2017-05-30 - No One Liked That Alley Anyhow

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Title: No One Liked That Alley Anyhow

In which Sailor Pluto surveils, Kasagami interrupts, and Fate and Garnet crash the party


Kasagami Araki, Setsuna Meioh, Fate Testarossa, and Garnet


Tama Outer City

OOC - IC Date:

Tue May 30 2017 / Thu Jan 22 2015, Part 2

.****************************** Tama Outer City *******************************.

  • +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Tama Outer City +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

While the the 23 wards of the Yamanote and Shitamachi zones comprise the core of Tokyo, an equally populous and geographically larger section of the city lies inland, to the west. This is the Tama region, consisting of a multitude of districts that, like the wards of inner Tokyo, are considered cities in their own right, but which combine together to form the megalopolis of Tokyo.

In inner Tokyo, the government has to build and protect little squares of nature, but in Tama, nature is the default, and humans build squares of civilization. Surprisingly close to the city, one can find clean rivers, open fields, and, of course, great snow-capped mountains. The Shitamachi zone may be down-to-earth, but its residents are still thoroughly cityfolk, part of the "Floating World." In Tama, the urban culture intermingles with the rural, giving a taste for what life is like in the rest of Japan, outside of the big city. Buildings are low, sidewalks are wide, and cars are much more viable means of transportation than anywhere else in the city. High up in the foothills, one can even find a few tiny villages, whose residents technically live in Tokyo, but whose lifestyle is more akin to the most rural of provinces. The majority of Tama, though, is more of a suburban area, with modestly developed downtown districts scattered throughout.

Life in Tama is less frantic than in Inner Tokyo, and natural beauty abounds. The Tama river forms the southern border of the zone, and many of the nearby mountains were considered sacred, and even today they are guarded by Shinto shrines near their peaks. Inner Tokyo's dense, churning morass of emotional energy holds a certain sort of power, but a more primal magic sleeps under Tama, and because of this, it is home to the Infinity Institute, which secretly trains a new generation of sorcerers away from the bustle (and inevitable collateral damage) of the big city. '*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+--+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*'

Tue May 30 22:59:18 2017 / Thu Jan 22 2015, Part 2

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Sunset steals all the colors in Tokyo and replaces them with its own palette: reds, oranges, and delicate pinks. Grey waits in the wings, ash ready to follow the flame. The foot traffic in Tama's more residential areas has dwindled with the sunlight. Few feel the chilly night is worth braving.

A brave few are not so easily dissuaded. Sailor Pluto, for her part, does not even register the temperature despite all the skin bared by her senshi uniform. Even the coldest terrestrial winter cannot compete with the blinding freeze of deep space. She takes advantage of the evening shadows, in particular a long and deep swath of dark cast across the narrow, snaking alley between two apartment buildings, to observe her target unaccosted, or so she hopes.

Narrowed garnet eyes fix on a single-family residential building across the street and down it a ways, belonging to one Doctor Tomoe. Pluto has been thus, nearly unmoving, for a couple of hours now. If dedication alone could complete a task, the Outer Senshi would have nothing left to do. Would that things were so simple.

Nothing is, though, as she has learned since coming to the Tokyo of Here and Now. The calm clarity that came with removed observation from the Time Gate seems like a distant dream to her, lost to messy immediacy and the complications of human interaction. She sighs, shakes her head -- a rare bit of motion in her vigil -- and tries to empty her overcrowded mind, to little avail.

If she cannot take back mistakes already made, she can at least put in the extra hours now, and maybe regain ground lost. A few more hours, then, and she would call it a night. Pluto tries not to think of her bed and how much she wants to be in it.

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

Kasagami Araki is displeased. About many things, in fact, but tonight her ire is aimed at a certain black-haired Senshi. And not the fiery one either.

After the meeting with Lindy, she'd hopped a car to the family lawyer.

With 'estate business' firmly in her pocket as an excuse, a small twinge hit the young woman after passing a particular alleyway. A quick bribe, a few off-the-rack designer hoodie and a blue coat this time, and Kasagami Araki has a makeshift disguise. It wouldn't do to have one of Ohtori's Finest out this late in a back alleyway in the open.

Call it some weird Duelist insight, instict, or just dumb luck, but there's a tall teenager whistling her way down the back alley that Sailor Pluto has been observing from without a hint of fear. Hobos and yakuza she can deal with. But her prey is in sight!

"You know, I've heard of people watching Sailor Pluto. But they usually do it from benches and parks. This...this is a little creepy, don't you think?" Calls out with a grin and her steel eye's brow raised. It's entirely too wolfish. Her hands in her pockets are clenched.

"What was all of that about, back at the meeting with Lindy? You broke my heart, ignoring me like that! Left it in shreds, tatters, stamped upon by your beautiful heels! Am I really so revolting that you would kick me to the ground repeatedly after I've acknowledged your beauty worthy of Ohtori's halls!?" Comes the young woman, overly dramatic, playing it up, but there's an edge of very real sting in it all. And not just to the ego. She almost sounds a little hurt.

"But I'm forgiving. Maybe you can give me that dance early!" Suggests the cad of a woman, winking in the darkness.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed. <SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL7kYY_q9g4

Usually she announces herself. Gives them a chance to explain themselves.

But across the street is a home. It's not a home she knows well, but she looked it up after discovering their target. She knows it's the home of Hotaru Tomoe.

The girl who called her a kind person. The girl who sits by herself at lunch as everyone is afraid she's a cursed child.

Even with those fears being justified- she still deserves a chance at life.

Pluto's intent seems all too clear to her.

There's a twinkle of light in the mid-afternoon sun from above. A baritone like chime. The only sign she gives. Before the shape of a Garnet colored gem is dropped from the air above to land in the alleyway. Less than half a second later she's streaked in like a golden blur.

In that blur is a girl decked out in dark barrier jacket, white skirt, fluttering cape- blonde twintails streaming behind her. "HAAAA!" There's a swing of her poleaxe device and briefly she locks Bardiche with Pluto's Garnet Rod, an attempt to hook it at the beard of the axe. "Sailor Pluto. I don't care what you think Hotaru is capable of."

With one swift motion she tries to hook her rod upright, before pivoting around in a flourishing strike that causes a violent explosion.

The girl is a silhouette in the smoke that follows the blast wave, as her feet touches down, and advances forward on the alleyway floor. "Noone has the right to judge anyone for something they 'might' do."

Bardiche's head slips up, the sliding metal plate moving out of the way, before twin pistons arise from the head and vent steam. It then shifts back down out of place.

There's a glance towards Kasagami and- "Kasagami. Please don't interfere. This is a matter between us and the Outer Senshi. The Chevaliers and the Shepherds have a truce. None of us want any more bloodshed after what happened at the hospital." But the red pupils of her eyes fixate upon her, "We'll honor that desire for peace. So long as you let us stop her here and now."

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has used Thunderous Clash on Sailor Pluto. COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has finished attacking. COMBAT: Sailor Pluto narrowly dodges Fate Testarossa's Thunderous Clash, taking 14 Fatigue damage! Fate Testarossa is Psyched!

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Garnet lands in the alleyway with a small shockwave that sends small litter flailing, boxes and and a garbage can teetering. They fall as there is another! A backdraft from a pair of armored fists as the Gem fires off her red gauntlets as cover fire and disruption of the Senshi's defense in hopes of complementing Fate's direct assault.

Garnet herself is also in tune with the horrible potential realities that the Future may hold. But she sees many paths, not just the one that the Senshi seems to have decided is too dangerous to even risk letting the river flow as it might ...and Garnet is not the biggest fan of trying to exterminate children.

Even magical children. Especially Magical children. She'd seen the fearsome power of Sailor Pluto before, and knows personally not to underestimate those who can interact with the passage of time, but she hopes the element of surprise will make subduing her as quick and painless as possible.

Fate expresses the Chevaliers' sentiment eloquently even carrying out her brutal attack, so Garnet maintains her silence as she sends forth her explosive resolve, and prepares herself for the next fork in time.

COMBAT: Garnet transforms into Garnet's Got Gauntlets! COMBAT: Garnet has used Rocket Gauntlet Buster on Sailor Pluto. COMBAT: Garnet has finished attacking. COMBAT: Kasagami Araki covers Sailor Pluto for Garnet's attack, Rocket Gauntlet Buster, taking it upon themselves instead! COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to brace Garnet's Rocket Gauntlet Buster, taking 31 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

The approaching whistling doesn't worry Sailor Pluto, though she notes it, of course. Much like the whistler herself, she feels quite ready to confront most of Tokyo's alleyway denizens. That declarative voice, though, spins her in place to face a very unexpected Kasagami Araki, and Pluto's long evergreen hair corkscrews around her with the motion.

Her mouth's small "o" of surprise snaps shut to a flat line, and while she lowers the Garnet Rod from its reflexively defensive position across her body, Sailor Pluto does not relax.

"Araki-san." That low voice is studiously neutral in tone, cool -- as she frantically searches for a response, a reaction, SOMEthing. Pluto has no experience at all with being flirted at, much less with the... ferocity Kasagami infuses into everything she does. It causes a long pause.

"Do not take it personally. I am here for my mission; no more. It is far too important for any distraction." At that last, one corner of her mouth quirks, pulled downward by nagging guilt. "You are a valued ally." Very careful words, very careful tone. "I would not want to--"

A deep tone sounds overhead, but the real interruption explodes onto the scene immediately after, with her bold uniform and blonde hair and axe-borne destruction. Fate smashes into Pluto, weapon-on-weapon, with a tremendous crash, and it is only unimaginably uncountable years of devoted custodianship that allows the Guardian of Time to keep hold of her Rod.

Reflexes won the same hard way send Sailor Pluto leaping aside right after as she does her best to avoid the thrust of the ensuing blast, and she manages to get ahead of the worst of it; the remaining concussive force sends her slamming into the opposite alley wall. "GUH!"

Hotaru Tomoe was proving to be an even more challenging target than they'd thought.

Garnet eyes confront crimson over the silvery length of the leveled Garnet Rod. "Would this, Araki-san," she says, "count for that dance you insist on having with me?" Maybe she can kill two birds with one stone here.

With that Pluto sets off her own explosion, one of muscle and and titanium, as she launches off the wall toward Fate. The Garnet Rod leads the way, an unrecognizeable blur in the fading light as she whirls it end over end. One of those punishing rotations is headed right for the underside of Fate's chin.

She does not at all relish fighting a child so young, but when the rest of the world's children hang in the balance, Sailor Pluto will not hesitate.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Pendulum Blitz on Fate Testarossa. COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has finished attacking. COMBAT: Fate Testarossa narrowly dodges Sailor Pluto's Pendulum Blitz, taking 30 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Sailor Pluto is Psyched! Fate Testarossa's Fade ability activates! Fate Testarossa's Flash ability activates!

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

"'Araki-san', 'Araki-san'! How cruel! At least call me Kasagami! It's one thing to be dedicated, another entirely to push away everyone around you. That's going to get very lonely one day. 'No man is an island', et cetera. Would it really kill you to let down your guard for one night and have a little fun with a valued all..."

Golden light obscure's Kasagami's vision, and in crashes the glorious Mage Fate Testarossa! One hand covers her eye from the glow and the resulting clash between Pluto and Fate. Kicked up dust the force of the impact sends her stumbling backwards for a moment.

From the plume of dust and debris, the steam that floated off from Bardiche towards the rest of the alleyway, flutters of dark red roses creep out from it. Kasagami thrusts a hand through the air in a cutting motion, and turns aside the smoke. Only her ever present scent remains, Ohtori to her last breath.

Already, her henshin has settled around her, coat sporting it's rose-based ruffles and garishes. Slowly, steel slides from behind her coat, revealing a normal sized katana.

It's not even a real one, instead one of those garish fake antique shop ones for display. But it'll do in a pinch.

Tch! Her hand is white knuckled, and the look she turns to Fate is absolutely scathing. "You're the one that just attacked one of our members out of the darkness! You didn't even introduce yourself or show any manners! The way I see things, is that you just broke the treaty yourself! No matter what she might be doing out here, she's a Shepherd, and do you REALLY think I'm going to just abandon an ally in front of an enemy!?" There's extra indignation at being interrupted. For some reason, Pluto's getting a brief glare too. You know, once she's dragged herself out of the wall.

Of course, by now, Kasagami is quite ready for any follow ups. She's already leaping to try to guard from a second strike sent by fate, but instead it's Garnet that's launching that gauntlet-air-explosion at her! Already kicking off the side of a wall, she runs diagonally across it as she spins that knock-off sword in one hand in a floral display of dexterity.

"Sorry Pluto-chan, I only do double dates the second time around! We'll dance alone, then we can invite anyone else you'd like!"

Then she's forced down from the wall into a twirl, using her blade like some kind of baseball bat to try to deflect the power. One of the blasts is neatly sliced up, but she doesn't quite get her spacing right thanks to Garnet's blindside of an attack! It sends her skidding right back against the wall, rolling into the thing and leaving a Kassie-shaped streak right into rebar and brick. Her hoodie is now a mess of slashes and embedded brick bits. Thankfully she has a student uniform under that!

"I just bought that hoodie!" Complains Kasagami, before tearing herself from the debris. A front-flip to get her back on her game, and then she's rushing Garnet. Her first three strikes are textbook slashes aimed for the legs, and then a final sweeping cut towards the shoulder. It's a feint though, and Kasagami steps in to try to get close. A steel-toed combat boot arcs a nice, high kick towards Garnet's face if she can manage!

"Though dancing with you might be fun for a night's entertainment!" Comes Kasagami with a joyous laugh, adrenaline already kicking in.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Arcing Flurry on Garnet. COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking. COMBAT: Garnet narrowly dodges Kasagami Araki's Arcing Flurry, taking 6 Fatigue damage! Garnet's Fade ability activates! Garnet's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

Fate gives Kasagami this long look, as if perhaps surprised that this is the conclusion she's reached. "Do you not realize where we are? Hotaru's home isn't far away. She's looking for opportunities to murder her. They attacked her out of nowhere already without warning!" Her grip tightens on Bardiche, "If that's how you feel- even if you're helping her, Garnet and I won't let that happen! The Chevaliers won't let that happen!"

Pluto launches off the wall, and there's a wave of wind as Fate's flight spells take effect, and she leaps back into her flight in the cramped space. She had to be mindful of her opponent's reach and power. The rotating flourish causes her to zip backwards, and then as the spinning rod is flourished her way, she presses her feet against the brickwork, and tries to rocket forward across the gap.

She still catches Fate in a glancing blow in the chin, her auto-protection spells sparking to life.


But the momentum of the blow sends her into a fire escape, the old metallic platform smashed inward by the impact of her against it. With a groan of metal, two stories of metallic platforms from above fall on top of her and the girl is buried beneath it on the alleyway floor.

A swipe which leaves a stream of yellow mana in her wake shows that she's hardly done though. The girl flies out of the pile of debris, above.

"You and your Garnet Rod are impressive as always."

She holds Bardiche behind her, at the ready for a strike. "But Bardiche and I- we can't afford to lose when her life is on the line." <No Sir.>

Unexpectedly she just juts a hand forward, a spell circle forming in her palm. The golden gem on her poleaxe chimes.

	<Lightning Bind>

Yellow runic circles of shimmering concentric rings appear into being around Sailor Pluto, one for each limb. If she doesn't move quickly, they'll solidify and shackle her into place, quite possibly wrenching her limbs painfully as she does so.

She takes a long moment to look back towards Garnet. Worried given the skill of their mutual opponents. The two of them together against Pluto would be tough enough- and now, "Garnet what's your evaluation? Can we keep this up?" She was the leader of her own team after all- and she always seemed to know what to do. "Should we press on?" Or do they need to call for backup...

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has used Lightning Bind on Sailor Pluto. COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has finished attacking. COMBAT: Sailor Pluto perfectly counters Fate Testarossa's Lightning Bind, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Counter! Sailor Pluto's Reverse ability activates! Sailor Pluto's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Sailor Pluto's counterattack, Garnet Ball, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Fate Testarossa!

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Garnet dodges Kasagami's series of slashes at the legs and swoops to dodge the shoulder cut. By the time she realizes it was a feint, she only has time to move slightly before Kasagami's boot kicks her left cheek and causes the Gem to stumble back a few inches, in equal force and surprise.

Garnet however, doesn't rush to attack Kasagami, but raises a cautious guard and speaks to the girl:

"You shouldn't have dived into the path. Please stay out of this. Your "comrade" is here to try to murder an innocent child in cold blood. We're going to stop her. That's all. That's all it has to be." she pauses "Stand down, or help us."

"I don't think you want that blood on your hands, and I don't want to have to raise mine against you."

Another pause.

"What happened just now was an accident. What you do now is deliberate. Choose wisely."

COMBAT: Garnet has used A Choice of Paths on Kasagami Araki. COMBAT: Garnet has finished attacking. COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly braces Garnet's A Choice of Paths, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Kasagami Araki is Taunted!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

The dust-clouded aftermath of Fate's arrival does not get to linger, not with the colossal impact of Garnet to clear the air (and ground, and possibly nearby windowsills). These two time-bonded women have indeed faced off before, and for her part Sailor Pluto holds a very healthy respect for the Crystal Gem. Were things different, they might even be on the same side.

But things are as they are, and even without the planted flags of an ideological war to navigate by, Garnet and Sailor Pluto cannot possibly be on the same side, not in this particular conflict. Instead the tall senshi finds herself bracing for the impact of rocket-powered fists, still far too overextended by her own attack on Fate to react defensively, even as the fire escape collapses with a metallic shriek.

If Tama's residential streets were sparsely populated before, now they are /empty/.

The titanic punches never land, though, or at least do not land on Sailor Pluto. Dashing Ohtori valiance intercedes, trailing roses and smart retorts in her wake. But, was that sword...? Pluto winces in sympathy as Garnet's second fist smears Kasagami along the alley wall, interrupting undeniable grace.

She has time for a flush of chagrin. Kasagami has more than a point; Pluto has been especially cold to the swordswoman, and here she is defending her without hesitation. Despite their stated goal, despite Kasagami's own issues with that goal. Uranus herself had... well.

Fate erupts from the abstract metal sculpture of fire escape remains, demanding Pluto's full attention and promptly receiving it. Golden magic describes runes on thin air, spinning into being around each of Pluto's limbs, and only her hairtrigger reflexes save her.

Before the runes can solidify, the bottomless red heart of the Garnet Orb flares and blows outward, expanding a glittering shell of magic. It brushes those mystical cuffs out and away without a flicker marring that garnet surface and keeps going, blasting a zone of impassable defense in every direction from the Rod's mistress.

The alley and its already-battered walls make about as much of a dent on the protective sphere; the reverse cannot be said. Brick pulverizes, metal twists, and a grey-brown cloud explodes up and out, absolutely filling the air with displaced particles. The Garnet (Wrecking) Ball winks out of existence a moment later.

A great spherical blast zone, centered on the senshi, stands as the only clear air for a moment before cloud and brick both rush back in to fill the gap, raining indiscriminate debris on all four magical girls.

For her part, Pluto does her best to envision the last place she saw Fate, and fires off a hopeful blast from the Rod. She herself takes off running, preferring not to be in the last place /she/ was seen.


She recalls that great detached fist smashing into the duelist.

"Kasagami! We should go!" Surveillance was not worth this confrontation.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Garnet Blast on Fate Testarossa. COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has finished attacking. COMBAT: Fate Testarossa perfectly counters Sailor Pluto's Garnet Blast, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Counter! Fate Testarossa's Reverse ability activates! Fate Testarossa's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Fate Testarossa's counterattack, Blitz Rush, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sailor Pluto!

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

Kasagami's eye closes as Fate speaks. And then, she opens it. For some reason, she's smiling. Somewhere inside her, she is proud of the young girl. And very, very jealous of being able to commit to such an action even despite the foolishness of it. She, not for the first time, wishes she knew a little less. That she could leave Pluto to her fate.

"A King does not leave her ally alone in a fight. I made a promise." Comes the young woman, solemn if not quiet for a moment.

Then, it's back to Garnet, with an excited grin and a wary eye. "You know, that's the thing that always confused me about you. Every time I've seen you fight, you always seemed like you're more worried about your opponent than yourself. Why do you care what path I'm on? Try being a little more like your partner. Because if you just stand there fretting..."

"Then your opponent will just take advantage! You're here for an ambush! If you're going to do that, then you need to mercilessly beat your opponent into submission, /then/ you can start lecturing them! Ambition, glory, and power are the things that make people great!" Howls Kasagami as she throws herself back into the fray, even as the great blonde streak that is Fate and the darkness of the Garnet Ball starts to clash. Just as she's leapt for Garnet once more, readying a hard overhead strike, she grabs a convenient roof's edge from the jump.

She lands with a backwards flip after parkouring her way up to the roof to get a better look. One hand shields herself from all the flying debris, and she lets out a whistle. Both arms for a brief moment open towards Pluto.

"Pluto-chan! You really do know how to make an impression! You..." And then Pluto is running. Kasagami almost yells at her for the swift retreat, but then her ears work again after she clears them from gravel and rebar.

Leaning down, she winks to Garnet. "Well look at that. I get to save a maiden tonight after all. I really hate running out in the middle of a dance, Red-kun, but you only get to elope so many times in your life. Rain check, hmmm?" And then she's running atop the roofs after a jaunty wave. She absolutely is looking behind her though, and about four rooftops later, she kicks up the side of a water-tower, moves into an upside down mid-air spin with her coat swaying around her, and a single eye peers back at their gauntlet-using assailant.

"Have fun with the after-party!" And that's about when she has her sword in her teeth, and both hands are flicking dozens of throwing knives from the front, back, between her legs with every kind of hat-trick for deadly tossed objects she knows. As it turns out, Kasagami is a proponent of the Student Council Knife Throwing Curriculum.

They're also coated in magical roses. Also one of them has a card with her number on it, the cheeky jerk.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Rose Flash on Garnet. COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed.

"If you want to be a true friend to her."

Fate gives a glance at Kasagami.

"You would tell her it's time to stop."

Just like a certain girl did for her.

There's that moment when she thought it was safe to look away, to check on her ally as she tries to reach out to Kasagami. She hopes it will work. She's not certain it will after all that happened between Kasagami and Mami... even defeating her in a challenge didn't cause her to acquiesce.

But her bind is defeated by Garnet Rod, runic forms being shoved away by her barrier the wall collapsing around her. Suddenly wary she floats back in mid-air, before stopping as soon as mortar dust stops showering her. "Bardiche! Cartridge Load!"

<Load Cartridge.>

The plate beneath the axe head slides down to reveal a revolver cylinder, it rotates fractionally, then the plate slides back up, a pounding noise within. There's a runic circle appearing at her feet, golden mana boiling off her like flames.

The blast of energy hurtles at her- and...

<Blitz Rush>

There's an titanic explosion in the place where Fate once stood, as both walls shatter, and come down. Both buildings surrounding them start coming down piecemeal- a chain reaction of structural integrity lost like Pluto's blast was the finger of a goddess, pushing over dominoes.

"I can't let you- can't- can't let you get away."

She's breathing hard, from a child raggedly breathing, coming from above. She's standing in mid-air, several stories above Pluto. Knowing fully well if that had struck her then she likely wouldn't have made it. <Sonic Drive: IGNITION!> "IGNITION!" She shouts in unison with her device.

BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHIyaEIqo5g

The cloak disappears from Fate. Then the armor does off her gauntlets, her boots. Her skirt is replaced by a pair of shorts, as golden wings of energy appear attached to her wrists and ankles. "Not if it means you're coming back for her. I'll put everything on the line!" She points Bardiche at Pluto, who begins to shift as he does, his axe head retracting into an obsidian hook, a crescent of golden mana erupting to line it.

<Haken Form>

And then she vanishes. Or at least it might seem like that. To someone who knows the flow of time like Pluto- her battle instincts as the wind whooshes by her is that the child is simply moving at extremely high speeds. That's confirmed by the thudnerous boom a moment later that shatters windows all down the street.

But she returns as a hellishly fast moving blur, spiralling towards the Sailor Senshi as if she's working up momentum, until she reaches her, and spins end over end in an aerial somersault for a cleaving strike aimed at the center of the Senshi's Fuku.

<Haken Slash>

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa transforms into Barrier Jacket Sonic! COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has used Golden Flash on Sailor Pluto. COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has finished attacking. COMBAT: Garnet narrowly counters Kasagami Araki's Rose Flash, taking 25 Fatigue damage! Kasagami Araki is Psyched! Garnet's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Garnet's counterattack, The Unstoppable, partially gets through, doing 9 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki! COMBAT: Sailor Pluto narrowly braces Fate Testarossa's Golden Flash, taking 19 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Sailor Pluto's Block ability activates! Sailor Pluto's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Garnet sees the knives coming, and moves to blast them out the sky.

The gauntlets do catch the knives mid-flight and explode with an wave of force that spreads outward.

But her overconfidence doesn't pay off, and with one set of gauntlets mid flight and another set reforming on her arms, there are no gauntlets to block with! There are so many knives headed her way, that plenty are not disrupted, some even gaining momentum from the blast, and "Red" becomes a Red Pincushion, covered all over in the little knives.

She would look up after the Duelist in anger, but her vision is blocked by a piece of paper.

The knife with Kasagami's number lands on her forehead and it drapes down over her face like one of Sailor Mars' O-fudas, the number in Kanji on the outside.

Garnet groans, in both pain and exasperation, eyes closed behind her shades, as she tempers herself from reactionary anger at Kasagami's reply to the Gem's entreaty, in both action and word. But. making the two retreat is a success... they'll just have to make sure that it's not just another feint.

Before she can join the pursuit though, she needs to deal with... this. She begins pulling knives out of herself, saving the forehead knife for last.

COMBAT: Garnet has used Pinned Down Knives Out on Garnet. COMBAT: Garnet has finished attacking. COMBAT: Garnet accepts Garnet's Pinned Down Knives Out, taking 0 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

/She/ makes an impression? Hard to credit, coming from as bold a personage as Kasagami Araki.

Down at ground level, air has the consistency of grit. It crunches in the mouth and scratches at the eyes. Sailor Pluto spits to the side as she runs deeper into the meandering alley, expelling as much ground-up brick as she does saliva, and concentrates on spotting upcoming walls and corners through billowing particulate before she collides with them.

Sailor Pluto clears the cloud about fifty feet away, tendrils of grey-brown chasing her egress. Visibility allows her to attain full running speed, not inconsiderable but nothing compared to the eyeblink maneuvers Fate Testarossa is capable of.

And Fate is not wrong. Pluto /will/ be back, as many times as it takes.

Time-enhanced battle senses allow her to perceive the truth of the situation, but not the leeway to react in time, even to protect her ears from the compressive force of the girl's passage. Long green locks blow forward, streaming over Pluto's shoulders after Fate, filling her vision for critical moments.

A return attack is coming, and there is no way she'll be able to avoid it, not in the face of that kind of overwhelming speed. With ears ringing painfully, Sailor Pluto snaps up the Garnet Rod and lowers her stance, slowing as best she can in the few steps she's got to better center her balance. Fate thunders in immediately thereafter, the young girl less than a blur and so much more, Bardiche leading the way.

The white metallic clang of puissant weapons colliding reverberates through the air, and moments after sends a visible shockwave through the debris cloud behind Sailor Pluto. Her desperate bracing helps, but does not save her, and all forward momentum arrests and reverses until the senshi skids backward three steps.

Roses flutter overhead -- or are they daggers? -- as Kasagami makes her own headway. Pluto needs to get free of this dangerous child, and /now/. She calls once more upon the mysterious depths of the Garnet Orb, and the even pulsing within flares bright and angry until the gathering energy creates its own whirling winds.

"I will do WHATEVER it takes to save this world. If you cannot say the same, then you are simply another obstacle!" There is more determination in her eyes than there is sadness -- and of that last, there is quite a bit. She pushes outward with her mind, and this time she knows /exactly/ where her target is as she directs a rampaging plutonic blast for Fate's feet, seeking to blow her bodily out of the way.

She's welcome to clear the vicinity ahead of time; Pluto left enough windup time to grant the swift girl an escape.

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

"Friends? Hey, hey! I just now got her to call me by my first name. Yeesh, do kids your age take things so fast these days? It's just ungraceful, you know that? One step at a time." Taunts Kasagami to Fate, and then, there's a blonde-colored blurr streaking through the air. But Pluto seems to be on the girl, Kasagami grinning as she spies that wind-up of a blast.

And for once, it seems Kasagami's aim with her knives is true! Not one to leave an opportunity to the wind, she adds insult to injury by flicking her coat at Garnet! It is, in fact, one of the cheap ones whenever she needs a disguise. Sorry Garnet, no Akamaru Brand coats for you this night. Only the knock off kind.

And then, her mind is entirely on getting to Pluto. Sword over her shoulder, she's dashing at break-neck speeds for the other young woman. Soon enough, even her sword is abandoned as it finally cracks from the strain of battle with Garnet.

"That's what I get for buying a cheap toy. Never can stand up to a real warrior like that. Heh, tonight turned out to be fun after all! Off into the sunset we go, oh world saviour Pluto!" Her hand reaches out, and if push comes to shove, she'll try to princess carry Pluto as she ducks between allyways and rooftops both, flutters of confusing petals and a broken sword left behind in fog-like walls.

That scent will not come out for /weeks/!

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (4)] has posed. <SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16EYG2-yK8E

"You don't know me at all if that's what you think." Fate replies evenly to Kasagami.

Oh my cute little Fate. Did they really make offers of friendship to you? Did they give you pause? You do know, as a Testarossa- whatever we set out to do, we must always finish. Do you understand what I mean by that?

Yes, mother.

You say that, but I'm not so sure you do. Everything we do must be finished to completion- and any obstacles in our path must be eliminated.

It's like the girl is horrorstruck in her expression, eyes wide as she meets Pluto, "And any obstacles in your path must be eliminated?" She says mutely, there's no righteous anger now, only dull terror.

I have to be absolutely certain you've learned this lesson. You understand, right?

She feels frozen to the spot. Just like last time- as the blast erupts at her feet.

She flinches as if struck. The golden wings at her feet flex. And like a golden rocket she retreats upwards into the air. Far past the clouds within half a second, as she watches the aftermath of the explosion from above. For a while she shivers and shakes alone. "I understand all too well." She whispers quietly to the clouds of the heavens.

It takes her a while to return back to ground zero. Even as it's repairing itself she tries to smile to Garnet though it seems frayed around the edges, shaken, "We did our best. Hopefully they won't try again for a while."

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Garnet is further vexed by Kasagmi's tauntings. But Garnet is an old hand at both battle, and emotional control. and continues to center her mind. She couldn't explain to such a person what it was like to have the stablity of two lives, two loves, working as one, and how that gave her a measure of serenity, calm and freedom to care about others. It wasn't that Garnet didn't care for herself. She does more than Kasagami, or most others can imagine, but she knows herself deeply, and knows whatever she faces, the bonds that hold her together are strong enough to endure. Garnet feels a thump of cloth as she pulls the last of the knives out, and lets her mind drift towards to the Future, to Fate's possible... well... fates.

She bounds out of the alley and with a series of long, powerful leaps, (Kasagami's coat whipping in the wind, caught on Garnet's shoulder, carrying the number pinned knife, trailing a little behind her like a scarf or cape.) After some time, given the mage's fantastic supersonic flight, Garnet finally reaches the clearing where Fate is lands.

The two Shepherds are gone, but the Gem does find comfort in Fate's assurances of their temporary success.

Garnet replies "We did. It will be quiet night." and with a feeling as to what Future became this present, dismisses her gauntlets, and offers Fate at the very least, a hand to hold.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

  • WHOOM* The Garnet Rod discharges barely-captive energy, and the resultant explosion chases at Fate's heels as she flashes away.

What did she say? Sailor Pluto's head tilts back as she watches the departing golden streak, but she's seeing that horrified expression. It lingers, makes her wonder what so young a girl could have experienced. Their next meeting might give her the chance to find out, Pluto notes with a certain anticipatory grimness.

No time to reflect, not with Kasagami swooping in! The duelist reaches for Pluto's shoulder, gains it, and then finds her grip shrugged off -- not roughly, but the Guardian of Time has two perfectly good, rather long legs and absolutely no reason not to make use of them. They take off running together, chasing distant rooftops. With any luck, they'd convinced the Chevaliers they weren't worth pursuing.

"Name-- before friendship?" Pluto can't help but ask as they pelt around another blind corner, blurting out handfuls of words between each stride. "What exactly is-- your order of operations-- for these things?"

It's questionable whether they're even in Tama at all any more, by the time they alight on a rooftop both deem distant enough. It's a wordless decision made by the mutual slowing of their steps, sort of like how they'd taken turns following each other in their headlong flight. Sailor Pluto is no professional runner like Uranus, and she bends to regain her wind, hands on knees.

Once recovered she looks back up, to her ally's good eye. "I apologize... Kasagami. And thank you for coming to my aid. I have..." She glances away, considering. Thinks of Uranus. "I have reasons for my distance, but maybe you're right. If you tell me what, exactly, you /mean/ when you ask for a dance, I'll consider the question." Their recent exertion is Pluto's final rescuer of the night, handily masking all of the usual physiological markers of nervousness and embarrassment.

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

Kasagami is grinning like a demon as she's rebuffed. A little spin and leap, and then the pair are off on majestic pairs of legs! One set just a bit more elegant than the other.

"Well, doesn't it make sense? First, you meet someone attractive. Then you ask them their name. It's a risk to expose your heart to other people. So you get to know them, show them the places you love and adore. And if they prove worthy, then, you ask them for their friendship." Comes Kasagami as she lands alongside Pluto.

And then, Kasagami is laughing. She leans in to peek at Pluto up close. A small wink. "What, and ruin the surprise? You really do need to get out more, Pluto-chan. Come on, catch me! Force the answer out of me if you're so curious!" Two arms open, a spin, and then she leaps down from the building with a taunting little smile the entire time. Her eye doesn't leave Pluto's until the buildings of Tokyo devour Kasagami's form.