Swan Song


CONTENT WARNING: Character death. Melanite tries to stop the heroes from getting to the throne room, and does stop some, but gets taken apart before finshing her last sentence.

Date: 2016-03-13
Pose Count: 54
Kyra Nygaard 2016-03-13 02:14:05 33424
You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

The caverns spread over a massive area, miles upon miles of corridor and chamber, creepy and dark and oppressively heavy with dark power. Every step is heavier, every breath more difficult, and every thought seems to turn to greed and anger and fear.

Eventually, the more organic-looking tunnels give way to carved stone, as if entering something, someplace, man-made. Even so, the carvings on the walls seem to twist and move in the corners of your eyes, hiding their true nature behind the illusion of stillness.

After what seems like hours of wandering, the corridors converge on either side of one end of a chamber - and it is not at all the plain stone one might expect. It is a throne room, the floor sleek black marble veined with crimson, the walls hung with paintings glorifying the Dark Kingdom - the most prominent, of course, depicting Endymion and Beryl being married - complete with Sailor Venus as the ringbearer, and Princess Serenity as the priest performing the ceremony.

Beneath this massive portrait are three large, comfortable-looking seats, carved of the same marble as the floor, easily opulent enough to be called thrones. Melanite herself sits in the center, largest seat, dressed in her familiar short black dress and scarlet coat. More familiar are the faces of those who sit beside her.

On her left, 'Tadase' lounges indolently, dressed in a mockery of the Little Prince's usual school uniform - every color but the blue has been turned to black. To the witch's right, 'Kukai' looks out at the assembled heroes, his own garments exchanged for a military uniform of some sort, all black and silver. 'Daichi' sits on his shoulder, dressed the same, juggling a trio of egg-shaped objects and smirking.

The fourth member of Melanite's little surprise is an equally-twisted copy of Amu herself, wearing the same little black dress as the witch, with a crimson-and-black Guardian's cloak thrown over it. She lounges on her knees at Melanite's feet, head resting on her mistress' knee. She looks up briefly to regard the heroes' arrival... but then she yawns, covering her mouth politely. "Boring," she pronounces you, then sets her head back down. 'Yoru' clambers out from behind her shoulder to take a look for himself, then nods and agrees. "Nothing worth worrying yourself over, ojousama."

"Well, that's alright. We'll let the boys play." The witch waves a hand, and hidden doors along either side wall open to release a horde of armored youma into the room.
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 02:33:04 33427
Platinum Royale has been moving forward with the support of various groups, vanishing and appearing, seperating and reforming. But at least he's still alive, and he's still moving foward. The more he walks into this strange and creepy place, this tear in reality - the more resolved he gets.

This is not the way he wants the world he has put so much effort into defending to end up. This is all wrong. Everything about it wrong. It's like someone had taken the condesned emotions of an X-egg, magnified them, and built an empire out of it.

His scepter is in his hand as he walks aside Amu, who he's found finally, a sterner-than-usual look on his face as they make their way into the room. Seeing the three fakes nearby, he just levels his scepter at them. "More illusions? Cowardly." he says.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-13 02:39:23 33428
Coming out of another tunnel, Sailor Moon has a much smaller entourage than she had on her way to the North Pole -- Sailor Mars and Tuxedo Kamen and a ghost only they can see -- but at least, as per usual, they're finding allies again, as easily as they get cut off from them.

A little ways back, Tux went fishing in his hat and came up with a candy bar and a couple of chocolate-flavored protein bars for Sailor Moon; he's been mostly completely silent since they lost Jupiter and Nephrite, giving generally monosyllabic answers to questions. He's rehenshined somewhere along the way to clear the blood from his formalwear, and it's once again spotless.

When they come out of the tunnel, Tuxedo Kamen stops short. It's a moment before he can shift his gaze laboriously from the "artwork" to the throne, its occupant, and her entourage-- and then he looks toward Platinum Royale, and doesn't step any further in. Instead, he reaches for Usagi's hand again and doesn't say a word.
Amu Hinamori 2016-03-13 02:40:44 33429
Amu Hinamori is not a hero. Sure, she has the potential to be one, someday, maybe. The problem is, she struggles with commitment to any task, and heroing requires an awful lot of commitment. And she didn't even bring the chara that best represents her ability to commit.

But Amu Hinamori is here, despite all her worries, dressed in her best winter garb (which ... someone should probably have told her that 'fashion' is not appropriate when going to the North Pole to face the Apocalypse): a short black skirt, very warm black thigh highs sweatersocks, knee-high stompy boots, and a red and grey parka. Amu is so not prepared for the weather. She's cold, and she's tired. But she's still here with Tadase, following him along worriedly as she makes her way through the caverns, supported by an equally cold blue-haired Chara floating just over her shoulders.

As they round a bend and spot the fakes, she grimaces and reaches up to touch Tadase's shoulder, drawing strength just from that simple touch. "We can do this," she encourages him. "We can break through. It's not that many, and we're together." Right? Who is she encouraging.

"Miki," she calls, and the little blue-haired Chara whirls into her egg and hastily merges with Amu. There is a flash of light as she becomes Amulet Spade. "We can definitely do this," Spade reinforces her own earlier words. "I'll follow your lead." A promise.
Rei Hino 2016-03-13 02:41:52 33430
    Sailor Mars walks down the maze of twisty passages, alongside Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon. The darkness here is palpable and disturbing, so strong that she doesn't even feel the need to warn her allies about it. Saying that there's malice and dark intent here would be stating the obvious pretty hard.

    When she gets to the room where the Red Witch waits, along with her dark copies, her eyes immediately take inventory of the enemies present and...

    ... and that godawful picture. She doesn't even know what to say about that, but she can't imagine how her friends feel when they see it.

    Mamoru isn't say anything. Mars can't blame him, but offenses like this demand a Response.

    There's really only one answer to it. "What kind of sick parody is that? I don't know what's worse, the fact that you were cruel enough to think of it, or the fact that you'd actually put your sickness on display."

    Mars puts her hand on her hip, pointing at the Red Witch. "In the name of good taste, I'll punish you! ... and your painting!"

    As promised, Mars's hands ignite, and she flings the fireball... not at any of the youma or the Red Witch, but at the painting itself.
Ariel Theodore 2016-03-13 02:46:13 33432
    The Waking World has been... Interesting. Crash landing in Tokyo, only to get swept up very shortly after into the business up in the north, Ariel couldn't quite sit back on her heels when there was a chance to help people. The daunting fact that so much is at stake didn't seem to deter the tiny unicorn in her decision, though perhaps now, she might be regretting it just a little.
    But her choice has been made. She's here now. She has to live with it. She's tried to stick with groups where she could- there were more than a few frightening moments of getting separated, only to manage to luckily find someone else here or there. Lucky being the key word.
    She's been perched on the back of her dog this whole time, the big shaggy thing glowing with soft light. The two are looking a bit battered from scrapes here and there, armor dented on her, a slight limp on him. Fingers clench into the golden hound's fur in an act as much to re-assure herself as her canine steed. "Um... Come on, Lucky. Let's try this way- maybe we;ll find the others again." Murmured as she worried on her lower lip. A low grumbled wuff from the canine-shaped star is his answer as he plods in a new direction.
    It just so happens to carry them past the eerie tunnels, into the stone halls, eventually finding way to the chamber with the painting. Topaz eyes stare up at it for a long moment, silver brow furrowing, before the child makes another realization.
    "--Oh. People!"
    As far as she knows, she has reason to be relieved.
    It's the youma that start swarming the chamber that make her bleat in alarm.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 02:48:20 33433
Sky Jack had spent some unknowable amount of time after being thrown apart from Sailor Moon and the others moving through the passages of the castle, hiding from the few passing youma he'd seen, trying to find a route back to the others.

The Jack of Guardians was using every bit of wit and skill he had to move without being detected, but part of him knew that the best he might be able to do would be slow down a pack of reinforcements. At this point, he'd been henshin'd for so long that walking hurt. But even in a place like this, luck wins through sometimes.

Kukai stopped at a corner and looked around, staying low. Ahead of him were dozens of armored figures, closed up on a dead end. He was about to turn and go the other way before the door opened, high up onto a large room, and the figures began stepping out, two and three at a time, loud and annoying.

Whatever they were doing, this was his chance. Moving into the hall behind them, Kukai focused, summoning a soccer ball and charging it with his love, his joy, his desire to purify this place, and his electric spirit. With a shout, he punted the ball, sending it charging forward at the back ranks of the armored figures, with more quickly following behind!
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-13 02:48:49 33434
It's not easy to chew down an energy bar when you're so very much not hungry. It's still settling like cement in her gut. She's been more talkative than Mamoru, because talking is her default setting, but its her almost monotone voice that likely makes people wish she weren't.

Her hand tightens around his as well at the sight of the painting, but before she can much more than sneer, Mars is handling it.

Her sneer turns into a grin. "Sorry, Melanite. Surrealistic Horror just isn't going to catch on."
Kunzite 2016-03-13 02:49:51 33435
(The ghost that only Tuxedo Mask and the pair who entered with him can see has not been silent. Not spoken unnecessarily; it's been limited to the necessary. Warnings of traps, of ways that appear harmless and lead to somewhere lethal, of the feeling of power moving that spoke of something monstrous nearby. But not silent.)

(Not silent now, either. Kunzite's eyes flicker toward the thrones; toward Platinum Royale's challenge, which for the first time since Nephrite and Jupiter's deaths prompts a slight, indefinable change in the ghost-image's expression. "Mindmage," he reminds those who can hear him. "Corruption, influence, control. Warn them.")
Kyra Nygaard 2016-03-13 02:57:18 33437
'Dark Tadase' sneers down at the arriving heroes, and he and 'Dark Kukai' rise from their seats to start directing the horde, waving batons like conductors with an orchestra. The horde of youma come together in the middle of the room, forming into what could almost be called a phalanx. They are even armed with swords and shields, like Roman legionaries, and they advance in organized ranks towards the heroes!

A fireball streaks towards the wedding portrait and its twisted scenario, slamming into the image and setting it alight! Fire begins to consume the image, but it starts with the portrait of Venus...

A rank of youma loses its first three members when Kukai's flaming soccer ball slams into them, but 'Dark Kukai' barks an order and more pour in from behind to fill in. They almost seem endless. "Ooh, not a bad shot, Jack," the dark mirror criticizes his brighter opponent. "Let me show you how it's done." He lifts the baton, then swings it again, sending a fireball almost as big as Mars' back at the Guardian.

"Oh, this isn't horror, Sailor Moon," Melanite quips, stroking 'Dark Amu's hair. "You remain under the mistaken impression that you are the protagonist of this little play. Allow me to show you how wrong you are." And the disciplined ranks of youma advance in step upon the heroes, swords out to slash and stab between the shields they carry as they reach engagement range.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-13 03:11:02 33438
Tuxedo Kamen lets out a breath as Mars sets the painting on fire, and very, very briefly puts a hand on her shoulder. Now that he's got a crisis and nothing actually chewing actively on his senses, he can shove all his personal feelings into a lockbox again. Very handy. He gives Moon a crooked little smile at her grin, and his eyes flicker to the ghost in their party.

Then as he moves to flank Sailor Moon across from Mars, he calls out, "Platinum Royale! Take care, Melanite is a mind mage: she deals in the corruption, influence, and control thereof! Melanite, why do you work for Beryl?"

The ranks start moving, and he pulls out his cane. No more flinging pure energy about anymore, not if he wants to save what he has left to give Sailor Moon when she needs it most. His other hand pulls off his hat. "Moon-chan," he says conversationally, "I've wondered for a while if we could tiara-hat combo. You know, call out something like Moon Tuxedo Hat Trick and fling at the same time, see if we can object to the youma-heads that the hats don't fit. On three?"

Maybe he really has lost it. He readies his hat.

"One... two... three!"
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 03:14:05 33439
Tadase, readies himself. He's always been more of a defensive and support type - but that's had to change a lot in recent weeks.

Glaring as the army comes into position, and looking back to see Sailor Moon, Mars, Kamen - and Kukai! - he announces to everyone around. "She's just another servant of the Dark Kingdom. That means she's between us and ending all of this. And going home. And saving everything." he says. It might be a bit uncharacterstic of him to say this. "So don't let this little army and the creepy fakes scare you. Because we're winning this fight, this time."

"HOLY CROWN!" he shouts, using the normally defensive crown-shaped surge like a battering ram, aiming to smash the ranks of the youma out of order.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-13 03:18:25 33440
Sailor Moon isn't sure she's a protagonist, but she's darn sure this is no play.

Maybe he has lost it.

But his suggestion earns as real a smile that she's been able to manage since their last fight.

"Why, Tuxie-kun. You really do know just what to say to win a girl's heart."

At the end of his count down, her tiara is off and she throws it as he lets go.

"MOON TUXEDO HAT TRICK!"

Well, hey, he's usually better at names than she is.

For a moment, they don't join, but then gravity does it work. Like the moon to the earth, the tiara orbits the hat as the hat flies, the smaller space allowing the tiara to pick up more momentum.

Soon, it's no longer a glowing death frisbee and hat. Now it's a glowing death hat spinning like a frisbee.
Rei Hino 2016-03-13 03:20:04 33442
    Mars watches with satisfaction as the painting burns, and Moon's comment makes her laugh. She looks over her shoulder as Mamoru puts a hand on it. She flashes him a brief smile before looking forward and going back to her serious face. At least she was able to right one wrong today...

    Tuxedo Kamen is planning a team attack with Sailor Moon. Heh. Cute. While they're doing that, Mars decides to turn her attention to the youma. There are allies here, but... there are a lot more enemies, and this isn't friendly territory.

    "Welp. Let's get this fire started."

    Mars extends her arms towards the youma army, palms foward, as several bursts of flame ignite and fly out, erupting from her hand and launching into the air. The fireballs arc upwards and come back down, trying not only to set the groups of youma on fire, but also to make that fire spread among their ranks.
Amu Hinamori 2016-03-13 03:21:45 33443
Amulet Spade does not dash past Amulet Royale. But she does dash sideways, kip up onto a wall, then jumps up onto Tadase's Holy Crown. Amu rides the Holy Crown like a skateboard as she raises her hands high overhead. A massive paintbrush appears in her hands, and it begins to glow with a golden brilliance as she calls out, "Colourful Canvas!"

Swiping the paintbrush forward, Amulet Spade sends a brilliance of paint spreading outwards in front of Holy Crown, softening up the ranks of Youma just before Tadase's attack hits.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 03:24:07 33444
Sky Jack grins as several of the armored youma in front of him are blown away by his kick. Even when the others fill back in, he is more confident about his ability to destroy them as well, another soccer ball popping into existance in front of him.

And then his dark mirror stands, lifting that baton and swinging it, and the fireball arches across the field towards him. Within the small side passage, there's not a lot of room to dodge, either for Jack or the youma. With a great effort, Jack calls his skateboard to him and leaps, spinning - just in time for the explosion to land and a scream to echo out.

The passage nearly crumples, awash in flame, the youma on both sides immolated, and Jack is launched through one of the walls, skidding to a stop closer to the group, smoking and bloodied on the ground, but still shuddering and moving.
Ariel Theodore 2016-03-13 03:24:56 33445
    As the youma advance, Lucky lowers, body tensed for a pounch, a low and protective growl building in his throat. But Ariel squeaks, a firmer squeeze of fingers tugging at golden fur keeps the beast of a hound in check, choosing to backpedal a few retreating paces rather than engage head on. Even as a full on brawl erupts in the entire chamber, between monsters and warriors of light and justice. "Wait... I think I can help..." She murmurs, more to herself than to anyone aloud.
    There's a glimmer... A shimmering, shivering, gleam of light flickering off her horn; like the briefest flash of sunlight on a seashell. Whatever she did, it looks like it put something of a strain on her for a moment, a bead of sweat rolling down the side of her brow.
    From thin air, several shimmering figures take shape. Formed from spectral glitterdust and starlight, phantom kite shields manifest in a lazy hover. They flit and dartk into the melee, throwing themselves in the path of oncoming blows. Some shatter, some crack. It's diversionary at the very least, or perhaps at the very best, just might spare someone from injury.
Kunzite 2016-03-13 03:33:33 33447
(Kunzite drops silent, to avoid adding to the confusion, and retreats for the most part to the tasks he's been doing throughout. Watching for anything that might be using the chaos to ambush either of the -- no. Either of his royals. Not that he'd withhold a warning about something about to assault Platinum Royale, but ... by necessity, there's triage. Watch the two first. Watch everyone else second. And as part of watching everyone else, try to find the feel of the energies moving in the room. Too many to make much sense of, and the darkness here is deep and old enough to hide a great deal; but if Melanite laid down any particularly great magics, there might be enough of a sign to perceive. Maybe. He can't make it his first priority, not now; that has, absolutely, to be keeping Moon alive.)
Kyra Nygaard 2016-03-13 03:35:17 33448
Between the Moon Tuxedo Hat Trick, Tadase's Holy Crown, and the other attacks coming their way, the front rank of youma is rather messily decimated. A dozen youma are cut down in the first instant. More follow them, falling to colorful fiery doom. The third rank is where Melanite's other talents show themselves. To most dark leaders, youma are mere cannon fodder, or elites like the DD Girls. Melanite walks the middle ground, treating them as a weapon to be wielded, and respected. Those shields they carry are not for show.

While they are not enough by themselves to stop the heroes' attacks, they are more than enough to weaken them. The first ranks die as messily as the heroes had hoped, dissolving into dust and ash. The second rank falls as quickly as the first. The third leaves rather more solid remains. And the fourth, though their shields are scorched (and in the case of those nearest Amulet Spade, covered in rainbow designs), seem to be unharmed.

Their blades stab out, many slamming into Ariel's kite shields, battering their way through the defenses to seek the soft, delicate flesh of the heroes behind them.

"Why do I work for your darling bride, my prince?" the witch asks of Kamen. "Your own father witnessed my apprenticeship. The chance to study under such a great sage... who would turn it down?" No one sane, she implies, and indeed, her words carry their own compulsion, to agree, accept, what she claims.
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 03:41:13 33449
Tadase wasn't addressed, but that doesn't mean he wont chime in about the things Melanite is saying. Even as he resists that compulsion, that charm. If there's one thing it's difficult to do, it's pressure Tadase's mind in henshin, between Kiseki and him being together as one very self-assured mind."Have you had a look around here?" he asks. "This place sucks, and reeks of dark energy and bad emotions."

"So maybe you didn't make the right decision working under her." he says. Maybe the dark energy in the area is affecting him - albeit in a different way, perhaps, than intended. "There's an apocalypse going on, and I don't have anymore time for pleasantries. Stand down. We're going around you, or we're going through you. I've seen too much happen today to hesitate."
Amu Hinamori 2016-03-13 03:45:13 33451
"KUKAI!" Amulet Spade calls worriedly--so worriedly, in fact, that she actually *pops out of henshin* in the middle of a fight. Miki streaks off across the distance towards the scorched and battered man.

"Daichi, Diachi, are you okay!?" Miki calls worriedly as she rushes to their side. This leaves Amu Hinamori flailing her arms as she lands--completely unhenshined--far too near a whole lot of Youma. "Oh. Oh god. Oh god."

But a subtle whisper sounds in her ear. A voice she hasn't heard in so very long. A voice that is reassuring and comforting. A voice that tells her, "Everything will be okay. I have you." A little egg floats up out of Amu's pocket, lilac in colour and decorated with flowers and girliness. Amu's eyes widen. "T... Temari?" she asks, confusedly. But it's not Temari, really. It's just her egg, glowing with a golden light. "How did ..."

But Temari does not give Amu time to finish the question. "Chin, Ton, Shan." The words sound from nowhere. And then Amu Hinamori is suffused by a massive glowing golden light. Brilliant, blinding, and peaceful, that light allows the egg and Amu Hinamori to merge into one being.

"Chara Nari: Amulet Maihime!" says the Amu. Gone are her inappropriately goth-punk fashionable winter clothes, replaced instead by a traditional Japanese yukata. A flower has taken the place of her hairpin, and in her hand, she wields a wicked naginata.

Eyes glimmering with pent up rage and frustration over Kukai's pain, Amulet Maihime dances forward amidst the rank of youma, wielding that Naginata with an expertise and a grace that could only be achieved with a lifetime of mastery. Whether it is a dance of beauty or of war, anyone would be hard pressed to say, but it is as beautiful as it is deadly.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-13 03:59:31 33453
"That-- worked a lot better than I thought it would," Tuxedo Kamen tells Sailor Moon, eyes wide behind the mask as he catches his hat and sets it rakishly crookedly atop his head. There's something on the edge of a little crazy behind them, but it's no worse than Moon herself must be feeling. "Mars-chan! Set Moon Tiara Action on fire; Moon-chan, fling it up and let it spin like a ring of fire--

He waits until they've got that set up, and in the meantime calls out cheerfully, "You're delusional. My father didn't do anything but handle paperwork, kiss babies, christen ships, and get on Kunzite's case about my schoolwork. You might be thinking of my tutor Librarius, but it was probably just some schmuck from collections done up to look official. Beryl was a third-rate seer who didn't have anything better to do than lick windows when I passed by them, and her personality's only gotten worse!"

Then up it is, and Tuxedo Kamen pulls out a literal fistful of roses and flings them rapid-fire through the burning ring, calling out "Moon Flame Maskerade Rosen!"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-13 04:03:44 33454
Moon is, of course, not the definition of sanity right now, either.

"Really. You expect anything of mine not to orbit anything of yours? And here I thought you did well in astronomy!"

Actually, she's surprised it worked that well, too.

Of course she throws her tiara when she's told, and she watches with an almost...frightening glee at the end result.

However, she also spots Amu twirling her pokey stick around in a deadly ballet. "Ohhhhh, so pretty!" Heart eyes!
Rei Hino 2016-03-13 04:05:38 33455
    Mars doesn't look back at Tuxedo Kamen, but she is listening regardless. She waits for Moon to set up another Tiara, and she raises her hand, flames dancing across her fingertips.

    While she's waiting on Moon, Tuxedo Kamen paints a mental image that at first shocks Mars and then causes her to laugh out loud. Did he really just--?

    Crazy mikos who surround themselves with fire should not be laughing like she is. Not if they want to appear particularly sane. Look, it's not her fault this time!

    "I'd say you hit that nail on the head, prince-kun."

    The tiara is thrown, and Mars adds her own fire to it, setting the roses on fire and watching its effects.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 04:14:04 33457
Sky Jack lies on the floor for several moments, shuddering. His magic had protected him, but in what's conscious in his mind he can feel Daichi's power flickering. He just... He just needs a moment to rest. He's not dead yet - it hurts like sin, but it's not 'dead' yet.

There's a very, very familiar sound nearby, though, as Jack smoulders and heals, despite the closeness of the oncoming youma, a sound he associates with someone close to him. With bleary eyes he looks up, blinking. "...Nades-chan... you came to save me again?" No. She's as elegant as Nadeshiko, but that shock of wild pink hair, and that's not the same yukata. "...Amu?!" It's enough to shock him the rest of the way awake, staring into a very panicked little Miki's eyes. "What's going on?"
Ariel Theodore 2016-03-13 04:15:48 33458
    Ariel tries to maintain the shields as best she can, horn shimmering as Lucky weaves and ducks through the frackas for her. But her spell can only take so much. Most of the shields serve their purpose once- twice at best before shattering, it's the best she can do while stressed.
    She's panting even though her mount is handling all the rough and tumble movement for her. But then the unicorn-girl goes as still as a deer. She's probably seen her share of terrible things on this voyage, but Sky Jack is knocked through a wall- landing in a heap like he does.
    "-Lucky! Go! That way!" She decides. A deep WUFF resounding as the hound breaks into a sprint, skidding to a halt and lowering to haunches. It makes it easier for the tiny girl to hop off. She hardly knows anyone here... But that's no reason to leave him down like that. Her armor kicks up sparks as she skids on her knees, and her first oder of duty is to try and see just how bad off he is, horn glimmering again to form a barrier around them as she does that, while Amu deals out righteous retribution to the youma.
Kunzite 2016-03-13 04:20:09 33459
(There's only a moment of distraction for Kunzite, as his attention flickers for an instant to Tuxedo Kamen when Melanite phrases things ... quite the way she does. It passes while he's still calling instructions to Mars and Moon; back to keeping his watch. No need to give a reminder.)

(There might be the faintest of creases at the corner of one eye, at the -- ah -- reminiscing. Maybe.)
Kyra Nygaard 2016-03-13 04:21:38 33460
"Maybe, maybe not, Platinum-boy. But the decision was made a long time ago. And there are only a rather limited number of people who can release me from it." Ironically for someone in her position, she doesn't seem to display any rancor for Kamen's dismissal of Beryl's sagacity.

She sits calmly and patiently, watching as Amulet Maihime dances her way into the ranks of youma, cutting them down as they try to slip out of her path without disorganizing their ranks too much. She's fascinating to watch, even 'Dark Amu' seems to take an interest, lifting her head to look.

Almost as pretty is the ring of fire that Mars, Moon, and Tuxedo Kamen create. It's fortunate for Melanite that she's brought so many youma, because this is piling up the youma-dust on the floor just as quickly as the Amulet Dance. And it makes just as nice a show. 'Dark Tadase' and 'Dark Kukai' are trading a bucket of popcorn back and forth as they watch it, directing new youma into position to replace the dead.

"Good form," 'Dark Tadase' comments. "The yukata looks good on her, too."

"I don't know, I think the fire roses are really pretty. I bet I could throw something back through the ring," 'Dark Kukai' says with a grin.

Melanite's nose wrinkles as the scent of burning roses reaches her. "Get down there and stop them," she orders the pair. The two descend from their thrones, darkness slithering over them to form into armor and weapons. Each picks out a squad of youma from the mob that continues to pour in, and pushes their way through to confront the heroes in person.

And that's when the fireball is hurled in from behind the heroes, straight at Sailor Moon. The figure that stalks in from the cavern looks like Sailor Mars... but again, a twisted, corrupt double, her fuku black where the real Mars wears white. Shadowy black flames surround her hands, and she's already forming them into another fireball to hurl as the heroes take notice of her. "Come and play, Princess!"
Amu Hinamori 2016-03-13 04:28:55 33461
Amulet Maihime isn't here for the rif-raf. As soon as she's cleared enough room around herself with that brilliant dance, she simply leaps into the skies, and a pair of beautiful fluttering pink wings erupt from her back, carrying her up and over the youma, dreadfully near the roof.

"You hurt my friend," Amulet Maihime says, as she lands very near to the dark parody of Sky Jack. "This is not acceptable." And then she rushes forward, calling out in an almost sing-song voice, "Petal Dance." As she dances in towards Melanite and her dark guardians, beautiful sakura flowers fly out from Maihime's blade and streak towards her foes. Those flowers explode on contact, spreading purifying energy wherever they touch.
Kunzite 2016-03-13 04:35:17 33465
("She's lying," Kunzite notes, matter-of-fact. Well. Misleading, technically. "The limited number of people is herself. She designed and deployed an energy drain good enough to take down a shopful of people on her own, before she ever met Beryl. She came back to her in this life freely, out of the desire for power -- and she knew exactly what kind of power it -- BEHIND MOON!" The gesture is faster than the words, a hand flung out to give a direction to the syllables before the second is complete.)
Rei Hino 2016-03-13 04:38:40 33466
    Mars senses something wrong. Well, that's kindof an obvious statement, but what she senses isn't just the feeling of greed and jealousy that permeates this place, or just the wickedness of the youma in general, or just the magic being thrown around.

    What she's feeling is a direct threat to her princess. By the time of Kunzite's warning, she is already in motion.

    There's not even a question in her mind. Before Sailor Mars sees the monster behind her, she's already standing between the fireball and Sailor Moon. She crosses her arms in front of her, letting the fire impacted her gloved arms. The fire washes over her, not painlessly, but she's too full of adrenaline and loss to be stopped by something like pain. Instead, he charges forward.

    It's only then that she sees what it is she's fighting. "You're next."

    She crosses the distance between herself and her copy quickly, her whole body covered in intense fire, her own fire, as she lowers her shoulder in order to ram into the youma, hopefully getting some of that fire on her.
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 04:47:55 33472
For a moment, Tadase is transfixed by Amulet Maihime - the idea of transforming with someone else's egg is new to him, and the way Amu and Temari have combined is so elegant, so graceful, that it actually takes a moment to sort himself.

Kukai's being guarded, but still Tadase moves around to stand with him - behind Ariel's shields, he reaches down to help Sky Jack to his feet. "Amu's amazing." Tadase says in a manner of not-really-explaining at all. "And there's still a bunch of not-us. Lets go put an end to these cheap knockoffs." he says with a smile, and then nods to Ariel. "Thanks for keeping watch over my friend." he says, before he moves in towards the clone of himself, smashing youma aside with his scepter as he yells at Melanite. "Your words don't match your actions." he says, simply. "I will not allow you to endanger my friends or my world!" And sometime around then is where the Dark Mars comes in, and he's absolutly sure about what he just said.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 04:50:42 33473
Sky Jack reaches up, taking Tadase's hand, and gets to his feet finally, jacket and pants scorched and smouldering all over, goggles missing, and a nasty looking red streak along the sleeve of one arm. He shoots a grateful look to the unicorn girl and reaches over, patting her shoulder - all he's got time for now.

But he's up and ready to keep fighting - not in time to turn and do anything to save Moon or Mars, oh no. He's focused on the armed and armored dark version of himself. "Sounds good, King. I'm taking mine." He grins at Tadase and idly thinks for a moment about how he'd spent so much time supporting his dreams of rule, but spent so much energy screaming at Mamoru about his. Silliness.

One leg rears back, and as it comes forward a soccer ball appears in front of it, fired as if out of a cannon at his doppelganger, blasting apart any armored youma that intend to get between him and his target! "You're not one-millionth of the real me! You're a photograph of my shadow!" More shots follow it up, filled with positive energy and electric desire.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-13 04:53:22 33475
There's a momentary hesitation on the part of Tuxedo Kamen as the tiara's fire goes out and the tiara heads back to Sailor Moon, he's frowning at Melanite, trying to make some kind of sense of what she's saying-- where a battle between her corrupting magical mind influence versus the willpower of the one person on Earth who Metalia was not able to sway would lose so hard, words are things he always, always has to weigh.

But Kunzite clears him neatly of the lies, and Endymion scowls darkly, pulling out another rose--

--and the warning about Moon; he twitches an arm up to pull his cape behind her, and hears Mars fighting (S)mar(m)s, and keeps his attention on Melanite. There are so many terrible things going on-- but again, again, he has to trust his friends. Something absolutely horrible is going to happen to someone he loves, or likes, and his mind latches on to the focus Kunzite provides so that he can move past it and stay on the wretched path laid out before him, before his Princess.

He watches Melanite. He blocks his ears, but not his mind.

He waits.

When it looks to him like she's looking elsewhere, he throws a sweet-scented and merciless rose from Elysion toward her head.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-13 05:01:03 33476
Kunzite's words and warning. Kamen's cloak. Mars having her back.

Her determination grows, and she feeds it to the boy wearing the cape because he's not doing well.

"You chose this life for yourself, Melanite. You knew what you were signing up for. The wilful harming of innocents will not be forgiven." Her eyes are a glare. "In the name of the moon, I punish you."

And she misses Mako-chan, and despite everything she's forcing herself to feel, she is not okay.

"MAKO-CHAN TIARA CAKE!"
Ariel Theodore 2016-03-13 05:04:07 33477
    Even as Sky Jack picks himself up, Ariel can't help but frown. Shifting in a blatantly agitated and worried fashion- she doesn't stop him, "I don't really know how else to help, so..." She admits to Platinum Royale. But manages to buck up just a bit at the pat to her shoulder.
    A 'wurf' from her canine steed, and she hops on Lucky's back again, topaz eyes darting for the next place she can make herself even marginally useful.
Kyra Nygaard 2016-03-13 05:18:08 33480
Kunzite is quite correct. Of course Melanite is lying. Her entire life has been a lie. The question is, which part of it is a lie, and which part is the seed of truth that lends it verisimilitude? ... Probably none of it. It's more fun that way.

The Dark Guardians, unleashed, lead their squads in towards the battle. 'Dark Tadase' runs afoul of the gorgeous and graceful Butterfly Princess, and engages her in close combat, producing a sword of his own to match her naginata's dance. He's skilled and quick and strong, but in none of those three does he match Amulet Maihime. He dances about her and parries blows, tries to get in quick thrusts with the blade, but he's taking more damage than he's dishing out, and every time he ducks or dodges the naginata cuts down one of his youma.

A dozen youma are felled by Sky Jack's burning soccer balls, mowed down and blasted back into the walls to burst into dust. "Oh no, dear Jack, I am your shadow." 'Dark Kukai' hurls another blast, a spiked ball filled with dark energy, towards his bright counterpart. Then he follows in after it, his path twisted by the impact of one, then another flaming soccer ball, before he can close in on the athlete.

The few remaining youma from 'Dark Tadase's squad join 'Dark Kukai's and try to press through towards Moon and Tuxedo, but run smack into a rather put out Platinum Royale, and do not fare terribly well in direct combat now that the initial defense boosts have been exhausted.

The black fireball slams into Mars' crossed arms, dissipating into nothingness against the true Senshi of Fire. The darkling faker flares her own black fire, letting it engulf her body, and hurls herself in turn at the real Mars, matching fire with fire.

A single golden rose hurtles towards Melanite. Unadorned with flame or other accoutrements, carrying only its own power. A gleaming sphere of power around Melanite appears as the rose's stem transfixes it - pauses for a moment - and the sphere shatters, crashing down into tinkling fragments that fade away into nothingness as they strike the marble floor.

Sailor Moon's tiara roars in behind the rose, and Melanite's defense is gone - but fate has another plan. 'Dark Amu' reaches over to pick up the rose, admiring its beauty, and holds it up to Melanite.

The witch cradles the rose in her hands, and after a single breath, sinks reverently into her seat, slumping, clutching it so tightly that the thorns dig into her hands, and crimson blood drips onto her leg.

Puzzled by her mistress' behavior, 'Dark Amu' stares - a fatal mistake, as the whirling tiara punches clear through her before digging a huge gouge in 'Dark Tadase's throne and twirling about to return to Sailor Moon.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 05:18:49 33481
Sky Jack sees that big black spiked ball coming his way like a wrecking ball and throws himself to one side, unable to make himself nimbly dodge out of the way again and again. Unfortunately this opens him up to counter-fire - literally, more fire from the flaming soccer ball. It slams into him as he's getting up, and Kukai lets out a yell as he is bounced onto hands and feet, scrambling up. His heart is beating like a drum at this point and there's pain everywhere.

Still, though, Kukai has never backed down from a challenge yet without a fight. It's just not in his nature. With a slightly more primal scream than before he begins slamming more soccer balls at the dark version of himself, vision narrowing as he takes step after step towards his evil twin, a new sensation crawling its way up his arm, something new coming.
Rei Hino 2016-03-13 05:20:30 33482
    Mars reaches out, grasping onto her evil twin as both are covered in flames. That dark fire burns, but so does Mars's own passionate flame. Whatever she does, she can't afford to let this creature get past her and get to the princess, and the others have a room full of youma to deal with. She's also the one most likely to know how to deal with her own powerset. She needs to be here.

    'Here' is a pretty bad place to be for the moment, however.

    Matching strength against this youma, Mars is starting to realize that it won't be a simple, clean kill. She's going to get hurt. If she gets hurt... then...

    Her mind flashes back to a couple hours ago. She got wounded and people came after her, but that only got them all in even more trouble. Then, after all of that Makoto and Nephrite...

    The mistake was in letting people come to her rescue.

    She better put a stop to that right away.

    Fire explodes from Rei's form, surrounding her and filling the hall where she and her evil youma twin are currently struggling. The two fire-types can probably handle it, but there is an infernal wall separating Mars from everyone else.

    Only then does she focus completely on the youma in front of her, placing a palm over the youma's heart, and sending a gout of flame out of her hands.
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 05:26:19 33484
Tadase watches the ongoing fight even as he's smashing and crashing his way through youma before they can interfere with the ranged attacks of his friends. And then he seens Amu - and watches her again for a moment - and then sees his 'dark' fake engaging her?

    Oh hell no.

"You're not even worthy to wear my crown. You're just a pretender!" Tadase shouts, his scepter gleaming with an orange-silver light. He moves across the battlefield, and closes with the clone of himself remarkably quickly, twirling his scepter around in his fingers with a flourish before swinging it - and low, this time, aiming for the back of the ankles of Dark Tadase while he engages Amu, aiming to knock his legs right out from under him so he can finish this clone off.

"A real king wouldn't stoop so low as to serve alongside such a wicked woman."
Amu Hinamori 2016-03-13 05:29:19 33486
Amulet Maihime doesn't even seem to flinch as she faces off against Dark Tadase. The sight of the perversion of her friend only drives her to a greater rage--which in Mahime's case makes the dance all the more beautiful, and all the more deadly.

Maihime dodges aside from one of Dark Tadase's attacks. As Tadase knocks the legs out from beneath his dark clone, Maihime takes the advantage. Her naginata cuts straight into--and through--the youma. Dark Tadase dissolves into dust. Maihime watches on, saying:

Since I have killed you
The very least I can do
Is watch decay's bloom

When the ashes falter, Maihime staggers back a step, clearly exhausted from all the destruction she has caused. "T...Tadase," It's Amu, now, as Temari's egg is ejected by sheer lack of power to go on. She's not going to be okay. She's exhausted, overwhelmed from the energy expended. Darkness closes in on her, and then she passes into unconsciousness.
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 05:33:31 33487
Tadase watches as Amulet Maihime is a beautiful dance step or three ahead of him, finishing off his twisted clone. And then... then she's two, Temari's egg and Amu. Tadase only has so many hands, and... without even thinking, it's Amu he's catching.

His hands are underneath her before she hits the ground, and with one big jump, he's off to the side of the battle, sitting the drifting off Amu away from the battle, and creating a longer-lasting golden ward around her.

As he sits her down, he assures her. "You were wonderful, Amu-chan. A real hero. We'll take it from here." Then he turns to return to the fray.
Ariel Theodore 2016-03-13 05:39:04 33488
    It's chaos and madness. Lucky is darting around as best he can, Ariel keeping hunched low to his back to try and avoid the fighting as best she can. It's not perfect. Little flecks and trails of liquid silver run from joints in her armor. She's throwing up shields when and where she can, but then, topas eyes widen.
    Amulet Maihime collapses. The little unicorn gives her hound a gentle nudge of the knee to usher him in a new direction- towards Amu as she falls. Though Platinum catches her first, the gleaming star-hound still LEAPS.
    It is on pure reflex that Ariel reaches, fingers outspread, before they close around the precious form of the egg that had separated from the girl as a result, before Lucky lands hard on all fours. "-I'll watch her." She says, as Platinum sets Amu down, volunteering to keep Amu safe and leave Tadase free to do something Ariel can't. Fight.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-13 05:56:44 33489
Not quite what Sailor Moon was hoping for, but she'll take it.

She takes a step forward to throw her tiara again. Or to launch herself into the air, tiara in fist, and punch the girl on the throne square across the jaw.

But then she feels the heat on her back and she stops dead in her tracks.

Nononononononono--

It's happening again.

But this time, she has someone concentrating on only her, with no panic at all, who -- a moment ago -- came to the realization that Kunzite went in with, that Venus has known from the outset. The realization that he's been trying to cope with and shoving aside instead.

Everyone in this war is expendable except for Sailor Moon.

Every loss is going to chip away at her even more until she doesn't have anything left to fight with, because her heart is her weapon, and if that heart is broken...

She feels warm hands encircle her waist and firmly turn her around to face Melanite, and breath against her ear as her Prince whispers, "They believe in you. You can make miracles, Usako. Let them help you get to the place where the miracles need to happen. Can't you feel Mako-chan? She's with you now. Can't you feel Rei putting her heart and soul into this to protect you, so that you can set it all right again? She'll be with you, too. We have to keep going. You have to fight."

She feels the power, next: that warm and beautiful gold, the energy of the Earth they're all fighting to save-- that light in the window in the dead of night, that hearth burning in the dead of winter, that safe place to come home to when the fighting's done.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-13 06:05:59 33490
She closes her eyes when he asks if she remembers Makoto. She smells flour. Baking cookies. Flowers. Her lip quivers, but she nods. He's right (of course he's right) and her eyes open as she leans back against him, against his power.

Her tiara is spinning again, but this time its still between her hands, and she's putting what she can into it. It's blindingly bright, chasing away shadows in the most hidden of cracks, silver and gold mingling together.

There's so much she hasn't said to too many people. He's here, and she's got to start somewhere.

"Mamo-chan?" She holds up her hands as she whispers. "I'm so happy I was born to meet you again."

"REI-CHAN TIARA BOMBER!"

Right toward Melanite.
Kyra Nygaard 2016-03-13 06:11:24 33491
Melanite continues to just sit there and stare at the rose clutched in her hands, blood still dripping onto her knee and starting to stream down her leg.

Dark Tadase has no response for Platinum Royale's taunt, as he's too busy dissolving into dust.

Without new direction from Melanite, Dark Kukai is reduced to basic youma tactics - charge straight at his target - Sky Jack. He keeps on coming, hurling a few more burning balls as he does, taking another shot from Jack's soccer balls that burns half an arm off of him. Another shot catches a leg, and he stumbles, rolling to get back to his feet within arm's reach of his counterpart.

With Ariel's shields protecting people, the remaining youma are much less effective, and their efforts are funnelled to people who aren't so well protected. This may be a mistake on their part, because...

Mars and her counterpart, however, have a show of their own. Crimson and black, the flames twine around each other, braiding into an incredibly intense firestorm. Youma getting too near them burst into flame on their own, burning through and out in seconds. Youma-Mars mirrors the real Mars' gesture, lifting her hand to press her palm to Mars' heart, and unleashing her own dark fire even as she starts to dissolve...

And Sailor Moon's tiara whirls through the air, trailing golden flames behind it.

Melanite finally looks up from her contemplation of the rose. "Your Highness," she starts to say, "I would like to - "

The world will never know what she'd like to, because that's when the flaming Tiara Bomber catches her. The explosion is massive, resonating through the room, smashing all of the remaining mook youma into dust.

As for Melanite herself, she emerges from the explosion - apparently - intact, stepping down off the throne to approach Tuxedo Kamen and Sailor Moon. But with every step she takes, more of her dissolves away, golden sparkles floating into the air to fade away into the darkness. The last sight of her is one slender hand clutching the rose - and then both hand and rose disappear with the rest, tiny lights flickering, floating, and fading.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 06:21:20 33492
Sky Jack leans and dodges one burning ball, then leaps over another one. He's too close, though. The third one slams him again, and there's a crack as the fire washes over him. Through sheer force of will Kukai remains standing. In one hand he feels it forming, a long, thick wooden stick, wide and strong.

With one last cry of victory, Kukai infuses the cricket bat with his raging emotions, electricity sparking off of it as he slams it upwards into Dark Kukai's stomach, lifting the youma version of himself off the ground, armor and all, blasting it backwards and into a shimmering, sparking pile of dust.

The tip of the cricket bat slams into the ground, as the other armored youma around him vanish and dust away. He doesn't seem to want to turn back to the others just yet though. "Good... That's good."
Rei Hino 2016-03-13 06:22:21 33493
    There's a burning fire in Mars's chest, but she ignores that for now. Right now, her one single priority is to keep the Princess safe at any cost. Which means that she can't allow herself to be followed, and she can't fail to defeat this monster.

    She watches as her foe dissolves in front of her. She pumps a hand into the air and writes in fire, the words: 'The Real One!' and an arrow pointing to her.

    The fires calms down to a gentle warmth. She smiles as passage is once again safe for her friends. She is, in this moment, completely victorious.

    Her eyes close before she even falls to her knees, and she's dead before she hits the ground. She lays there, sprawled haphazardly, a burnt and dried out corpse where there was once a Sailor Senshi.

    It won't be long before even the fire dies away.
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 06:36:43 33494
Tadase looks around. Amu is... out, but safe. The same can't be said for Sailor Mars. Tadase grits his teeth. He's seen too much death, too many people falling. But perhaps, of all of the people outside of Usagi's circle, he knwos what they're up against the most. After all, Tsukasa told him... in explicit detail... the consequences.

He turns to check on Kukai. Kukai's still standing, and that's good, right? Amu's unconscious but alive, and Kukai's still up too!

Tadase puts a hand on his back. "A cricket bat. That's new." he says, trying to keep the mood as light as he can, given that they are still pushing forward despite heavy losses to fight a sun demon to save the universe from darkness.
Kukai Souma 2016-03-13 06:43:29 33495
It's something special to be able to face the darkness inside yourself and defeat it. It's all anyone could ask for, at almost any cost. Defending your friends, doing what's right, accepting your own darkness but holding it back when it threatens to overwhelm you, it's a good thing. It costs, though.

Jack is leaning on the cricket bat, facing away from the others, both hands around the long hilt. But one touch gives the lie away. Even in drippingly bloody, heart-shattered death, he burnt his power to support his friends and bolster them, to improve their morale, to give them what it takes to go on.

The spell breaks at the touch, though, and Kukai's henshin breaks, changing him back into his school uniform, bloody, scorched, and ragged, as his body collapses once the magic and the bat are gone. It's the equivalent of goodbye, in a way.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-03-13 06:47:47 33497
Somehow, she doesn't scream.

She does, however, manage to struggle free of Mamoru's grasp, falling to the floor as she does, but quickly scampering toward--

She never got to say good bye to Jupiter. She's not going to pass it up this time.

And Mars is still hot and she still burns but Sailor Moon can't even bring herself to care as she holds her friend close.

"Stupid Baka," she sobs. "I'm not a crybaby."
Ariel Theodore 2016-03-13 06:57:32 33499
    "Um..." It's a hesitant and tiny voice, as Lucky pads a bit closer to Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon. "It... Sounded like she had something important to say, just then." The unicorn murmurs. Ariel looks haggard. Her hands are trembling where they hold onto her dog's scruffy fur, while watching Melanite dissolve. The child cringes, and she has every reason to, in a chamber so surrounded by something utterly alien and foreign to her.
    In the dream realm she had spent her days chasing butterflies and schools of colorful fish- in a land peace and eternal happiness, where even the butterflies never faded away.
    Now she's here. In this miserable frigid land of darkness, surrounded by something she had never seen before, never known once for a single day in her life. To Ariel's credit, she falls to simple, tired, silence. Quiet, even as topaz eyes drink in the misery of severed bonds.
    Sailor Mars.
    Sky Jack.
    ... Even Melanite.
    She didn't know any of them- or even any of the numberless others that have fallen already. There's a shuddering breath. Her shoulders tense, silvery armor rattling quietly as she holds onto Lucky's gleaming fur as though her very life depended on it. Before she quietly buries her face in her faithful steed's neck, to hide and muffle a sound not too dissimilar to a silvery bell.
    Before this day, she had never known death.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-03-13 07:04:33 33500
Tuxedo Kamen watches Melanite:

(Mars is dying)

He watches her look at him, address him. Get hit midsentence. Step toward them, begin to dissolve. His hands are still on Moon, though he's straightened up.

She vanishes in a cloud of golden motes, and his rose is the last to go.

There's no satisfaction, but he wasn't looking for it.

He lets Moon go, turning to look himself, and is silent -- and in his silence, he hears another body fall; he closes his eyes.

Opening them again, he turns to see Kukai on the floor, and his hands open and close.

There's no one he can help with this-- he can't offer Usagi any comfort that wouldn't ring hollow, nor can he offer any to Tadase. In a moment or two, maybe, he'll go over there-- he'll at least give him the knowledge that there's understanding, that the grief is shared. And he'll take up the task that Sky Jack carried for Prism Keeper Yellow. In a moment or two.

Right now, there's a ghost and--

The unicorn child who shielded them all and tried to keep them safe. She's coming to him? She's here on her own--

Mamoru takes off his mask and sinks to one knee in front of her and her dog, and he reaches out to hug them both. All he has is a whisper.

"I'm sorry. It'll be worse before it gets better, but it'll get better. I promise."
Tadase Hotori 2016-03-13 07:06:37 33501
Tadase moves before he thinks again, and this is the second of two friends he's had to catch this fight. Only this one is a lot more than unconscious. There's blood, there's burns, there's coldness. "Souma-kun." he says, quietly. There's a moment where there's the start of tears building at the edges of his eyes. "Kukai." he says, and a tear falls out of each one. Only one tear, though.

Tadase looks down at his friend. One of his best friends. His big brother, in a way, after Ikuto stopped being that. Someone he could relate to. He looks down at Kukai in his school uniform. He's not sure what to do or say, for a moment. Then, he shakes his head. He blinks away those tears. He takes a hand and takes Kukai's Guardian's Cape and puts it on over his henshin. He has his own, of course, but underneath his henshin. And he doesn't intend to drop his.

He stands afterwords, walking over to Tuxedo Kamen. He takes Kamen aside, away from Ariel, and points to Kukai. He's not crying, notably. He can't cry. "You were always better at the words and the speeches than I was, Mamoru-kun. I know you'll know what to say to Amu-chan. But she's not safe here. The world isn't safe. The world I swore to protect. The world Kiseki was born to protect. And I'm not going to let this keep happening." he says, his voice not allowing any room for questions.

"You take Sailor Moon, you find the real witch, and you kill her. You make sure we win. I am going to go a different way. I am going to get the attention of every one of her guards, her allies, those girls that laugh in the shadows and cut people down, EVERYONE. I am going to make them all come to me. In doing so, I am going to clear a path. And YOU and our remaining allies are going to kill their master." he says. He doesn't give Mamoru any time to respond, really. He turns on his heel, grips his scepter, and starts down a hallway. "In dire times, a true King must lead the charge. He must fight at the front." And then he goes from walking to running.