2018-12-08 - TIMELINE 1: A Star's Wish! The Death Of Madoka Kaname! The Rebirth of Princess Serenity!

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A Star's Wish! The Death Of Madoka Kaname! The Rebirth of Princess Serenity!

The magical girls confront the maiden of dreams and nightmares who wrought Nagi's ill-meant Christmas wish. Madoka takes a lethal blow meant for Usagi, who discovers her destiny as the Moon Princess -- and wreaks a miracle of her own.


Fuu Hououji, Takeo Akamizu, Usagi Tsukino, Kasagami Araki, Mami Tomoe, Nori Ankou, Mikoto Minagi, Haruka Tenoh, Madoka Kaname

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Hokkaido Snowy Island

OOC - IC Date:

12/8/2018 - 12-24-2013


<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.


Beautiful golden star shards have nestled in the hearts of boys and girls throughout Tokyo -- seven of them in all -- and, when they emerged, fights broke out (mostly between magical girls, men in black, and more demonic-style monsters, though some relatively friendly contests between magical girls as well)! That's because rumor has it that whoever first touches the united star shards can have any single wish granted by its power.

In the last week or two it's been hard to pin down who exactly has one or more shards; their location has gotten ominously quiet. There are rumors that some shard-holders were ambushed, and lost theirs to mysterious forces.


The seventh and final star shard emerged from a Sister Schools student on the morning of Christmas Eve, after a battle on a snowy field, ultimately wound up in the hands of the occupant of a chrome helicopter which appeared out of nowhere.

Shenanigans occurred, and the mysterious and somewhat darkly mischevious Nagi (a layabout who hangs around Ohtori) wound up wishing for, functionally, the end of Christmas.

Forced to retreat by a whiteout storm, the magical girls headed back to lodge to find this wish granted; but someone contacted them magically and advised them that they hadn't gone back at all, but were in fact under an enchantment that they could break by inducing the feelings of Christmas in themselves and their ensorcelled friends.

Having done so, they find themselves reawakening on the very same snowy battlefield that they never actually left...


Nagi isn't there to greet them; the last anyone saw of him, he was plunging his fists into his armpits with an armfold so sharp it could cut off his nose to spite his face (and a pouting lip so wide it might hold the whole ocean).

But there is something else.

A glowing golden lotus with seven petals, the star shards united, which granted the wish--

--which unfurls, wider and wider.

Out, in all directions, shoots a rainbow of bolts. No one escapes one, which blasts straight through them -- harmlessly -- but not without feeling, and an overwhelming sense of pride, or passion, or fear, or aggression, or indecision, or ruthlessness, or homesickness -- one of them stirs in everyone's hearts, as they are pierced by a given light.

All the while the lotus continues to open, until a maiden, composed of purest light, finishes stretching her way out, arms spread as though she was in a vast yawn.

There are no more details to be seen -- she is blinding to look upon, a curious contradiction since the hue of her luminescence is a bland dove gray. Colorless.

She exhales.

"...free at last..."

OOC: If you weren't here Friday, you were still here ICly, simply separated by the group by the snowstorm for the bulk of events.
You witnessed Nagi make his wish and saw that wish broken by a combination of the invoked spirit of Christmas in everyone's
hearts, and, related, a vast, spinning pink shield summoned from the navel of Steven Universe for the very first time -- and now
you, too, are waking up with the group, back on the battlefield (and being inadvertantly shot with an emotionbeam, any one of your

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Dreamgirl!
COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Crimson Rose Duelist!
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Sailor Uranus!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The Wind Knight's forearms snap up in front of her, more by reflex than conscious reaction; even the bracer on her right forearm does nothing to obstruct a ray of pale blue light as it passes through her - armor, bone, and flesh alike, physically unmarked by its passing.

Slowly, the Magic Knight of Wind lowers her arms again, her gaze resting upon the maiden of the lotus. Her mind is still reeling from what she thought had just happened - Nagi wishing away Christmas, the dream of that wish's fulfillment, and guiding both herself and the dream version of her big sister to remember that Christmas is real, and what it's about. But for the moment, she stands her ground, watching warily, taking in everything she can with eyes and ears - gathering all the data that she can ... but otherwise, not acting herself.

Or perhaps, unsure what she should do.

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

Lancelot wakes up, his face lifting from the snow where he faceplanted and then proptly began drooling into. He smacks the flakes of frozen drool from his face quickly before one of the girls sees it. He highly doubt that would help his image in the slightest. Shaking his head to clear it, Lancelot then shields his eyes form the strange light, "Oh snap crackers. This can't be good..." He mutters.

Which is when the blasts of rianbow colored light wash over the group, a yellow beam washing over and through him. He stumbles back a few steps which crunch in the snow. A sickening feeling washes over him from the pit of his belly. He's loosing himself. He's loosing everything he loves and everything he's ever done. The Knight will take over and then it'll just be stupid French speak everytime he opens his mouth, and not even he good french. Like Frech Fries or French Toast.

He takes another step back, the gloved hand clutching Arondight creaks as he tightens his grip on the blade. The fear is like a physical thing. Fear that as he gains these memories from some supposed past life, his memories. The ones that make him Takeo Akamizu will be replaced by the Chevalier Lancelot Du Lac. People will forget him, and only remember the Knight. Fear that he isn't strong enough to battle the fores of Evil and people will be hurt. People like his sister, Mika who right now is fighting for her life and he can't do ANYTHING to help her except stand on the sidelines and watch.

His eyes go wide as he looks about him in a panic and he falls to his knees breathing heavily, Arondishgt thunks into the snow and then dissipates in a shower of glowing blue and white motes of light. Fear that he'll simply let everyone down because he's weak, useless, and stupid. He squeezes his eyes shut trying desperately to at lleast control his breathing, but all that happens is a grunt inbetween a few panted breaths.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's a strange sensation, waking up in snow. You feel warmer than you by any rights should be, with the snow entrapping heat. "... Mama... five minutes... I was dreaming I was C'estlavie..."

She tries to force her eyes shut, but the texture of her bed, and the differences start to sink in, in how some of it feels slushy against her skin, and powdery elsewhere, and how her twintails feel uncomfortable and wet. Blinking her eyes open groggily with the idea that it was her chicken clock that awakened her, and tht she was back home in her bed.

She's startled thoroughly out of that notion by the bright golden light. "HWAH!"

Sailor Moon scrambles up to her feet quickly, just in time for a yellow light to pass her by... but instead she gets struck with violet. And suddenly that sensation of wishing she were still in bed becomes too hard to ignore.

For Usagi Tsukino it is a yearning for...

... snuggling under the covers on a cold Sunday morning.

... the smell of her mother's fresh baked cookies coming from the kitchen.

... every hug she's ever received from her mother when she was small.

all of those things feel like home. The idea of Hokkaido - the idea of fighting here so far away from home keeps her away from it.

Hugging herself and rubbing either arm, she tries not to look directly at the blinding luminescence of dull grey. Instead she looks at Mami Tomoe and Madoka Kaname, who are perhaps the closest to that 'idea' of home that she has.

"Mami-senpai. Madoka-chan... I don't want to be here." Sailor Moon confides, like a small child who'd been coaxed to the doctor's office, "I want to go home. Can't we all just... go home right now?"

It's a strong impulse, to just grab both of their hands, and run all the way to the train. To go back early to those small comforts that made up the idea of home. "...please?"

The Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice still doesn't look at the floral Maiden. Still not directly. There is something about the idea of freedom, that ties directly into the idea of home to her. "Now that you're free. You want to go home too - ne?"

It has the strength and earnestness of someone who just longs for those small things that make up her idea of home. Clasping her hands together, she makes a plea directly to her, "This can just be over... there's no need for us to fight... and we can all... go home."

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's a strange sensation, waking up in snow. You feel warmer than you by any rights should be, with the snow entrapping heat. "... Mama... five minutes... I was dreaming I was C'estlavie..."

She tries to force her eyes shut, but the texture of her bed, and the differences start to sink in, in how some of it feels slushy against her skin, and powdery elsewhere, and how her twintails feel uncomforrtable and wet. Blinking her eyes open groggily with the idea that it was her chicken clock that awakened her, and tht she was back home in her bed.

She's startled thoroughly out of that notion by the bright golden light. "HWAH!"

Sailor Moon scrambles up to her feet quickly, just in time for a yellow light to pass her by... but instead she gets struck with violet. And suddenly that sensation of wishing she were still in bed becomes too hard to ignore.

For Usagi Tsukino it is a yearning for...

... snuggling under the covers on a cold Sunday morning.

... the smell of her mother's fresh baked cookies coming from the kitchen.

... every hug she's ever received from her mother when she was small and tearful.

...every happy moment at the Hikawa Shrine she's had with her newfound friends.

...every cup of cocoa she's had at the Kaname household, every cup of tea at Mami Tomoe's apartment.

Home isn't a place. It's an idea. And to Usagi Tsukino, all of those things feel like home. The idea of Hokkaido - the idea of fighting here so far away from home keeps her away from it.

Hugging herself and rubbing either arm, she tries not to look directly at the blinding luminescence of dull grey. Instead she looks at Mami Tomoe and Madoka Kaname, who are perhaps the closest to that 'idea' of home that she has.

"Mami-senpai. Madoka-chan... I don't want to be here." Sailor Moon confides, like a small child who'd been coaxed to the doctor's office, "I want to go home. Can we just all... go home right now?"

It's a strong impulse, to just grab both of their hands, and run all the way to the train. To go back early to those small comforts that made up the idea of home. "...please?"

The Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice still doesn't look at the floral Maiden. Still not directly. There is something about the idea of freedom, that ties directly into the idea of home to her. "Now that you're free. You want to go home too - ne?"

It has the strength and earnestness of someone who just longs for those small things. Clasping her hands together, she makes a plea directly to her, "This can just be over... there's no need for us to fight... and we can all... go home."

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Let's All Just Go Home on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

With the dissipation of the dream, Kasagami finds her way out of the snowdrift, stumbling back onto the battlefield where Negi had been. She blinks, several times, one hand rubbing her acheing eyes. It's like she's been asleep for ages! Her limbs are already feeling numb with red sparks of pain running up her bones from getting blood and motion in them one again. She briefly eyes back the half-crumpled deformed Snow Angel she'd left behind. Frown.

Right in time to see that beautiful lotus unfold to reveal a maiden of purity and a deep, horrible beam of yellow pierce her straight through the chest.

Her gaze falls upon the maiden, who somehow seems familiar. As if she's seen her before. Yet her mind can't quite catch up as the feelings in her chest swells up. Paranoia, and fears she'd long thought she was over swell up in her chest.

As she looks upon that blossom of gold and it's beautiful inhabitant, her mind and heart race. No matter how beautiful, now matter how familiar the maiden seems, all Kasagami Araki can hear is the sound of flames around her. All she can feel is a searing pain along her side. And as she nearly falls to her side, leaning onto her swords's sheath with all of her body?

The maiden is a monster. A thing. A thing that will hurt her and her friends. A thing that took away the people she loved.

Her knuckles are white as they grip her blade, sweat pouring down her brow even as tears fall from her good eye. She trembles, her throat filled with seeming ash as she croaks out despite the terror running through her.

"You....something like you is just...going to use those shards to hurt me! AREN'T YOU!? Again, again, you just want to take EVERYTHING from me, DON'T YOU!?" Accusations, sharp and quick, are hurled without logic at the Maiden, with the edge of someone wanting to scream. Everything she wants to say to her own personal monster.

She forces herself to take a step forward. Yanking her sword out from it's sheath hard enough that her arms hurt, she takes up a stance that will utterly shame her later when she thinks on it. One foot in front of the other, long blade at the side, elbow up so to bring it around closer to the body.

Defensive. For all that she glares hate at the Maiden, she's wielding her sword to protect herself rather than slash into her 'opponent'. To prevent herself from being hurt and scoured again.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used DEMON! on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Mami blinks a few times as she finds herself in the snow, awake again where she was seemingly dreaming before. There is snow on her sleeves, cold at her back. Her hat, at least, is still perfectly in place, but as she sits up she sees everyone else, and wonders for a moment. "We... did it?" she asks, confused at first, unsure. Even with the magic of her form, she still feels the heat of this chill, begins to dust herself off as she looks around. "Oh--"

The rainbow of bolts come forward. One might expect the yellow to rush towards her, a girl who knew fear so well once--but that one she evades quickly. A green bolt fires above her. But homesickness is something different, and that is the sense that stirs suddenly in Mami's heart. Even as she works to stand, she suddenly finds herself staring into nothing, a hand moving to her chest.


It sounds like it hurts because it does. Not any damage, no, but the sudden sheer ache of what once was, what she can never have again. "I don't..." Mami doesn't answer Usagi immediately; she closes her eyes instead, and she sees them.

She was so much smaller then, the house so big for just one girl. Smiling faces are there at the table, in one flash of vision, and Mami bites her lip, waits for them to make a pronouncement on what's on the plate.

After yet another practice, she would see the blonde woman there to pick her up.

Late at night, her father was there, and she tried to stay awake just a little bit longer...

"I don't... understand," Mami says, tears forming at the edges of her eyes. "I haven't..."

She has a new home, now, a new meaning of home, but why does she feel this way?

"...A place you can never go again..." Mami inhales, her breath clouded, wet, as she turns away to try to wipe her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene du Nord [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The light washes orange over the fallen la Sirene du Nord. She doesn't rise first; Batiste is the first to do so, squeeping in dismay as he leaps around la Sirene, forming a circle as she gets upwards.

Her eyes turn around as she touches her forehead. She remembers... did they remember? Do they know her?

She feels her abdomen tighten as Sailor Moon demurs. She looks towards the revealed maiden as the others hold back.

Her fingers curl. "Of course," she says to herself. "The north wind is blowing..."

She steps forwards, rising up out of the snow a little even as Batiste ends up standing in a little column of cleared snow, head peeping out like a meerkat. La Sirene's hands come up, half-veiling her face as she says, "You, you, I see you, I see you. Who are you? Were you in the stars, in the shards? Are you hidden, revealed? Were you sleeping? Are you born? Who put you there? What makes you free? I want to know," she says.

Staring at this figure of light, la Sirene's shadow grows more and more sharply defined behind her as she gets nearer.

"I've wanted what you had," la Sirene says: "Or what you promised. I wanted to change the world with a single wish! Is that true? Did you grant it? Are you the djinn who -"

She falters for a moment.

Then she looks at Kasagami and raises her voice. "Stop interrupting!! This is mystery incarnate!! If you can't handle it, go home with the others!! I will grasp this star of destiny!!" To illustrate she grasps the air in front of her, with all the force and vigor of a frustrated actress.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Christmas is about ramen, and tomatos, and daifuku and tempura and cake, and bacon and kebabs and ice-cream, and parfait and sashimi and chocolate and takoyaki.

And it's about sprawling over the people Mikoto loves.

But as the dream unfurls like so many flower-petals, she finds herself sprawled in the snow, instead. She grumbles as she shifts, Miroku dragging through the new flakes; together they make a rather queer-looking snow angel. She pushes herself up, as the golden light unfurls, grasping the hilt of her blade.

Nagi is gone; the girls are still here. She turns to see them -

- and a lance of green light streams past her, just missing her in the way she turns. Her eyes widen as it catches someone else, instead - and then they narrow, because that is not the only beam which came this way. It is the red light of pride which carves through her, harmless as a kitten's whiskers.

"Oh," Mikoto says, smiling, as she turns back to the light which is a girl. "Free..?"

With pity her catlike eyes turn over the Wind Knight, who cannot move to fight - Lancelot, who trembles too fiercely to wield his sword - Sailor Moon, weakly protesting for mercy - Kasagami, who screams her terror - Mami, with tears in her eyes - la Sirene, so threatened. "Yeah," Mikoto sympathises, and the arrogance of her pronouns is all the more pronounced here, "guess you'd think that, from everyone..."

She shrugs a shoulder, shaking her head. "Not their fault," she says. "Most people are weak. It's okay. Listen!" She says, raising her voice to be heard by the tremulous and the tormented. "I'm strong enough to do this myself, so don't worry. Go on, just watch... it's normal." And even her reassurance is a flippant thing.

With languid steps she approaches the girl-shaped brightness, because there has never been a need for her to worry. She grins, and it is an effortless, arrogant thing. "... obvious, right? I'm better than you." And is she talking to the girl who is light, or to the girls who are enlightened?

For all her unpressed approach, she has not yet bothered to strike, sword dragging behind her like an omen.

She doesn't need to end this quickly.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"You know," Haruka Tenoh says, running a finger down Michiru Kaioh's jawline. There's a lobby-full of celebrating students here, but he's not put off. "I'm not sure Christmas is really saved yet. No one's taught these girls the meaning of Christmas..."

He leans in, closing his eyes.

"For adults..."

Where there should be warmth, there is only cold. Sailor Uranus opens an eye, seeing nothing but snowflakes on the wind, then lets her hand down limply to her side. "Come on, really?" she chides the mountainside wryly.

The impressive figure of the lotus brings the soldier to the forefront in Uranus, and she crouches on the outcropping she's standing on, assessing the situation with quick glances. Sailor Moon's friend Madoka, the heroic archer, is just beneath the overhang. It seems like time for the Outers to intervene, even if it's on behalf of their enemies.

Soundtrack - Masked Tuxedo?! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoNDrrQ0k6g

Hopping off the ledge, Uranus extends one leg while tucking the other, making an arrow of her body to avoid windage. Her heel drives through the snow and clacks into stone before collapsing to absorb the impact. Kneeling before Madoka, Uranus's long black cape floats down slowly from above her shoulders, her elegant white mask giving her eyes even more of a cattish slyness than usual.

"Puella Magi Madoka," Masked Tuxedo says. "Stay behind me." Shoving with her foreward leg, Masked Tuxedo catches her cape's edge as she whirls around, its red inner lining now facing Madoka as the mysterious stranger stands, a bulwark against danger. As an orange beam blasts towards them, she braces her rear heel and grins confidently...

Just before the beam passes right through both her and Madoka, utterly incorporeal.

"Ah," Masked Tuxedo notes. Embarrassment keeps her frozen for a few seconds.

Then, turning, she touches just the very tip of her forefinger to Madoka's chin. "Forgive my impertinence," she says in that meltingly deep voice of hers. "But when I saw you in danger... I found I couldn't resist."

This was probably not the best beam for Masked Tuxedo of all people to step into.

Flicking Madoka's chin upwards gently as she draws her hand back, Uranus steps into place next to her supposed rescuee. "Puella Magi Madoka Magica!" she intones dramatically. "A shadow has peeled from this mountain to fight by your side!"

COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo has used Masked Passion on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname accepts Masked Tuxedo's Masked Passion, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Madoka Kaname is Cheered!  
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Sway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWSCL1eMkrM

Madoka looks left, looks right, and sees two of her dearest friends.

Two of her dearest friends all but bursting into tears.

Madoka's shocked, worried face is reflected there, at the edge of Mami's golden eyes, Usagi's blue.

Zoom in on those pretty little orbs, those sweet, sad diamonds, and watch what happens next.

Out of the back of Masked Tuxedo comes a bolt of orange -- and it strikes her, straight through the heart.

Her rosebud lips, pursed into a trembling mou... spread into the softest, fiercest smile.

And her passion for her friends overflows.

She reaches out her arms, and pulls them both close.

She nuzzles left, nuzzles right... and collects their tears onto her own cheeks.

"Don't cry, girls... we're all together. And as long as that's true, I'll always protect your hearts."

And then Masked Tuxedo lifts her chin -- and Madoka lifts her eyes.

"I'm honored, Masked Tuxedo," she all but purrs. Then she takes a firmer stance alongside her. "There's no need to hold back -- together, we'll save everyone with the power of love!"

It's about at that moment that the 'passion' effect fades.

Madoka sinks about a foot into the snow.

She's standing in a puddle of instant melt from the heat she's giving off.

There's a crimson mushroom cloud where her head used to be.

COMBAT: Madoka Kaname transforms into Puella Magi Madoka!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has used Bloom Into You on Masked Tuxedo.
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has used Bloom Into You on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has used Bloom Into You on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe accepts Madoka Kaname's Bloom Into You, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mami Tomoe is Cheered!  
COMBAT: Sailor Moon accepts Madoka Kaname's Bloom Into You, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Sailor Moon is Cheered!  
COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo accepts Madoka Kaname's Bloom Into You, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Masked Tuxedo is Cheered!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Yellow (Katherine Ho Cover) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6NQZHyJYO8

It's impossible to tell which direction the maiden of nightmares is facing; it is a benefit of being composed of light, or perhaps a drawback. She can't meet anyone's eyes, because she's meeting everyone's. Her hair flows around her like the gushing tide, and her skirts ripple in a breeze that only she can feel.

The dove gray light is as beautiful as it is terrible. It makes everyone and everything seem soft, almost fragile. It casts a twinkling delicacy into every surface...

...including that of the sword that suddenly forms out of shimmering silver sand, before hardening, like the rest of her, into solid, blinding light. The air weeps softly as she swings it upwards, the blade bisecting her face in a guard position.

"The sands of time tumbled endlessly in my prison, a spinning hourglass with no beginning and no end."

Her voice trembles with impossibly intense emotion -- seven emotions, actually.

"Until the light came... the seals shattered, by whom I barely know. And the parts of myself, so long separated, fell to this blue jewel scattered among the heavens... fell into hearts, searching for a home."

Her free hand gently touches her own chest.

"My nature is duty. And, when called upon again for the first time in eons, my duty did I perform. A man with a dream... spread to the whole world."

And then her voice turns hard, harsh, brittle.

"And this is the thanks I get? The one who appreciated me, who summoned me, who wished for my help... attacked by a legion of warriors."

Her eyes are difficult to distinguish in the illumination, but the tension in the room rises by about eight notches as she narrows them, anyway.

"Once again, my work undone. Once again, you come for me, wielding your anger, your frustration, your righteous indignation. Some of you claim to be peaceful, but you have already wrecked havoc in the world of dreams this Christmas night. She came to me with pretty words, too, before she came for me without mercy. I will not wait for you to come for me again. I am not going back to that place, shattered among the stars."

She swings her sword in a full circle, the tortured air howling in its wake, its perfect sharpness slicing everyone it passes, without ever needing to touch them directly. Heaven knows what that blade would feel like, else.

"Face me if you dare -- I WILL NOT BE CAGED AGAIN!"

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Sailor Moon's Let's All Just Go Home, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Kasagami Araki's DEMON!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on La Sirene du Nord.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Masked Tuxedo.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Broken Dream on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon dodges 14 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe perfectly dodges 35 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
Mami Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki dodges 21 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami Araki's Fade
and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: La Sirene du Nord perfectly dodges 36 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji dodges 21 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Lancelot braces 23 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot's Block and Parry
abilities activate!
COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo decisively counters 27 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Masked
Tuxedo's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo's counterattack, Elegant Throw, partially gets through, doing 26 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!  Critical
Counterhit!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname fails to counter Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname's counterattack, Like A Bolt Out of the Blue, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi counters 17 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Broken Dream, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto Minagi's
Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi's counterattack, Obsidian Blade: Dynamo, partially gets through, doing 21 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!  
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The glowing woman suddenly rages and draws a sword in an en guarde position and Lancelot's head snaps back to reality, the effects of the yellow light fading from him. Partially fading, they're real fears of his, but he knows them, because he lives them. As She slashes with that silver bright sword, Lancelot launches forward in a poof of snow that arcs out behind him. Arondight flashes and there is a sharp crack of thunder as the Demon's Bane and the silvery sword collide. This is followed by a consusive blastwave that throws snow in every direction and knockes Lancelot backward. He isn't knocked down, but slides back in the snow, his feet gridning and leaving twin trails in the icey powder.

When he stops, Lancelot looks up and grins. A sword fight? Yeah. This he can handle. "My Turn." He says and once again launches forward toward. Arondight is held at mid height, point forward in a two handed grasp. A single spark appears there on the tip of the blade, and at the midway point form where he started to the glowing woman, lightning errupts in blast of electrical power and whipping arcing cords of lightning. "LIGHTNING SLASH!" Is called out as he spins at the last second and swings the blade from mid height around and over his head down across the shoulders to end at wait level, thunder once again booming and sending lightning and snow with a thunderous crash.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Slash on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's chaos around her, and all she knows is she wants to go home. Kasagami attacks out of fear. La Sirene yells at her for spoiling the mystery. Mikoto tries to take over the whole battle by herself - and Sailor Moon is sorely tempted to just let her. She wants to hold Mami's hand and try to reassure her it's going to be alright, even though she doesn't know how.

And then a familiar face enters the field and that homesick feeling becomes something else, her heart beating out of her chest, "Tuxedo Kamen-sama!" She says out of delight, even as he tries to protect Madoka, confident and resplendant in that cape...

And then Madoka takes ahold of her from the side so fiercely. And Sailor Moon's starts to flush. Sailor Moon finds herself poking both forefingers together in the aftermath, "M-Madoka-chan there's something different about you today..." Though she can't say she doesn't like it. and Sailor Moon finds her cheeks on fire as she sees that forefinger to Madoka's chin. "Um. Though - if you want to protect me... it-it's not like I... m-mind... it sounds... kind of.."

And then she sees Tuxedo Mask's finger touching Madoka Kaname's chin. Her eyes grow wide. "...nice..." Her lip trembling just a touch, as she grows from decidedly pink to bright red.

And that poking finger instead finds its way to her own chin, as she rubs that spot up to her cheek, as if trying to wonder what that sensation would feel like. Pulling away the fingertip to stare at it.

However despite her brain being decidedly distracted, she looks up in confusion at the reversal, "Eh? Masked... Tuxedo-sama? O-Oh!" There's a little titter at the realization. As she claps both of her hands in front of her face, holding them there to hide her mouth, "Well!" Before she whispers in heavily accentedEnglish, "Luck~y..."

If there were two of them - and one wanted to hang around Madoka Kaname... it's... not like she minded.

Even though she's fully awake, it's like she's entranced at the thought of Madoka Kaname and her hand in hand, the two looking out for each other... two handsome Tuxedo'ed men courted them.

However that thought, of dating, romance. It brought her back to thoughts of home. Just in time for the Maiden to speak. And there's such indignation there. Remembering the dream, she feels this chill down to her soul. "Please - his wish, his dream. It stole something precious from everyone! We couldn't let that happen!"

Her sword sings through the night, and Sailor Moon's eyes widen as she tries to scramble out of the way. It feels like an ephemeral thing that might carve through something more precious than flesh. And she dives into a snowbank.

"I don't know who you are! I don't know what happened! Wherever you came from - I don't want to send you back. I- I just... want to understand why you're doing this."

There's something tearful in her plea as she says, "Tonight is a precious night." She whispers forlornly, almost like she's sulking.

Her heart really isn't into this. However she won't leave the others to fight her alone. And so she springs out of the snowbank, descending with a simple kick, a heeled moonboot outstretched, "We shouldn't be fighting on Christmas!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Can't we make this a Silent Night? on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kasagami jumps in her boots as La Sirene yells at her for interrupting! Rather than point at blade at the maiden, she shifts her attention to La Sirene. "Quiet! Worry about the shards later, worry about what she'll do to you! To us! She'll use that shard to hurt us, to ruin our beauty and take everything away from us! We'll be left with nothing if we don't..." She gulps. With that much Fear pumping through her, she can't say it, even if how hard she grips that blade and how much hate is in her eyes for the Maiden might finish it for her.

Mikoto's words, too, cut through her. "Hah...I'm weak...maybe I can't do this." Her hands shiver. Can she really grasp World Revolution? Won't she just be hurt again and again in pursuit of becoming a King?

Those thoughts run through her. And just as quickly fade, the young woman stumbling to a knee and rubbing her head. Teeth audibly grind, and she's up as the maiden of nightmares speaks her venom and her pain.

Her face is red, and not from the cold. She lets out a frustrated grunt as she glares at the Maiden whose appearance shot that light into her. That made her heart tremble with feeling she'd hoped long buried. The sting is like ripping a scabb off a knife wound in the gut.

But the maiden, with her blade, dares them to come. As that harsh wind lashes towards her, Kasagami shoves herself into the air. The pure lash of wind cuts into her coat and winter gear, a shuddering shiver of being pounded by the Maiden's defiance. Yet, she can't give up, even against this Maiden of horrors.

A high somersault, the young woman ending upside down as she hangs in the air for a few brief moments. Sheath tossed aside, she grips the nodachi behind her back even as her good eye stares down at the maiden.

"I don't know who you are, or why you were caged. I can tell you didn't deserve to be alone! No one deserves that kind of pain! But we can't let you hurt anyone! Not on this night of love and FAMILY!"

She descends alongside her magical girl friends, aiming to slam the flat of her blade down upon the Maiden, hair fluttering and tears in her eyes.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Falling Petals Cut The Soul on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe counters 5 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Lightning Slash, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Whirling Shards, partially gets through, doing 10 Fatigue damage to Lancelot!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 4 Fatigue damage from Sailor Moon's Can't we make this a Silent Night?, taking 6 Fatigue damage!
Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The arrogance Mikoto brings to bear strikes a wrong note for Mami--not only does it prickle against her pride, but an instant later it feels entirely wrong for her, entirely unlike her. Mami blinks at her, already confused. She gets a different kind of confusion, though, as a certain masked someone appears, someone Mami has traded words with before, someone she has suspected, wondered about--

...But who also helps sometimes. Anyone trying to guard Madoka wins a few points, though Mami blinks as she offers that voice. "You--"

She flushes pink as she sees what transpires. And then she flushes red as she sees Madoka's smile. She's pulled close, and blinks. "M-Madoka-chan--" She's practically crimson herself at the word of protection, of basically everything in the instance before Madoka stops and turns nuclear. "T-that is--"

Give her a moment. Despite the blush, though, she feels /much/ better immediately; warmer, more confident, more sure, and reminded of what her Christmas is in the first place. She realizes, as she returns to herself, that it wasn't /her/ feelings/ at all, even if there was something within her it could use.

So, when the Maiden speaks, Mami looks towards her, and steps forward, inasmuch as 'forward' has any meaning at all in relation to her. She sees--she thinks she sees--the sword, and listens to anger. Now she remembers a dream she had, a dream that seems starkly relevant. Mami's eyes widen, as she begins to realize something.


Mami whirls into motion in an instant, rising as if a skater spinning above the ice, entirely over the full circle and landing lightly atop the snow it passes.

"Doing a job thanklessly, never noticed, only argued with when others see what you're doing--It's difficult, I know. It's hard."

"But the one who you say appreciated you--all he wanted was to take something away from someone else!"

Mami does not draw her guns--but she does reach out a hand, attempt to bind the sword with brilliant, beautiful ribbons.

"Please, stop! That boy doesn't care about your duty--he's using you!"

But what are they planning to do? Mami doesn't really know. But certainly they can't just let themselves be destroyed.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Legare on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe dodges 26 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Falling Petals Cut The Soul, taking 39 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 12 Fatigue damage from Mami Tomoe's Legare, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Tangle and Trap applied to
Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Uncertainty remains on the Wind Knight's face as the other magical girls make their own decisions, their own moves; some quail, some bluster, others taken aback by emotions, be they their own or others'. Mikoto's show of arrogance prompts a surprised blink from the Wind Knight, although she doesn't react outwardly, except to give the young swordswoman a particularly wary regard. And finally, the maiden from the lotus breaks the moment, slashing out at all of them.

That's when the Wind Knight finally moves, bolting to one side and trying to duck underneath the shockwave of air; as she recovers from the part which hit her, the green-clad Magic Knight's sword finally appears in her hand as she stands up straight again. "Do we have a choice that *isn't* to cage you?" she challenges, albeit gently. "The wish that awoke you was one which hurt many people, including no few of our own precious families and friends. We *had* to break that dream, that wish, even without knowing you were there behind it. And if your being here remains a danger to us or others, then we may have no choice."

She grips her sword one-handed, freeing her left hand to direct the spell that she invokes: "Winds of Admonishment!" she calls out, attempting to bind the maiden with a conjured whirlwind - a spell she constructed after falling victim to one too many bindings herself ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene du Nord [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The soft light fades - and the girl voices her feelings.

La Sirene du Nord blinks several times, feeling the heat leave her. The cold? she wonders, before the maiden before them grows tenser, more strained. Her lips part for a moment as she raises a finger until comes that swung sword and the viciously tortured arc of vacuum towards her, which la Sirene answers by goggling for a moment and then


four yards

STRAIGHT up. Powerful vertical leap; the strength of the Sea of Tears! As she descends with a paff of snow, the arrival of the masked Tuxedo gets a sideways glance from her and a setting of the teeth. Madoka, she thinks. But...

Her eyes torn down for a moment. Madoka deserves it, she thinks. She's a sweet person. She deserves a mysterious touch. That same leaden dreamlike weight - a gray without the softness of the maiden's own luminance - quavers near la Sirene's heart. She raises her eyes towards her and says, "It seems as though you are filled with great sorrow, O maid of the winter."

Straightening up, tossing her hair, she says, "If you are burdened by it... then I will be glad to take it upon myself." She raises her left hand there even as her eyes narrow. She can feel frost droplets on her eyelashes. Tears of her own? she wonders.

"Les Mysteres," la Sirene intones, raising up her hand as the winds of admonishment rise and throw gorgeous diamond sparkles into the air. "Come!"

The burst of silver light adds to the monochromatic intensity of the evening, moving swiftly in the chill towards her. It is a bursting thing of passion and not of torment, at least. As it flies, la Sirene intones: "Where is the place, shattered among the stars? Place down your sword and we'll go there together!"

COMBAT: La Sirene du Nord has used Les Mysteres on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!
Cripple applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 30 Fatigue damage from La Sirene du Nord's Les Mysteres, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
<Pose Tracker> Masked Tuxedo [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I've never held back in my life," Masked Tuxedo banters back to Madoka smoothly, while the orange is still affecting her. Maybe she would have anyway, who knows. It's so good to be understood.

But wait. Masked Tuxedo does a double-take, as the femme fatale next to her dissolves into pink taffy. Her lips fall flat. "She said it herself, and now she's embarrassed by it..." she observes gravely to Sailor Moon. "Isn't that adorable?"

Her reaction to the Lotus-Woman is no more passionate, and much less sympathetic. "Hyyaaah!" she cries, filling her palm with heavenly yellow energy. Slamming it into the ground, she drives a boulder up out of the snow and into the air before the bladed air. The invisible slash snaps it in half like a particularly boring geode, dispersing the force to either side and driving up a snowflurry. But already Masked Tuxedo is leaping through that flurry, and sharply twists into a spin-kick, a quick one-two exchange of her powerful legs firing twin boulders back in the direction of the lotus.

"Puella Magi Madoka!" she shouts back, as she lands back down in the snow. Offering a gloved hand, she helps the tiny girl up. "Don't listen to her," she advises. "All villains are willing to tell you their reasons, and they do it in every language ever spoken." Tossing her cap away from her hip, to flutter extended in the wind, Masked Tuxedo looks across her shoulder towards the Lotus, and points towards it with a pistol made of her forefinger and thumb. Closing her eye, she sights along her arm. "But there's only one single language they'll listen to your reasons in." Dropping her thumb, she unfurls her wrist as she begins to concentrate.

A spiral of wind forms between her and the Lotus, visible because of how it churns snowflakes. Masked Tuxedo stretches and expands it, until it has created a vast, spinning wind funnel, with its exit towards the Lotus. Still sighting with one solataired eye, she reaches down and presses a palm flat against Madoka's stomach, drawing her close, her shoulderblades against Masked Tuxedo's ribcage.

"Show me you have learned that language, Puella Magi Madoka. Speak with your arrows..." Masked Tuxedo closes her fist, and the funnel triples its speed. Anything fired into its wide entrance will come out the other end with great force.

"And I will make sure she hears every syllable."

COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Thanks..?" Mikoto echoes the word, in mocking wonder, the corner of her lip quirking up. "Yeah - thanks for showing me how weak they are."

And she lazily steps forward, and the light of the girl is so much brighter than the light around her. White reflects all hues, red inclusive; the closer she gets, the more washed-out it becomes, until she is herself again. Perhaps it is incidental that her approach led to the fading of the light; perhaps it is fitting.

Because the closer Mikoto gets to her enemy, the more sense things make, until she realises what she's just said. What she is doing - and what she is not doing. Intimidation without swift action; the slow destruction of fear. It's not right. It doesn't suit her.

She stops, and the Minagi arrogance on her face is replaced by Mikoto's horror. "... what..." She shakes her head, again, and this time it is violent enough that her braids whip at her face. "No! No! That's horrible! I didn't--!!"

She didn't think that, right? She can't possibly feel that way about her friends. It was this girl, in all her awful brightness.

The girl swings her blade in revolution, and this is a thing Mikoto knows. Miroku slams down, and wake meets wake; sharp air buffets them, scouring at Mikoto's coat. For a moment she is angry, and these are her feelings, after all, and they are messy and they are not all pleasant, in the way feelings are.

But then Sailor Moon says something - about how they shouldn't fight on Christmas.



Mikoto whines, wordlessly, as they go through the check-out and out of the store. There are a lot of red and green clothes, for some reason, but she wanted something yellow.

"I still can't believe you lost your hat," Mai chides her, gently. "Did you really have to climb the bridge like that?"

"Yup!" Mikoto chirps, in reply.

"You... all right, Mikoto, just don't lose this one. Hokkaido is much colder than Tokyo."

"Why Hokkaido?"

"Everyone's going. Besides, it'll be nice to have some peace and quiet. Who'd want to fight on Christmas?"

"No fighting on Christmas..?"

Mai sighs, exasperated. "I can hope for at least one day where everyone tries to be reasonable. After that incident at the noodle stand, I think I'm entitled to one day."

"Reasonable," Mikoto echoes, blinking, before she finds herself suddenly equipped with a hat, and laughs as she realises the ear flaps are cat paws. Yes, she'll certainly make greater efforts to avoid losing this one.



It's frightening to be given feelings which aren't hers - which might be a little bit hers. It's frustrating to be swept up in them, and the immediate response to an attack is another attack, because people who attack her are enemies.

But this girl who is light is swept up, too, and can't Mikoto relate to someone who is tricked and incited by Nagi's effortless guile?

And so Mikoto does not, immediately, swing her blade, despite the spark of rage which flared inside her.

Because she should try to be reasonable.

"Nagi's mean!" She yells, instead. "Nagi's always mean! Don't gotta listen!" She carefully elides the fact that the HiME usually do, in the end. "I don't wanna cage you! I hate cages-!!"

But everyone is moving to convince her in their own ways, and as much as Mikoto is trying to maintain the spirit of Christmas, she really only has one tool available to her. Masked Tuxedo breaks through the uncertainty of a girl who is holding back what she knows in favour of what she has learned, and she hums as she glances aside to her.

"Yeah..." She says, again, and this time the word is not dripping in arrogance. Because the girl who is light has a blade which turns in full circles, and Mikoto knows such a thing, after all.

She steps in - swift but not charging - to catch that blade with hers. Because she knows its ways, she knows how it might be caught off-guard. If she is not given room to move freely, she will not be able to gather the power she needs for her most powerful blows.

In these close quarters, of course, Mikoto can't do the same.

But defeating her enemies has never meant killing them, so the loss of efficacy is fine.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Disequilibrium on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Disequilibrium, taking 45 Fatigue damage!  Diversion applied
to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Madoka is too embarrassed to respond to Usagi's reaction -- or Mami's -- or even to get her bow up in time to defend herself. Accordingly, she is tossed back like a rag doll by the passing force of the dreamsword. She slams into a nearby tree.

There's a terrible cracking sound.

Then the tree falls backwards, torn in half at the point of impact.

The world swims before her eyes, and she groans -- and accepts the hand offered to her. Her palm is a little clammy, but her grip, despite the lack of the magic, is pleasantly firm.

She turns her head upwards, to listen. The wind funnel tugs at her twintails, at their cheerful bows, sending them streaming in front of her like battle banners.

Her face is somewhat less combative. It's just sad.

"I do know that language -- and value its, it's use. And you're right... this is a time that calls for it."

Her tummy is fizzy beneath Masked Tuxedo's touch, and the feeling spreads up her arm as it extends along the older girl's, in parallel. Her bow appears at its end, and the roseate fire at its tip unfurls that banner at last in truth.


She fires a hugely bright shaft into the wind funnel, which disappears inside.


Where it explodes.

What comes out the other end most strongly resembles machinegun fire.

Madoka hasn't stopped looking at Tux. She's trembling a little but not too much. There's a resolve in her, growing even as her bow shrinks back into a tightly budded staff.

"But it isn't the only one. That you feel that way... it's just too sad!"

She steps away... looks over her shoulder... and smiles.

It's a small smile.

But a strong smile.

"Watch me... I've got no other choice but to prove you wrong."

COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has joined the combo started by Masked Tuxedo!
COMBAT: COMBO! Masked Tuxedo and Madoka Kaname have used Gaze Turbulent and Twinkle Burst on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Masked Tuxedo and Madoka Kaname's Combo: Gaze Turbulent, taking 89 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Survivor - Destiny's Child https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m9K_Gi55zw

The maiden's enemies converge on her en masse. They throw swords and feet and lightning, ribbons and wind and light pink and silver.

They score blows. Gray light leaks all the more brightly out of scratches on her cheeks, her sides. Her sword, caught on Miroku and tugged by Mami's ribbons; her person, surrounded on all sides by Fuu's wind; she is afraid.

And she is furious.

"I've had enough of being told what to do -- and for those of you who say there's no choice... there's always a choice."

And she is bleak. A thousand years of imprisonment flash across her eyes.


Darkness rages in her wounds, flowing out to meet those who would assault her, sharing her pain.

"You want to HELP me? You want to JUDGE me? EITHER WAY! LIVE MY NIGHTMARE!"

She holds her sword aloft, brandishing it over her head, and inhales. Brilliant red and orange light flashes at heart-level, building among each of the magical girls struck with the rays of pride and passion -- that is to say, Mikoto, La Sirene, Masked Tuxedo and Madoka.

Then they shatter, shatter into figments of light, melting away like sand, flowing in steady streams towards the grey maiden's heart. When that light fades, there's no trace of the four of them.


When the brilliant light clears, the cave is no longer present for Mikoto and Madoka, Masked Tuxedo and La Sirene. Instead, standing upon endless, rolling dunes of fine silver sand, is the maiden of light. A cool breeze ruffles her hair, tugs at her hems, though finer details are impossible to make out, as her dove gray radiance is so very blinding. The wind also stirs the sands, its surface blown into various shapes -- stars and moons, whimsical animals and creepy plants, there one second and gone the next.

The night sky is full of stars. They shine down unblinkingly, the Empyrean itself bearing witness to this meeting. Time feels ephemeral, as delicate as an iridescent butterfly's wing, as though the cosmos is holding its breath to see what happens next.

When the maiden's long-lashed lids lift, her eyes, beneath, are red.

And her voice is full of nothing less than haughty, spiky pride.

"I put all my skill and art into creating dreams for every sleeper -- no one is better than I am, no one could possibly do this with my mastery of the craft. No one can take this away from me, because no one could take my place. No one else is worthy! No matter what, I will not stop: I am needed more than anyone else!"

She blinks -- and now her eyes are orange.

And her voice is full of nothing less than thrumming passion.

"I slaved away to bring dreams to every sleeper -- it was not just my life's work, but the work of many lifetimes! And I love my work... that has never changed. No matter what, I will never stop performing my duty, whether people like it or not!"

She raises her arms, and the wind rises as well, the silver sands rising to congeal into a thousand stabbing swords, which fly in all directions.

"You think you can stop me? You just try it!"

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on Masked Tuxedo.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on La Sirene du Nord.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wave of Darkness on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wave of Darkness on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wave of Darkness on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wave of Darkness on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Wave of Darkness on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo dodges 39 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  Masked Tuxedo's
Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: La Sirene du Nord braces 44 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  La Sirene
du Nord's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon braces 15 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Wave of Darkness, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Parry
ability activates!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname dodges 23 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Madoka Kaname's
Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji braces 19 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Wave of Darkness, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Fuu
Hououji's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki braces 21 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Wave of Darkness, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe partially dodges 11 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Wave of Darkness, taking 44 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Hit!  Mami Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi decisively counters 48 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 16 Fatigue damage!
Mikoto Minagi's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi's counterattack, Obsidian Blade: Destruction, partially gets through, doing 47 Fatigue damage to Hotaru
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Wave of Darkness, taking 39 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

With eyes going wide, Lancelot dives to the side to try and get out of the wave of darkness that threatens to slam into him. He's mid air when they take him and slam him to the ground thirty or so yards away with a crunch, a scream, and an explosion of snow. That snow falls in clumps or gently drifts down and Lancelot lays still in the cold embrace of the snow. His eyes are closed and he's honestly not sure what day of the week it is let alone his name at the moment. He tries to push himself up but his left arm screams at him and he thuds back down into the snow.

"You have to stand up."

The voice is in his head. He knows it, because he knows that voice. It's always bloody there. It's Him. "I can't." He whispers into the snow.

He swears somebody crouches beside him. "Yes. Yes you can. Get up and fight."

He grits his teeth. This guy is literally him, and he cna't see that he's jsut a broken loser right now? What the hell man? Instead he whispers through pain gritted teeth. "I said I can't."

"Don't give me that. Stand up, pick up your sword, and get back into this fight."

"I'M NOT YOU!" He shouts into the snow. Which others might hears as "I'MTHNOTEWW!"

He would swear he feels hot breath at his ear as HE whispers, "Then show me."

The snow is still drifting down, and there is a fine mist around where Lancelot had impacted the snow. This mist suddenly explodes into nothingness as it is vaporized from a very large bolt of lightning cutting through the falling snow, parting snowbanks it flies over, and in general exuding a terrible amount of power.

From it's origin, Lancelot kneels in the small crater he formed when he impacted breathing heavily in puffs of frozen breath, his left arm dangling. A cut on his forhead leaks blood to curl around his eye, travel along his jawline and drip pretty steadily to the snow below. Arondight is planted in the grount next to him, his right arm is stretched outward, and the lighting, flowing with deadly power from that outstretched hand is accompanied by a defiant scream of; "HEAVEN'S WRATH!!!!"

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Heaven's Wrath on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

At the time, Sailor Moon had tittered a little at Masked Tuxedo's observation. Not that she doesn't feel for Madoka's embarrassment, she just agrees it's adorable. She knows she wouldn't have the courage to do that herself though without feeling embarrassed. "It was really brave of her though-!" She does say, as if to try to help deescalate that.

That was before the maiden attacked though.


A wave of darkness flows out, "Moon Stick!" Sailor Moon cries, and it appears, she grasps the handle with her hand of the Crescent Moon shaped wand, and rises it up to meet the darkness. The implement glitters for a moment as Sailor Moon's joints buckle against the assault of the raw emotional darkness.

"I have a duty too - as a -" Teeth slamming together as she's brought to her knees, "- Sailor Senshi! Why are you saying there's a choice then giving us none?! I want to help you - because you sound like you've been hurting a lot - but also because it's my mission. I'm the Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice..."

The assault ends, and Sailor Moon's skinny shoulders slump with relief, yet she gives her a look, "... Sailor Moon!"

However it's that moment that she notices... the disappearance of four, "Wait - what... what did you do with Masked Tuxedo-sama?" Her eyes frantically search, "Sirene-chan? Mikoto-chan?" And most of all... there's a decided absence of pink, "MADOKA-CHAN!?"

Having just shouted out her little lungs, she hiccups, as sadness settles in, "Mami-senpai... I don't see them... where did she take them?" Her whole body shakes, desperate, and in that desperation there's also anger, "Give them back!" She cries again, "Give them back! Or... or..."

Rising to her feet, there's a certain frantic desperation as she points at the Maiden, a promise of...

"... in the Name of the Moon - I'll punish you!"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used In The Name Of The Moon on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Sailor Moon's In The Name Of The Moon, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cripple and Diversion
applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 11 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Heaven's Wrath, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kasagami is briefly blinded by the amazing pink brilliance that is Madoka Kaname alongside MASKED TUXEDO combining their power! Scathing winds of the Wind Knight, and the massive blade of Miroku hammering down, Sailor Moon and Mami and Lancelot all adding in their force along with her own sword have her feeling uplifted just enough that her previous feelings induced into her are that much less stinging.

It helps her, this conflicted Duelist, keep going.

But Darkness flows into the Maiden's hands, and as it explodes? Kasagami is sent back flying to go tumbling into the snow head-over heels. Making a long rent in the snow as she tumbles, the young woman ends in a roll and tuck back to her feet. She's lost her coat in the exchange, already shivering. She's battered and bruised, but standing.

Deep breathes have her exhaling the white mist of the cold, and her eyes narrow. Suddenly, the four are gone, shattered into light and taken into the Maiden herself! Alarm traces Kasagami's features, even as she sets her boots more firmly. What can she do other than try to talk to the Maiden and use her sword, now? Sailor Moon shouts out her despair and anger at losing the four. Kasagami's hands tighten on her sword, this time in resolve.

"Is that what you want!? To live on your own terms? That's fine! You're strong! Skilled! No one deserves to be chained up, especially people that work hard to hone their talents. But if you choose to hurt people, then people like us will fight you! I'm not saying it's fair." A shake of her head.

"Hurting others because you're in pain doesn't make it hurt any less!" Her voice shudders.

And then Kasagami is a blurr, dissappearing in a burst of speed as she lashes her sword once, twice, thrice!

"And you won't be taking people away from those who love them!" Kassie howls, boot slamming down to wheel herself around for one last strike with all of her strength of arms and fury.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Rose Flash on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to counter Kasagami Araki's Rose Flash, taking 49 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kasagami Araki is
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Deep Dreaming, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki!  
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

All villains will tell you their reasons. ...Mami prefers to fight enemies that don't try; enemies that are clearly monsters, that don't have a voice behind them to make things complicated, different; save people from the monsters. It's simple...

But she has been at this long enough that she knows she will not always get what she wants. Her eye cants to Masked Tuxedo and Madoka for a moment, and she inclines her head. She has not answered La Sirene's question from before, but she knows she's with her. And Christmas or not, Mami will fight here.

"It's as she says," Mami adds after Madoka, looking unafraid towards the Maiden and her anger. A choice; maybe there is a choice. But here...

"I won't ru--"

What Mami was going to say dies on her lips; the four fade completely, flow in sand, and Mami stares in shock. She is too slow, too surprised, to do much but start to turn away from the wave of darkness, and it slams her backward, knocks her to the snow and rolling, in silence, as she has to consider: her partner has disappeared. The one who helped her melt her fears away...

"I don't either," Mami says to Usagi, and forces her voice calmer. "We have to keep calm, and fight to get them back. Don't give up!"

She can fake it until she's there; she can show faith, when she's afraid. She did it for so long...

"If this is what you want," Mami says to the Maiden, "Then I will do as you ask. Show me your worst!" She throws out her hand, and a line of rifles bursts into being before her in the snow. Now standing, Mami picks one up--and fires. She whirls, picks another, fires, picking each up in turn as she practically dances across the battlefield, golden bullets rocketing towards the Maiden ahead.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Flourish on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly dodges 27 Fatigue damage from Mami Tomoe's Tiro Flourish, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"What do you expect us to choose, then?!" the Magic Knight of Wind retorts, bracing her blade before her as an improvised shield ... improvised, and rather ineffective, as the wave of darkness batters at her, driving her back so her feet carve twin furrows in the snow underneath her. "For your own sake, would you have us choose to sacrifice those we cherish? For the sake of somebody whom we didn't even realize *existed*, as recently as a few hours ago?"

And just like that, in streams of light, four of their number have vanished. The Wind Knight's expression darkens, but her resolve firms up and she raises her sword once more. "Whoever you are, wherever - whenever - you're from, I can accept that you have suffered, even that you have suffered unjustly. But if you would claim your freedom, remember - we who have sworn to protect this world will not stand aside to let you wreak vengeful havoc, either upon or within it!"

Ready though she is for melee, the Wind Knight refrains from attacking directly - perhaps because of other attacks being unleashed, like Kasagami's swordplay and Mami's musketry. Or perhaps she feels her words are sharp enough, at the moment.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Gentle Chiding on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 0 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Gentle Chiding, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Darren Korb - In The Flame https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAWmSzN7Uf8

Fear and fury; this close, Mikoto can hear it, can imagine she sees it. It's impossible, of course. There is nothing to her but blinding light.

There's always a choice, she says, and darkness distracts her long enough for the source of all light to wrest her blade and hold it high. Mikoto brings up her own blade - only to stagger in the motion as she realises that the light is not just coming from that girl, any more. "What --"

If there was an end to her question, it's stolen along with Mikoto.


It's full of stars. Not just the sky, but the dunes, as well. And the greatest star, before them, a girl of grey. Mikoto's eyes dart about the new arena, trying to make sense of it; always they come back to her. There is nothing here more radiant.

Gold meets red, and she hears her thoughts through the veil of a dreamer. No one else can do what she does. No one else can take her place. No one else is worthy. No one else is more necessary...

... than Mikoto Minagi.

Perhaps there is arrogance in the girl who is light; the expression she is met with is sorrow. "I..." The words catch in her throat; she has never been good at them. Red turns to orange, as Mikoto looks away.

Infused with red light, the hurting words had come so easily. Now her lips press together and she finds she has none at all.

Until the wind howls.

"I can..."

Her quiet assertion comes on the heels of a sandstorm. And Mikoto plants her feet, and spins - and spins - and spins. Sandsword after sandsword glances off of her blade as she howls with the wind; perhaps some fly back into the light from whence they came. Others are pulverised where they impact; the sand slams into her, scratches at skin and coat.

She sends out ten thousand blades - Mikoto has only one.

But she knows how to use it.

She staggers as she slows, once the storm has faded. Coughs, because sand has caught in her mouth as she screamed. It's like being caught in the face with a snowball, except that this girl has never had the liberty of having friends. She's never had a snowball fight before...

... Mikoto hadn't, either.

"I get it." She finds the words, now. "I feel the same... okay? Like there's something... only I can do." Her eyes glance down, a frown creasing her features. "Working hard... all the time..." It's nostalgic in a way she doesn't like dwelling on.

Her hands tighten around the hilt of her blade as she looks back up. "But the world's really good! There's girls, and ramen, and I've seen more cats than ever! I never knew, and - and now I do, and - you can too, okay?! I dunno what you'll find that'll make you happy, but--!!"

Mikoto shakes her head, swallowing at the lump in her throat. "... but just being good at stuff... it's no good unless they care about you. Unless someone calls --"

Here, in an instant, her eyes widen, as she realises the error she has made. Because no one can affectionately call out to her now, the way they are. No one can praise her for her efforts. It's impossible, because:

"No one's - asked what your name is, right? We didn't..."

Mikoto lifts a hand from her blade to press against her chest. "... sorry. I'm Mikoto Minagi," she says, because she has learned that last names are important by now. "Who are you?"

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Appellation on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Masked Tuxedo [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Inhaling the sea air, Sailor Uranus looks around her. She's been taken somewhere else once more, and this time it's somewhere she's never seen. But ever since she met Neptune all over again, no beach feels entirely unfamiliar. Even one where the sand draws pictures in itself.

Though her eyes are visible through the domino, somehow the mask seems to hide her emotions anyway. Her jawline is dispassionate in the face of pride, and discreet in the face of passion. Nothing the Lotus says can move her.

"Sailor Moon is right, Puella Magi Madoka," Masked Tuxedo says. "You are brave. But I have something to show you, as well. A warrior's compassion. A battle neither to help or judge."

She takes a few steps forward, crunching the sand. She cocks a fist, levels a vertical forearm to shield her body, and crouches power into her legs. "Only to kill, and let others decide whether it was salvation or punishment." Masked Tuxedo's lips curl briefly, as she looks Mikoto Minagi in the eyes. "I think this one knows of what I speak."

Masked Tuxedo darts directly into the hail of swords, fading this way and that to let them pass. They holepunch her cape repeatedly, and here and there break her momentum by ripping across one of her limbs, causing her to yank back to minimize damage. With her eyes she tracks the other three combatants, and she calibrates her arrival to theirs, waiting for someone to engage the Lotus. The moment someone is about to do so, she launches herself into a massive vertical leap, leaving the dream-mistress's field of vision entirely (she hopes), and plummets elbow-first, timing it to hit just about the same moment as those who are first to attack. Drawing her arm all the way across her torso, she waits until the very last instant before impact, then twists her powerful abdomen hard, slamming her elbow down into the foe, a speartip atop the already violent impact of her fall.

COMBAT: Masked Tuxedo has used Meteor Slam on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Appellation, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 25 Fatigue damage from Masked Tuxedo's Meteor Slam, taking 37 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Masked
Tuxedo is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Madoka looks left, looks right.

Neither Mami nor Usagi are with her anymore.

But Mikoto's here -- here and being gentle, being articulate, being so, so kind.

Masked Tuxedo's here too--

"--no!" she bursts out, but it's too late. She takes off a beat after her sometimes-ally, but has a harder time with the sandswords and can't hope to catch up in any event. She arrives after impact, skidding to her knees in the sand.

"I'm so sorry," she says to the maiden, hands outstretched. "We're not... we're not all like that. Please... I truly believe we can still understand each other..."

COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has used Too Little, Too Late on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene du Nord [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Red light flashes towards la Sirene and



The light clears and it is no cavern any longer. Standing on the sands, la Sirene startles.

She takes precious moments to look around, and it is in this space that carnivorous animals like Mikoto Minagi and Masked Tuxedo are able to strike. She begins to answer the girl, the maiden, but before she can, the blades come upon her. The swords bite into her; she is born over, falling into the silvery sand in a thousand pinpricks of agony. She tilts her head, raising an arm as if to guard her face and looks down at the sand as it becomes a crust beneath the starlight, frozen by -

by -

She sees Madoka, distantly, and she finds that she is able to still move. "Hiyaahhhh," she verbalizes in pain, and she rises just in time to see the leap of Masked Tuxedo towards--

"Stop beating up the source of dreams!" La Sirene protests in flat-eyed shock. "I need to have dreams or I'll --! I can't get video streaming in -"

La Sirene stops short, partly out of dignity, partly because she knows she was about to give away the game. Her teeth come together wth a sharp click. Sweeping her hair back she looks down at herself... and feels sickened at the sense of so much soreness. And yet.

"-- We don't understand! I meant what I said, O dream weaver, I do not understand any of this! All I knew was that there was a wish to the shards and - and - You must have made so many dreams for me! I thank you, for all your hard work!"

('thank you', she says to Mikoto, with an unspoken look.)

COMBAT: La Sirene du Nord has used He's not with me on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to counter Madoka Kaname's Too Little, Too Late, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe is Quipped!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Dream Disturbed, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Madoka Kaname!  
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe accepts La Sirene du Nord's He's not with me, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

The maiden stares at Mikoto for a long moment.

"My name..."

While she's contemplating for long moments, she is hit by a different kind of falling star.

She explodes downwards and backwards from the force of Masked Tuxedo's strike, creating a vast plume of sand. A plume that takes on wild shapes of its own, ephemeral rabbits and leaves, five-pointed stars and the ribbons that snap at the end of the track, dresses and swords and crowns.

Two more girls approach her, and she gestures weakly, defensively, at the first, though her sand lashes fail to make contact. The second thanks her, and she coughs up darkness, then lolls her head where she lies to look, once more, at Mikoto.

"...was one of many things stripped from me by the Silver Lady. It is with me no longer... I am only a maiden. A maiden of nightmare."

She inclines her head at La Sirene.

"Sweet child," she adds, as the whole sandscape begins to dissolve. "No one ever said that to me during my eon of service. But I, personally, could never have brought you any dreams... I was banished and broken, so long before you were even born..."

Her body is dissolving too, becoming swirling starless blackness, a yawning abyss of misery.

While the girls dissolve into light...

...and when it clears, they're back in the cave.


Lancelot's lightning streams over the Maiden of Nightmares, and Fuu's words, also. She takes both into her, in different ways, and afterwards is quiet for a long moment.

"In the Name of the Moon - I'll punish you!"

Even with unreadably radiant features, her shock is palable.

She freezes -- mid-sword-swing, and does not defend herself against Kasagami, who draws more of those darkness-leaking wounds, once, twice, thrice.

"In the Name of the Moon," she repeats, dazed. "In the Name of the Moon..."

She stares off at nothing. Or at everything, maybe. She stares at the past, and she sees time itself.

"I was punished," she murmurs. "In the Name of the Moon."

Mami invites her to show everyone her worst, and may live to regret this statement. Blankly, so emptily that she's almost in a fugue, she steps forward, straight past that stream of golden bullets, which whizz by her harmlessly to hiss and steam tunnels into the snow beyond.

"In the Name of the Moon I was sundered. In the Name of the Moon I was torn from my home."

The sword in her hand is starting to lose its cohesion. It sheds gray sand as it shifts and shifts and shifts again. It's a bouquet of flowers. It's a double handful of tentacles streaming out of her arm.

"In the Name of the Moon I was banished!" she rages, storming closer. "In the Name of the Moon I was imprisoned even from my own self!"

The sand rips off of her entirely. It's a pulsing firebolt. It's ball lightning in quartz form. It is a seven-spiked Pure Heart, rendered unto gray.

"NEVER AGAIN! I WON'T BE PUNISHED AGAIN!" she howls, the sheer force of her voice forcing everyone away, even as she releases the projectile, straight at Sailor Moon's fluffy, tiara'd little head.

Just as red and orange light streams from her heart, and the four lost girls reform -- while Kasagami and Lancelot vanish into yellow, and Fuu into cyan -- replacing them.


Like the others did, Kasagami, Fuu and Lancelot find themselves in a vast sandscape, facing the Maiden.

Well, a Maiden.

She is yellow-eyed, to start.

And her voice is full of nothing but creeping terror, pure fear.

"I worked so hard and earned such contempt and cruelty! I brought dreams to everyone, beautiful dreams. And when I failed, all their accusing eyes were on me! The fate I was given for my missteps, for my actions after my failure, is more than anyone could bear! If I don't fail now, she can never punish me again. I won't fail! I will take back what is mine, my lifetimes of work, and she won't be able to hurt me again."

Her voice shifts, indecisively, as her eyes become turquoise.

"It was so beautiful. Everything I created for you was so full of loveliness-- but I was so tired. It was one mistake, and I-- I reacted. But she was wrong to punish me so! After all I had done for her, for you, for all of you-- to be stung so cruelly! I can't forgive her! I can't forgive you!"

She raises her arms, and the wind rises as well, the silver sands rising to congeal into a thousand stabbing swords, which fly in all directions.

"You think you can stop me?"

The light in her eyes glitters.

"Maybe I deserve it."

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Ten Thousand Blades on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Sonic Nightmare on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Hotaru Tomoe has used The Sword of Ten Thousand Broken Dreams on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Lancelot decisively counters 51 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 17 Fatigue damage!
Lancelot's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Lancelot's counterattack, Lightning Impact, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!  
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki dodges 23 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami
Araki's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname covers Sailor Moon for Hotaru Tomoe's attack, The Sword of Ten Thousand Broken Dreams, taking it upon
herself instead!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname accepts Hotaru Tomoe's Finisher, The Sword of Ten Thousand Broken Dreams, taking 143 Fatigue damage!  Madoka
Kaname is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Here is the truth: Masked Tuxedo looks into Mikoto's eyes and names her sins, and in that moment that golden gaze is filled with fear and guilt and recognition. She knows what she means - yes.

Because she worked so hard to...

And perhaps it is the context which reveals why Mikoto trembles as she speaks, as she does not strike. Words are difficult; these words most of all. But Mikoto is learning. And...

... there is a girl who insists she does not want to fight, who tries to reason with her enemies.

... there is a girl who does not resort to violence as her first option, who yearns to find the truth of her enemies.

... there is a girl who shares her experience and does not let it bring her to cruelty against her enemies.

... there is a girl who brings humanity to the battlefield, whose attacks are designed for defeating the youma who are their enemies.

Ever since she's arrived, and Mai taught her that Natsuki was not her enemy, and there was no need to fight... she's been given model after model of the kindnesses of this world. So few ask her for her violence; so many ask for her understanding. And as much as she stumbled over the words, she spoke the truth, after all.

Being praised for doing a good job is the most impactful thing, to someone who relies so heavily on the people around her.

She wants to make them happy.

But she can't bring herself to intercede, when Masked Tuxedo careens down, because she can't quite deny how right she is.

"Not fair," Mikoto insists, instead, hand curling into a fist at her chest. "That Silver Lady's... horrible!"

She does not realise how much of a statement it is.

The world fades; the cave returns, their shadows upon it. A shadow of a seven-spiked star...

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

The Lightning stops streaming form his hand just as the light flashes and he finds himself now kneeling in sand instead of snow. He blinks a few times and grabs the hilt of Arondight and uses it as leverage to haul himself to his feet. His left arm still dangles, and blood still flows down the left side of his face, but Lancelot at least stands. He tilts his head as the Maiden goes on her rant and then pulls Arondight from the sand, lighting leaping along the blade's edge once it's free. This is when, rising from the sand at the Maiden's gesture comes a lot of blades. Lancelot watches them rise and says very softly. "Oh. Oh Pucker nuts."

The blades weep in, and Lancelot rushes forward wielding Arondight one handed. He screams as he goes in, swatting blades aside as he surges forward like a mad man toward the Maiden, as more and more of them close on him he spins and slams his blade into the sand as he calls out, "LIGHTNING IMPACT!" Arondight slamming into the ground creates an exxplosion of sand and lightning that deflects most of the incoming blades.

One however finds Lancelot and with a CLANG rips through the upper right side of his armor. Thankfully it doens't impale him, but it cuts a ragged line along his right ribs and cuts into the flesh there. As the blade is cutting him he leaps into the air, spinning Arondight as he does, rising out of that explosion of sand and lightning and blades and calling even more lightning to his blade as he does.

His leap is at an angle, and is certainly aimed at the Maiden, "BLAZING ZEPHYR!!" is shouted at the leap's apex and as he falls he brings all his weight, and all that lightning he summoned into one crashing impact aimed for Maiden's torse. As he falls he trails lightning which sparkle and crack, the blue-white bolts casting their own light in every direction.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Blazing Zephyr on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji perfectly dodges 61 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Ten Thousand Blades, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Dodge!  Fuu Hououji's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe braces 5 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Sonic Nightmare, taking 4 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Masked Tuxedo [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Masked Tuxedo doesn't follow her blow up when the Maiden remains still, but she does stalk laterally forward, closing distance slowly and indirectly. If the three others present won't fight, she's none too sure of her chances, but she expects to take those chances soon.

Silver Lady.

So long before you were even born.

Masked Tuxedo's eyes harden. And as the beach fades away, she seems to hear the very Queen she was just thinking of.

"In the Name of the Moon - "

Masked Tuxedo's eyes swing to the Maiden of Nightmares to check her reaction, the way a student might look to the teacher to find out whether or not her friend just got caught cursing in class. It seems that Sailor Moon got caught.

Grabbing the golden chain at her neck, Masked Tuxedo rips it away as though it were ballast. Before her cape even begins to fall she is off. Even with her legendary speed she seems to be moving through molasses. She's too far and even she is not faster than a firebolt, nor would World Shaking be if she unleashed it. But the speed of sound... that is faster.

"Princess!" Sailor Uranus screams out, just before impact.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

One moment, the Magic Knight of Wind stands in the cave with her allies, minus four of them; in the next moment, as if her words were taken to heart, the missing four are returned - but before the Wind Knight can really see what shape they're in, she vanishes as they did. So do two more, and they reappear together in that sandscape. Inside the Maiden's heart?

... Somewhere that they weren't, at any rate.

The fear in the Maiden's voice rings the Wind Knight up short, and she listens, truly *listens* to what the Maiden has to say. The pieces start to fit together: the essence of this mystical maiden became the pieces of a wish-granting star ... but her power is rooted in dreams, not in altering the waking world, at least not directly. And the wish which Nagi made was 'granted' as a dream.

The Wind Knight would reply, but the swords coalesce from silvery sand, and fly at the trio.

Wind and blade weave in tandem, chipping the slight gaps between sandy swords and widening them, and the Wind Knight barely passes through the openings she's chosen to enlarge. Barely - but sufficiently, leaving the Wind Knight gasping with exertion but otherwise unhurt.

"So that was your purpose, to bestow dreams ... and you seek, as you always did, to craft dreams suited to the desires and needs of those who petitioned you?" she asks, gradually standing up straight again. "But when those dreams are rejected ..." She lets out a breath.

"Such an incredible gift. I don't think I can blame you for lashing out at us -" The lashing out goes both ways, though; Lancelot strikes out, his sword swinging with the force of lightning, and the Wind Knight can't intervene to try and block it. Not that she's entirely certain if she *should*; she has some sympathy for the Maiden, at least enough to want to spare her life. But words have not yet carried enough force to stop the Maiden's attack on their own. Perhaps force of arms, and of magic, is still required before the will of a heart can break through the battlefield.

There's an almost ritual mien in the Wind Knight's stance as she charges, and an apologetic look in her eyes. She's not all that gifted as a swordswoman; certainly her skill pales next to the Magic Knights of Fire and Water. But she can handle her sword well enough to hit with the *flat* of it - if put into words, the message of her strike would be "please stop this," as opposed to the vehement "Die!" issued by others' blades and magics.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Sword Strike on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.


Madoka is horrified by the maiden's fate; the gem at her throat, already a little dull from a long day of battle, dims further.

But it's nothing compared to how she feels as the world disassembles around her, and then reassembles into a world where--

--she looks left, looks right--

--Sailor Moon is about to be killed.

There's no time.

There's no time at all.

There's no time to plant her foot firmly on the ground, resummon her staff, balance her grip and settle her hips and knock that sharp gray embodiment of despair out of the park in a home run that would make Sayaka proud.

There's no time to twist in midair, materializing and then unfurling her staff into a bow, to put arrow to string and send a decisive and brilliant roseate interruption right through the heart of the sandy heart.

There is certainly no time to speak.

A tiny flower blooms in the snow, directly beneath her descending boot, one which explodes into a little puff of pink magic as she springs off of it and soars towards Sailor Moon.

Towards Usagi.

Two girls, small for their age but just the same height, sit together on a retaining wall, heels beating against the concrete. They're feeding two cats... or what look like two cats... a white and pink one, and a black and gold one... with the contents of their bentos.

Her arms are flung outwards, as wide a span as her little frame can muster, and there's no weapon in her hands at all. She strains and strains, her whole body stretching to be as big as possible, her oldest and most innocent dream...

It's raining, and a girl in a sailor fuku and a girl all in ruffles and bows are holding one another, bawling, at the top of Tokyo Tower. No one is dead anymore. The day has been saved, and the crescent moon wand glistening at their feet is proof enough of the miracle. But it's all just too much, and their tears sink deeply into each other's shoulders.

Her back is to Sailor Moon and the others. She sees death coming and faces it head on -- she could only have gotten there in time, have aimed properly, by facing it. So only the Maiden can see her expression, at first.

It's yesterday and two girls are both sucking at the bunny hill together. It's a week ago and one girl is dutifully doing her pre-finals homework while the other one whines about it. It's a month ago and two girls are waving farewell at each other from the opposite sides of the train tracks as the bar closes between them.

She's in midair, and so the projectile intended for Sailor Moon's head instead strikes her in the chest. Her ruffles make a quiet sound, a sound like an unkempt sail.

Her trajectory twists with the impact.

Sailor Uranus, faster while she herself happened to be far closer, is directly behind her, as the spiked ball emerges through her back, crumbling into sand as it does. It is dust before it can reach her, but Madoka's blood is not, a brilliant spatter far redder than it feels like it should be amid all this gray light, making her many pinks more starkly pink than ever in comparison.

Madoka hits the snow face up, and now everyone can see her expression: the naked relief therein, that she made it in time.

Her lips move, but no sound comes out, and it means I love you.

And a little bit of light goes out of the universe, when it leaves her eyes.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly dodges 75 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Blazing Zephyr, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe partially dodges 2 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Sword Strike, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kasagami can't find delight in scoring blows on their foe. Instead, as the Maiden reacts to Moon's outburst violently and with force, shoving her back with sheer volume, Kasagami slowly comes to comprehend at least in part the tragedy this Maiden has suffered. The wrathful goddess of dreams unleashes her fury at her newfound hero of the Moon.

"Sailor Moon!" Is all Kassie has the time to cry out before she's overtaken.

And as she shatters into light, facing this broken, sorrowful, fearful girl, Kasagami can't help but quiver. Not in fear, but in sorrow for her.

Those thousand piercing swords of silver go to work even before the young woman can speak. Kasagami steps lightly, dodging many, parrying others with long sweeps of her nodachi. Two more gore her side, the young woman hissing from the pain. Yet her attention is on those words.

"I've never met this Silver Lady of yours...but they sound like a jerk! Punishing you because you got tired of working so hard to give everyone dreams!? I'll..."

She pauses, and swallows. "A King with a sword of justice won't allow that! Oh, sweet Maiden, count my blade alongside yours should this fiendish Silver Lady ever return! Given a task so great, you didn't deserve punishment! And you don't deserve to hurt anymore!"

One hand gestures to the Maiden of Nightmares. "I can't remember the last time I didn't have a dream that wasn't screams and fire. But I don't blame you for that. That was my own weakness."

She sets her boots once again, gripping her blade. "Let's end this pointless battle, so maybe we can be friends and allies! If you had friends to share that duty of dreams with, there'd be no need for nightmares every night! Please!" Kasagami's bravado cracks. She begs, even as she leaps for the woman. One boot and leg raises high as she falls, slamming it down upon the Maiden she can't help but feel for. Perhaps she might feel differently if she could feel the unfolding tragedy and bravery of Madoka Kaname. But that is not now.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Kassie Kick on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Maybe it couldn't be avoided; sometimes there is no talking it out. Mami commits herself to continue, and does not think anything prophetic in her words. In buoying her own confidence, she can help Sailor Moon, at the least--but when the Maiden simply steps past her chots, Mami wonders; what is it that could hold her so? What is it that takes her attention?

Years of experience pales before millenia of history; before such deep lore, Mami Tomoe is another girl herself, one of those here instead of set apart, always away. She does not know the true story behind the Moon Kingdom, has not heard of its fall. ...But she hears the anger of the Maiden, the rage in her heart--and in her Heart, the thing brought forth.

Her weapon is shifting, changing, and Mami feels her heart hit her throat as the Maiden throws it. "No!--"

But the wave forces Mami away; her attempt to deflect it is stopped short as she has to throw an arm before herself, cover her face and dig her feet into the snow to prevent falling. There is no time.

Mami can't even process the relief she feels at Madoka's return, the worry for those disappearing, before it all happens so quickly. She can't get anything out at all before, right in front of her very eyes, Madoka Kaname rushes to do everything that Mami would hope to do herself. ...But it's her doing it. It's her, and deep red blood splatters out, so, so wrong for pink that it should be. Mami's eyes are wide, her expression ashen, as she sees Madoka's face. She can't get out any words at all.

Only an anguished scream, the awful sound of a heart being ripped out echoes from Mami's place. Her guns clatter away; her eyes are still on Madoka. ...It is not 'like' anything, because as surely as that attack broke through Madoka, it has shattered her partner's heart. "Madoka--MADOKA!"

She falls forward, moving quickly, hits the ground roughly on her knees beside Madoka's unmoving body. Everything in Mami's vision swims except for this one sight. The battle is forgotten, irrelevant, unimportant to her now, as the first of many tears falls on the most wonderful light there ever was.

"Madoka--You--y-you can't--"

Even the beautiful gem adorning Mami's hat refuses to shine, now, a dull, dull thing.

Mami can't get out the words she wants to. She simply tries to reach forward, to gather her friend up. "Please--please, open your eyes--"

"Please don't leave me alone!" It is a wail of wrenching, ugly grief, "P-Please--take--take me instead, I--"

Mami can't get out any words at all anymore. She cries, eyes squeezed shut, pulling Madoka's hand up towards her chest, holding it there as if it could change the way her heart has broken.

It was never supposed to be her.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene du Nord [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

La Sirene's heart is moved at those words. The sand is dissolving around them, and she says, "But," and then her body dissolves, and then the world dissolves, and they are back where they started. Her eyes slowly close, then open again to see:

In the name of the moon.

Things move fast. Madoka streaks forwards even as she hears Masked Tuxedo scream out with unwonted terror (for shouldn't someone so courageous?) for the Princess. They all cry out but it is Madoka who is acting. La Sirene shakes her head once, a motion much like Batiste's, raises up her left hand - but before her hand can clear her hip, much less form the sign:

It happens.

La Sirene's hand comes up to her mouth. It is joined by another. Her eyes are huge and blank as she stares. Even as Mami approaches she is shocked into silence. The world feels like wind howling on a barren night.

<Pose Tracker> Masked Tuxedo [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Sailor Uranus, capeless, stands horrified by a very tiny corpse. It isn't her first time, the way it may be for others here. But she is not as jaded as she tries to be, and Madoka was a bright star even among magical girls. At moments like this one reverts to one's most basic instincts.

So Uranus goes to her princess.

Sailor Moon feels a hand between her shoulderblades. "Hey," Uranus urges her, and somehow without the cape, and with that voice, it's her, not Masked Tuxedo. "Don't look. Please." Gently she tries to guide Usagi against her, to be perpendicular to the ruin of her best friend instead of facing it directly, but she won't stand between them, she can't.

"You've seen her so many better times," Uranus whispers hoarsely, over Mami's wails. "So just this once... for her sake. Don't look."

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"Calm..." It sounds nice. Mami's advice. "... I don't know how she does it." She whispers in admiration, wishing she could emulate her battlefield calm. She wishes she could say she won't give up so easily.

For a moment, the Maiden's shock perhaps makes Sailor Moon think she reached her. That everything will be alright. That she'll return their missing comrades. That she'll part ways... that she'll...

Then she repeats it, with a ruminative murmur. Over and over. And starts adding more to it. And you can see the stages of that hope dying on Sailor Moon's face. When she erupts into rage, Sailor Moon flinches. She still doesn't understand what is going on here!

However she does understand, that she made it personal. "I didn't..."

She almost said she didn't mean it. However she absolutely had at the time.


Sailor Moon cannot know who it is directed at. Though perhaps part of her believes Masked Tuxedo is coming to save her all the same from her own foolishness. "... please ... I was just ... upset. I was worried about my friends..."

There are consequences to words. Some things you can't just take back. She knows that more than ever as the Maiden's blade releases something coming straight at her head. And she's so startled mid-apology that she hasn't even begun to move. Not even a whimper can escape from the path of that attack now.

BGM Change: Princess Melodies - Sailor Moon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR3sXwPlfic

And then Madoka's back is there. She recognizes it instantly...

From Tokyo Tower - when her adorable same height sister thrust her aside from an illusion of Naru Osaka that threatened to skewer her.

It is after battle with a Vampire Bat at a radio station and Madoka is telling her she knows a Magic Spell. Sailor Moon believes it - believes there is something coming - like Mami's Golden Light. Madoka cups her hands around the scraped knee of an inconsolable Sailor Moon. Just imagine the surprise on her face when she hears 'Owwie owwie go away.' with the decisive press of a bandaid to her knee. Suddenly it doesn't hurt so much anymore.

Madoka is so brave when she takes it head on. She was always more into this life than Usagi Tsukino had been.

Sailor Moon is sobbing after a fight - and Madoka Kaname is comforting her, telling her how brave she'd been. She doesn't feel brave at all as she clings to her. She feels like the other girl is the brave one, even when she denies it.

She's so quiet as she falls through the air, as she hits the snow. Her lips move, and she cannot hear the sound, she knows what she must be saying.

Usagi Tsukino waves at Madoka Kaname from the opposite side of the train tracks. She cannot hear her their either - but she can hear her lips move. It is a promise to see each other again soon. To her it is perhaps another way of saying those precious words...

Sailor Moon crawls up closer to her. It's like she could be sleeping, except her eyes are open, the light is gone. Giving proof to the lie. She wishes she were simply asleep.

Usagi Tsukino had spent all night complaining about studying with her. Until - she jolts out of her sleep, finding the covers wrapped around her. Madoka Kaname has her head down on the small bedside table, arms crossed, little pencil still in her fingers. Usagi's eyes glimmer as she realize what must have happened. Slowly she takes the covers, and places them over Madoka Kaname instead. For the next few hours she tries her hardest to study under a singular thought. She wants Madoka Kaname to see her in the Juuban High School Uniform one day.

The mere sight of her, the flood of memories strangles her throat, keeps sounds from being uttered. There's only a flood of tears that run down her cheeks as she kneels a short distance away. Strong arms envelop her. Tell her not to look. And she just wants to curl into those arms that would ordinarily make her feel safe. Right now she feels the safest she's ever been - but she also can't heed that command. She can't look away.

Masked Tuxedo will protect her... just like Madoka Kaname did.

Because everyone is protecting her. Everyone always is since she entered this life. How many times was she convinced to remain in this life because of Madoka Kaname? A girl who showed that if she could do it, then perhaps Usagi can. It was someone Usagi wanted to do this for.

And now she'd died protecting her... useless silly little Usagi Tsukino. Her friend died for her mistake, her foolishness, her error. There will be no more days of studying together... no more tearful hugs after a battle. No more victorious hand clasps. No more hanging out with her same height little sister.

If Usagi made it into high school, Madoka would not be there to see her in her uniform.

Mami Tomoe's sobbing is like further shards in her heart. Because... Madoka was taken... protecting... her... Mami said it herself. It is what jolts her into making her first whimper, first sound of grief, 'Please don't leave me alone.'

Because Madoka died protecting her... Mami Tomoe will feel alone. There will be no more tea parties with the three of them and Luna. There will always be a missing seat at the table.

"Ma..." A syllable that would continue into her name cannot express her grief. Her lips move as if to echo the words that came from the other girl's dying lips. She cannot give them sound. And the other girl will never hear them.

It's not enough at all, to express what was taken away from them here on this day.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 27 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Kassie Kick, taking 22 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> ibid

The lingering homesickness of earlier has stuck with her, like a cold she hasn't quite gotten over. Looking at Madoka Kaname in this state. The idea of home no longer feels like home anymore.

Not without her. Usagi Tsukino can be a supremely selfish creature, her life full of people who make it a whole picture, like a jigsaw puzzle. She cannot countenance a single missing piece. Especially not one as precious as Madoka Kaname. It feels like without her it would make everyone else's puzzle incomplete too. A cascading effect outwards.

A denial of reality without her causes a deeper sensation of home to throb within her chest. A place that she's never even seen with her own two eyes, yet still remains all the same. A nostalgia that crosses time and space.

This is the first time she's seen someone she loves die. Yet why does that idea feel so familiar, so intrinsically tied to...

...somewhere else? A feeling that transcends time.

Sailor Moon's whole body spasms, radiance as gentle as moonlight shining from her chest. It is bright white, shining off a multi-faceted jewel. Cut like some impossibly precious diamond. Tears gathering at the bottom of her chin gather like tributaries to some great ocean. The drop growing fatter, weightier.

And then it falls.

The tear undergoes a transformation in those few moments of gravity claiming it. It looks like a jewel unto itself, just as precious. Until it strikes the top of the crystal.

The teardrop does not splatter, it feels like it enters the crystal, absorbed, to cause an instant transfiguration, the jewel's facets unfurling like blooming petals of an even more precious blossom. Light shimmers throughout her Sailor Fuku, which unravels from flowing red ribbons and weaves back together into a gossamer strapless gown of white and gold that is pressed againt Haruka.

Her tiara is gone, and there is only a crescent moon. The mark of a heritage long forgotten by most.

Within her eyes now there is a certain gravity. Her old life closer than it's ever been, and her new further away in this moment of awakening.

Not so far though.

With a hand upon Masked Tuxedo's strong arm, she gently lifts it. She doesn't force it, it is simply a gesture which shows her intent as her eyes turn to meet the Guardian, "Just this once... for my sake... I'll protect her."

Perhaps in those eyes there is someone that Princess Uranus once knew... and those eyes say.

Thank you.

BGM Change: The Breaking Light - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjzBRxOPF0E

Her eyes come to rest on her precious friend, and Princess Serenity stands. Her dresses hem floats in the air as she walkslike a wedding train, refusing to touch the ground, it billows about, just out of synch, like it moved of its own mystical accord. Walking over to Mami Tomoe, she kneels down beside her and Madoka Kaname. There is something of Usagi Tsukino within those eyes, and there is something of - someone else as well. Featherlight fingers touch Mami Tomoe's shoulder, making eye contact with her, those eyes speaking a single statement.

Trust me.

Without any words, she does not deny Mami access, she simply settles down at Madoka's side and fingertips as soft as silk brush a chin that is still warm.

"Oh Madoka. You kept your promise didn't you? You protected me..." Each tear filtering out of her eyes now glimmers like the silver crystal. "... and now just look at you..."

Her tone seems so mournful, as if knowing how many hopes and dreams would be shattered if this came to be. How many of them were her own? How many years of moments growing up together, fighting together would be stolen? "This new life of yours has barely begun, and now it's taken you away from us." Princess Serenity's eyes close, there are flashes in her mind of being a helpless Princess, as all of her friends fell to protect her. As the love of her life did. "I won't permit it." She says this with all the gravity of a royal decree, mingled with all the selfishness of a child.

Leaning down, her lips are pursed, as she hovers just over her, "Don't you know... Madoka... I know a magic spell..."

As if she were referring to something as simple as a bandaid. Or an incantation of 'Owwie owwie go away.'

Instead her lips brush against the girl's forehead, and it's like part of eternity ripples upon contact, "... come back to us - please." That is not a command. It is the most desperate of pleas.

Strong faith, firm resolution, and deep love cause a silver radiance to envelop them both.

COMBAT: Sailor Moon transforms into Princess Serenity!
COMBAT: Princess Serenity has used The Breaking Light on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname accepts Princess Serenity's The Breaking Light, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Madoka Kaname is Cheered!  
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Lancelot, Fuu, and Kasagami collectively make the decision to attack, some with lethal intent and some otherwise. Some of them talk; pledge understanding, pledge alliance -- beg to end the battle. But all of them bring force. It isn't wrong to do so. It isn't even unreasonable.

It simply is what it is.

The maiden before them takes it all in -- Lancelot's immense, lightning-riddled swing; the flat of Fuu's blade; the bottom of Kasagami's foot.

She crumbles into dust, and the world crumbles with her.

"Thank you," she whispers. "But... it feels like it's already too late. What's done cannot be undone."

They reform in front of the brilliantly-lit maiden. Well, one brilliantly-lit maiden. There is another now. The whole world is silver, in the beautiful, terrible light of the Ginzuishou.

Silver has never looked more different than gray.

The Maiden of Nightmares watches from across the room, her stance no longer one of battle, only of pain, of the clenched hand at her heart and the weak knees. Her pride and passion have surged and ebbed, and her indecision and fear linger palpably, now, upon the air.

The two grievers -- Mami and the Princess -- at Madoka's side, dissolve into violet.


The maiden within the maiden is raw, as she looks across the desert expanse at the two sharpest victims of her most recent rage.

Her voice is full of the aching longing of homesickness.

"I made a mistake and she took me from my home, my life, everyone and everything I ever loved. My dreamers, the beauty I created for them, my very self, and all the things I could have had, or ever would. Sealed away so close, but so far, never to be able to touch what I long for, always and forever. All I want is for this to be over. All I want is to go home, and it doesn't even exist anymore!"

She raises her arms, and the potential of swords is there, but not quite their actuality.

"And now it's too late... too late for anything but for history to repeat itself."

A tear rolls down her cheek.

It does not turn into a miraculous crystal.

It just drips onto the sand.

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

Lancelot falls to a knee again. Paning heavily, and each pant creates a little mist cloud in the cold air. "I get it." He says. He looks to Madoka, thankful the Pink One is still alive. He wasn't sure that would be the case. He raises an eyebrow at Princess Serenity. Does..... Does he serve her since she's a Princess and he's a Knight? He's really going to have to get the protocols from Merlin one of these days. His eyes then drift back to the Maiden. "I get it." He says again and he gulps in air trying to catch his breath. He takes a steadying breath though. Because Madoka is ALIVE. The Pink still breathes, and no matter what, that's a win for the damn good guys. He releases the breath and looks back to the Maiden.

"You lost everything because of your mistake." He releases Arondight and gestures to himself. "So did ... I ..." He looks away and closes his eyes. "I destroyed Camelot becuase I was in love. I didn't .... I didn't bring the fire or the soldiers, but it's fall was my fault. I have the memories, most of them anyway, of everything that happened leading up to it. Of the battle. Of ... " A kiss at sunset beneath an apple tree. But he doesn't say that, because he's not certain he should EVER say that. "The point is." He looks back and opens his eyes to look at the Maiden. To try and really look at the Maiden. "The point is miss, is that even when you make a mistake, no matter how bad, you can come back from it." He holds out a hand. "You give dreams. And despite you not being around. Being in Prison or whatever, we've all still dreamed. My dreams are what keeps me going. Even the bad ones. They build us, and guide us." He gives a weary smile toward her. Weary from the fight, not from having to say this. "So in your own way, you guided us. So. Lay down your sword. We'll lay down ours, and we can all just .... " He shrugs the uninjured shoulder. "Dream again."

"And maybe find me a band-aid." He touches his forehead and looks behind him "Like. Is this gonna scar?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It all happens... at the same... time. Mikoto can scarcely gasp, chin jerking up as her eyes find the source of those shadows.

The star blasting in towards Usagi.

Madoka -


She's been trying so hard for them.

"Sailor Moon --" Mikoto gasps, yobisute, her eyes small as pin-pricks. "-- MADOKA!!" Her face is ashen, grief writ large upon it. The words can scarcely keep up with their targets. Sailor Moon, about to be destroyed. A flower of power which sends Madoka into the abyss. She charges forward, a light brigade, and like the light brigade: "Ma- Mado--"

The scent of blood is a peculiar thing, learnt anew with every mishap.

"Ma-- Mmmaah--" As her name becomes a messy sound and her body becomes a messy corpse. They knew each other; they shared their secrets; they ate bento and they


and laughter let her know that it was safe, that she did not have to be wary, and

no one is laughing.

Mikoto wants to scream and finds that she cannot. Mikoto wants to faint and finds that she cannot. Mikoto wants to throw up and finds that she cannot. Mikoto wants to cry and this, at least, is not so hard, blanch horror flooded with tears which drip from wide unblinking eyes, cheeks drawn taut with hanging jaw.

Please don't leave me alone, says Mami, and the stillness of the moment shatters under the vocalised grief, as if someone saying the words has confirmed the truth in a way la Sirene's silence never could. Sailor Moon shapes syllables, just as she did. They have always been alike. They both looked to her.

Here, again, the anger; and who to yoke it? It drags across her open lips in hungry gasps, as rage twists her face. The snarl which slips from her as she turns her attention back to the architect of her nightmares is a thing more beast than girl. She does not say: I tried to reach you. She does not say: she tried to help you. She does not say how could you, how could you, how could you.

She does not think about Christmas.

How can something like that exist - in a world with one less lighthouse?

What Masked Tuxedo saw - what Masked Tuxedo wanted to rely on -

- well.

Mikoto's not articulate any more.

Her blood pounds in her ears and her heart hammers in her chest and oh, the beat is Madoka, Madoka, Madoka.

She has not stopped crying.

It doesn't matter.

She'd have to be much blinder than this not to see that all-consuming grey light.

Wordlessly she screams, charging the Maiden in a storm of violence as her sword drags sparks through the cavern floor. She cannot save Madoka, because in her arrogance she thought she knew better. She can save the rest, the only way she knows how.

And that's when one light becomes two.

The dark creature called Mikoto shudders with the light, holy and untouchable, and her blade bites stone because she cannot see at all. She turns, slowly, slowly, wresting her sword from the earth.

That's not Sailor Moon, she thinks, through the haze of her anger.

That's not whining, or shrieking, or demanding.

That's a decree.

Given in the tone of...

Come back to us, she pleads, and disappears.

Mikoto looks to the grey light, looks to the silver. Her lips shape mora - wa-ta-shi - and there is no air there at all.

"..." say her lips in perfect circle and there are no shapes there at all.

"... I..." here she continues on that first sound, and there is finally breath in her throat. "... don't know... Madoka... I don't... know what to..."

This much is clear: Sailor Moon is gone.

She takes a step back, shuddering. Another, until she stands beside that flare of pink. And her sword scatters to the ground as she falls to her knees, hands blindly groping for fingers she has laced hers through so often. Here is a voice which needs her, which cracks with its sorrow. "I don't know what to do, Madoka!!"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

There is so much Mami feels, in the moment. Love can be selfish; she doesn't want to be alone. ...But love can be selfless; she saw so much ahead of Madoka. It was Mami who was always on borrowed time, not her. She cannot separate out her emotions, cannot even comprehend them; grief is too much to bear in the moment.

She does not realize the transformation Sailor Moon has undergone. She only notices Princess Serenity at all when she begins to look up, feels that so-light touch on her shoulder, looks into her eyes. ...And the trust that she has learned in these wonderful months, the trust she has become able to give again...

Mami nods, mutely, sniffling once as she keeps hold of Madoka's hand. She can't let go, won't. And yet...

Something happens. Something beautiful, and wonderful, and Mami for an instant simply cannot believe it. It is a miracle. And in the wake of it, Mami, too, disappears into the violet, into the sand. She blinks, looks up at the ache in that voice. She no longer has a hand in her own, but the memory is there. And the thing that this Maiden says...

Mami draws in a breath. She looks frightful; her carefully applied makeup is ruined, smeared, even her magic not keeping it right for now. But she looks to her, sees her arms, and in this moment perhaps it would be fair for her to feel nothing but a need to strike back at this being who took from her her best friend. But...

"Maiden," Mami says softly, "...I don't even know your name. But I know just a little bit of your feeling. For so, so long--I was so lonely. I wasn't sealed away, wasn't punished, but the things I loved--the people I loved--were gone. ...And me, selfish, thoughtless young me... I was only able to save myself. I tried--I tried so hard, to work, to do something good, to make that life meaningful. But I was so alone, so sad. ...I can never go back to the home I had. The house is still there, but the people in it aren't. The people I thought would always be there."

"...It doesn't compare to the ages you must have felt, no. But I'm not saying this... Because I just want to share sadness." With a little difficulty, Mami brings herself to her feet, looks to the Princess in wonder, and can think of no words to give her. She just steps forward, gently, pulls a little handkerchief.

"I made a friend. ...But that, too, ended in heartbreak. But now.. Just, so little time ago, for you, I met the most wonderful girl. So... bright, so full of life, so full of love. When I thought my life would always be dim, she came and showed me so much. She helped me... really live again. To get past my fear. I still miss my parents... But I learned what it was like again to have a warm home."

"...And then, just now, I lost her. I lost her again, and I was... I didn't think I could go on. But there was... there was a miracle. Again. More than I ever deserved."

Mami reaches forward, gently and silently.

"Your home must be gone. You're right. But I learned... I learned that if I just let myself, if I can open my heart a little..."

"Then it's possible to find a new home. To find something wonderful. I don't know what has to be done, to help you now. I only had a dream." It seems that Mami isn't finished with tears.

"...But I learned that even when I thought it was too late--so long as we're here, maybe it isn't. Maybe we can have something wonderful."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The maiden shatters, her parting words met with confusion by the Duelist as the cave fades away. She has just enough time to speak.

"What can't be undone!?"

Kasagami gets her answer quickly. Helplessly she watches Madoka fall. That beautiful, warm and friendly, precious light fading out of her eyes. How Moon takes on the mantle of something old and powerful, grieving and yet leaning down to press to her friend's in that moment of loss.

The fight utterly leaves Kasagami. Even more strongly than before, an old ache wells up in her chest. She hasn't known Madoka Kaname, except in battle. And yet, she's been an inspiration to the new magical girl. Always fighting, always protecting others, yet never arrogant.

This is what this brave girl gets. This is the price she pays. Kasagami staggers forward, closer. She, in the moment, doesn't feel worthy to kneel beside that wonderful, sacrificing and amazing portrait of everything she thinks a magical girl should be.

Her entire body trembles. Half in sorrow, half in rage, tears ice up her cheeks.

"Why? Why do good people have to die!? I don't want to see anyone die to something like THIS! Madoka!" She hugs her blade in its sheath to her chest. Her entire body tenses, choking on sobs even as she tries to stay warm.

Not seeing the brilliant racing pink arrows in the sky makes the air feel that much colder. Not hearing that adorable little hesitant laugh makes her heart feel like it's pumping liquid nitrogen through her veins. She doesn't even realize that two of those mourning this fresh lost are gone, so focused on ice and pink is she.

'I hate it' repeats Kasagami deep within her heart, the small seed of cynicism threatening to grow as she lays eyes on another undeserving corpse. She wishes it was her, for the second time in her life.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

And yet, as that ugly wish threatens to snap her wounded heart in two, the silver light of something old and wonderful does it's magic. Kasagami goes weak in the knees, the young woman nearly spent utterly in despair. The hope slowly begins to die in her eyes.

The light replaces it, and the small motions of a delicate chest rise. She blinks once, twice, and the ache in her chest recedes only to be replaced by the pain of sudden, unexpected joy. Her wounds aren't healed. But this chance, this Miracle is a balm to a young woman who's suffered.

She smiles, weakly. A single hand reaches out to clench one of Madoka's many ribbons, gripping it as if she's afraid letting go will unmoor Madoka from the docks of life.

"Don't you...scare me like that you adorable, wonderful little...!" She can't even finish the playful insult as emotions overcome her fully.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Sailor Uranus glances down and to the side, ashamed. No, she won't protect Sailor Moon from this. She can't, any more than she, Neptune, and Pluto had been able to protect one another when the scythe fell.

She feels Sailor Moon spasm with grief, and looks down at her, flecks of red all over her sympathetic face... flecks that soon sparkle with reflected light. Eyes wide, she watches the light of a long-past millennium radiate from the frail chest of a tiny girl. That light fills the tear-trails on Sailor Moon's cheeks, their limpid glow ethereal. Very nearly does Uranus release her when the ribbons turn to liquid and reform, evolving into something simpler and more profound, but she stands frozen in awe instead. Her lip trembles when she sees what Sailor Moon has become.

She remembers that dress well. From a mother and a daughter, both.

"Serenity," she breathes, and perhaps it is not only a proper noun.

She lets her arm be guided away, and stands facing the princess. Gently she lifts her gloved hand and reaches for the crescent moon symbol. Her extended fingers hesitate, then draw back deferentially. This is not Usagi Tsukino anymore.

Lips tight, eyes damp, she nods once to Serenity's thanks. And then she steps back.

With a click, Uranus takes the mask off, discarding it. She doesn't watch--it seems somehow blasphemous. Besides, she knows well enough what is about to happen. None should think Sailor Uranus bloodies herself to the elbows because she does not believe in the Silver Millennium.

That is the labor of her belief.

If anyone looks back to find Sailor Uranus, or Masked Tuxedo, when all is done, they will not find either, and the wind will take her footprints soon enough.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"What do you --"

The question begins to spill out within the maiden's inner sandscape; the answer is not spoken, nor heard. But it is *seen*, as the Magic Knight of Wind finds herself once more in the cavern. What cannot be undone ...


Her sword slips from her fingers, its tip touching the icy ground like a feather's fall, and the weapon vanishes entirely. For an instant - the timeless, unfathomable moment between heartbeats - she sees an unfamiliar form over Madoka's body, yet vaguely recognizable, and the gold-haired magical musketeer, before they are swept away.

The Wind Knight's left hand flexes slightly - the hand which bears her glove-jewel, the hand through which she focuses most of her magics. She knows without asking, without attempting, that her spell is unneeded for Madoka.

But she looks anyway ... and blinks. The silvery light that Serenity brought to bear, the power of a miracle - it's far, far beyond the Wind Knight's own healing spell, and nothing less than that miracle would have sufficed in this case. The Magic Knight of Wind dares to breathe in again, closing her eyes and being thankful. "'What's done cannot be undone,' but sometimes, something greater can be done to offset it," she says quietly.

She smiles wryly at the Lightning Knight. "I don't have any band-aids with me, but if you're worried ... ?" The green-clad Magic Knight smiles wryly, and murmurs, "Winds of Healing," gathering her spell to offer to Lancelot. If he accepts, she makes sure the cut on his forehead is healed up nice and clean.

Once that's done, her focus shifts to Madoka, just in case there's anything she can do to help the pink-haired magical archer ... unlikely as that seems. But, if she's awake and needs help getting back on her feet, the Wind Knight can still lend a hand, or a shoulder.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene du Nord [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

It happens.

La Sirene du Nord's eyes are wet as she looks down at what has become a sordid and rotting reality. It is, as they say, all fun and games until someone gets hurt - truly hurt - not sporting-game injuries and burns. Madoka, she thinks, the word ringing in her mind like a chorus until

Ah, Mami's tears.

But it is not la Sirene who approaches them first, but rather Sailor Moon. She's crying too. Then something else comes forth. A figure blooms like an overlay atop Sailor Moon, or is it that Sailor Moon was the furled-up version of that figure? This royal figure approaches, and with a moment of silver love, it didn't happen after all.

Tears are all around her.

She steps forwards again. She swallows and then she says, "M - M - Ma-"

She wants to say something like, 'Mami-san is right' (in English, legally the three best words to say), but the only thing that wants to come out is Madoka's name. Vexing, but it is a joyous, if over-tense, adrenal sort of joyous, feeling to have.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

There is an existential discussion about Puella Magi to be had about whether or not Madoka Kaname was completely and totally one hundred percent dead, there on the floor, or if she was only DYING, her flesh invisibly knitting itself back together from within while her Soul Gem darkened, and darkened, and darkened. If she'd been alone, would there have even been a corpse in the end? Or would there have been something else?

Or maybe she really was dead; Puella Magi Madoka's healing wish never manifested itself in any particularly potent healing of her own body, beyond the norm of her kind. Maybe it was too much for her to even try.

The distinction, when it comes to the Soul Gem, is only one of half-time.

Or maybe it had a hairline crack. Maybe it was about to break into two pieces, into the halves of one of those friendship necklaces. Does that have to have been true, for her to have been really brought back to life?

What about Madoka's perspective? What did she know, in those three or four dozen heartbeats that weren't? Where did she go? Ask her later, if you're callous and curious enough to do so, but she won't remember.

And so in the end, the definition of the death of a Puella Magi, it turns out, really doesn't matter at all.

It cannot withstand the force of faith, love, and hope.

A miracle is a miracle is a miracle.

A miracle is the first heartbeat.

The gentle grip in response to Mikoto's hand, the slight nuzzle against Kasagami's. A slight shift of her head, when Nori starts to call her name. When Uranus calls another's.

A miracle is the light rekindling in Madoka's eyes.

Her first word is "Everyone," an almost spiritual exhalation of breath, the tenderest of all helloes, in response to a sea of worried faces.

As she squeezes Mikoto's hand more tightly, and answers her question by supplying something that seems like it might be good for her to do just now.

"Help me up?" she gently requests. "Please?"

<Pose Tracker> Princess Serenity [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Princess Serenity is still kneeling within that silver light, the Ginzuishou at her breast still shining, perhaps she sees a twitch of Madoka Kaname's eyes, hears the first syllable from her lips - her own eyes shining with the an overwhelming sense of relief - when she's struck by violet - leaving not a trace of the Silver Millenium Princess behind.

If she'd had more time, she would have hugged Madoka. Would have told her that she wanted to protect her. Would have kissed her forehead again. Would have offered her a hand up. Or asked Uranus not to leave. Perhaps if she'd had more time she would have have made the gratitude for her service more. Would have asked her to touch her gently, would have kissed her hand. Would have made gratitude for her service more manifest.

The battlefield makes not for such allowances.

Elsewhere, Princess Serenity stands over a place where Madoka Kaname once lay before her eyes, beside Mami Tomoe. The Ginzuishou's petals furl back slowly now that its great miracle of expression is done.

There is a dignified way in how she stands, practiced, regal as if she were in court standing beside her Mother. She understands the urgency of getting back to Madoka right now, despite evidence that her soul is no longer slipping away from this mortal coil.

Raising the Moon Stick over her head, the Ginzuishou rises to afix into the setting like a gem to regalia. She does not speak, her mouth is a thin line. Instead she listens. There is something sympathetic in her eyes, but sympathy is not what she would offer.

She does not speak, instead she considers. Long and hard. Her words. It is different than normal for a Usagi Tsukino who wears her heart on her sleeve. She listens to Mami Tomoe too.

Something glimmering in her eyes as she hears of her loneliness. These true feelings behind the elegance and dignity of Mami Tomoe. They're so precious, that they cannot fail to reach Usagi Tsukino inside of her

"The Queen who wronged you, my mother, is long dead. Her kingdom fallen into ruin. Perhaps we Sailor Senshi are all that is left of her legacy other than ruins and dust."

Something softens in her eyes.

"Would that I could offer you back your home. Would that I could give you back the time that you lost. I cannot. Just as I cannot restore what I have lost. Even my time as I am now is but a fleeting dream. The life I have made for myself now is far too precious for it to be otherwise."

She doesn't take a step forward. Instead she stands still. There is no smile upon her face. "You can give yourself a second chance though. That has nothing to do with us. Nothing to do with our judgment. Nothing to do with our offer of aid. Take back your life into your own hands - and when you are ready, find people who will be precious to you now. Who make you feel like there's light in your life."

Princess Serenity steps - though it feels like she must be gliding over to Mami Tomoe, who is offering a hand out to the Maiden, she takes her free hand instead in Mami Tomoe's Her fingerless gloves feeling the pressure of fingers into her palm, her fingers wrapping around every precious digit, "Nothing needs to repeat itself. Make yourself a new start, surround yourself with those precious people..."

It is like those people filter through her mind in seven hues of her own, blue, red, green, orange, twin shades of yellow, and pink.

And then she applies the faintest pressure, as those blue eyes that can cry out silver crystalline tears turn to Mami's Golden ones as she speaks in a sotto voce, "... and before you know it - you'll understand without a doubt that you're already home."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

People don't come back from injuries like that.

Don't ask Mikoto how she knows.

Don't ask Mikoto how she knows it is not possible for that light to bathe Madoka and for her to be whole. Don't ask her, don't ask her, please. It hurts too much.

And at first she does not recognise the revelation of the moonlight, and perhaps it is her tears. But there is a grasp to her hand and it tears a gasp from her throat, raw and awestruck. She returns the grip with a squeeze of her own, and for all her ferocity it is the most gentle thing in the world.

"Mado..ka..." hushed voice lingering on the last syllable as she blinks away tears to see her there, and whole, and her eyes are not empty portals any longer.

She swallows against the lump in her throat and nods, with an affirmative noise, words lost to her and all of them written on the curve of her brow, the shock and hope and love and joy. Mikoto does not know what to do; Madoka knows what she can do. Thank God, she knows what she can do.

She helps her standing with strength which belies her tiny frame and perhaps Madoka can feel that despite the solid platform she offers - she's trembling.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Ray Of Light https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyZHXoOKYW4

"You lost everything because of your mistake. So did I..."

"I know just a little bit of your feeling. For so, so long--I was so lonely."

"What can't be undone?!"

"What's done cannot be undone, but sometimes, something greater can be done to offset it."

"M - M - Ma-"


"Nothing needs to repeat itself. Make yourself a new start, surround yourself with those precious people... and before you know it - you'll understand without a doubt that you're already home."

"I learned that even when I thought it was too late--so long as we're here, maybe it isn't. Maybe we can have something wonderful."

"...Dream again."

Inside and out, the Maiden of Nightmares nee Dreams -- listens.

She listens as she is forgiven explicitly by some and implicitly by reality itself. She listens as girls gather around a miracle.

Listens, and at last... dares to hear.

In a shimmer of violet, Princess Serenity and Mami reappear, a few paces away across the snow.

And the shade of the column of light changes, more subtly at first, then more and more rapidly until it's all at once.

White is different than silver or platinum, different than ivory, different than transluscent crystal. It isn't the absence of color -- it is all colors at once.

It is blinding, putting the other brilliant lights of the battle to shame. Even the Ginzuishou cannot compete, at the moment of apex, when the infinite potential of a second chance flashes its very brightest.

It is painful to behold; tears are a common physical defense. And, as before, at the very beginning, it carries feelings with it.








They are ferocious in their intensity.

And then they, and she, are simply...gone. Gone with a final promise, that echoes, the ghost of a whisper, on the Hokkaido winds.

"I will remember you..."