2015-01-15 - Ba-boom!! What Eas Wants!

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Title: Ba-boom!! What Eas Wants!

A shopping trip for the Juuban science club is rudely interrupted by Eas, denizen of Labyrinth - accompanied by a mysterious silver stranger. But what's she doing with a Zakenna?


Cure Black, Cure White, Eas, Mepple, Mipple


Shitamachi Low City

OOC - IC Date:

10 May 2014 - 01/15/2015

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Orange stinging heat runs through veins in her straining arms. Cure Black's knees tremble under the burden; the concrete has not yet cracked but she has to brace herself for that moment, when the ground betrays her and her balance shifts. That's the most common moment, she knows from experience, for her strength to fail, for her muscles to give, for evil to advance. But that is not acceptable, not this time. Because she is counting on Cure Black.

"I can do it," she swears. "I will do it!"

Shoppers give Nagisa a wide berth as they pass her on the sidewalk. They have to, because both of her hands are full of plastic bags, which bulge out into a fan-like shape from their own girth. Her skinny knees are nearly playing the bongos beneath her shorts, her face is growing increasingly indistinguishable from her hot pink tee shirt. She takes each step as a giant might, shifting her own bulk.

The science club needed some things from the store today. Nagisa's not going to let anyone else carry any of them, not so much because she doesn't want to inconvenience Honoka, but more because Nagisa would be very disappointed in herself if she were unable to. However, Honoka comes into the equation insofar as she /also/ has to avoid dropping any of this.

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi transforms into Eas!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Honoka shifts her weight from foot to foot nervously, but this is the only outward sign of her extreme concern. She /wants/ to be dancing around Nagisa's left side, then behind her and to the right, and back again, in an attempt to precognitively discern where the collapse is going to be.

She's murderously good at jenga, which requires patience and some structural engineering know-how, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a gaming enthusiast to predict that this is going to go catastrophically awry.

Normally indomitable, a diamond of sweat traces a line from her temple to her jaw. She swallows, not wanting to break Nagisa's concentration. If anyone can do it, it's her partner. But...

This was the Science Club's entire budget for the semester, or close enough as to make no difference. "Ah, Nagisa-chan," she begins in as soothing an interjection into her consciousness as possible, and surely the beginning of a very supportive request that maybe, just maybe, she allow Honoka to take some of the lighter bags, perhaps that canister of test tubes balanced on the top of the heap--


<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

The day is bright, and sunny. The shoppers giving Nagisa a wide berth nevertheless have wonderful weather set before them for their daily errands, and it /is/ the right time of the week to be out and about.

Eas, standing imperiously in the shadows atop one of the smaller buildings lining the street, is frowning. If she could wither plants simply by looking at them, the flowers would shrivel on the spot. If she could scare the sun away by glaring at it, night would surely fall.

She has no idea why people have to be so /happy/ all the time.

But red eyes track as she detects the telltale sign of ridiculous, Herculean movement carrying bags, and narrow as she sees the pink-clad girl's companion.

Here, she does not frown. She smirks, slightly, and takes a step. ...And then she stops, the screeching voice interrupting her thoughts.

A few more out of sight see a white-haired girl dressed in black, the prominent red data diamond easily visible on her outfit as much as the raised, alien collar. Specifically, Eas steps out of an alley right where the two other girls are about to be walking, arms crossed, and plants herself immovably in their path.

"You won't be eating anything today," she says, one eyebrow lifted in obvious disdain. "Except for the dirt, if you don't get out of my way."

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Nagisa has begun to settle into a rhythm. She's walking slowly, and every motion comes with a sound like loose stone trembling in an ancient cavern, but she's making good progress, only a bit lower than average walking speed. And for all the shifting of bags, Honoka can see that they are remaining fairly stable in relation to each other.

Mepple's cry interrupts Nagisa just before her sneaker next touches the sidewalk, and it's sharp enough, sudden enough, that she cannot find the purchase she sought. She corrects, but the weight overcorrects with her, and she lunges forward. Her foot finally lands, solid like low palm strike's stance, but it's too low. The bags will all hit the ground.

So as she lunges, Nagisa twists her elbows inwards, switching elbow with wrist, underhand with overhand. Like a very small weightlifter at the clean and jerk, she takes advantage of an instant of the bags falling to make the swap, then she's pushing up on the dozens of plastic straps.

"Gh-huuuuh..." she groans, eyes wide like softballs, lips open and miserable. And that's when Eas confronts them.

"Hnh?" she asks Honoka, unable to discipline her breathing enough. What was very difficult to deadlift is impossible to shoulder press. Nagisa can only push hard enough to keep the bags where they are. She certainly can't get out of the way. Unhappily, she gives Honoka permission to intervene with a glance.

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Sssh!!" comes a second, even more shrill objection. "Can't you see she's trying to concentrate-mipo??"

"I can't see anything about anything, I'm blinded by hunger-mepo!" bawls the first voice.

Throughout this exchange, Honoka is imagining herself lunging forward in slow motion, 'noooooo' escaping her lips at artificially low timbre. But that would hurt Nagisa's feelings, and even in this desperate moment they are more precious to her than all the Science Club glass in the world.

So she waits, hands clasped where her heart should be, except it's in her throat, pounding the same way as when the Juuban lacrosse ace has two seconds on the clock and is about to, somehow both inevitably and excitingly, score the deciding goal. Her eyes shine.

In this moment she believes more strongly in Nagisa than in gravity.

So the wordless invitation comes as something of a surprise and, after all that lip-biting worry, she's a little slow to step up. Her arms wrap around some of the parcels, mildly relieving the weight (though she can't take the lion's share herself). "I'm terribly sorry," she murmurs politely at the foreigner(??), "If you'll give us just a moment..." At this point her goal is to help Nagisa get the bags on the ground without them tumbling down. They can worry about the rest later. "...it may be faster to simply go around us if you're in a hurry," she adds helpfully.

"HONOKA!! I HAVE AN EVIL FEELING-MIPO!" The warning rends the air more shrilly than a fire alarm.

"Yeah, this isn't just some gaijin-mepo!" agrees Mepple in an act of such phenomenal hypocrisy that the ground is likely to swallow him up any moment in retaliation.

'Seriously, this is happening NOW?!?' Honoka's vivid blue eyes tell Nagisa's, as they meet through a gap in the pile of supplies. If she said it out loud, it would probably be more like 'Oh dear,' but her eyebrows, as they lift towards the sky, are sometimes a little more incisive than her words.

<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

Eas, the mysterious foreigner standing before the two and their fairies, regards the pile of bags with disappointment, looking skeptically down at Nagisa as i appears she did indeed manage to save her parcels. It lasts for a few almost lazy moments as she appears to entirely ignore Nagisa's confusion, Honoka's apology, and the fairies' shouting that she really ought not to be present for.

It's only after she finally finishes turning her head toward Honoka that she speaks up, and then her expression is changed back to a smirk, her lip curled slightly though her usual haughty demeanor is touched a bit by clear, obvious, petty /annoyance/. "Are you? You humans seem so good at apologizing. But the offer wasn't to you."

"And it's expired regardless."

Uncrossing her arms, Eas pulls something from her sleeve, a flat, rectangular object that's hard to see well, covered by her palm as it is; the backing is black, with some sort of abstract pattern. Her left hand lifts, however, pointing directly at Honoka. "I am Eas!" she proclaims, her sudden raised voice causing a ripple in the crowds. "Denizen of Labyrinth, and faithful servant of Supreme Ruler Mobius-sama!"

She lifts her right hand, still holding the card, and clouds begin to gather, darkening the sky at a rapid pace with thunder echoing far too close by. Dark energy spirals up her arm, crackling with power, as her red eyes still stare straight to the standing member of Pretty Cure.

Nagisa, meanwhile, will have the chance to feel the ground rumbling, the sidewalk preparing to crack just as she worried before--though it holds together, for now.

"Unleash your power!" she commands, and /hurls/ the object forward, where it slams into the center of the street to stick in the ground like a knife for an instant before exploding in a wave of purple force and light.

The dust is only still clearing about a gigantic figure when the voice comes.


<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Nagisa is gradually able to respirate properly as the weight lessens. The moment her right hand has enough weight shifted off it, she immediately swings that hand down and shoves up with her legs, catching the left hand's burden and combining both hands at her waist. "I can still get it all!" she gasps in great haste to Honoka. "I just needed to stand up first." She turns a furious glare at her waist. "You...!"

But the fairies have more important things to wail about now than hunger, and Nagisa lifts her eyes to the foreigner. Carefully, she lowers the bags to the ground. The look in her eyes is more calm than Honoka's, but it's not because she's less affected. This duty of theirs sometimes doesn't seem to agree with her.

But something solidifies in her as she looks at Honoka, like the shackle of a lock clinking into its lever. She turns to Eas and extends her hand for Honoka. When the ground betrays them, it no longer matters. They have four legs now, and they do not stumble.

"If you hurt what's in those bags," Nagisa shouts, "it won't matter how much you apologize!" Light, in every color at once, reaches out to them, and Honoka and Nagisa are lost in it, found in it. Their armor comes to them in lace and jewels. They wear their hearts on their fists.

And when it is over, they are as small as ever, but in their limbs is the strength to defy giants. They stare up at the indistinct bulk of a gargant shadow and their eyes are shatterproof.

COMBAT: Eas transforms into Ominous Silver Sphere!
COMBAT: Nagisa Misumi transforms into Cure Black!
COMBAT: Eas has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 2 opponents!
COMBAT: Nagisa Misumi has fully healed herself.

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"I know you can, but you don't have to," Honoka breathed back, in that hasty moment. Not long thereafter, the matter is resolved and they are hand in hand. Nagisa's bold proclamation does not go without a small, appreciative smile, but also the tiniest flex of her shoulder blades. Honoka is wholly willing to sacrifice the precious labors of her everyday life to the cause if required. Nagisa's skill in getting it all onto the ground intact is in itself what might mean it /won't/ be.

She squeezes her partner's hand as they enter a space of perfect Light, then emerge transformed a heartbeat later.

Her chin lifts. "We are Pretty Cure!" she replies, for an introduction as dramatic as Eas' demands an answer. As Honoka, she had taken a step back reflexively, keeping herself and her charge out of harm's way as the sheer power -- and attitude -- swirled around the Labyrinthine woman.

As Cure White, she takes a step forward in unison with her partner, dark hair billowing behind her like a battle standard, index finger pointed straight forward like a spear. "I don't know why you've joined forces with the Dark King," this conclusion drawn from the presence of the towering Zakenna, "But we won't simply let you do as you wish!"

She glares straight at Eas, but other parts of herself, battle-ready reflexes that are more world-wise than Honoka, await the next move of the giant monster, the back of her neck a'prickle with readiness to act.

What kind of object will this one be merged with?

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro transforms into Cure White!
COMBAT: Nagisa Misumi transforms into Cure Black!

<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

When Nagisa extends her hand to Honoka, Eas keeps up her glare, but as fierce as her disdain is, she cannot break that bond just by looking at it. She stands alone, performing the magic she brought for this very purpose, and indignant demands only serve now to embolden her. ...Unlike the transformation; she tilts her head to the side and down, eyes squinted slightly against the brightness of Pretty Cure arming for battle.

"Fine, Pretty Cure," Eas greets in return. "But I don't plan to apologize for anything. I don't care about your pointless human shopping."

The harsh bite of her words resounds over the clearing smoke as a purple giant is revealed, easily more than twice the height of any of the girls here, with gigantic claws and a gaping, fangy maw, its face contorted in the familiar way. But one thing isn't familiar.

...There's no trace of any object in it. The things left behind on the sidewalk are untouched, now that people are aleady running; the road itself is unaffected, save for a scratch from the card.

"I'll show you--"

Before she even finishes her challenge, the monster charges, fists lifted to smash Cure Black into the dust with both hands together. "ZAAAKENNNAAAAA!"

COMBAT: Eas has used Silver Slam on Cure Black.

<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

When Nagisa extends her hand to Honoka, Eas keeps up her glare, but as fierce as her disdain is, she cannot break that bond just by looking at it. She stands alone, performing the magic she brought for this very purpose, and indignant demands only serve now to embolden her. ...Unlike the transformation; she tilts her head to the side and down, eyes squinted slightly against the brightness of Pretty Cure arming for battle.

"Fine, Pretty Cure," Eas greets in return. "But I don't plan to apologize for anything. I don't care about your pointless human shopping."

The harsh bite of her words resounds over the clearing smoke as a purple giant is revealed, easily more than twice the height of any of the girls here, with gigantic claws and a gaping, fangy maw, its face contorted in the familiar way. But one thing isn't familiar.

...There's no trace of any object in it. The things left behind on the sidewalk are untouched, now that people are aleady running; the road itself is unaffected, save for a scratch from the card.

"I'll show you--"

Before she even finishes her challenge, the monster charges, fists lifted to smash Cure Black into the dust with both hands together. "ZAAAKENNNAAAAA!" Hit or miss, it /shoves/ to the side to just crush Cure White with its body.

COMBAT: Eas has used Silver Slam on Cure White.
COMBAT: Eas has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cure White narrowly dodges Eas's Silver Slam, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Cure White's Fade ability activates!  Cure White's Flash ability activates!  Stun applied to Cure White!
COMBAT: Cure Black narrowly counters Eas's Silver Slam, taking 12 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Cure Black's counterattack, Sen no Sen, partially gets through, doing 9 Fatigue damage to Eas!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Cure Black should really move. But while she's blissfully unaware that the entire science club budget is in those bags, she's well aware that their contents are important to Honoka. She sets her feet, drags her fist back like her torso is a winding spring, and hammers it forward. Even as it impacts, she uses the resistance to stop that half of her body, so the other can launch her other punch straight up.

Her lower lip pinches triangular into her upper one as she stands in crunched cement, both fists buried in the base of the Zakenna's hands. She took the worse of the exchange, like a nail struck by a hammer, her skinny legs vibrating as they struggled to keep her standing. But the blow stopped, and the bags are safe.

Even Nagisa doesn't lose sight of the big picture, however. "What... do you... want?!" she demands. "Are you from the Dark Zone?" She chops her knees up and spins in midair, her back heel coming round to strike one of the monster's fingers. Without a way to improve her momentum, it's not a blow to stagger a giant, but it's enough to disengage, and Cure Black drops to the ground already poised. As soon as she hits, she runs, zooming between the Zakenna's legs to force him to turn.

"I've never heard of Mobius!" she shouts. "But I'm not going to let him have his way!"

COMBAT: Cure Black has used Decisive Heel on Eas.
COMBAT: Cure Black has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eas narrowly braces Cure Black's Decisive Heel, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Black is Psyched!

Cure Black has reconnected.

<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"You never do apologize," Cure White agrees, even as she hurls herself out of the way of the Zakenna's bulk, her eyes widening as she sees that smooth violet expanse. Something in the statement is just a little bit sad, disappointment not for herself but for Eas, Gekidrago's high-flying eagle still fresh in her mind. "I'm sorry that you don't know how."

She spins three times, lace flying, before coming to a stop behind Cure Black, her toes nimbly skating upon the rent pavement as though it were ice and she bladed.

Her hair and arms are still catching up with her angular momentum as she sees Black's fists impact the Zakenna's -- her eyes widening in amazement, awe, then narrowing in comprehension.

She leaps, graceful as a swan, then nimble as a monkey as she lands, feet first, then hand-first, then feet-first, handspringing and cartwheeling her way up the massive monster to its head.

The final hand-first landing puts said hands neatly behind that head, and grasping for the scruff of its neck /just/ as Cure Black tries to set him off balance with her heel.

Then, should the magic of Pretty Cure physics do its work, Earth will become Heaven, and vice versa -- in that what rises high will come crashing down.

She /doesn't/ shout for her partner then, she doesn't announce that it's time to strike. She knows that she knows. They know. Together.

COMBAT: Cure White has used From Heaven To Earth on Eas.
COMBAT: Cure White has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eas perfectly dodges Cure White's From Heaven To Earth, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Eas's Fade ability activates!  Eas's Flash ability activates!

Cure Black has partially disconnected.

<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

It is mostly the chaos of the starting battle that disguises Eas's own reactions to what she sees--but she is already frowning even before Cure Black stands her ground against the initial assault and Cure White lands a knife blow with words before even moving. At both, her foiled spite and the unwanted sympathy, Eas curls her hands into fists and cross her arms once again.

She only needs to watch.

"I live to enact Mobius-sama's will," she answers coldly. "It's only a matter of time before he controls all worlds. I still don't see why you bother."


Regardless, while she's speaking the Cures are moving, fast and precise enough to make the giant look slow and clumsy. The monster may have the better end of the exchange with Black, but it doesn't win yet; it's already turning in an effort to keep up its assault as White grabs out--

But her mighty hand grips only shadows, purple nothingness fading about her gloves as the giant keeps moving.

"You'll be sorry for a lot more than that before I'm finished! I won't let either of you stand in my way!" She steps forward and thrusts an arm outward to direct her creature--

But it never stopped moving. It lunges, oozing forward to try to trap White in its gunky form as it reaches all the way to a free public bench--

Which is its weapon next, picked up in one great hand. It's already halfway crushed before the Zakenna is done swinging it straight down at Black.

COMBAT: Eas has used Giving Surface on Cure White.
COMBAT: Eas has used Strike Two! on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Eas has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cure White perfectly counters Eas's Giving Surface, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Cure White's Reverse ability activates!  Cure White's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure White's counterattack, Heaven and Earth Throw, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Eas!
COMBAT: Cure Black narrowly braces Eas's Strike Two!, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Cure Black's Block ability activates!  Cure Black's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Cure Black has early warning that the Zakenna is turning around. It is far too large to move stealthily, and when she hears it, she hastens her pace for a few seconds, trusting that she'll have just a little more time. She then rounds on her foe, poised like a cat to leap in any direction.

But the sweep of this arm comes in fast, and Black's arms swing into an X as she rotates to face the impact. She knows she can withstand it; she doesn't want to lose too much ground, because it's time to go on the offensive, and they don't do that as well alone. Futari Wa Pretty Cure.

And so the bench explodes around her, and Cure Black is tossed shoulder-over-shoulder laterally, bouncing twice and then splaying her legs as she flies, stabilizing herself so that on the next bounce, she catches herself on a tripod of two pink boots and five rug-burned fingers. Bruised and dirty, now, but having lost almost no time, she charges forward as White does something complex on the other side that ends with the Zakenna on its face. Wanting to give White an easy, vertical surface to beat on directly, Black takes a flying leap and comes down with both feet in the small of its back, to force its face up. While White keeps its face up, Black is sprinting over the Zakenna's back, to throw a shoulder into the back of its head.

There's no reason White, who cannot see past that giant head, should know that the Zakenna's face is about to squash her flat. But Black knows well that White will know anyway, and does not hesitate or slow herself before smashing its big purple face back down into the street. Tucking into a front roll and tumbling right off its head, Black hits the ground and braces one fist with the other, pumping an elbow back into one of the Zakenna's cheeks, leaving the other for White.

COMBAT: Cure Black has started a combo targeting Eas!

<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

White yelps with surprise as her perfectly-set-up-by-Black throw fails because she's clutching only shadow, and then she's falling, falling, into the heart of darkness, enveloped by it all around. There's a moment of panic, of thrashing, of closing her eyes and still feeling the Zakennastuff seeping under her eyelids and gumming up her lashes.

Then she inhales -- tries not to think about what she's breathing -- and brings her arms up over her head in an almost balleretic motion. A biologist would have it resemble a squid. The swim coach, the butterfly stroke, something Honoka has never been able to do more than, on her best days, adequately.

Cure White surges downwards with explosive force, feels her feet pop out of the bottom and SMACK the ground. Her knees bend. She isn't one for feats of strength like Black, direct shows of opposing force.

And so it is that instead of simply launching straight back upwards through the thing fists-first like her partner might have done, she instead sweeps underneath it, hunching her shoulders to not make contact until /just/ as it's throwing the bench.

Then she encourages its motion to continue, causing Zakenna to tumble head over heels and onto its back. The ground doesn't erupt into a crater the way it might have had her first, rather more spectacular throw succeeded, but as it is written: 'if at first you don't succeed...'

"What /do/ you want?" White cries over the sounds of battle, remnants of silvery shadow flowing off of her from hairpiece to legwarmers as she briefly gazes over at Eas, searchingly and also angrily, the self-righteousness of the defender rolling off of her in nearly palpable waves.

But she doesn't wait for an answer before leaping forward to meet Black's need. The scratch on her face that she doesn't remember getting adds some of her partner's red to her blue accents, all a blur as she turns in mid-air to strike at its upturned face, her heels straight to its chin, once, twice, in a twin uppercut kick. The second blow launches her up and away again, spinning, spinning...

Up -- and down, elbow-first, to try to turn the Zakenna's other cheek. It is so perfectly timed, in contrast to the intricate complimentary of their prior attacks, that there is only a single THWAM, not a double retort.

This is an accurate representation of reality, for Eas and the Zakenna collectively outnumber their opponent. They're not fighting Cure Black and Cure White.

It's Pretty Cure that stands against them, and in that single perfect moment of identical motion, White's eyes meet Black's across the expanse of Zakenna's face, and they are shining.

COMBAT: Cure White has joined the combo started by Cure Black!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Black and Cure White have used Taijitu Taijutsu on Eas.
COMBAT: Cure Black has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cure White has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eas narrowly braces Cure Black and Cure White's Combo: Taijitu Taijutsu, taking 43 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Black and Cure White are Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

Black tossed away and White gripped by the darkness, Eas has a moment that might as well be to herself with her monster, looking down upon the battlefield with flat-hued eyes. The battle in this moment surely looks in her favor, but it is not enough to satisfy the denizen of Labyrinth.

It doesn't stop her from glaring at the combatants as her monster crashes downward--the bench may be in ruins, but Black is too quick for the advantage to be pressed, and the fallen Zakenna is too slow and lumbering to evade the next strikes. It has give, like it's practically water or a bag of fine sand, but heart-emblazoned fists hit hard enough to force it into the setup Black is trying.

White too is moving, her reversal still in motion. "Want? What a ridiculous word!" Eas spits back. "It's just like you selfish humans to think about what you /want/ all the time! --Get them!"

The monster is a bit busy to respond to Eas's demands, but the white-haired girl stares back in a fury all-too-quick to take the challenge of the defender. Zakenna, however, is struck by White's followup, growling in its polyphonic voice as the blur of Pretty Cure strikes against it--

Until the strike of both at once. Or, really, the strike of both hands, it may as well be, because it is here that Eas can see that unity against those she needs to fight, as Zakenna is slammed backward, hurled straight off the ground through the sheer force of Pretty Cure's attack to land some distance away down the street.

"/Useless/," she mutters. "I'd be better off doing this myself--"

A claw grips the street.

Dragging itself upward, the creature shimmers, almost seeming incoherent a moment as it rises back to its full height. "ZA...KENNNAAAA!" it calls, and slides back into a spin, its motions suddenly more nimble as it grips a lamp post in its spin and lets momentum build before it /hurls/ the thing at Cure White.

But it follows through the motion, swinging a single fist at Cure Black in an unsettlingly familiar pose.

COMBAT: Eas has used Your Power Is My Power on Cure White.
COMBAT: Eas has used The Measure Of A Man on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Eas has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cure White narrowly dodges Eas's Your Power Is My Power, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Cure White's Fade ability activates!  Cure White's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Black narrowly braces Eas's The Measure Of A Man, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Eas is Psyched!  Cure Black's Block ability activates!  Cure Black's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Black discovers White's eyes. It's visible first in how her own amber eyes widen, as if startled. Flakes of tiny debris float between them slowly--too slowly, it makes it obvious that somehow they've trapped a little moment. And in that slow span, White can watch Black's smile widen and warm until she seems as if she would no longer need a foot on the ground to remain upright.

And then an acceleration, both of mass and time (are they not one, Honoka?) as the Zakenna is powered away from them with a monstrous echoing boom, compressing from the blow. Black jerks a quick nod at White, grinning, then charges after it headlong, her speed forcing her lower to the ground than usual. The Zakenna is resilient, however, and rises before she reaches it, hurling a blow that seems too... small for it.

But not too weak. Black lifts a knee and tightens her elbow, a kickboxer's stance to take the huge punch to her whole body. She skids back with less harm done than should have been possible for a fist the size of her whole body, but her face and belly are smudged with grit, her gloves frayed.

"Is it copying us?" she shouts to Honoka, retreating to her position. Something about that worries her, though she's too instinctual a thinker to put a reason to it. It seems, though, that it would be a good time to end this.

Reaching for Honoka's hand, she thrusts a palm decisively to the sky, which darkens at her call. Light--half of light--rips down in an electric bridge. "BLACK THUNDER!" The air and ground around her seems suddenly fraught, as if it would be a bad place to light a match. This power is not one called upon casually.

<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The scolding commences immediately. At full tilt, it's a mix of schoolteacher, grandmother, and prime minister; someone secure enough in mind, body and spirit to commit with total, passionate integrity to their position.

"Don't pretend that you're above selfish action, that you're somehow different. Clearly you /want/ to please your 'Mobius,' and are willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want," Cure White fires back, uncowed by Eas' scorn. There is definitely not a '-sama' on that 'Mobius'. "From the very beginning you've told us to get out of your way. I am asking you: what are we in the way of?"

She doesn't want to know in the hopes that they can negotiate and reach common ground. Dark King is attempting to commit omnicide; it is unlikely that whatever Labyrinth wants is compatible with anything but the apocalypse.

No, she wants to know because she wants to /understand/. The spectacular world of magic she's been thrust into defies explanation. Trying to fit it into scientific parleance is narrow-minded, beneath both her and the wonders of this place. It isn't her brain that wants to know.

It's her heart.

/Why/ are they /doing/ this? What do they possibly stand to gain by knocking over fairy realms, annihilating puffballs and snuffing out rainbows?

She's not sure if it would be easier or harder to deliver righteous punchkicking if she knew. She doesn't care. It is better to know; ignorance is not bliss.

There's no time to just stand there and listen, though, not with this monster trying to murder them. She flows underneath the lamppost, arms spread wide to catch every bit of friction she can get from the air, lest its mere passage slap her away. Even so, she lands hard, in a tumble. Kicking back up to her feet, her knees are more gray than white, now, marred by the concrete they've just shattered on impact.

"Maybe -- we have to finish it in one blow!" she replies, buoyed by Nagisa's insight as much as her smile. So many people dismiss her partner as a airheaded fool. Honoka knows better, and is proven right all the time.

...Even if the occasional idiom requires correction.

Her hand nestles snugly in Nagisa's like a bird in her nest, and just as fierce about protecting its place there, while the other plows upwards to spear the heavens. "WHITE THUNDER!" The other half of light courses through her, and then between her and her partner, the two beams crossing and crossing again, intertwining.

Where they meet, rainbows begin, a shimmering distortion in the air that is very, very faintly tinged in a gold they never see, and can never guess at, because their eyes are closed. Not screwed shut out of fear, but concentration. This invocation demands all of her, everything she has and more. Sometimes she thinks that if she blinked, she'd be burnt up like a fuse in an overloaded circuit.

COMBAT: Cure Black has started a combo targeting Eas!
COMBAT: Cure White has joined the combo started by Cure Black!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Black and Cure White have used Black Thunder!! White Thunder!! on Eas.
COMBAT: Cure Black has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cure White has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eas narrowly braces Cure Black and Cure White's Combo: Black Thunder!! White Thunder!!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Black and Cure White are Psyched!  Trap applied to Eas!  Bind Break! All of Cure Black's debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

White isn't the only one who can see Black's smile; Eas watches the difference in expression from her distant perch, her frown deepening as if there's only so much smile in the world and her share is long since used-up. She can read what she's seeing easily enough, though there was nothing like it as she wa growing up in Labyrinth.

It's why her scorn suddenly changes as Honoka's words come at just the right time to strike at the nerve now exposed. "What do you know about my motive?" she snaps back. "Here you all scurry around looking for 'purpose' or whatever else seems important right then, and band together because you're weak, but I already have purpose! I already have strength! Mobius-sama's will is more than your petty wants!" She takes a step forward, though she holds herself back from actually getting in the way of the plan.

...Not that she likes it.

While Eas angrily shouts right back at Honoka, the Zakenna stays in motion, focused first on Cure Black as even its huge fist doesn't crush her; knocking her back, it recovers into a hulking, powerful stance even as the lamppost crashes down well past Cure White's quick movements. But its stance is already shifting into a crouch, putting the giant lighter on its huge feet.

For all her feigned distance, the fury in Eas's voice is obvious. "I exist to do Mobius-sama's will, and his will is to rule all worlds as he does Labyrinth!"

The distortion starts, and Eas cuts off, turning from White to Black as she attempts to figure out what they're doing--but then the light begins crashing downward. She holds in a breath, waiting--

But the Zakenna, bonded with no object at all, does not sit and wait; it rears back with a roar, lifting both hands just as Pretty Cure has lifted two--but instead of gathering energy, it sends it crashing downward, striking the air itself so hard that a rippling shockwave of purple energy crashes towards Cure White and Cure Black, tumbling debris in its wake.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Eas has used Power Burst on Cure Black.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Eas has used Power Burst on Cure White.
COMBAT: Cure Black narrowly braces Eas's Finisher, Power Burst, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Cure Black's Block ability activates!  Cure Black's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure White fails to brace Eas's Finisher, Power Burst, taking 70 Fatigue damage!  Cure White is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Honoka can feel the shift in the air as energy cascades around her, the Zakenna behaving most un-Zakennalike as it brings a remarkable amount of energy straight down on the girls in the midst of their charge.

Her grip tightens on Nagisa's, and she strains, making a pained sound low in her throat as she feels the heat and weight bear down on her.

And then she hears the voice.

"You're wrong!" she screams, her eyes flying open, her focus shattered by the fallacy that lies before her. Distorted as it is by the magic all around them, her irises seem not blue but black, as they gaze straight past the monster to Eas, stare right at her, dead in the eye, somehow also in the heart.

Her impassionate words come in a gasped set of staccato bursts no less intense for the amount of effort demanded in their creation.

"Abdicating -- your free will -- is just running away!!"

She can't reach out to Eas and oppose the monster at the same time. The violet energy slams down in the moment that the white lightning flickers with distraction, down and through. The mingling energies explode as the blast pierces her body in a flickering strobe of black and white and purple.

Then she's face first on the ground, steaming lightly.

She's not moving.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The hammering hail of violet hatred comes at a bad time; Black is too bruised now to want to stand firm against blows, but neither she nor White has the luxury of moviing without ruining their next attack. Black bends her shoulders and braces her legs. "No one... will EVER... rule the Garden of Rainbows!" she shouts. There are many rulers here, yes, but no absolute ruler. None Nagisa would remember, at least... Mepple has a moment of nostalgia.

Black glances to the side, eyes wide, as White makes her impassioned appeal. Black is not known for common sense; if White hadn't started to reach out, she might have. But as it stands, she gets to see the effect, and realize the problem. "Wh-" she starts to object, but a wrenching beam of energy strikes her shoulder, nearly knocking her from her feet. She tries to call for White again, but a glint of light above her warns her, and Nagisa throws a forearm above her head just in time to get hammered down into the ground by gout of energy.

When it passes, she is kneeling, and smoke rises from her crisped shoulderpads, her orange hair streaked with ash. Pulling her arm down slowly, Black reveals her eyes, hard with determination, the skin around them much cleaner, having been shielded by her cloth gauntlet. She exhales a stiff breath. Her body hurts. "White," she manages dryly.

Turning, Black expects to pull White to her feet. It only takes a slight tug on her limp arm to realize that won't be possible. A moment ago, her foremost concern was getting Marble Screw off before it was too late. But that was a moment ago.

"Huwaito!" she shouts, and rapidly kneels, scooping an arm under White's chest and rolling her onto Black's knee. Planting her other knee on the ground, she shakes White gently. White couldn't resist, could she? Black sniffed a smile onto her lips. "Hang in there, okay?" She bent to hug her partner.

But at that moment, she felt the Zakenna take a step. They don't have Marble Screw anymore, which is bad enough. But now Black doesn't have White. She'd sooner fight with one arm. There's no winning anymore, is there?

Black withdraws from the incipient embrace of her partner, and instead lets her down gently onto the ground, and rises slowly. Her eyes are hidden by a sheaf of orange bang, but her mouth implies their unhappiness. She stands in profile to the Zakenna, as if unaware of it, for several seconds, catching her breath. Then, slowly, her head swivels, just enough for her eyes to be revealed, glinting in a smudged face. Her fists feel heavy, not with weariness, but with purpose.

"I'll be right back," she promises White. And then she lurches into motion. It's irregular, this run, as if her shoulders were driving her instead of her feet. Difficult to track, difficult to hit. Her feet patter along the ground, and as she nears the Zakenna, she begins to bound further and further, like a stone skipping on a pond. She's building up.

Her final leap is breathtaking, a horizontal vault of such athletic perfection that it stretches the limits of what her Light-granted strength normally permits. It carries her across far more ground than expected, far faster than expected. Past the Zakenna, the target she'd been feigning. Straight into Eas. Fist first.

Black's fists follow each other over and over, each from a new angle, each as fast as the other. This sort of momentum requires her to advance constantly, but Black does not simply match tempo and strike once per step. Like a musician, she splits her blows into quarter notes, each swallowing a fourth of her motion exactly. To keep her balance, she needs this predictable rhythm. It's all right if Eas knows when the next one's coming. It's all right because there will be too many.

"Hachachachachachacha!" Black huffs sharply and rapidly as she lets a machine gun volley of punches rip the air resonantly. There's an animal ferocity contained in this technical masterwork of blows that gives it a raw edge. If Eas were a concrete wall, there wouldn't be an inch of it in a radius from her knees to her head that hadn't been layered repeatedly with blows.

COMBAT: Cure Black has used Hundred Fierce Fists on Eas.
COMBAT: Cure Black has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eas fails to brace Cure Black's Hundred Fierce Fists, taking 29 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Eas [None] has posed.

Black's defiance reaches Eas over the din, the blast crashing towards the building energy not enough to wipe the words out. The attack nearly surprised Eas, for that matter, who might have taken some secret satisfaction in /her/ plan being shown to be superior--

But the arrogant smirk on her face frezes at White's answer, that first energy built on even as the magic continues to build around them. Pale, dull red eyes flash back at Honoka, her fist curling again not at the immediate protest, but at the words said after, the ones that fly in the face of everything she's ever been taught.

There's a feeling in her heart, the echo of one she can't understand no matter how many times she tries to brush it away.

Then, violet power crashes in, and the pain Eas was feeling is replaced by spiteful relief. "Hmph," she says, smirking outright as she sees White on the ground. ...More, as she realizes the power that was there will not move as directed. She ignores the Zakenna entirely, focusing then on Cure Black.

"You see? Relying on others won't get you anywhere. Do you think you have the power alone to--"

She blinks, and it's only in a blink that she recognizes Black's target as the other vaults through the air, halting her cruel words to lift her forearms to block the first punch.

The first, she does block, and even the second. She is fast, much faster even than the monster before her, her movements an easy match... at first.

She knows when each is coming; her technique is polished, practiced. But her heart is shaken, and Black's is resolute.

She fails to keep up; finally a punch knocks her upper arm clear of blocking radius, another hammers down her counterattack, and strikes land, until one gloved fist slams right into the side of Eas's face, just like the Zakenna's before--she's sent spinning down, half-turned and braced against the wall when the blur of punches clears. There's already a mark forming.

...And it's in that moment that the Zakenna is seen, too; no longer violet, it is rippling and silver, black and white energy pouring towards it from where the mighty attack was forming just moments ago--the last remnants flowing into its spiral body. Eas's eyes snap past Black and towards it, but it is already leaping upward on fluid legs, shining and then gone.

Eas returns her attention to Cure Black quickly. "Hmph," she answers. "None of you understand. Not her, or them, or either of you. Do you know what I /want/?"

She narrows her eyes, letting one hand rise to touch her cheek, jabbing her finger against the forming bruise to let the pain punctuate her words, "I want Mobius-sama to order me to take you all down myself!"

She shouts the last without seeming to realize it, anger and frustration and /something/ she can't explain still surging... but she has her orders.

She steps backward, and /leaps/, flipping mid air to land up on another rooftop before she starts away.