2018-12-17 - TIMELINE 1: The Covenant Strikes Back! North Pole Confrontation!

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
The Covenant Strikes Back! North Pole Confrontation!

The magical girls unite to stop Queen Beryl from completing a dark ritual -- and to stop her evil plans for good.


Queen Beryl, Lera Camry, Mami Tomoe, Nori Ankou, Madoka Kaname, Usagi Tsukino, Steven Universe, Homura Akemi, Mikoto Minagi, Kasagami Araki, Haruka Tenoh, Michiru Kaioh, Fuu Hououji


Hikawa Shrine, and the North Pole

OOC - IC Date:

12/17/2018 - 03-15-14

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.


"I don't know about non-senshi participating in the Sailor Teleport, Luna... is it even possible?"

"It seems somewhat... improper... but if anyone can do it, it's these girls. I've never seen such a bond."

"It does make me think that maybe the Queen, wherever she is now, is smiling..."

There are more assembled here than have ever been in one place, throughout all of history, even, though few can appreciate that easily. Some grandmas know, though. There have been other dark times, and bad times, times when the protectors of the world came together... but not like this.

This is their time -- our time -- the time of the magical girl.

Everyone has already transformed. The Sailor Senshi encourage people to take hands in a huge circle.

"Uh," Sailor Jupiter remarks, a little uncomfortably, "Normally we say, like, 'Jupiter Star Power' and stuff? I'm not sure what you all would say..."

Sailor Venus grins like the very devil. "Style Power! We're the Covenant of Style," (Mami Tomoe coined the term at the slumber party yesterday, and it seems to have taken off quickly; internally Minako is a little disappointed she isn't the one who thought of it, but she cannot deny the appeal), "Off to the North Pole to save the world? What could be more stylish than that?"

Sailor Mercury has a mixed, slightly pained expression, like she feels like she should probably disapprove but actually really feels the opposite.

Sailor Mars just shrugs. "I think it matters less what you say and more what you fee--"

"BORING," interrupts Sailor Venus. "Okay, we'll go around the circle... I'll start! VENUS STYLE POWER!!!"

<SoundTracker> Sailor Moon OST: Dreams Come True https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcvYvlBQuwQ

She starts to glow with the golden-orange of her planet, and despite the fact that she's pretty much run out of face, her smile widens even further at this obvious validation of her idea.

"MERCURY STYLE POWER!" bursts in Sailor Mercury, a little too loudly but with all the enthusiasm in the world. She turns beet red but it can't outshine the gorgeous azure light flowing off of her.

Sailor Jupiter shrugs and smiles. "JUPITER STYLE POWER!"

Sailor Mars looks for a second like she's not gonna do it, but gives in with an affectionate sigh. After that, her shout is fiercer than anyone's. "MARS STYLE POWER!"

And so it goes, around the circle...

Each individual girl's power rises with every addition to the invocation... more, more, more, MORE. The visual of the aura is one thing but the feeling within is on another plane entirely; at its simplest it is transcendence -- being perfectly and gloriously oneself, the essence of what makes you you -- and how much you are, how you are enough, more than. Every person is stardust, but right now you are a star.

The magical girls shine, together.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"C-Convenant of Style..."

Lera Camry, also known as Magical Cheeseburger Propane-chan, looks briefly concerned as she thinks this over. She looks between the different Sailor Senshi, but the one that she is close friends with is Sailor Moon. She grins, and shrugs her shoulders. There is a slight roll to them.

"W-Well, far be it from me to say no, y'know?" she asks. She steps into the circle; her hand clutches Mami's, being next to her, and she bobs her head once.

"Let's see..."

She looks up for a moment. She thinks of home. She thinks of the friends she has made; the people she is close to. She thinks, too, of the lies she has had to tell -- being from another world, and not sharing that freely.

Her heart is a little heavier than she would care to admit, as she calls out: "Charbroiled cheeseburger style power!"

A beat.

"With caramelized onions! And mustard!"


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

Mami Tomoe stands with the others, and she knows that this is a great moment, an unprecedented moment. In her years protecting Tokyo, it is only now, with this group, with these girls... It's only here that she's seen this dream of all working together fulfilled, this wondrous thing engraved on her heart since she first came to love the idea of the magical girl.

And it's here. It's here, with her friends, with her partner... And it has a name.

Mami is quietly elated and silently stunned at the idea that so many friends would take something she said--an emblem of the fact that she can be a part of something. How can they fail, in the face of all the love and light in this circle?

So here she stands, in her battle attire, shining, one hand in Lera's and one hand finding Madoka's. "Yes," she says to Lera first, and then softly smiles, a little ghost of a laugh. The taller girl can always get that out of her.

Her expression grows more serious however a moment later, and she nods once, as if in answer to something only she can hear. Then, her voice rings out with the others, powerful, clear, one of them:


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

There are many people here, easily enough to surpass lucky thirteen. And among them is someone who, not so long ago, might have been expected to be an enemy - or a deuteragonistic presence.

Not tonight.

The Siren of the North Wind has been quiet and has orbited round the fringe of the group. She looks, now and then - quite often really - towards others, whom she knows closely. She has been afraid, but then she giggles into one white fist when Sailor Venus declaims that new yet sacred title.

Sailor Venus begins the process. Sailor Mercury speaks up. La Sirene du Nord glances towards her comrade, and the diminutive mustelid runs up to her. He can see what is in her eyes, and he says a word to her. Taking a deep breath, she steps forth, and she glances towards the others.

"I hope it's not intrusive," she says. "But, I could hardly let someone like this so called queen put a bad image onto my favorite direction." After this la Sirene takes a moment to adjust her petite little fascinator hat and closes her eyes.

What you feel, she thinks.

La Sirene thinks of people who have reached out to her with warm hands, touching her chilled soul without hesitation or doubt. Kindness and bravery and heroism, shown to her. The hands come in many sizes, but they are all the same. She thinks of glory and ruins. She thinks of how deep the shade of blue can run, and for a fleeting moment she thinks of something out of nowhere - seven people sleeping? A memory of the Hokkaido affair?

Yet it is that which strikes a chord in her. Her left hand comes upwards and she does not cry out so much as declaim with sudden amplified force: "Sirius Style Power!"

Auroral-pale light, in blues and purples, rises around her, joining the rainbow that grows in depth and intensity with each sacred statement!

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

Madoka's eyes are so bright before she even says the words that it's almost like she doesn't even need them. Like she's carrying it around inside, all the time.

The beauty -- the girls -- it's too much. She could claim her tears were the product of the brightness rising, but why bother?

She squeezes Mami's hand, and she squeezes Usagi's.

When she gets home she's going to draw this moment in her sketchbook.


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

"Right right? Venus would know - that's how magic works Mars-chan." Despite how dire the situation has been, Sailor Moon has been in an infectiously cheerful mood. As if they were simply walking into another battle, not going to the North Pole to face the Queen that brought an end to their past lives.

"We can't just say any old thing like we're bringing just the Sailor Senshi along! We're a part of the Covenant of Style now!"

Though perhaps that's why. When one was a Sailor Senshi alone, it laid claim to a destiny of a past that could repeat itself. To be a part of something else as well is like they were shedding the idea that things could repeat, by forming something new. Something...

One of Sailor Moon's hands squeezes down on Sailor Mars', the other upon Madoka Kaname's, as she returns the squeeze with a certain pressure of her own.


It gets to be to Sailor Moon's turn though and as it does, there's an extended silence, her face screwed up in a mask of concentration, a bead of sweat forms, but she remains silent.

Luna is staring intently, until suddenly she's stared long enough, looking one way down the line of the girls, then the others, doing a headcount to make certain they've all said it. Then Luna coughs, "Sailor Moon? It's your turn...!"

And then something rumbles, and Sailor Moon looks up in a suddenly unserious moment that cuts through the tension like a knife, "... say can't we break for an hour to pick up some cheeseburgers? After hearing Lera-chan say that I'm feeling pretty pecki-"

Luna responds with a volume rarely achieved by catkind, "WE DON'T HAVE AN HOUR TO SPARE FOR YOUR STOMACH!" Hunching back down into place as if convinced by her sheer volume, "Alright - alright - I've got it- MOON STYLE POWER!"

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

With only a few months under his belt, little Steven Universe is still very green to the magical world of fighting for happiness.

But when evil incarnate comes knocking on everyone's door, he isn't gonna stay home and color a picture of all the magical girls he has met in a big rollup poster, no way! He is gonna fight with what power he has!

Besides the picture is with him, it is in his cheeseburger backpack. "Thats a super cool name!" the boy comments, running his hands along a summoned roseate shield, his fingers feeling out the sides of the powdery blue edging. And for once, he gets to behold the entire Sailor Senshi caste. All matching outfits. His eyes are quite wide right now as he sports that usual silly little grin of his. One would think it infectious for how well it spreads to others.

You know the one.

"Oooooh, teleporting! Awesooooome..." Others have assembled, including some of the nice magical girls from the slumber party, including a few that have saved him a time or two! And as the circle is formed, the boy takes a spot amongs the girls assembled. And what a lot of young ladies it is! So brave, willing to do anything to save the world!

He wants to be just like them when he gets older.

"We will do everyone proud!" The boy states with a fist in the air. The hand is brought back down, and brought into a mid cheer position, before surging upward, hands outstretched!



"Did I-- AH!"

The question about to be asked was 'Did I do it right?' but a suddon column of the most fluroesctent deep [ink imaginable erupts from around him and joins the colors mixing together, forming a visual bond representative of the one in each assembled's hearts.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

A shy whisper repeats the name from outside the circle: "The Covenant of Style..."

Homura Akemi stands off to the side of Luna and Artemis, outfitted in her Ohtori uniform and a massive case of the jitters. She attends this miraculous event with hands clasped tight to her chest, almost hugging herself as she watches the mahou come together. A rainbow of rising power shimmers off her braids, iridescence painting two plaited oil slicks. All those beautiful colors radiating and it just makes her think of filtered light through draped blankets.

She overwhelms so easily, does Homura, and right now has a hard time choosing between overwhelming awe and overwhelming worry. In the end she goes with both, because the heart in her chest that she herself underestimates has room for awe and worry and so much more.

There's no place else she would rather be than bearing witness to all this magic and friendship, and they invited her here...! It's the dream she never knew she had, come true, she's sure. The fear, though. The fear makes it hard to breathe. They're going so far, and the thought of what they're headed into knocks Homura's knees together.

"Come back," she whispers. "Please come back..."

And then she tries to cheer for them, though her arms are stiff and jerky with anxiety and so her fist pump is more of a fist... flutter. "Y-you can do it!" They can, she's sure! And they deserve her belief, not her worry.

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

Sometimes the light catches Mikoto's eyes. Perhaps it's because she's grown up around cats; she even resembles them. She's never thought about it too much. Maybe they're a little strange compared to her classmates, but it's not bad, right..?

Except -

- it takes so little for them to look terrible in the light of the rising sun. It takes so little for them to don the sinister visage of eyes which have seen oblivion and found the world wanting.

It's scary, isn't it..?

But there's one thing Queen Beryl has not accounted for, in trying to frighten them. It is shown in the perhaps illicit distribution of crates for stray cats to have a meal in, in rescue from entangling nets, in a pitched snowball battle, in crab buffet, in a heroic rescue and a secret kept. And it is shown in a late-night conversation in the garden, where the moonlight illuminates hidden things and reveals that friendship is a powerful force.


There are more girls here than have ever been before, and for all the Dark Kingdom's efforts, Mikoto has not been scared away from their sisterhood. She did not run, but instead went straight to her friends with her worries.

And so she is here, and she steps into the circle, planting her sword in the ground in front of her so she can take la Sirene's hand. (A deliberate decision sparked by the fires of understanding.) These lessons - these thoughts - they are ones she has considered before.

'Everyone here's... first friends I've had who aren't cats. So... I'm not used to stuff. But it's nice? Some people are mean but... there's Mai and Madoka and Eri and Nori and Homura and Yumi and Endo and Takeo and Steven and Niramo and Fuu and... lots nice people.'

And perhaps she has never said it with particular eloquence, but she has carved through to the truth of the matter again, and again, and again.

And again: "Homura!" Mikoto calls, cheerfully. "Let's get daifuku later, okay?!" It means: they'll be okay. It means: they'll be back soon. It means: they'll be happy enough to eat snacks.

Her other hand squeezes Steven's as it rises, that boy who has so recently joined their ranks and so bravely throws himself into the fight. Maybe it's a silent little effort to reassure him.

What she says is at once surprising and by another turn not surprising at all. The model by which she learnt to act, the friends who brought her so many new friends...


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

Kasagami Araki, Duelist, fight enthusiast, and the Girl Who Would Be King, has looked forward to this with a deadly mixture of utter terror and absolute anticipation. The foe they must fight is horrifying, but with confidence in her own growing skills and such good friends around her?

With a grin, a briefly raised fist, and then hands finding their way into this circle of those who have fought together, protected together, laughed and loved and cried together?

How could she walk away? How could she say no to joining this monumental occasion, this once-in-a-lifetime battle against the Darkness that would hold back all of their dreams.

"We can do this. We can do this!" She offers, with a nod to everyone

"Glorious Royal Style Power!" Kasagami shouts to the heavens, dark crimson rose petals fluttering around her and giving the air the scent of a beautiful Ohtori day, tinged with the spice of hope, love, and maybe just a little royal arrogance!

COMBAT: Michiru Kaioh transforms into Sailor Neptune!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Crimson Rose Duelist!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Covenant of Style!" a voice rings out. "You weren't thinking of leaving without us, were you?"

Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are, of course, posed together, Uranus with a knee out and arms crossed, framing her shorter partner with her powerfully built back. "If there is one way in which we are truly allies, surely it is this."

Uranus joins the circle, offering Neptune a wry smile, amused at her own theatrics.

"Uranus, Style Power!" she announces.

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

"It takes a certain sort of arrogance to try to smother a new age in its cradle, doesn't it?" says Sailor Neptune, who has, of course, arrived with her taller counterpart. As they join the circle, of course Neptune does not step far from Uranus, and her hand clasps the Sailor of the Sky's.

Her other hand takes the smaller one of Madoka Kaname. Her glove feels pristine and crisp. "Covenant of Style... It's a name I approve of," she murmurs to Madoka, before her eyes close.

For her, she sees the horrid thing before her, but far past this moment as things go. The most important moment, behind her. The most precious thing, beside her.

"Neptune Style Power!"

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

"The 'Covenant of Style,' is it?" the Magic Knight of Wind muses, nodding. "That really does seem quite fitting ..."

She pauses briefly, looking a little flustered as the Sailor Senshi, and then the other gathered magical girls, begin chiming in - not just speaking words, but adding their wills, their hearts, to the constellation of magical force that shines brighter with every shout.


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

They are stars, they're a constellation, they're a galaxy.

They're a pillar of rainbow light brighter than the sun at its zenith, and vastly outshining the grim eclipse in the sky currently. Dust is rising off the courtyard around them, slowly swirling into a circle.

"STYLE TELEPORT!" everyone knows to yell, in unison, instinct filling in where explanation needn't.

(A split second before it happens, Madoka, though she's still a little flushed by Sailor Neptune's attention, casts a smile over her shoulder at Homura, and, like the shameless hussy she is -- winks.)

And then they're off.

<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Phantom Of The Opera Overture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhttZz9lmpk


Philosophers sometimes call it the mere absence of light, a lack, a void, a vacuum.

How fortunate they are to have never experienced it fully.

Cold and darkness are often found in association with one another, and that's never more true than now, but this darkness is yet distinct. The cold merely makes breathing feel like gnashing knives. The cold merely makes the nose smell only metal and the toes so present in their absence that they go around the sensory back-end and come out burning coals. The cold is pervasive, screaming all of the senses, demanding attention, a tithe of misty breath and diamond tears.

The darkness is an identity.

It breathes. It beats with its own pulse, subsuming that of all around, which instinctively speed up to match it.

It is a violation, an assault. The pillar lancing into the sky where the North Pole used to be may be an embodiment of it, but it is so much more than that. It is present, cloying as the smell of an overripe pear, overwhelming as an oncoming train.

Unstoppable as an avalanche.

But then... what's falling from the sky is quite a bit more than just a bunch of frozen water and momentum.

The STYLE TELEPORT has launched the girls, hands still clasped, through the sky like an immense rainbow meteor. They impact the pillar head on, and though the width of their column of light is a pinprick in comparison to the geyser of darkness, it penetrates it immediately.

But not effortlessly. Sparks erupt where darkness meets light -- everyone's skin gets hot and breathing comes harder as the pressure rises and rises. DOWN, DOWN, gravity is on the magical girl's side but something else is opposing, straining up as they must strain DOWN...

Queen Beryl's voice is all around, chanting. It is not quite a song, but her contralto is resonant, powerful both figuratively and literally. Her words caress the ear, almost as though they come from directly behind -- or even from within.

"Sing unto me, sisters of Fate, choir of souls..."

There, her golden eyes, as seen once before, reflected in the mirror. And again, within a silver dream...

"Circe, Kikimora, Morgana..."

Other faces also, warped and monstrous, continuously form and dematerialize amid the encircling miasma. Claws. Fangs. They reach out to rip, to tear at the girls as they plummet purposefully into the heart of Beryl's icy fortress.

"Jenny, Hecate, Bell... your battles were not in vain."

THERE! The base of the fountain, barely visible behind the darkness erupting from it. It is an immense, dark altar cut out of one massive piece of purple-black ice. Its dark Queen stands beside it, one hand touching its surface almost tenderly while the other thrusts her winged, orbed staff high into the air.

She grimaces at the approaching, blinding light, which has parted the geyser around it like the girls were Moses, and the darkness the Red Sea, and starts chanting faster.

"Isis-Graea-Morai-- inscribemywishontoyourhearts...!"

There's still distance to travel before meeting the ground and the resistance to moving forward from the evil energy is at its height -- but if the altar isn't shattered before Queen Beryl completes her dark ritual, then --

-- something terrible will happen. Is about to happen. Is a heartbeat or two away.

COMBAT: Queen Beryl transforms into Dark Altar!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname transforms into Puella Magi Madoka!
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used Darkness Rising on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe partially dodges 7 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Queen Beryl is
Psyched!  Mami Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname braces 30 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Sailor Moon braces 23 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon's Parry
ability activates!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki partially dodges 7 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Kasagami
Araki's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Steven Universe braces 30 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Steven Universe's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Lera Camry braces 26 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus perfectly dodges 39 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Dodge!  Sailor Uranus's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune perfectly dodges 35 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji dodges 17 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to dodge Queen Beryl's Darkness Rising, taking 40 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Lera glances sideways, to Mami. There is a flicker of a grin on her face, before the light expands out around her. There is only time to glance at Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus -- and, yet, there is something in her eyes when she does.


She shivers as soon as she feels the cold and the chill here -- and then she looks down. They're falling, she realizes. Her breath catches, as she goes plummeting downward. She has to let go of Mami's hand, with a little reluctance, and glance towards the source of that voice. To do that, she needs to have sword in hand. And so, as she often has, she reaches over her back -- and draws Soaring Sky from her back.

Her dark green coat flutters up around her, while the two-toned, silver and gold blade is drawn from her back. Her lips curl back into a grimace, hair blowing back into the air. "Mami-san!" she calls out. She swings down Soaring Sky, and she takes in a deep breath, hair blowing back. The sword points straight down -- and a magical circle forms in front of it. Lines trace out in the air, runes glowing, even as the whole thing spins slowly.

Then, a bolt of fire rockets downward off the tip of the sword, and hurtles towards that terrible dark altar. She looks back, though, and her eyes find Neptune and Uranus -- and a big, bright grin splits across her face. "You... you came! You really came!"

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Plasma Bolt on Queen Beryl.
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Together, they make a beautiful rainbow that spears into the sky, a message in light form. 'Do not underestimate us' it says. 'The earth is willing to fight back.'

Steven feels like everything and nothing as he flies, gripping others hands tightly, hoping for their safety. He could see what felt like everywhere and nowhere in transit. Insignificance to everything around them as they travel, yet the scenery was so grand as well. It was a difficult thing to understand, and a thing not given much time to decypher.

The rainbow of style finds its mark, and cllashes against the horror that is an ebon fountain. Like some sort of nightmare given form, it gushes forth to smother those that strike against it. And while they are so small, and it is so titanic in comparison, it is only able to fight so much. But the girls won't just take it.

The struggle begins.

The dark energy strains against the light. The energy coming from them streams out stronger, taxing those inside to push it back.

Beyond the clash, a medium, a focus of darkness, empowered by a woman. A woman that means to end life. Steven alone cannot reach that, but it must be stopped. He looks to those nearby-- "Kasagami!" he shouts over the din of the hungering energy. "We gotta get that thing down there! I'll give you a boost!"

The boy brandishes his mother's shield, placing it in front of him, in a defensive style. If she can kick off it, he can launch her with enough power to possibly reach it...!

COMBAT: Steven Universe has started a combo targeting Queen Beryl!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sailors Neptune and Uranus could hardly be left out. Mami turns her head towards them, after a smile at Lera and a smile at Madoka, just in time to see their approach. Yes, Mami has conflicted with them before, been on opposite sides of what they felt was best...

But Mami still believes that they're only doing what they think is the best way to help the world. Their help is more than welcome.

And it seems that they will need it. As the light passes, as the light shines, Mami can feel the presences of all of the others, feel their united hearts--and then there is cold. There is darkness, and there is fear. There is something wrong in this place at the North Pole, utterly terrible, deep beyond imagination. She has touched on horror like this before, but here--it is terrible.

Mami presses her lips together, feels the heat and the pressure, and she has difficulty breathing like the others as she hears the voice from everywhere and nowhere. The eyes from a dream, the names...

Mami presses down against the darkness with the others, because she is not alone. But it isn't done without cost; the heat, the pressure, they crash against her and she cannot both defend fully against them and get close enough to act. So she acccepts the pain, and pushes through.

Queen Beryl's ritual must be something truly awful. So as mami sees the staff shift, sees the altar...

She lets go the hands of her friends with a firm nod to each. "We'll see each other again when we finish here," she promises. And then, they go--

Lera calls to her, and Mami is already breathing in, lifting her hands as if to prepare for a dance. Ribbons appear in her grip, and she spins mid-air as she weaves them together, graceful motions tracing out a great cylinder. Brilliant light sparks in many colors but mostly gold as she conjures, and what were beautiful fabrics become a shining weapon, a huge handheld firearm with a barrel larger than both of her arms. She uses both hands to steady it, diving down, down, down--

"Together!" Mami calls out, to everyone.

And then on the heels of Lera's firebolt comes a column of golden light, the power of the shot shoving Mami a foot back up towards the sky in her fall. It moves right for the Altar.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Retort on Queen Beryl.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Riding downwards upon the Rocket Propelled Hope Missile that is formed purely of Style Power, Kasagami Araki leans into her friends with determination. Even as sparks fly and the horrific cold leads way to burning around her body that only stubborn pride keeps her screaming choked down in the back of her throat, she twists this way and that from the worst of it.

The fangs of old legends reach out, old horror tales and gods long lost tear at her coat and her stamina. Making her feel weak, yet on fire. She swears she can see the agonized faces of her parents for a single, brief moment, teeth grinding before they all finally burst free of their descent.

Heels of her boots dig in, she peers upon golden eyes and Kasagami reaches up to draw her nodachi. Sweat drips down her brow even as the athletic young woman draws more breaths than should be needed for someone like her. Steel grinds out of wood, and she peers past the beautiful golden-eyed witch to the Altar before them.

The dark energy pushes her back by it's mere presence, and Beryl's ritual words only draw out the warrior in this magical girl. "If we'll speak of gods, how about Tyr and Alke!?" Both hands grip her blade tightly.

And even as her every motion, her every haul of her strong legs is met with resistance by the Darkness, a voice rings clear. Her good eye turns to Steven. He shouts her name even as she wields the sword her Mother trained her to use. Steel calls to steel and a legacy of Family calls to Family. And the young man, so small, yet strong and brave, has Kasagami's doubts at her own worthiness going silent for a crucial moment.

She leaps a short hop forward, and then she's in the air. Twin boots land her upon that beautiful pink shield, Kasagami tilting her weight forward as she pulls herself taut down. Almost like a ball, with her sword held high above her as she closes her eyes.

She spares not a thought for defense. She trusts the young man she considers a friend.

"Let's save our precious friends and family, Steve-kun!" She imparts.

And then she kicks off in a torrent of dark crimson petals, a rallying cry on her lips as she kicks off with her fellow warrior's help!

That long blade, tall as she is, is a rapid blurr as she uses that immense force from her own legs and Steven's solid, eruptive shield-platform to rocket towards the Altar even as the Darkness tears at her own person, long steel inches seeking to slice for the sake of the world her dear, beloved friends!

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

A hint of Madoka's smile remains even after she realizes where they are -- the literal heart of darkness -- and even after it tears at her hair and skin and heart. Instinctively she brought her arms up in a cross in front of her body to ward it off, and as she separates them, her staff appears in between, with a normally soft 'pop' rendered completely inaudible by the maelstrom.

Even her "Right!", shouted automatically to Mami's call, can barely be heard.

The staff almost flies past her, so rapid their speed, but she snatches it out of the air. It immediately ignites into a bow -- and she holds one arrow sizzling-pink in her teeth even as she draws another one back, and back, and back.

She gives Mikoto a Look, and trusts that she'll be understood perfectly. As the other girl has taught her, the most important things don't really require words.

Sometimes they just get in the way.

Madoka said, "Go get it."

Madoka said, "I'll help you."

Madoka said, "I trust you to be safe."

Madoka said, "I love you."

And then the arrow leaves her bow -- magnifies abruptly to a hundred times its usual diameter, like a missile -- and rockets down, down, DOWN.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has joined the combo started by Steven Universe!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has started a combo targeting Queen Beryl!
COMBAT: COMBO! Steven Universe and Kasagami Araki have used Combo: Phalanx Drive, composed of Shield Slam and Rose Flash, on Queen
COMBAT: Queen Beryl braces 16 Fatigue damage from Lera Camry's Plasma Bolt, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Queen Beryl braces 26 Fatigue damage from Mami Tomoe's Tiro Retort, taking 39 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Queen Beryl braces 38 Fatigue damage from Steven Universe and Kasagami Araki's Combo: Phalanx Drive, taking 31 Fatigue
damage!  Critical Hit!  Steven Universe and Kasagami Araki are Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

Right after the Style- and just at the -Power!

Come two figures that startle even Sailor Moon. Those blue eyes of her becoming so big. There's a tiny inhalation of her breath that sounds like a smothered squeal. Sailor Moon is too overwhelmed to put her thoughts or feelings into words. The idea of the two Senshi that had stood apart mysteriously - coming to join them in this. "Mmm-mmm!" All she can do is make this sound, this so happy noise of assent.

If there's something wet in her eyes, it's because she's happy - as she yells it in synch with the others.

Hand clasped in another's, despite the gloves, she can feel the moment when the air turns far too hot. When the sparks erupt and darkness meets light. Does she recognize the voice?


It's haunted her dreams ever since she went to the Moon. It was there in the mirror the morning when she woke up to brush her hair, giving her a stark sense of vulnerability.

As her Mother in another life wove miracles - she can only feel the Sage Queen weaving and warping the world around them, not understanding what it means other than an foreboding feeling. It weaves within her ear.

Fangs - claws - faces.

Sailor Moon concentrates, and her aura shines more brightly as they descend, hand gripping her partners like her life depended on it, feeling them shred away layer by layer. Until...

Sailor Mercury calls out after a quick assessment from her visor, "Minna-! If that altar doesn't fall before she finishes her spell-!"

BGM Change: Moon Pride - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Va228UhRs

Mercury doesn't finish that statement with an indication of the exact results, but the implications are dread and horrible.

Jupiter is suddenly cocksure in her determination, "Queen Beryl has a lot of nerve if she thinks some patch of ice is going to stand up to the likes of us..."

As she snaps a look at Mars who is already adding, "I'll have it melted down before she can say another word of that curse."

Whereas Venus, the nominal leader starts the count, "On three! One- Two-"


On Venus command. The Senshi break contact mid-plummet from their places in the circle, each of them turning in mid-air to face the altar. Each of them raining destruction upon the altar in their own ways.

Sailor Moon does so reluctantly, only because she needs a hand, which she puts to her brow, pivoting in an axel in mid-air as the sacred object begins to shimmer with stardust.




"Moon Tiara-"

Releasing her hand, she slings it out with all the desperation of need to shut that voice out of her ears.


Fire rakes the space around the altar like it is being bombed by napalm from above, followed by a lightning strike that strikes the space with crackling ozone. A white beam scours the entire space in one strike as swift as a laser.

And that is before a shining tiara arcs in, with a bright trail not unlike a comet as it curves in following them all.

All of the Inner Senshi land gracefully in various poses that seem to mark traits in each of them... pragmatism, passion, strength, style...

...all save Sailor Moon who falls flat on her rear end, with an impact that knocks the wind out of her - and spills more tears out of her eyes and a yelp.

However for a moment there is no whimpering or crying - but also no move to get up. Her eyes instead rapidly ascend to look at the altar... "Did we...?"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Moon Tiara Action on Queen Beryl.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl braces 24 Fatigue damage from Sailor Moon's Moon Tiara Action, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The distance between Tokyo and the North Pole passes in the space of a moment, the time of a miracle of united power and will, and ends in a pillar of burning darkness - and the Wind Knight throws all of her focus into penetrating and enduring the infernal pillar. And with the perimeter breached, the magical girls release their physical hold on each other, turning their attention downwards.

Healing and binding magics won't be much good at this moment, the Mgaic Knight of Wind realizes; fortunately, she has other options. Her bow and quiver materialize in streaks of light, and she nocks an arrow to the bowstring, gathering her magic, her willpower harnessing the very turbulence that buffets her. Not the power of the darkness - but the wind itself, stirred and disrupted as it is.

The powers called forth by Queen Beryl are, after all, powers of pure destruction - power to unmake living things, power that nourishes nothing but destruction. WHile the Magic Knights may have been called upon for the sake of another world, the Wind Knight has never seen any contradiction in using her magic to protect *this* world, her home. And it's that will which serves as the focal point - the lens, as it were, through which she focuses her power, magical and physical alike.


The arrow is released, the gathered wind magic wrapping around it, and the enspelled shaft drlls *down* faster than gravity alone could permit it. The sheath of wind both steers the arrow straight, defying turbulence, and accelerates it beyond the physical force of a bowstring, and it hurtles down towards the dark altar amongst her allies' other attacks ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Gale Arrow on Queen Beryl.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl fails to brace Fuu Hououji's Gale Arrow, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Psyched!  
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Darkness is...

With senses so keen, Mikoto feels everything. At first it is very very cold, and then it is very very hot, and there are voices, and they are named. And she sees her eyes, gold as some beast in the night, and her eyes are gold and they do not look away.

It is a sick sort of feeling, as if she is tearing up something deep inside her, like her mind or her heart or her soul. It takes... and takes... and takes.

And the claws which catch and jaws which bite are incidental, even as they tear at her. She twists - one hand slips out of Steven's grip, the other losing la Sirene's - and she cannot get away.

"Miroku --" she gasps and her sword crashes into her grasp, tearing in through pitch gravity as it carves a dark wake, the thundering force of its enormity carrying it to her from where it was left. She carves at the claws and fillets the fangs and it is all she can do to hold her position, with terror pressing in at all sides. She can go no closer. It weighs too terribly.

And she is not thinking of daifuku, not at all, until suddenly she is.

Fear is something which pervades all corners; the greatest violation is ever that waiting anxiety for the next horror, trying and failing to brace for what comes. And fear is something which thrives on solitude, on isolation, on the uncertainty of a turned back or an empty hall.

Fear is such a large, large thing, and hope is such a tiny thing, and sometimes it is as simple as being sad for a lie. A thought which snags onto another - the feelings of the statement. Another - taking a break while walking through a shopping mall so she can catch her breath. Another - sprawled on the couch watching what's supposed to be a classic, being happier at the opportunity to sprawl over everyone than what's on the screen.

Cat style power means friendship style power, after all, just like every other wish which brought them here.

Actuate breath and press out the tongue: "Madoka," Mikoto calls, looking for her in the darkness: "Madoka!"

And there she is, and the fear in those golden eyes melts away as she sees the warmth in pink. Relief floods her face before it is replaced by determination and she nods, twisting to leap forward one more time - and here she meets an arrow, solid and pure beneath her feet.

If it is a missile she fully intends to ride it down, the curve of the arrowhead carving in through black, and they are going fast, fast, faster than the grasping claws can hope to snatch. Mikoto is a black speck atop it and perhaps, at first, she might be easy to miss against the colour of Madoka's love.

It would be a mistake to miss her.

Because as that arrow rockets in there is a girl with a foot braced against the fletching, and a sword pointed straight in towards its target. She is not going to move. She is going to use all the momentum Madoka has given them to drive her blade - straight - in. She screams a war-cry and it is wordless and defiant.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has joined the combo started by Madoka Kaname!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Though others may weather this passage poorly, the Outer Senshi's composure and experience (and their refusal to look uncool) carries them through. They land with a typical senshi 'tap-tap' of heels, the backs of their lead shoulders touching together as they fall into a defensive stance.

Uranus eyes Sailor Moon, ingloriously fallen on her butt, and side-eyes Neptune. Just a shared look is all that really needs.

But Sailor Uranus's brow darkens as her eyes fall upon her ancient foe. Beryl took everything from all of the senshi, but Uranus and Neptune remember it as though it were just a few years ago. Uranus remembers stalking like a caged lion at the edge of the asteroid belt, oathbound to watch paradise drown in its own blood.

"You," she seethes. "I've waited a long time for this." With a curt nod to Neptune that seems to psychically convey a plan, Uranus jogs backwards while Neptune moves forwards, to create distance between them. When Neptune stops, Uranus sprints back at her, cupping her hands low.

"Now!" she warns when she's practically upon Neptune. When her partner jumps, Uranus catches her feet and, with her gathered momentum, hurls her forward.

This part is tricky. It doesn't take a lot to make a really impressive horizontal jump; it's gravity that's the issue of course. Normally to overcome that and get more range, one simply applies more force to begin with, to outrace gravity. But Uranus, in command of the wind, has another option. Crossing her thumbs, she aims her palms and, when the time is right, blasts a sheet of ripping wind beneath Neptune.

It's like skipping a stone. Neptune will arrive violently, and able to drop from above.

COMBAT: COMBO! Madoka Kaname and Mikoto Minagi have used Starlight, Starbright and Obsidian Blade: Dauntlessness on Queen Beryl.
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has started a combo targeting Queen Beryl!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera Camry receives a small smile from Sailor Neptune, a moment before the transit begins.

Through the darkness they go. For a fleeting moment Sailor Neptune thinks, deep within herself: Will we end up there, in that place I've seen in my dreams? Will we travel to the Silence come too soon, instead of to the uttermost northern reaches of this beautiful world. Her hands squeeze just a mote tighter.

But then they are revealed, entering with style, into this place. The column of light overcomes the darkness, but darkness is, in some ways, the seniors. She hears that voice behind her, and she turns her head slightly, and she murmurs to her partner, "A shame, that she didn't take up the opera."

Light words, to whistle past the darkness.

As they land, Neptune's eyes rest on Sailor Moon, then to Uranus, then dead ahead. Her fingers unlace from Uranus's and she leans forwards, resting her hands on the ground for a moment despite the superficially top-heavy immbalance of the stance. And then she runs forwards, hearing with perfection the counterpoint tempo coming up behind her. She leaps forwards, hair trailing behind her -

Strong hands lace beneath her foot -

And then she's hurled forwards, the breeze kicking up and rising behind her as she lets her eyes narrow and focuses ahead with deathly precision. Skip across the sea of darkness -

Towards that altar. "Hahhhh--"

Sailor Neptune pivots round, to lead with one outstretched foot. At this height, does not every direction lead one to accelerate down, gathered with the gravitational force of the tides itself?

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has joined the combo started by Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune have used Combo: Deliverance, composed of Aerial Ballet and Aquatic Allemande, on
Queen Beryl.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl fails to brace Madoka Kaname and Mikoto Minagi's Combo: Starlight, Starbright, taking 78 Fatigue damage!
Queen Beryl is unable to keep fighting!  Madoka Kaname and Mikoto Minagi are Psyched!
COMBAT: Queen Beryl fails to brace Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune's Combo: Deliverance, taking 56 Fatigue damage!  Queen Beryl
is unable to keep fighting!  Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

The darkness reaches its apex, it draws itself into Beryl, and she raises her arms, bathing in it as enthusiastically as a maiden in a sunshower. She laughs with rising energy as it thins and finally vanishes, except for where it lingers, behind her eyes, no longer gold but black.

They sizzle -- she seethes -- rolling her shoulders, flexing her fingertips, feeling the breadth and depth of this new, summoned strength. Everyone can feel it, even though it exists within only the power-greedy soul of an ancient Queen; its presence cannot be denied, a shadow on the heart.

As for the the dark altar, it is more than just ice, and it's even more than just darkness.

It is age. It is malice.

It withstands.

"In the name of those who came before me!"

Lera's firebolt and Kasagami's sword.

Mami's blast and Miroku.

"In the name of those who came after me!"

The combined might of Princess Serenity and her Court.

"In the name of every broken heart!"

Fuu's arrow.

"Every shattered dream!"

The Outer Senshi's revenge.

"Every thrown stone!"

Everyone hangs in midair as the storm silences on her first syllable. Reality itself is waiting on Beryl's incantation now, and so no one can fall. Around the world, even, where those magical girls who were unable or unwilling to face the North Pole fight their own battles, there is an indrawn breath, a hesitation.

Her eyes widen with appreciation of the irony, the madness, the impossible inversion that she's about to commit. Her lips part, and every word is sweet, not like Kero-chan's candy was sweet but like revenge is sweet, sweeter than a fine wine stolen from the cellar of one's enemy.


There's a crack.

A tiny, tiny crack in the ice, where the altar was hammered, and hammered, and hammered.

Spiderwebbing outwards, it's the only thing moving in the whole world...

...and it's moving faster than the Queen's decree.

She's halfway through her long-delayed, world-rending wish, when the altar shatters into a million tiny slivers. The altar ends not with a bang, but a whimper.


Beryl, enraged, provides the bang instead.

Before she disappeared behind an explosive ice storm -- the keen-eyed might realize that she has, in an instant, animated all those shards of the altar, engorging them in size and sending them whirling in all directions, including mashing them into each other to detonate further icy explosions -- her eyes had faded back to gold, from black.

And her voice -- her scream -- her fury -- was that of a Queen.

The Queen of the Dark Kingdom.

<SoundTracker> Night On Bald Mountain - Mussorgsky https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEDfZgDPS8

...and so, the Dark Kingdom arrives.

When they come, they come all at once, from every direction, like on days when the whole world seems to conspire to criticize, parents at the breakfast table, teachers in the classroom, strangers on the bus. Suffering can be inescapable.

They erupt from the crevasses between the ice. They step from storm-cast shadows. They fall like the driving snow.

They strike without hesitation, without fear, and without mercy.

And they are all distinct.

The denizens of the Dark Kingdom are many and varied. They are individuals, even as they stand united beneath the banner of their Queen and adamant strength of her will. They wear all manner of raiment, eyecatching fashions all:

  • Grecian elegance is not uncommon, with simple, sophisticated folds and one or both shoulders bared. The colors are always dark but often rich as well, blues and greens and violets, icy hues were the sun present and accounted for.
  • Skintight leotards, dark mirrors of their native foes, also make regular appearances, with or without the accompaniment of skirts.
  • Some people sport absolutely modern garb with incandescently unearthly touches. A three-piece suit with flames licking off the cuffs; a perfectly reasonable T-shirt and jeans combination... on a six-legged, beastly tiger; a miniskirt that might as well be in a Harajuku window, worn by an animated marionette.

Admittedly they tend to all be armed the same way, though, with vicious, grasping claws and gleaming fangs. It evokes savagery, brutality.

The way any and all of them can launch blasts of painful dark magic -- some from their eyes, others their palms or mouths or even navels -- firmly removes any possibility of mistaking them as merely physical threats, however. Their fingers rend reality, their smiles announce cataclysm.

Their hatred for every single girl upon the ice plain is perhaps the most powerful, and palpable, force of all.

Instantly, the unprecedented army of magical girls is surrounded and outnumbered.

And then they are engulfed.

COMBAT: Queen Beryl transforms into Beryl's Dark Army!
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Sailor Neptune.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl has used The Endless Tides on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Lera Camry dodges 8 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sailor Moon neatly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Sailor Moon's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe fails to brace Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi counters 7 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Mikoto Minagi's
Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi's counterattack, Obsidian Blade: Dynamo, partially gets through, doing 22 Fatigue damage to Queen Beryl!  
COMBAT: Steven Universe fails to brace Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to brace Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 17 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname decisively counters 12 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 4 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname's counterattack, Like A Bolt Out of the Blue, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Queen Beryl!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus fails to brace Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 23 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji braces 12 Fatigue damage from Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji's Block
and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sailor Neptune fails to dodge Queen Beryl's The Endless Tides, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Together, Steven and Kasagami score a fierce hit on that strange dais of undoing. Powers glamed fro mthe edges of the void, from all creation, negative one and all, pooled into a single mote, a single moment. And as Queen Beryl speaks, Steven can feel something deep inside, a premonition. Unraveling of reality. the calm before the storm.

Give it everything you got!" he shouts, over the explosions and lances of energy and blade.

And at a crucial moment, it succeeds. Mid incantation, the altar fractures. A scream of a thousand maddened creatures come from a single voice in Beryl's scream. And yet, as Steven looks on, he knows this is but setting a single foot within a dark castle.

And so, the attendants appear as if on cue, to greet their guests.

Numerous creatures, some humanoid, others beasts, others indescribable beings assault the group at once. "Uhhhh!" stammers Steven, raising his shield up, attacked from multiple sides by the arym of darkness. A strange individual, a blade erupting out of every joint, and down their spine like a fish fin, wearing some kind of leathery outfit, and with a single eye. Two wolf-like creatures with slavering mouths that open vertically flank him.

Steven raises a shield to block an attack, but the sheer power the humanoid bears sends him flying back in to an icy wall. The boy staggers his way to his feet, in time to place his shield in the mouth of one of the wolves, and push down hard. Struggling and suffocating noises can be heard from the wolf-thing, who collapses shortly thereafter, but more creatures join the fray.

Panting, Steven looks left, and right. His friends are nearby, fighting much better than he can. Was it a bad idea to come here?!

The Gem Child clashes with the malevolent creature, pushing him away with his shield. Which gives Steven an idea. If he can't beat these things, his friends can!

Subsequent clashes occur, with Steven taking a bit of damage, but attempting to shove creatures into other ones, causing them to bowl over or collide. Better yet, into his friends with large, sweeping attacks, like Madoka, Fuu and Sailor Moon can do!

"Hang together everyone! We can do this!" he shouts between breaths.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Shield Bash on Queen Beryl.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

In that moment that they all hang in the balance of magic and the Queen's hatred, the world comes still for Kasagami as her eyes widen. What at first seems like a failing effort ends in a slow, combined effort of cracking altar so slow that it's as sad as it is enticing. This horrible monument to evil is about to shatter.

But what of the woman making it? It's a stray thought Kasagami has to bury. They have no choice but to win. A fallen Monarch is dangerous, after all.

And so Kassie lands on her feet, amidst that scream, and the Dark Kingdom arrives to challenge them all.

She straightens, and of the many denizens that come to claim brave warriors, Kassie finds herself surrounded. Three sisters of the Dark Kingdom in matching three-piece suits points elegantly painted claw-nails at her while other hands cover their mouths. They giggle in disconcerting unison that echoes in a reverb that makes Kasagami's ears bleed.

Their whispers are barely audible, yet the tone is loud and mocking. The words themselves don't make sense, yet are as straight and piercing as every horrible comment on who the Duelist might love and the scarrs she holds from her past.

Every faux-word is a darkness clad bullet being shot into Kasagami, and only instinct and a Duelist's nature has her dodging back from the worst of such bullets. Her side is peppered with dark blasts, part of her coat shorn away as Kassie's eyes go wide.

A howl of frustration leaves Kassie, and a single hand reaches into her half-ruined coat's pocket. Three rose-kissed knives are flicked towards the mocking suited youma, beautiful arcs kissing foreheads. Arrogance is their undoing, despite the wounds they've created.

And yet, this leaves her blind eye open to the teeming horde of dark leotard-clad, short-nailed fiends across her backside. All huddling in those places where the Duelist can't see, and more critically, can't react to. Her heavy blade is already swinging over her shoulder in a one-handed strike where she knows she's most vulnerable! She can feel a dark presence behind her! And even as she tries to duck, tries to slash at the nameless individuals that seek to overwhelm her...she presses herself instinctively back to the warmth. The warmth of friends, to those she trusts!

Her long blade bisects many of those evil youma seeking to take her. A few already strike her at legs, nip at beautiful red-tipped raven locks. A single shot blast from them scores her cheek in a new, painful way.

Her body aches, muscles stretch, but it won't be enough alone!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has started a combo targeting Queen Beryl!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The altar stands intact. And Beryl's wicked contralto continues, and Sailor Moon shifts from butt to on hands and knees, like she's going to crawl forward. "No-no-no-" And then the crack happens mid-wish. The transformation of Sailor Moon's face is instant, from horror to joy. She springs up, a single fist held high in the air, "YATTA!" There is a childishness to the triumph, as if she'd just been told she was going to sit in the corner and instead the teacher got called to the faculty office.

Crossing her arms, she nods again and again as if this were simply the logical result rather than snatching a narrow victory out of the jaws of defeat, "This is what happens when you pick a fight with the Covenant of-"

And then Sailor Moon seems dark shapes on the horizon, and the 'Style' becomes a smothered noise out of her lips, the color drains out of her face.

... and suddenly she wants to go home and curl up in her bed again.

It's the same moment that her Tiara returns to her, and she has to stumble step in order to catch what is normally an easy feat, holding it like a ring in a game of ring toss, she doesn't put it immediately at her brow.

Instead she stares through the hoop right at her. And there's Madoka Kaname, with bow in hand, ready to face down the darkest legions. Part of her wants to be the girl she used to be, to go hide behind her and Mami Tomoe - let them - let all the Magical Girls deal with Beryl's invincible army. Everything was so frightening right now.

However, it took losing her to realize she didn't want to be that girl anymore.

The thought puts a look of determination on her features as she brings her tiara back up to her brow. She does not call out to her. Not at first. She cannot be a distraction. Instead-

"Moon Stick!" The crescent wand spins into her hand like a parrying dagger, and Sailor Moon breaks off into a sprint. However the appearance of the Ginzuishou draws the attention of the army. An ice skating Youma lands from a perfect Lutz jump in front of her. "I will be the one deliver the Ginzuishou to Beryl-sama personally!"

Sailor Moon halts suddenly, before banking, darting in a sudden circle, as the thick tail of another Youma whips past the first so quickly that it nearly knocks the ice skater over. "IT'S MINE IT'S MINE-NYAA!" What follows is Sailor Moon in an obstacle course of Youma making deadly dives at her. While a finned one with wicked teeth and a stylish T-shirt tries to bisect her with one of its razor sharp fins, "MRRRRRRRRR- GIVE IT TO ME!"

Shrieking as she leaps like a bunny on speed away from each one, it's a bunch of narrow misses as she leaps off the head of the last Youma in one long somersault that puts her just beside, "Madoka!" Blessed relief lends Yobisute to her lips, as she clings to her arm. For a moment, it might be like she is in fact seeking her as a sanctuary from the battleground. Panting, from being out of breath, covered in a myriad of minor scrapes, one might also wonder if the next thing she might ask for is a bandaid and antiseptic.

Then breathlessly she manages to say over the battlefield din, "It's all so much... so much that it's overwhelming... but... I... feel like I can face this..." It's such a simple thing to say on a battlefield, but there's something in her eyes, in her tone, on her expression. Something resolved, as she was no longer a girl that wanted to stand behind others and be protected. However, there's a whisper, as something shines in her eyes and she whispers fervently, "...so long as I'm with you."

However in those words is a deeper desire. She doesn't want to risk losing her again.

And in that moment of desire by her, inspiration comes. Using her opposite hand, she takes her tiara off of her brow, and holds it up to the end of Madoka's bow, where an pink arrow sits gleaming in the bowstring. There's a shimmer of combined magic. Of pink and gold. White and silver. The tiara shines as it changes into a glowing crescent arrowhead on the end of pink arrow. The colors mingling in wisps of glittering magic.

Instinctually, Sailor Moon stands shoulder to shoulder on the opposite side of the bow, shoulder of her Sailor Fuku up against Madoka's puffy sleeve. Odango parallel to red bow. One hand reaches over just across to place it just below Madoka's on the limb of the bow, the other reaching behind the other girl to cup the back of Madoka's hand which is holding the string taut.

Beryl's army is bearing down on the pair, but sighting them down with her Same-Height sister....

...she is utterly calm as she announces the first word of why they don't stand a chance, "LUNAR-"

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has started a combo targeting Queen Beryl!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Score one for the good guys, thinks the Wind Knight, as the altar - terrifyingly durable, for all the punishment they rain down upon it - finally gives way, sundered and shattered in the nick of time. Another two seconds, and Queen Beryl might have concluded her invocation, her wish ... her prayer? Maybe it qualifies, given the list of names she was invoking - at least a couple of them were deities that she's heard of, although she picked out two that were mythological mortals. She thinks.

There's little enough time for a detailed analysis, even post-facto; the magical girls (and occasional boys) have barely landed, some maybe even still in mid-air, when a very different type of darkness erupts all around them. Of course a 'kingdom' worthy of the name would have many citizens, many more than the number of monsters which the Wind Knight knows have attacked Tokyo.

She just didn't realize *this* many of them would come piling into the fray. And that's the last thing she has time to think that isn't immediately concerned with surviving the fray.

Bow and quiver vanish, replaced by her sword, and the Magic Knight of Wind brings the flat of the blade to bear *just* in time to deflect the first attack aimed at her. She doesn't have time to make sure it won't hit any of her allies - but really, the sheer ridiculous weight of numbers almost invalidates *that* worry. She tries to stay aware of where all of her allies are, though; any individual magical warrior could easily be surrounded, cut off from support, and overcome in moments. So they have, somehow, to try not to be separated entirely.

She doesn't have the focused discipline of a kendoka, or the elegant precision of a fencer; while Fuu Hououji at least has a background in traditional archery, her swordsmanship is entirely self-taught as a Magic Knight. And it's those same hunches and intuitions that she has to rely upon to defend herself in the midst of the melee, leavened with moves she's seen in fantasy games or shows. And one game in particular lends a good bit of help in this kind of press: a spinning, pivoting slash that forces the youma back around her, buying an instant of breathing space to focus on specific enemies.

Of course, area-clearing attacks like that - even melee-ranged ones - run counter to trying to link up with her allies. The best she can do, at least occasionally, is to catch an enemy flung by an ally's attack, like when Steven bounces a youma her way off of his shield; even if she doesn't always bring the edge of her sword to bear on such a target, she can usually put enough oomph behind the swing to drive the intercepted foe into *another* youma, followed by a gust of wind magic to rend at the fallen before they can get back up. Sometimes she eschews a sword-swing and just blasts a flying foe with wind magic directly, whether to rip at them like the kamaitachi of folklore, blow them away to spoil another youma's attack, or even just to thwart an *intended* landing and leave a monstrous menace sprawling on the ground.

It's all a matter of staying alive, at this point, from one moment to the next.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Spinning Slash on Queen Beryl.
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


What, then, is there to say of power? A dark covenant woven through blood, or carved from the heart of purity, or borrowed from dark and transcendent things? Is she Queen, now, with the power she has wrought?

Power is an old, old thing, older than girls, older than women grown, and it is the nature of old things not to think as people do.

Old like the altar: Miroku slams against it with all the force of a launched missile and still it persists. Mikoto grits her teeth and snarls and does not relent, pushing down with all her considerable might, struggling, striving.

And perhaps it is no use, because Beryl is still talking, after all. Still casting her spell like some wicked witch from the stories Mikoto never really grew up with, grim fables of retribution and irony. But she does not think that she has chosen her target poorly. She does not think to strike Beryl down. And she does not let fear or doubt change her course.

At first she does not see the spidering because her eyes are on the Queen, her ears are for the Queen's words, and it is with a little squark of surprise that Mikoto finds the altar shattering and the thing she was bracing against suddenly a thousand-thousand pieces. (Light does not flood the cracks; Miroku is inert.) She staggers forward and Beryl is already gone, and it does not mean they are alone.

When he slips from the gaps between two snowflakes on the ground he is all edges: sharp jaw, sharp suit, sharp cape fluttering behind. Sharp sword, an elegant cutlass. The tink-tink-tink of sword matching sword sounds effortless; it is a mistake to think the way they meet each other is easy. Mikoto has to operate in closer quarters than her blade requires. Her reach is so much greater.

In the end, he might tower over her, but her sword towers over his. The duel is brief and there is no pause in the movement, from his opening thrust to the way she carves through him and returns him to the darkness whence he came.

It would be easy, here, to give in to the flow of battle, to go from foe to foe as mindlessly as a bull seeing red.

Except there's something else red nearby.

And she's howling.

Mikoto's gaze snaps to Kasagami and she leaps forward, carving through a woman with reeds for fingers on the path to those fiends slicing at the vulnerable Duelist. "Kasagami!" She calls, both in warning as she approaches a place she may not be able to see, and in reassurance that a friend is near.

(It is a warning for her, not a warning to her. Mikoto has never needed to warn Kasagami away.)

But even as she turns in revolution, cleaving through tittering women with terrifying claws, she knows that it will not be enough. Kasagami can't see like she can, and Mikoto's influence does not extend past the reach of her blade. She can't cover her properly, even as she turns her back to Kasagami's, little glances to make sure they're oriented so their greatswords will not hurt each other.

Well - maybe she doesn't have the sort of reach to solve this problem.

But someone else attacked the altar headlong, too.

"Let's do worse!" She calls, to Sailor Neptune, who has at times appeared for some purpose still veiled. She does not know her well; she has not worked with her to her awful purpose. She does not know if Sailor Neptune will help her now.

She calls out anyway, in earnest trust, because she believes Sailor Neptune is there to carve through the darkness just as they are.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has joined the combo started by Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Every broken heart. Every shattered dream, every thrown stone... Mami has felt these; she knows their power, their impact. She feels the sheer strength Beryl brings to bear through and with them. But while she has felt that sting, she is not ready to curse the world. She is not ready to take joy in that suffering, to sip vengeance instead of shared moments.

Still, she wonders for an instant, recalls the Dream, the world that was...

But it does not stop her firing. It does not stop her heart from leaping to her throat in the instant when their intent has to be proven--she believes, but her belief has been wrong before. But--

But the crack comes, and Mami feels relief. The altar shatters and it is brilliant, and it is what they hoped for. A smile spreads on her face even as she feels the rush of the storm that comes. How can cold scare her, in this much warmth?

The Dark Kingdom has more than cold, however. Mami, focused on the others, focused on the altar, does not see the coming warriors before they strike. There are so many, but there are a few that will be most memorable to her. A terrible figure with golden here and bloody red eyes slips out of the shadows to move behind Mami. Her smile may well be sharper and crueler than the clawed ends of her fingers, and her beautiful dress leaves too-pale arms bare, gives the impression of a courtier where her teeth are so sharp and her eyes merciless.

She thrusts out her hand and her claws rake against Mami's side, and the veteran spins with the force of impact, making a noise of surprise and pain. But Mami as she turns opens her hand, and a lovely ribbon slides into her hand and becomes a slender pistol that she discharges point-blank, knocking the first youma back. There are more coming, surrounding her, trying to keep the gunner in melee. Mami sees around her the ring of mannequins, dressed in attire each lovelier than the last, approaching her quickly. They close in, too fast for her to evade with the way she was surprised at first. The keeper of Shibuya disappears into the darkness.

Gunfire erupts and hurls a mannequin backward, Mami surging out of the pile to whirl back and counterattack the others. Mami raises her voice to call for "Madoka-chan!" She looks for her, but there is little time to focus on the search. A pair of cruel Adonises, twins in look and in cruelty, step forward and launch horrific dark blasts straight for her from their awful smiles. Mami ducks down, whirls--

Their blasts pin her down; she can't advance while dodging, and a pantheon of youma in Grecian elegance seems to be moving to take advantage. Mami draws a quick breath--and pulls something she'd hidden. Its sharp point prickles at her finger, but she knows how carefully to handle Grief Seeds, has done it so many times and now she does it once again.

This seed; a seed not of grief but of hope, because she collected it with Madoka. Even a Labyrinth isn't a place of fear with everyone. So Mami presses it close as the youma close in around her.

With a blaze of golden light that erupts all around her, a great ribbon appears, feet wide and spiraling, shoving the youma who'd closed in on her roughly backward. Mami emerges from this shell a whirling dervish of radiance, burning with raw magical force. She moves like a dancer, each motion bringing another report of gunfire; darkness surges towards her but again she twirls out of its path. With a wave of her hand, she binds a youma with many arms and terrifying teeth such that someone else can destroy it. In the next moment she is laying down a lattice of fabric to forestall further approach. Gleaming golden eyes approach her, a woman with stars at her cheek and cruelty in her gaze, flanked by two larger figures with the lower bodies of snakes and upper bodies glittering with gold.

"Didn't anyone tell you that overuse of jewelry is just a way to distract from a lack of style?"

Her words are bold, but Mami for a moment feels almost lost in the sheer chaos of the melee. There are so many, and there seem to be so many more.

But the others are still fighting. Light in glorious colors--the call of Mikoto's voice--even Steven. Mami lets them fuel her, and leaps upward as the youma lunge past her ribbon barriers. With a wave of her hand, lines of rifles appear, a flood of firearms that move with her. They fire at once, letting loose a barrage of golden bullets that decimates the cluster moving against her, the youma behind them, cast monstrous darkness into dust under her assault. Mami keeps fighting, pushing for every inch she can find towards her friends.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Magi Mami!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Advance on Queen Beryl.
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

As Sailor Moon rushes towards Madoka, pink projectiles fly past her -- driving back, pinning down, or otherwise imperiling her pursuit. Though she stood boldly alone amid the fray, there's open relief in her eyes once they're standing together instead.

Usagi can feel the warmth coming off her cheeks, but it's the good kind.

"You can face so much more than you think," Madoka reassures, leaning into her shoulder, letting them press together.

Erupting upwards and downwards from their combined grip, the bow becomes broader, and yet more sharply curved.

A glowing golden crescent.

Petals erupt from the back of the arrow, a rose blooming in place of its fletching.

And above them, her roseate flame now burns with highlights of silver.

Madoka's smiling again.


Together, they release the beautiful symbol of their friendship.

And as the massive edge of resultant silver-pink explosion advances on the army, everyone else gets to know its beauty, too.

"...wow..." breathes Madoka, afterwards.

COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has joined the combo started by Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Moon and Madoka Kaname have used Lunar Recurve on Queen Beryl.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl fails to brace Steven Universe's Shield Bash, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Steven Universe is
COMBAT: Queen Beryl braces 10 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Spinning Slash, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Queen Beryl dodges 20 Fatigue damage from Mami Tomoe's Tiro Advance, taking 30 Fatigue damage!  Mami Tomoe is Psyched!  
COMBAT: Queen Beryl fails to dodge Sailor Moon and Madoka Kaname's Combo: Lunar Recurve, taking 209 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Queen Beryl is unable to keep fighting!  Sailor Moon and Madoka Kaname are Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Lion - Kodo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O8gFEKTccs

Uranus follows Neptune at a walk at first, chin down as if against the wind, jaw tight. She watches the altar shatter, and the skin beneath her eyes creases as Beryl wails at its loss.

"Over that," Uranus whispers. "Over just that."

Stretching the fingers of one hand to full extension, she closes her fist with the finality of a revolver's chamber snapping into place. She's walking faster now, as the Dark Kingdom musters, in a straight line to Neptune's back. She permits the youma to assail her allies unmolested for now, letting the battle begin to blossom around her. A scissor-handed warrior does not leave well enough alone, charging Uranus. Swiveling sharply, Uranus drives a foot out like a spear meeting cavalry, ramming the youma's whole head the opposite direction of her momentum. Walking over the prone youma, Uranus stomps a boot down and twists to be sure of things. It was probably not necessary.

The gradual increase in speed is finally a run. Uranus folds in her lower lip and halves her mouth with the upper, letting out a sharp, distinct whistle as she nears where Neptune is embroiled. When Neptune folds her body forward in response, Uranus takes a flying leap and kicks into one of the youma's chests with both feet, rocketing it away. Uranus, her momentum mostly but not entirely spent, uses the rest of it to skim off of Neptune's back as though it were the hood of a sports car.

Slapping her palm into Neptune's, she grips it tight, and they throw a largely symmetrical high kick, but with Neptune's at four o'clock and Uranus's at eight. The braced hands let them kick with greater leverage, not unlike having their backs against a wall.

The youma they attacked are moving back in though. Uranus glances between them. The one on Neptune's side seems to have chains dangling from her arms, which wriggle with their own life, and the one on Uranus's is construction-themed and carries mallets.

"Trade you," Uranus offers, and when the two youma surge to the attack, the Outer Senshi ripple and reverse positions in time to receive the first blow. Uranus takes one chain around her arm. Immediately the youma is beating her with the other chain, but Uranus keeps wrapping her wrist with more chain, shortening the leash. This unfortunate monster has tied herself to a senshi who is essentially in the 'grappling' club.

When her knuckles ache from punching the chain youma unconscious, sees that the next foe approaching is literally burning up, orange flames rising from her hair and arms. "Not your day," Uranus drolls. She nudges the outside of Neptune's hip with the outside of hers, and again they trade enemies.

Seaspray and bursts of heavenly light begin to intermix with the thump and clatter of hand-to-hand combat as more and more youma begin to beset Neptune and Uranus. They fight as those who have long since accepted the ugliness of combat. Every advantage is pressed all the way, every opening hammered at repeatedly by gloved fists and boots, rather than striking and disengaging as one would in a spar. But when both senshi are panting and bruised, there are still more foes closing in.

"Enough of this," Uranus growls. "There aren't a tenth as many demons here as it would take to hold us back." This sentiment needs words, because it is unusual for her. The eyes that meet Neptune's in that stolen moment are not those of a disciplined soldier anymore.

COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has started a combo targeting Queen Beryl!
COMBAT: COMBO! Kasagami Araki and Mikoto Minagi have used Combo: Slicing Through The Waves, composed of Falling Petals Cut The
Soul and Obsidian Blade: Devastation, on Queen Beryl.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Neptune [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Water and wind work a slow and patient game, but in the end, even a mountain may become dust.

As the Queen screams, Sailor Neptune lands, straightens, and tosses her hair with one hand.

Something inside of her exults with this. Serves you right, she thinks, but there is an aspect of her, the changing and mutable essence of the sea itself, that tells her to stay silent. Let that woman - not that Queen, to Sailor Neptune, not that monster, not some other form of dark glory, simply a person who has chosen the abyssal depths of wickedness - let that woman see her like this.

Let her rage fall upon Sailor Neptune! Let it fall there and break - the thing she avoided, oh so long ago.

They all strike and the dais is well and truly rocked. "Excellent," Neptune says to Steven with a brisk nod, the shield-bearer moving ahead of them. And Neptune's eyes turn forwards towards those serried ranks, those strange creatures,

"Twisted and warped by your commitment to madness," Neptune says, folding her arms as her thoughts come aloud. She stares at them even in their numbers, though the sheer sight of just how many of them are there begins to weigh upon her, gracefully but undeniably. "It is said that forgiveness is divine, but in the sight of so many of you, I've lost my charitable mood..."

A shrill whistle comes behind Sailor Neptune and she leans forwards as if in a sudden and gracious bow. Uranus strikes one youma that had been coming towards her and staves in its chest, sliding off afterwards with casual ease. "My," she murmurs, before her attention snaps back up. Near them is a swordswoman - yes, Kasagami, Neptune thinks -

"You're open," Neptune tells Kasagami, a moment before Uranus makes her offer to Neptune. "Mm," she says, in reply, as she takes Uranus's hand, laces her fingers and -


Back they go. Letting out a little breath, Neptune tells Uranus with a feigned note of leisure in her voice, "I accept," and then she twists round beneath the incoming mallet-strike, weaving and leaping up onto the back side of the implement of destruction to administer another sharp kick and a palm strike to the builder-demon's head. As she dismounts to land near Uranus, she pivots round -

Neptune's attention snaps towards a group out there, youma taking advantage of the swath cut by Sailor Uranus and the swordswomen to create a formation, to actually *prepare* themselves before laying in to murder the assailers of Beryl's citadel. Clusters of the manifold devils; each squadron has two tall androgynous figures in elegant jackets, perhaps naval, perhaps musical. Each jacketed demon has another held in their grasp as if to dance. The held demon, clearly female, sparkles like a darkling star in an elegant and fiery gown. Each group is flanked by leotard-wearing youma, splitting their hate between the 'star' and the one on whom their eyes fall.

"Tch," Neptune says, as if with recognition.

"Dark Star!" "Bleak Cosmos!" "Dry Flower!" the companies screech, and they begin their charge across a momentary gap.

Mikoto encourages her. Neptune's eyes turn towards her and she says, "What a sordid echo of something precious, don't you think?" And then she raises up her hands, taking a deep breath, magic surging round her as the companies charge in contention, the plainer youma ripping their way forwards, a veritable tide of sharp-taloned monsters with starving mouths and burning eyes:

"Submerge!" Sailor Neptune cries, even as another company surges forwards, this one bearing a banner that reads what might be BROKEN MOON. This one's double-sized. It may not matter, however, as their line of advance has one big problem...

A surging, glittering sphere of watery sorcery, rising and falling as it smashes forwards. The sphere becomes a wave, becomes a tide, becomes a veritable surging sea -

"And fewer every moment," Neptune answers Uranus.

"Sailor Moon! Everyone!" Neptune calls then: "Press forwards! They will assemble some deviltry if we should wait too long!"

COMBAT: Sailor Neptune has joined the combo started by Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: COMBO! Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune have used Exquisite Duet on Queen Beryl.
COMBAT: Queen Beryl fails to brace Kasagami Araki and Mikoto Minagi's Combo: Slicing Through The Waves, taking 74 Fatigue damage!
Kasagami Araki and Mikoto Minagi are Psyched!
COMBAT: Queen Beryl braces 58 Fatigue damage from Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune's Combo: Exquisite Duet, taking 25 Fatigue
damage!  Queen Beryl is unable to keep fighting!  Sailor Uranus drains 10 fatigue from Queen Beryl!
<Pose Tracker> Queen Beryl [None] has posed.

"There's so many of them!" complains Sailor Venus, as she snicker-snacks a half dozen with the sacred, cursed blade that is her birthright and physical reminder of her greatest failure.

"Less bitching, more killing," grits Sailor Mars out of the side of her mouth.

"I agree with Venus," says Sailor Mercury. "Regroup... SABAO SPRAY!!"

Mist covers the section of battlefield that the Inners have been handling, and when it clears, the four of them are gone.

But not before making a plan.

"JUPITER STAR POWER!" invokes the eponymous soldier, arctic wind making her brown ponytail sail behind her... before emerald light causes it, for the second time in an hour, to sail upwards.

Far across the cavern, Sailor Mars can be seen taking a meditative lotus position. "MARS STAR POWER!"

"VENUS STAR POWER!" cries their leader, thrusting her sword into the Earth in exactly the same way Gandalf might against a Balrog.

"MERCURY STAR POWER!" agrees their tactician, and with her invocation, she splits her arms off to the sides... and her beam arcs outwards, then connects with Venus and Mars, who then connect with Jupiter.

It's a diamond of light. Beautiful, shimmering veils in four colors, and where they meet, more colors still.

And the next wave of the army crashes against the wall and is repelled. And the next, and the next.

Their eyes closed, the Inner Senshi speak, with one voice, to everyone contained within, just as the last youma inside their safe zone are felled.

<< Protect the Princess. >>

Indeed, Usagi's location is at the exact center of their diamond.

Because they know their enemy.

And her own veils cannot withstand the light of their truth.

Queen Beryl, First of her Name, smiles as emerges from the shadows, claws outstretched.

At least in a technical sense.

Her lips part, revealing fangy incisors. Her cheekbones lift, and her eyes glitter with something so much less and so much more than any gold, even that of her lost, betrayed Kingdom.

Merely imagining her cruel delighth is no longer necessary.

But 'delight,' like 'smile,' suits her experience just as well as the school graduation song sung just a little off-key. It sits only with dissonance.

"How foolish," she purrs, "To lock helpless little princess Serenity in with me..."

Four pairs of eyes open.

<< You've got it backwards, you witch. >>

<< We've locked you in with her. >>

<< With all of them. >>

<< And I think two in particular have a real beef. >>