Ami's Rebound Dude

Ami and Mako and Kunzite go looking for immortality paperwork in the City of the Dead. They find the guy who hoards it, and he wants to date Ami so he can steal her energy with kisses. Unfortunately for Mako and Kunzite, his minions are pretty handsy. Fortunately for Ami and Kunzite, Mako objects wholeheartedly to handsy vampire smart-guy archaeologists who take advantage of rebound dates.

Date: 2017-03-26
Pose Count: 47
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-26 01:20:49 74087
Honestly, the City of the Dead is a pretty predictable location for Ancient Knowledge About Vampires to exist, which is sign one that the rumor on sundry internet places is probably just that: a rumor. It's just that there's such oddly specific information -- and they know for sure that other supernatural things have spilled out into the catacombs and the quarry shafts down there, thanks to the intersection of Zoisite's gardening habits in the Dark Kingdom and the excess Earth energy seeping from the formerly-sealed door to Zoisite's palace.

At least there have been fewer urbexers vanishing in the vast ossuary.

It wasn't until there were some reputable sources locatable -- and some less than reputable, but old enough to confirm that if these are just rumors they're old rumors indeed -- that said there was some kind of notebook or diary, or maybe a scroll (unlikely due to the dampness of the area and the lifespan of papyrus), detailing the methods of beings whose longevity comes from others but which they gave back to their communities...

...that it suddenly became worth a trip. Plus, Paris, if it didn't pan out then Ami and Mako could always go shopping and let Kunzite go do whatever Kunzite does in his off time. Probably lean against things recreationally.

The garden on the other side of the palace's exit is a far cry from what it was over a year ago-- but so many of them are.

It's still beautiful, it's just no longer deadly, and no longer haunted by the trapped souls of the explorers it ate. The ambiance is therefore much less twitch-inducing, and the roses climb everywhere. The exit to the catacombs is ahead, and the various compiled maps and landmarks and instructions garnered from relatively large amounts of research give a fairly short distance to cover from the gardens to the quarry offshoot that still holds anonymous bones piled by type.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 01:35:25 74089
It's funny how, all the things she's spent any length of time at, keep bringing Ami Mizuno back to the same topic: reincarnation, immortality, the soul and body. Even now, as she's busy searching for a cure for Alexis Raskoph's sudden onset vampirism, it's the same topic. Even with Takashi most of her research fell along the lines of how to survive the permanent severing of one's body from their linker and ki.

And to think, two years ago she thought of such things as ridiculous nonesense not suitable for good science. Now, Ami could practically write a dissertation on the subject! And she feels like she's only scratched the surface.

The prospect of notes on the longevity of such creatures as the very vampires she's trying to help is too good a bait. If Beryl weren't defeated, Ami would be sure it was an attempt to lure her out of safety. Even without Beryl, she's still convinced it has to be a trap. But it's also a trap that's too good--too useful--to ignore.

And so she asked for help: from the Senshi who always has her back, and the only Vampire she's sure she can trust, to go and look into this trap.

As Sailor Mercury steps out of the arch leading to Zoisite's palace, she has to pause to consider the growth of the garden. "Pretty," she murmurs quietly. "I wonder if he's been here working on it, or it's just growing like this on its own."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-26 02:18:37 74091
"Either way," Sailor Jupiter comments from Mercury's side, taking a long and admiring look around herself at the profusion of thriving plants, "it looks a lot nicer here than it did. Even before we made a mess of it."

Makoto herself is not really sure what to expect out of this trip, but Ami asked for her help and that was more than enough. "So where are we headed from here?" she asks, looking towards Mercury now with a curious lift of her eyebrows. "I'll follow your lead."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 02:25:16 74092
The Vampire in question may not have been the one Mercury was wondering that to. He adds his comment anyhow. "I imagine your 'mess of it' helped with the renovations. Especially if Moon was annoyed at the time."

Moon Healing Escalation: it slices, it dices, it ... does double duty as a gardening tool? Well. Only if the plants were part-youma.

The rest of what Jupiter says, Kunzite echoes only with an inclination of his head. There are parts of this maze that he knows, or that he knew a couple of years ago. There's a good deal he doesn't. He trusts Mercury to have a good idea what she's looking for, and where.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 02:31:18 74094
"Mmm," Amii replies quietly, as she pulls her gaze away from the gardens and back to the exit. "Well, according to the rumours and the notes I've got ..." Reaching up, she gently touches one of the earings on the left ear, and her visor winks into existence. "Ah, here we are," she says, as a 3d overlay of the catacombs comes into view. A few moments of orienting herself, and she motions, "This way, I think."

Such words of confidence, from the bluenette. Nevertheless, she starts on her way, heading into the catacombs led by a little blinking light that should at least indicate where they should begin their search.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-26 02:37:17 74095
'A trap!' 'Too good to be true!' -- of course these are likely possibilities. The fact that there's a noise in the catacombs so close to the fantastic garden, lit by otherworldly light, is worrying either way.

Especially since it's a smash followed by a curse in another language, definitely not French. Macedonian, if anyone's got any way of telling. Particularly colorful, likewise.

Visor readings don't pick anything magical up, at least, but then they don't always, do they? Frequently not when someone magical is in civilian form, or if a magical trap has been well-hidden... at any rate, the curse is followed a moment later by the sound of sweeping, broken glass clinking against broken glass.

They're also not far from the X-marks-the-spot -- if anyone's come all the way down here through illegal entrances and side-paths and barred doors, odds are good they're a cataphile, or someone looking for the legendary gardens under Paris... or Ami's searches tripped some kind of flag.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-26 03:06:47 74098
Sailor Jupiter's faith in her teammate is not in the least put off by the 'I think'. She follows Mercury's lead without hesitation or doubt, walking with long easy strides and keeping a weather eye out for any signs of disturbance as they go.

At first it seems like things might stay uneventful - but then there's a noise, a pithy exclamation in an unfamiliar language, and instantly Jupiter is stepping forward to put a shoulder in front of Mercury, green eyes sharply narrowed. "Who's there?" she calls towards the sounds of sweeping.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 03:16:51 74100
For Jupiter, it's faith. For Kunzite, it's acceptance. They're not the same thing, and hers is far stronger; but they reach the same result, right now. Following Mercury's map and directions. Kunzite notes any obstacles or pitfalls he knows of in advance, quiet words in plenty of time for Mercury to decide how she wants to deal with them.

Broken glass, on the other hand, he didn't voice any warning of. His hands lift, an echo of Jupiter's protective movement; but he doesn't do anything, not now. No manipulation of shadow. No, sir, we are merely spelunking cosplayers, planning an interesting photoshoot for our Tumblr. Really.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 03:17:11 74101
"Tsk, en Francais, Mako-chan," Sailor Mercury replies, gently touching her friend on the shoulder. "Qui est la?" she calls out. "Il y a quelqu'un?" Meanwhile, she reaches up to adjust her visor, adding thermal imaging to overlay the 3d map position. It's a little information overload, but right now that's acceptable to make sure they're safe.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-26 03:38:21 74103
"Uhh-- gomen nasai, nihongo o--" calls the voice back uncertainly, sweeping sounds stopped for the moment, and then after Ami speaks French, the voice floats back sounding much more relieved. It's definitely a male voice, cheerful and resonant. "Ah! Amyntas Lazarov. I have a permit to be here, also, I am not a police officer," he says, answering in kind. "Perhaps English would be easier? My Japanese is very poor, and my French only serviceable-- but I am a graduate student of historical archaeology at--"

And then he steps around the corner, carrying a paper sack and a house-painting paintbrush in one hand, and a battery-powered plastic camping lantern in the other, and a backpack on his back.

Amyntas Lazarov is very pretty. He's wearing glasses, and his black hair could easily be in a ponytail but isn't (which means it's a little cobwebby here and there); he's got an athletic but slender build and skin that's darker than Mako and Ami's, but slightly lighter than Kunzite's. At least, in the light of the lantern. Something about him is probably reminiscent of Makoto's old senpai-- and yes, Kunzite, he does sort of resemble Endymion, doesn't he?

He looks like he's in his early twenties, and he's dressed in scruffy jeans and hiking boots, and a plaid flannel shirt that's... unbuttoned... all the way down...

That is, at least, a brilliant smile.

For a second. And then it's puzzled. "--Sorbonne. Ah. You are... really not dressed for this?"
Makoto Kino 2017-03-26 04:07:38 74106
The glance that Jupiter flicks back over her shoulder is faintly aggrieved. "--I can barely manage English, Ami-chan," she hisses, "French is a bit too--"

This is around the point at which the stranger comes around the corner, and Makoto kind of trips over her own tongue and completely loses track of how to words for a second.

This is an expression that Ami hasn't seen on Mako's face all that recently. It is definitely for the best that Nephrite is not here to see it too.

"Um," Sailor Jupiter flusters, hastily recollecting her scattered powers of language. "Uh. Sanky--no, that's wrong, isn't it." English. "...Hello?"

Help, says the look in her eyes as she glances to Mercury and Kunzite again.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 04:17:05 74107
French is not exactly one of Kunzite's strong points, either. 'Amyntas Lazarov' stands out, granted. And the change to English after the language is mentioned helps. That last question, though -- gray eyes travel down the length of that unbuttoned shirt. "None of us seem to have the practical high ground on that front," he comments. "Perhaps we should all agree to chalk it up to unusual hobbies, and leave it at that."

-- Mercury asked you to help, Kunzite. That does not qualify as helping.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 04:21:39 74108
Help!? How is Ami supposed to Help!? He's downright pulchritudinous! One of the most perfect specimens of--oh wait, she was supposed to be helping. Uh. Ami takes a step forward, doe-eyed towards the man, then smiels and says, "English is fine," in the language of choice. "We're down here um. Preparing for um. Well. Uh. Anyways, hi," she says, "I'm Sailor Mercury, and these are my friends, Sailor Jupiter, and Kunzite! Um. Wow. Sorbonne. I wish I could go to Sorbonne."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-26 04:38:33 74110
"Hello," Amyntas tells Jupiter, eyes twinkling back at her-- and he glances at Kunzite, looking him up and down speculatively. "I don't know. I'd be wearing more if I hadn't dropped chocolate crumbs down my shirt at lunch," he says, one corner of his mouth tugging upwards--

--and then Ami's approaching him, and her eyes are definitely showing all the signs of exactly what he's looking for, and his -- a pale blue-violet -- shine brightly down at her. "You should," he says with an encouraging smile. "Those are interesting names! Perhaps I shall call myself something more interesting someday, but for now, I don't even have time to sleep, nevermind more fun things. But so: let us walk together? I have been focusing on this area for the past two weeks."

He does start walking, carrying the lantern higher; he's going in the direction Ami's indicator blinkenlight says is a great direction.

Promptly ignoring Jupiter and Kunzite, he says conversationally to Mercury, "This is the first time I've run into someone so-- engaging, down here. It's mostly the cataphiles, and many of them think 'safety measures' means 'safety pins as earrings'. Besides that, it's incredibly aggravating the amount of destruction they cause-- there's no way to recover the context of items they remove, nor the items themselves..." He sighs and shakes his head. The blinkenlight blinkens more rapidly. "Do you wish to study archaeology as well? Are you preparing for some sort of reconstruction, or replication of methods--? There's so much data to be gathered, even if it must be sorted, and the secondary context is frequently the only one available..."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-26 04:54:01 74112
Ami's reaction is... unexpected. After all, usually it's Mako going doe-eyed over a hot guy. On the other hand, he's super pretty and he's talking nerdy - even with the benefit of Ami's intensive English lessons, there are a bunch of words in there she doesn't recognize - and you know, maybe a super pretty foreign scientist type who wears his shirts unbuttoned is just what the doctor ordered right now.

A sidelong glance toward Kunzite, and then Sailor Jupiter is shrugging and oh-so-subtly nudging Mercury along, just a little, wearing a bright-eyed 'go for it!' kind of look. She'll fall into step a pace behind and a little off to the side, where she can go back to keeping an eye out while she tries to keep up with that the hell their hot new friend is Englishing.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 04:58:47 74113
Jupiter's sidelong glances are, after this long spending time as her kitchen minion, as effective as other people's hourlong conversations. Kunzite makes no comment. None. Instead, he does the survival-prone thing and half-mirrors Jupiter's positioning on the other side, at least when the halls are wide enough to allow it; falls back further otherwise, never getting between her and the chat she's monitoring.

She can, after all, if necessary punch a great deal harder than he can.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 05:05:12 74114
Walk together? Walk together? Walk together!? Ami repeats the phrase in her mind; trying to suss out the secret meanings behind his inflection. "Two weeks," she repeats reverently. "That's amazing." Ami! You're smarter than that!

She blinks once at her own mental kick, then smiles, "Sorry, I just ... didn't expect to see anyone else down here. It's so rare to find someone interested enough in the history to come this deep! Most people would have stopped ages ago. Ah," Why are we here? "It's not so much the history of the place--although that's indeed fascinating in its own right--as the actual lore left behind. I'm hoping to find books, scrolls, writing on the walls. I'm ah--" she flounders only a moment; being so close to him she can smell him is a bit distracting, "--well, working on a thesis paper about ancient civilizations and their religious and superstitious beliefs, especially those in France, for the moment, although I recently completed a three month trip to Peru where I was studying an ancient Incan temple devoted to the god Supay, who is the god of their underworld, and all the denizens of the dark that he supposedly ruled over."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-26 05:31:52 74118
Amyntas quite cordially takes Jupiter up on her kind unspoken offer by diverting even more of his attention to Mercury. "Ah! Peru-- tell me, as you seem interested in lore, did you spend much time studying Quipu? It amuses me that scientists, for so long, assumed that the Incas had no system of writing. None at all! None despite their advanced civilization -- it is only since the Mayan writing system has been cracked that people have begun to reexamine what they thought was only an accounting system. But imagine, imagine! An entire written language based on knotted rope!"

He sounds, and looks, incredibly gleeful. He also smells uncommonly good for someone who's been down in the catacombs for two weeks, engaging in physical labor at times. There's a faint scent of something -- familiar, maybe. Not identifiably so, but certainly delightfully so. "I am by no means an expert on the Americas, but given that the Inca civilization pre-dated the Iron Age in Europe by two millennia, they hold a powerful draw. As far as ancient lore to be found here in the City of the Dead, though, I am afraid you may be disappointed..."

They turn a corner, momentarily out of sight -- so very briefly out of sight -- of Kunzite and Jupiter; there's nothing stopping them from following, but the sound of Amyntas' voice changes quality, so it might be unnerving for a moment.

But no: the corner they turn leads to a small room with a reinforced door on the other side. And Ami's indicator light has gone solid. There's an army cot set up with a sleeping bag, and a tiny portable range, and various supplies-- enough for several overnights. There are also numerous notebooks.

Amyntas puts his lantern balanced precariously on an outcropping of quarry rock, then moves over to the door and pulls at the handle, resuming speaking. "The earliest parts of these catacombs were only built in the eighteenth century. The quarries they were made from are older, granted, and some date well back into the high middle ages, when they needed stone for the cathedrals and roads-- but there is no truly ancient lore."

He finally gets the thing open, muscles rippling from the jarring wrench necessary, and he turns to sparkle at Ami and reaches for her, gently putting fingertips to her bare arm above the glove. "After you, beautiful scientist."

It is very dark.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-26 05:46:46 74119
A step or two behind, Makoto glances at Kunzite again for a moment, rueful this time. "Do you suppose we can get her to summarize for us later?" she wonders, sotto voce.

Losing sight of them around the corner has her quickening her pace a little, though - there's being a good wingman, and then there's just foolishness, and Sailor Jupiter is not in the business of losing track of her friends down here in this potentially dangerous maze of tunnels and catacombs. The door, once Amyntas gets it open, receives a similarly dubious look.

"Sorry," she says, stepping forward to the doorframe before Mercury can move to pass through it. "Not a scientist, but I am bodyguard. OK if I go first this time?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 05:57:46 74120
That glance from Makoto to Kunzite catches him with a slightly more notable frown than usual. But whatever it is he's not happy with, he's not raising it out loud. Maybe it's just that they're discussing history he doesn't know, and can't reflexively fact-check. That idea's supported by his mutter of, "I hope so," to the summary question.

The lack of ancient lore prompts Kunzite's eyebrows to lift again, and for once he does comment. "Paris," he says, and his tone is amused rather than challenging, and he's addressing Mercury -- agreeing with Mercury -- rather than addressing Amyntas, "had a walled citadel before it had the name of Paris. The stone for that didn't come out of the marsh."

Let's let the pretty boy work for his admiration, just a little. After all, they'll all get to see the --

-- very dark doorway. Oh, how he could wish for a lack of student right now.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 06:05:49 74121
"Mmm, Quipu were really interesting. I actually sorta learned to read them while I was there; it was important to understanding some of the art that we recovered. I'm pretty sure my research assistant was sick of them by the time we left," Mercury admits with a faint smile. "I was practicing making them to keep track of the locations of things we found. I'm afraid I never quite mastered the system, but it was a fun exercise."

She doesn't even notice when they turn the corner ahead of Makoto and Kunzite. She is completely immersed in the conversation; she's even mostly ignoring what her visor is telling her, although she notices it when they actually get to his little camp, and it clearly labels this as the place she was searching for. Ami's eyes widen, and she gasps a little in surprise, but he's already pulled away to open the door.

Are they searching for the same thing? No, surely it's pure happenstance. He's likely looking for other things.

"Ah," she mumbles quietly, "well, you see, when they were built is precisely why I'm not terribly interested in the history of the catacombs themselves. But," here she turns and motions to Kunzite, "even some of those predate the eighteenth century. The left-bank burial grounds were as early as the fifth century," she points out. "But no, it's not the place I am interested in but the knowledge it contains. Even as late as the eighteenth centuries, men and women who were buried in this city of the dead brought with them knowledge of far more ancient times."

As the door opens, she turns to peer in, only to have her peering interrupted by a touch to her forearm.

A touch from a man, which should cause her to recoil.

A touch which, in fact, makes her feel all the more keenly her desire for physical contact.

Sailor Mercury's cheeks turn rosy, and she steps just a little closer to Amyntas, only to find her way barred by Sailor Jupiter. She smiles at her friend, then observes, "I don't think there's any monsters in there. But if you want to go first, I'm sure Amyntas-kun," so familiar! "and I can wait a few moments."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-26 21:33:07 74180
Amyntas blinks, surprised at Jupiter -- and then he laughs a little bit, stepping back to let her through. "Not at all. I am sorry, I did not think you to be a bodyguard; you're so pretty and slender! A woman of many talents--"

Wait. His facts just got asked to check their privilege. Amyntas's shoulders stiffen in academic pride before he glances to Kunzite, then steps back over to get the lantern again and offer it to the white-haired man. "You are very lucky to be in the company of such shining exemplars." There's a pause, and he glances at Ami. "That is the correct word, yes?"

And then he looks to the Shitennou again, smile tighter. "The older quarries, and older still, and still older than that, are above us. Many levels above us. And they have been scoured over the centuries, and any treasures originally placed by those ancient inhabitants have long since been thieved. The catacombs, eighteenth century, when the cemetaries of Paris overran their bounds, and the warren of caves and plague pits caused the weak ground to collapse beneath homes and businesses, dropping them into charnel houses. These tunnels where we are, they are the newest of the old. The oldest of the old have already collapsed, been filled in." The Macedonian student's tight smile curls up a little further. "Moreover, I was under the impression that Mercury sought lore as ancient as the beginnings of Egypt, as ancient as the beginnings of the Incan Empire, but with a Parisian flavor. The bronze age here, I fear, was not so advanced. Surprisingly so, yes, but the only codices she might find in these tunnels would have to have been import--"

He's been talking as Jupiter's gone in ahead. But now, there's a muffled scream from beyond where she is, echoing strangely in the pitch black room. Amyntas startles, and all the color drops from his face, but he steps in front of Mercury nevertheless, swallowing hard, muttering what certainly sounds like prayer in his own language.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-26 22:48:57 74191
Successfully disarmed by the description of herself as 'slender,' Sailor Jupiter blushes faintly, flashes Mercury a quick answering smile, and then - trusting in Kunzite to keep an eye on things on this side - she steps through the doorway and ventures a few steps past it into the dark.

ami might have tempted fate a little too much when she said she didn't think there would be any monsters.

The sensible thing to do would be regroup with the others, but Makoto is prone to acting without thinking. At the sound of the muffled scream, she's instantly forging ahead toward it, sparks of electricity flaring to life at the fingertips of the hand she lifts before her.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-26 23:24:32 74198
"I am indeed lucky to be in their company," Kunzite answers Amyntas, lifting the lantern and positioning himself so as to shed light while blinding the fewest. There's no interruption given of Amyntas' flow of words, though an occasional faint nod marks moments when he approves of the clarifications. One might be reminded of a professor who's just prodded a student into proving he's done his homework --

-- until that scream.

Whereupon Kunzite steps into the doorway, shifting to hold the lantern out to the side of it, where it can shed light within without blinding Mercury and Amyntas to what's beyond.

He does not go through the door. Almost. But not far enough to let Amyntas close it between them.

It's an interesting question, whether he can see in this dark.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-26 23:25:51 74199
Sailor Mercury is not a fainting violet. Her first reaction to danger isn't to shriek and run away. But neither is she the type to run headlong into battle. She has Jupiter, for that! Instead, at the scream, she puts herself very safely behind Amyntas, gripping his arm carefully as she watches past him towards the door.

"Apparently I was wrong," she notes quietly, adjusting her visor to catch the infrared once again. But she doesn't interrupt Jupiter's vision by summoning a mist. Right now, she simply waits for more information; there's no sense in acting rashly.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-27 00:02:40 74203
The scanning does not, actually, come up with any visible life forms in there other than Jupiter -- there's an electronic device somewhere over across from her; the dimensions of the room are... somewhat incorrect for the apparent acoustics, and don't seem to actually make sense internally-- it looks like layered space, almost. Almost. Things she's familiar with. Dormant dark energy, flaring closer to becoming active--

--but Amyntas has half-turned, keeping himself between her and the door but allowing him to put an arm around her protectively, his hands coming in contact with her arms and his chest coming in contact with the side of her face, and he radiates comfort and safety and kindness and attraction...

Jupiter can see slightly better (flickering, strobing, flashes) with the lightning, and what she sees looks for all the world like a lush bedroom in an Eastern European castle. The carpet beneath her feet is plush; her boots sink into it in such a way that it seems impossible that feet could find anything nicer to stand on. A large four-posted bed with draperies and a canopy stands across from her, and something is moving inside, under the covers. The muffled scream came from that direction, and now there are equally muffled whimpers, scared.

Kunzite can, in fact, see in this dark -- there's nothing supernatural about it, and the light of the lantern adds to Jupiter's flickering light, giving an idea of the rich colors inside, of the rich upholstery and the expensive textiles, of the painted patterns near the ceiling and around the closed windows, of the carvings in the mahogany. He can tell, also, that there's something moving on the bed, someone maybe; he can tell that the layered space means that the room Jupiter is in shares a location with other locations, with a small carved-out cave that belongs to the catacombs, with a slice of the Dusk Zone. And he can tell that the dark energy that's welling up is around the moving figure on the bed.

"Take care--" Amyntas squeaks, drawing Ami further from the door by inches, glancing toward Kunzite, eyes wide. "--bodyguard or not, we should go in and help her, that's-- that's not right, that's unnatural-- there shouldn't be a real room there-- it was just another cave last time I opened it--!"

All of a sudden the dark energy billows and hands come up from the plush carpet to grab at Jupiter's ankles, and a silver light engulfs those hands, drawing wisps of Jupiter's energy visibly from her.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-27 00:43:49 74210
At this point Jupiter is almost inured to finding things like lushly-appointed European castle bedrooms in the midst of Paris's underground catacombs. The source of the sounds of distress is much more her priority than the strangeness of her surroundings, and that's what she beelines to without pausing to question the rest of it.

At least until hands emerge from the depths of the carpet to seize her ankles and she feels the unpleasant wrenching sensation of energy drain kicking in.

"Why, you--" she snarls, reverting to Japanese without realizing it in her sudden indignation. With a powerful heave, she manages to wrench one of her feet free, enough to shift her weight--

--and drive her fist downwards, blazing now with lightning bright as a miniature star clutched in her hand, into the floor between her boots.

Releasing a surge of electricity into the floor should force whatever's got her to let go. Or perhaps set the carpet on fire while she's standing on it. Or both. Maybe both. Apparently she'll take those odds.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-27 00:48:35 74213
Setting the carpet on fire is something they can deal with. Still. Amyntas' voice is pulling away while encouraging Kunzite to go in; that's not endearing Ami's new swain to Kunzite in the slightest.

Besides, anything that can handle that kind of a punch from Jupiter is likely to be out of his league.

"Careful," he calls instead. "I can't tell if the one on the bed is victim, bait, or opponent. There's a third place layered alongside the other two, here, and I don't like the looks of it --"

Like anyone likes the look of anything right now?
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-27 00:54:23 74214
The visor's no help, so Mercury reaches up to banish it with a simple touch to her earing. "Jupiter, look out!" she calls a split second before the hands burst out of the floor. But Sailor Jupiter is already on it.

Narrowing her eyes, she steps up next to--but not past--Amyntas, and takes in a deep breath. She is, after all, the Princess of Mercury. For all that she's taken with this boy, she's not ignorant to her friend's concerns.

Lightning mixes with frost, as Mercury covers the floor in the deepest chill of the arctic, freezing out the hands grasping for her companion. "Go!" she calls to Jupiter. "I've got these." Because holding things still is easy. Killing them can come later, when they've discerned who's actually in danger.

Speaking of things that should not be.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-27 01:19:24 74220
Fried Hand with a side of Electrified Carpet served fresh in a bowl of Cratered Floor: there are no alternates on the menu, and the entire room shakes, which makes a literal tape recorder fall out of the bed and bounce off the carpet. Unsurprisingly, the whimpering sounds stop. The blanket is still writhing, though, and more hands start creeping out of the bed, worm-white and unattached from anything at all. They walk on their fingers like Thing.

Amyntas's expression goes very slightly tighter as he comes to a decision-- and with one hand reaching to lightly keep contact with Mercury, he takes a step forward, too.

In the span of half a second, four things happen in a row, so quickly that it's almost simultaneous. First, Mercury is flooded with a sensation quite akin to bliss, laced heavily with a supreme lack of give-a-damn and a huge dose of acceptance; second, she is energy-drained hard as Amyntas glows the same silver as the hands in the floor that Jupiter is charring spectacularly; third, with a speed and strength that can't possibly be human, Amyntas swivels with Ami held tightly in front of him and puts his foot precisely at the right distance to have the most leverage to shove Kunzite into the room with Jupiter--

--and fourth, steel bars slam down over the doorway, separating the bedroom from the camp-room. Like, actual steel bars. Made of steel. Like a jail door.

Amyntas whirls himself and Mercury away from the door and around the side, so he's not in Jupiter's sights. "You people are difficult!" he calls, laughing. Yes: Kunzite can most assuredly feel that drain still going on out there. "I'd've let you watch, but you can stay in there with my friends while I have lunch. She's the first one I've wanted to keep in two hundred years, so you can at least die knowing your friend will live."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-27 01:32:19 74223
A tape recorder. She'd be affronted at the sheer cheapness of the trick if so many other things weren't happening in almost the same instant, all of them adding up into a whole world of 'nope'. "What the shit?!" Sailor Jupiter yelps as she straightens back up to her full height, taking in the creeping disembodied hands and the bars that now separate her and Kunzite from Mercury.

It's a snap decision driven by fury and protective instincts, unconsidered for any kind of strategy; she throws a hand out towards the crawling hands, flinging a bright webwork of lightning threads out at them, and then Jupiter pivots on her heel. It's only the fact that Kunzite is presently between her and it that keeps her from simply lunging for it at full force, and chances are good that's not a state of affairs that's going to last very long-- "Like I'd let you!" she roars back at Amyntas (yes, still in Japanese). "You've got five seconds to get your asshole hands off my friend before I
break them to pieces!''"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-27 01:38:47 74224
There are some things that even Kunzite is not entirely prepared for. Crawling animated hands on one side and superspeed kicks on the other is a combination that qualifies. He stumbles forward, and --

-- dammit.

On the other hand, putting bars between Jupiter and himself is really a remarkably ineffective way for Amyntas to contain her.

Kunzite is not fool enough to turn and throw one of his own attacks between the bars. He darts to the side he held the lantern on, clearing Jupiter's path, and swoops down to set down the lantern and free his own hands. Then to pull up an arc of shadow behind Jupiter; it's not the best of shields against physical things, and the hands are all too physical, but it's a measure in case there are any of those things that are only stunned by the lightning instead of charred --

-- okay, yes, there are good odds it's redundant. But there are liable to be more under the covers.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-27 01:50:21 74225
"A tape recorder?" Mercury asks, confusedly. It's the last thing she expected.

Literally, because the next moment she's not expecting anything. Mercury's frozen misted ground dries up in an instant, and the cold vanishes with it. Her face goes ashen, as he begins to drain it from her.

And all she can think is, "Oh, that feels nice." A soft giggle escapes Sailor Mercury from around the corner. She doesn't even have the good sense to ask Jupiter for help.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-27 02:02:42 74227
"Yes it does, doesn't it?" croons Amyntas, cradling Mercury to him and having an awful lot of faith in his steel bars and army of beetle-skittering white hands; he leans down to kiss her, slowing the drain to savor every last drop of her desperate attraction, all of its quirks and preferences, all of its youth and confusion.

So much faith. He's literally ignoring the bellowing from the other room, the kzzzakt of lightning against a lot of things that don't like it, the sound of crackling as flames begin to creep up the bed draperies and the cover and start transferring from hand to hand.

As disembodied hands pour out from under the burning covers to carpet the floor and crawl atop each other's dead forms, the burning covers get sucked in and the bed spews out dark energy along with WHY ARE THERE SO MANY HANDS. As the hands start pushing against Kunzite's shield and sort of plopping in once in a while and piling up around the edge of the bubble, and start trying to climb up Jupiter and keeping getting fried for their efforts (at least it does kill them, not just stun), Amyntas strokes the side of Ami's face and then cradles the back of her head in his hand.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-27 02:16:01 74228
Sailor Jupiter has scant attention to pay to the OH DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN SO MANY HANDS right now, past what's needed to pour voltage into the ones that actually make it close enough to grab at her. Later, she'll remember it vividly and she will be thoroughly creeped out. But later is not now.

The moment Kunzite is clear of her path she throws herself at the bars, slamming into them with a mighty crunch and a grinding of stone and a groaning squeal of bending metal.

Not good enough. Not fast enough; she can break through, she knows she can, but while she's doing it he's doing something to Ami and for all his claims that she'll live, it's nothing that Makoto will stand for. "Don't you dare!" she shouts. "Playing with people's hearts just so you can take their energy - you're despicable! I won't forgive you! Damn it, why are all the hot guys evil? - Mercury, don't let him--!"

This is taking too long. With an inarticulate noise of pure frustration, Jupiter steps back from the barred doorway and flexes her hands. For a moment her fingertips crackle with energy, but this time it's not lightning that she grasps. It's the solid weight of a swordhilt.

This is not what Minako had in mind when she asked Mako to hold onto the Holy Sword temporarily, no doubt, but protecting the princess also sometimes means protecting her guardians and anyway this is an emergency.

Raising the blade with both hands, Sailor Jupiter hauls off and swings for the bars with all her might.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-27 02:22:57 74230
Kunzite clears the space around Jupiter a little more, as energy crackles around Jupiter, and --

-- he knows that sword.

He casts himself down preemptively, out of any path of that swing should the bars not stop it at all. And from that angle he opens his hands and draws on lightning of his own. Not Jupiter's, not as effective, not even true electricity: it's only an image that he casts his own energy into, tinged with warm pink and Earth-gold as it is. It's terribly inefficient, when he has no lightning stored to work from. But it's the only way he can take over Jupiter's other role for a moment, and scorch those hands in an arc before they can reach her. He can't even buy her time, per se. But he can buy her a few moments free of distraction.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-27 02:29:26 74231
Don't let him? Don't let him what? This feeling of comfort is something Ami has craved for ten years, since her father left. It's been a need she's kept carefully locked away behind a box of #2 pencils, and study guides. And here, this beautiful raven-haired genius is allowing her to feel so comfortable and safe.

And sleepy. Why does she feel so sleepy, as he tilts her head back, and brushes his fingers on her cheek. Her eyes begin flutter closed, and her lips curl up in a smile, and somewhere in the back of her mind she sees a vision of Sailor Moon, clutched in the arms of a rose-cented youma that looks all too much like Mamoru.

That's an odd vision, isn't it?

Mercury's eyes flicker back open, and in that moment she understands what's happening to her. All too late, she realizes the energy drain that she's experiencing, and all too late she struggles to fight against it. A soft whimper escapes her lips as she does her best to resist, but fails. She has no power left to summon, no desperate moves to call on.

All she has is one last ace up her sleeve.

"Maze," she whispers, as the card appears in her hand, "playtime."

And then she releases the card.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-27 02:51:25 74233
The bars do bend considerably, which actively gives Amyntas pause -- that is not something he was expecting. They bend and retain Jupiter-arm-shapes in them almost cartoonishly, and rock and mortar have chipped away -- but yes, it would take too long. It would only take a couple more blows like that, or some sustained force, but this is so much quicker--

--and then Jupiter's yelling at him, JUSTICE SPEECHING at him, and Amyntas straightens up, his lips leaving Ami's. He doesn't notice her beginning to resist; he doesn't notice Kunzite's lightning of roseate dawn zorching hands left and right, not Kunzite's noticing the OH FUCK Sword and hitting the deck immediately-- no, his eyes gleam silver in the light of the thing, and he can taste Makoto's thirst for justice and the sword's taste for his blood, on the air, even from where he is. But surely a sword couldn't cut through...

Amyntas watches in disbelief as the Holy Sword cuts through the steel bars like butter, and they shatter to dust, and all of the hands vanish from the room behind the Senshi of Courage and Thunder and the Knight of Purity and Affection--

--he certainly notices when he's cut off from the source of his control, and the Senshi of Wisdom and Water's lips move and take, with her breath, his last remaining connection to his distant memory of ever having been human, of ever having loved.

Because all of a sudden, there is no layered earth-of-his-earth beneath him; there is no continuity of ground from his ancient home to the tunnels he'd been haunting-- there aren't even tunnels anymore. There's only a black space with a lit up grid on it, and glowing outlines of walls that occlude where the lines of other walls should be.

Instantly, Amyntas Lazarov drops Mercury and shifts, and it's an inversion of space and a shudder of reality as the mask of humanity completely falls away. What's left looks, to be quite honest, like it belongs in a Sigourney Weaver Is Hardcore film from a few decades ago. And it roars, going for Kunzite -- Mercury, it has evaluated, is currently no threat, and Jupiter, its guts inform it, will not slice through her lucky (unlucky?) friend, her friend of the pink lightning and the white hair and the cranky professor personality. It thinks it's fast enough. It's sure it is.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-27 03:00:15 74234
There are times when a tendency to tunnel-vision is a useful thing. Times like this, for example, when the world changes around you without warning and the hot evil guy who was draining your best friend's energy has become a monster and it's on the move. If she wasted time being startled and having to re-orient herself, it all could go wrong.

But just at this moment, Sailor Jupiter is too focused on her enemy to take any conscious notice of the maze that has replaced the place they were in. "Stay down!" she shouts to Kunzite, already moving - electricity crackles around her hands and crawls in bright threads along the blade, trailing through the air as she rushes to meet no-longer-Amyntas's path.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-27 03:05:27 74235
Stay down? -- from wh--

Kunzite has just barely enough presence of mind to stop himself turning his head; to freeze where he is, on that too-familiar space (a fourth, now, layered in with the other three), and focus his power into his cape. In case whatever's coming misses, oh, his neck, or his head.

And close his eyes, tight, because he may trust Makoto enough to listen to that instruction, but when the army of independently mobile death-hands is not the primary threat, leaving the unknown at your back is only one or two shades short of impossible.
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-27 03:07:25 74236
Mrcury has fallen prey to yet another pretty face filled with darkness. But she's also done all she can to save herself. Now, it's time to trust in others. As her energy fades away, Ami slips into unconsciousness, falling to the floor. Her last vision are of a green-skirted warrior, blazing with righteous fury, bearing a sword of purity and purpose.
Mamoru Chiba 2017-03-27 03:15:28 74237
The thing that was Amyntas -- this elder vampire, soul sold to the darkness centuries ago -- is a dripping and clicking perversion of anatomy, half Giger and half Kafka and all wrong; its speed is phenomenal and its strength considerable, but all of its power is darkness and malfeasance. It is neither so swift as the Soldier of Strength on the path of righteousness and protection, nor nearly so strong, and the purity of Jupiter's lightning infusing the purity of the holy blade is a force it hasn't a prayer of meeting, nevermind overcoming.

It comes within a hair's breadth of grabbing Kunzite by the neck when that mighty blow, aimed with Jupiter's gift of finding the precise timing and force required to render a thing done, slices through carapace and sinew and bone and ichor.

Cleft in twain, what's left of Amyntas Lazarov doesn't even have time to drip that ichor on anything before its form turns into glittering grey dust, clouding on the air and sifting down to cover the floor and Kunzite and Mercury in fine powder.

They should probably wake Ami up if they want to get out of the maze.
Makoto Kino 2017-03-27 03:26:58 74238
For some moments, there is quiet, save for the soft chuff of Jupiter's breathing. She stands and watches the sparkling dust settle, sword in her hands.

Presently she lets out a quiet cough. "...Sorry," she says to Kunzite. "I think it's okay now." The sword disappears into her subspace pocket in a glimmer of light, and she hastily moves to kneel down next to Ami, gently getting an arm around behind her shoulders and checking to make sure she's not worse than unconscious.

She's just satisfied herself that Ami's not in any further immediate danger when she stops, checks herself, and looks up again. "Um... where the heck are we now?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-27 03:34:02 74239
He can feel that thing's -- it's not a hand -- in his hair, in the instant before that sword strikes home. He can feel the strands that sift and slither over the sides of his throat, cut here and there even by contact alone.

But it never, quite, touches his skin.

Kunzite stays frozen, all the same; it takes a moment for him to risk breathing, and that filtered through his teeth, to keep out the cold glints of the dust. It's not till Jupiter speaks again that he risks moving -- shifting to let the vampire snow fall off of him away from Mercury.

"She sealed the Maze card to her," Kunzite says, and there is almost no hint of tremor in his voice. Almost. Perhaps it's forgiveable. "We're in one of its projections now. Like the one she was in when she was missing for a week or so. I hope it won't mind if we don't move too much for a little. We can carry her if we need to, but we won't get anywhere useful without her awake."

He glances down at the dust.

"Of course. 'Ten meters that way' might also be useful."
Ami Mizuno 2017-03-27 03:37:57 74240
Conveniently, Sailor Mercury did not chose this battleground without thought. The Maze sweeps away the vampire ash almost instantly--it super does not fit with the super futuristic video game asthetic this maze has going for it!

And with the ash gone, the recognition that its playmate is hurt comes second. Food and water both are provided almost instantly, in the form of a little miniature discus made purely of light zipping along the floor, bearing both. These are provided to Makoto almost directly.

But most importantly, Ami's lack of consciousness is not a product of sickness or of injury; it's purely a lack of energy. Being hefted, even so gently, into Makoto's arms is enough to wake her. She shifts, and a soft whimper escapes the bluenette.

"I think I'm cursed in love."
Makoto Kino 2017-03-27 03:45:43 74241
The light-discus bearing water and food gets a bemused blink from Mako, but hey, it's trying to help. "Thank you," she says, slightly uncertainly, to the air in general around them as she reaches with the hand that's not supporting Ami to accept the offering. Water first.

Ami's words draw a sympathetic sigh. "I was really rooting for you," she says regretfully. "I'm sorry it ended up like this. But it's not your fault, Ami-chan. Here." She offers the Maze-provided water. "Take it easy for a bit."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-03-27 03:51:30 74242
Kunzite picks himself up to a sitting position, quiet, and keeping himself to the background. Because it is not the time to say the thing that comes to mind, from having dealt last year with Venus.

One does not suggest 'if you are, you can always have Mars do an exorcism' to someone until that someone is in the proper condition and mood to decide whether punching you would make her feel better, after all.