2018-05-02 - A Little Princess

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A Little Princess

Chibi-Usa steals the Silver Crystal, in order to save her mother, but can't return to the future without retrieving the Time Key from her best friend Hotaru, who's been missing for months. Distraught for many reasons, Chibi-Usa returns to the Tomoe mansion for many reasons, some practical and some emotional. An ambush awaits her there, and discoveries for everyone. Haruka discovers her limits. Michiru discovers Setsuna's. Setsuna discovers her priorities. And Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity discovers that Sailor Senshi can be monsters, too.


Usagi Tsukino, Chibi-Usa Tsukino, Hotaru Tomoe, Setsuna Meioh, Haruka Tenoh, Michiru Kaioh


Tomoe Mansion, Tama

OOC - IC Date:

05-02-2018 - 04-16-2018

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

While sometimes weighty matters might be turning within Usagi Tsukino's head, all it takes sometimes is the smallest thing to snap her out of it. Right now that thing is the sweet aroma of...


Pillows tumble as she rushes to her feet, not bothering to smooth out her high school skirts or vest, all such dignity pales in the face of Ikuko Tsukino's baked treats, who to Usagi Tsukino ranked number three.

Still below Makoto Kino and Mami Tomoe - but with that edge of nostalgia that always kept them ranked so highly.

The first sign that she's coming might be the slamming of her room door upstairs, then the pounding cadence of besocked feet down the stairs and through the living room.

Around the corner and onto the kitchen floor... she starts to skid, slide on her socks.

BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxLacN2Dp6A

And time seems to slow down, as she's gone - further than she wanted, her momentum cannot be arrested, cannot be denied. With a futile effort of flailing arms to arrest it she rams into a kitchenette chair, which is knocked over instantly, but that is not the end of her journey.

Instead her shin strikes it, and she topples over , the chair becoming the fulcrum by which she falls over, as her knee rotates over it. Down she goes in slow motion - trying to catch herself with the worst of all things, her palms - which fail, as she smashes full on into the floor.

A harsh crack reverberates as her compact strikes the linoleum that seems dull beside the shriek of its owner, knocked out of her vest, it slides across the floor to bump into the table before coming to a rest.

This domestic disaster of epic proportions is witnessed entirely by her imposter cousin Chibi-Usa, her cat mentor Luna, and her mother Ikuko Tsukino.

Luna is already putting a cat paw to her forehead, as if suddenly her crescent moon mark were one of shame. Then sighing, lowers her head, starting to walk away from the second hand embarrassment of the situation.

Ikuko Tsukino, in an apron of cream and violet just seems exasperated as her eldest daughter starts to sob like a child. Setting down the baking tray and sliding off the oven mitt to grasp the first aid kit she keeps for kitchen emergencies(Usually also caused by her eldest daughter) from atop the refrigerator, she heads to her side, opening it up at Usagi's side.

The girl is clutching her knee beside toppled chair, rocking back and forth. Sobbing without the slightest hint that a single one might be a crocodile tear despite the high drama of the moment.

"I-Ih huhts!"

Ikuko applies a little bit of antibiotic ointment to the abrasion, before putting a pink bandaid with small white bunnies over it.

"For heaven's sake Usagi - you're a high schooler now! That's too old to be crying over a skinned knee!"

"J-Just because I'm in high school doesn't change that it hurts! Can you d-do the spell?"

Ikuko stopped mid-bandage to just stare at her daughter.

"... Really?"


Ikuko allowed a long sigh then, cupping her hands over the skinned knee says in the most deadpan sarcastic way.

"Owwie owwie go away."

"You're not doing it right!"

"USAGI! You're not five anymore!"

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

It's nice, getting to spend time with Ikuko. Chibi-Usa has been quiet, subdued, and of course Ikuko has noticed that, has seen that. ...But that just gives more reason to let the pink-haired 'niece' help with some cookies. ...But their conversation is... interrupted, by Usagi Tsukino (major) and her... arrival. The arrival that is essentially like a bull in a china shop because Usagi.. is...

Chibi-Usa lets out a big sigh, practically visible, so tired of this girl's antics for the moment. She frowns sharply--and then hears the clack and looks over to... the brooch. The fallen brooch. The one that contains--

She frowns harder at this ill treatment of such an important artifact, letting it fall and then stopping to cry! Chibi-Usa sighs harder at that, hearing the exchange--and then--Usagi--

...Chibi-Usa stares at her, unseen. Looks between her and Ikuko, wonderful Ikuko-mama... And thinks about it. Thinks about all the times Sailor Moon has been hurt trying to help her, how now...


Her eyes slide back over to the brooch, towards the opportunity it presents. Towards...

"Usagi is still crying when the small girl simply steps out of the way, away from both of them... and snatches up a precious artifact on her way out.

She's out the door in moments."


"Hotaru-chan," Chibi-Usa murmurs, as she looks down at the Silver Crystal she's holding now--the thing she came back here to find, her very purpose for being here. Maybe--

"It's for the best," she says. "...Now..." She bites her lip. "Mama... I can save you now, but..."

She has to get home. And there's..

"...But there's someone I have to find first."

Chibi-Usa closes the brooch, nods firmly, and looks up to the road ahead--and then takes off, Luna-P bobbing along behind her with the strange little sound of a floating cat sphere, running for the train station.


The brooch she keeps hidden in a pocket while she makes her way to one important house.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Everything Stays https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pozDLjFUVbM

It's just the faintest threat of heavy skies at first, but by the time Chibi-Usa has crossed Tokyo to the lovely neighborhood of her best friend -- not far from Tomoe Laboratories, not far from Infinity institute, not at all a reasonable place for a mansion of any size, which bespeaks the wealth behind it -- it is a thoroughly drenching downpour.

There are soft ripples of thunder, muted a bit by the weight of the rain's sound, as it hisses into puddles and onto rooftops and through the trees. Today the sea and the sky are one, and both seem angry.

Amid the tempest, there is one small, warm note: the second crystal Chibi-Usa carries, the strange and spikey one, Hotaru's most precious talisman, is warm upon her chest and somehow happy, if a rock can be happy. There is the smallest sense of a pull, but a pull in the direction she's already traveling -- it wants to go home.


The high wall around the house is still there, and so is the yard, but it's a little bit unkempt. It's a particularly jarring look on such a traditionally beautiful property (columned terrace, broad windows, vast lawns), like a high school student who forgot to brush her hair for a few days. On an elementary schooler or at a condo, that would be one thing, but this... is more of a disappointment.

From outside, every window is a void. There are no lights on, inside or out.

The doorbell is still just a little bit out of Chibi-Usa's reach. It doesn't matter, because the door itself is very slightly ajar. It's a heavy thing, which explains why the rising winds haven't been able to blow it open completely. But someone must have left in haste -- or arrived in haste -- for it to be in such a state.

Inside is, in the first heartbeat, a relief. It is dry, and compared to the storm outside, it is quiet. Even the darkness is a sort of kindness, especially compared to that crack of actually visible lightning that had accompanied Chibi-Usa across the threshhold, giving shape and length to her shadow, which beats her into the house.

The second heartbeat, though, is a spectacular disappointment.

Memory is a powerful thing. So many times, Hotaru had already rushed, her fluffy black slippers making soft little slaps on the hardwood floors, to await Chibi-Usa at the top of the stairs with warmly extended arms and a wide, wide smile.

Even the chandelier is gone.

But also the carpets, the foyer cabinets, the coatrack. There are no shoes in waiting -- and the staircase -- Chibi-Usa knows well that its double flights unite on the central floor like a pair of clasped hands, but she doesn't know it because she can see it.

They vanish, upwards, into the gloom.

Another burst of thunder rattles the windows.

The storm is getting closer...

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> 06 Ghosts I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZayH5KMfYmA

The ice at the bottom of the world is melting. The frigid runoff, this fossil-water of ancient times, sinks and sinks, from the aquamarine to the shadow, until it leaves light behind entirely. And so in turn, the water from fathoms below is lifted to long-forgotten light.

It is dawn when it reaches the surface at last, many leagues and weeks away from nightless lands of ice now. Warm amber sunlight suffuses the ocean's surface, and slowly that water softens. Invisibly it breaks apart, diffusing into the air. Evaporate rises, here and to the horizon in every direction, a haze wavering in the air.

Above, vapor begins to cool. Like sharply blossoming buds, spikey flakes of ice crack the air, here and there at random. Like a cold sweat, water reforms, now particulate, windblown. What had been a clear sky thickens into pale clouds.

By the time they make landfall, the clouds are bloated and heavy, their undersides darkened. In a vast and lazy swirl, they pass over the Tokyo Bay and all the area around it, as a palm might pass over a coin. As the land rises, so too the clouds. Droplets of water tremble, but to such frail motes, even wind is thick, and they rest suspended on nothing but air itself.

Civilization soon fails, scraggly villages attempting to cling to the mountainsides, then falling off entirely. The clouds lift and lift, driven upward by pine-crusted stone. As the air grows cold it squeezes more and more water, as if from the aether. One by one, wobbling fat droplets finally slip right through the air keeping them aloft.

Down and down, through thick mist into clear air, one such droplet falls. Mountains in the distance slowly rise, the curve of the earth flattening. The misty trunk of the World Tree comes into sight in the far distance, then, closer, the emerald black spire of Infinity Institute. As the drop falls faster and faster, suddenly buildings slam up like a solid wall on all sides, blotting out all that is green and distant.

Thus from the silent belly of the ocean falls this tiny messenger, round and cool and crystal clear, all to chance upon the cheek of Usagi Small Lady Serenity.

Its missive: look.

Look up.

<Pose Tracker> Michiru Kaioh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Except --

The raindrop doesn't fulfill its destiny.

Its descent from the vaults of heaven stops, the shape of the droplet proper lingering for an instant in the air. Long enough to become a tiny sphere, and perhaps it changes color; it is hard to be certain, of course, for who would look at a single raindrop suspended in midair?

Unseen, it flies. A moment later all hope disappears as it becomes a small damp speck on an immaculate white glove.

Sailor Neptune's fingers curl in slightly, the tension leaving them. Her eyes stay turned towards the street, for that girl, the 'Small Lady,' is very easy to watch, even from five stories up.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Rain. ...It doesn't feel right, not really, but it feels something close to right--there's a melancholy that Chibi-Usa hasn't been able to shake, a low sadness for her missing friend. ...But it's not quite right, because she's going to find her, isn't she? That's what she has to do. ...Even the crystal she wears wants to go, the token of Hotaru still. She goes, and goes...

If she flinches every time she hears the thunder and has to stop and hide under a doorway for a few moments before she can keep going, she doesn't say it. The storm scares her, but--she has to go. She has to. But it means she's pale as she walks through, as she approaches.

And here is the house. Chibi-Usa blinks at the unkempt nature of it, and Luna-P is no longer trailing behind her but in her hand, a black-and-pink-and-yellow umbrella with little moon symbols on it. She walks along, her red jacket soaked through, her shoes wet from walking through the rain, bright clothes for a very much not bright place.

...It's a little rude to just walk in with the door open like this. But...

Chibi-Usa, now that she has the Crystal, walks a little differently--a little more straight-backed than before. It's as if a certain dream is ending, and Small Lady has to work again. But this dream--no, this dream--

...Her heart sinks, as she looks up with bright red eyes to the stairs, and does not see Hotaru. ...And then she looks around in confusion, as so many things are gone. "W-what...?"


The thunder rattles the windows and Chibi-Usa compresses, bending at the knee and becoming a little ball for an instant, in terror she can't entirely--can't at all hide. ...She can feel it welling up inside her, and worse, a different kind of fear and sadness, but--

"L-Luna-P..." There's a puff of smoke, and her umbrella is gone, replaced by a black cat-sphere, floating up to her with its bright smile, comforting. "...Y-yeah," she says. "We'll... Try her room. And if... If we can't..."

She nods, firmly, biting her lip--and starts to run through the house.

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


A subtle *click* and the slimline laptop closes, snipping off the tinny thunder relayed through Luna-P to its speakers. Setsuna Meioh slides it away, having seen more than enough to move her heart and feet both.

Setsuna has not seen what Chibi-Usa carries with her. She just knows that her dearest friend in the world is all alone, and is in great need -- and knows exactly where she is headed, making things all the more urgent. It is not a decision at all for the senshi, not really.

In no time at all Sailor Pluto is on her way -- off the balcony, across rooftops. She races through air that crackles, beneath clouds that gather.



Her long fine evergreen hair, so smooth and shining, plasters across her senshi suit and down the backs of her legs now. Rain streams down Sailor Pluto's face unhindered. She feels a chill, deeper than soaked skin, and stops on the front step.

The door stands slightly ajar before her. When she passes through the portal, a localized violet flash coincides with a too-near crackle of thunder.

Setsuna Meioh sets heel-clad foot inside the Tomoe mansion, her neatly-trimmed violet suit dry and warm. She pushes the door partially closed again behind, and heads deeper inside.



Within the preternatural still of her sentinel nature, Setsuna Meioh waits, so quiet that she does not bestir the grave silence of a house full of emptiness. She hears Chibi-Usa enter and her pulse quickens, but the rest of her does not move.

When the precious young princess comes seeking upward she finds that while no one is home, someone is nonetheless here -- right around the corner from the top of the stairs.

The tall dark column of the ageless Guardian of Time occupies the upstairs hallway. Except that in this moment, here and now, she is not that at all: she is a sad-eyed, solemn-faced young woman, a friend waiting with hands open and palms forward.

"Small Lady..."

Her voice is as soft as her gaze.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Small Lady does not know, of course, that Sailor Pluto is watching her. ...Once, she imagined she might be, seeing her across crowds, wondering. But she has not been able to think that without conflict in some time.

Her feet squelch a little along the floor, her socks soaked, as she runs and runs up the stairs and down the hallway. She doesn't even look up at first, does not hear Setsuna Meioh's presence--until she crosses the corner, looks up--

Her eyes widen, and she looks up, up, and slips, feet going out from under her as she lands hard in a seated position, a little noise of surprise her main reaction to it as she stares at her oldest friend in more ways tha one.

Love and a dear, dear wish are obvious in her face, because Small Lady has never been good at hiding her feelings. She is like her mother that way. She stares up, silent, at Setsuna.


And then she reaches into a pocket and her hand closes on the Crystal. Her lips press together, and she remembers. "You..."

She looks sad suddenly, alone--and angry. "...It's your fault," she says, as her glare forestalls help up. The small princess starts to get up on her own, shaking her head. "Because you... You wanted to hurt her. You kept going after her. I thought... I thought you could help me, but..."

"How could you!?" the small, pink girl shouts at her dear friend. "Why!? It's not--"

She squeezes her eyes shut, blinks away tears, "Just leave me alone!!"

And with that she bolts, trying to move around Setsuna with all the agility that her small size affords her, taking off down the hallway towards Hotaru's room.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

In memory, this hallway was golden with overhead lamps and always flawlessly clean, with a lustre to the floor, the rugs, the walls... a warmth.

But now it is dark, and it is dusty.

Most terribly of all, the hallway is anonymous.

Hotaru's room was labeled as such with a sweet little duckling sign, which always hung very slightly off-kilter from its peg.

Nothing of that remains, though. Only a long, long hallway -- one of several upstairs, even -- full of shadows and full of doors. Mostly they are closed. Some are locked and some are not.

A few even hang open.

And the rooms that they let onto -- rooms with doors to other rooms, even at its most photogenic this was always a sprawling labyrinth of a residence -- are terribly, echoingly empty.

Like the foyer, but worse. Because a foyer is still a foyer without its furniture. But the first room Chibi-Usa finds herself in -- it could be anything. And the second, and the third... they all blur together.

Nothing has been left behind. Nothing but empty curtain rods and the occasional lonely hanger in a closet.

Any of them could be Hotaru's room. Or none of them.

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

That slipping, falling appearance triggers all the sympathetic and protective reflexes in Setsuna, and she takes a step and half of another toward the tumbled girl. She is much better at hiding her feelings and thoughts, usually -- but this is Small Lady. Love and concern shine unabated in garnet eyes, show in the reach of caring hands.

But that look in big red eyes, accusing and hurt, pulls her up. It is not that Setsuna has not expected this. She has been just as aware, in her own solitary and painful way, of the conflict and difficulty. It is just another thing altogether to confront it on those beloved features.

She cannot deny it, not any of it. There is no point to trying to explain. Nothing changes that Setsuna is here to murder Chibi-Usa's precious friend, and the understanding of that reflects bare sorrow back in the set of her eyes and brows.

So as the girl clambers up on her own, Setsuna closes her eyes and bows her head for a moment, then looks up -- down -- again, to the hurt on that face that her heart insists should only show laughter and happiness. And knows it to be her fault, just as Small Lady says.

"...Small Lady," Setsuna repeats, helplessly sad, denying nothing. She cannot even say she is sorry. It would be insincere, to apologize for a thing she intends to go through with. And when Chibi-Usa runs off she stands there in the hall a moment, feeling useless. Her legs are slow to start, filled with lead.

Small Lady doesn't want her here, but her Puu cannot and will not leave her alone in this place. "I cannot do that," comes the quiet reply -- perhaps lost to the fleeing pink-haired girl entirely for its pitch. She forces herself to move, at a walk, already knowing what Chibi-Usa will find...

What she will not find.

<Pose Tracker> Michiru Kaioh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

As Setsuna walks, there is a moment perhaps where her heels seem to beat in syncopation. A moment later a hand comes up to rest on her shoulder. It is sheathed in an immaculate white glove, with only a single raindrop's dampness upon it.

"Wait," comes a gentle voice. Sad. Sympathetic, perhaps.

"Let her be for a moment. It's better that way," Sailor Neptune says, from behind the taller woman. "She won't get far; you needn't worry."

After a moment, Sailor Neptune asks in a voice that is, somehow, lacking most of the qualities that she had before, when she bid the other woman to wait: "Do you know where she is going?"

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa did not look up before. She did not look up, really, until seeing Setsuna Meioh. ...And then she is looking down, down, down, trying to find the right room, trying to find something, anything in this place but empty promises that her friend was never here at all.

She hears the quiet reply, has always had an ear for Puu's quiet voice and perhaps always will, but she cannot look back to her, cannot stop for fear of losing her own resolve. So, she runs.

She runs across clean, dusty hallway, and looks up--she never had to remember which door it was but always did anyway, and when she sees it... It is nothing. The rooms could be anything. She steps inside one, looks around, steps outside with a rising sense of panic.


She looks down the hallway, where she's sure Pluto must be coming in the gloom, blinks away more tears. "I--"

Nothing. Nothing is here. And Small Lady is in a strange house, in a strange time, far, far from home, and--


Chibi-Usa opens the door again into the room that she's sure must be it, and leaves it open as she steps into the center of the room. "I..." She reaches slowly into a plush pocket, and pulls out the bright pink-and-gold brooch, opening it up to stare at the brilliant Silver within, standing in the middle of the room, her back to the door and Luna-P floating along behind her sadly. ...The crystal--It shines, even without the light that should be in this house.

She stares into it, red eyes large, and to call what she does wishing is to forget the concept of prayer.

"...Please," she murmurs, remembering when she touched this Crystal last, when it disappeared, when she ruined everything, and yet--

She stares at it, and then holds it close, looking and wanting desperately to see so many lamps, and the girl who keeps them, as more than just a memory or a picture.


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

An ear so attuned to the metronomic striking of her own heels to the ground cannot help but notice the syncopation of that rhythm, the weirding of its echo. At the moment of pressure her head is turning, not in a whirl of shock but a quick controlled motion -- eyes guarded as they were not, before.

She sees the glove first, follows the arm up, and... waits. She is shocked to see Sailor Neptune here, and if she is controlled then it still shows to the longtime fellow soldier in the minute ways her guarded stance adjusts. But does not drop, not entirely.

"Neptune." In her violet suit -- rendered in simple mortal fabric, not senshi silk -- she turns to face her friend. Part of Setsuna's awareness still chases the fall of small feet as they grow more distant, behind her.

Another part of her awareness stretches, seeking. Uranus may not be far. She hears what is in her fellow Outer Senshi's voice, and hears its absence just as clearly, after.

Setsuna Meioh stands tall and still. "I do," she says.

"What brings you here, Neptune?" The 'now' is implicit. The Guardian of Time is neither friendly nor hostile, but she is as guarded as the other woman has ever seen her.

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Ghosts III - 25 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTYb5XwJ7Ss

In an upstairs guest room, glass is sprayed out in an arc from a jagged hole in the window. Blue and gold flickers in its hundred limpid reflections, and then they are left still and clear.

A bannister creaks as a violent weight rocks its beam, then shudders in its moorings as the weight vaults over and off.

A heeled boot pauses in a pool of rain-dappled light. There is another light leaking into the hallway from around a corner. It's faint, ethereal, somehow nostalgic. Almost too dim to see. Twisting, the boot is poised on its ball for a few seconds, then shoves off decisively into the dark.

Luna-P's round shadow is a stretched disk on the wall. The booted feet standing behind Chibi-Usagi are large enough to make her shoes look like they belong to a doll.

A hand swallows both of Chibi-Usa's, along with the Crystal, closing gently over all three. If she tugs, however, those five fingers will tighten commensurately. The room is darkened again, only threads of glow escaping between the intruder's gloved fingers.

"It's all right," Sailor Uranus says. On one knee behind Chibi-Usagi, she is ready to clamp her other hand over the girl's mouth if a scream seems likely.

There are many lies she could tell here, but she balks at the profanity of speaking them at this moment. Yet the truth that falls out is more bitter than them all.

"I'm a friend of Sailor Pluto."

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa is so sure that this is Hotaru's room, but it does not give up its secrets so easily. It gives nothing, in fact; it just takes and takes and takes.

It takes in Chibi-Usa's desperation and the falling shadow of Sailor Uranus and the soft lustrous glow of the greatest artifact of the Silver and Crystal Millennia and perhaps every epoch in between.

It was glowing before the little girl even started to pray, and it glows after another gloved hand is set upon it, too. They can both feel its warmth, see its rays peeking out between Uranus' fingers.

But it doesn't glow any more than it did before she started.

It was already extraordinary, and remains so, no more and no less because of the touch of the sad little girl failing to wield it.

Small Lady has failed.


Far, far, far beneath Tokyo lies a little girl upon a throne.

Her forehead has been in her palm for so long that the two threaten to grow in to one another. Others go about their business, unconcerned by the torpidity of their leader, who glutted herself on the hard work of others, but not enough -- not quite enough -- to awaken fully. Only enough to require digestion, and ironically, a long, long, long nap.

No one notices the tiny shadow of her eyelashes, as they shed darkness upon her cheeks -- the soft, soft yawn that escapes her lips.

She stirs...


Even from behind Chibi-Usa, Uranus can feel the second Crystal, though she cannot see it without craning her neck to observe the pendant upon the little girl's chest.

This is unnecessary, though. Feeling it is enough. It is the opposite of the holy Ginzuishou. It's like the room -- hungry for identity, it takes and takes and takes while the gem bridging their hands gives and gives and gives, so freely, so effortlessly, its infinite potential nascent but nevertheless vividly present.

Infinite hunger rises in response.

<Pose Tracker> Michiru Kaioh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

"I think," Neptune replies to Setsuna, her hand not moving, "that you know why we are here."

She is silent for a few moments. There is perhaps a sense of consideration; Neptune's eyes turn downwards, in thought or meditation, before coming back up to return to Setsuna's. She speaks further:

"This isn't the first time, is it? These things have been going on for quite some time. It makes me wonder; it makes me think. Most of all," and here her hand tightens just a miniscule fraction, not enough to do more than apply a mote of pressure, "it makes me prone to worry."

"Were you meeting her here? Or did you follow?"

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

It's just a faint glow, really. The glow of a beautiful gem that always seems to be there. ...Chibi-Usa does not see the silent soldier coming, and of course does not hear her either. Not at first--not until--

Luna-P wobbles as Sailor Uranus rushes past, and Chibi-Usa is abrubtly grabbed up. "AAmph--"

She sure needs the hand clamped over her mouth, because her first reaction is not quiet. She is already on edge, and she shakes as another roll of thunder rattles the windows, but... She shakes another way, too.

She goes still only when Uranus says she's a friend of Sailor Pluto.

...Chibi-Usa curls her fingers harder around the crystal then, and for a moment, it might seem that she is cooperating. It might seem that she is cooperating as she feels that the Silver Crystal isn't even reacting. As nothing extra seems to happen. ...As she feels something awful in the arms of this soldier, and--


A sensation that reminds her of someone important.

<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

The two Crystals are so close together, separated only by Chibi-Usa's hand and Uranus's. If the one feasts on the other, it is doing so through them.

The pause should be enough. Sailor Uranus is grateful for it. The hand poised to cover Chibi-Usa's mouth draws back instead, changing from the shape of a cup to the shape of a wing. An Olympian athlete is transformed to an Olympian goddess, and with martial discipline of technique she draws back her Apollonian arm.

If Chibi-Usa had screamed, it would have had to be her neck. A twist, a crack. She would have felt it. Instead, the blade of Sailor Uranus's hand will smash Chibi-Usagi's temple in. Her vision will wink out like an old television screen. She will feel nothing.

Indistinct and mottled by the hand-shaded light, the shadow of an arm slides across the watching eyes of Luna-P. Sailor Uranus's eyes are no less lifeless.

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

Neptune says she thinks Setsuna knows. She doesn't, though. Not yet. Dark brows draw down, knitting lines between them. But when the other senshi goes on, those lines disappear again, smoothing out. Some incomplete understanding comes.

The elegant warrior continues, hand on Setsuna's shoulder. Instincts war within the senshi. She has trusted her comrades, has loved them well, all her long, long existence, with her life and more... though not all of her secrets. Almost everything in her says to trust Neptune now.

Except the hand on her shoulder tightens by that fractional degree, glove smooth and white aside from that single speck of rain. And Uranus is still unaccounted for. Some deeper instinct snaps taut within her.

"...You have worries enough already, Neptune. This is my concern. Let it be that." A beat; her tone is quiet but unyielding, a reflection of the Guardian herself. "Let her be that."

Perhaps she would say more, but she's reaching out with her mind at the same time to the ungiven answer to Sailor Neptune's last question -- the way Setsuna Meioh knew Chibi-Usa would be here. To Luna-P. She has not heard the fall of small feet in too long, now.

Setsuna sees the jostled bobble first, within her mind's eye, then the view swings and shifts. The mystery of where Sailor Uranus is, solved. The compact and grab and exchange, watched, heard.

Sailor Neptune may note a certain distance filming garnet. A long pause, which is part observation and part split-second, awful decision-making balanced upon deeply conflicting loyalties. When it lifts, Sailor Pluto looks as sad as she ever has. She meets Neptune's eyes, lets her see the decision, the acknowledgement of way they came in and set this whole thing up.

"I am still with you against the Silence. But I cannot allow you to do this." And she should never have left Small Lady alone, she knows. With a terrible sorrow in her gaze she launches into smooth motion, to pull free and back from that holding arm -- reaches for her pocket.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa can't help that brief moment--that moment where she was struck by that feeling, by the surprise. ...But Sailor Uranus said that she was a friend of Sailor Pluto's, and Chibi-Usa hasn't even seen her yet. A friend of Sailor Pluto's...

"Hey--Put me--"

It's not a shout. It doesn't have to be. Chibi-Usa doesn't even see what Uranus is doing with her hand... But two strange, wide eyes do. The gaze of Luna-P is upon Sailor Uranus as that hand rises. The spherical cat looms there, and with a strange noise, almost inaudible, wobbles closer, closer through the air--

Before its eyes pulse red and green patterns, and the noise turns from a strange wobbling to a hum that fills the room to an ear-splitting siren as Luna-P dives straight for Sailor Uranus's back.

Chibi-Usa fliinches at the noise--and then sees the shadows on the wall. The next instant she's wriggling with all her might, lunging down to bite down as hard as she can at the other arm, with all the savage strength of an elementary schooler.

She scoots right out of Uranus's arms and hits the ground roughly, rolling with both hands protecting the Silver Crystal as she staggers long enough to get her balance--and scoops up Luna-P as she goes.

She's out the door, fast, turning the corner to start running down the hallway towards the next corridor.

It won't be the first time that Small Lady has run for her life. It won't be the first time she's done it through tears and too much shock to react. The glimpse of a Senshi did that much all on its own, and if Uranus looked quickly enough, it would be easy to see the sheer betrayal in a young girl's face.

<Pose Tracker> Michiru Kaioh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Neptune stands completely still for a moment, and when she speaks again it has a slow sense of something dawning. Not a nice something.

"Do you know where we are?" she says then. "This is not the first time that this child has interfered; not even the second. Do you know what she is carrying? Do you think it is a piece of costume glass?"

Neptune's voice raises slightly. "She has brought the Silver Crystal itself to the very lair of our enemies. I know little of her, but I am not simple. It was within your power to remove her from this city, perhaps this nation, yet you did not -"

And then Neptune is surprised. Her hand snaps up, giving Setsuna a moment free from whatever crushing force the sailor of the deep seas could bring to bare. Her head snaps towards the sudden shrieking siren, with a split-second of stark despair in her face.

Just a split-second, though. But it's enough that Setsuna is free and reaching for her pocket.

"Tch," Neptune says, and her hand strikes out to aim a blow towards the taller woman's wrist. Perhaps too soon or too late. "I did not ask for your permission."

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Sailor Uranus!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Neptune knows so much, yet... not all. She does not know that her partner down the hall is ready to twist the neck of their future Princess, does not know any of the beautiful future that Sailor Pluto has seen and lived. Just as Setsuna comes to realize how little she knows of what the other Outer Senshi have been up to, she knows that they will not understand this thing she does.

The surprise on Neptune's face has its mate in Setsuna's chest, a gripping spasm. They are both driven by the same thing: the choice the Guardian of Time has made. The elder senshi does not allow the pain to hinder her, though with a heavy heart she realizes from that look of Neptune's ...

They came here ready to stop here, but did not think they would have to. How could they?

She is faster than Neptune thanks to that asymmetric reaction, by the most fractional of seconds. By so little... but by enough, so the sharp blow splits the air by Setsuna's wrist but does not strike her hand away.

"Asked or not -- you will only touch her through me!"

Bare fingers close on her Lip Rod as Setsuna Meioh skips backward, and as she raises it so rises a rushing cascade of white sand, from everywhere and nowhere -- sparkling grains of time to shroud her transformation.

"Pluto Planet Power Make-up!"

All the other Senshi can see for a suspended moment is the glitter of a dark slender shadow within, spinning, arms upraised.

Then the silhouette drops in a blur of sand-obscured motion and the spinning alters--

--a long leg sweeps through the still-surging sheet of sparkling sand, scattering grains in a great arc, the hard edge of a dark boot leading in toward the side of Sailor Neptune with great force.

As the sands hiss everywhere, hitting the walls and ceiling to then dissipate, the grim senshi behind them is revealed: an aroused Guardian, her sorrow no impediment to her titanium determination.

"SMALL LADY!" she calls at the top of her voice, a great desperate clarion.

COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Sailor Pluto!
COMBAT: Michiru Kaioh transforms into Sailor Neptune!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> 26 Ghosts III - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8b8v_XK8As

Luna-P's keen is not just debilitating on its own, it also sets off a confused panopoly of warning bells in Sailor Uranus. The upside of having good reflexes is well-known, but sometimes slow reflexes can help you push through a distraction. Imagine setting off this same siren behind a rhino versus a leopard.

Uranus nearly leaps from her skin, and in the moment of lost concentration, Luna-P thunks into her back solidly. It is not even painful, really, but it is an enemy, and in the instants in which Uranus's attention is split, a set of chibi teeth sink into Uranus's bicep. A flinch reaction gives the squirmy captive enough space to drop free, and Uranus shouts in savage objection. Clamping a palm to one ear to shield it, she stumbles to her feet, nerves ragged, and slaps a palm into Luna-P, swinging the cat-globe into the wall. Drywall cracks with a spray of dust, Luna-P stuck halfway in. As Uranus strides away, she spares a moment to punch Luna-P in the "back" as it tries to struggle free, crunching it all the way into the wall, wedged tight.

The look Chibi-Usa gave her cuts deep. If Uranus had not watched planet after planet full of innocents suffer and die, it might have even made her hesitate.

Chibi-Usa has a big head start, but Uranus is making up the distance with frightening alacrity. The swiftest of the Sailor Senshi versus a tiny elementary schooler is no contest at all. The drumbeat of Chibi-Usa's approaching death is a grim snare as bootheels clatter too quickly to distinguish steps. Sailor Uranus absolutely erupts around the corner, and...

Stares down an empty hallway.

On the right side, it's all closed upper story windows. On the left, closed doors. There's no way Chibi-Usa managed to get to the other end of the hallway to turn another corner, which means...

Sailor Uranus strides down the hall, shoulders heavy with aggression, eyes cold with zeal. When she reaches the first door, she hauls to the side and kicks her foot right into its center, ripping it clean off its hinges and sending it smashing into the opposite wall, to flop over like an arrow-feathered sentry. It only takes a quick glance to deem that bare chamber clean, and she has barely interrupted her stride when she continues down the row.

The next door gets the same treatment, though it cracks in half and skids along the ground instead of flying. Nothing. Onward.

This door, Uranus has suspicions about; it seems about the right distance for Chibi-Usa's pace. Where a human would have shouldered it, Uranus can outright grapple it, shoving her hands right through the frame to grasp a hinge in one hand, the lock in the other, and rip both out of solid hardwood in a spray of splinters. Her smooth brawn ripples as she twists fully through the motion, violently hurling the door right through the glass-paned window across the hall.

As a spray of glass follows the falling door into the rain outside, Uranus stalks into the exposed room. She turns her back to the storm, and carries it in her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Hotaru's Sorrow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrjoTTH165E

First it was Chibi-Usa who sought so desperately for the right room in this house, and now it is Uranus. The result is the same...

She finds only emptiness, and silence, and darkness, and dust.


The door gave easily to Chibi-Usa's back and swung shut behind her just as quietly. And the hardwood floors have yielded to soft carpeting. Without lighting, it's difficult to pin down the color, and now isn't the time to focus on such things anyway, and yet -- she knows this carpet. She does.

She's played Go Fish and Concentration on it so many times.

It's all so unfamiliar, without the manifold lamps that once glistened in this place, that brought dozens of tiny joys to a joyless place. Not a single one has been left behind.

Only a string, weathered, heavy, strong enough to have hung an antique bronze lamp, shaped like a paper lantern. Chibi-Usa remembers it clearly -- it was Hotaru's only present on Christmas morning, and she talked incessantly about it for months.

It bends beneath and between her best friend's toes, her tiny weight more than enough to push this discarded scrap -- this precious proof -- further into the carpet.

It's the two almost floor-to-ceiling windows on the far wall, across from the door, that invite doubt.

They were so often invisible behind blackout drapes.

But if anyone ever saw them, it was Chibi-Usa herself, helping Hotaru tug them back and let the sunlight in, the fresh air.

Now there is nothing to veil them, but also nothing in them but gray. Gray glass, gray skies, gray sheets of water in between.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Loneliness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX3osS9JNvI

Chibi-Usa doesn't have a weapon to strike down her enemies, or a shield to absorb any blow. Not that she can use. ...She has something given to her for protection, instead, something that can help her get around things, find ways to accomplish her mission...

And Luna-P wobbles dangerously as it's knocked into the wall, crunching tight with drywall all around it. ...And then further in.

It's still there when Uranus charges after the tiny elementary schooler. Fast, too fast, and--

...And a voice. A voice she knows, rich with worry, rich with concern, barely audible. But she can't go back.

So she rushes into a door, closes it behind her--

And soon after, hears the thundering of the other doors. Hears them--as she steps inside, looks down to the carpet... And this place--she knows it, but she doesn't. She was wrong before, after all. But this string... Chibi-Usa can see the lamps for a moment, can see this one in particular, the whole room just as it was--and then there... there is the gray sky.

She's not here. ...She's not here at all. Gone, and the Crystal clutched in her hand is not bringing her back. Chibi-Usa does all she can to stay quiet, to stay silent, but... If Sailor Uranus listens, if she has her ears open...

She can hear a sniffle. Just a soft noise of crying, of fear and loneliness, crushing loneliness, from another room.

Chibi-Usa picks up the string and it tangles about her hand with her hurry--and then Small Lady is rushing across the room, starting to pry open a gray window.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

The sand rises and the sea does not seem to move. Sailor Neptune's face retains that grim and stoic mien, even as the power of the planet of the outer fringes of this star is drawn upon. The leg comes in towards her, out of the hissing storm, and -

It hits with painful force. The silk and taffeta of her suit does not provide much direct protection, naturally enough. Sailor Pluto can feel the side of Neptune dimple inwards with far more depth than she may feel comfortable striking, even in her desperation.


Her leg can't come down, either, because Neptune has pinned it against her side with a mixture of an agonizing-no-doubt twist and a tight draw down, pressing her elbow against the side of Pluto's shin. Her teeth grit, her eyes tight with pain as she works to draw in breath - succeeds -

"Noble," she says, voice lower now. "I suppose. I have no room for such luxuries. But perhaps you will give her time..."

Neptune's other hand comes round to grip at Pluto's ankle.

"To complete... her mission... but you know I am not here alone."

It is then that Sailor Neptune twirls in place. Neat, sharp, and crisp, almost but not quite two hundred and seventy degrees, all done in a casual twist that would put an elegant twirl in a skirt. It does not now, of course, given the contorted posture she has struck out of necessity.

No: all that elegant twirling is being put into Sailor Pluto, Neptune's arm drawing up at the last moment so that the other sailor soldier's momentum will carry her through the wall.

It is at that point that Neptune straightens up. It is agonizing, but the pain only echoes in her face for a second. She, at least, steps to use the door.

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

Sailor Pluto, seasoned soldier she is, recognizes the success of her strike by the feel of her dear friend's side giving way to her boot. She's thinking of a terrible duty and a frantic vet visit, both shared, even as she roundhouse kicks one of her two closest and most trusted comrades.

Not... not trusted enough.

The kick costs Pluto in more ways than that. With a crouch over the awkward angle of her knee and a grimace at the sharp joint pain applied by that grip, the trapped senshi glares down the length of her trapped limb at Neptune.

"It is... no luxury..." Pluto grits back, low and strained. Her right arm draws back, fingers snapping closed to a fist. "Just another thing I must stop at all costs!"

She knows Neptune is not alone, and her last relayed view of Uranus speeds that return blow along with all furious desperation. But as Pluto slings her knuckles for the fine blade of Neptune's jaw, her aim is lost to whirling force. The ocean's mystery, transmuted to its might and applied with that most elegant of touches, brooks no opposition. It simply IS, overwhelming and powerful, and then Pluto is where she was not.

"Ungh!" Her back breaks the wall -- does not, itself, break, though it feels shattered by Neptune's throw -- and she leaves a ragged hole in her wake, splintered wooden beams dripping plaster dust.

Pluto smacks the far side of the next room, which is thankfully a smooth wall and not a second story plate glass window, with a nasty crack and bounces off it, hard. And no time to wince or even gather herself. There's only time to move. Neptune is coming, and Uranus is...

With a shove and a swallowed shout of pain she rolls to her hands and knees in the oversized tub -- a bathroom, she's landed in a mansion-proportioned upstairs bathroom, she recognizes even as she throws herself onto the hard tiles, pulls herself up by the sink's edge. Her mind is filled with those last images she sought from Luna-P, the looks in wide red eyes and lifeless blue.

'I'm a friend of Sailor Pluto.'

It's not her indomitable will that sees the Soldier of Revolution to her feet, not this time, not as it has so many times throughout thousands of years.

It is Puu's heart. With each thudding beat drives her up and forward and through the pain and sorrow both, it pushes her beyond all of that and into... Anger, aroused and fiercely protective, a coal burning in her breast.

Let it scorch a hole right through her later. In this moment of great need, that it moves her is enough. All that matters is-

"SMALL LADY!!" Now she screams it, and the Guardian of Time is known for her screams.

The bathroom has two doors, two entrances. As Neptune follows through one, Pluto slams through the other and away at top speed. She could never hope to pace the wind-heeled senshi she's now racing toward, but if she can outrun the pursuing tide...


She must get there before Uranus brings the murder in her gaze to bear. Anything less is... Every muscle, every thought, every atom of the eternal guardian knows only one goal: get to Chibi-Usa.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> 10 Ghosts II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siiAmVKAPbI

Sailor Uranus emerges into an empty room again. Rain patters against the windows, muted. She can hear the same sound through the door behind her, the sound fresh and clear through a broken pane. The taste of clean mist seeps into the room from behind her. Blue eyes search every corner of the room, and find it empty. Standing with fists at her sides, Uranus stares with unseeing eyes out into the rain, and listens.

After a few moments, her head jerks, cocking in the direction of the right wall. Her nostrils flare briefly. Approaching, she rests the shell of her ear against the drywall. With a finger knuckle, she gives it a few soft raps.

On the other side, Chibi-Usa hears a tapping on the wall, as she's trying to open the window.

Sidestepping carefully, Uranus silently backs away from that wall, staring at it fervidly.

Chibi-Usa hears nothing, now, but the rain. The window slides open, thankfully almost without sound.

The only warning is the sound of loud bootfalls somewhere in the other room.

Several yards behind Chibi-Usa, the wall explodes in a spray of white dust and a clatter of drywall chunks. Sailor Uranus's crossed arms and leaning shoulder drove her through like a battering ram--no, a breaching round. She stumbles as she comes down amidst this rain of wall-chunks, her boots slipping as they attempt to grasp ground, her own momentum almost overbalancing her into a wild sprawl. But her athletic talents carry her again, as frightening tonight as they are inspiring on the field. Her feet catch the angles they need to keep her balance centered. One arm falls loosely to stretch fingers towards the floor, like a compass orienting herself. Mere moments after ripping through the wall, Uranus has caught her footing and ground to a stop facing Chibi-Usa's back.

It's over now. The need for precision now outweighs the need for haste. When Uranus takes her next step, it is grim, unhurried. Powder from the wall has whitened her shoulders, turned her hair pale and grainy, and smeared her cheeks. Her boot plants on the red string, crushing half of it into the carpet, leaving it crimped and dirty when Uranus's weight lifts from it again.

Chibi-Usagi has almost made it out the window when Uranus's hand clamps down on the back of her shirt. The Amazonian senshi scruffs Chibi-Usa like a kitten, pulling her out of the windowframe easily and lifting her up in the air, where none of her limbs can reach any solid surface. Held out this far, she'd have trouble even kicking Uranus's torso, whose arm is much longer than her little leg.

Methodically, Sailor Uranus gives the window a rabbit-punch, shallow and sharp, shattering the raised pane. Brushing away smaller chunks, she grabs a large shard sticking up from the bottom and twists it, cracking it free.

Pallid moonlight fills the makeshift knife, clean and ghostly. Sailor Uranus clenches her hand in Chibi-Usa's scruff with a twist, tightening her collar to limit the motions of her little head.

"Shh," she urges dully. "Close your eyes."

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Almost. Almost.

That sound just about stops Chibi-Usa's heart, but her little rabbit heart is going too fast to be slowed or stopped so easily. Beat, beat, beat, and she doesn't stop noticing her tears but she doesn't have the luxury of slowing down for them. A little girl ought to be able to stop and cry, but this is not the first time that she has run for her life.

She doesn't want to think it's going to be the last, but the images of Sailor Uranus flood into her mind regardless.

She opens the window, slides it free, and then the bootfalls--she does not stop to be afraid. She just starts going, not even looking as Uranus bursts through the wall and chunks of it hit her face, her shoulders, make her hands shake as she starts crawling through. She doesn't look--

The string is on the carpet. The string is about Chibi-Usa's hand--the hand scruffs her from her jacket, and--"AAAh!"

She hiccups with it, and starts flailing, wriggling and moving to try to hit anything, find anything--and can't.

There is a wobbling, elsewhere. But it is not here--There is only the shattering of the window and--


"PUU!" Chibi-Usa screams out in return, and stares with wide, wide eyes at the shard of glass. ...And then she can barely move her head.

"NO!" she calls out at Sailor Uranus, and wriggles and writhes and flails, until she reaches up and uselessly grabs at Sailor Uranus's hand behind her back, not quite flexible enough to reach, not quite--

"I won't--I--" Panic starts to overcome her, her breathing too fast to talk anymore, and she doesn't close her eyes. She can't. She can't look at any one thing, can't do anything, but--


But it's just like at home. Just like the shattered ruins of a beautiful future. And the Crystal in her hand still glows, still won't answer her.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Sailor Neptune walks into the bathroom and her eyes rest on Pluto as she gets up and immediately lunges forwards. Shrieking, like the dead arisen; hard enough to make Neptune, already aching from her kick, wince.

"Of course," she says, with a certain weariness in her voice. And then she pursues.

It is not a long pursuit; even a mansion's bathroom isn't an enormous place. Neptune moves to grasp at Pluto's arm, to try to twist it backwards, to dig in her heels on the ground and be an anchor. Her teeth grit as she does. She does not see what Uranus is moving to do. She does not want to; she has faith and confidence in her partner.

And other things, such as frustration. "And what will you do when you get there? Gather her up in your arms? Comfort her for the ten or fifteen minutes before the curtain falls?" Her tone is low, unduly venomous perhaps, or perhaps duly so; Neptune's opinion likely differs from Pluto on this particular matter.

Her voice is trembling slightly even as she keeps speaking. "She is bearing yet another treasure to the doorstep of our enemies and all you can think of is to protect her. Can you not feel it in the air? I don't fully understand it but the stakes are immense; beyond reckoning. I have seen it; you know that I have. Do you think this is some sort of recreation? She has done this - she will do it again -"

Neptune's words trail off. It is abrupt. Internally, in her heart, the tension has become too great, too stormy for it to articulate clearly. Neptune's grip tightens, as does the tension in her jaw.

"Can you save her every time? What will you do the one time you are absent and she succeeds, Sailor Pluto? Do you feel it might be so quick that you would never know? I see it every night."

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Is Your Love Strong Enough? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVEsA6BSsWc

'PUU!' comes her answer, with a note of terrible mortal terror entirely unlike anything the lonely guardian has ever heard in the voice of her Small Lady. Impossibly, she runs faster still. 'NO!'

But there's not enough speed in her legs, just like there was not enough trust between the Outer Senshi to prevent this.

Pluto only barely reaches the nearby doorframe to Hotaru Tomoe's empty bedroom when the tides catch up to her, inescapable, and Sailor Neptune seizes hold of a trailing limb. A wrench and a knowing twist, and between her consummate skill and dancer's precision Neptune has captured her friend, has her locked in place and betrayed by her arm's own design.

The sea seethes in her ear and she can only listen, wide eyes fixed on the frozen way moonlight slides off of glass. On the soft-cheeked vulnerable little girl beneath that glint, the fear that should never be in those big eyes, the hopeless struggle. But she hears Neptune, over the roar of her own pulse.

"I will do whatever is necessary. You have no idea--" --Of course they don't, these are secrets she has guarded well, even from her comrades-- "--you don't understand! Every time I will be here for her. Every time. You do not know what is at stake, but you know me, Neptune."

Low, urgent, and as sincere as she ever is. "You know what I am capable of, too."

Sailor Pluto cannot allow her fellow soldiers to murder their future princess, the daughter of their future Queen. Cannot allow her friends to kill Small Lady.

Neither can she unleash the lethal force that might be required to force her way free and interrupt the unfolding horror. The fate of the world and the shining future rests with the Outer Senshi. Sailor Pluto will not sacrifice her comrades to save her best friend.

There is one acceptable sacrifice left to her, though.

"STOP!" she thunders, with all the dire authority at a demigod's command.

Her eyes flash. Her long hair rises on no wind, eldritch and unfettered. She is a woman-shaped storm to match the fury outside, a tempest anchored by the ocean.

Trapped, but not without her power.

Not without choice.

"Stop or I will stop you, Sailor Uranus! I will stop the world and Stop the forward march of Time Itself to stop you."

The truth of the threat -- the promise -- is writ in sorrowful garnet, rings in her voice. The knowledge of the cost... it is there, too.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

The shard in Uranus's hand twists as she tenses, ready to spear it into the neck of the child she's holding aloft. Her blue eyes flash at the same moment the glass shard in her hand does, both reflecting moonlight from the window. Rain patters on her boots and legs, blown through the open window.

She could strike, and end this, for Sailor Neptune has pinned the rescuer Chibi-Usa is calling out for. She has all the time in the world, and she is beyond hesitation. Only one thing stays her hand: the knowledge that she only has that time as long as Sailor Pluto allows it.

Pluto's authority and passion ought to have stunned Uranus. The fact that her eye merely twitches at it is the first indication that the situation may be even worse than Pluto had already thought it. Uranus does not relax her grip on the child, nor does the glass blade in her hand falter. She does, however, remain quite still, save for letting her head loll a bit, so that she can look halfway across her shoulder at her sister-warriors.

"If you would stop us, you will have to kill us both. Do you think you can hide her somewhere so distant that she'd survive without you? Neptune and I are warriors of the trackless dark. If we live, we will find her."

An aggrieved tone leaks into her cold words, as Uranus meets Pluto's eyes directly. "For all your softness, we cannot believe you would be so selfish. That you would cut all three of us down here and doom the world. This child dies either way, Sailor Pluto, either here in this room or by the scythe later."

Turning away from Pluto, Uranus gazes without flinching at the face of Chibi-Usagi, her eyes dulling again. "We know very well you would die for her, but we believe that if we force you to decide, you will not betray humanity. We believe Queen Serenity did not choose a coward to guard the Time Gate. So look away. Spare your heart and whatever's left of your honor as a soldier."

Sailor Uranus's arm draws back. She knows that this may be her last conscious act, that she may die in between grains of time, without even experiencing it. Having invoked Pluto's duty, Uranus has no choices left, only obedience to her mission.

"Because whatever you have become," Uranus says, "I serve the Princess."

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Sailor Neptune bristles, quietly.

"I don't?" she says, her voice silky. Her grip tightens. "I do not understand what is at stake?" There is that same tremulous note to it - "You say this, to me? Pfa-" It's more of a choke than anything, but then Pluto's words move on, and Neptune does not answer in instant reply. Her eyes turn up, towards her partner.

It is a glance of helpless sorrow.

It lives only in Sailor Neptune's eyes for a moment. Uranus speaks the words that Neptune, peculiarly, has barely been able to manage. Even as Pluto's hair rises, even as the elder soldier speaks, Uranus strikes a chord. When her words are done, Neptune asks Pluto in a lower voice, "Do you?"

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

Sailor Pluto prepares herself to die.

She has been preparing to die ever since she was half as tall as the Garnet Rod her Queen gave unto her. With the sacred weapon she accepted her sacred task and sacred trust: an eternity of fealty sworn with all the awed love a child's heart can hold.

With them, she was bound by her three taboos. Two, already broken for the sake of averting the Silence. The third...

Pluto remembers well the sweet clear sound of her Queen's voice, like the cleanest tone struck from the purest crystal.

'You must never stop time. If you were ever to commit such an act... Pluto, when that time comes, you will likely destroy yourself.'

And with all the awed solemnity a child's eyes can convey, the little princess nodded her head and took up the Garnet Rod and her post at the Time Gate and her long lifetime of loneliness. As dear as they were and are to her, her fellow sentinels of the outermost reaches of the solar system have always had each other. At her most distant post, Pluto never had anyone to be her own, her person, her first and best friend.

Not until Puu met a small sad girl with the pinkest hair she'd ever seen and the most wonderful laugh she would ever in her life hear.

The Soldier of Revolution always knew she might fall in their bid to stop the Silence. And she has always sworn that if the cost is as awful, as simple, as a single life -- she will pay it. If it is only her own life, she will pay it and fall glad it cost nothing more.

She never thought it would be paid directly to her dear friends, though. Queen Serenity was more wise than that little girl ever realized, and the eternal young woman mourns to see it now. It will destroy her to give her life on the altar of this betrayal, this broken trust.

Setsuna Meioh prepares to destroy herself.

She looks into the cold disappointment of Sailor Uranus. It is a gutting, tearing pain to hear those accusations, the tone of them. The menace and what lies behind. This is, indeed, so much worse than Pluto had ever feared. If the promise of her death had backed her friends from this precipice...

But it did not. And they came prepared for this crossroads, too, they knew it might come to this before they ever set foot in the Tomoe mansion this night.

She feels Neptune's grip, the tightening of fingers around the arm twisted behind her back, and all Pluto can be is glad for that contact, in this moment. Whatever its nature.

Uranus says she serves the Princess. Neptune asks if Pluto does, surely meant to be a challenge. Instead, Sailor Pluto feels a calm certainty slowing the beat of her heart. The answer is here, in this room, and she knows that however her friends think of her after, her life will have been given for her Princess.

She could tell them. But she is too loyal. The taboos are hers to break, their costs hers to bear. This secret belongs to her liege and a shining Crystal future, and Sailor Pluto will not betray it.

Her eyes do not flash any more. They gleam, her softness on display and unashamed. At the last her gaze shifts back to Small Lady, to those frightened eyes and the reflection of death suspended above them, sharp and cold.

To Neptune's question she replies in that low quiet voice with a simple, "I do."

The forbidden words are next upon her tongue, the forward press of Time a silvery presence in her mind, sharp and beautiful with ineffable mystery -- but not as sharp as the moonlit blade in the hand of Sailor Uranus.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Small Lady can see her oldest friend--her protector--as she arrives, at the same time that she can see the shadows and reflection movement. Uranus could strike. ...But she doesn't for an instant, and Chibi-Usa does not know all of the details of why she does not. She just knows that Pluto is here and has threatened to do something that she's never seen her do--

She stops kicking for a moment, to look at Pluto, and she is afraid and defiant both, looking with that terror at Sailor Pluto. As she promises. As--Sailor Neptune, another soldier--

Soldiers she does not know. "What are you ta--" She cuts off the word, her quick breathing making it hard to even talk. Talking about killing these two--hiding--of the dark...

"Why are you--"

Is it because--No, it must be. Because they want to hurt Hotaru..

But she stops. She stops, and her eyes widen, and she goes totally still, as Sailor Uranus mentions that name. The name, Serenity. And she mentions--serving--

The small Princess here does not know the history of these three, together. She does not know the dreams Neptune has, but--

Here is the moment: Sailor Uranus's hand is drawn back. In her other hand is the Small Lady here, in red jacket and dark jeans, with her pink odango wilted from the rain, her hair messy from the struggling and running, tear tracks down her eyes, red eyes wide. The rain is freezing against her as it rushes in through the window into this precious room, showered now with drywall and whitened by the specks of destruction.

And they are calling Sailor Pluto, Guardian of the Time Gate, selfish.

Pluto. 'Puu'. The sad, lonely woman who was always there, at the gate, who listened to her when a little princess thought that no one else would. ...Who was there, year after year, time after time, in happiness and in sorrow. Who was the one to help her find a way to set right what went wrong. ...Maybe she won't ever get the chance, now. But Puu....

She does not take her time thinking it slowly. The images flash through her mind; they say that one's life flashes before her eyes when she is about to die, and so much of Chibi-Usa's life is this precious friend, this second mother. And so--

She sees something in Pluto's eyes, but she shakes her head fiercely.

"I c-can't stop you. I won't... I w-won't turn away."

She straightens as best she can, can't lift her chin, but tries to put on a brave face. "...But I won't let you say that my mother chose a coward. I won't let you say that about Puu! You don't know ANYTHING about Queen Serenity!"

She's still crying. But she looks up at Sailor Pluto, meeting her eyes. There is something regal in her expression, in that moment.

At least she won't be alone. ...The little sniffle, the way she tenses up, doesn't entirely mar the look of a Princess.

<icon information> Logging Started: 4292018 12:09:21 AM

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

There is no point in checking Pluto's face. If Pluto is resolved to stop her, there is no way to be fast enough. Perhaps if Uranus waits too long, Pluto will gather the nerve to stop her. Perhaps if she does not wait long enough, Pluto will not have the time to steel herself to her duty. There is no point in trying to gauge that either.

Thus, Sailor Uranus neither tarries nor rushes. She draws her arm back, she chooses her angle in her head as the little girl's courage shames her. But shame before dishonor, every time. Her tricep twitches and...

my mother

Uranus's body goes rigid. Queen Serenity had but one child, and the idea of a bastard? Unthinkable. But what Chibi-Usagi just said has the shape of truth, and merely needs to be fitted into a puzzle.

SOUNDTRACK - 36 Ghosts IV - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_rmiDnvRSo

Usagi Small Lady is being hunted by a Clan from the future.

Usagi Small Lady has Pluto for a guardian.

Usagi Small Lady has inexplicable powers.

Usagi Small Lady is Usagi Tsukino's cousin.

Sailor Uranus's blue eyes show white all around, her lips peeling from her teeth in a grimace. She looks at Sailor Pluto at last, seeking a denial.

Usagi Small Lady looks so much like the princess, but that's not what really makes it click.

It's that she has that same stupid, reckless innocence. The same open ribcage with the heart out for anyone to hurt. In the little one, an acid tongue tries to protect it. In the bigger one, denial. But the hearts match.

This is not Queen Serenity's daughter. This is Queen Serenity's granddaughter.

Uranus tears her eyes from Pluto to look at Chibi-Usagi's face, the glass blade in her hand finally trembling. Her teeth are tight as she double-takes swiftly back to Sailor Neptune, seeking guidance from her partner with her horrified eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

And as for Neptune --

The roiling storm of bleak despair within her is shocked into stillness. Her eyes meet Uranus's. Perhaps she sees the doubt, the hesitance. Her expression softens, and there is a small and wistful smile there. Gentle. Forgiving.

Sailor Neptune makes a single small nod, as if to say: All will be well, and:

Go ahead.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Sailor Uranus is trapped in the mercy of her lover's eyes for a moment, finding comfort where she had sought insight. Neptune sees her weakness, the same she accused Pluto of. She sees it and she persists in loving. And then, with nothing but her eyes, the ocean's empress stains herself so that they match. She takes on the guilt, just as Uranus's knife lowered slightly. She condemns.

Uranus's shoulders jerk reflexively. So the choice is made again. Nothing has truly changed. This was always a grave crime, whether the child was peasant or royal. It does not matter who must die. Neptune and Uranus have sworn a dark and intimate promise, to sacrifice even each other. No one is worth the world.

The grimace on Uranus's face widens, her clenched teeth gripping harder. Sailor Moon--Usagi. She does not even know, Uranus is sure. She's seen how these two act together. And even if she did, it would not make this child truly her daughter. To plunge a blade into this throat is to dash a hand across a mirage and dispel it.

For the Usagi that Haruka knows has never tangled up her bedsheets in the embrace of a man, nor waited nervously to find out if a little blue line would appear on a stick. Her stomach never grew swollen with life. It's ridiculous, really; the girl who cries at skinned knees never suffered for hours to birth a new life. Nor did she watch pink hair grow on that life's soft head, or proudly nurse it with her consort's hands on her shoulders, or hobble forward holding up tiny hands to watch its first steps. Every motherly smile and tear has yet to be. The roots this girl will one day grow all through Usagi Tsukino's heart have scarcely breached the skin.

Kill her. The Queen Serenity who sent Saturn into eternal sleep, Pluto into eternal solitude, and Uranus and Neptune into eternal war would not shy from this, however it grieved her. Is this not why Uranus was sent to the watchtowers in the dark? Because the Queen saw that she was iron instead of gold?

Air heaves all at once, violently, into Uranus's lungs, as if she gathers the wind to herself. The wide eyes of a wounded animal stare into Chibi-Usagi's face. So this is what Usagi's daughter will look like. Would look like.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. Staring out into the empty void year after year, knowing it held nothing but an infinite wellspring of talons and hate, Uranus winnowed down who she was to just a handful of razor-thin, razor-sharp principles. Haruka Tenoh has tried to do the same, the memories of that terrible past often feeling closer than those of her own human childhood. Until now she had never been forced to confront what gave her the strength to be this sort of person, when she could as well had a life of joy and lassitude, whether with Sailor Neptune in the past or her sponsorship money in the present.

It was the timeless old way of things. The duty that became a spiritual attainment. The humiliation of service transfigured to exaltation. The Princess afar. The Princess, the Princess.

A rosy-cheeked Usagi is going to cup her round stomach and think up a thousand names for this child, only to choose her own.

The glass shard sinks into the carpet point-first, a crack springing up fully along its length. Uranus drops Chibi-Usagi as if stung by her. She's near to hyperventilating, her eyes large, her arms spread a little to keep balance. She stares at the fallen child, and takes a step back, shaking her head. She wants to. She should. She HAS to.

She can't.

COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Sailor Pluto!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Sailor Pluto seeks the gaze of her Princess and finds her place there, amidst the sorrow and the terror. That look, so regal and brave in the face of terror: it is all the reward Puu's fealty and love need. Small Lady believes in her. She is not alone.

To the glint of deadly glass Pluto gives only her peripheral. The speed of thought is her strength, in this moment, more swift even than Uranus's finely-hewn brawn. They both know it. Sailor Pluto gives herself to her Princess entirely, garnet eyes as sad and as loving as they have ever been. They promise: It will be okay, Small Lady. It will be okay.

But something is happening: a quiet, powerful something, currents flowing around and through the young women in this room. A gale, a flood -- a storm, a mixing of elements and something even more primal. It is the feel of wide eyes on hers that does, in the end, pull Puu away from her Small Lady, that and the sense of currents shifting.

She looks up, to Sailor Uranus, and sees something other than death in her eyes for the first time all night. The Soldier of Revolution has no denial for her, only the same solemn truth that was in garnet when her loyalties were challenged moments before.

Sailor Pluto serves her Princess.

She tracks the second canting of that horrified look to over her shoulder, knows to whom it goes. In this intimate clinch of arrested combat she can even feel the return nod at her back.

'If only all of our problems were as simple as you, my little kitten,' Michiru Kaioh had said to a healthy grey fuzzball once upon a time. A hand on Setsuna Meioh's shoulder; a grip twisting Sailor Pluto's arm behind her. She hopes this does not make the dreams worse for her friend.

The movement when it comes is so sharp and so sudden -- a descending flash like a falling star -- but --

The moonlit dagger stabs the floor.

Summoned motes of Time, invisible to all save its Guardian but shining to her, swirl thick between and beyond the air around them... and dissipate, released, inert once more. Sailor Neptune is well-positioned to feel the sudden sag in her captive comrade, the way Pluto's muscles all slacken at once for the span of a receding shock.

The tall senshi staggers only so much as the hold on her arm will allow, and suffers joint-searing pain for it, but... it is a distant thing, like the buzzing of a fly against a window pane.

"Small Lady...!"

Puu has spoken that name so many times tonight, screamed it: in sadness, in desperation.

Now it is a prayer of thanks.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

So what is it that is going on within the heart of Sailor Neptune right now?

Many things.

Part of her seethes with frustration, frustration she knows is futile, pointless. If you could see what I've seen, Sailor Neptune thinks as Pluto implores her and the heavens for the Nth time, you would never have let matters come to this point. But she can't, can she? Even her paintings show only a glimpse of what she's seen. An imperfect sketch of the vibrant, living-dead realities her dreams often take her to.

Part of her aches. I should never have involved her, she thinks, about Uranus: I should have left well enough alone. She does not need to be here; I should not have brought her...

The glass shard hits the ground.

Well; that's it, Neptune thinks to herself in that subtle inner monologue. Pluto thrashes in her grip and it takes Neptune a moment further to realize - for she had been so gathered-up in the sight of the moon on that glass - that she's still holding onto her comrade.

Comrade, Neptune thinks. It feels inadequate. Indecent. Insulting, almost, to use such words, such images, for someone to whom she has felt such closeness. There has been doubt but it has been wistful, a peculiar reversal, Neptune thought, of the roles their ages cast them in.

None of it mattered, Neptune thinks. Because of Small Lady. Neptune's lips quirk for a moment - a tremble, almost tearful - as she scolds herself inwardly, lightly. Are you jealous, Neptune tells Neptune, of a frightened child?

"She must love you very much," Neptune murmurs to Pluto with a wistful tone, before her grip loosens, perhaps at an inopportune time. And yet for such ruthless behavior, it may be an anticlimax, that her final revenge is to give Sailor Pluto a risk of staggering.

Her eyes haven't left Sailor Uranus, all throughout.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa is stuck here. There's nothing she can do. ...Is it going to hurt? It's probably going to hurt. But that can't be as bad as knowing that she won't save her mother after all, that the future is gone for good, all because of her. It makes her want to cry, and run, but she can't run, and she wants to--

She stops whatever she wants to do and stares as Uranus looks at her face, seeing the trembling. She doesn't know what's going on. She doesn't know why Uranus's stance has changed, why she's so still, and she can't see Neptune's nod but--

She knows Uranus is looking at something. "Wh--" Chibi-Usa finds the tension, the fear is set to burst at a point in her throat, as she can't do anything but wait. She does not know what Uranus is thinking. The air gathers--A wounded..


Chibi-Usa is her mother's daughter. For an instant she sees that wound in Uranus's eyes, sees something lonely and terrible in her expression--but she doesn't understand it, and she is her own Princess as well, puts the guard up over herself again as the glass drops--the--

Chibi-Usa sinks hard to the floor, dropped as if she were a tinier child even than she is, a ten-year-old in jacket and jeans hitting the ground wet with rain and studded with glass that sticks but does not cut. "Ah--"

She thuds, and rolls, the impact knocking the wind out of her and finally opening her hands in a single violet instant--

Something pink clatters across the chunks of glass and sounds silent into the ruined carpet, as Chibi-Usa starts to scramble up, looking around to the others again--

She sees Pluto sag, sees her stagger, hears her calling out to her... And her Small Lady does look up, for a moment. "Puu..." She hesitates, looks to the others, and winces as she pushes up to her feet. She backs up for the window.

...There is a sound of something wobbling through the air...

She stares at all three of the soldiers here, for instants that feel longer than they are, wary. ...Wary of two, and something more complicated for Pluto, something that helps make her hesitate.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Standing above Chibi-Usagi, Sailor Uranus feels a sort of numb catharsis. So, she thinks. I have a line. I found it. She is more human, less free. She does not know whether she's saved her soul or lost her will.

The rain still patters into the carpet by the window. Uranus spends her portion of this quiet armistice largely alone, staring at Chibi-Usagi dully. When she looks up, of course, she is looking for Neptune.

The Sea King has released her prisoner, and with that it is truly over. Perhaps Neptune could have the strength for this, but if so, not tonight. Uranus can't give her a smile right now, or even a sigh of relief. She broke with Neptune, she knows, for the first time ever, and it is an alien sensation. So she just closes her eyes, a submission to the moment.

"Go," she says, without a particular emotion.

Sometimes you hold something close when it is precious, as Michiru holds Haruka. Sometimes you watch it from afar, as Pluto does Chibi-Usagi. And some few dark times, you send it far away from you before you can tear it into pieces.

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

Sailor Pluto is released -- or perhaps is discarded, she is not so sure in the moment -- with that murmur from Neptune. She does stagger, dropped onto muscles still lax behind shock, to fall directly to one knee before the averted murder of the girl who is both her very best friend and the adorable beating heart of her universe.

She is abeyant upon her Princess, and attendant to the shifting tableau. Pluto does not, cannot dwell upon the narrow margin by which she lives on. Not now.

Small Lady falls, released as Pluto is; they are both freed by and from the hands of the other Outer Senshi. 'Puu...'

It is not even a decision, just an imperative. With nothing holding her back and all recent terror spurring her on, Sailor Pluto finds her limbs again and puts them to use crossing the room: legs stretching, arms opening.

Puu gathers up love, she gathers up life, for the longest moment she dares. She drops to embrace Small Lady with the fierceness of a mother bear, an encapsulating by long arms that promise any and all must come through them first.

"Oh Small Lady, I am so sorry," Puu whispers finally, and it is for this, for all that has happened and what she has failed to prevent so far. It is on her that her Princess has come to know mortal terror so well, so young. The fear in those big red eyes should never exist.

"Go," she echoes Sailor Uranus, save that her syllable is as warm and full as the other was empty.

And Sailor Pluto does another impossibly hard thing: she lets go.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Sailor Neptune steps away from Sailor Pluto, much as their planetary guardians swap places every several hundred years; as Sailor Pluto moves in, embraces the Small Lady, Sailor Neptune steps forwards, and away, and her face is nearly impossible to read.

Nearly so.

She speaks nothing aloud to Uranus but there is a mistiness in her eyes, and no anger. Perhaps there is some of a certain bleak despair that Uranus has glimpsed at times, something that the emperor of the wind can see that few others ever can. She steps across the empty room, past the fervent sweep of Pluto. She wobbles, just a bit, and then she takes one more step.

At which point she kneels in a rather grand gesture, a hand sweeping forwards as if to balance herself on the floor before both come up. The hand that so recently held that deathly blade is held between two others, the small damp spot on the back of the glove fading fully into nothingness as Neptune's eyes don't leave those of her partner.

Her grasp tightens. She says nothing, simply looking. For reasons that Uranus may be able to tell, there is hope there. Strength, perhaps. Not even a feigned brave face to help things out, but a truth and a vow. When she speaks, it is gentle. "Come now," she murmurs to Uranus, almost reverently. It would be easy to make the simple, informal phrase light, breezy. She does not.

Neptune's grip stays firm... and then relents, as she rises upwards. She glances, once, towards the woman and the girl - but she does not even turn her head to do it. Instead, she rises, and if she should aid the taller of the duo in the process - all the better.

As they rise, a close observer might see that Sailor Pluto is not the only one clasping at a precious thing capped in pink. Something had been in Neptune's hand, now dry and immaculate; now it is in Sailor Uranus's. A moment ago it had been on the floor. A compact... and far, infinitely far more.

Do not look, Sailor Neptune wills. Be entranced by your small lady a few moments longer, Sailor Pluto.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Sailor Uranus can tower over Chibi-Usa easily. ...As she finds her line, the rain is falling now on Chibi-Usa, who can see the way that the Sea King looks not for her, but for someone else. She can hear...

Yes, she can feel that. 'Go'. She does not know the preciousness she holds to Uranus; she does not know why really she has changed all of a sudden, though dark guesses swirl in places that her mind cannot stop to rest now.

They cannot hold while for a few moments, Small Lady allows herself to be with her oldest friend, despite everything. The woman who talked with her, and sat with her... And, when she brought horror upon her whole world, who gave her help. THere was no way to avert that Chibi-Usa would feel such fear.

But for a moment she feels something different, and Chibi-Usa sniffles at Pluto's shoulder, nodding slightly. She can't come up with words for the moment; she can't address the questions that are between them, or what has changed. ...What hasn't changed.

Pluto tells her Go, as she has told her before. Chibi-Usa opens her eyes again, and nods slowly, meeting Pluto's eyes for just a moment--before she looks around to the ground, for what isn't in her hands. She looks up--and does not linger long on Sailor Neptune with her red gaze. She does not linger looking at Sailor Uranus, who seems to no longer pursue her... for now.

But she can't stay.

Chibi-Usa looks uncertain at Sailor Pluto for another brief instant--and then turns, jumping out the high window through the broken panes, arms out before herself... and a cloud of purple smoke from outside catches her with the sound of something wobbling.

Small Lady--the future Princess--sails away, gliding through the rain and wind on a glider gifted her by that old friend. She doesn't know what will happen next.