2018-06-09 - What Lies Beneath 17

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
What Lies Beneath 17

At long last the World Tree's blossoms open, releasing one of the mightiest sources of magic into the world. The battle to control it is fought at Tokyo Tower... where an unexpected betrayal turns the tides towards darkness.


Fuu Hououji, Inori Yamabuki, Setsuna Higashi, Nanoha Takamachi, Nori Ankou, Setsuna Meioh, Mikoto Minagi, Kasagami Araki, Takeo Akamizu, Mai Mishou, Saki Hyuuga, Michiru Kiryuu, Kaoru Kiryuu


Tokyo Tower

OOC - IC Date:

06-09-2018 - 04-24-2015

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



April 24, 2015.

It's a sound so slow and soft that normally it can never be heard -- but when it happens in an instant instead of across whole days, and when it happens to a million of them simultaneously --

-- it's impossible not to hear the sweet, verdant *pop!* of the World Tree opening all of its buds at once.

This event has been highly anticipated by the meteorological society, as well as various botanists, ecologists and the press; there are records of the last time it happened, in the 1800s, and it is described as spectacular and wondrous.

But nobody has to watch the news, on this sunny, breezy afternoon, to notice. At first in a sort of thin, swirling, incense-like way, but rapidly accelerating to a pouring floodlight, white radiance leaks from each individual blossom. It is a sea of stars.

And it is answered by columns of light from five other places, surrounding it, though not everyone has the eyes to see it properly. Birds swerve in midair; cats hiss and dogs howl; and, not that the warning is necessary, fairies and other mascots go berserk, pointing out the lights to their magical girl partners.

As though they couldn't see the magic shimmering around the spire of Infinity Institute, a dark, malicious, thoroughly unfriendly purple -- and, much closer to the ground and more pointedly the water, around the comparably flat complex of Library Island as well.

It is golden light which shames the sun with its loveliness that touches every square centimeter of Jindai Botanical Gardens, and unfurls gloriously from the pendant around the neck of Fuu Hououji, who had, at the time, been on her way home from school.

The columns arc into the sky -- and then, at the apex of their curve, shoot straight towards the World Tree at the center, colliding with the tree, which seems to be becoming light, not just emitting it, moreso with every passing second.

There is a sense of struggle there, and also of stalemate; wherever the purple light taints the tree, the golden light seems to just wash it away. The tree itself remains white, all colors and none, just raw potential. Raw, building potential.

The whole world seems to hum with it.

Finally and most visibly of all, thanks to the immense height of the structure it surrounds, Tokyo Tower is exuding a matching white -- neutral -- radiance. Despite that, its red paint remains clearly visible and even, somehow, more vibrant than ever. The same is true of all the other places, but easiest to see here, where it is untouched by any particular set of priorities, unclaimed, unjudging. Here and now, these places feel like more themselves than ever before, more present. More alive.

For Tokyo Tower, that means scale, it means grandiosity. It is massive and it looms, even amid a sea of other great buildings. There are physically taller structures in the world, but right now it stands tallest of all, simply on presence alone.

At the edges, its column of light begins to visibly darken... as the first claimants arrive.


A huge organic monster, a mobile mandrake with a single, baleful red eye at its viney heart, plants a foot on the lowest rung of the Tower. Since it is, itself, several stories tall, it can easily use the structure as a huge ladder.


The very air shatters around the musical monster, which has a sort of exoskeleton-like cage of bones around its main body, which is a many-dozens-of-feet-high pink spoon that looks, at both ends, rather like a heart. There's nothing cute about it, though, with its angry expression. Like the Sorewatase, it's mostly carried in the eyes. Unlike the Sorewatase, the Negatone has more than one, and its eyes are a blinding, alien white instead.

Its hands are made of more of those heart-shaped spoons; individual spoons for fingers, attached to larger spoons for palms.

"Choii! Choi-ch-cho-cho-choi-CHOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!"

The Kindabads are, in comparison to the two godzillas, only kinda bad, roughly man-sized-and-shaped fellows who are all over black, with white gloves and boots and, instead of a face, bright red sunglasses.

But there are also kinda a lot of them. Like... a lot, a lot. They stream towards the Tower from every direction, including the air. This does a good job of demonstrating the folly of approaching Tokyo Tower by flight right now; as soon as they get to the edge of the white light, there's a sort of sizzling sound and then they're sent flying off into the horizon.

It seems that this place can only be penetrated -- and climbed -- on foot.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Negatone!
COMBAT: Chihaya Izumi transforms into Kindabad Horde!
COMBAT: Nanoha Takamachi transforms into Barrier Jacket Sacred!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Crimson Rose Duelist!
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Sailor Pluto!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into HiME Mikoto!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga transforms into Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi transforms into Cure Passion!
COMBAT: Nori Ankou transforms into La Sirene de Diamant!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

There is, indeed, no way not to hear it. Fuu could have been listening to music from her phone and she probably *still* would have heard the buds unfurling; it's more subliminal than conscious. But even if she'd been listening to music (which would be kind of irresponsible when you're navigating as a pedestrian), the golden light shining from her pendant would have been the most blatantly obvious sign to her that Something was happening. She doesn't even need Mokona to flag her down - she just diverts off the main road as she happens to reach the stairs to a shrine, climbing quickly to the sacred precincts.

That also gives her a chance to see the other pillars of light (and darkness). Jindai is just as radiant as the pendant; Infinity Institute and Library Island give off an ominous aura of their own. But it's to Tokyo Tower that she turns her gaze ... and one transformation later, her steps, and her leaps.

The Magic Knight of Wind doesn't make her way to the Tower with unmixed feelings. The emotions from a recent meeting are still raw - and how much moreso for the others who were there? - and she's not even sure if wearing her pendant into battle, especially *this* battle, is a particularly wise move ... but where else could she stash it for safe keeping? And as for wounded feelings ...

If she let that keep her away from a fight as critical as this one, she really *would* be a coward.

The Wind Knight alights from her last leap, her gaze skimming over the encroaching - and climbing - monsters. The Sorewatase, the Negatone, the Kindabads: each a distinct threat, all converging on a single goal for a single purpose. She can't fight all of them. So she focuses on one. "WINDS OF ADMONISHMENT!!" her voice rings out, and a magical whirlwind forms, trying to wrap around and entangle the giant Sorewatase - to slow it down even a little bit, for any tiny advantage that tips the odds back in the magical girls' favor.

She doesn't wait to see how well her magic works, although her mind and heart are leaning into the spell - as if the whirlwind were a rope around the monster, and she were leaning back to add any bit of strength to the restraining pull. But physically, she's making the last leap to ground level, and hurrying towards the Tower itself, ready to race up the stairs on foot if she has to ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Inori Yamabuki's trip home from Ohtori to a meetup with Setsuna has been interrupted. Not by a fluffy little stray dog that's excitedly turning circles in front of her. She's bent in front of it with her mustard uniform, a hand digging through her bag. "You're sooo cuttteee. Hm! Shake?"

The puppy stops to present a paw. "Oh there's no chance you don't belong to someone..." She says as she presents it with a dog treat reward who munches it down right away. Then claps her hands together. "Okay! Let's solve this mystery. Kirun!"

The little fey key appears with her own tiny cheer of Kiii~

There's a faint scent in the breeze - and light cascading in the sky which goes unnoticed by her. Which is when the little dog cocks its head to the side. And starts to howl. Kirun already translating in front of a startled 'Buki.


'Buki looks in that direction. "I... sure see it alright..." She says a little dazed. "Guess we'll be figuring out who you belong to later." She holds up a finger, "Stay put if you can - I'll come back for you!" "OKAY!" Before he starts to howl anew, "HEY! HEY!"

Grasping her Linkrun, she starts to run, thumbing through it's address book before putting it to an ear, "Moshi- Moshi? Setsuna-chan..."


Leaping across town as Cure Pine - there's so much to take in all at once. The Sorewatase - the Negatone. A whole mob of Kindabads. By sheer numbers of opponents it looks bad - even given how many of them there are... Putting a hand to her lips from her perch on a nearby building overlooking Tokyo Tower - she looks sideways at Passion. "There's a lot of them... and Northa must be around here somewhere."

All of that together - it looks pretty grim. And the stakes are the highest - given how hard they've all fought to protect these control points. But after a moment she smiles at her. "Ready?"

Because she believes that together... they can do it.

BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOh4jzpmQTE

Flipping off the perch side by side - the two descend as twin comets into the horde of Kindabads, feet outstretched as they rocket towards the ground, "DOUBLE PRETTY CURE KICK!" The impact is not towards any singular Kindabad. Their target is the ground itself center mass. A concrete shattering concussive strike that's meant to bowl them away like tenpins.

COMBAT: Inori Yamabuki transforms into Cure Pine!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna's trip from Juuban towards more exciting parts of the city is easy enough; she's sitting on the train, looking at nothing in particular, thinking, casual. She has plans to meeet 'Buki out rather than nearer to home, so she just hangs out in her uniform. And that's fine.


As soon as she steps up the stairs to get out of the train station, she sees the brilliant light, and continues staring in her almost blank way at it. ...That is not fine. She starts to pull her phone immediately--

It rings first. "Buki," Setsuna answers. "I see it too..."


>ankousan, something big is happening at tokyo tower. i'm going


Landing on a solid railing beside Cure Pine, Cure Passion looks seriously at what looms before them, the anxiety she feels not showing through her stoic demeanor. Pink hair ruffles in the breeze, and the darkness arrayed before them chills her. She, like Pine, is at least a spot of color against the dim, one small figure against so much darkness. Sheer numbers would be bad enough--but a gigantic Sorewatase...? "She must be involved," Passion agrees. ...And then, after Pine's smile, she smiles back, and nods. "Together," she agrees.

Flipping off the perch side by side, the two descend as twin coments into the horde of Kindabads to make a great shockwave. The red side of the blur brings out the same sound, "DOUBLE PRETTY CURE KICK!"

She, too believes it. Together...!

COMBAT: Cure Passion transforms into Cure Passion!
COMBAT: Cure Pine has started a combo targeting Kindabads!
COMBAT: Cure Passion has joined the combo started by Cure Pine!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Pine and Cure Passion have used Combo: Double Pretty Cure Kick, composed of Pretty Cure Fresh Kick, on
COMBAT: Kindabads fails to counter Cure Pine and Cure Passion's Combo: Double Pretty Cure Kick, taking 83 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Kindabads's counterattack, Force Concentration, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Pine!
<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

It's shortly after school and Nanoha is with her friends still on campus. As they sit on a bench talking a sudden feeling comes over her. Suzuka and Arisa both look at her when she suddenly stops talking. Nanoha, feeling their concerned eyes on her, smiles, albeit it's an uneasy one. "Oh sorry guys. It's nothing..." They continue talking for a few minutes but then everything suddenly changes at the school. The magical energy pouring out brings the small girl to her feet. "I'm really sorry! I gotta go!"

As she runs off without further explanation, the tiny pink orb around her neck comes to life and Raising Heart speaks, <Be careful Master! You need to get to Tokyo Tower immediately!> Nanoha looks alarmed. "Right!" She quickly transforms into her Barrier Jacket once out of sight of her friends.

Flying means that Nanoha makes it over there quickly but doesn't make it too close before realizing that approaching by air is not going to be the best method here. After she lands nearby, Nanoha slowly approaches the front of the tower, Raising Heart in her hands. The beasts already overtaking the tower are menacing and huge and she looks concerned.

"Raising Heart, we have to stop them!" She recognizes the Wind Knight but doesn't approach her yet, as her weapon shifts into attack mode. <Ready Master!> "Let's go for that plant thing, Raising Heart." She may be choosing that one because she finds it the creepiest of them all.

Taking aim directly for the mandrake creature, <"Divine Buster!"> Pink energy surrounds the top of her weapon and pulls together into a single orb that fires a beam towards the center of the creature.

COMBAT: Nanoha Takamachi has used Divine Buster! on Sorewatase.
COMBAT: Sorewatase counters 4 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is
Psyched!  Cripple and Trap applied to Sorewatase!
COMBAT: Sorewatase's counterattack, Blossom With Despair, partially gets through, doing 9 Fatigue damage to Fuu Hououji!  Blind,
Diversion, Exhausted, and Stun applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Sorewatase cleanly braces 45 Fatigue damage from Nanoha Takamachi's Divine Buster!, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Sorewatase
is Quipped!  Sorewatase's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There is a response to Cure Passion.

> expect me

The change comes in comfort. Batiste abandons a work of woodcarving. Nori Ankou throws a book labelled 'Your Future In College' carelessly into the corner of the room. The Brazen Pharos is fetched. And soon enough the roof of 4-4-4 is mounted.

"Wasn't it... not quite that big?" asks la Sirene de Diamant as she stretches briefly. Batiste shades his eyes and considers matters, before going limp in anticipation of the sudden forceful SCOOP as la Sirene begins vaulting between the great canyons of Tokyo's structures.

"It's closer," Batiste says, half a ward later.

"What's closer?" la Sirene asks.

"Everything," Batiste says. "Is this the fruit of the World Tree...? Earth has always been so important, even when things were going rather badly."

La Sirene doesn't reply. She has leaping, running, to do.

As they draw closer, she can see, feel, hear, smell Pretty Cure. Her lips thin - they're preparing. What --

And yet, she thinks, it's possible, isn't it? I am no weakling here. This scent in the air is for everyone. The Brazen Pharos at her hip glimmers, glows - and there is a sudden ripple forwards, even as la Sirene undertakes her last great leap into the fray. She casts a shadow onto the Kindabads, and it pulls inwards as she falls, backlit by nothing. Her hands seem to curl.

The shadows glimmer with actinic subtlty. Pressure - not much - but when the Kindabads go flying, they will encounter unwonted resistance. And that probably won't be good for them.

Batiste watches alertly from la Sirene's shoulders, where he is doing his best imitation of a fine stole. Hopefully a tree branch won't fall on him!

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Shine On Through The Night on Kindabads.
COMBAT: Kindabads cleanly braces 28 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Shine On Through The Night, taking 5 Fatigue
damage!  Critical Hit!  La Sirene de Diamant is Psyched!  Diversion applied to Kindabads!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Not far from where a bridge joins Southern Cross Island to the mainland, there's a charming little park -- just a little postage stamp of greenery wedged between highrises. It's the perfect place for a post-schoolday picnic, and Setsuna Meioh has staked out an oak-shaded spot with a checkered blanket. She greets Kasagami Araki's arrival with a smile and a warm peck on the cheek, then starts laying out the contents of a packed basket: steamed buns and sliced fresh fruit.

As with so many of their dates, this one is destined for interruption. Light blooms, from several disparate locations at once, and coalesces overhead, columns streaming together. The senshi stands immediately, a steamed pork bun rolling off her lap to bounce onto the grass, forgotten -- her eyes are for the sky and the vying of gold and purple.

"This lovely afternoon," she says with soft regret to her girlfriend, "may have to wait." Her gaze bends toward the pinnacle that Tokyo Tower has become. Two of the others are coming from a direction she knows well -- Infinity. A songbird in the tree overhead falls off its branch and onto their picnic blanket, flopping its disorientation out. "Shall we?"

She looks to Kasagami with an apology for a smile and worry in her eyes.


Sailor Pluto arrives on the scene her usual way, crossing rooftops in great leaping bounds: this time alongside the Crimson Rose Duelist, their pacing together now well-practiced. She hop-kicks off of a balcony's edge and rockets for the area around the base of Tokyo Tower, beneath that canopy of repelling light. The Tower itself is going to be a struggle to reach.

Other magical girls stream in from all directions and the Outer Senshi pays heed, but her garnet eyes are honed on the clear targets before them all. The Garnet Rod in her hands gleams, and the Orb caged at its pinnacle casts its own eldritch light into the air to join the gathering luminants. "This assault will not stand!" she cries in that low, carrying voice, a challenge.

The stakes here are very clear, and the Senshi of Time is Here and Now to defend this world alongside her love. Whatever conflicts exist in her life, some things still remain clear.

With a sidelong glance to the fierce swordswoman, all affection, she then turns to the combat and slings the Rod up and about, trailing garnet behind. The great encaged spooncreature, the Negatone, receives an angry glare to meet its own. "You!" she calls to it. "You will fall for this!"

Another overhead rotation and the magic within the Garnet Orb releases! A shrieking gobbet of plutonic energy seeks the Negatone.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Garnet Blast on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone partially dodges 4 Fatigue damage from Sailor Pluto's Garnet Blast, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto is
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto Minagi is not, strictly speaking, on her way home from school, because she's stopped off by the gardens to visit her cat friends. Having found a conflux of cats, Mikoto has, naturally, laid down on the lattice-speckled floor to nap with them, in a perfect example of cat solidarity.

Four cats hissing in unison is an excellent way to wake anyone up, but it's especially effective here. One hand goes for the strap of Miroku's case as Mikoto rises in an instant, glancing back and forth with an expression which could cut like a knife.

She finds Nagi, perched on the top of the lattice, somehow not managing to bring the whole thing down with his meagre weight. "Aya, aya... Mikoto-chan, I don't think your strays like these fireworks."

"Nagi!" Mikoto barks the word as if whatever's going on is his fault. It is interrogation and demand.

He raises his palms in a hapless gesture before pointing the the light in the sky. "Say, something like that... it's a big deal, huh? I mean, power like that..." He turns back to Mikoto, lips quirked up in a devious smile. "... say, Mikoto-chan, what happens to the people you're protecting if the world gets destroyed?"

Mikoto snarls her frustration, grasping Miroku's straps tightly. She knows she shouldn't be fighting yet, but as much as she hates to admit it, that awful boy is right. "Where?" She demands, instead.

"Mm, I wonder... World Tree blooming, World Tree blooming..." Nagi taps at his forehead, theatrically, as he thinks. "... wasn't the big deal there Tokyo Tower?"

She does not like him - does not trust him - but she cannot deny that he's always vaguely pointed them in the direction of mayhem. She snorts, and tears off in that direction, clipping the lattice as she runs. It wobbles, and wobbles, and Nagi flails his arms. "Woah!"

It comes to a still a moment later, and he rubs the back of his head, grinning. "Geez, Mikoto-chan. Full of energy again, huh? Well, that's fine. You're gonna need it..."


Tokyo Tower is alight and shining white like a beacon. It calls out with power and promise, and one by one, everyone answers, monster and magical girl alike.

There are some people who do not answer with words.

Mikoto Minagi comes in, appropriately enough, like a wrecking ball. Her case has long since been discarded, and Miroku carves sparks across the concrete as she charges forward with a terrible, wordless howl of rage.

Many are here. She takes them in and categorises them in a moment. It is Pluto and Kasagami she recognises as her closest allies, and it is their target she tears towards, a screaming freight train, its brakes severed and speed gaining, gaining, gaining -

- it is not something she should do, with all the misfortunes she has suffered over the past few weeks.

It is something she must do.

She twists and spins and brings her blade up diagonally from the ground towards the Negatone, and she means to slam into it, all force and fury and cleaving power.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Dauntlessness on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone braces 22 Fatigue damage from Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Dauntlessness, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto
Minagi is Psyched!  Negatone's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.


It's truly a beautiful mini-park, so idyllic, and the presence of her beloved only makes things that much the better. Kasagami has her coat off, sitting down and leaning her head against Setsuna with a warm look to the other woman.

And then that basket comes out. She has the good graces not to drool.

"Truly you know the way to my heart in so many ways my sweet, enthralling Setsu-chan!" Someone's hungry.

Down goes a pork bun. Kasagami rubs her eye from the light, a growing scowl on her face. Snagging a pork bun, she all but jams it in her mouth, chomping down in annoyance as she grabs her things. Gulp.

"Let's." Cloth falls from a wrapped up bundle, and the audible 'click' of a sword being loosened and a flash of roses and light marks the subtle change into the Crimson Rose Duelist.


Boots thud alongside Pluto's heels nearly in step, coat fluttering behind her and nodachi slung over one shoulder. Her hair flows in the wind behind her with every motion as she takes in the tactical situation alongside Pluto. Streams of kindabads, and those two massive monsters make for quite the problem. Luckily, a whole cadre of magical girls are on the scene! Despite her own ego, that lifts the young woman's spirits a bit.

And the she grins fiercely! "Coming to claim this Tower, hmm!? A King will not allow her territory to be simply stolen away by monsters! Know the wrath of one who shall bear the weight of royal might upon her head!" Proclaims Kasagami proudly, eagerness in her eyes as well as an undercurrent of hatred for the monsters before her.

One more look in turn to Pluto, and she leaps high into the air, getting several feet's worth of air before hang time sets in. Her free hand reaches into her coat, yanking out rose-kissed knives from it's inner pockets as she spins lightly in the air with the grace of a ballroom dancer.

Every spin sends a hail of knives at the Negatoneaiming for it's many heart-like fingers and the joins of it's exoskeleton with all the fury of someone who has it personal for youma in general.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used King's Blades on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone partially dodges 2 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's King's Blades, taking 10 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Takeo Akamizu transforms into Chevalier Knight Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

The last time Lancelot was here he was shot. Also five girls died. Also his motorcycle exploded. Tonight it appears that Lancelot has everything ready to go for a repeat performance.

Takeo had been screaming through the city streets at the outskirts winning a race. Not a legitimate race mind you, one of those races where money is sometimes exchanged in one way or the other. When the sound and the lights erupted he almost, almost lost. Instead he won, but never bothered to stop and collect his winnings. Instead Takeo had kept on racing, squeeling around a corner and transforming on his blue motorcycle into the Chevalier Lancelot.

Moments later Lancelot comes squeeling around another corner to a dead stop. His eyes narrow and then Lancelot revs the engine at the army of Kindabads and nods once, clapping down the visor to his helmet. With a "YAHOO!!!" he then guns the engine with a sharp twist of the throttle.

The bike lifts the front wheel off the ground and let's loose a squeel and blueish smoke as the Knight slams the front of the bike down and races forward. The engine roars louder and louder as Lancelot changes the gears. As he appraouches the swarm he suddenly turns the bike sideways to powerslie into a group of the Kindabads and leaps off the bike to land on a rung of the tower. In mid air a second lightning bolt streaks down and he snatches it out of the air before he lands in a crouch on that rung, now holding BOTH blades of Arondight. He rolls his shoulders. "Okay guys! Where do you want the Thundah?!" He calls out to the girls in the area.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Motor Cycle on Kindabads.
COMBAT: Kindabads dodges 6 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Motor Cycle, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Psyched!  Kindabads's
Fade and Flash abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Mai Mishou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"It's terrible-chopi! Look!"

The cry from the little fairy makes Mai Mishou's head snap to her window. She cannot, ordinarily, see Tokyo Tower from her house. The brilliant light flashes high into the air, a veritable column of brilliance that reflects in violet eyes. Those eyes are wide, though, and she sees the quite literal war of darkness and light together. Mai stands, slowly, from her desk. Her sketchpad is left there. A half-finished picture of the Kiryuu sisters, standing and watching them, looks back at her.

"Choppy?" she asks. "What is it?"

"The World Tree-chopi! We have to hurry...!"

* * *


Unlike Mai, Saki does not, in fact, immediately look at the window when Flappy sounds like he's in distress. She's chewing on a pencil, grimacing at her homework like it had personally insulted her bakery. "C'mon, Flappy," Saki mutters. "I'll feed you in a b--"

Flappy bounds from the bed to her desk and grabs the girl by the cheeks with his little puff arms. "The window-lapi!!" he says insistently, and attempts to turn her gaze. It's not much, but it's enough to move Saki's gaze to the point she turns it the rest on her own, her eyes widening. "Oh," she says, slowly.

"It's hapening-lapi!" "Right now!?" "Right now-lapi!!"

Saki kicks out of her chair, and Flappy puffs into her pouch as she sprints for the door.

* * *

It isn't much longer before two streaks of light shoot through the sky. The white-blue one comes crashing down well ahead of the golden-orange one, though. A cloud splits -- and Cure Egret drops from the sky. She slams into a nearby building, and then she kicks off it. She rises into the air -- and then comes at the Negatone, right between its eyes, with a heeled boot.

"Bloom!" she calls, as she kicks into the Negatone. She angles herself down, her center of gravity lower, to try to kick the thing downward.

At waiting fists.

Cure Bloom touched down outside the waiting field. She skipped through the fields of Kindabads, bounding across them from building to building and then surging up. Cure Egret goes higher for that kick; Cure Bloom slams into the ground below the Negatone, gold motes exploding around her as her magic disperses that impact. She leaps up toward the Negatone, and as Egret strikes the thing downward, Cure Bloom's fist strikes home, drilling into the Negatone and trying to punch it - not back up, but rather sideways, bashing it away from the Tower with all her strength!

Egret kicks off one last time -- and lands, next to her partner. She looks up, defiant, eyes wide; the terror of the situation is held at bay.

For a moment.

COMBAT: Mai Mishou transforms into Cure Egret!
COMBAT: Cure Egret has started a combo targeting Negatone!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom has joined the combo started by Cure Egret!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Egret and Cure Bloom have used Double Pretty Cure Spirit Splash on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone fails to counter Cure Egret and Cure Bloom's Combo: Double Pretty Cure Spirit Splash, taking 79 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Negatone's counterattack, Goes To Eleven, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Negatone [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Cure Passion and Cure Pine come leaping in. "Choi?!" wonder a few dozen Kindabads, in unison, craning their necks to see who it is. They aren't a hivemind, but they are kinda birdbrains, so they often all react the same way to stimulus.

Once they do see, it's a point in favor of their courage, their bravery, and their stupidity, that they respond by grouping up, as though they're going to try to oppose what's coming with sheer numerical advantage. To spread the incoming tsunami of force between enough of them that they can all withstand it.


They make a pretty, kinetic sphere of shrilling screaming bodies as they go flying in all directions -- one that everyone gets to appreciate, because it lasts an extra few seconds as La Sirene forces them to travel not just through the air but through her power. Together with Pretty Cure, they have cleared an entry zone.

Fuu and Nanoha enter it, approaching the Sorewatase. It disappears inside the Wind Knight's whirlwind, and in response, kind of fluffs itself up -- emitting a huge cloud of nasty, choking pollen which uses that same spout to distribute itself all over the area and especially all over Fuu.

DIVINE BUSTER cuts straight through it, creating little circular waves of pollen and wind on its way in towards the great plant monster. It faces it head on, bringing up a big viney arm and spontaneously growing some shield-like tendrils. Like the Kindabads, this disperses the huge attack. Unlike the Kindabads, it's effective, though not without cost; by the time Nanoha's shot is done, there's nothing left of those new vines but char.

Approaching from the other side of Tokyo Tower, Sailor Pluto's blast of garnet energy explodes against the boney carapace of the Negatone, transforming white to black, if only for a moment, since shortly thereafter that top layer of soot is scraped away by the passage of Kasagami's knives.

"Ne-ga?" wonders the big spoon guy, looking down at this surprise interruption and releasing its grip on the Tower. A cloud of concrete dust kicks up with the THUD of its landing, even though it was only up a few feet -- one that Mikoto splits as she comes in, filling it with sparks and then with obsidian steel.

More sparks raise, along with the grinding scream of chainsaw on bone, upon impact, but the huge bone ribs seem to be more or less able to take it -- especially since it takes a step back, leaning out of the blow, and thus one step further from the tower.

Then several more steps, THUD THUD THUD, as the shining power of Splash Star Pretty Cure impacts.

The shade of the light all around them turns measurably less violet, and measurably more golden, though it is still, more than anything, bright white.

And nobody is giving up on anything. Those Kindabads removed from the front of Tokyo Tower are already surging back in, shrilling their warcry -- which means the magical girls are, in a matter of speaking, surrounded -- and those that weren't removed, or who were knocked UPWARDS, are nimbly climbing up Tokyo Tower like they're contestants on Mount Midoriyama.

(Both in the sense of being cool and acrobatic as they leap from beam to beam, and in the sense of missing their jumps and pratfalling a lot.)

They certainly get out of the way of Lancelot's motorcycle with extreme prejudice, diving with desperation.

They get in peoples' way with equal desperation; despite their individual weakness, it is easy to be knocked about by a rushing mob that has a remarkably high density of elbows and knees. In a few cases, they concentrate, grouping up like they did for Passion and Pine, in big squirming black dogpiles that attempt to wholly stop individuals in their tracks.

The Negatone, meanwhile, had tried to outshout the powers of earth and sky, and failing that, tries to outlast it instead, screaming its terrible, soul-rending dirge at full blast directly at those who assailed it.

And the Sorewatase never let go of Tokyo Tower, and leaves a second cloud of pollen in its wake to cover its ascent. Vines attach to numerous points on the tower with loud SMACKS, and then soft straining sounds. It's like a climbing koosh ball.



"So! Your mission is almost complete. You have successfully infiltrated the Land of Greenery and learned everything there is to know about the enemy. All that remains is to defeat them -- and now is the critical time."

That creaky, quavery voice could belong to a courtier of an old court. In fact, the speaker is rather dressed like one, although he otherwise looks like a squat green vegetable with beady eyes and a cruel smirk.

The two he's speaking to, they exchange looks. They shift uncomfortably.

"We just want..." "...a little more time," Michiru and Kaoru request, almost sweetly.

It doesn't go over well, though Gohyaan is not their problem; it is, rather, the darkness behind them all, looming and massive upon its throne. Darkness which then explodes with punishing force, slamming everyone back into the cave wall with impunity.

The voice echoes, its basso a sign of the speaker's huge size. The voice of a giant.

"Michiru... Kaoru... you were awakened only to bring ruin to all worlds, and to obtain the power of eternal destruction!"

"Yes......Akudaikaan-sama..." agree the girls, reluctantly, fearfully -- chastened.

"And now that time has come," says a more human voice than any in this dark and dreadful place, so far. Out of the shadows steps Grand Magus Kaolinite. She's holding something long and slender and deadly, even though it's just a golden stick with a black five-pointed star on top. It's a wand -- or maybe more of a scepter, given its mass.

She drives its point into the ground in between the cowering Michiru and Kaoru like a sword.

"Akudaikaan-sama, have your girls take this with them. As a symbol of our cooperation. The Death Busters... will gladly lend you our might, on this greatest of all days."

"The day that we release the Pillar at last," muses Gohyaan, eagerly.

"You'll know what to do," Kaolinite promises them in an almost motherly fashion. Her laughter is quickly drowned out by Akudaikaan's, like a single wave is drowned by the ocean.

Michiru and Kaoru exchange a second look, and vanish.

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


Worst of all things standing in the light of Tokyo Tower, though, are the two girls who appear upon one of the low horizontal beams. Their Infinity Institute middle school uniforms have faded away to a gray turtleneck-black skirt combination almost alien in its simplicity. The stones on their chests, red and blue, match their respective hair and especially their eyes, which glow, coldly, with blatantly inhuman intensity.

"No matter where we go... ...we are proud warriors of Dark Fall."

Everything of Dark Fall close enough to be touched by the radiance shed by Tokyo Tower is, in response, leaking that evil violet light. The Sorewatase and Negatone are pouring it right in with their simple presence, like the opposite of milk into coffee, while the Kindabads spread it like ants across a white picnic blanket, but Michiru -- Kaoru --

They're so small. And so alone, even right there next to each other, with the armies of darkness swarming around them.

But the darkness of their presence is, in comparison to the mere monsters, large and small... massive. The Negatone's is sonic, visible vibrations; the Sorewatase's is like pollen; the Kindabads just kind of have a collective aura around them.

Michiru and Kaoru trail black petals with the slightest gesture, petals that burn coldly with violet flame. That burn, spreading and infecting the world around them, rather than being consumed.

Their eyes narrow at the inevitable approach of the magical girls -- their classmates -- their... friends. Supposed friends. Their rescuers, certainly, from that time that they found themselves trapped underneath Library Island.

And their fingers tighten around that scepter, held between them. Their throats tighten, too, and whether or not it's with grief, it doesn't stop them from saying what needs to be said.

They look straight at Cure Egret and Cure Bloom when they do, though, despite the specificity of it all, there is a sense that the statement applies to everyone, generally.

"Are you ready, Pretty Cure? This is your last day."

That scepter in their hands -- the star on its tip -- it, too, trails power. Terrible power... all but screaming to be used.

OOC: So, the feel we're going for here is a running/climbing battle up Tokyo Tower, sort of a swirling king of the hill style
feel; right now, the Sorewatase is partway up, the Negatone is on the ground, and the Kindabads are everywhere.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters transforms into The Kiryuu Sisters!
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Warriors of Dark Fall on The Kiryuu Sisters.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters accepts The Kiryuu Sisters's Warriors of Dark Fall, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Empower
and Surge applied to The Kiryuu Sisters!
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Melody of Sorrow on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Sorewatase has used Blossom With Despair on Nanoha Takamachi.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Force Concentration on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used They're Everywhere! on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used They're Everywhere! on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Force Concentration on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Force Concentration on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Cure Pine counters 8 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's They're Everywhere!, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Cure Pine's Reverse
and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Cure Pine's counterattack, Pineapple Reverse, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Kindabads!
COMBAT: Cure Passion dodges 10 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's They're Everywhere!, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Cure Passion's Fade
and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant decisively counters 6 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Force Concentration, taking 2 Fatigue damage!
La Sirene de Diamant's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!  Stun and Tangle applied to La Sirene de Diamant!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant's counterattack, Les Mysteres, partially gets through, doing 27 Fatigue damage to Kindabads!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji counters 5 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Force Concentration, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Stagger, Tangle, and
Trap applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Tempest Slash, partially gets through, doing 12 Fatigue damage to Kindabads!
COMBAT: Nanoha Takamachi braces 26 Fatigue damage from Sorewatase's Blossom With Despair, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Nanoha Takamachi's Block ability activates!  Blind, Exhausted, and Stun applied to Nanoha Takamachi!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to dodge Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto Minagi is Quipped!  Mikoto
Minagi is Taunted!  Stun applied to Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto fails to dodge Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto is Quipped!  Sailor Pluto
is Taunted!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Negatone's Melody of Sorrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is
Quipped!  Kasagami Araki's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Kasagami Araki is Taunted!  Stun applied to Kasagami Araki!
COMBAT: Lancelot braces 7 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Force Concentration, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot's Block and
Parry abilities activate!  Stagger, Stun, and Tangle applied to Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

As many magical girls have gathered to defend Tokyo Tower, there's a corner in the back of the Wind Knight's mind which wonders if this is enough. But it'll have to suffice - they can't afford to lose this battle. But winning it is going to take a lot of work, and a lot of luck.

Luck which does not seem, at least initially, like it's going to be on their side. The whirlwind which *should* have contained the Sorewatase - and is at least slowing it down a little bit - also lets it scatter a thick cloud of pollen, which is distressingly reminiscent of the days leading up to high school entrance exams. Not that the green-clad Magic Knight has a chance to so much as blow her nose; she's fighting just to keep seeing what's immediately around her. Trying to climb the tower in *those* conditions will be a very close approximation of 'suicidal'. And then the Kindabads rally and swarm, threatening to outright trample her under their feet. That, at least, she can fight back against with her own blade - the blade which materializes in her hands as she focuses on her need for it - and with a shout of, "Tempest Slash!!" she lays about herself, the wind swirling about her sword to lend strength to every slice.

She doesn't have to see that it isn't enough; she can feel the frequent absence of impacts, hear the lack of monsters shrieking in pain. And she knows that she can't just keep fighting like this, even as she spots a vaguely familiar white shape with blue highlights, and brown which is most likely hair.

"Winds of Healing!"

A balmy, restorative breeze rises and swirls about the Magic Knight of Wind, blowing away the blinding, misery-inflicting and despair-laden pollen, then extending to support Nanoha as well, driving the pollen off of the younger mage and helping her recover as well.

"Are you all right, Nanoha-san?"

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Nanoha Takamachi.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Fuu Hououji's debuffs are
COMBAT: Nanoha Takamachi accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Nanoha Takamachi's
debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Left in the crater of their impact. Pine gets a moment to breathe. But only a moment. The Kindabads surge, and she's back to back with Passion. She grabs the first fist that comes her way - only to pull them past her into Passion's waiting fist. But she starts to eat blow after blow. One of them stomps down on the back of her knee, another glances a blow upside her head. And then they all just start to tackle her.

A moment later a few of the Kindabads careen outwards as she rushes forward, several of them still gripping desperately onto her legs. "Passion! The Sorewatase-!"

It's plain that it's getting higher up the tower the longer they're delayed here. Her fists go flying, each jab enough to at least knock one out of her way. A hook smashing one into the others. She shakes one off her legs before hooking a kick to another's face and knocking it right into several others who are trying to hinder her teammate.

"I'm going to knock you closer! Jump!"

They do - as hands grasp to try to keep them airborne. Go any higher and they'd smash right into that magical field - but that's not her intent. Flipping into a tuck, she is end over end towards Passion, as the two get close, she extends her heels outwards to make contact with Passion's feet. The Red Pretty Cure facing in the direction of Tokyo Tower. The Gold downard. "I'll catch up! Go!"

And then the two vault off the other simultaneously. It sends Passion rocketing towards the base of Tokyo Tower. Whereas Pine is sent back down to Earth at a diagonal. Putting her hands down in a sprint - she does a series of backwards handstands. Never stopping - keeping herself a constantly moving target that finally ends as she springs upwards into a layout where she scythes her leg around in a full three sixty degree sweep that sends Kindabads flying.

She has to catch up right away.

The events on high - she sees. The two girls alone - wielding that staff. She can't know what's going on exactly. As they call out to Pretty Cure - she looks dumbfounded - if not for her having to punch a Kindabad in the face she might have pointed out whether they mean her.

But instead - they're looking straight at Egret and Bloom. And her eyes go wide. "Bloom! Egret!" She wants to help them. Their two kouhai. But she also knows what the odds are right now. She can't get to them - and even if she could- it could cost them in other parts of the battle.

And besides she knows well from experience that some things... some things you have to do by yourself. "Don't let them get to-!" She's interrupted by a Kindabad sliding for home at her legs. As she takes a shop and lands right on it. "-you! There's nothing the two of you can't face together!"

COMBAT: Cure Pine has used Pineapple Express on Kindabads.
COMBAT: Kindabads cleanly braces 17 Fatigue damage from Cure Pine's Pineapple Express, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Cure Pine is
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Cure Bloom launches the Negatone back and away. Will that stop it? Maybe not easily...

She breathes, sharp and short. Seeking out the familiar, comforting warmth of the earth's magic. The light of the World Tree isn't that same light, however much the explanation always sounded to occasionally literal-minded Saki like it should be. It doesn't answer to Pretty Cure. Maybe that's for the best, she thinks, for just a moment, before she shakes out her head, fiercely.

No time for doubts. It's game day! She whirls around, aiming to find Egret in the press, and that's when she sees the blooming blackness swirling around two figures on a low bar.

They speak.

Cure Bloom's eyes are held wide by shock. "M, Michiru? Kaoru?" she asks. The meaning of the moment should be obvious enough.

But denial is a powerful force. Cure Pine calls out to her and the words seem like nonsense. What is there about them to face? It's just...Michiru and Kaoru...

"Ahaha, is this...a joke, or something...?" she says, even as a horrible chill crawls down her spine, seizes her heart. "You should get away from here. It's, it's really dangerous, right now! I promise, we'll take care of whatever you need later, so please go home for now, OK?"

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Stage 1 - Denial on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Cure Bloom accepts Cure Bloom's Stage 1 - Denial, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

All around them, the dome of Kindabads crashes outward, and Cure Passion hits the ground in a half-crouch, looking up sharply. She doesn't ge tlong to relax. In an instant, the Kindabads surge, and Passion rises to stand back to back with Pine. She blocks an incoming strike, and then Pine pulls one past, where Passion strikes with one sharp strike. She starts to try to give them some breathing room, but--

There are many, but at least the backup she called arrived to hel. "Sirene!" she calls, to draw attention and coordinate. In the meantime--

Pine mentions the Sorewatase, and Passion sees it, ducking down to trip some of the others in her way and then leaping back up. "Got it!" She becomes very easy for the leader of the Chevaliers to see as she springs upward, trusting Pine immediately. She flips, and Passion bends at the knee as their feet touch and springs with all the momentum Pine gives her, launching forward and upward. "Got it!"

She rockes towards he base of the tower and opens her hands, clinging once there through the movement jerks her arms. She starts climbing in an instant, dragging herself upward one powerful arm stroke at a time, catching foodholds on the way up. "Haah--" She moves, as quickly as she can, amidst vines, moves until she can get close to some of the awful green limbs of the Sorewatase and--

"Hup!" She yanks upward and whirls in place, attempting to make her way higher with kick after kick on her way to boost her up.

...And it's when she's in the air that she spots the Kaoru twins, and her eyes widen as she hears them. Egret and Bloom's friends--the girls she thought were strange, but--

"No," she murmurs, but while she feels her heart grabbed by ice, she can't get anywhere near, can't even call out loud enough.

...And she doesn't have time to think about it--she reaches out to try to keep her momentum--

COMBAT: Cure Passion has used Rising Passion on Sorewatase.
COMBAT: Sorewatase counters 7 Fatigue damage from Cure Passion's Rising Passion, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure
Passion is Psyched!
COMBAT: Sorewatase's counterattack, Grow Strong With Sorrow, partially gets through, doing 23 Fatigue damage to Cure Passion!
Sorewatase drains 3 fatigue from Cure Passion!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

'There's nothing you two can't face together!'

Those words from Cure Pine cut through the raw shock that stopped Cure Egret dead in her tracks. At first, she looked a fool; Egret stood there, staring dumbly. It wasn't with a lack of comprehension, for she knew. Her eyes widened, almost tearing up to hear words she feared might come. But those words come through, and it all rushes in: a crash of feelings, like waves slamming against one another on the breakers.

"Michiru-san... Kaoru-san..."

Her head turns, slightly. She glances back at Cure Pine, with those wide eyes, and then she looks back to her friends. It's Cure Bloom's voice she hears, though. "It... it isn't," she says, quietly. "It isn't a joke. You... you really are with Dark Fall, aren't you? I--"

She never told Saki. She never figured out how to. And, Egret realizes, it is too late now.

Her eyes are locked on the staff for a moment, before she looks up, and she shakes her head. "Cure Pine is right!" she says. "...There is nothing we can't face together, but--but we can't face you, because you're so much more than nothing!"

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Things We Didn't Say on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Cure Egret accepts Cure Egret's Things We Didn't Say, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Nanoha Takamachi [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Before Nanoha can really think too much about what her attack did, a stream of pollen rains down on her and Fuu, covering them. Her eyes start to water and her nose starts to itch and soon she is sneezing uncontrollably, barely managing to hold onto her weapon. She should have known better than to attack a plant creature of that size.

By time the air clears enough for her to be able to see, she looks at Fuu with red, watery eyes but suddenly the air starts to clear a bit. It's enough for her to see that it's Fuu offering her aid and Nanoha gives her a thumbs up. "It's okay. Thanks for the help!" With the air cleared some, she can focus on the battle again.

It's a mess of activity though and it's hard to find a singular point to focus on. With the Sorewatase making it's way up the tower and the Kindabads moving closer together, Nanoha keeps her distance but turns her focus to them instead. Maybe if they can somehow reduce their numbers, getting up the tower will be easier.

<Divine Shooter!!!>

Nanoha plants her feet in the ground firmly as the attack fires up. The beams of energy that flow from Raising Heart focus their power on the greatest concentration of the Kindabads that she can find.

COMBAT: Nanoha Takamachi has used Divine Shooter on Kindabads.
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"Yupp. That's a lot of bad guys ... " Lancelot says as a huge group rushes at him on his postion on the Tower. He leaps and parries several attacks. But it seams like everywhere he moves he has another attack to parry. Arondight is twin blurs of motion even as Lancelot rolls, leaps and runs along the various rungs near him to try and find a clear spot. He slides along one and his baldes stll flashing to parry takes one on the chin. Literally. It staggers the Knight and he begins to fall. Instead of just falling, he pushes off, turning the hit and fall into a graeful flip down a level and to the otherside of the Tower.

Once again he lands ina crouch, lighting flashing in his eyes and along the edges of Arondight. As more of the Kindabads rush in on him he slams both blades together in an X and cries out: "LIGHTNING STREAM!" He then seperates the blades, sending out twin beams of coursing and pulsing blasts of lightning. He remains crouched while he sends out the blasts of lightnig. Eyes tracking both blades and searching for Kindabads that might escape his swath of destruction.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Stream on Kindabads.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Passage through the soft doctrines of the Sea of Tears is kind of rough on the average devil or minion. Batiste covers his eyes; he doesn't want to look.

La Sirene lands in a neat crouch, straightens up, and tosses her hair. She gazes up the looming mass of this synthetic thing, this mirror image of the tower of Eiffel and, la Sirene thinks, the dark echo of the Rusted Tower of --

The memory of the place that she had only read of, never seen, is not able to stay there long as chaos ensues and bursts and power smash inwards. La Sirene's lips purse as she sees the distant forms of the Shepherds, but she cannot call to them now, not here. Is it cooperation? Is it cooperation, she thinks as she turns her gaze forwards, to choose who you strike? She opens her mouth and says, "Cure--"

And in that moment, la Sirene de Diamant enters a realm in which only KINDABAD exists. As elbows fill her vision and she lets out a small gasp, things become - well - kinda bad. Her left hand comes up, fingers upraised in the salute as she cries out, "Les Mysteres, come!"

The Kindabads surround her.

Exactly one beat passes.

With a rippling steel chord a hole is... not blasted but certainly ruptured, la Sirene dashing forwards in the ruddy and clinging afterwash of her magicks and trying to arc her way further up the side of the great tower, leaping as she goes. She clings, she grapples. This is not the most elegant she has ever been and this monkeybar ascent distracts her, to say nothing of having to keep an eye on the monsters who will no doubt be upon her within moments.

La Sirene has to focus on that... but another Chevalier is present, who does not.

"Cure Passion!" comes a squeaky cry. "Stay strong! We are almost there!" Batiste sneezes then, because the pollen is probably getting to him. "You know the story of the raft, right!? The three poles together cannot be broken!" Well, that's not a rare story.

As for the Siren herself: she pulls herself up, twists round, and starts to toss herself up, skipping 'rungs' here and there as she smashes diamond-soled boot sole into vertiginously-extended steel! "Come on come on don't worry, straight ahead," la Sirene mumbles to herself.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used An Encouraging Squeak on Cure Passion.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

This is rapidly becoming as large-scale a battle as any Sailor Pluto has involved herself in since coming to this Tokyo. The shining stars of mahou explode through Kindabad footsoldiers, but still they teem -- and before and above the senshi and the swordswoman and the berserkercat rises the strange and threatening enribbed spooncreature, the Negatone. Sailor Pluto catches the arrival of Miroku's wielder with an over-shoulder glance, stoic battlefury banked there though not directed at the girl.

She calls, "Mikoto!" in fierce welcome as friend and sword both crash into the Negatone. Then her eyes are briefly for Kasagami alone, to follow her deadly dance for a stolen slice of a second, to appreciate and to send a wink her way.

After the Negatone thuds down, Sailor Pluto takes it as her cue to charge in with her Shepherd allies -- and her streaming evergreen hair blasts backward when the sonic burst rolls over her! She stumbles to her knees, charge broken, and has to lever herself up by the silvery strength of the Garnet Rod. The pain of the dirge shows in how one corner of her mouth grimaces upward, wincing an eye nearly shut.

More trouble arrives on the scene, embodied in two young girls, and that cannot help but draw the notice of the Outer Senshi as she regains her feet. So small, and so suffuse with consumptive darkness... She shakes her head clear and throws herself forward again with a wordless shout: "HaaaaAAAHH!"

All the colors of light in the air around them glint from her sacred weapon -- its titanium transmutes to quicksilver in her grip, dancing low and fast for the Negatone's bony knees. For all its speed-blurred liquidity, the Garnet Rod is an unbreakable fulcrum as she leverages it against the great beast's leg and seeks to throw it off balance.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Aoristic Fulcrum on Negatone.
COMBAT: Cure Passion accepts La Sirene de Diamant's An Encouraging Squeak, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Cure
COMBAT: Negatone braces 5 Fatigue damage from Sailor Pluto's Aoristic Fulcrum, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  Negatone is Quipped!
Negatone's Block and Parry abilities activate!  Trap applied to Negatone!
COMBAT: Kindabads perfectly dodges 32 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Lightning Stream, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
Kindabads's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kindabads cleanly braces 17 Fatigue damage from Nanoha Takamachi's Divine Shooter, taking 3 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Despite the dire situation, Kasagami boldly strikes at the Negatone. The powerful, berserker Mikoto, her would-be little sister, strikes with all the fury she's known for. Flipping in the air as she lands, the young woman barely has time to cover her ears as the now fallen Negatone screams with such power that she actually steps back, boots skidding from the sheer force of that sounds the thing makes.

Her head rings, her ears feel like they're bleeding, and she can't hear anything at all for a few long seconds. But her eye works, and she spies Setsuna looking at her, that wink forcing a smile to her face once again.

Worse still, the figures of Kaoru and Michiru leak that darkness, far greater than even the titantic beasts of youma that the many magical girls are fighting. Her brow sweats from that evil feeling, a glance upwards, but she knows she couldn't possibly get up there at the next threat of he very many that's gathered today. No, there's one target she can get to right now, and it's that Negatone is it. It has to be destroyed even as it falls.

And so, gripping her sword with both hands, she briefly elbows herself in the side to try to clear some of the ringing in her head.

"You WILL NOT take this Tower, youma!" Reiterates the girl, howling despite the noise in an attempt to be heard by the creature over it. It might not even understand her, but it sure does make her feel better.

And then she rushes in, both hands swinging her blade back before her boots skid, long legs spreading as she slides towards the creature. She aims for the massive right leg as she tries to slash into the Negatone with all her strength, letting out a battle cry as she turns her hips and entire body to try to slash into and though that white exoskeleton! Her gaze turns to Mikoto.

"Mikoto-chan! Show this creature your power! Monsters such as this should be cut down at the knees!" Encourages Kasagami with all the bluster and authority she can mustre over so much volume.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Falling Petals Cut The Soul on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Falling Petals Cut The Soul, taking 52 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Hands on the hilt of her claymore, there is nothing Mikoto can do to escape the terrible song of the Negatone. Oh, she tries - staggers back, rebuked - but escaping sound is a difficult prospect, and her sensitive ears catch every note.

And all a sudden she thinks of the girl she left behind, the girl waiting for her after school, the girl who cannot hope to catch up on the ground. She thinks of the last time she'd done this, rushed off to save the world without a single care for logic or little kindnesses...

That growl dies in her throat as Mikoto takes a shuddering breath, steel press of guilt crushing down upon her chest with not a single care for blood or bone. "No," Mikoto rasps, the only verbal riposte her roiling mind can make. Her head shakes furiously, braids whipping to and fro. "No!" She denies it, she rejects it. Mai was happy she could fight again, Mai accepted it, Mai celebrated it -

- Mai would want her to stop this, wouldn't she?!

But there are so many enemies, some she cannot strike because they work to the same purpose, and more and more as the Kiryuu Sisters appear on a low beam. There's something to them which Mikoto immediately rejects, lips curling in a snarl. They're too far away to strike right now. She notes their presence in her mind, but they're just one more enemy, for now.

There is an enemy in front of her which cannot be denied. Kasagami's edict cuts through the din like one of her knives, and Mikoto nods as she accepts it, glowering at the monster. She forces herself forward, swinging her blade about in a low arc meant entirely to strike at the Negatone's lower joints, the points in its spoonlike exoskeleton which bear weight. She means to make it impossible for it and its terrible song to follow.

"Go!" She barks, to her friends and her allies, the word wrested from an anguished throat. Like Pluto's stoic fury, the words and her gaze are sharp - but that anger isn't meant for them, it's for the battle raging about them. Hopefully, her meaning is obvious. In her terrible battle-focus she cannot spare the words to clarify. Because once she's executed her attack, she's going to leap away and start barrelling up, leaping from beam to beam. She doesn't want to leave them behind.

Towards the top of the tower, or away from the Negatone's dirge? Perhaps both.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Devastation on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone perfectly braces 28 Fatigue damage from Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Devastation, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Brace!  Negatone's Block and Parry abilities activate!
Nagisa Misumi walks over from Yamanote High City.
<Pose Tracker> The Kiryuu Sisters [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Fuu reflects upon who is and isn't present, but...

All over the city, other battles are raging. Tokyo Tower may be the official tiebreaker, double overtime, sudden death match point, but there's more than one way to break the tie.

And after what happened after most of the magical girl population took off for space, everyone -- on both sides -- knows it.

Still, Tokyo Tower is the most likely pivot point. At the rate things are going, this may turn out to be literal. The whole tower rings like a gong from the many impacts upon it, especially those of the Sorewatase, which are heavy and made heavier by Cure Passion thudding over and over into its back.

Having had quite enough of that, it sprouts vines about the relative size and shape of an anglerfish's head tentacle, and fixes them with remora-like suckers onto the Pretty Cure in four or five spots. Then -- an all-too-familiar feeling -- it begins vacuuming in her energy. Everything feels dark, and looks gray.

Cure Pine, meanwhile, shoots downwards into the Kindabads -- around the same time that Lancelot shoots lightning and Nanoha shoots Divine (so to speak). It's hard to tell if the trouble they're having with the tide of little monsters is because they're tough or because there are so many of them but one can pretty safely guess the latter. They're durable enough to take a lickin' and keep on tickin', and loyal enough to come back for more than one, so for all that they get electrocuted, slammed and shot... their numbers don't seem reduced very much.

Sailor Pluto and Kasagami come in together, the first trying to knock a huge leg off balance, the second trying to knock it off -- and Mikoto goes for the other. The former two are successful even though Miroku winds up at a bad angle and glances off; Mikoto is free to flee upwards, because the Negatone goes crashing over, felled like a tree, onto its side.



"A joke?" Kaoru asks, blankly. Michiru, always marginally better at interpretation, gets it, and her face darkens.

"An insult," she clarifies.

"Oh," Kaoru replies in a single huffed breath, and whether she's relieved or disappointed is impossible to say. Whatever the case, she steels her shoulders and lifts her chin, and her sister does the same.

"We can't go home," they respond at last, finishing each other's sentence, "Until the job is done."

And then, together, they sweep the evil magical wand through the air. It trails darkness... a very specific darkness.

Loud as the Negatone is, chaotic as the screams of dozens of Kindabads are... the chittering cuts through all of it. It is horrifyingly familiar.

'keeheehee!' 'kee-chee!' 'chichichichichi!'

They're like ghosts, if ghosts were made of smoke. Of black mist. Of what comes out of a little, deceptively baby-pink egg, when it's cracked in two.

One plunges into the back of the Sorewatase. It disappears within, but the taint spreads out through its many verdant veins immediately from the point of contact, turning chlorophyll-green into all-too-bloody red.

The Sorewatase only has the single baleful eye, normally, but now they're popping out all over across its length in various shapes and sizes. None are as big as the central eye, and some, rather than being solidly red, are very human browns and greens and blues. They glare in all directions. Several weep.

And the suckers attacked to Passion abruptly grow sharp fangs, and start digging in, hungry no longer only for despair but for blood. More fanged green-red tentacles make for La Sirene, trying to climb past it.

The Negatone was singing; singing the horrible melody of sorrow, a sonic torture, despair rendered into song, but song nevertheless. As the protodaimon's spirit enters it, its boney mouth distorts and gapes jaggedly, resembling nothing so much as a cinematic shark's, and the song warps into a discordant SCREAM of at least four or five voices at once. None of them are human.

A moment later, its missing leg is replaced by a huge thrashing limb with too many toes, at first bubbling bloody ichor which quickly solidifies into exposed muscles and veins. Whatever is at its core isn't bone anymore.

It's something worse.

The Negatone blurs into motion. Where it was, before, rather ponderous and slow, now it is unfairly quick. Its many spoons look more like claws (and they are certainly now red instead of their native pink) and it scythes forward, spinning through Pluto and Kasagami like the harvest has come, then explodes upwards, landing on the opposite side of Tokyo Tower from the Sorewatase and beginning to climb after Mikoto.

But the Kindabads are worst of all.

(A statement that may go down in history, and hopefully never be repeated.)


The small army of punchable faceless goons becomes a small army of, certainly, still-punchable goons, but each one grows considerably, going from 'skinny little guy' to 'hulking monster, taller than a man'; not in the weight class of the Sorewatase and Negatone by any means, but their numbers suddenly mean something, and they mean something... terrible.

They retain their red sunglasses, but now they all have mouths. Very human mouths, pink lips tucked into their black cheeks... until they open them, revealing too many rows of fangs and a too-long, forked tongue that has a nasty propensity to lash out wildly, bringing paralytic venom with it.

It is no longer so safe to be so surrounded. And there are more than a few up in the beams, too...

Kaoru and Michiru have the decency to look a little bit horrified, but there's a freedom to this moment, too. Surely there's no going back from having done such a thing. Now everyone knows exactly what they are, and what they're here to do.

For now, Kaoru retains custody of the wand, while Michiru cracks her knuckles and leaps at Cure Bloom, fists aglow with dark energy. "It's our destiny to fight you!" she cries.

"It's not like Pretty Cure to hold back," agrees Kaoru, more coolly, at least on the surface, as she comes in with a one-two kick worthy of Cure Egret...'s face.

COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Kaolinite's Blessing on Negatone.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Kaolinite's Blessing on Sorewatase.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Kaolinite's Blessing on Kindabads.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Fistful of Darkness on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Dark Sky Cross on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Negatone accepts The Kiryuu Sisters's Kaolinite's Blessing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to
COMBAT: Negatone transforms into Daimonic Negatone!
COMBAT: Sorewatase accepts The Kiryuu Sisters's Kaolinite's Blessing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to
COMBAT: Sorewatase transforms into Daimonic Sorewatase!
COMBAT: Kindabads accepts The Kiryuu Sisters's Kaolinite's Blessing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to
COMBAT: Kindabads transforms into Daimonic Kindabad Horde!
COMBAT: Negatone has used Scythe-Spoon Harvest on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Scythe-Spoon Harvest on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Sorewatase has used Venus Girl-Trap! on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Cure Egret braces 22 Fatigue damage from The Kiryuu Sisters's Dark Sky Cross, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sorewatase has used Venus Girl-Trap! on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Venomous Strike on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Venomous Strike on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Cure Bloom neatly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from The Kiryuu Sisters's Fistful of Darkness, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  The
Kiryuu Sisters is Psyched!
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Venomous Strike on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Venomous Strike on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Venomous Strike on Nanoha Takamachi.
COMBAT: Cure Pine cleanly braces 17 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Venomous Strike, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Cure Pine's Block
and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant fails to brace Sorewatase's Venus Girl-Trap!, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to La Sirene de
COMBAT: Cure Passion cleanly braces 34 Fatigue damage from Sorewatase's Venus Girl-Trap!, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Cure Passion's Block and Parry abilities activate!  Stun and Trap applied to Cure Passion!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi partially dodges 6 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Venomous Strike, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Mikoto Minagi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto braces 12 Fatigue damage from Negatone's Scythe-Spoon Harvest, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Pluto's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to brace Negatone's Scythe-Spoon Harvest, taking 34 Fatigue damage!  Stagger applied to Kasagami
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji dodges 9 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Venomous Strike, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!  Stun applied to Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: Lancelot dodges 16 Fatigue damage from Kindabads's Venomous Strike, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stun applied
to Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Bloom's denial stuns Pine - but only a little. They knew these girls. They had no idea they were...

It feels so startlingly familiar. And yet she cannot know the depths of it. Fortunately Egret seems more rooted in the reality of the situation. "You were their... friends?" It's the only question she can ask. It's unclear even which pair she's asking this of. And right now it's too far away for either of them to hear her.

In any other scenario a cute otter cheering her teammate would get Pine's head to turn so quickly that people would get whiplash looking at her. Right now though... she's fixated on the horror as those two girls summon the magic of the Deathbuster staff.

Suddenly all of her opponents are growing in size - and power. And they're screaming.

It reminds her of that time she punched a Proto-Daimon - and she could hear the sound of something within screaming. There's too many fangs, and too many claws. And that's not even counting the tongue that's coming towards her. The strangled whimper that escapes her lips becomes a wheezing word of - "No-!"

It's sheer battle instinct that she remembers not to touch it directly, instead she whips backwards into a handstand - parrying with her booted feet instead to just knock the foot away. The paralytic poison not quite seeping through. As others attack - she desperately starts kicking away the tongue lashings from her upside down position, turning herself rapidly.

Pressing up on her palms, she leaps up in a layout flip. Her feet pressing down on one of the Daimonic Kindabads. Bending at the knees briefly, she leaps straight upwards along the Tokyo Tower scaffolding. Coming up straight beside Passion. The Sorewatase has too many eyes. And it's sucker filled vines are grasping-

"Passion!" The word is all but shrieked - in a dead panic as if she's worried that she's worried the other girl is going to be drawn inside of the thing. Fist reared back - her target isn't the Sorewatase directly. She drives her knuckles hard into the vines grasping her in an attempt to loosen them - just, enough.

Silently she hopes she doesn't get attached to the suckers.

COMBAT: Cure Pine has used Pineapple Punch on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

"Oh." Lancelot says staring up at one of the Kindabads as they suddenly and unexpectedly get bigger. "Nut Bunnies." He dives the side, avoiding a swipe. Slides under another and leaps over a third. He rolls when he lands avoiding another attack and then jumps to another rung of the Tower when he's hit in mid air. He falls back and begins to fall, but he flips both blades around and stabs into a support beam to catch himself. He grits histeeth feeling his left arm going dead.

With every ounce of will he flips himself up onto the bar once more and dismisses the blade in his left hand, the arm hanging dead from the venom. He grits his teeth and hisses slightly twirling the blade in his right hand. "Not. Out. Yet." He grunts. Without a second thought, Lancelot lunges forward. His right blade flashing left and right, diagnal and verticle and horizontal. He can't fly, but when he runs full speed he can go up the side of buildings. He flashes between the now larger Kindabads, Arondight exploding in thunderous booms with every strike of his blade.

He slides to halt, swor dheld horizontal before him, and in a low stance. "Come on ya big uglies. Take me on!"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Furious Assault on Kindabads.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

'Stay strong! We're almost there!'

Passion start to make it into the pollen, looking upward, forward. She nods firmly, in answer--but then there's the... talk... of...

"What raft?" Passion calls back in some confusion, over her shoulder as she tries to keep moving. She... has not heard that story, like she hasn't heard most stories. But a nice moment of connection between new friends--

...Is just a moment in this battle, though one that she can carry ahead, remember as another friend coming to help. Passion strikes as she moves up, undaunted by the fact that she is so, so much smaller than the monster near her. For the moment she is out ahead, but she knows it's not alone--at least, she would like to know that. But for an instant--

The little suckers apply to Passion, and she can feel them latching on, her teeth grit. "Aah--" It's too, too familiar, and images flash through her mind as everything starts turning gray. It's dark. Memories of a summer day, of a jungle--

"Gh--" Passion starts to shift, trying to get them off of her by turning back and forth, but what she is not expecting is the eyes to sproud everywhere on the Sorewatase; one stares at her, weeping, and then the fangs dig in to her flesh. "Aaah--!"

She already wears red, but she is wearing more of it abrubtly. There's no way she can try to support Egret and Bloom with words right now, no way she can call out to the girls she thought were strange; she suddenly has to spend her energy trying to hang on, arm jerking as she grits her teeth. But she can't get a grip until Pine calls out to her and strikes hard, giving the red Cure a chance to reach out and grab with the momentum, landing hard against the side of the tower and rattling there for a moment, almost losing her grip.

"...Pine," she says, and there's pain in her voice, as she looks over to Egret and Bloom. Shaking her head, there's still time for Pine to see it--but Passion coils her muscles and pulls herself up, rearing a fist back and starting to shift so quickly that she begins to blur, launching herself towards the Sorewatase's body.

...Hopefully she can break its hold while she punches, too quickly to see.

COMBAT: Cure Passion has used Passion Flash on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Well, mission accomplished: Mikoto has gotten away from the terrible song of the Negatone, if only because it can't really be called a song, any more.

Unfortunately, there's something worse going on, and suddenly Mikoto cannot think about the girls below and whether they're catching up at all. Because the monsters are changing, and Kindabads which once were nuisances grow...

Is it worse, when they began in such an almost-human shape? Is it worse that they are, in parts, now too human, lips and teeth?

The source of those things like ghosts are the girls, the girls who stink of evil intent. Those girls are directing this battle, and erasing them will go so far to improve their situation. But there are only two close enough to fight them - only two...

Mikoto can barely spare glances to them, as she leaps from beam to beam, desperately trying to avoid the Kindabads. All she knows about Bloom is that she is a kindred spirit in screaming. She's not screaming, now. It's a problem.

"They're enemies!" Mikoto yells, fiercely, and it takes her long moments to summon the words. "Enemies must be defeated!" And sparing the attention to - well - perhaps it's meant to encourage them - it was a mistake. It means a tongue finally lashes out, strikes at her side, and Mikoto yelps as her momentum is arrested and she starts tumbling down in an entirely uncontrolled fashion.

Straight towards the claws which catch and jaws which bite of the Negatone, as it crawls up the tower in pursuit.

With a sharp breath, Mikoto comes to her senses and forces herself into a spin, blade whirling as she means to meet it in a strike against those massive scythes, to attack its most fearsome weapons with the power of the gravity forcing her down.

It is hardly something which can be described as a controlled trajectory.

The phrase flashes through her mind again as the Negatone rushes up towards her like the ground: too human. Muscle and vein and ichor, organic connective tissues which seem as out-of-place on a youma as boots are on a cat.

But Mikoto has never shied away from spilling blood.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Disequilibrium on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"No - !!!" the Wind Knight yelps as she hears that chittering, sees the wisps of darkness trailing through the air and infusing the monsters who were already *more* than bad enough. Adding protodaimons to the mix ...

The wind billows around her as the newly-boosted Kindabads press in, and she *leaps*, riding an updraft away from the mass; she's not fast enough to avoid some fresh injuries, but she won't let them ground her. She can't truly fly, even under the best conditions, and with the power flaring all around Tokyo Tower, she wouldn't be able to even if she normally *could*. But boosted leaps? Well, others are leaping their way up the Tower. Maybe she doesn't need to worry so much about keeping pace with the other magical girls - but she's not about to abandon them entirely.

The Magic Knight of Wind alights on a "rung" of the tower, and takes in the situation. The Sorewatase and Negatone are both climbing steadily; *that* won't stand. And since the now-even-more-monstrous Sorewatase remains the closer of the two terrible titans, that's the one she focuses on, dismissing her sword and conjuring her bow, pulling an arrow from the quiver and nocking it, drawing back. The wind rises about her once again as she aims - remembering where that primary eye was, and hoping it's still an important organ. Maybe she can't fell the Sorewatase with a single shot ... but she can't be in any more danger for making it mad at her personally, can she?

(Maybe that's a bad question.)


The string is released, the wind surges around her, and the arrow sails forward and up, guided and accelerated by the magic surrounding it in a layer of wind.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Gale Arrow on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Sailor Pluto feels like she's taken a battering, for all that she hasn't yet been physically touched in the battle. Her brain vibrates uncomfortably against the inside of her skull from the Negatone's dirge, and she keeps rubbing at her ears with the back of her gloves and expecting them to show up red when they pull away.

Even the satisfaction of seeing the thing topple to their combined assault can't shake it from her. Still, after that powerful slice through the creature's leg she calls to Kassie, "Keep stealing my breath like that and I'll have trouble fighting!"

But the Negatone is evolving... taking on horrible distortion that crawls into its voice and splits it into a vile chorus that assaults ears already well-bruised. It whips into blinding-fast attack and Pluto can only brace the Garnet Rod's silvery haft between herself and the coming spoon-scything madness, knuckles pale beneath white silk. She clenches the fine line of her jaw and endures the blow, just barely turning wicked edges away but feeling the impact all through her shoulders and spine.

It won't bow her. Regardless of the battering, she spins on her heel and lunges after the leaping Negatone. The battle carries them on and up, until Tokyo Tower fills what sky above them that is not suffuse with contested power and light.

The Cures face the girls -- those darkness-draped girls, in all their terrible presence and power -- and deep within the senshi she feels a shiver. It rises and becomes goosebumps along strong arms, even as she charges the climbing monster and gets ever closer to the two. The four.

She's close enough to see the hesitance in both mahou, to catch some of these undercurrents of caring and concern. The darkness that seethes from Michiru and Kaoru, on the other hand -- that could be seen for miles, the Outer Senshi is sure.

Mikoto voices it first and fiercest. Sailor Pluto's words carry an implacable sorrow, an understanding, but still: "They threaten everything," she cries to Cure Bloom and Cure Egret. The Outer Senshi imparts the truth she exists by. "You cannot hesitate. Mourn them later, when the world is safe...!" It is not the most uplifting thing to say, but the Guardian of Time means every word.

There's still a transmuted beast to deal with, and Sailor Pluto sends the Garnet Rod into a whirring spin overhead, describing a perfect silvery circle with its length. She leaps and brings the force of a thousand thudding blows to bear against the Negatone, aiming right for that jagged maw. Maybe that will shut the thing up...

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Pendulum Blitz on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

La Sirene de Diamant stares up as some sort of dark smoke reaches the Sorewatase and reaches into it and oh - "Oh," Batiste says, "Oh, that is no good, no -"

The tentacles come and with blurring speed wrap round the Siren; Batiste is able to flee into her skirts but this is only a temporary solution and he knows it, but at least he is not immediately seized like some sort of fuzzy popsicle. La Sirene cannot help but think of Nao Yuuki as she feels herself contort, as she sees eyes bloom around her.

So, she thinks bleakly: This.

After everything. After all the promises I made. I...

The choking struggling sense of impotence and frustration, that half-dammed tide of anxiety, the wellspring of sorrow within her heart, the bloody wound in her psyche, throbs; aggravated, struck now, she feels her pale skin flush, feels her eyes well up even as her arms are pulled about like an action figure.

(Batiste feels dismay that his final words will be a poorly conveyed analogy.)

But then the thought comes to la Sirene, with a certain memory-inducing scent. The fragrance of tears; for the Sorewatase, in the tyranny of mutation, is weeping.

"This must hurt, mustn't it," la Sirene says, distantly. ("Yes!" confirms Batiste.)

"It's okay," la Sirene says. ("What?!")

She reaches down one hand and touches the casing of the Brazen Pharos. "It's going to be alright. I'll gather your tears -"

Strange, la Sirene reflects, how I've never done this til now, not formally, and yet I'm hoping it will save the day. That or Cure Passion. Oh! There's an excitement here, isn't there, she thinks further, even as her eyes close and she sends her will down, her heart pounding as she remembers wading in that black-sanded beach, smelling that ripe and mysterious sea --

Sparks fly from the Pharos. The light is soothing and gentle, akin perhaps to the light that has come from the Siren's darkling aura but not the same sort of thing. It is gentle, soothing; a light that washes over landscapes that are rather barren but beautiful, over stones from the depths of the earth that came out hot and eager but have cooled before they reached their home.

More to the point the sparks fly for those weeping eyes. Can she gather these tears? La Sirene is unsure; but if she cannot... They ARE sparks, after a fashion.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Salute the Four Corners on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Grin! "I'll steal it again and again, just as every time I look into your eyes, you make my heart yours all over again Pluto-chan!" Comes Kassie without hesitation despite how hard her ears hurt.

Kasagami takes Mikoto's simple words to heart! She's hardly about to abandon an opponent nearly down for the count, and so she's getting ready to leap to a beam of Tokyo Tower, ready to finish this small part of the battle! But Michiru and Kaoru have other plans.

With the prodaimons released, Kasagami's eyes go wide as she witnesses the nearly-felled Negatone twist into the horrific form it takes on, eyeing those now scythe-like digits and the horrible replacement leg that evil wand has given it, and her gaze tears away from the creature over to the two sisters and the twin PreCure taking them on.

"Pretty Cure! You can't afford to hesitate right now! The dreams, the families, the lovers and ambitions of all of those who are fighting here and all across Tokyo hinge on our victory today! If you know them, if they're your friends, then you're fighting for that very friendship as well!" Encourages Kasagami, voice rising up above the din of combat in concert with her companions.

But before she can say anything else, that massive Daimon-infused Negatone rushes them with slicing scythes, and Kasagami's attention snaps away. She has problems right now.

There's simply too many even for someone of such skill with a blade to parry. A thousand killing blows come for her, and Kasagami spins, ducks, and brings up her blade to meet them again and again until finally their bulk strikes clean. Across the stomach, her right arm, whisps of raven-black and red tipped hair flutters in the air where she's touched by the Negatone as surely as the rose petals fluttering around her. She's forced to duck aside to avoid being crushed as the Negatone makes it's way upwards, gasping and punching the ground briefly as she gathers her breath. Sweat drips down her brow as she shakes off the powerful attack from the renewed beast.

"I won't let monsters or the corrupt take away the world those I love struggle within!" Comes Kasagami, growling under her breath as she leaps towards a beam, powerful legs propelling her upwards in a blurr. She sheaths her blade into it's container as she tries to catch up to the climbing youma, only to dissappear in a flash of petals!

Boots lands on a higher beam, she turns her hips as she settles into a perfect iaijutsu position, and then she's rocketing back down towards the Negatone with purpose and grace.

"ROSE FLASH!" She calls out as her massive blade is a whirlwind of falling force while sliding out from it's sheath in a single smooth motion that's so very easy to miss, as if she'd never drawn it at all as she tries to lash into the horrible creature.


COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Rose Flash on Negatone.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Haha, it's so funny how they totally don't understand extremely obvious turns of phrase...that's always been something Saki to help them with. How shy they were. How much help they sometimes needed with silly things.

This isn't a silly thing. Cure Bloom stares in horror as the monsters transform; the Nakewameke, the Sorewatase, both fiersome on their own, and now mutated by that horrible, familiar darkness. And the Kindabads - Never truly harmless but always a bit charming, cute in their way. No longer.

"What..." she rasps out. Egret says it. Her eyes confirm it, her soul sings with it. Flappy yelps, "Bloom-lapi! They're powering up the monsters-lapi! It's...I'm sorry, but there's no other explanation-lapi! Egret is right-lapi!"

"They can't..." Saki murmurs, her fists coming unclenchd. "They can't be..."

And then Michiru soars at her. Instincts move her. She leaps back and away, the ground at her feet pulverized in a heartbeat by that dark power. Cure Bloom's shoes hit the ground and the girl in that deep pink drops into a defensive posture. She breathes, too fast, trying to get her heart to stop racing, the world to stop spinning.

'They're enemies! Enemies must be defeated!'

'They threaten everything. You cannot hesitate.'

'Pretty Cure! You can't afford to hesitate right now!'

Saki Hyuuga looks Michiru Kiryuu in the eyes. Sees that girl, with that familiar face; the sour, battle-ready glare of a warrior ready to strike. She's seen that look in the eyes of enemies from Karehaan to Kintoleski to Soular. And yet now, seeing it on her friend...

She doesn't drop her guard.

But she doesn't strike, either.

"I won't fight you," she says, quietly, but with something firming up in her heart, solidifying like glory. "I won't fight my friends. And you are my friend!"

<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"No! Don't!" Egret cries out, as the two sisters wave Kaolinite's wand -- but her cry does nothing to stop the surge of power that flows from it and strengthens every last one of the monsters here. Egret looks all about her, left and right; she sees the many-eyed Sorewatese, the hulking Kindabads, the uneven jaws of the Negatone. She knows the monster that powered them.

She thought, once, she saved the two sisters from those monsters. How little she understood.

Cure Egret has to step backward as Kaoru is abruptly upon her. Her foot comes crashing down in a kick that is familiar, but different. It slams into her crossed arms at the last second, and the impact drives the Pretty Cure back across the ground. Mikoto's words reach her ears. So Pluto's, more eloquent, but equally harsh.

Her expression becomes stricken. Tears are in her eyes, rolling down her cheeks, making the battle blurrier in every sense. Kasagami tells her not not hesitate, and she clings to that.

But maybe not the way she would like. She uncrosses her arms and looks back at her friend, in a mirror of Bloom. Her voice is quiet, but the edge of panic is razor-sharp. "Kaoru-san! Please! I--I can't fight you! I figured it out, before, but... but you are still my friend!"

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Stage 2 - Defiance on The Kiryuu Sisters.
COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Pleading on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Cure Egret accepts Cure Egret's Pleading, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters fails to brace Cure Bloom's Stage 2 - Defiance, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Negatone perfectly dodges 36 Fatigue damage from Sailor Pluto's Pendulum Blitz, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Negatone braces 20 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Rose Flash, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki is Psyched!
Negatone's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Negatone fails to dodge Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Disequilibrium, taking 43 Fatigue damage!  Diversion and Exhausted
applied to Negatone!
COMBAT: Sorewatase dodges 14 Fatigue damage from Cure Pine's Pineapple Punch, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Sorewatase's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sorewatase cleanly braces 23 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Salute the Four Corners, taking 4 Fatigue damage!
Sorewatase's Block and Parry abilities activate!  Bind Break! All of La Sirene de Diamant's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Sorewatase perfectly dodges 37 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Gale Arrow, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Critical Dodge!  Sorewatase's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sorewatase fails to brace Cure Passion's Passion Flash, taking 56 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Kindabads fails to brace Lancelot's Furious Assault, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> The Kiryuu Sisters [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Michiru and Kaoru seem to agree with the helpful advice of Mikoto, Sailor Pluto, and Kasagami.

"They're right," Kaoru says flatly; she seems undeterred by Cure Egret's apparent pacifism. "Enemies must be defeated... and we are not your friends. We live in different worlds."

Frustrated, she punctuates each sentence with another kick, then a punch, and finally a spinning, jamming elbow.

"Everything you believe is fundamentally wrong," agrees Michiru, more dark than flat. And yet -- there's a sadness beneath the assertion.

"You two are fundamentally wrong. You live thinking it is joyous to be born and grow up, don't you? All living things will eventually die out. In the end, it all comes to naught. And in that case, there's no need for life to be born in the first place." These may be Michiru's beliefs, but she doesn't seem to enjoy them. Her weary acceptance is that of an ancient soul.

(Her punches are neither weary nor ancient-seeming, but come faster and faster, more and more furious, culminating in an extended palm, from which blasts a dark power.)

As is Kaoru's agreement. It isn't that of a fanatic; rather, that of a tired servant who daren't rebel. "The eternal world of ruin that we aim to create is in fact the ideal world," she says, sounding like she's quoting someone.

The Negatone is a lot less verbose -- and, frankly, a lot more enthusiastic, in a screaming way. Grabbing onto a strut of Tokyo Tower with its horribly fleshy limb, it swings itself neatly out of the way of Sailor Pluto's whirling staff, but leaves behind a staff of its own; explosive, angrily glaring notes, quarter, half, and full, which detonate right in her face.

And that same swing takes it right into Miroku, which severs its grip on the Tower (and that limb, for a second time; the short remnant attached to the metal splits into maggot-like tendrils, then fade into mist).

It plunges several yards before catching itself on two new, smaller limbs, which explode, hydra-like, from the wound. Rather like the Sorewatase, these are sprouting parts of a face; but it's mouths, rather than eyes, up and down the ... well, they're relatively slender enough now to feel more like arms than a leg.

Several of them gnash at Mikoto even as they go past, trying to grab her up and bring her along as it rises. Its momentum is slowed by Kasagami's slash, but not stopped, and she, too, is subject to more of those explosive notes left in its wake.

Its screams have multiplied with the mouths, becoming a chorus of several dozen howls of greater or lesser humanity. It is difficult to say which end of the spectrum is worse to hear.

The Sorewatase's relative silence is its own kind of ominous. All that can be heard are the slashing of its fangs as it tries to retain its grips on Cure Passion and La Sirene. The Pretty Cures, working in tandem, are able to punch Passion mostly free; tendrils snapping, spewing acidic ichor as they do.

That must have hurt, because the tears flow fast and free near the Pharos. Collecting them, however, does not seem to change the core situation -- a monster made of despair has been possessed by a monster made of agony.

She, too, is freed -- because the jaws around her gape impossibly wide, avoiding Fuu's arrow, before plunging downwards with terrifying speed.

Fuu herself has to contend with Kindabads closing around her from all directions. The prospect of being piled on by them is a lot scarier now that they're huge.

At least Lancelot is nearby; he may be wounded, but that doesn't seem to be slowing him down much, in his running battle through the tower. There are, maybe, fewer of them than there were, turning each engagement into a quick intense duel rather than a series of explosions and Kindabads flying about.

COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Dark Blast on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters has used Dark Flourish on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used Force Concentration on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Kindabads has used They're Everywhere! on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Sorewatase has used Acidic Ichor on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Sorewatase has used Acidic Ichor on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Sorewatase has used Massive Threat on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Sorrowful Strike on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Sorrowful Strike on Sailor Pluto.
COMBAT: Negatone has used Outlook Not So Good on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Cure Pine fails to dodge Sorewatase's Acidic Ichor, taking 42 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Cure Passion dodges 19 Fatigue damage from Sorewatase's Acidic Ichor, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure
Passion's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Cure Egret braces 9 Fatigue damage from The Kiryuu Sisters's Dark Flourish, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret's Block
and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom braces 18 Fatigue damage from The Kiryuu Sisters's Dark Blast, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Block
ability activates!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant decisively counters 60 Fatigue damage from Sorewatase's Massive Threat, taking 20 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  La Sirene de Diamant's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant's counterattack, Les Mysteres, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sorewatase!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi neatly dodges 32 Fatigue damage from Negatone's Outlook Not So Good, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto
Minagi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Trap applied to Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki perfectly dodges 39 Fatigue damage from Negatone's Sorrowful Strike, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Dodge!  Kasagami Araki's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to counter Kindabads's They're Everywhere!, taking 29 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lancelot's counterattack, Bladefury, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Kindabads!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto fails to dodge Negatone's Sorrowful Strike, taking 42 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to brace Kindabads's Force Concentration, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stagger, Stun,
Tangle, and Trap applied to Fuu Hououji!
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (12)] has posed.

Rushing here and there, Lancelot's blade explodes here and there in cracks of thunder. He's leaped form railing to railing, rung to rung, clibed up and ran down. He is everwhere he can fight one of these Kindabads, and all with one sword. Unfortunately by doing this he's found himself surrounded. Well. Offense has worked for him so far. "BLADEFU - " He begins to cry out as the Kindabads leap in from every direction.

Lancelot finds himself hit with a fist, and he stumbles backwards, then gets kicked from behind. He rocks foward and then finds hmself hit by two, three, four, five others. He falls form his position on the outer portion of the tower stunned by the sheer violence that hit him. Sure, he's taken individual stronger hits, but combined it was a bit overpowering.

He hits a strut and bounces with an explosion of breath and as he bounces he tries to draw in a breath, gasping for air instead. He slams into a platform and lays there trying to draw air into his lungs and mentally check his body to make sure he dind't break anything. Finall finding air, he somehow manages to push himself up to a knee and summon Arondight back to him. The blade forming out of lightning that crackles into his hand. One eye is closed and he grits his teeth as the pain on the right side of his face begins to swell around that eye. He isn't about to paic, but he knows he needs to buy himself some time. He looks up at the sward of Kindabads who may or may not be about to descend on him. He draws power to the tip of his balde forming a ball of electricity and then swings the blade. The ball flies out then explodes in a blinding flash of white light as he cries out, "FLASH BANG!!"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Flash Bang on Kindabads.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

After impacting with the Sorewatase- acidic ichor sprays.

Pine tries to twist away - but it drenches her - and she smokes. Shrieking as the alien ichor works at trying to dissolve her skin. In a move of desperation she plants her feet and vaults backwards. Pine launches herself backwards at the latticework of the tower - the move mercifully causes some of that ichor to fly off of her. Her feet planting against Tokyo Tower. A hand trembling as she holds on. From her position she can see the course of the battle as Passion rallies against the Sorewatase - their kouhai all coming to blows... and what's said...

"They're wrong! Even people who grew up under different experiences - in different worlds - they can understand each other!" She knows that from Setsuna. Her look softening as she catches a glimpse of Passion. They've been through so much together. All of those memories and experiences. "And there's so much that's precious between living and dying - things that can't be meaningless - no matter what."

But Bloom and Egret need more than just encouragement on why their foes are wrong. They need... "Fight them. Fight them because you're their friends! You need to believe that your friendship means something..." Her voice becomes a sotto voce. "... even when they deny it. Especially when they do! And... good things can happen..." Something seems a little choked up, as she says even more quietly, "...Passion is proof of that."

Sucking in a pained breath through her nostrils, she manages a smile at her Pretty Cure Teammate. "Let's show them." Easier said than done - facing down the sum of all of their fears in one terrible monster - but she'll try anyhow. Hooking her leg to brace herself, she puts her hands over her head with a clap. Thrusting her hands down one at a time - "Nasty things - Nasty things fly away!"

Before bringing them overhead again. It's like the choreography of a dance she's practiced a thousand times. Bringing her hands outwards into a diamond shape between her fingers, "Pretty Cure DOUBLE-"

Her hands aglow with incandescent yellow energy. It bursts forth in a great torrent of purifying power, "-FRESH!" Spiralling around it merges with Passion's Red to turn a brilliant orange - before crashing into the Sorewatase horror with all the might the two can muster.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Pine has started a combo targeting Sorewatase!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

It is the Wind Knight's sincere contention that getting dogpiled by Kindabads is bad enough even under normal conditions. These conditions are very very far removed from 'normal' - they are, honestly, about as bad as conditions can *get* - and she's cut off before she could scramble to safety or for any semblance of cover; *then* they swarm in and set about making her life much, much less pleasant than it already was. (Which wasn't very. Seeing a giant monster which you're trying to stop dodge an arrow by *opening its mouth* is pretty disheartening.) But even as she disappears within the swarming horde, her voice rings out once more ...

"Liberating ... GALE!!!"

... and the storm erupts all around her, beginning as a healing spell before its power transforms into a devastating outwards blast. IF this works, the Wind Knight should be free to continue fighting at relatively full strength, and the Kindabads literally scattered to the winds.

If it doesn't work? .... technically it would be *really hard* for her to be much worse off than she is right now. Not that it'd be impossible, and she knows it even as she rolls the proverbial dice.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Liberating Gale on Kindabads.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The world is full of screaming. Cure Passion is free, which is a relief. A moment later she too is free, the tears seeming to raise into the Brazen Pharos in a small stream, almost a sad trickle (aptly enough). La Sirene de Diamant is loosed, and lands atop a beam, crouching. She looks at the creature.

The rest is just long enough for Batiste to emerge, thinking he is safe. He squeaks in dismay. The jaws come towards her.

They fill the world. La Sirene feels herself shrinking backwards. She cannot shrink far. Her back is to steel, impossibly real in the light of the World Tree. The vast creature-on-creature is there. She raises her hands. Her fingers crook.

"Les Mysteres," she breathes -

- Somewhere, far away (but closer than you think), there is a room. It is not the Sea of Tears, or really, any place at all. In this nowhere-room there are seven sleeping maidens, dreaming in eternity. Heaped in stones rimed with frost, and lately with glittering cascades of carbonado as fat as a sea urchin, they have slept undisturbed. There has been nothing for them to awaken, their turnings and sighs having always been enough.

A monster's tear drips in the room that has been forever silent.

One of the seven opens her left eye.

BGM INTRUSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53HZ7LoqhSQ&t=2m

- "Wake"

La Sirene throws her arms out to either side even as Batiste covers his face in terror. The chord echoes in quadrophone despite the final invocation stroke. Light erupts from both her arms and the Sorewatase bites down but the teeth do not ever reach her.

Batiste dares to unshield his eyes. He sees the world out through a lens of black leaden crystal, electric and alive with shining light.

La Sirene's back is arched as her hands press against the interlocking slender septagonal panes that form this living sheath of barrier-light, the Fresnel-lensing pouring over each individual pane in its own heartbeat rhythm. Three of the panes crack inwards, shedding rotten copper fragments as the entire construction wavers, threatening to implode before the verdigris shimmers together, forming a cousin of kintsugi in the half-shattered panes. They begin to grow, and like the plates of an animal, each can only spread further apart.

Slowly. Achingly! Like a hand-cranking window! La Sirene shrieks in sharp agony as something protests in her soul and her lower back, a fourth bubbling bulge enough to change the vectors of pressure, sending her shooting outwards, otter, sphere and all to pinball-bounce off another girder. The glass melts into morning mist as she dangles, pulling herself up and panting for breath.

Her head turns to look towards -- the two women. The Kiryuus.

"An eternal world of ruin...?" la Sirene breathes.

"I don't think such a place would suit you, either of you," assesses the dark girl. She places a hand against a white-painted girder, straightening upwards. "Ruins teach strange lessons about eternity. If the eternal is the only thing you'll accept, you won't find it there."

La Sirene's pale eyes turn towards Egret and Bloom. (The left one twitches slightly. Ow, Nori thinks. Did I hurt it somehow?) "Pine is right. From three different worlds my Chevaliers have come." (in that moment, perhaps it does become hers.) "But we have bound together now. Your hearts beat together, don't they?"

La Sirene swallows. She seems to have run out of words. Her attention turns back to the Sorewatase, her light rising upwards, aiming a sweep of the hand to wash that inverted light over a streak of the monster's eyes. Enough to madden, perhaps to make them tear up.

I have to be stronger, la Sirene thinks. I have to be... For Passion, for Madoka, for ALL of them.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Weavery of the Abyss on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

They aren't friends. ...They live in different worlds.

The words sink in as surely as the teeth did, making their own wounds against the red Cure who is tangled up with the Sorewatase and two friends. "But..."

Still she tries fighting against the silence before her; she can see Sirene closer now, but before she can free her Passion has to free herself, and thanks to Pine she mostly is... except that the acid splashing over her and Passion makes a wordless noise of pain, shuddering in place as she tries to hang on. "Both of you--"

Her eyes widen as La Sirene is freed, but as she throws out her barrier. Her heart catches again, for another reason this time. "Look out--" But with Pine, she's still struggling against smoking ichor. As Pine vaults back, Passion does the same, landing beside her against Tokyo Tower. She can hear her--

"...If they're your friends," Passion calls out after a few moments, "Then you have to show them that. Show them that there's something past their mission." She looks to the Kiryuus, "...You have to know, having been here..." She stands, and manages to smile back at Cure Pine. "...Thank you..." She nods, firmly. "Let's do it."

She hooks her leg, too, moves in sync with Pine. It is a newer dance to her, but it's easier with Pine. "Nasty things- nasty things fly away!"

Her own hands hand a heart, "Pretty Cure DOUBLE--"

Alight with crimson power, Passion holds her hands forward and Red merges with Gold, a brilliant orange crashing towards the Sorewatase. "FRESH!"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Passion has joined the combo started by Cure Pine!
COMBAT: COMBO! FINISHER! Cure Pine and Cure Passion have used Pretty Cure Double Fresh! on Sorewatase.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"That... that isn't true!" Cure Egret cries out, her voice shaking as she speaks. Her eyes are wide; her expression remains stricken, and she shakes her head in a denial that does not quite reach her heart. She raises her wrist, the heart-shaped wristguard catching Kaoru's next blow, but it drives her backward as she looks into her friend's dispassionate eyes.

She looks up at the towering Sorewatese, and feels sick to see it towering over the other Pretty Cures. She starts to sag, as she is pushed back towards them. But, Cure Pine's voice cuts through, and Egret turns her head -- she stares back at her for a moment, meeting her eyes and then Cure Passion's. "Pine, Passion..."

She bites her lip, looking back to Kaoru. "La Sirene is right! Maybe... maybe you are from a place where it feels like the world should be ruined. Maybe you are from... from a land where everything is terrible. But--you lived here, with us! You went to places with us, saw wonderful things, and... if the world ended, so would those things! But more than that--"

She looks sideways, to Bloom. "--so would Bloom, and Minori-chan, and all of our friends!" She looks back at Kaoru. "...And so would Michiru! You couldn't want that, could you, Kaoru-san?"

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used World of Balance on The Kiryuu Sisters.
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Too human, sinew and flesh, and it connects so surely and the sound -

- the sound -

- for just a moment Mikoto feels bile rise in her throat as the viscera muscles are forced away with the cleaving edge of her blade. Miroku cleaves straight through, bites into the edge of the beam, and she hangs there, her downward motion arrested.

She twists to free herself once gravity is done jerking at her limbs, falls the short distance to the next beam, lands with one palm flat against the steel and the other on her hilt.

The Shepherds advise them of proper action, with fierceness and elegance and passion, but the Cure will not fight. She cannot devote any more energy to convincing them, not when her enemy is below. She hates that the girls agree with her. The words were not meant for them.

The Cure will not fight, and that battle rises away as the Negatone rises up, and Mikoto looks down and ah, yes, it was pointless, now it just has more mouths. It was pointless. The girls will not be defeated. Parting flesh will not stop the youma. Pointless.

There's something in her eyes, and she shakes her head to get it out.

Her leap away from the Negatone is automatic, instinctual, and yet there's a little stagger as her hip protests, a little hint of weakness which leaves the youma able to snatch and bite - not flesh, she was too quick for it to bite flesh, but it takes a scrap of her uniform in a snap, the bottom half of her shirt.

Those terrible teeth are close enough to her stomach to feel. A fraction closer and it would tear them out -

- against the cacophony of the warped Negatone, Mikoto's desperate snarl is almost impossible to hear.

Her shirt tears away as she twists out of its grip, a daring, midriff-exposing fashion statement. (It is muscled, it is firm, and yet it is still so easy to tear open with tooth or - well - just teeth.) Once again she leaps away from the thing, desperate to escape, to leave behind the horrors it is pressing into her.

It is possible to dig too deep through the layers of despair, bones long-buried marred with dirt and worms like maggots which fade to mist when exposed to open air.

It is possible, so possible and she denies it, she denies it, she denies it.

She runs. She runs away.

And through eyes rimmed with tears she sees Lancelot as he falls to a strut, bounces more like a ball than a boy. The Kindabads with their lips and their teeth and their tongues are hounding him, and he is hurt, and Mikoto knows that she likes Lancelot, that Lancelot helps her, and now Lancelot is hurting -

Mikoto's flesh is not hurting so much, not even with the strain she's putting on it. But Mikoto's mind is screaming with the horror of it.

The equation becomes so much simpler, seeing his struggle. He is in trouble. Help.

The sound which rips itself from Mikoto's throat is as much wail as scream, as she slams into a Kindabad, sword-first. She plants her feet, strikes at another before it can enter the perimeter she defines around the two of them.

She does not speak to Lancelot, but she looks back over her shoulder at him with those damp and terrible golden eyes, and she looks up. She will help him ascend.

And she will get away from the Negatone.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Demolition on Kindabads.
COMBAT: Kindabads perfectly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Flash Bang, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
Kindabads's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kindabads braces 12 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Liberating Gale, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Bind Break! All of Fuu
Hououji's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Kindabads dodges 15 Fatigue damage from Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Demolition, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Kindabads's
Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Cripple applied to Kindabads!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Everything you believe is fundamentally wrong, they say. Michiru comes at Cure Bloom again, and it's a climbing, swinging battle between struts. Cure Bloom's fighting in some small way; she retreats strategically, leaping from crossbeam to cross beam, barely batting aside Michiru's strikes with her forearms. She sets her feet one last time, eyes flashing up to Michiru's just in time to see that outstretched hand. Bloom squawks, flashes her arms up in a crossbar pose. She grits her teeth, her feet slipping against the power of that blast. She hears them, Pine, and Passion, and La Sirene. She hears Egret calling out.

"This isn't...this isn't what you want, right?" Bloom grits, and then screams as she pulses her power one last time, a flash of golden motes dispersing the magic blast. She shakes out her hands afterward, muttering, "That stings..." but she doesn't have the moment for levity. She draws in a breath, daring to look Michiru in the eye in that momentary lull. "You came and baked with us....you've come by the store, and hung out with Minori..."

She smiles, sadly, and her posture straightens. Dropping out of a defensive mode, hands at her sides. Perhaps it's a challenge to strike; but it's more like she's just seeking for Michiru's eyes. "You promised me you'd help me with my homework, didn't you?" she says, her voice shaking. But her heart does not waver, even as she feels her chest want to quiver. "All those adventures...."

She looks down, her fingers briefly gathering over her heart. "You may be right," she says, weakly. "We do all have to go, someday. And yes, that's terribly sad. But we..."

She blinks away tears, and her eyes turn up. "We learn about each other. We get to play, and learn, and laugh. We get to make amazing, strange friends, and bake, and draw with them."

She feels something streak down her cheek as she dares to smile at Michiru. "There's something amazing in this chance to live our lives. I think you've seen that. So I know...you can't possibly really wish for what you say!"

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Stage 3 - Declaration on The Kiryuu Sisters.
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters accepts Cure Egret's World of Balance, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  The Kiryuu Sisters is
COMBAT: The Kiryuu Sisters accepts Cure Bloom's Stage 3 - Declaration, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  The Kiryuu Sisters is Cheered!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Message sent, all Kasagami can do is pray inside for the duo of Pretty Cure to find some way to stop their opponents. That wand, and it's effects is a problem that they can't afford. Still, her attention is now solidly locked on the Negatone.

Slashes only seem to make more limbs as Mikoto demonstrates, but what can a Duelist do but slash? Her attack might give it pause, but those explosive horrible notes assault her, ears once again ringing and causing her to grit her teeth as once again her head hammers from it all. Still, as the first explosion of music and sound and screams hits her, she quickly backflips her way up the metal of Tokyo Tower. She gasps with every movement, it aches to fight, but she keeps standing. Her eye is drawn to Mikoto as she flees to help Lancelot.

"Don't you dare die, Mikoto-chan!" Howls Kassie with fondness and worry for the young swordswoman, before hands grip her blade that much tighter.

And then she lashes out again, feinting at first a slash towards one of the Negatone's many mutated limbs. But then she pulls up one leg, then the other, jumping off of her Tower perch to rocket downwards with a pair of steel toed boots.

With grace, power, and an utter lack of subtlety at this point, she starts to hammer her boots towards the Negatone, trying to use her strength and speed to utterly stomp parts of the creature into paste, or at least get it off Tokyo Tower that they're all working to protect! No witty banter here, just hard pressed magical violence!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Kassie Kick on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Kassie Kick, taking 39 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Even as Pluto barely deflects the Negatone's blades from herself, she catches at the corner of her eye the whirling malice threatening Kasagami and something cold clutches in her gut. It only releases when the duelist ducks free more or less whole after that desperate flurry of defensive strikes. "We have a picnic to get back to," she reminds the duelist, channeling worry into teasing. "No ending up in pieces!"

Truth be told, the Outer Senshi held little expectation that the Pretty Cures would heed the words of herself and the other Shepherds. Though she doesn't know them, they have that... heartfelt sparkle to them, that brightness she knows herself to have abandoned in favor of something darker. They continue to offer their friendship rather than their fists to Michiru and Kaoru, and she just shakes her head, mid-combat, and determines to drill through the Negatone on the way to the menace-laden girls. If the Cures won't do it, she thinks...

Michiru and Kaoru agree with Pluto, with Kasagami, with Mikoto, and as the senshi leaps up the great red crossbars that form the metal ribs of Tokyo Tower she has to listen to it. They go beyond and into the black territory of nihilism but such divergence only blunts the aversive kinship. That is the difference between them, she tells herself.

And then there's a Negatone clearing out of the path of the Garnet Rod with dismaying speed and Pluto is forced to contemplate only combat, thrown off balance herself by the lack of connection. She windmills her free arm, pulling the Rod back in close, and on pure instinct starts to jerk her upper body back and away -- but the senshi is in no position to evade anything at the moment.

She takes the burst of weaponized musicality directly to the face and it's like her eardrums are bursting inward. Sheer volume resounds in her skull until her vision blurs with the force of it, and she staggers backward in a blind and disjointed daze. All that sublime senshi grace is rattled right out of her.

The great angled beam behind her stops her stagger -- head-first, unfortunately, and she'll have a nasty knot on her noggin for it. Bell well and truly rung, Sailor Pluto grabs the rough metal and shakes her head to clear it -- screams after for the awful pain that is the cost of the maneuver, but the pain is good, it helps where the shaking did not and burns the haze from her contused brain.

She affixes the Negatone with strain and resolve in her eyes, every muscle along her jaw in tight relief. The end of the Garnet Rod burns, too, but with fury instead of pain. Sweat soaks through her gloves as she tightens her grip, and Pluto defies the sickening swim of her head and rushes in again. The Orb sweeps low and up, an underhanded swing that ends in a detonation of vivid red-violet potence.

The whole time the Guardian of Time screams, and if there is no death magic imbued in the sound it is nonetheless a chilling, howling bid against the horrific chorus she charges into -- as if Pluto could somehow fill her own ears before this thing has a chance to assault them again. She joins Mikoto's wail and they make an answering chorus without intent, just pain joined to pain, ragged and angry and furious.

COMBAT: Sailor Pluto has used Time's Fury on Negatone.
COMBAT: Negatone partially dodges 4 Fatigue damage from Sailor Pluto's Time's Fury, taking 17 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Pluto is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Sorewatase perfectly dodges 31 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Weavery of the Abyss, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!  Sorewatase's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sorewatase fails to dodge Cure Pine and Cure Passion's Finisher, Combo: Pretty Cure Double Fresh!, taking 272 Fatigue
damage!  Critical Hit!  Sorewatase is unable to keep fighting!