2020-10-04 - Arcade Madness 2: Smash Kart

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Arcade Madness 2: Smash Kart

Virtual Mario Kart continues, but as they damage one another, the drivers discover a twist...


Setsuna Higashi, Mikoto Minagi, Kasagami Araki, Nori Ankou, Fuu Hououji, Chitose Shiratori, Niramo Umokeshi, Haruka Tenoh

GM: Pink Moon Stick


Game Center Crown

OOC - IC Date:

10/4/2020 - 09-29-15

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Triple Red Shells! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki braces 21 Fatigue damage from Haruka Tenoh's Triple Red Shells!, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied
to Kasagami Araki!
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick transforms into MARIOKART TRACK!
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Meadows, con't https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJV36Rd7eY



(We're picking up right where we left off! Please read the log if you need a refresher!)



The last part of the Moo Moo Meadows course is a wide-open field, where the hard brown dirt track is disrupted by even more bumpy, grassy, speed-sucking hills.

But there's also a RAMP right before it, a brilliantly orange ramp totally out of place in this countryside setting, a ramp that accelerates in direct opposition to the laws of gravity. A ramp that will launch anyone who hits it at a remotely decent angle straight into the air.

Flight is glorious. The whole kart gives a great lurch as the glider wings unfold and catch the air. Then it soars, you are soaring; it is a profoundly joyous experience.

Those gorgeous parabolas return to the ground only a few seconds ahead of THE FINISH LINE, which is, of course, also the starting line of the next lap. It's a very different view coming in at high speeds, something of a close-up Impressionist painting; for example, the Toad audience members are blurred by velocity to multicolored streaks, and there's no hope of hearing any cowbells, not over all the engines.

On the far side of this, of course, are more ITEM BOXES, arranged in front of the trackside barn. It seems that they've respawned for the second lap.

The music continues over everything, cheerful, folksy.

It really is a beautiful morning for a race.

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna Higashi blazes along--to the sight of the screen and the other players, a little red Shy Guy on a bike that hops as it goes over curves. The Shy Guy's mask is white, his robe naturally Red, and... somehow he might reach the pedals, kind of. He's zooming along though! And Setsuna continues to turn her wheel with the controls.

Zoom, she goes up the ramp!! Her Peach Glider unfolds and she sails forward and down on the way, hitting the track again with a little bump and vrooming on ahead. She hears no cowbells this time indeed as she goes along, and hits anotr item box. Cheerful music accompanies the green shells that start to spin around her bike as she goes. She fires one off at Chitose in front of her!! But..

She starts to fall a bit behind Mikoto's Bowser, and in short order she considers the shells she holds... and...

She veeeers closer to Mikoto, and gets close enough--to let a shell spin around at Bowser and Mikoto's kart!!!

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Triple Green Shells! on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Triple Green Shells! on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi counters 14 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Higashi's Triple Green Shells!, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Stagger
applied to Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi's counterattack, Super Horn, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Setsuna Higashi!  
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori counters 8 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Higashi's Triple Green Shells!, taking 24 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  Stagger applied to Chitose Shiratori!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori's counterattack, Super Horn, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Setsuna Higashi!  
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto keeps on driving, reflecting that this isn't nearly as hard as the adults of the world make out to be. Just keep hitting the gas pedal! Where's the problem?!

And, indeed, Mikoto can get QUITE FAST using this foolproof method of driving. Unfortunately, that's when a banana peel lands... right in front of her. In shock, her first response to Baby Setsuna's vocal taunt is verbal:

"But Kasagami's your--!!"

Now, Mikoto, who pretty much only has one strategy in this and many other things, rides straight over the banana peel. Her eyes squeeze shut as she braces for the ultimate destruction, which ends up being the worst plan, and she quickly rescinds it when she realises she's all wobbly on the track. Around and around and around, and eventually she comes to a stop.

So she keeps going!

She is going the wrong way, as a helpful cloud fellow tells her.

Luckily, Mikoto, in the middle of trying to maneuver onto the right side of the track again, gets a Green Shell hurtling RIGHT INTO HER FACE. Well, the face of her kart. Her kart face. (It has kitty ears.) She goes spinning again, and this time, she lands right-way-forwards. "Thanks!" She chirps, to Hououjink, having completely missed the point of not taking damage and getting slowed down.

Well, maybe she understands a little more than she did. Because this time, when vengeance finds her and Chitosalina leaves a peel in her path, Mikoto slows down over it so she sweves over the track instead of spinning out completely. This is still horrific to manage with her steering, but: she actually manages to keep going! "Waa-aaa-ooooh-- okay!"

AND SHE IS STILL VERY FAST WHEN SHE CAN HIT THAT GAS PEDAL. This is a speed which only grows in intensity as she careens over the ramp, a gorgeous deep gold kite unfurling to keep her high in the air. "We're flying!" Mikoto notes, with cheerful astonishment.

Down she thuds - those big wheels help absorb the impact, of course - and careens across the finish line! Which, to Mikoto's amazement, is not the end of the race. Apparently that was round one of the race, which Mikoto figures out after she slows down and no one else does. "Huh..? Oh! Right!" Back on the gas pedal, and Mikoto gains speed again. She zooms right through an item block! NYOOM!

(That is the sound a cat kart makes.)

This speed helps her catch up to the others - but Setshyna Higuyshi intercepts. "Red..." Mikoto remarks, as her head turns, only to find - she's veering close enough to ram a Green Shell into her big kart wheels!

But Setshyna has a weakness Mikoto has exploited before.

Because Mikoto... got from that item box... a Super Horn.

And she holds the boom box aloft, and there's a BLAST of sound from it. It knocks the Green Shell away, glancing off of her edges! "Nope!" Mikoto chirps, cheerfully, as she keeps driving.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"My apetite for the color red is endless, Nira-chan!" Retorts one Kassie, notably not saying a thing about her shell apetite. There's a lot of those going around, and they leave her swirling!

Or in this case, it might be the horrible betrayal of the Time Guardian, and Yoshi shoots a look at the tiniest Peachsuna with both utter love and a promise for vengeance. And maaaybe a little pride as she's claimed for vengeance upon those who've viciously fired upon her with turtle-based munitions.

A green shell aimed by Fuu only misses Kassie due to Setsuna's deployment of a bannana, leaving her again skidding barely out of the way, shell passing by with the breadth of a hair seperating her kart from it. This still manages to lose her momentum though! Haruka praises (???) her 'courage', and the Duelist grins even while she still has the world spinning in her vr-eyes. "Well then, if I lack any of those three, then I'll just have to make up for it with that very courage! Beware, for this Yoshi has...horns. A spikey tongue-crown of horns!"

She's near the back now! But it's at the bottom where the greatest hunger can be found, and so she really hammers down on the pedal! She spies that RAMP, hoping to catch it at enough of an angle to get over those cursed speed-devouring hills! As Kassie goes up the ramp, physically leaning back in her vr seat with Yoshi doing the same, trying to digitally and in person put her weight into the great jump!

The young woman grins, sucking in that feeling of LIFT and HANG TIME as she prepares for some mid-air trick, the telltale signs of a Kasagami about to do something ridiculous to show off to everyone is right on Yoshigami's face.

And then a red shell slams into her, sending her into what can best be described as a spinning green-and-crown flight through the air that ends far shallower than desired, bouncing from hill to hill towards the item boxes.

"This...is....AMAZING!" Yoshigami's yoshi-tongue is flailing, and it's weird. Also clipping through the terrain occasionally. The trio of bannanas she gains goes off even as she tries to get her flailing kart under control! Right at Haruka, Fuu, and Chitose! These aren't exactly accurate displays of yellow peel firing, as she's more trying to hammer the e-brake to stop the wild careening about.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Bananas! on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Bananas! on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Triple Bananas! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tangle and Trap
applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori fails to brace Kasagami Araki's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Tangle applied to Chitose
<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ah, so... I just have to - yes, I understand," says Nori Ankou, the RED FUTURE, as she clears her throat and there is the faint sound of a bubble tea cup being set down. "I'll do my best. So!"

"Here we are, live in Moo Moo Meadows. Take me home, country roads... do you know, I was shown a video once by someone, and I thought it was very moving how it had all of the really beautiful little details of the depths of the inland part of Hokkaido-- it's truly gorgeous in a way that's got a different taste to it than the scenery here in the Kanto-- but right, the racing!"

"We have Red Shy Guy, aided ably by Setsuna HIgashi, coming steadily up and she has GOTTEN the green shells oh, oh, a big spread! BIG SPREAD! Their fates will surely be going 'South'!"

"And then coming up is the sure-gripping treads of the Bowser Cart! Do you know that in English, Kart and Cat are almost spelled the same? But it looks very different! TOOT! Minagi has TOOTED the horn and has continued on her way! She has not conceded the point!!"

"And Araki - ah! That tongue! Yoshi's tongue is flopping underneath the tires. Is that really alright?? Isn't that going to risk a terrible stunt flip!? Ahh-- SPIN OUT! No - it's under control! The tongue is serving as a break! Multi-lingual drifting!"

There is a pause as Nori takes a palpable sip from her beverage.

Nori Ankou sometimes gets like this on the phone, and being an announcer has a lot of similarities.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Video game driving is a far cry from real-world driving; if they were in real vehicles, there would be a lot more to worry about than gas and steering ... but they also wouldn't have the benefit of all these helpful item boxes, either, especially to make up for poor driving skills). Not, Fuu thinks desultorily, that the items she's picked up have bought her much of an advantage so far - or even shaved down her disadvantages.

What the heck; she's still having fun, which is the important part. She sees a couple of karts ahead of her now, whereas quite a few are behind her, and with a twist of the wheel, her Hylian avatar angles his kart through another item box.

"Ohhhhhhh ..." Fuu smiles as she sees the result. "I'm sorry, this is going to come off as a little rude of BWUH?!?"

Cue the Kasananas, one of which settles directly in front of Link's cart in the middle of Fuu's apologetic pronouncement, causing Link to skid out of control, spinning out, and finally sliding to a halt. Then he rights his kart and pours on the acceleration, grunting in frustration - or maybe that's a lower-pitched-than-usual growl from Fuu herself?

But she's armed for revenge, and she wastes no time in taking it: the sky darkens briefly, and with a crack of virtual thunder, !LIGHTNING! strikes amongst the racers ahead of Link. Those unfortunate enough to actually be hit by it will find their karts shrunken, their speed commensurately reduced, as Link storms ahead at full gale force, trying to make up more of the lost distance. Hylia help anyone who was airborne at the time ... and Fuu *might* be aiming to run over the momentarily belittled Yoshigami. Fortunately it won't hurt, but Fuu's not above repaying some virtual embarassment ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Lightning on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Lightning on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Lightning on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to brace Fuu Hououji's Lightning, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Exhausted applied to Kasagami Araki!  
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi fails to dodge Fuu Hououji's Lightning, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Cripple applied to Niramo Umokeshi!  
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to brace Fuu Hououji's Lightning, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Cripple and Exhausted applied to Mikoto
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose continues driving. There is a sort of edge, a sort of instinct that a lot of racers have when it comes down to driving, the sort of thing where everyone tries to jockey for position and driving down the road is the most cutthroat thing imaginable.

An instinct Chitosed lacks, at least for the moment. She's still kind of just happy to be here, taking in the pixellated sights and more or less just focusing in front of the road, attempting to avoid all of the cows that are also larger than cars. Last time she dealt with wildlife larger than cars, she -was- the car, so just by driving here this was valuable experience.

She eventually hits another item box, and the potential prizes rotate for a few moment, until it comes across... a red box? She's not quite sure what that is.

Chitose continues driving. She's not paying too much attention to her opponents, which culminates when a shy guy pops up and sends a shell at her. She starts pushing buttons, attempting to try and maybe fire something off, and the Super Horn goes off...

A smidgeon too early, as the shell manages to find its mark and Chitose spins right on out again. "Argh!" is the only noise that comes out of her.

She starts getting up to speed again when a banana peel nimbly lands right in front of her engine, and for the second time in a few moments Chitose spins again, and it takes her a brief second for her to drive again. She sighs, and decides to just enjoy the drive for what it is. It is rather pretty.

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh perfectly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Despite the wonders of virtual reality allowing someone to feel like they're right there in the game, there are some breaks from reality that the developers thankfully put in. One of those is not making you spin around rapidly around if you were hit by something like a green shell, for example. Thanks to her instinctively holding down the acceleration on her controller, Niramo is able to speed back up quickly, but she gives the younger Mario a quick playful glare. "That was a good shot, Steven-san!"

Speeding down the dirt track in the early morning light, Niramo is feeling pretty good about her chances at the moment. She's close enough to see the pale blue dress of Rosalina and she can use her bike to zip through the chaos of the middle of the pack. She just needs a little edge...oh, the large glowing ramp right in the middle of the road? This should be easily enough to keep ahead with the others! Niramo's green bike speeds straight for the ramp and goes out into the air--

--and the Super Glider shows itself, unfurling and carrying her bike gracefully through the air. "Oooh, so that's what the glider is for. This is pretty cool!" It's a little short-lived, but the flight is great to experience while it lasts.

The return to virtual earth is rough, but the still spinning tires are quick to carry Nirauigi over the finish line and into the second lap. The cheerful cries of the Toads are dull in her ears as she sees how she can try to change things around now. Shells are being tossed, horns pierce the morning air and bananas are being fired wildly, but nothing at her. She just needs to--


"Uuuh...why is the world growing?" Everything was getting bigger and there was sparks of electricity visible on her hands. She must have been hit a shrink ray item! A little out of place, but it doesn't seem to have hurt too badly...even though she's a lot slower now.

Niramo manages to reach the item boxes just as her bike returns to its' normal size and she starts to worry about if she will actually get to attack anytime soon. The Horns were great and all, but she needed some way to take the fight to the others!

And what was in her hand was most certainly not a Horn. A cartoon bullet with white stubby arms and a painted-on face. "This looks a lot stronger than a horn." She throws her arm out like she's throwing the bullet and everything suddendly accelerates!

What was once a thin green plumber on his motorcycle is now a speeding missile flying down the track at unbelievable speeds! The computer seems to take control of steering for the moment and Niramo flies on past Mikowser and Setsuna Guy. "Oh yeah, Luigi time!" Though the spinning Chitose might find herself in the path of a speeding bullet...!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Niramo Umokeshi has used Bullet Bill on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori braces 42 Fatigue damage from Niramo Umokeshi's Finisher, Bullet Bill, taking 28 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  Chitose Shiratori's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

E-brake indeed, Kasagami. A digital brake for a digital race. As Yoshigami flails from a devastating shelling, Tanuki Haruka zooms up, neatly skidding out of the way of one of the several yellow bananas that fly from the wounded lizard like so many yellow tears.

"Oh, we have an announcer now?" Haruka intones languidly into her microphone. "And what a way with words she has." Tanuki Mario has to dodge Rosalina's heavy racer as she passes it, courtesy of her younger brother Luigi's Bullet Bill. Cows gaze with bovine disinterest as the race proceeds across scenic hills. The uncanny nature of this VR hasn't dulled, and Haruka is constantly glancing around at the graphics. Cool...

"She hasn't commented on me at all, though," Haruka feigns disappointment. "I guess Araki's tongue is a little distracting."

Tanuki Mario hits a row of item boxes, the randomized draw flipping through and settling on something MOST intriguing, something the other Mario Brother just used to great effect.

"Whatever can I use to get Announcer-chan to notice me?" Haruka wonders wistfully, lining up her shot.


Bullet Bill rockets right down the middle of the path, chasing down the frontrunners. Kitty Bowser is the first who must confront this juggernaut of lead. Tanuki Mario's own younger brother is the next to find his rear view mirrors filled with angry ammunition. And last but not least, Shytsuna must swiftly react, or else download more bullet than her hard drive can handle.

"There's a lot I'd do to impress a girl with a voice like that..."

COMBAT: FINISHER! Haruka Tenoh has used Bullet Bill on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Haruka Tenoh has used Bullet Bill on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Haruka Tenoh has used Bullet Bill on Setsuna Higashi.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to brace Haruka Tenoh's Finisher, Bullet Bill, taking 56 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto Minagi is unable to
keep fighting!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Haruka Tenoh's Finisher, Bullet Bill, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi fails to dodge Haruka Tenoh's Finisher, Bullet Bill, taking 50 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


<SoundTracker> I Get Around - Beach Boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wREBD2og5iY

The whole world is the wind and the speed.

Here comes the big curve, drift if you can after picking up your Item Box!

And this time, on the second lap, things are easier: the Moo Moo Meadows herd must have moved on to chew their cuds somewhere else, because they aren't here.

Fewer obstacles means HEAVY RACERS have an advantage, as they can accelerate freely. But it also means that the randomness of ITEMS will play a big role. And both of those things are just another way of saying that this is really going to come down to a direct competition of SKILL, racer vs. racer instead of racer vs. environment! All the great items in the world won't do much good if they aren't used effectively.


...then it was by a Bullet Bill.

So let's get a little bit specific about what happens!

The Bullet Bills are huge -- and at the angle of the morning sun, they cast a shadow in front of them that is... engulfing. All-consuming. The briefest warning of what's about to happen, in other words.

When they drive over their opponents, they don't just clip them -- they flatten them. It isn't physically painful, but it is very disorienting. The world becomes briefly two dimensional, narrows to a one-dee line, then pops back up.

Some karts can keep driving after all that, but apparently Mikoto's -- Bowser's -- has had enough. No one else sees it happen clearly enough to understand it; those passing it see only a velocity blur, one like any other -- like the Toads, or the trees.

But Bowser's mighty Kart wheels pop off in a clatter and roll to either side; the sides of the Kart body flop over, falling outwards in every direction at once, like the death throes of an overused cardboard box.

Bowser himself is unharmed... and can walk away from the wreckage.


<SoundTracker> What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3yCcXgbKrE

It's true, and wholly natural; the last of the line between VR and reality has fallen away, and it isn't obvious what controls are being used to connect brain to feet.

But it's a magical moment. Spectacular, really, especially as it's coming as a surprise. Wave your arms, crane your neck, look around.

There's suddenly a whole world to explore.

Mikoto could follow backwards along the track to try to get to the bleachers (recommendation: walk along the edge); she could explore the barn (also a ways back) or trek off into the forest in the middle of the track's loop. Go joust a windmill, or climb a tree.

The possibilities are endless.

And the race feels like only one small part of a much larger game.

OOC: +kart/box if you're still in the race!

OOC: NORI, note that the projection camera is focusing on the front, so you do not see what happens to Mikoto!Bowser. And
Mikoto!Bowser, it turns out that your radio was in the Kart, you may not ICly realize it right away but the racers can't hear you
anymore, and you can't hear them.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Aaa!" Setsuna jumps in her seat at the sudden noise of the Super Horn from Mikoto's and Chitose's karts. So much noise on such a nice morning...! Setsuna wobbles, the Shy Guy weaving to and fro on the way forward as she catches herself. Wobble wobble. "You shouldn't be so loud in the morning," she complains.

Setsuna has fun with the announcer, pleased to be mentioned. The RED FUTURE announces her action and she manages to get control of herself once again... well. For a while. Until the bullet bill comes up. She blinks as she notices the shadow, but only briefly, as--ffffffflat.


Red Shy Guy pops back up again and Setsuna shakes her head, wavering before she takes off again. She's much farther back now, but drifts along the BIG CURVE mostly because she hops again. She likes that one.

But vrooming on ahead, her bike sees a heavier racer in the distance... as she passes an item and finds herself in possession of another shell! "Oh! It's red!" she says delightedly, looking to it and briefly not looking head as a result. But she catches on quickly enough. "I almost hate to use it..."


Setsuna throws out the shell for the person in front of her, who happens to be Rosalina once again. "Almost!!"

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Red Shell~ on Chitose Shiratori.
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

It's only after there is a poof of smoke that the misnamed missile shifts back into Luigi on his bike and Niramo can start controlling the bike again. "Sorry about that, Chitose-san. The bullet had a mind of it's own!" While she may be in it to win it, that doesn't that she feels bad about almost hitting a pretty lady in a blue dress!

It's at this moment that the motorcycle racer hears a familiar sound she just heard a moment ago, and she instinctively swirves to her right. This saves her from being brutally crushed by another Bullet Bill piloted by her 'onii-chan' but causes her to run up against the picket fence and slows herself down incredibly. "That is terrifying! Note to self, video game characters really have it rough."

Her steadfast bike speeds up once more, the great curve being easy to traverse on the dirt road. Charging through the now familiar hovering boxes, she looks down at her hand and frowns at the single green shell. Sure, it matched her character's outfit, but it seems a little disappointing compared to the power that the Bullet Bill had. Then again, there has been someone constantly harrassing the younger brother.

There's several other racers still ahead of her but there's no cows blocking the road this time. Narrowing her eyes, she carefully aims her shot and practices her throw for a moment to see if she can time this just right. "Hey Maaaario?" She throws her arm forward, sending the green missile to spin down the path. Her aim is a little off as it bounces off the picket fence, but the rebound has it right back on target. ""It's my turn to be Player 1!"

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi has used Green Shell~ on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh fails to dodge Niramo Umokeshi's Green Shell~, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Haruka Tenoh is
Quipped!  Stagger applied to Haruka Tenoh!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"It's okay now, 'cause it's part of the game!" Mikoto issues back to Setshyna, chipper. Well, look at this way... maybe this means she's not feeling quite so guilty about waking everyone up any more.

Then, she calls up to the heavens: "Kart and cat are the same?!" Mikoto, who does not get very good grades in English class, never knew. Maybe she should study more..?

Or maybe she can just get Nori to tell her cool English cat facts.

And so, Mikoto nyooms off..!!

Only to get ZAPPED by lightning, crashing in out of nowhere. "Wehh???" Mikoto yelps, as suddenly she is MUCH smaller, and, consequently, much slower.

Hououjink zooms past, as Kitten Bowser putters along. Honk honk! Goes the cat horn, but the Super Horn is gone now.

And then, POIK, she's fully big again. "Phew," Mikoto sighs, as she puts her foot on the gas pedal again, which seems to be how cars work. She'll have to remember this if she ever has to drive an actual car. Apparently it was easy all this time!

(Don't tell Haruka that, Mikoto.)

Unfortunately for Mikoto, Haruka has something to say about the lack of cat facts laid in her lap. (That's probably not why Haruka wants Nori's attention, but it's why Mikoto thinks she'd want attention, okay.) And the only language Haruka speaks... IS SPEED. Lo, the sky darkens! The air screams! The world becomes

B I L L.

Mikoto knows now the true cat wisdom: becoming totally flat.

And yet, her precious cat kart...

... it cannot handle this wisdom!

Clatter go those big wheels; crash go the sides. The kite unfolds from where it was hidden, sprawling unbound on the track. And Mikowser... steps out.

"Huuuh," she remarks, baffled, as she looks down at her feet. And her hands. Which are still, distinctly, lizardy!

Shaking herself out, the King of Koopas tromp-tromp-tromps off the track, and shortly finds herself by one of the Moo-Moos which make up the obstacles of the track.

"Hi!" Says Mikowser.

'Moo,' moos the Moo-Moo.

Have you ever seen Bowser petting a Moo-Moo? Because here's Bowser, petting a Moo-Moo.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There's a little bumping and thumping.

And Haruka's question is answered with a far more familiar voice.

"Please excuse our dear announcer, there was a spill - some sort of an animal has gotten loose, but I don't think it would take long. Ahh, but as expected, Tenoh is burning up the raceway... making up any lost grounds with such a powerful straight shot. As fast as the wind... Ah, here we go."

"Thank you, Kaioh-san -- oh!! Is it time for the revenge to be complete?! I was told by a good friend of mine that leading authorities agree that the man Luigi is the perfect vessel for evil -- perhaps it is now time for evil to hold sway over good!! But they say that without evil, there can be no good... but is that really true?! I think it's one of those complicated analogies!"

"Well, I'm going to get a beverage. Ja."

Nori is now alone again.

Or is she... with everybody!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Anyone who's played enough Mario Kart can attest that sometimes, the item box gives you *exactly* what you need at just the right time to turn a losing race around. And sometimes ...

You get a banana.

Not even a *triple* banana, but a single, solitary piece of tactically utilizable fruit. At least, in theory, tactically uilizable.

Link frowns, continuing to focus on maneuvering around obstacles and doing his best to dodge any attacks oming his way - or rather, Fuu is doing that, it just continues to look like Link doing it - and at the same time, she's looking for an opportunity to put that banana to use. There aren't a whole lot of targets at this point, though - the Bullet Bills' passage thinned things out considerably until the players recover.

It is, all things considered, a good time to put some extra speed on Link's kart - the disadvantage of a heavy racer, after all, is that they take a while to get up to speed ... and Fuu hasn't been able to *keep* the speed she's acquired.

Eventually, that banana - or rather, its peel - gets flung towards the wheels of a Tanuki-suited Mario ... or rather, a Harukario, if only Fuu realized it.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Banana on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh braces 0 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Trap applied to Haruka Tenoh!  

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The Wind-flavored Hero of Time launches a grand attack upon Kasagami! Her drifty-tongue maneuver is, not dashed, but diminutized as she's turned into a Minigami! There's a tiny little green yoshi in that King Kart that is promptly demoted to a very flat Baron-Kart briefly. Two beady yoshi-eyes glare at Fuu!

And hop-rolls as barely more than a textured smash of greens and reds angrily at the lightning-user! One can almost make out a fist-shake.

But luckily she is not the target of the Bullet Bill Massacre, or any following shells or peels. She's somehow managed to briskly survive her way to the front of the pack, and so her best strategy is to lean down hard on that accellerator! The royal kart gives a nice big VRRRRRMMMMMM, and spewing beautiful fabulous sparkles out it's monarchial exhaust as Yoshigami flicks her non-existant hair. Somehow the weird red headspike-things on the yoshi flutter with those sparkles coming off of them.

But with so many weapons in the hands of those temporarily behind her, she's not taking chances. Case in point: there is now a piranha plant pot literally spat out of the yoshi's mouth with a properly midi sound, and then a big planty CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP should Chitose get too close. Which the Duelist is trying to engineer, slowing down just enough to try to lead in her opponent into those vicious jaws!

"Go, my loyal Sir Piranha-kun! Devour any invading Princesses!" Then she stomp-stomp-stomps the gas again!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Piranha Plant on Chitose Shiratori.
COMBAT: Chitose Shiratori fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Piranha Plant, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Chitose
Shiratori is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose continues to drive, though her racing intensity has diminished somewhat. She is still manuvering to avoid traps and obstacles, but that's really about it. On the bright side, even that is super easy due to the lack of cows now. She still goes through the motions, so when she comes across the small item boxes, she hits one. The item spin happens, just as normal, and what isn't normal is when she suddenly has a wind-up bomb in her inventory.

Chitose suddenly starts to swerve, if only because she can vaguely identify what a bob-omb is, panic crosses her face. Is that one of those bombs that will automatically go off if she holds it too long? Chitose doesn't know! Her head swivels for a moment, as she panics and tries to get rid of the bomb.

Which means she doesn't quite notice when Kasagami obtains Seymour, who reaches out and grabs her front wheel, causing Chitose's car to flip over and fall apart.

Chitose lies in the wreckage for a few moments, before she gets up and dusts herself off. For the first time this game, Chitose looks around at herself, and notices who she is for the first time. "Huh." She even gets a look at Rosalina in the reflection off the wreckage. Then, she finally shuffles off the field... except that's when she notices a quirk about Rosalina. In that she doesn't quite walk. Instead, she floats. Or rather...

"She can fly?!" Chitose exclaims to herself. Thankfully she's not heard thanks to the radio being destroyed. "Why couldn't I just do that?!"

Chitose sighs and goes to be one with the virtual cows.

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Hercule - Le Monde Qui est le Mien - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOPJ3F5V2tY

The Bullet Bill's devastation is something to behold. Tanuki Haruka dodges this way and that past the flattened remains of the three cars that had been ahead of her, taking the lead... and the attention of the announcer, surely. She glances to her rear, seeing that while Luigi and Shy Guy have recovered, Bowser is now entirely out of sight. It takes him longer to accelerate, maybe that's it?

Haruka understands the cunning of her partner enough to wonder, when the voice changes, whether this drink trouble was caused by Batiste, or whether the otter is being slandered. Not that she would object so strongly...

"Horah," Haruka admires. "Could it be that every girl I fancy turns into Michiru Kaioh?" She grins a tanuki grin. "If it's true, there can only be one result: I must make it the duty of my life to fancy as many girls as possible. How could they forgive me if they had the opportunity to become Michiru Kaioh and I denied that to them?"

Michiru has arrived but the cows have departed; both changes are for the best. In the lead, Haruka will benefit from a reduced element of chaos, just as she benefits from the silken-voiced presence of her paramour.

"I trust our backup announcer is still nearby?" Haruka asks Nori when she returns. "In that case, the rest of you will have to forgive me--because I know she won't, if I do not take..."

A shell as green as decades of envy smashes into Mario, courtesy of his underappreciated brother Luigi. Tanuki Mario not only crashes, but also bounces off a fence. He's lucky there are no cows to bump into, given how poorly the crash goes.

"...first place," Haruka finishes with a sigh.

Slowly churning back up to speed, Haruka gets a banana dropped in front of her by the Hero of Winds before she's moving fast enough to do anything but bump into it. She skids out at low speed.

"I'm beginning to think green is my unlucky color," she quips, as she gets back up to speed and punches through a line of item boxes. Beepbeepbeep, it randomly selects:

A single Green Shell.

"Hmmm," Haruka glares at it suspiciously. "Well... this one looks a little more aquamarine, in this light." She turns her eyes up to the racers in front of her. "And it's not over 'till it's over..."

Superstitiously, Haruka avoids firing upon Luigi. Instead, when she releases her Green Shell, it flies out after a Shy heart that found its salvation clad in green, once upon a time...

This experience may be less profound and positive.

"...not while I can still hear the ocean in the sound of my engine," Tanuki Mario says.

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh has used Green Shell~ on Setsuna Higashi.
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi perfectly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Haruka Tenoh's Green Shell~, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Dodge!  Setsuna Higashi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Meadows, redux... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJV36Rd7eY


For a second time the curve opens up into the broad and bumpy open meadow that comprises the final third of the looping course. The Moo-Moos aren't here either, but the low grassy hills, enemy of acceleration, still are, and so is the ramp that allows a skillful driver to pass over all of them.

The most fortunate can commence an aerial battle for the next few seconds.

The less fortunate can fall further behind down below. At least it's soft and lovely. The sky smells like speed. The ground smells like dew, and soft green grass, and rich brown earth.



Mikowser's Moo-Moo seems to have gotten separated from the rest of the herd; there is only the one in sight. It is a friendly beast, though, and lows once, amiably, upon receipt of any affection. Its cowbell clatters as it shakes its head, a satisfied and satisfactory sort of sound. When Chitosalina joins in, it transpires that there is Moo-Moo enough for two; it is big in both body and heart.

Let the petting commence.

Suddenly: something multicolored blurs past them all.

And then the last Moo-Moo is gone.

Its cowbell clatters in the distance, one last time, before it is lost to sound as well as sight. The noise emitted faintly from the mid-loop forest. Unknown Territory. Off the map.

It's very... quiet.

The soundtrack is still going in the background, but its cheerful pseudo-Irish jig is abruptly feeling just a little bit eerie. The music isn't what's changed.

But also -- there are no other roaring engines. The race must be completely on the opposite side of the forest by now.

And that... doesn't make... sense.

Mikowser, and especially Chitosalina who got bumped off further down, were far enough ahead on the track, and have been not moving at kart-speed for long enough, that surely they should have been passed by the others by now. The ones nobody's seen in a while. Like Endo Koopa, and Baby Marioverse, and Definitely Not Chibi-Usa, and Yosheri.

A decision must be made. Stay or go? And if you go, go where?

NORTH: Big curve

SOUTH: Start/Finish Line, Bleachers, Barn

WEST: No-Moo's-Land, the mid-loop forest

EAST: The edge of the map/impassable hill

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

An animal has gotten loose??? It is a mystery. Setsuna doesn't really get it. But she does see Kasagami's Yoshi up ahead, as th race evens ut, Chitose-Rosalina falling far behind. On her motorcycle she zooms forward, watching those fabulous sparkles ahead and nowing where she must go. ...But, after the pirahna plant disappears, not before.

Red Shy Guy is under assault, however. There is a single green shell coming at her, thanks to a Tanuki Mario... a Haruka. Perhaps it is indeed aquamarine. There are greens that are Setsuna Higashi's enemy. But one green-wearer...

One green-wearer introduced her to video games in the first place, and perhaps it is for that reason that the shell finds no purpose. Setsuna weaves out of its way with all the smooth handling of a Camry, and vrooms on forward. The experience is excellent.

"Pirahna-kun can't help you now!" Setsuna calls up at Kasagami as she sails throgh another item box, which flashes and flashes until... a red shell appears. Then she hits the ramp, sailing gloriously into the air with her Peach Glider, and spotting...

The one person between her and the lead. The one... dinosaur. Setsuna tilts her motorcycle until she's behind Kasagami and--

"Take this!" Lets loose the red shell on the Yoshi!!

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Red Shell~ on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki perfectly dodges 40 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Higashi's Red Shell~, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"She's nice!" Mikowser calls over to Chitosalina, as she sees her floating along. King Koopa must mean the Moo-Moo, who is a very nice Moo-Moo indeed.

Mikoto discovers that her Moo-Moo (who is, it seems, the only Moo-Moo here..? Clearly she's something special!) enjoys scritches behind the ear - which are, by the way, remarkably lifelike, even though they're in THE WORLD OF THE GAME. She can feel the soft fur like she's right there with the cow, and in Mikoto's mind, she really is right here with the cow.

And that's just the moment that suddenly - there's no soft fur beneath her thick lizardy fingers. Something blurs past - and their kind and gentle Moo-Moo is gone. "Eh..?" Mikoto asks, looking this way, looking that way.

She tromps to the left, and tromps to the right, as she turns to look for where their Moo-Moo has gone. Unlike the gentle flying Rosalina, Bowser is an exceptionally heavy fellow, after all.

"Wait..." Mikoto wonders, as she looks to the track. "... where'd everyone go?" It's so quiet. Shouldn't she at least be able to hear the karts..? Mikoto doesn't think that perhaps her keen hearing wouldn't avail her here, where all the sounds have been programmed, because it feels like it's real. Even the music in the background is natural fit.

(Aren't soundtracks awfully common?)

Mikowser frowns - it's a natural scowl for the villain of the Mushroom Kingdom - and points towards the forest. "They took our Moo-Moo that way," she decides. "Let's go!"

Go west, young Mikoto..!

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The narration from Nori in the crowd has been enjoyable to hear for a while, adding a colorful view on the race from an outsider's perspective. It even has been informative and gave Niramo a good idea on how the race was going. But there was now slander being directed right at her! "It's a younger brother standing up and not wanting to be in their brother's shadow any longer. There's no evil in that!" Now she wants to throw a shell at Nori...oh well.

The second curve is up ahead and it leans into the fenced in meadow with small hills spread through the grassy expanse, green domes that would be completely devestating at this part in the race. Sure, they might share the same color as the world's second best plumber, but being synchronized in color schemes will not give her a speed boost. Smashing into a floating item box for and making a bee-line for the ramp, she glances down at the item and gasps. "Ah! A Bom-omb!"

A mental slideshow of a small Mario being caught in many a star-spangled explosion from these destructive menaces is enough to have instincts take over. She quickly throws her arm behind her to gain some distance away from her and throws it backwards just as she is launched skywards. This would send the Bom-omb right towards the Hero of Hyrule and of the Mushroom Kingdom!

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi has used Bob-omb on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi has used Bob-omb on Haruka Tenoh.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh fails to dodge Niramo Umokeshi's Bob-omb, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Haruka Tenoh is unable to keep fighting!
Cripple applied to Haruka Tenoh!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji braces 19 Fatigue damage from Niramo Umokeshi's Bob-omb, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is unable to
keep fighting!  Fuu Hououji's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose floats away from the ruins of her motorcycle and wanders over to the cow where Bowser is as well. She doesn't quite approach the cow quite yet, but watches Bowser pet the cow a bit. Huh. "This is extremely lifelike for a video game." She wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

She's almost equally confused when something very colorful streaks past, leaving no cow behind. Chitose looks around, left, then right, and then down the way where the color went.

It's only when Mikoto points out how everything got real quiet real quickly that Chitose finally notices. "You're right." Chitose turns. "This track didn't seem that big..." Granted, Chitose didn't pay too much attention during the race, maybe the track really was big enough that the rest of the cartestants were so distant as to be in Kyoto.

"Then again, maybe it's just some corner cutting.." The sudden lack of sound was disconcerting, though.

Chitose floats behind Bowser as Mikoto heads toward the forest.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ah, the Bananas are out in play... I wonder if this is Mr. Kong's doing? They're very into bananas at Kong Island, I've been told... but I have also heard they save their raisins for Sunday -- oh! another charge forwards from the knights of the tongue! Go, Araki-san! Ride into your rainbow road!"

"Oh, no, wrong level -- ahh! a special request? I, ah, I'll tell her that -"

"You had better not fail, O Racer," says Michiru Kaioh. She is on a distinct audio channel from Nori, who has not yet transformed into that level of Michiruosity.

There is a delay in the commentary - perhaps Nori is eating something and has muted her mic (oh blessed good habits)

But perhaps the silence from the other nearby 'announcer' speaks volumes for a certain racer...

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There's a fast-approaching red blurr behind her, and one with red turtle death aimed directly Kasagami's way! The glorious aerial duel begins, and it's enough to make the young woman sweat a bit in real life. One can see a fire-flower shaped sweatdrop fall off of Yoshigami's forehead as she hammers the 'hop' command mid-air while leeeeeeaning to the right.

Just in time too, as this spinning twist allows the oddly aerodynamic dino monstrosity to get her back wheels just out of the way of the red shell.

"You're truly a worthy opponent! We shall see who will wear the pixel-crown wreathe of victory laurels today!"

Then she lands hard, Yoshi bouncing in her kart. The Duelist chooses, of course, to make several pre-celebratory hops to taunt her opponents. Psychological warfare is good, after all. With Nori announcing, the gracious Would-Be-King gives the toad-audience an on cue unnecessary drift and wink as she plays it up.

Only to be scared un-drifting by the destruction Niruigi is causing! No, she has victory in her grasp, she can't lose! Waiting until she has a nice backwards-facing angle to bounce a green shell off towards her pursuers, she unleashes the green ammo wildly as she sucks in a breath of fresh countryside not-air.

"Be vigilant, for there are always those just as hungry..." She reminds herself, leaning once again into the gas dangerously.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Green Shell~ on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Green Shell~, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  Niramo Umokeshi is unable to keep
fighting!  Niramo Umokeshi is Quipped!  Stagger applied to Niramo Umokeshi!
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Being sent skyward can give someone a wonderful view of the idealistic farm and the out of bound surroundings. If there was time to actually look around during the middle of a colorful and destructive race, Niramo wouldn't mind doing so for a time, but there's a first place trophy to be had! With a mild bump, the motorcycle's wheels touch down--

--just in time to be hit by a green shell sent by the King of the race.

Both tires are sent flying off the axle, and the Comet Bike just grinds to a halt in the dirt. Not expecting her vehicle to just collapse like that, she climbs off what was once a sturdy vehicle and takes a look around the meadow. "Well...I guess my time is up?" With her part in the race coming to a sudden close, Niruigi moves towards the outer fence and goes to walk back the way she came. Maybe she can find something else to do while the race is still going on.

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Tanuki Mario is impressed by the way Setsuna Guy slips out of the way of the Green Shell. Or could it be that the Green Shell slips out of HER way? How could that be?

It's pretty strange to hear Nori's commentary. Has she played these games or not? It's like she is an expert at things Nintendo, but only by having someone (Batiste maybe, or Kozue) read the Official Guides to her while she's asleep with fever. Haruka had initially jockeyed for the spotlight, but now she is starting to try not to listen too closely, lest she become physically dizzy. Besides, there's another announcer now...

"See you at the finish line," she tells Announcer 2 boldly.

Tanuki Mario may no longer be in the lead, but the competition keeps slimming down. If she can just hang in there... Araki seems to be doing well ahead, but she makes Haruka look cautious and humble, surely something will go wrong there soon enough. If not, maybe she can share some Setsuna Meioh anecdotes over the radio--might even kill two birds with one stone, though the cute little Chibi-Usa racer is nowhere to be seen lately.

At a time like this, perhaps it would be better to take the safe path. But Tanuki Mario sees the sky before him, and the choice is made before it is offered. His striped tail longs to sail among the clouds... and as the wheels leave the earth, for a moment he is immune to gravity. It is such a more immediate sense of flight than an airplane or helicopter offers, and even in a video game, it catches Haruka's breath for a moment. Slowly gliding into view, the glistening black metal of a Bob-omb lingers, peaceful in its cartoon menace.




Tanuki Mario sits up amidst the wreckage of his kart. Philosophically, he brushes off his shoulders. Loving to win does not always imply hating to lose. The most competitive souls have to be at peace with both, to truly enjoy what they do. Standing up, Tanuki Mario stretches, then examines his gloved hands. Looking over at Luigi, who has crashed nearby, Tanuki Mario waddles over amiably, then places a hand up on the taller brother's shoulder.

"There, there," Tanuki Mario soothes. "You see? Onii-san is just like you." Looking over her brown-suited shoulder, she examines the becalmed--and yet dissonant--landscape.

"But it looks like there's more to see... shall we head for the Finish Line? There's someone I promised I'd meet there, after all." Turning South, Tanuki Mario makes his way in that direction, for the bleachers and the barn and the white-and-black checkered line. "And you wouldn't want me to beat you there, right?"

KART: Haruka Tenoh has quit the race!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

With skill befitting the Hero of Winds (or perhaps the Hero of the Sky), Link's kart races off the ramp, bouncing at just the right moment to get a little extra boost, then steers gracefully along the aerial stretch that leads towards the finish line ... only to touch down, very near Tanuki Harukario, at the moment that the Bob-omb explodes.

Even with the relative safety of a VR headset, that kind of hurt a little - perhaps not so much physically, but Fuu's gamer ego suffers critical damage, much as Link's cart did. The green-clad swordsman climbs back to his feet, though, and brushes himself off, looking about the meadow in which he's been deposited, now kartless.

Venturing into the forest is actually kind of an appealing idea, for curiosity's sake as much as anything else - but rather than heading east, Link instead makes his way south towards the finish line. May as well see how the rest of the race ends for those who are still in contention.

KART: Fuu Hououji has quit the race!

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


Kasagami and Setsuna's Karts jockey back and forth for the lead--

--Mikoto and Chitose enter the thickly rendered forest--

Fuu, Niramo, and Haruka walk across the meadow towards the Finish Line--

Victory! Defeat! Mystery! Danger! All these and more, on...


COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has saved her current combat state for later!
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has saved her current combat state for later!