Mirai's Last Dance


Date: 2018-08-11
Pose Count: 155
Sailor Earth 2018-08-11 19:22:01 94098
In the underground passages that worm their way beneath the Antartic permafrost, a creature without a soul, a thief of life, has lurked for a week. While everyone else sought to prepare to deal with her, she'd merely been finalizing the last moments of a much longer plot. And when it was all done, she'd have what she desired. She would make her wish come true.

And so, surrounded by Golden Kingdom artifacts, and with Grief Seeds in her hands, she called together arcane and strange powers. And she called upon the Jewel Seed that beat in place of her heart. And she used the strength of the soul she'd stolen.

And reality shuddered, and shook, and was ripped - a surge of energy and wrongness, like watercolors all mixed together, formed. A tear in reality, that began to spread. And within moments, that strange reality overtook the Earth, and tendrils began to stretch ever further through the universe. And within... Earth's dream became reality.



The greatest celebration in the Golden Empire was upon its citizens, as it did every year. Empress Endymion's Golden Capitol was open to all, and within the walls of the palace itself, the greatest party of the year had begun. Celebrating the anniversaries of the Empress' birth, the defeat of the Dark Kingdom traitors, and the founding of the Empire itself (which all occured on the same date in different years) there is much to be happy about!

And the finest music, food, and drink flows freely to keep that feeling up amongst the invited guests. And of course, soon the Empress herself may make an appearance, that glorious ruler who ushered in the times of peace, happiness, and greatness. The fact that many of the people there are faceless and dressed similarly, with slow empty movements, bothers no one.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 19:34:57 94099
Of absolutely no importance whatsoever is the skinny black-haired ashen-eyed busboy who's taking empty glasses and plates away from where the aristocracy leaves them when they're done, which is basically everywhere. Though the staff in general looks well-fed and happy and decently-dressed, his uniform's a little too big and faded from excessive laundering and a little bit threadbare in the elbows and knees-- and the skinny doesn't entirely look like a metabolism or growth-spurt thing, and there's ground-in soot that a year of scrubbing and the loss of a couple of layers of skin might dent. He doesn't look unhappy, at least.
Kunzite 2018-08-11 19:39:47 94100
It has been a long time indeed since the Empress truly needed guards. Nonetheless, they exist, and the greatest and most senior of them -- the Four Kings -- are undoubtedly present, perhaps with the Empress, perhaps scattered somewhere in the crowds in advance of the world's benefactor's entrance. One is somewhat more evident than the other three. In part because he's all cool white and gray against the rainbows and the roses. In part because a number of the Earthborn partygoers give him a little wider berth than usual. Kinslayer, crown-refuser, Empress Endymion's dead-eyed and lethal servant from an age when most boys are still pages. In every story, there's a shadow at the festival; perhaps the Empress chose to fend off even less well-omened ones by employing hers.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-11 19:42:03 94101
When you're a mah--

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

No that's not right...

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

When you're a foreign scholar, visiting the Golden Palace in the train of Bengal's ambassadorial delegation is the highest honor you can achieve. With the world at peace and happy, and the last vestiges of conflict stamped out with the Dark Kingdom, helping an ambassador is the easiest, most fulfilling job in the world; all one has to do is keep up to date on one's histories, provide the occasional bit of advice, and in return you get to attend balls like this.

Best. Job. Ever.

Currently Rashmi is by the canapes in a lovely red-and-gold sari, chatting animatedly with a longtime friend of hers -- a counterpart advisor to the Ambassador of Greece -- and by the way she's flailing her arms about, is just bubbling over about how incredible and awesome everything is.
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 19:44:51 94102
And what's not to celebrate! Today is blessed in so many ways - it has repeatedly marked the beginnings of joyeous times, and the end to periods of strife. This is a day where good shines through, and evil grows weak!
    This is a day without fear.
    Rei Hino - usually uncommonly serene in her spiritual persuits and the guidance she offers - is very nearly giddy as she steps into the great hall, purple eyes sparkling at the splendor of it all. The unfamiliar observer might think she is 'merely' smiling, but for the composure Rei likes to keep, she might as well be hopping in place. Her long dark hair has been murdered into perfect straightness with brushes, and her dress is a radiant red; with sleeves that are semi-transparent between solid, curving patterns; the rest of the finely crafted outfit hugging her figure closely, though exposing very little of her actual flesh. One usually aims for modesty in her position, but at an event like this, one must strike a balance so as not to appear insultingly shabby.
    "Bus boy!" She calls out to the shabby looking individual, addressing him before she takes in his appearance, sparking a sympathetic wince. He must feel awkward. But there's no need to be rude! She smiles kindly, "Has the Emperess made an appearance? I fear I was delayed getting here."
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 19:49:45 94103
Magical Girl Clotho gulped nervously as she walked through the palace, her ceremonial rod in hand and a six colored dress flowing across her body. She couldn't believe it. She was going to be meeting THE ruler of earth. She'd only ever seen her from afar. And yet, somehow, she'd been chosen as the emissary of Clotho, a prestigious title in america. Never mind the fact there didn't seem to be anyone else in america.

She had brought a most exquisite gift. A roll of legendary t'lite papre hand woven by the blind men of charr. A fabric renowned for its weakness to water, yet so soft it could coax the skin to all new heights of delight.

Clotho blinked and glanced at the strange boy and felt a small twitch on her finger. She shook her head before grabbing a glass of wine. She couldn't believe it. She'd finally meet THE ruler of earth. They said her beauty was like staring at the moon in the darkest night. Her kindness warmer than the sun against your flesh.

She couldn't wait, to see the woman up close and personal... Then her heart fell on Kunzite. Wow, he was handsome. She hadn't seen him in...

Wait, she'd never seen him before. How in the world COULD she? This was her first time here. Still... She felt she had seen him somewhere. Oh! He looked a lot like one of her teachers. That was it. Of course...

Then the princess of mars came. And she stared. She almost dropped her staff. She eas breathtaking. She'd heard of the beauty of the princesses... But to see it in person... To bask in its radiance... When she'd first seen her dress she'd felt so beautiful. Now she almost envied the servant boy. Compared to that, it would be better to be unnoticed... And now she was staring.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 19:52:58 94104
The bus boy looks startled and nervous when he's addressed by the Princess of Mars, nearly dropping the glass he was reaching to pick up and put in his basket. He bows low over the basket, clutched in white-knuckled hands, and murmurs, "No, your Royal Highness, she hasn't arrived yet."

He doesn't dare meet her gaze; she's royalty and that would be terribly impertinent. He looks kind of like a brown moth pinned to a board in view of glorious butterflies fluttering freely about.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-11 19:57:17 94105
A source of darkness and light in equal ... well, just light, actually ... is at hand!

Or, well ... this is the first year that the Kagami family has received an invitation to the yearly ball. Their daughter, young Miho, used to be a rather sickly girl, but she proved to be blessed with quite prodigious skill in the area of healing magic, and she caught the attention of the nobility when she healed her own illness, which had previously been thought to be incurable.

(There's been talk of an arranged marriage into the House of Kurosawa, just to land her a noble title and because it's better to have that sort of ability on the inside rather than stuck with the rabble. Miho was a bit jumpy until she found out that the noblewoman pushing for this had two daughters and zero sons, but she's still nervous about the whole prospect, in an excited sort of way.)

Miho is now brought in by a pair of valets, in a forest-green ballgown she'd never even imagined wearing before even. After a few more words, the valets bow and excuse themselves. Miho turns around and looks over the ball with an expression of pure delight. She hardly knows where to go first! So she takes a moment to just observe, just watching the people there, which is her second-greatest talent after healing.

... So why does she feel like she wouldn't normally be able to handle a crowd this big, when she's handled them just fine in the past? And why does that girl with the red hair seem oddly familiar?
Lacrima 2018-08-11 19:58:33 94106
Lacrima has a nagging feeling. Something is so wrong about this. What is it...Wait yes this is all wrong! this is.....

THE WRONG COLOR DRESS. That's right, she wanted to wear the black and red one, instead she's wearing the black one with violet trim. The young noble girl is being fussed over by a man with red hair. "Now pay attention, it's important you take in the decorum for future events." he says. "Yes, father." says Lacrima, as if this is the fifth time she's been told this in the hour. "--and no feeding from strange boys." she sighhhhs "Yes, father." she says. "...or girls." she scoffs. "Oh, you're no fun, father." she says just a little coyly.

The red haired older vampire heads off to handle whatever it is noblemen vampires do with the rest of the delegation she's come with from Themyscira, as her eyes trace across the ballroom.

This is a dance however, first order of business-- find a dance partner.

Then she can worry about the rest later. Everyone is gawking.

It's a ball. Has anyone here not even met anyone from nobility before or been to a ball? The only difference is someone important is running it and be in attendance.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-11 20:02:37 94107
    Even the nearby realms are coming out of their metaphorical (and, perhaps in a few cases, literal) shells. Despite its perpetual reclusiveness, the Realm of Storms doesn't shut out the rest of existence; they're always willing to be on the front lines of the important battles, and once in a while, someone or other pops out to at least put in an appearance at the big events. And it looks like this counts as big - big enough to merit at least one of them.

    Tall. Clad in a mix of armor and leather that suits a barbarian warrior, wearing a fur-lined cloak over that, and atop that a sling that holds a hammer at her back. Violet eyes sweep the ballroom, one half-gloved hand reaches up to brush fingers through crimson hair, and an uneasy grunt is uttered. "...the hell do I gotta be the emissary..." Sigh. "...well, whatever. Least I get some food out of it." Speaking of which, where's the food? Hey, that girl over there looks like she might know her way around a ball.

    A hand taps Lacrima on the shoulder. "Oi. You got a sec? Name's Alma. There a buffet table around here?"
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 20:04:40 94108
Rei pays little mind to the bus boy's apparent terror - it's an intimidating situation to be in. If anything, she should feel guilty for burdening him with this kind of clash in status. She smiles with relief, tilting her head slightly, and closing her eyes in that odd way that seems to carry the smile further upwards, "I see. That's a relief then, thank you." She opens her eyes to look down at him and says - with the simple detached politeness of parting with a stranger, and the unwitting dismissivness of speaking to someone who doesn't matter: "That will be all."
    Rei steps away with a bit of a sigh of relief. It seems she'll pull through without hurting the Emperess' feelings, or, god forbid, offending her. She wonders if she should try to step back to meet her, but between the scale of the event, and the way Kunzite is looking... it may be best to leave well enough alone.
    Wait, is someone staring?
    Someone's staring.
    Rei peers about slowly before her purple eyes settle on Clotho, blinking curiously once before she smiles. "Oh, hello. I don't believe we've met." She says kindly, seemingly not perturbed by the staring. She's a Princess, she gets that a lot.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-11 20:09:20 94109
It's well known that the people of Jupiter are exceptionally tall and graceful by nature. The princess of that planet, paragon of her people that she is, should be no exception - and she's not. Jupiter's princess stands a good head over most of the revelers, an easy vantage from which to watch the goings-on no matter where she stands.

Her statuesque figure is draped in a long, deceptively simple gown of shimmering green, giving way to rose-pink at the bodice and neckline like a bud just beginning to bloom. A sheer shawl in the same glimmering green is draped around her arms, softening the lines of lean muscle that the strapless gown leaves bare.

She doesn't especially look like a bodyguard - especially not in contrast to a certain glowering shadow - but the educated eye might see it in her poise, in the way those green eyes skim over the ebb and flow of the ballroom. She doesn't seem to realize that her fingers are fidgeting with the edges of the shawl as she does.
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 20:09:31 94110
Magical Girl Clotho turned and stared. She yelped instinctively when her eyed fell on Lacrims. No no no. Did she see her?! She quickly turned and walked away, trying to avoid being noticed by... The... Woman she'd... Never met before. She paused. What?

And only then that she noticed she had only just. Barely. Avoided. Slamming into Rei. "Unmm...." She mumbled. "Err... Hello, err. Ma'@?. I am the Clotho kf delegate. I mean, the... The delegate of Clotho. From america." She stared up at her... Something... It felt a little... Familiar? Still overwhelming, though."Err... Do you know when her highness will make an appearance?" She kept rocking back and forth on her feet. Nervous... Barely able to meet the more beautiful woman's gaze.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 20:17:07 94111
The busboy's tense figure relaxes with a shuddering sigh as he's dismissed and Princess Mars turns away and walks off. Hurriedly, he fills his basket-tray, dishes clinking in it, then hastens toward the stand of potted trees over there that hides the entrance to the kitchen complex. As he goes, his path takes him directly in front of the lurking Kunzite, and he briefly slows and glances up to look at the lethal white-haired man's face, hoping he's invisible in his ill-fitting clothes-- and then unless he has the bad luck of actually meeting the flat slate grey gaze on accident, he hurries on and out of sight.
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 20:25:51 94112
Rei's eyes widen as Clotho rapidly approaches. "Oh!" she yelps, and she takes a step backwards to avoid being hit - needlessly, it turns out, but when your body tells you to take evasive manuevers, you listen. "H-... hello there." Rei says a bit awkwardly with what seems like a bit of second-hand embarrassment, holding one hand over her chest from the slight scare.
    "Oh, America? I see! I haven't been there in-"
    In...?
    Rei smiles, "-in ages." Upon Clotho's question, Rei tilts her head slightly, "Hmm? Sooner rather than later, I would think. As for the EXACT time..." Rei smiles fondly, "Depends on how long it takes Her Majesty's fondness for her people to win out over the timing of Ceremony."
    Rei looks distracted for a moment and raises her arm upward in a subtle wave when she - rather easily - spots Jupiter's Princess towering over the masses; a distant greeting, if not NECESSARILY a call to come join her. Everyone wants a moment after all. She looks back to Clotho, politely failing to notice her nerves, "Please enjoy the ball until then."
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-11 20:28:32 94113
    That... That is an absolutely gigantic dog.
    Though Atlantean Warhounds are bred for size and strength, Warhound is perhaps something of a misnomer; in that they are docile enough to leave a child in their care alone, in absolute trust. So long as no one threatens the child in their care, they remain perfectly docile, and Prospero is a particularly well-behaved and trained example of this proud species of canine.
    The massive wolf-like hound is large enough that he has no issue in ferrying his ward on his back; and said ward seems to have no compulsions against riding her caretaker around, sidesaddle, around so many important people.
    It helps that, being so small as she is, riding upon the great dog's back puts Princess Ariel of Atlantis upon the level of other people for the most part, rather than having to crane her head up at almost anyone and everyone older than she is.
    A crown of laurels and ocean flowers are braided into silvery hair, topaz eyes glancing around the ball in evident wonder-- being her first, and the first time she has been allowed to attend the yearly gathering of the Golden Empire, and she made sure to dress accordingly, wearing a peplos of fine sea-green fabric. Shoes though? No, none of those.
    For the most part, she lets her mount wander freely, people watching with the rapt and curious eyes of a blatant first-time ballgoer.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-11 20:33:30 94114
While "Master of Hounds" is a job of only modest importance and prestige, those who hold the title are usually known best for how they interact with those outside of the court. Some focus their efforts on their task and their charges, rarely stepping outside of the royal kennels except when their job demands; the few times that they do, they make everyone of lower rank know just where they stand in the pecking order.

Ikiko Hisakata, the current Master of Hounds and self-proclaimed caretaker of all masterless dogs in the kingdom, isn't one of those.

Arriving in her 'fancy' outfit (her cleanest tunic and trousers, a "save it for special occasions" vest, and her "I have to be formal? FIIINE..." skirt over her pants), the girl that the kingdom has frequently called "the Master of House-Wolves" is escorted by a small handful of her domestic wolves. The same white and tan of Ikiko's outfit, her wolves seem to have a knack for confusing others as to how many are actually there -- some days it seems like there's a dozen or more, but today there's just three. (Or was it just one very active wolf? Hang on, there were two a moment ago... and no, the decorations in the collars don't help; those seem to freely swap among the wolves from one moment to the next.)

Trained as she is in human protocols, Ikiko nods to the esteemed guests and gives warm smiles to the servants working the party as she greets those in attendance. Her wolves also dip their heads as they meet the others, although they seem somewhat distracted tonight -- and, unusually enough, rather surprised by each other. Occasionally, one of them pauses near one of the other partygoers or staff, like Lacrima and the newly-arrived Princess Ariel. One wolf even sits facing Kunzite and headtilts quizzically at him.
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 20:34:04 94115
Magical Girl Clotho eeped and then.. Couldn't help but sigh contently as she listened. The princess was so radiant. So beautiful. She was totally the kind of girl who would be the main character of her own spin off se--

Wait, what? She shook her head and bowed her head. "Right! Right! Yes! I ummm... I've heard she's incredible! I can't wait to see her!" She said rapidly. "Thank you! I will!"

She kept her face low as she quickly walked away. Oh gosh she was an idiot. Why was she even chosen? Wasn't there some other delegate who--

This time she was not so lucky. She didn't catch herself before walking right. Into. Kunzite.

She stared up at him and paled. Oh my gosh he was a tree. A massive tree of... She stared. Okay. Why was looking up to him so familiar? Almost comforting? "I'm sorry! I'm the... Delegate from..."

She trailed off when she suddenly heard... Was... Was that a dog? Why was she riding a dog? Who was she? What?
Nephrite 2018-08-11 20:34:38 94116
Another of the Empress's guards stalks the crowds. Not a shadow, this one: the earthy browns of his eyes and hair and the deep tan of his skin speak of this planet's warmth and sunlight. And yet he seems to repel potential dance partners for a different reason. The haughty way that he carries himself: warrior of a distant western kingdom that just barely recognizes the Empress's rule, that allows his presence by her side as a courtesy more than an act of submission. The stormy look in his gaze as he surveys the detested crowds. He would far rather retreat into the silence of a rooftop to commune with the heavenly bodies than speak to any here.

--except for one. When his eyes land on the tall form clad in greens and pinks, the ill-humored King seems to lose track of the cloud of gloom he had carried with him. He pushes through the revelers to meet her, ignoring all others, until finally he is at her side, and can give her a sweeping bow that makes full use of his long flowing cape. "Looking radiant as always, your highness."
Sailor Earth 2018-08-11 20:35:00 94117
The music, which was originally soft background noise, slowly starts to grow a little more energetic. As it does, the magic of the Golden Empire kicks in a little, too - outside the fountains begin to change colors, a rainbow of colorful water, and in the sky, magical fireworks begin to burst. This show is perhaps more for the people outside, than the nobility inside. But from the tall impossibly tall windows of the room, it's still visible - and quite pretty. And then the fireworks give way to something different - a magical show of light and color in the sky, still images to recount important points. The founding of the Empire, the Global Concord, and that time the Empress stabbed Beryl with her golden blade and ended the rebellion in one fell stroke.

Inside the giant stairway (because these rooms always have a giant stairway) is still empty - but perhaps not for much longer.
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 20:39:49 94118
"Oh...!" Rei murmurs softly at the light show outside, then allows herself a wry little smile, speaking quietely to herself, "Playing to the crowd, Endymion-sama...?"
Kunzite 2018-08-11 20:43:41 94119
That's the trouble with being invisible in front of bodyguards. The Empress is perfectly capable of defending herself against any threat she happens to see. Therefore it's potential threats that might be beneath her notice that are actually of interest. Not that everyone isn't of professional interest; it's possible to hide so very many things in a formal outfit. And it's also possible to hide very many things in ill-fitting clothes and a basket of dishes. Which is why the busboy in question finds those dead gray eyes focused directly on him.

For a moment. Only for a moment. Then Kunzite's attention passes on to the wolf settled across from him, regarding it as steadily as he did the servant. He inclines his head in answer to the wolf's own headtilt, as if passing on an all-still-clear to another human sentry --

And then, without even looking, he puts out a hand to steady Clotho as she rebounds off of his side. "The delegate from nowhere, apparently?" His voice is almost toneless, except for the faint trace of malicious amusement. (Not like him. Not that she should know what "like him" means.) "How interesting. We've never had an emissary from an abyssal void in attendance before."
Lacrima 2018-08-11 20:48:15 94120
Mmmmmmm did that girl just see her and run? That's odd. Maybe she's afraid of vampires. Ohhh such a stigma even in these magical progressive days. Her eyes fall on Mars, then the imposing Jupiter. Huh. She never met anyone from Jupiter. They sure are tall. She's about to take a step forward when there's a tap on her shoulder.

Ugh, manners these days. She thinks, but she turns around with her best sweet smile. "Hello. Yes, my name is Lacrima, I'm with the Themscria delegation. I believe the food tables are over that way over there." she says.

"Or ask that busboy I just saw a moment ago." she says. "If they aren't." she adds again.

Her eyes trace back over to...

Is that...?

It is! Oh dear, they finally let her attend one of these parties. She tiptoes over towards to Ariel.

"Did they finally let you come a function, Princess?~" she asks her friend in a teasing manner. Yes, she was sheltered. But they kingdoms share a similar ruling body and probably the city closest to land to Atlantis which meant frequent trips.

"Not overwhelming. I hope." she adds. Then the dog gets a pat. "And hello to you, too, Prospero!~" she says.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-11 20:53:55 94122
Jupiter's watchful eyes catch the gesture of acknowledgement from her sister Senshi of Mars, and light up with a smile. Leaving off fussing with the gauzy drape of her shawl, she lifts a hand in answer, something halfway between a wave and a salute.

She might have started in Rei's direction, but before thought can become action she catches sight of Nephrite forging his way toward her, and her attention is promptly very much diverted.

She answers his bow in kind, smooth and graceful as a willow in the wind, a little flourish of shimmering skirt. When she straightens back up to her full height, it's with a fond, pleased smile. "Sweet talker," she says, a sparkle of self-aware humor in her eyes - she might be the only person who'd accuse him of that, and yet here they are. "I was beginning to wonder if I'd have to venture up to your observatory to have any chance of getting a dance with you."
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 20:54:38 94123
Magical Girl Clotho was kinda distracted but, finally, tore her thoughts from the dog. Only to hear Kunzite's words. What was he... Delegate from nowhere? Why would--

"Oh my gosh, no! I mean, I'm the delegate of Clotho! From america! I'm sorry for--" her bowing was interrupted by the fireworks and... She just stared. "Wow..." She whispered. Then blinked. Huh. She'd... Heard these stories her whole life. Why did they feel... Off?

then yelped and turned back. "I'm sorry for running into you, sir, Kun, sir!" Then stared.

DID SHE JIST CALL HIM KUN?! She can't do thatn "Kunzite! Sir! Sorry! Thank you I'm gonna go over there and hide in my shame okay? Okay. Okay? Okay. Bye!"

She scampered off like a frightened puppy, taking up position by a veru large and expensive vase that gave her the ability to somewhat hide while she regathered herself... she'd be there a few months. ish.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 20:57:03 94124
That one half-second of eyes-meeting--

--the busboy is expecting for the first tenth of it to get literally frozen on the spot, but something else clicks in the back of his head instead, and he's not afraid at all. Not at all. Of the most lethal, paranoid, cold, malicious man in the entire Golden Kingdom. So in that last split second before Kunzite looks away from him at the wolf, then thereafter gets bumped into by Clotho, there's surprise and something else behind the ash-grey eyes of the boy.

When he eventually comes back out, thirty seconds later, it's out the other hidden door-- part of a circuit, apparently-- it's with an empty basket and he starts all over again. He's looking at everyone, now, though he's not meeting anyone's eyes if he can help it, and his posture is slightly less tense, infinitely less afraid. There's a grace to his motion that wasn't there before, and without his head lowered and his eyes downcast, there's something almost... regal about the set of his head and the softened angles of his fine features.

But still he remains utterly respectful.
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 21:01:29 94125
"Kunzite." Rei's voice comes from behind the silver haired man; the Princess having fetched a glass of wine and holding it cupped in her hand between her middle and ring fingers, a look of bemused disapproval on her face, and a second glass in her off hand. "You'll spark an international incident, you know." She reaches her arm out to offer the second glass to Kunzite, and gives a slight smile, "If delegates start having heart attacks in the palace..."
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-11 21:01:43 94126
    "Thanks," Alma replies with a quick wave, before turning to go. "...swear I've met her somewhere before." The question of just when she'd have visited back home is left for later; food is much more important right now.

    Moments later, with a loaded plate, the redhead is stepping out into the crowd again. 'Alright, mom said to mingle, get to know folks, learn some news... who should I...' And oh look. There's someone who catches the eye. Tall like her. Toned. Maybe even a little electric. Other people there with her. Though Ko- though Alma's eyes dart briefly in the general direction of the fireworks, she's feeling too awkward among the crowd to really appreciate it. Which probably makes it good that she's headed towards another cluster of crowd-averse types.

    "It, uh... it always this crowded?" she asks as she drifts in range of Nephrite and Jupiter.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-11 21:06:13 94127
    To say that dog is well socialized and well behaved is an understatement. Prospero doesn't even so much as growl at the wolves present amid the party. Though there is a low, rumbling 'wurf' at one, it's more of a greeting than anything that can be construed as hostile.
    The fireworks makes the girl upon the great dog's back jolt faintly, before her attention turns skyward, watching raptly for a long moment before something else tugs at her attention.
    Lacrima gets licked. Prospero just tilts his head in and gives her a warm lick right up the cheek with a lazy wag of tail and that pulls Ariel's eyes off of the sky.
    "Oh! You are here as well." She pipes, flashing a nervous smile. "But yes, mother allowed me to come, finally. I had very much been looking forward to it. I am just a little overwhelmed, I think. There are many people I do not know."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-11 21:14:31 94128
So many people! So much to see! The fireworks are the most amazing sight Miho has ever seen!

When the music picks up, she starts drifting around the edges of the ballroom, making her way towards the food and drinks; almost immediately, she begins prancing along in time with the music and the other dancers. Well, at least has rhythm of her own. She pauses, looking across at Lacrima, Ariel, and Prospero. There's familiarity there, too.

As she's getting a drink, she catches sight of the busboy. There's that pang of familiarity, yes. And she certainly notices his posture. That ...

She frowns in a way she hasn't done in her entire life in the Golden Kingdom.

The obvious thing to do would be to go over and talk to him. She immediately turns around, drink in hand, and heads towards Lacrima and Ariel, putting her joyful smile back in place. She's had practice in the past few months, smiling and pretending everything is norm-- wait, huh? No, no time for that just yet ...

She pauses as Lacrima gets licked, and then ... waits another moment before approaching. "Good evening," she says, smiling and bowing to each of them in turn. "My name is Miho, of the humble family of Kagami." She turns to the fireworks. "I'm afraid this is the first time I've come to this ball, but, ah ..." Don't think too hard, just try to pick something to say that feels right! "... it's quite the joy to see such a dazzling display, isn't it?" Okay, now she can wonder internally about why 'joy' is significant, while keeping her smiles in place ...
Kunzite 2018-08-11 21:15:00 94129
The point of this party is for everyone in attendance to be happy. To take pleasure in the surroundings and the refreshments and the entertainment and the others there. Technically, the way Kunzite takes pleasure in Clotho's near-panicked babbling and flight counts. Doesn't it?

The busboy, on the other hand, is saved being picked out of the crowd in particular by (a) the fact that he is actually working, which is generally an excellent way to avoid being chosen as one of Kunzite's targets, and (b) the Princess of Mars, whose voice he turns and bows toward.

"If delegates start having heart attacks in the palace," he replies, "I will suffer the terrible fate of owing the Princess of Jupiter a favor for starting their hearts again. In which case everyone here will have the fortune of watching first fireworks still more lovely as she saves them, then fireworks far more impressive as she loses her temper. Really, everyone else here should be grateful to me for providing an additional show. So long as it doesn't compete with the planned entertainments, of course."

He glances at the wineglass, and bows again, this time a little slower. As if to convey some hypothetical regret that his expression doesn't show -- but then, it never does. "I must beg your forgiveness, as well, Your Highness. I'm on duty. At least one of us must abstain completely for the evening. I trust you understand. As for yourself. Are you finding the evening something to enjoy?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-11 21:19:26 94130
The older gentleman smiles fondly as the redheaded scholar continues to babble on about how incredible the party is, completely missing the fact that she's completely blocking access to the chocolate fountain. "--and did you see the Realm of Storms delegate, and oh my gosh the Princess of Altantis and and and and--" At which point the fountain explodes into actual rainbows to herald the Empress' imminent arrival, and any babbling just becomes a quiet, high-pitched squeal.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-11 21:25:06 94131
The housewolf sitting near Kunzite headtilts the other way for a moment, then pads over and noses Kunzite's side before loping off to catch up with Ikiko; over near Princess Ariel, that housewolf wuffs a friendly greeting to Prospero with a tailwag before likewise loping off.

Meanwhile, Ikiko continues to nod and smile welcomes to everyone she meets, including asking about how things are going for the people she's met before tonight -- particularly those who work in the palace.

Her path happens to cross with a certain soot-caked busboy. "Well met, Mamo," she smiles warmly. "You are looking better than I've seen in... quite some time, actually."

As the wolfgirl rubs her left wrist (why does it feel like I'm wearing a bracelet of gentle sunshine, she wonders to herself), the housewolf by her side is playfully dancing around Mamo, its tail wagging with utmost cheer. "And this is certainly the happiest I've ever seen my housewolves," Ikiko remarks as the other housewolves come over and join in.

It's like they're incredibly happy to meet this busboy. But... haven't they met him before, without this fanfare?
Nephrite 2018-08-11 21:27:10 94132
"Sweet words for a sweet face," Nephrite answers the princess of Jupiter with a chuckle as he straightens. His wavy hair is neatly brushed over the sharp shoulders of his uniform, his face clean-shaven, and he smells lightly of sandalwood and musk. "Alas, Her Majesty requires her full entourage tonight. I suspect the fireworks were added to the plans specifically to prevent me from being tempted to slip away at a moment's notice."

He intercepts a passing servant carrying a tray and plucks two goblets of wine from it. "In any case, I hoped I might have the chance at one dance with a Jovian princess, even if it meant fighting off a hoard of simpering lords to do so." He offers her a goblet. "Would you do me the honor, your highness?"
Lacrima 2018-08-11 21:29:17 94133
Lacrima's purple eyes sparkle a moment. "Yes, I'm here~ I've been to things like this before." she says. Oh dear, giant dog kisses, how horrible. Not really. She loves that dog. She sighs miserably. "Count Poderoso is off talking to people and I'm supposed to behave and pay attention. It's pretty boring." she says.

"I was looking for a dance partner though. Now that you're here maybe I have one worth dancing with now. Everyone else here seems to be gawking." she says.

Miho approaches. She regards her. "Oh. Hello." she says, as Miho actually approaches with manners, Alma, and bowing, /Alma/.

She gives a short bow back. "Hello. I am Lady Lacrima with the Themescria delegation, my father is the ruling current count. This is Princess Ariel." she says. "And her wwarhound Prospero." she says.

"Ah, this is not my first ball. But this one seems to be a big deal." there is fireworks. She does glance up occasionally.

"Some show, huh?" she asks. "We don't usually do fireworks with balls back in my home. They're usually so much more stuck up than this one." she says wrly to the two. "Princess don't go to any Themescrian balls, they're boring unless you need to. This one is much more fun."
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 21:30:45 94134
Rei smiles wryly, "That would be memorable, for certain. Though I doubt the favor she asks would end much better for you than the alternative." She teases, then sighs softly as her offer is refused, "Of course." She replies, and keeps an eye out to pass the glass to the next passing serving tray or bus boy. Kunzite might not be her... *absolute* favorite person, but she admires his focus. She can appreciate an absolute devotion to duty, after all, because... because...
    ... because...
    Rei blinks. Because she's a Princess, after all. Lots of responsibility. Loads of it. SO much. It's... it's nice to get a break. Rei seems surprised to hear Kunzite continue, and nods her head. "I am, thank you. Though I'm eager to see the Emperess again. But I suppose, tonight, I can't demand all of her time any more than I can yours." She smiles, "Keep up the good work, Kunzite. Don't have... *too* much fun with the guests."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 21:36:57 94135
Hands full of dishes, the busboy places them quickly in the basket and gives Ikiko a more shallow bow than he'd given the Princess of Mars; for her, who's one of the least likely people in here to chew him out, bite his head off, or get him punished, there's also a brilliant, beautiful smile. He's careful about not letting the basket, propped under one arm and against one hip, spill or reach where the housewolves can get at licking the plates, but he reaches in his pocket and takes out a handful of jerky for them. He bends to hold it out, then twinkles up at Ikiko. "I am well, lady. But I mustn't stop if I wish to be allowed to keep coming out here to see the finery splendour."

With that, he moves along to keep working.
Kunzite 2018-08-11 21:46:22 94136
Kunzite does not appear to acknowledge the wolf nosing his side. Possibly he doesn't think that one's a potential assassin. Possibly he'd rather be murdered than be caught patting anything doglike on the head in public. Hard to tell.

He inclines his head to the Princess of Mars, instead, rather than bore her by bowing yet again. "I'm certain she'll have time to spare for you, tonight of all nights. After all, it should include time for her to do what pleases her, rather than only what pleases her subjects. And I suppose, if Your Highness insists, I might be able to restrain myself for the evening. Strictly out of respect." ... and to give the previous narrative the lie, he bows once more, at the implicit dismissal, and draws back from whichever direction Rei seemed to be going in, moving to another point from which to resume his survey of the room. Nephrite and the princess in green; there won't be watchfulness from that angle for a little, but it's scarcely needed tonight. The Master of Hounds and that servant -- that's interesting. But he's carrying dishes. Most likely he has something with meat-scraps in the basket. Reasonable enough. On the other hand, the giant dog isn't trying to nudge the Atlantian princess their way...
Makoto Kino 2018-08-11 21:46:30 94137
The Princess of Jupiter takes the goblet from Nephrite's hand with a thankful tilt of her head, and promptly shifts it from one hand to the other so that she can twine her arm around his. "I'll be delighted to," she says... before adding a gentle surreptitous nudge of her elbow against his side, and turning slightly where she stands to look towards Alma. "...when manners allow."

Whether it's purely owing to the etiquette required of a princess or not, the smile she turns toward the emissary of storms is a pleasant, open one. "It's a rather grander occasion than usual," she answers Alma's question. "Although these balls are always fairly glittering events. Her Majesty wanted..."

Jupiter's voice trails off there, mid-sentence. The smile slips from her face a bit, replaced by a momentary perplexed look, as though she's unexpectedly lost track of her train of thought.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-11 21:46:30 94138
    Prospero is a good dog.
    He also notices Miho's approach before Ariel does; the great hound turning his head to stare silently, with vividly intelligent eyes. Though he does give a slow wag of his tail to make himself as non-threatening seeming as possible, in spite of his title as 'Warhound'. The shift in her mount's attention also earns a glance from the young princess.
    "Hello!" The greeting she offers to Miho is warm and cheerful, inclining her head in a polite little bow, even while mounted. "-Ah, this is my first time as well." She does admit. Though Lacrima apparently has them both beat by having prior Important People Party experience.
    "Stuck up?" She does ask of Lacrima, after introductions are handled.
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 21:56:42 94139
Rei offers Kunzite a bit of a lingering nod; a lowering of her head, about as close to a respectful bow as a Princess gives to anyone but the Emperess, and walks away.
    She feels... strange. Drained almost. As if this bare minimum of social interaction has exhausted her in some way. But that's absurd, with the way her life is, she's had to deal with people almost constantly, and certainly longer at a time than this.
    It occurs to her this place is... crowded. SO many people everywhere; so much more than what she's... used to...?
    Rei puts one hand to her head and closes her eyes. Maybe... maybe she shouldn't be drinking right now.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-11 21:57:04 94140
There are ... rumors. Rumors of Her Majesty's Left Hand, a knight (or two, or many) in her service who goes on ... clandestine operations. Of course, none would dare to speak them aloud on Earth. None would even think there was any point in speaking them aloud, either. Why would Her Majesty even need something like that?

Dame Akari Hayabusa is a knight in Empress Endymion's service, with a bit of an odd role. Along with her fellow knight Dame Mikoto Nakajima, she tends to be given ... well, rather outlandish assignments all over Earth and beyond, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to their goals. They don't seem to mind, at least; if anyone were to ask either of them about this, the only answer they would give is, "We serve Her Majesty's whims." And if anyone were to ask them about the rumors of some sort of romantic entanglement between the two of them, they would firmly proclaim that such rumors are greatly exaggerated.

Akari makes her way onto the ballroom floor from a side passage, smiling like the cat who swallowed the canary. She's dressed in an elegant ballgown, with various dark blue metal decorations designed to evoke the imagery of a knight's armor. (She might have been heard earlier referring to this as a "knightgown.") As she makes her way to the table with the food and drinks, she's humming, looking like she's barely even paying attention to what she's doing. "Mmm, yes, hi, good evening," she says as she passes various people by. She then picks up two glasses of drinks and immediately does an about-face to head back the way she came.

Well ... slightly exaggerated.

She pauses as passes by Nicomachea and Rashmi. "Oh, hello!" she says to the latter. "I've been meaning to apologize to you." As she says this, she just sort of ... shifts her voice down to a slightly lower register, with a little bit of extra gruffness.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-11 21:58:49 94141
The housewolves calm down long enough to gently take the jerky from the busboy and politely nose him in thanks (prompting one of them to sneeze away from the basket, due to snout soot), but the subtle body language hints that the treat was unexpected and not why they were so glad to see him.

"Work must," Ikiko agrees as she smiles at the departing busboy, idly noting in the back of her head that the sunwarmth on her wrist seems to lessen as he leaves. She glances towards the moon, as she usually does when something's on her mind.

As the housewolves jockey for petting, the wolfgirl frowns slightly. A waning gibbous moon in the sky, almost to last quarter, but something seems... off. As she pets her housewolves, she notes an odd sensation: the number of housewolves seems... both accurate and wrong, at the same time. Huh.

Ikiko shakes her head. Dwelling on this would not be seemly for the ball; better to go and be friendly, and leave the worrying for later.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-11 22:02:35 94142
    Alma's eyes dart towards Rashmi for a moment, a baffled look there; who's this excitable little thing that's gushing about the Realm of Storms? Eh, well. She can head that-a-way next. "Don't usually do stuff like this back home," the hammergirl admits, looking the ballroom over - and missing Jupiter's stall-out. "But mom wants me out and seeing the world, and 'nothing less than the daughter of the Storm General would be appropriate for...'" Here she pauses too, frowning. Daughter of the Storm General...? Hnh. Something feels a little odd there. "...look, I'm sorry to ditch you two, but you look like you could use the privacy anyway. Have fun, I gotta... uh... something."

    Why does she feel like talking to the fangirl over there is the right thing to do here? Well, regardless, Rashmi (and Akari) will now have a tall, chatty Storm Warrior wandering over to be a bother.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-11 22:04:00 94143
"Nicomachea we're going to see the Empress I can't believe it she's just so amazi-- um. Hi?" Assuming that she was going to just be part of the background with all these Important and Royal People around to see and be seen by, Rashmi has to take a moment to put her train of thought back on track. Turning to Akari, the redhead dips in a low curtsy, glasses-covered eyes pointing floorward in the presence of the Empress' Right Hand. "I'm.... um.... I'm very sorry, milady, but um.... I... don't think we've met? I-it's just... y'know... my first time at the Palace, y'know...?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-11 22:11:10 94144
Miho gives both Lacrima and Ariel her most deferential smile. "Pleased to meet you both!" she says, taking a careful sip from her glass. "I'm afraid I have no basis for comparison, Lady Lacrima. But your words ... make me feel as though I absolutely must, in my future, take the opportunity to turn down an invitation to a Themysciran ball."

She smiles over at Lu-- Prospero (Wait, why do I feel like he should have another name?), and nods to Ariel. "I suppose we have that much in common, then, Your Highness, although perhaps it might be for opposite reasons," she says. "My origins are much more ... humble, and was brought here by my talents." She gestures vaguely, a minty-green glow emanating from her fingers -- which she quickly dispels, turning to Lacrima in sudden worry. "Oh! Apologies, my lady," she says, giving her an even more deferential bow. "It was quite impolite of me to display the power of purification in front of a vampire ..." Her voice trails off. "Um. You are a vampire, am I correct, my lady?" she says, as if she has absolutely no idea how she formed that conclusion.

Nor does she have any idea why she found herself worried for Lacrima's sake, rather than the possibility of punishment to herself.
Nephrite 2018-08-11 22:15:15 94145
There is an audible, fond sigh from Nephrite's direction, as Princess Jupiter deftly pins him in place with her arm. Always, the social responsibility. With so many eyes on them, the odds of slipping into the cool darkness of his observatory in the near future are exceedingly slim. A rare smirk forms on his face at her elbow in his side.

This is what the wine is for. He takes a long sip of it before chiming in when Alma flees. "You see? Why must we bother addressing every single subject who vies for your attention when it is so much quicker to simply scare them away? Surely being royalty of such a respected planet must have some benefits of that sort."
Lacrima 2018-08-11 22:23:23 94146
Lacrima nods. "Stuck up. Like there's always a set of rules and they must be abided at all times even when they don't need to be and it's really boring." she admits. She says this with patience, it is not the first time she's answered the odd question from the sheltered, dog riding Princess. She eyes Miho. "You should. Nothings as boring as a vampire that's let rigor mortis set in." she says with a sympathetic tone.

Then Miho does that healy thing and she winces. Oh--yup. Yup uncomfortable. A flash of something in her head. It causes her to twitch a little and look around for a moment. There's a short seething breath here.

"It is. Alright." she says suddenly more stiltedly. Why is she suddenly thinking of a straw, with many loops and twists in it? Such a crazy thing. What would one use it for, she wonders. Drinking? Inefficient.

"Yes, a vampire." she says. "It's okay. I don't bite. The princess here can vouch for me on that~" she says.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-11 22:34:10 94147
As quickly as it came over her, the moment passes; a little shake of her head to clear the cobwebs, and Princess Jupiter lifts her wineglass in a small salute to Alma as she takes her leave.

Once she and Nephrite are left to their own devices again, Jupiter takes a long, slow drink from her own glass, washing away the last flickers of uncertainty. "Well," she answers Nephrite after a moment, the word bubbling out of her in a little laugh, "it seems you're getting your way this time, in any case."

She hasn't let go of his arm. On the contrary, her fingers curl delicately into his sleeve as she meets his eyes. "You do realize, of course, that if you're going to be glaring everyone else away I'll expect you to keep me entertained."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-11 22:34:55 94148
Akari blinks, and stops, turning to look at Rashmi as if noticing her for the first time. "Uh ... hmm." She frowns, shifting her grip on the drinks. "I ... can't remember, actually," she says slowly. "Could've sworn it was something important ..." Her voice trails off, and an expression of utter confusion forms on her face. On top of the apparent forgetfulness, she feels like it might not be a good idea to let Rashmi see her in this form, but that makes her even more confused; what other "form" would she even have? Wait, how does she even know the name "Rashmi"?

She clears her throat. "I, uh ... had ... I'd better go and ... I'd better go." She turns on her heel and hurries out as fast as she can manage without spilling her drinks. Back to the rose garden! Mikoto will be able to allay her worries.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-11 22:35:38 94149
    "Please, just Ariel is fine!" The Atlantean chirrups. Though her demeanor is qite formal, it seems she is not one to enjoy standing on the formality of titles, when Miho addresses her as highness.
    It just... Feels more natural that way for some reason.
    Still, her brow furrows slightly whene the girl displays her abilities and Lacrima cringes.
    "Nor--..."
    ?
    She starts to speak, the concern for he friend evident, but stops herself short. That didn't come out right for some reason. "... Lacrima?" Of course she's concerned after that. "Um. Oh, yes, it's true. You need not worry about being bitten around her."
    Lucky is still a good boy.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-11 22:51:40 94150
    "Hey, uh... hey." Well that sure is a greeting. Rashmi has just managed to avoid Akari when she finds herself assailed by a tall hammergirl. "That was you going off on all the people coming to the party, right? You got a minute?" Alma reaches up behind her head, absently scratching. "I'm, uh... I'm feeling a little lost here. Mom sent me to be the 'face of the Thundersmiths' or whatever, but I got no clue about... well, most of these folks." A snort, and a rueful chuckle. "Bet she's laughing it up back home."
Nephrite 2018-08-11 22:54:29 94151
Nephrite gasps in mock surprise. "Me? Glare everyone away? Why your highness, far be it from me to attempt to keep you all to myself. I merely made a suggestion that you may simplify your responsibilities in such a manner." He gives Jupiter a cheeky look. "I would be most honored to entertain you in any manner you desire. Does this mean I can finally claim that dance, then? Or shall we peruse the dessert table so that you may inform me of all its shortcomings?"

He tips his glass and downs its contents in a single gulp. "Your wish is my command, your highness, at least until my Empress requires me. I shall escort you wherever you need." He glances around with his empty glass. Where did that busboy get to?
Miho Kagami 2018-08-11 22:56:19 94152
Miho bows. "My apologies, Lacrima ... sama!" She laughs nervously at the 'doesn't bite' comment. "Oh, well, that's certainly good to know!" she says, relieved that she hasn't actually harmed her friend wait what.

Her head jerks around to face Ariel at the slip of her tongue. (She's focusing on the little details, just the first time she met ... and Lacrima in her identity as ..., on her second day at ...) "Norie?" she whispers under her breath, and then ... "'Lacrima in public if she's the vampire' ..." She turns to look over at the two redheads. Rashmi, that's her name. Has she seen someone who looks like an 'Alexis'? Does she recognize the other girl? Sort of? Her instinct is that the memory is a painful one ...

And then her much-underused common sense catches up with her. Okay, stop. One of the philosophies she picked up really quickly is, you just roll with the weird stuff wait no why does she even have that philosophy!? That was for ... taking it all in, for not getting bogged down in 'wait that's weird', it wasn't for just ignoring the evidence of her own eyes.

"My apologies if I sound impertinent, Your Highness, my lady," she says to Ariel and Norie in turn, "but do either of you recognize ... either of the young ladies with red hair over there?"
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-11 23:02:11 94153
A hooded figure sneaks into the party well after it's started. Well, the word 'sneak' is likely used in the loosest term as the characters on Scooby Doo are more discrete with their tip-toeing. And she's as bad as any villain from them, with several inches of twin streaks of silver hair trailing out from the bottom of her cloak.

And she isn't quite sure what Scooby Doo is, really, it just sounds like something fun.

And it isn't that she doesn't want to be seen, it's just what a princess from the moon does when they're going to a party on earth, right?

And she's managed to sneak away from Luna, who is busy napping on a chest. (The chest likely holds Luna's secret stash of tuna.)

And look, she isn't the only member of the moon court here! There is Jupiter with the guard about fifty feet tall, and Mars! She almost heads toward Jupiter, but there's something that she feels she'd be interupting. Or something. And while Mars is also talking with a guard it doesn't feel as though she'll be interupting anything there.

On the way, she passes by a busboy. She turns to look at him as she passes before making her way toward Mars, who is looking to now be in a mood. So, not to be rude, because she's probably been staring because he's pretty, she offers him a smile.

Before her prey can get too far away, Serenity all but pounces, latching onto her arm with a giggle. All her efforts of sneaking are ruined as her hood comes down, but she's too busy hugging an arm to worry. "I've snuck away! I am the sneakiest sneak who has ever snuck!"
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-11 23:08:18 94154
Omigosh. Omigoshomigoshomigoshomigosh SOMEONE IMPORTANT HAS ASKED FOR HER HELP WHAT EVEN IS THIS.

Truly, if Rashmi's eyes were any starrier right now, they'd be part of Endymion's pre-appearance lightshow.

"I, um... well I--" Rashmi trails off for a moment, trying to hammer her brain into shape enough to pick out the proper form of address for a Royal of the Realm of Storms, fails, and just decides to go with the general-use and hope. "....I wouldn't call it 'going off,' Your Highness, just this is kind of my first time out of the library."

Chuckling, the older gentleman murmurs a word of encouragement into the redhead's ear, and wanders off to leave the poor scholar to her fate.

"A-and I've only read of all of you, and it's just such an honor to even be here, and just--"

Pausing again, she takes a long, deep breath, and tries to get her fluster under control. "...Sorry, Your Highness... Little starstruck is all.... um. Anyway. That's Lacrima, daughter of Count Poderoso of Themyscera, and that's Princess Ariel of Atlantis and her war-hound," she says, nodding at the pair. "And um.... over there is Lady Clotho from America.... That's the Empress' Houndmaster there.... And um, over there's the Princesses of Mars, and that's Princess Jupiter, and the guy she's talking to with the incredible hair is General Nephrite, one of the Shiten--"

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

"--Empress Endymion's Generals." Trailing, off, the redhead blinks at the middle distance for a moment, as though trying to figure out where that other word could possibly have come from, and why she'd be using it in place of the proper title?

How odd...
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 23:09:01 94155
Magical Girl Clotho came out from hiding. And then... Just stopped. And stared. Holy... Was that... Was that the empress? She was radiant. She thought the princess of mars was beautiful... But this. This was on a whole other level.

Compared to them she might as well have been a boy, it--

And tears formed ij her eyes and she felt like crying. What? Why was sje crying? Oh gosh...

Ahe turned and walked away into one of the side rooms, hiding again.

Oh gosh they were so beautiful.
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 23:15:16 94156
Princess Mars needed a moment to clear her head. She's not sure it worked, but she *does* know that she *doesn't* know why she thought anything was wrong.
    You know?
    Still, checked out as she had been, she seemed oddly still, looking down at her wine glass and lazily swishing it in slow circles, watching her reflect distracted. Her famous poise, beauty, and - pardon the term - serenity is largely intact right up until a moment. And in that moment, she can only say...
    "GAAAAACKTT!!!!!"
    Wobble "Gggg*JJJ*!!" tilt, "*bwuh*" straighten, "D'ah!"
    And with a sharp hiss of breath, she goes very still, as if making absolute sure of her balance before relaxing ANY part of her body, before finally heaving a sigh. "Serenityyyyyyyy*YYYY*!" She groans, reaching out a twitching hand towards her arm, before the strangeness of her own behavior strikes her suddenly, and she flinches. What tone does she think she's taking here?! Mars actually blushes slightly before sharply correcting herself with muchg reater composure, "... *Princess*!" Before giving a slightly pained smile, "You... *certainly* did! It's good to see you." She says and lows her head ina proper bow, before tilting it up just enough to peer her upward turned eyed at Serenity's face, speaking somewhat less formally when she says,"You know you were invited, right?"
Lacrima 2018-08-11 23:17:11 94157
"Yes. Yes I'm okay." she says softly. Her tone is switching between the generally 'playful' tone she's been speaking in, and something more akin to how she speaks 'in the real' world-- stilted and odd. She does offer Ariel another smile. "See?~" she says softly. "I don't bite anyways. It is odd. Discuss later~" she says. She looks towards the two red heads and squints.

"That is Alma of the Stormrealm. I think she's the ruling figure's daughter. I do not know the other girl..." she says as she squints. "I think she. Run's a curry shop?...." she asks scratching her head. "I don't know why I think that. Maybe I ate there once and forget." she says.

Oooohhh almost right subconscious brain! Her family runs one, silly. She doesn't run it. She reaches a moment to grab Ariel's hand. She doesn't know why.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 23:18:22 94158
The World's Prettiest, Worst-Dressed, and Princeliest Busboy glances up at the hooded figure as he passes on the way to collect glasses, and ash-grey eyes widen slightly at the face of the Empress' lovely fiancee, sneaking around like a gentlewoman thief in the moonlight-- and then he realizes he's looking into the eyes of royalty, and she's smiling at him, and he flushes and starts to bow but she's incognito, and by the time he collects himself (and his basket) she's flitted off to Princess Mars and he remembers how to breathe.

Then he's on his way toward Nephrite and Princess Jupiter, since they seem to be looking for someplace to put their glasses.

His hands have been washed, but are near-permanently grey from cleaning the hearth night after night for years; he respectfully bows and Doesn't Say A Word as he collects Nephrite's glass, and then Jupiter's if she's also finished, and he hazards a glance up at the two of them.

Why is this graceful boy familiar? Well, Nephrite probably would have seen him around the kitchens on and off since he was tiny. Since, in fact, he arrived here at the palace to guard the Empress. Jupiter, likewise. But why are his eyes the wrong color?

And why do things feel... more... *more* when he's right there, and somehow *less* when he moves on--?
Kunzite 2018-08-11 23:21:19 94159
There's a vampire in conversation with an Atlantian and the Kagami girl, not to mention the Storms delegate, but that seems to be all right so far. If anything gets set on fire, it can be dealt with. There's Nephrite making eyes at a princess; at least that's going well. There's the American girl again -- if she's fleeing, at least it's not Kunzite's fault this time, and to his mild surprise the vase survived.

That he's surprised draws his attention; he frowns a little for a moment ... but then there's a cloaked figure drawing closer to, speaking of setting things on fire, the Princess of Mars. She hardly needs protection, but --

Oh. That's hair.

Well then. What exactly is the Princess of the Moon doing making that busboy ... never mind. She's being herself. She's the most likely one in the room to leave a trail of blushes behind her.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-11 23:21:42 94160
Glancing around as Ikiko is, it's occasionally hard to tell who a cloaked figure is, but the Master of Hounds still notices when her housewolves perk their ears towards the moon princess (although the count still feels both in and out of alignment). With that sense of attunement, it's easy for Ikiko to identify the princess, especially once the hood comes down.

She strolls towards Serenity, although her housewolves are the first to arrive, crowding around the princess like the cheerfully friendly dogs they practically are. "Sorry about that, your Highness," the wolfgirl smiles with a small curtsy. "They enjoy moonlight, and a princess of the moon as radiant as yourself certainly qualifies!"

What Ikiko doesn't mention is that she also likes the moonlight, and has often been called a werewolf as a friendly tease... but why does it feel so accurate now? She's born a wolfgirl...

    ...wasn't she?
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-11 23:25:12 94161
    "'Your high-?!'" Alma goes wide-eyed at the form of address; for a second, her cheeks color just a smidge, and then she breaks out into a hearty laugh. "Ahahaha! Well that's a first. Oi, relax, relax!" Rashmi gets a consoling ruffle of the hair, and an easy grin. "My mom ain't a queen, she's a general. We don't do all that royalty stuff. Alma's fine." She crosses her arms over her chest and under the cloak, and listens to the explanation on who is who, nod-nodding. "Mm, mm. I see. So that hair guy's a general..." Her mouth curls just a little at the corners. "Wonder how he'd measure up against mom."

    Something tugs at the back of Alma's mind when she mentions her mom, but she brushes it off. "So these generals, they're the 'Four Heavens'?" Someone completely misunderstood the cut-off word, there. "Fancy name. Kinda like it. Probably have to talk to them after I introduce myself to Endymion."
Makoto Kino 2018-08-11 23:31:45 94162
Jupiter laughs again, delighted and easy, the sparkle once more dancing in her green eyes in response to Nephrite's teasing. "Please," she says. "If I don't take the chance to dance with you now, I fear we might lose the rest of the night to interruptions and obligations. And that would be a terrible tragedy."

The busboy has appeared to collect their glasses, so Jupiter raises hers to drain it quickly - not many princesses could get away with tossing back a drink like that, but not for nothing is she from Jupiter. As she hands the goblet off, she happens to catch those colorless eyes and the strange feeling from earlier returns in force. "Thank you," she tells the busboy without thinking.

Is it strange, to thank a servant? She tries to push it aside, but the faint look of confusion is still crinkling her forehead slightly as she turns her face back toward Nephrite.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-11 23:32:14 94163
    A lot is going on, and even in the midst of her current conversation, Ariel is trying to keep up. It's not easy, and the young princess is briefly distracted by the arrival of the princess from the moon. ... Sneaking up on the Mars princess and...
    The result has her covering her mouth to stifle an almost unnatural sounding bell-like giggle. But then her focus is back on Miho, and she purses her lips at the question. When Miho points out... Wait what is Lacrima talking about? A curry shop?
    I..... Oh my god, Ariel-chan... PAPI, FUJIMURA-SAN! GET THE ROSEWATER OUT, WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY!
    In an instant she's shaking her head out, blinking rapidly after a moment of staring at Rashmi, one hand rubbing the side of her own head.
    What a funny thought. Her birthday was in Atlantis' castle, not surrounded by...
    She doesn't even realize that her own hand is gravitating towards Lacrima's. "Alma seems really... Relaxed doesn't she?"
    Why does she find that funny, too?
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 23:32:54 94164
Magical Girl Clotho came out, eventually. and just GRABBED the little boy on the shoulder. "Mamo, where's the bathroom? i need to--" an paused. She stopped and stared. And just... stared. "Have we met before?" she finally asked.

Then she shook her head. "Sorry, that's... I don't... where's the restroom, mamo? i just want to get some tissues."

First the crying. Then this weird guy who she kept calling mamo. weird...

Why did she get the odd feeling as if she'd done this before... and then someone said not to? Meh. her imagination.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-11 23:35:09 94165
"Mamoru," corrects the busboy automatically, and then blushes fiercely and bows low in apology. "I am terribly sorry. I do not have a name; you must be mistaking me for someone else, my lady. The restrooms are-- are that way--" and he points with his free hand before fleeing before he's caught out literally correcting a guest.
Nephrite 2018-08-11 23:40:30 94166
"Then dance we shall!" Nephrite proclaims heartily, just as the busboy arrives to relieve them of their glasses. Nephrite relinquishes his glass with only a cursory glance at the individual who takes it. He's not above mingling with the staff when no one is watching, the hierarchy of court being so different from where he comes from, and so tiresome, but these sorts of events tend to strictly enforce the class divisions. But something about the boy's eyes draws his gaze back to him.

He pauses, glancing over the servant who is so familiar. Something about the grey hand that takes his glass bothers him. He wants to take that hand before it can pull away, to return whatever life it has lost to make it so colorless. But that would be more than improper, wouldn't it? Even with a servant he has some distant fondness for. He gives him a slight nod, instead. "Don't let them work you too hard down there."

He takes an oddly shaky breath before turning back to Jupiter. "Shall we, your highness?"
Miho Kagami 2018-08-11 23:45:19 94167
Miho is briefly distracted by the sudden commotion between ... Princess Serenity (or "just Usagi"?) and that other ... princess, who she knows she's never seen before. Her face goes red slightly. Why did I not notice that she's so cute 'before'?

"Yeah," she says softly, lowering the pitch of her voice, nodding to Lacrima. "... Curry shop. They ... have good chom-chom, don't they?" She frowns at Ariel. "Are you all right, Your Highness?" she says, adding a bit of ... scratchiness to her voice. And then she grimaces, and stops trying to talk in anything other than the clear bright voice she always(?) has. She's once again distracted by another bit of commotion, this time around the busboy again. She barely even notices Clotho hurrying out.

She's not directly calling attention to the strange ... lapses/relapses(?) of memory. She's just trying to poke at them indirectly, see if (her friends) the two noblewomen are able to notice it themselves. Hopefully, unlike Miho herself, they will have the faintest idea what's going on or what to do about it.
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-11 23:47:34 94168
She delights in Mars' reaction! She grins mischeviously - well, as much as she's able - though she demures a little at the 'princess.' Oops. But that's gone soon enough. She snorts, a very not princessy sound. "Well, yes. I was. But there's just something about the whole sneaking around thing." It didn't feel good, per se, but it had felt right. Her eyebrows furrow as she chews her lip. "I should probably find Endymion soon, say my hellos."

She turns and spots the busboy again, giving a wistful sigh at his...wineglasses.

But before she can think to make her greetings to her lov---ely fiance or steal a wineglass she is waylaid by some very eager wolves. "Puppies!" Her face lights up and she just barely manages not to collapse to her knees to recieve all the doggy kisses, but she still bends over to give hugs and ear scritches with a happy giggle. (And maybe they aren't actually puppies, but they're still puppies, even if they're old puppies. It's just the way of things.)

Still ruffling fur, she looks up at their mistress, still smiling. "Oh, it's no trouble at all! The moon loves them, too. And their songs!" Luna, for obvious reasons, has never shared her love for the howling of wolves.

She lifts her head up and her eyebrows draw together, momentarily distracted by the busboy again. But after a moment, she decides she can ask him where to put her cloak in a little while. Purely so she doesn't overheat. And she'll also get that wineglass. Yes.
Unmei Tama 2018-08-11 23:52:22 94169
Magical Girl Clotho nodded. "Right, mamoru. Thanks mamo." of course... Even across time and space. She walked off to going to thr bathroom, needing to clean her face... She paused as she passed some decorations. Did... that look like a... peacock? ugh. Things felt so weird.

She couldn't waot to get home amd watch magical girl crystal mirage.

Wait, what?
Lacrima 2018-08-11 23:55:41 94170
Lacrima gives that hand a squeeze, softly looking over to Miho. "Chom... chom?" she asks. Another twit ch. She looks over to the commotion. What's going on there? Is someone cavorting with a servant? HOW SCANDOLUS she thinks. She's drawn to that in some manner. Rumor and gossip for back home. She wants to go home... home? Why is that suddenly at the forefront in her head.

She looks over to Miho squinting a bit. "Are you... spacing out every so often like I am?" she asks. She looks left and right. Squeezes Ariel's hand a little harder.

"Maybe... maybe some surviving rebel is messing with everyone's heads. Maybe we should let someone know?" she asks. "It'd be a good time to do it. With everyone in the same room." she offers.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-11 23:55:57 94171
The affectionate rubbing of her head produces a laugh. "Koko-chan~!" Rashmi says, then stops dead. Koko-chan? What...?

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

Why would she talk so familiarly to--

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

"....Um. ...Alma? ...Is it just me, or"

~~**@@%%@@**~~

BE HAPPY.

!!**@@$$$$@@**~~

"....Sorry about that, Lady Alma.... Um.... I think I got you confused with someone else for a second there...."
Rei Hino 2018-08-11 23:56:08 94172
"As you, say, Princess." Mars responds, suddenly carrying the measured, rationed patience of someone who's protected this person all their life, and is looking at CENTURIES of this in her future. Though she smiles when Serenity's fiance is mentioned, and nods once. "I'm sure he'll be delighted to see you." A beat. "She. She'll delighted to-"
    DOGS!!!
    Mars smiles and shakes her head a little, stepping forward to Serenity's side to keep near her while she handles what are TECHNICALLY deadly ferocious beasts; though for all her protectiv instincts as a guardian, her smile warms considerably just watching Serenity delight in the animals so much; to a degree that's fairly distracting for Mars. Though not so much that she doesn't notice Serenity's constant glances. She tilts her head curiously, trying to follow her gaze. "... Is something wrong, your majesty?" She takes too long to notice the bus boy again, as small as he seems in this gathered crowd of... of...
    People?
    Mars shakes her head. "... Did that boy offend, you Princess?"
Makoto Kino 2018-08-12 00:01:02 94173
"By all means," Jupiter agrees, and there's almost a trace of relief in it. Action suits her best, always - to let herself get caught up in trying to think out what's nagging at the back of her mind will do no one any good, but she can place her hand in Nephrite's and let the music and the dance sweep her away without having to think about it at all.

And she does so love to dance.

Still, even as they take the floor and join the dancers, Jupiter finds she can't quite leave the sense of strangeness behind. Though she keeps her smile in place, some of the luster has faded from her eyes. She could glide through the steps of the dance in her sleep, which means they're not nearly enough of a distraction.

"Nephrite," she murmurs, as they sweep through a turn. "Have you seen anything... unusual, in the stars of late?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-12 00:01:07 94174
(An unexpected lightness and kindness from both Princess Jupiter and one of the Four Kings, and the busboy's heart flutters strangely, as it did with the Princess of the Moon; it's no wonder he keeps trying to flee. It's no wonder his head's everywhere and the Lady Clotho was able to set him offbalance so. And he looks annoyed when she keeps calling him things. And erases the expression as quickly. The aristos do what they want.)

Either way, he tries not to notice anyone else. Tries hard. Somehow, he manages to pass directly by where Kunzite knows that Zoisite is invisible, and directly in front of where Jadeite's disguised as someone else, before skirting the Moon Princess briefly so he isn't tempted to look at her again, and he finally heads for the kitchen exit that takes him past Kunzite again. His head's held so high now; it's hard to miss his strangely colorless eyes, his graceful carriage, his impossible confidence in near-rags and ground-in soot. Despite the occasional unavoidable bouts of blushing.

This time, he meets the slate-grey dead eyes directly as he passes.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-12 00:06:44 94175
    "I'm... Fine. I think." Ariel replies to Miho, once she's shaken the cobwebs from her head. "I just felt like... Mn, it's probably nothing. Maybe I just dreamed it." She brushes the funny thoughts off and goes back to trying to enjo yher first party! And holding Lacrima's hand is really helping her calm back down.
    Is it?
    The other girl is just the princess of a neighboring kingdom. Right?
    She doesn't even think about it, the return squeeze is almost an utterly automatic reaction, before she puffs her cheeks out. "U-um... Excuse me, both of you, I think I need to get something to drink, I might just be feeling a little faint." Yes, maybe a drink will help as she tugs on her Warhound gently. "Let's go, Lucky."
    Prospero obeys. One last lick to Lacrima and the hound turns and starts ferrying the princess off. Only to get distracted himself. The sudden stop results in a funny sounding ~bleat~ of confusion from the Atlantan girl, when Prospero just halts himself in front of one of The Four Kings. He plops down on his hind legs to sit.
    Resulting in a very baffled looking princess when the dog lifts a paw for Kunzite to shake.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-12 00:08:04 94176
    For a second, hearing that girl call her 'Koko-chan' seems so utterly normal that it doesn't so much as draw her notice. But then a coin drops about the same time Rashmi has her moment of confusion. "...why's that name so..." Alma trails off, expression turning into a frown. There's something just out of reach, a feeling like she's forgetting something. It's frustrating enough that, for a moment, there's a little arc of electricity curling down her left arm, a tiny crackle between her ankle and the floor. Only barely enough to be seen or heard. But it passes. "Geh. This place is weird. Now I know why mom sent me instead of showing up herself."

    Something about that just doesn't sit right, but she can't put her finger on it. "Eh, don't worry about it. Though, uh... the mood in the room here seems a little tense. There something someone forgot to tell me?" Without thinking about it, she glances in Ariel and Lacrima's direction.
Kunzite 2018-08-12 00:15:00 94177
That pause of Nephrite's is interesting. Eyes for something other than Jupiter. The housewolves having such interest. If the boy were bringing anything instead of removing dishes, Kunzite would take action; but at the moment he still seems to be no threat. So his watch moves on. The Kagami girl seems to be having trouble, too. Perhaps the Themiscyran's confusing her. These things happen.

Things that don't happen by chance include the busboy's route. Singling out Zoisite, despite Zoisite's inability to be seen. Singling out Jadeite, despite Jadeite's not looking like himself. Coming back to the Empress' beloved. Kunzite's frown reappears, and deepens. And when the boy looks at him like that, head held high, the frown sharpens and he steps forward and reaches brusquely for --

A giant dog's paw?

The flicker of irritation is visible for an instant, but. But. Something about the unicorn's dog. Perhaps something he heard somewhere. It's lucky. Isn't it?

Was dragging the boy aside and interrogating him about who he's feeding information to likely to be a mistake?

"Good evening, Your Highness," Kunzite says evenly to Ariel instead, with a polite bow. "And good evening." The second time to Prospero. "Are you both enjoying yourselves?"
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 00:15:32 94178
She doesn't quite notice the slip in gender pronouns. At least not in a way that causes her to examine it more closely. "Of course! As am I. Endymion is the love of my life."

And, as she can no longer resist them, each wolf gets a moon princess' smooch on their fuzzy snoots.

Serenity's head jerks back to look at Mars in shock. "Offend me? How could he poss--I mean, who?" Then, suddenly, she stands. That tears it! She dusts off her cloak. "I do have a question for him, though. I mean, someone." She reaches out and grabs Mars' hands and beams at her. "Save me a dance?"

And then she's gone, cloak coming off and draping over her arm as she darts through the crowd and--

She's about four feet away before she literally skids to a stop. Goodness, she nearly barreled right into him! She clears her throat as she looks at him, smoothing out the cloak over her arm. "Do you know where I might be able to put this?" She blinks. That doesn't require a lot of an answer. "Do you have any more wine?" Neither does that. Then her eyebrows furrow as she tilts her head to one side, her voice getting a little quieter as she leans in with some concern. "Have you eaten? You look a little..." Ashen? Pale? "Thin."
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-12 00:15:51 94179
The housewolves delight in the attention that Serenity gives them, and when she mentions their songs they even 'roo slightly. One of them noses Mars' hand as a token of hello, then they regroup around Ikiko.

"I know they look forward to singing as a choir next full moon," Ikiko smiles. "The best of these songs are the ones that come from the heart, that speak to the truth. A howl full of soul."

For a moment, Ikiko has a sudden sensation of disjointedness for a moment, like reality flickered for a moment. Mars and Serenity are real, the sooty busboy passing by is real (and Ikiko's left wrist is sunwarm again); more relevantly, the housewolves are real and surprisingly close to correct size... and most important of all, there's the right number of them.

Just 1-3 wolves. The number for a new moon.

The moon in the sky is wrong.

The wolfgirl hums a song of caution to herself, looking around cautiously as she tries to get a sense of what else is amiss.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-12 00:17:30 94180
Miho looks over at Lacrima. "Sure looks like it, My Lady," she says dryly. "But ... I think it'd be best if we waited until ... Her Imperial Majesty ... arrives. Whatever happens ... she'll need to, to know about it." She sounds less and less as if she actually believes that, for some reason. "Or maybe she already knows about it, and she's just ... waiting for a dramatic moment to show that she's already handling it? I mean I don't actually know her very well." She stops herself from saying I've only seen her in person once. Ughh, that feels like the same bad memory that made her recognize Alma!

She looks up at Ariel. "Do be careful, Your Majesty," she says. And she watches her go until Prospero does something totally unexpected. "... He must know something we don't," she says dryly.

She looks over towards Alma and Rashmi, and gives them a wave when Alma seems to be looking roughly in her and Lacrima's direction.
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 00:23:09 94181
Mars furrows her brow upon Serenity's response. "What could you have to-"
    Save me a dance?
    "GEHK." Rei's face goes blank, then redness rises from her chin to her forehead like a cartoon thermometer as Serenity speeds away, leaving Mars to cross her arms and finally smile a little, murmuring, out of ear shot, "... Hai."
    Oh, hey there, doggo. Upon recieving nose bumps, Mars distractedly scritches the dogs head, and frowns at Ikiko's increasingly trouble looks. "... Is everyting all right...?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-12 00:27:02 94182
Near miss; if Kunzite had grabbed his arm, the entire load of dishes might have gone clattering and breaking to the floor, and then Cinder would get a b--

--oh no, Princess Serenity is talking to him. The busboy's eyes go wide again, stopped in his tracks, and then he bows again and can't meet her gaze (except that he's looking at her after all, underneath long lashes), and he starts to answer her first question, "Cert--"

She asks another, "Ye--"

She asks another, and the busboy swallows, glances at Kunzite right there and people he-- people he doesn't know, doesn't knoooow. He looks at Serenity once more and says with the deepest respect, "No, your Imperial Highness, thank you. I have no Apatite."
Nephrite 2018-08-12 00:32:12 94183
If years at court have done nothing else for Nephrite, they have at least taught him to dance. And what a delight it is, to be partnered with the tall, graceful beauty that is Princess Jupiter. He can hardly be said to be leading her as they sweep lightly across the polished marble floor, her shimmering gown a sight to behold with the movement. It's almost distracting enough to keep his own mind off the strange feeling the busboy left with him. Almost.

"Hmm? The stars?" He tears his eyes away from the way the gossamer scarf drapes over her shoulder to meet Jupiter's eyes. "Other than Jupiter hovering so near that I feel I can nearly touch her?" A smile briefly crosses his face. "Why, we have been in the midst of a meteor shower these past few nights. That is always a momentous occasion. But as for unusual, well, lately I've been watching..." he pauses, and a frown creases his face. Names of stars and constellations run through his mind. So many names, in so many different languages. What was it? Sharru? Was it Magha? Venant? Why did the name of this one escape him? He grunts. "Forgive me, my princess. It seems the wine has gone to my head, and made me forget all of my studies." As they pass by one of the tall windows, he tries to squint out it at the night sky above. Something about the stars feels off. Like they're misaligned.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-12 00:33:04 94184
    "U-uwah, I'm sorry." comes Princess Ariel's first reply, when Prospero decides to just bother someone completely at random. Someone as important as one of The Empress' Four Kings, no less. But she doesn't actually See that it's Kunzite until she tilts her head to look up and... Completely halts.
    Topaz eyes stare for a long moment of silence, wide and searchingly. Almost staring THROUGH Kunzite. It's not the irritable look that has her halted. He speaks, but it's like his words aren't reaching her.
    Ariel stares, looking akin to a doe trapped in the oncoming lights of a truck as the King greets her. So why...
    Why does she know SO MUCH about the leader of the Four Heavenly Kings just from looking at him?
    Class: Hot Rogue STR: +1 END: +2 DEX: +5 INT: +3 WIS: +1 CHA: Yes
    How does she know his STATS?
    "--I'm sorry." She bleats, snapping back to the moment, looking shaken. "He's usually more more well behaved- I mean, yes we are enjoying ourselves." Replied as she rallies enough to dip her head and return the bow.
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-12 00:34:21 94185
"I don't know, Lady Alma," Rashmi says slowly. "I can't imagine why, this is a really, really good party, y'know? Everyone looks like they're having fun!" Except for the dancers and servants with no face, but maybe they are too! "Kinda wondering what happened to the Empress though, wasn't she supposed to be out here soon?"
Jadeite 2018-08-12 00:37:07 94186
Jadeite is a king, of a sort. Jadeite is a diplomat. Jadeite knows the fetes of the Golden Kingdom like the back of his hand, and yet today of all days, he appears to be gone. Not that the guests notice much; a mention or two of his absence, and then onto other, more diverting conversation. The small blonde half of the Shitennou disappear all too easily.

And that, of course, is the plan. The Golden Kingdom is secure, but trouble always starts with whispers, and whispers are less shy when they believe they're unobserved.

Milling about as Venusian nobility is easy enough. Flirting comes naturally, as does his feigned tipsiness. He's whirled a girl or two around the dance floor, his mask perfect while his eyes and ears wander. All seems well -- except for one thing. A stirring in the back of his mind, like the tremor of an unremembered dream. When a certain grey busboy passes by his dance, the tremor sharpens nearly into a memory.

A memory that fades with the boy's distance, but it's just troubling enough that the Venusian noble excuses himself from the delightful girl with a kiss on her hand, and reappears as Jadeite, cape and all.

He's hesitant to say it yet, but there may be cause to call the Kings together before the night has ended.
Lacrima 2018-08-12 00:40:10 94187
Lacrima realizes she's suddenly holding Ariel's hand, She blinks and blushes fiercely as she pulls it back. "Of.. of course Ariel." she says softly. "Dance.. later?" she asks. She looks to Miho and furrows her brow. "Hrmmmmmmmm." she goes.

She looks up and blinks, she looks over to Miho and starts walking towards 'Alma' and Rashmi, softly pursing her lips, as she pauses a moment.

"Hello. Excuse me." she says softly.

"But miss, do you run a curry shop?" she asks to Rashmi. "I seem to be under the impression you do. And so does the person I met over there." she says a moment. She does nod to Alma again a moment.

Something familiar....

....About her manner of dress....

R..Ragnarok and.. Roll? Wha?....
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-12 00:42:40 94188
Ikiko shakes her head to recenter herself. "I'm sorry, your highness; for a moment, something felt... off. Like the moon is in the wrong phase, or that there are fewer people here than there seems to be," she explains.

The wolfgirl ruffles the fur of her housewolves. "But you're certainly real, and Princess Serenity is real, and these guys are real," she continues, nodding to her 'wolves. "And that sooty busboy the princess is talking to is also real, and for some reason that's reassuring."
Kunzite 2018-08-12 00:45:37 94189
-- Serenity. Just here, again. Fretting over the damned busboy. Maybe he's feeding information to the Princess of Venus. Maybe he is Venus, hiding disguised as the lowest of the kitchen servants; Kunzite has yet to lay eyes on her, and if she were here she'd likely be a center of attention. That would make sense.

Nephrite looking out at the stars, here and now, while in actual physical contact with the Princess of Jupiter, does not make sense.

But Kunzite is a little less than free to pursue the matter. Not when the princess he's actually speaking with is having visible trouble. "Good," he says, as if there'd been no delay in Ariel's answering. "Are you in need of anything? Something to drink, perhaps, or a little food? I believe I recall you have particular requirements; we should be able to satisfy them." Surely someone mentioned the vegetarian business. He doesn't remember who, or when. But surely --

That's Jadeite he catches a glimpse of in the crowd. Jadeite in uniform.

He marks Serenity's place near him with a glance. Best to track her. Something is going very wrong.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-12 00:46:45 94190
Dismay flickers across Jupiter's face when Nephrite apologizes, and she shakes her head with a little flick of chestnut curls. "--ah, no," she hurries to reassure. "There's nothing to forgive. It was an odd thing for me to ask, in a moment like this. It's just--"

She hesitates, momentarily worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. Perhaps it's something she shouldn't even give voice to, especially not now, in the midst of celebration.

And yet--

"I have the strangest feeling," she confesses, voice too soft for any but Nephrite to hear. "I'm happy... I should be happy, but I feel so frustrated, somehow. As though there's a part of me that isn't sure I even know what happiness feels like."

Her eyes flutter closed, though her steps don't falter. "I'm the one who should apologize, talking so strangely. Perhaps I just need some air."
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 00:48:23 94192
Mars listens to Ikiko speak with a look of growing discomfort on her face, cast a few glances past and around her. "I... see." She manages a concerned, if slightly forced smile and says, "That's... Uh. Maybe..."
    She looks out towards the crowd again.
    "Maybe you should... sit down for a moment and gather..."
    Mars eyes turn to Serenity and the bus boy,
    "... gather your..."
    Mars begins to feel increasingly tense and just shakes her head, swiftly marching past Ikiko murmuring, "Excuse me." while moving closer to Serenity. Not PLANNING to crash into her, or even interrupt her - there's *certainly* no need for that, *obviously*! - but she just... she feels... she REALLY feels like she should be in protective range of Serenity right this second.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-12 00:50:26 94194
    "Yeah, I guess..." Really good party. Everyone having fun. But something just seems off. It's a combination of warrior's instincts and... something else.

    She does not realize that last part came out in a much more familiar tone.

    Oh look, here comes the fancy girl. Alma sweeps around to stare at Lacrima; something about her, and her mention of curry- (-staring down into a bowl of liquid fire, nostrils already burning, steeling herself for pain before the first spoonful-) just spurs on that sense of unease. "Oi. This ain't some prank on the poor girl, is it?" Alma asks, taking a protective step closer.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 00:56:34 94196
    Fashionably late is the best way to be late. That's why when the teenage daughter of the High Priest of the local cathedral sweeps into the ball, she does so with a self-satisfied smile on her impeccably made-up face.

    Kyouko Sakura is wearing a flowing red dress with a tight bodice that hugs her slender body above a sheaf of ruffling skirts which fall down to almost obscure the red heeled shoes she wears. A stole of pinkish-red winds about her neck and arms, and red opera gloves sheathe her arms up to the elbow. Her short red hair is elegantly coiffed and stuck with a gold and red hairpin, and she walks with an elegant grace that comes from such experience with these sorts of social functions.

    She pauses to curtsey towards the nearest Kingdom official she spots in perfect form, murmuring in a delicate and cultured accent, "My father does convey his regrets for not being able to attend. So much church business, you know how it is."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-12 01:01:14 94197
Miho lets Lacchan -- What? ... okay, I know that's another stray memory about being Lady Lacrima's friend. It doesn't make me feel any more enlightened about this situation, so ... just roll with it, basically!

Miho lets Lacrima take the lead for now; she follows after her, keeping to a respectful distance, but close enough that she can hear the conversation. Just watching, listening, taking it all in. She has no idea what she's looking for, but there's no way she's going to miss whatever happens if there is something enlightening. Argh, case in point, she wishes she'd heard how Lady Alma was talking before, just so she'd at least know whether she was talking like this the whole time or if the gruff tone is something new ...
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 01:05:03 94198
She looks where he does and her cheeks turn pink. Had she said that last one very loud? Oh, dear.

And he's just so...wrong. Or he isn't. Because he probably should be Imperial Highnessing her, but he shouldn't be. But he should.

She hugs her cloak to her a little tighter and her eyes get larger and larger and--

It's a good thing he says that, because she's distracted enough from impending teary eyes at the extremely odd thought of 'where is she?'

She blinks at that thought.

She opens her mouth to say something, realizes she has nothing to say to that.

She notices, very briefly, one of the Empress' guard looking at her. She leans over a bit to smile widely at him and offer up a cheerful wave, not realizing her possible doom if she so much as sneezes. But she likes him. He always puts up with her endless questions about everything.

Still smiling, she looks back at the busboy. "I'm sorry, that was rude. I was just worr--"

She breaks off as she feels something prickle at the back of her neck, a very familiar precense. Without turning her body she looks over at the creeping Mars, a slightly confused yet still amused look on her face.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-12 01:07:07 94199
    A dance later with Lacrima would be lovely. But for now, Ariel's focus is on the silver-haired king, now that she's not trying to figure out how he can have such a high Armor Class without a shirt on.
    "I was... Just on my way to get a drink, actually." She admits. Before she somehow follows Kunzite's gaze to...
    Serenity and the busboy.
    She glances back to Kunzite...
    Back to the busboy.
    Back to Kunzite.
    Back to...
    Princess Ariel of Atlantis is young... But the girl is not blind.
    "Um. If you want to go over to him, you don't need to let me stop you."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-12 01:13:22 94200
And something prickles at the back of the busboy's neck as well; he's shaking his head, and then looks toward where Jadeite's approaching, and then past him, to where the cathedral-runner's daughter's just entered-- and his shoulders relax, strangely enough. "Ah, it seems my Apatite's returned. Is there anything you require of me, Highness? I am, of course, at your disposal."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-12 01:14:19 94201
For a moment, Rashmi simply stares at Lacrima, blinking owlishly... and when Alma steps up, her mind is startled into working again. "I... a.... curry shop....?" She looks down at her hands, bearing faint black ~*@$$@*~yellow?~*@$$@*~ stains from her days spent poring over books, collating, copying, and reproducing diagrams...

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

Wait, wasn't I helping Mami grate the turmeric today?

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

"....I don't...... Think so....?" Looking up, she casts a look around the ballroom, brow furrowing in confusion. "...Something isn't right..... is it...?"
Nephrite 2018-08-12 01:17:15 94202
"Air," Nephrite says gratefully. "Yes. I believe that would do us both good." He draws the Jovian princess out of the swell of dancers, not quite as smoothly as he should. Suddenly being outside feels like a pressing matter. He glances around the ballroom as they make their way toward an open balcony. Kunzite is still standing sentry, looking dour as always. Jadeite... is in uniform? Perhaps he tired of playing a Venusian. A priest's daughter is making her grand entrance -- and he feels a pressing need to reach across the room to ruffle her hair. And the busboy... why does he wonder about the busboy's whereabouts?

"You know I always enjoy discussing my studies with you," he says conversationally as he escorts Jupiter through the balcony doors. "I do not know why I seem to have misplaced all of my thoughts on the matter. The Empire is peaceful as always, but the need for careful observation is always imperative." His voice is easy, but he can hardly wait to make it past the dazzling lights of the ballroom before he's quinting up at the sky.

The stars... the stars look wrong. Nephrite feels the floor beneath him lurch as a sudden moment of dizziness strikes him, and he clutches at Jupiter's strong arm. "I... my princess, that feeling you were describing. What did you mean?"
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 01:18:27 94203
Mars swallows hard, trying to get her heart to stop racing, and trying to figure out *why the heck her heart is racing*. Nothing's wrong, but everything's wrong. People are being weird, but people sound right. The place is crowded and noisy, but no one's talking. Are they? Aren't they?
    Mars puts her hand on Serenity's arm and gasps, "Usagi!" looking visibly flustered and breathing heavily. "We have to... we need to...! I...!" What do they need to do?! There's no danger! The Emperess will likely come out soon! Why did she come over here, why- she put her *hands* on the *Princess*!"
    Mars releases Serenity, but her hand stays in the air, tense. "I don't... I'm sorry, I...?"
Kunzite 2018-08-12 01:24:01 94204
Serenity's blushing. But not so much that she blushes harder when she waves to him. Just some minor incident, then, one of her usuals. Very well. Mars is heading this way; perhaps Kunzite can turn watching out for the Moon's princess over to one of her own people --

But the princess he's dealing with directly is talking, and his attention reverts smoothly to her. Annnd his eyebrows twitch upward in a distinctly familiar fashion. "I don't believe that's a him," he says. "Or -- wait. Do you mean the kitchen boy? No, the high ladies have claim on his time, and I have the sense not to attempt to challenge them. Would you like an escort to claim that drink, perhaps?"

-- why the hell is Nephrite falling over. Kunzite may have to go investigate the drinks just to see if someone drugged the wine.

(Maybe the busboy.)

(Then again, it's Nephrite. Maybe Zoisite.)
Lacrima 2018-08-12 01:25:02 94205
Lacrima blinks as Alma gets protective. "What. No." she says flatly. "My fat---father...?" she seems confused as her eyes dart around. "Raised me better than that..." she says like something is indeed not right. She looks to Miho. Back to Rashmi and then back to Alma. "Yes." she says finally says.

"Something seems really wrong. I keep spacing out. Having flashes of images or words." she says, stroking her chin.

"Like a puzzle was jumbled but it managed to get put back together wrong..." she says quietly.

"Like, I just thought, a moment ago, looking at you.... 'Ragnarok and.. Roll'..." she says. She seems confused at this.

She looks over to Miho again. "You?" she asks.

She looks back to Rashmi and shrugs.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 01:26:55 94206
    The ever-elegant Kyouko straightens from her curtsey, gloved hands smoothing the ruffled skirts of her dress as she glances around with an absent sort of interest. Hmmm.. a few of the Empress' Guards are in evidence, but the Empress herself doesn't seem to have arrived. There's Princess Serenity- Kyouko really must thank her for that wonderful coat she got as a present last year. She pauses a moment, wondering why the Princess would give her, a priest's daughter, a coat, but she is sure that's correct.

    Also there's a cute busboy but it seems like the Princess is already talking to him, and the ever-elegant Kyouko Sakura would never be so crass as to intrude on a conversation like that. Which is fine because then she notices a table full of hors d'oeuvres nearby, looking still mostly intact.

    So she ever-elegantly makes her way over towards it, swanning one might even say in her fluffy dress and heels, and begins elegantly shovelling them into her mouth as quickly as she elegantly can.
Jadeite 2018-08-12 01:31:10 94207
Thrum, thrum, thrum goes the thing just beyond his memory. Clack, clack, clack go the heels against the floor. Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the conversation in his ears. All this noise, and he can't hear a thing.

The edges blur, but some things stay sharp and clear. The other Kings. The princesses. Figures scattered through the crowd, some of them jerking their heads up as well, like they feel the same inaudible current he does. What is the difference there, he wonders. What is it about them that makes them feel -- *real*?

Jadeite narrows his eyes at the busboy, then sees Nephrite stagger. It would be awfully forward of him to rush to his side, especially when he has his princess so close. But he has to let someone know that he saw, and that as indecipherable as it is, something in this room is wrong.

He looks to Kunzite and lets his blue eyes linger, a meaningful glance that their silent, stoic leader will certainly recognize. *You know what my being seen means. You know who I'm going to go find.*

With that, he whirls into the crowd, following the vaguest hint of rose perfume, to where their last general is observing from the shadows.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-12 01:34:21 94208
She'd hoped that getting out of the crowded ballroom would steady her - that all she needed was a breath of fresh air, to feel the breath of the wind. But as they step out onto the balcony, Princess Jupiter's feeling of unease only heightens. She tightens her grip on Nephrite's arm even as he leans on her for support, shuddering against a sudden rush of something--

(something's wrong, the breeze whispers against her skin, tugging at her hair and her gown with urgent fingers)

(something's wrong, something's wrong, rustles in the leaves and branches of distant trees)

"--it's wrong," she breathes. The eyes that look up to meet Nephrite's are bright and anxious, and she's abandoned all effort at keeping up a smile. "You feel it too, don't you? It's as though - it's like being in the dragon's eye. The storm is already here, all around us, but we can't see it--"

(something wrong something wrong something wrong)
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 01:37:41 94209
She's confused for a moment. Oh, crudberries. "No, I--" This is just... It isn't even in the realm of right. Oh, screw it. She'll stash the cloak somewhere and get a new one later. "You're-- I'm sorry for--" Mars' clear distress has her distracted, less careful of her words as she looks at her friend. "Wasting your time."

Her eyebrows are furrowed together again, this time in concern. She reaches out and grasps the hovering hand, hoping to help calm her friend. "It's alright, Mars." Maybe it isn't, but the fretting is.

Also, there's a red head at the table, devouring the food there in a way that sets up alarm bells in Serenity's mind. Must. Get. Food. Before. It's. Gone.

And, also, a part of her decides that a challenge has been silently issued by the priestly girl.

She tenses, eyes widening and her grip on Mars' hand tightening. This will be a nice distraction from the wrongness of the busboy. "Come on, Mars, you can tell me about the bunnies while we eat!"

It isn't really seen, usually, a princess literally hauling another priness by the hand toward food. Perhaps in another life.
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 01:42:06 94210
All of Mars' alarm, all of her tension, all of her confusion seem to boil up until she can't move a muscle... and all of it seems to deflate as she blurts, "The *what*-HUA!" and immediately finds herself dragged away by her Princess, casting rapid confused glances between her and the bus boy before she realizes she needs to devote to mental bandwidth to her legs so Serenity doesn't end up literally dragging her across the ground. "P-Princess! You'll cause a scene!" Said the kettle to the pot!
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-12 01:43:03 94211
    "Oh."
    Kunzite dare not approach while the busboy is surrounded. Ariel purses her lips, not quite understanding the risks and very actual dangers involved that the leader of the Four Heavenly Kings is more keenly aware of, when it comes to challenging a squad of girls over a dashing prince--
    What? No that's just one of the waitstaff.
    The Atlantean princess blinks the confused thought away, before holding her hsnd out to the silver-haired king. "Ah... Alright, yes plea..."
    The priest's daughter is... Demolishing the finger foods.
    The Moon Princess is heading that way.
    Ariel hesitates as she looks to Kunzite.
    "I'm not sure it's safe to go over there anymore."
Miho Kagami 2018-08-12 01:44:40 94212
Miho walks over to Lacrima. Oh, good, she's figured it out. Now Rashmi-chan will be able to ... uh ... "Yeah, that sounds about right," she says, raising her clear and bright voice. "It's like some sort of 'memories' of something I've never heard of before. The curry shop thing ... the feeling that trying to lower my voice to a lower pitch hurts me ... The fact that I ... recognize a lot of people here, even though my life in the Golden Kingdom hasn't taken me anywhere near these social circles before ..." She blinks. "... the ... fact that I even felt the need to specify 'in the Golden Kingdom' there ..."

She stops, then slowly turns towards the giant staircase. "... 'In the Golden Kingdom'," she says softly. "... That ... feels like the answer. I ... just ... don't know what the question is!"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-12 01:49:50 94213
With the Princesses having left, the busboy edges away, trying to will himself invisible, backing up-- backing up-- right into range of Kunzite and the little princess and her big dog--

--and then his gaze snaps toward the patio where Jupiter and Nephrite are, and slides toward the departing Jadeite, moving (again) to exactly where Zoisite is, and he looks toward Serenity and the bishop's daughter, and his hands are white-knuckled on the tray-basket again.

He looks up and up toward the giant grand staircase where the Empress habitually begins her descent into making Appearances, and his breath goes shallow, and he shuts his eyes for a second as if willing it all to make sense.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 01:50:14 94214
    Kyouko is working on the last of the little crackers with fancy cheese on them when she feels an ominous presence approaching her from behind. She pauses, chewing delicately, which makes one wonder how she has already cleared off half a platter intended to serve at least a dozen people, and turns to eye Serenity coming towards her.

    She loves the Princess! She really does! She feels it in her heart, that they should be good friends, even though that doesn't make a lot of sense.

    But she reaches out, and sloooowwwwllly pulls the platter closer to where she's standing and away from where Serenity is heading, with her free hand.
Nephrite 2018-08-12 01:52:39 94215
"Wrong," Nephrite repeats. "Have you ever been in a carriage when it hit a sudden dip and dropped down unexpectedly?" What is he saying? He has only taken Jupiter on a carriage ride once, and no such thing happened. He steadies himself against Jupiter, still staring upward. The patterns are becoming clearer by the second, now. There is Aries and Taurus. There is Sagittarius and the Lagoon Nebula. Constellations that should not exist, with names he should not know. "Wrong," he says again, "and right. This is a different sky." And yet it is the right sky.

He tears his eyes away to look at her, and now his hand reaches for hers, grips it more tightly than the Empress's King would ever dare to cling to the hand of the Princess of Jupiter. "The eye of the storm, and we're seeing the clear sky up above us."
Kunzite 2018-08-12 01:55:20 94216
Jadeite's gone for Zoisite. Nephrite -- is with Jupiter. Serenity with Mars, and the both of them with the priest's daughter (and why does that matter? never mind, never mind). Mercury and Venus will have to keep tabs on each other. Good enough.

"That's possible," Kunzite says to the unicorn princess. "But perhaps we have an alternative." He reaches out, again without looking, and his hand settles and tightens on the busboy's shoulder, more reminiscent of taking him into custody than of merely trying to get his attention or of anything the unicorn's shirtless imaginings might have come up with.
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 01:56:57 94217
Serenity looks over her shoulder at Mars and laughs a little, as though to say 'do you expect anything else with me?'

She reaches the stretch of tables and stares the other girl down. She's a nice girl, a very sweet girl, all soft edges (that really could do with some nice pokey edges), but this is food. And when nothing else does, food makes sense.

She watches Kyouko pull that tray toward herself and Serenity, letting Mars' hand go, pulls another toward herself with great deliberation.

And then with her other hand, she edges the plate of cream puffs closer...

One good thing about ettiquette lessons is there's very little in the way of crumb or cream on her face at breakneck speeds.
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 01:58:29 94218
As the tension builds, Mars pleads, with immense gravity, sweat beading on her brow, "Princess... *don't do this*...!" But it's too late, and all Mars can do is hang her head.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 02:00:01 94219
    Kyouko puts on her sweetest smile, and makes small-talk while somehow still eating.

    "Oh, Princess *omfnomf* Serenity! It's soooo *omfnomf* lovely to see you! I do *omfnomf* hope you have been well."

    The fancy cheese-crackers are all gone now, so Kyouko delicately reaches over with her gloved hand to try and sneak one of the cream-puffs from the plate Serenity is trying to edge closer to herself, while simultaneously grabbing a cucumber sandwich with the other hand.
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 02:03:28 94220
Princess Mars takes a deep breath, and slowly raises her head until it's tilted back, looking up past the ceiling at an imaginary sky. A single tear rolls down her cheek as the sounds of battle rage around her. "I'm sorry... Queen Serenity...!"
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-12 02:04:21 94221
    Alma's fingers curl slightly; she's gone from protectively standing near Rashmi, to looking around - to trying to figure out what's going on with the busboy, with the other four generals, with- with everything. There's now a faint but steady crackle of electricity dancing along her arms. "Tch. Whatever's going on here, they got some nerve, trying to pull one over on Storm General Elysia's dau-" Her own words bring her to a screeching, confused halt. "...ghter..." The fact that name feels right, in and of itself, is strange enough for her to come to a halt. It feels like it's tugging at something buried deep...
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 02:06:01 94222
"Kyoukumf nomf!" Such delicate, much grace! "A pleasure as *chompf* always! I have! You? *nom!* Your family? *chom!* Dog?"

There is an almost imperceptible flinch at Mars' invocation of her mother's name as though she expects a strike of lightning (but fortunately her mother isn't Zeus) but then her eyes widen at the fingers pilfering a pastry. With all the magnanimity of a moon princess, she allows the theft to occur. And uses that opportunity to sneak a roll from the tray just there.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-12 02:06:03 94223
Jupiter clasps Nephrite's hand just as tightly. As though speaking it aloud has given the feeling shape--

"Neph." Her voice is low, quiet, insistent, and never in this life would the Princess of Jupiter ever dream of calling a King of the Earth by such an abbreviated and familiar form of his name. "I don't know what's going on, but the others - we need to warn--!"
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-12 02:09:52 94224
Ikiko carefully moves through the crowd, searching for trouble while letting her housewolves guide her towards any place of seeming safety -- a familiar face, or a group of them. Something is definitely wrong, and there are people here who are anchors to what is right.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-12 02:12:21 94225
The busboy, to his credit, does not drop his basket-tray. But his eyes fly open and he half-turns-- as well as he's able with the hand clamped round his shoulder-- and half cranes his neck, and his eyes are--

the same color as your lovely planet's oceans, looking at them from the Moon

--wide, and then he looks relieved, like all of a sudden everything's going to be all right.

And then Kunzite's hand is closed on nothing at all, and the basket of priceless crystal and china crashes to the floor, smashing the dishes into smithereens.

The ghost-- the ghost isn't wearing a threadbare too-big uniform. He's wearing a royal blue sherwani embroidered in gold, over fine trousers and shiny bo-- no, he's wearing something entirely different? A white tie and tails, and a black velvet sash across his chest below the tailcoat, and honors worn as a neck badge, and a sun-shaped pocketwatch with the night sky within it--
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 02:13:20 94226
    "Oh, *chompf* we've all be *omnom* fine!" Kyouko says, her poise excellent. "Even Dog! Thank you *nomf* for asking."

    She eyes the hand sneaking a roll from her territory, but it is the Princess so it's not exactly like she can protest.

    But then she notices there's only one chocolate cake slice left. Her eyes narrow, and she looks over at Serenity. A tumbleweed might blow past, at least in the world of metaphor.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-08-12 02:15:51 94227
Sakura Kinomoto was many thing. She was the princess of Clow, a powerful desert kingdom far off in a distant realm. She was a bit of a tom boy and known to run around and play all kinds of games. She was a bit girly though and the perfect model for her best friend, Tomoyo(Princess of the Nihon country.) She was loving. Gentle. Kind. Said to make friends with everyone she ever met.

But most importantly she was LATE. Oh my gosh she was so late. WHY WAS SHE SO LATE?! She came racing into the palace, riding on the back of a great, winged tiger, wearing a short skirted, red dress that flowed in the back to allow her to run. She leaped off the cat as someone came rushing after her... A winged, white man with wings. "Princess! You mustn't run off like that!"

"It's fine! I--" She kinda leaped off the cat... but didn't lose her momentum. She shrieked, kept running and... Slammed into Serenity with a shriek. She hugged the woman and held on for a second, a bit dazed... Then gulped and looked up. Squeaking. "H-h-hi princess Serenity. I was late." Techically she was just a little on time. Barely.
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 02:20:15 94228
Serenity, of course, notices the cake.

She is as magnanimous as she is happy.

She is as benevolent as her hair is long.

But this.

Her eyes narrow and her fingers twitch.

This is chocolate ca--

"OOOOOOF!" Arms pinwheel for a moment as she tries to regain her balance. Success is hers! Cake is forgotten!

And fortunately she manages not to choke on the chipmunk cheek's worth of food!

Chew chew chew!

She makes a happy noise in greeting and hugs the girl.

There's a clatter and a breaking of dishes and she turns to the sound. "Mamfofan?"

Swallow!
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 02:21:08 94229
Rei clasps her hands together as this final standoff appears. "Princess... it's not too late... think- think of your fiance! Think of- OH MY GOD!" Someone has now collided with the Princess of the Moon Kingdom, and like a flash, Mars is Mars reaches out to steady Serenity, putting her hands on her shoulders,
    "Are you all right?!", eyes catch on fire when they turn to Sakura, "What's *wrong* with you!" Eyes soften when they turn to Serenity, "Are you hurt?" Fire, "Watch where you're going!" soften, "Princess don't speak with your mouth full, *please!*"
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-12 02:23:04 94230
    Princess Serenity has reached the refreshment table. Ariel watches raptly as the princess and priest's daughter begin what will likely be the battle of the century. A small scale table-based war that the bards will sing of for ages yet to come. It is like watching a train crash, like witnessing a nuclear bomb go off. She cannot look away.
    What she is witnessing is akin to two great heroes meeting on the field of battle.
    Achilles versus Hector.
    Hercules versus the Nemean Lion.
    King Arthur against the black knight.
    Such tales are trivial in comparison to what will no doubt occur as Luca Blight engages Lu Bu.
    It is definitely not safe to approach the refreshments table now, and when Kunzite grasps the busboy, Ariel pleadingly places her hand upon the Heavenly King, as if wordlessly begging him to not send the poor staff member to his doom. And no sooner than she does-- no sooner than the server is suddenly...
    Suddenly...
    Topaze eyes stare, no longer at the table, but at tuxedo-clad ghost.
    A man who brings to mind visions of roses. Of kind words in crises. Memories of a hug when it was needed the most, and...
    "Hey, can you teach Ariel how to make toast?"
    "No."
    And... The smell of fresh coffee in the morning.
    "... Wh...at...?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 02:25:16 94231
    The cake is hers! Kyouko will have to remember to get Princess Sakura something as a gift later in thanks. She is reaching for it, stretching out her gloved hand to claim the prize, when there's the sudden, startling crash of breaking dishes hitting the floor behind her.

    Kyouko Sakura thinks she is the elegant, refined daughter of a stately priest. But Kyouko Sakura is a creature of instinct. And instinct is beyond thought.

    In the moment of the crash, she spins in place to face the disturbance, her skirts flaring out around her in a halo as she sinks down into a half-crouch, on the balls of her feet, one hand stretching out to the side as if reaching for something, her lips pulling back in a startled snarl to bare a single, too-sharp fang..

    Before she pauses, looking momentarily confused at her own reaction.
Nephrite 2018-08-12 02:26:42 94232
"I know." He nods sharply, matching her urgency. "We'll get to them. Your princess, and--" and, and, who? "and my Emp--" he starts to say, but then there is a crash inside, and something in the distant back of his head changes somehow. He starts to run into the ballroom inside, into the party that feels too bright and blinding now, his hand still gripping hers. "Thunderbird, whatever happens, I love you."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-12 02:28:52 94233
It's like the name forced out from around chocolate cake rings a bell in Rashmi's memory.

<< Mamo-kun... >>

Falling back a step, Rashmi's eyes go wide, darting about the party.... Really taking in the look of the people who are here, and remembering sage advice, but.... in her words?

<< If you look around and reality's gone all scribbly, like a five-year-old got ahold of arts and crafts supplies? Run. >>

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

"....Lacchan, Koko-chan, Miho-chan.... Where are we?"
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 02:32:23 94235
Softness, fire, back and forth, and then BLANK when Mars sees the spectre in the room. Fingers tighten on Serenity's shoulders. "... *Oh.*"
Sailor Earth 2018-08-12 02:36:04 94236
At the end of the song, the band went quiet as the lights began to dim. Then the stairway began to shimmer and glimmer with a radiant light. Marching to the door were two soldiers in golden armor stepped forward, bearing two flags with the crest of the earth empire. Then following behind them, came the empress clad in black armor with golden accents and a long flowing cape. Which billowed whenever her arms spread. Her voice carried through the room with the power and authority of one who was destined to rule.

Thank you all for coming to my party. I hope you have enjoyed the festivities. Thank you all for your various and important contributions to the peace that we all now enjoy. To my loyal bodyguards whos constant vigilance have allowed me to keep this universe safe with the help of our beautiful princesses. And to everyone else, with your help, let us forge another golden millenium of peace.

She begins to slowly walk down the stairs, each step making her cape billow magnificently. Her golden sword at her side was so radiant and pristine that its glimmering form could be seen even muffled by the black sheath that encased it.
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-12 02:36:43 94237
The sound of cutlery and china crashing catches the attention of the housewolves, who look in that direction, ears perked up. Ikiko glances towards the source of the sound for a moment, spotting an oddly familiar tuxedo-clad figure, then looks towards her housewolves again. That they're attentive is obvious; what's less so is that their body language is saying "this is a major ally".

And when the wolfgirl takes a better look at the ghostly figure, the warmth on her left wrist becomes more noticeable. It's not a bracelet; it's a circle hovering around her wrist, two perpendicular lines running from one side of the circle to the other, going through her skin like she's reaching through a hologram.

And it's really familiar.
Miho Kagami 2018-08-12 02:38:52 94239
Miho's head whips around at the sounds of crashing. And there's ...

... ghost-Mamoru!

"... I think you just asked the 'question' I was alluding to, Rashmi-chan," says Miho, also known as Life Mahou Joy, and Virtue's newest healer. "And the answer, as I said ..." She turns to face Empress Endymion. "... is 'in Sailor Earth's Golden Kingdom.'"
Lacrima 2018-08-12 02:40:20 94240
Lacrima is sure of one thing. She's been here before. Or rather, it feels strongly like she has. And that isn't actually conflicting anything within her. Like... the stage is right. But the actors are all wrong. "I know I've actually been here before though. I'm trying to remember when." she says softly. "Nrg...."

"Birth...day. Birthday right. It was his fifteen Birthday." she says as she rubs her face. His? Who? What?

"Wait no, that wasn't real either. It doesn't feel wrong like... a dream. I think he was. Helping me..."

A pause. "...helping me, and.... Helping me with what was I broken?" she asks.

"I was upset.. and..." she's now more stream of conscious speaking, rather to any of these of these people. "Wait... I was so upset about someone...." twitch. Then everyone is looking towards ... that man?

Wait. "His! It was his Birthday!" she says. "AND HE WAS A NER----" Nerd.

Things start folding into place in and over itself. When this is over, she'll probably psychoanalyze why this whatever it is made Poderoso her 'father'. Right now she blinks.

"R..right.. right remember now." she says. "I feel like I have a splitting headache." she says.

Then the music stops. Then the lights dim-- and...

"Ah..." she suddenly says more coldly. "Aha..." she says. "I was going to try to kill this thing because it killed Mamoru..." she says. "Now I'm going to also kill it because it brought Ari-chan into this mess." she says as she squeezes her fists.
Kunzite 2018-08-12 02:41:34 94241
Eyes. Eyes that startle Kunzite, and for an instant he starts to glance toward where his Empress should be, where his loyalty lies --

-- and finds himself looking at Serenity turning toward him instead.

No. Turning toward the figure Kunzite cannot touch, the one shifting from servant's clothing to finery to something outlandish and familiar. Mars looking, too, and that's not an expression she's given to wearing --

No. There is the Empress. There is --

-- anger. Anger burning in him, despite Ariel's hand on him, that should calm anything (and how does he know that?). Anger for --

Who is being slighted? Who would his Empress slight?

Kunzite's shift of position is minute: he places himself between Ariel and the stairs. And he makes himself not look back toward Serenity again. No matter how much, at that last silent question of himself, he wants to.
Makoto Kino 2018-08-12 02:45:05 94242
"I love you, too." Jupiter is right beside Nephrite as the both of them bolt from the patio back into the ballroom. Running toward trouble, because isn't that what they always do? "Always."

Everything seems to be happening almost at once; she gets a split second to see the ghostly form, recognition jolting like a lightning strike--

--the lights dim, and the Empress of Earth makes her entrance--

--no time for them to rally the troops now. Jupiter's stride doesn't break, she keeps moving, charging to meet the descent of that black-and-gold figure as the Empress descends the stairs--

When her voice rings out, it's loud enough to carry clean across the ballroom with no magic required. Makoto always did have a carrying voice, when she wanted to.

"This is all WRONG!"
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 02:45:55 94243
"You..." Mars' brow twitch onces. Her blood begins to rush, to burn, to *boil*, and she begins to rock back and forth very slightly as if the energy will explode if not converted to motion. She feels a throbbing in her head, like a deafening base thumping through a thick wall, and without even understanding why, when Rei looks at the Emperess, all she can see is fire. "... *yyyyyyyoooooooouuuuuuu*...!!"
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-08-12 02:47:29 94244
Sakura Kinomoto eeped. "I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to, it was an accident!" she said quickly. She hadn't MEANT to slam into the moon princess. She was just... sometimes in a rush. However, before she could properly apologize... Her eyes glanced up to the sound. Her eyes fell on the other woman and...

Who was she?

Wait, no, she was empress of earth, the...

No she wasn't. She didn't... Something was.... something felt wrong. Something felt BAD! She took a step back, away from the empress. Away from the ruler. She was wrong. THIS was wrong.

"This isn't... right... they're... I..." she whispered. She reached at her hip for her cards. She never helped her-- Cards. What cards? Where were the... She backed away behind the angry senshi. Something... was wrong.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 02:48:48 94245
    Kyouko is still in that instinctual half-crouch, facing towards the room, hesitating in confusion at her own actions, when the Empress finally appears. Descending the stairs, speaking in that voice. She hates that voice. Hate. Hate. Hate burning in her so brightly that she can't contain it, making her lips curl back the rest of the way to bare both fangs in a challenge much more dire than the one issues towards Serenity.. Usagi.. a few moments ago.

    Kyouko doesn't know why she hates the Empress.

    But Apatite does.
Kokoro Akakuma 2018-08-12 02:50:26 94246
    "What're you... calling me..." Alma growls. It's a response to Rashmi, and yet she's only barely aware of what was just said. Her head is throbbing, teeth clenched. Mostly because she's taken a tumble off the edge at last, thanks to that 'Koko-chan'. As in, Kokoro. The name Elysia finally tugs back a dim memory-

    (the soft, ominous rustle-hiss of flowing sand, pervasive terror, mama's scared, papa's scared and hurt, "Honey, hold on to Kokoro." "Elysia... I'm..." "I know. It's fine. I'll finish it. We can at least make sure she-")

    -that tugs Kokoro Akakuma back to the surface. "...my name's Dengeki Shoujo." She couldn't say when she grabbed the hammer. But it's in her hand now. "Lacrima, you ain't gonna be mad if I help smash her apart, are you? Though I think we might have to get in line..."
Rashmi Terios 2018-08-12 02:54:43 94248
Another step back, and another, as Rashmi stares, unaccountably horrified at the sight of Empress Endymion descending the stairs. "Wh.... But..." As she casts another wild look around, at the flashing rainbows, the faceless dancers moving with stilted grace, she begins to put it together. She doesn't know why, but she has never been more afraid in her life. "....Nicomachea?"

And there behind her, standing like a comforting bulwark against her terror, is the older gentleman who seemed so fond of her. "Yes, Master?"

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

<< MASTER? >>

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

"Nicomachea...?"~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

<< COMMAND INPUT READY, MASTER. >>

~~**@@$$$$@@**~~

And something inside her breaks, forcing its way past the implanted barrier, welling up from deep within her heart.

"NICOMACHEA I NEED YOU!"

<< SET UP! >>

And the man behind her winks out in a flash of golden light, and a huge, heavy book now rests in her hands. A single, high tone chimes from the huge cabochon at the book's center, and Rashmi glows herself, the light shattering to reveal a frightened, angry, and determined magical girl.
Nephrite 2018-08-12 03:03:20 94249
Nephrite, one of the Empress's most loyal and trusted guards, stands beside Jupiter as she calls out her warning. The sight of her should instill in him a sense of warmth and stillness, like the ancient heart of the Earth itself reaching through him. Instead, he is filled only with bitter fury. He is already uniformed. Now a wicked glaive as tall as himself forms in his hand, and he slams the shaft down on the floor. "Your Majesty," he says darkly, "you told me the wine would be better."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-12 03:07:56 94250
Much kinder ocean-blue eyes, translucent though they might be, glance over at the food-muffled 'Mamo-chan?' and Mamoru smiles at Serenity, that tiny, reserved smile that's only ever for her. And then he looks around, making eye contact with everyone who looks at him, and he outright grins when he sees the henshins begin to stack, one by one by one. His voice doesn't carry, so much; it's a projection just as much as the rest of him is-- instead, it sounds like it's right next to every person in the room except for Empress Endymion and her golden guards.

<<You're all so strong,>> he marvels in admiration. <<The power of your hearts, combined, can easily overthrow this travesty, this uninvited exertion of a self-aggrandizing thief's will on the reality we all know and love.>>

He turns, then, to the self-proclaimed Empress and her guards, and he starts to say something when he hears Nephrite, and then he laughs, loud and ringing and bright. There's unrestrained joy in his 'voice' when he sings out, <<A wish is a fine thing in itself, but when magic is involved, one rarely gets what one actually desired! When what one wishes is also only to the benefit of oneself, caring not for the hopes and dreams of others, the results never fail to be a gross miscarriage of justice! You, Mirai of the Stolen Soul and the Broken Power, are a liar and a bully! What you've done is unforgivable, and not a single person here will stand for it!>>
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-12 03:15:40 94251
    Apatite takes it in. She sees Jupiter and Nephrite running towards the stairs upon which the Empress stands. She sees the glaive appear in Nephrite's hand. She sees and feels flashes of power as others henshin. And she sees Mamoru, standing straight, and addressing the Empress. The false Empress. She hears his words.

    The sense of wrongness which has been in her head all along now makes sense. And it is banished in the face of the rightness of her fury.

    The ruffles of her elegant red dress suddenly explode into crimson fire, a rushing flame that cascades up her body in a matter of seconds, replacing elegant red ruffles with red-and-white uniform, a gleaming jewel on her breast, and a white cape that suddenly flares out behind her shoulders. Her eyes gleam as her fingers close around the haft of a spear as tall as she is that has quite suddenly appeared in her hand, and she turns to find Kunzite with her eyes, to gauge his intent, while keeping half her attention on Mamoru and Earth.
Usagi Tsukino 2018-08-12 03:16:04 94252
Endymion is the love of my life.

She'd said that earlier, to Mars. It had felt right then, and it feels right now, but looking at the stairs, it also feels very, very wrong.

And yet it's supposed to be this way.

She folds her hands in front of her, shoulders falling as she tries to make herself look just a little bit smaller than she already is.

She needs to go there, to greet the Empress.

She takes a step toward her--

Jupiter calls out. Mars screams out.

And then everything just happens.

"Bunny... you shouldn't be here."

It isn't really until Nephrite speaks up that she's able to shake herself.

And then she sees that look.

Endymion is the love of my life.

It suddenly feels very right again.

And suddenly, she doesn't remember everything, but she remembers enough.

"You lost your APATITE!!! Now I know why that was funny!"

...Puns are important.

She looks up at the self proclaimed Empress. "You...what did you do?! You...were you going to try to kiss me tonight? Oh, you witch!"
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 03:19:57 94253
Rei Hino begins stepping forward, "Mars Power Make-Up!" she growls shortly, and to the perception of any on looker, mid step, Rei steps through a burst of fire, and Sailor Mars steps out of it, putting herself between Earth and Usagi, eyes blazing.
Ariel Theodore 2018-08-12 03:23:01 94254
    Ariel stares at the tuxedo-clad phantom a moment longer. The Empress has arrived and... Is that right? She can't help but feel that this entire situation is just completely incorrect in every way.
    Kunzite interposes himself between her and Empress Endymion. It's. All too familiar. The feeling of safety that comes over her when he does so. Like she knows she can trust him to protect her.
    Because he can and has.
    But now... Now this is where Prospero-- Lucky? Lucky. This is where Lucky begins to behave poorly. The giant hound raises his hackles, lips curling back to show the deadly row of monstrously sharp teeth and crushing jaws as he begins to growl- he begins to snarl at the Empress, even as Ariel tries to calm him. Nothing she can do will settle the great hound as he snaps his jaws violently at the air, barking a raging storm.
    All around her, others are... Are beginning to remember. And memories flood her.
    A cold place.
    A place of snow.
    A place of pain and death.
    A wicked queen...
    A charming prince and his beloved princess.
    The time she gave a single tear along with her own life.
    Ariel's lone knowledge of queens comes from stories and fables. Beautiful, just and righteous women who uphold virtue and stand as exemplar to what all girls should aspire to be, just a step above a princess... And yet somehow she knows that 'Empress Endymion' is none of these things.
    That small hand gently sets on Kunzite once more. But instead of the small Greek princess and her dog, he will find himself standing in front of the littlest unicorn knight and her blazing star mount. Topaz eyes linger upon Mamoru as he speaks the truth.
    Even a pacifist will not stand for what has been done here tonight.
    
    Because, once again, in this story... This is the chapter where people get hurt.
    "Kunzite." The unicorn whispers gently. "I'm ready to cry again, if I have to."
Ikiko Hisakata 2018-08-12 03:29:43 94256
Wrong.

Everything is wrong.

The moonlight says there should be 6-13 wolfmotes (not "housewolves", WOLFMOTES), but by the actual phase of the moon there is only 1-3 of them. The people her wolfmotes have been reacting to are her friends and allies. And that teasing comment about being a werewolf?

Ikiko Hisakata is a werewolf.

A dilute, cute (were)wolf.

"Lycan Locket."

The shift from Master of Hounds Ikiko to Cute Wolf Tsukiko is not very dramatic -- hair lightens and shortens, pants turn into shorts, gloves appear and the blasted skirt goes away -- but her wolfmotes don't quite change as she had expected. Instead of shrinking down from actual marshmallow-colored wolves into thumb-sized wolf-faced motes of light, they stop at lapdog-sized chibi wolves of light.

And the "unpowered" (read: previously not visible due to phase of moon) motes actually show up... still as motes.

The wolfgirl glances towards her glowy canine companions, then does a mild doubletake. "Huh. No wonder you were so surprised by your forms here," she murmurs.
Unmei Tama 2018-08-12 03:35:22 94259
Magical Girl Clotho stopped and stared in the mirror.

Who she'd been. A delegate? No.

A boy. A child. Lost. Desperate. Reveling in her own self destruction. Gluttony. Stuffing her face until she could take no more. Drowning in her own needs. Yet so empty.

She reached ah and out to the mirror and touched her reglection.

No one had cared about her. And she had needed it so desperately. And then... Kunzite. Then Mamoru.

She had a home. She had a family. She had people who helped her get through school and have food on the table and make sure she could create a future for herself without being afraid or scared or having it all ripped out from under her in a moment.

The strings began to slide out from her rings. Yes, this world was, in some ways, better. She was a girl. Nothing less. But... it wasn't real. It was fake. That wasn't the kunzite she knew and loved. IT wasn't the ones she leaned on when she was broken. When she was scared. Who she bothered because she made up some lame excuse about wanting to do something or stealing from their fridge when really she was just lonely and wanted to be around them. Even though they probably knew.

The threads of red rose from her rings, wrapping around her body. Claw like gauntlets forming on her hands. Armor that seemed to shift and roll like flames. The tiger's mask formed on her face.

The bathroom door was kicked out as she felt the wrath flowing through her body. Norrrrmally she tried to keep her emotions in check, but well.... Going wild for once wouldn't be a problem... Right? Nah it'd be fine, she wasn't THAT mad.

"You're NOT ANYONE'S EMPRESS!" she yelled. "You're not kind, or sweet, OR ANYTHING THAT A MAGICAL GIRL PRINCESS IS SUPPOSED TO BE! I should know I've watched MOST OF THEM!" she yelled.

So she wasn't the best at yelling at people. She had to say SOMETHING!
Miho Kagami 2018-08-12 03:36:26 94260
Miho gives Lacrima's shoulder a comforting squeeze, then murmurs, "Stand back a minute, Lacchan." It should be obvious what that means.

She moves a dozen steps away from Lacrima, then takes a deep breath. Wow there's even more people here than she had during the first fight against Sailor Earth that she was present for. Fighting back her social anxiety, she does the Saturday Night Fever pose. "Life Blessing, WAKE UP!" She's ... never heard herself say it that clear bright voice before. Transition goals, she thinks to herself, as the minty-green light from her Life Blessing -- the Life Blessing she even had in this version of the Golden Kingdom -- spirals around her raised arm, expands until it becomes a column, fills her entire being, and then clears to reveal Life Mahou Joy.

She strides forward with a confident smile; she's Joy, after all. She has to be confident, for her own sake, for her friends' sake, for everything else. "Wow, Your Worshipfulness!" she calls out. "You've been busy, haven't you?" She smiles up at the Empress. "Y'know, in retrospect, it was actually pretty hilarious the way you just ... jumped to the conclusion that my mind was impure, just because you didn't know anything about me, when it was actually a monster inside my curse."

On cue, her shadow turns pure black. "Huh wha?" says the voice of Noroiko. "Wait, where the hell are we!? What's going on!?"

"Shush, you." Joy grins, and her shadow goes back to normal. "Anyway, I don't think anyone here is wondering either of those things anymore."

She rises off the ground. "So here's a better question." Her sapphire-heart-wand appears in her left hand, and she tosses it into the air and catches it in her right. "Do you wanna have a bad time?" She points the wand at Empress Endymion. "Because, in the name of all life ... we are really not gonna let you have anything else!"
Rei Hino 2018-08-12 03:36:44 94261
Sailor Mars seethes, "Monster... Pathetic, awful, empty *husk*, you *mockery* of life...!" She raises her hands, "... There'll be nothing left of you but a shadow burned into the ground...!"
Sailor Earth 2018-08-12 03:48:23 94262
The ' Empress. sneers. "There's a lot going on here... and a lot that is wrong, yes." She says, with a casualness that clearly hides a boiling anger building within her. "So much is wrong here. So much CRAVEN DISLOYALTY FROM MY SUBJECTS."

    The music started to change in tone. And sparkling in the sky now, in the fireworks, a number: 5.

"I've changed the rules and now you're not following. You're the enemies of this reality! Why must you always stand against me? Why can't we all be together as we should be, and happy!"

    In one of the colored fountains, the reflected number 5 counts to 4.

"I just wanted us to all be happy. And for those brief moments you were all... smiling in this world. Happy with it. And still you want to go back? To be in that imperfect, painful world of misery and suffering?" She is crying, now, but crying with rage.

    The clock in the corner warps to match the countdown: 3.

"THE WINE IS BETTER!" she howls, smashing through a display of filled glasses with an armored fist. "EVERYTHING IS BETTER HERE! IT'S A WORLD OF RAW PERFECTION. You just won't let yourselves experience it. You're having the most beautiful dream but you won't let yourselves enjoy it because you're too busy trying to wake up!"

    In the spilled wine, another reflection counts to 2.

"No matter what I try to do you all stand in thge way... of my happiness... of our shared happiness! Of this world!" She glares around the room, tears still in her eyes, dripping brilliants gold onto the floor as outside, the world seems to fall apart, fly upwards, or generally just rend itself apart - though the palace is safe.

    In one of those brilliant tears, the counter ticks to one.

"Do you know what I've done for you? For us? For every person in this world, to bring the true Golden Kingdom to form?" And she pulled at her armor - and the flesh beneath it - to reveal the twin hearts beating inside her body... Mamoru's crystal... and a misshapen Jewel Seed with three Grief Seeds encapsulated within. And they were dark... so near black. "But now I see. You are all enemies of happiness... my happiness. I cannot bring you to this world - you'll only destroy it."

    The Empress draws her brilliant, golden blade... and the moonlight reflects off of it. And in that reflection... 0.

And the Grief Seeds release a torrent of energy, and the Jewel Seed shatters to let it release. And then the palace is no longer spared from the reality destruction - and Mirai ascends into a monstrous entity as tall as a skyscraper, a ball of crowns, decrees, robes, scepters, and blades - the Royal Archwitch.