KOF 2017 - Act 3: Mission 2) You Can't Fight Fate

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Description: Mobilizing the main force into Hokkaido, Ramlethal, the first of the Valentines, leads her army of Gears into the land of the Ainu, aiming straight for the Lightning God that threatens their kin. Cold, calculating, and sadistic, Ramlethal's pragmatic advance bears two. Nakoruru, the sacred maiden of the Ainu people, decisively leads the offense as she intends to take no prisoners in the defense of her homeland. But it is more than just the island to defend. The mysterious I-No descends in a violent and merciless stand against Ramlethal, to stop the war cold. Past, present, and future come crashing down into confrontation over the fate of Hokkaido, as well as the world itself...

One day they woke her up--so she could live forever.

Or, in lieu of living forever, so that she could lead a force. An assault.

A war.

The Gear forces march--units that are uniform in the way only constructed units can be... though there is some craziness to them, some inhuman randomness. Twitches, tics, jerks, as if these units were not made to necessarily be long-lasting... and still, they're deadly enough, as they proved, carving their way through to Hokkaido with little enough resistance.

Even if there were credible resistance, the being leading them--at the head of the column--would break it, swiftly and decisively. Few know her name--it would mean little to anyone without the knowledge--but Ramlethal Valentine, First of the Valentines, is leading the attack. She doesn't look the part of a commander, though--only five feet, seven inches, looking more like some weird cosplay girl with her outlandish outfit, all tan cloak with what looks like teeth covering up a weirdly brief top and shorts, bare legs and sandals, skin a dark tan, almost milk chocolate in color... and amber eyes, which are constantly set in a bored expression.

However, the gigantic swords hovering around her tell a different story--many times larger than Ramlethal herself, looking like gigantic, almost mutated katana, floating along next to her.

The arrival at Hokkaido is not quiet, or stealthy. The marching steps of Gears trampling the ground ensure that, the drumbeat of destruction closing in on the city. Ramlethal was given one instruction, and one instruction only--reach Raiden. Destroy anything and everyone you have to. No mercy. No pity. She has shown none so far--not even a flicker of expression as she and her army have slaughtered their way through the countryside.

But it isn't until now that she's reached the one place in Hokkaido guarded by--in the care of--a being that can only be called a heroic spirit. The Shrine Maiden of Hokkaido, a being as much mythical as real, a spirit of Nature whose duty is to protect the Earth... surely the depredations of Ramlethal and her Gears cannot go unnoticed... or unchallenged, especially with the Sacred Grove directly in the way of Ramlethal.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal has started a fight here on the left meter side.

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Ramlethal        0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Gear Army has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

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Gear Army        0/-------/-------|
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ramlethal        0/-------/-------|

In normal war, one would likely question the strategic value of marching an army into Hokkaido. Beyond being a potential staging ground for further aggression into the larger island of the sea-locked nation, assaulting the harsh winterscape of the island formally known as Ezo would seem to have little point.

But this is no ordinary war, and the pieces on the board far from conventional. The commanding gear's puppetmasters knew what they were doing sending her here with the column of manufactured manpower answering to her orders. They understood the threat represented by the God of Thunder himself. The warning had been broadcast around the world - the Gear Army needed to surrender, or Kamui Kanna himself would put an end to the entire conflict, with catastrophic collateral damage.

It was a warning weighing heavily on the heart of Nakoruru since she heard it from the divine being himself. Stop the Gear Armies of the United Nations military force, or he will see no choice but to call down the Storm of Storms and do it himself.

Even now, the air feels off - charged with energy echoed by the building clouds over the island. It is easy to perceive the origin of the coming storm simply by observing the way the clouds overhead seem to be swirling around a specific location, some miles ahead of Ramlethal's march.

The advancing army had been watched for some time now, a lonely bird of prey circling high above, standing out perhaps as it is the only of its kind out before the storm. The disposition of the ranks, their method of travel, their speed, and of course, most importantly, their command structure. With her twin hovering massive swords, the Gear leading the way had to either be the leader or at least the plough built to clear the way for the rest of the unit. Killing any of her troops would mean nothing compared to taking her out.

Finally, the airborne scout seems to have left the skies. The insult of the invading presence on the island can be tolerated no longer. The forest they are treading down now is sacred ground. They cannot be permitted to go another step further.

Downing an army may be too much to ask. But removing the command structure? The stakes are too big not to try. If she fails here, the command Gear may never be stopped, the sacred region desecrated, and Lord Raiden's wrath unleashed.

Ramlethal would have no warning as her foot steps into the memorial grove of an Ainu legend. From through the tree line, a grey and violet blur bullets toward Ralmethal, attacking from her left. There would only be an instant to identify the threat, but such is likely within the capability of the construct - a young woman crouched against the back of a large wolf, a blade in her right hand, her black hair trailing behind her head, a distinctive violet ribbon in her hair.

From a meter out, the wolf stops and she launches forward, a flash of steel as she aims a horizontal slash for Ramlethal as she passes.


She offers no words - is there any reason to speak to a soulless automaton? Of course, to see her now in person, can she even be so certain the Command Gear is soulless?

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Gear Army        0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0         Nakoruru
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ramlethal        0/-------/-------|

NARRATOR VOICE: Hokkaido. Ancestral home of the Ainu, and resting place of their ancestors. A most sacred place, now dangerously in peril of being defiled by whatever unholy mockery of life Gears represent. At their head, an affront to life itself: an artificial person, created in the image of a living person... but does she have a soul? To call the conflict brewing on these storm-lashed shores a conflict between the divine and the profane isn't a stretch by any standard.

Falling from the sky (proverbially or otherwise) like an avenging angel, Nature's Wrath is perhaps a one-man army all her own. But the same could be said of her opponent... and unlike Nakoruru, who comes armed with a stalwart but lone compaion, Ramlethal comes at the head of a literal army. These odds are not exactly stacked in Nakoruru's favor. But perhaps somewhere out there is a hero, someone who can add their champion-like strength to Nakoruru's own. Who, standing in defiance of the darkness, will become humanity's last and greatest line of defense against the abominations arrayed against her.

Then a 10-ton stage amp the size of a Buick literally falls out of the sky and onto one of Ramlethal's shambling Gear hordes, crushing it instantly. Riding atop said amp is a red-clad sexpot, an aqua/green/blue Deusenberg in her hands, the brim of her almost comically tall witch's hat over her eyes. The amp is playing, inexplicably, the chorus from 'Another One Bites the Dust.'

Rising, I-No turns her face to Ramlethal, and there is a FERAL grin on the Rock Witch's face. She's hungry. And potentially really angry. Which you can tell, because the first words out of her mouth are: "I found you, bitch. And now I'm going to shove those swords *indecently* far up your ASS."

There's a pause, and then she seems to even notice Nakoruru is here. "Huh. The furry from Wang Chung's island. I thought your thing was birds." A beat. "Whatever."

Her hand raises, a guitar pick in her fingertips, and she turns from Ram to the Gears, who are now surrounding the amp. "Hello, zombie movie rejects!" I-No shouts throatily. "Kindly GET THE FUCK OFF MY STAGE."

A hand comes down. A chord is played. From the amp. At UNHOLY volume. I-No is looking to do no less than literally DISINTEGRATE the Gears around her.

NARRATOR VOICE: Yeah probably not on the hero thing.

COMBATSYS: I-No has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Gear Army        0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0         Nakoruru
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ramlethal        0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Ramlethal with Fierce Strike.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Gear Army        0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0         Nakoruru
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Gear Army Toughs Out I-No's Power Chord!

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Gear Army        0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0         Nakoruru
[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0             I-No

Ramlethal might object to being thought of as soulless... some other time. Maybe in the future? It's certainly pretty true now, having been imbued with little in the way of personality traits, much less having an actual personality of her own to work with. Weapons of war--tools--aren't required to have such things, according to the Universal Will. Not until... well. Anyways. That's for later. Right now...

Things are happening, and happening fast. Almost simultaneously, Ramlethal is engaged by the spirit herself, riding a wolf--a dire wolf? Seems like a being that shouldn't exist in the first place. Still... Ramlethal is not a person. She is a construct, a thing built for war, and everything about her is bred for the fight. Every fight. But... fights are unpredictable, and even the best algorithms can't account for randomness. It isn't that Ramlethal doesn't see Nakoruru coming, but just as she moves, that shrieking power chord disrupts... things. Not just the Gears--perceptions. Nakoruru's 'fang' draws blood, of a sort, as it slashes across Ramlethal--but the wound it opens is hardly fatal.

It does knock Ramlethal off balance, but only for a moment; she recovers almost in mid-air, flipping around to land on her feet. She regards the black haired wolf rider for a moment... and then lunges forward, crossing space in the blink of an eye, slashing the air with blades of green chi emanating from her fingertips.

Meanwhile, that 10-ton amp slams into the bow wave of the Gear army--and then that power chord. Ripping, shrieking, the Gears just in front of the wave simply turn into dust, the motes hovering in midair for a moment before washing away from I-No, then back in--followed by the rest of the horde, seeking to swarm her, to bear her down and crush the guitarist under the sheer mass of Gear.

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru blocks Ramlethal's Dauro.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Gear Army        0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0         Nakoruru
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0             I-No

It's unlikely the lone defender of Hokkaido's violated forest thought to take the whole army by herself, but if their leader fell, would the automatons be rendered directionless? Easy pickings to be dealt in individual skirmishes, hopefully before any of them wandered into any of the villages or towns dotting the mountainside. Naturally, the hope is that the craftsmanship of science and whatever devilry was used to create something like Ramlethal is not capable of withstanding actual attacks.

As Nakoruru flashes past her, sliding to a stop on her feet with the heavy beast she rode in doing likewise, hopes for a quick destruction of the leader have already been thoroughly dashed. Her blade cuts sharp, a gift from the gods reinforced by her own formidable spirit. And as she surveys the effects of her strike, her violet eyes recognize immediately that it was hardly enough to fell the abomination.

"Go back."

Spoken as a command, not a request. Already, she's tensing up, the one-eyed wolf at her side doing likewise, his fangs bared, a rumbling growl in his throat. She had hoped to disable Ramlethal in a single blow but now it seems she has a protracted fight on her hands. An instant later, and she's bracing her sword against a sweep of claws bearing viridian chi, the clash sending her reeling back, kodachi at her side as she lets the force bleed off with the movement of her arm.

The exchange alone is enough to realize that the Gear Commander is a powerful force to be reckoned with. And every second this targeted kill takes, the more at risk she will be. Surely, the army will not stand idly by.

But if the young sword maiden has any fear of trying, it would be impossible to find in her resolved expression as her feet catch and she recovers her stance.

And then the impossible happens in a war that has already seen far too many world firsts. The mighty crash and subsequent sonic assault requires a flick of her eyes to see what is happening. Is it a new gear on the scene? Another enemy Mamahaha had not noticed in her winged scouting of the enemy's movements?

Nothing in her limited time among the modern world would provide any context by which the sight of I-no's arrival makes any kind of sense. Her mouth opens in abject surprise, violet eyes blinking for a moment as she quickly tries to decide if she's looking at a friend or foe in this new variable. Though failure is not an option, simply dying to impossible odds leaves the situation no better than when she dove for Ramlethal seconds ago.

What follows more than answers the question, as rank and file gears become the target of I-No's unique brand of violence, a thundering noise unlike anything the warrior spirit from the past had ever heard. It may be devil's work that produced that horrific sound, but it appears to be work in her favor.

She can abide by that.

"It is," she answers only after the sound has died down enough to possibly allow eardrums to function. Rather than charge Ramlethal herself, she hops back, her wolf springing alongside her as if aware of every stop his ward intends to make. Her left hand snaps out, finger point, "Mamahaha!"

Another attack, from another vector, to test the Command Gear's capabilities once more. From behind Ramlethal, a great hawk dives, her body wreathed in vibrant, multi-hued chi, a tiny package of violence intending to crash bodily into the twin-sword user with an accompanying explosion of chi!

COMBATSYS: I-No blocks Gear Army's Threnody of the Sweeping Mists.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0         Nakoruru
[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             I-No

The feeling of having literally just vaporized a Gear using the Power of Rock (the music, not the emo kid) is indeed exultant... the fact that there's still a bunch of whatever the hell these things are looking to just kind of get up in her business in a general way, groping and grappling her tender, supple, just ever so gently tanned skin that gives the impression she may have been brushed, LIGHTLY, with butter before she came here(*).

You would not think the reasonable tactical response would be to put one hand to her ample bosom, palm down, and then lean forward, exposing her decolletage to the mechanized masses and thrusting her (perfect) ass outward. What could she possibly be doing? There is no possible defensive posture that she could adopt from that stance. If anything, she's inviti...

If the Gears had ANY sense whatsoever of drama or irony, the one that actually grabs her with both of its arms/claws/whatevers would stop, having realized this, and said: 'oh'.

Instead, he tries to heave I-No off her feet and hurl her into the crowd and instead finds her ducking into *its* personal space, upending the grip and inverting it, grabbing its arms(?) and grinning. "The worst, the WORST part of this scenario is that these tits are FANTASTIC and I just wasted them on you George Romero-looking motherfuckers." She then yanks her would-be assailant BACKWARDS with her, the Rock Witch putting her back to the amp she came in with and effectively using the Gear that grappled her as a sort of riot shield, thrusting him at the enroaching horde of gears. She is nimble and alone; they are many and ungainly. As a result, I-No survives this encounter with no more than a bruise or two.

Shoving the Gear away from her, she brings her guitar (where did it go when she was grabbing the Gear? How is it back here now? What even IS quantum physics?!) around and literally swings it at the thing's back, attempting to putt the Gear into its fellows and cause a pleasantly destructive and comedic domino effect.

"HEY!" she yells to Nakoruru, or at least one would ASSUME to Nakoruru. "Can you not kill her until I can get over there?" Now it's less sure if she means Nakoruru or Ram. Hopefully the former. This is your savior, folks.

(* this may have actually happened)

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal blocks Nakoruru's Amube Yatoro.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0         Nakoruru
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: I-No successfully hits Gear Army with Power Strike.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0         Nakoruru
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0             I-No

Ramlethal turns expressionless eyes on Nakoruru. "This is my mission," she states, in response to that command. Nakoruru lacks the proper command designation. That input will be discarded... Nakoruru points and shouts. It's impossible to NOT know the attack is coming, with a gesture like that. The First of the Valentines sweeps back, pivots, meets the incoming, chi-wreathed bird with an upraised palm--reinforced by a sudden upflowing of that skirt/jacket/mantle/cloak thing to reinforce a surprisingly slender arm. Then she turns--and gestures.

One of her greatswords--moving faster, perhaps, than might be expected of such a large thing--sweeps in above Nakoruru, then chops downward. It actually looks like a surprisingly delicate motion, not quite a brute-force slam as might be expected of the girl and her weapon. She hears I-No, but has no response--besides, I-No will have to get through the Gears first...

And speaking OF that Gear army, currently, one of them is being manhandled by said I-No. The guitar blow is crushing, sending it bowling into several others, cutting down yet more of the substandard Gears--fodder, really, up against a woman like I-No. But they're even worse than Ramlethal--they are literally programmed. And so there's little response except for vaguely metallic snarls, as the Gears raise their weapons--mass-produced swords, pikes, scythes... and surge forward once more. No subtlety, no technique, just pure brute force.

No, wait. There, in the back, there's one Gear, still misshapen... but a zoom-in of his optics might just show a pair of pink hearts as he gazes upon I-No.

Too bad he's destined to be crushed by her--one way or the other.

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru full-parries Ramlethal's Medium Strike!!

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0         Nakoruru
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0             I-No

Gear Army falls asleep.

Gear Army wakes up.

The pressure of facing the Command Gear herself certainly occupies nearly all of Nakoruru's mental bandwidth. But that doesn't mean there isn't that one corner in her mind only keeping aware of what is going on with the wild card assistance wrecking complete havoc among the rank and file... but also wondering where in the world she even came from, who she is, and WHAT IS SHE DOING TO THAT GEAR?

Because she's attacking the abominations invading her home land, she must be an ally, even if her techniques, and, well, her everything, are utterly foreign to the Kamui Chosen warrior. So for now, all she can do is breathe a quiet thanks while trying to keep Ramlethal a priority in her thoughts.

The primary concern, of course, are those twin great swords hovering alongside the woman. Though she has yet to deploy them offensively, each one of them individually is larger than her and Nakoruru combined. Whatever it is they're capable of, the avenging spirit of nature is wholeheartedly not interested in experiencing first hand.

Mamahaha's dive bombing buys her more time to focus, however, the raptor impacting against Ramlethal's raised with her talons and a backlash of chi to crash into the woman, but ultimately deflected more than successful. Immediately, the hawk flaps her wings for rapid retreat, backing up at an angle, making further efforts spent trying to remove the bird from the equation suboptimal at best.

And of course, that's when Nakoruru lunges, sprinting forward, just as one of the imposing blades is put to use with but a simple gesture. The intercepting blade completely blocks the young woman's view for a moment as she and the wolf bolt in opposite directions as the sword sweeps for her position. They come together on the other side of it, Nakoruru hopping forward, Shikuruu running beneath her, both girl and wolf wreathed in the same multi-hued energy of life that the hawk had been as they dash back in on the mission oriented Command Gear.

I-no's request is heard and another idea is jotted away. She seems to have personal interests in their leader... is this why she's helping?

With one sword out of the way, the vector for approach seems obvious, the war beast sprinting over the ground on the side that the monolithic sword had occupied a moment before. Who knows when such an opportunity will present itself again?

Similar to her initial assault, the two attempt to dash past Ramlethal, Nakoruru slashing out hard with a strong, chi infused horizontal reverse-grip sweep of her short blade before the two rush past again!

COMBATSYS: Gear Army successfully hits I-No with Elegy of Lost Opportunity.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0         Nakoruru
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1             I-No

On the defensive, it did help I-No that there is only one of her and an unwieldy-large number of angry(?) Gears looking to hurt her. Offensively, however... there is an advantage in numbers. Especially such *large* numbers. So while Nakoruru is currently doing an ever-so-graceful dance of blades with I Like Big Swords And I Cannot Lie, I-No is left to pas-de-deux with a ravening horde of bioengineered cyborg death monsters. Who also have blades, for the record. And spears and pikes, probably some axes and maces. Because WHY NOT.

Long story short, I-No does her best to dodge and weave around the various pigstickers coming her way, and is able to get around a few of them, but there's just... you know, a lot. And so the Rock Witch goes, with the least amount of sincerity possible: "Ow~ That hurt~"

Nobody believes you, I-No, though the cuts and scrapes and bruises tell a tale that her mocking voice cannot: that probably DID hurt, at least a little bit.

Rolling backwards with a kippup to her feet, the red-clad songstress looks around her at the menacing horde and seems to come to a decision. "Okay. Fine. We can do this little back and forth forever but let's be honest, neither of us wants that." The Gears stare back; it is not entirely clear they want anything, not that this impassive countenance delays I-No's banter one bit. "Something something dramatic tension, build up, whatever... how about we just Netflix it up a bit?"

She snaps her fingers. And that sound ECHOES. The air around her literally changes, charged with power, and even distant Ramlethal and Nakoruru can sense: casual demeanor aside, stupid entrance aside, I-No is not just some asshole.

She's Some Asshole, meriting the capital letters.

Hovering a foot off the ground, the Rock Witch brings her guitar pick up and holds it there, daring the 'audience' to keep their eyes on it. At her sides appear two spherical... speakers? No bigger than a basketball, and each sprouting a single angelic wing. Her head ducks forward, the brim of her witch's hat falling over her eyes, and into the silence, I-No drops one line:

"Prepare to bingewatch, motherfuckers."

And then... well, she plays. She plays notes. A lot of notes. She doesn't so much 'play' as 'shred' with a manic speed and expertise, and with each chord that rolls by, a bubble-shaped projectile filled with a little broken heart launches from those speakers at the Gears around her. And there are a lot... a LOT of notes, so there are a lot... a LOT of little deadly bubbles.

Fuck quality. QUANTITY is where it's at.

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Ramlethal with Mer Shikite EX.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1         Nakoruru
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: I-No successfully hits Gear Army with Megalomania.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Gear Army        1/-======/=======|=======\-------\1         Nakoruru
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0             I-No

Ramlethal is amongst the finest of warriors to be produced by the Backyard. Though she doesn't have an ego, per se, about it, it's knowledge that's been instilled in her at a sort of.. base-level consciousness. It gives her... confidence, surety in her actions. It hasn't been tested.

That is... not until today. The speed of this diminutive girl-woman, armed with what appears to be nothing more than a slightly oversized dagger--something that shouldn't be able to even TOUCH her, let alone cut these rents in her--something's happening. As if something about Nakoruru's very presence is starting to interfere with Ramlethal at a base level. It shows in the way her face changes--shifting, ever so slightly... from expressionless to showing another expression, however faint. Brows furrowing, amber eyes coming alive. It isn't, perhaps, the most ideal emotion to begin to wake to, but as far as a flame sparking inside someone, anger will do quite nicely.

"_Stop_," grates Ramlethal, as she recovers from the powerful slash. She gestures--splaying both hands in front of her--and the balloons 'carrying' those swords warp forward... and then join together, turning the greatswords into a gigantic double-blade, glowing with that green energy along the edges... and it begins to spin. Not just spin--it becomes a whirlwind, chopping through trees, through stray Gears, anything it touches as seeks out a single target--Nakoruru and her wolf steed.

The Gear army has no feelings, no reason to react as I-No gives her little speech. And even though I-No takes a little bit to get the party started, in truth... none of them have a chance at reaching her before she could possibly go off. They don't even know enough to block--and they're already rushing forward, following a single-minded command structure. That just puts them in the perfect place. Hundreds of Gears--some vaporized, as before, some simply smashed, and yet, once the dust clears... there's still a sizeable number of them, though not the horde they were before, that mass of inhuman constructs. Those electronic screeches sound as they leap, in groups, individually, all committing themselves to a swing, a stab, a punch, a smash--a rain of bodies falling upon I-No. Even her one fanboy amongs the crowd is there, swept up in the tide, unable to deny his fate.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal successfully hits Nakoruru with Trance.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Gear Army        0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2         Nakoruru
[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0             I-No

There's probably something particularly vexing about the Beast Master's relentless hit and run tactics. Engage, disengage, distract, then repeat the cycle. Another swift but violent slash and the two zip past Ramlethal, the wolf quickly moving them out of the anticipated range of the hovering colossal swords, kicking up a spray of dirt in the process, before Shikuruu circles around, facing back toward the Command Gear.

Nakoruru's left hand continues to hold her in place, her right hand still bearing her sharp if unimpressively sized kodachi. Both she and the creature she rides are breathing hard, adrenaline likely coursing through their systems at having to fight within the dangerous reach of their target, but in that moment, the mistake is made to believe them both safely out of range, allowing a moment's reprieve.

"I cannot!" Nakoruru answers back, leaning forward, clearly getting ready for another stab at tearing into the abomination treading over her people's lands. Of course, her objective isn't to simply drive them back. It's to destroy them. That was the mission given her. It is the only path to averting the pending divine storm.

Even now, its threat is palpable, its portends visible in the sky above. How long will it be before the lightning is unleashed and humanity's conflict is forcefully solved for them?

But her desire to keep up the pressure is cut short the instant Ramlethal extends her hands, compelling the entities bearing her blades to act, the two massive blades becoming a combined sickle well over fifteen feet in diameter. And then the reaper's thresher comes straight for her and her wolf.

It hardly takes a word of encouragement to send the wolf circling around, paws digging in in an attempt to muster an escape from the whirlwinding blades. But even the trees that have grown strong and thick in these undisturbed woods do nothing to slow it down, each trunk in turn severed with a single pass. As fast as the canine is at moving over the natural ground, it simply isn't fast enough to escape the relentless, tireless pursuer.

The two duck low, a razor's edge slicing just over the young woman's head. The next slash catches her hard in the upper back. The third in her arm as she tries to slip under another spin. Finally, the wolf springs forward again, attempting one final surge in speed to put distance between his rider and the deadly blades.

But it isn't enough, the two caught in the bladed grinder whirling far too fast to be perceived. There is a loud whelp as the noble wolf steed is lost to the whirlwind, but the swordswoman herself has taken to the air, leaping back over the greatswords back toward Ramlethal.

Teeth grit, she sprints along the ground, trying to make it back before the angered Gear Commander can recall her weapons - if such an opportunity is possible. Her left arm is covered in blood and the gash in her back could be a fight ending blow all by itself. But to see her eyes, she retaliates without fear or even apparent acknowledgement of her injuries, driven to accomplish her own mission with the same single mindedness Ramlethal approaches her own.

It is from a few meters out that her blade flares to life again, the swordmaiden dashing forward into a blurringly fast lunch in trying to bypass Ramlethal once again - another hard slash with her right arm, this one more fierce than any that came before, then a slide to a stop some distance beyond unless prevented.

COMBATSYS: I-No blocks Gear Army's Gravestone of Final Acts.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Gear Army        0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1         Nakoruru
[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             I-No

You know that thing that happens in cartoons, where there's a literal pile of bodies that just sort of... entirely envelops a poor, hapless victim? As the last chord of I-Nopalooza dies away, that like... actually happens. There's just a living (sort of) tide of bodies that crests like a wave, pouring over the Rock Witch until only the assaulting Gears are left visible. If you think about it, it's a really sinister way for someone to go, especially because it's a long few moments before there's any movement or sound under there, other than the weird noises Gears make simply by existing.

And then, inexplicably, we do hear a few things:
"Oh, not *there*...!"
And so on.

It's not entirely certain what happens under there until, eventually, the crowd is forced to part. Why? Because I-No effectively erupts out of it like a comet, riding her guitar like some evil post-modern witch's broomstick into the very literal air. On her way *down*, she aims for Chekov's Gear, the heart-eyed fanboy milling at the edge of the throng. A barely-visible reflection of light indicates that in her hand she holds a guitar string, which she attempts to lasso around the fan!Gear's neck.

Coming to a landing, ideally with her target roped, the Scarlet Songstress says, in her throaty alto, "Not even with Shithead's dick. And there's a VERY real chance HE'S fucked one of you. Just saying."

If she actually has the gear in her possession (as it were), I-No suddenly HEAVES, attempting to swing the captured Gear into the air and twirl in a continuous circle, heaving him like a ball and chain into his very companions.

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Ramlethal with Annu Mutsube EX.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Gear Army        0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2         Nakoruru
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Gear Army endures I-No's Charged Combo.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~

[                                < >  /////////////////             ]
Gear Army        1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2         Nakoruru
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0             I-No

Poor Fan Gear. He never stood a chance. It's not his fault; I-No turned him on and now she's going to turn him off. More bits of Gear fly off as she explodes out of the pile; when she starts descending at him, he freezes. He's not--he's not ready for--!

... for getting his neck strung up. Now, Gears like him can't -choke-, but that doesn't make the experience any less awful... objectively. The whirling spin that I-No puts him through would be bad enough, even for a being without internal organs or a sense of inertial dissonance. That he is used to effectively wipe out the rest of the Gears doesn't help at all. But he has no regrets. Well, he wouldn't've had any anyways, if he had regrets to have. Suffice to say--by the time he's released from the lasso--it doesn't matter how he feels, as his consciousness, such as it is, is extinguished rather abruptly, slung head-first into a large granite boulder--one that proves to be far harder, and hardier, than his head.

The grove is -trashed-. It looks less like a sacred spot and more like a Superfund site, with Gear parts and the various fluids they once contained spilled everywhere, motley swirls of red and blue and brown and black dripping off broken parts and splashed across the ground.

And yet a battle still rages, one in which Ramlethal is on the losing end. It doesn't matter, in a way, whether she's been deprived of her Gear army or not; Nakoruru is quite effective all by herself. She -does- recognize that her backup, such as it is, is 'out', as they say, and that forces her to reconsider her tactics, realizing that in just any moment, the incredibly--equally--dangerous I-No is about to come over, and I-No probably would have absolutely no compunctions about taking her head off.

She's torn--for the first time in her life, such as it is. Acting not according to her program, or at least, not entirely according to it. Nakoruru's rush did leave her close, at least, close enough... once again, that green energy forms in a hand, as she lunges forward, slashing forward--but that's not all. It's a smooth transition from that one slash, to another one, with both hands leaving searingly bright emerald green trails, and then the final attack, a crossing slash, with more force behind it. At the least she can pay -back- some of this failure...

COMBATSYS: Gear Army takes no action.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Gear Army can no longer fight.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru blocks Ramlethal's Forigi.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

Another dashing slash lands, this time into a roll along the ground as she comes out of it, a shockwave of spent energy dissipating before her. Nakoruru doesn't hesitate, she's seen how fast the twin sword slayer can counter attack. Pushing up out of her crouch in an instant, she's already positioning her kodachi's flat edge into the path of anticipated attack.

The first claw slash is blocked, if barely, by bracing her blade against her crippled left arm, driving her back a step in the process. The second chi clawed swing from the other direction, knocks her sword arm completely out of the way, Nakoruru reeling to the right, no longer managing to guard herself. The cross slash of chi bearing claws catches her cleanly, tearing cloth and flesh, leaving parallel crisscrossing cauterized lines across the front of her as she staggers back several steps.

There is a hiss, her right arm folding over her chest as she leans forward, violet eyes locked on her foe. There is antipathy there - not that the two have history, not that they had ever crossed blades before... and in fact, her anger is not even really directed at the dispassionate Gear she's throwing herself at without any hesitation. "Those that sent you," she states, "I hope they know. They're next."

They WILL be held accountable - the button pushers, the scientists, the profane craftsmen that created these things and sent them into her homeland, sent them to war. Held accountable for damage caused, the sacred grounds spoiled, and the lives ruined throughout the besieged nation. But none of that is the Command Gear's fault. Nakoruru can see that in her eyes - this mission is hardly personal to her. It is something to be accomplished. She may look like a person, but did she ever have any choice?

"I'm sorry," she winds up, pivoting to the right, her body tensing, colorful energy coursing down her arm into her short blade. "That it has to be you to bear my wrath. Maybe someday, if you survive this, you will have the power to chose for yourself."

And with that, she kicks off with her back foot, springing back onto the offense against Ramlethal. I-No may have asked for her to leave the Gear standing long enough for her to get in on the action, but Raiden's champion is showing no such inclination. Her assault comes by way of rapid slashes, angled left, right, horizontally, and with each blow another pulse of that chi she seems to have no shortage producing.

If she should catch her target unable to protect herself, she would step in for one final strike, flipping her kodachi to a reverse grip, she lifts it over her head where she pauses for only an instant. Whether by her own will, or by the attentions of the one she is fighting for, a singular column of lightning surges down from the gathering storm and in the same instant, Nature's Avenger attempts to plunge the long knife into Ramlethal for a finishing blow!

At the end of her destructive swing, I-No just lets go of the guitar string, sending whatever remains of her victim flying into the distance and leaving the Rock Witch effectively standing in what looks like a crop circle of destroyed cyborg monsters. She brings her hand up, index and middle fingers extended, tapping them to her forehead and then gesturing outward, a sort of jaunty salute to the... uh, army that she just more or less decimated singlehandedly.

"Don't forget to stop by the merch table on your way out, _assholes_."

Behind her, the 10-ton amp falls over forward onto the body of one Gear that was struggling to crawl to safety, crushing it utterly.

Of course this means that the scarlet songstress has plenty of time at her leisure to walk -- nay, sashay; those hips don't have any other setting, really -- over toward the life and death struggle between Nakoruru and Ramlethal Valentine, the commander of whatever expendable extras just got crushed like so much random recycling, because in this scene we're EARTH FRIENDLY.

In fact, I-No arrives at her leisurely pace JUST in time to watch Nakoruru dive by like some sort of angry, fursona-having comet toward Ram. Confident that she's basically got all day to handle the rest of this, the pulchritudinous witch just puts one hand on her hip and watches to see what happens.

Well, that and she lets out of a low whistle at this. "Yeah. You tell her, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom."

COMBATSYS: I-No takes no action.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ramlethal        0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>------\1         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Ramlethal with Inep Ikashima Wanpe Chuie EX.

[                          \\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Ramlethal        1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>------\1         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

It's probably better to be finished off by Nakoruru than I-No. Nakoruru'll just beat her. I-No would seek to humiliate her. What will the Backyard think? Their vaunted First of the Valentines, brought low like this? By--well, not by a 'mere human'. Nakoruru certainly transcends -that- designation. Ramlethal is helpless; the welter of emotions, new to her, make her freeze, or maybe she's just too damaged to operate at full power. That'll be a determination for later. For now--she's assaulted by a myriad of slashes and strikes, and that last strike--the dual strike, lightning and blade--appears to pierce her center-mass, transfixing the construct wholly, though the blade is not long enough to also pierce through cloak.

"UWAGHH--" is Ramlethal's vocal response, perfectly understandable when she's had a blade stabbed through her chest and the shrieking blast of lightning frying her as well. With an effort borne of will--whether hers, or external--she forces herself off the blade, the sound it makes sliding back -out- of that would probably, frankly, horrifying. Her voice, when it comes, is not what one would call sounding good. "Death... is not part of this mission," she says, falling back, after the trauma, upon her programming, which is probably for the best in this case. Two things happen simultaneously--she launches herself into the air, fast fast fast, a programmed, instinctive fight-or-flight mode activated--and she hurls a final attack, a covering blast of green energy that she sends directly downwards.

She will have to deal with the consequences of this... later. But dying here... that can't be allowed. Strangely, it isn't the failure that burns inside her, as she reaches a minimum distance to be able to teleport. It's Nakoruru's final words. About choice... about -her- choice. They'll be banging around in her head for a while.

COMBATSYS: Ramlethal can no longer fight.

                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                  |>>>>>>>\>------\1         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru full-parries Ramlethal's Cassius!!

                                  >  //////////////                ]
                                  |>>>>>>>\>>>----\1         Nakoruru
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |=====--\-------\0             I-No

Nakoruru is easily dislodged when Ramlethal forces herself off. She's already felt first hand what the twin sword wielder's claws are capable of first hand, so disengagement must surely be on her mind anyway. She lands on her feet, skipping back a step, weapon still drawn, her left arm still hanging uselessly at her side, mouth pressed into a thin, straight line.

Overhead, her great hawk circles, staying well above the fray unless called back into engage, but her wolf is no where to be seen. Of course, this isn't the first time her canine guardian has been felled in combat...

Violet eyes take in the devastation of what used to be the Gear rank and file until I-no got to them, but the consideration is brief, her focus immediately back on the designated leader of the now eradicated division. And it's a good thing she does, as she finds herself targeted even as the leader withdraws. A surging burst of energy hurled from an awkward angle to defend from. With her left arm too maimed too severely to whip out her deflecting cloak, all she can do is leap forward along the ground, twisting to the right to land on her right shoulder instead of her left, as dirt explodes up into the air behind and over her.

Perhaps worried about another attack, she scrambles to her feet quickly, chunks of dirt falling off of her as she does so, only to find that the sword wielding Gear has disengaged entirely.

Standing up straight, she slips her weapon into the sheath behind her waist, eyes trailing Ramlethal for as long as she can. A soft exhale escapes her lips as she turns to survey the destruction left by the battle, her expression faltering slightly from the serious mien she had throughout the entire battle.

"A victory so bitter," she murmurs, finally sweeping the battlefield with her eyes to locate the crimson enigma that feel from the sky with sound and fury. /That/ one bears looking out for, even if her help was clearly essential.

I-No's not hard to find. She's slowly clapping even as Nakoruru lands and defends herself against Ram's parting shot, one hand slapping gently and rhythmically into the other. The red-clad woman has not made even a tiny attempt at sincerity; Nakoruru's alive and Ramlethal and the Gears are gone. Presumably that's at least one victory, in I-No's eyes. But the slow clap likely reads, even to one as detached from modern society as Nature's Avenger, as mocking.

"Well isn't that nice. The big evil girl with the phallic symbols gets her ass whupped by Our Hero and flies away tucking tail, everyone happy, the end." She really doesn't sound all that happy about it, to be honest. Her body language is very closed; arms crossed over the ample chest, head tilted back, iridescent eyes open and appraising. "Good thing you took out that genocidal maniac so Sparky doesn't obliterate humanity, right? Very clear case of good triumphing over evil."

Pronouncement made, I-No doesn't actually stop to watch Nakoruru's reaciton; she turns instead to look at the direction that Ramlethal fled in, irises shrinking a bit, the fingers of her right hand curling into a fist.

When she speaks again, it's to spout what must seem like nonsense. "She's gone. But she didn't *die*. The question is, does everything stay the same? Or was that it? Too many fucking variables. It could have been any of this bullshit, even if this was the most *likely*... ugh. What a fucking waste of time."

The blooded young woman turns to face I-no directly as the slow, mocking clap is heard, violet eyes coming to rest on her unexpected ally. As she listens, her right hand reaches across to grip her limp left arm near the wrist, and, bracing for a moment, eyes closing in anticipation, she swings her dangling left arm out at her side. From useless fingers falls a large, pristine white sheet of cloth, its border a crimson geometric pattern similar to the violet and earthen one on her torn robe.

She catches it with her right hand, exhaling a little as her left arm flops back into place. Whipping it into the air and pulling it around herself as she turns once, she finishes with the sheet draped over her, a long hooded cloak that covers her body down to her angles and leaves only her face visible.

The exercise is done without explanation or apology, and as her focus returns to I-no, it is with steel blue eyes she regards the curiously immodest woman. "You would do well to not speak ill of the Thunder God himself." Nakoruru replies softly, "He is on this island, and I have no doubt his ears hear far and wide." She dips her hooded head slightly after a moment, "Even still, that is my hope, yes, and one of the causes for which I faced that... their leader."

Her right arm lifts from beneath the cloak to draw back her hood a little ways, allowing her to glance up at the sky that looks devoid of Ramlethal, but quite full of storm clouds. "I don't claim to know, I can't speak for him. I also don't know what is happening with the other armies of automatons, whether they too have fallen or yet continue their fighting."

Her head lowers, her right hand resting outside the folds of her cloak against the base of her neck, "Once I am better, I will have to continue the hunt myself."

She is quiet for a couple of seconds before she glances up, looking at the crimson-clad woman sidelong from beneath her hood. "...who are you?" she asks, a small touch of awe in her voice in spite herself.

A snort. "The 'thunder god' can eat my entire ass," is I-No's response. So, you know, no ambiguity there on her feelings re: supposed divinity, etc. The woman in red is visibly annoyed, though perhaps not with Nakoruru *specifically*; her vaguely distracted mien and the abrupt turn toward Ramlethal's direction of flight point to some external cause for I-No's distress, rather than anything specific that the Ainu defender has done. But as the previous engagement has maybe made clear... even for someone as mighty as Nakoruru herself, an annoyed and unpredictable I-No is not the most calming presence.

"Anyhow that was sarcasm, Doctor Ainu Doolittle. It was absolutely not a clear case of good triumphing over evil. A little more accurately, Good Intentions beat the shit out of Doesn't Know Any Better and I'm sitting here wondering which fucking Chrono Trigger ending we get as a result, because that's my fucking life now." What? I mean: what?

A pause, a heavy sigh, then a shrug, and I-No finally turns back to Nakoruru. "You know what, princess, it's not really your fault. I mean, this entire situation is so monumentally, cosmically fucked that it's a little unfair to put too much of it on your shoulders. You can call me I-No if you want." A jaunty little wave, a shrug. "I'd make a joke about you calling me 'mistress' instead but feeling like that would fly a little far over your adorable little head."

A pause, and then I-No stretches, her fingers connecting, her arms making an arc above and slightly behind her, since the point of her witch's hat gets in the way. "You're friends with whatserface, right? Medium height, way too fucking serious, won Mortal Kombat?" That is probably the least helpful description of Honoka Kawamoto you could possibly get, right up to the last part. "Well I'll tell you the same thing I kinda-sorta told her: our future's fucked, princess. No matter which 'side' of this bullshit comes out on top, there's a very grim future for everybody waiting out there and it's not in like, a hundred years plus. It's sooner than you think."

The young woman's eyes widen slightly at the blasphemous retort, but she recovers her composure without comment. She offered her advice on the matter, what more can she do? But then I-no continues and she's left reeling. "Doolittle...? Was there something- Wait, C-chrono Trigger?" She's met a fair number of people since her last rest came to an end, but she's certainly never encountered anyone as incomprehensible as her heretical ally from the sky. The individual words seem to make sense and the ancient warrior's own manner of speaking is remarkably fluent, but paired off the way they are as I-no speaks, she's clearly missing each and every reference.

She'll have some interesting questions for Honoka when next they met, for certain. Hopefully the other Ainu knows what the blazes Chrono Trigger endings are.

"Oh, I'm not a princ-" she starts to protest with a quick shake of her head but then falls quite as the woman in red speaks about larger scale problems. Rather, THE largest scale problem, and the young woman at her side purses her lips.

She gets distracted as a name is offered, at least. Whether it is a self-selected moniker, a title, or whoever brought the curiously loud woman into this world actually named her I-no, Nakoruru can't begin to imagine. After all, her own name is Nakoruru, who is she to judge. The 'mistress' comment does seem to get a bit of a reaction, the young woman recoiling slightly, "I-no is fine. Thank you."

At the woman's question, she pauses then nods quickly, a little bit before the mention of Mortal Kombat. After all, she really only has... a couple of friends. "Yes," she verifies softly.

And then she listens. She's heard a lot of prophesies and warnings in her life. One might even say it is the nature of her business to hear them. But she's sure as heck never heard one issued like /that/.

"You're very cynical for a hero," she replies after a moment's pause, lips curling into a lopsided smile, her tone suggesting that there is a touch of dry humor to the statement than a flat out critique of the perspective offered.

But it fades after a few seconds, two questions asked in short order, "Right, but... who ARE you?" She has a name, but nothing else. Where did she come from? Why is she so cynical? Where does she do her clothes shopping? "Why did you help if none of it matters? I could not have done without you..."

The word 'hero' gets an ugly snort-laugh out of the witch in red, I-No's whole torso heaving briefly with it under her crossed arms. "It's only cynicism if it's not true," she says lightly, shrugging. Other than her little jaunt with Honoka -- which was more for the tusukur's benefit than I-No's -- this might be the most the Rock Witch has ever said to anyone about her interests, other than perhaps... well. He's not here and that's a fact. Until he surfaces, I-No's on her own. Not that she was ever particularly good at following orders or toeing the line anyway. "And it's only heroism if you give a fuck about what happens to other people." Another shrug. "For the most part I don't. 90% of humanity are vain, clueless fuckwits. But they deserve the chance to live our their stupid-ass fuckwit lives anyway."

The contradiction is obvious: I-No claims not to care, then immediately suggests that perhaps she does care somewhat, but in the most abrasive and dismissive way possible, which seems to be par for the course.

The question of 'who ARE you?' is decidedly emphatic, moreso than anything else I-No's heard come out of Nakoruru's mouth yet. For a moment, the Scarlet Songstress is taken back to her moment exhorting Honoka to Do It For Herself instead of some nebulous idea of good or evil. Something about Nakoruru's question strikes I-No as similar; the guardian isn't asking as part of her gods-given mission or a sense of responsibility. She's asking because she, personally, Nakoruru, wants to know.

It's almost enough to earn her a real answer. Almost.

"Who I am is for me to know," is the reply. The conspicuous lack of the rest of the aphorism is everything a listener needs to decode the intent. "But you said it yourself. I'm no hero and I'm *definitely* a cynic. I guess the question you might want to ask yourself is: would a cynic lie to you? And if I don't particularly care about you -- which, you seem nice, but I don't even know you -- then why would I step in here? See if you can work that out for yourself, princess. Like you said, this bullshit isn't done, and who knows. You're no cynic and you might be a hero."

And that appears to be that. Uncrossing her arms, dusting off her bright red, tall boots, I-No tips the brim of her hat at Nakoruru. "See you 'round, 'guardian'." And then, in a haze of black and electric blue, she's gone, literally vanishing into... well, something.

Log created on 19:58:35 11/25/2017 by Nakoruru, and last modified on 23:28:14 11/27/2017.