2017-10-07 - What Lies Beneath 11

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
What Lies Beneath 11

In the aftermath of the Black Moon Clan's attack on Jindai, the magical girls regroup at Kaoruko Hanasaki's greenhouse, and go on a brief mission into the Realm of Dreams to scry for answers...


Mai Mishou, Usagi Tsukino, Yumi Ohzora, Ami Mizuno, Shigure Shiratsuyu, Niramo Umokeshi, Saki Hyuuga, Fuu Hououji

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Jindai Botanical Gardens

OOC - IC Date:

10/07/2017 - 02/23/2015

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Nutcracker - The Christmas Tree https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEvcag9BskA

The invitations come as they have in the past -- carried by mascot or by mailman or even by passing breeze onto pillowcase, addressed to the magical girl rather than the normal one and always, through some means of mysticism, being seen first by them rather than any parent or roommate or other normal person. Unlike some of the others, this one specifies arriving 'in costume'. The penmanship is beautiful and delicate as dewy morning spiderweb. Tea is promised, and cookies, and an opportunity to help save the world.

And the private greenhouse of Jindai Botanical Garden's director is becoming more like a familiar clubhouse for some, but every time it's a little different. This time it seems that Dr. Kaoruko Hanasaki is making a study of water lilies or something, because there's an indoor pond set up, and broad green pads all over the place. Frogs croak, but not rudely. No flowers bloom, but there are great, engorged buds atop some of the pads, ready to blossom at any moment.

It smells wet but not muddy, like the city after a fresh rain.

In the center of all this is a delicate pink picnic blanket, much-festooned with heavy-tassled cushions and curiously beautiful trays, each one carved from a single piece of wood into something almost paper-thin yet strong, strong. They are filled with tiny sweets and Eastern teacups, without handles and with the shimmer of true age. Precious things.

Hanasaki-sensei herself fits well in this place. There is a bit of pond water staining her lab coat, her dress beneath is a grandmotherly near-mumu, her long gray hair falls in waves behind her, and her face, no matter how papery or spiderwebbed, is still the best thing in the room at holding a smile.

Even when she speaks of scary things, it sounds like everything really will be all right.

"So you see," she concludes, having just spent a few minutes taking tea with those around her and bringing them up to speed, "That is why the situation is so grave. The World Tree is one of the great hearts of magic of this world. Those who control the five mystical places of power tied to the World Tree will control its immense power when it awakens, and that time is quickening, it will be soon. And more and more it seems that shadow rises to seize those five places for themselves..." She counts them off on her fingers:

"Library Island, Infinity Institute, Jindai, Tokyo Tower, and... the missing one. The stolen one. The one that we must find."

Today's tea, by the way, is green tea, and every sip tastes of a different green feeling. Like being deep in the cool forest, or exploring a savage jungle, or rolling across a freshly mown lawn. It is definitely just a little bit magic -- but not bad magic.

OOC: We are opening a bit in medias res so as to not spend the whole evening doing a rehash of the plot so far. I'll take
questions OOCly -- and /one/ round of IC questions, specifically this round, but you'll probably get more out of it OOC, for
speed's sake.

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora transforms into Witch Ivy!
COMBAT: Ami Mizuno transforms into Sailor Mercury!
COMBAT: Mai Mishou transforms into Cure Egret!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Sourisi!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Egret stands there, as she often has. To say that she cares strongly for the World Tree is an understatement. She has had a deep, strong bond to that place for years now. It comes from the times she met Saki there, but also the charge of the fairies that she swore to help. She stands there in her white and purple, her violet eyes regarding Kaoruko.

She nods to each location in turn.

"The last place..." She trails off, eyes dipping down. "...Do you know where we might find it? We could still get there in time, I hope."

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

Luna sits in front of her teacup on a cushion. Every so often she gently paws Sailor Mercury to pick up her teacup for her so she can take what looks like a sip, and is really a surreptitious lap of her tongue without bending her neck over and drinking like a cat.

Once it's back on the saucer, she leans her head over and whispers to Mercury, "Thank goodness you're here today to take note of all this and keep her in line."

Who is she talking about? Sailor Moon of course, who's sitting in sort of a sloppy half Seiza, legs draped to the side of the cushion on her part of the picnic blanket happily munching on the tiny sweets and seeming blissfully ignorant of the conversation. Occasionally breaking it up with sips of tea.

She's not entirely so, she's heard some of it before, but perhaps the gravity of the matter hasn't fully settled in.

Luna clears her throat, and hisses to Moon, "Moon! You're paying attention right?" "Hai~mmf~Hai~" "Then what sort of thing should a Sailor Senshi ask next?"

Sailor Moon puts a pointer finger to her chin, then looks at the hostess, "Hanasaki-sensei. Could you please pass me more of those adorable little sweets? They're delicious."

Luna cringes on her pillow. "Moon..." She moans softly, "Well what? Egret already asked the most important question, so I asked the next most important."

Luna has to spend many long moments wondering if Usagi is messing with her, or if she's just being Usagi.

COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga transforms into Cure Bloom!
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The Witch of Lost Ivy stands among the group in black, having received a letter in her dorm room. It was lovely, and of course Yumi would go to another of these meetings, in this greenhouse here. She also brought a friend.

A black cat pads at her ankles, sitting down beside her as she looks up at Dr. Kaoruko.

Yumi herself is dreadfully careful with the beautiful things thave have been offered to her, almost distractedly so. Nevertheless she has the opportunity to love the myriad feelings of green hitting her tongue and her mind, her own green-tipped staff propped up nearby, where it is safe and respected and not in the way. And while Luna speaks...

"Honestly," Tama comments, "So much trouble with your charge." She looks like she may be grinning.

"...How many do we know we can't get back, again? We'll have to be careful since time is so short to do everything we can..."

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

Going back to the condo to change before cram school, Ami was surprised to find a beautiful letter laying on her pillow. She picked it up carefullly as it seemed delicate, eyeing the intricate designs on the outside. After opening it gently, the beautiful handwriting caught her attention. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before and the message was one she found interesting enough.

Was it a trap of some kind or something more mundane. The words that offered a chance to save the world however was what really stood out to her and so, forgoing her studies (no easy feat for the astute student) she changes, as per instructions and heads to the location.

The Jindai Garden is a calming place and when she enters, albeit tentatively, Ami notes the lilies and various plants and frogs around. Most of which seem to be familiar to her. It made for a peaceful background to say the least.

Ami finds a place among the rest of the group and politely takes some tea and a cookie while Hanasaki explains the reason for the meeting. The senshi listens carefullly while eyeing Usagi and Luna with a slight smile. Should Usagi nod off, she is not above jabbing her friend with an elbow. She also, offers a hand to Luna, picking up the teacup to help the cat lap it up while petting her gently on the head.

Back to the woman speaking though, it sounded so serious. Usagi's reaction was to be expected but for her part, she is concerned given recent events. While she hadn't been there, word traveled fast amongst their group.

For now, the girl in blue is mostly silent. Listening carefully to find out more about their next plan of action and to find out what they were going to have to do.

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Shigure discovered the letter late last night, after she'd returned from the supplementary lessons that had often reached late towards the end of the evening. It was a letter unlike she'd received before. She froze a little when she read that it wanted her to come 'in costume'.

Did it mean... the Relic?

Shigure looked nervously towards the thin, pencil-like crystal necklace on her neck...

And she sung.


It was difficult to move quietly, and the Symphogear Relic-bearer has no experience with this kind of meeting... before. It was all just a rather scarcely-evident blur, the last time, that she still doesn't really know if she's moving for real.

But it is real, all too real. There were others... there, other... 'magical girls', as she'd come to understand it. This was the reality she existed in now.

Symphogear Solais' suit was something approaching a bodysuit, with a predominantly white and silver colour with black highlights; it is sleeveless and has black leggings with additional silver highlights, laced with thicker, greave and gauntlet-like armaments for her arms and legs. A large set of spikes had emerged from either side of her head, framing her chin in a device that lightly looked like some kind of headpiece.

More to the point, perhaps, is the presence of the overgrown, unwieldy device at her back, a burdensome piece of metal that scant looks like a greatsword. It is black, with light edges, with a predominant cross centreing its piece.

"... who will awaken?" she finds herself voicing. She's nervous, and she can't hide it. She feels alone and uncertain of what she's facing.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Niramo was understandably confused as she checked the mail as she returned from school and noticed the envelope addressed to Sourisi, the name she had taken for when she was using her Mouse Miraculous. It was only a few weeks ago that she found the Mouse Miraculous mysteriously inside one of her shopping bags, and finding herself given a chance to help right the wrongs of the world. While she has practiced as Sourisi, she has yet to actually make a name for herself, and an invitation offering a chance to help safe the world is startling in it's own way. But it was a request for help, and there wasn't a chance that she could refuse.

She made sure to learn all she could about Hanasaki-sensei from Tak, the Kwami bonded to the Mouse Miraculous she now possessed, before leaving for the Jindai Botanical Gardens. It took her a little while longer than she had expected, mostly to the fact Tokyo looked so different from the rooftops than down on the street, and just a little case of nerves. The thought that this could be a elaborate setup for a trap didn't even cross her mind as she entered the private greenhouse, closing the door behind her and taking in the sights and sounds that filled the interior.

It would appear to the other Magical Girls there that she certainly have taken the 'costume' part of the invitation to heart, as differently dressed up as Sourisi was. She wore a skintight tan bodysuit that ends at her neck, and with shades of light tan on her forearms, calves and torso matching the rest of her outfit. Attached by small metallic clasps on her calves were a pair of curved dark colored tonfa, and a two foot long tail, pale and slightly scaly started at her lower back. Finally completing the outfit was a stylish eye mask, colored a pale tan, two large rounded ears sticking on the top of her head, with her long black hair stylized in a braided ponytail.

She was being careful not to displease their host as she politely took a sip from her tea cup, listening to the others with a slight smile on her lips. She appeared somewhat nervous, sure, but she looked happy to be here, despite the topic at hand.

"And will everything truly be alright if we manage to protect this...'missing' place? With four places already lost, it's going to be tough."

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

Cure Bloom has oft attended these little meetings in her true form - Splash Star Pretty Cure gains little from disguises, thanks to their foes being ACUTELY aware of who they really are - but today they are told to come transformed, and thus here she is. The thought of the World Tree's continued peril chaffs at Saki deeply, and the opportunity to help save it is something she will never turn down. As usual for Cure Bloom, it's the personal things that bother her the most. The world is hard to think about, but the place she loves the most, why...that's easy.

Cure Bloom waits with Egret. She has tea because it always makes her a little happy, calming the subtle weight of stress that has plagued her shoulders for weeks. She lets Egret handle the questions; for Saki, asking her to plan and think deeply is most likely to just get her tangled up in her own thoughts.

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

Kaoruko doesn't seem to mind the request for more food. "Of course, Sailor Moon," she says warmly, and passes over a tray. The strawberry daifuku on it are scrumptious.

Then she settles back into her seiza. It's a slightly creaky and arthritic seiza, but not without its own gnarled beauty.

This conversation is well past introductions at this point, but surely when she met Symphogear Solais and Sourisi for the first time, they felt her friendly kindness, her welcoming heart. And she does not begrudge them their questions -- quite to the contrary.

"That is an astute question, Maiden of Solais," she says with a glint in her eye. "Though I think your instinct is closer to the truth, it is usually considered a 'what', the power of the World Tree. A massive power, which only rises less than once a century. Last time it rose, it was misused... and opened the door to return great evil to this world, long-banished evil, including the bulk of the Noise."

It seems she's passingly familiar with Symphogear, this old lady. There's little time for that revelation to sink in, however, because she continues, with the careful sort of speech when one is trying to be precise about something both complex and a little bit holy:

"That sacred time approaches again when the World Tree's power rises, and it is being very overtly targeted by dark forces. And it seems... stronger, the World Tree, in the same way that not all volcanic eruptions are of the same strength. We fear that should its power fall into the wrong hands, it could be apocalyptic in scope."

Inclining her head to Sourisi, she adds: "Never fear -- I don't think it is quite so bad as four to one. Not yet. Not if we take action."

Her throat is dry so she takes a sip of her tea.

"It seems as though Library Island is lost to us now, willingly sacrificed to save Jindai and everything else," she continues, addressing Yumi's question next. "You see," she explains for those who weren't there, "We were recently attacked by those who call themselves the Black Moon Clan, and they unleashed a dreadful magic upon this place, seeking to corrupt or destroy it, and much else besides. We had -- you could call it an artifact -- a tie to Library Island's heart, and there was nothing else available to store all that black magic. In so doing, it has probably tainted Library Island's connection to the World Tree beyond repair."

Again she ticks off from her fingers.

"I think we must also assume that Infinity Institute is also out of reach, connected to the Library as it is. To safely harvest the World Tree's magic, we need three out of five, so that means all the others. The one here, the one at Tokyo Tower, and the missing one. It is the nature of the Tower to be held by no one for long -- it is mystically neutral ground -- so that conflict will surely come around the time of the Tree's awakening. If that was now, even if we won, we would be at two out of five."

Her eyes go to Egret, and smile.

"So, yes -- we must find the one that used to be under our own St. Ursula's Cathedral, but was moved by dark forces. It may be dangerous to reclaim it, but I suspect that we will have the element of surprise. And fortunately... we have a tool at our disposal!"

Back to Yumi, she gestures at her cell phone charm. "I sense the World Tree's love of life in that new broom of yours. Like calls to like... could I impose upon you to enclose our picnic blanket in a magical circle? Everyone else... do get comfortable. If you are all willing, I believe she can work a spell that will allow us to follow that connection back to its source. All that you must do is close your eyes, for the place that we must travel is a road of dreams..."

Rising, she is glad to help collect dishes, distribute more cushions, whatever people need to get comfortable.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Moon happily takes more strawberry daifuku, "Thank you very much!" Luna sighs when Tama notes this, "Don't I know it..." Whereas Moon leans over to whisper at the silent and intense Sailor Mercury after a while, holding out one of the passed Daifuku, "Mercury-chan. You have to try some of this. They're just as good as Jupiter-chan's treats..."

Solais gets a wave, an emphatic wave even whenever she looks her way. Does Sailor Moon- know her? Wait is she mouthing something at her? If she can look past the crumb stained Fuku she might be able to read it as - 'You're doing great!'

Well that's weirdly supportive, and knowledgeable about how new she is. Does Sailor Moon just do this for all new Magical Girls?

Luna is staring at Sourisi's tail, a little overlong, before she seems to startle out of it. Sailor Moon waves her way just after Kaoruko reassures her, "Don't worry~ Even if it seems like a tough situation- I'm sure it'll all work out!" "Moon... that's not the least bit reassuring." "Eh? Why not?"

Bringing up the attack causes her to raise her teacup again, as she stares at the surface of the tea. Closing her eyes she thinks about a certain moment, allowing the fresh scent of the tea to strike her nostrils. Then she allows herself to take a sip of the tea.

Which is when they point to Yumi, "Whoa you have a broom now Ivy-chan?" That fact is delightful enough that it barely even registers that it can lead them back. Luna paws her, "Just- get comfortable so she can work the spell."

Sailor Moon lays herself down further and closes her eyes, "It's kind of like a Mahou Shoujo sleepover Mercury-chan." She whispers. Luna rolls her eyes then closes them after, Mercury and Luna can hear something in the darkness behind their eyelids, a soft munching, "Are you still eating!?" "She didn't say I had to stop!" "Would you eat in bed?!" "O-Of course not..."

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.


The Maiden of Solais.

That would be as good a name as any. She hadn't quite thought of a pseudonym, a moniker. But it would be appropriate that the Relic that she relied upon for all her power would be her name. Though this heavy, burdensome weapon was as much a cross for her to bear, it was also what allowed her to escape that day with her life. With Kotori's life.

"A power that can be used for good or evil... I see..." she whispers, finding herself no less stiff at the revelation. The Noise...

She looks to Sailor Moon. She-- pauses for a moment, looking down with something approaching... a hint of a smile, perhaps? She nods wordlessly at her, before she slowly relinquishes some of that tension to slide herself onto one of the seats on the edge, brushing her long tailcoat in the process of doing so.

She looks towards Yumi as well, wondering what the power in that broom was... and she is also curious about Sourisi, and the Cures... and the others too. So many different styles... had they all been doing this for... so much longer than her?

In doing so, the Claiomh Solais released itself from her back, ebbing and floating gently in the air. It's hard to sit with a weapon taller than you are, after all.

"Then, just a little..." as she gently sips from her tea.

It was relieving, perhaps, that it tasted... so normal. A hint of normalcy, a connection that despite the impossibly fantastic topics of discussion, they could still enjoy such seemingly normal things.

It relaxed her.

It allowed her to close her eyes.

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

"I understand," Cure Egret says. She bobs her head once, before she looks sideways at Saki. She studies her partner for a moment, before she shrugs. She doesn't really understand the first thing about magic -- she never took those classes at Infinity. She looks at the Witch of Lost Ivy, then, and nods. "Let us know if we can do anything to help, please!"

And then Cure Egret plops down on the ground. She glances over the Sailor Senshi for a moment, before she looks to one of the newcomers. Solais? She tilts her head to the side. "It was... rather impressive," she admits. "But overwhelming to see all of this in action."

Then she takes the teacup. She closes her eyes, before she has a sip. But the sigh she lets out is quite relaxed.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Yumi, too, has been friendly to the new arrivals, both those she recognizes and those she doesn't. She tries to stay unobtrusive though, even iven that she's tall and wearing a hat that makes her taller still. She likes this place, despite the danger that it was in before.

Unfortunately the Witch can't always be where she would like to be. ...Tama, though, displayed great interest in Sourisi, as a cat watching a mouse... though she didn't make any move to start teasing her despite that connection.

The Witch continues sipping her tea, listening to the questions of others to the approval of her familiar... and to the vague concern of some given how attentive she is. "It's all right, Luna." She sounds... still terribly amused.

Ivy though blinks pink eyes at Kaoruko where she'd been glancing down at her phone, and looks terribly surprised. "O-oh, a tool... You mean--" She pauses, and then nods firmly. "Right! I can do it!" She takes a quick breath to steady herself, and stands up. She sounds a little creaky but that might be her leather boots. "A circle..." Yumi walks deliberately to her staff, holding out her phone, and gathers it up into a charm, touching the broom in turn to cause it to grow to her hand. It is beautiful wood, with a stone on one and and ivy wending about the bristles.

A smile to Sailor Moon before she starts. "Yep, here it is!"

But then she's all serious. "...I call upon life to lead to life... As I sweep to the horizon, let us see beyond and beneath..."

The Witch solemnly uses her broom to trace a perfect circle about the blanket, verdant green glowing in place as it traces, little symbols wending in the air just above the ground.

"Lost love be found. Allow us to travel to the source. In dreams we walk, to find..." Another few steps, careful motions, completely precise. "I call..."

Yumi finishes the circle which is brighter now, a warm light much like the tea in its way, speaking of new promise. And she moves to sit, broom on her lap hands on her knees, "We call!"

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

Fuu had mixed feelings about being invited back to the Jindai Botanical Gardens again after what she did the *last* time she was there. Admittedly, last time involved 'saving the Gardens and possibly the world from being swallowed up in a sorcerous black hole' ... but it also depended on 'sacrificing the Light from the control point beneath Library Island,' and it's that last one which she still feels uneasy about. Or more accurately, feels downright *awful* about - and she never did make the necessary time to come back and apologize personally to Hanasaki-sensei.

So the Wind Knight doesn't ask questions; she doesn't even try to sit near the front (to the extent that there *is* a 'front' in the circle). She's hesitant to accept tea or sweets, but (a) it's Hospitality which should not be turned down; that would be rude, and (b) the tea is likely a crucial part of whatever Hanasaki-sensei needs of the magical girls.

... and then there's (c) it smells too good to pass up, plus the sweets and the tea complement each other too perfectly to turn down either. She tries to look insignificant when Hanasaki-sensei recounts the core events of the battle of the gardens - even if what she did was necessary, she doesn't feel *better* about it - but she's cooperative enough about setting up for the dream journey, if there's anything she needs to do besides finishing her tea and getting comfortable.

"It won't be our first time, will it?" she comments quietly as she collects a cushion to support her head. "For some of us, at least - the journey we embarked upon from Hokkaido two winters ago ..."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi would make a noticable blink as she took in the words from the grandmotherly figure, feeling the calm and soothing aura despite the news she had. She was thankful to know that the situation wasn't as dire as she thought it would be, and letting out a sigh of relief as the plan was revealed to them all. The only thing that would be truly worrisome was when the battle at Tokyo Tower drew near, but that still was in the future. Sourisi's slight smile turned into a full grin as she noticed the black cat next to the blonde-haired Magical Girl eyeing her tail, and would have a little fun as she twitched the tip of the tail for Luna's attention.

Taking a calming breath, she would help Kaoruko gather the dishes first before getting a pillow for her own use. Why should their host do all the work, after all? Being sent into a dream world to seek out what they needed was not what she had expected, but she wasn't bothering to let the strangeness of her situation stop her from helping. Laying down her head onto her cushion gently, she closed her eyes and focused on taking long, deep breaths, though she couldn't hide her smile at the thought she was helping to save the world.

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

Ami, after helping Luna for awhile, finally sips her own tea again, noting the flavor is unlike any other green tea she has had. It wasn't bad in any way though and as the other magical girls arrive, she realizes that she is unfamiliar with some of them. Still, if they were invited to this, Ami assumes they could be trusted with the information that they were receiving.

As Usagi leans over to her, Ami smiles and takes the daifuku. "Thank you!" Taking small bites, she seems to really be enjoying it for a few seconds at least until the conversation shifts and more information is given and for a brief moment, Ami ponders taking notes but then realizes she hadn't really planned for it and she shrugs to herself a little.

If she had questions, Ami seems to have been satiated by the explanation given and she glances at Usagi. "Slumber party huh?" She winks and seemingly being trusting of what was happening, she takes her place near Moon and Luna and closes her eyes.

But then, crunching noises, underneath her breath Mercury whispers to Usagi while only slightly opening one eye, "Stop that!" Then she closes her eyes again, enjoying the brief moments of silence and wondering, slightly concerned, about what was about to happen.

Her mind wanders off a little as Yumi begins her incantation. She focuses on the words, taking them into her subconscious mind. This was beyond the realm of comfort for her but Ami stays still, waiting for what comes next.

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

Cure Bloom listens, because someone is giving her a plan and she needs those to function when there isn't a thing to punch directly in front of her. She knows most of this, at least in broad strokes, and she fidgets uneasily as she waits for the hammer to fall. But soon, Kaoruko reveals that a plan does exist.

She looks to Egret, finds her searching for her own eyes. She nods, looking maybe similarly lost.

Flappy pops his head out of the pouch on her waist. "It's flower magic-lapi! You know it'll be fine-lapi!"

"You just say that because it's your own team," Bloom mutters, but does find her anxiety fading. "But I guess he's right, huh?" she murmurs Egret's way, and steps to take her place.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Flying Express Delivery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb-kriqIEjw

"Have a good time," Kaoruko chimes in, in exactly the way that a parent might send their child out the door to school. She watches over them wistfully, and when no one is looking, the huge (eight feet or more!) stuffed animal over in one corner lumbers over to her to lean against her affectionately.


Sleep comes swiftly, swept over the girls by Yumi's magic and the broom's magic and maybe the magic of this place, too, so quiet and beautiful. It doesn't hurt that Kaoruko lights a little incense, lilies in honor of her botanical guests, perhaps, which fills the air with a sweet but not sickly perfume.

It is indeed very similar to that one time Kero-chan led a ritual into the World of Dreams from the highest point on Hokkaido, except for all the ways in which it is different: this is a much more comfortable place than a mountaintop, and warmer too, and also the entire world isn't held in thrall in a sorcerous sleep needing to be saved.

Though that could be coming on the horizon! That is the sort of horror this seeks to prevent.

But all such worries fade away as the rising begins. Rising, not on wings but on individual brooms, each the twin of Yumi's, adorned with ivy and stone. Controlling them is easy, especially since they're controlling themselves. There is a cottony sense of comfort, however, the feeling of one's safest place.

These places paint the clouds themselves, puffy silver-white canvasses, as the group soars into a starless sky. It should be cold but instead it's merely pleasant. To some the height should be scary, but it's more like a height metaphor right now; there is no ground, and falling doesn't exist, either. Just the rushing feeling of the air going past, and the certainty that the brooms know their own direction, like geese inexorably following magnetic north.

OOC: Along with whatever else you pose, please include imagery of your character's safest place, as rendered upon a passing cloud.

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

That distinction isn't lost on Fuu as she dozes off - the fact that the situation is a lot more comfortable and a lot less dire than their dream mission from Hokkaido. Hopefully, it'll also be easier to resolve ...

She hasn't quite finished piecing the shape of that hope together in her head when she feels the broom supporting her, the wind blowing against her. It's not entirely a passive feeling, and somehow she knows it shouldn't be: this is as comfortable to her as the chair in her bedroom, positioned at her desk, a keyboard beneath her fingers and music in her ears, and sometimes - when it's chilly or when she just wants the extra comfort - a plushie in her lap as she works.

The mental image of her room is so clear to her that the vision of it in a cloudbank doesn't even surprise her - a Western-style bed with a green quilt, a handful of fantasy plushies lined up where the bed meets the wall; bookshelves line several walls, their subjects varying from light reading near the bed to computer books and school texts around the desk. A particularly keen and attentive eye might pick out a session of RPG Maker displayed on the computer's screen, but you'd have to be REALLY looking for it.

The Wind Knight takes in a deeper breath, the pleasantly clear air filling her lungs as they fly onwards, and possibly upwards. Though the wind may be her element, she trusts her broom - and those of her companions - to carry them onwards safely, taking them where they need to go. Whatever they need to do when they get there, they'll do when it needs to be done. For now, she glances around at her companions, taking passing note (or possibly a little more) of the cloudscape's beauty and the clear sky above.

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

Sleep comes swiftly, and when she awakens she feels like she's floating- no indeed she's rising. Her broom has decidedly pink brustles, split in twain, it's long haft painted pink and covered with crescent moons and stars. It's tipped with a red heart which makes it look a little like the Spiral Heart Moon Rod, a tiny mirror flashing in it's center. She's laughing in delight.

Luna on the other hand is in a bird cage hanging near the end of the broom, it's bars entwined in ribbons, with a tiny cushion at the bottom. "Why am I in a birdcage? Sailor Moon you weren't dreaming of this right? Sailor Moon?"

"Wheehehehehehehehe! Mercury-chan! Luna! We're really flying!" She starts waving excitedly to the others, "Everyone! How do I look, flying like this?" She calls out, thoroughly enjoying the delightful experience that is flight in this dream world, seated sidesaddle on a broom, hands upon it.

Luna taps the exit of the cage only to find it swings open quite easily. Then with the grace of a cat climbs out of that birdcage to clamber around Moon seat herself on the back of the broom in a more dignified way. "Hmmph."

As they pass by the clouds, one of them depicts a Torii gate at the top of a staircase. It leads to sliding Shoji screens of a traditional building. The fluffy screens slide back to show puffy indistinct images of five friends in different positions around a table.

One is sprawled out asleep, one has glasses and holding what looks like a book. There's another who looks almost like a Shrine Maiden, and a taller girl besides... and another standing in what looks like a pose.

Apparently the Hikawa Shrine is Usagi Tsukino's safest place... even moreso than home.

As Luna looks at the image, an almost cat like figure appears among the five. After a moment she too relaxes, sighing in contentment.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Sweets fortify Yumi a little bit through her nerves; she lets the magic itself guide her, opening up to it in a way that lets her do more than she could otherwise. Maybe this place helps her, maybe the broom, maybe everyone... and the perfume fills her nose.

Despite her sensitivity, this doesn't even dream of bothering her. Soon she drifts...

In a cloudbank appears a large room with colorful walls, windows out over Tokyo on their high floor. There are easels set up on staggered floors, one in particular with paints beside it, a stool familiar. The image on the canvas varies, flickering from one thing to a next, but there are figures in silhouette there one moment, and gone the next.

Tama is sitting on Yumi's broom of course, while Yumi sits sidesaddle. "You're a natural, Sailor Moon!" the young witch declares. "it's fun, isn't it?" She wonders where they're going through. ...And after a moment, she points to her hat and speaks an incantation. It blows a little bit less.

"...I'm a little surprised it worked," she admits with a sheepish laugh. She smiles anyway.

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

Inhaling the sweet smell of the lilies and the other relaxing aromas in the air, Mercury is quickly taken over by the spell and the dream. In many ways, it seems like so many dreams that she has had before but this one has a different feeling to it. It is one that her subconscious mind can feel. There is no danger here though that she can see so far.

When she feels herself rise up and then looks down, Mercury notices her mode of transportation is not unlike Yumi's and even though this is something that should be scary, she finds her mind at ease. The height doesn't bother her, nor does the broom which seems to have a set direction in mind.

Usagi's voice, while she can hear it, seems far off as her vision changes and within the clouds she can see sprawling rows of books. Her senses are enveloped by the aroma of the old literature that lines the walls. There is an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility in this place that she feels like she has been to many times before.

Beyond that, the she can see a park and a bunch of people sitting around, laughing. While she watches the girls from afar, Mercury immediately feels a sense of love and peace with them nearby, like every care in the world is gone from her mind. All her worries and burdens seem to be only a distant memory in this place.

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Solais is surprised to see herself on a broom in turn, and she's -- rising. She's flying. It's decidely dream-like, but every aspect of it feels decidedly real. Hers has silver engravings upon it, a bit more stiff and scale-like, but no less in wonder.

She quietly glances towards a nearby cloud...

...and her eyes widen slowly at the appearance of a clinically white room, with nothing inside save for a white-lacquered grand piano. Endless streams of compositions, an infinite length of bars and notes upon notes shrouds the neverending piles and piles stacked high atop, beside, and around the piano.

She looks just a bit nervous as she realises it, but then relents afterwards. Her Composition Room...

It's safe in how clinical it is, devoid of anything that was not a clinically grafted note upon a bar.

Within the Composition Room, it is impossible to misinterpret. The interpretation of a single note upon a bar is absolute.

A room of Certainties.

It's safe... it's where she's escaped all this time, to avoid the Uncertainties of her mother's tantrums, her bad moods, her demands. The Uncertainties of daily life, as other people's seemingly errant emotions tended to swing from time to time.

She shakes her head for a moment, as she looks towards several others. The shrine... the sprawling rows of books... the easels...

It seemed to comfort her more to look to others' sanctuaries than her own.

Safety does not imply happiness, after all.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi slowly became aware of the rising sensation, of air and height pushing down upon her like a blanket. She then quickly became aware of the broom underneeth her that was causing the lifting, and she quickly latched onto the wooden handle and ivy, holding on tightly. The sudden rush of fear over flying on a cleaning tool would itself be washed away as she looked around her and took notice of the others. How odd it seemed to watch all these girls, all brought together for a singular purpose, flying upwards on brooms straight out of fiction. Or what was real and had been hidden from her for so long, Sourisi reminded herself. Only after making sure that the others were here, and with a second glance at the Maiden of Solais, did she finally take notice of the dream landscape around them.

One cloud in praticiliar stood out to her, it's surface showing a place she remembered most fondly from her childhood. A dimly lit study, with only an antique electric lamp providing illumination. A large wooden desk made out of polished mahogany rested in the center, paperwork littering the surface and several coffee mugs resting on the corner of the desk. Several wooden bookshelves, stuffed to bursting with both ancient and modern books stood along the sides of the small room, yet helped bring a sense of homely comfort. The dusk of twilight could be seen though the room's single window, with a steely sky unleashing rain that futilely tried to disturb the peace of the study, yet only added to the comfort. Finally, a cheap wooden chair was tucked into the desk, the top slightly worn from being used to pull back the chair.

A wistful look crossed over Sourisi's face for a moment, looking upon that scene. She hadn't seen that study in years, but she could almost smell the stale coffee that would cling to the books. It certainly wasn't all fun and games on this trip, she reminded herself, and there was a reason why they were here, but... "This is certainly different than I was expecting to spend my night!" If they had to fly on brooms, they might as well talk to one another! "And you are doing great! Remember what you did, just in case you have to do it again in the future!"

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

"I think he must be," Egret says, before she drifts off into a sleep.

When she awakes, she yelps. The Pretty Cure has to straighten sharply, before she realizes what she has doing. She has watched a movie about a delivery service to know how to keep atop a broom. She smiles, then, and grabs it a little tighter on the broomstick. She looks to the side, then.

For her, it's easy -- and she knows what it is, as soon as she sees it. A shrine, nestled high in the boughs of a tree; high in branches that one could walk up. The shrine to the Sky Tree, located part of the way up the World Tree. She gasps, softly.


Then, she looks to the side, where she knows Cure Bloom will be. "Bloom! Look!"


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

<poem>If Saki ever has a hard time sleeping, today isn't one of those days.

The ascent is sudden, perhaps, but in dream-like logic, easily accepted. Flight has been a part of Saki Hyuuga's dreams often, these last few months, as the powers of the Earth have let her so easily part from it. It's not so strange to feel no fear of falling anymore, and so she thinks little of it as the clouds rush by.

The same vision as Egret's appears again; a shrine, nestled among the boughs of the World Tree, big enough for a priest in residence but long without one, yet nonetheless well-cared-for by a handful of people who know the place and love it dear. One of those is Saki, and Cure Bloom has a big smile on her face as she sees it. She turns it to Egret, nodding eagerly. "Yeah!"

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Twisted Woods https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE3iTLxafyA

The clouds show many places, appointed with many things, but they all seem to blur together, resembling each other more and more until they're just clouds again...

The brooms are starting to descend. Now the group passes through the clouds, and it is nothing at all like being in a bedroom or shrine or library or conservatory. No, it is chilly for the first time, goosebumps-summoning. And that's the last really coherent feeling before it all seems to dissolve.

The clouds were creamy but they're becoming eclipsed by silver... ephemeral moonlight... delicate like the china teacups back in the greenhouse... delicate like freshly mended feelings after a fight... it sounds like there's fighting below, the unmistakable if distant roar of battle... roaring of a great beast, like a cat or the... low of a cow, cows that break up gradually into birdsong... a thousand thousand tiny shadows, too far away to touch but close enough to hear, swirling as though they're all of one mind even though they must all have separate birdbrains... thoughts, more abstract as the clouds deepen... depth itself loses meaning when up and down are lost as ideas... yet sinking remains, that feeling of pressure... greater and greater... breathing becomes difficult...


The brooms are soaking wet now, and so are their riders, as they skim across the treetops. If anyone thinks to look behind, the only marker on the horizon is the World Tree itself, unmistakable even in this realm of metaphor, its massive crown as cloudlike as so much else has been. Perhaps they flew within it all along.

But ahead: ahead, a great forest, and a great darkness. The broomsticks thrum with urgency, as they accelerate forward, to speeds that no longer feel safe, not safe at all...

They pass the clearing in a flash, quicker than a heartbeat, faster than an eyeblink, yet in that single suspended moment of nearness it resolves into perfect clarity:

A mansion, heavy upon its own foundation like an old man's flesh upon old bones, slumps in the heart of the woods. It smells like rotting plants, and then like nothing at all, a desolate emptiness that has no place in any earthly garden, especially one as wild and strange as a wilderness. Loneliness is one thing, but this is something else...

They leave the mansion behind... but the brooms do not go with them--!

Absent their rides, only momentum carrying them forwards, all at once the group is truly falling in earnest, through the treetops and through the brush, much more of it than there could possibly be in reality. It seems there is no ground at all, only endless branches to crackle through and, eventually, find purchase on. Branches and mist, curling around trunks and arms with equal ease.

That mansion is nowhere to be found, but the feeling of desolation remains.

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

Something changes. At first it's nothing more than Sailor Moon's head lifting to view the soft moonlight shining within them, but then the sounds of her battle stir her attention. Gripping the actual Spiral Moon Heart Rod, she whispers to Luna, "Who do you think is fighting?" "I don't know- just be prepared for anything." But then the sinking feeling digs in, and she feels claustrophobic.

She can't breathe, she can't think, she's so scared, what's going-

Moon finds herself shivering from the cold and wet, as she finds herself blinking vaguely into space, her eyes dreamlike, but stung with the saltiness of tears. She finds herself looking back, only barely grasping the scale of the metaphysical battle being waged over the power of that tree.

"I..." She finds herself speechless as she considers that this matter is far more serious than how she's been treating it.

Over the dark forest, and the darkness, she finds herself clinging on for dear life, "Everyone hold-" And then there's a mansion. Which makes her feel worse, like some sort of miasma of darkness is hanging over it, it feels like the sheer desolation is caught in her throat. And then her broom is gone.

Sailor Moon gracefully- flails in mid-air as she falls, shrieking at the top of her lungs as Luna clings to her sailor collar, and she reaches for another item on her person.

The shrieking fades into, "TREETREESTREEESTREES-" Crack, "-OW-" Crunch, "-UWOO-" And then many more branches break. And they can hear the sounds of Sailor Moon hitting every single branch in her path on the way down. The feeling of desolation still stuck in her throat.

Which is when Sailor Moon finally lifts the other item on her person. That would be her disguise pen. With a click a cute umbrella pops out, covered in white bunny heads and tassels. For a moment it seems her fall is slowed.

But all that means is that it snags on a particularly jagged branch and her descent caught on the umbrella. The very picture of a heroine, with dessicated leaves and bark and twigs stuck in her hair. The girl pants and tries to beat back tears which are coming anyhow, catching her breath before finally observing. "That was really scary..."

Luna looks the picture of fright, claws still stuck into Sailor Moon, a few shades paler. "Y-You're telling me..." After she's caught her breath more she calls out, "Mercury-chan? Solais? Pretty Cure? Wind Knight? Ivy-chan? ... Mouse girl?" She really wishes she'd asked for her name now, "Everyone alright?"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

There are many of them here. The images shown to all of them run together, sure, but the Witch of Ivy's eye take on each of them. Clouds, and clouds,a and things move silver and chilly...

She shivers, and the strange feelings of these things as they sink, and sink, and feel pressure, and pressure, and Yumi isn't certain that she can breathe as Tama looks up at her in clear concern.

But it's worse, and worse still, and suddenly--

Yumi is freezing at the wet, and she does glance behind, seeing cloudlike crown and then ahead great darkness. She does not mind travelling faster than feels safe, but she does not want to travel so quickly into this, whatever this is. A mansion looms head. This place has green but it is awful green, rotting and terrible and not with new life, desolate. Yumi thinks she might be sick.

"Aaaaaah!" Falling, Yumi tumbles towards the trees, Tama suddenly latching onto her mantle with her claws. "Ow--" She hits one dead-on in the stomach and curls around it, swpinning slightly and grabbing hold.

Wheezing she manages, quietly, "F-fine... Moon... Everyone...?"

"Yumi, are you hurt...?" says the cat, nosing at her carefully.

"I-it's fine," Ivy croaks, "It was... probably supposed to do that..."

COMBAT: Shigure Shiratsuyu transforms into Symphogear Solais!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Mercury is enjoying the scenery and just when she begins to think and maybe hope that it never ends, at the edges of her vision, the scenery begins to change. It blurs and runs together like a multitude of different hues of ink spilled on a page. Pretty soon, there is nothing left but the fluffy white dream clouds. Her happy thoughts disappearing with the fading images.

As the brooms continue, Ami suddenly shivers as the scene turns into moonlight. The air is cool and then there is a sound. It makes her heart rate speed up and she looks at Luna and Usagi. "Do you hear that?" Before she has a chance to focus on the voices though the pressure overtakes her thoughts and she is suddenly aware of how difficult it is to take a deep breath.

In an instant, she is soaking wet and freezing but still she is able to, just for a second, look at Luna and Usagi as they begin to descend. "Hang on guys!"

'This is going to be really bad if they can't stop,' she thinks. She can feel it, the fear as it rises up within her.

Mercury can only hold onto the broom as the feeling of the dreamworld pulls her downwards and across trees. The branches scratch and scrape at her skin and she makes a futile effort to grab at them to slow down, only ending up with handfuls of leaves instead.

Then, if it was even possible, the broom beneath her begins to move even faster, Ami is barely able to stay on as they make the first clearing. "Hold on... guys!" And then the mansion appears briefly as they move past it quickly and into the emptiness and void.

Mercury is quickly aware that she no longer has a mode of transportation and she is falling, frantically trying to find something to cling onto but coming up empty. The fall seems to last for hours, although it couldn't be that long. Mercury finds herself bumping against sharp ends of branches again, this time with more force.

Finally, somehow, she manages to end up on a branch just behind Moon. "I-I am fine. Luna-chan..." Her eyes squint at the cat. She can't reach out but she eyes her closely. Just thankful that they stopped.

"Do you have any idea where this is?" While Ami is looking at Usagi, the question is not exactly directed towards her. She glances around, trying to gain some sense of direction from her perch.

COMBAT: Shigure Shiratsuyu transforms into Symphogear Solais!
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

As they passed through the clouds, Sourisi started to feel as if she was truly in a dream, and nothing made sense again. The cloying feeling, like it was part of the very mist they flew through, clung to her, with her own thoughts starting to make any sense to her. All the sounds, the sights, the overall rapid change and lack of logic, it was as if she could barely focus on anything at all. Then they were out, and the leaden weight of fear that was clinging to her heart slipped away, and Sourisi let out a soft sigh as she slumped her shoulders in relief.

That relief quickly changed into focus as they were suddendly over the mansion, the sight of it standing out in flinching clarity before her. The smell was most vivid to her, the smell of rot and decay that clinged to the mansion as the lack of reality had clinged to her moments ago. The overall feeling of hopelessness as suffocating to her, and this was only on the exterior. The mansion looked long abandoned, and longer still since anyone had walked those halls. That thought shouldn't make sense to her, yet it did.

Now all they had to do was turn back around and go to the front do-...where was her broom? Almost comically, Sourisi shuffled her hand in front of her without looking, trying and failing to grasp what was just underneath her just a moment ago. Then she was dropping, faster and faster towards a ground that wasn't coming. Panic took over for just a moment, a frightful, wordless scream leaving her chest as she plummeted, unsure of what she had to do. Thinking quickly on seeing a larger branch coming towards her, the Mouse Miraculous swung her tail upwards to catch hold and stop her decent. Her tail got a strong grip, yet her speed had her spinning around the branch before she slowed enough to land on top, feet first.

Hearing the Magical Girl that the black cat was riding with call out, she would raise her voice to answer. "I-i'm okay, just surprised, that's all! Oh, right! Call me Sourisi! I'll explain my name later, promise!" Looking around her, she would start to jump from one branch to another, planning on reuniting up with Sailor Moon.

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The girls descend, and she finds herself thrashing and lashed against the harsh and whipping winds that begin to strike at them. She shiver and winces, hanging onto the broom as best as she can -- and she gazes upon the rotted mansion of vines for a moment... and then the broom collapses, letting go of her -- and she's forced to roll and tumble and collapse against a tree with a cough as she lands on the ground.

She heaves herself upwards, not feeling nearly as hurt or mortally injured as she would have been without her transformation, but it was staggering nonetheless. She tries to find her companions, and calls out, "I-I'm fine!"

She leaps against the branches of the tree to upright herself upon it, as she gazes around for what could be waiting for them in this dark and foreboding forest...

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

Cure Egret closes her mouth, holds her breath, and her whole face screws up as she plunges through the clouds. When they finally burst out, she inhales, her hair soaking wet and beads of moisture flying off as she exhales. That purple hair, done up so high, makes quite a mess on her back as she descends. She dives down -- into the great, dark forest below, on the broomstick that is also soaked.

And then she sees the mansion, huge and foreboding, and gasps at it. Her head is turned to stare at it as she soars past -- and then the broom vanishes. She yelps and dives down. She can fly, ordinarily, and throws her hands down. Silver light erupts.

She flies right through it.

Be it magic or a growing panic, she can't muster a flight she never quite mastered. The Pretty Cure tumbles through the branches, and then she throws a hand out. She catches onto a branch.

"Y-Yes," Egret says. She looks up. "I am. But... where are we?"

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

Getting drenched on her descent through the clouds makes this whole experience feel a lot less like a dream ... and although her armor doesn't get soaked easily, it means her blazer *underneath* the armor is going to impossible to dry out unless she de-transforms -

And it is abruptly very, VERY clear that this would be a Bad Idea, when she reaches the clearing without a broom underneath her. The Magic Knight manages to conjure a headwind of her own to brake and control her fall; at this velocity, 'steering' is more a matter of 'aim in an approximately safer direction' than anything else. She manages to come to a halt on one of the sturdier branches, after bouncing around (and occasionally through) less supportive boughs.

Her landing when first summoned to Cephiro was a little more graceful than that, but there weren't any trees actively in the way. There was also ground. The Wind Knight spares exactly one glance downwards.

"I seem to have landed safely," she calls out in reply to SAilor Moon and the others. "I hope somebody has an instinct or some such of where we need to go next?" Her only real thought is 'back to the mansion,' and they flew *how* far past that?

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

Parsing dream logic is far outside Cure Bloom's wheelhouse; the cacophany of battle, shifting from beast to bird and back, means little to her other than what her spine tells her: Something's fighting around here. It's like being underwater, she thinks dully, suddenly remembering that battle with literally the entire ocean, and her instinct to breathe almost cuts through her at a bad time; but soon they crash out and into something that could credibly be called the sky, if only by virtue of being opposite something that is absolutely the ground. She feels the urgency in her broom and her fingers creak around it as she tightens against it. She sucks in a long breath, closing her eyes and half expecting to impact the mansion like a splashdown - except she doesn't, quite, actually impact it at all; instead the broom just sort of STOPS COLD, and Bloom goes sailing, cartwheeling crazily through the air until she throws her arms wide, blasting out with Pretty Cure magic to gather herself and--

Immediately slam face-first into a tree.

"ow," Bloom mutters, and then nearly falls the entire way to the forest floor; but she comes to enough to lash out and catch a branch, keeping herself up for a moment more. Don't want to trust gravity in a place that isn't a place, her instincts tell her. "Egret!" She calls. "Are you--" She finds her. "Oh, good. I'm alright!" Her face hurts. "Mostly!"

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

Some girls look for each other; they seek and they shall find. This is, after all, still a dream, and even in reality the below-average-mobility magical girl is quite capable of leaping nimbly from branch to branch -- so traversing the treetops is not overly difficult.

It is a little scary though. A patch of slippery moss; a sudden shadow as a tree trunk, three banks down, blots out the hazy, half-lidded sun; movement is a little too light and easy but that makes any disruption particularly so.

The temperature drops about five degrees around the moment the girls are able to huddle up in earnest.

Then the shadows start moving... little tendrils erupting from the edges to writhe like maggots without having anything to do with sunlight through leaves.

And finally it strikes! A fluttering black cloak, a scythe tearing through the group, and the instant and total realization that not only are they in danger, but that there is no one who can help them...

...the mist thickens, and each girl is alone.

OOC: The Taunt on this attack is a 'nightmare' effect; taunted girls begin to see their particular fears in the mist, and will
need support from their friends!

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Dream Reaper!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Shigure Shiratsuyu.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Dreamripper on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Egret's Block
ability activates!  Cure Egret's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Yumi Ohzora's Block ability activates!
Yumi Ohzora's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 38 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Mercury is Taunted!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Niramo Umokeshi's
Fade ability activates!  Niramo Umokeshi's Flash ability activates!  Niramo Umokeshi is Taunted!
COMBAT: Shigure Shiratsuyu narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Shigure
Shiratsuyu's Block ability activates!  Shigure Shiratsuyu's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Block ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon perfectly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Dreamripper, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!  Sailor
Moon's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Moon's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"Bloom! I'm okay! Are--" Egret looks at her friend, who hit the tree face-first. "Are you okay?"

She pauses, though, when she catches the first flutter of a black cloak. She tenses atop a tree branch. That they're easier than one might expect to move upon is noted. She is grateful for that, but the stuff of dreams can give strange gifts. It can also bring strange problems, as the mist swirls and gathers around her!

She starts to back up, frightened, before she shakes her head. Her eyes squeeze shut for a moment and she draws in a breath. Then, she turns her head, and peers to the side -- towards where Cure Bloom is. She can see the outline of her through the mist. The silhouette of the girl she cares about.


She rushes in. Maybe she can't be seen, clearly, but it's easy enough to see one thing reaching out for her best friend. A hand, clad in a white fingerless glove, outstretched and ready to clasp.

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Hand in Hand on Cure Bloom.
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi was glad to see everyone else regrouping, and not lose each other in the mist. As the last Magical Girl reached them, she looked around, a slight frown forming on her face. Did it just get darker...and colder? Sourisi stepped backwards, her hands slowly grasping her tonfa and pulling them free of their clasps. Gripping them tightly, she looked over her shoulders, calling out to the others. "Everyone? I don't think we're alo-!" Sourisi took in a sharp gasp, movement out of the corner of her eye instinctively making her move, and she would quickly try to leap to the side as a 'blob' of shadows seemingly rushed at them all, swinging a massive scythe. Caught off footed, she found herself getting hit in the torso with only a fraction of the deadly weapon, yet it was enough to move her a few feet on the large branch. Her bodysuit didn't seemed to be cut, though there was a scruff on her stomach.

Looking back up, Sourisi gasped softly as the mist thickened, causing her to lose sight of the others. It was almost hard to see her own hands through this mist, and she took in a breath to call out to the others. That call froze as she started to see shapes form out of the mist, shapes that were as big as she was tall, with 8 moving legs. They seemed to appear and disappear randomly on the outlying branches, but it was clear to her that they were getting closer. "S-spiders? D-dream spiders?!"

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

Although Ami is not too sure how it happened, they all seem to manage some form of landing without falling too much further. Although some of their landings are harder than others and she cringes as Bloon faceplants. "Ah, are you okay?!" That looked painful!

Looking down briefly she cannot see any sign of anything other than more jutting branches and the eerie mists. She also notices that her leg is pretty scratched up but for now adrenaline seems to be keeping it from hurting too badly.

Moving closer to the group carefully but quickly, Ami stops next to Sailor Moon, putting an arm around her briefly. "Are you really okay?" Her eyes fill with concern but then she flicks her other wrist and a visor appears. Does her vision work the same in this dreamworld? She wasn't sure that it did but it seems like she needed to try at least.

Before she can get any kind of information though, the shadows begin to move like wiggling worms emerging from the earth and then the black figure draws up and before she knows it, Mercuy is alone! Completely alone. She can't feel the presence of anyone around here anymore. The very brief warmth she felt at being close to the others disppears in an instant.

Mercury calls out but cannot hear their voices as the darkness seems to consume her very soul but then there are voices of students around her. They are not the same voices she is used to and they are calling out to her loudly. She cannot see them but they are all too real. "CHEATER!" "GOODY TWO-SHOES" "STUCK UP!" The horrible words reach her from all directions and Mercury begins to panic. She holds two hands up to her head, trying to make the voices go away but it does nothing to assauge the sounds.

"No. No. That's not true!" Mercury calls out, her voice cracking and breaking. She feels lost and as she wanders around, even more voices gather around her until they are overlapping each other with the same taunts repeatedly. "I bet she cheats!" "She probably thinks she's better than us!" "What a snob!"

It seems like the harder she tries to escape the voices, the louder they get. Through the voices, her mind can barely focus on anything else but quickly she whispers to herself, "Usagi-chan..." Her voice lowers even more to a whimper. "Make them stop..." A pause. "...not true..." A few tears roll down her cheeks. Would she ever find a way out?

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Shigure's eyes widen at the emergence of the tendrils; she hadn't quite been certain about what they would encounter... but this perhaps wasn't what she was expecting. She bites her lip, feeling the hairs rise on her... but she isn't in turn certain herself.

She hears everyone else calling, and tries to narrow her thoughts down... she narrows her focus, and thinks she could hear Sourisi's voice--

Her eyes widen, as she hears her shouting about spiders, gritting her teeth for a moment. She has... absolutely no clue what to do here -- she doesn't have time to ask her peers.

She takes a chance.

With another leap, she's managed to break through towards some particularly thick mist and land nearer towards where she's hearing Sourisi shout about Spiders...

... spiders... Shigure didn't like them either.

She pushes through, and finds her -- and reaches out with her hand. "Sourisi! It's me, it's--" she swallows. "It's Solais..."

She looks around, and then says, "There are no spiders here. Concentrate your eyes on me. It's okay. It's trying to perversely claw away at our thoughts, I think. You're stronger than this!"

She hesitates, thinking of what happened last time, but then... she opens her mouth and--

She sings, slowly.

The notes that she carries with her soprano voice is wordless, but it carries weight with it. The weight of the Song of Power. It is carried from the heart, through a language of emotion more primal than one expressed through syllables and phonemes.

COMBAT: Shigure Shiratsuyu has used I Know You Can Do This! on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi accepts Shigure Shiratsuyu's I Know You Can Do This!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Niramo Umokeshi is
Cheered!  Empower applied to Niramo Umokeshi!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi has used I Can Do This on Niramo Umokeshi.
COMBAT: The entered attack name could match more than one available attack. Please try being more specific.
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi accepts Niramo Umokeshi's I Can Do This, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used In the mist... on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury accepts Sailor Mercury's In the mist..., taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Hoisting herself up onto the branch, she unsnags the umbrella, and after picking out some leaves- with a click causes it to retract into the pen smoothly. "Okay so we're all alright." Then her voice gets lower, "Except that we're... lost in a scary nightmare forest..." She laughs nervously there. Following the others, she leaps from branch to branch, to branch, Luna propped up on her shoulder.

Sailor Moon slips twice during the journey, needing to catch herself and flip her back up, she looks at shadowed trunks in paranoia. It's not long before she finds herself leaping even closer to others- Even scarier than a scary forest is facing it alone.

Shadows drip upon her blonde twintails, as little tendrils erupt and she sees none of it.

A scythe then rips through the night. And Sailor Moon twists suddenly in mid-air, the scythe coming close enough that it seems like it will shred through her twintails.

Instead it just misses her by a literal hair. A black cloak seething near her skin as it passes by.

And then mist curls around her, stealing her sight.

In the mist, she feels like she can see the purpled and violet stone of D-Point. Those neverending hallways that she walked through- utterly and completely alone.

The friends that she loved all dead and banished.

It's Mercury's voice that snaps her out of it, takes her out of that place. Upon the branch she stands there. "Mercury-chan?" She wasn't at D-Point. Mercury wasn't dead. Even the visage of horror couldn't steal that small sense of reason from her. Nor the feel of the fluffy fur on her, "Sailor Moon! Sailor Mercury is in trouble!"

But she already knows that upon hearing her voice. Ami is upset. Ami is in pain. Clasping her hands together, she looks about fretfully. She thinks she can hear the direction that she's in, "Mercury-chan." She sounds smaller when she hears her voice. Telling her to make her stop. "I'm coming! I'm coming! I won't let you be alone!"

And then suddenly she leaps in a certain direction, as if she'd finally honed on her.

The Soprano song of Solais keeps her head clear as her feet tap tap down on a misty branch. Then on another.

And then she thinks she can glimpse her blue fuku. Mid-leap- Luna leaps off. And that's the sensation Ami feels first. The soft fur of a cat landing on her shoulder. "Mercury! We're here. Get ahold of yourself! You have to stay calm!"

And that's just before her arms wrap around her mid-section, the feel of Moon's face behind her, against her, pressing against her.

"Do you remember the day we met?" She whispers in a way that only Luna and her might hear voice filled with emotion, "You said an angel fell down from heaven. And I promised myself on that day that I'd never let anyone say a single bad thing about my friend Ami-chan. Such a kind and gentle girl deserves better."

She can't actually hear what's going on, see what Ami is seeing, but she asked her to make her stop. And then her voice upraised, "So whoever it is out there. You leave Mercury-chan alone! Because I'm here, and I'll protect her from anyone who tries to hurt her!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Do you remember...? on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Cure Bloom accepts Cure Egret's Hand in Hand, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Withstand applied to Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury accepts Sailor Moon's Do you remember...?, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"My nose hurts," Cure Bloom whines. "But I'll be OK!" And thus she levers herself up, and leaps away to rally up with Egret. But halfway across that distance, something...changes, as her foot finds slippery moss and she awkwardly has to slam her other down to reclaim her balance. She feels a little misty-brained and shakes her head a bit, trying to clear the mist; and only then realizes that the strange mist is not just an artifact of her own concern and fear. "Egret!" she calls out, as the mist thickens to choking, as the scythe comes at her. Her arm comes up and a flash of golden light repels the assault, but something--a nagging, mumbling whisper. This is so big. An enormous, impossible task. Can she possibly--


Doubt vanishes like vapor. She holds out her hand, "Egret!" and reaches out to her friend and partner, fingers threading together like key and lock. "I'm here! I'm fine!" She smiles, wider, seeing Egret much the same.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Hand in Hand on Cure Egret.
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Where are they...? Well, Ivy doesn't know. Somewhere. Somewhere closer to a source? "I think the spell was working..."

Her glasses somehow stay on her face, as Yumi scrambles to try to get a better hold. ..She gives up quickly on being graceful about it, but at least finds some amount of mobility as she hops here and there; she almost slips, staring out into the mist and finding it's... cold. Too cold.

"H-huh?" A black cloak, a scythe--Yumi throws up her hands with a burst of green power, but the scythe still hacks through her shield well enough, knocking her backwards and making her find herself to be alone.

"H-huh...?" She blinks once, staring into things that aren't here, walls pressing in against her. There is a--

"Yumi!" Tama calls out to Yumi and presses in with claws, bringing a yelp from the high schooler that nevertheless breaks her out of what was beginning to be a reverie. "Huh? Right, we're... We're alone? No..."

She can hear the voices of others, vaguely, and starts to move towards the others. "Everyone!" Ivy calls, her voice caught up in the mist. She starts to trudge towards where she thinks she hears voices. "We'll be okay!" She wants to mean that, wants to try to be encouraging. Tama stays on her shoulder, nudging her face once. "Stay sharp. It's still out there..."

COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora has used Everyone! on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora accepts Yumi Ohzora's Everyone!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Cure Egret accepts Cure Bloom's Hand in Hand, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Accelerate and Surge applied to
Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

No sooner have the magical girls rendezvoused successfully, it seems, than the darkness lashes out - and scatters them.

The Wind Knight's reflexive reaction is to try and not be where she was, but she misjudges her leap and feels the world spin off in yet another direction; leaves and shadows and branches and eldritch darkness dance madly in her vision, and when her body hits something hard enough to wrap around whatever solidity she struck, she clings to it, her eyes clenching shut until it feels like the world isn't spinning quite as crazily around her. Once she's comfortably certain about which way is down, she unclenches and works on getting back into a standing position.

"Hello?" she calls out uncertainly, looking about for a sign of her allies; she sees nothing, and hears only slightly more, not clearly enough to guide her to join up with them again.

This is a dream - but it is not *her* dream; willpower alone will do as little to help as it would in the waking world, unless she takes action to apply her will *to* the world, magically or otherwise. The question is *which* action to take. She has her bow and arrows but -

Her train of thought comes to a halt as she strains her ears. She can hear her allies a little better if she really concentrates. But the shadow which scattered them is still out there; she's certain of that much. So they need a beacon, something which can't be duplicated. Of course, that beacon will provide their attacker with a point of reference to keep after them ...

Realization dawns then - she knows *roughly* which way she was flying in because of how she landed. That's at least going to narrow down which way she went from. "Is everyone all right?" the Wind Knight calls out as she finally starts moving again. "Are we all still accounted for? - Ivy-san!" she adds abruptly, *recognizing* a fortunately-close voice, and moving to rendezvous with the Witch of Lost Ivy.

"Whatever scattered us may still be out there, but it wants us separated," the Wind Knight comments as she follows Ivy's voice. "It can't beat us if we keep working together!"

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Favorable Observation on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora accepts Fuu Hououji's Favorable Observation, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Kairou no Shikaku https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-riUf6BdPfY

That black cloak was the first impression anyone received -- that and the edge of the weapon. As the creature... monster... being? --no, monster seems pretty good, about right... comes back around for another pass, though, being forewarned is forearmed and it's much easier to get a better look.

The Dream Reaper lives up to its instinctively-bestowed name in most respects.

Black cloak turns out to be black robe, all hooded and with no visible limbs at all, but for the bone-white hands clutching the scythe. The scythe, a complex instrument, dripping with blood-red runes upon its lengthy staff, and a blade that has the maniwaved tint of truly excellent steel. Only, normally the waves don't move like that, as though it's continually parting a living sea...

Instead of a face it has an expressionless white mask, which is somehow worse than an angry or smiling one.

And, like the shadows, its edges seem to undulate, to writhe.

It is absolutely silent as it closes with the group...

...and slides beneath, as suddenly and beautifully changing direction as a raindrop that impacts and descends a pane of glass. The scythe flashes out and, in a single gorgeous chop that contains legions, multitudes of subtleties--



Then everything begins to tilt off-center.

The blade made no sound when it harvested the life of every tree bearing one or more magical girl. Death by decapitation.

And every other tree near enough to jump to.

The mist's thickness is kindness to some and terror to others. It means that one cannot see the ground, if there is a ground. But there is plenty of sense of the passing of space; the wind ripping tears out of eyes and hair out of fasteners; the dimming of that distant, diffuse sun.



The voice is faint and distant, as though coming from down a distant hallway.

"...up... wake up..."

Though muffled by thick sweaters' worth of subconscious, it is persistent.

She is.

"...wake up...WAKE UP!!"

Kaoruko has, obligingly, turned on the cold water hose. She does not mess around when lives are at stake. And something is very wrong, clearly; all the panes of the greenhouse rattle, as though caught in an invisible storm, and one or two are spiderwebbed with cracks.

For a terrible moment, the shadows in reality twitch unnaturally.

And then they stop -- and all is back to normal.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Ivy can hear Fuu's voice as she comments the way she does, calls out to her. It doesn't entirely pierce through the way Yumi's mind is working at this problem, but it's at least nice to meet up with someone. But nice doesn't last for very long as the Witch turns to look at the others as best she can... and sees instead this Reaper.

She shivers immediately at a vision of death staring straight at her as far as she can tell, as sure a reminder as the hospital rooms that she almost found herself trapped ina gain. Her throat feels to close up. Expressionless, meriless...

"A-..." She can't quite get even the noise out. This time Tama can't rouse her. The trees move... and the world tilts. The wind is so fast, as they fall, and so painful. Yumi falls, her broom long gone, frozen. She feels cold already. But there is a voice. It seems so, so distant.

But the cold gets her. Yumi awakens with a start, jarring as she sits up straight all of a suddenly, her broom falling off of her lap. She doesn't notice the shriek that escapes her throat, or the fact that she has arms around herself for more than just the cold water, shivering. The rattling, the crackes, the shadows...

Even if it's gone...

Yumi is going to need a minute before she can do anything other than sit here. The black can beside her noses at her knee, worried. Ivy...?

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

Egret has Bloom's hand for a moment.

But then, she has a good sight of the Dream Reaper. It isn't what she expected. Cure Egret does not get especially scared often; she frets, she worries, and she overthinks things, but raw and crushing fear is rare. Seeing that white mask, though, she feels it. Her insides turn to jelly. She stumbles back, and she tenses her fingers so hard into Bloom's that it might hurt.

And then it grows terribly, terribly cold.

She jolts straight up, from where she fell asleep -- and her now emptied fingers curl onto nothing. She lifts them, fingers shaking, and stares down at them.

Her eyes turn to the side, at Yumi. She looks down at her fingers, swallows, and shakes her head. "What... what was that thing?"

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

Just when Mercury feels like she will be forever lost to the voices and just when she can't imagine that they could possibly be any louder in her head... the haze breaks. It's only for a brief moment but she can hear Moon's voice coming through to her but there is still no sight of the others. Even if they were standing right in front of her, the personal nightmare she is in is relentless.

Mercury falls to her knees, feeling utterly defeated. Then just when she thought the nightmare wouldn't end, the soft impact of Luna on her shoulder causes her to break through the fog enough to see the cat. Her eyes are still sparkling in the dim light and she reaches out for her. "Luna...they won't stop. Can't you hear them?" The sounds are still there for Ami, although a bit dampened down.

Then someone grabs her from behind and Mercury jumps until she realizes it's Sailor Moon. When she asks her if she remembers, Ami can't think of anything else but the voices and she shakes her head at first, but then as Moon continues, she finally nods whispering softly. "Usagi-chan... yes." She reaches to pull her friend in front of her. The voices growing dimmer and quieter.

"Together." Mercury makes what seems like a random remark until she continues. "We have to fight together..." She winces. "We have to... stay together." her words echo Fuu's and the others as they gather back together.

The bad voices fade out but the reaper is very much still there and as it comes into view, Ami seems to have worked up a little more resolve. "I.." She pauses. "No we can do this!"

The faceless reaper is eerie to look at, like looking into a void of despair and hopelessness. And then the scythe is there and Ami moves back, "Watch out!" Her voice is slowly getting stronger but it doesn't help much as the blade moves towards them.

Mercury attempts to dodge while pulling Moon back but it ends up being unecessary as the blade slices at the dream itself and they are once again falling into the void and then another voice slowly breaks through. this one more pleasant, and Ami is aware of being pulled back from the dream.

She shivers again when she waves up...soaking wet and freezing cold. "I... uh..." Her voice stutters as the others begin to come to. "Ivy-chan..." Her voice is much softer than it was before and despite having just awakened from the dream, she feels even more exhausted. It's not just physical exhaustion either but her mind and emotions are still on edge.

"Hanasaki-sensei, that thing we saw..." Mercury finds that she can't make the words come out. She can't ask the question and instead she slumps back into a pillow. She wants to cry, to scream... Mercury knows it was a dream but the feeling... she can't forget it.

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

Reaper, certainly, is clear enough; 'Dream' seems to apply as well, given its use and abuse of the nature of 'where' they are. But the clear-if-fleeting view of their assailant does nothing to make its reality any less discomforting - Fuu's nightmares may have a new occupant, if she lives long enough to have any nightmares again.

And for a heartstopping moment, there is *great* doubt about whether that'll happen or not. That single slash avoids the magical girls, only to strike targets who *can't* evade - the trees themselves - and with no sign of ground, the Wind Knight wonders if she'll still be conscious, or indeed alive, to find out whether there's *anything* solid.

The voice reaches for her, not to harm but to haul back to safety, commanding her to wake up. Slowly, she tries to focus -

And sits up, soaking wet (again?), hosewater rather than rainwater beading plentifully on the lenses of her glasses, unharmed by her eventful sojourn. "I'm sorry about the ... brooms ... ?" She looks around, takes her glasses off to try and wipe water off of them, and looks around again.

"It would seem that our way to the old St. Ursula control point won't be so easily travelled," she observes wryly. "Hanasaki-sensei ..."

She trails off abruptly, her head slumping forward. "I'm sorry, sensei," she says softly. "I seem to keep letting you down, no matter how much I want to do better. Losing the light from Library Island, now this ... how did you know we were in danger?" She just barely lifts her head as she speaks that question.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi would gasp softly, her eyes trying to keep track of the spiders, all the spiders that were closing in on her. They had to be getting closer, and she wasn't ready for-a song, filled with emotion of caring and love seemed to have cut through her panicked thoughts. As she looked around her, the mist no longer seemed to hide those spiders-wait...the spiders never were there in the first place. It was only then that Sourisi finally see Solais in front of her, compassion filling her body as she looked up at her savior. A slight blush colored her cheeks, and her heart stopped trying to climb up her throat. "Solais, I...thank you. You helped me escape a dark place..." Raising a gloved hand, Sourisi made to touch Solais, then upon seeing her tonfa realized that they wern't out of the dream woods yet. "I need to thank you once we beat this guy! No one makes me sees spiders and runs away!"

Looking around, Sourisi was able to see the Dream Reaper coming this time, and she adjusted her footing. What she wasn't expecting was for the Reaper simply swing it's scythe, seeing the scythe seemingly multiply by a thousand, and she raised her tonfa up in a hasty defense. A puzzled look crossed her face as the scythes seemed to miss them all, then as the branch she stood on started to list, she understood. "Ooooh, not agaaaaain!" As she fell downwards into the deeper darkness of the bottomless woods, she looked around her wildly for some sort of footing she could reached for. That annoying voice can wait until they're not fighting for thei-

Sourisi rose with a splutter, spitting out water and gasping in shock as she found herself back in the waking world. Her mind attempted wildly to reach out for safety when she was already on solid ground, and a few moments passed before the mouse girl took notice of the greenhouse, and the twisting shadows of the Dream Reaper that had almost followed them. It was if it was angry its' prey had escaped. "I...really do not like that thing. Kaoruko-sensei, what happened?"

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

Moon doesn't let go of Mercury. "That's right. We can... we can do this... now just leave her a-"

Even as the scary Reaper comes into actual view. That heroic defiance melts into a shriek. Even as it slashes. Even as her world starts to topple because her footing is gone. Even as tears spring to her eyes as she's falling clinging to her friend. She's babbling a little, even as she starts to hear the voice.

Even as it gets closer, even as cold water splashes her and Sailor Moon shrieks worse than than the time Shingo turned off the hot water while she was climbing into the shower.

For a while she's shaking, as the shadows grow so long. Her long hair drips, and Moon clings to Mercury and shakes and sobs some, cold and miserable and scared.

But at least she wasn't alone. At least Mercury wasn't alone.

It takes a moment in her comprehension for Ami to pull her out of it, and so she's tugged upright. After a moment she let's go of her...

Wipes off her face.

Wrings out each twintail individually in a gloved hand.

Shehe's quiet for a moment "That thing was really scary."

Her eyes dart to the others- even Shigure and Niramo. She seems to feel no shame whatsoever about letting her fear show, even amongst all the others.

"We don't have to go back right away right?"

Luna who finally unstiffens from what looked like pale furred rigor mortis just moments before finally relaxes, and says- "Maybe you can take a little break before we... try something else..."

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Shigure's own throat is dry. She was fearful, of what may happen when she channels her song. Yet, when she hears Sourisi's gasp, seeing her eyes regain their focus and turn her attention to her...

She nods gently as she holds onto Sourisi's hand in turn. "Anytime," she's able to say with confidence.

She looks towards the mist to nod in turn, saying, "Yes, we need to be on our guard...!"

The reaper's scythe comes -- it's an apt imagery, one that does not waste time with subtle metaphor. It was here to reap what they had sown... and--

--it missed?

No, it cleaves cleanly, and... everything begins to fall. She turns and stares with a gasp, exclaiming, "The tree--" as she tries to make a run for it, but everything begins to descend, and she grimaces as she starts to fall towards the mist. The light was being swallowed.

"Sourisi! Sailor Moon! E-everyone!"

Her vision is jeered out of where she seemed to be drowning in an eternity of cold, clammy, lonely... somethingness as--

--as she wakes up.

She's undeniably pale. She lowers her head and shakes it. "... I understand now, just a little bit better... when you said it was more of a 'what'..."

She doesn't sound like she's ready to make another go at it. She pauses. "S-Sourisi? Are you--" she casts her eyes around for her, then... hesitates, before giving her a hug all the same. "Good..."

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

Cure Bloom is usually fairly confident in midair, these days; Dark Fall rarely task them to fly, but she's had to learn to do some pretty tricky maneuvers in the air, even if perhaps with a little less grace than some of the other flying magical girls. But it strikes ALL of it down in a single move - the tree and eveyrthing they could reach. Egret and Bloom have leapt dozens of miles in a single bound before, from one end of Tama Ward to the other.

Every tree between her and the horizon falls away. Bloom's eyes widen as something shocked catches in her throat. "The--!" she croaks out, befre gravity seizes her. She can feel Egret's fear, and her own hand cluttches back nearly as hard. This, this is a kind of fear that Cure Bloom does not recognize, has so little hold over her shining heart. If she has Egret's hand, then this...they can overcome this...somehow...! Even as she feels like her whole body is freezing, her crazed pineapple of an updo rips free of its clip, and--


Cure Bloom bolts upright, right beside Egret, sucking in a sudden, hungry breath. Her hand slams to her chest, clutching at her ribbon and the lungs beneath. "That...thing," she rasps out, echoing the end of Egret's question.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> A Mysterious Premonition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91ZWUuuRvJw

The afternoon light feels warm and welcoming but not as much as Kaoruko's smile. She's concerned, certainly, it's there in her eyes, but much more present is her surety, not stoic but confident. All will be well. All is well, already.

She comes around with more tea. A comforting hand on a shoulder. A long, steadying look. A few words. "There, there. Don't be afraid. You're safe now."

Also, towels for those she soaked.

"I sensed the presence of a monster," she gestures at the damage to the glass, among other signs, "Though I cannot say exactly what it was. You would know better than I what you saw. But I felt it best to end the ritual immediately. Battle within the dream realm is terribly dangerous. There's so much more at stake than bumps and bruises of the flesh."

She winds up next to the Wind Knight, and lifts her head further beneath forefinger and thumb, while her other hand brushes back the girl's hair, motherly.

"But... no, Hououji-chan. Why do you assume that you have failed? If anything, I think your attraction of dark forces to be a fairly clear indicator of success. Where did you journey? I imagine you found someplace special..."

The question is addressed to everyone, gently.

"Take your time. Breathe. Drink. Warm yourselves. Storytelling can wait... you come first."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I--" Ivy swallows, arms still shaking as she shakes her head. She tries to answer Egret but it takes a moent before she can say, "It was..." It's hard to say. She knows she isn't the only one here afraid, but it helps that Kaoruko comes around in turn too. Confident, with tea. Yumi looks up at her, uneasy despite the comfort, but wraps the towel around herself, cold.

"I wasn't expecting..."

She glances at the others, and sniffs at her tea, taking a slow sip to try to warm herself. The question addressed to everyone gets a few breaths from Yumi. "It was..."

She shivers again, "S-sorry, my heart..." In short order she has her familiar in her lap, purring soothingly. "Safe..." She can contribute, just... after a bit of taking her time, as she's offered. That if nothing else is one of the kindest things that sticks with her.

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

Mercury, seeing Luna's expression, puts a hand out to the cat and ruffles her wet ears. "Luna, are you okay?" Of course, only a second later, she is over at Sailor Moon's side, hugging her. It doesn't seem to matter that they're both soaking wet.

She offers no response to the question though. The last thing Ami wanted to do was go back in right now. She didn't even really want to think about it.

As she takes the towels, one for her and one for Usagi and Luna, she hesitates and with a quiet voice, Ami struggles to recount the dream. "Sensei, it was good at first but then... there was this mansion...and we were falling." She pauses to wrap the towel around her shoulders to warm up.

For now, she lets the others pick up where she left off or fill in gaps. Ami seems unwilling to talk about her part. Maybe a fear of speaking about it or possibly something else.

Still, her exhaustion is clearly visible as she leans gently into Usagi, looking down towards her lap and the resting Luna, allowing for others to speak their part.

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

It wasn't so much thinking that she had 'failed' by dint of being attacked in the dreamscape, although the distinction is somewhat academic at this point. But clearly Kaoruko doesn't see a need to dwell on it, so the Wind Knight nods to her, attempting to shove her dismay to the back of her mind.

That's not a thing so easily accomplished, either - especially given that her previous failure still weighs so heavily on her heart. She accepts a towel and a cup of tea, though, and dries off as best she can, even trying to peel her blazer off from under her armor. (She has a blouse underneath that, so shucking her blazer shouldn't be a problem.) Then she just focuses on collecting herself, nursing her tea and letting its warmth filter through her body - both the physical warmth, and whatever calming effect may have steeped into this batch.

"We were flying when the dream began," she recounts. "On brooms, like Ivy-san's. We flew among the clouds, then descended; we saw a mansion - old, even collapsing with its age. The brooms stopped there; we 'landed' among trees ... there was no ground below us, though."

She pauses there, distress clear on her face, and she drinks some more of her tea while trying to pull herself together again.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi would focus on Kaoruko's words as she tried to calm her heart, her mind slowly realizing that they were no longer in any harm. Her hand would reach behind her, tugging on the end of her braided ponytail. She thought she felt it becoming undone as she was falling, but--no...that was in the dream world. It was so odd what the mind could focus on at times. Finally looking away from Kaoruko, to look to see how the others were fairing, she was taken by surprise as Solais caught her in a tight hug. Her mind finally managed to focus on what had happened in the last few moments, and she returned the hug with Solais with all of her strength she could muster. Her arms would wrap under Solais's 'claymore' device, and she closed her eyes, a tear being shedded.

"You...you are amazing, you know that, Solais, okay? We only just met, and...you have done so much for me back there. I won't forget your k-kindness, and i'll return the favor. Double it, in fact!" Sourisi opened her eyes, another tear being displaced, and looks around at the others, her heart unclenching as she saw that the other Magical Girls were there. Shaken up, and scared, but they were all still here. As she looked over at Sailor Moon, she felt a little better about shedding tears. If someone who was as clearly experienced as Moon was letting herself cry, then it was okay. There wasn't any shame here from showing how much the Dream Reaper shook her. "We...we were seperated after our brooms disappeared, but thankfully we all managed to meet up with each other quickly, despite the mist. That...that is when it grew darker, colder...like whatever joy there was left in those trees was devoured. I reached for my weapons as I thought that a change this drastic had to mean something. That is when...a...thing attacked. It was so fast, I couldn't see what it looked like, or what it was attacking with, but...I know I got hit in my stomach. The mist started to thicken, I couldn't see the others, and then...then..."

At this, Sourisi trailed off, her throat clenching as she remembered the shapes that started to appear. She couldn't see any details, only vaguely tell what it was that was coming, and that was more than she wanted to see. She turned her head as she refocused her hug with Solais, her body spasming several times as terror tried to return to her.

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

"Fine. Perfectly fine. Thank you Sailor Mercury." Luna says, then promptly jumps to Mercury's shoulder instead for security and comfort and scritches.

More dangerous than bumps and bruises. She can definitely believe that. Moon clings to Mercury a little overlong, before accepting the towels, which she drapes over her shoulders and starts to dry out herself off closely. "You're okay right Mercury?" She whispers, knowing how badly it must have shaken her to cry out like that, but not wanting to embarrass her publically.

For a moment she finds herself looking to Egret and Bloom, watching the two together. Maybe seeing little things like that was calming her down.

As Yumi sniffs and shivers, Sailor Moon sidesteps over some, and puts a hand on her shoulder, "Hey. Hey. You don't need to apologize, we're all pretty shaken up. Are you okay?"

She listens to Kaoruko, "I guess it just didn't feel like a success." She says beneath her breath. Taking a cup of tea, she takes a bracing sip, before leaning over to Sourisi and Solais and whispering so she doesn't disrupt the conversation at hand, "Hey. I just wanted to say I'm really glad you both were there. I don't know what would have happened to us if we didn't have either of you." Then she adds quickly as an aside to Solais, "... also I really liked your song. It was very pretty."

Apparently it touched her too some, while she was out there.

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Solais tried to root through the details herself, but past the dreams and where they'd come to, she didn't think she could recall it as well as the others. Sourisi seemed like she still needed the support, so she nods as she expresses, "You don't owe me anything..."

She swallows quietly. She feels a bit vulnerable, to be shown her safe sanctuary thusly; she wasn't certain if anyone else picked out what it was, but it felt... exposing, to her. And added to that, that monster... that thing... was clawing away at their deepest insecurities...


That was more frightening than any physical monster.

"It tried to drag us into the murky mist... it was a really good thing you woke us up," she agrees. She looks at Sailor Moon when she approaches, peering towards her with a faint smile as she comforts Yumi.

"... t-thank you. It was... it was the first thing that came to mind, and I'm glad it worked... without anything going wrong."

She pats Sourisi on the back again. "You're stronger than that monster... it's okay. W-we're all here for you." ... technically speaking, it was a little presumptuous, perhaps, but everyone seemed so kind and supportive. ... it felt... it felt... strange, but... also good.

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

Cure Bloom's hand quietly reaches for Egret's, fingers squeezing tightly, now in the world as much as the dream. She breathes slower. Her body has recognized her fear, even if she had a fistful of determination to surpass it. Kaoruko's calming voice accompanies Egret's presence and her own slow, steady breaths. "We saw a lot," she murmurs, quietly.

She doesn't reach for tea. The hand holding hers is a better balm.

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

Kaoruko makes sure that Yumi has particularly warm shawls wrapped around her -- that Ami is properly tucked into her towels -- that Fuu's tea is kept topped up and hot -- that Niramo has ample hankerchiefs available -- that Sailor Moon gets an extra round of snacks -- that Shigure has a place she can rest comfortably in all that gear, weapon in tow -- that Bloom and Egret can remain easily close together.

And she listens. She's a great audience, really, with sharpness behind those gummy gramma eyes, and she nods and gasps in all the right places.

"You were all very brave," she says, afterwards. "And yes -- I think you found what you had to find. I did not send you to such a place to battle monsters... I sent you to find what had been lost. To find what was missing. I will reach out to all of my contacts, and I encourage you to do the same... to see what we know about a mansion, hidden in the forests outside Tokyo. I am sure that someone will know of it... and then we can make our move. For the World Tree. For the world itself."

Her smile was never really lost, but it emerges in full force now, like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. "Thank you, girls. Thank you all. Truly... knowing you are out there gives an old woman like me hope."

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

Mercury smiles at Usagi. "I am okay. I think it just was a little overwhelming you know." She probably would be more willing to talk about it in private but for now that is what she offers to her fellow senshi.

Kaoroku is ever the wonderful hostess and Ami just watches in amazement as the woman moves around, tending to everyone's needs. It makes her feel warm inside and actually seem to help her mind calm down even more. It had been a crazy time to say the least but for now, Ami is relieved that part is over.

As she sips on a cup of tea, Mercuy suddenly yawns. "I think I should head out soon." She offers a polite nod to Kaoroku.

"We will ask around. I am sure you're right about there being someone that knows what it could mean." There is a mental note made for her to check around the school, although she is not exactly sure how to approach it but Ami had spoken to many of the teachers at Juban, even the ones that didn't have her in their class seemed to know about her.

Ami stands up as Luna leaves her perch, and she sets the tea back down on the table. Looking to Usagi, "Are you heading out too?" Whether Usagi follows or not, Ami will slowly her way towards the door but not before offering a thanks to everyone else, "Thank you all for being there tonight. It was a pleasure meeting you." Mercury seems to be feeling better at least.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Ivy doesn't need to add a lot other than her quiet recovery with everyone else explaining so well. It's for the bet; it's still difficult for her to talk. The difficulty is plain in her expression, though the added warm shawls start to help her quickly, concealing and then abating some of the shivering.

Sailor Moon's hand on her shoulder too helps, and Yumi sniffs again. "No," she admits, "But I'll be fine. Just hurts."

She keeps sipping at her tea, slowly calming, and listens to Kaoruko. Even before she looks to others like Mercury moving to leave, she focuses on the older woman with them, and manages a small smile back to her. That does make her feel better. She can't quite make promises at the moment, but...

She'll be here again, for this.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The mouse-suited Magical Girl would take the handkerchiefs offered to her by Kaoruko with a grateful nod, thankful for the kindness that the grandmotherly teacher was offering them all. The fact that she was so kind and understanding for everyone there spoke volumns about her nature. Taking a few calming breaths, Sourisi would close her eyes and start trying to get her tears and shaking to stop, so she could act like the Magical Girl that she was. Sighing softly, as she felt herself regain her self-control, Sourisi pulled away from Solais slowly and look around herself with a soft smile. "Hey, we're doing fine, and like Kaoruko-sensei said, we found what we needed, right? Once we find this mansion, we just need to go in and make sure it's safe. And if somehow that Reaper shows back up, we know now what to expect, and we can make a plan this time. We're Magical Girls, after all, and we'll win in the end!" Sourisi would look at the others in turn, a cheerful smile on her face as she looked at each in turn. Then she would blink as an important detail came to her. "Aaaand I completely don't know anyone here. I'm Sourisi. I may be new as a Magical Girl, but i'm more than happy to be here to help you all!" Sourisi would nod her head once, trying to distract the others and formally introduce herself to the others.

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

There's a kind of fain and weak nod from Solais as she pulls away... and she watched Sourisi bounce back-- with a quiet smile of her own. "... Solais, but you knew that... the Maiden of the Symphogear Relic, Claiomh Solais."

Was that... all right? It would have to be.

She places a hand to her opposing elbow. She was kind of envious of Sourisi's vibrant spirit... and how sure she was that they would win. She finds herself questioning everything she didn't know about this gigantic struggle she'd suddenly found herself in, finding herself with a scant few pieces of the proverbial jigsaw puzzle.

"I-- am new too, but I shall do my best to help," she bows in turn again. She stiffly draws her hand to the tea to sip from it.

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

"Okay. If you're sure." Moon smiles at Yumi, before repeating it to Mercury, "It's okay. I understand."

When Mercury asks if she's going, she says, "In a minute!"

And that's when she listens to Sourisi and Niramo. There's a smile on her expression that seems radiant, "It's nice to meet you Sourisi! That attitude is really admirable you know." She claps her palms together after she's listened to them both, "Just so you know. It's fine to be new at this. Most of us haven't been doing this for that long either. I haven't even been Sailor Moon for two years. And back when I was starting out-"

She holds up a finger, "-there were people who were there for me. People who had been doing it longer, who taught me and supported me when I was really uh... not that great at this." She looks at Sourisi and smiles, then back at Solais, "I only hope that all of us can be here for you too, just like they were there for us. I guess what I'm saying is..."

She walks towards them, and puts a hand on each of their shoulders in this gesture of almost sisterly comraderie, "Your desire to help- and your best is more than enough. And the rest of us will be here to support you."

She gives each of their shoulders a squeeze, then raises both hands up, palms facing them, "And now we should totally high five, that's a thing we do sometimes."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi honestly felt pride well up in her chest as she looked up towards Sailor Moon, knowing that she was indeed doing the right thing. It was her bright attitude on life that helps her decide that she wanted to accept being a Magical Girl in the first place. "I'm not so great at this either, that i'm sure of, but this is a learning experience, right? Just keep on looking forward, learning and improving ourselves so we can face our next challenge, no matter what it is."

As Moon rested a hand on her shoulder, Sourisi would look over at Solais as her smile grew on her face. "And i'm here to support you, both of you, no matter what you need!" With that, she would raise her right hand and give Moon a high five, glad to know that other Magical Girls out there were indeed there to support her, and to help her grow into a proper Magical Girl. Sourisi would offer her left palm up to Solais, to spread the high five with her. "I'm sure we're going to do great, Solais. Let's do our best!"

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"T-two years... ..." Solais' mind had already raced at the very inception of her creation of... exactly how this worked. How long she'd have to take this mantle. Some part of her hated herself for already stressing about this instead of embracing the miracle for what it was, the day magic became real for her.

But still...

That comfort was great and overwhelming indeed. "... thank you... I feel-- welcomed. I truly do." And she doesn't lie. Though everything was unknowable and wondrously large... the best she can do is as Sailor Moon says. As Sourisi says. To take it one step at a time, to do their best... to have the desire to help.


The last comment totally gets her, and you can totally see the sproig of hair pop up. "H-high... five?"

She-- clears her throat, then quietly holds her hand up. "... h-high five..." A-aww, she's so embarrassed! Hers is a bit more reluctant, but their palms touch. "yes, let's do our best..."

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

"High five!" Sailor Moon repeats cheerfully with a nod after Shigure's statement- looking pleased when Sourisi returns the gesture.

Maybe she notices Solais' embarrassment, and just doesn't want to call attention to it to embarrass her more. Or maybe she doesn't notice at all. Either way even if Solais' palm touch seems so reluctant, she makes this little happy sound when she does it.

"And we'll all do our best to be responsible senpais to the two of you!"

Luna may be groaning at the thought of Usagi and the word responsible and senpai entering into the same sentence together. "Sailor Moon please don't oversell yourself..."

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"Then, i'll do my best to be a good kohai, Moon-senpai! Thank you." Sourisi would smile up at her new mentor before looking around Sailor Moon by leaning slightly around to the right. "Uh...I think we're holding up your friend. Thank you for taking the time to give us some advice and being there for us. I need to get going as well, I...actually need to take care of a few things before I go to bed tonight." Sourisi would glance off to the side, not sure if speaking about their personal lives was a good thing. Homework seemed to get even more stressing despite the fact there was a dream Reaper out there now.

<Pose Tracker> Shigure Shiratsuyu [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

That was a good point. Shigure herself did have some things to do before bed... and the question of whether they could share their identities was one that was in her mind too. ... she assumed that it was polite to not ask, much like-- the stories of masked superheroes that she'd seen.

... but it was all the more inspiring to see her senpai here, and she nods gently to say, "Yes, I must go as well... but... I look forward to learning from you."

She quietly rises and slowly moves, shifting with the unreasonable weight of Claoimh Solais shifting behind her, rising into the air as she leaps into the night.

Despite the fear she'd encountered, there's a quiet, private smile on her face.