2015-08-09 - You Should Have Listened to Him!
|Title: You Should Have Listened to Him!|
After Jaren Zastava unearthed the Lost Logia known as Citadel at Tokyo's marina, Lera decided to fly after him and settle things once and for all. It doesn't go so well, but rescue comes from an unexpected source.
An apartment block in downtown Tokyo.
| OOC - IC Date:|
08-12-2014 - 08-09-2015
Lera Camry didn't wait. The girl blazes through the air, shooting off like a rocket into the skies. She manages to form a plan only by virtue of the fact that -- in a rush of adrenaline and outrage -- she can't let go of the situation as it is. Her friends are left behind, as she takes to the skies and leaves Tokyo Bay behind. There is a bolt of red-orange in the air, and little more.
Her plan isn't a good one. She has no way to track Citadel or Jaren. She doesn't understand the first thing beyond teleportation magic, beyond its mere existence. She decides, instead, to go to the place that she knows Jaren calls home. She rushes through the air, straight towards the high-rise apartment building that he calls home..
This time, she lands on the roof. Lera sets down hard, boot-clad feet crunching into the gravel of the high-rise's roof. Her eyes narrow when she does. She looks about -- and then decides to shout. It's a way to vent some frustration.
<Just--just calm down!> Sky says. <You're panicking! It won't do us any good to do this!>
Calling this a 'plan' is pretty generous, honestly. Jaren's apartment has already been repaired, courtesy of a little bit of Recognition Inhibition and a little bit of Jaren having paid big money for an apartment where they don't care who your enemies are or what they do to your house. He could be here. But he could also be anywhere else; some other crash pad they have no way of knowing about. Preparing with Citadel for another play...maybe out somewhere in Dimensional Space, putting together the next phase of whatever plan he's a part of that requires the Guardian of Ten Thousand Points.
The loose stones spread across the rooftop crackle under booted feet. <MOUNTAIN CRASHER.>
Lera has enough time to turn around and see the wheeling Midchildan magic circle before it releases an unfocused but tremendous torrent of magic energy directly into her face. Jaren Zastava's voice may or may not reach her while she tumbles: "Still think I come when you call me, do you? You're not here to surrender, I bet. You were never that smart."
COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has used Mountain Crasher on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has finished attacking. COMBAT: Lera Camry fails to dodge Jaren Zastava's Mountain Crasher, taking 34 Fatigue damage!
She didn't see the explosion from underfoot coming. The Midchildan circle forms and blasts her, before she can manage to do anything more than register it. The shot of energy connects with her, slamming her backward. It is testament to her skill that she isn't thrown flat on her back. It is testament to her rashness that she is thrown back, Barrier Jacket shimmering, and her feet stumble along the gravel.
"You--you have some nerve!" she shouts, with a bitterness in her voice that isn't usually there. "First, you steal Ground, then you hurt Ren, and now you do this! Do you have any idea what you could do to the city!? Do--do you even care!?"
<Lera! Calm down, or we could--this isn't the time!>
"This is the time, Sky!" she snaps back at her Intelligent Device. Lera's eyes blaze with a newfound fury. "He... I'm going to end this! Right here!"
She spins to face Jaren, eyes widening with a slight unevenness in the gesture. Then she rockets forward, her flight spell launching her from standing still to nearly a hundred miles per hour in the blink of an eye. A trail of red-orange light is left in her wake -- and she tries to ram her shoulder into his solar plexus.
COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Line Burst on Jaren Zastava. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava fails to brace Lera Camry's Line Burst, taking 20 Fatigue damage! Lera Camry is Psyched!
Jaren grins. "Man can't be great without nerve, kiddo," he replies, setting Ground on his shoulder with a smug smile. "But as for your question..." he shrugs. "Nah, not really. The Guardian couldn't do that much damage, s'long as nobody decided to taunt the wolfy. Anything he did to try 'n' stop you, well, not seeing how that's my fault, you know?"
His lips split in a grin, interrupted by Lera body slamming him right in the gut, sending him staggering back with a rough WHOOF! of air. He slams his foot down to reclaim his footing an rolls his eyes up to glare at her. "Let you have that one," he declares, and swings Ground around hard. "You wanna finish this!? ABOUT DAMN TIME! Ground! Bombadier Rave!" <PROCEEDING.>
Flickering motes of light form all around Jaren, scattering will-o-wisps of energy that soon begin to juke and move, full of restless strength. "TAKE HER DOWN!" Jaren screams, lips peeled back, and swings Broken Ground down like he were pounding a nail.
They converge - like time lapse images of stars, they rush out of the sky in a twinkling rain of light to batter Lera!
COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has used Bombadier Rave on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has finished attacking. COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly dodges Jaren Zastava's Bombadier Rave, taking 21 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Jaren Zastava is Psyched! Lera Camry's Fade ability activates! Lera Camry's Flash ability activates!
When she hits him, she bounces backward into the air. Lera flies a short distance and scowls down at Jaren, gripping Sky as tight as she can.
"You woke him up! You said you're going to take him back home! If you'd left him alone--if you hadn't fed him that line--" Lera's retort is cut short, when the cascading waves of energy motes come raining down. She manages to weave and bob away from a couple, but then others spin in and strike her. Two catch her in the side, sending flashes of light with each impact. A third rams into the small of her back and drives her back down into the roof.
Her feet hit the ground and her knees buckle, but she stays up right. She looks up at him, blood trickling down from the cut on her forehead from the previous fight. "Fine by me!" she snaps. "Sky! Let's knock him down a peg!"
<Right...> The Intelligent Device falters a moment, before pulsing once with red light. <Inferno Slasher.>
Lera runs across the roof, her sword trailing after her. She swings the weapon around -- and plasma dances up the blade. She chops it around, swinging over her shoulder to slash down at him. When she does, the blade releases the fang of energy gathered on it, and it shoots down at Jaren and the roof alike.
<Are you really getting something out of this, Ground!?>
COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Inferno Slasher on Jaren Zastava. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava narrowly counters Lera Camry's Inferno Slasher, taking 20 Fatigue damage! Jaren Zastava's Reverse ability activates! Jaren Zastava's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Jaren Zastava's counterattack, Terra Fissure, partially gets through, doing 18 Fatigue damage to Lera Camry!
"You'd still have a giant monster wolf sitting under the Tokyo Marina, waiting for who knows who to pick him up?" Jaren quips, tipping his head with a snide smile. "You're welcome, by the way, for getting him out without blowing up Honshu. He can do that, just in case you were wondering."
He watches Lera tumble with a sadist's eye, but eventually she manages to claim the ground and his fun ends. "Broken Ground," he says. "Punish her."
A bead of light forms between Broken Ground's twin heads, and Jaren lets her get two hits in - before he SWINGS his hammer, not to hit her but rather to drive the bead into her - where it promptly impels her downward with planetary force, slamming her THROUGH the rooftop and down into the penthouse below.
With great respect for his neighbors, Jaren doesn't shoot lasers into their living room, instead looking down at Lera with a smug look.
<--I CRUSH. I WIN. I AM GREAT. WHAT MORE IS THERE TO GET?>
Jaren's lips tick up again into an all-too-happy grin. <YOU ARE GREEDY. WE ARE ABOVE YOU.>
"We should really get them out of there, though," Jaren notes.
A spinning magical circle forms under Lera's feet and then explodes in a concussive wave - a magic burst which serves no purpose but to vault her back onto the roof.
But not through the original hole. Jaren's not that courteous.
COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has used Fault Rise on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has finished attacking. COMBAT: Lera Camry fails to dodge Jaren Zastava's Fault Rise, taking 14 Fatigue damage! Jaren Zastava is Psyched!
For a moment, Lera is pleased enough. Her sword manages to land those two hits; for a moment, it feels like they are not as unevenly matched as the entire fight has suggested. The illusion is short-lived. The hammer swings, driving that bead of light into her body. Her eyes widen as it explodes into her Barrier Jacket. The protective spells, shaped to look like clothing, are briefly revealed for what they are. The blast hits those spells with such force that they flicker and ripple, as the barriers strain.
Then the explosion sends a fireball into the evening sky, lighting up the nearby area brighter than the setting sun. Lera screams as she rips through the roof, smashing down into the apartment below. She crashes down, stunned, into a coffee table. It shatters into splinters and glass below.
Her hand with Sky slams down into the ground, too. She hears the sickening, audible crack as the Device's pommel and hilt drives down into her hand's bones. Lera whimpers and looks sideways -- and sees the cracks also running along the crossguard and even into the red, crystalline core.
<Stop it!> Sky calls back, his voice filled with statick. <What purpose could this possibly serve!? She's-->
The next spell fires under her back -- and hurtles her back through the hole. She slams, face first, into the pavement. Her knees buckle and shake, as she pushes herself to her feet. She looks up with a scratched up face; her back is aflame with pain and every rib feels broken. She looks up, blearily, and each breath is ragged. "We... we can do it, Sky," she manages. "C'mon, buddy. If we don't, we'll... there's no way that I'd be able to face Mom. Or Ren, or Endo, or..."
<Just run! Just--just turn around, and-->
She shakes her head once. She imagines it to look firm and brave; it really looks more desperate. She switches Sky to her off-hand; her right one hangs down limply, aching with a sharpness that should deeply worry her. She tries to ignore it.
Lera sprints forward, instead of reflecting on that pain. She shouts hoarsely, before she leaps into the air. Her eyes widen and she swings her left foot back, turning at the waist.
She kicks, hard, for the side of Jaren's head before she lands. "I'm not done yet, you--"
COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Spin Kick on Jaren Zastava. COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava narrowly counters Lera Camry's Spin Kick, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Lera Camry is Psyched! Jaren Zastava's Reverse ability activates! Jaren Zastava's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Jaren Zastava's counterattack, Mantle Witness, partially gets through, doing 7 Fatigue damage to Lera Camry!
Sky cries back at him, and Jaren's eyes stare down with an evil leer. <YOU KNOW WHAT PURPOSE.> Broken Ground says.
The duo waits for Lera to land, broken, on the rough gravel in front of Jaren. He doesn't move; back in control of the situation, he reclaims his poise. The moment's in front of him. It's his time now. He can't suppress the jaw-cracking grin, eyes wild. He lets her come at him; he says, "Ground. Mantle Witness." <SMASH!>
Lera's kick falls short of Jaren's head when a chunk of roof shoots up and clobbers her in the jaw with enough force to flip her end over end.
Jaren snaps a hand out as she falls, catching her by the collar of her Barrier Jacket and holding her up at eye level with him.
<UNNECESSARY. SHE IS BROKEN.>
Jaren's eyes cut to the side, glaring at his Device. "Don't give me lip," he snaps. "I'm going to send a message that every last one of her little friends will remember." His eyes slice back up to Lera, tipping her chin up with Broken Ground's hammerhead to get a good look at what he can of her eyes. "What do you think, kid? Will Meria Camry even think about you when I'm done?"
<MASTER. THIS IS->
Jaren's eyes slash down again, burning. "BOMBADIER. CASCADE," he snarls. "RIGHT NOW!"
Like before, they form - wisps of light flickering into existence around. But it's not handfuls, this time. It's hundreds of lights, outnumbering even the stars over light-polluted Tokyo.
"Do it," Jaren sneers.
Jaren wheels around and, with the augmented strength of his Barrier Jacket, hurls Lera upward - and the cascading lights all fall upon her, erupting in a single silent, annihilating blaze. Jaren watches, eyes wide with delight.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Jaren Zastava has used Bombadier Cascade on Lera Camry. COMBAT: Jaren Zastava has finished attacking. COMBAT: Lera Camry accepts Jaren Zastava's Finisher, Bombadier Cascade, taking 97 Fatigue damage! Lera Camry is unable to keep fighting!
Her foot never even gets close to his face. The piece of roofing smashes into her and flips her backward; her lip is cut open by a stray fragment of stone and bleeding, and then he catches her by the collar. She sags in his grip, staring up at him with unfocused eyes. They widen a fraction, a few seconds too late, as her mind tries to make sense of everything. Then, suddenly, it clicks into place.
She tries to open her mouth to say something, but nothing comes out except a groan. Then she gets thrown upward and she manages to scream. "Sky--help! I-I don't know what to--"
The rush of energy comes in for her. It strikes over and over, and this time there, isn't any smart dodging. It might be enough to kill her; the first dozen blasts shred her Barrier Jacket. It turns black, covered in soot, and then with a flash, it vanished. It leaves her wearing the white T-shirt and jeans from when she ran into Setsuna Higashi earlier today. A lifetime ago, it feels like.
That doesn't stop the blasts. One slams into her left side and blasts a blackened hole through her shirt. An ugly, burnt red smear is left under it. The next comes in--
--and hits a shimmering field of red-orange energy. Soaring Sky was never very good at barriers. The one he makes lasts for a split second; enough that it doesn't kill or maim Lera outright. It takes every last bit of energy he has. The crack up his jewel expands, then spiderwebs out into the blade. Lera's hand drops him and the sword goes flying.
<I... I'm sorry.> The crack expands, then the blade cracks in two. One half falls to the surface below with a clatter, while the one connected to the jewel at the center descends. The gem begins to dull, slowly. <Please get out of here. Please stay safe. My... my Master.>
The gem fades to a dull red -- and the broken Device slams, unceremoniously, into the roof. Lera hits a moment later, landing in a crumpled heap. She stares at the sword, but the dull and cracked AI core only reflects her eyes. They, finally, tear up.
Jaren watches the whole thing unfold with a delighted little grin. Sky throwing up the best protection he can muster; giving up his excuse for a life to try and get Lera out alive. But now...
While Lera weeps, Jaren sweeps up, gravel crunching under his boots.
"Not yet, buddy," Jaren says, and stoops down to grab hold of Lera and roughly haul her to her feet. "I told you," Jaren spits. "I told you. Give him up, walk away, and I'd be done with you! But no! You had to keep COMING! You had to keep FIGHTING! Now I have to go get Sky fixed by..." He rolls his eyes. "I don't know, SOMEBODY, 'cuz I sure don't know any Device Meisters on this stupid rock, and YOUR little escapades shut all the ways HOME!"
With that, Jaren reaches the edge, and drags Lera up to look her in the eye.
"D'you know something, squirt? Midchildan magic can't kill. I think you should've figured that out, by now, but you were always a little slow. No matter how much I throw at you, no matter how much energy I use, you'll end up...well, about where you are now." His eyes twinkle, his cheeks creasing in delight. "But I'm sick of you and your friends. And I'm a problem solver! So I'm gonna SOLVE my PROBLEM."
And then he shoves her; forces her to look out over the edge of the building, to the street far below.
He leans in close.
"You should have listened to him," Jaren says - and then rears back to kick Lera off the roof.
There is a final soft chime from Soaring Sky. The self-repair program begins, but nothing else can be seen at first. Lera stares at the broken Device, silently, for a moment longer. She doesn't know how long it could possibly take. Bardiche took weeks, she thought. She doesn't have weeks. She--
She groans when she gets dragged to her feet. She looks up at Jaren with wide eyes that, for a moment, turn angry. "You... you're a monster," she manages. "You're..."
But then she sees Soaring Sky, sitting there broken, and a gut-wrenching thought sucks the defiance out of her. He has Sky, after this. Her shoulders sag and she gives up, but before she can process that thought, she realizes what he is saying. Magic won't kill her. She knows that well enough. He means to get around it.
She looks over the edge with wide eyes, then back at him. She opens her shout, trying to form a protest, but it doesn't manage to come. 'You should have listened to him.' The kick slams into her stomach -- and pitches her over the edge of the high-rise. "W-Wait!" she calls out, reaching a hand out.
But then she's falling, the roof and Jaren and Sky growing distant, and her broken hand grasps at nothing but thin air. She squeezes her eyes shut, grits her teeth, and waits in terror for the ground to come up to her.
She should have listened to him.
This place... It provides a lot of angles to see it from, thanks to the rooftop, and the new skylights some of these apartments now have. Amidst all the brilliant magical display, it becomes easy to assume that anyone still in the area is either hiding or gone.
But that isn't entirely true.
Eas's eyes, red-rimmed as well as irised, remain unblinking even against the harsh light of magic. This, after she'd actually run from Lera. Watching her be crushed like...
Like nothing at all.
She can hear them, too, as she watches, her silver hair rustled by the wind. She stares up at Jaren in those moments, having taken the time already to consider him, to consider his face...
But she steps forward, out of the shadows, alarmed as she realizes what he means to do. A fight, that's one thing; seeing Lera lose, confront her lack of committment--
Not that it felt satisfying.
She acts before she even realizes what she's doing. She already Switched Over earlier, after their conversation, to feel stronger, and so now she already has that strength and speed. She steps out, a black blur, probably not even visible if Jaren isn't paying attention...
And Lera doesn't hit the ground. She lands roughly, but her landing is not a splat; Eas catches her in her thin arms, mid-air, sailing back down to the ground after her leap to impact the ground with a loud clicking noise.
"...idiot!" the younger girl seethes. "Stupid, blind idiot!"
...They're the first words she's spoken since earlier, and she roughly turns her face away from Lera, still holding onto her. Only after that does she look up, casting her eyes out for Jaren Zastava, looking upward.
Jaren watches Lera fall for a long few seconds, and then whips around, managing to just barely miss Eas' diving save. <THAT WAS UNNECESSARY.>
"The fight wasn't over," Jaren says, cold.
<SKY WAS DESTROYED. SHE WAS NO THREAT.>
"Don't you tell me what's a threat, Broken Ground!" Jaren suddenly roars, whipping his Device to look at its core with ire. "I'm Jaren Zastava! YOU are Broken Ground! We're the ultimate team! And that means NOBODY who tangles with us gets away with it! NOBODY! That's what it MEANS to be the best!"
A long, stony silence fills several seconds, and then Jaren snarls and stalks across the roof to claim Sky's fallen core.
"No Meister means he's stuck with auto-repair," he mutters. "That'll take weeks. Too long. I guess I can see what I can do about that."
He grunts, and then holds Ground up. "Ground, Transfer."
Some seconds later, they wink away in a flash of light.
The end that Lera expects never arrives. She doesn't smash into the concrete and break; she hits Eas's arms, caught in a hard grip that is still far more gentle than than the sidewalk would have been. She hears the berating words and tenses up, but it all comes in a blur of white hair, red eyes, and rushing wind. It takes a very long moment before she can make sense of anything that just happened.
Strangely enough, what cuts through the fog of confusion is Eas's words. 'Stupid, blind idiot!' Her eyes come into focus, in time to see the flash of light from the top of the building.
She knows what it means. Soaring Sky is gone, with Jaren and Broken Ground. That elicits a tiny, choked sound from the back of her throat. She bows her head, then, before she looks up weakly. 'Idiot,' she thinks, but the voice in her mind belongs to Eas.
Everything begins to click into place. She stares up at her impossible savior, blinkinh her eyes slowly like it might reveal the truth. "Eas...?"
Eas sees a flash of light... but that's it.
It's not until after that that she even registers what's going on. One moment she was watching, sulking really, and the next...
Did she just... help one of...
No, it's fine. It's fine, it's...
It's really not fine.
Lera makes a tiny noise, and Eas looks back down at her suddenly, looking right back down at the older girl as she stares up at her with all that blinking and weird look and--
"Who else is it going to be? Like your stupid friends are going to show up at a time like this. ...Don't crane your neck so much. I'm getting you out of here."
She scowls outright. "Stupid. You really are an idiot. I should've let you hit the ground. Maybe I could've gotten some Misery Energy out of it if I'd called your friends."
"You... you saved me," Lera whispers back dimly. She stares up at Eas, watching the girl with a confused look. A small part of her wonders if she died; if this is some feverish imagining as she lays bleeding out on the street, because no one came.
'You really are an idiot.'
She realizes, then, that isn't the case. She almost smiles at Eas, but only almost. Befpre she can, she hears the remark about her friends She thinks back to Sailor Moon telling Sailor Jupiter to help her; to Ren and Endo making her promise to never face Jaren Zastava alone; to Fate promising to protect her smile. She turns her head to the side, then.
Her friends will never understand. How can she bring herself to face them, after she made this kind of mistake? She shudders, then looks away, at nothing. She closes her eyes.
When she does, she sees Soaring Sky break again.
Lera opens her eyes and stares ahead. Her voice has the distant, vacant, and defeated sound that it had when she spoke to Eas the night before, but far worse. She curls in tighter against Eas when she does, trying to make herself as small as possible. "...yeah. I'll... I'll keep still."