Bringing Down the Heavens


CONTENT WARNING: Character death, Crane Game Joe. Sailor Jupiter and Nephrite make their last stand to save their Princess and Prince.

Date: 2016-03-12
Pose Count: 65
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 02:13:50 33250
At the moment, the group that seems to be the farthest along is somewhat small, and includes the girl with the weapon that can actually kill the monster. The horrible organic-looking phosphorescent walls have given way to some actual stone cliff-faces, and there's a long stone bridge ahead of them, partially fallen but leading to what certainly looks like an ancient fortress half-buried in the other end of the enormous rocky cavern.

Getting across the bridge doesn't seem to be much of a problem; they can all jump far enough to get over the part where it's out and crumbled into the inky blackness below.

Sounds don't echo in here, and the air is cold enough to see breath; snow falls from the invisibly high and dark cavern roof overhead.

"Hey," Tuxedo Kamen says unsteadily, strange false smile painted on his face, "I think I see my bedroom window."

His voice prompts something else happening, though: a low moan from a little ways off, then a shuffling sound, and then a tall brown-haired boy in glasses, a yellow hoodie, and a backwards baseball cap pushes himself up from behind a rock on the wide plaza in front of the enormous doors. "Wh-- where the hell am I?" He's from the Crown, he's this kid who's always winning at the Crane Game.
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 02:27:41 33254
Sailor Jupiter has mostly stayed to the back of their little group as they've found their way through to this point, placing herself where she can for the most part easily see the others and what's up ahead of them, and where anything trying to ambush them from behind can be met with a nasty shock.

The moan and the shuffling draw her attention and she snaps into a defensive pose, peering warily towards the sounds - until she sees who's making them. Then Makoto's green eyes widen and her guarded stance drops away in surprise and sheer incomprehension. "Huh? Crane Game Joe?"

Of course she knows who he is. Apart from the fact that pretty much anyone in the usual Crown arcade crowd at least knows of him, Mako had a typically ill-fated and short-lived crush on the guy some time back.

She definitely did not expect to see him here.
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 02:30:11 33255
    Sailor Mars is walking along with the rest of the group, having caught up with them somewhere in the caverns. Just about anyone magical could feel the intense darkness up ahead, but with her senses she felt it that much more acutely. She is marching forward, determined to gain victory despite already-suffered losses.

    In response to Tuxedo Kamen's comment, she covers her mouth to stifle her soft laughter. "Really, Tux-kun?"

    She finds it curious to see the strange boy here. She recognizes him, sure, having spent as much time in the arcade as she has. "Hey... don't we know that guy?" She speaks lowly to the others gathered, almost at a whisper. "How'd he get here?"

    Makoto's reaction more or less confirms who it is. That answers the 'who' but not really the 'how'.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 02:34:10 33258
As their trek brings them deeper into the heart of the Dark Kingdom, even Nephrite's indomitable humor fades, his commentary trailing off into silence. He has a brief moment of hope of open sky when they reach the bridge, but of course only inky blackness hangs overhead, impenetrable and oppressive.

In the absence of Kunzite, he takes up the place behind Tuxedo Kamen's back, a tall curly-haired shadow. At the sight of movement ahead, he immediately bumps up against Mamoru's shoulder, readying himself for a fight, or for Tuxedo Kamen's signal.

He shoots Jupiter a questioning look. "Friend of yours?"
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 02:37:15 33260
Sky Jack may be the odd one out in the group. After the awfulness in the earlier hallway, Jack had stuck close by Tuxedo and they'd located Moon and two of the Senshi. It wasn't Amu and Tadase and the others, but at the moment Sky Jack was just glad to see other friendly faces.

Jack looks at the gap in the bridge as they move towards it and tries to focus, seeing if he can pull his skateboard to him again. Then there's a voice from the far side of the plaza and Jack stops, looking at the others. He doesn't get to the arcade much. "Do you all know that guy? How'd he get here?"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 02:38:37 33261
Sailor Moon tries her best to keep eyes on everyone. She's not too far from Mars, on occasion reaching out to touch the girl to make sure she's actually there and she's glancing over her shoulder more often than not to make sure the others are still behind them.

That's why, at first, she isn't looking at the ruins.

When she does, she jerks back a bit and tilts her head up at Tuxedo Kamen. I know this place.

It's on a cork board in a fancy empty apartment.

And then that guy! That one guy! "I don't know. One day I was watching him play for hours, the next, poof." She shrugs.

She has an idea of how though. Last time she was at the Crown, hadn't Endymion thrown someone in a portal?

Still, she turns to Sky Jack, and blinks for a moment as she tries to think of a way to say it without saying it. "Um...Wibbly Wobbly...Evil Weevil?"
Zoisite 2016-03-12 02:42:04 33262
"Yes," muses Zoisite quietly, trailing at the end of the group to catch stragglers about to take the wrong path. "That's what we always call our friends. 'Shoe-Eating Reality Show Nephrite.' It might catch on." His eyes glitter, though, and fingers flex. In this place, Zoisite always bets on 'trap.'
Catastrophic Crunch 2016-03-12 02:42:37 33263
    The kid isn't the only guardian this particular gate has. It's not really clear if the other forms were there all along, hidden in the darkness, or if they somehow materialize as the group approaches and the strangely innocuous-looking boy makes his presence known, but they're there now, entering notice from left and from right.

    One is a hunched creature, a wild mane of white hair, horns, and a goblin-like face, grinning and fanged.

    The other is more human-like.. but that isn't saying much. Like a mannequin, but with the parts disconnected, floating together but with empty space between the joints. A featureless woman-shape with black hair that moves like a marionette without strings.

    Both of these forms pause after they appear, seeming to regard the group, almost as if wondering what they're doing here. Then, even though they are on opposite sides of the plaza, both sets of eyes narrow in on Tuxedo Kamen.

    There's a hiss from one.. a clacking of joints from the other. And then both rush towards him, ignoring the others, converging from opposite directions.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 03:02:32 33269
"Really," Tuxedo Kamen says to Mars, the smile turning a little less fake and a little less unnerved when Moon glances at him, when Nephrite bumps into him and flanks him, close and solid; when he gets a solid burst of support from the ghost who's been with him the whole trek; when Zoisite jokes. "He's a jerkwad," he asserts. "But I guess he's innocent. Ish. Do you know I didn't process the fact you were talking about actually eating shoes until like three in the morning, Neph?"

"Who-- wait, aren't you--" Crane Game Joe starts to ask, staggering closer to the group. Closer, closer. The instincts of some of the gathered heroes are absolutely correct: even this guy is a trap. He shudders, and then shifts and morphs in front of their eyes into -- not even lying -- a seriously over-tall heavily armored robot?? Youma?? Sentai hero?? Mecha?? Who the hell knows, but he's laughing. "I GUESS YOU LOSERS HAVE HEARD OF ME. MY REAL NAME IS GESEN, AND YOU'RE PLAYING MY GAME NOW!"

One of his massive arms swings up and he lunges immediately for Jupiter; his arm turns into a giant mallet, swinging straight for her head. "YOU REMIND ME OF THAT ANNOYING CHICK AT THE ARCADE! LAME. HOW ABOUT DIE?"

And while Tux is staring at this and lifting his hand to attack, he doesn't even notice the two monsters starting to rush him.
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 03:08:05 33270
    Mars gets very quiet as the monsters appear, putting a reassuring hand on Moon's shoulder. She doesn't comment about Zoi's zinger, as the time for humor has just ended.

    The monsters approach. Rapidly. "Yeah that is..." Mars brings her arm behind her, and then swings it forward, fire igniting in her hand and dancing between her fingers. "... not gonna happen!"

    She launches a ball of fire from her burning palm, flinging it at the mannequin. Seeing Tux unawareness, she shouts, "Hey fancypants, head's up!"
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 03:10:52 33272
"Not really," Jupiter answers Nephrite, looking rather embarrassed for a moment, "but I know him. He's at the arcade a lot; I have no idea--"

That is about as far as she gets in the explanations before everything starts going to hell. Makoto barely has a chance to process the threats coming in from left and right before Joe is transforming, the trap sprung, and Gesen is coming at her literally adding insult to injury. She drops her shoulder and ducks in under the swinging mallet to drive her fist at the youma in a body blow, hating herself for feeling the sting of those old hurt feelings all over again now of all times.

"Dammit!" Beating the crap out of this guy would be so much more cathartic if there wasn't so much else riding on all of this.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 03:14:48 33274
Sky Jack is just a hair too nervous to laugh at Usagi, but he can't help but crack a smile. Everything else being equal, she was still the same. But there are other figures, appearing out of thin air it seems like, hateful demons that would send a thrill of fear down the spine of anyone, magical boy or girl or not.

Jack misses the conversation between Tuxedo and Nephrite - context, he guesses - and now there's a giant robot where the young man was. But he doesn't miss the two coming up from Tuxedo's sides. Immediately he turns to face the oncoming youma train of destruction, a soccer ball appearing and then immediately being launched, filled with electricity and hope, at the goblinoid youma. More follow behind. "Breaking wing, right!" He continues his ranged attack, sliding to the right and launching glowing yellow balls with every kick.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 03:23:49 33278
"Sometimes the shoes are chocolate," Nephrite says defensively. "It's a great show, I'm telling you."

He says it even as all three creatures advance. As two of them start toward Mamoru, where he is already prepared to defend. As one splits off to hone in on Jupiter.

There is no decision, here. It is Endymion he is sworn to. It is Endymion he is already standing beside, already prepared to fight for. It is Endymion who has two bearing down on him instead of one. But still. Still his attention is divided. He puts his back to Mamoru, Jupiter in his peripheral vision, and faces the creepy marionette. The unfortunately familiar marionette. "Jumeau," he mutters. "This one's mine." Karma is a nasty thing. He commanded Jumeau once.

He summons starlight from the sky, sending the white beams streaking toward her.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 03:25:39 33280
Sailor Moon is, of course, scared witless. But she's learned how to deal with that, as evident when she smiles back at Sky Jack.

There's a moment, before things go to heck, where one hand rests on Mars' and her other lightly presses against Kamen's arm.

And then Joe does that. And how rude! "Only thing annoying here is your atti-HEY!"

When Mars Attacks, Moon finally notices the zoomy nature of the two other youma heading straight for her boyest of friends.

Who is also distracted, as evident by Mars' comment. She presses against his back, subtly suggesting that he should, you know, dodge, and throws her tiara.

But apparently Nephrite's chosen his dance partner, Mars is getting steamy with another, and Moon's tiara arcs a little wildly, trying to reach all the places of Not Very Good People.
Zoisite 2016-03-12 03:48:15 33285
Jupiter's been near the back. Zoisite's been tagging along at the back. That puts Jupiter near him -- and thus Gesen near him.

A youma made out of metal is not his preferred choice of problems.

Zoisite darts back, summoning a handful of particularly bright fire of his own, watching his angles carefully (setting Jupiter's hair aflame is not going to make for a good day for anyone, especially someone she already knows is punchable), and then flinging it up toward the youma's glowing red eyes. Anything that picks up light is susceptible to too much of it, after all. Mostly, though, he's circling around to Yasha's side, quick deft movements, trying to get an eye for how Sky Jack moves. "Watch the horns!" he calls to the other boy.

One might presume he's thinking the same thing as Nephrite about karma. Squared. He's the one who set Yasha after Endymion in the first place.
Catastrophic Crunch 2016-03-12 03:49:02 33286
    The mannequin-looking youma is charging straight at Tux, seemingly with no attention to spare for anyone else. Despite this, when the ball of fire comes flying at it from Sailor Mars it throws a hand out to the side, blocking it. The fireball incinerates the false, jointed hand in a blast of fire, but the youma hardly slows.. and as it continues, the hand is reforming, the material flowing to replace it within moments.

    The goblinesque youma, meanwhile, cackles "Yasha!" as it bounds along, almost animal-like in its movements despite its flowing, multicolored kimono-like garments. Sky Jack launches a magic soccerball at her. She seems just as focused on Tuxedo Kamen as the other.. maybe moreso, as the ball actually impacts her squat form, sending her crashing to the side in a heap. But that doesn't last. In a flash she's on her feet again, and still going for Tux without any visible damage from Sky Jack's attack- these two really want Tux, it seems, and it'll take more than that to dissuade them.

    And more is coming, too, as Nephrite calls down starlight, beams of white streaking towards the doll-like creature. It clacks and clatters as the beams close in- and then it seems to explode, its various parts disassembling, the beams passing by without intersecting a single one, at which point all the pieces reassamble themselves, all without losing any forward momentum.

    Moon's Tiara comes flying in, and Jumeau, the doll-like creature, actually tosses its arm up to intercept it, the arm detatching and flying into the path of the Tiara. As it's hit, it dissolves.. only for a new arm to sprout from the creature a moment later. All this time, both are still rapidly closing with Tuxedo Kamen, now only yards away.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 03:59:16 33288
"Wha-- SHI--" starts Tuxedo Kamen and cuts himself off, furiously aggravated. He flings his hand out, and even as Nephrite's calling down starlight and Rei's throwing fire and Moon's throwing her Tiara and Sky Jack's throwing soccerballs and Makoto is hella throwing hands, the prince throws... a rose. To be fair, it is an armor piercing rose, and it smells really really nice, and it'll stay that way even in the Dark Kingdom, and he's throwing that deadly stem at Yasha's forehead, but it's definitely a rose.

And he's glaring daggers at the goblinoid youma. "Look I'm NOT apologizing again!"

The bigger problem seems to be the doll-creature who's really being the most uncanny-valley thing here. And-- with so much going on, and so many people dear to him actually near to him, he doesn't want to just jump away; they'll hit them instead. But he's supposed to-- why did this have to happen right here, he literally can see the window he'd covered with a whiteboard--

He doesn't know what to do about Jumeau aside from fling his cape up to deflect when a piece comes jamming toward him, which he does, while he tries really hard to think straight.

The mallet-hand whizzes over Jupiter's head, and Crane Game Gesen takes a mighty punch to the solar plexus: the armor cracks and he makes a weird sound like the cross between a choking gasp and the crackle of electricity, and he has no trash talk anymore because it's hard to do that without air.

The tiara wings him and takes a chunk off his helmet, and beneath the white casing there's apparently no actual meat, just blinkenlights and circuitry.

This does not stop him from swinging his other fist at Makoto and shaking out the mallet hand, turning it into a giant crane game claw. The claw shoots out and tries to grab hold of Sky Jack, hoping to use him as a blunt object to fling at Sailor Jupiter-- but with the light glowing so suddenly in his eyes, he ends up grabbing an errant soccer ball and throws that at Jupiter instead.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 04:11:28 33290
Sky Jack is busy focusing his firepower on Yasha - as much as he'd like to blow up Yasha and Jumeau and Gesen all, the point of all of that is first taking out the goblinoid, so he continues launching balls at her. It. Whatever.

He's reached the side of the bridge now, and hops up onto the railing to give the others more room to work, agile feet moving on the railing like an extra-wide balance beam - step, kick, step, kick, step, kick, keep circling and getting better angles for each shot.

He's aiming to take Yasha's head off, but at this angle it's still a shock to feel that giant grasping claw come rushing past, a gust of wind blowing past him from the speed, and snatch one of the balls out of the air, the positive energy and electrical charge inside it dispersing into the claw before it's disgorged at Jupiter. "Hey you!~" At that point more than ever he wished he'd taken the time to learn their names more accurately. "~look out!"
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 04:15:13 33291
    Mars watches as her flame destroys the hand... only for that hand to reform. "Tch." So it's like that, is it? The doll won't go down easily will it?

    "Wow you sure are popular down here, Tux-kun. You owe these two money or something? I don't suppose you know any weaknesses they have."

    Mars narrows her eyes and thinks for a moment. So far Jumeau only seems to be taking hits with her hands and limbs. What happens if the torso is hit? Well there's one way to find out.

    She rushes towards Jumeau, leaping over several of her friends in order to do so, and reels a flame-covered fist behind her. She aims a jab at the doll-like youma, right for the center of its chestpiece. She follows this with another flaming right hook at the creature's head. Each fist explodes on impact.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 04:17:43 33292
Nephrite curses out loud as not a single one of his beams connects. No sense standing around waiting for the marionette to come to him. He throw himself forward to smash into the creature, coming in low to smash at its torso. If losing the limbs does nothing, perhaps taking out the middle part will work. He snatches at the pendant that she wears at her neck: the stylized "ne" symbol that he once so proudly branded on everything he tainted with dark power. "Get my name off your neck, creepy doll!"
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 04:24:30 33293
So much happening at once, so many of her friends and allies to try to keep track of, and most of Sailor Jupiter's attention right at this moment is on dancing back out of the way of Gesen's fist before the blow can land. She takes the moment of breathing room that buys her to sweep one quick look around - spots Mamoru and Usagi together, Mars and Nephrite taking on while Sky Jack and Zoisite go for the other--

Then Gesen's claw-arm is shooting out and Sky Jack is calling a warning and Jupiter has no more time to pay attention to much else. Fortunately the soccer ball unloaded its power into the claw before the youma slung it at her; she brings up an arm to shield herself against the smack of impact, eyes already focusing on the lights and circuitry revealed by the hits Gesen has taken.

If he's fully electronic, well then - Jupiter throws a hand out toward the youma and lightning leaps from her fingertips toward the cracked chestplate, a bright lance of energy crackling through the air.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 04:31:40 33295
There's six of them against three. Why is this so hard?

Her hand reaches up and the tiara slaps against her palm. Her other fingers twitch, wanting to call out the wand, wanting to distract the three with the Shiny Thing they want. Because distraction is probably the best way to get youmas splatted.

But if she did that, odds are there would be another fight after. Five sets of angry eyes against her own sad ones.

So instead, she throws her tiara again, this time actually aiming for Gesen.
Zoisite 2016-03-12 04:36:13 33297
Jupiter's getting out of the way of Gesen's fist. Zoisite darts again, out of the way of Jupiter -- coming up at another angle. Speaking of which, he needs another angle. He knows Yasha's nature; his flowers won't do that much against her, and his fire will probably only make her mad --

Huh. There's a thought.

Ten seconds ago he was trying to avoid setting Jupiter's hair on fire. Now Zoisite flings an arm out, casting an arc of flames into Yasha's path, timed to strike just after the rose does. Hair, skirts -- no matter at what point she bounces into it, something will catch. It won't put her down. But it might distract her long enough for Sky Jack to land more than just one shot; and that might keep her back long enough for Mars and Nephrite, or Jupiter and Moon, to down one of the others, to let them focus a little better.

He doesn't shout for Tuxedo Kamen to run. He wants to, badly. But he knows if he were setting this up, there would be something else waiting for just that -- for Beryl's most personally precious target to be, just for a moment, separated and alone.
Catastrophic Crunch 2016-03-12 04:37:46 33298
    Yasha takes a rose right to the forehead. The goblin-like creature's head snaps back, and in fact the blow is enough to send its entire squat body flopping backwards onto the stone floor of the plaza. Did.. that really take it out? It's hard to tell, but it certainly doesn't seem to be moving.. and Zoisite sets it on fire. It's clothes crackle and burn, even as one of Sky Jack's soccer balls slams into its motionless body, causing it to roll slightly.

    The doll-like Jumeau, however, doesn't appear so easy to take out. It's reached Tux now, and though he raises his cape to defend himself, the creature tries to reach around it- invisible joints seeming to stretch and distend to allow this, the cape no more than an inconvinience-

    But the multiple bodily attacks from the other two are more than that. Mars' fist impacts the chest of the doll-like youma, causing it to jerk, and then she punches it right in the head. Its head, not actually attached to the body, spins around rapidly like a top from the punch, hair flying, and the thing actually cackles at the same time..

    Right until Nephrite runs up and tears the pendant off of its neck. It's head suddenly stops spinning. That seems to make it mad.

    It's arms suddenly explode out to the sides, away from its body, then circle around in the blink of an eye, one coming for Mars and one for Nephrite from behind like missiles. At the same time, it rears up and tries to headbutt Tuxedo Kamen over the top of his cape.

    And behind it, still aflame, Yasha is getting back to her feet, as if it had just stumbled and was now righting itself.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 04:56:03 33301
It may be magic that fuels Crane Game Gesen's vile little heart, but it is a body of electronic weirdness that the shadow youma wears for power-- and just as he's hauling up to smash at Jupiter with the claw again, just as his eyes are stopping their overload from Zoisite's attack, Jupiter sends lightning toward that opening in his armor.

The results are pretty spectacular, really.

The robotic youma that's said so many disheartening things to Makoto Kino when she was already feeling low, stinging at her raw feelings and giving her flashes of that same pain even here, even after she's found the beginnings of happiness with the boy no one else has ever measured up to? Stupid Goddamn Crane Game Joe seizes up, joints locking and circuitry all overloading, and electricity crawls all over his form snapping and zizzing like a tesla coil or a van de graaf generator. Just as he's starting to topple over, he stutters out, "--and-- you-- have. really. big--"

And then Moon's tiara hits home, slicing off his robotic head. To probably everyone's relief, he does NOT turn back into a hoodied and back-capped teenager with glasses and a major attitude problem-- he turns directly into dust, sifting down to pile on the stone floor.
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 05:09:45 33303
    The spinning head and laughter earns a wide-eyed stare from Sailor Mars. She is at a loss for words at that, and is quietly grateful when it stops thanks to Nephrite.

    Mars sees Gesen fall to dust out of the corner of her eyes. "Good Job! Now for the other two."

    It seems like Mars and Nephrite had similar ideas. She gives him a quick side-eyed glance, more noting his presence than anything, before turning her attention back to the youma. That momentary looking away allows the rocket arm come at her from behind, impacting her and sending her sprawling to the ground where she skids to a halt just inches away from the ledge...

    She looks over the edge that she nearly fell off of and her face turns white.

    Back on her feet, and moving away from the edge, she turns her attention back to the doll, Jumeau. That doll thing sure is durable... What is it made of, anyways?!

    She brings her hands together, making a finger gun where she focuses a tight ball of fire. "Fire... Soul!" The tight fireball flies at the mannequin youma, with the intent of expanding and spreading fire all over its torso.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 05:18:03 33306
The tiara, once again, slaps into her fist.

Jumeau is there, far too close for comfort, rearing back and--

For her troubles, there's a tiara to the face, close range.

This time, she doesn't even think, really. The wand is out and as the face is tiara'd, the torso is getting whacked -- repeatedly -- with her wand.

Wait. She knows that fire--

Dodge!
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 05:18:10 33307
Sky Jack sees Yasha go down. And then get set on fire. And then take a few balls hard enough to make it roll. He turns, pretty sure that means she's down for the count. From the corner of his eye, he sees the explosion of electricity that indicates the end of Gesen, and his heart soars. For once they were getting the upper hand over the youma in this place!

He changes targets to Jumeau, as well, looking away from Yasha, his leg aching as he summons another soccer ball and punts it at the doll figure, sending powerful blasts at its extremities, not wanting to hit Nephrite or Mars or anyone else in close combat with it. He's getting a little slower now, but each shot is accurate.
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 05:20:13 33308
That honestly worked even better than Makoto had hoped. Sailor Moon's tiara mercifully cuts short Gesen's final shot, and for half a heartbeat Sailor Jupiter is left blinking in surprise as the youma disintegrates into dust. He was never a person, then.

"No wonder he was such a jerk," she murmurs to herself. Then her head snaps up and looks to the others. One down - two to go, and it's not looking like the other two are going to be so easy.

Yasha is staggered, but not out yet. As the others focus on trying to deal with the doll youma, Jupiter breaks into a sprint, charging at the still-burning goblin-thing with sparking fists.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 05:23:36 33310
Nephrite whips around, too late, as the missile-arm launches at him, striking him in the chest. He goes down on his back, winded, and for a moment is sprawled on the ground like a beached turtle. Mars retains her footing better. He sees her fire light up the air above him. Without even bothering to pull himself up, he brings down another cluster of starlight beams on the youma's head. It can't possibly dodge everything at once.
Zoisite 2016-03-12 05:28:40 33311
Zoisite knows Yasha a little better than Sky Jack does. He knows what she's gotten back up from in the past; he knows what she was expecting to be fighting. He doesn't literally hover -- he's not in the air -- but he's poised, breath almost held, watching --

There she is.

"Oh, come on, bake yourself brittle already," he complains half under his breath as the youma starts to climb to its feet. She's already on fire. Can't get any more that way. He whips a windblown curl of petals at its face --

-- and then Jupiter.

For all that he's taken one of those punches without lightning, and knows just how much force she can put behind it then, his heart still makes a decided effort to leap into his throat. "Watch the horns!" he yelps again. Because heaven knows that the only person here likely to be able to shift either of those two from her course, when they're really determined, is flat on his back just now --
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 05:41:17 33312
For all the attacks Jumeau is fielding, for all that his cape is a mighty tank, Tuxedo Kamen doesn't tend to wear his hat unless death is raining down upon him from above, these days. In the corner of his eye he sees Gesen go down and his heart leaps -- one down -- and his friends are all after the ones who are after him. He doesn't have the spare wit to answer Mars, and he barely has the spare wit to try and shield Moon, but try and shield Moon he does. And for his efforts, Nephrite takes a slamming impact to his torso and goes down, away and flat; he sees-- feels Moon heavily considering Crystal use, and his heart's in his throat: not here, not so close, not close enough to draw Beryl here personally-- and instead she punches with the tiara, and Jupiter and everyone are going after Yasha and the various parts of Jumeau, and he glances back to start to move for Nephrite to get him back up on his feet--

--and Jumeau's stupid head collides with the side of his and he goes down and back like a marionette with its strings cut. For a second, he only sees stars, but he's still awake; he rolls away from where he was a second ago, getting his cape around him as a shield, and doesn't bother picking himself up.

Instead, he sucks in a breath and lifts a hand, then hesitates because he cannot afford to hit anyone else with his attack. The hesitation doesn't last; he has a clear shot at Jumeau's head, too, and takes it.

"Tuxedo la-- Smoking Bomber," he mutters.
Queen Beryl 2016-03-12 06:10:21 33317
Of course, the Senshi and thier allies have a decided advantage in this fight: not just numbers, but an almost innate sense of teamwork. Yasha is, while a dangerous one, essentially a beast (albiet a flaming one with horns), and what little sense Jumeau had seems to have left with Nephrite's pendant.

For Jumeau, the theft of the pendant of power, the fire, the tiara's slam, and the impact of the wand come. Some of these could, perhaps, be deflected - if all of its appendages were not busy turning aside and being destroyed by the impacts of Sky Jack's soccer balls and Nephrite's starlight. As Nephrite assumed- well, they can only block so much at once.

It starts with one break. Then a few more. Then one down the center of the creature's head. And yet it's still coming - right up until Tuxedo Kamen's surge of energy blasts forward into its already cracked face. There's a moment in time, and all of a sudden the doll-youma surges up and explodes into dust, one peice of many at a time.

Then, thaat leaves Yasha, who finds herself just short of the necessary angle to implant horns into fists. And instead, crackling lightning fist implants into face. This is largely due to Zoicite's warning and the fact that it had to slow down to claw its way through the petals to see the impact. It goes sailing backwards and over the edge of the cliff - but it starts to claw its way back up, slowly. The best way to deal with it might be now.

And then it happens - the Shitennou here will likely notice it first, however. They will know the feeling, and perhaps be able to make out the thin, quad-winged shiloettes moving quickly from cover to cover. The fight hasn't drawn attention from Beryl - but the group will soon find itself under attack by the next worst thing - the squad of Elite youma Beryl created with the help of all four generals, and probably one of the greatest threats in the Dark Kingdom aside from Beryl and Metallia themselves.

There's a rumble of earth as underneath the ground massive stalagmites tear themselves from the earth, made of black and puple crystal, changing the entire orientation of the battlefield in an instant, providing the others cover to move forward. In the sky, a green youma-girl begins to channel a storm - a storm of black energy, unlike Jupiter's own. Blue and Orange are moving forward, zipping from cover to cover, with orange occasionally firing a razor-thin burst of black energy beams at some of the heroes. And in the distance, an unfamiliar one sits - grey. And that makes at least four, so far.
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 06:22:34 33320
Yasha might well claw her way back up the cliffside, but when Sailor Jupiter glances back to check on the others she sees both Nephrite and Tuxedo Kamen down and something in her chest just seizes up. Without a second thought for the youma, she rushes over, kicking aside a last few disintegrating bits of broken doll-creature on her way.

She reaches Nephrite first, holds out a hand to help him up. "You guys all right?" Jupiter asks, looking worriedly between the two boys.

--And then the ground begins to shake, and she feels a rush of cold water through her veins as she realizes that they're being thrown into another fight before they've properly finished the first one. Quickly Sailor Jupiter moves to put herself between the guys and this new threat, buying them some time to get steady on their feet.

"Flower Hurricane!" She throws both hands outward and a surge of wind answers, rushing outwards toward the new youma to batter them with a blizzard of petals.
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 06:25:45 33321
    Mars watches as the doll youma crumbles into dust, and the horned one falls off the edge of the cliff. She should go and confirm that second kill, so she walks over to the cliff's edge to do just that.

    It's then that her premonition starts screaming at her, as a terrible force comes her way. Four powerful youma, who have thus far been responsible for numerous deaths already, deaths of very powerful magical warriors who themselves have destroyed numerous youma. She shouts to warn the others. "They're here!"

    The black wind howls. Black energy blasts come at her, and she has no cover. Thinking quickly, she drops over the side of the ledge, one hand catching the edge, and a high heel digging into the rock face. That should give her some cover at least... but with that black storm whipping through her hair she doesn't want to stay here for long.

    She looks down, sees Yasha trying to climb up, and flings a fireball down at him. She climbs back up the ledge, rolling forward, just in time to get floored by a dark beam of energy that came her way at just the wrong moment.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 06:33:50 33324
Nephrite offers Jupiter a smile as she helps him up, a witty comment forming. But then he feels the darkness resonating in the air, feels it as a tangible and specific thing, and his eyes widen in alarm. "It's -- oh no."

Jupiter is already reacting, already attacking, and Mars is concentrating on the beast crawling up the cliffside, but Nephrite is looking skyward, searching for the forms of the pixie-like creatures. "Everyone look out!" He bellows. "These aren't ordinary youma!"

He gets to Mamoru to help him to his feet. "Stay close to me."
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 06:35:57 33325
Sky Jack sees Jumeau going down as well and cheers - just in time for the earth to explode in front of him. He yelps and wobbles backwards as a spike tears up through the bridge in front of him. Black energy blasts zip past, leading his eyes to - oh, no. More of -these-.

Jack retreats several steps down the wide railing and begins firing back, rebounding soccer balls off rising stalagmites, trying to get a ricochet shot on one of the advancing DD Girls. "OK Tuxedo, do we fight or do we back off?"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 06:36:00 33326
Sailor Moon, for a moment, just stares at the new arrivals.

There's something just so eerily familiar, in the most twisted of way.

"W-who--" Her voice is a mixture of horror and disbelief.

But of course, she can't really focus on the rest of her question.

"MOON TIARA ACTION!"

Because she can't use the crystal, not yet, because even if it didn't lure her here, Moon has no idea how much power reserve is even in the darn thing.

She braces herself against the storm, only able to get to a crumbling pillar for the barest amount of cover.

"What are they?!"

It's not right!
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 06:42:30 33328
Yeah-- this once, Mamoru might actually listen. He's not having the best day. Jupiter runs over and gets Nephrite up, and Mamoru's trying to get his head back in one piece after that hit, and there's dark energy blasting everywhere. "Try--" he says to Jack as Nephrite pulls him up, as the ground rumbles beneath their feet, "try to get to the door. Everyone, try to get to the door... the arch, and the wall behind might help. And if we can get it open, we... we can get in. It's-- we can't bring them all down without using the Crystal, and that's-- we can't do that yet."

He is not shy about hanging on to Nephrite for a moment; his head's swimming. "Help Mars. Get her up. Help her and Jupiter protect Moon. Neph-- help me open the doors. Zoi-- interference."
Zoisite 2016-03-12 06:45:06 33329
"Experiments," Zoisite answers Moon bitterly. "Like mine --" Like the three that he lured out to be destroyed, alongside Naru's rescue. Like the three that could act as a team. He leaves Yasha to Mars, darting in toward Nephrite and Tuxedo Kamen. "But these are Beryl's. They have more tricks. A lot more." If they stay close, there's less likelihood they'll be tricked by an illusion, or separated -- but the youma can focus their attacks. If they split up, the youma can ... still focus their attacks. Just take them down one by one, probably starting with Mars --

Zoisite stops trying to think about it, and whirls to harass Blue and Orange with bursts of flame almost before Mamoru gives his instructions. Quick, erratic, varying the intervals so the pair never know when might be safe to try to dart to new cover. He's fast enough to dodge, and he hasn't been hit yet; safer for him to cover Mamoru and Nephrite, just for the moment, than the other way around.
Queen Beryl 2016-03-12 07:01:19 33332
Jupiter's Flower Hurricane is the first thing that cuts through the air, preventing the two on the ground from scoring many hits. But they're still getting a few blasts of energy off. Mars' fireball keeps Yasha out of the fight permanantly as it goes to the 'ground' below the gorge, and now there's just the girls.

The soccer ball comes flying towards the blue girl, buffeted by the wind and ricochetted in by the bounce - and she catches it in both hands. It's obvious from her face that the lightning hurts, the energy hurts, but she channels enough dark energy into it to render it a weapon in its own right, and hurls it back violently towards Sky Jack.

Moon Tiara Action flies in and cuts away some of their cover, just in time for Zoisite's storm of fire to lash out and deal some damage. But only some.

And then there's a bolt of black lightning, a storm bolt of raw negative energy that tears its way through the sky, ripping towards Sailor Moon and those near her.

Meanwhile, the Blue and Orange youma are pinned down - but grey is moving up, and her arms have become like grey vines, and she's lashing them towards Mars like a whip!
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 07:09:21 33334
    Mars is still struggling to get up when those vines come after her. She barely gets up to an elbow before the first one strikes, leaving a red gash on her arm. The second vine she tries to grab, but the remaining vines all whip and lash at her. She doesn't have time to get up under this pressure, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have options...

    Another blast of fire comes out of her arm, trying to catch the vines on fire. Mars tries to spread that fire upwards, back to the youma that's the source of the whip-like appendages. Maybe she shouldn't have left herself open just to finish off one guy, but not dealing with him would've led to more problems later.

    All in all she's having a really rough day right now, and the only cover she has is the flames that are spreading around her. They don't do much to protect her from anything that isn't melee.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 07:13:01 33335
Sky Jack looks away, just for a second. He raises one arm, calling to Jupiter and Mars. "Hey! Get- get to the door! Push forward!" He takes his eyes off the field for just a second. That's long enough for that ball of black energy to land square amidships on his chest.

He doesn't see it coming. He can't see it coming. But someone does. There is a tiny squeak from his pocket and a bright flash of white light, as if something made of pure positiveness flew out, intercepted the ball, and the two of them detonated against Jack's chest harmlessly, canceling each other out.

All that's left is a pile of sparkling mass as Jack, eyes wide, stares at what was left of Eru, a few small feathers as if from a baby bird, trickling down into his hand. "Oh, no."

Holding onto the little feathers, he sprints for Tuxedo and Moon and the door, trying not to break.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 07:16:11 33336
Orders. He's getting better at taking those all the time, even when it means turning his back on the battlefield while others keep the enemies busy. Nephrite nods sharply and loops an arm behind Mamoru's back, hauling them both to the enormous doors as quickly as he can, while sort of acting as cover for the unsteady prince. As soon as they are near, he releases Mamoru to slam himself bodily into one of the doors. If there is one thing Nephrite was built for, it's human battering ram.
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 07:20:12 33338
A look of grim understanding sweeps over Sailor Jupiter's face, the severity of both Nephrite and Mars's reactions to these new enemies telling her everything she needs to know. Petals are still flurrying wildly in the air, Jupiter's Flower Hurricane pushing back against the green girl's black storm; Jupiter throws out a bolt of lightning from her fingertips toward Grey as she leaps forward to Mars's side. "Hang in there!"

The fire alone might be enough, but they don't have time to take the chance. A single step back and then Sailor Jupiter whips a round kick at the burning grey vines, sparks trailing from the heel of her boot as she drives it sharply into the tangling appendages with all of her considerable strength.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 07:26:57 33341
Somehow she's running but...it's not right.

She dodges the lightning, just, even as her side tingles and numbs a little where the arc struck her.

And she's important in all of this.

She needs to reach the end.

And if she doesn't--"

It was never a question, because if she doesn't go back she'll never forgive herself.

"MOON TIARA ACTION!" Toward the grey one.

She's running, and dodging, and flailing, but dammit, Mars and Jupiter are her girls.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 07:27:23 33342
Good-- no, not good at all, nothing is good-- no. While Nephrite hauls him and he glances back for a second to see Sailor Moon, he sees the bolt of energy heading for them all, and Flower Hurricane pushing it back, and he remembers to breathe. Zoisite is up there already keeping them on their toes, and Sky Jack is pelting toward them, and Jupiter and Mars can cover Moon now...

Mamoru takes hold of his link to Kunzite for calm and focus, and his link to Moon for purity of spirit and intent, and the raw strength and comfort of Nephrite right there with him, and Jadeite's endurance and Zoisite's ability to cope with everything changing at once. And he puts his hands on the other side of the enormous doors, and he concentrates all of his presence on them, pushing and willing them to remember who they used to belong to.

This fortress was once at the heart of the capital city of the Golden Kingdom.

He will trust his friends with all his heart, and he will focus on--

--his attention abruptly SNAPS as he feels Moon's swift change in temperment and her location changing, and he turns his head to look in horror. "SAILOR MOON!"
Zoisite 2016-03-12 07:40:30 33344
Too many. He might be able to make Orange and Blue keep their heads down a little longer, but the storm keeps him grounded, he can't get a good vantage; and he can't tackle Green or Grey at all, not without freeing the pair he's got pinned for a moment. He doesn't trust they'll stay that way long anyway, but letting them up easily would bring more or less instant retribution; if he turns to help Mars, it'll just put him in the same state she is --

-- old habits die so very hard. Jupiter's there. Moon's --

-- that shout --

-- he nearly drops what he's doing. He nearly bolts, nearly tries to cross the ground to her, nearly flickers into the form he has half-practiced, that Naru Osaka laughed at him for. Nearly.

But he's holding two of them down. Giving them a single false target in trade for that won't help. The two of Beryl's girls will just split their attention, one taking Moon, one taking him, and not care which one's real.

He makes an indescribable sound in his own throat, and tears enough of his attention away from pouring flame onto his pair to fling a single burst of fire up toward the heart of the storm, trying desperately to distract for a moment the one that no-one, quite, seems to have covered. Just too many.
Queen Beryl 2016-03-12 07:50:33 33346
The fire races up the vines and there's a screech that sounds far more avian than human, and the vines are released from the grey Girl's body, disolving into (now flaming) black ichor. She reaches out to lash again, but is stopped by the zap of lightning from Sailor Jupiter - and then the kick slams into her new 'arm' too. For a moment, as her eyes flicker, their compound nature is visible.

The doors could feel Mamoru's call, even under all the dark energy and worse coating them - but torn between the nature as the Golden Kingdom and Dark Kingdom - opening was not an option, but neither was not. The doors themselves Take A Third Option, and Nephrite's body goes through the door like it was made of balsa wood. Which is good, because quickly Mamoru's attention is yanked away.

Zoisite is right in so many ways - there are too many. Not just here. The Shitennou can, as before, feel them first. Can feel more presences on the outside of the fight. This is not a battle they can win by attrition - how long they have before reiforcements arrive is impossible to feel, given the wicked energy pervading the very walls of the once-golden Kingdom.

And there's Moon Tiara action - streaking forward and once again stopping the Grey Girl from counteracting Jupiter, catching her mid-claw-swing and taking a peice out of her on its flight, but drawing so much attention...


Everything happens so awfuly fast. The grey girl that had been attacked by by Jupiter and Moon after freeing mars suddenly fades away, an illusion! The blast from Zoisite's fire is absorbed not by Green, but by a shield created by the blue from her cover behind a strange stalagmite. And now, Moon is out and Mamoru is moving closer towards him and they're both targets, and the DD Girls are /fast/.

There's a crashing bolt of black thunder that crackles across the world, and it strikes the green Girl, and she dives like a comet at Sailor Moon, claws outstretched and crackling with that foul energy - and theres Orange, with a similar blade of black energy following up, in the hopes that one of them will find a home for their attacks in their Queen's hated enemy.

There's a sudden sound of wicked laughter as closer to the door, the real Grey dashes forwards, a massive black-purple crystal stalagmite in her hands like a battering ram, charging fast -so fast- towards the exposed Tuxedo Kamen. And the Blue girl is creating walls of crackling blue-black energy soaking the shots, allowing her to slowly but steadily close ground while absorbing the damage, a snarl on her face, her wings buzzing, her mouth making strange, disturbing clicking noises, showing black-brown serrated teeth.
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 08:06:23 33347
    With Jupiter right next to her, Mars tries getting up to her feet again. It takes a moment, starting with elbows, then knees, then one foot, and then the next. She'd be a lot faster about it if she wasn't getting hurt so much. "Thanks, Jupiter-chan."

    She grimaces as she tries to stand, and she watches as several people are drawn out of position and into the open... because of her no less. This was a really bad time for her to get careless. She charged forward when she should've run, and this was the cost. Now they have to--

    There's no time to even think about it. Mars shouts, "Come on! Don't dally!" She rushes up to Moon, grabbing her by the arm and trying to yank her towards the door.

    It's then that she notices Grey again... and what she's going to do. "NO! WATCH OUT!"

    She pushes Usagi towards the door as she releases her. "Just go! GO!"

    This is bad. This is bad. Everyone's out in the open and they needed to be inside five minutes ago. There's only so much she can respond to, but the worst thing she could do right now is leave herself vulnerable again. Instead, she decides to provide covering fire.

    'Fire' in this case is so obviously literal that I'm not even sure how to make a clever joke out of it.

    A spray of fire erupts from her palms at the Orange DD girl, trying to scorch her or at least force her to back away from Sailor Moon. As for Tuxedo Kamen...well... she can only defend so many at once...
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 08:18:39 33350
No. No. Nonononono.

Sailor Jupiter's body reacts while her mind is still paralyzed in that no. She launches into a sprint, a few strides of running start before she leaps and goes hurtling through the air to hit the green girl in a flying tackle that knocks her out of the air and brings both of them crashing down to go tumbling over the rough stone.

"Like I'd let you!" Jupiter snarls. One hand grapples for Green's throat, the other drawing back to smash her fist down at the monster girl's face; she feels the burst of pain as the claws bite into her but she ignores it stubbornly, all her effort devoted to the single task of defeating this one enemy.

She will not lose anyone else she loves.

"I've got this!" she roars to the others, to Zoisite still out in the open and Sailor Moon as Mars drags her towards safety. "Hurry up and get through the doors!"
Nephrite 2016-03-12 08:23:51 33351
Nephrite stumbles through what should have been a solid door, leaving a hole that is more than adequate to fit through. He reaches back to grab at Mamoru and pull him through--and Mamoru is not there. Looking back, he sees--everything. Too much. There is far too much. And there is Mamoru, charging right into it, trailing behind his rabbit.

He must be focused only on Moon, her magnetic pull tugging on him as it always does, because he does not notice the massive stalagmite heading straight for him. Mars shouts a warning even as Nephrite is moving. If only he were Zoisite, he could be faster. If only he were Kunzite, he would have a shield. If only he were Jadeite, he would have a plan much better than this one.

But he is only himself, nothing but brute strength and starlight, and only one of those things has a chance of stopping that enormous spear from connecting with his prince. He charges at Mamoru as fast as he can, slams into him with all the force he used to ram the door. He places himself in the stalagmite's path instead.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 08:27:24 33353
Once upon a time, Usagi actually watched a horror movie. The entire time was spent with this impending sense of doom. Despite the screaches she made and the way she hid under the covers for a week, it was that feeling that stayed with her the most.

This...is so much worse.

But Mamoru's screaming her name, and Zoisite is right there (has her skirt always been that short?) and Mars is right there but Jupiter's not and--

Chaos.

She has her fingers around the bow on Mars' back as she turns, her other hand grabbing Zoisite's, because if Jupiter says run, you ask how fast.

Even as she starts to run back, her face twists into an even deeper terror, the scream choking in her throat.

About the only thing she's actively aware of is this is her fault.
Zoisite 2016-03-12 08:35:52 33354
Blue's shielding, and Orange is slipping around and away, and that doesn't matter, because if Blue's shielding, then they can't count on hitting any of the others. Fire's too straightforward -- Zoisite calls petals on the wind again, to curl up and dance over the shield's edges, a hundred tiny razors never quite touching that crackling energy for every ten that slip and do.

Mars is shouting. Jupiter's shouting. Zoisite whirls at the hand that touches his, and changes -- Moon seeming to hold Moon's own hand, an impossible amount of golden hair, twinned targets now in the added confusion, when there's nothing really left to lose.

Wrong thought.

At least they're too close for the insect-girls to tell which one is choking back a scream, which one voicing it. She doesn't stop. She can't. She can't--

"NEPHRITE!"
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 08:40:51 33355
Sky Jack is already next to the door, and at the moment can do nothing but watch in horror - Moon gets a wild idea in her head and runs off, the insect-like youma girls are sweeping the team up suddenly from what had been a victory, and now there's another one charging at Nephrite. Jack doesn't know where to go first. Everything's suddenly too much for him, and all he can do is stand in shock, still gripping those little feathers.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 08:42:44 33356
It's even worse than charging for his rabbit.

Mamoru Chiba is teetering on the cusp of the absolute limit of what he can take without cracking, in terms of fuzzy-headed pain and stress and overuse of energy reserves, in terms of coping with being in this place, being cut off again from his planet, being here where so many things happened he doesn't want to remember--

--he used to be so protective of what memories he had, the precious things he knew were his--

--and he doesn't run because he's telling himself he trusts his friends but too many things are happening at once and he's forgotten how to move and he moves anyway, he staggers, hand out to catch at the arm of a ghost and falling through; he stumbles into something like a run only after a moment, to try and at least meet Moon and Mars halfway and, he doesn't even know, throw her maybe, throw her back towards Nephrite and worry about getting there a second later.

No, he doesn't see the stalagmite at all. Just like he didn't see the two youmas gunning for him earlier.

Just like he didn't see the shard of blade, frozen and shattered, as it headed for his heart in the childhood of another lifetime--

He doesn't see it, and he doesn't see Nephrite until his guardian is literally in front of him, and he slams into his back and more or less bounces off, half-falling back towards the door.

He can't get a single noise to come out of his throat, eyes wide in gut- no, soul-deep horror, as he sees it happen.

It's not until it's far too late that the raw and broken scream of furious-- something, rage, injustice, fear, unfairness-- rips out and soars and cracks. And it is in unison with Zoisite's.

"NEPHRITE!"

He has to move. He can't move. He can't move. It's a good thing Mars and Zoisite are charging with Usagi like a runaway train, he's not immovable, just frozen to the spot, tunnelvision.

Oh. Is this how they felt?
Queen Beryl 2016-03-12 08:58:49 33359
Sailor Mars' gout of fire has the intended affect of driving the Orange youma-girl and her dangerous blade off course, and away from Sailor Moon. At the same time, before she can make contact with Jupiter's Princess, the Green youma-girl finds herself clutched by Jupiter. Claws and dark black lightning fight with Jupiter's raw effort and rage. "You don't have a choice." the green girl says - or hisses through strange teeth - eyes black with hate as the dark energy storm overhead collects above them. "I'll kill you and then the rest." Green says. At that same moment, Orange changes course, black blade draw, coming to swing at Jupiter from behind. "Or I will." she says in a strangely calm voice as she swings with both hands for the green senshi.

Back closer to the door, Nephrite's body makes it there just moments before the massive battering-ram shard would've impacted Tuxedo Kamen. Instead, it impacts Nephrite. The creature howls in strange alien frustration. "FINE!" it says, and tries to shove through Nephrite to Kamen, improvised weapon and all. But Nephrite's strength holds fast, even as the weapon is crammed through him, and no harm comes to Tuxedo Kamen. Not... directly, anyways.

Blue snarls back, Zoisite's petals annoyingly stopping her forward motion... and two more silhouettes of dragon-fly winged half-insect girls drop from the looming clouds overhead, taking up cover behind stalagmite-walls in the distance, getting ready to continue the advance on the girls, given that Jupiter has occupied two of their sisters...
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 09:18:51 33363
There was a moment, a brief space in time, in which Makoto honestly thought that this might still work. Strong as her enemy is, painful as the black lightning that courses through her is, she knows her own strength and she feels like she has a chance.

Until the black blade carves into her back, an explosion of pain.

Trapped, pinned between the two insect girls, Jupiter looks up, wide and frantic eyes searching to at least be sure that Rei and Zoisite are dragging Usagi back and everyone is getting away safely. And she sees--

Nephrite.

--she is ten years old again, the world falling out from under her, the solemn-faced police officer looking on as she tries to understand--

--so much she still wanted to say, and now there's no time--

Hot tears flood her eyes, blurring her vision; she tries to call out but there's nothing, the only sound that leaves her is a quiet sob.

And then a wordless scream that tears her throat and resounds throughout the echoing space of the cavern.

Thunder follows, a deafening THOOM as lightning erupts from Jupiter's body, white-hot and blinding, engulfing her and the two DD Girls who have her trapped between them. Thick coils of raw energy fill the air, writhing like the serpentine body of some great beast that stretches blazing wings outward and upward, until the only safe place to be is the small sheltered area in and immediately around the broken doorway. Everywhere else is lightning and thunder.
Nephrite 2016-03-12 09:36:12 33367
He was made of darkness and stone, once. The same stuff that lances through him now, through muscle and bone and lung. That fact cannot possibly save him, but it does help him stop it. Because he knows it. He grips the stalagmite, even as Grey drives it through his body, and he holds it. His feet slide back as the furious insect tries to shove it through, his strength is literally bleeding from him, and his every breath is like trying to unfold a broken accordion. But he holds his place, grinning defiantly up the length of the stalagmite at the giant bug. "Nice try," manages to mutter.

And then. He sees her. For only a moment, he sees her face. And then everything is electricity and storm. He sees those enormous electric wings and knows what she has done. The world is lit up in the glory of her raw power.

He has no breath to speak to those who are left. No way to reach for his prince, or even turn to give him a last look. His eyes lock on Grey's again. "Go," he whispers.

He and Jupiter brought down the heavens together once. So it is easy now, even as his body is giving out, to give himself up to her power. To join the power of the stars with the storm. He pushes everything he has up the stalagmite, white starlight exploding into lightning with Grey trapped between.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-12 09:42:20 33370
It's hard to keep running through his pain on top of her own, but she has to.

Then the hair on the back of her neck rises and she trips and stumbles and--

She can't--

There's no--

She doesn't fall. Instead, she's curled around Mars, clinging tight. Because if she doesn't, she'll do something stupid again. Because Mako-chan.

Mamoru likely sensed the beginning taste on the rebounding shattered end of a snapped bond, once upon a time. Kunzite probably got a sense of it then, too.

The only one here who would have any warning at all is Mars, and yet--

She can't breathe, but when she does, her own screams echo through the cavern, vibrating violently in the air.

It's not the same, but it's the same level, because it's impossible to rank the pain of a shattered heart.

I've told you before, right? I'll always have your back, Usagi-chan, no matter what.

"MAKO-CHAN!"

And now that she has breath, she can't stop screaming.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-12 09:44:00 33371
Sky Jack can't believe what he just saw, but in that moment he resolves himself. It's time to fight back, to make sure these sacrifices aren't in vain. It's time for some baseball.

Unfortunately, Beryl - or her castle, at least - doesn't agree with Jack's newfound determination. As he turns to rejoin the others, the ground heaves and shakes underneath him, throwing him with a jerk through a nearby door. Solid stone slams down over the entrance, and the last thing Jack hears before the castle shifts and lurches around his new route is the sound of Moon screaming.
Rei Hino 2016-03-12 09:49:17 33372
    Mars is completely focused on getting Sailor Moon to safety, only looking behind her once in order to watch her back. She just has to get to the door. Jupiter can take care of herself. Nephrite and Tuxedo Kamen can take care of themselves. She just has to--

    She hears her princess's scream in her ear. She turns around to look.

    Dammit... Why? Why now?

    Mars's mouth is agape, as she takes in the scene. For a moment she can't even process. This is a trick, right? Another trick, like when Mamoru died?

    More out of instinct than tactical planning, Rei throws her arms around Moon and holds her back. There's no way she's going to let her rush out again. Not when everything is lightning and stars. The tactical portion of her mind is taking over right now, and the emotional part... well, that part is still processing. You know the numbness right before shock? That's where she is right now.

    When the realization hits, that Mako-chan is dead, that Nephrite died with her, and that there's nothing any of them can do about it, it hits her like a train running right into her gut. Her protective hug around Usagi tightens, not to hold her back (though it hopefully has that effect), but because she just doesn't know what else to do.

    A single sob into Usagi's back.

    "Mako-chan..."
Zoisite 2016-03-12 09:58:46 33373
One of them is screaming. The other one is silent. They're only trading off which is which.

Mars is holding the real Moon back. The impostor is dragging both of them on. It's enough to keep them moving. The storm behind them is impossibly, blindingly bright, and Zoisite's prince is staring into it -- fine. He does healing. He'll recover -- his sight, anyway. She collects him with her free hand and shoves. It's a stumbling, awkward collection. But it moves.

Because she's the only one left who knows for certain that, outside the sweep of wings and the burning of the stars, outside the place where it doesn't seem possible there will be anything left but ash, there are still more coming. If they're caught there in the open, half broken and hearts bleeding, it ends. Everything ends.

They have to keep moving. That's the change she's riding now, and there's few enough left there that even she can carry them all if she has to, just a little ways. Just a little farther. There'll be something she can burn soon.

Her lips move soundlessly, whispers that she doesn't dare risk anyone else hearing even with the thunder that drowns out everything but Usagi's screams.

You were supposed to live.

Out of all of us, you were supposed to live. Or else what was the point of any of it?
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-12 10:07:34 33374
Lightning and stars. Nephrite is dead. Jupiter is dead. He sees the crackling figure filling the air of the immense cavern, the shockwave of lightning mingling with the pure and devastating starlight and dancing through the shimmering and delicate snow.

Endymion doesn't even think about moving anymore. Mako-chan--

Mako-chan

His thoughts are fragmentary chaos, and he keeps almost remembering he should probably do something about that-- Kunzite keeps telling him he should-- should what? Nothing's finished, nothing's finishing, everything feels like it's finished before it could start.

That's how you decided to tell her?

And how do you feel about me?

If two components are entangled, the entropy of each component is lower than if that component is on its own.

Space enough for me? Are you sure? You've seen where I used to live, right?

Mako-chan, I think I understand how bodyguarding works, now. And I'm positive I don't like it.

Zoisite shoves him, and there's nothing but light in his eyes, endless sparkling shining light; the afterimages will haunt him far longer than it takes to get his eyes to work again.

He stumbles forward, and finally in through the doors, and can't hear anything for the screaming and can't see anything for the light, and someday maybe he'll believe again.
Makoto Kino 2016-03-12 10:11:46 33375
And then, when the thunder finally dies away, there is silence.

Beyond the gap in the doorway, a momentary breath of an incongruously gentle breeze passes over the survivors from behind, as though to urge them on.

A few small, disintegrating blue petals of wasurenagusa scatter over the rough stone floor around their feet, before the air at last falls still.