Description: Fresh (or not so fresh) from the battlezone, Velvet and Lyraelle make a stop in a quiet street to catch a breath, only to be tracked down by the darkstalker-seeking Koto. Lyraelle offers to try and help him with a problem she describes as 'power puberty,' and ends up discovering more than she expected.
Several blocks across town, a fire is raging. The smoke is already visible above the warehouse rooftops. The blaze is an unnatural thing; the green flames clear evidence that it's no accident. Nearly a quarter of one of the buildings has been reduced to slag and burning rubble; there are bodies within the wreckage and without, the blasted corpses of naga and werewolves, distinctive enough to be identified for that and little more. Any survivors of the attack - for an attack it must have been; those who looked up recently enough may have even noticed the green fireball before it descended on its victims - have already fled.
Near there, a battle rages between the forces of the Black Dragon and the Novus Orbis Librarium; but that is the focus of another parallel story.
As for the perpetrator of the attack?
Lyraelle is only just starting to regain consciousness as her justice-seeking partner, Velvet Blue, guides their getaway van down Gedo Street. The demoness' eyelids flutter as she awakens in the back of the van. She moves one hand - presumably still wearing one of her purple gloves - to push against her forehead as she groans dramatically.
"Velvet? Are we alive?" she calls out, her Majesty sounding unusually meek for the envenomed scratches that criss-cross her flesh.
"Define alive," Velvet has set Lyraelle down near a vending machine, where he's trying to get something out of it. The power is out thanks to a line being down nearby--or it could be the power plant that Kira's subverting nearby having trouble--as the NOL were likely still sieging it. Drawing his wakizashi from it's sheath on his leg, he uses the blade to pry open the door of the vending machine to dig out a bottle of water--having to reach his whole arm in there.
Velvet does not have a lot to say as he snaps off the cap of the water bottle and brings it to his lips, still breathing hard and in a lot of pain. Reaching into the pockets of his jeans he brings out two white aspirin tablets--which he promptly stuffs in his mouth, chewing them into a white powder before washing those down with the water too, then slides down the front of the vending machine, passing the half-finished water off to Lyra.
A bright light suddenly shines from across the street at the two. Definitely not NOL or Syndicate. It's too low in position to be a flashlight, but still pretty bright. At least that's the blinding effect it should have. Until there's a spark of something and the light shuts off. "Damn it... again?" The high school student says. He looks like perhaps he's had better days.
"Hey, DarkStalkers... you know anything about a bunch of you dieing around here?" Koto asks point blank. His costume's already on, but he doesn't have his helmet on at the moment. The teenager's eyeing the two.
"And seriously, bring cash with you. Easier than breaking a vending machine open." He looks from one to the other. "Wow. You two look like you've been sent back to hell and came back again. What's the deal here?"
It would normally be quite beneath the persona of the Demon Queen to accept a swig of secondhand water. Perhaps the rule doesn't apply when it comes to fellow darkstalker Queens; or perhaps the succubus is simply too sensible to turn down succor from someone who's just saved her life while recovering from a near-death experience.
Maybe it's both.
Swinging her legs over the back of the van's open doorframe, the pink-haired hell-maiden hisses in reverse at the pain of feeling returning to her body in her wounded state.
"Alive, as in... you know, the technical sense. I kinda blacked out back there," Lyraelle says before tipping the water bottle back and draining it. She's in the middle of doing so when the costume-clad high schooler approaches, and she stops drinking and turns her head - forgetting to tip the bottle back along with it in her dazed state and spilling what's left down the front of her leotard. She doesn't seem to notice.
"A bunch of 'us' dying? There's only two of 'us' here, and we're alive. Technically."
Realising that she's now wet, Lyraelle eyes the bottle, then shrugs and uses the bit that's still in it to wash off her injured arms, which are covered in claw marks and what someone might recognize as fang prints.
"I was attacked by vicious snakes," she claims. "Well, I think technically they were naga."
She turns to Velvet questioningly. "Did we manage to take any prisoners? I mean, did we even /win?/"
"I couldn't tell you why," Velvet replies, looking up at the sufficiently costumed and armored superhero that is standing over there, looking up at the man with a shake of his head. He's serious too, he has no idea why they all went apeshit.
"Got attacked," he grunts as he favors a hand over one of the sides--the undershirt is cut up beneath the jacket he had been wearing, which looks bloody and there's been several tears in it--looking like an animal attack more than anything, really.
"All the snakes and werewolves are dead, the catwomen got away, mostly--but maybe a few are back there," he shakes his head.
"Volkov's darkstalker henchmen," he explains, looking back to Koto.
Koto huhs, moving over and peering, "Oh. Aren't you that cosplayer that goes around fighting? The one that dresses up like a DarkStalker all the time?" He frowns as he looks at her arms from afar. "My apologies. I guess whatever's going on with my powers finally hit my other senses, too."
He shakes his head, looking at Velvet, then to Lyraelle again, "Yeah, you should probably see a doctor or something? Those don't look healthy at all."
He looks over at Velvet, looking a bit surprised, "... wow. Did you guys happen to do something to all those? I was coming around here because I sensed some sort of massive gathering or something. I think. Not totally sure why."
And seriously, Koto looks more like a kid than a man. Even with the suit. He can't be no older than 16 or 17. Maybe!
"Dead? As in... literally dead? I thought we were going to, you know... not kill them, if we could help it," the demoness says as her leathery bat-like wings stretch and shudder behind her. She half-smiles bemusedly at Velvet. "I mean, not that I'm judging you or anything. Like, if it was them or me I'm not gonna call you out for choosing me. By which I mean, thanks for probably saving my life."
Lyraelle turns her eyes to Koto, sizing him up. Then, after a moment, she suddenly smiles brightly.
"Demon Queen Lyraelle? That's me~"
It's like a transformation - seamlessly, the weary, wounded, sincere succubus is replaced by the camera-ready cosplay queen. Funny, how the two faces are indistinguishable yet barely recognizable.
"I'll walk this off. I mean, I totally have a demon healing factor or whatever~ Just need a bit of a... pick me up at some point."
She seems to be contemplating the teenager.
"You can... what, sense darkstalkers or something? Or just people, generally?"
"I hate hospitals," Velvet replies, pulling the shirt underneath his jacket and craning his head down to try and see the claw marks on his chest and ribs, deciding to rip the edges of his shirt and try to make a compress for it--it seemed to have stopped bleeding on it's own.
"I think a transformer exploded," he points a long-nailed finger up into the air, meaning the things on the light poles. "Or I think a car blew up, I'm not sure," he waves it off. He's not giving Koto a lot of the pertinant info, at least not more than he thinks he needs, apparently.
"I never said darkstalkers were nice," Velvet replied, not apparently bothered with the idea that most of those guys back there didn't make it. "They were trying to kill people, last I checked," Velvet grunted, the performer out of jokes for the moment.
Koto shakes his head, "Most are not." He looks at Lyraelle.
Frowning, the teen gives a nod. "Yep. I can, mostly. Or usually can... something's been... I don't know... messing with my powers, I guess?"
He looks over at Velvet, "Ah... so someone blew up something, and you guys were involved in the mess? That kinda sucks."
"Maybe the car was a transformer," Lyraelle chimes in on Velvet's description of the explosion, scratching at the side of her head with one of her gloved hands. She twists her lips into a frown at the other darkstalker's unsympathetic words for the fallen monsters.
"I know they were trying to kill people, but they were, like, slaves to the Dragon. Maybe they could've been reformed! That's what I was aiming for. They were definitely bad press for us," the demonette remarks disappointedly. She turns back to Koto, straightening up a little to her full height as she takes a step closer.
"Look, sweetie, you haven't even told us your name, yet. Who are you? And are you here by yourself, or did somebody send you?"
"We got hurt," Velvet nods, looking up at the armored teenager, not apparently more worried about anything--the wakizashi he had used to open the vending machine is stuffed back into the sheath on his leg, and he's just sitting there, looking back at the machine and to the man. "The machine didn't have power, by the way--it's busted, someone will come by to fix it at some point," he adds, pulling himself shakily up now, looking like the aspirin he chewed and swallowed earlier is starting to have effect. It /is/ a more efficient way to take them, as disgusting as the taste of chewing aspirin is.
"Maybe someone /has/ been messing with your powers, or senses--whichever, if you hadn't notice the city's been fucking attacked," Velvet manages a wry grin and gestures around him. There is still smoke rising from the part of the city they left in the distance.
Meanwhile, Velvet shoots a look over at Lyra at the joke she made about the transformer. Hopefully it was Wheelie.
"Right, I'm Velvet," he lets Lyra take over from there, as she's divulging the rest of the info.
Koto shrugs, "I'm Koto. You might've seen me in the SNF and some other competitions. I'm the Mega Dragon Fighter, J-Dragon!" He makes a quick pose, obviously practiced, with his hand up near his face and a brief spark of prismatic light marking his fingers to show a J outline.
Then he looks over at Velvet, "Oh, you think? Yeah, I'd rather not get involved with the whole criminal element thing. I'm just out trying to make sure people aren't getting seriously hurt in the aftermath of it." He says.
"Shoot, technically it's a school night so I should be going in a few hours to get some sleep." He shrugs before looking at Lyraelle, "You sure you're not a DarkStalker or something else? And seriously, no one sends me anywhere. I'm just here kinda doing my own thing."
"Ooh, like the gimmick. Now that you mention it, I do think I've seen you before~" Lyraelle decides as she places her hands on her hips and paces one way, then the other, eyes remaining on the newcomer.
"I think I might've seen a vid with you in it when I was researching one of my match-ups a while ago. You know, if you need an archenemy, I could probably work something out. I mean, depending on your power level. Maybe you'd be mine~"
The demoness' tone turns just patronizing - or matronizing? - enough to suggest that she considers the former scenario more plausible.
"I mean, assuming you're into the whole roleplaying thing when you fight. Obviously, kayfabe is pretty important to me when it comes to sanctioned matches.
Her head tilts a little to one side, her long pink mane shifting as she does.
"Okay, I'll level with you. Yes, I'm a Darkstalker. If you go trying to make that public information, I'll just point to the body of 'proof'" - she says the word with finger air quotes - "that I'm totally /not/ a darkstalker. I don't need the kind of crap that would put in my life just yet, especially considering /this/ darkstalker pee-arr disaster."
She sweeps a hand off toward the carnage in the distance, then squints a little at the flames that still dance from afar.
"That looks like my trademark. Did /I/ do that?"
"Very nice," Velvet nods his head, looking a bit somber at that. He's not trying to be dismissive, but he's still in a lot of pain at the moment. "If you want to help some people, go check out if the NOL library people need anymore help with the darkstalkers they're fighting," Velvet leans against the broken into vending machine, looking back at it, then to Koto. "Guess hero types like you wouldn't want a soda if it was from a broken into machine, huh?" he raises a brow, teasing a little.
"I think he already knew, as if your looks weren't enough of a tip-off there, queenie," Velvet grinned a little towards Lyra, teasing her just a bit, before drawing in a deep, slow breath.
"But basically, we were trying to keep Kira Volkov from taking over the damn city with her monster army, I think so far it's working," he nodded.
Koto shakes his head, "Nah... got enough archenemies out there and people probably wanting me for something or another."
He considers, then shrugs, "Well, maybe. Just one that I know of." Then he looks towards the carnage, then over at the two. "And I thought my Aurora Burst was destructive."
The name drop definitely doesn't get any looks of recognition, "Kira Volkov? Who's that? And where the hell did they get an army of DarkStalkers?"
Lyraelle's nostrils flare as she gives a dainty snort. "Well, he did ask! I mean, I do go to a lot of trouble to keep the general public guessing."
The demoness stretches her arms up over her head, popping a few joints as she bends this way and that. The colour - what there is of it, anyway - seems to be returning to her features slowly already; her wounds seem to be sealing, the blotches around the bite marks already a bit faded since the conversation started. The difference could be written off to good make-up work if it weren't happening right in front of Velvet and Koto's eyes.
She looks from the distant smoke to Velvet.
"Was it you or me who blew up - I mean, it must have been the other darkstalkers," she rapidly concludes with a sidelong glance at Koto.
"Kira Volkov is the owner of that casino who put out that big vlog about how strength is all that matters and come at me bros, etcetera. The one who started all this kerfuffle. And she got an army of darkstalkers by like, enslaving them, basically. She's definitely not a big darkstalker lover."
She gestures toward the chaos on the horizon. "She's got a secret super base under the casino surrounded by a death shield. Some dudes are trying to bust into her power plant to cut the shield off. We 'happened' to be in the area and 'happened' to run into some darkstalkers that were trying to murder those dudes."
Air quotes are once again provided.
"Haven't you noticed any of this has been going on? Or is this your first time out?" Velvet looked the young superhero over, leaning against the busted into vending machine, balancing against his elbows. "This stuff has been in all the news and the city was under siege by her creeps for weeks, I think the NOL and cops have forced a good deal of them out by now, though," he shook his head.
"It shouldn't have happened, it's been like Metro, or Celle Ligure," Velvet shook his head. "I was more interested in trying to stop it from happening here, then whatever the consequences were going to be," he leveled his gaze cooly back at Koto.
"This one here, well, she wanted to come along, I probably would be dead by now if she hadn't, though," he nodded.
Koto blinks, looking at the two. Then he shakes his head, "Nah, been out training and trying to figure out what's going on with myself. I'm supposed to meet someone in hopefully a few days."
He rubs the back of his head, "So... death shield is about like it says it is, I take it? What's her goal in all of this? Oh, dang... I wonder if I should hang around my school instead of be out here checking this out?"
Koto grumbles, "So much for the whole harmony thing or whatever."
"And I'd probably be dead or something close to it if you hadn't dragged my butt out of there~" Lyraelle points out to her fellow darkstalker as she takes a seat on a bench and crosses one leg over the other, resting her palms on the seat on either side of her as her tail stretches and starts to flick lazily in the air behind her. "Really, I only dealt with that minotaur. You're the one who dealt with the rest of the filthy masses."
She gives Velvet what seems to be a genuine smile, then looks up at Koto. "I actually didn't find out what her real goal is, other than trying to make people hate darkstalkers more. She's not planning on taking over the city or anything like that, and she's not planning on going down with the ship or whatever. So, she's probably planning to make things bad and then Houdini her way out."
She cants her head a little as she gives Koto a questioning look.
"Harmony? You mean, like, humans and darkstalkers, or just generally speaking?"
"It's up to you--you got powers, don't you? You could use them to help stop this crazy bitch," Velvet dusts part of his now tattered trousers off. "Humans aren't even so great at the 'harmony' bit, how do you expect a bunch of supernatural predators and beings with magical powers to do that," he folded his arms.
"Well, the minotaur and the whole army of snakemen you blew up," Velvet grinned a little thinly, reaching over to pick what looked like a scrap of scales off of one of Lyra's boots, scrutinizing it before flicking it away.
"She's probably just after power for the sake of it--in which case she's got a rude surprise waiting for her," Velvet looked back to Koto. "You need a ride anywhere btw? I was going to take this one back to make sure she gets her spa treatment, her ends are frayed a bit," he gestured to Lyra.
Koto shakes his head, "Nah. I'm good... and seriously, the harmony's 'cause of my powers acting up. Like... going explosive and stuff. I nearly shot off an Aurora Beam with twice as much force than I intended one time, for example."
He shrugs, "But far as getting around, I'll be fine." He crouches, then leaps upwards, landing on the van, then up on to a wall and bouncing across to another, at what seems almost like movie style wire-fu. Seriously.
The teen's reaching rooftops pretty quickly, then calls back, "See?"
"That I blew - oh."
Lyraelle's expression goes neutral for a second as the gears turn behind her envy-green eyes. "I, uh, must have blacked out a little before that happened." She laughs nervously, then quickly latches on when the subject shifts to Koto.
"Powers acting up, huh? Maybe you're going through some kinda power puberty?" She cocks her head a little, her ponytail swishing behind her head as she watches Koto's ascent. Almost without a thought, she slides off the bench and beats her wings, lifting off to reach the rooftop height that Koto's wall-bounced up toward.
"I mean, my powers have been acting a little weird, too, but I think that might be because of something I ate."
Hovering in the air, the demoness folds her arms across her chest, reaching up with one hand to tap at her jaw pensively.
"I could try tasting some of your power to see if there's anything off about it, but I wouldn't know what it was supposed to taste like in the first place..."
"That's quite something," Velvet calls from ground level, giving the now flying Koto a little wave. "W-Wait Lyra--we dunno if you're well enough to fly ye--... oh well," Velvet leans back against the pried open vending machine, his tail flicking down between his legs. Yes, Velvet and Lyra had similar spaded tails, though Lyra's was more a violet purple, his a deep indigo sort of color.
"Yeah, wouldn't recommend that," Velvet's tiny voice can be heard from off-screen as the two float, when the performer overhears the whole 'tasting your power' bit, hoo boy~
Koto looks thoughtful. Very thoughtful on that one, "Um... you ever tasted psychic power before? I don't mean the chi bit. I mean psychic."
The teenager looks to be seriously considering it! Like really! A 'taste of his power'? Well, who knows? Might at least explain what's going on.
"It's fine~ Flying is as easy as walking! Which is to say only moderately painful, at the moment~" Lyraelle calls down to Velvet as the other darkstalker tries to warn her off of her ascent. The pink-haired succubus smiles sweetly at Koto's reaction to her offer.
"Well, I haven't tried it, so, first time for everything~"
The demonette drifts over next to Koto and turns around, pushing her posterior up in the air next to him. As she does, the spaded tail at the base of her spine lifts up and stretches out toward the teenager. "All you have to do is grab my tail! I promise not to be greedy~"
"Oof," Velvet is scrabbling in the broken into vending machine for something with a bit more substance than the water by this point, however alas he's not going to find any alcohol, but he does find a soda, which he cracks open, eyes directed skyward. He's simply sipping on that as he watches the procession going on above them, as if he's transfixed. Velvet is not trying to stop Lyra, or Koto for that matter--he's the one that got curious about the succubus, after all.
Koto looks at the tail, then at the succubus. Then at the tail.
It takes him a few moments before there is the sound of a face palm from him.
"... you do realize that sounds like one of the oldest pranks in the book, right? Like seriously?" He really, really isn't sure if he wants to do this it looks like. Especially as that sounds like one of those weird jokes, pranks, and all together too succubus style things to even remotely mention right now.
"Hey, get me something that tastes like orange or purple!" Lyraelle calls down to Velvet, raising her hands beside her mouth to project. She arches an eyebrow when she realizes that Koto doesn't seem to be taking hold of her tail, looking back over her shoulder at him.
"What're you waiting for? It's not like I'm going to steal your soul or something. Just nibble on it a bit. It's like giving blood; it grows back!" Her tail flicks back and forth in a manner resembling that of a cat. "I mean, really, I'm the one who's being trusting here. You could prank /me/ by pulling it or something."
Velvet is just giving a big grin as he fishes into the vending machine, trying to find a grape or orange fanta in there--which thankfully is pretty ubiquitous in most vending machines across the globe--he finally finds one of the latter and moves to sit on the nearby bench where Lyra was, pulling his own tail across his lap.
"Yeah, it'll be okay, you can help her!" Velvet calls from below. He sounds pretty sincere even, like he's telling the truth. Chances are, he /is/.
Koto just sighs, "This'll end well, I'm sure." He just met the two, and well... he shrugs.
Reaching out, he takes hold of the succubus's tail. Carefully. And looks ready to pull or let go if he feels anything too weird. Mostly. This has to be one weird experience for him.
The devil girl's tail snakes up a bit around Koto's wrist as he takes hold of it, not too tight at first. The teen will feel a slight draining sensation; something like a sudden wave of tiredness or, indeed, the feeling one gets after giving up blood at a donation drive. Lyraelle takes in a slow respiration at the same time, eyes drifting shut.
"Ooh... that /does/ feel different. I mean, everyone feels different, but... wait..."
The demoness' eyes open wide, a bemused expression on her lips. The tail seems to coil a bit tighter, the sensation intensifying - though hardly enough to be crippling, or prevent Koto from escaping should he try. "That tastes familiar..."
Meanwhile, below, Velvet is treated to the show down there, just tipping a soda back and watching as Lyra reacts to the boy's power and tightens the grip on her tail.
"See? Don't worry that's normal--if you gotta fall, I'll try and catch you," Velvet assures. This is probably not quite so reassuring to Koto at the moment, who is having his energy snacked on by a succubus. But Velvet tries to be helpful to people when he can. Even if it's under this sort of circumstance.
The caffiene from the soda and the aspirin he chewed earlier are at least making the performer start to feel like his old fabulous self again, so there is that.
Koto winces a little. It's not uncomfortable. He looks curious at the expressions. He lets her for the moment. Then moves to extract his hand from the tail. "Well, it is different than the whole chi thing most people do... what do you mean it tastes familiar?"
The teen looks curious on that one, and doesn't look /that/ drained. At least he's just perching where he is on the rooftop for now.
The fact that someone has some insight into it maybe definitely has his attention, though1
For a moment, it seems as though Lyraelle's tail doesn't want to let the teen's hand go. Like a thing with a mind of its own, whatever familiarity the demonette mentioned seems to entice the appendage - until the succubus reaches back and grabs hold of it, pulling it back as if she were removing a snake brazenly.
"Enough, you!" she chastises the tail, jabbing a finger at it and scowling before she releases it and flits away from Koto. The tail thrashes a couple of times in the air; apparently the relationship between appendage and owner is a rocky one. Lyraelle's eyes lift up to look at Koto suspiciously.
"You're not into punk rock music, are you?" she asks pointedly as she wiggles her hips a couple of times. The motion seems to snap her tail out of whatever bizarre throes it's currently caught.
"Jeez Lyra, keep that thing in line, my tail always does what I tell it to," Velvet can be heard speaking down there, being just a bit teasing with his tone. "What happened? What's his energy like?" Velvet has to ask this, while remaining in his spot on the park bench below. Apparently whatever it was was... powerful, but also Lyra seems to have recovered a bit from whatever happened. This is good, he's not doing so bad himself now--but it still stings where the catwomen sliced into him. Those will probably need some cleaning and bandaging soon...
"It's gettin' a bit late here, we should probably pack up and head out before the NOL come looking for the rest of them," not that there /were/ any left, Velvet had chased the catwomen away, killed a bunch of the werewolves, or so he thinks--and well, the rest were painting the town red.
Koto looks at the tail, then at her. The idea of punk rock music has him looking more confused. A lot more confused.
There's the lame answer. And he does look very, very confused, "What did you mean something tasted familiar?"
"I've tasted it before," Lyraelle reveals as she rubs her gloved hands against her sides, a thoughtful expression on her face. She looks up at the sky as if her recollections might be written on the clouds.
"And what I tasted then has been... lingering ever since, I think."
She raises one of her hands up to rub at her neck. "It's strange... you wouldn't think that junk food would have that kind of effect. Like spiritual indigestion, but... it's electric. And it's been getting worse the more I use it."
She turns her head, peering as if looking at something unseen far in the distance, a sense of purpose in her features. Her pointed ears flatten a little.
"Give me your number. Or another way to reach you."
She looks down at Velvet Blue.
"Velvet! I'm going to go my own way, here. Toss me that soda," she requests as she floats down into easy tossing range and holds her hands out. As she waits, she looks back up at Koto.
"I can't tell you much more about it, but I might be able to find out more. I'll be in touch~"
Koto frowns, looking at her. Indigestion? Lingering taste? That has him confused, then he rattles off a phone number.
"Just call me there. I'll answer. Nice to know I wasn't imagining things now... I need to get going as well. I can at least protect my school from all this insanity." He turns to head off as well, a helmet appearing in a prismatic looking light over his head.
"Maybe I'll have some answers as well the next time we talk. I know some people that are more in tune with their powers like mine. Hopefully they'll have an answer. Later." The teenage super hero takes flight, almost literally seeming as he heads across the rooftops back towards the direction of Pacific High it looks like.
Velvet tosses the flying succubus the soda, carefully--before waiting to see that she caught it, and then moving back towards the panel van that they had rolled up to the docks area to begin with in. He'd go about getting into it and starting the engine, while leaving the rear double doors of the van's back compartment for Lyraelle to enter, whenever she gets her rear in gear.
Lyraelle hovers for a moment, watching Koto's departure as she cracks open the can in her hand, eliciting the sound of fizz from within. Then, she knocks back the bubbling beverage, chugging the whole warmish contents of the can in one go before crumpling the empty and bank-shotting it off a wall into a nearby bin.
Swooping down, she grabs the back doors of the van and leans her head in to address Velvet. "Hey! I've gotta go find someone. I know exactly where they are, but not exactly how to get there, so it's best if I go solo. As the succubus flies, as it were~"
She offers an apologetic smile. "I'll swing by the lounge soon~ Call me if you need me before then!"
With that, she shuts the doors and launches up into the sky - heading toward her mark.
Log created on 16:12:23 06/10/2020 by Lyraelle, and last modified on 19:53:37 06/12/2020.