Description: The Scarlet Dahlia brings the Dancing Spider along to the graveyard to perform some tasks before they head back to Earthrealm. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned.
The galleon was secured. Lord Raiden's powers had a way of guaranteeing that the boat would not be besieged by the armies of Quan Chi or the forces of Shang Tsung. The rising water levels and the beacon of purifying energy are, together, enough discouragement to prevent the walking dead from overtaking the trophy of Earthrealm.
But even still -- that wasn't enough for the Dahlia. She has been awake for the better part of a week, and yet, the spirits demand more of her. There is more work to be done.
"There are many people left on the island..." repeats the Dahlia. She's standing at the bow of a lifeboat, populated by herself, Aranha, and one unconscious victim found floating upon a piece of driftwood. Her gaze is glassy and distant, as she scans the submerged remains of the island. Her skin is radiant, infused with coruscating energy -- the same energy which suffuses the boards of the wooden boat, allowing it to cut through the choppy waves at a brisk 25 mph. Before her on the boat is the heirloom sword Sento, wrapped tightly in cloth and lashed to a half-dozen cleats for security. And floating on either side of the boat, hovering in space without heed for the wind, are six cerulean soldiers in Ainu garb.
The trees of the Living Forest tower on the port side of the ship. Far ahead soars the doomed tower, listing precariously to one side. Disrupting the immediate horizon, though, are the gravestones of countless warriors.
"Thank you for coming with me. I... do not entirely trust my judgment at the moment, spiritual chorus notwithstanding." She offers a faint smile, aware that it might be difficult for the traceur to gauge her expression with the raven locks of hair buffeting about in the wind. "You have been most kind and supportive, even though we started on such terrible footing... Have you thought about what you will do first upon your return?"
The (ex?)cat burglar is quiet for most part as the two travel on the lifeboat protected by the energies of the Thunder God and further bolstered by the powers of the Scarlet Dahlia. As the waters splash, he's been forced to wipe his shades off every now and then. It was a process that he started by closing his eyes to prevent view of the souvenier from his fight with Dr. Tessitore.
Once the shades were dry once more they were back upon his face and he was free to open his eyes once more.
When he looks back at her he shrugs. "Supportive, yes. I'm not exactly sure about kindness, though." For him, it was always about mutual benefit. Even when he didn't attack her when in her sleep deprived mind she saw him as an enemy, he didn't attack because it was in both his and her best interest not to. Other than his sister, he doesn't have friends. He has associates and acquaintances. He wasn't going to lie about it. Not to someone who he suspects has the potential to see right through it.
"Probably catch up on all the events we missed while we were here. Maybe buy tickets to a martial arts event or something."
The Dahlia rubs her eyes gently, as the boat zips across the water. There is much less water splashing about at the bow, which might be why she hadn't realized the splashing behind -- a slight reduction in speed is able to keep Aranha and the unconscious victim a bit more dry.
"Mmm." He didn't think of his acts as kindness? There are a great many things she has not known about Aranha: a complicated man she has not been completely able to suss out.
"... I am sure that we've missed a great deal. Was it not... election season in America when we left?"
Her golden hand is lowered, sweeping locks of raven-black hair out of her eyes. For a moment, she looks introspective, detached -- but in the next, she seems to be murmuring to someone else entirely.
"Right over here, then..."
One of the cerulean spirits reaches out with extended hand, as the lifeboat slows its course, in approach of a gravestone. And, in particular, there is also another sharp point raising up from the gravestone -- the point of an ancient spear, coated in mud and casting a long shadow upon the waves of the rising tide.
"... Forgive me, but I am curious," she asks, reaching her hand outward to the spearpoint as the boat slows to a halt. With careful grip, she wraps her hand around the spear, and with minimal effort, she uproots the spear from the ground. "... Do you follow any particular religion, Aranha?"
With a little less splashing, he's a little less concerned about his vision being compromised by the environment which was a bit of relief to him since he was less likely to need to do anything to hide his eyes.
When the Dahlia mentions the election, a slight grunt comes from his lips of displeasure. "Ugh. Don't remind me. I wasn't exactly enthused about any of the candidates. Something tells me that no matter who wins, I'm gonna prefer staying in Southtown for a while."
He's quiet as the boat continues to slow down, with the spirit pointing to a particular gravestone. He's not sure what she's here to do or what his role is to be beyond voice of reason and sounding board. "I was raised as a Protestant Christian, but not really practicing anymore. Before this trip I'd say my relationship with religion is complicated. Coming face to face with a thunder god has made it even more complicated."
He stares at the uprooted spear that the Dahlia now clutches. There's a bit of curiosity in him as he wonders why they came for this spear in particular.
The Dahlia nods slowly in agreement. "I can imagine." The Dahlia's alter-ego had met one of the candidates first-hand, and was much less than impressed with his ability to lead a rally without collateral damage, let alone a country.
"Complicated." The Dahlia chuckles softly, as her eyes become lucid once more. Feeling the sturdiness of the ancient weapon in her hand, she resumes lifting the rest of the spear out of the water, shaking the water loose from the haft.
"I had heard Nightwolf speak of Haokah before. But the circumstances of that... conversation did not especially give me any particular faith in his religion. But now -- seeing him in person..."
Once more, the spear is shaken, and finally, the weapon is hauled into the boat, as dry as it's gonna get. She turns the weapon over, examining the craftsmanship. The spirit which appears to have owned the spear in life, too, examines the blade, perusing each of the intricate carvings with awestruck gestures.
"My parents drilled it into me at a young age -- insisted that faith in the eternal was more important than the flesh, than the things we think are real and the things we claim to be valuable. Our possessions -- were nothing more than toys in the face of the Kamui's will."
She turns the spear over, and then raises the shaft, paralleling the weapon with the deck. The spirit accepts it with both hands, bowing his head gratefully -- and then withdrawing to a space just off the starboard bow.
"It seemed silly to me at the time. But as they passed... I came to understand for myself. Faith steers the boat. How fast you go is up to you."
She draws in her breath, slowly, and closes her eyes. She tilts her head to the side. And the six spirits begin to disperse, heading off in different directions. "I apologize for not explaining sooner -- it was difficult to completely understand myself. The spirits you've seen with me are the remnants of Ainu kombatants from tournaments past. With the island's submersion, they... need to reconnect."
Once again, the capoeirista is quiet as she speaks about her particular relationship with religion. It made him think about his own relationship with religion. How he wished he could believe in some type of plan. How he wished he could believe in a compassionate and forgiving god when he was raised the way he was. And here he was with the one person in this world who would understand it because she actually saw the beatings that he received if only through the unusual side effect of transferring his power to her.
"That's probably why I often feel directionless when I'm not on my runs or in the ring."
Implication being his faith being in himself whether it's his parkour ability or his fighting ability. His faith in Honoka getting the job done was more a case of her being a beneficiary of his faith in his ability to judge people.
"Reconnect, huh? Sort of a last task before they head off to the hereafter?"
The Scarlet Dahlia nods slowly as Aranha speaks. There are some days that, in lieu of a driving goal or the ability to move towards it, she feels similarly lost. And then -- all she has to do is remember her path, to find her faith -- and to make right again.
"It is difficult. Even with faith -- there are so many conflicting signs. We are told to honor the kamui, but while some kamui are benevolent and watch over us, others are hellbent on deceiving us at every turn. That is where one must believe not only in higher powers, but in oneself's own ability to discern what is right and what is not."
At this point, her eyes open again. A last task... the hereafter?
"... I would not call it a 'last' task. The nature of their... demise seems to have caused its own complications. On Earthrealm, guides are available to lead a fallen warrior to Pokna-Moshiri. But here, on this accursed island -- the Ainu warriors had no guide. No chance of finding the path to absolution. Until this tournament, the warriors were damned to reside on this island, severed from their faith -- cursed to roam the island as lost souls."
It is here that the Dahlia smiles. And as she smiles, the shimmering, golden shard hanging from her neck grows in radiance to match.
"But the Kamui have granted us a blessing."
Each of the six spirits' resting places begins to ripple -- concentric waves radiating outwards.
"The ability to free them, finally. To reunite these lost warriors with our wayward, deluded society."
It's a lot for the capoeirista to take in. In addition, it's been a long time since Aranha had thought about religion and his feelings towards faith. It's forcing him to take a hard look at himself and his past. And he's not exactly liking what he sees when he looks in the mirror.
When she brings up the Ainu afterlife and guides and the fact that they would be trapped here cursed to roam the island as lost souls.
He watches as the resting places ripple outwards and he rubs his chin for a moment as his ally elaborates on the kamui blessing.
"Once they've returned to our 'wayward, deluded society,' what will happen to them? Will they be able to be guided to..." He pauses not wanting to butcher the name, before settling on simplifying it. "... the afterlife?"
The Dahlia hums softly to herself for a moment, her weary eyes falling back to the half-lidded state that seems to be the new norm for her. Her focus shifts to the port side of the boat -- as three of the spirits begin to rise from the watery graves. In their hands are clutched the weapons of their trials by kombat.
"... Forgive me -- by 'wayward society,' I had meant the Ainu culture. For the past two centuries, we too have found ourselves lost, confused, and adrift in seas of uncertainty, much like these warriors here. But in my... passion for stopping the march of Outworld, I had forgotten that the opportunity had arisen for me to walk along with my own people."
Energy ebbs from the Dahlia's fingertips, the surface tension proving inadequate at containing the fluidic power. The energy spills from her fingertips, liquid gold as it splashes into the sea -- and races underneath the surface of the water towards the three spirits. And as she closes her eyes, and moistens her lips, she nods her head slowly -- lost in concentration for a moment.
"Before this island's power is lost to the seas, I will harness it to resurrect them. And through their voices, their experience, and their knowledge -- I will resurrect my people."
Her eyes reopen, as she draws in her breath.
"The culture -- the language -- the rituals. These were lost to time, when they were not scattered to the winds by the Japanese. But for these warriors, who stood by my side knowing the odds -- the next step for them is not afterlife, but second life."
In the distance, a voice howls. A dry, cracking howl -- as if a tree itself, struck by lightning, had decided to topple over in the midst of a geriatric's exhausted yawn, mixed with some unnatural -presence- of fear.
The Dahlia's expression of content detachment turns into mild concern, as she looks towards the sinking Forest. "Our time grows short. Other presences -- the Heart of the Forest, Shang Tsung... and another... treat these souls as currency, not living legacies. Not as -people-. And they will be attempting to stop us."
In the distance, cloaked in the mist of the rising tides, a monstrous form lurches forward. Easily thirty feet in height, its green eyes blazing like fires.
Aranha's lips curl into a wry grin as he looks towards the Dahlia from behind his shades. He thinks back to his fight against Daniel where he was called a monster because he had killed someone who would've done the same to him(if keeping him alive for experimentation wan't an option). Someone who through their actions killed more people than the one that he did. His voice takes on an odd combination of amusement and sadness, "Even if you did mean our society when you said it was wayward, I wouldn't /completely/ disagree with you."
"I mean... You know that society is at least slightly fucked up when a criminal ends up lecturing an officer of the law on right and wrong. But that's a digression."
He ponders what would be the end result of her granting them a second chance at life. "A second chance at earning their afterlife and a second chance at having information that you otherwise wouldn't have. How do you think the spirits would feel about their second life? And how do you think they'll handle getting reacquainted with society as a whole?"
As the capoeirista looks off in the distance and sees that mass heading their way. He takes a deep breath and looks to the Mortal Kombat champion.
"And here I was, thinking this would be a chill boat ride."
Water splashes, in the distance. The tree-borne amalgamation of rage and vengeance lumbers forward, its log-sized fingers shoving lesser trees out of its path. It glares back at the two in the lifeboat, and with a hiss of mist, it roars again.
"... Yes," agrees the Dahlia, "I know exactly what you mean." She, too, had found herself in the uneasy position of fighting against Daniel Jack -- and the thought sends a shiver down her spine. Even now, with all the energies still at her beck and call, memories of the fight shake her to core.
All the more reason for her to close her eyes again, nodding quietly. Her fingers splay apart, then curl slightly -- as if wrapping around a sphere the size of a bowling ball. She exhales her breath, with measured paces -- and then lifts her hand upward.
One of the spirits -- encircled by the Dahlia's golden energy -- lifts out of the water. His skin begins to grow ashen grey. But moreover -- opaque. The warrior lurches forward, spreading its feet apart to steady itself. He opens his eyes, looking down at his dull, threadbare, and thoroughly waterlogged clothes -- and begins to gasp for breath.
The boat ebbs lightly -- and floats up next to the warrior.
Only then does the Dahlia open her eyes again. "We might not have enough time for them all... we have to hurry." she states, eyeing the gargantuan figure plodding towards them. She reaches her hand out, taking the hand of the warrior, and helping to ease him onto the boat.
"I have spoken with them already. They are... frustrated. They have told me that their penance here is not unlike going two hundred years without sleep. Two hundred years in a never-ending nightmare, with all they had hoped to achieve crumbling to dust."
As the resurrected warrior takes his place on the boat, he nods back in thanks to Aranha. He may not know the words the two are using, but he can tell that Aranha is a friend all the same...
"They will need rest..." adds the Dahlia, looking to the next in line. She raises her hands, beginning the motions for the next revival with a quirky, weary smile. "... they're not the only ones. But they are eager to start healing the damage..."
As the two are joined on the boat by the first of Ainu warriors, Aranha is taking stock of the situation. He has a MASSIVE tree raging and wading towards them. He's in a boat with a fighting style that operates best on terra firma. He knows his capabilities and he's struggling to figure out how to give the Dahlia more time.
He could swim to the forest and bound from treetop to treetop but the super tree would be able to cut him off before got there. He could fire off a chi web in its direction but in terms of damage or for that matter, his ability to slow it down was negligible at best.
"Any ideas for slowing this giant toothpick down?"
One of Aranha's prized abilities was his ability to think outside of the box but right now he was suffering from a failure of the imagination.
"Sadly..." begins the Dahlia, "I do not have the power to combat him -and- raise the souls from their places of rest. In our last encounter, it took everything I had to simply outrun him. But now that the souls have been flushed from hiding... we can no longer run. We have to finish this now..."
The Dahlia closes her eyes. The golden fluid spills from her fingertips anew, splashing into the water. And for a moment, it looks like it will proceed just as the last...
But then the Dahlia stops, resting her hand upon the heirloom sword Sento. "... You should be able to leap upon the gravestones and boundary walls. If you can create a distraction -- perhaps using the energy I've returned to you -- the warriors of Kenshi may be able to come to your aid..."
As they are named, the six samurai warriors sprout forth from the sword, splashing into the water beside the boat. Seven feet tall, comprised of crimson soulflesh and ebony armor, the six warriors' breath gushes outward like clouds of mist. On their shoulders are propped not swords but giant scythes, slick with the appearance of blood.
"They are slow -- but combined with your techniques, they should be able to reave at the legs of our would-be attacker. But with all this running water, they will not be able to proceed faster than parade march."
The Dahlia draws in her breath. And her hands begin to glow again -- resuming the revival process once again as she lapses into near-silence.
The traceur looks at the gravestones and then the walls. He then he considers the corrupted mass of sentient wood. With the size of the raging tree, he figured he might be able to buy enough time for two, three, if he was lucky, revivals before he lost his ability to stay above water because of the thrashing of the giant tree creature.
He looks into his bag and pulls out a 11 ounce can of WD-40(It was useful for keeping doors from making noise and good for when locks got a bit stubborn), and a lighter.
With a deep breath, he leaps from the boat and lands on a grave marker and then continues to use precision leaps to go from marker to marker until he's away from the boat. He then lashes out with his arm, sending a blue chi web right for the tree. He doesn't expect the energy to hold it or hurt it too much. It was just to get the tree's attention. Meanwhile the energy that was returned to him, manifests in the form of his alternate self appearing on the wall.
While the Scarlet Dahlia continues the process of reviving a second warrior, the remaining three warriors rise from the starboard side of the ship. The one from earlier carries a spear -- his armor is a bit more tattered than the rest. Another carries a bow; the others have sheathed weapons that aren't immediately apparent.
The lumbering Heart of the Forest snarls once Aranha draws himself into the open. It senses the aura of challenge and determination -- and it seeks to claim the souls and the humans before the traceur can get his plan into action. The trees are parted -- and then the tall woodland avatar begins to hasten its pace.
SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH!
The tree demigod hesitates a moment, though, once the blue web of chi sprays outward, jerking its bark-covered arm upwards and out of the way. Tarred eyes widen in surprise, along with the branches and leaves that constitute the creature's beard. It pulls against the web with one arm, though it has a more insidious trick -- a mass of thorny projections erupts outward from the arm, the numerous projections aiming to perforate the web in enough places so as to weaken the trap.
Regardless of the status of its weakening, the Heart of the Forest will attempt to leverage its massive heft and reach. One stride will bring it forward -- the next will see it swinging its unbound arm towards whichever of the forms of Aranha is closest. The general intent is to swat the annoying pest out of the sky, encumbering him with the same water that weighs down its own movements.
Moments later, the Dahlia opens her eyes, wrapping a free arm around the second of her revived Ainu ancestors, aiding her into the boat. This one is a woman, her hair long and matted with mud and sticks, an ill-fitting gown hanging off her slender shoulders. Dark tattoos provide a stark contrast to the faint golden glow in her skin, though as she is seated in the vessel, a slender smile is offered in the direction of Aranha.
"Stay out of his reach!" is the Dahlia's hopeful suggestion -- though, assuredly, Aranha's probably already figured that out.
The traceur takes a centering breath and ramps himself up for the impending fight. Unfortunately for him, the soul shard manifestation is the version that was farther away if only by a little bit and so he gets swiped at by massive log hands as he performs an aerial over the hand and landing on another grave marker with one foot before leaping to another as the alternate version of himself leaped down on to wooden behemoth's shoulder and worked his way to his back and digs his finger into the bark to give himself a handhold to work with.
Meanwhile, the primary Aranha retreats from the huge corrupted plant, hoping to get a better position as he readies the WD-40.
The Dahlia frowns. She knows firsthand how fearsome the Heart of the Forest can be, and she knows that one good swing is all it would take to severely cripple her companion. But her job is a high priority as well -- now that she's set her mind to it. Some Ainu words are exchanged with her recently-revived ancestors; moments later the Dahlia turns her attention to the third of her servants.
As Aranha aerials over the arboreal avatar's arm, the creature is caught off-balance, teetering unsteadily in the direction of its swing. The tree-trunk limbs crash into the ancient stonework, upending some of the gravestones and blasting chunks of stone out of others. In accordance with Aranha's plan, the alternate Aranha is able to gain a handhold on the creature's shoulder as it shoves itself back to its feet.
The monstrosity roars as it whirls around in a rage, attempting to hurl off the piggybacking traceur off -- only to cast its tarred eyes around in search of the current realm's Aranha. Surging back to its feet, the creature stalks around the graveyard, knocking over gravestones in its path...
The Dahlia's frown intensifies -- and her third ancestor is no more substantial than before she began.
"... Something's wrong..."
The four spectral ancestors all look towards one another. Many words are spoken, the utterances sounding as warped and distorted as they might through a jar of gelatin.
"Too far gone..." murmurs the Dahlia, turning her attention away from the third, to the fourth, wielding a bow and arrow. A remorseful expression takes charge of her face as she shakes her head... "Too much damage..."
The lumbering monstrosity steadies itself. And then with a sudden burst of speed, it lurches backwards -- aiming to squash the alternate Aranha between its back and a tall stone monument.
The Dahlia glows with radiant fire. And yet -- four spirits remain in a state of half-opaque confusion.
The alternate hangs on even as the monstrous tree form slams its body into the monument. The realm's primary Dancing Spider grimaces as he feels the feedback from his alternate's impact. It rated among the worst headaches he ever felt. Also on the list, the ones he had after facing the Scarlet Dahlia and the one after facing the monster hunter Zach Glenn.
He takes a few unsteady breaths as the alternate reforms right next to him.
Aranha prime moves towards the monstrosity taking advantage of it being off balance from its lurch backward to spray some WD-40 on one of its hands before performing a wall run and kicking off of its body to get close enough to give its other hand a fly-by spray of the lubricant before beating a hasty retreat to another stone marker.
Part of him wants to glance over to Honoka and ask if she's okay but he doesn't know if it's acting with its own intelligence or if someone is controlling it. And the last thing he wants to do is call attention to her.
The Ainu tusukur's forehead creases in frustration as she sets her jaw tightly. No longer are her fingers evenly spaced apart, tenuously held into a position of optimal concentration; instead they are balled into tight fists. She shakes her head, raven-black locks shuddering from side to side. "They're... it's..."
The gargantuan tree whirls around again. It can tell it -hurt- something, but when the supernatural creature flexes its barked muscles, attempting to impale the interloper with a sharp wooden projection, there is nothing to hit. Instantly, the creature wheels back to Aranha Prime -- just in time to get lubricant sprayed into its tarred eyes. Recoiling reflexively, the creature curls its bark hands over its face, giving Aranha some much-needed distance and breathing room...
"I can't. There's nothing to work with..." The Scarlet Dahlia slams her palms in irritation onto the side of the lifeboat, rocking it from side to side in the surf. She feels she needs to explain more, but part of her frustration is due to psychically absorbing his -pain- as well. "Let's get out of here!" she barks, curling both her hands around the edge of the boat.
Almost instantly, the golden haze illuminating the boat flares with new intensity.
The remaining spirits raise their weapons -- the only -substantial- parts of the four in question -- and take positions on either side of the boat, two on each side. The two rescued ancients clasp each other's hands, holding in tightly to one another.
The water behind the boat begins to churn up, as surely as an outboard motor had been placed into the water. It will undoubtedly be ready to tear out of there at the Dahlia's signal.
And it won't be a moment too soon -- for the ancient tree will be just about ready to level a mighty swing of its arm towards the spot Aranha is standing...
Was he planning to spray the massive plant form in the eyes? Yes but not yet. The fact that the tree whirled into a face full of WD-40 was a happy accident as far as the traceur was concerned and e would be a fool not to take advantage of it.
Aranha Prime and Aranha Alt run side by side leaping from stone to stone and as they close in on the behemoth both glowing. Prime in particular glowing blue while Alt glows a dusty yellow and when they take to the air above the swing of the tree creature's mighty arm, they merge and and green glow surrounds his body as he launches himself feet first at the creature bouncing back and forth between the monster and the wall and headstones like a bouncing rubber ball until he's on the wall right above it. He then leaps down as flicks the lighter which turns his can of WD-40 into a makeshift flame thrower as he aims it the sprayed hand and sprayed eyes in an attempt to set its eyes on fire. He then moves the can away from the lighter's flame as he releases the button and lets the lighter go out.
The green glowing traceur starts heading towards the boat. Will he be able to get there in time?
The monstrosity wheels around, swinging one massive tree trunk arm in an attempt to knock Aranha right out of the park. But while it is aiming for a lateral strike, the two Aranhas are head and shoulders above him. Leaves and branches whistle by harmlessly as the creature finds itself horribly off balance...
And that's when the pummeling begins. Bark is kicked loose in a furious cloud of splintered wood, lit with the blue and yellow glows of the respective fighters -- before they merge together into a green hue altogether different from that of the animated tree's own green glow. The Heart of the Forest staggers backwards, dazed from the multitude of blows -- not even a creature as enormous as it can withstand such concussive strikes.
And yet, it roars loud enough to send a quake through the heavens. A centering shout, not unlike the kiai of a karateka -- enough to steel the nerves of the creature as it prepares for an omega strike...
And that's when fire lights its eyes. The one true terror of a creature made of all wood -- enveloping its horrific face in one gigantic fireball. The one fear it has not conquered -- for fire consumes all. The Heart of the Forest staggers backwards, flailing its arms ineffectively as it tries to quell the raging conflagration. It staggers backwards at an angle, awkwardly slamming into the boundary wall -- and even then, tipping over from its leg getting caught in the rising tide.
The monstrosity topples over -- dazed and unbalanced -- with a shower of pulverized stone and smoldering bark.
And only then have the samurai warriors waded close enough to leap onto him. The scythes swing -- and in a multitude of slices of splintering wood -- the lower half of the hideous amalgamation is chopped into driftwood.
Of course the traceur has time to get to the boat -- the Dahlia was waiting on him to get aboard before churning it up to maximum speed, after all. "Hop in..." she urges, patting the seat beside her, "...take a breather. I'll explain on the way!"
And then, they're off.
Remorsefully, the beyond-exhausted Dahlia leans back in her seat on the soul-fired lifeboat, taking her own advice -- and a deep breath. "... I was only able to save two of them. The others... had become so lost in their time here on this foul island, that they had lost their own senses of self. With time... perhaps they will recall the features they bore in life. But for now..."
The Dahlia shakes her head, resting her hand reassuringly upon the shoulder of the female ancestor next to her. "I'm sorry -- I did all I could."
Their tattered robes will undoubtedly be replaced upon the galleon, or later -- but for now, they are barely more than scraps. Both the male and the female nod quietly in reply, along with calm and fatigued replies in Ainu. The woman places her own hand upon the Dahlia's.
The Dahlia passes a weary look to the two spirits hovering alongside the speeding lifeboat, frowning. The cerulean spirits have dimly glowing eyes, wreathed with the Dahlia's own golden energies -- but no distinct features, nothing to identify one from the next. "They retain their memories -- but in their lost hopes, they have forgotten what they looked like in life. I... I'll have to try another approach."
All that is solid, and tangible, are the weapons themselves. A bow. A knife. A sword. And a spear.
After a few moments, the samurai return to the side of the boat. They hover, just as the four Ainu spirits -- but after a moment of acknowledgement, they return to their proper home within the sword of Kenshi Takahashi.
The green glow fades away as the traceur leaps from tomb stone to tomb stone until he's just outside the boat and that's when he steps on to the boat and takes his seat next to the Dahlia. Breathing heavily.
He's quiet for a few moments as he catches his breath and tries to process what just happened there. She explains why the other Ainu weren't able to be revived.
"You did what you could. So where are we headed next?"
The Scarlet Dahlia rubs the bridge of her nose, drawing in her breath. Partly this is due to literally driving the boat with her soulstone's abilities. Mostly this is due to frustration at not being able to do -exactly- what she wanted.
First and foremost, though.
A glance over her shoulder is enough to prove to her that the Heart of the Forest isn't in close pursuit -- the all-out barrage of attacks against it did enough to ensure that much.
"Well. If you're up for it... " She draws in another irritable breath, but turning to see some friendly Ainu faces allows her to brighten her smile, if only in some small measure. "If you -all- are up for it... I want to do another sweep for survivors. Then we can head back to the boat, run through some final checks... and then head home."
Unspoken, but certainly felt as an afterthought: she'd like to check on Zach at some point, as well. But that is a conversation she is hoping to delay just a little while longer.
Log created on 08:22:38 03/31/2017 by Aranha, and last modified on 10:07:35 04/01/2017.