sees the small white flakes fall from the sky, "Huh, I thought it was too early for it here to do that. That's so wei-" dancing snowflakes get overrun by the whirlwind of petals that buffet the two of them, though more than petals it felt like another sort of weight had past them both by. His eyes try to perceive what was in the eye of this miniature petal storm in that brief instant that it appears and disappears. And while it's hard to tell if he caught a glimpse of anyone, there's something he can see quite clearly.

    Empty. Mikoto's hand was empty. Where that Soul Gem was had vanished all in but an instant. Touta knowing Mikoto's condition knew well enough how important that gem was. Had it fallen to the floor? If it hadn't...Mikoto does! "Mikoto!!!" Her brother shouts as loud as he can into a panic as he slides to the ground to catch her, but as he catches her...She shatters in his hands. Her body fading away like ash..."Mikoto...Mikoto?! MIKOTO?!!?!?" There's a legitimate concern on his face till he sees the differnt young woman that's where her body had been left in his arms.

    "...Mikoto? No...You're..." Not his sister. Whowever this was didn't seem to appear like her at all. Everything about her was off. Before he can even ask any questions though the girl springs to life, panicking just as much as he is. "Oi, oi, oi, who the hell are you?! Are you one of Mikoto's familiar....A witch...Thing?" It feels like an odd question to ask but he just has no clue what the hell just happened, and he's worried.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa says "She's gone to clear her head a bit."

She notes for a moment she pauses for a moment as she looks at the letter that Rean gets not that she's going to try and snoop about it as they talk. She's about to say more but she catches Nanoha getting up and the chatter. Kotone catches on she needs to go outside and soon she'll be heading out.

"Mikoto? Touta? What's going on out.... where's Mikoto and who are you Miss?"

What's going on here she hears Mikoto over the radio but where is she and who is this? Whatever is going on now it's way more than just going out to clear one's head. With Touta's reaction she gets a bit of a sinking feeling about something major is going down...

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Cordelay begins following everyone else out, but Touta's shouts make her hasten her steps.

"Has something happened to Lady Mikoto?!" She asks forcefully as she bursts outside, her hands instinctively settling into position to draw her swords at a moment's notice.

"Master Touta, what- Who is that?" She cuts herself off as she spots the unfamiliar girl in Mikoto's place, her warrior's instincts on high alert.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
/Something/ is going on outside, based on the radio chatter. "...I'll be right back." Rean says, folding up the letter and stuffing it in his uniform pocket. He then heads outside and spots Touta with...someone else. Someone with Mikoto's voice?

"Touta, what...This is some sort of joke, right? Where's Mikoto?"

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko tosses the letter at Rean, "Read this," she says bluntly.  "I don't have time for games, and neither does Mikoto...or rather, the actual Mikoto."

She, meanwhile, takes a look at her hands.  Geeze, been a while as the temporary fusion had taken place, the Glamor must have been dispelled when she was taken away from Sumiko...ugh this was going to be a mess.  

Not to mention, being livid at the fact that something of hers was stolen.  

Touta Konoe has posed:
    There's panic and fear on Touta's face. He had already come to experience loss before, he thought he was ready for more but this...This was too odd. Too sudden. There was no explanation as simpe as death that could explain this, and yet when this person speaks...They say some things that well...Don't go over too well with Touta.


     There were many things Touta could handle. Being belittled, being beaten, he could literally handle death itself...But to say that he didn't care, that was something that actively hurt him more than most wounds could. "...I don't care..." His fists fidget for a moment looking like they're about to slug her for saying that shit...Then she says something as weird and off as 'half of her was still here...That half thought...

    He slowly puts his hands on the strangers shoulders. "Oi...Don't screw with me like that...If she felt that way, she would have told me...She may bottle things up sometimes but she would have said...Something..." He looks into the shining green eyes with his dark eyes, yet a glisten can be seen in them. A look holding back tears in this panic. Sumiko may say that he doesn't care but well...It certainly doesn't look that way...

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean takes the letter and reads it over. "What the..." Rean says. His hand are shaking as he tightly  Were they...did someone take Mikoto's soul just to mess with him?

(Was it his fault someone he cared about was in danger again?)

Not only that but...Was someone lying to him about who they were /again?/ /After/ He'd opened up to them?

What the hell did she mean by 'Half of Mikoto' anyway?

Rean roughly folds up the letter, placing it in his pocket next to the other one. "...At the end of the valley is an animist monument, and 8 years ago I touched it and it started to snow unseasonably hard. If that's happening again, that's where Mikoto is." Rean says, trying to keep his focus and not let his anger at whoever was doing this get the better of him.

"Cordelay's right. We need to move. 'Half of Mikoto' or no, you're coming along." Rean says turning to Sumiko.

His eyes are /red,/ not violet.

Rean leads the way into the Ymir Valley as the snow starts falling harder and harder.

At the very end of the path is a slab of stone with a concentric circular pattern, resting in the middle of a now frozen over spring. And right in front of it is Mikoto's soul gem, gently resting on the icy ground.

Touta Konoe has posed:
    If Rean says 'leads the way' means getting strong armed by Touta and using Shundo to go at a mad-dash towards the frozen over springs, then yes. He is in fact leading the way. Touta was the only one that saw the gem and he knows how little time they have. They don't have time to argue, they don't have time to figure out Sumiko's deal even. All Touta can hope for is that getting her soul gem back will be enough to return Mikoto to normal. "Rean...Sorry...Just keep your eyes open enough to point alright?"

    With that said he looks towards the others, "Sorry to be rushed Nanoha, but if you can get the others to follow behind...And you...You better be as quick as you say you are..." He exhales quickl as he grips Rean. It's probably rude, maybe a bit demasculating, and he'll properly apologize but for now...The earth around Touta's feet begin to crack before he kicks off the ground. In the next instant the boy, and the young man he's carrying dart off in a blur. "Rean! You gotta tell me when to turn! I can't change direction on the dime!"

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko's face looks up at Touta's as he puts hands on her shoulders.  Even as the tears come down, she does not look caring or thoughtful, but like a monster with the voice of a girl he knew.  Her hands move up to grab his own, and pull them off.  "I won't lie to you...well not anymore, Touta, but I won't let you lie to yourself.  It seems this is far more for your sake than mine, but my other half was far too worried about everything falling apart around her."

She says and moves away.  Her gaze looks over to Rean, to which she sighs... "I didn't want it...we didn't want it to come out like this, this close to what happened.  It was a difficult situation for us both, but she without a body, and me without a home to call my own..." she trails off.  "Well, I won't make excuses, if you want to hold a grudge for what I did, then simply lay it on my shoulders."

"After all, I am a Cardinal Vice, it is easier this way," She says as she draws a sword out of thin air.  The blade, seemingly made out of diamonds, thrusts into the ground as from the earth, a horse like an object, made of glass, trots out.  It's wings, also of glass, flap as Mikoto gets on.  If nobody else sits behind her, she takes off following Rean's direction.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa waits for the results on the letter, but it's clear they are going to have to move. As Rean gives the details it's time to move out. Rean has got serious it seems Mikoto has been split in half and wait are Rean's eyes red? He is not a cyborg so that does get Kotone's attention and concern. She will take enough time to recover her matter manipulator which she has some emergency supplies. She soon has some sort of SMG or assault rifle and a few other bits of kit ready but no real-time to get anything more serious.

"All right Rean what else do we need to know about this location? Is there anything we can use against the kidnapper?"

At Touta talking about going to keep one's eyes open? She'll shift to thermal vision and start tracking heat sources."

She will double dash and double jump along as she goes leaving Nanoha to go give someone else who needs a lift more than she does.

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Cordelay nods and walks over to Nanoha, preparing to fly. Her face is a mask of calm - though she's as angry as any of them, she keeps her expression carefully neutral. She is a warrior, after all, and letting one's emotions betray them can be disastrous in battle.

"I will see you all there. We cannot fail, no matter the cost."

She looks to Nanoha and nods. "At your ready, Lady Nanoha."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha takes in the revelation of what happened rather well, looking between Touta and Sumiko intently. Then at Rean as he reads out the letter. Anyone who has been paying attention to Nanoha would easily be able to see the difference in her demeanor. Where before she was relaxed, casual, with a friendly smile. She is now a fair bit cooler, projecting an aura of authority more befitting her rank and position as a combat instructor.

    The need to act swiftly becomes obvious with the condition of Mikoto's Soul Gem revealed. A soft light engulfs Nanoha, her form changing a little as her combat dress manifests. Once her transformation is complete, Nanoha moves over to Cordelay and says, "Hold on." Nanoha wraps an arm around Cordelay's waist and once she's ready, Nanoha blasts off into the air. The aura of pink surrounds the two, trailing off into a curve as they turn to follow in the same approximate direction as Touta.

    As she flies, Nanoha turns her head back in the direction of the village, 'Vivio?'

    Vivio's voice echoes back inside Nanoha's mind as the telepathic connection is established, 'Yes, mama?'

    Nanoha carefully thinks, 'Something has come up... An incident. Stay with the Schwarzers and help protect the village if something happens. It probably won't... But just in case...'

    Vivio replies, 'Okay! Good luck!'

    Nanoha smiles, 'Thanks.' She looks forward again, angling down towards their apparent destination.

    Slowing down, Nanoha touches down softly on solid ground once more. She releases her hold on Cordelay and looks around... The soul gem is easily visible, out in the open, with no obvious signs of the perpetrator. Nanoha looks concerned, "I don't like this..."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean doesn't respond to Sumiko. Not yet. They needed to deal with this first.

"Whoa! Touta!" Rean shouts as the pair are launched forward. It's insanely fast, but Rean manages to guide Touta to the spring area.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Coming into the area of the shrine...the world shifts.  It's like passing into another world, or another place.  Or entering a house and instead of a house there is another world set out before you.  Spread out in all directions are mirrors.  Mirrors like a funhouse, all of them showing your own reflections.

The ground, the sky, the walls around you.  In front of each of you, however, are not the people you walked in with.  Instead, there are...

Rean, in front of you, sits a man, you have never seen him before in your life, but with the same hair as Rean's when he transforms.  He is sitting down in the house of Schwarzer, waiting for something...is it you?  The mirror in front of you looks like a door waiting for Rean to open the door.

In front of Touta is a door, on the other side is his home.  People sit there he has never met, only heard of.  His servant is there too, laughing with the two other adults.  

For Nanoha, it is Vivio, strong and brave. taking her mother's place and bringing the peace the world deserves...that it needs.

To Cordelay, it is a world where she has proven herself strongest and has become the queen of all of her world's lands.

For Kotone, it is a world where she can see herself...whole.  No longer in a cybernetic body.  

Entering these doors immerses you in a reality that you've always wanted, always dreamed for...but is as unfulfilling as any false desire is.  The worlds will drive those who enter them into eventual boredom and worse...despair as a world without meaning can be.  The question is not if you break out of these worlds, or if you choose them at all...the question is how?  

Regardless, these shallow reflections of what you desire form into glass animals, but not animals you'd recognize.  Misshapen, as if created by a monster who sits outside of reality and happened to look at a few animals, but can't remember how they are put together.  Worse they look /wrong/ outside of that, as if made out of a Picasso piece, rather than flesh and blood.  They fire shards of stained glass but individually are weak.  

At the center of this funhouse of horrors, however, is a figure.  Six torsos are connected together, though each one looks like some Picasso painting.  Each one connected, as it spins around connected to a top.  The world spinning for it, but as it spins, it seems the world around you spins.  

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
The mirrored world catches Cordelay off guard for just a moment, drawing a small gasp from her. Her image, a world dominated by her might, could be drawn directly from her dreams, but even she must swallow her pride to see the wrongness underneath. "This is the world I seek, where peace can reign under strong rule. One day I will make this dream a reality. But I have not done so yet, and I know I cannot do it alone."

A long breath escapes her lips as she draws her twin blades, not seeing the enemy but waiting for it to be revealed.

"I will change my world in truth! This worthless fabrication is nothing more than a pale imitation of my ambition!"

The false paradise before her spawns the glass monstrosities, the shards they fire ripping through the air - and now Cordelay is in her element. Her blades flash as she dodges the projectiles to close in, gouging at the beasts with vicious thrusts and fierce slashes before finishing the last by swinging both swords by their chains and decapitating the monster between them.

The twisted object at the center catches her attention afterward and, with a grin she only sports in the midst of battle, Cordelay charges forward.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    After landing, a light forms in Nanoha's hand, growing out into the shape of her staff before it flashes into existence. Nanoha begins to take a few steps forward towards that dropped Soul Gem...

    ... And suddenly finds herself transported to completely different world. One of mirrors. A pocket dimension?

    Confused, Nanoha looks around, seeing her reflections showing equal disorientation. All except for one of those mirrors. Nanoha's eyes go wide, "Vivio!?" She recognises the adult form of her daughter, having seen it numerous times already. Nanoha takes a step forward, starting to smile as she watches Vivio being the one protecting everyone. Helping others. Following in Nanoha's footsteps.

    Nanoha slowly reaches a hand out towards the mirror. It would indeed make her happy if Vivio grew up to be that person. The same kind of person that Nanoha is. After all, Nanoha loves her daughter and so of course knows how much she looks up to Nanoha. It's only inevitable that Vivio would follow the same path.

            'No, this is wrong.'

    Nanoha blinks. Why would it be wrong? Vivio is doing a lot of good. Just like her.

        'Vivio's life is her own. She is not you.'

    There's nothing wrong with her life. Why shouldn't it be one that her daughter embraces too?

                'Vivio has her own path. One that she will choose. You should be happy with whatever form that takes.'

    Well... Sure, there is some truth to that. But-

    'You are being selfish.'

    ... Yes... Yes, perhaps that's true. Would it be so bad, if Vivio ended up doing something else?

        'Now you know what needs to be done.'

    Of course. Nanoha raises her staff into the air, pink magic quickly gathering and swirling around it. Nanoha then slams the staff down, the end striking the ground. And with a flash of light, a blast of magical energy radiates outwards from Nanoha. The mirrors of her reflection begin to shatter around her.

    But the one in front of her changes. It transforms, shifting into the grotesque form of a warped animal. It begins to spit shards of glass at her.

    Nanoha raises her hand, "Round Shield!" The magical barrier forms, the shards striking it. While maintaining the shield, Nanoha sweeps her staff out to the side. Pink orbs form in the air, before blasting forth through the air to impact against the glass creature with multiple explosions.

    And through them all, Nanoha can see the horror in the distance. Could that be...? It's horrible, if it is. So much so that for the moment, Nanoha cannot bring herself to attack. Instead she tries to check on the others, "Is everyone alright?"

Touta Konoe has posed:
    There's little explanation to what goes on. One moment he's dragging Rean, doing as best he can to keep with his directions. Eventually as they make it to the shrine, the Soul Gem is just left there, unprotected un guarded. He returns Rean back down, he wants to apologize but that has to wait. Seeing Sumiko had made it just as she said she would, "Oi, Sumiko you got one of Mikoto's Grief Seeds on you, right?!" The response is clear. Just the one, "That's fine just get ready when we- Eh..."

    Something distort about the shrine. Everything just seems to shift in an unexplainable ways. Disorientation kicks in. Mirrors overtake Touta's view and he loses sight of the others, even Rean who was beside him. "Rean? Rean?!"

    'No no no...No no no...This isn't...We're too late.'

    It's the last thing that transfers over the comms before it cuts out. "Rean?! REAN?! What do you mean?! Oi!!!" No answer...Just a door. A door that opens to his home? His home back in the boonies, where he sees two adults. Their voices seeming familiar yet even as he looks right at them can't make out their faces. As they speak they talk to a visage of a person he was...All too familiar with. Someone who had already passed. Someone who he had already accepted had passed. "Seriously...Rynith...I'm sorry that I end up letting them keep using you. But right now, I need to make sure that I don't lose someone else I care about..." He finds himself reaching into his pocket. Feeling a card that he knows confirmed that she was already past the point of return. That they had both made their peace at her passing.

    He breathes in, he has an idea of what this illusion was suppose to be...Maybe. A could have been, a would be, the best route. But it wasn't what he wanted. Not right now...Right now all he wanted was...

    "Mikoto...I want to talk...To you...Not sumiko, not half of you, just you..." He wanted to speak properly to his sister. To hear what she had to say, and listen properly. To know if she truly thought she felt that way about him. Not what Sumiko believed, or a half-hearted version of her. He wanted to speak to her, right now, and get things out in the open if they needed to be.

    The people before Touta, those two adults and Rynith immediately change when he denies that reality when they change to creatures. Off-set creatures that almost looked like glass versions of the ones that Mikoto would make. As they fire off the glass he doesn't move, he gets struck by the glass shards and yet he doesn't budge. "Heh, Mikoto's magic is way tougher than that..." He pulls each one out by hand letting his wounds close up on their own as he pulls out his hoop. He places it at his hips and just as the world around him had spun earlier, he lets the hoop spin at his hips before charing at the beasts with his fist. Intending to punch through them into the wall with his Magic Cancel Blow. He doesn't know if this was caused by magic, but he's sick of this illusion already! When he does though he still finds himself staring down the oddity of the creature before them...And the words that go on over the comms finally make it through.

    'It's easier to say that she's dead.'

    "Wait...No...You don't mean...She's not..." He stares once more at the picasso figure..."MIKOTO?!"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
There are mirrors now, mirrors everywhere that's strange she can see them all. What does she see as she arrives? Is herself not the face the multiverse knows. Her appearance now is nothing like she used to have it was the stock appearance for the body she was given after her maiming.

Only a small handful of people had ever seen what she originally looked like, heck it takes her a moment to go oh yeah that's ME. To see herself like this whole health and still flesh that. She pauses for a moment she moves and the Kotone of the past Moves in time with her.

She's pretty much spellbound as she heads for the door, what's behind it? A world where she just went about her life? What would it have been like? It would be saner, quieter that much is certain, and likely far safer too.

She opens the door, she's not sure how much time has past she finishes up school graduate well lands a good job opens up her business but it's empty in away. There's a slow creeping of powerlessness as time passes. The Inability to do anything of note, to stand up. To just get walked over. To just be a clay doll, who said that more and more things don't add up she can't do anything she can't stand up for herself. This isn't right and she comes out of the daze finding herself staring at her reflection.

"... I can't go back, I'm not you anymore."

She The glass around her shatters and soon she finds herself staring down the misshapen animal which she opens fire on she takes a few light hit from it launching glass shards at her, but she dispatches it quickly and catches up with Nanoha.

"I'll live...something got into my head."

She then beholds the horrors.

"Oh no... is that...."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
The world shifts when they enter the area around the shrine, and it's an unfortunately familiar sensation to Rean. ...They were too late.

Rean collapses to the ground, clutching his chest and trying to stay in control.  The hundreds of mirrors reflecting him back at himself, red-eyed, white haired, and leaking miasma. Kind of ironic too, losing himself again in in the same place it happened for the first time.

...No, one of the other mirrors wasn't reflecting him. There was a white haired and red eyed man sitting in the drawing room of the Schwarzer Mansion, waiting for someone to arrive.

"Ngh...Father?" His birth father? No, something about this...he couldn't picture it, it was like reaching for something that wasn't there anymore. But...This wasn't him.

And...something was missing. A /lot/ of things were missing. A lot of /people/ were missing.

"...I don't...I don't want this." Rean says, drawing his sword. "I don't want...a lie..."

What DID he want, then? That instinct wanted to destroy the person who caused this, but he wasn't here. "I...I...AAAAAAAGH!" Rean screams, wildly slashing at the false man, and whatever glass animals it became. He bursts through into the other areas with the others.

Touta Konoe has posed:
    "If you're half of Mikoto...You should know what I mean when I say I want to talk to her..." 'You didn't even know who Mikoto was.'

    The words cut sharper than any blade did. Cause if this person was half Mikoto...If this person was truly emboding what she had felt for so long...He shakes his head. "Mikoto...If I failed as your brother...If I failed as your friend...I wanna hear it from you."

    Touta's goal was simple. He wasn't going to do anything that he hadn't done before. In fact, it was something that he had come to do quite often with Witches of her original world. Something that happened on accident at first, but had given him a better perspective of those witches before they passed. What their wishes were...And what was their perishing agony.

    Touta's hoop spin's around his waist vigorously. The yin-yang symbol appears before his feat as he charges at the picasso like Witch. His left hand would extend out as he called that girl's name. "MIKOTO!!!" He was going to absorb her magic, and if this was really a truly final goodbye, maybe he could truly absorb all the negative emotions that had been building up within her as well.

    If he was right, than like the other times that he had taken magic from a witch, he'd be able to see into their past from their perspective. Be able to feel what they felt, and know the same pain that they did.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
The house of mirrors was a spinning show now, it was hard to tell if the various faces of the Witch that used to be Mikoto were spinning or if she were spinning the room.  Perspective, it's a very complicated thing when you think about it!

However, as the funhouse mirror animals are destroyed, more shatter out of mirrors, even as you burst through them.  Blades cut mirrors into bits, shots ring out and magic blasts tear through them.  A path is made towards the witch in the center of this funhouse of horrors.

Once there, the entire floor turns upside down, gravity changes.  Mirrors open up attempting to throw each of you into those fake illusions again.  Even as you shatter the mirrors, she tries again...and again..and again.  Repeatedly they would shatter under the force of will of the people here to fight and put a person to rest.  

Fighting through some beasts of her own, Sumiko grabs one by the face.  Something happens, some sort of transfer of energy?  The creature, now barely able to move is easily smashed to bits by the arm of Sumiko, which is quite different now.  Demonic looking, encrusted with gems and almost like it's coated with an outer layer of glass.  

Those eyes glowing brightly now, inhuman as they are as she charges towards the others.  Not that she wants to, or anything, but it's better than doing it alone right now.  

The others cut a way forward for Tou(m)(y)(t)a.  Touta goes in, and with the power of the (anti)god hand, he attempts to draw upon all of that negative energy.  Deeper he goes than he has before...

The world is gone for him for a moment.  All that there is is a girl, shorter hair, black eyes...not quite Mikoto, but if you combined them with Sumiko's features you'd get her.  It's just cold...unfeeling...the face is unsettling, a mask as opposed to an actual face.  

"What was my wish? What was I doing..?  I just feel cold..."

Imagines flood from the energy itself.  The sadness she felt at having no family.  The despair at having to mold herself so that she felt she could keep what she was lucky enough to gain.  The fact that hiding in illusions was easier than dealing with reality.  The only solid rock to reality was Sumiko, who sat back reminding her of what she was doing.

Those mistakes added up...the despair became too much for her to bear.  Too much happening, too many witches needed to survive.  What was worse, it was threatening to swallow Touta completely.  Until he felt a kick across the side of his head.  

Sumiko aimed the kick so to knock Touta off of the Witch.  "Don't thank me, kicking you across the head was payment enough," She says, with a smirk.  "If you're done...we gotta stop this now."

Touta Konoe has posed:
    Touta gets kicked back into reality in the most literal way. But his eyes go...Colder. "That's what she thought...That's..." What he saw, what he felt, Touta clings to his own chest. He's an immortal that shouldn't be able to feel prolonged pain and yet he feels such a painful pounding in his chest. He didn't get it, "Mikoto...Is that...Is that...No...I'm sorry. Mikoto I didn't think you were...I wanted to let you have your...Damn it...Damn it...DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT!!!"

    While he suffered no physical injuries it should have been clear by the way that he was sprawled out on the floor. He wasn't in a position to do anything at this point. In fact, he wasn't even in a position for others to do anything for him. Black Miasma begins to flare around his body. An actual miasma personifying his own negative emotions beginning to swirl around him, slowly enveloping his body at his limbs, constricting and tightening. Solidifying and hardening like scales and flesh around those limbs

    Anyone who had seen his loss of Rynith would see that this was just as bad... No worse. A scenario where he had ended up staying months confined within UQ without contacting the Multiverse or even his closest friends for months. That was for failing to save a friend from death. This though...This was failing to see that someone he considered family was sufferring, and the results were speaking for themselves...

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean hears Sumiko call him over the phone, but he doesn't respond. He just rushes forward, a white and red blur slamming and cutting into glass Familiars to clear a path to her. At the very least, it seems he heard 'Focus on her' but this probably isn't what Sumiko meant.

Maybe this was how it was always going to end. Was this what she would have wanted? Him joining her in despair? Two monsters (three, maybe) stuck in a loop of pain, railing against the word that hurt them? Or maybe this was a punishment for being too trusting again? Or for failing her as a friend and boyfriend?

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa mutters "I'm sorry..."

Before she raises her SMG up she wits until Touta is clear as she starts clearing a path with SMG fire, she moves in she knows Rean is going to suffer a lot from this. She fires, she does her best to cover for Rean. She keeps going in and darting along this is a foe unlike any she'd really faced before. She will turn her fire on the thing that was once a Magical Girl and opens up as she closes. What can she say that's not already be said?

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha blasts through the air, darting around mirrors as they try to corner her. Sending more pink orbs flying at them to explode them into pieces. Finally Nanoha breaks through and touches down on solid footing once more. She looks in sadness towards the monstrous creature before her... What remains of Mikoto. They weren't exactly close. But Nanoha had fought alongside Mikoto enough times to consider her a friend. Nanoha hopes that Touta might be able to do something... To pull a miracle. But it seems that is beyond him. Beyond any of them.

    Mikoto is dead. At least, the Mikoto they knew. Or thought they knew. All that's left is this manifestation of her pain, her despair. And Sumiko.

    Nanoha looks over at Rean as he cuts his way through the false illusions with his rage and his sword. She looks over at Touta, succumbing to a dreadful realisation. Nanoha then finally looks back to the Witch... And closes her eyes. In that darkness, all she can see is a woman with purple hair falling into an abyss.

    Nanoha grips her staff tighter. This can't go on. She takes a step back, her expression full of sadness as she raises her staff to aim towards the Witch. Nanoha then says softly, "I hope you can take comfort in the fact that this suffering will be over soon..."

    Nanoha takes a deep breath. A spell circle appears beneath her. Sections of the staff open, causing four wings of pink light to unfurl from within. Raising Heart chimes in response to her master's unspoken command, <Sealing Mode.>

    Magic begins to gather beyond the pointed tip of the staff, a large orb of pink rapidly growing in size. Nanoha calls out with more determination, "Photon Smasher-" The sound of charging energy reaches a peak and Nanoha finishes, "-Seal!"

    The orb of magic bursts, a large beam of pink rushing forth. It streaks towards the Witch, looking to bombard it with the destructive energies and seal away its powers, relieving the pressure of the illusions on the others and perhaps... Helping to end the Witch itself.

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Cordelay moves as if in a trance, cutting down Familiars with the grace of a lifelong warrior, until she sees Touta collapse. Her teeth clench and she dashes toward the witch, leaping atop a Familiar and kicking off of it to land on another, her blades swinging like edged flails in a whirlwind of steel as she uses her foes as stepping stones toward what used to be Mikoto.

"I wish I had gotten to know you earlier. Even if it wouldn't have been much, I wish I could have helped you weather the storm."

Her battle-crazed grin is gone, replaced once again by that stoic warrior's mask.

"But now isn't the time for regrets."

She takes another leap, pushing her athleticism to its limit as she achieves a position over the witch.

"I don't know the truth. I might never know. But I do this to end your suffering and help Master Touta and Master Rean."

She grips both her sword-chains, swinging them as hard as she can from her high vantage point, aiming to catch the central connecting point between the blades like a pair of flying guillotines.

"Rest in peace, Lady Mikoto."

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Despair starts to overcome Touta, as it physically manifests all over his body.  Sumiko kicks him in the head again.  "Stop it.  You're being selfish right now when you should be trying to stop her from what she feared the most."

She turns towards the creature, getting ready to fight.  "Life isn't perfect, there were plenty of good times too.  If you want to beat yourself up, then whatever...but if you want to do right by us, then you should at least watch to the bitter end."

Rean comes in like a berserker, as she sighs.  Her life was literally falling apart around her, and here she was trying to kick sense into these two morons.  Some of the Mikoto must still be inside her, she muses.  After all, she wasn't even getting paid for this.

Balls of glass shatter across the witch, helping to focus Nanoha's laser.  It cuts through the outer shell, blasting away the dangerous defenses of the witch, and keeps her from attacking again.  Even as the heads spin around.

Gunshots tear through the witch, followed by sword strikes from Rean.  Followed finally by Cordelay.  Blades slicing through the defenseless witch, as it starts to crumble into pieces.  The land returning to what it should be, the place that you were heading to.  Out of the sky, a black spikey object drops.  

A grief seed.  

Sumiko sighs, shaking her head.  Then looking around them for the source of this mess.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Despite his behavior, Rean does remember one thing, deep within the darkness clouding his mind. A promise he made to her long ago, early on when Mikoto had first learned of her inevitable fate. To not let her hurt people like she'd been hurt. And that desire, at the very least remained, even if he'd lost track of his version of it at the moment.  

Rean ignites his sword in black flame, and rushes forward, slicing through the Witch that was once Mikoto. And with everyone's help, she's defeated.

Rean clutches his chest, still leaking miasma. He turns to look at the group behind him, red eyes blazing. Now what? Would he attack his allies next?

Then someone claps, from high above the group. A violet haired man in a white suit and cape with a matching mask appears, standing on top of the frozen spring.

"Bravo, Bravo! What a wonderful performance, all of you." Phantom Thief B says.

"YOU!" Rean bounds up the frozen spring, headed straight for the phantom thief's head. He swings his blade...and it passes right through him. An illusion.

"Now, now. That's no way to treat a guest." Phantom Thief B appears again, this time on the ground in front of the monument, and Mikoto's Grief Seed. "I'll admit, this wasn't quite what I had expected. I never knew such a wondrous world could be born from someone's despair. Indeed the Multiverse is full of beauty! But what else could it be, when such people live in it?" He says, identifying the combatants.  Rean jumps down from the spring, slashing at Phantom Thief B again, but it's another illusion. Rean doesn't attack again, though. This time, he collapses, his appearance flickering between normal and berserk. "Damn you..." Rean growls. "You killed her over /beauty?!/"

"Well, I merely wanted to see how you would handle having the things you hold dear threatened, and how you and your allies would overcome this challenge. But it seems you're not the only one with hidden beauty." Phantom Thief B turns to look at Sumiko. "How could I have realized there was more to that girl? Truly, you two are - Or I suppose WERE - a wonderful match."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    The Witch is defeated and the group is deposited back into their own world. Nanoha's strength leaves her almost instantly as she has to lean on her staff to remain standing. She's not physically tired, but everything that just happened... It's a lot to go through.

    However, Nanoha manages to find some of that strength once more as Phantom Thief B makes his presence known. Rean beats Nanoha to the punch-or the slash-reacting before she can get off a binding spell. Not that it would have done much good, as the thief is revealed to be a projection.

    Nanoha silently thinks to her partner Device, 'See if you can track down where he is.' Raising Heart chimes softly in response, a dozen small orbs of pink suddenly appear around Nanoha before rapidly darting off in all directions.

    As her magical probes attempt to locate the real villain, Nanoha steps forward and raises a finger to the illusionary one, "Phantom Thief B. You've gone too far this time. Taking a priceless work of art is one thing. But taking someone's life, partial or not, is a grave act. Given how much she meant to the people here and no doubt elsewhere in the Multiverse, do not expect to get off lightly."

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Cordelay steps forward to stand at Rean's side as her stoic mask cracks, eyes blazing with fury as she sheathes her blades again. "I hope you enjoyed your little performance, Phantom Thief B."

There's a raw edge to her voice, an undertone of pure hatred. "Your foolish game cost Lady Mikoto her life, and that cannot be forgiven. For her, for Master Rean and for Master Touta, you will know the suffering you have wrought before you are put down like the beast you are. I, Cordelay Levail, swear on my honor and the name of my house, that I will kill you and send you to the deepest of hells."

Despite the edge to her voice she never wavers as she speaks, her pronouncement resolute and heavy with malice.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko watches the witch die, and she sighs.  Inwardly, she was depressed.  She had ended up failing her first friend in the multiverse.  That and her life was basically falling apart around her.  The only light right now is that the Concord didn't seem to care much.  At least she'll have a job still.

However, the clapping and arrival of B cause her eyes to look up.  That arm still monstrous in appearance as it points towards the Thief.  "Oh you.  Do you realize there will be no safe place for you anywhere?  I will hunt you down.  Do you know why?"

"Because you took what was /mine/.  You have no idea the monster you have unleashed.  I am Sumiko, Cardinal Vice of Greed...and nobody takes what is mine and escapes." Quietly she waits for the signal from Nanoha.  She tries to keep the thief's attention...then she can get what she desires.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is ready for more but she sees that it's over that the witch is dead, she feels no joy. Only this empty feeling inside with how everything has played out. Now for the mastermind behind this the thief has shown himself for a moment.


There's a twisted look of anger on her face as the reason comes out she's about ready to go off on her own. She only holds back as she catches on there's a plan or there may be one.

"You can either come quietly or we do this the hard way. I also doubt the Concord will be happy about this either."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"Oh? I look forward to that. Though you'll have to search very hard. After all, we Enforcers of Ouroboros live and work in the shadows, so there being 'no safe place' matters not to me."

"Ouroboros...The society that makes those machines the ILF used!" Rean says. He's starting to come down now, but he's obviously still kinda pissed.

"Indeed, though we only care for the result their actions would bring about. Much like how I came here today out of my own curiosity."

Though all the monologuing, Nanoha's probe finds Phantom Thief B, hiding in the woods to the east of the spring. However, his senses are keen and he instantly throws a knife at it, in an attempt to disable it.

"....Perhaps I've overstayed my welcome." The illusory Phantom Thief B says.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    One of Nanoha's probes finds the real location of the thief, shortly before it's destroyed. But too late.

    Holographic screens appear beside everyone, showing a top down display of the area they're in, along with the current location and the location of Phantom Thief B. It's not far!

    Nanoha nods to everyone, before blasting into the air and heading for a point above Phantom Thief B's location. She knows this world has airships and she's not about to be unprepared for him to make an escape that way.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
"Oh definitely.." Sumiko says when Nanoha reveals his location.  Mikoto crouches and makes a run right for the location.  She's fast, next to a standard human, and moves to try and get there to make good on her threat.  

Assuming she can close in, she launches herself forward with that hand of hers, aiming to use it to try and catch the legs of the Phantom theif...trying to cause that monstrous arm to start clenching down.  

"It's like trying to pull the wings off a butterfly," She says a bit cruelly.  "Much like how you just put Mikoto's soul under a magnifying glass."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa looks none too happy with the situation but she will make sure to file away everything the thief has to say. She can pass the video off to Rean later as she's pretty sure? He's going to be hunting this group. When the warning of the location of where the thief is? She will take off, not hiding anything about how fast she can move, as she will end up trying to also tackle and taser shock the thief with the built-in tasers in her body.

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
As soon as Phantom Thief B's location is revealed, Cordelay takes off at a sprint, her stoic expression back in place. Upon reaching her destination and seeing Sumiko leap for their quarry, Cordelay takes a leap of her own and slings her blades by the chains once again to synchronize with the girl that was once part of Mikoto - while she grasps for the thief's legs, Cordelay's blades swing straight for his neck.

"Die, you monster."

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Just as Sumiko, Kotone and Cordelay go in for the kill against Phantom Thief B, a swirl of power manifests right in front of him. The form of an armored warrior quickly rises out of the ground. In her right hand is a massive ornate lance, which swings around to block Cordelay's blades. Her foot comes down on Sumiko's arm before it can reach its target, stopping it in its tracks with its heavily armored boot. As for Kotone, she finds it difficult to budge the heavily armored woman, though the shock from her tasers does visibly ripple through her. But she remains standing, if visibly in pain.

    Arianrhod glances between the three attackers, before turning her head to look back at Phantom Thief B, "Bleublanc. You've stirred up the hornet's nest this time. You do realise that the point of being a secret society is the secret part, yes?"

    Arianrhod looks back at Cordelay and Sumiko, "I must apologise, you two. I know we are each members of the Concord, but I cannot allow you to kill this man just yet."

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Sumiko's arm is pinned on the ground by a woman in very heavy armor.  This is very inconvenient, and anger-inducing.  She struggles to free her arm, trying to fight to get it loose...and then she hears something.

'Not yet'.  

"Ok, then if you want me to not claim his life until you have no need of him, I am going to have to demand a tithe for the loss of my property until I can exact my toll.  Offer me a deal and I won't mess with him until you give the ok."

She says this as she yanks her arm free and glares at the thief.  "I'm only giving you this chance because you're Concord."

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
"No argument or bribe could convince me to spare him."

Cordelay lands not far from the thief and his suddenly-appearing defender. "I swore an oath to end his life for the pain he has caused. If you insist on standing in my way, you will share in his execution."

As she speaks Cordelay grips both her swords, watching the spear-wielding woman carefully as her entire body tenses like a coiled spring, ready to engage again at the first sign of movement.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"...Yes, but it would be unfitting of me as a Phantom Thief to not at least make my presence known-" He then looks at the several women trying to kill him at the moment. "...Understood. I shall leave this to you." He says, vanishing in a flurry of petals.

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Arianrhod releases her pressure on Sumiko's arm as she seems agreeable to delaying Phantom Thief B's death. Though she demands something in return... Arianrhod considers it for a moment, before saying, "I have very little in the way of valuables to offer you. That I am aware of. But I do have my word. As such, I offer you a boon. A single request of any content within my power to fulfill, no questions asked... Short of harming this man as that would defeat the purpose of the deal."

    Arianrhod turns her helmet to Cordelay, "I understand and commend your dedication to that oath. But for now I will continue to stand in your way, what may come of it. Perhaps one day that will not be true. But until then, do not think it will be easy to defeat us."

    With her word pledged, warning given and Phantom Thief B's retreat, the same power that brought Arianrhod here swirls up around her. As she teleports away, her helmet turns once more to Cordelay as she offers some parting words, "I look forward to an opportunity to engage you properly." And then she's gone.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
"I assumed your organization does, but...hmm..!" A boon over Arianrhod is potentially more valuable.  Sumiko taps the side of her chin for a moment, and shrugs.  "Deal, for now I will not collect the debt that man owes me, but it will come due one day."

"I guess I need to go find a place to sleep tonight.  What a drag..."  Sumiko starts walking off.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    From her point above the battle, Nanoha sighs with some regret as the perpetrator of this tragedy is able to escape with the help of an ally. She floats down back to join the others and is initially unsure of what to say...

    Finally Nanoha says, "Let's help get Touta and Rean back to the village... I think they could use the rest." Nanoha's staff vanishes as she moves towards those two to help. That said, Nanoha is looking rather tired herself.

    -- Later --

    Nanoha stands at the edge of the village, staring out at the sunset as it dips below the horizon. There's a pensive look on her face and she's so lost in thought that she doesn't notice her daughter walk up next to her. Vivio looks up at Nanoha and asks, "Mama, are you alright?"

    Shaken out of her thoughts, Nanoha looks down at Vivio briefly with surprise. But after a moment, she smiles and responds, "Yes, sweetheart. I'm fine." Nanoha turns to her daughter, "Why don't we go by the tavern and get something to eat?"

    Vivio grins, "Okay!" She reaches out to take Nanoha's hand, before turning around to lead the way.

    Nanoha follows along beside Vivio. As they walk back into the village, Nanoha looks down at her and asks, "By the way, Vivio. Have you thought much about what you want to do when you're older?"

Cordelay Levail (6936) has posed:
Cordelay grits her teeth as Arianrhod vanishes, sheathing her swords. "That will be a duel I will relish, just before I remove that beast's head from his shoulders. Nothing will stop me from fulfilling my oath."

She turns on her heel and her expression softens slightly upon seeing Rean and Touta. "I will not presume to intrude on your grief - it is not my place. But know that should either of you require my aid you need only ask. Farewell, my comrades." She curtseys slightly and takes her leave, forcing that neutral expression back onto her face.

Sumiko (7002) has posed:
Eventually, Sumiko gets far enough away from the mess that was this horrible situation.  She'd walked far enough out in the forsest to not even care if there were things ready to hunt her.  If anything she could actually deal with the steam release.  

Having half of you torn away like that was exhausting...she'd have to start remembering having to live like the monster she was again.  It felt good to be a human, even with all of the issues that Mikoto had.  Eventually, she just sits at the foot of a tree to watch the sunset.  

"In the end we couldn't save you.  It's like I said...how can you save others if you can't even save yourself...I should have listened to myself then.  I thought I could really do it, and here I am suffering for my stupid mistakes."

"I'd have been easier if I never met them..." she says, and leans her head back, tears running down the side of her face.  Even she didn't believe that, if anything she believed that if they could have been more honest, this might have been avoided.  Who knows at this point?  It was all messed up, and the prospects of having to return home put pain in her chest she didn't want to experience.  

"It's easier when you're only enjoying the fun of these worlds.  Indulging in the pleasures...this pain...I hate it."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Unfortunately the Phantom Thief gets away, and Rean just...sighs. He doesn't even have the energy to be mad now, so now he's just...empty.

Rean staggers over to the monument, and places a hand on it. The monument glows for a moment, and then stops. Slowly, the snow in the air starts to slow, before ceasing to a halt. At least they managed to succeed at that.

Sumiko's walking away, griping about needing a place to sleep.

"...Wait--" Rean says, but she's already gone. At the very least she could have stayed at the inn. There was now an empty room that she technically would've been staying in and...

"..." Rean looks down at the ground. She probably wouldn't want to be there, would she? Just another reminder of what happened. He kneels down and picks up the Grief Seed, unsure of what to do with it. Eventually he just tucks it into his pocket, as a reminder of her.

What a vacation this turned out to be.