Dragon's Den (China - Open)

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#1
February 8th, OE 102
12:11 SDT
Forbidden City
Seal of the Yellow Emperor, "The Unrepeatable Verses"
6:18PM


"L-Lady Oleander!"
"Please reconsider!"
"Archbishop Lao gave explicit instructions not to-"

Protests echoed throughout the dark, ancient cavern beneath the Forbidden City. Esmee Oleander's pale features were lit by the pale flames burning in her palms, one hand turning in harmony with the stone lock on the door before her. The great, shuddering groan that filled the air as it began to open, disgorging a thousand years of dust and decay, was in her mind only accentuated by the gasps of shock and horror from the gathered priests, some of whom were already backing away.

Of course Lao had kept this all to himself, she thought. That man didn't have what it took to control one of the ancient Calamities. He didn't even bother to step into the cockpit of that feline he had cowed into obedience, making it skulk about the fringes while occasionally throwing it a morsel or two - how shameful!

But she was different.

She knew the old ways that he had sought to hide from her, studied laboriously and carefully. No, Lao would never return to their fold - the age of Necromancy, of the cult of death, had begun-

And on this, the eve of her triumph, she would be denied no prize.

Within the darkness, there was movement. The grinding of chains, and the snapping of metal as something massive took a shambling, experimental step forward towards the light. The cries behind her were quickly turning to screams, as a pair of eyes, little lights like hellish pinpricks of crimson, focused on their retreating backs.

Her face burst into a wide, mad grin.

"Hear me, ancient one! Serve me, and you shall feast like never before!" She yelled to it, spreading her arms wide.

The lights flicked down, as if noticing her for the first time. A moment of studious silence followed, as though it were... cogitating, thinking, as it surveyed the Necromancer below, her chest rising and falling with excitement.

A large, shackled hand began to reach from the shadows-



Central Beijing
The Forbidden Palace


A sharp whistle punctured the air as the artillery round, bright as a miniature sun, spiraled over its intended target and blasted apart an office building.

With a grinding of metal, the Randgrith's cannon was altered - just a little too late, as a vibrant, purple-hued claw tore through its front armor as easily as tissue paper, piercing its back. The half-egg shaped form of a cult Jiwen flexed its fingers before tearing them loose, letting the artillery weapon crumble to the earth below as it sparked. Things, the pilot thought, were now just starting to settle down.

Flanking it, and each of its fellows were a pair of familiars, their beady red eyes staring wetly into the gloom as their boulder-encrusted bodies swung blindly into whatever crossed their path. Flames had spread all across the city now, illuminating their unfeeling features in ways that sent shadows dancing across the disciples of Volkruss bodies, as they were invigorated with the dark power of their God, now resurrected in the stars above.

Reinforcements, they knew, would come soon. The thought made the Jiwen's hands twitch irritably, eager to spill even more blood in service to its vile savior.

More.

More blood.

Volkruss Cult Forces:
9x Jiwen
18x Demon Golem
 
Aug 4, 2018
264
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16
Somewhere in the UK
#2
Smoke. Fire. Explosions. But above all that.. fear. It was in the air, and she could practically smell it. An unusual sensation, but the specifics could be dealt with later.

Right now, those people needed help. Needed a saviour. This wasn't a higher calling.. just a lucky coincidence. An irony of sorts. She'd started her tenure with DEI after saving some people against orders. Putting the finall nail in that coffin by doing the exact same thing just felt right.

The Scorpion's engines screamed to life, and An Ares prepared herself for a hunt.



Green light split the sky, a metal comet streaking down from the sky only to crater in front of the Jiwen. Ashley spared a glance for the destroyed Rangrith behind her, not paying it any mind once she was sure the pilot was dead.

She'd used one, once. But that was long ago - a clouded memory of a time no longer relevant. Other things to do beyond sit around trying to remember a time that was. The scaffold edge began to glow, lengthening until it was cleaving through the ground even when sheathed. It was drawn with no flourish, being swiftly aimed at the 'head' of the nearest Jiwen as it continued to grow rapidly. Unless the machine moved, the blade was going to rip through it.


There were monsters. They neeed to die.

Nothing else mattered.
 
Aug 25, 2018
139
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#3
Above the skies of Beijing there was a lone Tausendfuessler. Inside its hold Viggen was admiring the mayhem going on in the city below them. It was such a marvelous, beautiful sight. Humanity's tendency to slaughter each other would always be something to admire. The only thing more admirable was their endless creative cruelty for cruelty's sake.

That was why they were her favorite, why she loved them so. They were the best source of food anyone could ask for. Worse than even the Melior Esse, yet thinking of themselves highly. Such a treat, for humans alone on this planet were capable of making such exquisite scenery like the one they were witnessing right now. Grinning her inhumane grin Viggen hoped she could meet whoever was behind this attack and to introduce them to their lord.

But first, there was work to be done. Like making sure that the magnificent feast that the constant stream of negative energy headed for the moon would become theirs. They really needed to find whoever was behind this gift. The Tausendfuessler's hold opened, and the newly repaired and finished Priscus Nox jumped out of it, holding to its side a container roughly its size, the cargo hold closing immediately after she jumped out of it. There was a warehouse that had once housed mass produced Mobile Weapons directly below her, but she did not crash through the roof. Instead her thrusters steadily slowed her down enough that she landed on the roof gracefully.

Priscus Nox took out a controller that had been attached to the container. She did not understand the need for theatrics such as this, but Huvud would know better. She pressed on the big red button of the controller, and the container immediately opened afterwards. What it was holding inside it wasn't much, it looked like a loudspeaker with an antenna. And yet as it began to hum the entire stream of negative energy that was flowing into the moon...shifted. The machine was diverting the flow of all the energy, changing its end point from the Moon to Fabula Forest at the core of DARC.

Conveniently, the hum of the machine drowned under it a low rumble in the earth around the warehouse.

Ruina forces:
1x Tausendfuessler
Priscus Nox
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#4
"So..."

A voice crackled over the radio to the Fairlions, trying to sound conversational, yet full of a distinct awkwardness that came from someone trying to make a previously concealed fixation public.

"You're the Stardust, right?"

Huh. Guess I wasn't hallucinating after all.

The JakuOhKi descended from the clouds towards the city, Fang now more comfortably clothed in some leftovers that had been lying around the Terra Sentinel base... and generously donated. A little tight around the chest, she had to admit, but beggars couldn't be choosers.

After some hurried introductions, news had come of the bloodshed spreading from Beijing - and, given their proximity, they were some of the few able to respond. With three aerial, highly mobile units, the trip had been quick and relatively painless - even if lunch had needed to be skipped as a consequence. Jakuohki had remained silent - and she somehow had a sense that it would remain as such, now that it had acquired a pilot.

That, she reminded herself, was her, by the way.

What would her colleagues think?

As the group burst through the clouds, the Vermillion Bird pulled up, spreading its wings wide... and surveyed the carnage below.

Everything was aflame. The entire city laid out before her, ravaged indiscriminately. Her home. In the distance, she could even see the proud tower of the University, now with great chunks missing from its sides, as though it had been carved apart in preparation for some monstrous feast. There were no words. Her jaw simply hung open, in stunned silence, at the sheer scale of the devastation.




As the An-Ares appeared, it immediately attracted the attention of the Jiwen and its entourage. Within the cockpit, the Volkruss cultist narrowed his eyes... and licked his lips beneath his hood. Another sacrifice for Volkruss had arrived... But, still.

What was that thing? Some kind of mercenary machine? A one-off model? ...He'd never seen anything quite like it. Well, not that it matt-

Quick.

A mental image came to mind unbidden - a scorpion's stinger whipping through the air, unspeakably fast. Too fast. The Jiwen jinked right - but not fast enough, as the glowing green blade scythed effortlessly through its shoulder armor, neatly severing one of its claws - and pulled taught as it wound about his machine's throat, causing the Spirit Machine to seize up as it fought to stay afloat, black smoke gushing from its arms.

In response, the two Demon Golems flanking it lurched forward as one, bringing heavy fists of rock down with animalistic howls, aiming to smash the An Ares' head and chest with crude - yet no less forceful - strikes.




As the Priscus Nox established its own machine, it wouldn't have to wait long for company of its own. A pair of Jiwens swerved into view, half-egg shaped bodies swinging around burning buildings with a distinct mechanical whine - to the trained senses of the Volkruss Cultists within, the vacuum-like effect was clear as day. Nobody would be permitted to halt Lord Volkruss' ascension!

Twin barrels unfolded from each of their lower bodies - and dispensed a quartet of shrieking, ephermal plasma blasts in the shape of skulls that began to home in on the Ruina weapon. Negative energy infused as they were, the cult's magic was no less dangerous to her than any other - and, to further complicate matters, the forms of four Demon Golems clambering over the rooftops toward her would be an invitation that time was not on Viggen's side.
 
Nov 14, 2018
63
1
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#5
"That's right," Via quickly responded. "Neo Harajuku's guiding light!"
Amelie followed up and said, "The rainbow bridge to the age of peace!"
"Oh! Ah, um-" stammered Momoka. "... I forgot my line..."

Solomon chuckled. "Now girls, leave the introductions for later," he said. "It looks like we've got an encore to do."

- - -

A missile was launched over the city; the slow moving projectile split into several different warheads and exploded into a great cloud of vibrant color as music filled the air of China once more.

Once again, the locale for Stardust's tour had been forcefully changed.


The Fairlions started their performance trailing the Chokijin, wreathing the great machine beast with their crystals and lights. Solomon's Lanze streaked across the sky far above the battlefield. "The transmission's still good and it looks like we've got quite the audience, but we're picking up some kind of feedback," the cyborg producer called over the comms. "Just keep up the good work and I'll see what I can do about that." The idols called out an affirmation in unison.

After enough DEC medium had been dispersed and light and sound sufficiently filled the air, the Fairlions formed up around the Chokijin. "Excuse me, Miss," Momoka shyly transmitted to the woman in the vermillion bird. "I don't mean to impose but... We'd be delighted if you would join us in this performance," she said, "your machine seemed to enjoy the last one... So please, if not for the fans, then for the city."

Sena, likewise, transmitted a message to the Regelior. "That goes for you too. You're a heck of a pilot to have tried to take on that fish on your own; you've got a heart for protecting, I can tell," the cat woman said. "So how about it? Mind helping us clean up here?"
 
Last edited:
Aug 4, 2018
264
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Somewhere in the UK
#6
Ashley's blade stopped once it was fully piereced through, and while a single swipe would probably have ended its life.. she didn't even twitch. There was a small tilt of her machine's head. Nothing else. She'd killed manned machines and DAMONs before without any hesitation, but the newcomer was something she didn't entirely understand. It was enough to give her pause - at least until she figured out how to kill it properly.

"What the hell are you?"

An Ares's shoulder exploded into a fine red mist as the first strike hit home, the impact finally giving Ashley the nudge she needed to leap back from her attackers. This ripped the scaffold edge out of the Jiwen. Not that it mattered. What seemed to be mist began to settle on the trio of machines as she took flight, moving out of range before beginning to hover in midair.

She didn't truly understand what they were, but their function was simple enough. All her hatred and all of her anger... echoing out through the cloud of nanomachines. Every bit of resentment she tried to keep bottled up - before you added in the Sphere's own feelings on the matter. Unleashing them at will was something Ashley hadn't quite figured out yet, but as a byproduct they seemed... helpful?

To her, anyway. Anything in the cloud would be faced with a cloud of machines burning away at their armour - and a relentless sound that bored into the pilot's brain. Sounds of death, of screeching cries of last words. Enough to drive them into a frenzy, ignoring all concept of ally or enemy.

Some little part of her insisted on a controlled test. To sit back and watch how the monsters reacted to this new stimulus. But every moment wasted was another potential life lost. So instead she set her eyes on a second trio, leaving a glittering trail of red mist behind her as she picked out a new target.
 
Aug 25, 2018
139
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#7
With a final rumble the land fell silent. Viggen ignored the Demon Golems headed her way, they were not an issue. Still on top of the warehouse Priscus Nox spun out of the Jiwens' projectiles' way, pulling the ever-important machine with her to ensure its safety. Easy to miss, the two spikes connected to Priscus Nox's shoulders shot to the sky during the evasive maneuver, disappearing behind the cloud cover. There they advanced towards one of the Jiwens until they were above it. There, they began to crackle with electricity, stray bolts shooting in random directions, until despite the twenty or so meters separating them currents of lightning connected the two. And then, like the divine judgement of a cruel god, massive dark lightning bolts struck the area between the two spikes, crashing down on the Jiwen below.

Up in the skies, half a dozen missile pods opened on the Tausendfuessler's left wing, launching themselves at the direction of the other Jiwen. As they got closer, a light in front of the Tausendfuessler lit, revealing the jiwen with a violet spotlight. Immediately, the rockets fixed their trajectories to accurately trail after the target.

Yet there was plenty more remaining on the Tausendfuessler, waiting for targets.

Then there was pain. Viggen's body seemed to explode with pain as the infernal noise referred to as 'music' began to blare, loudly proclaiming the idols' arrival to the stage of despair and death. With a growl she shook her head to concentrate once more, shaking away the unpleasant disturbance. After the initial surprise, while uncomfortable the pain and nausea was bearable.

For a brief moment, her eyes wandered towards the Tausendfuessler supporting her. The Miles captain was certain to be neutralized for longer by the damned thing.




Sigrid's breath quickened, getting heavier and heavier. Soon she was panting, feeling like her throat was closing in on her as her body was drenching itself in cold sweat as she witnessed the hell that waited below. Desperately clamping down on her senses Sigrid went to move forward, stubbornly ignoring the heavily trembling hands. Yet it only got worse and worse the more she pushed herself. But blessedly, right as the overwhelming dread was driving her completely catatonic something cut through the overwhelming force weighing down on her. A song, Like star shining its light down on the dark night it cut through, reaching down to her, easing it just a bit.

Enough that she could breathe, taking a deep breath. Had to breathe. Breathing was important, essential. Focus on the music as well, only the music and breathing. Nothing else mattered. Music was good, she could handle it. In. And out.

Slowly, as she breathed and immersed herself in the music it eased. Not gone, never gone, but enough.

"R-right." Her voice quivered. "Must help."

Breathe. Immerse in the music.
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#8
"P-p-p-perform? M-me? W-with Stardust!?"

Fang's previous grief seemed to dissolve into a collection of slurred syllables, feeling the heat rise in her features. Vague childhood memories of having to play the piano and sing to relatives, as per Shanghai standard, attempted to gain a renewed foothold in her conscious mind, as well as the accompanying embarrassment. Somehow she managed to stammer out a reply that wobbled up and down, from baritone to falsetto.

"B-but I can't dance, I can't s-sing - well, n-not like you-"

The Professor's awkward stuttering was, perhaps thankfully, interrupted by the affirmative screech of Jakuohki, a bolt of flame bursting energetically over its head like a firework. The response was clear:

Light the way.




The tethered blade ripped back through the shoulder of the Jiwen with a spray of sparks and a mechanical whine, causing the machine to jerk unevenly as oil mixed in the streets. The cultist struggled with the controls, bringing it back under control, adjusting his ritual under his breath, a command for the Golems to defend him. Just as the HUD stopped whining incessantly, and he gave a sigh of relief, he happened to glance back at the main monitor-

Just in time to see the craggly fist of a Demon Golem filling his vision.

There was a horrible CRASH of shattering metal as the Jiwen's bodyguard dealt a haymaker blow that could have crushed a lesser machine in an instant, caving the bladed Spirit Machine's head in. It weakly raised its arms in protest - only for the now crimson-hued Golems to start rhythmically, mercilessly, furiously slamming their arms into the machine.

The Nanomachines from the Scorpion, having filled the simple constructs minds, was already working its magic, imparting only a tiny fraction of Ashley's own inner self to their crude, servile personas.

Hate, they had not known before, dullards that they were - yet as they breached the core of the Jiwen, blood mixing with oil and coolant on their hands as they ripped into the soft underbelly, they felt... something, perhaps.

Joy, in the destruction of another.

The Neutrino generator of the Jiwen lit up with seemingly infinite brightness before the An Ares before detonating like a miniature sun, enveloping the two Demon Golems with it. When the brightness had cleared... a crater was all that remained, and the occasional clink as a small chunk of superheated metal bounced off her machine.

As the An Ares skirted across the battlefield, swerving through the seemingly identical city streets of Shangai, as it came closer to the Forbidden City the acridness in the air would have worsened, thick, black smoke pouring from something up ahead. Were she to slow, she would have beheld a curious sight.

A Jiwen floated backwards haphazardly, pouring smog from the section where its arm had been. The pilot was trying to say something, but over the din of the city, it wasn't even remotely audible-

All she would have seen next, was the large, bulky hand that reached out, ensconed in what looked like ornate bronze gauntlets, the oversized digits closed about the Jiwen's head and torso as easily as if it were plucking a plumb- And with contemptuous ease, tore it free of its skirt armor, pulling the pilot and machine out of view. For a moment or two, there was a distant noise - like the grinding of metal and meat, meshing together in some great, industrial cat-food maker. It was the sort of noise one did not easily forget, the kind that emerged in the late hours of the night to torment one's sense of security, hearkening back to a sort of primal fear that had never been truly shed.

After this brief interlude, the hand rematerialized, clasping the corner of a building as something truly ghastly pulled itself into view, body slinking low to the ground with all the deadly grace of an apex predator.

Its body was encased in white, shell-like armor plates, curled around bulging, muscular limbs that were a strange purple hue, its entire gait seemingly permanently balanced on the end of its toes in anticipation. All of these were secondary, however, to the face.

A vaguely humanoid face with crimson-hued slit eyes was set in dull bronze, nestled between a pair of large tusks, their tips already sullied and blackened with the day's work. The monster regarded An Ares with a kind of inhuman intellect - there was intelligence lurking beneath those eyes, over its thin-set mouth. Those who had looked upon it would have struggled to recollect exactly what it resembled - some said an ape, others a lizard of some kind, even more an oxe - but none could ever forget that expression.

Within the Chokijin's cockpit, Esmee Oleaner, acting Archbishop of the Cult fanned herself as the An Ares came up on screen. Honestly, it felt almost as if she barely had to do any work at all with this beast - truly, she could see why Lao had kept it sealed away, hidden to all but himself! This power...! The power of the ancients!

Now, it was all hers!

"Oh? What have we here...?" She cooed,

"Isn't that the Institute reject?"

Her mocking laugh echoed from TouTetsuOh as its mouth slowly widened into a murderous grin, exposing twin rows of molars stained crimson with blood, and riddled with the viscera of its many victims that day. It had been a good feast, it thought to itself...

And there was still so much more to come.




Viggen's dark lightning bolts came crashing down, pulverizing the space around the closest Jiwen. Evidently surprised, it floundered in the air for a moment, rocking back and forth as the tempest buffeted it - and then detonated, as the bolt of dark lightning impacted its chest, thundering clean through the unit. In response, its two Demon Golems drew to an immediate halt, still as stone statues - until the missiles from the DARC vessel plowed into their unresisting forms, turning them back into little more than the rubble from which they had been spawned.

The other Jiwen faired better than its compatriot - as it advanced, it slowed slightly, allowing the Demon Golems to take the lead, uttering chanted invocations to strengthen their construction as they closed the gap. Missiles slammed into the constructs surface, smashing apart the bottom legs of one, dropping it into a crawling, bellowing torso that pulled itself along the ground - but the damage had been done.

Now as it closed in on the Priscus Nox, the claws on the Jiwen lit up brightly, flexing in anticipation - before it leapt forward in a final burst of speed, bringing one arm around in a whip-like fashion, slashing across the Nox's face, intending to blind it. The still-intact Demon Golem, for its part, drew to a halt not far from the two combatants. Its chest swelling, it slammed its fists into the ground, emitting a roar of prana-infused force straight up at the vessel's wings. While not enough to penetrate the armor of the DARC transport, it would be more than enough to rock it in the air, crude waves of force slamming into the underside would - at the very least - force the vessel to re-adjust, or at worst, be sent crashing into the city below.
 
Last edited:
Nov 14, 2018
63
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#9
"Right! Formation E major," came Sena's authoritative voice, "and don't let up!"

The Fairlions, lead by the Faecried, spiraled out in front of Jakuohki as they flew forward; the vermillion chokijin followed closely behind. As the Fairlions danced through the air, the various armor plates that formed the units' "uniform" shifted and swiveled out to reveal several helical patterned cylinders. The Idols now formed up in a V, the myriad tubes all gyrated slightly as they aimed down at the monstrous enemies below.

Soaring gracefully behind, Jakuohki unfurled its magnificent wings and a great red light enveloped them like fire. The intense power radiated across the sparkling atmosphere and bathed the Fairlions and the surrounding air in a shimmering crimson aurora. As the chokijin formed up with the small squadron, it appeared to wait on their mark.

"Like stars in the darkness!" Called Via.

"Shine on and sing!" The group responded.

"Galaxy wave!"

The myriad Roll Cannons across the formation of Fairlions loosed their payloads in a rain of screaming, shining spirals streaming down at the various golems that prowled the streets. Meanwhile, the stoic, radiant chokijin flapped its great wings forwards, causing dervishes of vermillion light that coalesced into giant wisps of pointed, feather-like flames. With a flourish of its hand, Jakuohki sent the flaming plumage hurtling down upon the cult's Jiwen's, the fiery lights joining the Fairlions' rainbow colored shower of light and metal.
 
Aug 4, 2018
264
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16
Somewhere in the UK
#10
They felt it. They understood it. Ashley allowed herself a second to smile - the venom freed them long enough to destroy their master. Just as it had for her. An Ares began to fix itself, the destroyed shoulder beginning to reform with a light green glow. Seemingly growing from nothing, but of a visibly different material to the rest of the Ares.

She was ready to strike out at the next Jiwen to cross her path, but something else got to it first. Darkness.. a hand.. a thing. Monstrous like she'd never seen before. DAMONs were one thing, but this? This? Ashley stopped in her tracks, staring up at TouTestuOh's form in abject horror. Her dreams of power vanished in a puff of smoke - how was she going to protect people from something this powerful?

"You're.."

Mocking me.

The thought hit her like a slap, jolting Ashley back into reality as laughter echoed around her. It wasn't just her any more. The Scorpion was listening, Oleander's taunt hitting it in much the same way. But with a far more violent reaction. An Ares's visible eye flashed red and it leapt back, whirling the scaffold edge around until it was visible only as a glowing disk.

"They didn't reject me."


"I REJECTED THEM!"

Machine and Pilot lashed out as one, the Scaffold edge lengthening and shrinking almost at random as she sliced wildly in TouTetsuOh's direction. It wasn't precisely directed at the Chokijin, more aimed in its general direction. The blade cared not for what it struck - cleaving through buildings and reducing ruins to rubble with a flurry of erratic strikes.