2017-01-13 - Deepening Cold

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Title: Deepening Cold

With a winter storm on the rise, holiday shoppers seek refuge in the mall. But no one expects the rise of the Snarmy of Darkness, as snowmen across town animate and attack!


Mai Tokiha, Takeo Akamizu, Hikaru Shidou, Mami Tomoe, Rei Hino, Fuu Hououji, Sayaka Miki, Steven Universe, Iona Hikawa, Saki Hyuuga

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Awayuki Shopping Mall

OOC - IC Date:

01-13-2017 - 12-20-2014

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Tonight's opening will feature two-part poses from everyone.


It has been snowing every day for well over a week. And at first it was fun. By now everyone has almost certainly made a snowman, and possibly a snow castle -- young and old alike. Some are hastily fashioned clumps no taller than the average cat, others incredibly elaborate sculptures.

What's wild is that it's never gotten warm enough for any of them to melt. So these snow statues have accumulated from day one, and where in a normal winter they might rise and fall, this time there are more every day.

There've been news articles on the subject -- cute snapshots of some of the chilly creations seen on train station staircase railings, the tops of schoolyard walls, all through the parks and in front of apartments and anywhere else one can be reasonably built.

Flashback Time:

What was your snowman (or snowmen!) like? Did you build it alone or with other people? Where were you at the time (or times)?


Winter is always shopping mall season in Japan, but never more than this year; there's a real attraction to a place with cool stuff to salivate over (some, but far from all, in the the food court) that is enclosed, heated, friendly. And of course it's holiday shopping season, too -- the Awayuki Shopping Mall is beautifully decorated with trees and ribbons and glistening balls and a distinct lack of fake snowflakes, because there really are enough outside, aren't there.

What with it being the first day after finals, there's an especially high quotient of celebratory students on site.

There's a choir of Sister Schools students caroling (it's an English project for those whose final grade requires remediation, and lyric quality is suffering) on the second story, while the many tables of the food court are packed with hungry shoppers; if you aren't already sitting down, it's hard to get a seat. There's plenty to do in the halls of the mall, though. The windows have never been more tantalizing to shop in.

In The Present:

Where are you in the mall? Are you shopping for someone? With someone? Are you eating fabulous food, or performing in the choir? The options are limitless...

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has fully healed herself.
COIN FLIP: Iona Hikawa flips a coin. It lands on heads!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.


"I know where the snow has been! You know, here. On the ground."

A difficult point to defend against Pearl when it came to the topic of being allowed to eat snow. The outside of the Gem Temple has been littered with numerous fun snow-based things. Small tunnels in mounds, a full-on snow fort, and of course, snowgems! The boy was dressed up in a light pink thock coat, with a scarf, earmuffs, and long pants. Casual boots are worn instead of the usual sandals. Don't need frostbite, after all!

Steven was currently attempting to assemble a Snow-Steven, which was going well. The rest of the Gems were all nearby, enjoying the weather in their own way. "Do you guys like snow? Or ice?" he asked them. Beach City had its share of heavy snows as well, though not one so intense as recently. Despite the lack of carrot noses (Thanks Amethyst) his snowgem came out really well! Stout and handsome. Just as intended. The hair is a little off though. It is difficult to make snow-hair 'poofy'.


A shivering pink clothed child is shivering inside the entrance to the mall area. A long trip to visit the Fryman family has him seeking shelter nearby to warm up on the way home. Some window shopping could pass the time well as he warms timself. "Maybe there is some hot cocoa I can buy somewhere..." he mentions to himself.

Maybe the food court has something he can get...

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


"Hm, you think this is an okay size? It's supposed to be as big as a real person and it's nowhere close..." Sayaka backsteps twice and nestles her chin into the philosophical crook between thumb and mittened fingers as she assesses the single fat snowball she and Madoka have assembled so far in front of Madoka's house. In her mind, a helpful virtual reality dotted line traces a circle with the exact circumference, resting above that snowball, then a second, to chart out how tall the completed three-story snowman would be. This Sayaka Snow Simulation turns out to be exactly as tall as Madoka, who stands next to it unaware of the VR simulation to her left.

"Uwah!" Sayaka cries out, wracked with guilt as she jogs forward to hug Madoka protectively. "I'm sorry, Madoka! You're perfect just like you are!"

By the time Mami Tomoe arrives, the virtual snowman is a reality, though it is as-yet unadorned. Exactly as tall (or as short) as Madoka, it has an oddly shaped midsection, and currently Sayaka is trying out some fallen branches on its arms. She waves gaily as she sees Mami approaching the lawn, her hand sweeping back and forth. "Perfect timing, senpai! Now this will be the most beautiful snowman ever!" Nor will Sayaka and Madoka take no for an answer from their reluctantly reclusive senpai.

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


When the snow started, finals hadn't started yet, and one evening saw Fuu Hououji taking a much-needed break from hitting the books in order to get some fresh air, and some exercise, and help keep half an eye on a number of her family's younger neighbors. Of course, 'keeping an eye on' turned into 'lending a hand' as the community's children began gathering up snow to create a snowman worthy of the neighborhood.

With that said, though, Fuu was the one who decided to help make things more elaborate. Some conveniently large icicles helped create a 'skeleton' of sorts, around which snow could be packed to form not only limbs better than the traditional tree branches, but even a pair of wings - perhaps envisioned as bony, but the practicalities of working in snow left the wings very 'plush' and feathery-looking. An attempt to give the snowman a helmet didn't go nearly so well, leaving it looking more like it had a giant beak over its face. Still, the effect wasn't *that* bad, a lot of European-style knights are depicted with similarly overstated probosci to their helmets.



Right now, though, Fuu isn't even thinking about the week-old snowman which is still, last she saw of it, 'standing guard' in the park near her house. With her brain de-frying from the exam period, Fuu has hit the mall to warm up and decompress; she has a list to go shopping for, and she's struggling against the impulse to pick up a just-released RPG, but first and foremost, she had to hit the food court. A cup of hot chocolate, coupled with a warm gingerbread roll, are driving the remembered sensation of cold back out of her mind and body so that she can focus on shopping. Only a couple of days left before Christmas, after all - and she hasn't found ANYTHING for Kuu-oneesan yet ...

If she spots Steven, though, Fuu will definitely smile and wave to him. Yes, there is hot cocoa that can be bought somewhere, and Fuu will gladly point Steven at the source if the need remains.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

A brush of fog stroked past Rei's lips, a small measure of her inner heat prodding against the white cold of the world around her. Before the grand arch of the Hikawa Shrine, and just off to the side by its rightward pillar, she's all but finished her non-academic project of the week. What started as a creative exercise to soothe her mind in between study sessions and exams has taken on a life of its own.

The snowman that stands to greet pilgrims and visitors alike is crude in the way of all such amateur sculptures, but still better than most, and openly advertising the work that went into it. Rei had made a miko to watch over the holy site when life's demands called her away from it. Her hair was made dried seaweed rubbed with the same charcoal nubs that now formed her eyes. The sweep of her sleeves was snow itself, but her long crimson skirts were one of Rei's own, a gentle sacrifice to manage a better look than mere food dye. The quiver along her back and the bow encased in her snowy grip were both Rei's own, the same gear she regularly practiced with in the Ohtori Archery Club. A bit modern for the look, but Rei lacked the time or the savvy to fashion her own implements of wood and leather. Maybe next year.

She wasn't so skilled that the snowman resembled a particular Miko. But in her mind Rei thought of Kikyo in her courage and diligence, and amidst her pride in creation there was an odd comfort in knowing that the effigy would be there for all who passed.

Pink Moon Stick (talk)

Dressed in an elegant red peacoat and a poofy black fur hat with a slim and stylish handback at her shoulder, Rei's heels clicked smartly along the wax-shining linoleum stretching out as the main thoroughfair of the bustling mall. On paper she was there to explore some Christmas shopping for friends and family, but no small part of her purpose was the simple pleasure in wandering about without an agenda or a strict schedule, an innocuous way of ushering in a fondly enjoyed and fleetingly sustained winter break.

She's dressed a bit richly to be sure, but there's somthing to be said for being doted on by a wait staff whose affections stem from their eyes and assessments. The clothing and jewelry outlets command her attention, all the stores with mirrors and the means to make the most of them.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


Mami Tomoe's snowman wasn't going to exist at all. Madoka and Sayaka making one was good enough for her. Or at least, that was the /plan/. It was a very good plan; she'd already charted how it might go.

All that went out the window when Sayaka calls out to her first. "Ah, hello!" Mami waves back and starts to slow down, hesitating. She can't come out and say she's shy about it, or that she doesn't /do/ this sort of thing. So she doesn't; she forgets about it a little as they get her helping, where she inspects the arms aand...

Sets a soft yellow scarf around its neck. For her, it's a lovely moment of being... ordinary.

She still thinks about that snowman when she looks out to see others.


Mami Tomoe is walking through the halls of the mall in a yellow dress and black tights as well as a smart yellow coat, but more to the point a few shopping bags already over her arm as she steps ahead of Sayaka. "I know you're nervous, but you're going to be a high schooler next year." Her boots click away as she pauses and smiles at her kohai, "Trust me. It's necessary." It's said softly, but she's not entirely soft about it; she's obviously brooking no argument on this issue.

"And I'm buying, so just enjoy the new clothes!" She starts forward again, drills bouncing along behind her, and lets Sayaka catch up.

"And really, no more distractions."

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


Building snowmen may seem childish, but Hikaru liked to do childish things with her younger brother to (excuse the pun!) chill out when things were getting stressful. She was quick to throw on her scarf and her jacket, while putting on her snow boots and her gloves, before going out to build a few snowmen. Some people liked to build fancy snowmen, but Hikaru just liked to go with simple designs you could make using sticks and rocks. They weren't anything special, but Hikaru was just trying to have a little fun with her brother, and her brother enjoyed it too, that's what mattered.



"Ugh, these finals are killing me!" Hikaru thinks to herself as she walks through the mall, having been looking for some gifts for her family and friends, and while she had been successful, she was starting to feel a bit grumpy due to the stress of finals, coupled with the fact that Hikaru was starting to feel a bit on the hungry side. (And everyone knows you're not you when you're hungry! Got a Snickers by chance?)

So Hikaru decides to take a break to warm up a little and get herself filled up. Getting a cup of hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant, Hikaru balances herself as she looks around for a place to sit. Seemingly at random, Hikaru takes a seat at a chair not too far from her... only to realize that, through some coincidence, she's sitting very adjacent to Fuu-chan. At first, Hikaru is surprised, but then she just can't help but giggle a little at this coincidence. "Whereever we go, there we are," She says, seemingly to herself, but she knows Fuu-chan will take notice most likely.

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


The snow was enchanting. It did mean that he was unable to go racing and thus earn extra money, but it was nice and white and looked like a soft blanket of awesome all over the city. Takeo Akamizu stood looking outside at the this blanket of fun. Exams were coming, but really, how long would the snow be here? The studying could wait a bit longer. He had promised Mai that he would actually study, but she'd understand if he took some time to build an innocent snowmen.

Grinning, Takeo stepped into this winter wonderland. "Takeo-Sama? Do you wanna buiold a snowman?" He asked himself with a wicked grin. "Yes Takeo-sama. Yes I do!"

Diving into his work, Takeo builds an elaborate snowman scene of Snow-Zombie Apocalypse. Consisting of Two Snow-Survivors with stick rifles, fending off a horde of twelve Snow-Zombies bearing down on them. There are three Snow men with half heads. Clearly, taken out by the Snow-Survivors. Grinning at the hours of work he has done, he takes out his phone and snaps a selfie of himself in front of the Snow-pocalypse and sends it to Mai with the text:

Snow Zombies are coming! Run! (Also can I borrow your notes? What's her name's history class is confusing ...

As he heads back in for some much earned Hot Cocoa, Takeo's phone buzz's and he grins at the picture that was sent his way of Mai's snowman. He pauses and tilts it. "Is that a snow Dragon? Cooooooool." Which is of course texted back. Then he sits down, and starts to prepare his Hot Cocoa. He stares at the tin of cocoa, and the tea-kettle. He pokes it with a finger. "Turn into Cocoa..."



Following Mai in the mall, Takeo was just glad, GLAD, to be not taking anymore exams. This had to be better than taking exams. It definately waas better. Except for the shopping. So much shopping. He grinned at Mai and gave a quick wink. Definately better.

But the snow could melt. Like any darn day now. Everyday he had added a new Snow-Zombie, and just yesterday he added two more Snow-survivors. They were starting to be a touch out numbered.

Clearing his throat, he blushes and looks to Mai. "So. Um. Can I ask a dumb question?" He asks nervously as he looks around the mall, and at the restaurant they were going to after the shopping trip for her christmas present.

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


It was cold, and icy, and the world was blanketed in white.

It's been rather more monochromatic than the majority of days at Ohtori, and between the seemingly endless exams and the even more endless worries for ailing loved ones, Mai Tokiha has been swamped. It was upon getting back from a brutal History exam that she just needed to crash - and wound up doing so by flopping into a snowbank to start off. Fluffy and cold and honestly not quite as soft as advertised, but...

She'd just been burnt out. Running herd over Mikoto and Natsuki to make sure both of them actually studied for their exams, worrying about her own, trying to worry about a brother who seemed to be growing more distant by the week...It was just too much. A diversion was needed - but the karaoke lounge was booked solid, so what was a girl to do?

Drag her fellow HiME out to make snowcreatures, of course.

"Okay, Kuga, I swear you're cheating. There is no way you aren't abusing ice powers, or just covering Duran in snow, or -something-." Gloved hands on her hips, Mai glared at Natsuki - but with a grin, all the same. It was a pretty impressive snow dog, easily the best-formed of the menagerie here. There were a dozen little snowmen - barely knee-high - before they'd gotten into making more elaborate things. Mai's final attempt was...either a bird or a dragon, she'd kind of lost track of which partway through.

"Hey, Tokiha, you should-"

"Suggest I set it on fire for 'authenticity' and you're getting nothing but miso soup for a month."


The mall is packed. Absolutely, ridiculously packed. But Mai Tokiha has no fear of crowds, and is willing to use elbows as judiciously as necessary. Certainly not on the workers, mind - she's trod in those shoes often enough to have plenty of empathy for the over-exploited. Rude fellow shoppers, on the other hand...

But for now, she's behaving so long as her company for this outing is. It's...is this a date? Maybe this counts as a date. Maybe not. It's celebrating the end of exams, and preparing for Christmas, and oh god christmas what is she going to do this year and was that a wink...

She clears her throat with a bit more force than necessary, brushing her hands against her burgundy winter coat. Maybe she dressed up a bit, so maybe...right, a question. "As long as it isn't about your snowy horde, sure." There's a crowd, they're probably not staring at her, and she's just going to pretend she didn't see certain fellow Ohtori students. Turning to face her maybe-a-date, she looks up. "What's on your mind? Though I hope it isn't 'did I make a reservation', things look kind of busy..."

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


Sayaka thought she was looking pretty smart in her dark blue corduroy jacket, skinny jeans, and powder blue collared shirt, but Mami, as usual, manages to make her feel insecure about her fashion choices (as well as her body type, life choices, and general value as a human being) just by raw sartorial force. She wishes Madoka was here, Mami seemed pretty determined about getting Sayaka a high school wardrobe, but Sayaka knew that no one, least of all Mami, could resist playing dressup with the supremely adorable Madoka for long, and that would shunt off a lot of pressure.

"How do you even wear some of this stuff without ripping it? The arms on that blouse feel like they're made out of tissues..." Sayaka is no thug; indeed, she's been trying to dress more feminine lately in order to attract the eye of a certain quiet pianist. But she is very... vivacious, to put it kindly, and she is hard on all items she owns. Not like Mami, who floats through life without even her toes touching the dirty ground.

"Ooh, wait wait." Sayaka pulls up to a halt in front of a CD store. "They look like they have tons of records in here! Can we peek? You know... I still need to shop for... eheh." She grins with embarrassment.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona Hikawa, in the past, has participated in many winter traditions. Among these traditions was, of course, the building of the snowmen. Even with recent events happening as they have, Iona wasn't going to break from this tradition.

So she had built another one. It was, well, a snowman. Nothing too big, it's about her height. It's not even that fancy-- it's got a carrot nose, with coal for eyes and a curved smile made of the same. It even has branches for arms. But Iona, Iona has made it as precise as possible. The three large snowballs that made up its body was about as round as she could get them, and everything was neat and proper. She even built her snowman in the exact spot as she had in years past.


But, of course, that was then-- and this was now. Iona had spent a lot of her free time after exams, well, celebrating. Celebrating in her own special way, of course. Which was continuing her usual schedule. So it was that Iona was here in the mall, examining the stores as she walked past each of them. She didn't stop for too long in front of any one, though, as she meandered looking for a food shop. Where she stops, though, is the Sisters Schools choir. If only because the lyrical waxing was so /bad/. This is where Iona is, scanning the choir for anyone she knows.

<Pose Tracker> Saki Hyuuga [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.


At Chateau Hyuuga, Family Time is a rare, precious commodity, mostly doled out during family meals or the all-too-rare moment the shop doesn't have a jillion people in it. But falling snow can do strange things, and Saki and Minori Hyuuga are cunning in their own ways.

And that's why they all found themselves out on the patio of Pan-Paka-Pan!, working together on four snowpersons of ascending height, bracketing the stairs up to the bakery. Their father had put a baker's apron on his; their mother, the bandana she wore around her hair in the kitchen; Minori had tagged her only-recently-outmoded school nametag to hers; and Saki had fitted hers with one of her older softball caps. The family in replica, to welcome people in from the cold.


For once, Saki Hyuuga is not accompanied by permanent companion Mai Mishou. Instead, tucked into her yellow winter jacket, she's wandering the mall with stars in her eyes. She promised to meet Yuuko and Hitomi later, at the food court, where Yuuko has promised to pay for dinner because Saki managed to get an actual B in something. But for the moment, Saki has a mission. A dream!!

"I should get Kazuya something!" she says to nobody, leaning up toward the window of a men's store with a big smile. "Uhm. But."

Her head slowly tips to the side and her eyes drift off. "What does he like...?" she wonders.

Her head slowly angles the other way. "....milk?"

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The first sign of trouble is the plummeting temperature. Normally the mall is one of those rare and precious places where you /can't/ see your breath, but alas, all good things must come to an end.

The second sign are the shouts of dismay. While some people have the wherewithal (or lack of self-preservation) to grab their phones and start filming the remarkable sight of snowmen filing along the edges of the mall -- in the first-floor hallway, along but not inside the many shops -- the mood isn't all that merry. This doesn't really feel like a publicity stunt; there is something very eerie about seeing snowmen roll along the abruptly-chilly floors, their bottom-most balls rotating even while the rest of them remain upright. The ones built to suggest legs drag them along, each losing clumps with every step then mashing the clumps from the snowman in front of them, adding to their feet on the very next stride. Only the ones in the lead is losing any substantial amount of snow... that yellow scarf is dragging more and more on the floor with every passing yard, while the red skirt on the other leader (they split at the door to come up BOTH sides of the mall, thus, two leaders) is becoming more of a red dress by the minute.

And though none of them have eyes that should be able to see (or even move!), there's something ominous -- and malicious -- about the buttons, marbles, berries and other optics that stare unblinkingly forwards. Whatever these snowmen want, they're very focused on their destination. Anyone who gets in their way, they go /through/, not around, which causes one credulous little kid to go tumbling to the ground.

The third sign that takes all, however, are the snombies, which are bringing up the rear. When the first one mauls a bystander not far at all from near-the-front-door Steven, the shouts turn into screams. It's more a shivery fate than a sharp one, but those /are/ icicle teeth.

Curse Takeo's sense of apocalyptic artistry.

OOC: Don't see your snowman yet? Don't worry...

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Snarmy of Darkness!

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 10 opponents!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has fully healed herself.
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu has fully healed himself.
COMBAT: Sayaka Miki transforms into Puella Magi Sayaka!
COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has fully healed herself.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou transforms into Fire Knight!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars transforms into Sailor Mars!
COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga has fully healed herself.
COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga transforms into Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Mami!
COMBAT: Steven Universe transforms into Steven Quartz Universe!

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

Fuu's first thought, when the temperature drops like somebody opened a trap door under the furnace, is that somebody on the maintenance staff must have leaned on the wrong button and cranked the air conditioning up beyond all reasonable limitations. She quickly downs the rest of her cocoa - almost regretting doing so; it was no longer hot enough to scald, but there was enough heat left in it to make her realize how near a thing it was. Her gingerbread is polished off almost as quickly, as though to marshal what little heat she can preserve inside herself --

At least up until the sound of people screaming practically bypasses Fuu's ears to chill her very blood and bones. Or maybe it's the sight of the animated snowmen moving around outside the food court windows?

Her shopping will have to wait. Fuu glances around briefly and sets off on a quick walk for the side corridor which leads to public restrooms; there should be an emergency exit of some kind in that direction as well. And she discards her trash - an empty cup, a used wrapper, and an equally-used napkin - in one of the trash cans along the way; a hazard to the public welfare is no reason to litter, after all.

But she doesn't leave through that emergency exit; instead, the Magic Knight of Wind slips back into the mall proper, sword materializing in her hands as she approaches the front door from the inside. She's not putting her sword to use just yet, though; for the moment, she's depending upon her magic.

"Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi!!" the Wind Knight calls out as she reaches the front doors - and her spell is conjured OUTSIDE, the rending winds intended to manifest in the midst of the snowy constructs. If she has the chance to follow that up with a wide-area healing spell for the civilians, she'll do so - but at the moment, the animated arctic advance needs to be averted so that the civilians have a better chance to get out of harm's way.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

It takes Steven some wandering around, but before finding the cocoa stands, he finds someone he is familiar with! "H-Hi Fuu!" he says, still shivering, but slowly warming up. "How are you? Ready for the holidays? ...made any snowmen?" he asks slyly. As if making them was uncouth or frowned upon. As if. They were awesome. "I needa get some hot cocoa, so I will be right back!" he adds quickly. "Hi Hikaru!" he adds as he passes by her as well. Huh, why weren't they sitting together?

The boy waddles on up to the counter to get cocoa. THe drink comes out shortly thereafter. As he reaches for it, though... the air feels rather cold for inside. He looks around the area, and sees other people feeling the same way. Then... it begins to severely drop. "Uh oh. The h-h-heater musta broke." In truth, it was much colder than the time would have allowed. It was turning single digits, it felt like!"Oh come on! It is cold already!" the boy adds, as he turns back to grab the cup. "Man..."

He begins to head back over to Fuu, and by the time he is back over near her and Hikaru, his cocoa is frozen! "So. lame. So! H-How are... uh, are those snowmen moving? Or is that some kind of cool event?" A pause. "You guys sure do some fun stuff here!"

It was all fun and games into someone gets attacked by a snowman. "Okay, no, that isn't a good thing. Is it?" he looks back to the knights. "No, probably not. Just checking." The boy holds up an arm, and a translucent pink shield springs to life in a blooming fashion. Despite being so cold, Steven hustles toward the poor person being mauled by a what is that, a zombie? A snow zombie? Someone has been watching the cutting edge new zombie series lately to make a snowman out of that. "Shoo! G-Go do something else! GO make brains out of snow and eat them!"

Huh. a sustainable, renewable zombie diet. Snow brains. He will have to remember that.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Shield Bash on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Steven Universe's Shield Bash, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Steven Universe is Psyched! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Without the Barrier flag, only a ranged attack can counter a ranged attack. Please counter with the correct range of attack, or with an attack with the Barrier flag.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to counter Fuu Hououji's Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi, taking 47 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Snowpocalypse Now, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Fuu Hououji!

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's true that Mami could get terribly distracted about Madoka. But right now she's here on a mission, and that mission includes fielding questions and concerns with grace and also insistence.

...She is, admittedly, looking for a different kind of distraction, and channeling that impulse into her Puella Magi kohai.

"You walk more carefully," Mami explains, though that's not exactly a problem she tends to have. "...Though mostly I just wanted to see you in that one. You can get more comfortable."

'Wait'? Mami does pause, naturally. She almost relents a little until Sayaka gets the rest of the request out, and then the blonde girl remains still for a moment. "Sayaka-chan..." She cuts off instantly at the sight of her own breath in the mall, and then at the shouts of dismay.

Mami feels no small amount of guilt at her relief not to have to answer Sayaka's question.

It fades completely as she sees a familiar scarf on one of the snowmen up front approaching. It turns to a twist in her stomach as she looks down and sees a golden glow at her finger. "Sayaka-chan," she says softly and quickly, shows her hand and then nudges with her eyes towards the CD store.

She darts in and past the door, just far enough in that she can move behind a display, lift her hand, and twirl in place, tossing up her brilliant soul gem and letting its golden light fall on her as she finishes her twirl. Where the light hits her her clothes change; her bags lightly fall against the floor, and within moments she's dressed in yellow and white and black again but in a wholly different configuration, with her hat and hairpin perched perfectly.

She rushes back outside, arms out to either side as she rolls her shoulders, the motion conjuring a pair of rifles in each hand. She fires the first, lets its momentum start her back and lifts the other, firing again. She hops upward in her spin as two more rifles fall out of her skirt, and she bends her knees landing to catch them before they fall and fire one-two once again. The last is a flip, as the pop out of ribbons on her arms with another report.

Her primary target is the one with the yellow scarf, and she's careful not to perforate that scarf with her shots. Unusually for her, she doesn't say anything to her opponents. Her lips are pressed together, her eyes tighter than she'd like.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Flourish on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Mami Tomoe's Tiro Flourish, taking 37 Fatigue damage!

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

As soon as things go from hot to cold, Hikaru instinctively gulps her cocoa as if something's telling her to drink and eat quickly, not paying heed to the fact Fuu-chan did the same thing quickly just now or anything like that. It's almost like she just KNOWS something's wrong here. And when Steven mentions that the snowmen are moving, she knows there's definitely something VERY wrong here! "Not now!" She says to herself as she steps back and looks around, before spotting a now-empty food service area, which she dives behind the counter of for a moment. No, she's not getting a bite to eat again, she's plenty full up now.

Instead, the Magic Knight of Fire makes her entrance from behind the restaurant proper into the area. "When you're hot you're hot, and when you're not you're not! Looks like it's time to bring on the heat!" The Fire Knight says as she conjures up her fiery magic. "FIRE ARROW!" She calls out as she shoots forth the famous fiery projectile she's known for opening her battles with. "Looks like the heat is on again!"

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Fire Arrow on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly braces Hikaru Shidou's Fire Arrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Brace! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Chevalier Knight Lancelot!

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

"Yeah, no, I definately remembered that. I got a confirmation email and everything." Takeo says punching a few buttons on his phone to show Mai the confirmation and the time for the restaurant. He clears his throat. "No. I was thinking ... " He gives her a sideways look, "No really. I was. Anyway, I was ..." he clears his throat and stops to look right into Mai's eyes. "Is this a date? Are we dating?"

Which is of course when the screaming starts. He blinks. He dind't think the idea of him asking a girl out was THAT frightening. Then he realizes that it isn't Mai that is screaming. Which let's be honest, it was either screaming, laughter or fire he was expecting. His head snaps toward the sound and his hand grabs at his amulet.

"Yeah. I figured you'd want reservations being a waitress you -" He cut soff mid-sentence and his head tilts slowly. "I ... Are those my Snow-Zombies eating that person?" He blinks. "Oh man. My Snow-Zombies are eating people." His head snaps back to Mai. "Mai-Chan! My Snow-Zombies are eating people!!"

He sighs, takes a step back from Mai and cries out, "I SWEAR TO DEFEND THE INNOCENT!"

Lighting explodes from the amulet, and for a moment Takeo turns a blinding bright cyan blue. This almost peels away to float upward and pop into little bursts of lighting. THe peeling light reveals Takeo stnading in full armor. He slams his hands togehter creating a thunderclap and pulls his hands apart in a shower of lightning that crackles, and solidifies to become the twin blades of Arondight.

Twirling the blades, Lancelot rolls his shoulders. "Okay! I'll take the low road, you flame-on and melt em from up high." He gives Mai that smile of his that has gotten him into more than one troubled situation at school. He pauses, "If we drop the snow apocalypse we can still make our ..." He looks to Mai for her to finish the sentece. Hang-Out or date?

COMBAT: Lancelot has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Ensconsed in the cramped confines of a changing room, Rei's halfway through an outfit change when a disturbance breaks the surface of her psychic serenity. She feels the oddity a few moments before the first sounds of something amiss manage to wind around the corners to creep into her little quarters. She takes an instinctive step towards the door but stops mid-stride, murmuring an uncharacteristic curse under her breath before she fiddles with buttons and zippers and clasps to change back into her original outfit.

When she was still a fledgling she would've just ran, and to be fair that's probably what a hero ought to do. But this isn't her first rodeo, and, well..her grandfather would /kill/ her if somebody stole these clothes. Not more than a moment after her hands come away from the black fuzzball perched upon her head, a scarlet pirouette sweeps her into a new outfit entirely.

There's enough of a stir that she isn't noticed slipping out of the changing room. Striding with style and purpose, she scans about before coming to the glass partition dividing the upper mainway from the first floor below. Her face contorts into some combination of anger, irritation, sadness and resignation as she sees her makeshift miko leading one of the cold columns. Something had profaned something she'd put her love into, and she was certain that that could be said for the rest of the snowy soldiers. One way or another it seemed she'd be losing some clothes today after all.

Pointing her finger like a gun, an incandescent glow alights at its tip, cracking towards her creation in a snarling spiral.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has used Searing Serpent on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Sailor Mars's Searing Serpent, taking 21 Fatigue damage! Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!

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

Upon hearing the state of the restaurant reservations, Mai lets out a sigh of relief. "All right, all right, I'll stop worrying about that. I just like to make things a little easier on waitstaff I haven't met before." There's a pause, as she glances to one side. She takes the moment to look at the reservation confirmation, and lets out a sigh of relief. "All right, good enough. That said, the ones I have met...well, some kind of deserve the trouble, between you and me. Calling in five minutes before...sorry, I'm ranting again."

It's easy to get steamed up about - she could almost swear she can see her breath right now. As Takeo brings up his real reason for asking a question, though, Mai can feel a chill run down her spine. He's...uncharacteristically serious, so this might be about something major.

And it is. And she needs to come up with an answer.

It's something she'd been mulling over before, but...an answer was still out of reach. "This? This is..." Mercifully, her words are interrupted by screams - whirling around, Mai realizes that the chill wasn't just nerves of romantic premonition, but something flagrantly magical. "...let's talk about it over dinner, Takeo-kun."

Though if that isn't an admission, well...

It's cold. It's colder than it's been outside, to be honest - but frankly she's getting kind of hot under the collar, and these rampaging snowmen are a fantastic diversion. She cringes upon seeing the first snombie attack a person, and shoots Takeo - or rather, Lancelot now - a brief glare. "Then it's high time you got rid of them, isn't it?"

Flames dance around Mai Tokiha as she spins on the spot, gathering her will to protect what's important. Today...today, that might just be her nice day out with a boy she knows. Golden rings shine out of the flames, spinning around her wrists and ankles, carrying her up above the snowmen as Lancelot suggested.

"...dinner reservation. We can still make that reservation." That's as specific an answer as she's giving right now - so as Lancelot charges into the horde, lightning flashing, Mai swings around trailing flames to herd the snow monsters. Closer to lightning and blades and all the others who can hurt them, further from the innocents.

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha transforms into Mai-HiME!

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has joined the combo started by Lancelot!
COMBAT: COMBO! Lancelot and Mai Tokiha have used Combo: It Might Actually Be A Date, composed of Lightning Impact and Infernal Embrace, on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The glass begins to fog up before Saki's face. She blinks a little, awoken from her deep, fruitless delve into the depths of her memories of Kazuya Mishou for any sign of his likes, dislikes, or indeed personality by the sudden chill.

Which is when the shouting from her belt finally gets her attention. "SAKI-LAPI!!" shrills Flappy, tiny head popping out of his 'cell phone' pouch. "I sense darkness-lapi! You have to go transform-lapi!"

Saki squints. "And fight what?" she wonders, dubious. Flappy has...actually pretty much never been wrong, but it's Christmas! What could possibly be--

... ...

"Evil snowmen??" she wonders, eyes goggling. "I told you-lapi!" "Jeeeze!" Saki whines as she turns on her heels and rushes for the nearest sharp turn.


Cure Bloom suddenly leaps in and socks a snow man so hard it probably blows up!!

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Lancelot and Mai Tokiha's Combo: It Might Actually Be A Date, taking 15 Fatigue damage! Lancelot and Mai Tokiha are Psyched! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates! Diversion and Exhausted applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 12 Fatigue damage! Cure Bloom is Psyched! Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sayaka's eyes are so blue and innocent as she waits for Mami's answer, eager as a golden retriever. But then, the cold.

A shiver creeps up Sayaka, and something makes her glance at her finger. Spying the pulsing blue glow on her hand, her eyes snap to Mami's, and she nods sharply, following her into the CD store. The display is only big enough for Mami, so she hurries over behind the counter, only to see the clerk has taken shelter there, hands over his head. Mami's transforming out of sight right now, so there's no looking to her for advice. After a frustrated moment of indecision, Sayaka lets out an aggrieved shout and runs out into the mall again, taking her cell phone out of her pocket and tossing it into a potted plant just before taking a long, athletic leap right into the large coin fountain.

After some bubbling and strange lights, a Puella Magi bursts dripping from the fountain, wiping her face with her glove. A sudden rush of wind gives her a head start on drying off. "Storm dance of what?" Sayaka mumbles to herself. "Dust devils? That's... awesome." Mami-senpai has such great attack names, too, but it's like all the other girls just /know/ what the attack is called. Sayaka feels self-conscious about it, and anyway, it's not like she has any discrete, preset attacks anyway, just some ideas for strategies and stuff. Is she allowed to just name them cool stuff like Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi?

A rush of heat rockets past; it's at the other side of the hall but in this cold Sayaka still feels it on her cheek. "Sailor Mars! Hey! Come over here!" Sayaka is so distracted by waving that she's almost barreled over by a snowman. Crouching instinctively and unleashing a sword with a crinkling flash of light, she chambers it near her waist and recieves the snowman as though it were a charging boar. If it lands, she'll be skidding along the ground in front of the snombie she's impaled; either way, she's face-to-face with a snowman. No, her own snowman. The same size as Madoka.

"Huh?" she asks softly, brokenhearted. "Why are you..."

COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has used Caprice on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Sayaka Miki's Caprice, taking 5 Fatigue damage! Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona's continuing to watch the Snow-Choir, it's not until the temperature drops that Iona starts to wonder. She shivers from the cold, and blows hot air into her hands to try and keep them warm. Only a few moments pass before Iona's eyes turn to locate the heater, and it's not too long after that when the screams begin, and Iona turns to see-- snowmen? Snow zombies?

Iona's eyes narrow, and with a spin she immediately dashes into a store, emptying thanks to the panic. Looking back through the doors at the snowmen, she pulls out her mirror.

A purple flash later, and out leaps Cure Fortune! The leap itself is quick, and the moment Fortune lands, she leaps again. This one is much faster, and is more of a dash, as Fortune leaps at the encroaching hordes of snowmen, punching any of them that get into range.

COMBAT: Iona Hikawa transforms into Cure Fortune!

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has used Fortune (Snow) Flurry on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Cure Fortune has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Cure Fortune's Fortune (Snow) Flurry, taking 20 Fatigue damage!

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

There's already a blizzard brewing outside, but the Magic Knight of Wind adds to it by an order of magnitude or so. In no time at all there's a wall of wind and snow enclosing the front of the mall. No more snowmen will be getting through that, at least not right away.

Of course, no one's getting out, either, and this creates a bit of a messy situation near the front. People were definitely starting to leave the mall, and the atrium-cum-foyer is also where the snombies are.

Fortunately the general public isn't facing them alone. Steven strongarms a snombie off of its victim with his shield; the victim in question, a salaryman squeezing in some Christmas shopping after work, doesn't rise again, though. He just stays on the floor, eyes unfocused, tie askew, looking dull. Drained, almost.

The snombie does not stay on the floor, but comes for Steven like an avalanche. That is in general what fighting the snombies is like, lots of up-close rushing of walls of blobby snow taller than you are; Mai and Lancelot (whose daring attempts to clear a safe corner for civilians are rewarded with flashes of grateful eyes) wind up in the thick of it too, as are Hikaru and Fuu. This isn't real snow, or at least it's magical snow, because it doesn't melt instantly when exposed to flaming attacks. But the cold is very real -- more than real, more snow than snow itself. The slightest touch is chilling, while a solid impact takes a lot more heat than it ought; not only the heat of the skin, but that of the heart.

It's one possible answer to the rhetorical question, 'why do Puella Magi all summon weapons instead of fighting their fated foes hand-to-hand,' and both Pretty Cure, while discovering that these snowmen are too tough to be exploded by any single punch, can explore the hypothesis first hand and second foot. Unlike the others by the door, however, Cure Bloom's proximity-chosen opponent is an actual snowman -- a very precisely, classically built one. Cure Fortune may recognize it. And it fights with a certain recognizable precision, too... unlike the snombies, which just mob their opponents, this snowman falls back against Bloom's strike, then presses forward with a smart series of branch-bourne karate chops.

Fortune, meanwhile, winds up beating her way through a group of snowmen wearing a baker's toque, a headscarf, a softball cap and a nametag that says 'Minori'. Four on one isn't a wildly fair fight, though, and the only one that she can demolish quickly is the little one with the nametag. Then the other three surround her and leap in all at once.

Further along the mall still, Sailor Mars manages to avoid incinerating her skirt by a narrow margin, because the snomiko is alarmingly, surprisingly fast -- some snow is left in her wake, but so is an arrow, strung, drawn, and released in a single, fluid motion. And she's not far from the Puella Magi, who, in rapid succession, fill the rapidly-shortening Smadoka with golden bullets and a blade.

It's not safe to just stare at Smadoka and her carefully untouched yellow scarf, though. There are many other snowmen eager to reinforce their leaders, and they sometimes do so literally -- even as a puffy-snow-haired Snowgem, complete with shield, tries to smack Mami down from behind, another three snombies ram into Smadoka, sacrificing their snowy flesh to give her life and strength and, most importantly of all, /mass/. It fills in the bulletholes, and threatens to freeze Sayaka's sword in place.

For the first time ever, Smadoka is taller than her maker.

And about to shoulder block her out of the way so that she can continue towards the back door -- which is also the entrance to the ice rink. Having fired that quick shot, the Snomiko is doing the same.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Snombiemania on Cure Fortune.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Snombiemania on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Snombiemania on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Snombiemania on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Snombiemania on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Snombiemania on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used I Snow Kung Fu on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Perfect Shot on Sailor Mars.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Chilly Shield on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Cold Train Solo on Sayaka Miki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Player not found.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has cancelled their attack on Cure Fortune. If there are more attacks that need to be +cancelled, please hold all +attacks until the process is complete.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Familiar Faces on Cure Fortune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Chilly Shield, taking 3 Fatigue damage! Mami Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Mami Tomoe's Flash ability activates! Stagger applied to Mami Tomoe!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Snombiemania, taking 29 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Fuu Hououji's Block ability activates! Fuu Hououji's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Snombiemania, taking 24 Fatigue damage! Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates! Mai Tokiha's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Fortune narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Familiar Faces, taking 22 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Cure Fortune's Fade ability activates! Cure Fortune's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Snombiemania, taking 30 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Steven Universe narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Snombiemania, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Steven Universe's Block ability activates! Steven Universe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Perfect Shot, taking 28 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Snombiemania, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates! Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's I Snow Kung Fu, taking 18 Fatigue damage! Cure Bloom's Block ability activates!
COMBAT: Sayaka Miki narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Cold Train Solo, taking 14 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sayaka Miki's counterattack, Disjunct Chord, partially gets through, doing 8 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Closing in with shield in front, Steven lays into the Snombie-- which is a catchy name for it-- with some hard shield attacks. It manages to knock it off the guy being attacked, but seems wholly undamaged. "Hey! Hey, get up!" he says, nudging the businessman. He seems unresponsive. Alive, but unresponsive. That thing did something to him...!

"Hey, stop doing uh, what you are doing!" he says with vigor. Of course the snombie seems unimpressed. Can zombies be impressed? Can /snombies/ even?

Steven begins to swing his shield more like a cutting impletement, side to side at parts of the creature. Perhaps he can knock it apart? If that doesn't work, he jsut might have an idea...

A Delicious idea...

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Shield Dervish on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami assumed there was nothing else that needed saying yet. She can sense more than see what that glow signifies now, and she's moved into action.

And she spots her kohai hesitating, staring at the same snowman that's upsetting her. "Sayaka-chan, look o--"

Behind her she feels /cold/, and that's the only hint she has for the necessary moment. She shifts just partway to the side, and the frigid attack doesn't hit her fully, but is more than close enough to freeze her, lock up her muscles a little and force her to rush forward to get out of its path, half-turning to put her back to a storefront with a sharp look here and there. It doesn't last long.

"Sayaka-chan! You can't get caught up with our snowman; you have to ignore that feeling and find the Witch! Ignore anything else but people!"

Mami's not ignoring Sayaka, though; she sees the Smadoka too close to Sayaka and moving, and whips out her wrist. Tiny bursts of light erupt into brilliant golden ribbons as solid as that scarf to wrap about Smadoka and squeeze. Mami throws out her hand and conjures another rifle, but doesn't fire it; she keeps it in hand as she bends at the knee and leaps, somersaulting through the air to join her partner.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Legare on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has finished attacking.

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

The Snowbies are quite persistent. The Fire Knight is more persistent though.

Despite their ever-present advance, the Fire Knight remains steadfast in protecting herself using her sword and her armor to keep them back. "I've heard of a cold reception, but this is ridiculous!" As she recovers from their cold impact, she shakes herself out a little and realizes just how much the cold can sting sometimes. Nevertheless, she remains undaunted and intent on continuing to fight. "The reception is cold, but the knight is hot!" The Fire Knight smirks a little.

Forgoing the magical route this time, the Fire Knight simply uses her trusty sword to attack the nearest Snowbie. "I'll carve you up and make you into slushies!" She yells as she swings for the Snowbie with her sword.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Sword Slash on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Steven Universe's Shield Dervish, taking 19 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Mami Tomoe's Legare, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates! Trap applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Hikaru Shidou's Sword Slash, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Hikaru Shidou is Psyched! Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates! Stagger and Stun applied to Hotaru Tomoe!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sailor Mars could remember when her grandpa, in equal parts mischief and unbridled enthusiasm, had sat the blossoming movie buff down to watch the original "Dawn of the Dead," deftly rebuffing her reasonable objection that the movie was /clearly/ not meant for children by asking her to imagine how much good a Miko could have been in such a situation. This feels a bit like that movie, but in the most surreal way possible..and with a lot more innocent people to care for.

Her creation springs about much more quickly than she'd ever imagined possible, far more so, it seemed, than any of the frozen golems trailing in her wake. There's an odd note of pride in her heart when her firebolt glances off of the abominable, rather than striking it dead on. Like many parents her appreciation soured quickly when the wunderkind turned its precocious abilities against its mother. An arrow sprouts just below her collar bone --one of /her/ arrows!-- and a flash of pain shrieks along her nervous channels.

That damn snowman was a better shot than she was!

There might have been more wisdom in leaving the arrow where it was, but Sailor Mars' indignity precluded any such notion. Ducking behind the glass partition preventing mallgoers from falling below and ripping her arrow out, she cast it to the ground with a bloody clatter before examining her surroundings, quickly making out a familiar pair. Staying low, she crouch-hustles over to Sayaka Miki and Mami Tomoe, the twin captains of the order of the Chevaliers.

"Winter comes sooner every year it would seem.."

Extending an arm, the white material of her uniform and the pale flesh of her arm are encased from shoulder to fingers, rectangle by rectangle like a pattern of scales rapidly infecting her body, each tan length emblazoned with broad-stroked calligraphy. When the slips of paper reach the end of her hand, they flutter off like a flock of birds alighting from a tree branch all at once, soaring down to gently divebomb the lumbering hordes.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has used Rin, Pyou, Tou, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai, Zen! on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has finished attacking.

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

Cure Fortune snowblows her way through the snow zombies, but most of her strikes land on one of the zombies, completely demolishing it. Which was great! But at the same time, it wasn't quite the field of snowy devestation that Fortune was looking for, as some of the others around her swarm her, wailing on her like zombies are wont to do.

For Fortune, the strikes do hurt, hitting all over her suit, but this also meant a lot of snow in her general location. And it's cold. So cold. Fortune shivers again, but her eyes look around for a weak point. Four on one is unfair, this is true. She just needs to focus on one in order to escape.

So she suddenly lunges at one, trying to punch and kick it into pieces. Or, failing that, just enough to give her some space to leap out and get some distance.

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has used Fourtune On One on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sailor Mars's Rin, Pyou, Tou, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai, Zen!, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates! Analysis performed by Sailor Mars! Stun applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Cure Fortune's Fourtune On One, taking 24 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!

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

The atrium is positively filling to the brim with snow zombies, surging forward as a seemingly endless force. The grateful glances from civilians lifts Mai's heart higher than her own powers can, but it's a short-lived elation as they surge onward. The snarmy is spreading wide enough that Mai drops back to ground level, to be between the living and the frozen a bit more directly.

The brief flashes of heat she can conjure from her rings to parry icy fangs and claws doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot. Oh, wood at least might char, but the ice is colder than cold, and it seems like it might take more fire than she's comfortable using to bring it up to melting. Instead she's left to fend off frozen assaults as best she can, but there are oh so very many of them...

Amid the melee, she calls out to Lancelot. "We are going to have words about how much time you spent making these, you know! Some of us had to stud- ack!" She has a coat and gloves and it doesn't matter these things are -cold-.

But she's not alone. It's not an endless horde bound for her alone, at least - putting aside her maybe-a-date for now, there's flashes of flame from Mars and Hikaru, the telltale pink glow of a gem, the sounds of Curative melee, and...while she's not exactly happy to see the Puella Magi, she's not about to tell them to leave.

That's still a lot of teeth, though. "Why do they have to have teeth?"

She'd really like to keep her distance. Her selfish side would like to leave entirely - but that's not happening. Not just because innocent people are in danger, not just because she has the power to help...but this was her first real day off after exams. First chance for a nice evening out in longer than she cares to remember.

The cold is draining, calming, making it easier to feel nothing at all...but she's beginning to remember her passion, her frustration. "Every time. It never fails, does it? If I try to have a nice day out, try to relax at all - then it's some plant monster, or dark plots coming to fruition, or - or snow monsters invading a shopping mall!"

Her rings are burning - shining, even - and she retaliates against the snombies by surging forward. It's as much to grab their attention as it is anything, but...Mai Tokiha wants these things driven back, back towards the exits, and out of her nice day at the mall. "So kindly go cool your heads in the ocean for all I care - we were having a nice time, so butt out and let us get back to our d...ay!" She slams, rings-first, against the nearest snombie - but with any hope, they're now hot enough to be more of a bane to frost.

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Burning Impatience on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Mai Tokiha's Burning Impatience, taking 20 Fatigue damage!

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

Crouching in the middle of a mob of Snombies, Lancelot looks left and right. "I guess I should have made less of you, and studied more ..." He says with a slight nod to Mai. "To be fair, they have Teeth because ... Well who would believe toothless Snow-Zombies?!" Which is when the Snombies surge forward. He leaps, managing to avoid one, but finds that another has him grabbed by his cloak. Which causes him to let out an "URK." Before he is slammed to the ground, and covered by assaulting Snombies trying to wrench or tear his flesh/or energy from him.

A single hand reached out from the mob pile of Snombies before it is dragged under.

This was it. This was how he was going to die. On the day he may or may not have had a date with a girl, and it somehow wasn't the rabbit's fault. Put that on hsi tombstone. Takeo's Death was the fault of no rabbit. He grits his teeth at the overwhelming weight of the cold that presses in around him. "No." He says through that gritted teeth. "No! I am making it to dinner! THEY HAVE BACON COVERED STEAK!!"

Using a reserve of strength, Takeo pushes back, and tries to shoulder his way through the gnashing ice teeth (Why did I have to give them teeth?!) and to the space beyond. "FREEDOM!!!"

From inside the melee he calls out, "We're totally talking about this over dinner!!" Having clearly heard the word she almost said ...

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Get Free! on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom is fairly familiar with how tough snow is at this point. Precisely gauging the awesome power of Pretty Cure is a bit more of a struggle, especially for Cure Bloom, whose powers afford her an especially tremendous might. Regardless: That snowman should be an ex-snowman right now, and Cure Bloom's mouth hangs open gormlessly when the best she can do is make the thing stagger. "Huh!?" she squawks, and then is immediately on the defensive. There's technique at work here, she can see that much, although beyond that all she can do is let the spirits guide her limbs in rough, inelegant counters. She looks up for a second, eyes drawn by - portent, perhaps, to another fight across the way, where four familiar snowmen with four familiar accessories are engaged with another Pretty Cure.

She feels her blood run colder than the snow when the smallest gets easily smashed. "N, no way," she croaks out. Fortunately, Flappy's there for her: "CURE BLOOM-LAPI! Snap out of it-lapi!"

Bloom's eyes refocus enough to spot an oncoming strike, and she tosses her glittering fingers up to release a wave of sparkling motes that swiftly cohere into a hard shield of light that takes the harshest of those wooden chops for her, residual energy sending her skidding back across the snowy mall.

"What...are these things," she rasps out, rattled. Flappy, being a man of conviction, kindly does not immediately sass her, and instead squawks, "Be careful-lapi! That snow is full of evil power-lapi! You won't be able to take them down easily-lapi!"

"...yeah," Cure Bloom grumbles back, and then takes a quick look to assess the field - before chasing her chosen snowman again, leaping in with a single powerful strike, and locking up with it in a pursuing series of blows, smashing into it with a kick and then slamming into the ground, hard, before less jumping and more /throwing/ herself after it again, their fight slowly meandering in the direction of Cure Fortune.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Bloom Pursuing Strikes on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

In the chaos of battle, it's always good to have a reassuring voice guiding you. Sayaka, upset by the fact that she's accidentally stabbed Madoka's snowman, was starting to breathe too fast. Bolstered by Mami's direction, she calms herself, shifting her grip on her sword. Before she can act, however, the snowman is bolstered as well, snow smacking into it from behind, and soon she stands in its shadow.

"Eheh," Sayaka greets nervously. "I said you were perfect the way you were..."

A violent, suddenly mighty shove drives Sayaka to the side, but gaining distance gives Sayaka a sudden opportunity, and at this point she's trained well enough to take it, swivelling her sword to take a chunk out of the Snowmadoka even as they disengage.

"Right! Sailor Mars, Wind Knight!" Sayaka calls to the Chevalier associates, neither fully committed yet. "These are familiars, like in Nishitama! The real enemy is the Witch!" Unfortunately, the Snarmy is trampling towards the ice rink, where more civilians await. "We have to protect people until we find it, though! They're ice skating... they'll be totally helpless!" Sayaka just accidentally revealed to everyone the poor extent of her ice skating ability.

Obeying Mami and letting Snowmadoka go for now, Sayaka strides directly out into the advancing Snarmy and begins striking at them as they come, rotating with each brutal hack, letting her aggression out. They're just snow, right? No need to hold back. She starts to back up, however, as they continue to come, and it's then that she meets up with Mami. "Hey," she greets. "The Witch has gotta be outside, right? They're all coming in, not heading out... I guess it could be in a department store on that side... Sailor Mars!"

Sayaka grabs Sailor Mars by the wrist and trots around in a little circle like a dog finding a place to sit, manuevering Sailor Mars into standing next to Mami. Releasing Sailor Mars, she steps back grinning. "Now we have the number one, S-ranked beauty konbi! The famously gorgeous miko of Hikawa-jinja, and the perfect Puella Magi Mami, 'Heren ovu Troya!' Quick, do a combo attack rigt down the middle! They won't stand a chance!"

Sayaka is bouncing on the balls of her feet a little.

COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has used Furioso on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Lancelot's Get Free!, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Cure Bloom's Bloom Pursuing Strikes, taking 14 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Sayaka Miki's Furioso, taking 21 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates! Sayaka Miki drains 8 fatigue from Hotaru Tomoe!

I can't find who you're trying to page with: If

I can't find who you're trying to page with: you

I can't find who you're trying to page with: want

I can't find who you're trying to page with: to

I can't find who you're trying to page with: eat

One is not connected.

I can't find who you're trying to page with: I

I can't find who you're trying to page with: can't

I can't find who you're trying to page with: be

I can't find who you're trying to page with: held

I can't find who you're trying to page with: responsible

I can't find who you're trying to page with: for

I can't find who you're trying to page with: the

I can't find who you're trying to page with: consequences,

I can't find who you're trying to page with: ICA

Unable to page: If you want to eat One I can't be held responsible for the consequences, ICA

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta - 1. Andante Tranquillo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3dR3McS69Y

Even a snarmy of snombies cannot withstand a squad of determined magical girls. Steven slices apart his opponent, which falls into component snow; it isn't melting all that rapidly, but then, it is very cold in here, and still getting colder all the time. Isolated people in corners are starting to shiver, to draw together for warmth.

At least, the ones with the awareness to do so. Many individuals, having been mauled by a snombie or embraced by a more coherent snowman, are simply huddled on the ground, staring at nothing, jaws slack. There's an inexpressible sadness to their haunted expressions, a poignant emptiness that suggests more in play than mere absence of emotion. One can lack hope and be filled with something else entirely. Where you plant a rose, a thistle cannot grow.

But certainly the weeding is well underway. With Sailor Mars' ofuda slowing the movements of the snarmy just a touch, with every one that gets latched onto, it's that much easier to clear 'em out -- Hikaru claims her share with her sword, as does Mai with her rings and Takeo with sheer desperate struggle. Along with Steven, they're able to more or less declare the front of the mall a snombie-free-zone, at which point people can start slipping out onto the street, away from this mayhem that they'll later chalk up to blizzard madness.

Cure Fortune kicks and punches the snowman with the chef's toque into pieces at the same time that Cure Bloom renders Kung Fu Action Snowman to icy dust, but where the former leaps out to get some distance, the latter is up close and personal, and about to be rushed by a squad when Sayaka steps in, and slish-slices snowman after snowman, including the snowgem that had threatened to take Mami from behind, and a simple, humble, but loveable-looking snowman that may have been made between Shidou siblings earlier in the week.

Some of the snarmy has slipped past them, however. It was inevitable -- it's like fighting a swarm of bees intent upon a tree just past you. You can swat as many as you like, but some will get through.

The snomiko has already disappeared inside the ice rink, and Snowmadoka is not far behind her -- but slowed, and momentarily stopped, by Mami's magical bindings. But the same thing happens, as happened before; other snowmen pile on, growing her even more than before, until she has the strength to rip away. The chunks left behind on Mami's ribbons are large enough to have been individual Smadokas themselves. They don't move, though. Indeed, they're very still, each one in a sad tumble, a yellow ribbon at their necks.

Which leaves the mall very quiet, as every snowman, woman and child (and zombie) still inside has been dispatched.

The only noise, now, comes from the ice rink. Where a soft but insistent tapping is getting louder all the time, deepening from snare to timpani as more and more join the slamming chorus.

Inside, the bleachers are /packed/ with snowmen -- did some of them come from the other, non-mall entrance to the ice rink? And out on the clouded ice, the snomiko, Rei's bow and arrows abandoned somewhere, is holding her arms high in clear supplication, pushing upwards, upwards, upwards.

Smadoka, who no longer even vaguely resembles a snowperson, more of a cthonic amorphous snowmass with a little bit of yellow scarf sticking out, joins the dance. And the crowd continues to provide a backbeat, one increasing in speed and intensity with every passing moment.

The rink is twinkling...

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Sayaka Miki.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Cure Fortune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Sailor Mars.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Deepening Cold on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 13 Fatigue damage! Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates! Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates! Exhausted applied to Hikaru Shidou!

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

The Fire Knight does the best she can to protect herself against the harsh cold, but it's getting difficult for her to maintain herself. She struggles to keep up, but somehow the cold is like her weakness. "Can't keep... doing this..." She feels extremely tired, but she doesn't know why. "Am I being weak?" She wonders.

For a moment, she struggles, but then she drops to one knee. "No... can't keep fighting... Must go..." She sighs as she finds herself pulling back. "So sorry..."

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 18 Fatigue damage! Exhausted applied to Mami Tomoe!

COMBAT: Steven Universe narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Steven Universe's Block ability activates! Steven Universe's Parry ability activates! Exhausted applied to Steven Universe!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Mai Tokiha's Reverse ability activates! Mai Tokiha's Tactician ability activates! Exhausted applied to Mai Tokiha!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha's counterattack, Sanctum Blaze, partially gets through, doing 30 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe! Critical Counterhit!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 20 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Lancelot's Block ability activates! Lancelot's Parry ability activates! Exhausted applied to Lancelot!
COMBAT: Sayaka Miki narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 12 Fatigue damage! Sayaka Miki's Block ability activates! Sayaka Miki's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom fails to counter Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 29 Fatigue damage! Exhausted applied to Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom's counterattack, Petal Flash, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Cure Fortune fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 31 Fatigue damage! Exhausted applied to Cure Fortune!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Deepening Cold, taking 32 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven manages to dispatch his snombie foe. The businessman is safe. At least for now. Everywhere more magical girls have shown up, and are dispatching the snarmy everywhere they are seen. Soon the area is clear of snowmen enemies, and Steven can take a breath. The cold is starting to bit into him something fierce. He didnt get a good chance to warm up.

The boy begins to try and pick up the drained businessperson, and move him near other victims, hiding in corners and away from the fight.

But there are more. Many more, around the skating rink. A look back to the innocent, then to the enemies, and all the magical girls between. "Ill help the people! You guys can do this! I believe in you! Show those snowbaddies who is really cool!"

Despite the wordplay, the uplift is aimed at the most fiery spirited members among his allies. And may give them the inspiration they need to continue onward!

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Strong In The Real Way! on Lancelot.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Strong In The Real Way! on Sailor Mars.
COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Strong In The Real Way! on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Steven Universe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Lancelot accepts Steven Universe's Strong In The Real Way!, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Lancelot is Cheered!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars accepts Steven Universe's Strong In The Real Way!, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Sailor Mars is Cheered!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom accepts Steven Universe's Strong In The Real Way!, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Cure Bloom is Cheered!

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It surprises Mami when Sailor Mars approaches her and Sayaka, though perhaps it shouldn't. Sayaka seems to be taking her direction well though, so Mami just comments to Mars, "Too early. It's undignified for a season to rush in like this."

She doesn't entirely feel the humor, but that doesn't stop her often. She otherwise is content to focus on the battle directly, while Sayaka speaks up to inform the others about what's here. The blonde nods once at Sayaka as she finishes in approval. There's a very brief smile that you could blink and miss. In the same span of time Mami glances back at the blazing Mai Tokiha, and then looks right back forward again.

She has her own business to attend, and she frowns at the way Smadoka just charges on past. She frowns more by force of habit as she looks towards what was left, the two sad piles that remain. The ribbon could as easily be...

Like she wasn't thinking anything of the sort Mami answers, "I think so too," as they're together again, and then waits for... Whatever... It is... Sayaka is doing...

She watches as Mars is maneuvered beside her and then Sayaka starts talking. It isn't a lot of talking, but it's precisely the right kind of talking to make Mami's eyes go big and her head turn immediately to the side, her face red. "S-Sayaka-chan!" she answers, peeking once at Mars before she rushes on towards the doors.

She rushes out and sees packed bleachers, and this is a different reason to cause her alarm. The cold regardless is frigid, and as never happens Mami feels like she's insufficient to the elements, shivering despite herself as she steps to the side to allow others to get out. It's /painful/ cold, like her guns will just freeze to her fingers. But the gigantic remains of her snowman...

"Sailor Mars," Mami calls, "On three!" She flicks her wrist and a hand cannon poofs into her arms, its barrel about the size of her head. It's beautiful silverwork with leather grip.

"One..." She lifts up her firearm, "Two...!" Takes aim, "Three!"

Mami fires, with a brief but brilliant golden light.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!

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

Lancelot gets free, only to be hammered by the depending cold which no amount of bracing for can stop it. He shivers, the metal armor sucking in and holding on to cold making it almost worse. His teeth chatter and he moves next to Mai. Stnading as close as he dares (Without being too close!) Mostly because she has fire. Fire goooooood. No fire, baaaaad. He grits his teeth and sets himself. "Okay. I'm open to suggestions. Snow-Thulu is a new one." He pauses and head tilts. "Whose do you think it is? Child? Witch? Dark Kingdom? Somethinwanake - " He shrugs. "Pretty Cure Monsters have a wierd name I cna't ever pronounce." He then continues. "Or Morgana?" He taps his balde on his thigh in thoguht. "I suppose Morgana falls under Dark Kingdom..."

As Steven gives him encouragement, Lancelot grins to the younger boy. "Thanks buddy! It's always nice to know you have freinds you can trust!" He gives a heroic smile toward Steven. There might be a glint of light on his teeth with a quiet, but possibly heard by Mai, "PING."

He looks back to Snow-Thulu and nods once. There was, in Lancelot's mind only one way to take this guy out. He gets low, almost getting into a sprinter's stance. Both blades held low and ready. He nods once to Mai. Then is gone ina blue lightning bolted streak, the sound of thunder in his wake.

Running at full speed, Lancelot calls out: "BLAZING ZEPHYR!!" Then launches himself in a vault at the monster.

Closing in, the lightning shrouded blade pulses and leaves traces of lighting in it's wake. As Lancelot comes within striking distance, the twin baldes out lash out repeatedly. Faster than most eyes can follow. Each strike sending a concussive wave of thunder and flashing lightning that arcs and dances in every direction. He pushes off the monster to flip through the air and land on the rink ...

However, he doesn't exactly stick the landing and instead of a graceful ten point landing, with perhaps a bow, Lancelot discovers that he isn't really good at moving, or landing on ice. He falls flat on his rear and blinks as he begins to try to get up, rubbing where he fell on the ice. "Ooooowwww..."

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Blazing Zephyr on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sailor Mars' brow furrows at Sayaka's suggestion. She's spent more time hearing about these witches and their creatures than she had fighting them so far..at least, as far as she knew..but an experience like this went a long way in bringing their threatening nature into full focus.

Her eyebrows jump like a startled cat, her mouth flashing open as Sayaka spins her around. She can't help but laugh, and think of Usagi. Color flushes to her cheeks as Sayaka's enthusiasm momentarily blots out the cold horror surrounding them. "I...r-right! We'll cleanse this place in no time. Together."

A boy cries out. The voice is familiar, but in the distant way of somebody one hasn't met who's been through the same social circles all the same. Steven's encouragement finished the job that Sayaka started, the startled interruption of her battle grimness breaking out in a confident grin. She flashes a bold thumbs up, though she's unsure if the lad can see. And then they charge.

The skating rink is a minor nightmare. Rei's seen awful sights, some worse than this, but there's a strangeness to it. The youma in her history have been very intelligent or not at all, like men or beasts. These wordless creatures seem to be strangely in between. There's a clear purpose in their movements, but they couldn't be mistaken for thinking, feeling creatures. Their coordination and their apparent hierarchy remind her of hive insects more than anything else. It's unsettling..her priestess is just that, a beckoning figure leading the show. The other singleton has become a monstrous goliath. She's confident she could incinerate it, but she'd likely pass out from the effort. And if all the 'spectators' should rush them..

Mami doesn't hesitate, and Rei nods, hurrying to catch up. Her body begins to flash with snaps of bright light, beginning from her shoes and quickly pulsing up to the crown of her head, their hues gradually darkening with every interval. White becomes pink becomes red..and when the full scarlet is realized the color clings to her like a body suit, wobbling and whorling as a high pitched whine starts to issue from her. Her companion blasts her cannon, and the light tears off of Rei like a velcro suit, a crude caricature of a woman with Rei's features but made entirely of searing flames, charging forward with the speed of the Puella Magi's projectile.

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

Bacon covered steak. Of course there was a reason Takeo picked that restaurant. Hearing that...battle cry, Mai pauses a moment in her burning fury to wince and sigh.

It's a moment, amid the chaos of the battle - but the snow army is moving on as swiftly as anything, and the stragglers are finally put on ice. Mai rests a hand against one storefront's window, taking a second to catch her breath as silence falls once more upon the mall. On one hand, it's a lot less crowded now - but conversely, it'll be hard to do more than window shopping.

Also, the snowy threat hasn't been defeated, but diverted. There's that tapping, that stomping echoing from the rink, and Mai finally pulls her gaze away from what's here. Not that there isn't plenty of concerns here, between Sayaka Miki rallying the Chevaliers and the drained state of those handfuls of souls too slow to escape that icy touch, but there are bigger problems.

As Mai ventures towards the rink, the cold grows deeper, sharper, piercing whatever layers she might have to chill the very soul. She cries out, briefly, but in defiance as much as pain - slamming a hand to the rimed-over floor, surrounding herself in an infernal sanctum. It might scorch the tiles, but if it's this or freezing to death...

Lancelot is joining her, and throwing suggestions at the wall. "...probably not an Orphan, they usually aren't this subtle when going after people. I think...are they dancing? I kind of have my doubts that it's good news..." Mai stands a moment, entranced by the display, but shakes her head. What to do...

And then there's action. Lancelot rushing in without a second thought, Tomoe and Mars opening fire...there's no time for hesitation, whatever might be going on. Rings blazing, Mai rushes toward the rink - one step, two, and then gliding across the ice.

(She might not have skates, but hovering a few centimetres above the surface is a fair substitute.)

Swinging wide, along the wall of the rink, she tears her gaze from the monstrosity to the snow miko. They're both doing...something, and the ice is glowing ominously... With a grunt, she kicks off, rising high into a spin. Flames whirl around her...

And Mai-HiME emerges from her spin with a fiery lash wider than she is, swinging down to smash the ice of the rink itself with a wave of fiery determination.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has joined the combo started by Mami Tomoe!

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Impassioned Ignition on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Heheh!" Sayaka winks roguishly at Cure Bloom. "Owe me one!"

As Snowmadoka is drawn to a halt by ribbons, Sayaka pumps her fist, then spreads her lips in a grimace as it breaks free by loading on more and more mass. "Hey! Cut it out! Just go home!" she orders it uselessly. "Guess we better see what it's up to..."

Running to the ice rink along with Mami and Sailor Mars, the blue Chevalier draws to an abrupt halt at the sight of this unholy tableau. Even the Beautiful Miko and Helen of Troy are no comfort at this reminder of the fundamental and horrific inhumanity of Witches.

"Hn," she comments to herself softly, glancing around the rink. Her face is hard, calculating. It isn't one she shows readily, and it's not one that's on her face when she turns back to Mami with a smile. "I think I'm gonna be a crispy critter if I try to help with that... big thing in the middle." The one that used to be Madoka's precious snowman. "Not only is everybody in this room about to attack it, but you two and Tokiha are here..." She remembers when Mai gave her that giant hole in the warehouse that she requested. "So I'm gonna take a bunch of the little ones, okay? They're familiars, so they'll grow up too one day if we just let them scatter... meet with you soon!"

Taking a running start, Sayaka leaps deep into the bleachers, her legs almost horizontal at the apex. The lead boot stomps down into a snowy head and she pirouettes, slashing that head at the neck as she drops. There are so many to fight, here, and the others will be focused elsewhere; it can be a unglamorous job being the melee sometimes. She puts her back into it, white cape lashing back and forth as she keeps moving, trying to avoid getting bogged down. Like a fox in a henhouse she is all teeth as she moves through. There's something unpleasant about this feeling, about reaping her way through an audience at an ice rink, but the real civilians are relying on her. And every time one of them hits back, it's easier to get angry, to think they deserve it, these monsters...

Gold and red, like a blazing dawn, pass above, and for a moment Sayaka just stops, her fury pacified, and smiles in dumbstruck admiration as her eyes fall upon the magnificent retribution of two beauties.

COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has used Furioso on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Sayaka Miki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: COMBO! Mami Tomoe and Sailor Mars have used Combo: S-Rank Beauty Konbi, composed of Tiro Retort and Fire Soul!, on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Mars has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom's foot slams through Kung Fu Snow Guy's face and keeps on going, sending spatters of snow crashing away from the impact point. Bloom lands amidst it, but finds herself again distracted.

rThe snowmen her family spent so much time on catch her eye again, even as Cure Fortune punches it to dust. Her feet don't want to move, suddenly. "We get to play together so rarely..." she mutters, teeth grinding in her head. "And these things just treat it like it's..."

She's never had trouble looking at another Pretty Cure before, but her eyes drill into the snow at her ankles. Are all the snowmen here like that? She can feel her gloves creaking from the strength exerted against them.

She is saved from being cheapshotted repeatedly during this internal struggle by Sayaka, hero to all, who ably saves the day with swift sword strikes. It draws her attention back up, and Saki takes a second to slap her cheeks. C'mon, don't mind! "Never give up," she reminds herself, and then up to Sayaka with a thumbs up. "Maybe not for long though!" she teases back, trying to muster her usual sunshine as she takes off, to chase the rolling snow. She feels the cold whip up, and tries to raise her shield against it, but not even Cure Bloom can block the air. She shudders a little, watching the snowmen rush past, glomming together into a huge, horrible...thing.

Cure Bloom's a fairly simple Cure. Despite all the magic at her touch, she has little in the way of range. So when an enemy tries to get out of her reach, she has a single, simple solution.

"I won't let you do... ...whatever that is!" she declares, and light explodes under her feet and she soars at the things on the rink, distributing all her power into a single, overwhelming blow, which soon erupts into destroying Spiritual light!

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Petal Seed on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has finished attacking.

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

Cure Fortune leaps back to get distance, and that's when she finally realizes that there are others here! Well, of course they've always been here, Iona's just been absorbed in the fight, as she usually does.

The purple Cure looks at the blue-haired swordswoman /and/ the other Cure that she's seen before. And her eyes linger at Cure Bloom when she looks... sad. Fortune looks at the snow near Bloom's ankle, too, at the remains of a snowman that she built. Fortune's face falters a moment as she realizes. Sure, her snowman was there, and fallen. That's not what bothers her. But a memory stirs in Cure Fortune, and there was something missing.

There was supposed to be two snowmen, not just one.

But Fortune looks up, and sees the mass of snowmen on the rink, and Fortune leaps at it, attempting to kick it as hard as she can! Purple energy swirls around her foot as she does so, too!

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has used Fortune Star Kick on Hotaru Tomoe.

COMBAT: Cure Fortune has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Lancelot's Blazing Zephyr, taking 41 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Mai Tokiha's Impassioned Ignition, taking 27 Fatigue damage! Mai Tokiha is Psyched!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Cure Bloom's Petal Seed, taking 34 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Cure Fortune's Fortune Star Kick, taking 22 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Cure Fortune is Psyched! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sayaka Miki's Furioso, taking 34 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Sayaka Miki drains 14 fatigue from Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Mami Tomoe and Sailor Mars's Combo: S-Rank Beauty Konbi, taking 128 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Hotaru Tomoe is unable to keep fighting!

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Outside of the rink, Steven has his hands full with the people who aren't strong enough, in their current states, to evacuate. There are a lot of them, and they remain listless and strange. Some rock back and forth. Others moan unintelligably. They aren't responsive to words, unfortunately, but they seem to start coming back to themselves after the sound of an explosion from /inside/ the rink.

Namely the explosion that answers the question 'what happens when Puella Mami and Sailor Mars combine their beauty into a combustible force for good, pouring over the snomiko, while Lancelot and Cures Fortune and Bloom slice and kick and punch Snowmadoka respectively, Mai shatters the rink, and Sayaka creates a carnival of snowman carnage up in the bleachers, all at the same time'?

When it comes to stopping whatever unknowable ritual the snowmen were trying to enact within their ice temple, all of these avenues of attack are important. It's only after Sayaka disrupts the crowd's bleacher-slamming rhythm that the snomiko slows crucially in her dance, missing a beat and making herself all too easy a target for incineration-by-beauty. It's only after the snomiko is fading away that Snowmadoka cannot maintain their strange magic alone, and whatever bonding force was holding it together is easily and gloriously sundered by sword and fist and boot, until all that's left on the ice is a dusting of snow and that soft yellow scarf.

And even then, even after all that, the sparkles on the rink are still twinkling ominously, with a sort of night-sky reminiscence that does not belong, even slightly, to this place of artificial lighting, this palace of false ice. It's not from around here. It's coming from somewhere else. Somewhere strange. Somewhere wrong.

But Mai's flaming impact with the rink itself puts a stop to whatever was about to start... for now. The whole thing cracks and shudders, becoming a dangerous place to stand -- more dangerous than a bunch of ice is normally, that is -- but at least it looks like regular ice again, rather than the nascent lip of a portal to a darker dimension.

That damage is permanent, and Snow Rain will need some repair before it reopens. One can only hope that the salaryman now cracking a small smile at Steven's urgings to return to himself will have an easier time returning to normal. For what it's worth, it seems likely.

The human spirit can only be compared favorably to a massive block of ice. It isn't as large, but size isn't everything. It requires no zambonis to smooth things over. Only time, and support, and warmth.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has fully healed herself.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Hotaru Tomoe!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Wiping the sweat from her brow, Sailor Mars peers around with no small caution, ensuring that the danger has passed. After a long and conservative satisfaction she strides onto the ice, rooting her gloves about in the mushes of snow to fish out a flaming red skirt, soaking wet but no worse for the wear. Slinging the battered garment on her shoulder, eliciting a wet smack as it hits her back, she vaults back over the side of the ice rink, smiling warmly to Sayaka Miki and Mami Tomoe.

"Thank you for your assistance. I'm sure things could've gotten much worse if all of us hadn't been here..we may just have saved a lot of lives today. Good hunting, now and in the future. I'll make sure that the other Senshi hear about what happened today. Until then.."

She sighs, tweaking at the skirt over her shoulder with a twitch of her wrist. "..I need to get this on the laundry line before mildew sets in. It would be tragic to lose something after saving it, no? I'll see you both soon enough, I'm certain."