Naru Escape

Naru is rescued from the Dark Kingdom! So is ... Kyra? Several people's Clever Schemes collide head-on; most of them go off in one way or another. Unfortunately, that many explosions in one place is an excellent way to get Beryl's attention...

Date: 2016-02-25
Pose Count: 49
Zoisite 2016-02-25 00:23:44 31083
The best-case plan was that Zoisite, who according to Mamoru is on the Senshi's side now even if he's been flat-out refusing to accept Moon Healing Escalation, would be able to sneak back into the Dark Kingdom, find Naru miraculously alone and relatively unguarded and unaffected by any magics that he couldn't identify, determine that there were no other humans prisoner there who might be an issue, and steal her back out straight to the gardens under Paris and thence to his palace.

The second-best-case plan was "that, except with more people involved."

The odds of both of these plans working were known to be ... low. Because the Dark Kingdom courtier who made off with Naru was Melanite, Beryl's apprentice, who works magic as dark as her mistress and plays with minds and illusions rather than elements. Which meant Zoisite was probably going to have to convince Melanite to go along with some plan to get Naru -- and anyone else Melanite was holding -- outside of the Dark Kingdom.

And which meant that Zoisite was also probably going to have to stage a fight.

There is at least forewarning: Zoisite gave bright assurances that if he had to, he'd use the opportunity to bring a trio of assassin-youma he'd trained out into the open, where the Senshi and company would have more of an advantage than they would if the youma were stalking them during the eventual attack on the Dark Kingdom. 'Don't let the one in purple hit you' was, however, probably not a reassuring warning. Neither was 'Try not to get actually set on fire.'

The possibility of Beryl having taken Zoisite back over for real, or doing so in the middle of the situation, isn't too reassuring, either. But he made the first contact point, taunting an 'accidentally' small group of Senshi and offering a deal: two hostages, for two segments of the key. The Dark Kingdom ostensibly holding one already (hint: thanks to Nephrite, it doesn't), that would still leave the Crystal supposedly not locked down by either side --

Besides. There are two segments that are easier to make fakes of than the other two ... as long as they're not examined too closely. If anyone even bothers with that.

The site for the Hypothetical Exchange is a wreck of an abandoned bar, all overturned furniture and broken stained-glass windows. There are six figures plain in it. Three of them are youma: they're relatively human, sort of, but humans don't usually come with leaves growing out of their skin. Those three are guarding two teenaged girls.

The sixth figure is not Zoisite. Zoisite is, to absolutely no-one's surprise, not initially visible. His preference is undoubtedly that if the Senshi come in in full-on-assault mode, someone else take the first hit.
Naru Osaka 2016-02-25 00:37:58 31084
For a captive, Naru looks very relaxed. Calm, serene even. She's acquired a sketchbook from somewhere, and a pencil to go with it and she's wandered a little away from the others. Not too far, only a few feet really, but there's a particular piece of stained glass that has caught Naru's attention and she keeps leaning over and around a chair to better be able to see more of it and transfer that particular design into the sketchbook. Because clearly /that/ is the important thing at the moment.
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 00:44:44 31086
The part of Melanite is played, tonight, by the youma formerly known as Random Seishou Student and Cheat Club Member number four. The illusion is as close to perfect as possible, the real Melanite having had plenty of time to prepare for this - she's had some sort of plan along these lines in mind ever since she decided to snatch Naru from the school.

So she's standing there in Melanite's familiar red coat - it even has the little tear in the corner where Usagi forced a portal closed on her - and long silver braid, and impish little smile. She's keeping one hand on Naru's shoulder, and one on Kyra's, although she smiles tolerantly whenever the distracted girl leans over to get another view of the window she's sketching. Maybe she likes Naru's art.

In either case, she's quite certainly close enough to revoke either of their guest priviledges quite immediately should their other guests become... impolite.

Kyra, for her part, is still dressed in her familiar Seishou boys' uniform, though it's smudged here and there and her tie is hanging loose from her collar. She looks just as distracted as Naru, though her own focus seems to involve alternately writing something in a notepad, and apparently playing air guitar. (Given her membership in Seishou's light music club, this is perhaps not as surprising a thing as it might be to someone who doesn't know her. She has a tendency to do similar things in class.)
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-25 01:07:20 31088
Conveniently small group of senshi, sure! And an ally of theirs, all Virtue-licious and properly royal--

--and then there's the two people who're sneaking in sideways under cover of the flashy entrance of the Moon Kingdom's soldiers of love and justice and their king-y friend.

Those two people are Masato Sanjouin in a somewhat grass-stained beautiful bespoke red suit, and a shortish long-black-haired girl in a Seishou school uniform and glasses. It might even look like another hostage situation on top of everything else, if they were to be spotted, but they're trying hella hard NOT to be spotted; they are in fact literally ninja-ing in through the women's bathroom ("Well even though the place is closed and wrecked, guaranteed it smells better and has less to slip on," Mamoru had argued) and hanging out by its cracked-open door.

The girl is currently a Nephrite-backpack, because it's a lot easier to be heard when barely whispering if one's mouth is near one's target's ear.

"Maybe she's on drugs," the girl opines really really really quietly, eyeing Naru. "Anyway I think he's on the far side."
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 01:11:29 31090
Sailor Moon eyes the run down bar from the parking lot. This is it, the place to be. "I don't think I'm old enough to go in there."

She rolls and cracks her neck. "Good thing I'm a rebellious teen! After we're done here, let's go loiter in front of shops and not hold the door open for the elde--" She cuts herself off with a gulp. "Okay, I'm not that rebellious. You gotta hold the door open for them! They're so cute and wrinkly and stoopy!"

The fake pieces to be offered are with herself and Venus. They're the same ones she used when luring Endymion to his doom.

Hey, they're lucky fakes! Maybe when this is all over, she'll turn them into a lucky keychain! Much less sad than a lucky rabbit's foot. (She has two of them already, heehee!)

Oh, this plan is so very bad...

Still, she has a way to tell if Zoisite is rebrainwashed or not -- threaten to make good on her last threat. Maybe even make some sort of allusion to oil. Or outright saying it.

"Okay! So, we go in, beat youma up, beat generals up, save the hostages."

That Mamoru and Nephrite are in the wings as back up has her with a bit more of a Serious Face than usual.

That Naru is one of the said hostages makes her Serious Face a bit angry.

Still, if she acts too serious, the enemy may know something's up.

So she holds up her fist. "Avengers! Assemble!"

Without waiting for a response, she crashes in through the doors. "Freeze! This is a raid! Checking for all underaged hostages, please have your IDs ready!"
Tadase Hotori 2016-02-25 01:14:58 31091
Tadase's with them - a little extra backup never hurts, and he's still pretty on board with helping the Senshi whenever he can - especially if that means he gets to make a lot of noise and be the center of attention, which is part of what this calls for.

As Platinum Royale, he couldn't hide if he wanted to - but due to the needs, he's practically glowing. He can't help but laugh at the idea of Sailor Moon not holding the door for the elderly. "Well, we won't be drinking..." he comments, scepter appearing in his hand.

He's right behind Moon when she crashes through the doors, scepter held, ready to blast or shield as need be.

And he's not going to miss the opprotunity. He doesn't get to speech much. "You cowardly fiends, skulking in the darkness, taking hostages of innocents for your wicked purposes! I cannot forgive that, and for that reason, I, Platinum Royale, will be your opponent!"
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 01:16:06 31092
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus does go in.

"Be serious. We need our friends back. We don't even need to take out any of the baddies. They probably got an escape plan, anyway."

She goes in after throwing a few beams into the air, then a few more, then a final few small Crescent Beams through the walls and windows. They all hit the building and windows at the same time. It's pretty dangerous.

In comparison, her entrance is pretty staid. Just through the door. She chucks her little jewelry crystal piece into a corner.
Nephrite 2016-02-25 01:18:03 31093
Masato Sanjouin hovers in the doorway of the women's washroom (and swallows the joke he wants to make about it, only because he is trying to be quiet). He moves easily with the dark-haired girl latched onto his back, though she is neither as small nor as light as she appears.

He peers in the direction that his "backpack" indicated. He can't see Zoisite, but if there is anybody he can trust to pick up on his location, it's the person whispering in his ear.

Lucky for them both, the entrance of the heroes is exactly as flashy as expected. Masato darts around the edge of the bar, stalking the shadows, moving to the far end.
Zoisite 2016-02-25 01:35:04 31095
Melanite has care of the girls. So the trio of youma don't have to spend too much attention taking care of them, right? Enough in case they get a pretext to murder and drain one of the humans, and they're certainly clustered near, but the Entrance draws their joint attention immediately.

It also draws blood; there's a yelp from the most thoroughly green of the three of them as a beam scores across her back. Not quite on-target enough to disintegrate her immediately, but she staggers, her rat-spine earrings swinging. She spreads her arms wide, and something that runs underneath proper sounds begins to emanate from her -- it plays tricks with the inner ear of those not protected in some way, leaving them off-balance, prone to vertigo.

Her 'sister' half in pink has a more direct response. "Die!" She flings outward a double handful of red -- berries? -- toward Venus. ... they explode into gouts of flame on impact, whether with flesh or walls. Neither as bright as Zoisite's pure fire nor as dark as his corrupt.

The one in violet blinks at Platinum Royale, and laughs aloud rather than joining the fray immediately -- staying back by Melanite and the hostages. "He's cute. Can we keep him?"

And the last player in this little drama enters -- or rather makes himself apparent. Zoisite's keeping up his habit of hovering midair. That means that he's a prime target for those random Crescent Beams. He ducks one and twists aside from another, but it takes too much attention for him to keep up his invisibility; therefore he does the next best thing. Namely, dives for that corner Venus tossed her 'piece' into, snatching it up from the ground. Murder, arson, betrayal, vanity, greed: why pick just one? "Only if you can catch him," he laughs. "Freeze? Really, Moon? Did you even bring Mercury this time?"
Naru Osaka 2016-02-25 01:40:16 31096
"Ah!" Naru startles, jumping back from the window that she was drawing as it cracks and as suddenly there's people! Loud, dramatic, colourful people making a raid. She blinks, a little wide eyed in surprise and startlement as she watches all the reactions and people around. She looks a little puzzled at Zoisite and then back over to the arrivals. "Oh!" She takes another step towards Melanite, backing towards her as if she's the one who'll be comforting in the face of confusion.

That's not ominous at all, right?
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 01:41:32 31097
"Melanite" watches with a smile as she sees the Senshi come in. For now, she lets Zoisite take the lead in the Witty Banter sweeps, she's got her own lines to add in a little bit. For now, however, she briefly tightens her grip on the hostages' shoulders.

And with that grip, dark energy pools in each of their shadows, rising up along their bodies, forming a series of jagged, tribal-like markings, visible on their clothes and skin alike. (If one were as much of a delinquent as Moon is pretending to be, they would probably make fairly cool tattoos. Except that they're made of dark power.)

Neither hostage seems particularly discomfited by it. Kyra throws her head back, her hair tumbling down behind her - they've taken it out of her own familiar braid - and keeps on playing her air guitar. If anything, her chord-fingering seems to speed up.

"Melanite" smiles, and slips closer to Naru, releasing her shoulder to slide the arm around her, offering that very comfort the girl seeks. She's quite the polite hostess, that she is.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-25 01:59:22 31104
Meanwhile, now hidden in the shadows on the side of the room where Zoisite appeared, the black-haired girl on Nephrite's back finally gets hold of her silent laughter, stifled in Nephrite's shoulder as they darted -- really, this is serious, and Venus has already made it more complicated by attacking first at a supposed terrorist negotiation, and Melanite is marking up her hostages with dark energy. But at least Zoisite's gotten himself separated from the group by dint of Venus' play.

Mamoru sends reassurance down his link with Sailor Moon: Zoisite is, in fact, still himself.

The "girl" whispers almost silently to Nephrite again. "Can you send your shadow in to fight Melanite's control over Naru? She's the one with the shorter hair."
Tadase Hotori 2016-02-25 01:59:38 31105
Platinum Royale is unsure how to react to the one by the hostages. There's two things to concern him - neither of which are currently attacking. The youma that has clearly paired off with him, and Zoisite.

Rather than expend his energy early and open himself up, Platinum Royale moves up slowly, scepter pointed forward, while keeping a bit of attention on the General as well.

He just moves up. "Step away from the girls - or I'm going to have to be something other than cute." Platinum Royale says, firmly. "Either way we're taking them all home today - that's a promise."
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 02:01:47 31108
Her voice is low as she addressed Venus, voice betraying how she actually feels. "Trust me, if I acted as serious as I feel, you'd think I was at a funeral."

Louder, she looks at Royale, impressed. "Nice speech!"

She looks up at Zoisite and gasps as she dodges the errant berry! (Mamoru's reassurance is, of course, very welcome.) "You! Watch yourself, or I'll make good on my last threat, you oily haired creep! I don't need Mercury here to wash you away!"

Her eyes darken when Naru creeps closer to 'Melanite' and there's a 'comforting' around her. "If you've done anything to hurt her, you will be nothing more than a smudge when I'm through with you."

Unlike her 'threat' to Zoisite, this newer one is as real as the tiara she throws in the direction of the three youma.
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 02:03:28 31109
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus responds to being flamed and shadowed by simply stepping back and closing the door. Flames and holes in the door could be flames and holes on her skin, so it's a good move. Or so she says to herself.

She sticks a single finger in through the door. (She's not making an inappropriate gesture.)

"Just let the hostages go. You got what you want, but you'll get more if this drags on! It's not just me here, either, which would be pretty crappy for you by myself. You're surrounded and outnumbered!"

She assumes everybody is going to just fight (because everybody always just fights) and fills the room with equal parts illumination and devastation.
Nephrite 2016-02-25 02:20:20 31112
Though most of the chaos is not directed their way, the sonic vibrations do mess with Masato's balance. He stumbles, kicking a bar stool noisily and throwing a hand against the wall to keep from falling and crushing "Minori."

The curse that he mutters is not only for the fact that this does not at all fit the definition of stealth, but because he is now close enough to Zoisite that there is no way he did not see that, and he is going to be so smug about how much better he is at doing the sneaky thing.

Venus, apparently, decides to take that moment to rescue him. With burning. How nice.

Masato charges for the aging wooden bar and goes down on his knees behind it, sheltering Minori with him. There is a fair bit of glass on the floor, so kneeling was... not the smartest idea that he's ever had. "You /did/ say that she's on our side, right?"

He grumbles to himself, even as his shadow takes form, lengthening along the floor to rise up and stand before Melanite. Nephrite's shadow, a tall, dark-haired lady who looks remarkably like him, smiles sweetly at Naru. "My dear," she says, "this is no place for a girl like you."
Zoisite 2016-02-25 02:32:32 31115
Moon's tiara throw prompts the three youma to scatter from their previously close group. Violet ducks one direction; pink another -- but green is already wounded, moving slower. Too slow. Her body blackens; the shadow of it changes, into something all leaves, stretching upward ... and then the dark energy that animated her dissipates, leaving a scattering of dead leaves and trampled little bell-shaped flowers underfoot.

The youma in violet recovers without missing a beat, twisting herself behind an overturned table to avoid Venus's helpful lighting, and regards Platinum Royale with renewed interest. "Taking all the girls home today? Even me?" It's mouth isn't visible, but there's the sense of a feral grin in the shift of its stance. "Okay." And it flings one arm out toward the young king, the one that's formed of what look like knotted root tendrils rather than flesh. Tendrils that extend and harden, crossing the distance between them in a heartbeat, turning into a half-dozen clustered spears aimed for Platinum Royale's torso.

Don't let the one in purple hit you, was Zoisite's warning before. It's an excellent question whether anyone passed that on to their ally.

The youma with the pink floral theme laughs aloud. "Pretty words for the one who started the fight!" she calls, flinging another round of her berries. Most of these intercept Crescent Beams, exploding midair, filling the place with bursts of smoke and flying hot ash. Not all of them do --

This time the shadow is definitely that of a small, spindly tree. Fragments of charred bark scatter with the rest of the wreckage.

Zoisite is also primarily occupied with trying to keep out of the way of Venus's enlightenment. That doesn't mean he's so distracted as not to catch what Moon said. He sweeps up a hand and calls dark fire into it, concentrating it /hard/ and casting it out -- blackened and tarry as the stuff he used at Walpurgisnacht. Lasting more than his usual. And he aims it to spatter at the floor around Moon, catching her with it if he can, but making it more difficult to completely avoid even if she dodges it at first. There are no quips, this time.

Whether that's because he'd have trouble keeping from laughing at Nephrite, or because he's wincing at the loss of his youma, or because there's a real problem, is a little hard to tell.
Naru Osaka 2016-02-25 02:38:44 31116
Naru Osaka squeals in surprise and fright as 'people' start melting, and things start flying and she puts her hands up over her head, holding her sketchbook over her as she attempts to use it for cover, leaning back into the dark energy that is oddly comforting. She blinks, wide eyed at Nephrite appears before her. "It.. I.. It was lovely before this!" She protests looking around, half frightened and half not wanting to miss anything.
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 02:40:24 31118
"Really, Venus, do take care not to hit the guests. We've taken such good care of them, after all." 'Melanite' smiles warmly, charmingly, towards where the senshi hides. She briefly releases the busily air-jamming Kyra to level her hand at the door and flick her fingers...

And a blob of something flashes from her hand, flashing across the room to the door Venus has chosen to hide behind. The blob is aimed at the finger Venus has stuck through the door, and on impact proves itself to be similar tarry stuff to Zoicite's own attack - although this one isn't on fire. Yet.

"Really, darling, why do you hide your lovely face like that? Come out and play with the big girls." She gives Naru's shoulder another squeeze, certainly not hard enough to hurt, just enough to reassure the girl that she's still there and watching over her.

"Look at this. You're scaring poor Naru-chan. Really now, is that the way heroes are supposed to behave?"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 02:43:24 31119
Mamoru's quick to reassure her in her head as the attack is flung her way. It's still the Zoisite she loves to annoy, but really.

She dodges the majority of the attack, but some of that sticky grossness hits her arm. There's a scream from her, and the image she sends back to her sweety is not a very pleasant one. Nor is the look she flashes Zoisite.

Another image.

Her hand comes up and catches the tiara, only to fling it out again. It flies toward Melanite in a boomerang fashion that won't hit the Nephrite Shadow.

"Naru-chan!" Her voice is less like Moon and more like Usagi. "Tell your new friend about the Noodle Incident!"

After all, that is the most embarassing Usagi Story to date. And of all the friends gathered here, only Naru is the one to know it.
Tadase Hotori 2016-02-25 02:46:47 31121
Platinum Royale raises a skeptical eyebrow. "Maybe you too, if you can be clea-" and then there's a sudden surge of a hand thar becomes roots that become spears. "Yeah I didn't think so." he says. Just before the roots strike him, there's a surge of silver-gold energy at the point of his scepter.

"HOLY CROWN!" Tadase calls out, and that surge of energy erupts in a crown-shaped wave that pushes the deadly attack away.

"You know, nothing good comes of trying to speak with a honeyed voice when your heart is full of venom." he says, then looks at something. "I think you're about to find out."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-25 02:47:59 31122
"Pretty sure," says Minori, pushing her glasses up on her nose and trying not to sound worried. She slips off Nephrite's back and peeks over the top of the counter, glass crunching under her school shoes, and notes, "Zoi is still in charge. Moon knows. Trying to get her to focus on Melanite. Oh, shi--"

Minori's voice cuts off as Violet starts pulling back to shoot stuff at Tadase; her small white hand creeps up over the edge of the bar and she points her palm outward at the purple youma's back. The Crown Shield comes up to cover Tadase just as the girl's mouth shapes the words 'Tuxedo la Smoking Bomber!'--

--and a pure white-gold jet of heat and kinetic force slams forward toward Violet.

Instantly thereafter, Minori is getting bombarded with unpleasant images from Moon accompanied by the pain of Zoisite's burning on Usagi's arm, and she ducks back down behind the bar and claps her hands to her head, face squinching up. Calm blue ocean. CALM BLUE OCEAN. Right: paying attention to Zoisite, since there's worry beneath the smugness at Nephrite's expense.
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 02:55:15 31123
"Sure. I'll come out and play."

Sailor Venus makes that promise, but spends the time wiping her fingers on the dirty wall, unhappy with whatever dumb thing she's been shot with.

She counts two kills (one is technically an assist), but she's pretty sure she can get three - the one with the hostages is most important to take down, but Zoisite and fake shards less so.

"Me?! Be careful with hostages? You're the one who took 'em. Regardless, if they get hurt, we can heal 'em up. If I die, we can bring me back."

That's probably why she seems absolutely fearless in the face of weird powers, shadows, an unexamined dark room, and being exposed in the open when she charges forward into the room towards the far corner where Kyra and an incredibly curious Naru reside, right down the middle.
Nephrite 2016-02-25 02:57:38 31125
"Yes, I'm sure it was lovely," Nephrite's shadow sooths. "Darkness often is." She lays a hand on Naru's arm. Though she is no longer driven by darkness, no longer has the same powers of persuasion that Melanite has, the shadow still exudes an air of trustworthiness. "Do you remember other nice places? Your home? Wouldn't you rather go back there now?"

Behind the bar, Masato lays a steadying hand on Minori's arm. Zoisite's oily black fire makes his stomach turn, when only days before, that was the color he enveloped himself in.
Zoisite 2016-02-25 03:02:53 31126
Violet-youma's tendril-spears shatter on contact with Tadase's Crown; splinters fly, still crackling with traces of a draining lightning not entirely unlike a dimmer shadow of Kunzite's. The youma flexes her not-a-hand, summoning and sharpening another set, and starts to turn toward Venus' advance --

And white-gold light and heat and force slam into her from the side.

There's not enough shadow left to tell what this one shifts into as it comes apart.

That leaves just Zoisite and Melanite, and Zoisite is starting to look around for an exit -- whether because of the rapidly dwindling numbers or because of the look Moon just gave him. He's got a moment where no-one's throwing anything at him, though; he clutches the key segment to his chest, and the first couple of sakura petals begin to spiral around him ...

... and fade back out as his eyes widen and he stiffens, dropping to the ground, dropping to a crouch as his body almost doesn't catch him. "Now," he whispers. "Sai--" And his voice goes away as there is a flare of something not quite light from his forehead, muted blues stifled by grays. The gem that manifests there is not the smooth, curved, refined thing of a Puella Magi - it's faceted, undecorated, ashen-gray. But there's something similar, all the same.

Black spills into it, filling it out in spiral patterns, licking upward to swallow it like flame.
Naru Osaka 2016-02-25 03:03:41 31127
The familiar voice startles Naru into snapping her head over towards Sailor Moon. Familiar voice. Not entirely familiar person to go with it.

"Usagi?" Naru blinks a few times, still cowered under her borrowed sketchbook but taking that half step towards the familiar voice.

Especially when she mentions the 'Noodle Incident'. Just the thought makes Naru flicker into a smile and a little giggle, in spite of the chaos and violence and destruction going on. "I don't know how Usagi got noodles /there/." She comments before turning as Nephrite sets a hand upon her arm and she looks up at her. "I .. yes. I do miss sunshine."
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 03:09:35 31128
Sailor Moon blushes, hard. "I told you, Naru-chan! It wasn't my fault!" An age-old argument, the one that can only come from repetition and friendly teasing. "Go with that new prettier lady! I'll find you!"

And then there's trouble in ZoiVille.

"Oh no you don't. You won't get away from me that easily!"

She leaps up into the air and lands, wand in hand, pointed straight at Zoisite. "MOON HEALING ESCALATION!"
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 03:14:31 31131
"Sunshine... on my shoulders... makes me happy..." The soft sound of Kyra's singing voice is a sweet melody, compared to the chaos of battle. There's even a soft little smile on her lips, as she looks up, her eyes finally seeming to focus on the fight.

'Melanite' is no fool, recognizing what's happening to Zoisite almost immediately as it starts to happen. She backs away, her hands rising from the hostages' shoulders as she turns to the oncoming tiara. A spell of empowerment would be useful now - if she was really Melanite. Instead she hurriedly throws up a shield - which shatters instantly as the tiara hits it. Back into the shadows she stumbles, falling... out of view, for the moment, perhaps even completely gone.

Kyra blinks, as if awakening from a strange dream. And the shadows start to shrink away from her, and from Naru, the markings slowly unwriting themselves.
Tadase Hotori 2016-02-25 03:17:50 31132
Platinum Royale moves quickly over to Sailor Moon, ready to cover for her if any of the other enemies survive - but none do, as the work the group has done is going... pretty well.

"I'm almost concerned at how much this is going according to plan..." Kiseki says quietly from inside Platinum Royale.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-25 03:18:57 31133
"*#$&," says Minori clearly, next to Nephrite. She stands up, heedless of the firepower being flung around the room. "Grab whoever Venus doesn't," she tells Nephrite, and then vaults, over the bar and over the heads of everyone else, somersaulting like she's wearing a cape and a tuxedo and a mask, and she comes down on Zoisite like a ton of bricks.

Wrapping her arms around the smallest General, so much smaller than he is right now but with all the weight and strength of Tuxedo Kamen behind her, she leans her head against the back of his neck and determinedly keeps him in place -- so he can't teleport out because Minori doesn't want to; so she's touching him so she can at least take some of the pain away, so she can reassure him with touch and the bright warm embrace of sunshine in Elysion and give Zoisite something to hang on to through the pain.

She glows gold herself, pouring her own energy into Zoisite to replace the stuff that the Escalation is burning away. Her face is a tight-shut grimace of shared pain, Mamoru's mind within throwing up walls to keep the bleed-off from hitting Moon... and at least that expression is hidden behind the black glossy waves of her own hair and the bright glossy waves of Zoisite's red-gold ponytail.
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 03:23:02 31135
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus gets confused as she rapidly runs out of targets to hit.

Melanite disappears.

Zoisite is next to be targeted, since he's essentially helpless and easy to hit, but Hino-whoever jumps on him and stops him.

Instead, she listens to the commentary with Nephrite (or his shadow) and assorted talk.

"He's the prettier lady? 'Miss sunshine'?"

She assumes there's some weird illusions going on that only she sees through and throws a few beams around her, afraid of sneaky knives in the back or some other unfriendly watcher, before eventually calming down and checking on the ex-prisoners.
Nephrite 2016-02-25 03:40:55 31143
Masato's loud swear echoes Minori's, and he completely ignores that order. Never mind the fact that Beryl could be watching. Zoisite needs help. He needs exactly what Nephrite needed, and if they lose him now, they might never get him back. And so he is right on Minori's heels, and when she tackles Zoisite, his arms come around both their waists, steadying and unyielding. He knows that this will hurt them both, and maybe he cannot help with that, but he can be the anchor.

Nephrite's shadow takes Naru by the shoulder and directs her to the edge of the room, where she is less likely to be in the path of anything. "We'll get you back into the sunshine soon, dear."
Zoisite 2016-02-25 03:48:24 31145
... neither Tadase nor Venus are entirely wrong.

Zoisite's rigid, glazed-eyed body isn't going anywhere, so in that respect Minori's concerns are a little exaggerated. But in other respects -- Mercury's scans indicated, back in Paris, that Zoisite's body wasn't entirely human. And under the Escalation's silver light, this proves out. With him resisting it wholly, before, it did him damage. With his consciousness at first consenting, then taken out of the circuit -- there are places where his body cracks, where parts of it dissipate and vanish like a youma's. His half-tainted blood bursts into black flame on contact with the purifying energy; the black flame shifts to silver, and vanishes. Pouring healing energy into him is ... a very good plan. And it's not a terrible thing that Zoisite's inability to control his own body right now keeps him from making any sound, either.

The blackness in the gem wars with the silver light, fighting back.

If its source were here, it would go differently. If it were one on one, or one on two, it would go differently. But in a real and immediate sense, it's one on four. As it is, the crystal still clears far more slowly than Jadeite's did. Black to charcoal, to ash again, to that muddy blue. Finally something clear again, deep as twilight skies, endless blue fire.

When it ends, Zoisite collapses back against Minori and Nephrite. Hair still red-gold, face still the same. The gray uniform replaced by too-small jeans and a too-tight T-shirt, green with something scrawled across it in black-on-yellow English. Eyes still bright cat-green, and still filled with a panic he's too exhausted and shocky to express.
Naru Osaka 2016-02-25 03:59:13 31150
"It was totally your fault!" Naru retorts back to Usagi.. except that she's not Usagi at the moment. Naru will think about that later. She shivers as the markings slowly dissolve off her skin, as if she is recalibrating temperature, or morality perhaps.

Naru is taken by the shoulder and she moves out of the midst of everything, taking only a few steps to cower near an overturned table, or perhaps a bench.. hard to tell at that stage of broken. She is wide eyed, now that she's no longer ensnared, watching EVERYTHING anew.

There's likely to be questions later. If she remembers.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 04:04:17 31151
Sailor Moon is torn...

There is Zoisite, on the ground. Very much like Jadeite was after the escalation of volunteering (wtf?).

Oh man, how much is he gonna hate her now?

But then. Naru-chan.

"Is he okay?" It's asked even as she's rushing over to Naru-chan. "Make sure he's okay! Tell him I'm sorry!"

Her hands are all over Naru, checking for injury and what-not. A gentle stroking of bangs from the forehead, a watery smile. "It was not my fault, liar." And then a tight, squishy hug.

Her voice is a little tight. "Are you okay? Did they hurt you? I'm so sorry, Naru-chan."
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 04:07:03 31154
Zoisite going off the deep end is not high on Melafake's list of conditions under which she is to Get The Frack Out Of Here. (Herself getting Escalated is number one, with the arrival of Sailor Mercury as number two.) It's high enough, however, that she's going to take advantage of the loophole and preserve her own existence. After all, the real Melanite might have other uses for her. (She almost certainly will.)

Kyra, the shadows fading from her eyes, looks over at Naru. "It was not! It was that lunatic Gurio! I saw him do it!" Wait, what?. Is she even talking about the same incident? Or just making stuff up off the top of her head? At least there aren't any more monsters hanging around. Those make life weird.

At least she has her notebook. She looks down at it and blinks again, then closes it with a 'snap' and shoves it into her uniform pocket. And Naru-chan gets hugs. Zoisite gets hugs. Why isn't she getting hugs? (Deep inside her, the sight of Zoisite out of uniform sends a shiver through what passes for her heart. That's... not supposed to happen. Except that it did.)

She pushes herself to her feet, using the table for leverage, and then there's a Sailor Venus in her face. She locks eyes with the other blonde and ... "Wow."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-02-25 04:13:37 31156
It's over-- this part, anyway-- and the small girl-shaped Prince cradles Zoisite while leaning back against Nephrite, breathing shallowly and trembling a little, brushing Zoisite's hair away from his eyes with one hand and holding him close with the other. It's with a slightly thready voice that she calls out, "Sailor Moon? We have to get him away. He'll be okay but he's in shock right now. You know how to find us."

Naru's talking, so she must be okay; Venus is taking care of the other girl; Usagi knows where they're going so she can come find them; Tadase seems to be okay. Melanite-- Melanite vanished, but he's sure Venus hasn't forgotten her, not with her Princess nearby. So she asks Nephrite a little hesitantly, "Can you get us back to where we were this morning?"
Tadase Hotori 2016-02-25 04:17:53 31157
There's a bit of a moment of silence now, and Tadase looks around, he looks at Moon, Naru, Zoisite... and he just doesn't know what to do. But then, he pumps a fist in the air. "We win!" he points out, grinning. Because despite Kiseki's unhelpful commentary from before, it seems as though nothing particularly bad did happen.

And Platinum Royale takes on the task Sailor Moon gave him, walking over and looking at Zoisite as 'Minori' goes to help him away. "...Sailor Moon says she's sorry?" he says, more question than statement.
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 04:18:56 31158
"YA! We win. And... ah. Hah. Ah ha ha, good job, Sailor Moon. We should let that red-headed girl and that other girl we randomly, luckily rescued go home to their families or whateva'!" a very worried Sailor Venus urges, especially when she hears the name 'Usagi' get said out loud.

"And, hey, you boys! Knock it off! Leave that young, nubile girl alone! Don't jump on her! You'll break her delicate arms!" she shouts at the pile on the other end of the room. "Quit it," she demands, as an order.

The only non-serious thing she says is in response to 'wow'. "Yaaaaah. I get that a lot. Good luck, civilian. Hurry on home to your family. Remember that I, Sailor V, saved you!"
Nephrite 2016-02-25 04:24:16 31160
Nephrite's shadow inclines her head at Naru. "I'll leave you in your friend's capable hands." She fades, flattens, slides across the floor back to reunite with the source.

Masato holds the two exhausted people steady. "I've got you," he mutters. Having only just come out of the ordeal himself, he knows just how shattered they must feel. And that was in his own palace, where Endymion had access to extra healing energy. "Yeah," he says. "I can get us there."

Tightening his hold on them both, he launches into a teleport, carrying the three of them back to the tranquil forest of his palace.
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 04:26:15 31161
Kyra staaaaares at Venus for a long moment. Then she blinks. Then looks away. "... is she for real?' she asks of the room in general. "C'mon, now. Where's the hidden camera? You can come out now..." And then people start teleporting out, and she sits down again heavily. "Right, apparently whatever they drugged me with hasn't worn off yet."
Zoisite 2016-02-25 04:27:05 31162
Let's amend Kyra's estimation. The sight of Zoisite out of uniform ...

... and still, visibly, terrified.

He looks up at Platinum Royale and says, low and more than a little desperate, "Get everyone out of here."

And then Nephrite is doing just that for the first three of them, and he's gone.
Naru Osaka 2016-02-25 04:28:00 31163
"Why are you sorry?" Naru asks as she hugs Usagi-Sailor Moon, accepting that connection without too much fuss, for the moment at least. She squeezes tight. "I'm okay. I'm not hurt. It was.. very.. nice.. actually." She's hesitant as she realizes that, as if she can't quite believe it herself and it doesn't sound quite right. She leans back a little from Usagi and looks at her and then hugs again. As she does, there's a little whispered admission, that's probably not at all disconcerting coming from Naru. "I don't really know what's going on. It's all very confusing."

Unlike Kyra, Naru seems to be willing to accept it as possible. More Questions later. And sketches.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 04:35:52 31169
"Alright, Minori. You guys stay safe." There may even be something along the lines of 'I wanna smooch you' and a blush sent her way.

Then her focus is on Naru. And, by proxy, Kyra. "Get home, Kyra. Now."

She picks up Naru, because she can, and shushes her in soothing tones as she walks out thataway. "I know you don't. If you like, I can take you someplace to rest before you go home. Or I can take you home right now. And I'm really glad to hear it was nice." And a bit confused! "I'm sorry because I wanted to keep this from you. But you're okay now, even if you were okay then."

Moon gets a response, and it's too quiet for anyone else to hear. She nods, and takes her someplace safe.
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 04:36:12 31170
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus explains to Kyra girl that it's all real... then she changes tactics and says 'oh no no it's not but really please go home civilian girl'.

Then, more seriously: "I'll go look Zoisite over later. In case he's up to something tricky, that nobody else will want to see," she decides. "Moon, get that random red-headed girl out of here, and this 'Kyra' girl, too. Everybody, go home. Bar party's over. I'm gonna look around to see Melon-head and Zoi-snot dropped off any cool gadgets or traps."

"Royale? You do you. Keep on doin' what you're doin'." Two thumbs up.
Kyra Nygaard 2016-02-25 04:44:40 31176
And Sailor Venus lucks out! Melafake dropped one of her spell-crystals on the way out. It's a one-shot little bundle of dark energy, designed to break the user free of an entrapment or other binding spell. Just the sort of preparation for the worst that she'd expect of Melanite.

Kyra, on the other hand, is still a little confused, and not quite sure who - or what - to believe, apparently. At least she's still got her notebook. And she hasn't missed Naru making the Usagi Connection. She's just convinced it can't possibly be that ditz. (If she is a Senshi, she's probably Venus, the way she's acting... except, why does that bother her so?)

She gets to her feet, slowly, before asking Venus another question. "Hey... is Ami okay?" She probably means Ami Matsuyama, of course, not Ami Mizuno. Ami's certainly not been missing, although she has been rather worried about where her friend has been for the past week or so.
Tadase Hotori 2016-02-25 04:45:56 31178
Platinum Royale leaves out of the place too, before someone questions what a gorgeous bishonen is doing in a run down bar. It was strange, though, seeing 'Minori'... it reminded him, in an amusing way, of one of his own friends. Which then reminded him of his own problems.

Maybe there were some youma still prowling about tonight. That was way easier to deal with.
Minako Aino 2016-02-25 04:58:07 31184
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus shoos off the others so she can start her snooping. Spell crystals go right in her hand and the whatever area she 'pockets' little things.

Other questionable things that aren't definitely bar detritus? Also pocketed.

"Ami? I dunno." She technically only ever saw the other-other-Ami in the studio that one day, but she has absolutely no idea who that is and taking care of hostages is so below her pay grade.

"Was she also kidnapped? I'm sure she'll turn up. Probably. Or I'll save her later. Maybe, you know, report it to the police. That's the responsible thing a good citizen would do!"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-02-25 04:59:40 31185
It's the long way to go, but then again, teleporting Zoisite out was pretty much priority.

Sailor Moon leaves the rest in Venus's capable hands. "Thank you."

And then it's off to Jadiete's place, her bestest muggle friend in arms.