2015-06-13 - SCHOOL'S OUT

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School is done for the year at last, and it's time for a big party at Infinity! Much socialization, enjoying of delicious food, and listening to great music. And the Melody of Sorrow.


Hibiki Houjou, Kanade Minamino, Kuniko Saito, Gordon, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Ikiko Hisakata, Usagi Tsukino
GM: Honoka Yukishiro


Infinity Institute, 45th floor balcony.

OOC - IC Date:

22 July 2014 - 06/13/2015

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

At Ohtori Academy, a thousand ivory doves fly past the high glass windows and opening French doors as the bell in the Chairman's Tower tolls its glorious news.

At Juuban Public School, a pair of cats looking on from the high wall by the gate watch with goggle-eyed amazement as children come pouring out the front gates, laughing and babbling.

And at Infinity Institute, the beginning of summer -- or the final bell, if looked at another way -- is heralded with a glorious carillon performance by a genius instrumentalist. There is also a pipe organist. And the pipes are shooting flames.

As it so happens, the latter institution has prepared a Sister School celebration to bring in the vacation with a party. A barbecue! Free train tickets awaited any students exiting Ohtori or Juuban who wanted to be whisked across town to this event.

Infinity doesn't have a whole lot of outdoor real estate -- what they have is height. And so it is that they've repurposed one of their massive concrete balconies (45th floor) to the purpose of a party. Propane grills are lined up along one side, with members of the Infinity Culinary Program hard at work searing all manner of meats and veggies in the flames. Condiments and sides are available on a table parallel to this operation; drinks are at a third. There is a little alcohol, because the college students and teachers are here, but it's being guarded by a very stern Dormitory Mother.

In the middle of the platform, people can mill around displays from the Infinity Botany Club, which definitely provide a summery feel. Besides gloriously weird-looking plants (like Monkey Puzzle Trees), and bountiful flowers, they also have tinkling fountains that do a lot to banish the heat.

And on the far side from the food, a stage has been set up, with act after act ready to take to it with every kind of music Infinity has a club for.

That may not be literally infinite, but it's close enough. This party seems set to go all night if it can, and right now it's only an hour after school got out.

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

Gordon found grilling outdoors on the 45th floor challenging when he first arrived. Now, though, the chef is used to it. It is a valuable learning opportunity, in his opinion: a cook needs to learn to operate in strange conditions. Infinity Institute has never disappointed him with the opportunities that it provides.

The rabbit is hopping around behind the propane grills and calling out instructions to his students. "Order up!" he bellows. "You've got more coming in and if you fall behind here, you'll be--"

His scolding is cut off by someone dropping a pot.

The rabbit sighs, then he shakes his head and looks up. Oh, he thinks, the Botany Club really outdid themselves this year. But then another smell catches his nose: "Hey! Make sure those ribs stay on long enough, or some unlucky student is celebrating their break with a stomach bug!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko Saito is here and hard at work! (HER end of term festivities come later. There are chocolates involved.) The wind is pretty nasty up this high, but she perseveres.

She is NOT in charge of the ribs - no - she's grilling fishes on sticks and vegetables! This is more delicate than ribs, which is why it's been left to a real fishmeister like her. Her sleeves are rolled up and her hair is under a cloth cap, her face a little ruddy and a grin on her face.

"Who wants spicy? Spicy coming up!" Some of the fish are being painted with a curiously reddish sauce...

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Ikiko Hisakata walks out onto the balcony, having taken somewhat longer than others might have. The strays of Tokyo could tell that something happy was happening today, and several of them had visited her en route. While she does enjoy visting her canine friends, it did slow her down somewhat.

But now she's here! And oh, the food smells great! And those plants look neat! And it's the end of the term, and summer is here, and it's time to celebrate!

She wanders over to the food area, sniffing at the aromas on the air. Kuniko's question catches her attention, and she angles over that direction. "I'll try a spicy one!" Ikiko pipes up, a cheerful smile on her face.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The end of the semester is providing a massive relief to Fuu Hououji; she'll still be coming to campus a few times a week for archery practice whenever her schedule permits, but the chance to take a (qualified) break from her studies means a lot of time to catch up on other sorts of backlog ... which, in her case, means a fair number of games she needs to finish. (Including one that she's been *making*.)

At the moment, though, she's happy to just relax and decompress; she's holding a glass of iced oolong tea as she considers the grills, debating her options. Kuniko's fish looks delicious, and once she grabs a plate she'll probably try some of that - maybe not the spicy ones, though. Consideration of food is further delayed, though, as she spots her parents and her elder sister arriving; she raises her free arm to wave to them, then bows in passing to Ikiko on her way to greet her family.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Food? Check!

Fun? Check.

Fuu? Most likely check.

The last of the three motivations for coming is more than likely guaranteed for Hikaru as she heads for the cookout. The other two are primary motivators, though, as there's nothing Hikaru likes more than a little fun and food after a stressful semester, made even more so by the presence of numerous youma and things like that causing headaches all over for everyone, Hikaru included.

Arriving a little later than she expected, Hikaru rushes in and stops, bent over with her hands on her knees catching her breath. And wouldn't you know it, she's stopped right by her buddy. "Oh, hello Fuu-chan!" Hikaru says, sweatdropping as she bows. "I guess I underestimated the travel time getting here," She says as she proceeds to get herself a drink.

<Pose Tracker> Shun Minami [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

It's convenient for Shun that the celebration is taking place at the school he attends, insofar as that if it *weren't* right here at Infinity Institute, he wouldn't have bothered coming. As it is, curiosity propels him to at least show up and have a look around, and so when the bells chime the end of the spring semester, he kills time by finishing up some final Student Council matters, then when the party is supposed to have started, he walks to one of the elevators and rides it up to the 45th floor balcony, school briefcase in one hand, an open book in the other.

In all fairness, once the doors actually slide open, he lifts his head, dark eyebrows rising slightly at the thick smell of barbeque. He even deigns to put away his book as he walks out around the floor and take a look around. Gordon is a common enough sight, being a teacher at Infinity Institute, and Shun gives him a polite nod as he passes by. He catches sight of Fuu as well, and in deference to the fact that they're in a club together, Shun actually bothers to smile when he gives her a nod of greeting as well. He stops at Kuniko's spot, watching her roast up the fish for a moment as another girl comes up to request a spicy one.

"How spicy is it?" he wonders.

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

"School's out, school's out~" comes the sing-song of one Lera Camry, "American" exchange student who is happy to be done with the term (and, for once, feeling like things went okay for a day). Her bag swings in her hand, since she has the backpack clutched by the toop at the top. Her brown-gold eyes brighten as the elevator doors open and she starts to take a step out.

Then her head swivels in slow motion to Shun Minami. Her mouth opens and her jaw clenches as she stares, face going pale. She recalls, vaguely, when she stomped on that bookshelf. Three times. While Shun was under it.

"Oh look at the time, have to go, bye, au revoir, sayonara, don't look over here, Minami-san, nothing here, so long, farewell, aufwiedersehen to you!" she yells. She runs back into the elevator and presses the lobby button three dozen times in a row. It takes halfway through her presses for the doors to close again.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko slathers a fish with the reddish sauce, as well as several others. They get a few more long seconds of crispy grilling. She answers Shun: "It'll put hair on your chest! Or remove it! Basically it's hot enough to change your chest hair situation." Her voice lowers guiltily: "Chef said it when he tried the sauce." It's not her fault. Really.

<Pose Tracker> Kanade Minamino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Kanade wiped the sweat from her forehead as she set the tray of cupcakes and other various sweets on the table. The Sweets Club had been baking non-stop for the last three days straight to get ready for the big event. Their club had a tradition of providing some of the best desserts, and they were honour bound to uphold their reputation.

Kanade glanced around to the other students, basking in the excitement the semester was over and the students would be able to take a break. She grinned with pride at how the party was coming together. It was going to be a great night, she could feel it in her bones...even if her fingers were a tad sore from all the cupcake decorating she had been doing.

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

It's summer, glorious summer, and school is finally done forever! Or, not quite forever. More like six weeks. Still, the point must be made that classes are done, exams are done, and Hibiki Houjou is prepared to celebrate with everyone else!

Eventually, that is. The party has begun, and yet she's not scarfing down the food yet. No, she had to go sniffing around the Sweets club the instant her science teacher was done pointing out the problems she'd run into on her final. A preview to be had, of just what her best friend was up to...

And, in the end, volunteering to help. In Kanade's wake, the amber-haired middle-schooler follows - her own slowness explained at a moment's glance. She'd volunteered to help carry sweets and save Kanade some effort...

...and a bit of her competitive streak came in to play.

So it is that Hibiki slowly makes her way over to the sweets table with no fewer than five great trays of myriad cakes and cookies and all manner of baked delights - one on each arm, two trembling as they're held in her hands, and the last precariously balanced on her head. She's able to make it, but...

"...um. Kanade? Mind giving me a hand? I don't think I thought this all the way through..."

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

When one of the spicy fish is ready and offered. Ikiko accepts it with a smile and a nod of thanks. She bites into it...

...and her eyes go wide and watery.

She winces, then scarfs the rest of her serving of fish, trying to get through all of it before her tastebuds can fully start screaming. The burn isn't too bad while she has food in her mouth, but once it's been eaten, well...

"That was tasty!," she manages to squeak out. "And very, very spicy!" She scampers off to get something to drink, waving to Fuu as she goes by.

<Pose Tracker> Kanade Minamino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Kanade blinked at her friend and then sighed subtly as she massaged her eyes. "Hibiki, did it ever occur to you that you could just break it up into two trips?" She reached out and removed the tray off her head and a couple from her hands to set on the table. "Good grief, I will admit I'm amazed you came this far without spilling anything."

Although, if Hibiki had she would have given her friend a stern lecture of being more careful since she would have wasted all of their hard work. There were times she was grateful the girl was as strong as an ox sometimes.

"Thanks for helping out though. Having someone to just carry the food takes a load off the rest of the club."

<Pose Tracker> Shun Minami [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Shun gives Kuniko an odd look. "I... see," he says after a moment a furrow-browed staring. /Humans have the strangest food substances,/ he thinks to himself. /Why would they need to create something that can put or remove hair on one's chest...?/

Fortunately for Shun, he doesn't need to understand humans, he just has to pass as one. It also helps that the young girl next to him takes one of those fishes and eats it, and promptly gets weepy and runs away. Such a puzzling substance. Then again, Shun can feel it stinging his face from here. He'd really rather not have one, but if even a young child is willing to eat it...

"One, please," he says, and accepts a fish-on-a-stick whenever it's ready.

Nearby shouting pulls at his attention before he can eat anything, though, and Shun turns his head to see Lera in the elevator, jamming on the 'close' button at a rate that would make a hummingbird dizzy. If she really didn't want him to notice her, she really shouldn't have yelled like that. Fortunately for her, upon catching sight of her, Shun narrows his eyes... and turns his head back to Kuniko.

That would be a snub, Lera.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

A party heralding the advent of summer vacation? At /Infinity/? A school with such talented and beautiful personages such as Michiru Kaioh, Haruka Tenoh, and her good friend Minako Aino. That's not even touching upon all the other lovely friends she'd made that attend this school, such as Lera, Kuniko, Hibiki, Kanade- her friend's list aside, Usagi was so there.

Staring out over the edge of the balcony with a plate full of barbecue skewers, she leaned over precariously, "Amazing! We're so high up!" Her gaze moved from one end of Tama to the other, "I wish I were an Infinity Student." She said wistfully, "Looking out the windows during class to see a sight like this!"

"I don't think you need any more assistance when it comes to not paying attention in class. You didn't forget your performance on finals already, did you?" That would be Luna, perched upon the stone railing forty five stories up as casually as any feline, her tongue licking away at barbecue sauce from the edge of her mouth, "And don't lean over the edge. Someone as clumsy as you shouldn't be allowed within ten meters this high up."

Irritated, Usagi stepped away and turned her back to her, "How rude! And after I snuck you some food!" Nearby staff members start peering at the middle school girl and the cat just a little too closely, thus Luna lets out an exaggerated 'meow' while Usagi looks from one person to another, laughing in awkward embarrassment from being seen squabbling with a cat, "I think I'll just get back to the party." Luna whispers, "Hey, what about the rest of my meal!" Not even stopping in her tracks, she keeps walking without looking behind her, "Maybe I'll just return to feed /Kamineko/ later!" "You're never going to let go of that are you?!" Luna sighs, then rests her head on her paws, "It was good barbecue too."

Taking a bite from her own skewer, she initially thought to return to the central area, but upon eyeing a certain handsome boy, her path diverts to the line, waving to Kuniko, Hibiki, and Kanade on the way exuberantly with her free hand- noting the strategic placement of the sweets table as she flanks Shun Minami, to get a better look at his handsome face, her words dripping with excited glee, "It is you!"

Looking around him in puzzlement, then behind him as if he might be somehow hiding someone behind her, "Minako-chan is here with you right?" After all, she'd consider it a /given/ that Minako would be at the party with her boyfriend. It dawns on her in seconds that she's nowhere nearby, "Oh that's right, she hasn't even introduced us yet, has she Shun-kun? She just tells me so much about you that it feels like we've already met!" And then leaning in, she answers his earlier question, "You've tried her curry right? If so, this probably won't even be a challenge to you!"

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

"Saito," Gordon says while flipping a few steaks on the grill, "the other rabbit has impugned your honor."

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

With Kanade's help, Hibiki is rapidly divested of her sweet burden - laughing off the criticisms the whole while. "Well, that came to mind, yeah. The real question you should be asking is 'why didn't I do that thing'. But who do you take me for - some heathen who'd spill the Sweets Club's hard work all over the ground?!"

There's a brief diversion as Ikiko runs by, mouth burning, and Hibiki can't help but let out a whistle. "Looks like the fish is impressive...hey, kid! Try the cream puffs, as long as they don't have red sprinkles they'll be cool!"

Since she's freed of having to carry the sweets, Hibiki is also free to wave to the ever-cheerful Usagi - who's approaching that upperclassman from the whole Library Island thing. Picking up and idly nibbling at one of the elaborately chocolate-frosted donuts - complete with a chocolate treble clef, which is annoyingly impressive, she turns back to Kanade. A few things she could say to that...

But it's already a great day, what with classes being done, and so she answers with a friendly smile. "Hey, you know that all you have to do is ask, right? Now come on, we should get some of that barbecue - you've earned it, after all your hard work!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Get something creamy, it'll help more," Kuniko calls after Ikiko after she scarfs it down. She uses tongs then, flipping over grilled fat slices of vegetables - zucchinis, onions, carrots, eggplants...

Rabbits. No, not rabbits. "Huh?" Kuniko says, looking up. "-- Oh, Tsukino! You like spicy stuff?" she asks, over a sizzling steam. Flipping eggplant slices is tricky, /she was focused/.

<Pose Tracker> Shun Minami [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

At the sound of his name, Shun turns around to peer at a pigtailed girl he's definitely never seen before in his life. She jabbers at him as if they're already friends, but it isn't until she drops a certain name that he realizes-- "Oh, I take it you're one of Minako's friends," he says, turning to face Usagi. He smiles pleasantly. "How odd; she never mentioned me to you."

He doesn't address the fact that he's here at this party without his girlfriend whatsoever. Actually, come to think of it, it feels like it's been some time since he's seen her... Perhaps he should send her a text. He probably should; she seemed rather irritable the last time they spoke, and he hasn't decided to end the experiment yet. Shun thus takes a moment to retrieve his phone and shoot Minako a text informing her that he's at the party and asking her if she's here already, then puts it away to take the fish-on-a-stick.

As he does, he eyeballs Usagi. "You say this is comparable to Minako's curry...?" He remembers that travesty well, oh yes. If this is a few bars down... surely it'll be all right.

Shun takes a bite. He chews. And chews. And chews. And swallows.

"You're right," he tells Usagi, a portrait of placidity. "It isn't quite on the level of Minako's curry." He smiles at Kuniko. "But it's still quite... delicious."

This isn't even a lie, necessarily. It's definitely delicious compared to The Curry. Spiciness aside, the fish itself is quite juicy and flavorful. Kuniko's remark on something creamy helping is duly noted, as well as--hmm, isn't that Kanade and Hibiki? Shun remembers them from the last LIE Club expedition--someone shouting about trying a cream puff. He nods farewell to Kuniko and begins to gravitate over towards the sweets.

He doesn't ask Usagi's name. Usagi may well decide to inform him anyway.

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Ikiko does a skidding turn, heading towards Hibiki once the creampuffs are suggested. Pausing just long enough to find one without red sprinkles, she grabs one and starts eating.

Her expression goes from scorched pain to cool relief, and then to happy enjoyment -- this is a good creampuff, after all! "Thanks for the help," she smiles after finishing the creampuff. "Out of curiosity, what's with the ones with red sprinkles?"

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

There is a tiny musical note -- an eighth note, bright purple, with two googly eyes. They blink twice, looking down at the bunny beneath them.

Indeed, it is balanced right on the tip of Gordon's toque.

"A nyote!!" chirps a little white-and-pink cat with glee as she attempts to vault over the chef's head, taking hat (and note) with her.

The operative word in that sentence was 'attempt'.

Hummy bowls right into Gordon, sending the two of them into a tumble of fur and general adorableness, while the Note bounces upwards, landing delicately on the lid of one of the propane grills.

It blinks at Kuniko.

"Not so faaast~" "Not so faaast~" "NOT SO FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST--!"

Three men in vaguely Musketeers-esque purple cloaks, and color-coordinated blue, green and pink vests respectively, bound over the balcony from who-knows-where in the sky, and point their fingers directly at Hummy and the Note.

Then they seem to notice that they have an audience -- hundreds of students from the three Sister schools, gathered in their red, blue and yellow uniforms for the last time for a long time.

"Well, well." Bassdrum strokes his mighty beard. "Students... at a party... celebrating the end of a..."

He struggles to find the right word, until Hummy extricates herself from Gordon and lands in between them and the Note, pointing soft paw-first, "SEMESTER! AND NOW WE ARE GOING TO EAT CUPCAKES AND NOODLES AND PLAY AT THE BEACH ALL SUMMER LONG AND YOU CAN'T STOP US!"

Bassdrum's eyebrow raises with exaggerated slowness.


Power -- true power, dark power, the kind that crackles hairs and rends the air, explodes from his diaphram into the air. It pours over the Note (who has been watching all this more-or-less impassively), whose googly-eyes turn into angry red slits. Then it, too, explodes with energy, a vicious, angry violet.

When the light clears, it seems to have fused with the propane grill in front of it -- and grown a thousandfold. Boney arms and legs and talons extend from either end of the grill, while its cover seems to have become a gaping jaw. Within, heat unbearable!

"Negatone! Spread the Melody of Sorrow all across this foolish spectacle! Let everyone know despair!"


It's even worse than Bassdrum's bass, a sound that so purely expresses emptiness, loneliness, not so much the absence of hope as its utter perversion. It's a gauge to the soul that rends it open to the void, to that place within every psyche that fears that it must stand, and fall, alone.

All the students collapse to their knees immediately, clutching their ears and sobbing.

Well -- almost all.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro transforms into Negatone!

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 9 opponents!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Ikiko Hisakata.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Hibiki Houjou.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Gordon.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Usagi Tsukino.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Kanade Minamino.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Melody of Sorrow on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 8 opponents!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hibiki Houjou narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Hibiki Houjou is Quipped! Hibiki Houjou's Block ability activates! Hibiki Houjou's Parry ability activates! Hibiki Houjou is Taunted! Stun applied to Hibiki Houjou!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Fuu Hououji is Quipped! Stun applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Ikiko Hisakata narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Ikiko Hisakata is Quipped! Ikiko Hisakata's Block ability activates! Ikiko Hisakata is Taunted! Stun applied to Ikiko Hisakata!
COMBAT: Kanade Minamino narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Kanade Minamino is Quipped! Stun applied to Kanade Minamino!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Hikaru Shidou is Quipped! Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates! Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates! Hikaru Shidou is Taunted! Stun applied to Hikaru Shidou!
COMBAT: Gordon fails to dodge Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Gordon is Quipped! Gordon is Taunted! Stun applied to Gordon!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to brace Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Kuniko Saito is Quipped! Kuniko Saito is Taunted! Stun applied to Kuniko Saito!
COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Usagi Tsukino is Quipped! Usagi Tsukino's Fade ability activates! Usagi Tsukino's Flash ability activates! Usagi Tsukino is Taunted! Stun applied to Usagi Tsukino!

<Pose Tracker> Kanade Minamino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

She gave a small smile to Hibiki. "I know, Hibiki," she stated. Despite her faults, Hibiki was reliable when she need to beKanade was about to argue that she couldn't eat when she still had to get the napkins, extra spoons and forks...until her stomach spoke up and growled an impression of a tiger. Kanade blushed as she folded her arms over her chest. "I suppose eating would be a good idea-"

She was cut off as suddenly they heard Hummy cry out. A note?! Here?! Before she could respond, the Trio the Minor suddenly appeared to transform the Negatone and sing a wave of sorrow over the crowd.

Kanade barely managed to brace herself as the song of sorrow struck her, and she braced agains the table behind her.

Justified anger built up inside Kanade as she glared at the Negatone. "We all were looking forward to this party, and you dare ruin after we put our sweat in tears into wanting to celebrate the end of our semester?! UNFORGIVABLE!"

Kanade wiped out her Precure Module and within seconds Kanade vanished and in her place stood Cure Rhythm. She glanced over to her friend and her fists tightened upon seeing her in agony. "I won't forgive you this!" She leaped into the air, preparing to land a fully kick in the monster's face.

COMBAT: Kanade Minamino transforms into Cure Rhythm!

COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has used Pretty Cure Kick on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Cure Rhythm's Pretty Cure Kick, taking 18 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Ikiko Hisakata [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Ikiko has just enough time to recognize the Trio before the Negatone sounds off. She clamps her hands over her ears, but that sound gets everywhere -- and unfortunately, she's been getting more sensitive to sounds recently (a side effect of the wolf part of her becoming slightly more pronounced).

She rolls under a table, and with a flash of silver she transforms into Cute Wolf Tsukiko -- making sure to move her hands to cover her wolf ears, of course!

"Gah, you're loud and off-key!" the wolfgirl yells at the Negatone. She stands up, glaring at it. "Storming in to make a mess of this party? We are going to kick you out of here, and we'll sound a lot better while doing so!"

COMBAT: Ikiko Hisakata transforms into Cute Wolf Tsukiko!

COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Bark! on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly dodges Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Bark!, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Cute Wolf Tsukiko is Psyched! Exhausted applied to Honoka Yukishiro!

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


Gordon did not see Hummy coming. He practically never sees Hummy coming. She slams right into him, knocking him over and sends him rolling in a tumble with a yelp. "What is the meaning of--aagh!"

He is separating himself from Hummy when the Trio arrives. The rabbit hops back from her, dusting his chef's whites off furiously, before he turns to look at the Note. He sees it in time for those red eyes to narrow into slits -- and then he hops back. His propane grill, he thinks dimly. "What are you--get away from that!"

His cry comes right before the terrible sound erupts. Gordon covers his paws with his hands, but it hardly matters. The sound of the Melody of Sorrows breaks through his feeble efforts. The chef feels his heart sink, much like his hat did. (He knew he shouldn't have worn it today. It's a ridiculous affectation, but expected.) He looks up, his eyes narrowing. When Gordon is struck by sorrow, anger is often his first response.

"You bloody piece of scrap!" he yells. "You ruined a perfectly good grill! What on Earth is wrong with you! Next time, I'm--I'm getting charcoal!"

COMBAT: Gordon has used Hell's Kitchen on Honoka Yukishiro.

COMBAT: Gordon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly braces Gordon's Hell's Kitchen, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Honoka Yukishiro is Quipped! Honoka Yukishiro's Block ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko looks at Shun. Oblivious to the backstory of Aino, other than - wait, she thinks; wasn't she one of the real bad - or was that Ainho, the Brazilian girl - either way, she just says to him, "Well, hey, Minami, I'm glad you like it - home cooking has its own style, but this is a great place to pick up some tips. I'll give you the sauce recipe later for her, if you want."

She hums a little as she slaps down a new row of skewered whitefish - and her head then pivots like a turret as something slams into Gordon. Her eyes widen when it becomes clear this isn't a stealth attack by the Kyoto school but instead some kind of -

Her head whips back to look at the Note. She exchanges blinks with it. "You want a," she begins to say to it, intending to offer some grilled veggies, WHEN! More people come in, argue with the fluffy little cat, and then something horrid happens to the grill in front of her. Kuniko staggers back, looking up at the towering, horrible thing and says, "Oh you did not just --"

And then she staggers back harder, face contorting as sorrow, pain, despair ring through her. "Ghh -- I --" Kuniko's hand jabs into her back pants pocket, drawing out... an apron? Her back hits the edge of the balcony's wall. Is she going to pitch over--?!

No! Once a Cure Kick and a fierce barck conclude, someone is standing there. Someone mysteriously similar to Kuniko, but much more finely attired. "Your negatone nonsense... It's ruined an entire side! Fish and vegetables near perfection, squashed by your insolence! You three knuckleheads should have WAITED YOUR TURN!"

To Chef she adds, as if in parentheses, "No, Chef - for an event like this, we want them to taste the meat, not -"

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito transforms into Poissonnier Kuniko!

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Yelling Helps Me Feel Better on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly dodges Kuniko Saito's Yelling Helps Me Feel Better, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Kuniko Saito is Psyched!

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"No kidding it's a good idea, Kanade! Now, let's get moving before you start roaring like a lion..." A flash of a grin, and Hibiki prepares to go to the chefs. The sweets are good, the skewers look delicious, the fish is horribly dangerous and Hibiki fully intends to work up her courage first. But the most important thing is that she's here, her friend's here, and her grades can just be a distant memory until September.

The creampuffs seem to have helped Ikiko, and as Shun starts to approach, Hibiki leans down to the younger girl. "They are /sinister treachery/ - a friend of ours likes putting hot peppers or something equally horrible in cream puffs. Go for it if you're feeling bold, buuuuut...."

'A nyote!'

Even engrossed in something as vitally important as discussing sweets, Hibiki picks up on Hummy's distinctive cheerfull chirp. She looks up just in time to behold the cat-astrophe, along with the arrival of...

"Trio the Minor!" There's some shock, but for the most part Hibiki just straightens up with a glower. She's about to object further when Hummy beats her to it, and she echoes the cry of justice. "Right! Don't think you can ruin everyone's sweet-eating so easily-"

And then, they sing. Bassdrum, the trio, the Negatone - and as prepared as she might usually be, that melody slams into her heart and drags down her soul. All her worry over her grades, forgotten in a rush of helping with party preparations, comes crashing back. She scrunches her eyes shut, overwhelmed...up until Kanade's defiant cry pierces through the miserable melody. Unforgivable?

"R-right! Unforgivable!" It still feels a bit duller than usual, but out comes the Cure Module. Strains of holy music struggle against the Negatone's melody as she becomes her warrior self, stepping forward with hair and outfit a glorious pink. "Strumming the wild rhythm - Cure Melody!"

For the first time, she can look at the monster - a monstrous grill, lid transformed into a great jaw. She follows in Cure Rhythm's wake, heart struggling to lift as the former's kick slams into it - and waltzes in with a trio of punches to complete the beat that blow set.

COMBAT: Hibiki Houjou transforms into Cure Melody!

COMBAT: Cure Melody has used 3/4 Punch on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Cure Melody has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Cure Melody's 3/4 Punch, taking 24 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Go figure, there's supposed to be fun and games to be had here, but instead trouble shows up. Hikaru is caught off-guard by the sudden incoming attack that leaves her briefly out of it... and feeling rather angry too. Namely because a great day had to be ruined by another youma (or whatever!) Hikaru looks around and then dashes off as best as she can, before producing her glove-jewel. "Belief becomes power... Flames guide me!"

The flames literally do guide Hikaru as she is engulfed by flames and turns into the Magic Knight of Fire. No longer just a simple schoolgirl with red hair, this Magic Knight means business! "You have a lot of nerve to ruin a nice day! So prepare to burn for it!" She sends forth a blast of flames to make her point known.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou transforms into Magic Knight of Fire!

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used You're Fired on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly counters Hikaru Shidou's You're Fired, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Honoka Yukishiro's Reverse ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, Outlook Not So Good, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hikaru Shidou!

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Leaning to the side of Shun she stares at Gordon, "Huh? The other rabbit?" Putting one finger to the side of both of her forehead, she waggles both forward, and then puts a hand to her chest, "Me!? No way! I've never impugned anyone's honor!" Especially since she didn't know what impugn meant. Taking the time to think on the hanging question from Kuniko, she answers it slowly, "Well, I don't mind spicing it up a little!" She puts a hand up in the air, where she imagines 'Rei-chan hot' to be as the barometer for spiciness, then another one below it, then nods, "Maybe about here on the scale?"

But already Shun is telling her that she's never been mentioned, "W-What!? She never mentioned me!?" Slumping, and pouting at the same time, that fact puts Usagi in quite a mood. "Well I'm Usagi Tsukino." A beat, before she asks with a desperate note in her voice to have her friendship with Minako validated in such a small way, "She really never said anything?"

She does brightens when Shun eats the fish though and she nods at Shun, fully, and innocently believing that Minako was as good as a cook as she said she was, having not yet experienced the fruits of her labors. Straightening up in pride at his statement that it's not quite on the level of her curry, she nods her heads, looking quite swollen with pride and completely misinterpreting the situation, "See? What did I tell you?"

Which is the moment another Magical Cat at the party bowls right into Gordon. From a distance, Luna sighs and slinks off the railing to hide herself from sight, "Not that buffoon again." Usagi looks upon Hummy with surprise, "Ehhh?" But, she's almost immediately turning at the three voices that sing in harmony. "I don't get it. Are they a comedy act?" Bobbing her head again in time with Hummy, "What she said! Wait-" She looks back at Hummy, "-you can talk!?" Somewhere in hiding, Luna puts a tiny paw to her forehead.

And then, the Negatone. While Usagi wasn't yet used to monster fighting, she has learned at least to spot the writing on the wall that it was coming and immediately gets down the moment the propane grill takes form, taking cover behind one of the food tables, which was upturned in the chaos, but even in shelter, she can't tune out that horrific thrumming in her eardrums. Like swimming through liquid despair that sank just seeped right through her ears and into her soul. Within a single moment, all the cheer is sapped out of her, leaving only- sadness. Within seconds tears come, and soon she's full out bawling, "Suh-suhmer break isn't supposed to be this suh-sad!"

And yet, while in the past, she just might have sat there behind the upturned table shivering and crying, she thrusts one trembling hand skyward, the other on her brooch, and speaks the words despite the despair. "Moon Prism Power- Make up!" Ribbons gird her for battle, still flowing like streamers as Sailor Moon leaps out of cover.

And despite the tears in her eyes, she speaks with as much conviction as she can muster, "Hold it right there! The start of summer break is a joyous time for all students after facing the horror of finals!" Through cat tears, Luna can't even say anything sarcastic, "I'll never forgive anyone who crashes a party celebrating that to act like some kind of harmonic fun police! I'm the Sailor-suited Pretty Soldier of Love and Justice: Sailor Moon! In the name of the moon-" She points one arm over the other, at the Negatone and the Trio di Minor who were behind it, the certainty in her voice waving only somewhat due to the Melody of Sorrow, "-I will punish you!"

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used In The Name Of The Moon on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Sailor Moon's In The Name Of The Moon, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Sailor Moon is Psyched! Diversion applied to Honoka Yukishiro!

<Pose Tracker> Shun Minami [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

"How kind of you, Saito-san. Perhaps later, yes," Shun tells Kuniko diplomatically. As far as home cooking is concerned... well, considering how terrible he is at it (not that he'll confess to that anytime soon), he really can't say anything about that. Beyond that, he's not sure how badly Minako would ruin this sauce and he's not inclined to allow her the chance to try. In that respect, the appearance of the Note is extremely well-timed--but more on that later.

Usagi, meanwhile, desperately seeks validation. Shun smiles 'apologetically' and dashes her hopes with a, "No, never. How pleasant to meet you, Tsukino-san." As for the fish itself... well, she certainly did tell him. And then Hummy happens and Trio the Minor appear.

On the plus side, hailing from a land where emotions are cultivated out of its citizens means that, while Shun may not feel any particular hope or joy, neither does he feel any particular sorrow or despair. Beyond even that, Labyrinth is a world where there is neither song nor dance, and so Shun really doesn't *get* music. And, most importantly, being an executive of that land means that Shun is imbued with certain powers that are on roughly the same wavelength as many other members of Dark Fall. When Bassdrum summons a Negatone to sing the Melody of Sorrow to the assembled students, Shun thus merely finds it somewhat unpleasant.

On the minus side, this means he may not be able to try one of those cream puffs.

However, there are more important things going on than food. Shun must admit, he is quite impressed with the effects of this Melody of Sorrow. Everywhere he turns, there are students of all three schools crying and wailing. How powerful this effect would be if combined with a Nakewameke! The Sorrow Gauge would fill in an instant! 'Trio the Minor!' Hibiki shouts, identifying the group by a name Shun recognizes. As he recalls, Trio the Minor hail from the Minor Kingdom. He'd given little thought to the musical fairy world before, but if *this* is what they're capable of, he'll absolutely have to change that.

But for right now, Shun is pretending to be a perfectly normal human being from a perfectly normal school. It won't do to draw suspicion, and there are at least some Pretty Cure here; he can't afford to Switch Over just yet. He drops both his briefcase and his fish, staggers over behind a table, sinks to his knees, hunches over, clutches his head, and watches events unfold and magical girls transform (of those who don't also take the time to take cover, anyway) with sharp green eyes from under his dark bangs.

/Let's see just what a Negatone can do,/ he thinks.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Ah, Hikaru-san!" Fuu smiles, bowing to her friend and secret sister-in-arms. "I'm glad you could make it! You're in good time, I think the party isn't going to get into full swing until everyone from Juban and Ohtori who wants to come here has a chance to get here. You've met my parents and Kuu-oneesan, of course - ?"

And then the party gets crashed.

Fuu's glass smashes on the floor as she claps her hands over her ears, knowing even before Negatone begins to 'sing' that this is going to be a problem. It's not enough; when the Melody of Sorrow starts up, the depth of it pierces through her like an arrow through a paper target, and she falls like a rag doll - nearly landing in her mother's arms, except that her mother, father, and elder sister are also collapsing under the effects of Negatone's attack as well.

"Nnnnngh ..." Fuu slowly sits up, gritting her teeth, dimly aware of tears trickling down her cheeks. "This ... no ... this can't be ..." She looks up, her gaze skimming over the students, teachers, and guests around her. At least a couple of magical girls are already standing up to fight back; that's a promising sign in its own right.

She takes a couple of moments to make sure her family is safely out of the way - as far as she can get them - and uses what cover that provides her to conceal her own transformation; shortly thereafter, the Magic Knight of Wind comes in to stand beside the Magic Knight of Fire, an arrow already nocked to her bowstring.

"This is a day to rejoice and relax ..." the Wind Knight states, raising her bow and drawing her arrow back as a stiff breeze rises about her, tousling her skirt and her hair. "... and I won't let the likes of you cast such a dark shadow over this party! Gale Arrow!!"

The 'twang' of the bowstring is almost lost in the sudden rush of a tailwind that speeds the arrow forward, and straightens its flight so it won't go off-course despite the magical acceleration that sends it hurtling towards Negatone.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Magic Knight!

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Gale Arrow on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Fuu Hououji's Gale Arrow, taking 23 Fatigue damage! Fuu Hououji is Psyched!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

There are a variety of responses to facing despair. Anger is sometimes the best, and sometimes the worst, but nobody can deny that even if it isn't a true counter to the threat, it can buy time. And in that time, things can happen.

Things like Pretty Cure.

Cure Melody and Rhythm, the native enemies of Negatones, come in with a brutal one-two(-three-four), the latter's kick putting a dent in the propane grill lid with a CLANG, and the former's triple punches adding more spots that will need to be buffed out. PANG-TANG-TANG!

The musicality of their strikes seems to jerk the club onstage -- at the far end of the balcony -- awake, or at least aware of something other than that endless, miserable sound. They shake their heads in time with the strikes.

But already the Negatone is surging forward, trying to grasp a Pretty Cure in either hand and slam them into each other.

Things like countersonics.

So to speak -- the Cute Wolf and the two Chefs and Sailor Moon, all of them, counter the music with words.

'You're loud and off-key!' "NEGA-TOOOOOONE!" It thrusts forward its face with a flaming headbutt.

'You ruined a perfectly good grill!' "YOUR GRILL SUUUUUUCKS~!" Baritone flaps his hand contemptuously at the bunny.

'It's ruined an entire side!' "THAT WAS THE POOOOOOINT~!" Falsetto treats Kuniko with more respect than her mascot, coming at her foot-first in a flying kick.

'I will punish you!' "BACK ATCHAAAAAA~!" Look out, Sailor Moon, here comes Bassdrum with an overhead, two-fisted slam!

This back-and-forth seems to further shake the band out of their awful reverie. The Cute Wolf's howl gets them to pick up their instruments; Gordon's bark gets them to their knees; Kuniko's, to their feet. And Sailor Moon's proclamation is accompanied by the rat-tat-tat of a drummer allowing a stick to fall against a snare.

Things like Magic Knights of Rayearth.

A fire blast from one direction; a wind-bourne arrow from the other. The result is inescapable. The Negatone elects to consume the majority of the fire, which mingles with that beneath its grill, but the arrow goes slamming into one of its boney knees, and sticks there like a banner.

And when that happens -- when the awful monster is /driven back/ -- someone's fingers find strings, and a few notes of electric bass ring out.

There's a soft cough over the microphone, and then, her voice straining against the pressure against it, the lead singer calls, "GIVE-- ME-- CHOCOLATE!!"

And the band plays on.

But the Negatone won't stand for this, and opens its mouth, breathing fish-searing fire at both Hikaru and Fuu.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Outlook Not So Good on Cure Melody.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Outlook Not So Good on Cure Rhythm.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Outlook Not So Good on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Minor Setback on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Minor Setback on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Flame-Seared, Cedar Planked! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Flame-Seared, Cedar Planked! on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to brace Honoka Yukishiro's Minor Setback, taking 18 Fatigue damage! Tangle applied to Kuniko Saito!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Flame-Seared, Cedar Planked!, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Fuu Hououji's Fade ability activates! Fuu Hououji's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Melody narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Outlook Not So Good, taking 27 Fatigue damage! Trap applied to Cure Melody!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly counters Honoka Yukishiro's Minor Setback, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Trap applied to Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon's counterattack, Beard the Lion, partially gets through, doing 12 Fatigue damage to Honoka Yukishiro!
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Outlook Not So Good, taking 8 Fatigue damage! Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Flash ability activates! Trap applied to Cute Wolf Tsukiko!
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Outlook Not So Good, taking 23 Fatigue damage! Cure Rhythm's Fade ability activates! Cure Rhythm's Flash ability activates! Trap applied to Cure Rhythm!

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

"Nnh--right!" Gordon calls back to Kuniko. She is, of course, correct. Charcoal has a dangerous effect upon meat if not used correctly. His anger can cloud his judgment at times. Things for him to consider later, though. The rabbit quickly hops away from the Negatone, taking momentary refuge underneath one of the grills that hasn't been disrupted, even if his eyebrow twitches.

His grill does not suck!

"You are my bloody grill right now!" he yells from behind his cover. "If my grill sucks, then you suck!" The rabbit grumps, before he glances sideways at Kuniko. He shakes his head, trying to clear it. "Saito! Show them that even the best appliance can't do anything without a good cook behind it!"

COMBAT: Gordon has used Ma Cuisine on Kuniko Saito.

COMBAT: Gordon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Flame-Seared, Cedar Planked!, taking 15 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates! Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito accepts Gordon's Ma Cuisine, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Gordon is unable to keep fighting!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Pretty Cure are by no means alone in fighting against Minor Land's dreadful music - from behind them, defiant anger rings out to drive back the monster, elemental fury following in the wake of fists and feet. Any other time, Cure Melody would be more than happy to cheer the others on.

But right now, she's not quite in a mood. For one, the Melody of Sorrow continues weighing her heart down - if she falters for a moment, lets the flame of her anger stop warming her for even a second, she's sure to fall into a despair she can't escape. And for another...the Negatone just snatched her up in a skeletal hand, and slammed her into Cure Rhythm.

Limbs tangled, the two are stuck in the monster's grip. Together, at least, but at this point... "It's almost too much to bear. Just, this music...were they quiet as long as they were to tune up?" A bit of light humour, but maybe not enough...

And then, outside those skeletal hands, the band begins to play. Not much to lift her spirits...but it's a little, and she smiles. A bit of a nasty grin, with how far she's been dragged out, but accompanied by holding her hand out. "...but you know, as long as we're together..."

From without, something can be seen. Light, glimmering from the gaps between Negatone bones, and a pair of voices ringing out. "Pretty Cure...HARMONY..."

COMBAT: Cure Melody has started a combo targeting Honoka Yukishiro!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Rhythm grinned in triumph as she landed a perfect kick on the Negatone. There was just some satisfaction from seeing it's face get smashed in. She was relieved to see Melody join in the fight, and got ready to join together. She saw other allies were joining in their aid on the fight. Together, they wouldn't let this monster win!

However, Rhythm proved to be too caught up in her thoughts as the Negatone suddenly grabbed her. She tried to wiggled free, but found herself bound too tightly and watched helplessly as the Negatone grabbed Melody and promptly smash them together like a pair of symbols. She let out a wail of pain. Ow! That had hurt alot.

Hibiki's voice awakes her from the pain, along with the bit of music they hear playing. Despite their limbs tangled together, Rhythm catches Melody's wicked grin as she holds out her hand to her. Realizing immediately what her partner is implying, Rhythm smirked as she took the offered hand.

"I'll happily share this dance!" Once they touch, a light breaks out from the gaps. Their voices become unison as the clasped their hands and pointed them together at the Negatone.

"Pretty Cure...HARMONY..." they cried in perfect range pitch harmony. It was music to their ears.

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Tsukiko skitters to the side, her fur getting uncomfortably warm from the fiery attack. The sound is still wearing her down, but at least her defiance lifted her spirits slightly.

But only slightly. The Negatone is not an easy fight, and her spirits are taking a hit. The echo of the wolf-spirit, still inside of her, whines a hint of encouragement, the promise that they can still work together.

"Yeah, I know," the wolfgirl says with a half-smile, running her hand through her hair. "It's trying to corner us." She takes a deep breath, then holds tightly to the loose strand of hair in her hand. "Wolf's Blessing!" she says, focusing on the wolf-spirit within.

COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has joined the combo started by Cure Melody!

COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Wolf's Blessing on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko accepts Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Wolf's Blessing, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Surge applied to Cute Wolf Tsukiko!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm have used Pretty Cure Harmony Shot on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Cure Melody has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm's Combo: Pretty Cure Harmony Shot, taking 113 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The flying kick smacks against Kuniko's chin, which she rolls with in the age-old way of 'getting kicked in the face'. Back against the concrete with her, but Falsetto falls off for a moment, giving her the chance to silently count her teeth with her tongue (still there) and gaze with dismay on that grill.

"It's grilling, Chef... but how do we stop it?"

Adjusting her fisherman's cap, Kuniko straightens up. Thoughts whirl through her mind. How can she manage this? Just the other day she was talking to Makoto, she thinks, about this very thing. Of course, there's Sailor Moon -- but that's their grill! This is her responsibility.

Maybe, she thinks, if - And so it is that Kuniko Saito dashes to try and get BEHIND the creature! And from there, to turn off its propane. Because without the FLAME...

Can it bring... the PANE?

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Turn The Valves on Honoka Yukishiro.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro perfectly counters Kuniko Saito's Turn The Valves, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Counter! Honoka Yukishiro's Reverse ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, PANE BRUNG YO, bursts all the way through, doing 29 Fatigue damage to Kuniko Saito! Critical Counterhit!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

From above! Sailor Moon looks up, and dances in place in panic as a very large and powerful looking man descends upon her. "Aaaa-aaaa-aaaa! Stay away!" And yet at the last moment, instead of jumping away in desperation she swings the only thing she has on hand, the Moon Stick, with an uppercut swing that clocks Bassdrum through his beard and right on the chin with the crescent moon emblem just as his fists make contact.

The impact from his sheer strength still cracks concrete at her feet, but fortunately her quick thinking sent it off-center. Driven to a knee even from even the concussive force of the glancing blow, she finds her legs feel like jelly when she gets back to her feet.

This isn't just from the sheer physical discomfort though, the Melody of Sorrow continues it's course, the despair sinking right into her manifesting even physically. Thoughts such as, 'What's the point of summer vacation anyhow? Who would even want to hang out with a loser like you?' And despite all evidence to the contrary, she believes it in this state of depression, eyes still sparkling with tears. 'And once you get back- this will be the year you flunk out.' She could even imagine the Senshi turning their backs to her, even gentle Ami punctuating the disappointment, 'Well I guess you won't be joining us in high school-' And the word that hurt most of all, '-Usagi-san.'

At the microphone however is a singer still upright, still passionately singing for chocolate. And in a moment, Sailor Moon's eyes turn to Melody and Rhythm, speaking of what they're able to accomplish through their bonds together. Happier thoughts, thoughts of times with each of her friends. "They're right." Despite the inspiration it's hard to believe it through the Melody of Sorrow, but still, she almost does, and after a moment, she whispers "This will be a summer to remember."

Suddenly scrambling upright, through the ringing in her ears, in her soul, she grips a hand to the tiara at her brow, "I'll make sure of it!" Taking up a familiar stance, the tiara becomes a shimmering discus of moonlight, "Moon Tiara-" Flinging it with all of her strength, it glides through the air, trying to carve an arc towards the Negatone, and perhaps hitting one of the Trio on the way. "-Action!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Tiara Action on Honoka Yukishiro.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro fails to dodge Sailor Moon's Moon Tiara Action, taking 43 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Area attacks aren't usually easy to dodge, but the Wind Knight flings herself to the side - away from Hikaru, but there aren't many useful directions in which she can dodge quicky and usefully. As it is, she still gets singed lightly along one side.

It's not enough to slow her down by much, though, and she comes back up quickly to one knee, starting to reach for another arrow ... only to realize that Gordon is potentially in her line of fire, especially if an arrow misses.

"Gordon-sensei, try to get clear as quickly as you can!" she calls out to the lapine lecturer, although she's grateful to see that he's already hopping away from the conjured monster. On the other hand, Kuniko-san is trying to get in close now ...

She bites her lip briefly, then nocks her arrow and draws it back, focusing along the shaft and taking in a deep breath. There's no magic boosting this shaft, just pure concentration and application of long-practiced skill ...

And the arrow flies - aimed straight for the Negatone's mouth. If she misses, at least the arrow shouldn't endanger any of her allies - although she hopes nobody will be underneath it on the ground.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Trick Arrow Shot on Honoka Yukishiro.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro perfectly counters Fuu Hououji's Trick Arrow Shot, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Counter! Honoka Yukishiro's Reverse ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Tactician ability activates!

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, NEEDS MORE PANE, bursts all the way through, doing 18 Fatigue damage to Fuu Hououji!

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Fire bad. Even for the Magic Knight of Fire. She braces her defenses as best as she can, but burns up a bit. Her armor gets a bit singed too. At the same time, she's glad she wasn't the Magic Knight of Ice, or she'd REALLY be in trouble now! "Oooh, this really makes me mad!" She grips her sword tightly and glares at Negatone. "You beings have the worst habit of showing up at the worst times. I won't stand for it anymore!"

It appears that Hikaru's really peeved now as she goes in with her sword at the ready, swinging swiftly at Negatone.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Sword Slash on Honoka Yukishiro.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly braces Hikaru Shidou's Sword Slash, taking 2 Fatigue damage! Hikaru Shidou is Psyched! Honoka Yukishiro's Block ability activates! Honoka Yukishiro's Parry ability activates! Stun applied to Honoka Yukishiro!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The Negatone's cackle as he clutches the Suite Pretty Cure, "NE-ga, NE-ga-hah-hah!!" abruptly turns into a gurgle as they simply explode, taking him with them. He's blasted back across the balcony, further away from the band, which is already finishing up its song... and being replaced by the next club in line.

A bassoonist, barely four feet tall but a prodigy from the elementary school levels, valiently puffs on her reed.

Kuniko daringly ducks behind the Negatone to detach its propane, and discovers that its flames are not up to safety specs -- they can come out of the back as well! When she reaches for it, a blast keeps her from even making contact.

Even so, that definitely got its attention, leaving it no defense against the soaring golden tiara of Sailor Moon. On its way back to her hand, it clips Falsetto on the ear, too. "OWWWW~!"

A violinist staggers upright and joins the melody, at first scraping the strings unpleasantly, and then properly in tune as his energy begins to return to his hands.

The Magic Knight of Wind's arrow is engulfed in another blast of flame, which flows back towards her, licking painfully at any flesh it can find.

A flautist breathes into her instrument, still sprawled across the ground. The resonance is lighter than air, then firms into almost painful sweetness as she sits up.

The Magic Knight of Fire's sword comes in low and tight, adding a nasty score across the three little dents from Cure Melody's earlier punches.

A chorus member -- or maybe just someone nearby who knows the song, because everyone knows the song -- comes in the next time it comes around.

"Freude, schoner Gotterfunken, tochter aus Elysium -- wir betreten feurtrunken, Himmlische dein Heiligtum!"

A couple of kids who were trying to get a taste from the college punch bowl before they collapsed struggle to their knees and clear their throats. But though the German that pours forth is ragged, it's still beautiful.

"Diene Zauber binden wider vas die Mode streng geteilt, Alle Menschen werden Bruder, wo dein sanfter Flugel weilt!"

It's spreading across the party like wildfire -- Juuban red and Ohtori yellow and so, so many kids in Infinity blue, kids who won a place with talent and intensity. They know this song, even if only the tune.

The Negatone tries to counter it -- he must fight it, he must oppose it. It lies at the very core of the cosmos, pulsing with light in direct challenge to who he is and what he's made of. Bassdrum and Falsetto and Negatone, they all join their creation, arrayed on either side and above, respectively. Their cacophony roars forth, but it sounds more desperate than anything...

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Hikaru Shidou.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Cute Wolf Tsukiko.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Cure Melody.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Ode To Pane on Cure Rhythm.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Block ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon fails to brace Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 36 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Kuniko Saito's Block ability activates! Kuniko Saito's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji perfectly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Brace!
COMBAT: Cure Melody narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 16 Fatigue damage! Cure Melody's Block ability activates! Cure Melody's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm fails to dodge Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 35 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's Ode To Pane, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates! Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

As the other musicians pick up their instruments and join in, Tsukiko smiles. There's still a chunk of doubt in her heart, but the music surrounding her gives her courage, even in the face of the hideous, ear-twinging noise coming from the Negatone.

And then the students start singing, and the wolfgirl's smile grows wider.

She takes a deep breath, then joins the singers, howling along with the melody. Tucked into her wordless vocals are the feelings of happiness of summer vacation, the joy of hanging out with friends, and the camradery of the Sister Schools. It's a very uplifting sound, aimed to shatter through darkness even as it harmonizes with the other singers.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cute Wolf Tsukiko has used Soulful Howl on Honoka Yukishiro.

COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko has finished attacking.

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

Gordon hears Fuu speaking, of course; he also hears Kuniko's question clear as day. He hears the familiar song starting to be played, but in the end, Gordon the Rabbit has a critical flaw: he has a deep, abiding temper. Even an Ode to Joy can't get through it, when he is apoplectic like this. The vein over his head bulges, visible through his grey-and-white fur.

"You--you!" he bellows, shaking his fist. "You make a mockery of cuisine! You're a bloody--you're making my kitchen into a bloody joke! You're the worst kind of person! You--you should--"

He bellows incoherently, his vision swimming and turning red.

And then he stumbles back into the grill that he was hiding under, and knocks it over. It comes crashing down atop him, and the chef is buried underneath it.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro counters Cute Wolf Tsukiko's Soulful Howl with Tragic Finale, initiating a BEAMWAR! Please see +help beamwar for further information.

BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro and Cute Wolf Tsukiko's attacks collide. Cute Wolf Tsukiko has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the first of three rounds! Now accepting new BEAMWAR entrants in this round only!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

And as the Cute Wolf's howl joins the chorus, it seems to mingle with the song of the students, over and under and over again, up and up and up, turning what was a tangible act of defiance but a grossly outmatched one into something that might -- might -- be able to genuinely oppose the combined efforts of Trio the Minor and the Negatone.

But surely not alone.

The four of them narrow their eyes, clench their guts, and belt out all the more loudly and discordantly, stopping the silvery song in its tracks. The very air vibrates with the musical tension.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Her arrow gets burned out of the sky before it has a chance to reach the target. That ... honestly was not what the Magic Knight of Wind expected - but at least drifting motes of ash won't do any harm to anybody. The actual flames, on the other hand, scorch her again, and she makes a mental note to try not to let that keep happening ...

A wave of what can only reluctantly be categorized as 'music' washes across the balcony, and this time, the Wind Knight summons up a wind barrier to protect herself against its effects. Whether it's the magic of the barrier itself, or the crystallized will that allows her to cast her spells, that protects the Wind Knight from the impact, she's not sure and can't take time to care. Tsukiko's howl reaches her ears, and the Wind Knight winces just a little as the contesting 'songs' lock up against each other.

At least she can do something to help the Cute Wolf; the Wind Knight allows her bow and quiver to vanish as she brings her left arm up. "Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi!!" she calls out; instead of conjuring the usual rending tornado, though, she focuses her spell into an effort to amplify Tsukiko's howl - and to help her overwhelm the forcibly controlled orchestra and singers.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"...SHOT!" Brilliant light shines from Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm as they dance together, singing out their joy and fury in a single blow. It blasts away darkness, shattering the Negatone's grip, and freeing the pair to alight more safely on the ground. Melody, through the dread weighing down on her and the fury she's keeping as a refrain at the back of her mind, gives her comrade-in-arms a grin. "Any time, Rhythm!"

She still doesn't feel at the top of her game - despair lingering, as the Negatone continues its endless refrain of malevolence. Concerns returning to her mind, of the frustrations of weeks of being ordered to practice the piano, of her father's still-unanswerable question. The purpose of playing music, the true meaning...

And then a song of joy rings out from behind her. She looks back to the stage, half-remembered lessons in German doing their best to translate the lines...and in the depths of the Negatone's imposed sorrow, she smiles again. "...huh. I guess that was it..."

Cure Melody's hand reaches out blindly trusting, clasping Rhythm's as the ode to joy rings out against the ode to sorrow. "Let's go, Rhythm!" Three steps back, in tandem, heels clicking against the balcony in sync. Before the pair, a golden Treble clef appears, a sigil of joyous tones.

"Pretty Cure Passionato..."

BEAMWAR! Fuu Hououji adds her Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi to Cute Wolf Tsukiko's BEAMWAR!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Melody has started a combo targeting Honoka Yukishiro!

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

With this opportunity too good to pass up, Hikaru decides to join in the fun. "Fire Arrow!" She calls out, letting the arrow of fire join this whole thing. "This is gonna be so much fun I can tell!"

BEAMWAR! Hikaru Shidou adds her Fire Arrow to Cute Wolf Tsukiko's BEAMWAR!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Negatone goes flying, and Rhythm is gleeful to be freed from the monster's grip. She spies Sailor Moon's attack hitting one of the Trio the Minor and can't resist grinning upon seeing it. The other girls do attacks, but the Pretty Cure's happiness is short lived as the Negatone along with the Trio the Minor attempt another song of sorrow.

Their song ripples through Rhythm her, forcing her to drop to her knees as sorrowful thoughts fill her head.

"You'll never get the friendship back you had with Hibiki!" the thoughts screamed. "She only hangs out with you so she can eat cupcakes for free! It's all you're good for!" The despair would have beaten her, but hearing the tune of Ode To Joy, brings Rhythm out out of it.

She narrows her eyes as she forces herself to stand, still feeling shaking from the mental attack. Seeing Melody's hand, Rhythm takes it without a second thought. They're in perfect unison. Three steps back, their hells clicked along with the melody in their hearts. A golden Treble clef appears, which to them is a symbol of their unity and friendship. Nothing could beat them.

"HARMONY!!" They cried their attack in unison as a bright light glowed from their joined hands and with a swift stomp of their feet it shot straight forward toward the enemy.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Rhythm has joined the combo started by Cure Melody!

BEAMWAR! TEAM ENTRY! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm add their Pretty Cure Passionato Harmony to Cute Wolf Tsukiko's BEAMWAR!

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

A burst of flames--! Kuniko recoils, stumbling back, her teeth grinding tight together. She sucks in a breath as she pushes to a three point stance, Sailor Moon's tiara glittering like - well, the obvious - and then...

She stays there. Despair plucks at her heart. The blind determination that Chef had drilled into her has taken her this far, but is this madness, this chaotic assault on the grill, going to end with anything other than injuries and heart break?

Then: The music rises.

Straightening up slowly, Kuniko feels a moment of shame. She doubted - she, who has the Mise-en-place, a Poissonnier of the Blue Ribbon - and these children, lacking any magic save their own strength of heart and hope, have sung. Swallowing, Kuniko presses forwards, snapping her hands forwards. "Alright," she breathes. "This is going to be a little improvisational, but -"

And indeed, not all of the ingredients of that grill were lost when the Negatone formed!

Grilled potato will serve for baked. Cream is simmered with sorcerous force and quickness - a perfect creamy froth. The aubergine is cubed, sprinkled with paprika, and those gorgeous grilled fish are breached, split up. Crusty bread is held over an open flame - she doesn't even feel it as the toasting takes place. Finally, everything is assembled and dressed with tiny droplets - a sliver of dried blueberry for sweetness, a drop of olive oil for smoothness, and a shaving of red bell pepper for freshness.

All of it is assembled... into a baker's dozen cups, set on saucers. "One-cup bouillabaise au Japon... In the window!" Kuniko says, slapping the hidden shape of her cutting board. And as one, the cups fly towards the free hands of the assembled girls.

And -- even the Minor Trio??

BEAMWAR! Kuniko Saito adds her Bouillabaise au Japon to Cute Wolf Tsukiko's BEAMWAR!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

As the tiara returns to her hand, it vanishes, before reappearing on her forehead in a haze of light. And despite the sinking feeling in her heart, Sailor Moon notices first, the bassoonist, only a foot shorter than her. The violinist, the flautist. It causes a fluttering in her heart. But it doesn't really strike a chord until all the chorus begins singing anew. Usagi has heard the song before, but she didn't recognize the language, would have mistaken it for French in a manner that would only cause the Senshi of Flame and Passion eye twitch.

She just thinks its beautiful.

The Negatone and the Trio fight back, for how could they not? Belting out an ode which blindsides and causes her to topple over onto her bottom, makes her want to crawl into a corner and just cry, the pain ringing so loudly in her inner ear that her world was just a haze of agony. It feels like she's about to pass out.

And yet. In that moment- a soulful howl. It doesn't pierce through it, but it allows the embattled Senshi to think, and more importantly, allows her to act.

It takes her two tries to get up, and even then she staggers as if she were someone who had made it to the punch bowl and had a little too much. "Together." She says softly, remembering Cure Rhythm and Melody's words. They were speaking to each other certainly, but without the other Senshi here, she has to remind herself she isn't alone.

She doesn't flourish the Moon Stick as she normally does. Instead, she turns, beginning to spin, the Moonstick responding with lilting tinkly little sounds of its own. "Moon Healing-" Glittering stardust spills out of it, blanketing the area as she turns, before she suddenly plants her foot, drawing a splendid circle of gleaming silver light. "-ESCALATION!"

The circle bursts into silvery motes that seem to be singing in a manner all of their own, like an ancient music box from the days of the Silver Millenium. It joins with the musical light of the Pretty Cure, with the wind and fire of the Magic Knights, the food service of Chef Kuniko,with all the other Mahou Shoujo, with the splendid Ode to Joy chorus, with the instrumentalists to try to drive back the terrible tragedy their finale would wreak upon the student body here.

BEAMWAR! Sailor Moon adds her Moon Healing Escalation to Cute Wolf Tsukiko's BEAMWAR!

BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro has placed her bid!
BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro rallies, tenaciously forcing back Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon! Honoka Yukishiro has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon each take 9 damage! Honoka Yukishiro takes 4 Fatigue damage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the second of three rounds! No longer accepting any more BEAMWAR entrants!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The opposed forces do more than vocalize, of course, but somehow everything seems swept up upon wings of song. That wonderful, powerful music.

The Magic Knights' Fire Arrow and Storm-Dance flow into the stream in orange and green respectively. Flame curls around the violinist, wind explodes up the pipe of the bassoon and flute. And the students are totally unharmed, their eyes wide open now, ablaze in the thrall of the Ode and the strength floating through them.

Sailor Moon's healing escalates the situation further, embracing the throats of the students, silver radiance turning the flute into another moonlit wand.

Kuniko's finest dish winds up in countless hands, including that of Trio the Minor. Baritone and Falsetto toss them over their shoulders dismissively, but Bassdrum... Bassdrum hesitates.

Still singing, he looks down at the offering in his hand... hungrily. A battle of self-control has begun. Sweat breaks out on his brow, trickles into his mighty beard.

And then comes the Pretty Cure's contribution, gold, gold, gold. The conduit torn open by the friendship and love of two girls for one another, and for their world, has music behind it, and it comes through in an enormous gush, covering everyone and everything--

--all, that is, except for the Negatone and Trio. They plant their feet firmly in the concrete, raising cracks. And they scream defiance; they scream despair. The Trio scream with extra discord, a truly horrible dissonance that immediately knocks out some of the students nearest them.

It's a good thing the band is on the opposite side.

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Tsukiko smiles as the others join in, their magic joining the natural strength of the song. Together, together, they can pull this off.

But the surge from Negatone and the Trio (hey, that almost sounds like a band name!) drives the magical girls back, and stuns some of the assisting singers. The wolfgirl narrows her eyes and keeps pouring her heart into her song, a note of defiance starting to join the melody.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

In Bassdrum's hand - that cup of soup glistens. You can practically see the sound effects on it. (They are, quote: *savory*)

"Come on come on come on you guys have theeeeem," Kuniko shouts, pounding on her invisible countertop like a drum. "Pretty Cure, Sailor Moon, Wolf, Magic Knights, all of you!!"

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Hnngh - !!" The Wind Knight winces harder, the howl of discordant despair flashing through her eardrums and piercing her head like a particularly laser-targeted headache, leaving her dizzy; her proximity to Negatone and the Trio (no, that's a horrible name for a band, perish the thought, Tsukiko-san) certainly isn't helping matters. Her will falters, her focus wavers, but she bears up against it as well as she can. She's not going to let her friends down if she can help it ...

The important question is whether she CAN help it or not. Sweat is beading on her brow, her jaw visibly clenched ...

<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

In unison, in synchronization, rhythm and melody matched in perfect time. The shining golden clef shines forth, joining radiant moonlight and resounding joy in wiping this sorrowful force from this world...or at least, that's the hope. The reality is that Trio the Minor refuse to back down quite so easily.

But Hibiki - Cure Melody - has her best friend by her side. She doesn't have the attention to spare to enjoy the soup, but two bowls are neatly placed next to the duo, and the delicious aroma will be a victory feast. A defiant glare for those of Minor Land - one that catches Bassdrum's hesitance - but beyond that, a beaming smile for a reason much closer at hand.

'Wem der große Wurf gelungen, Eines Freundes Freund zu sein; Wer ein treue Partner gefunden, Mische seinen Jubel ein!'

'Whoever has had the fortune, to become friends with a friend; Who has found a loyal partner, let them join this song of praise!'

Melody's hand tightens, and she begins singing along under her breath.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"I won't give up!" The Fire Knight says, gritting her teeth and struggling not to be overpowered. "I'm tougher than that!" She narrows her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Spirits uplifted by how the students join them so passionately, she doesn't expect the sheer power behind the defiance of the retort. A second hand instantly grasps the Moon Stick, like it was her sole lifeline against the tragic melodic onslaught. She drives her own pink booted feet against the ground, and it's not her doing so which causes cracks to form, but the power behind the dark song. Her twintails flutter backwards, as if caught within a hurricane.

Even keeping her eyes open feels uncomfortable, and indeed, she's closing them, her head bowing. Stumbling backwards another step, Sailor Moon keeps her hold on the Moon Stick with both hands, but just barely, the temptation to put her hands over her ears indescribable.

But there were so many here, students from all the schools, Mahou Shoujo united to defeat this threat. In that moment, she remembers the wish she made on Tanabata. Opening her eyes to look upon Kuniko as she cheers them on, on the Pretty Cure and their Passionate musical light, that feeling in her heart pours off into the tinkling silver radiance of healing.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Rhythm refuses to back down. They wouldn't let Negatone beat them. They had been through so much before already, they would prove it would take more than this silly monster to break them.

The golden light shines brightly as if encouraging them, and she could sell the welcoming scent of fresh soup that brings a comfort to her. They weren't alone, there were others fighting along side them. Her hands tightened around Melody, refusing to let her friend and partner go. They would get through this.

She then hears Melody singing and without hesitant found herself singing along with her, their voices becoming one. They were becoming one heart and one song.

BEAMWAR! Cure Rhythm has placed her bid!

BEAMWAR! Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon rally, fiercely pushing back Honoka Yukishiro! Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon have the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro takes 16 damage! Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon each take 3 Fatigue damage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the third of three rounds! No longer accepting any more BEAMWAR entrants!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Bassdrum looks down at the cup in his hand. No, it's more accurate to say he has yet to look away since it's arrived. His teeth clench, until he realizes that that's turning his throaty foundation of this chord into more of a hum. Hastily he burbles back into full-throated despair, but the damage has been done:

Pretty Cure and Magic Knights, Sailor Senshi and Diamonds in the Rough of Cuisine, Cute Wolves and students, all of them can feel the momentum turning their way, the pressure not relieved at all but starting to move, to press against the Negatone and its creators.

"Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele, sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund! Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle, weinend sich aus diesem Bund!"

"Mmumph, mumm, mumch..."

And Bassdrum can't help himself, now he's humming along to Ode to Joy as he scarfs down Kuniko's offering in as few bites as he can manage, bits of the dish getting caught in his beard. Falsetto gives him a horrible glare -- and a jab with his elbow. Baritone focuses on the Negatone, laying an arm against the grill without fear of its dark fire, and causing a violet aura to rise around it in a last-ditch effort to fend off the joy of a thousand students freed from school...

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Tsukiko glances toward the cup of bouillabaise au Japon in her hand, even as she keeps up her howl. Her throat is getting sore; this is the longest she's maintained the howl, and even with the help of magic it's starting to wear her down -- the bouillabase au Japon will be /very/ nice to have after all of this is over and she can take the time to enjoy it!

In the meantime, she howls with all of her might, pushing herself to the edge of exhaustion! (But not beyond it; she doesn't want to drop Kuniko's delicious-smelling bouillabase au Japon, after all.)

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Even though her strength is draining rapidly, and this is feeling more like a mental form of tug-of-war, the Magic Knight of Fire keeps a strong stance and grits her teeth. "We can win this! I'm sure of it!" She takes a deep breath and blows it out, focusing even harder than before!

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The remaining boullaibaise is surrounded by katakana reading: UMAMI

Kuniko herself keeps up her impromptu drumming. Her cheers have become wordless. They also fight, who shout and carry on!

<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

There's reason to celebrate - reason for joy. The joyous refrain of the Beethoven's ninth, taken up by a thousand students freed of the confines of school for the year. A grand celebration organized by Infinity, to be enjoyed by all. Finally understanding the musical riddle that had plagued Hibiki for years.

And the clasped hands, lending joined power to the Passionato Harmony - a reminder that this was the year something broken was finally fixed.

Violet power flares up around the Negatone - a last-ditch effort to let sorrow win, let despair take everyone here. But there's joy behind her, joy around her, joy at her side - and taking a deep breath, Cure Melody joins the chorus of joy at the top of her lungs.

One heart, one song. Harmony.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Sweat is still gathering on the Wind Knight's forehead, and she looks a little strung-out, but she's reassured by the fact that the tide seems to be turning. She reaches out with her free hand; if there's another hand to be taken, or a shoulder to squeeze in reassurance and support, she'll do it, sharing what strength she has physically ...

And pouring everything she has left into her magic, willing the wind to blow all the fiercer as an attack against the party-crashers and their monster - but also to buoy her allies, to boost and strengthen them as well as she can, to buffer them against the oral onslaught of the Trio and Negatone.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Rhythm keeps singing louder than she ever had before. It brings back the memories of whens she used to sing with her best, and closet friend. She had thought they had broken that, but amazingly they had fixed it. This past seamster they had managed to repair that.

They were stronger together as one than alone. Rhythm knew that fully now. Together, their voices were one song, that was the biggest lesson they both had truly learned.

Singing louder than ever, Rhythm stood proud and sang with all her heart, squeezing Melody's hand. She wasn't alone. They would fight this together.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

With eyes wide open, Usagi Tsukino ever the crybaby, confronts the music with sparkles of water that stream backwards and fly away from music that buffets her like the wind itself. She never did have much tolerance for pain, whether it be physical, or emotional.

And yet now as Sailor Moon, battle-tested even if she might never carry herself like a veteran, she's learned to take it, just a little. Just enough, that she can fight back through it. That she can express the feelings in her heart not just as tears or words, but as power.

As Bassdrum gives into temptation, she feels the power of a thousand hearts all the more keenly. Not from any special connection from their hearts, but from the soulful music with which they express their music. She's never been any good at singing herself, but she can certainly appreciate it, the feelings, the raw emotion behind all of it. And perhaps she realizes in that moment, that protecting everyone doesn't mean just protecting them from harm, but protecting their feelings too, the feelings behind this.

It's a fleeting epiphany. One perhaps that she won't keep with her, as she isn't prone to introspective thought. But for now, for just one moment, it causes the crystal affixed to the Moon Stick to catch the light just right, for the feelings within her to flare forth as that silver healing radiance, manifesting with her desire to protect everyone.

BEAMWAR! Sailor Moon has placed her bid!

BEAMWAR! Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon press their advantage, their Soulful Howl, Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi, Fire Arrow, Combo: Pretty Cure Passionato Harmony, Combo: Pretty Cure Passionato Harmony, Bouillabaise au Japon, and Moon Healing Escalation exploding through Honoka Yukishiro's Tragic Finale for a total of 515 Fatigue damage! Cute Wolf Tsukiko, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Cure Melody, Cure Rhythm, Kuniko Saito, and Sailor Moon are victorious!
BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro and Fuu Hououji are unable to keep fighting!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"...Diene Zauber binden wider was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Schwester wo dein sanfter Flugel weilt!"

'Magic brings together people parted by society; everyone united, sisters under wings of harmony!'

It's too much -- it will never be enough. The music is all the colors of the rainbow now, and more, feelings that can never be seen, only heard.

It pours across the Negatone, abandoned with a yelp by Trio the Minor (whose cups clatter to the ground, one absolutely licked clean, two untouched). They're already long gone by the time the joy of music drags the Note of the Legendary Symphony out of the Negatone and purifies it.

And by the time the rainbow has restored the propane grills, the food tables, and all the decorations, they're probably already getting lashed by Mephisto's tongue. There is little tolerance for failure in Minor Land.

But one thing is surely a success: this party. The students blink at each other, not entirely sure what has just happened -- it will later be tweeted about as a flash mob -- and then the next club gets up on stage and starts up the dance music fast and loud, two girls jostling each other for the microphone as they belt out a joyous duet.

"...ain't no mountain high enough; ain't no valley low enough; ain't no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you, babe..."

<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

As the brilliant rainbow and resounding anthem fade into memory, so do the Pretty Cure who had sung out their passion and joy. After everything is done, after a certain white cat has laid claim to a stray note, there are a couple of girls near the sweets table.

There's no shortage of food to be enjoyed; each of them has a cup of frankly delicious soup, there's the table full of sweets, and Hibiki braved the line to claim a plate of barbequed skewers to share (including one of the spicy fish). She laughs at the jostling for position on stage - it's familiar enough that she considers putting in her own bid - and smiles thoughtfully.

"Hey, Kanade? After this...let's go to the old chapel. I feel like practicing the piano with you again."

COMBAT: Cure Melody transforms into Hibiki Houjou!

COMBAT: Cure Rhythm transforms into Kanade Minamino!

<Pose Tracker> Kanade Minamino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Kanade nibbled at her cupcake and smiled at her friend, feeling like they had really gained something back that day. She sips her soup as Hibiki metnioned the old chapel. "Funny enough, I feel the same way," Kanade replied, "but before we get to that." She then leaned forward and stole one of the cupcakes Hibiki had claimed for herself and took a bite out of it.

"Hey, you're right. It is fun to steal someone's food!" she teased as she also sagged a skewer, she was honestly hungry.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The last of her mana expended, the Magic Knight of Wind slumps briefly - and her armor flares and vanishes in a dispersal of green sparkles and a refreshing gust of wind, leaving Fuu Hououji back in her regular Infinity middle-school summer uniform, panting as if she just finished running ten laps around Infinity's campus. She grunts quietly, reaching up to rub her forehead, then straightening her glasses and sitting up more properly. She glances around briefly, partly to see who might have noticed her involuntary detransformation, but mostly to nod thanks to her fellow magical girls ... at least, those who stay in one place long enough for her to greet them and show gratitude.

Then she gets back to her feet, helping Hikaru-san up as well if she happens to need it, and goes to check on her family; hopefully they're up and around again, too. The party is still young, as is the evening, and she needs to talk to Hikaru-san some more as well ... among many, many other people. Plus, some of that food has her metaphorical name on it.

<Pose Tracker> Cute Wolf Tsukiko [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Tsukiko takes a deep breath as the song comes to a triumphant end. She's tired, and her throat hurts... but she feels good, and there's tasty soup to be had! But a certain wolfgirl should probably make her exit...

Moments later, there's a silvery glow among amore seculded corner of the plants, and Ikiko takes a seat to enjoy the soup.

And it is very, very tasty soup.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Once all is said and done, Hikaru drops to the ground, barely with any strength left, but she's more concerned about Fuu-chan, who is no longer in her Magic Knight form. Then again, now that the battle is over, Hikaru is in her civilian form again. With the aid from Fuu, Hikaru gets up and smiles at her colleague. "We fought well there, Fuu-chan!" She says with a slight smirk. "Now about that drink I was looking for earlier, I really need it now!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon transforms into Usagi Tsukino!

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou transforms into Hikaru Shidou!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Cute Wolf Tsukiko transforms into Ikiko Hisakata!

<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Hibiki was thoughtful...and unguarded. Not that she was ever expecting this kind of attack - "Hey! But- that- how-" She just stammers a bit, especially at that victorious smirk on Kanade's face...up until she starts giggling.

And then she just starts laughing, together with her friend, because that is just the perfect way to end the school year.

(And later, there will be...rather rusty piano practice.)

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

In all the ruckus after the rainbow and music fade, to be replaced by a joyous duet. Sailor Moon vanishes, Usagi Tsukino returns, still wiping her eyes with a tissue from her purse. A black cat munches happily on meat straight off the skewer. And through all the celebration, she wanders up behind Kanade and Hibiki, just in time to watch the cupcake vanish, to hear Kanade's payback. To hear Hibiki's stammering reaction to this turn of events.

She leans in and whispers to Kanade from behind without any other announcement of her advance, "It's the best!" A beat, Usagi has a big cheerful grin on her face which almost hides her puffy eyes, "You've gotta let me in on that fun next time! It's only fair, right?" And given how good that pie was- Usagi is definitely looking forward to it.