Mission: Lock and Key

Moments after, Eidolon and Decrypt rematerialized on another teleporter inside the SciLab network. Or, well, what used to be the network. The normal-looking areas did not betray the fact that the area was sectioned off as a Rogue network, one of the more dangerous areas of the Internet. However, in the middle of this hazardous section, someone had apparently decided that it would be a great place to hide a large factory.

A grey, worn-out looking building, the factory looked every bit of an old industrial artifact from long ago. Eidolon saw that she and Decrypt had been transported some ways away from the actual building itself, in front of a tall barbed-wire fence twice her height that barred their way forward. Looking beyond the fence, she could make out what she assumed to be a loading bay at the back of the building, guarded by a couple of Normal Navis.

There were some things that were off with the Normal Navis, however. First off, they didn't have the plain yellow and green color scheme that was the iconic characteristic of one. Instead, what covered their bodies was a haphazard mix of colors, one different from the other. If one were to describe it bluntly, they looked like someone threw a few buckets of paint on them. Next, the usual sign that a Normal Navi was activated, which were the eye highlights, were not lit, yet they were functioning as normally as one would expect them to.

The distance between the guard Navis and Eidolon was quite some ways away, allowing her to stay undetected for the time being. Decrypt simply pointed a stubby finger at the loading bay, holding its clipboard that said, "This is the least guarded area."
Eidolon observed the area beyond the fence, taking in any details that she thought would be useful. Two navis guarding a loading bay of the factory, supposedly the least-guarded area. Just from that note, she gathered that they weren't likely to gain entry by any means other than infiltrating. So much for pretending to be visitors and obtaining the data through less aggressive means. She had to admit, though, that the desire to complete this mission without violence was a very faint one, and that she was already thinking of ways to take out potential targets in her head.

Must have been a side-effect of the recent upgrade. The new fighting style that had been integrated into her seemed geared toward efficient killing. Perhaps he had been an assassin, then?

She also wondered if it would have been possible to just walk by the navis unnoticed. The lights that composed a typical NormalNavi's eyes were not present, or else simply not lit, on the guards. Her first thought was that they were on standby or otherwise inactive, and yet they seemed to be functioning normally. Perhaps they simply did not "see" in the sense one normally thought of, and sensed their surroundings through other means. It was something she could relate with, in a way. Though her eyes functioned normally in her current appearance, her normal form saw directly through the visor covering them. Her eyes themselves were little more than lights now. Still, that posed a problem. Whether they saw through some other device or had no true vision, the lack of normal eyes still presented the problem that there was still a chance of the two being able to detect her if she vanished.

Another foreign thought that she attributed to the recent upgrade made itself known, proposing that she just take them out quietly and be done with it. She had been told to retrieve the data by any means necessary, after all.

Shrugging, Eidolon reverted to her normal, patchwork form. Taking the guards out did sound like the easiest solution at the moment. But first, there was the fence to deal with. Simply reappearing on the other side wasn't an option, as she had to take the cartoonish SP with her. She couldn't see any form of gate in either direction either, at least not close enough that she could reach without potentially running into a more heavily guarded area.

More brute force it would be, then. Eidolon approached the fence, raising a hand and sending out a burst of spectral energy from it. Normally, the attack was used for damaging and temporarily locking up attack programs. It couldn't be too hard to break or rust through a fence with it, could it?

Corrosion (80 Null+Freeze): Attempt to break through fence
Choosing to go through the fencing by force, Eidolon took the quick route and simply shot at the obstacle in front of her with a burst of energy. As it wasn't exactly made of the strongest material, the fence was easily penetrated, creating a decent-sized hole enough for her and Decrypt to saunter into. Needless to say, however, the blast alerted the two NormalNavis nearby, and they quickly rushed to the scene, equipping some requisite Sword battlechips. However, as they approached, not much was heard from them, except for the quiet hum of the charging Sword.

All the Navis seemed to do was point their swords threateningly at her, mostly blocking the hole she had made from the inside. What should she do?

NormalNavi A: 120 HP (Sword 6/6)
NormalNavi B: 120 HP (Sword 6/6)

Eidolon.EXE: 200 HP
Decrypt.SP: 120 HP

Terrain: 100% Normal
The two navis that had been guarding the back entrance responded instantly to the blast, bringing them right to her. The process seemed automatic, as though they weren't actually consciously aware of what had just happening, just reacting automatically. Like an automated security system that just happened to use navi bodies to respond to threats.

Maybe that was good for making it versatile in combating such threats, but it also gave Eidolon easy targets that had just run right toward her without her having to run any risk of getting caught approaching the building.

They pulled out swords, so she did as well, quite literally by pulling her own directly out of her chest. The easiest solution to a problem was usually the best, after all, and there wasn't much in the world easier than running something through with a sword until it stopped moving.

Of course, she had a little more class than to just stab wildly like some berserker. Instead, she rushed forward, delivering a single cut as she passed directly through the blocked opening and reappeared on the other side.

1. StepSword: Teleport+120+Wide+Slashing: both normalNavis
Equipping a StepSword, Eidolon made swift work of the NormalNavi guards, slicing them in half and depleting their entire HP count. Strangely enough, however, they didn't seem to jack out, but merely stood there, looking like dried-out husks of some sort. Their gleaming blue swords deactivated, and they lay on the ground in cleanly-severed halves.

Then, out of nowhere, a peal of bells started ringing madly, creating a deafening cacophony. The little SP panicked at the sound, running about in circles. However, soon after, the ringing ended, and the back entrance to the building burst open.

"Vaaaat iz with all ze big raaacket out 'ere?!" a voice sounded, heavily accented with some kind of deflecting fancy tone, the source of which stepped out after a moment.

The person that stepped out looked like a strange walking statue, with features so stiff and pale he might as well have been one. Wearing a white shirt and pants, the man stood akimbo at the doorway, holding a chisel and hammer in his hands. With a pout, he twirled his small moustache about, glaring about. After that, he spotted Eidolon in the middle of the crowd, and strutted towards her.

"Oh, what is zis young madame doing, swinging ze sword around like zat? Tsk tsk tsk, mademoiselle, non, zat is not very ladylike," he said, clicking his tongue repeatedly. "Iz zere any business zat you 'ave? Everyone zeems to like using ze back entrance too much nowadays."
"Sword?" Eidolon asked, ramming the black-bladed weapon back into her chest, where it disintegrated into nothing before actually reaching her. "I see no swords here. Certainly not in my hands." She glanced around as though looking for any more swords that could be around, but even the ones the two navis had held had deactivated. No swords here.

In the real world, Andrew stared in disbelief at the sudden personality shift. The smartass tone was new, but the emulation of liveliness was a rare but familiar sight. His surprise only deepened as his navi continued.

"Business? Yes, I suppose it is business. I'm looking for a few navis that I was told would be in the area." Friendly, approachable, diplomatic. Or at the very least, an approximation of those descriptions that was close enough to fool Andrew into thinking it was real, and probably to fool others as well. For a moment, he thought his old navi was suddenly back again. He blinked several times, but no amount of refreshing what he was seeing could change the navi's patchwork appearance to match.

If Eidolon was aware of Andrew's surprise, she didn't show it. Though she sounded diplomatic, her expression was as blank and empty as it had always been. Behind her visor, she studied the navi that had confronted her, and came to a quick conclusion. "You are called Sculptor, I presume?"
"Oh, zat is most interesting," said the man, examining the area where Eidolon re-absorbed her sword into herself as he stroked his chin. "Yes, yes, I am ze one you call 'Sculptor', mademoiselle. Most obliged to make your acquaintance," said Sculptor, bowing slightly. "I imagine you do not 'ave business zat can wait for lunch. Ze break is coming up and I like to 'ave a little rest. We shall be quick, oui?"

Meanwhile, Decrypt was walking slowly towards one of the deactivated Navis, curiously poking out at their helmets. The little note-taker seemed to be having quite a bit of fun with it, watching the lifeless-looking head bob about. Though it really didn't seem to move quite as naturally-- was the neck joint just a little stiff or was there something else about it?
"I'll get straight to it then," Eidolon said. Though an outside viewer still would have no way of reading Eidolon's expression, her hidden eyes now took in every detail of the navi and their surroundings, looking for potential weaknesses or difficulties should this erupt into a fight. She fully expected it to, at least. After all, why would her employer say 'by any means necessary' if he expected the navis to just hand over their data.

Couldn't hurt to try though, at least with her first target.

She also noted the support program poking at one of the deactivated guards. "Don't touch that, you don't know where it's been," she said, before turning her full attention back to Sculptor.

"I've been asked to retrieve some data files from you and your associates. You can choose to refuse, if you like, but I think you'll find that you do not actually have a choice in the matter." She made no move to appear threatening, but neither did she allow herself to appear completely relaxed and off her guard.
Decrypt looked over at Eidolon for a moment, blinked a few times, and retreated from the Navigator "corpse", choosing instead to hide behind her and watch the proceedings. "Such a curious little friend you 'ave. As for ze treasure you are looking for, zis is possibly ze most valuable item I have," said Sculptor calmly, lifting up his chisel and letting it float into the air. Eventually, it changed its form into a glowing white key, revolving about Sculptor's open palm for a few seconds before it disappeared into the ether. "A dazzling thing, oui? Ze beauty of its shine matches ze mademoiselle's lovely complexion," he remarked, making sure to add a little tone of spite to the last sentence. Sculptor then closed his palm, and in his grasp, the chisel re-appeared.

"Anyway, I do not 'ave ze time for any more idle talk," said Sculptor, pointing the chisel at Eidolon with a smirk on his face. Then, he stretched out the arm holding his mallet, and lifted it up to the sky. The ground rumbled a few feet to his side, and a fountain of molten rock rose from the blank white paneling, which receded to reveal a pillar of hardened black volcanic rock underneath. Swiftly, chunks began to fall off from the top in large and small sizes, causing the pillar to take on the shape of a statue. The statue depicted a grotesque dragon of sorts. It was posed to look like it was leaping out at Eidolon, maw wide open to exhale a breath of fire.

Sculptor's smirk remained as he lifted his arm holding his chisel, causing yet another flow of lava to spring from the ground, with a pillar of obsidian underneath. This one also began to deconstruct itself quickly, this time taking on the appearance of a magnificent female angel statue, her hands clasped in front of her as she lifts her head to the heavens in a hymn.

After that, the Navi in the middle lowered his arms, and crossed his arms together. This time, there was no flow of lava from the ground, but the ground around Sculptor rocked much more violently. In a few moments, several twisting pillars of rock rose from behind him, growing up and spreading out. This continued until it became some sort of depiction of a tree with a trunk consisting of many twisted smaller ones.

"Let us settle zis quickly now, mademosielle," said Sculptor, bowing as a mock sign of respect. "We would not like to be late for lunch, non?"

Sculptor.EXE: 300 HP
Leaping Dragon: 20 HP (~6ft left of Sculptor)
Singing Angel: 20 HP (~6ft right of Sculptor)
Twisting Tree: 20 HP (directly behind Sculptor)

-- ALLIES --
Eidolon.EXE: 200 HP
Decrypt.SP: 120 HP

100% Normal


[Battle Notes: Decrypt can be used like any other SP, with summary in your post and all. Of course, you're only expected to give orders to it.]
It seemed that Sculptor was more than willing to fight for his 'treasure', going so far as to prove that he had exactly what she was looking for and then to prepare for battle without any room for negotiation or refusal. For Eidolon, there could have not been a better result. It meant that she no longer had to care. She could simply dispose of him and be done with it. So, as though the other navi had already forgotten what she had done just seconds earlier, she pulled the bugged black single-edge sword back out of her chest, brandishing it. The outline of a shield materialized around her as well, flickering in and out of existence as a faint wire frame outline that may or may not have had any significance from the perspective of the combatants.

Before she could make any move, however, the sword simply vanished from her hands. In its place the image of a boomerang flickered, transparent at first before solidifying into an actual boomerang. Eidolon took aim at the sculptures that the navi had created, throwing the wooden implement in an arc to encompass all of them. She stepped out of the way as it returned, allowing the weapon to continue past her and disintegrate behind her.

Eidolon took a step forward, and two more steps followed. Two more images of her form appeared in her wake, splitting off from the real her. Her sword reappeared in her hand, and in the hands of her two copies. All three of them rushed for Sculptor at once as their weapons pulsed with a blue light.

Only, one of them got a lot more than the blue light of a sword chip. The graphics of the sword fizzled and distorted, then the distortion spread across the rest of that Eidolon's body, looking too artificial to be real. But while all three apparitions made matching movements, striking at Sculptor at the same time, it was that distorted one who struck with a real sword, enhanced to strike deep into its target's programming, leaving extra damage in its wake and corrupting what it touched. Eidolon struck a second time immediately after, mirrored by both of her decoys.

Meanwhile, as Eidolon started into her attack, Andrew fiddled with the PET to work out how to directly the support program they had been lent. Though it was technically under the control of his navi, Eidolon had chosen to leave dealing with it to him. So he looked through options that hadn't been there before until he found a chip preset and several basic commands.

He turned his attention back to the battle, to see Eidolon having split into three apparitions. That should have been enough to keep the sculptor navi distracted. He commanded Decrypt to move in and attempt to steal the data they were after, then to get out.

Once the commands were issued and Decrypt followed them, Eidolon moved away as well, seeming with her lack of actual feet to simply glide back and away from Sculptor. She released a burst of telekinetic energy as she did, attepting to push Sculptor away in the opposite direction.

*Spectral Shield: 1-hit shield
1. Boomerang: 60+Wood to Dragon, Angel, and Tree
2. Split Apparition: Decoyx2
3. Ghost Sword: Gain two instances of (Strengthen40+Glitch), Buster Lock
4. Sword: 80(+40+Glitch) Sculptor
5. Sword: 80(+40+Glitch) Sculptor
6. Dodge
*Away: Knockback Sculptor

1. Pickpocket: Attempt to steal crypto-key data
2. Dodge
Putting his hands behind his back, Sculptor watched as Eidolon re-extracted her sword from her chest, and let out a short snort, as if dealing with an errant child. "I shall 'ave to make a sculpture of your beauty later. C'est magnifique!" exclaimed Sculptor, shaking his head and moving his chisel about in motions to survey Eidolon's appearance. Then, he shivered slightly. "It is far too cold 'ere. Far too cold," he said, dropping his mallet to let it disintegrate, and snapping his finger.

Immediately, the ground began to crack again around Sculptor's feet, but this time, there was no statue popping out of the ground. Instead, large amounts of hot air and smoke began to spew from the cracks, turning up the temperature significantly in the area. As a result, the immediate area around Sculptor became blurred and difficult to see through, thanks to the intense heat. "Ah, zis is comfort," he remarked, apparently not being affected at all by it. In fact, it seemed like there was a ring of smoke surrounding Sculptor alone.

He raised an eyebrow when his opponent produced a boomerang, and threw it in his direction. "Vat do you intend to do with zat?" he inquired, before he saw that the boomerang was used to effectively eliminate all of his statues, the wooden boomerang cutting through them like butter. Of course, it wasn't hard, since apparently the statues were hollow. "Oh, I probably should 'ave used some better material," he said, lifting his chisel up.

Another statue rose from the depths, far behind Sculptor. Its depiction was that of a man shouting with all of his breath, brandishing a large hammer in a fit of range and looking very imposing. Though it looked rather unimpressive, Eidolon felt a very powerful presence from it, feeling as if she wanted to back up a bit. Besides that, the statue was no longer made out of hollow rock, but some sturdier iron. "Ah, ze angered peasant, such a fine piece," said Sculptor with a detached voice.

The statue-maker laughed as he saw Eidolon split into three and dash towards him. Sitting in place, Sculptor let her approach, not bothering to move at all. As she swung her sword, he leapt back from the first slash, chuckling with amusement. The second strike appeared to land on him, but a surprise was waiting for her, as the smoke surrounding Sculptor earlier was hiding some moving pillars of rock, which absorbed the blow for him.

While all of this was happening, Decrypt was doing some work of its own, taking out a small scanning gun from its coat. Aiming for Sculptor, it fired at the artsy Navi. However, with the Shouting Man statue's influence, combined with the furnace-like heat mirages, it just couldn't get a solid lock, and missed. (Pickpocket+ Failed!) Sculptor snapped his fingers once again, and an iron statue rose to his side. Now, the statue portrayed a hooded hermit-like character with a cane, basically a spitting image of what a Mettfire would look like if it were human.

As soon as the statue finished its formation, meteors began to rain from the heavens, falling onto the battlefield and disappearing once they impacted the ground. Eidolon and Decrypt both got their footwork going, and dodged them easily, the former punctuating hers with a telekinetic burst towards Sculptor. "Ouf! Oh, mademoiselle, you got dirt on my shirt," sneered Sculptor.

Sculptor.EXE: 300 HP (Furnace) (Barrier Broken)
Shouting Man (Wind): 136 HP (Normal, far behind Sculptor) (Masterwork)
Wise Hermit (Meteor9): 100 HP (Furnace, to Sculptor's right) (2 turns left)

-- ALLIES --
Eidolon.EXE: 200 HP (Furnace, a little ways in front of Sculptor) (Equipped: Sword 4/6; Shield 1/1) (Buster Lock 2)
Decrypt.SP: 120 HP (Normal, off to the side)

60% Normal
40% Furnace (Surrounding Sculptor)
"Damn it!" Andrew muttered as the PET displayed that the support program's pickpocket had failed. He quickly went through the program's very limited options to see if there was anything left, which as far as he could see there wasn't. Giving up for the moment, he put the support program into a series of evasive maneuvers and spoke to his navi. "Eidolon, looks like retrieving that key data is going to be up to you. I hope you've got some ideas."

"Good," Eidolon said. The frame outline of a shield flickered in front of her again, then vanished into the smoke surrounding her. The blade in her hand, overexposed to glitches from the Ghost Sword technique, dissolved. The data from it returned to Eidolon's body, leaving her unarmed. But only for a moment, before she raised her left hand and launched a concentrated blast of bubbles from the gauntlet itself at the hermit statue currently raining meteors on the field. She couldn't have that thing causing her problems, after all. She then pointed that same outstretched hand toward the shouting man and released a stream of spectral energy from it, the same energy that had rusted through the fence not too long ago. With any luck it would have the same effect, locking up the statue that was so full of hot air at least for a minute or two.

With both of Sculptor's new creations out of the way, she focused her attention back on the navi, and finished her earlier thought. "I'll be doing this my way, then."

She lifted Preon's visor, revealing the shining white irises of her eyes. The moment her eyes were exposed her body blurred for a split second. In that split second she stared through the smoke at Sculptor with her exposed eyes, attempting to infect him with corrupted data. Before even Andrew could realize what was happening, though, the blur had faded and Eidolon had replaced her visor.

It was time to do some sculpting of her own.

Andrew sent her a RockCube chip, but she only registered it as an object intended to be an obstacle before piecing it together out of spare parts. Her body blurred in and out of focus as she did, then returned to her closest equivalent of 'normal' as she completed it. What she completed, however, was far from a masterful sculpture. It was as though someone had tried to put together a brick building with no knowledge of what a building even looked like. Pieces of rock stuck out at odd angels, creating jagged faces and edges that formed a mass of stone bricks that couldn't be defined by any natural shape other than possibly 'lump'. Oh, and it was still slightly taller than Eidolon.

She didn't care that it was nothing like Sculptor's own pieces, though. It was abstract art, but more importantly it still had the size and bulk to be knocked around into things. She did just that, sending it forward with a burst of energy to slam into Sculptor. Eidolon then moved out of the way of whatever impending backlash was coming, gliding across the surface of the furnace. Aspiring artists always suffered harsh criticism when their work became reasonably known, after all.

Once she reached the edge of the furnace, however, she disappeared entirely, materializing again at another edge of the furnace beyond where the hermit had stood. She raised her left hand again, beckoning Sculptor in a manner that clearly showed the remains of the shattered navi emblem on the back of the armored glove. Whether this was of any significance or not, though, her gesture was a means to pull Sculptor in, toward the place where he had summoned the Hermit. And then the glove was enveloped in electrical energy, which sparked wildly before launching in a bolt toward Sculptor.

*Spectral Shield: Refresh shield
1. Bubbler: 50(x2 Aqua)+Spread - Hermit
2. Corrosion: 80+Freeze to Shouting Man
*Hack: Glitch Sculptor
3. RockCube: 200 HP slab of rock
*Away: Knockback RockCube into Sculptor
4. Dodge
5. Areagrab to Normal terrain past where Hermit is/was
*Toward: Pull Sculptor onto Metal terrain
6. ElecReel1: 80(x2 from Metal?)+Spread3 - Sculptor

All dodge
With a couple of attacks down, Eidolon quickly removed the Meteor from the list of statues and crippled the Wind for the moment, earning her a quip from Sculptor. "Oh, zat was such a fine piece. Why did you 'ave to smash it?" he muttered, running a hand through his hair and making a frustrated "grumble". "Well, zat is no matter," he quickly recovered, waving his chisel about.

Immediately, another two statues rose from the ground, one in front of him and another to his other side. The one in front of him was a gigantic statue of a bearded man, twice his height, dressed in what looked like old mythological Creamland warrior attire with a massive tower shield. The one to his side was a... nurse, apparently, judging by the cross on her cap. Depicting a rather suggestive-looking woman in a not-so-standard nurse outfit, Sculptor had a strange little grin on his face after he brought that one up. He saw Eidolon lift up a visor, and had a serious look on his face for a few seconds, before the "attack" she did seemed to have no discernable effect.

"Oh, ho, c'est belle!" exclaimed Sculptor as Eidolon made up her own statue, clapping rather loudly, probably not for her benefit. Watching the mass of brick getting launched, Sculptor merely stood by as it collided with his own giant statue, destroying each other in the process. However, once Eidolon disappeared, he immediately went on edge, turning to his right, only to find Eidolon's hand outstretched towards him, and electrifying him with a good deal of voltage.

A strike of fortune befell Eidolon at that moment as well, when the bolt of electrical pain coursed through the ground to destroy the Wind statue, as well as blowing off a good chunk of the nurse statue. "Rah! Zat was quite a shock!" said Sculptor, jumping back as soon as the attack ended. "Quite unexpected. Tres bien!"

Sculptor.EXE: 145 HP (Metal)
Shouting Man (Wind): DESTROYED
Wise Hermit (Meteor9): DESTROYED
Towering Giant (RockCube): DESTROYED
Healing Nurse (Candle1): 56 HP (Furnace, to Sculptor's left) (Masterwork, Regen5)

-- ALLIES --
Eidolon.EXE: 200 HP (Normal, a little ways to Sculptor's side) (Equipped: Shield 1/1) (Buster Lock 1)
Decrypt.SP: 120 HP (Normal, off to the side)

60% Normal
30% Furnace (Surrounding Sculptor)
10% Metal (Where Meteor9 was)
And in turn that was a shockingly bad pun. So bad, in fact, that Sculptor should have been charged for it. Or at the very least, strung up by a wire and...

Eidolon raised a hand lightly hit the side of her head, as though trying to knock something back into place. Her upgrades caused some rather strange errors sometimes. Although the wire idea wasn't too bad. But not just yet.

She scanned the rest of the battlefield, taking in what was left of Sculptor's artwork. The only thing still standing was the nurse statue in the fetish outfit, which her opponent had grinned like an idiot when he summoned. Pervert. Everything else was in ruins, just like it should have been. Undoubtedly he would try to build more statues on the spot to save himself, but that was hardly an issue. Not when it hadn't been thus far. He did want to end things quickly after all, so stalling to try to exhaust her resources didn't seem like a logical tactic. Meanwhile, she would be at full strength again before too long, once her weapon reformed. Against a stronger opponent, that would mean trying to hold out and try to defend against or avoid everything thrown at her until then. But against Sculptor, the spectral energy and raw data from her core that she had been using to fight after the blade shattered would probably delete him before that happened. And if it didn't, he would have a very short time frame to finish her first.

Even so, it couldn't hurt to have a little extra insurance. And with that thought, the apparition broke, and Eidolon vanished from sight.

It was clear that she was still around though, very clear. The first thing she did after vanishing was to sink to the ground, placing her left hand against it and calling a column of energy out of it, around the remains of the nurse statue. Wasting no time, she rose again. Like a poltergeist, she pulled with spectral energy, attempting to drag Sculptor the rest of the way toward where she had stood. As the enery released, she let herself glide out of the way to one side, closer to the fence.

Another release, this time taking shape above Sculptor. Three needles materialized, dripping water before falling toward him. She suspected, vaguely, that the artist had an affinity for fire. This would prove it one way or another, assuming he didn't manage to avoid it. But whether he did or not, Eidolon didn't let up, lashing out now with the wires she had spontaneously wanted to string him up with. If only he could see them, dark red wires that had once coated large parts of her form, now flowing with corrupted data that would spread glitches before absorbing data from his body. But they, as a part of her, were also invisible.

Once the wires had done their job, she began to drift back, raising flames from the ground around Sculptor as she did. Absorbing data from him should make up for expending more than was necessary just to burn him as well.

Her shield restored itself as well, just as a little extra insurance. Not much longer now...

Meanwhile, Andrew continued to keep the support program running on evasive maneuvers. Not much for it to do at the moment.

1. Vanish: Invis
2. Powerbolt: 70+Seeking to Healing Nurse
*Toward: Pull Sculptor toward Normal terrain
3. Movement: Move to one side
4. Aquaneedle: 20 Aqua x 3 needles to Sculptor
*Hack: Add Glitch to:
5. Data Drain: 40+Lifedrain to Sculptor
6. Flameline: 70+Fire+Line
*Spectral Shield: Refresh shield

All dodge
"Che, we are getting serious now, I see," clicked Sculptor, as he saw Eidolon disappear into nothingness. "We shall also see about zat," he said, snapping his fingers, and calling two more statues to his aid. This time, a duo of statues went up on both of his sides, depicting a pair of fearsome cyclops. Their eyes glared forward, arms crossed as silent sentinels. He saw his nurse statue being struck down immediately, resulting in a twitch of the eye from him, clearly displeased. Immediately afterwards, he was struck down by a trio of Aquaneedles, which were, as expected, quite effective. Knocked back by the attack, he cried out in a fury.

"Raaahhh! Search for ze fool!" ordered Sculptor, causing the cyclops statues to swivel around wildly. One of them caught Eidolon in its sight, and immediately fired a gigantic laser beam in her direction. (100, Shield Broken, Invisibility Nullified) It shredded through her defenses, exposing her to Sculptor. "So zat is where you were hiding!" he exclaimed, raising a statue of an archer that pointed its arrow right in her face. Unfortunately, Eidolon had already started up her attack, draining data from Sculptor until he fell to the ground, twitching weakly. (+40) His chisel fell to the floor and turned into the key data as his statues all crumbled to the ground.

Sculptor.EXE: 1 HP (Normal)
Cyclops 1 (Sensor1): Destroyed after attack
Cyclops 2 (Sensor1): Destroyed
Healing Nurse (Candle1): Destroyed

-- ALLIES --
Eidolon.EXE: 140 HP (Normal, a little ways to Sculptor's side)
Decrypt.SP: 120 HP (Normal, off to the side)

60% Normal
30% Furnace (Surrounding Sculptor)
10% Metal (Where Meteor9 was)



[Sensor1] Battlechip, 2500z, [MasterKey1] Key Item


"Haa... ha, hahaha. Quite... ze fight, mademoiselle. It seems zat we will be 'aving lunch with a colleague of mine, however," muttered Sculptor, turning to the side as another figure ran out of the factory's back door. "Ah! Mr. Scuptor!!" yelled the little girl, tottering over to the defeated statue maniac. The girl was wearing a large white smock over a blue set of shirt and pants, all of them heavily stained with paints of all colors. The girl was holding some sort of massive palette and paintbrush, nearly half her height each. "Are you okay?!"

"Hm, what is it, my sweet little Painter?" said Sculptor. "You look hurt!" replied the little 'Painter', with a dismayed expression on her face. "I would like to 'ave my break now. Would you not entertain ze guest?" the older-looking Navi said, patting Painter on her head and completely ignoring her. Disappearing in a jack-out beam, Sculptor left Painter alone with Eidolon. The little girl turned to Eidolon, her eyes watering.

"You!! You're the one who hurt Mr. Scuptor, right?!" screamed Painter, swinging her paintbrush wildly at Eidolon and sending a few blobs of paint her way. Fortunately, they did not hit her, for Eidolon discovered that it wasn't any ordinary paint. The places where the paint struck erupted in a little bunch of explosions, rocking the ground slightly.
"Hmph," Eidolon said, making no sign of being bothered by being exposed. Her visor fell back over her eyes as they became visible again, just in time for her to finish draining data from Sculptor. He dropped his chisel, which turned into key data, and Eidolon knew that she had won.

She was in the process of picking it up and storing it within herself when another navi showed up. A little girl in a smock, from the looks of things. And holding a paintbrush, which she was almost certain would turn out to be the next key she had to get her hands on. That assumed she would follow the same pattern as Sculptor, but apart from the two navis being artists Eidolon didn't have particularly high hopes for their originality. Artists and the fact that the girl had explosive paint, of course. That was a new one.

"You see that, right?" she asked over a private line, fixing her vision on the brush.

"I see globs of paint that just exploded, if that's what you mean," Andrew answered distractedly.

"The brush," Eidolon added, after a few seconds of what could only have been the closest thing to a sigh that she could articulate. "Have Decrypt focus on that this time. I'll humor her for now."

While Andrew brought up the controls for the support program again, Eidolon focused on Painter herself, rather than only the brush. "And if I am?" she asked casually. "He looked like he'd be fine."
"He didn't look like he'd be fine at all! Mean! Ugly! Stupid!" yelled Painter, waving her palette several times at Eidolon this time. Globs of explosive color dotted the battlefield, erasing much of Sculptor's earlier smoke-emitting panels and turning the area into a bit of an art form itself. Fortunately, her haphazard attack style made sure Eidolon didn't even have to move to evade any of the explosive blobs.

After a while, Painter stopped her rampaging tantrum, and stopped to catch her breath. "Now, now, Painty, stop yelling like that, you'll squeak your little voice out," a faint voice said, which seemed to come from near Painter. Eidolon couldn't really see anything, but as she looked closer, she saw that there was indeed a barely noticeable wispy light floating near the little rampaging child.

"Oh, yes, Sculptor was entertaining you for the time being, was he not?" the voice said again, and the wisp of light became slightly more visible. Around the wisp, a faint outline of a person appeared, looking somewhat like the figure of a woman, nearly transparent, dressed in light robes. "Breath, pleased to make your acquaintance," she introduced herself softly as she curtsied.

Decrypt ran up to Eidolon, prodding her to look at the little clipboard it was carrying. On it, a scrawl read out: "Change of plans. Retrieve whatever you can obtain within 15 minutes, and make an immediate retreat from the area within the time frame after getting what you can. No responsibility for what happens after the limit is reached and your presence is still within the area."

"Sis, sis, that meanie was hurting Mr. Scuptor! Big ugly meanie!" tattled Painter, pointing accusingly at Eidolon like a child would. "Ah, was she? That doesn't sound very nice. Are you sure it was her?" whispered Breath, appearing to rub Painter's short brown hair, though her hand passed right through the child's head. The tiny artist did not seem to mind the strangeness, however, and continued to talk. "Yeah, it was her! I saw Mr. Scuptor and he looked really, really terrible! Then he had to go somewheres else," said Painter.

"Oh, she must be very strong. Sculptor doesn't usually let people past him," said Breath, looking at Eidolon, though somehow she got the feeling that the wispy being was looking straight through her. "Yeah, but I can beat'm! I always beat all those big bad viruses!" said Painter, raising her paintbrush enthusiastically. "Ah, I'll help out, then. It'll be fun, right?"

"Yeah! You better get ready, you meanie!" exclaimed Painter with vigor as the child jumped into the air, up, up and... up. Pretty high up. "Ah, you might want to move, miss. She gets so excited with her paintings sometimes," said Breath, gathering up a ball of wind on her hand herself.

Painter.EXE: 200 HP (Normal) (High Altitude)
Breath.EXE: 220 HP (Normal)

-- ALLIES --
Eidolon.EXE: 140 HP (Normal)
Decrypt.SP: 120 HP (Normal)

5% Lava
5% Sea
5% Mud
5% Grass
5% Cursed
5% Holy (Scattered)
70% Normal (Everywhere else)

[The time limit is just there for show. Defend Decrypt as he Pickpockets, and don't get blasted to pieces in the process. After you're successful, as long as your RP is sufficient, you'll escape without restriction.]

Well, that was convenient. Suddenly, both of her remaining targets were in the same place. One of them appeared to be quite violent and impossible to reason with, though. That was a problem. She didn't really care what they were like as long as she could complete the mission without being blown up, but...wait, was the painter girl comparing her to viruses? "There's something wrong with that," she said to herself, preparing for the inevitable fight. that was about to be forced on her.

One of them took to the air, the other was so obviously a wind navi that Eidolon didn't need to see the gathering ball of wind in her hands to be sure of it. That wasn't the best combination to have to fight...perhaps Decrypt's warning was right then, and that she was better off taking what she could and getting out.

"Although if he's going to impose time limits on me he'd better make himself more useful," she said to Andrew over a private line. "I'll leave that up to you."

"I'll see what I can do," Andrew answered, loading up several chips. Immediately the first of them was transferred to the support program, leaving her with no extra defensive measures of her own.

Eidolon didn't care.

As soon as the transfer completed and the red, metool-styled shield appeared in front of and above the support program, Eidolon's own faint shield flickered in front of her as well. As an extra precaution she took evasive measures, gliding away from the mess of altered terrain. She reached out with telekinetic force as she moved, pushing Decrypt toward one of several scattered glowing points that looked like Holy panels.

As she stopped moving, she looked toward Breath, raising her visor away from beacon-like eyes. Deep crimson tendrils lashed out from her hands, distorted into pixels as her eyes fell on them but reforming a split second later as they reached Breath. Eidolon guided them toward the wind navi to latch on, where they would drain energy from their target and force glitches onto her in its place.

The wires then retracted, and in their place a trio of junk data daggers appeared in her left hand. She threw these at Breath as well, then focused her attention upward. The visor fell over her eyes again, and a tiny beam shot from it, nearly invisible, straight at Painter. As soon as the beam fired, Eidolon disappeared, simply vanishing on the spot.

Within a second, she reappeared, directly over Painter, bringing the sword with the corrupted edge down at the artist navi.

Meanwhile, Andrew waited for Eidolon's attention to shift from Breath to Painter, and directed the support program's to the wind navi as soon as the apparition left his line of sight. Unlike with Painter, he had no idea what to have Decrypt aim for, but hopefully he'd be able to lock onto something. He input the commands for him to do so, and to attempt to steal the key data. With any luck it would work better than their first attempt.

*Spectral Shield: 1-hit shield, facing Painter
1. Transfer Guard2 to Decrypt
2. Dodge
*Away: Push Decrypt toward nearest Holy panel
*Hack: Add Glitch to:
3. Data Vampirism: 80 Lifedrain to Breath
4. Kunai1 - 30x3+slashing to Breath
5. Point Shot: 20+Seeking to Painter
6. StepSword: Teleport, 120+Wide+Slashing to Painter

1. Guard2: Reflect one attack for up to 120, facing Painter
2. Pickpocket+: Attempt to steal keydata from Breath
With the ball of wind in her hand, Breath watched Eidolon and Decrypt ready themselves for battle with a light smile on her face. The former pushed the little SP out towards a Holy panel, in order to minimize damage done to it. "Ah, you're not going to live that easily," muttered Breath, as she blew into the sphere of wind, turning it red. The color dispersed as quickly as it came, making it seem like an innocuous action. Soon after, however, a wall of fire burst from the ground, nearly managing to catch Eidolon and roast her.

"Oh my, that didn't work," said Breath, putting up a hand to her lip. The attack was responded to by a few distorted red tentacles, which she easily got away from. Immediately after, a large swath of paint rained down from the sky, nearly catching Eidolon and Decrypt in its wake. A loud cackle came from above, as yet another came down, though this one still seemed to be as inaccurate as the first. It seemed that though the attacks were powerful, since she was so high up, Painter didn't have much in the way of aiming, and was simply bombarding without a care.

After a little bit, Eidolon materialized some junk-data daggers, and threw them at Breath. The first got warded off by some sort of wind deflection, but the rest managed to sink themselves into... whatever it was Breath was made of. However, she simply giggled, and blew into her sphere of wind yet again. The kunai then immediately flew back out without so much as a scratch.

Afterwards, Eidolon fired at Painter with her Point Shot, and teleported up to Painter to give her some hurt. However, the little one heard it coming, and swiftly flew out of the way. "Hahaha! Can't catch me! Can't catch me! Meanie! Meanie! Nyeeeeeh!" taunted Painter, flying around to aggravate her enemy and sticking out her tongue.

Meanwhile, Breath saw Eidolon's disappearance, and saw it fit to imitate her act. "Time to head off~" she giggled, disappearing into the air slowly. However, just before she disappeared, Decrypt's systems managed to latch onto her signature, and pickpocket some spoils! "Ah, stealing is bad, dear," a voice said near Decrypt, after which a blast of wind suddenly knocked the SP off its feet, blowing it far, far away!

Painter.EXE: 200 HP (Normal) (Shield 0/1) (High Altitude)
Breath.EXE: 220 HP (Barrier 0/20 HP) (Invisible)

-- ALLIES --
Eidolon.EXE: 140 HP (Normal) (Shield 1/1) (High Altitude, Falling)
Decrypt.SP: 70 HP (Normal) (Guard2 1/1) (Microbursted!)

[Pickpocket: [MasterKey3] Key Item!]

5% Lava
5% Sea
5% Mud
5% Grass
5% Cursed
5% Holy (Scattered)
70% Normal (Everywhere else)