"Can this one be of assistance?" I looked up from the carnage of black fabric and crimson-stained lace piled in the snow. I saw my old friend peri perched on the limb of a huge pine tree in her typical demure fashion. Her barrel was still glowing a faint red and letting off a stream of white smoke through the forest of Winterfell.
"Why peri! How wonderful to see you!" Somehow I managed to maintain a polite tea-party conversation tone with my fellow Doll even as I was digging my heels into the back of an expired ogress to pry my bladed hook from her rib cage. I tipped over as Ama pushed the body upwards to free herself from beneath. I was able to wedge the end barb out easier from that angle. "Thank you so much for coming to our aid! What brings you to this out-of-the-way picnic? This was a rather impromptu affair..."
"peri was on a mission from Dr. Steel to stop the Aleister Mason's Vampire Dolls and followed them to that cruise ship above us. As this one floated down peri noticed a large gathering of large dolls right here, not playing nice at all. Present company excluded of course." She giggled sweetly as Ama recovered from her daze and began cleaning the ogress vitae off her demonic red skin before it froze.
"And did you succeed?" I turned away from the other two and sank my fangs into a Loli-Oni that was still groaning. I could use her strength for the next phase of the rescue mission. The Other lodged in my psyche was protesting of course. Oh yes, I've felt the changes behind the scenes, the lessening of my addiction, as well as the tempering of my old conscience against the new fuel requirements of this frame.
"Well, the Dolls up there obviously aren't working for Aleister anymore since they're on a bloodwine binge and draining the crew. Furthermore, we seem to have this sissy fight well in hand. So, Aleister has no more Vampire Dolls, and peri just needs to carry this sample of Bloodwine back to Dr. Steel and this one can get paid! Prates beat ninjas every time, right Miss Steelgears? Yarrr!" She laughed as she hooked her finger, and as she laughed her laugh got slower. Her voice reached a lower register, and she slid off her branch and hit the snowy ground with a thud.
"peri?" I took a mighty leap over the now-frozen bodies to reach the doll-mercenary. Ama rushed over, and checked her wrist for a pulse. "That won't help here, Ama. Her springs froze."
Ama spotted the whirligig backpack device she had cast aside while providing sniper support. "I doubt she was designed for descent from as high an altitude as the Midas is currently holding." I opened her pack and found what had my nose itching since halfway through the battle. It was a vial of bloodwine...still warm...very fresh...in one of Dr. Mason lab vials, hastily stoppered. I pressed my teeth gently against the wax seal...
I shook my head. The Oni was a heavy meal even if she was half-gone already. I pulled the synthetic elixir that Ama gave me from my boot and made the switch, I also retrieved some spare brass parts from her wooden box, a "medical kit", before locking it again.
"Ama, you're a Spark, right? There's a code of honor among Dolls to try and fix each other when we break down. Just don't tell her about this little exchange when she comes to...too...tooooo..."
Oh well. At least I wasn't hungry.