Yet Another Escort Mission
Starring: ‘Kill Bill’ Ronin
"Yakuza series protagonist" Sakura
A foot tapped against concrete, a hand adjusted glasses as they fogged from the mixture of cold air and warm breath. The brick wall supporting her back sent chills along her spine, but that was not a discomfort for the girl. There were worse things to deal with than cold weather.
Once more blue eyes swept the square as Lysandra
searched for any sign of the girls she had agreed to meet with. She would have preferred to convene in the Overcity, but apparently her companions did not naturally have access to that dimension like she did, so they would meet here first before going there together.
A sigh escaped as she glanced at her watch before once more sweeping the area, trying to recall what she knew of the girls she was meeting with. Ronin, short girl, black hair, one of those ‘for hire’ types, though she did seem to have standards beyond simply getting paid as far as their interactions had indicated. Then there was Sakura. Light hair, a brawler, the sort who didn’t waste time in small talk but who also sounded like she’d been a sailor in a previous life.
Hopefully they were up for the task ahead.
For now, Lysandra continued waiting. She’d give them another half hour before moving. As it was though, her magic tended to make her...easy to overlook. She might have to approach them first, so she’d keep her eyes peeled for their arrival just in case.
Sakura arrived in full regalia, the pink motorbike stopping with a skillful skid mere inches away from Lysandra, her eyes scanning the other magical girl before smiling softly, running a hand through her unfortunately always gorgeous hair as she stood in front of Lysandra. She was a bit of a gray character, but Sakura was sharp.
"Fucking traffic motherfuckers."
If there was any illusion of cuteness it was promptly ruined.
"You the Lee Sanders girl?"
At some point within the time-limit, a girl in a samurai-inspired state of dress dropped out of the sky as she'd been practicing her “running in mid-air technique on the way, grinning as she did a perfect “bent knees” landing. ‘Ronin has arrived!’
the visually seven-year-old called excitedly.‘Now, where is- Oh…!’
she sounded out, looking around and suddenly fixating on Sakura…’s bike. Ronin promptly jumped over, eyes beaming. ‘Oh, man, that's a sweet ride, both in senses of the word! I'd have wanted one for myself, but it might clash with my aesthetic. Teh-heh, Motorcycle Ronin. That's a TV-series just waiting to happen~’
Ronin said with a grin, now giving room for replies.
Lysandra’s gaze narrowed for a moment as Sakura approached and made her introduction. Though she did not say as much, she was clearly not impressed. “I am,” she replied with a curt nod. “But we’re waiting for one more. Then we can get down to business.”
Fortunately Ronin did not take much longer past that. Admittedly she did fixate on the bike first, but that was fine. She seemed a bit more professional at first impression. “Hello,” she said to Ronin before looking between the two magical girls who would serve as her escort on this trek. “Thank you for agreeing to my contract.”
Sakura tilted her eyes, and then eyed the newcomer with a raised eyebrow, before beginning to speak in a different language, Japanese. <<”You know, you look more like shinobi than Ronin. Where’s your armor. And why the flashy jump? Disgraceful”>> She said addressing Ronin.
“Heh, don’t mention it, Lee.” She quickly switched to address her employer. “So how many fools do we need to turn into burgers?”
Ronin froze up when the bike-rider spoke to her in what she definitely absolutely recognized as Japanese. That didn’t help the fact that she had no idea what Sakura had just said. Oh, shit, it’s the real thing.
Fortunately, Sakura had turned to speak with… “Lee”? Oh, well, anyway!‘No problem! And, heh, more than turning others into burgers, we’re to prevent HER from becoming a burger! Anyway, hello! So, what will we be doing in the Overcity?’
Ronin asked, smiling happily, inwardly panicking about being revealed to the authentic Japanese to be the pretender she was.
Sakura’s eyes narrowed, upon seeing the reaction. “Oi, you would not be one of those gaijin pretenders who just slap ninja, samurai and ronin just to look cool?” The pink-haired girl quickly switched to english as she bore a hole in Ronin’s head with her glare.
Ronin positively winced. ‘Noooooo, that’s not it! I just picked a suitable moniker for my appearance!’
the tinier girl waved her hands in panic. ‘Look, I didn’t even realize I was picking my Magical Girl appearance at the time! Call it a homage! A sign of admiration! Samurai are cool, and I wanted to be one that moment! Sure, I might not be the most authentic real deal around, but I’m stuck like this, so I just had to go all out with the theme, you know!?’
Ronin explained, starting to grin happily half-way through her defense. ‘I’ll happily take pointers…!’
"You know, if you want to behave like samurai you have to err… act all serious all the time, face opponents head on… also prune bonsais. Bonsais are important." Sakura said, folding her arms. The junior wanted pointers. She would happily give em. Even if she only had a few pointers from drama movies. " I will make a man out of you, girl!"
Ronin’s eyes widened as this girl, that except for knowing Japanese she really had no proof of actually knowing what she was talking about was talking being serious and, huh, pruning trees. ‘I-I’m not sure I’m cut out for acting serious…!’
Ronin replied, grinning once again. Still, seemed like she was gonna give her pointers, and it seemed too fun not to play along, so Ronin happily saluted (no matter how inappropriate the gesture may be). ‘Yes, sir! I mean, sensei!’
Somewhat overshadowed by the talk of Samurai and etiquette, Lysandra coughed in order to draw their attention back to her rather than their discussion. “Anyway,” she resumed, her fingers no longer drumming on her upper arm. “I don’t know what the opposition looks like yet. We’re retrieving an item known as Vuvoteya’s Shard. The stories I heard claim it was bathed in the energy of several intersecting dimensions at their formation, bestowing it incredible power.” she just wasn’t all that strong herself, which was why she had reached out to them. ‘Oooooh,’
Ronin made a noise of realization. So it wasn’t just a matter of getting Lys from point A to point B. They were DEFINITELY going to be fighting something. ‘Sounds cool! What would you like to do with the shard?’
she asked with a little grin.
Sakura winced so slightly, at the mixup of answers, before looking at Lysandra. “Seems like outta a chinese cultivation novel crap.” She added. “Betcha there’s a bunch of people who want it to become boss.” She added. “Let’s show em who’s boss instead.” The pink-haired vulgar loli grinned. “Yeah, that’s a good question. What are you going to do with it? Super power level up juice? A bonsai ornament? Hmm?”
Pleased to find that they were interested in her work, Lysandra saw no harm in indulging their curiosity. “Study it, for one,” she said as a finger rose to adjust her glasses. “That artifact could further our understanding of the ways dimensions interact and affect each other, as well as the source of magical energy that all beings draw from.” Past that she wasn’t sure, maybe a museum? But one thing at a time for now. ‘Teh-heh, alright. Well! To start with, just as a matter of precaution!’
Ronin said, stepping forward to Lysandra and holding her hands forward on her. She just did a couple of Reinforcement enhancements on her, some typical magic glowing effects taking place… ‘There, that should make you a bit more durable, just in case~’
Ronin said and smiled widely. ‘Alright! Shall we?’
“Hmm, can we fit us three in a motorbike? I mean it’ll be a tight squeeze but we could do it faster…” Sakura pondered.
Lysandra eyed the bike somewhat distrustfully once Ronin was done laying on her wards. “I’m not sure how well that will work on the terrain we may end up in, especially with all three of us.” That, and she was not quite comfortable with Sakura’s demonstrated driving skills when she was going to be a passenger.
“I’m ready to go,” she added, glancing between her escorts. She knew Ronin was ready, but was Sakura?
“Fine, fine we will do a leg workout.” She started walking, without much further prompt.‘Alright! Then let’s goooo~!’
Ronin called excitedly.
Nodding, Lysandra raised a hand into the air. “By guiding light, the stars shine upon me. Transform!” With that she shifted into her magical girl outfit, which comprised of a purple beret, short cape, and gold studded outfit like one would see in a marching band.
Focusing, the Overcity Shift would take but a moment as she sent the three of them to a point near the walls of the city. Once they had arrived she took the opportunity to orient herself in the exotic locale before gesturing towards a glowing star in the alien sky. “This way,” she told her bodyguards, and soon they were underway. Lyandra moved confidently, only stopping a few times to make sure that they were on track as they went along. ‘Weeeeeeeee! Back here!’
Ronin called at the walls as they appeared in the Overcity. And then… ‘Alright! Onwards!’
Ronin skipped a bit to be in front of Lysandra, just in case, and then headed on towards wherever they were going.
“Hey, what the hell you are doing.” Sakura interjected. “You’re the loli, so you stay back with your eyes peeled, I will take point!” The former yakuza interjected as she one-stepped Ronin, her keen senses scanning for threats.‘Um,’
Ronin was a little confused about the label, but, eh, sure! She grinned widely and waited a bit to take the rear instead. ‘Okay, sensei!’
Lysandra was silent for the most part, not really caring who was in front as long as it didn’t interfere with their progress. “Size matters less than ability,” was her sole contribution to the discussion at large.
After some time of uneventful walking, they would reach the edge of a deep crevasse. “We’re going down there,” their employer noted, moving to the edge and looking downwards for a viale route. “There’s a cave along the wall that we need to reach. It will lead towards our destination.”‘Heh, then perhaps I should lead, anyway?’
Ronin skipped forward. ‘I can do a little something like this!’
she said, jumping off the edge, but landing on mid-air, standing on a small barrier, but left enough room for someone to stand next to her. ‘It’s a little tight, though. Hey, Lys, can you fly? Otherwise, I can carry you~!’
Ronin said, spreading her arms to potentially grab onto Lysandra if she felt like obligating.
"Show off." Sakura said, tapping her fingers with arms crossed as she looked at Ronin. "You are making yourself one hell of a target. Wait until there are freaks to pummel. " Sakura said, as she focused and using her Eternal Style, created the frilliest parachutes ever, while grimacing, and handed it over to Lee Sanders.
"This is better."
Looking between the two options presented, Lysandra would admit she was a bit more confident with the platform than with the parachutes. “I haven’t used one of these before,” she noted. “Is it hard?” After all, what would a magical girl need a parachute for?
“Shouldn’t be too hard. Strap and pull. We got the loli’s barriers and healing if need be.” Sakura grinned as she strapped the chute to herself. “But this doesn’t give off as much as a wimey piffey magic smell shit or whatever you call it.”
Ronin grinned a bit. ‘I’ll make sure to catch you~’
she said, before skipping down to the cave, somewhat assuming Sakura would be able to get there safely, but she’d make sure to catch Lysandra if she failed, heh.
Shrugging the parachute on, Lysandra would look over the thing one more time before taking a strong leap out into the chasm. Deploying the parachute went easily enough, and she gently floated downwards to land near the entrance of the cavern that she had mentioned. Fortunately there had not been any complications, their own making or otherwise.
She would wait for Sakura to land as well, before gesturing to the wide cave entrance. “Next we go through there. This should bring us close to the junction point.”‘Senpai, is your specialization cloth?’
Ronin asked curiously as they were on the way. ‘I’m Reinforcement, as I'm sure gathered already! I make barriers, enhancement and healing and stuff~!’
“Nope, this is just Eternal Style. Since I’m not fond of dresses -stupid ass rat-, I find other uses, kid.” Sakura said confidently, as she created a small gathering of sparks on her hand. “I can zap people.” She paused, before taking point from where Lysandra indicated. ‘Oooh,’
Ronin made a noise of slight amazement. Wonder, could Deni do similar things with her shapeshifting? … She doubted it, as she’s forming her own mass rather than create it out of nothing. Instead, she grinned. ‘Well, guess that regardless we’ll be using my platforms to make a staircase to get up again~!’
Into the cavern they moved, through winding tunnels and down rocky slopes. As they walked along Lysandra would guide them, making sure they did not get lost on split paths or loops. As they progressed further down the rock changed as well, morphing from what one would expect of normal stone to different colors and textures. Some had bumps, others ridges, astill more had spikes protruding from them. In an odd case, they would find a section where part of the wall was not solid at all. Touching it caused ripples to spread across the surface like it was water, but it did not fall to the ground.
Eventually the tunnels widened out into a cavern. Stone spires crisscrossed the inside, leading to different parts of the cave system and deeper beneath the Overcity. “So far, so good,” Lysandra noted as they moved onto the first bridge. “Watch your step.” ‘Watch your step, yes,’
Ronin said with a smirk. ‘I’d fall just a meter before I stopped myself, don’t know if it’d be the same for you~’
she said, but otherwise kept formation of being behind, but regardless kept her wits about as who knows if something might attack them in here?
“I can ride the lightning, chibi.” Sakura said, eyeing Ronin with a glare, and stepping through the bridge with the keen senses of a martial artist, her eyes also scanning for threats on the van of their little formation.‘You can!? Oh, man, that is so cool, sensei!’
Ronin briefly exclaimed before they kept going.
Lysandra huffed at her bodyguards and their seeming lack of difficulty with this obstacle, though she supposed she could always make an ice slide or something if she had to. But that would not be nearly as comfortable. So they walked on, her watching her step all the way.
Fortunately the ice bridge seemed sturdy enough, and their progress would see little difficulty to the other side. Drawing to the entrance of the next set of caverns, they would hear sounds emanating from beyond. Scratching and growling and other ominous noises emanated from within, though the sources were not in eyeshot just yet. “I think you two are going to earn your keep soon,” Lysandra noted as she moved inside with little sense of fear in her stride.
“Right on.” Sakura said. “Loli, you cover the target. Imma do retcon in force!” Sakura butchered the pronunciation of the word, as she went with a brisk pace, trying to keep herself inconspicuous with her Awareness and Incognito traits.
As directed, Lysandra hung back near the entrance. She had no intention to run into a mob of monsters if she could help it, though depending on how things went she might plunge ahead regardless. She was not a coward, after all.
While Awareness would be a boon, Incognito did not provide the effect that she might hope it would. Initially she would not encounter anything in her plunge down into the depths of the overcity. Merely more tunnels. But the sounds drew nearer all the same. Then they appeared, rat-like beings
entering the passageway she was in from the side. They were about the size of a small dog, with sharp teeth, claws, and whipping tails. About five of them ended up emerging in total, snapping and lunging at Sakura. They were hungry, and she looked like a tasty meal. And if her Awareness was not wrong, more were coming too. ‘Alright, sensei!’
Ronin said about covering the target, and then turned to Lysandra. ‘Alright, stick close so I can cover you while I do generic fighting!’
she told her, because Ronin had no intention of sticking by the entrance. Then, Ronin also started going inside, albeit a bit after Sakura as to let her take the first blow so Ronin could stay back and cover Lysandra if so needed.‘Woo, rats! They’re like, half-way to Skaven! You got this, sensei?’
Ronin asked loudly, stopping a bit to see how Sakura dealt with them but also with a hand on her sheathed sword in case any came her or Lysandra’s way, so she might cut them through.
Sakura raised her eyebrow at the animals. Any other girl would have been grossed out, but not the former Yakuza. She instead grinned back and bared her teeth, in an aggressive smile. She could smell a fight. They thought she was the meal. But vermin like these should be taught their places. Adopting a fighting stance, she eyed the animals…
And then she burst forth like lightning, sparks on her fists as she relentlessly targeted the weak points of the rats with her own hands. Eyes. Snout. Neck. Soft abdomen. Everything was fair game to her.
The rats charged in, heedless to the danger as Sakura struck. Her fighting style was well suited for rapid combat, and she cut a swathe through the attacking monsters. Bones were smashed, claws slashed, and she defended her charge.
Yet just as her Awareness had indicated, more monsters showed up to replenish the ranks of the fallen. Their weight became that much harder to resist, and some would seek to slip past Sakura and attack the two girls behind her.
Taking a step back, Lysandra glanced around at their surroundings as she calculated in her head. It was looking like they might be in need of a backup plan. But what to do from here…‘Heh, if it’s just these…’
Ronin grinned, before darting forward and drawing her sword to slice, while a barrier formed to block other rats from approaching. Then she’d dart around, kicking a barrier in mid-air to launch herself to the next rat, having some barriers handy to make sure they didn’t get past her. If they were just “some”, Ronin should be able to handle them easily enough. ‘I can handle those that slip by, sensei!’
“Annoying shitbags…” Sakura muttered, as she concentrated and performed a change of tactics. Fighting on fists and kicks alone wasn’t feasible, but giving the amount of crowded rats it would bring forth other tactics. Being that crowded, they would be vulnerable to lightning blasts, as she quickly switched from punching to zapping the creatures.
Lysandra would be forced to admit that they had perhaps underestimated the duo. They dealt with the rats quite handily, working in tandem with each other and their magic to block the rats and keep them hemmed in for Ronin’s blade and Sakura’s lightning blasts. Soon the last one fell, the smell of charred meat filling the air at the same time.
“Good work,” she told them as she stepped forward. There was a bit of urgency in her step though, as they would be able to hear other things appearing, some from behind them as well. “We should be going before we get stuck here all day. The chamber shouldn’t be far.” ‘Phew. Sensei, we're awesome!’
Ronin called about their latest achievement, dead rats all around. Lysandra urged them to move on… ‘Alright! Then let's go!’
Ronin excitedly called, skipping onwards on the way.
Sakura for her part, was sporting a vicious grin, as she received each scream of the critters with delight, the awful smell of charred flesh being somewhat rewarding. Yes, nothing like the smell of charred vermin and the thick of battle to keep one alive. Lee Sanders and the excitable loli’s words woke her up from her ever increasing rapture, as she narrowed her eyes at the even more giddy Ronin.
“Save that for when we’re done with the mission. Stay sharp. This is never this easy.” Sakura said curtly. “You’re the barrier loli. Stick to the lady Sanders. I will take point” She added, as she overtook Ronin to keep doing recon-in-force, grumbling somewhat she had run out of targets this quickly.
Onwards they moved, passing through yet more tunnels. Lysandra remained resolute in her pathfinding, head held high as they made their way onwards to the junction point. There were no more rats to bother them, leaving the only danger as their attitude towards each other. Lysandra did her best to bear with it, pushed onward by the promise of the reward she was seeking.
Rocks shifted and twisted, shimmering with alien patterns and colors. Little waving roots sprang from the ground below their feet, shrinking as they passed by only to spring to life once more. The feeling of magical energy grew more palpable, even for those who might not be attuned to such sensations. This was a place of power.
Yet for all her plans, there were some things she could not predict. It was hard to notice at first, a slight intensifying of the colors that filtered through translucent crystal sections of the walls. There was a shift in the charge that hung in the air. Then the ground began to shake. It grew in power and intensity, throwing Lysandra off balance and causing jagged cracks to appear all around them. The walls, the ceiling, even the beginnings of fissures in the floor.
“Dimensional shift!” Lysandra cried with wide eyes. “Hurry, before we get buried!” sure, maybe they could survive with Barriers and healing, but she would have to give up any chance of reaching their objective. And she was not ready to accept that. ‘ALRIGHT, THEN!’
Ronin called out upon Lysandra’s command of hurrying, and quickly yanked up their charge into her arms so that the tiny samurai carried her, then skipped up on a mid-air platform as to be unaffected by the shaking and fissures, and then finally dashed ahead on a series of small platforms towards their destination. She assumed sensei could handle herself. She was awesome, after all.
"Fuck" Sakura muttered as she concentrated briefly, focusing as much lightning as she could on her tiny legs to dash forward leaving a trail of sparks on her way. She combined it with her knowledge of wall running to her maximum effect.
While Ronin would gain her and her charge safety, it was only temporary. Shards began to crumble and fall from the ceiling at varying speeds, as if it defiance of the normal laws of gravity. Jagged spikes suddenly shot into the air at any time and at any angle, forcing her to course correct quickly.
Meanwhile the fissures shifted as well. Some grew in size, glowing light issuing from deep inside them. Others snapped shut after a few moments for no discernible reason at all. But that was not the only hazard Sakura would have to deal with. A rumble filled the air as the tunnel began to shift and buckle wholesale. Some pulled away, creating larger dips, while other portions moved to close and make the tunnel impassable. The latter was of a greater concern as they continued their flight. Hopefully Lysandra’s escorts could keep up with the sudden and erratic changes occurring around them.
Ronin made quick course-corrections, but the fact was, Sakura was much more agile than she was. She made a quick assessment.‘Sensei, I’ll hold onto you and Lys, run on my platforms!’
she called, spreading her mid-air platform for Sakura to potentially jump up on, with the intention that she’d adjust so she held Lysandra in one arm and grab onto Sakura with the other, and then she’d make Reinforcement barriers for Sakura to run on so the way faster Magical Girl could carry them safely forward!
Sakura, for the most part, made a clicking sound and put all of her senses and martial arts training to work, dodging and deflecting as best as she could, while keeping her arms and legs charged with lightning. “This might pull a little.” She said, gripping both Lysandra and Ronin with as much force as she could and then pulling like there was no tomorrow, her feet becoming hot with lightning as she tried to plow through the landscape as if Ronin and Lysandra were just a couple of training weights.
“C-Careful!” Lysandra yelped as Sakura grabbed on to her and then pulled both magical girls forward like so much dead weight. Which would have been more fair if they were, in fact, dead weight. Unfortunately Lysandra did not quite fit that description, and she was left yelling and twisting as they ran along to try and dodge an unfortunate end.
Still, the haste was warranted. Things only grew more intense and volatile around them, rocks crashing together and pelting them with sharp fragments from near misses. Blasts of energy crackled through the gaps, adding to the chaotic destruction that occurred around the trio. It might be easier for Sakura to handle, but being dragged meant that both Lysandra and Ronin would suffer several close call.
Eventually it was too much. The tunnel slammed together behind them, dimensions crashing together with forces immeasurable to the human mind as the boundaries of realities reshaped themselves. In more practical terms this manifested itself in a massive shockwave, one that would catch the fleeing trio and shoot them forward like a rocket along with a bunch of rock and crystal and the like. Despite Sakura’s best efforts, she would not be able to hold on to the other two as they were all tossed about in the blast wave. They would be ejected from the tunnel into a large cavern at the end, where hopefully their prize waited. If they weren’t crushed by everything else flying and landing along with them, anyway.
Ronin did her best to hold onto Lysandra as well as they ran, keeping reinforcement magic working on her to keep her protected from damage as good as she could. Then, when things crashed together and Sakura couldn’t hold onto them, it was up to Ronin to keep Lysandra safe. If she too had lost grip of her she’d spin and kick, a barrier manifesting as a platform to let Ronin propel herself so she could catch the one they were to protect. Then, she spun so her legs could step on a barrier slightly angled from the direction they were coming from. If this succeeded, she’d create more barrier to create a weak but workable slide that was going to periodically slow them down, periodically turning away from the direction they were heading to slow down their impact speed.
If that succeeded and they came to a stop, Ronin’s next job was simply to establish a new barrier that was as strong as her low magic could make to block any debris from crashing into them, and dodge out of the way if she figures it won’t be enough.
Sakura, cursed under her breath as the swerves made her go off course, trying to break her landing and succeeding in some measure, as she managed to twist and turn and avoid massive damage.
Until she noticed she was essentially ass up, and like everything on her magical girl kit, her private cloths were a cutesy pink.
The group went flying through the air, Lysandra flailing as she combatted her sudden disorientation. Her hold was temporarily lost, but with quick thinking and deft feet Ronin would catch her before she fell too far away. That was just in time for them to exit into the larger chamber.
Unlike before, Lysandra finally made herself useful. She augmented Ronin’s barriers with her own magic, using Ice magic to create a much more functional slide than the barriers alone would have. They’d end up feeling a chill, but the solid fall was translated into more of a tumble along the ground by the time they came out of it. That left the rocks, pummeling the barrier for a few seconds until tentacles lashed out to aid in the defense.
Then in the blink of an eye it was over.
Rising to her feet, Lysandra looked away from Ronin with a blush. “Apologies. You weren’t meant to see that,” she muttered as she shifted back to her feet. It seemed she was sensitive about some aspects of her powers. Once back on her feet, she pointedly ignored Sakura to instead look around their surroundings.
Ronin grinned at her. ‘It’s cool! Just as long as you’re not using them for the Japanese purpose, it’s cool!’
She knew tentacles were a relatively common power, after all. She skipped up to follow. ‘Hey, sensei! Save that for when there’s a boy around!’
she 100% joked.
The walls of the cavern shimmered, a mixture of ice and crystal and stone and unknown materials, all fused together and clashing from the pressure of the dimensions around this space. It was of a moderate size, with large arches and a central pillar over uneven ground. Given what they had just experienced, it stood to reason that things could shift at a moments notice. And in the middle of that central pillar, a glowing object that shone too bright to see and illuminated the entire cavern with its radiance. Though light did glimmer through the surrounding walls too.
Lysandra froze, eyes widening as she beheld it. “I think this is it,” she said to her companions, hurrying forward. All that calculating, all that work, her quest seemed to finally be at its end. ‘Nice! Just beware of any final traps!’
Ronin said, hurrying to keep up, because Lysandra by herself could be hurrying into her death somehow.
Sakura for the most part stood silent. Her earlier blunder, and the sudden reveal of tentacles made her a bit weary. It was one thing watching videos, and the other being a protagonist. She eyed her two colleagues as she took notice of Ronin.
“I’ll go first.” She said as she carefully treaded towards it. “You stand back for now.” She said as she kept her eyes peeled for any kind of reaction.
Lysandra hurried forward, too busy to respond to Ronin and oblivious of what Sakura was saying. How could she show caution at a time like this?
After some jumping and running, she reached the pillar. Her gaze rose up as she touched it, deducing the structure of the column, its various physical qualities. She quickly discerned what was going on. “It looks like the resonance between dimensional planes has created a barrier. I’ll need to figure out how to access it.”
It was a task easier said than done as the cavern was rocked with a sudden tremor. Fissures opened up like the ones that they had encountered before, Unlike before though, shimmering monsters began making their way through. They were spectres from other worlds, trapped in the void between dimension and bereft of much of their power and form in this space. Hulking monstrosities, tentacled humanoids, all advancing towards the trio as Lysandra worked.‘I… guess we’re to protect you while you’re doing that?’
Ronin asked, looking startled at the shimmering monsters on the way through. ‘Whelp, okay, then. Sensei! I’ll guard Lysandra, you can go do damage!’
Ronin figured was a good plan, the Reinforcement girl establishing numerous barriers around while she brandished her sword, intending to stay reasonably close to Lysandra as she was going to use her skill to dodge and cut monsters headed for their charge!
"Alright you fucking uglies." Sakura said as she got ready, her first crackling with Lightning. Since the objective was defense, Sakura did not commit much effort into putting them out of commission, merely striking to get them off Lysandra and moving all around the battlefield to single-out the nearest attackers.
Lysandra focused on the crystal pillar, tapping it, feeling out the vibrations, working out numbers in her head. She didn’t respond to Ronin, so focused was she on the work that she had to do. At least she wasn’t in danger right away. Meanwhile Sakura fought. She would quickly find that physical blows were less effective than magic, owing to the strange ethereal forms the monsters that she fought held. She could blast them back with Lightning, but her fists were more likely to just pass right through. The reverse was not necessarily true, claws slashing and blows flying as more monsters entered the room.
“Okay, I’ve got it,” Lysandra announced. “If I can set up a harmonic resonance to match the frequencies of the dimensions, I can crack open the pillar.” Muttering to herself, she crouched and began assembling some devices from what she had in the pockets of her outfit. It seemed that she would need more time. ‘Oooooooh, darn,’
Ronin said, noting how their enemies were unharmed by physical attacks. That’s basically all she had to work with. Well. It was time for some experimentation. She focused her reinforcement magic on her blade. On the surface of her weapon, she created a barrier that followed the edge of the sword, creating a sharp magical barrier, and infused it with extra magic to not let it break as easily. That meant some of the barriers around Lysandra had to go, but it seemed otherwise Ronin wouldn’t be able to fight. Still, did a barrier on a sword even count as magical?‘Whelp, only one way to find out!’
Ronin called, leaping at the closest to cut it, only going so far away from Lysandra that she could still get back if any monsters started a mad dash for her.
“Hey, loli samurai, got any of those for my fist? Could use some to channel my lightning.” Sakura said, getting tired of not being able to punch these denizens properly, forcing her to switch to shooting lightning to keep these beings at bay.”‘If you get over here and let me enhance your fist, then yeah, sure!’
Ronin called, probably somewhat behind Sakura, but yeah.
“On it. Fuck. “ Sakura said, as her scratches stung, and channeled blasts of lightning to suppress the advance of the beasts, to allow Ronin to apply her magic on her.
While the two conversed, Lysandra worked. She had assembled her devices, and was now hammering them into place at various points from the pillar itself. This required the others to shift to protect her as she circled the center, though at least they did not need to defend the devices she was deploying once they were in place. The first finished, she moved on to the next.
Roars filled the air as blasts of lightning flashed and pushed the monsters back. Some of them were dispelled. They sought to close the hole between Sakura and Ronin, to isolate the duo, but Sakura was able to prevent that. Though she would need to act fast. One of the more feral and misshapen creatures leapt at Ronin with wicked, serrated claws, while a bipedal-alligator looking thing sought to sweep Sakura’s feet out from under her and then pummel her while she was defenseless. They had to do their best to keep from being overwhelmed.‘Okayhereyougo-!’
a mildly panicked though perpetually grinning Ronin said, placing one hand on Sakura’s fists while swinging her Reinforcement-barrier-covered blade at the claws of the beast that was attacking her, intent to just keep it off her long enough for the fist-shaped barriers to manifest. ‘Rightdon’topenyourfiststhosebarriersarenotmallable!’
Ronin cried finally before dodging under another swipe and now testing if her magic barriers allowed her sword to cleave the misshapen creature swinging for her. She definitely had to look over to see if anything was approaching Lysandra now-!
Sakura let out a snarl as she quickly.performed an evasive jump to avoid being swept, using her momentum and knowledge of martial arts to rain a hammer blow on the creature attacking Ronin, followed up by a ground lightning strike at the bipedal crocodile.
Ronin would find that there was some resistance to her barrier clad blade, though she would succeed in slashing through and dispelling the beast with additional force. Not efficient, but it worked. Sakura would have a bit more ease, thanks to her lightning magic to boost her power.
This was a good thing, as Ronin would spot Lysandra having finished the second of the four points she needed. Which would have been fine, except she was headed towards a point opposite the duo and completely oblivious of the monsters. Specifically, some big thing with segmented carapaces, like a giant vicious centipede. With arm blades. This one looked like it might be a bit tricky. Especially as it loomed over their charge. ‘Alright, I CAN cut them!’
Ronin exclaimed after her magic barrier on sword apparently worked. Though, then she saw that. Yeah, that needs handling. ‘… Sensei, that one!’
Ronin made a quick estimation of their abilities and figured probably better she dealt with the small fries and Sakura dealt with the giant centipede! That said, Ronin still kicked off a barrier to fly closer to Lysandra, ready to raise barriers, grab the monster’s attention or grab Lysandra to carry her to safety if so was needed…!
Sakura wasted no time into getting in action using her reinforced wrists to redirect the blows from the blade arms back to itself and punching deeply in the joints of the segmented beast, sending shocks all the way. "Alright let's dance you gross noodle!"
Looming tall over her, the beast reared back and prepared to strike Lysandra. For the most part she had been oblivious divining the location for the next marker, but she finally realized her situation as she saw the shadow looming over her. Eyes widened as she prepared to move, only for Ronin to intervene with her barriers.
She could have said something about earning their pay, but Lysandra was much too focused on the task at hand. “I’m close ""to working this out,” she told her bodyguards. “Just a bit longer!” With that she went back to work, deploying the third spoke.
Sakura would find this foe to be a tough one. It was surprisingly fast on its feet for such a big creature, arms swinging at her in wide, sweeping blows. Which would be easy enough to handle, if they were not coming from multiple angles. It roared as Sakura sought to strike the joints, but that ended up being easier said than done for the moment. And with more monsters approaching, Ronin would soon have her own preoccupations.
"Hey, loli." Sakura said. "Can you reinforce cloth?"‘Uh, yes. What for?’
Ronin answered, smiling and working on plans.
"On my signal." Sakura said, as she focused, creating an abundance of frills and ribbons with Eternal style. So many legs meant so many ways to tangle it up. "Now! make that fucker choke on it!"‘Oh, yikes-’
Ronin leapt past Sakura, grabbing the apparently limitless amount of cloth generated through Eternal Style, then skipped on barriers as she enhanced the cloth. There was a lot of it, though. Did enhancement work like her barriers had? Oh, what the heck. She had an idea. She ran on the side of the beast, letting it be focused on Sakura, and then threw unenhanced parts through the creature’s legs. Then, she jolted an enhancement through it, hopefully making it manifest as if physically to it after it had passed through and tightened. Then, one large piece was thrown similarly, hoping to attach around the centipede’s head, leading back to Sakura. ‘Something like that!?’
Sakura would then see to use the assorted clothes to wrangle the creature in hopefully a better striking position.
The centipede shrieked as Ronin and Sakura went to work, entangling it and blinding it. Its limbs thrashed, erratic swipes cutting through the air and threatening potential harm to both girls. It stampeded one way and the other as it tried to throw Ronin off, at least until its legs were immobilized. But they would find that that was only temporary, as ephemeral blades began to cut through the fabric Sakura had created.
Meanwhile Lysandra finished the spike she was working on and moved for the last. Though monsters closed in, she was able to handle herself for the moment with blasts of freezing magic and thrown icicles. Still, her progress was notably slower than before as the amount of foes finally interfered in her efforts.
“Stay still. This will hurt a lot, you fuck noodle!” Sakura gritted her teeth, as she moved towards the head, now that the blades were cutting through the bounds, instead of threatening her and Ronin’s flesh. She then charged a powerful dropkick, electricity crackling on her heel, aimed at the creature’s eyes, with the intention to pierce and fry its brain. “Loli! Get to Lee Sanders!” She urged.
Well, that kinda worked. ‘Yes, sensei!’
Ronin called and spun, kicking herself to end up between Lysandra and the monsters, slicing at whichever ones came closest. She’d use barriers to stop some advancing so she could focus on taking out one or two at a time, using her Martial Training to read the movements of her enemies to keep them at bay. They only needed to hold them off for a little bit longer, maybe, possibly…!
The dropkick was a bit difficult to manage with the thrashing and shifting, but with a yell of determination Sakura’s foot slammed home. Electricity shot through the monster with a loud ‘crack’, and it lost all tangibility before sinking through the floor. It might not be dead, but it was out of the fight at least.
For her part, Ronins interjection would draw much heat from Lysandra, who nodded in approval as she located the precise spot needed and got to work. But all that fancy Martial Training would only go so far as the group of smaller creatures sought to pounce and drag her to the ground by brute force. Could she endure their assault a bit longer?
“Switch, Loli!” Sakura said, as she inhaled breath, to get herself back into rhythm. She eyed her coated fists. “Time to make some more damage!” She said as she charged the smaller creatures with forward flips, and began punching to try and stagger and swat them away from Ronin. There were simply too many to go for the kill but if she could manage an elastic defense by striking opponents out of the way, they would manage… hopefully.
Sakura shouted out to switch, and Ronin rolled backwards to avoid a blow and let Sakura forward flip above her to punch into the enemy Ronin had been about to be pounced by. Ronin got back up on her feet, smiled a bit, and then resumed the protection of Lysandra by cutting at ethereal monsters that were getting too close for comfort. Frankly, she was starting to run low on magic, maintaining the barriers on both her sword and Sakura’s fists, and all that had been happening before that. Still, it was time for teamwork, and she’d help keep the monsters away from Lysandra for a bit longer!
Shrieks filled the air as Sakura clashed with the horde of ravenous monsters, pushing back and doing her best to keep herself from getting outflanked. Ronin helped with that last one, protecting Lysandra too. Sakura would find some success, though she was starting to accrue an unsightly amount of scratches and cuts from slashing fangs and biting teeth.
No doubt she would have gone down too, but she did not. Lysandra finished driving the last spike in, and fished a detonator from the rest of her gear. “This might get a bit bumpy,” she warned her companions. “Here goes nothing!”
With the press of a button a high pitched whine filled the air as the four spikes attuned and directed their vibrations towards the central point. The ground rumbled and the monsters reared back, moments before large cracks lanced up the pillar. Then, with the sound of shattering glass, chunks of the crystal fell away to reveal the glowing object within.
Lysandra wasted little time as she leapt upwards and grabbed the glowing object as it hung in midair. Hopefully it was what she had said it was, and that it lived up to expectations. As she landed, she marshaled her magic and triggered an Overcity Shift. “We’re out of here!”
The trio vanished in a warping of space, leaving behind the monsters that sought to do unspeakable things to them. With the trio departing, the monsters would leave too, slipping back through the wall that had admitted them here in the first place. Monsters snapped and roared their frustration, and a blond girl with rainbow wings giggled maniacally as she sank back through the floor. Peace descended once more.
As for the trio, they appeared in the parking lot of a department store several towns away from Penrose itself. It would be a bit of a trip back, but given how distance worked in the Overcity it wasn’t much of a surprise. Better than being eaten by monsters at least. Lysandra took a deep breath as she relaxed, mentally bracing herself before she made the effort to look at her prize.
Sakura felt the breeze of the city on her stinging wounds, as she looked at Lee Sanders and Ronin, before pulling out a crumpled packet from her waist, and extracting a white tube from it, pressed it against her lips, lighting it with a simple spark before she made a deep inhale as she smoked.
"Bit of a scrap, that one. You did well, loli. Least you're not an entirely fake gaijin pretender." Sakura added, as she looked at Lee Sanders. "So that the stuff thingie, yah? Must be worth a lot."‘Woah, that was a show…’
Ronin sighed out, wincing a bit as they’d come back to their world. Then, sensei praised her, instantly boosting the tiny wannabe samurai’s energy level. ‘Thank you, sensei! You were great, too!’
she immediately said, smiling and bowing to Sakura. Then, attention went to Lysandra, and the item she got.‘Is the shard we were looking for? Is it safe, now?’
Ronin asked, looking curiously at it.
Glancing over at Sakura, Lysandra held back a scowl as she clutched her prize protectively. “Incredibly. Dimensions colliding with anything surviving is very rare. Don’t worry, you’ll get paid fairly.” So long as Sakura didn’t try to steal what they had come to acquire, of course.
Ignoring Ronin for a moment, Lysandra carefully unclenched her hand. Still glowing, a jagged spike laid in her grip, slightly larger than her palm. To call it crystal though would be to undervalue this material. It was captivating to the naked eye, swirling with exotic structures and patterns, a testament to the forces it had been subjected.
“I’ll have to run some tests, but this should be it. We won’t have any more problems,” she confirmed once she had inspected her prize.
"It hurts to look at." Sakura said, as she blew out a bunch of smoke out of her mouth. "Just be careful about that. Run the wrong experiment, and a horror poop is eating some poor bitch's face away." She eventually gave in to her tiredness and squatted on the ground. ‘Well, if something goes wrong, just post another bounty and we, or someone, will be on their way!’
Ronin called, chuckling a little.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Lysandra agreed with a nod. “It was a pleasure working with you.” Judging by how she was positioned when she said it, it was clear that that comment was directed more towards Ronin than Sakura, at least at present. But she left things as they were as she began walking back towards Penrose. The sooner she could begin her tests, no doubt the happier she would be.
Regardless of how one felt about the personalities involved, it had been a successful mission.