2021-01-23 - The Crystalline Dreaming, Part 1

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The Crystalline Dreaming 1

Ordinary slumbers are interrupted by the emergent need of Small Lady, who is under attack by the Black Moon.


Lera Camry, Nori Ankou, Rei Hino, Fuu Hououji, Ami Mizuno, Usagi Tsukino, Niramo Umokeshi, Ren Aizawa, Setsuna Meioh, Chibi-Usa Tsukino


In Dreams...

OOC - IC Date:

1/23/2021 - 10-28-15

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

<SoundTracker> Black Moon Plotting - Sailor Moon R - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZe_Lx29LA8

The Black Moon Clan's throne room is a place of contrasts. It is overwhelmingly dark; everything is ebony, though that word must be used with caution, because nothing is organic. No wood, no plants, all harsh metals, sharp obsidian, matte slate, and other, stranger alloys. Most prominent of course are the pillars of Black Crystal -- eight in all, an octagon that delineates the boundaries of the chamber -- which are difficult to look at directly, difficult to be around, period; theirs is a higher intensity of existence, they are more PRESENT, more REAL, than anything near them.

And, right at the edge of the audible threshhold, they slowly vibrate with something that just might be a pulse.

Yet the man at the center of the room is dressed entirely in white, but for the lavender lining of his regal cloak. One might be tempted to call him ghostlike, but this is not so; despite his pallor -- ghastly white skin; feathery, chin-length white hair; light gray eyes; white tunic and white trousers, diamond-trimmed -- he exudes a keen vitality. Enough to sit in the middle of all of this darkness and not be displaced or consumed. Enough to command it instead...

Even Prince Demando, though, is touched by the Black Crystal to some degree. He wears shards of it as dangling earrings. And like all of his kin, he is crowned by the Black Moon, inverted upon his noble brow.

He gazes deeply into a goblet, cradling it like an old friend. Every so often, just to mix things up, he swirls the surface -- VERY red, in this chiaroscuro room.

"My Prince."

Glancing up, he regards his closest and most trustworthy advisor, Wiseman. We won't belabor his description: Wiseman is a floating cowl, and a pair of spectral hands that endlessly caress a crystal ball. Well, technically he's INSIDE said cowl, but it's all shadow there.

Surely there's a body inside. But if it has veins, they might pulse in time with the Black Crystal pillars. Theirs is a profound connection.

"Wiseman," Demando replies, calmly. "What do you have for me?"

"Victory," announces the raspy whisper -- he never raises his voice. "And death."

Demando's eyebrows raise. "The Rabbit?"

"I have used the power of the Black Crystal to send her the most personal of demons. There will be no escape for her this time."

Demando lifts his goblet to toasting height, but stares across the rim at Wiseman, never looking away.

"How marvelous... you never cease to amaze."


Tokyo; well past midnight.

A cloudy night, oppressive. No moonlight, let alone starlight, gets through those dense, low-hanging clouds.

It is a school night for children, and a work night for most adults.

Most are asleep, and dreaming...

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera Camry is flat on her back in her bed and snoring.

Her apartment is a nice one -- the Camries are low-key well-to-do -- and she has a large bed. The covers are a mess, kicked down and half thrown to one side, while she is wearing a T-shirt for the Yomiuri Giants and gym shorts. She stirs, feet kicking here and there, while she also snores.

Her hair is also a mess. But, really, her hair being a mess isn't something unique to being asleep. That long orange hair doesn't really stay kempt.

But in her dreams...

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


Lera screams as she runs down a street of Tokyo. It has turned gold, and there are glitzy lights every which way. She has her head craned comically around a massive bucket of fried chicken. It has red and white stripes, with the outlined face of gentleman with a mustache and goatee.

"Aaaaahhh you can't catch me!" she yells.

As she runs, behind her, they come: a swarm of huge, fat yellow birds. They half-run, half-flap, and half-roll (such is their number that they get three halves) after her. A cloud of feathers, destruction, and turmoil is ever in her wake as she carries a bucket of fried chicken as large as she is.


"It's my chicken!" she yells. "MY CHICKEN!"

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

Nori Ankou resides, at present, in 4-4-4 Shibuya, a towering building of many uses. She lives in an apartment space, high enough up that at times the building's subtle shifts in the winds can be perceived. Her apartment has panels over the windows, to buffer the incoming daylight. It is decorated in an eclectic manner, overall, with a lot of nautical-style touches and unusual corners.

Her room is a grand space, perhaps an office once. It is filled with racks and hangers of a hundred pieces of Akai Mirai clothing, surrounding her like the strange plants of a forest. There are a half-dozen mirrors; there is a single bookshelf of reclaimed and water-damaged wood, mostly filled with cheap manga and a couple of beautiful atlases; and there is a bed, middle center, in which Nori sleeps, among enormous pillows and warm fleece blankets.

And in her dreams...

In an alien sky with chrome lights

"Ma regine la Violetta," says the Loyal Officer, coming from deck, gloriously resplendent in his tight-fitting sailor's shirt, his arms powerful and clean, his trim blonde hair and dark-lined eyes peering through the comforting gloom of the royal navigaxation chamber. "We draw near the Teeth of Heaven; a place of peril and disaster."

"Please," says the Violet Queen, stretched out in a sea of silks like a spider's web in a bed 16 meters square, "my darling, darling Gerard. How long have we known each other?"

"Fifty years," answers Gerald, "as we count them; and long enough in your own years."

"Then call me Nori," sighs Nori. "Everyone does."

She snaps her fingers. "I must take the helm, musten't I..."

"Or else we shall strike the ivory, and all our work in vain," Gerald says, daring to approach.

"Then pin my hair back and bring me my boots, and I shall chart a course," sighs Nori, which makes the two young women in crisp and sequin-lined outfits chorus, 'at once!' and begin pinning up long flowing black hair that they had been industriously brushing.

Gerald makes a fist of excitement. "Yes...! The navigator's banquet shall be prepared, and so too the Eloquent Trajectory!"

"Oo, we're doing that one?" Nori says. "With the loops?"

"YES," say all three of the other people present in her dream. Now it is Nori's turn to make a very small fist pump.

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

Rei's bedroom, of course, needs no introduction.

It's one of the many living-areas of the shrine office -- the Hinos live at the Hikawa Shrine, but not inside it, for the inner workings of the shrine are meant only for the trappings of the gods. But don't think of an 'office' like the soaring skyscrapers of Shinjuku: there might not be much technology to be found in the building, and the doors are all made of sliding paper, but this is still their home.

And Rei's room -- with a door leading to the porch outside, and windows without flyscreens to let the birds in -- is the focal point of the Inner Senshi, as much as anywhere in Hikawa Shrine is. So many hours have been spent here at the low-cut table, pouring over homework and studying for finals -- or talking about heartthrobs and not quite getting that done, depending on the mood of the room. There's her dresser with a half-dozen clever drawers, where she hides all her secrets, and her bed with a generous bedspread.

It also, currently, houses her -- because it's the middle of the night, and the Hinos rise early as a rule, all the better to attend to their prayers and the needs of the shrine.

Zzz... zzz...

... "Are you ready?!" The lights FLASH on, all shining down. It's impossible to see out there, with the spotlight on her perfect face: but the Starrific Idol Fantabulous Rei-chan knows that her adoring crowd is out there in droves. Don't think 'hundreds'. Think 'thousands'.

That's just in the crowd, of course.

Watching on the cameras which are rolling...


"Fantabulous Rei-chan will now perform for all you lovely people! This is a special song I wrote just for you - Laa-laa Love Crash!"

Does that not quite sound like the sort of name she'd title her songs..?

Don't be ridiculous. It makes perfect sense. So does the fact that there's suddenly an entire string quartet behind her. "Get ready... action!"


<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Even darkened, it's not pitch-black in Fuu's room; the gentle illumination of the night sky slips in through the windows, and the scant radiance of a few LEDs - mostly from portable devices being charged - adds a few small stars indoors, as if to pay homage to the hidden constellations outside and far above. That little light masks color but reveals outlines: desktop computer, books, laptop, a couple of game systems left to recharge, phone and eyeglasses set carefully on the nightstand, a few plushies perched here and there, and one teenaged girl, tucked under her covers as she sleeps peacefully.

But as neat and disciplined as she keeps her room (or tries to), her dreams are rarely so orderly.

The grand hall - perhaps a throne room, but set most lately for a banquet - is in shambles, cries and shouts rebounding off each stone wall, making the flames in the sconces leap and dance. And yet, as energetic as those torches are, they only faintly echo the frenetic dance of battle which has upended half of the tables and pushed the rest roughly aside.

That battle consists, on one side, of perhaps a dozen people: a blonde princess in a green satin dress, a green-haired prince in once-white tunic, a handful of others - red hair, blue hair, black hair, blonde, brunette, and other colors besides. Many wield swords, and a few command magic instead or as well.

And on the other side ... monsters. Skeletons, walking corpses, ogres, even a tiny (as they go) dragon, storming the palace with only malicious chaos in mind, a battle without rhyme or reason, without honor or humanity.

The blonde princess in green casts her emerald gaze across the monsters' lines, trusting her allies to hold them off as she weaves her will, and casts her spell with one clear shout - and the elements themselves answer, less the storm's wind and more its lightning roaring in response to the invocation. Once, twice, thrice does the lightning descend, and three monsters stagger - two of them fall entirely, disintegrating into the darkness from whence they came; the third's guard buckles long enough for a sword to sunder the goblin's torso, and it too is banished back to the chaotic void.

But always, it seems, there are more monsters to replace those defeated ... and yet, the princess defies despair, trusting the strength of her allies even when she cannot wholly trust her own strength.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

It would come as a surprise to many classmates, but Ami Mizuno has a television in her bedroom. A girl who prizes knowledge so highly surely has many uses for the window into the world a television represents. Surely she never puts on one of those romance dramas.

That television is a dark, hazy mirror for the room, being as it faces the moonlit window. To the soft sound of a ticking clock somewhere, the sleeping screen features a still-frame of a sleeping girl, cozy in her blue pajamas, her chin tucked down into the frill around the collar. Her desk, with its rows of reference books, is presented in near profile, its compressed representation a disservice to the outsized role it plays in her life. The details can be picked out only if you knew them already: an electric pencil sharpener serving as a bookend, a stereo with headphones to spare the precious sleep of her hard-working mother when Ami is, as she often is, up late at her study.

However late she was up tonight, it was not this late. She appears solidly asleep. A look of contentment glows on her face, for something absolutely wonderful happened tonight.

Ami Mizuno had been dreaming an abstract dream of infinity. Suddenly, she had awoken with a start, drowsy but breathless. Epiphany! She had in her muddled mind the solution to none other than the strong Goldbach conjecture! But it was slipping away by the moment. Hastily her clumsy hand sought a pen, and she applied herself to the notepad on her bedside, writing horizontally in big messy numerals and symbols, in contrast to the nearly computer-typed handwriting of the notes on the upper half of the page. Just before it slipped from her mind, Ami managed to scrawl out the last notes she would need to recreate her proof.

Dropping onto her back, delirious, unbearably sleepy, Ami fell to sleep once more, this time dreaming about going to school tomorrow. Her friends will notice she's beamingly happy, but none of them would really be able to understand why, not yet. She'd wait to tell them. Or maybe one of them would see her name in the newspaper. Yes, that's what's happening right now, in fact. Makoto is asking, 'is this really you?'

Next to Ami's pillow now is her notebook. Beneath her precisely bulleted and nested to-do list, it looks as though a toddler drew some lines at random and then wrote the numeral 5.

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

On the second floor of the Tsukino household, a girl sleeps. Nestled up under the warm violet starscape covers as her protection from the chill autumn evening. It is oppressively dark right now, even for at night. The only light comes from a headlight of a car that seems embarrassed to be out late, it slices across the pink drapery, sending only passive illumination into the room.

Her room is cluttered in the way of teenagers who can't be bothered to pick up their room, but it can't be said to be dirty. Pillows lay scattered across the ground by a table with partially finished, and doodled upon homework right beside several manga volumes.

A vanity with a mirror has a few fashion magazines scattered upon it, that are opened up to various tutorials with a success rate that seems dubious. A chicken clock sits sedately above the head of the bed, cruelly set to early in the morning... destined to awaken the girl, and be silenced. A perpetrator that is truly but a victim in the eternal war of sleepy girl and wakefulness.

For now though, she dreams...

Princess Tsukino is settled sedately on the ground, in a bright kimono whose colors seem to be anachronous to the setting she's in, as if it's some Edo castle. "Long have I waited for your return." The girl says to a silhouette to a quintet of men through a screen. Their shapes indistinct. Though one would swear that one of them is actually in Arabian attire... and another appears to be a well-coiffed youth in a modern suit. "My heart yearns to know of the results of your quest. Have you brought back the mythical treasures... of my heart's desire?"

"We have not, Princess." The masculine voices say in unison. "Nor have we failed... while none of us were able to obtain the treasures in question. We have returned with your heart's desire."

With an imperious gesture of her hand, she commands... "Then present it to me... knowing full well your honor will be forfeit if you are wrong."

A side screen door to the Princess' chambers opens. To...

A gingerbread castle. Expertly adorned with buttercream, and cherries, chocolates and cookies. It is multi-tiered, gorgeous, as if some pattisier had worked to create their magnum opus. The room is suddenly alit in pastel colors, as bubbles shine through the air, filtering it in with this true essence of beauty. The Princess eyes growing wide, shining...

"That'll do." She says, her voice emotional, as she stands up, hiking up the train of her kimono elegantly...

... and dashing straight towards it with a happy expression and hearts in her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The Umokeshi household is quite similar to the other two story houses in the suburbs in shape, a result of using the same cookie cutter design to fit as many houses as possible in as small of an area. There are differences, such as as the weathered sign by the front door proudly showing off the family name and the red-shingled roof. Silence weighs heavily all around, a comforting blanket that wraps around those sound asleep.

Inside a second story window, street lights manage to filter through the windows and illuminating Niramo's bedroom. Wire shelves are spread out on the walls, the silhouettes of figurines of anime characters and magical girls alike standing tall. One shelf also held a cardboard box artistically cut to be a makeshift house, with dim christmas lights decorating the 'roof'. Soft snoring could even be heard from within, even if the occupant would furiously deny the claims. With a study desk against the right-side wall and an old television and retro console shoved in a corner, the room could be described as a little cramped.

The girl living in the room wasn't paying attention to her room in the slighest, covers drawn tight around her as she lays sound asleep on her simple bed. A soft smile could be seen on her lips, unconsciously held there due to what she saw in her dreams...

The cerulean sky was speckled with small specks of pearly white clouds, with the spring sun shining down on fields of green. Niramo watches the landscape pass by far underneath her before leaning backwards with a content sigh. Brass wings beat the air occasionally, and the small brass dragon that the heroine was riding gives her a rueful stare. "I see you made yourself quite at home."

This comment has Niramo sitting back up and rolling her eyes, making sure that her armaments were still secured on her person. "You act like I had to trick you to come out of your cave today, Ta'nak! This is the -ideal- season to fly, and you're enjoying it as much as me!" A soft chuckle that feels like a small earthquake goes through the dragon as he focuses ahead is his only retort, causing the human to chuckle as well.

There's nothing quite like flying.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

It is indeed a school night. And that naturally means that Ren is in bed! And asleep! Laid on her side, she still has a light grip on her cellphone, whose screen is a few moments from going dark due to idleness. On the screen are a few texts between Endo and her -- a casual back and forth they often have before bed. It seems as though she's fallen asleep not long after bidding him goodnight, revealing just how tired she really is!

White silk curtains gently sway back and forth, and just the slightest bit of light from the streetlamps peak through the mostly drawn blinds. Her room is the picture of tidiness, with eggshell-colored walls and carpet. A few posters from some of her favorite idols are attached to the aforementioned walls, as well as some proper framed artwork likely put there as pure decoration, and a full-length mirror. Near one of the windows on the other side of the room is a perfectly normal and sturdy desk upon which sits books, pens, stationary and such. There are, however, three prominent items seated upon it at the moment.

A silver ornate ring with a brilliant bronze-colored jewel -- Souverain Heraut, in standby mode. The gem glows and pulses faintly, the Intelligent Device likely doing his nightly backups and scans.

Next, a very cute King Penguin plush that she's had for quite awhile now and hasn't even considered getting rid of. Heraut distinctly recalls inhabiting the body of said plush sometime ago during a dastardly plot that was thankfully foiled through the joint efforts of himself and several other magically-inclined and/or magically-adjacent do-gooders.

And lastly, a picture of Endo and her, placed into a nice photo frame. It was taken one day while they were out together on a lovely summer's day. (https://i.imgur.com/Gmdtvfy.jpg) They both look very young and carefree!

...But that's waking world stuff. Ren is fast asleep. Her eyes can be seen moving back and forth beneath her closed lids, indicating she's entered into a deep slumber.

Hers dreaming slumber.

"Ahhh! Be careful!" Ren shouts as she runs forward with a pillow in hand. "I've got you!" As she says this she dives forward, landing flat on her stomach. While normally this would hurt, the fact that the ground seems to be made out of something equally soft and pillowy as the, well, pillow, that's not a real concern. Though what on earth is she attempting to catch?

Well, it's more of a who instead of a what in this case. Something impacts with the pillow she's outstretched. Ren gasps and scrambles up onto her knees to lean in concerningly to see...

...A fairy! All winged and glittery, the tiny creature blinks up at its savior, then makes a sound that could be described as affirmative.

"Thank goodness!" Ren seems relieved, face breaking out into a smile as she reaches down to scoop the tiny fairy up. In response, it chitters something, then proceeds to affectionately reach out and boop Ren on the noise, which elicits a giggle from the girl.

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

The penultimate penthouse suite of the highrise obelisk known as Meioh Tower commands its entire floor, and thus the bedroom is as large as many Tokyo apartments. It is black of ceiling and of floor and of wall -- each of these being singular, as the room is itself a grand circle. It holds only dark-enhanced space and a lone furnishing. Setsuna Meioh's bed occupies the exact center point, and its slate silk sheets are in turn... empty.

She is out in the living room, up well past midnight, because she knows sleep can be less precious than time: a truth known twice, as Time Guardian and as college student.

Charts paper her sturdy metal coffee table, documenting the intersections of gravity wells and orbits and even more esoteric ellipticals. Atop them stands a stack of attendance records obtained from Infinity. They do not belong to Setsuna, but she has them nonetheless.

She's been cross-referencing their target's records with the stars' dance for hours, and even mighty minds can lose focus when it's this late. Her eyes, normally so sharp, lose focus after she rescans the long long list of incidences in those records. "She is absent... so often," Setsuna murmurs. "Unwell so often." It's a softer tone than she might use in the company of her soldier sisters, and not only because she is nodding off.

Evergreen lashes flutter, then slow and lower, even as her chin does.

They flutter once more in surprise as garnet pulses against her eyelids.

Setsuna Meioh casts the grasping webs of sleep from her mind and looks up. The tall and silvery mystery of the Garnet Rod leans against the night-black windows lining one side of the room. The nested secret of the Orb atop it glows, unbidden by its keeper, and she rises to better see eye to eye with its depths...

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The KWEEEEHs following Lera grow fainter and fainter until she can't hear them anymore. Did she outrun them? Or did something else happen?

It's quiet in Golden Tokyo.

Too quiet.

And her arms are suddenly empty of fried chicken.

<< DON'T STOP RUNNING, >> chimes Broken Ground, suddenly. << WE NEED TO HURRY. >>

The thoroughfare she's on stretches endlessly forward; no side streets, and increasingly, no storefronts, just blankly empty buildings. With every stride, the dreamscape becomes less golden and more gray...


Nori, pampered and prepared, makes for the helm of her ship, but finds that the corridor has no end.

It is a strange and beautiful place, and getting stranger all the time, but less beautiful. The silks decay, fading in color, becoming dusty and then becoming dust. The hallway she strides through is just a little bit curved, and there's always the sense that where she needs to go is just beyond line of sight, and then again, and then again, and then again.

The navigation chamber is long gone...

Abruptly, the floor beneath her feet contains her reflection. And so does either wall.

"Twin in the mirror," whisperes La Sirene, urgently. A thousand, million La Sirenes, in endless replicating lines. "Now."


"REI-CHAN! REI-CHAN! REI-CHAN! REI-CHAN!" chants the crowd.

"REI-SAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" screams someone in the midst of it, ecstatically.

Thousands of glowsticks pulse brilliantly red and purple across the arena, more and more brightly as the volume of the music cranks up. Soon, Rei can't hear anything but herself and her band.

At first the lights were random, but they're starting to have a geometry... creating a path off the stage and into the darkness.

And at the height of her song, where Laa-laa Love Crash has a big electric violin solo, and Rei has a moment to catch her breath--

--everything goes completely silent.

Looking back, the instruments are abandoned.

Looking forward, there is no crowd. Only a vast darkness, and in the middle of it, a path of red light. The light of Mars...

Suddenly, high above, a spotlight flashes down, directly on Rei. It's being operated by two women with raven black hair and feathered hair ornaments.

It starts to move forward, slowly at first to give her a second to catch on, then faster.

"Get moving!" calls Phobos.

"She needs your STAR POWER!" cries Deimos.


Princess Fuu's pitched battle takes her across the banquet hall; before long the room is clear. All that's left is to slam the double doors shut, and everyone will be safe.

But her red-haired companion holds the right door open with a palm, instead; her blue-haired companion the left.

"You can't stop now," Umi says, with unnerving calm.

"The villains are outside the walls!" Hikaru yells, which makes no sense, except for a sort of dream sense.

"Will becomes power," the wizard Clef says suddenly, from everywhere and nowhere at once. "And power is summoned..."

On the far side of the double doors is a stone castle hallway, and then a series of portcullises, all raised. The first one is beginning to lower -- haste is required to outpace it.

"GO," Umi and Hikaru demand.


Makoto points at the article again, urgently.

"Is this really you?"

Sailor Mercury looks back up at Ami, in the slightly soft and fuzzy black-and-white rendering of photography on newspaper.

"It says she's supposed to be somewhere right now," the brunette murmurs, chewing a lip in thought. "RIGHT NOW."

Out of the classroom, the hallways of Juuban public school awaits. Normally Ami is much too intelligent to get lost in their sensible layout, but now they're a labyrinth.

Eventually though she sees light at the end of the tunnel, or, more accurately, darkness...


Princess Tsukino's gingerbread castle is perfect, at first. Every bite is of the highest quality, a sublime flavor that -- dreamlike -- is savory rather than sweet, but the most utterly satisfying and addictive flavor nonetheless.

But as she makes her way through it, the flavor starts to taste a bit off, like some ingredient in it has expired. And then pieces start turning to dust as soon as she touches them to her lips.

And then, as soon as she touches them to her hands.

At the bottom of the pile of moondust, though, she finds her brooch. Though closed, she can see silver light shining brilliantly through the crack of its hinge.

"My daughter," murmurs an elegant, queenly voice. A mother's voice. Her mother's voice?

Where the radiance touches her gorgeous kimono, it begins shrinking to a more battle-ready outfit, the red, white and blue of a pretty soldier...

And when she looks up--


Niramo and her dragon soar together over a white, puffy cloud.

It blots out the view below entirely.

Eventually they come to the other side of it, and the green fields are gone, replaced by an endless concrete jungle. Above, the sunlight has become dim, dismal.

"I can take you no farther," Ta'nak announces mournfully. "It's all up to you now, and your sprouting tail."

And then the brass dragon becomes a mouse...

...and Niramo starts to fall. Air roars around her ears, the world fading into a gray blur.

"Be quick!" Tak squeaks.


Ren's fairy leads her down a primrose path, giggling all the while. This is a world of clouds and flowers. They start out diaphanous; walking through mist she is covered in diamonds of moisture, and through curtains of petals, she finds herself beautifully perfumed.

But the clouds become denser and their water dark and brakish. The flowers become thorned vines. Turning back is impossible. Forward, then, and soon, before they become impossible to pass through at all and she becomes trapped and torn.

<< YOU'LL HAVE TO BLAST THROUGH, >> says the suddenly-serious fairy, in Souverain Heraut's voice. << PLEASE CALL SET UP. >>


<SoundTracker> Loneliness #2 - Sailor Moon R OST - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aku7ht2pF74

Down a thoroughfare--

Around a curve--

At the end of the path of red light--

Through the front doors of Juuban--

Outside the castle--

The Edo-period chamber is gone--

The ground is coming up fast--

Emerging from the thorned cloudbank--

--the magical girls all find themselves in the same place.

There is no sky, only an endless darkness that has nothing to do with clouds. It is suffocating, claustrophobic. The air is hot, and tastes of horror.

There are no plants, or at least no plants alive. A dried-up dead lawn crunches underfoot, and even its weeds are brittle and dusty. A handful of gnarled trees, very clearly dead, hunch as a copse of corpses, surrounding a place of broken pavement and fallen rock and twisted metal that might, maybe, at some point in the distant past, been a neighborhood playground.

It is surrounded on every side by faceless gray buildings, all of which are, in some way, also broken. There are no intact windows, and many, many shards, more shards than window glass could easily account for, really. Some rooftops have collapsed in on themselves; some onto their neighbors. The streets are all impassable with debris.

A moan -- the mournful wind -- sounds low and miserable through this concrete jungle.

It is Tokyo, but it isn't Tokyo.

Nothing is familiar.

And everything is destroyed...

Something terrible happened here.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera is surprised -- but not shocked -- when her chicken vanishes. It makes sense in the way that dream logic makes sense; she hurries, moving quickly down the street. Her eyes are a little wide, as she looks up.

Broken Ground chimes, and she believes him. "I'm on it, buddy."

She keeps down the thoroughfaee, until she runs into a place that is filled with darkness. Her green coat flutters, and her hands grip both Soaring Sky and Broken Ground. She peers about -- and then up at the familiar but unfamiliar buildings.

"What... happened?"

<I don't know.> Soaring Sky sounds hesitant.

<Nothing good. Be careful.> Broken Ground adds.

Lera looks upward, staring as she arrives in the darkened place -- then looks back, over her shoulder, at whoever might be coming next.

COMBAT: Lera Camry transforms into Barrier Jacket Dynamic!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

That's not how this dream usually goes, says a thought crossing quietly through the back of Fuu's dreaming mind. But never mind that -

She breaks into a run, the swishing hem of her dress begins to shorten - what once brushed the floor of the grand hall now ankle-length, then calf-length. Where gloves sheathed both her arms, her right arm is now bare, and her left hand sports a brilliant green jewel in its gold-and-white setting, arm and fingers bare.

And the winds guide her: sprinting down the causeway, ducking under a portcullis dropping faster than comfortable; it is no longer a princess but a Magic Knight who rushes out of her own dreamscape --

The Wind Knight comes to a halt, catching her breath, her gaze sweeping the desolate ... yes, a cityscape.

Or what used to be one.

A streak of green light arcs from the Magic Knight's glove-jewel, materializing into her Escudo sword, and she grips the familiar hilt as she continues looking around. "Lera-san," she greets the first of her comrades whom she recognizes, nodding to others as she spots them. "Is this familiar - maybe not the place, but the feel of it - to any of you?"

It's probably a pointless question, but you never know. It certainly makes the Wind Knight supremely uneasy; less the fact that she should be asleep in her bed than the oppressive atmosphere of the destroyed landscape - no. It's not just destroyed; it's *dead*.

Her grip tightens on her sword's hilt, knuckles growing paler; the Wind Knight forces herself to keep breathing, slowly, and deeply, and to keep her thoughts analytical for the time being.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Tan'ak soars through a beautiful cloud and Niramo leans forward, eyes trying to pierce the fog that spread around them eagerly. It's a large cloud and while the interior is nothing but dull gray, the vibrant sight once they break through is going to be breathtaking for how sudden it was. Suddendly and without any fanfare, the other side of the cloud presents itself and--

It's a sea of lifeless gray that spreads from horizon to horizon, a landscape so broken that it blends into itself and become meaningless. "Eh?" This is a far cry from what the adventuring heroine has been expecting, and her confusion only grows as Ta'nak gives his warning. "What do you...w-whaoooo!" The dragon's mighty form under Niramo shifts and turns into a floating Kwami, and his final words are almost lost as she plumpets to the lifeless land below. "TAIL, SPROUT!!"

Flowing adventuring garb glows and changes into a tan bodysuit and green eyes narrow behind Sourisi's domino mask as she rapidly descends. Magical reinforcement or not, she's going far too fast to land safely! Pulling free her tonfa as she descends, Sourisi jabs the weapons into the side of a decaying building in an effort to slow down. It is for naught as the gray wall crumbles easily into lifeless grains at the touch, barely halting at all. Kicking off the wall at the last moment, the Miraculous User redirects her vertical momentum into horizatal speed that sends her rolling across the ground in a small ball that eventually comes to a rest.

Groaning, Sourisi stands up and rubs the back of her neck under her braid, trying to get an idea of where she ended up at. Nothing stands out in the slightest among the lifeless gray tide, with no sounds besides an echoing wind to disturb the city's tomb. Even breathing here seems to be an afront to the landscape, and an uneasy pit starts to form in Sourisi's gut. "Be quick...? But where?"

But it seems she's not the only one in this hellscape, and Sourisi waves a hand towards Lera and the Wind Knight in an uneasy greeting. What could have happened here and...why did everything seem so familiar?

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Sourisi!
<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53HZ7LoqhSQ - It's been a while

Nori rises and walks down the ornate stairs of dark wood, her boot-shod feet striking true on stout timbers carved from trees older than Japan. She feels the wind swaying beneath her feet. But the walk goes through strange paths, and she can feel that her train is not being borne by her maidservants; a little while longer, and Gerald seems to glance at her before stepping into a door, moving to a sidehall, or backstage; further, and the wood becoming stone, and then glass, and then silver.


Nori tosses her hair back with one hand as she walks forwards, silk shedding from her like scales from a moth. In her hand, where there had been some regal sign of her great office, there is now a crystalline perfected-vision of the Pharos, because how could it be otherwise. Her fingers tighten, and the light shines outwards, rippling ahead, an auroral bloom of mystery into the vibrant blackness of chaos and potentia.

She walks forwards, the light of the heavens crystallizing and twinkling upon her, as if the stars themselves form on dress and boots and gloves; as the rope comes to her, twining like a familiar snake up her arm as she affixed it, sashlike, round the waist, bearing the Pharos; as she dips her face forwards, bowing to the invisible, and coming away with makeup or marking, in the form of a mask.

La Sirene takes in a deep breath--

-- and partway through it the air is different.

So the first thing that la Sirene does is cough into her curled fist, taken utterly by surprise by this. Two deep breaths after this and she straightens upwards, putting a hand on her hip with a spangle of stray light as she looks at Lera, with a faint smile of relief, and then a firm nod at the Magic Knight.

She gazes around. There is several seconds reflection, before she answers Fuu: "... No. This place... it isn't... it hasn't become a ruin, yet. It's too..."

La Sirene trails off, unable to articulate the feeling aloud.

COMBAT: Nori Ankou transforms into La Sirene de Diamant!
<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Dreams are fickle things prone to changing on a whim. Ren is enjoying herself when that exact thing happens. Suddenly, fluffy clouds and brightly colored flowers turn into anything but. The thorns in particular cause alarm, prompting her to stop in her tracks and gape.

Then, the fairy speaks, but not in the same chittering as before.

"Heraut?" She says, blinking in slight confusion. Indeed it is the voice of the Intelligent Device, and his words shake her out of her temporary stupor. If he's here, in her dreams, urging her, then things have taken a turn. With a nod, Ren holds her cupped hands out towards the fairy, who flies into them. She then brings her now glowing hands to her chest, and in a soft voice calls the phrase she's grown so familiar with by now. The glow quickly spreads from her hands to the rest of her body, and then proceeds to peel away, leaving her transformed in her pristine barrier jacket. In the next breath she outstretches a single hand above her, Midchildan runic circle tracing into existence within her splayed palm. Out of the circle comes the familiar silver ring, which grows and morphs into the elongated lance form of Heraut which she then grasps and thrusts out in front of her, a brilliant light exploding forth to blast away the obstacle impeding her way forward.

Once she's through, Ren looks around at her surroundings -- the Tokyo-that's-not-Tokyo. Of course, she sees the others here as well, and breaks out into a smile. "Everyone...!"

COMBAT: Ren Aizawa transforms into Barrier Jacket Lustre!
<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Princess Tsukino happily eats, and eats, and eats. Thoughts of suitors seeming more distant, as if her dream self could only focus on one thing at a time. And right now she's too happy on the small pleasure of eating such delicious food. Yet that sensation slowly fades, with each bite, it's like she's slowly growing full, satiated - yet not really. It's more just...

... something's not right. "Eh!?" It's just not tasting right. And then it's crumbling in her hands. Then it's crumbling at the barest touch. Into a glittering pile of dust. Sifting it aside. It's her brooch... "Oh... there really was a treasure..." Lifting it up, the lid cracks open, to show the Legendary Silver Crystal - at the moment, a pink heart crystal.

And then all thoughts of a gingerbread delight, and suitors are distant, at the sound of that elegant voice.

It's like she wakes up, yet without actually doing so - without actually knowing she has, or whether she's still dreaming. And unlike every time her alarm clock rings. Yet for once, she doesn't resent it. She doesn't ask for five minutes. "Mother." Usagi Tsukino whispers faintly, tears in her eyes. There is no contradiction in calling her Mother. Not to her. There is nothing complicated into allowing her soul this. Dressed in the battle garb of a Pretty Soldier of Love and Justice. She doesn't know where she's going, but perhaps she doesn't need to. Usagi Tsukino is not unfamiliar with being called. And what was one say when your mother calls for you?

"I'm coming."

Taking a single step, she sees the darkness of the sky, the suffocation of the air. The lack of the life, the dilapidated buildings. The girl looks around, her expression suddenly as frightened as if she'd gone from a fairy tale wonderland into a fairy tale nightmare. Despite having walked through D-Point alone, she is not hardened to this in the least. Perhaps she never will be to sights like these.

"This is... pretty creepy..." She whispers, as if afraid something in the shadows might hear her, eyes darting around as if scared something might leap out of them. "...it's like something out of a horror movie..." Sailor Moon says, in a hunched pose, clutching her rod with two hands like she's afraid that she might have to turn and use it at any time. "... Please don't get me - Thing from the Spring."

... It's the freshest horror movie on her mind, and perhaps the only one she's ever made it through(Part 1 at least), by virtue of it happening on campus rather than at home.

And then... she spies life after all. "Oh Lera-chan!" Sailor Moon jogs up to her, looking so relieved, as she rubs the back of her own neck. "It's a good thing I caught up with you-! Because now, I can protect you."

Sailor Moon says, as she places a hand over Lera's shoulder, and let's Lera completely eclipse her small form other than her eyes which peek up over Lera's shoulder as she stands on the tip toes of her Moonboots.

Before she then looks sideways at La Sirene, as she arrives, giving her a look, like she's disturbed, "W-What do you mean... yet- La Sirene?" It's almost like she had to remind herself not to call her Nori-chan. The Magic Knight of Wind's question gets a confused, "No?"

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Oh, is there a picture of me?" Ami feels a little guilty feigning innocence, but she'd really like her friends to understand that she did something amazing. They would believe her if she told them, but that's like getting a dog excited by getting excited yourself. "It's not a lookalike?"

Ami leans over and widens her eyes, trying to understand why they chose a picture of her as Sailor Mercury. "I... wonder where they got that," she wonders, anxious but not shocked the way she should be. Her eyes fly up to Makoto then.

"What? Where?" She believes it right away, the way one always believes in one's own secretly held fear. "A-am I defending my proof, or... am I getting an award? What am I supposed to wear?"

"Hmm." Makoto doesn't get it, but she always tries to help. "Whenever I'm not sure what to wear to someplace, I just transform into Sailor Jupiter."

"You do not!"

"Really?" Makoto looks ambivalent, lips pursing. "I dunno, Ami-chan. Your memory is better than mine, but wasn't I Sailor Jupiter at the North Pole? And the aquarium with Jadeite? And the Rainbow Bridge and Moon?"

"Your examples are highly selective!"

"There's a lot of them though," Makoto points out reasonably, tweaking Ami for a moment such that her blue eyes turn into the spooky slits of a cat.

"I'm NOT going as Sailor Mercury to... to a math conference or a hospital or wherever I'm going," Ami moves on tremulously. "I'm finally becoming who I want to be."

Makoto puts her hand on Ami's, atop her desk. "I get that. I do. But aren't you becoming... Sailor Mercury?"

Ami looks down at her hand, and the white glove that sheathes it to the elbow. She lifts her other hand, which is just finishing its transformation, cloth painting itself onto her glittering fingers. Her breath starts coming faster, and she stands up abruptly, knocking over her chair.

"I'm late," she breathes. "I'm really late, I need to be somewhere, I..." Head spinning, Ami manages to stagger around until the classroom door is in front of her, and then run at it, which feels different and markedly inferior to the normal way she processes movement in her head. Leaving Makoto in the classroom, she plunges through the halls.

Why can't she remember? She must have been informed. Reminded. She forgot. This most important thing, it leaked out. As Sailor Mercury she plunges through the halls, repeatedly identifying landmarks in the familiar school, but all out of order. She doesn't even know where she's going other than that it's not in Juuban, so she has to spend this time efficiently, remembering her destination, but instead she's just spending all her brainpower just trying to find the door, what a joke...

There! Mercury's heart is pounding by the time she shoves open the front door, plunges onto what ought to be the walk to the gate, and instead steps onto dead and dusty grass. Her blue boots crunch their way to a slow halt, panic draining off her like smoke from dry ice, until she is standing still, hands spread daintily out to both sides for balance, her feet in one of the many effortlessly graceful stances of a Sailor Senshi.

"Sailor Moon," Mercury espies aloud, and just after, "Sailor Mars." Jogging towards the group with her hands still low near her hips, Mercury takes her last step as a turn on her heel, coming about to stare at the landscape with the others reassuringly at her back.

"Did you just get here too?" she asks Fuu. Her face has grown serious. It's clear enough that everyone is confused, so rather than press them with questions, she looks about at the landscape. "Is this really... Tokyo?"

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

"And I could never dream~ we could be such a team~"

'Rei-chan' might be the holler of the day, but Rei-chan is up here singing her heart out for everyone. With a bounce and a wave of her wrist, she's not about to let all her fans down!

"Get moving in a flash, yeah, we're due for a~"

This is the moment when everything comes together. Rei, of course, can draw in the air without missing a beat. She's a professional, which is also how she can spin about without tripping on her cord.


And at the other end of her twirl, there's no one there.

"...ash..?" The Fantabulous Rei-chan looks back, to the string quartet, only to find them abandoned. She shifts on the stage, suddenly uncertain. If she takes a step, will she fall off the edge..? There were always so many lights...

Flash. Here's another.

"Ah--" Rei gasps, looking up to the spotlight, the women tilting it. A dozen questions die on her lips in the wake of those words.

She needs her.

"... right!" Rei calls out, instead, running forward with that light, running to --

This is a path of Mars; no wonder, then, that Sailor Mars is the one who comes to the choking dark. Those flames streaming from her are ribbons, and the ribbons bind to gloves, to fuku, to bright red heels. That pointed footwear comes down on dead grass, and the war-weary blades crumble under the pressure, all bend-snap-crack.

Sailor Mars allows herself one pointed moment of dismay, to see this new horror. One moment for her fingers to extend with complete delicacy to touch upon the purple ribbon at her chest, as if to check the heart below still beats; one moment for her expression to draw itself in tight dismay, lips apart and breath not quite pulling through, as if the heaviness of the air has defeated her lungs.

But only one.

"I have never seen this," she answers the Wind Knight, her words stiff as dead branches. It is a phrase of particular construction; it is also true.

There's something horrifying about that, too.

"Not yet," Sailor Mars agrees -- agrees? -- with la Sirene, on the heels of her friends' nervous question. To Sailor Mercury, she smiles, warm, no matter the tension of nerves at the corner of her lip. Of course, it's only natural for her to step over to Lera -- and, more to the point, the characteristic twin-tails behind Lera. "Sailor Moon!" She exclaims, pointing to her. "We need you out here, not hiding behind poor Lera-chan."

She looks up at the endless dark, an air too heavy. "... don't worry," she adds, and that pointing finger becomes a hand reaching out, no matter the way she's not looking that way any more. "We can handle this." We have to, she does not add, skips straight to: "... even if it's like this, I'm sure it's Tokyo."

Tokyo might look different under lenses like these, but it is always, always Tokyo.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Still https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aku7ht2pF74

Huff. Huff. Footsteps pound against the road, tap-tap-tap, echoing in the ghostly silence of the ruined city. It's from far away, at first, the source invisible; it takes time to sort out where it comes from.

...But for her, it isn't somewhere else; it's right where she is now. A small girl with pink hair in odango runs along the road, close to a broken building. Her shoe soles are getting worn, but can hold out for a while yet, and she's followed quickly by a floating black orb. It bobs along with a strange noise, an antenna from its head and two catlike ears pointed forward. As for her...

How long has she been running? How far has she gone by now, from home? The sky is so dark. It offers her no clues, not anymore than the empty buildings or the silent streets, draped in quiet except for her own steps.

The girl's blue clothes are dirty, her red eyes set in determination when she isn't looking back to check for... something. What it is is hard to say. Certainly not just to look at her.

Her steps grow louder, and louder, but only because of the silence; they are not heavy, not large. She is tiny against the mammoth buildings of the landscape and their wreckage.

But there's a spot--a sight, one can suddenly see, a rush of pink moving in view past the square. She runs, maybe as quickly as her legs can take her.

Except for the little orb behind her that smiles as ever, she is entirely alone.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

Is it really Tokyo?

To answer that question Sailor Mercury might be forced to clarify her priors. Sailor Mars is intuitively sure -- and, characteristically, intuitively correct -- but...

What IS Tokyo?

If Tokyo is its people, then it isn't really Tokyo. There is no one here, living or dead, but for the magical girls themselves. There are no signs of struggle. Whatever catastrophe happened here happened all at once. Or perhaps its emptiness is a metaphor for something else...

If Tokyo is its famous buildings, then it isn't really Tokyo, but that's not entirely fair because Tokyo is gigantic and it's easy to be far from any famous buildings. Certainly there is a sense of SCOPE here, of SIZE, that is Tokyo-esque. Though this square block of city park is enclosed by debris, and the darkness is too great to see far off, nevertheless it is easy to feel like a tiny shrub in a vast forest, to KNOW, deeply, that this metropolis is so huge as to feel as endless as any corridor or thoroughfare or cloud that led them here.

If Tokyo is its architecture... mmm. There's an anonymity to the buildings that feels very distant and watercolor, except that sounds pretty, and this is an intimately ugly place, an atrocity of a location; still, in some ways this is like a sketch of a place, rather than the place itself.

On the one hand, when destroyed, every place looks pretty much the same.

But on the other hand... to the extent that there is architecture, its lines are sleek, sinuous, uncannily... clean. There is a sense of lost elegance; this place was grand once, grand in a way that feels less like the familiar inland sea of skyscrapers and more like an unfamiliar ocean of... towers, a word that somehow fits it better. The angles are wrong. Six, eight, twelve-sided buildings, instead of four.

Whether or not it was Tokyo before, it isn't now...

...corpses or not, this place possesses the quiet of a grave.

UNTIL! Just as Chibi-Usa Tsukino dashes across a nearby street, the black sky is shattered by a gigantic, monstrous fork of hot deadly white. This was a stroke of lightning worthy of any horror film, a shocking jolt straight to the lizard inside every human.

It must have struck very close. A few blocks away, maybe.

And once the thunder -- almost enough to explain how the city was leveled, it howls through bone marrow -- has crashed itself out, there is a keen sense that there might not be two entities in this place that might be, could have been Tokyo, but three.

The magical girls...

...the fugitive (and her loyal spherical companion)...

...and whatever she's running from.

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

"Mars-chan!" Moon exclaims, before immediately replying with a certain indignation, "I'm not hiding! I'm watching her back!" Moon feels there's no shame ever in being in the party's back row.

"Mercury-chan! You're here too...!" Moon sounds palpably relieved, because certainly she feels that Ami will be able to figure this place out... and moreso what they have to do. And with that, Moon does come out from behind Lera, to jog over behind Mercury, just as Mercury starts to scan the landscape.

Her eyes slip over behind her to Mars assuring them they can handle this. Then back to Ami as if trying to get some sense of whether Ami agrees.

Because if the smartest person in the room agrees with someone with Rei's instincts, she has to know it's true.

"Mercury... do you see something?" She says quietly, as if not wanting to interrupt her for that evaluation, but being too impatient to actually wait and not interrupt.

And then her head turns, and she sees a familiar set of pink hair, small body, legs pumping as she dashes down a nearby street.


The lightning crash shatters her call with that horrible light. So loud and horrible that you can imagine Sailor Moon screaming, save that it was drowned out by that terrible cry of Thunder.

Shaking, trembling, when vision clears Sailor Moon is on the ground as if she were an elementary schooler in an earthquake drill. However, she then slips out of that position and scrambles with her hands ahead of her as she rises back up and runs.


Sailor Moon runs, heedless of any danger, still shaking, looking terrified herself by this instinctual idea of an existential horror.

"Here! Here! Come over here!" She cries out to her as she runs, gesticulating, waving to try and get her attention, as if in hopes to direct her towards people who might protect her.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The Wind Knight smiles gamely at Sailor Moon, even as she acknowledges the negatory answer with a shrug. "I figured it might be a long shot," she admits, "but logically, for something to draw all of us into *this* environment ..." Her smile ebbs somewhat as she looks away, continuing to take in their surroundings. "Logically ... either it's one of our existing enemies at work, or a new one of whom we know nothing yet. And if this isn't familiar to any of *us* ..."

Lightning crashes down - not like her princess-self's spell, but bleached and unwholesome like the desolation around them. The light it briefly casts *does* illuminate the fallen structures, and that flash illuminates their angles long enough to recognize that instead of the right-angled, rectilinear structures that mark most familiar architecture, these are indeed different.

In the wake of that crash of lightning and the thunder which resounded alongside the flare, the Wind Knight's sword vanishes, replaced by her bow and a full quiver of arrows. She wastes no time in nocking one, but the bow remains relaxed in her grasp, string undrawn. "Is that ... ?" she asks, at first asking nobody, then glancing to the Sailor Senshi - one of whom confirms that tentative recognition. Chibi-Usa, *here*.

The Wind Knight still doesn't draw her arrow back, but her attention has a direction now: where Chibi-Usa is coming from. And the Magic Knight of Wind is on the move, following Sailor Moon's lead - the less distance Chibi-Usa has to cover with her own strength, the sooner the young girl can be protected.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

La Sirene sweeps a hand through some of her hair to push it back, tilting her to the side. She answers Sailor Moon. "Ruins have a different feel. They are sad... but... it is the difference between a skeleton in a museum, and..."

She does not finish the analogy, her pale eyes turning towards Mercury and Mars as they arrive as well as Ren and Sourisi, and there are footsteps, too, beyond what la Sirene can see easily.

And then, FLASH! Lightning strikes nearby, bursting through the gloom! La Sirene jumps, almost out of her boots, but then Sailor Moon is moving. She sees --

--"Chibi-usa?" la Sirene murmurs, but with Sailor Moon pointing the way, she thinks that she can see. Perhaps she is convincing herself, she thinks, but if an illusion is a thing everyone sees, is it truly an illusion?

"Can you see her?" she asks Lera, well known aerialist (among her many other virtues), before she strides after Sailor Moon. One hand comes to the side of her mouth and la Sirene belts out into the echoing wreckage of this dark sketch of a dead world, "H A L L O - please, come this way!"

More quietly, to those near her, or perhaps herself, la Sirene muses, "I wonder what happened to the ship. Were you on the ship, all of you?"

<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

It seems it's not just the other two that Sourisi spotted at first that are in the city. A few moments later and more of Tokyo's magical defenders arrive, and with them a breath of life in this abysmal dream. The colorful uniforms that everyone wears instantly stands out among the gray landscape, but the sheer amount of such a dull color seems to leech the energy from their outfits. It's another sign that they are the outsiders here.

There's a few voice concerns that the city they find themselves in, but Sourisi frowns as she looks out upon the crushed buildings and dead land around her. No life, no people, nothing of even nature stirring except for the persistant winds...no, this isn't Tokyo. Or any city on Earth, either. "If it is...I think it's Tokyo in name only now..."

But a new sound besides the wind and the chatter from the other magical girls echoes throughout the ruins and Sourisi turns her head towards the source. Fingers tightening onto her tonfa for comfort, a flash of pink hair can be seen down a side street. If this had been a normal city street filled with life, Sourisi wouldn't have paid it any mind, but it is a beacon in this dull sea. That same instant, just as Sourisi was about to call out--


The oppressive silence is shattered by unnatural fury, the unexpected lightning making the Miraculous User flinch from how sudden the noise was, and how she couldn't see anything from the sudden brightness against the black sky. She's not even sure if she's screaming...but her mouth is open. She had to be, right?

Skin tingling, eyes stinging and her body feeling like it should be aching, the ravenette straighens up and refocuses on the street. A part of her doesn't want to go and see what caused such destruction closer, but...there was someone in danger, plain and simple. She wouldn't be her if she decided to turn tail and run! "Be quick...that's what Takk meant!"

Sourisi joins in the group being led by Sailor Moon and blinks in confusion at La Sirene, trying to puzzle out what she means as she overhears the question. "Ship? I didn't see any ship, and I was flying." Then again, this city was a far cry away from the picturesque landscape she had been above earlier.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"No... it's not," Lera answers to Fuu. She waves at them as they arrive, though her expression is a little torn given the darkness. She pauses, as she spots Ren, and then brightens. "Ren-chan!" she calls out. "I'm glad you're here, y'know?"

She waves at Sailor Moon, as she appears. She blinks, once -- and then she smiles down at her. "Aaah, well... y'know, I'm glad you're here. Let's keep an eye on each other, okay?"

She looks at Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars. She grins apologetically at the latter.

She glances back -- and spots that movement of pink. Lera's eyes widen at the fork of lightning.

She sprints off after them.

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

It's all wrong, but Sailor Mars calls it Tokyo, anyway. She sounds so certain. It's not a thing which can be spoken; the mysteries of the world are innumerable and ineffable. To move between them is to find sure footing in an earthquake, steadiness on cracking ice, a path through to the eye of the storm.

It's a wisdom entirely distinct from the careful analysis of Sailor Mercury and the questions she thinks to ask.

(Perhaps it's a sign of her uneasiness that she doesn't tell Sailor Moon one isn't supposed to literally watch someone else's back.)

But speaking of the storm --

CRACK goes the thunder, spine right down to tippy-toes all pointed together. Sailor Mars doesn't see what Sailor Moon does -- not right away. The thunder peals down and out, and all of her shudders, mind all arattle with the rest of her.

"There's an ominous presence..." Sailor Mars did not fall onto the ground, but it still takes her a moment to recentre herself, in the wake of the lightning. Her words trail like her hair, as she shakes her head, a hand to her temple. If only the hair would stop prickling at the back of her neck.

Sailor Moon gets up, goes running -- and Sailor Mars takes off after her, horrible recognition flooding through her as she hears that cry. "Ah-- Chibi-Usa-chan!" She calls, on the heels of Moon's cry in more ways than one. "Chibi-Usa-chan, it's not safe..!"

She needs her, they said...

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Ren doesn't like this one bit. Though Lera being here has done a lot to relieve some of that feeling of apprehension. "Lera-chan! And Fuu-chan! And Sailor Moon!" She says, acknowledging the Wind Knight and leader of the sailor senshi as well. "Wow. I'm pretty sure I was having a dream before all of this... We're all still dreaming though, right?" She looks at the others who are also here, as if waiting for them to answer.

That's when a shock of Pink is seen darting in the distance. Mars shouts a name she isn't familiar with, and then before Ren can ask any questions, people are running off!

"H-hey!" She wants to tell them all they shouldn't leave anyone behind, but of course that won't do any good now. So, she runs after them as well!

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Mercury is accustomed to having a peanut gallery while she's trying to think, and she has gotten fairly adept at it as she became a veteran magical girl. She'd like to tell Sailor Moon that, but that girl already has a way of being bold when she should be shy and shy when she should be bold. At least if Mercury doesn't go interfering with that dysfunctional balance, it will at least remain in balance, and also not Mercury's fault.

"This place seems impossible," she says. "Both rationally and... geometrically. Either the entire city has been deeply corrupted, all at once without any of us noticing; or we are in an alternate reality that does not adhere to our physical laws..."

Sailor Mercury touches her temple near her tiara, and a crystalline blue visor slides across her eyes with a soft, almost soothing hiss. The brutal legibility of an old computer font marries itself to the abstract, speed-of-thought computations of science fiction as Mercury slowly rakes cobalt-clear analytics across the scene.

"...or, the theory I consider most likely..."

Mercury turns her visor on Sailor Moon herself.

"Yes. We are most certainly in a dream. The electrical activity in our minds is forming theta waves..."

Faltering, Mercury looks down at her own hand, turning it over to face the palm, in the universal sign language of existential crisis.

"...which is to say, this is not actually my Mercury Goggle, and I'm not actually scanning anything..."

Mercury rocks on her high heels a little, looking dazed.

"At any rate, I remain confident in my analysis," she decides firmly. "What I do not know is... whose dream are we all dreaming?"

When lightning crashes, the display of the Mercury Goggle distorts and stretches across its glassy surface, jittering around. It snaps back into place as Mercury lets her gloved hand drop, and catches her small glimpse of a fleeing figure. Struck dumb for a moment by Chibiusa's sudden presence, she just looks at Sailor Moon's back for a moment, blinking as she flees. Then, belatedly, she shows Sailor Mars her alarm with a glance, and sets off after their sort-of leader.

"Wait, both of you! We don't even know if our powers will work!"

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


She can't help but shriek in terror at the awful lightning, stumbling as she runs. But the little girl scrambles up and keeps running like her life depends on it... because maybe it does. But the shouts surprise her. She blinks, looks back, and doubletakes. The way they call to her seems only to prompt confusion. Well, confusion, and:

"How DARE you call me that--" Indignation shows in her small face as she glares back for a moment before seeing how many there are--how some of them are coming towards her. She pales, eyes widening in fear. The girl doesn't stumble this time, but as it turns out, she wasn't running as fast as she could.

Because she's running faster now--away from the group, her soles slapping harder on the ground with her increased pace. She doesn't know these people; she doesn't have any idea who they might be, why they're calling to her with some strange name. She just knows that she has to keep running, running, or else--

The pink-haired girl runs past another window, hops over a broken sign on the ground as she runs. Luna-P floats right behind her, sailing through the air without resistance more quickly than before.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Stones Glowing In The Darkness - Laputa OST - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpQQznyXl6k

Everyone's like twice Chibi-Usa's size, so this should be easy, right?


The little girl has one crucial advantage in navigating these streets: she is small. The debris is large, and everywhere, but there are numerous paths she can take that larger people cannot. Occasionally this works against her -- they can surmount large obstacles that she has to wriggle over, under, around or through -- but mostly it works for her.

And so the chase is on. It goes -- NOT in a straight line -- for several blocks, each of them telling, perhaps, a quarter of a story as they blur by.

  • Like the crater Chibi-Usa passes without a second glance; open ground, no wonder she avoids it. And yet there's this half-formed sense to it that it's not actually JUST a crater -- or, rather, that it was always a hollow in the ground; that, once upon a time, it was an amphitheatre, with concentric half-circle bleachers leading down to a stage. Classical, almost Grecian. All of it carved out of a single gigantic piece of matte gray earth... now a broken, jumbled up thing, with dirty water pooling in the chasm at its center.
  • Like the building Chibi-Usa slips through like a ghost -- dangerous, it's already half-collapsed! -- that has a shredded awning. No signage, but it feels like there SHOULD be, and that it's not stolen or worn away but just missing, just lost, dreamily denied its identity, and even the color of its fabric, which is the same, black-sky-lit gray as everything else.
  • Like the street Chibi-Usa runs down that has a median seamlessly made of the same material as the road itself -- equally broken now, of course -- and on that median, piles of dust and chunks of detritus. It must have been a beautiful canopy, once. And the road to either side is too narrow for cars... perhaps it was a pedestrian mall. Now empty of humanity, it has a lonely feeling.

There's a desperate feeling to the chase, and it gets moreso as it goes on; rather than the inevitability of catching up to her, it increasingly feels inevitable that they will not.

She's finally lost to sight when she ducks around a street corner with a sufficient lead.

But when her pursuers catch up to that intersection, they may not be able to see her anymore, but instead they see--!

COMBAT: Rei Hino transforms into Sailor Mars!
COMBAT: Ami Mizuno transforms into Sailor Mercury!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Summoned through a secret atop a mystery, an enigma of a senshi waits within a dream of a could be Tokyo. Sailor Pluto, eternal Guardian of Time and Daughter of Chronos, settles her bootheels into the grit of broken buildings without looking down; it is thick enough to crunch, even in the center of this street.

Behind her it deepens, and the grit becomes bits and then boulders and beyond that busted chunks of undone construction piled high and careless. In the way that abandoned places will, this part of the city has rearranged itself by way of entropy and gravity, and what was a tower is now a wall.

She stands tall and timeless, seemingly untouched by anything but the wind, as the mahou pursuit rounds a corner to see her there. The wind, though: it keens through her long long hair, tugging and lifting strands of rich dark green like an envious poltergeist.

One white-gloved hand grips her sacred staff; the other fists over her heart.

She meets them with an unblinking look, and the Orb atop her Rod seems to regard them as well; and she meets them with a low, steady tone which is nonetheless urgent, like a river so wide and deep that its swift currents seem calm.

"A thing need not actually happen to be true."

This intersection was too far for Mercury's analysis to reasonably carry here, but Pluto's words recall it nonetheless.

"This is Small Lady's dream, and you are all here because she needs you."

COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Sailor Pluto!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Sailor Moon's face goes through a spectrum of changes as Mercury describes her hypothesis. First she's nodding along, happily at the idea that she's got it. Then she has a finger to her chin, dot eyes, and ??? over it. "Theta... waves?" Then she looks down and to the left as she scratches one of her buns. "Hmmm. Ummm - Ours?"

She answers with a certain helplessness of not really getting it.

But that was before the lightning, and before Chibi-Usa.


Mercury's warning is heard, but it could not stop her right now. Chibi-Usa initial stop is time Sailor Moon uses to try and gain, that is until she looks their way and gets indignant. Which shocks her at first, but only so much as that she can show indignation in this situation of abject horror. "Huh? We've-" And then she shows it back, "-WE'VE BEEN OVER THIS!" Sailor Moon shouts back, thinking this is an argument over her using 'Usagi' versus her nickname again.

But unfortunately, that moment of response is enough to slow her momentum. And more than enough for Chibi-Usa to pick back up the pace again. "CHIBI-USA! COME BACK HERE! We can protect you!"

The chase is on, and for once in her life, Sailor Moon actually wishes she were smaller. Not to say she doesn't like being her height. She thinks that petite heights are pretty cute. It's just... Chibi-Usa navigates this rubble so easily because she is, whereas she has to stop jogging to avoid jagged pieces of landscape. Or get down on her hands and knees to get underneath debris.

"Please! Come back! Whatever is frightening you - you don't have to be alone!"

She's not really paying attention to the details, other than the immediate sense of it being hazardous, because her priority is of course Chibi-Usa.

Yet eventually, a street corner claims sight of her. And Sailor Moon picks up the pace, as if losing sight of her had caused her to gain a second wind. The corner is treated to the sight of a Senshi nearly drifting on her boots from the skid of a sudden motion shift, before haphazardly stumbling forward. "CHIBI-U-"

The familiar sight of the beauty of Sailor Pluto, standing there instead, steals the final syllable away. As Sailor Moon stands, wide-eyed. "Sailor... Pluto!" She stops for a moment, as if not really comprehending the situation. Then quickly looks around and stands on her tip toes with a hand over her eyes to scan for any sign of pink hair.

Before turning back to Sailor Pluto, raising a finger, with that awkward expression of a foreigner about to ask for directions to the local train station. It's so clear that she's about to ask if she's seen Chibi-Usa come by this way.

And then her voice cuts Sailor Moon off with her urgency. "Small Lady?" She'd heard Pluto's nickname for her before, but didn't really understand where it came from. "Ah you mean-" Though she then looks over towards Mercury for a moment, as if admiring her earlier analysis because it had just been confirmed.

Before she swallows, and gives Pluto a dire look, "-What's happening to Chibi-Usa-chan?"

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

She didn't recognize them, thinks the Wind Knight. She rejected the name that so many of them know her by - meaning either this isn't the Chibi-Usa the magical girls know, or the dream is of a time when she didn't know them.

But the pursuit doesn't let her keep trying to make sense of the situation, and the green-clad Magic Knight lets her bow and quiver disappear - as much to facilitate navigation as to reduce how much she might look like a threat. Her weapons will come to hand again when she needs them; that's how they work.

Longer strides or overall size are only an advantage when you have a straight, relatively clear path; Chibi-Usa instead leads them into what amounts to an obstacle course - and some part of Fuu has to approve of Chibi-Usa's tactics; she may not recognize allies (and if the dream is futzing with her memories, can she blame her?), but she's using the environment to her advantage.

And then, rather than catching up with Chibi-Usa, they encounter somebody completely different. "It's not the first time we've done battle in a dreamscape," she states, acknowledging Pluto's first statement as she bows politely to the more mature Sailor Senshi. "And ... she doesn't remember that she's 'Chibi-Usa' to us. Is 'Small Lady' the better title to call her by for now?"

The chance to catch her breath is welcomed, and the Wind Knight is putting it to use, but they have to get moving again if they're going to catch up - or to intercept whatever Chibi-Usa was running from before she started running from *them*. Hopefully Sailor Pluto knows which way they need to get moving *in*.

<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Sailor Mercury seems certain that this is a shared dream of sorts, and it does make some kind of sense as Sourisi thinks it over. But once you realize it's just a dream, don't you just wake up? None of that was going on, and the sense of uneasiness was only growing as Sourisi continues to give chase after Chibi-Usa. The younger girl was afraid of something...but was it them? Or was she afraid -for- them?

And the smaller pink-haired girl was making it very difficult to see what was going on by asking her! Chibi-Usa was able to slip through holes and gaps that even gave Sourisi trouble. Constantly staying in cover and using the terrain to her advantage was making the lead Chibi-Usa had only grow by the second. And the glimpses that Sourisi catch of the city during the frantic chase is only making it more clear that this wasn't Tokyo. The lifeless material, the strange shape of the buildings, how similar and yet how different everything was hammering it home that this bizarre dreamscape is alien in design. It was like looking at your own image in a heavily distorted funhouse mirror. You know what it should show yet the result is completely foreign.

Panting slightly with the effort, Sourisi rounds the corner in hopes of seeing the tail end of pink hair going through yet another building. Yet what is before is not the young elementary school girl she is expecting, but the wise presence of the Senshi of Time. Sourisi gives the woman a quick yet worried smile before nodding her head. "I think that's what my dream was telling me...but how can we help? She seems to be terrified to be near us..."

Sourisi always feels more at home when an evil monster needs to be stopped with her tonfa than figuring out a clever solution, and force is clearly not the path forward. A gloved hand grasps the other wrist and she hangs her head. "I hope chasing after her like this won't hurt her."

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"You weren't on the ship?" la Sirene murmurs to Sourisi. (Inside of la Sirene's head, perhaps, a little Sourisi steps onto a wheel and begins to jog briskly forwards as la Sirene thinks - having little to occupy her for a few moments - if she wasn't on the ship, how was she here? I thought she might have been somewhere else.)

La Sirene's brow knits, evidently with concern for the girl that they all approach. When Sailor Mercury speaks with reason and logic, la Sirene's head tilts fractionally towards her, considering. "An alternate reality...?"

But then:

"Ah!" If this isn't my dream, la Sirene thinks further, then it makes sense that they weren't on the ship. I was on the great flying ship myself. Maybe Gerald saw these and took them for the - the - (The dream signifiers are already dissipating, though they shall shine bright when next she visits that realm.)

As they move, the impression of Tokyo-in-specific seems to fade slightly. La Sirene knows it is a city of wonders, and any individual such item would not be surprising to find somewhere in all of the many districts and wards, but there is some relief to think that this is a dream, and not... ... a recurrence of a certain set of events.

"Even without magic itself," la Sirene says, "there are still things that we can do, don't you think?" But then they find--

Sailor Pluto. The wind stirs la Sirene's hair, or its negative-space echo as she comes to a halt, a few small sparks from the soles of her boots discharging harmlessly into stone.

"... *her* dream?" la Sirene says, blinking. She looks over her shoulder then, and back to Sailor Pluto, as if to say: THIS is her dream?

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

Sailor Mercury's steps tap sideways for a few paces as she traces the edge of the crater, a lot of concern over the specifics of its oddity given the urgency of the chase. But if this is a dream, then the ruins are clues, not random debris. Who amongst them would remember--or imagine--such a place?

"Was this... really in Tokyo?" she wonders aloud, jogging her way out of her sidestep to pursue the others.

The ruined building alarms her. "Sailor Moon! Don't -- ohh!" she perseverates aloud as blonde twintails bob around, making their way through debris. Mercury herself goes around, lest there be no one to pull her more reckless comrades out if something goes wrong.

Finally, she ends up with the others, facing Sailor Pluto. Her expression has grown serious, but there is still a pensive lilt to her brow. She cannot decide if she does not understand Sailor Pluto's statement on reality, or if she just does not personally believe it.

"You mean... emotional help, right?" Mercury ventures. She touches her temple again, dissolving the Mercury Goggle with whisper like crystalline sand running through your fingers. Her presence is no less alert.

"I had worried this was the dream of some powerful enemy. But if it's Chibi-Usa-chan's dream, any danger is just an illusion, is that not true? When someone dies in their own dream, they wake up."

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

Sailor Mars simply accepted Sailor Mercury's analysis with, "So we're dreaming together..."

... she should really sound more shocked, shouldn't she?!

But then, maybe that's her instinct. Just as it's her instinct to take off running, without thinking of the consequences. "Come on!" She calls back, to Mercury -- and the others, besides.

It should have been simple, from there. Sailor Mars might be sensitive to ill forces, but the presence here feels strong enough she's sure the others can feel it too. Couldn't even Chibi-Usa tell there's something else here with them..?

Even so, Chibi-Usa doesn't stop. She yells back to them, with an indignation Sailor Mars knows very well. But Sailor Moon seems to recognise why she's upset, and Sailor Mars trusts her instincts here, too. Rather than interrogate the why, she calls: "Chibi-Usa-chan, wait--!"

... which may just make the situation worse. At least Sailor Mars is tall enough to leap some of that debris. She doesn't quite have the fearsome height of Sailor Jupiter, but she's one of the taller Inner Senshi, after all.

This heightness quickly backfires on her when there's something overhead she has to duck under. Add a few more of those to the pile, and a few more, and a few more... and Chibi-Usa is gone.

Sailor Mars all but runs into Sailor Moon, when she stops -- catching her and catching herself before she straightens up. "Sailor Pluto..?" That senshi with the sad eyes, she thinks, as she listens.

Sailor Mars clasps a hand to her chest, frowning to herself. "Ah... 'she' was Chibi-Usa-chan... it's as my dream said." Those helpful women... she never got to thank them.

The question la Sirene asks is one she looks to Mercury about, but silently. Perhaps she simply feels Sailor Mercury would know whether this alternate reality was Chibi-Usa's own.

There's a fear behind her purple eyes she can't quite shutter, shared with her fellow guardian.

"If this is inside Chibi-Usa-chan's mind... I have a bad feeling." ... but she doesn't say just what it is, leaves it to implication. "... we must help Chibi-Usa-chan at once!"

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

Sailor Pluto gives a nod, simple but respectful, to Sailor Moon as she makes the connection between names.

"A creature from the Black Moon Clan is hunting her." It is not the first time, either; once Black Moon involved not one, but two actual UFOs in an attempt on Chibi-Usa, and scooped up a good half of Tokyo's mahou population in the doing. "She cannot escape it, only run until she cannot run any more. If it catches her, the danger is very real. She will not just wake up, after, like it was only a terrible dream."

White gloves hide white knuckles. She stands tall and still and does not cast a searching look behind her for a terribly frightened, running girl; she makes sure they all understand, in this place full of strangeness and uncertainty. They have to understand.

She speaks the unthinkable.

"Small Lady will never wake up. It will kill her if it is not killed first."

It is too much, even for so steadfast a soldier, but she has the presence of mind to know it; and so she closes her eyes before they can betray her, and lowers her head. "Please," she says, and needs not kneel to make clear her beseechment. "Please, help me save Small Lady."

The girl with the pink odango needs them, and that means the Guardian of Time needs them just as badly. "She cannot face this alone."