2015-01-01 - Jaren Attacks! Desperation Strikes!

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Title: Jaren Attacks! Desperation Strikes!

Lera and Lux Lapsa fell a youma at the botanical gardens, when Jaren ambushes them. They manage to drive him off, but only barely.


Lera Camry, Yukimi Amane, Jaren Zastava


The Botanical Gardens, Chofu Suburban District

OOC - IC Date:

01-01-2015 - 05-04-2014

Yet another scheme of Dark Fall has been foiled!

The Venus flytrap shaped and inspired youma arches over backward as the final strike hits it, before bursting apart in a shower of white and golden light. Lera Camry -- also known as Magical Cheeseburger Propane-chan -- holds a hand up to cover her face from the bright light as it bursts apart, casting numerous shadows over the botanical gardens. It is after hours, so no one -- mercifully -- is around, save for a groundskeeper who has since fled.

The light fades, back to the normal dim lighting of a few lamps used by the groundskeeping crews. The orange-haired girl wipes at her brow. Something, she thinks, is off; she swears she can feel a third presence here, still.

But she can't see it. It must be her imagination.

Instead she looks at Lux Lapsa, flashing a bright grin at the fallen angel. Her hand rests on the hilt of Soaring Sky, the tip of the weapon poked into the ground. "I'm glad we got rid of that thing," she says. "Could you imagine how much trouble it would cause the bugs?" She skips a beat. "I-I'm not sure why I feel sorry for the bugs, though..."

Lux Lapsa lands lightly on her feet, ice spear glittering away into dust, as "Propane-chan"'s final strike finishes off the youma after her own attack froze its feet in place and gave her an opening. For a plant-themed monster, it certainly was lively. Within her, her angelic partner also feels uneasy, but the driving will of the Fallen Lux Angeli doesn't notice a thing.

"Woo! That was great!" she cheered, pumping her fists. She lowers them to look over at her friend, lamenting for the bugs. "Yeah, that is a pretty weird thing to be worried about," she agreeds, rather thoughtlessly. When Himiko points out how that might come off, she adds hastily, "B-but who knows! It was big! It might've moved on to cute little cats and dogs, or even people! The bugs are only the beginning, Propane-chan. You were *right* to be worried."

She stretches then, both her arms, legs, and large black wings. Then she sighs in contentment. "That really went well!" she continues, smiling at Lera. "Once again, the city's safe thanks to us! Hey, you wanna get some crepes before we head home?"

"Makes sense to me."

The voice and address are familiar enough, unfortunately. The expected profile soon lowers itself out of the sky, drifting under the tree line to hover spitefully above. One hand is on his hip; the other lugs an Intelligent Device, a massive warhammer, propped on his shoulder lackadaisically. His smirk, malicious, is only dwarfed by the scope of his styled sideburns.

"Gotta worry about your own kind, after all." He laughs. "Me, I don't really give two shakes about any insects, which is why I was thinking I'd let you mosey on about your business." He flashes his teeth, grinning mean-spirited.

"But, see, it's just..."


Jaren Zastava tips his head toward Broken Ground, shrugging guilelessly. "Yeah, see? Gotta keep my partner happy. You understand."

Eyes slip lower, toward Lux Lapsa, one eyebrow slowly rising. "Oh, and you brought a little ladybug. Cute. What's her name?" COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki transforms into Youma Form Jaren Zastava!

"We're the best!" Lera answers with a cheery grin, remembering something that Sailor Moon said to her, about her making Tokyo better. It leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling there. "Crepes would be good. Did you try that new stand? They have chocolate and marshmallow filled ones, and the clerk is really cu--"

Her words cut off, though, because someone else interrupts, and she realizes that she was right. Someone else was there, after all; her gold-brown eyes go wide with recognition and alarm, as she turns to look at the older man with the sideburns and the mean-looking grin. "Jaren!"

If Lapsa wasn't sure who it was, she has an answer.

<Ground! You always liked to help dogs. Have you been feeding this one properly?>

Lera turns, pointing her sword directly at the man, with one hand. The burning orange plasma field around the sword brightens imperceptibly, as she gives him a withering look. "Don't talk about her like that! I'm gonna take Ground back, and that'll be that, you... you!"

COMBAT: Lera Camry transforms into Barrier Jacket!

"Ooh! That's just the one I was gonna tell you about!" Lapsa says excitedly. She opens her mouth to continue, but her partner issues a sharp warning, and she turns abruptly, mannerisms changing from cheerfully careless to alert and a little afraid. It's not as bad as it could be, with a friend by herself, but Yukimi's not quite gotten used to the world of battle. If it were Himiko in charge... but no. She long since decided she needs to take responsibility for what Lux Lapsa does.

What she sees is a guy with oversized sideburns and an expression and mannerism that screams 'slimy jerk.' The way he speaks supports this, and Lera naming him as Jaren, the man who stole Broken Ground--or maybe not, given the way it talks--nails it down as fact.

"Ladybug? *Excuse* me?" Lux Lapsa says frostily. She thrusts a finger at his face. "How dare you! I'm *way* cuter than a ladybug! If you can't see that, then you're no better than an eyeless slug, villain!"

/*Nailed* it,/ Yukimi crows internally.

She falls into place next to Lera as Sky offers his own sass, and Lera lifts him up in preparation of an attack. Lux Lapsa breathes out slowly, and a new lance of ice crystallizes in her right hand while her left arm is covered in a glacial shield. "Ready whenever you are," she murmurs. COMBAT: Yukimi Amane transforms into Lux Lapsa!

Jaren's smirk doesn't even budge. "Hear that, Lera?" he asides, tipping his head enough to change his view. "She's bad mouthing your bug friends. Don't you have to take it to the honor grounds, now?"


"What is-- oh, honor?" Jaren laughs, and rolls his shoulder, sliding Broken Ground off of it to point toward Lera and Lux Lapsa. "That's not something we have to worry about."


"Not interested in that much iron," Jaren notes.


Jaren sighs, shrugging helplessly. "Guess I can't argue with that!"

He cranes his head again, and this time when he makes eye contact, that smug grin is replaced with the laser-eyed focus of a man about to strike. He surges; though he's slow, perhaps inevitably, he swings high and then grabs Ground's hilt with a second hand to drive it down toward Lux Lapsa and her shield. But whatever it impacts: "Broken Ground!"


The rear of the warhammer splits like a clam, belting out a hovering orb of light; Jaren swings a step back and then slams the orb with Broken Ground, sending it toward Lera. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 2 opponents! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Double Overhand Smash on Lux Lapsa. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Stone Torch on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has finished attacking. COMBAT: Lux Lapsa narrowly braces Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Double Overhand Smash, taking 3 Fatigue damage! Lux Lapsa's Block ability activates! Lux Lapsa's Parry ability activates! COMBAT: Lera Camry fails to dodge Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Stone Torch, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Stagger applied to Lera Camry!

Lapsa's next to her. Lera looks at her from the corner of her eyes and nods, her expression tight and business like for the moment. Her eyes narrow, blazing when he insults her -- on the grounds of honor! Something he would know nothing about! She huffs, for a moment, before he swings down at Lux Lapsa. Then, the bolt of energy comes flyig at her, and she tries to jump into the air.

She doesn't get off the ground. It hits her in the chest and sends her flying, pitching across the battlefield -- and she slams into a tree, cracking its bark. The girl stumbles, then, before she shakes her head quickly. "Shut up!" she yells. "You're a thief! And you're here, making things worse, for--for what! Who are you even working for, this time!?"

<Shut up. I'll have the privilege of sticking you back on the shelf!>

She looks worriedly at Lapsa, before hse runs in. Lera leaps, then, and does a quick mid-air turn. Her left foot swings out -- and then kicks right for Jaren's cheek. Those boots have some steel in them, too.

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Spin Kick on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking.

"Wh--you can't just completely ignore me! You really are a slug!!" Lapsa protests, thrusting another finger at Jaren. "Not to mention you're a total hypocrite, you thief!"

/Maybe I need a better justice speech,/ she thinks, dismayed. Either way, Jaren's banter with his partner makes it clear that he's all business, and when he moves in to strike, she lifts her arm-shield just in time. The clash of the strike reverberates through her arm, leaving it a little numb, but she manages to hold out. All the same, it makes her glad she *did* manage to block it. This guy's the guy that Lera's been hunting all this time...

"Yeah!" she echoes after Lera, risking a quick glance in the redhead's direction to make sure she's all right. She's relieved to see that Lera seems to be all right, and so glares back at Jaren. "What were you even doing here!?"

Lera leaps in to attack, and at the advice and coaching of her own partner, Lapsa waits until the split-second that Jaren *has* to do something to react to her before she tilts her body back and shoves herself away from him and Broken Ground. Spinning in place, she calls upon her glacial powers to strengthen her icicle lance. "Iratus...!" she calls, grasping the haft with both hands and pointing it towards Jaren. "Improbus!!"

The spear point shoots out towards the thief, aiming to skewer or at least slice him good. If she's lucky, maybe she can get him to drop Broken Ground! COMBAT: Lux Lapsa has used Iratus Improbus on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lux Lapsa has finished attacking.

COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki narrowly braces Lux Lapsa's Iratus Improbus, taking 5 Fatigue damage! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Block ability activates! Stun and Trap applied to Nadeshiko Fujisaki! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki narrowly counters Lera Camry's Spin Kick, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Lera Camry is Psyched! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Reverse ability activates! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki's counterattack, Terra Fissure, partially gets through, doing 19 Fatigue damage to Lera Camry!

"Thief, huh?" Jaren sneers back at Lux Lapsa, then letting it slide into his smug grin at Lera. "I think our teamwork's pretty good, myself."


"Kinda already doing that, Ground," Jaren notes back. "Sorry. See, Broken Ground is kind of impatient when it comes to--" His eyes slide open, mid-monologue, and then he realizes Lux Lapsa is throwing a spearhead at him. "Oh, jeeze!" he squawks, and snaps Ground up; the Device moves deftly, swatting the worst of it aside, though from the way he shakes his arm afterward, that still stung. "Not the only one with some patience problems, huh?"

Unfortunately, Lera he /does/ see coming at him, and he spins Ground around his wrist once before the warhammer comes up pointed in her direction. "You never did know your place, Camry. Terra Fissure," he orders.


He finishes swinging Ground down to the ground, and a pulsing wave of yellowy light rips away from Ground - and then pillars of earth, ripped free by Broken Ground's magic, shoot into the air, propelled by magic to knock Lera out of the sky!

Jaren takes a moment to breathe after that quick exchange, recovering his center. <SOARING SKY. YOU WILL NOT GO ON THE SHELF. I WILL NOT LEAVE ENOUGH.>

"I think he doesn't like you," Jaren sneers, and then lunges in again. This time, with Lera downed nearby, he follows up right on her, a swift, harsh swing to her temple with the flat of Broken Ground's head. Then he wheels around, levels the bejeweled head of the warhammer, and... "Scramble Duster!"

A blast wave of misty yellow force races out toward Lux Lapsa, picking up and scattering dust with enough force to sting her skin, and enough tenacity to blind her eyes! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Hamma Slamma on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Into Dust on Lux Lapsa. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has finished attacking.

COMBAT: Lera Camry fails to dodge Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Hamma Slamma, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Nadeshiko Fujisaki is Psyched! COMBAT: Lux Lapsa narrowly counters Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Into Dust, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Lux Lapsa's Reverse ability activates! Diversion applied to Lux Lapsa! COMBAT: Lux Lapsa's counterattack, Glaciem Festucam, partially gets through, doing 3 Fatigue damage to Nadeshiko Fujisaki!


For once, Soaring Sky is silenced. Lera is stunned by that -- and proud, for a moment, that Yukimi tested his defenses. She grits her teeth as she wheels her foot back to kick him, and then she sees Broken Ground swing up in her direction. The earth rumbles below her -- and shoots up. It knocks her out of the air, one pylon of stone slamming into her side. She hits the ground, rolls, and comes up kneeling. She takes a shaky breath.

She tries to leap to the side, when he slams his hammer down into her. Her Barrier Jacket shimmers, brightly; a flash of light fires out from the impact point as it takes the hit, and she grunts, before she stumbles backward.

Her eyes dart to Lapsa, before she grunts. With a thought, her broadsword splits into two single-edged blades, which she lifts up.

<Dual Form.>

"Hang on, Lapsa!" she calls out. "Even if Ground's going with this, for some reason, you--you still took it from my mom!"

Lera leaps into the air. One of the tell-tale Midchildan magical circles appears, as she comes crashing down towards Jaren. The right sword swings down first, leaving a trail of light as she does. Her feet slam into the cobblestones of the path through the botanical garden, and she pivots; her left sword swings out in front of her, and she finishes with an uppercut slash with the right blade.

<Rapid Skyfall!>

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Rapid Skyfall on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking.

"You should be used to it already," Lux Lapsa calls back at Jaren, though this is bravado. She managed to do some damage, but not a lot, and Lera's having a tough time against this guy--maybe because he's seen her moves already? What if they aren't strong enough even together to take him down? Is he really just here to kill them? What is his /deal/, anyway?

"No, it doesn't matter," she mutters to herself, flapping her wings and taking to the air. "He's still trying to her Lera. It doesn't matter what he wants!"

When the yellow force shoots out at her, she answers it with several shards of ice of her own. This doesn't prevent her from getting struck, but it's something, at least. She cries out when struck, clutching her chest, but she manages to keep up in the air. Lera calls to her, and she calls back, "I'm okay! You just focus on beating this jerk up!"

Sweeping an arm to one side, the deep, killing cold of the frozen north materializes in a tiny fragment--one that dances and twirls right for the heart of Lapsa and Lera's assailant. "Puella... Frigidum!!" Lux Lapsa calls as she unleashes the magical glacier fairy. COMBAT: Lux Lapsa has used Puella Frigidum on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lux Lapsa has finished attacking. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki narrowly braces Lera Camry's Rapid Skyfall, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Block ability activates! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki fails to dodge Lux Lapsa's Puella Frigidum, taking 18 Fatigue damage! Lux Lapsa is Psyched! GAME: Save complete. "What can I say? Broken Ground's a real charmer, you know?" Jaren whips Broken Ground loosely with a flick of his wrist and then levels it back up in a one-handed stance, other hand free to do... ...well nothing, really. He casts a warding motion at the incoming ice shards, but they're faster than his barrier; they ping off his barrier jacket.


Jaren snaps Broken Ground up and uses it to snappily parry Lera's downward swing, but it leaves him open from below. He throws the upper sword aside enough to save himself from eating a sword to the chin, but it puts him out of position to do anything when Lux Lapsa's glacier fairy slams into his Barrier Jacket with force; he emits a "WHOOF!" of pain and staggers back, four, five, six steps. He's stronger on the ground. It's where Broken Ground's skills are most effective. He laughs, low and a little mean-spirited. "I only work for one person." He grins, eyes peering, slitted, toward Lux Lapsa. "I may take a paycheck, but I'm only interested in one person's orders."

He touches off - pushing off the ground and taking flight as he rockets away from Lera and striaght toward Lux Lapsa. "I ONLY LOOK OUT FOR--"


The warhammer emits a blazing, muddy yellow pulse that leaves Jaren suffused with a similarly colored aura in its wake - just in time to swing a harsh overhand blow down square toward Lux Lapsa's noggin.

COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Hail Mary Jerkface Slam on Lux Lapsa. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Stone Invigoration on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has finished attacking. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki accepts Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Stone Invigoration, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Withstand applied to Nadeshiko Fujisaki! COMBAT: Lux Lapsa fails to brace Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Hail Mary Jerkface Slam, taking 26 Fatigue damage! Exhausted applied to Lux Lapsa!

"Right!" Lera calls back to Lux Lapsa. "I got it!"

She tries to sound confident, and the bravado in her voice might sound real -- but for those who know her better, which unfortunately includes everyone here, there is an edge to it. She has fretted over whether she has what it takes for awhile, now. So far, the answer appears to be 'no.' It shows in the way her voice wavers at the end; at the way she swings with a little less oomph towards the end. She does not, it seems, have it.

< I don't need your bloody greatness! >

The other Device is, for once, angry instead of grumpy. His Wielder, though, is parried quickly, and she only manages to land her one hit on him. Lera sees him get thrown backward, and then he launches.

At Yukimi. Her eyes widen sharply and she screams out: "LAPSA!"

Then she takes off from the ground. She doesn't fly gracefully or smoothly; she jumps, and a ring of orange-red light shoots out from her feet. Then she becomes a blur, a line of light that shoots in the air as she takes off straight at Jaren's side -- and tries to body check him at a speed far faster than anyone has a right to move.

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Line Burst on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking.

"A charmer. Yeah, right," Lapsa mutters under her breath. She smirks and pumps a fist when her spell strikes true, sending him staggering back, but this talk of a paycheck... "Wait, whose orders--?" she begins. It's been a while since she helped Lera out with all this Jaren business; did she mention him working for someone else? She could have /sworn/ he was a lone wolf who stole Broken Ground for himself. But there was that whole receiver thing--argh, she can't remember what all was said on it, though! Is this brand new information? Or did she completely forget all about--

(Yukimi, above you!!)

Lux Lapsa gasps a looks up in time for Laren to strike her solidly on the head with Broken Ground. She collapses in a heap. The black halo that hovers over her head protected her, so she still breathes, but it looks like she's out cold.

Anyone who actually thinks that is in for a surprise when her ice blue eyes crack open, and she rises up to her feet in a fluid, graceful motion. Her expression is cool, distant, and unimpressed as she looks down on Jaren, despite whatever difference in height they may have.

She says nothing. Her eyes simply bore into him. It's almost as if they bore /through/ him, as if they see deep into his core. And all around her, flickers of deep blackness ripple in an aura, potentially exponentially exascerbating that cutting look...

"Umbra in Celestia," she murmurs, focusing that negative energy upon Jaren and Broken Ground as she advances a single calm, measured step. COMBAT: Lux Lapsa has used Umbra in Celestia on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lux Lapsa has finished attacking.

COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki perfectly counters Lux Lapsa's Umbra in Celestia, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Counter! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Reverse ability activates! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki's counterattack, Terra Fissure, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Lux Lapsa! COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki narrowly braces Lera Camry's Line Burst, taking 15 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Lera Camry is Psyched! Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Block ability activates!

Jaren manages to force Lera off her center, and makes her pay for her weakness by striking at her friends. He...might be a huge jerk. Maybe.

As soon as that slam lands, he spins around; he knows Lera's going to be coming. "You never learn. Ground!"


"What! Stop having opinions!" Jaren snaps, and instead of blowing Lera away like he'd intended he just tosses up his free hand and invokes a barrier field; a Midchildan magic circle foer her to body-slam into like a wall. But the hit is still enough that force trickles through, Jaren skidding backward against the ground, kicking up dirt beneath his Barrier Jacket's boots. He huffs, annoyed. "The heck was that about, Ground?" he mutters, and turns to see...

"Oh. ...oh," Jaren mutters; Yukimi's aspect somehow drastically changed. He meets that gaze, disapproving as it is, and some of the smarm drains out of him; replaced with a defiant sneer. "Don't you look at me that way," he demands, coldly. "Only one person gets to judge me, little lady."

And then she attacks. "And that's me! GROUND!" <CONFIRMED. TERRA FISSURE.>

The warhammer emits another pulsing wave of light into the ground, which fires up spindles of earth to shred through the inchoate wave of negative energy. "But since you want to go showing me what you think, how about I give you something fun to have an opinion about?"


"Yeah...don't think I want whatever she's started selling. Broken Ground...Bombadier Cascade."


The jeweled face of the Intelligent Device reads out the command as Jaren shoots into the air, gathering light into the head of the warhammer-device. It flickers and flows, mixing brown and yellow together into a muddy mess of swirling Midchildan glyphs. He turns his eyes down, first on Lera, but lingering on Lux Lapsa (?). A single, slow breath. And the release, roared as he hurls the flickering orb of power down to the ground: "GO!"

The light is released from the warhammer - and immediately shatters into dozens of smaller orbs, each quite uncomfortably large as it races down toward the ground. None particularly aim for Lux Lapsa or Lera; instead they rain into the landscape around, shattering the ground and sending up chunks of shrapnel...and catching them. The tiny shards of rock and dust dug up from the botanial gardens' surroundings swirl around the nexus of each orb, and then finally: "Release!"

The balls explode as one, sending up a massive conflagration of light - and sending park shrapnel rocketing in every direction, a barrage of stones and magic. COMBAT: FINISHER! Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Bombadier Cascade on Lux Lapsa. COMBAT: FINISHER! Nadeshiko Fujisaki has used Bombadier Cascade on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki has finished attacking.

COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly dodges Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Finisher, Bombadier Cascade, taking 41 Fatigue damage! Lera Camry's Fade ability activates! Lera Camry's Flash ability activates! COMBAT: Lux Lapsa fails to brace Nadeshiko Fujisaki's Finisher, Bombadier Cascade, taking 136 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!

"You have no say in who 'gets' to judge you, little man," Lux Lapsa replies, tilting her chin up in distaste. "It will happen no matter how much you may will otherwise. After all--"

The spindles of earth shred forward, neutralizing the emanations of negative energy; whatever small pieces get through are swatted to one side by her shield, a contemptuous flick of motion. "--there is so much to judge," the dark angel concludes.

But this, too, has its own consequences. This Lux Lapsa emerged out of necessity, but it's too late; she wasn't able to disable or demoralize him, and he's decided now is ias good a time as ever to come up with a decisive victory. Lux Lapsa brings up all of her glacial magic to defend herself from the explosions of light and shrapnel as the former slam down nearby and the latter shatter in every direction. However, they shred her defenses, weakened as they are from her other half being unconscious and unable to supply her heart to the equation. It's enough to protect her life, but at the end, she is slammed against a nearby building, wings creaking underneath her, too exhausted from her efforts to so much as move, let alone continue fighting.

When she hits the barrier, Lera bounces off it, flying back. The girl's feet hit the ground, boots scraping into the dirt. She snaps her eyes to the side, briefly, at her friend. Then Sky speaks:

<He's preparing something unseemly.>

She sees the orb shatter. They come rushing in for her, and that's when she launches straight into the air. She goes from ground level to fifteen feet in the blink of an eye, as the orbs rain down like artillery shells -- and fire and shrapnel burst outward from them, as they detonate. She weaves away from some of it, but some finally catches her.

Rock and shrapnel strike her in the side. She hits the ground hard, rolling a couple of times; she bounces once, before she comes to a stop, crouching down in a three point stance.

But then it hits Lux Lapsa head on. She tries to defend herself -- the barrier is impressive, really -- and it finally overwhelms her, slamming her into a building. She lets out a choked noise; there isn't a screamed name, this time. This is, she tells herself, her fault. She brought Yukimi -- and Himiko -- into this. She looks back at Jaren, lips curling back, and yells furiously.

<Combination Crusade!>

She has to get him out of here. The rest can be figured out later. The redhead goes running at him, before she leaps. She spins in midair, then chops the sword in her right hand -- energy field lashing down as she does. She follows up with the sword i her left. Then, she strikes repeatedly, each swordblow leaving a blur of red-orage light. At the end, she pivots, stabbing the left sword at him.

Her voice is hoarse and panicked, this time, instead of triumphant: "BURST!"

A beam of light explodes off the tip of the blade; then, a colossal beam fires from it, directly at Zastava's midsection, and possibly pitching him into the sky.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Lera Camry has used Combination Crusade on Nadeshiko Fujisaki. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking. COMBAT: Nadeshiko Fujisaki fails to brace Lera Camry's Finisher, Combination Crusade, taking 125 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Nadeshiko Fujisaki is unable to keep fighting!

Jaren floats there, watching his handiwork. Lux Lapsa was in the midst of gathering strength to strike at him, and he wasn't sure what to expect other than something he didn't want any part of. He watches that ice shield with full intent, teeth grit and waiting. He can't get in there to supplement the field. He just has to wait. His spare hand slowly clenches, uneasy...

But his attention pays off. Lux Lapsa collapses under the weight of his Bombadier Cascade. "See, Lera," Jaren says, slowly managing to affix a smirk to his face. "Neither you nor your friends are--"

His eyes track to Lera and then widen like saucers, unable to say anything as the Combination Crusade goes off. He throws up his hand, but the barrier isn't even formed before the beam hits; slams him in the gut. A pillar of light splitting the heavens and launching Jaren Zastava into the heavens.

Lera hopes, for a second, that he will drop Broken Ground. She is not so lucky. She stares after him for a second, before she comes to her senses. This wasn't a victory, she realizes; she got a good hit in when he was distracted. He could have taken them both out, before that. She bites her lower lip, looking back at her fallen friend. Maybe she came a long way; maybe she has a better understanding of Soaring Sky.

She isn't there, yet.

"Hang on, Lapsa," she says, quietly. She kneels down next to the angel, then picks her up carefully. She floats upward -- and turns, bolting into the sky herself.