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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Nexus Earth - Chapter 15: Last Dance [Complete]

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It is said no plan survives contact with the enemy, this was all the more true of Satoshi's final assault on the great Demonic Stronghold on Aradia. Everything did appear to go smoothely, until the insertion of the surgical team of heavy hitters, and then there was a flash of etheric black light, and the leaders of the group found themselves separate, yet able to see each other.

Above them a grisly image was playing out. The Small contingent of battle armored troopers was fighting against overwhelming odds, what seemed like a dozen hives of demons.

They found themselves unable to speak, unable to look away, and all they saw was carnage, and the sounds of valiant people dying.

As the final Trooper, their leader, -087 Kelly, fell, and was brutally torn apart, they heard not a visceral scream, but a soul crushing whisper. "I'm sorry I failed you."

She was obscured from view and then only something vaguely human was left when the demons cleared. Whether she meant Her Head Captain, the Princess, her comrades in arms, the time traveller and the angel; or her fallen team one couldn't know perhaps she meant them all.

Then the lights came up revealing a grand throneroom, under hundreds of miles of bedrock. They were in the very Core of Aradia, it's beating heart shining with only a small section of glowing golden light, the rest was a ghastly green luminescence, shot through with crimson red, the color of blood.

Upon the throne sat the white haired man they'd seen that night at the school, his grand katanna at his side. At his right sat Amaya, looking fully recovered from her fight with Kai. Arranged around the throne were a group of six circles lit upon the floor in which each of them found themselves the center of. "This is probably for the best. I tire of watching you scurry like ants. So I will simply hasten things to their final conclusion. Within the Heart of Aradia is the high council chamber, when the last of the golden aura is consumed, all within will die, and this world will permanently become a haven of demons. You will fight six of my champions, and only if you win will you be able to fight me. Those barriers are made to keep you within, their are no doors, Two will enter, and the fields will not disappear until one remains."

Kai looked up at him, and practically growled out.. "Why should we play along?"

"Because dear boy, if you do not, I will not stop until I consume or corrupt every soul you brought with you. They do not share the immunity you all possess to that power of mine."

"Now, let the games begin."

Amaya rose first, landing in Kai's circle. "This will not be like last time."

"I won't let you live, this time."

For Lily, It was a surprise to see Archer, of all beings standing in her circle. "We have great unfinished business, you and I, Princess of Dalaraan. I am no longer bound by a false master, and What I do now, I relish."

Francis found himself face to face with Someone from his past, hideously deformed, contaminated and corrupted by demonic power. Years before he'd had a partner, Albert Grimm, who went missing after saving him. Now, his whereabouts were no longer secret. Chitinous claws sprout from his back, spines lining his arms and legs. his eyes were the same piercing green they'd been before. Gone was the jovial gleam, replaced with brutal bloodlust, and homicidal instinct.

For Hideko, It was a young woman, similar to her, except in the blink of an eye, her hand became some sort of fusion cannon. The white haired demon called out, "She's the prototype for you. The nano machines fully assimilated her, and now she is just a tool a weapon. What you will one day be."

For Sakura, an armor clad woman strode into the ring. "I am proud of this one Sakura. She's one of my greatest triumphs." As the woman drew her sword, Sakura felt a familiar aura. "Your mother didn't die in the bombardment, but right now as she stares down her blade at you, I'm betting she certainly wishes she had."

Finally a robed and hooded figure appeared in Skye's circle. "Now this one takes me back. "You were in hell, and so was he. You both had real power at one point, but threw it all away. You'd be amazed how easy it was to turn him back again though. Brilliant metal wings unfurled from beneath the robe, shredding it and the hood fell away as Kazuo Kanai stood there, murder in his eyes. "Miss me?" one of his wings curled and unfurled, the sound of razor edged blades scraping together, and he chuckled. "I won't miss you.."

(initiative time for everyone)

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Irony. Francis had saved Kelly one day, and now everyone else in her team had fallen. So was she. Dammit, it really did get to him now, how so many had to fall before the universe had some frigging peace.

Then the threats, the dueling. Probably a delaying tactic, then Francis saw and listened to all that came. Amaya, Archer (from the records of Ikaris, he recognized), the prototype Hideko. Sakura's mother. Kazuo. And Albert. Francis stared back quietly into those eyes.

His mentor and old partner, eh? Agent Gold had no idea of what Grimm went through all these years, since he disappeared. One more thing to bring up violently with this white-haired guy.

"Dammit. You really want to play it this way? Fine... You'll just be hearing from us when all is said and done. Me and Nagareboshi."

OOC
Initiative:

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 3+6+18: 27

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"Mo..Mom?" There was surprise, heartbreak and shock in her voice as she responded to the woman who stood opposite her at the moment. "This isn't you, Mom, you fought this darkness your entire life.." It isn't fair. She would have said that last part allowed, but her memory and training wouldn't allow it, for she remembered her training with her father.

"Life isn't fair, daughter, it's not our task to bemoan the lack, it is up to us to make up for it. Don't complain about the lack of justice and fairness.. do something about it." That was one of the things he said to her only a few days at the end of her training, before she returned to earth and found everything, different.

Her sword was free in her hand, as she spoke the words. "But, if I must fight you to defend the light, I know your desire, that I give it my all..." She paused and tears trickled down her cheeks that she made no move to wipe away, and she smiled, a bitter sweet smile. "I love you, I will always love you, no matter what, whatever comes and whatever must be."

Holding her blade her before her, she spoke the words. "Blossom Crimson Flower."

Initative Roll: Krul *rolls* 2d6: 4+2+16: 22

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Though saddened by what they'd seen, and a little horrified by what the others faced, Lily had a thin, hard smile for her own opponent.

"You waited too long, wolf. If you'd come for me soon after, you might have had a chance. I've come too far now, and seen too much, to be stopped now."

Her sword appears in her hand, a long, heavy blade of sculpted blue light, and her aura blazes the same shade of the sky at noon in a corona around her.

"You've waited all this time to strike back at me. It's been your whole focus. Your purpose. But to me, you're just one more obstacle I have to face before I reach my real goal. So lets get this over with, so I can get on with more important things."

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 1+6+11: 18

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Hideko looks at this women for a moment. The shock on her face quickly gives way to....indifference?

"....Really? You're gonna try the whole 'This is what you'll eventually become' card? Look, In the past few weeks I've been tossed across the multiverse, been thrown into a war, listened as the first friend I've made here died. And you think THIS is going to break me? You say she's what I'll become someday, Right? Well guess what, asshole?"

She points her Sword at her Prototype, a visible smirk on her face

"TODAY ISN'T SOMEDAY!! I'll keep on fighting for what's right and for what I believe in till I die, get assimilated or what ever the hell happens to me. As long as I helped people along the way, it's a win for me! And the best way to help her is to destroy her so she can move on."

spoiler
Abyss Phantasia *rolls* 2d6: 3+5+7+3: 18

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Albert laughed, a crackling, grotesque, tortured sound. "Keep your eye on the mission, Gold. I told you that years ago, and you're back to induction training again." Francis bowed his head, smiling off the insult, and let out one head clearing exhalation. Then he shifted into a firing stance and began shooting, a rattling volley from Nagareboshi.

The demonic Agent grunted as two of the bullets hit, but raised his arms, sending a storm of spines at Francis. Francis started blinking out of position, using his teleport system to evade each sharp projectile before it could hit him. So far, so good. He continued firing with Nagareboshi with regular ammo, to weaken Albert before using the big firepower.

Albert was still quick enough despite his bulk, leaving only one round to hit home of the salvo. Before Francis' eyes nearly a third of the damage to Albert healed, and his mouth opened revealing an inhuman grin, of canines and jagged frontal mandibles.

Francis shrugged, even as the spray of spines filled the air. "Big deal. It's not going fast enough." More bullets, endless from Nagareboshi in response. Francis left every spot before a spine could pass through it, Albert grimaced, and continued moving trying to circle Francis. Another batch of spines thrown out, almost haphazardly.

By luck, one of the spines sliced along Francis' side, but the armor blunted a fair portion of the cutting force as the point scratched its way through. His nanobots were already responding. The injury was currently negligible. Francis grinned in mockery back at Albert as he continued his teleporting enfilade.

Albert merely chuckled as if it was no bother."You're not too bad, but I have your measure now." With that Albert shifted, his chitin-like skin glowing, as did all the spines. He suddenly moves much faster, and vanished. Francis was shocked out of his complacency... too late.

Albert's claws struck with burning ichor and deep gouges on Francis' chest, lashing up, then tearing a great hack down Francis' stomach. What was more, the nanites were reporting increasing inflammation in the wounds. Stepping back a tad to avoid spine followups, Fracis spat a wad of blood out and looked at Albert more seriously. "Fine... COMET BULLET!"

The massive attack hit, a radiant storm of energy, but Francis blinked in utter shock when Albert looked none the worse for wear afterward. "You were always so predictable. I was worried when you didn't use your energy pistols. Thanks for being you though." If anything, Albert looked better off now than he had before the massive shot.

He sent a flight of spikes that missed due to heightened alertness on Francis' part, but he was smiling now, the smile of someone looking at a dead man. Francis' mouth dropped a fraction, and internally, he realized Albert might be right here. No more Comet Bullets, he supposed, but what then?

Go for the weak points, he decided, shooting more regular shots, one targeted for the eyes. More of the chitin was flecked away, but still, it wasn't enough. From Albert's back, long claw-tipped arms reached out, looking to skewer Francis. Francis teleported twice in a row, and those arms could not reach the Agent of Homeline.

Francis found one weak spot in the chitin with his next shot, but Albert laughed one more time and held out his arms. There was a crackling of energy between his mouth, arms and the arms on his back before a massive torrent of energy spewed forth, and swept the area, sickly green like balefire.

Francis was engulfed with a cry, the green fire burning intensely, systems in the armor smoking out and becoming a wreck. The near corpse of his form collapsed onto the ground. Pain near to that of Sounga aggravated nerves.

Albert looked on as, Francis coughed and gasped for breath, trying to draw breath through overheated lung, shaking his head through the pain. Yep, this was it.

As Albert leered and peered down at his former pupil's charred body, Francis had a few regrets to admit to his Zanpakuto. *Well, Nagareboshi, I suppose this is it. Dammit, I just wish that if I were to die, I could take Albert with me... One less person to get in Kai and the others' way.*

It was going to be incumbent on them to save the universe now.

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Hideko stares down he counterpart for a moment before firing a blast directly at the ground to make a smokescreen, she dash through the smoke and slashes down onto her foe

"Ha! Eat it!"

Her cheer is short lived as the machine girl starts to regenerate. "Pathetic" She said with her arms turning into sword and slashing at Hideko, causing her to bleed in several places, her wounds quickly closing up as she regenerates

"I'll show you Pathetic!"

Hideko said kicking off the ground to slash her opponent's arm off. The wound goes deep, but the enemy rips the blade out of her arm as it regenerates.

She betrays no emotion. 'You are weak, unable to master yourself. It is why I can hit you at will, and you strike me because I make an opening for you."

She said Slashing at Hideko, this time causing large amounts of blood to spill from her.

"FUCKING DAMN!" Hideko said leaping out of sword range, her wounds closing up.

"Didn't want have to use this so soon...."

It sounds like Hideko is....singing? The ground suddenly lights up, crackles of energy flowing towards Hideko's hands.

"Take this! "

She fires off a blast that Scorches the whole side the enemy was on. Massive Explosions are caused where the impact

"Well there's no way she could survive that..."

Her Opponent walks out of the flames, most of her clothes and flesh burned off, metal showing instead of flesh. And both of her hands glowing

"Die inferior product." She said before releasing her blasts sending Hideko flying into the wall behind her. Her Opponent still advancing towards her.

"Sorry, I don't have anymore time to play with you. I've got to help the others kill that bastard and save everyone!"

She said this gathering up another blast, her wounds filling in almost instantly, her opponent now Running towards her to try to eliminate her

"This is the End! GRAND! LIGHTING! BREAKER!"

Hideko PUNCHES in direction her counter part's chest, a Massive Blast of energy rippling from her Arm, into her Fist and into her opponent's body in the form of a giant blast. The enemy looking with a blank expression as she's torn apart from the blast. She has just enough time to drop a single....tear? before she's completely vaporized by the blast. Leaving not even ashes.

Hideko pants for a moment. And then flicks off the sky in case her would be captor is watching before continuing onwards.

"One down."

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The universe’s final sucker punch to Skye was too much. Her grip on her fans had never before faltered, but when the metallic feathers parted her weapons dropped to the ground. Her blue eyes filled with tears once again, and she heard herself say, “All I’ve done is miss you.”

The white-haired demon laughed to see how utterly disarmed the priestess was by this revelation, glorifying in the despair and grief on Skye’s face. This was what demons lived for: the torment of others. Tonight, the blonde follower of Tsunami was a delicious gourmet of suffering, a buffet decades in the preparation. Kazuo had been Skye’s one everlasting light, with one move, the demon had snuffed the woman’s hope—or so it seemed for one moment.

“I won’t fight you.” Skye knelt and picked up her fans, who shivered with the urgency for her to use them.

“Then you die!” The cruel feathers snapped forward and imprisoned her, their shafts digging into the floor and walls. Skye flinched but didn’t move as Kazuo used his wings to bring himself to her, dropping to stand in front of her. His hand cupped her chin before sliding down to circle her throat.

The pleading whispers of her fans filled her mind, and firmly she told them, No, this is not the way. Even if it had been the way, she couldn’t kill him. Not again. Her fans were tucked away into the sleeves of her kimono. “You held my heart.” The words stopped the fallen angel’s fingers before they tightened and silenced her forever. “You still do. When I killed the thing that had stolen your face, my heart broke because I felt like I was killing you. I never loved it, though, not really. I loved you.”

“Kazuo, kill her!” The white-haired demon shouted the order.

Kazuo’s eyes narrowed. His fingers tightened around Skye’s throat but not enough to cut off her air. Her voice was strained as she continued, “But I didn’t. If found you again. And I should have told you then, wrapped you in my arms then.” Skye’s hand came up, her fingers shaking as she touched his face. “You scared me so much, in high school. I felt things around you I couldn’t understand. I burned for you and didn’t understand why I felt that way. It was love—young, foolish and afraid love.” She laughed softly, a hoarse noise as she traced her thumb over the scar that bisected his cheek, the wound that had taken his eye. “Not that different than my love for you now.”

“You were a selfish bitch. I don’t believe you could love anyone other than yourself.” It was Kazuo’s mouth that said the words, but it was the white-haired demon who was speaking. Skye knew who the speaker was.

“This isn’t you,” she whispered. “You don’t believe that. But I’ll let you be the judge of my feelings.” Pressing against his hand, Skye rose on her tiptoes and kissed him. For a second there was nothing and she thought she’d lost him. Then his hand slipped around her neck to cup the back of her head as his fingers sank into her hair. His other arm curled around her waist, drawing her close as their kiss deepened. Skye drank deep of him, electricity flowing through her body. She threw her arms round him with abandon, her heart racing and her face flushed.

Their kiss broke and the two far-flung travelers grinned giddily at one another. “Those feelings real enough for you?” Skye asked, aware that her voice shook with love, lust, hope and so much more.

“I dunno know about the feelings, but something else is real enough.” Kazuo’s reply was a bit weak but it’d been a long day. He blinked and touched her ears. “Your ears. They’re normal again.”

Skye reached up to touch them, wonder crossing her expression. She lifted her ring hand and stared at the wedding band. What had once been corroded gold now shone with a golden luster. “My curse… it’s broken.”

“A shame.” Kazuo whispered the words into her ear.

“A shame?”

“Yah. I wanted ta play with ‘em.” The winged man laughed at the flush that crossed Skye’s cheeks. The fight was far away for the two, for the moment, as love turned horror into peace.

[Carver] 8:48 pm: Soul check

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 6+4+9: 19

[Carver] 8:48 pm: Soul Check

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+4+9: 18

[Carver] 8:48 pm: Soul check

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 4+4+9: 17

[Long6] 8:48 pm: .....

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Sakura looked across the field of battle at her mother, sadness in her eyes at what she had been changed to, and at the nature of the battle required, she was doing her best to assess the situation and make her move, but there was a hint of intial hesitation, she didn't want to fight her own mother... she had too, or at least, it seemed there was no other choice.. she couldn't bring herself to make the first blow, however... the emotion was too strong, her heart was in turmoil.

Her eyes widened however, as her mother came at her as she taught her from her youth, swift, fast and without hesitation.. quickly she parried as best she could, and the clash of steel on steel was the first sound that could be heard on the field of battle.

Once, twice, neither of the quick attacks managed to break though her intial attempts at parrying,but the last blow got though, though her natural toughness blunted the blow slightly, but it was clearly a lethal blow, her mother was definitely trying to kill her. It was enough to decide her next choices, she would be true to the spirit her mother had taught her, not her present actions.

Her first step, to increase her defenses further. “'Heaven's Radiant Defense! Armor of

Light! Shield of Avalon!!'” As the glowing shield of light arched around her, to protect

and refresh her, she steeled herself and set aside emotion for the moment.

Then she went in for direct attacks, one blow, another, and another, not trying anything

fancy, just bringing in her sword and attempting to break though her mother’s defense,

but responding with the same degree of force. She could sense some sort of dark force overshadowing the woman who seemed to be her mother, but she couldn’t isolate it.

Of her swift flurry of attacks only one manages to get though, and it doesn’t do the harm it should, based on what she knew of her mother’s capabilities..

Back and forth the battle continued to go, her mother’s next attacks managed to pierce her defenses more completely, but the shield of light completely protected her from the force of her physical blow, but not the spell that she sent her way.

More badly hurt now, but still regenerating the damage, she turned to unleash a much more powerful attack, for someone watching it would be like seeing a hummingbird in flight, the way she buzzed around her foe, moving in all three dimensions using her flying capabilities with her melee, and as she made five attacks, all but one got through, doing a significant amount of damage, both of them now dripping blood on the field of battle..

Her mother then unleashed her most powerful attack, it should have been nearly killing force, never in her years, had Sakura ever seen this attack fail.. today, she found herself matched against it. “Crash, Ryusei (Meteor)!” Power explodes from her mother’s sword as she completes the circle and slams it into the ground, sending rubble flying, some of it managing to break though Sakura’s shield and leave some nasty bruises. She then launched herself upwards toward Sakura cloaked in a wreath of black flames, as opposed to normal gold that Sakura remembered.

A moment of purest clarity, as the trio of blade strikes moved toward her, and somehow, Sakura managed to do what no one else ever had down, perfection matched perfection, blow for blow, she parried every strike against her.. she simply knew where the blade should be to stop her mother’s attack...

There was only one way to free her mother from the control that she was under, only death could free her of whatever had her under control and had so darkened her powers. Sakura flew up above the arena and unleashed her most powerful attack..

Light beyond the reaches of Eternity, Golden Fire at the End of Night, Dragon of Heaven's Light.. Fury of Heaven's Fire! Heavenly Dragon Strike!!'

The blast descended down upon her opponant, three times with terrible force, then she followed the energy of the spell, the light still blinding, making it impossible for anyone to really see what was happening, even as she struck her opponant with her blade...

OOC: The effects similar to this..

[Long6] 8:00 pm:

And the impossible occered, once the energy cleared, and the energy of the attack shattered against the defense brought against it, her mother appeared completely healed, but the demon that possessed her taunted with a smile and a word. "That was all you had? You never saw your mother's surprise, did you?"

Rather then answer a somewhat shocked Sakura stumbled in the air a moment and then shook her head and went in for another attack, and this time.. this time the demon controlling her mother made a fatal mistake.. and in three strikes, all blocks were such that that each one strengthened the force of the next attack, the first strike breaking the bones of the hand holding her weapon, the second smashing the blade aside, and the final one ended with Sakura's blade buried in her mother's heart, severing the cord of the soul bond that the demon lord was using to control her.

At that moment her mother's eyes close, then open again and she smiles. "Thank you." She spoke as she slide off the blade.

"Go with my love, mother." A tear slides down her cheek as her mother passes on, slain but free, and she steps from the arena to speak to the foe that sent her against her mother.

“It seems that my mother's wishes prevail.. demon."

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Both Lily and this 'Archer,' whom Lily knew to be the demonic phase wolf she'd encountered so long ago on Earth, when Kai had first accidentally opened a portal to Bazaroth, started the fight cautiously...though to an observer it would have seemed vicious.

Archer moved first, closing the distance between them in the span of time it took Lily just to form her sword. As fast as he was on his feet though, Lily met him blow for blow, and Archer retreated a few steps. Although in human form, he moved like a wolf. Pacing to the side, circling her, eyes never leaving his foe.

Perhaps he was looking for an opening...Lily didn't pause to offer one. She launched herself through the air, slashing at him as she descended on his head, then again as he rolled away, at his back, and finally lunged to get one last attack off before he managed to break away.

He grinned. His canine teeth were long and sharp. Not the elegant needles of vampire teeth, but heavy duty fangs, meant to catch in meat and hold it while he shook his head and tore.

"That's about as fast as you get, isn't it, Princess? I can tell you were pushing yourself. Too bad I'm faster!"

Archer came again, seeming to blur as he moved and striking over and over again with the speed of a snake. Lily was forced back, her sword intercepting each strike with just millimeters to spare. Each impact knocked her a little out of position for the next, and finally the phase wolf's eyes lit in triumph as he had his shot; for an instant her sword was knocked away, and he rammed one of his ugly, jagged blades at her heart!

The thrust struck home...slowed but not stopped by the thickening of her aura around her. It wasn't enough though. Blunted as it was, Archer couldn't pierce her skin. Lily nodded and batted the sword's tip away.

"Speed's nice, but it doesn't mean much if you don't have the power to back it up."

The wolf in human clothing narrowed his eyes, but didn't have time to give a cool rejoinder because Lily was moving even before she had finished speaking. The next minute was a blaze of combat that would have been hard to follow without slow motion. Though slower, Lily managed to connect once with a blow that drew a little blood from Archer's flank. He on the other hand was getting the hang of how he could use his speed to confound her parries...but he simply couldn't break through her protections.

"You've gotten tougher," Archer growled. "Or at least luckier."

"A little bit," agreed Lily. She gestured at him as the circled warily, looking for an opening. "So, the human shape...is that just for me, or did you get tired of being a wolf?"

Archer grinned...and growled. "It's a limiter. Until you start taking me seriously."

The princess shrugged. "The fight's only just started. It's customary to test one another's strength."

"Ah, but you're in a hurry, Princess. I have all the time in the world."

Lily scowled. "Your concern for me is touching. Alright then, lets see if you're ready for level two."

She started to charge at him, then winked out in mid-step. An instant later she was erupting out of mid-air behind him, striking him soundly across the side. With fluid grace and inhuman speed, he dove forward, dodging her followup and blocking the return stroke with his own upraised blade.

Now thoroughly angered, Archer lunged at her, using all his ferocity and speed to turn her sword away and let him strike at the woman behind it...but discovered to his dismay that Lily's rapid-fire teleportation completely changed her defenses. Before, she had blocked with her sword, unable to move fast enough to dodge effectively. Now though she was not limited by her body. Where he slashed and stabbed, she simply ceased to exist. Finally he had to back off for a moment, panting slightly with the exertion of his maddening attack.

Lily charged her blade with power and came at him again, from in front, behind...then suddenly above. Archer threw himself aside and covered his face to shield him from the spray of debris when her sword, stuck in the ground, exploded violently. When the dust cleared, Lily was standing there, her aura burning brighter as she rebuilt the damage Archer had done to it. Her sword re-formed in her hand.

The phase wolf shook his head. "No good. I've seen that trick before!"

He gave her no time to think, no time to plan. He had to keep her on the defensive. Borrowing from Lily's playbook, he was on her before his last word was finished, but this time it played out differently. Once again, even with his speed, he couldn't predict where her teleports would take her.

In a moment of rage he threw his hands up and shouted, "Stay and FIGHT! Stop holding back!"

Lily regarded him, then nodded. "All right. You asked for it."

“Blood of Tsunami, burn!”

The corona of cobalt light that surrounded her suddenly exploded in brilliance, washing outward in a silent shockwave that forced Archer back a step as he shielded his eyes from the sudden glare. Through the light he could see her silhouette rising slowly into the air, at the center of a lambent blue-white sphere of power.

“Avatar of Light!”

Lines of light slashed in the air, the spaces between them filling in with translucent blue fire. They outlined the image of a giant woman standing with the ball of light holding Lily where her heart would be.

When the energy sword formed in the Avatar's hand, it was nearly twice as long as Archer was, head to foot.

Despite its size, the creature Lily had summoned, or become, moved as fast as ever. Archer barely managed to dodge the first and second blows…and the overhead finish was too quick for him to roll away from in time. With a cry tinged with a howl, he caught the descending weapon between his two upraised, crossed blades.

There was an explosion of sparks and radiance, and the phase wolf found himself sprawled over the ground. His two arm-swords were in shards on the ground before him. The blades had been sheared off by the force of the blow, and broken up in the churning energy of Lily's own sword.

He grinned ferally as he got back to his feet, dabbing at the cut on his shoulder where Lily's strike had touched him…though the sacrifice of his swords had saved him much worse wounds.

“Finally.”

The phase wolf drew...apparently from nowhere...another pair of wicked blades. These were made from black iron that hummed malevolently as they moved, with jagged, serrated leading edges and points hooked like claws. They were made to hook into a foe and saw violently while clinging on. Devastating and agonizing. The faint metallic whine around them seemed...hungry.

He thrust the two swords into the ground and shouted, "Activate! Unlimited Bladeworks!"

Instantly the air grew heavy with the sound of clanging anvils and the acrid stench of burning metal and coal. The demonic realm blurred away as the phase wolf's power summoned them into a new realm. A devilish forge, with a titanic furnace shaped like a mouth opened in suffering, and brick walls lined with weapons and armor decorated in spiky baroque themes.

Lily had little time to admire the view before the floor rumbled and spat out a giant pillar of swords, spinning and leaning to strike her as many times as it could before it slammed back down! Taken by surprise, she couldn't escape all the swords...and found to her dismay they struck with preternatural force...driving straight through the formidable shields of the Avatar and drawing blood from the still-mortal girl within!

Archer laughed mockingly and yanked his swords back out of the ground. "You can't win here! This is MY world, and it follows MY rules!"

"Man," Lily groaned, holding her side where blood leaked out into the sphere that held her, even as wisps of glowing smoky energy floated out of a wound in the Avatar's side. "Why's it always gotta be like that...?"

She started towards Archer, who threw up walls of gnashing sword-teeth and slashing scythe blades...of arrows and balls swinging on chains...but Lily wasn't there now. The Avatar was behind him, vanishing again as a salvo of knives swept through the now-empty space. He whirled to face behind him...and therefore wasn't looking the right way when it reappeared precisely where it had vanished from.

He realized his mistake when a glowing energy blade plunged through his leg and pinned him to the ground. With a pained yelp, he tried to turn around, but his pinned leg meant he couldn't avoid the next sword which took him through the shoulder. The last one went through his stomach.

Her task done, Lily's avatar stepped back. "It's over."

Archer laughed and spit a gobbet of blood. "You think THIS will stop...me..."

Confident words trailed off as he realized the energy swords in his body were humming. Immediately he broke off the bravado and grabbed at one, trying to wrench it free...but too late.

A trio of explosions ripped the air apart, sending thundercracks bouncing wildly through the small interdimensional space of the Bladeworks and gouging out a crater while spraying a thick cloud of debris and dust up.

Lily turned away and started to look for an exit when she heard a cough behind her. Incredulous, she looked back.

He was a ragged mess. Skin burned, clothes hanging in rags. But both his arm and leg were still attached, if visibly and badly wounded. He was staggering a little as he hauled himself over the edge of the crater.

"I was starting to worry I wouldn't get a chance to do this."

Bright silver light suddenly burned around him, making an image weirdly similar to a full moon over Earth. A sound rose...a bestial howl that was louder and more gutteral than a wolf howl, but could never have come from a humanoid throat. The light faded and the phase wolf was there...shining silver-white fur, matted in a couple of places with blood but looking much better than its human counterpart. Its jaws gaped as it panted, and its teeth was the size of fingers. Its left eye was a hateful flaming red; its right was an oddly serene shade of blue, though no less hateful in expression than its sibling.

When it moved, it moved like lightning, like literal lightning. Ebony claws harder than diamond tore at Lily's defenses, and gleaming white fangs drew blood. It bit deep and clamped, wringing a scream of pain from the Dalaraan princess and forcing her to teleport before it crushed her legs in its jaws. The Avatar was 'bleeding' freely now when it reappeared, a constant haze of phosphorescent mist that drifted from the many holes in its glowing hide.

Lily slashed at the wolf madly, not seeking to hit it as much as drive it back. In the momentary respite, she held out her hands and focused her will on the Avatar, and its defenses. Energy flooded out of her and formed a tight bubble around the Avatar, reinforcing the battle aura.

Again the wolf came, too fast to follow. Again, she could not fend off its assaults. That might have been the end of her...but this time her supercharged shield held it off! After holding her guard a bit, Lily returned with another sword thrust, just managing to explode it in the wolf's left flank!

"Gah!" the monster raged. "That shield of yours is strong...but how do you fight without it?!"

"That mouth of yours is loud," Lily replied, "but how will you speak without it?"

She wasn't sure what she meant by that either. It just kind of popped out. Pitched battles for survival were like that.

The wolf came again...this time it didn't attack HER though. It bit down hard on the shield itself, somehow -biting- that glow in the air and wrenching its head violently sideways!

Lily felt herself lurch in reaction, felt something integral to herself stretching away. "No!" She mentally 'grabbed' on to her power, to the shield, and for several heart-stopping seconds, they played a game of metaphysical tug-o-war over the only barrier keeping her alive.

Finally the wolf roared and fell free where it paced and snarled at Lily.

The princess; last daughter of the Emperor and heir to the star-spanning Dalaraan Empire, put a hand to her bleeding side and nodded heavily. "Guess it's time to get serious then..."

The Avatar lunged forward...slower than the wolf, but bolstering itself with the moment-by-moment teleportation techniques Lily had learned. In and out of existence, unpredictably shifting from one angle to another. Archer turned warily, watching her. "It's no good," he warned, "I've seen this now. I know your tricks, 'your Highness.'"

"Not...all...of...them..." came Lily's reply, from different locations. Her teleports were increasing in number and frequency. Already she was nearly impossible to catch...but the phase wolf was grinning. Watching. Smelling...it new an opening would come momentarily. "You can't keep it up forever!"

A sword slash...too fast to avoid. It exploded in his face. Another. Archer roared in defiance and pain. What was this speed?!

"...don't...need...to..."

Her voice echoed weirdly now, seeming to come from five places at once. Suddenly Archer realized that rather than teleporting at random, she was teleporting between five different spots, arranged evenly all around him. She was teleporting incredibly fast too. It almost looked like...

"Final attack, Star of Dalaraan!"

Just for a heartbeat he saw it. There were five of her around him. Not one person jumping fast between five points...but five of her. Somehow she'd teleported fast enough, just for a moment, to exist simultaneously in five spots at once.

Five swords pierced him...there was nowhere to dodge to, and no way to parry attacks coming from that many directions at once. As fast as it came, it was over. One Avatar jumped back.

Leaving one sword inside him still. Perfectly placed alongside the deep wounds made by the other swords...which were of course all just this one.

Then it exploded...and there were none.

In its wake was nothing. The Bladeworks was a ruin of crumbling masonry and scattered implements of death. Of the wolf there was no sign. Light shone between the cracks between bricks, and the dimension trembled and shook as the force creating it evaporated.

Lily found herself back where she'd been, in that bubble. Pain and fatigue set in, and the Avatar broke up around her and faded away. Her wounds were healing, but she looked around to see how the others were doing.

No more lost friends today, she prayed. No more.

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Four of the Fields broke at once, revealing The Triumphant heroes. Hideko, Sakura, Lily and Kai. Save Kai they all looked as though their fights had been brutal and savage affairs, and had pushed them hard to their limits.

Francis was still in danger, and The rules of the fields meant the Lovers, Skye and Kazuo were stuck. "The four of you can't possibly think you'll be a match for me You know. Only two of you have bankai, and without it you're ants beneath a magnifying glass."

Kai smiled. "I'll have to do something about that."

Even those who couldn't feel power or mana emanations couldn't help but feel what happened next. Mana poured from Kai, suffusing all of them, with drastic effects.

"Everyone thinks that a Skeleton Key's power is to open gateways to other worlds, to unlock doors.."

His eyes shown with a brilliant white aura, even as he Entered his own third stage Bankai. "It isn't, A skeleton Key can unlock anything including untapped potential. And in particular, this Includes of course, BANKAI!"

His meaning was clear, and in that instant, Each of them felt their wounds heal, their mana restored, and more than that, the ability to take the final step in the evolution in power.

Nagareboshi spoke to Francis... "Now."

Crimson Blossom spoke to Sakura. "You're ready.."

Skye and Kazuo, "fulfil your full potential"

Hideko felt her nanites shift, and heard the faint whisper "We're ready."

Lily of course didn't feel anything beyond the healing, beyond the warmth of Kai's soul suffusing her as he restored them all, and then a unique symmetry. She could hear his thoughts. "Together, we'll all end this together."

(Okay, have fun with this guys. Francis your bankai will allow you to totally overpower your foe ending that fight cinematically Skye, the combined bankai of Skye and Kazuo will break the field. I'll be getting with you all on what bonuses Bankai gives you.)

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Lily nodded, face grim but eyes bright. She knew it would be their darkest hour, but that was also the moment when light shined most brilliantly. Together she agreed....and then seized her renewed energy and threw it out of herself in a blinding cascade of blue-white power. This was no fight to carefully test and measure. This opponent would not give her a chance to hold back.

"Come on, everyone!" she called. "Like this!"

"Bankai! Avatar of Light!"

The release of spiritual potential washed out like a stiff breeze as the Avatar flowered around Lily. A strange hybrid of Dalaraan talents and the spiritual summons of the Hiroga, it created its improbably oversized sword and hefted it.

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*Well, what do ya know?* Apparently, Kai had more tricks up his sleeve than Francis had considered. Looks like after this he really owed Kai one. Before Albert's shocked gaze, Francis rose, body and armor reforming, and he agreed with Nagareboshi. *Now indeed.*

Albert forced off his signs of dismay and shrugged, the demonic, nasty form crunching with the joints. "Well, props to you, Gold. I'll still win again, Bankai or not."

Francis giggled, as he sensed the power there. "Oh, suuuuure. Bankai..." Crackling energy burst from his armor into an obscuring storm, jolts and volts making Albert flinch back. For long moments, the storm of electric and stranger energies continued, hiding Francis from view.

Then it faded away, showing the agent's transformation. His armor had been transformed into a sleek, elegant, full-body armored suit of a chrome-platinum in color and appearance, without any lines or apparent deviation from the smooth flow of his body.

Even Nagareboshi had apparently obtained a chrome-like plating, gleaming in the light. "...Nagareboshi Ferrus. Sucks to be you, Albert. Sorry about this."

Before a word could pass further - a series of pistol reports sounded, and then the holes in Albert Grimm's head had become noticeable to observers. His mouth parted slightly, before his body fell limply to the ground.

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Sakura looked down at her blade a moment as she felt the expanding potential deep within her that Kai had just unlocked and her blade spoke to her. Her eyes closed for a moment as she spoke the words and invoked the power that had been unlocked, seeing no need to say anything else "Bankai."

And in that instant, she felt a change though herself, her connection to the light opened up and every deed, thought and action that she had ever taken seemed to be weighed and measured, she faced her choices, her thoughts, her desires and those that were pure, that were unselfish and made for others, were magnified.. lesser intentions, discarded as unworthy of the greatest expression of her soul

Stories of angels often had them saying to those they came too 'Fear Not', as Sakura transformed, it was clear why, the form she took was unfettered, frightening as much as it might be comforting.

For a moment, her entire body went incandescent as though she had literally become light, then armor made of what looked like holographic armor, semi-transparent covering the flawless white skin, six wings extended from her back, much like when she manifested any of her powers. She hovered over the air, the wings not moving, her feet not touching the ground. Her armor was embossed with blossoms and feathers, a solid representation of some of the images from when she summoned the power of her blade

In one hand she held a sword made of light that shared some aspects of her armor, and there were letters down the blade, letters that were more then letters, for anyone who saw them could read the words, even if they didn't know how to read, for the words transcended language itself.

Judgement

Circling around her head like a crown was a halo of seven floating orbs, connected by what seemed to be a thread of light, each of them shifting though a kaleidoscope of color, shining with some internal light within them, had a word written upon them, a word that seemed to be a single word spelled out on each of them, it was whole and it was separate. The reflection of the light from the orbs seemed to reach out and touch each of her allies, strengthening each of them as much as they did her.

Mercy

In her left hand there seemed to be a shield of purest light, but it was also part of her aura, adding yet another aspect of light to her makeup, made of holographic light, it covered her right arm, but didn't actually touch it. It too had a word that transcended language written upon it..

Hope

Armed with Justice, crowned with Mercy, shielded by Hope, Sakura opened her eyes, eyes that were now incandescent pools of light, and she spoke with a voice that seemed to be almost as striking a tuning fork. "The Avatar of the Heavens is Awake, come brothers and sisters of the soul, let us finish this."

For everyone else, this affects you, just by her presence, the light shining from bankai grants her allies +25 regeneration to energy and health every round.

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Hideko smiles when she hears her nanomachines speak.

"Bankai."

Suddenly the ground around Hideko Explodes with energy as it envelopes her body. Large disk like devices float around her waist, glowing blue as they crackle with energy. One of her legs is enveloped in a armored device that glows blue. A belt is above the skirt of her out fit and has a large red glowing orb in the center. A similar orb appears on her chest above her breasts. Both of her arms appear to be in arm length gloves made of the same material on her right leg.

A large energy weapon completely covers Hideko's right arm. If anyone had a Geiger counter it would be going off at this moment.

"Ozu Hideko. Divine Flame Mode."

Tada
sample-a3c1673b17738e62ad2abe94aecba99e.jpg

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The demon lord smiled. "Fantastic, now I can fight without my own restraints." He rose from his throne drawing his sword. "Come at me then, whoever among you thinks themselves strong enough."

He looked up. "You may wish to hurry though, there's less than five percent of the core to go." He settled into a defensive stance, obviously he was going to play for time.

(OOC as opposed to taking a month to get inits posted, we're just going to go in the order you posted previously Lily, Francis, Sakura, Hideko, then Skye. Kai will go last. Lily is up first. Roll your attacks, I will reply after each PC post with the results.)

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Instinctively Lily knew this wasn't one to waste time testing the strength of. Trying that would end with her dead.

She gave Skye a glance, realizing that...if this demon's confidence after seeing what they'd done so far was justified...they had one last trump card left. Skye had Kazuo now though...would it still be possible?

With one hand she reached out to brush the sides of the Avatar's protective bubble around her. Not for the first time, Lily wondered about this thing, this projection. It had come so instinctively...did it reflect some inner self-image? Was it based on her mother in some way? The power seemed like an evolution of her 'ordinary' Dalaraan abilities, but what it meant that she had it, that it took this form, still eluded her.

She hoped she'd have a chance to find out.

The Avatar's lines flared with energy as Lily poured strength into it and its aura, bolstering its defenses to the point of near-invulnerability. It skipped randomly through space, crossing to the demon lord, then away, then back...and with savagely fast movements for a thing of its bulk, the Avatar of Light struck with its giant sword of actinic blue flame; asking no quarter and giving none in return!

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 2+6+25: 33

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 3+5+25: 33

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 1+4+25: 30

[salmonMax] 5:07 pm: Smee.

[salmonMax] 5:07 pm: Someone put their stamp on that?

[Jeremy] 5:07 pm: har

[Kamiko] 5:07 pm: yah

459 damage per hit, ignores 12 armor.

250ep spent

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Max unless you spent a ton of ep that turn, Lily should have full EP.

The Demon lord smiled, even as Lily's attacks drew blood, not nearly as deeply as she was accustomed to, but at the same time some damage did get through. Not wanting to chase her, and more than aware seemingly of her Avatar's special defense, A trio of large spikes appeared before him and shot out towards Lily, each of them over four feet long.

Spikes doe 300 damage each require a ranged defense check of 30, 29, and 27 to dodge. Francis is up next.

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This is where, Francis concurred, the big guns went all out. Raising the chromed Nagareboshi, he pointed her at the demon lord and a fiery glow started to build up from the Zanpakuto. "Comet Storm."

What followed was an inferno's worth of blasts, a sheer relentless storm of fiery fury. Surely the demon lord would be hard pressed to defend against those.

OOC
Activating Guard and Comet Storm for all 4 attacks:

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 5+5+19: 29

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 2+4+19: 25

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 4+6+19: 29

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 2+3+19: 24

Autofire, 500 per hit, and each excess increment of 3 on a successful attack means another hit.

HP: 900/900

EP: 680/880

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Two of the shots hit home amidst the massive number fired at him, and the Demon chuckled. "So this is all the power within you Francis? I'd figured being the last person from your reality would make you special, how, disappointing."

Two bright red energy spheres formed at the tips of his hands and he launched them towards Francis, intent to take out The Dimensional refugee, almost as a half hearted effort.

DC 25 and 27 to dodge, damage is 250 each Sakura is now up.

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Hideko points her arm cannon at the demon lord's head, the device opening up. holographic images saying CAUTION! With the nuclear hazard sign appearing on the sides of it. What can best be described as a miniature star is forming at the tip of the cannon.

“Take This!”

The star is fired off and explodes in a torrent of light and fire as it hits the demon lord

rolls
Abyss Phantasia *rolls* 2d6: 4+6+21: 31

[Abyss Phantasia] 11:39 pm: WOOT!

[Kamiko] 11:39 pm:

[Long6] 11:40 pm: ok

700 damage laser shot range 3 cost 30 ep per use

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The happy reunion was cut violently short. Skye gave Kazuo one more quick kiss—she almost called it ‘one last’ kiss in her mind before cutting that thought short. There’d be time for many, many, many more kisses, among other things, between them. She spun away and pulled her fans out of her sleeves, her fingers finding the proper grips on them instinctively. They opened with a roar of wind, sending hair and clothing snapping in the breeze.

Kazuo and I defeated them once—more than once. We can do it again. Those hopeful thoughts rang in her mind, keeping her buoyant in mind and spirit even though she was prepared to risk her life again. As she faced the demon, she released the Wrath of the Western Wind in two blasts of freezing air. With those done, she set up her defenses, hiding behind the protection of the other fan.

[Carver] 10:26 am: Two Attacks:

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+2+16: 23

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 6+1+16: 23

[Carver] 10:26 am: Six Defenses:

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+1+17: 23

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 6+6+17: 29

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+5+17: 27

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 6+4+17: 27

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+5+17: 27

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 4+5+17: 26

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Sakura looked upon the Demon Lord and without a word, she struck, her form a blur for those unable to follow her speed, once, twice, trice, and the final fourth blow, each time with blinding speed as the blade that was Judgement moved with terrible force and speed, but despite it all, she was only testing her foe and testing her new strength and power, using her most basic off attacks and not even at the full strength she knew she was capable of.

[Krul] 2:07 pm: need a witness to rolls

[Asarasa] 2:07 pm: Sure

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 1+4+20: 25 - Attack 1

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 3+3+20: 26 - Attack 2

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 1+5+20: 26 - Attack 3

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 5+2+20: 27 - Attack 4

[Krul] 2:09 pm: now, defenses

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 4+6+20: 30 - Defense 1

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 6+6+20: 32 - Defense 2

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+20: 23 - Defense 3

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 6+4+20: 30 - Defense 4

[Krul] 2:10 pm: done

[Asarasa] 2:10 pm: Witnessed

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In rapid succession, The three girl's attacks hit home, Though he almost avoided Skye's Still it partially froze him, enough that he couldn't evade Sakura's blows. He teleported away, only to be met with another massive attack from Kazuo, who'd formed his wings into their cannon mode. Kai sent a low level Kido spell at him, seeming content to hang back.

At each of them he sent a swarm of needles, each over a foot long. Only Hideko and Skye were actuallly unable to dodge, as the rest were evaded or parried. Curiously, no wound appeared on them, and Kai grunted, as he did begin to bleed, where they would have been hit.

He looked at them and chuckled. Despite all the damage they'd dealt, they could see his wounds closing, and a smile on his face. 'You do all have some power, I'll say that much." His eyes flashed, and they could feel a massive pull of energy towards him, from the very world itself. the encroachment grew on the heart of the world, Time was growing short.

Everyone needs to roll soul at dc 12, or lose 50 energy points. Lily is up, you may include this roll with your posts in order, and please roll your defenses as well when posting;

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Lily frowned, and concentrated on the Avatar construct. It was designed almost solely by her ability to control and direct her power...stealing it away wouldn't be that easy. Even so, she suspected he was still toying with them. It was time to stop pussyfooting around.

Without so much as a rejoinder, she whipped through space and time, attacking him from every direction with less time between strikes to bat a lash!

He seemed taken off-guard for a moment by the speed and intensity of the attack, but he finally blocked a blow, and used that tiny opening to surge forward, counterattacking without mercy or quarter! He seemed to notice only a moment too late that the blades she'd stabbed him with, that still stuck out of him, were about to explode!

Soul check: 12

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+9: 12

Attacks

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 3+6+25: 34

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 5+4+25: 34

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 5+3+25: 33

Defenses

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 4+3+25: 32

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 3+5+25: 33

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+25: 28

Divine relationship to reroll last.

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 4+3+25: 32

Energy spent:

Flash steps: 50

Guard: 80

3 Detonations: 30

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his own Savage counterattacks moved with astonishing speed, failing to hit her twice, but the third flurry was a shockingly fast double blow with his sword, were it not for her heavily fortified defenses, she would have been greviously injured (400 damage x2 due to autofire) What was more, he seemed to spin at a rapid speed, so much so that the explosive blades were thrown clear of him to explode on the ground in spectacular fashion, near her compatriots. "I've seen that trick, and know better to let them remain Princess, or to touch them."

Francis is up

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Francis evading the first ball and the second impacted harmlessly against the forces his suit projected. "Sorry, I didn't hear you over the sound of your failure." Comet Storms continued to be fired back.

OOC
Soul roll: Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 1+6+6: 13

Defense Rolls: Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 6+6+20: 32

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 3+3+20: 26

Second attack hits, Guard cuts it down to 62.5, soaked by Armor.

Guard active again.

Comet Storm x4 attacks:

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 6+2+19: 27

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 3+1+19: 23

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+19: 22

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 4+5+19: 28

500 per hit, and Autofire makes increments of 3 add more hits.

HP: 900/900

EP: 505/880

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He sent another trio of spines towards Francis Even as the blasts hit him. They were hitting hard, but he really didn't seem to be going down or weakening much with each series of attacks.

He was getting hurt while they weren't but it just didn't seem to have the effect they all thought it should.

2 defenses DC 27, 29 300 damage Sakura is up.

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Oh how she is gonna love to burn that smirk off this asshole's face she said as she takes aim. Another miniture star forming at the end of her arm cannon. "Ah blow it out of your ass, you cheap Kefka knock off!" She said blasting him again with her cannon

[

rolls
[Abyss Phantasia]

for Soul

1:22 am: another roll

Abyss Phantasia *rolls* 2d6: 2+5+6: 13

[Abyss Phantasia] 1:22 am: witnessed?

[Moira Morley] 1:22 am: less than the other roll

[Abyss Phantasia] 1:23 am: this was for something else

rolls

for attack

Abyss Phantasia *rolls* 2d6: 3+4+21: 28

[Abyss Phantasia] 1:08 am: you guys saw right?

[Mike] 1:08 am: Yep. Screenshot it if you gotta

[Moira Morley] 1:09 am: copy aste actually

[Moira Morley] 1:09 am: paste

[Moira Morley] 1:09 am: ive seen it done

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The heavy fusion canon blast once again hit him, and he sent dozens of needles at her again, only to have them hit but do no damage to her, only to see Kai falter, blood flowing from his side now, where he would have been hit. He grunted and continued on, focusing on defense.

(Skye/ Sakura is up you have 72 hours)

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This time she decided to get more serious, lifting the blade called judgement and drawing on inner passion and zeal she struck at the foe five times, each one in swift succession to the previous attack, her sword blazing with energy on each strike, though not quite her best, still quite good, and the energy blazing from her soul enhancing the force of each blow that managed to actually strike her foe.

Total Energy = 720 || Zeal to add an extra attack 40 energy & Passion to all 5 attacks, 35 x 5 = 175 energy = Total Energy spent = 215 || 720 - 215 = 505 || Damage doubled on any successful strike

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 4+1+20: 25

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 1+6+20: 27

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 3+4+20: 27

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 4+4+20: 28

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 4+3+20: 27

Damage: 484 x 2 = 968 damage on any attack that hits.

Defenses, if necessary

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 4+4+20: 28

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 2+1+20: 23

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+20: 23

Krul *rolls* 2d6: 1+3+20: 24

Witnessed: [Kamiko] 10:14 am: Krul: I'm Kamiko, and I approve those rolls.

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Skye felt elated. Kazuo was here with her; the long years of searching and pain seemed behind her. Even if she died here and now, she’d be happy. Nothing could shatter her mood, not even a fight. She advanced to a good position for the fight and began to pray.

“Tsunami,” she whispered, and felt the answering touch of her goddess. Blue light lanced through the air as Skye straightened and drew herself up taller. “My goddess, I call upon your darkest power! Lend me the Strike of your DARK FACE!

The moment that prayer was done, she began another: “Tsunami! My mistress and goddess, hear my plea! As your power fills with light, so fill me with HOLY FIRE!

Power from Tsunami filled her and Skye almost shook with its divine glory. Grinning from the euphoria of love and godly connection, she flicked her fan in a tight arc. “Northern Wind!” she howled as the cold, ice and wind exploded from the end of the weapon. Without hesitation, she did it again, though Tsunami’s gifts had been expended.

Strike of the Dark Face (Last resort) - Body stat +5 for determining movement; double damage; attack will not miss; avoid one attack [80 EP]

Fire of the Gibbous (Passion) - double damage on one attack [35 EP]

Attack 1: Last Resort – hit

Attack 2: Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+1+16: 22

Divine Relationship -- Carver *rolls* 2d6: 5+3+16: 24

6 Defenses:

One auto success from Last Resort

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 1+3+17: 21

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+17: 20

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 1+5+17: 23

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 6+1+17: 24

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 4+2+17: 23

Carver *rolls* 2d6: 2+3+17: 22

115 EP spent | 0 Damage

1 Divine Relationship spent

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It was impressive, seeing Two of sakura's strikes hit home, tearing huge holes in the demon lord, who snarled wordlessly, Attacking her savagely, only to find his attacks found no purchase, seemingly, they hit sure enough, but no damage hit her.

She danced away on brilliant wings, just in time too, as Skyes impassioned pleas were answered, A Frozen gale howled in, with a coldness only the emptiness of space could manage. He was locked fast in a great block of translucent black ice, his eyes blazing red from within, It wouldn't hold him long, and did forstall any outward attacks. Still above their heads the taint at the heart encroached further, less than 2 percent remained, and with a groan, Kai's Bankai shattered, and he pitched forward onto his face, bleeding from dozens of wounds now, each hit that would have harmed them, he took unto himself.

From the black ice, they heard. "Your defender is gone, and when I free myself I will bring you all low, only to let you live long enough to see the depths of your failure, as I become the soul of this world."

(Lily is up)

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Lily was only vaguely aware of the fight that was raging around her. Seeing this foe brush aside her exploding swords had shaken her. That trick was the cornerstone for most of her combat techniques, including the Star of Dalaraan. Oh, her attacks in Avatar form were still dangerous…but clearly not very dangerous. And the clock was ticking.

More blasts from her friends hit home, and Skye and Kazuo whooshed past overhead fast enough that the wind of their passage whipped dust up to the glowing blue ankles of the Avatar.

They were hurting him, she saw…but she also saw his strategy. He didn’t have to beat them. He wasn’t really trying to. He was playing defense, limiting the damage they did, until the last bastion of the world fell, at which point any resistance would be futile. They’d be fighting the entire plane of Aradia with no way out and no hope of victory.

And she didn’t know what to do to stop him. There was no time to regroup, or recalculate. None of them had a means of incapacitating something like that, except by means of brute force. The path of destruction was the only way forward…and he was ready for it. It was playing right into his hands.

She looked over at Kai, not daring to go to him for fear she’d attract attacks to him. He’d been protecting them, taking terrible hurts to spare them the same. Now, for all the power of the Avatar, she couldn’t help him. Couldn’t save him.

Raw red anger pulsed in her temples. They’d come here while trying to investigate this universe-destroying thing. The thing Tsunami had hinted might be ‘Order’ itself. This wasn’t coincidence, she realized. Events had been manipulated. They’d been set up. Sent here to die.

There was one last arrow in her quiver though. One final cry against oblivion. If this demon lord had anticipated it, if he was ready for it, then…then she didn’t know what.

She had drawn this sword before once in defense of her empire, risking all to protect her birthright, her people, her duty. Could she do any less now, with an entire world at stake? And countless more besides…

"Fragment of the Lord of Nightmares,"

The black ice that Skye had trapped the demon in exploded outward in a rain of fragments!

"Sword of Cold and Darkness, free yourself from the heaven´s bonds,"

The encroaching corruption far above seeped ever closer to completely wiping out all that was left of the world’s resistance.

"Become one with my power, one with my body

And let us walk the path of destruction together!

Power that can smash even the souls of Gods,"

In her mind’s eye, Lily saw an endless sea of inchoate golden light…formlessness; the ultimate expression of Entropy. Infinite in potential, yet nothing without limits to give it shape. The crucible that universes were forged in.

"RAGNA BLADE!!"

In her hand, the absence of light swirled and became tangible. A bar of utter darkness that ‘glowed’ with unlight and annihilated all that it touched formed as her bright blue blade dissipated. The energy of the Avatar’s hand shredded on contact with the nightmare sword, but Lily sent more power to replace it. She wouldn’t be able to maintain it long, but then…they didn’t have long to go regardless.

The demon’s eyes narrowed, and he swung his gaze around to glare at Lily, but she was already moving with all the hideous speed she could muster. She appeared behind it and slashed the Ragna Blade…but the demon’s speed equaled, maybe even exceeded, her own. It threw itself sideways, and what would have been a decapitating blow instead only connected with its shoulder…slicing down away from its neck towards its arm.

The wound of the black sword of disaster did not bleed, nor was it cauterized. Rather it simply consumed what it touched, leaving the demon lord with a generous portion of its shoulder simply…missing, as if it had never been.

He reacted instantly; rolling down and towards Lily, letting her second stroke sweep through the place he’d been an instant earlier and coming back up inside her guard. At the same time, he GREW…mushrooming up and out until he stood slightly taller than the Avatar itself, and a quite a bit heavier. In the process he shed a great deal of his formerly humanoid seeming…becoming a towering beast of darkness and flames; not simply a demon lord, but THE demon lord. The sovereign of the host of evil.

He grabbed the Avatar’s sword wrist in his left hand, and his talons pierced into the energy of it, pinning it against the cavern wall and sending jagged red feedback scorching through the construct so that Lily could feel its pains herself.

FOOL! it raged at her as it grabbed her other shoulder and held on…pinning her arms quite thoroughly. YOU WOULD DESTROY EVERYTHING! It hoisted the Avatar up and slammed it down against the ground, shaking the cavern slightly and sending a shock wave of wind and dust and debris rocketing outward from the impact point. Without missing a beat the demon wrenched the Avatar back up and spun around to slam her backwards against a wall…shattering a good deal of it and sending plumes of dust rocketing out to either side.

It held the Avatar captive there against the wall, grinning wickedly as she tried to teleport away, but couldn’t. The claws stuck in her sword wrist sent some kind of interfering counter-energy through it.

DROP THE SWORD, it commanded, pressing those talons in farther. DROP IT AND I WILL SPARE YOUR PLANET, THE ONES YOU LOVE. DROP IT AND THE WAR ENDS. THE PAIN ENDS.

Lily screamed in rage, and despair, and in agony, as the Master of Bazaroth pressed farther in, and the Avatar’s lines began to flicker and soften. Between the pain, and the constant drain of holding Ragna Blade, she was losing it and its protection.

”Northern Wind!”

A torrent of wind, bearing thousands of razor-sharp slivers of ice frozen to near absolute-zero, roared across the demon lord’s midsection, dousing the flames there and encasing where it touched in frost and ichor.

A wave of plasma blasts struck home, etching holes in its flesh across its back. Hideko grinned to herself and kept up the fire as she ran sideways, presenting as little target as possible.

Sakura streamed in, slashing it with her holy sword and leaving wide trenches in his flesh that streamed white fire.

Francis let his gun do his talking, firing a withering barrage and finishing with a Comet Bullet that struck with earth-shattering force.

In this larger form though, the Demon Lord’s already legendary resilience seemed to be enhanced. Though they were wounding him, it wasn’t enough to stop him, and the injuries, save only those caused by Sakura’s heavenly blade, were beginning to close again.

And still he held Lily’s Avatar, trying apparently to physically destroy its right arm, so it couldn’t hold onto the Ragna Blade any longer.

“It’s no good!” Hideko called into her comm, “What do we do?”

Francis grimaced and clicked a control on his HUD, switching from the electronic target designator to the more primitive optical laser. A red pinpoint appeared on the demon, and slid up to the point where Lily had injured him.

“Hit the shoulder,” he replied. “Hit it with everything you have!”

Hideko nodded and charged her fusion cannon. Light gathered around its business end, and crackled as she cried out, “Grand Lightning! BREAKER!”

She was joined in her assault by Francis, who triggered his teleporter to attack from another direction and shouted, “COMET BULLET” as he fired shot after shot of bullets altered by his own power, each one striking with the force of a tank or artillery piece.

Skye and Kazuo looked at each other as they circled above, and linked hands. They dove in tandem, spinning faster and faster, with Skye holding out her bladed fan, and Kazuo spreading his razor wings. They became a living drill bit; a meteor of raw destruction that plummeted to, and then through, the Lord of Demons’ left shoulder just as the bullets and white-hot plasma ejecta hit home. The combined attack created an explosion of fire and flesh, and nearly severed that arm entirely. The Avatar renewed its struggle, but the demon was still healing too fast. Muscles speared out, tendons groped and fastened…

“Light beyond the reaches of Eternity, Golden Fire at the End of Night, Dragon of Heaven's Light.. Fury of Heaven's Fire! Heavenly Dragon Strike!!”

A white light speared out…Sakura, slashing through its still fragile, still vulnerable body. Bone splintered. Muscle tore…

The arm of the First Demon fell to the ground.

It twisted around, skull-like face slack and tusked mouth gaping open. A wave of malice so pure that it was tangible, like a sudden increase in gravity, fell over them. In that open mouth a fire surged…a fire that burned with the hate of a billion worlds over years that no word was sufficient to describe. Fire that would burn stars down to their cores, and consume the very black hole at the center.

And then it sprouted a horn from the center of its forehead. A horn made of some strange blackness that light fell into.

For a moment, this being, this paragon of all demonkind, wrestled with the power of the Lord of Nightmares. It pitted a strength vast enough to swallow worlds, as it was doing now to Aradia, and an unholy vitality that would let it regrow from even a single cell if need be, against the tiny grain of sand’s worth of the power of entropy that Lily’s spell had captured and forced into the shape of a sword.

Black unlight began to spread from the wound in its forehead. It had enough time to choke, “…no....” An inarticulate, oddly petulant negation…and then its head was gone, and the black fire was spreading down its body, erasing that body as it went.

Then it was gone, and the First Demon with it, leaving not even scorched footprints, or dust to mark its former existence.

The Avatar shattered as Lily exploded out of it like a cannonball, too drained and upset to wait for it to dematerialize, or to teleport. She zoomed to Kai’s side and sank to her knees, distraught.

“The manaburn,” she moaned, gathering his unconscious body up and hugging him to herself. “The manaburn! Kai…what have I done?”

So what just happened?

Okay, it's like this. Ragna Blade has this 'vorpal' chance that is very unlikely to happen, but works on pretty much anything if it does. For all the years of the game, for all the times I've used the spell, it's never come up.

Until now.

So...there's more coming, this isn't the end, but more than that I wanted to show that even though Lily got the last blow, this has been a team effort...it was through all of our efforts that she ever got the chance to get that blow. In most fights, that plays itself out just fine. In this one, due to a drop of snake eyes on Long's part, it didn't.

So when I wrote up the post, I decided I would do what the dice did not, and add some drama in. In particular, I wanted to make it absolutely clear that this was not The Lily Show, and that none of this would have happened if we hadn't all contributed. This meant I wanted to include actions from everyone in this fight-ending post.

I had the option of either writing it myself, trying to give everyone the respect and glory they deserve, or of writing it up until the part y'all come in, and leaving it up to you what you do. The reason I did not do that is simply because we'd be waiting days at least for that to happen...and demanding a lot of work from everyone and a lot of waiting from everyone who posted quickly...to resolve a fight that was already technically over. From the moment those snake eyes came up, the fight was done. As much as it felt unfair to post your actions, it also felt unfair to make you jump through hoops.

I hope what I did was okay, and that I did your characters justice. If you want to ask me to edit this, to alter your actions to something else, please let me know and I will do so immediately, no questions asked.

Thanks.

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Francis took a breath, panted with relief. Wow, hot damn. They had won. Then Lily's anguished cry snapped him over to Kai's limp form. Crap. "Don't.... don't tell me he's dead!?" Lily looked back at him with tearful eyes. "No, but with that manaburn, he probably wishes he was. We don't have any more flowers..." her voice trailed into a whisper.

Francis still wasn't entirely up on the matters of magic and arcane intricacies... but it sounded like spells and sorcery wouldn't help him. Then it hit Francis, and with intelligence trained and honed over long years, the scientist part of him realized the trick to this.

"The trick's pretty clear then." He announced with a sudden certainly. The others looked at him blankly, and Francis stifled a snort. "Gimme a moment." The suit was going to take this hard, but he calculated the loss of functionality to be only temporary. And Nagareboshi was right, it was only just a tool.

The silvered armor of his Bankai started to split apart by rifts of energy, the techo-spiritual combination being emphasized on the technological part as Francis started inputting advanced commands. "Divert all power to Medical and Repair Nanites, 500% priority maximum healing and pain modulation." The silver armor whorled with the sudden appearance of the standard armor, twisting as a gray cloud seemed emerge from it...

The system was being overloaded, but Francis stepped in and dropped his hands to Kai's body. The suit crackled, spat out the massive gray cloud around Kai as the nanites went to hyper-active work, and everything went dark around Francis. The armor-suit was silent at last.

He groaned and dropped to a sitting position on the ground... but he was right. In seconds the nanites had percolated off Kai, who was looking like he'd never had a scratch in his life, and the last of the Amaha opened his eyes.

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Sakura's first concern was also Kai, but when Francis took care of that matter she turned her attention to the ravaged and tainted world of Aradia, her home, her people, and she thought the spirit of Aradia was dying, the living world, ravaged by demons, many of the beings of Aradia, Asrai, Faeries, Ascended beasts lay dead or dying, and taint ravaged the world.. now that she has her powers unlocked by Kai, Sakura could see another way, a way to restore her people, her world to it's former beauty and glory, a very terrible personal cost, but in her eyes the sacrifice was worth it.

"Take care of my cousin Lily, and fair thee well my friends, light be with you, you have my love.. forever." With that she reached out with new powers and merged her spirit with that the Living World, the sentient planet was dying, but then the light of her life and energy flowed into it like a tidal wave, as her Bankai form exploded in a blaze of light and glory such that none could look at her.

From that nexus point, a wave of restoring energy flowed, the world itself exorcised of taint, healed of damage as Sakura spent all of her life and energy, a wave of green exploded from her location, trees and plants restored, a glowing whirl of white and gold appearing above and the dying people of the world rising to find their wounds healed and restored..

Aradia, you have my love, my friends, you have it as well, this sacrifice is worth it, let the living heaven be made whole once more by my life and love. Mother, Father, Cousin, I love you...

Everyone on the planet heard those words, and from the world, there was a wordless affirmation and return of that love, then Kai cried out, though his words were barely more then a whisper that only those closest to him could hear.

"No! Sakura! I can't let you die, you are all the family I have left." As Kai reached out with the last dregs of his own power to merge his with hers and to keep her alive, and for a moment he two vanished into energy with her, even that would not have been enough, save that the restored world lent it's own spirit and energy to the power of the Skeleton Key and unlocked the mystery of life and death..

Unknown to Kai, this was part of the way that a child was born to Asrai, and though he was human, limitless potential was unlocked in being a Skeleton Key, a single egg was engendered, born of love, sacrifice, spirit and power, the first child of Asrai to be born after the invasion and fell into the whirl, to wash ashore in the seas of Asrai... but, both of them were human as well, and though the joining was not sexual, it was enough, the merging also engendered a second child within Sakura.

Then Aradia itself reached out and tamed the energies that were unleashed, restoring both of them to flesh and blood, with the combined power of the world and the Skeleton Key, nearly limitless for the moment.

IN the next moment, Sakura stood in the clearing naked beside Kai, for only spirit and flesh had been restored, though both had their weapons, for they two were spirit, and a look of amazement on her face, she had given up all, and gained back much more then she had expected. Then her hand touched her stomach a moment, for she knew what happened, even if Kai did not, two children, one born of her in the human manner and one born in the manner of the Asrai..

As she looked up, it was to see several of the Asrai approaching, tears falling from their eyes for the wave of love and sacrifice still rebounded though the spirit of the world, and they knew what she had done. Then her father himself landed next to her, to put a robe around her to cover her and to give another to allow Kai to cover himself.

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“I hate to break up the naked love-fest or derail exciting emotional breakdowns.” Skye’s voice cut through the assembled crowd and despite her words, she was holding hands with Kazuo and looking very satisfied with herself. “But before we get too caught up in all of this, we need to remember why we’re here. We’ve only done the first bit of what we came to achieve. We kicked demon ass but not worked out the issue with the collapse.”

When she was done, she put a hand on Lily’s shoulder, a gesture meant to comfort. Had Kazuo disappeared in a blaze of light with a pink-haired angel, Skye would have been pretty put out, too. But now was so not the time.

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Skye's intervention was exceedingly well-timed, as Lily had just been recovering from her horrified shock when Kai had disappeared. Things had moved very fast. First Francis healed him somehow, then he vanished, then reappeared naked with an equally naked Sakura.

An explanation would have to be given, but Skye's voice punched down to the stubborn pragmatism that was the bedrock underneath her psyche. Business first.

She looked around, realizing for the first time what Kai and Sakura had managed to accomplish between them. The corruption, on the brink of success, had been banished. Green and life were returning to the world as they watched.

It was a victory, but not the one they needed. Worlds were still drying up and vanishing. All this could still pop like a soap bubble.

"The Council," Lily said, her words a little heavy, a little wooden. She looked up at the heart of the world, where the last ramparts against the demonic stain had been holding. "We need to talk to the elder Asrai."

She looked around, selecting the biggest, tallest, brightest-glowing angel she could see among the reborn Host, and gestured for Skye to follow as she ran over to him.

"Excuse me, hello?" Lily greeted the angel. "My friends and I need an audience with the Angelic Council. Who do we need to talk to to make that happen? Relatively quickly, I mean."

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