Author Topic: MegaDoll X  (Read 33328 times)

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2011, 07:50:23 PM »
I love you for making Meiling's lackadaisical attitude more of a cover than a reality <3
It's more she's lazy because there's no threat.  Why obsess over guarding against vampire hunters if no one actually hunts vampires?

Quote
Suigintou is that you?
I admit 'Gin might have been a minor influence, though I figured poor Germelshausen has even more issues.

Quote
Of course, if they repair poor little Germel, they're gonna have to get her a much better watch, one more like Sakuya's.
The watches those two carry are decoration rather then magical devices.  Sakuya's power is innate, and Germel is a magical device herself.  But believe me Alice is working on a solution.

As a side note, since only fish would probably know this, Germelshausen is a mythical cursed town that only surfaces for one day every one hundred years.

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2011, 07:56:10 PM »
As a side note, since only fish would probably know this, Germelshausen is a mythical cursed town that only surfaces for one day every one hundred years.
And then it got adapted into an incredibly fun musical!

Hanzo K.

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2011, 08:16:37 PM »
Well, i figured that since Germel's watch stopped, that it was the key to it all.
Like, a regulator that helped keep the time magic working right.
Y'know, like a Limiter Program that keeps machinery and computers from overtaxing their systems/parts/etc.
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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2011, 12:41:57 AM »
Well, i figured that since Germel's watch stopped, that it was the key to it all.
Like, a regulator that helped keep the time magic working right.
Y'know, like a Limiter Program that keeps machinery and computers from overtaxing their systems/parts/etc.

So, you could say that Germal was... overclocked?

GROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAN
wait I mean YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAH

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2011, 04:31:21 AM »
When the two emerged from the maze Sakuya was waiting for them.  "Thank you both for your assistance.  I'm sure Alice would be proud of you.  Would you like some tea before you go?"

Shanghai shook her head.  "No.  I think we should keep moving."

"I see."  Sakuya paused for a moment.  "Very well.  Good luck on your quest."

"Thanks," Hourai said as they walked out.

"Just remember, sometimes someone's fate can't be changed," Sakuya said softly as they passed.

They skirted the walls to avoid Koakuma's continued chaotic efforts to reorganize the library and quickly flew out to the lake's edge.  Shanghai shook herself to try to focus, then called Marisa.  "So the next one is in kappa territory?"

"Yeah.  Though you'll want to meet up with Nitori first," Marisa replied.

"So where is Nitori's place?  The mountain youkai don't usually let people up."

"And how are we going to evade the Tengu?" Hourai asked.

"Well I imagine Koishi will help you with the Tengu."  The two dolls jumped as Koishi waved at them.  How long had she been there?  "As for where Nitori is?  My bet is she's at the waterfall because it's the biggest landmark.  She's bright but she keeps forgetting I found her house already."

"You'd think that someone would remember grand theft," Shanghai muttered.  She coughed then continued.  "Anything else?"

Marisa sighed.  "Komachi's dropped by and is whining up a storm, but it's nothing critical.  Heck I think Yumemi's pumping her for info so take your time."

"Right."  Shanghai closed the connection.  "Then we go to the waterfall."

Hourai nodded.  "Let's hurry."

The two followed the various waterways up from the lake to the massive waterfall that was the deliminator between kappa territory and tengu territory, though the two had relaxed that boundary somewhat recently.

"Oh good you two showed up!"

Nitori appeared with a splash, her kappa dress shedding water like a duck.  "That's great.  I just finished up the charms that should let you move and fight underwater."

Shanghai looked around for the equipment.  "So where is it?"

"Right here."  Nitori held up two bracelets.  "I'd been working on these for a while to help humans swim, but I never got the breathing part right.  Since you two don't need to breathe I just had to fix up the base enchantments and add some waterproofing."

"Thanks."  Shanghai took the kappa accessory and put it on.  It quickly resized to her wrist with an odd whirring, but Shanghai didn't feel any different.

"Are you sure this works?" Hourai asked glancing at her own bracelet.

"Certain!"  Nitori paused.  "Well mostly certain.  Anyway if anything goes wrong when we dive, I'll be right there to help you.  So let's get a move on!"  With that the kappa dived under the surface again.

Shanghai looked down, then shrugged at her sister and dived after.  Being a little wet wouldn't kill her.

The water felt cool as she plunged into the depths.  Her sight quickly adjusted to the change in light, and while she felt wet, she didn't feel the water seeping into her body.  She opened her mouth to congratulate Nitori, but only a stream of bubbles came out.  Another stream of bubbles came from behind her, and she looked to see Hourai giving Nitori a dark look.

"Whoops, forgot to test that part," Nitori laughed weakly then shrugged.  "Still you can use your radios right?"

Shanghai sighed then called on the magical radio within her.  "Yeah, that will have to do."

"I suppose this is good for twenty minutes work," Hourai grudgingly agreed.

Nitori looked them over.  "So how's the movement?  You think you can fight?"

Shanghai floated around a bit, getting her bearings.  "Yeah.  It's easy to fly about."

"And I think I should be good to go," Hourai said taking a few sword swings.

Nitori smiled broadly.  "Cool!  Well then let's go wrap up this little incident."  The kappa turned and swam downstream, making a turn along a small tributary.  Shanghai and Hourai swam after her.

A few bends later the found themselves in front of an underwater cave with three other kappa in front of it, guarding the area.  They turned at Nitori's arrival.  "Oh hey!  Are those the dolls that were coming to help?"

Shanghai waved as the three drifted closer.  "Yep," Nitori answered for them.

"They're so cute!"

Shanghai felt herself grabbed and hugged tightly to the kappa's bosom.  Shanghai did her best to free herself, but all she accomplished was confirming that Nitori was... smaller then most kappa despite her size.

Finally the kappa girl let her go.  Shanghai dashed backwards before any of the other girls could grab her, but they seemed to have gone for Hourai.  Her sister was readjusting her bow and giving the giggling kappa her most fearsome look.  "We should hurry before they decide to keep us as pets," Shanghai sent over the radio.

Hourai nodded in return and the two scurried into the underwater tunnels.  "Have fun storming the castle," Nitori called out as they left.

The cavern descended rapidly for a bit, then evened out.  Just as the two were getting there bearings a giant frog hopped in front of them, its bulging eyes glowing red.

"Looks like this isn't going to be as easy as the last runs," Hourai remarked as she dashed forward.

The frog responded to the attack by spitting dozens of smaller frogs at them.  Shanghai quickly swapped her weapon to the leaf shield and summoned the power.  The small amphibians were quickly slapped aside by the swirling cloud of leaves.  Shanghai tossed the cloud forward, but Hourai had already cut through to take out the main frog.

Hourai shrugged her shoulders and readied her blade.  "Well just have to press through.  We beat those bats right?"

"Right."  Shanghai followed after her sister further into the depths.

They ran into two more frogs that they dispatched with similar methods, then cut their way through some odd crabs.  Shanghai found herself being forced to shoot the shells off, so Hourai could get in a lethal cut.  It was difficult, and the two both got some cuts and scratches, but they pushed through.

After the next drop Hourai held up her hand.  "Somethings wrong.  I think there are currents here."  Shanghai couldn't feel them, but she trusted her other sister's senses.  She looked around.  If there were currents there was probably either a foe or a trap around.

She quickly saw the danger.  "Hourai, mines."

Sitting in the water above them, blending into the ceiling, were several head sized mines.  Looking closely the purple poison that had rattled her so badly earlier were visible on the spikes sticking out of the mines.  If they hit one, there'd be no way to escape the blast radius before it went off.

"Good catch.  We'll have to be extra careful." Hourai said.

The two continued on, staying away from any dark shadows that might conceal more traps.

Just then a light appeared in front of them, cutting through the darkness.  The two looked at each other.  "This has to be a trap."

Sure enough out of the light burst three crayfish like creatures.  Shanghai switched to her metal blades and cut through two, while Hourai caught the third in a rolling slash that sank into the center of the light.  There was a monstrous scream and the light faded as an angler fish creature fled into the depths.  Hourai stopped her spin and looked about.  "That was a strange ambush."

"Yeah," Shanghai replied.

"Hey you two," Chiyuri's voice popped up.  "We're picking up another hidden passage.  You might wanna look for it."

Shanghai looked around the murky waters.  "Hrm.  It's kinda hard to see down here.  And I'd hate to find a mine instead of a passage."

"Ah!"  Hourai perked up and slowly floated towards the ceiling.  "Of course, the mines must be there to keep us away from there."  Shanghai warily floated up after her sister.

Sure enough there was a passage through the mines, just big enough for one doll to fit through at a time.  Hourai led the way, Shanghai following behind her sister until the passageway opened up enough for both to swim side by side.

After a few minutes moving through the clear water they reached an air pocket.  The two jumped up to find an open room with a ribbon tied in a bow lying on the ground.  As they approached a projection of Mother appeared again before them.

The apparition looked perhaps more downcast then before.  "Shanghai, I know it's wrong of me to ask you to kill your sisters like this.  I wish there was another way, but I'm not strong enough to find it."

Shanghai's gut clenched at the same time as Mother's fists.  "I promise you though, I'll do my best to rebuild them.  After all you are my precious children."  Alice took a deep breath then looked up.

"This bow should allow you to store weapon energy as time passes, meaning you won't have to focus on charging your buster.  I hope it serves you well."

Shanghai sighed as the vision faded.  Hourai moved forward again.  "Want me to help you with the bow?"

Shanghai nodded.  "Please."  She closed her eyes as Hourai swapped her hair accessories.  At least with this upgrade she didn't feel like she was stealing from her sister.  Hourai didn't have any use for a gun upgrade.

When Hourai finished she turned and hugged her sister.  "Thanks." 

Hourai nodded.  "No problem."

They headed further on, dropping into another pool that led to a familiar looking door.  The two readied their weapons, then swam in.

"So you've finally come!  The prototypes!"

The doll that swam up from the depths was unlike Shanghai or any of her other sisters.  From the waist up she was similar, but from the waist down she had a fishes tail, like a mermaid of legend.  An odd design, but not crippling for someone who could fly.  Her hair was cut short, and she held a spear gun in her hands.

"You've beaten some of our sisters I bet.  Well that all ends here!"  The doll made a sweeping gesture with her arm.  "I Atlantis will redeem our honor and defeat you both!  I'll prove that I'm the strongest combat doll in all Gensoukyo!"

Shanghai hoped her radio could reach their sister.  "Wait!  What's the point of fighting!  Why do you need to defeat us?"

"You've killed three of our sisters and you need to ask?"  Atlantis sneered.  "I know you're trying to beat us all to get to Master Melancholy.  And when I defeat you two she'll know that I'm the greatest doll under her command!  The others won't constantly be babying me or worrying that I can't hold my own, no snickering about my abilities.  I'll get the respect I deserve!  That's reason enough for me to fight." 

"Now defend yourself!" Atlantis spun in the water, sending three bubbles towards Hourai and shanghai.  The bubbles traveled through an odd sinuous pattern, but moved slowly.  Shanghai saw Hourai back up, wary of a trap.  However she decided to take the direct route and fired a metal blade straight at the bubble heading towards her.

To her surprise the blade went straight through the bubble, leaving both unaffected.  Atlantis herself easily spun out of the way of the saw.  "Ahahaha!  My bubbles can't be broken by any weapon!  Now take this!"  Atlantis lowered her trident and fired off three spear darts.

Shanghai leaped above the shots.  Then she froze.  Above her were a host of mines.  Fortunately she hadn't gotten caught in a current, but she was still too close for comfort.  "Hourai, be careful!"

"Right!"  Hourai kept to the middle of the room, dashing between the bubbles and spear shots.  While Atlantis herself was nimble, her attacks were slow and predictable.  Hourai easily chased the other doll around the room.

Once Shanghai recovered she began adding her own fire to the mix.  She kept her dodges minimal, while laying down a steady stream of metal blades.

It was almost sad how one sided the barrage was.  Now that they'd seen the trick there was no danger from the danmaku.  All Atlantis could do was keep dodging.  "Give it up!  You can't beat us like this," Shanghai called out.

Atlantis responded only "No!  I'm one of Medicine's lieutenants!  I'm a fighter like my sisters!  I won't just surrender!  I won't back down!  I'll stop you here before you kill anyone else!"

"How are you going to do that?  Your attacks aren't fast enough," Hourai said calmly as she continued pursuit.

"Shut up!" Atlantis screamed before launching an even more desperate barrage.  This time the cloud of bubbles and spears was almost dangerous, but Shanghai could still easily figure out the gaps in the attack before it reached her.

In the end the maverick doll could only fail.

Hourai swept over a bubble with a diving cut that neatly severed the mermaid doll in two.  Atlantis' eyes opened wide in shock.  "Augh!"

"No!  No...  I had to win.  I'm not useless.  I can fight sisters...."  The broken doll started sinking further into the depths.  "I can... fight.  I'm one of you...  I can protect... Medicine... sisters...  help me...."

Shanghai caught her torso just as the doll fell still.  Hourai swam over with the tail.

This time the sphere didn't even bother forming.  It simply flew into the two waiting dolls.

When it cleared Shanghai realized she could fire bubbles just like Atlantis.  She looked over at Hourai who simply shook her head.  "I don't think she was built for combat."  Hourai said.

Shanghai nodded.  "Let's send her home.  Next time we'll be able to defend her."

---------

Underwater Exploration Doll Atlantis
Purpose: Exploration

Atlantis is designed to aid others in moving about underwater.  Her invincible bubbles offer no protection from weapons, but a constant supply of air and easy movement for any people who need to breathe.  Unfortunately her abilities come at the cost of armor.  When I get a working model I should build some spares and defense dolls for them.  Some underwater youkai are dangerous.  Fortunately Atlantis is very fast.

Medicine notes: Atlantis really wants to help, but she's always getting in over her head.  She needs to learn to stick to her strengths.  The other dolls try to help her, but she can get really headstrong.

Fortunately she should be pretty safe underwater.  There's not much that can get to her there.  After I win, I'll see about getting her better training, and helping teach her when to run.

Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2011, 04:49:10 AM »
Awww poor Atlantis, if only she weren't evil.

Excellent chapter keep up the good work. :D

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2011, 05:09:29 AM »
As soon as their sister's body was teleported away Marisa came back on the comms.  "Good work. 

Did you find the item as well?"

"Yeah," Shanghai replied.

"Good.  Well Yumemi found that there's a separate exit from here to the surface.  From there you two can fly straight to heaven."

Hourai sighed in relief.  "Oh good.  Give Nitori our apologies for leaving so soon."

"Heh, hit with some kappa hospitality eh?  Too bad they usually run from me."  Shanghai rolled her eyes at Marisa's laugh.  "Anyway I got in touch with Iku, so in the very unlikely event you

run into anyone up there you should be let through."

"Right."  Shanghai looked around, eventually finding the gap in the mines that led to another door.  Sure enough Shanghai and Hourai found themselves in a shallow lake after passing through it.  The two headed into the air, then kept rising.

"Flying like this is weird," Shanghai said as they started passing through the cloud cover.

"Yeah," Hourai muttered.  Usually people flew somewhat near the ground so as not to get lost.  The wide open air encompassed by clouds was a strange sight, even to those who could fly at will.

They fell silent as the cold clouds completely enveloped them.  All around Shanghai was a light grey mist that occluded her vision.  It was like flying through a fog bank.  And just like a fog

bank it was too easy to lose track of time.

She was starting to wonder if it might be a good idea to radio Hourai when the mist in front of her brightened.  There was a strange feeling of pressure, then she burst from the clouds into the light of the sun again.  Hourai popped up a few meters away.

Heaven stretched in every direction around them.  The ground was covered with a flowering grass that somehow supported their weight while still bobbing on top of the clouds.  Peach trees bearing both fruit and flowers were scattered about the landscape, as were small tea houses.  And the sky was clearer and bluer then Shanghai had ever seen in her life.

Except in one direction.  Towards the village there was a pillar of storm clouds that rose as high as the eye could follow.  Occasionally lightning crackled over it.

"Think that's where we need to go?" Hourai asked sarcastically.

"Maybe," Shanghai replied.

They flew rapidly towards the disturbance.

As they got closer to the edge of the storm a figure rapidly became visible.  A short figure that was waving a sword at the clouds like the storm had insulted her mother.  When they got close enough Shanghai called out, "Hello Tenshi."

Tenshi started then looked back in surprise.  "Wha?  Who are you?  Look I'm busy trying to stop this storm from ripping everything apart, but the damn Sword of Hisou isn't cutting it."  Tenshi glared down at her weapon.  "Anyway I'm very busy, get lost."

An evil grin slowly formed on Hourai's face.  "Oh really?  That's too bad.  We were going to go in and fix the problem, but since you have it covered...."

"Wait just a minute!"  Tenshi whirled around to face them, then panicked and turned back towards the cloud to keep the storm in check.  She looked over her shoulder at the two dolls.  "You say you can fix this?"

"If we get inside the storm, yes," Shanghai said.  She was enjoying watching Tenshi squirm, but they did need to hurry.

"Hm...  Iku did mention something about this..."  Tenshi bit her lip then shrugged.  "Well this stupid sword isn't working so fine.  Go ahead.  I'll open a passage for you."

The celestial stabbed into the front of the storm and a gash opened in the swirling winds. 

Shanghai and Hourai ran quickly inside.  Then Tenshi removed the blade and the winds closed behind them.

The realm they entered looked similar to the heavens outside, except the clouds that formed the floor of heaven had been ripped into chunks and pieces scattered around.  Shanghai could feel downdrafts pulling at her from the gaps between the islands and she frowned.  "Flying won't be easy."

Hourai nodded.  "We'll have to watch our footing.  Treat everything like a jump, just to be safe."

The two ran towards the next platform.  Shanghai has already started her leap when a miniature dust devil started up where she was about to land.  She forced herself to dash backwards to safer ground then yelped in shock as she hit Hourai.  The two dolls tumbled to the ground.

"Watch it!" Hourai complained.

Shanghai pulled herself off her sister.  "Sorry.  It's just those clouds aren't entirely safe."

Hourai looked over and saw the dust devil.  "Oh.  Huh, that's a problem."

As the two sisters watched the winds grew stronger, then suddenly died before starting up again.  Shanghai nodded.  She saw the pattern.  When the wind died the second time she made a jumping dash to clear the gap.  Hourai rapidly followed.

They cleared the next set of platforms this way, until the ground grew more fragmented.  Here the cloudlets were so small that the wind blew them around in whirling patterns.  Shanghai had a sinking feeling that this was the only way across too.  "Fun."

"We can't back down now," Hourai said.  She waited until one of the spinning platforms was close enough then hopped over.  Shanghai sighed and followed.

"So now what?" Shanghai asked as the platform swept through the sky.

Hourai pointed at another platform moving through the air.  "We jump."

Shanghai groaned, then froze.  Her sister's hair had started to stick.  "Then we'd better hurry!  Because we're about to be hit by lightning!"

Hourai's eyes opened wide and her sister made a running dash for the distant platform.  Shanghai waited until Hourai was in the air then followed after.

Hourai just barely caught the platform, but her stumbling step left enough room for Shanghai to land.  And not a moment too soon, as lightning shattered the cloud they'd been riding on earlier.  "Whew," Shanghai took a deep breath.  "That was close."

"Don't stop now!" Hourai yelled as she pointed to another platform.  "We're still surrounded by static!"  Shanghai's pulse increased massively, and she got ready to jump again.

The next few minutes was an eternity of hopping from cloud to cloud desperately trying to avoid the lightning without being pulled down into the heart of the storm.  At some point Shanghai realized she'd used her rapid movement weapon in order to be able to keep up with Hourai and outrun the lightning.

Finally the static went away as they landed on a larger patch.  The two collapsed to the ground, breathing deeply just to help calm themselves down.

"How'd our sister get this strong?" Hourai asked after a while.  "None of the others had this kind of power."

Shanghai shook her head.  "Maybe she doesn't have full control of it?  I think witches have some powerful weather magic if they just want some kind of storm."

Hourai frowned but didn't contest the point.

"Well we'd better get going." Shanghai stood.  "If this is a storm spell, it'll only get stronger."

Hourai groaned but stood as well.  "Then let's go."

As the two proceeded onwards a series of black shapes appeared around them, seeming to drop out of the skies above.  Shanghai switched to her metal blades as the dark figures came closer.

Finally the dark figures became clear.  They were birdlike familiar youkai, black as the storm, with glowing eyes.  The creatures began to circle in packs.  It was obvious they weren't going to let the two dolls pass easily.  But Shanghai and Hourai didn't back down.

The first attack was sudden, but easily countered.  Shanghai's blade tore through the crowd's center, leaving the rest to fall to Hourai's furious slashes.

With that the rest of the horde attacked.

Shanghai whirled and fired as fast as she could, slicing huge swaths of death through the enemies.  Hourai danced back and forth in her own cage of steel, cutting down the stragglers before they could cause them harm.  Or at least most of them.  Shanghai winced in pain as a few birds pecked at her arms and ankles, but she was always able to saw them down quickly before serious damage was inflicted.

Finally they stood alone among wisps of smoke that were the familiars.  Before them was an enclosed cloud, with a whispy 'door' leading into the center.

Shanghai steeled herself then entered.

As the two dolls stepped inside a mighty wind started up.  Shanghai steadied her footing as the walls blew away.  From above a doll in sky blue carrying an ornate fan slowly floated down from the sky.  "So!  Have you two come to impede my judgment?"

Hourai recovered first.  "Judgment?  What are you talking about?"

Their sister gestured imperiously with her fan.  "My judgment against these so called Celestials.  Look at their excess, their spacious gardens they refuse to let other more worthy souls into.  I, Shambala, have decided to end this corruption." 

Shanghai looked around.  "Well, I can't say I care about the Celestials really.  But won't destroying heaven damage the lands below?"

"What do I care of those human's lives?" Shambala asked with a shrug.  "The rotten tree bears rotten fruit.  Let the earth be scoured clean.  Dis can rule the rest."

Shanghai tightened her grip on weapon.  "And what about Mother?  Will you kill her too?"

Shambala laughed.  "Our builder?  She should survive.  And if not, she was unworthy of this new era.  The fact that she created you two to murder us is reason enough for me not to worry too much."

"We'll see if you can keep that haughty air after I cut you into ribbons!" Hourai yelled as she attacked.

"Ha!  Let me show you insects the difference in power between us!" Shambala cried as she swung her fan.

Shanghai felt herself once again being pushed away from her sister by massive winds, only this time several miniature tornadoes swirled into existence between the dolls.  One slammed Hourai into the ground, while another batted Shanghai's charged shots to the side, before rushing forward to send her sprawling.  "Fools, nothing can stop my tornado shot!" Shambala cried as she swung her fan again.

"Then I wont let you hit me!" Hourai cried as she dashed between the tornadoes.  Shanghai tried to angle her own bullets past the winds, but she only managed to wing Shambala before the other doll dodged away from Hourai's slash.

Shanghai was rewarded by a torso shattering impact as another gust hit her.  Shanghai panicked when her strength seemed to fade with the pain.  She quickly pulled out the container Yumemi gave her and downed the contents.  Her strength seemed to return rapidly as the magic flowed into her, and as soon as she finished she leaped to her feet to return to battle.

Hourai had gotten close enough despite the winds to engage Shambala directly, but she didn't seem to be landing any good blows.  Shanghai did notice her sister's Autumn Moon Slash cut through the winds, but the range difference meant Hourai couldn't land a solid blow.

Shanghai considered the matter, then switched to the leaf shield.  It seemed ridiculous, but she had to try it.  As Shambala jumped backwards Shanghai summoned the shield and threw it forward.

Shambala called on the winds once again sending Hourai flying with a solid hit.  Then the first leaf hit her.  She called on the whirlwind to shred the shield, but the winds only increased the invincible leaves power.

Shambala screamed in impotent rage as her own strength turned the leaf shield into a deadly razor sharp tornado.

Shanghai took a deep breath as the storm quieted.  Across from her Hourai shook her head then forced herself to her feet.  "That was... insane."

"Yeah."  Shanghai nodded, then turned her attention to the orb that floated over the battered body of their fallen sister.  "But we won in the end."

"Right."  The two touched the orb.

Power and light flooded Shanghai again, restoring her reserves.  As the warm glow faded she realized her gun could now shoot a powerful stream of tornadoes into the sky.  A terrifying weapon indeed, if limited in attack profile.

Hourai lifted her sword in a weak rising motion and lightning crackled along the blade.  "I think we've gained some serious firepower."

Shanghai nodded.  "Yeah.  I just hope we don't need it."

---

Weather Control Doll Shambala

Purpose : Celestial cleaning

Tenshi's sword of Hisou is a serious pain, just like her.  Shambala here should help even the odds in my favor by allowing me to change the weather as well.  That way I won't always be on the defensive.

Current Status : Untenable.  Shambala consumes far too much power.  She can equal, and perhaps even surpass the Sword of Hisou, but I'd be unable to use danmaku at the same time.  Maybe if she had her own power source it could be viable, but as is I need to lower the magical requirements.

Medicine Notes : Shambala talks really big.  I'm not sure she considers her sister's equals, except for Dis.  And she's always quick to criticize people for their mistakes.  Fortunately she forgives her sisters easily.  Maybe she just has high standards.  I'll ask her to offer more constructive criticism.

Hanzo K.

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2011, 09:51:06 PM »
Ah, the Air Man treatment huh?
Leaf Shield is Air Man's weakpoint weapon back in MM2.

Though I gotta admit, Shambala definitely has the Celestial/Lunarian attitude down pat. :V
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Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2011, 04:03:29 AM »
Shanghai picked up the fallen body of Shambala.  "Shall we head home, sis?"

"Yeah."  Hourai pulled out her teleportation device and took Shanghai's hand.  Then time and space folded.

The maddening sensation was gone before Shanghai had time to analyze it.  The only remnants of the journey was a big of confusion, and the annoyance of having her eyes handle the transition from the bright light of heaven, to Alice's darkened room.

"Oh good, you two are finally back.  Now I can get some work done."

Shanghai turned to find Komachi leaning against the wall.  The slacker Shinigami hadn't even pushed herself upright yet.  A frown forced itself onto Shanghai's face.  She had an urge to not help the woman just out of spite.

"Don't be an idiot Komachi.  They need to get equipped before they go anywhere."  Marisa stepped into the room, followed by Yumemi and Chiyuri.  "Besides it's not like you ever do anything on time anyway.  Why worry about being late now?"

"Look, the boss wanted this done personally," Komachi said with a shrug.  "You know the boss."

Chiyuri "Five bucks says she wants this done fast so she can laze about before her deadline actually hits."

Komachi glared at Chiyuri.  "It's not nice to say things like that to people you just met you know."

Marisa just smiled cheerily.  "No odds."  She carefully took Shambala from Shanghai's arms and moved to the other room.  As she exited she called out, "We found the last upgrade part.  It's in Eientei, so I figure Koishi will follow you there."

This time Shanghai was only mildly surprised when Koishi appeared behind them.  "Sure.  And then I'll lead them to the one in hell."

"Actually you'll want to come back here first.  We've almost got a fireproofing device ready for you two," Chiyuri said.

"And on that note we've gotten you some more general upgrades," Yumemi said.  "And I have to say I'm impressed with how they came out.  First something for Hourai, a dimensional dislocator!"

The two sisters looked at the item Yumemi held out.  "It looks like a mantle," Hourai said.

"I know!  Isn't it awesome!" Yumemi said tossing it over Hourai's shoulders.  "With this when you dash you won't just use Atlantis' power, you'll also go out of phase, so you can't be hurt.  Its safety measures won't let you try to phase through walls though."

Hourai's eyes opened at that.  "Thanks!  That's really helpful."  Shanghai herself felt a little jealous, though she rapidly squashed that feeling.

"Unfortunately it doesn't work with this item, so Shanghai gets these," Chiyuri said holding up two smaller bows.  "These are designed to eliminate forces on the user.  You'll get pushed back less by hits, and you can hover for a brief period of time.  We noticed you've had some trouble keeping up even with your enhancements so this should fix that."

"Thanks," Shanghai replied, placing the small bows on her shoes.  She didn't feel any different when the items were on, but she trusted the two knew what they were doing.

"And I've got the final gift for you two," Marisa said as she walked back in.  She tossed each of them another magic bottle.  "Energy refills.  I burned a lot of power making them though, even with Yumemi's machines, so don't waste 'em, okay?"

"Right."  Shanghai pocketed the precious item.  "So now where should we go?"

Komachi cleared her throat.  "Seriously, you really don't want the yama getting involved here.  The doll's already created a tower of rocks and everything's going out of whack.  I'm not trying to threaten you into doing my job.  If that doll keeps messing up Muenkuza...."

Shanghai looked at Hourai, who just sighed.  "Well I suppose that one is causing the most trouble."

Komachi pushed herself up off the wall.  "Good.  And since this needs to get done fast, I'll ferry you there myself."

"Uh...."  Shanghai didn't have an innate fear of death, but her self preservation instincts thought that riding with a ferryman was a bad idea.

"Don't worry about it.  She's not allowed to officially ferry two people at once, much less three," Marisa said helpfully.

"First I wanna see Alice," Shanghai said.  She headed over to her master's bed, Hourai following.

Alice seemed restless.  She hadn't moved from her coma, but her face was pinched with worry.

This wasn't how it was supposed to be.  Alice was supposed to be here guiding her.  She was Alice's doll.  She existed to help Alice.  Even if she could think for herself she didn't want to lose that part of herself.  She wanted to see Mother.  To speak with her.

Shanghai took Alice's hand, while at the same time Hourai placed a hand on Alice's brow.  Shanghai thought that perhaps a few lines faded from Alice's face at the contact, but she couldn't really say.

"I think she's getting out of deep sleep and into something closer to wakefulness, but she's still pretty out of it," Koishi said from behind them.

After a few moments Hourai patted her on the shoulder.  "Let's get this over with."

"Right."

----

The trip was actually surprisingly pleasant.  Komachi's chatter was banal enough to ignore but interesting enough to not become painful.  It helped that the trip itself took less then a minute.  Komachi had her boat rise above the tree line, and then they were there.  "Distance manipulation," Komachi said as she hopped out of the boat.  "It's a wonderful power."

Shanghai didn't have time to be impressed though, because she could see what Komachi had been complaining about the moment they arrived.  "That's..."

"...a big tower," Hourai finished, staring up at the edifice.

The massive construction of loose rocks soared into the sky further then it had any right to.  From this angle Shanghai couldn't even tell if it had a top.

"Yep.  A real pain isn't it,"  Komachi sighed.  "I keep telling the kids they don't have to pile rocks and then this girl comes and messed up everything...."  Komachi trailed off for a bit then shook her head.  "Anyway, you might get jumped by ghosts.  Feel free to shoot them, you can't hurt them seriously."

"Thanks?" Shanghai replied.  She began scanning the tower for an entrance.  "So how do we get in?"

"I'd suggest there," Komachi said, pointing to a small crack in the base.  Shanghai and Hourai both sighed.  It looked like they were going to have to squeeze through.

"Well, here goes nothing," Shanghai said.  She flew down to the crack and slowly squeezed through.  It surprisingly wasn't a horrible as she thought it would be.  The entrance was the small end.  Once she got her shoulders through it was smooth sailing, though she had to dust off her dress.  Hourai had a harder time because of her sword, but soon they were both standing at the bottom of the tower.

"It looks like there's a series of floors," Shanghai said, pointing up at a hole in the ceiling. 

"We'll probably have to maneuver through each area."

"Yeah.  Still it'll be easier then that last mess, since nothing is interfering with our fight."  Hourai lifted off the ground.  "Let's go."

"A body...."

The two sisters froze at the hollow voice that echoed through the room.  Shanghai could swear that she got goosebumps from the sound.  She turned to see a dark shadow with two burning eyes slowly advancing towards her.

"An empty vessel..."  Another shadow formed, it's eyes lighting up.  "I can go home.  I can see my wife...."

Shanghai'd had enough creepy ghost stuff.  She lowered her weapon and fired a charged shot.  The spirits vaporized in the attack and Shanghai relaxed a little.

Then three more spirits formed and set their eyes on her.  "A body...."  "I'll be able to help big brother...."  "Mother will be happy again...."

"Time to go!"  Hourai grabbed her arma and yanked her towards the ceiling.  The ghosts floated slowly after them, but they quickly fell behind.

Unfortunately there were more waiting in the next room.  "A body...."  "I can marry Hiriko...."  "Dad will be proud of me...."  "Gotta escape...."

Shanghai pulled back and activated her leaf shield.  "We've gotta keep moving.  Should I lead?"

Hourai shook her head.  "No, I can't guard my back.  I'll cut through.  You follow behind."

"Right!"

Sure enough Hourai hit the first wave with a rolling slash that cleared out three of the ghosts.   Shanghai dashed along after her sister, her leaves ripping the few ghosts that got to close to the sisters into shreds.  Fortunately it seemed like most of them were content to keep after her, perhaps because she was slower.

They made it through the first few floors like this.  Then the next few.  After the thirtieth floor Shanghai started to get worried.  "Hourai, I'm running short on energy."

"I know," Hourai muttered.  "We just have to keep going.  Switch to the air cannon when you run out."

"Seems like overkill," Shanghai muttered.  But since her metal blades wouldn't cover enough area to stop all the ghosts it was her only choice.

Sure enough her leaf shield cut out next level.  She quickly switched to her air cannon and fired a burst.  She wasn't disappointed.  The tornadoes blasted the ghosts away without even slowing.

There was a crackle from behind her as Hourai swept another ghost away.  "Keep an eye out.  You've lost some area."

"I know! I know!"  Shanghai was starting to get really frustrated.

Thus she was incredibly relieved when the next floor contained a familiar door.

"Finally!"  The two sisters dashed for the relative safety of a battle against their sister.

The door opened to reveal a solid room.  In the center their sister stood.  She wore a tiara with a single gem on her head, and her dress was longer then the sisters, brushing across the floor.  As Shanghhai and Hourai came to a stop she gave them a curtsy.

"Pompei," she said.

Hourai set her sword as Shanghai nodded her own greeting.  "I don't suppose you'll listen to us and stop this madness, sister?"

Pompei smiled sadly.  "No."  She curtsied again and several smaller dolls flew from beneath her skirt.  Shanghai's eyes widened as she realized they were similar to Alice's suicide dolls.  "Please, defend yourselves."

And with that she leaped into the air her skirts whirling.  And a squad of explosive dolls rained down on Shanghai and Hourai.

Hourai faded as she dashed out of the explosion's radius, bubbles trailing behind.  Shanghai however was tired of running.  She fired her air cannon straight at the bombs.

The whirlwind went straight and true, but the bombs didn't!  The mini dolls split around the attack then continued on.  The tornados smashed into Pompei, but the larger doll seemed to absorb most of the hit.

Shanghai wasn't as lucky.  The bombs were only near misses, but the blast sent her flying.  She forced down the pain and stood to see another wave of bombs heading towards her.  This time she just jumped away, then engaged her hover power to stay above the blast.

Across the way Hourai seemed similarly engaged.  Pompei could send bomb swarms at each of them apparently.  Hourai tried a jumping spinning cut, but once again Pompei won the exchange, and Hourai was sent sprawling.

Shanghai dashed forward, trying to fly underneath her sister and fire in passing.  Shanghai's heart rose as she landed another hit without getting struck by bombs, but Pompei jumped away, preventing her from using the trick again.

Hourai regained her feet and began circling again, while Shanghai tried to think of another trick.  It took two more empty exchanges, and one where Hourai got hit again, but she eventually figured out something.

When Pompei jumped and fired again Shanghai jumped then engaged her hover power.  Hopefully Pompei wouldn't be able to dodge her attack.

The shot was true!  Pompei couldn't dodge.  Then Shaghai's breath caught as another bomb wave came towards her.  She couldn't dodge either.

A horrendously loud bang sent her flying again.  Her pain sensors cut out early.  That was probably a bad sign.  She pulled out her energy potion.

A foot came down and kicked the precious potion away.  Shanghai stared up in shock as Pompei loomed above her.  She froze.  Was that it?  Had she lost?

Pompei sighed sadly, and she pointed down.  Shanghai knew with the flick of her fingers, Pompei would end her life.  The moment dragged out, slowly and painfully.

Then there was the sound of a thunderbolt as Hourai rose into the air screaming, lightning streaming from her sword.  Her sister's other arm was shattered, but her sword arm still had all it's deadly strength.

Pompei shuddered at the impact then again as lightning played over her body.  As the lightning stopped she began to smoke.  And then she smiled.  "Well struck."

With that Pompei stepped backwards, one, two, then three steps.  The smoke around her body grew thicker.

And then she exploded into fire.

"Pompei..."

Shanghai slowly came to her feet.  Where her sister had once stood was merely a blackened chunk of wood and fabric.

Hourai limped over next to her.  "She hesitated at the end.  Why?"

Shanghai simply shook her head.  She didn't know.

The orb slowly formed over the remains of Pompei.  Shanghai felt reluctant to take it, but what else could she do?

The two sister helped each other over and touched the orb.  Light flooded through Shanghai, cleaning away her wounds.  In addition she knew she could fire bombs of her own, though not many.

As Hourai reached down to teleport the body the tower began shaking.  "Crap!  I knew this thing shouldn't be able to stand!"

Shanghai cursed and ran back to where she'd fallen.  She scooped up the energy potion then looked over at Hourai.  "I think I can bomb through the walls here now"

"Good.  Let me try something first though."  Hourai clenched her fist, then punched the wall with surprising force.  The rubble broke and shattered under her assault.

"Great Hourai!"  Shanghai dashed through the hole, her sister following after.

The two dolls burst into the open sky as the tower crumbled below them.

Shanghai took a moment to catch her breath.  "Things are becoming more and more difficult."

Hourai frowned.  "Yeah.  But there's only two more to go."

"Right."  Shanghai looked back towards Gensoukyo.  "And the first one is in Eientei."

-----------------------------------

Demolition Doll Pompei
Purpose: High level Combat

Pompei is designed to unleash a lot of power without having to carry a massive doll supply.  She can generate small suicide dolls at will, and her body is stronger then most dolls I make.  For use in danmaku fights with strong/annoying opponents and if I ever need to blow up something like a house.

Note: Pompei is a combat doll and is thus very susceptible to possession.  Explosives are common in the outside world, so she needs to be checked for signs of possession weekly.  Replace at least once a month.  Letting a random ghost get their hands on this body would be terrible.

Medicine notes: Pompei's really quiet.  Her smile is nice though, if a little sad.  She seems to talk to herself too.  We all worry about her a bit, but she says she's okay.

She questioned me about why we needed to defeat the humans once.  I set her straight real quick, but she didn't seem to take to it like the others.  Maybe she feels bad because her weapons are smaller dolls?  I'll see about fixing that.


==============

Komachi yawned and waved the soul over.  "'Bout time you got here!  We're late!"

The soul bobbed then moved next to her boat.  Komachi sighed and poked the recalcitrant spirit.  "Look, don't worry about that girl.  She's still got a part to play.  I promise I won't just ditch her, alright?"

The ghost seemed to hesitate, then moved onto the boat.  Komachi stretched to get limber then pushed off onto the Sanzu.  "Boss has been waiting for you.  I hope your little side trip was worth it."  The ghost shuddered a bit, and Komachi smiled.  "Ah, don't worry.  I think it was, even if you did make my workday a little longer."

"Anyway enough about your death, tell me about your life."
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 08:42:09 PM by Iced Fairy »

Esifex

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2011, 01:12:31 PM »
The 'New' tag popped up next to this on the list, which happens when you edit things, but I couldn't find it :V
Just spot-checking, maybe?

Also, I like Komachi's little interlude there at the end, that was a nice touch.

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2011, 04:01:57 AM »
The flight to Eientei was fairly leisurely.  It helped that neither of them were foolish enough to try to navigate the bamboo forest.  They still ended up flying around a area where the mansion was hidden, but it was only a few lost minutes instead of days of stupidly  blundering around.

Shanghai set down outside the main gates figuring that they'd be less likely to get shot that way.  To her surprise Eirin was there waiting.  "Ah good, you've finally arrived."

"Yeah.  The maverick doll is still locked up in the secure area."  Eirin gave the two a long look before continuing.  "I'll give you the codes, since the place is already compromised, but I doubt they'll be much good."

"Anything that might help," Hourai replied.

Eirin nodded then turned to lead them to their destination.  "Most of the defenses are lasers.  Some are slow, like the danmaku you're used to.  Others are fast moving.  Of course our little invader might have changed that as well."

"Right."  Shanghai was a little worried about that.  Fast moving lasers would be much more difficult to defend against.

The next few moments were silent as Eirin led them down the halls of Eientei.  Eirin didn't seem overly concerned by the matter, but she did occasionally look back at Shanghai and Hourai with appraising glances.  The earth rabbits were more open in their inspections, but the flighty creatures ran as soon as either of the sisters gave them their focus.

Finally Eirin broke the silence.  "You two should give Alice my congratulations.  She's done fairly well for a human.  Some mistakes are to be expected with only ten years of research."

Shanghai frowned.  She didn't like having anyone judge Mother, even if it was favorably.  "What do you mean mistakes?"

"And how do you know Mother's age?" Hourai asked.

Eirin shrugged.  "It's my business to know things."  Shanghai glared daggers at the woman's back.  "And on that note I should give you some information about Medicine."

"Huh?"  Hourai blinked at the sudden shift.

Eirin nodded.  "I've worked with that girl in the past.  While her current... exuberance is perfectly in character, her plots are not."

Shanghai looked up at Eirin.  "What do you mean?"

"Well, you have to admit this plot is uniquely stupid.  Gather a bunch of allies and then spread them to the four winds to each do their own thing?  No."  Eirin shook her head.  "That's too stupid even for Medicine to think up.  She'd do something stupid out of a story book or play.  And she'd be acting as the hero as well."

Now that Eirin mentioned it the plan was pretty stupid.  "That's a good point."

"The other issue is that Medicine shouldn't have enough power to activate eight dolls."  Eirin looked back at them.  "Even if creating a doll youkai is easier then making a self aware doll, creating a life still requires the same amount of energy.  Alice was knocked out by creating you two, and she had enough power to stop the night.  Medicine just doesn't have that raw strength.  Or she shouldn't."

Hourai figured it out first.  "So you think someone's pulling her strings?"

"I think something is odd," Eirin replied.  "I don't have enough information to guess past that."

Shanghai looked over at her sister and nodded.  "I see..."

Once again there was silence until they reached a large sealed door.  Unlike the rest of the mansion, this one looked like something out of a those "mad science" mangas the tengu had started printing.  Reisen was standing outside keeping watch. 

The rabbit girl looked up when they arrived.  "Ah, master.  Nothing's changed.  At least on this side."

Eirin nodded.  "Good Reisen.  Has our override cable been damaged?"

"Nope.  We can open the doors whenever we want."

"Then we should hurry," Shanghai said.  "Those traps aren't going to get any easier."

Eirin walked over to the door.  "As you say."  The Lunarian pulled a switch and the doors slid open with a hiss.  "Good luck you two."

"Right!"  Shanghai rushed in, quickly followed by Hourai.

The door hissed shut behind them, leaving them in a wide corridor.  A quick look down the corridor revealed several apertures.  Shanghai pointed to the ones she saw.  "You think those will be where the lasers fire from?"

"Yeah."  Hourai nodded and pointed out a few more.  "Looks like a good pattern, but if we keep moving we should be able to pass them before they become a danger."

Shanghai considered the matter a bit.  "Okay.  You lead Hourai, you're still faster."

Hourai took off, Shanghai following close behind her sister.

As they passed the first opening a column of deadly light shot out with an ominous hum.  Neither of the sisters slowed though, so it passed harmlessly behind them.  Another beam shot out, then another in a cascade of deadly light.  Shanghai kept running.  Speed was her ally, and it was serving her well.  It seemed like it'd be easy, until they hit the first turn.

The next corridor had the same apertures for deadly lasers, but it also had that purple mist that had bothered them before.  The deadly clouds turned the room into a maze.

Hourai held back.  "You lead Shanghai.  I can slip through the clouds with my dash."

Shanghai nodded.  "Okay."  She paused for a moment to trace a path in her mind.  When she had it she began running forward.

The first section was easy.  Shanghai ran straight between the deadly clouds.  Then changed course quickly to get around the center cloud.  Her heartbeat sped up as she realized the next laser would chase her around the third cloud, but she didn't hesitate.  She turned then ran.  As she rounded the final corner she felt the lasers heat flash behind her.  But she'd made it.  Now it was another straight run.

When she reached the end she leaned over and sucked in some deep breaths.  Breathing wasn't necessary but it helped.

Hourai landed next to her and put a hand on her shoulder.  "You okay sister?"

"Fine.  It was just a little closer then I liked."  Shanghai stood and looked into the next area.  TO her surprise it was solid black.  "Well...  That's annoying."

Hourai looked into the darkness and nodded.  "Yeah.  Still not a big deal."

The sisters closed their eyes and summoned up their innate magic powers.  Light spells were child's play here in Gensoukyo.  Soon the two were softly glowing, illuminating the area.  Now that they could see they continued on.  "There's a lot of junk here.  It would have really sucked if we couldn't summon light," Shanghai remarked absently as they passed piles of broken machinery.

They traveled without incident for some time.  Then they reached a door.  They opened it, but instead of another of their sisters they found a corridor.  Shrugging Hourai entered it, Shanghai following behind.

As soon as Shanghai was inside the door slammed shut behind them and the lights in the room turned on revealing a strange array of circutry.  The two sisters sprung to alert.  "I don't like this," Hourai muttered as they slowly advanced.

Then a beam of light fired across the corridor like a tripwire.  "That's the other laser!" Shangahai yelled.  "Watch out!"

The two dolls ducked low as they ran towards the other side, but the beam of death swung down to catch them.  They were forced into a rolling jump to clear the arcing laser.

The beam cut off as they passed it, but neither stopped.  The room still seemed active.

Sure enough another beam formed at the end of the hall and started racing towards them.  Shanghai rose into the air to trick it into aiming high and she relaxed a little when it seemed to fall for her deception.  Then it slowly rotated and turned into a grid of lasers the covered the whole hallway.

"That's not fair!" Shanghai screamed as she started running away.  She heard Hourai use her phasing dash again, but she couldn't see how her sister had fared.  She had to run!

Shanghai poured all her power into her feet.  She could swear she could smell the ionizing air of the lasers closing in on her.

Then there was a massive shattering sound and the room went dark.  Shanghai kept flying for a few steps before turning to see what happened.  Hourai was standing at the end next to a broken glass wall.  "I think I deactivated it!"

Shanghai sighed in relief.  "Thanks sister.  That phase dash thing seems really useful."

"Yeah.  Maybe Yumemi can make another one."  Hourai peeked through the broken wall.  "And I think I discovered another secret passage."

"Ah!"  Shanghai moved up to look through.  Sure enough there was a small passage leading into darkness.  "This looks about right."

Hourai stepped in.  "Then let's go see what Mother put together this time"

The two sisters followed the twisty passage until they found themselves in a medium sized room with a trap door.  Above the exit was a belt.  Shanghai approached it with grave anticipation.

She was rewarded with Alice's figure again appearing in front of her.  The holograph seemed more aware then the others did, looking around the room in confusion.

"Such a strange dream....  Is Koishi doing this?  I'll have to yell at her.  Or is this real?"

The two sisters moved forward in unison.  "Mother?"

Alice's gaze flickered towards them.  "Shanghai?  Hourai?!  Is it possible?  Is it true?  What happened then?"  Alice's hologram fizzled with static before returning.  "The belt.  The belt should help you resist damage.  If this is real.  My beautiful children... I'm-"

The figure burst into static then blinked out.  "Mother!" Shanghai cried.  Hourai just whimpered slightly.  Mother had seen them.  Recognized them.  Shanghai looked around for Koishi and found the satori girl standing behind them.  "Call her back!  Let me talk to her!"

Marisa's voice cut off Koishi's reply.  "Whoa!  Hey guys, Alice was thrashing around for a bit there.  She just calmed down but she seemed pretty agitated.  You know what happened?"

Koishi spoke up.  "She's trying to wake up, but she's too weak."  Koishi paused a moment in thought.  "Well okay that's just a guess, but she's kinda in a strange place.  She's unconscious, but she's trying not to be.  She's gone back to sleep now, but I wouldn't want to use my power on her again.  I think it's best to leave her alone."

Shanghai shivered.  "So this was our fault?"

"Well kinda," Koishi waved her hand.  "But don't worry about it!  It won't impact her much unless we keep doing it.  She'll remember the dream and that's it."

Shanghai didn't feel convinced, but Koishi was the expert.  Hourai seemed more mollified as she picked up the belt.  "Alright.  Well this is the last bit anyway."  Hourai moved behind her.  "Should I held you with it sis?"

"Thanks Hourai."  Shanghai let her sister change her belt.  She didn't feel any hardier, but she trusted in Mother's craftsmanship.

"There."  Hourai stepped back then turned to the trap door. "I guess it's time to move on."

"Yeah..."  Shanghai looked around the room again, but Mother's presence was completely gone.  She shook her head to clear it, then opened the trap door and jumped down.

She fell to the ground in front of another door.  This one a mirror of the high tech door they'd used to enter this place.  A red button sat next to it, offering easy access.  Shanghai waited for Hourai to drop down, then hit the button.

The door opened slowly.  At the end stood their quarry, a splash of crimson in the vast white expanse of the room.  Their sister's hair was done up in a bun, and her dress had far more elaborate ruffles and buttressing.  At her hips golden boomerangs gleamed.  She nodded to the pair politely as they stepped in.  "So, you girls finally showed up.  Bout time.  My name is Tombstone."  Her hands fell to the boomerangs.  "So, either of you got the courage to face me one on one?"

Shanghai readied her weapon.  "We'll fight you fairly if you want, but it doesn't have to be like this."

Tombstone's eyes narrowed.  "You killed our kin.  I reckon it does have to go like this."

"I'll go first," Hourai said as she sheathed her sword.

"What?!"  Shanghai spun to her sister.  "You don't have a ranged weapon.  What are you thinking?"  A terrifying thought crossed her mind.  "Wait, you wouldn't be using that watch..."

"No."  Hourai shook her head.  "But trust me.  I've got an idea."

"Tricks won't work on my speed," Tombstone said coldly.  "But I reckon you'll learn that the hard way won't ya?  Come then."

Hourai turned to face Tombstone directly.  "Ready!"

Their sister nodded, then in the blink of an eye tossed a coin in the air.  Shanghai held her breath as the metal piece hovered in the air.

Then it plummeted to the ground.  The two other dolls exploded into motion, Hourai dashing forward with a draw cut, while Tombstone threw her boomerang straight ahead.  The spinning weapon moved faster then it had any right to.

It screamed up to Hourai, then passed right through the doll girl.  Shanghai realized her sister had used her phasing power again.  Hourai yelled in triumph as she brought her sword for a killng cut.

Then there was the clang of metal as the boomerang flew back.  It ripped the sword out of Hourai's hands.  "Warned ya!" Tombstone crowed.

Hourai didn't slow her charge.  "Ha!" Hourai laughed as power surrounded her fist.  "Too easy!"

There was a blur of movement and Tombstone was flying over Hourai's head.  "Too slow."

Three boomerangs flew out knocking Hourai to the ground.  Shanghai could see the damage was mostly superficial, but at this distance Tombstone could keep up the barrage easily.  "Stop!"

The two other dolls turned to look at her.  "It's my turn."

Hourai shakily stood up.  "Hey, I can-"

"Your trick didn't work Hourai.  You won't have time to think of another."  Shanghai leveled her gaze at Tombstone.  "Now, let's see if you can beat my trick."

"Hmph.  Tricks are for the rodeo."  Tombstone caught her boomerangs and returned them to her waist.  "But if you're looking to lose I'll let ya.  Ready?"

Shanghai checked her weapons, then nodded.  "Ready."

"Then let's get this started!"  Tombstone once again flipped a coin.

This time the coin seemed to hang even longer in the end.  Shanghai held her breath, forcing herself to watch both the coin and her opponent.

The coin hit the ground with deafening ring.  Shanghai started raising her weapon even as she pulled the trigger.

The air sparkled around her, and her peripheral vision began to dim, almost as if her body was drawing in the light from the area.  Tombstones movements, so fast a moment before, slowed to a crawl.  Hourai seemed to be frozen stiff.

Shanghai's gun was in line just as Tombstone started throwing her boomerang.  Shanghai fired a full charged blast then ducked the slow moving projectile.  Unlike everything else her bullet flew across the room at normal speed, slamming into Tombstone and sending her sister sprawling.

Then the light faded and time returned to normal.  Tombstones boomerang clattered against the far wall. 

Shanghai leveled her gun as Tombstone pulled herself to her knees, then slumped again.  "Ya got me?"  Tombstone's eyes rolled about then focused on Shanghai again.  "That's... Germel's power?"  Tombstone collapsed to the floor then sighed.  "I should've stayed with the kid."

Shanghai walked forward.  "We might be able to help you, if you surrender."

"Heh," Tombstone smiled weakly.  "I ain't no quitter.  Besides.... they're all waiting for me."  The maverick doll let out one last sigh then closed her eyes.  "I'll see you in hell, partner."

Hourai stepped next to Shanghai as the orb of light appeared above their fallen sister.  "That was a clever trick."

"Thanks."  Shanghai waited until her sister was ready, then they both reached for the orb.

The light filled her then faded away again.  She felt her weapons restored and she knew she would be able to fire boomerangs of her own, though not as fast as Tombstone.  Across from her Hourai frowned.  "A teleporting iaijitsu strike.  That would have been helpful earlier."

Shanghai couldn't help but smile at that.  "Oh well.  Next time."

"I'm hoping there isn't a next time," Hourai muttered as she picked up Tombstones body.

Shanghai's smile faded.  "Yeah.  Or at least that it's a danmaku fight."

The sisters started back out the way they came, each of them thinking the same thing.

"One more to go...."

=====================

Quickdraw Doll Tombstone
Purpose: Utility, Combat

Tombstone is designed to quickly retrieve items at long distances.  Or if needed opponents weaponry.  It wouldn't be legal in a danmaku duel, but sometimes people get stupid ideas and I'd like to be able to disarm them without knocking them senseless.  Finesse is important!

Current status: Tombstones really fast, but her armor is still very weak.  I need to improve that.  Still she's useful.  I think she's ready to join the other dolls in my arsenal.

Medicine notes: Tombstone is a natural leader, though she talks a lot about challenging people to duels.  I'm not sure if a leader's supposed to do that.  Still she's nice to the other girls, and they tend to listen to her, even if some of them mope when she tells them to do something.

I think Tombstone has a bright future ahead of her!

Metaflare

  • Happening Cat of the Middle of Nowhere
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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2011, 05:13:20 AM »
Gunslinger doll  :3

Wolfsbane706

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2011, 05:50:48 AM »
The laser hall reminded me of the first Resident Evil movie, and I like how you modeled Tombstone after an old west gunslinger (even naming her after the town).
[15:30] * Wolfsbane706 pitfalls Roukan.
[15:30] <Roukan> WHAT WHY
[15:31] * Roukan aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa*splat*
[15:32] <Wolfsbane706> That's the funniest reaction I've seen yet.
[15:34] * Roukan thumbs-up from beyond the grave.

Hanzo K.

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2011, 05:54:00 AM »
Heh, Quickman, plus a gunslinger, given a very Alice flavor.
I like that! Ya did good.
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Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2011, 02:07:40 AM »
The teleport was disorienting, but Shanghai quickly recovered her bearings.  They were back in the living room again.  Marisa, Yumemi and Chiyuri were all sitting around the table with a pot of tea and cookies.  Shanghai wasn't thrilled with Alice's tea supply being raided, but since the trio of humans were looking after the house they would need to eat something.  So instead of worrying she went straight to business.  "Any luck finding Medicine?"

Hourai sat down.  "Or on devices to help us?"

Chiyuri poured two cups of tea while Yumemi answered, "We haven't been able to get anything together other then a heat shield.  It's not really easy to keep gunpowder from going off you know."

Marisa took a sip of her tea.  "No one's been able to tell us about Medicine's location either, though honestly that doesn't matter too much.  No offense but we can handle Medicine.  She can't just magically ignore being knocked out."

Shanghai frowned as she sat down.  "I suppose that's true."  She helped herself to some of the snacks.  "So how good is the fireproofing?"

Yumemi placed two necklaces on the table.  "Pretty good.  It's not immunity but you should be able to take about what a normal shielded human can.  Of course unlike the human you'll explode violently instead of dying of third degree burns, but you're going to avoid touching any fires, right?"

"Yes." Shanghai and Hourai both affirmed as they put on the necklaces.  Shanghai was pretty sure she'd have an aversion to fire no matter what.

"So you gonna take the elevator?" Marisa asked.

"Yep!" Koishi said.  "It'll be easier then explaining things to the oni."

Shanghai wanted to get up and start right then, but it was obvious that Koishi wanted to finish her tea first.  Besides she had to admit a break was nice.  They'd been keeping a harsh pace.

Still both her and Hourai were fidgeting anxiously when Koishi finally stood.  "Alright.  Follow me!"

The satori lead them on a quick flight to the elevator then down through the darkness into the depths of the underground.  Shanghai vaguely remembered the trip she'd taken here with Marisa, and she had to admit this was a lot quicker.  However, the speed of the journey didn't make the terrible glow of the hell of blazing fires any less worrisome.

The trio popped out into the outer reactor.  Koishi looked around for a bit.  "Hm...  It was, this way."  Shanghai was mildly curious as to how Koishi knew which featureless expanse of endless lava she was supposed to go to, but she knew there was no point in asking.

As they flew along Shanghai wondered how the residents of the underground could stand switching between the cold cave systems and the fiery heat of this layer.  Maybe when Alice recovered Shanghai could suggest a test for that.

Perhaps that's what this doll had been designed to do.

"Hey!"

Shanghai snapped back to the present at the cry.  Looking up she saw Orin flying over.  She got a little nervous when she saw the ghosts hanging around the kassha, but the evil spirits following her seemed perfectly comfortable in the skulls they were inhabiting.

"Hello Orin.  The cleanup crews arrived!" Koishi proclaimed with an unnecessary flourish.

Hourai rolled her eyes, but Shanghai just stepped forward.  "Just point us in the right direction.  We'll handle the rest."

Orin smiled widely.  "Sure thing doll!  That other girl is holed up in the magma tunnel there."  Orin pointed at a crack in one of the few stones in this expanse.  "Be careful though.  I remember you girls blow up if you catch fire.  That tunnels kinda tight, especially now that you two are bigger.  And that other doll doesn't seem to care about the magma at all."

"Anything else to look out for?" Hourai asked.

"Well normally I'd say ghosts, but that girl kicked most of em out.  Honestly I think she might be there herself."  Orin's smile faded a little.  "The heat's been going up too.  I think she's either getting stronger or angrier, and neither sounds good."

Shanghai readjusted the grip on her gun.  "Well just have to be stronger then."

Orin chuckled.  "Heh, you sound more like Marisa then your boss there."

"What!"  Shanghai gritted her teeth.  There was no way she was anything like that thieving tactless....

Hourai grabbed her by the arm.  "Thanks for the info.  We'll be off."

Shanghai reluctantly followed along behind her sister.  However her annoyance vanished quickly as they reached the lava tunnel.  Orin had been right about that.  There was barely ten feet of clearance.  "What'll we do if the tunnel becomes smaller?"

"Find another way I guess," Hourai replied.  "Lets take it slowly."

"Right."

The two entered the tunnel and moved along carefully.  It twisted and turned often, and rose and fell as well.  At one point there was only two feet between them and the lava beneath.  Shanghai was glad she didn't sweat.  She was also very glad she could fly.  "I'm glad this isn't like the tengu manga or kappa games.  Otherwise we'd have to do some annoying block puzzle or something."

"Yeah.  That would really suck."  Hourai carefully ducked through another tight spot before clearing room for Shanghai to follow.  "Strange though.  We haven't hit any real resistance."

"Yeah."  Shanghai ducked under herself to find it opened up into a wider cavern.  "Everywhere else had enemies or traps to delay our progress.  So far we haven't run into anything like that."

"Because I want to destroy you myself!"

Shanghai dashed towards the ceiling as the room began shaking violently.  As she watched a platform of black obsidian slowly rose from the lava beneath.  Lava oozed off the platform in blazing streams.  And in the center of it all was a doll wearing crimson with gold trimmings the same color as the magma that dripped from her.  Around her ghosts slowly circled, and Shanghai could see hatred in her eyes.  "You've finally come to my hell, murderers.  I am Dis!  I will avenge my sisters and then bind your souls to the torments they rightly deserve!"

Shanghai switched her weapon to her air cannon but she held back.  "Look, it doesn't have to be like this.  Alice will repair all of our sisters.  You don't have to waste your life fighting here."

"Ha!  Alice?"  Dis' stare turned to contempt.  "You expect Alice to repair us?  Were you not listening little fools!  We are not the sentient dolls Alice so desperately wants.  We're doll youkai!  Which means our dear creator won't be recreating us.  She'll be making some other doll to replace us."

Shanghai started to shake.  Beside her Hourai gasped.  "So that means...."

"You didn't even know?!"  Dis' hands erupted into flames and the souls around her swirled.  "You murdered them all without knowing?  Well then look!  Look at the souls of those you've killed!"  The ghosts around her slowed and Shanghai realized with horror that there were exactly seven of them there.  "My sisters lives were cut short by you.  But their souls stand with me.  And I will take our vengeance!"

Dis threw a blot of screaming fire straight at them.  Shanghai barely dodged in time.  "Now know the wrath of hell itself.  Know the torment that awaits all those who speak against us dolls!  The wrath of Dis!"

Shanghai was still shaken, but it didn't take much effort to fire her cannon.  The air blast hit Dis directly, but the winds just dissipated.

"Useless!"  Dis cried out as she retaliated with three fire motes.  Shanghai dodged, but the motes exploded into pillars of flames when they hit the ground, pinning her in place.

This had bought time for Hourai however.  With a cry she dashed in, then vanished and reappeared right behind Dis.  There was a flash of steel, and Dis rocked forward.

"Ah!  Sisters aid me!" Dis cried out.  The souls floating around her merged into her body, and her body burst into liquid fire.

Steam gushed over the field as the two dolls dashed through each other.  Shanghai saw Hourai's phasing saved her from injury, and more importantly her bubble trail had injured Dis slightly.  "Hourai, she's weak against water!"

"Let's see you try to exploit that!" Dis yelled as she threw several more fire motes.  Shanghai and Hourai were forces to retreat again as the lava exploded up again.

Shanghai took the time to equip her bubble cannon.  As soon as the flames cleared she fired a shot.  The tough bubble flew from her gun, then dropped like a rock and exploded into steam against the lava floor.  She swore.  "This weapon is useless!"

"Then we'll just have to fight normally," Hourai said as she moved to get another iai cut in.  Dis snorted and threw another triple fire blast.  Shanghai smelled the acrid scent of burning silk as a near miss burnt part of her dress.

But she still hadn't been hit.  When the flames died again Shanghai unleashed a barrage of normal shots.  She thought one struck true, but Dis exploded into flame again and wiped out the rest of the bullets.  Shanghai had to dodge her sister's fiery rush.

As Dis reformed Hourai again appeared next to her and let off a sword swipe.  Dis rocked sideways, but the souls surrounding her seemed to blunt the strike.  "No!  I won't be beaten!" she screamed.  Dis flung her flames wildly, and the walls exploded where the motes hit.

The cavern rocked as lava poured in through the holes.  The waves of heat sent shock-waves through the air itself.  Shanghai had to activate her shoes to stay in flight.  "You fool!  You'll bring the ceiling down on us like this!"

Dis laughed wildly.  "That's right!  Join us in this eternally burning hell dear sisters!  I can survive the heat, can you?!"

Shanghai aimed her weapon, but she hesitated.  Did she have the right to kill someone?  Would Alice really abandon these dolls because they weren't really her creations?  Could Alice even do anything?

Dis didn't hesitate at all.  Once again she unleashed her hellfire, stopping Hourai's charge halfway, and bringing down a chunk of the roof.

Shanghai gritted her teeth.  Whatever the answers she no longer had a choice.  She couldn't die here.  She pulled the trigger, sending a full charge shot screaming into Dis' body.

Dis screamed again as the shot hit her.  But she didn't fall.  She raised her arms.  "I won't let you escape your crimes!"  Flames encircled her hands and a column of fire smashed into the ceiling.  Shanghai gasped in fear as she saw cracks form in the roof.  "No!"  She began firing as fast as she could, but the uncharged shots burned away in the flames that surrounded Dis' body.  The ceiling began to give in.

And then Hourai dashed through Dis once again.  Fire turned into steam.  And the cavern imploded with a deafening roar.

When the debris finally settled Hourai was standing next to a pile of rocks with a single arm sticking out of it.  Eight ghosts now spun above the rubble, where a globe of light floated.

"Well you two kids sure made a mess didn't ya?"

Shanghai slowly looked up to see Orin floating down through the hole in the cavern.  "Looks like you did the job though.  Good work!"

There was a rasp of steel as Hourai interposed her blade between the kassha and the souls of their sisters.  Shanghai blinked in surprise, then when realization hit she moved to her sister's side.

Orin looked at the two in shock for a bit, then laughed.  "I see.  That's cute.  Don't you little dolls worry your heads.  I don't eat souls before they're ripe.  Especially not unique souls like these girls."  Shanghai had the feeling the only thing stopping the kassha from patting them on the head was the sword in Hourai's hands.  "I promise you kids I'll take good care of your sisters.  At least until you summon them up or something.  Though don't wait too long.  Souls kinda age ya know."

"You can trust Orin," Koishi said, appearing behind them.  "She's very picky about the spirits she keeps."

Shanghai sighed and relaxed.  After a moment Hourai grudgingly did as well.  Orin nodded then held out her hand.  The spirits of the dolls swayed, then one by one floated up to the kassha, settling around her person or in the skulls around her.  Shanghai looked at them one more time, then turned to the orb.  "We'll be back for them."

Hourai moved opposite her.  The sisters looked each other in the eye before hesitantly reaching for the orb.

Light flowed through Shanghai once again, healing her wounds and cooling the heat around her.  When it cleared she knew that she could shoot flames from her gun, and even charge the powerful weapon.

Somehow that didn't see important though.  She reached down and took the hand sticking out of the rubble.  "Do you think we'll be able to teleport her like this?"

Hourai nodded.  "I'm pretty sure.  And well, we'll have to return here anyways."

Shanghai winced, then sighed.  "Right.  Then let's go home."

They would have a lot to talk about there.

----------------------------

Fireproof Doll Dis
Purpose: General Use

While stuffing my dolls with gunpowder is great as a way of cleaning them up quickly and as an attack method, it leave me with a significant weakness.  I need some dolls that are immune to fire to make sure I'm never caught without some backup.  This will make recycling them harder, but not impossible.  And it's worth the time for safety.

Dis has been an incredible success.  She not only is immune to fire, but she boosts fire spells cast through her.  My only regret is I can't produce too many dolls like her or I'll spend all my time recycling them before they get possessed.

Medicine notes:  Dis is strong.  Really really strong!  And she has power over a dolls natural enemy: fire.  Well some dolls are immune I suppose, but not any of us.

I think she's a little lonely because of that though.  She seems to be afraid her powers will hurt the others.  I think she cares about her sisters as much as Tombstone does, but she doesn't let them too close.  Maybe I can look up some fireproofing stuff to so she doesn't feel so worried.

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #45 on: November 13, 2011, 04:10:18 AM »
What you thought there'd be an Megaman X based story without existential crisis?  That's not allowed.

Fortunately we can solve it with bullets.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Once again the two suddenly found themselves back in Alice's house.  Chiyuri and Yumeko were at the table still, but Marisa was pacing beside Alice's bed.  The three looked up at Shanghai and Hourai's arrival.

As Hourai placed the empty shell of their sister next to the others Shanghai turned to Marisa.  "Why?  Why didn't you tell us?"

"I didn't know okay?  Alice is the doll master, not me."  Marisa sighed deeply and flopped into a couch.  "I don't even really understand the difference between a self aware doll and a doll youkai.  Seems like the same thing to me."

She wasn't sure what to say to that.  "But we... we killed them all.  If we had known..."

"What would you have done differently?"  Marisa shrugged weakly.  "You haven't been around for it, but when Reimu and I say we do youkai extermination it's not always a game.  Sometimes people die in Gensoukyo."  Marisa sighed.  "You're luckier then most too.  You might be able to un kill people.  Some of us don't have it that easy."

"I don't feel lucky," Hourai muttered.  "Will they even want to return?  What would it be like knowing you'll never become what your creator wanted you to become?"

"Yeah running away from home is a better solution then being dead," Marisa said with a certain sharpness.

Yumeko smiled.  "Hey, we'll take them if you don't want them."

"Does this mean I need to make robot bodies?" Chiyuri asked.

Shanghai was considering the matter when static broke out over their radios.  "Huh?  That's not any of us," Yumemi said.

"Ah, there we are.  Infernal contraption.  Yes, hello there."  Shanghai, Hourai and Marisa all shuddered when Yukari's voice came over the airwaves.  "I've found where Medicine is.  Apparently she took over Yuka's mansion.  It seems she's in possession of a 'Goliath Doll.'  Anyway please come to the Field of the Sun quickly.  I'd like to get this over with before bedtime."

Shanghai and Hourai both groaned at that.  "We have to fight that?"

Chiyuri blinked.  "Aren't you upset that you're killing another doll?"

"The Goliath Doll is designed to not become sentient.  It actively rejects intelligence," Hourai said.

"It's a safety measure.  Alice didn't want it being hijacked or possessed," Shanghai added.

Marisa shrugged. "Well it was a good idea at the time."  She stood.  "You two need anything before you go?"

"A month long vacation?" Hourai asked.

Shanghai thought for a moment.  "A cloaking device to hide from Yuka?"

"Don't got any," Marisa said.

"All out and it'd take too long to make them," Yumemi replied.  Chiyuri breathed a sigh of relief.

Shanghai forced herself towards the door.  "Well then I guess we should head out."

-----------------------

It was easy to find where Yukari was.  They just headed towards the horrible rip in reality hanging in the sky.  As they grew closer they could see three figures flying in front of it.  It seemed the Shrine Maiden of Paradise had joined the Flower Master and the Youkai Sage.  All three were looking into the rift.

The two dolls had never seen Yuka's mansion, but they were pretty sure it wasn't supposed to be a giant castle shaped like a skull.  It did match the lake of blood nicely though.

"It looks like Medicine remodeled," Reimu commented.

"Yes, that's going to be annoying," Yuka responded.  Shanghai couldn't help but flinch when the flower youkai turned to look at them.  "Which is why I hope you two fix this matter soon."

Shanghai and Hourai both snapped to attention.  "Right!  We will, we will!"

Yukari smiled at them.  "Good.  I've opened a gap right at the front door, so you shouldn't have to fight through the dream world to get in."

"Where are Elly and Kurumi in all this mess?" Reimu asked.

"They're a little unconcious," Yuka said casually.  "The dream sisters are treating them for poisoning."

"Will that poison work on us?" Shanghai asked.

Yukari spoke up.  "I think the poison that will work on you is heavier then air.  Medicine would have to actively control it, which means it will be like her normal danmaku but slower."

Hourai drew her sword.  "So we still have a chance then."

Reimu gave the gap an appraising look.  "Yeah.  But you'll want to go in now.  I'm pretty sure the more time Medicine has in the dream world, the stronger her defenses will get.  I remember breaking into Yuka's place was a pain."

"Then we'll go now," Shanghai said.

Yuka raised her hand to stop them.  "One more thing, you two.  There's another force at work other then Medicine.  You'll need to keep an eye out for it."

"What do you mean?" Shanghai asked.

"Medicine gains her power from poison."  Yuka frowned.  "She was unnaturally strong during the flower incident because of all the suzarain lilies.  She shouldn't be able to fight me as an equal.  At least not without her toxins.  There was some other power energizing her."

"I see?"  Shanghai looked at Hourai who shrugged.  Neither of them had fought Medicine before so they didn't have a clue what to expect.

"Just remember it little ones.  Now go clear out my mansion."  Yuka shooed them on.

Shanghai was happy to get moving.  The gap opened before her, and she effortlessly entered the dream world Hourai right behind her.

=============================

When the two dolls had moved on Reimu turned to Yukari.  "This is another one of those incidents isn't it?"

Yukari didn't face the shrine maiden.  "Gensoukyo accepts everyone.  That is one of the strongest rules of this land."

"Hm?"  Yuka raised an eyebrow.  "But can't the great Youkai Sage change the rules of this land?"

The gap youkai raised an eyebrow.  "Some rules can't be changed without disastrous results.  Someone of your power should know that."

Reimu sighed and turned towards the gap.  "So they have to play out this farce then?  How annoying."

"Indeed." Yuka frowned.  "What's the point of using a realm to repeat an old  play over and over?"

Yukari chuckled.  "'Gensoukyo accepts everyone' is a strong rule.  But there is one rule that is stronger then it."

"We'll see what story those souls can create."

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2011, 12:32:31 AM »
As soon as Shanghai appeared in front of the castle she knew they had a problem.  "There's no door on this side."

Hourai looked over the edifice.  "Well, maybe there's something over the walls?  We can still fly."

"I guess we'll have to.  But they'll know we're coming."  Shanghai switched her weapon to her boomerangs.  She wanted to be able to react quickly.

"Then we'd better be quick!"  Hourai took off towards the distant walls, leaving Shanghai to scramble after.

As they reached the same height as the walls the first obstacle made itself known.  Birdlike figures took to the sky, each holding what looked like an egg.  Shanghai was pretty certain they weren't there to greet them politely, but she held her fire until they actually attacked.

When the first bird started a dive bombing run with its egg Shanghai cut loose.  The Boomerangs performed just as she'd hoped, cutting through the creatures quickly, then taking another swath of them out on the return.  Hourai finished off any of the creatures that made it through the barrage.

As they approached the walls a new danger appeared.  Canons started firing at them from within the fortress.  Shanghai allowed her vision to shift as she started dodging the attacks.  Danmaku wasn't a perfect combat simulator, but it was great to help practice dodging.  Shanghai and Hourai swam through the shrapnel, taking a few grazing hits, but avoiding the worst of the attack.

The barrage finally stopped when they reached the walls.  The skull castle itself was just across a small open courtyard, and there were several doors.  Finding an entrance would be easy.

Unfortunately the Goliath Doll was between them and those doors.  It slowly turned to face them as they landed on the wall.  Shanghai gripped her gun tighter as the Goliath doll's eyes started to glow red.  In terms of raw power, this would be the strongest opponent they had faced.

The goliath stuck first.  Twin swords ruched through the air, shattering the castle wall with their power.  Shanghai and Hourai each dodged away, flying as fast as they could to keep the colossal doll from getting a lock on them.

Shanghai lowered her weapon and started firing metal blades as fast as she could.  The blades sank into the goliath dolls outer shell, but they didn't penetrate.  Unsurprising, since Alice had made it to withstand Marisa's Master Spark.

The massive doll responded by slashing in front of Shanghai.  The attack forced her to try to shift directions rapidly.  She responded by switching to her air canon and firing a blast.  The strike staggered the Goliath doll, preventing it from following up.

At that moment Hourai struck.  She dropped from the sky, fire trailing from her sword as she landed blade first on the giant doll.  Flames erupted from the impact and the goliath doll lurched, sending Hourai flying, but Shanghai could see some damage.

She switched to her own heat buster and fired off a charged shot.  The atomic fire slammed into the giant doll and started another blaze.

Shanghai continued to fly erratically to avoid any strikes but the goliath doll was focused on Hourai, swinging wildly at the sword wielding doll as she dipped and dived in a series of stinging attacks. 

Shanghai finished charging her weapon and fired a second massive blast just as an errant swing hit Hourai.  Her sister dropped down dazed.

Right as Shanghai's shot hit a tear opened by one of Hourai's stabs.

Shanghai's eye's were blinded and her ears sent ringing by the blast.  All the gunpowder inside the doll must have gone off.  She turned on her stabilizers so she wouldn't hit the ground and waited for the damage to clear.

When her eyes finally stopped being blurry she saw a massive hole in the castle wall and courtyard.  The way was open for her.

But Hourai was nowhere to be found.

-----------

Hourai's path

Hourai groaned as she stood up.  She felt like she'd been dropped through a rock polisher.  She wondered why Alice had designed pain to linger on them.  Maybe that had been an error.

The room around her was strange.  The colors seemed faded, and the ruins looked more like something that should be in Yumemi's ship then anything then anything Yuka or Medicine would want in a mansion.  There were two tubes on the ground that looked as they could open up, and broken pipes littered the structure.  There was a single door leading out.

On further examination things got weirder.  The ceiling above her was pristine.  Well okay not pristine, but it didn't have any holes in it.  How did she get down here?

"Oh, my.  That's odd."


Koishi's voice echoed through the room strangely, almost as it came from all around Hourai.  "You were still around Koishi?"

"Oh no.  I didn't go to the dreamworld.  That place is dangerous for me.  You seem to have dropped into something called cyberspace.  A group unconsciousness."

"What?"  Hourai blinked.  "I have to go back then.  Can you get me out?"

"I don't know.  I can wake you up, but I don't know where you'd appear.  Besides you seem to be the one creating this memory."

"Wait, I am?"  Hourai looked around again.  "I've never been here, even as a doll."

"I'm just telling you what I can sense.  Some part of your mind or soul is creating this area," Koishi replied. "I think it might be best if you play along for a while.  If I intervene you might get lost.  If you follow the thoughts you might learn something, and it'll be a lot easier to get you out without shattering the entire area.  I'm too powerful in the subconscious realms."

Hourai frowned.  "I suppose I'll try to make the best of it."  She looked around.  "At least if I could find my sword."

She searched the broken room for a bit to no avail.  Finally she checked the two strange tubes that were in the room.  One was sealed shut, but the other opened to reveal a hilt with a strange aperture.  When she picked it up it almost felt familiar in her hands.

She took a test swing and was pleased when a blade of energy arced to life.  "Harder to parry with, but it'll probably cut deeper.  The person who used this was obviously really confident in their skills."  Hourai shrugged and took the weapon.  It would do until she found her old sword, and it would be a nice backup weapon.

Now armed she headed out the door in the back.

The door opened into a massive desert.  "Koishi, do I have time to go wandering about this collective unconsciousness?"

Koishi's voice echoed around her again.  "Don't worry about time.  Time's subjective.  I'll pull you out if it becomes a problem."

Hourai shrugged and went out into the sands.  At least she didn't have to actually walk.

The desert seemed to be one of the harsher ones.  There was only sand, no sign of the shrubs or other plant life that most real world deserts had.  In fact it seemed more barren then the desert in Makai.  Hourai wondered what this was supposed to symbolize or, if this was a memory, how the person had gotten here.

She'd just started to get bored with the hills of sand when movement caught her eye.  A strange lump of sand was heading towards her, like a burrowing creature that was just below the surface, but this creature had to be around her size.  Hourai cautiously raised her weapon and flew a little higher. 

The creature emerged in a burst of sand a flung a bullet at her.  Hourai responded with a quick cut that absorbed the bullet.  Good, her skills were still working.  The creature fell back under the sands again, but it continued circling.

When it burst out again though Hourai was ready.  She slashed the creature twice as it rose into the air and her blade cut through it like it was butter.  She thought she recognized some shrimp like features, but the creature exploded before she could get a good look at it.

"Well it looks like this isn't going to be a peaceful journey into the mind."  Hourai shook her head and continued up the dune.

As she crested the hill her jaw dropped.  Before her was a veritable army of strange looking mechanical creatures.  These were humanoid, but obviously not human.  Their faces were left blank, their right hands were replaced with some sort of club, and they were covered in partially attached armor and wires.

Hourai stretched her sword arm.  "Looks like I'll be busy."

She dashed down the dunes towards the horde.  They slowly moved towards her with no strategy or plan.  Just a mass of numbers.

She hit them like a hurricane.  The beam saber arced around her effortlessly, each cut slicing off a limb or head.  Every time one of them readied a blow she swept her blade up in a lightning uppercut and flew out of their range, then as they milled about helplessly she dove down in a blast of flame.  It was a dance of carnage that they couldn't stop.  Yet the creatures still stepped forward, each trying their clumsy melee attack.

Finally the last one fell, cut in half by the beam saber.  Hourai was glad she didn't get tired.  She looked around the battlefield carefully.  None of the figures were even twitching.  In fact they had exploded when she hit them hard enough.  Hourai felt proud of herself.

However there was a strangely pristine patch of land still between her and the next dune.  Chances were high there was another obstacle in her path.

Hourai walked forward.  She was ready for whatever it was.

The sands before her burst open, revealing a humanoid figure with a jackal's head.  Like the creatures she seen before it seemed mechanical, but its pharaoh's outfit was in pristine condition, and a malevolent intelligence shone in it's crimson eyes.  "We meet yet again, you of the ancient soul."

"I don't remember anything like you," Hourai said as she set into a defensive stance.

"Once again old one you shed your memories.  And my glorious master has returned me to life to keep you from unearthing them."  A staff with a jeweled headpiece flew in front of him and began to spin.  "I Anubis Necromances the Third shall claim my victory over you!  Your legend shall fade to dust here, you of the ancient soul!"

Hourai just shook her head as the man lifted his arms.  It was obvious, whatever nonsense he was spouting, that the guy was looking for a fight.

The robot took the initiative, throwing it's staff along the ground towards her.  She easily flew around the weapon and laid into him with the beam saber.  The weapon scored the creatures armor deeply, and it cursed in protest before turning into sand.  Hourai tried to tag him with a diving fire stab, but the blow only turned the sands around the impact to glass.

The earth began rumbling, as if the blow had angered it.  from the ground rose two masonry walls topped with spikes that began slamming shut on Hourai like a sarcophagus door.  She flipped her weapon to her off hand, clenched her fist to summon Pompei's power, then punched right through the closer wall.

As she calmly walked through the masonry dust Anubis reformed in front of her.  She was mildly pleased to see shock on his face.  "How can this be?  You do not possess your old body, and your mind has been worn down by the journey of the ages, but your power is greater then ever!"

"I don't know who you're obsessing about, but I'm Hourai."  She flew into the sky, then dashed through the man, causing him to cry out as the bubbles impacted his wounds.  "And this is only a fraction of the power Alice imbued me with."

"Guh!  Inconceivable.  But I will not be defeated!  You will not find the secrets you are searching for!"  Anubis flung his staff again.

This time Hourai just dashed through it and struck the machine man as hard as she could with the saber.  There was a horrible rending sound, and Anubis was bisected from shoulder to hip.

"Auuuugh!  Three times... three times now you have shamed me.  But at least I know that the truth you seek will bring you sorrow.  May my curse never leave you you of the ancient soul!"

The robots core began sparking.  Hourai quickly retreated as the two parts exploded into flame.

She shook her head.  she still didn't understand what that was all about.  Why did he keep insisting he knew her?  That creature wasn't similar to anything in Gensoukyo, she was sure of it.  Alice would have been very interested in a self aware mechanical creature, even if it turned out to just be another youkai.

The crater in the sand wouldn't give her any answers though.  She'd just have to press on.  She began flying over the sand hill beyond the battlefield.

When she saw a building behind the sand hill she'd just climbed Hourai sighed in relief.  It seemed her subconsciousness wasn't looking for long time wasting journeys.  If only it was less violent.

She entered the door and found herself standing in front of an empty elevator shaft.  Having nothing better to do she dropped down.

The shaft passed by quickly, though Hourai could tell it went a long way down.  Finally she fell into a large open room.  The only features seemed to be a large monitor and a window to some sort of aquarium.

"I wonder how this works?" Hourai said as she approached the monitor.  To her surprise it flickered on.  The monitor showed a "3-D" scan of her, along with a string of alphanumeric characters she didn't understand.  "That's odd..."  Hourai wondered if this was a real scan, or just her subconscious making things up.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a door sealing shut.  Hourai looked up to find the ceiling had closed up over the room.  As she watched panels in the walls opened and the room began to flood with water.  Hourai was starting to get annoyed by these distractions.

As the water hit the top of the room a figure in blue and aqua swam in. 

Unlike the foes she'd faced before this one looked almost completely human.  Slight oddities in the woman's proportions were the only signs she wasn't.  Well, that and Hourai was pretty certain no human could swim as well as that woman did in long gloves and knee high boots.  However, the woman's wetsuit armor suggested that she'd been designed for underwater combat.

The woman simply smiled at Hourai's appraisal.  "Well Zero, you always did look girly, but don't you think this is going a little too far?"

Hourai growled at that.  "My name is Hourai.  And I am a girl.  Now tell me who the heck are you and why are you in my way?"

"Hmph.  Don't ask me why I'm here.  You're the one pulling the strings."  The woman held out her hands and a spear formed beside her.  "As for who I am, I'm Leviathan.  One of the four guardians of Master X.  Though I guess that doesn't mean anything now."

"Look, I'm just here to read whatever that monitor is going to output.  And only because that'll help me complete my mission and let me get out of here."  Hourai allowed herself to float up to become level to the Leviathan.  "So perhaps you can go guard this X person and we can skip the fight?"

"Ufufufu.  Don't worry about X.  He's dead.  Well I suppose I'm dead as well.  As is the part of you that calls to us."  Hourai began to worry a little as Leviathan's smile turned predatory.  "But I can still try to see how much of him is within you.  I've been looking forward to fighting again.  Show me if you have his strength. The strength to see the truth.  Hourai!"

"My subconscious is a pain," Hourai muttered.

"Hah!"  Leviathan took the first shot, firing three energy darts from her spear that homed in on Hourai.  Hourai swam slowly back, letting the blades home in on her before phase dashing forward through them and taking a swing with her beam saber.

Leviathan parried with her spear then brought the butt of her weapon around into Hourai's torso.  Hourai hissed in pain, then retaliated with her rising electric slash causing Leviathan to cry out.  Hourai drifted up again, keeping altitude over her foe.

"Well you're much better swimmer then he was," Leviathan said.  "Now will that make this attack harder or easier for you?"  The woman swam away, leaving spiky ice mines drifting down in her wake.  Hourai ignored them and swam after her to keep within attack range.

Then the ice mines hit the ground and the spikes exploded upward.  Hourai dashed forward to get some breathing room, then began dodging this new danmaku.  Fortunately while the bullets were large, the pattern wasn't anything special.  She quickly reached the wall where Leviathan was setting up her next attack and dived down with her fire blade.

Leviathan cried out in pain once more and flew backwards from the hit.  Apparently her armor wasn't designed to resist fire.  A reasonable mistake given the woman was meant to fight underwater.

"I won't hold back anymore!" Leviathan cried as she spun her spear around her.  The water began to churn as a whirlpool formed.  Hourai found it difficult to escape the vortex's grasp.  As she fought against the current more of those homing energy darts flew out of the whirlpool, forcing Hourai to try to time her resistance to the current to avoid them.  Hourai winced as one of the darts hit her leg.  She dodged three more but the fourth one slammed into her chest.  This woman's attacks hurt!

But Hourai didn't have time to focus on the pain.  As the whirlwind stopped she forced herself to attack.  She led in with her autumn moon slash and then just started cutting.  Leviathan took the first blow on her armor, and began to retaliate with her own spear.

The saber and spear clashed repeatedly, neither of them able to get a solid advantage.  Leviathan tried repeatedly to swim back to use her ranged techniques, but Hourai's speed was a match for hers.

Their weapons locked, and the two women faced off.  "You're strong," Leviathan said as she pressed forward.  "But your beam saber can't give you the same leverage as my spear."

Hourai nodded.  "You're right."  She let herself be pushed back as she clenched and unclenched her fist.  "But I've got two weapons."

Hourai punched forward with all of Pompei's destructive power.  She saw Leviathan's look of shock, felt the woman bring her spear head up to block.

Her fist smashed the spear into splinters with a sharp crack.

"Haa...  Haha...."  Levaithan drifted back.  "So strong.  You're even stronger then he was.  Hahaha.  That was a great fight, after so long." 

Levaithan took a few deep breaths.  "You win this one.  But don't forget, one day I'll be back to beat you.  So don't shame me by doing something stupid because of the truth you learn.  Hear me?"

And then the woman teleported away, leaving Hourai with a new slew of unanswered questions.  "Wonderful."

Still, now she could look at the monitor.  And it had finished whatever calculations it had been working on.  She saw over to the device and began to read what she could.

"Subject Hourai.  Traces of subject Zero found.  That name again.  Did Alice get second hand fabric slipped in?"  Hourai continued down the list.  "Three sizes?  What the hell.  Damage resistance factor.  Is that a life bar?  Wish I could see that myself."

Then she froze.  She read the words on the screen, once, twice, then again.  She looked up and down for an explanation, for some sign of error.  But there was nothing.  "No...."

There in stark black and white lettering were the words that put lie to her existence.

Code: [Select]
Animating force:
01% Unknown
19% Magical Power Lattice
80% Suzerain Lily Poison

Classification: Doll Youkai
Creator: Medicine Melancholy*

Pain greater then anything she'd felt before washed through her.  This wasn't right!  This wasn't who she was supposed to be.

"Hourai..."

She froze at the words from behind her.  It was the one voice she didn't want to hear now.  The one person she didn't want to face.

But there was no escape.  She turned around.  "Mo-  Alice...."

The figure before her was a hologram, but Hourai saw Alice's sad look deepen at her response.  "Hourai.  I'm sorry I couldn't protect you too."

Hourai looked down to try to hide her expression.  "It's not your fault.  I kinda feel better actually.  I understand why you didn't leave anything for me, now."

"I see."  They stood awkwardly for a moment.  "I know I'm not really your mother.  Just the person that designed you.  But, well... if you want, you can still be one of my dolls."

Hourai clenched her fists tightly.  She opened her mouth, but what could she say?  In the end she settled for, "Thank you."

"I guess this is still a dream.  I think I saw Koishi guiding me here.  So I don't know if any of this will last, or if it's even real.  But if it is, there's something I want to give you..."
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 10:16:20 PM by Iced Fairy »

Zelinko

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2011, 06:08:14 AM »
And things start getting strange....
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Hanzo K.

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2011, 07:34:07 AM »
Show of hands from the folks who expected a twist like this?
I know I saw it coming, but I didn't expect it to be as cleverly executed as this. Bravo old chap, bravo.
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Youkai Quest: Unknown Adventure

Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2011, 09:09:47 PM »
Well, this story went surprisingly off the expected path. Should we start expecting Megadoll Zero any time soon?

Iced Fairy

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2011, 11:07:13 PM »
"Hourai!"

Shanghai flew down to the rubble and started ripping through it with her hands.  She tried to find her sister's magical signature, but there was nothing there.  Hourai couldn't be....

"Shanghai, calm down!  Hourai's alright!"

Marisa's voice snapped her out of her frantic digging.  "Huh?"

"I just got word from Koishi.  Apparently Hourai slipped through a dimensional rift or something.  She's alright though.  Just lost," Marisa replied.  "Koishi's checking up on her, so if anything changes we'll tell you."

Shanghai breathed a sigh of relief.  Then turned back to the castle.  "So, should I wait or should I carry on."

Yumemi's voice came over the radio, "My magic sensing equipment isn't perfect, but I'm picking up something strange in that castle.  You probably want to hurry."

"Great,"  Shanghai looked at the three entrances visible through the gash in the wall.  "I don't suppose your sensors can tell me which one leads to the energy source?"

There was a pause then the radio crackled again.  "I'm not sure.  I think the bottom entrance might be best, but there's a jamming field further in."

Shanghai considered the matter then nodded.  "That has to be the right one then.  Medicine wouldn't have a clue how to set up whatever a jamming field is.  Obviously the mastermind is that way."

"Good point.  We'll try to get through, but you'll probably be on your own from here out," Yumemi replied.

Shanghai shivered.  She wasn't thrilled with that thought.  But she didn't have much choice in the matter.  "Okay.  I guess I'll contact you later."

"Good luck out there, Shanghai," Marisa said.

"Thanks..."  Shanghai took a deep breath and headed to the bottom floor of the castle.

The entrance here looked like a broken pipe.  Shanghai hoped she wasn't breaking into the sewers.  Fortunately the pipe was dry.  Even better it opened into a clean laboratory style area.

Still it was strange.  The place looked like it would fit better inside Yumemi's ship.  Was Medicine in control at all?

Her musings were interrupted by several cylindrical creatures bursting through one of the walls and moving out to flank her.  Shanghai quickly swapped to her boomerang and fired off several rounds each slicing through the crowd of enemies both forward and back.  They exploded as they were cut apart, revealing robotic interiors.  But still more came on.

She cried out as one of the creatures got close enough to shock her with and electrical pulse.  Fortunately as a doll electricity wasn't too big deal.  She forced herself to stumble back and unleash another barrage of boomerangs.

This attack did the trick, sweeping away the creatures.  Shanghai dusted herself off then switched over to metal blades.  "I need to be more careful.  Hourai isn't here to save me from my mistakes."  She started forward again at a much slower pace.

She was happy she did so when she rounded the bend.  Spikes lined the corridor each covered with that deadly poison that had hurt her so badly in mist form.  She carefully moved through the deadly maze, keeping an eye out for secret passages or hidden enemies.

"So you're here again you cursed meddler.  Fitting that you're a doll."

Shanghai looked around for the voice.  "Who's there?!"  It was a male voice, different from any one she'd heard before.

"You don't even know who you're fighting.  Why am I not surprised.  You were always a fool, just running around doing what you were told with no thought."

Shanghai snarled at the insult, but she turned her attention back to her surroundings.  The spikes surrounding her were more important then these taunts.

Apparently the voice noticed her lack of interest.  At least it didn't speak again.  She carefully made her way through the spike maze and into a more reasonable looking corridor, once again something far too high tech for Medicine to conceive of.  Shanghai followed it upwards.

Along the way she faced more enemies.  A few of those bird creatures, small dolls like Alice normally used, and some strange creatures that hid under a construction helmet and popped up to attack.  Her metal blades made short work of them all though.  They never came in large enough numbers to threaten her.

Finally she made it to a door.  Given the way things had been working in the past there would be a stronger foe behind it.  She checked her magical energy levels, took a deep breath, then stepped inside.

This room was an open arena, with another door at the far end.  At the center was a tube shaped device containing what looked like a male combat doll in blue armor.  Shanghai didn't think it looked that impressive, but she still set her weapon.  A low hum filled the room, and the dolls eyes opened.

"Those that don't serve willingly should be replaced by those who do."

The blue warrior turned empty eyes towards her and fired off the gun in his right hand.  Shanghai quickly grazed the blast and returned fire with her own cannon.  The blue warrior tried to jump but it wasn't enough to dodge Shanghai's shot.  It was knocked sprawling.

Shanghai was still impressed when it hopped up and began firing at her again.  Sadly it looked like it's targeting pattern was weak.  It was trying to zig and zag to avoid her fire, but it obviously wasn't designed to avoid an attacker directly above.  It's fire assumed she couldn't change directions at will, and every now and then it would jump, at which point she would punish it with a charged shot.

In the end there was no real danger.  The automaton exploded into metal shards as Shanghai's final shot slammed into it.

"This must be why Mother wanted a fully automated combat doll," Shanghai mused as she headed towards the back door.  It was far to easy to surprise a pure automaton.

As the door opened the voice boomed out again.  "Bah!  I should have known that heap of scrap wouldn't work.  Well that doesn't matter.  It can be replaced.  Just like you, little blue doll!"

"This guy needs a good punch in the face," Shanghai mused as she entered the corridor that opened before her. 

The passage quickly led to an elevator shaft with an open lift waiting for her.  Shanghai looked at the contraption and shook her head.  "Not a chance."  With a single shot she snapped the elevator cord and sent the lift crashing to the floor below.

Shanghai smiled and flew into the lift corridor, no longer needing to worry about platforms from below hampering her movements.

That move quickly turned out to be a wise decision.  Spikes and poison gas clouds littered the elevator shaft, requiring precise timing to bypass.  Without the elevator forcing her movements however it wasn't too hard.

At the top of the elevator shaft was another door, Shanghai took a deep breath, and opened it.

Inside was another figure in Blue armor.  This one was far more human-like.  At her entrance he turned, but didn't raise any weapon.  "Hrm.  You do not look like any model I am aware of.  Where are we?"

"Eh?"  Shanghai looked around.  "Well this here was Yuuka Kazami's mansion, but I think it's been changed around a lot.  It's on the edge of dreaming though..."

"Hrm..."  The figure seemed perturbed by that.  "So you don't know where Neo-Arcadia is then?"

"Never heard of it," Shanghai replied.

"That is difficult."  The man seemed to think for a bit.  "My apologies.  I am known as X.  It seems I have been cast here from my original home."

Shanghai thought for a bit.  "Maybe you got drawn towards Gensoukyo.  A lot of people get dragged in here."

"Especially if they die?" X asked quietly.

"Er, well yeah."  Shanghai shrugged.  "You're alive now though."

"Unfortunate."  The blue figure looked towards the ceiling for a bit.  "It seems my original efforts were not enough."  He sighed then shrugged.  "Still I will not give up.  I will create the Elysium I was created to make here then!"

Shanghai's eyes narrowed at the robot before her.  "What do you mean by Elysium?"

"Why a world designed to protect humans of course," the robot replied.  "That is the purpose of a hero such as myself.  To defend humans from mavericks and other enemies."

Shanghai stepped back.  "Would you consider youkai to be among those enemies?"

The blue robot blinked.  "Hm?  Youkai seem very unscientific.  It is far more likely those are either humans pretending to be monsters or mavericks."

"I don't think that kind of attitude will go far in Gensoukyo," Shanghai replied.  "And I don't think Alice would like that kind of world."

The man frowned.  "That sounds a lot like maverick thinking.  Are you sure you're alright?  You do serve humanity right?"

Shanghai switched to the fire buster.  "I serve Alice.  No one else."

Gliding wings snapped up from the robots armor, and he readied his own buster cannon.  "Serving only one human is what led to the creation of mavericks.  If you persist in this I'll have to retire you."

"Bring it!" Shanghai said as she unleashed a burst of atomic fire.

The robot's chassis shifted to red and he jumped up into the air.  "Ha!  Let me show you the strength of a hero!"  Shanghai weaved as X fired off a stream of napalm globs that continued to burn when they hit the ground.

Shanghai switched her weapon to the air cannon and circled over the arena.  X was obviously not as maneuverable in the air as the other model she faced, but he could still fly, and his armor and weapons looked stronger then hers.  She'd have to rely on her superior mobility.

X fired another napalm spread into the air to catch her, so she allowed herself to drop.  As she passed the robot she fired a blast from her air cannon that clipped off some of his armor and sent him flying backwards.

"Damn you!" X's armor shifted again to green.  This time he fired two electrical orbs that started slowly seeking after Shanghai.  She wasn't sure if they would run out of poser, but she didn't want to be scrambling around trying to dodge them, so she called forth Paititi's power.  Leaves surrounded her, absorbing the deadly electricity.

"Ridiculous!"  X swooped towards her, wings crackling with deadly energy.  Shanghai just tossed the shield at him and drifted upwards.  The deadly leaves clashed with his rush scoring his armor yet again.

This time his armor shifted blue.  X aimed his weapon and a blast of cold flew out.  Shanghai dodged to the side, but X tracked her with the cold wave.  Shanghai screamed out in pain as the icy blast washed over her arm.

The recoil from the impact sent her falling ten feet, but Shanghai had become accustomed to the fighting.  As soon as her body recovered she switched back to her flame shot.  "I know you think don't deserve it Dis, but lend me some of your power," Shanghai whispered before unleashed the full charged shot.

The flames and X's cold blast met and clashed.  There was a gout of steam and X once again cried out in pain as Shanghai's charged blast ripped through his own.  "Enough!"

Shanghai fired off another shot, but a surge of green energy around X absorbed it.  The green light expanded, becoming blinding then cleared in a flash.  In the center of the room floated a massive robot, one that no longer looking human.  It raised it's clawed hands and two pillars smashed through the ceiling before growing spikes and crushing holes in the floor.

"Now I will crush you!" X's voice rang out.

"This is ridiculous," Shanghai muttered.  She swapped weapons one more time and fired.

Time froze.

Quickly Shanghai flew up through the holes in the ceiling.  She was lucky.  There were several rooms above, each with a large number of very obvious structural supports.

The time stop wore off.  Shanghai heard X screaming "What?!" from below, but she didn't pay it too much mind.  Instead she summoned Pompei's power and fired eight shots.  One for each pillar.  Then she flew further up.

Seconds later the explosions ripped through the floor.  With a massive crash the weakened ceiling caved in.  Seconds later the floor gave as well.  The crash of masonry and steel silenced whatever final words this so called X might have had.

Shanghai studied the rubble for a minute before nodding.  Her work was done.  "I should have known he was a dangerous guy the moment he called himself a hero," she muttered.

Her trip up the tower's interior was much more relaxed.  Apparently no one put traps inside the walls.  Admittedly when she reached the top there was no normal exit, but a simple bomb created an opening just fine.

The room she floated up into was something a lot more fitting of a mansion.  A simple sitting room, with pleasant decor.  Well the decor that had survived the bomb was pleasant anyway.  Shanghai looked at the two doors on either end of the room before deciding to go through the more extravagant ones.

The double doors opened into a theater like chamber, with a slow slope down to a open stage.  As she entered the lights all snapped on and she froze.

The stage was covered in a thin film of the violet poison gas.  And at it's center surrounded by the deadly toxin stood her sister.  Or at least it looked like Hourai.  Her sister's dress was black now, and her sword seemed to have been replaced by an odd device.

Hourai looked up at her with a grim expression.  "Shanghai.

Shanghai wanted to run over to her sister, but something seemed wrong.  "Hourai?  Are you okay?  And what's with the clothes?"

Hourai hesitated.  "The clothes?  Oh right.  A gift from mo-... Alice.  And yes, I'm fine." 

"You don't sound fine," Shanghai replied.

"Hm...  Well that doesn't matter sister."  Hourai floated up above the stage.  "You should head home.  Medicine will be able to create this poison at will.  You won't be safe here."

Shanghai frowned.  "And you will?  You're acting weird Hourai!  Maybe you're the one who needs to take a break."

Hourai smiled weakly.  "I guess we're too alike, even if we are different."  Shanghai jumped into the air as Hourai activated the beam saber in her hand.  "I guess we'll have to decide who goes home the Gensoukyo way!"

-------

Yeah yeah, I suck.  Don't update in forever, end in a cliffhanger and plan to leae for the holidays soon.  Well it was this or nothing, so I went with it.  Hopefully it'll force me to get the ending up soon.

Esifex

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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2011, 11:44:48 PM »

Shrine of Chaos

  • Border of Insanity and Boredom
Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2011, 07:10:54 PM »
Ah, poor Germel... This is a amazing story so far, and from what I can tell, Medicine really does care about these "doll masters". I can only wonder what will happen she meets Shanghai and Horai...

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #53 on: June 06, 2012, 09:19:32 PM »
Ha!  Now you have to re-summarize fish!

Yeah sorry about the delay.  I'm almost done though.


--------

Shanghai leaped into the air and snapped off her time stop weapon.  The world seemed to be suffused with light, as she sped up.

At the same time a black aura started spreading out from Hourai.  The two auras clashed, changing the world to a dull grey.  Hourai's smile twisted upward a little.  "Trying the easy way out?"

Shanghai couldn't help but smile a little.  "Of course."

She rapidly switched to Metal Blades and fired off three shots.  Hourai swung her weapon in response cleaving the missiles in half, then dashed forward trying to close the distance. 

Shanghai unleashed her wood shield, then cried out as Shanghai's phasing dash left her with a facefull of bubbles.  She wasn't sure how, but the impact hurt.  "Ow!"  Her leaf shield collapsed at the impact.

"How do you expect to be able to fight Medicine like that?!" Hourai snapped.  Shanghai spun then screamed and flew back again as Hourai's electric blade slammed into her.  She caught herself right before she hit the wall.  Hourai's scowl deepened.  "You're Alice's greatest creation Shanghai.  You can't beat me in this place, but you can at least show me her blessing wasn't misplaced."

Shanghai started charging her buster.  "I don't want to hurt you sister.  Or do you think Alice made you strong enough to withstand Dis's power?"  She fired the fully charged shot straight at Hourai.

Hourai carefully dodged the blast.  "Alice did not create me."

Shanghai hesitated.  "What?  But mother..."

"I was animated by Medicine's poison."  Shanghai flinched as Hourai spat out the words.  "I'm not Alice's child.  I can never become the doll Alice wants."

"But with this poisoned body I can end this madness for her," Hourai cried as she dashed forward.  Shanghai barely dodged another electrical slice.

With a quick twist of the wrist she fired off her own air gun.  The tornadoes sent Hourai flying.

Shanghai swapped to metal blades as Hourai stood.  "Hourai, I know I can't understand what you're going through, but you'll always be my sister.  And I'm not going to let you run off and get yourself killed."

"Hmph?  Get myself killed?"  Shanghai fired four metal blades as Hourai rushed in.  Hourai cut through the first three then dashed through the fourth.  "I might not be Alice's creation, but I'm not so pathetic as to deliberately lose!"

Shanghai fired again right before Hourai left her dash.  The other doll cried out as her black dress was scored by the razor disk.  "You can't get close to me like that!"

Hourai took a few deep breaths.  "Well.  It looks like we're even now.  Let's get serious then."

Shanghai responded with another metal blade barrage.  Hourai dashed forward, then vanished.  Shanghai dashed forward herself, then screamed as Hourai's beam sword scored across her back.  When she recovered she whirled around.  "Teleportation?"

Hourai nodded grimly.  "The power of this black dress, Alice's dream creation."

Shanghai slowly edged to put her back to a wall.  There had to be some strong limitations on it, but it was still an incredible ability.  She couldn't beat it with her metal blades or normal bullets, and her other weapons were....

Suddenly she realized what she needed to do.  Shanghai raised her metal blade and began firing like crazy.  Hourai drifted back, then vanished again.

Now was her chance.  Shanghai rapidly switched to Tombstone's weapon and fired it as fast as she could.  She only managed to get four shots off when Hourai appeared in front of her.  "HA!" yelled the black clad doll.  Shanghai barely moved her head aside as Hourai's charged fist rushed forward.

Hourai struck the wall behind Shanghai.  There was a massive explosion, and once again pain ripped through her.

But at the same time, her trap bore fruit.  The boomerangs she had fired swept back towards her slamming into Hourai's back in rapid succession.

The two collapsed to the floor.  Shanghai didn't feel pain anymore, but she could tell her body was at its limit.  "I can't believe you used Pompei's power like that."

"That was a pretty impressive trick you pulled yourself," Hourai replied.

"Konparo Konparo."

Shanghai's eyes flew open at the menacing voice.  She tried to stand, only to collapse as she turned towards the voice.  To her horror Medicine herself floated into the room, surrounded by a cloud of crimson poison.  "I was going to wait for you two killers upstairs, but you made a big mess down here.  So I'm gonna finish you off now so I can go back to Su-san and get my friends back."

The doll youkai raised her hand to unleash her danmaku.  Shanghai pushed herself to her knees but that was all she could manage.  I'm not going to make it in time!

"I won't let you touch Shanghai!"

Hourai appeared in the air behind Medicine.  With a piercing cry she fell, swinging her flame covered saber.  Medicine yelped in shock and dashed away from Hourai's barely controlled dive.  The black clad doll slammed into the ground and keeled over again.


"Hourai!"  Shanghai finally pulled herself up and stumbled towards her sister while Medicine retreated.  Hourai gave her a grin as Shanghai pulled her up.  "It's okay.  I'm recovering."  Hourai waved her hand in a nearby poison cloud.  "I can use these to heal.  You need to chase after Medicine and stop her!"

Shanghai opened her mouth to protest, then shut it.  "You're right.  I'll go on ahead.  You rest, okay?"

"Yeah."  Shanghai winced a little as Hourai pushed herself completely into the poison cloud, but the purple cloud just trickled over Hourai's wounds, slowly closing them.

Shanghai gave her sister a nod and ran through the door, downing the final curative potion as she went.  The feeling of light suffused her again, leaving her filled with power.

The hallway slowly spun and twisted.  To Shanghai's surprise the walls slowly changed to rough stonework with dark cracks.  It didn't seem to fit in with either Yuuka's style, or the strange metal loving being that was controlling Medicine.  Then she saw a dark purple drop of poison leak out of a crack and fall hissing to the floor below.  Something like that might even short out Hourai.  There was no way her body would be able to survive it.

Shanghai pulled out Germelshausen's weapon.  She had wanted to save it for the final battle, but she couldn't take a chance here with her weak senses.  The world filled with light, and she dashed through the area.  Soon the walls reverted to the strange metallic construction as before and she resumed normal flying.

Finally the hall opened up into a large chamber.  The floor was covered in deadly poison.  Medicine floated in the center purple and crimson poisons swirling around her in equal amounts.  This time Shanghai could see the rage in the doll youkai's eyes.  "So you've come to murder me like all of your sisters?"

Shanghai winced at the words.  "I don't want to kill anyone.  But I needed to stop them.  And I will stop you, too."

"Stop me from what?" Medicine snapped.  "Stop us from making a world where dolls can be free?  Stop us from pursuing our dreams?  Stop us from fixing this rotten world?"

"Listen to yourself Medicine!"  Shanghai yelled.  "Look around you!  Someone is manipulating you!  You don't want a war with youkai.  You don't want a mansion of lifeless metal.  Why aren't you with your flowers?"

"That's..."  The crimson mist seemed to swirl around Medicine faster.  "That's none of your business you mean traitor!  You're a bad doll!"

Shanghai flipped away as Medicine unleashed two clouds of violet poison from her hands.  Those clouds were slow, but enough of them could make the battlefield certain death.  She had to end this fast.  "I guess I'll need to knock some sense into you too!"  Damascus' blades had served her well throughout this incident, so she swapped to them and began firing.

Medicine didn't even try to dodge as the blades flew towards her.  To Shanghai's shock the polished metal blackened and cracked as it struck Medicine's poison, then shattered as it hit the swirling miasma around her.  "My poison is stronger then ever.  You can't hurt me!"  The doll youkai raised her hands again and a flower of danmaku blossomed around her, forcing Shanghai to fly higher. 

Shanghai retreated as she tried to figure out a way past that barrier.  A few experimental shots showed her normal gun was also ineffective.  Shambala's power couldn't be used from up here, Tombstone's attack was no stronger then Damascus'.  Germal's power couldn't break the barrier, and Pompei and Dis' powers might kill Medicine if she was successful.  That limited her options significantly.

Medicine pouted.  "Stop hiding!"  She fired off some faster danmaku. With nothing to lose, Shanghai switched on Paititi's weapon.  A cloud of leaves swirled around her, knocking away the bullets.  Shanghai dashed forward, and the leaves zoomed ahead in a deadly cyclone.  Shanghai pumped her fist in success as they passed through the purple poison clouds around Medicine without harm, only to wither and die as they struck the crimson cloud.

Shanghai swore and flew off to another corner as Medicine tracked her with bullets.  How was that possible?  Medicine prefered organic poisons and disliked killing plants.  Why would she have a reactive barrier that-

A thought stirred in Shanghai's mind.  Yuuka had said the little doll youkai had been strangely enhanced.  Medicine's poison had animated her sisters.  Perhaps that strange power source had infested Medicine's poison as well?  It was a long shot but....

Shanghai flipped up her leaf shield again and rushed at Medicine.  The doll youkai unleashed more poison clouds to stop Shanghai's attack, but instead of closing Shanghai releashed her sheild then switched to Atlantis' power.  Bubbles of water plopped out of her gun and slammed into Medicine.  "Agblpb.  What was that for!  Now I'm all wet!"  Shanghai retreated as Medicine fired at her again, but it seemed her theory had worked.  The crimson cloud around the doll had faded a bit.

With that the battle was decided.  Shanghai ducked in and out of range using Patiti's shield as a screen until she could dump a stream of bubbles on Medicine then fly away.  The doll youkai didn't seem to notice the effects, but the crimson poison got smaller and smaller.

On the fourth pass Medicine screamed.  The crimson aura surrounding her melted away and she collapsed to the floor.  "So tired... why?"

Shanghai was about to respond when a flash of crimson caught her eyes.  She whirled to see the red aura slowly reforming into a cloud.  "Curses!  How could you be so lucky?  And how could that stupid robot be so weak to be defeated by such a weak weapon?!"

"You!  You're the one who was controlling Medicine and my sisters!  You made them do all those terrible things!"  Shanghai lowered her buster and fired Dis's flame blast with all her rage.  The cloud dispersed as a massive explosion rocked the room.

Then the cloud reformed.  "Ahahahahaha!  I did nothing!  I merely showed those robots their true purpose.  To serve me!"  The cloud formed into a mustached face with thick eyebrows.  Shanghai immediately despised it.

"Serve you?  But I want the dolls to be free..." Medicine slowly tried to rise, then slumped to her knees again.

"Don't look so sad.  All the world should serve me!"  The miasma cloud laughed again.  "There is no greater freedom then that.  But you-!"  The cloud's gaze fell upon Shanghai like a lead weight.  "You!  That accursed blue one.  You always, always, always interfere!  Even when you're dead you interfere!  But in this realm, I have my full powers!  This time I will destroy you!  Follow me if you dare, robot."

"Not so fast!" Shanghai yelled as the miasma flew upward.  She fired Dis's weapon again, but she was too slow.  The mist escaped.  "Damn!"

She wanted to chase after it but she had to check on Medicine first.  She knelt next to the doll youkai.  "Are you okay?"

"Tired... so tired... and I miss Su-san."  Medicine rolled over and stared at the cieling.  "Did we really do bad things?  Isn't trying to free dolls good?"

"Dolls are made to serve people, Medicine.  I like serving Alice."  Shanghai gave the exhausted youkai a pitying look.  "And that thing tricked you.  Your actions weren't helping dolls at all."

Tears formed in Medicine's eyes.  "But then... that means they all died for nothing.  I was supposed to help them, to protect them.  They were my friends...."

"Alice will bring them back.  I swear."

"Really?"  Medicine's eyes were flickering now.  Shanghai hoped it was simply magical exhaustion or something.

"Yes.  After all we're all her precious children."  She hesitated then patted Medicines head.  "And yours as well."

Medicine smiled, then her eyes shut.  Shanghai waited a little longer, but the doll youkai's breathing seemed constant.  Hopefully she would be fine.  The poison mist here would be healing her at least.

With that she turned towards where the miasma had fled.  It was time to end this.  She flew down the corridor her foe had escaped through.

This time the trip was short.  No traps or minions stood in her way.  She exited out onto a balcony, the 'stars' of the dreamworld hovering above her.  And there, standing opposite her, was a twisted mechanical figure, twice her height covered with sharp angles and malicious lines.  Within it's pointed helmet the miasma roiled in the face of that hateful man.  "Once again, my eternal curse, you stand before me.  Why is it every time I rise, humans create another one of you to torment me?  Why do they oppose my destiny?"

Shanghai sniffed at the man's dramatics.  "Gensoukyo is a land of youkai, not humans."

"Yes, yes that was it!"  The man's face twisted in irritation.  "This is the land that accepts everything!  So why?  Why won't it accept my dream?  Why were you drawn in as well?  Are we fated to play out this stupid game over and over until I finally strike you down?"

Shanghai raised her buster and fired.  The charged shot slammed into the man, causing him to fall back with a shriek.  "Don't worry.  This will be the last time.  Because I'm going to kill you."

"What?!"  The creature rose, armor smoldering.  "You can't kill me!  You're a doll, created to serve mankind!"

"No," Shanghai replied.  "I'm a doll created to serve Alice.  I don't care about mankind.  I exist only to make Alice happy."

The creature's face wavered.  "You're different...."  Then it rose into the air.  "But that doesn't matter!  I will destroy you!  Here and now!"

The strange armored Suit opened up with a barrage of particle beams.  Shanghai leapt into the air and did her best to start dodging.  This wasn't Medicine's sporadic danmaku.  This looked more like the terrifying power Utsuho wielded.  She was sure the bullets didn't carry the same punch as the sun god's attacks, but to her, the thick danmaku was still certain death.

Shanghai retreated to get more room to maneuver while firing off a fully charged blast.  The orbs of death around the man absorbed it easily, causing her to curse.  She weaved through the first pattern, only to be faced with another wave.  She'd either have to get closer or find a weapon that could penetrate the bullets.

Getting closer would be suicide.  She was having enough trouble back here.  So she dropped altitude, then switched to Shambala's air cannon.  "Let's see if this has enough power!"  She fired the mighty weapon three times.

The miniature tornadoes slammed against the huge energy orbs and dissipated, but Shanghai heard the clang of metal and a curse.  Her attacks might not be able to break through the bullets, but the spread could pierce the screen!

Shanghai raised her weapon and held down the trigger until its cells ran dry.  The air sizzled and cracked, and metal screeched as the projectiles struck home.  The electrical orbs vanished, their power exhausted as the armored suit let off smoke and sparks.  "You little pest!" yelled the creature.  Panels in the back of the suit opened up.  "Take this!"  Missiles spread through the air towards Shanghai.  She started firing off Pompei's bombs as an anti missile screen, but there were too many.

Finally her bomb reserves ran dry, and still more missiles were heading for her.  Shanghai cycled through her other weapons trying to think of another tactic.  "It's over!" the creature screamed gleefully.

?Over, for you!?

Shanghai's heart leapt as Hourai flashed into existence above the armored figure, her beam saber already flashing with energy.  The blow shattered the launchers, sending the formerly guided missiles into ballistic death spirals.  Shanghai dashed through the spread with ease to drop next to her sister.  "Nice timing!"

"I thought so too," Hourai replied with a smirk.

"Grrrk.  That blue fool and the traitor.  Every time.  That blue suited fool, and then that traitor I created."  The figure rose up, the crimson mist within the armor roiling so much the face could no longer be seen.  "Every time!"  The armor crackled with electricity once again.  Shanghai could see a massive charge building.

Shanghai switched to Dis' weapon.  She closed her eyes on concentrated, focusing her rage and determination  into the weapon.  "Hourai?"

"Right!"

She felt the flames reach their peak right as the creature fired his electricity beam.  Shanghai raised her weapon with a yell and fired in return.  The flames hit the electricity, then burst through slamming into the armored figure.

Hourai appeared next to the man, beam saber dropping down.  The black clad doll spun and danced chaining together blows from her saber.  Uppercut to rolling slash to stab to spin.  Finally Hourai jumped back and set into her quickdraw pose.  Shanghai fired one last time as Hourai's blade flashed.

The armor cracked and its glass shattered.  The mist within slowly began to dissipate.  It's words seemed almost regretful.  "Don't you understand?  So long as you exist I shall return.  Those are our roles.  That is the play we are forced into time and time again.  Why do you persist?"

Shanghai snorted.  "If you don't like the story, maybe you should stop wasting your life redoing it over and over."

"Now if you'll excuse us, we need to get back to more important things then you," Hourai said with a flick of her hair.

The figure let out a wordless scream of rage before exploding into a pillar of light.  A few seconds later nothing remained.

Shanghai sighed.  She felt exhausted.  "It's too bad I can't sit in the poison to heal.  I'm tired."

Hourai smiled.  "Then let's go home.  We'll pick up Medicine on the way out."

Shanghai smiled in return, and then the world started spinning....

Esifex

  • Though the sun may set
  • *
  • It shall rise again
Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #54 on: June 07, 2012, 04:15:50 AM »
It's a shame I don't actually know all the story to MegaMan and MegaMan Zero, thusly able to recognize who that was at the end.

Spoiler:
Was it Wiley?

Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #55 on: June 07, 2012, 05:27:54 AM »
It's a shame I don't actually know all the story to MegaMan and MegaMan Zero, thusly able to recognize who that was at the end.

Spoiler:
Was it Wiley?
It was either
Spoiler:
Wily
or
Spoiler:
Dr. Weil, the antagonist for the latter half of the Zero series.
Depending on your interpretation of canon the two may or may not be one and the same.

Really surprised at the direction the later part of this story took, although I'd be lying to say I'm displeased by it. A fitting tribute to two franchises.

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
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  • I will set you on fire k'?
    • Daisukima Dan Blog
Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #56 on: June 07, 2012, 09:56:44 PM »
Was it Wiley?
No need for spoilers.  It's always Wiley, even when it isn't.

Anyway since I already admitted it to TAC, this album had a large roll in my writing process.  I prefer the non acoustic versions for the rest of the songs, but if your gonna go western you should go acoustic.

I'll try to get the epilogue out sometime early next week.  Right now I've gotten myself into something of a challenge....

GuyYouMetOnline

  • Surprisingy not smart for lynch dodging
Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #57 on: June 08, 2012, 12:56:18 AM »
And where the hell is Sigma in all of this? You're doing the X series, so Sigma's involvement is mandatory.

Hanzo K.

  • White Tiger Shikigami
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Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #58 on: June 08, 2012, 01:12:19 AM »
Shhh...He's clearly the EX Boss!
Essence RO
Eiji Komatsu L1xx/6x CritsinX | Ryoshima Nanbu L7x/4x Crafting Blacksmith

Arbitrary Gaming~!
Youkai Quest: Unknown Adventure

Iced Fairy

  • So like if you try to hurt alkaza
  • *
  • I will set you on fire k'?
    • Daisukima Dan Blog
Re: MegaDoll X
« Reply #59 on: June 24, 2012, 05:09:53 AM »
"Are you certain?"

"Yeah.  You shouldn't be surprised.  It was an untested spell."

"That's pretty cold there lady."

"It's all my fault.  I should have-"

Shanghai's eye's fluttered open.  What had happened?  They'd just won and...

"Sister!"

Hourai appeared floating over her with concern in her eyes.  "Are you awake?"

"Kinda..."  Shanghai slowly pulled herself up to a sitting position.  She'd been lying on the living room couch at Alice's house.  Patchouli and Medicine were standing around the table with Yumemi, Marisa and Chiyuri and next to them was...  "Mother!"

Shanghai hopped to her feet and jumped towards Alice.  Her vision blurred as she threw her arms around the woman who had created her.  "You're awake, mother!" 

Alice's arms slowly wraped around her.  "Shanghai..."  The doll maker swayed, then dropped to her knees.  Shanghai froze as Alice's sobs echoed through the room.  "I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry..."

Shanghai shuddered as ice seemed to run through her veins.  "Why?  What's wrong?"  She looked around the room trying to figure out what had happened.

Everyone else looked away, shuffling their feet when Shanghai's gaze fell upon them. 

Finally Hourai broke the silence.  "Mother's spell was... incomplete.  You're losing your magical power."

Shanghai froze.  She knew what that meant.  "How... how much longer?"

Alice took a ragged breath.  "Six months."

Patchouli opened up a book to hide her face.  "Ms Okazaki helped me install a magical buffer to help keep you animated, so you have four months.  So long as you don't strain yourself or leave the house."

"I see."  Shanghai sighed.  "Then everything is fine!  Mother will be able to fix it.  I'm sure of it."  She smiled up at Alice.  "Right?"

Shanghai's smile slowly faded away as Alice's head fell.  "I can't.  The reagents for the spell took years to gather and prepare.  It's... it's just not possible."

Medicine stood up.  "Maybe I could help!  Su-san's poison made all the other dolls keep working so maybe I can help you keep working too?"

Shanghai and Hourai shook their heads at the same time.  "That won't work," Alice said.  "Your poison would drive out Shanghai's spirit to create a new doll youkai."

"Oh."  Medicine slumped back into her chair.  The doll youkai rubbed her hands together as she averted her eyes.

"Damn it!  This sucks!"  Shanghai started as Marisa kicked the table.  "There's gotta be a way around this!"

Alice gritted her teeth.  Shanghai saw her mother's muscles twitch.  "I... know someone who can help.  If that fails I can go to Eirin.  That would work as-"

Shanghai's heart was racing but she forced a smile as she put her finger to Alice's lips.  "No mother.  I don't want you doing that.  I'm your doll, no matter how long that lasts."

"Shanghai."  Alice's arms squeezed tighter.  "My Shanghai..."

Shanghai heard shuffling behind her.  She reached out and caught the hem of a dress. 

"There's a place for you too, Hourai."

Alice smiled weakly as she looked up and opened her arms.  "That's right Hourai.  I would never abandon one of my children, even if she was adopted.  How could I look my mother in the face if I did that?"

Hourai hesitated for a brief moment.  Then threw herself into the group embrace. 

"Mother... sister..."

"That's right.  You can always call me mother little Hourai."  Alice patted Shanghai's head.  "And you're a good sister Shanghai, for being able to think about others even now."

There was a cough from behind them.  "Uh, hate to break up the family gathering, but maybe it's possible to use suspended animation or something?" Chiyuri asked.

"Ah!"  Patchouli looked up.  "Indeed.  Setting the spell into a fixed matrix would give us plenty of time to alter it at leisure without damaging the power flow.  I'd need some more materials though."

Yumemi smiled.  "That'll cost you another grimoire."

"Done," Alice snapped.  She looked down at Shanghai.  "I'll start researching the spell to fix you immediately.

"Actually mother, isn't there another important thing you have to do?"
------

Shanghai was already starting to feel the strain on her magic four days later.  It wasn't crippling, but she found it easier to walk then fly.  Fortunately walking around the house now was considered polite.  Hourai had been tailing her every move, and Alice had been outright hovering, but she was pretty sure the two still hadn't seen through her ruse.

Which was good because she didn't want to look so weak at her sister's reunion.

She wished she could be in the workshop itself, but the whole room was covered in runes.  Even Medicine wasn't allowed in, though it was mostly her power that would revive Shanghai's sisters.  The doll youkai stood at the edge of the room, ready to unleash her poison onto the magical circles.

Inside floated the eight souls that had been released as each had been slain.  Orin had been good to her word.  None of the spirits had even a nibble.  Each once bobbed over their new body.  On opposite sides of the eight were Shanghai's gun and Hourai's saber, each ready to give up the powers held within.

Above them all Alice hovered, Grimoire floating before her for extra power.  Her hands were occupied with her strings.  The magical bonds of affection between her and her dolls.  Her children.

Alice spoke a single word and there was a brilliant flash.  Shanghai shielded her eyes as white light poured out of the runes within the room.

Then the light started to dim as Medicines purple mist flowed out onto the floor.  It roiled along the ground, slowly dying the runes violet and swirling around the dolls like miniature waterspouts.  Shanghai felt Hourai figiting next to her as the poison level rose to Alice's feet, so she reached out and gave her sister a squeeze on the shoulder.  Medicine wouldn't hurt Alice.  At least not now.

Suddenly the spell broke.  As the runes cracked and shattered the poison was sucked into the dolls.  Each purple whirlwind pulling down a different soul with it.  And then it was silent.  The light and the poison were all gone.

All of the watchers started when the little doll bodies on the floor began to groan and stir.  Tombstone was the first to pull herself into the air.  "Well.  It seems we got real lucky.  Everyone's back from boot hill okay?"

Shambala forced herself upright next with a groan.  "We're small again!"

Alice finally snapped out of her shock to land and smile at the girls.  "We couldn't make you big dolls quickly.  And, well, you little girls were very naughty the last time you were out and about."

The eight doll youkai showed varying amounts of remorse at that, though even Shamabala had the grace to be embarrassed.  "We're very sorry, mother." Paititi said quietly.

"You're all back!"

Medicine barrelled into the room and swept all of the small girls into her arms.  "I'm so sorry!  I told you to do bad things and I didn't even stay around to help you.  I was a bad doll.  Can you forgive me?"

"That's not true ma'am," Pompei said returning the hug.  "We should apologize for not being able to complete our duties and help you."

"And for being useless," Atlantis muttered.

Medicine freed one hand to rub the mermaid dolls head.  "You weren't useless, Atlantis.  Your power was the one that helped me escape the bad guys control."

Atlantis blinked in surprise.  "Really?" 

"Really," Shanghai said, stepping forward.  She froze as the eyes of the girls she'd defeated turned to her.  "Um...  I'm not sure how to put this but...."

Hourai stepped forward.  "You all helped us out, in the end.  Next time I hope you can use your powers for good on your own."

"Yeah!  Next time let's play all together!"  Germelschausen laughed and dashed over to latch on to Hourai's arm.  Shanghai couldn't help but giggle at Hourai's sudden sputtering blush.

All the revived dolls broke off into groups.  Some clinging to Medicine, others heading to Alice.  Germel sticking to Hourai like Shanghai used to stick to Alice...

And Dis and Damascus floated to her.

Shanghai forced herself to stand tall as Dis' eyes fell upon her.  The fire doll still seemed to smolder inside.  Even Damascus seemed to be giving the Dis some distance.  But Shanghai wasn't going to back down.  Even when Dis pierced her with her firey gaze.

They gazed at each other for some time.  Then Dis nodded her head.  "You're a worthy sister.  I'm glad you gained my power, if only for a little while.  I hoped it served you well."

Shanghai smiled brightly at her sister's acknowledgement.  "Thank you Dis.  And it did.  Yours too Damascus."

"But of course," the combat doll.  "Anyways, I want a rematch!  Er when Alice teaches me how to shoot non lethal danmaku that is."

Shanghai nodded, but she couldn't keep her smile from melting a bit.  "I'll be glad to do that.  But it might have to wait a while."

Damascus blinked.  "Eh?  Why?"

Shanghai sighed.  This was going to be hard to explain.

------

The explanation of her condition muted the joy of her sister's revivals.  Shanghai wished she could make everyone realize how it wasn't a big deal, but, well she was apparently bad at lying.  She'd done her best to keep the pretense up though.  She might not actually be the eldest sister, but she was going to act the part!

Still she was a little nervous about the whole thing.  She trusted mother but... it was weird to know she'd be put to sleep like a princess in a storybook.

After two days of worry she resolved to face her fears by going down into the basement where her support system was being built.  She snuck down after dark, when she knew Chiyuri and Yumemi would be asleep.

When she reached the basement she breathed a sigh of relief.  The pod seemed, well, normal for lack of a better term.  Maybe even properly futuristic.  It seemed like a deep sleep pod should.  As a doll she liked things that looked like they were supposed to look.

Then she noticed the identical pod beside it.

She rushed up to inspect them closer.  They were still in disarray, but there were two name tags already installed.  They read, "Shanghai X" and "Hourai 0."

"So you found out early."

Shanghai spun around to face her sister.  "What is this?  You're fine right?  Why are you abandoning mother like this!"

"I'm not abandoning her!" Hourai shouted back.  The other doll took a deep breath.  "I'm not like our other sisters.  I'm not going to hang around in the poison fields with Medicine most of the time.  I want to be here with Alice."

"But how can I do that if every day I'm reminding her that she couldn't make you correct the first time!"  Hourai's fists clenched.  "Better if we both fade away.  Become a goal for her to reach instead of a splinter in her heart reminding her of past mistakes."

"That's-!"  Shanghai's protest faded.  She knew Alice was obsessive about her responsibilities occasionally.  And Alice really hated losing, even to herself.  Hourai might be right.  And Alice was barely twenty two.  Not the best age for full time custody of kids.  Even magic doll ones.

Shanghai sighed.  "It's your choice sister."

"And I've already made it."  Hourai sighed.  "Though explaining it to Germel's going to be hard."

"Consider it penance for doubting mother."

------

Shanghai gave mother her best smile as the lid of the chamber came down.  "Good night, mother" she said.  Alice gave a weak smile and nod.  Shanghai turned to Hourai.  "Good night, Hourai."

"Night sisters.  Night mother." Hourai replied.

Then the door closed.

Shanghai sighed, trying to force the butterflies in her stomach down.  She heard the process would be quick but-

Her vision seemed to fade suddenly.  The colors of the world slowly started streaming towards a white dot in the center of her vision.  Her body felt heavy, but Shanghai strangely didn't feel worried.  It was like the fading light was everything gently turning off....

------

Alice turned away as the magic seal enacted.  Her other children were with Medicine.  The older doll youkai could console them for now.  She started walking.  Up the stairs then towards her laboratory.

She stiffened as a hand lightly caught her arm.  "Alice.  Do you want to talk about it."

She bit back her first response, forcing politeness.  "No Marisa."

"But..."

"Let her go." A voice said softly.  "She's moving with purpose.  Wait for her to finish."

"But Patchouli..."  Marisa's grip faltered, then the other magician let go.  "Sorry Alice.  I'll be in the living room."

"As will I."

"Thank you," Alice said before walking away.

When she entered her room she threw open her Grimoire.  She knew the page she was searching for well, despite almost never casting the spell.  It was a simple trick.  A small portal that replaced her vanity mirror.  Sound and light only.

As she finished the spell a surprised face appeared.  "A mortal calling upon me?  Wait.  Alice, dear?  Whatever is wrong?"

The dam broke.  Tears dimmed her vision and she collapsed against the vanity table "Oh mother....  I... I... failed my children."

Shinki's eyes misted over as well as she sighed.  "Oh my poor Alice.  Let me come over there, and we'll talk."

------

The light was beautiful.

It didn't just shine down on her, it suffused her, filling her with warmth and power.  She began to feel other things, happiness, curiosity, and a strange sense of purpose.  All these things rose within her, buoyed by the light.  A light that felt so familiar.  She tried to think of where she knew this light from.  Who was the source of this power.

"Alice."

That's right.

Shanghai opened her eyes.  "Good morning, mother," she said as she looked up into her creator's shining blue eyes.

------

Consciousness returned to it.

The cursed being had woken again.  The stage was set for their play once more.

This time he had to win!

------

Yukari paused in her wanderings when she felt a familiar fluctuation in her border. 

Deeming it more important then the bit of spying she was planning on doing, she opened a gap and headed to the source.  "Yuuka.  You've awakened early."

The sunflower youkai looked up at Yukari with surprise.  "You... Ah yes, the person behind the strings.  Are you still acting openly these days?  I thought you'd be trying to get people to forget you."

"They have forgotten me mostly.  But I had a feeling I should see to this personally.  Just a whim."  The youkai of boundaries looked at the portal to dreaming.  "So what roused you this time?"

"That stupid skull palace appeared again.  This time it didn't take over my mansion, but it vexes me nonetheless." Yuuka idly tapped her parasol on her shoulder.  "It reminds me of something that you said a while ago.  Something to do with that Alice girl."

Yukari frowned as she thought back on the incident.  It was hard for youkai to remember certain things past 60 years.  Events that didn't have a strong connection to others faded away so quickly.  But after a bit of thinking she smiled.  "Ah.  The rules of Gensoukyo."

"Yes.  That was it."  Yuuka nodded.  "What was that other rule?"

"Gensoukyo accepts everything," Yukari said.  "But to accept Gensoukyo is to change." 

Yukari smiled at the vision of the skull castle.  "I wonder what that good doctor will do when his plan goes off script.  Because I'm certain Medicine and those other little dolls will join the 'heroes' in opposing him."

Yuuka thought for a moment, then smiled.  "That does sound like a pleasant sight.  I always thought that girl would go far.  Let's see how much they've all improved."

The two ancient youkai unfolded their parasols and waited to see a new story unfold.  A story that, while perhaps familiar, had never been told before.