A/N: the knights haven't introduced themselves properly yet, but I'm getting tired of referring to them by color. In the same vein, everyone will be called by name, despite the fact they haven't introduced themselves properly yet. It saves the hassle.
YAY! I'm a Notable TvTropes Referencer! This chapter has been bought to you by: TvTropes! Ruining your life since 2004! I still intend to be referenced on as many pages there for as many of my fics as possible! Please help me, as it feels like cheating if I do it myself. I need to catch up with S'Tarkan! TvTrope it, dattebayo!
Also bought to you by the nice people over at Drunkards Walk! Not only does the name remind me of a forbidden area in my old school, they're so nice to mention some of my works, most especially this one! And so, I'm doing my part to get them more traffic! With specific special thanks to: Jorlem, Drakensis, Paladindythe, yesilmavi, Rob Kelk, Florin, Stephen Mann, Foxboy, and Necratoid. Because I quite understand the thrill of having people talk about you where other people can read it and be interested. Drunkards Walk it, dattebayo!
Oh, and please also tell me what you thought of the new and updated last chapter, 'kay? Now, if you'll excuse me, aside from this, I need to work on my Harry Potter fics, Raikiri Triken, and a couple of new fics about Kaiba Mokuba getting Raging Heart (yes, you read that right. Yes, if you think it's a cool idea, I was probably going to put it in at some point. Yes, Seto decides to build a Destructive Burst Stream Cannon of his own because he's jealous of little brother's Starlight Breaker), and a Wheel of Time Fic where Min gets Raging Heart and adopts Fate as her daughter while Olver becomes the new master of the Wolkenritter. I'm on a Nanoha kick, so sue me. Gwen Tennyson with Raging Heart, Saotome Haruna with the Book of Darkness, Tomoyo with Raging Heart (or maybe Kaleido Sapphire), BATMAN with the Book of Darkness (the shear cute possible terrifies me, so I want to write it)…
Takamachi Nanoha of 2814
by Shadow Crystal Mage
Chapter 8: The Linker Cores War, Part 2: First Casualties or "Negi Will Now Need EVEN MORE Therapy"
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story, except maybe one in the Omakes. If I did, this would all be canon…
It was the red-clad girl who spoke, eyes looking wide, teeth barred in the kind of grin that eats boats. "Linker Cores…"
Such power… Signum said to her fellow knights, her calm, flat gaze roamed across the assembled forces, lingering on Eternal Sailor Moon. That girl alone could fill thirty pages. Perhaps thirty-five…
Thirty-five… Vita said, hands tightening on Graf Eisen. Thirty-five pages…
None looked up at the enemy barrier. None looked at each other. They came to an agreement anyway.
Shamal, document all these mages for future harvesting, Signum said. This might just have been our lucky night
Despite his seeming invulnerability, Superman has many exploitable weaknesses. Many of these are a product of… well, humanity, or at least his desire to be a person, rather than, say, an avatar of righteous justice. Others, like Kryptonite and magic, are of a more technical nature. Still, lacking these two, the former weaknesses are the ones most regularly exploited.
An example of such weaknesses is this: although Superman is able to perceive, react to things, and move in a hyper-accelerated fashion– what the popular media call Superspeed– this is only when he actively wishes to, or when exertion has released the Kryptonian-equivalent of adrenaline. At rest, his perceptions are only slightly elevated above human normal, peaking below the level of, say, a highly paranoid, specially trained individual who might employ a motif based on an echo-locating flying mammal.
Another perceived weakness– by those who do not share his merciful views– is his tendency not to use lethal force. This makes him careful, and in high speed, high power situations against individuals of unknown resilience, makes him hesitate.
These two weaknesses combined were what it took for a suddenly speeding Vita to surprise him, her hammer swinging upward in a high arc and striking him in the chest. Her magic hammer.
Technical weakness number two came into play, the kinetic energy of the blast piercing through his invulnerability and sending him crashing into the next building over.
Vita didn't have time to be satisfied, however, before a crackling streak of white suddenly attacked her.
Negi Springfield's Raiten Taisou 2 configuration of Magia Erebea, however, shares none of these weaknesses. His fists struck Vita at least three times before she managed to raise a protective barrier. Two more punches were all it took to break that down. Vita's teeth clenched as electrified punches suddenly began to rain on her, her hammer swining as she tried to counterattack, using her airborne maneuverability as well as she could despite Negi's attempts to force her down…
The others were busy as well. Yuuno tried to bind the other two, resorting to his magic rather than his new ring out of familiarity. Fate held back, not wanting to be caught in the area of effect. The two Wolkenritter managed to evade the glowing chains, however, their melee combat-orientation holding them in good stead. Those surrounding them charged forward to engage.
It immediately became obvious that 12 to one odds in melee came with problems.
The Outer Senshi found themselves unable to use their highly destructive attacks, lest they hit any allies, and those with oversized weapons, such as Setsuna, Asuna and Kaede were unable to utilize them for the same reason. Despite this, Kotaro charged on ahead, fingernails lengthening into claws as he, Fei and Arf attacked Zafira, while Kaleido Sapphire– Miyu– Excalibur in her hands, and Sailor Uranus, Space Sword ready, closed on Signum. The others held back, waiting for an opening. Rin, Luvia, Konoka, Yua and Nodoka, with their smaller spells, took quick pots shots at the Wolkenritter as often as possible, while Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus moved to protect Mercury and Green Lantern at Eternal Sailor Moon's urging.
An imaginary design of a smile traced itself on Signum's lips, the lips themselves never changed their calm placidity. "Insufficient," she said as she batted away the butter-knife-like weapon, spinning in a kick to the Senshi's gut as she used Laevatein to guard against Excalibur. A flicker of movement was all the warning she had to dodge, Bardiche's scythe form nearly taking her out as Fate rejoined the attack.
Zafira too was holding his own, but the fight was less elegant and more elemental, with punches and kicks striking from both sides. White spikes rose like flowers, but his enemies were good enough to not be impaled, though much blood was drawn.
Abruptly, the two Wolkenritter changed tactics, suddenly shooting up into the sky. Immediately, Setsuna, Fate, Yuuno, Arf, Illya and Miyu shot into the air, weapons drawn. The sound of weapon's clashing began anew
"Now's our chance, everyone!" Rin cried, pointing upward. "Now, while they're in the open! Let's hit them with everything we've got!"
People were more than happy to comply.
Spells and attack screamed upwards and downwards as they tried to catch the Knight in a crossfire. Some of the attacks struck Yuuno's barrier as they rose, and it shivered slightly.
Suddenly, a giant green cylinder appeared in the sky, its shape seeming to be shake and wobble like jello. Never the less, the giant ring construct, weak and painfully amateurish as it was quickly surrounded the two aerial enemies, beginning to constrain their movement. They had to move faster and more frantically as they tried to avoid the attacks, many times needing to resort to directly shielding themselves.
"Yes!" Asuna cried. "There's no way they can escape now! Negi, use one of your thunder spells! Hit 'em with Thousand Bolts! One good hit should take them down! Negi, where are you?-!-?"
Ala Alba looked about frantically, realizing they'd lost sight of Negi and Vita in the ensuing confusion.
"Nodoka, your Artifact!" Yue said. "See if there's any clue to where he is!"
Nodoka tilted her head as her reading ear spoke, and paled. "He's in trouble! There'd doing something to him, something painful! He can't move!"
"WHAT?" Ala Alba cried.
Negi stared down in pained surprise at the bloody hand extending from his chest, cupping a glowing light. Above him, Vita knelt, holding him down and quiet as best as she could amidst the ruined interior of another building. Graf Eisen dripped with the mage's blood, and several penetrative injuries stood testament to the beating Negi had taken.
Astonishing! Shamal said. There are several abnormalities, likely a result of however he uses his magic, but overall, he's even more powerful than the girl who wounded me. Twenty seven pages at most. Almost finished.
About time, Vita responded. Even without that magic boost he was using, he's feisty. He's still trying to get me off. Probably good knight material.
Hurry, Signum's calm, unruffled voice said, despite the highly violent things Vita could hear being attempted on her person. We cannot maintain this distraction forever.
There, Shamal said. Done. I believe I can do one more before. It is quite fortunate that these new arrivals do not possess barrier jackets.
Vita didn't wait, striking the ceiling and lightly burying the young mage in rubble. She'd been lucky to separate him from the others so Shamal could take his Linker Core, and strange or mutated or whatever it was, it was obviously sufficient to the task of filling the Book of Darkness's pages. Still, she limped slightly as she beat a hasty retreat. She hoped the bruises wouldn't show too much. She didn't want Hayate to worry.
Positioning herself under her target, she loaded a cartridge into Graf Eisen…
Eternal Sailor Moon had no warning. The portion of the roof she was standing on suddenly broke apart, and she found herself falling into empty space. A couple of floors had already passed her by before she was suddenly tackled sideways, knocking the breath out of her and killing her scream before it could even be born. The cries of her friends realizing she was missing had only just begun.
Vita gave her another hit as a precaution, holding her down as Shamal did that trick of her with the Mirror of Travels one last time.
Incredible… Shamal said as the girl began to jerk and convulse as the Book of Darkness drained her. Signum was being pessimistic in her assessment. There's at least forty pages worth in her, perhaps mo–
Abruptly, Shamal's hand convulsed, and hastily drew back.
I've been located, Shamal's said. The distraction is over. Best we go.
Agreed, Signum said. Initiating escape.
Above, the barrier shattered…
Lindy's fist struck her armrest in a rare fit of temper as the Wolkenritter escaped. "Darn it!" she said. Annoyed as she was, she was also conscious of the need to keep her language clean around her son. It was probably a futile wish, but a mother could dream, couldn't she? "Send a medical team there on the double! Start arranging preparations for the necessary medical treatment in the main office! And see if you can send a message to Oa, inform them that Green Lantern-chan has been injured but we're tending to her. I'm not sure about their command structure, but this should let them know at least, if Green Lantern misses a report that's scheduled."
Below, Amy and the people under her command struggled to get a tracking lock on the escaping Knights, but to no avail. Lindy heard Amy's frustration as the locks broke completely, making them lose track of the targets.
The next hour or so was hectic and busy. Aside from Green Lantern, they found two others, a rather feminine-looking boy about her age who looked like someone had at him with a small pickaxe and a blonde girl with a hair-style similar to Fate's who was unconscious, both under a light layer of rubble.
The Sailor Senshi got to her first, quickly borrowing whatever cloth they could from the others who were wiling to obscure the girl's face. Lindy had been tempted to scan the girl despite this so they could know her identity– it had to be the Sailor Moon girl, right?– but instead had the girl left alone, and gave Amy and Chrono discreet instructions to keep her off the records of any sort of identification-capable device. There was such a thing as courtesy after all. And as Chrono had put it, "Honor between allies wasn't dead".
Superman had quickly been found and excavated, and despite sporting a large round bruise and some bruised ribs under that insisted he was fine and it was nothing a little sunlight couldn't cure. He'd tried to go search for th culprits, but unfortunately they'd left no trail his senses could track, and eventually he had to stop, clearly frustrated
Green Lantern and the other two injured– the other had been identified as 'Negi Springfield', a bit of info which Lindy had quietly had relegated to the deepest, most obscure corner possible– had been brought aboard the Asura, followed by a veritable harem of concern, grieving and in some cases hysterical companions and one young man in a tuxedo who had arrived suddenly just as they'd been about to transport the blonde girl aboard.
The others, Lindy had gotten aboard by the simple expedient of asking nicely and offering cookies. She felt vaguely like a pedophile doing so, but Green Lantern wasn't the only one with reports to file, and she needed to know what the girls had seen.
Besides, she needed to do something during the trip to the Bureau Main Office. Knowing there would be no way to keep them separated, she opted to do the best she could, interviewing them separately and keeping the others occupied by the simple expedient of pointing them towards the cafeteria, having the kitchens make more cookies and try to shake off the feeling she was a pedophile.
"So you found the fourth attacker?" Nagase Kaede asked Kinimoto Sakura. The ninja was one of the few members of Ala Alba there, the others either crowding around Negi's bed, the hallway outside the infirmary, or in the gym letting off frustration on each other. The only other members of the group present were two rather flatchested young girls who other– new– Green Lantern Yuuno Scrya had spoken to briefly, and were currently taking it in turns to cry and comfort each other.
Sakura nodded morosely, munching disconsolately on a cookie. "I'd gone there to help Green Lantern-chan, but…" she shook her head frantically, head drooping as she placed her hands over it. "It wasn't what I as expecting, Kaede-san. Those people… what they did… what we did to them…" she shook her head again, as if in denial, or as if doing so could shake her thoughts into a pattern she could understand.
"So you stepped back," Kaede said. "You didn't attack. And now you feel like a coward for doing so."
Sakura blushed as she hung her head in shame, only to feel Kaede's hand on her shoulder. She looked up.
The ninja's normally slit-eyed gaze were open and looking down at her compassionately. "It's all right," she said. "It shouldn't come easily to everyone, violence like that. You have a good heart. Do not be ashamed of it."
Sakura blushed again.
Kaede returned the gesture. "Now, you say you stepped back from the battle. Was that when you felt the fourth?"
Sakura nodded. "I felt another presence there that I hadn't seen. It was some distance away, but strong, and I didn't want to hurt them to badly, so I used The Fight Card–"
Superman kept a vigil on Nanoha, broken only when he'd spoken to Lindy Harlaown about what little he remembered of the encounter. His views on magic weren't as bad as Bruce's, particularly with Nanoha showing up every so often to show him how it could be used for good (so to speak. That Starlight Breaker of hers was nothing if not terrifying), but there were some days, like when it had been used on him offensively, that he really hated the stuff. Still, it wasn't polite to say so to the leader of the group who used a lot of it, particularly when they were about to use more to help a friend of his.
Yuuno and the blonde girl named Fate had stayed with Nanoha as well, but they often had to leave because of duties. Still, he was far from lonely. Tuxedo Mask stood in as loyal a vigil over the possibly-Eternal-Sailor-Moon's bed one place over, holding her hand and keeping the crude mask he'd made with a part of his cape over her face. Superman, for his part, made sure Nanoha's mask was firmly in place as well.
Over on the other side, the red-haired girl with bells in her hair kept an equally sharp watch on injured the boy Negi, her face stiff in a way that made it perfectly clear she dearly wanted to do some violence. Outside, his hearing could pick up the sounds of ht other girls who had not been allowed to stay in the room. There was an occasional hysterical cry, followed soon after by harsh and exasperated reprimands. They, too, obviously wanted to do violence against something.
There is, however, only so long a being can stand still and determined while entertaining thoughts of vengeance and "what ifs". At some point, everyone gives in to the urge to make small talk.
"Um, that's a nice cape," Tuxedo Mask said awkwardly.
"Uh, thanks," Superman said. "Clark Kent's mother made it for me."
"The American reporter?" Asuna said, perking up, a small smile on her face. "He's pretty hot."
Even amongst superbeings, it's seldom good small talk…
When Nanoha found herself waking in a strange place, the first thing she did was to see if she was still wearing her mask. It was. She nearly panicked, her mind quickly jumping to all sorts of horrifying conclusions regarding how long her parents were going to ground her for being a magical girl without telling them.
A reassuring hand took her own, and she looked up to see the strong, distinctive jaw-line of the Man of Steel. "Superman-sama! Thank goodness you're here! Can you please explain things to my parents so they won't ground me for being a magical girl?"
Nanoha was still pretty out of it.
Superman chuckled, and there was relief in his voice. "It's all right Nanoha. Your parent's aren't hereto catch you, so you don't have to worry. You're in the infirmary of the TSAB's main office. You'd been hurt pretty badly."
Bits of memory came to Nanoha, and she raised a hand to her chest. Nothing was sticking out. "There was… a hand…"
Superman nodded. "Negi told us about it. Apparently the same thing to them and Eternal Sailor Moon. No one was seriously hurt," he quickly reassured her when he saw her expression, and had to keep a smile off his face. She took her duty to protect so seriously. "They've been patched up. Now, you stay here while I call a doctor, all right. And whatever you do, don't use magic. Doctor's orders."
Nanoha nodded, squirming to make herself more comfortable on the hospital bed as Superman stepped out of the room. "Ring-chan, power check."
"Ring power at 15 percent," the ring replied.
Nanoha nodded. That should be enough for her purposes. No need to get her Power Battery out then. "Ring-chan, begin recording for after-action report…"
Injured or not, she still needed to do her paperwork, after all.
It was this sort of behavior that would someday have people, Batman included, trying to stage an intervention for her…
The doctor finished his scan of Nanoha's chest– at her 'Linker Core', apparently a sort of immaterial magic-regulation organ– under the watchful eyes of Superman. The doctor had just finished his scanning and was telling Nanoha the kind of advice all doctors everywhere gave their patients– which is never 'drink all you want, party hard, sleep late, wake up early, have any number of unprotected coitus, pick up heavy loads with your back and live like there's no tomorrow'– when the door suddenly opened, revealing the concerned faces of Chrono and Fate.
It took Superman precisely 1.16715 seconds after the doctor and Chrono left to sense the sudden air of tension in the room. He made a show of looking out the window. "Oh dear, a cat's stuck up in a tree and can't get down. I'd better take care of this. I'll see you later Green Lantern." Not exactly the most graceful exit out, but it did the job.
The door closed behind him as well, leaving Fate and Green Lantern alone in the room.
There was a long, uncomfortable silence that was only just barely not sexually charged because they were a bit too young for it. Nanoha tried to make eye-contact while Fate tried to do the exact opposite. "Fate-chan…" the brunette said.
Fate turned to look at her reluctantly. "Green Lantern-sa–"
Nanoha raised a hand. "Stop!" she said, ripping off her mask. "I told you, Fate-chan, call me Nanoha. Please. Friends don't call friends by their job."
Fate smiled. "Nanoha…-chan," she said, giving both parts a caress.
Nanoha smiled in approval. "I'm sorry our reunion had to happen like this. Are you okay? You were amazing, Fate-chan, suddenly appearing to the rescue like that!"
Fate blushed at the praise, trying to hide her bandaged hand behind her back. "Y-yeah, it's just a scratch. That aside, are you…"
Nanoha nodded. "I'm fine too. Ring-chan was able to protect me to a degree when I lost my barrier jacket. But I probably wouldn't be here if it weren't for you and everyone else, Fate-chan." The girl seemed to slump slightly. "It's all my fault. I was so stupid. I got overconfident, thinking I wouldn't need to use my ring, and nearly died because of it. If I'd been less arrogant, been a better officer, I wouldn't have gotten so injured, and Sailor Moon-sama and Negi-chan wouldn't have gotten hurt so badly…"
Nanoha looked up as she felt Fate's hand on her shoulder. The blonde's face was concerned and determined. "Stop it," Fate said. "Don't blame yourself, Nanoha. Not everything is your fault. Just because you have responsibility does not mean you are solely responsible for everything that happens. You did what you thought was best at the time."
Nanoha stared at her, then closed her eyes, leaning against Fate's torso. The other girl made as if to draw back, then stopped herself and stayed in place. "Thank you for saving me, Fate-chan, you and Yuuno-kun," Nanoha said. "And… I'm really happy that we're able to meet again."
Fate seemed surprised at these words, then smiled herself. "Yes. I'm happy to see you again too, Nanoha…"
Nanoha smiled at her, and put her arms around Fate's middle as the blonde put her other arm around Nanoha's shoulders. The two stood together. All was right with the world…
In another area, Usagi, still in her improvised mask, was being bawled out by Sailor Mars for being careless and getting taken out so easily, while Asuna was yelling at Negi for being stupid– again– and letting himself be maneuvered by the enemy, and hadn't he already learned Elegant Gothic Lolis could be the most dangerous things on the planet? And if he hadn't, she was sure Evangeline would be more than willing to drum that into his skull the way she had everything else…
The medical crew stared as the other people around the two patients made no move to stop this.
Just another day for crazy earth people…
Yuuno was hard a work doing the diagnostics for Raging Heart and Bardiche.
That is, he was hard at work getting his ring to use the computer to do the diagnostics on Raging Heart and Bardiche. Like every boy with a new toy, he wanted to play with it, if only to take his mind off–
The door opened. He turned as Arf got up excitedly. "Nanoha! Fate!"
Nanoha scratched her cheek indecisively, once more hidden behind her mask and the ring-generated simulacra of her barrier jacket. "Be careful with that name, Arf-san! The door was still open. Yuuno-kun! Enjoying your new ring?"
Yuuno grinned. "Nanoha! It's awesome! But are you all right?"
Nanoha smiled. "I'm fine, thanks to everyone. And I still have to thank all those magical girls who came to my rescue. Oh, Ring-chan, what were you thinking?"
"Having the enemy heavily outnumbered by dependable allied forces seemed like a good idea at the time, ma'm," the ring said, though there was a hint of sheepishness. "Besides, are we not here to ascertain the condition of Raging Heart?"
Nanoha turned to the field wherein the two Intelligent Devices, Raging Heart and Bardiche floated. Fate stood in front of it, staring at her yellow triangle with worry. "Bardiche… I'm sorry," Fate said. "Because I was so weak, you…" Now it was Nanoha's turn to put a comforting hand on Fate's shoulder.
"How extensive is the damage?" Chrono asked.
"To be honest, it doesn't look good…" Yuuno said, as tendrils of green energy began manipulating the holographic controls again. He grinned. "This is so cool! Ahem… their automatic repair systems are active and functioning, but once critical structural repairs are complete, they'll need to be reactivated, and a great deal of parts will need to be replaced…"
Nanoha stood with Fate as the others provided expository dialogue behind them, staring at their injured devices. "Thanks for trying your best, Raging Heart," she said softly. "Take this time to rest up."
"Fate," Chrono said, interrupting the moment. "It's about time for the interview…"
Meanwhile, a great evil was rising…
"All right!" Saotome Haruna said, slamming her hand down on the tabletop in the cafeteria that they'd appropriated. "I call this historical first meeting of the United Magical Girls Association of Japan to order!"
"Eh?" Illya, still in full Prisma wear, said. "I thought we were going to call it the Fate/Stay Knights?"
"Justice Society of Japan!" Sailor Venus suggested.
"Negi-kun's Shotacon Army!"
Crewmen stared and edged away. Superman, who'd come down for a cup of coffee, did his best not to appear like he knew them.
Yes, that's right, the man in tights doesn't want to be associated with the crazy girls. Read that as you will.
Haruna got the resulting rumble back out of control by simple Magnificent Bastardry. "Imperium Graphices! Summon Overfiend, Great Paru-sama Edition!"
There was much screaming and order was restored. Haruna, apparently, put much less emphasis on 'Magnificent'.
"All right!" she tried again, slamming her hand down on the tabletop in a kinetic echo. "I call this historical first meeting of the United Magical Girls Association of Japan to order! We all know why we're here! Those people, whoever they are, managed to take down not just Green Lantern-chan, but also Sailor Moon-sama and Negi-kun! Clearly, they are only capable of great evil and are a threat to the world at large!"
Surprisingly, most everybody nodded. Sakura was the exception. She raised her hand. "Um, excuse me…?"
"The Great Paru-sama recognizes Fetishistic Mask Girl!" Haruna cried, pointing dramatically. "Your question?"
"Hoe…" Sakura sighed. She really needed to finally have a talk with Tomoyo about these clothes. "Um, why do you say that? I mean, w-we attacked them as brutally, so why does this mean they're evil?"
"A good question!" Haruna said, drawing her Artifact out again. After the non-Ala Alba members had stopped screaming in abject terror and people had gotten back to their seats, Haruna drew one of her Quick Exposition Stat Charts ©. "Eternal Sailor Moon-sama, as we all know, is the epitome of friendly sweetness and light! Her Charisma is in the mid-thirties, and she has Make Friends as an at-will special ability! Combined with her high Diplomacy score, the bonuses she gets for her Messianic Icon Prestige Class, the circumstance bonuses she gets for her clothes, and the fact that she automatically gets a chance to roll for Diplomacy to change a person's Attitude as soon as she meets people, she is the Ultimate Magical Girl of Friendliness! Even with Critical Failure roll of 1, she should still have been able to move the enemy's Attitude from Hostile to Friendly, or at least Indifferent! That fact that they didn't change their attitude must mean they have an extremely high Friendship Resistance, or an equally high Evil Rating, possibly at least 9000 Kilonazis!"
"You've been playing D&D with Eva-chan and reading webcomics again, haven't you Haruna?" Chisame deadpanned.
"You sure you're not related to Ranma?" Sailor Venus said.
"Of course not! Shadow Crystal Mage isn't that crazy and/or unoriginal! And someone fix that wall!" Haruna said, pointing at the computer monitor. The wall was duly repaired.
"Anyway," Haruna continued. "Besides Eternal Sailor Moon-sama, Negi himself is equally formidable in the Befriending department! After all, his High Concept of 'English Teacher Combat Supermage', allows him a lot of situational combat advantages, and his Legendary (+8) skill scores in Fists, Discipline, Conviction, not to mention his taking the Refinement ability at least 20 times to outrageously increase his spell power, his Sponsored Magic ability Magia Erebea, and his Memetic Sex God and Defeat Means Friendship Stunts mean he is nearly unbeatable in either Physical, Mental or Social conflicts, not to mention his Shota Sex Appeal and Woobie Aspects should have rendered those girls immediately helpless! That fact that it didn't clearly means they are villains, because they're so much stronger than him, thereby keeping him from being a Boring Invincible Hero and giving us some conflict!"
"The Dresden Files RPG system based on the FATE system and Jim Butcher's Critically Acclaimed Dresden Files Novels– the one with the zombie T-rex in it– produced by Evil Hat games too, Haruna?" Chisame said disapprovingly. "Such blatant plugging! Have you no shame?"
"I'm merely a servant of a higher power," Haruna said innocently.
"Power high on crack, you mean," Chisame said. "Can someone fix that wall again?"
"Hey, where do you want this lampshade?" someone asked someone else at another table.
"Just hang it anywhere," his friend told him.
"Eh…" Sakura said, eyes whirling at all the unfamiliar terms. "Hoeeee!"
"Here, let me show you the relevant pages on Tv Tropes," Sailor Mercury said kindly.
"NO!" Sakura cried. "Internet, bad place! Tomoyo's been there, and she's been doing things…"
Clearly, she's not as dense as she seems.
"Enough!" Haruna cried. "We need to discuss… OUR COUNTER ATTACK! Obviously, aside from strategic planning and intelligence gathering, we will need assets to bankroll this, so… does anyone want to pose for a few manga?"
"THAT'S what this is about?" Asuna exploded.
Japan's last line of magical defense, people. One wonders why Tokyo Tower doesn't get X/1999ed up more often…
Lindy Harlaown faced her crew and allies. "The Asura's crew, together with Green Lantern-chan and possibly her allies, have been assigned to spearhead the Book of Darkness Lost Logia and Mage Attack cases. However, because our crucial Asura will be out of commission for a while, we will set up a temporary base in the region where the events first began."
Nanoha wondered what that meant as Lindy began handing out the division assignments.
"…Finally, the command team will live in a neighborhood close to Green Lantern-chan's primary patrol nexus for protection reasons," Lindy finished, and everyone rolled their eyes affectionately at their captain's blatantly obvious real purpose.
Nanoha blinked, and turned to Fate as Superman stifled as smile. The Green Lantern grinned. "Yay!"
The ride back to Earth– a relayed Transport spell– was relatively uneventful, except for Haruna frantically to draw copies of the system in an attempt to get them to Hakase to reverse-engineer. Before hand, however…
Negi and Eternal Sailor Moon were finally on their feet, the latter now wearing one of the Magical Disguise Glasses © Ala Alba had bought in Mundus Magicus during that time people thought they were criminals. Another copy had been given to the interested TSAB for them to try and replicate as thanks for patching up Negi. Still another was discreetly provided to Superman. No one asked.
Green Lantern had been expecting to do some groveling as she thanked the girls for coming to her aid and apologizing for getting two of them so badly hurt. They would have none of it.
"We know how hard it is to fight alone," Civilian!Eternal Sailor Moon said, smiling kindly. "And we know you work harder than most. Of course we'd come to help you. You're a friend, Green Lantern-chan. Besides, we magical girls have to stick together!"
"Aw, listen to you acting all cool and leaderly!" Sailor Venus teased.
"Still, she's right!" Illya said, giving Green Lantern a thumbs up and trying to ignore the fact her Maid-fetish Switch was locked partially open at over 53 thousand. "We're magical girls! We help each other! Maid costume optional!"
"Illya…" Kaleido Ruby chided.
Negi, surrounded by a bevy of concerned females and currently making every male in sight– yes, even Superman and Tuxedo Mask, to a degree– Orange-burningly jealous, smiled a bit tiredly at Green Lantern. Unlike her and Eternal Sailor Moon, he'd also had extensive physical injuries, and not all of them could be healed by Konoka. "It was our honor to fight with you, Green Lantern-san. After all, I know you would do the same for any of us. As a Magister Magi, I can't do any less."
Green Lantern finally allowed herself to smile. "Thank you, minna-san. Um, incidentally Negi-chan, what shampoo do you use for your hair? Because I can't help but notice how smooth and silky it is."
Asuna, intimately familiar with Negi's bathing habits, rolled her eyes as Negi blinked with confusion. "Um, my hair? I just use some generic brand. I'm not very sure which, Asuna-san is the one who buys it."
"Sunsilk with conditioner," Konoka provided cheerfully.
"Oh, thank you for telling me your beauty secrets, Negi-chan!" Green Lantern said. "Though it's too bad a pretty girl like you wears her hair so short. You'd look so nice with a couple of ribbons."
Kotaro suddenly burst out in hysterical laughter, clutching at his stomach on the floor and trying desperately to breath as a worried Superman checked him for Joker Venom. The wide, definitely Joker-esque grin spreading on Haruna's face was quite terrifying, causing Yellow Rings from the future to try and break the time barrier to get at her.
"Eh?" said Negi, suddenly chibified in confusion as Ala Alba all developed interesting looks. "But I'm n–"
"Oh, she's right Negi-CHAN!" Asuna said with a wide, malicious smile. "You should really start growing your hair out long. Remember how cute you looked during the school festival when you wore that kitsune girl outfit? The boys were all flocking in!"
"I have some ribbons that would look absolutely darling on you, Negi-chan!" Konoka said. "Maybe we can try them out at home!"
"And hey, no need to be so self-conscious about your chest, Negi-chan!" Asakura said, her own set going 'gainax-gainax' and making all sorts of watchers happy. Neptune elbowed Uranus for staring. "Maybe you're just a late bloomer like Yuetchi, Honya and Makie-chan. And if not, I'm sure some boy out there will be able to appreciate you for you. Remember Tertium-kun?"
"B-but… I'm not… I'm a…" Negi turned to Superman and Tuxedo Mask beseechingly as the other girls began to regal Green Lantern with all sorts of Negi-chan anecdotes.
As Superman dazedly wondered whether he should stop this, Tuxedo Mask, with all solemnity, pulled a rose out of nowhere and handed it to Negi. "A beautiful flower for a beautiful flower," he said, face completely straight.
Negi wanted to cry.
Sakura and Eternal Sailor Moon looked at each other, feeling out of the loop.
"I don't get it," the reincarnated Princess said, vocalizing their thoughts.
Tuxedo Mask patted her on the shoulder. "I'll explain it all to you later, dear."
Green Lantern smiled. "Still, with you two injured, I promise to patrol your areas a bit more extensively to help pick up the slack. It's the least I can do"
"Of course you will!" Sailor Jupiter said. "Because you're nice that way, Green Lanter-chan!"
On this happy note, they headed home.
"But I'm a bo–" Negi tried to cry one last time, and was cut off as he was Transportered away
Night, on the roof of a tall building.
"So, you're here at last," Signum said as Vita approached.
"Hmm," the shorter girl said in acknowledgement.
"The TSAB will probably start moving faster, so we'll have to change tactics," Shamal said.
"Agreed," Signum said, keeping her coat closed. "Shamal, how many pages have we fill again?"
Shamal opened the Book of Darkness and quickly checked. "399," she said, a bit breathlessly. "79 of those were from our last encounter."
"79 pages," Vita breathed. "So much!"
"It should have been more, but I was interrupted when I was downloading from our last target. She could have had at least forty, possibly even as high as fifty pages, but I only got 33. The boy Vita managed to disable gave around 27, and the girl who broke the barrier gave a little under 19."
"Boring technical statistics smoothly inserted into the dialogue," Zafira commented. "Good job."
"Thank you. By the way, I bought that shade for the lamp in the living room."
"Good. That bare bulb was starting to annoy me," Vita said. She looked out over the city. "So many powerful Linker Cores… knowing they're out there, we wouldn't need to hunt around randomly. I've been doing some research. Some of those we encountered were apparently a group called the 'Sailor Senshi', and I managed to get some footage of something called the Mahora Budokai that seemed to have those girls with big swords as well as that boy. They say the videos are a hoax, but it doesn't look like it. Even if we just concentrate on them, we'd harvest Linker Cores at a phenomenal rate. The Book could be filled before the end of the year. Then we can live in tranquility with Hayate forever…"
"Exposition smoothly inserted into dialogue," Zafira said. "Full marks."
"It's not as simple as that," Signum said. "Despite the results of our last encounter, the fact remains we would be heavily outnumbered should we choose to pursue this form of… 'harvesting' as Vita insists on calling it. and the more often we encounter these mages–"
"Magical Girls," Vita corrected.
"–these Magical Girls," Signum amended. "The more likely they will develop some sort of strategic or tactical countermeasure, and more efficiently utilize their numbers advantage. We will need to some kind of counter measure ourselves. It would be foolish in the extreme to become overconfident at this point. If anything happened, Hayate…"
She fell silent as they all contemplated the grim possibility.
"Presentation of the goals and difficulties of meeting our objective, combined with pathos and humanization," Zafira said. "A solid effort!"
The three turned to glare at him. "Will you stop that commentary and fix that wall?" Vita snapped.
They all went back to their thoughts. "A dilemma," Signum said. "We could range far a field and avoid the TSAB, slowly gathering Link Cores, or we could risk contact by planning several attacks against known local targets who offer significant returns, with high risk of combat, and possibly even defeat." She glared at Zafira, daring him to comment. He wisely stayed quiet. "Unless we can conceive some sort of advantage of our own, I am not willing to commit us completely to the latter."
"There might be a way," Shamal mused, opening up the Book of Darkness near the beginning. "Remember the mage we found floating inside that crystal? Apparently, he knew how to create servant-constructs of admittedly limited intelligence. I believe a little tweaking should be more than enough to allow us to create more intelligent servant drones capable of greater attack capability. It would require sacrificing a page or two of the Book of Darkness to produce them," they all cringed at the thought, thinking of Hayate, "But given our expected returns on a successful operation, it should be acceptable."
The end of the sentence rose, clearly a question rather than a statement. Using the power in the book in such a manner was not a trifling thing. Yet given the odds they faced, not to mention the unrelenting deadline of the book's draining Hayate dry, how many choices did they have?
"So be it," Signum said, and the other agreed by virtue of not disagreeing. "What are these combat-constructs called, Shamal?"
"Youma," Shamal said.
Vita snorted. "That's a crappy name," she said. "Sounds like the kind of stupid thing a rapper would say."
"Agreed," Zafira said. They watched him warily. "What? No more comments, see?"
"Yes, the name is rather distasteful," Signum said. "That mage that we found in the stasis crystal, what was his name, Shamal?"
"Jadeite, Signum. Jadeite of the Shitennou," Shamal read from the book.
Signum nodded. "Than for his contribution to the cause, we will honor him. Shamal, find out exactly what it will take to make these… Jadeite Servants to function within acceptable combat standards. Zafira, we will recon the known areas our targets occupy, and begin surveillance for intelligence gathering. Vita, you are to collect a few more Linker Cores off-world, just in case, and to misdirect the TSAB as to our intentions. See if you can find some particularly easy prey. And give Shamal the location of where you found your information. I assume Wikipedia?"
Vita shrugged, not at all repentant. "Almost as good as TvTropes."
"It will ruin your life," Zafira warned.
"If I can be with Hayate, I don't care."
And on that, they all agreed.
Negi stumbled towards his classroom, having needed to pick up a few things at his office first. He still felt sore in a way that had nothing to do with his physical body, and everything to do with his magic. He'd been forbidden from using magic for the next several days, a restriction Ala Alba was taking very seriously, confiscating his staff, wands and the ring Evangeline had given him.
This did not stop Evangeline from putting him through physical training though. Still, the master meant well, he knew she did. She was a very caring person at heart, and very gentle.
Somewhere, a sneeze that was supposed to go to Evangeline got misdirected and ended up going to someone else because the sneeze felt it had the wrong address.
He slid open the door to his class, smiling at everyone. "Good morning everyone," he said happily.
"GOOD MORNING, NEGI-CHAN!" the class said, and he felt his blood turn to ice.
"Negi-chan, try out this miniskirt!" Misa said, waving the offending garment.
"Negi-chan, we have makeup for you!" the Narutaki twins said.
"Negi-chan, try out this WonderBra, it'll improve your chest!" Sakurako said.
"Girla, from now on you'll be wearing Elegant Gothic Lolita at training, just like everyone else!" Evangeline cried, waving around just such a dress and grinning so widely Negi was reminded of a shark movie. Or Chachazero.
"Negi-chan, I bought those ribbons!"
"Negi-chan, put on this thong!"
The last coherent thought Negi had was that he needed to clear the record with Green Lantern as soon as possible.
Just another day with the class…
"Wow, what a wonderful adventure Sakura-chan had!" Tomoyo said. "I'll have to ask Green Lantern-chan for videos for my collection!"
"Hoe, Tomoyo-chan!" Sakura said, slumping slightly.
Tomoyo smiled her saintly, mysterious smile © as they headed for school, meeting up with Lee on the way. Still, a part of what Sakura-chan had told her worried her. If Tomoyo understood things correctly– there was room for error, since being the shear, awesome wonderfulness that was Sakura-chan could indeed be distracting– than these people that Sakura-chan had been instrumental in helping defeat– she'd practically taken care of the whole thing!– were after magical girls, likely to drain them of their power as was so often the case. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before Sakura-chan herself was attacked!
Tomoyo couldn't have that. And while she would dearly love to take a camcorder to the skull of any mad, heretical, insane fool who would dare touch the holy divinity that was Sakura-chan's sinfully virginal body– or, for preference, take her Lex-Blaster 500 and shoot them dead on the spot, and save a perfectly good camcorder she could use for more productive things like taking more wonderful videos of Sakura-chan and posting them on YouTube for the world to see!– she knew that there was only so much she could do to protect Sakura-chan herself, trained as she was in Anything Goes Martial Arts and being a world-class shooter. No, she would have to find some other way. But who could she trust?
A happy memory of her training days came to her, and she slowed down a little behind Sakura and Lee– who was so obvious about his new crush on her it was amateurishly painful watch, and even more so considering Sakura didn't seem to notice– as she drew out her cell phone to search it's numbers, making a mental note to have a talk with the young sorcerer. They needed to be clear on things, after all. Only those clearly worthy of Sakura– a nearly impossible standard that Tomoyo aspired to every day– may so much as think of garnering her romantic favor. As a good friend to Lee– she liked to think so– Tomoyo felt she needed to properly inform him of HOW THINGS SHOULD BE so he didn't commit any mistakes of the 'camcorder-bashing' or 'Lex-Blaster 500' variety.
Finally finding the number she needed, she dialed it and cheerfully waited through the ringing for an answer.
"Who is this, and how did you get this number?" the gruff reply on the other side said.
"Wilson-sensei! It's Tomoyo Daidouji," she said in perfect English. "Remember me? You asked me to become your apprentice once?"
"Little Purple Ravager? Is that you?" was the surprised and suddenly warmer reply on the other end. "How do you have this number?"
"Oh, the same way I have your email and the address I need to send your Christmas cards and birthday presents to, Wilson-sensei," Tomoyo said happily. "I believe as a wise man once put it, 'Screw the rules, I have money'! Sadly however, I'm afraid I'm calling you on business."
"You want me to kill one of your teachers?" the man on the other side half-joked.
Tomoyo's laugh was like golden bells. You know, the kind the Aztecs used to announce sacrifices. "Only if he reneges on his promise to my classmate to marry her when she graduates," she said, also half-joking. "No, this is a more personal matter, Wilson-sensei. I would like to ask you to guard my friend. I believe she might be in danger from meta-human attackers."
"Hmm," was the noncommittal reply. "What kind?"
"Magic users, at least four of them, using melee weapons with that can utilize long-range magical attacks," Tomoyo specified, for all the world like she was ordering a pizza. "One apparently managed to temporarily knock out Superman, so augmented strength is a definite possibility, as well as flight capability. I'm sorry, but I do not have much more information. Will that be a problem?"
"Hmm…" was the longer reply, and she could hear scratching across the line, as if someone was taking down notes. "Unknown full capabilities, guard work, surveillance, special munitions… this be a big order, Li'l Ravager."
"Money is no object," Tomoyo said. "Triple whatever you intend to charge if my friend remains completely unharmed. A thousand dollar bonus for each excruciatingly painful injury you can inflict on her attackers."
There was a long whistle that in a comic book might be translated as a string of dollar signs. "You're really serious about protecting this girl, aren't you, little missy?"
"Aren't I always serious, Wilson-sensei?" Tomoyo chirped.
There was a laugh. "You're scary, Li'l Ravager. I'd pay to see you go up against Luthor. All right then. You probably know how to send the money to me, and when you do, consider Deathstroke the Terminator at your service."
"Oh no, I couldn't possibly call you that!" Tomoyo said, shocked. "You will always be my wonderful Wilson-sensei!"
"Scary, girl. Scary."
"Stop over some time. As a bonus, I'll make you a new costume. That thing you're wearing could use more work."
"Well, far be it for me to argue with the client. You take care now little missy."
"Don't I always? Now, I have to hire some other people for this job as well, so if you'll excuse me, Wilson-sensei…?"
"Ah, back up. Call away, boss, call away!"
The call terminated, and Tomoyo cheerfully called another number. "Hello, Tatsumiya-sensei? Remember me?"
- To be continued...
A/N: I think my Tomoyo might actually be Lawful Evil, as opposed to Sakura's Chaotic Good…
I'm assuming the Knights have their own barrier breaking trick. Probably used up a page of BOD to use Nanoha's Starlight Breaker Plus themselves.
The Dresden Files RPG system. Check it out, dattebayo!
Poor Jadeite was found. Pity he became Book of Darkness filling.
Just a note: all the magic systems are all completely unrelated and different systems, though they all have Linker Cores, just used in different ways. The Senshi won't suddenly just need Devices, Nanoha won't be learning Magia Erebea any time soon, etc. They all use magic, but that's like saying they all use the electromagnetic spectrum. In that case, Negima magic is gamma rays, Senshi magic is infrared radiation, Kaleido sticks use the visible light spectrum, etc. I find it makes for an interesting story if every keeps diverse and different power sets, and don't become "Ain't it cool!" clones of each other. Otherwise it can quickly dissolve into 'What do you mean, it's not awesome?'. Still, that's my take. Your Mileage May Vary…
This is poking general fun in general, and is not at anyone in particular. Please don't flame me. Those red rings hurt! And not just skin! Feelings too…
Omake: Rage of the Red Lanterns
"Be warned, our Lanterns," one of the Guardians said through the rings of the waiting Green Lanterns. "The Red Lanterns are unlike no enemy you have ever faced before. They know no reason, no mercy. They are nothing more now than pure anger in living form, with no reason in their lives but to take out their rage on others."
"Eh, how bad can they be?" Guy Gardner said.
"GUY!" every other genre-savvy Corpsman said.
"What? What's the worse they could throw at us?"
"GUY!" Clearly, he wasn't learning.
And then the Red Lanterns came.
"Die, Team Jacob!" an insane girl said, blooding dripping from her surgically inserted fangs. "Die for you blasphemy against the beauty that is Bella and Edward! Die for your heresy!"
"Harry and Hermione forever!" another one in a red robe cried as plasma blood flooded from her mouth. "Rowling doesn't understand the subtext of the story! The time-skip sucked! WE ARE NOT DELUSIONAL!"
"It's AERIS, not AERITH you morons! That's how it is IN AMERICA!"
"KINGDOM HEARTS IS AN ACTION GAME, NOT SOME KIND OF YAOI EROGE! STOP MAKING PEOPLE THINK IT IS WITH YOUR CRAPPY HIGH SCHOOL AUS!"
"Die, Team Edward! Die for your blasphemy against the beauty that is Bella and Jacob! Die for your heresy! Die, Breaking Dawn!"
"Twilightards. My god," someone said.
"Well, at least it's not bees," a random expandable Lantern said, who was then expended.
"Frank Miller sucks!"
"The title is NARUTO, not SASUKE! YOU SUCK KISHIMOTO!"
"It's RAISING Heart, not RAGING Heart! That's how it is in canon!"
"It's RAGING Heart, not RAISING Heart! That's how it is IN AMERICA!
"I am Akane Tendo! Rargh! Ranma, you pervert!"
"I am Naru Narusegawa! Rargh! Ranma, you– er, KEITARO, YOU PERVERT!"
"Damn you ffnet! Stop messing around with what symbols can and can't be in an uploaded document without telling us! Do you know how many fics just lost scene breaks?-! You don't allow asterisks, you do allow asterisks, you don't again, make up your minds! And would it kill you to finally add the C2 search feature? And don't isolate the crossed-over stories, it just makes things harder to find!"
"Oh, poot!" Nanoha cried, face paling. "They've got god! They've got Shadow Crys–"
"I was wondering when he'd show up…" Kyle Rayner said placidly…
"Saotome Haruna of Earth, you have the ability to instill great fear. Welcome to the–"
"Oh, HELL NO!" Chisame cried as she and every other member of Ala Alba proceeded to blow the ring up into space dust. "NOT HAPPENING! NOT ON OUR WATCH!"
Haruna shrugged. "Eh, my Artifact's better anyway."
Fear rose in the universe.
Coming up next!
"You!" Sailor Jupiter cried. "How dare you show your faces here!"
Signum stood impassive. "We are here for your Linker Cores," she said, voice even, not a ripple to betray what she felt.
"You and whose army?-!-?" Crazy Shy Lolita Canary cried.
"NO!" screamed Sailor Mercury, but it was too late.
Signum snapped her fingers. "Servants, come forth."
Instantly, a large triangular array formed, and dozens of humanoid forms suddenly appeared. Some carried sword, some croquet mallets, others were beasts, and still others carried books.
"Servants Sabers," Signum ordered her units, pointing with Laevatein. "Attack."
"Servants Berserkers!" Vita cried, directing her own hammer-wielding units. "Attack!"
"Servants Avengers!" Zafira called. "Attack!"
"Servants Casters!" Shamal said, pointing. "Collect!"
"No!" Sailor Mercury cried. "Those are Dark Kingdom Youma. They have Dark Kingdom Youma!"
"Well, shit," Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash said succinctly.
"Agreed," Most Excellent Superbat said.
Syaoran blinked, keeping the enemies and the unconscious Sakura within his peripheral vision as he looked at the older woman next to him. "Cassandra?"
She lightly rapped him on the head. "I'm on the job, dear cousin. That's Lady Shiva, to you."
Syaoran thought a minute. "Daidouji?" he guessed.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you that," she said, face perfectly straight.
He shivered. "That girl is scary," he said.
"Amen," Deathstroke, David Cain, Deadshot, Tatsumiya and Shiva all chorused.
Shiva's full name is Cassandra Wusan. So no, I am not confusing her with her daughter, who I will try to fit in…
Please Review! Don't tell me I made all those references for nothing! Tell me I entertained, amused and intrigued you! Else I might decide to give myself to Tsukuyomi and the forces of the Black… (*sob *sob *sob*, *angst *angst *angst*)
Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.