2021-10-02 - Ice Queen Heartbreak! Deadly Hellfire Down The Slopes!

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Ice Queen Heartbreak! Deadly Hellfire Down The Slopes!

At the third annual Moon Princess ski race in Hokkaido, the HeartBeats finally surge into terrible life, stealing Pure Heart Crystals by the dozen. Eudial reminds everyone why she's the getaway driver of the Death Busters.


Eudial, Mami Tomoe, Rei Hino, Nori Ankou, Niramo Umokeshi, Usagi Tsukino, Fuu Hououji, Fumiko Inoue, Haruka Tenoh, Steven Universe


Kubota Ski Course

OOC - IC Date:

10/2/2021 - 12-05-2015

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Party Rock Anthem - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIh5AHxh-Ok

The Moon Princess Ski Race is a relatively new but already much-beloved tradition of the region; there aren't many all-female ski races in Japan, nor many female Olympic skiers, so this event, which combines both by having the latter host the former, gets a fair amount of attention. So much so that quite a few competitors have come from beyond the island of Hokkaido -- have come all the way from Tokyo -- from the Sister Schools! Juuban Public School, Infinity Institute, and Ohtori Academy had their winter trip here back when it was the FIRST annual, rather than the third annual, and through some creative budgeting have managed to arrange a weekend trip for anyone who wants to go.

A weekend trip, rather than the longer stay over Winter Break, because apparently another, more historic destination is planned for that later on...

Friday was mostly getting here, settling in, and luxuriating in the crab buffet, unlimited hot cocoa, and fond memories. Now it's Saturday night -- yes, night, this is a NIGHT SKIING event, it's right there in the name, a moon is required. Said moon is high and casting a beautiful spell on the mountainside, transforming everything to silver; an effect both emulated by, enhanced by, and maybe slightly ruined by an artificial effort by the event planners, who have also lit up the mountain with various other colors this year. Shimmering jewel tones -- green, blue, violet -- give the snow a glacial look it could have had without them, really. But it is very beautiful, in its own way.

The majority of the audience has taken the lifts up to the top of the course, rather than waiting at the bottom; there's a party going on up there, with more hot drinks available, a DJ, and a great deal of excitement. There's something inescapably magical about the combination of celebration, the vast, unfiltered winter night sky, and the snow. The competitors are nearby, getting into their starting line; one needn't be an Olympian to compete, as this is a strictly amateur event. Energy is high in this group as well -- a combination of people really amped up to win, and other people just really amped up to participate. That kind of sunny 'just happy to be here' friendliness is exemplified by Yuuko Arimura, who as an Infinity student-slash-instructor is as much organizer and chaperone as participant. Although it's her classmate Yui Bidou who has led the effort with the Computer Club's cutsey fitbit-like HeartBeats, tonight Yuuko's busking them around, and quite a few non-Sister School competitors, not to mention partygoers, have eagerly slapped them on to record their evening on the mountain. Normally the red-haired woman -- she's never been terribly girlish -- is an intense, focused presence, but the good mood of the event has infected even her, and she's all smiles.

There are dozens of racers, all in bright-colored skiing suits on sleek, shining skis. They will surely make quite a sight as they plunge down the slope, one that even the moon and the spotlights could only envy, and the crowd is beginning to press towards the sidelines, to have the best possible view of their imminent descent. As soon as the DJ stops the music, surely, the start will be announced.

OOC: You're encouraged to race, but you can be near the starting line supporting a friend if you prefer.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mami did a lot of luxuriating. Unlimited hot cocoa, fond memories, and crab buffet... Yes. Mami Tomoe has had a lovely time thus far; she has many positive memories of Hokkaido, and is happy to make still more. She likes the lights, even if it is not the understated beauty of the moon alone.

She has a very fashionable ski outfit, not usually one for athletic competition but willing to make an exception for this particular event. And of course, she has on a gold HeartBeat, and her own colors are fair yellows and lovely golds and whites. She will surely make a sight as well, down the slope in her charactersitic drills.

"Ah, this should be fun, shouldn't it?" Mami enthuses amiably, understated but obviously already having a good time.

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

Amateur racers?

Perish the thought. Rei Hino is here.

In two tones of a purple jacket, raven hair all tied back in a ponytail, white mitts and white snow-pants -- evidently, the fiery shrine maiden is just as comfortable maneuvering in the snow. Yellow stripes on her shoulders add a splash of colour, while her black, purple-rimmed snow goggles make sure all that colour doesn't flood her eyes at once.

She bid farewell to Yuuichiro on Friday -- he came along to visit his family, who have a house here, because it turns out Yuuichiro's family is loaded -- and proceeded to wager with Usagi that she could demolish more crabs than her twintailed associate. Everyone was a winner. (Rei maintains she won the MOST.)

It was the WISE TENGU OF TOKYO who received one of those clever little watches from Yui Bidou, but evidently that masked mystic has since passed it on to Rei Hino, because the little red HeartBeat is slapped across her wrist, occasionally visible when her purple jacket slips up her arm a little.

She sweeps in next to Mami, offering, cheerfully: "Of course, only the most graceful and athletic girl here can win the Moon Princess race. And you know who that is!" Rei smirks, entirely self-assured, as she looks back over her shoulder.

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

This is the second time that Nori Ankou has been back to Hokkaido since she went to Ohtori. As with her last trip, there was a home visit, although it was brief.

What stuck out to Nori there was two things -- well, two and a half.

One is that it hurt less. Why? Is she getting numb? Is she growing? Is it simply that she feels more situated in her curious precocious career, in her schoolwork? Is it the deep-seated satisfaction and mastery that comes from learning how to play the bassoon? It's hard to see, but Mother, Father, and little Brother were...

It hurt less; that's what stood out for her.

The second thing was that Little Brother was old enough to recognize her as something other than a motile object. This complicated her feelings of resentment. It is hard to resent someone who can actually say your name, and even said "Big Sister" once.

The second-and-a-half thing was the last thing her mother had said before they had parted ways (for this was a breakfast restaurant meeting - Nori travelled up with her peers), on that very topic. "It's a shame," Nori's Mother had said, "that he's not-- mm; well, it's good to see you; tata for now!"


"Thank you for your flattery, Hino-san, but I don't know if I would say I'm the most athletic," says Nori Ankou, who is getting situated on her skis. She is familiar with them enough to be holding herself well. The usual AkaMira representation is currently being covered by a beret held in place by an abstractly higanbana-esque pin and the outer shell of her parka having a gentle sunset-purple-to-yellow motif and cloud-and-bamboo embroidery on the right hand side. The pants are a little puffy, faintly lavender, and look extremely warm. That is an important factor here.

"The music's pretty nice," Nori muses, "but I hope the snow won't object, if the bass should end up dropping."

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

The planned trip to Hokkaido may be much shorter than it usually is, but the rumored trip during the winter break to a new location has been sure to overshadow that fact. Niramo has heard quite a vast selection of rumors about the new trip, but they have been so different and outlandish, you couldn't believe a single one! Niramo is more focused on the here and now of the Hokkaido trip, especially the plentiful hot cocoa...

Wisps of steam float up gently from the cup of the sugary liquid in a pair of hands before Niramo takes a sip and sighs in relief. The energetic vibe of the party is sure to keep everyone excited, but it does little to keep you warm in the winter night's air. That, and there was plenty to be had even up on the slopes, so of course Niramo won't be rude and not have some.

That's her excuse and she's sticking to it.

A dark green woolen cap with, oddly enough, a pair of swim goggles strapped on the top is being worn, with her hair tied up in it's usual ponytail. Complete with a navy blue puffy jacket, black mittens and shoes, cream pants and a beige scarf to keep the cold from creeping in.

Niramo eyes the beginning of the slope with the fresh look of someone who wasn't used to being so close to it. "Wow...this really is going to be different from the arcades, huh?" The race is for amatures, so it should be fine. Should.

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

Usagi Tsukino relishes the chance to be back here. She enjoyed the time at the lodge. The cocoa, the all you can eat crab(It is true that she felt like a winner in the competition). So far her time in Hokkaido has been so much more restful and relaxing than the last time she was here.

Now though, she's humming happily as she readjusts her ski gloves around the fitness tracker that she has from Yui Bidou. She's wearing a light pink jacket with a white furry collar. A pair of sporty looking gloves. Dark snow pants, and a pair of pastel green and pink boots.

Usagi bobs her head in a nod with a happy 'Uh-huh' as Mami says it should be fun.

"It's so nice to be back for the Moon Princess race." Usagi enthuses happily around the others, "It's just so nice that they let us all come up here just in time to celebrate this again - in the name of the Moon Princess."

That little emphasis in her voice has the feeling of her nudging the girls around her that are in the know. Because she absolutely is nudging them pridefully, because of who she absolutely is.

"So maybe Rei-chan." Usagi leans into the frame beside her and Mami, one twintail tilting lower to the ground than the other as she speaks out of the side of her mouth, "It's meant to be a night to remember for someone... I'm not saying who, that truly understands what this competition is all about."

Usagi then immediately gets dot eyes as she comprehends Nori's words, before snickering a bit once it finally sinks in. "Does that mean you're saying you're the most graceful Nori-chan? What do you think of that, Rei-chan?"

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

In Fuu's opinion, the best thing about the crab buffet was the echoing absence of deep-frying. Fresh, local crab is best enjoyed either as fresh as possible - even uncooked - or cooked only enough to accentuate the flavor, not obfuscate it with breading and oil. The plentiful supply of hot cocoa is also a welcome luxury.

But the mountain is quite far from the crab buffet, or from most of the other comforts of the ski lodge. Fuu is bundled up in a bright green parka with silver trim and darker green snow pants; if she seems ill at ease with her skiis and the poles she'll need for steering, it's probably just pre-race jitters. She certainly spent as much time as she could practicing during the morning and early afternoon, barely breaking for lunch. She has two priorities for the race:

1) Get to the bottom in one piece 2) Don't embarass herself (or by extension, Infinity)

Fun will happen of its own accord; she's obtained enough experience skiing to work that out for herself. As for winning .... who knows? Maybe the gods, but certainly no mortals - all Fuu can do is her best.

"Well, if it's the most athletic girl who will win, I clearly needn't worry about making space for a trophy on my shelf," Fuu says good-naturedly to Usagi and the cluster of Ohtori girls. "As for most graceful ... well, *that* competition should be closer, I'd like to think." She shrugs, then lowers her ski goggles over her glasses, adjusting their fit and securing her hood. "No matter who wins, good luck to you all!"

Her own starting mark is a little further along, but Fuu takes a moment to wave to Niramo as she's getting into position. Skis clamped to her boots; poles secure in her grasp; she's as ready as she's going to get.

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

A bundle of white wobbles near - but not at - the starting line, holding a large cup of steaming hot chocolate close to itself. "Why does snow have to be cold," it - Fumiko - says. Her huge winter coat, matching snowpants, mittens, and wool hat make her look like a fluffy cloud, though her pink boots don't exactly match.

Fumiko observes all the skiiers, scanning for any familiar faces. She smiles at those she recognizes, and waves with her cocoa-free hand. "Good luck everyone," she exclaims. "I'd join you but um... I... uh.... can't skii. But I needed to be here to support everyone!"

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

Haruka Tenoh has chosen a timeless look today, wearing a brown bomber jacket and steel grey snowpants. The color is provided by her unfairly blue eyes, which today seem shorn from arctic ice (as opposed to their usual sky-like associations), and by her straw-yellow hair, both of which seem more vivid in a hueless snowy landscape. By denying her clothing the ability to distract from the effect, Haruka has made it all the stronger. Was it on purpose? Evidence is hard to come by when a woman is as good-looking as Haruka, because one can reason backwards to justify any number of fashion choices for her, all of which would function well.

Haruka slides in nearby--not amidst the group of Usagi-Rei-Nori, but proximate, and she looks over while Usagi is stoking the question of which dark-haired beauty is more graceful. When Fuu throws her hat in the ring, it appears to spur Haruka to intervene. Because there is more good to be done, or more trouble to be caused?

"Oi oi," she calls lazily. "I'll judge that competition, if you want. But the only card I'll have to bring with me is the 10."

Having tossed water (or some more flammable fluid) in that direction, Haruka turns a less rakish gaze on her fellow upperclassman nearby. "Hey, Tomoe."

That's all, uncharacteristically. Just hey. The fact of saying hello to an old foe is the point.

As with the color of a beautiful pair of eyes, sometimes an important message is best served by a lack of adornment.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

The change to get back up on the snowy peaks of Hokkaido is something anyone should leap at! The powdery snow, the fun snow games, the skiing, the delicious cocoa after a cold days out by a fire... what isn't to like?! So, after hearing some friends are participating in an all-ladies race, of course he was gonna show up somewheres! Just, he isn't standing around and watching.

About one of the things enjoyable here...

"GeeeeEEET YOUR HOT COCOA! RIGHT OVER HERE!" Steven shouts, bundled up to the nines in in various bits of pink attire. There is scant a sign of skin seen on the boy; It is mostly a pair of eyes peeking out from behind a massive knitted scarf and an old, well-loved ushanka.

Sitting beside him is Lion, who has a beanie hat kinda crammed onto his head, barely able to maintain even a fraction of the wild cotton candy tinted mane. "You there! You look could! Come get a cup of peppermint cocoa! Its still hot, surprisingly!"

A sneaky hand reaches behind Lion, and sinks into his mane. A cup of prepared coca is pulled out, topped with a small bit of whipped cream and a candy cane! "The amazing cat who makes cocoa! Oooo!" he says, shaking the spare hand as if some sort of mystic, before handing the cup off to someone.

Volunteering to help has its own perks, such as free access to the slope after the race! Which works out to practice his super-awesome shield-sledding!

He remembers Takeo and Endo teaching him how to do it. Just... maybe minus a very angry giant wolf-thing this time.

Another hand reaches in Lion to pull out another cup of cocoa.

On the other side... is Amethyst sitting in a gorgeous pink savannah, eating a good deal of a small camp stovetop, tons of cocoa supplies, and a handheld video game to occupy her time between requests. She has like ten candy canes in her mouth, and seems pretty content with this deal.

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

Saeko Yamamoto, the hostess with the mostest (medals), is resplendent in a white and ice blue very Moon Princess-y ski shell herself, though of course she's not competing. Gesturing at the DJ -- she isn't an imperious woman, but with the ease of someone who's spent half a lifetime with the press, certainly she knows how to command attention -- the music stops. A few seconds later, the happy babble of partygoing conversation (on the sidelines) and trash talk (at the starting line) stops also.

Silence sinks into the mountainside. At first its brush is light, but after several seconds it weighs heavily, even profoundly. To look at Yamamoto, the winter moon gleaming in her upwards-turned eyes, is to understand that that was a deliberate choice on her part; to, amidst the hubbub of humanity's imposition on the peak, call everyone's attention to those glories no one had to set up, maintain, or operate. And they are glorious indeed...

She gestures, and someone in the booth (it's more of a log cabin than an office) pushes buttons; dramatically, the light show on the mountainside switches from those undulating jewel tones to a white light that illuminates the course almost blindingly. No one will have trouble seeing tonight; not the racers, and not their fans.

"Aa, aa aa," she tests into the DJ's mic. Her voice is as crisp as the air after a freshly fallen snow -- which is to say, this air, here, now, tonight. "Welcome to the third annual Moon Princess contest! On behalf of all Japanese skiiers, and all woman skiiers everywhere, I'm incredibly proud to see such a large turnout of fellow ladies eager to prove their courage and prowess on the slopes."

There's some game cheering from the crowd.

"And now," she calls. "Take your marks!"

There's a final clatter of skis, a collective lowering of visors.

"Get set!"

Poles dig into the snow right at the edge of the slope, which looms daringly steep.


OOC: All competitors, +roll 1d4+0!

DICE: Rei Hino rolls 1d4+0 and gets 1!
DICE: Nori Ankou rolls 1d4+0 and gets 2!
DICE: Niramo Umokeshi rolls 1d4+0 and gets 4!
DICE: Mami Tomoe rolls 1d4+0 and gets 4!
DICE: Fuu Hououji rolls 1d4+0 and gets 1!
DICE: Haruka Tenoh rolls 1d4+0 and gets 2!
DICE: Pink Moon Stick rolls 1d4+0 and gets 3!
DICE: Pink Moon Stick rolls 1d4+0 and gets 2!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Oh, my, the most athletic and graceful?" Mami wonders. "Now who could that be...?" She smiles as Nori steps right into it. And Haruka offers to judge--and even says 'hey'. Mami nods back to Haruka, and briefly meets those eyes of hers in fact. Just an instant. "Hello there, Tenoh-san." That's all. But it is a greeting back, accepted in turn.

She hm-hms at Fuu a little, but doesn't otherwise join in the contest; the senpai doesn't need to compete, after all.

But she is dazzled by Yamamoto, to be sure. She does know of a certain Moon Princess nearby, of course, but right now she is focused at first on her. And then, on the way down. She lowers her visor...


Mami takes off, the snowy slope affording her movements a grace akin to skating down on them, and she tucks in her arms when she's not using them, trying to remember what she knows of good technique for speed and care.

She is not necessarily the best--but she's certainly Niramo's opponent of the moment, suddenly taking position up right beside the other girl!!!

"Hm hm," Mami greets her. "Lovely cap."

Zoom--if Mami can, she's going to go right around her, attempting to speed up ahead!!

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

"Wh-- I meant--!!" Rei's trash talking has been UNO REVERSE CARDED, courtesy Nori Ankou. Flustered as she is, she doesn't look grievously offended. (Though certainly she makes a good showing of it.) "Hmph!" She turns her perfect little nose up, as Usagi leans into frame. "Maybe someone should be worried about me stealing the crown! Because I'm certainly the most graceful one here!" Rei, you are talking to an actual model. Rei, she's on posters. Rei, she has a fashion line. Rei, please.

"Though," she allows, looking over to Fuu, "I suppose I at least have some competition."

Can anything bring down Rei's sureclad trash-talking and ego..?! It turns out it's actually very easy, as revealed by Haruka, who casually throws out they're ALL tens. "E-eh?" All a sudden the purple of Rei's outfit is offset by the red of her cheeks, and she is definitely not blushing from the cold. "O-- of course someone like Haruka-san can tell how good we are!!" Look, she's a devastatingly handsome woman, no judge would convict Rei.

It just so happens that that flustering might well stop Rei from taking the best mark she can, though, because when her pole frees itself from the snow, a shower of glittering crystals to match the way her hair fans out in its loose bindings --

She's not quite ahead of the pack, the way she'd visualised herself being.

Rei looks to her side and sees Fuu, who has at least threatened to take her position in grace. "Ha!" Rei laughs, into the wind, and one can't see her eyes behind those ski goggles, but surely they're glittering. "And you said you were no athlete! What else are you hiding, Fuu-chan?!"

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

Nori smiles a little at what Usagi says, and she tilts her head, and she wraps a lock of her black hair around one fingertip. Is that a yes? Her eyes turn towards Haruka Tenoh, as that elegant figure comes closer...

(In the stands, Michiru Kaioh, well wrapped in a fur lined coat, sips her cocoa, knowingly.)

The promise of a 'Ten' fills Nori with a subtle determination. She straightens upright, glancing sidewise towards Rei for a moment and then... she's crouching a little?

"You should get ready," Nori tells Rei, even as she gazes with admiration onto the glimmering figure who speaks to them. She takes a deep breath through her nose, adjusting the goggles up round her neck that had been hiding in her parka to get herself properly situated, and then -

Get set -

And -


Fwish! But here is the dirty little secret of Nori Ankou's boasting-- she wasn't kidding!! Most of her formal exercise has been tone and poise stuff with modelling, often with a bright soundtrack hopefully of an ever expanding economy, as well as fencing and the occasional round of swimming. Familiarity with skiing alone has given her much of this advantage... at least, so far.

Swish! "Perhaps she was teasing us," Nori answers Rei. Then ahead, towards Fuu: "Were you teasing us?"

Nori's hair, meanwhile, is fluttering loose behind her, because she didn't tie it up. She may regret this in a minute, but for right now it does have a certain wild elegance to it, crystals of snow resting on spilled-ink black.

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

Niramo sees Fuu waving over towards and waves a greeting in return, though maybe she shouldn't have used the hand holding the cup of cocoa. Thankfully, most of the cup has already been enjoyed, but the last bit of hot liquid stains the snow near her, causing Niramo to pout. Everyone knows that the last bit is the best!

What appears to be a giant marshmellow is in fact Fumiko buried underneath those puffy layers, and Niramo waves towards her friend with her thankfully free hand this time. "Hey Fumiko-chan! With you here, i'll have to try to win then!" Not that she's sure that she'll be able to do that, but she has to actually try now.

Niramo almost broke away from the starting positions once she saw Steven and Lion making their rounds together, but couldn't with the race set to start any second now. "Can you save me some after the race, Steven-san?"

Silence suddendly falls onto the mountainside, causing the air to ring with how sudden it is. Setting aside the empty cup, Niramo slides the out of season goggles into place over her eyes and makes her way over her rented skiis. Heart pounding softly in her chest due to nerves, Niramo takes a deep breath to calm herself before mimicing the poses of others around her.


Niramo's skiing is like that with someone who has read enough about it to know the basics, but with no actual experience behind it. The ravenette is counting on her spirit and drive to race to pick up the slack here, if the constant use of the ski poles are any indication.

Eyes flicking around to see if anyone is going to crash with her, Niramo is surprised to see herself being neck to neck with Mami Tomoe. Smiling despite herself, the ravenete nods her head once towards the older student. "Thanks! I love your hair!"

Mami may have been able to go around her due to the surprise conversation, but Niramo squats down to build up speed to stay right on her heels!

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

Fumiko cheers for Niramo, waving wildly... and dropping her hot chocolate, dumping it out. "N-no..." she laments. "I... I can't leave to go get more yet! I need to see- oh!" The magic hot chocolate lion and Steven were right there! She rushes - or waddles - over, falling down just before reaching the brown elixer of life. She rises slowly, face red from both the cold of the snow and from embarrassment. "Um... hello... could you... pretend you didn't see that? Also... I'd like a hot chocolate please..."

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

Athleticism and grace are different traits, albeit closely-related ones - and while Fuu might have meant to imply that she hopes for enough grace on skis on her own part to stand her ground, Haruka flips *that* script neatly on its head, particularly if the eternally-classy blonde was including Fuu in that judgment.

Saeko Yamamoto doesn't give Fuu time to get flustered, luckily enough; the race is just about to start, and then they're off, the pack quickly starting to sift into clusters and groups. Familiar clusters, in some cases - competition or not, Fuu's glad to recognize Rei as her closest neighbor en route down the first part of the hill, with Nori audible from not far behind.

"The important parts of skiing are all physics," Fuu replies cheerily to Rei, "and watching where you're going! Plus a lot of practice helps~" The green-clad archer-turned-skier pauses briefly, swerving away a little to avoid a potential obstacle, then settles into a straight descent again, tilting her head a bit to reply to Nori, "I think Haruka-senpai out-teased all of us by far, even if I was!"

... not *exactly* an answer, but they can talk more about it later. Fuu's still concerned about distractions, and chatting with someone behind her means not paying enough attention up front. They *are* supposed to be racing, after all - and while Fuu may not be overly concerned with winning, she still wants to do the best she can.

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

"You shouldn't sell yourself Fuu! Haven't you ever heard the first will be last?" Is she looking at REI when she says that? "And the last will be first!"

Usagi has no idea where it came from, but it sounds conveniently correct to her for right now, in the same way her excuses to her mother about there needing to be someone in the bottom half of the class when it comes to grades sounds correct!

And then Haruka slides up, and Usagi has this small moment of her breath catching. She's so handsome after all. And it's hard not to feel that more strongly after all they'd been through together for years now. "Just... for the two of them?" Usagi asks, hopefully, as if she might be included in the crowd that Haruka only needs a '10' for.

The exchange between her and Mami though is something she wouldn't comment on. It's unclear whether she even catches it. Though she doesn't lose her smile.

The DJ comes up, and Usagi recognizes her from the last competition, even taking a moment to wave in the background - even if they didn't exactly get time for introductions and it's doubtful a renowned skiier would remember her.

Instead Usagi's expression goes through a transformation. 'Oh. It's time.'

Having no visor, she doesn't lower it, gripping each ski pole eagerly. And finally looking down the slope.

Usagi always enthusiastically gets into these things, but now looking down the slope, there is the primal shock of the last time she was up here that only barely registered on the ski lift ride over.

1. They are SUPER high up.

2. She BARELY can ski - It is more that GRAVITY can ski.


"M-Maybe I should sit this one out for some cocoa..."

Feeling her knees quivering, and her grip increase on her ski poles, the 'Moon Princess' looks down the slope utterly terrified at the idea of this being a repeat of last year.

And then, a deep breath. There is a thought steadying her. Even against the fear that she'll hurtle down the slope out of control again.

'If I really get in trouble...'

There's suddenly a push of poles, as she makes that first push, a good few seconds after every other racer.

'... she'll protect me.'

It's a foolish burst of courage, even for her, but then she's down the slopes. For the first few ten or so seconds she's even passable!

Then she opens her eyes.

That's when one prolonged, shriek of panic...


Begins, with a doppler like effect as she approaches behind the other racers, out of control again. Without a visor, the wind stings at her eyes and brings tears to them...

... but she is going in the correct direction! And she is going very... very fast!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

More and more people begin to like the idea of cocoa, and the lines grow longer-- but this strange, mustical cocoa cat seems to make just as much as needed! And there is little chance of running out, even if the creates and giant bages of toppings, cocoa mix, and the like are being raided ever so often by lavender hands.

"Oh yeah, sure! Break a leg out there, Niramo!" A beat. "Wait, uh, no, don't do that thing I just said! Specifically anything but the thing I just said!" he yells over, panicked.

"I hope she doesn't actually break a leg..." he says, rasping out a laugh to try and mask his worry. A look to the side spots Fumiko, a welcome distraction in this word-fumbling moment. "Huh? Oh uh, yeah totes! Hey, what kind you want? We got regular, jumbo marshmellow, choco-bomb, peanut-butter mixin's... and peppermint!" he says, gesturing her over to the very large cat's side. Lion just eyes her, but doesn't do much else besides sit there.

Those who know Lion would probably start to wonder what sort of bribe it took to keep him still this long.

The signal is given, and the race is underway. "Oop-- there they go! Wonder what the reward is for winning? Maybe a full resort trip? A cool trophy of some kind?" A pause as he waits for Fumiko's order. "Actually, why are you out there skiing? All the young ladies get to after all! Have you never gone skiing before?"

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

"No, there's three," Haruka tells Usagi, just like she'd hoped. She has a way of seeming attentive to the sort of stammering Rei is doing, without pressuring it with direct acknowledgement, yet also without coming across as basking. She's like a therapist, gently letting you share your feelings about how hot she is.

"Hououji-chan wanted to compete too," she explains to Usagi, stealing the light away just as swiftly.

She and Mami have exchanged a greeting, like normal acquaintances might. So why does it feel something exceptional happened?

Skiiers may be distant cousins of track stars, but they are cousins nonetheless, and Haruka listens to Saeko as a respectful member of the audience, bowing her head a little when she is finished. Usagi begins musing about sitting this one out, and Haruka pretends not to notice, the way any person who isn't explicitly planning on shoving Usagi down the hill if she backs out might. And then, they are off, Usagi included and by her own power, heirs all of them to Saeko Yamamoto's glory on the slopes.

Haruka ends up coasting near Nori and Usagi, amiably navigating the triple hazard of two thin blonde twintails and one thick pennant of black hair as they all three flutter and lash. Manuevering next to the two girls to find safety, she smiles at Usagi as the short girl keens. "Steer with your body, not your legs," she advises beneath the ongoing sound. She looks over at Nori, who seems to be handling herself better. Much better, actually.

"Should I go easy on you?" she challenges, to see if that pride from earlier holds up now that the model is sliding down a mountain.

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

"Oh? That's a lot of flavors," Fumiko exclaims. She takes a moment to decide... two moments... and orders the peanut butter kind. As for not skiing? "I'm... I can't. Despite my increeedible athletic balance and grace, skiing is not one of my strong suits. But that doesn't mean I can't be here to cheer for friends~"

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

There's another chorus amid the skiiers besides their own conversation. In treble, supra-suprano, is the hiss of sharp skis through that gloriously white snow, a sort of continuous slicing sound like they're sliding down the fulcrum of the world's largest pair of scissors, or perhaps they are themselves air across the edge of an immense katana... certainly the mountainside is intimidatingly sharp, on top of every other descriptor.

In a more mid-range alto is the sound of speed. Wind, yes, but wind created by sheer velocity. Hair-flapping is just the start of what tears directly at eardrums and bites so profoundly at noses that the olfactory is somehow becoming auditory instead. It is a full-body vibrato, the speed, and as profound in its way as the previously featured silence of the vast heavens above.

Below, in tenor, is a crunching noise; the sound of falling, of snow compacted by broad bodies instead of carved cleanly by narrow skis. It seems not every racer is going to make it to the bottom without taking a tumble. But it does not take long for the Sister Schools students to realize they've left the rest of the pack in the dust. And, given the nature of downhill skiing, despite the very bright getups of the other racers, they're hard to see once they're flat, there is SLOPE in the way. It is a lot easier to see skiiers behind oneself if they're standing up.

And, well, there is ONE woman still standing.

Steven is the only one to notice her at first, since he's up at the starting line, and so is she; she didn't leave with the rest of them, and is now appearing so belatedly equipped in skiing gear that surely she has absolutely zero chance of winning. She taps one boot, then the other, ensuring her skis are attached with the proper CLICK. She flips mirrored shades down across her eyes.

They reflect a twinkling that is neither moonlight nor spotlight.

No, the light that only she can see, and Steven can see, and other bystanders can see but do not understand, is coming off the collapsed bodies along the racecourse. Or, more accurately, off of spikey pink Pure Heart Crystals that have floated out of them.

As a matter of fact, the sack slung across her shoulder, as Santa-like as the brilliant red of her sleek skiing one-piece, as the red of her triple-tailed hair, isn't completely, flappingly empty. And there are a number of partygoers in the stands who have collapsed as well. The crowd isn't watching the race anymore; they're worrying over their own numbers, which have thinned considerably, as everyone wearing a HeartBeat has silently fainted. They are unnaturally pale; their skin whiter even than the omnipresent snow.

Bystander hearts surely already in tow, Eudial begins her descent to pick up the rest.

When those racers still standing look back, they see a red blur plunging down towards them with unnatural speed and an increasingly fat sack.

When they look ahead of them -- and this, the saving grace to help them distinctly understand that that isn't emergency services catching up to the fallen -- they see, amid the trees (and there is a copse of trees to dodge in the next section of the course, a convenient, group-separating stand of proud evergreens), a few women, the creme de la creme of the competitors, who were AHEAD of the gaggle of high school and middle school students when they collapsed, instead of behind. They see the stillness of their bodies. And they see the twinkling of their immensely vulnerable, immensely valuable hearts.

Those wearing HeartBeats feel something extra: the basso of the race's chorus, thudding through them with a terrible, inexorable pull. They sense, intuitively, that the only reason they haven't shared the fates of the other skiiers is the proximity of their various wands, gemstones, and other such immeasurably precious magics, which are vibrating themselves in a sort of counter-frequency. That won't last long. The best defense to these apparently daimonic fitbits -- and there's really no question, they're clamped on like manacles now, and they've all turned the pale blue of Yui Bidou's hair, and they all have arcane, protodaimonic hellfire runes ticking across them like a countdown -- is guaranteed to be offense.

Henshin, yo.

COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick transforms into Eudi On Ice!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mami is more than happy to make use of a little surprise, though she's not an experienced enough skiier to really gauge Niramo's skills except to say that she seems a little stiff. It's fine; Mami zooms on ahead, waving with her fingers still on one of her poles, a little smile for the compliment. She appreciates that Niramo appreciates her hair. But while she looks around, she sees... fewer skiiers than she expected.

Mami's pretty good at things, but she didn't expect to be this close to winning frankly--and realizes she wasn't as much as she thought when she sees the fallen ahead of her.

Her wrist hurts; the HeartBeat clamps on tight, and she feels a dizzying pull. But on the very same hand as that little fitbit is her Soul Gem--Mami comes to a slow, enough to pull her Gem into her hand from the ring.

"Tenoh!" she calls, in warning. She is relying on her former enemy, now, as she looks around to see if she can see her friends--

And as she tosses up her Gem, which sparkles and glitters and turns to a rain of light, gold shining down on her. Her whole outline turns yellow, and she twirls gracefully as her outfit changes, the white and black and yellow of her henshin armor appearing.

Her hatpin shines, and shimmers--and Mami turns in the snow, bringing her skis to the side to stop to try to find their enemy through the trees.

Her skis, of course, are now a brilliant bronze-gold, much like her hatpin; her boots are perfect, sturdy, her usual yellow ribbon is a great yellow scarf, and her drills are as fabulous as ever.

And her wrist is just cuffed in dressy white--no more horrible runes!

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

With the adrenaline pumping and the wind whistling as she races down the hill, it takes a moment for the hissing sound to make itself noticable to Niramo. Before she start to question what could make such a racket, it seems to suddendly pick up in intensity. The ravenette racer raises her mittens to her ears and winces in pain, and the sudden squirming under her jacket is clear she isn't the only one hearing this ear-splitting screech. "What on earth?!"

Nearly muffled by the otherworldly shriek is the sound of collapsing bodies hitting the snow, and Niramo twists around to see if she just happened to avoid a dangerous accident. What she does see behind and ahead of her makes her heart drop, and what was promising to be an exciting and fun race is suddendly taking a horrible turn. Takk phases through the jacket to get a grasp of the situation, and it only takes a moment for the Kwami to give a fierce look to Niramo. "This doesn't look good. We'll need to get those gems back from her." "Right, Takk-san. Tail, sprout!"

Transforming while speeding down a snowy slope was something she never expected to do, she might as well been standing still for how easy it was. Her body and gear glows a pale yellow light for a few moments before Sourisi's bodysuit comes into being. The beige scarf stays wrapped tightly, and she's now sporting a pair of sleek skiing glasses, complete with mousey ears on top of the frame. Even the pair of rented skis join in, gaining a beige striped paintjob to fit in!

Even with the new gear, Sourisi isn't great with sudden stops and nearly bows her poles in half to bring her to a sharp stop. Looking up the slope, the mouse-suitted heroine prepares for what will likely be a chilling fight. "Well...let's get this snow on the road!"

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Sourisi!
<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Was Fuu teasing them? Nori's insight might have legs to travel on, with the way the academic girl talks about physics. "Well! It's a good thing I paid attention to Ami-chan!" Rei crows, as she weaves past a rise in the snow.

(FLASHBACK TO A WEEK AGO, IN THE FRANTIC ATTEMPTS TO STUDY FOR FINALS: Rei wakes up from a nap on the table. A page of calculus peels from her face as she's poked in the side. It's hilarious.)

But was Haruka teasing them? No, surely not. She was teasing Usagi! And isn't it nice how she and Haruka have the same hobbies? After all, she IS very cute. And a girl, but -- but look, Haruka is perfectly comfortable with herself, so that's totally fine.

(It seems like she's more comfortable with Mami these days, too, and that's a quiet relief.)

Rei looks back, and finds -- "Oh! Usagi really did it!" -- sounding almost impressed. Haruka's looking out for her, so she'll be fine. She looks forward again just in time to see someone in front of her, and it's a sharp turn assisted by that sharp pole which helps Rei avoid becoming the one who falls flat on her face in need of assistance.

"Then," she barks into the wind, "I'd better get serious..."

How can they hear anything in wind like this, anyway? Maybe that's the real miracle of the slope, in all its colours. Rei leans forward and gains speed, swaying with practiced ease past snowbanks and skiers alike. She wasn't all hot air, when she was playing up her status as a contender: with athleticism and grace like this, Rei might even one day measure up to the Moon Princess herself. (That's Saeko Yamamoto, right?)

But as she speeds down the slopes, crowd around her thinning to the Sisters, something flashes across the back of her awareness, and Rei glances behind herself again. She could have sworn she just felt an evil aura, but... isn't that unlikely? This race shouldn't have any trouble like that.

Maybe that's the difference, between Rei and the okeanide in the stands.

She should really learn to trust her hunches.

Because when that HeartBeat shifts hue from fire red to icy blue, clasped on her wrist like a sentence, it's immediately clear that it is EMINENTLY likely evil has come to this place. "Ah--!" Rei cries, jacket pulling up her arm as her hand jerks, revealing just what is threatening to shudder her apart. This gift from that suspicious tent --

"Not so fast," Rei snaps, as she weaves into the tree-line. There is a particularly sprawling evergreen, all glittering from the jewels dusted over it.

Perhaps she succumbed to the malevolent assault back there. She doesn't come out.

Or perhaps, not... quite.

Planting her pole into the ground, Rei twirls around it; she forgoes her other pole, to reach into her pocket, and pull out the trinket vibrating so furiously. Pen to the sky, fire coils around her, creating a centrifuge of conflagration; red at her fingernails, red at her heels, which strap effortlessly into flame-stroked skis. Her ski goggles become a ski mask, eyes exposed around purple and shiny-black rims. That pole she's kept is a fire poker, now, two-pronged and ready to stoke the fireplace, rubies inlaid on the hilt.

Still in her sailor fuku, of course. It's rated for winter weather, ribbon and all. There's no room for that horrible little HeartBeat on hands with such sleek white gloves.

Sailor Mars sweeps out of the treeline, calling out for: "Sailor Moon..!"

And where her name is invoked, surely the Moon Princess will come.

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

Haruka knocks the wind out of her sails before the race begins, but as much as that kind of approval is something she seeks - getting knocked down a peg doesn't mean she doesn't understand implicitly that even if she's not in that group, it doesn't mean that she doesn't have Haruka's eye all the same.

They've been through too much for her not to know that.

It is true though Rei! Usagi actualy did it... in a manner of speaking.

Mid-race however, Haruka advises her long enough for Usagi to actually take a breath, and shriek out, "WHICH PART!?" Not being an athlete - or really all that interested in sports on most days and also in an absolute panic, she doesn't understand that steering with your body means 'everything above the waist'. She really wishes she had even an iota of Nori's modeling/skiing grace right now.

There's then this inexplicably rush, this pounding against her wrist. This pulse - this pull.

And Usagi's vision seems to tunnel in for a moment...

"What is going on?" Not precisely calm, but... serious as she asks.

There's this awful sensation, this surge. And the panic is smothered within this feeling of incredible darkness, as she looks backwards. To catch that red blur.

Then looks ahead, at the trees and the few who made it to those treeline before collapsing.

Near Syncope takes her, this feeling of lightheadedness, like she's going to fall over, as she wobbles in her stance, and catches herself, before she reaches up with a glove to her jacket, hand still clamped to her ski pole... and lifts her hand high as she just misses crashing into the first set of branches.

"Moon Cosmic Power - Make Up!"

A kaleidoscope of light sheathes her, vivid ribbons encasing her body from head to toe in sequence as they extend from her broach. As one final touch, they extend around her ski poles and skis. Two ephemeral wings of fluffy feathers unfurl-!

Then vanish, leaving the one and only Sailor Moon! Sans Heartbeat on her wrist.

Her ski poles handles are now curves like yellow Crescent Moons, looking vaguely reminiscent to her first wand, the Moon Stick, pink shafts extending down into wedged points. Each ski apiece is now the color of matching her boots, as she skis up alongside Sailor Mars

"Sailor Mars! Mami-san! Sourisi! We have to stop this!" She calls out to the others, "Everyone's tummies will get super cold if we don't hurry!"

As if the stakes weren't in fact, life-threatening. However, Sailor Moon still counts this as one of her priorities.

COMBAT: Usagi Tsukino transforms into Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Rei Hino transforms into Sailor Mars!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Fuu made sure to cinch her hood up before the race started, and while some of the hair-loose skiers produce a far more impressive sight for it, practicality carried the day for the archer. The fact that Fuu's blonde hair is relatively short, compared to the luxuriously streaming tresses sported by some of the girls, may have played into that call as well.

Fuu's partial glance back doesn't last long enough to catch any glimpse at all of the very last straggler, so far behind that she hardly counts as a racer - but the sound of skis over snow and the bodily resonance of speeding against the wind help to drag her attention forwards again ... followed by several factors which combine to make sure she's NOT thinking about who's coming up, or down, behind her. The trees are an excellent distraction, for one thing; Fuu sacrifices just a bit of her own velocity to steer clear of one, then the next, before weaving further away from the thick of the copse, splitting away from Rei in the process.

The pain around her left wrist is even more effective, though, nearly taking the archer's attention *completely* off the race. She wasn't sure if she should wear it - Fuu had been suspicious of the gadget ever since that "experiment" at the pool - but going through this event without it could have been a giveaway of her suspicions. The pain is bad enough that Fuu has to peel her glove off -

Is that thudding in her chest *her own* heart, or the pulse of dark power clawing at her, ready to bring her to ground like anyone else?

Fuu has gone pale as she looks around - down the hill, then back up it, searching for anyone beside herself still upright. She sees, in the moment, only the Pure Heart Crystals torn free of their owners' souls.

"Belief becomes power - !" Fuu digs the glove-jewel out of her parka pocket, replacing the heavier ski glove she'd worn, then finishes her call: "WINDS, *GUIDE ME!!!*" If there's an unusual desperation in her cry, the bursting wristband assuages it - she never *did* get around to taking her HeartBeat apart for a closer inspection of its innards, but she knows most of what she needed to know, now.

Parka replaced by blazer and breastplate, snowpants by skirt; the Wind Knight's boots are somewhere between her normal footwear and the boots Fuu was sporting at race's start, the latter aiding in the clamping of near-white skis with gold and green ornamentation. The Magic Knight of Wind resumes skiing, but only a short distance - getting to where she can interpose herself uphill of a few fallen skiers, trusting in the protective magic wrapped around her to keep exposure or frostbite from setting in. Sailor Moon's concern about frozen tummies prompts a faint smile to cross her lips; as if the loss of the victims' pure hearts wasn't dangerous *enough*, previous attacks like this have generally been in more forgiving weather. A de-hearted body is still prone to whatever *other* injuries might happen while inanimate - so in this weather, freezing is definitely a worry. They have to thwart this attack *quickly*.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Doing volunteer work warms the soul that no amount of hot cocoa can do. Numerous people line up, even as the race gets farther underway. The cheers grow more distant as farther crowds see the racers blast past.

Well, except for one. Someone at the top did not go. Maybe too scared or nervous? Equipment malfunction? The Gem child feels bad, and preps to actually bring them a hot chocolate since it seems like they aren't going to go.

They have an odd sack with them too-- maybe they are first aid responders instead? As he ponders, he itches at his wrist, buried under the thick pink jacket he is wearing. It feels strange, numbing, painful. It is where his HeartBeat was. Maybe it was on too tight.

A distraction comes in the form of gasps on the track ahead, which peels Steven away from his stand by Lion. Its covered in people who have crashed. Or rather, collapsed. Pink dots from afar float above them, and it takes little time to realize what is going on. "Oh, not this again!"

A glance around, and Steven catches a not-so-friendly glint of light coming off the shades of this last-place contestant. "Hey--!" he calls, but it is too late, they are gone. The boy pivots, and runs back over to Lion. He jams his head into the Mane, a halo of pink light surrounding the point of entry.

A head pokes out of the waving grass, a furrowed brow and a quick gesture to come outside. Amethyst rolls her eyes, consumes the candy canes in her mouth with a CHOMP, and comes outside. "Whaaaaat?" she says, even as people fall over around them. "Hey, I followed the instructions!"

"No, it isn't that! Somethings up! You and Lion, check around for anything suspicious, I'm gonna og chase someone down on the slope!"

Amethyst gives a shrug, and after her and Steven reach into Lion together to pull out an 'On Break' sign to place out, split to get to work on this mystery. Steven's wrist begins to bother him even more as he nears the edge of the slope. A shield plinks into existence, and hits the ground. That feeling on his wrist gets so bothersome and pained, a hand shoots up and tears off that watch-thing he was given last year, and the sight of horrible magics upon it net it being thrown on the ground quickly. "Augh! The heck?!"

Eyes dart back down on the track. "No time!"

Rather than don skis or grab sleds, he kicks off the starting line with his shield as a toboggin of sorts, steering like a snowboard!

Downward and downward, Steven does his best to avoid people on the ground, attempting to catch up to the last person, whom is clearly some sort of ruffian! And even as others far below-- familiar folks one and all, it is Steven who gets the first move!

"H-Hey! You, get back here!" is shouted as a boy rapidly approaches. "You are up to no good! And when I figure out how to stop properly, you are in trouble!"

COMBAT: Steven Universe transforms into Serious Steven!
<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ah - ah, please," Nori says to Haruka, with a little laugh, that poise that she had been using to tease Fuu a moment ago having gone into abeyance in the face of Haruka. She smiles, though only briefly because she has to turn her head to sweep past a particular subtle rise and then back around - one that might catch the unwary but not her -

"I just have a little experience, from the neighborhood... I can tell that you've..."

And then...

Something is wrong. Nori swerves a little to the side, several trees soon separating her from both Usagi and Rei (as well as Haruka) as the something comes to light in several different ways. A crystalline vision of fallen, sprawled people with their hearts revealed; something biting into her wrist...

With a skid of snow, Nori Ankou comes to a halt and pulls down the wrist of her parka. And there, seated neatly beyond the embroidered back of her glove on a pale wrist, is a fitbit -- and it was not something like this when she began her descent. In that pale and burning light, Nori Ankou gasps, eyes widening in shock.

Her fingers then curl.

"You dare," she breathes.

Her other hand unzips the front of the parka, fumbling for a moment before reaching into those warm and fluffy expanses. For it is not just Nori Ankou who is here. Soon enough, with a whispering appeal to the realms beyond, fuelled by terror and fear and anger which threaten at any moment to catalyze into sorrow, comes:

A sort of negative light, bursting like a small flare. A twinkle of a dozen small lights. And then --

CRACK! One of the trees is struck against hard enough to shed its Hokkaido-winter burden of snow.

La Sirene de Diamant skids forwards, then, turning round with a smooth and stalking motion. The cold does not seem to be bothering her bare arms, but the moonlight is making her look more spectral than usual.

"They can't be far," La Sirene says, her voice echoing off the snow -- but the statements from Sailor Moon seem to make her shake her head once, looking at the fallen again, and then feeling her face tighten. They're out here, sprawling, they're cold, and that is even BEFORE the heart crystals. She skis past them for a moment - round about - and that's when she looks up slope.

"Something is coming--!!"

COMBAT: Nori Ankou transforms into La Sirene de Diamant!
COMBAT: Steven Universe has used AND STEVEN! on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick braces 0 Fatigue damage from Steven Universe's AND STEVEN!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Steven Universe is
Psyched!  Diversion and Exhausted applied to Pink Moon Stick!
<Pose Tracker> Haruka Tenoh [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

"The neighborhood," Haruka echoes Nori curiously, as Usagi struggles beside them. She seems to try and answer Usagi as an aside, but as a laugh would have come out with it, she holds her reply for now, her lower lip buckled down tight against the comical sight of the twintailed skier. But finding out what Nori means is not to be, today.

What sound could be better than the sound of speed? Perhaps the more literal vibrato of Michiru Kaioh's bow, but speed is something Haruka has been chasing (also literally) her entire life. And so when she hears the sound, she knows it. She even knows it for a danger.

She was not, perhaps, expecting Pure Heart Santa.

Every individual word in that title is virtuous and kind, and yet the three together are repugnantly evil. Alerted by Mami, Haruka's lip curls as she whips her gaze back and forth between the red blur and the Pure Hearts emerging from her fellow skiers.

"I see it!" Haruka calls back to Mami Tomoe. Usagi's wavering posture alerts her, and she drags a spray of snow up as she steers over, eyes flicking up and down, trying to understand what is wrong with her. Michiru would have sensed it before Haruka spotted it, but it is not a long search either way: the blue-fire glow of the fitbit on Usagi's wrist. Her eyes widen, a series of memories flashing past her mind's eye, of the love contest and the many times since that she has seen these cute devices. Haruka does use things like that sometimes, but these just weren't HER, you know? And she does not know whether to be glad or regretful, for that. These infernal devices have lain so low as to be undetectable, but Haruka has to wonder if that would have remained true if she had started using one as a sleep tracker in the same bed as one of the most powerful seers in the world.

But that is that, and this is this, and Haruka is safe for now. She is about to object to Usagi transforming--this seems like a good time for anyone afflicted to stay back and take care of themselves. But as the radiance of moonlight begins to rise around her, Haruka leaves off, forced to wonder if it might help.

And, so it did. Usagi was afflicted, but Sailor Moon shakes free. It was such a brief concern that when Haruka sighs, it is more like exasperation at someone worrying her unnecessarily. "Yare yare," she says as she pulls her own transformation pen from her bomber jacket.

"Uranus Planet Power, MAKE UP!"

Haruka's jacket has become blue and yellow, and the way the latter color highlights the side panels suddenly elucidates how well-stitched they are to follow her torso, jutting inward down her ribs before slashing straight down the sides of her abdomen. Her poles become translucent blue crystal, her skis a similar gold. Everything else, from her pants to the goggles on her forehead, gleams newly white.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Mami!
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Sailor Uranus!
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

In that lusciously scarlet getup, Eudial looks killer (it isn't that the pun isn't intended, it's rather that it isn't a pun) as she swoops down the slope. She does not go in a straight line, instead executing a sort of remarkable, slalom-like back-and-forth between various collapsed victims. Bending her knees as she passes them, she holds the mouth of the sack open and scoops the crystals up with the kind of insane accuracy that makes it realistic that


Eudial sweeps the pile of board games off the break room table with a crash, causing Tellu and Viluy to jump.

"But I like Monopoly," whines Mimete, as her senpai inexplicably inflates and fills a kiddie pool with water, then with floating spheres painted with cartoony Pure Heart Crystals.

The Professor's glasses appear, shining white with reflected light, over Eudial's shoulder.

"What are you doing?"

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" With each kiai, Eudial is catching a ball in a scooping motion using one of the leftover nets from Uminari's festival's goldfish station (which is indeed where she got everything else except the dummy crystals).

"Hahahaha!" echoes the Professor madly, and no one can tell if his cackle is more in parody or in praise of his best student's special training.


Damn, she's good.

But just as she's about to get the very last one before a long, empty stretch of steepness, she flinches at the sound of the voice of

"Steven Universe," Eudial mutters grimly. Her eyes are invisible behind those incredible mirrored wraparounds, but he can see the price of that distraction -- she missed the Pure Heart Crystal, which shimmers above the chest of its victim still. He might want to put it back in as he goes by, which he knows by now is the matter of a gentle press downwards. It's obvious that she isn't going back for it.

It's more of a surprise when, without stopping or even slowing, she reaches over her shoulder into that sack of hers and pulls out not another one of her purloined haul of hearts, but FIRE BUSTER MK IV. (It has the Roman numerals on the side. That's how you know which one it is, if you haven't been counting as to how many have been wrecked up in the past, most recently when the car died, RIP... RIP.)

Setting it on her shoulder, she fires a blast of flame in Steven's path.

He is untouched, because she fired a blast of flame IN STEVEN'S PATH.

The snow melts instantly into not just ice, but, since she did it from below and at an angle, a sudden, sharp upturn -- he's now on track to hit a RAMP, especially if he tries to save the sprawled-out heart-extracted woman on his way down.

Team Steven's Blasting Off Again--!

Eudial doesn't stick around to watch. She barely looked back for more than an instant, and now very much looks forward, where she sees the usual suspects running interference on the last few Pure Hearts out front. It would REALLY suck if one of those is a Talisman, but she is the most dangerous of her class because she knows when to hold 'em and knows when to fold 'em, so--

<SoundTracker> Misirlou - Dick Dale - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s97AOMZges4

Bending again, she slams her skis together, and they fuse into a cherry red SNOWBOARD so sleek that that it would look incredibly fast holding completely still.

Then she and the Santa sack on her back tuck forward and accelerate relentlessly. Surely recklessly, except that she cuts such a skillful and dashing figure, obviously experienced on the board.

(Apparently Eudial has 'Proficiency: All Vehicles.')

The senshi-and-pals below her have, pretty much down to the last of them, made the critical error of STOPPING.

Her eyes may be invisible 'neath the shades, but everyone gets to see her ruby-red lips curl upwards into a terrible smile.

This isn't a fight.

This is a RACE.

Everyone finds that out when Eudial passes THROUGH the entire group in a single swoosh, all red blur and openly mocking laughter. A wave of snow churns up behind her board, spraying the closer half of everyone's face and body in its path with a chilly (and more importantly, blinding) white layer. Sure, it'll only take a second to be rid of that impediment, but...

...the Olympics measure the difference between Gold and squat in milliseconds sometimes.

As with Steven, the others are also faced with the opportunity to return a trio crystals if they dare take the time. It seems as though this operation favors quantity over quality, which is -- not that there's much chance to stop and think about it -- alarming insofar as it's an almost total overturning of the usual Modus Operandi of the Witches 5.

Eudial flashes past the group in the blink of a snow-filled eye, trying to lose herself and her dozens of Pure Heart Crystals in the trees.

The track left in the wake of her spectacular board steams a little. Cottony puffs of hot air rise, bright against the dark canopy and darker sky overhead.

COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used I Believe You Can Fly on Steven Universe.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on Sourisi.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on Sailor Mars.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on Sailor Moon.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used En Passant on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Sailor Moon partially dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Moon is
Quipped!  Sailor Moon's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Blind applied to Sailor Moon!
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Uranus is
Quipped!  Sailor Uranus's Flash ability activates!  Blind applied to Sailor Uranus!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe neatly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mami Tomoe is
Quipped!  Mami Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sourisi perfectly dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
Sourisi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji dodges 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Quipped!
Fuu Hououji's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant braces 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
La Sirene de Diamant is Quipped!  La Sirene de Diamant's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars decisively counters 0 Fatigue damage from Pink Moon Stick's En Passant, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Mars
is Quipped!  Sailor Mars's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!  Blind applied to Sailor Mars!
COMBAT: Sailor Mars's counterattack, Mars Attacks!, partially gets through, doing 16 Fatigue damage to Pink Moon Stick!  
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mami had had no idea of the trouble with these HeartBeats, and now she worries for her classmates. Sure, most of those classmates don't really know her, but that has never stopped her trying to protect them. And it won't this time, either.

"Are you all all right?" Mami calls to the others as she looks around, looking to La Sirene in particular and finding herself relieved to see her safe. Something is indeed coming...

She will have to rely on Sailors Moon, Mars, and Uranus. And also?

ALso she will have to get snow out of her eyes, because she finally finds her foe just in time to get snowed at hard. "Waugh!"

But Mami--Mami is left with a choice, as some of those Pure Hearts are loose, and they can be returned. How long will it take for these people to die without them? It is not the first time Mami has been forced to consider the good of the many over the good of the few. Many a time has she had to consider which was more important, which was more vital. ...And this time...

"Keep going!" Mami calls, "I'll handle these!"

She doesn't have to choose; she isn't operating alone.

"Go, La Sirene! I'm counting on you!"

Mami will try to catch up... but someone has to try to save these, while they can, before they're lost in the snow.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used I'm Relying On You! on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Steven Universe fails to dodge Pink Moon Stick's I Believe You Can Fly, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant accepts Mami Tomoe's I'm Relying On You!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  La Sirene de Diamant is Cheered!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mars [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"If we don't get a move on, it won't just be their tummies!" Sailor Mars chastises Sailor Moon, looking up the slope to --

Well, of course.

Mars only has ONE hot-poker pole, and the reason for this is made clear in the way she grasps an ofuda in hand, as Eudial rushes down. The snow which would splatter into her is met with a blow of flame -- which does, handily, melt the snow --

-- and water splashes Mars's face instead, sneaking in through the gaps in her domino-ski-mask to blind her just as effectively as the shower of snow, if not moreso, because now she's distracted by the chill of melted snow. "Gah!"

Sailor Mars shakes her head, all a-rattle, ponytail whipping from one side to the other. "All right! Mami-san, la Sirene, we're counting on you!" Mars calls out, as the Puella Magi volunteers to see to the Pure Hearts. She knows just how dire losing one is -- she lost hers, let's not forget -- but equally, she knows how the Witches 5 operate.

And how they don't.

"You..!" Sailor Mars cries, and it isn't polite, as her pole digs into the snow, and sends her soaring forward. Gold and nothing is measured in milliseconds, but it seems that whoever Sailor Mars is, she's good at this. Not only from the way she leans forward to cut her wind resistance, as if it's on her side (which it is, right now, surely) --

But there was a trick Eudial used, on Steven.

It was a pretty good trick.

Mars is going to steal it, just the way Eudial liberated all those goldfish accessories.

Ofuda in hand -- it flaps in the wind, precariously, but doesn't slip from her fingertips -- Sailor Mars invokes the Wisdom King, all rhythmic chanting, low enough to be passed off for the bass of the snow. "No-maku Samanda Bazara da Senda..." Can she invoke Fire Soul Bird one-handed? She's certainly going to try, pointing with index finger and thumb -- sure enough the light sparks from her fingertip, soars through the hallowed paper slip, spreads wings of flame. "FIRE SOUL BIRD!" Rei cries, as the phoenix within her soars along the ground --

-- handily melting the snow in front of her into a speed ramp --

-- and crashing forward to swoop Eudial herself, literally and figuratively hot on her heels.

COMBAT: Sailor Mars has used Fire Soul Bird on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to dodge Sailor Mars's Fire Soul Bird, taking 37 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Sourisi eyes the rapidly approaching figure of Eudial zipping her way down the slopes, doing professional turns to pluck up each and every single hovering gem on the way down. She does stumble a little in place, and turns to give Sailor Moon a weird glance. Was...was cold tummies the worst threat from this?

A flash of more pink can be seen as Steven comes sliding down the mountain on his shield, and his audiable distraction to Eudial is enough to let one crystaline heart slip through her fingers. Sourisi starts to reach for a tonfa to fling, but the Santa-styled villain suddendly starts to speed up. Almost like she wasn't--

Realization dawning on her, Sourisi twists around and uses her poles to launch herself back down the slopes just in time to avoid the majority of the frosty wake. The gems Eudial was taking seems to be all the crystals she needs, and she wasn't going for all or nothing on this wintery heist! Trusting that someone will be able to either safeguard the crystals or restore them to their proper place, Sourisi starts to follow the steaming trail Eudial's board has left behind.

Poles slamming into the snow send out small geysers as Sourisi use the same sheer power method of skiing, nothing at all like the other skillful riders out on the slopes this evening. She must be doing something correctly, as Sourisi forges her own path through the trees, snapping off thin branches with her reckless rush.

Moving at a different angle in the forest is enough for her to come alongside the santa bandit, but now comes the difficult part. Taking both of her poles in one hand, the Miraculous Ninja pulls free a tonfa from its holster and starts to swing rapidly towards Eudial, wind whistling with each swing. "You heartless thief! Give those stolen crystals back to their owners this instant!"

COMBAT: Sourisi has used Mouse Flurry on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick perfectly dodges 30 Fatigue damage from Sourisi's Mouse Flurry, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Critical Dodge!  Pink Moon Stick's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.


Whether the Wind Knight was starting to exclaim 'wait' or 'what?' is beside the point; Eudial is past and gone before she can get more than part of a syllable out, and the nature of her mistake - their mistake - is as obvious in hindsight as the need to stop was, before it was made so clear of a mistake.

"We'll see you further down, Mami-san!" the green-clad Magic Knight calls out as she turns and pushes off with her ski poles - and loose flakes get swept up into a flurry in her wake, a tailwind gathering behind the Magic Knight as she begins hurtling downhill in pursuit of Eudial. She hunkers down to reduce wind resistance, tucking the poles under her arms except when she needs them to steer, or to accelerate.

Because accelerating is kind of important at this stage. Slowing down Eudial would be even better, but at this distance ...

Well. It might be worth a try, particularly when Eudial's trail weaves into the trees - no matter how fast the Witch of 5 is, even she'll need to be a *little* careful.

"Winds of Admonishment!!" shouts the Magic Knight, directing her spell downhill and among the trees, kicking up even more snow as the wind bends to her will.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick counters 4 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji
is Psyched!  Trap applied to Pink Moon Stick!
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick's counterattack, FIRE BUSTER, partially gets through, doing 15 Fatigue damage to Fuu Hououji!  
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Moon [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

She wasn't a witness to Haruka's concern, yet she knows of it all the same. Knows it full well.

And when Sailor Uranus appears at their side, there's a smile on her features despite how dire the situation is. "Uranus!" Before she then says to Mars, "I know that!"

Sailor Moon didn't 'stop' per se, she doesn't know how. Yet she did manage to slow down a bit. Before at Mami's coordination, she calls out, "You'll save them! I know you will!"

Sailor Moon then looks behind herself and squints.

"What's coming at-"

Eudial rockets on by, showering her in snow, and spinning her around so that she's skiing down and backwards.

"-It was too fast! Who was that blur!?"

Moon says as she shakes the snow out of her twintails, and looks over her shoulder, down the slope and past her. "Wait was that- Eudial!?"

There's a moment in all the chaos, when Mars rockets by, with the effigy of the Phoenix ahead of her... "Mars-chan! I'll- I'll catch up! Stay on her!"

She knows that Mars' flames would never lose to anyone. It's herself... that might not stack up to the task of catching up to Eudial.

The endeavour is easier said than done said than done though, as she's going down the slope backwards and looking over her shoulder to steer.

And then... she looks forward, to Uranus.

"Uranus... will you catch her? I know you're on skiis... but... the Uranus I know would never lose a race to anyone."

There's such faith in her smile.

"Even if she were racing against the wind."

COMBAT: Sailor Moon has used Faith in the Wind on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus accepts Sailor Moon's Faith in the Wind, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Uranus is Cheered!  
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

A firebreathing monster? No, la Sirene thinks.

Then a moment later: I was right the first time.

Her fingers curl around her poles as she calls out, "You devil! Do you think that you can get away with --"

FWASH! The snow flies towards la Sirene, landing against her subtle illumination and sticking for a moment, though some of them land in her eyes and make her teeth bare with fury. Blinded, but --

Mami's putting her faith in her.

La Sirene doesn't need to see to ski, she decides, stabbing the ground with her poles and pulling herself forwards with a single bicep-straining YANK -- which brings up the wind, which clears her eyes -- and thankfully, she was already on a good trajectory, not pointed at anyone or anything!

Sailor Mars, too. La Sirene gathers more speed, sinking into a crouch. Her boots' diamond soles are locked into the skis, even if she lacks the boardlike agility of their foe.

"How dare you. How DARE you come to these pure slopes this far north and bring your treachery! How long have you planned this, you red-lipped devil!?" la Sirene shouts ahead, as she throws up one hand, complete with the pole, as if reaching towards the heavens themselves!

What she shines forth is not as emphatic as Mars's Fiery soul, but the sudden showering burst of the quasi-liquid light around her into a violet-tinged non-glob towards Eudial has side-scatter -- which reflects with gorgeous incandescence off snow and ice alike!

"You would be wise to do as she says," la Sirene says, meaning Sourisi, "because otherwise you will find that this is a treacherous island for the wicked!"

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Abyssal Vision on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick braces 20 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Abyssal Vision, taking 16 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Hit!  Tangle applied to Pink Moon Stick!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Surfing down the track, Steven looks the part of a hero, ready to save the day! Except the moments when he has to stabilize as he goes. BUT! Theres more important matters on the field than looking cool. The distraction against Eudial helped leave a victim with their Pure Heart intact rather than stolen! "Gotta time this... just... right--!"

The boy wiggles his body to scootch over bit by bit as he passes by someone, and reaches his hand out with a gentle boop as he uses one hand to claw at the ground to slow down enough, so he doesn't accidentally slap the precious crystal across the slopes.

Success! A slight tap and the Pure Heart finishes the job, sinking back into where it belongs as the collapsed victim rapidly disappears behind Steven. "I did it! Im the greates-- AHHH!"

A gout of flame ahead BLASTS the boys direction, even from afar, the light flaring across the white slope like a blinding light. But Steven is un-crisped. "Ha! You missed! Guess it was too cold for-- oh." The growing smugness melts much like the snow did when faced with the MOST POWERFUL FIRE WEAPON SHE REALLY MEANS IT THIS TIME.

THe snow melted, or possibly shapeshifted, into a ramp. Right in his path. "AH HECK--" Steven shouts, desperately wiggling again to avoid the ramp!

No such luck. A child goes flying.

Cue the dramatic multi-camera angle ramp footage!

There is a blast of powdery snow where a child impacts in the back, behind both the magical girl group, and Eudial. There is a tumble or two, but Steven regains the ability to at least sit on the shield as he continues down. His ushanka is lost to the snow behind, and clumps cling to his hair.

"Hey! Thats illegal! I think!" he shouts accusingly.

Despite sliwly spinning down the slope, and not having too much control, the boy lays low to the shield to reduce wind friction. "Ramming speeeeeeed!" Steven shouts, attempting to collide with Eudial from behind as he goes!

This could end even worse than the ramp, but hearing his friends shouting down ahead, not letting her get ahead sounds really important!

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Shield Bash on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick counters 3 Fatigue damage from Steven Universe's Shield Bash, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Steven Universe is
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick's counterattack, Have A Good Trip, partially gets through, doing 8 Fatigue damage to Steven Universe!  
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Uranus [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Like most of the rest of the mahou shoujo present, Sailor Uranus is left snow-coated, and a lot less cool than she looked a moment ago. Her fluffy white outline, still sliding down the mountain, lifts its hand to adjust her goggles, sliding them down her featureless face. It clears the snow out of the way, even as it reveals a snowless forehead it had protected. Then, though the horse is thoroughly gone from the barn, they are resting over her eyes, the limpid yellow crystal turning blue eyes green.

Shaking like a wet dog the next moment, Uranus clears the snow, if not entirely the new irritation she feels despite herself. Eudial was trying to kill them all, sure, but that's her job. THIS was just rude. "I think the winds could stand to do a little admonishing, yeah," she agrees with Magic Knight Fuu.

Mami Tomoe's reaction is different, and Uranus watches it without remark. She just sighs, a note of nostalgia in the sound. Then she she rejoins her attention with her more combative comrades, namely Sailor Mars, who is well-suited to combatting snow. Lifting her ski poles from the snow, she prepares to perform a close-fisted version of her powerful Gaze Turbulent. With her fingers closed, however, that is not obvious to Sailor Moon, whose bird-chirp voice interrupts.

She is on skiis. Her skills at running are largely neutralized when she is sliding, though her general athleticism and balance are not. And Eudial is rather far ahead. It seems like the safe bet is to throw attacks at her from range, even if that risks her escaping. But Sailor Moon, recklessly, half-unwittingly, at once makes this a "race" and a test, of a princess's childlike belief in her warrior. Uranus grimaces.

She never wants Sailor Moon to fully understand how difficult the things Uranus does can be, or how narrow her victories often are. She wants her to believe the way she believes now, and feel safe.

"Hm? You looked so serious," Uranus says. "I thought you were going to ask me something difficult." She lays a hand atop Sailor Moon's head, as free as she always is with the advantage of height that one of the tallest girls has over one of the shortest.

"She wouldn't," she says, in a gentler, more serious tone. Then, reclaiming the pole she'd passed to her other hand temporarily, she lifts both and swings their spikes in a hard shove through the snow, bending her knees.

Mami tends, Mars attacks, Eudial defends, but Uranus, Uranus just races. It's not the worst plan, really; she'd much rather fight Eudial up-close, given their respective capabilities. So she focuses on building speed, on coursing over the snow. Leaping a bump, she clears some branches that threatened to knock her skiis and drop her to the ground, and lands with a bounce, letting her hips compensate first for that impact, then, with a sway, for the affect on her steering. This may not be her sport, but even if she is not what the founders of this princess competition had in mind, skiing is elegant, and Uranus is a princess. Skiing is athletic, and she is an athlete.

And skiing is cool too, isn't it?

COMBAT: Sailor Uranus has used Acts with Elegance on Sailor Uranus.
COMBAT: Sailor Uranus accepts Sailor Uranus's Acts with Elegance, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Empower and Surge applied to Sailor