2016-03-12 - Knight at the Museum

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Title: Knight at the Museum

A protodaimon attacks a field trip at the Museum of Western Art, and tries to consume Setsuna Higashi's Pure Heart! The Black Knight shows up to inspect the protodaimon's goods, scares the bejeezus out of everyone, and leaves.


Renjiro Masaki, Usagi Tsukino, Kuniko Saito, Lera Camry, Takeo Akamizu, Iona Hikawa, Endo Naoki, Setsuna Higashi, The Black Knight

GMs: Hotaru Tomoe as the Protodaimon, Honoka Yukishiro as the Black Knight


Museum of Western Art, Ueno

OOC - IC Date:

03-12-2016 - 10-06-2014

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C4ONi0YOhk

Today's Sister Schools field trip is to the Museum of Western Art -- all grade levels have been invited, but it's optional, an after-school event in lieu of club activities for those with Western interests, artistic inclinations, or simply in the mood to hit up a museum. The current showcase exhibit is a traveling group of Monets, and there's just nothing quite like the peaceful feeling of getting lost in the soft subtleties of a lily landscape.

But although most of the students are dutifully filling out their worksheets (there are worksheets, of course there are worksheets) as they appreciate the art and examine the various placards beneath for the answers they seek, the museum is a bit, labyrinthine place, and teachers aren't /too/ annoyed by adventurous kids who want to check out the other exhibits. Near enough the group to not get yelled at outright are two main topics: Greek statuary and a collection of Medieval European art and artifacts. The former stand bold and spare, all by themselves in a hollow room where footsteps echo loudly all around.

The latter are in what might as well be a treasure chamber -- ah, wondrous things. There are suits of armor and swords, pendants and cups, old banners and ancient currencies. No single piece is spotlit, but taken as a group there is enough awesomeness to satisfy even the most hardcore swords and sorcery nerd.

The afternoon is passing pleasantly enough, with small groups of kids chattering quietly (or getting shushed by adult visitors and/or museum staff when their volume level gets a little too high).

And then the lights go out, plunging everything into perfect darkness. Inevitably, someone screams, which sets up a panicked chorus so echoingly layered and complex -- recall, there are lots of rooms, and lots of hallways -- that surely the statues are jealous. Beyond the simple adrenaline rush of the moment, there is also a heaviness upon the air -- a presence. From above, or one side, a sense of being watched by someone with profoundly malicious intentions.

Someone... or something.

OOC: You are strongly advised to transform on your turn, whatever other actions you take. The management is not responsible for mangled civilians.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera is on the field trip, trying to do the thing she always does when she comes to this museum: dodge questions that her fellow students have for a "native" of the region. She is likely less familiar with the art here, besides thinking that some of it looks vaguely Belkan in appearance. She is peering, idly, at one of the banners, with her fingers to her chin.

She found her way next to another of the students, of course. The grin she gives Setsuna Higashi is just slightly sly. "I think, as an /American/, this looks very... authentic, y'know?"

Maybe her grin is more than slightly sly.

But then the lights all go off, and the room becomes pitch black. Her amber eyes widen -- then narrow when she hears the scream. She whispers, then, and her tone is now entirely serious. "Setsuna. You know what we gotta do."

She holds her hand into the air; there is a bright flash of light, cascading around her and tracing an outline in the darkness. Lera Camry, in a surge orange-red, has a coat fluttering behind her here, a feather forming in her hair there. She turns, her broadsword-shaped Device in hand, and then she yells:

"Everyone! Head for the exits!"

COMBAT: Lera Camry transforms into Barrier Jacket Perihelion!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Setsuna is entirely new to art and history in this sense; oh, sure, she's seen a museum before, but it's a little different now.

Labyrinth didn't have art history.

Lera's comment just causes the shorter girl to lift her eyebrow. "...Very authentic," she repeats, deadpan.

"It's so interesting, though. Did they really use these for--"

Her next question is cut off, and the middle schooler can't help but jump at the sudden darkness. ...And then shiver at the strange feeling she gets even beforeshe hears a scream. ...What they have to do.

"Right," she murmurs, and takes her Linkrun out of her purse. Her key--Akarun--leaps into her hand, and she trns the lock to open it propely--

With an aura of crimson light, she is replaced by a more striking figure in red and black and white.

Cure Passion is silent, trying to adapt her eyes to the dark to see what's happening.

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi transforms into Cure Passion!
<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Takeo is not here for the Monets. Sure. It's a convenient excuse, but the second he arrives, he stealthily ditches the worksheet, and his adult supervision. He unzips part of his jack and peers down the front of his shirt to whisper inside. "We're in."

There is a rustle of fabric, before a bunny sticks his head out of Takeo's neckline. Whiskers quiver as he sniffs the air and tiny bunny eyes adorably look around the chamber filled with European artifacts. There is a bit of a scramble, but the bunny then climbs to Takeo's shoulder and takes a better look. The head swivels, as does the ears, as if they are pieces of a radar antennae searching out a particular target. "This is definitely where the sheathe was shattered." He whispers to Takeo quietly. "Be on the look out for a shard, or thread out of place. Also, move closer to the museum pieces. Maybe there is something we can use."

With a nod, Takeo moves over toward the pieces. He gives an adult a shrug when they look at the young man with a Rabbit on his shoulder and he smiles with an impish grin. "Service animal." He says evenly by way of explanation. The adult looks as if he is about to say something in response when the lights go out. He sighs and says calmly. "Merlin. The Lights are out."

"Yes. They are."

"We are standing in the EXACT spot Morgana last attacked us."

"Yes. We are."


"Oh. Most certainly."

"Oh good. I'd hate to think our lives were getting dull."

As the Rabbit leaps off Takeo's shoulder to avoid the incoming lightning storm, Take grabs his Pendent and calls out: "I SWEAT TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT!" From the pendent, at those words lighting erupts in every direction. Each bolt accompanied by thunder that only adds to the screaming of innocents in the area. Each bolt slams into Takeo, becoming a piece of armor, with the final striking his right hand and forming into a blazing white blade. He does a quick flourish and looks around.

Merlin hops back up onto Lancelot's shoulder and says sardonically, "Oh yes. Transforming with bright lightning won't attract the enemy in the slightest. Bravo Lancelot."



"I still wish you were a horse."


COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Usagi Tsukino adored opportunities in which she could think she was bettering herself. That she could become more cultured or refined by simply the osmosis of her presence around such people or things.

And so here she is now, with Usagi on the field trip, pencil eraser pressed against her chin, worksheet pressed against a history textbook that was in hand. She was staring at one of Monet's works in deep thought. "Hmmm... how does it make me feel?"

Quickly she scribbled down on the worksheet the word: Hungry!!!

"Next question. Why?" She then jotted down: I don't understand why they're leaving behind so much food. Did high class ladies two centuries ago just waste food like that?

The work she was looking at? Luncheon on the Grass.

After those two questions, her attention for just doing the assignment expired, and she found herself wandering through the exhibits. She noticed Lera and Setsuna together and tries her hardest not to giggle, waving instead so she won't interrupt the two. Soon enough she's snickering at some of the Greek statuary, "People used to be so kink-"

Suddenly everything is pitch and that thought is interrupted. And she's reminded of... something she'd rather not remember, something in her blood just running cold as the shrieks and screaming starts. Part of her wants to join them. But instead... she swallows her fear like a bitter pill and lifts her hand to the air while placing the other to her chest.

"Moon Crystal Power - Make Up!"

Her hand is adorned with bright nail polish, ethereal wings of the whitest feathers spreading open to herald her coming. Ribbons form over parts of her body one by one, readying her for whatever terrors may lurk in the shadows.

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Kuniko Saito is not here to cook, or even, necessarily, look at food. She needed some extra credit and the idea of taking a short break is a pretty welcome thing, considering the amount of extra hours she puts in.

Having burned through a worksheet on Monet including her thoughts on Monet ("in conclusion, Monet is a land of contrasts"), Kuniko, still wearing her school uniform, had drifted towards the display of medieval impedimentia. She is crouching down to closely inspect several clay cups near to a display of reconstructed medieval tableware, since you can take the Kuniko out of the kitchen but you can't take the kitchen out of the Kuniko.

Then the lights go out.

And people start screaming.

"Give me a break," Kuniko says even as shes traightens up, but the oppressive tension in the air drives her. She moves forwards, feeling that sense of judgment coming down from a source she can't quite position, her magical inclinations not quite strong enough to reveal it to her.

But... Kuniko reaches into her blouse pocket and draws out a blue cloth with strings. A quick knot tied, a clap of the hands.

Did someone turn on the faucet and drop some pans?

Well, Lancelot's probably disguising that. The Poissonnier Kuniko makes her appearance nearby, but she hears someone else encouraging matters. Taking a deep breath, Kuniko pours what she can into trying to imitate the tone of voice of yet another rabbit:

"EVERYBODY GET OUT NOW. MOVE TO THE EXITS," Kuniko pushes out, before she finds herself out of breath. How does he manage it?? she wonders.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito transforms into Poissonnier Kuniko!
<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona Hikawa had come to the museum with the rest of the group. It sounded like an interesting idea, and a good way to relax after a school day. She's spent most of her time among the areas particular to the trip. She doesn't migrate outside the bounds of the trip, and anything that isn't passes her notice entirely. She's filling out her worksheets, and doing so very dutifully. She's also not among any group of students, spending her time by herself. But, that's how she likes it.

She likes it so much that she's at first completely nonchalant about the lights going off, only pausing to make a noise of disappointment because she's now unable to see her worksheet. When people start to scream, though, that's when she looks up and around and sees a whole lot of nothing, only shapes moving around in the darkness. Power outages on their own weren't a cause of concern, but people screaming were.

And so, Iona pulls out her PreChanMirror, and slips in two cards. White light turns to purple, and suddenly there's Cure Fortune! Unlike some of the others, Fortune doesn't urge the people to exit in a nice and orderly fashion, as purple eyes scan the area, looking for whatever might be causing the panic.

COMBAT: Iona Hikawa transforms into Cure Fortune!
<Pose Tracker> Renjiro Masaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

It'd been awhile since Renjiro had actually gone out and about. All this crazy stuff had gotten him scared to walk home at night. But maybe he'd be able to learn something at the Western art museum that would help him find some hint to his powers. Plus, with it being all the sister schools, maybe he'd get a chance to finally see Takeo. Merlin mentioned him a few times but...

He stared at a random piece of art, not entirely sure who even painted it, but it was still pretty. Fortunately he didn't have to admire it too long before the sound of footsteps took his attention away and he saw some tall guy pulling a /RABBIT/ out of his shirt. And it was a.... very familiar rabbit. Was that... Huh. "Merlin?" He whispered to himself, blue eyes widening. The guy looked kinda scary, so when he started to follow him Ren didn't stick too close.

And then the screams come and the lights drop. And then the lightning. Wow. It was such a cool change. But Ren shook his head, trying to push that thought out of his head and steady himself for what might be to come! "I SWEAR TO UPHOLD THE KING'S HONOR!" He calls out at the top of his tiny voice, gripping the shield pendant around his neck. A silent whirlpool wraps around Renjiro, solidifying into shining armor and a large crystal slowly morphing into a spear a few feet taller than Renjiro with a white banner waving proudly!

He looks around nervously, to make sure no one took notice, not that he entirely subtle and grips his spear tight, readying himself!

COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki transforms into Bedivere!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo has found time to go the museum. Usually he'd be taking off after school to work, but today is a free day, and he was told there were cool old things to look at with his friends. He doesn't seem to consider painting among them, as he's quickly passed that up to go looking at armors and swords, which are far more interesting. He will not do well on his worksheet.

"Do you think I need a helmet? All of these people had helmets. Aaa, look at this one, should they have this many feathers?"


Before any more can be argued on the matter of decorations and occupational safety equipment, the lights go out. Endo pauses, squinting, tensing up when he feels malevolent gazes in the dark. His hand reaches to touch the ring around his neck, hissing, "Stern! Set up!"

It does that. There's a plume of purple light that engulfs Endo, and when it passes he's clad in sleek, dark armor, flappy cape, and giant sword.

COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki transforms into Bedivere!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki transforms into Barrier Jacket!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejPiLEDje30

As magical girls and boys start transforming like a vast assortment of roman candles, a rainbow's worth of scintillation, they cast an equal variety of shadows. In the Medieval exhibit, Lera's orange and Cure Passion's red and Endo's purple act as emergency (but deeply creepy, like living flames) lighting, and students pour out of the area as Lancelot's white lightning and the crystalline coolness of power around Bedivere spurs them into action.

Out by the Monet, it's white feathers and pink ribbons and brilliantly violet light, and an undefinable but comforting scent of one's favorite food, experienced differently by everyone, takoyaki to one girl and cocoa to another. Their presence is recognized, and their instructions followed diligently -- people, on the whole, skedaddle.

It's quite a large building, and it will take them time to make it to the front exit, much less the nearest emergency exit, for those who can find them (harder than it sounds with the power, including the backup power, out -- a detail which implies it was lost deliberately rather than some kind of legitimate outage). There's no time to escort them, though, no time at all, because out of the shadows -- specifically, each magical warrior's individual shadow -- the sense of being watched explodes into more profound discomfort.

There is the hopefully illusory-sense of near misses of something very sharp, like claws, which might ruffle hair as it passes; there is soft hissing. Something is hiding in the shadows. Something is hiding in /your/ shadow, or so it seems for an awful, confused moment. Something close. Something awful.

But more than anything, it smells like blood, and anyone who follows the urgency of this olfactory impetus finds themselves in the Medieval exhibit, if they weren't already.

It smells like blood but it isn't blood, it's something else. There, in the corner of the room, her eyes horrifyingly blank, is a girl in an Infinity Institute middle school uniform -- curled up on the floor in a fetal position. Out of her stomach and nostrils, and from beneath her fingernails and eyelids, and most of all erupting out of her back comes an ichorous monster -- sometimes 'creature' is all right, sometimes 'being' is more politely accurate, but this is something straight out of nightmares. It is claws and fangs and eyes that refuse to reflect the light, visible only in their absence, like twin portals to the void of space.

It roars, and the girl it's emerging from screams. The two voices are obviously, in some twisted way, as connected as the forms creating them. As the monster rears up, more like a massive snake than anything else in its current, bulbous form, the girl's arms and legs flop limply in front, like vestigial wings. The rest of her is rapidly disappearing, being absorbed, or perhaps completing her gruesome transformation.


Whatever it's made out of, the outer layer of it seems to explode in all directions like extraordinarily gross reactive armor, coating everyone nearby. It is ninety-eight-point-six degrees warm, thicker than water, and burns like acid, on contact rapidly destroying the protective glass that surrounds the hapless artifacts of the exhibit.

Among other things.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Proto-Daimon!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 8 opponents!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Eyes From The Shadows on Cure Fortune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Eyes From The Shadows on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Eyes From The Shadows on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry's Reverse ability activates!  Lera Camry's Tactician ability activates!  Lera Camry is Taunted!
COMBAT: Lera Camry's counterattack, Sentinel Flash, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon perfectly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Eyes From The Shadows, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!  Sailor Moon's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Eyes From The Shadows, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kuniko Saito is Quipped!  Blind, Diversion, and Exhausted applied to Kuniko Saito!
COMBAT: Cure Passion narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Passion's Fade ability activates!  Cure Passion is Taunted!
COMBAT: Cure Fortune fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Eyes From The Shadows, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Fortune is Quipped!  Blind applied to Cure Fortune!
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to counter Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Lancelot is Taunted!
COMBAT: Lancelot's counterattack, Veil of Steel, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Renjiro Masaki's Block ability activates!  Renjiro Masaki's Parry ability activates!  Renjiro Masaki is Taunted!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki's counterattack, Asteroid Rush, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Somebody else just swore and oath, he FELT the water flow past him. Lancelot's head whips toward the voice in the darkness, and his eyes narrow. "Merlin - " He says leaving the rest unsaid as he scans the room for the possible source of darkness and evil.

However Merlin has hopped off. Run about five feet and leapt up onto Bedivere's shoulder. "Bedivere. I'm glad you're here. I don't know what has caused this mess, but between you, Lancelot, and all these other Magical Girls we're in good shape. We can introduce you to Lancelot later. Right now, you need to focus. This won't be like the Shadow Creature you battled before. This will be," The rabbit pauses. "Well. It might be worse. So. Let's start with "Stay Focused." Add "Staying alive," and then we'll see what happens after yes?"

Lancelot felt the rabbit leap off his shoulder and he wanted to curse under his breath. "The next bloody time I come to a museum, I am bringing Sparkles instead of a useless rabbit." He mutters under his breath. Then he stands utterly upright as he FEELS the evil sense of evil near him. He slowly looks over his shoulder and spies the little girl in the fetal position. Then the monster forming, and his eyes trace up to lock with the monster's evil orbs.

"Don't worry about Lancelot Bedivere, that thing won't touch him, he's a very skilled - " The monster attacks and Lancelot's blade moves even as he does, but he's just not fast enough and he goes sailing past rabbit and the other knight. "Well. He's normally skilled. I'm sure he's alright."

Pushing himself up, Lancelot roars in defiance and charges, lighting trailing form Arondight, his bright white blade. He leaps at the last second and calls out: "LIGHTNING SLASH!" the blade arcing with brilliant white energy as he lashes at the monster in front of him.

"Ah. See? He's fine. Though I do need ot tlak to him about //announcing// his attacks." He looks to Bedivere. "Can you believe he wishes I was a horse?"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Slash on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera gets the sense that something is watching her. She tenses up next to Setsuna, her eyes drifting down at the ground -- and at her shadow. Her eyes widen a little, and she sniffs the odor of blood. She looks up, then, and she briefly catches the image of a girl curled up on the ground. Her blood begins to run cold, then, and she opens her mouth; she starts to gawk, starts to say something, but then that...

...that /thing/ comes out of her, erupting. Lera can't help herself. She screams in terror, stumbling backward. "Get--get away from me!"

It's a visceral, immediate reaction. Her heart hammers in her chest, pounding like there is no tomorrow. <Calm down! We have to focus!> Soaring Sky calls out -- for Lera, as much as Setsuna. <Stern! Have you ever seen a monster like this before!?>

Lera swings Sky up. One of the thick globs of burning, bloody fluid comes at Lera, but her sword flashes. A cross-shaped burst of energy erupts -- as Soaring Sky cries <Sentinel Flash!> -- and deflects it to the side. It makes wooden paneling on the wall sizzle.

Then, Lera glances sideways at Cure Passion. With wide eyes, she nods, before she leaps towards the monster, and drives her sword at it. The Device shudders, before emitting a brilliant, white-hot flash bang that joins her strike. <Aura Surge!>

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Aura Surge on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly dodges Lancelot's Lightning Slash, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Lera Camry's Aura Surge, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!  Tangle applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Brilliant light erupts all through the gallery, and Cure Passion keeps her silence, holding her breath as one, then another show themselves just as she had. She's on edge, and she just can't shake the anxiety that grips her.

She turns, once, as she feels something against her arm, her hair rustled by a strang breeze--and then suddenly there's something /behind/ her. "W-what--"

Her breath catches as she sees a girl curled on the ground, in a familiar uniform. Her red eyes are transfixed by the awful sight. The scream pierces through her ears, and she can't even /move/, let alone call out--

And then she's burning, only managing in an instant to whirl herself around to spare her face.

"I--" Sky's voice is what reaches her, and she turns to look back again. Lera nods to her--and Cure Passion inclines her head. "O-on it!"

Even as Lera leaps towards the monster, Cure Passion rushes to the side, her heart pounding as she comes in to swing at its flank, punching and kicking.

COMBAT: Cure Passion has used Following Flurry on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters Cure Passion's Following Flurry, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Space Invasion, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Passion!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo's breath catches in his throat, and he turns. More spins really, like a top, ducking his head and swinging a fist behind him. It doesn't do much to abate the sensation that something's behind him, but it does set his eyes in the right direction. They widen as he watches the girl's transformation in the corner, a slight step taken back.

When the ichor comes, there's a flare of purple as a barrier or energy rises to meet it. It's not quite enough, some of the explosion burning through, making the faux-Belkan Knight grit his teeth.

<NO.> Stern's reply to the question is an ugly buzz. <I SUGGEST CAUTION.>

To other people, apparently, because Endo is going right for it. Purple-black contrails flow behind the boy as he whirls around, making two huge, sweeping arcs with the sword toward the monster that's emerged.

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Radial Velocity on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Endo Naoki's Radial Velocity, taking 49 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The soothing fragrance in the air smells somehow like the sea to Kuniko. Something passes nearby her.

She feels her heart pound. Kuniko turns her head to look towards -- what? She doesn't spot out the peculiarity of the lighting. That isn't quite the way she thinks about things. But something feels like it's right behind her, staring down her neck.

What's behind me? Kuniko thinks. The virtual cooking space of the Mise-en-place doesn't really have anything 'behind' her, other than stacks of towels. She didn't leave someone or something there, did she? Her head turns, that bifuricated sight revealing to her, in one refraction of things, only stacks of fluffy towels (and also some of the laundry she brought with her to Okinawa which she has yet to take inside).

But from another perspective...

Her shadow?

Kuniko's head snaps around just in time TO SEE THAT, her eyes going wide. She does not scream in mortal terror - Charcuterie class has taken the edge off of grue and distortion enough that she feels cold but does not feel dissociated in sheer shock and horror - but her mouth does open to declaim: "What the God is that?!" Sweat pouring down her neck, her face tight, mouth half-open, she simply and utterly goggles in horror for long seconds.

"That thing - that thing is turning her inside out like a sausage skin!! Ggaahhh!!" And then it ruptures with an audible meaty noise, and it is that audible meaty noise which shocks Kuniko out of her momentary stun of horror.

She doesn't have it in her to rush in though. She turns her attention down at the cutting board, saying to herself, "Inside out, inside out... What could do such a thing...?!" To keep her hands from jittering she chops the living heck out of several onions and starts several other things sizzling and boiling.

She also chops a plum tomato and half a ball of mozzarella up and wraps it in a pita, stuffing it into her mouth after smashing in an anchovy and a basil leaf. It is a strange reaction perhaps, but...

But it helps; the savory taste, the fresh pluck of the tomato, the tang of the anchovy and the basil... her shoulders tighten. Kuniko looks upwards, then.

Two seconds later she finally swallows.

<Pose Tracker> Renjiro Masaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Merlin?!" Bedivere cries as he rabbit leaps onto his shoulder, eyes widening even further. "What's going on?!" He sounds more confused than worried right now and his grip tightens further on his spear. His gaze passes over the magical rabbit to join Lancelot's searching of the room. It's a bit too dark though, and the lightning flashes definitely hadn't helped his nightvision.

"So /he/ is Lancelot?" Takeo definitely looked...sort of like one of those old knights, but maybe a little shorter. And without the moustache. "R-right, stay focused." He nods, determined, and starts to pace around the room for just a moment before the sense of evil strikes him.

"What is /that/ thing?!" Bedivere has only a moment to yell out before he forms a magical shield in front of himself to hold off the glob that launches from the beast. He screams out at the pain from just the few droplets that had penetrated his defense.

"Stay focused...stay focused..." The mantra is repeated alongside the tempting thought of the emergency exit as Bedivere looked in fright at the hideous...thing.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Tomato and Mozarella Antipasta on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito accepts Kuniko Saito's Tomato and Mozarella Antipasta, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Kuniko Saito!  Cleanse! All of Kuniko Saito's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki has used Camlan Cross on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki has used Camlan Cross on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Lancelot accepts Renjiro Masaki's Camlan Cross, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Sailor Moon smells it certainly. It evokes certain memories...

Outlines of her friends, sprouting tendrils from their backs. Blood and something more acrid besides.

Something within her trembles, and even though it isn't happening before her eyes she shuts them. It draws her onwards, like the inviting darkness of those chill tunnels where she knew only despair, exhaustion, hunger... and...


Even in the dark, that's something in her blue eyes, as she enters into the room of the Medieval exhibit, sees the girl on the ground in distinct pain. Every part of her that is kind tells her to run to her. "H-Hey are you alright? I'm here to help-" In fact, she's taking a step that way. Something however reminds her of Mars running past her bringing the inferno to protect a naive bunny from herself.

She stops walking, and the look in her eyes changes to abject horror as something from nightmares emerges the ichorous monster. For a moment, she can only stand in mute terror, eyes empty. It wasn't usually like this. It wasn't. There was something just /wrong/ about this happening to a girl like her, to give birth to a aberrant terror like that. Those feelings take over as she recoils in revulsion, taking a step back. The girl was done for, wasn't she? It was over before it even began.

A hand clenches around the rod in her hand.

"I'm the Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice, Sailor Moon!" There were so many here already, so many just as scared as she was. She's addressing them rather than she is the monster, "I know things are really scary right now everyone but we're definitely going to beat this thing and save that girl!"

Something inside her tells her that she can't, that its all empty words and bluster. But there's a deep seated need inside of her to try with all of her being. A hand to her tiara, it becomes a shining discus in her hand, "Stand strong! Moon Tiara-" She draws back a hand, and sends it forward. "-Action!" It becomes like a gleaming beacon of Moonlight, lighting up exhibit after exhibit from days of yore as it cuts towards the serpentine horror of her worst nightmares.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Tiara Action on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Fortune [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Cure Fortune slowly becomes unnerved, just a little bit. It feels like the darkness was enclosing on her and everything else. She had to get to the source, and quickly. So she shuffles her way through the remaining crowd as she makes her way towards the Medieval exhibit, and her eyes go wide when she sees the girl on the ground, some sort of monster emerging from her. Fortune stops, the darkness attempting to close around her senses, and it's working pretty well, as Cure Fortune can barely see the creature, or really anything at all.

Between the girl being used as a launching point, and the darkness, and the insane urge that /something/ is watching her, Fortune just rushes at the creature to try and punch it directly.

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has used Fortunate Punch on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters Sailor Moon's Moon Tiara Action, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Counter!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Devouring Shadow, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Cure Fortune's Fortunate Punch, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

In the gloom of the darkened museum, individual freeze-frames are all that can be followed, the strobe-lights of each attack as combatants weave in and out of the monster's reach. Lancelot is the first to discover its speed -- he is fast as lightning but, despite its massive bulk, it's faster still, and his sword fails to discharge on anything but painfully scorched air. A moment later, it's his turn, as claws emerge from the ichor to slice and rend and tear at his armor, trying to reach the squishy boy within.

Lera at least manages to make contact, but that flashbang leads to her getting a special treat; the strangely dark eyes of the monster seem to harden over, turning momentarily to stone in response to her blinding strike.

A moment later, the stone crumbles, and what lies beneath are exactly and unmistakably the eyes of the girl this monster had been before. They stare straight at the Midchildan, before amorphously stretching back into seemingly untouched shadowy optics, once again.

Cure Passion closes at the same time, and is thus treated to the same show, with an added twist: her punches and kicks are met, in real time, with bulbously growing, then bursting, bits of flesh and ooze, which negate her impacts into nothingness. Her kick finds what might be a vein, pulsing as it does with the rhythm of her own heart. Her punch meets a mouth -- a human mouth, until, a moment later, it sprouts an unreasonable quantity of sharp fangs and tries tries to catch her hand with them!

It's during this exchange that Endo scores the first full hits of the night. An X of gore explodes out of the protodaimon, smelling even more strongly of blood, and accompanied by that same dual, human-monster scream. It crawls upwards upon impact, trying to blind him, suffocate him, or maybe simply scare him out of his skin -- and is massive enough in scope to also try to engulf two others nearby, Bedivere and the Poissonnier.

Cure Fortune punches through, and her fists are not met with strange growths, but instead simply get to feel the give of its ichorous shape. She creates dimples which promptly reform, like punching sentient and especially viscous jello. It, in turn, sends another set of conveniently materialized claws after her, to rip away at her with terrifying sharpness.

But perhaps worst of all is the feeling in the room after Sailor Moon sends forth her glorious and sacred tiara... only to have it extinguished, engulfed, upon impact. The protodaimon's body begins to boil around it, actual bubbles of ichor forming and popping on its surface... but then it settles down again, and there is the distinct and unmistakable -- and not at all humorous -- sound of a satisfied consumer. What a lovely meal.

As a new limb forms, this one long and fluid rather than hard and sharp like the claws, it appears that Sailor Moon may be the next course. But no -- as the monster stretches and stretches towards her, a piece of itself finally /separates/, at the last moment, becoming a projectile eager to slam itself against her, full-force, and then, even more strangely, evaporate into noxious smoke a moment later.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Visceral Eruption on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used The Claws That Catch on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Body Horror on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Body Horror on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used The Claws That Catch on Cure Fortune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Mass Effect on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hunger on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Hotaru Tomoe's Hunger, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Reinforced by Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito's Block ability activates!  Kuniko Saito's Parry ability activates!  Kuniko Saito is Taunted!
COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Body Horror, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry is Quipped!  Lera Camry's Fade ability activates!  Lera Camry's Flash ability activates!  Bind Break! All of Hotaru Tomoe's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Mass Effect, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe is Psyched!  Sailor Moon's Reverse ability activates!  Sailor Moon's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon's counterattack, When a Bunny gets Physical..., partially gets through, doing 5 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Cure Fortune narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's The Claws That Catch, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Cure Fortune's Fade ability activates!  Cure Fortune's Flash ability activates!  Stagger, Stun, Tangle, and Trap applied to Cure Fortune!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's The Claws That Catch, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Lancelot's Block ability activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!  Stun and Tangle applied to Lancelot!
COMBAT: Cure Passion fails to counter Hotaru Tomoe's Body Horror, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Passion is Quipped!  Bind Break! All of Hotaru Tomoe's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Cure Passion's counterattack, Get AWAY, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki's Parry ability activates!  Endo Naoki is Taunted!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Now's not the time!" Merlin says, but nods in approval as Bedivere uses his power to help others. "Remember! A Knight is more powerful when there is more than one!"

Lancelot's blade whirls, and arc's of lightning dance and flicker along the ceiling, floor and walls. He grips the white blade in both hands and circles looking for an opening on the monster before him. It's tough. It might even be as tough as the Black Knight. "Merlin! What //is// this thing?" He calls out.

The Bunny leaps on top of a display case, where the old Wizard can watch the battle unfold. "I have no idea! It's nothing I've ever seen before!"

"Oh. Good. A New bad guy!" Lancelot stops near Sailor Moon and then nods to her. Switching to French and not even knowing it. "Sailor Moon! Try to hit it from the left, I'll take the right!" He nods once and then sprints off to attack the beast on the right side. The Claws leap out at him, and he feels something . . .


The Magic speeds him, and his blade, twirls faster and intercepts the incoming claws, just as they begin to pierce his armor drawing a line of fresh crimson form beneath his left shoulder. "Aw. Come on! That just healed!" He snarls and pushes back on the beast. He slides back and hisses, looking at the minor wound, before his eyes snap to the creature again. "Okay everybody. I have a new plan!"

Merlin face-paws and says to Bedivere. "He - He's not too bright. I'msosorry."

Pushing off a wall he leaps at the monster and cries out, "HIT IT HARDER!" His balde lashing in rapid quick succession at the blood monster.

COMBAT: Lancelot has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Visceral Eruption, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

<Quite right!> Sky answers Stern.

Lera looks briefly relieved to see Endo beside her, along with Setsuna. She nods at the boy, before she sees the dark eyes harden over like stone. Her sword swings back, but then she finds human eyes staring back at her. She feels her blood begin to curdle, then she shakes her head quickly as she stumbles backward. "Not--not just--what /is/ this thing!? I--" She sees the mouth, biting at Cure Passion. "Set--Passion! I-it's okay!"

She can't keep the panic from her voice, especially as she sees what happens to the moon tiara. Her mouth opens; she feels the shudder involuntarily. "S-Sailor Moon, don't... don't give up! You can do it! We--we have to--"

But her voice catches. The effort to cheer dies in her throat.

Lera brandishes her sword, swinging the blade up. There is a soft click -- <Gladiator Form.> -- and then the sword splits into two. Lera sucks a breath in, then rushes forward. She slashes with the sword in her right hand -- then pivots, slashing down with the one in her left. She ends with a stab, each blow leaving a blur of red-orange fire in the dark air after her swings.

<Rapid Skyfall!>

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Rapid Skyfall on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly counters Lera Camry's Rapid Skyfall, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Space Invasion, partially gets through, doing 10 Fatigue damage to Lera Camry!  Critical Counterhit!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Do you have to say it like that?" Passion can't help but groan out weakly, as Kuniko's turn of phrase promptly turns her stomach.

"So neither of you know what this is?" Passion asks, her voice considerably more composed than her feeling, or her shaky fists as she tries to strike out at the awful creature. Her eyes widen as she sees the change in its expression, as every one of her attacks impact fleshy nothing. "--No!"

Immediately Passion tries to strike back, to take her hand away and kick the horrific monster away from her, but she only impacts awful ooze again, the terror of the moment at least as painful as the fact that she draws her hand back bloody.

Stumbling backward, she forces herself ready enough to flip out of the way, to land yards apart from the creature for just an instant to breathe. "L-Lera," she starts, and looks to Endo, too, clearly her ally, even if she doesn't know him for who he is.

Even Sailor Moon's words can't reassure her, but she sees that brilliant attack, lets herself feel relief... until it's just swallowed up, like it was nothing. She stares--...And knows she can't leave her be.

Ducking down, she hops, then handsprings to land behind a certain soldier, "Sailor Moon!"

Surely she doesn't recognize Passion. But Passion..

"Please! Don't give up! Even if it blocked once..." The unfamiliar girl with pink hair puts a hand on her once-enemy's shoulder, "We--We can't give up. You have to save her!"

A red aura fades from her hand, onto Sailor Moon's shoulder, and brings with it a brief, brief flash of feeling--of better times, of happiness outside this place.

Passion is shaking, but she tries to keep her voice strong.

COMBAT: Cure Passion has used The Crimson Heart on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon accepts Cure Passion's The Crimson Heart, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate and Empower applied to Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Cure Passion is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Renjiro Masaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Bedivere does his best to protect Lancelot. Unfortunately, it's hard to protect someone from themselves. He can only watch with both worry and frustration as Lancelot charges straight into the fray. "No! Don't get too close to it!" But he's painfully aware his words are probably falling on deaf ears. He curses to himself in something that sounds akin to gibberish and takes a stance, couching his spear beneath his arm like a lance. "Fine! Taste the giant's thorn then!"

Bedivere launches a sparkling crystalline bolt from his lance, kicking off to a run. "Hey! Hey! Over here ya big dumby!" He calls out these childish insults, spacing too and fro quickly around the room and waving the white banner of his spear in the air. "Look at me! A big tasty knight!" He does what he can to attract the monster, trying to seem tough though inside his guts are rolling over like the wheels on the bus and sweat beads down his forehead. He can't let anyone get hurt though. "Lancelot, don't just run at it!"

COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki accepts Renjiro Masaki's Camlan Cross, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Renjiro Masaki!
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki has used Giant's Thorn on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo hisses again when his strike is rewarded with a splatter of burning gore, dark substance burning and eating his barrier jacket, burning where it touches.

Endo stumbles a few step back, regaining his balance. The sight of the other combatants bouncing off the thing-and Sailor Moon's tiara being extinguished-is not great for morale. For a moment he tightens up, but Lancelot has a good idea. Endo resonates with the knight's great desire: to hit things harder.

Endo's fingers tighten around the weapon in his hand, calling, "It's alright! We can beat it, right Stern?"

The weapon responds with a flare of ugly violet light as Endo weaves the spell. Belkan symbols burn into the air around the knight, and the dark metal comes alight with steam and purple lines that race across its circuitry. It practically vibrates with power, responding: <OVERDRIVE.>

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Overdrive Mode on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Endo Naoki accepts Endo Naoki's Overdrive Mode, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Empower and Surge applied to Endo Naoki!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Renjiro Masaki's Giant's Thorn, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The bloody rain smashes into Kuniko's kitchen setup with gory enthusiasm. It rebounds up onto her cook's wear, splattering. Splattering just everywhere. It is, in a word, horrible.

Kuniko's eyes twitch as she looks up, hearing the bold words of the knights before she sees that sparkling tiara get -- get gobbled up.

Gobbled up. Gobbled...

Kuniko straightens upwards. "If it's hungry--" Cure Passion speaks out. "Look I'm kind of freaked out right now!!!" She clears her throat and says, "If it's hungry - then I can feed it. And if I can feed it, then..."

Kuniko trails off.


But the chef must have a heart like that of the wooden rooster, willing to continue forwards even when everything seems lost. Even in failure one might feed half of a dining room, and that is better than to give up and feed none. Kuniko pulls something from a cold refrigeration space, splattering down the yogurt-marinated skewers with their slices of parboiled potato, quarters of tomato, slivers of onion, and thin-sliced strips of fish.

The scent evokes a sunny shore, far from this black and bloody hellhole.

Kuniko flips the skewers as they roast swiftly on her gas grill. (As Lera Camry might say: Taste the meat, not the heat.) "Give Sailor Moon back her tiara!! Chew on THIS instead --" as she pulls the two skewers up, charred bamboo held tight in her hands as she lunges forwards to smash them towards the creature, the fish perfectly crisped, the yogurt lushly caramelized, the vegetables practically emanating visible waves of Terroir in the dim of the hall...!

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Yogurt Fish Kebabs on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

And still, Cure Passion tries. She can barely stay standing, but she keeps her hand on Sailor Moon's shoulder for long enough to say what she can.

...But then she catches another glimpse of the creature, and remembers those too-human eyes. She sways.

"I-I... I can't..."

Her vision swims. She can't see her friends anymore. All she can see is--

"N-No--Not here--Not... Not again..."

Shivering, she stumbles back, and feels like her heart is going to beat out of her chest. ...The warrior from Labyrinth finds her leg buckles, and it's all she can do to cover her ears with her hands as she collapses on the ground behind Sailor Moon.

Everything in her vision turns to darkness, and sheer terror drives her into unconsciousness.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters Kuniko Saito's Yogurt Fish Kebabs, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Devouring Shadow, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Kuniko Saito!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Hope crosses the room. Only to be extinguished. Her sacred tiara is engulfed and she can only watch as the creature devours it like it one course of a six course dinner. It doesn't return to her forehead.

Something goes lax in her grip, as she just stares.

She remembers it flying at Beryl, for her to deflect it with a spoken word. But it took effort, you could see the strain and the pain. This thing... "I... h-how?" This enemy didn't even have the words for her to understand, or comprehend, it just a wretched crawling terror. A nameless horror. Maybe one she couldn't defeat. "H-How do we fight something... something like this?"

It stretches, and a piece of it is seperating, coming straight at her. And something within her... she just leaps forward, straight at that piece of the body, slamming her Cutie Moon Rod right into it. But its the diminutive Sailor Senshi against a massive piece of a monster. The outcome really isn't in doubt. It slams through her strike and against her shoulder, sending her spinning with a cry of pain until she crashes into one of the rope barriers cordoning off an exhibit. They topple down on top of her. A moment later a helmet topples over, clanking against her head, and Sailor Moon is torn between rubbing her shoulder and rubbing her head.

In the end she's doing neither, there are just these tears bearing these distinct feelings of hopelessness as she rises up. Someone she recognizes is speaking to her, but... "Lera-chan I just don't know what to do... I don't..."

Then there's this girl, right there, with pink hair and gloriously feathered tiara. A hand on her other uninjured shoulder. She turns her head, looking at her, but not recognizing her. "Who...?" She's speaking her true feelings and throughout her whole body she feels something stirring within her. She remembers four sets of arms encircling her, and her laughing about a cake.

Sailor Moon's expression softens, it's suddenly a smile, before the seriousness of the situation sinks in and her eyes show distinct determination again. She puts a hand over Passion's briefly, "... don't worry. Maybe I don't know how, but... but we'll definitely find a way save her." She takes a step forward, giving her a smile and a wave for entrusting her with her feelings, before she turns back to the battle once more.

A bunny is calling a Knight over there not too bright to someone else. For some reason that causes a little bit of dissonance and empathy in her, being a bunny that isn't too bright herself and is called out on that frequently. But what she's focusing on most of all is his determination. "Oh! Well that plan works for me! I'm so glad I can actually understand you today!"

She decides in that moment to back him up, placing a hand to the brooch in the center of her chest. The Silver Crystal responds with the faintest glimmer of its power that pinwheels out in a kaleidoscope of light. "Moon Sparkling-" She whirls around on a foot, pointing her rod at the monster, "-Sensation!" The lights erupt in a myriad of pink and silver and more colors, thin slivers as numerous as a meteor shower. They fall upon the monster's position, just as the Knight's blade flashes into it.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has joined the combo started by Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Fortune [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When Cure Fortune hits the creature, she feels the jelly consistency and just the mere feel of it made her grimace. She keeps trying to punch it a few times, but the dimples reforming tells her she's not making much progress. She jumps back to get some distance just as a number of claws come from the creature to assault her. She leaps into the air, the little wings on her back expanding to let her fly, and while this lets her avoid the first few claws, she's not lucky enough to avoid most of them, the claws tearing at her, body and dress alike. Her only real course of action is to try and kick the claws away, as best she can.

Through pained words, she shouts. "Come on!" It's partially a challenge, and partially confusion and dismay as she tries to understand just what this thing is.

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has used Kick Away on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Cure Fortune's Kick Away, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: COMBO! Lancelot and Sailor Moon have used Bladefury and Moon Sparkling Sensation on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Lancelot and Sailor Moon's Combo: Bladefury, taking 41 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot and Sailor Moon are Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYUmRWmNtmc

Lera can't be kept far from the monster for long; the unholy aroma of /burnt/ blood sizzles upwards from her plasma blades, and as it shimmers in the air, there is the briefest moment where it takes its own, unique shape, this time grasping, all-too-human hands, before the smoke is dissipated by the movement of battle.

Movement such as Bedivere's crystalline bolt -- which, along with his taunting, does indeed seem to get the protodaimon's attention. It rears up tall and strange; it would block out the moon if there was a moon, but they're indoors, in a space that feels all the more claustrophobic by the second, as the monster seems to occupy more and more of it. Something like a head enlarges at the top, and then a mouth -- this one chitinous, /never/ at all mistakable for the lips of the girl within, and, like the one that snapped at Passion, heavily fanged.

With all the speed and deadliness of a guillotine, it lunges towards the Knight reborn, hoping to snap shut around his head and separate it from the rest of him.

There's an object lesson here in being careful what you wish for.

Whether or not it manages to clamp down, however, the necessity of moving out of the way of much of Lancelot and Sailor Moon's combined, shimmering, bladed assault, ends the horror show before it can truly begin. They score many small hits along its fleshy bulk, but its weird, unsettling speed prevents any single blow from being fatal. Sailor Moon finds herself the target of the same claws that had previously bedeviled Lancelot, and they make the air sing with their very approach. Endo, too, may have taken a moment to muster his strength, but he'll need all of it to defend itself from another limb's worth of claws which are all too eager to shatter him -- or his Device.

Kuniko discovers the mixed blessing of having one's offering consumed so completely and instantly that there can be no reaction, and perhaps no experience -- there's no sense of satisfaction, no notice at all, the kebabs vanish into the darkness and are gone. A moment later, it vomits up another of those balls of its own goop, bowling towards the chef with more than enough force to tumble her frame.

And Cure Fortune succeeds at kicking the claws away and buying herself some space -- but discovers that where she has succeeded at smashing them to pieces with the sheer force of Pretty Cure's powers, what's underneath look uncomfortably like (giant, engorged) human hands, right down to the cute daisy decals over the girl's nail polish.

Cure Passion's collapse is accompanied by the dull thump of her gloriously pink head striking the marble floor. When a drop of blood appears there, glimmering in the chaotic light of battle, it seems to get the monster's attention.

Or maybe it was the real target all along.

With a perfect, sinuous lunge -- bolstered by spidery legs that belong beneath a carapace, which click into existence, then are left behind like hollow, brittle fingernails, clattering on the marble floor -- the protodaimon soars over the room and lands upon the girl. It has enveloped her in mere moments, and everyone knows what that ooze feels like; she screams only for a heartbeat before something more than mere unconsciousness reclaims her.

She hits a subtly different note than one might expect from being burned, however; this is the scream of someone being torn apart. Of something being torn /out/.

Abandoned on the floor, Cure Passion seems untouched but comatose... or even dead. There is a troubling lack of color in her skin, and this is especially easy to see because that side of the room is now brilliantly lit like noon at midnight by the scintillating sparkle coming from the crystal hovering above her chest. The crystal itself is pink and red and spikey, but the light spilling from it is silvery and impossibly, perfectly pure. There's a sense of fragility -- of vulnerability -- and of holiness.

Until it's abruptly extinguished by the black gauntlet which closes around it. The Pure Heart Crystal is drawn close, close indeed, up to the chest of its holder.

It's difficult to make much out in the abrupt return to darkness; a brief glimpse of plates of armor, greaves and pauldrons, boots and helm. Not a hint of flesh. And the metal is so dark that it might as well be woven of the room's naked air.

It's a figure familiar to some -- some who fought them once before in this very museum. And the sight brings a new and separate awful feeling in their hearts from any horror previously inspired by the protodaimon: a clenching, roiling darkness that comes from absence rather than presence. It's cold, in more ways than one. Ruthlessness is a common side effect, though so is retching, groaning, horrified introspection and desperate denial.

The Black Knight studies Cure Passion's Pure Heart thoughtfully -- until, screeching with rage, the protodaimon turns on them with a rising tide of claws and teeth and burning bile. Then they're leaping aside, with the effortless lightness of a shadow, like that terrible armor is made out of feathers and sunbeams.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used The Jaws That Bite on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used The Claws That Catch on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Body Horror on Cure Fortune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used The Claws That Catch on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Mass Effect on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hunger on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro transforms into The Black Knight!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 5 opponents!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Dark Heart on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used Dark Heart on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Hotaru Tomoe's Hunger, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe is Reinforced by Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon perfectly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's The Claws That Catch, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Sailor Moon's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Mass Effect, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe is Psyched!  Kuniko Saito's Reverse ability activates!  Kuniko Saito's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito's counterattack, Shawarma Knife, partially gets through, doing 7 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Dark Heart, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Lera Camry's Fade ability activates!  Lera Camry's Flash ability activates!  Blind and Stun applied to Lera Camry!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's The Claws That Catch, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Endo Naoki's Parry ability activates!  Tangle and Trap applied to Endo Naoki!
COMBAT: Cure Fortune fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Body Horror, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Fortune is Quipped!  Bind Break! All of Hotaru Tomoe's debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

After the scream that rips through her body, Cure Passion is silent. The ooze recedes, and there's a faint light. ...A faint, faint light, by comparson to the sparkling radiance above her.

All that's left on the floor below the crystal now is the pale, unmoving body of an ordinary girl, dressed in Juuban's Middle School uniform.

Setsuna Higashi's eyes are, mercifully, hidden by her violet hair. Her body is still, lifeless.

Nothing more comes from her open lips.

COMBAT: Cure Passion transforms into Setsuna Higashi!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's Dark Heart, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"I'm trying to Hit it Harder! That was the Plan!!" Lancelot retorts to Bedivere, Arondight spinning as the Knight leaps back after his attack, landing on a display case and running along the glass of the case as he holds Arondight to the side. His eyes are narrowed in grim determination, but his heart is hammering in absolute terror and dread. "Seriously! It's a good plan! Hit the thing. But here's a better one! HIT IT REALLY HARD!"

He leaps and lands near Bedivere. "The rabbit is right. We have to work together!" He looks to Bedivere, a million and one questions flashing through his eyes, and most of them evident in the man's blue eyes. So is the terror he feels.

But he nods once. "Our Souls fought side by side hundreds of years ago." He holds up a fist to bump. "You ready for round two?" He gives a wink, then turns to look at the thing.

"You got the spear. Try to hold it's attention at the center. I'll keep trying to flank it, and hopefully some of the others will back us." He looks to Bedivere and nods. "And remember. The Rabbit should have been a horse."


at those words, Lancelot moves to cross over to the left. Running quickly along a wall and using display cases for cover as he goes.

But he stops cold in his tracks. His blue eyes widening in absolute and utter terror at the sight of the Black Knight standing there. Holding a Pure Heart in his dominion and power. It causes Lancelot to freeze as memories of fighting this behemoth flash image after image in his mind. He can hear, and feel the ring of metal on metal as their weapon crossed. Arondight useless against the thing's monstrous black armor. "Oh God." He says very very softly.

He's brought out by Merlin who calls out, "LANCELOT! MOVE!" With a shake of his head, the Knight comes back to the present even as the black monstrosity moves toward him. It catches him in the left side, as he tries to move out of the way, causing him to stumble and roll along the ground . He pushes himself up and holds out a hand toward the Black Knight. "EAT LIGHTING MONSTER!" And form the Knight's gauntleted hand, bolts of white lightning crackle and thunder toward the Black Knight even as Lancelot walks forward, Arondight held to the side, and at the ready. He locks his eyes with the Knight's visor, "Where is Morgana? WHERE IS SHE!" He doesn't know he's shouting in French. But his voice sounds pained and angry.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The burning smell reaches Lera's nose first. She makes a face -- and then those hands reach up, grasping her. Her dark green coat burns where they touch, before she yanks back from its grasp. She hears Sailor Moon crying out, too, and she shakes her head. Her voice is more panicked than she can handle. "N-No, Sailor Moon, we--we can do this! I promise! Passion's right...!"

She slams her blade back together. The two sabers click into place with a soft hiss. <Striker Form.> She swings it up, pointing at the monster, but she doesn't look there right away.

Lera hears Setsuna, but she doesn't see her. She hears her say 'not again' and she realizes. Those amber eyes widen sharply, before she looks over her shoulder in time to see Cure Passion buckle. She stares at her, before she looks back at the monster -- not willing to take her eyes off it for long.

It isn't easy.

But then it goes for Cure Passion. Lera's eyes widen -- she screams when Passion does. She bolts to her, in time to see her body hit the ground -- and the crystal floating over her. She reaches a hand out, fingers trembling. Her voice trembles, too. "S-Sky, is she--"

The black gauntlet clutches that crystal, drawing it in close, and Lera recognizes that visage: the Black Knight. The same one she fought, in this same museum. Her eyes widen -- shaking, tears forming in the corners of her eyes, and she shakes her head quickly. "You..."

That tone of voice becomes angrier. Instead of restraining her, Soaring Sky snaps, too: <Surrender that immediately!>

She matches the cold with hot anger and tears. She /hurls/ herself at the Black Knight, screaming; it becomes something more wordless, as she chops the sword-shaped Device up -- and straight for the elbow joint of the Black Knight.

<Inferno Slasher!> Sky chimes, simultaneous to Lera screaming, "I--I won't forgive you! LET HER GO!"

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Inferno Slasher on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning III on Honoka Yukishiro.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Claws whistle through the dark, singing a song of death. If they make contact...

With a bend of her knees and a leap Sailor Moon becomes a blur as she moves upwards through the air, spinning in an aerial balletic turn, twintails moving around her like ribbon streamers as the claws barely miss her. Her eyes open, and initially she thinks to capitalize on this by following up to attack the Daimon. But then she hears a shriek. Her head turns, and she sees the opportunist, right there, black gauntlet closed over a shining crystal.

It wasn't the girl that gave her so much encouragement that she saw, it was another one. Someone she'd seen eating donuts on a rooftop. Someone who had shared something of themselves and their happiness. "Secchan!" She cries in horror as she sees her pale face, and lifeless eyes. She'd seen these crystals extracted before, albeit with the tool being the barrel of a gun. She sees Lera dive at her screaming. She knows what Lera stands to lose here too.

Righteous fury within her rises, and instead of directing herself back at the monster, the heel of a moonboot is aimed downwards at the wrist of the gauntlet holding it, hoping the impact would be enough to loosen his grasp if used to back up Lera and the other Knight. She may not be be as strong as Jupiter, or Venus when it comes to things like this, but at the very least she hopes it'll be a distraction. "Someone quick! Grab it! She needs that!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Sailor Moon Kick on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly braces Lancelot's Lightning III, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro perfectly counters Lera Camry's Inferno Slasher, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Honoka Yukishiro's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Lera Camry is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, Perfect Dark, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Lera Camry!  Lera Camry is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly braces Sailor Moon's Sailor Moon Kick, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is Psyched!  Stagger and Stun applied to Honoka Yukishiro!
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

It just... ate them! Kuniko thinks.

Maybe it's not really hungry at all, she thinks further, before it suddenly retches up a huge glob of horror. Kuniko flails her arm around, smashed back but sweeping along a broad knife, practically a scimitar, at the creature before she ends up with her back slammed against part of the entranceway. She thinks. Something heavy.

It stuns her briefly, the knife in her hand dripping as she sees-- the Pure Heart Crystal drawn forth... And then that black hand snapping in. As if things weren't bad enough already. Kuniko's eyes widen. A moment of horror snaps through her - the ruthless feeling of the ancient warrior...

She isn't a warrior, she thinks. For a moment she quails. Perhaps she can run --

-- a half-hidden face, a hand on her shoulder in memory --

Kuniko's eyes squeeze shut. "... even if I'm no knight or soldier," she mutters to herself with swift half-prayed words, "I can fight my own way. Even if everyone else is putting themselves on the line -" And then Kuniko throws down her knife... into the washing sink. "An army marches on its stomach!!"

It makes sense to her. Then she realizes her slicing knife is down. Crap crap crap -- but! Her hands are clean! She can flake the meat off /directly/.

She moves with great haste - and calls out, "Knights! Sailor Moon!" Wow, Kuniko thinks irrelevantly, is he speaking French? I actually think I understood that.

So she says something in French, too: "Allez cuisine."

Kuniko throws three things forwards. The 'three things' are a stuffed pita packed with roast seasoned eggplant, freshly shredded chicken, and savory seasonings beside. It speaks of a sunnier place and better days than these. And each is exactly one generous, heartening bite.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Babaganoush and Shawarma Chicken Onigiri on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Babaganoush and Shawarma Chicken Onigiri on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Babaganoush and Shawarma Chicken Onigiri on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon accepts Kuniko Saito's Babaganoush and Shawarma Chicken Onigiri, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cleanse! All of Sailor Moon's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki accepts Kuniko Saito's Babaganoush and Shawarma Chicken Onigiri, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Renjiro Masaki's debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Renjiro Masaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Ohnoohnoohno" Bedivere is frozen in place with fear, only able to watch and whimper as the monstrous mass charges towards him. And so he tenses, bracing his spear in front of himself and clenching his eyes shut. Luckily for him, his magic won't let him away that easily, and a layer of power covers him, blunting most of the blow, though it knocks Bedivere back and onto the ground! "Gah!" He cries out, rolling over and struggling to find the floor beneath him.

He manages to stand, wobbly as he may be, just in time for Lancelot to try and lay out a plan. "That's not..." He just sighs, letting him go on. Maybe there was some merit to it, so he just nods, worried eyes looking once more to the beast as he couches his spear once more. "Yeah... I guess I can keep it's attention."

He had barely gotten his words out before Lancelot was off again. He would have been too, were it not for the sudden dark manifesting in the room. Bedivere didn't know who this guy was, or what exactly he had just done. But it really didn't seem good. And there was still the monster. Bedivere's heart drops at the scene, and his feet feel glued to the ground. What to do, what to do.... "Gah! Edrychwch yma, byddwch yn marchog du!" Wh- That definitely didn't sound Japanese, and it makes Bedivere himself pause as he tries to make sense of his own words. But there isn't /time/ to think, gah! "Lancelot, get back!" He shouts, firing a bolt from his spear at the figure cloaked in shadow.

COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki has used Giant's Thorn on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly counters Renjiro Masaki's Giant's Thorn, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Honoka Yukishiro's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, Perfect Dark, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Renjiro Masaki!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo, holding Fallen Stern as he prepares it for the next assault, has a good view of the events unfolding around him. He watches in horror as Cure Passion slumps, and the shard of light rises from her to be snatched away by the knight that coalesces out of the darkness.

"Hey-" Fear and anger make him grip the cold metal in his hands tight, the boy staring at the swatch of darkness where the Black Knight stood. "Give that back!"

When Lera charges he does too, blurring forward with more speed than he should rightly have lugging that big sword around, sending t out cutting toward their enemy.

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Blueshift on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly dodges Endo Naoki's Blueshift, taking 17 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Fortune [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Cure Fortune kicks away the claws of the dark creature attacking her, and rips them off! She smiles, briefly, before realizing what was inside - giant human hands, with pretty nail polish. Cure Fortune stares at the horrifying hands, and the rest of the creature, and steps back, the horror preventing her from trying to speed away. "W-what is this thing? Why is it here?" She asks to herself.

But then the entire room lights up, and Fortune turns to look at the source...

It's the same spiky light thing from that one time in Juuban, and below it was Cure Passion. Fortune didn't really know Passion, she only vaguely remembers her from having their legs tied together when Namakelder attacked. Then, Fortune looks up at the dark foreboding figure that's handling the Pure Heart, and decides to try and seperate the Heart from its kidnapper. She spins the dial on her brace. "Fortune..." She leaps at the Knight, wings unfolding yet again. "Starrr..." She rears her hand back into a fist, culminating as she gets close. "Burst!" She lets loose with a punch crackling with purple energy.

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has used Fortune Starburst on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro narrowly counters Cure Fortune's Fortune Starburst, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Honoka Yukishiro's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro's counterattack, Perfect Dark, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Fortune!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXqtVDzzgCU

Much of the battlefield turns to rush the Black Knight, which may not, all things considered, be the wisest move. There are two reasons for this.

First: the Black Knight is apparently all-but impregnable to attack. Lancelot's lightning bolts dance across the armor, and blue sparks fly, but the Knight doesn't seem particularly discomfited. Lera chops at the Knight's elbow, but right at that moment they turn, and she meets only the strange, enveloping presence that is the Black Knight's cloak. Darkness rises up to meet her, even as the cold intensifies around her heart, and she can feel no more. Sailor Moon manages to kick at the joint of the armor, but the gauntlet no more loosens its grip on that Pure Heart than it starts singing backwards puns in six different languages. (Which is to say, it really doesn't, at all.) Bedivere's crystalline bolt disappears within the Black Knight's shadow -- which is all Cure Fortune's massive, mighty blow manages to find, as well -- as they effortlessly walk first past the projectile and PRetty Cure, and then Endo's speedy strike. That a huge blade just passed in front of their face doesn't seem to phase them at all -- the bulk of their attention is still on the veiled shine of Cure Passion's Pure Heart.

And Second: One ignores the protodaimon at their considerable peril. The Black Knight, at least, is not guilty of this, having blatantly regarded its tumultuous (and gross) assault as more of a threat than the magical girls arrayed against them; their cold, black blade parried and thrust as a veritable veil of steel. Defeating it, sadly, doesn't seem to be their objective; merely self-defense. And the protodaimon is all too eager to take advantage of the distraction with a cruel and alien intelligence -- this is no berserker, no mindless monster or merely instinctual animal.

No, as it spreads its claws wide, revealing the means with which it originally extinguished the lights within the building -- no technical sabotage, this, but simply and terribly a projection of shadow, of darkness, of the void behind its eyes -- the protodaimon releases its essence into the room at large.

There's the sound of soft crying; the girl within, perhaps. And there is clicking and hissing, scorpions and snakes or perhaps something that is more than both and entirely different than either. It is cloying and clinging, trying to drive down the throats of its enemies, to grasp at their hearts from within and tear them asunder. The would-be Belkan, who drew a cloak of power around himself; the Pretty Cure, who just exploded such a massive burst of strength; and the Poissonnier, who has awakened its hunger, these get the worst of it, an assault from all sides. The shadowy hands have mouths in the palms, human mouths, sharpened teeth.

Everyone else is on the edges of that shadowstorm, which is still more than enough.

Expressionless as ever in that wholly-enclosing helm, there is still a distinct sense of something like disappointment, as the Black Knight shakes their head at something they see, or do not see, in their pilfered artifact. Their blade bisects their face as they ward off the protodaimon's shadow, and then they fling the Pure Heart Crystal into the air, with all the care that one might return a basketball to play midcourt.

Without further ado, the Black Knight swirls in their dark cloak, and vanishes.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Darkness Overwhelming on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Darkness Overwhelming on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Darkness Overwhelming on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Hotaru Tomoe has used Undulating Darkness on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Hotaru Tomoe has used Undulating Darkness on Cure Fortune.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Hotaru Tomoe has used Undulating Darkness on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Darkness Overwhelming, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Finisher, Undulating Darkness, taking 92 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Lancelot accepts Kuniko Saito's Babaganoush and Shawarma Chicken Onigiri, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Lancelot's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Darkness Overwhelming, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot's Block ability activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Fortune narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Finisher, Undulating Darkness, taking 73 Fatigue damage!  Cure Fortune's Fade ability activates!  Cure Fortune's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Finisher, Undulating Darkness, taking 76 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Darkness Overwhelming, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Renjiro Masaki's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: FINISHER! Renjiro Masaki's counterattack, Le Morte D'Arthur, partially gets through, doing 48 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"NOOOOOOO!" Lancelot shrieks and falls to his knees as the Black Knight disappears. Again! He vanished AGAIN, and he took the knowledge of - Lancelot brings a hand to his face and wipes away the tear the falls. "No." He growls at the black shadowed bloodied thing. "No." Is growled again.

He pushes to his feet even as an overwhelming darkness threatens to envelope and consume him. He holds Arondight before him, as the glowing white blade suddenly surges to life becoming a beacon shining in the darkness. Some of thich manages to slam into Lancelot and the knight stumbles, but holds the blade steady. Holds it true. "No." He growls again.

The Knight Takes a step forward, and lighting begins to collect along the blade. Dancing along the Knight's arm, and sending blinding bolts arcing to dance along the display cases not shattered around him. The shattered glass at his feet reflect the shining light, and bolts of lighting, causing a veritable storm of energy to dance and arc around Lancelot.

He takes another step forward and calls out, "I don't know where you come from," More lighting explodes from the blade, so much so that Lancelot looks lost in the storm that surrounds him. "But you! YOU CAN GO RIGHT BACK TO HELL!"

Suddenly all that lighting, and the Knight himself. Surges forward in an explosion of thousands of thunderbolts as the knight attacks with blinding speed at the Blood Beast. Each strike releasing lighting and thunder. Each strike sending those bolts crackling in every direction, though most try to slam into the blood beast. He surges to the other side, knelt, his blade held to the side.

The lightning, slowly crackles and fades, till only the knight remains. Holding the shining white blade of Arondight in the darkness.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Lancelot has used Lightning Barrage on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Lancelot's Finisher, Lightning Barrage, taking 66 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera hits the cloak. She hasn't felt anything like that before. All of the rage and anger she feels melts away, then; she stumbles, as the darkness envelopes her. Her eyes drift to the Pure Heart Crystal thrown away. She manages, only, a whimper.

<No!> Soaring Sky bellows. Lera hits the ground in a heap; her sword turns, then falls point first next to her. It hits at an angle, standing up in the ground. <Lera! Setsuna! Don't--don't leave me like this. Stern!>

There is a pause. A crackle of static in the gem in the center of Soaring Sky's hilt. He speaks, in the same voice as always, and yet the words are different. Unintelligible, perhaps, to most here -- save for Fallen Stern. <Wir müssen ihnen helfen! Stern!>

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

I definitely don't know what he just said, Kuniko thinks as Renjiro busts out the Welsh. They really are knights! And then the protodaimon moves forwards.

Forwards is the wrong term - around? Through? It rises nonetheless. Kuniko looks up at it and she would be lying to say if her face wasn't tightening with fear. The shadowy hands lunge forwards --

Kuniko, at least, has something she can turn to to satisfy those mouths, but screaming while desperately hurling every item and ingredient she can lay her hand on into the surrounding hell is not very dignified. The screaming, even, is muffled -- but at least they don't eat HER.



<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON3_qBiMs9o

Her boot makes contact with the wrist joint, but... it was about as effective as if Merlin had kicked it. Sailor Moon bounces off of it, and flips backwards, as she skids along the floor. "Let it go! Please let it go!" Suddenly there's a fresh pita in front of her with seasoned eggplant and shredded chicken in her hand. "Ah Kuniko-chan... is this really the time... to be serving..."

Its aroma was absolutely mouth watering. She remembers the painting, and suddenly her hunger just grows. Within seconds the pita inside of her mouth, as she tears off a bite and swallows, then bites again and leaves the rest of it is just hanging there. This really wasn't the time but it was too delicious to let it go to waste. It lightens her heart a little, but it's like a pathetic candle's light dancing in the windswept darkness of the room

And she's proven correct soon enough, as the creature, the alien terror capitalizes on their distraction. It spreads its claws so wide that she imagines it could envelop this small world and all of its hopes within it.

A storm of shadows takes over all of her senses, and all she can do is drive the Cutie Moon Rod impotently in the dark and try to withstand it. The pita falls out of her mouth and even is utterly destroyed by the thing's essence. Slashes appear over her Fuku from darkness which she /feels/ crawling all over her form. She waves it again and again like she had a shoe and was trying to chase away a cockroach and every part of her just hurts as she feels the essence of the void take her over.

But within it, she hears the soft whimpering of someone crying. "... she's in there. She's crying..." She whispers, torn between two girls in so much distress. Fortunately... as her vision clears, she sees the Knight releasing the Pure Heart Crystal like it was a piece of refuse. Relief floods her, so long as they lived at least one girl would be saved. But even that was in doubt and...

She doesn't settle at just one.

Once it's finished, she spins the Rod round and round like its a baton. "We're definitely getting you out of there!" Holding it in front of her face, she presents it to a tinkling melody that feels as soft as tears on a moonlit evening. Her eyes flashing with hope but also anger and more besides as she faces the otherworldly creature, "Are you still hungry? I really hope so! Moon Princess-"

Flourishing it from side to side, she spins on a foot, pointing it straight forward at the terror from beyond the stars, "-HALAAAATIOONNNNN!" Spirals of kaleidoscopic pink flood the room, stars and crescent moons of purest radiance filling in the gaps. It all pours outward, building upon itself more and more in a halation of light until everything fades to white.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Moon has used Moon Princess Halation on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Renjiro Masaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"NO!" Bedivere screams, his eyes clouded with tears and heart beating with the fury of a field of drums. It pounds against his chest, drowning out everything but it's raucous noise as the Knight disappears and the horrifying noise tears apart the very air around them. The essence slowly creeps out, clawing, grasping, hissing. All Bedivere can do is retreat, the darkness clouding the edge of his vision.

But there's always a wall. And Bedivere finds it too quickly, the solid form behind him only adding to the painful anxiety welling inside. There was nothing he could do. Nothing. He wasn't a magical knight, or a hero, or any of that stuff. He was just...well, soon he wouldn't be much of anything. He was just a mite of dust in the sands of time.

But then it reaches the others. Two too many people had fallen already. This was just supposed to be a pleasant trip to the museum. But now it was just...awful. Everyone was getting hurt. Someone maybe...died. And now everyone else would be next. He just...Renjiro, no...Bedivere couldn't let that happen. If Ren was too weak then..then the Knight would have to fight this. He gulped, staring ahead into the darkness, his wet blue eyes steeled.

"Stay away from them! Am brenin a gwlad!" Bedivere tightens his hand as tight as he can around the shaft of his spear, the spearhead shining then and forcing back the darkness. He grits his teeth, taking a few tentative steps forward before raising the lance over his head and leaning back, poised to throw. He stares into the dark but a moment still before taking in another breath and lunging forward, putting his all into the throw. The wind whistles around the spear as it flies its short arc, nearly washing out the horrific sound the beast pours forth. Nearly. But soon another sound comes of the spear sinking into the monster. A sickening SQUELCH. It sends a shudder down the now weaponless Bedivere.

He takes another quick look around, letting out a sigh of relief that everyone seems..fine...mostly. No one else seemed to be too hurt. He felt so drained. Can barely stand. Bedivere lets out a heavy sigh, standing his ground and bracing for whatever the beast throws next.

COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki has used Camlan Cross on Renjiro Masaki.
COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki accepts Renjiro Masaki's Camlan Cross, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Renjiro Masaki!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo has made the mistake of focusing too much on the Black Knight. He's surprised when the other attack comes, the mass of teeth and claws. He tries to juke, to weave around it, but there's always another claw or tooth to find him as he bounces back and forth, buffeted and torn at. He can hear the screaming and catch glimpse of Lera falling, but he can't even call out in the chaos.

<WITHSTAND.> It's easier for Fallen Stern to say than Endo to do. The boy staggers and falls under the assault, collapsing to a knee and bracing against the sword like a lifeline in storm of darkness.

But when it passes Endo remains, beaten and bruised but living still. One shaky foot pushes his from the ground, up to his feet again.

<I KNOW.> Fallen Stern's reply is a discordant warble as it shakes with energy.

"I...I've got it. D-don't worry." Endo is gasping in pain as raises the sword, Belkan symbols flaring in the air. Light shoots through the weapon, a pillar of garish violet that goes streaking upward. Were it not for the roof, it'd probably streak off into the sky. Instead it plumes up like a bonfire, Endo's voice shrill with anger as he and his device speak in union: "I will destroy my enemies!"

<ABSOLUTE MAGNITUDE.> He brings the sword down.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Endo Naoki has used Absolute Magnitude on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Sailor Moon's Finisher, Moon Princess Halation, taking 113 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Endo Naoki's Finisher, Absolute Magnitude, taking 182 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Fortune [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Cure Fortune goes in to punch the Black Knight... only to get his shadow instead. "W-What?!" Fortune shouts as she doesn't manage to hit the target the way she had been expecting. On the bright side, the fact that the Black Knight doesn't harm her in retaliation is good, and allows her to get a good footing and land on her feet, but she's not sure why he isn't attacking back.

Then she remembers the monster from earlier, the protodaemon. Fortune turns just in time to witness it unleash its void upon the rest of the room, engulfing /everything/. Or... at least it seems that way to Fortune, as the darkness tears at her body and soul. She feels her stomach drop as if the floor was suddenly a hundred feet down, and yet the darkness crushes her anyway. "I...I've got to stop this."

Cure Fortune takes a step forward, attempting to try and pull away from the darkness. She spins the dial on her brace one more time. "Pretty Cure..." Her hand sweeps above her head, creating shining stars above her head. "Star..." These stars spread out around her as she points forwards with the same hand. "Stream!" These stars launch forward, trying to fill the protodaemon with energy. Fortune grits her teeth. She wishes something, anything, would stop this creature and whatever it set out to do.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Fortune has used Pretty Cure Star Stream on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Cure Fortune's Finisher, Pretty Cure Star Stream, taking 63 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Terrible violence is writ large across the monster's form. It's still reeling from the immense spear that remains in its side, courtesy of Bedivere, which sends jolts of pain through it every time it moves. And pinned as it is by the spearhead to the back wall... it can't move far.

Lightning strikes the same place twice, then twice more, and once again the battle is lit by strobe, dark one moment and burning brilliantly white the next, leaving aftershocks of radiance behind the eyelids. Lancelot is there each time, his blade cleaving another wound into the protodaimon.

Endo, on the other hand, only strikes once, but once is enough: his blade comes down, massively magnified in strength and speed, and sinks deeply into the monster, creating a massive gout of ichor once again, and eliciting another of those awful double-screams, girl and monster as one.

Cure Fortune calls a constellation and then some to her aid, and the monster's scream takes on a different note -- now it is less the person and more the creature, as the healing energies of Pretty Cure's might fill it. But the monster is a massive chalice; on its own, it isn't enough.

But in tandem with Sailor Moon the chalice of the protodaimon's form is filled to overflowing, spilling radiance everywhere, banishing the darkness. It's painful to look at in contrast, silver and pink and purple intertwined, moonlight and starlight, together removing the monster from existance...

.../without/ killing the girl who was its host. She lies there in her Infinity uniform, breathing peacefully, apparently all but unharmed; there are a few bruises here and there, perhaps inflicted by the most severe attacks, but it's a trip to the school infirmary at most, not even an emergency room necessary.

As the museum lights flicker back on, revealing that the carnage and debris of battle have been healed in the rainbow afterflicker of the healing light's passage, one final source of luminescence continues its slow, graceful fall through the air.

Setsuna Higashi's Pure Heart falls lightly upon her chest, and is reabsorbed. It is fairy tale in scope, what happens next: as though the princess has been kissed by her beloved, and brought back from her eternal sleep, color blooms in Setsuna's face, strength returning to her limbs.

A security guard walks around the corner. "What are you kids still doing here?" She barks, shaking her fist at them. "Didn't you hear the fire alarm go off? Scat!"

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

As the monster falls, Lancelot lets out a breath. He was about to yell at the Rabbit to get everybody out of here while he stayed and battled that thing. Likely to the death. He gulps, because he knew it would have been his and not the other way around. He stays kneeling for a moment then sheathes Arondight on the rarely used sheathe on his back. He stands and looks around, then looks to Merlin.

"She's back?"

The Rabbit nods, ears twitching slightly. "The Black Knight is one of her's. Though I don't as of yet know which one." He looks at Lancelot for a long moment. "You can't beat him."

The Words hurt, and it shows on his face, but the Knight, Takeo, knows he's right. He gives a rakish grin anyway and looks over to Bedivere. "We can't. Yet. Meet me on Spring Hill, at the Cemetary of the Akoroshi. You and I? We've got a lot of work to do." He turns to leave and then stops. "Merlin? Go with him. He needs you right now more than me."

The Rabbit nods his head but remains silent.

Lancelot moves to check on the downed girls. Check each for a pulse, and when finding one, saying a soft prayer in thanks. He pauses at Sailor Moon and blinks. Something about Donuts comes into his head.

When the lights come on, Lancelot is relieved as the girl is fine, and he quickly let's his magic fade, motioning for Bedivere to do so as well. When the Guard comes in he grins to the man, impish and playful. "Relax old man. It was just a little power flicker." He waggles his fingers at the man as if to silently say "OoooOOOooo." Then turns to leave, calling over his shoulder. Akoroshi. Tomorrow after school. Bring the rabbit."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The same way that the lights flicker on, so too do Setsuna's eyes, after a few moments. Takeo checks her pulse, along with the other girl's, but it's just a little delay--after the guard walks the corner--that sees her stir.

"Mm," she mumbles, sleepily, her head turning. "Is that you?" The red-eyed girl smiles as she returns to awareness, looking for all the world like she's just awakened from a bad dream.

"L.." Blinkng blearily, she doesn't finish. Instead, she feels the hard tile beneath her, and puts her hands down along the ground, shifting so she can sit up. "What happened...?"

The terror of just minutes ago must be far away. Setsuna, at least, doesn't look particularly concerned about anything.

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

Sailor Moon holds her breath as the thing is filled with light from both her and the Pretty Cure. She doesn't even know she's holding it until the light fades and she sees the girl there. But even once she does, she doesn't exhale until she sees her chest rise.

Her gaze rising to the Pure Heart Crystal as it floats back into Setsuna's chest, as color returns to her cheeks. She puts a hand to her chest, and finally exhales. "Thank goodness." It's more a whisper than anything.

But they won.

Without warning, her hands clasp together over her rod and she leaps in the air, legs behind her in an enthusiastic leap. A smile as wide as if she had a jumbo parfait brought out before her on her birthday.

When she lands, that smile is still plastered on her face as she walks over to Cure Fortune, without any warning she reaches out to grab both her hands and gives them both an enthusiastic little shake. "That was great! You were great! Thanks for your help, Pretty Cure! What can I call you? Are you Cure Awesome?! You should be!"

Whatever answer she gets though, she's releasing her in a few moments to move over to Lancelot. He's staring at her. She's staring at him. Just moments after she stands on her tip toes and lifts her free hand high cheerfully, "High five!"

But her enthusiasm is dimmed slightly when the Security Guard comes in and she recoils as if he'd just accused her of committing breaking and entering, an arm back, her eye twitching. Only seconds later, she's flapping a hand at him, "Right~right~ Ummm. We'll be out in a minute!" Right now, they've gotta help the injured out, and she can't help but look from Lera, to Kuniko, to Setsuna... watching her open her eyes and focusing on Lera. There's a fondness in her eyes as she watches what Setsuna says.

Not long after she moves over to the girl on the ground, taps her cheek very lightly with a hand. "Hey sleepy head..." And when/if she wakes up, there's a smile to greet her as she's helped up, a fond whisper and a sparkle of tears. She doesn't know who she is, but that ignorance doesn't dim the warmth of her next words at all, "...welcome back." And arms, so very willing to help her up and out of the museum.

<Pose Tracker> Renjiro Masaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Bedivere can only watch as the beast is felled. Even with his all it hadn't been enough. But it helped, he thinks, as all the others shower it with their magical strength. His own blow had been miniscule compared to their barrages. But being able to do it felt...well, it felt nice. And so he stands there, panting, staring into the darkness when the lights slowly turn back on.

Everything...seemed to have worked out? Bedivere wasn't quite sure what was happening, but he nods at Lancelot absentmindedly, "Yeah..Akoroshi." He lets his magic fade, slowly slumping back into his usual posture and attire, only paying Merlin the slightest bit of attention to Merlin as the rabbit is left with him. He looks towards Takeo as he leaves, blinking, then turns back to all the others. He thinks about going over and checking on them, but...they all seem to have each other, and then the security guard shows up. Ren doesn't stick around to get into any kind of trouble and beats a hasty retreat, looking over his shoulder a few times as he shuffles quickly from the scene of the crime. Wow. What aaaa day.

COMBAT: Renjiro Masaki transforms into Renjiro Masaki!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.


While Fallen Stern might not want to be shooed, Endo is about ready for a break. He's huffing and puffing, but he scoots to make sure both all the injured people are still alive. He seems particularly relieved when Setsuna opens her eyes and isn't missing a heart. That seems important.

"Thank you everyone!" Lots more thank yous ensure to knights, sailor moons, pretty cures. But he's pretty quick to hobble off and find a place to sit down and rest. He'll have time to chekc on his friends on the bus home.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Fortune [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Cure Fortune smiles as the beams from everyone, her own as well as everyone else's power destroys the monster. Relief floods the Fortunate as the lights come back on and the crushing sensation of darkness finally relents. Strangely, without the darkness and the need to destroy it, Fortune feels... somewhat deflated, as she gasps for air and tries to keep herself standing from the earlier onslaught. She looks from the fallen Infinity girl to make sure she's alive, then checks on the other girl who might have been Cure Passion? Fortune isn't sure who she is, but before she can tell if she's okay, suddenly there's /another/ magical girl in her face.

Taken aback, she can't do anything but let Sailor Moon shake her hands as she wants to, though she doesn't shake back. Fortune likewise weathers her barrage of words and questions, and doesn't actually say anything for a moment, doing her best to look away from Sailor Moon's overwhelming /cheerfulness/, which is a /lot/ after what she just went through.

Eventually Fortune finally answers. "Cure Fortune." Then, gently at first, but increasing in intensity if Moon doesn't relent, she pulls her arms away and turns, walking her way out of the museum.

The security guard doesn't merit a response as Fortune just walks right past him, as she walks away from the site of the battle.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera groans.

It takes her a second to wake up, then another to sit up; she rubs at her head, before she looks around. She dimly processes things -- the girl on the ground being helped by Sailor Moon, the security guard telling them to leave, and the ones leaving -- before she looks at Sky. The Device remains silent, but the gem at his center pulses once with a green light. She smiles.

Then, awareness kicks in. She turns her head quickly towards where Setsuna fell, and sees her -- awake, with a smile, and with the color in her face returned. Her eyes widen. "S-Setsuna!"

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

Kuniko rolls onto her side when the guard shows up. She looks unhappy, but if you have time enough to look unhappy that means you aren't exploded! "I fell down!" she addresses the guard, before pushing herself up to a seated position.

She looks over, sees that that girl is moving - is that the victim of the protodaimon? something else? Well, the place doesn't seem wrecked. She cautiously, with a wince from a cramp in her arm, raises her right hand and gives a conditional thumbs up to...

Everyone, pretty much! Maybe not Merlin, he seems rude.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The guard finally registers for Setsuna, as she glances to him, past Sailor Moon--Sailor Moon!--and the departing Cure Fortune, and Kuniko, and...

...Sailor Moon's helping a girl there. Setsuna smiles--but then she sees...

"Lera!" Setsuna pushes up to her feet, and gives the older girl a big hug. "We can talk on the way out. I think he's glaring at us..."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"You're okay? Um--who is--"

Lera catches the security guard. She makes a face, nods, and pushes herself to her feet. "...r-right! Let's get going!"