Seeking One (1) Haunting

Date: 2018-08-07
Pose Count: 98
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 00:22:04 93744
With the day nearly done, it's time for Rashmi to make her trek to the Earth Kingdom's Palaces; a place that very, very much sounds as magical-mystical as a high fantasy nerd could ever hope for, if the directions alone are any indication. Saying her goodbyes to her parents and apologizing for not being present for the dinner rush, Rashmi orients herself... and then an idea occurs to her.

Fishing out her Virtue phone, she taps in a quick message to Miho. << So I'm going to check up on Mamoru-kun, if you're free did you want to join? I'll be waiting at **** Station if you say yes. >>

No sense delaying the trip, after all, there should be plenty of time to get the yes or no on the way.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 00:27:58 93745
While Rashmi is sending that text, she gets a notification of receiving one. It's from Yellow's virtue-phone, << Hey. Jerkenton was up to something on Saturday, and I'd like to know if you could explain to me what's going on with that. I don't think it's the Earth thing, but I don't know anything about that either. >> With the presumpteousness of privilege, Hoshi is sending this while in a car headed for the Korma Chameleon.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 00:35:01 93748
There's a terse << Yes >> followed by, << Did you see the fox news? >> A couple hours ago, she made a post on HeartNET about the current state of affairs about Mamoru and Sailor Earth, with potentially dangerous information left out, along with a summary of Noroiko's arrival which ended with "I am SO not okay right now"; forty-five minutes later, she deleted that last part.

Now, her parents secure a promise to actually let them know if she's going to stay out overnight again; Miho then she heads out, slips into an alleyway, and then there's a minty-green burst of light as she starts making her way to the station ...
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 00:38:45 93750
Tilting her head at the new email, she pauses, tapping out a less-brief reply to Hoshi. << I was just on my way out actually, I'm going to visit Mamoru-kun. Do you want to come with? It should be okay if you're with me, just, where we're going the ECFH rules apply extra hard. And there are magical bouncers. >>

Flipping back to Miho, she sets out on her journey again. << I did see that, yeah. Ikiko-chan might be a good one to talk to, also probably Sora-chan. >>
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 00:48:52 93752
<< Sure. I'm headed to the Korma right now, should I go somewhere else? >> Hoshi texts back, and comments to her driver that she may be catching up to her friend somewhere else. << We're pretty close, maybe I could you give you a ride? >>
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 00:52:05 93754
Life Mahou Joy's phone lets out the Sonic the Hedgehog 1up jingle to announce a new text, and she slows to a stop on a building to text back. << I don't know who "Ikiko-chan" is, but I'll get in touch with Sora when I can. >>
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 00:54:30 93756
<< I'm on the corner south from the Korma, >> Rashmi answers Hoshi. << I'm going to meet Miho-chan at **** Station, if you really want to drive there? That'd be very nice of you, or we can take the subway, I'm happy with either. >>

To Miho: << Turns out I'll be bringing company; you remember Hoshi-chan? She'll be coming with. >>
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 01:02:17 93758
"That's Rashmi-chan can you pick her up and then take us to where she needs to go?"

A luxury car parks next to Rashmi, the front side door opens and a twenty year old women gets out from the front and opens the door to the second row of passenger seets and bows towards Rashmi. "Please take a seat, Terios-san." She keeps the door open until Rashmi enters, then gets back in her seat. Hoshi has undone her seatbelt and scooted aside to let Rashmi take that seat. "Hi Rashmi-chan, sorry for the short notice."

The older man in a suit in the driver's seat glances back. "So, where to, Terios-san?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 01:05:20 93759
<< Oh yeah, I know Hoshi-chan! >> A pause, and then Joy checks the map on her Virtue phone. << I'm almost 3/4 there, btw, I'll see you when I get there. >> She pockets her phone, and then zips back onto her journey.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 01:13:04 93760
"Thank you very much," Rashmi answers the man, bowing herself before climbing in as instructed. "Not a problem at all!" she chirps to Hoshi, beaming as the car makes its way through the city streets. "So I don't know if you noticed the post Miho-chan made not long ago," she says, lowering her voice to keep it from carrying... just in case. "But Mamoru-kun's.... well. He's not dead. But that's about the biggest good news about that. Basically a fake clone that Riventon made has his soul, and his body's in a coma. Lots of people are generally freaking out, and I'm going to where he is to check up on everyone. Just, **** Station is the closest place to the directions I got, so that's where I'm getting Miho-chan."

Before long, the car rolls up, and Rashmi scoots out onto the sidewalk. "Thank you again, sir!" she says to the driver, as she waits for Hoshi to climb out as well.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 01:17:14 93761
"Thank Kogane-sama, not me. I'm just doing what I'm paid to do." The driver answers Rashmi, and college-age woman hurries up to try to open the door before Rashmi can get to it; it's her duty to open the door for the passengers. While Rashmi explained things, Hoshi nodded to acknowledge she heard things but remained quiet. After they're out of the car and it drives off, she takes a deep breath. "Sorry for not responding. They don't know and while they aren't supposed to listen in, you never know. Yeah, I read the post."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 01:18:19 93762
There's a faint sigh from a nearby, followed by a burst of minty-green light, and then Miho steps out, looking somewhat haggard as though she didn't sleep a wink, and with her arms folded with her left arm grasping her right. "Hi, Rashmi-chan, Hoshi-chan," she says; her voice sounds a bit more scratchy and androgynous than usual, and threatens to slide all the way into "just plain weird" territory. "What's up?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 01:31:35 93763
"Apparently there's more news to be had, Miho-chan... A-- ....No you're not okay, why haven't you slept? C'mon..." And with that, she leads the trio down along the path set out for them, keeping up a stream of talk along the way.

"So Mamoru-chan visited me last night while I was studying. Nicest ghost I've ever heard of," she says with a weak chuckle. "But, yeah. Riventon did something super stupid with one of his clones and a Jewel Seed, and now we're all paying for it, is the basics. What was it that happened to you, Hoshi-chan?"
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 01:38:10 93765
"Hi Kagami-san." A star pops up wearing a nurse-hat and tries to attach itself to Miho's right arm like a bandage. It's not much, but it's something. Hoshi would have to transform to do anything more serious. "So you may have noticed there were some weird time-resets Saturday; and I stumbled across the source. ... I think. There was this girl dressed up like a yellow fairy and Cure Gull was there too; I think Cure Girl called the dressed up girl Sakura? Anyway, apparently Jerkenton and this girl both were trying to capture this time-manipulating ... old man? something about a card, and I don't understand what that was all about and I wondered if you did. Gull-chan was helping her and I would never help Jerkenton, so I helped them but..." Hoshi stops herself off there, "Sorry. I'm rambling."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 01:46:58 93767
Miho sighs, but immediately giggles at the nurse-star. "Nightmares," she says. She clears her throat, and brings her voice just a little bit closer to normal. "The other night, they were all about that impostor. The sight of a monster ripping out your friend's soul and stuffing it into herself tends to stick with you," she adds conversationally. "Last night, they were the same, but with extra jadey-foxy-ness. Noroiko kind of said she ..." She shrugs. "... well, actually, it was sort of ambiguous whether she was actually messing with my dreams while I was feeling horrid, or whether she was just taking the opportunity of sleeping atrociously. Dunno."

She listens along to Hoshi's description. "... I mean, I wasn't exactly left with the best of impressions the last time I met Kurosawa, but ..." She doesn't use honorifics, but unlike Sailor Earth, she's at least using her name. "Did this Sakura-san have short red hair? Or, uh, actually, no, I can't imagine Sakura Kyouko-san wearing a fairy-costume, never mind."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 01:57:03 93768
"No, no she's talking about Kinomoto Sakura," Rashmi clarifies. "She and Riventon have basically been fighting over capturing these magic cards. I don't know the whole story, but from what I know Sakura-chan is supposed to be the one to catch them, but Riventon is Riventon, y'know?"

And following the instructions given, at one point she reaches out her hand to run against a wrought-iron fence, the others cautioned to do the same until they feel empty space... then turns and disappears into nothing. "Okay, Mamoru-kun," she calls out of nowhere, "Also Prism Princess Yellow's joining us, is that okay?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 02:19:20 93771
The voice that reaches Rashmi, Miho, and Hoshi's ears does so as if it were spoken right next to each of them in a small soundproofed room. "Yes, she's welcome-- though," and the voice sounds amused, "next time you want to invite someone, please ask one of us before you ask them? They are generally pretty secret."

Tuxedo Kamen, sans the hat and mask, is a dim translucent figure, faintly visible standing on the sidewalk next to the building where Rashmi vanished into the wall. He takes a step away from the wall and gestures broadly toward it in invitation to Miho and Hoshi. "Fair warning: I can't see you, or anything around you, but I know this place like the back of my hand. This house is where I lived as a child."

To Rashmi, aside, "See? You didn't need me to find it."

Once everyone's through, they can definitely see the street and the sidewalk on the other side of the wrought-iron fence, they can hear pedestrians and traffic and everything. Ahead of them is a gravel drive leading through a lush green completely overgrown yard-- overgrown to the point of weeds having turned into saplings, of shrubberies having turned to impassable walls of foliage, overgrown to the point of tall grass and riots of late summer flowers. The drive is about ten car-lengths long, but only one wide, and actual trees overhang it, providing a welcome respite from the over-hot sunshine.

At the end of the drive, the house is quite large, and beautifully sad in the way that abandoned houses tend to be: paint peeling, porch sagging, windows cracked or broken-- "Don't worry, it's perfectly safe. It just looks like that from the outside," Mamoru says matter-of-factly. "The structure is perfectly sound."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 02:20:09 93772
"Gull-chan is good people." Hoshi simple answers before adding with some half-doubt, "I'm not so sure about her girlfriend." She leaves it at that as they move on, uncertain what to do with what Miho's been explaining, and thus deciding to think about it some and maybe come back to it it later. Then they reach the top and Mamoru chastises Rashmi, and Hoshi bows quickly towards Mamoru. "I'm sorry, Chiba-san, I sort of ambushed her saying I wanted to talk and I didn't realize she was going anywhere too special."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 02:23:33 93774
Miho nods. "I'm starting to notice a pattern with respect to 'Riventon is Riventon,'" she says dryly. "And ... well ... yeah, that's fair, Kogane-san. Kurosawa-san ... did make a point of not mentioning my powers to Sharpe." She blinks at the sudden vanishment, but follows Rashmi through the invisible opening without missing a beat.

She nods to Sudden Mamoru. "I was actually sort of ..." She yawns. "... wondering about that. It's why I didn't put any details in my report beyond 'we have proof that we can get his soul back' okay hang on."

She thrusts her right hand into the sky. "Life Blessing, Wake Up!" She henshins back into Life Mahou Joy, then blinks. "Okay," she says in her clear bright voice, "I can confirm that I feel a little less sleepy in this form. And also less dysphoric as usual," she adds dryly.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 02:37:23 93775
"Sorry," Rashmi says to MamoGhost, flushing at the cheeks. "Just... yeah. Was more worried about getting real information out and shared and worked on, didn't even think." She does pause for a moment, taking in the sight of the old house as her head tilts to one side. "And there's a difference between need and want. You give good directions, just... well, sudden;y it's become a lot more important that, y'know, I know you're okay. For relative values of okay, anyway."

Looking back at Miho, Rashmi frowns faintly. "That's great, Miho-chan.... but um. You're going to get sleep tonight, okay? Like, all of the sleep."

Shaking her head faintly, she glances at Hoshi, then back to Mamoru. "Again, I'm really sorry... But Hoshi-chan's good people. If I need to vouch for her, I will."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 02:43:49 93777
"Oh no harm done," the ghost says cheerfully, shaking his head. "It's perfectly all right. It's just-- not even everyone in Virtue knows about them; they're kind of--" He fishes for the word for a moment as he half-walks, half-drifts along with them up the drive. "Sacred? Personal, at the very least. Each of them was made by, and is controlled by, one of the first four of my guardians. And they're all protected by genii locorum which have been there since before the world ended and was reborn." A beat. "They spent a very long time extremely bored." There's a faint smile for Miho. "Thank you for putting in a report. Kunzite's been a little overattenuated by handling situations."

There is a henshin which he doesn't see-- obviously, since he doesn't react to the light-show-- and the ghost gets a funny look on his face. "... Wake Up? So if one of the Senshi henshins, and then you henshin, you can combo to give the youma in question an existential hangover?" Pause. "Makeup wake-up."

MOVING ON, he shakes his head firmly at Rashmi. "Really, it's all right. Hoshi-chan can vouch for herself. Once upon a time, she gave her life to free the souls of my ancient kingdom's citizens from the hell in which they'd been trapped for countless millennia. I-- we-- owe her a debt that can never be repaid."

THANKFULLY, it doesn't take that long to walk ten car lengths, and they're up on the sagging but suspiciously firm-feeling porch, and the apparition forgets they have to actually open the door he knows is there but isn't thinking about, and he vanishes through it.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 02:50:19 93778
"Don't forget that I gave other people the power to kill Kunzite." Hoshi adds cheerfully to Mamoru's explanation of her deeds, the smile on her face and the joy in her voice both make it clear that's a happy memory. Perhaps to be explained later. She also agrees with Rashmi, "Get some sleep Kagami-san. If you want, I can see if I can get you some sleeping pills, maybe that'll help."

Hoshi looks at the door, which emphasizes the bit she's mentally refusing to acknowledge, that Mamoru isn't quite here.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 03:03:28 93780
Joy grins weakly at Rashmi and Hoshi. "I mean, that's up to my nightmares, but I mean, I wasn't gonna use this as a replacement or anything," she says. She leans in and gives Rashmi a quick hug. "... This is just like it was when I first learned about magic. It's like I told you in my first visit to the ECFH, I'm just sort of ... processing it, basically."

She blinks at Mamoru's comment. "Uh, no, Mamoru-kun --" And then she just giggles at the pun. "Yes, that's the catchphrase for my henshin, it seems to be ... I dunno, a command to my Blessing, as much as anything else." Beat. "... wait, gave her life!?" She peers at at Hoshi.

Her old phone buzzes. "Hm?" She gets out the phone with the cracked screen. "Oh, it's from Lacchan!" She sends a quick response.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 03:15:12 93781
Rashmi Terios returns the hug without pause, almost on reflex. "Okay. Just... Nightmares or no, you need sleep. Trust me on this, trying to push yourself harder just means you're going to crash harder when you can't afford to. I'll see if Ariel-chan or one of the Samurai can't poke their head in when you sleep sometime soon, that might help."

Blinking after Mamoru, the redhead sighs, shakes her head, and just opens the door. "That was a terrible joke, Mamoru-kun. So you're sounding more like yourself at least, that's good."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 03:31:17 93783
The inside of the house is dusty and pleasantly warm even in winter, despite the lack of electricity or running water. All of the rooms are empty, all of the doors open, and sunlight comes through the windows under the doors, illuminating motes of dust stirred up by the passage of guests. The basement door is through the kitchen, and it's a wide and very, very dark stairwell; the stairs go on and on and on, a good half hour's descent if one's walking instead of superjumping or flying-- and as the ceiling is lost to darkness even with a bright light, superjumping seems to be an option.

The comments about Mamoru's pun earn the girls a smug look, and Hoshi's comment about giving people the power to kill Kunzite earns her a small, rueful smile. "Thus heralding the first time Kunzite was a rock ghost. He didn't have a body to go back to, though. Ami had to grow him a new one from roses and dirt and stars."

Then his attention's briefly on Miho again and his small smile gets even smaller, affectionate and sad and still-- to this day-- humbled. "A lot of people died a few years ago, taking on the Dark Kingdom-- rescuing me and my guardians from it. It seems that I'm always in need of rescuing."

The basement door is where he stops, and it opens of its own accord. It's like a well of darkness. "I suggest flight, else you'll be walking down for half an hour. When you do eventually get to Kunzite's palace, you can check in on my body if you like, but I'm not in it, and Usako and Luna are asleep, so you may wish to be very quiet."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 03:37:54 93785
"You need to sleep. Trust me, I'm a volunteer at the hospital, I know what I'm talking about." Hoshi insists to Joy, and then they reach the basement and looks down, "Well this place looks like the pits." She jokes, before stating the familiar phrase "Chroma Prism Yellow! Transform!" so she can actually down.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 03:39:24 93786
Joy walks after the others, then suddenly stops at the doorway and stares at another text from Lacrima. In an instant, all tiredness is gone. "... son of a monkey's uncle," she says. "GUYS! I got a text from Lacchan, you're gonna want to hear this!" She reads the text message aloud:

    >>> Sailor Earth is most likely at a place called 'D-point'. I've been told that she's 'dug new passages' and that there are 'guards'. The others will know what D-point is, and what that means. Please pass that on ASAP.

Miho types "Son of a monkey's uncle" in her response, followed by a thank-you, and watches as more messages arrive. "... She's got more info, too, but she says this the most important part." She puts the cracked phone away. "I said I'll try to drop by her place soon, and then I'll put a report on HeartNET." She shakes her head, and rises off the ground. "In a word: wow."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 03:41:02 93787
"That's where I died." Yellow clarifies helpfully when Joy mentions D-point.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 03:44:55 93788
Nicomachea is, of course, listening in. Nicomachea is always listening in.

*bing!* << FLIER FIN >>

Wings of softly slowing yellow light sprout from Rashmi's back and ankles, and very much like a pixie cosplaying as a schoolgirl, she starts to flit down the stairs, keeping her voice down like she would in a library, or a museum. "That still sounds so weird to hear, Mamoru-kun, even if it is kinda romantic. Just, still weird. And... You can't be upset at yourself for that, Mamoru-kun. I mean like... If everyone was chesspieces, you'd undeniably be the King. That just means that protecting you is more important than protecting most of the rest of us, y'know? So of course you need rescuing more than most; you get put into check by a lot of aggressive opponents."

If she were to go on, Miho's outburst puts paid to her line of thought. "Wait..... D-Point? I heard about that, but that was before my time... Mamoru-kun, where is it?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 03:53:28 93789
"Romantic?" the ghost asks dubiously. "I never knew you were goth... but I swear, you and Ami-chan with the chess. It's all a lot closer to Go, really." He glances at Miho, then, eyebrows up in interest. "Oh? What's she--" he starts asking, and then they're getting the report.

He stops moving at all. "Ah," he says softly. "I suggest hanging on to that information. It's never a good idea to go there unprepared. We went there last time thinking we were, and it's only because of a literal miracle that we won, nevermind that everyone came back to life. I don't want anyone haring off without a plan."

More quietly still, "And with my soul and my magic at her disposal in addition to a jewel seed and a grief seed-- I have no doubt she'll be as much of a threat as the last monsters that holed up there."

He finally starts drifting down the stairs after the fliers, and his non-voice is joined by theirs in its lack of resonance in that strange stairwell. "It's at the north pole. There's an immense fortress underground where there shouldn't be any land at all, and it's not even properly *in* this dimension... no wonder it feels so familiar."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 03:59:33 93790
Joy descends after them, initially moving twice as fast as the others without any apparent effort but then immediately slowing down as she catches up. "Wow," she says. "... and now I get to be here for the next apocalyptic scenario." Beat. "... Actually, Mamoru-kun, is it okay if I stay down here by your body while everyone is off giving that impostor a bad time? Just so you've got someone with you when you wake up, and so I'm somewhere safe rather than out there being a liability or somehow giving Noroiko ammunition by contributing to someone's death." She pauses, and then adds for Yellow's benefit, "Lacchan warned me, a little while before that impostor stole Mamoru-kun's soul, that my Death Curse might react badly if I ever killed someone." She grimaces, and accidentally starts moving a bit faster again for a moment. "Which is honestly a relief more than anything else, but yeah."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 18:12:00 93812
"No chess totally makes sense." Yellow answers Mamoru with a mischievous tone to her voice. "After all, the king is almost entirely defenseless and yet the piece that the entire game revolves around." Yes, she's teasing a little. She doesn't mean for it to hurt, that much is clear in her tone. The memories of D-Point make her sigh. "I'm ... not sure if I can go there again." She admits quietly.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 18:20:56 93815
This revelation has Rashmi fluttering down the stairs in silence, thinking hard. "...The North Pole? That's... well that kind of ruins all my hopes about Santa actually maybe being real. But... I'm in. I mean I can't not go, not if we want to have a hope of shutting her down for good, right?"

A holographic computer screen blips into existence at eye level, on the edge of Rashmi's field of vision. There are kittens.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 18:36:23 93817
"I understand if there's anyone who can't go," the ghost prince's telepathic? not-voice voice says gently, "for any reason. But Miho-chan, since I am out of commission and Dai is likely to remain healer in Tokyo for any issues that might crop up while a large number of heroes are occupied elsewhere, the away team will almost certainly need a healer. That is not a liability. I've spent the better part of my time in henshin being Emergency Medical Tuxedo."

That is literally two Star Trek references in one paragraph. He must be fine.

The stairwell passes quickly with everyone in flight, and Mamoru-ghost preceding them with an ethereal glow in the darkness. "First of all," he says wryly to Hoshi, "I am absolutely not the piece around which the entire game revolves. Secondly, I'm not usually entirely defenseless, as you damn well know. I just make a convenient target for anyone trying to get at Sailor Moon, because I don't have as much power as the Senshi." And then they're at the bottom of the stairs, and the door is not stone: it's actually wood, carved with symbols in an ancient language, and literally grown there from a tree that may be older than time. "Oh, huh," Mamoru says in a small voice. "Guess it's been a while. Or maybe my memory's just not that great right now. ...Ra-chan I am so sorry I always have these apocalypses to hand you, I feel very rude. If you'd please announce us? I'm not actually here, and it's warded, so I can't go in on my own."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 18:50:35 93819
Miho is about to suggest to Hoshi that she could stay with her through the fight, and then ... not-so-subtly floats over so that Rashmi's screen with the kittens is at the edge of her field of vision, too. "Well ... hmmm." She thinks about this, frowning as she floats in place when they reach the bottom. "I ... hm."

She makes a face. "Okay, but I've only been transforming for two weeks, and I still feel like I'd be 'contributing to someone's death' even if it isn't actually much of a 'someone'," she says weakly. "And I'm pretty sure I started getting a panic attack before 'that impostor' stole your soul." She shakes her head. "I ... dunno what I should do now. This has all just been too much at once."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 19:00:03 93820
There's a very quiet voice when Hoshi repeats, "I don't want to go d-point again." Deep breath, "I'll go if it's absolutely necessary to be there, but I'd much, much rather stick here to help deal with the things that crop up while everyone is over there." She's wrapping her arms around herself as she lands and walks towards the door. "Please."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 19:11:13 93821
"Mamo-kun stop," Rashmi says, somewhere between a sigh and the beginning of a laugh. "Or if you need to apologize, say sorry for saying sorry, realize how silly that is, and feel better. You're not to blame for this nightmare, I'm pretty sure that can be laid square at Agera's feet. I swear, I will talk to Sacchan's frient and have her make Sumimasentai costumes for you and Koji-kun."

But she does look noticeably better as she places her hand on the door. "Terios Rashmi, Kagami Miho, Kogane Hoshi.... And Chiba Mamoru." As she waits for the door to acknowledge her, she turns to look over her shoulder at Miho and Hoshi. "Miho-chan... There's no pressure. At all. If you're worried you won't be a help, Mamo-kun told you how you would. If you're worried about your curse... well, I don't know it very well, so, I can't help much there. And it's okay to be scared; I'm terrified, that's what the kittens are for because kittens make it impossible to have room for any really big terrible feelings. But remember how terrified you were of transforming? And how quickly you sorted that once you did? Maybe it'll be the same when there's a job in front of you that only you can do, y'know? And Hoshi-chan... If you want to stay, please. Please do. If for no other reason because I'm seriously worried that with more Cards acting up, Sacchan's not going to have as much backup as she needs if Riventon decides to be a bigger jerk and get in the way again. She could definitely use some color commentary to keep her spirits up."

Oh god is part of being a leader making dad jokes?
Nephrite 2018-08-07 19:21:46 93822
The door swings open with the deep groan of ancient wood. Neil stands in the doorway in a disheveled flannel shirt and jeans, not exactly the most presentable of hosts. The smile he gives them is strained, very unlike the easy grin that Nephrite is usually capable of. It doesn't reach his eyes, which are dark with directionless anger that doesn't abate at all when he glances over at the glowing ghost of his prince. He's agitated, and too tired to hide it well. Or maybe just too mad. "Oh hey, looks like the party's here. I was wondering what the Komainu was yapping about." He gestures down at the little dog-lion creature sitting at his feet.

He steps aside to let the group enter the tranquil garden of Jadeite's palace. "Everyone good? Any big news on the surface? I've been holed up in my palace next door, mostly yelling at stars." He can't stop glancing at Mamoru. It's weirding him out.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-07 19:27:42 93823
    As the party begins to move through the door, there suddenly comes a shout echoing down the stairwell from way up near the top. "HEY WAIT, DON'T CLOSE THE DOOR!" It sounds like Kyouko, apparently just returning from somewhere up above. But she's waaay up there at the top.

    Or at least, she was a moment ago, because suddenly she's gone from up there. Apparently, having learned that she can teleport, she's all about using this new skill. Also apparently, she isn't very good at it yet, because when she re-appears near the group at the bottom of the stairs, instead of landing with her feet on the landing, she appears about four feet above ground-level, and, having only a split-second for an akward squeak and a flailing of arms, tumbles head-over-heels down the last flight of steps, through the open door, past Nephrite, and onto the grass where she sprawls on her back staring up at the 'sky'.

    After a moment she sits up, turns to look at the group in the doorway, and gives them such a glare with those fierce red eyes of hers. She says nothing, but the 'talk about what you saw and you die' implication is plain in her scowl. Then she gets to her feet and brushes herself off as if nothing happened. "I just took Usagi back to her parent's house. They needed to know she's like, alive, and she needed some actual human company for a bit."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 19:45:13 93824
"I'm not sumimasen levels of sorry," Mamoru's ghost says indignantly, then turns in Hoshi's direction in alarm, before Rashmi's got it covered. "What she said," he says, but the last of it's caught in the door getting pulled open and the sense of Neil's presence blasting open like a furnace door right near where he's projecting his consciousness-- and then he can suddenly see the girls he's with.

And then super abruptly, he can also see Neil, and the girls' and his own backs, and then Kyouko's tumbling and WHO KNEW it was possible for a ghost to look seasick??

A half second of that and Mamoru flickers out of existence, hands clapped up over his eyes like that'd do anything.

It's maybe eight seconds of potentially mounting oh shit before he reappears, still in white tie and tails, cape and no mask, and he laughs weakly. "It's not really schadenfreude, it's solidarity when I say I'm glad someone else is as awful at teleporting on purpose as I am."

His ghost hands are on his ghost stomach, and he's already on this side of the door, so he looks toward Neil and flinches a little. "Rashmi told me not to keep apologizing, so I won't. Yes, there's news. We know where she is."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 19:50:37 93825
Miho puts a comforting hand on Hoshi's shoulder. "It's okay, Hoshi-chan," she says softly, the clear bright voice of her henshin taking on a gentler tone. She pauses, looking over at Rashmi, and takes another moment to watch the kittens, then ... sighs softly. "Well, okay," she murmurs. "I guess the --"

And then she blinks at Sudden Kyouko! "... Yeah, my parents were worried about me the other night," she says. She looks around. "... I got in trouble for being out overnight with complete radio silence, but I told them that my friend Hanazawa Maria needed help with some emotional ..." She tenses up at Mamoru's disappearance, then visibly relaxes when he reappears. "... stuff ... and ... that I just forgot to turn my phone back on until the next morning." She clears her throat. "Uh, anyway, that impostor is at D-Point."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 19:54:12 93826
Hovering at the door, Rashmi flushes, bowing in apology... to the dog? "Um... sorry if we were upsetting, but thank you for letting us in? We'll be good, I promise." And with that, she takes her first tentative steps in... only to just avoid getting bowled over by Kyouko's mishap. And so now she's distracted by trying not to laugh. It's hard. Very hard. And the effort involves a good deal of facial solidity until the impulse goes away. "Um... yeah. Also I'm going to be fighting her next time too. If she has a Jewel Seed, it needs to be sealed. I can do that."
Nephrite 2018-08-07 20:03:06 93827
If this were an average day, Kyouko would be rewarded with a bark of laughter from Nephrite, and possibly an attempt at hair ruffling, as is only fitting from a big brother. Perhaps it's a small silver lining that he can only muster a quiet smirk. "Going on an angle is the hardest part. At least you wound up above the ground instead of under it." He is absolutely not naming names, but the ghost gets a glance that is slightly more affectionate than unsettled.

At Mamoru's statement that they know where she is, what humor he had fades. Then Miho elaborates. Nephrite throws up his hands. "D-Point! Sure! Why the heck not?! Hey I know how to make it all worse! Let's all go to D-Point!" He's shouting in front of company. Some of it young company. This is why he came to Jadeite's palace, to find some balance and stop exploding at the slightest provocation. He groans, pushes his hair out of his face, and tries again in a more even tone. "Sorry. Got excited. How the f--" young company, he remembers "ffffffffreak do we plan to take her on now?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-07 20:11:00 93829
    Kyouko gives such a glare to ghost-Mamo, at least when he re-appears and makes that comment, though the relief at his re-appearance is also evident in her slightly exasperated tone. "I'm not bad I'm learning. Jeez, gain a new skill and everybody expects you to be a freakin' master in twenty-four hours.." She subsides into grumbling, carefully not noticing Rashmi's attempts not to laugh, and giving Nephrite a dirty look which holds at least as much affection as ire for his comment.

    Then Miho mentions that Earth is holed up at D-point, and while her reaction might not be as explosive as Nephrite's, the rather stone-faced expression that comes over her face is equally displeased by the news. "Figures. I mean, really, it does. The one place nobody wants to go after her." She scrubs a hand through her short hair, then looks at Nephrite again. "How do we plan to take her on? Same damn way we did before. Same way we took Beryl on, only she's not Beryl. She's not got near the same power and she's not got the resources and she's not got the army of youma. This is just a tactic to freak us out, she's banking on the bad memories keeping us away and her safe." This is all just supposition on Kyouko's part, but it makes sense to her.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 20:24:07 93830
Once again, Mamoru's ghost flinches back from Nephrite slightly, but it's clear it's not from fear-- just from the blast-furnace intensity of his emotions. "Yikes," he says half under his breath. "Look, guys-- it's not going to be nearly as bad as it was. It's not connected to the Dusk Zone anymore, it's not full of Dark Energy anymore because she's not even got any, and all the parts that Beryl built are gone because Hoshi-chan and Chiyoko-san set them free. It's gotta be just the part that used to be part of the Golden Kingdom. Which... I figured out is why it felt so familiar. I can't see it, but I know those stones, those bricks, those hallways. I knew them even when I didn't know who I was."

He takes a breath. "Downside is... she's been collecting Golden Kingdom artifacts. Hoarding them. I have no idea where from, or believe you me I'd've been doing the same-- hell, maybe they were locked up in a cellar somewhere at D-Point-- but they're items of power. I can feel them. Other downside is, Kyouko, we have no idea how much power she actually does have: she's combining a Jewel Seed, which can grant wishes and twist them up and has phenomenal power, and at least one grief seed which is probably a super grief seed if it came from Eclipse, and, well. All my power. Which uses the literal planet as a well. So, uh. I'd say she's oh-pee ay-eff."

He doesn't need to breathe. He takes a breath anyway, straightening.

"What we need to do is get all the strategists in one room. I'm not a good one. I'm a tactician. We need Kunzite, Ami, Rashmi, and Venus-- and anyone else you can think of."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 20:37:44 93831
"...Well that's an upside at least," Rashmi says weakly. "And the problem with being powered with things from the outside is, they can be taken away." Nevermind that she has an identical weakness, in particular...

Shaking her head, she steps further into Jaedite's Palace, taking no small measure of comfort from the completely bananas idea of a perfect summertime meadow in front of an honest-to-goodness actual Japanese castle... something like fifty feet beneath the ground and who knows how many dimensional steps to the side. Drawing in a breath, she goes on. "Yeah it's going to be hard... But we can do this. We have to do this. So we just need to figure out the best way to do it, y'know?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 20:38:29 93832
Joy furrows her brow at Neil's outburst. "Settle down, dude, I literally got the text from Lacrima-chan right as we reached the top of the stairs here," she says. "We didn't have any warning, either."

She frowns at Kyouko. "Well, according to the text, she's apparently dug new passages and added guards. I can't believe I'm the one telling you this, but I kiiiiiiind of feel like you're swinging a little too far to the optimistic side."

She considers Mamoru's words. "Um. Is ... it okay if I could listen in on the strategy meeting?" she says. "I'm ... well, I'm kind of good at noticing details, and I sort of feel like piecing things together could be ... one of the skills I should develop, so ... hmm."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 20:43:20 93833
Yellow sighs as she listens to the others talk, optimism versus pessimism, as more knowledge is shared, though she still smiles when once again her actions are mentioned. "I know you guys can do it." She insists with a smile, "And I'll be here to make sure Tokyo is still intact when you get back, and maybe help out with the healing if Joy-chan and Chiba-san need some extra help."
Nephrite 2018-08-07 20:51:03 93834
Mamoru can't touch anything, but he doesn't need touch to feel the anger that Nephrite really is trying very hard not to spill all over the place. He guiltily takes a half-step back and crosses his arms as if that could possibly keep the seething contained better, staring hard at the edge of the pristine rock garden. It's not just the ghost floating beside them. It's not just D-Point. It's not just Earth. It's that the person behind it all is the same guy who kidnapped his girlfriend. It all just keeps piling up.

He grudgingly nods at Kyouko's assessment. "Well she's not wrong about it freaking us out. She is wrong if she thinks that's not going to make some of us want to put a knife in whatever she has that passes for a heart even more. Maybe she's forgetting, it's our turf too." He nods at Mamoru. Dark Kingdom. Golden Kingdom. They know those halls, in all their iterations.

He glances at Joy. "Sorry. I'm not mad at you. It's everything else. Thanks for telling us." He does not comment on the strategy meeting, because it goes without saying that he doesn't have the temperament for it. Information-gathering and punching are the best uses for a Nephrite.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-07 20:52:06 93835
    Kyouko frowns at Mamoru as he details all the potential power that Earth may have accumulated in the form of artifacts and magical macguffins. Even as she does, she's shaking her head. "So what? So what? It's not like we ain't never faced powerful opponents before, and I don't care how much power she has, she's not Beryl, no matter how much she wants to pretend." She pauses, then adds, "And I still have one of those Super Grief Seeds too, you know.. saving it for a special occasion."

    Then she looks at Joy, as the girl has the temerity to tell her that she's being 'overly optimistic'. Her eyebrows shoot up and she gestures towards Rashmi. "It ain't optimism, hunny, it's like Rashmi-san says. We need to do it, so we're gonna do it. We've faced powerful enemies before, and we're still here and they ain't. It's not gonna be any different this time. I won't let it be any different this time, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. When its family on the line, there's no holding back. And when it's us or them, there's no reason to hesitate. I don't care how many guards she wants to post or how many old-ass trinkets she wants to pile up and pretend she owns. In the end, it's not gonna protect her."

    Kyouko bares her fangs in a smile that's more grimace than anything else. "Kyouko Godamn Sakura doesn't know the meaning of 'pessimistic'." She pauses, then glances to Mamoru. "Which is probably why it's a good idea to get the strategy council going, yeah.."

    She does reach out and put a hand on Nephrite's back, subtly and without comment.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 21:17:14 93836
Mamoru can feel Rashmi getting some soothey calm from Jadeite's most chill of palaces, and that seems to relax his own tightly tethered agitation somewhat, as well. "Oh right, new passages. Pf like how dare she remodel what's not hers to touch in the first place," the ghost says irritably, then amuses himself further by sitting in the air like Zoisite and getting a look at what it looks like from Neph and Kyouko's perspectives. He raises his eyebrows at Joy-- noticeably actually looking at instead of through her-- and gives her a little smile. "Of course. And speak up if you do notice things that elide the others."

He glances at Hoshi with interest. "Oh, you can heal, too?" There's a pause. "Wow, did you get taller? It's been a seriously long time since I've seen you, I guess!" And then the apparition rests his hands on his knee, looking between Kyouko and Neil, then nods. "I'm not saying we can't do it, I'm just saying we can't afford to underestimate her. Much better to go in overprepared than under. Which also means psychological preparation in the case of people who've been there before and are going to go back. It-- might help not to think of it as D-Point, or the place where the Dark Kingdom was, or the place where you were hurt for so long, or the place where-- where everyone died-- think of it as that, yes. Our turf. Another thing that was stolen from us and misused dreadfully. Another thing we'll get back."

He frowns slightly, then, hand coming up to tangle in his hair for a second. "The caracal said there was a fifth guardian." He glances at Kyouko. "Would you mind terribly if I gave you a side mission? To look for the spirit of the place? If it's like the others, and it's been there all this time, it might be angry. But you can handle angry."

He can't touch either of them to lend them a measure of his calm, but their connection is there, and strong, so he has a go at very carefully sending it their way over the link.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-07 23:21:18 93837
Miho nods slowly to Neil. "It's all right," she says softly. "Sorry if I'm ... talking out of a lack of knowledge."

She blinks at Kyouko, and breaks into a smile. "Well, I sure as hell wasn't suggesting that you not do it," she says. "But okay. That makes me feel a whole lot better in general." She blinks. "... Okay, wow, y'know what, if we'd had this conversation before, y'know, Saturday evening, I probably would've been hiding behind someone by now. Or possibly back up the stairs." She gives a grandiose shrug, and grins lopsidedly. "Perspective, I guess." She glances down at her minty-green sailor costume. "... still not changing back yet, though," she mutters to herself.

She smiles when Mamoru accepts her offer. "Okay!" she says. "I'll do whatever I can to make sure we're that much more prepared!"
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-07 23:26:04 93839
"Yeah, I've always been able to heal. We even wrote that into the stories way back then." Hoshi answers Mamoru with a smile. "It's related to how I was able to hand everyone a bit of extra purifying energy when we really needed to prevent Kunzite-san from eating all our attacks." She tries to ignore the 'taller' question, though there may have been a bit of a huff.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-07 23:30:03 93842
"For which some of us remain grateful." In case Mamoru saying so earlier wasn't enough. Kunzite is in uniform when he steps into conversational range: white hair, check, white cape, check. Slight frown, check. Reason for having turned up here -- well. "Mamoru ... and Rashmi." He bows in the group's direction. "Would either of you happen to remember whether a certain individual's Linker Core-stealing weapon was destroyed in the end of that last fight or not? I was slightly distracted at the time."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-07 23:33:06 93843
Between Kyouko and Nephrite, as well as just the fantastical niceness of Jaedite's Palace, Rashmi is definitely feeling her spirits lift a bit. Enough, at least, to nod decisively at the exclamations of 'our turf,' for all that it's not strictly hers. She is a friend, however, and definitely feels the responsibility to help protect her friends.

"It's definitely a good idea, Miho-chan. .....Honestly this seems about like the kind of time when we need everyone doing our best, whether we stay or go. There's a lot of covering we're going to need--"

Trailing off as Kunzite enters, Rashmi blinks owlishly at the white-haired General for a moment, eyes widening. "Oh you mean Sharpe-san! Um... No I actually don't, but I can ask! I owe her a couple spells anyway, an-- Oh. Ooooohhhhhhh, I see where you're going! That.... wow that would make a lot of things easier."
Nephrite 2018-08-07 23:44:12 93847
There is very little that is stopping Nephrite from simply storming away from this conversation before he explodes again in proximity of people who really do not deserve it. Most of them are genuinely just nice people who came to help. And Mamoru -- well, it is utterly unfair to get angry at a guy in a coma, even if he can still talk back, spectrally speaking. Kyouko's hand on his back helps. Mamoru's attempt at shoving calming vibes in his direction does something too, as does the ever-present zen of the Palace. He shakes his head at Miho. "Everything you've said is just fine. Don't worry about that."

And suddenly there is a Kunzite. Still caped. Not, apparently, leaking white energy anywhere, so that's probably fine. He narrows his eyes at Kunzite. "What do you need that for?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-07 23:52:16 93849
    Kyouko actually blinks at Miho as the girl says that her words make her feel better. "No shit? I inspired somebody? Huh. Maybe I am getting better at this." She says musingly, then grins a lopsided, one-fanged grin. "Either way, lemme just reassure you that this ain't the first time we've been in a bad spot, and we always find a way to come out of it. I refuse to consider any other option but that we will this time, too." She nods, firmly.

    Then she looks to Mamoru, blinking. "A fifth guardian? What, like a big cat or a dog or something?" She looks down at the one which had been by Nephrite's feet. "Um.. I guess so. But I really wanna stab Earth right in her not-heart, so can I do that, first?" She seems worried that this side-mission might take her away from the violence.

    She turns and smiles at Kunzite as he enters. "Hi nii-chan." Then she blinks as he speaks, before turning to Nephrite at the question, brows furrowed. "Well, I guess cause maybe we could use it to suck Mamoru's soul back out of Earth?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-07 23:58:18 93852
Noticing the huff-- it's easier to see from Kyouko who isn't doing nearly as much glaring at the moment-- Mamoru delicately decides not to mention Hoshi's growth spurt again. "I honestly thought that was 'healing' as in like-- Moon Healing Escalation, just straight-up purification," he says sheepishly.

Joy gets a wry smile, and then a ghostly thumbs-up. It's just, he's started looking more distracted, and also-- possibly-- faintly more solid? More well-defined, at any rate; each additional Shitennou seems to be doing so, and hel-lo, there's Kunzite. And Kunzite has a question that startles Mamoru, and then makes him frown, and then blink, and then rack his brains. "Umm-- I don't-- remember. There's a lot of things I'm not really remembering very well right now, I'm sorry. I don't think it was?"

A quick glance to Nephrite, and he's about to say something, and Kyouko's got it, and Mamoru grins. "Yeah. Basically yank my linker core right back out of her. Since that's how Kunzite got rock-ghosted the second time, meaning it doesn't just work on straight-up familiar expected linker cores, it might actually work. And then Rashmi can seal the Jewel Seed-- yeah, yeah Kyouko, you can stab her first."

He looks to Kunzite. "She's at D-point."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 00:08:28 93855
Miho blinks at Kazuo's sudden suggestion, then breaks into a grin. "Wow. Sharpe actually had something that ended up accidentally being useful, huh?" she says, still not using honorifics. "I might have to refrain from giving her a Minty Punch the next time I see her. Just whatever 'horrible something' she uses to come after me and Aki-san, instead." She grins at Kyouko. "Don't worry, Sakura-san, you're still a cynical weirdo in my eyes, it's just that you're filled with enough determination to get this done that it kind of offset that, y'know?"

She nods to Rashmi. "And speaking of doing our best, this is ... another reason we need to take the time to, like, just put me through my paces, and measure my exact capabilities and improve on them, kind of thing." She hesitates. "Although, I mean at this point, we probably aren't gonna have that much time to do a whole lot ..."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-08 00:13:40 93857
"Oh the purification part is why it worked for what we needed at the time, but purification isn't 'my thing' really. All of us can purify, colour energy is apparently inherently purifying, but the others can't quite share their energy with others like I can." Hoshi explains to Mamoru in brief detail, "And since I can share my energy I can also make it do things like heal. I don't do it an awful lot, but I've done it before; and I do volunteer in the hospital. Sometimes I sneak in a little healing when nobody is looking."

Much of the rest of the conversation goes over Hoshi's head, so she doesn't comment on it. "Hello Kunzite-san, how are you doing?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-08 00:24:51 93860
"Asking her seems like less than an ideal plan, since it has a high probability of her wondering why you're asking, and managing to find out what happened. I don't particularly relish the thought of her getting ideas from the entire situation. If you think it might be possible to avoid that..." Kunzite inclines his head to Rashmi another time. Then to Kyouko, in her turn. "Yes, exactly. As Joy says, it might actually have a use that isn't borderline horrific for once."

Kunzite: picking up anything that might be useful since, well, forever, pretty much. Also getting smacked down by Nephrite for it on occasion since, uh, well.

Then Mamoru gives Kunzite the news. He does not fling arms in the air and rant to the heavens. He merely stands there for a moment, looking at nothing in particular. "I see." And then a glance back to Kyouko. "I'd appreciate if you stabbed her in her not-heart twice. Presuming it lasts long enough to."

He exhales, before addressing Hoshi. "Preoccupied, as most of us are at the moment. Yourself?"
Nephrite 2018-08-08 00:38:04 93864
Throwing arms into the air is Nephrite's job. He is, at present, holding them crossed, so perhaps there is less chance of them being flung heavenward again. It is also occasionally his job to question Kunzite's magpie tendencies over every source of power he comes across. He shrugs tightly. "Well it's not like we're worried about hurting the host, so I guess let's throw whatever we can get at her. Preferably if it's sharp."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-08 00:38:51 93865
Rashmi blinks, looking from Kazuo to Mamoru and back again. "Um... why shouldn't I? I mean if she's trying to make up for what she did, I'm pretty sure I can convince Cure Gull to back me up in talking her into lend it to us. Or, y'know, her to come with since an American with a gun and a backup Device User would be pretty helpful...? Not to mention, if Terra gets her way it'll screw it up for everyone."

Hoshi's quick aside gets a smile and a nod. "Yeah, she patched me up some after I got spiked through a roof a few weeks ago. Iunno if I ever thanked you for that, Hoshi-chan, but thank you. And we definitely need to get more mass-training sessions together, just... Need to find a good place that a Barrier won't be seen as an alarm bell... Hrm..."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-08 00:41:37 93867
    Kyouko gives a fierce little smile at both Mamoru and Kunzite. "Oh, I'll stab her as many times as I can before she dissolves back into whatever primeval magical goo Agera moulded her out of." She makes a face. "Hopefully not literally, but I guess beggers can't be choosers." She pauses, then eyes Mamoru. "It's, um.. not a risk to you if I gut her, right? I mean, you're techncially inside her. I'm pretty sure my spear can't actually pierce somebody's soul, but.."

    Then she glances back at Kunzite, as he speaks about Hannah. "Look, nii-chan, you know I'm an advocate for not-trusting people who have screwed us over and over again, but honestly I think that Hannah would want to help Mamoru if she could. And considering my past with her, I don't admit that lightly. Granted, I'm not saying we let her in on the operation, that'd be dumb, because she can't be trusted. But I think if somebody said "hey can we borrow your soul-stealer, Mamoru needs it" with a minimum of details, she'd probably agree, knowing her like I do."

    She glances at Rashmi. "Just.. don't tell her the plan. Or even what's going on. She was Agera's partner in the past, y'know, and she's screwed us over enough times that I don't trust her not to somehow screw this up too if she thinks she can gain advantage from doing so.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 00:44:56 93869
Joy nods to Hoshi. "That's ... actually kind of how I've been healing people and doing things like adding purification to their powers," she says. "Keep the right balance of Life Blessing, drawing it out in a usable form, and then putting it into them or their weapons or whatever. Healing's the hardest part for me, though." She looks to Mamoru, and then grins and says, "Although on that note, after what Usagi-san said yesterday, I'm probably gonna rename 'Pure Halation' to 'Pure Elation'."

She hesitates, then adds, "I mean, I don't know how recently Sharpe attacked last time, but the only time I've met her ... 'can't be trusted' is a good assessment, I'd say."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-08 00:47:53 93871
" think letting her anywhere near a Jewel Seed is a good idea, Ra-chan?" Mamoru asks wryly, and leaves it at that. He shifts in midair, really distracted, and looks over his shoulder, as if trying to triangulate something. "Um-- yeah no, really, it should be fine. I mean, my rock is not her rock, it doesn't belong where it is. And my body's perfectly safe down here..."

A beat. "Oh, right, you guys wanted to go to Kunzite's place and *make sure* I'm okay."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-08 00:57:55 93874
Undercover work is rough. Being surrounded by people you're *pretty* sure are working for the enemy is emotionally taxing on its own. Add in the constant facade, the paranoia, and the sneaking-in-places-I-shouldn't-be-oh-god fear, and it's actually a pretty stressful time for a lone Shitennou.

Last week, Jadeite would have given anything for a brief out. Then Saturday happened, and he learned that undercover work is only worse when you have an urgent need to leave it.

It took some time to engineer the right excuse, but on Tuesday night, poor Saburo-san caught a stomach bug and absolutely couldn't go out, sorry colleagues. With eight hours or so free, he has enough time to check out those presences that have popped into his palace -- and maybe to ask them just what happened on Saturday that's screwed with his connection to Mamoru so badly.

With a long breath, he assumes his Shitennou uniform, teleports, and walks up the last few steps to see the auspicious little gathering chatting inside his forest temple of a palace.

He blinks. Three Virtue members. Three Shitennou, if he counts Kyouko, which he does. And Mamoru.

But...not Mamoru.

But Mamoru?

Why is Mamoru translucent and sitting like Zoisite, balanced in mid-air? He has missed *a lot*, hasn't he? His eyes widen as he looks at his prince, mind racing to fit this in with the wave of feelings that battered him three nights ago.

"...sorry I'm late," he finally says, when he can't come up with an answer of his own. "Some shit went down while I was AWOL, huh?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-08 00:59:17 93875
Nephrite is not verbally chewing on Kunzite. Kunzite lets one brief glance flicker Nephrite's way, eyes narrowed just a little. Not enough to suggest any kind of ire. Just examining that closed-in tight posture for a moment.

Still. There's a conversation going on, and all too much of it is about Hannah. Takes a magpie to know a magpie -- "Her getting ideas on how to experiment with the Jewel Seed, or about how Sailor Earth reconciles conflicting energies, are my concerns, yes. Not her involvement at all, only her exposure to some of these things." Kunzite and Kyouko agreeing, more or less. Not entirely a surprise there. "But," he inclines his head to Rashmi, "after stating that concern, I'll trust your judgment."

And possibly guide people to the transit point, if they want to go view the body, so to speak. But that he leaves up to the rest of them. Joy's seen it, for one, and somehow he doubts Nephrite really needs a morbid moment right now. And --

And then there's Jadeite.

"Welcome back," he says to Jadeite. And does not, for once, follow it with 'Sailor Earth stole Mamoru's soul and is hiding out at D-Point.' Maybe he's actually learning how to have conversational tactics other than 'bludgeon.'
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-08 01:06:27 93877
And yeah, as soon as Jadeite can see him, Mamoru's even less flickery-glowy, has more definition. His face loses another couple of tiny tension lines, as well. "Sorry, Saburo. I guess the timing on that line of investigation was-- really wretched. I'm okay! As these things go. Just sort of--"

He glances uncertainly at Nephrite, Apatite, and Kunzite, then gives Rashmi a pleading look like 'you're probably literally the one person here with tact'. Possibly 'if you added up all the social-skills-under-stress in this group you'd still have more than all of us put together'. Then he looks back at Jadeite and says hurriedly, "But I'm okay. Just kind of Kunzited."
Nephrite 2018-08-08 01:07:29 93878
"--oh hell." Nephrite strides straight over to Jadeite and snatches him up into a bone-crushing hug. No, Jadeite does not get a say in this. "Welcome back, buddy. Stuff's gone bad, but we're working on fixing it. It's Mamoru's turn to be a force ghost, but we don't even get a rock to lick."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 01:09:29 93880
Miho stares. "'Lick'?" she says weakly, really glad she's in henshin so that she doesn't have to worry about not being able to control her voice.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-08 01:14:05 93884
"....Yeah okay that's fair," Rashmi sighs. "Maybe I'll just try and go through Cure Gull, and see what she can do... Anyway," she says, shaking her head and smiling at Jadeite as he enters. "Hi, Jaedite-san! Your place is amazing, by the way, thanks for allowing us in!"

Her smile fades, of course, as she works on how to explain the situation. "So yeah... basically we'll be holding some war councils and gathering what resources we can before we go up to D-Point and throw Earth out." Nephrite's.... explanation.... completely derails her train of thought for a bit, and she shakes her head. "...We're working on fixing that too. Short form is, Earth's now confirmed to be empowered by Mamo-kun's soul, a Jewel Seed, and a Grief Seed, plus whatever she's been digging up from your pasts at D-Point. So it's.... going to be a fight. Like, I would not be at all shocked if I ended up seeing Stahlritter swinging a statue on a chain like a flail, kind of fight."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-08 01:14:24 93885
    Kyouko looks over as Jadeite enters, and a lopsided smile appears on her face. "Hey, bro." She greets, because "Jade-nii" does not really roll off the tongue so one has to take what one can get. "Just another one of us turned into a ghost, but hey, at least this time we have a body and don't need to grow a new one for him. Just gotta get the rock back. Which, apparently, means another freezing-ass trip to the North Pole, to visit Santa Earth and her shitty elves and stab them right in the sack of presents until the pretties roll out."

    Then she snorts at Nephrite. Then she looks mildly embarassed and puts a hand up to her mouth. Snorting is not very ladylike.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-08 01:15:43 93886
Mamoru literally just said stuff and was waiting for Rashmi maybe to save them all when Neph went to bearhug Jadeite-- cue Mamoru's ghost looking faintly jealous, briefly-- and then Neph says THAT. And his faintly white-gold glow turns briiiiight pink.

He puts his hands over his face.


Apparently this is good enough that that doesn't matter.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 01:19:44 93887
Miho turns to Rashmi and Hoshi. "You guys wanna head back to the real world?" she says, gesturing back towards the tree-door. "Because I have a feeling this might go on for a while." She eyes Mamoru and the others. "... at least there's no ice cream involved this time ..."
Nephrite 2018-08-08 01:21:51 93888
Nephrite releases Jadeite to glance back at the others. "Look, Kunzite's stone looks like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. You can't tell me you wouldn't be tempted to try it." For once, an actual grin spreads on his face at the sight of Mamoru's entire ghostly being turning pink. "He has. I've seen it."
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-08 01:28:30 93889
"Let's. Do you want a ride back home? There's room in the car for all of us." Hoshi glances towards Rashmi after, waiting to see how Rashmi responds to that suggestion. While that's going on, she fishes a crystal out of her pocket, and generates a spinning galaxy of stars that she uses to reach out to Mamoru's hair while he's not looking, painting the hair yellow. It should fade within an hour, she's not trying to make it stick.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-08 01:29:34 93890
Kunzite: apparently grimly fascinated by air. Because if he glares at Nephrite all of this will just get worse. (... and not glaring at Nephrite also doesn't help, if he gets caught at it.) He may be about to volunteer to help the girls skip the stairs, since that might qualify as an orderly retreat. Maybe.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-08 01:31:53 93891
..."WELL IT DOES," Mamoru-ghost, suddenly blond and having no idea about it and therefore actually looking startlingly like Jadeite, flusters defensively. "You all look like candy!" And then he cringes and looks toward the girls and mumbles, "Sorry. You don't have to run away. Do you want to call for a battle plan meeting on HeartNET, Ra-chan?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-08 01:34:35 93892
"Probably a good idea," Rashmi says, digging out her phone. "I know Souma-kun would throw a soccer ball at me if he wasn't in on at least one planning session. And yeah, a ride sounds really nice... oh! Um. Does anyone here want to order dinner, and if yes where d'you want me to leave it? I think we're still open for a couple hours."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-08 01:39:14 93894
Oh. Well, Rashmi and Mamoru's explanations help explain the lack of alarm over their prince being non-corporeal. It's true that when half the people here have been ghosted at some point, himself included, the experience becomes a little less bizarre.

Still...did Earth really have to pick D-Point? Could she decide to not ruin things for like two weeks? The Earth Court has some lives they're trying to move on with.

"The timing's fine, I don't think anyone will suspect anything. I'm just irritated that I didn't know about any of this until -- *hyurgh*!" Aaaand there's Nephrite, crushing the words out of him with a hug. And talking about licking rocks. At least, even with a ghost!master, some things never change.

"-- I don't want to lick Kunzite's stone," he chimes in, for what it's worth.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-08 01:42:58 93895
And that is the point at which Kunzite glances back to Neil, and reasonable people receiving that look would take a moment to make sure their insurance and will were up to date. Perfectly reasonably, a moment later, he says to Rashmi and Hoshi and Joy, "Please let me know when you're inclined to go up to the surface. We can at the least spare you the stairs."

It is perhaps notable at least to Rashmi that Kunzite is usually (if it's not Makoto) the one making sure these people get fed, and he appears to have just completely missed the suggestion about her family's place still being open.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-08 01:44:54 93897
    "That's the sweetest thing you've ever said about me, Mamoru." Kyouko says, grinning, after his declaration that they all look like candy. She blinks as he suddnly turns blonde, narrowing her gaze slightly as if to say 'I think I might be hallucinating.' Then she smirks just a little bit towards Kunzite. So transparent, even when he isn't a ghost (at least to her). "Why don't we just put in an elevator?"

    Then she saunters over to Nephrite and Jadeite. "Hey, it's so seldom we're all together, you guys wanna get a drink or something? I mean, crisis and all, sure, but that's all the more reason, right?"
Nephrite 2018-08-08 01:51:23 93898
"More for the rest of us then," Neil snorts at Jadeite, and turns to face Kunzite's moment of wrath. It is, in fact, the most normal exchange anyone has had with him today, so he can only smirk triumphantly.

In the absence of Kunzite's response, Nephrite gives Rashmi puppy eyes. "From Korma Chameleon? Curry? Please? Or--" Kyouko makes her suggestion, and he gives her a faint smile. "You know, I could use one or ten. That is how we actually dealt with the last ghost incident." He glances up at Mamoru, and has to do a double-take. "Is that like, a ghost thing? Are you just excited to see Jadeite? I mean, not that I blame you."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-08 01:56:27 93900
"Goddammit, I want korma and booze," Mamoru flails, jumping on this new topic like a life raft. "I mean-- wait, what?" Now he looks like-- he looks like he's going to die and also has blond hair and "JADEITE..! Ohmygod. I'm out. Bye. I'm going to troll Sailor Fake News some more. Call me when you're already drunk so I can make fun of you."

Still literally glowing pink, Mamoru vanishes.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-08 01:57:44 93901
And without further ado, Hoshi gets a gigglefit so severe she literally falls to the ground laughing, no explanations, nothing.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 01:57:51 93902
Miho watches Mamoru's hasty exit. "I can actually get back home on my own speed, but I wouldn't mind the company," she says. "... Speaking of which, you can add my top speed to the list of things we need to check out, Rashmi-chan, I think 'fast' is one of my things."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-08 02:01:56 93903
He said the right thing to avoid Kunzite's death stare! Score one for Jadeite! \o/

...but in the interim, something has managed to turn Mamoru's hair blonde. He supposes, being a ghost, that would take less effort than if Mamoru was standing here in person. He side-eyes Neph, wondering if it's possibly true that he missed him so much he managed to turn his own hair blonde? In which case, he'd be flattered.

He opens his mouth to say as much, but then Mamoru's flailing at him and *poof!* Earth prince out. He takes a second, rewinding through his words.

"Ah. I guess I should have been more careful with my words," he says, entirely to maybe only halfway sincere. Innuendo? What's that? Ask the big blue puppy eyes, I dare you.

He turns to Kyouko when she comes up to him and Nephrite.

"Hell, I have the whole night off. Told the colleagues I caught a stomach bug, so as long as we pick a joint with minimal Eclipse ties, I should be good."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-08 02:06:53 93905
Kunzite, for some reason, is not participating in the wanna-get-a-drink part, either. It's specifically when Jadeite mentions criteria for picking a place, though, that he steps sideways to be able to offer Hoshi a hand up. Eventually. When she starts giggling.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-08 02:09:17 93906
    Kyouko turns towards Mamoru just as he vanishes, and she rolls her eyes before turning back to the still-present guys. "Such a prince." She says, with a fond smirk, before shrugging towards Jadeite. "I'm good with whatever, except for the fact that despite how I feel I'm actually technically still underage which means that most bars probably ain't gonna serve me. Luckily, I happen to know that this asshole," she jerks her thumb towards Nephrite, "Keeps some top-shelf whiskey hidden in his room. Or I can probably sneak some beer out of the conbenie if that's more your speed.." She does not press Kunzite, because she knows him.
Hoshi Kogane 2018-08-08 02:16:50 93907
Hoshi gets past her gigglefit and gets up. "Ok, I'm ready to go now. When he comes back, tell Mamo I'm sorry?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 02:17:06 93908
Miho raises a heart-gloved hand at Jadeite's request. "I can vouch for the Korma Chameleon's dessert menu," she says. "And also for actually having ties with Virtue instead of Eclipse."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-08 02:17:24 93909
"How about whoever comes out with us gets to order from the Korma," Rashmi says as she joins Hoshi and Joy," ad have it dropped off at the apartments?"
Saburo Yukimura 2018-08-08 02:19:40 93910
Oh, right. Age is still technically a thing. Is *he* even old enough to legally go to a bar? He has his fake saying '20', of course, but since he very conveniently doesn't remember anything about not-Shitennou Jadeite, that could actually be true, by now.

He wonders benignly if a human being can be carbon dated, or failing that, if his rock could be.

"Ah, sorry about that, Kyouko. You just act so mature, you know, I forget you're not an ageless space rock." He half-grins, selling the not quite sincerity. "I don't want to get you in trouble with your work, but I also can't really do whiskey. Unless Neph knows a way to not make it taste like spicy liquid charcoal."
Nephrite 2018-08-08 02:21:20 93912
One look at those seemingly innocent puppy eyes and Nephrite's grinning again. He's not quite as upbeat as he normally is, and there is an edge to his voice and his movements, but the Knight of Harmony showing up in his own palace seems to have calmed some of his rage. He claps Jadeite on the back -- hard. "Missed ya, buddy. It's no fun doing all the work of upholding the team spirit around here."

He nods seriously at Kyouko. "Oh, well why don't you come down to Cafe Nephrite right next door and we can bust open the stash that not even Zoi can break into? That way this guy can tag along." He nods deliberately at Kunzite, in a don't-think-I-don't-see-you-running-off kind of way. He gives Jadeite a slightly hurt look at the insult to whisky, but sighs anyway. "I do have other things. You can leave the whisky to those of us who know how to enjoy it."

He smirks at Hoshi. "Oh, we can give him the message. After we tease him about it more."

To Rashmi, he nods, and now it's his turn to give Kunzite puppy eyes, since he was planning to take them up. "Curry? Please?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-08-08 02:22:35 93913
"That sounds like an excellent idea," Kunzite says to Rashmi. And then gives Nephrite another of those flat looks in answer to the puppy eyes.

Nephrite may be lucky that a certain challenge needs to be arranged well in advance.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-08 02:28:09 93914
    "Bullshit." Kyouko grins at Jadeite as he says she acts 'so mature'. "You're confusing mature with 'jaded', but considering who you are I guess I can forgive that. Anyway, it's not a big deal. Hey, I can teleport now! I could probably teleport right in there and then teleport out with some beer an' nobody'd be the wiser!" She pauses. "Y'know, assuming I don't like, materialize inside the freezer and have to smash my way out or something.." She's still an amateur at the whole teleporting thing.

    Then she beams at Nephrite at his offer to bust open the good stash and claps him on the back. "Hell yeah, that's why you're my favorite brother." She leans in and stage-whispers, "Don't tell Kunzite I said that." Before glancing over at Kunzite and giving a sly wink, as if to say 'sorry dude, he's got the whiskey'. Then she eyes Jadeite in turn. "Oh well. More for me, I guess."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-08 02:33:30 93915
Miho shakes her head. "Let's just head back upstairs, guys," she says to Rashmi and Hoshi, and she rises off the ground and heads for the door.