Amazing Rescue

Ami has finally figured the way out of the maze! Too bad her friends have come to save her.

Date: 2017-02-05
Pose Count: 81
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 01:07:59 70184
In the space between worlds, in dimensions undreamed of, Ami Mizuno floats centered in a place where gravity has no meaning and physics are all askew. She looks tired, a little dirty, and a lot hungry, but not nearly so malnourished as she should be for spending nearly two weeks away from reality.

"At this point," Ami observes to no one at all, "I am fairly certain you are changing things just to spite me, and not because I am violating your rules. You're mad because I not only am able to solve you legitimately, but also because I am able to cheat in ways you didn't expect."

She frowns severely, then reaches up to banish the visor from over her eyes. "So, how do we come to some sort of agreement? I would like to leave back to the real world. I'm nutritionally deficient, I'm exhausted from lack of good sleep, and I'm beginning to grow lonely."

Of course, the maze she's trapped in doesn't respond. It merely sits as her silent captor, as fascinated by her as she is by it. Except the maze has the power, and Ami only has the confidence that she can solve whatever puzzle it thinks of, as long as it doesn't change things from under her again when she gets close.

After a few moments, the nowhere space she's standing in twists in and around itself, warping from nine dimensions back to--apparently--three. Ami's feet touch down gently on solid ground, and she nearly collapses from exhaustion and hunger under her own weight.

"That's better," she whispers quietly, then closes her eyes and thinks. "Alright. I am going to solve you by memorization and luck," she promises. "No tricks, no gimmicks, just trial and error. And you're going to let me go. And afterwards, we can try to negotiate a more peaceful exploration for both of us."

With that unrequited promise, Ami sets off in a random direction to begin the process of learning the new maze. It's still more like something out of an M.C. Escher painting than a normal maze, but given how deep into multi-dimensional space the pair have gone over the past two weeks, so few dimensions are a relief for Ami, now.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 01:16:59 70186
On Earth:

The kitchen of Mamoru's apartment is not small. It is also not intended for a group this size. Positioning is in part intentional: Kunzite has stationed himself by where he knows their departure is going to be, and pulled Sailor Moon over by him. Because opposite him are going to be Takashi and Lacrima, one because he'll need to be, one because Lacrima isn't likely to leave her boss alone. Everyone else -- well. There's space to crowd.

"We know she left from here," he says, flat, indicating with a gesture the place where Mercury's subspace passage opened. "We know she went some distance under her own power; then either she encountered an anomaly, or something altered her own tunnel. We can't see what with much certainty, because every indication right now is that once something goes in, it doesn't come back out."

He inclines his head toward Takashi. "We can't pry the damned thing back open to go after her. You might be able to. If you can't, the two of us together can."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 01:20:12 70187
    Apatite is behind Kunzite. This isn't her show, and she knows it- this sort of interdimensional doochickery is out of her pay grade. But that doesn't mean she doesn't want to help. Quite the contrary- when Mamoru, Kunzite, and Naru are all concerned about something (not to mention Sailor Moon and plenty of others, as well) she's concerned about it too, even if Mercury and she had never been very close.

    She leans back against the counter, in her Apatite henshin though sans spear (the kitchen might be big, but it's really too small for this many people /and/ polearms), with her arms crossed across her chest. A faint frown rests on her features as she listens to Kunzite explaining what they know about Ami's disappearance, but she doesn't add anything, since she has nothing to add.

    She's here in case there's something that needs to be stabbed on the other side of the portal. Until such a time as it becomes clear whether there is or there isn't, she's happy to wait and watch.
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 01:24:24 70188
Tap tap tap tap tap. Tap tap tap tap tap. Sailor Mars is here, and she looks decidedly unhappy. There's not a hint of happiness in the black-haired miko's visage. No, there's plenty of distrust for Takashi and his lab assistant though, and she has a full supply of Ofuda. She /definitely/ looks like she wants to use it.

"I have a bad feeling about all of this." Whispers Rei to Mamoru, Usagi, and likely Apatite and Kunzite by proxy. Despite the tough front she's putting up, Rei is nervous and worried and scared. She's almost to the point of twirling her hair.

Tap tap tap tap tap.
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 01:25:01 70189
Takashi is there, but he's not in his school uniform - rather, his long labcoat. He also doesn't look like he's been getting much sleep. But he nods at Kunzite all the same - he's not here to fight anyone (yet).

"Tokyo's sort of Grand Central for Wierd Stuff, including a big high tech military carrier from another world that got jammed up in the space around us. There's literally thousands of anomalies in the area, but we have something to point at."

"I'm reasonably sure once I get in contact with it I can do something to jam it open, but failing that this is the sort of thing that demands I not turn away help, wherever on the spectrum that help falls."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-02-05 01:27:13 70190
"--and," says Mamoru with no gap in between, "because this is the way Mercury teleports, and because of the layering we saw when we looked, I know if I went with you I'd be a liability. Since I have a directional connection with several members of the party, that at least comes in useful if it turns out you can get Mercury free but have trouble navigating to the correct exit."

He's leaning against the doorway nearest the fridge -- the point of exit for Ami, more or less -- which puts him near Kunzite, Apatite, and Moon, but not in the way. "Sailor Moon and Apatite, you two have to keep each other from eating the stuff in the backpack I labeled 'Mercury'." Then he reaches out to pushhh lightly at Rei's shoulder, grinning. "And you get to stop them both if they decide to split it."
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 01:29:59 70191
Sailor Moon fights back her fifteenth yawn in just as many minutes, which is how long she's been awake. It's not easy to get your bearings when your cat literally shoved a couple sleeping pills down your throat twelve hours ago. (Over the counter, but her tolerance for drugs is about the same as her tolerance for alcohol.)

It's good that Kunzite pulled her over to him. He's a convenient leaning post. It also gives her a convenient place to give Takashi plenty of stink eyes should the occasion arise.

She smiles at Rei and gives a soft snort in agreement. Despite...issues, she is glad Mars is there.

She sticks her tongue out at Mamoru. "It's Ami-food. I can behave. For a little bit." This is also why she has a few granola bars in her subspace pocket, though...and pocky just in case!

Speaking of, she pulls one of the packs out and tosses them at Apatite. The Mako-cookies with her name on them (literally!) will be rationed!

"So...beat up doors, either literally or figuratively, and cram food down Ami-chan's throat in the middle of squishing her in tight, tight hugs, right?"

This plan is something she likes.
Lacrima 2017-02-05 01:31:27 70192
Lacrima is standing somewhere to the right and behind of Riventon. She also has a dapper labcoat instead of a fancy dress because this is business. She sweeps her hand around for her own touch at the area. She can't detect much. There's something there but it isn't familiar. She has no baseline, she isn't a device.

She lowers her hand and frowns a bit. "Riven-sama." she says.

"If you need help. Just let me know." she says quietly more, person to person than to the group at large.

She then nods at the rest of the group.

"I'm positive Riventon-sama already has a good idea of how to open this." she says softly.

Because he should! He's Riventon and this has been practically maybe 'his life' since she texted him this thing, /probably/.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 01:37:59 70193
Rei's bad feeling is not disputed in the slightest. It's Takashi that Kunzite nods to, all the same. "If you can reopen her door reasonably quickly," he says, "go ahead. If not, then if you're willing to establish an unsecured barrier, you and your system and I can do it together." It's a question of how much time Takashi's spent analyzing Mercury's transport mechanisms on his own.

And how much he wants to let them know he's studied them. Since if he can pry it open quickly once, he can do it any other time.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 01:38:53 70195
Sakura Kinomoto was there! Granted, she looked awful. Having almost the entire left side of her body, from the shoulder down, shattered in a devastating axe kick would do that. Shoulder had been shattered, legs broken, frankly she'd been in surgery for hours just to get stable.

Of course, once she was stable, the first thing she did was decide 'oh, a card? I should help!' So, with a bit of magical aid(possibly leaving a magical double behind because there was no way the doctors were letting her go ANYWHERE), she was off with them.

Likely via kunzite portal. Which she still thought was the most amazing thing and she wished she could do.

And of course, once she arrived... she waved. "Hi!" she said happily, despite her broken state. "I'm Kinomoto Sakura, nice to meet you." All smiles to Mars, Lacrima and Taka.

She was on a LOT of pain killers. Also, using float to make sure she didn't fall down and have to put weight on anything. And likely slinging to whoever designated themselves 'hug buddy' for the child.

Of course... practically the first thing she'd do when they started to go was, well... "I sense a card." Of course she did.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 01:41:46 70196
    Apatite rolls her eyes at Mamoru, probably to hide the fact that she had been eyeing the backpack of food pretty hard moments before. Luckily, she is distracted by Sailor Moon tossing her a packet of Pocky! She grins, one fanged, and tears it open to pop one in her mouth, leaving it hanging out sideways as she tucks the rest into a convinient pocket. "Hey, thanks hun."

    Otherwise, she stays where she's at. Somewhat distrustful glances are given across the room towards Takashi and Lacrima, but any argument she might have made against them being there was likely heard and overruled before they actually arrived. Violence does not seem imminant, at least at this point, so she continues to wait- though now with Pocky.
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 01:46:31 70197
Puuuush! Wobble. The directive from the prince has her suddenly stalk behind both Usagi and Apatite. She looooms just a little bit.

"Apatite-chan, Moon-chan, I'm sure you'll both be perfectly good." Are her eyes...slightly on fire? Surely a trick of the light. Surely!

But Usagi especially has her nodding in agreement for once. "We'll need to make sure she knows she's loved. And I know the perfect person for that." Usagi is getting one of those small, soft Rei-smiles right now.

But then she's all business as she waits for the doors to be opened. Aside from a /look/ to Sakura! One of concern!

There's definitely an ofuda in her hand by now. Just in case. Her eyes are closed, seemingly in concentration as she lets her instincts and power take over. If anything, she seems more alert than a minute ago.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-02-05 01:47:41 70198
"Oh for the love of all the gods," says Mamoru as soon as he actually sees Sakura, and he pushes off the doorframe and winds his way between people until he gets to the floating girl. As soon as he's close enough, he pulls her down and touches his bare hand to the side of her neck with swift and clinical precision, and there's a brief bright golden glow. Those who can sense energy's movement can tell that he's literally just shoved a smoking bomber's worth of healing into the elementary schooler: fast and inefficient, with enough spillover to wipe her system of the idiocy that can come of painkillers and sleep deprivation, it's an irritable jolt of peace and love and fixing what's still broken and mending.

Granted, given what it is, it's a good thing he's not going with because after giving Kunzite a stored attack and some extra energy, that's more or less used up whatever use he'd be in a fight without taking a fair amount of time out to recharge.

"When you're back I need to check and make sure I didn't miss anything, but that should serve you in the meantime. Next time this happens, will you please just say?"
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 01:52:19 70199
Usagi winces at the sight of Sakura. Oh dear! Poor girl! But Mamoru's quickly taking care of her.

Rei's little Rei-smile draws a slight blush from Usagi.

Another yawn stopped. Time for the big guns.

While possible concerned parties are focused on being irritated and healy, she pulls out something from her subspace pocket. She opens the bottle and downs it all, even if the suggested serving size is half that. After all, a fiver hour energy shot in full should be like...either a really intense five hours or ten, right?

Her cheeks flush with a bit of heat as the B12 immediatly hits her. "Ohhhhh boy!"

She points a finger at Sakura. "Right! Trust me, he gets very grumpy if you don't tell him you're too sore to walk."
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 01:56:23 70200
Takashi has to think for a moment - just a moment, but that delay is there - about tipping his hand. But it's quickly overruled by the person in question, Ami, being the one needing help. "I'll need to henshin." he warns, and takes a step back from Usagi in particular given her reaction to Tiny Dancing Dark Energy Figurines in the crown some degree ago

And then Sakura arrives, and Takashi's first comment is "Okay just want it to be clear I'm not responsible for THAT." while Mamoru and the rest tend to Sakura.

It takes Takashi a little bit longer to henshin into Riventon than it might usually, given the circumstances and company, but while doing so he manages to show his very specific control over Dark Energy by keeping the normal blast-radius residual energy of his henshin contained around him in a perfect sphere, which is then drawn into the gauntlet form of Axion - preventing the energies from pushing the others away, or polluting them or the ECFH.

Now clad in the black, patternshifting lab coat and with the more angular features, and the purple tinge to his white hair. He raises his hand towards the indicated portal, and a claw of black energy forms even as the charm Sakura once saw dangles from it. While behind the scenes, and by the expression on Takashi's face, there's a lot of very delicate and specific work being done, to the untrained observer it looks very much like Takashi is simply and determinedly tearing into the reality preventing them from following Ami's portal.

Yes, he's done a little bit of study on how his girlfriend's travel works - even before this week. And a lot, recently.
Lacrima 2017-02-05 02:02:45 70201
Lacrima doesn't check for residual dark energy because she's sure it was done perfect enough. She does watch as Takashi henshins and digs into space to begin opening the space where Mercury could had gone. She watches, but her eyes still look past toward's the others- waiting for signs of a double cross--- afterall- they could just be using him to open the way and then leaving him to screw off.

Her eyes look to Sakura and she head tilts. She says absolutely nothing. Until...

"A card?" a pause. She looks to Kunzite.

"Would that be anything like the card attached to Eilam-kun?" she frowns.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 02:03:51 70202
Sakura Kinomoto eeped, blinking a few times and... "W-what? OH MY GOSH! That is awesome! How did you do that? Is it actually all better? Am I all better? Or does it just stop hurting? A-and I'm sorry I didn't say anything I only just got out of surgery a-and I've been in and out of consciousness a lot because of the pain killers but then I got the message and I told them to pick me up because if it's a card it's my duty to take care of it!" Tiny lil determination.

Then worry. "W-wait, won't the doctors wonder why I healed so fast? M-My daddy doesn't know about my magic! O-or my brother! T-they can't find out, they'll worry!" Pause. "Should... I get broken again? I don't want to..." Pause. "I don't wanna get hit by a car again." Totally didn't look him in the eye when she said that. Lying was bad! But it was for the right reasons. "And, ummmm, can the casts be removed? But put back on later? I don't want anyone to know I'm all better." Kinda hard to explain months of recovery in a few short hours...

Then looked to taka... wait. That charm looked oddly familiar. Did she know him? She cocked her head to the side... Then moved to kunz's side and took one of his hands if he allowed it. Why? Because he was designated protector, of course! He was big, tough, and strong. Like a dad. And if mamo wasn't coming, well, daddy before brother anyway. "Who are they?" she asked, motioning to rei, taka and lacrima. Then blinked. "Wait, there's another card? Eilam-kun?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 02:06:42 70203
Takashi's brute force method is in no way inadequate at following Ami's delicately created portals. The subspace corridor that opens up before him may not open the same way, but within it looks identical to the long, sky-blue tunnels through subspace that Ami so frequently creates. Usually there's a faint light at the end of the tunnel, far in the distance just at the edge of vision. Now, though, the tunnel makes it only a few hundred feet before it warps and twists, cut-off by some fissure that makes no sense and has no explanation. A gateway? A barrier? A transition point? It's impossible to say, but it's not normal (for subspace values of normal).
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 02:09:41 70204
Eilam-kun. "We'll talk about him later," Kunzite says, and there's something quietly iron under his tone. "He does, after all, prefer privacy. Focus on the problem at hand."

He does not emphasize that comment about privacy with any glance at Lacrima. He doubts he needs to. Besides, his attention is on Takashi's work. He'd disappoint Takashi if he couldn't give Ami a detailed description later, after all.

A gesture down the opened tunnel. "There's this card, if that's what it is. Or the outside edge of its effect."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 02:12:10 70205
    Kyouko eyes Sakura as she enters, with something resembling clinical detatchment. Mamoru seems to have her in hand, in any case- she'll live. She would have before, but now she'll live even better! That's dem heals for ya.

    Her attention shifts to Takashi as he starts vivisecting reality in the middle of the kitchen. Her eyes narrow faintly on the opening he creates, and she pushes off of the counter, unfolding her arms. She moves up close behind Kunzite and Moon, though she stays behind them for now, just wanting to get a better look at the aperature. She chomps off a few inches of Pocky, but glances up to Kunzite, then across to Mamoru, not wanting to go take any steps without clearance.
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 02:17:40 70206
Takashi stops. "Another card? Those things are sneaky. I should be able to read thier signatures from the lab..." he stops himself. Priorities. Ami. Then nefarious research into the laws of energy and power. Right after.

"That's absolutely a card." he says, pointing to the junction ahead. "Another one of them.... The portal should be wrenched open for a little bit if nobody tries to purify the gate I just made." he warns, looking at... pretty much the entirety of Team Good Guys.

Takashi's henshin 'pops' and shatters before returning him to his normal form, but that only lasts for a moment because the charm-like Black Key is already in his hands.

    "O great key which is created from the power of Darkness! Reveal your true power before me! I command you to honor your creator! RELEASE!"

The key extends into its wand form along with Takashi's magical circles erupting and putting him into a different henshin, and Takashi uses it to point the way. "Lets deal with this and get Ami back." he says before stepping through like it's no big deal to be walking into a subspace anomaly within which is tucked another much wierder subspace anomaly.
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 02:19:07 70207
There's horror on Rei's face. Some of it is due to them actually accepting a Dark Energy using young man's help in the form of Takashi. To Rei, he's possibly the second worst dating material ever. (First, of course, being her right now!).

But the true reason is Usagi downing a five hour energy. She sloooowly takes a step back. Best not to get in the way of an Energetic Killer Usa-Bun!

And then, they're peering into that impossible space. Part of it /feels/ like Ami. She feels herself taking a few steps or two forward on instinct. Despite that terrifying twist, Rei slowly frowns.

"She's definitely in there somewhere." Mutters Rei. Something in her brain she can't quite pick at is shoving her towards it. A glance to Mamoru, a smile, and then to Kunzite and Usagi.

"We're going to find her, and bring her back! No evil dimension or pseudo-magical-science can stop the powers of truth and love! In the name of Mars, I'll punish you!"

And with a fire in her heart and fear in her gut, Sailor Mars leaps into the portal confident and reckless as can be right behind Takashi. Especially behind Takashi, just in case she really does need to shove burning fire into the man's back.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 02:22:03 70208
Usagi holds her stomach as Takashi changes. Whether she can actually feel it or if she can guess how that much dark energy should feel, well, either way, she's resiting the urge to redecorate Mamoru's kitchen table.

Then her head jerks up and she gasps, reaching begind her to grab hold of Mars' hand. Ami! She feels Ami! And its definitely a bazillion times better than being told she's okay.

Maybe some of Rei's internal fears are for a good reason...

Before leaping in herself, she grabs Mamoru by the collar. After counting his teeth, she pulls back, a B12 induced gleam in her eye. "Hold down the fort. Luna'll keep you company with you want. I got one of my favorite nerds to save."

She's not far behind Rei.
Lacrima 2017-02-05 02:22:58 70209
Lacrima frowns at Kunzite. yes. Later. Much later. These things are stupid.

Lacrima watches everyone go in. She makes sure no one is still lighting Riventon on fire and then she'll follow after. She's used to reality shifts by now. This one is different. Like riding a truck for the first time when you're so used to riding hatchbacks.

She eyes Takashi's key. She hasn't seen that before.

Is Riventon after something specific? These cards? She doesn't know.

Later, as Kunzite said.
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 02:25:27 70210
Ami has been wandering for nearly an hour, already, at this version of the maze. She's forced herself not to analyze it, only to memorize it. Forced herself to solve it the worst way possible: through trial and error. But she's confident she's making progress, and thus far nothing has changed.

Nothing, that is, until the feeling of Usagi, not so far away. "Usagi-chan?" she asks, raising her head suddenly. Hope and worry flicker through her mind at the same time. "Oh no, if she gets trapped, here, too ..." she trails off, then hugs herself, standing still. Pressing forward could make things worse. But she hasn't got a choice. Things are about to change. The whole maze is about to change. She's sure of it. She can sense it. "Not again," she whines quietly.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 02:25:45 70211
Sakura Kinomoto blinked. Blinked blinked. Then her eyes went wide. BLINK. "You... You're the one who attacked me! You're the one who stole the cards and is hurting Kero-chan!" she said, starting to take a step forward, but then stopped.

She took a slow, deep breath. Then glared. "W-when this is over, when we save this girl, I'm getting the cards back. I... I don't know why you did it, but... I'm sure you had your reasons. But you're still hurting my friends and I won't let it continue!" She stepped in with them. There was nothing, at first... but then... space began to warp around them.

Ami could see the end! Finally, maze had let her win. Why? She stopped cheating. So she won, yay! It was time to let her go. She could almost feel the almost... was maze fond of her? Maybe it was. A little. She was twenty feet from the exit. And--

Then the maze warped. OH COME ON! WHY WOULD--

Wait. She wasn't alone anymore. There were suddenly people with her! Her boy friend, her friends!
Mamoru Chiba 2017-02-05 02:32:29 70212
Mamoru sighs through his teeth a little, but manages a crooked smile at Sakura. "Don't get broken again. We'll worry about it when you get back, okay? No going into battle already a trainwreck." He gently pushes her in the direction of the others, then lingers, one arm crossed over his chest. Guard the portal, be the homing beacon--

--and then Usagi is counting his teeth, and Mamoru's eyes widen (he absolutely DOES kiss back but he's completely flustered now yes) -- and then he leans back against the counter. "Right," he says breathlessly, "come back in one piece, everyone."
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 02:33:49 70213
"Scuze me?" Takashi hisses, rounding on Sakura. "My friends. You don't respect their power, their strength... they're not TOYS, kid-" and then the Maze shuts him down by yoinking him across worlds. Takashi, like Lacrima, isn't quite used to this shunt, and it disorients him - and more oddly, it shuts him up mid-rant.

And then he's in an entirely different where, Axion is beeping in a confused manner RIGHT IN HIS EAR, he's not done with the pipsqueak...

    And then there's Ami, and she's not dead, and he found her!

And so the rant dies a quick death as he moves as rapidly as he can to close the space with her. She can slug him in the shoulder AFTER he gets his sudden hug. And for a moment he doesn't look at all like he might orchestrate the doom of humanity or sit on a throne of skulls, because he was ACTUALLY WORRIED and now she's OKAY.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 02:35:38 70214
Kunzite remains in place for a moment as the others filter in, his own hands lifted. Weaving a structure spun of golden energy; running it beside the black, with his own shadows to delay the contamination of one by the other. He wouldn't be able to do this if Takashi hadn't just torn things open. But with a framework already there to work from, and with excess energy having been provided him before --

It's not that he thinks Takashi would intentionally close the portal on them, per se. It's just that, when dealing with someone whose powers sometimes drive him irrational, it's best to keep all the bases covered. Even if it would only buy a few seconds.

He is, therefore, not the first in, but the last. Which means nothing when the green walls of the Maze rise around them.

At least he doesn't have to say 'fight later, rescue now' again. That Ami's appearance cuts Takashi off buys him a fraction of a point of credit in Kunzite's invisible ledger. Almost as much as the distraction lost him in the first place.
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 02:39:04 70215
As Mamoru and Usagi play tongue twister, Rei looks away. She's blushing. Something in side of her grows cold, jealousy flares...and then dies down. She hugs herself for just a moment, and prays that Usagi didn't see it.

Inside, it's Ami! It seems the Evil Boyfriend has first dibs on hugs. In her mind that should be Moon! But Rei only gives a /slightly/ wrathful look, before her better half prevails. Are those tears dripping down her cheeks? Maybe. Just maybe.

"Ami-chan!" Then she's outright /shoving/ Usagi towards Ami. There shall be hugs, the Rei-chan demands it!

Otherwise, she's warily peering at the space around them. She doesn't like this, not at /all/.
Lacrima 2017-02-05 02:39:54 70216
Lacrima frowns VERY hard at Sakura. "If you make that threat to Riventon-sama again, you will not just be dealing with him." she says frankly.

She touches down to her feet and.. THERE she is! Riventon makes a jog for her and she just watches to watch his back. She's backup. He can still feel things. She can't. She'd just be like a wet blanket over anything happening over there.


She looks to the other few people that arrived and then gives a harder, colder glare at Sakura.

Oh yeah she didn't like that threat. You're on the list for the moment kiddo.

Then to the area around her. "What is this?" she asks.

"This doesn't /feel/ like the Dusk Zone..." she muses quietly.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 02:41:30 70217
    Apatite visibly shrinks back just a bit as Takashi's henshin shifts- it's not fear, it's a palpable reaction to the Dark Energy. She can still feel it's call, even if her resolve is firm, and it takes a physical effort for her to make herself step forward towards the gap in the air.

    She pauses as Sakura bursts out that Takashi is the one who stole her cards- of course, that had been her assumption from five minutes after it happened. There might be a slight look of vindication, though it's masked behind a subtle glower at the lab-coated dude's back. Then again... this isn't the time to deal with that. As Kunzite sets to work reinforcing the gate, she follows the group through... only to have the maze shift around them almost at once.

    "Well.. that's bizarre.." She mutters to herself.. but hey, Ami's here! So mission success, right? Well, half of it. While the others tend to her, Apatite prowls around the.. area, or whatever the heck this place is, checking for threats that may require stabbing. So far, nothing presents itself.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 02:43:41 70218
Sailor Moon rolls her eyes. "And if you all keep making threats toward each other while we're here on a truce, I won't hesitate to purify you both for a couple seconds. Now shut up and--"

Ami-chan! But wait...she's being hugged by Takashi first. But...sad face.

There's not long enough for droopy twin-tails before she's being shoved forward by Rei, who will get hugs for that later, and she's wrapping one of her best friends in the tightest hugs ever, peppering her face with kisses! "Ami-chan! I've been so worried! Are you okay? This place didn't hurt you, did it? Are you okay? You're not hurt, right? Ohhhh, I missed you so much!"

There's a crying Moon girl, of course, but they're happy tears!
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 02:44:05 70219
Never in her life would Ami have realised how much she ''didn't' want to be rescued, just then. Days ago? Sure. That would have been great. But she was so close! Tears well in her eyes, and a feeling of overhwelming helplesness captures her, as Takashi barrels into her for a hug. She doesn't even have the self-awareness to resist or be embarassed by him hugging her so forcefully, right now.

"No no no," she whimpers quietly, even as she collapses into Takashi and Usagi's arms. "I was so close," she whines to them, then closes her eyes and sinks even further into the embrace. At least she's not alone, anymore. But finding the energy to do this again is not going to be easy.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 02:44:51 70220
Sakura Kinomoto blinked a few times, her mouth falling open. "Their... power?" And... then maze! What the heck? She looked confused, grabbing Kun's hand a little tighter as the world shifted around them. Once it was done, she glanced to the girl and the jerk. They were hugging.

Okay, she was nice. She waited for the hug and stuff to be over. Then, the moment they were done, she let Kun's hand go and ran over, glaring up at Taka with all the anger her lil ten year old face can muster. "T-the cards are not for power! They're living spirits, with feelings and likes and dislikes! They are not toys OR tools! They're my friends! And... and I won't let you keep my friends prisoner! And I won't let you keep hurting them! Once we're out of here I... I want them back! I-I don't care if you're really tough and strong and have a big company like Kukai-kun says! I-I have my magic now s-so I'm not scared of you!" Okay, she was totally scared of him. Just a little. Or a lot. Kukai told her scary stories. But she was defiant! And her friends needed her. She then looked around. "Where are we, anyway?" She then... "Jump." Oh no. Before Ami could yell at her not to... she jumped up... and the walls of the maze rose up. And ami would realize something.

... Sakura just tried to cheat. She probably knew what was coming next. As the walls began to shift around them... At least it was being nice. It let them stay together this time.
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 02:53:37 70221
Takashi makes a face as Sakura continues on her sphiel, and with Ami being attacked by Sailor Moon - well, he can go back to ranting. Like a light switch. He breaks away from her and points the Dark Key at her. "And they're MY friends! They can be friends and other things! Lacrima's my employee and my friend, she works AND I really like having her around. Just because I see the inherient function and power doesn't mean I don't like them. This is what I mean. You don't understand reality well enough to hold these!"

Then she tries to jump, the walls raise, and the maze shifts. "OKAY CAN WE NOT DO THINGS UNTIL WE FIGURE OUT WHAT'S GOING ON?!" he shouts as the world twists. Then he turns to Ami. "So you have to know how this place works by now... hey, wait... what's wrong? We all came to rescue you, why do you look like I stole your coke? OH SPEAKING OF I BROUGHT COKE."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 02:57:57 70222
"We have one of the best analysts in the world present who has been here for some time. We can wait until she's in shape to talk. Agera, Kinomoto, the next one of you to say one thing about who has the higher right to the cards' friendship is going to be made temporarily inaudible. It is by definition neither of your decisions. Argue later. Focus now."

Kunzite pauses, after that even-toned minor rant, to incline his head toward Lacrima. "Without, of course, harming your employer, or removing his ability to communicate with his own paraphernalia."
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 02:58:17 70223
This is the face of a satisfied Rei-chan. Arms crossed, smiling, and nodding as Usagi takes up her place as Love-Bunny in Chief! And then up goes Sakura, and her eyes kinda just bulge.

"W...wait, Sakura-chan!" Oh spirits no!

And then there's this moment where she /actually agrees with Takashi/. Some part of her dies.

There's that backpack, and she's grabbing food, and with a single finger...there's a tiny, tiny little Mars-fire as she heats up some of that food. Then there's a spork, tupperware, and a vaguely annoyed Rei in front of Ami. Shove shove shove food!

"Ami-chan. You're going to stop right now and eat and drink. Alright?" Stern Rei-chan! No, the senshi of passion isn't going anywhere, even if she has to shove /Usagi/ out of the way to make sure Ami gets food.

"Kunzite-san? What are we going to do about...this?" She waves a hand vaguely at the sudden 3d-subspace-BS.

"Maybe I can just..." Suddenly, four ofuda in one hand. At least she's peering at the experts before going immediately to 'fire fire everywhere'.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 03:01:10 70224
    Apatite has found nothing worth stabbing, which is at one relieving and frustrating. It makes her feel extraneous to this entire process, but on the other hand not being in danger (at least of a physical sort) for the moment is something its hard to complain about. After completing her round, she returns to stand near Kunzite, murmuring to him, "Nothing likely to attack us, 'least that I can see."

    Then she backs off a few steps, glancing around at the now-3d area with a faint frown. She doesn't like feeling helpless but on the other hand, as previously noted this sort of problem isn't her forte. She does shoot a look at Takashi as Kunzite warns him and Sakura to cut out the card-related squabbling for the time being- maybe faintly wishing the guy won't listen and she'll have something to stab after all.
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 03:02:30 70225
Ami doesn't quite notice what Sakura is doing until the maze shifts again. Her eyes widen, and she manages to find the strength to get out of Usagi's hug-of-death long enough to scream, "stop!"

Takashi's looking to her, though. So is Rei. It's at leaste a start. She takes a deepbreath, then sinks down to a seat, unconcerned that she's in her dirty school uniform with her legs splayed to either side of her. Grabbing the food Rei's offered her, Ami tries to focus her thoughts. "Just don't ... do anything," she begs them all. "I've faced this maze six hundred seventy nine times, now. Every attempt at cheating--and that includes simple algorithm cheating--has resulted in the maze reshaping itself to a new form. So ... just ... stop." That's all she has the mindpower for before she sticks the fork into the heated tupperwear and starts to dig into it, shoveling food in her mouth swiftly.
Lacrima 2017-02-05 03:03:42 70226
Lacrima repeats, just to be clear. "He brought coke." she insists.

She looks back to Sakura and head tilts. "Hrmmmm....". She begins to wonder if this is the girl Clow Reed spoke of. She sighs a bit. and shakes her head. She frowns and looks back to Kunzite and shrugs a bit. As long as those two keep to /words/ she isn't gonna dark orb blast Sakura- unless she gets particularly threating.

She blinks as the Maze shifts and changes and she /frowns/.


"What does it consider cheating?" she asks.

"I float and it's natural for me to do so. Is that 'cheating'?" she asks.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 03:05:50 70227
Sailor Moon's fingers itch for her wand...but fortunately Takashi's suddenly back on Ami Concentration, complete with Coke, and Kunzite does good!

She slinks away when Ami pulls back, and as Ami's being fed, the bunny just sort of sits back and wrings her hands.

She tilts her head at Lacrima. "That's a good question..."

After all, she's the most likely of the bunch to hug the walls and ask the maze to be nice. Is that cheating?
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 03:06:17 70228
Sakura Kinomoto landed, rubbing the back of her head. "S-sorry. I didn't mean to... errr... I didn't know... sorry."

Then.... "Wait, they are?" Then her eyes lit up. "Oh! I get it! Why didn't you say so? That changes everything!" And then she looked oddly... happy? "If you were lonely, you should have told me." Wait, what?

"But if you consider them your friends, too, I guess there's nothing wrong with you having them, is there? But I really wish you would have just asked me about it. We could have worked something out. I mean, if you're able to seal them too, then maybe you're supposed to be a captor too?" And now she was smiling up at him, a friendly smile. "After all this is over, we still need to talk, though. If you're friends with the cards, you're probably not responsible, but something seems to be hurting Kero-chan and it likely is card related." And now she was asking for his HELP?
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 03:10:18 70229
Takashi gives Kunzite the most petulant, offended glare he can muster - the sort of glare that bleeds 'I have a problem with authority figures' into the air clear as day.

And then... then here comes Sakura to break him out, and these are NOT THE HUGS HE WAS LOOKING FOR. So he reacts the same way he would if anyone not Ami hugs him - he tries to squirm free. And then when that doesn't immediately work, he flails at and begins to bonk her on the head with his wand. Not in a hostile manner, but more the way one might nudge a particularly happy dog away.

"Hey go away kid! You can't have the cards because you're a danger to... look it's not important just let me go."

He finally squirms and headbonks his way out of Sakura's grasp. "Look, kid. This is more important than you, or me, or the cards. So just let me deal with it. But first, MAZE. My girlfriend. Lets get her out."

He turns to her. "Have you tried blasting it into submission?" he asks, likely undoing all of the good he just said in a sentence.
Lacrima 2017-02-05 03:17:59 70230
Lacrima does this massive frown when Sakura latches onto Riventon-sama and she's already hovering a centimeter off the ground to move toward's this when... Riventon kinda bonks her away. Okay. Wait. Did she 'just hug him'. Wait. What?

How come /she/ doesn't get hugs!? Oh right they make her feel uncomfortable and wrong because draining contact powers. Ugh.

"....Are we attacking it, Riventon-sama?" she asks as if for confirmation.
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 03:18:19 70232
With real food settling into her stomach, and a renewed sense of 'if I don't do it they're going to make it worse' spurring her on, Ami sighs and grabs onto Rei for support, then pulls herself back up. The Miko gets the very barest of hugs before Ami is grabbing her coke from Takashi--physically searching pockets if she has to.

The coke is downed in a matter of seconds. Then, with the can empty, she finally looks a little less despondent, and a little more focused. "Okay," she says quietly. "Sorry ... for the dramatics. But I'm pretty sure I'm going insane in this place. The Maze is amazing. I've learned more about folding subspace and extradimensional theory in the past two weeks than in my entire two years as a magical girl."

"But this place also has a will to it, a sentience," Ami notes, looking between Takashi and Sakura concernedly. "If you tell me it's a card I won't be surprised, but this would be the first I've really encountered while it was active. What I do know is that it's lonely, it's selfish, it's greedy, and it's playful. If you don't play strictly by its rules, it will make you start over, and it will make things harder. So please," and here she's looking directly at Takashi, as if imploring him to listen to her, "just play by the rules. Which are really quite simple. No drawing maps. No magical or mundane attempts to manipulate the maze. No algorithmic solving strategies like 'always follow the left wall'. No leaving a trail--magical or otherwise.

"In other words," Ami summarizes, "trial and error, luck, and memorization are the only winning solutions. So just ... walk with me. Memorize as we go. We try every branch at random until we are sure it is the wrong branch, then we try another branch at random based on our memory of what has been tried before."
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 03:22:12 70233
....Alright, that's kind of adorable. Rei looks away from Hugging Sakura on Takashi, laughing /just/ loud enough for Takashi to hear her. OH yes. There's a little taunt in there somewhere.

A deep sigh. "Let's...just calm down everyone. Ami-chan. As much as I'd like to just burn through everything in this place and get you out of here, I have a feeling that'd be cheating." Is that dissappointment in Rei's voice. Secretly, she likes Takashi's plan.

"Unless I'm wrong. Please tell me I'm wrong, Ami-chan." Fist clench. The maze is getting an absolute death glare.

She's also closing her eyes, and just starting to let her feelings guide her. Just a few steps here and there. Hands clasped in prayer, her hair swaying as she walks. Unless Ami asks her to stop, she'll start following her heart.

And then Ami lays out The Rules (tm). She walks over, and offers her hand to Ami, eyes still closed.

"Let's do this, everyone. If our minds can't get us through this, then our love for each other and our hearts will guide us through this!" Proclaims Rei. Every now and then, she'll tug on Ami's hand. She has no idea what she's doing. Which is, in part, the plan.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 03:22:41 70234
    Apatite listens as Ami explains the rules that the card expects them to play by if they are going to escape. "So basically," She mutters, but mostly to herself, "It's rules are 'no actually solving the maze, just wander around until you happen to find the way out'. Because who wants people to actually use their brains to solve a puzzle anyway?"

    She sighs. Truth be told, 'wander around until you find the way out' is probably the method best suited to her particular abilities anyway. She makes a 'lead on' gesture in Ami's general direction. Her spear has made an appearance, but with a lack of anything to stab with it, she rests it back over her shoulder. She's watchful, staying near the rear of the group as they proceed.

    Place seems empty except for them but.. you never know.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 03:25:04 70235
Sailor Moon snorts and rolls her eyes at Takashi. "Yeah, because last time you tried to 'help' on your own, I wound up punching a wall and blasting you with the crystal."

And then she remembers she actually did hit him with the crystal. Annoyance and sarcasm turns quickly into concern. "You were okay after that, right? I didn't hurt you too badly, did I?"

She worries her lips in concern. Then her eyes widen. "Not that we'd blast you, Mr. Maze! Ms. Maze?"

She blinks at Ami. "That's...a lot of rules." Sentient, eh? "Would hugging the walls be against the rules? Because if this place is smart, its probably lonely."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 03:25:42 70236
"Think of it as playing a game with Momo, when she was younger," Kunzite suggests to Apatite, with a certain tired resignation. "That's how some of the other cards seemed to behave."
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 03:29:22 70238
Takashi has to pull the soda from the magical storage space that is Axion's gem, and then rolls it down to Ami before providing more sodas to anyone who wants. And they're genuine PRODUCT PLACEMENT original Coca-Colas, not DARK Cola or other offbrands.

But then Takashi frowns SO HARD. "So wait, the rules are that we can only solve it in the most difficult, pointlessly painstaking way possible?" He looks at Sakura as if saying 'Are you sure anybody should be friends with this thing?' with his eyes and facial expression alone.

"It's like it was designed for us to have no fun." he says, and it looks like he's looking to Rei and Lacrima for some level of agreement here. Then with a sigh he nods to Kyouko in some sort of wierd complete agreement with her line.

"I lived." Takashi responds to Sailor Moon with most of his venom reserved. "Hopefully your arm recovered." It's as nice as he can get about being socked with positive energy, and it's all because Ami is here, and that much is likely plainly evident to everyone familiar with him.

"And like the other cards, this one seems as if it's almost specifically designed to be too dangerous to leave around with the spoiled child mindset common to the untamed cards..." He sighs. "Lets get moving, then. I trust Ami's deductions, and not playing by the rules means we're wasting time that we could be using celebrating rescuing her."
Lacrima 2017-02-05 03:33:36 70239
Lacrima frowns at Riventon. "This is a stupid set of rules." she says. "I mean. By those rules. 'Following the Right or Left Sides all the way' is against the rules and that's typically how I solved mazes in elementary school." she says.

She sighs and flips her hair a little. She'll follow the others for now. Someone needs to watch backs. Or just the one she's watching for now at the least.

I mean what if there's a giant youma pac-man in here?

Could you imagine?
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 03:35:48 70240
Sakura Kinomoto blinked, then perked up. "Oh, they're usually not so bad once you get to know them. I mean, sword has a bit of a temper, but really it only cuts if you WANT it to cut, it's really harmless if you mean to be. Bubble is playful and likes to get bubbles in its users nose to tickle them. Wave is a big pushy, but she is the most protective, loving card once you get to know her. Thunder is a tad wild, but really, as long as you give him cuddles he's just like a big dog. He's really quite sweet. Snow is a bit of a wild child, but she just wants to have fun, she loves playing games and didn't mean to drench the city in snow and hurt people, she just wanted to play."

As she walked, she stroked her hands along the wall. "Each and every card has their own personality, their own thoughts, their own feelings. And i think they want to be with their friends. I don't think maze is any different. I'm not sure how you hug a wall, but I'm sure when it's a card it can be."

And then maze began to shift and... Wait, did that WORK? Did the *niceness* make it give in?!

HA! No, suckers. They were now inside... a cube? A massive maze cube. The exit could be seen on the roof and the maze paths could be seen across the walls and--

Wait. they could see the other mazes. That'd mean they could deduct where they'd have to go. Granted, they'd have to mentally map miles of twists and turns AND be able to keep it all straight while traversing it. One wrong turn and they'd have to start over... But it was one that could be beaten with brains. If only they had a super genius. Also, it was probably the maze's way of saying 'screw you, my mazes are awesome. Here, it's not just LUCK now!' Still, they'd have to travel to the walls and find a way up them, and keep all that information in mind while traversing.

But still, it was kinda like seeing a map!
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 03:40:33 70241
She sulks a bit. She knows he's not actually concerned, and that her blast probably hurt him. Lots.

" long as you're okay..."

The maze shifts. Somehow, she feels she's partially to blame. She rolls her eyes and her shoulders sag even more. "I'll just...sit here and shut up. And close my eyes." She grabs onto Kunzite's sleeve, eyes screwed tightly shut.

After all, its not like she's ever been good with mazes even when she could see them from above.
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 03:53:18 70242
Ami groans in frustration when the maze shifts again. At least this time it's a solvable puzzle. She stares at it all, then sighs and rubs her face in frustration as she looks over it all. "Takashi," she says quietly, "my head hurts. But bare with me on this," she mumbles. "Finding our way to the edge of the section we're on will take some luck ... but I think I can memorize at least three of the other six sections if you can memorize the other two. Then, if no one else tries to cheat again," she glances to the others, "once we're off this space, we should be able to combine our memorization of the other five to safely navigate to the exit." It's going to take hours--and that's after Ami and Takashi take at least a few hours to memorize everything ... but they should be able to get out in under a day.

"I'll take that one, that one, and that one," she points at them all. "You take the other two. Everyone else try to memorize what you can. Meanwhile, Usagi-chan, I want you to look really hard at where we're at, and just take a wild guess which way is the best way to go from here." Because yes, as far as she's concerned, Usagi is the luckiest girl ever.

Orders doled, Ami sits herself down and reaches for another container of food to eat while she stares at the maze around them. It's hours and hours of mental exercise to memorize the maze, but it's also a problem she is capable of solving which should satisfy the maze's conditions. And, in truth, she absolutely agrees with the assessment that the maze makes beautiful mazes.

When she's finally confident, Ami looks to Takashi, then stands up. "I'm ready," she says, then looks to Usagi. "Which way first?"

It is a matter of many trials and errors of following Usagi--and apparently Sakura and Kyouko!--on their 'intuition' until they reach the first edge. But once they're on the edge, the pace picks up. Memorizing planes doesn't involve knowing every turn; it simply involves backtracking from the exit along likely routes of opportunity until you find every possible point it could connect from the exit to the plane you're on. So it's not like either Takashi or Ami had to memorize billions of possibilities; in total there were only about thirty distinct ways one could reach the exit from their starting plane.

Hours indeed, but hours with definite progress and no further changes, and a distinct feeling that the Maze was pleased that they were able to actually solve its patterns without resorting to trickery.

Soon, the end is in sight--not above them, but in front of them. They're nearly out. "I was this close when you guys found me," Ami notes quietly as they draw nearer.
Rei Hino 2017-02-05 03:56:27 70243
And so Rei follows. And, at times, leads. The young miko isn't that great at memorization. She mostly sticks to the back as the group moves. Every now and then, she'll tug Ami or Usagi in a particular turn as her instincts and psychic powers guide her.

But mostly she's just there to be with her friends, and encourage them forward. Even if Usagi starts to whine about boredom.

Especially if Usagi starts to whine about boredom.

A smile. "We can all do this, Ami-chan."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 03:59:25 70244
    It's true that 'intuition' is something that Apatite can generally provide- she might not be good at memorizing or figuring out difficult mental problems, but she sure as heck is good at 'feeling' which way is the correct way to go, an almost animal instinct for escape. Of course, that wouldn't do much good to solve the actual maze, but it might lend a hand or lend confirmation to the more reasoned/memorized directions.

    Plus she finds, somewhat to her surprise, that she can feel Mamoru. A beacon pulsing from far away, but one she can always turn towards when there doesn't seem to be any other sign of which way to go. She doesn't try to lead, and only offers input when asked for it, but she does offer it as she can.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 04:01:03 70245
Sakura Kinomoto was really lucky when it came to it. Then again, she was the only girl likely in school who'd managed to play a perfect game of yawtzee. Her family never had board game night again. At least, one games that had any amount of luck. She could still remember touya landing on her park place. That had three hotels. Mwa ha ha ha.

However, once was all said and done, they got out. And then... the maze... Once they were out, it started to reform itself! NO!

"Return to your true form! Clow card!" she yelled, before it could finish. She let out a sigh of relief as the maze card flew into the air... And then descended in front of Ami.

She opened her mouth to say something, then stopped. She stared at take and... slowly... drew her cards out.

Maybe... he was the better captor. A look of concern formed on her face. Then she walked towards him.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 04:03:13 70246
Usagi, truthfully, has been missing Mamoru during her little sulkfest. She's cuddled that ever-connected bond, more so when Ami gave her the job of finding a path!

She follows her heart rather than her mind, goes down the ways that 'seem' right. There's no real rhyme or reason to it, not even for her. And whenever she makes a wrong turn and flusters about, she feels an added burst of warmth and affection. Yay!

And of course, there's also the added bonus of occasional Rei Distraction from her woes.

She hugs Ami's arm. "Don't worry. I can feel it! And when we're out, I'll share some of the Mako-cookies that literally have my name on them with you."

She intersects Sakura, suddenly, latching onto her arm. She isn't exactly sure what the plan is, but something niggles at her! "Whew! This was different from Mr. Jump! How's he doing, by the way?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 04:11:13 70247
Kunzite spends his time, as they move, monitoring the group to be sure they don't lose anyone -- and sometimes carrying the tired, though careful never to do so in a way that lifts their eyes above his. Just in case the Maze takes it in mind to complain. He's silent. Right up until Usagi latches on to Sakura.

The flicker of his glance in Usagi's direction is outright and visibly grateful.

"Kinomoto-san," he says. "I'd like to speak with you, when you have a moment. About the cards."
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 04:18:08 70248
Sakura Kinomoto stopped, slowly lowering the cards. She stared up at Kunz and opened her mouth, then glanced back to Taka. "Don't... you wanna talk to him about it, too? I mean, he's... a card captor now too. Right?"

She then glanced to usagi. Then her eyes lowered. "Do... you think I should give him the cards, too? The other ones? I mean... he... seems more qualified. Than me. And... if he wants to be their friends too... it'd be better for the smarter, stronger person to have them, right?"
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 04:21:53 70249
Takashi makes a really grumpy, disgruntled face. He doesn't like rote memorization. He /likes/ cheating. He /likes/ creative solutions. He /likes/ breaking the rules. But... more than that, he wants Ami and himself out of the maze. (Give or take the rest, really.) So he does, and he doesn't even protest that he should be memorizing more, or anything!

"Oh man this was not what I had in mind when I suggested we go on a trip to another dimension this weekend. I am so sick of walls and space, I want my lab and bad take-out." he grumps. But he does help them, a great deal, and he does edge them to the exit. When Sakura offers the cards, he looks at her, perking an eyebrow, but he doesn't actually move forward. Maybe... he doesn't want... all the cards?
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 04:25:21 70250
There it is. The Maze card itself. Ami blinks in surprise when it hovers before her, then reaches up to take it very gently in her hand. She turns it over to study the card from both sides, and then--very quietly--disappears the card into a pocket of her own making: a plane of existence even Takashi cannot likely reach without immense effort. Maybe someday one of them will get the card from her. For today, there's bigger issues at hand.

Takashi's words dwell on her mind, and Ami sighs a little. "Yeah. I still owe you that," she notes quietly. "But right now, I think I need to sleep. And I'm sure my mother is worried sick. And I have missed so much school." She wrinkles her nose in distaste, right up until Sakura starts to offer Takashi the cards ... and he doesn't immediately grab at them.

Quietly, Ami watches the unfolding events. She has thoughts on the matter, but she's not going to air them right now. Right now, she is tired, and there are a lot of people here who have thoughts. So she just watches.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 04:26:25 70251
She looks at Takashi out of the corner of her eye before looking back at Sakura. "Taka-b...-kun is...a very smart guy. But..." She looks at Takashi. "You know the smartest thing here is to let her have the majority of them. If nothing else, she has a larger network of magical girls on her side to help her keep the more troublesome ones in check than you do. Besides." She jerks her head a bit toward Ami. "The more you take on, the less time you have for her. And if you're not able to make her happy, you know I'd just try punching you again. Nephri-kun's been showing me how to be better at it."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 04:33:58 70252
Kunzite regards Sakura gravely. "Would you tell your friend with the camera that she isn't allowed to be your friend anymore, just because the young lady," he gestures toward Ami, "is smarter than you are, and she should clearly be her friend instead? If so, I'm reasonably sure that your friend in the camera will have some choice words for you on the subject."

He crouches down, bringing his height down somewhat closer to hers. "Between Zoisite and me? He's the smarter, stronger person. Possibly smarter than Mamoru, too. But he listens to me, and to Mamoru. Mercury is more brilliant than anyone else here -- but she listens to Moon. Because intelligence and power are not always the most important qualities for someone to have. I'm certain it will irritate Agera-san for me to say this -- but right now, you have more of a capacity to grow into someone able to handle the cards wisely than he does. Consider that. And when you doubt your own ability, remember that you are doubting what you can do now -- and rather than giving up, work to do better. Do you understand?"
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 04:36:09 70253
Takashi frowns. "I'm not letting her have the ones I've taken. Besides, she wouldn't know how to control some of them, the ones that have already bonded to me..." he reveals The Thunder and the way the colors and attitude of the card have changed before it vanishes back into Axion's subspace pocket.

"Look, I'm sure we'll get this squared away. Just don't do anything dumb, anyone. We just spent a day wandering around a maze and before that I spent a week trying to find my girlfriend in the haystack of Tokyo when she was in a nested eldritch anomaly." he says, hands down to his sides. "I'm TIRED. I need to rest. And then I can explain in explicit detail how wrong you are, but you probably won't listen and you'll prattle on about how love and justice save the day, and we'll be right back where we were before all this, okay?" Takashi is so very grumpy when he's tired.
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 04:37:37 70254
    Apatite breathes a sigh of relief as they manage to find their way out. She glances around, reassuring herself that yes, this seems to be the real reality.. then glancing over as Sakura makes what is probably a Very Dumb Offer to Takashi. She might have opened her mouth, but other people beat her to it- including Kunzite. She quirks a brow at his little speech, but a small smile tugs the corner of her lip and she shakes her head.

    Then she pulls out her phone and sends a few texts.
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 04:40:18 70255
Ami arches a brow at Kunzite's words, but she doesn't counter them or reinforce them. It isn't until Takashi starts sulking that she takes any action at all, and that action is to reach up and very gently lay a finger against his lips. "Takashi-kun," she tells him very quietly, "We will tell them together. But if they're going to believe you, you have to tell them the same way you told me: without judging them, or assuming what they're going to say. You have to trust that they will make a wise decision.

"And you know what," Ami says, "they may not come to the same conclusion I did, but it's not going to be because it is you telling the story, or because of the darkness within you--it will be because they have good reason to believe in their opinion. But I will sit with you, and help you tell it like you told me, and try to convince them, if you will promise to keep an open mind to what they have to say in return."
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 04:41:42 70256
"And I spent the last week checking morgues because I couldn't feel her anymore! You're not the only--" She breaks herself off and sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. "You're right. Yes. Of course. We can argue over this later. And I'll probably say stuff that will lessen your already miniscule opinion of me. But whatever story it is that Ami-chan's talking about? Which, by the way, is the first time I'm hearing of it? Of course I'll listen, because of that love and justice 'crap.' So really, bite me."
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 04:43:46 70257
Sakura Kinomoto stared at him like he was insane. "W-what? Tomoyo-chan is the best ever! I could never, ever, ever not be her friend! She's smart and nice and kind and sweet and she's always there when I need her and she worries about me and she's really super mega awesome!" Then... "You... really think I can be like that? I can be a... better wielder than him?"

And then... "Huh? what... did you do to that card?" she asked, confused. "They never changed like that for me." Something about it just... made her feel... icky. She wasn't too good at sensing non-clow magic though.

"Wait, something else? Is there something I'm doing wrong with the cards? And--"

Then usagi. Her eyes practically glowed as she stared, clamping her hands together and staring with wonder. "Sailor moon-sempai is so... cool..." she whispered, staring with complete abject admiration.
Takashi Agera 2017-02-05 04:48:44 70258
Takashi leans back against the wall. "Just not now, I'd mangle the explanation. Maybe not anytime soon." he admits, shrugging. He actually bites himself back on responding to Sailor Moon, and instead digs up something from his human handbook. "I didn't mean to imply your worry was anything less than mine, Moon-san. Just that maybe it would be okay if we saved all the other cosmic level stuff for a day when we weren't exhausted, okay?"

"The Thunder has chosen to align with me." That's the only explanation she gets, for now. "I'm sure the ones I've taken will all soon." Then another sigh. "See, you have me doing it anyways. I'm outnumbered here, don't make me open up a Dusk Zone portal in your house, it'll probably set off a smoke detector or something."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-02-05 04:52:07 70259
"You have the capacity," Kunzite says, and it is said as a statement of fact: there is no appear to nor seems nor I think nor I believe. "That doesn't guarantee you will reach it. But you can." He pushes to his feet. "I agree with Agera-san, though. Explaining how his magic works, and why he chooses to use it, is not something to do when we are all very tired."

Yes, he just said those words out loud.

As for agreeing with Moon and Mercury -- that's said, not in words, but in his putting a hand out and resting it for a moment on Usagi's shoulder.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-02-05 04:54:32 70260
And that is literally when Mamoru comes back in the kitchen with a stack of pizza boxes too tall for him to see over. He thumps them onto the counter window between the kitchen and the living room, and Luna jumps up on to the counter next to them, grooming her face to get rid of tomato sauce.

"Anyone who's sleeping over, let me know and I'll show you where to crash. Anyone who's not, take a couple boxes with you. And some orange soda. There's a lot of orange soda."
Kyouko Sakura 2017-02-05 04:59:27 70261
    Apatite gives Mamoru a thoughtful look as he comes back into the room with all that pizza, pondering on the connection she felt whilst in the maze- one she had known was there, but hadn't really considered before. Something to talk about another time, though. For now that expression quickly morphs into wolfish grin, because pizza.

    Dismissing her henshin, she walks over and takes a box from the stack. "Momo is having conniptions because I haven't been home, so I'mma steal one of these and get downstairs." She glances back over her shoulder. "Glad you're back safe, Ami-san." A brief, light punch on the back for Kunzite, a half-hearted swipe at Mamoru as she passes him, and she is out the door to the elevator.
Sakura Kinomoto 2017-02-05 05:01:38 70263
Sakura Kinomoto nodded. "R-right. Wait, it... chose... you?" she asked, sounding worried again. But it had already been her friend. Yet it chose him over her? She looked down at the cards in her hand. Slwoly pocketed them, more doubt in her. But Kunzite believed in her! Then...

"Pizza!" she said happily, running in and yay! she was so hungry she could eat TWO slices all by herself! Well, one and a half. Then blinked. "... Wait. I'm supposed to be in the hospital still. Are, ummm, what if they notice I'm gone?" .... If there hadn't been a decoy, there was likely panic by now. "And I'm going to need new castes..."
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 05:02:11 70264
Usagi leans into the hand on her shoulder. Kunzite's a very comfy person. Snuggly, even. The cuddliest impassive face ever.

But there's one more cuddliest person ever in the room...

As soon as Mamoru's hands are free, he has a bunny sized person tackling him in a hug. Moon climbs on him and is maybe a little sniffly, not even really caring anymore about people Not In The Know as Moon becomes Usagi.

She's all sniffly. "Can I stay over? And can Ami-chan stay over if she wants to? And I can snuggle her all up and you and her and yay?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 05:02:20 70265
Ami sighs quietly and reaches up to rub her forehead. "I'm not ready to face my mom, yet," she notes. "But I apologize if the police come looking for me here." Because she's pretty sure they must have been called, by now. On the other hand, her mom doesn't know about this place. Maybe it won't be so bad. "I'll go home tomorrow night."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-02-05 05:08:56 70266
Climbed on and arm-swiped-at and fretted at by an eleven year old, Mamoru's perfectly happy to be an Usagi perch. "That's fine, but don't pull me into your girlpile," he laughs at Usagi, reaching up to pull gently on one of her pigtails. "But you know where I am always. Cuddle your girl." He tilts his head back to kiss her awkwardly on the arm or something, and with the contact comes a little bit of an impression that Usagi can use to fill in the blanks.

He looks down at Sakura and affectionately flicks her forehead. "Your worrying is breaking the speed limit. Eat food first. If a miracle needs to happen, a miracle needs to happen. Otherwise we can just replace your casts and you can make a fake longer recovery while not actually hurting. Meanwhile, sit and eat. Orange soda's in the fridge."

He glances up at Ami. "Room you had last time's got fresh sheets and hasn't been occupied since, it's all yours."
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 05:13:16 70267
Clean of stray tomato sauce, just as any pizza that may have once had anchovies now don't, Luna leaps to Ami's shoulder and rubs hard against the girl's cheek. "I'm so glad you're okay. I'll keep the algorythm I set up for you in place, though, and include it for the others as well."

Usagi pulls back slightly to look at Mamoru with a bit of concern, her head tilted to one side. She slides her hand against his cheek before nodding. With a kiss, she slides back down.

And then Luna isn't the only one glued to Ami.

Without the Moon henshin, Usagi's definitly more sniffly, more tired, and much more huggy. "You are okay, right?" Sniff, sniff! "I-I don't gotta beat mazes up?"
Ami Mizuno 2017-02-05 05:20:46 70268
Ami squeaks excitedly when Luna leaps on her shoulders. She reaches up to pull the cat down and snuggles her close, burying her face in the dark fur. A glance is given over Luna's back towards Mamoru--a look that conveys thanks more than any words possibly could. She knows what he just did for her.

Then she's back to Usagi, whom she's hugging tightly with one arm (the other has a cat) and kissing her on the cheek. "I'm okay. Malnourished, tired, cranky, and badly in need of a shower, but I'm okay. I'm going to go soak for an hour. Can you find me something to wear afterwards so that I don't have to wander around in a bathrobe?" she asks of Usagi.
Usagi Tsukino 2017-02-05 05:26:20 70269
Usagi nods! And kisses Ami's cheek about a billion times. "I will! I have a few things here. A bunch of pyjamas!" She lowers her voice and keeps an eye on Mamoru. "I even know where I 'lost' the PJ tops so I could steal Mamo-chan's shirts."

She dashes off to look!

Luna is happy with the cuddles! She even whuffles a bit against Ami's ear. "They gave you the food in there, right? And we have pizza. Less on the sardines. They were yummy."