The sharp hiss of water flash steaming against the stone made Courser exceptionally glad he hadn't opted to touch any of them with his bare hands; gloves or not, that would likely leave a mark. He held the one he had managed to free away from his body, while it hissed and sizzled at the water encasing it, swiftly losing its glow the more it cooled. So much for that plan. He let it drop to the ground before continuing.
Having just climbed away from a whole room full of lava, Courser paused and winced as his choice for direction brought him face to face with another pool of the stuff. At least this time it wasn't pouring in from all sides, but even so... He drew a breath and moved in anyway; this was what he'd signed up for, after all.
What exactly it was he'd walked in on, Courser couldn't really say, but it looked old and ritualistic, and anything like that being conducted by viruses, in the middle of Hades, couldn't be good. Not for him, anyway. About to shout out, the notes of the music sent a strangely out of place chill through him, and the call froze in his throat, much like the rest of his movements. The hold lasted only a moment, but it was enough to get him noticed by the ritualists, and apparently they didn't want his company.
He jumped back from the crash down of small meteors and his mind joined the unpleasant dots between the horn's music being able to hold him in his tracks, and burning rocks falling from the ceiling. He silently thanked Rachel again for the basic database of common virus lore she'd programmed him with, but while it let him identify the Mettfire's and the Tromby, the fire bird, clearly the biggest and most dangerous virus here, wasn't in any of his lists, and that was cause for worry.
"Jen? I really don't think I want to stick around and let them finish whatever ritual they're working on there. For all I know they're trying to summon the Hades Dragon, and meeting a Cybeast really isn't on my agenda today." He kept his voice low, but there was no disguising the serious, urgent tone his words took on. Jenny... apparently wasn't seeing the urgency of the matter.
"Oh! I've read some reports about that. No-one really knows exactly what it looks like. Wouldn't it be great if we could get some good footage of it?" Her navi grit his teeth in the face of the viruses, who showed no inclination to wait for his polite conversation to end, and, with no chips incoming, raised one hand in front of himself. The left wave-whip drew in, then spread, more water welling up from his palm and reaching out to form a broad shell of fast-rushing water that ran out from the central boss in all directions, then cycled back around on the inside. Given the situation, he held his arm high, keeping the shield raised at an angle, so that the upper edge of it reached as far as covering his head, with the boss pointed directly at the unknown fire bird.
"How about I cut you deal, Jen..." He tried not to speak between clenched teeth, but even if his emergency system would keep him safe, pain was still pain, and he wanted to avoid cybeast levels of it, if he could. "Give me the chip we just got; if they do something interesting before it goes off, then you'll get your show, sound fair?" It took all his calm to stop from making a vexed sound as she giggled.
"Aww, alright. I thought you didn't like explosions any more though, hmm?" He wanted snap back, at first, but she had giggled, and that meant she was suitably distracted from her own discomforts, which was what he wanted, after all. He did his best to grin for her, despite the circumstance.
"Oh, I think we can make an exception, just this once. Besides, I'm sure we've moved far enough from the cave in earlier, by now." Had they? He hadn't really moved all that far. Courser did the most sensible thing he could once he felt her send him the requested chip: he tried not to think about it.
Instead, he did his best to dart towards the nearest spire, and block his line of sight with the viruses arrayed against him. The water eddy under his feet kicked high as he made the short dash, one whip trailing behind him as he held the shield up.
"So! What're you all doing here then, huh?" He shouted as he moved, putting on as much of a comfortable, casual air as he could. This navi knew what he was doing. This navi wasn't fussed by them or their fire, and lava, and strange rituals. No sir, This navi was completely in control. His main goal was to get to cover before the Tromby played another immobilising note; he dind't plan to move once he was there anyway, and could do his best to ignore the heart-clutching sensation that went along with the freeze.
Provided eh reached it, CourseMan skidded a sharp turn, putting his back to the spire with the shield over his head, but a second Courser continued on without slowing, re-appearing form the other side of the pillar as if he'd never slowed. This decoy also held a shield raised high, but the decoy wasn't equipped with the code structure to actually make it work like one.
"Because you know... Looks kinda dark and creepy if you ask me!" The clone continued where Course himself had fallen silent, darting on and past the next pillar in the circle, taunting as he went. "If you're cooking something, I've got a really great Shrimpy stew recipe you should try out!" It feigned taking cover behind the third pillar in the loop, provided it made it that far, but peeked out to meet eyes with the viruses it was trying to banter with.
While this was going on, courser himself moved his other hand close to the ground from his cover point, setting the data from the chip as delicately as he could. What actually materialised was quite small, considering the punch it claimed to pack. Coming from Courser's hand, it took the form of a round sea mine, with many short, blunt-ended protrusions that should have been contact triggers on a real mine, but in this case actually served more to let it stay balanced and stable on dry land. An electronic panel was visible on the face nearest Courser's hand, displaying a red-lit number two. While the mine was small enough to not be seen behind the pillar, it also, quite unfortunately, began a distinctly audible ticking. Courser winced; he'd forgotten about that aspect of the count bombs. Oh well, it might get lost beneath the Tromby's music, if he was lucky.
C1) Shield (1-hit shield, raised at an upward-covering angle)
C*) Decoy: Continue movement loop around the circle, taunting all the way, to cover behind the rear-most one, if he makes it that far.
C2) Dodge (Move if required), to behind nearest spire, breaking LoS with FirePhoenix
C3) CountBomb1: (100Hp object, 100 To-All(enemies) after 2 turns, S), placed at feet, behind Spire