2017-09-16 - What Lies Beneath 10

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What Lies Beneath 10

A direct continuation of What Lies Beneath 9. Rubeus has deemed the Four Ayakashi Sisters an irredeemable failure, and sacrifices most of their lifeforce to power an incipient black hole to consume Jindai, the Rabbit, and the rest of his enemies. Sailor Moon and her friends are able to rescue the Sisters, while Fuu closes the black hole by sacrificing her hold on Library Island's connection to the World Tree...


Setsuna Meioh, Fuu Hououji, Hotaru Tomoe, Mai Mishou, Chibi-Usa Tsukino, Kasagami Araki, Saki Hyuuga, Usagi Tsukino, Takeo Akamizu, Haruka Tenoh, Makoto Kino, Michiru Kaioh

GM: Utena Tenjou, feat. Eudial


Jindai Botanical Gardens

OOC - IC Date:

09-16-2017 - 02-16-2015

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


BGM: Preview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm2UHRMKtic

A meeting to discuss the safety of the World Tree is convened in the greenhouses of Jindai Botanical Garden. Tea is served.

Meanwhile, Hotaru Tomoe and Chibi-Usa Tsukino visit the baby plum trees.

Meanwhile, the Outer Senshi track Hotaru by the delicate silver Time Key around her neck, and move in for the kill.

Meanwhile, the Black Moon Clan bestows an artifact of exceptional power upon its lieutenants, the Four Ayakashi Sisters, and sends them down to destroy Jindai Botanical Garden... and kill the Rabbit, who they've located thanks to an alliance with the Death Busters, who now seem capable of scrying her at will.

Battle commences.


A pillar of gorgeous, golden light erupts into the sky. It is radiant and beautiful and also rather otherworldly and mysterious, it lasts for about sixty seconds, and then it disappears.

A few seconds later, a thunderstorm gathers over the same spot, and starts firing arcs of vicious, unnatural black lightning -- Dark Lightning -- at the ground.

This might be a good reason to investigate.


BGM: Black Moon Theme #1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djGhBrjJyKA

Invisibly high above the battlefield, another person watches the swirling interplay of light and darkness, electricity and water, fists and feet and arrows and rods and flowers...


Thin lips purse.



It doesn't feel that way in the moment. It is desperate and dangerous and dirty. There are so many ways to get hurt. So many people to hurt, on both sides. Everywhere, the air is filled with fire and water and lightning and whips, whips that strangle as often as they lash.

Still -- the Four Ayakashi Sisters are forced back on the defense; Calaveras ducks first away from Bloom and then, further, from Egret, only to be caught up in Jupiter's hurricane and buoyed away, totally out of control, to slam into Petz.

This is very bad; she loses her concentration, and the Dark Rod pulses, a sensation that can be felt like a shockwave. A mile away, people lower crepes halfway to their mouths and turn to stare at Jindai Hill. Lancelot's swords, Fuu's arrow, even Sailor Moon's tiara are pushed aside, but not harmlessly -- Petz's body jacknives as though someone's flipped the flow of power, and she is more the victim of the Rod than anyone else.

Koan has crossed her wrists to intercept the Garnet Rod above her head, and is pushed back several feet -- she flips head over heels in midair, then stares up at Petz, shocked. "SISTER!" She rockets upwards, to her aid.

Berthier on the other hand was totally set to go toe to toe with Sailor Neptune only to find herself out of her depth -- so to speak -- and is less-voluntarily blasted upwards hydrodynamically, so quickly that it bodily removes her from the path of Uranus' winds. Water that moves faster than air must be painful, indeed. Calaveras, recovering from having slammed into Petz, catches her limp body out of the air with a whip.


All four sisters, some more dazed, some less, look up, and there's their supervisor. Koan is naive enough to look relieved. "Rubeus-sama... you came for me..." Berthier is barely conscious. Calaveras feels herself start to tremble and hardly knows why. Petz tightens her grip on the Dark Rod only to have it struck from her hand with such force that she -- and the other three, near her -- are flung to the ground. A small crater is created on impact, splintering a few baby plum trees.

Rubeus is tall and strong and utterly, viciously masculine, from the fiery rise of his hair to the smirk on his lips which is perpetual, even when he's livid, as now. Fury pours out of his gaze, but contempt lingers on his lips. On the brows of the Four Sisters, the black moon is a symbol of uniformity, of belonging, but on his forehead it is an emblematic declaration of identity, like a very personal, very proud tattoo.

"Thank you..."

He sweeps the Dark Rod in front of him... and dark power streams out of the Four Sisters, like it did with Petz but this time on purpose, this time with utterly malicious intent. Their bodies seize and scream, and then they don't anymore. It is quite unclear whether or not they're still alive.

The Dark Rod pulses again, and again, more and more rapidly -- and then, just as it's about to overload, he hurls it down among their bodies. It streaks through the air and buries itself in the crater like a black crystalline rose.

"...for your service."

If his underlings can't serve him with their lives, they will do so with their deaths.

And the whole world implodes in a great crack of thundrous darkness that has nothing to do with electricity. Void pours forth in all directions. First pebbles, then logs, and finally people -- the closest first, the Four Sisters first -- lose their grip on gravity, and are sucked inwards, towards the heart of what it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess is a rapidly growing black hole.

"Goodbye, sisters. Goodbye, would-be soldiers and saviors."

His smirk grows, the only thing in this collapsing space that seems capable of doing so, morphing into an outright leer.

"Goodbye, Rabbit."



The first and easiest thing to be drawn towards the shattered space in the plum grove is light, followed by heat. It was an overcast day surmounted by magical thunderheads, but the abruptness with which everything dims -- and chills -- several more degrees is unnatural, horrible.

The noise is shattering in that opposite extremes strive for dominance. The wind howls and howls, but is stutteringly, jarringly interrupted by absolute silence; one is as unlikely to hear clearly because of the wind as because of being drowned out by something that isn't quite white noise, but has a similar effect. It is, in reality, streamers of air being lost to the void -- missing, when they should be carrying sound. And oxygen. It is getting hard to breathe.

The limp bodies of Koan, Berthier, Calaveras and Petz aren't the only ones being drawn towards the center of the darkness; everyone is, it is just a matter of the degree of surrender. One can grab onto rocks, chunks of torn concrete from the path, baby trees, but what can withstand this inexorable pull for long?

Hotaru Tomoe can't. She was unconscious before Rubeus even arrived, borne up by the even smaller body of Chibi-Usa, who was trying to flee with her. Although Chibi-Usa might be able to get a grip on something, she can't do that and keep her grip on her best friend. The two are in especially immediate danger. There's a sad beauty to their desperation, though -- Chibi-Usa's hair is dragged free of its usual style to swirl behind her in a roseate cloud, joined by Hotaru's halo of perfect darkness, which almost seems to rise around her head with a power of its own. Chibi-Usa can't feel her breathing, but she can feel her whole body humming, like the smallest piano string bashed about by one hammer too many, ready to snap at any time.

A little black cat with a golden crescent on her forehead digs three paws' worth of claws into Sailor Moon's hair to cling frantically to reality (who can blame her, really) and uses the fourth paw to point at the strengthening catastrophe.

"Sailor Moon! Look -- in the middle! It's that horrible Dark Rod Petz and Rubeus used... it's still there! If you can just destroy it--!"

It's hard to make out in the darkness, but indeed, there it is, a scepter-length claw around a shard of black crystal, no longer buried in the ground so much as suspended at the heart of this strange space. No, it is the heart.

As for the one who instigated all this, Rubeus vanishes in a burst of laughter and black lightning, to watch the destruction of his enemies, and the achievement of his career goals, from a nice safe distance.

OOC: If you weren't here for the first part, please transform, +heal/full, then +heal 50 (representing the exhaustion of getting
here very quickly from wherever you were, which ought to be, for plausibility's sake, relatively nearby, somewhere in Tama).
Additionally, as you arrive on the scene without full knowledge of what just happened to create the black hole and therefore no
reason to be braced against the threat, you are immediately picked up off the ground and drawn helplessly towards it -- like the
Four Sisters and the smols, you will need to be rescued by someone already here. Please try to pose in the earlier part of the
round and coordinate OOCly with your savior(s) for maximum savey good times, and that arrival and need for help will be your
action. Please represent your arrival with a PL 0 Psych free action to the tune of 'Up Up And Away', which will help catch you up
to the main group's morale a bit.

OOC: If you were here for the first part, please +transform 1 (unless you were some other henshin number), and +heal/load! You may
elect to:

1. Save someone being drawn helplessly into the black hole (you can get two sisters for the price of one action unless there
aren't enough rescues to go around). Represent this as a PL 0 Psych free attack, targeting Utena.

2. Attack someone being drawn helplessly into the black hole to try to ensure their tragic fate (use a real attack for this, it
can be +covered).

3. You could try throwing a ranged attack at the Dark Rod (or attack someone else; Rubeus however is not a valid target, he did
all that shit and then vanished like the monumental asshole he is).

But you can't do more than one of these things, either saving or attacking is a full-round action. (If you want to dive straight
in and try to /melee/ the Dark Rod, um, page me first and we'll talk before you pose. If you want to do something else entirely,
feel free!)

OOC: Questions? Concerns? Please ask!

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou transforms into Dark Rod Disaster!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Cure Egret has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Chibi-Usa Tsukino has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

There are things that Cure Egret, in her still rather thin experience as a magical girl, has never witnessed. One of these things is seeing a superior turn on and try to murder his foes. She was never bothered so much by the idea she might have to kill one of her opponents. That was, sad as it was, a potential necessity when they were willing to cause so much damage to the world.


This is something different. She had just been tangling with Calaveras. Now, she watches the Ayakashi Sister be pulled in towards the same singularity as the rest. She sees the pulsing, ugly darkness. It reflects in violet eyes that go wide, as she stares at it.

So she leaps. She jumps off the ground -- then sees a rock, ripped from the earth, and sent hurtling for the black hole. Cure Egret kicks off it, speeding up the rock's demise, but she comes for the Sister. Her arm is held out.

She tries to wrap it about Calaveras's waist, before she comes back down for the ground. Her breath is hard and fast, as she does. "Bloom!" she cries out -- her hair, her skirts, and more -- are still being tugged towards the gravity well. "This isn't good...!"

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Rockhopping Save on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Cure Egret's Rockhopping Save, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret is Psyched!  Utena
Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Where Chibi-Usa is lifting Hotaru as best she can, she stares in horror as Rubeus appears, as he speas, and she starts to stagger backward as she tries to run. Except... The ones who have been hunting her for so long are knocked to the groun. Are screaming. Are--

"W-what?" Chibi-Usa whispers in a tiny, too-young voice as she watches her enemies turn on one another horrifically before her eyes. She should be glad, tactically. She is not a tactician, though; she is a little girl and this is something no one should have to see.

...But the void starts pouring forth suddenly, as the Rod is thrwn down, and the tears in Chibi-Usa's eyes are immediately taken first. They start to slip forward, and Chibi-Usa's hair is loose now.

There's also something about Chibi-Usa's neck though, something that's come loose of her collar, a necklace. The Taioron Crystal resembles most a lotus blossoming whole out of a seed, dark in this unlight but bluish, shifting wildly in the suction as it rams up against her chin. It dangles precariously where it has been knocked loose. It is obviously powerful, obviously alien, and obviously a magical artifact.

Chibi-Usa hangs on tightly to Hotaru's unconscious form, pulling her closer and squeezing her eyes shut. "Hotar--" her voice cuts off, and she starts coughing, "I won't l" again, and they are quickly being sucked towards the black hole there. There may be no escape at all.

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


Kasagami Araki is in a high end music store in Tama, headphones covering her ears as she listens to one of the cd's she's just purchased.

"I will remember youu~ Your silhouette will change the view~." Sings the young woman aloud, completely unaware of the fight going on in Jidai. Slowly, she takes off the headphones and grins.

"Rinji and Setsuna will love this one!" She declares to the store. The manager gives the young woman an annoyed look for her volume.

Storms above, and the feeling of horrible, horrible magic makes the ring on her finger feel hot. Almost burning. The earthshattering noise clenches it. Deep inside, Kasagami Araki has a bad feeling. Shoving cash towards the manager, she runs out the door, ignoring the jaw nearly hitting the floor.

Ducking down an alleyway, and briefly roses and sparkles surround her with the growth and heat of a fresh Ohtori day. Then, coat fluttering in the wind, dark crimson roses fluttering at the hems of her hoodie and black jeans, she rips off part of an out of the way street light. Giving it an experimental swing or two, she's then leaping from building to building in a rush that leaves even an athletic magical girl like her winded.


The last leap is off a water tower into the Botanical Gardens with Kasagami's usual recklessness. And as per usual, it gets her in trouble. Her good eye goes wide as a saucer when she finds her leap being far more floaty than usual, thanks to that giant black hole threatening to suck in quite a few magical warriors on the scene. She spies familiar faces, some of which have her gasping. One in particular, hair of evergreen, has her heart nearly stopping.

No justice speech, no boasting. Her mind and heart are filled with terror for a certain Outer, and it's only at the last moment as she gets dangerously close towards no return of that black hole that she slams down her street light and holds on for dear life. Her coat flies about her shoulders, somehow staying attached, whipping towards the thing. Boots dig in, but even with Kasagami's impressive strength she's losing her grip.

"W...who just leaves a black hole in the middle of a garden!?!?" Already Kasagami regrets her life decisions.

Then there's this terrible sound of metal tearing. Kassie's eye goes from 'saucer' to 'UFO' sized. Riiiiiip! Kasagami finds herself mid air as time seems to slow for a moment in her mind's eye. She glances from the half a street light in her hand, to the other half embedded in the ground.

Even Kasagami isn't too proud to scream when being sucked towards Black Hole Doom. At least she still has her coat.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Flying Into the Su..Black Hole on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Kasagami Araki's Flying Into the Su..Black Hole, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

In the course of the Wind Knight's modest but colorful career, 'from bad to worse' has been a not-infrequent trend in her battles ... but Rubeus turning against his own lieutenants like that, besides being a massive surprise, also heralds one of the most drastic downward turns she can think of in any of her battles. The black hole's pull is strong enough that her wind spells are shredded before they can even manifest - she can't conjure so much as a simple barrier, let alone binding or an attack spell. She almost doesn't dare try her healing magic, for fear that it would be even WORSE than useless - that the healing itself would somehow strengthen the singularity.

And without her magic? She has a sword, she has a bow. She has her wits, for what good those will do - a black hole doesn't seem like something that can be outwitted, and what she knows about physics isn't going to do a whole lot of good without a way to put that knowledge into use.

The shriek of metal being torn apart shakes the Wind Knight out of her dismayed clinging to the stump on which she'd found temporary purchase, and she glances towards the source of the sound - spotting the newly-arrived Kasagami in uncontrolled flight.

One other thing the Wind Knight has that she forgot about in the moment: her courage. She manages to push away from her temporary perch at an angle that lets her intercept Kasagami, calling out as she flies, "LET GO OF THE POST!" - praying that her voice carries enough in the tempest for the other girl to *hear* her. Then the impact - the Wind Knight tries to push off from the partial lamppost with her feet for whatever additional thrust can be gleaned, but more importantly is latching onto Kasagami along the way and bearing her along to what may be marginally safer ground - or at least a more secure anchor point, for however long that lasts.

Because if that black hole can't be closed or disrupted or sealed or SOMEthing, there isn't going to be such a thing as 'safe ground' for a long, long distance ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Flying Rescue Tackle on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki accepts Fuu Hououji's Flying Rescue Tackle, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Bloom has never seen the squabbles of villains up close; Dark Fall has been content to bother her with individual generals, each with their own strange quirks but none really interested in working together. The thought that they'd simply...throw each other to the wolves....never occurs to her.

So when Rubeus sneers so clearly and strikes so forcefully, Bloom finds her fighting stance weakening. "What--!?" she gasps out. "Aren't they your--!?"

The void takes all other concerns away. She feels Flappy struggling in his pouch, as her bright eyes take in the scene, and her fists rapidly clench. Egret leaps away with swift, quick leaps. Cure Bloom knows her thoughts already, because she shares them. Cure Bloom sucks in a breath of air, while it's still around her, and then screams into silence, briefly blazing like a golden beacon before she roars away from the ground. The way these two have always worked; Egret skips and skitters across the flying debris, and Cure Bloom crashes in like a bulldozer, smashing her feet into a flying stone, glowing briefly to draw in more power and then bulleting off again, intersecting the flying green Petz - the enemy who had held that Dark Rod before Rubeus revealed its awful power - mid-flight, swinging arms around her in a full-on tackle as she arcs rather more sharply to the ground than she wanted. Her feet glow as she tries to use her power to secure herself, but not even her earthly magic can handle a pull like this. Cure Bloom briefly switches up how she's holding Petz, slinging one arm around her tightly so she can use the other to hold on to...anything nearby.

"Egret!" she calls back, finding her partner's eyes. "Is there...ngh!" Her feet slip a half-meter before she digs her heels in enough, and she reaches out for Egret's hand, hoping Splash Star's united power can do something to ease the pull on at least the four of them together. The massive, shaggy pineapple of a ponytail that her Pretty Cure form bears feels like it's going to pull entirely off her head if this lasts much longer...! "Is there anything we can do!?"

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Golden Save on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Cure Bloom's Golden Save, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Setsuna Meioh is an avid student of astrophysics and, long before that discipline existed in an Earthly context, Sailor Pluto's eyes were to the stars more often than not. For all that long and curious relationship she has had with the heavens, she never thought to personally lay eyes on a singularity. No, Pluto reminds herself -- she is not actually seeing the black hole's heart, just the utter absence of escaping light where it must be. It hypnotizes through sheer abyssal power, sucking the senshi's attention right down with all that flickering light and shattering sound. She hits the trunk of a tree whose roots still grasp deep into crumbling soil -- "oof!" -- and barely notices except to cling for her life.

Pink hair grabs her attention, though, as it always will. Even the mesmeric horror of a black hole cannot compete against the love Puu has for her Small Lady. Garnet eyes escape the pull and fixate on Chibi-Usa and how she is being drawn freely into the nothingness.

"NO!! I'm coming, Small Lady!"

She notes the girl Small Lady is holding in a distant sort of way; it's relevant, but only in that she'll have to deal with that when she gets there. Bracing against the strange gravity, Pluto gathers herself on the far side of the tree, crouching perpendicular to the trunk. She makes to dive--

--and spots Kasagami, falling and screaming from out of seemingly nowhere. Bark crunches and flies off into the black hole, dislodged by fist-clenched hands. Pluto sees her falling, eye wide, great coat flapping, hair streaming, directly at the same nothingness that threatens her Small Lady.

Sailor Pluto discovers precisely how quickly a heart can rip in two. She screams, too, no words, just pain, and leaps, and falls, too -- an evergreen comet, aimed directly for Chibi-Usa. Somehow she makes it there before Chibi-Usa makes it to the black hole. She's still hanging onto that- that girl.

Sailor Pluto SLAMS the Garnet Rod down, deep, ignoring the tearing wrench in shoulders and arms, until it sinks down to the Orb in the upward-crumbling ground. Thus anchored she grabs for her Small Lady, shouting words that she hopes the gravity does not steal: "HOLD TIGHT! I AM HERE!"

Without looking at Hotaru -- she can't -- she grabs tighter, pulls at Chibi-Usa with the rough strength of a mother protecting a cub, and yanks Small Lady free of her best friend. She'll curl the pink haired girl in close to her chest, clinging with equal ferocity to Chibi-Usa and sunken Rod, and let the singularity steal the tears straight from her eyes.

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

Normally they were at odds, but during entrance exam week Chibi-Usa had been so kind. Seeing her so concerned for her welfare fills her with a swell of determination to keep her safe. "Stay with her. You can count on us to do the rest." The battlefield is chaos though. Ayakashi Sisters are everywhere, and as Moon grabs her tiara on it's deflected flight, placing it back on her forehead.

She's not certain where best to play offense- yet a single word draws her attention. It's the same guy who interrupted Petz before, and his mere presence fills her with shivers. What would this interruption bring? She's about to shout at him, whether he thinks it's okay to keep attacking kids. When- so much happens all at once. The Sisters they'd had such a rough time against are cast down so casually. Her hands tremble as she watches his cruelty first hand- causing his four subordinates so much suffering. And then-

"How could you!?" She finally shrieks out. She'd seen the way Koan looked at him. It's only blurted out a split second before the void forms and the intent grows clear. And then she's hitting the ground, holding onto a slab of concrete that's being half torn out, and there are cat paws grabbing onto her for dear life yanking at her blonde hair at what feels like the roots, "LUNA! That hurts! That hurts!" She yells out before adding, "... Don't let go though!" But Luna points out something. And Moon dares a squinting look over her shoulder to see-

And that's when she sees how many people are being sucked into the singularity of its presence.

Suddenly thoughts of attacking it become secondary in her desperation. "HOTARU! CHIBI-USA!" The others have them- but her eyes fall upon two sisters in particular. She recognizes them vividly. One burned them to death, the other forced her to eat a full Olympic Pool of Soba or suffer a year of the worst luck. Right now though they're two girls who have been betrayed- betrayed unto death. Unless she does something.

But how? How?

A wooden spool blows by- the long metal chain once wound around it flopping by provides her an answer. An answer that's a whim at best.

But that's all she has.

Moon let's go with one hand, grasping it with gloved fingertips, "What are you doing!?" And catching it. It flops in the air behind her like a third metallic twintail.

Realizing she needs both hands- she tells Luna just one thing, "Hold on tighter than ever Luna." And then she let's go. The cat shrieks. She feels like shrieking too, her heart is pounding so fast as she's sucked in like a vacuum. And Moon- slips the edge of her tiara into a chain link.

Her whole body does somersaults in the air as she's hurled towards the void abyss in the world. Until she impacts with a head of violet hair- grabbing Koan she loops her into the chain, holding her now chained tiara in her teeth. "You're crazy! MOON!" She holds out the length of the chain as they slam into Berthier too. From there it's just a loop Both sisters being encircled at different points in the chain, she grabs her Tiara from her mouth.

Dangerously close to the singularity- she hoists her arm back with a cry of desperation, "Moon Tiara-" Infused with glittering radiance she throws, "-BOOMERANG!" At first the Tiara flies forward full force- as if it were trying it's best to resist the gravitational pull, but then it starts to slow. "COME ON!" She shouts at it.

She'd managed to force it to stop in the past, but she puts all of her desire to save this pair into it. She channels that image of their betrayal in her mind- "GOOOOOO!" The Tiara pushes forward that last meter in its slowed trajectory, and winds around one of the few trees left standing, the chain pulling it to loop around it once before dark magic catches up to it and ends it's flight entirely as it embeds into the side of its trunk.

And that's where Moon finds herself. Both hands hanging onto the edge of a lengthy chain that's flopping back and forth, the Spiral Moon Heart Rod now taking the place of the tiara in her mouth so she has both hands to hang on. Koan and Berthier each ensnared in the chain just a little further to the ground which is held tightly looped by their savior at the other end. Safer than before, but still in dire straits. Not quite as dire as their rescuer right now though. Whose tip toes of her Moonboots are nearly touching, her blonde twintails nearly touching.

Sailor Moon is bug-eyed with tears sparkling into the black hole like a silverine trail. Luna is shrieking and just as bug-eyed. And the only thing out of Moon's lips right now is a whimper that's muffled by the rod between her teeth. If one could hear what's going on in her head right now- she's probably pleading with some higher power that if she gets out of this she promises she won't overeat so much, she'd be a better student come the new year in High School, be nicer to Chibi-Usa, be a better big sister to Shingo...

The list goes on and on. Right now she probably even means all of it too.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Tiara Rescue!? on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Sailor Moon's Moon Tiara Rescue!?, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is Psyched!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used I Love You Small Lady on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Sailor Pluto's I Love You Small Lady, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Aw. Fudge crackers." Lancelot says as the black hole opens up and begins to swallow up everything that the Knight can see. As the event horizon begins to grab him he falls face first and slams both blades of Arondight into the ground, the two blades carving a furrow in the dirt as he is dragged toward the center. Eventually he stops, his long hair, tied back snaps and whips until the leather cord breaks and then that long hair just flows behind him. He grits his teeth and considers.

He could just let go. Dive toward the center and try to hit that Rod with everything he has in one massive double strike. However, he may not be the smartest man to ever don full plate, but he's certain Mai would yell at him for that plan. Say something like: "You brian dead idiot," and then set him on fire.

He looked around him, even the light was being grabbed and drawn in. He gritted his teeth. Light. He can throw Lighting. That has the word light in it. Maybe that'll help a full powered strike of lighting to slam into the heart of this thing and accomplish the same task as giving in both blades slashing.

His mind made up, he rips the baldes free of the ground and rolls on his back, drawing power as he begins to slide back toward the gaping hole on mother Earth. Lighting crackles and blossoms on the twins blades, and he crosses the with an explosion of sparks and whipping tendrils of lighting that bend and twist in the air toward the black hole. "HEAVEN'S - " he cries out the word slowly, each drawn out letter of that words gathering more na dmore power to him, the blades. He almost felt like he would burst with the power he drew in to him. This had to work. For His Sister. For his Parents. For Mai .... He closes his eyes and then opens snaps them open, "WRATH!"

At that word he points the tips of the blades toward the center. Toward the heart and that rod somewhere in that swirling maelstrom that looked about to be the end of the world. Lighting blasts outward in two bolts that collide and swirl into one blase of lighting. The lighting whips and cracks and twists, the normla boom of thunder drowned by the roaring noise of the black hole. However the lighting ontinues to bear down and Lancelot pours everything he can into that one desperate attack. It's not his most powerful, he just doesn't have the time to draw that much power to im. But it's still a powerful blast of lighting. It's everything he can do. He only hopes it's enough.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Heaven's Wrath on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Lancelot's Heaven's Wrath, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Utena Tenjou's Fade ability activates!
Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!  Stagger and Stun applied to Utena Tenjou!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Uranus makes a brief, professional note that Berthier's threat has been downgraded considerably by Neptune's characteristically devastating attack. There are too many foes on the field to go celebrating, and this triages the others up on the list. At least, until a certain man claims the top spot rather loudly.

This betrayal seems senseless. Throwing away soldiers out of masculine pique. Perhaps Rubeus now deems help unnecessary? Well, he may end up wishing he had that help back again, soon.

The entire field of magical girls is being drawn into this new void, and Uranus gives Hotaru a dark glance over the crook of her arm as she shields her face and broadens her stance. As the pull becomes stronger, that is no longer enough, and Uranus gives a few steps to buy time. "Neptune!" she calls. "Here!"

Turning her back to the black hole, Uranus shoves her rear heel along the ground, through the dirt, until it plants solidly in the pushed-up snag of grass and earth that she has created. Her front foot, she slams down like a karateka, intentionally driving her bootheel into the ground. When Neptune reaches her, she bear-hugs her partner about the waist, low, her shoulder planted on the bottom of Neptune's ribcage. A human piton, she bends her knees and plants herself solidly, fighting the pull with the adamant strength in her long legs. Sailor Neptune is free to ignore her own balance for now.

Her chin tucked, Uranus can glance back over her shoulder, and watch Sailor Pluto struggling against the tide of whipping air with her small friend in hand, watch Sailor Moon dangle from that skinny chain, just a hand-spasm away from death. She turns back, pressing her forehead into Neptune's ribs as she grits her teeth.

"Don't rush," she urges, against all of her emotional instincts. "Just hit."

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

Sailor Jupiter had been ready to take on the Spectre Sisters with everything she has; now, after seeing their boss turn on them, seeing that look on Koan's face thinking Rubeus was there to save them, she's horrified at how callously the man of the Black Moon turns the Dark Rod into a death weapon and casts even his own people into the darkness. "How could you?!" she roars furiously, even as he vanishes laughingly into nothing; given the cacophony around them, it's a wonder she can hear him laughing at all. She grits her teeth as she grabs hold of a partially-broken piece of sidewalk concrete to keep herself from getting sucked in. That's--that's just wrong! Even if they *are* awful people, how could he treat his subordinates like that?!

But they're not the only ones falling towards the black hole. There's Chibi-Usa and Hotaru, the two of them rising up in the air hand-in-hand and then torn apart. Chibi-Usa cries out and breaks into coughs, but Hotaru looks to have lost consciousness--and then there's Kasagami over there too; when did *she* get here?

There's no time to figure that out. There's only time to act. Trusting in Sailor Moon and their fellow (non-terrible) magical girls to save the others, Sailor Jupiter focuses on the most vulnerable of those flying headlong towards the black hole: Chibi-Usa and Hotaru. She braces herself against the ground, rips the block of concrete the rest of the way from the sidewalk, hurls it at an angle forward so it'll fly ahead of her without hitting the kids, then leaps off the ground directly towards Hotaru and Chibi-Usa feet-first.

Sailor Pluto gets there first. Jupiter's eyes widen in horror as she sees the Guardian of Time physically rip Hotaru from Chibi-Usa's grasp, just so she can save Chibi-Usa alone. Jupiter doesn't miss the ferocious protectiveness with which Pluto grasps Chibi-Usa, either; it's just so... so mind-boggling, that someone might care for someone so much and still knowingly send their best friend off to certain death.

Jupiter shoots past the two, long arms stretched out. Pluto may have hoped that her gambit would allow her to kill Hotaru cleanly and quickly. Not so, with the Soldier of Protection about. Wrapping her hands around Hotaru, Jupiter then aims herself for the block of concrete she'd thrown up into the air, strikes her heels against it, and leaps back down towards the ground, a cone in the wake of the block giving her a bit of space to hurl herself and Hotaru back to the safety--specifically of a thick, corded wire whipping wildly from under the paved ground that Jupiter had wrenched free. She grips it with her free hand, and holds on for dear life.

Not just hers, but Hotaru's, too.

COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter has used Save the Saturnine on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has started a combo targeting Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Sailor Jupiter's Save the Saturnine, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Jupiter is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Hotaru is separated from Chibi-Usa so, so easily; despite being the older and taller of the two little girls, she probably weighs less, and with no returning grip on her best friend's hand, it is as simple as smashing a doll off the bedroom shelf with the sweep of an outstretched arm. And she soars towards oblivion all-unknowing of her doom, the doll-like analogy easily extended. She is an empty vessel, a porcelain chalice. Beautiful, but perhaps mercifully empty. Who would want to live through this? It is easier to die.

But she doesn't.

Sailor Jupiter is there, and Hotaru's lightness becomes a blessing; it is easy to clasp her close, her feather's mass not tugged too hard against her savior by the storm of suction. She feels soft, and warm, not at all like a doll -- her forehead, pressed against Jupiter's bow, feels hot, a burning brand.

And she shifts in Makoto's arms, returning to herself, returning her embrace, just a little bit. Her voice is tiny, barely above silence, but the pulses of actual silence rocketing through this tortured space swerve to avoid her. They know their mistress.

"...please..." Hotaru's tears melt into Sailor Jupiter's chest.


COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Please Save Chibi-Usa on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter accepts Hotaru Tomoe's Please Save Chibi-Usa, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Jupiter is
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The black wind howls!

Sailor Neptune's hair is pulled by it, the green tresses waving like the wakame they loosely resemble as she raises a gloved hand up, lips pulling back into a frown even as the magnetic pull of this point singularity pulls upon her body, a tide to be devoutly loathed.

When Kasagami speaks, Sailor Neptune honestly has to agree with her. Her well trained ears pick out other words in the howl of wind and screamed names. The actions of Sailor Moon draw the eyes of Neptune for a fleeting moment even as the tug of gravity threatens to pull her own body aloft. Ridiculous, she thinks. It is a passing judgment for there is no time for much thought; but in her heart, Sailor Neptune can understand the actions to protect the small girl - even the protection of Hotaru is understandable, foolish as it may be...

But these enemies? Ridiculous indeed.

Uranus calls her name.

Neptune takes one step back and then leaps towards her, and her visceral estimation is validated with the leap takes her further than usual and at a gentle curve. Strong hands grasp her even as Uranus crouches and digs her heels in, leaving Neptune weighted and facing the screaming void.

"Don't worry," Neptune murmurs.

She raises her hands then. Her left hand comes up to brace her right. The ring and smallest finger on that hand curl in to press against an indrawn thumb. Sailor Neptune stares dead along the sightline of the gap between index and middle finger. She becomes absolutely still, save for her hair. Except... her arm does move, just a bit... following the curve of the tides...

"I could get used to this," she says, and perhaps this is where Uranus at least will be eased. It's a quiet murmurous word, and if Sailor Jupiter is looking in their direction she may be filled with terror for a moment as Neptune takes her left hand away, and her right hand swings loosely in their direction -

There is a glitter of sapphire there and a "hah!" from Sailor Neptune. A streak of teal light joins the dark. It rides inwards, not aimed, it seems, at anything... it is on a loose spiral inwards, preceding everyone. Except, of course, that it isn't exactly a burst of magic: it's about six liters of seawater, at least in terms of mass, and it is rolling downhill fast towards that hateful rod.

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has joined the combo started by Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune have used World Stabilizing and Star Whale Harpoon on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly dodges Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune's Combo: World Stabilizing, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Utena
Tenjou's Fade ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Category 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kxczI-8OQ0

In the arms of their rescuers, the Four Sisters... stir. Barely. They aren't dead; they may be soon. Their mouths are a little bloody, their uniforms ragged, their skin scuffed and scratched all over from the torment they've just endured. The Black Moons surmounting their brows remain, but they do not pulse with more power than their own heartbeats, which are weak, indeed.

Calaveras doesn't open her eyes; in Egret's arms, she whimpers, "...you're warm..." without even seeming to realize that the word has left her lips.

Petz does, and Bloom sees dizzy confusion there, amid the dull blankness of the older woman's gaze. "Why..." she asks her enemy, and in that beginning there are so many endings. Why are you saving me? Why did this happen? Why did Rubeus...

Koan and Berthier are only close to Sailor Moon for a moment, but in that moment when Usagi touches Koan, the other girl sobs, her tears joining the salty rain ripped towards the maelstrom. "...Rubeus-sama...how could you..." Her eyes open and she gazes up at her savior with bleak despair. "...just let me die," she pleads, in the voice of a woman who knows how to love, and just learned how to lose.

Berthier hears this, and by the time they're both wrapped to the tree, she is able to regain the wherewithal to shout over the storm. "SHUT UP!" she screams at Koan. "HOW DARE YOU..." Her voice breaks, her scant breath expended, becoming a gasp: "...talk...like...that..." She, too, knows how to love another.


Lightning -- not Dark Lightning, but true lightning, the wrath of heaven and of Lancelot -- crashes into the black hole, and what happens next is rather fascinating from an astrophysical perspective. One (if one were a HUGE NERD like Setsuna Meioh or Fuu Hououji) might expect it to be drawn thinner and thinner on approach, like a blacksmith's wire or gold spun from straw. But that's not what happens; instead it seems to split -- split completely, becoming multiple, separate fragments of itself, with endings distant and entirely separate from Lancelot. These are individually weak, and the few that reach the Dark Rod at all do not even scorch it.

From another direction, six litres of the ocean -- not Dark Water, that brakish facsimile, but the lifeblood of the world, and of more distant worlds as well, where Neptune once ruled beautiful, empty seas -- pour towards the Outer Senshi's mutual goal. Again it seems to be broken up on approach, rather than drawn in tighter and faster. It creates a gorgeous, scintillating -- and dark -- kaleidoscope, as already-warped light and newly warped water intersect at a variety of different angles.

The verdict, to Wind Knight and Soldier of Time and Space, is clear: this is not a black hole. Not yet.

"It's not a black hole! Not yet!" announces Luna, for the benefit of everyone else. But she is a kitty and only narrowly holding on to her mistress for dear life; she is not in much of an analytical frame of mind right now. Explaining what this means will fall to others.

Also falling: chunks of debris, towards the not-a-black-hole-yet. Concrete rips from the ground to slam into Kasagami and Fuu, while tree branches rip brutally at Sailor Jupiter and Hotaru. Sailor Pluto and Chibi-Usa are endangered by the accelerating approach of a manhole lid, while Sailor Moon must contend with the indignity of a full garbage can. Bloom and Petz are threatened by a sign that says 'DO NOT WALK ON THE GRASS', Lancelot a different sign covered in educational facts about plum trees ('DID YOU KNOW?'), while Egret and Calaveras have Kasagami's broken light pole coming straight at 'em. Finally, Sailors Uranus and Neptune feel the ground shatter underneath them, and are peppered on all sides by an explosion of concrete shards.

COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has adjusted her boss levels. She is now ready to take on 12 opponents!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Chibi-Usa Tsukino.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used Debris on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Fuu Hououji's Block ability
activates!  Fuu Hououji's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki's Fade ability activates!
Kasagami Araki's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter fails to brace Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 9 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 5 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 6 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter covers Hotaru Tomoe for Utena Tenjou's attack, Debris, taking it upon herself instead!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 1 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Pluto's Block ability
activates!  Sailor Pluto's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter fails to brace Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 13 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret's Block ability activates!  Cure
Egret's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto covers Chibi-Usa Tsukino for Utena Tenjou's attack, Debris, taking it upon herself instead!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa thinks she hears the ghost of Sailor Pluto's voice, despite everything that's already happened from her. The little pink-haired girl's distress is obvious, her long hair casting towards the singularity. But her grip is loosening, and there's only so much she can do. "No!" she calls, and tries to hang on tighter.

But suddenly there is Puu here, and Chibi-Usa turns to blink and stare at her. "Puu! Help!" she calls, and suddenly she is in her old guardian's arms. Except... Except that she is there and--"NO!"

Pluto tears her free from Hotaru and Chibi-Usa stares after her, suddenly held painfully tight--or maybe the pain comes from who isn't there.

The sisters being grabbed she sees with wonder but she can spare no good feelings until Sailor Jupiter saves Hotaru, digging it. Ever-strong, reliable Sailor Jupiter. But...

As she cranes her neck up to look at Sailor Pluto, she is no longer crying. Tears are still down her face, of course, but the look in her eyes is firmer than that, for all that there's a lax quality to her. Her chest hurts. Everything hurts.

"Puu!" Small Lady calls to her oldest friend. "Why!? Why would you... Hotaru-chan...!" She doesn't move to 'escape' her. She just stares up at her, in the obvious pain of betrayal that a child can express best. Her free hand balls up, and falls hard against Pluto's chest. "How could you? HOW COULD YOU!" .. Her hand falls again, still not hard enough to hurt a Senshi. Her other arm stuck, she hits that tiny fist again as she can't help but cry now.

She squirms in Pluto's arms, "Let go of me! Don't touch me! You tried to k--...to k-... to kill Hotaru-chan!" She's still squirming, her legs kicking and her hair pulled hard to the point of darkness.

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Neptune's Block ability activates!
Sailor Neptune's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto fails to brace Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 9 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Chibi-Usa Tsukino has used HOW COULD YOU on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto accepts Chibi-Usa Tsukino's HOW COULD YOU, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

'Black hole' *was* the Wind Knight's first thought, but seeing what Lancelot's lightning and the two Outer Sailors' efforts do upon reaching it - "She's right!" the green-clad Knight calls out. "He conjured some kind of gravitational distortion but it isn't -"

She hunkers down hard against the flying chunks of concrete, praying nothing hits her hard enough to dislodge her desperate grip. She's still being pulled towards the singularity, inch by painstaking inch, even as the buffeting storm of debris subsides - but her grip holds. She can only hope Kasagami stays anchored with her.

"We can't damage that Rod without getting much closer, practically *inside* the distortion!" she resumes her capsule explanation to her allies. "The distortion probably won't kill us directly, not until the gravity picks up further ... but I don't know if whoever DOES get close enough will come back ... We don't know how much power it'll take to destroy that Rod, but it'd likely be fatal, that close to ground zero!!"

None of which gives her any ideas for what she *can* do. Her wind magic is all but useless, and neither her sword nor her archery will pack remotely enough of a punch to do the trick ...

COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly counters Utena Tenjou's Debris, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Reverse ability activates!
Cure Bloom's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom's counterattack, Petal Flash, partially gets through, doing 5 Fatigue damage to Utena Tenjou!  Diversion
applied to Utena Tenjou!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Egret, nervously, looks down at Calaveras. She blinks, unsure what to do with that, and then she looks up at Bloom. She feels the ground ripping up around her. She sees some rocks tearing away. Finally, a broken light pole tears from Kasagami's vicinity and sets to spinning. It flies in--

--and slams into a white barrier at the last moment, sending a shudder of sparkles of silvery light into the air when it strikes. Egret takes a step backward, gasping. "There--there must be!" she calls back to Bloom, before looking down at the Sister in her arms. "Please," she says, quieter. "Hold on. I will try to protect you."

She sets her down. It's reluctant. She nudges Calaveras, gently, against a larger rock here. It's meager shelter. It's enough shelter for Egret to feel confident she won't be pulled into the abyss again. The Cure looks down at her, hesitating, before she looks at Bloom. She considers Fuu's words.

She nods to her partner. Then. she leaps forward. A torn up concrete chunk awaits. Egret smashes it aside with a barrier, then bounces to the next, and the next after that. It's slow going.

It's dangerous. She knows that.

But Bloom is with her. It has to be enough. She wheels back, foot shining with white light -- and then she tries to kick another chunk of debris aside with a hard blow.

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Sky Dancer's Kick on Utena Tenjou.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami's life flashes through her head. All of the dinners, training, and love with her parents. The despair leading to her place on the Council. Madoka, Usagi, the Cheavliers and Sheperds. All of the friends and enemies she's made.

And most of all, the women in her heart, one of whom is already leaping. Her heart leaps...and then falls, as Pluto rushes instead for the small girl in pink pigtails. For a moment, their gazes might meet. Kassie smiles, even as she feels her heart tearing.

In her mind, it makes sense. The two are closer, it seems like a sensible, tactical decision. Even as tears threaten to well up, even as it stings, she knows it's the smart choice.

It doesn't make the cold ice stabbing into Kasagami's heart any less painful. The question that follows in Kasagami's eye is a simple one. 'Why her?'. 'Who is this girl'. She remembers how quickly Pluto leapt to Usagi's defense.

For a moment it seems it's a mystery that she'll never get to know, Kasagami steeling herself for death. A deep breath, and out.

"Pluto! I love yo..."

OOMPH! The graceful, bespectacled Wind Knight slams right into her like a very emerald green rocket. Her breath and declaration of love is utterly pushed out of her. Far too late, Kasagami heeds Fuu's advice, and drops the remnants of her makeshift weapon.

Thankfully, she has roses and knives too. Her ribs ache, her heart is red hot and hurting, but the physical pain of Fuu's leap brings her back to her senses. Mid-air, her right hand flicks out three knives into her grasp, while her other arm grabs onto Fuu's waist. When they land? She slams the points down hard into rocks, or whatever similarly hard surface she can find. Her coat comes off, and she wraps it around one to serve as an anchor point. Pulling it taught, at least the Wind Knight and Kassie have something to grab onto.

With a long breath, she laughs. It's just a little unhinged, the kind of stress laugh where someone's almost died. She grins, trying to look confident, but mostly she looks...hurt?

"Hah! Good timing, Wind Knight! What was it again? Looks like I owe you one." She tries to be breezy. And fails as she laughs again. Her heart pounds in her chest. That was a little too close.

Then an elbow slams into a nearby rock, breaking it as she vents the last of her current vexation. She watches the pieces go flying off into the Black Hole. With at least that much violence done, she surveys the battle field. The bravery on display is simply astounding. Companions save one another, and try to stop that void. A knight bares his fury for the sake of love. Selfless sacrifice for a girl wanted dead. Kasagami can't help but feel some part of herself open. That perhaps, perhaps there might be a little more good in the world than she thinks.

Just as quickly disgarded, as the sting in her chest remains. There's relief, though. Pluto and her mysterious pink haired girl are alive. And Moon, in a frankly ingenius and terrifyingly brilliant move, works to save what might be her enemies.

There too, something shifts. The monster she'd imagined the girl to be in her own despair...that courage, for all those tears. Could she have misjudged the girl?

She shakes off her roiling feelings, once again trying to center herself. "Any ideas? Normally I'd just use a massive burst of roses to crush something like that...but let's just say I haven't learned how to cut a formless void!" 'Yet', goes unspoken.

"And somehow I don't think we can exactly plug that hole. Maybe...." That Rod looks horrifically ominous. Hmmmm.

Suddenly Luna! Kasagami wracks her brain for her astrological lessons, but osmosis near Pluto hasn't quite gotten to that point.

Of course, there's also the incoming concrete that rips out from the ground! Grabbing her now anchor'd coat, she stands up, and lets loose with a series of hard kicks! She's no Pretty Cure, but no slouch either when it comes to apply steel toed boots to whatever's in her way. The first bit of concrete is shattered, but the next piece is bigger. She's forced to leap towards it, and kick off the thing into a back flip back to the ground! One or two pieces of the debris smack into her legs and chest, tearing rips into her clothes. Still, she manages to keep away from most of the danger of being knocked away into the 'black hole' itself!

"So in other words, if we destroy the Rod, we stop that thing? And we'll have to get inside there?" Tchhh. There's plenty of magical girls, but it'd be a risk. They could all charge in...but they all might die. And yet if they don't, they're all dead anyway.

Kasagami ducks a few more stray bits of debris. "Everyone! If we don't stop this thing, we're all dead!" A glance to Moon. And then she grins.

"Some of us might be enemies, but let's work together. Hey, Moon! Think you can keep that chain trick up? If we all combine our strength, and tie one person up then send them into the singularity...if we can hit this thing hard all at once with someone up close to channel our powers, we might be able to destroy that thing and drag them out before they die!" Suggests Kasagami, her volume for once working in her favor.

An Ohtorite suggesting cooperation. Somewhere, hell gets a little more icey.

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

The lighting splits almost into what appears to be multiple realities. Those that impact the Rod don't do much if anything. Lancelot growls, the sound lost in the howl and swirl of the Black Hole. The crashing sound of debris and maybe even the hammering heart. He begins to think of a new plan, of a new angle of attack, which is when he suddenly learns some new, very important facts:

Some varieties of plums are cultivated for ornamental purposes because of their beautiful flowers. Interesting Plum Facts: Plum usually grows 10 to 20 feet in height and develops the crown of the same dimensions. Plum has reddish to brown bark that is smooth in young trees and furrowed in older trees. And that Educational Signs when they implant your face hurts.

The Impact to his face snaps his head back and he rolls on the ground as he is sucked tooward that swirling vortex of death and destruction. He bounces high and then slams into the ground near Fuu, who begins to give her explanation. He looks up at Fuu and says very seriously as loudly as he can to the Wind Knight. "Fuu! We both know I have No idea what your talking about." He blinks a few times and then nods. "But I think I understand the get up close and hit it."

Up close and hit something. He understands that. Distoritions and waves and all that scientific mumbo jumbo. He also thinks he gets that he might not make it back. He looks to the black hole and then off into the distance, where those he cares about live. He grits his teeth. To Fuu he says with a smirk, "Ah heck. I was gett'n tired of the nightmares and all that anyway."

If he was going to do this, he needed more power. He wasn't sure honeslty if he had the TIME to wait. He nods, more to himself than to anybody else, and pushes off. he runs toward the black hole, his blades held low, trailing electrical energy behind him as he goes. Each step drawing more and more power into himself. He leaps from one piece of debris to another, each leap building speed, power, and bringing him closer to the black hole's heart. As he leaps form one particular piece of debris he fires off a quick blast of lightning. The bolt firing form the right hand blade in a blast of energy.

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

Black hole, blue hole, white hole, none of it means a thing to Sailor Jupiter. Her breath catches when she sees Chibi-Usa struggle against Pluto, when she sees Sailor Moon just barely hanging on to a wire while clutching two of the Spectre Sisters, when she sees Neptune hurl an attack seemingly in her direction that then goes instead towards the singularity, but she breaks easier (relatively speaking; there's a shortage of air in here, after all) when all of these seem okay. For now.

Hotaru stirs in her hands, whispers--pleads--for her to save Chibi-Usa. Jupiter smiles, hearted to see that she's conscious after all, and moved by the fact that even now Hotaru's first priority is her best friend. Although Jupiter doesn't trust the Outers as far as she can throw them, if Pluto really didn't care about Chibi-Usa, she wouldn't have gone out of her way to split her from Hotaru before saving her; she'd have just consigned both of them to the gravitational abyss. And it's clearly not just saving an innocent so she can let a supposed threat die, taking the Outers at their word; Jupiter could tell that Pluto *cared*. So she'll trust her instincts on that, that Pluto will keep Chibi-Usa, at least, safe. That carries in her low voice as she murmurs back to Hotaru, "Chibi-Usa-chan's safe. You'll be together again soon. Just hold tight, and we'll all get through this."

It's an oath she's determined to keep, at least. Though the trees around her lash at her, Jupiter swivels to keep her back to them and Hotaru safe from their scratches. As this goes on, her grip doesn't fail--but it *does* start to slip down the wire. For now, Jupiter can only twist her hand around to hook the wire around her wrist to keep from slipping further, but she won't be able to attack like this. But at the same time, she can't use it to tie Hotaru down; Uranus and Neptune will go after her for sure, if not now, then once the rest of them are distracted with destroying the Dark Rod. She barely hears other people shouting about how to actually go about doing that, in the meantime, and she shouts over her shoulder, "Whatever!! Just tell me when to shoot lightning and I'll shoot!!"

Assuming she has a solution for her current predicament figured out by then. She looks around for the greenhouse where the meeting was being held earlier. Maybe if she could make it that far, she could put Hotaru inside, let Kaoruko look after her... Would that work? Would the Outers hesitate to attack a powerless old woman? Jupiter's not confident the answer's 'yes.' (Jupiter does not know about Coupe-sama. This would make her choice a lot simpler.)

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Blast on Utena Tenjou.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

I could get used to this, she says.

"I got used to this a long time ago," Uranus finds the time to purr to Neptune.

Sailor Uranus is as stable as the earth itself right now, but the earth itself is not stable at all. It erupts and buckles, and Uranus is forced to release Neptune so they can both deal with the concrete pelting them. The minor bruising from those chunks of artificial stone is nothing compared to the danger of being sucked in, and Sailor Uranus quickly turns her eyes to the ground. Steering towards the sidewalk, she kicks down into it fiercely, forming a temporary hollow there large enough to brace her back against, if she squats. When Neptune joins her, she grabs her wrist up and slides her grip to clumsily grasp her hand, the increasing gravitation making fine motions like that difficult.

She looks into Neptune's eyes. They both heard what Fuu said quite well.

"I'll go!" Uranus shouts over the noise, clutching Neptune's gloved hand closer to her chest. "It can't be both." Her eyes are fierce. "We made a promise to each other."

One of them has to survive.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Held as she is, Sailor Neptune doesn't fear anything much. Even so, she does worry at least somewhat about the concrete that bursts around them; her arms cross over her face as she hisses at the sharp lines of pain on her arms, even as Chibi-Usa's heart breaks and her tears spill out.

Fuu Hououji explains what is going on. Her explanation fills in gaps from what Neptune had intuited - makes an intuition into something more concrete, in an entirely different sense of the term. As Neptune's wrists uncross, her expression is grim.

She dismounts from Uranus's reinforcing grasp, but her hand is taken, and Sailor Neptune's head turns to look towards Uranus - her other hand curls lightly, wanting more than most things in this world to cup the cheek of the face that gazes towards her. Her own face is serene.

"No," she tells Uranus.

"You stay; I'll go. Keep 'Her' safe."

And with that she turns her wrist, her fingers breaking their momentary interlace with Uranus's own.

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

Gloved hands tightly holding onto the chain, the words of the two Spectre Sisters echo in her ears. Those words of betrayal, and loss. From this position she can see all too well. Jupiter clinging to Hotaru, Pluto clinging to Chibi-Usa. For just one moment she looks at Uranus and Neptune. In the past she might have screamed for help.

Today however she has no expectation of being protected- this close to the precipice of death.

A garbage can hurtles at her, and the most she can do while flapping in the breeze is tighten her grip and dip her head as trash slams over her in full measure, wet garbage getting all over her as it rolls into it, the smell nauseating. Muscles already feeling like gelatin, she regathers herself. She listens to what Fuu says. Practically inside. She was practically inside, but she could get closer.

Five girls once counted on her. Yui, Rio, Yuna, Hino, and Koharu. Five girls are dead because she couldn't shine for them.

Madoka crying over her friend's kidnapping- crying as she led her away from her own kidnapping in the past. In need of a friend. A friend, but not a soldier.

One hand let's go and she nearly loses her grip at that moment. Nearly. She hangs on more tightly with those images of her head. If she does this she could die. And that's scary. But what's more scary is thinking, Luna will die too- then the chain will unravel from Koan and Berthier- and those two betrayed sisters' precious feelings will be gone too.

Then maybe Mako-chan. Who will never get to open her bakery/flower shop. Then Chibi-Usa... and Hotaru... their precious friendship gone. Then maybe Pluto- who she wanted to protect from her own mission. Then Neptune and... Uranus. The two looking at each other. The promise Uranus makes to her. She's not even certain what to feel anymore, but she wants to protect that too.

Kasagami shouts a suggestion. But- Moon is already at the end of the chain. There's no further one can go. Her quavering arm fights against the pull to grab the end of her rod, unclenching her teeth from around it as she grips ahold. "IT'S TOO SHORT!" She cries out, "ANY FURTHER AND I'LL FALL IN!" She sobs, "LUNA! GET OFF ME AND GRAB THE CHAIN!" "HOW DO YOU PROPOSE I DO THAT WITH CAT PAWS!?" "I DUNNO JUST DO IT!"

Luna climbs up Moon with the daredevil abilities only cats are capable of, moving from her hair, to the shoulder of her Fuku, gripping her gloves, then straining to get across, before latching all four paws around the chain, hair standing on end, grip not nearly as secure as she wishes. A mooncat's weight now all that's keeping the two sisters securely looped in the chain

She sniffles once- then- says quietly to Luna. "I'll be back Luna. But I don't think I've ever really gotten to tell you..." Sailor Moon smiles like an idiot as tears sting her eyes, scared out of her mind but a bit calmer in this moment, "...thanks for everything."

And then she lets her grip fall slack. Both hands moving to grip her rod instead as her singular lifeline to end this.


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

Hotaru can barely move in this spatial storm, but she manages to shift herself around. She's so thin that it's all too easy for her to slide out from beneath Sailor Jupiter. She doesn't simply let go, however. Six months ago she might have, but right now she has something to live for, a tiny pink hope. If it would make the slightest lick of difference, she'd die for her, too.

But she doesn't have that power. Doesn't have any power...

The heat at Jupiter's breastbone has abated, and her forehead, now pressing into the Soldier of Protection's neck instead, is clear, feels cool.

"Don't let me stop you. Let's go together," she whispers into Makoto's ear, now piggybacked securely upon her, her arms wrapped tightly around the senshi's chest.

"I am not afraid."

It's hard to say whether that's sadder as a truth or a lie.

In this storm, though, the main aspect of her voice that stands out is its agelessness. If Makoto didn't know Hotaru well, she might think she was being spoken to by a mother or a crone, not a tender maiden who attends elementary school.

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

The sign comes screaming at her, and Cure Bloom's response is much like Egret's; their hands may not be joined but there is a certain resonance of spirit between them, and Bloom's barrier is much more coherent than the usual wave of sparkles she throws up. The sign cracks in half against her shield, and then a few clods of earth similarly break apart. Saki huffs a breath, barely hearing Petz across the din and anti-din. 'Why?' She can answer only one of the many paths Petz's mind may be wandering. "...because you wherever you can go from here," Bloom says back, boldly, "You can't get there if you die!" She follows Egret's lead, leaping away from the maelstrom until she can find a tree that doesn't look like it's gonna lose its roots right now, and using that fancy Infinity education her parents are paying for, locates a few likely-looking vines to lash her to the branches. "Sorry but we kinda gotta deal with this!" she excuses herself, and then steps over to Egret, posture tented to keep her from flying into the drawing mass. She looks at Egret, lips quirked. "Your dad's an astronomer, right?! How do these...things," she's pointing at the horrible magic atrocity that will apparently soon become an anti-star, "work!? If the problem is that it's gonna blow up or something, can we do something to contain it? Our shields or something!?"

She matches eyes with Egret, and nods as she darts off. The others are all hesitating for some reason Bloom doesn't get, but she's riding with Egret.

Together, they ar Pretty Cure. She doesn't need anything but that as she leaps in alongside Egret, mirroring her progression from rubble to rubble. As she gets close, Bloom rips an entire tree stump from the ground and HURLS it, hoping the solid mass will succeed where blasts of energy have largely not.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Lancelot's Lightning Blast, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Lancelot is Psyched!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Cure Egret's Sky Dancer's Kick, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret is Psyched!  Trap applied
to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom is Psyched!  Utena
Tenjou's Block ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The 12th Day - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMSiocvvpw8

Uranus's lips part soundlessly. Is this the moment they anticipated for so long? She always knew that when it came, it would come quickly. And whatever Sailor Uranus may want to say right now to her partner through the long starlit ages, she must not dishonor Neptune's courage. And so her eyes are dry, and her lips harden. All that passes from her to Neptune is a little downward tilt of the chin, and a last moment of eye contact.

Her glove releases at the same time as Neptune's.

She is up in the next instant, and she grips the edge of the concrete hollow in a fist and she grips the thinning air in her teeth. She is strong and she is brave and she is merciless to herself because she knows she can endure it. She has made a lifetime of conquering distance and obstacle with her body and conquering her body with her will. It is not that she is sure she can defeat the howling void that has begun to hollow earth and grass, sure she can run what she could not safely crawl. It is that she chooses to find out rather than wonder.

The first surge of motion is like slamming up a loaded leg press. Uranus leaps up out of the hollow and then she does it again, pushing the ground with both feet to shove herself diagonally away from the anomaly. Unable to oppose it directly yet, she lets it draw her closer in exchange for building up momentum with each hard-landing step. Fixing her eyes on the flapping chain and twintails she is aiming for, she feels several of her footsteps give out as the dirt is sucked away from beneath them, and pumps her legs to find new ones. When the pull seems to have her running with her body almost parallel to the ground she grabs at it with her hands and hauls.

Here and there some firm grounded concrete or boulder sends her bounding far and forward. She has the momentum now to break her failing orbit, to widen it, but she needs to do so faster to get far enough out. The air itself is betraying her lungs, draining away even as she tries to quench the burn. Backfisting away a chunk of concrete as she gets closer, wheezing as her boots rip at the disintegrating grass beneath her, Sailor Uranus follows the cardinal rule of sprinting:

Pour it on even at the finish line. Never slow down.

As Sailor Moon's hands slip from her chain, she flies like paper wrapping blown from a straw. For a moment, she has a sense of total weightlessness, like flying. Then, as abrupt as a car crash, a hand hooks her collar and rips her back the other way.

Uranus needs this extra weight to get her feet to hit ground more solidly. There is not all that much of it in this tiny senshi, but it gets Uranus one last good grip with her boot, which she uses to leap. With her free arm she reaches forward for the wildly whipping chain. Her fingers close around it... just as it slides out from them.

With a growl, Uranus rotates her wrist hard, catching the chain against the outer side. Chain and forearm wrap each other in an instant and Uranus locks on with her grip.

Fastened there, Uranus grimaces as she hauls Sailor Moon up, pinching the smaller girl to her side with her elbow. She changes her grip quickly, hooking her forearm under Sailor Moon's armpit to hold onto her in a more dignified fashion.

Her mouth tight, she forbids Sailor Moon with a shake of her head.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

What a strange day, Michiru Kaioh thinks to herself. I wanted to kill a girl to save the world, because she was the one who was going to destroy it; now I stare at a black hole in embryo in the middle of Tokyo. Did I misunderstand everything, in the last moment?

It is a hopeful thought but Sailor Neptune does not think so. The Black Moon Clan were wholly unexpected by her. Either they are truly hidden from her sight or there is some part that Hotaru Tomoe has yet to play here. And perhaps this was simple mischance, she reasons further, and all will be well.

She doesn't believe that either.

I don't want to be here, Michiru Kaioh thinks. I wish it were someone else. But it isn't, is it?

She'll be looking at me, Michiru thinks. I shouldn't alarm her.

Sailor Neptune's face is a mask of determination, with only the slightest hint of a calm smile.

I don't want the last thing she sees... to be fear, Michiru Kaioh thinks: She'll never live with herself otherwise.

And so Sailor Neptune darts forwards, into the howling storm of debris. She moves low and close and weaves among the fragments being drawn inwards. She strikes with open palm and sweeping motion of her heel, all of it taking on an air of a balletic dance as she moves ever inwards. Once she is deep enough that her outline is partially obscured to any lingering looks, she stops making herself smile...

But she raises her left hand to the sky as she does. This pose is held as she gathers herself around it, forcing herself into a steady rhythm of breathing, neither panicking nor despairing. Steady as she goes. Further on. There's a center to all of this.

Sailor Neptune's face doesn't crack, like the peaceful clouds of a distant world.

The last clear thought, verbal and eloquent, that comes to Michiru Kaioh before her focus becomes the totality of her mind's eye, is: I'm not losing her to some red-haired maniac's trap.

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has used Calculated Dissonance on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Sailor Neptune's Calculated Dissonance, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Cripple and Stagger applied
to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has used Act Like A Soldier on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon accepts Sailor Uranus's Act Like A Soldier, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is Cheered!  Accelerate
applied to Sailor Moon!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Each beat of Sailor Pluto's heart thuds more heavily than the last. It has nothing to do with the too-close gravity of that nascent event horizon. In those odd moments of aural whiteout when the singularity steals sound, Kasagami's scream and following declaration are the only things she hears. When light itself ceases to be, she sees her love's smile and that look in her eye, in that sliver of a moment when their gazes connected. Did Kasagami fall in? Or did she make it? Pluto hates that she does not even know. She clutches Small Lady all the closer, a spasm accompanied by a dry sob.

She reopens her eyes when Chibi-Usa calls her name, and at first just draws what comfort she can from having this girl she loves so much safely in her arms. But she's asking questions that Puu can't answer, with a horrible betrayed look in big red eyes. "I am--" she starts, but can't finish. She's not sorry, and will not lie, especially to those she loves. Pluto tries for something true, however unhelpful. "I wish I could tell y--"

Tiny hand becomes tiny fist, and beats great big holes in Sailor Pluto's wounded heart. She tells herself she can bear Small Lady's hurt, her anger, as long as she is still whole and safe, even as she shudders with each punch. And to a point, Pluto is correct: that is far more bearable than what comes next.

'Let go of me! Don't touch me!' Her dearest friend, the Small Lady whose loneliness perfectly matched her own in a time so distant it is but an endangered and silvery dream to this Tokyo of Here and Now, does not even want her near. It hurts more than she could have imagined, gouges deep. Her face spasms with it, garnet wells deepen and hollow and darken with it. For perhaps the first time ever, she directly disobeys her Small Lady, her future Princess. She does not let go.

From the corner of one of those sorrow-filled eyes she spots the approaching manhole cover. Pluto simply hunches down hard and turns to take it on her back, grunting out the tremendous walloping impact and thinking, This does not hurt at all compared to the pain in my chest.

Fuu shouts about the nature of the thing and Pluto drags her head up. Through the tears streaming directly out of her eyes, pulled by the gravity, she sees the strangeness and recognizes what Fuu saw there. She swings her freed gaze around to the gravitic vortex of a battlefield, first spotting those closest -- Jupiter and the rescued Hotaru. What breath the not-quite-black-hole leaves her catches in her throat, and she sincerely does not know how to feel about seeing that girl safe. But they are not who she's looking for, and so she keeps looking.

--There. The other half of her heart starts up again, the half that tore loose when she chose her Small Lady. There she is. Despite everything, there's a happy little broken wobble to Sailor Pluto's lips, something partway between a smile and a sob, when she sees Kasagami Araki whole and well. More -- the swordswoman is rallying, trying to work with Sailor Moon to fight this thing, and the senshi's world brightens so much that she realizes how dark it had become in that awful span of not knowing. "Oh, Kassie..." she whispers, for and to herself. Just as she did with Small Lady, Pluto draws hope and strength from knowing her beloved one lives. She needs that strength for what is coming.

Because beyond her safe love, Sailor Pluto sees her two friends -- her fellow soldiers across the thousands of years, two people she knows very well indeed. She sees the way they regard each other, the surfacing tragedy that they think she doesn't spy between them from time to time in their solemn looks and bittersweet shared touches. She witnesses their dance and they way it parts them, and whispers, "No..."

The tearstreams escaping her eyes become small rivers of sorrow, winding strangely through the gravity-wracked space between Sailor Pluto and Sailor Neptune where she is in that killing well, and an odd little part of Setsuna hopes that they reach her friend, that that little gift of water from her heart can touch Michiru somehow. That they can have that small connection, before she...

She looks to Uranus and Sailor Moon, and all she can do is send them what strength is left to her heart, for as much as it hurts... Pluto knows she cannot quite understand. But she can imagine, now.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Quiet Support of a Distant Planet on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus accepts Sailor Pluto's Quiet Support of a Distant Planet, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor
Uranus is Cheered!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

She had no expectation of being protected. This close to the precipice.

Her vision is blurred but her eyes aren't closed. She needs her eyes open for what comes next. Which is when suddenly something catches her and her weight lurches beneath that iron clad grip of strong hands. Not understanding what's happening at all, her eyes are still upon the void distortion for a moment- as she's in the process of being hauled back up.

And that's when she looks up- despite the sense of familiarity at first of those arms there's an almost bovine incomprehension within her eyes. Deep down she wished she could be saved from this grim task but she knew it wouldn't happen. Until it did.

Her arm is hooked up into a more dignified grip that holds her so securely, And there's a shake of Uranus head forbidding her.

Neptune darts past her, more an aquamarine blur than anything. There's something in her eyes, fraught with emotion, as her entire frame trembles- and she says whisper thin, "But she's in there..."

And in that moment, looking into Uranus' eyes... she thinks Uranus knows that better than anyone.

In that moment she doesn't know what to feel anymore, being held within those arms that wouldn't let her go.

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


"Why?" It's Calaveras' turn to weakly question Egret's decision to protect her, but once set down, she turns to Petz, who is also now nearby. Gingerly she reaches out her hand towards her elder sister.

Petz is still dazed. "Wherever...I go..." she repeats blankly, watching Bloom depart, watching Calaveras' hand approach. She shifts against her tree, eyes half-lidded, and tastes blood. "Calaveras... I'm sorry... I don't think I can take you anywyere today...."

"...big sis..." Calaveras' eyes close as their palms meet, and together they wait for the end.



There's a whole sea of debris between the plum grove and the Dark Rod. There is in fact more of it the deeper one goes into the distortion, and it tends to... repeat... after a while; there goes that garbage can again, the one that bounced off Usagi. There's the two halves of Bloom's broken sign, and there they are again. A particular chunk of concrete with Uranus' bootprint on it can be spotted eight consecutive times, spinning onwards towards its doom.

There are also echoes of actions, not just items. Lancelot's lightning, Neptune's seawater, the sparkling aftermath of Pretty Cure's punches and kicks, all of these appear at odd, dangerous angles, sweeping towards debris but also, now, towards those who have entered this multifaceted debris field. Like being trapped between two mirrors, or inside a spinning kaleidoscope, it is disorienting and it could, if one were uncareful, be deadly.

The sky above has no clouds, no sun, no stars. It too is but a mirror, and one can see alternate versions of oneself reflected back.



It is getting darker and colder, and the pull is getting stronger as the Dark Rod does its terrible work.



Kaolinite taps the surface of her scrying pool with the black-starred tip of her staff, and Rubeus' face fades from view. Glancing over her shoulder, she issues orders to the first of the Witches 5 unsmilingly. She's eager, but a certain poise is required as the Grand Magus of the Death Busters. A certain reserve.

That task complete, she returns to her scrying.



BGM: Daimon Battle #2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejPiLEDje30


The sound of a cocking gun mechanism carves across the chaotic soundscape of what was a plum grove and is rapidly becoming nothing at all.

"FIRE!" Oh, the satisfaction in that voice. The eagerness. The savage hunger for victory.


Eudial, First of the Witches 5, stands well-braced between two trees, a bootheel planted on each, and unleashes her technomagical flamethrower at point blank. The backblast of heat sends her triple ponytails flying over her shoulder, and her grin is manic with glee.

"You will go to Jindai and finish what the Black Moon has started," Kaolinite had told her. "Burn it all down. Burn it to ashes in the name of our Master, Pharaoh 90."

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro transforms into Eudial!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used A Memory of Fight on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used A Memory of Fight on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used A Memory of Fight on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used A Memory of Fight on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Cure Egret fails to dodge Utena Tenjou's A Memory of Fight, taking 21 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has cancelled their attack on Sailor Uranus. If there are more attacks that need to be +cancelled, please
hold all +attacks until the process is complete.
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's A Memory of Fight, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot's Block ability activates!
Lancelot's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's A Memory of Fight, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Sailor Jupiter.
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's A Memory of Fight, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Block ability
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro has used FIRE BUSTER! on Fuu Hououji.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"Because..." Cure Egret's brow furrows, before she turns to look back at Calaveras. She smiles, slightly, then. "...Even if you have done terrible things, you have the chance to do good things, too. No one has the right to take that away from you."

She is off, then, bounding through the debris. It is deep. It is dangerous. She bounds through the multifaceted debris field, trying her best to dodge and stay out of the way of everything. She fails; a piece slams into her side, throwing her back. Bloom's question, for a moment, is a distraction.

But one worth thinking about.

Her father is an astronomer. Cure Egret's eyes widen, then narrow in thought while she tries to put it together.


"As for your means... it has just been retrieved. It is a vessel, not the power itself, which means it could carry other power."

Her eyes rest again on Fuu's collarbone, where a certain necklace sits.


They need something to contain it. The Pretty Cure's eyes turn slowly towards Fuu, to the pendant around the Wind Knight's neck, and she gasps softly. It seems so obvious, then -- the way that it only can right after an epiphany. She doesn't know if it's the best decision, in the long term. But, if they don't, there may not be a long-term.

The self-doubt isn't long lasting. She turns to look at the Wind Knight, then calls out: "Your amulet! It--it can absorb energy. It could contain it! We could drain the energy from the Dark Rod, using that!"

The Pretty Cure nods, then turns. She flies up a little higher, light trailing after -- and slams both feet down into a broken tree, and hurls it down for another of those chunks of concrete. It's to clear the way for Fuu.

Hopefully, she understands.

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used White Wing Flurry on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter narrowly counters Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER!, taking 51 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Jupiter's Reverse
ability activates!  Sailor Jupiter's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Jupiter's counterattack, Jupiter Thunderbolt, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Honoka Yukishiro!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER!, taking 25 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Uranus's Flash ability
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER!, taking 45 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Block ability
activates!  Fuu Hououji's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon narrowly dodges Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER!, taking 50 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Fade ability
activates!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa's feelings aren't simple, or easy, or anything like that, and that's why this feeling is so jagged for her, choking her with it except to let loose her anger, her hurt, rather than stopping and crying. She is a young girl, and she has been betrayed, and she is also the Princess who travelled back through time to save her mother and her home.

She did that in part because of the lessons she learned in those quiet days from Sailor Pluto, precious, wonderful Sailor Pluto who was always so wise, and so kind, and so very, very sad. Chibi-Usa would love to be able to balm that sadness even a little bit in the wonderful woman she got to know over the years.

...But some things she believes are wrong, and this is one. "If you wish you could tell me then tell me! Tell me why that's okay! Tell me why there's any good reason to hurt an innocent girl like Hotaru-chan!" Chibi-Usa bangs her fist again on Pluto's chest, but it's slowing, "I thought you would like her! I thought you would want to keep her safe! That you and she were--"

The wind howls, all around them, the blackness is stronger, and stronger, and stronger, and Chibi-Usa is finally gasping for breath after all of that, unaffected by the impacts on Pluto because Pluto shields her. Chibi-Usa does hear the whispers Pluto has to offer, can feel a pang in her heart for whatever friends she had here to help her, but--

Not enough. "Put me DOWN!" She starts wriggling again. Until--

That friend stops Sailor Moon from going in, as her companion does instead. Chibi-Usa's eyes widen enough that she doesn't stop at first, calling, "Sailor Moon!" And then a desperate look to Jupiter with Hotaru, "Sailor Jupiter! Hotaru-chan!" Her anger does not stop her from worrying over others.

Now... Here abrubtly is Eudial, and Chibi-Usa has already seen so many disappear towards the blackness, Fuu's explanations not much reassurance to her. But her anger doesn't stop her being afraid either; instinctively, she shrinks against Pluto at Eudial's attack, and starts crying again at the great mass of conflicting emotions all proving just too much.


The Taioron Crystal still dangles from her neck, digging into Pluto perhaps painfully. But Chibi-Usa heself calls, "Puu!" Her throat feels raw already, and none of her questions feel any less burning than Eudial's flames.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto narrowly braces Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER!, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto's Block ability
activates!  Sailor Pluto's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to dodge Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER!, taking 39 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.


Jupiter screams that with all the fear and love and force in her stout body as she sees her Princess and dear friend give up her lifeline to Luna and hurl herself towards the singularity. Her options have abruptly run out--until suddenly Uranus streaks by, grasps hold of the chain, and then grabs Sailor Moon and pulls her back to safety. The sight of it leaves Jupiter with heavily mixed feelings, chief among them relief and rage. "Sailor Moon!!" she calls again anyway. "Are you all--?!"

Then Hotaru whispers in Jupiter's ear, and her voice is surprisingly ludid for all the cacophonous noise around them. Like there's a certain silence framing them to, ironically, ensure they'll be heard. "Hotaru-chan?!" she utters, her green eyes widening. But she feels those frail, thin limbs fasten around her like limpets once Hotaru finishes pulling around to Jupiter's back, and her expression turns determined as she gives her a single, sure nod. "Then hold on tight, and don't let go for anything," she murmurs back to her. "We're both coming back, safe and sound!"

Then she uncurls the wire from her hand and lets go, sailing around towards the singularity with nothing but determination in her eyes. So many things are counting on her--on everyone here. The Pretty Cures secure whom they've saved and go in for the attack too, and even Neptune exchanges tender looks with Uranus before launching herself up. The lightning rod emerges from her tiara, carrying with her all the power of her guardian planet that she can muster--

And then Eudial steps in outta nowhere, unloading on everyone in sight with her Fire Buster. This takes Jupiter completely by surprise, and she can only twist herself in midair as she hurls a lightning bolt towards Eudial--but it's lost in the flames, and so is she. She screams as she's consumed, but even now her chief concern is for Hotaru, clinging to her as hard as she can. All Jupiter can do is protect Hotaru with her body and take the full brunt of the flames onto herself.

The wake of the attack leaves her panting and heavily wounded, but she's still on her feet... figuratively speaking. Though those trees may have given her a beating earlier, this time they come to her aid, reaching out their long branches enough that she can grab them in time to pull herself in to safety. But... not for long, and she knows it. The flames are already spreading, and there are so many people and things that are still in danger. She's got to give this her all. She's got to end this fight as soon as she can...!

"My guardian Jupiter! Cause a storm! Call the clouds! Bring down the lightning!!


Lightning converges around Jupiter, then explodes forward, growing scales and claws and a maw that splits with an earth-shaking ROOOOOOAAAAR that reverberates in beats around the air-sucking anomaly. Jupiter pours everything she's got into this ferocious dragon, which coils around the trees until it reaches Eudial, whom it considers briefly--before attempting to swallow whole. But will it get a bellyful of flames instead?!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Jupiter has used Supreme Thunder Dragon on Honoka Yukishiro.
COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro counters Sailor Jupiter's Supreme Thunder Dragon with FIRE BUSTER SUPER!!, initiating a BEAMWAR! Please
see +help beamwar for further information.
BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro and Sailor Jupiter's attacks collide. Sailor Jupiter has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the first of three rounds! Now accepting new BEAMWAR entrants in this round only!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Wind Knight probably shouldn't pull her hands away from where she's clinging for survival - but the sudden onset of FIRE BUSTER does a lot to keep her from hanging onto *anything*; instinct takes over as she tries to at least shield her face, which doesn't do a WHOLE lot against a flamethrower which seems likely to immolate the whole of her body in a single rushing inferno.

Fortunately, she only used one arm. Unfortunately, that means she both loses a lot of ground *and* gets roasted, not quite 'to a crisp,' but certainly leaves her feeling very crispy around the edges.

When the flames subside,the Wind Knight's hand goes to the pendant which Cure Egret called her attention to. She's right; it's a container for energy - but isn't there already energy within it? The heart of light from the sanctuary beneath Library Island - if that's within the pendant, trying to absorb the power from the Dark Rod would ... she's not even sure what it would do. But if she doesn't take that chance, if the singularity continues to grow unchecked and develop into an *actual* black hole, there may not even be a Tokyo left, let alone a World Tree for them to fight for control of.

Of course, to do ANY of that, she has to survive and NOT lose the pendant, either to hostile hands or to simple deadly destruction. And there's barely enough air to *breathe*, let alone trying to shape it into a useful barrier -

She glances back at the gravitational warp, at the path being opened, step by step, courtesy of Egret's efforts.

"Be careful!!!" the Wind Knight shouts to her allies, especially Kasagami (who's still the closest to her), and starts trying to make a controlled approach towards the singularity. That means *not* doing the easy thing. It also means she is terrifyingly vulnerable to just about anything that could happen.

What good is a magical girl who can't protect even the people in front of her? ... that thought has been on her mind a lot lately. Maybe the answer is closer than she thought ... if she's still alive in five minutes, or an hour, or a week, to contemplate it further. For now, survival is a matter of one second at a time - she'll just have to make each second count as best she can.

It's almost a shock when she passes through the outer layers of the distortion and can BREATHE again; once her lungs are comfortably full, she speaks her invocation, "Winds of Protection!" - conjuring her defensive barrier, for whatever good it will do.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Protection on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Protection, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate and Withstand applied to Fuu
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Images flash by him, some of his lighting ripping through the event horrizon, some of sea water flowing past. Fists and feet, even sword strikes. He passes himself, who in turn are passing him. He sees his OLD self, the original shargine ahead, radiating power, and gold hair flowing behind him. He looks every bit the knight that Lancelot is supposed to be. Strength, courage, power and skill evident in every step of that form he spies charges ahead.

Lancelot pfts. Original Lancelot thinks he's so cool. "I'll show you cool." He mutters under his breath. Then Egret shouts out about the AMulet. Lancelot's eyes scan the area between Fuu and the Rod. He takes a deep breath and draws in power. Some of those mirror images of lightning are drawn to him. He crosses his blades drawing power to him, Lighting from outside the black hole that is not a black hole streak in and strike Lancelot, the mirror image lightning changes directions and strikes along wiht the real lighting. Each strike building the sheer amount of power that he holds in his hands and in his body. His eyes slowly begin to glow with that harneses power until his eyes themselves are literally dripping lightning. Thunder swirls and Lancelot becomes his own storm within the swirling maelstrom. "FUU-CHAN!" He calls out, "GET READY!"

Lighting bolts swirl around Lancelot, and trace deadly arcs between his two blades. Small tendrils of the lightning flash and whip and crack around the Knight of the Round Table as he calls out, "ANIMA - " He locks eyes on Fuu, nods and then winks at her. "Go get em Fuu-chan." Then locks eyes on the Rod. "TEMPESTAS!!"

As the last word is called out he points his dual blades at the path that Fuu is traveling. From Lancelot a massive stream of lighting erupts, blue and white bolts crackling and striking at everything that might bar the path to the rod. Thunder explodes and rolls down the length of that blast of pure energy.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Lancelot has used Anima Tempestas on Utena Tenjou.
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

Hotaru obediently holds on tight, and if she shrieks a little, first when the flames wash over them, and again when the lightning converges around them, she can be forgiven for that. But with Jupiter between her and Eudial she really is about as safe as anyone can be, here and now. She buries herself in Makoto's ponytail. Her tightest holding-on isn't very tight at all, but she does her very best.

She smells like antiseptic and gauze, like a hospital. And, whatever her medical conditions, her heart is pounding fierce as anything right now -- Jupiter can feel it against her back, like a little bird pounding against her rib cage, struggling to fly free.

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

Progressing onward bravely. Cure Bloom never once considers that the mere act of approaching might simply eradicate her, let alone that things would get....repetitive? Insane!? She sees the sparks of Egret's light come from her left at the same time as Egret herself sails forward on her right. She bursts after her, swings wide around a familiar sign, and then just as she angles down to floating debris below her she sees an uprooted trunk flying at her. She throws up her arms to block it, magic light flashing up to repel the assaulting wood, and only then does she look over to the side. "Wait," she mutters, noticing the cracks in it. "...I threw that one! What!?"

Her lips quirk in total confusion; maybe it's a mercy that the Dark Rod's growing pull means she has little time to contemplate what the heck is going on. Egret speaks, too, which draws her attention. Anything else about that amulet vanishes from her mind but Egret's plan for it. "Alright!" she says. She flares, light gathering around her. "Then we just have to get it there! Get going!" she calls to Fuu; and with a plan before her, Saki feels more comfortable. She dashes off, ricocheting from signpost to tree trunk to clod of earth, fist whipping out to each to shatter it apart, then swinging her feet down to the nearest foothold to rocket off in the opposite direction: Helping Egret clear a way open for Fuu to use.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Bloom Pursuing Strikes on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Cure Bloom's Bloom Pursuing Strikes, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou narrowly braces Cure Egret's White Wing Flurry, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Utena Tenjou's Block
ability activates!  Utena Tenjou's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Lancelot's Finisher, Anima Tempestas, taking 180 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Uranus stares hollowly at Sailor Moon. She remembers Neptune's calm smile, and the whipping of her hair around her tiara. She faced the cold waters with such serenity.

"Yes," she confirms to Sailor Moon. "And I won't let you waste it."

Rotating her wrist to wind chain, Uranus starts to walk herself up to the tree, holding the much smaller girl to her side. But the clack of metal draws her eyes instantly, and without hesitation she reverses the rotation of her wrist, the chain unspooling with a whipping sound as the two senshi fall backwards towards the anomaly. When the chain jerks taut, Uranus catches ground with her feet again. "Jump!" she shouts, and she does not wait for compliance.

The flame sears both senshi as they are escaping, though the tall track star of the two fares much better with her jump. When they hit down again, Uranus drops to one scorched knee, teeth clenched against the pain. Those flames are unnaturally hot, beyond what a human weapon could create. And with the void at their backs, Eudial has all the advantage. Uranus can't risk it. She can imagine the hopeless dullness that would come into Neptune's eyes if both Uranus and the princess suddenly fell down next to her inside that hellish dark space.

"Get up," Uranus says, pained. "We need to get out of here."

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

What is there left? Pluto clings to a tiny princess that fights her. Sailor Moon sacrifices herself...only to be saved by her enemies. Kasagami's breath is stolen away, and despite her pain, she rallies once again. Grin.

"'Too Short'?" She laughs once again. "It seems like the chain of this rotten world's fate likes you a little too much, Sailor Moon! Or maybe that's just the strength of your beating heart!" Praises Kasagami, and finally, she finds herself once more.

Only for, as Kasagami digs into her coat, there's a mechanical sound that catches her ears. She doesn't turn, but she knows well that there's an enemy beyond the sucking force, even as she's just about to add a rose-scented knife to the Dark Rod. No, even as her body and heart stings, it's what comes next that elicits a scream of pure terror.

Eudial's fire lances across her back. Kasagami's voice screams loud and without any of her courage. As fire strikes her from behind, the back of her shirt is rent to nothing but cinders, and long-scorched flesh torched anew. She howls once, twice, and then a third time as for a second she almost falls limp, with her back smoking, to be dragged into the maelstrom of the black hole seeking to suck her into oblivion.

And yet, as she falls, memories surface. Of her mother, of her father, and of the great fiery demon that took them from her. Even as her body protests, her eye pulls open, and she grabs onto something. Fuu's yell bring her somewhat back to consciousness just in time.

A tree branch. Barely longer than her arm, but the swaying tree is enough for her to stand with. She breathes out the pain, and then, the anger sets in. Behind her is the thing that took her family. Behind her is the thing that will torch her lover, her allies, and her enemies all at once.

"Y....you! DEMON! For the sake of my family, for the sake of my precious lovers, and for the sake of my precious enemies...YOU WON'T TAKE ANY OF THEM AWAY FROM ME AGAIN!" Her good eye is blurry, filled with pain and desperation. The sucking breath of the black hole doesn't matter to her anymore. Even survival doesn't. Kasagami Araki wants to stop the burning demon she imagines Eudial to be, all for those she cares for. Screaming aloud once more, she places her foot into one of the knives she stabbed into the ground, and then leaps off of it towards Eudial. Roses gather around her, she twists in the gravitic wind, and she throws caution to it.

"A King will sacrifice her life for her subjects!" Jupiter rushes in, her great thunder crackling. The power of the young woman draws her in, and suddenly Kasagami's knife is joined by all of the roses upon her back. It's a single, desperate slash that she offers, as she tries to mingle all of her ambition, love, and the deep fire-borne fear in her heart in the strike.

"Be cast down and may you never touch those I love!" Snarls Kasagami even as her vision wavers.

BEAMWAR! Kasagami Araki adds her Falling Petals Cut The Soul to Sailor Jupiter's BEAMWAR!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

One of the Pretty Cure speaks and Sailor Neptune looks towards her. Her right hand comes down to chop away a piece of foundation stone; do I have a better idea? she thinks, eyes turning towards the shadowy form of the Magic Knight, on the bare fringes of her awareness.

I do not.

She sweeps her free hand through her bangs and then she does the natural thing - she moves swiftly forth, to meet the coming wind, even if it isn't the one she wants to meet.

As she rises near Fuu, Sailor Neptune has a faint smile for her, as well as a single word:


After this Neptune pivots around to swing a leg over Fuu's head, smashing away an unrecognizable lump of - was that a bush? Neptune thinks, mildly horrified. How far has that boundary moved?

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has used Neptune in Conjunction on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Sailor Neptune's Neptune in Conjunction, taking 11 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

What she feels when Uranus says she'd waste it. Waste what Neptune is doing. Waste what the Pretty Cure and the Magic Knight are doing in there.

After a moment she closes her eyes and nods her head. She let's Uranus lead her down. Luna takes her place on Moon's head on the way, face somewhere between sorrow and silent cat judgement. Moon would get an earful later, but now isn't the time. Right now so caught up in Uranus' expression, her own feelings. Eudial's call sounds distant. She barely comprehends it compared to Jupiter's. She yells back at her instead, "Jupiter-chan! I'm... I'm..." 'Jump!' however is very close... Her feet leaves the ground as she vaults upright. She jumps with Uranus- but does not so quickly. The immense heat sears her back and flank and all she can do is twist away, shrieking in immense agony as she's roasted, blind-sided. Wisps of smoke come off of her seared form as she trembles and shakes from the pain of her well-done backside and holds onto the chain.

Tears spring eternal from Sailor Moon, and moreso now than ever. In pain, tearful- but there's something else. Uranus told her to leave. "I'm-I'm not leaving." She croaks, and it sounds so small, "You wouldn't let me go in too... but I'm not- I'm not going to leave Jupiter. Or Chibi-Usa-chan. Or Hotaru-chan. Or the others who need us. You're trusting in Neptune to do what needs to be done... trust in me a little too. I can help stop her... you can too if you help me... I need a clear shot..." Right now, she might hit Koan and Berthier- Jupiter gathers her power into the figurehead of a great serpent. A colossal display of might, but will it be enough? She's not willing to test it, "...will you help me?"

She trusts in Uranus to give her this. After all-

"... you told me all I needed to do is ask." Eyes bright, blue, tear-filled, and pleading. She beseeches the same person who shoved her into the tender mercies of the Wolkenritter not so long ago.

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

The world is getting ripped up into pieces and sucked into nothingness around Sailor Pluto and Chibi-Usa (and she could be watching the birth of a black hole right now, laments the scientist in her, somewhere in a little corner of her mind). Her beloved Small Lady might very well hate her now. Neptune is inside the thing and Uranus outside it; Kasagami is alive, and Pluto feels relief and guilt in alternating waves over that, considering.

Small Lady demands to know why, says... all manner of things that prompt a hard swallow from the senshi. "I-I'm..." What can she say? Nothing is good, nothing is right, nothing will fix this. There IS no fixing it. Hotaru still needs to die, and no amount of pain that causes Small Lady can change that. So she'll just bear the castigation in silence, and she does, even as her heart seizes continually in her chest. She mostly keeps it from her face, but her eyes...

Things couldn't get worse, right? WRONG, according to arrival of Eudial and the flames her technomagical weapon throws. Fire washes over them all, and the awful smell of burning hair surrounds Pluto and Chibi-Usa in stuttering waves thanks to the strangeness wrought by the near-singularity. Pluto hsssts in pain but does not budge.

She cannot. There is a black hole blooming, and there is no place she could ever consider as safe for Small Lady as her arms. No matter how much Chibi-Usa does not want them around her. Jaw set and eyes producing what feels like a neverending supply of gleaming sorrow, she holds tight to girl and to Rod. Her legs dangle, her whole body drawn sidelong in the weirding gravity, her singed hair drawn straight toward this new Down.

A scream sounds, agony howled in a dear voice, and Pluto drags her chin up to find Kasagami again -- the flames, she thinks, and sees and knows and hurts for her. "C'mon..." she whispers, and sighs as that branch is grabbed. Kasagami's anger flares and so does Pluto's hope, the anger might see her through...

...and then Kasagami leaps free of her safe anchor, just as breathtakingly glorious in her attack as Pluto has ever seen her. But her breath is gone for another reason entirely, because even as the swordswoman launches her attack, the senshi knows how that horrible gravity will sink its hooks deep into her beautiful flight.

"KASSIE, NO!!" It's too late, of course.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

A tendon flexes in Uranus's jaw. "Sailor Jupiter is a soldier sworn to your protection," she says quietly. Sailor Jupiter may or may not hate her, now, but Uranus is far from insensate to her present suffering or courage. "She is fighting with everything she has to protect you. If she had a breath to spare she would tell you to run, too."

Again her jawline flexes, this time holding steady. Sailor Moon's tears are powerful. They can lead to mystically powerful screams or work true miracles. Sailor Uranus's brows were drawn tight, and they melt aside. Her lips flatten. For a moment she looks down to the side.

"All right." The voice that comes out is harder than Sailor Moon might have expected, giving that brief expression Uranus made. "You've asked. I'll answer it." She crouches her legs, checking both sides of the slope quickly. "You had better prove to me that this isn't a mistake."

Scooping Sailor Moon up under one arm, Uranus springs off to one side, running perpendicular to the chain so that it rotates her up the hill, using it as a centrifuge. When she has cleared a shot for Sailor Moon, without the tree, Luna, the chain, or any Ayakashi's in between them and the embattled Eudial, she plants her feet again. Using her original trick, she forces her boot through the crumbling dirt to make a temporary pile to brace herself against, then plants Sailor Moon down in front of her, so the much smaller girl can lean against her for support. That smallness has another advantage; Uranus can see over her just fine.

"I'll back you up," Uranus says for the first time in thousands of years, lifting a hand to the sky, the other still wound about with chain. "WORLD!"

She is going to have to throw this one into the ground a little further ahead than usual.


BEAMWAR! Sailor Uranus adds her World Shaking! to Sailor Jupiter's BEAMWAR!

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

For a moment it's tense. Moon is ready to yell into Uranus' face that that's why she won't leave Jupiter. It doesn't defeat her logic. It's pure emotion, but to her that's better than logic.

She doesn't need to, Uranus tells her she will. Scooped up in one arm, for a moment she remembers... something else. And her cheeks flush out of that feeling even in this moment, "You won't regret it." She'd be happy any other time, but now caught in the throes of battle and how she feels, all she can do is prepare for what comes next.

Sailor Moon is placed down in front of her and she braces herself against her stronger frame. It feels like up against her no force in the world could possibly cause her to take a singular step backwards. She'll back her up? "I never doubted that you would." She points the Spiral Moon Heart Rod. No choreography is needed. Her feelings right now cause the swell of familiar power within it. And when she cries-


-there is an answer. "-ATTACK!"

A whirling pinwheel of light appears first, before a dam breaks, and a wellspring of hearts flow forth- crashing like a forceful flood of emotions bursting forth. The currents gather together, flowing until it all gathers together into one giant pink culmination of power- that joins with Uranus' Celestial Power. Becoming an immense backup to Jupiter's Wyrm-headed storm in a desperate attempt to quench Eudial's flames.

BEAMWAR! Sailor Moon adds her Moon Spiral Heart Attack! to Sailor Jupiter's BEAMWAR!
<Pose Tracker> Utena Tenjou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


BGM: Dream Is Collapsing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imamcajBEJs

Lancelot's huge stream of lightning does an outstanding job of clearing a path towards the Dark Rod, with one small problem: they're inside a shattered, fragmented space. So it winds up falling to Pretty Cure and Sailor Neptune to keep everyone, Fuu especially, from eating Anima Tempestas from all directions as surging crackles of its existence now threaten the path instead.

Still -- there's hardly a bit of debris to be found now, just dust, and those echoes of heaven's wrath are individually less deadly than the actual, original detonation, as the lightning beam is split among the many possible realities of its existence.

And so it is that the group is able to float towards the Dark Rod at speed, at last. It is no bigger than it ever was, about the length of a rolled-up newspaper, but it feels bigger in the way that it dominates the space. It is simply the only thing allowed to exist here, in the center of the distortion. Before their very eyes, beams of black light lance out to consume a bit of signage ('NO LITTERING') that somehow escaped Lancelot's lightning.

And here come more, scintillating void that pours towards the group, eager to draw them the rest of the way in, to make them one with darkness.


A bellyful of flames indeed -- Eudial knows how to play to her strengths, and right now her strength is 'more fire'. She's well-braced in those trees, and when Sailor Jupiter brings the thunder down upon her, a massive serpentous beast's worth, Witch 1 of 5 narrows her burning red eyes and unleashes at least equal and opposite flame in return.


The world seems to detonate on impact. The shaking can be felt a mile away; there comes the faint, distant tinkling of shattered glass as the greenhouses' walls blow out.

There's a split second in which this seems like a fair fight, where Sailor Jupiter and Eudial are evenly matched, where dragon paradoxically strains against dragon's breath. But it isn't; the black star on Eudial's brow glimmers with alien strength, the safeties on her earnestly overdesigned artifact get snapped free with sequential clicks, and then the pillar of flame explodes with both breadth and heat, forcing the dragon back towards Jupiter and her tiny, dark burden.

Inch by inch, FIRE BUSTER approaches, and so does the end.

BGM SWAP! Moonlight Densetsu https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQCSTy2J8Vc

Rose petals and a sword slash, defiant against the hungry flames!

The shaking, soaring approach of the power of the heavens!

Hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts and, also, hearts, a glorious pink expression of the will to fight -- the will to save.

Crimson, golden, hot pink -- and the original electric blue -- light coruscates across Eudial, threatening the monotony of her palette and the one-sidedness of her fight. "Oh, like hell," grouses the Witch, her lips curling with frustration.

And, twisting her hips, she widens her spray further... threatening the foilage, and the Four Sisters who have been laid to rest within it, with immediate conflagration. Her eyes sparkle with challenge -- with a dare.

Dare you save them, Sailor Warriors? Can you save everyone?

Or will you lose everything?

BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro has placed her bid! Sailor Jupiter, Kasagami Araki, Sailor Uranus, and Sailor Moon still need to bid!
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used DARK POWER on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used DARK POWER on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used DARK POWER on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used DARK POWER on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou has used DARK POWER on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Cure Egret fails to counter Utena Tenjou's DARK POWER, taking 42 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Cure Egret's counterattack, Light of Feathers, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's DARK POWER, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Neptune's Block
ability activates!  Sailor Neptune's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune covers Fuu Hououji for Utena Tenjou's attack, DARK POWER, taking it upon herself instead!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune fails to brace Utena Tenjou's DARK POWER, taking 70 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Neptune is
unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Utena Tenjou's DARK POWER, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Block ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Jupiter [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Though Hotaru doesn't speak up again, Jupiter can feel her heartbeat fluttering at her back like a butterfly struggling against a spider's web. It makes her only that much more determined to end this--who knows how much longer sickly Hotaru can deal with this kind of stress? If she were to lose consciousness now, there would be nothing Jupiter could do to save her. For her sake, and everyone else's, she *must* win.

She kind of wishes enemies would stay enemies and allies would stay allies. Getting helped by Kasagami and Uranus *really* rubs her the wrong way.

Still, she's not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, either. She's heartened by Sailor Moon at least managing to get Uranus to *behave* for once, and Kasagami seems just as invested as the rest of them in making sure Eudial goes down, so Jupiter's willing to take things as they are. Lightning dragon, rose blade, golden energy and great pink hearts flood towards Eudial's Fire Buster Super, beating it back when it was about to overtake the Thunder Dragon. Jupiter roars, grip tightening on the tree branch, taking strength from the other aspect of her planet's element, and transfers that ferocity towards Eudial's. The Thunder Dragon screeches and roars--and also twists itself to one side in an attempt to shield the Spectre Sisters lying in the grass. Jupiter won't give up, won't stop trying to protect everyone. That dragon of hers will keep swallowing up those flames until it can devour Eudial and her machine too... or until it bursts.

Whichever comes first.

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

Kasagami leaps! Her blade goes down! And as the 'Demon' before her sets her hips? Kasagami blinks. Pluto's voice rings in her ears, and finally, the entire world seems to come back to her all at once. She blinks once, twice, and even the lingering fire that almost scorches her to unconsciousness doesn't quite reach the point of pure terror.

No, the thing that does that is that she realizes she's leaped into the air, and the power of the black hole tugs her back. She grips the knife in her hand, and the roses fade. Then gravity catches up.

Kasagami Araki, as her personal demons fade, is met with those of reality. Slowly, then faster, she falls and falls, and falls again backwards helplessly towards the black hole.

She gasps this time, still not entirely sure of where she is, as she tries to shake off the dreams. Anger fades to reality, and it's a poor thing, even as she watches magic flush over Eudial.

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

Enemies and allies--and strange and shifting many--act on the battlefield, but Chibi-Usa is staring up now at Sailor Pluto, rather than even at her precious friend protected by Sailor Jupiter. Pluto hesitates, but she doesn't answer, and that makes Chibi-Usa grit her teeth in frustration.

"WHY!?" she shouts up at her over the din, "Say something! You won't let me go so answer!" She beats Pluto's chest again, her hand hurting from the effort now, and has an instant to stare further before Eudial's flames crash around them and Small Lady shrieks despite herself.

She's unhurt, though, physically; nothing of the sort has even a chance to get to her. Not unwounded, though. "I always thought--" But she stops. There's a scream, and Pluto is staring after Kasagami. Worse, her breath is gone until she screams after her, and Chibi-Usa turns her head immedately to look.

This girl, with a sword, striking at the Witch Eudial... and tumbling towards them. This girl Chibi-Usa doesn't even know, much bigger than she is, scarred. ...And so, so important to Puu. Chibi-Usa puts in a hitched breath and she is no longer kicking against Pluto.

She instead yanks her other arm free and, still in the arms of a woman who helped raise her, thrusts both of her own arms out with all her little strength and grabs onto Kasagami's passing hand. "No!" She gasps out and winces, "I-I'll help you!"

The fire is still terrifying. Chibi-Usa is still reeling from betrayal. But this one thing she's going to do, this thing. Her eyes lick over to where Hotaru is, but she can no longer talk with trying to hold up this girl. This at least is right.

COMBAT: Chibi-Usa Tsukino has used I'll Save Her on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto accepts Chibi-Usa Tsukino's I'll Save Her, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto is Reinforced by Chibi-Usa
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

From the outside, Hotaru looks more like the spider than the butterfly -- a black spider, a parasite, clinging to Sailor Jupiter from behind. But she doesn't fall unconscious -- nor does she fall prey to the strangeness that surrounds her so, so often.

Makoto can feel her shift a little, her cheek pressing against those broad, strong shoulders now, and with the paradoxical strangeness of a baby at a noisy party, she seems to relax into the momentum of the battle, of the energies clashing all around her.

Actually, by looking to the side, Hotaru is finally able to spot Chibi-Usa, for the first time since they were separated. To see her little friend, her beloved friend, acting as a living chain between two people who have sought her death.

She smiles, and wouldn't have her best friend any other way.

Somehow her ultraviolet eyes find Chibi-Usa's red ones across all the chaos, and when they meet, there's a warmth there that surpasses that of any Fire Buster.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Sailor Uranus shakes her head. Sailor Moon never doubted her?

"Start," she says laconically.

The great pulsing orb of heavenlight sparks and strains against onrushing flame, parting it widely and dispersing it. There is too much of it, however; Uranus can only block a small portion. She can feel the ground starting to crumble under her foot, and works her ankle around to bury her heel deeper. It is a matter of professional pride that the princess's attack not be interrupted by Sailor Uranus's failings, even if she is a troublesome brat. It also happens to be a matter of survival, now.

Clenching her teeth, Uranus lowers her palm, her bicep next to Sailor Moon's ear. Holding her gloved hand out as it begins to tremble, she exerts as much motive force on her attack as possible, so its gleaming yellow light consumes flame all the faster.

If this fails, what does she do? Turn around and shield Sailor Moon with her own body? But then who will kill Hotaru? Can Pluto alone be relied upon? Uranus doesn't want to have to make that choice to begin with.

"Sailor Moon," she says grimly. "We're winning, but I can't, ngh, keep this up forever. Pour it on with me in three. Two."

Her blue eyes flash.


Sailor Moon can feel a circle of wind around her. On any other day it would be whipping her hair around and disturbing her, but with all this going on, it actually protects both of tem a bit, creating a small eye in the storm. This girl braced against her is the princess, and she may or may not be the final legacy of the woman Sailor Uranus loves. The power Sailor Uranus is putting into aiding her attack prickles on Sailor Moon's skin.

BEAMWAR! Sailor Uranus has placed her bid! Sailor Moon still needs to bid!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

The only thing she can pffer, to Chibi-Usa's repeated demands for explanation, she rasps out in a guilty whisper: "I... have to." It is not nearly enough and she knows it.

Kasagami Araki falls sideways, falls down, falls toward the core of the thing. A horrible detached part of Sailor Pluto's mind swiftly calculates and announces to the rest of her that she'll have 4.407 seconds to watch Kassie fall past her and into the birthing singularity.

Because... one of her hands is whiteknuckled round the planted titanium strength of the Garnet Rod, and the other clutches close the very same Small Lady she chose to save over Kasagami earlier. All she can do is put all the love she feels for this beautiful burning soul in her eyes as the swordswoman falls past. What will she tell Rinji, how can she...?

She seeks Kassie's eye: her brave sword. Everything else falls away to a buzzing in her ears and a greying of her peripheral vision that the black hole cannot steal.

A small hand, open -- not fisted -- reaches into that vignetting. The hand of an angel.

The hand of her Small Lady, who is saving Kasagami, and relief hits Pluto like a shock of ice cold water. She shivers, and feels Small Lady clutch hard to her, and takes this gift she's been given and the chance and trusts in her very dearest of friends. She lets go of Chibi-Usa for a flash and grabs for Kasagami to pull her in before they all go tumbling together into the abyss.

She'll NEVER let go, no matter how hard she's gritting back sobs of relief and guilt. "Thank you. Thank you, thank you," over and over, to Small Lady, as Sailor Pluto holds tight to Kasagami with all she's worth, head buried between the two. Every muscle in her left arm screams, every knuckle on her left hand has turned to icy agony from the effort of keeping hold of the Garnet Rod. All of her will goes to that point, to keeping them anchored against the horrific nothing below their dangling feet.

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

How does it make her feel when Uranus tells her to start? Even she doesn't know.

The heart is not a simple constant expression. It waxes and wanes. The fire diminishing it in it's press, as more hearts stream outward in a constant attempt to bolster it. Sailor Moon feels the heat against it. The heat is so intense that she feels like she'd fall back on sheer reflex. Only to feel her back against Uranus. To feel the little hairs on her ear nearly touch that strong bicep.

In front of her Jupiter is trying so hard to save Hotaru. To save everyone. Behind her is the Senshi trying so hard to murder Hotaru... for the greater good. And braced against Uranus is a girl so unlike a soldier.

They all have different reasons, but they're together in trying to drive the Deathbuster Witch back.

It's inspirational enough that when Eudial declares like hell and widens her sweep- upon those helpless betrayed girls. Pour it on with her? Sailor Moon allows herself a small nod, preparing herself. How does she prepare herself? Looking upon who Eudial's attack and who it threatens. She remembers.

In Three. Sailor Moon remembers Tokyo Tower.

Two. She remembers the bodies. The obituaries.

Today is different. It has to be. In unison with One. Sailor Moon shouts at Eudial, "I WON'T LET YOU!"

She let's those feelings drive forth into more and more hearts gathering forth alongside Uranus celestial winds and Jupiter's thunderous expression- dancing against Eudial's flames in an attempt to hold them back. To quench them.

BEAMWAR! Sailor Moon has placed her bid!
BEAMWAR! Sailor Jupiter, Kasagami Araki, Sailor Uranus, and Sailor Moon press their advantage, their Supreme 
Thunder Dragon, Falling Petals Cut The Soul, World Shaking!, and Moon Spiral Heart Attack! exploding through 
Honoka Yukishiro's FIRE BUSTER SUPER!! for a total of 261 Fatigue damage! Sailor Jupiter, Kasagami Araki, 
Sailor Uranus, and Sailor Moon are victorious!
BEAMWAR! Honoka Yukishiro and Kasagami Araki are unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly dodges Utena Tenjou's DARK POWER, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot pants heavily at the expenditure of his power. He winces when reflections of his attack comes back to haunt and harass the others in this black hole that is not, but he can't think of that. The path burns with the shards of the destroyed debris and he nods in satisfaction. "She's right. Hurry Fuu-chan." He says, spinning the Twin Blades of Arondight.

That is when the Dark Power descends on him. He tries to avoid it. To use his speed to his advantage and keep that darkness from over taking him, but he's jsut too spent after his last attack. Too much of his own energy had been used. He finds himself more or less gut checked and he drops to his knees. The two gleaming white blades drop with a clatter to the dark enshrouded ground and dissipate into motes of electrcity. As he falls to his side, the armor fades away and Lancelot becomes Takeo as he looses consciousness.

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

Half way down to her doom, Kasagami accepts that she's failed. Her Revolution, her dream for a better world to rule...she's too weak, too impulsive, and this is her price. When she was so, so close to it all! The ring on her finger shines.

Kasagami smiles, and slowly turns her head to meet Pluto's gaze. Tears well. This time, there's no pain. Cling to that little girl, how could Pluto reach out? Maybe now is the time to join her parents, wreathed in flames and smoke.

Gravity snaps, and suddenly, a tiny pair of hands grab on her own. Her body falls slack, heavy, but the shock once more breaks her own acceptance. Twice again, she's been saved. Letting her knife fall to the void, she grabs onto Chibi-Usa in turn. She looks up.

Her teeth grit, and finally, she forces a grin. Utterly shocked that she's still alive, she pulls up. Then Pluto grabs hold too, and suddenly? She's right in a pair of arms, and she wraps her own about Pluto and the Small Lady simultaneously. With a gulp, she lets go of her fear.

"...That...is really embarrassing. Getting saved by a kid." Another wild laugh. Scared as heck.

Her hand reaches up for the Garnet rod, her other still clinging to help all three stay stable. She's finally breathing hard. There's barely any fight left in her.

"I...really owe you one...kiddo. Kasagami Araki. Nice...hah hah hah...nice to meet you."

She glances back to Pluto. Even as tears well up in her good eye, suddenly, she understands. That selfless act to save a falling girl. She suddenly knows why, even if it might not be the true reason.

"Pluto-chan...none of us dies today." Grin. That's when her eyes close, and her hand loosens from that rod buried in the ground. Kasagami is finally dead weight amidst Chibi-Usa and Pluto.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Pretty Cure Twin Stream Splash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcuQnEnTmLk

The path is clearing, but now they have to deal with THEMSELVES, APPARENTLY. Cure Bloom switches from ricocheting around debris to soaring around on her own glimmering sparks as the footholds are rapidly annihilated by the combined efforts of the group - and by Lancelot's tremendous blast! She lashes out as one of the stray rewinds of it comes her way, a fierce kick sending it flying. "Jeeze! These--things!" she yells, frustrated. "Everything keeps re-happening or something! We have to put a stop to this!"

Which is when the Dark Rod attempts to put a stop to them with its blast of anti-light. Bloom's hands reach for Egret, gripping firmly. If their shield was bright before, now it is a beacon, light daring to exist where it cannot; waves of darkness breaking against it as the sea parts for the stones. Bloom huffs a pained breath, magic drained from even that first clash.

"Egret!" Bloom calls, attempting to be heard over the chaos. "We have to cut through this!" She doesn't look to Egret, her eyes locked on the Dark Rod beyond their colored lights. "We still have too much to do to fall here!" So many ways to save the world; but for Saki Hyuuga, the thunder and glory of the magical girl has never been what was first in her heart. "I still want to teach Michiru more about baking! I still have so much I want to learn about her and Kaoru!"

"Bloom...!" Cure Egret calls back, as the twisting, churning void around the Dark Rod threatens to suck her into it. It yanks at her. The tie around her hair rips free, flying into the void, and vanishes. Long purple hair spills out, as she shouts, panic rising, as she gets pulled in closer and closer. She only just stops herself, with a burst of silvery white light. She turns her head, then.

She stares at her partner, for a moment, and then she nods. "I want to talk to Kaoru-san, again. There's still... so many things we should talk to them both about. That--" She looks down at the black churning gravity below them. It feels like the end, she thinks. She swallows, and finishes in a quieter voice. "...that we should talk about."

She comes in closer to the other Pretty Cure. She looks sideways at her, then she nods. "Let's clear a path. Let's make sure that it can't get through, so she can use the pendant." Egret's eyes move, briefly, towards Neptune. Then, she extends a hand out, clad in a white fingerless glove, for her friend to take. "Together."

And so Bloom throws out her free hand. Even here, where time has fractured; this place that should be familiar but has turned into a nightmarish fissure in the universe, she feels it. Her feet aren't on the ground, but she feels the magic of the world all around her, brimming with eagerness to answer Pretty Cure's call.

They receive it. "O, Spirits of the Earth..." "O, Spirits of the Sky..."

The darkness ignites. From the heavens above and the earthen below, as such concepts apply this close to eternity, motes of shining gold and silfer, glimmering spirits of Earth and Sky, rush in from all quarters. Their light is warm and kind and defies the darkness totally as it rushes into the arms of Pretty Cure.

"Now, together with Pretty Cure..." "Release the power of miracles!"

They release their hands. Bloom draws the right half with her hand, fist moving through the motes of light. Egret draws the left, her hand outstretched. The result is a swirl of light that flickers into a heart shape, before they glow and gather in both girls' hands. Then, they bring them together, and the glow only intensifies.

"Pretty Cure..."

The light turns into two swirling, pulsing globes of holy waters, moving with the hint of a wave-like motion that reveals it as more than merely magic. Yet it glows here, refuses to be extinguished by the Dark Rod and its terrible pull, even as Pretty Cure is drawn in closer. The grip of the Pretty Cures' hands tighten on each other.

"Twin Stream..."

They thrust their arms forward, both together to their matching pool, and cry out as one into the roaring silence:


The gathered pools crack open - two rushing, galloping geysers roar away from Pretty Cure. They loop and whirl around each other, entwined and inextricable but shining with their own unique colors, their own unique bond, washing away the darkness clinging around the Dark Rod in an irresistable surge!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Bloom has started a combo targeting Utena Tenjou!
COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Egret has joined the combo started by Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: COMBO! FINISHER! Cure Bloom and Cure Egret have used Pretty Cure Twin Stream Splash on Utena Tenjou.
COMBAT: Utena Tenjou fails to brace Cure Bloom and Cure Egret's Finisher, Combo: Pretty Cure Twin Stream Splash, taking 279
Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Sailor Neptune follows the Magic Knight. The Magic Knight may hold the key to their salvation - to the entire world - and Sailor Neptune allows herself a certain grudging degree of hope and optimism in the light of this. That hope that she is wrong, that this - the peril of a black hole in the middle of Tokyo, no doubt rising in power to devour the Earth - is what was foretold.

It doesn't feel right, but it keeps her motivated. Keeps her mind off the worries. Keeps her focused as things move now to where the debris is fading and is instead a sheer force of shining, horrid void. Something deliberately and aggressively empty; not the stray void corners in which creatures once dwelt and may one day dwell again, but an assertive nothingness.

Sailor Neptune's plan was to shoot this with Deep Submerge.

It was not a very good plan.

"We don't know each other," Sailor Neptune says to Fuu. "But I'm putting my trust in you. Magic Knight of the Wind -"

Sailor Neptune's hand comes down to rest on Fuu's shoulder. She doesn't know quite what she's doing; it's intuitive. To Fuu it may feel like the most wonderful contact with cool water she ever had in her life.

"Good l"


Thanks to the geometry of their approach, Sailor Neptune was between Fuu and the void. Her face pales, her eyes roll back; she falls down, crumpling to the side.

And yet, despite the sucking chill that feels like her entire body has been dunked in acid ice, Sailor Neptune makes herself speak.

"GO!" she commands the Magic Knight, eyes focusing on her for one terrible moment before she struggles, and fails, to regain her feet. The apparent agony eases when Pretty Cure's blow flies, but it may be a transient moment of shade.

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

Lightning flashes and thunder roars, not just from Lancelot's blade into the fragmented tempest of debris and force, but all around them. When that storm abates, there is nothing ... a dark and deadly nothing, the yawning embrace of the void, as it reaches out for those who dared venture into the singularity's clutches. Lancelot falls first, his transformation lapsing; the Wind Knight grimaces at the sight of Takeo's helpless form, but forges onwards, one hand clutching at her wooden pendant as if to both draw strength from it, and to protect it until the moment when she needs it.

Sailor Neptune's hand comes to rest on the Wind Knight's shoulder, and even through her armor's pauldron, the touch is refreshing, reassuring, calming. Then the darkness reaches out and strikes Neptune away, even as Cure Bloom and Cure Egret deliver their counterstroke: the light of earth and sky combined pierces through the void to reveal that it is not, in fact, infinite.

The Wind Knight's vision blurs behind her glasses, threatening to obscure her sight of what she needs to do; she blinks hard, willing the tears away for one more moment as she charges forward. Gravity wobbles, and for a moment, it feels like rather than walking or running, she rides on the crest of a wave, or surfs on the lightning, or -

Is it destiny itself that bears her forward, or has the void managed to fasten its clutches on her after all, to drag her away from all the mortal world?

No time to think, only to feel, to trust her instincts and her heart. The loop of green, so like a vine in appearance, comes loose from her neck, and Fuu holds the pendant out in front of her, gripped in her right hand with her left hand bracing it, focusing her will. Her lips move, but even she never hears what words she may be uttering.

No time for thoughts, no time for doubts.

Time only to believe - for if she does not believe now then nobody else will be there to believe for her or in her. The void pulls at her ... and she pulls back against it, blinded and deafened by the infinite nothingness, her unyielding will reaching out for the Dark Rod's power and yanking it out by the roots, not to use but to trap, contain, and seal.

If this fails, it will not be only Lancelot and Neptune who fell for nothing. She cannot afford to fail, so she will not allow herself to fail. It's such a simple equation, put in those terms.

Belief does not become power ... but rather, belief is power.

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


FIRE BUSTER SUPER advances on Calaveras' rock, nips at the roots of Petz's tree, warms the chain holding Koan and Berthier -- and Luna -- safely away from the incipient black hole.

Eudial smirks. She cares little for these wayward lieutenants of the allied Clan, but it's always good to see traitors meted out the justice they deserve. There's a certain resonance to burning girls like these at the stake, in the heart of this Witch.

But her confidence falters, along with her expression, as FIRE BUSTER SUPER slows... and then halts.

Eudial's cruelty strains against Sailor Uranus' loyalties, and is found wanting. She advances not an inch further.

Eudial's aggression strains against Sailor Moon's memories, and is found wanting. Like the changing of the tides, the momentum begins to shift, the scant air outside the anomaly popping with pressure.

Eudial's passion strains against Sailor Jupiter's protectiveness--

--and is shattered utterly. The whole world explodes.

It explodes, but forwards, forwards and away from the hellscape void behind them, away from the helpless Four Sisters and Chibi-Usa and Hotaru.

Light pours across the much-maligned landscape, the remnants of the baby plum grove. Earthquakes, lightning, these are not forces of healing, but when merged with the power of love, miracles occur. The trees are made whole again. The path too, the signs.

All that remains now is the budding apocalypse behind them (NO, NOT HOTARU, THE OTHER ONE), whose grip continues to tighten, to strain, to rise with every passing moment...


The Dark Rod is more than a match for the Twin Stream Splash, but then, this was never a battle between Pretty Cure and a chunk of malicious crystal. Pretty Cure's determination to live on, for their own lives and for others', is more than enough to do what must be done -- to wash away the power emenating from the crystal like a baptism by water, to scour it back, to contain it in sparkles and in hope...

...long enough for Fuu to get close with the hard-earned symbol of their recent, hard-earned victory at Library Island.

The pendant buzzes in her hands as it's brought close to the Dark Rod, as though it's magnetically repulsed, or perhaps empathically so. It does not want to be here. It does not what to do as she asks -- it is not in its nature to contain this sort of antimatter, antimagic.

But it is in its nature to hold power, period, and in the end it opens, Fuu's belief the key in its lock. It opens literally, in fact, the pendant blossoming into many dozens of tiny 'carved' wooden petals, the facsimile of a chrysanthemum.

From its heart, little motes of light, golden light, familiar light, rise...

...and vanish, winking if not out of existence than at least out of here. Those witnessing this can feel, like a bell tolling in their hearts, that this power, the mystical well of Library Island's connection to the World Tree, has returned home, to its proper place in the Island's heart.

A place wholly occupied by demons. Even now, they're probably consuming it, engorging themselves even as their creators tighten their grip on the future expression of the World Tree's apocalyptic might...

But, in the here and now, whatever that means in a place like this, more motes emerge -- from the Dark Rod, now. First one, then two at a time, then in a vast stream, a stream that screams with the voices of the Four Sisters who were nearly killed as the primer for its ignition. Wordless wailing, but recognizably the voices of Koan and Berthier, of Calaveras and Petz.

The last of the dark power enters the pendant, which folds itself up, back into its closed form as a giant seed. It feels heavy in Fuu's hand, and markedly different... less of a comfort and more of a burden, now.

And the Dark Rod turns into dust, sparkling black dust that blows away in the Tokyo breeze, for as surely as its power has been drained, the spatial anomaly has been removed. It happened an inch at a time and it happened all at once, and now it is gone as though it never was, leaving Fuu, Pretty Cure, and a fallen Neptune and Lancelot there at the heart of the grove.


The silence -- the absence of the howling end of the world, of reality itself being torn away like a cliff crumbling into the sea -- is shattering.

But it isn't bad.

And slowly, a note at a time, the cacophony of Tokyo trickles back in. A honking horn. A train track's rumble. The buzz of millions of lives, going about their business, totally unaware of what almost happened here.

What did happen. Library Island may be lost, but Jindai, somehow, someway, remains whole.

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

The Wind Knight, her own transformation wavering, sinks to her knees - and is almost surprised to find relatively solid ground beneath her. That must mean they won.

She can see the Gardens around her, and gradually she begins to hear sounds - traffic in the distance, wind in the trees, her own heartbeat thundering dimly in her ears. She can smell plants around her, feel the breeze on her face and in her hair. All of those seem to confirm that for today, at least, they've survived and prevailed against the forces which seek their world's destruction.

The Magic Knight of Wind looks down at the pendant in her hand, fingers tensing. She doesn't know what to do with it now. If nothing else, she should probably go back and make sure Dr. Hanasaki is all right, and try to apologize to her. But for now, with some misgivings, she tucks the pendant away in a pocket - it'll still be there when she reverts - and gets back to her feet, her armor solidifying again as she shores up her willpower.

Before she goes looking in the greenhouse, she needs to make sure the people *here* are all right - particularly including Takeo-san and Sailor Neptune, but everyone else as well. It might even be that her healing magic needs some use; one more reason to stay transformed ...

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

Cure Egret finds herself in the grove, looking about.

She knows what they did was dangerous. It wasn't ideal. They released the power inside of the amulet to save one part of the city -- and may have lost the very thing they worked so hard to save. Her violet eyes look downward, and she shakes her head once. She stays quiet, after that.

What could they possibly do now? What could the next step be?

And how much danger is the Tree in, now? Her lips purse, her brow furrows, and she frowns down at the ground.

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

Puu thanks Chibi-Usa so fervently that she has to bite her lip to avoid saying something about it, has to take a little breath to steady herself emotionally as she can't steady herself so well physically. Puu keeps saying it...

"It's not the time for introdutions!" she shouts with strain to Kasagami, "But my name is" and it's whisked away by the void. Literally, by the void. But Kasagami says none of them die today...

And Hotaru, maybe that moment is pefectly time, but Hotaru is awake and looks at her again, and Chibi-Usa is tearing up all over again, smiling back with a brightness in her red eyes as she takes in and needs that warmth herself this time. It can't last in all this chaos, but it's a wonderful moment... and says something to Chibi-Usa.

In Pluto's arms, Chibi-Usa can see how awful that flame is as it goes to the helpless women who tried so hard to murder her. She stares at them as the attacks come together, as the fire is fought so hard by these magical girls all older than her, even Jupiter who is shielding Hotaru and those women. All of them are amazing...

And soon that amazing nature that brings a hope to Chibi-Usa's heart has done its work. Chibi-Usa, Sailor Pluto, and Kasagami all fall the rest of the way to the ground from where they were, Chibi-Usa free of her beloved Puu's arms. ...Pluto kept thanking her... This girl must mean a lot to her. Still...

Small Lady stands first, every bit as regal for a moment as her title as she lets out a slow breath, steadies herself, and looks to Sailor Pluto. "...I don't mind helping your friend. I saw a chance, and I took it. Even though you tried to kill my friend. You say you have to, that you can't tell me why..." Chibi-Usa shakes her head.

"Until you come to your senses and stop trying to hurt Hotaru-chan, I guess I'm alone here." Tears are still in her eyes but she keeps her voice steady. Alone, in this time, with no one who knows but...

Chibi-Usa sticks out her chin and stares up at Pluto before she turns and starts running away towards Sailor Jupiter, towards Hotaru, in the direction of Sailor Moon...

And a black cat-orb bobbles off of the ground and moves to follow close behind.

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

The Fire Buster Super explodes. The landscape explodes. Moon clings to Uranus for a while. The apocalypse grows... and then it's over. Power streaming back into four insensate forms. The singularity fading.

For a brief span Moon is so excited about her victory that she turns around, literally grabs Uranus' strong hands and gives them an excited little shake probably before Uranus even knows what's happening. Honestly before Moon knows what's happening. She's forgotten the specifics of who she is, just so excited by the victory of cooperation, "We did it!"

... Then she remembers her partner is laying over there. "Aha-" She laughs nervously at the realization, "-you'll want to go to her. You should go to her..."

There's so much she'd want to ask. To say. To find meaning in what came before. Everything that still causes her so much hurt and confusion. But right now she can't with Neptune laying right there. "...we can always talk later right?" She says quietly.

There's Chibi-Usa who's alright. Moon walks over to Jupiter, limping on the way, "Jupiter-chan..." Her throat swells with emotion as she says, "-you saved her. You saved all of us." She's so happy, as she looks to the girls who emerged too from the void.

And the finally upon the four sisters. All together in betrayal.

They were all trying to murder them before- but in the wake of this... she heard Koan's feelings of betrayal. The break in Berthier's voice. Calaveras' love for her big sister, her feelings of being protected by Pretty Cure. Petz's Regret...

They knew nothing of their enemy except that they were trying to kill Chibi-Usa- but did it have to be that way? Did their bonds of sisterhood really have to end in the betrayal? Their lives used up used up to fuel some cruel trap?

Sailor Moon puts away the Spiral Moon Heart Rod. And instead she unhooks her brooch from the ribbon on her chest. The Cosmic Heart Compact is opened. Inside it sits the Silver Crystal- quite pink, and somehow not a contradiction. Will it shine for her today?

Chibi-Usa would get a good view of it running up to her, and Sailor Moon kneels down a little. "I'm so glad you're okay." She smiles at her, before looking out over them, "These four. You've been hurt by them more than anyone... you saw what happened to them today though. Noone deserves that- to have their feelings betrayed like that." She says gently, "I want to give them a chance at a better life- away from the people who want to hurt you. I think I can help them. Will you help me?"

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

Cure Bloom half-slumps as the world rushes back in on her. It's always just a bit exhausting to use the Twin Stream Splash. Worse than that...

Maybe more than most, the power of the world, the magic of trees and flowers, flows through Cure Bloom. She's used to the spirits thanking her for her help as they fly away after she uses their power. This time...it felt like something else happened, instead. Something much, much worse.

Usually, when Egret frets, Bloom tries to be there for her; be that megawatt smile that drags her out of it and back into the present. This time she merely she quietly slides her hand back into Egret's, squeezing tightly as her eyes rise up to the World Tree dominating the horizon through the garden ceiling.

"We saved everything, today," she says, more quietly than she'd normally speak.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

In the aftermath of all of this, Sailor Neptune has survived. Largely, anyway. She is near the side of one of the paths in the park, laying on her side; slightly curled up. There is no dirt on her skin save for where she has come to rest; scrapes, contusions and bruises dot her arms and her legs, even one cheek.

She is flaccid, like a landed fish whose fight has left. Her lips are slightly parted; a close examination would find breathing.

Michiru Kaioh doesn't herself quite know if she's dead or not. She has wondered what it would feel like, although it seems there are sounds...

Is the afterlife filled with musique concrete? Michiru Kaioh thinks.

Then I suppose I am not dead, she reasons further. I should move. I think I can hear their voices...

After this she thinks nothing for a while more.

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

The Fire Buster explodes, the vacuum explodes, everything explodes... It's only because of the forward momentum of her magic that Sailor Jupiter knows that she and her allies were successful. Before long, gravity returns, and she lands on the ground below, then promptly leans on the tree next to her for support. "H-Hotaru-chan, are you--all right?" she pants, helping her down if need be. She smiles to see Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa approach, relieved beyond words to see that they're both okay too. Sailor Moon says she saved her and all of us, and Jupiter just--she can't do anything but stumble forward and give her Princess an enormous hug.

She's exhausted. But it's a good kind of exhausted, now, and she watches over Sailor Moon and Chibiusa as the former asks the later if she'll help her help the Spectre Sisters. Jupiter, too, looks over at the four women collapsed on the grass, grimacing. "...They didn't deserve what that jerk did to them," she murmurs, clenching a fist. "It's terrible, to just be... be *used* like that..."

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

Chibi-Usa runs, her head down part of the way, long hair still hanging behind her, ruffled, out of her trademark hairstyle. She huffs, still not having quite caught her breath it feels like, despite her being athletic enough and out of danger now. It's a different kind of tired, the weight of having said what she did to someone she's loved for so long, and of the experience of today so close to death. Rubeus is still out there, she knows.

She doesn't look back at Pluto though, standing up straight again with Luna-P bobbling beside her and floating about her legs. Sailor Moon is kneeling down to her, and that simple, warm smile gets a little one from Chibi-Usa, too. A glance down to the Silver Crystal though, that she saw in pieces, and it's still... out. It's still right there, now within her reach. Everything she'd hoped for and tried... But like this? Now?

But the Moon mentions the Sisters, draws her attention to them, and Chibi-Usa watches them, her breath immediately hitching in remembered terror. But...

They were betrayed. The horrible way that happened, what Rubeus said to them, how they were just...

"Away from them...?" Chibi-Usa asks Sailor Moon, hesitating because she isn't sure. "Mm..." She inclines her head, "I don't... think anyone should just be thrown away like that." But it's such a heavier thing than Sailor Moon knows that she's asking, to forgive these women, these monsters who destroyed the future. Who hurt so many people. Who..."

"More than anyone, huh...?" She shakes her head, and then looks up to Sailor Moon again, her red eyes clear. "Okay. That's right, isn't it...? It's what..." Maybe it's what Mama would do.

"How do I help?" she asks. She doesn't move to take the Silver Crystal. Not this time. Her heart's too heavy for that.

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

Hotaru watches the united hearts of the Sailor Senshi -- her murderers, her saviors -- blow away the darkness like the fresh sea breeze banishes a storm, and she watches Chibi-Usa be strong and brave and sad.

Her eyes shine, but they're sad too, and... as the world turns and tears this moment of piece to shreds, a word at a time, a heartbeat, a decision -- a little bit distant. She must be thinking many thoughts. Maybe she's thinking them about what happened behind them to banish the void; she didn't see it, but she felt it deep within, a chord struck in her heart.

She finds herself deposited neatly on the ground, courtesy of Sailor Jupiter, and gives her a small, solemn, grateful nod. So formal. So gentle. "Thank you, Sailor Jupiter," she says simply, and means it. "I am all right. Because of you." From park benches to birthday parties Makoto has had a chance to get to know Hotaru outside of combat situations, and knows that she's not really a hugger. She just couldn't possibly have been raised that way.

But she does seem to be a willing hug student. A receptive flower who opens to the sun of affections so long denied her...

She follows Jupiter's gaze to Sailor Moon, and to Chibi-Usa. Something beautiful is starting there. Something sacred. She yearns with all her heart to go to Chibi-Usa, to try to relieve the heaviness there, to at least share the burden, but... it seems wrong. For the moment she shys away, remains close to her first and closest protector.

But she watches with those beautiful, cold, distant -- loving -- eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

As the combined power of the Sailor Senshi and someone who has made out with one crashes through the flames, it should be a moment of victory. But a moment is all Sailor Uranus can spare to satisfaction. This situation was dire even before Eudial got here, and it remains dire now. Her rear boot is slipping as the earth crumbles beneath it, and Uranus just allows it to this time, backpedally down the hill until the chain goes taut again.

Just then, however, the pressure lets up slowly. Glancing back, Uranus blinks as the anomaly fades. And amidst its remains...

It is easy to capture her hands just then, and Uranus soon finds herself the unwitting victim of Sailor Moon's enthusiasm, staring with a certain shell-shocked disbelief. This girl trusts too readily, forgives too quickly. It will cost her nothing with Uranus but the life of Hotaru Tomoe, but there are yet worse people out there, and Uranus hates to think of the danger.

"We don't have anything to talk about," she says coldly, taking her hands back. "If Sailor Neptune could still stand, you and I would be fighting each other within the minute."

Turning her back on Sailor Moon, Uranus starts walking, then jogging, then running down the hill over to Neptune. Grasping her shoulder gently, she rolls her onto Uranus's opposite arm, cradling the back of her shoulders. She exhales shakily, hearing a dampness in her nose. It wasn't even the worry that was hardest. It was resolving to let her go in the first place.

"Hey," Uranus prods verbally, with a little smile. Her voice isn't strained with grieved worry; it's her usual light tone, if somewhat softened. Neptune seems to be fading in and out. "I read about this in a book," she says gently. Leaning in, she brushes Neptune's lips with hers, lightly.

"That means you wake up," Uranus informs her.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Neptune doesn't resist being rolled. Her hair hangs in her face. She's still in her suit - that's a good sign.

Lips press against hers. Afterwards, she smiles, and says in a quiet murmur, "It must be heaven." Her eyes open then, though they are abominably weary.

She doesn't let it reach her voice. "Help me up?" she asks, with the faintest whiff of apology. Once she's up, she moves - a little slow, a little pained, but she moves.

Sailor Neptune doesn't look back. Out of sight, she says softly, voice still a little husky, "Thank you. For trusting me."

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

For a moment, after she's seen to Moon and Chibiusa and Hotaru, Jupiter frowns over at Pluto, who had rescued Chibi-Usa and earned her scorn for it. However, she has nothing to say to her. She gives nods of gratitude towards Cures Bloom and Egret, Fuu, Kasagami--even a curt one to Sailor Uranus, though the dislike is clear in her narrowed eyes and deep scowl. At least she has enough priorities to know to go to her fallen partner, who gets a glance not for her own sake but because Lancelot is collapsed next to her. She hopes he'll be okay...

Though then Uranus is bending over Neptune to give her a kiss and Jupiter blushes and quickly redirects her attention to her friends as she coughs into a fist. It makes her think of a certain silver-haired senpai... b-but that's neither here nor there right now!!

Hotaru gives her a formal, polite nod, words of polite gratitude. Jupiter, in return, gives her a gentle smile, then bends down on one knee and rests a hand on her shoulder. "I'm glad," she replies. "And I'm also proud of you. You were incredibly brave and calm back there, Hotaru-chan. Chibi-Usa-chan is lucky to have a friend like you." She doesn't try to force a hug on Hotaru, indeed knowing that she's not a very huggy person--but she does slip that hand off her shoulder and leave it open for Hotaru to step into if she so chooses. Jupiter's smile will warm at her either way; then she'll return her attention to Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa, expression shifting to concern for the younger girl.

"You're really brave, too, Chibi-Usa-chan," she observes quietly. "I can only imagine how much those women hurt you, but you're still willing to help them." Her smile returns. "You and Hotaru-chan are a great match."

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Arm around Sailor Neptune's shoulder, Sailor Uranus walks, eyes unfocused. She is distant, now, but not in a way that separates them. They know well how to be distant together, after all these years.

She doesn't answer the thank you with more than a faint nod. Her trust is a given.

"It just means that next time," she says quietly, "it should be me."

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

The coldness from Uranus. It's strange how often she experiences it, and yet each time the look on her face it's like she doesn't expect it.

Like she doesn't know what to expect.

As she walked away, she closed her eyes and said quietly to herself, "Nothing..." She stole a glance at Uranus and Neptune in that moment. Closed her eyes, and sucked in a pained breath at another memory, before walking onward.

Moon will never ever turn down a hug from Sailor Jupiter. That enormous bearhug she feels she can get lost in, her arms flexing fiercely around her but without enough strength to even make Jupiter the slightest bit uncomfortable. Moon doesn't even complain about her burnt flank.

And now with Chibi-Usa. She knows the kind of trust she's asking of her. The girl who fell out of the sky, came into her home to steal the Silver Crystal. Right now at least- seeing her beautiful friendship with Hotaru. The things the two have gone through, suffered together. She feels she can give her that trust freely for this.

She feels she'll make the right decision. She nods, when Chibi-Usa says away from them. "I think it's right. You don't have to forget they hurt you- or forgive it." It's a faint echo of a statement to Kasagami, in regards to what happened with Madoka. "Only if you want to. Only if you feel like you should. You decide when it happens. But I still think it's right to do this for them."

Moon puts her fingers to the Silver Crystal. "All you have to do is put your fingers right here, with mine." She waits for the younger girl to do it. "And then just put forth your precious feelings of wanting to help them."

Strong faith, firm resolution, and deep love. As she presses her fingers against it, runs them across it she says-

"Moon Cosmic Power!"

The legendary treasure of the Silver Millenium shines forth. Not just with her own feelings, but with those of the girl beside her. That warm radiance that coruscates with gleaming silver. It shines forth and brings forth a waving of healing upon each of the Spectre Sisters with a shining offer.

The two girls together cannot reject the darkness simply by wanting it, but they can put forth that offer to be rid of it. There must be something within each of them that wants this.

The acceptance is of the black crescents on each of their foreheads vanishing within that sparkling light. One by one by one.

Chibi-Usa's feelings helped her, but Moon takes the toll from her link to it. And as the radiance fades, she slumps to the ground fully- "Jupiter-chan...'taru-chan... Chibi-you...cha..." She's already drifting off, speech slurring more and more, "...thinki... neeanap..."

And then she's snoring.

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

It takes both of Hotaru's slender hands to hold Sailor Jupiter's, and they're almost as white as the soldier's glove, blending in to become a single unit. It isn't a hug, it's a little different and a little strange, but affectionate, certainly.

Even if her grip -- already exhausted by the tearing of the void -- is so light as to be almost impossible to feel.

"I'm the lucky one," she says with soft but fierce appreciation for the impossible miracle that is Chibi-Usa, a miracle that her awkward, dark, weird self could never compare to, doesn't even want to try. Silver light pours over her, Sailor Moon's light and Chibi-Usa's too, and she blinks back reflexive tears that she doesn't really understand the source of.

"It's me."

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

Sailor Jupiter accepts Hotaru's hands with a gentle squeeze. It might not be a hug, but holding hands is good too. And if Hotaru feels that she's the lucky one... well, Jupiter certainly won't argue with that. For now, she simply stands by and watches over her friends.