Agents of (Homura's) Shield


Madison steals Hana Shiroi's Grief Seed from the world inside Homura's shield, and Homura in turn becomes the master of Time and Space.

Date: 2016-11-13
Pose Count: 51
Homura Akemi 2016-11-13 22:10:25 60424
    It was the strangest thing. Homura never before felt anything like it. Sure, she had stored a lot of things in her shield, but the closest she ever came to storing something organic inside her shield was a few kyubey corpses. (Sometimes when she got really frustrated she wanted to troll him by preventing him from eating them and reclaiming the resources.)

    So when Homura Akemi suddenly... feels that something new had entered her shield; or worse, someone; it actually took her a moment to figure out what exactly was happening. Taking her shield off and looking inside revealed none other than Madison Perry. Homura immediately frowned.

    If Madison was there, then she could only be after one thing: Hana's Grief Seed.

    Not sure how combat would work inside her own shield, and sure that Madison came prepared to fight Homura alone, Homura decided to call some friends together. Trusted friends, friends who likely wouldn't blab too much about what they found inside her shield, on the offchance that they found anything embarrassing. Once everyone was gathered together, Homura dropped the shield on the ground and stepped inside.

    Stepping inside the shield seemed like an impossible thing. The shield is literally smaller than Nagisa Momoe is wide, let alone a teenager or older. Yet, somehow, despite it not making any sense, stepping into the shield is easy for the same reason that pulling a mortar out of it is easy. It's magic. It just works.

    Once inside, Homura and the others find themselves standing on a vast ocean of guns and ammo boxes. Yes, there are other things here: the occasional spare change of clothes, some towels, other 'emergency' hygiene things, various pieces of silverware and china, a bunch of random things, that plushie dinosaur that Homura bought a really long time ago and then completely forgot about...

    Wait, what?
Madison Perry 2016-11-13 22:20:36 60425
    It really hadn't been that hard for Madison. Oh sure- opening dimensional portals is a tricky thing. But she was motivated, and when you're motivated, making difficult things happen becomes a lot easier.

    Blue Lotus had had the Compendium of Infinite Worlds for months and hadn't been able to make it do what she wanted- but she had been flailing in the dark. The exact location she wanted to access was unknown to her. This is not the case for Madison- not only did she know where she wanted to go, she had a beacon.

    It was relatively simple for Heartrazor to calculate the dimensional coordinates, and then use the power of the book to tear open a rift leading into the pocket-dimension inside Homura's shield. And when she was ready, Madison, in her henshin, had simply stepped through.

    She was pretty sure Homura would be able to sense her intrusion- she knew she'd have limited time. She didn't expect it to be such a mess in here.

    Luckily that same mess means it'll be slightly harder for the arriving security force to find her. When they step in, she's nowhere to be seen. But it also doesn't make her task any easier. At the moment, the blonde woman is some distance away, obscured by piles of guns, poking at one of them with the Compendium held under one arm. "C'mon, Hana, gimme a sign or somethin'.."
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-13 22:35:01 60426
    Madoka had always wondered what the inside of Homura's shield was like. She always had so much stuff in there, oftentimes things she seemed to have forgotten even exist. Perhaps the biggest surprise when she actually steps in is how messy everything is. Her pink eyes blink and widen as she looks over the piles of guns, ammo, clothes, and multitude of random everyday items. "It's amazing to think you can pull out whatever you need every time," she comments to her girlfriend, "I wonder how?" Of course she realizes the answer is probably 'magic, obviously', but these huge piles of stuff can't help but spur her imagination into thinking of a giant automated factory springing into existence, carefully snatching up exactly the correct thing and sending it up to a giant Homura hand in the sky.

    Once the initial surprise is over, however, she immediately sets about picking things up. Pistols, rifles, then grenades and RPGs, snagging a towel from the ground to use as a makeshift pack. "I think I remember this from when we went swimming..!" What exactly is she doing? Well, it's simple. Homura usually keeps all her weapons in her shield, and now that she's in her shield she's suddenly lacking the ability to pull one out whenever she needs, and time stopping anything will probably timestop them all, right? So she'll be Homura's mobile armory instead! True, she might technically be able to rely on picking what she needs right up off the ground, but Madoka is determined to be helpful! It just so happens that the end result is an otherwise cute pink and white magical girl that now looks like a walking NRA advertisement.

    Save, perhaps, for the plushie dinosaur conveniently held in place beneath the strap of a shotgun slung over her back.
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-13 22:38:22 60427
Rune was quick to accept the request, meeting where Homura asked... and transforming as soon as she noticed Homura had already done so. "So she's here?" This prospect briefly relieves Rune, it means the princess definitely didn't kill someone in that battle several months ago. Then it turns to fear, as this means Madison Perry might be out to kill her instead... and has come close to doing it before. The tension is plain to see on Rune's face.

Nonetheless, she nods to those gathered and steps up to the shield. "I have no idea how this is even going to work, but..."

Once inside this strange world, Runealy is cautious. Moving on boxes and guns is /odd/, and she occasionally has to 'pulse' her boot-wings with bits of energy to right herself or avoid putting too much weight on something. "Something tells me we were never supposed to be in here." Then she raises an eye at what Madoka is doing, intrigued. "Should I be bringing a few of Homura's weapons along too?" She asks, rather than just outright doing it.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-13 22:44:08 60428
"You know-- I kind of really don't want to know what happens if I take my hat out in here, would it be like dividing by zero...?" muses Tuxedo Kamen on looking around, first, when he steps through. And then he just kind of stops short and stares. "Why did I think you had shelves or something?" he asks in hopeless wonderment.

But Madoka's already piling up guns and ammunition and starting to look like an especially pink and fluffy early 90s comic book character, and Mamoru kind of grimaces a little, not touching anything because he's honestly not familiar enough with guns to know what not to touch, and he knows everything in here is already loaded. So instead of helping with that, he picks his way along extremely carefully. "This would be a great time to learn how to fly," he mutters, then glances sidelong at Kunzite. He doesn't say a word. He doesn't have to.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-13 23:03:38 60429
Tuxedo Kamen didn't arrive alone, either. Because some calls you answer, no matter what. Emergencies. Family. Debts you owe. Sometimes, all three.

"Because you would have had shelves. With labels. By alphabetical order within subcategory." Emergencies and family do not, by any means, outlaw bringing snark along with the capes. Particularly when, while Kunzite is familiar enough with guns to know what not to touch, the Kazuo part of his mind is familiar enough to know that that answer is 'all of it, if you haven't had instructions.' Which means that there's not much practical he can do --

-- till Tuxedo Kamen glances sidelong at him, and the silence with that glance prompts Kunzite to glance sidelong back. Then to manifest a globe of darkness around the pair of them that drifts slowly upward.

Practical things that the two of them can do right now: (1) Try to scout from above to locate signs of intrusion. (2) Draw fire.

Good thing that Kunzite's method of flying, while slow and not terribly maneuverable, comes with a built-in shield.
Homura Akemi 2016-11-13 23:05:42 60430
    Homura notices what Madoka is doing, picking up guns and carrying them around. When she sees her carrying the plushie dinosaur, Homura blushes. No, Homura, now is not the time to think about how cute your girlfriend is!

    To Runealy, Homura shakes her head, and takes a shotgun from the pile that Madoka is providing. "You shouldn't. Not all of these guns are loaded, but enough of them are to be dangerous, and I've taught Madoka enough about gun safety to be confident that she won't hurt herself. These aren't like cell phones. If you don't know what you're doing you could cause a misfire, and in a place like this that's a problem that can quickly get out of hand. Whatever you do, step lightly, and don't shoot at the ground."

    At the mention of shelves, Homura snerks, and looks back at Mamoru. "Really? No. Rune's right. None of us were ever supposed to be in here, not even me. Probably the only reason this place even has air is because some seeps in whenever I open my shield."

    Homura still, somehow... senses where Madison is, and senses that she's further ahead. She walks forward, being careful where to step, and as she walks she starts to point out different potentially dangerous things. "Those will explode if you shoot them. These things won't explode when shot but if you step on the detonator you're gonna have a bad time. Just stay away from that crate over there. It's full of landmines."

    "Oh..." Homura tilts her head and looks back over her shoulder at the rest of the party. "One more warning. My shield is what performs my time stop magic. I might be able to still use it, and I might have to if someone shoots an ammo box, but I have no idea what will happen if I do. Be careful."

    Homura raises an eyebrow at Kunzite as both he and his prince float away, and then turns around. "Good idea. If need be I can fly Rune and Madoka away, but I won't be able to fight like that."
Madison Perry 2016-11-13 23:12:57 60431
    The voices of the group who have arrived in the pocket-dimension to put a stop to her larceny drift across the open expanse. Madison, who is being relatively quiet in her rather aimless poking through piles of crap, picks them up- too far to hear what is being said, but she definitely hears voices.

    She scowls. She's confident of her abilities in a fight, maybe even against two at once, but it sounds like more than two. Plus she's here for a reason, and testing how many opponents she can beat at once is not that reason. Not tonight.

    "Come on, Flower. Gimme a sign. You're the one who told me to get in here in the first place.." She mutters to herself, a petulant scowl forming on her too-pretty features.

    Whether in response to Madison's pleading, or on some other instigation, at around this time, something does happen. There's a .. 'ping.' A flash of white light, and a sense of magical power, from a mound of random weaponry a ways off to one side. Madison sees it clearly. So, potentially, does everyone else.

    But that's not all that happens, either- after that flare of power, a soft, disembodied voice whispers through the air. Quiet, calm, almost contemplative- it's a voice that Homura at least has grown to know well over the past year.

    "It's so.. exciting to have guests after so long alone. Homura so rarely deigns to answer when I speak to her.."
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-13 23:29:58 60432
    They aren't all loaded? Madoka hums a little while handing over a shotgun to Homura, "We should probably fix that soon. You... have plenty of guns," her eyes sweep the area and she looks embarrassed, "but we shouldn't ever run the risk of not having a loaded one when you need it." Besides, reloading guns is something they can do together, and anything they do together can be fun.

    The conversation is very much on staying safe in this weaponized environment, and the consensus quickly seems to form that flying is the best way of avoiding accidental gunfire and explosions. Madoka makes a soft sigh, because as Homura says she can't fight while carrying her very effectively, and Madoka can't fly herself.

    Wait a second. Yes she can! Not like she is now, but she's tapped into that power of hers for sillier reasons than safety! She bends down and jumps ten feet into the air, a flash of magic surrounding her, her changing into a long flowing white one, her hair lengthening out to ridiculous proportions, and a pair of transparent magical wings sprouting out behind her. And, of course, a sudden wave of hopefulness that seems to permeate the entire area around her.

    Madokami is, of course, still completely covered in guns. She's a very heavily armed little angel! She flies just high enough to keep her dress from dragging along the ground, keeping close to Homura because that was the entire point of picking up so many guns.

    The ping of light and disembodied voice grabs her attention, and she looks to Homura and then over in the direction of where the light came from. A thoughtful look crosses her face, along with a tiny frown, though she doesn't say anything just yet.
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-13 23:33:50 60433
"What's 'dividing by zero'?" Rune looks puzzled by the implication, perhaps unaware of higher math. " I know you can divide by other numbers, but zero?" Huh..." She ponders it for a moment, then shakes her head. "Got bigger things to worry about." Especially when Homura explains a lack of certain critical education. "...Oh. ...I didn't realize." Rune lowers her head, embarrassed but complying; no dividing by zero, no firearms. "Don't shoot at the ground, though? Why not? I'll do as you say, but I'd like the reason for it too."

And she /gets/ the reason. A very good one. "Explosions? In that case..." The princess ponders this and realizes aloud: "I'll have to fight way differently than I usually do. Don't worry, I've got it figured out." A gaze up to Kunzite gives her food for thought, then she comments to Tuxedo Kamen: "Wish I could fly like that. For now though, I think we'll be okay."

Then her eyes begin sweeping through this vastness, taking in the sights and watching for Madison. She ends up getting a very different sight, watching Madoka ascend (in more than one way). "Ohh...." A wondrous noise as Rune watches, her mood split by this. On one hand, it is indeed wonderful and inspiring; that much is definitely reassuring. Seeing someone so 'above' herself though pangs at the princess' own insecurities, thoughts swirling through her head on how she would ever be able to match up to that.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-14 00:05:22 60434
"Look just because I like knowing where everything is doesn't mean I always use alpha order," Tuxedo Kamen grumbles at Kunzite, then flips his cape as punctuation. Granted, depending on how dark the shadow ball is, Kunzite might be the only member of his cape-flipping audience.

He calls down to Homura, "Contingencies, shove me and whoever outs--" but stops midword.

Flashes of light and pings in a disorganized and mostly loaded armory are nervous-making, but that voice is even worse. Mamoru shuts up, and then he glances down at Rune and stage-whispers, "The ground is full of explosives probably." His arms cross and he edges slightly closer to Kunzite in the bubble. No words regarding the voice.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-14 00:06:40 60435
(Kunzite is not the only member. It's made of shadow, but it's not actually completely opaque.)

Madoka has wings. Fortunately, Kunzite's been near Madoka having wings before. That means that he does not allow the wave of hope to skew his reaction to that flash of white light to the side; he does not overestimate his potential speed in the air and try to sprint to it directly (to the extent that someone can sprint when they're not, really, taking steps).

What he does is lift both hands, generating a second shield -- a partial sphere, this time, a dome that covers the part of the mound that the flare appeared from. One that is not large enough to accommodate even a single human body.

If Madison Perry saw where the flash came from, she's welcome to try teleporting into that.
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 00:11:49 60436
    "Yes. Because the ammo in the ground can explode," says Homura, bluntly and simply. "Once one thing explodes, it will set off another explosion, and then another, and continue a chain reaction that will lead to this entire place being a sea of flames. If that happens, we better fly very high up very quickly. With this many loaded guns, there will also be bullets flying everywhere, and there will be no telling what direction they're coming from."

    "If that happens, please prioritize your own safety. Guns can be replaced. Lives cannot."

    Homura sees that ping, and then hears that voice, and she sticks out her tongue before shouting. "That's because we aren't on speaking terms, Monster!"

    Now that Hana's location is known, Homura has no time to waste, jumping across the landscape and keeping safe less through actual caution and more through quick decision making. After a few jumps, she decides that the safety of flight is worth the cost in magic, and so she hops into the air and simply... doesn't come back down, flying straight ahead.

    She misses seeing the cape flip by virtue of running ahead towards the objective, but she's quietly grateful for the dark bubble that Kunzite provides. Maybe Kunzite will be useful if things get out of hand, too.

    "That's far enough, Madison Perry! I never did thank you for what you did to my house!"
Madison Perry 2016-11-14 00:24:14 60437
    At that ping of light, and the presence it evokes, Madison's head snaps around and her eyes widen slightly.. then narrow, a slight smile touching her lips. "Ah, Flower.. y'always were a showboat. Sure hope it doesn't get me killed this time.." She mutters, as she leaps into the air and shoots off like an arrow towards that signal.

    Luckily, Madison never has been much of a teleporter- it's likely within her ability to some degree, but either she's not good at it or she just prefers to fly. On the other hand, this means she's good at flying, and she's quick, a streak of dark-red light zooming across the desolate landscape.

    She was closer than Homura to begin with, so even as the owner of this particular world takes off towards the location of that flash of light, Madison has a slight head-start on her- she's able to look over her shoulder at the Puella's call, sneering slightly. "Don't worry, I don't charge for my redecoration services!" She has the Book still tucked under one arm. In the other hand, she's holding one of the long, curved knives which are her Device, the other tucked into her belt at her waist.

    Even as this is occuring the disembodied voice responds to Homura's retort- the tone still even, not quite emotionless but... unconcerned. Serene.

    "Monster? Let's not stray into the realms of hypocrisy, Homura Akemi."
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 00:35:32 60438
Ohmygod I'm so late Homura-chan's gonna be so mad I didn't mean to oversleep honest!

Not that she'd intended to fall asleep, of course. Maybe she's coming down with something. Could one's immune system be compromised by a sudden decline in boyfriend cuddles?

She coughs a bit when she comes to the meeting place, but she suspects it's more due to having running really really fast even as Sailor Moon and maybe even a touch of that psycho automatic thing. (She means psychosomatic, of course.)

Okay, now she's here. What to do. No one else was around, so she's pretty sure that meant they're all inside.

She picks up a pebble and plops it on the shield. It falls through! But would something living?

Without thinking, she pulls a velcro Luna from her shoulders, who had clung tight because holyshitfast, and she holds the cat over the shield...

But if it doesn't work, that would just be mean and not to mention awkward.

Plus, the now shrieking cat is now clinging to her arm. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

...okay, not testing with Luna.

She taps her chin in thought after setting Luna back on her shoulder.

Her shadow is cast by the full moon...

And suddenly she's giddy, hopping from foot to foot and clapping in excitement!

Before she can think about the implications, she pulls off her tiara and holds it high into to air.

"MOON TWILIGHT FLASH!"

The rays of the full moon reflect on the tiny gem nestled in the center of her tiara and bounces, magnified, into the shield. It passes through!

And she's pretty much made of her own energy!

A bunny going through the rabbit hole.

Literary reference! Mamoru would be so proud!

She hops through, Luna screaming in her ear.

"Are you crazy?! If that hadn't of worked, you coulda blown up the shield! What would you have done then!"

"Hush, Luna, it wouldn't have worked like that! Sheesh!"

The cat isn't listening. Nose in the air, she dashes for safety from this crazy girl.

Tuxedo Kamen's shoulder is safe. She hisses in his ear. "Your girlfriend is insane!"

And then, because she's a cat and there's safety in height, she's jumping and velcros onto Kunzite's shoulder instead.

Sailor Moon follows her cat, still slightly out of breath. "Hi, guys! Sorry I'm late! I--wow, lots of guns..."
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-14 00:41:48 60439
    Madoka does her best to keep up with Homura, but the downside of flying is that she's actually... a bit less mobile than she otherwise would be. True, it's a superior form of mobility, but she can't muster the speed Homura can in flight, let alone a proven aerial combatant like Madison.

    Right now her objective is to catch up to Homura and give her whatever weapons she decides she needs if it comes to a fight, but while she hurries along at a moderate clip it doesn't leave her with much else to do other than listen to what people are saying. The upside of Madokami's mode of flight is that comes naturally natural and without strain or effort. Her frown deepens for a moment as the White Flower and Homura trade barbs, and then again at the reminder of Madison invading Homura's house.

    But those things are all inconsequential to what's on her mind. Quick as Homura is to decry the White Flower as a monster, Madoka has second thoughts. "White Flower... Hana Shiori. What are you?" Her voice is clear and questioning, more thoughtful than merely curious. "You exist now as a Grief Seed, one that was even able to purify a Soul Gem, but are you really a Witch?" Madokami shakes her head, "If you are, even a little bit... maybe I can help, if you want it."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-14 00:46:18 60441
Fortunately, the flash also means that Kunzite glances toward that light. Which means that he sees the cat coming, and can adjust the shield to let her through, and if necessary her mistress after.

(Honestly, between the Runealy-Homura-Madoka group below, and the Kunzite-Tux group in the air ... the latter one is the one with active defenses. It has its good points, from the point of view of a somewhat fragile mooncat.)

He doesn't have the option of attacking while he's holding two shields, and keeping one of them in flight. But keeping a roadblock in Perry's way is worth it, and hell if he's going to drop the height advantage when Perry's moving that fast. He keeps the bubble's direction and speed steady for long enough to give Tuxedo Kamen his choice of what to do about the situation, whether it's Leap From A High Place or Tuxedo la Sniper Bomber or just watch and wait and keep his power in reserve in case of highly explosive emergencies. Then he says, "Course change to meet the others," quietly to his passengers, and shifts in that direction. Moving toward what everyone's target is. Aloud: "Moon -- the dark-red magic is Madison Perry. The knives are her Device, the book she stole from Virtue. Keep your distance, don't get close."
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-14 00:46:24 60442
Runealy finally notices that distinct voice - She recalls it only briefly from the White Flower incident - flashing through her consciousness, and jolts tense once more. "Guests? You make it sound like you're the host." Rune is confused by that implication. Homura's insights on what can happen in this bizarre battleground slice through this thought, that's something more concrete that the princess can figure out and work with. Then she /sees/ Madison, flying through the air. The blades are noticed for only a split-second at this distance, but the princess chills upon remembering them striking her, pinning her to the convenience store's outer wall...

Sailor Moon jars her from that line of thought. "Don't touch them. Homura said as much," Rune offers some perhaps unnecessary advice as Moon notices her surroundings. Then her boot wings light up, pulses of silvery energy hurling the alien princess through the air in leap after leap to pursue Madison and the others! Occasionally these leaps are a bit precarious and ungainly, as Rune has to be careful to not crash into anything /too/ loose; this sometimes calls for jumps that force her to land at an odd angle, wincing as this beats up her ankles somewhat...
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 00:58:15 60444
    "When I became a Witch, I most certainly did not put my life before the lives of others. So no, I don't consider myself a hypocrite at all." Homura shoots back without even a thought.

    Then Sailor Moon is here, and Homura spares a glance backwards, eyes widening slightly at that Twilight Flash entering her shield... but the angle of the portal makes it relatively safe. "Be careful, Moon-chan! Don't shoot at the ground!" She decides not to repeat the same explanation that she already gave.

    Then Madoka speaks, and Homura blinks at her. She hadn't even considered it, or rather, she was worried about what would happen if she awoke Hana Shiroi and Hana said 'no' to Madokami. Still, it's an option.

    "You can take her offer if you want, Hana Shiroi, but Madison Perry still isn't leaving this place unless it's in custody."

    She chases after Madison, having no illusions that she might reach the Grief Seed before her, but still wanting to be close enough to interfere. She holds her shotgun with one hand on the grip and the other supporting the barrel, aiming it forward at Madison.

    She... actually doesn't fire. Not just yet. She's asking herself a very important question.

    Did she load this with a solid slug, or with buckshot?
Madison Perry 2016-11-14 01:10:54 60447
    "No.. you only do that the rest of the time." Comes the calm response to Homura's defense. "Not that I blame you. Self-preservation is the first rule of all life. It is your unwillingness to accept this that drives you to label me as 'monster' and yourself as 'hero'. Such labels are meaningless."

    The voice addresses Madoka next- there's no change in tone or direction, but the context makes that clear. "You too, seek to claim I am somehow unfit to exist? That is what the Incubator calls me, you know- an anomaly. A mistake to be corrected. This assumption that I need 'help', that I am somehow aberrant- are you sure it is not merely a justification for your actions?"

    Meanwhile, Madison is still zooming closer to the location of the Light, but as she reaches it, she draws up short, realizing that Kunzite has dropped a shadow-shield over it. She can see the Seed underneath, faintly glimmering through the dome- it's different from normal Grief Seeds, more ornate, and with a pure white gem seated at its center. Almost like some kind of bizarre hybrid of Grief Seed and Soul Gem.

    "Dammit! Heartrazor, can you get through that shield?"

    <<I will try, Mistress.>> Comes the steady male baritone of the Device. Madison flips the dagger she holds into the air, and it spins, then settles hovering above the dome. The red gem in its hilt begins to pulse, and Kunzite can feel something scanning the magic of his dome, probing it.

    Meanwhile, Madison draws the second dagger from her belt, spinning in the air to face Homura. "I was really hopin' it wasn't gonna come to this," She mutters, as she spins it around to hold sideways, curling her lip. "But I didn't come this far to be stopped now. Heartrazor- Bloodpiercer!" A dark red magic circle appears in the air beneath her, spinning rapidly, and then several beams of red light shoot from the dagger she holds before her, fracturing at angles before altering path to home in on Homura- mostly focused on her, though if any of the others are near enough they may find themselves a target as well.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-14 01:25:02 60449
"Ow," Mamoru says without much in the way of inflection when Luna first sinks claws into his shoulder, then again "Ow" when she launches off him for Kunzite's. Then, "Noted."

Then a quick, crooked little smile for Usagi, and he reaches with a gloved hand to briefly cup the side of her face and run his thumb across her cheek. The words don't match, but they don't have to. "Floor's explosive in some places, and some of the crates are full of landmines, and a lot of the weaponry's loaded, and all the ammo is live, so be really really careful where you land."

Then he reaches for Kunzite, too, and this time it's to basically top off his energy tank -- and briefly squeeze his shoulder (not the Luna shoulder) -- before letting go. "Drop us off so you can strengthen that shield, Kunzite. Actually drop me first real quick--"

The tall boy's masked gaze has fallen on the ground, making quick calculations as he hears Madison basically telegraphing her attack. The second Kunzite's shield lets him out, he drops to exactly the spot on the floor where he won't explode anything, then bounces off it at an angle like he's in a high speed platformer. Another leap and he ricochets off something else he figures won't explode, then as Madison's taking aim, he slingshots off an ICBM and rockets toward Homura; grab dance is go.

A split second later they're in the air at speed, aimed for the final probably-safe spot.
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-14 01:30:50 60450
    Madoka shakes her head, "No, that isn't what I'm trying to say. I'm asking who you are and what you are, and I want to know if there's a way I can help you. I didn't get the chance to meet you before, but from what little I know you attacked with your allies because you wanted to.... 'hunt the hunters'?" She sounds unsure, not wanting to put words into Hana's mouth and further upset her. "I'm not demanding you allow me to do what I want, I'm asking if you think I can."

    For now she seems to mostly leave the matter of Madison to Homura, though sticking so close to her partner does put her in harms way. Dodging like she is now is... technically possible, but not the best option. Instead she stops and hovers in place, bringing her wings around in front of herself. Being made of magical energy themselves they act as decent barriers to the magical attack, especially when it wasn't focused on her in the first place. It gets a wince out of her, but at least for now she's not that much worse off for the wear. After that? She starts flying over to where Mamoru dragged Homura, because Mobile Armory Angel needs to do her job.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 01:35:44 60452
Luna hunkers down against Kunzite's shoulder, tail wrapped lightly around his neck, strategically balanced in such a way that she won't easily fall off while also minimizing her distraction levels.

Minimizing, but not diminishing, because sorry, Kunzite, that vibrating rumble you feel is for herself.

"Explosives...don't touch...got it." Slightly overwhelmed, Usagi wonders what the heck she stumbled in on.

Mamoru's hand in on her cheek and she gives a soft sigh. It's probably the psycosomatic thing, or just happy he's here, or both, but she feels better.

Wait. "Explosive? Landmines? What?!"

And then the shield is gone beneath her and she falls, far less gracefully than her boyfriend, but manages to only fall to her knees and not her rump. "Ow ow ow..."

Her own fault. She'd been too busy screaming at the thought of landing on an explosive.

She's standing, and he's bouncing off, and her tiara is in her hand. "MOON TIARA MAGIC!"

It's flung toward Madison, because even if she hadn't been aiming at him, now Mamoru's in her field of fire which is a no-no in Moon's book, and Homura's her friend, dammit, and she still needs to apologize for oversleeping.

"It's a good thing you were born with white hair, Kunzite-sama." He's Safety, he gets a respectful honorific from the Mooncat for the moment. "Otherwise those two may see just how fast they could turn it white."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-14 01:53:08 60455
All life? Kunzite does not accept the Flower's bait, strewn so widely as it is; his mouth curves at the corner, that's all. (His cape is no longer part of him, as it was in the Dark Kingdom, and therefore cannot make itself a more comfortable and secure spot for Luna to hang on to. That's all right. It helps keep him from being pierced by claws, that's good enough.)

Instead, he holds his concentration. Drops Tuxedo Kamen and Moon, as requested, following the faint tells around Kamen's eyes visible through his mask -- not as good as direct contact, but good enough, especially with the surge of golden energy he's just consumed --

Which is enough to clarify his thinking. His first impulse was to absorb Heartrazor's probes, consume the magic it's using to investigate his magic. But that can only stand for instants before the Device is likely to find a way to take advantage of it. He shifts to reflecting the energies instead, fast, varying the patterns and deflecting them in different directions in an attempt to delay the Device's analysis. As a delaying tactic, it won't last. But it's better than nothing, particularly as he's contracting the shield around himself and Luna, diverting power into the partial dome around the Grief Seed. And preparing to expand it in a split second, to counter any attempts to dig into the mound around its edges.

Exploding the mound is another matter entirely; he's not sure whether the Grief Seed would survive that, though, and he's taking the gamble that Madison Perry isn't, either.

His tone as he answers Luna is blandly resigned. "I assure you," he says to the mooncat, "it started out as black as you are."
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-14 01:55:32 60456
Rune's boot-wings flash again as she's forced to juke aside from one of Madison's beams, evading by mere inches. "Ch! 'Don't get close', you said," she's invoking Homura's advice, "but I don't see how else we make this work." She's mindful that Madison's attacks may be able to detonate the terrain too, and this thought urges Runealy on.

She isn't /eager/ to get into close range with Madison, but she sees no choice; if long range attacks will risk explosions, then the only real option Rune sees is to go in. Her wand emits a thin sparkling red ray a few feet long from its tip, acting almost like a projected 'blade'... but not quite as powerful as that visual might imply. Nonetheless, with this attack method readied the princess continues her series of leaps, trying to use her friends' attacks as some sort of screen to help her close in on Madison. This is done with wide-eyed worry; she knows she's at a disadvantage in such fights to begin with, and remembers exactly what Madison's blades did to her one time. A tiny part of her wants to ask Kunzite what he's up to, but she fears any elaboration as to his plans might give away too much to their foe, and so such questions remain unspoken.
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 01:57:31 60457
    "You don't know anything about me," says Homura, bluntly, to the still talking Grief Seed. Then she hears what Hana says to Madoka and frowns. "So... you're happy being what you are? Good to know. Now I can fight you without pity."

    Madison starts to fire something, and Homura grits her teeth while hesitating on the trigger of her shotgun. In the end she decides not to risk it, and in the space of deciding that she's about to get---

    ---rescued by Tuxedo Kamen apparently. As they set down on a pile of uzis (9mm), Homura looks back with smile and says, "Thanks, bro."

    It's a bit too early for her to lower her guard though, because while Heartrazor's attack might not have hit the Puella, and while Kunzite is absorbing a lot of it, one beam does hit the ground behind where Homura once stood, sinking into a gap between guns, and... seeming to do nothing?

    The orange glow rising between the various gun barrels and ammo boxes indicates that no, 'nothing' is not what just happened. Homura notices, and her very loud expletive, "SHIT!" can be heard a half-instant before the explosion.

    Homura holds her hand to the sky. Giant clockwork gears appear in the sky, infinitely far away and, presumably since they are actually visible from such a distance, infinitely huge. The 'click click click' of clockwork resounds through the whole subspace, and just as the rage of heat and fire rises from between the guns, that wave of fire slows down to a crawl.

    She blinks, and looks around. No one seems to be frozen at all, which makes sense, anyone 'inside' the shield is within the range of timestop immunity, but this apparently only applies to living things? Or maybe it's magical beings? Either way, the non-magical explosion happening now happens to have come to a stop.

    Homura, ever the opportunist, is quick to realize what exact this means. She's very desperate to keep that Grief Seed away from Madison, and she doesn't care how many guns she has to sacrifice in order to get it. She hands off the shotgun to Madokami, quickly steals an SMG (and a kiss), and leaps into the air, firing directly at the ground beneath Madison, right at a hidden cache of grenades.

    "Not actually as dangerous as I thought, but stay away from those explosions!" she shouts for the benefits of others. "I can contain them like this, but if you get too close they won't be time frozen anymore!"
Madison Perry 2016-11-14 02:18:02 60458
    "You are not asking to help me. You are asking to impose your definition of 'rightness' upon me." The voice responds to Madoka, tone as level and reasonable as it has been this entire time. "Your questions assumes that I wish to be what you would have me be, that I am somehow 'wrong' as I am. I dispute this. The only help I require is help escaping this prison."

    "You are incorrect, Homura Akemi. I have been with you for a full year now- did you forget? Perhaps I do not know all your secrets, but to say I know nothing about you is a gross understatement. I know enough. We are more alike than you would care to admit- as is Madoka Kaname. Unintended consequences of a vast and complex system- the Incubators never intended for creatures such as us to arise. They call us anomalies."

    "And that is what we are. But there is another name for a complex system giving rise to unintended, unimagined, superior forms. Evolution. The only question is- which is the future, and which a mere... dead end?"

    All this monologuing while lasers and tiaras and knives and lightsabers are flying around in a world made of guns. Apparently, being a Grief Seed makes you rather blase about things like apocalyptic explosions.

    Madison, for her part, is not quite so zen when it comes to people shooting at her and trying to stab her. She grunts as Moon's Tiara nearly takes her head off, forcing her to dodge to one side- whereupon she has to raise her dagger to fend off Runealy, meeting her glowing wand-beam with a flash of red energy from her dagger that drives the two apart, but trying to keep herself between the attackers and Heartrazor while the Device tries to crack Kunzite's ever-changing magical shield.

    Of course, then that giant explosion starts.. and Homura stops time. To her credit, Madison thinks quickly on her feet- she knows what Homura's power is, and even if she hadn't anticipated this, she's at least able to figure out the gist of what's going on. Even as Homura is shooting right under her feet.

    Her eyes widen slightly as she realizes the logical reason for Homura to be doing that. "Screw it!" She snaps, "Heartrazor! Use the book!"

    And she tosses the Compendium of Infinite Worlds up into the air. <<As you command, Mistress.>> comes the stalwart reply, and the pressure on Kunzite's shield suddenly stops. Instead, the dagger whirls in the air, and the flying book starts to glow..

    And just before that crate of grenades under her feet blows, a hole in the air rips open underneath Madison, and she falls through it- only to re-appear from a similar hole on the other side of the dome-shield, away from the explosion that rips up through the guns where she just was.

    Madison suddenly seems to have an epiphany. "Heartrazor! Open a portal under the Seed!"

    And suddenly, the Seed is falling through a tiny hole which opened right underneath it, beneath Kunzite's dome shield. And then it falls out of another hole which opens right above Madison's hand. She catches it, looking triumphant.

    The Compendium of Infinte Worlds, however, is still hanging in the air, glowing faintly, where she left it near her original position.
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-14 02:40:34 60465
    Madoka gets over to Homura just in time to take the shotgun from her while handing over the SMG, giggling a little while returning the kiss. Sections of ground exploding prompts her to fly up afterwards, hovering above the fray, ready to toss Homura weapons if she needs them, and considering tossing some grenades herself; that should be easier for her than actually trying to hit something with a gun. As for her bow... well, as she is now that would probably just result in the entire place exploding, which is just a little counterproductive.

    In fact the explosions happening already put a sad look on her face, because while weapons and ammunition are just weapons and ammunition, the rest of the stuff in this shield are the things Homura has brought with her through twelve years of struggling and fighting. The thought that chunks of her girlfriend's life might literally get blown to pieces is somewhat upsetting to Madoka, through for now there are more important things to worry about.

    Things such as Hana Shiori talking to her and making very little sense while doing it. "Now you're doing exactly what you accuse us of, of trying to paint us as you want us, rather than dealing with us as we are. I think you may need help because I thought you might feel threatened and hunted, not because of who you are." Madoka sighs a little and shakes her head with closed eyes. "I know what Witches are, and I can't say I hate them or blame them," not the ones born of fallen Puella Magi anyway. "I've seen inside the mind of Witches, I've felt the pain and suffering and pure despair that they feel. If you have any of that in you then I want to help, because nobody deserves to suffer like that, no matter who or what they are."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-14 02:49:30 60468
"--shit," breathes Tuxedo Kamen in unison with Homura; that red glow is blossoming too fast for him to--

--and everything but the people in here is stopped, and the sky looks like clockwork, and Mamoru is really uncertain as to whether he's actually been this freaked out with this brand of freakout in his life. But. It's. Uhh-- something that won't freak him out if he doesn't think about it! So he spins on his heel as Homura's jumping up to fire, taking stock of where everyone is and what's close by them, and he gets the hell out of the way of the in-progress explosion next to him just in case, and then he watches Madison get the grief seed and sees the book stopped in midair--

--and he knows a lot of his friends having the same thought, get the book, take away Madison's ticket out. But Rune's been focused on Madison, and Usagi looks like she's trying to make sense of the situation, so the prince addresses the princesses. "Rune: seed! Moon: flash, feet!" His hands flare up bright, held in front of him and swinging up in Madison's direction while she's looking triumphant and the seed is talking, and then there's a white-gold flash of brilliance and he fires, the volume of the words building to become audible-- very loudly audible-- at the last of them.

"...tuxedo la Smoking BOMBER!"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 03:00:04 60474
Luna wails quietly and drags a paw down her face. "I'm gonna be whiter than Artemis by the end of the year. Poor Rei-chan will probably be more grey than her grampa come spring. The other girls will probably follow soon after. I wonder how Nephrite would look with white hair?" She's rambling, yes, but normally she'd be calming down her charge. She doesn't have this distraction, and in all truth, she's not much older than Usagi herself. Technically younger, when the ages of both lives were combined.

Sailor Moon, herself, lets out a tiny shriek as she holds up her arms to cover her face. She's surrounded by ordinance.

After a moment, she blinks, peeks out from under her arms, very much confused. Did she just--?

Homura's voice calls out and she sags with relief. Oh thank goodness. She couldn't handle another weird powerset.

The tiara slaps lightly into her hand and she growls at the disembodied voice. Homura-chan is Homura-chan. Madoka-chan is Madoka-chan. Who cares which is the future and which is a dead end. Who cares what people were, when they're who they are now.

Hmph. This is making her grumpy.

And then she's leaping away from explosions, because chain reactions can be a buttmunch.

She lands and is very much trying to make sense of things.

And then, as he always seems to do in these situations, Mamoru calls out a plan of attack.

But...that only works...

Even as she's thinking it, she holds up her tiara.

After all, isn't moonlight just the sun's hug? And Mamoru's Smoking Bomber is a nice, big, cuddly, deadly hug of sunlight.

"MOON TIARA SOLAR FLASH!"

Annnd it's aimed at Madison's feet.

Man, and the full moon is just outside.

Though to be fair, the moon's rays had bounced from her tiara not that long ago.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-14 03:00:53 60476
The book.

The grief seed is one thing. One entity, already once defeated. Perry's regaining it is dangerous, but there is a limit to that danger.

The book multiplies her options exponentially.

"Stunning," Kunzite answers Luna. "Hold on tight." And he gathers himself and leaps, his shield dissolving behind him. Out over the dust and now-falling shrapnel of the new explosion, aiming for the book --

-- and he's not the only one aiming for it. Homura is, too, and collision with her has the potential to set everything off. Literally.

His cape is almost as sure a focus for his power as the shadows are, and faster to reach. He flings an arm out beneath it, not entirely unlike Tuxedo Kamen's more flippant gesture a few moments ago; eats some of the energy of his passage, deflects more, and in the process places a few moments' worth of cloth-and-magic barrier between Heartrazor and Madison on the one hand, and the Book on the other. A protection for Homura, and, not incidentally, for the cat probably regretting her place on his shoulder. Cover in another sense, too: confusing the Device's perception of where the Compendium might be, introducing uncertainty in a crucial moment. Keeping it, maybe, from just reclaiming it the same way it did the grief seed.

He'll deal with the possibility of everything exploding in the next second. One thing at a time.
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-14 03:01:02 60477
Runealy takes Homura's warnings seriously, making sure to stay away from any oddly contained orange flashes! It's another complication in getting close to Madison, but Madison is presenting some of those as well as energy 'blade' meets genuine blade, and the princess is easily driven back. A quick hop back gives Rune some room to think, which proves to be a very good thing as an explosion just burst out from around where the princess was!

Things are shifting quickly. The Book is up in the air. Madison seems to have accomplished one of her goals. Time to make a quick decision... and Rune opts to pursue Madison. Wand held up for a thrust with her beam-blade protruding from it, the princess reconsiders when Tuxedo Kamen speaks. "What!? But I...!" '...Have no idea how to really do that,' her mind's voice concludes to herself. Nonetheless, Rune /tries./ She lowers her wand, and Runealy's lunge instead becomes an effort to stretch her free hand into the ensuing flash-and-bursts being set up by Moon and Tuxedo Kamen, grabbing around in an effort to swipe the Grief Seed from Madison!
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 03:08:13 60479
    There may be a lot of sentiment hidden within this shield, but the one subject that Homura is most sentimental about is not any gun or time-crossed plushie, but a girl named Madoka Kaname, and right now her long-stored weapons are putting that girl in danger. Danger both short term, by spreading explosions in the space she's in, and long term, by diminishing Homura's ability to protect her.

    Homura once said that she was okay with dying if it meant that Madoka could be safe; and even if she now knows just how much she means to Madoka, and how much her beloved needs her alive; Homura would still sacrifice anything to ensure Madoka's safety and happiness. What is a few guns compared to that?

    Kunzite is running interference, and from one protector to another Homura is quietly grateful. "I only need a few moments."

    Homura reaches for the book... but... something strange happens?
Madison Perry 2016-11-14 03:19:38 60483
    Madison has only a few moments to look triumphant upon the strange Grief Seed landing in her hand. This is because seconds later, she has a Smoking Bomber and moon beams headed her way, and a Princess trying to nab it back from her. All this while Kunzite and Homura both attempt to get between her and the hovering book, her means of egress from what is, as Hana has so recently pointed out, essentially a dimensional prison.

    This would likely end up very badly for her- if not for the fact that the Grief Seed she is holding has a will of its own, and more power than any such object should posess.

    "Life is suffering, Madoka Kaname. The only way to be free of suffering is to be dead. That being the case.. I choose to suffer."

    The Grief Seed in Madison's hand suddenly flares with bright, pure white light. At the same time, the air between Homura and the book, as she stretches out to grab it, seems to... distort. A ripple of hazy unreality passes between the Puella and her target. It's not much- only a shadow of what Hana is capable of in her true form. But it delays Homura from reaching the book for a split second, somehow increasing the distance between her and it.

    Just long enough for Madison to let out a panicked, "Heartrazor! Exit!" The book glows, a hole rips open in the air behind her-

    And Moon's beams explode at her feet as she ducks back from Runealy, just in time to be hit square int he chest by Tuxedo Kamen's Smoking Bomber. With a thunderous crack, the impact of the beam actually drives her backwards through the hole in the air- which snaps shut behind her a moment later.

    Madison is gone, and so is the Grief Seed. But the book remains- Homura is able to snag it now, and it lies inert in her grip.

    In addition, wherever Madison ended up, it is likely that she is going to be in a lot of pain. Whatever plans she has for the Grief Seed, it's a safe bet she's going to need time to recover before she can act on them- which translates to time to find her.
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 03:21:39 60484
    Homura's hands close on the book. She opens it, skimming through it to read it's ancient secrets. It's a little confusing to her, but Homura's a well studied girl, and she knows magic well. She pauses at a page, placing her finger on a drawn magical circle. Her soul gem glows, and the letters glow purple. Is this the proper way to use this book? She doesn't know. Madison was using her device, but Homura doesn't have one of those, so she's playing it by ear.

    "Compendum of Infinite Worlds: Heed Me. Give me a portal to... I don't care, a spring or something!"

    The 'sky' of her shield flashes. The time-frozen orange glows fade as fresh springwater suddenly gushes up from between the cracks in the massive pile of munitions, bursting up like so many geysers. Not a single spark of fire goes unquenched, and since this is Homura's shield she knows exactly where the fires are. Or at least, she knows when she searches for them.

    The metal will need to be dried off, and some of the ammo has been undoubtedly ruined, but the ammo explosion apocalypse has been averted, even if a few towels and spare uniforms have been burned to ashes. As for Hana Shiroi, Homura isn't happy about losing custody of her, but she still feels that they made the better choice in the long run.

    The waters recede by Homura's silent command, and she closes the book with a decisive thump. She looks at the book, and then up at Kunzite.

    "A book like this is far too dangerous. It's not mine to keep, but if you want my advice? You should destroy something like this."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-14 03:38:46 60490
"I was," Tuxedo Kamen says frankly, dropping down to ground level to pick up a fork before it gets washed away in the flood, "considering blasting it, but... it's a book, and it's unique, and it's old. There are a few actually reasonably safe places we could stash it for now while we figure out what to do with it." He pockets the fork, then glances around at everyone. "Anyone hurt?"

He is steadfastly ignoring the water filling his dress shoes and soaking up his cape and trousers. Even if his feet are going to squelch with every step until he de-henshins.
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 03:47:05 60491
Luna just sort of squeaked from her perch on Kunzite's shoulder, fur on end and tail poofed. Water. Ug.

Usagi flexes her fingers, still feeling the slight tingle of her last attack. It isn't an unpleasant feeling, unlike the cold of a flood.

She snaps her fingers. "Augh, Bomber. That would have been better than Solar."

And there'd been a moment of...not fear, but worry, before she relaxes. Mamoru destroying a book? That would be like her setting fire to a plushie store.

She gasps. "Homu-chan! I'm so sorry I was late! I was up all night coughing because--the weather change!"

But then that question! She turns to look up at Mamoru with large bunny doe eyes and holds up her leg. "I scraped my knees."

Her words and tone suggests it's nothing serious, of course, but the fluttering eyelashes say 'spoil me!'
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-14 03:47:35 60492
    Maybe it's telling how Madoka's life has changed over the last year that her response to the White Flower's assertion is less straight denial and fervent optimistic retort and more, "...that just means you haven't found the right boyfriend or girlfriend to cuddle yet." Sure, life can be suffering, but with someone lovable to cuddle with it's impossible for it to be all suffering!

    Hana does weird things with space inside a space that's already weird itself, and Madoka is left having no idea what actually happened to keep Homura from reaching the book in time for Madison to escape with Hana's Grief Seed. In the end it doesn't matter so much how it happened so much as it did. With those two gone to who knows where and Homura's use of the book to put a pre-emptive halt to the explosions the dangers is effectively over. Madoka lowers to the ground, her form glowing and her long dress and hair vanishing as her feet touch lightly to the ground. Maybe walking is still dangerous, but no risk of violence means due care can be made not to step on any guns or crates of landmines.

    The arsenal she strapped herself with seems to have been mostly unnecessary, and so Madoka sets it all down somewhere reasonably safe. A moment later she walks over to Homura and hugs her from the side, the towel that once held the grenades now fashioned into a wrap that holds the plushie dinosaur strapped to her back.
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-14 03:53:44 60495
Kunzite lands neatly (if with a splash), protecting Luna from shock and rising waters alike. His shoulder is a High Place. The feline's sensibilities are safe for the moment, particularly as those rising waters begin to turn around and recede.

There is a moment in which Kunzite says nothing at all in response to Homura, looking at her with an expression somewhat more unreadable than usual. Tuxedo Kamen fills them; he tips his head back toward the one in formalwear, silent echo of his principal's opinion. Whether his own matches Homura's or is something else altogether.

(Zoisite or Jadeite or Naru would be able to guess: it's something else altogether. There's only one thing he actually misses from the Dark Kingdom, and Homura is holding an all-too-tempting key to regaining it.)

"Your Highness," he says then, half-turning not toward Moon or Kamen but toward Runealy. "Are you well?"
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-14 03:56:00 60496
This could have gone much worse for Runealy, all told. The Grief Seed's light-flash is enough to drive the princess away, giving Madison plenty of room to slip away... and the beam knocking Madison away means Rune will not have a second chance to make this grab. "Ah!? W... wait...!" Too late.

Her head lowers, unwilling to face Tuxedo Kamen or Sailor Moon after coming up empty-handed. "Sorry." She doesn't get to linger too long on that though, looking over to Homura to ask: "What's so special about it? I've seen some of what it can do, but it sounds like I'm missing the real scope of this."

That there was just a lot of water flashing around the area seems to have doused some of her aggression, especially since the fight is over now.

Tuxedo Kamen's question is met with a flat "Not as bad as I probably should be. Think I twisted up my ankle some from jumping around on all this loose 'ground' though." Guns and ammo boxes are not the most stable platforms to land on, after all.

When Kunzite reiterates the inquiry, she decides to offer a bit more detail: "More or less. Just wish I had made the grab, after everyone went to so much trouble to make it happen..."
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 03:59:39 60499
    Homura blushes profusely at what Madoka says. Seriously. Just solid bright red. Madoka may have seen her face get this red before, but Homura's sure that no one else here has.

    Homura considers Tuxedo Kamen's words, and closes her eyes. "I can't say that my shield is a safe place to keep it considering what just happened. On the other hand you can say that we've fixed that problem."

    She opens her eyes and looks at the book. She still wants to just destroy it. Yet...

    Homura sighs. "Knowledge is just a light shining on reality. Even if you turn off that light, the reality will still be there, and all you would have done is make yourself less able to deal with. In the end, destroying the book may be just as foolish as keeping it."

    She opens her eyes. "It's not something we have to decide right away." Homura moves the book towards her left arm, and into her left arm, and then blinks at it before suddenly remembering where her shield is and why it isn't on her arm. She looks around, considering casually tossing it on the ground... no, that's a bit much. Then she snaps her fingers. "I've got it. Where was that crate? I hope it didn't blow up."

    Homura turns in the direction of the book's new home. "I suppose it isn't that bad if you need dimension-crossing magic in order to reach a book that lets you cross dimensions."

    Homura stops walking as Madoka hugs her, wrapping her arm around her girlfriend's shoulders. "I um... I actually have no idea why or when I got that plushie, but I can't imagine it was anything other than something I bought for you."

    Homura's eyes catch the way Usagi is looking at Mamoru, and smirks at Mamoru. She can't help it. She winks at him, then squeezes Madoka with one arm.

    To Runealy's question, Homura looks at the book, and then at the princess. "Well, whatever it is, it was able to open a portal into here. I never really thought that possible. From what I saw of skimming the book, and from what I've heard, it seems to be a spell book focusing on opening portals to... a lot of different places. I'm not actually sure what the scope of this book is, but if it can reach inside my shield then it's already pretty ridiculous."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-14 04:09:12 60504
Mamoru catches Homura's look, and he may be slightly redder behind his mask than usual. It might be exertion. It's not exertion. His gaze slides to Usagi and he eyes her for a second, then laughs. "Okay, okay. Can you wait a few, though? I should check for--" He clears his throat and glances away. "You might be developing some interesting bruises from the way you landed earlier. Let me take care of Rune-chan's ankles first. It's absolutely necessary that I carry you home so that you don't, uh, cause complications in any potential--" scraped knees "--additional injuries."

He's not fooling anyone.

He does sidestep to Runealy and crouch down next to her, de-henshining to get his gloves off the lazy way, and the sensation of his power at work is familiar to Rune. While he's working -- it's fast but it does take a second -- he glances up at Homura. "If you start getting itchy from it, take it to Jadeite's. I'm personally of the opinion we shouldn't hand it back to Virtue because they lost it in the first place... we need an orangutan with a master's degree to handle the thing."
Kazuo Takeba 2016-11-14 04:14:49 60506
Kunzite inclines his head to Homura again at her summary of the book's potential. "Combine it with an Intelligent Device," he says, "and Perry had the ability to sort through the spellbook and find the target and specifics she wanted near-instantly at any given time. We only saw her use it to achieve her goals directly. But the White Flower has more imagination. You may not have retrieved the White Flower, Your Highness, but you kept her too busy to retrieve the book as well -- and that may have been more important in the long run."

He pauses, and then adds dryly, "Besides. She stole the book successfully against several people concentrating on stopping her. There's no shame there."
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 04:17:21 60507
Luna manages to relax and exhales a long, relieved kitty sigh. The claws that dug deep loosened on Kunzite's shoulder, and she apologized by running her head against his jaw.

Completely missing Homura's look, Usagi's own cheeks turn pink as she gives a serious nod, dropping her leg to the ground because suddenly her other woefully scraped knee is feeling the pain and wobbles a bit. (It's not the scrape.)

"Yes, yes. I may have...subdermal hemotomas." The words are spoken carefully, because new, but hey. They're big. She heard them on some medical show her mother was watching where she spent most of it hiding in cusions because there were pictures. (And she knows that the subdural one involves the head, because those were the scariest ones!)

She blinks at Runealy. "But, you did your best, Rune-chan. Why would we be mad about that?"
Madoka Akemi 2016-11-14 04:27:02 60510
    Madoka sees Homura's bright red blushing face and can't keep from giggling a little. Aww, that's so cute! It's certainly true that the dark haired Puella is the reason her thinking was along those lines.

    When Homura's arm goes around her Madoka squeezes close, only to quarter turn and slide her arm around her waist so she can keep walking over to where she intends to store the book for now. At Homura saying she probably got the plushy for her the pink-haired girl lets out a soft, "Aww, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I just saw it and thought it'd be a shame for anything to happen to it, if you had a plushie you were keeping safe in here."

    As for the actual book itself, Madoka isn't entirely sure what to make of it, but she pays attention to how powerful people are claiming it likely is. The idea that Virtue itself couldn't keep it out of the wrong hands makes her frown a little. "I suppose it should be safe here, if it was needed to steal something else that was here in the first place," she comments, echoing Homura's sentiment.
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-14 04:27:44 60511
Rune does not quite get /why/ a Device is such a big deal when used in conjunction with the Book, but Kunzite's opinion is nonetheless heeded to some extent. "If you say so..." She lets it go at that, relaxing somewhat and stowing her wand behind-back as Mamoru leans in to help. "Thanks... that's taking the edge off it, definitely."

Sailor Moon's remarks are met with something a little more harsh, though: "I'm a bit more used to things being evaluated on 'succeed or fail', rather than 'best effort or not'... though it sounds like in this case, the worst possible outcome didn't happen?"
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 04:35:43 60514
Her cheeks flame, but not in the way they had a moment ago. "Failing isn't the same as being a failure, Runealy-hime. The only way it does is if you let it." She gives a haughty sniff and turns her nose in the air. "If it did, I'd be a bigger failure than you'd ever be, so there."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-11-14 04:42:15 60519
"Runealy," Mamoru says mildly as he finishes taking down the swelling and encouraging some pain receptors to take a nap for a while, "we're all alive. We had a firefight in an armory and we're all alive." He sits back on his heels and adjusts his glasses. "Moreover, we did get the book from her, and since it grants access to basically anything anywhere, it's a really good thing she and Hana-the-grief-seed don't have it anymore. Getting the grief seed back from her would've been amazing -- but trying to get it from her while she should have been concentrating on getting out provided the rest of the distraction needed there. You're going to have to get more used to complicated situations that have a lot of potential goals and losses, all ranked with differently-weighted priorities."

He hauls himself to his feet and brushes his knees off-- he is legit wearing a t-shirt that says 'citation needed'-- then smiles lopsidedly. "That was fun. Let's try not to do it again soon, though, eh?"

As for Sailor Moon, he edges closer to her-- closer, closer-- and glances toward Kunzite, then scoops Usagi up under the shoulders and knees unceremoniously. "Okay. Time to get going," he says, henshining around holding Sailor Moon in a princess carry, "if you can point out the exit..."
Homura Akemi 2016-11-14 04:45:36 60522
    Homura's trip back to the crate is a bit longer this time, because she isn't rushing and is in fact taking her sweet time. She wants to step carefully, and well... even surrounded by all of this danger there's just something relaxing about holding Madoka.

    She does eventually get there, and reluctantly lets go of Madoka, and carefully opens the crate, and finds a gap inside that she can safely place the book. Of course, none of these mines are armed yet, which helps. When she closes the crate, it closes firmly shut.

    A while later she returns to the group, and reaches for her arm, where her shield would be. Not because she forgot that it wasn't there, but because making that motion helps her concentrate on the magic which...

    Causes the shield portal to reappear right in the middle of them. Yes! Success.

    "Okay, so, as much as I love having you all for company, right here is probably not the best place to hang out. Thanks for helping. Even if we didn't get Madison or Hana, we did recover a dangerous book, so I think it's a net gain. We will eventually have to deal with Hana, however. This isn't over."
Usagi Tsukino 2016-11-14 04:49:44 60524
Hmph hmph! She's cranky and grumpy and nothing can change tha--

With a startled, giggling squeal, she suddenly finds herself hoisted.

"Mamo-chan!" It's intended to be a scold, because she was nice and cranky darn nabbit, but she fails horribly at it.

She hums and looks around, and then Homura answers the question for her. Still, she points to it. "Thattaway!"

Idly kicking her feet, she looks over his shoulder and waves. "By Mado-chan! Homu-chan! I promise I'll try to get here on time the next time! Cheer up, Rune-chan!"

Luna sighs and grumbles to Kunzite. "You don't mind cat fur on your pillow, do you?"
Runealy Waldia 2016-11-14 04:57:31 60526
That remark draws a blink, but Sailor Moon's words kind of sink in. "...Not sure I agree, not just yet, but I'll think about it." Rune then winces at Mamoru's comments, apparently feeling stung by them. "You're right, but... don't act like I don't think about things like that. I may not know about 'divide by zero' or a lot of other things you have here," it's possible higher math has indeed been invented/discovered back on her world by now, but she hasn't been exposed to it if so. "But I think about stuff a lot. All of what's going on here in Tokyo is important, and I know it's not always going to be one thing or another with no options in between."

She might say more, but that's probably plenty and it appears he's preparing to leave. In fact, it appears there's a good way for all of them to leave now. Rune begins pacing toward the new portal, nodding over to Homura. "Yeah... let me know if you see them again. I'll definitely be around."