Alexandria Sue vs Xianxia
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She is in a forest.

It's an immensely creepy forest, for no especially visible reason. The trees, losing their leaves in some sort of autumn, feel pale and sickly and deathly, withering, as if something has slathered the area in noxious poison recently. Their trunks are grey, almost white, and the leaves a bright vibrant red, for all that the shapes are ordinary oak, maple, birch. There's no wind. The scent - or maybe the feeling - of blood and rot is lingering heavily in the air, strongest from ahead of her, a little like feeling the sun's warmth on some patch of skin she isn't familiar with.

Oh, and is that a giant spider weaving an equally giant web a few trees over? It is! How fun.

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It happened so quick.

She's still holding her pen. She's still in her bathrobe. She looks around, taking a cautious step.

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The air is so still. A chill runs down her spine as she sniffs. The forest looks strange, more—sharp, more three-dimensional—no, that's because she has both eyes again. She unconsciously reaches up to touch her face. That old wound, gone. She blinks, marvelling at the sensation. Closes her left eye, then opens it and closes her right.

But it's no time to dally. She was hoping she'd have more time to put herself together, especially with her rushed mode of departure, but the Spirit doesn't seem to be extending her that courtesy. The ambience of this place is distinctly foreboding in a way she can't quite pin, striking her as more like a Master illusion than any real place on Earth, but—she's not on Earth anymore, is she? Her slippers aren't up to the task of keeping the dirt out of her toes as she makes a circle around where she landed, trying to investigate her surroundings. She bundles up her robe so it doesn't drag on the ground.

She can sense it more clearly, that strange feeling prickling at her, as she turns. Directional.

She tries to kick the grit out of her slippers and realizes she's being stupid. How does she use Dressing Room? She wants to change into her costume, and—huh. There it is. But a superhero costume might not be a good idea, depending on what world she's landed in. Something more neat and nondescript. A cotton shirt, jacket and dress pants, like she's out on a site visit. Then a metal full-face mask. She buttons the jacket.

And she rises into the air, above the tree tops. What does she see?

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A mountain valley, containing corrupted forest with a few destroyed patches as if something very large was fighting there. In the direction of the Wrong, a patchwork of farm fields surrounding a stone-walled town. There are figures in black robes collecting bodies in the fields, and- Pulling the blood out of them, into themselves. And then the bodies stand up, zombie-like, and march for the blasted town gates.

Inside the town... That sure looks like a Shaker effect of some kind. The view is fractured, different patches of space showing different scrambled views of the buildings in town, with ugly seeping red energy surging out of the 'cracks'. There's more destruction, but surprisingly few bodies. The large compound at the center of town also seems to be intact, for now.

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An enormous pale fox, perhaps forty feet from nose to tail, darts across the portal network, blue fire trailing off it and seeming to oppose the red. It seems to heal the cracks as it goes, trying to restore some sense of sanity to the space. The blue fire 'feels' like... It's hard to be sure, this unpracticed, but the sensation that jumps out is 'a Thinker' or 'the moon'.

There's a large gash in its neck, and another in its flank. It's being chased by a flying blaster wielding more red energy. Or rather- By how it turns to strike when the flyer hesitates, it's distracting the blaster, being difficult to pin down but too much a threat to ignore.

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—not just a creepy forest, okay.

Time to do her job.

Her vision is definitely sharper that before, to be able to pick out details at that distance, which must be Emerald Orbs. Back on Earth Bet she'd call that Shaker effect an unstable dimensional fracture, but her knowledge may well be inapplicable here. Whatever it is, it looks immensely concerning, and it's something which might plausibly get past her invincibility. Battle Maiden and Battle Angel don't protect against environmental harm. Back on Earth Bet she'd call for a Tinker consult, but that's not an option here, again. She'll have to deal with this on her own.

(She's aware that she doesn't technically have the obligation to help here, but—she wants to. Her first act on her journey isn't going to be walking away from the sack of a helpless town, or potentially worse. And she doesn't see any other authority stepping in.)

The ones on the periphery harvesting bodies look straightforward to take down; even if they have unrevealed ways of damaging her, they'll count for Battle Maiden. She can start with them, interrogate, and work inwards.

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Then she notices the fox. And the thing chasing it.

Hero and villain, she thinks. Immediately she cancels the thought, because it's almost certainly overfitting to her own native categories, but by the presentation, by the way the scene fits together, destruction versus protection, she's confident in who's the good guys and bad guys here.

The concepts that bleed through at the sight of the fire—is it the same as the feeling of rot-blood-wrong radiating from the town? There's clearly some new sensory modality opened up to her, but she doesn't have the time to mediate on it. There's a battle ongoing; every second counts. The fox is wounded, the corpses are closing in, and there are people to protect.

But first.

The fox, the blue fire. It's fixing the dimensional damage. If she's going to dive in there—

What happens if she tries to Dragon Fairy Elf Witch the fox?

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Suddenly, a pair of pale orange-furred ears sprout from the top of her head. They hear better than her usual ones.

The new sense gets a little sharper. She can tell when the fox or the villain uses their powers, as a pulse in it.

And she can feel how grating and horrible those jagged red lines of fractured space are. Like nails on a chalkboard, or the flickering of a bad light. She can do something about that if she gets close, maybe.

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Oh.

Definitely new senses from this world. She's not sure about the ears—

She's reminded she has a job to do when another streak of red lashes down in the town.

The mooks outside town are low priority, at this point. They're working on already-dead bodies, as far as she can tell, not killing anyone. The fox needs her help; the maybe-dimensional breach needs her help, and she can apparently help repair it. And whoever that flying person is needs to stop.

If Alexandria knows how to do anything, it's make an entrance. She tilts forward, and then she's moving. The distance flashes by in seconds, just enough time for her to think—this seems easier; did Inner Strength or Lightfoot up my maximum speed?—and then she's stopped next to the flying Blaster, the air rippling at the shockwave of her arrival, her right hand grasping for his throat.

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He sees her surging in and begins a dodge, raising a sword in his offhand to slash where he thinks she is going to be.

It's not fast enough. So instead he turns to blood for a brief moment, flowing around her fist before reforming.

He's startled, and shouts a demand in an unfamiliar tonal language, holding himself in a ready position. It's a bit like Chinese.

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Fox takes the chance to disengage and loop through a set of rifts. It's out of sight for a brief moment. The rifts make things echo weirdly.

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She knows six dialects of Chinese, and this one definitely could be one she doesn't know, but unfortunately that doesn't mean she can understand it.

Well, if he's trying to negotiate—so long as he's not shooting anything or trying to run away again—she'll cycle through the dialects she knows, starting with Mandarin, asking, "Identify and explain yourself!"

Is this close enough to do anything about the cracks in space?

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He's acting like a villain unsure about a new threat, not one trying to negotiate. 

It's hard to tell if she can do anything about the rifts without trying it.

The rot spikes. He's doing something that's not visible.

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She tried.

Is the fox anywhere—she wants to ask about rules of engagement. She's guessing that she's supposed to kill this guy, but better to be sure. How is a question. She doesn't like the feeling of that rot, and if it's something that can get past her defences... she does have Immunity System, if it's some sort of disease he's trying to inflict. But she's not going to bank on that.

Ignore the rifts for now.

At the same time, she tries to grab for his sword and grab his neck again. She couldn't tell if the sword turned to blood with the rest of him last time; she's paying attention this time.

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The sword does not turn into blood. She can grab it, and he no longer has a sword.

He strikes out with a lashing scraping motion from a hand that's covered in blood in the shape of a vicious claw. It attempts to dig into her flesh and weaken her. It's surprisingly painful, but leaves no mark.

He says something else; She recognizes a word that is probably 'fox'.

Then- A mass of blue fire surges out from one of the rifts in a vague shape of the giant fox from earlier.

The bloody figure shoots a bolt of malign energy into the fire, which starts writhing, as if in pain. Smirking, he turns back to Alexandria with a taunt on his lips.

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She came in here expecting she might run into something exotic that could hurt her, but it's still a surprise when the pain comes. It always is. The question is if it's an illusion, some sort of sensory-neural stimulation, an invincibility-bypassing means of causing physical but non-obvious damage, or something in the dimension of the new senses she now has. Soul damage or something along those lines. Distinctly not a thing in Earth Bet, but the notebook all but said that fictional tropes (such as superheroes, she thinks) run in the multiverse.

Before she knows more, she should avoid it.

She's not sure what the fire puppet thing is supposed to do, but she should probably stop him. She tries stabbing the guy with his own sword from a distance.

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He is stabbed! It does seem to impair him, for all that he then flows like blood around the blade, cursing.

-The giant fox bolts completely silently towards him from a rift he can't currently see. It leaps to attack with a bite around his torso-

At the same moment the blood villain is slashing at her with that claw attack again, completely unaware.

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He only got her before because she was trying to grapple him. She has Alexandria's existing speed, Lightfoot and a swordlength of distance this time. She dodges the blow and cleaves at his arm, ignoring the fox so she doesn't give it away.

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He partially dodges back from her counterattack, and-

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Chomp.

 

Also: Lots of blue fire once he's shocked and stunned.

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The demonic cultivator, who probably has an intimidating name and a long life story, is not giving up that easily!

Unfortunately for him, there is not much he can do at this point. Flowing out of a spirit beast's maw is not the sort of thing that works, especially when you're in debilitating pain and increasingly low on qi. His blood form attempts to activate, but ends immediately, this time. He tries to lash at the fox with his demon claw attack again, screaming in fury and pain. The fox shakes its head rapidly to throw off the attack. He tries to open new rifts, only for them to be immediately snuffed out.

He goes limp.

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The fox spits him on the ground, then says something to Alexandria, wary but polite.

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Excellent. She lays the sword down on the ground and gives the fox something between a curtsey and a shallow bow and scrape, a noncommittal fallback she finds convenient when she's uncertain what the appropriate formality of greeting is.

She'll try the same she did with the villain, starting with a Mandarin, "Apologies for barging in."

Does the not-wound from earlier still hurt?

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It does still hurt. The sting is fading a bit though.

The fox stares blankly towards her, before rapidly shrinking down.

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"Sister fox, [something something]. This... Old [something]. Speak little. [Something] qi. And- Ow." She touches the wounds still present on her now-smaller form. They're not bleeding.

She bows, fist on palm. "Good fight! Demon [something], always good to fight. Please, go to [something]. I will be in your care."

And then she carefully kneels on the bloody cobblestones, preferring that to falling over.

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Cantonese? Wu? Hokkien? Xiang? Hakka? Any of those fit better?

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