Mai Natsume - In a Mirror, Darkly.

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Description: Confronted by a monster that is intent on stealing away all she likes about herself. Her new appearance and new chance at life. Mai Natsume has to choose between doing her duty as an officer of NOL, protecting the people she cares about or going all out and using killing techniques taught to the male Hazuki heir. Someone she is no longer capable of being.

Cold, crisp light of day. A wearing in the fabrics of reality not uncommon in the wake of the manifold sources of power that converged around Southtown in the recent weeks and months has caused something to spill out from the land of the Makai. A feminine figure, translucent and shimmering, appears from the thin rift above a rail platform just outside the city center.

The figure crawls with a twitching fidget. The ends of its fine features wisping to an agitated fog. A creature that, while humanoid, moves with a feral speed with erratic darts and snaps.

At the moment of its arrival, the darkstalker attracts the attention of the people waiting on the platform. Some whisper, some take photographs with their cameras. Some scream. One, with a clear head, manages to make an emergency call. The NOL is in Southtown to deal with just this sort of emergency. And they'll be needed quickly.

It may be the scream that does it, or the fact it is outnumbered, or simple bloodlust from a feral beast that merely looks human-esque, but the airy creature flashes toward the people with teeth like glass and claws like sharpened ice. The first cuts aren't deep, but they're cold, and the interest turns to a greater number of screams. The public panics and runs. They head for stairs, careen across the platform, run in need to get away from the strange creature that has, despite ethereal beauty, a vicious streak and a desire for pain.

Thankfully, the NOL is never far away.

A crisply uniformed group of people, especially soldiers or police, sent to keep watch over an area by regularly walking around it might typically result in heightened tensions and worry. The young teens and twenty-somethings of the NOL: 78th library regular, 4th Magic Division. Strolling about the centre city business district at an unhurried pace, prying in everywhere to make sure there was no trouble.

Cute girls and handsome boys, doing important works and showing hints of all the special training they endured at military academies. They were exploding onto the scene and the world deciding what to make of them, for the moment it was almost entirely positive.

'Uwaaaah, that's soou cute.'

The exciteable and expressive girl with the long blue hair walking side-by-side with a comrade who was suddenly fascinated and drawn to one particular window, they feed off one another's excitement. As they both leaned in to check out the tailored and optimally cute stuffed toys in the widow of a shopfront. Build your own bear? She saw frogs and happy faced Bee's amongst the many bears.

These were the same types of kids from the news. NOL! Fighting off monster attacks, protecting the populace from supernatural threats and monsters, unsafe magical objects and practice! Instead of JUST doing that all the time they were helping with relief efforts, spending their wages and integrating well. They kept neighbourhoods safe.

The uniformed teens take off running towards the first cries of 'Monster!' Against the flow of civilians headed for safety the two girls running with their cloaks flapping behind them create a public stir. NOL was here!! Though in such small numbers what could just two girls do to protect the populace.

"I'll leave the barriers to you!"

Mai continues a long legged sprint she was leaning into as the other girl emphatically nods and skids to a halt suddenly, beginning the long incantation to gradually add barriers and fortify her position. She could allow humans through but hopefully repel the alien intruder.

Mai was more focused on the threat at hand, eyes moving to try and follow such erratic behaviours she instinctively snatches and draws up behind her back, an ornate tall red spear that comes hurtling down out of the sky and spears down into the road in her path.

It might be friendly, this could be an overreaction.

"Please remain where you are! We do not wish to harm you..."

Mai Natsume keeps the spear behind her body, sharpened tip angled down toward the ground yet careful not to make any additional noises that might trigger or antagonize the creature further. She didn't want to fight at all if it could be avoided.

The erratic, twitching figure snaps its full attention toward the arriving blue-haired girl. Or, in many ways more important, on the spear that comes crashing down from the sky! It hisses at the sudden appearance of the weapon. It snaps over toward the spear, jitter-jumping over, hovering above the ground. It writhes in the air, twisting its neck and head to simple turn an eye at the spear and the girl that takes it. Its fingers, more like talons or more articulated knives, twist, extend and retract not unlike a palsy.

Though it takes a long moment, the creature seems to eventually come to a conclusion as to what the young woman is here to do. With a bitter cold gust of wind, the figure retreats across the train platform. Only it finds its route of escape blocked off by an arcane barrier.

With a feral cry, the creature slashes its talons uselessly against the barrier. Finding no purchase, the creature snaps around, inverting neck and torso before its hanging legs catch up with the rest of it. It babbles a windborne sound and screams like a storm at Mai, brandishing claws and teeth.

This will be no friendly darkstalker today.

COMBATSYS: Zephyr has started a fight here.

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Zephyr           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume has joined the fight here.

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Zephyr           0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0      Mai Natsume

Mai backpedals furiously with the scream and brandishing of claws. This creature was trapped; it only advanced and made threats toward her when forced into this situation. It couldn't be allowed free in case it was a dangerous predator of some kind. She gives it room, lifts the tip of the spear from the ground and holds it extended and level at her waist, still not aimed at the creature but projecting a bit more of her own threat.

When other troops arrives from nearby blocks they could then tighten and restrict the area, increase the strength of the barrier and safely box it in.

"Please, calm down! ..and keep your distance."

But for now it was advancing toward her and needed to be shown a display of force to maintain this uneasy stalemate. The spear whistles and whirrs through her coaxing fingers and a highs speed turn on her heel, spinning at high speed it rings like a metallic bell when it strikes the asphalt and throws up a cloud of sparks. An audible swoop and whirring as the blade sweeps around her yet never clips the long ponytail.

Mai continues the kata and whirring twirl for a brief couple of seconds as the haft slaps into her waiting palm and abruptly ends the movement. A wave of dust blows away with her at the epicentre that punctuates the final movement. One arm now held back and above her head, the shaft angled downward between both foes, gleaming red blade presented toward her foe but still point down rather that Mai threating with it.

Standing orders were: Subdue and capture if at all possible for 'Gears' threats and by extension for other threats, if you can do so safely.

"...As a dutifully dispatched representative of the Nova Orbis Librarium branch of Japan, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension. Stand down, or cease hostilities and threatening actions. If not; I, Second Lieutenant Mai Natsume! -- Will be your opponent."

That wasn't part of the procedure, but it sounded a little bit authoritative and she was nearly spear point to talons with an unknown entity. Every little bit helps.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume gathers her will.

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Zephyr           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0      Mai Natsume

To capture a Gear is part and parcel of the NOLs current standing orders, however, this is no Gear. A darkstalker that has slipped through. A remnant of the army that invaded, arrived late to the party. Attempting to run because it has perceived a threat does not make it any less threatening. And now, the simple minded creature sees the woman making gestures with her weapon.

The creature does not understand the words spoken to it. It does not know what that kata means, what the Library is, what anything is beyond the simple and the obvious and that is this human needs to bleed so that the creature may yet live.

It cares not for authority, or for the diplomatic care that Mai Natsume is taking. It is, in essence, a force of nature. A metanatural nature, but nature nonetheless.

With shriek and start, the windborne being snaps in a tacking approach. Left and right, right and left. Not seeming to move from place to place, rather appearing at points and whipping like wind here and there. It stops in front of Mai, claws raking at her belly. It moves with a rush of arctic wind and a boreal frost hangs in the air after it's wicked claws.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume blocks Zephyr's Monstrous Strike.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0      Mai Natsume

Diplomacy has failed!!

As the creature shrieks like a banshee and advances down upon the girl maintaining the barriers behind Mai cries out a warning and the some few people taking cover behind the barrier also lingering to watch, they join in with shouted warnings and tips for success.

The spear proves sturdy enough to match the claws with not a flex or bow in the shaft, the wind however slaps and batters at her tunic even as it stiffens with an icy white frost.

Wow! That was soberingly cold, and it hadn't even laid a 'hand' on her and yet it still stung.

Hopping into the air and twisting her body in mid-hop until her back is presented toward her opponent she physically pressures them right back when her return swings for the fences, sweeping the creature back using the side of the shaft like a baseball bat yet swinging to hurl them away and back toward the centre of the arena.


Mai wasn't the best when it came to diplomacy, when it came to defusing a situation or saying just the right thing. That was Tsubaki in a nutshell, or Noel would do something funny or cute to distract everyone. Mai tried to be kind, and not use her strength where it wasn't needed. Now kind of seemed like a time it'd be unwise to hold back.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume successfully hits Zephyr with Medium Throw.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1      Mai Natsume

The Mighty Casey does not strike out this day. With a baseball swinging for the fences, the windborne creature hurls through the air and caroms off the arcane barrier. Rattled, the beast shakes its head and howls like the cold north wind. It's more humanoid, nearly pretty features distorting and stretching like a mask over a framework face. Jaw unhinging and ice-like fangs gnashing, it clears its head and looks down at the girl that has so simply flung it aside.

Prey and threat, the beast is a simple one, it's human-like features more mockery than sign of greater intellect. It swirls like the wind and once more does it start to staccato its approach toward the spear wielding Mai.

Left, right, left, it stops and opens its mouth to let loose a frigid blast of breath. An wintery chill that holds within it shards of sharpened ice flechette.

COMBATSYS: Zephyr successfully hits Mai Natsume with Energy Flare.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1      Mai Natsume

While the spear was a fantastic offensive weapon that offered a lot of utility and control!! It wasn't best suited to blocking some kind of breath weapon. Instincts informed action, she should hurl herself aside to escape the -- she hesitated mid movement.

If the attack were to pass by Mai..? and strike the barrier directly, one hastily erected and over a large area.. (for one person to be managing.)

There was a non-zero chance that some of it could penetrate the barrier.

The wave of ice washes over Mai even as she re-establishes her footing and throws one arm up to conceal her face, the other arm swept behind her back to save it from the frosts bite. She can hear her name being screamed from behind her and as the obscuring gas parts she left standing but slathered in ice, thorn like shards embedded in her uniform and pinning it to her body, a rime of frost formed across fabric and bare skin, part of her unshielded face pained a frosty white and the eyelid pinned closed where the lashes have frozen to her cheek.

Her next breath parts frost dried lips and blows out a wispy white cloud she sighs into a grunt as her unburdened arm swings around to dash against her frost covered one and bat away the shards and coating gathered there. Her scratched and scuffed skin doesn't look so bad, and the cold just helped numb the wounds. Small mercies.

"I'll take that as a 'No' then."

The first overhead swing is more to drive it back butt of the spear striking down, the second is faster as she sweeps the reverse of the spear horizontally wide in order to trap, once the point was directed at her opponent she bursts into an arm blurring stabbing of thrusts to either strike it down or force it away from this wall.

She couldn't take many hits like that.

COMBATSYS: Zephyr dodges Mai Natsume's Flurry of the Wild Storm.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Zephyr           0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1      Mai Natsume

The ice blasts outward. The rime sticks and burns in the way only cold can. The elemental beast flits and floats back and forth, looking to see that the pesky spear wielder is good and frozen dead.

Only, the prey is not dead. As though almost being betrayed by Mai not dying, the creature hisses at her and brandishes its claws. A flit and a flurry down toward Mai, rushing the spear charge.

The creature moves like the wind, it's body twisting and turning and fading around each stabbing thrust of the spear. Untouched, the creature seems to laugh with a sound like windchimes and cracking ice. It lashes out angrily once in close range, past that pesky spear. Trying to slash and claw for Mai's eyes. Cackling like cracking branches and shattering ice floes.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume blocks Zephyr's Aggressive Strike.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1      Mai Natsume

A new plan then.

Mai rotates the Spear through a loop in close enough proximity to both combatants to cause a minor deflection. Shaft against wrist it's still not enough to keep the claws off of her, not entirely but perhaps just enough to create an opening. With the sound of tearing cloth and sting in her shoulder Mai dives past and away to the side, grinding into a sole grating slide she jambs the spear down overhead and levers herself back to standing and into a butterfly around the pole and backflip to arrest all that momentum.

She didn't have anything witty to say! This whole affair was a sad one.

A red aura blazes into life around her and centred on the spear as she hunkers back, raising the spear as is a scorpions tail. Held to throw like a Javelin, the spear emits several times over the intensity and size of aura surrounding Mai. Her cloak shed and tumbling across the battlefield, tiny skirt wilding fluttering and exposing plenty of bare thigh and white underwear, in the winds motes of Sakura like petals escaping her aura fountain around her but fade and vanish after a time.

%Mai lifts her heels and grinds the toe down to set and brace herself. The spear exploding out of her hand and trailing red comet like tail. The spear in no danger of actually striking the barrier rather than a creature that can move so quickly, the tracking spear can turn on a dime.

COMBATSYS: Zephyr dodges Mai Natsume's Exseal.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1      Mai Natsume

An attack to match the beauty of the attacker. A rocket of a spear lancing through the air. The creature hisses at the assault and contorts itself far beyond what a living, breathing being should be able to do. The frostling arcing its back nearly into a circle of itself around the tracking spear.

The creature snaps this way and that, the spear's energy turned and slipped around. Once more the darkstalker chortles, growing more amused and cocksure that this threat is less so than originally perceived.

It begins to return to a more comely human appearance. A young woman with thin features, like frost drawn on a window, mostly clear with only a hint of the figure's appearance to it. It coalesces into a more visible form, a limber young woman floating in the air on ice crystal wings.

Faintly, it seems to be reflecting much of Mai's shape, mimicking as it bends over at the waist and curls a taunting finger toward Mai. Laughter like bells in the wind before the creature begins to form a sphere of frost and ice above its hand.

Mimicking a blown kiss, the snowball lances forward, sharpening to a mock spear as it hurtles toward Mai.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume dodges Zephyr's Energy Blast.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1      Mai Natsume

Mai turtles down and flows under and beneath the oncoming spear, close enough for the breeze in its wake to brush her ponytail. A circular hole momentarily carved in the red aura still trailing off her body that fills in after the icicle passes. Hands hanging in the air behind her and stockinged legs pumping as if she were a ninja.

Unarmed, with the spear embedding itself in the ground rather than flying further towards the barrier she continues her charge heedless of any danger being without a weapon presents. Jumping in toward the creature she chambers the raised and kicks right for the bottom of its jaw with her calf length boots.

Still swathed in aura she was fighting instinctively, the fruits of many years of training. Though in the back of her mind Mai was asking herself some hard questions. If the creature is made of misty icy stuff ...does it even have a brain to jolt by kicking it in the chin? ...wait... CAN IT BE KICKED?!

She'd kind of committed and the execution was flawless. The doubt however was also present.

COMBATSYS: Zephyr blocks Mai Natsume's Light Kick.

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Zephyr           1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1      Mai Natsume

The icicle cracks the arcane barrier, putting strain on the poor girl trying to assist Mai in her capture of destruction of the Darkstalker intrusion. The frostling looks almost upset, pouting when it has missed. The longer in the world, the more it adapts the trappings of a human concept.

Close enough that it registers fear at the sudden kick. It throws its hands out and nearly takes the kick on its chin, just barely getting a form of defense up in time. It turns out the creature weighs very little as it's battered up and away with the force of the boot. Righting itself, it shakes its head and purses its lips in consternation.

It moves with the force of the wind behind it. Sleeking, blurring, and careening down toward Mai. It's hand shifts, contorts, a long shaft of ice forming in its hands. Wisps of wind and condensing fog start to bunch at its hips and torso. A fluttering skirt and outfit growing more and more similar to Mai's as the frost woman thrusts her icy spear down at the mortal woman.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume blocks Zephyr's Energy Strike.

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Zephyr           1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1      Mai Natsume

The red aura surrounding her body mostly depleted and wafting away with the petals. As Mai kicks the creature up into the air she blinks concernedly with ehr one open eye as it continues to rise. Of course! normal rules didn't apply at the moment. As it descends back towards her with a spear first dive her own spear vanishes in a collapsing or contracting of its mass into a mote of red energy where it stood, and suddenly expands back into existence in her waiting hands.

Speartip meeting spear shaft the legacy weapon hasn't the slightest chance of being broken by ice, the girl wielding it however finds the spear a less than optimal way to defend so. Razor like shards of ice peppering at her she swirls backward and away to protect her eyes and turns a backflip with spear extended to slash upwards while fleeing and buying herself some room.

It might be starting to resemble her, but they didn't fight much alike and they certainly didn't think alike. The insubstantial nature of the creature was a HUGE problem to overcome, one where if she didn't solve that problem soon...

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume successfully hits Zephyr with Moon Blossom.

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Zephyr           1/---====/=======|=======\=====--\1      Mai Natsume

The ice spear shatters off of Mai's legacy weapon. The pieces sublimating as soon as they're any real distance from the creature. The ice in the creature's hand held little care for her, but the sudden shattering held the Mai mimic in a moment of puzzling.

And in that moment, it leaves the creature open to be struck hard with Mai's slashing spear. The creature hisses and pulls away, she clutches at her chest, the mist blouse reassembling as the creature turns and faces Mai once more. It hovers in the air, crystilline wings glitter behind it as it more adapts to looking like a faint outline of Mai Natsume, down to the flowing ponytail, though the creature's is made of frost. Once more it forms a mock-up of Mai's spear, and once more it rushes down at the woman. This time with a considerable vengeant rush. Frozen thrusts and chilled slashes from the sharpened ice. A single word slips from the lips of the frozen mimic.


COMBATSYS: Zephyr successfully hits Mai Natsume with Monstrous Onslaught.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2      Mai Natsume

The gashes torn in her uniform, blood spreading around her feet, growing ever larger with extra drops falling like petals. Mai has to ground the end of the spear and lean on it to avoid succumbing to the waves of pain and nausea. Propped up on the legacy weapon Kajun had given her in order to keep her safe. If it weren't for the spear; she'd likely be dead already.

A fan of blood creeping down her face mills against her lashes and soaks into them, the long closed eye opening as hot blood defrosts and carves away the remnants of frost on her cheek. The trails of bloody red releases her Magenta coloured eye.

Her body was covered in clumps of frost and ice where this 'other' Mai's spear and struck true. Straightening was an effort.


Mai screams it defiantly and childishly back towards the creature. She refuses to parse being told to die, to let that sink into her heart. Her blood was already running cold and heart clamping in her chest after being told to die by something as horrible as a creature who looked just like her.

"Tsubaki! ..Makoto! ..Noel! Clio... Help me. I want to see you all again."

Her voice a whisper and shadow of itself she stumbles and almost falls. It's only the screaming of the girl holding the barrier, Estelle wasn't it? What would happen to them? She didn't have her friends here to baby or protect her, look out for her. But she was an officer now wasn't she, she had to protect them. Estelle had short red hair, a similar cut to Makoto, a similar colour to Tsubaki. That was her precious subordinate and a friend. Mai still hasn't looked up from her half doubled over crouch.


She cried out, she couldn't actually see if the girl was finally getting the help she needed, but those barriers would need to be in place just to contain the blast. Mai hefts the spear and with it held in one arm, dashes toward her opponent slashing underhanded with enough forces to smash it upwards and off the ground once again.

Mai bats the creature into the air well enough. A repeat performance where there was little gain to her. She instead streaks past the creature high up into the air. A straight up and soaring leap to inhuman heights where she abruptly stops in mid-air and turns her eyesand sights downward, using the enclosed barriers and lines of the building to frame her target.

The mass eruption of a red aura around her familiar but flowing down into the spear and gathering around the downward point, a spiralling vortex. The gathering storm of red surrounding her intensifies and then wanes as a torrent pours into and sharpens the vortex proceeding the spears tip.

Kicking backward in time with equal force as she spikes her arm down she hurls a pinning spear out of the air down toward her opponent. A laser bright red beam descending towards the ground at breakneck speeds. Not even the spectators can make sense of what happens as the explosion caused by the legacy weapons strike fills the barrier with a rumbling and intensive bright light that drives the bystanders back and stresses the barriers.

Only her precious subordinates leaning into the winds caused by the blast in order to continue supporting her and doing their jobs to the utmost of their ability.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume successfully hits Zephyr with Royal Crimson Sprout - New Moon Lotus.

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Zephyr           1/-------/=======|>>>>---\-------\0      Mai Natsume

A creature of ice and pain. Slashing and stabbing as a mimic of the woman that faces it down. Again and again, the frostborne copy attempts to take the life of young Mai Natsume. The blood from Mai's wounds freezing at the tip of the Kajun copy.

And all the while, the glass clear face of the Mai copy smiles with a cold, remorseless, almost smug expression. She will claim the life and steal the image of the young Natsume, and so much carnage it will cause. It can see, it can feel now, the joy of its cold and bitter existence. Victory is hers.

And in this moment, as Mai calls for friends too far away to come to her aid, where only young Estelle can try to keep a cage around the frigid doppleganger, does the creature let her guard down.

A cutting blow. The frostborne actually cries out in pain in a voice not unlike Mai's own. She stumbles back, her crystalline wings shimmering and flickering into view. The being appeared more solid as time has passed, more like a carving of shear ice or glass than the wind and cold figure it began life as. And now, as it turns its attention back toward Mai, it has genuine hatred in its cold unflinching eyes. Spiderweb cracks stretch along the Mai copy's cheek. A perfect likeness but for the damage to its face. Every curve and contour of her body and clothing and her precious spear mimicked in clear ice and frosted mists.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume blocks Zephyr's Energy Cannon.

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Zephyr           0/-------/-------|>>>>>--\-------\0      Mai Natsume

Mai lands in a slightly twisted and warzone looking square city block, walled off by the barriers was the only way in which she might safely use an attack like that at full power and is disbelieving the ice creature is still standing and coming after her.

Worst of all it has taken on an even closer resemblance, the harder she fought against it the more it took on aspects of her. Maybe it was a defence mechanism.. and then again maybe if she died here this thing would try and replace her.

Another Mai could walk out of this makeshift arena, perhaps one better than her. If it were really a predator though, all the trust people had given or placed in her would leave them easy victims for a creature so inclined. If it came down to a risk of that... she had to make sure it was her that left or neither of them at all. Mai weathers the blast or arctic ice with crosses arms and spear, walking into the stream and pushing back even as she grows heavy with ice, the hem of her uniform skirt was falling away in shards as the fabric grows brittle and breaks away.

Forgive me.

Mai can't risk trying to subdue it any longer, that had passed with her last attack. With this one, she was trying to save more lives with a death than she could by sparing a life or risking her own.

Her surge of effort and sudden lunge with her extended spear is intended to skewer and kill. This was how Hazuki martial arts really were, comparable to assassination arts from other families they were simply killing arts no different from those an assassin might employ.

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume successfully hits Zephyr with Himeyuri.

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Zephyr           0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1      Mai Natsume

The Ice-Mai lowers her spear. Looking at the frozen ground all around the train platform it has turned into a warzone. She walks toward the living Mai, clear 'boots' thumping on the ground. Even now the crystalline wings wisping away to steam as the smooth lines and the figure of Mai is more and more replicated in the cracking ice facade of a woman. She wields the ice replica of Kojun, and her steps are poised and graceful. She carries herself a ready killer of her own copy.

It would only be a matter of one more blow and the weak flesh version of herself would be no more, and she could take on a position among this world that she would comfortable in claiming.

And them to the surprise of the frostborne Mai, the original made one more lunge at her. She tries to dart from the side, but now as she's taken on more of the original Mai's traits, her wind-like speed and incorporeal nature eludes her. A crunch. A crack. The spear is through her frozen torso. The false Mai inhales a breath she doesn't need. A quiet gasp of surprise and a whimpering of a young woman with her life cut short. Her frozen fingers close around the haft of Mai's spear. Her other hand drops the frozen copy of Kojun to shatter on the ground.

Her eyes, empty of color, but as detailed and smooth as Mai's own, look pained and frightened. Her lips, copies of Mai's, open and close as if finding words. It finds some, somehow, as the deep and spidery cracks begin to crawl across and fill the ice maiden.

"I. . .I'm not strong enough."

The ice Mai shatters into a thousand glittering pieces of ice. They catch the sunlight as they fall, scattering the light in an iridescent cascade as the frozen Mai is rent and made no more. The threat passed. Lives saved at the point of a spear.

COMBATSYS: Zephyr takes no action.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Mai Natsume      1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Zephyr can no longer fight.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Mai Natsume      1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Mai Natsume has ended the fight here.

This sickening feeling of the point of her spear making contact with and then pressing the attack to run through her opponent. An audible smashing noise followed by the long drawn out splintering cracks and faint tinkling of a shower of ice shards.

Mai's face veiled in shadow and partially obscured with caked up layers of ice she wasn't looking away. A creature that wanted to replace her, assume her identity and life with all that it entailed. With her spear embedded in the chest of the other the look on its face could have as easily been her own. The pain and surprise in eyes much more animate, a momentarily confused and blinking colourless version of the harsh magenta eyes staring down the shaft of a similarly coloured spear.

That could have so easily been her face and her own last words.

The creature suddenly shattering and Mai losing the support holding her up she leans into a stagger that might have become a face-plant if not for the whirring spin and grounding of the spear point. Jarring as it lightly penetrates the frozen asphalt, she holds the spear at arm's length. Looking heroic in a way she didn't even remotely feel she straightens to her full height, her ragged uniform in parts falling away in chunks and equal parts fluttering away in the breeze.

She can hear her name being called, an ever so slight inclination of her head in that direction. The frost on her body was only just now starting to melt, the fact she was injured and bleeding was obvious to the untrained eye. The sweat forming on her skin was still freezing just from the ambient temperature surrounding her. She can see the concern, what looks like relief in the face of her subordinate.

"No! Keep the barrier up. ?cIt could still be in here with me. You have to keep the barrier up until reinforced and my identity can be verified."

Standard operating procedure when dealing with any kind of shapeshifting or identity stealing creature. Mai appreciated how difficult it must be to stand watch over an injured friend or comrade from a distance. To not help even when you wanted nothing more than to do so.

"Sorry, I'm so sorry. ...I'm sorry I wasn't stronger."

Muttered under her breath, the pain in her chest and stinging in her eyes somehow hurt more than her wounds. Her body was numbed to a point it troubled her less than the other pains creeping in, or maybe better described as seeping out of her. She wasn't strong enough to subdue instead of killing, she worried her friends and comrades. How could her subordinates have faith in her?

Outside the barrier.

That one NOL offer had gone in alone while others rallied to protect the bystanders. Obviously injured, half frozen to the point her uniform was scandalously crumbling away, caked in ice and standing tall surrounded by a glittering cloud of ice. The crowd opts to optimistically and gratefully cheer for these dedicated and brave young men and women.

Log created on 00:34:04 01/23/2018 by Mai Natsume, and last modified on 00:17:26 06/05/2018.