2020-05-07 - Sun! Sea! And A Monster, 4

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Sun! Sea! And A Monster, 4

The battle against Kaolinite's tri-manta daimon reaches fever pitch. Can everyone be saved today?


Haruka Tenoh, Usagi Tsukino, Setsuna Higashi, Kasagami Araki, Michiru Kaioh, Rei Hino, Minako Aino, Makoto Kino, Kaolinite

GM: Pink Moon Stick


Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura Prefecture

OOC - IC Date:

5/7/2020 - 08-26-14


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

Cresting the sand-hill, Uranus takes in the scene all at once. Pluto's paramour hacking away with that monstrous katana of hers. Passion's thunderous Pretty Cure legs kicking a goopy and eye-ridden mass. Steven showing that the best offense can be a good defense. And Sailor Moon creating a tunnel of sacred destruction--no, of purification. She sees Daimon flesh teeming around and through and towards, shrinking the sphere to a crescent.

Uranus looks at Sailor Moon and she does not need to remember, for the memory is here. A demonic eclipse is swallowing the silver Moon right before her eyes.

To move is the nature of Sailor Uranus. She never begins to run. She only ceases to be still. Now her sprinter's crouch chambers and goes off with the same motion, like the cylinder of a revolver. It is necessary today for her to lap a rival who runs twelve lanes inward on the track; the Senshi of Wind will turn in her tiara the day she cannot outpace a blob of mantas, but she must cover a far greater distance. Nor would sending the heavens ahead to announce her suffice; there is no lack of firepower being brought to bear against that thing right now, and hers will not tilt that scale. No, there is no power or prayer that will replacing reaching Sailor Moon, and resuming the place duty had forced Uranus to abandon.

Unlike the Inner Senshi, she had never had the option to remain. To Venus and Jupiter, Rei's Pure Heart represents the life of Rei Hino, and its rescue was a competing priority. To Uranus and Neptune, that Heart represented a chance to save every life except that of Rei Hino, including that of the Princess.

There was no choice. There are never any choices for an Outer Senshi. That fact is more obvious for tragic Saturn and lonely Pluto, and far more painful. But a prison does not always look like a tomb on a barren planet, or a silent gate at the end of everything. Sometimes it is nothing but a hellish painting you saw on the stairs at an otherwise unremarkable party, once the nightmare that tortured the seafoam sleep of a beautiful stranger you'd known for thousands of years, and now your own as well.

Only moments have passed since she started running, but already Uranus is close enough to juke wriggling pieces of defeated daimonflesh, and vault across the wounds that battle has scored in the sand. Yet already her time is all of it spent. Writhing, living black jelly closes around Sailor Moon's sacred torch, a seemingly endless tide of squirming repugnance engulfing her from her little blonde head to her little red boots. Uranus's icy professionalism shatters as she grinds to an instant halt.

"SAILOR MOON!" she screams. Throwing her arms out to the side, she slices fanned-out fingers down before her eyes. "GAZE...!" For an instant, her irises ignite with golden energy, and all at once swirling, faintly luminous spheres of air churn themselves into existence above and behind her head. It is amidst the breathlessness of evoking power that she sees that the churning protodaimon does not have Sailor Moon after all. She is safe in the arms of an exotic prince.

Uranus freezes, holding her attack at bay for now. The second half of its name dies on her lips. Sentiment is a luxury in combat, and the emotion of relief ought to represent nothing but the end of a distraction. Indeed, Uranus's eyes are less wide, her lips again closed, her heartbeat dropping. But there is a new distraction now, and her bladed blue eyes affix upon it.

This stranger has a presumptious cape, that it would wrap itself around the Princess. He has a lazy hand, that makes not haste to depart the hollow of a slim little waist when its services are no longer required. His voice must be weak, that it must speak with such intimate tone that just watching his soft-keen eyes and Sailor Moons's cheeks is enough to glean it from a distance despite the mask. His careless cape and hand and voice are all making such effective errors, judging by how the Princess melts.

Or perhaps the stranger himself does all these things on purpose. Sailor Uranus might be a dog with the ladies. But she exhibits a separate category of canine personality when it comes to this particular lady, and she doesn't like how this guy smells.

But maybe she's looking at this all wrong.

Rei Hino's Pure Heart isn't a Talisman. Everyone's on the same side now except Kaolinite and this slimy manta ball. The beach has emptied out and for once there's nothing near here she needs to worry about breaking. The enemy is exactly the sort of freakish sin against biology and good taste that Uranus and Neptune used to specialize in. And best of all, whatever her trust issues with him in the long term, the fact remains that an irritatingly pretty desert prince just arrived to help the Inners babysit the Princess for her.

Violent Femmes - Add It Up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Qd_7gWp-Q&t=37

Uranus feels like like a kite whose string just broke. And what do you know? She already has an attack all dressed up with somewhere to go.

The live-wire connection of Uranus's gaze at Sailor Moon and Moonlight Knight snaps as she bursts into motion, sprinting sidelong, out of the way of a trio of eyes that noticed her. "GAZE...!" she cries again, ripping an arm back. "TURBULENT!"

With a motion like hurling a pitch, Uranus causes one of the wind-spheres to rocket forward, as though it were imitating her motion without being touched. As the fleet senshi charts a semicircle around the Daimon, she performs an efficient athletics routine--no excess showiness, but constantly shifting mixture of different types of pitch and throw, with the necessary turns and twists to perform them at a full-out run.

At randomized speeds and angles, the orbs of jagged wind sing out, leaving faint tracer-trails of golden energy behind them, but defined more by the clear distortion they form in the air, and then the concussive burst when they strike their target. Over and over they pelt at the Daimon, the angle gradually rotating as Uranus goes from spraying puffs of dry sand with each step, to tossing up shallow seawater as though her boots were a string of tiny depth charges.

As she reaches the approximate opposite of where she started, minus most of her window orbs, she expends the last of them decisively. Flip-kicking in the surf, she drags her rear foot behind her like an oar, hauling a frothy sheet of saltwater up in front of her. Hiding herself? No. Not quite.

Before the water even begins to fall, three successive holes rip open its thick, sparkling curtain like pumps of buckshot. The final three orbs, whatever they slam into, will do so entirely untelegraphed.

Landing amidst a sea-rain of her own making, Sailor Uranus holds her ground right where she is, darkened wet dots appearing in her straw-blonde hair and the white shoulders of her fuku. Her legs are spread for stability, fists curled underhand to either side as she grins with a chill ferocity. Her affect is too bold by far for one who has just trapped herself shin-deep in the ocean, with a sea monster between her and the shore. But she does not hide her bravado. Abominations rarely appreciate subtlety. Besides, she's still feeling growly over the Moonlight Knight thing.

"Come on!" she goads the tumor of fish. "Isn't this where you really want to fight?" She does not even bother keeping more than a quarter of an eye on Kaolinite; it would make her day for that witch to join in while she's standing where she's standing. It's not as though Uranus has any special gift for combat that takes place in this particular venue.

It's just that she's dating the manager of the joint.

COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has used Gaze Turbulent on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick braces 42 Fatigue damage from Sailor Uranus's Gaze Turbulent, taking 34 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Pink Moon Stick's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

Sailor Moon can feel the Moonlight Knight acquiesce to her whispered request; the weight of his eyes remains with her, when she departs his side and returns to the field of battle.

They're some of the only blue things in a world that has been transformed, by dying day and darkest sorcery, into a panorama of only two colors. She herself is a black silhouette against a blood-red sky; even her boots, come honestly by their crimson shade, are swallowed by the intensity of this palette.

She's so small, a fact rarely remembered about the Champion Of Love And Justice when she's emitting lovebeams unlimited in scope. She's so small that she disappears entirely, when she crosses the much more massive silhouette of the tri-manta daimon. And when she lands beside it, after, she isn't much more than a shadow of its shadow.

Against THAT, how much good could a Sailor Moon Kick have possibly done?

But it shuddered, is still shuddering. And its outline... blurs, as the impact spreads through its many wings like a circular shockwave.

The piercing, soaring, deep blue eyes of the Moonlight Knight narrow, pushed upwards by what, beneath the balaclava, must surely be a smile.

It is a moment to be seized, and seize it, the others do.

Cure Passion's silhouette is further confused by the blur of red light she becomes; it is though, momentarily, she is ONLY a black-outlined red fist, a boot, a swirl of hair. She is each of these things perfectly, but not simultaneously, until she reappears, whole and in shadow, at Kasagami's side. And like Sailor Moon, she leaves marks of impact behind, upon a monster apparently too stunned to conduct a proper defense.

Then, all at once, her features emerge, if cast in ruby; the glow of her eyes, the path of her brow, the depth of her nose; for a beam of setting sun pierces her directly, its path no longer occupied by the daimon, because a great big disc was punched out of its midsection.

Standing across from her is the culprit. Even the pink energy of a Rose Quartz is reddened by the view, but as the shield, having sliced straight through the daimon, fades into motes and then nothing, it leaves Steven Universe behind, even smaller than Sailor Moon, with the only interruption to his silhouette his now perfectly blood-colored Gem.

The mini-manta that he'd fought off leaps back into the whole, as though to patch the wound he's made. But there isn't enough to do it perfectly; it leaves a mark of translucent darkness, a point of weakness within a body of thundrous strength.

Kasagami targets another, more intrinsic weak spot: one of its six voidlike eyes. Sensing the threat, and beginning to regain the ability to move -- one can feel its intent to accelerate grow, much as one can feel an avalanche vibrating a moment before it arrives -- it pours out of the path of her shining black blade.

And then, equally black but not at all shining, ichor explodes out of its xenomorphic head. She may have missed the eye, but the nodachi's tip carved a vicious diagonal path across its face, all but connecting the top right eye to the bottom left.

A cloud passes over the sun, transforming it into a baleful orange eye, unwise to look at directly, and returning some normality to the colors of the world.

The Grand Magus' face darkens for a moment in a manner that no shadow can match, when the daimon's failure to extract a Talisman is revealed. Briefly she reaches out with her free hand, as though to grasp the precious crystal now carried by the gold and green-suited warriors so earnest and urgent in their need to return it to its host. (Not 'its owner' -- possession is nine tenths of that law.) But then her fingers slowly curl and relax, as she considers and rejects whatever alternative purpose she might have had for such a precious thing.

Kaolinite is not a taker of unnecessary risks, and there are numerous other pure hearts easily harvested, and less fiercely protected, available for her to serve for dinner tonight. Tokyo is large, and her operation is vast.

Turning on a floating heel, she spins out of existence, leaving behind only a gleam of her impossibly red hair, and a final command, which was issued with her cold eyes fixed squarely upon the challenging Sailor Uranus, whose legion of lethal windballs are even now forcing the daimon to stitch a patchwork quilt out of itself another dozen times over and more.

"Daimon... return to the sea."

Easier said than done. Many of its wings become spikes, showering the area and everyone in it to provide necessary cover. While they're dealing with that, it collapses back onto the sand, and its black-starred white belly curls around Rei's prone form, which disappears beneath it instantly for reasons that have nothing to do with lighting; or to do with its orders. IT isn't invited to laboratory staff meals, let alone throne room feasts. It's worked hard, and it deserves a little someone, as a treat.

Maiden and monster are carried away by the next churning tidal wave, plunging straight towards Sailor Uranus with a clear intention to go not around, but through.

Fortunately, the beach is broad, its shallows a wide expanse. There's still time.

Unfortunately, contesting its parting prize will require you to fight in its domain.

COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Spike Rain on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Spike Rain on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Spike Rain on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Spike Rain on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Consuming Charge on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon perfectly dodges 33 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Spike Rain, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Critical Dodge!  Sailor Moon's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Cure Passion perfectly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Spike Rain, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Dodge!  Cure Passion's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki braces 18 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Spike Rain, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Steven Universe braces 15 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Spike Rain, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Steven Universe's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus cleanly braces 28 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's Consuming Charge, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Not too long ago, Sailor Moon could swear she heard Uranus call her name. Even distantly, it's something she wants to take at face value. From the Uranus who tells her all she has to do is ask, or saves her from jumping into the abyss, rather than the Uranus who tells her she's in the way. Earlier, she could swear she saw the latter, but in that call of her name, she could swear the Uranus that she wants to know has been there all along.

Turning towards her direction though, perhaps to grant her a glimpse of delight at her joining the fray. A Princess unknowingly about to show a knight her favor, like that day the two were hanging onto a chain, facing down Eudial... greets her with a glimpse of Jupiter and Venus instead, and their precious cargo, "Oh! Oh! You have it!"

The girl sounds in a kind of triumphant relief at the sight of the other two Inner Senshi coming forward, bearing a crystal. Suddenly a command for it to return to the sea. The girl wrings her rod with both hands at the thought of what happens if it makes it there. As much as she wants a reprieve from this right now to put that precious object back in Rei Hino's chest.

Suddenly its wings transmogrify into spikes, and the girl hups into a hop that sends her into a pivoting spin, blonde hair following her as a shower of spikes glides around her body. The final volley, met by a glittering spin of her rod just before she hits the ground. His eyes are on her - and even with the ignorance of whether they belong to him or him she knows that she can do this. She can do anything. Her heart soars, as she lands, immediately brandishing her rod high.

Just as she sees it finish curling around Rei's prone form.

Her confidence breaks instantly, as she watches her helpless form begin its journey away. And suddenly she blurts out a terrified, "REI-CHAN!"

What good is a pure heart without a vessel? What happens if they regain her Pure Heart only to lose Rei - and everything that makes her Rei? As still as she is right now, she hardly seems like Rei, a girl always in motion. Always moving forward to follow through on her passionate hopes and dreams, in loud proclamations and tumultuous bickering, and in the more rare moments of quiet intimacy. Whether its singing on a stage or enjoying manga or trying to one up her on whatever the two were currently were fixated upon at the moment... Rei is Rei.

"Give her back! Give me back Rei-chan!"

And that Daimon is taking her away right now.

The idea, makes her angry, inciting a righteous fury within her that she can rarely muster. The only person who can tell her to leave Rei Hino behind is Rei herself. There's no way she'll allow this thing to take her away from her with the tide. "I won't let you take her away." She promises.

Holding the Spiral Moon Heart Rod on high, it makes a musical chime that invokes an ancient power. As out of it shines a gleaming burst of light, like the moon breaking out through the clouds on a starry night. Beginning to spin the rod in a gymnastic like flourish, she makes several rotations before striking a fierce pose and holding it on high.

"MOOONNNNN SPIRAAALLLLLLLLLLL-" Holding it out parallel to herself, she begins to spin, blonde twintails and sparkling spiral of the rods passing beginning to mingle together, such that its difficult to make out her golden hair from the magic of the rod itself. It follows her from high to low. "-HEARTTTTTTTT-" Ending on both of her knees on the beach sand, the rod is held overhead. "-ATTACK!"

All of that building energy erupts forth, in a beautiful spiral that feels like it came straight out of the night sky in someone's daydream. And that is before the hearts come forth, filling in the gaps that would belong to the inky obsidian of the night, a display that feels like something truly out of her maiden fantasies. The glittering starlight ties the hearts together, merging them again and again...

Into one titanic heart of incredible loveliness that hurtles forward, aimed to intercept the Daimon before it can ever vanish beneath the ocean waters.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Moon has used Moon Spiral Heart Attack! on Pink Moon Stick.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

In the darkness, Passion moves. In the darkness, she considers Kasagami's idea--and finds it as good as any. But she sees the figure beyond, then. Passion doesn't look directly at the sun; instead she holds her breath, knowing this moment might prove the most vital somehow--but she isn't expecting the way in which it becomes true.

She doesn't let down her guard, but it isn't out of some battle-hardened wisdom; she hasn't ever stopped being afraid of the Daimon before her, only added worries and relief and questions that reside under the surface of her demeanor as surely as the waves under this ocean they stand before. Their foe is about to get away--

No, worse. "Rei!" Passion calls in alarm as the Daimon surges over her and moves to leave with the girl's body. That calm blankness, that placidity--they're all wrong for her anyway.

Behind, she can see--thanks to her actions--Sailor Uranus in the way, fighting even as the creature gets closer and closer, and her feelings mix; she has no time to process the two sides of Uranus from just the last moment, those endangering and saving her friend. ...But maybe it is more personal, than only being a friend--No, it is.

She has a fraught history with Sailor Moon and with the others. This will just have to be another part of it: as Sailor Moon demands Rei back, Cure Passion shifts forward, acting on her words until she splashes into the water, boots not on the sand long enough to sink in until she's already farther in.

She thinks of the next time she can argue with Rei, and that's enough to help her call, "Akarun!"

Passion slows to a stop, and there's a red light in her hands as she calls up her weapon. "Sing! Rhapsody of Happiness! Passion Harp!" The red Cure's light coalesces into a heart-shaped instrument under her arm, and she strums the strings. "...I won't, either," Passion echoes Sailor Moon. Then her eyes snap up, and the water around her churns. A great wind starts to surround her, hearts bubbling up from the water around her to swirl. "Rage, storm of happiness!"

"Pretty Cure--"

Whirling in place, Passion begins to pick up speed, and the same winds and waters swirl up around the Daimon, filled with red hearts as Passion's spin reaches a height with the harp suspended over her. "Happiness...!"

Stop, holding out the harp, "Hurricane!"

The sea erupts in hearts that rush up to meet Sailor Moon's, on a collision course straight at the Daimon itself, as Passion channels that power with all her focus. "Haaah....!"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Passion has used Pretty Cure Happiness Hurricane on Pink Moon Stick.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

A confident, self-sure, increasingly fight-happy grin sits on Kasagami's mouth as her blade bites. Not quite where she wanted, but she's more than happy to take an involuntary tattoo for this disgusting roll of faux-manta. Once more she avoids the falling ichor, swishing more of that black stuff off of her blade with a flick of pure disgust that almost drowns out some of that unearthly horror it gives off.

It can bleed. It can be cut. And as Sailor Moon proved with both moonlight and kick, along with all of those fighting beside her, it can be wounded.

Things that can be wounded and broken can be defeated. Kasagami's confidence surges as she feels the strength herself and the many magical girls bring to bare. This nightmare can be crushed!

Sailor Uranus takes the offensive, and it only spurrs on Kasagami, knowing that one of the Outer Senshi are helping defeat this horrid thing. But what really gets her moving is the sight of Rei being curled around and drawn into the drink by the youmarey. Kassie's steps go from lightning quick to having light eat her dust,

"A King will not allow a single thing be stolen from her, least of all those she calls friend! Her passionate soul won't be snuffed out in the deep by the likes of you, monster!" Growls out the Crimson Rose while she charges after the youma, leaping high into the air and diving down! SPLASH! She watches the eruption of purifying hearts from the duo of Passion and Moon! Just what they all needed. Kasagami applies her own, far more up-close-and-personal touch.

The aquatic world is not Kassie's most notable arena to fight in. So her initial entrance into the drink is truly meant to be her only one. Her stance is horizontal, and her blade flashes once as she swings with a full-body spin meant to run through the beast faster than an eye, or eyes, can follow. A single steel line meant to cut away. She's wordless now, in utter concentration.

One strike blossoms into two more, as she spins and cuts, reach longer than it should be and blade everywhere at once with every strike folding in on each other like a crimson rose unfolding. A rose blooms with the motions of her swings, Kasagami a dancing warrior, an artist of shining passionate steel seeking to cut away the monster before her!

COMBAT: FINISHER! Kasagami Araki has used Bloody Rose Storm on Pink Moon Stick.
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

As the Grand Magus makes her final order and prepares to exit stage nowhere, Uranus shifts those sky-blue eyes fully upon her at last. Her glare comes from a place distant within her, but it is piercing yet. Kaolinite seems to think that she can strike and fade away as many times as she likes, ever on the offensive, terror flowing in one direction.

"Not everything goes the way you want it, Kaolinite," Sailor Uranus advises her softly, though the voice will come nowhere close to reaching.

The slurch of regenerating Manta Daimon obeys its mistress and takes Uranus up on her challenge, forcing her to face forward. Her legs are slowed by the water, but not so much that she cannot confdently attempt a dodge to the side at the last second, as though goading a bull. Her thighs compress powerfully as she waits, her spread fingers at her sides, a taut and waiting balance. There's still a faint grin on her face.

"Give her back! Give me back Rei-chan!"

Uranus's grin disappears instantly, and she raises her eyes to the heavens in frustration. She had not seen it pick up Rei Hino from way back here, had not known that was an issue. Normally she could assess what to do about that for a moment, and not do anything rash; she has no desire to watch the Senshi of Fire meet the most inappropriate death possible to one of her nature, but making herself a second liability helps no one. But Sailor Moon has such pain in her voice. God damn it.

Drawing one heel back and bringing her balance-hands up into a wrestling stance, Sailor Uranus sighs in exasperation with herself.

She feels like one of those tackle dummies for American football. The Daimon's mass is far behind anything her strength could handle, even if she had surer footing. One gloved fist closes around a tooth and Uranus jams the mouth open with that elbow, but it's not "the" mouth, is it? Just a mouth. Eyeballs teem between the spread fingers of her other hand. She jams her boot as deeply into the wet sand as she can manage, and the crushing momentum of the Daimon obliges her, sinking her leg in almost to the knee at once. Uranus's teeth clack together in pain as her knee joint instantly strains to hyperextension, not quite dislocating or breaking, but she holds that heel down hard anyway, putting the brakes on this thing as best she can. Is it even having an effect?

She almost forgot to take a big breath. She does it at the last second, and then an eruption of bubbles pours around her body as she's driven into the water. Her cheeks slightly inflated, Uranus feels her heel gradually pulled from the sand as the water deepens. Whatever good that did is expended, time to go. But when she tries to pull away, she finds her forearm stuck, lodging that mouth open as it tries to chew. Letting some bubbles out as she grimaces, Uranus tugs a few times, then brings both boots up and slams them down in a simultaneous kick, ripping her arm free. The waterlogged bulk of manta almost just rams right into her again, but she brings her knees up and tucks her head, letting it smack the back of her boots and force her into an underwater flip, passing beneath its belly.

Her eyes bulge as the sun is blotted out by the bulk of Daimon above her.

Ten seconds and a lot of stress later, Uranus's head pops above water with a gasp, the Daimon passing away from her into the sea. Poor luck that with Rei in there, Michiru's hands are tied, but Uranus is confident her partner will figure something out. Treading water, she sees the others unleashing their full strength into the thing in an attempt to halt it. Short hair slicked down over her head now, she tosses it to the side with a jerk of her head to clear her eyes, then that lost grin starts to reform on her face. She considers combining her attack with that of Cure Passion or Kasagami Araki, but elects instead to collaborate with Neptune in a new way. Filling her lungs again, she dives beneath the water.

It is not immediately evident what her agenda is. But after several seconds, the water above where she disappeared begins to bulge upward, flowing away from some immense pressure beneath. A rippling golden light moves across the hemisphere of water, like light across a rotating pearl. Then, like a shot, that hemisphere launches forward. Though it rapidly dips lower in the water, a massive churning distortion follows it as it goes, juddering back and forth horizontally, spitting froth and leaving a cloudy trail of bubbles behind it.

It actually goes faster in water. Physics.

Somewhere far ahead of where Uranus disappeared, at the end of this churning trail, the water suddenly sucks concave amidst a great flash of golden light. In the next instant, a massive vertical column of seawater is blasted upward.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Uranus has used World Shaking! on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Sailor Moon's Finisher, Moon Spiral Heart Attack!, taking 212 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Cure Passion's Finisher, Pretty Cure Happiness Hurricane, taking 110 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Kasagami Araki's Finisher, Bloody Rose Storm, taking 81 Fatigue damage!  Pink Moon Stick is
unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Sailor Uranus's Finisher, World Shaking!, taking 109 Fatigue damage!  Pink Moon Stick is
unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

There's a certain asymmetry to what happens to the battlefield, but it's beautiful, in the same way that a hand is beautiful. To each finger a different function. No one would expect a pinky to do the same work as a thumb.

Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure create hearts.

Sailor Uranus and Kasagami destroy them.

The pink hearts and the red hearts are not identical visually -- even beyond color, they're somewhat differently shaped, Passion's a bit more youthfully rounded, Sailor Moon's points a bit more stark -- but they are the same in the way that matters most, both in where they came from and what they represent. The power of purification is no small thing.

The only problem is, the ocean is no small place.

But the hearts go a lot further when they're sliced, diced, severed, and -- in the end -- summarily exploded in a brilliant, molten burst of gold that is as out of place, and perfectly appropriate, as a volcano. Just as the daimon has many lives -- how many wings and eyes and mouths and claws did they already defeat, dismember and destroy before getting to this point? -- it now dies many deaths.

Pink and red shards pour into it like a heartful hailstorm.

It makes a last-ditch effort at escape, abandoning Rei's buoyancy to the crashing surf to instead draw in what's left of its appendages and plunge, and gains a few heartbeats -- surely, the monster has a minimum of three, though whose hearts they are is less clear -- retreating into the depths.

But there, in its first home, its safest place, the deep, dark vaults of the timeless sea...

...it is betrayed by the ocean herself.

Too quickly, it discovers the sea floor, as the undertow accelerates faster even than it can hope to ride. Dragged harshly along the rocky bottom, it breaks suddenly into air -- because the ocean depth is abruptly zero.

All the water that should be there has drawn away, split into twin waves that loom, menacingly, on either side. Death Valley.

The last few broken hearts crash into one another as though they were made to come together, building and bulging into a single titanic symbol of love, justice, joy, and purify.


cries the daimon, as it crashes through the heart of the heart.

And then even its final scream is drowned by the collapsing waves.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Even in the midst of concentrating upon the escaping Daimon, Sailor Moon is surprised by the ocean splitting in twain to render it vulnerable enough to be finished off. It's only fitting since Neptune is here, yet her mind does not grasp the significance over the rejection of the waves as perhaps not simply belonging to just her efforts alone - but Uranus' too, from that font of golden energy that ruptured the water after she dove in.

As she gets up from her sand covered knees, into a stumbling gait. As she rushes headlong towards the sea. "Haaa - REI-CHAN! REI-CHAN!"

Like someone who was about to lose something precious to a rip current pulling it under and driving it out to sea. Something precious enough worth risking one's life.

And so do that she does. Her boot tips lash the ground as the ground becomes wet from the violent filling of the void and meets the resistance of the shallows. The force of the wave causes her to stumble forward, "Ahhhhh-aaaaa-ah! Rei-chan!"

And suddenly catch her in her arms before the current shifts again, clinging to her, her sopping twintails floating on the surface of the waters spreading out like a golden veil over the surface.

Enfolding her arms around her, pulls her up against her, drawing her head decisively out of the water, and says hurriedly, through tearful eyes. "I've got you-! I've got you Rei-chan!" She says with with relief, still tinged with fright, as she pivots her one eighty degrees, putting her arm over her shoulder, and beginning to walk her out of the waters in rescue, not stopping until she reaches where the waves would only most gently lap the shore. Laying her down.

And now, looking at her up close - her expression almost breaks. Like she's holding it in, one can see it in the smallest spasms of her throat that end in these hiccups. Sailor Venus runs up, holding the still shining Pure Heart Crystal...

... and with a gasp, Moon closes her hands around Venus' hands like she'd found a delicate baby bird, the two bringing the glittering object next to her chest. Where they know, the rest will happen automatically...

... assuming the worst didn't already happen.

"Come on." Venus says over Rei Hino, trying not to get swept up in Moon's emotions right now, instead addressing Rei's inert form with only a mild sense of urgency showing through her usual confidence. "Pull yourself together."

Moon's eyes just move from the crystal to Rei and back. In her time she's hoped for so many miracles.

Right now she needs one more.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

With the heart-filled and aquatic death of that horrid beast, Kasagami Araki floats and back strokes her way to non-water-based occupations. Mainly because she doesn't trust her swimming skills to really engage in pulling Rei from the water.

After all, Sailor Moon and the rest of the Senshi have that covered. Her sword now gone mysteriously beneath her coat, the young woman is already getting a towel ready for Rei. Then?

She's over just behind the senshi, watching with worried eyes for the young woman. One fist is clenched. Kasagami eyes up the fiery Rei Hino.

No words, but the Duelist prays she'll get to challenge the young woman to something petty and fun once again! Her jaw is unexpectedly tight.

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

Rei is always up to something.

Rei, venturing to the beach for the bold American tradition of BARBEQUE...

Rei, striking while the iron is hot to guide a virtuoso away from nasty gossip...

Rei, speaking to the philosophy of trees...

Rei, climbing up a mountain to show a girl a field of flowers on her special day...

Rei, helping a girl in need find clothes to fit a shoestring budget...

Rei, plotting to capture a bold boy's heart from between the fingers of her grasping friend...

And yet: Rei isn't up to much right now.

The ocean is everyone's mother. Without care or consequence her limbs float, her body floats; there is no will in her eyes to move, to run, to curl into the ball which every girl knows as their last point of protection. It is the actions of those around her which see the ocean holding her, and nothing else -- nothing deeper -- nothing darker and more alien.

And then someone else is holding her, and Rei's body fits to Sailor Moon's arms like it could belong nowhere else.

Then there is no water because they are on shore, and wet sensation is dry sensation, cool of setting sun on damp skin.

Then, Sailor Venus; the Pure Heart Crystal.

There is a heartbeat. A moment.

And then -- softly -- crystal melds with skin. Does it settle in the ribcage, or is it more metaphorical than that..? In its symbosis the light returns to her, at first in little, little movements, the grit of her teeth, the scrunch of her eyes.

They open. They find Usagi, a little dazed, a little soft.


Still soft, in voice and expression, as she looks to her, first, and then to Venus and Jupiter, to Kasagami and Passion and Steven, to the Outer Senshi: "... I'm all right."

It's not long before she's looking back up to Sailor Moon, though, in her gratitude.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Comforting - Sailor Moon S OST - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7rs2u7_6CY&list=PL3CRUt-GCCPNCe48XRD1y3VzndmVOEY35

A heartbeat, opening eyes. Sailor Moon looks down at her best friend with a moment of untold delight to greet her gratitude.

And then it begins, a twitch of her nose, a sniffling noise. All the signs are there. Rei can see it coming, as inexorable as a freight train. As strong as she told herself she has to be, she had to be strong for too long this once.

All of that strength collapses like a jenga tower at the end of the game.

The Pretty Guardian of Love and Justice just breaks down bawling on the spot. One arm around Rei's neck to hold her up.

"R-Ruh-Rei-chan's back to normal!" She gets out through choked sobs, "Thank goodness!"

In the throes of her small breakdown, Sailor Jupiter who was keeping watch for the possibility of an unexpected ambush from Kaolinite says with a relieved smile, "Welcome back." While Sailor Venus asks with an affectionate tease, "Did you enjoy your nap?"

Sailor Moon though just continues crying freely. Only on occasion managing to choke out a question, "Is-Is there any pain?" She asks, despite having seen Pure Heart Crystals restored, she remembers Setsuna was quite uncomfortable after.

To anyone who doesn't know their identities right now, it'll just look like the Inner Senshi get really invested in the people who are saved from these Daimons. Yep. No special personal relationship here.

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

Uranus's head bursts up again, water streaming down her hair, parted by a gasp. Scooping her fingers through her hair to push it straight back, she watches first the aftermath of her own strike, then the way the water shifts... with a violent intent that far exceeds anything World Shaking could have created. An appreciative smirk spreads on her face. She always enjoys watching this; she wishes her good friend Kaolinite was still here to see.

Maybe it's better that they don't tilt their hand. No one has yet been stupid enough to attack Sailor Neptune on a beach twice, but now maybe Kaolinite can be the first.

The finale is, as ever, lovely.

But not all is well. With a sandy skirt and a piece of seaweed in her hair, Uranus climbs out of the water, hastening as she goes. She runs past Kasagami, stopping just ahead and in front of her, to stare gravely at the fallen Senshi of Mars. Tense with the instinct to intervene, she flicks her eyes back and forth between Rei Hino's too-pale face, the tearful eyes of Sailor Moon, and then again to Rei and her disturbingly still hand.

The tension drops away all at once, and a few seconds later, Uranus's does as well, her shoulders relaxing down. Tragedy is kicked down the road again. No one loses anything they cannot get back, today. Not even Kaolinite.

A muscle in her jaw flickering, Sailor Uranus lifts her gaze to scan the area, as if that brief heat of anger reminded her of something. No strange princes, not that Uranus's keen eyes can pick out--that outfit would be good camouflage in the sand. Probably he has actually departed, evaporating away when the conflict ends.

That's her job.

Well, Haruka thinks, looking back down at the cuddling Inner Senshi. Those two really are cute. She gives them a few seconds.

"Sailor Mars," Uranus says, despite the fact that Rei is quite vividly not in that outfit right now. She waits for the fallen girl's attention. "I'll be going on ahead," she says, in the manner of a coworker politely departing. "Thank you for your assistance today in narrowing down the location of the talismans."

If that annoys her, Uranus figures, it's all part of returning her to normal. Turning away, she puts a hand on Kasagami's shoulder and gives it a comradely squeeze.

"Get some rest," she advises Rei, her head turned over her shoulder to look back. "I'll give you a call if we need you again."

Did she wink or not? Her eyelashes moved.

With a bound, Uranus resumes Neptune's side, and together they become inscrutable again, Othered by their silent unity.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Cure Passion remains in the water, on the beach, for a little while--at first watching the disappearance of the monster, but then watching the Crystal in Sailor Moon's hands. She doesn't approach close; she stays away, watching as Sailor Moon and the others attend to Rei. She remembers most of this, too--it puts her in mind of when the same thing happened. But...

From a distance as she is, she spots Sailor Uranus speaking to them, and leaving, past Kasagami, going with Neptune. The pink-haired Cure watches the display between the senshi, and looks down to Rei, as she opens her eyes. She smiles, when Rei speaks up--and only then starts to come back, walking to find Lera now that the Barrier isn't necessary.

"...What a relief," she murmurs, with one more smile Rei's way before she goes.

...She's not so relieved about that 'assistance', but there's too much for her to sort through all at once to be able to say something about that. Passion is just glad Rei's all right.

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

"Uh..." It's a mora shaped to a sound, it begins and does not end and Usagi knows, and Rei knows, and that is enough. "... hey..." Her mumbled words are in fond register, this time, as Rei sees the strength of the other girl's tears.

"Mm," she inclines her head to Sailor Venus, though the effort has drained from her; she can appreciate her methods, at least. She smiles to Sailor Jupiter, too. Welcome back... she is back, after all.

Cure Passion lurks by the edges; Rei turns her face to see her, lifts her hand in a little wriggly-fingered wave before gravity sends her palm back down again. Perhaps there's a little in there for Kasagami, too, those girls who are trying.

Those little movements instead lend themselves to a little shake of her head, as Sailor Moon asks whether it hurts. "No," she answers, but gently, gently; there is not always fight in her.

Sailor Uranus addresses function over friendship, Mars over Rei; she does not wear a soldier's fuku armour as she looks to her, but those eyes are the same as they look up at the girl still standing. "Thank you for working hard," she hears her manner, matches it. "Though..." It's a word with a little narrowing of her eyes, a little more scepticism.

This idea, too, starts and does not end. Sailor Mars will acknowledge that Sailor Uranus surely tried to help their Princess while she was incapacitated; but the brutal methodology of the way they seek their talismans is something which gains an extra dimension when evidently applied to what lies within her own chest.

There are some things -- some of them well know -- they're just unpleasant.

Instead of chastising Sailor Uranus too harshly, Rei turns her attention back to Sailor Moon. There's this little exhale, almost amused, as Rei smiles to Sailor Moon. "Mou," an assuasive little sound of exasperation, in form and tone, "don't cry anymore." She summons what strength she can to lift her hand, place it on Sailor Moon's strong arm; in the same breath as she reminds her to be strong, she reassures her she is here, she is present, she is unharmed.

Rei, in the flesh.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Venus complains in a whisper to Jupiter, "Why was she the first to get her pure heart stolen?" Which presents strong evidence that she doesn't realize that it was Moon's heart that was almost taken. Jupiter nudges her lightly, "Shhh. This is serious."

Jupiter though does not go on the paranoid defensive on Uranus approach, perhaps at least understanding there's no threat right now. She's startled by the thank you, though she looks exasperated by what she has to say after that. Venus notably falls silent and does not offer some quip here, simply watching Uranus.

Sailor Moon starts at Uranus voice, looking up with doe eyes that are full of tears. For a while her lip quivers at the thought, just of that... everything she went through, almost losing Rei Hino, simply being a check mark on a list of people without Talismans. And yet, she doesn't hate Uranus for that. Never that. Rei calls her a hard worker, but... is that all it is? Uranus working hard to fulfill her mission - like Rei working hard at setting up for a stage performance at the beach? She can't understand it.

It is simply like her way of thinking is running up against her wall of resolve that is her mission, and she can't figure it out. There's so much she can admire about Uranus, but she just can't understand her. Those contradictions of behavior towards her just keep mixing her up. And so as Uranus walks away, Sailor Moon just watches her go with teary eyes, like she's trying to glean something that will allow her to remove that wall...

... and just can't figure anything out in this moment. Perhaps if she had another miracle to offer in a single day, she would. Or she'd learn the identity of the Moonlight Knight, who disappeared, and in her blur of tears she can't even confirm if he's there or not.

After a moment, her attention is drawn back to Rei Hino and she says in a tiny broken sound, "B-But... but...!"

And then, one can see the moment where Sailor Moon's expression locks up. And she looks up, utterly startled. It is long after Uranus said the statement 'I'll call you.' and yet it is just now that she lets out a small utterance of, "Eh-?"

Perhaps not so long after that Uranus will see the look of cute confusion on Sailor Moon's tear-stained face.

Say what you will, but her confusion grants Rei's wish.

She isn't crying anymore. As her eyes trace a line from Uranus back to Rei. "Ehhhhhhhh!?" Sailor Moon lifts a hand to her lips, as she just stares at Rei Hino. "R-Rei-chan... she has your number?" with an expression that asks 'when did this happen?!' As if she's imagining that Sailor Mars has had a clandestine working relationship with the Outer Senshi for some time.

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

Sailor Moon's heart was almost pierced; Sailor Mars got in the way. There's a reason she acknowledged Sailor Uranus's efforts, after all, rather than any other thing she said. Their appreciation of duty, the strength to do what must be done...

Rei is too tired to focus on the whisperings of the other Inners, though. Especially when Usagi's right there.

She chuffs out a chuckle, as Sailor Moon goes from crying to confusion. "Don't be ridiculous," she summons the strength to chide her, still gentle, now amused; "it's just a turn of phrase, Sailor Moon. Sailor Uranus wouldn't have gone to the trouble of getting my number." Though, perhaps, anyone in earshot of Uranus might have reason to suspect why an Outer Senshi would have business with a shrine maiden. That's troubling; that's a problem for Future Rei.

It's only a moment later, as she looks at the place Sailor Uranus was and now conspicuously is not, that uncertainty scrunches her face. Her eyes dart back to Sailor Moon, as she ventures: "... would she?" Is it possible that, of all the Inner Senshi, the Outers have recognised Sailor Mars as a valuable point of contact..?!

More problems for Future Rei!

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Tuxedo Mirage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoIV0P4cm4w

The sky is bruised, and darkening further by the moment. That tortured celestial skin is pinpricked further, leaking stars instead of blood. Twilight is a fleeting thing at the edge of the horizon, and swiftly overtaken by the rise... of the Moon.

Today the beach has been boisterous; it has been romantic; it has been lazy; it has been desperate.

Now, as the last few Tokyo kids begin to trudge towards the train station...

...it's kind of lonely.

Starlight and shadow, and a silver path cast by the most perfect pearl of all, the one the ocean can never reach.

It's kind of lonely, but it's kind of beautiful, too.