2014-04-08 - The Demon Larva of Sapporo

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Title: The Demon Larva of Sapporo

The trip to Hokkaido, so full of being crammed in smallish spaces with many other people and so fraught with danger and strife and drama, wears thin. Tuxedo Mask is in Sapporo, getting some alone-on-a-rooftop introvert rejuvenation time, when the Leafe Knight of Wind nearly pulls a Mami Tomoe on him! But there are things out there in the night that are much worse than Mamoru had imagined~~


Tuxedo Kamen, Knight of Wind



OOC - IC Date:

4/08/14 - 26/27 December 2014


It's a crystal clear night, frigid and expansive. This far north, it seems almost as though the end of the land is the ends of the Earth, not just of the earth before the icy sea. The depthless, star-studded sky ends at the mountains to either side of the city, and seems to actually close with the ocean at western horizon.

The moon is very bright.

Over the snow-covered streets and the people below, trickling home from parties or dates or late work and laughing as their breath clouds the still and silent air, a man stands and watches.

Jaunty top-hat, billowing silk cape, dapper cane upon which he leans thoughtfully, brilliant white gloves and shimmering white mask, and-- well, it's not technically a tuxedo, which means this is probably the real Tuxedo Kamen, unlike any of the other impostors! Not that many people even know there's a 'real one' or even any at all, but.

His stillness could certainly hold as many brooding thoughts as any black-clad cape-wearing roof-lurker's would, but actually only hides the preoccupation of a man torn between a super inexplicable crush and the nightly request of a dream princess that stands in the way.

Some people have normal problems.

Some people have normal problems, but people who have normal problems don't hang out on rooftops - not at this late hour, at least, not in the cold of winter.

Hayate does not have normal problems.

He's not even sure there's any particular purpose in keeping watch over Sapporo like this, or if Fenrir's influence can reach this far afield. He hopes not. If her reach has gotten this long this quickly, things are much worse than he'd thought. The sky is clear tonight, but Hayate is watching for snow.

Or he was, until he found his high and solitary vantage point invaded by an interloper in a mask and incongruous formal wear.

The wind picks up, a chill gust over the rooftops, and with barely a sound the Knight of Wind touches down light as a feather on the other end of the rooftop that Tuxedo Mask has chosen to brood upon.

"What are you doing out here?" It's not *quite* a challenge, but it edges close to one, clipped and wary in tone. He doesn't look like anything touched by Fenrir's power... but there's something in the air tonight, a sense in the winter wind that has Hayate feeling uneasy. Better not to take chances.

The masked man doesn't stir for a second. If whoever just landed is asking questions, he's not going to be also attacking, probably, so Tuxedo Kamen can turn around casually instead of the whole fighting stance thing that got him in trouble with Mami. "People keep asking me things like that," he says, a wearily dry amusement behind his voice. "Sorry if this is your city, I don't mean to intrude."

He glances down at the street again, then reaches up to lift the brim of his hat in the barest semblance of a polite greeting as he looks back to Hayate, accompanying it with the slightest of bows. "In answer: I'm thinking, and I'm waiting for the shoe to drop."

Hayate doesn't have a hat to tip, nor does he answer Tuxedo Mask's bow in kind... but his breath does escape him in a little "heh," a wry chuff of an almost-laugh, and a little of the edge comes off his caution. For an answer, that wasn't a bad one.

He regards the masked man carefully for a little longer, until - sure now that whoever he is, he's not the source of the uneasy feeling in the wind - at last Hayate looks away out over the city, and hitches his shoulders in a brief little shrug. "It's not my city," he replies, dismissing the apology.

SUDDENLY: One of the snow drifts, piled up along the wall of the boarding school upon which the two stand, starts to... wiggle? No, wriggle. Is it an abominable snowman? Was there a robot inside, waiting to cause trouble, like they did when they were trying to get to the train?


...the /entire snowpile/ starts crawling up the side of the building, making horrible suck-popping sounds as it propels itself onto the roof. Slowly but steadily, it drags itself towards the chimney... and, presumably, the sleeping children below.

That's because it isn't snow at all, but a mound of snow white lichen. And the malice of Fenrir pours off of it like a purple haze, as it makes its way towards its goal...

"Then what are you doing up here?" the masked gentleman asks, eyebrows going up as he straightens again, finally turning away from the street fully. Of course his cape billows in the cold wind again, even as he lifts his cane and disappears it into its folds. Brows furrow. Tuxedo Kamen's mouth shuts, lips a thin line. "Actually. You might know this. There's this girl--"

And then, thank god, there's a monster.

Turning to look down at the sudden horrible sounds, the sharp-dressed 'thief in a tuxedo' gapes for a second. "Never mind. Business," he says, almost like it's a relief, and leaps off the roof. "For pretending to be a pile of delightful snow in which children play with innocent laughter," he stage-whispers imperiously as he lands on a fire escape opposite, "I cannot forgive you! Whatever you are. I, Tuxedo Kamen, am your opponent! So chase me right now or we might wake up the kids!"

"Tch!" A sharp, inarticulate sound hisses out of Hayate, half alarm and half anger at himself for dropping his guard enough not to have noticed it sooner, before the demon larva became the raw wound that it is now. The conversation of a moment ago is instantly forgotten; he immediately takes flight, launching from the rooftop and flashing across the open space in a rush of wind towards the crawling menace.

"Don't screw around!" Hayate snaps in Tuxedo Mask's direction, just barely managing to restrain his voice. "If it's already rooted--" No, he can't waste time thinking about that. Breaking off mid-sentence, he slashes two fingers in the creature's direction, carving a flying blade of wind into the air.

COMBAT: Hayate has used Razor Wind Slash on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Hayate has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly braces Hayate's Razor Wind Slash, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Hayate is Psyched! Honoka Yukishiro's Block ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Parry ability activates!

The blade tears along the rooftop and into the pile of apparently moderately sentient, very malicious white mold. It disappears within, and while droplets of larvae spray everywhere, the main mass seems to have consumed the blade without excessive harm done.

It shakes itself like a wet dog, only about forty or fifty times as smelly, and explodes around Tuxedo Mask, trying to consume him whole! Apparently it isn't that interested in speechmaking. The Leafe Knight's power, on the other hand, it recognizes, and shrinks away from, leaving a noxious cloud in its wake, hoping to ward him off.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Devour on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Spores on Hayate.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask perfectly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Devour, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Dodge! Tuxedo Mask's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Hayate perfectly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Spores, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Dodge! Hayate's Fade ability activates! Hayate's Flash ability activates!

"Who's screwing around?" Tuxedo Mask asks irritably, just under conversational volume, as Hayate whips a hand around and throws air knives. "I take it octopus-noise mold monsters are one of your specialties."

This last as the monster's closing in on him-- except, abruptly, the caped and chapeau'd mystery man is airborne, directly above the exploding glom of the demon larva and landing lightly on the opposing fire escape's railing. There's a brief flicker of his white-gloved hand in the darkness, and he flings his arm out toward the thing-- some kind of bright red projectile, trailing a crackle of red light. 'Some kind of'. It's a rose, stem-first.

"Any particular weak spots?" the masked man calls (still quietly), all joking and irritation cast aside.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Rose Dart on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly dodges Tuxedo Mask's Rose Dart, taking 19 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!

A swift change in the path of Hayate's flight carries him clear of the cloud of spores before it can touch him; he swings around in midair, keeping it in view, and grits his teeth at his impromptu comrade-in-arms' question. "It's a demon larva," he answers grimly, lashing out at it with another blade of wind from his fingertips. "A seed of disaster. And no."

None that either of them are equipped to find, anyway. If a Pretear-- but he cuts that line of thought short almost on reflex. It can't go anywhere good.

COMBAT: Hayate has used Razor Wind Slash on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Hayate has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to counter Hayate's Razor Wind Slash, taking 18 Fatigue damage! Hayate is Psyched!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, Spores, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hayate!

Having failed to catch Hayate in its spore cloud the first time, it tries to make the air so heavy with more of them, spreading ever wider without losing any density, that his air blades cannot penetrate.

This fails rather badly; it isn't wise to challenge the Leafe Knight of Wind within his own element. Given that, the larvae picks itself up off the roof, resolving from a spreading carpet into a more mobile blob, one with many tiny, cilia-like appendages to help it move about, and charges. It narrowly ducks under Tuxedo Mask's rose on its way across the rooftop, and tries to slam him into Hayate, for good measure.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Molderblock on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Tuxedo Mask'd on Hayate.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask fails to counter Honoka Yukishiro's Molderblock, taking 23 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask's counterattack, Copyright Violation, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Honoka Yukishiro!
COMBAT: Hayate narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Tuxedo Mask'd, taking 26 Fatigue damage! Hayate's Fade ability activates! Hayate's Flash ability activates!

"Seed of--"

Seed of sudden violent coughing fit, apparently. Tuxedo Kamen veritably disappears in the cloud of thick sporey air, and has gotten his cape over his nose and mouth-- but is still coughing, not thinking straight and not especially able to see what's going on. Somehow he thinks a good idea is trying to wave the stuff back toward the larva.

What it gets him is smacked into and used as a battering ram, headed straight for the Leafe Knight of Wind.

He has a better idea on the way, which is basically pulling his cane out and slashing with it, trying to behead-- begoop? Demolditate? Divide! the blob that is really honestly getting a little too familiar for his comfort levels.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Tuxedo Mirage Hurricane Sting on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly counters Tuxedo Mask's Tuxedo Mirage Hurricane Sting, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Diversion and Exhausted applied to Honoka Yukishiro!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, Devour, partially gets through, doing 21 Fatigue damage to Tuxedo Mask! Honoka Yukishiro drains 2 fatigue from Tuxedo Mask!

"Watch out--!"

Hayate's warning is, unfortunately, too late to be much help to Tuxedo Mask. It's very nearly too late for *Hayate* - with the other guy hurtling at him, he only just manages to call a buffeting wind to carry him clear of impact, and the effort leaves him panting.

He's burning up leafe, he knows. At this rate...

Once again, Hayate slashes at the demon larva before sparing Tuxedo Mask a glance. "--You all right?"

COMBAT: Hayate has used Razor Wind Slash on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Hayate has finished attacking.


The mold simply flows around Tuxedo Mask's cane, then up it, momentarily covering him entirely! It burns and stings, as being devoured by demon mold in every direction is wont to do, and furthermore feels deeply draining. Hayate's slash tears some of it off of him, but not all.

Fortunately for our heroes, the larvae is both greedy and stupid. Believing itself victorious over Tuxedo Mask, it settles back into a large mass to chew on him, while sending out a few tendrils to try to trip up Hayate, lest he get too comfortable.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Moldering Mound on Hayate.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Sudden Growth on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro accepts Honoka Yukishiro's Sudden Growth, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Empower and Withstand applied to Honoka Yukishiro!
COMBAT: Hayate narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Moldering Mound, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Tangle applied to Hayate!

Yeah omf nomf nomf-- Hayate's asking if he's okay, and basically that slash makes it possible to answer at all.Tuxedo Mask lets out a choked little, "Fine just keep killing it" as the thing


on him

so not okay

and he shuts his eyes tight and braces, then puts all his effort into just trying to tear the thing apart from underneath (inside? ugh ugh ugh) because this is disgusting. "Kill it a lot I'll be fine!"

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Gloves Are For Avoiding Getting Your Hands Dirty When Punching Slime Molds on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly braces Tuxedo Mask's Gloves Are For Avoiding Getting Your Hands Dirty When Punching Slime Molds, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Tuxedo Mask is Psyched! Honoka Yukishiro's Block ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Parry ability activates!

Just like that, bad becomes worse. Ropy tendrils of the larva's mold-matter snare Hayate's legs, tethering him and hindering his flight. He could cut himself free in a flash, but he can feel the leafe draining from his ally, and while he didn't *ask* for Tuxedo Mask's help he'll be damned if he'll let the man die.

So for right now Hayate ignores the entangling appendages that have caught him and throws his arms outward, calling up a surge of wind to batter at the creature as though he means to push it away by the sheer brute force of the gust.

COMBAT: Hayate has used Typhoon Gust on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Hayate has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly dodges Hayate's Typhoon Gust, taking 3 Fatigue damage!

Tuxedo Mask manages to rip and tear his way free; to the extent that the demon slime can resist his hands, Hayate literally blows the rest of it away from him. In that moment, there is a red flash; not a rose, but something else, entirely.

Something smooth and round. Something that gleams with malice, with evil intent.

It's hidden beneath the veil of white mold after an eyeblink, but it was definitely there. But a moment later, nothing at all can be seen, as the entire world seems to be buried beneath flecks of delicate, falling snow.

Each of which transforms into a tiny creeping crawling mold-spider the size of a thumb.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ew ew ew ew ew on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ew ew ew ew ew on Hayate.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask fails to brace Honoka Yukishiro's Ew ew ew ew ew, taking 8 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hayate fails to brace Honoka Yukishiro's Ew ew ew ew ew, taking 8 Fatigue damage!

"Kuh-- thanks--" coughs Tuxedo Mask, scrambling back and away from what's left of the thing; he doesn't take any time or any chances, even though oh god so gross, that is not snow and it's crawling through his cape what is this even.

Grimacing fiercely to avoid actually saying 'ew' or anything like it, the teenager flings an arm out and releases essentially an explosion of 'these are some roses, and these are some stems, and these are some thorns, and these petals really shouldn't be able to cut but they're magic so deal with it' on the monster and the monster bits and honestly probably anything else that smells bad in the area.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Tuxedo Mask has used Infinite Rose Works on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro perfectly dodges Tuxedo Mask's Finisher, Infinite Rose Works, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Dodge!

Spiders crawling all over both of them and Hayate is still tethered, trapped and unable to fly free to shake them off, ugh ugh *eugh*--

--But Tuxedo Mask is clear of the demon larva and - no weak spots, he'd said, but just for a moment there he almost thinks he can see it, that flash of red in the midst of the larva's mass, before it's swallowed up in white and further obscured by the flurry of rose petals--


Wind swirls between Hayate's hands, gathering speed in a tightly-wound sphere, power building to a cyclone roar before he releases it toward the monster in a vortex of fast-moving air directed from his hands toward the spot where he thinks he saw the thing's core.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Hayate has used Dragon Vortex on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Hayate has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Hayate's Finisher, Dragon Vortex, taking 56 Fatigue damage! Honoka Yukishiro is unable to keep fighting!

Tuxedo Mask's infinite barrage of roses flies at the monster...

...and he makes a vital, terrible discovery.

It can /drain life/. Or life energy. Or something. Masky, meet the concept of Leafe. Meet also the roses, down to the last stem, being reduced to wilted husks, then to dust, in the time it would take them to hit the mold. There is a terrible wrongness to the feeling, one that resonates, down to the heart.

However, while it's licking its lips from this bounty, the mold larvae fails to notice Hayate's vortex... which picks it up bodily, then slams it down hard. More specifically, slams that red thing, its core -- which shatters upon impact with the very chimney it was trying to evil Santa down in the first place.

It quickly shrivels into nothing but a foul violet mist, which is rapidly dispersed by the last of the winds...

The night is quiet, at last.

Unconsciously holding his hand over his heart, Tuxedo Kamen stares in horror at what happens to his attack, to the life and magic. And it's not just staring, he's frozen in place, feeling it happen. He's frozen in silence, his expression shifting, going to a mix of vaguely ill and deeply, deeply offended.

He's still staring, breathing shallowly, as Hayate yells in a panic, and then attacks with brutal precision.

Moonlight washes colors out at the best of times, but the man in the mask, hat gone, evidence of their battle all over him, is kind of grey right now anyway. His breath clouds the night air, initially mixing with that unutterable violent mist, then just being taken away by the cold wind along with it.

After what feels like an eternity to him, but is probably only a few seconds after Hayate's slamming of the thing, he shuts his drying mouth, then looks over to Hayate. "What-- exactly," he says a little hoarsely, then clears his throat. "Did you mean. By demon larva?" He crouches down carefully, taking off one glove and placing his hand on the ground, still looking up at the Leafe Knight. "And come here if you're hurt."

"I'm fine. Worry about yourself." The Leafe Knight's eyes are fixed on the spot where the core shattered and vanished, and there's not a trace of satisfaction in him from the victory. Far from it. The corners of his mouth curl tightly, bitterly down, his head tucked slightly in a way that leaves his hair falling over his eyes.

That was far too close.

Slowly, Hayate's eyes turn toward Tuxedo Mask, and for a moment he says nothing else, just watches him crouch to touch the ground with his bare hand, observing with close scrutiny the way the energy wells up in response. For half a heartbeat he looks very much on edge - but no. It feels like leafe moving, but it's not being used up, not the way the Princess of Disaster and her servants do it. This is something different.

"...what I meant was what I said," he replies at last. "That's its name." Hayate's eyes drift back to the spot where the creature died. They've spread all the way here already... or this one was sent after him specifically. He's not sure which alternative is worse to think of. "This one wasn't fully rooted. It hadn't reached its full power yet."

"I'm fine, actually, not lying," says Tuxedo Kamen after a moment's silence from him; he looks across to where Hayate's looking, but though the moonlight shines through his mask, a bright spot in the shadowed alleyway, the image is clearly burned on to some part of his mind anyway. "Except for I've never-- the youma I usually fight gather energy, but if you defeat them, it goes back to its original user. I've never seen something that actually-- consumed it like that."

The pause of a heartbeat, and then he brushes his handprint out of the snow and stands, shaking his hand off before putting his glove back on. Still no hat: the larva probably ate it or something. "I'm sorry."

"That's what they do," Hayate says, jaw tight, eyes distant. "They steal leafe, for--" He stops there, not wanting to say the name, and besides, Tuxedo Mask is apologizing. It brings Hayate's eyes sharply back to him, with a puzzled little tilt of his head.

"Sorry for what?" he asks, blunt in his lack of comprehension. He can't see anything for the other young man to be apologizing for.

"That that's what you've been dealing with," the masked youth says in a mixture of respect and sympathy, eyes straying back to the afterimage's origin point after all. He nods in its direction, then glancing back to Hayate. "I cost you time in the beginning because I didn't know what it was." He doesn't sound anything but matter-of-fact, though he doesn't seem to be apologizing for the latter, only acknowledging it. "I won't if there's a next time."

Finally, he takes a couple of steps forward and extends his gloved hand. "Tuxedo Kamen."

Should Hayate reciprocate the introduction, or even just shake the guy's hand, the action will be accompanied by a rush of what Mamoru never thought of as leafe. Well. That and a crooked grin.

A quiet sigh leaves Hayate, and he shakes his head in response to that sympathy. "It's my responsibility, that's all." No point in being sorry about it when it's simply the way things are.

He grimaces a little at the introduction, an expression clearly more of awkwardness than anything resembling dislike. He never quite knows how to handle these situations. It's risky to be too free with the truth, but it certainly makes things more complicated than they have to be.

"...I'm the Knight of Wind," is the answer he settles for, and because he knows that's not exactly the smoothest introduction, he feels like he has no choice but to shake the hand that Tuxedo Kamen offers to him.

A moment later he snatches his hand back as though he's been burned, staring in wide-eyed and faintly uncomfortable surprise. "You--"

Tuxedo Mask shakes his head, the crooked grin fading into faint rue. "Just evened out what I cost you." He takes those steps back he'd taken forward, not sure what to make of Hayate's reaction at all and covering that discomfort with 'time to go' and 'besides I need a shower really badly now'. He gives the man the briefest of bows-- more like he's on stage than ceremonial, and says more cheerfully, "Good night!"

He turns with a swirl of his tattered silk cape and leaps into the shadowed depths of the alley, and he's just gone.

Hayate is left staring after that entirely too artistic exit. And then, when it's clear that the guy has vanished from sight and isn't going to be reappearing, he spends a little longer looking at his hand, reminding himself that he saw very clearly where that invigorating rush of leafe came from only a little before. It's not at all the same thing, even if the sensation was uncomfortably similar.

It's hard to tell how much longer he stands up there, letting the cold winter wind blow around him. Eventually he just lets out a breath and between one gust and the next he's gone as well, and only some odd patterns of disturbed snow remain to show for the night's battle.

It's left Hayate with a lot to think about, though.