A Class on Dreams


Maboroshi no Manako invades the filing room of Seiyou Public School! While Sailor Mars and Lacrima (in her new henshin, Masquerade) confront Manako, Ariel does investigations on what Manako was actually doing there. MERCY very nearly works.

Date: 2018-09-14
Pose Count: 31
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-14 23:22:11 97716
It's just past 10 PM, the night is clear and bright, and Seiyou Public School is completely deserted aside from the janitorial staff. It's all calm and peaceful ...

... until a portal to the dream-world opens up in the shadow of the greenhouse, and out flows a mass of shadow the size of a truck, filled (or perhaps covered) with eyes that glow purple with dark energy. It comes to a "head" with a single bright fuchsia eye, and what appear to be cat-ears.

Once again, Maboroshi no Manako checks a map hidden inside its shadowy mass, and then creeps up to the side of the building and flows through the window of the principal's office, and thence to the filing rooms.

A moment later, there's a few faint spikes of darkness as Manako does ... something ... to some paperwork. It might be hard to detect from a distance, but there's enough of them in succession, and at a regular pace, that it wouldn't be too difficult for anyone to track down.
Ariel Theodore 2018-09-14 23:34:15 97717
    Some people are more attuned to the world of dreams than others. Some, such as those who were born in the realm of dreams, just feel when a connection has been made with that fantastic realm where the hail from.
    Ariel is one of those such folk.
    And it's when that very portal opens, that the silver-haired girl rolls off the couch she had been napping on peacefully and lands on the floor with a dull THUMP and a sharp blest of surprise. Instinctively, she just knows, somewhere a nightmare has come into the waking world; and having taken on her mother's duties as a Dream Defender, it is her duty to deal with it.
    That doesn't mean she has to come alone. And a text or two later, the girl stuffs her phone away, throws on the closest set of 'outside clothes' she has on hand, and hops on her dog's back. She's small enough to do that.
    "Come on, Lucky. We should at least check it out."
Lacrima 2018-09-14 23:38:40 97719
Lacrima had just got done feeding. A thing she hated but a thing she had to deal with. She sighs and is deciding to walk back. A walk of inner shame perhaps as she walked down the road that passed her school. She stopped though as she turned to face the school. She blinks a bit. Is that a dark... energy signature? It feels like a 'Nightmare' feels- and it feels a little familiar but she hasn't met this one often enough to know it by name.

She makes a move to turn into a shadow on the ground and slide quickly across the ground and up the wall of the school as she reforms in a room.

She walks to the door and peeks out. She looks left and right and begins to walk towards the principal's office, where she felt the energy signature.

She got a text. She looked at her phone and frowns. Okay Ari-chan is on her way. Should she wait? She'll text back that she's most likely there.

She turns into a shadow and slides under the door before reforming on the other side- then turn and unlock the door for the others coming-- Ariel at least- so there's no problems there. There's something going on toward's the filing rooms? She starts walking that way. She's trying to keep quiet- but well.

She's an active dark energy signature. Whatever's in there might detect her aswell!
Rei-Signum 2018-09-14 23:43:51 97720
    Rei Hino has a lot on her mind. There's a lot of things, frankly, that she'd like the fire to tell her - as dodgy and vague as it could be, anything's better than nothing when it comes to what's brewing around them. But, kneeling in front of the burning pyre, hands clasped and feverishly moving from one sign into another late at night, when the fire finally roared to greater life and grew; reflecting unknowable imagery onto Rei's eyes, she can honestly say she was... perturbed.
    "... Cat ears?"
    Her baffled expression turns to alarm as that faint spike of dark energy hits her body like a needle on the end of a string leading in one very specific direction, her hair whipping around as she turns towards it sharply, "Oh no..."
    Her readings aren't usually QUITE this urgent, and it could honestly be a coincidence, but dark energy is dark energy, and Rei barely takes the time to get her slippers on before moing outside and, as soon as she's sure there's no chance of being spotted by random onlookers, cries "Mars Power, Make up!"
    It is, surprisingly, way easier and faster to run in heels when you're Sailor Mars.
    Finding herself on the school grounds, Mars puts one hand flat over her brow, looking up at the Priciple's office window with a concerned grimace before she LEAPS up onto the roof in two short sudden bounds, bouncing from a lower building's roof top and onto her target. Taking a short breath to steady her nerves, show lowers herself onto the open window frame, one leg slung over it and placed on the floor as she peers about cautiously, one hand already poised for a Fire Soul, and-
    "WHEN YOU WALK AWAY-!!"
    "GWACKT!" Rei yelps as her cell phone alerts her to a text.
    "-YOU DON'T HEAR ME SAY-"
    She feels around her Senshi uniform - where the heck does the phone go when she changes?!
    "-PLEEAAAASE-"
*BOOP*.
    Sailor Mars heaves a sigh. How undignified.
    There's movement, and Rei snaps from exasperation to sharp eyed focus in an instant, flames roaring to life in her hands and painting and orangish glow of light across the room as she calls out, "Hold it right there! You're not..." she blinks, "... you're not-" she peers a bit closer, and the fire dwindles to nothing, "Lacrima-san?"
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 00:02:29 97721
"Hmm?" says a deep woman's voice in three pitches simultaneously, and a single eye-covered pseudopod sticks out of the filing room immediately before Rei's commotion begins. Then the cat-eared head with the fuchsia eye moves down the pseudopod and peers at Lacrima. "Oh, hello, successor of Poderoso!" She speaks in clipped, precise Japanese, and her tone is incredibly smug. "We were not expecting to see you again so soon!"

It then turns the fuchsia eye on Sailor Mars. "With you, we are less familiar." Her tone is only slightly less smug now. "We are Maboroshi no Manako." The Phantasmal Eyes. "We are a most humble ally and servant of the Prince of Nightmares. We are here to grant ... a wish."

Her tone of voice becomes straight-up mocking as she says that last part.
Ariel Theodore 2018-09-15 00:25:13 97723
    It doesn't take Ariel too long to arrive. The great hound bounding down streets, through alleys, over rooftops, the two make for little more than fleeting glimpses of motion to anyone they pass, before they arrive at the school grounds...
    For a school Ariel doesn't go to.
    "Ah... It must be here somewhere." She murmurs, already in the silvery platemail of her dreamsteel armor, Lucky's fur glimmering with a soft golden glow beneath his equally silver canine barding. The little unicorn purses her lips, nose scrunching in thought while crossing her eyes up at the nubby horn on her brow, and it shimmers to life like a night light, using the gentle glow to direct her path.
    It's not long before the two are inside, wandering the halls- and is stopped by the very same door that Lacrima unlocked.
    There's a gentle knock-knock as the unicorn child politely raps on the door.
    "Excuse me! Is there a Nightmare present? I'm coming in now, please don't do anything too nightmarish." She announces herself.
    Ariel opens the door and Lucky comes padding in with her.
    "Oh! Lacrima, Sailor Mars! You both beat me here, hello!"
    Chipper as ever.
    "Oh um. The Nightmare Prince? It's been a while since we've heard from him, is he doing well?"
    Yes because Ariel displays that kind of care even for enemies.
Lacrima 2018-09-15 00:27:57 97724
Lacrima frowns back to Sailor Mars. "This isn't my fault. For the record. Not accusing you of accusing me but just communicating." she says flatly. She turns back to Manako. "Oh." she says with another frown. Manako calls her the successor of Poderoso. That's technically correct. Lacrima doesn't LIKE it but it's technically correct. Maybe that's why Manako says it. "The Phantasmal Eyes." she says bluntly.

"Yeah, a Nightmare granting wishes. Sure. I totally buy this is a benevolent act." she says sourly.

She draws her hand back and lets a large bolt of dark energy fly across the way toward's Manako. It rakes through the air.

"Go away." she spits. "Nothing you're doing can be good here. Fooling with apparently important files." she says angrily.

Somewhere in here is Norie's old file. She doesn't think about that too hard.

"A..Ariel!" she huffs. "Hello! There's a problem here."

She frowns. "What kind of wish are you granting anyways, for WHO!?" she calls out.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 00:36:49 97725
    Sailor Mars frowns at Lacrima, "What isn't your fault? Are you not the only Dark Ener-"
    -"GY!" Mars ends the word with a yelp when Ariel appears. "H-hello Ariel-san." She greets, and follows her eyes to the peculiar writhing mass of evil in the room. "... Acquantance of yours, I gather?" She asks tersly, raising her hand again.
    Sailor Mars recoils with a grimace when Maboroshi approaches; but she's done being startled, bringing her other leg into the room, and glaring at the monster with her lips pressed together in a thing line.
    "... Moboroshi-san." She says flatly. "I'm Sailor Mars, Guardian of Passion and War." Her eyes narrow. "I'm here to set you on fire."
    At the same moment Lacrima's bolt flies, Mars opens her hand with a short cry of "Fire Soul!" and releases a short, narrow burst of flame from her open hand; looking to avoid starting an actual *fire* in the building. Her flames may resist behaving quite like normal fire, but not enough that she's willing to risk it in a school.
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 00:47:58 97726
Maboroshi no Manako turns her fuchsia eye on Ariel. "Ahhhh, the daughter of Amalthea!" she says, her tone one of mocking delight. "His Highness is doing quite well! Indeed, he has nearly recovered from his encounter with you, fifteen months ago!" Fifteen months ago. That was the time of the Nightmare Prince's invasion of Tokyo. "In fact, we might go so far as to say ... he is nearly ready for round two!" It's just completely audible in her voice that if she had a mouth, she'd be grinning ear to ear.

A pseudopod lances out to catch the bolt of darkness. "Ahh, delicious, thank you!" she says cheerfully, absorbing the darkness inside herself. Her tone becomes more serious as she says, "In all candor, we have been authorized to inform you that the wisher is a human dreamer. One who wished for a new form, a new name -- that is, in a manner more materially than that in which she had already discovered her new name. A new life, in short." The shadowy mass ripples in an approximation of a shrug, and her smugness comes back in full force. "We must repudiate your accusation that our actions might possibly be benevolent, of course. Our true goal is, after all, the invasion of this world by the Prince of Nightmares, and to crush all possibility of pleasant dreams forever."

She lets out a loud eerie screech as Sailor Mars's flame hits her, seemingly tearing a hole right through her ... but then it closes in the next moment. "Ah, the Guardian of Mars!" she says. "We're afraid that your previous life was long before our time. Nevertheless, we must say, we find you quite charming!"

And with that, she fires a bolt of darkness back at Sailor Mars, nearly identical to the one Lacrima fired, as she surges towards a nearby window and forces it open. "Let us take this outside!"
Ariel Theodore 2018-09-15 01:19:10 97727
    Round two... Round two.
    OH.
    Round two.
    Something of a dawning look flutters across Ariel's face as Maboroshi lets her in on this little tidbit. And that she's here to grant a wish.
    "Whuh...?" No wish granted by a Nightmare... Ever ends well, and Ariel goes doe-eyed for a beat. But before she can say anything, Mars unleashes the flames of her passion.
    "Ah! No! Wait wait wait she was talking!" The unicorn squeaks. But it looks like this is going to turn into a fight and it's going to be taken outside. Where all fights should properly be.
    Ariel takes care to close the door that she came through behind her.
Lacrima 2018-09-15 01:21:59 97729
Lacrima looks apologetically at Ariel. "Sorry Ariel but she was doing something to those papers...." she says as she turns back to the matter at hand.

Lacrima watches as her lance of dark energy gets absorbed. She makes a face. Why can't she ever help her friends? Why do her attacks always feed these things? She seethes a bit, frustratedly as she looks to Ariel and Mars apologetically. "Nrg...." if only I coul---

< May I make a suggestion, Mistress? > says a voice from Lacrima's left arm. It's delightfully british and snooty like one might imagine the sterotypical butler sounds. "Oh!" she goes. "I...it completely slipped my mind, Paige! Let's go!" she says. < Get Set! > exclaims the voice as there's a bright overlapping lavender sheen that overcomes Lacrima and encases her in a barrier jacket and the magic within. That energy signature she's made of seems to be submerged. Not as evident. She feels more like a 'normal' magical girl might on some level with more of an aftertaste of 'something dark energy'. Elegant, light and cloaked in lavendar and white, Lacrima comes out of the transformation.

Masquerade makes a running leap out the window coming to a gentle footfall on the other side. She looks to the Intelligent Device on her left hand, a fingerless glove, etched with glowing lavendar lines and going down her arm nearly to her elbow like an opera glove-- with it's circular gem in the palm. She takes a deep breath. "Barrel Shot!" she calls out holding her palm out, not sure if this'll work. She hasn't had much of a time to test run Paige yet.

< Barrel Shot! > repeats Paige as a beam of lavendar energy lances out. Not Dark Energy. Not even a little bit of Dark Energy.

"So let me reiterate. I don't think you have good intentions. I'm sure that this person paid something you didn't tell them for the wish." she spits out. "Just another Kyubey." she says.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 01:36:18 97730
    Mars' eyes cast back and forth between Ariel and Maboroshi in mild confusion that turns into a gnawing anxiety in her gut. She'd only just started to let the Sailor Earth incident fall into the past, and now... an invasion? A *Nightmare Prince*?! Rei has... questions. But she figures those questions will be better aimed at Ariel, because Maboroshi has a date with a funeral pyre.
    Maboroshi's pained response to her fire draws a satisified grimace from Mars, who glances at Ariel, "They always talk! Never let them talk! It's never-"
    Maboroshi's fine, and that's concerning!
    Maboroshi knows about the Silver Millenium, and that's... startling. A bit of color drains from Rei's face and she starts to ask, "How could you know ab-" before a blast of dark energy comes her way.
    Rei is not in a good position.
    Rei is sat in a window frame, you see. They're not known for aiding manueverability.
    So how does Sailor Mars dodge, you ask?!
    She, uh.
    Doesn't.
    "GYAAGH!" Sailor Mars throws her arms in front of her and takes the blast with a cry of pain, finding herself propelled backwards out of the window and into a freefall, her head pointed at the ground.
    The fall would be fatal for a human, and painful for a Senshi. Luckily she has the werewithall to recover, twisting in the air until her legs are beneath her just in time to land in a crouch with a pained grunt.
    Mars bitterly spits the word, "*Stupid!*" as she holds her arms out stiffly at a downward angle, trembling with the growing numbness she's trying to shake off. She should never have left herself that vulnerable. The excuse of her distraction just leads to MORE things she should have handled better.
    Luckily she doesn't have time to dwell as light erupts from the window above her, followed closely by the newly transformed Lacrima, drawing a shocked stare from the Senshi of Fire.
    Mars was already out of the room when the transformation occurred, and this 'new' arrival just seems like another complication. "I- You- If I know you, or you're gonna shoot me in the back, you'd better tell me *right* now, because you-" her brain processes what she's seeing a bit better, "-you're-" Rei stands up a bit straighter, but her her arms still aren't fully cooperating, "-using dark energy."
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 01:47:04 97731
Maboroshi no Manako settles in the parking lot; the sight of Rei's fall gets a chuckle out of her. And then her fuchsia eye widens as ... as Masquerade leaps out of the window. She's so startled, her dodge is delayed until the last minute, and the lavender beam clips her side. A single eye winks shut.

Then the fuchsia eye narrows, and Manako lets out a loud guffaw, her entire shadowy form shaking. "Well, well, well! We certainly did not expect that!" she says. "Interesting! But, ah, La Crima-san ..." (Well, that's her identified.) Two of the eyes on Manako's body begin glowing brightly. "... your defenses are no longer those of a creature of darkness, either." And with that, the two glowing eyes fire bright purple beams of dark energy straight at Masquerade!

... Interestingly, if anyone were to pay attention to the filing room now that Manako isn't in it anymore ... there's a handful of faint traces of darkness left behind. One for each earlier pulse of darkness, in fact.
Ariel Theodore 2018-09-15 02:07:06 97732
    Oh dear, Rei just went out the window. It's a sight that makes Ariel cringe, but on top of that all, there's a new look that flutters across the unicorn's face. Some magical cross between bewilderment, wonder, and confusion as Lacrima speaks to someone she can't see.
    And becomes a magical girl. ...
    Again.
    Kind of.
    Ariel doesn't quite know all that much about Devices, all she knows is Alexis' is always yelling in German, Rashmi's is a kindly book, and Tyrfing is a cat. That is the sum total of her understanding of that specific brand of magery. And then Lacrima follows out the window as well.
    Ariel lifts a finger and opens her mouth to speak.
    Ariel lowers her finger and closes her mouth.
    "Okay."
    She sounds so utterly lost right then and there for a moment, staring off after the gallant and debonaire, suave sight of her now-masked girlfriend. She spends a moment wobbling in a mild swoon, before realization comes back. And Lacrima also pointed it out.
    "W-well! I mean. Sometimes it's good to let them talk to understand what they're after." She points out from the window. "--But I'll try and figure out what she did! Please be careful and try not to hurt each other too much?"
    Ariel can dream, as she starts examining the source of the darkness still present in the room.
Lacrima 2018-09-15 02:20:16 97733
"That's true." Masquerade says as she keeps her hand up. < Round Shield > calls out her device as a spinning, lavender spell circle forms in front of her. The beams collide into them and the shield shatters into magical mist as she moves backwards a foot as she frowns. "But to assume that means I have NO defenses suddenly is also wrong." she says flatly. She's seen Riventon and Rashmi use devices enough to get the basic hang of this.

"Much rather we cancel each other out than empower one another." she says. She looks towards Mars. "It's me, Lacrima." she says. "I'll explain later." she says looking back at Manako.

She doesn't know the name or how to do that mental talk link Rashmi does. Maybe she can learn it later from Rashmi if she asks nicely. She draws back her hand and fires off another shot like before. Another Barrel Shoot at Manako.

"Don't worry. I'm not toxicly dark energy like this." she says at Mars. She doesn't tell the downsides in front of Manako.

She has Paige ping Ariel on a momentary pulse scan. Okay she's still up there somewhere.

So... is some sort of dark energy? Well. Good thing Ariel is up there to handle it, she thinks.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 02:23:17 97734
    Rei's gaze lingers on Lacrima, trying to process the name attached to the 'new' girl as best she can.
    Okay.
    Okay okay okay.
    Magic's confusing, focus on what matters; namely the violent nightmare vanguard.
    When Ariel calls out them, Rei grimances, "I *know* you're not new to this youma stuff!" Granted Maboroshi is something else, but... Youma are as Youma do, to coin a phrase.
    When Maboroshi's attack goes off, Mars draws in a sharp hiss of breath and crouches lower under the barrier Lacrima raises. She nods once curtly in response to Lacrima, but she's already gathering energy, rising and releasing a blast of flame at the same moment Lacrima attacks with a cry of "Fire Soul!"
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 02:42:14 97735
Ariel's investigations will quickly find that the traces of darkness are in the filing cabinets. Localized entirely to one paper each, to be more precise. It's the enrollment paperwork, a lot of it dated today, for a girl in tenth grade who just transferred over from Seishou Public School.

The student's name? Narumi Nendai.

"That is quite fair," says Manako. Her body makes subtle movements, dodging the Barrel Shoot and the Fire Soul. She's clearly good at handling narrow, precise attacks. "What is not fair is the comparison to the Incubators," she continues glibly. "The Puella do, in fact, have the opportunity to profit from their wishes, and to stave off their destiny of despair!" It seems that the subtlety is limited to her movements, however.

"Regardless, your efforts are futile," she says. "In the end, this world will become enshrouded in endless nightmares! And though it shall be by the Prince's hand ..." Abruptly, she fires a dozen bullets of dark energy ... in random directions? At the ground, at the walls of the school, and towards the parked car of one of the custodians? "... it shall be a grand victory for the Pact!" The bullets ricochet, rebounding towards Masquerade and Sailor Mars from several directions at once!
Ariel Theodore 2018-09-15 02:57:57 97736
    Ariel feels kind of bad, leaving Masquerade and Sailor Mars on their own outside. But they are big girls, they can take care of themselves for a little longer.
    Like the polar opposites of a magnet, Ariel is drawn to that darkness, her horn still glowing as she pulls open the filing cabinet and starts rifling through the pages, lips pursed until she finds what she's looking for.
    Gauntlet-clad fingers pull the file and hold it up, and she begins to rifle through the pages; unconcerned with silly human issues such as 'privacy of information'. Something about the file utterly intrigues her, and topaz eyes narrow when she sees that name.
    Narumi... She's heard it before, but where...? Narumi... Narumi... Na--
    Ariel's eyes shoot open.
    That girl. The one from the heavy metal dream and the toychest. In an instant Ariel has her phone out and fumbles to snap a shot of the varied paperwork. It's not the detail on it that are important to her, but the name attached to them, before the glow of her horn brightens.
    Ariel's brow knits as she focuses and concentrates, before gently dipping her head to touch the blunt spire of bone against the paperwork to try and dispel the darkness left upon them.
    "Are you all okay up there?" She calls out the window, absently.
Lacrima 2018-09-15 03:09:44 97737
Masquerade huffs as she yells out. "I'D HARDLY CALL A DEATH AND BECOMING AN AWFUL ABOMINATION OF WITCH A FAIR TRADE, NIGHTMARE." she calls out. "Wishes, PURE WISHES should not be tainted by the likes of you!" she says.

"WE AS CREATURES OF DARKNESS, WHO HAVE NO CHOICE IN THEIR EXISTENCE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO ONLY TAKE WHAT IT IS NEEDED AND NOTHING MORE." she calls out. "To do as little harm as possible!" she calls out. "To not cause such unbelievable misery that hearts darken rather than temporarily grey!" she calls out.

"YOU HAVE NO RIGHT!" she calls out---and holy crap it's raining random dark energy, she mutters. "Flier Fin..." < Flier Fin > calls out Paige. She uses it to hover and start dodging backwards and forward and a blast hits nearby her and it sends her flying towards the wall. Cracccck. Ow. Ow ow ow ow.

"Nrg..." she mutters. She isn't used to not innately hovering and flying, yeah. She stands back up and takes a deep breath.

"I'm fine, Ari-chan." she calls out. No she isn't, she hurts. But that's okay.

"VARIA SHOT!..." Paige seems to suck in energy for a moment before the text 'Varia Shot' appears in Mid-chidian text over the gem before a charged shot of mana energy lances out, stronger than the shots she was launching before.

"Sailor Mars, do you have any way to hurt this thing harder!?" she calls out. "I'm not used to my Intelligent Device yet." she mutters. "But it's the only thing I have that'll have any /effect/." she says.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 03:34:35 97739
    It's at this point that Sailor Mars really begins to lament her lack of defensive abilities. Sure, she could probably make a curtain of flames, but there's a real chance that the net result ofthat would be the projectiles coming her way *catching on fire*.
    Mars knows for a fact she's not immune to fire.
    She doesn't like to talk about it.
    She listens to Masquerade speak with, it must be said, some amount of uncertainty. She's never heard anyone talk about dark energy in those terms before, and it's a little bit... rattling to hear someone finally talk about it responsibly. "... Lacrima-san..." She says quietely to no one in particular, but then it's bullets o'clock, and Mars' focus is back on the situation.
    Less inherently mobile than Masquerade, Mars is forced to duck and weave; manuevering out of the way with quick reflexes and... less grace than she would like; though the results might impress a judge or two... right up until one clips her hip.
    "AHN!" Mars gasps in pain, wincing one eye shut and holding a hand to her hip.
    Hearing Lacrima's question, Sailor Mars draws in a hiss of breath through gritted teeth, then turns one, frankly, terrifying looking eye to Lacrima. "I do. Your shield ability?" She looks away from Lacrima and back towards Maboroshi, "... Put it over the building."
    Mars reaches into the air, drawing a circle around herself with one finger; and where her finger passes, flames erupt, burning in place around her.
    "BURNIIIIIIINNNGG....!!!"
    Mars reaches both arms in a Y shape, as if to steady the flame, then reaches out through the center of the ring of fire. The flames almost seem to congeal into several red orbs, glowing fiercely with sealing characters, still giving off a flickering orange flame's light. "... MANDALAAAA!!!" And the orbs all suddenly burst and unleash dozens of glowing rings of fire, rapidly machine-gun firing at Maboroshi, seeming to veer and lazily drift in the air - in so far as something that fast can be 'lazy' - but always managing to veer their course back towards their target, albeit not with incredibly accuracy given the sheer number of projectiles being thrown at the monster in front of her.
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 03:39:00 97740
Surprisingly, at the first touch of purifying power, the paper seems to waver a bit, as if the purification was about to dissolve it ... before it goes back to exactly the way it was before. Yep, still says Narumi on it and everything!

Manako turns sharply to Masquerade. "If you say that," she says ... and then stops and starts again. "No choice ...?" All the smugness is gone from her triple voice. She actually sounds uncertain now.

There's just the slightest hesitation as Sailor Mars makes herself known in the most flashy way imaginable, but then the shadowy form moves like a snake, racing across the parking lot in a random zigzag, trying to avoid the fire ... but when it's done, maybe a third of her eyes are closed.

She turns the fuchsia eye to stare at Lacrima. There's no counterattack, no snappy comebacks ... she just stares for a moment. "... I used to think as you did," she says. Wait, was that referring to herself in the singular now? "That in this new existence, I could simply ..." She gazes down at herself for a moment. "Hah, in my last visit to this world, I made light of the Prince's 'were it so easy' remark. And yet ... here 'we' are."
Ariel Theodore 2018-09-15 04:06:08 97741
    Sleuthing completed, Ariel gives Lucky a mild nudge on the side with her knee. The giant hound serving as her steed turns and brings her to the window.
    No one really seemed to heed her request of 'try to not hurt each other too much'.
    The tiny sigh that the unicorn heaves says she's not exactly surprised; but still a little disappointed anyway. And a bit worried when she sees Lacri-- Masquerade slams into a wall. Ariel will likely have to try and tend to that later-- possibly Mars' injuries as well.
    Issue comes when the senshi of passion and war unleashes one of her most potent attacks. That fire- roaring, raging burning fire heads towards the Nightmare, Maboroshi no Manako. ... But it is also on a course for the school building. Ariel hesitates. And her eyes go distant and lost.
    She remembers.
    Visions of the senshi in red, fierce, determined, and unyielding; burning bright, burning hard, and burning out.
    She recalls Rei fighting against an imitation of her very self, one with just as much terrible strength of hate to match the war senshi's burning passion.
    Ariel remembers the smoldering corpse of Rei Hino, lifeless in Sailor Moon's arms while the leader of the senshi wept bitter tears of pain.
    Ariel knows full well Mars is not immune to fire, also. But then niether is a building.
    Topaz eyes widen as she must think quickly, and that little horn glows again as she holds her arms outspread.
    Ariel dreams.
    She dreams of cooling mist and rainbows.
    She dreams of the soft dull roar of water in motion.
    She dreams of ponds and lakes fed by waters from afar...
    Ariel dreams of one singular waterfall.
    And she pulls that dream into the waking world and makes it a reality; gallons of water descending from the rooftop in a torrent; behind the Nightmare, not impeding those who would fight such as Sailor Mars, bu preventing undue harm from befalling the sacred grounds of knowledge and learning on which they fight.
Lacrima 2018-09-15 04:11:53 97742
Masquerade says. "And I was as you are now! Thinking there was no choice thinking there was nothing I could do." she says. "No one ever said it was easy. I lost all my friends from when I was human. Even my best one, because of the monster I was becoming." she says. "I started lashing out at everything, I hurt countless people needlessly." she says.

"It's only because of people like Ariel. And Riventon. And Mamoru that I'm even here right now because I think someone would had just killed me by now if I managed to continue that path." she says quietly.

"It doesn't have to be this way." she says. "You don't have to do things to hurt people so badly. You don't need to help The Prince of Nightmares." she says. "If you feel you want to talk. You find me. You know who I am." she says quietly. "Find me. Come into my dreams if you need to." she says. "But this cannot be allowed from things like us. Humans... humans don't need us hurting them." she says. "Not for good reason."

Mars asks for a shield, she frowns. "I can't make one that big! Only about as big as I am tall...!" she says softly.

Regardless, Ariel has it handled because all the water. She looks up at Ariel a moment. With great concern. That look....she frowns a little. She'll need to make sure Ariel gets a nice big hug, kiss, whatever she can do when this is over.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 04:19:48 97743
    Ariel... Mamoru... and *Riventon*.
    What a rocky road this poor girl's on.
    Lacrima's companions aside, Mars is rapidly getting the feeling that Maboroshi isn't *just* a monster, and that has her anxious; but person or not is is *presently* trying to kill them, was *presumably* gearing up to hurt students in the long-run, and has shot Mars twice. So Burning Mandala it is! Though, in the instant before it goes off, Mars hears Lacrima's response, one eye turning towards her, wide and colorless as she blurts, "*What?!*" Before she's raining fire down on Maboroshi, and all she can do is guide it.
    Luckily Ariel manages to mitigate any damage her... slightly unwieldly attack may have done had Maboroshi's evasive manuevers put the school in harm's way, but Mars' heart is pounding harder than she would like it to.
    "Masquerade-san!" She calls when the attack dies down. "Are we destroying this thing, or talking it down? I can't do both!"
Lacrima 2018-09-15 04:20:40 97744
Masquerade says with a sigh. "I don't know." she says softly. "But if it wants to listen...." she says quietly....
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 04:36:18 97745
Maboroshi no Manako looks up at the rain. She listens to Lacrima as she speaks for a moment. "'She'," she corrects, when they refer to her as an 'it'. "That ... is one of the few things I find to be an immovable certainty at this moment." She shakes her head. "This is one of the ways I even persuaded her ... I told her I still remembered what it was like, back when I was known as ..." She goes silent, and for a little bit longer, there's no sound except Ariel's rain.

And then she straightens up. "What are we doing," she says softly. "... We apologize, but our course is set." She's ... trying to bring back the smugness, but it's clearly very shaky. "We wonder how she would react ..."

Uh-oh. All her remaining open eyes are starting to glow now, including the fuchsia one, even as her voice becomes less and less certain. "... if we made you ... experience ... your ..."

And then a dozen lasers fire off at once, towards a single point directly in front of her. "... FINAL ..." A brighter beam shoots from her fuchsia eye, shooting a massive beam of darkness directly at Masquerade and Sailor Mars. "... NIGHTMARE!"
Lacrima 2018-09-15 04:48:05 97747
Masquerade's eyes go wide. She can FEEL that. And Paige even pings a warning at her. "Gaahhhh!" she doesn't respond to anything Manako says because of the sudden attack. Not for wont to of course. The first thing she does is call out. "Round Shield!" a magic circle forming inform of Mars like she cast in front of herself earlier. She then looks towards the incoming attack and it just sort of rakes over her and sends her careeeening towards the school with a sudden and hard thud--- being shoved against the wall. It uses up the last reserves the device was able to procure for the barrier jacket before it dissolves away right after the attack finishes.

She'll fall down to the ground and start heaving, as Lacrima proper again as she 'haaaaaassss'. "Paige...report...okay?" she asks.

< Operating at 15 percent capacity. Structural integrity acceptable, Mistress. > states Paige about itself as she looks down at the weird odd glove on her hand. She begins to stand up. Trying to gauge whether the thing is running or has run by the time the attack is over.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 04:56:55 97748
Sailor Mars' eyes go wide with horror at the attack being fired her way, only for a filter of energy to color her vision as Lacrima's shield is put up in front of her.
    It happens too fast for her to react until it's over, pivoting her upper body in place to look at Lacrima, calling, "Lacrima-san!" In concern and alarm.
    Her gaze whips back into place to glare at Maboroshi and slams her hands together, glowing light and licks of flame peeking out from between her hands. If she can do *that*, then Mars doesn't have time to check on Lacrima, or give half a damn about whatever tortured existance Maboroshi is leading; she just needs her *gone* before she can hurt anyone else. Wether she leaves on her own power, or in an urn, that's up to her.
    Mars rushes at Maboroshi, gritting her teeth and building her energy before leaping high into the air, sailing over Maboroshi and, when she's directly above her, pointing her hands straight down with a cry of "FIRE SOUL!" unleashing a veil of fire straight down onto the space tne Nightmare occupies.
Narumi Nendai 2018-09-15 05:02:42 97749
Maboroshi no Manako's movements are just the slightest bit sluggish to react ... but once again, she moves like a snake, evading back so that, well, the Fire Soul only immolates her front half.

But that's enough for her to melt into a shadowy heap on the ground in front of them. It lets out a loud groan. Its voices are now very strained, and they aren't entirely in sync anymore. "... a-a-apologies," she says. "... but w-w-w-we're afraid this-is-is-is isn't over y-y-y-yet ..."

And with that, a dream-portal opens up beside her, and she hurriedly vanishes through it and the portal closes, as if she was never there.

Save for Narumi's paperwork, that is.
Lacrima 2018-09-15 05:15:22 97750
Lacrima frowns a little as Manako leaves. She gently sighs and strokes a little over the device's small emitter gem. "Thanks, Paige. Sorry for a rocky second day." she says grimly. It beeps a little ping in response, affirmative it sounds like. She gently walks over and checks on Mars. "Are you okay, Sailor Mars...?" she asks quietly.

".....r-right." she says. "Sorry I.. had to.. try to.. talk to it." she says quietly. "I know what it's like. To think your path is set like that. Like there's no recourse." she says gently.

"I should go find Ariel." she says with a pain. "She looked like something froze her for a moment. I think I have a clue what. She probably needs some hugs and cuddles." she says plainly. She'll begin to take off towards the street to go find Ariel.
Rei-Signum 2018-09-15 05:21:32 97751
Mars is lift standing, facing where Maboroshi was a moment again, grimacing in frustration as yet another enemy slips away with no way to follow them. She's silent for a long moment after Lacrima speaks before saying, simply, "She." She inclines her head to Lacrima with a small, tired smile, "Remember?"
    With a quiet sigh she turns around to face Lacrima and lowers her head briefly, "Thank you for protecting me Lacrima-san." She can't imagine what either of them has gone through - and can't really comment - but... she can show proper gratitude, at least.
    "... Yeah." She replies about Ariel, clutching her upper arm with a nervous suspicion about what could have stopped her, before calling out to Lacrima's retreating back, "Take care of yourself too. That..." she shakes her head, unsure what to say, or what help to offer to a creature whose every function and nature she doesn't understand. She settles on. "... that looked bad." Bad enough that Mars doesn't even know if she would have survived it, honestly.