2017-04-15 - Thunderbolt and Lightning

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Title: Thunderbolt and Lightning

A Coming of Age Day ceremony held at Hikawa Shrine is disrupted by Petz's thunderstorm, designed to lure the Rabbit out of hiding. It succeeds.


Usagi Tsukino, Rei Hino, Makoto Kino, Minako Aino, Chibi-Usa Tsukino, Hotaru Tomoe, Saki Hyuuga, Nori Ankou, Kasagami Araki, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Takeo Akamizu

GM: Utena Tenjou


Hikawa Shrine

OOC - IC Date:

04-15-2017 - 01-12-2015

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Beauty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rrdUoF5UmU

It's Coming of Age Day, the second Monday in January (which, this year, is also after school on the first day back from Hokkaido), wherein everyone who turned twenty (Japan's age of majority) in the last year is celebrated and encouraged as their life's path winds into adulthood. Later in the evening, there are often major drinking parties -- kind of a mass equivalent of a twenty-first birthday celebration in the United States -- but earlier on things are a little more serious.

This seriousness is reflected in the mode of dress; young women often go in full regalia, wearing gorgeous, formal furisode and zori sandals (while some young men wear hakama, while others sport a suit and tie). And over one one-hundredth of the amazing population of Tokyo turned twenty this year, demographically speaking. That makes for thousands and thousands of formally-dressed twenty-year-olds in the streets. They're everywhere.

Not everyone is thrilled to participate. Attendance in this ritual has declined in the last few years -- some see it as kind of embarrassing and outdated (it's been celebrated in some form for over a thousand years!), while others would rather just skip to the drinking. But there's a huge number of youth gathered at Hikawa Shrine for a blessing from the priest and a speech from a local government official; it's known to be a pretty good ceremony, not too long and not too boring. Also Grandpa Hino put up posters all over town that promised a coupon good at any of several Shitamachi bars to be presented to all new adults.

So, spirits are pretty high (though just the emotional kind so far, as it is late afternoon, too early for afterparties), and a large crowd has gathered to support these twenty-year-olds, neatly lined up in a few columns in front for their blessing. There are family and friends and many strangers -- it's an event for the whole community. Parents take their children to inspire them about their own futures. Teenagers too cool to admit it go just to gawk at the kimonos or enjoy the pleasant sight of a particular senpai in a well-cut suit.

And a lucky few teenagers -- Rei and her friends -- have been press-ganged into handing out the aforementioned coupons on behalf of the shrine. They have cute little baskets full of bright red slips of paper. It's too soon to give them to the twenty-year-olds that they're intended for, since the ceremony is in progress, but plenty of other people are, both more and less overtly, trying to get a piece of that action.

It's a little warmer than expected, which is pleasant, though also a little darker, too. The sky is blue, but steadily encroached upon by gray, and Grandpa Hino squints up at it suspiciously, then elbows his counterpart, who serves the prefectural bureaucracy. "We'd better wrap this up. Looks like the weather's turning..."

Hiro Hasanori blinks behind his big glasses, then frowns. Today may be the celebration of adulthood for these twenty-year-olds, but it's also a big step for him; having recently turned thirty, this is his first public performance as an official. However, he reluctantly accelerates his lecture, which rises over the friendly sussurations of a crowd much too large to be all that silent an audience. "...and so it is with greatest pride and deepest pleasure that I welcome you to the shores of adulthood, knowing that you will join us in seizing your new privileges with gusto, and exercising your civic responsibilities with great and thorough care..."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami Araki normally would be in the 'too cool to be here' club. Especially as a StuCo member at Ohtori. But still, here she is. There's a wide grin on her face. It's not the fierce one she wears in combat. No, there's genuine enjoyment in that visage. That steel grey left eye peers over to the official. It narrows into a thin line, then widens.

Somehow, above the din, Kasagami manages to float a chuckle across the air. The cup in her hand rises. It's not alcohol. It is, in fact, shave ice. A silver piece of cutlery carefully slices out another bit of the dark-red flavored ice, only for Kasagami to devour it.

A relaxed 'aaah', and she spins that silver butter knife in her right hand. Her left comes to her mouth, and with a flutter of ponytail and her black coat, she calls out.

"Carpe diem, Hasanori-kun! Our nation's glory depends on the efforts of it's citizens!" Comes Kassie's voice, one part genuine support of a man she admires, and one part gentle ribbing of a family friend. Her smile is fiery and brilliant before she's back to devouring her delicious treat.

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

The porches that wrap the old-style buildings of Hikawa Shrine aren't open for public seating, but Chibi-Usa Tsukino is not the public to Grandpa Hino, and any friend of hers is a friend of his. Hotaru didn't ask for special treatment per se, but his incisive gaze looked the frail little girl up and down, saw the way her black chopstick legs were lost in that huge, probably borrowed hunter green winter coat, and bustled them far from of the inevitably-full-of-elbows-and-accidents crowd, out of harm's way and also, by virtue of a well-placed corner, out of the winter wind.

Tactfully, he suggested that they'd have a better view off to one side like this. Hotaru stammeringly agreed, and if she knelt on the porch in a movement that was as much a fall as anything, at least now she's safely down. She really is swimming in that coat, which puddles all around her in every direction. With its wide yellow lapels, vaguely blazer-style, it must be her father's.

Now they've been left to their own devices. Settling into her crouch, Hotaru slowly finds an easy way to sit. It's a way with very good posture, which has less to do with politeness and more to do with ease of breathing. Part of her yearns to lean forward, put her weight on her arms and thrust her gaze those few inches closer to the garden of delightful kimono almost close enough to touch, but she knows better. Ramen noodles have more tensile strength than those arms. Sitting straight is safer.

Once she's well-positioned, she shares a shy little smile with Chibi-Usa. "I've always wanted to wear a furisode," she admits, her quiet, breathy murmur at no risk of interrupting the ceremony.

Evidently she has never been taken shrine visiting by her Papa on New Year's Day, a more all-ages opportunity for that, while Girl's Day (coming up, in March) is another extremely common time for such dress-up. Apparently those holidays aren't celebrated in the Tomoe household.

Glancing back at the ceremony, she tunes in a little bit to what the official has to say, though her cool, ultraviolet gaze stays on the move, drifting over the faces of the young adults he's instructing. Something that she sees there makes the temperature around her drop a few degrees, but it is much more the damp chill of sadness than the absolute void of icy fury. Hotaru is definitely falling into a melancholy brood, and her eyes look like they're a million million miles away, like she's on another planet or something.

Hibiki Houjou walks over from Yamanote High City.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa Tsukino is in pink with yellow accents, her clothes bright on this winter day and her coat thick enough that Ikuko-mama was satisfied. But rather than watching with her 'cousin', Chibi-Usa had another plan, perhaps suspiciously happy to run off instead.

Watch the ceremony, of course, and all the beautiful clothes and mature people. Here, a young woman in her furisode; there, a young man in his hakama. Chibi-Usa knows no gender in appreciating maturity... Though maybe she looks to the women a little more for what she could be.

Her spirit is about as high as if it were her up there being blessed. But not only because of te ceremony, of course. She also has her friend.. and a special cantage point that lets her watch withou trying to hop over crowds.

Chibi-Usa sits comfortably but formally beide Hotaru, sneaking glances here and there at Hotaru as they watch. Tis pays off once the darker-haired girl is settled and smiles at her. She tilts her head, red eyes curious "You haven't?" she asks. Wearing formal clothes was a fact of Chibi-Usa's life. "Maybe we both can sometime." It's optimistic, certainl, but Chibi-Usa says it gently, as if she's not quite sure. "I think you'd look really pretty in one."

The speech though... The speech makes her eager, as she looks back on the young adults to come, and then thinks she feels something on her arm, and when she looks back to Hotaru again, she can see the change in the other girl. She stays quiet long enough to gauge her expression, and then reaches out to place her hand on Hotaru's. "Hotaru-chan," she asks softly, but without much hesitation, "Are you okay?"

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

Assuming that nothing goes horribly wrong, it's still going to be five years more before Fuu is one of the young women dolled up in a formal adult kimono to receive a coming-of-age blessing; her elder sister Kuu is also a couple of years away from undergoing this ceremony. But that doesn't seem to have stopped either of them from being here - both in appropriately formal dresses, with their father on one side and their mother on the other, all four here to show their support for a few different families whose newly-adult children are here for their own Coming of Age Day. In Kuu's case, a few of her upperclassmen (and -women) friends have made it to this day as well.

That leaves Fuu, typically the epitome of politeness, endeavoring to remain alert and attentive, her hands folded primly against the front of her skirt. Her mind is wandering quite a bit despite her best efforts; there are so many things she COULD be doing if she hadn't been dragged along to this gathering. The only people she knows among the honorees are distant acquaintances at best, while anyone she knows more directly is, like her, here to show emotional support, or (in a few cases) assisting with one part or another.

Getting home from this will be a relief ... even if only because she gets to dive into her textbooks and start studying some more for the upcoming high school entrance exams. Not that she's ever been terribly averse to hitting the books, but she *would* rather be studying than standing out here in the January chill listening to a speech that won't apply to her for five more years --

And that's the moment when Kuu gently nudges her younger sister, *her* stance and smile never even flickering to an outward observer. Fuu's lips tighten for a brief moment, then relax into her usual polite-yet-friendly smile once again as she stands up straight once more.

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

Grandpa Hino didn't have to do any arm twisting to press Usagi into service. "I've always said I wouldn't mind doing that part time!" If the elderly man had a good chuckle afterwards then she certainly didn't understand why. And thus she's now in a pleated red skirt, a white haori, and has long white ribbons tied up in her odangos, giving the appearance of her having four extra white tails to match the blonde ones.

Believe it or not, Usagi today has been a diligent worker in the sense of her buzzing everywhere, like some overly excited bee. Mostly because she's admiring all the young women in their gorgeous furisode, and the guys in suits- and well just about everyone actually, "Oh you look so /gorgeous/ in that!" Sigh, "I hope I get to wear something just like it one day..."

The handing out of a coupon is really just an afterthought to the admiration.

"Whoa! So handsome! Hey you're not here just to break hearts right? Come on, wait until after the ceremony at least to start."

Nudge. Coupon.

"So cute!" She says with her hands on her knees, and a basket hanging precariously on her wrist, "Are you looking forward to your big day?" Usagi says to a bright eyed elementary schooler who couldn't be more than seven but was still wearing a child's furisode. "Enjoy the ceremony!"

She hands the child a coupon to a Shitamachi Izakaya, who walks onward back to her parents with a bewildered expression on her face.

Usagi is waving her way for a long time before looking at the basket she finds nearly empty, on account of her using it as an icebreaker with /everyone/ not just the participants in the ceremony. She needed to get more. She finds herself, turning to catch sight of Rei, which is a magical moment for her- one in which the density of the crowd disappeared to become roses spinning around her.

After all, Makoto, Minako and her might look great in their Miko garb, but it looked like it /belonged/ to Rei. Fading out of the daydream and back to reality, she walks her way- presenting her basket and shaking it, "Hey Rei-chan can I take some coupons from your basket? I've been working so hard that I'm nearly out."

Catching sight of Makoto and Minako, it's still a transcendent moment since it's not every day they were so fabulously attired, she waves them on in for an impromptu meeting, "Say- everyone. You know that phoney cousin of mine is here with someone today right?"

While she was calling her Chibi-Usa-chan more often than not, it wasn't hard to be reminded /every day/ of her infiltration into her life. She cups a hand to the side of her cheek, "She hasn't introduced us though. What's up with that? I wonder~I wonder~ Do you think that- mayyyyybbeeee she's really here with a boy she likes?"

Chibi-Usa was young, but not too young for a puppy love crush after all. Her eyes dart surreptitiously from one Senshi to another as she whispers conspiratorially, "If that's the case, isn't it our /duty/ as Guardians of ~Love~ to check up on them?"

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

Hikaru also has a ways to go before she's wearing a kimono as well and receiving one of those blessings as well. But because Fuu is here along with her sister, Hikaru has decided to tag along, because it sounds like it might be interesting to see this happening. Not to mention, things like this are more fun with a good friend!

Standing attentively, Hikaru tries to look polite and formal, although whether it's because of the ceremony or because of the presence of her friend is unknown. Regardless, a gentle smile is on her face and she stands looking quite ladylike, not saying much for the time being.

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

Chibi-Usa's compliment barely penetrates Hotaru's malaise, which means something must really be weird; it's the first time it hasn't been immediately, softly, genuinely returned. Normally she would have said something, blushingly, like 'I think you look really pretty in everything,' but it is not until the other girl's hand touches hers that she's jolted out of her reverie.

There's the blush. It's small, understated, just a single rose unfurling in either cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispers, hanging her head in a shamed little bow, "I wasn't listening... I was thinking."

Those big red eyes have a remarkable ability to tease words out of her, she's fast discovering, words she would otherwise be too afraid, too embarrassed, too miserable to say. Her own purple ones rise to meet them, and slowly they return to this beautiful blue planet, with its gorgeous pearl of a Moon.

She straightens again, relaxing inch by inch. Acceptance is the ultimate panacea.

"I just turned twelve the other day," she explains, haltingly. "And I was just thinking..."

She swallows, dry throat making an eleventh-hour play for disruption.

"...I'm just happy that it happened," she concludes, copping out with a half-truth. She was, indeed, amazed to have somehow made it to twelve.

She knows there's not a single chance she'll make it to twenty.

But she closes her eyes, veiling that cold truth in a smile made all the more real for it. And her hand squeezes back, gently but firmly.

"Just like I'm happy to be here with you today... it feels like a little miracle, that's all."

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

Takeo Akamizu is not one for going to these kinds of things, however has older cousin Jin Akamizu and himself have been thick as thieves since they were little.


Jin cackles asnTakeo and she run through the house, dropping smokebombs and stealing cookies that Aunties and Moma-san's are makings for a family gathering.


Takeo bows to Jin, as the two square off for a friendly sparing match at their dojo. Jin was a higher belt because she got to start before him. But Takeo wasn't gonna let her win. Besides, they had cookies to snag later after this, and he wanted this over quickly so they could get ot the cookie thievery ....


Jin ruffles Takeo's head. "You big idiot. There is no such thing as Cookie Bacon." Takeo sighs sadly. "But don't worry, I'm sure the Caffeteria has Regular cookies we can ...."

"Thieve like the cookie thieves we are?" Takeo asks with his voice only cracking once.

Jin grins maliciously. "I was going to say appropriate ... "


Takeo leans against the light pole and grins to Jin. "Awww. Look at you. All Grown up and off to bars." He scratches under his chin. "Do they have Baocn flavored drinks?" he grabs Jin y the front of her formal garb and brings his face close to hers, eyes wide in amazement. "You have to tell me if ther eis Baocn flavored Alchohol...."

Jin Akamizu laughs and ruffles Takeo's head, gently removing his hands from her clothing. "I am going to this ceramony. Then to a bar with my friends. I promise a full report Taks." She kisses his cheek and he blushes slightly. "Thank you. I promise not to tell anybody your secret Identiy of a Good and caring Cousin."

Takeo blushes and gives her a wink. "I don't think even Mai-chan would believe you."

The older girl cocks her head and a vicious grin seperates her face. "hohohoho, Who is Mai-Chan?"

Takeo blinks and his eyes go wide. "She makes good bacon?" As the words leave his mouth, he wonders if perhaps those were the wrong words to say as he watches his Cousin's face light up into a huge mischevious grin. "Let's get you to the festival huh?!"

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

It would be nice to have the view afforded by a corner on the Hikawa Shrine's porches, but Makoto is not about to begrudge sickly Hotaru or lonely Chibiusa this premium seating. Clad in the white haori and red hakama of a miko's outfit, she smiles politely but with a little strain as she tells eager above-twenties that the coupons are for the twenty-year-olds being celebrated and it wouldn't be fair to hand any out before they have a chance to get some. There's no getting around this point with Makoto; anyone who claims to actually be twenty is pointedly asked why they aren't in formal regalia and sitting down listening to the speech. To the actual-twenties who are coming in late, she happily gives out a coupon, and a compliment on how good they look in their outfit.

Being sensitive to storms for various reasons, she too blinks up at the sky as it darkens, independently from Grandpa Hino with his bureaucratic companion. This allows her to miss Usagi handing out a bar coupon to a /child/ (Usagi, no), though she blinks down at the suggestion that they all check up on Chibiusa and her 'boyyyyfriiieeennnd' as guardians of love. Makoto, diligent and honest as she is, didn't come here because she was truly raring to hand out bar coupons all afternoon, and she grins.

"She *is* a kid, after all," she says. "It would be bad if we didn't look in on her!"

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Minako Aino waits with her basket full of coupons for the end of the speech. She had been shanghai'd to give out coupons to the upcoming twenty-year-olds. That time had not come yet, so she waits. Her eyes are closed as she listens to the commencement speech by Hasanori.

Okay, 'listen' is too strong a word. Mostly keeping a ear out for the actual end of the speech so that she can prepare herself for the onslaught of people swarming her for her coupons.

When the speech /ends/, however, Minako's eyes open like she was activated, and hands out coupons quickly and rapidly. A simple greeting, a handing of a coupon, and a farewell happens over and over again.

Though when Usagi calls her together with the others, she comes quickly, dashing over with a brief glimpse of her hair. "She's here with a friend?" Minako coos. "Aw, that's adorable. Of course we have to check in on her. It's what cousins are for, right?" Minako does know Chibi-Usa is Usagi's rather new 'cousin', of course. But the child deserves love, just like everyone else! "We have to do what we can to help her out." She nods.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Nori Ankou is lingering on the outer fringes of the ceremony. She is, of course, not participating - several years yet. She is in the shade of a tree, a small cloth bag set near her feet. She has a spread of slim red envelopes in her hand, each with a small congratulations and (of course) a coupon for AkaMira (or, if you turn it around, Aohime). As adults, the discount is less impressive, but business is business.

She is wearing a reasonably comfortable kimono that has an abstract, eye-and-trefoil embroided pattern along cloth that is a tentative green, as if to promise the coming of spring. Her hair has been pinned up as well. Her makeup is modest and on point, her lips struggling to not press together in a smile as she looks on at the ceremony, or back over towards--

Well, she saw Usagi standing there but now everyone else is huddling up. That's fine, Nori thinks to herself. It's fine.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQSHcl6TJb4&list=PLKDOdCjxOjzIFucHobwJpSK4-vAVXST90

Rei Hino stands at the ready with a white basket hanging lightly at her hand. Beneath her breath she gives thanks for the still winds, and a prayer that they stay that way. Scrambling after evacuating vouchers in front of a whole host of fresh pressed adults would not particularly help the dignity of the day, to say nothing of the jackals carefully watching for any strays to wander off from the pack..bar coupons are as in demand as one might expect, and she's already had to swat away a few particularly adventurous hands that thought too little of her mindfulness.

But all in all she stands with comfort and ease. Her robes feel as natural upon her as her school uniform, perhaps even more. In every sense of the word, she's at home here, and at peace. Phobos and Deimos preen their feathers from atop the shrine, earning a few sidelong glances from those less familiar with the Shrine, but little notice from the more regular pilgrims.

Closing her eyes, she allows herself a small little smile. Some of the melancholy she felt on the bus ride from Hokkaido has faded, and though some lingers yet, she feels more at ease. It helps to be among friends, as always.

She notices Chibi-Usa and her companion come down to sit on some of the same porches she's grown up perched upon and crawling along, and waves a hand to greet them from across the grounds. Their distinctive appearances are easy to note even in this sea, and peoples' presence in the off limits area is as noticeable as ripples along the surface of a pond.

She looks to her friends and that small smile grew, finding amongst them a serenity and kinship that has grown irreplaceable in her heart. She owes her life to Ami, to Minako, to Makoto, and of course to Usagi..and each and every one of them has a room in the house of her heart, a contour in the dancing fire of her spirit. She is consumed with gratitude for all the circumstances that led them to this moment, and all the moments yet to come..

Well...maybe not /all/ the moments...

~~BGM CHANGE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmuYSU0ghKU EGNAHC MGB~~

Her face turns as red as the slips in her basket on its way to a deeper purple still at Usagi's utterly blithe request and the almost bare basket jittering beneath her like an orphan's empty soup bowl from a Charles Dickens novel. She hisses, nonplussed.

"You /what?!/ Usagiiii...."

A vein bulges in her forehead, and she closes her eyes, feeling a headache coming on and steam coming out of her ears..but not before she pulls her own basket closer to her. "How can you be almost out?! You're not supposed to have given /any/ of them out yet! They're for after the ceremony, and only for the newly of age! Were you even listening when Grandpa explained all this?! If you want more then you're gonna have to ask him, because if I give you any then I'm gonna have to watch you like a hawk..or like a..."

~~BGM CHANGE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtdPSwYaquo&list=RDvtdPSwYaquo EGNAHC MGB~~

A thoughtful look crosses her face, and a smirk expands to fill up the vacuum left by her slack-jawed astonishment and anger. Whistling towards the arch of the shrine, Phobos and Deimos flap down to alight on her shoulders. Feeding each a sunflower seed produced from her volumnious robes, she points Usagi with a fistful of coupons in her hand.

"Make sure she only gives these to the new adults!"

Phobos' quorks sound almost like laughter, as Deimos plucks one of the coupons from Rei's grip to place in Usagi's basket, both birds realigning from Rei's shoulders to Usagi's. For her part the shrine maiden wears a smug grin on her face, finding no small shred of satisfaction in how this has developed, and glances to Makoto and Minako to see if they share her amusement.

As for Chibi-Usa..she thinks for a long moment, and offers a slight nod of assent. "If we're going to do that, then we should do it quickly, before the ceremony ends, or after we've performed our duties. Remember, we're not on our own time just yet!"

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

With a glance at the sign of white-and-red motion, Chibi-Usa waves back at Rei. She smiles, and then goes back to her conversation.

Chibi-Usa can tell that there's something going on with Hotaru, all the more from her distraction. She's picked up on a few cues about her... And so she doesn't stop at the blush, doesn't stop at the apology. Instead, the younger girl looks /more/ concerned at the way the older whispers that she's sorry, and nods slightly when Hoaru says that she was thinking.

The question is obvious this time; what about? Even if it weren't something troubling her, Chibi-Usa would want to know. So rather than looking up at the sky or the ground or the moon, she keeps her focus on Hotaru, silently present, staring into a purple something far away that she doesn't want to break from. Whatever it is, and whatever is on Hotaru's mind, she wants to know.

But it surprises her, her eyes widening, when Hotaru talks about what must have been her birthday. Still she listens though rather than moving on that subject immediately. Besides...

There's something sad in what Hotaru's words imply, something Chibi-Usa immediately grasps, in part if not in full. Chibi-Usa's lips press together, and her feeling for Hotaru right then is written on her face.

She just happens to smile too, when Hotaru squeezes her hand and talks about a little miracle. She bites her lip, and then nods firmly. "That means your birthday is extra-special! We should celebrate it!"

Maybe there are some things she doesn't entirely get about it... Or maybe not.

"I'm really happy to be here with you, too. I never thought..." She pauses, and shakes her head. "I'm happy. And... And there's no need to apologize about thinking."

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

Saki Hyuuga does not know any fresh twenty-year-olds of any variety. Her sister is barely ten, she's...well a bit into fifteen, anyway. Mai is a shining perfect idol whose age has no bearing on anything. And Kazuya's, what, eighteen or something.

Saki's here at the request of her friend Kayo, who was asked to come by a young boy she mentors at the library, because of reasons Saki didn't wait long enough to hear because Saki Hyuuga is always elated to help somebody.

The thrust is that Saki is here, off to one side for the moment, and she is staring into space because she is imagining Kazuya Mishou in one of those suits.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Cheering done, a particular person in the crowd catches Kasagami's attention. There's only a few young men as Ohtori that Kasagami Araki actually finds likeable, and Takeo is very much in that category. It helps that he's a fellow in the grand affair of cutting that is the Student Council.

The Disciplinary Executive has yet to feel anything other than grand dislike for, or competitive respect for her fellow members of that most illustrious student body. Thus it is that with one last slurp of shave ice down knife-to-throat, she gently tosses the cup over her shoulder. It rolls the rim of a convenient trash can, and then Kasagami has one hand on her hip while the other flicks her silverware up and into the air, then catches it over and over. A genuine smile towards Takeo, and then, his cousin.

"Takeo! Who's this interesting person? I take it you're about to reap the rewards of adulthood? I'm a bit jealous. I really am. So much freedom...ah, well, I guess I should enjoy the freedom to be a young idiot. Being able to make mistakes really is precious." Muses Kasagami, arms folding as she makes a dramatic pose, leaning back just a bit with one foot in front of the other.

"But where are my manners? Kasagami Araki, Student Council Disciplinary Executive. A pleasure." She offers a bow, respectful to Jin.

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

It still feels rude to talk during the speech, but Fuu does lean over just a little to stage-whisper to Hikaru, "Didn't you tell me that you had several older brothers, Hikaru-san? Are none of them old enough to attend Coming-of-Age yet?" She glances at her mother (whom she's leaning in front of), and at Kuu (on the other side), but neither of them seem to be taking exception to Fuu making a bit of conversation at this point.

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

"Okay, Chibi-Usa-chan."

Hotaru's smile may be a tiny one -- but it is a memorable one. She squeezes their hands again, placing her other hand on top of their already-woven fingers.

Her eyes follow Chibi-Usa's wave over to the cluster of shrine maidens, and they might get a glimpse of her face -- very pale, shrouded in a soft dark bob, striking ultraviolet eyes -- before she turns back to gaze at her friend directly, and that bob falls forward again like a privacy curtain.

"Are those your friends?" she wonders aloud, deftly evading any further discussion of her birthday, which she finds kind of embarrassing. It's why she didn't bring it up in the first place -- it felt selfish, when they were busy celebrating Hokkaido, and now that it's over, it's over, right?

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

Takeo blinks as Kasagami enters the scene, and stops Jin from speaking more on the Mai subject. Or he tries, because Jin puts a finger to his lips and leans forward toward Kasagami. "Why Helllllllooooooo. I am Jin Akamizu. Are youn perhaps this Mai-chaaaaan That my dear little Cousin Takeo-chan has been speaking so much about?" She appraises Kasagami quickly and waggles her eyebrows. She looks to Takeo and nods approvingly. "She's hot Takeo-chan." She jerks a thumb toward Takeo while looking at Kasagami. "He says you're REALLY good at cooking Bacon. For breaaaakfast ~?"

Takeo flushes a deep color of red that one can only find in a color wheel. He tries to speak, but can only stammer incoherently. To which he stares in absolute horror and shock, as Jin produces a cookie and puts it in his mouth to keep him form speaking. "Now Takeo-chan, Mai and I are speaking ... "

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

As the speech drags on, threatening to become a lecture in the same way that those clouds are threatening to become a problem, Grandpa taps his big toe on the sole of his sandals. It is a silent gesture with deadly intent.

"CONGRATULATIONS!!" he bellows, cutting Hasanori-san off mid-sentence, and the crowd roars it back in response, thus concluding the ceremony. Orderly lines quickly become a happy jumble of young adults exchanging further gifts and gratitudes with one another and those who've come to see them. Hasanori himself had purpled at Kasagami's heckling, taking it as pretty much the ultimate act of disrespect, and from his expression, which is blackly avoiding even looking at her, she can safely count that as one prefectural office that will never, ever hire her as long as she lives.

Grandpa's wrangled volunteers are likely to be enthusiastically mobbed by a group of well-dressed duogenerians who haven't yet gotten their due rewards. More than a few older-than-twenties are still trying to cadge one as well, sensing that their odds have gone up now that the coupons are actually /supposed/ to be distributed. Who's going to card them today? (This may not be a rhetorical question...)

The joviality may get cut short by the weather, though. The priest's instincts were good, because the very unseasonal thunderstorm coming announces itself with an eye-searing blast of lightning across the sky, almost directly over head... and then a shuddering, rolling basso of thunder that is bone-vibrating in its decibel.

It's surprising to many -- there are a lot of screams, and then a certain awkward laughter, because it's Coming of Age day and shouldn't they all be adults here? But that kind of primal terror knows no age limit, and when the lightning and thunder redouble only heartbeats later, even closer, it sends the crowds scattering for cover. There's not much to be had at the shrine itself, so the flow of humanity mostly pours down the stairs towards the building-dense streets below.



BGM Swap: Black Moon Plotting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZe_Lx29LA8

"You really think this will work?"

"Tch. You sound skeptical, my dearest Petz. Are you not the eldest of your siblings, the greatest, the most powerful?"

"I just find it hard to believe that the Rabbit will reveal herself over a little bit of thunder, Rubeus."

There's a pause.

"...Lord Rubeus."

"That's better. And yes, I do -- you may think of her as a target, as a coward, even as cunning if you like, given that she's evaded us until now -- but I know better. Yes... before she's anything else, the Rabbit is just a frightened little girl."

Petz gestures a third time, sending yet another wave of lightning across Tokyo.

"Whatever you say."

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

Usagi cringes as Rei calls attention to the fact that she hasn't been paying attention, holding her basket up as a shield. Until after Rei tells her what's wrong, and she flaps a hand her way in a conciliatory manner, "Hey- hey it's okay! Even if they got handed out a little ahead of schedule they still got /mostly/ to the right people, right?"

The word mostly may make things worse.

But then Rei summons Phobos and Deimos with her mystical powers- or simply the fact that they've bonded and consider Rei their human, but Usagi thinks it has to be ~magical~ "Hey you two- wait what!? Rei-chan! I don't need a supervisor!" Her shoulders hunch up as she gives Phobos a dour look at their laughter. While Deimos in turn plucks a coupon and inserts it into her basket while she just keeps looking at Rei's smug grin.

Even if it they were /birds/ it still felt like they were triple teaming her to make her the butt of a joke. Or at least double teaming her. Two birds count as a person right?

Suddenly her spine stiffens in indignation, chin lifting up, "I /see/ how it is! Well if you're going to be mean like that Rei-chan then I'm not going to take it lying down. I'll /show/ you how responsible I can be. I'll be so responsible that the only thing you'll be doing is apologizing."

PREDICTION: She'll forget herself and will be handing out a coupon to Nori at some point in the future. After all she's a model, she doesn't follow normal people rules.

"Just have your crows stick to me like-" Oh no. Between Chat Noir and Minako Aino, simultaneously the worst and best of influences, they can all see it coming- like a disaster in slow motion, "-velcrows and you'll see."

She looks so proud of herself as she gives Minako a look. Before nodding to the other two, ignoring Rei's talk about doing their /duty/. Immediately disproving that she can handle responsibility. She nods quickly at Makoto and Minako, "Right? Right? Let's go look for her! Do you think we should split up?" She offers to them both, still pointedly ignoring Rei's talk, "We can cover more ground that way and just text each other if someone finds them."

She's completely not been listening to the speech- and has missed the swiftly darkening sky. Or at least she did, until- there's a flash of light, and the roar of thunder, that immediately shakes her. WIth a shriek that's half a squeal, she puts her hands over her ears, the voluminous sleeves of her haori tricking her as she nearly drops her basket, but instead thumps the side of her face with it.

Blinking her eyes with this shiver, she looks to the other three, suddenly anxious. It's not that she suspects there's a dark plot in progress. Indeed, even if the air was so thick with dark energy that it was unmistakable to all Magical Girls, 50/50 odds that she'd miss that entirely. Instead- suddenly she sounds a bit more urgent, "Hey- let's go find her quickly alright?"

Instead it's because she's lived in a household with this girl for a few months. And she remembers her fear the last time the sky was split by lightning.

What will it be like for her here, out in the open?

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

That pointed avoidance. That purpling. Kasagami doesn't have that same restraint to /not/ look. No, she follows the man with her gaze like a hawk until he's off. Truly, this is a political rivalry in the making, should the arrogant swordswoman survive that long to reach such heights.


There's things far more distracting afoot. Namely, Jin. Kasagami finds herself caught utterly flat footed by the older woman. Her heart quite literally skips a beat, and her ears are the kind of burning red one really shouldn't find in this weather. A breathing technique comes to her just in time, and it's the smoke of chill that she breathes out just in time to gather up the slightly cracked pieces of her dignity.

"....I'm honored, beyond my worth, Akamizu-san. Can I can you Jin-chan? Bacon, is it!? Never underestimate the abilities of those on the Student Council! I'll cook you bacon any day that you would desire, Jin-chan!" Comes Kassie, taking one step forward. Then, suddenly, she's reaching to put an arm around Takeo's shoulders. Leeean. Whisper. Whiiisper!

This is totaly Mai-chan, and definitely a whisper of high school love, Jin!

"...Hey. Takeo. You've been holding back on me. If you have any other relatives this amazing and you haven't told me, I /swear/!" Her threat is, thankfully, playful and full of elbow nudging of the guy with a wide grin.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Chibiusa's companion looks over towards Makoto and her friends for a moment, and in that moment, Makoto catches a glimpse of a tiny pale face with wide, wide amethyst eyes. If that's a boy, that is the /prettiest/ boy she has ever seen. However, when Rei goes apoplectic red at Usagi's coupon situation, Makoto is thoroughly distracted, seeing first Usagi's basket and then heaving a sigh. There's no defense for you here, Usagi. Rei's right to be mad.

Is she right to make a pair of crows Usagi's supervisors, though? Makoto chokes, possibly holding back a laugh, and says, "Now, now, isn't that going a little *too* far, Rei-chan?" Judging by the twinkle in her eye, though, one can't say she's really *disapproving*, though.

"You kind of do. Sorry, Usagi-chan," Makoto says to Usagi when she protests. The 'velcrows' pun gets a loud and heartfelt groan, the prize of many a punster. Meanwhile, Rei says that if they're going to look for Chibiusa, they'd better do it before the speech is over or else after their duties, and she nods. "Better do it right now, the--"

But then Grandpa roars CONGRATULATIONS, and the crowd roars it back, and Makoto grimaces; looks like they're out of time. But on the heels of that festivity is the roar of thunder and lightning, and she jerks her head up towards the sky, expression suddenly dead serious. "Right! No need to split up, though. I saw her over on the shrine. Let's check there first!" And, whether anyone agrees with her, Makoto's off like a shot towards the Hikawa Shrine, where she last spotted Chibiusa and Hotaru.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

"Yay!" Chibi-Usa answers Hotaru, with her hand inhers. She's wearing gloves against the cold of course, but that doesn't make it seem any less warm. She hasn't forgotten the way Hotaru said what she did, of course, but for a moment she just looks happy.

Chibi-Usa would've mentioned more about Hotaru's birthday, but the other girl brought up the shrine maidens. Well, the shrine maiden and the temps. "Mm," Chibi-Usa hedges, "I... think so. They're really nice."

Chibi-Usa is watching the crowds again as Grandpa Hino congratulates them suddenly, her eyes again on beautiful kimono and sharp suits and mature people. It feels a little cold, but she stubbornly ignores it except to shift a little closer to her friend beside her. She doesn't quite lean on Hotaru, but it's not that far, either. Its been a lot of fun so far.

But less fun is the darkening of the clouds overhead, which has gotten a couple of nervous looks from the pink-haired girl. Nevertheless, it catches her completely by surprise when lightning cuts jagged through the sky as close as can be. "Aaaah!"

Chibi-Usa's shoulders ink and she covers her ears, shaking through the rolling thunder. She looks arond, red eyes wide as she look back and forth quickly, scooting towards the wall under the awning, reaching out a hand to try to get the door to open. Hotaru can easily see the fear in Chibi-Usa's eyes, if she looks... And she doesn't look any less afraid when she squeezes her eyes shut. "C-come on...! Open!" Chibi-Usa says to the door, stil shaking from the thunder.

When the thunder shudders through the air again a moment later, Chibi-Usa shrieks and starts cowering against the shrine, breathing fast and already turning to sniffling. As people flee, another shock of thunder crashes through the pink-haired girl's bones and brings with it a jump of her shoulders and a sob.

Hotaru will be able to feel it first, a sudden warmth strange for the season and for the weather. But it's strange, piercing somehow, and the feeling that comes with it is almost as if time slows down... or maybe as if everything is brighter. It /is/ brighter immediately, as a ray of light crashes down to Chibi-Usa's forehead, a golden crescent moon appearing there as the light rushes all around her in a column that passes through the wall beside her and the wood above them. It erupts into the sky, visible for miles by anyone who happens to look in this direction at all.

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

With a giant grin, Jin nods to Kasagami. "You certainly may Mai-chan." She looks to Takeo and mouths the words, "Breakfast? You //cad//!" Then she smiels back to Kasagami. "Please excuse me, I must go get some Coupons and find my friends. Soooo much fun to be had tonight." She turns to Takeo and gives him a wink. "Maybe I'll find breakfast too!" And with that, she dissapears amongs the crowds of her fellow twenty year olds.

Takeo stares forward open mouthed and in absolute terror. He slowly turns to look at Kasagami and blinks furiously, his face complete a new shade of red. He is pretty sure hsi ears just might be on fire. He tries to speak and a low "eeeee" comes out of his mouth before he clears his throat. Then he speaks in a terrafied tone. "Ka-Kas-Kasagami-san. Please ... Forget anything you heard my insane cousin say.... Please...."

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

Hotaru is, on some level, always afraid. Fear is one of her most constant companions, even if Chibi-Usa has lately been trying to transform that duo into a trio. But she's not afraid of thunder, or lightning; she startles at the sound, as anyone would, but it's Chibi-Usa's terror that infects her in turn. Her eyes water and her heart pounds and she has no idea what to do, none, to soothe her friend's suffering.

But though she's slow to react -- not least because she has to somehow catch her breath, her blood pumping a whole lot faster than it's supposed to -- the conclusion that she comes to is a sound one: she staggers to her feet, stocking feet slipping on the smooth porch floor, then hurries to her side at the door. While Chibi-Usa cowers, she tries the door too, but it's to no avail.

And then she feels something strange in her heart, something else besides fear.

In fact, she feels three somethings -- a pang of recognition, a pang of hunger, and a pang of awe. The light banishes her breathlessness, filling her with strength she hasn't felt since... memories too old and faded to be more than the idea of a memory, brought on by books and movies and stories of what childhood is supposed to be like.

After a moan of disorientation, she responds only to the final urge, forcing herself into motion, emotion her engine.

"I-it's okay," she croons. Shrugging out of her coat (an easy feat, it's so large), she wraps it around Chibi-Usa's shoulders, then holds her so close that it's swathed around both of them. "I'm with you, Chibi-Usa-chan. I'm here."

Hotaru repeats that, softly but urgently, over and over, and wonders if this is what it's what it's like to deal with her when she has a seizure, adding a pang of empathy to everything else swirling inside her. She doesn't notice the way that the column of light both engulfs her and is engulfed by her, passing endlessly through her and into her, highlighting her eyelashes and her fingernails, the edges of herself, as though they're about to become light as well, to just melt away.

"You're so warm," is all she says. "Chibi-Usa-chan..."

She holds the smaller girl all the more fiercely, curling around her protectively.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Nori looks on with approval to the two crows near Usagi, although she's far enough away that she didn't hear that friendship-ending pun.

And then comes the cheering. Nori shifts her bag around so she can easily grab out more envelopes, turning to brace themselves-- before lightning crashes! The stormy weather is slightly thrilling to her, even if it also stings her ears.

But then the crowd is moving forwards and they are NOT, it would seem, pausing to be greeted in a mysterious way. There are a few furtive attempts by Nori to shove red envelopes into people's pockets, pocketbooks, books, and other places where you can stuff a piece of fine paper, but it becomes clear soon enough that this is probably a losing cause.

Nori then sees a massive burst of light. This makes her head turn towards the direction of Chibi-Usa-- not that she can spot her at this distance -- and with that, and a silent apology to Tsuru in her mind, she scoops up her bag and moves towards that glow. Did a cute little animal head just peek out of that bag?

Nah, must be the light.

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Rei's retort that they shouldn't give out coupons yet kind of sours Minako. She gives a sheepish grin and hides her own (partially emptied) basket behind her back, and scoots in order to block Rei from seeing Minako's area. Nope, she never gave out tickets, no ma'am.

If Minako could will it into existence, she'd make a little halo above her head. Instead, she has to settle for the goofy look on her face. And said goofy grin gets even wider when Usagi says 'velcrows', a mixture of mirth and adoration comes through on Minako's face.

Like Usagi, Minako hadn't been listening to the speech. nd it's only when lightning strikes that she comes back to reality, the jolt and rumbling causing Minako to jump suddenly. She looks up into the sky for a few moments, only brought down when Usagi's urgent tone sounds forth, and Minako nods, reflecting Usagi's urgency.

Of course, everything becomes even more urgent when the sky erupts with a column of light, attracting Minako's sight.

"I think we should move faster." And she follows Makoto as she moves towards the source of the light.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://hyperduck.bandcamp.com/track/welcome-to-nuluup-city

Rei's smirk only grows bolder over Usagi's challenging protests, and if she had "We'll see about that" tattooed on her forehead then it wouldn't make that message /that/ much more explicit. But while she won't stop enjoying the moment, she's hardly inclined to get in the way of the four or five minutes of seriousness Usagi will manage to muster, and her guardians will take over just fine after that. And that absurd pun of hers gets a choked laugh out of her, even if it comes with a rueful shake of her head.

Flashing a wink to Makoto, she theatrically shrugs without ruffling her cocky grin. "I gave her more coupons, after all! Let no woman say I'm not reasonable.." Of course, Usagi is such an effective distraction that Rei doesn't notice Minako's own depleted supply, even as she casts a "get a load of this" sort of look her way.

She stifles a chuckle as her grandfather ends a speech that's clearly not yet finished, handing out her wares with dilligence and kindness, but is soon clucking in dismay at the sudden storm in all its intensity. Moments before any of the signs that a human might recognize, Phobos and Deimos started clucking in their own way, shooting into the covered temple rafters like black missles.

Sighing to herself, she's set to hurry off to shelter, more concerned about her cell phone than anything else, when she caught Usagi's worried look. Silliness and frustration aside, when Usagi gets serious it's always the lead to follow. She nods, and whatever she has to say is drowned out by an explosive thundercrack, a queasy feeling spreading in her gut like an ink stain.

Scanning the crowd in all its chaotic rhythms, she attempts to spot Chibi-usa, but it's too hard to spot the little lass in the teeming mass. Until, suddenly, it isn't hard to spot her at all..and her unsettled sentiment deepens to a darker hue. She follows after her friends with a fresh wellspring of urgency.

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

While it might not be polite, Fuu does do a quick stage-whisper to Hikaru, even though they're technically not on stage, but it really doesn't matter. The point is Hikaru gets the message, and she stage-whispers back to Fuu, "Not quite yet, Fuu-chan. They're almost there, though."

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

The abrupt bellow of 'CONGRATULATIONS!!' and the even louder reply catch Fuu by surprise, twice in rapid succession. Fortunately she maintains the bulk of her composure - and with the orderly lines giving way to a happy hubbub of intermingling, Fuu is able to relax from the polite stance she's been endeavoring to hold. Her parents and Kuu certainly don't seem to mind; they're wading into the morass to mingle and to seek out familiar faces.

Not that Fuu needs to go looking for anyone; as long as she can catch up with her family before they head home - and on that note, she double-checks her clutch purse; yes, it's there, and yes, her phone is still safely ensconced within it. Maybe turning the sound back on isn't a bad idea.

She's reaching into her purse to do that when lightning flashes and thunder crashes, both seeming directly overhead. Fuu isn't quite so terrified of thunder as some girls, but it's still enough to send *her* scurrying for any convenient semblance of shelter, tugging Hikaru along so as to keep close to at least *one* familiar face. "That's probably why the head priest-san interrupted Hasanori-san," she speculates, "expecting the weather to turn ..."

Okay, there's probably one other reason to stick close to Hikaru. The knot in her gut has very little to do with how badly the lightning surprised her - and much more to do with a certain tension in the air itself, the herald of something dark, evil, bending the weather to its will. She's looking around to try and figure out where the threat might be coming from when she spots that pillar of light.

She's actively watching that pillar of light when the next crash of thunder resounds, as if something were tearing the sky itself asunder. No significant change in the light, and the lightning doesn't seem to be coming from that pillar, so ... if there's a connection, it's not cause-and-effect, at least not in THAT direction. Fuu turns her attention back to searching for a semblance of cover, possibly huddling up against a tree - and as she's turning her phone off, she also retrieves her glove-jewel from where she'd secreted it inside her purse. She knows now she's going to need it.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Gulp. Kasagami manages a smile, easing into a wide grin. "...Go enjoy yourself, Jin-chan." A single-eyed gaze behind her as the woman goes off. Another chill-smokey breath. And then all attention is on Takeo.

She'll try to slap him on the back. "Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again despite no results. You're fine though. I'll keep your little secret of this 'Mai-chan' to myself. Knock yourself out. You're a good guy, Takeo. If you need someone to get you restaurant tickets...well. As long as your passion burns greater than any sun, you know who to turn to." A thumbs up, and a Student Council white-toothed grin.

The thunderbolt actually went unnoticed, but the crowds dispersing and the column of light don't. One eye narrows. Kasagami steps forward...and falls to a knee. Half of her body burns for just a moment, and then she pushes herself with a pained grunt of effort. All of her warmth and good cheer has melted down to a slow, simmering suspicion. Something feels wrong. Her hand grasps that butter knife like the hilt of a sword, and boots thud heavily as she walks towards that column of light.

"Takeo. Make sure your cousin is safe."

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

The bellowing of 'CONGRATULATIONS!!' and then the louder reply, happening not once but twice, is a bit of enough to startle Hikaru as well. Fortunately, she maintains her composure, although a sweatdrop does form on her head if one looks closely enough. Nevertheless, she goes at ease and smiles gently at everyone, glad things are finished and she can relax.

OK, maybe not relax just yet...

There's a rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning (OK, reverse the two, but you get the idea!) Suddenly, Hikaru finds herself being tugged by Fuu towards shelter, and she finds herself breaking free but running along with Fuu all the same, knowing that being out in a thunderstorm is a very bad idea. Of course, something within Hikaru tells her that this isn't just a thunderstorm they're about to encounter.

They finally find some kind of cover, and whether it's a tree or not doesn't matter, since Hikaru's taking care of things like Fuu is. Reaching into her pocket, Hikaru pulls out her glove-jewel and prepares to slip it on. "Just another day, I suppose!" Hikaru mutters.

<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Four Phantom Sisters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANEOwTNHbYo

The lightning storm continues to rage, but there's no rain at all. And though each electric blast is searingly bright, they are paradoxically also sickeningly black. This is especially easy to notice when a super-sized bolt slams down from heaven to Earth, and when the smoke from the scorched cobblestones clear, it resolves into a woman.

She is very tall even before considering her three-inch stiletto-heeled boots. Her rather buff shoulders are adorned with black feathers, while her tunic, which matches her forest green hair, is adorned with gold and emeralds. They aren't quite as impressive, or as ominous, as the reversed crescent moon on her forehead, black as pitch, and in every respect the opposite of the one surmounting Chibi-Usa's brow.

Seeing it -- seeing them, the two girls on the porch at the heart of the light -- the woman locks eyes with Chibi-Usa, over Hotaru's shoulder. A moment of total understanding passes between them:

She knows who Chibi-Usa is.

She's here to kill her.

The fact that there's a second little girl in between them is wholly immaterial to this goal.

And now events proceed in discrete moments--

Her leather-gloved hand, outstretched --

-- another bolt of black lightning, nascent for a charging heartbeat --

-- and then it thunders across the intervening space --

-- the shortest distance between two points is that straight line.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou transforms into Petz's Taiko Terror!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

It might seem that Chibi-Usa doesn't recognize anything that Hotaru does in the moment. But she notices Hotaru trying the door too, despairs harder as neither of them can get it open. Hotaru is there at her side, though. There's more she doesn't see, like she can't even spot the light, but there are words...

Chibi-Usa sobs harder, but when Hotaru pulls her closer the younger girl clings onto her in terror. "Y-Y--" She can't get it out, just crying harder.

She's warm...?

Each new blast of lightning sends a harsh, jerky shiver through her entire sall body, all the easier to feel for the friend curled around her. Her throat hurts; her body hurts. The symbol on her forehead keeps glowing, and she squeezes her eyes shut against the lightning that seems so much louder than it has to be while outside. But she can't keep them closed; her fear doesn't allow that kind of escape tis time. ...Besides, she smells the smoke, and there's a horrible pit in her stomach as she sees.

Her eyes are still filled with tears, red in more than just the iris, as Chibi-Usa stares at that reversed crescent moon. "N-No..." It might sound strange to Hotaru... Or not.

She locks eyes with this woman of the Black Moon, held by Hotaru, and Chibi-Usa understands immediately the reality of her next few moments. She has almost no time to think about it...

She has no time at all.

"Hotaru, NO!"

Rearing back with small arms that are nonetheless strong with need, Chibi-Usa lets her elbows hit the porch and /shoves/ Hotaru off of her, out of the way of the coming blast, leaving Chibi-Usa half-sitting up and staring at the lightning that is about to end her short life.

Her arms in front of her are a futile effort, but at least she can't see it with her eyes squeezed shut after all.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on Chibi-Usa Tsukino.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

It's a simple matter to know when she's gone just a little too far when she's earned Makoto Kino's disapproval. Only the mildest defense thrown her way and- 'You kinda do.' She wobbles suddenly, despair lines writ above her head, "Mako-chan, even you?"

Well at least Minako smiled at her pun- that brings her out of it. It shows she was getting better at them if Minako liked it!

Whereas Rei just gets another glower at saying she's reasonable. Getting a simple mutter that she's mean.

There's something in the air that rings with familiarity. She feels it, but doesn't comprehend the feeling- it's like a sense of Deja Vu perhaps. Just moments before a ray of light crashes down from the sky to engulf a spot in the courtyard. That's when she realizes what it is. "Oh no-"

The crowds are already screaming, and the threat of being trampled is high. And she's just a shrimp of a girl trying to push her way through the crowd. "Hey lemme through! Lemme through! CHIBI-USA!" She calls out, but above the din of the crowd it probably isn't heard. She brushes past a few million yen worth of furisode sleeves and suit lapels, neither the people they belong to or her taking them with respect anymore. Her basket of coupons is knocked out of her hands as she stumbles and nearly trips over her long red skirts and it falls onto the ground, forgotten.

Grabbing at the hem of her skirts, she starts pushing, and making some headway. She can almost make out the shape of a dark haired girl, curled protectively over tearful, tremulous Chibi-Usa. Just a thin wisp shrouded in Chibi-Usa's flare up of power- like some shade that's barely maintaining some grasp on reality all for the sake of the girl in her arms.

That's the first impression she has of Hotaru Tomoe.

But there's another woman silhouetted in the light. Tall and menacing, towering over the pair of tiny girls- a black crescent on her forehead. She might have screamed at the reality that only sees the two of them dying- but instead-

"Moon Cosmic Power - Make Up!"

She screams her denial of that reality quite clearly. There's a pink flash that in no way eclipses Chibi-Usa's light, a flash of ribbons which are still forming her Fuku as she desperately leaps, mid-transformation into a Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice.

On any other day, she'd call the girl in pink hair a selfish, annoying brat. It's easy to forget that impression now entirely. Too easy, with how she shoves the other girl for the sake of protecting her.

And perhaps a desire to protect that selfless, courageous girl in the midst of that act is what gives her the wings to make it in time. The Spiral Heart Moon Rod is such a slim aegis, but it's all she has as her moon boots clamp down and she swivels to interpose it between the Black Moon bruiser and the girl pink-

And she momentarily vanishes in a flare of Dark Lightning coruscating over her.

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon covers Chibi-Usa Tsukino for Utena Tenjou's attack, Dark Thunder!, taking it upon themselves instead!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 15 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Had the storm approached more slowly, Rei might have had the moment she needed to properly parse the ill humor in her stomach for what it is. Neither indigestion nor instinctive fear of terrible storms..Rei was responding to the vile pedigree of the thunder's snarls, an unnatural evil permeating an attack marauding as unkind weather. But it came all too suddenly, and her psychic attenuation, in this incidence, was utterly impotent as a warning system.

The tall woman's manifestation says it all, of course. Though she cannot yet see the black moon emblazoned on her brow, there is little question of her malevolent intent. So this is an ambush of some sorts, or a trap that has somehow been sprung..Rei does not concern herself with such thoughts, not yet. Evil has revealed itself, and she will see it purged.

There's no time to duck away to transform more surreptitiously, and when Usagi assumes her rod and raiment in the open air of the still crowded shrine, the die is cast.

"Mars Cosmic Power - Make Up!

Her anger, already stoked, burns brighter and bolder with every ringing step her long stemmed heels crack out of the ground underfoot. Leaping forward to close the last of the distance, she lands beside Sailor Moon just after her comrade takes the blow meant as a killing stroke against a defenseless guest of the sanctuary she calls home.

<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Grandpa *was* really clear about who was supposed to get these coupons, after all," Makoto says Usagi, somewhere between stern and apologetic, which completely undercuts both sentiments. "You can't just give them out to anybody who asks!" And several people who *don't* ask, ahem ahem. But that's neither here nor there once the lightning hits--black lightning, preceding a woman in green with a black crescent on her forehead, as a column of light explodes from the spot where Makoto last saw Chibiusa...

Speed is not Makoto's forte, but with her long legs, generally speaking she can outpace Usagi. That's not the case in times like this, where Usagi plunges into the crowd, transforming in a sea of panicked limbs, and LEAPS out in front of Chibiusa, taking the blast of black lightning for her and her friend. With an example like that to follow, there's no way Makoto won't do the same. She grabs her Star Power pen from her sleeve, eyes narrowing as she too barrels through the crowds, people far too packed and panicked to possibly pay attention to the people they pass by--so much the better.

"Jupiter Star Power, Make Up!!"

In a flash of less ominous lightning, Sailor Jupiter leaps from the crowd, emerging alongside Sailor Mars to land near Sailor Moon and the girls she protects, green eyes narrowed dangerously at Petz.

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Minako Aino runs as fast as she can towards the light, pushing her way through the panicked crowd. She only stops when she sees the sudden new woman, pointing her fingers at Chibi-Usa. Minako's eyes glance over Petz' black moon on her head, and Minako's face goes grim for just a moment. The Black Moon is back, it seems.

Minako goes into action instantly, pulling her transformation pen out and pointing it into the sky.

"Venus Star Power - Make Up!"

A bright flash of orange and light surrounds her, and what emerges is Sailor Venus, Guardian of Love and Beauty. She skids to a halt with her friends and comrades, standing proud and poised.

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

"Today is a holy day, and now is a holy ritual, and here you are, profaning a holy site with your rancid intent! And now you reveal yourself only to spill the blood of children on the stones of this place that you are not fit to cast your beady eyes upon!"

"Worst of all, you're attacking two helpless kids long before they've got their own chance to enjoy their own Coming of Age Day and--that's unforgivable!"

"Everyone is here on this beautiful day to celebrate becoming an adult. You're ruining all of the friends and family here today, celebrating their loved ones taking their next step onto the road of life!"

"Pretty Soldier of Love and Passion, Sailor Mars!"

"Pretty Soldier of Love and Courage, Sailor Jupiter!"

"Pretty Soldier of Love and Beauty, Sailor Venus!"

It's only then that Sailor Moon reappears from the electricity. Wisps of smoke dancing off of her Sailor Fuku. Her breath heaving as she finds enough of her pained voice to throw in her own words.

"P-Pretty Soldier of Love and Justice, Sailor Moon!"

"In the name of Mars-"

"In the name of Jupiter-"

"In the Name of Venus-"

"In the Name of the Moon-"

"I will burn you to blackened ions and scatter your vile remnants upon the holy winds!"

"I'll fill you with so much regret, it'll leave you numb!"

"I'll show you the glittering, bright love of everyone here!"

"Whoa Mars-chan isn't that a bit- I mean- I'll definitely punish you!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has started a combo targeting Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Minako Aino transforms into Sailor Venus!
COMBAT: Makoto Kino transforms into Sailor Jupiter!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has joined the combo started by Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Crimson Rose Duelist!
COMBAT: Sailor Venus has joined the combo started by Sailor Moon!
<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

His eyes track to that column of light and his nervousnness dissipates. Takeo looks over the crowd but doesn't see Jin. He nods to Kasagami and moves off to try and locate his cousin, but in his hand he holds his Lightning Medalion, becuase he's pretty sure he needs to use it. When the lightning beigns to come, and he hasn't used the medalion yet he stares upward.

Then a bolt strikes and a woman stands there. He tilts his head as he sees all this lightning going on, and he looks to his medalion, but when he looks up he sees a bolt of black lightning strike toward two little girls. Then there is Sailro Moon leaping in fornt of the bolt of lightning.

No matter what else happens, that was enough for Takeo. He holds his medalion before him and calls out, "I SWEAR TO DEFEND THE INNOCENT!!"

Immediately bright, white and blue lightning arc down from the sky and slam into Takeo. Eventually the culmination of the lightning strikes turns Takeo a bright glowing blue. The light shatters and standing there is //The// Chevalier Lancelot. He holds out both hands and two lightning bolts slam into them, becoming the bright white blades of Arondight, and crackling with blue and powerful lightning.

As the Sailor Scouts unleash planet hell on the lighting wielder, Lancelot just blinks for a long moment. "I think I need to be doing this stuff with my teammates ... " Then he rushes forward and cries out "LIGHTING IMPACT!" slashing with both blades at the same time at the lighting girl. He calls out to the Scouts, "I got your back Scouts!"

COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Chevalier Knight Lancelot!
COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Impact on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Rei Hino transforms into Sailor Mars!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars has joined the combo started by Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus, and Sailor Mars have used Combo: Line Up! Ladies of the White Moon!, composed of In The Name Of The Moon, In The Name Of Jupiter, In The Name Of Venus, and In The Name Of Mars, on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Venus has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Mars has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The change in la Sirene happens in the moments between time. No, not literally; she simply did it on the way while moving, leaping up into the silent tree branches to move the rest of the way, even as the Sailor Senshi speak to the woman.

'Speak' being something of an understatement. She moves quickly and the visionary flash of that knight of the round table gives her a moment of veiling, helped by her own aura, and so it is that she is sitting on the edge of a roof, one leg dangling, looking towards Petz with her black-lined eyes as the thunder fades.

As black diamonds glitter, she says, "The feathers are daring, but you realize what you've done with that top, haven't you? Was it on purpose?" Here, she points a red fingernail towards those decorations that make the bodice look, at least to her view, like a pair of eyes.

That veil of inverse light around her snaps out as if to strike Petz across the cheek.

La Sirene's voice grows more indignant. "You should never have COME here. You should flee NOW, while that is still possible. And you should never RETURN. Do you understand? Growing up is hard enough in this city without your help!"

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used The Black Kaleidoscope on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

For one brief, terrifying moment, Fuu believes she's about to bear first-hand witness to a supernatural act of murder - murder of an innocent child, yet. She can't get her glove-jewel on fast enough, she can't transform in time - there's nothing she can do.

Somebody else is faster. Four somebodies, actually. To be more specific still: Four Sailors.

Time resumes once again for Fuu Hououji as she pulls the glove-jewel into place, nods to Hikaru, and bolts for a semblance of better cover. She doesn't need to hide for more than a couple of seconds, and she doesn't mind leaving the shrine grounds long enough to do it ... she'll be right back. Just not as Fuu.

One short-lived whirlwind later, the Magic Knight of Wind comes back through the main torii at the entrance to the shrine's holy ground, her bow in hand, pulling an arrow from her quiver. "You picked a terribly inauspicious day to attempt murder, monster-san. It hardly seems like my help is needed, but the attempt to take an innocent life ... I really can't overlook that."

The Wind Knight pauses, a friendly smile crossing her face which is at total odds with her preceding chilly tone, a smile which she maintains while bowing her head briefly to the Sailor Senshi. "I believe a certain amount of overkill is called for in this foolish monster's case, yes." She turns to face the monster woman, her expression turning frigid again as she raises her bow, shifts her body into a proper archer's stance, and draws back the nocked arrow.

The arrow flies without delay, aimed straight at the hollow of that inverted black crescent. It won't be the first blow struck - Lancelot beat her to launching the first direct attack - but the Wind Knight wants to make her own form of statement, backing up her allies ... and her friends.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Trick Arrow Shot on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The breathless moment. One of those moments that feels like an eternity yet you always remember it for the rest of your life. That happens just now. Hikaru thinks that she's about to be scarred for life by the murder of an innocent child and she could only stand by idly and watch as the poor girl was killed. A failure for her to always remember...

But then, something happens. Something miraculous.

Four people, or rather four Sailors, appear to keep that from happening. It's almost like a huge miracle for Hikaru, and then when she realizes what has happened, the breathless moment ends. Hikaru then realizes what must be done, and she does it quite fast at that.

Stepping out to find cover, Hikaru takes a moment to slip on her glove jewel, and with a short fiery display, she emerges as the Magic Knight of Fire. Which is symbolic in more ways than one since she's really mad right now. Unlike her colleague, the Fire Knight is not holding anything back when she yells at the monster. "You've made a foolish mistake doing something like this!" She screams. "You're going to burn for what you've done! Even if you didn't succeed right away, I'm going to see to it that you never have a chance to try that again!"

Her tone oftens a little as she looks to the Sailor Senshi and bows as well, adding, "Overkill, maybe, but it's definitely worth it." Then she faces the monster again, scowling once again.

"Now you feel my wrath!" She points at the monster and yells out, "Fireball!" Shooting forth a spherical shaped flame at the monster.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou transforms into Fire Knight!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Fireball on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus, and Sailor Mars's Combo: Line Up! Ladies of the White Moon!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus, and Sailor Mars are Psyched!  Utena Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!  Diversion, Exhausted, and Stagger applied to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Lancelot's Lightning Impact, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Psyched!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!  Diversion and Exhausted applied to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Hikaru Shidou's Fireball, taking 52 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou perfectly dodges La Sirene de Diamant's The Black Kaleidoscope, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Fuu Hououji's Trick Arrow Shot, taking 18 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

In the rush of bodies passing by, Kasagami is knocked down. Not through any ability to avoid even this panicked throng, but through the sheer stake she feels driven right through her heart.

Entirely emotional, but it wounds all the same. A tall, dark woman, furious pitch-black lightning, and two young lives seem to be devoured. Kasagami Araki hears someone screaming in terror. Only at the last second does she realize it's coming from her own mouth.

A flare of pink as a young girl moves to protect her friend despite the danger. A pretty suited soldier leaps. Kasagami's mind falls backwards.

A woman stands over her. Everything is fire and smoke. A life given for another without a single moment's hesitation. Pain spreads. But the physical pain is nothing against know that someone precious has given up their life for her own sake.

Kasagami finds herself collapsed on the ground, and picks herself up. Her eye widens. Instead of the horror of another innocent soul lost, sparks of lightning wreath Sailor Moon's visage. Her limbs feel like lead, terror for those two girls is etched on her face. For all her deep flaws, cutting as they are, Kasagami cannot help but both envy and value two weak, innocent lives. The signet ring weighs heavy on her finger. Her body burns in phantom pains. Gasping, panting, Kasagami stands up and clenches her fist around the knife in her hand. Her Ring shines as her eye opens wide to stare a thousand-yard hateful stare at Petz.

"...Do you have any idea, just what crime you have comitted? Attacking someone so young, forcing another innocent soul to risk her very existance to ward off your cowardly attack!" Her voice, quiet, rises as anger gathers in her. A step forward, Kasagami stands tall, her coat and ponytail swaying in unseen wind. Her teeth grit, and she snarls. All around her, the air is filled with dark red petals. Those passing away would feel mere fluttering comfort, protection. The ground near her is cut just slightly as they gather upon her coat, the ends of her hair glowing and then trailing those sweet-scented, dark petals.

Later, Kassie will feel the odd dissonance Sailor Moon fills her with, symbol of hope that Moon is. Now though, Kasagami's boots thud heavily as she steps towards the lightning-woman amongst her fellow magical girls.

Her knife is held sideways, slowly drawn up above her head. Hands join one another in a perfect overhead stance as she stills. A mere butter knife, but it feels heavy in her hands as roses drip into existance along where a much longer edge should be. There's no trembling doubt in her grip this night, only gathering rage.

"I, who will become this world's King, will not allow some mere monster to inflict endless agony on those girls! For the sake of all of those that have felt the pain of losing a precious person to preserve their life! You will know my anger!" Howls Kasagami. Then, she's very simply gone.


Roses flutter to the ground where she stood, her body and blade racing to try to exact wrathful vengence on Petz. Both hands clench, shake, as she puts all of her strength and skill into landing a blow on this offending woman of the Black Moon.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Rose Flash on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Kasagami Araki's Rose Flash, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Psyched!  Utena Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Petz curls her lip at Chibi-Usa's heroism -- then narrows her eyes at Sailor Moon's. As the rest of the Sailor Senshi start popping up like flowers, joined by still others of the ground, she purses her lips to one side, nostrils flaring with pure, unbridled annoyance.

She fades away from Lancelot's lightning strikes, Diamant's inverse light, and while Hikaru's fireball detonates right in her face, Fuu's arrow is launched with unerring aim, and Kasagami's butter knife is wielded with the utmost of fury, the most they force her to do is to cross her arms.

Black sparks fly.

Afterwards, there's a lot of dust, and she stands in the middle of it, smoking. But she seems like the kind of woman who only looks better with a cigarette. She smoulders all on her own.



"Petz -- listen. When they come for you -- and they will come--"

"LORD Rubeus, I assure you I can take care of myself. I'm made of much /sterner/ stuff than my younger sisters."

"I know that better than anyone."

Silence reigns for a moment, and then Petz reluctantly inclines her head, the slash of her chin beckoning for Rubeus to continue.

"They'll come in great numbers. They always do, like fleas, like flies."

Petz's overpatient, raised eyebrow begs the question, 'like floos?'

"Tch. My point is, maybe you could take them all on, but you don't have to."

"Now, Rubeus, are you begging me to share the glory?"

"I am /ordering/ you to complete your mission. By any means necessary."

His hands are on his hips -- hers, folded across her chest.



Her gloved hands reach for the heavens, as though she's about to tear down more lightning with her fingernails and her spite. But what comes instead is worse... much worse.

Black light reforms into two more figures -- one in a purple tutu, one in a yellow bustier. Koan was fought over in Asakusa, and she /won/, before being inexplicably recalled*. Calaveras tried to ruin a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and might have succeeded if not for some really weird intervention that felt at least as evil as she was, and which nobody came away with clearly understanding.

"Ahahaha, you admit you need our help!"

"I'm here for you, elder(ly) sister..."

Petz tosses her head, the single hair knocked out of place by the first barrage of assaults slipping itself back into her upswept curls.

"You /wish/," she drawls lazily. A grin sneaks sideways onto her lips. "I brought you here to /watch/."

And then her arms come down, and so does the lightning, hideous, crackling stuff that roils like snakes and burns like acid. Calaveras and Koan are not entirely dignified in the haste with which they clear the blast zone, winding up seated on an exterior wall to the property, in the end.

The accompanying cacophany is indescrible, especially since, afterwards, tinnitus is likely to reign, at least for a few moments. She seems aware of this, because she waits for the ringing to stop before issuing her more verbal reply, to the senshi, to the group.

"I am Petz, eldest of the Four Ayakashi Sisters, and I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart..."

Her eyes narrow.

"You all don't scare /me/."

All this time, more lightning has been growing in her palms, germinating like a seed. Now she rips her hands apart and detonates this particularly special strip right at the grouped Sailor Senshi. It rises around them like a many-headed hydra, then pounces for the kill all at once.

"In the name of the Black Moon, I'll send you all to hell!"

  • Her sister Berthier tricked her into coming back early by impersonating Rubeus giving orders.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Sailor Venus.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunderstorm! on Sailor Mars.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Fade ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Jupiter's Block ability activates!  Sailor Jupiter's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Venus narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 25 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Venus's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Venus's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 50 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 38 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 25 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Mars's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Mars's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 23 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Hotaru never saw the lightning coming, but she felt it, on some visceral level. Still, she saw Chibi-Usa's sacrifice coming even less. She lands hard, the momentum skidding her across the porch. Her jacket, though, was on her friend first, and there it remains, a warm and comforting pressure even though she cannot be.

Not because she lacks the strength to stand, nor because she lacks the nerve, but rather because, all of a sudden, her eyes are fluttering, her breath is coming in sharp gasps, and her fingers splay wildly, clenching and unclenching, claws in front of her chest.

Her shoulderblades are so stark against the simple black tunic she has on that one might expect them to burst into wings at any moment, but they don't -- they just jerk with each heaving, almost inaudible moan.

Somehow she's able to form words, just a few, which slip past her teeth on a different sort of metaphorical wing, that of friendship. Nothing else would make this possible.

"G-get away," she mumbles, she warns, she chokes. "Please..."

Her voice is so tiny in that final syllable.


COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunderstorm!, taking 45 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lighting rains down in deep and black waves of energy that blast, crackly and thunder. Lancelot leaps and rolls, avoiding the priamry blasts but being beaten to hell and back by the percussion of the blasts. He crosses his sword and says casually to anywho is near him, "Huh. So that's what it's like..." He rolls his shoulders and pops his neck.

Then Lancelot launches toward the woman calling lighting to his hands and then, at the alst second leaps to the side in a fast flurry of mottion. As he moves past her he points the blades in her direction and calls out, "FLASH BANG!" the lighting crackles out ward and explodes in a blinding flash of light a the height of Petz's eyes. Senind radiant and blindinly white light in all directions. He doens't stop moving theough, trying to anticipate her next strike. Her next use of lightning. Trying to think how he'd fight this battle, and using that knwoledge to second guess.

Because that idea is working so well for him right now ...

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Flash Bang on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://hyperduck.bandcamp.com/track/critical-juncture

Sailor Mars' lip draws back to reveal her angrily set teeth as the adversary summons sisters of her own to the fray. Beyond the obvious fact that three opponents are more difficult to defeat than one, it will expand the chaos of battle by orders of magnitude. With so many people so recently on site she cannot assume that everybody means to flee, and with that much of a magical melee the entire shrine could be leveled.

She takes small comfort in their enemy's mocking insistence that they won't be joining in the carnage. Even if they're in the audience now, they can be called to the stage if things go poorly for this green haired ghoul. But there's nothing that can be done about it.

Her thoughts, her vision, and her hearing are all snatched from her for a spell, and even closing her eyes can't shut out the blinding light that has burned its way straight through her retinas. Through squinted slits she glares back at Petz, matching defiance with defiance, but in moments she finds herself surrounded.

Twisting in the wind, she attempts to sidestep the electric cobra's shocking speed, but her gambit is a mixed effort at best. Although she's spared a full on strike, the air around her oozes ozone, and her left leg suffers from electric burns. But for all he rage and passion and now, pain, she is not wont to lose her cool.

Leaping to a roof, she plucks an Ofuda straight off and into her hand. Clutching it between her index and middle fingers, flames surround her as she begans to chant in low and urgent invocations. The sagging paper straightens erect, her syllables collecting both volume and urgency, flames growing brighter yet. At last the card begins to burn and glow, yet its substance does not disintegrate.

She hurls the prayer loose, and will make use of it to understand her enemy, and then bring ruin down upon her head.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has used Rin, Pyou, Tou, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai, Zen! on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Mars has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Lancelot's Flash Bang, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!  Diversion applied to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly counters Sailor Mars's Rin, Pyou, Tou, Sha, Kai, Jin, Retsu, Zai, Zen!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Analysis performed by Sailor Mars!  Stun applied to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou's counterattack, Dark Thunder Crash!, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sailor Mars!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

The blast meant for Chibi-Usa never comes, but it's not true that she doesn't feel it; what it hits in front of her still sends a shockwave that shoves Chibi-Usa back along the porch. Her palms scrape against the ground as she tries to grab hold of something, anything, but she doesn't go so far to begin with. One red-eye peeks open again, the pink-haired girl's breathing is shallow and her vision blurred, but there's a smoke-covered figure in front of her. She didn't see the flash of pink in her own light.

She's still crying when she sees one Senshi after another appear, when she sees Sailor Moon standing where her blast must have gone along with Sailors Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. Chibi-Usa can't keep her eyes away from Petz though, at least not for as long as she can keep her eyes open.

But she forces herself to do just that, to turn to see where Hotaru is, whether she's okay; this draws her attention more than the battle that she can hear, /requires/ her as she hides underneath Hotaru's coat. So she sees...

"H-Hotaru-chan?" she breathes, and it squeaks with her anxiety. "Hotaru-chan!" Chibi-Usa scrambles across the ground, embedding a rock this time in the heel of her hand and dragging her knees across before she crosses the distance, throwing Hotaru's coat over her immediately against the cold. Hotaru tries to talk to her and...

"No!" Chibi-Usa answers, shaking her head with her eyes squeezed shut.

Run away. Run away, it's all she can do. It's all she's good for. There's just a look over her shoulder at the crackling power of lightning again, and...

When Koan and Calaveras appear from the sky, Chibi-Usa's eyes widen and it feels to her like her heart stops... But only for a moment, as the Rabbit's heart can only keep on beating and beating and beating her fear. The scream she almost lets out chokes in her throat, and her arms start shaking even harder than before. She hears what she says. She wants to run, and hide...

But she can't.

The black lightning starts streaking everywhere, and this time Chibi-Usa screams aloud, falling down over Hotaru and barely keeping herself up, her hands still hurting from earlier though she barely has time to notice it.

The golden crescent moon at her forehead continues to glow brilliantly; the rocks around the two of them start to lift upward around her.

The displaced princess forces herself back up. "H-hang on, okay? M-maybe I can... move you s-somewhere safe? I-I..."

And she doesn't think she can outrun all three of them if they spot her, not still paralyzed with fear.

But the column of light starts to flicker.

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

Tactical mental note: Do not taunt happy fun lightning-slinger. The Wind Knight is busy reminding her of that as she tries to dodge the massed barrage of thunderbolts ... to little total avail; she may not take any direct hits, but the cumulative near-misses more than make up the difference. Or at least, that's how she feels when she comes to a halt on the ground, wondering if she's *actually* smoldering or only feels extra-cirpsy.

Sitting up is enough of an experiment to indicate the answer is 'no, but not for lack of trying'. She gets the rest of the way back to her feet, glancing at Hotaru. "Unfortunately, fighting beings like this is part of our job ... we stand our ground so that those *without* powers are able to find safety."

She turns her attention back to the thunder-slinging monster woman, bow and quiver vanishing. "I suppose we need to corral this storm, for a start. WINDS OF ADMONISHMENT!!" she calls out, raising her left arm and then making a swirling gesture, punctuated by a flourish at her target; in response, the winds gather into a very localized cyclone, as she tries to bind the 'woman' in place with the ensuing whirlwind.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The Sailor Senshi make their appearance, as do a number of other magical girls who open not with words but with force. Petz, every bit a threat as her other sisters, all but shrugs the attacks off--and when she calls Koan and Calaveras to watch, brave Jupiter's heart skips a beat. She wouldn't run, never, especially not when there are defenseless civilians who need protecting, but she remembers how badly Koan had beaten them before. Of course... they've all grown a lot stronger since then, too. Her green eyes narrow further as Petz tells her sisters to hang back and watch, then unleashes her black lightning upon the group.

With a roar of defiance, Jupiter stands her ground, crossing her arms in front of her defensively to take on the attack. It *hurts*, too, as only lightning can, but Jupiter digs in her heels and weathers through the blast. When she slashes her arms apart, her tiara's lightning rod has emerged and crackles with Jovian energy. As Mars charges into the attack, Jupiter glances over her shoulder. "Chibiusa-chan! Take your friend and get out of here!" she barks. "We'll take care of the rest, we promise!" Then she looks forward at Petz. "Petz, huh? *Hah*! You should be scared! And if you're not--"

She breaks into a charging run, straight for the green-haired woman. "--we'll show you *why*!!" she finishes, swinging a ferocious punch towards the woman, followed by a sweeping kick, then another pair of straight punches, punctuated by an uppercut, her every move crackling with pure white lightning to contrast Petz's darkness.

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Full Charge on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!  Utena Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to dodge Sailor Jupiter's Full Charge, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Jupiter is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Others burst forwards. The aspiring Rex (Regina?) Mundi; the Magic Knights;it is good to not be alone. La Sirene slides off the roof and lands neatly, looking towards Petz as she silently assesses more of her style. The hair in particular is burned into her memory-- and not in a bad way, either. Even if she is wicked, she --

Oh no, la Sirene thinks with a moment of anxiety. There's more of them. Her eyes tilt towards Koan and Calaveras. And then they are removed in a sorocidal blast that makes la Sirene wince with the after effects.

Lightning erupts around la Sirene and she makes at least one discovery about herself this day: Lightning is able to overpower the light of the abyss. The blast does not send her sprawling as it so obviously did to those two other sisters; la Sirene staggers, crossing her arms and tilting her head forwards, the shuddering after-effects making her struggle to breathe inwards.

And yet.

And yet, she thinks, the pain is not so great. Is it whatever she touched in that other world? (No, some part of her says: /this/ is the other world.) Was it some other source of determination? Is it the nearby and terrified children?

"You're an eldest, too?" la Sirene asks Petz as she draws herself back up. Firmly enough that her feet leave the ground, tilting slightly forward as she levitates herself, spreading her arms outwards as if to balance.

Her hands come upwards in a glittering gesture, as if of supplication. It isn't clear what this does. "It's hard, isn't it? You must be tired."

'That' turns out to be the downward-pouring inverse light from la Sirene slithering through the sacred grounds of the shrine like someone kicked over a bucket of ink, before erupting upwards in an interlacing net that aims to grasp Petz and crush her in a sense of futility, a feeling that the surface is so terribly far away. The lantern at her hip strobes for a moment.

La Sirene's head turns for a moment to look towards Chibi-usa and her friend. She doesn't say anything - Jupiter said all of it that needs saying - but her expression will hopefully convey, through the subtle nuance that Nori is slowly learning in her modelling career, the key concept of: 'Yes; what she said.' Then back to Petz, of course. You have to keep your eyes on her.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Polyploia on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Thunder and lightning, very very frightening me! (And painful too!)

The Fire Knight gets a bit of a shocking surprise as she is caught off-guard by the lightning coming down from seemingly nowhere. She finds herself in a bit of an electrified situation, but somehow manages to recover, although it is not quite easy, as the armor amplifies the electric shock administered to the Fire Knight. For a moment it looks like she's been badly hurt, but still the Fire Knight shows great determination as she stays on her feet.

"I won't give up that easily!" She comments. "We have to win this! We must show them that good will always triumph over evil in some form or other!" Her eyes burn with determination as she speaks.

"FIRE ARROW!" Is the next thing the Fire Knight calls out as she summons forth her usual flaming arrow shape to shoot forth at the enemy they are fighting against. Consider it one of the Fire Knight's signature attacks perhaps.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Fire Arrow on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace La Sirene de Diamant's Polyploia, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Tangle applied to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou perfectly counters Hikaru Shidou's Fire Arrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou's counterattack, Dark Thunder Crash!, bursts all the way through, doing 36 Fatigue damage to Hikaru Shidou!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Line Up! Ladies of the White Moon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sDoe3TJ1AE (One pose late as I just found it!)

After the blast, she seems almost likely to swoon on her feet, but still after making her contribution to the speech, she looks behind herself at Chibi-Usa and Hotaru. It's now that she's getting a better look at her 'boyfriend'. A frail looking girl. "Chibi-Usa-chan. Is she alright? Was she-" Was she hit by the blast!? Suddenly she seems a bit angry as she turns towards the malefactor she wonders is responsible, "You-" She starts to say in indignation towards Petz.

But before she can say more than that, Sailor Moon coughs, amidst the dust and smoke, "Hey don't smoke at a shrine! It's disrespectful!" Though her eyes turn to Mars as if to ask 'Isn't it?' after all it seemed like a grey area with incense burning and fire seeing. But after a moment she considers, and sniffs her burnt shoulderpads. "Oh. I guess I'm the one whose smoking. But that's also your fault!" But with a hand to the heavens- Koan and Calaveras appear, and Sailor Moon takes a step back, going pale. One of them was bad enough. One of them had /crushed/ them. Three of them together- wait, to watch!?

"This is all just some sort of sibling rivalry!?" This went way beyond her and Shingo fighting over the last gyoza on a plate... but she doesn't complain anymore, if the other two attacked they'd be done for.

But Petz announces herself, black lightning growing in her palms. And she wants to take cover already, but she has to wait for Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, so instead she squares her stance, foot shifting outwards. "Jupiter-chan. She looks really tough." Her eyes flicker her way, "We need to buy time for Chibi-Usa-chan and her friend to get away. You can definitely hold her off right?"

After all. as strong as she looked, wielding dark lightning, Jupiter seemed like the ideal candidate.

"Venus, do you have any ideas for keeping the two of them safe?" After all- with the other two sisters being there on high, any attempt to get them away seems doomed to failure. They could cut them off with ease.

But there's a flash of dark power and it's less she leaps, that she dives head first like some frightened bunny when that forked lightning crashes down her way. Putting down a single rod-holding arm, she rolls forward- and comes up on a knee, hair frizzed up from the dark discharge of power.

Her breath heaving in the cold air- she presses a hand over her compact, and shakily raises an arm, "Moon Sparkling-" Power wells up within one hand, and is channeled through the opposite arm. "-Sensation!" There's a starburst shower of pink and silver sent towards the Eldest of four just as Jupiter shows Petz so admirably how she ought to be scared....

From her position below she looks above to Mars on the roof, "Mars- can you awaken like the Kami-sama of this shrine or something to rise up against them?" Maybe she imagined all the nature spirits rising up against the Ayakashi sisters like in a Ghibli movie, or Mars wielding Kikyou like holy powers on these grounds. "You can do stuff like that right?"

Out of the corner of her vision though, she takes another worried look their way- it seems like she's not able to move that other girl yet...

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Sparkling Sensation on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Sailor Moon's Moon Sparkling Sensation, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Venus [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Sailor Venus leaps out of the way as the dark lightning shoots out, and the main lightning just barely shoots jolts past her. But it's only a moment before a smaller bolt hits her directly. The flash is brief but blinding, as dark as it is.

When she lands, though, she sees the additional Black Moon sisters appear, and Minako looks from them back to Petz.

Sailor Moon asks her about Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, and Venus looks over at the two for a few moments, before she looks back at Moon. "If they're just going to watch, I don't think they'll try anything, but we should keep an eye out and fight the one in front of us, first."

With that, Venus leaps forward to try and punch Petz as hard as she can.

COMBAT: Sailor Venus has used Punches Are From Venus on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Venus has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Sailor Venus's Punches Are From Venus, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Venus is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami knows a follow-up when she senses one. Her attack might as well have been a love tap for all it's effect. Two new souls arrive, but Kasagami doesn't even divert her attention. Even before those horrible dark bolts fall, she can sense the power and skill in this woman.

A bolt falls for her. Even for one of her speed, there's no chance of dodging. Not a single moment of thinking. And so the dark crimson swordswoman does the only, single thing someone like her can do without a moment's thought or hesitation.


Down falls dark lightning, down falls a blade, and they meet. Kasagami's knife should melt, should be rent out of existance, but furious roses filled with ambition and wrath make it a most keen blade. But even that isn't enough as a crack fills Kasagami's ears, and she's sent flying from the impact. Smoke fills the air as she lands still. It's just a moment, but there's heavy, shuttering breath.

Scraps of cloth flutter away from Kasagami's arm, revealing equally tattered flesh from what feels like a lifetime ago. Smoke rises from her body, and she twitches. Once or twice she almost loses her grip on her weapon, as lightning revives frayed nerves. Her coat is tattered where she resisted that lightning. Kasagami finds herself grinning like a hungry wolf. Heart racing, she steadies herself as excitement runs through her.

"That power...well. You're definitely worthy of being 'The Eldest'. Frankly, against anyone else at all, I'd praise you as a warrior and offer you my heart, soul, body, and blood in contest." She laughs, low and bitter.

Then her grin turns into a flat, serious line. Her good eye is nothing but fury. "Instead you used that power to attack children. The world that I will rule has no room for someone like you. 'Send us to hell'? I disagree."

That grin comes back, fierce, as she slashes the air. Roses, sharp as any sword, rise from nowhere to try to lash out again and again and again at Petz.

"My feet are firmly planted in this hell of a world, where children are subjected to terror and agony by the likes of you. Be sliced away, never again to threaten the few precious innocent souls remaining here!"

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Thorns of the Bloody Rose on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly counters Kasagami Araki's Thorns of the Bloody Rose, taking 19 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou's counterattack, Dark Thunder Crash!, partially gets through, doing 8 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Battle Without Honor Or Humanity (BF Greatest Hits, Vol 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fQuEqwQ2I4

This would be a complex piece of choreography if it were nine on three, but somehow Petz seems to manage nine on one with more simplicity to her approach than anything else. She knows what she can stop, and what she can't, and what she can't, she somehow endures.

The eldest sister is not afraid to get dirty, to play dirty.

Case in point: Lancelot tries to blind her, which forces her to temporarily close her eyes, which leaves her all too open to Mars' ofuda slapping lightly onto the back of her neck -- she sneezes -- and the inevitable birth of Fuu's whirlwind.

But neither is she helpless; she simply walks forward, letting the power of wind rip the ofuda off of her -- Mars gets a brief, potent psychic dose of acrimony, of bitterness, of despair and desperation, all of this underlaid by the unmistakable stench of raw, unmitigated corruption -- at which point she pivots, hip-checks Lancelot towards the ground, and remarks, in response to the observations of the Magic Knight of Wind:

"Thanks for the reminder."

When her hands slam out again, they /were/ going to send a black bolt apiece at Sailor Mars and Fuu, but now Fuu's arcs past her to the porch and the huddled girls there, instead.

But she's got plenty more where that comes from -- she intercepts Kasagami's razor-roses with more lightning (though one opens up a glistening ruby scratch on one almost equally razor-sharp cheekbone), while yet another, wider bolt totally engulfs and overwhelms Hikaru's Fire Arrow, the resultant detonation blasting the Magic Knight away and making another huge cloud of smoke, into which Petz waltes casually, cackling over her shoulder, "You? Rule as King? Please. You're not worth the spit that shines my Prince's boots." But then, mid-debris, an odd sort of darkness rises around her, along with Diamant's words, which bring her a little pause.

"You have /no/ idea!"

Distraction: successful. Now she's feeling exhausted just thinking about them. (The 'them' in question are sitting primly but boredly on the wall, legs crossed at the knee or ankle. Koan is fixing her lipstick in a hand mirror. Calaveras grins like the devil, wolf-whistles at Sailor Venus, then yells down, "We can /hear/ you, blondie!") The most she can focus on at once is to use the unlight of the net as a sort of conduit, a mystical connection between herself and Diamant, in the hopes of delivering something of an aftershock.

It's a great setup for Sailors Jupiter and Venus to come at her from either side. Jupiter's series of shocking kicks and punches drive her back, one staggering step at a time, directly into Venus' finishing blow, at which point she's on the ground and her only option to deal with Sailor Moon's lovely pink bombardment is to roll.

So she does, and in the end she's back on her feet, shedding smoke and dirt and sparkles, and sporting a few new bruises and burns, too, which will really leave a mark. Her jaw clicks audibly as she shifts it first to the left, then pops some tension out to the right.

"I guess you can play a /little/," Petz acknowledges, the unspoken braggidoccio resplendent in her voice. "I would have been disappointed in Koan and Calaveras if I didn't even have to break a sweat."

"HEY!" Koan's lipstick jerks, smearing a little on her chin, and she scowls and starts the process of correction.

Petz isn't watching, though -- she is, rather, trying to scoop Venus off the ground and back-bodyslam her into Jupiter. Those black and white lightnings are starting to intermingle beautifully, sending not-at-all-static shocks in all directions, hair-raising at best and stunningly painful at worst. It really isn't pretty or pure in the slightest.


When she hits the ground, with or without them, the world-shaking impact calls down still more lightning from the sky, just in case anyone else felt neglected.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Hip Checks Don't Lie on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on Sailor Mars.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Good Idea Bad Idea on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on Chibi-Usa Tsukino.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Suplex on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Suplex on Sailor Venus.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Dark Thunder! on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon fails to brace Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 35 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Venus narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Suplex, taking 13 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant fails to counter Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 31 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant's counterattack, Les Mysteres, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Suplex, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Jupiter's Block ability activates!  Sailor Jupiter's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Hip Checks Don't Lie, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot's Block ability activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!  Stagger applied to Lancelot!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 25 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Good Idea Bad Idea, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Quipped!  Fuu Hououji's Block ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Hikaru Shidou's Block ability activates!  Hikaru Shidou's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

There's more lightning... and more lightning again... the Fire Knight is caught completely off-guard and unable to protect herself. When all is said and done, she is laying there, unconscious and barely with it. She's not dead, but she's definitely not fighting anymore...

COMBAT: Sailor Mars narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Once again, Hotaru doesn't answer Chibi-Usa right away. Once again, it's a clear sign that something has gone badly wrong. The power rolling in visible, luminous waves off of the pink-haired girl lifts not just pebbles but also her friend's hems, which swirl, and her hair, which fans out like a black halo, the sort of thing that might surmount some sort of dark, Messianic figure.

Or it's just what thin dark hair looks like in zero gravity. Either way, Hotaru is distressingly easily taken straight off the ground by Chibi-Usa's mystical might, light as a feather and stiff as a board, but it feels like it would be very dangerous to move her, because she looks like she'll shatter into a million pieces if breathed on too hard.

Or like a wayward, uncontrolled breath of her own might shatter her from within if she isn't careful.

She's run out of words, but stares down through her floating, feathery bangs. Her eyes are sightless with agony, but there's a flicker from deep within. Briefly, it's like Chibi-Usa is locking eyes with another person entirely, this stare unrecognizably distant and strange even by Hotaru's standards. Alien.

Her lips open--

--and her eyes roll back in her head, and she collapses, antigravity or no, into a pile of limp black limbs, with a pair of pale, spidery hands and the back of her neck, as revealed by her tousled hair, the only pieces of white that break up the constancy of her darkness.

For a moment it seems like she's stopped breathing, but then her chest moves, shallow, light. Unconsciousness is a kindness, it seems.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars covers Chibi-Usa Tsukino for Utena Tenjou's attack, Dark Thunder!, taking it upon themselves instead!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Dark Thunder!, taking 32 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"HEY!" Lancelot calls out, after he is hip checked and slides to a stop somewhere near Sailor Moon. "Lightning Girl! Let's turn up the Juice!" He spins Arondight while he taunts, the action gatheirng the ambient lighting in the area. Then he begins to walk forward. The blue and white lightning crackling off his arms, his legs, and his eyes glow blue form the energy he gathers into himself.

He points the twin baldes of Arondight at Petz and calls out, "Let's see how you handle this - LIGHTNING STREAM!!" All that gathered energy pours down into the tips of the blades and swirl and churn before they erupt into a thunderclap that would shatter a window. A beam of arcing and pure blue lightning slams forward, leaving tracers of whipping and crackling arms of white lighting in it's wake. Where these tracers lick the ground sparks fly up, and thunder cracks again and again. Lancelot walks forward unleashing this torrent of electrical energy, holding the swords aimed at Petz's heart. "COME ON! LET'S SEE WHAT YOU GOT!"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Stream on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Sailor Moon's voice draws Chibi-Usa to look over her shoulder, in obvious worry and something like tiredness; she doesn't at all look surprised to be in this situation by now. There's a shake of her head as she forces out, "She wasn't!"

But she doesn't say any more about that, worrying for now about Hotaru herself rather than answering any questions about her; she hears the magical warriors behind her fighting, hears Petz's awful and cruel voice, but it's dim for her, so wrapped up as she is in the safety of this one girl not herself. The magic rolling about her could be having a pretty effect, under other circumstances; as it stands, Chibi-Usa dwells more on the fear she has for her friend, for the fact that she looks as if she might float away entirely. The pink-haired girl reaches out and takes hold of her gently to make sure she doesn't, just a hand over her gently because she certainly can't be moved.

There's a strange feeling that finds Chibi-Usa staring for a brief moment in a different way than before; even the sense of something different doesn't make her look away, wide and red-eyed. "H-Hotaru-chan!" Chibi-Usa calls out when the older girl collapses, and looks her over quickly, looking for whether she's breathing, and once she is...

Chibi-Usa pulls off one of her gloves against the cold air, ignoring the sting of a fresh, red scrape through the fabric as she lifts her fingers to brush Hotaru's hair out of her face. "...I'm sorry," Chibi-Usa says. "It's my fault..."

The light flickers again, and the column starts to fade away, the symbol on her forehead fading like a closing eye. Rocks and plants fall back where they should be.

Chibi-Usa, staring at Hotaru, has no idea about the blast of Dark Lightning headed straight towards her heart at that very moment.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Venus [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Sailor Venus, having gone into melee with Petz, does strike a hit after Jupiter's strikes bring the woman right into her path. However, Petz's speed is somewhat surprising, as before Venus can pull back, Petz grabs her and then /suplexes/ her directly into Jupiter. WHAM!

Well, it wasn't that bad, as Venus tried to adjust her weight in order to cushion herself (and Jupiter by extension), but it still really hurt when she hit the ground again. But while Petz is fast, so is Venus. The Senshi rolls away from the woman, in case she tries to strike again. As Venus climbs to her feet, she looks over at her friend. "Jupiter, are you all right?" Because, as soft and tender as Jupiter-chan was, well, collisions of those sort /hurt/. "She's tough."

But there's a light reflecting in Venus's eyes, as she starts to think. "What if we..." Venus leaps back, to get some more distance between her and Petz. Her eyes go from Sailor Moon, to Sailor Mars, then to Sailor Jupiter. "Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter." Venus reaches into the sky with her hand, and a glowing heart appears. She gives each of her friends a look one more time. "Let's combine our powers, together!" She reaches back down and flicks the heart to set it spinning. "Rolling Heart..." She launches it at Petz, a spinning heart with a golden trail. "Vibration!"

COMBAT: Sailor Venus has started a combo targeting Utena Tenjou!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami's eye goes wide, petals dance, and then lightning reaches for her. There's no reaction, at least immediately. Mostly because there's no time. Lightning lances for her, an explosion kicks off, and both of her ears bleed as consciousness utterly flees her for the second time. For the second time in her life, Kasagami Araki feels utterly helpless without any recourse. This time, no one can save her. Only her instincts and training remain.

Even as that pain wracks her when that violent lightning strikes, she moves. Her right leg rises up just in time, she rolls on the ground, and her feet are freed from those heavy boots as impact and material gives way. Accidental, but they drag away from Kasagami's thud by mere inches.

Lightning is called to metal. It strikes, more of the right side of her uniform is ruined. Gasping, laughing, Kasagami rises with a mere slit of a gaze. She picks up the knife, right side obscured with painful smoking wounds.

Her boots are mostly charr, except for the steel toes that just saved her life. "My blade /is/ pretty dull right now. It really isn't worthy of being a blade wielded by the highest of rulers. DULL! Petz, you are entirely correct to state that I am not worthy to shine a Prince's boots."

Both hands grip her sword tighter. It rises, crimson-tipped, and Kasagami's resolve doesn't waver even as her body feels weak and oppressive with every movement. She lets out a breath, pain out. Dreams in.

Her gaze falls to Chibi-Usa. Pink hair. A young girl grasping her friend to protect her. So brave. Slowly, something stirs in her heart. A blackened piece of charcoal lights again for just a second.

"...A Prince." Mutters Kasagami. Pink hair. In her mind, she can only imagine a single pink haired Prince being scorched by this cruel, strong, ruthless woman. Excitement, desire, and most of all, anger fills the young Duelist. Her Rose Signet Ring begins to shine. All around her, roses flutter, gather, and form a swirling tempest over body. Arms lower. A perfect, wary stance against a strong opponent. Her tattered cape, her uniform, roses cover her like a warrior's armor as she gathers resolve and her ambition alike.

"I will sharpen this dull blade on your furious lightning. Your body shall become my whetstone. What kind of a King isn't willing to face a black dragon if they threaten their court!? Their PRINCE! Your crimes are indeed so very heavy!" Comes the Duelist, scowling, body like a coiled spring.

There's no motion. Her gaze turns to the senshi, apart, and yet supporting them in her royal indignation.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Crimson Ambition on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki accepts Kasagami Araki's Crimson Ambition, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Bind Break! All of Kasagami Araki's debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"Of course! Leave it to me!" Jupiter tells Moon, just before she charges in to take Petz head-on with nothing but her fists, feet, and a whole lotta lightning power. And between her and Venus and Sailor Moon, they do manage to drive Petz back--but Greenie there has to get an *attitude* about it. "Is this a family thing? Are you and all your sisters all arrogant, selfish jerks?" she growls aloud, more than loud enough for any of the Ayakashi Sisters to hear. However, Petz retaliates then by grabbing Venus and *hurling* her into Jupiter, and Jupiter's sure not going to just side-step one of her best friends to crash into god knows what. As those bolts of lightning intermingle in the air, Jupiter catches Venus, but is also knocked off her feet, hurling the both of them several feet back and knocking the air out of Jupiter. The lightning around her fades momentarily as she coughs.

"Y-yeah... How about you, Venus?" she asks her leader, one eye winked shut. A nod in agreement to Venus's comment. "She's as tough as the rest of her sisters, I'll give her that--but we've gotten a lot stronger since the Black Moon Clan first showed up, too!" Once Venus rolls away, Jupiter gets to her own feet, glaring at Petz as Lancelot advances on her in the midst of a thunderstorm. Lots of lightning users here tonight--but when it comes to electric force, Jupiter won't lose!

...But Mars and Moon are having a much harder time of it, as Petz's Dark Lightning not only hits *them* hard, but thunders towards Chibiusa. Jupiter would gladly race over to protect the girl, but having had Venus knocked into her, it's on Mars to race there in time, which means she gets pummeled twice there. "Sailor Moon! Sailor Mars! Hang in there!" she shouts.

When Venus gives her orders, Jupiter nods fiercely, her tiara rod once again crackling with Jovian energy. "Got it! I'm right behind you, Sailor Venus! Let's give it everything we've got!" She focuses again on Petz, a bolt of lightning now surging down from the heavens to explode onto her rod, then crackle around her. "SUPREME--" she calls, arms crossed in front of her, pinky and index fingers extended. When she slashes her arms out, she concludes, "--THUNDER!!" The massive bolts then surge forward to join together with Venus's Rolling Heart Vibration.

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has joined the combo started by Sailor Venus!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://hyperduck.bandcamp.com/track/abyss-of-space

For a fleeting moment, Sailor Mars was plugged straight into Petz' brainstem, and the roiling marsh of loathsome sentiment and natural malice nearly causes her to recoil. For a split second it's as if she knew all there is to know about this exterminating angel of baleful lightning, but as the connection wilts away so too does the profound preponderance of that knowledge. But she better understands the walking and talking catastrophe in their midst.

The air all around her explodes, the fabric of dimensional reality shredding its invisible seams with a rebel's heady zeal. Rei calls upon so many of the muscles at her command to stand fast against the dazzling onslaught. She remains standing, but pays a price for her pride. Like a bloodied boxer there are simply only so many more rounds she can withstand.

And then her vision clears and color bleeds back into the world, and she sees the small body of a small girl with her little back turned to the ebon comet shrieking for her heart.

~~BGM CHANGE https://hyperduck.bandcamp.com/track/lsalle EGNAHC MGB~~

Her body aches and sags as it's called upon to perform once more, to hurl itself back against the piercing fangs.

Leaping sidelong into the girl in a desperate tackle, she attempts to pull her legs up under her into a bunch to shrink her profile and evade the calamity. Her efforts are entirely wasted, and the smell of burnt hair fills the surrounding air. Forcing her jaws to unclench, she swallows the coppery blood in her mouth and makes sure that the girl is safe, sparing the slightest of moments to offer her a comforting smile and wink before hauling herself to her feet once more.

Wiping the grime and the gore from her mouth with the back of her gloved hand, she is visibly in pain, but as much as her body's strength may be fading, her spirit is still all too willing to see this through. Her heart's flame burns as brightly as it ever has, and she will defend her home, her family, and her friends to the bitter end. As Sailor Venus calls them to action, and her sisters join in the chorus, she stands to join them.

~~BGM CHANGE https://hyperduck.bandcamp.com/track/battle-of-conflicts EGNAHC MGB~~

Holding her hands out to her sides with her palms up, she calmly walks forward, her stoic gaze unblinking, unswerving in its focus on Petz. Her hair begins to dance and whip, carried by a wind unfelt by any particle but her own. Little flames sprout from her fingertips, candlelights glowing pure and steady. Narrow crimson rivulets grow like fines to her palms, feeding into the broader immolation consuming more and more of her hands by the moment. Pinprick bonfires sprout like wildflower fields along her body, and her entire silhouette becomes a golem of wildfire, save for her piercingly dark gaze peering through, having surrendered none of its poise or control.

The flames start to suck into her chest as it drawn in by a whirlpool, and soon Sailor Mars is exposed to the onlookers of the world once more as she ever has been, save for the brilliant glow at her heart. Only then does she stop her slow walk forward. Bringing fingertips and thumbs together to form a triangle, a firebolt rips through the portal of her hands as Mars' voice sounds off in a clarion call.

"Fire Soul!

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

"Alright-" Moon replies to Venus, "-here's hoping." She cringes at the jeer thrown Venus' way by Calaveras. But 'she wasn't!' Her head rolls to give the girl a second look, concern in her bright blue eyes. She doesn't know what's wrong, just that the girl really needs help right now. But she's not some grand strategist. She usually just improvises with whatever she has on hand, and she has no idea how to accomplish that without getting all of them killed.

There's this momentary dissonance in Sailor Moon's mind- with how she usually associates the word Prince. "Prince?" It rolls off her tongue like a droplet of water, like the word would simply strike the ground and be gone. But Petz rolls past her pink beams, and she shakes the image out of her head.

Just long enough for her for the impact of Petz suplexing Venus off the ground and into Jupiter to shake her out of her stagger, lifting her rod and- there's the lightning.

Slow down the frame for just a moment, and everyone can appreciate the dawning comprehension in Sailor Moon's eyes as she realizes that her rod has become a lightning rod, which she's holding. The growing horror in her eyes as her arm darts up and she lifts it high and-

Then disappears in an explosion of white and black lightning. She's thrown into the air, landing on her side heavily, and rolling a few revolutions. And then she's curling into the fetal position for just a few seconds, sucking in one pained breath after another.

"Chuh- Chibi-Usa-chan!" Fortunately, Sailor Mars gets there in her stead, and relief wafts off her. "Nice save Mars-chan!" -But even so that girl with Chibi-Usa didn't look like she'd last much longer... they had to think of something big - /fast/! And she didn't feel like she could last much longer- but Jupiter is trying so hard. Right now she just wants to hug that girl, hug all of them and then collapse. She sounds exhausted when she says, "Jupiter-chan... if it's for Chibi-Usa-chan and her friend. I promise I'll hang in there for as long as I can."

Which is when Venus draws her attention with the line of 'she's tough', drawing her head. "Oh!" Her eyes light up, "Good idea! I'll follow your lead Venus!" Putting a hand to her brow, she draws the tiara off her forehead, as it becomes a shining discus when infused by sacred power, "Moon Tiara-" Drawing her arm back, she flings it outwards, "-ACTION!"

The tiara cuts across in an arc- intercepting courageous lightning, rolling hearts, and passionate flame. The tiara teems briefly with more purifying might than it was ever meant to hold, dancing flames, electricity sputtering in arcs, and hearts flowing along the edge, streaming a prismatic tail behind it- as it attempts to crash into Petz and releases all that energy at once in one fantastic illuminating detonation.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has joined the combo started by Sailor Venus!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Venus, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Moon have used All-Star Senshi! on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Venus has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Mars has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has finished attacking.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

La Sirene would feel a certain moment of triumph if Petz had not in fact just gotten back up, smoking but not deeply disturbed, and BANTERING, yet, with her little sisters over there. Her eyes narrow as she continues to gently levitate.

She throws up her hand as if to parry that incoming burst but it does not quite come as she had thought. No, the crash of thunder and lightning come from all round - her arms come up to cross over herself in simple and more authentic defense, her teeth feeling like they're screaming, her feet coming to rest on the soil of Hikawa again.

La Sirene feels herself pitch and sway. The world is full of the ringing of Petz's thunder. She starts to hear other sounds again, sounds beyond the scream of her tortured eardrums.

There is not much that she can say in the light of that -- but she throws her hands out nonetheless. This would have been a more plaintive gesture not so long ago, an effort to seize the last ditch, but in a lot of ways she, too, is shining brighter than she used to.

That light around her surges forwards, and in a sense, 'slops' ahead. The analogy is imperfect, but it is like when a wave crests over the side of a boat, washes upwards - leaving a frothy and complicated foam even as it lands in your lunch pail. The difference, of course, is that this thick globule of inverse illumination is lobbed towards Petz's face, and it dissects itself into a dazzling meshwork as it flies.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Weavery of the Abyss on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Lancelot's Lightning Stream, taking 42 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou perfectly dodges Sailor Venus, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Mars, and Sailor Moon's Combo: All-Star Senshi!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces La Sirene de Diamant's Weavery of the Abyss, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Utena Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!  Blind applied to Utena Tenjou!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

There's a shout of Chibi-Usa's name, but there's no time for it to mean anything to her. Chibi-Usa's world is suddenly side-tilted as Sailor Mars jumps into her, sending the small girl to the ground where she throws out her hurt hand to catch herself by instinct, tense and looking around wildly to check on--

She sees Sailor Mars hurt as she looks around, and that little smile does a lot for all that it's brief. Chibi-Usa, face tear-streaked and eyes wide, smiles faintly back at the Soldier before her. Is she alright...? But she seems so confident. Chibi-Usa smells that burnt hair though.

She doesn't have time to make herself say anything to Mars; instead Chibi-Usa watches her go with still-wide eyes. She scoots backward close to her friend to sit there on the ground with her and takes Hotaru's hand in both of hers, more delicately with the one scraped.

She can't tear her eyes away from those fighting right now, though, Mars and all.

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

For a split second, the Wind Knight stares blankly at the lightning-slinging 'woman' - and then a bolt of black lightning roars past her, headed for one of the girls that the magical warriors are all trying to protect, just as *she* had just said.

Maybe one of those near-misses fried part of her brain, or something, but she doesn't really give herself time to think about it; the battle isn't going all that well, either way. And since the Winds of Admonishment didn't do a whole lot of good, that drops her options back down to 'just try to outright wreck the monster'.


The winds are gathered once more, this time with both of her hands gesturing to shape the spell ... and instead of trying to form the whirlwind around the monster, this time, the barely-tamed tempest starts right in front of the Wind Knight and accelerates towards the lightning-slinger.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Fuu Hououji's Storm-Dance of Kamaitachi, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Enemy Approaching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTjKk937iF0

After Petz sends more lightning at the younger girls, the whole battle seems to kick up a notch. Lancelot's lightning swirls around her, mingling with Diamant's darkness, bourne by Fuu's tempest, and she spins with it all like the heart of a storm, ignoring the welts raised, beyond a keen little hiss through her teeth.

Into this maelstrom comes the combined righteous fury of four Sailor Senshi, and her long lashes are all she's got to shade her eyes from the blinding might of it. They aren't nearly enough. But what she can't see, she can feel, her equal and opposite calling to her, like to like.

And it guides her, as she spins in her personal hurricane, heels clicking onto stone one foot after the next -- allowing her to emerge from the inevitable and massive explosion that answers the question 'what happens when you put a hundred pounds of Rolling Heart Vibration, Supreme Thunder, Fire Soul and Moon Tiara Action into a ten pound bag'...

...largely unscathed. She is again smoking a little. It is again an aggravatingly good look on her.

She smiles, cracks her knuckles, slams her fist into her palm as she warms up for her retaliation, and--


Rubeus' voice cracks through the courtyard like a whip. A moment later, he appears, in a burst of dark power that is less elementally-themed than his subordinates' (though he shares their taste in accessories, wearing black crystal shards as dangling earrings). Even his simple entrance onto the scene exudes a raw and primal expression of the strength of the Black Moon. He would smirk with pride to be called such himself.

In a maroon tank top, green pants, and black boots, his flaming hair thick and wild, this lieutenant could almost be one of the twenty-year-olds off drinking in the city somewhere. But he's not -- besides the earrings, and the Black Moon at his brow, there's a meanness, a casual cruelty in his intensely red eyes that would be very out of place on the average citizen.

It's well at home within this man, however.

Koan and Calaveras recognize it for what it is, and straighten, the former's makeup kit disappearing with a hasty click.

Petz's eyes narrow.

"This fight is /far/ from over!" It's not an excuse, but a statement of fact.

In an eyeblink, he's right up in her face, the back of his hand cracking across her cheek. "You disobeyed a /direct/ order!"

His eyes narrow to slits.

"I will /not/ tolerate insubordination. You said you weren't afraid of /them/? It seems you require a -- reminder -- of why you should be more afraid of /me/."

Without looking over his shoulder, he calls, "Back to the ship!" and the younger sisters vanish.

A moment later, he does too, but not before the courtyard is defiled by the sight of Petz knocked to her knees by a blast of black energy that shudders through her, and continues to crackle in the aftermath. She lets out a pained gasp the equal of any that have been heard this afternoon -- and then they're gone.

Well, almost. On his way out, Rubeus casts a death glare over his shoulder at the porch. "Count your last sheep -- I'll be back for you soon, Rabbit."

After that it's like they were never there, other than some dust, a few scorched cobblestone, and the unmistakable sight of the Black Moon's target on the shrine house's porch, now sans extraordinary column of bright Moon magic -- sitting beside her darker, frailer counterpart, holding her hand.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou transforms into Utena Tenjou!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Sailor Saturn Appears https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6JZ40BtROg

Hotaru comes to almost as quickly as she first lost consciousness, which is to say, not very. She shifts beneath Chibi-Usa's hand, and it is the second thing she becomes aware of. It changes everything, from 'sprawled out on a hard surface, exhausted and in pain, not sure where she is, it must be Tuesday' to 'with her only friend.'

Everything is different. Everything is new.

She stares up at the artificially taller Chibi-Usa with wide, affectionate eyes, and if they're tired eyes too, well, something else replaces that like the sun driving away a storm.

It's worry.

"You're hurt..." she gasps softly, but her voice sounds a little strange, a little distant, like it's echoing from far away in a vast chamber.

Unlike before, though, where she panicked in the chaos, here she is oddly sure of herself, almost disturbingly self-possessed as she sits up and takes Chibi-Usa's wounded hand in both of her own.

A new star is born in the already-busy sky of the shrine, but it isn't a recognizable one -- even the light pouring off of Chibi-Usa's Moon symbol was more familiar than this.

It only lasts a few seconds, but it shimmers with an unearthly violet just a few steps above the blackness of void, and when it fades, all of the other girl's scrapes and scratches have faded too. There aren't even marks, just the perfect pink skin of a perfect pink girl.

Hotaru slowly exhales, then smiles, tiredly, though there's an undercurrent of concern underneath that has nothing to do with the former injuries. No, she's worried about something else entirely, now, and it lends a tightness to her voice that is like a pre-emptive apology.

"At school... everyone's afraid of me, because of my strange power."

Her shoulders slump, and her head lowers. She's ready for Chibi-Usa to reject her on the spot -- and, feeling that way, chose to out herself in order to heal her anyway, without even a second thought.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Barely blinking, Chibi-Usa stares as the others fight Petz. She stares as Petz smiles, mouth half-open, and the's still staring as another member of the Black Moon Clan appears.

She is still staring after Rubeus addresses her directly, unable almost to breathe as she looks back at him. Of course he recognizes her. She recognizes him. He says he'll be back soon...

Chibi-Usa just keeps hold of Hotaru's hand, gently, as she shakes and stares at where Rubeus was. All until...

There's a lot of reason to worry about Chibi-Usa when Hotaru awakens, and not being aware that she's awake the younger girl isn't hiding as many as she might around someone else. But the voice...

What is it about that voice? Chibi-Usa doesn't know, but it doesn't scare her. She blinks down in surprise, smiling to see Hotaru awake after all, and there's her hand in hers. The light is so beautiful in the moment, and her physical pains fade away, a little rock embedded in her skin falling to the ground. Chibi-Usa blinks at her hands, at her bleeding hand that isn't anymore at all.

She sees that smile, though there's something in Hotaru's tone. Chibi-Usa tilts her head, and her stare is different now; there's wonder in it.

"...Hotaru-chan," Chibi-Usa answers, leaning down a little so she can try to see her friend's face. "I think your power is amazing," she says, and it sounds as sincere as anything. "And that you're amazing. I don't know why I'd be afraid of you. We're friends."

A bite of her lip, "...I'm just glad you're okay."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

A bolt of death.

A sudden voice, and a slap quicker than lightning. It all happens so fast, that when the brilliant man and his subordinate are gone, Kasagami Araki is left breathless. The Crimson Rose Duelist's makeshift blade nearly falls from her calloused hand. Her entire body quivers with the sensation of mortal terror, and writhing excitement that has her giving both a grin and a tear running down her cheek.

One final glance to Chibi-Usa. A smirk. "...Bravery and protection for those held dear. The perfect qualifications to become a knight." Another sharp look to the senshi as she starts to walk slowly down the many steps of the Shrine. Her henshin fades, her hand clenches. Sailor Moon in particular gets a long look. And then it fades away as she's down the stairs, laugh pained and exhausted. She nearly falls to her knees.

"You should be ashamed, Kasagami Araki. Your blade is nowhere near sharp enough to be a King. But what a perfect grindstone to press a blade against...Rubeus!" Her hand squeezes, and that silverware shatters. She's gone amidst the crowd, joyous for the prospects of battles to come.

And the looming possibility of Revolutionizing the World!

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

Sailor Moon looks at Petz with a shade of disbelief as she's spins out of the explosion mostly unscathed. Looking aggravatingly great in the process of dodging it- but then there's an interruption. She's in the middle of catching her tiara, when Rubeus roars and she falls down on her butt at his appearance, tiara clattering on the ground in front of her. "Is that their Prince? But he..."

Sailor Moon decides in a moment that he isn't. But there's power in him, and she's scared that perhaps he's going to escalate this fight to new heights. As it stands, the four of them together could finish them without much of a problem.

But, her eyes sift back and forth like she's trying to follow the notes of this drama between the members of this clan, before he lashes out in a display of power that brings their assailant to their knees. She wants to say 'We'll be there to stop you!' but it's hard, when he was bringing the woman that had given them such a hard time to their knees with a gesture of black energy.

For a while she just stands there and then her legs- feeling a touch like gelatin give out beneath her, as she sinks down to a position of mute relief.

She slowly turns her head, looking relieved as she passes over the magical girls in the crowd like the other Senshi and Nori and Kasagami, but not smiling perhaps as she checks on Chibi-Usa and that girl with her. Despite the fact that everyone is alive and still standing, these new enemies were giving them such a hard time that...

But there's a slightly otherworldly tone to the girl's voice as she reaches out to Chibi-Usa, and Sailor Moon stares with a sense of wonder as she watches her heal that girl. She wishes she couldn't understand how people could be afraid of her, but perhaps she could how people could be scared of something they don't understand.

But she does know one thing. She couldn't be more impressed with Chibi-Usa right now... saying exactly what she ought to to this friend who seemed resigned to rejection.

These kind of moments were sacred to Usagi Tsukino. Moreso than any Church. There's no way she would get in the way of those two and interrupt right now.

But she's definitely smiling.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

When Petz takes that quadriplanetary blast to the hairstyle and seems to brace up on it, la Sirene raises a hand to her forehead. Why can't it be an evil cake witch? she thinks internally. At least the evil cake witch-- the thought dies in a train derailment.

La Sirene draws herself up when she sees a man has appeared - another - and then... Then she realizes they are calling for a retreat in some fashion? What helps la Sirene determine this particular fact is the crackling blast visited by this glaring man upon Petz.

And then they are gone.

Gathering every moment of style and grace in her heart and her soul, la Sirene manages not to collapse. She does sort of topple backwards and ends up sitting, quite pedestrian in posture, on the edge of the porch. It's a narrow thing - an inch forward and it would have perhaps been an ignomious end for her. The light glows, and she turns her head, face expressionless.

Is she a ghost? (In actual fact she is pained and exhausted. The light around her is wispy.)

Hotaru reveals herself. That pain isn't so unfamiliar. She is not thrown away. La Sirene looks towards Sailor Moon - she seems to smile - and she raises one hand with index and middle finger held up, close together, in a little gesture more salute than wave. Then she draws her hand as if to pass it over herself, dipping her head. She does not quite vanish, but her outline fades and blurs enough that it's like she's pouring herself away.

(That was an excellent departure, la Sirene thinks, her distorted representation trailing off as she finds her old bag. At this point she pitches gently forwards, face down on the ground, and takes an extremely elegant five minute nap.)