Once Upon A Dream
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The city of Tokyo was oddly quiet tonight. The moon was high in the sky with a brilliant light, but on the ground there was nobody to bask in the radiance. Seemingly everyone had vanished without a trace. Cars were left unattended, businesses remained open and lit, and traffic lights never seemed to change.
One very peculiar thing would be the lack of noise. There wasn't even so much as a buzz from the many lights. It was as though the world seemingly came to a halt all together.
However, this wasn't meant to last. A soft melody could be heard coming from somewhere far away. Should you choose to follow the sound you'd eventually be greeted by a certain concert hall wherein the sound was coming from.
The music continues to play.
A young woman in black armor with a silky look about it wanders the streets, clouds of bugs flying above her head as she looks around... Only to feel through the swarm that nearly everything has gone silent.
"Geez, what the hell do you think we're dealing with this time Termite?"
Of course, the parasite hasn't got any more clue than Taylor herself... He does, however, suggest looking into the music that's replaced the din of Tokyo nights, might be someone worth smashing on the other end if they're lucky. So that in mind, the girl grins under her mask and wanders off towards it, a beady-eyed hammer made of black and red material taking shape as swarms of flying insects rush ahead of her. Probing into the hall and checking around it once they reach the place.
The raven haired woman would be wondering the streets as she noticed this strange phenomena. She may not have been in this world for very long but even she would find this strange. She would follow the music out of curiosity as she stared at the outside of the hall. She would smell the familiar scent of someones blood as she turned and noticed Taylor.
"We really need to stop meeting like this" a sigh escaping her lips as she turned her attention back to the hall.
As the pair meet and probe into the dimly lit foyer of the hall, they find nobody present at any of the counters. The eerie atmosphere growing as the doors close and lock behind them.
But as the saying goes, when one door closes... the door to the main auditorium would slowly creek open. Slowly the light and sound from the auditorium fills the foyer with warmth, almost beckoning for them to venture deeper into the depths.
The girl shrugs and looks over toward Velvet, a light, and cheerful tone as she points the hammer in her hands towards the door.
"Heh, it would maybe be best... Oh well, there are worse people I could run into than you Velvet."
As the doors swing open, the eyes on her hammer would light up a bit with hope, Taylor walking forward with the weapon held high and a swarm of wasps rushing forward and spreading out across the auditorium. Of course, they're looking for anything which seems to be a sign of attack, even as Taylor casually carries on speaking.
"Anyway, as you likely guessed quiet like that's not normal around here. Termite's hoping it leads to a meal... Though I have the feeling it might not."
Something about this feels off, but for some reason... Hmm, who knows what it could be? But she just feels like it'll be familiar in some way.
"Can't say I'm a fan of being locked in places" she would say noticing the door behind her
She would slowly walk forward while paying attention to anything that might pose a threat. She would continue forward seeing no other way out. A little irritation on her face.
The wasps would report little of interest save for what the two girls were about to see. Termite, on the other hand, would finally begin to realize what the situation was.
Upon entering the auditorium, the girls would be greeted with rows upon rows of seats from wall to wall; and that wasn't even touching on the balconies. A set of stairs would be directly in front of them leading down to a large semicircular stage, and at the conductor's podium of said stage was the figure of a man with wild white hair.
He simply stood at the podium and continued to wave what seemed like an ornate baton at an invisible band. The music was flowing beautifully from the stage, but not an instrument nor speaker was in sight.
Termite would keep his eyes pinned on the man.
After following the music she would come to the stairs leading even deeper still into this strange place. She would walk down the stairs and upon finding the stage and the man at the auditorium. She would see him conducting with no band as she raised a brow.
"Because things couldn't get stranger." a sarcastic remark left her lips.
She would continue to stare at the conductor as she sniffed the air to see if she could smell even a whiff of blood.
"What is this?" Her brows would furrow as black smoke began to rise from her left arm.
The girl looks up towards the old man, beady-eyes of her hammer darting along and gleaming with a bit of humor as they stare at the baton in his hands. A voice starting to emit from it even as the wasps float around the room.
Termite: "Aw shucks, is that really one a us I see over there!? So how's it been going round your parts? Besides this uh, what seems to be some kinda trap..."
The voice was warm and friendly, a bit of a southern drawl to it. But the friendly part would be gone in moments.
"Can't say I'ma fixing to let ya do anything to us though pardner. Besides, some sleep bug an old man, why that just ain't a meal at all!"
Taylor:"I'm not exactly sure who you are, but what Termite said is accurate. I'd prefer not to fight you, and I don't see what there would be to gain... If you do insist on that though, then we'll give it our all."
The various swarms of flying bugs would get just a bit closer, loud buzzing sounds coming from them as spiders crawl up the walls. Upon noting Velvet's arm, she'd turn to the woman and shrug.
"I can't exactly answer what it is, save for the fact that he's someone like me to an extent... His isn't quite the same, but made of the same things or so says Termite."
The man lowers his hands as the music dies down.
"Come on man, most ungroovy."
He lets out a lengthy sigh before tossing his baton into the air with a swift flick of his wrist. The baton would soar high up before exploding into pink smoke and confetti. From the explosion would come a spinning cane that the conductor would deftly catch in his left hand, while doing a little spin of his own.
Finally facing the girls he'd smile, or rather that'swhat it would seem like he was doing. His face was clearly visible, yet at the same time it was impossible to retain the details for more than a second. The one thing that they knew for certain is that he was well dressed in a black suit and had crazy white hair, standing on end as if just zapped by lightning.
"So... a couple young butterflies have wandered into my web it seems? And one of them brought some family to keep you company. How thoughtful!"
A pair of beady red eyes poke out from the top of the cane.
"It's the runt. The fool is hardly company."
"Now now. No need to be so hostile! We're all amigos here, right? Riiiight! Groovy."
Velvet would be able to smell blood from the man, but much like his face it seemed to be hard to focus on.
"So you guys are acquainted?"
Velvet would ask after hearing probably the strangest conversation from bug weapon hybrids. She would keep her guard up as she never took her eyes off the man but if they were acquainted she would be sure to keep her ears open in case Taylor was an enemy.
"What exactly is the reason we're here?" her arms cross as she leans against one of the nearby seats.
Considering they were the only ones that seemed to exist in the immediate area thinking he had a reason to bring them here was only the logical conclusion. Being surrounded by Taylors bugs wasn't exactly helping her paranoia either.
Bedbug huh... No telling what this one does, maybe something like eating despair from... Lack of sleep? Now, what's the trick for how this is used as a weapon, that's what needs to be figured out here.
"The fool? Hey, don't go insulting Termite like that! He may not always be the sharpest, but he's got a certain animal cunning that's worth a hell of a lot more than some puny baton with an attitude problem. You annoy Bedbug, Termites tear things down."
Of course, at this point the swarm of wasps would rush forward towards the shadowy man and aim to land upon his skull. Watching him closely and hoping to sting into his eyes, mouth, even going inside the mouth to try and choke him if possible... Assuming they even do anything, something about the guy seems off. Upon hearing Velvet, Taylor would laugh even as her swarm rushes the man. Calming herself and responding to the woman in her usual quiet and seemingly calm way.
"Acquainted? Not exactly Velvet, Termite knows what Bedbug is... Haven't got a clue about the host though, and given what he said I'm assuming he's looking to make all of us a snack. Sadly, I can't tell you the exact method Bedbug uses, but the names are important, always.."
The man laughs softly as the bugs descend upon him. He simply holds up his left index finger as the bugs get closer to his face, however something doesn't seem right. The wasps that were once so hellbent on hitting his head ended up doing so, but before they landed they turned into bubbles and popped on impact.
The man then waves his index finger side to side at Taylor.
"Tsk tsk tsk. Uncool! Here I thought we could all just be chill and talk. But if that's how you wanna play then you're on a timeout!"
Snapping his fingers would cause a large bug net to drop overtop of Taylor as the man turns his attention to Velvet.
"Ah! Finally, someone who's quick to the point! I can dig it! And for your answer, well, I had my little friends do some scouting to test out my new powers. Apparently you two were the best I could get on such short notice..."
He bites the tip of his thumb as he continues to speak.
"Woulda been more fun if I nabbed Tatsuya or one of the others I was warned about. But that's besides the point. You are both here to assist in furthering my power! Can't make an omelette without cracking open a few people! Wait, I think I messed that up."
"Well, that makes this easier. Never was a fan of smoke and mirrors."
Velvet would stand off of the bench and walk towards man not paying much attention to Taylor being caught in a net. Then again, knowing bug girl she's more than capable of taking care of herself. Besides, since the girl was more familiar with dealing with these things it would be better if his attention stayed on Velvet as long as possible so Taylor could figure out his ability. That is of course if velvet doesn't figure it out first.
"I wonder if that's your real body?" she would say as she sped up.
She would pay attention to her surroundings as she rushed the man and if nothing obstructs her she would give him a series kicks ending with the point of the hidden dagger in her boot hopefully penetrating the mans skull.
What in the hell!?
"Termite, let's melt this crap down!"
There's more to this than meets the eye, and she'd wonder what exactly it means even as the hammer expels acid from itself and aims to melt through the net now covering her body. Regardless of the action's success, she'd close her eyes for a moment and simply think for a moment... Bedbug, sleep-related in some way.
Termite: "Now what do ya think we're dealing with here pardner? I'm not too sure myself, but it ain't something as simple as me that's fer damn sure!"
Taylor: "No, clearly not... But I guess I have a bit of a guess, only so many things we could be dealing with here after all. I could be dead wrong, but nothing to lose in the attempt."
Assuming that as the writer suspects the net either hadn't melted or something else had taken its place, Taylor would remain with her eyes closed and begin thinking. Not of a way to deal with this, however, but rather simply imagining herself to be free. If this thing uses sleep powers and is warping reality... She'll attempt to dream a way out, what better than to beat it at what she thinks is Bedbug's game?
"Smoke and mirrors, huh? I guess you could call it that..."
The man would scratch at his chin for a moment before lifting his cane in the same fashion that one would hold a rapier. Steadying himself for the coming assault, he takes a deep breath.
"You know, I was wondering if that was your real body too..."
He'd grin widely as the kicks started coming at him. The first few he would parry with relative ease, however, the final strike with the blade would indeed pierce the man's skull. That being said, Velvet would be able to smell the man from behind her now. Even as the man crumpled before her, he stood at her back and poking her with the cane.
"Hmmm... looks like that wasn't my real body. Even I had me going with that one!"
Meanwhile, Taylor's initial struggle would be largely in vain as the acid seems to do little more than reinforce the net. But that was soon to change as Taylor held her eyes shut and began to form an image of freedom in her mind. Slowly but surely the net would begin to fade away when Taylor opens her eyes.
"Well now... when'd you get so smaaaart?"
Velvet would notice the man behind her and jump back to gain some distance. At the very least she was right about that not being his real body but that didn't help her much more than that. No reason to go all out with attacking until she figured out what it was she was attacking. She would then notice the net on Taylor disappearing.
"Hey, Taylor." she would call out without taking her eyes off the man "What do I have to do to devour him?"
This fight had begun to annoy her already. Black smoke began rising from her left arm and then longer this fight would persist the more her hunger pangs began to stab into her intestines. The man. She wanted to devour him drink every last ounce of strength from his body. Her killing intent began to permeate the air.
As the net begins to fade and her eyes open up, Termite would begin shouting in joy even while his host stares up at the man and replies in a cold tone.
"I've always been smart, come on? You didn't think that animal cunning was the sole brains of our team did you Bedbug? I'd ask your host's name, but frankly, I don't care about that."
Another close of the eyes, Termite too this time... What they'd imagine is simple really, a bug, a giant bug that happens to shout "Ayyyy" and be part snake as well as centiped. Horrible writhing legs below it, with the body of a serpent riding atop them. Face an awful mix of centipede antennae above a viper's head. Assuming that it did indeed take shape, it would form behind the man and aim to wrap itself around him while spitting into his face, flicking it's forked tongue out, and of course, screaming "AYYY I'M A SNAKE CENTIPED-HYBRID!"
"Truly, the horrors I have seen go far beyond any nightmare that one might see. And I don't think you can here Velvet! As best I can guess this whole place is a dream, so if I'm right we'll need to get out... Then find him in reality."
The man whistles as he looks up at what could only be described as a calculated mistake.
"Looking like that you're bound to get a bad rep. That thing looks like a Despairasite gone horribly wrong... granted I've yet to see a design go horribly right."
He shrugs before snapping his fingers once more. This snap would cause the limp body on the ground to stand up once again and begin spinning really fast as light began to envelope him. Shortly after it dies down, the copy would be roughly the snakipede's height and be sporting a metal helmet, a metal arm, and tattered purple wings.
"You go get him Metal Memon... now where was I?"
The man would turn his attention back to Velvet as the giant proceeded to fire his metal arm at the snakipede.
"I'm flattered that you'd like to eat me sweetheart. But I'm old enough to be your grandpa, and I'm not hip to that whole keepin' it young jive. I'm sorry but I just can't reciprocate the feelings you have!"
Ah well, the stupid snake thing is only a minor distraction to her true plan here... Of course, gotta put some effort into it. And the thing would call forth a giant centipede far larger than itself in moments, the familiar being rushing forward and aiming to slam itself into the giant. As for "Rep". He'd simply take the hit, die, and snap back up with an "AYY I'MA SNEKIPEDE!" Even as it rushes towards the man and attempts to bite down into his Baton.
"Come on, don't expect the great image of Rep to die. He's fucking invincible!"
The girl's eyes are still closed even as she shouts that, focusing upon two things... A door right behind Velvet, and a door in front of herself. To be exact, both would be labeled "Awakening". The intent naturally being to walk through and hope it does what Taylor had intended of it. Assuming it did, in fact, take form, Taylor would quickly point Velvet at the door via the horrible lurching of Rep's head. And walk through the one before herself of course. Granted, it might not be so easy in which case well she'll have to think of something else.
Reality? So that's what this is. Similar to the old wives tales of daemons eating people through their dreams. This wasn't the mans true body but in that sense it wasn't theirs either.
"That's fine" she said as the bandages on her left arm began to deform before finally bursting open revealing a large black and red claw with smoke rising from it "I was never asking for permission"
Unlike normally the energy from the claw would begin to encroach on her body. It would only take a few seconds before it covered her body and she was nearly twice her original height. The form she took would remind you of some twisted werewolf from a nightmare as she stared down onto the man. She would swing her large claws at him and regardless of the result she would immediately jumped past him using her newfound speed this form gave her to move to Taylor's position.
"If we can't fight him here we need to find the exit." a distorted voice came from her form as she looked at Taylor Gesturing for her to get on her back so they can search for an exit.
"You know, I think you're a lot cuter this way..."
Those were the man's last words as he was torn to literal ribbons, some red and some also red, jesus that's a lot of red. And within the next moment another man appears just in time to fend off Rep. The massive copy would continue to struggle against the charge from Omukade, using that very momentum to suplex the dreamt up snakipede's persona.
As for Taylor's door idea... it slowly began to become unhinged as three more doors with the word "Awakening" join the mix. All five of the doors begin to converge and spin around Velvet and Taylor.
One to the north, one to the south, one to the east, one to the west, and one right above them.
"Life has many doors girls. Can you pick the right one?"
Well, this didn't go quite as planned... Taylor would quickly send forth Rep, rushing him through one door and if he vanished upon leaving it she'd begin to follow after him. If not, on the other hand, she'd simply take her chances with the nearest door to her... Well, by taking chances she of course, means pulling it open and sending some dreamed up bugs through to see if they vanish as well. If not, she'd simply focus on the remaining doors.
"Geez, so rude to mess up my plans like that old man! Can't you just let me leave easily, I promise I won't come seeking vengeance and a good meal from crushing anything resembling strength out of you!"
That single word left her mouth as she looked at all the rotating doors and then bringing her attention back to the giant monster battle happening on stage. If this was going to continue to get out of hand then what she could do was limited. After all, she was never one that was big on imagination. She needed to do something and fast and unfortunately this was the only thing that came to mind. The very people who fought alongside her to take down monsters of gargantuan proportions.
If all things proceeded as planned then in front of her would appear her companions from her original world. Rokuro and Eleanor would rush towards the enemy with weapon in hand. Magilou, Phi and Eizen would begin to charge their magic artes and Velvet herself would charge into the fray using her beastly form to tear to shreds anything that stood in her way.
"Figure out a way out of here while I keep his attention and try not to overcomplicate this mess even further!" She would yell out to Taylor as she bared her fangs.
Taylor's attmepts at sussing out the correct door were met with failure as both Rep and the bugs get fried by an invisible electric barrier. Their bodies drop to the ground as those doors fade away leaving the last three.
"A shocking revelation, hm? And letting you leave easily wouldn't be as educational. After all, you two are prime test subjects!"
The giant metal man would turn his attention to the sudden appearance of Velvet's party. He lumbers towards the group before raising his metal arm and firing it at Rokuro and Eleanor. This would leave the large figure open to further attacks regrettably.
Seeing this causes the main man to slide behind the giant and out of his way. Not wanting to end up as collateral damage.
"The strength of memories. Of bonds..."
The man tapped his cane against the floor.
"I'm curious how strong they can really be..."