2015-10-05 - Stay Determined, Sailor Moon!

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Title: Stay Determined, Sailor Moon!

After sacrifices too dear to pay, Sailor Moon has arrived at the threshold of the Dark Kingdom. Here, an ancient enemy awaits, having claimed a guardian out of malice. Upon this threshold, as Earth's last champion, can she find the will to carry on?


Sailor Moon, Dark Endymion


The Dark Kingdom

OOC - IC Date:

29 August 2014 - 10/05/2015

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

How long had she walked? She no longer had any real sense of time down here, or really direction other than 'forward'. And due to the dim, cool lighting, she wasn't even certain of that. For all she knew, she could be upside down. Nothing seemed to feel right here. Not the steadiness of her path, nor the freshness of the air. It felt like nothing could live down here.

But the evidence that /something/ could was always there. It was the pinpricks on the back of her neck that raised goosepimples, the feeling of eyes in the dark. Yet despite the feeling that she was being watched, there was also this distinct sense of emptiness. Vaguely she wondered if the reason she hadn't encountered more denizens was because of the efforts of the Mahou Shoujo worldwide.

And while she wouldn't have enjoyed the company of the residents of the Dark Kingdom... not encountering them only gave her more time to be acutely aware of her sense of isolation.

Ami wasn't there to be a quiet, gentle sense of comfort. Makoto wasn't there to be that pillar of strength. Minako wasn't there to offer a wry remark in the face of this evil. Rei wasn't there to be... to be Rei. To tell her to toughen up.

For reasons that don't seem right, the words of Michiru Kaioh echo in her head, 'It is during times like those - when the world counts on the actions of the single woman to be spared from annihilation.' Words from when she looked upon that horrific painting of hers, that made Usagi feel so sad and torn up inside. When she'd mumbled, 'Noone should have to make that decision alone.'

Rounding about the corner of stone hallways so organic that it feels like they're pulsing, she double takes as she sees it. The grinning death's head, like an macabre sculptor had fashioned it so that the stone itself would look akin to flesh melting off the skull and freezing in the artic cold. Yet despite the sense of death... the beckoning crimson light on the path that wound within the eye socket made it look... so alive.

The expression of horror she didn't even realize on her face melted away to revulsion, as she took a step back, crossing her arms and shivering despite herself. "I don't want to go in there." She murmurs, "I'm scared... I'm sleepy... I'm hungry... I'm..."


There it is again. And that word is what makes her walk forward slowly down the path into that eye socket, like a condemned woman walking to her execution. Even if she was resolved to try her best not to die, lest she make the deaths of others meaningless, it didn't feel likely there could be any other outcome. She'll die and noone will ever know it, there will be no gravemarker for her. No funeral. She won't even be a foot note in the history of the new world Beryl will create.

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

The halls of the Dark Kingdom are twisted feats of alien architecture. Pillars wind their way from the dimly lit hall to the inky blackness overhead, each facade seeming like some half-melted artistry. The shadows loom deep over every surface, gnarls and knobs bearing the seeming of screaming faces.

Or perhaps it is more than seeming; for how unknowable the stone-like substance is, perhaps this is a kingdom forged of tormented souls.

Here, Queen Beryl holds court for the boundless legions of minions of darkness, playing host to emissaries of other vile realms. Now, however...Sailor Moon is utterly alone. No ambush springs from the shadows with fang and claw, no burly beasts bar her way...there is only silence.

Silence - until she finally stands in the grand hall. At once, the darkness gives way to a sickly violet light, dimly illuminating the chamber through some strange crystal overhead. The chamber, large as it is, is all but empty - save two.

Upon her throne, Queen Beryl sits. Before her, perfectly balanced upon a slender staff, a crystal orb shows darkness deeper than all the shadows of this realm combined, and her hands play along its surface idly. For the moment, however, the secrets within do not hold her gaze - Sailor Moon does. A truly cruel smile brings sinister sharpness to her face, and she speaks.

"And then there was one. Look around you, Princess, and gaze upon all the allies left to you in this world. Your mother's great 'miracle' is inverted upon itself, and all the light cast from this world. Only you remain by my will - left to be the final glimmer of hope on Earth." She chuckles, the soft laughter devolving rapidly into a high cackle that would bring creatures to their knees. "Here, Princess, I have allowed you to arrive...so that I may watch you die personally. And I could imagine no better way than this..."

At Beryl's side, a man kneels in absolute subservience, turned away from the arrival to look only upon his queen. A dark mantle upon his back, he bows his head to some unseen signal before rising. His bearing is practically military, a single crisp step bringing him about face to gaze upon Sailor Moon with his own eyes.

Endymion, the reborn Prince of the Golden Kingdom, looks down upon the last vestige of the Silver Millennium with no love in his eyes - only utter disdain verging on hatred. "By your leave, my queen - today, the last glimmer of the Moon Kingdom shall be no more." The man with the face of Tuxedo Mask holds no rose, but places one hand upon the hilt of his sword.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has fully healed himself. He is now ready to take on 5 opponents!

[OOC] Dark Endymion says, "Oh wait, all your friends are dead."
COMBAT: Dark Endymion has fully healed himself. He is now ready to take on 1 opponents!

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

She squints as the violet light strikes her eyes, not because it's bright, but almost because it's the opposite. It's like her pupils are dilating to adjust to the darkness of this place. One step after another. Her heels don't echo, the stone feels like it absorbs the sound. When her vision clears and she catches sight of the figures on the dais, she doesn't trust it...

The last time she trusted her eyes, acted on the impulse of her heart, Rei died.

She died and left her all alone.

When the sound strikes her ears, that vicious contralto that banished all the light from this world, she begins to though. In fact, it stops her in her step, as her eyes trail upward to those of the regal figure on the throne. She remembers her in her memories, in her dreams, when she towered above the helpless Princess, when she brought about the end of four planets with the most casual of gestures. When she'd tried to kill her, and killed her first love instead.

She looks frightened and sad at first. It shows in her eyes. "All of this... it's so..." Before, she'd have asked why she hates her so much. In another lifetime she'd be told she had the brains of a farm animal in her innocence. "...cruel. You hate me this much. The people of the Moon Kingdom this much, even if it was millenia ago." She accepts the existence of that hatred with all of its cruel malice. But in accepting such hatred could exist, she feels a spike of anger.

For the friends who have died. For the friends who are gone from this world. For all the people of this world.

A spot of righteous wrath that grows from embers into a blaze when Beryl no longer seems to eclipse the form of the man standing beside her. This wasn't him. This wasn't Endymion. It wasn't the man who had stood up to Queen Beryl, had told her exactly what his Princess has that would make him refuse the crown..

This wasn't Tuxedo Kamen, the dapper man who always came to be so supportive. Who was willing to throw himself in the way of Kunzite's blast to save her life, at great risk to his own.

Neither would ever willingly serve this queen. Neither would look at her that way, with that disdain that threatens to smother the fire within her.

But she won't let it, still addressing her as he places his hand against his hilt. "You hate /him/ this much, that you would do this to him."

She wants to say that she'll punish her. That she definitely will. A vow within her heart and upon her lips that she'd survive to avenge this. But in order to do that... she'd have to survive this.

Some of the anger goes out of her voice as she addresses him. "Endymion-sama." She takes a step backwards, "Please, in another lifetime we pledged our love to each other... You were the first person I fell in love with." Something cracks in her voice, Y-You don't share her hatred of the Moon Kingdom... of /me/."

As it sinks in, that not only did she have to watch her friends die today, but she'll have to fight someone she loves, even if that love was born out of memories of another life. She remembered saying once to Mako that noone should have to do that. "Please don't... I already had to watch my friends die today... Please don't make me fight you..." Because if it came to the decision of hurting someone she loved to make it so their sacrifices wouldn't be meaningless? ...Well her hand clenches around the Moon Stick, around the Ginzuishou as if that would be her answer to that dilemma.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Star-Crossed on Dark Endymion.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Dark Endymion narrowly dodges Sailor Moon's Star-Crossed, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Dark Endymion's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

In another lifetime, a comparison to a farm animal might have been apt - and yet, as Beryl's cruel grin grows only harsher, it's still like some poor creature led to the slaughter. "Thousands of years have done little to quell my hatred for you and your kingdom - if anything, little girl, that ember burns ever hotter today than back then. If you had stayed in your grave as you should have...but you dared to live anew, dared to claim that which belongs to me. Four generals dead by the actions of you and yours - so I deemed it only fitting to claim that which was yours."

Unearthly light shines, reflected in her eyes - blazes crimson from the windows into the soul of the one by her side. "If I must see your face again after all this time, I would have it in another form. Prince? Her head, and the Ginzuishou."

The prince - for whatever has claimed his heart, the body truly reflects that of Princess Serenity's beloved - disappears in an instant. Movement nearly too quick to follow whisks him from the dark Queen's side, and only one who had seen Tuxedo Mask in action might follow that swift leap upward. He seems to float in the air for an instant, cape billowing crimson behind him - and then with a shout, he descends to plant his blade in the floor before Sailor Moon. Enough force to crack that strange stone, engraving a line between the last bastion of light and the dark Queen.

"In another lifetime...I was a fool." Eyes burning crimson, he raises his head to look upon the blonde-haired Senshi, tone remaining cold as he speaks. "As the wheel of ages turns, Serenity, you have truly changed - for this time, you stayed to watch them die. But should you wish to abandon the fight...by all means, do so. It will make this all the easier."

With a ring, he pulls his sword from the stone, holding the blade's tip out toward Sailor Moon. That smirk...is almost like a mocking invitation.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has used Realize Your Weakness! on Sailor Moon.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon fails to brace Dark Endymion's Realize Your Weakness!, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Sailor Moon is Taunted! Cripple applied to Sailor Moon!

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

Yet another... who tells her that she deserves this, by her very existence. Her eyes lift to Beryl briefly "For what? Being born? Living again as an ordinary girl on this world? You hate me /more/ for that? If you'd left me alone then I'd have never even known I was Princess Serenity. I could have... I could have..."

She puts her hand on her chest, feeling emotions welling up that she'd rarely spoken to anyone, save perhaps one, "I could have kept living as an ordinary girl! I never would have found that what you wanted was inside me all along! You're blaming us for the deaths of your generals, but their deaths are on you! You're the one who had them killing so many ordinary people for your own selfishness! None of those people had to die... my... my friends didn't have to die..."

There are sparkles of water in her eyes, "...if you hadn't decided to do any of this."

But taking her eyes off Endymion to look into those glowing yellow irises proves to be a mistake. Princess Serenity catches movement out of the corner of her eyes, just a split second before his sword tip slams into the ground, and cracks stone. She tries to leap, but it catches her so off guard, that she stumbles, then falls backwards on her rear, hastily sliding backwards a pace.

But its his words that hurt more. Because it proves the strength of the hold that Beryl has on him, like tiny little black hooks fastened into his very mind, twisting his thoughts around into something he'd never be. It makes her feel true despair in all of its cold and twisted depths, the thought crossing her mind that this battle might end only in his death or hers.

"No." She says sharply, as presses her hands down, uses them to push her weight to swing upwards, extending a foot booted to try to get inside his guard and try kick the wrist of his swordhand, before scrambling up to her feet. "For their sake, I won't back down. They gave up everything for me to get here!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Sailor Moon Kick on Dark Endymion.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Dark Endymion narrowly braces Sailor Moon's Sailor Moon Kick, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Sailor Moon is Psyched! Stun applied to Dark Endymion!

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Dreams of an ordinary life, pleas of what could have been...all of them find no mercy from Beryl. She bares her teeth at the very suggestion that she could have avoided all the disaster...but the words are undeserving of reply. Instead, she traces her long nails across the crystal ball...

Watching, as Endymion begins his assault.

Endymion does not smile with the same glee Beryl bears. A confident smirk, perhaps, but a dismissive one. The very thought that this incarnation of the Moon Princess could rise to the occasion set before her seems anathema to his mind - in spite of the fate that befell the Four Heavenly Kings.

Sailor Moon lashing out with one boot very nearly catches him by surprise.

Endymion shifts just in time to catch the kick on his forearm, rather than his wrist, and steps back as Sailor Moon climbs to her feet. He looks down at his sword in surprise, for a moment...and then his brow furrows in a flash of fury. "Now, after the eleventh hour, you find your determination? After everything that mattered has fallen to ash and ruin, now you have that drive to stand?!"

Sailor Moon's resolve to not back down is swiftly put to the test as Endymion lunches forward, sword flashing. From the left, from the right, with slashes and thrusts, he drives at every defense, hunts for any possible weakness. "They gave up everything - but what is left for you to bear, Sailor Moon? What can you possibly hope to gain?!"

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has used Regal Elegance on Sailor Moon.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon fails to dodge Dark Endymion's Regal Elegance, taking 30 Fatigue damage! Stun and Trap applied to Sailor Moon!

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

With every thrust, and every slash, Sailor Moon tries to turn her body, to twist, to backpeddle in order to take the edge off some of his brutal efficiency. Perhaps her heart just isn't into the movements though, under the thought that Tuxedo Kamen, Endymion... would never willingly hurt her. In the end, with the last brutal cut, she's sent sprawling backwards with a shriek, as she hits the ground, with a thud finds herself sprawled away from him.

It all hurts. It feels like her heart is already broken, and the pieces are being ground into further pieces under Endymion's boot.

Her entire body hurts, from every place which he slashed her. She doesn't even look down at where she's bleeding. At how bad it is. She tries to will it not to be critical. If it was, then everything her friends had died for, would be meaningless.

She pushes upwards, on a single trembling arm. "The w-world..." She answers with words and with a gleam of light that he might catch from her position, as she turns abruptly, eyes smoldering with equal hurt and determination.

With a flick of her wrist, she sends the radiance of the moon at night cuts across the space between as surely as any blade slash, proving that more than a glimmer of hope still exists in this world. A light that Beryl chose not to banish out of cruelty and selfish desire.

Right towards Endymion's armored chest. Her breath heaves within her chest, as she finds her feet again, "...the world that they gave their lives to protect... the world you used to adore so much... the world I love that let me live again as an ordinary girl... I won't let her destroy it!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Tiara Action on Dark Endymion.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Dark Endymion fails to dodge Sailor Moon's Moon Tiara Action, taking 37 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Boots resound loudly against the floor in the near-abandoned audience chamber as Endymion closes the distance between them. Sailor Moon has fallen, and the crimson light in his eyes burns ferociously as he approaches, raising his sword high.

Upon her throne, Queen Beryl leans forward a fraction. Dispassionate disinterest is briefly put to the side in favour of appreciating the moment she has arranged - the moment when Endymion claims the head of the princess.

Endymion's sword is held high, and he takes a breath as he prepares to deliver an execution strike - and then a radiant disc of glorious white shines forth. That glimpse of hope, that glimpse of lunar illumination - it cuts clean into Endymion's armor, slamming home to sear with all the purifying power it bears. The dark prince staggers and screams as it shines - and as Sailor Moon finds her feet to rise, Endymion falls to his knees.

That cruel sword digs into stone, held desperately as a brace to keep him from falling over entirely. His breath emerges as a seething hiss as his free hand clutches at the injury -

"Don't think it will be that easy, Princess. An 'ordinary girl' cannot hope to wield true power. Endymion, -rise-."

Endymion's eyes unfocus for a moment, and he lets out a scream as shadows writhe around him. He rises slowly this time, and his military precision has regressed to a more casual stance. A prince would never slouch, but he might lounge...and this one produces a single black rose.

"This world...belongs to the Dark Kingdom now! I won't...I won't let some dreamer of a princess lay claim to it!" The shadows around him seem to snarl, crackling with power as he hurls the rose to embed itself in the ground at Sailor Moon's feet - and from it, vines erupt to attack and ensnare the last warrior.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has used Prince of the Black Rose on Sailor Moon.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Dark Endymion's Prince of the Black Rose, taking 13 Fatigue damage! Sailor Moon is Quipped! Sailor Moon's Fade ability activates! Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Star Locket Music Box - BSSM OST - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1aUoCX7C78

It's harder than she even thought, seeing Endymion scream like that. Seeing him fall to a knee from wounds that she caused. She actually even takes a step forward towards him, as if she were going to go his aid.

But then she recoils, she recoils as surely as if Rei Hino were over her shoulder, glaring in disapproval, feeling the heat in her eyes. As if Minako Aino were getting in front of her and barring her way, as if Makoto Kino were behind her, strong arms encircled around her. As if Ami Mizuno were giving a kind word, trying to comfort her over what she's done.

She doesn't go to his aid after that but the look her eyes is distress, despair, over the circumstances that brought them to this. The darkness that has its hold over him just won't stop, just won't recede, just won't give for even a moment.

She catches her spinning Tiara as it circles back, and places it back upon her brow. Her breath shudders within her chest, even as the hopelessness of the situation grips her... and yet... "You're wrong!" She says desperately, "If there's anything this world has taught me, its that an ordinary girl can wield the power to do anything! Everyone who opposed you, they were ordinary girls too! So were you once, weren't you!?"

But does she truly believe that? The Ginzuishou did not shine when she pleaded with it for the sake of Mercury.

When Endymion starts to scream anew, and writhe, she has to take a step back. The darkness just won't stop... it's like a relentless juggernaut. Even when she puts him down, it forces him back up, so painfully.

A hurled black rose embeds itself along the floor, and as they do, she leaps out of the way, even as vines crease her legs, promising doom if she stops. So she doesn't. She twists, and spins, not allowing them to catch her, even if the mere sight of what was once a symbol of how much Tuxedo Kamen cared for her twisted this way threatens to play at her determination.

But it's in vain, as eventually it finds purchase, and roughly drags her back to the ground, causing a satisfying yelp. But as it does, it wrenches free something. With a metallic clang, an object hits the ground, then strikes again. Then rolls around on its pointed edges like some noisy hubcap before clattering to the ground between Endymion and the fallen Princess.

Its glass remains broken, a small hole seared in it, through it, by a rapier thin lance of energy from long ago. And as it comes between those two hearts. Ancient gears and tines that by all rights, should never play again... begins to. A charming melody from the music box within. Slow at first, but then it picks up as if it were never broken in the first place, a crescent moon within lighting up with radiance.

Sailor Moon is stunned by the single vine which wrenched her out of the air and to the floor, and a sound she never thought she'd hear again... that she'd never actually heard in this lifetime. Her eyes move off the ground, to it, then back up at the man it once belonged to in another lifetime. "It's true that I'm a dreamer, but you were too once." She whispers with such earnesty even as tears flood her eyes. "You liked listening to my dreams. You liked talking about how we'd make them come true together."

Struggling against the vine, she gets up to her knees at least, even as it tries to wrench at her leg from going further. The pain just heightens the tears in her eyes. "Even in this lifetime you've been there ever since that night in the jewelry shop, always supporting me. Always there with a kind word for me or my friends... Telling me how I'm so strong, and can accomplish anything, especially my dreams."

So instead of trying to get up, she crawls forward, to grab at the locket, to put it in her hands, to present it in both hands. "I...I just wanted to know who you were... why it felt like we'd met before, why you made my heart beat so fast. And now that I know, I just... want to try to start over, to make new dreams together with you..."

She whispers softly with a broken timbre, "B-But you have to fight it. Fight her! You're not willingly helping her. She's twisting and poisoning your thoughts." She can't stop the darkness, but she can love the one trapped within it. Even though she's edging on desperation given where this is pushing her, "This isn't you. You're the cool and dashing guy that I love so much that my thoughts feel like they're going to short circuit whenever I'm not with you. Not this."

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moonlight Densetsu on Dark Endymion.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Dark Endymion narrowly braces Sailor Moon's Moonlight Densetsu, taking 0 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Beryl's gaze, filled with a twisted delight as she watches reincarnated lovers fighting to the death...narrows in fury at Sailor Moon's argument. Or is it, perhaps, an accusation? Those fingers reach out...and then point sharply to Endymion. Even without words, the order is clear.

Finish this.

The shadows wreathing Endymion howl with the promise of death, of pain, of agony with every menacing step forward. A relentless advance...up until the first notes of the melody play. Even after thousands of years, it's a melody he can't forget. One that rings with the truth of forgotten memories, jarring him from thoughts of murder.

He's shaking. As Sailor Moon speaks, as she pulls free of the lone vine...he stares down at her, trembling enough that the sword's wicked blade seems almost like water. The shadows around him seem to tug at his arm, urging him forward, and his words are very nearly snarled. "I...remember..."

("It's a beautiful dream, my Princess. I will stand with you, and the two of us can proclaim our love for eternity...")

Endymion's free hand comes up, claw-like as it grabs at his face. Half his visage is obscured, masked by that hand, and he snarls as he takes another shuddering step forward. Another step, as that ancient music plays.

("The woman I love has faith that all of us can find happiness. How can this not be admirable?")

The prince yells - practically screams in fury as the shadows riot against him, as his sword clatters to the ground. His now-free hand, he thrusts up into the air shining with gold and darkness intertwined. For a moment, the audience chamber seems different - reflections of another ancient castle, neither Lunar nor Dark. Shades of four attendants are briefly visible around him - blurry, faded, but terribly familiar...but the glimpse of kingdom and attendants lost is fleeting.

"Sailor...Moon!" Trembling, the hand comes down, hurling that measure of shadow-tainted planetary power forth - it sounds like a charging army, it crackles with hints of cold and starlight and rose-scent and impenetrable walls all at once, spreading wide as the power scourges the area. Through the roar of the power, Endymion's voice can barely be heard - strangled by shadow, hissed more than screamed, an utterance for none save the lone Senshi.

"...do it now!"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Dark Endymion has used Four Heavenly Kings on Sailor Moon.

COMBAT: Dark Endymion has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly braces Dark Endymion's Finisher, Four Heavenly Kings, taking 52 Fatigue damage!

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

Sailor Moon's breath catches when he says he remembers, even if the words are snarled. "Please come back to me." She whispers, seeing the shadows rising, sees how he struggles between his true feelings and the ones that writhe around him as spidery umbral shadows.

She watches them twist with gold, changing the Dark Kingdom into a twisted reflection of the Golden Kingdom. It feels like he's turning the very Earth she loves too against her. And while that thought causes her to despair from just how deep Beryl has him within her clutches... a Queen of Queens, so powerful, that Sailor Moon could offer nothing from her dreams that could be equal of worth to what she offers him. And now he was going to kill her, for her sake.

"To your intellect, she offers hope. To your ambition, she offers kindness. To your curiosity, she offers wonder."

Remembering his words, she rises to her feet, pointing the Moon Stick in front of her, faces the onslaught of planetary power head on. Her whole form shimmers and shines, from a light that is difficult to tell if it comes from the Ginzuishou which she wields in one hand, or the locket she holds in the other. It covers her whole body like a sheen of stardust and moonlight, just as the energy strikes her full force, and threatens to blast her backwards across the room. '...do it now!'

The Senshi digs her feet in, even though the twisted stone cracks around her, even if her feet carve furrows in the ground. Even if it feels like the whole world is turning against her, including the man she loves... she perseveres, she remains standing, perhaps only by his encouragement alone, even if she's bent afterwards, even if shadowy wisps rises from her trembling form. Even her voice shakes, "Even after e-everything that's happened I still b-believe..." With a trembling limb she raises the Moon Stick overhead, "...in the shining future!"

The Ginzuishou shines pink, as she traces a circle in the air that trails cleansing stardust, "Moon Healing-" It pulses outward even before she says her last word, not a spell, but more a desperate prayer, a wish that shines in every wave of light, opposing the power that Beryl has forced Endymion to bring to bear, opposing the shadowy hooks within his mind and soul and rejecting that this is him. That this could ever be him, "-Escalation!"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Moon has used Moon Healing Escalation on Dark Endymion.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Dark Endymion narrowly braces Sailor Moon's Finisher, Moon Healing Escalation, taking 90 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Dark Endymion is unable to keep fighting!

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

The Earth's tainted power, condemning the future.

The Moon's purifying light, conveying shining belief.

In the wake of one, the other comes - a heartfelt wish clashing against the darkness that pervades Endymion. The light shines brilliantly, and the shadows themselves seem to scream in agony as Sailor Moon's power envelops Endymion totally. Within the wave of light, there's sounds akin to crackling flames hissing out, to stone splintering, and a gratefully gasped...


Endymion, armor seeming lighter than it had been already, falls to his hands and knees, gasping as the stranglehold of the shadows is released at last. One, two, three grateful breaths - and then he raises his head, looking upon Sailor Moon once more.

No confident smirk. No cold condemning gaze. Now, his eyes are practically glimmering with love, desperate relief written upon every feature. "Sailor Moon. You...you're all right. I believed...I knew you could."

There's a sword, discarded on the floor nearby, and his face pales in horror as his eyes catch it. "I...what can I ever to do make up for..."

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

Exhausted as she is, both physically and emotionally, she immediately rocks and falls down to her own knees, her eyes hardly believing it when that heartfelt wish clashes against the darkness and wins. She crawls forward, by painful inches, her entire form still aching from every sword blow, from every wrench of the vine, from every clash of planetary power, and wraps an arm around his neck the moment she gets there, unable to contain herself.

"Thank goodness. Thank goodness!" She just looks so happy for what she regards as this small victory after so many losses and defeat. So much death and destruction and despair.

Eyes shining, with tears that haven't yet fallen, mouth open in a small smile. If she'd failed, this would be the perfect moment for him to slay her, once and for all. But she did not. She didn't. She shakes her head fervently, twintails twisting from side to side the moment he looks at the sword and talks about making up for it. "It wasn't you. It wasn't you. It wasn't my brave prince. It wasn't my Tuxedo Kamen-sama."

Her voice breaks, as she presses against him, now crying out of relief and release, "When you got taken... it felt like something was breaking inside of me." For days she hadn't been able to talk about it, tried not to think about it, didn't want to remember, and now all of it comes out, in an outpouring of emotion. "I'm so glad you came b-back to me!"

<Pose Tracker> Dark Endymion [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Forgiveness. For the man kneeling here, it seems undeserved - but a relief to hear, all the same. "My princess...with all my heart, I wish only that I could have returned sooner. Truly, for causing you such pain...it would take a lifetime to fully make amends." And yet, he smiles - a lifetime that could be well spent, are the words that go not quite said.

With one hand, he sweeps the sword far out of the way, leaving the blade to clatter far away into the shadows - and then he throws both arms around Sailor Moon in an outpouring of emotion. "Forever, my princess - however long you must wait, I will always come back to you. Truly, I love-"

"Endymion - what are you doing? Crawling back to the princess who discarded you, who abandoned all her duties to die like a fool? You could have had the world, and you choose her?" A harsh, nearly disbelieving voice cuts through the tableau like a knfe, chilling the mood instantaneously with harsh condemnations. Beryl, gazing upon the reunion, has a face twisted into a snarl of absolute fury. Her gaze, piercing with hatred, gazes upon the crystal upon Sailor Moon's wand.

Endymion - or perhaps Tuxedo Mask, save the lack of a mask - turns to face the Queen. "Whether the years wash away by the thousands or lifetimes separate us again and again...I will always choose her. For her pure heart, for her faith in a future holding joy for everyone...Serenity, Sailor Moon, or whatever name she chooses to bear. Always."

Beryl is quiet for a moment, a single breath... "Then you are forever a fool, Endymion. And you are forever an empty-headed dreamer, Princess. Stay united in death, and your tragedy can replay itself a thousand times." Hand flexing like a cat's claw, she swipes once at the ceiling - and cackles from her throne, as crystal spears rain down across the entire audience hall. They fall without mercy, without discrimination, without hope to find cover in time.

Unless a cover is gifted. A shadow falls across Sailor Moon as the crystal rains down, horrible crashes as the rain shatters itself against the floor...but when the storm passes, she is left unscathed. Unharmed in body - but Endymion, the prince who made himself a living shield against the terrible barrage, falls to one side.

His cape, already lined with crimson, might hide the full extent of his injury...but several vicious spires can be seen even from his front. In spite of harsh mortality, there is a smile on his face as one hand reaches out to Sailor Moon.

"I'm glad...you're not hurt. Keep that beautiful faith...and we will meet again...."

The hand, moments after being grasped, falls limp.

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

In her relief, she'd briefly forgotten Beryl was present. It was a critical error. A deadly mistake. The sheer anger, and displeasure in her words is enough to cause Sailor Moon to briefly lock up. And for just a moment she wonders... if this will be just like the past.

It turns out it's more like the past than she'd like to admit. She's small enough behind Tuxedo Mask that she doesn't catch the flex of the hand, doesn't see the falling of so many crystalline spears. But he does. As the shadow falls over her, she realizes what is happening. "N-No! Stop!" She shrieks in shock and horror, "STOP IT!"

But the spears won't be deterred, as they impact and he rolls to one side, and she immediately grips his hand. Again she's wracked by the despair that she couldn't do a thing. That she couldn't keep her promise to protect him, that she made on the very surface of the moon, in the ruins of her fallen kingdom.

She grasps his hand fervently, feels the strength slip out of it, and whispers grief-stricken to him as he dies, tears streaming down her eyes as she presses the locket to his chest. "I l-love you. Even if we're r-reborn again and a-again... I know that I'll muh-meet you, and I know for certain... that we'll fall in l-love all over again..." Again it had happened, just like in the past. He'd died protecting her from Queen Beryl. Everything just seemed so hopeless, so pointless.

Even the small victory had only led to one more defeat. She feels that dissonance buzzing around in her skull, the confusion. "A dream... a nightmare... t-this is... I c-can't keep..." The despair in the shadows beckons, leading her eyes over to cold steel that lay on the ground, dropped by her Prince.

There was only one way for this to come full circle. Everyone was dead, she was alone again. A-lone. No Ami-chan. No Mako-chan. No Minako-chan. No Rei-chan. Not even Tuxedo Kamen. Everyone else she could count on Beryl had banished somewhere she couldn't reach.

Her hand finds the hilt of the sword, picks it up with the sound of metal sliding upon rock as the grace. It wasn't as heavy as last time, her mind vaguely thinks that it's because she's stronger than she was. Stronger. She was stronger.

Not strong enough to save anyone, but... she was stronger, than the helpless Princess she once was, because she became Sailor Moon.

Her eyes lift up to the Queen on her cold demon anglerfish throne, she imagines her cruel delight, at seeing her with the sword in hand again.

She refused to let their sacrifices be meaningless. She refused to give into despair, and give this world to Queen Beryl. She refused to give up on the shining future that all of her friends died because they believed in it.

And those thoughts cause her to still her whole being to steady, to still. The answer was obvious on how to end this nightmare, so obvious that it was right in front of her eyes. She begins quietly, but growing in a steady crescendo of righteous anger and passion.

"Queen Beryl... in the name of my precious friends who gave everything they had for me to get here and stop you... for all the girls who you've unjustly sent away... for all the death and destruction you've brought upon so many worlds and their people..." She points the tip of the sword at Beryl, Moon Stick still held tightly in the other hand, tears sparkling in her eyes as she shouts across the hall. "...I will punish you!"