I tossed and turned for hours.
But while I did dream, I maintained awareness of my body in the real world the entire time.
I tried taking a longer nap than normal this morning, on the couch, in case it was just my bed. Same result: I was basically lucid the entire time, and not at all dulled to my senses, more awake than asleep.
Incidentally, my second nap did the job better, but even then, not perfectly. (Then again, naps never are.)
So as you can imagine, I'm rather tired.
Tired minds, coincidentally enough, though, are also creative minds.
In this case...what else?
More Red Hood Rider notes.
Specifically, I thought of the names of some of the Rider's abilities, along with their basic description. This list is, of course, in no way shape nor form inclusive of every ability they have; it's simply every (combat) ability that I could think up at the time. Which in some cases, is more than others.
Gary gets a bit of a short stick ability-wise, in that he has only a few, but hits the jackpot with what they are capable of: When he does an uppercut, Tsunami Slash is unleashed, which is a blast in a water pattern that pushes forward and then crashes onto the opponent. It's a mid-ranged, mid-powered technique. Crescent cascade is the cousin technique: when doing a downward cut, waves of blades descend downward, each in that shape. (So it is quite literally a cascade of crescents.) Obviously, this packs a severe punch, but it's a point-blank melee technique. Sea-sawblade is his basic boomerang/bouncing shield/saw technique, and it's launched by revving up his shield and then launching it. The technique will, partially by his will and partially by his trajectory, bounce off of objects, gain speed, and hit the opponent in a weak spot. If it encounters resistance, it will then begin to grind itself inward, cutting the opponent. If it passes through, then Gary's will causes it to begin its return trajectory, following the same rules. Gary might have other shield techniques, like he may have other sword techniques, but the only other technique he has for sure is the Whirlpool Whiplash: his attack-reflector technique, where attacks are drawn in, spun around, and spat out more powerful than they were originally.
Sally on the other hand has a ton: for just her main weapon, there's the bazooka blast (her default attack), the bazooka barrage (rapid-fire attacks), twin trees (double seeking rockets, launched from both ends of her bazooka), panzer pounce (a charged power-attack), and rocket repel (limited flight--propulsion into the air; can also be used to make massive distance between her and an opponent)/rocket rain (a hail of her attacks even faster than bazooka barrage, but slightly weaker and limited in use to air only).
Then you go into her 'tree' powers, mostly dealing with her 'vines' (hair, plus the bands tied to the bazooka): vines of entanglement (to ensnare the opponent), grounded roots (for maneuvering, point defense, and for making a stand), barkskin (armor), seeds of strength (one form of zone control, focused on giving her and her allies a massive offensive edge), and spirit spores (another form of zone control, focused on buffing allies and debuffing enemies).
Ruby's got just as many, too. Her basic attack is technically named the basic blast, her most-used technique is Arrow Artistry (because that's technically not a single technique but many sub-techniques; it's her various TrickArrows, everything from grappling hooks to lockpicks to power outlet plugins for electronics to explosive arrows to cheesy-knockout-punch arrows to smoke bomb arrows), though she also uses blessed bombardment (rapid-fire shots) a lot. Her finishing move is soul shot (a powerful, pure, piercing arrow), a technique similar to arbalest arrow (basically a gigantic crossbow), but slightly different in that while roughly equivalent in power, soul shot takes time to charge whereas arbalest arrow does not, yet arbalest arrow is hard to get an accurate shot in on because it's difficult to aim. She also has, for crowd control, triple-tap, a multishot technique of 2-5 (initially) arrows which expands with her skill level. (She eventually can launch 11 arrows at once.) The technique is later renamed spirit shotbow (because it's not a gun, natch) when it gains an extra oomph to it. An additional one she uses more and more as the series progresses is the arcarrow, an arrow where she controls the trajectory of the arrow entirely, which she can do for as many arrows as she has fired. (She later masters bouncing the arcarrows off of walls, too.) The last arrow-based attack in her technique is holy arrow, which is her basically throwing an arrow rather than shooting it, and the arrow then takes off like a bullet--a much, much weaker version of a basic blast, but one which can be used in a pinch and still packs a wallop especially at close range.
It should be noted that for all the characters--but especially her and Sally--these abilities can be used in succession of one another, augmenting each other. However, as the series progresses, these abilities begin to slowly but surely merge together, as the magical girls in particular grow. (Ruby, as TheHero, naturally grows fast. Part of Sally's fundamental character, though, is that she doesn't fall behind, meaning she's at Ruby's level of fighting basically the entire series.) Each of the characters, Riders especially, show this growth, and the other girls (plus Gary) mature quickly as well, but Sally and Ruby in particular excel.
Speaking of Ruby, though, she also has Dark Ruby abilities if you recall. Her basic fundamental attack is a soul slash/spear/suck (depending on slash or stab), where a full soul slash/stab is basically a weak automatic vampiric dark power attached to the attack (it only works if Dark Ruby is fully released), and soul suck is literally sucking the life out of an opponent (and is available with Forbidden Art 2, no need for the other half) if the attack makes contact.
Beyond that, she also has in her full form a black boomerang functioning similarly to Gary's sea-sawblade, trading some speed, continuous cutting, and bouncing for piercing/damage and more importantly the ability to launch multiples of the attack at once. (Gary later learns to make duplicates, up to four, but Ruby starts with this ability, initially limited to four and working her way up to eventually have control over 21 black boomerangs.) Additionally, she has a blood bullet, where she uses her staff as a rifle: shots come out from the end of the staff, which she can fire as rapidly and as strongly as she likes.
Didn't get to think of the other characters, but they presumably have similar abilities in their arsenals. I basically went over Hannah's already.
But while we're still on the subject of them growing stronger, I also thought up a training episode specific to Ruby. Basically, she would ask Lina for a favor: to be trained by her father, who is now effectively the strongest vampire alive ever since the death of Lord Darkblood, Ruby's sire. Good ol' Dracula accepts, since in his mind, he is repaying a debt: he learned everything he knows from Lord Darkblood, so by gifting the knowledge of Lord Darkblood back to his offspring (even though the offspring was the cause of death, which he knows about) when it had previously been lost, Vlad is closing the circle in their familial relationship and bringing the two together.
Basically, he goes on to teach Ruby about three abilities. The first is the mist: most vampires, including most vampire lords, use it as a tool to escape from harm, and some vampires (particularly vampire lords) use it offensively. However, it can be used for more than that: form restoration. In other words, a badly-wounded vampire with mastery of the full mist technique can then turn into mist, and upon their reassembly, be back to full health. Vampires regenerate, yes, but while they have rapid regeneration, their regeneration isn't that fast. And when a vampire GETS badly wounded, chances are, the blow(s) that inflicted it slow down or nullify the regeneration anyway. This mist reassembly technique bypasses that, removing any prior harm. The downside is that when used, this mist technique cannot use mist offensively and can do nothing but reform, and also that the mist will take slightly longer than normal to be usable again.
In short, it makes facing a vampire who has the technique mastered ten times harder: not only do you have to get through their tough skin, but you also have to dish out damage faster than it heals...and then, AFTER they have used this technique to go back to full strength again, you have to get through their tough skin, dish out damage faster than it heals...and make sure you finish the job before the vampire's mist cooldown time expires. If you can't, the vampire wins.
The second ability is a vampire technique that works similarly to Gary's ability: "Mirror, mirror, of my soul, reflect to the abyss of old". Known as the vampire's mirror, it will suck in magical techniques and reflect them back. Drawbacks? Its distinction between magical and ballistic (that is, arrows) is incredibly vague and arbitrary, so it'll only block magical-missile attacks around 70% of the time. It cannot block melee attacks at all, so even magically-enhanced melee attacks can get through. Like the mist, it also has a time limit and cooldown, though it can be up for a good 90% of the time in combat, with only that slight window of opening.
The third, and most powerful, ability is the vampiric hive: the vampire launches from them a swarm of miniature duplicates of their claws, which then puncture the target, drain them, and return to the host, allowing the vampire to drain from a range. Since vampires heal basically instantly if they feed (and this regeneration is harder to stop than their normal regeneration), you can imagine what this means if someone masters the technique: they continue regenerating at a rate impossibly fast even for vampires, while dishing out increasingly-exhausting attacks from afar.
The problem with these abilities is twofold. First, they are secretive and seldom used. Less than ten vampires in the whole world have so much as knowledge of the abilities, and the vampires who teach it urge their students never to use it recklessly, that it would be better to die than to let the enemy see the technique and learn how to duplicate it, and that the only time it should be used is if the enemy is in a position where they may learn about it anyway and/or has no way of replicating it.
Second, of the ten, only about half can actually use them, because they're ridiculously hard to master. They're basically the quantum physics of the vampire world. Even though Lina is his successor, and while she has grasped the basics behind them, she hasn't fully mastered them, either.
Vlad figures that Ruby learning them will make her be much, much stronger, and creates a training regiment that alternates between her Dark Ruby form and her Lord form as to allow both forms to grow.