2018-01-06 - Ogre vs. Onions! Save the Infinity Finals Festival!

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Ogre vs. Onions! Save the Infinity Finals Festival!

Infinity's dancers, artists and chefs all arrange for the products of their final exams to be enjoyed by all at a festival! But an enemy of the Witch of Lost Ivy summons an ogre to interrupt things... and to gather an offering for the Hungry Queen.


Yumi Ohzora, Setsuna Meioh, Kuniko Saito, Rinji Sakurai, Niramo Umokeshi, Fuu Hououji

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Gold Crown Town

OOC - IC Date:

01-06-2018 - 03-17-2015

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

Gold Crown Town is warm and bright. The first breath of spring has come and gone here, and there's nary a trace of the gray gloomy skies that have dominated Tokyo for what's starting, by mid-March, to feel like months; rather it is blue, tinged only slightly by the gold of very late afternoon on a day that is firmly on the side of 'lengthening towards the luxurious lazy summer', though summer it is not.

The trees are pregnant with blossom, and some of the bulbs on the ground have already given birth. The earliest flowers of spring -- crocuses, some daffodils -- have unfurled, at least a little, and bright flashes of pink and yellow peek out like diamonds in the roughage of the dark, vivid, dewy grass.

They can't possibly compete with the art and the costumes.

The costumes on the ballet students, that is, and the art show going on around town; each provide an example of the finest offerings their respective programs have on offer. And there are other people -- mostly Sister Schools students, plus families and the actual occupants of Gold Crown Town, which is, after all, a town all its own, brimming with butchers and bakers and candlestick makers.

It's a strange time for a festival, right in the middle of finals week, but nevertheless it exists, even thrives. It's a tradition peculiar to the type of institution Infinity represents -- with so many artists, turning their final exams into entertainment for others is an efficient use of student stress, to be sure.

And there is plenty of that to be had; every Sister Schools student, Infinity or no, still has more tests to take after this evening. But there are worse ways to blow off steam than in a cobblestoned town square full of art, with a raised stage in the middle for the ballet recital, and great long tables off to one side full of another sort of fine art, the offerings of the culinary program.

Conversation is mostly at a low rumble; silence is not expected at this recital, but the closer one gets to the stage the quieter it is, in part because the Infinity orchestra is also in evidence, providing music for the dancers. Out by the food things are boisterous, while the art show is somewhere in between.

There is seating surrounding the central stage, and it is mostly full -- the ballet program has many fans, after all, being one of Japan's highest-rated programs of its kind. The chief ballet instructor, Mr. Cat, is on the edge of his seat, front row center, watching every movement of his pupils with beady cat eyes.

The boys and girls on stage are dancing their best. They know the price of failure...


"I know you will make me proud, pupils! And anyone that doesn't... WILL MARRY ME!!" Mr. Cat starts washing behind his paws furiously, though his eyes are twin stars. Dangerous stars, not adoring ones.


A bead of perspiration slips down the brow of one of the beginner class' students, but she keeps her chin high -- her toes pointed -- and perserveres desperately...

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

Yumi Ohzora, for one, loves the setting--when she can take the time to appreciate it, anyway. She's been very, very busy with her duties to the Art Club setting up this event, and looking out for the Cooking Club even if she isn't as central there, and being distracted by the dancers' costumes--

Well, there's a lot. But Yumi has not only been helping to organize the event for the Art Club; no, she has a number of pieces on display herself, largely with strong landscape elements that include elements that show through as somewhat unreal; there is a great sense of motion and emotion in her paintings, and one in particular depicts a large section of Tama overcome by the snow of this winter's great blizzard, dotted with persons here and there with a haunting quality somehow. It's not the only one. ...Though some are a little more conventional.

One is a portrait, in painstaking detail, of a woman with dark skin and green hair, and a knowing, sad quality to her eyes. Some at Infinity might recognize Setsuna Meioh from the university level; it's an absolutely perfect likeness.

Yumi herself, though, is holding a drink on the outskirts of the art section, having snuck away to try to get a snack... and now, is looking up at the ballet with a little wonder in her pink eyes. "...Wow," she says, and wonders what it's like to be able to use one's body for art that way. ...She's not far from her display; she should really go back to check on things, and is dressed nicely for the occasion, in a black dress with pink tights, with some very light green accents here and there, and boots. ...Flat boots. She's not that brave.

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

The emergence of balmy spring weather inspires springtime colors to emerge from Setsuna Meioh's wardrobe: a pale yellow blouse with sheer, breezy sleeves over a belted green skirt. She's practically a daffodil herself -- a tall, elegant, model-gaited daffodil.

Shoulder-to-shoulder she walks with Rinji Sakurai, her head inclining to the other girl between visits to various displays and booths. They've taken up wandering along the thinning edges of the crowd around the ballet stage, the better to take in the performance without being caught up in the press of people.

Perhaps the view isn't quite as good, but the elbow room is something Setsuna appreciates greatly and knows Rinji does as well -- and they're both tall, so might as well take advantage of that!

"Their costumes are lovely. You know..."

But then something half-familiar catches Setsuna's eye and interrupts whatever she was saying. She squints across Rinji's shoulder, behind her, then her eyes widen, and brighten, visibly--

"Ah -- Rinji-chan, there's an artist we have to go see. Do you mind coming away from the ballet for a bit?"

With a smile, she waves to indicate Yumi's booth, and then waves to Yumi herself, if she happens to glance this direction.

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.


Nijimura sings, "But everything, was beautiful, at the ballet~" while unpacking and setting up alongside Kuniko Saito.

"Everything, was happy, and gay~ Yes everything, was beautiful -"

"What are you singing?" Kuniko asks, glancing over.

NIJIMURA HAS BEEN SINGING IN ENGLISH. He answers, forthrightly, "Dunno."


Nijimura has been deployed to fetch more dishes. "Oi, oi, everyone take your turns," Kuniko announces to the several people impatiently awaiting the service of a delicious meal. She is holding a durable metal serving spoon, as if to fend off overly grabby hands. "Let me introduce the dishes, then you can dig in, okay?"

"To start with... spring rolls with confit byaldi!" The lid comes off the tray, and a circular array of fresh and glistening finger-sized treats! Spring roll wrappers around dark and rich ratatouille, sliced finer than usual with the vegetable rounds bisected for ease of wrapping.

"Grilled saury with herb crust!" The saury are fish on skewers, of course, but they've been glazed and roasted with aromatics in a loosely Greek mode. They're arranged in a huge fan patterns, with cunningly hidden charcoal to keep them hot.

"We'll have salmon shawarma to order, on fresh-baked pita... And we'll get the dessert up here in about fifteen minutes, so help yourself to some tea while you eat!" Kuniko says. With this and a final flourish of the spoon, she bows, before swapping the spoon for a big carving knife as she crews that rotating skewer of lush, gorgeously-packed fish.

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

The lovely spring weather had opened up a welcome respite from studying and finals. Even if there was more to be dreaded later, it wasn't getting Rinji down from enjoying the festivities in the now. She was wearing her Ohtori Uniform, probably so that she didn't need to change and could put off going back to write her exam for as loooong as possible.

Her schoolbag is around one shoulder casually, and she walks almost touching Setsuna, staying at her side as they navigate the crowd. Fortunately, her dark brown hair and the evergreen tresses beside her tower above most of the rest. She notes the way Setsunas attention is suddenly elsewhere, and she curiously turns her hazel eyes in that direction.

When she spies Yumi a warm smile forms on her lips, and she bows her head in gracious acquience to the older Infinity Institute student, allowing Setsuna to lead her in the direction of Yumi. Her eyes stay examining the portrait as they approach, even pausing to do a quick sideways glance at the woman beside her whos likeness is on the canvas.

Judging by the expression on her face, she is quite the fan. As she nears Yumi close enough to get within conversational range, her hands comes up to wave in a friendly way, before she points at the painting. Her hands make a few slow motions in front of her body, a nimble and comfortable dance of fingers and arms. To those that know Sign Language...

-That is amazing. Is it for sale?-

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

There is a longing look towards Kuniko's stand as she calls out the dishes, and Yumi can almost see them. She can sure smell them from here, in the beautiful strangely early-springy air. ...She doesn't catch the singing in English, for some reason. Instead, she is quickly surprised by a look out of the corner of her eye at someone waving--and Yumi does glance over, blinking at Setsuna with surprise and then a smile. "Oh hey!" she greets, and with Rinji smiling at her too it seems that Yumi's dreams of escaping her responsibilities towards the food are dashed for the moment.

...But it's not all bad. Yumi bows back to the others, politely, before she steps back over towards part of her display. "Setsuna-san," she greets, and eyes her cup before she looks around and finds a little table to set it on to free up her hands. ...She leaaans over to it and then puts it back. "And uh--"

She signs back to Rinji quickly, deftly, -Hello! But-- - One might imagine that it's hard to stammer in sign language, but somehow, hands hovering in the air for a few moments, Yumi manages it, a titan of awkward among lesser beings.

-I'm not really selling any today. That one's sort of between me and the model.-

"Ah, ha ha, I liked it so I thought it was worth showing off," Yumi says with a little sheepishness to Setsuna. "I hope you don't mind." Yumi finishes getting in front of the stand--though not in front of the painting exactly--and glance around to see if any lost people need her. She... hasn't had a lot of time to stand around and talk. "Busy busy. How are you liking things?"

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

The cheerful vibe of the Finals Festival is a balm for many students, and a balm that is greatly appreciated by Niramo. After hours of pouring over various math equations, trains heading in opposite directions and how much groceries would cost in one district compared to another, her brain feels like it has been rung out and left to dry on a clothesline. A chance to relax and unwind, even if only for a few hours before it would be time to cram for tomorrow, was exactly what the doctor ordered!

Browsing through the window of a bakery, the Juuban student was busy writing down the names of several of the baked goods she finds, with plans to look up some recipes online later to experiment with. Some of the pastries would be interesting to try out different fillings, like berliner, while bienenstich would be something she could try making at home and offering it to some of her friends at school after finals were done.

Flipping the notebook closed, she stuffs it inside her jacket and walks down the street, smile on her lips and eyes wondering around her, amazed at the detail. Instead of being dressed in her school uniform today, Niramo was dressed in a light green windbreaker, blue blouse and black jeans, yet she feels like that she is intruding upon some time-lost village by standing out so much from the locals, but at least the other students made that feeling barely noticeable.

Pushing past several festival-goers, Niramo finds that she has drawn close to the ballet stage without meaning to, having little skill in conventional dancing, let alone the graceful movements those on stage were making. Her view of the stage is quickly blocked by a man in front of her shuffling his feet, however, and jumping to catch sight was just going to embarrass herself, the ravenette sighs before making her way around the outskirts and towards the food once more. There was so many dishes to check out, and the art wasn't going to go bad unlike the dishes!

A lid being removed from a new dish has a new smell lancing through the aromas of the prepared dishes, not yet mixed with other prepared foods, and it was a sharp nose that lead Niramo to Kuniko's booth. The spring rolls and salmon shawarma looks amazing, but it was the grilled fish that has the young girl salivating. Waiting her turn, she reaches out and takes one of the skewers, blowing on the food gently before taking a careful bite.

The flavor floods her tounge and Niramo closes her eyes in bliss, the texture of the crust and baked in seasoning of the herbs blending together in perfection. It was an effort of will to not take another bite right away, and Niramo does her best to edge around to the side to get closer to Kuniko. "Excuse me! Hopefully i'm bothering you, but the saury is amazing! I enjoy cooking, but I never tried cooking anything before on skewers before. Do you have any tips, miss?"

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

As she makes her way through the Festival, Fuu is only a little bit distracted from her surroundings - thinking about how she's done so far, and considering what she still needs to review between getting home and going to bed this evening, for the most part; also worrying a little bit about how well the exams have gone that are already behind her.She's usually a pretty diligent student, but even Fuu realizes that she's almost paranoid about her final exams this year - and while she's loath to admit WHY she's so worried about them, and she's equally aware that she probably shouldn't be as concerned as she is, it's hard to get her mind entirely off of exams, even when she's here and trying to relax.

But that same stubbornly scholastic section of her mind is quick to seize upon the final term projects she sees on display around her: paintings, dances, other performances .... and of course the cooking department, which is where Fuu is headed right now. If she's going to be on campus this late, after all, she may as well support her peers, upperclassmen, and underclassmen alike who are working so hard to both prove their skills and feed their schoolmates.

That portrait of Setsuna Meioh actually brings Fuu up short for a moment, though, and she finds herself drifting over for a closer look. She's only met Setsuna directly a couple of times, although those occasions were working together, so it's hard for Fuu to forget. She can't follow the sign-language conversation nearby, although she smiles and offers a bow to Yumi and Rinji (and to Setsuna as well, when she approaches). "Good evening to you all," she says, polite and cheerful as always; her earlier worries are almost perfectly banished from her face and demeanor at the moment. "I trust you're enjoying the Finals Festival as much as I am?"

... she really SHOULD try to learn at least a bit of sign language sometime. Maybe she can take a crash course over break ...

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


Students mob the tables like a cloud of pirahnas. Most of them are polite; a few are not. A huge fellow, almost certainly on the Infinity rugby team or some other such sport, wades through the crowd, towering over most. Niramo is so much shorter that she risks being practically stepped on, and the young man, while not actively aggressive, is ungentle simply due to the size of his passage.

He spears six saury in a single stab, much to the horror of better-bred people around him. And then he downs it with such speed -- is it even possible he can taste them? -- and starts going for seconds...


One of Infinity's fine art instructors comes across Yumi's installation just as she's being approached by Setsuna, Rinji and Fuu. "Hmm," she says, eyes narrow behind her rhinestoned, wide-framed glasses. "I see the model is in evidence."

It doesn't seem to bother her that she's potentially interrupting the students. She just stares -- first at Setsuna, then at Yumi, and finally, for far too long, pencil tapping against her lip, at the portrait. "Hmmmmm."

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

There's an odd touch of butterflies in Setsuna's stomach as she and Rinji approach the booth and that portrait of herself. "Yumi-chan," she says her name as a greeting, with warmth, in low tones that carry. "You finished it. Allow me to introduce you to Rinji Sakurai--"

But they're signing between themselves already, and seem to know each other. That gives Setsuna a moment.

She looks around to the other paintings first, in a small concession to that fluttering in her stomach. The painting of Tama under snow in particular draws her notice. Setsuna steps up to it, peers, and...


But she doesn't mean the neighborhood. Her pointing finger hovers near a small dark feline dot amongst the human ones. She smiles.

Finally, it is time to face... herself. She walks to the spot before the portrait, squaring off against it. "I don't mind at all, Yumi-chan." Her voice has a rare distracted quality to it. A few passersby pause to take a look before continuing, struck by the mirror show she is unwittingly putting on.

Her voice has dropped further in volume when she speaks again. "It's..."

She turns to Yumi, finally -- smiles, and that sadness is there in her eyes, just like the painting, above a gentle smile. "It is beautiful, Yumi. Thank you. I never imagined... This is special, to see myself through your eyes and your brush. An experience I never thought to have."

Rinji's inquiry about purchase did not escape her notice. Setsuna ducks her chin with another, somewhat demurring smile.

Fuu and the fine art instructor make their appearances on the scene, and Setsuna takes a few steps back from, well, herself, to allow room. "Sensei, Hououji-san," she greets both with a small bow. "The festival is a delight, everywhere I turn." She remembers Fuu's help making the tiara for her Halloween costume, once upon last fall, as well as a few other meetings. Nerd calls to nerd, after all!

The art instructor's comment doesn't seem to bother Setsuna; her bearing is already straight and square, and she nods to the teacher's assessment. "I am," she acknowledges, "and quite honored to be the subject of such a talented brush."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The grilled saury is savory and perfectly firm. It tastes like it was just on the grill! (This was a trick involving a couple of drops of olive oil.) Of course, the big man goes whole ham and eats like half a school, leading Kuniko to say, "Oi, oi! Fish is brainfood but you're not gonna make up for studying! If you choke on a fish bone, don't blame me!" As she slices off salmon into a fresh pita wrap, she looks towards Niramo.

"Oh, thank you! - Hey, down in front, she's talking! - Yeah," she says to Niramo, "Thank you! Uhh... with skewers the thing is that you have to be willing to commit. The big thing you wanna do is start with like daikon or something until you feel confident, because that way you'll get used to cooking other things way faster, and you won't get anxious 'cuz you're wasting fish!"

The shawarma she had been carving up is wrapped neatly and handed off -- though there is a fleeting moment of divine over-reach where someone rude might be able to interfere, if they dared.

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

Rinji snaps her fingers softly at Yumis answer, giving her an encouraging smile as she signs back with that slight falter. The Muse doesn't seem to mind; she treasures anyone she can 'talk' with easily!

-Its beautiful. But of course, I could not help asking.-

She signs with the casual grace and ease of someone who relies on it, her body animatedly going through the motions and gestures with a flair. But when an instructor arrives, Rinji curiously turns her attention to the woman with interest, briefly stepping back and away to allow her to appraise Yumis work.

This allows her to better greet Fuu, who is given a warm wiggle of the fingers in greeting when she approaches, and then an enthusiastic thumbs up and a grin as an answer to the question.

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

"Hi," Yumi greets Fuu casually, recognizing the girl easily, though she's sure to turn and look at her as she does, giving her full attention for a moment as befits someone helping to run this thing. ...She is admittedly distracted though by Setsuna at first. "Of course!" she remarks about finishing it, and watches Rinji take her answer. -Thank you!- she signs back with a wide smile. -You...-

She starts to trail off a little at that, thinking about what it might mean that Setsuna is introducing Rinji and Rinji had to ask. She doesn't have time to really work it out. Instead, she talks with Setsuna again. The other painting?

It is indeed a small black cat, showing in the painting, recognizeable to those who know her.

...More quietly she looks to Setsuna, spotting the emotion in her eyes. "...Then that makes all the time working on it worth it," she says, seeming almost confident in this. Almost. "I--"

Here is the teacher, and Yumi blinks to watch her, abrubtly straightening her back as she looks. ..And she looks. 'Hmm' she gets, watching the teacher and then the painting and then Setsuna. "Ah, yes, she--" Pause. Setsuna answers. "A-ah, S-setsuna-san..."

What confidence she has is sure concealed under a bit of stammering now, as she peeks through her glasses at the teacher. "Y-Yes, sensei. What do... you think...?"

Her drink lies forgotten as Yumi finds her hands coming together, fingers sliding across one another as she nervously waits. She waves at Fuu again with one of them, as if she can't remember whether she greeted her.

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

It was only quick reactions that saves Niramo from being a pancake from the lummox's brash actions, and while she may have to tilt her head back just to look up at his face, the angry look she was shooting him burns as hot as the fish. He wasn't even trying to savor the flavor, and was chowing down like he was at an American diner. "Yeah, what she said! I know we're all anxious from the finals, but that's no reason to be rude and take what you want for yourself. Be consideriate of others and only take one or two? There's plenty for everyone if we share!"

Her angry words spent, she turns back to look at Kuniko, a little flustered but otherwise okay. "Sorry about that, but he should at least be careful around others. A guy his height might step on someone and not even notice." The short student wasn't at all jealous of the man's height, and how he just abuses it. It wasn't fair to the vertically challenged!

Her little rant to justify herself over, Niramo shakes her head and takes a breath to calm herself. Pulling out her notepad, she quickly squiggles down what the kind cook was telling her, so she can go over it later. "Thanks for the advice! I have cooked a lot of pastries in the past, but I need to learn how to make more than just sweets if I want to be a chef. Helping others cheer up with a freshly baked treat helps everyone, and strengthen our bonds with our friends, after all."

The fact that this is someone who's well on her way on being a professional chef strikes Niramo then, and she bows her head towards the Infinity student. "Anyways, i'm Niramo Umokeshi, from Juuban, and i'll make sure to practice with some daikon after finals. I'm sure you'll do great during the rest of the week!"

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

"Oh, uh, sorry," says the jock, shrugging widely, his hands flung up in front of him defensively when he's rounded on by Niramo. "I just..."

But what he just we may not get to find out.


"Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm," repeats the teacher, apparently not really hearing the questions of the students.

She jots a couple of notes down on her pad.

"Well, you see..."

But what she saw we may not get to find out either.


The town square has a church on one side, and the church has a steeple. If you opened its door, you would not see many people -- they're all out in the square! But if you looked up and up, at the very large stained glass window, you might spot a shadowy silhouette.

"...such industriousness..."

The next few words out of their mouth are not any sort of traditional language, but rather runes of considerable complexity. Arcane, esoteric, and beautiful.


The magic circle opens in black light on the church steps, at a moment when there's no one on there.

A moment later, a shadow falls across the square.


The bellow crashes straight through the crowd like a tsunami. It isn't the sound, though, that causes people to start collapsing. People seated in neat rows slump against their chairs -- Mr. Cat curls up on his seat and snoozes with his head between his feet and his tail wound over him like a blanket.

Those standing at the art installations, or by the tables, are somewhat less lucky in their swoons, and there are heavy sack-dropping sounds as people hit stone.

Or light squooshy sounds as some tip forward into the spring rolls...

The source of all this chaos is an immense creature. It -- he -- is a bulbous creature, but all that fat only disguises the sinew beneath. He pulses with vitality, with a vivacious strength, the strength of an avalanche rolling onto a plain.

He rolls down the steps -- figuratively, each step transforming cobble to gravel -- and swallows, audibly, as the energy that has poured out of the crowd enters his gut. It grows again, as does his snaggle-toothed smile.

Snaggles or no, those teeth look sharp.

Looking around the area, he spots other sources of energy... and guns straight for the buffet.


COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Youma Form Ogre!
<Pose Tracker> Rinji Sakurai [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Rinji has a habit of casually stepping back into a crowd and listening when conversations start. Her eyes occasionally roam, but she mostly stays focused... That is of course, until a bellowing cry of hunger sounds across the square.

Rinji flinches at the noise, blinking as she turns to look in that direction. As people start to fall left and right, the confused Muse hazel eyes flit about. One hand starts to move towards her neckline, to reach for a comforting jade gemstone residing within.

The Muse within Rinji had had a hard month of internally warring with her own nemesis, and the freshly recovered Rinji was not at her peak or prime. When that wave of draining magic flows over her, its an almost frightfully familiar feeling that saps away her energy before she can wrench out the necklace from under her uniform to bring forth Terpsichore.

Doowwwn goes the sleepy Muse. Blessedly for her at least, these dreams are not filled with the drone of the Grey... though she might be waking with a headache!

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

Niramo turns back towards the jock as he starts to form some sort of apology, but she could only start to feel that maybe she had gone a little overboard when she was chewing him oout when a massive roar silences the crowd, causing Niramo to twist around in time to see a massive beast of a monster. The beast roaring on top of the steps leading towards a rustic church makes the jock behind her look like a freshman, but it was clear it was not part of the festivities as those attending collapse gracefully, and not so gracefully, as their energy is drained from them all.

The jock thankfully collapses in a heap, and not on top of Niramo while she's distracted.

Rushing off to a large booth to the side, it wasn't any time at all before Takk phases through her windbreaker and floats in front of her, taking in the situation in an instance. Niramo was hurriedly stuffing her notepad back into her jacket, not wanting to lose it in the upcoming battle. There was no time to waste, or she might end up falling victim to the Ogre's hunger as well. "Ugh, couldn't the monsters be nice and not attack during finals week? At least it's not duing a test...alright, Takk, time to take him down and save a festival. Tail, Sprout!"

Sourisi starts hopping from table to table, noticing right away that this monster was already in a full charge towards the food, knocking aside art and crafts aside like a bull in his rush to be first in the buffet. Hearing him cry out for more gives the mouse-suited girl an idea, and while it may not be on the caliber that Ladybug is capable of, it might slow him down a tad.

Sourisi's tail lashes out and snags a hunk of meat that is still sizzling on a platter as she passes by another display, and she rushes straight for the ugly brute. He was certainly getting a lot bigger the closer she got, but she's dealt with enough taller people in her life to not let a height advantage intimidate her.

"Hey big guy! If all you wanted was something to snack on, then all you got to do is ask! There's plenty of food to go around, even for gluttons who can't enjoy fine cooking like yourself. You're more than fine to fill up on appetizers if you want..." Just a few yards away from the ogre, Sourisi swings her tail, tossing the cooking meat up at those pointed teeth to use as a distraction before diving forward. The tip of her tail glows a pale yellow as she slides inbetween those stomping feet and swings her tail, planning on binding his legs together. "...but then there's no way you can handle the main course!"

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Sourisi!
COMBAT: Sourisi has used Tail Snag on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

While the instructor studies the portrait, Setsuna glances Yumi's way. She can see how important this is to the young artist -- Yumi wears her nervousness all over, not just on her sleeve. Choosing to leave her praise at that -- better for Yumi's work to stand on its own considerable merit -- she moves back to Rinji's side.

"Yumi-chan's paintings," she confesses, "are so expressive." She seems subdued, but not in a negative way, and wanders along the booth to see the rest. "Seeing her portrait of me is nothing at all like looking in a mirror. It is... more."

Setsuna is not looking in the direction of the church, at least not until 'ME HUNGRY!!' bellows its way across the festival. That puts her head on a swivel, with a twist of evergreen hair trailing behind the motion.

So it is that she can see the sleepfelled crowd slump in a wave away from the mountainous creature after its emergence. Thoughts of the portrait will have to wait. "Rinji-chan..."

But the Muse is slipping away with the rest of the crowd! She, however, is spared unforgiving cobbles. Setsuna is there, her arms steady beneath Rinji's slumping shoulders. She catches a look of intense frustration before it fades into the slackness of magical slumber. Its Guardian steals a second or two of Time to settle the tall, dear form gently to a sheltered spot behind one of the tables. "Shhhh. I'll be back, Rinji-chan. Just... rest."

With a pang chasing her, she slips to the shadows behind Yumi's booth -- there's a flickering flare of garnet light --

...and Sailor Pluto steps forth from the shade, Garnet Rod agleam, senshi suit all clean lines and dark-light contrasts.

"This is a place of learning and art! You, beast, are not welcome here!" She holds the Rod aloft with its Orb, painting her immediate surroundings with garnet light. With a mighty swoop overhead, she slings a bolt of violet energy -- dark and intense at its rushing center, with wind-chased streamers of red and pink trailing -- directly at the ogre!

COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Sailor Pluto!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Garnet Blast on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Festivals like this do draw quite a broad swath of the student body - and it wouldn't surprise Fuu if practically every student at Infinity is trying to make it to the festival for some attraction or other.

... and with a thought such as that immediately preceding the shadow and the wave of collapsing people, a corner of her mind can only chime in, 'Including the bad guys,' but she chalks THAT errant musing up to the sudden fatigued light-headedness that makes the world start spinning lazily around her. Somehow she's able to shake it off, at least initially, and she double-checks those immediately around her - Rinji and the teacher are both collapsing with no warning, and it's the teacher who's close enough to reach easily, so the middle-schooler (going on high-schooler, if nothing goes horribly wrong) quickly interposes herself between the teacher and the hard, unforgiving ground), managing to at least cushion and control her fall.

She doesn't have time to get the unconscious teacher into a really comfortable position, but once Fuu is sure the teacher is safe, the bespectacled ninth-grader scurries away - not running, exactly, but staying low as she tries to pick her way through, around, and among the paintings on display. She finds a good spot ...

And a very localized whirlwind is kicked up.

The Magic Knight of Wind isn't the first magical girl to engage the monster - which is just as well; Sourisi and Sailor Pluto seem like they're doing an excellent job of getting its (his?) attention, which gives her time to find a better spot to laucnh her own attack from. She'd prefer not to be somewhere that puts civilians in danger when she dodges, if possible. Either way, she announces her presence quickly enough with a simple call: "Winds of Admonishment!!"

And *another* localized whirlwind twists into existence - this one not intended to cover a transformation, but to bind the monster as well as the Wind Knight's magic can, to slow it down and hinder its movements as much as possible.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

The sense of energy flowing out of her like she's been dunked into metaphysical boiling water and is being simmered out into an infusion washes over Kuniko. It feels bad; she sways, her knife-wielding hand relaxing...

But not enough to drop the blade.

Even as other people start dropping like flies, Kuniko is able to crouch down for a moment. "If you're going to storm up here and disrespect my cuisine like this - and mess with the students just trying to get ahead in this daily grind in Japan -"

There is a sea of green and blue sparkles, like the glitter of a great fish being pulled from a Mediterranean sea onto a white fishing boat. Intense, almost glaring, but warm and inviting, even as the clothing pours itself onto her while Kuniko ties the ceremonial knot behind her back, not even looking. Mise-en-place! That sorcerous apron, blue as the Italian sky.

As she claps her hands twice and thrusts them into the cleansing basin of her invisible and ethereal space of preparation, Kuniko feels cleansed, refreshed, and empowered enough to raise her voice: "I'M GONNA STOP YOU! GET AWAY FROM MY CUSTOMERS!"

The shawarma-slicing knife is brandished as if it were a scimitar!

Kuniko then pauses, eyes turned slightly to the side to a black furry figure holding a skewer in its mouth. A small figure. (Well, relative to Kuniko.) "You enrolled?" she asks the cat, directly.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito transforms into Poissonnier Kuniko!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Cat why are you here on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora accepts Kuniko Saito's Cat why are you here, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Yumi Ohzora is Reinforced by Kuniko
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Hearing Setsuna's praise, the gray-haired young witch colors faintly, but tries to stand on her own. But--As for the art instructor...Yumi definitely, definitely wants to see. ...What she does not see, of course, is that silhouette in the stained glass window. She does not look to the church, as lovely as it is, but looks at nothing at all when she feels a prickling down the back of her neck, of a dark form of magic. ...Or maybe it's light-headedness? She would rather it be the latter.

A falling shadow and a roaring bellow catches her attention, Yumi's eyes snapping towards the square, towards the great figure there. Those pink eyes widen in an instant. "Oh no--"

And the people start dropping. Yumi, too, feels the miasma radiating from the creature, stumbles in place--and watches the teacher going down. "No--" She tips backward, falling right onto her butt pretty hard. "Ow--"

Yumi sees Pluto slipping away, after helping Rinji, and Yumi coughs once as she pulls a phone from her things--white and green, with a little broom charm on it. She looks around--but everyone is falling asleep anyway. So she hits the button--

A shining white staff, some six feet tall, appears in a flash of green light, tipped with a glowing chartreuse gem. "...Staff of Lost Ivy!" Yumi calls, starting to drag herself upward, almost floating as she finishes the incantation, "In my hand rememb'red be!" The light bursts around her--and turns to a column of verdant green. ...Within it, Yumi's dress changes, the green leather of her magical outfit showing on her arms and legs as gloves and boots, the black fabric draping about her. ...A hat appears on her head, pointed. And the staff is in her hand.

...While meanwhile, a black cat peers up at Kuniko. Somehow, with her mouth full, she answers, "I'm staff," in perfect Japanese. ...Well, mostly perfect, a little muffled. It's... not quite false. But at that she darts from beneath Kuniko's stand in a blur of fur. "Yumi!" Tama calls, "You have to act quickly!"

"How is it here!" The Witch calls back, in some obvious dismay. But the others are already at work--so she knows... "The Ogre won't be satisfied just with the buffet for long!" the cat insists, leaping up and ending up on an outcropping from a roof after a few hops. "Get to work!" The skewer she sets down for the moment to stare--...and then gobbles up a part of in an instant. She needs the energy!

"Fine, fine!" Yumi calls. "...This is the worst time...!" She lifts her free hand and starts to chant, "May gluttony slow your path..." She traces a set of runes with her intonation--not altogether alien from some here moments ago--and they glow brilliant green before a circle erupts from beneath the ogre of dark light, her curse trying to take effect.

"It's an Ogre!" Yumi calls. "Huge, ugly, eats anything it can find!" A huff, as she slips to the side, "They're really, really strong--I don't know how it got in here!"

Tama chimes in from her perch, "They're minions of the Hungry Queen, set to deliver her energy for her dark aims!"

Yumi adds, "So... don't let it grab you!"

COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora transforms into Witch Ivy!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Cat why are you here on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora accepts Kuniko Saito's Cat why are you here, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Yumi Ohzora is Reinforced by Kuniko
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora has used Weakness Hex on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sourisi's Tail Snag, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!
Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly counters Sailor Pluto's Garnet Blast, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Pluto is
Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Unnatural Speed, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sailor Pluto!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly braces Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Brace!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Yumi Ohzora's Weakness Hex, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Yumi Ohzora is Psyched!
Exhausted and Stagger applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

There's a lot of ogre to stop, everyone figures out pretty quickly. Sourisi simply runs out of tail when trying to bind him -- what she has is too short to wrap the full circumference of his meaty calves, and he just keeps walking forward, munching the meat she threw at him all the while.

"ME APPRECIATE GOOD FOOD!" he objects, through the mouthful, so it sounds a lot more like 'muh apruh guh fuh'.

There's nothing funny about what happens next, though... he blurs into motion as more opponents close in, and grabs Sourisi's tail as he goes, trying to drag the mousemaid uncomfortably across the ground -- and straight through the charcoal-laden tables. Yeouch!

With or without her he's well able to avoid the worst of Sailor Pluto's blast. "ME NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR WELCOME!" he counters. "BUT HERE, TAKE GIFT! YOU'RE WELCOME!"

And unto the Soldier of Time and Space he bestows a marble statue that was conveniently nearby. It is definitely someone's final project, and when he touches it, sparks kick up, distinctively magical... and again he seems to grow, as though absorbing enery from the artwork itself.

Maybe that isn't so crazy. What could possibly carry more energy right now than the things that students put so much of themselves into?

Anyway, it careens towards Pluto at high speed and great weight -- and terrible risk of ruining someone's grade!

As his meaty palms lose contact with the statue he shakes himself, then tears through the Magic Knight of Wind's whirlwind -- not without effort, but with a worrisome ability to get a grip on the winds themselves, and toss them to either side. The ordinary rules seem not to apply. Perhaps that makes sense.

"EARTH BEAT AIR!" he brags, before chucking about a three-yard-wide chunk of the town square's cobbles at Fuu. They hold together on initial rip, but will shatter on impact.

"YOU CHEF?" he asks of Kuniko. Suddenly he only has eyes for her. "FOOD VERY GOOD! MORE FOOD! MORE FOOD NOW!" He slams his foot on the ground again, and again renders stones to dust. It isn't quite a tantrum... but it may be heading that direction.

The mounting storm slows, a little, when the Witch of Lost Ivy's spell slams into him. "YEEEEEESSSS..." he croons, black fire blazing behind his eyes, which occupy a deep cavern beneath his sloped brow. "HUNGRYYYYYY..."

A curse of gluttony may have unintended side-effects when cast on an ogre.

Such as, for example, his arm snaking out to try to grab the very witch who just advised everyone to avoid it. "MORE! MORE MAGIC NOW!!"

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Collateral Damage on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Statuesque Smackdown on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broad Swing on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Rancid Grip on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Spirit of Destruction on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Hotaru Tomoe's Spirit of Destruction, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to Hotaru
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Rancid Grip, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Yumi Ohzora's Reverse ability
activates!  Yumi Ohzora's Tactician ability activates!  Stagger and Tangle applied to Yumi Ohzora!
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora's counterattack, Dark Beam, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Statuesque Smackdown, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto's Block ability
activates!  Sailor Pluto's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sourisi fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Collateral Damage, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Diversion, Exhausted,
and Trap applied to Sourisi!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji perfectly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Broad Swing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Fuu Hououji's Fade
ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Good gravy, Kuniko thinks: he's fast! She leaps upwards even as the creature dives, taking with her a handful of saury as a simple and direct way to rescue some semblance of the situation.

She answers the cat as she leaps, though. "Sorry ma'am." Gotta be polite to staff! Or else a rabbit hits you with a wooden spoon and it's awful!

At this point her eyes lock with those of the ogre as he addresses her. Her lip curls for a moment and she answers him, "YEAH I AM WHAT - oh - uh -" At this point she lands from her vaulting leap. "Thanks," she mutters, pursing her lips as the creature, the ogre, stomps the ground hellaciously. Yumi explains what's going on, as she tilts her head forwards.

"The Hungry Queen?" Kuniko says, narrowing her eyes.

Something about that name...

"Okay, buddy," she says to the Ogre then, raising up her knife and pointing it -- but apparently more for emphasis than anything. "If you want to eat you gotta work with me here! I'm a chef, not a vending machine. I need my customers to relax and accept my cuisine as it is, 'cuz that's how I bring about the perfect experience --" Kuniko starts jogging in a loose loop, as if to get the ogre pointed away from hapless sleepers.

And at her. Whee!

She hasn't been idle while doing this, though. The saury had to get slightly abused, but a quick dip in soothing yogurt, a turn on the grill to get it crispy and caramelized, and a sprinkle of dill, and she's certainly got something with a strong flavor. The handful of rescued saury are hurled upwards, with a vigorous "Catch! Eat 'em one at a time! They're delicate!" called after them.

"So what do you think you want next, huh? You ever had hummus? Dolma? Falafel??" Please be easily confused, Kuniko prays.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Yogurt Fish Kebabs on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Sailor Pluto steps up by the Witch of Lost Ivy after both have slung magics the ogre's way. "So this is an Ogre," she says. "It's bigger than I'd expected. Let's give it an even harder fall." There's no smile left on her face -- she's all business -- but there is a certain soldierly camaraderie to the commentary.

The ogre crashes and breaks and eats, no -- consumes -- and she has, perhaps, underestimated just how quickly a mountain of a monster can move, as her Garnet Blast skids through a spot where it was, barely scoring the thing's skin with the closeness of its passage. The beast then returns a brutish taunt and a -- statue?!

The carved chunk of artistic marble sails through the air, and Pluto considers in that split second -- she could try to leap clear, but Rinji is still sleeping behind her, as well as the instructor and any number of other bystanders.

Instead, with a mental apology to the student whose exhibit she is about to try and survive, she upends a nearby table and sets her back against its underside. Various pieces of art scatter and dash against the cobbles, thrown from the table, but those small shatterings are nothing.

The stone statue, when it smashes into the table, is something.

The table destructs instantaneously; the marble cracks and shatters and powders, variously, sending bits of destroyed art all over the place like a stone bomb just went off. It certainly feels like one went off against her battered spine. "UNGH!"

But the cloud of pulverized marble dissipates, revealing a crouched but whole Sailor Pluto whose senshi suit is scuffed and torn all along its back. She immediately takes off running, away from the booth and Rinji -- better to draw any more coming fire away.

Where does she run? Toward the ogre, of course. So also, sort of, toward Kuniko, who is leading the beast on a merry culinary chase! The Garnet Rod whips into a blur in her hands, and a foreboding buzz of displaced air precedes her charge.

Kuniko's food talk reaches her ears as she comes. Hummus? Suddenly, randomly, Sailor Pluto knows exactly what she wants for dinner tonight. With a shake of her head she dispels that distracting thought and instead unleashes a wordless yell, bringing the rotational force of the Rod down on the thing's back -- well, okay, probably the back of its ankles -- as she chases behind.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Pendulum Blitz on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The advantage (to the extent that there are any) of fighting a monster as big as this ogre is that, when he does something that takes a significant wind-up, it's easier to avoid his attacks. In this case, at least, it's 'easier' to the extent that the Wind Knight can easily leap clear of the hurled cluster of cobblestones; she conjures a quick wind barrier to help make sure the improvised projectile won't go too far past where she was standing - although how much good that does will remain to be seen, and she's more focused on not getting flattened herself in the process.

The Witch of Lost Ivy provides some tactical advice for everyone, and the Wind Knight pauses briefly to listen, nodding in reply ... and then the ogre reaches out to grab the Ivy Witch. A grimace flickers across the Wind Knight's face, but she charges in once again - not readying another spell, but instead manifesting her sword and trying to run between the ogre and Yumi, and to slice at the extended arm along the way.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Sword Strike on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi's slide away from the Ogre is quickly halted as her attempt to slow the ogre backfires on her, as her tail is grabbed in one meaty palm and she's quickly pulled along for the ride. Realizing her danger as the tables near, she reaches out desperately for a statue, only for it to be uprooted and swung at Sailor Pluto! With no other course left to her, she can only over her face as she's dragged through the charcoal-laden tables, burning chunks of carbon raining down on her, and yelling out in pain from the burns.

Gritting her teeth through the pain, the brute strength and speed of the Ogre is something not to be trifled with. She isn't going to be able to pull her tail free if he can moves like that, and she had to get away eventually if Yumi was right about him. And the fact he seems to be 'eating' magical attacks was very worrisome, but that does give her something to work with.

Pulling free her tonfa from their claps, she reaches over herself and swings her tonfa at the meaty fingers, aiming her weapons inbetween the fingers and using them as levels to try to get a little wiggle room. "How about you let go of my tail, you brute. We're going to shut down this buffet!" If she was lucky, the Ogre might be distracted and she can slip free!

COMBAT: Sourisi has used Forest Down on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Yeah they're uh--they're pretty huge!" Yumi calls.

Tama is like staff. The cat certainly looks from on high at the battlefield like some kind of general, anyway, in the imperious way a cat in a high place can. ...But her eyes narrow quickly with concern. "Yumi!" ...She sounds distressed as her charge is snatched up by the Ogre, and, well--

Yumi is pretty distressed too. "Aah--" She struggles, but she's caught up quickly, staff and all, wriggling in the Ogre's grip and kicking her feet. The Ogre's mere presence is full of dark magic--but there's a more practical set of problems afforded her in her position there. The first, of course... is the tight, painful grip of its huge fingers. The second...

Its breath is an awful stench that makes the witch want to pass out on the spot. And then the sight of it throwing things around registers for her--"No!" ...She knows who made that statue. She was there while it was being worked on. Yumi's teeth clench together. ...PLuto's hurt; the art is in danger. ...Hers is in danger, though her cup is long gone by now.

Her senpai is helping--but Yumi wriggles enough to put hands around her staff. "Light gathering in shadow..." She intones, and white runs form about her, "Sacred Ray!" A blast of purifying green energy, roaring like a raging river, crashes down towards the Ogre's hand.

"T-the Hungry Queen!" Yumi calls back to Kuniko. "Bad news, thousand years of darkness, really bad augh!"

COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora has used Sacred Ray on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Kuniko Saito's Yogurt Fish Kebabs, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito is Psyched!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Sailor Pluto's Pendulum Blitz, taking 40 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Pluto is
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly dodges Fuu Hououji's Sword Strike, taking 5 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sourisi's Forest Down, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates!
Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!  Stagger applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Yumi Ohzora's Sacred Ray, taking 25 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The ogre, incredibly, obeys Kuniko's instructions -- he snatches the saury out of the air with delicacy and eats them one at a time.

Now, that doesn't mean poor Gold Crown Town gets ninety seconds of freedom from ogre -- it's more like three. Because he has a lot of mouth and those fish are REALLY SMALL.

But it could have been like half a second!

And in those extra two and a half seconds, a lot happens.

Like Sailor Pluto bringing down her staff -- on his butt, for the record, maybe more delicately put as the upper thigh. This ogre is more 'large Queen Beryl youma'-scale than 'small Pretty Cure youma'-scale, which is to say that he comprises about one and a half Andre the Giants. Nine-ish feet tall, but not twenty and definitely not two hundred.

It makes a thundrous sound on impact, and vibration pours through the beast. He jiggles. But Pluto can feel the solidity beneath, and it's all muscle there.

Well, bruised muscle, now.

At the same time, Fuu comes bravely in with her sword, and he lifts his arm out of the way -- which is the same thing as lifting the Witch of Lost Ivy higher off the ground! But this is distracting, and it's a valuable distraction, because it lets both Sourisi and the Witch of Lost Ivy conjure forth lesser and greater powers of pain, and, yowling on impact, he drops both of them, fingers swelling a throbbing red.

They aren't the only thing that's grown, though. With each saury he got bigger. With each moment in contact with the magical girls, too. And he may be huge, and there may be humor to his stupidity, but...

...his eyes narrow. He's still thinking about Kuniko's question. And he's about a foot taller than he was three seconds ago, his earthy skin stretching to accommodate his growth, which isn't flab at all.

There's a keen sense of intimidation as his eyes narrow.

"HUMMUSES!" he agrees, possibly altering Sailor Pluto's dinner selection.

"HUMMUSES!!" he repeats, as he reaches out with his massive palms to grab the nearest fallen person -- it's that jock -- and chuck him straight at Kuniko, demandingly.


Oh god. He thinks he's saying 'humans'.

The nearest other humans in reach are all magical, and if they aren't very quick, they will find themselves soaring towards Kuniko's cooking station as well. SHE may not be a risk of them, but the force of their speedy impact is a risk to everyone.

His eyes narrow expectantly as he watches the chef, who he has now supplied with the requested fare.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broad Swing on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broad Swing on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broad Swing on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broad Swing on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Collateral Damage on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used ME WANT HUMMUSES on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Hotaru Tomoe's ME WANT HUMMUSES, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Reinforced by Hotaru
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Broad Swing, taking 28 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sourisi fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Broad Swing, taking 27 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Broad Swing, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Fuu Hououji's Block
ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Broad Swing, taking 27 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Collateral Damage, taking 23 Fatigue damage!  Exhausted and Trap applied to
Kuniko Saito!
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFqfN-ju1MQ

An ogre is spanked, the ground is shaked, and soon enough the ogre is... growing?

"Yeah," Kuniko answers Yumi without really looking at her because she's keeping her eyes on the ogre - "That's about what I figured."

And then comes a man flying at her. The thrown man is able to score a dead on hit in Kuniko's center mass, making her produce a noise of uncommon and authentic pain as something ripples through her, her free arm curling up on reflex to buffer his fall as he topples to the side, the collapse slow enough that it shouldn't bruise him. Kuniko struggles to breathe for a moment, and then -

He's picking up the others. Kuniko's lips thin together. I don't have time to breathe, she thinks.

And he's asking for something...

The pact! Kuniko thinks, out of nowhere. She'll worry about it later. The first one to come flying towards her is Yumi and Yumi is able to actually get caught and partway rolled over, much as Mr. Jock did, and perhaps even more effectively as she is not in a magically induced stupor. "Ugh," Kuniko groans for reasons unrelated to Yumi herself; she may sense that she's pressing herself forwards. She could also smell something roasting...

Pluto is next. There is, perhaps, barely enough time for something to be mixed together, a smell of something savory and vegetative in the air. Pluto, if she looks, will see Kuniko seeming to pantomime dumping something into a bin from a plate -- ?? (Internally, to Kuniko, the chickpeas have been roasted...) And when SHE strikes against Kuniko, the chef staggers, something in the distance going 'clang', but


When Sourisi comes, she is parried. Something is held up, and it looks for all the world like a bain-marie packed into a slightly larger bain-marie which has been field-wrapped with some kind of plastic wrap. That is because it is exactly what it is. Kuniko holds the serving dishes of steely resolve forwards and this time the CLANG! is distinct, even as Kuniko is nearly toppled backwards.

By the time the Magic Knight comes, Kuniko has moved on to what seem to be mixing bowls. THAT strike is caught full on, only straining Kuniko's arm enough to make her grimace, but she says aloud, "It's ready --!!"

Dump! Clash! A home-style slopping sound as Kuniko calls to the ogre, stepping forwards, "Hummuses? You want... HUMMUSES? Is that what you said? Hanh? My hearing's a little bad 'cause I listen to punk rock!! But if you insist --"

A toss in the air, a sprig of rosemary, a glisten of olive oil, paprika like the stars in the sky...!!


An array of mezzes are hurled forwards, each with a half-pita accompanyment cut into three parts, much like Gaul. Regular! Extra lemon! Mexican style with cilantro! With diced olive for a quasi-tapenade! Harissa blended in for extra fiery heat! One with diced bacon just so that Takeo misses out! Greek herb blend! Extra garlic!

"I'm using all the chickpeas I had! Uh... can you seal it or something?!" Kuniko calls, mostly towards Ivy and the cat but really towards everyone, including, if present, God.

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Hummus: The Cutscene on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

As quickly as the Wind Knight's sword materialized when she needed it, it vanishes just as abruptly when she's scooped up and sent flying through the air; she can't see where she's going but she *can* narrow down what she was thrown at, and the sound of Kuniko's voice confirms it.

The confirmation would be far more reassuring if it weren't for the strained noise which accompanies it - or maybe it sounded worse to the Magic Knight of Wind than it really was? Certainly, the impact itself didn't seem to hurt *her* much - and Kuniko's taking everything in stride, it seems ...

Followed by serving up a quadruple (???) serving of hummus for the rampaging ogre. And Kuniko isn't even letting her injuries slow her down.

Well. The Wind Knight can at least help Kuniko a little on that front - and not just the Poissonnier, either. She looks around quickly at her allies, bringing her left hand up as the glove-jewel shines brighter green, whether by catching the light or shining with its own radiance; she quickly utters the words, "Winds of Healing!" and conjures a restorative, soothing breeze to wrap around Kuniko, Yumi, and Sourisi - soothing their injuries thus far, patching up the worst of them, getting them back up to fighting trim even if she can't do a full job of healing them - *that* would take more time and attention than the ogre is likely to permit, so she focuses on doing what she can for the moment.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cleanse! All of Kuniko
Saito's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Sourisi accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Sourisi's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Yumi Ohzora's debuffs are
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

She scores a thoroughly satisfying hit on the ogre's back...side. After the thing makes its selection, Sailor Pluto does indeed find that she wants neither hummus NOR humans for dinner. Maybe she'll just pick some yakisoba up on the way home or something...

Little does she know, she's about to facilitate hummus.

She shouts to the Witch of Lost Ivy: "It's getting bigger! What should we--" It costs her in reaction time, and she never gets the whole thought out.

Sailor Pluto is quick, but today she is not quick enough. She gets the unenviable experience of the inside of an ogre's fleshy, pungent fist. Sailing through the air after is a brief improvement, but only by comparison.

She twists her neck, trying to see her destination through the blurred confusion of her midair tumble. Pluto catches a glimpse of Kuniko's pantomime and doesn't understand it at all, but she loosens herself for the the coming collision. The hurt of rough-and-tumble impact she expected; that distant clang, not at all.

"Sumimasen," she says to Kuniko as she pulls herself up again, an abbreviated apology for a battlefield situation. She spares a look for the magical girl that's more than half curiosity before sprinting off at the ogre again. It's when the mezzes fly overhead in a volley like arrows that she really starts wondering. And... starts wanting hummus again? The stuff looks delicious! And that savory smell when she crashed into the chef...

Sailor Pluto refocuses on the large, dangerous foe she approaches, with a particular eye to those great grasping hamfists. She makes a circular run, looping for the ogre's flank if possible, and launches into a flying kick! Her plan is to plant both bootheels in the thing's side and spring clear again, hopefully out of reach.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Sailor Pluto Kick on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Kuniko Saito's Hummus: The Cutscene, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Sailor Pluto's Sailor Pluto Kick, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto is Psyched!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Oh, Ogres are very good at following instructions. ...Not... usually Yumi's, though. So of course Kuniko-senpai manages it. Yumi, for her part, is busy for the moment struggling her way free amidst the battles, as the Ogre gets bigger... and bigger...

And Yumi tumbles to the ground, rolling as she goes and dragging herself up to her feet to start to try to get out of the way--but, the truth is, she's just not that fast on foot. So the Ogre starts yelling about hummuses--

Yumi feels a little greener even than usual as she thinks about what he means. "Oh come on that's not even--"


Yumi is picked up like a rag doll and thrown straight after the jock, right at Kuniko, who... catches her, actually, and while Yumi is a tangle of awkward limbs, she ends up on the ground relatively safety in short order. "S-sorry," she responds to the groan, and scrambles out of the way of the next, getting to her feet and starting to run to the side.

"Yumi! Get away from it!"

"I'm trying!!" she shouts back to her cat, whose fur is on end watching everyone thrown around like this. Yumi herself is still scrambling until Fuu's wind helps her get a solid stride going, at which point she skids to a stop at Kuniko's question. "Y-yeah!" she calls. "Or something!"

"Yumi your sacred artifact is not or something--"

"Sorry, sorry Tama! I mean, I can banish it!" A call to Pluto, "And um... just try to keep going! I need to get an opening!"

And Yumi looks for one. Leaning on her staff, she looks around for somewhere she can try to trap the creature... But the best she can do is rely on the others' distracting it if she can. One thing--slow it down...

She weaves a pattern in th air, glowing green, with a gloved finger--and shoves the resulting rune outward. From beneath the Ogre suddenly erupt spectral vines of ivy, seeking to entangle it and send natural magic roiling through it.

COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora has used Ivy Binding on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Sourisi quickly pulls herself free as soon as Fuu's swinging blade distracts the Ogre, quickly scrambling away from this monster. It really does look bigger, so it was eating and storing the magic somehow, and she has the feeling it won't explode if it eats too much. "Okay, it likes just about anything it can get it hands on. Um...please tell me someone had an idea?"

Hearing the Ogre actually cry out for hummus makes the mouse girl blink in surprise. Was it actually acting like it was in a restaurant and placing a special order, and will leave peacefully if it gets the 'hummuses'? She shakes her head, shaking off the mental cobwebs, her braid swinging, but that moment of distraction was all that's needed to find herself, once again, in the grasp of the ogre. "Owww, watch the burns! Let me go, you-AAAAHH!" Her wish is quickly granted, and she's the ball in a fastball special directly at Kuniko and her cooking station!

She slams into into the bain-marie at full force, not even able to twist around in time before she slams into the bottom of the heating bath unit with a loud CLANG!, causing her ears to ring before she rolls out, her whole body sore. "...i'm never going to look at cooking pots again. Thanks for the save!" This might be nearly shouted at Kuniko, thanks due to ringing in her ears.

Stumbling back upright, she waves a tired hand at Pluto and Fuu, and gives a sigh of relief as the gentle breezes created by Fuu flowed over her sore form. It was a great deal easier getting back up to her feet, and she nods her head gratefully towards her. "Breeze-san, thank you very much!" The ringing in her ears quickly fades, just in time to hear the rest of the impacts from the other magical girls, and Kuniko catching them in time as well. "I'm so going to return the favor one day, i'm sure of it! As for the Ogre...yeah."

Hearing the Magical Chef's requesting for a seal, Sourisi shakes her head and holds up her tonfa. "As much as I want to, i'm more the bashy-bashy type, but i'm sure we'll be okay!" With that in mind, she jumps over the table, following Pluto's lead and circuling around in the opposite direction. With Pluto taking the lead, the monster is likely going to go after her first, so she had to help her out somehow. Charging in from the other side, she viciously jabs her tonfa at where she assumes is where his kidney is. "I'm really getting tired of all this standing around and waiting impatiently for food. A good guest sits down for their meals!"

COMBAT: Sourisi has used Mouse Flurry on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly counters Sourisi's Mouse Flurry, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Sourisi is Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's
Reverse ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Broad Swing, partially gets through, doing 13 Fatigue damage to Sourisi!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Yumi Ohzora's Ivy Binding, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stun applied to Hotaru
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The ogre has another moment of profound culinary bliss at the hands of Kuniko. With every new take on hummus -- every bite, every smack of the lip and slurp of the tongue -- he is more and more won over to chickpeas.

And yet.

"I SAID HUMMUSES NOT HUMMUS..UH..SAYS..." he tries and fails to articulate. At least now his breath smells like chickpeas and garlic -- it's a major improvement. But he's ready, when Pluto and Sourisi come in from either side.

Ready and angry.

It's tough for Sourisi to reach his kidney -- he's small, but not that small, and she's very small indeed -- and in that extra moment it takes her to get up there, he's intercepted her with a stunning backhand. Sailor Pluto, meanwhile, nails his hip but then discovers that he's hip-checking her right back, and you haven't been hip-checked until you've been hip-checked by a furious and expanding ogre.

Yes, expanding... he's still growing and growing. Kuniko really is putting her heart into her work here, and he really is enjoying it.

But the disappointment at not being served humans is real.


He's about to complain further when the ivy entangles him from all directions, and it -- perhaps mercifully -- clamps his mouth shut, among other entanglements. The moment it buys, however, is short-lived... is his skin getting sharp? He doesn't seem smarter but with every passing moment, tougher, stronger... more of a vital force.


Furiously the ogre rips his way out of the ivy and casts his baleful gaze around the courtyard--

--settling on the nearby painting, by Yumi, of Setsuna Meioh.

From his perspective, it glistens with energy -- with potential -- with power for the Hungry Queen.

"ME ALSO CONSUMER OF ART!" he announces, before lowering his head and charging in such a rush that the aftereffects of his passing threaten to knock everyone off of their feet.

His arms outstretch--

--his teeth gnash--

--only a heartbeat remains.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hips Don't Lie on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Afterimage Aftershock on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Afterimage Aftershock on Yumi Ohzora.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Afterimage Aftershock on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Afterimage Aftershock on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Sourisi narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Afterimage Aftershock, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sourisi's Fade
ability activates!  Sourisi's Flash ability activates!  Stagger applied to Sourisi!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Hips Don't Lie, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto's Block ability
activates!  Sailor Pluto's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Afterimage Aftershock, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Yumi
Ohzora's Reverse ability activates!  Yumi Ohzora's Tactician ability activates!  Stagger applied to Yumi Ohzora!
COMBAT: Yumi Ohzora's counterattack, Witch's Mirror, partially gets through, doing 14 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly counters Hotaru Tomoe's Afterimage Aftershock, taking 21 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Spinning Slash, partially gets through, doing 9 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Afterimage Aftershock, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kuniko
Saito's Block ability activates!  Kuniko Saito's Parry ability activates!  Stagger applied to Kuniko Saito!
<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Be careful!" Yumi shouts out to Sourisi as she keeps going, and if Tama happens to be keeping a closer eye on the mouse than she otherwise might it hardly needs to be said. ...The truth is that she's watching out for everyone here. "It's charging!" she calls helpfully(?) to the assembled magical girls, while Yumi herself is still weaving around looking for her opening.

"You mean humans!" Yumi calls out to the Ogre, and then thinks better of it. "I shouldn't have said that..."

The Ogre seems to be bigger, stronger all the time, sharpening somehow, and Yumi can see it. ...It's worse even than many she's faced before. "E-enough... food..." Yumi falters a little. That's a scary thought. Until--He stares. He announces. "NO!"

Yumi throws up a rune before herself and as the Ogre starts to pass it explodes into black light, turning his passage into a green beam scything out at him and absorbing just enough of the force that Yumi keeps her feet when she's thrown backwards--and immediately, she moves into action.

She has no time; she weaves her staff before herself in green-trailing patterns, both hands on it as her hair rustles in an unseen breeze. "Holy light..." It almost sounds like two voices--Yumi's, and one much older, more mature. The symbol she makes, and the circle hovers before her, runes bursting into being around it, "Rain down in verdant might!"

She swings her staff forward to break the circle, and hangs on for dear life as a brilliant sunbeam twice her heat bursts forward to crash into the Ogre, trailing emerald flames where it touches true darkness. Semi-doubled again she calls, "BLESSED SHINE!"

It erupts outward, and Yumi, hanging on, can only hope in it, brilliant light aglow.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Yumi Ohzora has used Blessed Shine on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Yumi calls out to keep going -- Sailor Pluto can do that. She spots Sourisi at the ogre's other flank, and gives the mousegirl a quick nod of acknowledgement before she launches into her kick.

She isn't expecting the ogre's hip to kick BACK, and the force combined with the sheer expansion of the beast throws her back far harder than she had bargained for. Sailor Pluto crashes back amongst the art stands, not far from Yumi's exhibit.

She leaps back up, throwing off bits of wood and cloth that used to be a booth, only to see the ogre crashing right at her.

Not Sailor-Pluto-her. Setsuna-Meioh-portrait-her.

That is Yumi Ohzora's precious artwork.

It is a thing of unexpected beauty, and it is also a happy memory of a quiet afternoon in Yumi's apartment... a peaceful moment of companionship for a lonely soul (maybe two?).

The ogre will not have it. The Witch of Lost Ivy will have her art marks!

"Don't you DARE!" the senshi cries, planting her feet wide and spinning the Rod in a loop overhead, with the Orb leaving a garnet trail behind. As those hungry arms reach and that hungry mouth opens, energy gathers in a swift vortex around the senshi.

A swirling and distortive wind kicks up, enfolding the senshi in its glass-like ripples. She throws her mind into the growing storm, goading it, shaping it, and finally--


--releasing it in a tornadic vortex of time dilation, sent to engulf the ogre before it can reach the painting. The Chronos Typhoon is not hungry, but it is still capable of devouring, and it will chew on its target with bruising, battering winds. The assault stretches a slice of a second into experiential hours in an extended expression of the Time Guardian's wrath.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Pluto has used Chronos Typhoon on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The leap upwards so she can actually reach his kidney leaves her wide open to a massive swinging fist, knocking the mouse girl away from the brute. While it wasn't quite she was expecting, at least she didn't get grabbed yet again, but being swung around like a ragdoll is really starting to leave it's toll on her. The vines brought forth by the Witch of Lost Ivy gives her a moment to breath, something she needs at the moment just by how hard she's breathing. "Geeze...this guy hits harder than a tank. I really, really hope there's no more of these things!"

The Ogre's yell about having enough to eat almost makes her ears ring again, and Sourisi has to toss herself to the side in time to avoid being flattened by an ever-growing ogre as he rushes towards something on the opposite side of the courtyard. Using a table to climb back up to her feet, she looks after the beast, confusion clear on her face as it rushes off after a new target. Wasn't it hungry for food?

Her heart leaps into her throat as she spots exactly what the brute was chasing after now, a painting of Setsuna Meioh, which had somehow escaped any damage from the brute the first time it passed, but that wasn't going to last! Why there was a painting of her here is surprising, but no way is she just going to stand by as a painting of a new friend gets destroyed!

Stumbling into a run, she chases after the minion of the Hungry Queen, not willing to give him this, no matter what. But with him blocking her eye sight of the painting now, there was no way she could easily get the painting out of harms way, but there was another path she can take. Leaping from table to take and avoiding the worst of the afterimages, she makes her way for the painting, pushing herself as hard as she can and twirling her tonfa in her hands, the whistling from her tonfa disrupting the air growing louder in pitch. If she can just build enough momentum-!

Leaping at the Ogre's head just as the painting is in his grasp, she swings her spinning tonfa at his head, planning on giving him one heck of an headache as she passes by. "HEY! No running out on paying your meal!"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sourisi has used Wild Claw Barrage on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

It is not often that one can fairly say that breath full of garlic is an improvement. Some may not find it all that bad, but hey, opinions vary. Kuniko herself slumps and struggles for breath again after that hurling of delectable mezze. She finds it, though it takes some effort.

Boy, she thinks, if only he wasn't a growing boy.

It might be fairly asked, why not try to feed him something nasty? Kuniko doesn't think like that. She tilts her head down and starts to work on... something. Not sure or clear what, even as ivy ripples outwards and stifles the creature. Then the ogre turns towards that courtyard, with no fairy feller at hand to help.

But there is a witch, and that is enough for Kuniko to finish what she's doing.

"Hey!" Kuniko calls.

"You've been a pretty bad customer," she says, her voice brazen and shouting like a foghorn. "You've PUT these other people to sleep, TAKEN way more than your fair share by any reasonable stretch of the imagination, and now you've moved on from hurling people around and eating an appetizer dip to threatening to eat a PAINTING of someone and not, I might add, in any kind of a cake topper sense."

Kuniko breathes in deep through her nose.

"So I'm going to give you this one to go - and that's just what you SHOULD do!"

Kuniko's final preparations are a mystery. Frankly, her moves are sloppy. Old injuries have been aggrieved into a flare-up by the repeated contact of the hard heads of magical girls. She is not going to perish or even be greatly impaired, but she is not doing things with a flourish. Not physically.

What comes out doesn't need a flourish.

Fresh flatbread cooked to browned perfection on a griddle. Squared instead of round, using a Japanese omelet pan. Contents: Roast and aromatically spiced tuna steak, flaked into something that manages to mingle with its own natural juices and just a little bit of oil into a natural sort of paste, the texture of the tuna spread like the delicately heartbreaking fossils of the ancient world atop a bed of pickled daikon sliced matchstick thin, a little shredded spinach, a dab of the last of the hummus, and a sprinkle of Harissa pepper paste.

Blessed, wrapped, rolled, and cut on the diagonal before plating with a drizzling of lemon-and-verbena olive oil on top. What Kuniko wrote is in two characters, but the principle of 'GET LOST' is maintained, even if the flavor is subtle and mouth-filling with the essence of a luxuriously summery sea.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Kuniko Saito has used Shawarma Tuna on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Yumi Ohzora's Finisher, Blessed Shine, taking 45 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block
ability activates!  Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sailor Pluto's Finisher, Chronos Typhoon, taking 124 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Sourisi's Finisher, Wild Claw Barrage, taking 103 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Kuniko Saito's Finisher, Shawarma Tuna, taking 63 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is unable to
keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The ogre pauses, midstep, midcharge, when he hears the voice coming from behind him. Not Yumi's -- the other one.

It saves him, in the sense that he gets to see the gigantic sunray coming straight at him.

He knows it, and fears it.

But he does not avoid it.

No -- his huge forearms come up in a boxer's stance, and he does his best to take it head on. Sparks fly everywhere on impact.

The Chronos Typhoon rushes forth alongside Sourisi and her tonfa, and the one wears at his legs, the other tries to crack his crown.

He groans.

Yes, his mouth opened -- and Kuniko's masterpiece slips into it.

Two forces act in opposition now; the urge to leave, granted by the chef, and the urge to grow, granted by her also.

The ogre's body ripples, this time not with muscle but with uncertainty. And all the while Yumi's banishment spell pours over him; perhaps it's not surprising that the backs of his arms are the first thing to bubble.

Then the rest of him starts losing cohesive form. He shudders and shakes and... twists, not smoke and not flame and not even blood -- if anything he seems to become muddy, fluidic yet still very solid, and all over bubbling, boiling. His roar intensifies, breaking windows up and down the once-picturesque street...

...and then turns into a scream...

...and then cuts off. The tracery of a sunlit magic circle completes beneath his feet, after slowly unfurling, like a fern, with every moment of contact between that sacred force and the beast that it targets, and it glows like the heart of a star, and then he's gone.

The portrait is intact. So is everyone else -- the only real casualty is that one statue. Well, and all the tables knocked around.

But people are starting to wake up, and if an earthquake struck this place and disrupted the festival, well, it's unlikely to end it. If every quake ended an event Japan would never have any, and Gold Crown Town may be strongly European but Infinity is still very firmly Japanese.

It takes time and work -- and not everything can be made whole.

But a half hour or so after the party ended, it starts anew... with the talents of Infinity eager to renew their promise to end the semester on a high note.