2014-09-07 - Once More, With Feeling

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Title: Once More, With Feeling

Corrupted by the Dark Seal, Mai is completely out of control. Fortunately, her friends are just about ready to intervene. Unfortunately, the stars have aligned.


Mai Tokiha, Nephrite, Eri Shimanouchi, Mio Kuroki, Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Tuxedo Mask, Dark Amber, Runealy Waldia, Cute Wolf Tsukiko


Pino Karaoke Lounge

OOC - IC Date:

10 March 2014 - 09/07/2014

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Kerry Ellis - Defying Gravity - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ_9kun4OQo

Even those who don't know Mai Tokiha well can tell there's been something strange going on with her for the last week or so. It started innocently enough - she was more upbeat, more outgoing than usual. Friends and relative strangers alike were invited out to her evenings of fun and song, and she was generally enjoying life.

That might have been a clue, to those who know her best.

As the week went on, though, things became abnormal. Her work style gradually shifted from cheerful to confrontational to outright storming out on Saturday, she stopped talking to some friends entirely, and there are rumours crawling through the mill about her outright kissing one of her friends in broad daylight.

That's a sign something's up, to those who know her in passing.

Today, however, marked something notable. Takumi Tokiha, Mai's younger brother, seen getting into a cab to go to the hospital alone as classes got out. To those who inquired about the change in routine, he explained that his sister had told him to go to the appointments by himself, that there was no need for an escort.

This might have been an alarm siren for anyone who knew Mai at all.

Pino Karaoke Lounge, in the wake of the first day of exams, is relatively quiet - most students busy studying. Mai, however, had sent out a mass text message inviting one and all to a night of partying. Friends, classmates, random people from other schools, it doesn't seem to have made a difference. One of the largest lounges has been reserved, and within the lights are already dimmed with a spotlight on the stage. Mai herself is dressed in a black dress from the costume rack, already on the stage. Shining wireless microphone in hand, and well into a song as friends and onlookers stop by. Her first? Second? Fifth?

The background music is heavy on the rock guitars, the lyrics are English, the video full of special effects off of Broadway.

"So if you care to find me - look to the western sky!"
"As someone told me lately - everyone deserves a chance to fly~!"
"And if I'm flying solo - at least I'm flying free!"
"To those who ground me - take a message back from me~!"

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune had been among those who enjoyed some karaoke time with Mai earlier. It had been fun seeing that side of her, sharing in something Mai seemed to enjoy a great deal. A lot of the earlier warning signs thus flew right over Runealy's head, since she wanted to spend some hobby time with her friend.

It was Takumi's situation that finally made Rune start questioning this. In the past, Mai has asked her to at least keep an eye out for him... and him visiting 'the healers' without his older sister struck her as odd. It's not decisive proof of anything, but it's strange enough that when Rune accepted Mai's latest invitation she is now doing so with a more cautious eye. Filing into the lounge, Rune sits and listens to Mai's song. The lyrics are alien to her, but she doesn't mind that since Mai's singing makes up for that. What really bogs her down is a lingering doubt, one she wants to wait for a good chance to ask her friend about.

<Pose Tracker> Kinzo Hiroyuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

If there's one thing Kinzo is good at, it's finding time to study. He had no doubt that he'd pass the exams. Just 'by how much' was the primary concern. Barely passing would be entirely inappropiate for himself he thought. It's in such a study session at home in his room that his phone beeps with a text.

It's Mai?!... "Okay. What did I do /now/.." he says as he opens his texts. He's surprised to find out he's not being furtherly scolded for something and instead, is being invited out for Karoke? Huh. He looks down to the textbook in front of him and closes it, let's his parents know where he's going and takes off down the road. At the most, he'll get some fresh air before he gets a Mai scowl when he learns his invitiation was an accident- he's figuring in his head. Though, Karoke sort of has a soft spot in his heart. Mainly, because the first thing the other warriors did immediatly when they found out who he was, was take him Karoke singing at Pino Lounge as part of some Tuner meet up at the time as thier guest. Like he didn't just spend months before stealing memories. Or fighting them. Karoke makes him feel special. If silly at the same time.

Kinzo is unaware of the matters with Mai's brother however.

When he enters, he looks around- and Mai is apparently singing Defying Gravity- which he gives a soft smile at. He looks over at Runealy and gives her a wave, before meandering towards a table and having himself a seat in the meantime. He seems oblivious as to the deeper matters going on here at the moment.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

And some just thought that Mai Tokiha was just allowing herself to be happy for once in her life. Even knowing exactly how much guilt she had wrapped up in one small package, a certain Puella Magi had been a bit too self-absorbed to do anything but excuse the warning signs. So what if her friend was allowing herself some time off? She deserved it, she was enjoying herself. Let her do that, there's no need to question it.

And if rumors had started that she'd been seen kissing Mamoru Chiba, she'd dismissed it as a frivolous lie. There was no chance that the two were seeing each other, right? And at Ohtori, the rumor mill based off outright lies ran quite strongly, so much so that she didn't even deign to ask either of them.

The chill ran down her spine as someone mentioned that Takumi Tokiha was going to an appointment on her own. One might have heard every vertebrae creak within her neck, as she turned to face the classmate who had said it idly. The mass text that was sent out afterwards clinched it. Mai was skipping escorting her little brother, during the first day of finals week, for /karaoke/.

"How could I have been so stupid!?" Her inflection was one of harsh condescension, as she shoved open the door to the mostly quiet lounge, trying to push her way to as near to the stage as she could manage. Her poofy teal uniform and bookbag made her seem a bit out of place, but she probably still fit in given the colorful costumes here.

She didn't sit down, instead remaining standing restlessly, trying to look as big and obvious even though she doubted she could just will Mai off the stage with a worried look, "Great." She mutters sarcastically, crossing her arms, the fingers of one hand tapping lightly on the opposite arm. "I can't just pull her off to talk to her while she's in full swing!"

The longer she listened to Mai sing her heart out however, the more the urgency fled from her, the guiltier she felt for even thinking of interrupting her, and she grudgingly... sat herself down. "Maybe after a more few songs." A beat, something in her voice softening, "She's so pretty in that dress."

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

The random invitational text caught Ikiko by surprise, especially since it came from a number she's not familiar with. Still, nothing wrong with a little karaoke to relax to during finals week, right?

She slips into the room and glances around, looking to see who had shown up. The girl singing somehow looked familiar, but not enough to be recognizeable; over there is Eri, who Ikiko mostly knows as being one of the raffle co-winners; and then there's Rune and Kinzo, two that she knows on both sides of life. She smiles and waves at the two of them, taking a seat next to them. Even if nobody else she knows shows up, at least she won't feel totally out of place.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Some time ago,

Usagi Tsukino sits on her bed, nestled into the corner where it meets the walls of her room. She stares at the text from Mai Tokiha. Mai Tokiha, who is confident, skilled, dedicated, compassionate, funny, and beautiful. Mai Tokiah, who kissed Mamoru and threw him away. She wasn't acting right. Was she?

This has exhausted all of Usagi's rationality. All she has left is how she feels. Maybe that will be enough. Maybe if she can just say the words--

"Mako-chan," says Usagi, having found the number by instinct. "I think something bad is happening."


Usagi makes her way through the lobby of the Pino Karaoke Lounge with her friends in tow. Both of them are pillars of strength that she desperately wants to hide behind, even though they're only a few steps into the dungeon. She consoles herself with simply being next to them.

"Mio-chan," says the blonde girl, pausing to chew on her lip while she considers her words. "If this gets dangerous, we'll be okay if you leave. But if it isn't--maybe you'll be able to see what's wrong?"

Though she doesn't understand where Mio's insight comes from, she trusts implicitly in the older girl's abilities. How could she not?

Usagi pauses at the side entrance to the lounge room. She can hear music and voices. Maybe it won't be bad. Maybe this has all be a misunderstanding. Would that be better? The blonde girl breathes, breathes again, and then pushes the door open.

The number of familiar faces gives her wide-eyed pause. Ability to rationally attempt to understand this: still zero. The tangential reminder of Ami being in another kind of danger twists her heart up in a completely different way.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

One of the current targets of the rumor mill, Mamoru Chiba, comes in not too long after Eri-- he's in uniform, too, but not carrying anything except for the keys he's pocketing. His face is expressionless as he scans the inside of the lounge Mai's reserved, and his eyes light on one magical girl (and boy) after another--

--which means the tiniest bit of tension is released from his bearing. He nods to Runealy and Kinzo if they see him, then Ikiko who's going to sit with them, and he heads straight for Eri. Her, he comes up behind; he leans over her shoulder with his hand on the back of her chair, not touching her, and he says very very quietly next to her head, "Take care. Something's wrong."

Then the tall upperclassman straightens up, crossing his arms; he stands behind and a little to one side of the Puella Magi and looks faintly grim. It takes essentially everything he's got to remain still when the door opens behind him, because even without Usagi saying anything, he knows she's there.

He knows she's there.

"On the other hand, she looks great in that dress, doesn't she?" he asks Eri at conversational volume, eyes front and center.

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Mio Kuroki has no idea with Mai Tokiha is, and did not receive the text, perhaps marking her as the real victim today - but she did receive word from her friend Usagi Tsukino, and so it is that she came.

She is wearing a dark purple cocktail dress with a wispy bolero-cut jacket-blousy thing in deep blue, which is, presumably, her karaoke clothing, along with a thin-strapped purse. She takes in a deep breath as Usagi puts her faith in her.

Her heart is not the lightest, but seeing the subtle signs of strain in poise and bearing in the younger girl makes her seethe, silently. Her fingers curl, slightly over-long fingernails pressing into her palm, her knuckles standing out momentarily against her pale skin.

Play it cool, she thinks. "I can't guarantee I'll be able to tell. But I promise you, Usagi, that you won't have to worry about me."

That curled hand is uncurled and clapped briefly on Usagi's shoulder. "Let's go in."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Usagi glances up to Mio, startled. "R-right!"

She moves inside and clears the doorway.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

There are so many things going on in Makoto's thoughts lately, so many feelings tangled up in her heart - but for today, from the moment that Usagi called her, all of those things have been set aside. She walks half a step behind her friend with steady, purposeful, confident bearing, and no signs of doubt. If Usagi needs a pillar of strength, then Makoto will be that for her, without hesitation.

Her hand rests on Usagi's other shoulder in that moment before the door opens - a light touch, a wordless statement of reassurance to go with Mio's. We're here. We're all in this together.

Then Usagi pushes the door open and Makoto follows her in. Those green eyes are cool and wary as Mako looks around the lounge, noting faces - some she recognizes, others she doesn't. She spares a nod and a lopsided smile for Eri and Mamoru, over there where Eri is sitting, but then her watchful gaze settles on Mai up on the stage and her brows draw together in concern.

She doesn't say anything, not just yet.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"And you won't bring me - you won't bring me doooooown~!"

Drawing the last note out, Mai does a spin to mark the song's finale. The lights come up, properly illuminating the room for the time being, and she takes a second to gauge the turnout.

It's good. It's really, really good. She can see three people she counts as good friends, three more she at least knows, and a couple of friends of friends or something. Tonight is going to be fun, and a full-sized group for things...

Mamoru's comment earns a fiery smirk, but this soon shifts into a bright grin. "Great turnout - I'm glad I got the big room. Best costume selection, if anyone cares to give that a try~" She twirls the microphone in her hand, indicating the racks of costumes for all and sundry - then raises it to sing a couple of lines a cappella. Ad-libbed, maybe riffing on an existing song?

"The group's all here, so the fun can now start~"

"It's great to get a chance to sing what's really in your heart~"

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune looks over to Eri, making a guess: "'After a few more'... are you worried about this, too?" Kinzo's wave is met in kind, though she's a little too openly worried for the gesture to have much warmth to it. Ikiko's arrival causes her to scoot over a little and give her friend a little extra room to slide in if desired. "Hey... thanks. For the other day, I mean."

Then she realizes something odd, glancing to Kinzo and Ikiko in turn to ask them both: "You're friends with Mai, then? I had no idea." Seeing Usagi arrive is surprising for that same reason, though Rune decides not to interrupt her since Usagi seems to already have a friend or two in tow. Mamoru coming up to whisper to Eri stands out as a little odd, and Rune's mind scrambles to think of reasons for why that happened.

Once Mai is mostly done, Runealy rises from her seat and decides now is the right time. She walks up, waiting for those improvised lyrics to end, and then asks a timid but worried question: "Is this really okay? Doesn't renting out this big part of the lounge cost a lot?" There's no edge of accusation, just a lot of uncertainty; can Mai really afford this? Rune's mind flickers back to what she knows of Takumi's situation, something she thought was keeping Mai from doing any lavish spending.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Noone expects Mamoru Chiba... well when he decides to be a bit sneaky. With her eyes fixed on her friend on the stage, she took no notice of the rest of the rest of the people in the room, which meant, he caught her completley off guard, "WEH!?" Her alarm was palpable as her head turned quickly to face him, almost bumping right into his face before she draws back. She places a hand over her chest, and stills herself with a deep breath. "Why would you even..." She let's any ire drain out of her, "...you know what? Nevermind."

Leaning back in she begins to whisper back, "Yeah but is this the sort of 'something's wrong' where we're in for a fight, or is it the 'something's wrong' where we just talk to her and hope she's able to open up to us about all of this?"

She sighs as he comments on how wonderful she looks, looking back towards the stage straight at Mai. "She's gorgeous. And she looks... so happy, doesn't she?" Mai is making another announcement, it doesn't /sound/ like she's going to be climbing off the stage any time soon given her announcement. She offers a small wave towards Mai, looking suddenly self-conscious in her ignorance of what might be going on with her.

Finally taking the time to look around the room, she offers a small wave towards Makoto, and a smile that lacked any real warmth in light of the situation. Rune on the other hand, gets a distressed look, "I think there's a good case to be made for being worried."

Suddenly she's looking back at Mamoru, with an inquisitive expression, her voice becoming a whisper again that only he could hear, "All the talk about her kissing a friend..." She stares him right in the eyes, trying to scrutinize his expression. "...It was just a rumor right?" There's something hopeful in her voice, as if she's seeking some answer. But which one?

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Usagi briefly clasps Makoto's hand, her touch delicate but desperate.

She hovers near the edge of the room, preferring to stay on her feet even with the promise of an amazing costume selection. The blonde girl catches Rune's look at her and briefly locks gazes, smiling faintly and offering a small, furtive wave.

And then there's Mamoru. Usagi returns to chewing her lip with additional motivation. He looks so serious. Does that mean something? He often looks serious, sure, but he doesn't look serious around his friends, like Eri. Unless this is a serious situation. That makes sense. Unless he's being serious because he's really mad at her. No, he cares about Mai too much to put that above her right now. Doesn't he?

augh she's thinking about this again

"Mako-chan, Mio-chan," Usagi whispers, though it's a stage whisper because of the noise. "What do you think?"

<Pose Tracker> Kinzo Hiroyuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kinzo Hiroyuki nods to Ikiko as he closes his eyes. He opens one towards Runealy. "I don't think she likes me that much." he says. "It's complicated. I'm still worried about that, but. Nothing I can do for it now. I kind of showed up in hopes I'd been forgiven a bit...." he says with a worried smile. He looks over to the entrance. There's Mio... Play Director. And Usagi. Alright there's a lot of people here now. What exactly is going on. Mamoru gets a glance and a quick wave. Eri gets a wave and a smile, and notes her words-- he was more enjoying Mai's voice than her looks, this kind of makes him blush as that thought is brought to his forefront for just a bit as he clears his throat and bit looks back to Ikiko for a bit. "Everyone's looking concerned. Can you tell?" he asks, motioning around.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"I don't know," Makoto answers Usagi in a similar stage whisper, voice pitched low. "I don't exactly know Tokiha-san all that well yet..." Eri looks worried, though, and Mamoru looks serious, and none of this seems to quite match up to what she does know of Mai from the times she's talked to the older girl before now.

She glances briefly toward Mio, and then Mako's eyes go back to Mai, and a tiny frown begins to tighten the corners of her mouth. That fierce smile, the line about 'what's really in our hearts' - it's not enough to serve as proof of anything, but--

"...something about this definitely doesn't feel right," Makoto murmurs.

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Mio stays with Usagi; stays nearby, to give her the benefit of strength and poise that she might be able to uniquely provide. Makoto is a powerful figure in her own right - she even asides to Makoto, quietly, "This would be fun if it didn't seem rather dire, wouldn't it?"

"Mr. Harker," she remarks to Kinzo briefly with a wry smile, and then Usagi asks her question.

Mio sucks a deep breath in.

"I don't know," she tells Usagi. Another brief pat on the shoulder, and then she looks back at Makoto with a slightly tight smile. "I suppose I ought to go find out."

She separates from the group then, approaching the stage. Clasping her hands together, she calls out genially, "Tokiha, isn't it? I'm Kuroki. Do you mind if I join you up there? I've never actually done karaoke myself - you'll have to explain it to me!"

Helped or not, Mio moves to get up on the stage, taking a giant's step up if necessary.

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Ikiko smiles back at Kinzo and Rune, but it fades somewhat at Rune's question that follows. "I don't know anyone by that name on this side of life," she admits. "I'm just here because of a random invite that I got by text." She nods back to Mamoru; she doesn't know him well, but he certainly looks more level-headed when he's not dazed from happiness.

The faded smile drops into a slight frown as Rune asks her question to Mai. If Rune and Kinzo know Mai, and they seem to be concerned for Mai...

Ikiko's frown shifts to a resolute look. Even if she doesn't know what's going on, she'll still do her best to help -- once she knows how she can help, of course.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

'Happy'. Mamoru's neutral expression sours, and he ducks his head a little, arms crossing more tightly. Since he didn't get his face bashed in by Eri's startlement, he takes her 'nevermind' at face value. He's elected himself killjoy pretty frequently of late, and he doesn't like it. "Probably explosions wrong. Sorry," he tells Eri, looking away from Mai when she smirks at him. That piece of counter is really interesting, over there.

Then that last whispered question, and his sidelong view of hope. Again he can't give the answer the girl wants. Mamoru's mouth thins into a line. "Sorry," he says after a moment, "it wasn't. You can try talking to her, but I'm--"

His voice lowers and he ducks his head a little further, once more only loud enough for Eri to hear. "--if she's *not* under a spell, I'm going home and I'll talk to her again when she turns back into a human being."

Is Usagi looking at him? She's anxious. She doesn't know Mai very well, either. Finally Mamoru glances toward 'moving people', right, and he gives Mio and Usagi and Makoto a faint smile that does nothing to mitigate the body language of his mood, that doesn't even mask his shuttered eyes.

He hasn't been dazed from happiness in a long time.

As Mio goes up on the stage, he turns back to Eri and can't actually make himself fake-smile anymore. "So yeah. Talk away. I'm going to go find a fire extinguisher."

Then the black-haired boy just-- walks out the lounge doors past Makoto and Usagi. He lifts his eyebrows at them in passing, but doesn't say anything before the door shuts with him on the other side.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Frozen (Deleted Songs) - Life's Too Short (filk)

Mai's bright grin flickers, then dies away into a scowl when she's confronted. What's wrong with these people? It's time for fun, for karaoke, for singing. Why bring up all those problems? Why bring up the responsibilities that have been weighing her down all this time?

She whirls, gesturing to Runealy with her microphone, breaking from the tune for a moment. "You're one to talk, with buying fancy lunches every day while I've scrimped and saved and gone without all this time-"

There's an interruption, and she reaches down with her free hand to pull Mio onto the stage. "Song list is behind you, pick something out, you can sing as soon as I'm done dealing with this interruption."

She shoots Eri a look, tossing the microphone into her other hand. Worried about what?! "If not now - then when do I get to have fun? After school's done, and I'm working full-time to pay off all the debts? Or hey, maybe in a few decades, once everything's been resolved-"

Gritting her teeth, she raises the microphone, and ad-libs a few more lines - there's a tune behind them, and even with the screen gone dark there's still a bit of background music...

"So I'll go back to work? That's how tonight ends?"
"I should have known better than to have fun with these friends!"
"Is it so wrong, to try being free of my chains?"
"It's not like there's much of my free time that remains!"

She spins, and nearly screams the new verse, gesturing sharply to indicate people she knows, singing out her frustrations.

"Life's too short! To waste it dealing with idiot men, who claim to know what my life needs!"
"Life's too short! To take care of childish fools who can't even obtain their own feed!"
"You don't know - none of you know how bad it is!"
"The problem's his!"

It takes a moment to realize that she's not just screaming the last line - that she's actually screaming in agony.

<Pose Tracker> Nephrite [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Unbeknownst to Mai, unbeknownst to the crowd of concerned friends, unbeknownst to almost everyone -- a dark shadow hangs over the lounge today.

It's hard to pin the exact source. Perhaps it is the level of heightened emotion, all concentrated in one room. Perhaps it is the influence of the youma, nearly sated from her days as a parasite and ready to awaken in a burst of power. Perhaps it is the scowling man, hidden by the quickly falling dusk, hovering just above the building, impatiently awaiting the beginning of the disaster. No matter what the cause, a weighty sense of inevitability creeps over those inside, eyes drawn towards the fiery girl nigh screaming her feelings into the microphone.

That's when it happens.

Some are familiar with the otherworldly rune that appears briefly on the microphone, lit by unnaturally green light; perhaps they know what is coming. But within a second, smoke the color of rot begins to leak out in great clouds, filling the room and momentarily obscuring the light so it is impossible to see more than silhouettes. And then, in an explosive shockwave with the stage at its epicenter, it is all dispelled.

Leaving the image of a wildly fantastical youma, with a television for a chest and a wire the size and thickness of a whip running along her arm, in the spotlight. And Mai, brimming with life but minutes ago, collapsed as though dead a few feet to the side.

COMBAT: Nephrite transforms into Youma Form Karabas!
COMBAT: Nephrite has fully healed himself. He is now ready to take on 7 opponents!

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"Oh," says Usagi to Mio's answer.

Mio begins walking toward the stage. Usagi reaches over to paw at the empty air where she was just standing.

"Mio-chan, what about if you--MIO-CHAN?!"

The blonde girl flails in the direction of the retreating Mio, screaming under her breath like "aaaaaaaaaaa!!" Just like that.

She watches her friend approach the stage, unable to take her gaze away even as she retreats to Makoto for a stabilizing force. Mai is growing more energetic, but it's not a good kind of energy--it's this feeling of--of--

"MAI-CHAN!" shouts Usagi, drowned out by Mai's own scream. Mai invited her into her own home and made her dinner. Mai helped give Mamoru a family. Of course she's Mai-chan. Why was Usagi ever afraid of saying that?

Everything goes dark. Usagi trusts Mio's words. Her grip on Makoto's arm goes from desperate to resolute, and then withdraws. Somewhere in the chaos, Sailor Moon must have slipped into the room. It's clearly her shouting:


When the shockwave comes, Sailor Moon stands atop one of the lounge tables, her crescent moon wand in hand. She brandishes it against the explosive force, parting it with a silvery-white glimmer of sparkles. That was the easy part, she knows. If this youma comes from Mai's power like the other person-preying demon at the poetry jam, then it hasn't begun to get serious.


Sailor Moon pirouettes down from the table and striking a fierce pose.

"Karaoke is a time where people take a chance on looking silly to have fun with their friends and express the songs in their heart! I won't forgive anyone who isn't nurturing of brave karaoke singers and instead seeks to punish them for getting on stage!"

The blonde warrior twirls her wand and then gestures accusingly at the youma.

"I'm the sailor-suited pretty soldier of love and justice, Sailor Moon! And, in the name of Mai-chan, I will punish you!"

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used In The Name Of The Moon on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Sailor Moon's In The Name Of The Moon, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Moon is Psyched!  Cripple, Diversion, and Trap applied to Nephrite!  

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Mio's hand is cold. Like her usagi-abandoning heart.

She smiles at Mai as she mounts the stage. And then she moves towards one of the screens, but she's watching Mai instead. This behavior -

It's familiar, maddeningly so. A pang of sympathy reaches her heart again, making her grimace subtly and faintly as Mai weeps her heart out into the microphone, angry, screaming, hurting - wait, she thinks.

Hurting, she expected. But that sounded more like-- And then there's a green rune and for a fleeting moment Mio's face is contorted with recognition.

Smoke and reek fill the room, and when it clears, Mio is half-crouched back near that computer screen, having grasped at the nearest thing that felt like it might be a defensive instrument. The fact that this is a remote microphone makes her grimace in annoyance; annoyance sufficient to slap the touch-screen selector and possibly mess things up further.

No, she thinks: control yourself. The arrival of Sailor Moon makes her suck in a harsh breath, calling ahead, "Sailor Moon, everyone -- lure it onto the dance floor!"

Mio is not entirely clear on Karaoke and assumes that's what the open space is. And, of course, miracles can happen when people are slamming around rented halls. Having said this, her eyes cut towards Mai's collapsed carcass, so perilously near the youma...

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune starts to back off as Mio approaches Mai, still very puzzled by what's going on; remarks from several of her friends just now have made this situation very odd. Mai's responses also repel her; how do you respond to apparent jealousy like that when it's justified? Or to worries about having any fun in the face of mounting bills... of being held down by them for decades? "Mai... I know how you feel, but... is this really how you... ah?"

She's cut off by Mai screaming. "Mai...?" Her first urge is to run over and help, but that familiar green light and smoke forces her to hurry away instead. Rune's eyes go wide, wavering in worry as a monster is revealed! "Mai!" Suddenly things make a lot more sense.

It's time to act. "Summoning Princess' Tiara!" Silver jewelry appears in one hand, passed to the next and brought to her forehead in a single motion. "The Line of Succession, transform!" A flash of red light brings her into full magical garb, looking first to Ikiko. "You're here by luck, then? I need your help. A good person, a friend I care about, is in danger right now. Please let me count on you one more time!"

COMBAT: Runealy Waldia transforms into Princess Runealy!
COMBAT: Princess Runealy has used Encouragement on Ikiko Hisakata.
COMBAT: Princess Runealy has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri shrinks a few sizes in her seat at Mai's commentary, "Look I didn't mean..." But she's already moved on, and it'll do no good to try to talk her down from the stage, right?

Huffing out a breath at Mamoru's response, she closes her eyes, dipping her chin and leaving it there, like the weight of his answer was holding it down. When he departs, her eyes open, lidding lightly as they look upon the stage, offering recriminations to the air with a whisper, "Mamoru-kun. You still don't understand anything at all about her, do you?" She has no time to allow the spike of anger she feels towards him take hold though. Because...

....those lyrics. Gripping her skirt so tightly that she felt the nails bite into her skin through the fabric. And then something, her patience perhaps, just shatters as a pane of glass, and she stands up immediately, her chair clattering behind her from the suddenness of motion, "It's not like that at all! Stop it Mai!" Despite the force of it, it sounds almost like the mewling of a kitten compared to her friend's scream of agony, and Mai's collapse on the stage.

A dark shape rises from the microphone emblazoned with a familiar rune, and she needs no time to process it. Amidst all of the chaos, green light shines, the rush of wind and the sound of leaves gird her for battle. Something snaps out, flicking towards the monster, before snapping with bone-crunching force. Droplets of something green and acrid spatter every which way near the creature.

A voice, acerbic and sharper than any razor rings out, "I'd ask you to give her energy back and walk away, but that's never an option with you monsters, is it? So instead I'll just be glad you gave me a target because you have no idea, how incredibly pissed off I am right now!"

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi transforms into Puella Magi Eri!
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Venomous Lash on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly dodges Eri Shimanouchi's Venomous Lash, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Nephrite's Fade ability activates!  Cripple applied to Nephrite!  
<Pose Tracker> Kinzo Hiroyuki [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kinzo Hiroyuki does closes his eyes and frown slightly at the words of the song. Something catches his nose however as the dark energy flares up and he opens his eyes just in time. He frowns and stands and points! "Director!" he yells out to Mio- who, had just started to go up onto stage. "Get away from the stage!" he calls out.

He looks around in the chaos and just frustrated yells out, "Dark Amber, Spritz!" throwing his right arm out that contains a colonge bottle as he jumps up onto the table he was sitting out. Well He doesn't. Rather.

Dark Amber does. At the same time, Sailor Moon calls out and Runealy Waldia Transforms and Mamoru Chiba goes for a Fire Extinguisher. All of these seem reasonable actions.

Mio ends up over by the computer screen and he frowns at this, as her current postion poses a danger if the youma remains where it is--and Mio suggests to lure it down. Really. That's the best course of action at this point.

He hrmphs a bit and closes his eyes. "I'm getting awfully tired of these people messing with people I care about..." he mutters as he raises his right arm and fires off a quick amber blade that spirals through the air aiming for the monster, in an attempt to anger it and draw it out towards them down here off the stage.

"Where's the guy in the uniform today?" he asks looking around in his field of vision. He's not about to turn around to look when there's danger right over ---> There. "What, was there a sale on dull grey suits somewhere today or something!?" he asks, regardless, he looks at Mio and tries to keep an eye on her, but... she should be safe. There's so many of them here now.

COMBAT: Kinzo Hiroyuki transforms into Dark Amber!
COMBAT: Dark Amber has used Amber Seeker on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Dark Amber has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite perfectly counters Dark Amber's Amber Seeker, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Counter!  Nephrite's Reverse ability activates!  
COMBAT: Nephrite's counterattack, Whiplash, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Dark Amber!  

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.


The cloud of evil smoke that fills the room is lit from within by a surge of electricity, arcs of crackling energy that swirl and spin around the indistinct silhouette of a girl. When the shockwave clears the air and visibility returns, Sailor Jupiter is standing there, braced and fierce-eyed and ready for battle.

No sign of Makoto Kino - she must have fled the room in the confusion.

Hearing Mio call out, Jupiter launches into motion, a few swift strides planting her directly in the most open area of the floor, where she squares her shoulders and turns a blazing glare of challenge toward the youma. "How dare you take advantage of Tokiha-san's feelings and warp them this way!"

Electricity sparks from her fingertips as Sailor Jupiter raises her hand in a beckoning gesture. "You want energy, right?" she calls out in a ringing voice. "Well--" With a snap of her fingers, a whipcrack stream of lightning leaps from her hand towards the youma. "--come get some!"

COMBAT: Makoto Kino transforms into Sailor Jupiter!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Jupiter Thunderbolt on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Sailor Jupiter's Jupiter Thunderbolt, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  Nephrite is Quipped!  

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Right!" Ikiko nods to Rune. She ducks behind some furniture; after a brief silvery Glow, Cute Wolf Tsukiko dives back into the fray. "There's nothing a group of friends can't accomplish when they work together, right?" she calls out to Rune, Dark Amber, and Tuxedo Mask.

COMBAT: Ikiko Hisakata accepts Princess Runealy's Encouragement, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Ikiko Hisakata is Cheered!  
COMBAT: Ikiko Hisakata transforms into Cute Wolf Tsukiko!
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Encourage the Pack on Princess Runealy.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Encourage the Pack on Dark Amber.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Encourage the Pack on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Dark Amber accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Encourage the Pack, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Encourage the Pack, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Princess Runealy accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Encourage the Pack, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Princess Runealy is Cheered!  
COMBAT: Mamoru Chiba transforms into Tuxedo Mask!
<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The lights are out, and on the other side of the door, a boy is listening to his friend scream, knowing there is absolutely nothing he can do about it. All he can tell himself is that no one's getting away with anything sketchy tonight-- they're all here--

The lights are out but there's brilliance everywhere, and a shadow in a white mask slips back in the doors, then further into the blackness at the edges of the room. All of the shadows are sharper, all of the shouts ring out, unamplified.

Something burns at the back of Tuxedo Mask's throat, maybe, or heart. 'In the name of Mai-chan.' He hangs back, watching as the monster solidifies and that green smoky energy billows, as MC Mio takes the mic and directs like the director she is, as challenges go out, as transformations go off like indoor fireworks and then are basically actually indoor fireworks thanks Jupiter--

Scan though he does, he can't see Mai anywhere. There's so much smoke and so much changing light. The little wolf he sees at these things is here, too; she's calling something out to him about friends and working together, and it's just so... nothing's ever simple, is it? His heart hurts and his head's full of anger. But the Cute Wolf is entirely correct.

"Somebody get Tokiha-san out of there!" calls Tuxedo Kamen's familiar voice from somewhere in the dark, sharp and swift. All of a sudden, he's standing flanking Sailor Moon from her other side, and the eyes of his mask are opaque, and he lightly touches his fingers to her shoulder.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Now Show Them Your Power! on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon accepts Tuxedo Mask's Now Show Them Your Power!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to Sailor Moon!  

<Pose Tracker> Nephrite [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

The youma Karabas, lilac-skinned with hair, hot pants, and high boots all in electric blue, takes a second to observe the scene around her. Smiles. Takes a breath -- and is met with a hail of attacks.

She spies the amber blade as it comes flying towards her, and with a snap of her wrist, she twirls her cord-whip until it is a vertical shield, the dangerous projectile bouncing off it harmlessly and ricocheting somewhere to the side. Unfortunately for her, that is the extent of her success, for she is wholly unprepared for the magic that is thrown her way in the meantime.

Not the least of which is another whip user, who lashes forward at a speed Karabas cannot hope to avoid, distracted as she is. The lanky creature attempts to step out of the way, but finds her feet spattered by green venom, the exposed skin above her boots sizzling as some of the drops hit the vulnerable area. Whatever was going to come out of her mouth a second ago morphs into a shriek of pain -- one she stifles quickly, even when her body is scorched by a bolt of lightning.

Because the menacing, umistakable form of Nephrite has appeared behind her, seemingly from nowhere. And tonight, he does not wear the facade of relaxed confidence and disdain. His eyes are filled with rage; worse, he is totally silent.

He stares venomously, first at Sailor Moon, whose very life mocks his abilities. Then towards Tuxedo Mask, whose appearance incites a fresh wave of fury, and merits a barely audible "So. The fool was right, after all."

The General scans the rest of the crowd, cursory and seemingly unconcerned, though he has met many of these opponents on the field of battle before and has faced their power. But, for the longest time, his eyes rest on Jupiter, the always-defiant. Behind all that wrath, is there a note of...confusion?

"We have much to discuss, Jupiter."

Nephrite doesn't move, but his monster takes that as a cue. In a single arc, Karabas flings out three small bolts of electricity towards Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon, and the Puella Magi, while simultaneously projecting a sorrowful guitar riff from some unseen speaker. It is powerful and soul-crushing, when one hears it without the proper strength of heart to resist. Many of this Shitennou's youma choose to attack the morale of their foes, for a disheartened fighter is as good as beaten.

But, when one looks closely, certain words begin to appear on her chest television. Words that look an awful lot like lyrics.


COMBAT: Nephrite has used Earworm on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Earworm on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Earworm on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Rhythm and Blues on Princess Runealy.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Rhythm and Blues on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Rhythm and Blues on Dark Amber.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Rhythm and Blues on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Nephrite has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Princess Runealy narrowly counters Nephrite's Rhythm and Blues, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Princess Runealy is Quipped!  Princess Runealy's Reverse ability activates!  Princess Runealy's Tactician ability activates!  Exhausted and Stagger applied to Princess Runealy!  
COMBAT: Princess Runealy's counterattack, Aegis Burst, partially gets through, doing 5 Fatigue damage to Nephrite!  
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi fails to dodge Nephrite's Earworm, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Eri Shimanouchi is Taunted!  
COMBAT: Dark Amber narrowly counters Nephrite's Rhythm and Blues, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Dark Amber is Quipped!  Dark Amber's Reverse ability activates!  Exhausted and Stagger applied to Dark Amber!  
COMBAT: Dark Amber's counterattack, Amber Bladestorm, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Nephrite!  
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko fails to dodge Nephrite's Rhythm and Blues, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cute Wolf Tsukiko is Quipped!  Exhausted applied to Cute Wolf Tsukiko!  
COMBAT: Sailor Moon fails to dodge Nephrite's Earworm, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is Taunted!  
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter narrowly braces Nephrite's Rhythm and Blues, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Jupiter is Quipped!  Sailor Jupiter's Block ability activates!  Sailor Jupiter's Parry ability activates!  Exhausted and Stagger applied to Sailor Jupiter!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask narrowly dodges Nephrite's Earworm, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Tuxedo Mask's Flash ability activates!  

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

The sad song ofthe youma catches Tsukiko off guard, rocking her back a bit. Still, the wolfgirl is still somewhat defiant, looking around to the others. "Come on, don't let that youma get you down! I know we can win if we all work together!" she calls to the others.

COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Encourage the Pack on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Encourage the Pack on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Encourage the Pack on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Encourage the Pack, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Eri Shimanouchi is Cheered!  
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Encourage the Pack, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Jupiter is Cheered!  
COMBAT: Sailor Moon accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Encourage the Pack, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is Cheered!  

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Runealy takes a deep breath as Tsukiko urges her on. Tsukiko is right, this will call for working together. "Mm!" Mio's advice cuts through this pause for thought... she barely knows Mio, but the idea seems sound enough to be met with a "Right!" The princess isn't entirely sure how to do that, but she'll at least try.

Yet Nephrite's appearance gives her pause. Just being here implies so many different threats, and any one of them would be enough to demand her attention on their own. Still, she can't do anything about him right now beyond making a worried gasp! Karabas sees to that, causing Rune to wince as music bears down. The idea of music as a threat might seem odd, but Runealy has faced it enough times to no longer question it; she puts herself under a red dome forcefield.

While this helps dampen the volume, it doesn't entirely take the edge off the sound itself. It reminds her all at once that this situation is dangerous, and it's one more rough situation among many others; will things really work out? Bolstered confidence clashes with these immediate worries, sending her heart through highs and lows. When the barrier fades, Runealy lets out a desperate shout! It's followed by, "Rune Blast!", and a green orb from her wand flying toward Karabas. It aims to explode into sparkling mist on impact, and release a set of swirling white arcane symbols that try to weigh down the creature's odd limbs.

COMBAT: Princess Runealy has used Rune Blast on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Princess Runealy has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Dark Amber's words are the ones that resonate most piquantly with the crouching Kuroki.

Those suits are the pinnacle of men's fashion, Mio thinks irrelevantly, out of that weird sort of "I might be in lethal danger but can do little about it" fast awareness. Nothing else, Mio thinks further, shows off the subtle contours of the male form quite so well... and the gray hues show their complexion, hair and eyes to -

Ugh, she thinks, I'm woolgathering!

Of course, Nephrite appears then. Mio Kuroki's teeth bare as she looks at him - but then she looks downwards, and without words, moves forwards. She walks while creeping down low, and perhaps she is something special, because she seems to lack terror.

Mio is not graceful - she is near a man of great and unknown potency. She hooks one arm underneath Mai's armpit and hoists her up, crab-walking backwards with eerie evenness back towards those wings, near the costumes.

"Much to discuss," she mutters, witheringly. "Could he layer it any thicker..."

COMBAT: Nephrite perfectly counters Princess Runealy's Rune Blast, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Nephrite's Reverse ability activates!  
COMBAT: Nephrite's counterattack, Whiplash, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Princess Runealy!  

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The electricity comes flying their way, and Tuxedo Mask's eyes are only briefly on Nephrite -- to think, only days ago, he was considering pulling the 'ghost-hero-covered-in-flour' routine on the brunet Shitennou! -- before the lightning hits, and they're right next to Jupiter so it's obviously partially to piss her off. He tries to get out of the way, but only succeeds in grounding some of the force with his cape.

Backs of his teeth buzzing, the absurdly tall boy in the formalwear jumps up and somersaults overhead to get away from immediate target-land. As quickly as he appeared next to Sailor Moon, he's gone again.

"I am NOT SINGING THAT," Tuxedo Kamen calls out forcefully from midair, landing lightly on a tabletop and spinning like he's winding up to throw a discus -- but it's his hat he takes off and flings it at the youma's face. "You couldn't PAY me to sing that. Sailor Jupiter, weren't your fist and his face discussing something the other week?"

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Señor del Antifaz on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Dark Amber [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Also like 'wears different shades of brown' Dark Amber has any sort of idea what fashion is.

Regardless, the youma strums off a sad chord and it hits home with Dark Amber- making him think of sadder things, if for but a moment, but enough to knock him considerably off kilter As he clutches an arm across his chest after having tried fruitless to launch an assault of flying blades into the creature. He frowns at Ikiko. "We can--- but I'm afraid I'm rather worried for Mai and Mio aswell." he says.

He takes a deep breath to try to gather himself as he flicks his right wrist, and a blade on a chain swings out- the blade acting as a counterweight as he attempts to trap or trip up the Youma in his chains as he tries to steel his resolve at the same time.

OH, look, high mighty and jerkbag's arrived. He seems to be addressing Jupiter. But more pertiently.

Tuxedo Mask Adamantly insists he's not singing that. Singing what? What is he missing----

Oh! It's screen!

COMBAT: Nephrite fails to dodge Tuxedo Mask's Señor del Antifaz, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Tuxedo Mask is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Dark Amber has used Binding Amber Chain on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Dark Amber has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Dark Amber's Binding Amber Chain, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Dark Amber is Psyched!  Exhausted and Tangle applied to Nephrite!  

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sailor Moon doesn't startle when Tuxedo Mask places a hand on her shoulder. She only realizes that he's there a moment later, but for some reason it doesn't feel surprising. She glances over and up to him, pursing her lips in undisguised bemusement.

He's a bemusing guy.

It makes her feel really happy that they can work together like this despite everything. It makes her feel unstoppable.

But then there he is--Nephrite. How many times has he almost killed her? How many times has he menaced her friends? Will it be like this again? Is his presence a sign that she should prepare to be hurt?

And he's after Jupiter. Usagi glances nervously to Makoto, gripping her lunar rod tightly. The idea that someone as dangerous as Nephrite is focused on Makoto is more upsetting. Usagi would rather be run through with a million swords herself than let Makoto suffer his dark attention.

Her thoughts have a youma-provided soundtrack. It makes her heart weak against her own doubt. Panic begins to set in.

And then--

'We can win if we all work together!'

"That's right!" shouts Sailor Moon, seizing the thought--seizing on Mamoru's trust in her even now, on Mio's fearlessness, on Mai's need. She twirls her moon stick with the flourish of a performance. Mio needs protection, from the youma but also from Nephrite. Emboldened by passion, the pretty soldier takes an arcing leap through the air, landing heroically upon the stage amongst a swirl of increasingly red fairy lights.

"Mai-chan has saved countless people and sacrifices her time to care for others each day! We won't be defeated in the light of her shining example!"

Sailor Moon plants her feet squarely and raises her crescent wand. The red, red lights spin with growing fervor, and then erupt into a wall of pyrotechnics that appear like spreading dragon wings! It might be enough to give Mio time to get away with Mai, and may also give the youma good reason to stay far away as well.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Mai Tokiha's Compassionate Determination on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite fails to dodge Sailor Moon's Mai Tokiha's Compassionate Determination, taking 23 Fatigue damage!  

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Nowhere - Kalafina Cover(Fictional Junction) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1KpgG_Qbh4

The bolts of electricity arc towards Eri, who is caught completely flat-footed. She finds herself having to bite back a shriek, as every muscle in her body spasms and contorts and her clothing sizzles beneath the assault. Far more dangerous though is the soul-crushing melody. All of the fire of anger within her seems smothered before the weight of depression. What if they couldn't defeat the Youma? What if they couldn't save Mai?

It's the encouragement of the cutest lupine magical girl that brings her out of such thoughts. She looks towards Tsukiko at first with a neutral look, her expression a mask, before it lights up with a smile. "You're right. Thanks! You have no idea how much I needed that!"

For some reason her eyes are just compelled... to look at the screen upon the Youma. Her vision seems blurry, like the words upon it are almost not real, but... she could read them clearly. And while she was only one step removed from tone deaf, there's such passion to the words when they come out, the melody the thrumming pulse of a jaunty jpop tune. And she's directing them towards not the Youma, but the puissant figure of the Heavenly King standing behind him.

o/~ Tell me the story of your soul!
o/~ Look at me without turning your eyes away!
o/~ You think that I'm non-existent?

Green motes of shimmering energy float off of her, as she takes an impromptu spin, holding the handle of her whip like a microphone, completely emboldened and confident that they were going to win this battle and save her friend. And for that reason? She skips a verse... or two, making an impromptu spin.

o/~ Disobey the guidance of the all-seeing star!
o/~ And run straight ahead towards the door in the sky!
o/~ Rebel against the fate that smiles so gently!

As she finishes that verse, circles emblazoned with verdure runes of her own form all over the stage, and foliage sprouts everywhere within them, growing into being with alarming rapidity and trying to spear the Youma from multiple directions with sharpened sticks from half formed trees and shrubbery.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Weald Advent on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite accepts Eri Shimanouchi's Weald Advent, taking 33 Fatigue damage!  

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

She should have seen it coming, really.

Sailor Jupiter's face freezes the moment that Nephrite makes his appearance; her whole posture stiffens with the spike of alarm and the whole host of tangled and conflicting feelings that the sight of him brings rushing up afresh from the place where she'd so resolutely shoved them away.

The music that crashes over her from the youma only makes it worse; Jupiter shudders under the assault against her senses and her feelings, and for a moment she stands frozen. Her instincts are screaming at her that there's no time for this, if she doesn't take action he might really kill someone this time, but there are images pouring through her memory and she can't make sense of all of them; how is she supposed to face the Dark General like this--?

It's Tsukiko's words that break though to her first: we can win if we all work together. It snaps Sailor Jupiter out of the confusion that has her transfixed, a reminder that - of course - she isn't in this on her own. Tuxedo Mask is nearby as well, encouraging in a different way, and Jupiter draws in a breath and squares her stance anew, the expression on her face settling into one of determination once more.

She does not, however, immediately leap to the attack. Instead, Jupiter backpedals, putting distance between herself and Nephrite; she moves with measured control, not in a panicked scramble, but how often does the Senshi of Courage retreat from the challenge of a foe? "Haven't you ever heard of having a polite conversation like a normal person?"

She can see Sailor Moon up on the stage, highlighted in flame - hears Eri singing, and she doesn't quite understand where that came from but it seems to be working - these things, too, bear up Jupiter's spirit, and she holds her hands spread outward to either side, calling up a wind that swirls around her, fluttering petals appearing from nowhere and building into a storm to engulf both Nephrite and his youma.

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Flower Hurricane on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Sailor Jupiter's Flower Hurricane, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Blind, Stun, and Trap applied to Nephrite!  

<Pose Tracker> Nephrite [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

The problem with Karabas' whipspun-shield? Not terribly practical for deflecting melee attacks. Or for using more than once in a row. Thus, even when she sends the Princess's orb of green light harmlessly to the side, the razor sharp brim of a thrown hat hits her whip arm, cutting open a thin gash that slowly begins to seep blue blood. Cursing, the youma lets go of the cord abruptly, the microphone spinning wildly for a bit with excess energy before banging against the nearby wall and coming to a stop; microphone feedback resonates in the hall, but as it's not enhanced with magic, it doesn't do much more than the average electrical malfunction in a karaoke bar.

Still seething from the sting, Karabas is in no way prepared for the blast of red magic that the Moon Senshi fires at her. Eyes wide with alarm, she has no choice but to weather the crimson light-dragon, coming out the other end with patches of burned skin, ripped pants and boots, and a *very* angry expression.

Growling, she adjusts a knob on her television-chest, then calls the microphone to her again -- but not for an attack. No, she needs something a little more...cheerful. To nurse her wounds, you see.

o/~ I was beat, incomplete.
o/~ I'd been had. I was sad and blue.
o/~ But you made me feel...yes, you m-a-a-ade me feel
o/~ Shiny and new, like a--

Numerous plant spears cut her off as one of the fighters steals the song away from her, and her magic is made incomplete by the storm of flower petals that a certain green-clad Senshi conjures. But...at least she got some healing out of it?

In the meantime, Nephrite appears almost blind to the plight of his monster, his attention focused on a few, very specific members of the battle. "You tread very dangerous ground by mocking me," he snaps at Tuxedo Mask's words, finally looking away from Sailor Jupiter. "I don't intend on letting any of you get away tonight." And, if the semi-crazed look in his eyes is any indication, he means it. This level of honest emotion is quite a change from the usual, guarded menace of the Shitennou, who made a practice of playing his cards close to the chest.

This is not the best night for Eri to address him so directly.

The man hardly pays her any mind, at first; too busy surveying the battlefield, his mind churning over something that most would not be able to deduce. But then the words break through the mire of his thoughts, and his icy gaze locks onto the Puella Magi with a look that would cow a lion.

"Insolent girl!" he shouts, face contorting in barely contained rage. "You know *nothing* of what you say. To speak of fate, of the soul, of the stars so casually...I will show you the level of your stupidity!"

And he does, along with those around her. Holding up his Dark Crystal, he begins to claim energy from the combatants, while Karabas takes the opportunity to strike with her whip in a wide arc.

COMBAT: Nephrite has used Whipped Into Shape on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Whipped Into Shape on Princess Runealy.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Whipped Into Shape on Dark Amber.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Energy Drain on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Energy Drain on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Energy Drain on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Simple and Clean on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Nephrite has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite accepts Nephrite's Simple and Clean, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Nephrite!  Cleanse! All of Nephrite's debuffs are cleared!  
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko fails to brace Nephrite's Whipped Into Shape, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  Tangle applied to Cute Wolf Tsukiko!  
COMBAT: Princess Runealy narrowly counters Nephrite's Whipped Into Shape, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Princess Runealy's Reverse ability activates!  Princess Runealy's Tactician ability activates!  Tangle applied to Princess Runealy!  
COMBAT: Princess Runealy's counterattack, Aegis Burst, partially gets through, doing 4 Fatigue damage to Nephrite!  
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi narrowly counters Nephrite's Energy Drain, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Nephrite is Psyched!  Eri Shimanouchi's Reverse ability activates!  Nephrite drains 2 fatigue from Eri Shimanouchi!
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi's counterattack, Rosary Wheel, partially gets through, doing 14 Fatigue damage to Nephrite!  
COMBAT: Dark Amber narrowly dodges Nephrite's Whipped Into Shape, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Dark Amber's Fade ability activates!  Dark Amber's Flash ability activates!  Tangle applied to Dark Amber!  
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Nephrite's Energy Drain, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!  Nephrite drains 1 fatigue from Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask narrowly braces Nephrite's Energy Drain, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Nephrite drains 2 fatigue from Tuxedo Mask!

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune 'tunes in' to Eri's singing, letting it help drive her onward and take some of the sting out of her initial attack failing to accomplish much; Runealy just needs to try again! This resolve is quickly challenged by Karabas, swinging the whip too fast for her to really defend against it well. Another barrier comes up, but this one merely slows the strike; it still hits hard enough to lash along Rune's stomach and send her spinning to the floor with a hurt cry, even as she retaliates by turning what's left of the barrier into a tiny beam and sending that back at the youma.

That stings, but this entire situation and hearing Nephrite talk down on Eri are just as bad. "Don't call her that," Rune demands through grit teeth. "There isn't much she does 'casually'... she's one of the smartest, most caring people I know!"

She'd like to lash out at Nephrite with more than just words, but in all this chaos it's probably not going to happen. Picking herself up, the Guardian Princess creates a thin 'wall' of energy that begins waving around herself... trying to tend to the worst of her new injury, while parts of it detach and form floating mini-shields around herself.

COMBAT: Princess Runealy has used Comfort Ward on Princess Runealy.
COMBAT: Princess Runealy has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Princess Runealy accepts Princess Runealy's Comfort Ward, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Princess Runealy!  Cleanse! All of Princess Runealy's debuffs are cleared!  

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Tsukiko's focus on keeping the other encouraged seems to be working well in that department, but it's certainly not helping her combat sense. The lashing whip of Karabas hits the wolfgirl squarely, sending her crashing through the furniture. "Ow," she winces as she stands up. She mulls what Nephrite said, a defiant scowl growing on her face. "You think you're going to stop us simply because you said so?" she yells at him. "I refuse to back down just because it's dangerous! There are people who need help, and you need to be stopped!"

COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Bark! on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite perfectly counters Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Bark!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Nephrite's Reverse ability activates!  
COMBAT: Nephrite's counterattack, Whip Smack, bursts all the way through, doing 10 Fatigue damage to Cute Wolf Tsukiko!  

<Pose Tracker> Mio Kuroki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Lyrics rip out, and there is a brief passing of that feeling of energy being drained. Mio grimaces, even if she is far, far out of its main focus. She shifts around Mai Tokiha - feeling her neck.

Her hand remains cold as ice, but despite Mai's relative warmth, she makes a troubling discovery.

"-- Sailor Moon," she calls out, being the only person present whose a. name and b. power she can clearly recall. "Her breathing - it's stopped!!"

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Get it together, Makoto! Sailor Jupiter admonishes herself sharply, mouth twisting into a grimace at her own halfheartedness. Rage is practically pouring off of the Dark General, and whatever her feelings, she can't falter here or lives could be lost!

What's most true, and what's the right thing to do right now - she has no way to know for sure, but her friends and allies are counting on her. "I won't..." The words leave her in barely a murmur, for herself more than anyone else. "I won't be fooled--"

With this thought, Sailor Jupiter fixes her attention on the youma, the thing that must be destroyed in order to make sure that Mai is saved. As she does, she sees the words scrolling over the TV screen in Karabas' chest - and now, somewhat belatedly, she gets it.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's never stopped Jupiter before. She draws in a breath, and begins to sing.

"Bound tightly within the darkness
Can't stir an inch in this dark night
Don't give up on the light you reached for--"

Her voice rings out, unpolished but strong. Jupiter doesn't even know who's she's singing to, really. To Mai; to Sailor Moon and their other allies fighting here; even to Nephrite himself, maybe. Maybe to all of them. What matters is that she knows the words, believes them from the depth of her heart.

"Thunder, run from here to wherever you are
Then shine bright, we believe you
With ten thousand volts, we believe you!"

There's a charge building in the air around her as she sings, thin lines of voltage that flicker brightly around her as her power builds. They start at her feet, as though coming up from the floor - crackling swiftly up her legs and body, making a momentary mantle of searing energy over her shoulders.

"Natural forces will give you life
When you feel the courage rising in the earth--"

Sailor Jupiter's hand closes into a fist in the air, grasping lightning as though catching it from the sky--

"And spilling from the voices of song--!"

--and with the last line she throws herself toward the youma in a charge to which she commits all of her strength - fists blazing, holding nothing back.

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Lightning Fist on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite accepts Sailor Jupiter's Lightning Fist, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The magical fire parts, revealing Sailor Moon with collar and ribbon fluttering in the backdraft. The silvery-red lights lose their blinding brightness, but none of their intensity. Their conjuror is still tense.

She can feel the danger behind the scenes--Usagi will never forget what it feels like to lose one's energy, not after Tokyo Tower. The pretty soldier sets her expression in fierceness, resisting it the best way she knows how: focusing on the good in her life.

It works alright. It doesn't work well enough. Nephrite will not be denied.

Neither will mundane desperations. At Mio's call, Sailor Moon breaks her concentration, spinning around to stare in shock. Memories of Madoka's own wounding run through her mind. "--we'll take her to get help!"

With a meaningful glance at Sailor Jupiter, and then to Tuxedo Mask, the blonde warrior dashes to the fallen Mai and lifts her up onto her shoulder, depending on Mio to support the hurt girl's other side. She is just a tiny bit stronger than Usagi. They exit with urgency.

<Pose Tracker> Dark Amber [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Dark Amber watches Eri sing so sweetly! Indeed, there's very few things as stellar as watching someone sing from the heart, with meaning. When Neph responds with sass, contempt and and what appears to be unleash some sort of horror upon her. Then Mio calls out, specfically to Sailor Moon, but those words----- not to mention the attack aimed at him that grazes him as he dashes backwards with a quick jump.

Nephrite is going to have a lot ot answer for before the night is done. He might not think so. Nothing changes that very basic fact in the back of his head. Everytime this guy shows up---someone almost dies. How many close calls can it be until----

Yeah, he shakes that bit of horribleness from his head. Nothing worse will happen, they just have to take care of this horribleness now. Before Nephrite can get away with all the energy. He extends his right blade and just throws himself into the Youma with a burst of speed, lashing out with the blade and attempting to slice deep as his arm will carry into the beast.

COMBAT: Dark Amber has used Amber Striker on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Dark Amber has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Dark Amber's Amber Striker, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Maybe that wasn't the best idea. The Heavenly Kings are not to be trifled with, and yet, there she was sassing them. But even beneath the renewed level of confidence, there was still the fear that they might not be able to save Mai in time. But even greater was the white hot fury that someone did that to her in the first place. "Oh is that right!? So you're saying /I'm/ ignorant and you're going to punish me?"

As rays of umbral energy reach towards her like claws of darkness, she flicks her wrist sidearm, and her scourge extends, as living, coiling tendrils burst into action. Petals of colorful, blooming flowers dance within the air, obfuscating the line of sight between her and the Dark Crystal, even as the tendrils seek to take swipes at the Shitennou. "If that's the case, then let me put yours on trial! Do you have any idea who you targetted today?"

Dancing in and out of the storm of flower petals, even as her body and soul screamed against the leeching darkness, she begins to speak, "No of course you don't! You don't even /care/! You saw a target, and decided to corrupt her only outlet for fun! You don't see the girl who works herself to the bone to provide for her family! You're incapable of knowing the loving, compassionate person who gives everything of herself and asks for /nothing/ back because she thinks she doesn't deserve anything!"

The vines continue to surge forward, flowing to burrow beneath the stage, before erupting all around Karabas to attempt to lash her repeatedly and entangle her within their coils. Fighting back tears, she continues with fervent anger now intermingled with sorrow, "Noone deserves what she's done to herself." Her next statement is almost inaudible, her vision blurring in the midst of battle as she blinks away little wet, salty rivulets, "I wish I'd had the courage to tell her that."

She points a finger at Nephrite accusingly, her voice picking up in enthusiasm, offering her own verdict, "So if you think for one moment that you're going to take her away from us before she's given herself a chance to live at all, then you're delusional!"

Mio and Sailor Moon say she's stopped breathing, but they're already getting her out of here to a hospital. The only way she could contribute to truly saving her... was to fight. Even if it was breaking her heart to stand her ground here, rather than going to her dying friend.

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

We won't be defeated -- the singing's almost a distraction, almost. Tuxedo Mask gives Nephrite a tight-lipped grimace as the General threatens him for his taunting; that's all the visible reaction before the blur of black, white, and red vanishes in another direction entirely.

His timing, it seems, is off-- when he lands, it's just exactly in the right place for Nephrite to target him with that damned crystal, and there's a sound at the back of his throat that he chokes off before too many people can hear it when the anti-light envelops him. He staggers; his white-gloved hand clutches at his jacket, and he fights to suck in a lungful of air against the pain. "You--" he gasps, and then braces against a chair to remain upright, "--never do intend it, Nephrite. Why should what I say make any difference? Why do you care?"

And then the Shitennou's attention is drawn elsewhere, and Mio calls out that Mai's not breathing, and Mamoru's heart stops.

On the heels of Jupiter's attack, he sees Usagi darting over to Mai and Mio, and the look he meets hers with is wide eyed and completely transparent. Please. Please. And gratitude and fear and the concern of his heart on display, just for that split second before he's given strength by her determination, the determination of all their friends.

And then Tuxedo Kamen's facing Nephrite. It's time to buy time for them to get out. He's not great at buying time on the cheap, but for the people he cares about, he'll pay as much as he needs to. "Why DO you care, Nephrite? Why do you keep going after Sailor Jupiter? Why do you go after civilians like Mai? Why do you play with hearts when it's energy you're after?" he demands, his hair falling across his face. "What are you thinking?!"

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Flowing Scourge Feint on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Mantle of the Earth on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask accepts Tuxedo Mask's Mantle of the Earth, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate and Withstand applied to Tuxedo Mask!  
COMBAT: Nephrite fails to dodge Eri Shimanouchi's Flowing Scourge Feint, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Nephrite is Quipped!  Trap applied to Nephrite!  
COMBAT: Nephrite has adjusted his boss levels. He is now ready to take on 6 opponents!

<Pose Tracker> Nephrite [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

This was a mistake. Coming to this fight so embarrassingly unbalanced, so consumed with uncertainty after the events of the other night -- it was a mistake born of weakness, one he should not have made.

And yet, had he truly had a choice?

Jupiter, unfailing defender of the weak, of justice, was always *so* drawn to these Dark Seals, after all. With all that he had witnessed the other night, in that illusory memory, he could not afford to observe the fight from the sidelines. And now that Tuxedo Mask, evidently risen from the dead, had joined the fight -- with little more self-preservation, at that -- could he truly retreat?

He should. As he feels the tempest of his emotions surging inside him, he knows that would be the better move. And at the same time, he knows that he won't.

"You do not command me!" he yells at the royal and lupine magical girls that chastise his actions. "I allow you, all too generously, to back down and escape with your lives. It is your own foolhardy obsession with heroics that bids you stay here. And for what? To protect a *mortal*? A mortal who has shown she doesn't care a whit for anyone but herself?"

Everyone who knows Mai knows this is as far from the truth as you could get. But to those who only saw her Dark Seal behavior, especially her display right before the collapse...

Speaking of mortals, the Shitennou catches the sight of the unconscious redhead being moved away from the scene, supported by a girl who had not transformed -- and by Sailor Moon herself. His blood boils.

"Don't you dare turn your back on me!" Nephrite screams, the frustration and failure of the battle on Rainbow Bridge forcing its way out after being buried all that time. "Coward -- run from this battle, and you condemn your allies. I swear it on every star in the sky, they will know pain unmatched by any nightmare!"

To punctuate this, he hurls a blast of energy from the Dark Crystal. But it is too late. The Moon Senshi has vanished.

And his monster is assailed at every angle: by thunder, by blade, by plant. It is all too clear she is outmatched, despite striking out with her whip and dancing about to avoid collateral damage. She does the only thing she knows how to do, and lashes out in feral instinct with the weapon once again.

Nephrite's fury at the words of Eri and Tuxedo Mask is palpable now, rippling off him in sparks and waves of dark energy that threaten to lash out at any moment. "Why shouldn't I do as I please?" he demands, staring down the two of them as he begins to hover a few inches above the ground beneath him. "I am Nephrite, chosen of the stars, Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom. I am above you -- above all of you. Above your pathetic mortal morality, your pititable, *worthless* lives. And I have suffered your hubris for far, far too long."

The man summons his Dark Crystal, and the attacks are swift and brutal. A blast of astral energy towards Tuxedo Mask and Eri, then a burst of teleportation to get behind Jupiter with a sleeper hold.

"Call them off," he hisses in her ear. "Your precious mortal is gone. If you want any chance, any chance at *all*, of their survival, you will tell them to stand down."

COMBAT: Nephrite has used Whip Shocker on Princess Runealy.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Whip Shocker on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Whip Shocker on Dark Amber.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Danger Zone on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Danger Zone on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Human Shield on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Nephrite has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko narrowly dodges Nephrite's Whip Shocker, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Flash ability activates!  Tangle applied to Cute Wolf Tsukiko!  
COMBAT: Princess Runealy narrowly dodges Nephrite's Whip Shocker, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Princess Runealy's Fade ability activates!  Princess Runealy's Flash ability activates!  Tangle applied to Princess Runealy!  
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask perfectly dodges Nephrite's Danger Zone, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Tuxedo Mask's Flash ability activates!  
COMBAT: Dark Amber fails to brace Nephrite's Whip Shocker, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Tangle applied to Dark Amber!  
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi fails to brace Nephrite's Danger Zone, taking 42 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter narrowly counters Nephrite's Human Shield, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Trap applied to Sailor Jupiter!  
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter's counterattack, Supreme Suplex, partially gets through, doing 4 Fatigue damage to Nephrite!  

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Tsukiko yelps as the whip slaps her, breaking up her verbal attack. At least it got her moving, so for once the whip doesn't hit her squarely.

Still can't get out of the way of it, though.

The wolfgirl looks to the others. Sailor Moon can undoubtedly keep the other two safe, and those that remain here look to be in great spirits. Even if she doesn't seem to be anywhere near Nephrite's league, she can at least try to set up the Shitennou and his youma to be taken down by the others. She darts forward, dashing around the room, feining kicks and generally trying to keep the two immobilized.

COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Herd the Quarry on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

'Her breathing - it's stopped!' "Wh!?" Not even an articulate word; just a panicked, shocked questioning noise from Runealy. She looks to Mai, then Mio, with pleading eyes. Eyes begging her to take that back, to have made a mistake. Largely ignorant of modern medicine, the Guardian Princess interprets 'not breathing' as 'dead.' If that's so, why are Sailor Moon and Mio trying to take Mai to get help? Isn't it already too late? Eri's points about exactly who was struck down only make the unfairness of it all sting even harder.

Nephrite tries to shout her down, and he's partially successful; she has no coherent words in response, no reasoning to counter his claims of superiority, no articulate defiance. She doesn't even get the chance to say much right away, having to leap away from Karabas' whipping... yet her ankle is caught.

It's not a firm wrapping, but it is enough to make Rune 'stumble' in mid-leap and crash into a table instead of landing cleanly. Stuck in its wreckage, Runealy begins to pick herself up and take aim. Gripped in a mix of shocked disbelief and anger, she wants to hit Nephrite as hard as she possibly can... but she knows that's not a good idea, not when Sailor Jupiter is right there. Instead, Rune screams at Karabas to vent fury and grief. Even as she shouts, Runealy's wand launches a trio of green energy-balls. Unlike the one she used earlier, these have no special symbols accompanying them; they simply fly forward and will burst into sparkling mists on whatever they impact against!

COMBAT: Princess Runealy has used Burst Orb on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Princess Runealy has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Herd the Quarry, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Tangle and Trap applied to Nephrite!  
COMBAT: Nephrite fails to dodge Princess Runealy's Burst Orb, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Stagger applied to Nephrite!  

<Pose Tracker> Dark Amber [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Dark Amber eyes go wide when Nephrite attempts to ransom Jupiter. Really, the idea is so utterly absurb that he fails to handle the attack from youma as he attempts to brace it, only for it to rip through him completly. He withdraws a little bit as he frowns at Nephrite's words.

"No." is all he says in his usual flat manner. "Mai cares about many things. I do not thing 'herself' is the bulk of these." he states. "I mean, not like someone like you would understand what caring about something besides yourself might mean...." he muses out loud.

He knows Mai's in danger, but she's in good hands. He frowns.

He turns back to the Youma then clasps his hands together before the flicks two blades at the youma... then just proceeds to use his ultra quick reflexes to rain a torrent of baldes at it in super succession in an attempt to keep it occupied and pin downed.

COMBAT: Dark Amber has used Amber Bladestorm on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Dark Amber has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite fails to dodge Dark Amber's Amber Bladestorm, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

That maddening jerk in the cape who cut the youma with his top hat? He doesn't stay put. He stood there and challenged Nephrite's methodology, like he was gonna just take it in the chest, but when the crackling pulse of dark energy rips his way, he's vanished again, leaping away at ridiculous speed. It might even, for a moment, look like it's obliterated him --

-- but Tuxedo Kamen's long cape billows out and flutters down around him as he crouches next to Eri, staring at Jupiter and Nephrite.

It's wrong. Something's so wrong. Something's been so wrong.

He reaches out to help Eri up. "Hit him," he says calmly, and as quietly as before, "with everything you've got. Once she teaches him why what he just did isn't what she meant by 'polite conversation', just throw it all. He's been trying to kidnap Jupiter for weeks." The warmth is there through the glove, the strength and the channelled righteous anger, the still waters over them. "All I can do is split his attention."

Which is apparently what he's decided he's going to do, since he leaps away from Eri again and stands where Nephrite can see him easily. Maybe he can buy Jupiter herself a little more time, too. "I'm not telling you what to do. All I want to know is why it pleases you to roll around in human emotion, if it's beneath you. I want to know why you keep going after the same girls over and over, or at the people close to them. Why does it matter, if you're above them?"

Despite its origins in a 'get the bad guy to look at the talking guy while the girls are charging their lasers' plot, the words-- they're welling up of their own accord, now; Tuxedo Mask's tone gets a little too real. His heart's in it. Something's so wrong, something feels so wrong.

His hands are clenched in fists at his sides, and quick as his words flow, if he takes too long something will give. "It's the same, again and again. You twist passion. Art and poetry and song, beauty and love and joy-- why are these your tools? They're not things the Dark Kingdom has an interest in, are they? They're below you, aren't they?"

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has used Now Show Them Your Power! on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi accepts Tuxedo Mask's Now Show Them Your Power!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to Eri Shimanouchi!  

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

A look of relief flickers across Sailor Jupiter's face as she sees Sailor Moon and Mio getting Mai out of here, though it's shortlived given why. The danger isn't remotely passed so long as Nephrite's youma still exists.

Nor can Jupiter afford to be distracted. Her attention's off Nephrite for a crucial instant, and he's behind her almost before she can react. Too late to get away, she just barely manages to get a hand up as the Dark General's arm closes around her neck - it's not much, but it's enough to keep the pressure off her throat and prevent him from cutting off her air completely. Fighting back is a matter of instinct, and though she can't get any leverage she at least manages to jab her elbow into Nephrite's torso for what little effect that has.

Then she stills. It's no good just to flail blindly while he uses her as a shield against her allies-- "Or what," Jupiter says, voice gritting out low and cold. "You'll kill me?"

She wishes she could be sure it was a bluff. Mind racing, Sailor Jupiter closes her eyes; there's so much about all of this that she just doesn't understand. For a moment, an expression sweeps across her face that almost looks like regret.

When her eyes open again, however, they're filled with resolve. "Everyone!" she calls out to the other warriors. "Don't hold back!"

And then the tiny lightning rod appears from the center of her tiara, rising above her brow, a warning sign to go along with the sudden tingle in the air.

"What do you want, Nephrite?" It's an oddly quiet question, even as thunder rumbles from nowhere. "Do you even know?"

There isn't time for him to answer before the lightning bolt comes down on both of them.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Jupiter has used Supreme Thunder on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite narrowly braces Sailor Jupiter's Finisher, Supreme Thunder, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Every Heart(Inuyasha fourth ending) - Natsumi Watanabe - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTzXTsTNQxw

There were some songs that just stuck with a person, their lyrics evoking poignant feelings that were timeless to each individual. Lyrics came unbidden into her mind, as she spun and danced throughout the mess the lounge had become. Soon she's taught exactly why the Heavenly Kings were so powerful. Astral Energy bowls her over, crashing her through several tables, as splinters of broken wood fly everywhere.

o/~ How many tears must be shed...
o/~ Every Heart, Before we can become honest?
o/~ To whom must we proclaim our feelings...
o/~ Every Heart, So that we can no longer feel loneliness?

She certainly didn't feel like she'd been honest to Mai, ever since the night that she'd been forced to experience what she feels and learned about the guilt that she wrapped every part of her being around. Certainly she'd never lied to her, but she'd always held back what she wanted to say out of fear. Understanding her before she had been ready had an undesired price. And yet hadn't the two become closer as a result? Her whole world was agony as Tuxedo Mask helped her up, that bled away into a pleasant warmth as he lent her some measure of the power of the earth in a warm glow. 'Hit him.' Pain became distant before the onslaught of memories.

o/~ In the corners of my childhood memories...
o/~ There is a warm place, So Sweet!
o/~ Where the stars talk of a future...
o/~ That will always sparkle, So Shine!

'Chichi how do Kodama get inside a tree?' An innocent question in better times to the man she once looked up to above all others. 'It's more that they become the tree.' 'Oh! But how do they move if they're a part of it?' 'Well I suppose the tree moves with them.' Skeptically she'd replied, 'How? Trees don't have feet!' Ruffling her hair, which elicited a little squeal, he answered, 'The roots become their feet!' Reminiscence had so much hurt for her now, knowing where their relationship stood, how he had betrayed her, abandoned her in every way that matters.

o/~ Round and round in looping time...
o/~ We live and come to understand things.
o/~ At times laughing, sometimes crying,
o/~ We will continue to walk again today.

In the wake of that, she had learned that 'family' was something that wasn't solely relegated to people who shared the same bloodline. Mai wasn't the only one certainly, but she had taken her under her wing like she was her surrogate little sister, given her the caring and compassion she craved from her family. As Sailor Jupiter teaches Nephrite the error of trying to use her as a human shield, Eri springs upwards to grasp a light fixture, looking down at the Youma. 'Don't hold back!' Jupiter says. Nothing could have ever been easier and more clear for her than doing just that. Her voice rings out ferociously, "I don't care if you're above me! I don't care if I'm insignificant and you're some chosen of the heavens! None of that matters! Because even if I'm weak I have just enough power to make you give me back my sister right now!"

With terrifying speed, her scourge extends, each length branching outwards and inwards into countless thorny roots. It quickly becomes thicker than any briar patch and keeps going, entwining about themselves. Their path is entirely chaotic, random as the abundant growth tries to take the Youma out. A whole system of roots crashes down towards the Youma like the foot of a wrathful nature spirit, trying to press it into the stage and grind it into the ground below.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Eri Shimanouchi has used Footsteps of the Kodama on Nephrite.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Nephrite fails to dodge Eri Shimanouchi's Finisher, Footsteps of the Kodama, taking 137 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  

<Pose Tracker> Nephrite [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Jupiter is correct in calling his bluff -- he does not intend on killing her. Rather, he has learned that the most effective way to harm a magical girl is to harm her allies in her place. That is why he held her precisely where she could see the damage he did to Eri and Tuxedo Mask, and why he does not move in for a deadly strike, now that he has the upper hand against her. He needs her, needs the information she no doubt has. If he lets the doubts of that vision percolate in his mind any longer, his mission will suffer for it.

And how, he does not know, but the warriors of the field begin to give form to those doubts in the form of words. Words he had not dared to speak, to think, preferring to shove them into the back of his mind and seal away with obsessive devotion to the Dark Kingdom. His eyes narrow as Tuxedo Mask continues to speak, his grip reflexively tightening on the hostage he holds. He knows the younger man will say and do anything to attack his resolve, in an attempt to get him away from Sailor Jupiter. And yet...there is such honesty in what he says. No bluster, no bluffing, no great master plan that he can sense.


He opens his mouth to answer, when Sailor Jupiter distills his essential doubt, the source of his sleeplessness and insecurity and obsession, into a single question. And it's hard to say whether that or the thunderbolt that consumes his body, burns his uniform, and forces a scream of agony from his mouth is a more effective attack.

'What do I want?'

Stunned in more ways than one, Nephrite drops his arm and releases Jupiter in whatever state she's in after bearing the brunt of her own attack. A few feet away, Karabas lets out her own scream as the might of the Puella Magi, backed by the other magical warriors, comes down upon her. And she falls, body twisted in the roots that were her undoing, a ghostly white vapor rising from her as she dies. Somewhere far away, Mai's condition no doubt starts to improve as her life energy returns to her.

But he will not let this prize go completely to waste.

Scorched, bedraggled, and limping as though in a trance, the Shitennou steps forward and grabs his youma's ankle, taking for himself the last bits of energy that were keeping her form together. She dissolves into fine, grey dust, and a song rises unbidden in Nephrite's consciousness -- a side effect of stealing his servant's essence.

o/~There, out in the darkness.
A fugitive running,
Fallen from God.o/~

He holds up his right hand, Dark Crystal beginning to shine with power. And, more than anything, he looks /tired/. Gone is the pompous, self-assured General, commander of pain and misery for everyone in his path. This is a man who is ravaged, inside and out, and holding onto his last, desperate hope.

o/~God be my witness,
I never shall yield
'til we come face to face.o/~

He's not completely aware of what's leaving his lips, for today has been a long, laborious one, and every nerve still aches from the force of Jupiter's attack. The Dark Crystal begins to project a dome of darkness around the battlefield, leaving them all standing in a field of stars and nebulas, the room from before effectively disappeared. It would be beautiful -- if there was not something terribly *wrong* about the whole thing.

o/~Stars, in your multitudes,
Scarce to be counted
Filling the darkness
With order and light.o/~

It is odd that a man whose being is so submerged in darkness would be singing about light, but he is, and in such a pained voice that he almost seems a different man from the one who has been the scourge of innocents for who knows how long.

o/~You know your place in the sky.
You hold your course and your aim.o/~

He envied the stars, sure and unerring in their celestial march. Even then -- in that murky time before from which he remembers so little -- he looked to the sky for guidance, unable to trust his own will and ability to see him through. For the stars knew no doubt. Even when they foretold doom and destruction for innocents and for the weak, they did not falter. Not like him, not like the weakness that was buried within him from the day he awakened into his destiny.

For a second, it looks as though Nephrite might retreat without calling down his great power. Until,

o/~And if you fall
As Lucifer fell
You fall in flames.o/~

...that's right. He had no choice, did he? As he'd been reminded so many times, by himself, by others, by the *stars* -- this was his destiny. This was his purpose, to serve the Dark Kingdom at the cost of everything else. He did not have to be happy, he did not have to be certain. He just had to be alive and effective, capable of advancing Queen Beryl's will. And so his eyes harden once again, and Nephrite resumes his full height. The Dark Crystal pulses with energy as the celestial prison he has trapped them all in begins to collapse.

o/~So it must be, for so it is written,
On the doorway to paradise,
That those who falter and those who fall
Must pay the price.o/~

As the stars begin to light up and shoot downwards all around them, and the darkness swiftly reclaims the exposed heart of Nephrite, there is still one glimmer in his eyes of whatever man had stood before them a second ago, one last chance. The man looks from Tuxedo Mask to Sailor Jupiter and back again, memories of the vision at the concert coming to him without reason. He whispers,

"Where is Princess Jupiter? Where is Endymion?"

And then the last trace of light is gone. Nephrite smirks, beholding the amount of power that surrounds them, and teleports outside of the great dome to watch from above. Weakened though he is, and without the energy of a human to show for his efforts, this will show them all the force that they are dealing with when they face him.

o/~I will never rest
'Til then, this I swear.
This I swear
By the Stars.o/~

COMBAT: FINISHER! Nephrite has used By The Stars on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Nephrite has used By The Stars on Tuxedo Mask.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Nephrite has used By The Stars on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Danger Zone on Dark Amber.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Danger Zone on Princess Runealy.
COMBAT: Nephrite has used Danger Zone on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Nephrite has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko fails to dodge Nephrite's Danger Zone, taking 57 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cute Wolf Tsukiko is unable to keep fighting!  
COMBAT: Dark Amber perfectly dodges Nephrite's Danger Zone, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Dark Amber's Fade ability activates!  Dark Amber's Flash ability activates!  
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter fails to brace Nephrite's Finisher, By The Stars, taking 79 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi narrowly braces Nephrite's Finisher, By The Stars, taking 30 Fatigue damage!  Eri Shimanouchi's Block ability activates!  Eri Shimanouchi's Parry ability activates!  

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Tsukiko's dance of distraction is somewhat effective at limiting the mobility of Nephrite and his youma, but it also means she's effectively at point-blank range when Nephrite's unleashed energy goes off. All the wolfgirl can do is cringe ineffectively as the burst slams into her, slamming her through the furniture and into the wall.

Her last thought before unconciousness takes her is a fragment of satisfaction that the youma is no more.

COMBAT: Tuxedo Mask narrowly braces Nephrite's Finisher, By The Stars, taking 39 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Princess Runealy narrowly braces Nephrite's Danger Zone, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Princess Runealy's Block ability activates!  Princess Runealy's Parry ability activates!  

<Pose Tracker> Princess Runealy [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

'Don't hold back.' This call pierces through Rune's thoughts. She hadn't intended to! Yet Jupiter's urging gains new meaning as Eri speaks, bringing a new possibility to mind. Is it somehow not too late, can Mai indeed be brought back? That doesn't make any sense to Runealy, but Eri has shouted it for all to hear in this lounge. Where she previously planned to go all-out to make sure this didn't happen to anyone else ever again, now she has a more hopeful reason: That Eri is on to something, that those speaking of getting Mai to help weren't just in denial.

Clinging to that possibility, the Guardian Princess' new hope clashes with Nephrite's even as the area changes to space and stars. These new environs are wondrous and frightening, but she projects a dome around herself in an attempt to withstand its collapse; teeth grit as portions of space fall against it, and Runealy buckles to her knees while holding her wand up. Thankfully, the forcefield holds.

When the assault ends, she stares up at Nephrite and is jarred by his singing; it sounds ominous. Yet she can't ponder its meaning too long, realizing that there is something weighing far more heavily on her mind: Tsukiko has fallen. Runealy rushes to the wall her friend was blasted in to, frantic to check on her.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Maybe Tomorrow - Emily Curtis(Composed by: Yuki Kajiura) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6m4G5GjfpA

It was like Nephrite had gathered all the stars from the night sky and cast them down to rain all around her. Falling from a light fixture that no longer seems to exist, she digs her heels into ground she only assumes must be there. Heat, and fire, and pain. Mostly strangely, radiant darkness. It seemed like such a paradox to her, for something so bright and vibrant, that guided people hom in times of auld, to be associated with such a lack of light. She feels herself screaming against the brightness. Falling down to one knee, as she endures, and survives as best as she can. And when the last trace of radiance is gone. Darkness remained.

o/~ The moon is gone and the night is still so dark.
o/~ I'm a little afraid of tomorrow.
o/~ For this day, was so long and hard for me.
o/~ And I've lost some of the things so far I have trusted.

The Youma was gone, wasn't it, they'd won? It didn't feel like a victory. She knew Mai. She knew the gaping emotional wounds this would leave upon her, even if she hadn't been at fault for her actions. She just felt so tired, so emotionally devastated by the realization. She wanted to lay down and cry herself to sleep. Her eyes looked glassy and abstracted.

o/~ I've come through, some betrayal, some old pains.
o/~ Some addiction to the love and some good-byes.
o/~ Like you did, like mother, father did.
o/~ I will cry a little while and wait for tomorrow.

And yet, while Mai wouldn't begrudge her the rest, didn't she deserve better? Hadn't she been there too when she stumbled and fell, and needed someone, she never allowed herself rest while anyone still needed her in the immediate sense. And yet with all the lackluster vigor of a newborn lamb, she climbed back to her feet, rather than fell into a heap upon the floor.

She takes several, stumbling steps towards Tsukiko, who had fallen just moments before. She wasn't about to leave Nephrite any more victims. None of the brave girls and boys who fought him this day deserved that. And that was more important that any matter of petty satisfaction striking against him vengefully might give her. She looks around the room to make certain Rune, Tuxedo Mask, and Sailor Jupiter, and Dark Amber were still upright, some part of her relieved. She leans over, encircles her arms about her... and flees. If one could call the limping, staggering movements out of the room running.

o/~ I'm a little bit afraid of tomorrow. But I will go...
o/~ I'll go over... I will go on.

<Pose Tracker> Tuxedo Mask [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The questions resonate, Tuxedo Mask can tell that his questions are hitting home -- and Jupiter's, straight and to the point, summing everything up truly and tightly -- and Eri's strength of will sees her through to lay the force of her feelings against the horror Nephrite slings, and...

...Nephrite's singing.

Even through the brilliance of Jupiter's lightning, the sound of that voice singing freezes Mamoru in place, echoes in his head. And then they're in the warped echo of the stars and planets, of the beauty of space, and it's overwhelming; he can still only hear that singing.

Endymion. Where is Endymion? Who is Endymion? He knows the name from somewhere--

When everything starts to go to hell very quickly, dark blue eyes are still locked on Nephrite, and this time it's not the determination and resignation of a boy who believes he's about to die and wants to make it count-- it's a desperately grasping kind of recognition. Tip of the tongue, but at the back of the brain. It's the feeling he's come to associate with dancing with Usagi, or listening to Zoe Palissandre play the piano, or trying to get Makoto to play cards with him. It's a kind of homesickness, sharp and sweet and full of grief and hope in equal measure.

Tuxedo Kamen just stares at Nephrite up until the Shitennou teleports out, and that means he doesn't even see the attack coming until it's on top of him.

The tall boy's driven to his knees, bracing against the wild and heavy force of the collapsing dome and the energies loosed by Nephrite in the wake of his leaving; he pulls his cloak around him tightly and breathes through his teeth, fingers trying to dig into the ground but meeting only the carpeting and the floor beneath it. Singed and tattered and cut and abraded, Mamoru's gasping for breath by the time the fury of the attack disperses.

But still breathing. He held. Barely, but he held. He looks up, looks for Makoto-- his expression, unmasked behind the physical mask, is bewildered but not displeased.

Unsteadily, the caped teenager picks himself up. The emergency services are undoubtedly on their way; Runealy and Eri are rushing in the direction of the Cute Wolf, Mai is at the hospital with Usagi and Mio, and Kinzo looks all right. Tuxedo Mask steps back into the shadows and disappears.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

If anyone thought that Sailor Jupiter might be proof against her own power - no. The bolt of raw electricity engulfs them both, and it scorches her as surely as it sears Nephrite, dragging a cry of pain from her throat and leaving blackened streaks on her uniform, red weals across her skin.

When Nephrite releases his hold on her, she drops, just managing to catch herself on hands and knees as wisps of smoke rise from her body. In the back of her mind she knows that she needs to get up, but her muscles are still shuddering and uncooperative from the electric shock.

At least the youma's been defeated. Mai will be okay now... right?

She's still kneeling there on the floor of the karaoke parlor when Nephrite begins, incongruously, to sing, as the Dark Crystal begins to shine and the dome forms all around them to surround everything in the spangled darkness of space. Now Sailor Jupiter can't move for an entirely different reason - something is so wrong about this. Something has been so wrong.

Green eyes look up in confusion at Nephrite. Her enemy, someone Jupiter should hate for everything he's done to her and to others--

She is not prepared when the dome collapses and the stars begin to fall, can't even begin to think of bracing herself against it. The impact burns, racking her body far worse than the lightning did, and thus time Sailor Jupiter screams--

--but still somehow in the midst of pain, she hears Nephrite's whisper, feels a shock of something like recognition at the names she doesn't know or understand.

And then it's over, and Nephrite is gone.

The collapsed heap of senshi on the floor shudders, and slowly and painfully begins to pick herself up again. Dazed eyes look slowly around the room for the others, taking in the sight of them: Tsukiko down, Princess Runealy caring for her, Eri limping away into the night. Tuxedo Kamen, just as wrecked as she is, but alive.

Her eyes meet Mamoru's behind his mask, her expression just as bewildered as his.

<Pose Tracker> Dark Amber [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Dark Amber looks to the Cute Wolf. It's the first thing he reacts to, actually--- before he realizes the attack is coming for him. He's able to effectivly just teleport out of the way as he was 'mid flash' as it was to go after Ikiko---but now Eri's handling that. He nods to himself. He frowns as he looks up to where Nephrite was, but---- he frowns and looks to Sailor Jupiter. Then to Mamoru. And between the two. What just happened there?

Regardless, the day seems 'saved' now--- well as far as saved goes in this specific situation. He just sort of vanishes off into vanilla-wood smelling mist. Off, and away!