2016-04-16 - Locks and Keys 2

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Title: Locks and Keys 2

Vita attacks Otokichi in an effort to drain his magic into the Book of Darkness, and is surprised when a Key to the City pops out of his heart instead. She's interrupted by a small army of magical girls, plus Siren, who summons a Negatone to make a play for the Key. Fate gets away with this Key, and brings it to the Tuner Organization.


Kanade Minamino, Chitose Shiratori, Endo Naoki, Fate Testarossa, Fuu Hououji, Hibiki Houjou, Hikaru Shidou, Jad Werke, Lera Camry, Mami Tomoe, Fu Inobuzaki

GMs: Hotaru Tomoe as Siren and the Negatone, Utena Tenjou as Vita


A park in Tama

OOC - IC Date:

04-16-2016 - 10-15-2014

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

"Take it easy, Gramps, it'll all be over soon..."

The Book of Darkness pulses with eponymously dark power as one page, and then another, fills with arcane text. It's hovering over one Otokichi Shirabe, a thin and ancient man, who is dubiously conscious at best. From the center of his chest rises a soft and diminishing glow.

He's sprawled out in the middle of a small but much-beloved park in Tama. With its musical statuary -- and adjacency to a larger and also much-beloved concert hall -- it might be unsurprising to know that Shirabe is quite the local figure when it comes to promoting the fine arts.

The girl standing over him is unfamiliar to most. Dressed all in red -- red gown, red boots, red hat adorned with white bunny -- she looks young enough to be his granddaughter. Her vivid blue eyes burn with a passion that has nothing to do with such love, however. There are a lot of feelings there, churning beneath the surface, but none of them are stopping her from serving the one duty she swore never to fulfill.

"Weird that you had anything worth absorbing, but you'll be all right with a little rest. So, don't--"

Light flares, far more brightly than Shirabe's core ever did, sending a pillar into the sky entirely likely to attract attention from far and wide. Indeed, the new radiance replaces the old, as his drained core returns to his chest, and what emerges is...

"Ehh?!? A key? What the heck is this supposed to be?!"

Vita glares at it even as she clenches a fist, causing the Book to slam shut, then disappear entirely. Then she glares harder as a tiny little magical window pops open to her right. In Midchildan script, it reads, AUDIO ONLY.

The voice that comes out of it is male, malicious, and one she's not supposed to have overheard, speaking to Signum in the past. He's never contacted her directly. But she knows who he is, at least in a broad sense: the one who engineered their little deal with the ones that annoyingly call themselves Ends of the World. No 'the'. Pfeh. Annoying old men...

<< Vita-chan, it's your lucky day. You've stumbled on something very valuable to me. Secure it and bring it to these coordinates, and I will triple the usual rate. Think of how many pages that would be. >>

"Not gonna happen," says another voice, which could not be more dissimilar from the first. It's younger, silkier, female. Feline! Vita raises her eyebrows incredulously as a cat glares down at her from atop one of the statues. "That key is mine!"


The communication from the mystery man snaps shut as quickly as it came, almost as quickly as Vita narrows her eyes, snatching the key out of the air. "What's gonna stop me from taking it and your magic too, huh, you idiot cat?"

Siren smirks in the way that only cats can, toothy and whiskered and so, so arrogant. "COME OUT, NEGATONE!!"

It's why she was here originally; Notes of the Legendary Score love this area, and a dazed-looking orange sixteenth-note googles its eyes from a nearby oak tree. That is, until it's infected by the despair Siren wields like a whip. Then it engorges, sprouting bones and claws, uprooting the tree with a rumble of soil, until it's no longer a Note and a tree, but instead a mighty tree monster.

"Ugh, you've gotta be kidding me. Whatever! I'll just take you both down!" In the heat of the moment, Vita is not particularly worried about the now truly unconscious old man on the ground. She might have kind of forgotten he's even there. The white light from his Key blazes in one hand while the other one grasps her Device, which rings like a hammer on iron with encouragement.

She leaps into the air, bringing Graf Eisen down with her all her might.

OOC: You're welcome to have witnessed as much of this as you can explain your inability to interfere with! Close enough to hear, too far away to do anything, etc. You're also welcome to come on in swinging...!

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou transforms into Scarlet Knight!
COMBAT: Negatone has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 5 opponents!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 6 opponents!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Magic Knight!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou transforms into Magic Knight of Fire!
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera Camry only happened to be anywhere nearby. She didn't see Vita's attack -- but as she walked through the park, she saw the bright flash of light as she took the key. Her head turns, her eyes going wide when she sees that. Her mouth opens and she starts running towards it. She comes to a stop, though, as she gets closer. She doesn't have Soaring Sky today -- he's sitting on a recharge rack -- but Broken Ground, in his bracelet form, dangles from her wrist.

<Hold on. Listen.>

Ground's words get her to stop from rushing right in. Lera's eyes widen, as she hears the man speaking. Her lips work, mouthing: 'What the...?'

But then, she sees the cat. Lera looks up, staring briefly at the cat. Her eyes widen; then, she sees the Negatone appear from a tree, and she shakes her head for a moment, before she looks straight at Vita. She eyes the key in her hand.

"Earth's heart, erupting hope!" Lera yells. "Broken Ground, SET UP!"

<Get set.>

Light flashes around her -- and then Lera bursts from the trees, wearing her long green jacket. In her hand, she has a hammer, too -- but the similarities to Graf Eisen end there. Its hammerhead is a clockwork thing around a square gem in the center, and little motes of green light swirl and draw into it. She swings it out -- and a bolt of bright, golden light tinged green fires towards Vita.

She yells at them both. "Where'd you get that key!?" she asks. "And--and what is that thing?"

COMBAT: Lera Camry transforms into Barrier Jacket Aphelion!
<Pose Tracker> Jad Werke [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"The heck - is that a Giant. Evil. TREE??" Jad asks as the Negatone erupts into existence. Well, this is new and different. Jad hasn't seen anything like a Negatone before, and he arrives just in time to see it appear out of nowhere thanks to Siren's efforts. That is certainly something to see. However, the fact that he takes time to transform BEFORE heading to the scene means that he and Schwartzritter arrive after Vita does her whole absorbing thing. So he makes the obvious conclusion.

There's another magical person here who is trying to stop the Negatone! Clearly they need backup. Even if they've not actually asked for it.

A jet of water races across the ground, and Jad rides on top of it, one foot moving in front of the other as he races along about as fast as most other people can fly. He gestures, and the jet curves up to use a nearby, non-evil and monstrous tree as an anchor point... and he races upwards, using his momentum to boost into the air so he can get some height on the other tree!

He projects a ball of water into the air in front of him, a magical circle forming in mid-air with its usual three pointed triangle incised within it... and then brings one foot around, his device catching the ball of water and drawing it out into a long line of magical energy, which he then drives straight down towards the Negatone. "WAVE DROP... KIIIIICCCCCKKK!" Jad roars as he lashes out, driving straight down to the ground. The water blast comes down with him, trying to prune a few branches from the musical monster on the way down!

He lands in a three point stance, and then stands up to give Vita thumbs up. "Looks like you need some help here!" he states, looking over one shoulder and giving her a thumbs up.

Just in time to see Lera come in swinging at Vita.

Jad Blinks.


COMBAT: Jad Werke transforms into Barrier Jacket!
COMBAT: Jad Werke has used Wave Drop Kick on Negatone.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Lera Camry's Molten Bolt, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry is Psyched!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly dodges Jad Werke's Wave Drop Kick, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Jad Werke is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

While Fuu's parents are noticeably regular patrons of the local concert hall, Fuu herself doesn't go out to hear classical performances as often as they do; she appreciates classical music but doesn't often go out of her way for it. She still knows Otokichi-san, though; she's been dragged to enough concerts and receptions to know who he is.

At the moment, though, that's neither here nor there. She's on her way from archery team practice, and this park was one of the more convenient shortcuts to get home - at least until the floating magical book caught just enough of her attention to draw her closer to investigate. And the bad guys are already fighting each other by the time she gets close enough to really look at or listen to what's going on.

A momentary hiding place gives her the necessary cover to transform, and the Magic Knight of Wind makes her way closer; rather than charging straight into the fray, though, the Wind Knight keeps her distance, gauging the 'bad guys' and deciding which one to focus on first. "Winds of Admonishment!" she calls out, conjuring a restraining whirlwind and focusing its materialization around the monster tree ...

She might well have to switch her focus, or turn her attention from dishing out her own attacks to supporting her allies. But she's used to that prospect, and trying to keep her options open.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.


Endo had been traveling through along the outside of the park on his way to do some errands, before Fallen Stern stops him to point in the direction of the flashing light and goings on. Endo frowns, taking an abrupt turn and beginning a short jog in that direction. When he catches better slight of the events taking place, he decides more drastic action may be necessary: "Stern! Let's go!"


A vortex of ugly, black-streaked purple surrounds him as he moves, and when it clears Endo wears the sleek looking armor of his barrier jacket and drags a giant sword along behind him as he sprints for the conflict. He has enough time to pick out a few shapes, calling, "Watch out!"

Watch out for him mostly, since he's shortly hurtling past and flashing to the side of the monstrous tree to deliver a quick and sweeping strike of his weapon toward it.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA1vhF87D7g

Mami Tomoe does not spend a lot of time in this particular part of town. It's not as if she doesn't appreciate the greenery, that concert hall or even just this park. It's just that it's awkward to come here.

...Well, awkward and a few other things. Her soul gem isn't out. If there are Witches in /this/ territory, it's not prudent for her to find them.

Despite that, glancing up to see red is a surprise. Mami--still in her Ohtori uniform--turns a corner around a statue, finding Vita not that far in front of her. The pillar of light blinds her, and she covers her eyes against it. The whole thing is too much of a surprise, but she /hears/...

What could that be?

When the light clears, Mami looks up to girl and... cat. The battle starts between girl and monster, and Mami isn't even the first on the scene. It doesn't matter.

A glow embraces the ring at her wrist, turning it into a small, egg-shaped gem, and she tosses it up into the air, twirling in one smooth motion. A golden glow starts at her head, quickly covering her body, a faint musical note joining the discordant sound of the Negatone as Mami Tomoe transforms.

In yellow, black, and white, the veteran Puella Magi clicks her tongue. "Tsk, tsk. This territory isn't either of yours to hunt anything. As a matter of professional courtesy..."

Two rifles burst into existence in a flash of colorful light and ribbon, one in each of her hands.

"You'll find I'm the one taking you /both/ down."

She fires, letting the recoil fuel her jump upward into the air.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Mami!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki transforms into Barrier Jacket!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Blueshift on Negatone.
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Golden Greeting on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Endo Naoki's Blueshift, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly dodges Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!  Cripple applied to Negatone!
<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.


"Go left, Kanade! We'll cut him off at the intersection!" Holding an ornate music score in one hand, Hibiki sprinted with all her might. The opponent shouldn't have warranted going all out like this, but she - well, both of them, really - had underestimated Otokichi more than once in the last couple of hours. Unexpected turns, two full brass bands, and one unfortunate instance with a food cart...

But not this time. Otokichi was calmly walking, taking another of those abrupt turns for no explicable reason, passing behind a tree - and with a grin, Hibiki poured on the speed. No escape this time-

  • ding, ding*

A screeching halt. Slack-jawed staring, as Otokichi obliviously made a swift getaway. And finally, Hibiki screaming in frustration. "How long has he had a bicycle?!"


Still holding that music score - though the cover is slightly creased from her frustrated grip - Hibiki walks considerably more calmly towards that dusty old music hall. "I swear, he'd better be there. And he'd better appreciate all the trouble we've gone through! Old men shouldn't be able to move that quickly..." It's a beautiful day, at least, and maybe she can vent with a little music practice...

And then she comes to a halt. There he is, the old caretaker found at last - but Otokichi is collapsed on the ground, with a girl clad in crimson standing over him, a flash of light producing...it's hard to see from here. A key? A Note? Whatever it is, it's not important - what's important is that it's his, and the red girl is taking it.

"OLD MAN! You get your hands off of him - attacking irritating geezers is absolutely-" Yelling loudly while charging forward, Hibiki's step falters when there's a glimpse of black - and Siren screeching horrible dissonance to summon a Negatone. She stares disbelieving at the bone-clad tree monster, and as Kanade catches up, she glowers in fury. "Working with Minor Land, hurting an innocent obnoxious geezer...you two are absolutely unforgivable!"

The light show, exploding into chaos as other observers launch their attacks, becomes backed by strains of holy music. In a swirl of dancing notes and music staffs, Cure Melody charges forth, pink-clad figure leaping high. "Strumming the wild rhythm - Cure Melody! You two aren't getting away with this - Double Pretty Cure KICK!"

She's diving towards the tree. And someone else is diving with her.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to counter Mami Tomoe's Golden Greeting, taking 50 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou's counterattack, Panzerhindernis, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Mami Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hibiki Houjou transforms into Cure Melody!
COMBAT: Cure Melody has started a combo targeting Negatone!
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

A tree? You'd think that you can just use fire to burn it down, right? Well in a case like this, it's obviously more than just a piece of wood that needs burning down. In a case like this, you need magic and swords and anything else you can get your hands on! Which is what Hikaru is planning to do. She's on her way to the arcade when she just happens to be passing by and senses something's up, so she utilizes a nearby alleyway to transform into the Magic Knight of Fire without being seen (except maybe by some alleycats or something,) before finding her way to where the tree is... and the Wind Knight too, no less.

"Let's burn them to a crisp!" The Fire Knight yells as she conjures a magical flaming arrow above her head. "This tree must be taken down!" She shoots the arrow at the tree. "Too bad I don't have a flaming axe!"

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Fire Arrow on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.


That interrupts the whirr of a microwave as its brightness cooks a frozen hamburger steak, when the chime of a synthesized baritone interrupted her. Her eyes jolt to his position right beside her.


The microwave pings to let her know its finished, but its forgotten. Fate rushes over to the window as fast as her feet will carry her, a bright flash lighting up the atmosphere with a pillar. There was noone on monitor duty right now, with Amy and Lindy out... which meant...

"Bardiche." <Get set.> "...Wait a moment."

Fate takes the time to climb out the back window first and close it behind her. She didn't want to do anything that would make Lindy have to forfeit her security deposit!

<Ready now Sir?> "Yes." <Barrier Jacket!> Flashes of lightning gird her for battle, and Bardiche in turn, as he sets up into the poleaxe of his namesake, dropping into her hand, a cape fluttering onto her shoulders.

Fate Testarossa streaks through the sky, like a golden jetstream. It doesn't take her long to arrive, she could be really fast when it counted. She brakes to a stop almost as quickly, booted feet touching down on a lamppost. Her eyes assess the situation. Lera is engaging the familiar Hammer wielder already.

There's a monstrous tree, infected by dark power, and the source of the atmosphere's shine was... a shining key. "Oh. Another one." She sounds calm, but... she remembers. She absolutely does. Remembers her failure. And she remembers Vita, enough to be cautious of the idea of directly engaging her. And Lera has backup, from the graceful rifle wielder, who seemed as awesome as she was menacing. Keeping that in mind she decides on her strategy.

She cuts Bardiche forward, switching up her usual tactics, <Lightning Bind>

Shimmering yellow energy tries to clamp down upon Vita's limbs and hold as many in place with rings that would turn from ephemeral to quite solid once they made contact. "Lera, I'll try to stop her movements. I probably won't be able to hold her for long, so make it count!"

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa transforms into Barrier Jacket!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has used Lightning Bind: Standard on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly counters Fate Testarossa's Lightning Bind: Standard, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fate Testarossa is Psyched!  Stun, Tangle, and Trap applied to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou's counterattack, You Can't Touch This (It's Hammer Time), fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Fate Testarossa!
<Pose Tracker> Kanade Minamino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

It had been a long day. Kanade was certain she ran harder and faster than she did at the sport's festival. And since when did Otokichi get a bike? And how could an old man move so fast?! These questions boggled the mind as she and Hibiki finally made their way to the music hall.

She patted Hibiki's shoulder to calm her. "Now, now, it's the deed it self that count," she replies even though she was thinking among similar lines. Kanade was going to need a long drink after all of this.

However, all plans of refreshment leave her mind as they arrive in time to see Otokichi laying on the ground and the girl clutching something that glows. A note?!

Her fist tightens. "How horrible," she cries out and to add to the chaos Siren appears claiming the note is hers as if the old man on the floor didn't count at all.

"You leave him alone right now!" Yet, no one listens as a Negatone takes the form of a tree. So much for a peaceful day!

Full of anger, Kanade brings out her cure module. "Helping Minor Land's horrendous deeds, and mistreating the elderly, both are unforgivable!"

A light comes and a beautiful melody echoes through out the hall. The light and magic music notes changing Kanade into Cure Rhythm.

Joining Melody, she charges forward full speed ahead. "Strumming the tranquil melody-Cure Rhythm! You will not be getting away with them!" she cries in perfect harmony with Melody.

"Double Pretty Cure KICK!"

COMBAT: Kanade Minamino transforms into Cure Rhythm!
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has joined the combo started by Cure Melody!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm have used Combo: Double Pretty Cure Kick, composed of Pretty Cure Kick, on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fu Inubozaki [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fu grins wolfishly at her reflection in the screen of her cellphone that is absorbing all of her attention at the moment. Her fingers adroitly type out her response before she hits enter with a small cackle escaping from her nefarious lips. The young teenager, like so many her age, missed whatever was happening around her because she was too busy with the piece of technology in her hands. But sometimes, such ignorance of the world around you is worth it if it meant antagonizing the right people.

F: Make sure you are there early or I'll have to kick you out the Hero Club.

K: I never even wanted to be join your club in the first place!

F: Maybe you should take a swim to cool off, -Niboshi-.

K: Stop calling me that!!!!!

F: Whatever you say, Sardine-chan.

The blonde-haired girl finally looks up from her cell-phone when she hears the tremendous sounds of what must be an epic confrontation before the forces of good and evil. Fu checks her cellphone for any warnings before activating it anyways. It might not be Vertex, but whatever was out there still was a danger to all the denizens of Tokyo which included her dear younger sister. This foe had to be stopped! A bright yellow light descends upon Fu as she becomes clad in the yellow and green battle vestments of a Heroine. The young woman smiles from one ear to the next. It was time to be a hero!

The blonde heroine turns the corner to see a scarlet knight fighting an evil tree. Hmmm. Well it was easy to see who was the bad guy here! Or maybe not? Was she in the presence of a bunch of nature haters? Was that one red-clad knight actually bad? Were the people attacking her evil? Fu pauses now to consider that this red clad girl could possibly be an enemy. Her thoughts go to Niboshi-chan which causes her to turn instead towards Negatone. In her hands, a massive sword materializes out of nowhere. "Never fear, Fu Inubozaki is here!" She runs forward while flourishing her huge blade effortlessly up in the air, intent on cutting the tree down to size. In one fluid movement, she dashes past the lumbering tree attempting to cut at it as she dashes past.

COMBAT: Negatone fails to brace Hikaru Shidou's Fire Arrow, taking 22 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm's Combo: Double Pretty Cure Kick, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Fu Inubozaki transforms into Yuusha Fu!
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

When Chitose was young, she enjoyed reading books about other places, both real and fictional. She loved to read a lot, all day every day. In essence, one could easily say that Chitose didn't really get out much. Her entrance into Infinity's University level didn't help matters much. In past recent years, her mother (and her father after her mother left) would suggest that she'd go out and get some fresh air, and would perform some increasingly deceptive moves in order to get their daughter to go outside.

Today, though, sees the tables turned. Chitose spent most of her day as far away from her home as possible, while her father suggested she stay indoors, near the glowing key of whatever crazy magic it is made of. Chitose probably also heard something along the lines of 'If I have to suffer, so do you'.

So, of course, Chitose is sitting somewhere in the district... sulking. Her head is on a table somewhere in the district, and her arms are wrapped around her head as if she's busy trying to block out the rest of the world. (Un?)Fortunately, this means she didn't notice the power draining or the girl with the hammer. In fact she doesn't even notice the sudden tree trying to rampage through town, either. Such is the power of covering her hea--

<Chitose,> calls her Device. Being nestled on her hair makes it harder for her to cut him out. <there's another plant monster in the area. It seems different than the others>

Chitose sighs and stands up, turning to face it. "Okay. I suppose we must do something about it, right?" She takes White Omen off her head, and in a flash of light she's wearing he Barrier Jacket. "Let's go." And with that, she leaps into the air and takes off towards the plant monster, pointing her Device at the Negatone and fires off a few bursts of light towards it.

COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori transforms into Barrier Jacket!
COMBAT: Fu Inubozaki has used Spinning Sword Slash on Negatone.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Light Bolt on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly dodges Chitose Shiratori's Light Bolt, taking 3 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Fu Inubozaki's Spinning Sword Slash, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Negatone [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Vita briefly wishes she had a chainsaw-Device instead of a hammer, as she faces the tree Negatone, but this looks like nothing a little explosives can't solve instead.

And then all hell breaks loose.

Her eyes widen as a golden firebolt heads straight for her face, and she ducks, holding onto her hat with the same hand that has the key. Her cheeks turn as red as her clothes, flushing with fury, as she bellows at Lera:


Mami's golden round is closing in from the other side, and she definitely doesn't have time to dodge it, too, so instead she brings up a barrier, Graf Eisen chiming its name in harsh Belkan. It stops the rifle shot cold, but only for a moment, before cracking and disappearing -- and the bullet continues through, to knock that hat RIGHT OFF HER HEAD, causing her fist (which had been holding it in place) to smack the top of her pate with a hollow thump. The hat tumbles through the air and lands at the feet of the Negatone, who promptly stomps on it (while moving, with surprising speed for such a big tree, away from Jad's kick and accompanying water). It's shredded in an instant.

That's not all the tree is dealing with at the time, of course. It continues its stompy path through Fuu's whirlwind and Chitose's bolts of light, while Hikaru manages to set its crown on fire. If it were just a tree, either Endo or might have bisected it in an instant with their impressive swords, but instead they just leave twin gashes about as shallow as one might have done in the service of carving E + R = <3 4 Eva (or F + K, as the case may be). And Pretty Cure discover similar trouble -- their feet find purchase on a branch, but it's both springy and tough. Siren laughs at them from on top of the Concert Hall's roof.


At the kitty's command, its mouth gapes open and out comes sonic doom, a song that grips the heart and plunges the soul into an icy void. Absent a way to broadcast in all directions at once, the Negatone goes for the largest concentration of opponents, and the air warps with crackling red misery energy around Jad, Endo, Hikaru, Fu, Fuu, and Chitose.

While it's doing this, it takes the opportunity to step on a nearby fire hydrant. The resulting gusher puts out its poor crown.

But, to return to the destruction of Vita's hat:

In the middle of cautiously giving Jad a thumbs-up in return at the time, instead of speaking to him, slowly Vita looks up towards Mami.

"My hat... the hat she made just for me..."

In that moment, she sounds like the little kid that she looks like. But she doesn't /look/ like it -- her eyes are blue, but they burn with the fires of Hell.

"GRAF EISEN!" In response to its name being called, the Device does a weird thing -- what looks like a /shotgun/ shell explodes into it, and then once again it rings like iron.

Then it does a /weirder/ thing, as by the end of its explosion, it has become a rocket-powered drill, spinning faster and faster. Vita holds onto the end of it, murder in her eyes, as it spins her through the battlefield like the grim reaper. Nothing and no one in her way goes unscathed; she swings past Lera, then the Precure, drilling as she goes. Fate's next -- her lightning bind hits in the middle of all this, holds her for roughly one second before with a painful-looking pop the rocket tears her free of the restraints.

And it's the Puella Magi who's her primary target, of course -- by the time she gets there, Vita has built up terrifying momentum, and anyone she's hit along the way has not so much blunted the tip of the drill as it has warmed it up for the main event. "YOU'RE NEXT!" She's going /straight/ for that pretty little beret. VENGEANCE! JUSTICE! JUSTICE FOR BUNNY!

COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Fu Inubozaki.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Jad Werke.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Negatone has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Raketenhammer on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Bind Break on Fate Testarossa.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Raketenhammer on Cure Melody.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Raketenhammer on Cure Rhythm.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Raketenhammer on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji perfectly dodges Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Fuu Hououji's Fade ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Jad Werke fails to brace Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Jad Werke is Quipped!  Jad Werke is Taunted!  Stun applied to Jad Werke!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Raketenhammer, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Mami Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Mami Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly braces Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki is Quipped!  Endo Naoki's Parry ability activates!  Endo Naoki is Taunted!  Stun applied to Endo Naoki!
COMBAT: Cure Melody fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Raketenhammer, taking 41 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Raketenhammer, taking 43 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Raketenhammer, taking 40 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fu Inubozaki fails to dodge Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fu Inubozaki is Quipped!  Fu Inubozaki is Taunted!  Stun applied to Fu Inubozaki!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori fails to dodge Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Chitose Shiratori is Quipped!  Chitose Shiratori is Taunted!  Stun applied to Chitose Shiratori!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa narrowly counters Utena Tenjou's Bind Break, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou is Psyched!  Fate Testarossa's Reverse ability activates!  Fate Testarossa's Tactician ability activates!  Bind Break! All of Utena Tenjou's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa's counterattack, Bright Clash, partially gets through, doing 6 Fatigue damage to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hikaru Shidou is Quipped!  Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates!  Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates!  Hikaru Shidou is Taunted!  Stun applied to Hikaru Shidou!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami can't quite smile seeing Cure Rhythm and Cure Melody together, though as she spins into the air she certainly sees the two together, hears their condemnations.

A knight, that's normal for her to fight. But a cat? Admittedly that surprises even Mami. A cat's monster almost moreso.

But Lera working with Fate--working with someone--doesn't surprise her. The way so many of the others immediately take to their companions... Mami feels a little twinge. So when Fu charges in with her sword--

Mami, alighting on a lamp post, looks down. ...She doesn't bother looking to the adorable hat whose destruction she assured. She looks over to the tree, instead, the bizarre tree looming up thanks to Siren's actions. "Sorrow...?" she asks, wary more than indignant. Perhaps even worse, however, she sets to focus on the Negatone moments later. Her golden eyes only turn briefly down to Vita, at which point she lifts an eyebrow. "Angry already? Letting your emotions get the best of you is a good way to lose, lady knight."

But things move very quickly in the next moments. The ring of iron pierces the air around her, and Mami concludes that Lera and her friends must have that matter handled. She conjures up another musket, taking aim at the Negatone carefully. She lifts her hand to summon up another--

The roar of Vita's Device comes much, much closer to her. Mami's eyes widen very suddenly as the red knight charges up to meet her. "What--"

Her beret is indeed very pretty. It's perfectly pinned to her perfect blonde hair, adorned by a beautiful, ornate gold-and-jeweled pin.

Real fear shows in Mami's eyes for an instant as she lunges down, taking the blow of the device full to her shoulder in a hard dodge.

Mami spins in place hard, knocked from her perch into a very short free-fall.

"Come and get me!" she calls, throwing out her other hand. A whole set of eight rifles bursts into existence. All fire at once, the recoil knocking Mami straight down the rest of the way into the ground with a loud BANG that covers the noise of her impact.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Circle on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Mami Tomoe's Tiro Circle, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Mami Tomoe is Psyched!  Utena Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

<Camry. She's loud.>

"Um--yeah. I... can see that," Lera answers Broken Ground. She grimaces, before she shakes her head, and then she looks back at Vita. She bites her lip, before she shakes her head. She calls out: "You were talking to that guy, and--and you attacked this old man! It's kinda justified, given the--"

Mami shoots her hat off. Lera's eyes turn to the left, watching it fly, and she raises an eyebrow. "...circum...stances."

It upsets Vita, too -- and the Negatone is rampaging -- which makes Lera tense. She grits her teeth, and then the hammer comes flying in. Lera tries to leap away, but the strange bullet-powered, drill hammer slams into her hard. <Brace for impact!> It strikes, throwing Lera to the side. She slams into a tree, hard enough to crack it -- and then falls down, breathing hard.

"Ground... what is that thing?" Lera asks, with a hard gasp.

<Don't know. Keep your eyes on it. Better hit with all we got.>

Lera nods. She reaches out to her fellow Device users telepathically. Jad and Chitose are among them -- partly because Lera doesn't have time to be picky with her thoughts. <Fate, Endo. She was talking to someone before I got here and she pulled a key out of that person, like the one before. We need to try to overwhelm her fast. Endo, you go up the middle, y'know? Fate, we'll shoot from opposite sides!>

Lera swings the hammer down, and the hammerhead splits into two parts. Motes of golden and green light come rushing into the square. Lera then spins on a heel, teeth gritting together. A ball of light swirls into existence -- and then sags in midair, becoming heavier. It turns into a deeper, angrier red color: an energy projection of lava.

<Magma Bomb!>

Lera swings the hammmer hard at the little ball of magma. A magical circle appears on the point of impact -- and the orb flies, shooting through the air and flying towards Vita's left side.

COMBAT: Lera Camry has started a combo targeting Utena Tenjou!
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Defenses are raised and the Fire Knight tries to do the best she can to protect herself. She successfully does so, but in doing so her ability to focus goes down. "No, I mustn't give up now! I must keep going!" She grips her sword tightly and looks upward at the tree. "You can't beat me that easily! I'm the Magic Knight of Fire!" She swings her sword with one hand as if to emphasise this point. "We're gonna cut you down to size and then make you into fire wood!"

Of course one would need a huge axe for that, but the Fire Knight doesn't care. She's going to give it her all to try to win this fight. She rushes at the tree, literally jumping out of nowhere, and bringing her sword down to strike it. It's just a flesh wound, but every little bit counts.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Sword Slash on Negatone.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Jad Werke [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

And then Fate shows up as well! And it seems like SHE is going after the other magical girl as well. "AAAAH, wait wait, what's going on!?!" Jad shouts at the both of them. "What are we doing here? She's fighting the monster too, isn't she? That's-" He just points between Fate, Lera, and Vita in rapid succession, looking a bit like a spaz as he rapidly switches between the three of them with his pointing!

And then he notices what Fate had noticed, which was the key. That didn't really mean that he felt like attacking this girl right off was correct, but it at least explained it somewhat. Kind of.

And then Vita decides that she's going to drop the hammer on all of the people who are coming after her, which leaves Jad in a weird place. For one, he's not seen her DO anything bad - people came after her, for reasons he actually doesn't understand, and she's fighting back. Which is... at least twenty percent reasonable? Maybe? On the other hand...

The Negatone works up and then unleashes a horrifying song. It's the sort of thing that makes Jad's eyes water and his ears ring, that reaches down and wretches you around deep inside, doing terrible things to your confidence and ability to fight. He wavers, staggering for a moment and falling to one knee. The sort of twisting, gut deep pain from the heart that makes it difficult to go on...

...and then Schwartzritter snaps at him, <Sir! You need to snap out of it! It's this creature doing it to you - it's not how you actually feel! Fight it!>

"...right," Jad growls, levering himself to his feet. "I've had one of these things hit me before, I'm not gonna just let it bat me around." He looks drained for a moment, and then grits his teeth. "Alright you misbegotten spawn of an arboretum! I think we're gonna have to prune you back this time!"

The blue haired mage slams one foot into the ground, several spheres of water erupting from the grass and hovering around him. He crouches down - and rushes forward, the water orbs whirling around as he closes with the Negatone. "On three!" he shouts to his device, and Schwartzritter confirms.

"ONE!" And he uses an open fist, the water orb turning into a spiked missile that he launches towards the trunk of the negatone at close range.

"TWO!" The second water orb launches upwards, spreading out into a spinning, magically reinforced disk that tries to slice into the branches of the Negatree.


And Jad brings the last two water orbs to hover on either side of one foot, launching into a rapid fire staccato of kicks as he leaps at the Negatone. Each kick unleashes a charge enhanced by the magic water, aiming to blast at the trunk of the thing over and over again!

COMBAT: Jad Werke has used Tsunami Barrage on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone fails to dodge Hikaru Shidou's Sword Slash, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hikaru Shidou is Psyched!  Stagger and Stun applied to Negatone!
COMBAT: Negatone perfectly braces Jad Werke's Tsunami Barrage, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Brace!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

It's so nice, thinks the Wind Knight, when the monsters telegraph their attacks like that. She has the additional advantage provided by somewhat greater distance, so when the tree-monster opens its mouth and vermilion light scorches the air, the Magic Knight of Wind just bolts for the nearest semblance of cover, diving and rolling behind one of those concrete chess tables, its pieces arranged as though in the middle of a game.

When she looks out from behind her improvised cover, the board has been scoured clean of pieces. She didn't even hear them get blasted away, never mind anything akin to the pieces (or the fragments thereof) landing, and the Wind Knight blanches just a bit. If that had hit *her* ...

"Hikaru-san!" she calls out, heading closer to the fray again - but staying cautious about her approach, looking for other cover she can hunker down behind if needed. "If elemental advantages have any bearing at all against that monster, you're one of the best-suited to take it down! Don't give up!" With those encouraging words delivered, the Wind Knight wills her bow and quiver to manifest, and nocks an arrow to her bowstring, looking for a chance to put it to use. Not that normal arrows might do a whole lot of good, but she does have other archery-based options.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Favorable Observation on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou accepts Fuu Hououji's Favorable Observation, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Did that girl say Fu Inubozaki? Fate turns her head, looking relieved, "Oh good. I'm glad Infinity's hero club is here to lend a hand!"

But Vita doesn't give her much time to talk reaction to her hat being knocked off her head and stomped on is terrible to behold. Fate's eyes widen in surprise in response to the berserker's terrible momentum. She drives right through Fate's bindings and Fate fumbles to get up Bardiche in time. The clash of Poleaxe against Hammer only lasts a fraction of a second, raising bright sparks, before Fate is knocked backwards.

The tiny mage had only been a mere road bump on her drive towards Mami Tomoe. She rights herself with a twirl of fabric, and a flourish of her device catching the sight of Mami Tomoe taking a direct hit to the shoulder. "Bardiche, we have to help her." The laconic device's answer was shifting its poleaxe head backwards, a scythe of golden mana erupting from the head. <Scythe Form.>

Jad is pointing, "I know it seems confusing, but she's not on our side. We'll explain later." What they could at least. She didn't know too much about these Knights. Lera outlines the plan. <Right. She seems really mad about her hat. Let's take her down before she really hurts someone.>

Fate streaks towards Vita, then banks sideways suddenly to be opposite to Lera. She stops suddenly to whirl Bardiche over her head in a complete circle before cutting him forward with all of her might. <Arc Saber.>

The blade detaches on its own relentless drive, spinning like a boomerang from side to side before attempting to drive against the Belkan Knight, attempting to time it so that it would impact about the same time as Lera's would. And then... "Saber explode."

The explosion instantly would fill the blade's position with smoke, violet and golden light flashing within it like she'd created a small thunder cloud. "You need to stop this. Your rampage is going to get a lot of people hurt." She then tries to find Mami with her eyes and calls, "Try to take cover, we'll back you up!"

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has joined the combo started by Lera Camry!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo skids to turn once he makes his first pass at the tree, rounding to face it again just in time for the thing to begin lilting out its song. His heart lurches for a moment, feet stumbling as he tries to find purchase. Out of the corner of his eye he can see Vita moving as a blur, slamming into Fate and Lera, bringing their safety to the forefront of his mind.


<Okay! Fate, Lera, hang on!> Both Endo and Fallen Stern send their affirmatives as the knight pivots toward the other threat, leaving the tree to the rest of the arrayed magical warriors. "You all can handle this!" Because off he goes.

Endo waits until both Lera and Fate have started their attacks before he begins his own, charging forward in a rush once Fate's attack detonates. Belkan symbols flare around the blade he carries, setting it alight with purple contrails as he leaps toward the red knight with the hammer, rotating around and coming in with savage, spinning cleaves.

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has joined the combo started by Lera Camry!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Two Cures descend, filled with righteous vengeance - and two differently-coloured boots land squarely on a surprisingly resilient branch. For a moment, Cure Melody is able to stare the monster in its eyes - and then with a surprisingly comical spring, the two are flung away to tumble through the air uncontrollably. They might have managed to recover, and start a new counterattack-

-but that plan fell apart just like Vita's hat.

A rocket-powered drill-hammer comes screaming with vengeance through the space where Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm were, the very air splitting apart in its wake. The pair are just a hair too entangled to be able to get out of the way - instead, the impact sends them both flying across the park.

Cure Melody rises slowly, favouring her right leg when she does. "Ugh...is that what righteous vengeance feels like? I almost owe Siren an apology..." Such musings quiet quickly upon catching a glimpse of Otokichi's fallen form, of Rhythm's equally bedraggled state, of the Negatone continuing to rampage against all comers. "...still won't forgive this."

A loping step, quickly building into a proper run at the Negatone - perhaps closer to a triple-beat than the usual staccato step - as Cure Melody calls out. "Hey, you with the guns - next time you want to infuriate someone, could you not use my friend as armor? And, Rhythm - come on, let's try to pin this Negatone down!" She has trust, as she rushes for the branches.

She's frankly willing to try to suplex the giant tree-monster by herself - but she's about to get a bit of hand shifting this thing's momentum. Around, and over, and hopefully down... "Pretty Cure...Jazz Swing!"

COMBAT: Cure Melody has started a combo targeting Negatone!
COMBAT: COMBO! Lera Camry, Fate Testarossa, and Endo Naoki have used Combo: Triple Raid, composed of Magma Bomb, Arc Saber, and Radial Velocity, on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to dodge Lera Camry, Fate Testarossa, and Endo Naoki's Combo: Triple Raid, taking 148 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry, Fate Testarossa, and Endo Naoki are Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Triumph! Rhythm and Melody's double kick combo appeared to do some damaged, but the celebration was cut short as the red clad enemy yelled in anger. It seemed childish to be upset over a hat being knocked off, but it clearly was a valid enough enough to attack!

Vita's hammer rocket shot straight towards them. Rhythm did her best to dodge along Melody, but the rocket proved to fast and struck both of them, tossing across the park. The two of them hurdled to the ground with a hard thud. Rhythm groaned as she pulled herself together, gripping her arm.

"What kind of person has a hammer turn into a rocket?" she grumbled darkly.

She looks to her partner. "Nope, still no forgiveness," she says in a confirmed tone. Rhythm collects her baring and looks on as Melody taunts the Negatone. "And don't think you can use my friend as a human shield!" she shouts and nods at Melody's suggestion. "Let's show them what real team work is Meloday!"

She takes Melody hand and gets her feet in perfect sync. They become almost one as they spin to gain momentum.

"Pretty Cure...Jazz Swing!"

COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has joined the combo started by Cure Melody!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm have used Pretty Cure Jazz Swing on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone perfectly dodges Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm's Combo: Pretty Cure Jazz Swing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!
<Pose Tracker> Fu Inubozaki [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fu, in her mind's eye, had dashed past the tree like a samurai of yore. Her claymore would have cut it clean in two and she would have adopted a heroic pose as the sun glinted off her noble blade. But this was not what happened in reality. Her sword bounces off the tree and the redirected momentum send Fu tumbling over onto her backside. It's actually a very good thing that K wasn't here, or else Fu would never live this down. But to add insult to injury, the heroine is left unable to get away from evil tree before it's negatonic sound wave washes over her. The heroine whom normally is full of burning girl power suddenly felt cold, alone, and ineffective as her sword strike was.

Dropping her sword on the ground, the young club president places both of her hands on the sides of her head in agony over the despair she now felt in her heart. The problem was that she actually was alone. There were others fighting here with her, but she didn't have very strong bonds with any of them yet. Fu closes her eyes shut and blindly feels for the haft of her sword before jumping a few dozen feet backwrards in defensive leap. Reopening her eyes, the young heroine surveys both battles. Her attention goes now to those fighting Vita, someone she was also unfamiliar with. Suddenly, Fu shakes her head as she tries to steel her resolve to continue fighting. Whatever that tree monster did was not alike anything she's ever encountered before. No Vertex she's fought caused her to feel like that before. But she was starting to feel like that scarlet knight wasn't a good girl afterall. Maybe those fighting her actually had the right idea. Tough call! She raises her sword up when suddenly her cellphone beeps a terrible warning that causes Fu to turn pale.

The words written on it were not from K or any of the other girls. It was a warning from the Taisha. A warning that she could not ignore. Fu looks around the battefield one last time before turning to depart. "Sorry." She whispers aloud before turning to leave.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

As Chitose flies towards the Negatone, suddenly the air starts to crackle with energy, and then there's the /song/. Chitose covers her ears to try and block the song, but it doesn't work anywhere as well as she would like, as the sound of despair enters her soul, draining it. It doesn't hurt, thankfully, but it just makes her feel icky. So... she lets herself fall. She doesn't fall too far, just enough to drop her altitude below twenty feet, where she flies just a scant bit further before touching down on the ground. The moment her feet drop she suddenly hears a voice. She doesn't really pay attention to what Lera is saying, as Chitose's never really had need to /use/ telepathy until this point. Really she's just confused that it's happening at all. At least, until the word 'key' is mentioned. Someone pulled a 'key' out of a person? Is that the same sort of key that she has?

Chitose decides to turn. "Switching target." She says to her Device, and swings her arm to point directly at Vita, ignoring the others attempting to attack her.

<Thunder Dove>

Shots ring out from White Omen, taking their own flight towards the small girl with a hammer, hoping to reach her and explode.

COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Thunder Dove on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Chitose Shiratori's Thunder Dove, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Negatone [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBlQZyTF_LY

Mami's advice is something Vita's gotten before from taller, prettier, pinker people. (Also greener people. Also less pretty blue dogboys. Man, even Hayate chides her about her temper...) But this isn't exactly heartfelt delivery -- she takes it as the taunt it is, and somewhat terrifyingly, when eight bullets come in from all directions, they're stopped with pinpoint precision by eight simultaneous tiny little Belkan-triangle shields. Well, except for one, which rips up her puffy shoulder fabric.

Know what also looks like pinpoints right now? Vita's pupils...

"AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" This kid should come with a warning: 'Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Vita. Or Mess With Her Hat.' She's coming as invited all right, diving straight down towards Mami like the missile she is. Except -- somewhere along the way, her Device has shifted back into a hammer, and right at point-blank, her eyes boring into Mami's, she does something somewhat unexpected (relative to her prior tactic, at least): she releases, from her hands, a host of little energy balls which evoke, of all things, croquet.

But the way they explode on impact, once she launches them with a vicious hammer slam, is NOTHING like croquet. :(

There's a debris cloud, and into it come Lera's magma bomb, Fate's scythe, Chitose's explosive blasts, and Endo himself. It is somewhat difficult to see exactly what happens here, but Endo's got the best chance since he's in the thick of it. He sees the tiniest shade of surprise tinge her rage, right before everything impacts.

She goes flying out of the cloud, trailing smoke, gown in tatters, and... doesn't stop, taking to the skies in an unapologetic attempt at a getaway. The only thing left in her wake are a few dozen more of those little balls.

Back at the park (which Vita can no longer fairly be described to be in), Hikaru carves a chunk out of a tree monster, while Jad discovers that, as Fuu could have predicted, Grass-type may indeed be strong against Water-type. Or maybe it was just taking him more seriously, because when that disk went up there it somehow managed to merge a bunch of its branches all at once, and the orbs don't so much splash against the trunk itself as hardened air from a second summoning of the Negatone's evil song, which looks all red and warpy.

Pretty Cure have no more luck than he; there's this quiet moment where they're kind of being treehuggers, and it isn't moving, and then Siren laughs again, harder. "{Your harmony stinks! Crush them, Negatone!}" Obediently, the tree (which has many hands, instantly grown from the ends of its many limbs) tries to grab everyone in reach, and then, if and when they're in its woody clutches, toss them into the nearest hard surfaces -- concrete street, marble statues, stone wall of the Concert Hall, Chitose, Fuu, whatever it can find.

And then, after all that, something only marginally unexpected happens, if you were in Harajuku last week: the key (remember the key?), still clutched in Vita's hand, starts to sing.

Well, almost. Actually a whole damn symphony begins to pour out of it, led by a powerful (and unrecognizable in its youthfulness) male voice. Vita stares at it completely incredulously, and then an idea -- a realization -- dawns in her eyes: this is the key to her /escape/.

Tossing it into the air, she brings down the hammer, and sends it away, just like an explosive croquet ball, only it's much lighter and goes much further. Happily churning Beethoven all the way, Otokichi's Key, glowing like the dickens with its powerful light, screams through the sky in one direction. Grumbling all the way, Vita goes screaming in the opposite.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Swallowstorm on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Schwalbefliegen on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Schwalbefliegen on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Schwalbefliegen on Fate Testarossa.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used I'm Outta Here on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou accepts Utena Tenjou's I'm Outta Here, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou is Reinforced by Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Negatone has used Outlook Not So Good on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Outlook Not So Good on Cure Melody.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Outlook Not So Good on Cure Rhythm.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Outlook Not So Good on Jad Werke.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Incoming! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Incoming! on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Cure Melody fails to brace Negatone's Outlook Not So Good, taking 48 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Trap applied to Cure Melody!
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm perfectly dodges Negatone's Outlook Not So Good, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Cure Rhythm's Fade ability activates!  Cure Rhythm's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Jad Werke perfectly counters Negatone's Outlook Not So Good, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!
COMBAT: Jad Werke's counterattack, Reverse Tide, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Negatone!
COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Schwalbefliegen, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou is Psyched!  Lera Camry's Block ability activates!  Lera Camry's Parry ability activates!  Stun applied to Lera Camry!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori narrowly dodges Negatone's Incoming!, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Chitose Shiratori's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa fails to brace Utena Tenjou's Schwalbefliegen, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stun applied to Fate Testarossa!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Schwalbefliegen, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Stagger and Stun applied to Endo Naoki! COMBAT: Mami Tomoe narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Swallowstorm, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou fails to dodge Negatone's Outlook Not So Good, taking 43 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: ITEM TRANSFER! Utena Tenjou has transferred Otokichi's Magical Musical Key to Fate Testarossa!
<Pose Tracker> Jad Werke [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Arg - later, later, it's always later! On second thought, later was better. It wasn't like he cared, although... well at least the Negatone was here. Jad wasn't going to have to flail around at the girl with the hammer without actually understanding why they were attacking her.

He had no problem fighting something that was clearly evil, but someone who just seemed to be out doing their own thing was... erm. Yeah. That was pushing it a little tiny bit.

"Right, right," he shouts. "Later sounds good, although..." He concentrates for a moment, and transmits to the others, <It seems like things keep piling up here. It's already more complicated than Lera and I had discussed - if this is even related to the last key that showed up at least.>

It was discouraging, wondering why the bunny girl needed to be attacked on top of fighting the Negatone. Or rather, it was probably the fact that the Negatone was sucking all the emotional energy out of the area, which was also a problem! Probably a larger problem!

A larger problem that is reaching for him at this point! Jad spins around, bringing up both hands as the branches lash out towards him... and then he unleashes a barrage of strikes of his own, each one knocking away one of the branches with HANDS WHY DOES IT HAVE HANDS!?! reaching for him before it can do something unfortunate like toss him around! He really wishes that he could go after that key, but... well, he's going to have to leave that to Fate and the others who are engaging that girl. But he looks at Vita starts to run, and concentrates for a moment, sending after Vita: <I don't know what's going on - but for what it's worth. Thank you for trying to help with this horrible... tree... thing. Before the rest of it started.>

And then... well, there's still this GOSH. DARN. NEGATONE. And Jad shouts, "SCHWARTZ! HEAD ATTACK!"

<Head Attack? I don't have anything named Head Atta->

"HEAAAAAAD! ATTTAAAAACCCCKKKK!" Jad shouts, and attempts to counter the terrible mental influence of the Negatone by the most direct manner possible. But head-butting it, REALLY REALLY hard.

In all likelihood, Jad is going to be staggering around in a moment with @_@ eyes going 'orrrrooooooo' in a slightly pathetic sounding manner.

COMBAT: Jad Werke has used Head Attack on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone fails to brace Jad Werke's Head Attack, taking 21 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly counters Negatone's Incoming!, taking 20 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Gale Arrow, partially gets through, doing 6 Fatigue damage to Negatone!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo recognizes Vita's magic, since it looks a lot like his. It doesn't stop him from crashing into her barrier though, but it does give him enough pause that he doesn't manage to roll out of the way of one of the balls of energy she unleashes. It detonates next to him, sending him rolling a bit father than he'd intended, wincing with pain.

And then she takes off. Endo, not being much of a flier, does not peruse. Especially since she's heading away from the battle, and the key is going the other direction. "Do you think that's a Belkan person, Stern?"


Before more time can be spent pondering this, Endo remembers there's a tree to be chopped up. He begins a sprint back toward the other fight, raising his weapon. Streaks of energy begin to erupt from it, flinging themselves in a hail toward the monster.


COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Meteor Shower on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Out of the cloud of debris and smoke comes a... ball? It looks like a solid projectile. Fate raises a hand, <Protec->

It's form is something that she'd underestimated though, its explosion happening a split second before either she or Bardiche had gotten her shields up. It sends her flying backwards backwards, far too quickly, tearing gouges in her black barrier jacket, but... through the air she sees something shining. Fate turns herself around in time, streaks forward and upwards extends a hand and...

Catches the key.

Instantly her paranoia flares up. This was so much like before, in Harajuku, where the key had been entrusted to her and she failed to protect it. Briefly the idea of internalizing it comes to mind, but it wasn't sealed, and that would take too much time.

And that Jewel Drone wanted it. It wanted it badly. Could it have some connection to her mother? Her hand clenches around it.

She gives a searching look to the others, "Lera, Endo, Jad. This seems really important. Miss Lindy and the Tuners will want to take a look at it. I..." Hesitation. She really didn't want to leave all of her friends behind, but they could handle themselves right? They'd proved it time and time again, "...I'm going to make a run for it."

Fate may be fast, and aerial, but in this chaos that'll definitely take some time. She starts though, trying to fly in a pretty random, evasive pattern that's low to the ground, dodging around trees and using them for her initial cover.

COMBAT: ITEM ESCAPE ATTEMPT! Fate Testarossa is attempting to escape with Otokichi's Magical Musical Key! They must run for 2 more turns!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Something is flying straight at the Wind Knight; she's already prepared with a nocked arrow and is gathering wind magic to boost her shot. "Gale Arrow!" she calls out, loosing her shaft with a 'veil' of wind to steady the arrow's flight and boost its speed -

And the arrow has left her bow before she realizes that the object flying at her isn't merely person-*shaped*. It's a person - another magical girl - and her arrow ...

The Wind Knight's left hand clenches; the gem on the back of her hand flares - and the sheaf of wind magic around her arrow 'explodes' like a sudden stiff breeze. The person's flight path isn't deflected nearly as much as the arrow's path is; the ensuing impact between magical girls is still enough that the Wind Knight gets knocked off her feet, slamming into a sculpture or something, her glasses dislodged by the impact. "I'm sorry - !!" she calls out, fumbling around to try and find her glasses again; her bow and quiver have both vanished entirely for the moment, although they can reappear when she needs them. Still, she's probably going to take her chances with melee combat, or stick with pure magic, for the remainder of the actual fight ... Hikaru-san certainly still needs help, doesn't she?

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's not hard to find Mami. Indeed, the older blonde looks at Fate in what would be a stare if it lasted longer than half a second.

"What?" she answers, and shakes her head suddenly, smiling briefly as she starts back to her feet, very obviously favoring her left arm. "That's very sweet." Her eyes set though, as she looks up--the second, maybe two that just passed surely mean her foe is right back on her trail again.

She looks up, and she's sure right--a magic dimly familiar has blocked /most/ of her shots, and there's a knight charging after the very, very brief time Mami bought herself. At Vita, Mami /does/ stare, too close now to get out of the way as easily as she'd like. Her eyes widen, and she throws up her arms--

There's a sound of pain that Mami can't hide, her already battered shoulder is /wrenched/ on impact and hanging back down at her side painfully. She coughs, stumbling backward more from the explosions in her face than from the smoke they left.

Heat--power--slide right past her in the moment, much to her chagrin given how she'd told Fate she hadn't needed the help.

Still, the blonde manages to the Cures, "My--" Cough, "My mistake! Do forgive me."

As she's visible again, Mami is battered, certainly, singed here and there but still standing upright, despite the awkward angle at which her right arm hangs. She hears the music more strongly than moments ago, but that's not the most important thing she hears--she stiffens, eyes widening, as she hears Fate mention her plan. Fate takes off--

She knows Fate was fighting with Lera a moment ago, a friend. ...She knows the girl just helped her.

But she knows the Tuners, too. Quick as lightning, Mami's good arm jerks up, and from her sleeve she throws bright crimson ties, flat and imbued with magic. .../Bursting/ with magic, in fact, the hatpin on her head flaring suddenly as she imparts more even than usual.

They tear through the air almost faster than the eye can see for Fate's wrist, to snatch the singing key right from her hand.

"I can't let you take an item like that to girls like the Tuners." Mami says, her voice loud and firm as she turns to face Fate. The rampage is continuing nearby. She'll have to be fast.

"I'll take care of that object, and we can fight this monster together."

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Magi Mami!
COMBAT: ITEM GRAB! Mami Tomoe has used Ribbon Whip on Fate Testarossa.
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa narrowly counters Mami Tomoe's Ribbon Whip, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Fate Testarossa's Reverse ability activates!  Fate Testarossa's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa's counterattack, Defenser, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Mami Tomoe!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe fails to grab an item from Fate Testarossa!
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

This time, things are really not looking good for the Fire Knight. She tries to dodge the incoming attack, but she fails miserably. Just look at her, she's thrown hard and lands on the ground really hard. She tumbles and looks like she's been hit by a train. But the Fire Knight refuses to give up. She struggles to get back up, using her sword to steady herself. It's not the best at that, especially since the Fire Knight falls down again at least once. Nevertheless, she gets back up and grips her sword. "I won't give up!"

She doesn't attack though, instead observing what's going on and trying to formulate the next best course of action. That key does look important, but she doesn't know the whole deal, so she uses this phase to catch her breath.

COMBAT: Negatone fails to brace Endo Naoki's Meteor Shower, taking 23 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The attempt to swing the tree-monster around...utterly fails. It takes Cure Melody a moment to realize why - the monster must have solid roots in the ground. Which means that her rush in was...not her best idea. Not even close.

'Your Harmony stinks!' Cure Melody's gaze snaps up to that obnoxious cat, taunting as ever. Whatever Hummy might say, she's a lot less forgiving - especially right now. Her gaze drifts for a moment, following Vita's path - and she glares at Siren all the more fiercely. "Yours is worse - your partner there seems to be aband-"

Stopping to taunt may have, incredibly, been a worse idea. The Negatone's branches lash out, scooping her up in an instant - and before she can work up to smashing that limb, she's magically transformed into a Pretty Cure Projectile. Flung through the air, bouncing off of the ground once before colliding with-

-an exploding wind blast? She's deflected from a direct hit, but plows ignobly through the turf. For a moment, she's still, and quiet. Then less quiet. "I. Will remember this."

Groaning, Cure Melody gets to her feet - and grumbles, with just a hint of a smile, at seeing Cure Rhythm relatively unharmed. She limps to her friend's side, and doesn't hide the fact that she really needs to lean on Rhythm right now - murmuring to her friend as the battle over the key begins in earnest. "...I don't think I can keep up with this tempo much longer. We should get the geezer out of here, things look like they're getting ugly. Just...we can't let Siren get away with mocking us -that- easily, right?"

In sync, they move in. Melody clasps hands with Rhythm, and they take three steps towards the Negatone. From where their hands meet, light begins to blossom - and beaming with matching grins, they call out. "Pretty Cure...Harmony Shot!"

It's brilliant, it's flashy enough to hide the two of them beating a quick retreat to help Otokichi to the safety of the music hall, and it was aimed at the base of whatever limb was closest to Siren's perch. It's a long shot, perhaps - but synchronized spite might be the purest form of their friendship.

COMBAT: Cure Melody has started a combo targeting Negatone!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Skip A Turn on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou accepts Hikaru Shidou's Skip A Turn, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Skip A Turn on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji accepts Fuu Hououji's Skip A Turn, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Negatone [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Apparently the third time's the charm, because Jad hears a wholesome 'crack!' when head meets tree and it isn't even him cracking. "Nuh-Nega!!" yelps the giant monster in a giant basso, making it all the more remarkable, since such voices do not yelp easily. But it's got serious vocal chops, so maybe there's no great surprise there.

Its pain doubles as Endo's meteor shower pours in, the streaks of energy sending leaves and twigs and a smaller branch or two clattering to the ground. It looks to Siren for support and encouragement, but she's... not even there, she's bailed or something. With a shrug, it tries another round of the Melody of Sorrow on its enemies.


Siren comes out of freakin' nowhere, right in Fate's face, all claws and scratches and general opposition to her having an easy time leaving. As a matter of fact, she /ran down/ Mami's whip somehow, just because she could. Adding insult to injury to everyone around is the meowble path of a cat.

COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Jad Werke.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Sirentervention on Fate Testarossa.
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa perfectly dodges Negatone's Sirentervention, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Fate Testarossa's Fade ability activates!  Fate Testarossa's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Quipped!  Stun applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Jad Werke narrowly braces Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Jad Werke is Quipped!  Jad Werke's Block ability activates!  Jad Werke's Parry ability activates!  Jad Werke is Taunted!  Stun applied to Jad Werke!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly braces Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki is Quipped!  Endo Naoki's Parry ability activates!  Endo Naoki is Taunted!  Stun applied to Endo Naoki!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Rats! The usual effective Jazz Swing didn't work as Rhythm would have liked. She sends a glare at the cat for the taunt. "At least we have each other to rely on, you don't have any-"

She's cut off as the tree Negatone goes to attack. Rhythm moves quickly and managed to stay out of the branch's grasp, but she stares in shock as Melody is not so lucky.

"Melody!" Rhythm cries out as she helplessly watches her partner being use like a dart, and if that wasn't enough she gets struck with a gust of wind.

She rushes to Melody's side, while hearing her swear her vengeance.

Seeing Melody limp, she offers her shoulder to lean. "I agree, you're going to end up really hurt if you keep this up and then we'll only be a hinderance to the others." She looks over to the old man and nods. "We have to protect him at least, so the others don't have to worry about him."

She then gives a grin in agreement. "Let's give this last shot all that we can Melody!" She claps Melody's hand and in perfect unison, they step to the beat and cry out together "Pretty Cure...Harmony Shot!" A light blasts from them and onto their target. Rhythm barley had time to enjoy the sight, a true symbol of their bond and friendship, before rushing with Melody to collect Otokichi....the old man REALLY owed them big time for this.

She was going to need a cup of tea after all of this!

COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has joined the combo started by Cure Melody!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm have used Pretty Cure Harmony Shot on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm's Combo: Pretty Cure Harmony Shot, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou fails to brace Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hikaru Shidou is Quipped!  Hikaru Shidou is Taunted!  Stun applied to Hikaru Shidou!
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose is still on the ground when the Negatone decides to start picking things up and throwing things at her. Up to and including... other magical girls? Why does that even--She cuts herself off and leaps into the sky in an attempt to dodge everything. She dodges a fair amount of the debris by doing so, zipping around to make sure she's a harder target to hit. She manages to dodge most of the attacks, but a number of large rocks manage to find home. The impact is not enough to knock her out of the sky, but a number of bruises do appear.

She doesn't really say anything back to the telepaths on the battlefield, even though she's listening to them now. Yes, she has a key. But as annoying as her key has been, she didn't really feel it was a good idea to let people know she has a key. People would want it and that's not something she's interested in attending to at the moment.

So instead, she ignores the fleeing small hammer child and the blond child with the scythe, and focuses on the tree, aiming not towards it, but some distance above.

<Starling Shot>

One ball of light is shot out, which flies towards a location above the tree, and if it manages to find its location, it spins and then splits into many bolts that shower down upon the Negatone.

COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori has used Starling Shot on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

They send Vita flying, which is good. Probably. Except, Lera realizes, the key went with her. Her eyes widen, before she sees it come flying back. Lera opens her mouth in surprise. "Ah--" She yells. "We have to catch it! Can--can we put it back in that guy? I-I'm not sure what she did!"

And so Fate catches it. Lera's eyes widen, before she nods; she lifts off the ground, and then she looks at Fate, with a serious expression. "I'll help cover you! And--and I hope it's not gonna keep singing, y'know?" she says. "I mean--I'm sure it doesn't. Right?"

<Great question. Ask later.> Ground chimes.

"Aheheh, right."

"We'll get it to the Tuners, and--"

She didn't know what to expect from Mami. She expected her to help -- to cover for Fate -- and instead, the ribbons go flying for Fate's wrist. Lera's amber eyes widen; the look on her face is one of sharp dismay. "Fate, look out!" she yells. She goes flying -- weaving between a couple of Endo's meteors with practice -- and then throws herself in front of Mami, between her and Fate.

"You're not going to do this!" Lera snaps at Mami. She doesn't take a shot; the Device in her hands shines, though. Then, a glow of green light surrounds Fate, imbuing her -- and strengthening her. "Keep going, Fate! I'll cover you!"

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Mountain Aegis on Fate Testarossa.
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa accepts Lera Camry's Mountain Aegis, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Fate Testarossa!  Cleanse! All of Fate Testarossa's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly dodges Chitose Shiratori's Starling Shot, taking 26 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori narrowly braces Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Chitose Shiratori is Quipped!  Chitose Shiratori's Parry ability activates!  Stun applied to Chitose Shiratori!
<Pose Tracker> Jad Werke [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

It's... almost like everyone else is ignoring the Negatone while he's back here fighting it? That's even more depressing - sure the key is important, but this damn thing is rampaging around and he really doesn't know why there is a tree that is rampaging and arrrggggghhhh this is annoying! Really, really annoying! And the fact that the Negatone is making all those terrible, soul sucking noises IS NOT HELPING HIS MOOD EITHER!

In fact, it boils over and Jad shouts, "This thing is going to hurt someone if it keeps rampaging around! We can sit down and talk out what to do with that key later, but for the time being we need to TELL THIS THING TO MAKE LIKE A TREE AND NOT GO AROUND ATTACKING PEOPLE!!!"

Of course, there are other people who are helping out - but he does give Lera, Fate, and everyone over there a rather stern look. They could certainly be helping out with the evil tree too!

"I am getting tired of these gosh darn youma that keep beating me in the head with their gee golly horrible brain song beams! I'm fed up with this, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Jad braces himself on the ground, his triangular magical circle appearing around him as he gathers energy for his next attack. All of the water that he had used before begins to streak towards one of his hands, gathering together into a single orb of spinning, magical infused water... and the blue haired mage closes his hand on it, the energy flowing into his device. "GRAND! GEEEYYYSSSEEEERRRR!"

And with that, Jad attacks the Negatone from the opposite side the same moment that the two Pretty Cures are attacking from the other direction. He snaps a single, forceful uppercut towards the Negatone... and unleashes a massive discharge of aqua energy, all of it focused into the point of his fist. All of it intending to knock the Negatone head over heels and knocking whatever is possessing it out of the tree!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Jad Werke has used Grand Geyser on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Fate definitely heard Mami when she told her that was very sweet. Which is why...

She certainly doesn't expect Mami Tomoe to come after her. Thus complete shock rolls off of her as the radiant Puella Magi comes after her out of nowhere. Especially her form of attack.

Mami would see her eyes widening, before closing, the small girl cringing as the whip moves up and descends like a whip. A whimper escapes her lips as she holds up a hand, <DEFENSER!> If Bardiche seems particularly loud, its because he's giving his all against defending against this.

The ribbon lashes against circles of runes, causing cracks to form immediately. She can feel the impact even through it against her palm. Her eyes flare back open, she looks terrified of the girl attacking her.

She's tempted to just flee but...

Someone had taught her that words are important, especially against someone with a strong will. While her shield holds. "You don't understand. This might be able to lead me to my mother. Miss Lindy, the Tuners... they took me in when noone else wanted to give me..."

But with a blur of fur, Siren is right on her, interrupting whatever else she wanted to say and... <Blitz Move> Siren's victory is all but assured since Fate had stopped to talk to Mami, or at least it would be, if not for the fact that Bardiche intervened, responding to Fate's thoughts. The girl that was there becomes an after image, fast enough that in a blur of motion she's transported a few meters behind the Puella Magi and Song Fairy cat.

Fate doesn't hesitate now, not with both Mami and possibly Siren on top of her. Her chest heaves from the effort of this spell. She's sheathed in a green glow which seems to bolster her. It feels like the whole world is against her again, like it was back when she was fighting in the center of Yamanote over a Jewel Seed. And with all of that coming down, she appreciates Lera's back up right now, "Right. I'm counting on you Lera! Please don't do anything too dangerous."

Fate tries to flee again, becoming a golden flash as she tries to gain a bit more altitude. She's weaving from side to side, to try to make it harder to get a good bead on her. That girl... she was such a good shot, and that cat came out of nowhere!

COMBAT: ITEM ESCAPE ATTEMPT! Fate Testarossa is attempting to escape with Otokichi's Magical Musical Key! They must run for 1 more turn!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Wind Knight finds her glasses, wipes them off with her unarmored sleeve, slips them on, and gets blasted by another quasi-musical wave of weaponized despair. This time, she doesn't have enough warning to dive for cover, or try to launch a counterattack to blunt it, or any such; she barely has time to try and brace against it, and she still feels the tendrils of dismay and hopelessness starting to insinuate themselves into her psyche.

That doesn't stop her from rising to her feet once more, her emerald gaze searching out the Negatone, the tree animated by dark powers and using music to harm the gathered magical girls. The Magic Knight of Wind flexes her hands, reviewing her options. She's already hurt one of her allies by accident tonight, and she doesn't want to risk catching any of the others with collateral damage ...

Her sword materializes in her hands, and she charges at the tree-monster, yelling a wordless kiai as she closes the distance - but rather than simply slashing, horizontally or overhand, she begins to twist as she goes into the last step before contact ...

And goes into a full pivot, literally spinning around to add force to her slash. Only after her sword has (hopefully) cut into the monster's tree-like body does she continue on, wresting the blade free if necessary before she tries to step quickly back out of the monster's reach. She doesn't fancy being the next magical girl used as a projectile against another of her allies.

... although it might be an appropriate thing to happen to her, all things considered.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Spinning Slash on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo shrinks back from the sound the tree monster emits, a hand reaching to cover his ear as the despairing tone washes over him. It's just as unpleasant as it was last time, perhaps more so after the brief-but taxing-struggle against Vita. The thing is strong enough to soak up most of his attacks, how can he even hope to take it down?

Endo wavers for a second, until Jad's voice rings out in anger at the Negatone's disregard for his brain. Seeing his ally charge forward to attack the monster, Endo regains at least some resolve, calling: "Hey! I've got your back!" His grip tightens around his Device again, and then he raises it up high.

His heart pounds as he focuses on the task at hand, trying to push away the rising panic, using some of it to power the spell. Triangular symbols trace the blade, the whole thing erupting into a gigantic pillar of light that stretches skyward.


With a cry of effort, Endo brings the towering beam down to smash into the tree.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Endo Naoki has used Absolute Magnitude on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami's lips twitch in irritation at that magical barrier, and for a half instant she hesitates to see that cringe under her attack. Fate had seemed like a sweet girl.

But there's something more immediate; annoyance as Siren scrambles up her ribbon, which she snaps her fingers to dismiss too late to stop her. And more immediately still than that:

"Camry-san." Mami frowns harder as she sees Lera step between her and the retreating Fate. She judges her distance quickly with a look over Lera's shoulder, and quickly makes a judgement.

"I don't want to hurt her. But you don't know the Tuners like I do. That key is safer in my hands than in theirs, and you /know/ it."

Mami's golden eyes are hard, even if her expression is calm. ...There's a frightening certainty to her face, all the same. She doesn't even blink for an instant at Jad's rebuke. Fate's reappearance, however, is a surprise--for half a moment she thinks the younger magical girl is there to comply with her demand.

But she isn't. She explains, and Mami's expression softens.

But even as Fate runs away, Mami remembers too well a different mother, a family. ...And the girl whose territory she's in, whose family that was.

"Do what you have to do," she says to Lera. There's a sad look in her eye that fades as she hardens her heart.

Mami darts into motion, faster than Lera has seen her move before. Stretching out her good hand, her solution to Fate's maneuvers is simple; Mami conjures three guns with a brilliant flourish. They fire in a roaring retort, and Mami leaps after her to take the key with her own hand.

COMBAT: ITEM GRAB! Mami Tomoe has used Elegance in Motion on Fate Testarossa.
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The horrific musical wave catches the Fire Knight way off-guard. She struggles to keep from letting it get to her, but it's no use. Her feelings of despair grow, which is saying something considering she's usually rather positive. She narrows her eyes and feels as if tears are welling up inside of them, before shaking her head. "No!" She exclaims loudly, "I will finish this fight!" She raises her sword to the sky and begins to focus all of her magic into the air. "I will prove that we can triumph over anything!"

As the Fire Knight speaks, the fiery magic takes a form not unlike that of a huge sword that gets bigger and bigger by the moment. "We will triumph! We will win!" The Fire Knight swings her sword and sends forth an awesomely sized Sword of Flame!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Hikaru Shidou has used Sword of Flame on Negatone.
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa narrowly counters Mami Tomoe's Elegance in Motion, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Fate Testarossa's Reverse ability activates!  Fate Testarossa's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa's counterattack, Defenser, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Mami Tomoe!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe fails to grab an item from Fate Testarossa!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Jad Werke's Finisher, Grand Geyser, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Negatone perfectly dodges Fuu Hououji's Spinning Slash, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Endo Naoki's Finisher, Absolute Magnitude, taking 74 Fatigue damage!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly dodges Hikaru Shidou's Finisher, Sword of Flame, taking 91 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Negatone [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Friendship comes in like the tides with Pretty Cure's Harmony Shot, and there is plenty of cover in that staggering moment to evacuate old Otokichi, whose eyes flutter as he's moved. He burbles gratitude, which will be reiterated shortly by his granddaughter once he gets home.

Unfortunately, the way that the Negatone rolls with the impact is such that it largely avoids Jad's tsunami -- which comes in like a tsunami -- from the other side, with Chitose's rain of bolts coming in at the same time. That exhausts the water similes (and literalities), just in time for it to make like a tree and LEAP over Fuu's sword slash, which also prevents Hikaru's flamesword from torching it instantly. Instead she sets it on fire again, only before when it was a spark that Smokey Bear might have forgiven, now it is an unforgivably massive inferno.

Howling, the Negatone looks up to meet Endo's beamslash head on, and the blow plunges more and more deeply into its trunk, from the top downwards...

...slows, meeting considerable (evil) resistance...

...and stops.

The Negatone looks down at the fading magic in its chest, and inhales.

What comes out is a cacophany that puts the previous performances of the Melody of Sorrow to shame. This dirge could wake the dead and then make them wish they were still in their graves; it is ear-bleedingly painful, as well as speaking directly (and despairingly) to the soul.

Its leaves can't handle the power of the song; they gradually turn purple, and then explode in all directions, becoming tiny knives, hungry to share their suffering.

COMBAT: Negatone has used Leaves of Sorrow on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Leaves of Sorrow on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Leaves of Sorrow on Fate Testarossa.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Leaves of Sorrow on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Leaves of Sorrow on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Negatone has used Tragic Finale on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Negatone has used Tragic Finale on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Negatone has used Tragic Finale on Jad Werke.
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa perfectly dodges Negatone's Leaves of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Fate Testarossa's Fade ability activates!  Fate Testarossa's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Jad Werke narrowly braces Negatone's Finisher, Tragic Finale, taking 42 Fatigue damage!  Jad Werke's Block ability activates!  Jad Werke's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe narrowly dodges Negatone's Leaves of Sorrow, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Mami Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Mami Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou fails to brace Negatone's Finisher, Tragic Finale, taking 100 Fatigue damage!  Hikaru Shidou is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Lera Camry perfectly counters Negatone's Leaves of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Lera Camry's Reverse ability activates!  Lera Camry's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Lera Camry's counterattack, Mantle Heart, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Negatone!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to dodge Negatone's Leaves of Sorrow, taking 21 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori perfectly dodges Negatone's Leaves of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Chitose Shiratori's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly braces Negatone's Finisher, Tragic Finale, taking 52 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: ITEM ESCAPE ATTEMPT! Fate Testarossa is attempting to escape with Otokichi's Magical Musical Key! They have successfully escaped!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has cleared her item contest.
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The horrible cacophony is an awful way to finish this whole thing. Especially for the Fire Knight, who struggles to keep up with it, but while her fighting spirit has become strong once again, her overall ability to continue fighting has dropped. She struggles to not let the horrible sound get to her, but her ears are hurting and the noise is causing her to lose her sense of balance and consciousness. She drops to one knee, trying to force herself to stand back up, but it's not going to happen. Her other knee goes down as well.

"F..Fuu-chan..." Is all she can get out, hoping it's loud enough for her ally to hear her as she collapses, face first onto the ground, her sword landing beside her. She opens her eyes again, just enough to find her sword and holster it again, before her eyes close again. She lets out one last cry for help, before she passes out.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose, if she could read Jad's innermost thoughts, would be highly offended! She's (mostly) helping to destroy the tree too! Though admittedly if she didn't already have a key she'd be going after it too!

Though speaking of the key, as she looks over to watch the blond child zip around to try and escape, she takes a moment. "Dictating."

<Yes, go ahead.>

"If we ever go back in time, remind me to tell my younger self to drop the key as soon as she gets a hold of it."


"And if we go really far back, remind me to tell my really younger self that Mother comes from this place called Midchilda."

<Would you have believed it if an older you came back from the future and told you something other Earth children think is weird?>

"I suppose not, though I guess years later I would say 'Oh wow, the mysterious pretty lady was ri--" She's cut off again by the sudden chime of the Negatone's song. This time she's ready for it, her will steeled for the sounds. But... it still hurts. Chitose's breathing becomes labored as it cuts into her will to fight. "I'm getting really tired of unwanted songs right now!"

And then suddenly she gets attacked by the leaves exploding... and coming straight at her. She leaps back into the air and manuevers to try and avoid the purple leaves, and between her manuvering and turning to avoid some of the closer shaves, she manages to avoid all of the leaves. She gains some altitude quickly and points White Omen towards the tree, and the muzzle of her Device expands and a second ring forms around it. "One more time!"

<White Ark>

A large, brillant beam of white light is shot towards the Negatone, attempting not just to hit it, but to pierce /right through/.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Chitose Shiratori has used White Ark on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"No," Lera says to Mami. Her voice stays calm -- though there's a distinct tension wavering in it. "I don't know that. Miss Lindy's never done anything terrible. She'll make sure that it's safe. You're deciding you know better than a large group of people, and you're doing it in the middle of a fight."

When the rifles form, her eyes widen. Shots fire from Broken Ground, too, but they don't catch the rifle shots in time. Fate, thankfully, seems to have it covered. Lera's teeth grit together. "Mami-san!" she yells, angrily. "Don't--what did you tell me!? How we're supposed to talk! Not just act! What happened to what you believe in, to--to do something like this!"

She grits her teeth, eyes narrowing, but then Broken Ground chimes: <Incoming!>

Lera whirls -- and sees the purple-tinged leaves flying in. "Ground! Shields!"

<Mantle Heart!> the Device chimes. Then, an interlocking dome of hexagons of green energy flutters into existence before Lera, and the bladed leaves slam into it. They strike one after the other, but each is kept at bay. Lera lets out a breath, before she points the hammer down, and closes her eyes. Wind gusts by as Fate keeps flying; her hair and sidebraid shoot to the side. She looks down at the Negatone.

"Ground, let's stop this thing," she says, still tense. Her hammer swings down, and the hammerhead splits in twain. Motes of light begin to drag in -- pale yellow ones that glow brighters and brighter, before they all explode outward. They shoot out into a veritable swarm, before they come raining down towards the Negatone. <Bombadier...>

They stop -- and then all blossom out into orbs, which crash down as one, before exploding like dropped ordinance.


COMBAT: FINISHER! Lera Camry has used Bombadier Cascade on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Jad Werke [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The Negatone unleashes a massive burst of leaves, all of them razor sharp and most of them able to do considerable damage.

"Oh snap oh snap oooohhh snaaaaaaap-" Jad starts as the youma just erupts outwards in all directions with a colossal barrage of pain, doom, and razor sharp death! The wave of leaves explodes outwards in all directions, and the mage snaps one hand up in front of him. <RAMPART!> Schwartzritter declares, and a magical circle appears in front of the mage, even as he braces with both hands crossed in front of him.

There is a loud CRACK as the wave of knives pick Jadarian up and hurl him into a nearby tree. There is a loud snapping sound, and the oncoming barrage of razor sharp leaves push him UP into the air, where he spins around for a moment, a number of the razor sharp leaves cutting through his defense and lashing into his barrier jacket. The defenses in his magical protection hold, but that doesn't change the fact that the sheer force of the blow send him flying through the air, crashing into one three, and then he bursts through in a puff of leaves and slams into the trunk of another tree further down the way.

That tree shakes, and then an apple falls out of it onto Jad's head.

He staggers, takes a couple steps, and falls down on his rear end.

It takes him a moment to recover, and as he does he finds that the fight is quiiiite a ways off. He's not going to be able to get back there for a minute or two. But he does have one last trick, and hopefully it will let the others finish off that Negatone.

Raising one hand, he punches the ground, a magical circle appearing in the dirt for a moment before contracting to a point and vanishing beneath the surface - zooming along underground until the triangular, spinning blue seal appears around the Negatone.

And then the water chains erupt up from all directions, lashing around to hold the tree in place!

COMBAT: Jad Werke has used Tidal Bind on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezbLi6LFDM4

Fate hears the retort of the guns. Normally hearing them would mean it's already too late but... she spins around, facing Mami with speed that defies description, her hand darts up again.

Three bullets impact against Fate. One against her opposite shoulder, one against her abdomen, one against her leg. The child had been hurt countless times, but being shot like this, it hurts a lot. It's all she can do to even keep ahold of Bardiche, with the shoulder of her arm feeling such agony.

It's probably no surprise when she shrieks, even if it's muffled by Fate clenching down her teeth almost instantly. Her hand spasms over the key, and Mami is right there, leaping when... <DEFENSER>

Again the circle of runes forms, just outside of the fist that Fate had made around the key. It's quite solid, and while she might have had trouble fending off the bullets, that lovely wrist is a different matter. Mami wasn't a Pretty Cure after all.

But she hears the massive inhalation. Despite the agony, she has enough battle instincts for her head to jerk to the side. The howling begins, a song that makes her feel...

Like she's back in the Garden of Time.

Like she's slumped against a pillar, stretching her hand out again at the back of someone walking away.

Like she's stretched over a crack between dimensions, hand held out, as the most important person to her falls into the void with her true daughter.

To say she panics is a gross understatement of the situation.

Fate whirls to the side as the hungry knives stretch out, a golden blur. Specifically Mami's side. She lets the Puella Magi interpose herself between the tiny knives and nothingness. Her unwilling shield.

She flies straight, and flies true, and flies like all the deadly legions of Dark Fall are behind her. In moments, the golden flash that is Fate Testarossa becomes a winking star on the horizon of Tama. And if small saline tears sparkled in her wake like glittering sparkles in the sky... well that's unsurprising, isn't it?

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami flies through the air gracefully enough that it's easy to forget the blonde /can't/ fly, that she's only jumping, relying more on the magic of her body than anything as she reaches.

She just reaches, preparing already for whatever assault Fate will use to defend herself. But it doesn't come; maybe her attack headed it off...

She reaches, and she almost makes it--she can tell Fate's about to drop it--

Her hand impacts hard against the sudden, brilliant light of Fate's barrier, jarring her wrist and wrecking her momentum. "Ah--"

Fate's maneuver uses her, blocking the knives that she attempts to twist in the air to dodge. She manages to shield her current wounds, but that's all, tiny purple knives slicing through her arms and legs and torso. "--Damn--"

It's not very ladylike, but neither is the way Mami falls back to the ground. Falls, even as that monster is still rampaging, amidst all the magic going towards it. She looks up... But there's no way she can catch up to Fate now.

She drags herself back up to her feet after the fall, and her eyes set on Lera. She snaps, "I'm not /deciding/ anything!Do you think I haven't dealt with them before!? I used to be one of them. I've seen /exactly/ what they do."

She flicks her jarred wrist, which still works better, and a gun plants into the ground, and another, another, five guns punctuating her words, "I learned!" she says, with narrowed eyes, "What happens if you take your believe and you let your heart cloud it! If you don't /act/ on what's important! If you don't do what you have to do!"

She takes each of the guns, all at once, and she doesn't even spin, or flourish. She just picks up one at a time and fires them straight for the the mass of darkness.

She's angry. But she's already used too much magic, and in Kyouko's territory.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Mami!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Flourish on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The monster is still standing. The Magic Knight of Fire is not.

And that's roughly the point at which the Magic Knight of Wind simply calls out, "Everyone, be careful!!" as her sword vanishes. The next words out of her mouth should do something to explain the warning:


Battered and bloodied in body and in heart, the Wind Knight finally cuts loose with one of her most destructive spells - and most of her allies will recognize the invocation: a veritable tempest, winds lashing and tearing at the Negatone, trying to not just shred what leaves may still cling to it, but to bend its branches past the point where they'll break instead of bending. It's not a terribly well-focused spell, though, and the Wind Knight backs away quickly, circling as she goes to try and get the Fire Knight further away from the battle ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo watches, wide-eyed as the beam of his blade slowly sinks to a stop inside of the tree. Then it flickers and dies out shortly after, the numerous vents across Fallen Stern's surface obscuring the air with steam from the effort expended.

At least Fate got away. And Lera is coming to help, and there are still people standing against the Negatone. Still, all those things don't help Endo feel any better about his situation, his whole body tired and heavy, barely willing to move or even consider fighting any more against the thing.


That, the thought of everyone else still giving it their all, gets Endo moving again. He takes a deep breath, steels his shaking hands, and then he goes charging at the monster again. Sort of. More stumbling, but he can at least manage a squeak of valor as he plunges his blade forward, doing his best until the last.

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Final Effort on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Endo Naoki's Final Effort, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki is Psyched!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Jad Werke's Tidal Bind, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Jad Werke is Psyched!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!  Tangle applied to Negatone!
COMBAT: Negatone fails to brace Chitose Shiratori's Finisher, White Ark, taking 82 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Negatone fails to brace Lera Camry's Finisher, Bombadier Cascade, taking 150 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Negatone is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Negatone narrowly braces Fuu Hououji's Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Negatone is unable to keep fighting!  Negatone's Block ability activates!  Negatone's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Negatone fails to brace Mami Tomoe's Tiro Flourish, taking 48 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Negatone is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Negatone [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The Negatone is swaying -- not inappropriately -- in the winds of its own exertions. Which isn't to say it has nothing left to give; already, Siren is on her way back, and the cat's approach has the monster digging deep, real deep, and palpable despair draws around it like a cloak.

It's not enough.

Underestimating Jad and Endo is a fatal mistake -- the watery chains hold it in place, as does the blade, which seals its ability to fight the chains without further injury.

And then comes the rest -- Fuu's mighty winds and Mami's seemingly endless golden bullets, and in thunderous final, Chitose's immense bolt, which pins it into /another/ tree just in time for Lera's magic to fall and explode.

It fades, and the Note, purified, blinks its blinky-eyes and hops away. Hummy isn't here to collect it. These weren't lovebeams, either; the park remains a mess, and will for quite some time. Tomorrow the news will report on a very localized earthquake. But despite the damage to a variety of trees, the statues and Concert Hall are more or less intact, and so is the old man. Like the diva before him, it seems that the removal of his key is not having lasting ill effects.



"I've been analyzing this for hours and it's nothing like a Device and I don't know anything yet and it WILL NOT STOP SINGING ODE TO JOY. Please. Please let me stop."

Chrono folds his arms and glares at Amy.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera looks at Fate with wide, worried eyes. There isn't much besides a golden point on the horizon now -- but she shakes her head, before she turns to look back at Mami in the wake of her spell. She scowls, once, and then shakes her head. "I've been a Tuner for months, and they haven't gone wrong yet. Maybe things were bad, but... they changed. And--"

She looks at that little golden blur on the horizon. Her hand curls into a fist around the hilt of her Device. She saw that panic at the end there. Lera keeps talking, but she sounds distracted. "...If you think attacking someone unprovoked is what you have to do, then what are you fighting for anymore? This isn't protecting people, this is just attacking them for your own beliefs!"

She watches, then, as the Negatone is swept away -- and then blinks at the note. Lera shakes her head -- then she frowns -- before she looks at the horizon. "I'm gonna go check on Fate," she says. "Jad, Endo, you two be careful, y'know? Mami-san, you..."

She shakes her head. "...Get some rest."

"Lera whirls, then, and takes off -- quickly becoming a blur herself.

<Pose Tracker> Jad Werke [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Jad relaxes as the Negatone seems to break up... and he flexes one shoulder, checking to make sure that nothing is damaged. Seeing as he's already a ways away from the fight, he looks around for a moment - and seeing no one around, dismisses his barrier jacket.

Of course, Fate has already run off. Lera zooms off almost a moment later. And he's sort of... on his own here. No idea who that girl with the bunny hat and the hammer was. And something else having punched him on the inside of his head once again didn't exactly help things.

He waits for a moment so he can catch Endo's eye - the other young man had done a lot to help him, and Jad offers a Midchildian style salute as soon as he knows the other guy is looking. The help was appreciated, although given hit by the Negatone that much has left Jad in dire need of something sweet and some time to sit down and relax.

Something he drifts off to take care of.

"...hmph, that bunny hat girl could have at least responded. Ah well, guess I'll find out what's up soon enough..."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami watches as the monster fades, as a strange little Note of music hops away in the aftermath. The blonde turns back to look at Lera at the same time.

"They will," Mami answers simply. "I've done this for /years/. I don't trust them. And if you could /see/ them, you wouldn't trust them either." She shakes her head. "I didn't think you would understand."

Lera tells her to 'get some rest', and Mami watches her take off. She glances to the others, still here, some of whom were friends of both girls.

"..." Her eyes linger on the brave few still in what /was/ melee range. She sighs. "...Fine. I'll do it with just her, if I have to."

Mami turns and walks away.