Cherry Blossom Procession 4 6d

[18:16] <AdEvaGM> [Paris-2.-
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> [A moment ago, she'd been in battle, but now she was here. She knew what had happened- Albus had succeeded at whatever it was he was going to do.-
[18:17] <AdEvaGM> [Now she was trapped inside a mental world.-
[18:19] <AdEvaGM> [Before her was Saint Louis School. The gates were closed; standing in front of them was a silver-skinned woman clad in a diaphanous white gown.]
[18:22] * Yanmei locked her jaws together to prevent herself from screaming at the sky.
[18:22] <Yanmei> -
[18:33] <Yanmei> Eventually, after a few long moments, her rage ebbed long enough for her to consider her surroundings properly. Suss out what was happening. Thoughts started to form. Was there a way out? There had to be a way out. Deep breath. She trudged toward the woman. Fists clenched and unclenched. She was investigating and nothing else just yet. She couldn't afford any more ridiculously preventable
[18:33] <Yanmei> mistakes.
[18:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Welcome." Said the woman, giving Yanmei a small curtsey. She looked kind of familiar in the face. Like she might be one of Yanmei's relatives…]
[18:39] <Yanmei> "Hello… friend." She realized she was speaking through clenched teeth. It took another mental shake to adopt a more natural approach. "Who would you be, exactly?"
[18:45] <AdEvaGM> ["I am… An impression." Said the impression. "A vision of your soul's oldest memories. Scrutinising one's soul can be dangerous, and so I am here to guide you."]
[18:47] <Yanmei> "Why am I scrutinizing my soul? I have to get out of here so I can cut him up properly!"
[18:50] <AdEvaGM> ["Perhaps because he is connecting to it somehow. Or perhaps he is already within?"]
[18:52] <Yanmei> "How can I be sure that you're on my side and not on his?"
[18:53] <AdEvaGM> ["I am from your memory, not his."]
[18:55] <Yanmei> "So… I should remember you? If I do this soul scrutinizing thing?"
[18:56] <AdEvaGM> ["If that is what you want."]
[18:57] <AdEvaGM> ["But I do not think I am your goal. Your goal is stopping the intruder, correct?"]
[19:04] <Yanmei> "That's right?" She looked beyond the school gates. "And I need to do it quickly, too."
[19:05] <AdEvaGM> ["There is someone in here that can help you…"-
[19:05] <AdEvaGM> [The gates swung open.]
[19:10] * Yanmei nodded her appreciation and stepped inside… cautiously. Still not completely convinced that this wasn't a trap, she gave the woman one last glance over her shoulder.
[19:11] <AdEvaGM> [The woman followed Yanmei in.-
[19:15] <AdEvaGM> [Saint Louis. The last time she'd been here, it had been with Isaiah… A little getaway date, during what felt like some of the darkest days of the Federation.-
[19:16] <AdEvaGM> [Saint Louis. It had been important, once. Steadily less as the years went by. But there had been friends here. Memories… In many ways, a place which started many of the branches of her life in France.-
[19:19] <AdEvaGM> [She moved past the early years buildings and into the upper school courtyard.-
[19:19] <AdEvaGM> [And there, standing in front of their old classroom- was Isaiah.]
[19:29] <Yanmei> He startled her into stopping. It had been so quiet that she hadn't even thought about running into old classmates, present lovers or constant friends. "H-hey."
[19:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Yanmei… Are you ok?"]
[19:42] <Yanmei> "Yes? No. Yes." She searched his face. How much dud he already know? "You just surprised me a little…"
[19:44] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah… Yeah, there's a bit of that at the moment."-
[19:44] <AdEvaGM> ["Yanmei, you're in danger. But I think I can help you."]
[15:24] <Yanmei> "Just seeing you here is a big help?" She smiled gently at him.
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Thanks." He said, scratching the back of his neck shyly for a moment.-
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["… Listen. Albus is going to try to damage you from inside yourself. He's not going to fight you personally- he'll just draw out monsters already inside you to rip you apart. But I think I can help, but it won't come easy…"]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "What did you have in mind?"
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["We can use the libido effect to reinforce you. But we need to strengthen the effect temporarily. To do that, though…"-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["You know how in soul metaphysics, splitting a soul is supposed to cause a massive energy burst?"]
[15:38] <Yanmei> "Yes," she said slowly, cautiously.
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["We're going to perform soul fission, but on a microscopic scale. It should be enough to reinforce the libido effect. You'll need to… Lose something, though."]
[15:42] * Yanmei looked worried. "This sounds kind of dangerous?"
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["It is kind of dangerous. But we're running out of time…"]
[16:17] <Yanmei> "Okay, okay," she took a deep breath. "What should I lose? I think… Ok, let's just do it?"
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["Okay. I love you."]
[16:20] <Yanmei> "I love you too. Victory kisses when I get home, ok?" She winked at him.
[16:33] <Minaplo> [He gave her his own little smile.-
[16:34] <Minaplo> [Something in the world around them cracked. It was impossible to describe with any sort of specificity. It was as though a background sound- one Yanmei had heard for her whole life, and thus had blocked out- had suddenly changed, a discordant note that drew her attention inexorably toward it.-
[16:34] <Minaplo> [The soul guide flickered a little.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> [And then Yanmei saw a shadow cross her path. A shadow cast by something behind her. Something tall, angular, and spindly.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> [It was coming through the school gate.]
[16:40] <Yanmei> Yanmei's expression had changed rapidly in just a few brief moments. From shock and sadness, back to her default, and now it shifted again, tensing, that breathless urgency from before rising up at full blast again. She whirled around, bracing herself. "Him again?!"
[16:42] <Minaplo> [It glided through the school gates, its skin silky sleek black, its face a white mask with empty eyes and a wide grin. In its hands was Excalibur.-
[16:42] <Minaplo> [The Marionette.]
[15:46] <Yanmei> A short, wordless hiss escaped between Yanmei's teeth. On instinct, she took a few measured steps backward. "Albus picked a pretty good inner demon to start off with? Isaiah, you need to bail out. Like, right now."
[15:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Are you sure?"]
[15:53] <Yanmei> "I'd rather I know you're someplace where you can't get hurt, you know?"
[15:56] <AdEvaGM> ["But…"]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "Even if you're at a distance, the Libido effect should work, right?"
[15:58] <AdEvaGM> ["I suppose so, but-"-
[15:58] <AdEvaGM> [He grit his teeth. "Be careful!"]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "Of course I will." She gave him one last smile to ease his worries a bit.
[16:02] <AdEvaGM> [He vanished.-
[16:03] <AdEvaGM> [The Marionette shot toward her, bringing its own blade- Excalibur- in a long arc down toward her head.]
[16:12] * Yanmei dodged. Tried to. The Marionette was so damned fast! Would she make it?
[16:12] <AdEvaGM> [The sword clipped her shoulder, causing a shallow cut.-
[16:13] <AdEvaGM> [It was enough to topple Yanmei as she dodged, turning it into a wild dive. She dashed herself against the ground.-
[16:13] <AdEvaGM> [Someone stood above her. But it wasn't the Marionette.-
[16:13] <AdEvaGM> [The spirit guide lowered something toward her. Something she realised she didn't have: a weapon. It was the Imperial Herald.]
[16:17] * Yanmei snatched it up. No time for words of gratitude or a moment to grapple with her complicated feelings about Herald itself. It was a weapon, and a damn good one. She rolled to her feet.
[16:20] <AdEvaGM> [Marionette lunged at her, Excalibur moving too fast for her to simply duck away from.]
[16:24] <Yanmei> So she had to deflect it, digging her heels against the floor and swinging the Imperial Herald out to meet Excalibur.
[16:30] <AdEvaGM> [The two blades locked together, the Marionette straining against Yanmei.-
[16:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Why are you fighting me?" Asked Marionette. "Don't you want me? Aren't you tired of always holding back against insult and incursion, one after the other?"]
[16:35] <Yanmei> "Sh-shut up! You already know why!" -
[16:36] <Yanmei> Yanmei managed a side step, briefly unlocking Herald and swinging it again.
[16:37] <AdEvaGM> [Herald slashed it across the chest, causing it to stumble backwards, its legs bending backwards as it absorbed the impact. A line of black ichor dripped from its wound.-
[16:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Aren't you the destroyer?" Said the Marionette, raising Excalibur, which burst into black flames. "Why don't you destroy them?"]
[16:43] <Yanmei> "Shut up!" She slashed again, frantically, before it could bring the flaming sword down on her, her voice taking on a slightly high, manic pitch. "I can't just do whatever I want!"
[16:49] <AdEvaGM> [The blade slashed through Marionette's fingers.-
[16:49] <AdEvaGM> [Excalibur dropped to the ground between them.-
[16:49] <AdEvaGM> [The Marionette raised its hand, staring pensively down at the oozing stumps that were its fingers.-
[16:51] <AdEvaGM> ["So you do the 'right' thing? And what is left when you're right?" It wiped its hand across its mask, leaving inky streaks of ichor across the white porcelain. "How many have died because you weren't powerful enough to protect them?"-
[16:53] <AdEvaGM> ["You were a master of an Ever-Slaying Sword once." Said the Marionette. "In a time past, when the loss of whole worlds were considered acceptable collateral in exchange for the rest of existence. Watcher was powerful, then, and nothing was more important than your duty! Embrace the return of those ancient days! The memories are still inside you! Accept me, and learn how mighty you once were!"-
[16:54] <AdEvaGM> ["Accept me, if only to save those who have no idea of what is coming."]
[17:02] <Yanmei> This time, Yanmei aimed a slash at the grinning, streaked mask.
[17:04] <AdEvaGM> [The Herald cut straight through the mask, from top to bottom.-
[17:06] <AdEvaGM> [Marionette stumbled onto its knees. The left side of its mask fell, a sludgy dollop of ichor still connecting the mask to its face.-
[17:07] <AdEvaGM> [The spirit guide patted Yanmei on the shoulder.]
[17:08] * Yanmei started at the touch and jerked her head up to stare at her with wild eyes.
[17:10] <AdEvaGM> [The hand was no longer silver- now it was gold.-
[17:11] <AdEvaGM> [The guide was halfway between an apparently excruciating metamorphosis, its face twisted into a grimace of pain. The rest of its body was giving way to gold- golden armour, and the frame of an Iron Guard.]
[17:15] * Yanmei stared. Then let out a short bark of a laugh. She stood abruptly, and stepped forward, thrusting Herald at the transforming figure's heart.
[17:20] <AdEvaGM> ["What are you laughing at?" Asked the spirit, its voice a tortured mix of the guide's own and Albus's.]
[17:21] <AdEvaGM> [The Herald passed straight through its chest, causing no apparent damage.]
[17:28] <Yanmei> "I should have seen it coming? How long have you been there, Albus? The whole time? Did you make up the Libido thing too?" She tried another stabbing.
[17:30] <AdEvaGM> [Albus grabbed the sword.-
[17:31] <AdEvaGM> ["No. That was… New." Said Albus. "No matter. I'll soon have what I came for-"-
[17:32] <AdEvaGM> [The sky turned to brilliant, blazing night. This took Albus by surprise.]
[17:34] <Yanmei> It took Yanmei by surprise as wel… for a moment. She lunged, dropping her grip on the Herald and grabbing at the fallen Excalibur instead.
[17:38] <AdEvaGM> [Albus lunged as well, a split second after Yanmei grabbed the sword; he grabbed her wrist and pinned her down.-
[17:38] <AdEvaGM> ["No, you fool! Let go of it! It belongs to me!"]
[17:44] <Yanmei> "Says who?! You can screw right off with that!" She tried igniting it the way she had earlier, on the battlefield outside of the Dorian.
[17:45] <AdEvaGM> [The sword burst into flame.-
[17:45] <AdEvaGM> [With his other hand, Albus grasped around for a weapon- and found the broken half of the Marionette's mask. He picked it up, turned the sharp edge toward Yanmei, and slashed at her face with it.]
[17:52] * Yanmei screamed. Half-blind, she writhed, but she still refused to let go of the flaming Excalibur. Instead, she fed her rage into it, trying to will an impressive fireblast from it.
[17:53] <AdEvaGM> [The sword burst furiously, a rolling wave of fire spreading in all directions. Albus shrieked.-
[17:56] <AdEvaGM> [His body was burning away now, but he still had his hand. He plunged the mask into Yanmei's chest with a howl of rage.]
[18:08] <Yanmei> More pain! And blood! And a certain worrying numbness through the lower half of her body. Shock…? Yanmei curled up, still gripping the thing, trying to twist free of him.
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> [And with that, he was knocked off.-
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> [He rolled away, leaping to his feet. The fire was consuming him ravenously.-
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> [But in his hand he clutched the bloody mask.-
[18:16] <AdEvaGM> ["Damn you! Damn-"-
[18:17] <AdEvaGM> [A blue light gleamed for a moment, from every direction.-
[18:17] <AdEvaGM> [Albus froze.-
[18:17] <AdEvaGM> ["No-"-
[18:18] <AdEvaGM> [And then he quickly vanished into nothing- taking the mask's piece with him as he went.-
[18:18] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei was alone.-
[18:18] <AdEvaGM> [After a few seconds, she realised that. Alone. Completely alone. She could no longer feel Isaiah.]
[18:26] <Yanmei> She tried to get ahold of herself. Rocked on her knees a little, gasping and panting, clutching at her chest wound. Isaiah was gone…? What did that mean? Was it- Albus. This was all his fault. It was her fault too, but it was also his. -
[18:31] <Yanmei> Fury and terror began to whip around inside of her like a storm, brushing aside her feeble self-soothing rationalizations and spinning a mantra in her head that became louder and louder as the seconds ticked by. Make him pay. Make him pay. MAKE HIM PAY.
[18:32] <AdEvaGM> [The world around her turned black. All she could see was the flame of Excalibur, burning darkly in the void.]

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