2017-06-02 - Musical Adventures! Jagged Stone's Pure Heart!

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Title: Musical Adventures! Jagged Stone's Pure Heart!

Chihaya Izumi's contest to determine the headlining entertainment at her fundraiser to rehabilitate Ohtori's forests is interrupted by Mimete when she loses. Jagged Stone's pure heart is targeted, both by the Death Busters and by the Black Knight, who sinks a sword into it for reasons unknown.


Chihaya Izumi, Takeo Akamizu, Mai Mishou, Michiru Kaioh, Usagi Tsukino, Steven Universe, Fuu Hououji, Makoto Kino, Saki Hyuuga, Haruka Tenoh, GM: Hotaru Tomoe


MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall

OOC - IC Date:

06-02-2017 - 01-23-2015

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

The MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall is home to the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, but it can also be rented out... by the right people and for the right price.

Chihaya Izumi is the right people, and price doesn't seem to be an object, so here we are, at the fanciest pre-fundraising-gala entertainment trials imaginable. Great that it's so easy for Sister School students to attend!

The ceilings are vaulted, of course, and gloriously complex, architecture woven together the better to worship the goddess that is sound. The seats are so plush that it's impossible not to experience them fingertip by fingertip every so often. In between acts, there's a wonderful hush in the darkened hall, one broken only by the MC's warm introduction of the next entry on stage.

The stage itself has been bare (barring contestants), but the lights have transformed it to gold, and the green drapery on the sides to gloriously rich fabrics, indeed, like something out of a fairy tale. From such things a princess' gown was woven.

It has been a long but glorious night for entertainment, a real tour de force of a variety show (albeit one with a strong musical focus). All of the acts have been of high quality, to say the least -- a mix of outright professional artists and a few absolute pinnacles on the amateur circuit.

Genres have ranged from the chamber orchestra to the popular idol to the heavy medalist, and everything in between. Particular highlights, which drew standing ovations, have included:

  • Miki Kaoru, Ohtori's own boy genius, who performed one of the hardest piano concertos known to humankind both flawlessly and soulfully.
  • Mimete, the famous Golden Idol of Infinity (and the world, as she'd say).
  • Michiru Kaioh, legendary violinist. No more need be said there.
  • Jagged Stone -- yes, that Jagged Stone, the most famous rock star in the world. How was he booked? Why is he competing? Nonetheless, it's been an incredible night, indeed.

"Thank you for coming," Chihaya says to the audience, fiery and happy at the same time. Burning with joy for the success of this evening. "While the official results from our judges will not be forthcoming until next week, now is your opportunity to weigh in for the People's Choice Award! The winner will return to the stage for an encore! Please use the tablets on your chairs to register your feelings."

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

This is not normally something that Takeo would ever find himself at. He is, after all, Takeo Akamizu, and music is not his forte. Or so he would have people believe, and he's completely fine with them believing that the kid who gets in trouble all the time is not able to appreciate music in the slightest.

The truth is something all together different, but not something he admits to anyone really.

So Takeo sits and listens, feigning boredom. He is there at invite, and truthfully he is too afraid of the invite to turn it down. He listens to the music. Notes the temp and flow of the musicians in his mind, all while occasionally sipping from a giant mug of Mt. Dew that he keeps near him. Though he is polite, never slurping, just quietly sipping from that comically large orange straw that sticks out the top. When the time to vote comes he frowns. There was a lot of good music, and he taps his fingers on the arm chair in thought. He wish any of his companions, or even the damned rabbit had came tonight. Just so he could see who THEY were voting for. Though everybody was busy in some fashion or another, and Merlin still had not come out form beneath the Kotatzu, it simply was not close enough to spring for him to drag his bunny bones into the cold.

With a sigh, he looks the list over and finally decides to vote for Jagged Stone. though the violinist was a very close second.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Mishou [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Mai Mishou has been pleased to hear the acts -- and to see them. She sits out in the audience, and she has a sketchpad out. The pages are flipped over, as she has already drawn many of the acts. She is putting the finishing touches on her drawing of jagged stone, now, before her pencil snaps to a stop. The lead drops off.


Then, she looks up at the stage and blinks, once, at it. She listens to Chihaya explain the rules and her eyes light up, before she picks up her tablet -- and then starts flipping through her sketches.

It's one way to decide. "Hm..."

<Pose Tracker> Michiru Kaioh [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.


Michiru Kaioh had emerged in a sea-green dress, not too ornate, with black pumps and dark leggings beneath. "Good evening, everyone," she had said: "I will be performing the final caprice of Paganini for you all. Please enjoy it." Then, a swift fold of a cloth on her bare shoulder, the raising of the violin, and...!


After this, and a slightly theatrical dabbing of her forehead, Michiru had taken her bows. "Thank you very much."


Michiru is in the green room, hair slightly disheveled but aglow with the pleasure of a performance well played. The feed from the stage is still there, and the rustling murmur of the crowd. Her violin packed up, Michiru feels comfortable sipping from a bottle of water.

A glance at a thin-strapped watch on the inside of her wrist and she murmurs, thoughtfully, "I wonder if they're all occupied."

Her eyes lift up, then, shadowed and grave.

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

There's always someone. The person who applauds just a little too long and too exuberantly and causes second hand embarrassment for those around her.

Tonight Usagi Tsukino is definitely that girl at the Kawasaki Symphony Hall after each standing ovation is long over for everyone else.


Miki Kaoru's stage performance gets her nudging Makoto, "He's SO good! And cute too. I can't believe he's actually younger than us." She puts a hand over her mouth, in a titter that's drowned out by his flawless concerto. "Too bad we don't go to Ohtori. Wouldn't it be amazing to have someone like him call you senpai?"


"MIMI-CHAN! Oh I can't believe Minako-chan is missing this..."


During Michiru's peace, Usagi is surprisingly, dead silent. In fact, she closes her eyes just to allow that piece to flow in and out of her ears like the water of the incoming tides. There's this small look of contentment on the expression of the girl who sneaks into Infinity every so often hoping just to catch the sound of Michiru Kaioh's violin at play.

And once it's finished, a contented sigh.

That is before she stands up and applauds her little heart out. Even at one point jumping and waving, gesticulating wildly in the hopes of catching her eye, "Michiru-san! Michiru! Oh do you think she sees us Mako-chan?"


It's like one could smell the sweat and leather from his performance... how lucky were they to get to hear the biggest rock star in the world compete? She even forgets herself during the applause, and accidentally holds up her disguise pen. "JAGGED JAGGED ROCK-N-ROLLLLLLLL!"


One would think this would be an anxiety inducing choice for Usagi Tsukino, as she stares at the tablet on her lap. But it's really not. For a moment she just closes her eyes, and she can hear the plucking of the strings again. Opening them anew, she taps the Michiru Kaioh option. Then shows it to the girl beside her as she confides, "I feel classier even voting for her..."

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

Yay, music! The universal language! It would be wonderful to learn a thing or two about music and how to play! Perhaps if Steven gets lucky, he can meet some of the players afterward. He even brought his Ukelele, as it could learn a thing or two from listening as wall, maybe! Well, Ukeleles don't have ears, but maybe it can feel the music?

It is how he always plays. Just feel it out. It also helps being related to a rockstar.

Speaking of, Jagged Stone definitely gets the boy's attention. Wonder if Dad knows him. Probably? "We may not be rock stars, at least yet! But we can make some cool tunes that will shake the world!" he says to his Ukelele. A shame non of the Gems came. And Lion got blocked by the valet. No animals allowed.

"Who to vote for...?" he says, looking at the options. Everyone is doing so good! It is so unfair he can only pick one to put on top! The boy eventually ends up picking Jagged Stone after fighting over it for so long.

Hey, he is a rock n' roll baby, both figuratively and physically, but cause, well, Gems are rocks. Kinda.

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

All things considered, Fuu is predisposed in favor of Michiru Kaioh, partly because they attend the same school, but also because she's heard Michiru perform before and is, quite simply put, a fan.

On the other hand, Miki-san showed an impressive level of skill, both technically and artistically. Mimete more or less lives up to her reputation, while Jagged Stone ... well ... he *was* impressive, Fuu can't say otherwise. So it's a more difficult choice than it might have been. In the end, though, she casts her vote in favor of Michiru.

It's not like there's a 'wrong' choice in this case, really; any one of the four would make for an enjoyable encore tonight, and presumably a suitable source of music for the gala itself.

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

At least no one can say that Usagi lacks enthusiasm. Makoto is here with her, ecstatic alone for the chance to get to hear Michiru in concert--along with several other significant stars!

Not Miki. A bead of sweat rolls down the side of Makoto's face as she recalls the blue-haired boy taking a bite of a certain cake, and the siren song of the ambulances as they sped off into the night... "Y-yeah! Haha! Yeah, that... that sure would be great, Usagi-chan!" Oh god please don't recognize her please don't recognize her


"Right?! She's gonna be so mad! We'll have to get her a DVD of the performance afterwards! Uh, I hope you didn't already spend your allowance..."


Makoto, too, is silent for Michiru's piece, though she doesn't shut her eyes; instead, she watches the teal-haired violinist with open wonder. How could one woman be so beautiful and talented...? Even Makoto can't help but wave enthusiastically once the piece is over. "Michiru-san, you were wonderful!!" she shouts joyously, with an aside to Usagi of, "I sure hope so!"




Like Usagi, it doesn't take long for Makoto to make her decision. Makoto is, after all, a woman of emotion, and the fact that she knows Michiru personally, and in (as far as she knows) in only a positive context, just makes her music that much better. She votes for her without hesitation, then grins at Usagi. "I know what you mean! Michiru-san's the choice for the elegant lady!"

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

The crowd being who it is, the outcome is something of a foregone conclusion. There just isn't a large enough percentage of elegant ladies to overcome the Jagged Stone brand -- and it is true that he put on a wonderful rendition of Another Brick In The Wall. An artist who knows his audience, surely.

At least there's no shame in losing to one of the absolute most famous people on the planet, right?

As the crowd rhythmically claps him back onstage, the momentum builds and builds and builds. His band hustles back into position -- the air is electric -- he grabs the microphone, thrusts himself into the spotlight, leans down and...

...it isn't amplified. His thrilling scream is still impressive, but it's a distinct anticlimax.

Stage right, Chihaya whirls, alert to the audio problem and furiously intent on resolving it, when a figure in black and gold marches past her, twirling a microphone of her own.

And this one is live.

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls," Mimete screams tearfully, "I was planning to be so touched by your nomination! I had an entire speech prepared! They would have had to play me off the stage!"

Jagged Stone stares at her, waving his band to a stop. There's pity in his eyes, but also anger. This is markedly unprofessional, after all, and he is nothing if not a pro. For that same reason, though, he starts backing offstage, apparently willing to cede her the spotlight for the moment.

Pity transforms to fear as she stalks after him. The whites of his eyes are wide beneath the hot stage lighting.

"Instead I'll take the heart of the one who's taken yours! Come forth, Daimon Devilstring!"

There's an explosion of pink steam, and out steps a humanoid figure, but one too tall... too tall. Also her torso is a guitar, though she has a head with a great pink fauxhawk and holds a more violent-style axe in one muscled hand.

She also has lips, the better to kiss Jagged Stone with, while her free hand seems to strum him like an air guitar in a single, wild circle. Their silhouette is dramatic, against all that pink smoke.

And the shadow adds a layer of complexity as something blindingly bright emerges between their mouths...

Hotaru Tomoe arrives from Tokyo.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Presented By Mimete!
<Pose Tracker> Saki Hyuuga [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Saki Hyuuga is here. Saki coming to big, fancy events happens approximately never, but, she has her methods when a reason is given to her. She has, however, been excited in her own way; even if, somehow, she doesn't really remember what exactly happened, or what anybody looked like, or why her neck hurts, like she spent most of the show looking at a weird angle?

Oh but something's happening now!! Saki looks up, energetic and chipper as always. Oh, cool, a vote! She should vote....for....the one who............was good.....?? who was that. She stares at the tablet like it has asked her the riddle of the Sphinx.


Saki is applauding like everyone else, because she is a polite young lady and Jagged Stone rules.

But then...something weird happens. 'Daimon Devilstring' sounds like a spooky name, but Saki being Saki, she clasps her hands to her mouth and whispers, "The world of adults...!?"

A voice from her pocket yells "NO-LAPI SAKI-LAPI FOCUS-LAPI"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Mishou [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"You have to transform-chopi!"

Mai looks up, sharply, when she hears those words from her pocket. The girl's violet eyes turn quickly to her partner, before she looks back at the stage. "S-Saki!" she says. "I... I don't believe this is like... an ordinary awards show!"

"She... she definitely won't let him finish-chopi...!"

Mai extends a hand out towards her friend and nods, once, her expression turning serious -- and then she looks up at Mimete and the stage alike. Bare fingers start to squeeze -- and gloved fingers finish it, as Cure Egret stands there in the wake of a wave of gold and silver sparks of light. Her violet eyes narrow.

"Interrupting a performance like that...!" Cure Egret calls out. "We won't forgive you!"

Her hand slips from Cure Bloom's. A nod is exchanged, and she sees the blinding, bright purple glow -- and then Egret launches at it. Silver is left in her wake, before she drops down. Foot outstretched, she comes crashing down, to kick at--

--at whatever it may be.

COMBAT: Mai Mishou transforms into Cure Egret!
COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Sky Dancer's Kick on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Oh snap crackers." Takeo says as Mimete strolls on the stage and the little drama unfolds. When the Daimon enters the stage, he stands up hand already going for the amulet around his neck. When the smoke and the silhouette occurs he yanks the amulet over his head, holds it forth and calls out in a strong voice;


Lighting pours fomr the amulet, crackling with thunder as the electricity plays over his form. Individual bolts slam into him, and where they strike a piece of armor materializes, glowing a bright neon blue. This repeats until Takeo is head to toe glowing neon blue, and then the blue flakes away in swaths of blue pixels. Each pixels explodes in a burts of lightning and a crack of thunder until finally standing tall and proud, is THE Chevalier Lancelot. He looks at the scene before him and points to the Daimon. "Hey! If you have an Axe to grind, get a record deal!" He looks to the closest magical girl and snickers. "Get it? Becuase it's an electric guitar? An Axe?"

He clears his throat and then slams his fists together. There an explosion of lighting, and as he slowly pulls his hands apart it's like he's drawing two swords. The lighting solidifies and he now holds in his hands, the twin swords of Arondight, Demon's Bane. Each shining white blade crackling with energy. He rushes forward, holding the swords to the side as he closes in and then leaps at the Daimon to slash with a cry of, "LIGHTNING IMPACT!"

COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Chevalier Knight Lancelot!
COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Impact on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Yeah, Jagged Stone!" the boy erupts as the winner is announced. Oh man, now if only he can get his autograph. The crowd loses their collective everything as the cheers go to deafening decibels. Though sadly, it is short lived. Before Steven can plot to sneak around to get his ink on his Ukelele, something happens onstage.

Some strange person in black and gold waltzes out. Are they a hidden act? Perhaps a new announcer? Turns out neither, as she makes threatening moves towards the rockstar idol. "Hold up! What gives? He won!" A sour face as any is on Steven's, as the boy begins to get up in anger.

Of course things go absolutely to the blues, when a guitar like creature appears! "Okay, that does it." The boy rushes the stage, mosh-style. "Hey you, mosnter thingy! Ya don't mess with a rock star, or others will come for you! Like--" Uh, well that was almost rather vain, wasn't it? "--Like my dad if he were here! But he isn't so I will fight in his place! Bring it!"

The boy cant lose as long as he has his friends, his rockstar heart, and his trusty Ukelele at his side! There's only one way he can go! And no, this one wasn't gotten at a second-hand store.

COMBAT: Steven Universe transforms into Steven Quartz Universe!
COMBAT: Steven Universe has used AND STEVEN! on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

A slightly chagrined look flicks across Fuu's face as Jagged Stone gets the nod for an encore, but she claps politely enough to show the proper respect for an artist returning to the stage. Only for something to go haywire with his microphone? And ... Somebody else coming out - with a monster?

... Oh. That can't be good, can it?

Time to 'leave,' clearly. Fuu does her best to help chivvy a few paralyzed civilians into motion, clearing the row between herself and the aisle (and hopefully a few people who were further in than Fuu), and trying to get them out the nearest door. "No, I don't think this is all part of the show," Fuu comments -

And then trips. Sideways.

If this had been an actual accident, she probably would have broken her glasses; as it is, though, Fuu calls out, "Keep going!" and crawls further under cover, fishing out her glove-jewel ....

A few seconds later, a cry of "Winds of Admonishment!!" rings out as the Magic Knight of Wind makes her presence known, conjuring a binding whirlwind and trying to entrap Daimon Devilstring inside it.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Nodding her head and smiling at Mako- "I know right? You know she's mentoring me in becoming a more elegant lady- we had lunch together just a few days ago." The way she looks off into the distance, one can almost see how her mind is editting that event in her daydreams to fit some vision of how she thinks she'll end up under her tutelage.

The two of them eating on the veranda(She's not even sure what a veranda is. Her mind is editting the details), the gentle sound of violins sernading them- her acting as the perfectly charming princess.

In actual reality, she ended up with more foodstains on her dress than anything...

But the award is announced and there's this brief stab of disappointment, "Awww I was hoping Michiru-san would win..." But despite her pick losing, she's up cheering with the rest of the crowd in short order. But his scream seems duller than usual and that causes her loud clapping to become puzzled as- "Eh!?"

Dread touches overtakes her as something just feels wrong- she gets this look in her eyes as realization floods her. Her clapping stops, and her eyes grow less shocked and more determined by the realization. She has a hand on Makoto's arm not long after, "Mako-chan... I think she's... the one who attacked Naru-chan." The screams begin at the puff of pink smoke- and she uses that to raise a hand high, the other on her compact and-

"Moon Cosmic Power - Make Up!"

It's not long after the smoke clears that Sailor Moon appears, illuminated in one of the stage spotlights, "Just because you want your moment in the sun, that's no excuse to steal it from someone who won it fair and square! I'll never forgive anyone who thinks their ticket to fame is dragging a celebrity's reputation through the mud of the tabloids!"

Wait does Sailor Moon actually think that's... Mimete's plan? Have her monster makeout with Jagged Stone to create scandalous pictures? "And also trying to steal their Pure Heart!" That's... almost an afterthought.

"Sailor Suited Pretty Soldier of Love and Justice: Sailor Moon! In the Name of the Moon-" Stance wide, she spreads apart her fingers, and hand over hand points at Mimete and her Daimon, "-I will punish you!"

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used In The Name Of The Moon on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Saki Hyuuga [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Flappy yapping - and Mai reaching for her hand - get Saki to reassess the situation. "That thing...she's attacking him," she says, and nods. Mai's serious look is matched with Saki's as the auburn-haired girl reaches for her friend's hand.

The light flashes around her, a brilliant array of silver and gold. And then it's Cure Bloom whose foot slams on the seat back in front of her (SORRY) as she throws her arm wide in defiance. "Attacking someone just because he was more popular!? We won't just let you do that!"

And so silver is joined by gold, as Cure Bloom bursts forward - fist landing mere inches away from Egret's foot, powerful swing striking at evil!!

COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga transforms into Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Makoto Kino [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

It's a shame that Michiru didn't win, but can you really argue with Jagged Stone? Makoto's pretty okay with him getting the People's Choice selection, too! She's all set to start cheering for his performance (AFTER confiscating Usagi's disguise pen), when Mimete strides on stage and mucks everything up. Makoto's brows furrow, and she starts to frown. She's not exactly versed in performance etiquette, but this seems incredibly rude to her.

Then it goes way beyond rude and Mimete summons a daimon to swallow Jagged Stone's Pure Heart.

"Oh no!!" she gasps, leaping to her feet. She shoots a sharp glance at Usagi when the blonde touches her arm, which only grows sharper when she shares that particular news. "Then all the more reason we can't let her get away with this!" she whispers back. She shares a firm nod with her, and then takes advantage of the expanding circle of pink steam in the wake of the daimon's creation to lift up her own transformation pen. A shout of "Jupiter Star Power, Make-up!" later, and Sailor Jupiter leaps up from the crowd, arcs in the air as lightning crackles around her, and then *hurls* a globby bolt towards the daimon as she lands on the backs of two front-row seats. It's no Sparkling Wide Pressure, but it ought to get the creature's attention--or at least, that's the intent.

"How dare you interrupt the electric encore performance everyone's been waiting for?!" she demands, green eyes dangerously narrowed. She rises up, then strikes a dramatic pose. "I'll fill you with so much regret, it'll leave you numb!!"

COMBAT: Makoto Kino transforms into Sailor Jupiter!
<Pose Tracker> Michiru Kaioh [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Michiru had turned to look in the direction of the two girls shouting for her, and had smiled. Had she seen them, though, or was it simple glamour on the stage?

(She had, of course.)


Michiru had been thinking that she might have to discreetly investigate all of the people who were present in that green room. She'd had a disturbing sort of vision of seeing a black star rising up in this very room - a half-remembered dream - and it was part of why she had taken on this competition, even if in the end she might not prevail.


Michiru looks up at the speaker in the green room, mounted high as it is, and watches as - yes; when the Daimon moves outside, the shockwave echoes through the building and the speaker shifts. Sinking down several inches, its mounts coming loose. She exhales with some force, and reaches into her bag for a particular pen...


An emergency exit door opens, no doubt to the pleasure of panicked patrons. Someone opened it, and is easily overlooked, though she does a simple fluid twist over head and to the side of the flow of traffic, stepping up to balance with casual elfin ease on the back of a row of seats.

Sailor Neptune folds her arms... and looks towards the stage...

... and, for the moment, does nothing. She is not straining herself, she does not seem fatigued. Perhaps she's studying the enemy?


COMBAT: Michiru Kaioh transforms into Sailor Neptune!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has used Ripple of a Dream on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Lightning Bolt on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Cure Egret's Sky Dancer's Kick, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret is Psyched!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!  Stun and Trap applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Slicing Through, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Lancelot's Lightning Impact, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Psyched!  Diversion and
Exhausted applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Steven Universe's AND STEVEN!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Steven Universe is Psyched!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly counters Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!
Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Tactician ability activates!  Cripple applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Slicing Through, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly dodges Sailor Moon's In The Name Of The Moon, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Fade ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sailor Jupiter's Lightning Bolt, taking 23 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sailor Neptune's Ripple of a Dream, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Neptune is Psyched!
Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!  Analysis performed by Sailor Neptune!
<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"I'll let you finish," Sailor Uranus says, stepping up to Neptune's side as she addresses the guitar-monster. She pushes her hand through her long straw-blonde bangs, shaking them out in the wake of her gloved fingers. "But you are taking the stage from much worthier performers."

Amidst the sparkling charisma of her entry, Uranus gives a glance-over to the various magical parties present. A magic knight, a somewhat less magic knight. A kid, two Pretty Cure. And Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter, of course.

More quietly, Uranus asks Neptune, "What do you see?"

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has used Acts with Elegance on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus accepts Sailor Uranus's Acts with Elegance, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to Sailor
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Daimon Battle! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZEx2neikps

Rather than punching and kicking out of a cloud of smoke, Pretty Cure are forced to kick into it, instead. Egret's foot leaves a swirling contrail as it passes through the pink cloud, and Bloom's fist, too, but neither find their mark -- Devilstrings is wicked fast, leaving a hole in the mist that is gradually filled. That, and she briefly strummed her guitar, sending out lines of razor force to intercept that wicked fist.

They linger, threatening to entangle Pretty Cure, and slice where they touch.

Lancelot charges in next, and slams his blades against the daimon. Lightning crackles around her, through her, and she smiles a ghastly smile.

Trapped between her grinning teeth is that tender spiked crystal, all pink and red and white, white light.

  • gulp*

Now it's in her throat. She's able to speak around it.

"I really do," she replies as to whether or not she gets the joke about an axe being like a guitar, and then takes her axe and attempts to rend the knight unto firewood.

The other boy on the stage, his challenge is heard and received -- with another thrum, Devilstrings sends out more of those sonic wires at him, and through the Magic Knight of Wind's cyclone, too, creating a deadly swirling knot that endangers everyone nearby, and even those up in the rafters, as they spread throughout the room.

Wisely, the crowd is evacuating.

"You!" she announces, after swallowing the Pure Heart Crystal more thoroughly (it can now be seen faintly shining further down the guitar, in what passes for a daimon's stomach). "You must be the one named Sailor Moon!"

No kidding. All that dramatic speechery seems to have passed right over her head. "Boss said I should watch out for you... boss?"

Mimete is curiously absent. Apparently she expects her daimon to take care of this messy business.

Devilstrings is on the job, though. Advancing towards Sailor Moon her height and mass become especially evident; she is impossibly large and strong, dangerous without magic, even. Bringing her axe up for an overhead swing...

...she takes Jupiter's lightning, right to the kisser.

Devilstrings spits sparks, frowns, then grins like a demon, which, of course, she is, as Neptune can effortlessly sense. This is yet another of the Death Buster's monsters, sent to retrieve Pure Hearts for dark purposes.

The heart in question can't be inspected while in this one's belly, however. A course of action seems reasonably clear.

"HIYA!" the daimon continues, now bringing her axe down on Jupiter instead of Moon.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Babes With Axes on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wire Act on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Babes With Axes on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has adjusted her boss levels. She is now ready to take on 9 opponents!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Fade ability activates!
Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Tangle applied to Sailor Neptune!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Reverse ability activates!
Cure Bloom's Tactician ability activates!  Tangle applied to Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom's counterattack, Petal Flash, partially gets through, doing 7 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!  Diversion and
Stagger applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus perfectly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Sailor Uranus's Flash
ability activates!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Block ability activates!  Fuu
Hououji's Parry ability activates!  Tangle applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Babes With Axes, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Jupiter's
Block ability activates!  Sailor Jupiter's Parry ability activates!  Stagger applied to Sailor Jupiter!
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Babes With Axes, taking 37 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Cure Egret fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tangle applied to Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The Chevalier has a brief exchange of blades with Devil Strings before she finally finds a hole in his defenses. The Axe catches him and sends him flying off the stage and into the seats where he goes through the first row and stops roughly in the third. He winces, and pushes himself to his feet. "Okay. That was ... Unexpected ...." He shakes his head to clear it and then takes stock of the area.

Having landed near Sailor moon, he smiles over to her. "Hiya Moon. Long time no battle next to." He rubs the back of his neck. "So. Um. Is this one of yours, or is this a Pretty Cure thing?" He gives her a rather charming smile. "Oh. One second." With a nod he decides to go ranged and slams his blades together. This creates a surge of electrical energy which he directs to Devilstreams by calling out "LIGHTING STREAM!" The bolt of lightning whips out in blue and white arcs with a crack of thunder.

He looks back to Sailor Moon, a thoughful look on his face. "You know. You're a girl. Do girls like Cake? I was thinking about getting Maiiiiii - My friend a cake, but I'm not sure how she'd take it. Got any suggestions?" He blinsk and blushes. "Is now a bad time? Becuase I can ask these life important questions later...."

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Stream on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Egret yelps in surprise, because she expected to encounter something more solid. Instead, she kicks through smoke -- and then she sees the Daimon, and the lines whip out. They slam into Cure Egret, then smash her backward. She slams into the wall of the auditorium -- but then she bicycle kicks back off the wall, and goes flying back towards the Daimon.

She twists around in midair -- and then comes in with her fist swung back. Silver light dances across her gloved hand, when she punches at the Daimon, then hits the ground with both feet. She kicks off it.

Into a somersault, aimed at slamming her feet up into the Daimon's chin.

"Lancelot!" she calls out. "I... don't believe this is the time for such questions!"

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used White Wing Flurry on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

She almost doesn't notice Sailor Neptune standing there, watching from the emergency exit. Almost, but not quite. Her eyes pass over that sea of elegant green before returning to it. Her mouth opens as if to utter a sound. And then there's Uranus- her voice unmistakable as it addresses the monster.

Almost as unmistakable as the hurt in her eyes as she looks upon the pair. Her hand starts their way as if she was going to say something. Reach out to them in some way. Say something, anything- to try to understand...

That moment is rent asunder by sonic wires, streaming her way. And suddenly hands flailing like some panicked dog paddling her way out of water, she barely leaps of the way of the lines of sonic force that cut as surely as any razor- the tangle grazing her Fuku and tripping her up, but not quite snagging. She lands on her knees, almost in front of the monster.

You must be the one named Sailor Moon!

Sailor Moon puts up a finger to point at herself. "Oh! Well I'm glad you recognize me! I didn't realize I was so fa-" Only to see her error when she a shadow looms over her, axe raised high, "-mous-" There's this sound out of her throat like something just died within it as she stares.

Which is when Jupiter's lightning hits it head on. Scrambling backwards on her rear until she was a safe distance, she then claps twice as she gets up on her feet, "Nice shot Jupiter-chan! You really saved me!"

It's in that moment though, that she remembers that it swallowed the Pure Heart. "Everyone! If we hit it really hard it might let go of Jagged Stone's Pure Heart. Once it's out we can't-" She stops it at the realization of what she was about to say. '-we can't let Sailor Neptune or Uranus get it!'

The realization hits her unexpectedly hard. That hitch audible, the way her eyes flicker towards the Senshi of the Outer Solar System. "... we have to keep it safe." She says instead. More softly.

"Ready Jupiter?" A hand touches the tiara upon her brow- here merest touch turning it into a shining, sacred discus in her palm, "Moon Tiara-" Drawing her arm back, she then casts it forward with all of her strength. "-ACTION!"

She throws it in a roundabout path as a feint. A path where it's trailing shimmering motes of moondust behind it like sparkling tears. Struck along it's path by Celestial Thunder of Jupiter's Guardian planet- it sparks with electricity- before looping onward and starting to careen towards the Daimon's stomach.

Already she's wondering if it throwing up a Pure Heart is going to be especially gross.

It may seem like a really strange moment for a question like Lancelot's to reach her ears. But the sheer dissonance of normality against heavier thoughts allows her to answer it, "Eh? Do girls like- what kind of question is that!? What girl doesn't like cake!? Of course Mai-chan would like-"

He asks if it's a bad time with their attack currently speeding towards the monster.

"-KIND OF? Just leave her a nice strawberry shortcake!" And then there's that sound out of her throat again. Suddenly she's bright red- a certain Christmas memory... "Just be sure not to call her- that!"

That may make absolutely no sense to anyone in the room except one other person.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Steven Universe narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Wire Act, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Steven Universe's Block ability
activates!  Steven Universe's Parry ability activates!  Tangle applied to Steven Universe!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven can only shake a fist angrily at the moment at the giant guitar-lady-thing. At least it is more reassuring when other magical folk appear on the scene to defend the innocent and musically inclined. "Well uh. Okay! Friends!" he says happily. Sailor Moon makes the call for action, and... "W-Wait, what?!" Why would she keep stuff from her Sailor Scout Squad?! "Uh, okay?" he says. Maybe the loud nosies and sudden magic wires lashing out messed his hearing up, because he gets all caught in them. He sees Takeo taking the brunt of attacks, and struggles to get free, though he is tangled pretty badly.

A few sudden claws change the situation, as a pink animal comes out of nowhere and claws them away. Mostly. Some still stick to Steven. "I-- Thanks, Lion! Okay! It is time to attack! Go get--"

Lion is completely enamored with the magical wire.

"Ugh, fine! We got this!" he says, charging forward to let the Daimon have it with a few well placed bashes toward the lower sections of the enemy in reach!

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Shield Dervish on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Bloom swings right on thr--wait. No. Something on her---AH NUTS

Cure Bloom's fist explodes with light, an eruption of sparkling gold motes of power that scatter the wires around her. It can't, quite, stop them from cutting her entirely, not once they start twisting and shearing; but it does scatter them in a way that she gets merely a few minor nicks. She quickly spins to watch Egret fly past. "Egret!" she calls, alarmed; but her friend is swiftly recovering. She huffs a worried breath, then turns her eyes on the Daimon. Fist clenching. And then she shoots in - less leaping than throwing herself, an almost wild spin of her foot to aim at the thing's head. Hit or miss she shoots past, touches down, and soars back in, this time leading with a wild fist; then past again, and back in. It's not fast, per se, but it's quicker, a series of hard blows to try and keep the offense going if any single shot misses.

Flappy, in response to Egret's alarm, calls over, "No it's OK I am also curious-lapi!"

"Now who needs to focus!?"

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Bloom Pursuing Strikes on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly counters Lancelot's Lightning Stream, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability
activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Slicing Through, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Lancelot!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Cure Egret's White Wing Flurry, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability
activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!  Exhausted applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Steven Universe's Shield Dervish, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability
activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Cure Bloom's Bloom Pursuing Strikes, taking 20 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Neptune arrives, and so does Uranus, bringing snark to the battlefield. Jupiter swivels around to glare at them, eyes still in Danger Mode, but--if they're not acting for now, then she and Sailor Moon and the others have just got to take out this daimon and get Jagged Stone's HEart Crystal back first!

Because it'll definitely be that easy.

Jupiter hurls that lightning, smacking the axe away from Sailor Moon, and does her speech. When she's done, she shoots her friend a wink and a smile. "Anytime, Sailor Moon!" Wait, but there's that axe coming for *her* instead--Jupiter crosses her arms defensively in front of her, but rather than positioning them right in front of her face, she knocks them forward to catch the axe on its hilt. The blade quivers a millimeter against her tiara, and she snarls, buckling under the attack's weight. Then she hurls the daimon aside.

Don't worry, Sailor Moon: Jupiter will absolutely say what you can't bring yourself to. "Right! And to keep it safe, we absolutely can't let Uranus or Neptune have it!!" she calls, sparing a second to glare at the Outer Senshi. "We've got to get it back to Jagged Stone!"

Ready, though? She was *born* ready. Electricity crackles along her tiara rod, then all around her as she crosses her arms, index and pinky fingers out. "SUPREME THUNDER!!" she roars, then *hurls* the thunderbolts forward to join with Sailor Moon's Tiara and, hopefully, punch that daimon in the gut and give her a REALLY bad case of indigestion. Hurk!

Then Lancelot is asked Sailor Moon those questions, and Jupiter can do naught but sweatdrop. "You guys, is this REALLY the time?!"

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has joined the combo started by Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter have used All-Star Senshi! on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

And the mastermind has vanished while everyone was focusing on the daimon ... which is, to be fair, a very immediate danger to everyone involved.

The Wind Knight conjures her blade just as the wires lash out to entangle her; she's able to hold off the brunt of their impact, but she still gets ensnarled in them some. Breaking loose will take some time and effort, or possibly a simple act of desperation. She also can't really swap to her bow - she needs both arms free for that, and she's not quite *that* mobile. For the moment.

She *does* still have unimpeded use of her magic, though. And her legs are *relatively* unimpeded ...

A moment's struggling, and the Wind Knight suddenly charges at the stage, mindful of her allies and ready to duck out of the way if she realizes she's suddenly in an ally's line of attack. It's a simple charge, slash, and withdraw maneuver she's going for - not aiming for anything terribly vital - she saw that crystal getting swallowed, so she's just aiming for a leg or something.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Sword Strike on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Fuu Hououji's Sword Strike, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade ability activates!
Hotaru Tomoe's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Just in time," Neptune says with a lowering of her eyelashes when Uranus appears besides her. "I'd been wondering if you'd left early."

And then: Gulp goes the Pure Heart.

Sailor Neptune frowns with sufficient force to curdle milk. "It's swallowed it... from this distance I can't tell one way or another. We'll have to make its gorge rise... how inappropriate for a night of culture."

Any lingering levity in her attitude vanishes as she straightens up. It's going after Sailor Moon. That would be an advantage if the lashing cords had not moved just a second too quickly, wrapping around Neptune's leg - her plan to leap gracefully in the air is now rather impaired in a singular way. "Tch-"

Her hands on her hip, Neptune grimaces against the pain, twists round, raises her foot - and simply and directly snap-kicks the mess towards the Daimon! After this she has red lines on her calf, but she is, at least, not gasping in pain. "I suppose I shouldn't hold a grudge," she murmurs, before sweeping a hand back through her hair.

"Try to get it to reveal its stomach - I'll see if I can cut through," she murmurs to Uranus, even as the jettisoned flotsam finishes its arc, perhaps with crashing effect.

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has used Casting Off Moorings on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sailor Neptune's Casting Off Moorings, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Neptune is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The rows of seats are being roiled and ripped aside by approaching wires. As they reach her, Sailor Uranus leaps aloft, seeming weightless until the moment her weight comes down on the exit sign above the doorway. As wires lash up, she tumbles forward, her narrowed profile passing through, then kicks out of the roll to juke aside from them as she comes to ground.

"Neptune?" she asks curtly, checking in on her partner. She nods professionally upon instruction.

Sailor Uranus makes eye contact with Sailor Moon as she makes her pronouncement. When it cuts off, she mouths the last two words right back to her with a wry question in her eyes.

we can't...?

Jupiter draws her attention by finishing it for Sailor Moon, and Sailor Uranus shakes her head. "All that courage to say what must be said, and none to do what must be done. You want the Pure Heart?" She springs into a headlong sprint down the aisle. "Take it from us!"

Launching herself into the air again, Sailor Uranus comes down knee-first, aiming for Devilstrings' shoulder. A quick roll off that shoulder will bring her arms around one of Devilstrings', and from there it will be just a hip rotation away from flipping her into the nearest wall to expose the belly.

COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has used Elegant Throw on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sailor Uranus's Elegant Throw, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter's Combo: All-Star Senshi!, taking 119 Fatigue damage!  Critical
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Devilstrings intercepts Lancelot's stream of lightning with more of those wires. It's a good thing that they're made out of energy rather than real guitar steel, under the circumstance; they're able to get the job done, leaving the daimon herself only minimally crispy and the knight a little bit sliced up.

Cure Egret and Bloom, meanwhile, perform some awesome teamwork; with the former staying up close, she's unable to pursue the latter, and right around the time that she's staggered by two little white feet right to her chin, Bloom is able to land a devastating fly-by punch right on the body of the guitar. Devilstrings staggers back, nearly tripping over Steven's shield and Fuu's sword, which leave marks on her legs, as well.


The daimon herself also makes a high-pitch noise, like she really felt that, and it combines with the guitar, reverberating awfully like a church full of warped bells.

The sound carries, to say the least.

Devilstrings regains her composure just in time to be descended on by four senshi, and though they aren't working in full concert, they are certainly working in duets. An appropriate symphony for this hall.

Sailor Neptune kicks the energetic wires back at their owner, who doesn't think to avoid them. This is a mistake; corrupted by the determination of the roaring sea, they're quite capable of hurting her, opening up slices along her gaudily muscled arms.

There's no blood, nothing human about this demonic guitar. Her wounds weep diminished chords.

"You'll have to take it from me fi--" Devilstrings starts to rejoin the conversation with a rejoinder to Uranus, but doesn't get far. Slowed by Neptune's distracting tangle, she's unprepared to be held close in an entirely different kind of embrace than that of the eponymous Soldier. Rather, the soldier of sky sends her crashing into the ground -- well, a wall -- where she sticks, cracks forming in a spiderweb around her.

It's then that Sailor Moon's tiara -- propelled thundrously by Sailor Jupiter's blast of lightning -- loops back to find its mark. It detonates squarely on Devilstrings' belly, which is to say those guitar strings, which is to say...


But also:

  • glurk*
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Reverberberberations on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot's Block ability
activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Chihaya Izumi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The Pure Heart is ejected from the daimon's mouth like it was a spring-loaded cannon. Thankfully there isn't any... internal juice, of any kind; the Crystal shimmers and sparkles its way along its parabolic trajectory as though it were never demeaned by proximity to demon lips and guts.

It passes high overhead -- there's so much space on stage, of course, the concert hall finding its apex there -- and then comes down, as all things that go up must do.

Ultimately it lands in the shadows of stage right, behind the layers of curtains there, which ruffle in an unseen breeze.

But the darkness there is... deeper, stronger, more palpable than it ought to be were it merely backstage. Even the contrast between the hot stage lights and the cool sidelines, which is often blinding when it comes suddenly, isn't enough to explain the utter void that has consumed that side of the area.

It spreads... and so does the cold, ice that shocks the skin but grips the heart. That spreads over the soul, entombing it as surely as the grave does the body.

Some unfortunates might recognize this terrible feeling, but its source becomes evident soon enough: the Black Knight, at whose feet the Crystal has landed.

There's an unusual weapon clutched in those sharp, manispiked gauntlets -- a sword isn't abnormal in itself, but this one doesn't quite match the usual color scheme. It is a cold, dead, dull gray. Even stone has more vitality, more lustre; this sword has been utterly drained of all essence. It is silence and stillness, but... not the potent kind.

The blade is distantly familiar, though, like the name of an old friend. It stirs a whisper at the edge of the mind, between the waking and sleeping selves.

It is descending towards the Pure Heart Crystal.


There's a flash of blinding white, and it's easy to imagine a million million tinkling shards, Jagged Stone's Pure Heart broken forever, unable to be put back together again by all the queen's horses and men.

But the flash... continues, like an incendiary flare, like burning magnesium. It is painful to look at directly. It is painful to even be near.

Ignoring this, the Black Knight continues to sink the sword deeper and deeper into the Pure Heart on the ground. It vanishes, inch by inch, into the light, while at the same time absorbing it, soaking it in. Veins crawl upwards along the flat of the blade, their hunger -- and now, satiation -- making them visible.

The Crystal itself is suffering too -- indeed it is this feeling that creates the blinding pain to go with the blinding light -- and gradually changing color... from pink... to blue.

COMBAT: Chihaya Izumi transforms into The Black Knight!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Reverse
ability activates!  Sailor Moon's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon's counterattack, SUPER REVERBERBERBERATIONS!, partially gets through, doing 18 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Steven Universe narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 16 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Steven Universe's counterattack, Reverb Shield, partially gets through, doing 4 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Block ability
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 10 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 24 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Neptune's Block
ability activates!  Sailor Neptune's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot grisn nervously to Egret and Jupiter. "Yeeeeah. Maybe later..." He clears his throat and then dashes forward, toward Devilstrings. But his eyes narrow. Both Moon and Jupiter said those two shouldn't get the Pure Heart. The only time he's seen anybody go after Pure Hearts was the Black Knight. Who had successfully taken them from those he was sword to protect TWICE.

Even though it wasn't directed at him, Lancelot looks defiant to Uranus. "Leave the Pure Heart to it's owner! If you try to take it, then you are just as bad as the Black Knight, and I'll stand against you with everything I can and bring you down!" He locks eyes with Uranus, and his dark eyes betray the seriousness in his words.

Which is when he bats the next attack aside with his twin blades. He's about to say something very flippant and sarcastic when he FEELS the ice crawl in his veins. That ice a very real, very tangible fear that crawls up his spine and causes his shoulders to shudder involuntarily. It shakes his core, and his gauntlets creak as he tightens his grip on Arondight's twin hilts.

"Moon. Jupiter." He says very softly. "Run." The last word said just as softly. It is dripping with terror, and fear. He tries to square his shoulders, his eyes going wide as the Black Knight just stabs the Pure Heart. "Oh god. No." He says in shock.

A step is taken hesitantly forward. "No." He says again. Feeling slowly returning to his arms. To his legs. "No." He says more firmly, his voice gaining warmth, finding a courage somewhere in his soul. The steps taken hesitantly are now a walk. "Stop!" He says loudly to the Black Knight, his steps becoming a job, before a full on forward sprint. Suddenly he cries out; "I WON'T LET YOU KILL ANOTHER, YOU MONSTER!" The twin blades brought around at the same time in a vicious overhead strike that sends powerful bursts of blue and white lighting coursing in every direction.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Double Strike on The Black Knight.
COMBAT: The Black Knight narrowly counters Lancelot's Double Strike, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  The Black Knight's Reverse ability
activates!  The Black Knight's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: The Black Knight's counterattack, Perfect Dark, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

As the Daimon begins to make high pitch noise, Sailor Moon at first covers her ears, face screwed up in agony. But then she dives forward- grabbing a particular object off the stage. Jagged Stone's microphone- from the stand. It had been turned off earlier but. She shakes it once, twice, three times. Patting it.Then flicking the switch on and off rapidly until she hears the barest inkling that it's on as the reverberations move through the sound system. Which is the moment she pitches the microphone at the thing.

She covers her ears and crouches down immediately. The sudden hellish screech from the feedback over the sound system is deafening. Hopefully enough to give it incentive to stop.

But Uranus causes her courage to well up inside of her- just a small amount, as she remembers again what Neptune and Uranus did, "We won't let you get it in the first place!"

Catching her tiara on it's return flight, she dashes forward, to try to cut the pair off- placing her tiara back on her forehead. She bends at the knees as if to leap at the shimmering star passing over the sky- vaulting upwards like a hare in desperate flight. But there's a shadow rippling on the stage that raises goose pimples and- the ice cold shock as the shadows of the stage coalesce, taking the form of an unusual weapon. It's aimed at the- "NO!" It's her cry at the realization she won't make it in time.

She has no idea what will happen if someone damages a pure heart- but she imagines it will kill them. Murder them as surely as any other method. The flash is growing brighter as Sailor Moon descends like a falling star herself, a slim heeled boot outstretched.

The radiance hurts her eyes, but she barrels onward anyhow- "SAILOR MOON-" Upon contact with the edge of that radiance, her kick is an attempt to jar their strike away from the Pure Heart Crystal.

It's almost impossible to believe the tiny Senshi can match their strength, but she has to try. "-KICK!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Sailor Moon Kick on The Black Knight.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 22 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: The Black Knight fails to dodge Sailor Moon's Sailor Moon Kick, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is Psyched!
Stagger and Stun applied to The Black Knight!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

"THIS IS WHY NO ONE LIKES YOU, URANUS!!" Jupiter roars. Of all the nerve--! Did she think she was just going to stand around and do nothing?! Why she oughtta just march right up to that smarmy jerk and pop her right between the eyes!!

And, honestly, Jupiter *would* have done exactly that save for two facts: one, Devilstrings's unholy TWANNNNGGG sends her careening off the stage seats to land hard in the halls, and two, the Heart Crystal flies over towards the wings of the stage, landing at the feet of someone Jupiter has never encountered before. She scrambles to her feet in time to feel that soul-numbing ice, to see that blade come down. "NO!!" she yells. Lancelot screams about not letting the Black Knight kill again, and she has no reason to believe he doesn't know what this person's about. That brilliance from the color-changing Heart Crystal is painful to look at, but it only adds to the sense of urgency implicit in the situation. And then Jupiter does exactly what Lancelot says: she runs.

Straight towards the Black Knight.

Aiming to barrel straight into them with a full-contact body-blow, all while crackling with lightning around every limb, even as Sailor Moon hurtles towards them boot-first.

This is probably not in the spirit of what Lancelot had intended.

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Full Charge on The Black Knight.
COMBAT: The Black Knight perfectly counters Sailor Jupiter's Full Charge, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical
Counter!  The Black Knight's Reverse ability activates!  The Black Knight's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: The Black Knight's counterattack, Perfect Dark, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sailor Jupiter!
COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Reverberberberations, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret's Block ability
activates!  Cure Egret's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Lashing out at Devilstrings causes it to send out a backlash of energy, that Steven is only partially able to block. The noise is still too much for him alone. Constant ringing fills his head, but at least the creature horks up the thing it took from Jagged Stone-- it looks awfully similar to the object that a creature took from the glassworks teacher. Whatever it is. A heart-something? Uh. Hm. been too long.

"We can get it!" Steven shouts, as he rouses Lion to help dash over. Before he can even finish getting atop Lion, someone is already over it, and they don't look friendly. "Hey! Stop that!" he shouts to no avail, as the person stabs the heart! "That... that can't be good...!" He has yet to understand what the Pure Heart actually is. "You don't break people's stuff!"

There is a problem though. Everyone else present seems very upset as to what just happened. Like, unusually upset. What was that item...? Everyone begins to charge the ebon-shadowed character, but that giant Daimon remains. "Me and Lion can help with the guitar, no strings attached!"

Heh, that was a good one. Lion and Steven rush forward to hit the Devilstrings while it is down to do some damage! The others look like they have the other person under control. They look like a badguy from Lonely Blade. Kinda cool. Still bad though.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Just Lion Things on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Steven Universe's Just Lion Things, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Tangle and Trap
applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The thunder of the reverberations rattles through Cure Bloom, her very bones trembling in her skin; but magic and guts help her keep herself together amid the noise. The air around her flickers and sparks like a plasma sphere touched - some invisible aura flashing protectively every time a stray soundwave threatens to harm its master. At the end of it, Cure Bloom is shaken but not too badly harmed.

She is, however, disoriented enough that Sailors Moon and Jupiter's combined assaults dazzle her completely, and she's in such awe of the blast that she almost misses the flying Pure Heart. Almost, but...

"BLOOM-LAPI! There's something terrible nearby-lapi!"

Which is when Bloom half-turns; her feet set and seeing the Black Knight seem less to emerge out of darkness than calcify from it. Something spikes through her, a half-familiar feeling. She's not the sort to dwell, and there's no time for it either before that light explodes. Blooms' arm flies up, shielding her from the light. "What...what is that!?" she yells.

Cure Egret, too, throws her hands out -- and the silvery barrier around her whisks away, but she still shudders. The loud reverberations had left her shaken. She frowns, though, as she turns, eyes shifting to the Black Knight. A gasp is drawn in -- and then she looks at her partner. "Bloom," she says. "We have to stop them!"

The silver Pretty Cure leaps. A trail of silver light is trailed after her, as she jumps into the air. It's joined by a golden arc -- and they both rise high towards the auditorium ceiling, two arcs of light that come together as one. Mid-leap, Cure Egret looks towards her partner, and then extends a hand out for her friend to take. Their hands clasp, and both girls look down, eyes drawn down towards the terrible form of the Black Knight.

And then they start going down.

That horrible light is hard to look at; it sears them as they get closer, protected only by the blazing shields the spirits protect them with always. Cure Bloom and Cure Egret shine on their own, gold and silver motes casting their silhouettes against the awful light of that terrible act occurring before them. They fall unstopping; pushing down harder with their powers if the Black Knight's power attempts to repel them.

A sound crashes through the air - a single, crisp slap of two palms joining perfectly, two fields fusing. Easily audible even over Cure Bloom and Cure Egret's duet of defiant screams.

Then, they swing those joined hands down at the Black Knight, and they create an explosion of their own light, spiritual power billowing out of Pretty Cure in an unchecked eruption!

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has started a combo targeting The Black Knight!
COMBAT: Cure Egret has joined the combo started by Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Bloom and Cure Egret have used Double Pretty Cure Spirit Splash on The Black Knight.
COMBAT: The Black Knight fails to dodge Cure Bloom and Cure Egret's Combo: Double Pretty Cure Spirit Splash, taking 83 Fatigue
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

That's not true, Neptune thinks, when Jupiter shouts -- but then comes that massive TWANGGGGG of screaming force, that makes her wince, and then the descent of the Black Knight.

The sword flashes, aimed at the crystal. So it goes, Neptune thinks with a certain grimness. If that is one of the Talismans--

what if it isn't, and she cringes internally against herself, and she leaps into the air.

And her fear is justified for that contact with the Pure Heart of Jagged Stone has caused something strange and new to happen. Terrific, in the classical sense: Causing terror. If one of the others see Neptune's face, they will see a moment of shock and confusion there.

Then a mask of determination, elegant as it may be. Her leap descends and she kicks off another row of seats, closing the rest of the gap, giving herself more momentum. "Uranus!" she calls out.

As others' swords and blades and feet, and the heartfelt light of Pretty Cure, descend upon the Black Knight, so too comes the knee of Sailor Neptune - aimed at the warrior's side, and then with a single snap forward that draws a moment of tightness for the pains in her leg already --

To try to send that knight flying... for the Daimon!

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has started a combo targeting The Black Knight and Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"What did I tell you," Uranus shakes her head at Jupiter, "about wanting to be liked?"

The impact of guitar-daimon and wall is the satisfying beginning to their momentum. But just as the other girls batter the unearthly monster with their attacks, the grim arrival of the Black Knight heralds a more grave conflict. No longer can the two factions of magical girl tug back and forth on the daimon already worrying about how they will squabble over the heart.

"A knight, is it?" Sailor Uranus appraises, overhearing Lancelot's panicked howls. "Neptune!" she answers in kind.

With her partner engaging the dark new foe, Uranus doubles down and assails the daimon anew, engaging close with fists and elbows. If Neptune can keep that Black Knight away, perhaps the distraction will actually be helpful...

COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has joined the combo started by Sailor Neptune!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus have used Exquisite Duet on The Black Knight.
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus have used Exquisite Duet on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: The Black Knight narrowly counters Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus's Combo: Exquisite Duet, taking 24 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  The Black Knight's Reverse ability activates!  The Black Knight's Tactician ability activates!  Sailor Neptune
drains 10 fatigue from The Black Knight!
COMBAT: The Black Knight's counterattack, Perfect Dark, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sailor Neptune!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus's Combo: Exquisite Duet, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!  Sailor Neptune drains 4 fatigue from Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> The Black Knight [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The room turns to charge the Black Knight, and the Black Knight lets them come.

There are shouts and screams, names called as succor and claimed as oath, and it is met only with silence.

Silence, as the Black Knight offers a shoulder to Arondight, which deflects off a pauldron without even drawing sparks; the lightning, meanwhile, separates into streamers and is drawn away into the darkness that surrounds them.

Sailor Jupiter receives similar treatment, and briefly has the horrifying experience of feeling as though she passes straight through the Black Knight, and in so doing, the heart of the vortex of despair. In reality, she passed through the Knight's cloak like a bull at the stadium. Passing through shadow, she emerges paler than before, and without a hint of the sparks that had surrounded her.

Below, the light continues to shift colors, from spring's rose to winter's chill. The veins on the strange gray sword bulge.

Sailor Moon's kick lands solidly -- though the sole of her cherry red boot comes away frosted with ice from even that brief contact. The armor should clank, but it doesn't. It doesn't make a sound at all, unnaturally quiet. And, in response, the Black Knight's weight shifts, very slightly, towards their heels.

Sailor Neptune, meanwhile, feels her knee disappear into the reaches of the cloak much like her thundrous predecessor; fortunately momentum doesn't carry her all the way in, and fortunately it is quite difficult to freeze the ocean. It takes, at the very least, a more sustained cold than that single scary moment. What's odd is that the bit of cloak was in front of the Black Knight at the time... it should have impacted something hard underneath.

Maybe it's because, to prevent greater trouble, the Black Knight shifted a bit further back, like a reed in the wind.

No such response is possible for the Pretty Cure, though; their light comes pouring over this creature of darkness, and it certainly finds its mark. Blue and yellow sparkles pour over every plane of the armor, giving everyone a clear look at it even as it is absorbed by it -- detail arises from this negative space, more detail than anyone in modern times has gotten to see.

Details like the howling, trapped faces that swirl just below the armor's surface, as though trapped beneath black ice. Their eyes are blank, unseeing, yet capable of staring -- straight -- at -- you.

And the Black Knight takes a single step backwards.

With a deliberate jerk, they pull the blade out of the Pure Heart Crystal like a sword from a stone. It remains on the ground, apparently unharmed, though also still blue. There's a hint of pink still at the core, however.

There is hope.

If things had continued a moment longer, who can say what would have happened?

The Black Knight recedes like a wave. They are there and then they are gone, in a single pace, fading back into the shadows from whence they came. It takes several long moments for the tainted darkness to return to a more normal example of the hue. Just lights on curtains, hot lights that bring comfort instead of misery for once, making the frigid temperature lift faster than it might have normally.


Meanwhile, Steven and Lion are quite successful in their ploy to hit Devilstrings while she's down; Lion gets ahold of her fauxhawk and yanks her head this way and that while Steven raises bruises on her waist, one blow of the shield at a time. Finally she curls up on herself like a crab, her axe the largest and most external claw.

Rocking back and forth, she unfurls herself from the wall with a huge slash of her axe, one designed to make her assailants back off. Sailor Uranus swoops in at this point, rendering her unable to maintain any momentum forwards -- instead of charging for the Pure Heart Crystal, as she might have, she is forced to exhale sharply from the fists and elbows in her gut (twannng~) and to jocky, once again, at close quarters.

There's really only one thing poor Devilstrings can do to hope to achieve her objective, and that's the one thing she's designed to do best: inhale.

Her jaw gapes inhumanly wide as she suuuuuucks in air, more and more and more of it, creating a wind that threatens to tug the Crystal back towards her gullet, and flatten everyone between her and it along the way!

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Babes With Axes on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used A Mighty Wind on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used A Mighty Wind on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used A Mighty Wind on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used A Mighty Wind on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used A Mighty Wind on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used A Mighty Wind on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has adjusted her boss levels. She is now ready to take on 5 opponents!
COMBAT: The Black Knight transforms into Chihaya Izumi!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's A Mighty Wind, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Fade ability activates!
Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!  Stagger applied to Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's A Mighty Wind, taking 9 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's A Mighty Wind, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Stagger applied to Sailor Jupiter!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's A Mighty Wind, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Stagger applied to Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's A Mighty Wind, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Bloom's Block
ability activates!  Stagger applied to Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Steven Universe fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Babes With Axes, taking 39 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stagger applied
to Steven Universe!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Jupiter has no idea what Uranus is talking about with this 'wanting to be liked' thing, especially since what Jupiter was *really* getting at was 'YOU ARE AN ENORMOUS SMARMY JERK,' so she assumes what she usually assumes of her: that she's being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole. This has the benefit of freeing her mentally to focus on the Black Knight!

This has the disadvantage of freeing her mentally to focus on the Black Knight.

She passes through that cloak of despair, and for an eternity of a moment, it feels like she will never be warm again. The frozen wastes of D-Point live again in her bones, threatening to crackle out from her marrow and through her flesh. All she can do is screech to a halt, panting and gasping and sweating buckets.

But she doesn't give up. She grits her teeth and turns around to attempt another attack--but then they vanish, leaving the Heart Crystal behind. The daimon sucks in a deep breath, and still rattled from passing through that intense cold, Jupiter isn't able to defend; she crashes onto the stage, sucked towards the daimon, unable to reach the Heart Crystal.

"Sailor Moon!" she calls, rolling up onto her knees. Her friend seems to be having a better time of it, so-- "Get the Crystal! I'll shut that daimon up!!" Her tiara rod sparks, and she staggers upright, arms crossed, fingers out. Lightning bolts once again crash and strike and vortex around her. "SUPREME..." She thrusts her arms out, directing it towards Devilstrings. Suck on *this*! "THUNDER!!"

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Supreme Thunder! on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Lancelot perfectly counters Hotaru Tomoe's A Mighty Wind, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Counter!
Lancelot's Reverse ability activates!  Lancelot's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Lancelot's counterattack, Veil of Steel, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Sailor Jupiter's Supreme Thunder!, taking 55 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Rime lines her boots on the barest glimmer of contact with the Black Knight. And suddenly the Sailor Senshi is hopping backwards on her other, gloves massaging it, "COLD- hachahahaha-"

But the Black Knight- recedes. Sailor Moon wonders what would have happened if they'd turned their blade upon them. If they hadn't been occupied. It's not a comforting thought.

And the Pure Heart crystal is- "Don't let them get it!"

What happens if it's a Talisman, does that mean that Jagged Stone would just be gone? Unable to put out anymore albums with his own personal touches?

She's not going to take that chance.

"I'm going for it Jupiter!" And she pumps her tiny arms as she dashes towards it. Though it matters little what her intent is- because a Daimon inhales. And she leaps to try to catch it- but she's slammed into by a piece of stage equipment that flies past her. Only to see Neptune grab it- "Neptune! Give it back! Give back Jagged Stone's Pure Heart!"

Seeing stars, she tries to get up to her knees- then dig her heels in and- tries to scramble forward to catch it when Neptune let's it go against the rush of breath. Whether she manages to or not- she realizes the need for the Daimon to be dealt with.

Raising the Moon Spiral Heart Rod high, there's a tiny glimpse into eternity for someone who looks with each melodious chime. Passing somewhere beyond the borderline, the threshold of time to see a glimpse of delicate moon spires and domes. Just the barest glimmer of its glory is held within it.

It's only a glimpse, before you're drawn back to the girl holding that rod high- radiance leaking out from the head of the scepter. She flourishes it as part of the spell she's weaving, before holding it in front of her, parallel to herself.

"MOOOONNNNNN SPIRALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL-" She begins to twirl, starting high like an ice skater in a combination spin her twintails becoming a streams of blonde. "-HEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRRTTTTTTTT-"

Before tucking in, spinning low, ending in a kneel with the Spiral Heart Moon Rod raised overhead, "-ATTACK!"

A pinwheel glimmer of stardust is interlaced with streaming ribbons of hearts that flow outward, joining together into a massive vision of loveliness that tries to crash into Devilstrings head on.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Moon has used Moon Spiral Heart Attack! on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Releasing the power of the spirits is always a transcendant thing, in its way; for Cure Bloom, she is always aware of the magnitude of the source of her power, the vastness of the earth's strength for its Pretty Cure, and on some level pleased to answer that call. But it is small comfort now, as that awesome light illuminates something horrifying.

She feels like something horrible just saw her.

The Black Knight yields their single step. Splash Star Pretty Cure crashes down and Cure Bloom finds a shiver running through her. Her eyes slide up, seeking the Black Knight, some Pretty Cure neuron firing and demanding she stand against such pure evil. She doesn't need much of a reason, even if she's not sure what...evil, she just saw. Fortunately it doesn't come to trial; the Black Knight winks out, and Cure Bloom is swiftly reminded there was another problem - the original problem.

Which is to say she gets pulled off her damn feet by the Daimon inhaling all the air it can, and after forcing herself to dig in, latching to the ground with spirit power, she sucks in a few passing breezes of her own, sets her eyes, and just screams a wordless kiai before blasting herself off the ground - hurtling across the distance toward Daimon Devilstrings and just...

Literally punching her directly in the mouth.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

That pressure... Cold clings at her knee. Sailor Neptune feels a cramp start there, wash upwards, but soon enough the Knight is gone - gone for true as she ends up landing on the stage in a crouch, one gloved hand raised in a loose clench. She watches intently.

Sweat is on the back of her neck, but her hair conceals it. Style has its virtues.

Rising upwards, but now faced with another new problem, the sight of Uranus striking against the Daimon makes her smile... then... Oh... no.

Sailor Neptune twirls round as the Crystal is drawn forwards, her hands cupping. Twisting to briefly catch it, the delicate filigree of spikes almost but not quite touching her hands as her hair whips in the breath-driven winds, as she sees--

"It's not!" she calls sharply. To Uranus, perhaps. She twists herself round as one hand comes upwards, the Pure Heart Crystal tugged against her side. She raises her freed hand as she pirouttes round.

The ocean rises... the sea itself surging in its eternal undulation...


Twisting and foaming as it crests surrounding her, sea-green light rippling round as the wind whips chop around the top of that spiritual wave, Neptune's arm raising up with a flick of the fingers as green shades to blue and spins round and round, forming a spherical shape that she throws -

"-- Submerge--!"

And it flies! Trailing bursts of jewel-tone light, the attack accelerates well ahead of where Neptune might be drawn, dipping low and then rising on a sine curve.

After this Neptune might be briefly glimpsed setting the crystal down -- but only once the wind has stopped. (if it ever could)

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Neptune has used Deep Submerge! on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The Armor is seen. Truly, actually seen and Lancelot stares back, eyes wide in terror. The Darkness had been pushed back, and it just revealed something that was horrifically worse than perpetual darkness. It was a nightmare turned to steel, and it scares the Chevalier just a little bit more. Fear be damned however he charges forward, just in time for the Black Knight to almost tauntingly step back and fade into the blackness once more from whence it came.

"NO!" Lancelot screams as the Black Knight simply fades away. "NO! DAMNIT!" He punches the ground in frustration, as the Black Knight once again eludes him. He has no desire to face the monster, but to date he hasn't even SCRATCHED him. He grits his teeth. There is no time for his anger as much as he wants to give int o it. There is a soul, a person to save.

But first. There is a monster to take down, and frankly, Lancelot needs to vent some serious frustration on a bad guy right now.

His eyes go to Devil Strings. "You have chosen the absolute wrong place strings." He says ina very angry voice. The Daimon's attack flowing toward him, he moves quicker than most eyes can see and says in an angry voice, "Veil of Steel." His blade literally slicing through the wind coming his way. "My turn."

Lancelot normally does not draw the sheer amount of power he begins to draw into him. Either by choice or he simply hasn't had the time to do it. However, it is safe to say that the Chevalier is not in his happy place at present. Lightning begins to dance around the blades, and crawl up his arms. As he speaks, small sparks of power dance off his lips, "Anima - " He says drawing back, and drawing the word out, lighting, blue and white swirling around him like a storm. It strikes, and whips cracking with thunder, creating a wind around teh Knight that blows his long hair around and snaps his cloak. Lighting begins to literally 'drip' from his eyes as the sheer power collects and builds with in him.

Finally the Knight cannot hold on to that power anymore, and he thrusts his blades forward. The Lighting arcing between the blades casting a near blinding white and blue light as the power travels down to the tip of the blades and then explodes outwards with a loud and angry cry of; "TEMPESTA!"

As if all that power had been simply waiting for this command, it unleashes all at once. Dozens, Hundreds, Thousands of bolts of lighting unleashed all at once. The Force of the blast ripping up the ground that it travels above jsut from the sheer heat nad force behind the blast. Tnedrils of lighting snake and whip. All of these collect their own individual thunder clap, and they go off at once.

Lancelot stands there panting. His blades steaming in the aftermath of holding and unleashing so much raw power.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Lancelot has used Anima Tempestas on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven's twofold attack with Lion works out well, and manages to press the advantage against the daimon! "Yeah! Rockin'!" The gem child feels pretty pumped up; this is the first time he has seen so many Sailor Scouts in one place, and it is making him so hyped up! It is like he is living a dream!

Also, going into excited reverie probably isn't a good idea mid combat, as Steven finds out.

A massive axe attack almost cleaves the boy in half, but he spots it mere moments before impact and dodges! The impact from the blow though sends Steven flying across the area, and into a large stack of stereo equipment. A painful static noise can be heard as equipment disconnects and tumbles on top of him.

It takes a bit before a reaction comes from the area, and a roseate shield flies out from the shadows, straight at Devilstrings.

"Stupid... guitar... thing. Its not even... a Jader." Steven limps out from behind a large bass amp.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Steven Universe has used Throw Shield on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Steven Universe's Finisher, Throw Shield, taking 23 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block
ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Lancelot's Finisher, Anima Tempestas, taking 165 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is unable to
keep fighting!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is unable to keep
fighting!  Cure Bloom is Psyched!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sailor Neptune's Finisher, Deep Submerge!, taking 155 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru
Tomoe is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sailor Moon's Finisher, Moon Spiral Heart Attack!, taking 96 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is
unable to keep fighting!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Chihaya Izumi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Death comes swiftly for Devilstrings. It comes with a crack of thunder, and at the edge of Pretty Cure's fist and Rose Quartz's shield. It comes with the pressure of the deep sea, and the inexorability of Usagi Tsukino's heart(s).

"LOVE-LYYYYYYYYYY!!!" she shrieks, at the end.

And then she's gone, leaving only a cracking egg and a coromorant-shaped puff of demonic smoke behind.

Oh, and Jagged Stone's heart crystal, which glimmers faintly until returned. Afterwards, he begins breathing normally. Not long thereafter, the sirens come into earshot, and the night ends badly...

...but not as badly as it could have.