Masqua-wrecked


Scorn Is A Friend?! Nephrite's Cruel Diplomacy

Date: 2015-06-27
Pose Count: 64
Nephrite 2015-06-27 00:43:47 2925
It's nights like these that Nephrite is most grateful for his shadow self. A spell granted to him by Queen Beryl to maximize his efficiency, simply separating his shadow from his body allows him to be in two places at once -- somehow remaining fully conscious of both locations, even with his mind effectively 'split'. Being a man of straightforward tactics, the Dark General is careful not to abuse the power, bringing it to bear only in times of most pressing need. (Or strenuous days at work, not that he'd ever admit to it.)

One such pressing need is arriving to meet with him tonight. The great dark power that his liege had commanded him to find and subjugate in the name of the Obsidian Pact. It is for this purpose that he created the ball. Whatever the nameless darkness is, surely it will draw to such a large gathering of energy. And once it has arrived, he will be there to greet it.

Meanwhile, Masato Sanjouin will be appeasing the unsuspecting guests, all without compromising his identity as a Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom. He has no reason to believe that his secret is in danger; no one has seen him transform into his full regalia, and no self-declared hero has burst into his base of operations demanding justice, as those types seem prone to doing. Still, surely having Nephrite and Masato Sanjouin appear simultaneously at a single event will eliminate future suspicion, allowing him to work in relative safety.

And if, in the process, he ingratiates himself to Makoto Kino and Mamoru Chiba, so much the better.

The ball has ownly been formally open for a few minutes now, guests trickling in at a steady pace as the valets go to their work. Masato Sanjouin, donning an auspicious black tuxedo and lavender domino, is out on the balcony, keeping watch for any and all persons of interest making their entrance below.

Thankfully, in the darkness of the evening, few can see that he is not casting a shadow.
Kurota Aizawa 2015-06-27 00:55:28 2926
    Kurota Aizawa is a rich kid. This is the truth, even though he goes to public school and most of the time he tries to hide it. Sometimes though, it means that he gets dragged to events like these, especially when his parents are actually in the country. It seems like they are at the moment, and although he and his parents often do their best to avoid each other, for some reason they've decided he should be at this thing with them. Perhaps they are worried about the impression it will make on their richie friends if their son doesn't show up and look pretty.
    Speaking of which, the tall young man has been stuffed into a suit. He's not terribly happy about this, but there's no denying that he wears it well- at 6 feet, he's tall for a Japanese guy, and his skinny frame pulls the suit look off well. He has a blue tie. He's also still wearing his huge black headphones, cupped over his ears with the wire trailing down to vanish into his breast pocket and the blue LED lights glimmering from around the cups. It looks a bit.. out of place with the suit but that's one battle his parents were never going to win.
    As soon as they're in the door though, he slips off.. hoping to lose himself in the crowd of gala attendees and find something more interesting to do than pretending to be a good son.
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 01:10:04 2927
-EARLIER THAT NIGHT-

A young girl kneels down in front of a stone tablet and let's feathers fall gently from her palm, down onto a silver plate, she studies the pattern and narrows her eyes a bit. The reading doesn't make much sense to her, but she gets the gist of the events that might unfold tonight. The shadowy raven on her shoulder merely grins wickedly with unknown intent.

She goes ahead and gets in contact with Hannah....

-NOW-

Scorn arrives, wearing her usual attire-- minus the witches hat, and belt and cloak, leaving her in a fanciful pretty dress with the raven feather hair clips. She's acquired a mask that fits over the top half of her face, black in color, with a single black feather that comes up off the left side. (http://masqueboutique.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Diamante-Black-b.jpg). The mask doesn't do much to obscure her identity as Scorn- there's a raven perched on her shoulder- afterall, but surely heroes aren't going to confront her until she /does/ something, right?

Though with the charity ball being for the coma victims, Scorn feels a little guilty. It shows on her face in expression of sadness.

"I was drawn to here tonight. I don't know why....." she murmurs to Hannah, who she should be arriving with. She looks up and about. "You were drawn here, by your feet- because there is someone you must meet." insists the Raven in rhyme- in a whisper to Scorn. Scorn frowns. "Meeting who? I haven't got a clue." she murmurs in her own rhyme under her breath.

The raven's power sticks out like a sore thumb to those sensitive to that kind of thing, like some sort of hideous dark headache.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 01:15:12 2928
Hannah Sharpe is definitely /not/ here! Infinity's Iron Lily would rather leap out of a moving vehicle than attend something so /posh/ as a masquerade. The financial star and /totally not a magical girl/ Kasagami White, however, definitely makes her arrival. Her attire is a long, frilled dress split at the thigh, toeless high heels, and something that flutters on her shoulder like a jacket. Barrier Jackets, thankfully, are easily modified for situations such as this.

"...This smells like a trap. Anyone who draws someone like you or I hardly has good intent. So keep your guard up."

"Well, I said my piece, and I cannot exactly stop you. So I guess my job as your bodyguard is to keep you alive. Try to stay close, but do not make it /too/ obvious." And a majority of /other/ people alive, but that's something she'll have to work up to.

Then, she actually enters, and donates like a good girl under the influence of a windfall. Though she'll keep an 'eye' out for Scorn, for now, she's going to be dancing and enjoying herself. At least until everything goes downhill.

The bird, of course, is utterly ignored the entire time. Her jaw clenches amidst her red mask, similarly noticable as Miss White to those of a magical persuasion. Raging Tempest is in coin form right now, hanging on her neck, even as her now frilly and fancy Barrier Jacket hides her real identity.
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 01:18:08 2929
    What's Shiori doing here? He's not a rich guy, not by any means. But hey... the party's free. And he's always wanted to see what a masquerade ball would look like. Sadly, he doesn't actually have the kind of outfit to completely fit in here. His decision to try to attend had only just barely been made with enough time to get everything ready. A cheap black and white Mardi Gras mask found on an online store, ordered with rush delivery. It had only arrived in the mail a few hours ago.

    Tudexos are expensive though. So his solution was a pleated dress shirt instead of a normal dress shirt and a bow tie instead of a normal tie, worn with the darkest blazer and pants he had. At least his dress shoes aren't too out of place. All in all, he'd run around quite a bit, but at least the result wasn't too bad.

    He did bring a donation, yes; this will get handed to an attendant on his way in. It's a paltry sum, but every little bit helps, right? But compared to most of the rest of this crew, he's obviously not the richest guy here.

    Furthermore, he wears glasses, how's he wearing a mask? Simple. Contact lenses. He has a pair, he just generally doesn't wear them because he usually doesn't see the need to hide that he wears glasses. In a situation like this though, they come in handy. At the moment, he's looking very much like a confused, lost parakeet. Wearing a mask.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 01:26:04 2930
There's someone at the gala that started out with a 'headache', as soon as he came in, because something's not right and something is coming -- but it intensifies by an order of magnitude when Scorn and Hannah walk in, and that raven's on Scorn's shoulder.

Nephrite may be watching people as they enter, out on the balcony, but Tuxedo Masque (possessed of the white tie and tails, the regalia, the mask-- but not the hat or cape!) has been watching on the inside, carrying himself like a foreign prince and not speaking much, smiling pleasantly and vaguely at anyone who addresses him. He's been keeping to the edges of the room, nursing a cup of punch.

He spots the kid in the blue tie, as tall as he is himself, wearing those /headphones/ with his expensive suit and stuffy parents, and has to look away before he can laugh. Either way, he doesn't feel like laughing long-- instead, he starts unobtrusively keeping his attention on Scorn and Miss White. Part of this involves meandering in their general direction, which makes him pass by Shiori. There's a glimmer of surprise and recognition in the blue eyes behind the mask, but all he says is a quiet "Pardon," before he's vanished into the crowd.
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 01:28:00 2931
Minako Aino/Sailor V makes the scene!

Or at least it's mostly Sailor V, with the addition of an extra trademarked mask on a stick like those fancy events tend to have (she also wears her normal eyewear in addition), a tophat, and a corsage (on both arms).

She's also brought a huge bouquet of roses and an oversized novelty envelope, the contents of which she quickly makes obvious. "A gift from the city and Sailor V for the people injured by the tragedy that we have experienced," she says, being vague as she's not quite done her homework on who -exactly- is being supported.

The check's size is bigger physically than it is financially, but the 'Sailor V' angle and the 'big donation' angle should be enough to infiltrate a guarded event - V isn't aware it's an 'open to the public' event.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-27 01:30:18 2932
It looks so different tonight, is the first thought to cross Makoto's mind.

She saw the venue yesterday, stark in the daylight and empty of people, when she came by to lend her help to the setup for this event. But as she steps into the ballroom, it's almost as though the whole place has undergone some kind of magical transformation beyond anything that could be accomplished with carefully-placed floral arrangements. It's the kind of effect that comes from soft music and the murmur of conversation, people in elegant formal dress. To Mako's eyes, the whole place almost seems to sparkle.

Her own dress is handmade - it's hard to find nice things in her size - but that's scarcely obvious at a glance, and she's happy with the forest-green color of it, the flattering sweetheart neckline and the long sweep of the layered skirt. On a whim, she's traded the simple bead ponytail holder that usually ties back her hair for a pink silk rose that matches her earrings and the subtle motif of her pink domino mask.

She's gone so far as to wear heels, which gives her something of a height advantage as her eyes skim over the crowd slowly gathering in the ballroom. For the moment, Makoto is hanging back, feeling a little out of place... but she can't keep a certain dreamy excitement from her eyes as she sees a few couples out on the dance floor. Maybe...
Kurota Aizawa 2015-06-27 01:37:05 2933
    Kurota doesn't even have a mask. If anyone asks him, he'll say it's because masks are dumb and he doesn't want to do something just because you're /supposed/ to, but the real reason is that his parents didn't tell him it was a masquerade and he kind of wishes he had brought one of the sweet bandannas or gas masks or whatever he probably has tons of at home. Oh well, missed opportunities. It's not like anyone /here/ would recognize him anyway.
    Of course just as he's thinking that, he happens to walk by Shiori. Right after The Tuxedo does, so he doesn't recognize that particular guy, but he does recognize Shiori, if only because he invited him to a club just the night before. "Oh.. what's up, dude?" He greets, his tone more surprised than anything else, having genuinely not expected to run into /anybody/ he recognized here, let alone someone he had just met the day before. He surreptitiously thumbs his MP3 player to off in his pocket, though he doesn't remove the headphones.
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 01:44:04 2935
    On the other hand, Shiori does not at all recognize the foreign prince. However, bows politely to the other man. "Of course," he responds. A foreign prince is not somebody he wants to be ticked at him, after all. Besides, Shiori's suit is a far less expensive one, he figures. It can stand a little abuse. Hopefully none of the paint on his crappy mask fell onto that white suit. That'd have been a mess.

    He hears a familiar voice call his name and looks over. The 'rawr why you no like music' kid from earlier? Shiori smiles, and turns in Kurota's direction. "Hi there," he greets. As for 'what's up'? "I have no idea actually," he admits sheepishly. "Never been to one of these before. Cover charges and all." He HAD donated, but it was a small amount.
Kurota Aizawa 2015-06-27 01:59:47 2936
    Kurota shrugs to the response from Shiori. "You ain't missin' much. A lot of milling around and polite chatter that doesn't mean anything while everybody tries to show off how generous they are without actually coming right out and saying it." Somebody's a little jaded, it seems! He sighs. "My parents drag me to this sort of thing every now and again. It's not that I don't feel bad for the victims and stuff, but you can donate online, y'know? No need for all this stuffy jiggery-pokery."
    He quirks a brow though, changing the subject to something much more interesting- himself. "So did you come to the show last night?" Of course referring to the show his group put on at the Glowing Pineapple, which he had invited Shiori to attend. He hadn't seen the other guy there but that doesn't mean much- it's not like you can recognize every face in a dark, crowded club.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 02:03:14 2937
For a normal mortal, spotting specific people in a thick crowd while fifty feet above them -- all in the near-dark of the evening -- would have been barely possible. However, Nephrite is no mere human; his eyes are sharp enough to to see the details of each incoming person's face, delving beneath their masks with little trouble. So far, it's been the usual crowd of socialites who gather and sigh mawkishly about the tragedy of it all before turning to their friends to gossip the night away. Being around Infinity parents and symphony-goers all too often, he's learned their type, and can write them off without trouble.

Notably, Mamoru Chiba is not among their number, from what he can see. How very fortunate.

Thankfully, there's more to the crowd than the upper class drivel. The Dark General's magic sense trips after a few moments of observation, his gaze pulled insistently towards a pair of girls: one with starkly white hair, the other with a raven perched on her shoulder. How conspicuous, even without his internal ability to sense the darkness that pools around her. He cracks the slightest of smiles, then sends his formless shadow to their location. Scorn and Scorn alone will hear in her mind: 'Come. Let us speak somewhere more secluded.' A door on the upper floor of the ballroom is indicated with a purple outline that glimmers for just a moment, then vanishes.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 02:22:28 2938
The Shitennou's brief satisfaction is cut short, however, by a new arrival -- someone whose mask he cannot peer under, who's obscured by magic. Not that he needs it to recognize her, of course. Sailor V's image is all but inescapable in Tokyo. He simply didn't think she would be *this obvious* about her investigation. A gloved hand clenches around the railing. With his shadow self occupied and his mortal body unable to slip away from the crowd, there's no way to confront her without drawing attention to himself. He'll be aware if she causes any trouble, but if everything goes as planned with the raven-girl, she'll have no reason to stir the waters.

Though the crowd is certainly enthralled by the heroine's presence, as well as the massive check she bestowed upon her entrance. (If he has to take a picture with her, he will be *livid*.)

Nephrite's mind wanders a bit as he stands at that balcony, thinking back on the previous day, with Makoto and Mamoru. It seems like he's convinced the boy to trust him with the Kino girl; at least, enough not to badger him throughout the night. Offhandedly, he wonders why he hasn't seen her -- when his eyes catch another familiar form, one who has no reason to be here, one who he has not yet puzzled out.

One who could ruin his plans if left unchecked.

Unable to maintain his vigil in the face of imminent danger, the disguised Dark General turns on his heel and rushes hurriedly into the ballroom. Tuxedo Kamen must not be allowed to run amok at the ball, not when Makoto Kino can still be swayed--

There she is.

(That dress. He's seen it before, on many a moonlit night in a kingdom long ago. Beautiful, layered, as deeply green as her eyes. It suits her perfectly, though he's never managed to tell her so. For one moment, like a lightning strike, he remembers.)

Nephrite blinks, stopped in his tracks by a feeling he can't place. No matter. In a crowd this size, he can't let Makoto drift away from him, even with two warriors of justice to track down. So, instead of pursuing the masked tuxedo, he gives the girl a light tap on the shoulder, drawing her attention to him.

"Excuse me, my lady. May I have this dance?"
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 02:32:20 2939
    Shiori makes a twisted frown at Kurota's response regarding the gala. It's not one of dismay at the words, though. Mainly because he can't really deny it. "That's what it's looking like," he agrees. "Not a whole lot going on here that I know much about. Oh well. Free food, right?" Always a good reason to come to an event like this, right? As for the concert, Shiori nods. "I did. Really liked it, you guys have great energy."

    Ignorance is most certainly bliss in Shiori's case. He's completely unaware of all the dark undertones and machinations going on under the surface of all this finery. Oh but he does recognize Sailor V. Who DOESN'T recognize her? And he looks to Kurota with a blink. "Hey uh. Is that Sailor V? Or d'you think it's just somebody dressed up as her?"
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 02:33:38 2940
Scorn looks around the ballroom, she feels--- small, out of place, bad. The girl looks around and-- no one sticks out as anyone she knows. This is a familiar feeling for her. Hannah's gone off to mingle, leaving her alone for a bit.

"Why am I here. I don't know, I fear...." she says under her breath. Then she feels some sort of presence, and glances to the above level. She puts a finger to her mouth in thought. She goes along, moving across the floor and up along a staircase towards the door. She glances around just as a thought, before disappearing through the door.

"Show yourself quick, or I'll come at you like a brick." says Scorn. The raven speaks up, softly after. "Don't be so rude! I apologize she's so crude! We've come far, but I know who you are! You're with the Pact. This is a fact. But back on track.-----".

Scorn cuts him off. "This is Corvus. My name is Scorn. What is this about?" she asks.

The raven scowls as he's cut off. But she does finish his train of thought.

"Are you hunting me, too? I'm no fool!" she says pointedly.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 02:36:39 2941
Amidst the magical bubbles and purely amazing floral arrangements, Miss White has managed to procure a drink, devouring it hastily. The woman is certainly on edge. Thanks to the crush of people, she doesn't yet realize that a certain de-hatted Hat Guy is present. Instead, setting down her drink, she's suddenly swept up into a dance by a helpful rich attendee. Miss White spins, dances, and moves with magical grace that just seems to fit the setting overall.

When she manages to get away, cheeks slightly pink from it all and mildly more relaxed, she nevertheless tries to keep Scorn in her senses at all times, tracking those that come up to her.

Of course, the commotion at Sailor V's entrance is a bit distracting. She strains to 'see' the woman, only to realize she's lost track of Scorn! It's enough for her to squint and scowl, soon moving to the periphery of the room! Scoooowl!

This is perfect timing for her to distractedly get within collision range of a certain Tuxedo-clad gentleman.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 02:37:47 2942
Miss White, as a consequence, is now downing punch like a woman exiting a desert. Hopefully no one has spiked the punch.
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 02:38:02 2943
Minako Aino /Sailor V isn't going about requesting pictures, but she is making a big production of not opening her check yet. "It's got my secret name on it and absolutely positively isn't for public consumption~" she sings, drumming up drama and excitement all around her.

This is a lie. It doesn't have her name on it. Rather, it's a combination of donations from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the Traffic Bureau, and one of the administration sections V's friend works in, signed by a non-impressive clerk of no repute.

But the world doesn't need to know that. All they need to believe is that the comically oversized envelope contains a comically oversized check with a seriously oversized value (of which Minako has barely skimmed anything from for delivery services).

Eventually, there's a little bit of a chant for 'picture, picture, picture!', but V probably started it.
Kurota Aizawa 2015-06-27 02:41:29 2944
    Kurota actually cracks a smile as Shiori confirms that he went to the show, and also that he enjoyed it. He claps Shiori on the shoulder again, apparently one of those people who thinks that a sharp blow is a good way of showing affection. "Ah, sweet! We play there at least once a week, you should come again. Let me know if you do, I can probably get you a good spot or something."
    Then he sighs, glancing over towards Sailor V. "I dunno. Probably?" How is he supposed to know if it's really her, it's not like he knows Sailor V or anything. He also doesn't care that much, but she shouldn't feel insulted, he doesn't care that much about anything that isn't music related. "Anyway dude, I'm gonna try and find a way out of here, this place is boring." He says, completely oblivious to the fact that he's veritably swimming in a sea of dark magic and intrigue. It'd be different if someone threatened to take a tuba hostage, he'd be flying into action, but as it is the music is safe and so he senses no danger. Sometimes having very specific powers can be a bit of a handicap. "See ya 'round, man." Kurota turns and makes his way back into the crowd.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 02:46:39 2945
The Tuxedo-clad gentleman, eyes on Scorn as she starts moving, both completely fails to notice Makoto's entrance or Sanjoin's masked interception of her. He unhurriedly starts following, setting his own punch down on a table he passes, lips pursed a little since Miss White is nowhere near the girl and her raven. His pace picks up a little as she starts climbing the stairs, but he edges to the side of the room in his tracking: less potential of Scorn glancing down and spotting him heading for the stairs as well.

This, of course, since he's keeping his eyes on her, means the only things in the place he's actually minding are the sources of dark magic, and then only vaguely. Barrier jackets aren't dark magic.

Tuxedo Mask collides with Miss White, and his gloved hands instantly go up to her shoulders to steady her. "Pardon me," he says apologetically, already starting to move again and only glancing in passing before his eyes lock on Scorn again.

Then he stops short. "I see," he says, faintly amused, then offers his arm. "She's gone upstairs, and it's either the first or the second door since she's already gone from the balcony. Shall we?"
Nephrite 2015-06-27 02:48:08 2946
"No need to be so tense."

The shadows of the room, sparsely furnished and barely lit, seem to ripple like disturbed water before an imposing figure steps out. "I am Nephrite, Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom. I represent the interests of Quee--" blast it, he will never get used to this name, "excuse me, the Obsidian Pact. And it is I who called you here this evening, on the terms of parley." He steps more completely into the light, revealing his full regalia as well as his diplomatic (if smug) half-smile.

"Will you oblige me with a negotiation?" he continues. "There are matters that need sorting out if we are to continue a peaceful relationship, I'm afraid."
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 02:52:15 2947
    "Thanks, I appreciate that," Shiori replies. "I was sort of in the back, so I didn't really get a good look at the band. I was listening, though." The mention of the reason Kurota's leaving gets a nod. "Yeah, I probably won't be here too much longer myself. Take care, man. See you later."

    Shiori is, however, going to see about what kind of food they got here. If he's going to donate, he's at least going to stay long enough to get fed! Only fair, right?
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 03:01:59 2948
Miss White has been Tux'd! Tuxedo Masque'd, that is! Straightened, she banishes a slight blush pointedly.

"Quite alright." She returns in a similarly demure tone, as fitting of the event. Taking his arm, she actually smiles a bit. One more glass of punch, and she trusts the man to lead on. She might not necessarily /need/ it with Raging Tempest around her neck, but it's both a familiar gesture and the formality is appreciated.

"My dance partner is a bit skittish today it seems." A small shrug. Hopefully he'll get the hint.

At least no one has lost their souls yet. UP the stairs they go. She lowers her voice, whispering.

"She said something about being 'drawn' here. This feels like a trap. She, of course, did not listen." Another huff. Her mutterings mention something about 'terrible, useless partners'.

"Any luck with finding your friend?" She emphasizes the word friend. Where else would you find a Princess than at a ball?
Makoto Kino 2015-06-27 03:02:29 2949
Sailor V's presence has distracted Makoto a bit - no surprise; having a bona fide heroine present tends to attract attention - so the unexpected tap on her shoulder nearly makes her jump. She turns quickly, brows lifting behind her domino, and damn near forgets how to breathe for a second when she sees the host of this gala standing there waiting for her answer. "--Sanjouin-san!"

Really there's no reason she should be surprised, not when he'd hinted as much earlier, but just at this moment the whole situation feels a little unreal. Like something out of a fairy tale. Seeing him like this, dressed to the nines with the shape of the mask framing those dark blue eyes, Makoto feels irresistibly reminded of a night not very long ago and the self-professed ally who pressed the pen into her hand and told her she already knew what she needed to do--

--so familiar--

Abruptly she realizes she still hasn't actually answered him, and Makoto blushes a shade of pink brighter than her mask. "I'd love to dance!" she says, straightening her shoulders against a lurking feeling of self-consciousness that she refuses to give into.
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 03:04:20 2950
Scorn seems confused by this all. More odd people, who wish to talk. "What is it you want to talk about then?" she asks in a confused manner. The raven merely keeps it's eyes on Nephrite. "Yes, let's get real and talk about deals."

Scorn seems a little caught off guard by the man's proper appearance, as she puts fingers to her lips a little. "I'm just... collecting souls to an ends. Did I take someone important from you, too?" she frowns rather hard at this.

"No more free. I can't afford it! Two Steps forward-- Three Steps back!" she insists.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 03:21:48 2951
Nephrite's collected smile widens that much more when Makoto is so stunned by his presence as to stare before answering him. Perfect -- the exact effect he'd hoped to have on her. And that silent moment where she seemed to be thinking...perhaps the analogues to Tuxedo Kamen working themselves over in her mind?

Even with the unwanted intruders, at least this much is going according to plan.

"You're very sharp, Kino-san," he says after an impressed chuckle. "I've managed to stay more or less undercover the whole evening. A masquerade is convenient when you wish to get away from...well."

He gestures around to the chants of 'picture, picture, picture!'

With a fluorish wholly appropriate for a gentleman, he takes her hand and pulls her gently closer to him, free hand resting on her waist. Whether by coincidence or fate (or magic), the music in the room fades into a leisurely waltz, topping off the fairy tale grandeur of the ball just in time.

"Are you familiar with the waltz?" the man asks, endeavoring to keep all judgment out of his voice so as to enthrall her further. "There will be some people showing off on the dance floor, but in a dress as beautiful as that, you put all of them to shame with a look."
Nephrite 2015-06-27 03:32:18 2952
Nephrite is, admittedly, surprised that the darkness that had alluded Beryl is a teenaged girl and her raven companion. Granted, he had not expected a being on par with the Great Ruler -- partly because no such being exists -- but the pair is somewhat underwhelming to him nevertheless. Perhaps this is why, unconsciously, his manner adopts a distinct note of condescension as he continues speaking.

"I'm afraid you don't understand the order of things," the Dark General says, crossing his arms. "Queen Beryl and the other members of the Obsidian Pact represent the foremost magical powers in this world. We've laid our claim on Earth already; once the current resistance has been annihilated, it will belong to us. By gathering energy -- 'souls', whatever you choose to call it -- you have been infringing on territory that is rightfully ours."

Something is rubbing him the wrong way, as though he is missing a very important aspect of this situation, but he can't be allowed to lose his cool in a discussion like this. He banishes the thought from his mind.

"We have left you unaccosted for now, but given the scale of your most recent operation, we can no longer stand idly by. Therefore, I give you an offer, on behalf of the Obsidian Pact at large." He stares down at the little witch and her feathered companion. "Submit to us and join your power to ours, or be branded our enemy."

It should be a simple decision, really, but he waits for her answer all the same.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 03:37:33 2953
"Frankly, I hope she's not here, this place is choking with darkness," Tuxedo Mask mutters to Miss White as they ascend the staircase. "And it's therefore really no wonder your dance partner's skittish--"

It's not like she needs it, no, but don't they look that much more posh and proper? And a masquerade is the perfect place for the sort of intrigue that's best glossed by that strange combination of familiarity and formality that the ridiculously rich are so good at pulling off.

Completely unaware of the copycat shenanigans being visited upon his ally or the food table adventures of his newly-acquired potential study buddy, he closes his eyes when they reach the top of the stairs for a moment, focusing on the way his senses are drawing him -- and he leads Hannah unerringly to the door, closed, that houses Nephrite's shadow self and Scorn and the raven. Then he holds up one white-gloved hand and leans in to eavesdrop, ear to the door.
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 03:50:08 2954
    Shiori's discovered the food is really good. And so is the punch. It is also probably spiked. Which is probably why Shiori's looking over in Sailor V's direction again. She really is pretty. 'Spiked punch' probably also explains what goes through his mind when music starts playing. And probably for the fact that he actually GOES THROUGH WITH IT!

    What is it? Simple. He turns in Sailor V's direction, starts to walk over. 'What am I doing?' Really even he doesn't know. Until he ends up near Sailor V (assuming she hasn't wandered off by then). He bows, offers a hand. "May I have this dance?"

    Part of his mind is very loudly questioning the wisdom of this course of action. But... well, he's already committed. Good thing he can dance reasonably well! He's no expert, but he's passable anyway.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 03:54:04 2955
"I was wondering what that clammy feeling was. Should have been recording..." Hannah will lament lost data later. For now, she follows along, adrift in comfortable silence and the look of two off for Intrigue!

Which they are, as she's brought to a door. For someone so often loud, she knows how to be quiet when it's important. Staying stil, she nevertheless clenches her coin in one hand.

Dynamic entry to save her partner is hardly out of the question. She rather enjoys destroying fancy scenery if it gets her something in the process.
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 03:55:57 2956
Scorn grates her teeth---- another faction claiming dominance. That wanted her. The lady in the mask wasn't demanding. This one is claiming she has no choice in the matter! Nonsense. She seems visibly frustrated for a moment.

"I----" "We Accept.". "!?"

Scorn seems outright upset now, this causes her to burst out in ryhme. "No! We should go! Don't you care what I feel!? This is no deal!" she says through a frustrated tone. The raven clicks it's beak.

"I thought you cared for your kin--- are you going to throw her in the bin? I'm the source of your power, don't be so dour! Only I can help you. What will do!? Go on alone? Don't make me groan! I'll be free faster---- then you can avert your personal disaster."

Scorn merely frustratedly grits her teeth. This isn't how these things are supposed to go! "FINE What do I need to do!? I just want this to be through!" she says suddenly.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-27 03:59:06 2957
"I can't imagine how," Makoto says with a breathless little laugh when Masato comments that he's been managing to fly below the proverbial radar. "Even if you're wearing a mask, how should I put it... you kind of have a presence."

She is completely giddy. As if it weren't enough to be in the midst of a setting practically out of a movie, a guy like Masato Sanjouin actually wants to dance with her - this never happens. This never happens. Not to Makoto. Maybe when the song ends it'll all vanish like Cinderella's coach turning back into a pumpkin, but until that moment, she's going to enjoy it while it lasts.

"I can waltz, a little," Mako says as they take the floor. "That is, I've learned how, but I've never really gotten the chance to put it into practice..."
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 04:09:02 2959
Minako Aino/Sailor V's hesitation is apparent. She's torn between recognition of two very naughty boys - Mask-san, currently in the process of slinking off (behind Invisible Girl's back, no doubt) with some very suspicious looking lady towards the upstairs, and Shiori, the boy from the karaoke who she she (thinks) she set up with his true LoveLove. Shiori's request interrupts some important local government official's glamour shot with Sailor V. She salvages it after a significant delay.

"Of course! Sailor V-chan has time for one dance this fine night!" she says, extending her corsage'd bush of an arm in Shiori's direction before a bit of panic hits her face. 'Oh noooes, this is the boy who jumped on that poor girl in karaoke! And here he is now, without his girlfriend!' she (mis)remembers.

The beginning of any dance starts off awkwardly, with whispered warnings not to get too 'handsy' or to jump on anybody - herself or other dancers.

"I've heard the rumors going around the arcades and the schools about you!" she stresses, putting on her most HUGEST of smiles before pushing off her bouquet of flowers to some poor stander-by.

Minako has never danced like this before. She couldn't tell the difference between a tarantella or a tarantula.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 04:19:36 2960
Tuxedo Kamen's hand tenses on the door and his brow furrows, and the look he gives Miss White, head suddenly cocking in her direction, is sharp as hell. His lips are a thin line. Under his breath he says, "Nephrite is in there with her. And she just got strongarmed into accepting some kind of deal with him by that damn bird. On three?"

Hannah visibly twitches. She's never met Nephrite, but she'd bet that's who all that dark energy belongs to. And they're /poaching her catch!?/. Teeth grit, eyes widen in fury, and then she's just /grinning/ at Tuxedo Kamen.

"No one poaches from me! One..." Magic flares around her, that coin in her hand shining. She flicks it in the air, soon forming twin knuckledusters that hang in the air. Her Barrier Jacket shifts, dress becoming a ruffled shirt-version of a suit and tie, competing with Mamoru's for class and then becoming utterly ostentatious with ruffles, golden cuffs, and entirely too much white. Red eyes re-focus.

"Two!"

Her right leg glows green, a pure drill of air only fueled by her fury, tainting it with at the edges with black.

"Three!" One final 'glance' to the man beside her, and she kicks at the door's hinges, the resulting gust of wind and physical force aimed to send it arcing into the air, and right down on the source of all of that power: Nephrite. (Or at least his shadow!).

"WHO IS MESSING WITH MY PARTNER AND FRIEND!?" Howls Miss White as she steps into the room. There's no stance to her right now, and yet, she might seem all the stronger by working on pure rage.

"I do believe I heard some squawking about forcing a girl into a pact that has been neither discussed, nor reasoned! What is in it for her!? Will you, 'Nephrite-san', come running for this girl if some annoying high-horsed 'saviors' surround her!? Loyalty."

Then, she turns her gaze to Scorn. "...I am not going to tell you what to do or who to join. But this man smells like a snake, and a coward. Consider that." Her body turns to Corvus.

"And for the love of everything, your bird is an impatient, irrational creature. You should take some time to decide rationally who's going to be the ones to join. Doing something like this on the spot will end badly."

Then she laughs aloud, grinning again, and it's a sickly one.

"In the meantime, this one has a pretty powerful soul, I would guess. Why not beat him down and take it right here? If someone comes after you then they get to meet my fists, partner."
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 04:23:38 2961
"One."

"Two."

"Three."

Sailor V also kicks... Shiori. Right in the shin. But at least it was in time with the music.
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 04:26:11 2962
    Shiori's almost as panicked as Sailor V, particularly when she ACTUALLY ACCEPTS! Complete shock there. Not quite as big a shock as that he actually managed to find the gastrointestinal fortitude to ask in the first place! But hey, it seems to have worked! Though Shiori might wish it hadn't, given that he's suddenly faced with the turning of a rumor mill? He blinked behind the mask. "Me? No need to worry, Sailor V. It's probably not true. You know what happens when the story's not exciting enough, right?"

    And then suddenly, 'whap'! Right in the shin! Ouch. He winces a little. The mask keeps it from being too noticeable. "Oops, sorry," he offers sheepishly. Though he has a feeling that's going to happen a lot more. But hey. Sailor V-inflicted bruises. It's something to brag about anyway.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 04:26:47 2963
"A 'presence', you say?" Nephrite replies, smiling coyly. "Then perhaps all these people are just as tired of dealing with me as I am with them. Company events, sports banquets, galas for the orchestra -- it's never ending." As he speaks, he leads the both of them to the center of the floor, where they can be seen and envied by all. More pressure on Makoto, he supposes; but what girl doesn't want to be the belle of the ball? "At least, for tonight, they have left me in peace."

The man waves away her concerns about the waltz. "All you need are the basic steps. Follow my lead. You'll do wonderfully," he assures, then sweeps her into a grandiose variation of the dance steps that would make a professional choreographer weep with pride. Perhaps the Cinderella comparison is an apt one.

As they dance, he adjusts himself to her weaknesses, leading with a confidence bordering on vanity. Even so, he imagines they make for a handsome couple; besides, these people are no strangers to vanity. With so many eyes trained to them, Nephrite lowers his voice enough to be heard only by Makoto.

"I've said it before, I know, but I must repeat: I'm glad you weren't hurt by the incursion at the jewelry store. Truly."

He turns her away for a spin, then gives her hand a gentle squeeze when she returns. Perhaps that impetus, along with his current semi-disguise, will be enough to make her elaborate on whatever secret knowledge she possesses.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 04:28:35 2964
On Miss White's 'three', Tuxedo Masque, readied a couple paces away from the door, suddenly twists and puts his not-inconsiderable magical strength into whipping a roundhouse kick at his side of the double doors. The terrific bang of both of them kicking at the same time echoes; the dusky gold glimmer of the erstwhile Earth prince's henshin adding a top hat, a cane, and an unfurling cape the colors of the night sky and dried blood-- it's nothing compared to the lightshow of other transformations, but it's also definitely not invisible. Just at a sort of awkward angle to be seen from most of the ground floor.

The two of them in the wide frame of the broken doors make an impressively and appropriately dramatic pair, and the Mask's cape billows behind him in the handy wind provided by the girl next to him. Hannah's got a pretty impressive injustice (well...) speech, there, but some sense of theatre prompts him to add, voice ringing in the dimness, "Nepharious-purposed Generals who infiltrate masquerade balls in order to levy threats on girls in dark rooms are cads and treacherous manipulators who cannot be trusted, Scorn-san! Trust your partner White-san, and trust yourself!" Then he points his cane at Nephrite, eyes blazing bright blue and accusatory--

--and so horribly familiar--

--at the twisted Shitennou. "I, Tuxedo Kamen, will be your opponent!"

Maybe, a little. For like thirty seconds probably.

It's probably just as well Sailor Moon didn't show up: being scraped off the wall into a bucket is not the way to make a good impression.
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 04:40:04 2965
Minako Aino/Sailor V also dances in a way that would make a choreographer weep. Near the general vicinity of Makoto and Nephrite.

Sailor V and Shiori definitely pull lots of attention, but it's for entirely different reasons than Masato and Makoto. More pictures and more excited gasps.

"You gotta be strong!" she insists to Shiori. "That which doesn't kill you makes you alive. You're fine, don't let the pain show," she urges, casting blameful glances with her eyes, the most critical bits of the look dulled somewhat by the mask on her face and the other mask-on-a-stick in her hand.
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 04:48:02 2966
    "Wha?" Shiori seems surprised. "Oh, right! Eheh... no, I'm okay, really." He smiles, even if another shin kick or step on his foot occurs. Ow. Nope. Totally didn't hurt. Not a bit.

    "So... d'you mind if I ask what these rumors are?" he asks politely.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 04:57:16 2968
"Excellent." Nephrite's face eases from a mask of intimidation into one of relaxed satisfaction. It doesn't matter if the pair's acceptance comes from bird or girl; it's clear that the little witch is beholden to her partner's whims, so to him, the contract is all but sealed. "If you would accompany me, I shall present you to Queen Ber--"

That peculiar feeling of *wrongness* intensifies for half a second, catching him off guard, before the door is blown in with a gust of magical wind and the plank of wood sent hurtling toward him. He would have taken quite a blow -- were this his substantial form. As it stands, the projectile passes through him, leaving a ripple of black-green that momentarily distorts his image. But, with the assertion of his will, he pulls himself back together.

(On the dance floor, the disguised General winces and loses his balance. Something is interfering with his shadow self.)

"Who goes there?!" he demands, eyes still adjusting to the cloud of dust that is kicked up by Miss White's magic. For good measure, he conjures the Dark Crystal and fires a blast of negative energy in the direction of the intruders. "Daring to intrude on the Dark Kingdom's business is a death sentence!"

When the room has settled and he has completely regained his bearings, Nephrite sees who awaits him -- and glares. He could care less about the girl in white, no doubt a run-of-the-mill warrior of justice who caught a lucky break in noticing him. It's Tuxedo Kamen who receives the full weight of his attention. And his ire. "You are too late, Tuxedo Kamen. This girl and her companion have already sworn themselves to the Obsidian Pact. Any other partnerships are null and void as of this moment."

At the last line of his speech, the Shitennou can't help but laugh. "You choose to be my opponent? Very well." A shadow arises from the Dark Crystal, materializing into a longsword as he wraps his hand around the hilt. "You will soon learn what that entails." He *lunges* forward, holding nothing in reserve as he swipes the blade in an arc towards Kamen's torso. And, as he does, he shouts at the witch and the girl in white.

"Steal my soul? Ha! I defy you to try." After his initial swing, Nephrite fires a volley of dark magic to trip up the girl. "Your feeble body could not handle a fraction of the power within me."
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 04:58:23 2969
Minako Aino/Sailor V tisks at Shiori. "Everybody knows about your behavior while out in town. Jumping on strangers, even significant other ones. Dancing with someone whose not your girlfriend! Tisk tisk!" she says, shaking her head and her hair all around while reciting quietly some untrue rumors.

"But don't worry. Your secret is safe with me," she promises, solemn and earnest, as a few cameras flash while another person shouts 'look this way and smile, V-chan and guy!'.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-27 05:09:00 2970
There's a hesitance of uncertainty in Makoto's steps at first, as she tries to keep up with the dramatic start her dance partner makes. It doesn't last long, though. Maybe it's the confidence of Sanjouin's lead, maybe her own innate physical grace, maybe some of both - she feels as though something within her knows these steps, something that runs much deeper than the ballroom dance lessons she's taken. As if some part of her were born knowing it.

She matches him step for step, spins away with a fluttering sweep of her long skirt, returns again without missing a beat in time to hear those quiet words. And blushes again, a little. "It's all right, Sanjouin-san," Mako says with a smile. "I'm grateful for your concern, but--"

Her voice breaks off mid-sentence, distracted - was that a noise from upstairs? Before Makoto can look, though, her partner's steps falter, bringing her full attention back to him as her brows draw together in concern. "Are you all right? You haven't been pushing yourself too hard, have you...?"
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 05:17:58 2971
    Shiori's mask thankfully hides his face enough to cover the blush too. "Oh that was a misunderstanding," he explains. "She tripped on the way down a flight of stairs, and I happened to be in the way. I'm not sorry I caught her though. She could have hurt herself."

    He pauses as the cameraperson calls to Sailor V. He's rather fighting the urge to run. Particularly at the next thing he quietly admits to Minako. "Besides, I don't... actually have a girlfriend. The girl from the karaoke place I'd only met once, and I haven't seen her again. I don't really know her well enough to be involved with her." Pause. "And... I just thought you'd like a normal dance with another person that wasn't clammoring for an autograph, that's all."

    Keeping himself from embarrassing himself in front of Sailor V's taking up a lot of his attention, and not having any way to sense the darkness and trouble that's happening upstairs, he really has no way to tell that the fuse has been lit and the flame creeps closer to the powder keg...
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 05:26:17 2972
Hannah and Tuxedo Kamen come crashing in through the door. She's secretly very relived, but confused all at once. Nephrite- demanding loyalty, and Hannah, requesting it--- and all the while the raven on her shoulder looks frustrated at the intrusion. He was so close. So /close/ to being whisked away, to a quicker way out!

"LISTEN TO ME. LET THEM BE. THIS IS A FACT. JOIN THE PACT." the raven spouts. Scorn cowers arms over her head as accusations fly, words get flung about and the man summons a sword- and aims to attack both Hannah and Tuxedo Kamen.

"I don't know what to do...." she trails off. What, her partner!? Does Hannah really consider her that? It makes her feel more worse. The raven wanted her here- for this reason- to meet this man- to make allies. But she'd already been doing that! Thoughts race through her head as she clasps her face into her hand.

Frustration and bad feelings well up, as she just throws her arm outwards, towards ALL the combatants---"GRANT MY HEART'S DESIRE----SOUL REND!" she calls out. She seems to be aiming to flush EVERYONE out of the room, and possibly out the balcony and into the ballroom proper--- as a powerful, foul wind blows through the room, emanating from her palm.

A good choice? Probably not, but she seems confused and frustrated.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 05:29:19 2973
"Coercion is fit for nothing but bullies destined to be overthrown! Your false and deceitful 'deal' is what's null and void, Nephrite! It'd never hold up in court!" Tuxedo Kamen shouts, and-- is he grinning? Nephrite's intangible and just drew a sword from thin air, and the caped boy in the hat and mask is grinning. It takes swift and complicated footwork to avoid the slash toward his midsection, and rustling, whipping silk flows through the air as he leaps up to hand off the ceiling and come down behind Nephrite, cane brandished as if it were a sword itself.

Lunging forward in the same breath, expecting no resistance from the shadow-General's incorporeal form, the lanky and impossibly graceful form of Tuxedo Mask aims to knock the sword from Nephrite's hand from the back. If he can buy Miss White and Scorn enough time, enough distraction and annoyance, enough irrationality brought on by rage, they might have a shot at doing the man some real damage, especially if he forgets they're there.

(Sunlight filters through the canopy of leaves overhead, dancing green and gold on the overgrown forest floor. The black-haired and blue-eyed boy's laughter rings out among the trees ahead, and then there's a brief rustling before the aforementioned young boy drops to the ground behind-- then shoves, laughing too hard for it to be at all effective.)

The second the swift lunge is totally committed, even as he is probably actually passing through Nephrite's body, the boy continues, exhilarated and almost laughing for some unfathomable reason, "The Senshi will be your end, not I, but you could never catch me, could you?"

It might even have worked, but for the fact that a wall of wind blasts into him and everyone else, shoving them with tidal force toward the edge of the balcony!
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 05:33:06 2974
Miss White's thunderous wind is stolen somewhat as her be-tuxedo'd frenemy makes a Justice Speech. Slowly, pausing, she turns with an utterly deadpan 'look' at the man that eeks into her voice.

"Ten out of ten for the dramatic door kicking. But do not quit your day job when it comes to writing speeches." It might just be all the Darkness in the room, or maybe the last few days have made her irritable, but she's not at all holding back.

But with her focus on Nephrite, she hmph's as she notes the creature distorting.

"Ah...an illusion? Irritating. Oh well, you should be worth some data anyway. Raging Tempest, start recording."

Negative energy! Hannah ducks, quick as lightning, as the blast comes for her! It blows a hole in her barrier jacket as it flutters, and punching one straight through the walls!

And then she's being ignored. More than before, she wants to punch the man into the ground. Tuxedo mask is leapt at, and then there's more blasts aimed at them!

But before she can react, it's Scorn herself that catches her by surprise, that black wind sending her tumbling towards a wall and /through/ it.

Landing in a lump, she slowly gets up. She's a bit battered by the sudden attack.

"Looks like you have a few issues to work out partner. If you want to hurt me, attack me, fine! I made you a promise, and you protected the one I care for! So come, let us get out of here! My first priority is your safety!"

She stands, letting Mamoru deal with the shadow, while offering her open arms to Scorn.

Meanwhile, the woman keeps an 'eye' on the duo fighting. There's a glance towards the man. It may as well scream, 'don't you dare die on me!'.
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 05:34:38 2975
Minako Aino clucks a bunch to Shiori under her breath, not being particularly quiet or secretive. "Ohhhhh? Oh really? You just wanted to dance with me because you were thinking of myyyy well-being, huuuuh?" she asks, crooning out her words with an equal mix of suspicion and amusement.

"And you don't know your girlfriend enough to go out with her, but enough to passionately embrace her in front of the entire stadium after professing your love in song? Dishonesty is naughty!" she says, peeking upstairs every once in a while to tisk at the other naughty boy upstairs, shaking her head dramatically to show her disapproval (and her long flowing camera-grabbing hair).
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 05:47:21 2976
    Shiori frowns a little, and Minako might notice his back stiffening a little. "Dishonesty /is/ naughty," he agrees. "Particularly with rumors that aren't true." Whatever's in that punch has made him bold, that's for sure. "She was German, and didn't know the words to an English song. I was facing her, to try to give her vocal clues. I admit my English isn't that good. And then she TRIPPED down the stairs, and I tried to catch her." He begins to pause in the dance. A note of rather displeased sarcasm enters his voice here. "Though if you'd rather not dance with such a 'dishonest philanderer', please, feel free to return to your public."

    It's about the typical feeling one gets when betrayed by someone one looks up to. Sailor V isn't even pausing a minute to even listen to him try to explain what happened there. She's just going with the opinion of the public, the more interesting story, despite what it'll do to his reputation. But hey, if even Sailor V believes he's a reprehensible womanizer, what's the point in trying to explain that he's not? What's the point of even trying not to be?

    This in mind, hopefully before Sailor V can pull away, he attempts something that's probably going to get him punched. He tries to pull Sailor V into a dip. And then? He's going to try to plant a kiss! RIGHT ON HER LIPS!

    No, he's not expecting anything but a slap in the face at best. At worst he knows he could be beaten up, or arrested. But at this point he really doesn't care. He just wants to teach her a lesson about betrayal.

    He's going to wonder what in the heck got into him tomorrow...
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 05:53:53 2977
Minako Aino/Sailor V is distracted by two different things.

Firstly, she's danced close enough to Masato to subtly give him a smile and ask 'Hey, do you remember my name this time, Chigusa Sanjouin?'

On the other hand, she tries to simultaneously distract Shiori from going into details about the events in question. She was there! But she can't say that. "Noooo, I... I know you're just sharing words with Germans. Nobody called you a philosopher!" she promises, raising her finger up to Shiori's lips in a 'hush hush' gesture while dipping around, blabbing about how rumors work, and trying to look serious as she snarks at Masato.

It's pretty ridiculous.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 06:07:52 2978
There's a pressure like someone's bashing him over the head with a leaden bar; it appears that the disturbance with his shadow self wasn't momentary. A second after Makoto, Nephrite also hears the echoed sound from upstairs, then staggers backward even more as he tries to steady himself. There's no way around it. He has to go deal with this -- right now -- even if he is abandoning his pet project in the Kino girl.

"I..." the man responds to her, bringing a hand up to his head. Other partygoers are looking his way now too, wondering what could have happened to the magnificent show-off. "I have to go. I'll return in a moment."

And, perhaps if everything goes the way it should, he will. But for now, the Dark General all but runs out of the ballroom, teleporting away to the rooftop once he finds a darkened corridor to shed his mortal disguise.

Meanwhile,

Nephrite's eyes go wide as Tuxedo Kamen evades his sword swipe, chattering on about something or other all the while. And *grinning*. The young man is fighting for his life against a Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom, and he can find it in himself to *grin*? "Insolent boy! I will teach you the meaning of fear!" Tightening his grip on the basket hilt, he aims for a stab this time--

But Tuxedo Kamen passes /through/ his body entirely.

("Endymion!"

A boy of twelve, with shaggy hair damp from sweat, rests one hand against a tree as he huffs and puffs, trying to catch his breath. Running in full uniform is difficult, and the young Heavenly King finds himself on the verge of overheating.

"Alright, you win. I can't catch you. But will you *please* return Beryl's barrette? She won't leave me alone...")

The shadow self is designed for reconnaissance, not for battle. Any significant disruption of its body and it loses whatever form Nephrite wished it to take, reverting instead to its amorphous, phantom-like original state. This is what happens when Tuxedo Kamen pierces completely through him: for a split second, the Dark General is split in two, before disappearing in a green mist and billowing out the door with Scorn's spell.

Once it is safely on the balcony, the great shadow coalesces in a cloud green and black, with two orbs of red light for eyes. "I'm afraid all your efforts are in vain," its voice booms out, a hyper-resonant and distorted version of Nephrite's own. "The girl leaves with me tonight, dead or alive!"

A shockwave of dark magic erupts from the shadow's center, attempting to send all (solid) combatants hurtling over the balcony to their deaths. The girl, he extends one incorporeal arm towards, grasping for her waist.
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 06:21:56 2979
Scorn shakily lowers her hand--- "No..I wasn't----" she takes a hard breath. Nrrg--- she can't even think straight right now. "I'm sorry---" she says as she frowns sadly. She takes a deep breath. "I don't want to be here anymore, Miss White." she says plainly.

"You're making a mistake.". says the Raven, lowly. Scorn grits her teeth--- "I might need you, but you need me, too!" she finally snaps, in a yell. "Else you'd find a different host! You dragged me here to be taken away by some jerk!" The raven is awfully silent for a moment.

"That's what I thought! See what you've wrought!?" she rhymes out. She just looks at Hannah, trying to extend a hand outwards, when Nephrite latches around her. This man is---strong! "Let me go!" she says, "...White---help!" she pleads.

"Don't think! Take her quick!" begs the Raven to Nephrite, telepathically, the voice sounds more deeper, sinister in his head than in the real world.

Scorn tries to get away with all her might, if she can get distance---she cast spells again... like this. She isn't getting away on her own.
Hannah Sharpe 2015-06-27 06:33:46 2980
With wind bursting holes into balconies, and the shadow-creature seemingly bested, Hannah barely has time to breathe. No, her partner seems to be in danger of being whisked away! r
And then she's being called to, and something in her heart breaks. This girl, just as desperate as her, is calling for her help. That has her moving, her legs glowing! Powerful magic blasts into her, sending her flying!

She's incanting a teleport spell even so, her free leg letting loose with a gust of wind! She reaches out, flying recklessly, heedless of any dark magic thrown her way. Her barrier jacket is torn, she bleeds as she reaches for Scorn!

"REach for my hand, Scorn! Let's fulfill your wish together, no matter what it takes!!!" She howls, reaching and searching for the girl, putting all of the power, love, and loyalty for her partner in soul-snatching into her voice and magic!

"Tuxedo Mask! Please, I do not want to lose my partner! NONE OF THEM! I WOULD RATHER DIE!" Pleads Hannah in a moment of weakness, as her fingertips touch Scorn's, so close!
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 06:47:48 2982
    Shiori's not really that rude, despite what he'd just tried to do. It'd make a great picture, either way. And it at least got his point across. He lets go of her, though not before she's got her balance. Would be rude to just drop her, after all. Standing straight and proper, he offers a smile. It's a small smile, a gentle, easily-broken thing. "Nobody who spreads rumors really cares who they ruin or hurt in the meantime." He'd think, with her name so prevalant in the media, she'd realize that.

    And then suddenly all hell's breaking loose above his head! The gust of wind gets him to duck and cover to avoid debris flung out. Naturally, once the coast is clear he looks up, to try to find out what caused that ruckus. He's... not sure what he's looking at, actually. A weird cloud-thing and a girl calling out for help? Sadly, Shiori is no hero. So instead of charging up to probably meet his end, Shiori digs in a pocket for his phone and dials the emergency hotline! Always keep calm!

    He immediately gives the address of the place when prompted, and then when asked the nature of the emergency, he says, "I... I'm not sure, but there's a woman on a balcony calling for help and this big huge gust of wind just threw a whole bunch of stuff off the balcony. Might have been an explosion. I don't know if anybody's hurt or not, I wanted to make sure there were emergency personnel on the way as quick as possible."
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 06:54:35 2983
Minako Aino/Sailor V quietly reassures Shiori that everybody adores him and there aren't any terrible rumors out there. "Just things with very reliable sources who certainly understand the intricate relationships between strangers they never met before," she notes, thankfully NOT dropping onto the floor like tossed carrot bags.

"Anyway... ohhh, who are you calling," she asks, snooping, ignoring the commotion in favor of the music, dance, conversations, and phone call she can now snoop on.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-27 07:07:09 2984
"All right--" By the time Makoto says it, Masato is already beyond earshot, and she's left standing, alone and bewildered, in the middle of the dance floor.

At least, for whatever it's worth, she doesn't have to stand there for long. What seems like only moments later, all hell breaks loose upstairs, to the tune of an explosion of dust and debris from the upper balcony as matters up there go very wrong very quickly.

The rushing wind of wrongness doesn't cease, and as people in fancy dress begin to scream and scatter and run, a black shape hurtles over the balcony railing - top hat sailing away in the prevailing headwind, cape whipping like a massive flag - and plummets toward the floor below--

--where he lands safely in Makoto's arms. She gets about half a second to blink at him in almost comical surprise - "Tuxedo Kamen-san...?" - before the cloud of dust settles to engulf the lower part of the ballroom, fuzzing visibility to practically nothing between one breath and the next.

"W-well, hello--!" Tuxedo Mask gasps out, then coughs because dust inhalation is a thing, as he realizes who just caught him. He flashes her a sparkling grin. "Fancy meeting you here..." And then there's that desperate plea from upstairs, and his eyes widen. "Henshin yo! --fastball special!!"

"Right!" In the midst of this dark haze, only Tuxedo Kamen is close enough to see Makoto's firm nod of agreement; only Tuxedo Kamen is close enough to witness the electrical transformation that follows when her voice rings out, and he's probably closer to it than he'd like. As the dust begins to settle enough for shapes to be seen through the haze, it's Sailor Jupiter standing there, winding up her considerable strength - "Brace yourself!" she warns her ally, and with those words she gives him a tremendous heave, sending the masked man flying upwards towards Scorn, the shadowy form that was Nephrite, and all.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 07:15:12 2985
Then abruptly there's a rocket in formalwear and a mask headed straight for that hold on Scorn, shedding crackling electricity from his cape as he goes. While in flight, laughing in a way that sounds remarkably similar to the way Miss White laughs when she's excited at the prospect of a test of strength, he tucks up and under with the expectation he'll eventually end up going through the cloud of Nephrite and hitting the wall. This handily means it ends up being a flying kick when he jackknifes out again. "AN UNWELCOME HANDHOLD FROM A MAN ALREADY DISMISSED WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!"
Nephrite 2015-06-27 07:43:55 2986
Nephrite hears the voice of the Raven in his mind -- his physical mind -- from where he's standing on the rooftop across the street. It's an odd request, given the circumstances; then again, thinking back on the whole encounter, it was the bird who seemed eager to join the Pact, not so much the girl. No matter. With his shadow's hold on the girl, he can teleport her out of here before his foes can blink. All he has to do is reunite his two halves.

The Dark General is too far away to see Jupiter's henshin, too far away to see the fate of Tuxedo Kamen. When the Raven has said its piece, he disappears in a ripple of darkness, materializing again but inches away from his shadow self. "Your partner belongs to the Pact now, girl," the Shitennou says, mocking Hannah's desperation. "Say goodbye--"

It's hard to say exactly what happens then. Nephrite extends his hand, calling the sickly green shadow back into himself, and this *would* bring the girl to him. Unfortunately enough, Tuxedo Kamen is shooting like a lightning-infused missle toward him at the same time, and as the shadow rejoins his body, his previous target ceases to exist.

Leaving only Nephrite in its place.

The blow is quick, severe, and unexpected. He barely has time to turn at Kamen's words before his foot collides with his chest, and he's rocketing backward, wind knocked completely from his lungs. Met with no resistance beyond that, the combination Shitennou and masked thief shoot through the air until they burst through a wall -- then another beyond that -- before finally hitting the ground in some unused conference room, covered in plaster dust and rubble.

Scorn and the Raven find themselves free, their kidnapper taken care of by a mysterious black bullet.
Haruna Kurosawa 2015-06-27 07:54:08 2988
Scorn is closing her eyes. She's going to be taken away. She's about to loose everything. Why did she come here? Because her divinations told her to. This is when Tuxedo Kamen comes to save the day, and she's left behind- out of the man's grasp.

"Miss White---please, let's--- let's get out of here now...I don't care where...." she begs pleadingly to the other girl, as she takes her hand, like not only a week ago.

She waits for Miss White to transfer them somewhere--- anywhere-- but here.
Nephrite 2015-06-27 08:05:53 2991
Nephrite, embarrassingly enough, must cough several times to clear the debris from his throat. Damn these fiendish mortal attacks. If not for Tuxedo Kamen's interruption, surely he would be safely inside the Dark Kingdom by now, turning girl and bird over to Beryl, in completion of his mission. Now--

The Shitennou pushes Kamen away roughly, staggering to his feet and rushing back through the damanged hallway. But it's too late. The heavy darkness that signalled the Raven has vanished from his senses. Cursing, he slams his fist into the wall, sending another chunk of plaster falling to the floor.

He has failed, and all that's left for him now is to crawl back to his liege with his tail between his legs.

/Zoisite, if you saw any part of this, I swear upon the heavens.../

He'd go ahead and finish the mortal boy off, but there's feet coming up the stairs, lots of them -- some of which might belong to Senshi -- and he is in no shape to face them. Humiliating though it is to retreat in failure and shame, if he wishes to continue living, it is likely his only option. Perhaps Beryl will find it in her heart to forgive him.

"This isn't over, Kamen," Nephrite growls, likely inaudible from his distance, then vanishes from the hotel, leaving only destruction in his wake.
Minako Aino 2015-06-27 08:07:59 2992
Something for Nephrite to read over later.

An oversized check, opened a day or two later. Signed by the government of Tokyo representative clerk in some bureau and 'Sailor V'. Also, money payable only to a local orphanage. Wrong donations.
Shiori Sato 2015-06-27 08:08:31 2993
    Shiori actually double-takes at Sailor V. "Uh, the police?" He looks up. "Because you know, uh..." He points up, where the commotion seems to be coming from. though suddenly DUST CLOUD. No, there's no way that can be ignored. And then there's a Sailor Senshi there throwing someone back up tot he balcony and...

    Actually at this point Shiori's not really sure what's going on. All the goings-on at the balcony level are starting to sort of blur together in his mind until he isn't really sure about it. But there's just something that makes him turn his attention elsewhere. Injured. That's right. He needs to look for injured people. He'll remain on the phone with the emergency responder as long as he's requested to-- he's unhurt, so there's no need to keep him talking-- and/or go see if anyone got hurt from all that commotion.

    Man, the weirdest things happen in this city...
Makoto Kino 2015-06-27 08:11:06 2994
"Oh my God!" Some of those footsteps Nephrite heard were indeed Sailor Jupiter's, and a moment later she comes scrambling over the rubble their impact has created, green eyes wide with a nearly comical panic. "Are - are you okay? I swear, I didn't mean to throw you that hard!"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-27 08:18:42 2996
The boy in the mask in the rubble, shoved back by Nephrite, is coughing-- and covered in dust-- and bleeding--

--and laughing. "That--" he chokes out, "--was AMAZING. S-sailor Jupiter," he tells her, staggering shakily to his feet, "a pleasure as... as always. You dance divinely~"

Is he punch-drunk or just... punchdrunk? It doesn't matter: this is not a time at which he can stick around. Not even a little bit. So, holding his side, he still somehow manages to run well enough to pull a vanishing act.