Truce - Northern Gate
A road of sand spreads from south to north, compressed by the
pitter-patter of plentiful pedestrians. An intricate stone archway bends
overhead, offering some shade and defining the northern city limits of
Truce. A guard station stands off to the east, flush with the side of the

Ambience walks in from the south carrefour, looking a bit frazzled. On his shoulders sit two identical-looking, tree-shaped creatures, hugging against his neck with tiny, bark-laden arms.

Ambience seems to be studying something in one hand, turning it over in his hands; whatever it is glints slightly with an ominous light.

Ezekial rests against the side of a building, reading a newspaper bigger than he is.

Aeon stands still, head gazing towards the sky looking at who knows what.

It's just an ordinary day for Reize. Wandering down towards the gate from the north, Reize is holding the map in front of him. ...Granted, it is upside down. When he finally arrives, he brightens up and chimes, "We are here! WUTAI!!" Padding long his side is the Chain Chomp, who is peering at the boy incredelously. "W-wh-what?"

Ambience glances between the two creatures on his shoulders, then up and around, noting Ezekial and Aeon but not publicly acknowledging them. "It seems to react to this spot, but I don't un'erstand why. Was there something here before..?"

Mogwai slumps up against the side of a building hugging her rabite canteen close

A brisk wind rolls through the area, blowing a few stray papers down the boulevard in no specific direction.

Seikou has arrived from the south.
An adorable Skitty has arrived from the south.

Ambience focuses for a moment, noting the populace. "Gee, sure is busy here today."

Reize yelps as the wind blows his map out of his hand. "Ack! My map!"

Aeon nods in acknowledgement to Ambience.

Reize tries to chase after the map but ends up tripping and falls right in front of Ambience and the group with a thud!

The two creatures yelp in tiny surprise at Reize's outburst, instantly disappearing in separate, miniature explosions of green light; Ambience peers down at the small blades of grass the float to the ground immediately following, with a sigh.

Seikou heads to the gate with a slow tread, looking over at the thump. He blinks at the fallen Reize and then looks up with a grin. "Hello, son. Looks like people are falling all over you."

Ezekial shakes his head, studiously reading his newspaper. mmm-mmm news.

Mogwai tips her canteen upside down and gives it a few shakes. Nothing comes out. "Aww... I guess I should stop drinking from that fountain anyway..."

Ambience looks down at Reize for a moment, hearing Seikou but concerned slightly more for the trip-ee. "Hey, you okay?"

A Chain Chomp sighs.

Reize lifts up his head, a few comical tears rolling along his eyes. "Atatatatatatatatata...." The Chain Chomp bounces over towards its master. If it could, it would be sighing by now. Instead, it just has the look of hunger. After a moment Reize turns to face the younger boy and brightens. "Hee! Y--yeah! I'm okay!" He starts pulling himself up, grimacing.

Ambience frowns softly, but decides to take Reize's word for it, turning slightly to fully address Seikou. "Da..."

Ambience says 'What are you doing here? I didn't think you liked big cities.'

Seikou grins, waving. The Skitty perched on his shoulder waves a paw. "Checking in on you, mostly."

Aeon drops down slowly, crosslegged into a sitting position.

Reize scratches his head.

Reize says 'Wait, this is Wutai, right? This area suddenly looks familiar.'

Reize looks towards the left and the right repeatedly. Question marks paint above his head.

Mogwai looks up at Reize, bleary eyed and confused "Wutai? I thought this was Truce..."

Ambience glances at Reize for a moment. "I.. don't think so. I dunno, though. I don't even know if this place has a name. I dunno what it is, if it does." He seems sincere.

Ambience looks back at Seikou. "I was lookin' for you for awhile, but I keep coming back when you were 'round with errands. I found somethin' I wanted ya to see..."

Reize blinks at Mogwai, then he lowers his head, the comical tears returning as his ahoge flips over his face. "....I think I took the wrong turn at that imp cave." He puffs his cheek, "I knew I should not had trusted their directions!"

A Chain Chomp looks at Ezekial.

"Pretty sure this is Truce?" Seikou shrugs, giving a soft chuckle. He moves over to Ambience. "What is it?"

A Chain Chomp whimpers loudly.

Ezekial continues to study his newspaper. studiously.

Ambience holds up the glinting black shard, still sparkling with a shadowy light. "One of the Dryads found this when I was chasin' her, the other day.. they seem terrified of it. Do you know what it is?"

Mogwai starts tracing a map in the dirt before shaking her head "No, wait... that's to the magical fountain of booze." She tilts her head sideways "Ok, NOW that's to Wutai."

Reize looks over towards Mogwai as she traces the map. "...Oh!!!" Upon realization, he brightens. "That's it!" Pause. "..Oh, I remember that fountain. .... I was unconscious after drinking that." He pauses, "...I wonder what happened to that huge giant man that I saw." He scratches his head. However, he blink, curiosity gettng the better of him with his attention turnng towards the black shard.

Seikou takes it, frowning, studying it against the light for a moment. "It looks familiar... A little like what the Manabeast was sealed in. Where did you find it, exactly?"

Ambience says 'Right here, behind one of the buildin's. Layla said that there used to be a big building here that this came from, but all I see are houses. Some kind of Sanctuary? The Dryads said mama would know, but she's been quiet this week.'

Ambience furrows his brow. "Mama once said the barrier to the Holyland shifts sometimes when the flow of mana gets messed up, and it blocks her from talkin' to me. That could be happening right now."

Ezekial thinks, 'Hmmmm.'

Reize blinks towards the shard and the father+son. "Errr.. Excuse me for butting in, but..." His expression becomes filled with curiosity. "Mana Beast?"

Seikou glances over at Reize. "It was a long time ago. A danger to the Cleft, stopped by the Hero of Mana at the cost of his life..." He looks away for a moment, face unreadable.

Reize listens to the short tale, only nodding a bit, "...I understand. Somewhat, but... I think I get the idea."

Ambience frowns; he'd heard some stories before, but Seikou had occasionally been dissuasive when Ambience pressed further. "Variance, Da?"

Ambience looks up slightly. "Mama told me a little 'bout the Flammie, and the way it and the Manabeast are connected. But I don't know much else."

Seikou nods. "Vari, yeah. Hopefully the shard isn't a sign of a resurgence..."

Ambience thinks for a moment. "Some lady with a hole in her shirt came by shortly after I found the shard." He pockets it, carefully. "She was askin' about Mama, and said the shard was important, and I needed to keep it safe. Then I ran away."

Reize looks in awe, "Wow. So many tales..." He brightens, "I should look some of these up!" His attention turns back towards the map made by Mogwai, his hand tracing down. "..Okaaayy... there!" He brightens once more, snapping a finger. "Now those jerkface imps won't lead me the wrong direction!"

Ambience says 'She said she knew about Mama, and the Flammie, and about "us".'

Seikou blinks a few times. "Not sure who that might be." He looks over at Reize. "Do you need any help with directions, by the way?"

Ezekial hums to himself, oblivious that his newspaper is upside-down.

Reize looks over the map, now fully memorized. "Err... More help is always nice...." His expression turns sour as the idiot strand of hair flops forward, "....As long as it isn't the imps. I am no longer trusting them!!!" The chain chomp gruffs, bouncing over towards its master. Then, he blinks, "Errr... but it also sounds like you guys have something important going on as well." The boy rubs the back of his head sheepishly.

Ambience frowns, not really being able to make anything of this. He sighs, then prods further, hoping to get more information from the only person he feels might know. "Da, what's the "Mana Tribe"?"

A Chain Chomp looks at Reize.

A Chain Chomp drools happily.

Seikou shakes his head. "I can talk to my son whenever, really." He turns back to Ambience. "They're the ones who guard and aid the Tree of Mana, in the Holyland. Why do you ask?"

Reize turns his head to see the Chain Chomp staring at him. His face is filled with a shade of darkness as horror streaks on his face. "EH?!" He steps back, "Errr..." His Chain Chomp springs in front of Reize, glaring at the other Chain Chomp.

A Chain Chomp blinks at a Chain Chomp in confusion.

Ambience thinks again, recalling the events. "She said that was how she knew "us"."

A Chain Chomp smiles happily.

A Chain Chomp licks a Chain Chomp.

Seikou says ' Hmn. Might be a relative of yours, then.'

Ambience says 'She said she was lookin' for Mama, but was glad to have found me, because it proved that we do "still exist". I didn't know what she meant.'

Reize tries to turn his attention back to the duo. "Err... I am curious on the subject as well. I'm just an explorer, trying to learn more about the world." And.... he starts to look confused once more.

Seikou gives a helpless shrug. "In truth, my knowledge of how things work with mana is... limited. I've never been able to use it much myself, unlike Vari and Aura..."

Ambience frowns softly. "But the Dryads trust you, Da..."

Seikou smiles a little. "And for ages I only knew they existed because I trusted Aura's word."

Ambience pauses, glancing over his shoulder at Reize. "Can you see them?"

Koa has arrived from the south.

Koa yawns.

Ezekial frowns thoughtfully.

Reize looks at Ambience, then he looks over towards his pendant. "...Mana? Well..." He reaches his hand towards his pendant, brightening. "When it shows up, my pendant glows, allowing me to see it." He scratches his head. "No clue why."

Ambience says 'No, I mean the Dryads. Seeing them is different than being able to see the mana flow.'

Ambience seems oddly knowledgable on the topic, for only looking ten years old.

Koa blinks at himself in complete confusion.

Reize scratches his head, trying to trace back into memory lane. "....I.. don't know." The kid mutters, "I don't think I ran across a dryad in my travels yet..." He smiles, "What do they look like?"

Ambience says 'Like a li'l tree. But they're skittish.'

A Chain Chomp eyes the other Chain Chomp in the meanwhile, bouncing from side to side. It does, however, spring protectively back to the young, somewhat idiotic master.

An adorable Skitty hops down from Seikou's shoulder to start investigate the area.

Mogwai blinks in utter disbelief.

Ambience suddenly remembers something. "OH! Da!"

Mogwai says 'I've seen something like that once...'

Koa thinks, 'Hmmmm.'

Mogwai says 'Only when I've been drinking though.'

Seikou glances over at Ambience. "Mmm?"

Reize hrms. "Oh!" He nods, smiling a little more now. "Maybe I'll run into one in my travels." He lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "My travels has not afforded me too much yet." He grimaces, "I... actually recently got around these parts, see." He mutters, "In fact, I woke up around here on a raft."

Mogwai says 'In fact... I could have sworn I saw some following you when you walked in here.'

The sun rises in the east.

Ambience looks up at Seikou, then hesitates briefly, thinking to expand his query to anyone listening, as opposed to just his father. "I saw someone the other day, right here in this city.. I don't think they had a soul. They felt cold, and the flow of mana seemed to be directly avoiding them. Did you ever come across anyone like that?"

A Chain Chomp grins idioticly, tugging at the leash holding it to Ezekial.

Ezekial mutters distractedly.

Ambience addresses Mogwai briefly. "Oh, Sylvan and Layla? They're a little braver than most, but they still panic easy."

Seikou frowns, shaking his head. "I think even Vice had a soul, as dark as it was. Well, assuming us Reploids have souls at all, but you get the point..."

Reize shakes his head with a frown, "Sorry, have not ran into anyone of that." He looks over his pendant, "...Maybe my pendant will let me know when I come across the person."

Mogwai ponders "I know some students of mana say a soul lives forever, that it lives on after you die. If that's the case, what's to stop a soul from leaving before death?"

Ambience ponders. "She looked like a regular person. And she was nice. She gave me an apple. But the mana flow was.. stunted, around her. She told me something about a contract that "might've made her that way" or somethin'."

Ambience says 'Mana doesn't often hang around dead people or animals. That's the only reason it felt like I thought she was missing something. Something important.'

Seikou says ' ...Strange. But I don't know anything about that, I'm afraid.'

Reize says 'A contract?'

Ezekial coughs loudly.

Ezekial holds his newspaper higher over his face.

Ezekial mutters distractedly.

Ambience looks up, and at Reize, then Ezekial... and frowns. He suddenly looks less than comfortable.

Reize looks over towards Ambience, "I wonder who did she make a contract with and..." He blinks over at the Chain Chomp and the owner, silently hoping the Chain Chomp doesn't eat him.

A Chain Chomp drools on himself.

Seikou notices the change in Ambience's face and frowns. "You alright, son?"

One got tired of a town if one stuck around for too long, and Crossroads had grown tired of this place. She had packed up some provisions for a journey north, and was just one her way out of the city when she happened upon the group gathered here.

Ambience says 'I.. I feel it, again. It's cold and sad. And it's feeling stronger than before. Almost like it's.. '

"Oh, hello again." Crossroads nodded to Ambience.

Ambience stops, slowly turning to look up at Crossroads as she nears, his expression growing frightened.

Seikou stepped protectively closer to Ambience.

Crossroads raises an eyebrow at him and Seikou " Is something wrong?"

Ambience peers up at Crossroads, apparently trying to put on a brave front despite his obvious fear. "It's you again.. that lady from before. You gave me the apple, right?"

Ambience seems to be attempting to remember if she is in fact that same person or not.

Ezekial smiles to himself, flipping the page of the newspaper.

" You have a good memory." Crossroads smiled at the young boy in hopes of easing whatever it was that was causing him to look at her with such fear, " Yes, that was me. "

Reize blinks and looks over towards the girl. He scratches his head. He looks between the girl and the boy, recognizing the boy's expression earlier. He furrows his eyebrows, trying to think as to why he would make that expression. This will take a bit for him to---oh!!! Wait. His eyes turn back to the girl. "Oh hey!" The boy gives a cheerful smile.

Ambience nods, staying close to Seikou, thankfully. "I'm sorry. I just.. I dunno. Why does it feel like it's comin' from so many directions..?"

Seikou frowns at Ambience. "Maybe we should get home...?"

Ambience nods hastily. "It feels dark here. I wish Mama would tell me what was going on, but she's been quiet. That dark-haired lady from before said she would come to talk to us sometime, but didn't say when. She said she had questions for us."

Seikou nods a little. "Well, for now let's not worry about it. I'll cook you something nice." He ruffles Ambience's hair.

Crossroads gives small wave towards reize and a nod, then turns her attention to Ambience, " What do you mean by dark?"

Reize looks over a note. "...I suppose I should head over to Wutai to deal with a matter." For a moment, Reize watches over Seikou and Ambience. A sad smile comes across his face while his hand rests over his pendant.

Ambience grins, assuredly. "Okay! I can help, too!" He seems to either blow Crossroads off completely, or just not have heard her, his expression still looking a bit disturbed, on the side.

Seikou strides off southwards.

Seikou leaves south.
An adorable Skitty leaves south.

Ambience quickly follows!

Ambience leaves south.

Ezekial watches the two depart with a small smile, then follows silently.

Ezekial flies south.
A Chain Chomp leaves south.

Reize looks back towards Crossroad, only giving her a sheepish smile. "It looks like they had matters to attend to."

Another brisk wind blows through the area, slightly more chilling than the one from earlier.

Reize convulses as he shudders in disgust.

Reize's pendant seems to resonate. He furrows his eyebrows, "I don't like this feeling."

Crossroads nods. " Very well. Good luck!" She waves to him, then looks south where the three dissapeared.

The sky above looks gray and heavy, and there's a strange waviness to the air around the gate.

Rain begins to fall in a drizzle, rapidly intensifying. Those with Soul Gems find their light pulsing rapidly, like a strobe.

Reize turns towards the direction of the gate, observing the waviness in the air. With his pendant glowing, Reize blinks, "E--eh?" He looks over towards the rain falling. He grimaces, shaking his head.

Crossroads looks up at the sky. " Weird weather. Maybe I should stay a little..." She places her hand upon her soul gem. Her face suddenly grim, " This can't be good."

Mogwai looks up at the sky, and waves a paw in front of her face

Fog starts to surround the group - but the fog is wrong. It looks almost like paper cutouts, shifting in angle as the viewer moves. The effect is disconcerting.

A cluster of raindrops seem to compile themselves as they hit the ground, forming a large "mass" of flowing water, growing into a vaguely humanoid shape.

Crossroads swears, then looks around at the people in the area, " Get out of here, NOW!"

Mogwai looks at her canteen, then at the flowing water, then back to the canteen, then back to the water.

Mogwai says 'Ffffff'

Reize eyes the strange fog, his hand steadily reaching down to his boomerangs. When the raindrops form mass of a humanoid shape, Reize looks over the creature. He doesn't draw his weapons, as he's not certan if it's a friend or fo---- the girl's panic already ignites for him to saw foe. Both boomerangs are drawn.

Mogwai stumbles to her feet, stumbling against the wall. She shakes her head to try and clear her vision

Reize says '....Knight's Vow #68: Whatever obstacle that comes your way, never back down!'

The water "shape" bobs and swirls on its "feet", and two darkly-glowing eyes seem to form where it's head may be. They quickly narrow, focusing on the group as a whole.

A Chain Chomp growls.

Crossroads grabs Reize and starts pushing, " What ever this is, you can't handle it. Go!" She looks at Mogwai next biting her lip.

In the distance past the gate, a figure seems to be starting to form as if out of the clouds themselves, glowing from within with lightning - but it's a good distance aways, and hard to see through the bizarre non-fog.

Mogwai manages to find her legs "You run too."

Mogwai makes like a spring and leaps south!

Crossroads looks at the two with annoyance. " I can't. Go now!"

Crossroads closes her eyes and clutches her gem close to her chest. The air around her ripples softly, bending the light around her as her hair and clothes seem to become weightless, almost as though she is standing in a deep pool of water.

Her body becomes awash with a glowing blue light and the threads of her clothes unravel and fall apart, drifting away and disintegrating. The light around Crossroads begins spreading, bending, collecting and forming itself into a physical substance.

When the light dies, Crossroads stands dressed in a white robe trimmed with blue ribbon and small silver bells. In her hair is a decorative blue head band adorned with two matching blue flowers.

The water creature seems to congest and expand at rapid intervals, emitting a horrible gurgling-type scream as it stretches its arms wide!

Reize grunts, then he shakes his head. "....Don't take me as an ordinary person!" His eyes widen towards the transformation, while in awe, the boy quickly flicks out a boomerang in preparation. "I don't run!" He takes a deep breath. . o O ( Father, here I am now...! )

The water-based monstrosity seems to take this advantageously-distractive opportunity, and moves to all-but belly-flop onto Reize in his bravado, still screaming!

" Fine, if you don't run..." Crossroads draws her gun and aims at the creature, firing at it twice. " ...Stay back!"

A Chain Chomp springs in front of Reize, charging forth to intercept the water blob. This gives Reize time to realize what is going on, springing back and tossing a boomerang at the blob. "Gahh!"

The creatures doesn't SEEM like a gun would affect its amorphous form, but just the same, it is blasted away just inches from landing on Reize, falling a distance against a building with a gross 'splash!'

Reize gives a sigh of relief, recovering to his feet while shifting his stance, "What is that?!" He reaches to his pendant, ready to draw upon its charge.

The cloud figure is clearer now - a woman made from the storm, with hair of water and a body of lightning and clouds. She seems unconcerned with the proceedings for the moment.

The water blob-thing splashes down onto the cobblestones, quickly reforming itself into its earlier humanoid shape after a moment, but it seems to have stopped screaming, at the very least.

From behind Crossroads, a second water creature begins to take shape, the rain falling into place as a humanoid-shaped mass of water forms, growing to a sizeable height.

Reize looks over to see the second water. He snaps, "Oi! Watch out!" He quickly flings a boomerang towards the creature.

Crossroads looks at it wish disgust, " Its a witch, I think." She shoots at the newly formed one, then prompted by the young man's cry, she turns and fires at the one behind her.

The second creature roars threateningly, unphased as Reize's boomerang splashes through its body, cutting clear into and through it before swirling back towards him, with no effect.

The first water blob takes a swing with a massive liquid hand at the shot fired at it, swatting the blast in a random direction as it streaks out of sight!

Reize looks in shock when the boomerang has no effect on the creature. When it comes to his hand again, he catches it. "My weapon has no effect on it!"

Kyuubey has arrived from the south.

The second blob attempts to axe-fist Crossroads, but stumbles back as it is fired upon instead, roaring even louder!

Where... where did he come from? Well, Kyuubey's here now, seemingly unaffected by the storm. His fur doesn't even look damp.

Reize grits his teeth, noting that he'll thave to take it head on. Reize runs towards the first blob. He springs off of the ground, twisting around to snap a roundhouse kick at it. "Ya!"

" No you idiot!" Crossroads tries to chase after him, pulling out a second handgun and firing at the blob creatures as she did. Her eyes then fall upon kyuubey. " YOU!"

Kyuubey smiles and waves a paw.

The first creature screeches at Reize as he attacks, and seems to stagger as it is kicked... but as Reize's foot connects, it seems to be drawn into the creature's liquid body!

The second creature reels from Crossroads' assault, and falls backwards against the ground with a loud 'splash!, melting away into rain and sweeping as normal water through the avenue.

!!!! Reize yelps as he's finding himself caught in the blobous creature. "Gah!" He tries to pull himself out of it. As he struggles, his Chain Chomp lunges forward before Reize yelps, "No! Halt!"

Kyuubey tilts its head at Reize. "When you get out of that, I may be able to help out!"

Crossroads hesitates only a second at the sight of the furry white animal, deciding to waste a few bullets on him later. She reaches Reize shortly after his leg gets caught, and tries to pull him free.

The first creature swings Reize around, attempting to swing him in the path of Crossroads' incoming gun blast!

The creature remaining doesn't seem to want to let go, And fights Crossroads's attempts to retrieve him, going so far as to swing a large, watery arm at her!

Reize yelps, twitching while he grits his teeth. "Ngghh!" He twitches struggles as the creature is pulling him and the girl is trying to pull him away. He tries to kick his foot at the creature. He is unable to rely on his bag of tricks today!

Kyuubey looks at Reize calmly and evenly as the struggle goes on. "If you think of a wish quickly, I can help you fight now!"

Koa scratched the back of his head as he his eyes continued to dance along through the number as he stood absently in the background in confusion. His hair ruffled he bowed his head as he looked toward Kyuubey, slowly, seeming to appraise what the guy was getting at. " Your still collecting more of us? "

The world is in chaos when Koa enters, also. Rain is pounding and fog is everywhere and in the distance there's a giant woman made of clouds.

Kyuubey smiles at Koa. "Of course!"

The water creature is attempting to draw Reize into otself by the trapped foot, fighting against Crossroads' efforts to pull him free.

Koa laughed to himself, slowly looking in the direction of the titania. Tilting his head toward the beast of cloud and air, his fist clenching a flaring soul gem. " Do you lack confidence in me? "

Crossroads sees no choice but to let go of him in order to avoid the attack against her.

Reize blinks, "A wish...?" He looks over towards his pendant, then he says. "I...." What to wish for...--Crap, he is let go! And he is under duress! That is when the mana around him reacts strongly. His pendant makes a bit of a glow as he drops a boomerang. The flow of mana draws in his hand to form a tarot. "I don't know that I'd wish for, but... I have my last gambit!" He extends his hand in the air, "FIREBALL!" A fireball blasts from the tarot towards the creature. ...Which will blast him back as well.

Koa as he did so, the helmet he work began to glow in bright light, the bolt symbol on it's side becoming a a subtle cerise rose. Raising a hand from his gem slowly, a single key gave rise as he clicked the air. " ...Mph. "

A translucent motorcycle rumbles in from nowhere in particular.

Koa sits on the ghostly motorcycle.

The water beast roars deafeningly, some of the water that makes it up dissipating its moisture somewhat; it is unphased as a result (it IS made of water), but in the process, it leaps back, releasing Reize in the meantime.

The fireball hence dissolves as it fizzles into the creature, evaporting it somewhat, but large unharming it.

Kyuubey says ' You should probably get to the center of the barrier rather than spending all your time on familiars.'

Kyuubey says it with an even calm.

Crossroads nods at Kyuubey; annoyed with the creature as she was, it seemed like good advice. The best way to handle the problem would be to attack its source.

Koa slanted back in motorocyle as if taking his time, a roar shivering from the engine as he glared forward toward the mass. Taking note of Kyuubey's advice, he blurred forward a shower of petals trailing behind him leaving seemingly random explosions along the way. Allowing on of the petals to drift toward the creatures direction, he hoped his speed would render him too fast for any of the aquatic creatures.

Reize chokes a bit, rolling to his stomach while trying to stagger around. "Nngghh..." He grimaces, looking over towards Kyuubey, then towards the girl. That boy, he panicked. The flow of mana was lost from her. ...He looks at his pendant, and then back at the girl. "...I can't harm those things..."

The water creature presses forward again, attempting to body press anything it can get close to, but reels in the petalous explosions, falling back and using its large watery arms to shield itself from the blasts.

As Koa approaches the witch, she seems to notice the people present for the first time. One cloudy hand extends toward him, and lightning strikes for him!

Kyuubey strides over to Reize. "I could help you."

Crossroads grabs hold of the boy's arm " Next time someone tells you to run, listen" She looks at Kyuubey for a moment glaring at him coldly, then tries to drag Reize with her.

The water creature roars defiantly, encompassing itself with its arms and splashing down into the ground, sending a small tirade of water in all directions, but disappearing from view in the process.

Koa taking the attack with vigor, he grinned sharply, the petal taking shape to a more defensive cascade as they focaled to incoming point of impact. Drawing from a single petal, he produced a pair of cerise daggers which he flung at the witch whilst maintaining his speeds. Flashing a grin under his helm, he then allowed himself to wince in concentraion.

Reize , this time, does not resist when he is grabbed by the arm and he's pulled back. When he looks at Kyuubey and he furrows his eyebrows, "...You're the reason why there is no mana around her..." He recalls Ambience mentioning a contract.

The daggers disappear into the witch's cloudy body, leaving two small holes that quickly close. It looks like a different approach will be needed...

Crossroads's grip on his arm tightens a little as he says that, but she says nothing. Her goal was to get to the center of the barrier and help, but at the same time, she couldn't just leave the boy behind in this place..

Kyuubey just smiles evenly at Crossroads and Reize, saying nothing.

Following the small water fountain, the aquatic beast does not seem to resurface; the rain continues to pound all around, but without shape or form.

The witch, though, is now aware and angry. She begins to fire bolts more quickly at Koa, flinging a few towards the approaching Crossroads as well.

Koa , of course, found himself in bit of a vice as he could not focus his full offense toward the beast. As he had closed much distance, he had already begun to move in more circular pattern to ride. Petals gathered around the witch slowly like whirlwind, only dangerously close and scarce in number. Timid, Koa appeared to worrying of more lightning. He waited for another attack before acting.

Reize winces as his arm is tightened. And when Kyuubey is smiling... Reize pales. "...I... think I will pass on that help..." There is something rather foreboding about giving up his feeling of mana. Even for this situation. Instead, "I will run, this time."

Where the edges of the witch were caught in the building whirlwind, they seemed to disperse a little, and the witch seemed to stagger and pull back on herself, not attacking for the moment. She looks almost to be in pain.

Crossroads sees the attack coming before it is even made. She lets go of reize first and tries to dodge it when it comes.

Reize yelps in pain when the bolt strikes near him. Although it grazes him, the jolt is enough to have the boy bolt back and shudder. This time, he does turn to flee.

Suddenly, an amorphous shape springs out of the cobblestones, forming in the rainwater to catch Crossroads in a full-on, watery bearhug in the direction she dodges the other attack from!

Koa pressing more forward, more petals scattered away from him as the loomed over the witch still spinning in the swift whirlwind. Random explosions caught ablaze as the whirlwind took more a shape of a wall of fire and cerise.

The fire is dampened by the constant storm, dying out, but the wind still seems to be buffeting at the witch.

She fires another bolt at Koa, trying to stop his circling!

Crossroads fires at the shape and tries to roll out of its way. The problem with knowing what was coming was that she didn't know if she could actually manage to avoid the second attack.

Koa cursing, he snapped a finger at the air as petals quickly darted to support him. Raising an eyebrow at his dampened flames, his bike then kicked in gear. Thinking now only of speed, petals now took on more of a seemingly relaxed pattern. Some petals began to hover subtly around the witch's head like a halo.

The creature gives a watery scream, exploding into somewhat-solidified water blasts that ricochet off of the blast that tore it asunder, sending them streaking in all most directions, but predominantly in a vengeance at Crossroads!

Koa thinks to himself, " It's too darn dangerous to take this head on, I'm running out energy just firing explosions... "

The witch seems more and more diffuse around the edges as Koa's speed and the speed of his whirlwind build. She looks up at the halo with something a little like worry.

One of the water blasts hits her, sending Crossroads sprawling backwards. Clutching her side she makes her way back to her feet, Concentrating hard, she summons a pair of machine golems that fall from the sky and shudder to life.

The remaining blasts all splash everywhere else, turning into harmless water as they hit road, building, and everything non-sentient in the area.

Koa mantained focus, the halo above the witch winding quickly opposite of Koa's riding. Like gears in a clock, the two grinding against each other a vaccuum started to form between them, all rain falling on the halo steaming slightly, becoming vapour. Perhaps from mana concentration, or friction.

The witch seems to draw in on herself, shrinking down, trying to avoid whatever's happening. She's ceased attacking for the moment.

Crossroads orders the golems to attack the witch and assist Koa. In the meantime she quickly reloads her guns.

Koa by now had already grow to maintain a spectical of speed as he winded around the witch in darting images. The Whirlwind content to stay around, more petals formed around the witch creating more halos. The halos manipulated the wind as the entire situation took on the characteristics of a combination of an easy-bake oven and wild twister. Three petal halos in total, the acted like bindings on the titania as Koa hoped to ripe her apart a shivering wind cage.

And the witch howls with pain as the countercrossing winds diffuse the very stuff she's made of. A few more bolts strike out at random as she falls apart, but soon her shape fades away and the rain and fog start to clear.

Koa snaps his fingers just for touch then... BBBBBBOOOOOOOOMMM.

Water splashes everywhere one last time!

The sky clears out, the clouds parting and the sun revealed. In seconds, it's like no rain had fallen at all, the ground dry - although those involved in the fight are still wet.

Seeing that it was over Crossroads lets out a small sigh of relief, wiping away the water that splashed onto her face. " Thanks"

Something small and black falls where the witch was.

Koa proceeded to slide out of control, jumping off his bike as it slide in to distance before exploding. His body rolled over wet grass as he tumbled in the ground, near colliding with nearby rocks.

Koa stands slowly in this distance, near slipping every now and then as his helmet fragmented itself into his soul gem.

A dark shadow slips through the avenue briefly, disappearing behind a building as the sound of footsteps quickly disappear from audibility, fading from earshot as its source disappears.

Koa panted, shaking his head slowly as he slipped his expression into his usual grin.

Kyuubey says ' Well done, everyone!'

Crossroads cautiously picks up the grief seed and examines it.

Koa says 'We done here Kyuubey?'

Kyuubey says ' Yes! Just use the Grief Seed to clean your Soul Gems and give it to me.'

Crossroads says 'Use it? How?'

Kyuubey says ' Touch it to the Soul Gem.'

Koa titled his head in confusion, the action foreign to him, " We have to clean soul gems? "

Kyuubey nodded. "They build darkness as you use your powers or just live."

Koa says 'I see...'

Crossroads looks at the soul gem, then to Koa. " Here, You did most of the fighting. You go first." She tosses it to him.

Koa snatched it from the air, examining the Grief Seed once more as he slowly touched his gem to the artifact. As one glanced, one could note a blanket of darkness shivering away as the click the two objects clicked together. Nodding slowly, he felt the action anti-climatic, but felt a distant weight lift. He tossed it back to Crossroads.

Koa says 'I don't know, I just did what I thought I should do. That was my first witch you know, heh.'

Crossroads removed the gem from her neck and did the same, watching as the darkness within her gem faded away. "Mine as well. I'm glad you showed up when you did."

Koa bows deeply.

Kyuubey smiles, sitting on his haunches. "Now toss the gem over. If it lingers the witch can be reborn!"

Crossroads frowns, not entirely sure if she wanted to give the thing to the creature. But if he was right and that thing ended up being reborn again, she didn't want to have to fight it.

Crossroads placed the grief seed on the ground, and kicked it over to kyuubey with her foot, " What happens if we don't cleanse our gems?"

Kyuubey grabs the gem with his tail, and then, in a truly disturbing sight, the teardrop-shaped mark on his back opens a little. He drops the gem into it and it vanishes. "Bad things."

Koa shrugged as he yawned now, seeming to be uninterested, he looking toward the battle field like distant remnants. He didn't appear too worried at all.

Koa says 'Kill more witches, evade more trouble. Got it.'

Kyuubey nods. "Exactly!"

Crossroads tilted her head slightly, ignoring Koa's response to the creatures answer. " That's rather vague. What sort of bad things?"

Kyuubey says ' Just avoid it and you won't have to find out!'

Kyuubey scampers off. Damn cat.

Koa says 'I'll be off then, I see you later.'

Crossroads glares after the cat creater, the grip on her gun tightening. She doesn't even look at Koa when he says he is leaving. "Yeah, see ya. Thanks again."

Koa wandered off himself, waving to Crossroads as he seemed to want to make a nice exit, but thought against it, his hands motioned half-way toward his riding helmet. Instead, he just slipped his thumbs away as he left. A stray petal on the grass vanishing as Koa seemed to completely relax. Perhaps Koa was actually tense.