2021-06-13 - Arcade California

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Title: Arcade California

Following the rumors of students acting abnormally due to a new arcade, Fuu and Niramo go to investigate. Nearly falling under the addictive spell themselves, the Wind Knight and Miraculous Ninja take on the master of the Midnight Arcade.


Fuu Hououji, Niramo Umokeshi


Midnight Arcade - Akihabara Electric Town

OOC - IC Date:

6/13/2021 - 12/1/2015

.**************************** Shitamachi Low City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Akihabara Electric Town +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 Brave Akihabara, holy land of nerds, Akihabara of the cartoony signs and      
 gumball-machine colors. One can buy anything in Akihabara, as long as it is   
 computer gear, electronics or anime merchandise. The main strip is the        
 glitziest, with a large percentage of the visible building faces covered in   
 electronic signs, huge posters, or garish paint jobs, and there one can       
 purchase coveted new items at (or just a hair before) their street dates.     
 The streets to either side are home to a messier brand of store, where one    
 can, with a little luck and persistence, find used goods like that rare       
 out-of-print first edition Sailor V figurine or vanity press Pretty Cure      
 doujinshi. These smaller stores compete ferociously for space, and can be     
 found crammed into alleyways and spilling out onto sidewalks as well as in    
 more standard configuration.                                                  
 Those whose tastes run more to programming than fandom can find the area,     
 also known as Akihabara Electric Town, quite rewarding as well. It's the      
 perfect place to shop for computer parts and other gadgets for projects both  
 personal and paranormal, with the venue ranging from a posh cutting-edge      
 robotics store on the main strip, to tiny stalls wedged into alleys that      
 sell high-grade electronics on the cheap. The latter category manage this     
 feat of thrift by selling unpackaged items taken from wholesale lots, and     
 piled up for display like supermarket apples.                                 
 It's relatively safe to be seen wearing unusual clothing here; it's likely    
 to be taken for cosplay, or the uniform of one of the diversely themed maid   
<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The Midnight Arcade practically appeared overnight. People swore that building wasn't there before, but no construction equipment nor any noise alerted anyone to its creation. The arcade was simple in shape - a small boxy building with windows and an automatic door, not much different than many others. However, it was painted deep black with no shine whatsoever. The glass of the windows and door were darkly tinted, making it difficult to see inside, but what was visible was a large collection of arcade games. The sign on the top declared it to be 'Midnight Arcade' with the words seperated by a stylized moon graphic.

The inside seemed to be larger than the outside. The collection of games that could be seen from the outside was nothing compared to the practical labyrinth that could be seen once entered all the way. It was hard to see how far back the games truly went, as the only lights were neon and black lights, making the art in the posters on the wall practically pop out.

Before anyone can enter, however, they have to pass a counter ran by a very tall, thin lady in a purple dress. Her short black hair stands out against her pale skin. She eagerly waves and awaits anyone walking in, and even blocks their path with a cane with a joystick for a handle. It seems that she has something to say.

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

Good video games are addictive. This is something that Fuu knows, as a fan of several video games - one might say she's a gamer in her own right, and she'd be hard pressed to argue.

But there are different kinds of addictivity. A *really good* game just inspires the desire to keep trying after you hit the dreaded Game Over screen: to pick yourself up, dust ourself off, and try again, or to go back and look at how you'd prepared for a fight and see how you might need to change your approach. Hearing a couple of her juniors chatting about this arcade that they *just had* to go back to - even at the expense of doing their homework, or going home for supper, or going to school the next day ... she's seen that kind of addictiveness before.

That's not good game design at work. At least, not *just* good game design.

So, after setting up a relatively mundane 'safety net' - namely, asking her big sister Kuu to start ringing Fuu's cellphone off the proverbial hook if she's not home by a certain time - Fuu ventures to Akihabara, nominally part of her stomping grounds, to seek out the 'Midnight Arcade' and see what's so special about it. She's hoping that the glove-jewel tucked away in a pocket is an unnecessary precaution, but it's there all the same.

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

At the constantly turning rumor mill at Juuban, among the reports of Christmas miracles, questionable shops and reports of difficult pop quizzes, are the rumors about a new arcade in Akihabara. With an exterior as dark and mysterious as they come, it stands out all the more due to not using excessive amounts of neon lights to promote some sort of holiday special. Add onto it the reports of normally studious students with busy social lives suddendly skipping a day or two just to go to the arcade? Either it was one of the best arcades to grace the streets of Tokyo or there was something more going on behind the scenes!

Now video games are pretty addicting! Niramo knows that pretty well, even if her games are considered retro nowadays. But making people completely change their habits and ignore studying right before finals? It's enough to send alarm bells ringing in her head.

Entering into the arcade with a sigh of relief from the wind, Niramo tugs down her scarf so it wasn't bunched all around her mouth. While feeling like she's flaunting an advantage just because the enchanted scarf keeps her perfectly warm, it's still windy enough outside that the cold finds ways to get through sometimes.

Hearing the door open behind her, Niramo is pleasantly surprised to see Fuu coming in. Seems like Niramo isn't the only one wanting to check out the Arcade either! Niramo waves at the blonde and smiles at her. "Hey Fuu-san! Wanting to check out the new arcade too?" Maybe it really is just a normal arcade and there's nothing devious going on...but she's not so sure about that.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

At the entrance, the counter lady widely grins and blocks the path in further with her cane. She takes a deep breath, and...

"Welcome to the Midnight Arcade? Or is it just Midnight Arcade, the 'the' sounds better in it. Anyways, we have a special going on for the grand opening for a whole month- or four weeks, technically that's a month but we didn't start on the first so... anyways anyways, if you let me stamp your hand with today's stamp, you get ten free tokens! But you gotta show me your hands so I know you didn't already come in and sneak out and back in for more tokens and... er... anyways, would you like to take advantage of the promotion? That's ten one-token game, or five two-token games, or three one-token and one two-token or... anyways anyways anyways, how about it?"

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

"Ah, Niramo-san, good afternoon to you," Fuu greets the Juuban student with a smile and a bow. Rather than a heavy muffler, Fuu's buttoned her coat up as far as the collar will go, plus an understated pair of earmuffs to keep the cold away. She would say more, but the counter attendant is playing turnstile - and advertisement, at the same time.

Fuu is quick enough to show her hands, as yet unstamped. "What's the normal price for tokens?" she inquires. While the offer of free tokens is certainly tempting, she's not sure whether the stamp itself might be part of what makes the Midnight Arcade so attractive to its customers. She can at least take one factor out of the equation, one way or the other, if she refrains from getting stamped.

She won't make that decision for Niramo, though.

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

The counter lady has a really odd way of speaking, like she's unsure of what she should say and babbling a lot to fill the air. But the general gist of what she's saying is pretty clear. There is a promotion going on, but you need to be stamped to get the free tokens? While it's pretty tempting, that sounds like an easy way to get addicted if this place is using magic. Niramo holds up both of her hands and twists them around a few times to show there wasn't a drop of ink on her skin.

Rather than moving closer to get stamped though, Niramo pulls out a thousand yen bill out of her bookbag. "I'll take whatever this will get me! If I find some games that I really do like I might come back to the front for the stamp and tokens, but I got a dance teacher who will give me grief for showing 'ink' without a good reason for it."

Ye-jin really will give her grief if she wasn't careful, so she has a real reason for not wanting to get stamped!

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The counter lady frowns, but shrugs. "Well, that's better for the arcade's bottom line," she jokes. "Let's see... um... ah right! 1000 yen for 10 tokens! You'd be saving 1000 yen if you got your hands stamped but I'm not gonna force you! Just try to have as much fun as possible! The more fun you have, the better the arcade does, or something, I think. I mean, that and you go through tokens faster and have to buy m- er... have a nice day!" She exchanges currency for tokens and lets Niramo and Fuu through, into the maze of arcade games.

And a maze it was. There weren't just rows and rows of every game imaginable, they were also set up in branching paths, almost easy to get lost in if not for the floor patterns leading back to the entrance. There were also black lights near many of the machines, some of which had custom art on it that glows in the lights, or even in the dark. There are scores of kids playing arcade games, and all of them look like they are having fun, though some do seem a little tired as if they've been playing too long. And a shout of 'yes!' followed by the sound of pouring metal bits could be heard from a corner.

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

With a thousand yen worth of tokens now in her pocket, Fuu makes her way into the arcade's labyrinthine interior ... and she wishes that wasn't a figure of speech; between the regular darkness, the strategically placed black lights, the branching paths, and the general hubbub, it seems far too easy to get lost in the game center. Even *with* the carpet's guiding patterns ... which, if there's supernatural skulduggery afoot, would make it *very easy indeed* to only get led deeper into the arcade, rather than back out for air.

"We should probably stick together, Niramo-san," Fuu suggests to her de facto companion. The triumphant shout distracts her, though, and Fuu cranes her neck trying to find the source of that payout noise. Pachinko machines? ... ah well.

"Was there anything specific you'd like to play?" she asks Niramo. Fuu has a couple of games she wouldn't mind seeking out, but Niramo was, at least technically, ahead of her - and it's always interesting to find out what somebody else likes.

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

Niramo happily exchanges money for the 10 tokens and quickly examines them in the lobby, due to all the blacklights in the arcade itself. The tokens look like they're completely normal, so they should be safe to handle! Slipping them into a pocket in her school uniform, Niramo waits for Fuu to exchange any currency first before walking in with her together.

Once they're out of earshot of the counter cashier, Niramo speaks up so she can be heard over the din of bleeps and bloops from the machines around them. "She really wanted to stamp us, huh? You would think they would just give out vouchers or something to be redeemed. Pretty old school!" She doesn't want to say too much while she's around gamers, at least Niramo can voice how odd it was.

The lighting in the arcade itself makes the natural maze of arcade cabinets easier to get lost in on, adding on to the retro feel of the place. With the glow in the dark artwork and bright colors, it's like a time capsule from the 80's!

Nodding in agreement with Fuu, the shout over the constant barrage of noise draws Niramo's attention away for a moment. Pachinko machines were in here?! She's pretty sure that's not supposed to be here.

"Well, I like playing racing and shooting games, though i'm not the best at the latter. Beat 'em ups are what I usually go for though!" Looking around for a moment, Niramo spots an older cabinet featuring a fantasy group of fighters, complete with a dwarf and an elf against a wall. "Whao, I only seen pictures of this one online. Oh, what kind of games do you enjoy?"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

There were games of all kinds here, and many were calling Niramo and Fuu's names. Not literally of course, although... in certain lights, the games look super appealing, though not sinisterly so. Just that some looked more fun than any seen in other arcades, by a small margin. However, some of the games that interest Fuu but not Niramo and some of the games that interest Niramo but not Fuu are in different parts of the arcade. Could they find a machine they both enjoy that is multiplayer? Or are they fated to go their seperate ways? The tension, the drama, the excitement mounts - okay, maybe not.

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

With a sheepish smile, Fuu replies, "Most of the games I like aren't really arcade games, unfortunately. Role-playing games, some of the Zelda series ... there are a few 'beat-em-ups' that I do enjoy, though," she admits. "I'm not that good at Golden Axe, but -"

Niramo spots the cabinet before Fuu does, but the blonde's eyes light up almost intensely enough for her glasses to reflect a rare beam from one of the ceiling fixtures. "You haven't played Tower of Doom before, Niramo-san? Seriously? You're in for a treat; it's not just a classic, but a point in gaming history in some ways. Will you let me pay for your first credit, as well?"

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

Maybe it's just a trick of the light or the general atmosphere, but the games here seem a bit more engaging than they would back at the Crown. Maybe it really is just a bunch of students suddendly becoming addicted to games because of the entry giveaway? Or maybe she just haven't dig deep enough into the arcade yet? And then there's how tired some people here looked...did they know that it was the afternoon outside?

Fuu certainly has a great choice in games, where the home market is concerned. "I'm in the same area with the old consoles I got back home. I can't tell you how many times I replayed Link to the Past!" Niramo is starting to get a little worried they might have to split up just to find something they both like.

Thankfully the Tower of Doom stands as a beacon of light in the darkness. Niramo is surprised by just how much Fuu seems to know about the game. "Nope, but I heard it's one of the really good ones back in it's day."

Niramo holds up her own token and nods in agreement. "Sure, but I get to pay for your first life whenever you go down. Unless you're one of those super fans that can beat a game in one life!" Niramo rests her hands on the counter and slides a token towards whatever controls Fuu is going to be taking over. It's pretty hard to hand extra tokens over during the heat of battle.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The Tower of Doom was the perfect choice. In fact, it was perfectly perfect, with everything perfect about it even more perfect. It was at just the right difficulty, shop items were the right price, items were plentiful without being too easy to obtain, the graphics really shined even for the game - though saying they were better than normal was hard, they certainly felt like they were better. All in all, it was perfect for playing as long as Fuu and Niramo wanted, maybe even longer. And the blacklights were pretty cool, too.

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

"I'm not *that* good at it," Fuu admits. She takes the player 1 controls, if Niramo doesn't mind being player 2, and picks the elf as her adventurer. Soon thereafter, the two adventurers are making their way through the forest, fighting monsters and collecting stray treasure ... Things go pretty smoothly, even the first boss fight.

"I don't think I've actually cleared the troll before without having to continue," Fuu muses during the shop scene in between stages. She doesn't seem overly focused on critiquing the game's settings; she's having a hard time just remembering to stay suspicious of the arcade as a whole. But they do have some time to relax and actually *play* - just because their suspicions were up doesn't mean they can't enjoy themselves too, especially if it turns out everything's on the up-and-up.

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

Niramo went with the Elf for her character as well and is quite enjoying the blend of melee and magic that the character brings to the battlefield. There was a death here and there, but it was pretty rare consider to how hard the internet said this game was. In game cash was the perfect amount to keep extra weapons supplied and her character healthy, nothing that felt overwhelming and completely unfair, and the game ran as smoothly as butter. Plus, with two elves leading the warpath, the monsters stood little chance against them.

"The branching paths is pretty cool as well! A lot of games are really linear, and it makes you want to play again to check out the different stages." Fuu's expertise is helpful to the newbie, such as the fact the troll had to be set on fire to take it down completely.

Nothing really stands out as supernatural and magical, besides what's going onscreen. Niramo can start to see why the Midnight Arcade is drawing in quite a crowd.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The levels go by pretty quickly, or at least seem to. It is hard to tell how much time has passed. The game just keeps getting better and better... and better... it could be played all day. In fact...

But something doesn't feel right. Something is wrong - no nothing is just keep playing - but it is hard to figure out what. Though it was something that was magical... something... evil.

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

The more and more that Niramo and Fuu played, the better is just seemed to get. From what Niramo heard of Tower of Doom, it can be a little janky with difficulty spikes at key points designed to eat up extra coins. Then again, it likely was designed like that for the arcades. Yet they seem to be doing just fine and nothing was too hard, too diffcult...and too cheap. They seem to be playing a perfect game...but it was too perfect.

With that thought, Niramo has to mentally wrench herself back from focusing on the gameplay, and reaches into her bookbag for her phone. It's likely a good idea to check what the time was. "Geeze...a lot more going on here, and almost fell for it too. Fuu-san, we should take a break and head out...this isn't right." Her hands doesn't even feel cramped from constantly tapping at the buttons for who knows how long.

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

How long have they been playing? Fuu lets go of the joystick for a moment, pushing her glasses up to rub her eyes, then flexing her hands a bit. Even the most comfortable joystick isn't *that* comfortable to hold for long. Niramo seems to have had a similar idea, and Fuu glances at her own phone, grimacing as she sees the time. "Some fresh air would do both of us good," she agrees. There's supposed to be a way to save their progress ... but the blonde shakes her head, collecting her things. Let somebody else take advantage of a game in progress if they're so inclined - nothing's riding on the game's actual outcome.

Falling victim to the arcade's trap, however, would be a *major* problem - and they almost did so, if Niramo hadn't shaken herself loose and pulled Fuu with her.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Nobody seems to stop Niramo and Fuu, but every light they pass under, every arcade cabinet they pass, the urge to play 'just one more game' hits. Subtly at first, just like an increasing addiction, but soon almost feels like the arcade games really ARE calling out to them! Out of the corner of one's eye, a character seems to wave. The music from another machine sounds like the most beautiful song ever. And one of the best games seems to have been accidentally set to free-play. If it is possible to escape the siren call of the games, and push past some of the kids who seem just a bit out of it but relatively healthy, perhaps they can make it as far as the counter - where the lady once again blocks the path with her cane, this time from the other direction.

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

"I guess it wasn't a matter of the hand stamps after all," Fuu observes, fighting the impulse to let herself get sidetracked. It's a little easier to fight the urge down when it's *this* blatant - a subtler call might be taken for her own desire, and a 'one more game won't hurt' would be less blatant if it weren't all but being shouted by the number of screens beckoning for her gaze, music and sound effects clamoring for her ears' focus. But when she knows the impulse is coming from outside, and from this many directions, it's easier to dig in her mental heels and keep forging towards the exit -

At least until the exit is barred by the attendant's cane.

"You have quite the impressive arcade here, ma'am," Fuu says with her normal friendly smile and her typical polite tone. "How hard was it to find this many classic arcade cabinets and clean them up for a modern audience? Did it cost the management much money?"

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

Wincing at the time displayed on her phone, Niramo mentally chides herself. She was expecting something devious, it's the whole reason she came here in the first place, but to almost fall in the trap herself? She gotten lucky, plain and simple. "Yeah...the games are part of it too. I might actually get home after my mom for once."

Following in Fuu's wake, the ravenette can feel the arcade trying to call her back to the games with its' siren song. Rare classics that didn't have anyone hogging it for once, the latest and greatest with the most engaging attract mode possible? The arcade has both of them in spades, and it's a gamer's paradise. So idealist, that you never wanted to leave.

And the last time Niramo was in a place like that, she got to spend time with a sister that could have been. That comparison has Niramo clenching her left fist to keep herself focused on following after Fuu.

Reaching the front, Niramo smiles politely towards the counter lady with her cane, but her eyes are glancing around her for a moment. She swore she saw that Ohtori student playing Street Fighter 2 hours ago, and they haven't moved! "It really must have taken quite a while and a lot of effort to get everything going again. A lot of parts some of the older machines uses are not made anymore, so it must have taken you a while." And while it's nice to be polite, the cane lady was blocking the way back out. Might be time to push and see if she can get a reaction. "I think me and my friend spent a little too long here though, so we should be going. Might have to see about coming back in a month or so!"

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Leaving so soon?" The counter lady smiles, but her eyes glare and she gives off an aura of evil. However, that smile turns genuine, the glare turns excited, and the aura of evil dissipates by half and replaced by one of glee. "Oh, this collection is my life's work! But it really didn't take that long. But it took soooo much effort. I mean Pac-man and Drum Master? Super common, super easy. But I saw you playing Tower of Doom, now that was a find! And I even have Tron, Discs of Tron, and Sinistar - the latter isn't that rare but it is a duramold! I'm so excited and - what do you mean you're leaving? How- I mean why? You still have tokens!" Some of the anger and malicious energy returns.

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

"Presumably the tokens will still be just as valid in a month's time as they are today, yes?" smiles Fuu. "And you have the money we paid for them; neither of us are asking to trade them back in for money. Really, our keeping the tokens is a promise to return, and if you let us leave without a fight, that raises the odds that we'd invite more of our game-loving friends to visit the next time."

Fuu's smile ebbs *just* a little, her glasses glinting again as she looks at the lady behind the counter. She did not miss that aura of malice, and she doesn't miss it returning now. "On the other hand, if there's something more precious than our money which you're trying to collect ... such as life energy, or emotional power ... you may find us less inclined to lead others into your clutches."

If Fuu had any actual doubts about this arcade being a den of evildoing, she'd be less open about suspecting the supernatural. But she *recognizes* that twinge in her gut when the attendant gives off that aura of evil ... and while she's not taking an outwardly aggressive stance, her left hand has dipped into her coat pocket, fingers working their way into her glove-jewel.

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

While the counter lady and apparent owner seems really happy with herself for just how much the games are being appreciated, it doesn't take a genius to realize that she wasn't just making sure they were enjoying themselves. Fuu is quick to point out that there's no reason to be mad either. Niramo acts like she's casually checking something on her phone, but she's actually using the camera mode to make sure all the players are completely enthralled by their games.

"Gamers put in a lot of time, effort and dedication into their favorite games, but making them so tired that they skip school and sleep in just to come back in here? Not many students would throw away their futures like that, unless something was driving them to come back, you know?" Niramo looks the owner directly in the eyes and smiles, but with a slight edge in her voice. "And those that tries to enact evil plans tend to have them ruined by bands of do-good adventurers."

Niramo leans in close to whisper to Fuu. "I don't think anyone is watching, Fuu-san. Should be fine here if we need to." Things might get chaotic pretty soon, and Niramo shakes a leg gently to make sure her anklet is free. A glance down towards her bookbag has her just barely catching a tiny thumbs up aimed up at her.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Hmm... you're right." The lady frowns and nods. "I should let you go, there's no need for me to keep you here against your will, you wouldn't want to come back!" She looks at the cane, ready to lift it...

Then Fuu and Niramo mention things they shouldn't know about. "Oh. Hm. You're THOSE kind of girls, aren't you? Here to ruin my plans. Not letting me just gather energy in peace. Look! Nobody has died, everyone's having fun, I'm getting lots of tasty energy, and everyone will eventually leave and go home and come back later! Where's the harm in that? Nobody is even a little-"

As she spoke, a boy on a nearby arcade game passes out due to lack of energy. The lady cringes, then sighs. "...that wasn't supposed to happen. Guess we can't talk this one out now? Shame."

Suddenly, she's gone. Only to be seen in the center of a bunch of games, all of which are sucked into her somehow. The whole arcade expands, seemingly now going on forever for real. People with their wits still about them run to the exit, and she makes no effort in stopping them. Her skin turns pale blue and her lips purple, her hair starts to turn into a helmet, and armor slowly appears all over her body. The upper half of her face is covered in a boxy black helmet with purple branching lines patterning it, and a visor hides her eyes. The rest of her is similarly covered in black, bulky, blocky armor, with purple Space Invaders aliens painted on the sides of her body, arms, and legs; the front and back are covered in branching purple lines like her helmet. Jutting out of her shoulderpads are black joysticks with purple knobs on the end - complete with purple directional arrow markers - and in the middle of her chest are six pale blue arcade cabinet buttons slightly staggered. Her smaller gauntless and armored boots are pure purple. With how bulky her armor is, it looks as if she shouldn't even be able to move.

COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue transforms into Youma Form Arcadra!
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 2 opponents!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

True enough, a moment ago nobody was really paying attention up front; now everyone's trying to get out, and most of them are headed for the front doors. Ironically, that makes the behind-the-counter space formerly occupied by the 'attendant' a safer place to duck for cover, both visual and traffic- wise, while the civilians are fleeing.

It's only after the crowd has cleared out that the Magic Knight of Wind rises back into view, taking in the arcade monster's form. "And there would be the *actual* boss fight," she observes with good- natured resignation. "Now I have to ask all over again: did you really track down all those vintage arcade machines? Or were they conjured up for the sake of this energy-gathering operation?" 'Too good to be true' does seem likely to apply.

She doesn't quite give Arcadra time to reply before casting: "Winds of Admonishment!"

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The cane lady admits to being what both Niramo and Fuu has been suspecting, but doesn't immediately seem to be attacking the duo. It's certainly wrong to eat life energy from the innocent people of Tokyo, but the lady seemingly only wants to skim off the top. But even that small amount of energy from so many people was already disrupting quite a few lives. Niramo raises her hand to point a finger to dispute this...and then blinks as one of the addicts completely falls over on his feet. That was certainly more than just a little!

Niramo takes the cue of flying arcade machines slamming together and quickly moves for the cover of the the cashier's office. "Well, game night was nice while it lasted, Fuu-san. Tail, sprout!" Golden light flows over Niramo's form, replacing her school uniform with the full bodysuit of Sourisi, complete with eye mask and tail.

Hopping back into the arcade proper and pulling the fallen boy into the cashier office, Sourisi just shakes her head at just how cumbersome this monsterous armor is. "I hate to say it, but I think you might need to cash out a bit!" With that, Sourisi flicks her tonfa free of their clasps in a quick throw, sending the enchanted tonfa flying to smash into the arcadic armor.

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Sourisi!
COMBAT: Sourisi has used Crashing Tooth on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Sourisi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue fails to dodge Sourisi's Crashing Tooth, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue partially dodges 4 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment,
taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!  Fumiko Inoue's Fade and Flash abilities 
activate!  Cripple applied to Fumiko Inoue!  
<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"You should have just kept playing," the armored arcade aberration announces. "I am Arcadra, and you shall fall before- hey!"

Suddenly, Arcadra is struck by a flying tonfa and is knocked back a lot farther than she should have been - right next to a pinball machine she places a hand on and absorbs. Before she has time to do anything else, she's hit with another, more windy attack, throwing her into a rail shooter game - also absorbed. Despite the hits, she's still grinning. Her right hand suddenly has a plastic light gun in it, and her left arm... it completely transforms. It is now a glass tube with a spring-loaded pinball plunger inside, complete with giant pinball.

The plunger pulls back... and she quickly fires a pot-shot with the light gun at Fuu. A sudden flash fills the room as the near-invisible shot hurdles towards Fuu. Then she switches targets and arms, releasing the tension in the plunger to launch a huge, heavy pinball at Niramo.

"You both love arcades, just like me! Why couldn't that be enough? We could've been friends but you had to be all moral and ethical and magical and stuff! I wanted to talk to you about looking for Aztarac!"

COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has used Light Gun on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has used Pinball Cannon on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji cleanly braces 17 Fatigue damage from Fumiko Inoue's Light Gun, taking 3 Fatigue
damage!  Fuu Hououji's Block and Parry abilities activate!  
COMBAT: Sourisi perfectly dodges 45 Fatigue damage from Fumiko Inoue's Pinball Cannon, taking 0
Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!  Sourisi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

A hastily-summoned wind barrier diffuses much of the light gun's bolt, although the Wind Knight still recoils from the measure of the flash which passes her defenses. "You think the trap you built here didn't hurt *us* as well, Arcadra-san?" she calls out, doing her best to stay on the move - and also taking note of the other machines' absorption. The monster's form isn't as static as it could be, if she can still assimilate additional game cabinets to keep herself going and swap in new weapons or abilities.

How terrifying would it be if this arcade had a Rockman machine too?

While she's angling for another attack (and looking for weaknesses), the Wind Knight continues, "*We* were ensnared by it, almost as tightly as your other victims. It was a fun game, yes, but you would have kept us here far longer than healthy, compelled us to come back even at he expense of school and health and budgets. If we hadn't had the strength of will to pry ourselves loose, even suspecting trouble before we came in, we would have been hurt just as badly as the neighbors and schoolmates we're worried about!"

The Wind Knight's sword flares into existence, and she charges in low, stabbing at what seems to be a chink in Arcadra's armor - and then leaping upwards, trying to drag the blade through the monster's frame for increased damage.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Unorthodox Swordplay on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Sourisi smiles as the twin tonfa strike home and sends Arcadra flying into an machine, and then the Wind Knight's wind launching it into another. That smile quickly fades as both machines are added into the armor itself, and Sourisi can't help but groan a little. "Uh oh...it gets stronger by assimilation?!"

The sudden flash of the light gun takes Sourisi by surprise, startling her and making her jump. This reaction from the light gun has Sourisi jumping in time to completely dodge the massive steel pinball, though several other pinball machines are not so lucky. Landing on top of a Galaga machine, the Mouse that Roars catches her twin tonfa as they return and begins to close the distance.

"I'm sure we could have been great friends, but your life eating habits can kill people! You were careful and still had someone faint, and an accident can easily happen. It's for that very reason why we have to stop you now before someone does get hurt!" Sourisi rushes in the wake of Fuu's charge, swinging both of her tonfa around in a twirling display of skill and destructive might at Arcadra's armored legs. That much bulk has to be weighing her down, so time to see if she can be toppled!

COMBAT: Sourisi has used Mouse Flurry on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Sourisi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue counters 11 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Unorthodox Swordplay, taking 11
Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Fumiko Inoue's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!  Stagger 
applied to Fumiko Inoue!  
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue's counterattack, C-c-combo Breaker, partially gets through, doing 13 Fatigue
damage to Fuu Hououji!  
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue counters 6 Fatigue damage from Sourisi's Mouse Flurry, taking 17 Fatigue
damage!  Sourisi is Psyched!  Fumiko Inoue's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!  
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue's counterattack, C-c-combo Breaker, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue
damage to Sourisi!  
<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Arcadra shrieks as the arcade cabinets are destroyed by her own cannonpinball. A few unpleasant words later, and she prepares for another attack - only to be bombarded with attacks from Sourisi and the Wind Knight. She is pummeled and stabbed... but grins. Before too much damage is done to her, she spins with her arms out, striking anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way while also creating a shockwave that sends everything near her flying. She then zips over to another area, absorbing both a Tron cabinet and one of those motorcycle racing games with the rideable bike. Her legs vanish and are replaced by a black and purple futuristic bike, sparks of darkness spitting out of the back. She revs up and charges, aiming her weapons once again - but crosses her arms and fires opposite this time. "Why do you humans have to be so fragile I just wanted the energy I didn't want anyone hurt can't you be stronger I mean you two clearly are stronger and faster and still like arcades and ... so just give up and play!"

COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has used Light Gun on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has used Pinball Cannon on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sourisi fails to brace Fumiko Inoue's Light Gun, taking 25 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji dodges 14 Fatigue damage from Fumiko Inoue's Pinball Cannon, taking 21 Fatigue
damage!  Fuu Hououji's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Stagger applied to Fuu Hououji!  
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Whatever satisfaction the Wind Knight might have obtained from her sword striking home is starkly outweighed by getting clotheslined, sent flying, and hurled further still by the shockwave that Arcadra put out with the maneuver. And unlike the youma, the Wind Knight *can't* regenerate by being thrown into a hapless arcade machine. She's still regaining her bearings from that series of impacts when an oversized pinbal gets launched at her, and while she's able to avoid getting flattened by it, she still gets spun around again by the graze, coming to a wobbly halt.

Melee really doesn't seem to be a good option in this fight, is one of the Wind Knight's more lucid thoughts as she's trying to regain her equilibrium. It might work, but Arcadra's so heavily armored, and she's stronger in close combat. Or at least, it feels like it.

So she lets her sword disappear, raising her hands in front of her and gathering her magic again. "Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi!" calls the green-clad Magic Knight, unleashing one of her heavier attack spells: not the heaviest she has, but one she's had to be careful with in the past - although in this fight, collateral damage (as long as Sourisi isn't caught in it) doesn't seem as bad as it could be. Besides, busting extra arcade machines *should* cut down on Arcadra's options.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Sourisi's smashing assault is causing several cracks to form in Arcadra's leg armor, spreading outwards with each successful thwack. That heafy armor is absorbing much of her blows, but it also makes the energy stealing fiend predictable as well, with noticable tells. Leaping backwards to get out of range of those spining arms, the miraculous ninja frowns as the armor she was working on suddendly changes shape into a bicycle. Arcadra can fix any damage they do, even if it does come at the cost of her collection.

Eyeing the pinball cannon carefully to get ready to dodge a slow moving ball, Sourisi falls for the feint! A bright flash of light, and Sourisi stumbles back as if she was hit by a bullet. She actually wasn't since it was made of pure light, but it /stung/.

Seeing the Wind Knight narrowly avoiding making an imprint in some machines does give Sourisi an idea. Running over to the pinball that she managed to dodge earlier, Sourisi grabs it with both of her hands and heft it up with some effort. Spinning around to get the momentum and becoming a bit of a blur, Sourisi lets the steel ball fly once she sees the tornado that the Wind Knight has called up. "Special delivery for the final boss!"

COMBAT: Sourisi has used Right Back At Ya! on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Sourisi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue dodges 12 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi, taking
18 Fatigue damage!  Fumiko Inoue's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue partially dodges 6 Fatigue damage from Sourisi's Right Back At Ya!, taking 26
Fatigue damage!  Fumiko Inoue's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  
<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Arcadra zigs and zags, dodges and weaves, but cannot entirely dodge the attacks. A pinball sends her spinning out of control as part of the Storm-Dance clips her armor, taking a chunk out.

"Whywhywhywhy" she cries, becoming more and more incoherent.

"IjustwantedtoIjustinsertcoinpressstartwhywhywhyplayplayplay aaaargh! You aren't going anywhere until you play more more moremoremore!" Out of her damaged armor fly out strange, pixelated blue and pink... insects? Aliens? Spaceships? They swoop down at the two heroes, but then do a loop and fly overhead, hovering above them. Then they fire rings down... trying to pull them up with tractor beams.

COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has used Tractor Beam on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has used Tractor Beam on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sourisi dodges 4 Fatigue damage from Fumiko Inoue's Tractor Beam, taking 3 Fatigue damage! 
Sourisi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji decisively counters 9 Fatigue damage from Fumiko Inoue's Tractor Beam, taking 3
Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Trap applied to Fuu Hououji!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Trick Arrow Shot, partially gets through, doing 13 Fatigue
damage to Fumiko Inoue!  
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

For all that Fuu isn't a routine player of shoot-em-ups, *this* is a technique so old that she's seen it in action anyway - if not in the original context, then in call-outs embedded in other games. Rather than freaking out when the tractor beam scoops her up, the Magic Knight of Wind readies her bow and an arrow, aiming upwards as her booted feet drift away from the floor - and when she looses, the arrow takes out not only the 'bug' that was trying to capture her, but sails onward to put another notch in Arcadra's armor.

The shock from her feet hitting the floor again is still painful, though, and she's still off -balance from the pinball that spun her around. So the Wind Knight takes a moment to focus, gathering a healing spell, and putting a practiced twist on it as the breeze rises around her ...

"Liberating Gale!!"

What begins as a restorative spell surges, and transforms into an attack - as if the Wind Knight was trying to take her injuries and throw them at Arcadra directly. Even if it works, it won't be a complete recovery; she doesn't have the time and focus to fully heal her injuries. But if she can patch herself up a little while also harming Arcadra further, all the better.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Liberating Gale on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The joint assault of Sourisi and the Wind Knight are having a clear impact now, with Arcadra starting to glitch out and repeat herself rapidly. A part of her honestly feels a little bad about all of this, but it doesn't change the fact that Arcadra was hurting people. Maybe if there was a way she could have fed without eating life energy? They likely will never know.

But what Sourisi should be focusing on right now is the sudden barrage of glitching pixelated monsters leaking out and trying to hold her up with rings! Leaping back, the attempts keep coming quickly and Sourisi can't seem to find any relief. She might have her way out though as she spots a Time Splitters cabinet that has somehow survived the arcade carnage. Focusing in on it, Sourisi pulls up energy from her Miraculous just as a ring descends on top of her. "Shift Flip!"

The alien bugs might be a little confused as they pull up the arcade cabinet that the miraculous ninja switched places with. She's not about to let this chance get away now that she's behind Arcadra. "That's the thing about arcades, they need to let their customers go home when they don't have any more money!" Sourisi throws out her twin tonfa once more, aiming for the 'wheels' in the lightcycle.

COMBAT: Sourisi has used Crashing Tooth on Fumiko Inoue.
COMBAT: Sourisi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue dodges 11 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Liberating Gale, taking 17 Fatigue
damage!  Fumiko Inoue's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Bind Break! All of Fuu Hououji's debuffs 
are cleared!  
COMBAT: Fumiko Inoue fails to dodge Sourisi's Crashing Tooth, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Fumiko
Inoue is unable to keep fighting!  
<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The atacks are too much for Arcadra. Her armor falls apart, revealing a body made of wires. The visor of her helmet displays an LED skull and crossbones as she flails around, wires latching onto arcade cabinets and pulling them in. Soon she just absorbs them and pulls them in like a magnet, the whole arcade shrinking as everything gets brighter and brighter. "Nononononoonononoooonoooooooooo......" Everything goes white.

Seconds later, there is no arcade. It appears as if there never was one. A sleepy kid - the one that passed out earlier? - groggily wakes up on the sidewalk, confused, and stumbles home. Everyone goes about their day as usual. And Fuu and Sourisi are left standing in an empty lot.

<Pose Tracker> Fumiko Inoue [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Somewhere, someone giggles maniacally. "That could've gone worse. But now what? With the Midnight Arcade gone... hm.... that might work! And nobody will get hurt this time- except...." Arcadia grins.