SNF 2015.01 - SNF: Dream Palace

Description: Dominating a significant fraction of the ship, a large part of the luxury cruise liner's international appeal is its famous massage parlor, Infatuation Palace. Occupying one whole deck of the ship, the Palace is staffed with trained members of the ship's award-winning "Sheer Brilliance" staff, beautiful and trained masseuses who know just what to do to get you nice and relaxed on your voyage. While most of the staff are female, there are several very vigorous and attentive male staff on hand ready for any request, and the Illustrious actually spends quite a bit of money hiring famous guest masseuses for its voyages. That said, Rachel Alucard's been sent to the massage deck for her fight, where a dignified psychic has elected to make...extensive use of the facilities on hand as part of her voyage. It's not entirely sure whether Rachel will be nice enough to let Rose gather her things before the battle starts, but it's also plainly obvious Rose isn't just here to take advantage of the amenities... just what is the Tarot reader's intentions? (They were to get a massage from four guys at once. Rachel wins... or does she?)


Like many tales, ours begins in a castle on a dark and stormy night. The moon here is curiously high and full no matter what the time of year, a giant silver orb hanging mournfully in a sky of velvet black. Tonight, a figure stands by one of the tall, gothic windows of this castle, her pale palm pressed against the glass. Outside, the falling of snow blankets the grounds with eerie quiet. Perhaps the young girl -- no older than 12? -- whose hand this is, is a frail type, saddened to be cooped up inside? This perception is likely bolstered once she opens her mouth and says, in a breathy tone:

"Goodness, I'm _bored_."

Behind her, an aging man who still carries himself with a perceptible vigor makes... an almost-noticable facial twitch. He is clearly a caretaker, possibly a valet, given his impeccable dress. "Perhaps," he says guardedly, as one black shape and one red shape start to slip behind him, as if they were avoiding the predations of a jungle cat with hair-trigger senses, "you should descend again to the lower world, my lady?" The older man smiles gently, a fatherly smile, though it isn't clear that this is her parent. "Your visit with the Ichijo girl seemed to put you in a pleasant mood."

The girl looks out at the snow and heaves a faint sigh. "It is so TAXING moving amongst the commoners," the girl says, with an asperity that belies her apparent age. "But you are right. Staying shut in here with all of you isn't the answer."

The two shapes breathe a sigh of relief that is palpable, until the girl's voice continues: "...Nago. Gii."


The elderly man in the impeccable coat appears at the SNF programming offices.

"Hello," he says, with a perfect smile. "My name is Valkenhayn R. Hellsing. I'm here to inform you that you will be televising a bout featuring my mistress as part of your 'program'."

Dumbfounded, the poor intern secretary keeps one eye on this to-all-appearances-harmless man while slowly reaching for the phone on her desk.


Sun! Tanning oil! A vast expanse of ocean! The warped human need to display basically every inch of their body as if they were cattle being sold off.

"Goodness," says Rachel Alucard, vampire™, as she snaps open her black umbrella to shield her delicate, pale skin from the glaring rage of the daystar. "Ugh. I do hope this trip is worth it. The lower world can be induce such... _ennui_ sometimes. Come along, Gii."

"Yes, my lady!" squeaks a red-pink... floating... stuffed animal, which wobbles along behind the diminutive vampiress as she walks imperiously past the secretary for the glittering palace that is the ship's massage parlor. For whatever reason, a lot of people turn to look at what is apparently a grade school age child in gothloli dress walking through towards where the massages are currently being given. For whatever reason, a lot of people utterly fail to stop her, too.

The massages are being doled out left, right and sideways by professional experts in the field. Four of them in particular are surrounding someone, like gorgeously handsome, steely-eyed surgeons performing an operation...

For pleasure.

Several key people attempt to step forwards into the immediate area of Rachel Alucard, noted gothloli about town, and are repelled subtly, perhaps by the force of personality, perhaps by the force of that floating little bat-ball, perhaps simply because they know not to mess with someone who's committed to a gothloli look. They all saw Kamikaze Girls.

This effect extends even to the quartet who had been giving the mysterious woman a thorough going rubdown. They vacate, in their pairs, away from her, and that woman is not getting up and leaving like the other massage recipients - who are at least putting themselves near the door, just in case Rachel produces a death scooter or something.

Her head and most of her torso are hidden by a towel. She's laying face down.

"Hm?" she says. "Why are you stopping...?"

Rose rolls onto her side, giving the two masseuses who did not vamoose entirely a wounded look. She then rolls onto her back and sits up, raising a hand so the thin draping cloth that was providing a concealment of the true nature of this group action won't slide down and make this a DVD-only SNF special.

Her eyes narrow slightly.

"I see," she murmurs. Sliding off the table, she tucks the sheet into a loose toga. "May I ask what your intention is here, my lady?"

There IS something about Rachel Alucard that says 'Do Not Approach without Backup'; considering that she's not even five feet tall and looks like she's really looking forward to start her last year of middle school in the fall, this is actually quite humorous, on the average. It is clear, once her journey starts to come to a natural stopping point, that she is here to 'see' Rose. She stops just short of where the fortuneteller is enjoying the attentions of some... rather impressive-looking men.

It's enough to make an ancient vampire actually quirk an eyebrow of interest. So, take that as you will.

"I had been remiss in not paying you call," Rachel says smoothly, her tone even. Of course, even at her most solicitous there's a note of haughtiness in her tone that's impossible to efface entirely, but she's at least able to turn that dial down to 'I probably still respect you'. "Given the weather back home, this seemed like an opportune moment to avail myself of the distractions of the lower world and pay an overdue social call at the same time."


A Midwestern tourist family and their luggage are summarily tossed off the side of the boat and into the Pacific, followed by an inflatable raft. "I believe this stateroom is now available?" says a gravelly voice.


"It does seem ordained, however, that when... souls... such as ourselves meet, that there's to be an exchange of fisticuffs? This is what the..." and here her face takes on a carefully stonefaced expression "...people... at the television program office have assured me. I do hope you won't mind indulging a lady's curiosity?"

She doesn't even DO anything; she just stands there with her cat-looking umbrella and her floating rotund bat... thing... and watches Rose.

Some of the more perceptive masseuses realize the fight has ALREADY STARTED and are making haste to get out of the way.

COMBATSYS: Rachel has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rachel           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Rose has joined the fight here.

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Rose             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Rachel

Rose runs a finger over her lip for a moment as Rachel Alucard addresses her in a rather distinctly personal style. Arching her eyebrows, she says, "A social call...? I hope that I haven't troubled your... home... with my tragic lack of attendance..."

But then Rachel raises another questio. That of 'fisticuffs.'

Rose exhales through her slightly parted lips. She finishes dismounting from that table then, her improvised toga clinging as she considers matters. Is fighting really necessary?

Yes, she decides, not so much for her own sake - she is sure she would be able to, at least, escape Rachel's wrath. No, she thinks of those masseuses and the innocent people who are now lingering voyeuristically. She has to consider them, because if Rachel became... bored... who knows what could arise?

"I suppose it can't be helped," Rose says with a slight shrug, before stepping forwards, reaching over and whipping a white fluffy towel off of a nearby stack. How ridiculous, as a thing to use - until it suddenly shimmers to life with a rippling pastel flow of Soul Power. Snapping it left and right to get the heft of it, Rose assesses its content - at least all cotton, she thinks, if hardly 100% egyptian high threadcount.

It should last long enough. And she has all the more right next to her, doesn't she?

"Hora!" she declares, which is more of a shout for emphasis as she whips the scarf upwards in an oblique strike, angled upwards, at Rachel's adorably gothique front ruffles!

COMBATSYS: Rachel blocks Rose's Aura Scarf.

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Rose             0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Rachel

It's all about the playful riposte, is it not? As the psychically-empowered towel whips through the air like some high school locker room nightmare scenario, Rachel eyes it calmly, and then reaches out to... snag it? Bat it away? There's definitely contact; the young vampire's be-frilled hand reaches out and deflects the Soul Towelsnap with a flick of the wrist, but there's no escaping the powerful effects of Rose's aura, which sends a tingling burst up her arm. This makes the blonde arch a raised eyebrow. "Ah, I'd... forgotten about that." To what is she referring?

"I know; it's tiresome. But come, now; surely you must occasionally tire of dealing with commoners day in and day out. A little workout gets the, ah, blood pumping. As it were."

With a sweep of the same arm with which she deflected Rose's attack, Rachel holds her hand out in front of her, palm up; floating just above it appears a... jack-o'-lantern? Slightly larger than a softball, glowing with pale witchfire, and with a genuinely Halloween-esque cackling face carved in it. "But between one lady and another, I must ask... just what is it these lower world trappings have to offer you?"

With one final handwave, the pumpkin projectile takes to the air, floating gently... until Rachel gestures and the room is suddenly full of wind, directed AT Rose, swiftly carrying the fiery pumpkin along with it. And probably sending towels aflutter along the room's length and breadth. Oops.

"Why this... indulging in the baser pleasures?"

COMBATSYS: Rose reflects Impish Gypsophila from Rachel with Soul Reflect.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Rose             0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Rachel

Rose laughs, briefly. Then her eyes narrow.

"Commoners. The lower world. You have a lot to be proud of, my dear, but your attitude does you no favors." Even as Rachel raises up her hand and pitches a lethal pumpkin bomb towards Rose, she - somehow - manages to keep talking.

"Can you say that any experience is truly 'base'? When you draw a line between one world and the next, between one person and another, between layers of society -- what have you managed to do? You have introduced an artificial boundary. And many things will respect them, but -"

Her towel snaps up -- and it had already been partially shredded by that sweeping strike at Rachel, and at contact with the pumpkin bomb, it bursts into sheer evanescent flinders. But as it does, some of the magic within it ripples out, washing through the bomb... which approaches...

And comes to a halt right at Rose's heart level.

She kisses the air, and the new Soul Pumpkin streaks back, even as Rose reaches over to pick up a towel. "It pleases my body to be treated in such a way, and this body is my partner, my home. Shall I disdain it, and be disdained in turn? I create an enemy where there was none before. Better to be my own friend!"

COMBATSYS: Rachel blocks Rose's Reflected Impish Gypsophila.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0           Rachel

"I should think," Rachel says smoothly, even as she literally thrusts her hand forward into the pumpkin sent back at her and effectively dispels it out of existence -- it was her own sorcery, after all, though she cannot, again, avoid that slight tingling burn of Rose's power threaded through the return shot -- "that one might draw an unfortunate line between becoming one's own friend and one's own... well." She smiles. "I shan't speculate. It is true that one should not be the enemy of one's own body and urges."

Bringing a hand to her chin, Rachel gives her opposite number a most reflective look. She is clearly enjoying the intellectual exercise, at the very least. The fight? That, by comparison, is... well. A thing to pass the time. It's not as if either of these women has any investiture in masculine ideas of combat dominance, after all. The mark of the truly powerful is knowing you don't need to prove it.

"However, is pursuit of pleasure to be valued over self-control? Indulgence over restraint?" Rachel asks, genuinely curious. "Pleasure is... acceptable, in moderation. But not all have your talent for cleanly compartmentalizing, Lady Rose."

With a sweep of the hand, Rachel once again calls the wind to life; this time, her intent is to simply sweep Rose off her feet with a strong gust, perhaps even wrapping her up in one of those towels? It's hardly the strongest weapon in the vampire's arsenal, but it is among the tricksiest.

COMBATSYS: Rose reflects Silpheed from Rachel with Soul Reflect.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Rose             0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0           Rachel

"Not at all," Rose says, regarding the question. "Much as dear Siddharta taught, the secret is to find a middle way that harms as few as possible, and to walk it without fear. One of the great barriers of the world's hearts is -"

The wind whips up, slapping towards her, rippling through her toga and making it so that the cameras get a really clear view of her silhouette. Driven back a step, hindered by the lack of her familiar brutal red pumps, she raises one leg artfully.

Is she posing for the cameras? Maybe just a little.

The towels whip up and around her, blanketing her in them like so many moths. Enraptured thus, she is unable to expound further, but when the fourth of the newly airborne towels slaps into her, Rachel may suspect that something is up.

Is Rose revealing herself to be a Darkstalker of a distinctly Egyptian flavor...? Well, that would have a certain subtle allusionary appropriateness, but no; the wind may die down, but with a sudden swirling that comes from the hips and ends up at the shoulders, Rose twists around. The fluffy white towels gather themselves up, and Rose grasps one of the four and holds onto it.

The other three streak towards Rachel, having absorbed a healthy amount of Soul Power. Fun fact: Soul Power is chemically similar to water. "I suppose if you're just starting out, of course, the secret is to do the opposite of what you did by habit."

Rose slides the towel over her shoulders. "What's funny is that for so many - it's actually restraint."

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Rachel with Reflected Silpheed.

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Rose             0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0           Rachel

There's a dull *thwp-thwp-thwp-thwp* as the towels slap onto Rachel's outstretched arm. The resulting damage is almost entirely Rose's power used to animate them; well, that, and it may be possible that the psychic is able to do damage to Rachel through sheer irritation. In either event, however, Rachel doesn't seem particularly bothered. She does, however, hold her arm out to the side and say, in a dull tone, "Gii. If you would."

"Y-yes, Lady Rachel!" squeaks the voice of one of her familiars as the rotund scarlet bat wobbles through the air and attempts to pick up all of the towels with its stubby little arms. The result is a briefly entertaining harlequin show which ends with the bat effectively flying through all the towels at high speed until he is a little soft red and white comet that goes sailing past horrified onlookers and then *splat!*s into a nearby wall, going down in a bundle of... well, towels.

The vampiress watches this with a carefully neutral expression, before turning to Rose again and clearing her throat.

"We must strive ever to be better than our nature. You of all people should appreciate this," Rachel says with a raised eyebrow, before lifting her hand and making yet another imperious gesture.

There were, in fact, FIVE towels in that assault. Only four made it back to Rachel. The fifth lay in wait, like a ninja.

It floats, delicately, above the floor by a fraction of an inch, crackling with a pink-violet aura which then becomes... well, a bolt of pink lightning that arcs from the ceiling to the towel, which just HAPPENS to be on the floor at Rose's feet.

COMBATSYS: Rose blocks Rachel's Sword Iris.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Rose             0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Rachel

A shadow passes over Rose's face. One of worry - for Rachel seems to know quite a bit - as well as, perhaps, momentary abashedness. Here she is, getting a rubdown as Vega, no doubt, removes the brains from young women and puts them in his morning smoothie. (Endorphins.)

But a fair bit of that is blown away when a towel snaps out and upwards, bursting in pink lightning that snaps on her ankle. Rose jerks back, hissing for a moment at the touch of pain - and then her eyes come up to meet Rachel.

"A telling blow," she says, squatting slightly to rub at her shapely ankle. "I think I'm going to take a bit of weight off my foot, if you don't mind--"

And with this Rose struts forwards. No, runs, really, she's simply walking just a bit off kilter as she's forced to fight in flats, effectively. Two steps close most of the distance, and then she vaults up, pivoting around and raising her hands up to put one on either side of Rachel's head--

While floating above her, she remarks, "I enjoy your 'Gii'. But don't you think you should treat her better?" And then comes a sudden synaesthetic wave of Soul Power, aiming to scramble Rachel's brains quite thoroughly if in a manner that is most enjoyably mingled from a momentary hit of lysergic acid, ASMR, and the sensation of falling back into a freshly laundered set of bedsheets. It's tingly!

Rose stays utterly vertical right above Rachel for a lingering moment, most unnaturally, before twisting around to land behind her.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Rachel with Soul Drain.

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Rose             1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0           Rachel

What happens when you pour psychic power into the brain of a centuries-old vampire trapped in a loli body? That's a pretty good question, all things considered. For a mortal, Rose is quite... energetic. It makes dealing with her interesting, at the very least, Rachel's eyes track the woman as she flips overhead -- someone in the crowd actually 'oooh!'s -- and then grimaces when she can't quite predict the arc of what she's going to do, and so in the process she takes a slug's worth of Soul Power to the face. "Ngh... how interesting," Rachel says. "As I am rather not, at this particular..." There's a breath. That hurt, kinda. "...moment."

"S-sorry, Lady Rachel!" Gii burbles, floating in an unsteady sine wave back towards his mistress. "And I... I'm not a GIRL!" it squeaks at Rose, adorable little face scrunched up in anime annoyance, the very essence of (>_<) straight off of a tumblr argument.

"Gii's purpose in life is to serve me," Rachel says to Rose, with an arched, imperious eyebrow. "I cannot mistreat him, because it is his nature to be at my disposal. If I may?" And then she... disappears in a burst of rose petals. THAT old cliche?

The shadow falling upon her might be Rose's chance to look up.

Above her is a... well, a perfectly round, Gii-colored disc with a spiky underside, complete with adorable smiling :3 face. Atop it sits a bored-seeming Rachel, idly buffing her nails on her shirt. She's just... going to straight up land on Rose if she doesn't move.

"LADY RACHEL, BANZAI!" >_</'s Gii's voice, during this process.

COMBATSYS: Rose fails to deflect Gii Drill from Rachel with Turquoise Soul Overdrive.

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Rose             0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0           Rachel

"You are quite interesting - do not put yourself down, my darling," Rose murmurs as she adjusts her toga. And then Gii appears -

And Rose looks momentarily mortified. "Oh, please forgive m-" Rachel cuts in with an arched eyebrow. Rose seems momentarily troubled, especially when she vanishes. Then, looking upwards with the alacrity one associates with the psychic as --

Rose frowns.

A sudden turqouise light erupts in her left hand, as bright and blue as the clear seas of the Mediterraean Sea on a sunlit day in summer. Pooling there, Rose throws her hand upwards, aiming to grasp one of those spikes in liquid, glimmering Soul Power --

But it would seem that Gii is far too clever for her. An optical illusion in how the spikes were laid out?

"Astonishing," Rose says.

And then: THUMP

She says nothing, but she does groan a little, weakly; contortion may have kept her from gaining twenty new body piercings, but instead she's being punctured leisurely in a variety of subtle ways.

And then, in an instant, the weight and the shape are gone, and Rachel is... well, across the room with her black cat-styled umbrella in her hands and a rotund, adorable Gii floating at her side. "You are not the first to suggest that I should be..." And here, she savors the word she's about to utter, "'kinder' to my servants. But such people are typically working under a misapprehension that their service is not already a kindness. We must be wary of our nature, but we cannot ignore it, either." She does not say: these are basically quasi-'real' things I brought into being through sorcery, and thus they have no real independent existence other than their desire to serve me. Unless it is possible to convey that to Rose through one delicately-raised blonde eyebrow and the cool sangfroid of Rachel's typical expression.

As to Gii, and its identity... well, she used a pronoun herself, but maybe it's not entirely accurate on her side, either?

It's a rough life out there for a familiar.

Rachel takes this moment to collect herself, being a good sport about things, as it were, waiting for Rose to get back to her feet and continue the conversation. "Your abilites are most impressive, as is to be expected. I suspect I will be spending this little sojourn examining the warriors of the lower world. If there are any you think worthy of attention," Rachel says with a sweet smile, "I would fain hear what stalwarts attracted your eye as well."

COMBATSYS: Rachel gains composure.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Rachel

That's nice of her, Rose thinks as she lays sprawled out on the ground, raising her head up to look back at Rachel with a subtle smile. It is to hide the pain.

The nice-of-her, of course, applied to not having been impaled TO DEATH.

She might have had other tricks, but for the moment she is content to listen to what Rachel is saying as she catches her breath. She pushes herself up to her feet then, stretching her back out and resuming a stance on the balls of her feet, bobbing quite slightly.

"That's a rather tender subject," Rose says. "What sort of attention would you be devoting to them? I would hate to incline you towards those whom I found to be enemies, and discover you had given them the privilege of your conversation -- or, of course, the converse," which probably means 'arranging for Alma to get beaten severely about the head and shoulders.'

Rose snaps up another towel from a table but seems to be less inclined to charge in and throw glowing light at Rachel for the nonce. Instead she twists that terrycloth scarf wannabe around her forearm and sweeps herself forwards, aiming to catch Rachel at the waist and toss her, politely, towards one of the well-bolted massage couches.

Is she going to give her a backrub?


COMBATSYS: Rachel blocks Rose's Medium Throw.

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Rose             0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0           Rachel

It's almost like a dance; extending an arm, Rachel prepares herself for Rose's assault, thinking less of avoiding it and more of minimizing it. Thus the psychic manages to grasp the vampire easily enough, but this is someone whose sorcerous power over the wind is as considerable as Rose's prodigious soul energy; in midair, rather than land in an ungainly sprawl, there is a tiny gale that turns the gothloli's petticoats into a whirling display of lace (and nothing else) as she settles gracefully into the chair. The takeoff sucked, but the landing gets actual applause. How could you not?

"Come now," she says to Rose, reclining in the massage chair like a queen holding court and bringing her hand to her chin, a wry smile on her face. "You've already made light of my feelings about commoners. The rabble are not worth my time, even as playthings. But I give you my word as head of the house of Alucard that I mean no meddling, beyond sating my curiosity."

Unspoken: I won't kill them. But I can't guarantee that there won't be lightning.

"Surely there must be someone who you find worthy. Other than your protege, of course," Rachel says, heaving herself out of the chair and... well, basically skimming along the floor like a hovercraft toward Rose, breezing along until she gets close enough, and then she... turns, almost showing her back to Rose. Which is when the red cloth on the back of her dress forms itself into a jagged, bat-like wing that the diminutive vampire attempts to just... stab into her opponent. But in a safe, non-blood-producing, action movie sort of way.

Rachel says, "aaaaaaaanyhow"

COMBATSYS: Rose dodges Rachel's Power Strike.

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Rose             0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0           Rachel

Rose is confident that people can endure lightning. Though Rachel seems to read her own mind; however, Rose has recovered enough of herself that the approaching twist of Rachel pivoting around and then striking her with a bat(wing) out of hell(sing) leads to her leaning back with dramatic, dancerlike emphasis.

She has to do a bit of a split to do it, and she bumps another towel cart. Rained in fluffy terrycloth, she laughs.

"Well, then, let me see. If you're looking for interesting anomalies, there's someone possesssed by a spirit that has extremely specific agendas in the city of Southtown."

Rose sweeps herself to the side, undulating with the power of a really well developed core (perhaps it was childhood belly dancing lessons?) and snapping around, tumbling down low and rising up with a spearing kick from below, aiming to hit that wing at its base, which may be sadly near Rachel's tender bottom.

"But there's also the man who destroyed a building with me atop it."

COMBATSYS: Rachel dodges Rose's Medium Kick.

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Rose             0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0           Rachel

With yet another burst of wind, the childlike vampire twirls out of the way of the incoming kick, executing a surprisingly good midair pirouette (apparently Rose isn't the only person who learned to dance) and landing with a *click-clack* of her platform shoes on the wooden floor of the massage deck. "As I'm sure you well know, 'possessed by a spirit' is a rather too common affliction, nowadays. I've not enough hours in my day for every last mortal with a possession problem." It is not entirely clear how this is going to play out on national television, SNF-wise. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Brushing a hand down her sleeves, Rachel twirls her ever-present umbrella for a moment as Rose suggests another possibility. "The latter case sounds... interesting, though rather violent. I suppose the matter of destruction matters. If he simply knocked it over through wanton violence, I doubt I'd care overmuch. The world has enough brutes in it without me encouraging them."

There's a quick movement while Rachel drops her umbrella for a moment, the black and red shape going into quick freefall until it reaches the ground as... a cannon? A tiny black cannon with cat ears and eyes, apparently. "I suppose while in Rome? I shall engage in the traditions of the clime. Gii?" Without a word, the floating puffball bat climbs inside the cannon... and is then fired at Rose in a high speed, parabolic arc. "Shots fired, as the social media is wont to say."

That's right, kids: the ancient vampire follows twitter.

COMBATSYS: Rachel successfully hits Rose with Tiny Lobellia.

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Rose             0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0           Rachel

"It's strange," Rose says, about the latter part. "While he was a greater murderer than many I saw, he seemed to have a certain purity about his intentions. Then again," and here she pivots upwards to her feet, "cyanide can be pure, as well."

At this point Rachel turns her umbrella into a cannon and packs in her little bat-boy into it, at which point it is fired. Rose is consternated sufficiently that her defenses are wholly down, smacking right into her belly and forcing her back -- she stumbles, in fact, over a massage table and nearly pitches back further. She catches herself on the racklike structure, hoisting herself up -

And sucking in a deep breath, letting it out. Centering herself, perhaps. Gathering her forces. Light glimmers around her, and a scarf comes to her hand - no, a towel, just a long one.

"Then let me see... The most astonishing person I have met lately, of course, is easily named. Do you know anything about her? Her name is Athena Asamiya. I was shocked to discover her... Indeed, these competitions are really quite the excellent way to meet new people, aren't they?"

COMBATSYS: Rose gathers her will.

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Rose             1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0           Rachel

With a faint smile, Rachel tilts her head somewhat. "Were you not the one who said purity is somewhat overrated?" she asks. This is not, strictly speaking, what Rose actually SAID, and there's a good chance Rachel knows this, but the laws of repartee are quite strict and it's the sort of statement called for in this situation. Meanwhile Gii begins the long flotation home, and is it Rose's imagination or does the bat turn around and mouth the words 'call me' before turning back to his erratic flight path toward Rachel?

She probably imagined it.

"They certainly do have a way of making one wonder about the fine line between coincidence and destiny," Rachel says thoughtfully, observing her opponent's swift gathering of power. Holding out her hand, palm up, there is a swirl of pink light which swiftly becomes... a bat? Certainly a more traditional bat than poor Gii, but it also looks like it was a bat that had an unfortuante merging with a ceiling fan; the thing's pink-purple body is primarily a round hole with actual fan blades inside.

"But as I say, your eye is keen. Perhaps I shall have to meet this Asamiya person myself." With that, she breathes out toward the bat... and in the process sets the wind to blowing once more. Not only does it project the bat toward Rose at high speed, it ALSO makes the bat's fan blades spin intensely, adding even more acceleration as it speeds to its target.

COMBATSYS: Rose endures Rachel's Beezle Lotus.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Rose             1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0           Rachel

Rose waves a single finger. "Consistency, my dear, is the hobgoblin of small minds!" She's sounding light about it, but perhaps Rachel struck a little home. Then she blinks - for, did she really see that bat flutter those words?

How charming, she thinks with a smile. Sweeping her hair back with one hand, Rose says aloud, "Of course, she is not the only one. Her master, Chin Gentsai - her friends, all of them. And there are more besides - but I haven't met all of them, as of yet."

The thought of mentioning that policewoman who rousted her away from a noodle bar while wearing a summery dress in October crosses Rose's mind. But it doesn't go further than that, not yet.

Why DID she come to mind, though? Rose isn't sure. Something to ask the cards, later.

"But I do hope that you won't just see me, my dear, as someone to use as an -" Oh, here comes the bat, and it's not looking like a friendly or flirtatious bat. Perhaps it's angry at being misgendered. Rose steps forwards, twisting around, and with a grimacing wince, /catches the bat/ --

Not with her hand, though, but rather with an angling of her collarbone. A thin bloody scratch is carved over her top, but the prickling line of shallow pain and droplets of blood is nothing compared to if it had sunk deep into fatty tissue or bone.

And she twists back the other way now, stamping her foot on the ground as she whips that towel forwards-- and it erupts in pastel light as it aims to wrap itself around Rachel's delicate, doubtless belaced wrist.

"- Introduction card," Rose says, having not missed a beat in that moment of balletic action. With a forceful exhale, Soul Power ripples in green-pink-violet-blue chords down that fabric. The weave starts to disintegrate, being less than perfect for the purpose.

But like an aluminum power cord -- it just might be good enough.

COMBATSYS: Rachel just-defends Rose's Aura Scarf!!

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Rose             1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0           Rachel

Here is the thing about Rachel Alucard: she has *weaponized* imperiousness.

Case in point. As Rose tosses both quip and psychic-empowered scarf her way, the vampire gives a... well. A slap of the hand. She more or less slaps the towel away, sending it spinning into the air away from her. It is entirely a dismissal, but that is part for the course for her.

"You've made much of my demeanor," Rachel says to Rose, with a raised eyebrow. "So, extrapolate from your own claims. If I were to think of you merely as a 'calling card'," the vampire says with icy calm, "would we be having this conversation? Or would I simply have left without bothering to say hello myself?"

Again, the air becomes staticky with the gathering of electricity once more, the vampire gathering a swirling mass of power. Apparently, Rose isn't the only one with a sense of drama. The Alucard heiress's toes point as she begins to levitate off the floor, glancing at the psychic with a faint smile. "I hope this serves as a token of my respect?"

And then she lowers her hand and Rose is treated to a second burst of pink-white-purple lightning that arcs out from some imagined sky, right through the ceiling, and into the Soul Power master. Perhaps Rachel will have better luck this time.

COMBATSYS: Rose fails to reflect Sword Iris from Rachel with Turquoise Soul Overdrive.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rose             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0           Rachel

"A fair statement," Rose says, putting her hand on her hip and reaching up to tidy the line of her improvised toga, and to sop up that scratch's blood. "But you cannot blame me for being a bit cross, my dear, even if I hold no deep grudge."

"After all... you did interrupt my massage!"

Of course, this playful moment of teasing becomes decidedly grave (how appropriate) as Rachel begins to levitate off the floor. Rose raises herself up to a full stance on the balls of her feet, bouncing slightly in place, watching, waiting. A glitter of that turquoise light comes out as she slams her palm forwards, just as Rachel lowers her own.


Not up. Forwards.

Rose throws a gorgeous burst of blue light forwards, just as she is smashed into by lightning sufficiently forceful to rattle the windows of the massage deck. When the light's pain fades, Rose is half-crumpled against a massage bench, twitching just a little.

"Your respect... is certainly a memorable thing," Rose groans. To herself, she's almost wistful - it's quite hard to 'read' Rachel, after all. (Or perhaps she HAS been dulled by the pleasures of the flesh!?)

"I did, I grant," Rachel says mildly, putting a finger to her cheek in a gesture of innocent-seeming contemplation. "However, I believe that was the mandate of the curious 'television program' individuals. I suppose you should see it as a compliment," the vampire says, airily, "as they almost certainly intended for me to expose you in a most prurient fashion. Despite our differences, you've kept the composure expected of a lady, which I find admirable."


Gii is floating around in the back, attending his nosebleed away from prying eyes. A Rose... is a rose, is a rose.

"This HAS been most diverting. I will make an attempt to pay my respects to some of the individuals you have named. As I say, I hold your judgment of character in high regard. And... do have a most restful trip."

She extends her palm and sends a burst of wind screaming through the room. Quick, brutal; it knocks over masseuses and sends towels flying. Will it be enough to knock the fight from Rose once and for all?

COMBATSYS: Rose dodges Rachel's Silpheed.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Rose             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0           Rachel

Rose pulls herself upright, tossing her hair. "Oh," she says a little wearily, "Don't worry -- I am used to all of it." She attempts a wan smile, and then she sees Rachel is holding out her palm.

Blocking didn't work.

She doesn't know if it will come from forward or above. So what Rose does instead is duck low, running forwards with a sudden surge. She can't evade another lightning bolt like that one she just threw-- and so it is that instead she avoids the wind, or at least, the greater part of it. It may throw around masseuses but it is not throwing ROSE around.

Until she leaps up.

She has no towel with her but for this she doesn't need it. Her target is Rachel's abdomen. On the point of contact, a sudden blossoming flower of Soul Power is loosed, should contact be made - and with the explusive force that Soul Power is famed for (well, not exactly famed), the august vampiress(?) may be sent flying into the couches and tables herself.

COMBATSYS: Rose successfully hits Rachel with Aura Soul Throw.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Rose             0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1           Rachel

Apparently, you've only got so many no-sells in you for one fight, even if you're an imperious, snobby vampire (or, for that matter, a high class Italian fortune teller). However, Rachel is not entirely unprepared for this, which makes the frame by frame of this exchange most telling indeed:

1.) Rose approaches Rachel with intent to harm.
2.) Rachel mumbles, "Nago?" and throws her umbrella aside.
3.) The umbrella goes flying backwards. Meanwhile, Rachel prepares to try and intercept Rose's strike.
4.) Rose, however, is too swift for this, and in a burst of Soul Power that makes Rachel grimace in pain, sends the vampiress flying backwards.
5.) Hilariously, it appears that Rachel's landing point is now occupied by her umbrella, which does not seem like it will be comfortable, until
6.) The umbrella abruptly shapeshifts into an INTENSELY comfortable-looking black bean bag, complete with cat ears and cat... eyes. So, comfortable but terrifying.

The Alucard heiress lands on her transformed familiar with a loud *POMF* noise, smarting from that initial burst of psychic energy, but saved at the last second from more embarassment by quick early thinking.

Clearing her throat, Rachel gets to her feet... slowly. That did hurt quite a bit, last second save notwithstanding. "My apologies. I do suppose that last strike of mine was a bit of an insult. I shan't make the same offense twice, however."

With a sweep of her arm, the black beanbag suddenly becomes... an adorable raincoat. Again: the hood resembles a cat's ears, with two wide-set cat eyes as well. Drawing the coat around her, Rachel extends a hand. And that's when the thunder starts.

In such an enclosed space, the sudden change in barometric pressure is palpable even for a normal person. And in fact the air feels like a storm is coming. And sounds like a storm is coming. There is a very real reason for this:

A storm is actually coming.

With a final sweep of the hand, it's as if Rachel had bottled a typhoon and set it off in the enclosed space. The previous bursts of wind were like a gentle breeze compared to the gale-force ferocity of this attack, which literally assaults Rose not just with wind but by picking up objects in the room -- chairs, people, tables -- and HURLING them at her at random.

You should be so lucky. Normally, this is cows.

COMBATSYS: Rachel successfully hits Rose with Tempest Dahlia.

[                             \  < >  ////////////                  ]
Rose             0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0           Rachel

The beanbag appearance makes Rose's eyes go wide.

She seems genuinely impressed, even as she lands on her feet. What is going through her mind?

'Can Alma learn to do that?' is probably a credible theory. She puts a hand on her hip on pure reflex, raising her other hand in a slightly dramatic flourish. "Think nothing of it -"

The storm rises then.

Men rise up, along with chairs and tables. Her masseuses had been staying around the immediate area, encouraged by their massage recipients' evident fighting prowess and perhaps not wanting to ruin their chance to get her autograph later. They are tough men, well muscled.

They are very aerodynamic. Perhaps even... erodynamic.

And soon enough they have slammed into Rose, who is distracted by attempting to grasp them and freeze them in place with a momentary burst of soul power. Buried beneath four men, one leg sticking out of the heap, Rose seems to be well and throughly trapped.

A thought rings clear out from her, even buried as she is:

'I suppose, in the end... it was fate, wasn't it?'

COMBATSYS: Rose takes no action.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rachel           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Rose can no longer fight.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rachel           0/-------/------=|

Log created on 20:13:22 02/02/2015 by Rose, and last modified on 02:07:09 02/04/2015.