The Bell Tolls


Nightbell rigs up the toll booths to drain energy. Due to the warning she gave Sakura during Cutest Bully, things go horribly even by Nightbell's standards. But it looks like words (and Sakura's hugs) are starting to work on her.

Date: 2018-10-11
Pose Count: 47
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-11 23:55:56 98823
It's late in the evening and the sun has already started to set, when a pair of black utility trucks pulls up next to an underpass beneath the highway close to Mitakihara, almost directly below a particular set of toll booths. They're large utility trucks, with front and back seats ahead of the back part. A youma-bot climbs out of each one, disguised as workers with hard hats and reflective vests, followed by a nearly-seven-foot-tall figure in a plain gray rain coat, her hood pulled up to hide her face -- except for an indistinct red glow. The trio approaches what appear to be newly-installed oversized electrical boxes with cables running up to the toll booths.

Last night, Nightbell sneakily and stealthily installed energy-draining machines in the toll booths. They haven't been activated yet, however; all they've done so far is measure the rate at which people used them.

Nightbell gets out her black Eclipse phone. "We're here, Frau Doktor," she says. "Yes. ... Oh, yeah. The rate we measured is going to be fine. We'll fill the first truck in no time, then get the second truck ready." She chuckles. "Wow, six months already? Yeah, I can't believe it either! Here's to great success for the rest of the year!"

The youma-bots head to the back of one of the trucks, and start unloading odd-looking tanks, which they then carry over to the 'electrical boxes' and insert them inside. After four of them are installed, Nightbell reaches into her coat and pulls out a black metal pendant in the shape of a double-barred cross with a ruby inlaid in the upper bar. "Yep, they've just gotten them installed! Rubindorn?"

The pendant pings. <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> Certainly, mistress!

The devices begin draining a teensy bit of energy from everyone who uses the toll booths. It's not much; they might not even notice that they're a little bit more tired. But a lot of people use the toll booths, hour by hour. Even if it's not enough on an individual basis to ping the radars of those with magical senses, there's just that faint sense of unpleasantness.

"Okay, all systems green!" says Bell into her phone. "Looks like we're in business! I give it maybe twenty minutes tops before we've filled all the tanks in the first truck. ... Yeah, even if it gets stuck in traffic, it's not like we'll miss much."

... She is blissfully unaware that when she spoke to Sakura last weekend and warned her not to come by the tollbooths today, she immediately turned around and started telling people.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 00:05:18 98824
Sakura Kinomoto of course, had warned people. And decided to come herself.

HOWEVER! There was good news! Namely, when Sakura flew in, she was riding A FLYING CAT THAT COULD BREATH FIRE!

Oh, and was being followed by a white ANGEL of all things. That's right. She was bringing Yui and Kero. She wasn't alone! She was doing the mature, responsible thing! Scary.

So, of course, the cat landed down nearby once the area was clear and....

"Bell-oneesan!" she called out. Gosh. Darn it. ALSO OH MY GOSH! She was wearing an adorable little white angel costume today. And, of course, Tomoyo-chan was with her. Because SAKURA WAS GOING TO DO STUFF AND HEAVEN HELP HER IF SHE THOUGHT TOMOYO WAS GONNA BE LEFT OUT!
Rei-Signum 2018-10-12 00:15:16 98825
Sailor Mars kneels on a dark grassy hill nearby, peering about through a pair of binoculars, not dressed, prepared, or experienced in subterfuge. Following Sakura's tip, she's been watching the area for a little while now, and frowns. "They're... definitely strange but.... mmnn." She lowers the binoculars thoughtfully. "... it's a little hard to tell. The economy's not great right now, they might just be- wait that one's seven feet tall." She sighs. "I guess we should- GACK!"
    There is a fying flaming cat now, and the area is full of small girls. Putting the binoculars to her eyes so fast she nearly hurts herself, she stares in alarm. "Oh no, Sakura-san is here. Oh *no* I think she's... calling out for attention?!"
    Pots and kettles, sure, but the Senshi are usually at least distracting youma away from victims. Sailor Mars stands up sharply. "We should go protect her." she says, largely oblivious to the relationship between Sakura and Bell, and leaps forward, landing at the bottom of the hill and running to the impromptu gathering.
Hinote Kagari 2018-10-12 00:23:01 98827
The other day, Hinote and Gao learned of something happening. The Princess (Runealy. In this case. For specific Princesses of Waldia.) has asked them to go there and see if there was anything they could do- so he's been waiting with Gao on some nearby rooftop of some sort. Or some tree. A tree probably. Waiting for a sign of anything happening.

There's odd tanks. Familiar looking youma people he remembers from some time ago.

Then the rider appears. "Let's go Gao. I'm going to leave Sakura's sister to you. You have a slightly less chance of fire stabbing her. For. Obvious reasons." he says with a coy cocksure smirk.

Time to leap into action as he tries to come down, sword first, onto one of the roboyouma workers as Sakura calls out at Bell. The sword bursts out in flame as it strikes.

"You know. It's either energy, or money. BUT NOT BOTH!" he calls out finally.
Makoto Kino 2018-10-12 00:25:37 98828
"There goes subtle," Sailor Jupiter comments wryly as she bounds after Mars, covering the distance to the toll station with long, ground-eating strides. "Probably just as well, though--"

A last powerful leap brings her touching down at the scene of the shenanigans-in-progress, a beat or two after Hino makes his declaration. "Seriously!" she agrees, voice firm and ringing. "Traffic and all is bad enough to begin with. Who goes and tries to find a way to make it even worse?"
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 00:29:58 98829
Guardian Gao stands up and takes aim at Bell with his bow. Instead of immediately firing, however, he just keeps quietly channeling energy into the arrow, which looks like it's gaining more and more parallel vines while still looking relatively focused at the tip.

"I'd recommend listening to what Sakura has to say," the forester calls to Bell. "You're less likely to upset her that way."
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 00:32:41 98830
Makio hadn't worked with Sakura all that much just yet, but it was enough that she'd gotten his number for emergencies at some point. As such, a certain sea fairing looking magical boy arrives on scene, landing gently on top of some random car top probably. "Well, hello there dudes," he says with a little wave toward everyone else that's here obvious like, "What's this I hear going about?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 00:38:20 98831
Rubindorn pings. <<EINGEHEND!>> Incoming! It has what sounds like a more cutesy version of Nightbell's voice.

Bell whirls around and pulls back her hood, revealing her glowing red cat-eyes and face-markings. Her expression is that of someone who would rather be literally anyone except here right now. Not specifically in front the arriving heroes, just on this mission in general. "... I'm gonna have to get back to you, Frau Doktor," she says. "You would not believe what Sakura-imouto is doing --"

And then Hino stab-incinerates one of the youma-bots, and Bell leaps away. "-- Yeah okay bye!" She hurriedly puts away her phone. "W-wait, what!?" she calls back to Hino. "No, we aren't touching the money! We're just taking energy!" She looks over at Gao, and urgently holds out her pendant in both hands. "Rubindorn, Schwertform!"

Rubindorn pings, then in a surge of dark energy, it transforms into a six-foot longsword with a blood-red blade, with an emblem near the hilt shaped like the pendant-form. Bell holds the sword in a defensive posture, and winces as she sees Mew Macaroon's arrival. "... ugh, why did I tell Sakura-imouto exactly where I was gonna be and when?"

(Because I was transformed into Akari at the time, she thinks. Although that doesn't make any sense whatsoever, "Akari" is just supposed to be a disguise ...)
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 00:43:49 98832
Sakura Kinomoto blinked and.... "Because you're a good girl and you make poor decisions sometimes but you don't WANT to make poor decisions and so you like to leave hints and clues so people can stop you before you do something too bad?" she offered. "Kinda like what I did once when I was younger when I was afraid I was going to get in trouble for accidentally breaking daddy's vase but I felt reallllllly bad about it and I was scared to lie so I just kind of shuffled a lot and denied it and daddy knew I did it but he let me tell him myself because he knew I felt bad and I only got a small scolding."

... Oh my gosh. Yui just stares at the child. This was his new master? He then turned to bell. "Please surrender yourself. Or we will destroy you."

"WE WILL NOT!" Sakura said quickly.

Yui gave an exasperated sigh. "Very well. We will... Not... destroy you."

Kero-chan was trying, and failing, not to snicker.

"So Bell-oneesan, you can't do this! You're a GOOD girl, I know you are! I don't care if you have dark energy! You're wonderful and kind and sweet and amazing and I really look up to an admire you!"

SPARKLE SPARKLE!
Rei-Signum 2018-10-12 00:46:59 98833
Keeping up with Makoto tends to be a bit of a challenge even when henshined. Still, to Mars' credit, she lands beside Jupiter only a moment after Makoto touches ground, arms crossed with a stern gaze, nodding firmly at Jupiter's assertion. "The people paying these tolls are working hard to- OH!"
    The justice lecture is cut off abruptly when Guardian Hino immediately assaults one of the robo youma. She opens her mouth... and then closes it. There's... there's a *process* here, darn it, but she supposes it's not important.
    Feels oddly empty, though!
    She exchanges a brief look with Jupiter as more and more people arrive, and then throws out her hands, picks a target, and cries, "Fire Soul!"
    In hindsight, she should have picked the 'new' person as a target, because the robo youma are less likekely to summon six foot glowing blades. Sailor Mars' eyes go wide. Okay, children need to GO NOW! She looks to Sakura, and barely manages to start shouting "Sakura-san! You need to-"
    What Sakura does is utterly and completely baffle Rei Hino. This... this isn't just an Eclipse stomp. This is... what is this now? Is Sakura safe if she knows this person? Regardless, while keeping an eye out for attacking youma, Sailor Mars subtly inches into 'diving save distance', something she had a lot of time to work out when Usagi was learning the ropes.
Hinote Kagari 2018-10-12 00:56:12 98834
Guardian Hino, seems to incinerate the roboyouma, on the upswing he--- grabs the opposite side of his shoulder and throws his cape into the other, as he moves forward. This should hopefully make it an easier target for Mar's Fire Soul. He is now capeless. That's okay. He is still holding his longsword though.

"What you are doing right now!" he calls out. "We are told you may not really want to be doing it." he says more demurely. "Why is it you drain energy like this? Do you need it for an important purpose? Are you not able to just stop?" these questions are not being asked in an accusatory manner. Inquisitive.

Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter are here. He looks to them and gives a nod. Both are familiar, but have not seen either in a long time. He looks back over to...

Is.. is that a pirate that just landed on a car and say like. Hello Dudes. and then asked what's up?

What the hell has he missed in two years. He seems at least- Um... gooooood guy? So he'll turn back to Bell for now.
Makoto Kino 2018-10-12 00:58:06 98835
This definitely isn't quite how Sailor Jupiter expected this to go, either. As Sakura turns up the shoujo sparkles in Bell's direction, Jupiter slides an awkward sidelong look towards Mars: 'now what?'

At least Rei's getting into position to cover Sakura if need be. Taking her cue from that for now, the Senshi of Thunder draws in a breath and squares her shoulders, facing Bell head-on. "This doesn't have to get ugly," she states. "If you need energy for something important, we can work something else out. You can just dismantle whatever it is you're doing here before things get any worse."

She lets that suggestion hang for a beat before she lifts her hands and, very deliberately, presses her fist against her palm in a preparatory gesture. "Or," she says, "we can take it apart for you.

"Your call."
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 01:21:40 98836
Macaroon watches for a moment with his head tilted and his arms crossed. Giving a little sigh, he hops onto the ground and approaches the situation as casually as he'd been talking before. "Hey, sounds like these people are saying you're getting in trouble again! ...hoooopefully you've upped your side kick game this time. I don't think either of us want me having to pull that lady out of another frying pan! ...that aside, I suggest you listen to these mahous like that one says." The blue themed sailory/piratey/whateverheis magical boy gestures toward Gao. "Most if not all of them are a lot smarter than I am. ...but if you REALLY insist, we can always make with fighting again."
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 01:36:04 98837
Guardian Gao gives the naval magical boy a brief grin of thanks, but the forester's focus is on maintaining the charging arrow. Occasional peels of energy flutter off of the cluster of vines as the arrow appears to reach an equilibrium between fresh energy being added and old energy fading out.

It's still aimed at Bell, though.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 01:47:49 98838
Nightbell winces at Sakura's ... justice speech. Or whatever that was supposed to be. She recoils slightly as Sailor Mars takes care of the other youma-worker, but still doesn't strike back. "... For the record, I've given up trying to rationalize what Sakura-imoutochan sees in me," she says to all and sundry, in a tone which suggests that Sakura's words are actually hitting her where it hurts. "... and also for the record, I am literally incapable of hurting or even really fighting her?" Which probably is the thing that Sakura sees in her.

She sighs, looking between Hino and Sailor Jupiter. "... UMBRA needs the energy," she says. "I'm not authorized to say anything else. Which is probably your answer right there. Knight Clothing, Set Up." She rises off the ground, hovering freely, and in a surge of darkness, she's wearing her red and black and gray Belkan knight uniform, complete with black metal gauntlets and sabatons ... and still holding Rubindorn defensively in Gao's direction.

She grimaces at Mew Macaroon. "... Yeah, the 'frying pan' thing is why Frau Doktor isn't here at the moment," she says weakly. "She just got out of the hospital and I'm not too keen on letting her put herself back into the hospital with her recklessness." She looks at the others. "That's ... her code name now, 'Frau Doktor.' She's my handler at Eclipse, this mission was all her doing." She looks away from Sakura. "Rubindorn, throw up a collateral-damage barrier, and ... filter out Sakura-imoutochan and her friends."

Ping! <<ZEIT-RAUM-SCHRANKE!>> A blood-red Belkan spell triangle forms around her feet, and a circle of red and black fractal light forms in the sky above her. A bit sluggishly compared to a Midchildan Device, it spreads out to form a large dome, covering that section of the highway and the surrounding neighborhood; it filters out non-magical life, shifts the battlefield half a dimension over, and bathes the area in an eerie purple glow caused by faint traces of dark energy.

Sakura's group seems to glitch just a little bit for a second -- from their own perspective, it looks like the world is glitching -- but then they revert to normal. They're still all inside the barrier. ... Including Tomoyo.

"... Whoops," mutters Bell.

Ping! <<ES TUT MIR LEID, HERRIN!>> I'm sorry, Mistress!

"Well, anyway," says Bell, floating a bit further off the ground, "just so we're on the same page ... it's nothing personal, and I'm not going to kill anyone. Rubindorn, activate the Gemini Zerobots!"

Rubindorn pings, and then the two trucks start shaking. Out leaps a pair of sleek white humanoid robots, with infinity-symbols where eyes would be; their bodies are covered in colored seams, one of them red and the other blue. "ZEROOOOOOOO!" "ZEROOOOOOOO!" They then start firing nonlethal lasers from their hands at the heroes, though they avoid firing directly at Sakura or Tomoyo. Of course, "nonlethal" doesn't mean "harmless"; With the barrier in place, Nightbell and the Zerobots can afford to get as flashy as they want, yay!

And now the machines are out of humans to harvest from, and there's nothing to hold the heroes back. ...... Yay?
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 01:56:54 98839
Sakura Kinomoto of course, ran right at the monsters....

Only to get grabbed by Yui and yanked back. "Ack! Hey! I need to try and stop them!"

"No."

"But, but but, I'm a magical girl too!" she said.

The older man just glared down at her. "Until you are able to use the cards again, you are nothing more than a child, putting herself in danger. And, as my mistress, I will NOT allow you to risk yourself."

"But--"

"No," he said with the firmness of a parent scolding its child. "If you prefer, I can do it."

"NO! You're too rough!"

"Then you will stay here and not get in the way, mistress, until you can use your cards."

Sakura sighed, before giving a sad look towards Bell and... "Don't hurt her!" she yelled, trying to keep calm, though... Looking a little panicked. "Oh big sis..."

She then looked down at her key. Why. Wouldn't. It. WORK?! "Come on..." she whispered, holding it up. "Release... key that holds the power of darkness...." But, no matter how many times she used her incant, it wouldn't open and release itself.

Those who heard that might realize... Sakura... Currently had no powers.

And came ANYWAY. Because RECKLESS. At least she had an adult.
Rei-Signum 2018-10-12 02:00:26 98840
Rei never thought a fight could get *awkward*, but... usually her enemies are more 'cackling piles of self rightous indignation and arrogance' and less 'tired and apologetic, and nonlethal apparently???' Sailor Mars glances back and forth between Bell and Sakura. She said she wouldn't hurt Sakura, but can she take her word on that? Can she take her word on not trying to kill any of them, for that matter?
    With some frustration, Sailor Mars realizes that she has been SPOILED by sneering villains.
    At very least collateral damage isn't an issue, if that field still means what she thinks it means; aside from, you know, her friend and their assembled allies. The Senshi are good about standing back when another is doing an attack, but the others may not be conditioned that way. Heck, one's a melee fighter!
    Mars frowns and gives Jupiter a look. "... There's your answer." She says flatly before flames begin to wisp off of her fingers. "Do you want the red one or the bl-"
    WAIT WHAT DID THAT GIRL SAY?! "Sakura! San!!" Mars blurts with an amount of flustered that can barely be contained through gritted teeth. "We'll!! Try!!!!"
    Mars draws in a slow breath through her teeth and mutters, "Kids." followed quickly by a cry of "Fire Soul" as she blasts fire at the red-seamed robot.
Hinote Kagari 2018-10-12 02:23:35 98841
Guardian Hino has no idea what UMBRA is. But 'UMBRA' doesn't sound like it's a charitable organization or one of giving since it's clearly taking. He frowns heavily. "Your heart isn't in this." he says. It's not a question, it's a statement, he says at Nightbell. "You're not even acting like you care that much. And trust me..."

"I know 'acting'." he says. But then she summons up armor. And then there are... two robots. Lasers come out. Hino jumps back and out of the way as he brings the longsword up defensively, once glances off it and causes him to be pushed back a moment. It isn't a lightsaber so the sword just takes the blast. He winces.

"Yeah... okay." he says, as he hefts his sword more to his side to ready for striking. "H--hey Sakura-san, why are you calling on darkness? Maybe try light? or something? Look I don't know just. It's probably a good idea to listen to your two guys there for the moment, okay!?"

"Are you afraid to break off." he asks at Nightbell as he begins to make a dash to the blue zerobot, trying to keep at an angle, sword held in front of him. "Is there some reason for you to stay there? Are they keeping someone you care about hostage?" he asks.

"Are you afraid they'll come for you?" he asks. "We can help with that. If so. But this needs to stop and you need to stop." he says, as he tries to make a swing with the sword into the blue zerobot- sword lighting aflame on the swing.

He doesn't seem to be worrying about Mar's fire too much at the moment.

Then finally. "Business for you. Personal for Sakura-san." he says. "Stop this."
Makoto Kino 2018-10-12 02:25:40 98842
"...Nothing personal, huh...?" Mars isn't the only one thrown off her game by Bell's unexpectedly businesslike demeanor. Sailor Jupiter seems almost taken aback by the response, surprise softening the stern set of her expression for a moment or two.

Usually, in her experience, this is when the Eclipse types start ranting indignantly about how they're right and everyone else is too blind to see it. Not - whatever that was just now.

She catches Rei's look, and can only shrug helplessly in wordless reply before she inclines her head towards Bell. "I guess that's fair," she says. "Nothing personal. I guess I'm taking the blue one?"

That last is to Mars, who is probably too busy setting the red-seamed robot on fire to really pay attention, but basically nothing about his whole thing is going quite to plan anyway. After a somewhat bemused look towards Mew Macaroon and the Waldian Guardians, Jupiter tightens up her fists and charges forward, ducking energy beams as she tries to close the distance enough for the sort of brawling she prefers. Not towards the blue-seamed robot - Hino's got that covered for the moment - but towards Bell herself.
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 02:35:16 98843
Macaroon nods in understanding as he brings his hands out from his sides, causing a magical sparkle of sort over both his hands as the bladeless handles of the macaroon shards appear from nowhere in both hands. Nightbell's got some non-personal obligation to make this a fight and there's at least TWO people that ended up here to make sure don't get hurt at all. Granted, he probably doesn't have to worry about them, but better safe than sorry. As such he takes a running slide to try and place himself somewhere closer to Tomoyo's position, before actually calling out to summon his the weapon he's already holding, causing the ice based blades to come climbing outward from the handles.

Macaroon slashes the shards in the air infront of himself, causing his basic ranged attack of ice elemented energ waves to fly foward toward which ever of the robots was closer to Tomoyo's position.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 02:39:09 98844
"KUDZU GRASP!" Gao bellows as he releases the charged-up arrow and dives out of the tree to avoid some of the laser blasts. The arrow erupts into a veritable geyser of vines, like a firehose of vegetative Silly String bent on entangling Bell in its multitudinous waves. While the onrushing geyser of vines is about 2 meters in diameter, it's focused enough and angled in such a way that Jupiter's charge isn't impeded.

The forester rolls behind the dimensional echo of a nearby parked car and catches his breath for a moment. "Okay, next time, try not to hold it for so long," he mutters to himself, then swaps his bow for his staff and glances around the car to size up the battle.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 02:55:35 98845
The Zerobots attempt to leap and somersault out of the way, but they're just a little bit sluggish! The fire from Rei and Hino seems to leave visible burn-marks on the white bodies -- burn marks which seem closer to their respective seam-colors -- and the blue one staggers back as it gets hit by Macaroon's ice-attack, which pokes a hole in its plating. "ZEROOOOOOOO!" it seems to protest; the robots break off their attacks, somersault aside, and then change up their attacks so that the blue one fires at Sailor Mars, and the red one fires at Hino and Makio.

But it looks like Hino's words are actually affecting Nightbell! Slowly and reluctantly, she puts Rubindorn onto her back, where it seems to click into place. One hand is still on the hilt, though. She doesn't say anything for a moment, then says, "Well ... I will say that the only person I care about who UMBRA has any control over is my boss, who came up with this whole thing on her own initiative." She pauses. "I ... guess she'd rather be working with Belkan artifacts than deal with me, but ... she was the one who activated me for the first time." She shakes her head. "I can't just walk away from her."

'This is all completely pointless,' says the voice of her darkness inside her head. 'They are your enemies, your so-called sister included.'

She flinches back from her own thoughts. "Ergh ... sorry," she says. "I can't just drop everything mid-mission." The problem seems to be her sense of duty, then.

And now she's getting double-teamed! She thrusts her free hand out. <<MEHRFACHER PANZERSCHILD!>> Multiple Panzer Shield! Three large red Belkan spell-triangles appear, blocking the path of the vines, and Bell uses them to buy time for her to swoop down towards Sailor Jupiter.

Ping! <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Cartridge ready! A gun-trigger setup sticks out of the handle. Bell pulls the trigger, and there's a thunderclap and the sword vents black steam. <<HANDGELENKE DES HERKULES!>> Wrists of Hercules! There's a metallic crack and her gauntlets and sabatons spit red sparks as the spell multiplies her strength. She lands right in front of Sailor Jupiter, and her hands shoot forward in an attempt to grab the Senshi's arms!

... She's in for a big surprise.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 03:03:41 98846
Sakura Kinomoto blinked and then... Wait... What? Light? "Ummm... Key that..." She tried it with light, but there was no reaction.

But she stared at it. It was a new key, though. A new... source of power. She held the key to her chest. Maybe the incantation WAS wrong. Maybe it wasn't her power, but how she tried to unlock it. She held the card close. How did it come to be? What made it? Where did this key arrive...

And then her eyes opened. She held out the key and... It wasn't clow's key now, was it? It was a key made by her friends. Made by all her bonds and experiences.

And when she thought of that, the words flowed out. "Key that stands as a testament to the bonds formed between my friends and I. Reveal your true form to me. I, Sakura, command thee under the force of my own star. Release!" She called.

There was a glowing, bright light... As her wand grew, forming the long, star tipped wand.

Yay distractions right before Jupiter kills Bell!
Rei-Signum 2018-10-12 03:08:49 98849
Sailor Mars' eyes are following the Red Zerobot when the blast from Blue comes, catching her by surprise, but not so much that she can't at least start to leap away when the ground beneath her explodes and propels her away. She hits the ground and rolls a few times before managing to stop herself in a three point crouch, her uniform dusted with dirt.
    That recovery took too long. Rei should have joined the gymnastics club the second she found out she was an alien princess.
    Before that, though, she needs to not get killed - uh, knocked out??? - by a killer knock-outer robot. She throws a small blast at the Blue Zerobot, and immediately flees behind a portion of the concrete holding up the bridge, ducking behind it and clasping her hands until the machine should follow after her, at which point she releases it, her voice strained for the exertion with a cry of "Fire Soul!"
    It's at that moment that she sees what's rushing Makoto's way, and Mars cries "SAILOR JUPITER- Oh."
    Oh.
    She's fine.
    Jupiter's fine, I mean.
    Nightbell isn't, the poor silly dope.
Hinote Kagari 2018-10-12 03:15:17 98850
Guardian Hino, gets caught by the blast because it comes from the opposite robot. It sends him flying back a few good many feet and skidding on his back across the ground. That's going to hurt in the morning. He gets himself back up quickly, however, as he readies his sword at his side again. Okay. He's keeping his distance now.

"Sailor Mars. I think these things are harnessing team work." he says angrily. "Can they even do that, GUYS CAN BADGUYS HARNESS TEAMWORK!?" he asks angrily. He's being facetious because he knows they can. He's just angry about it.

"You should take her. Take her and get out of whatever this is you are doing. You are hurting people. Making your little sister worry. If you need protecting, someone to get someone OUT of something for you-- we can help." he says.

Regardless Guardian Hino holds his sword out and screams out "IGNITION!" causing a ozone to flare in the vicinity of the two zerobots before combusting into flame as his sword glows with a firey aura.
Makoto Kino 2018-10-12 03:29:50 98851
There's not a lot of time in the midst of combat to really consider things. For a split second there as Nightbell's grasp closes on Sailor Jupiter's arms, though, an expression flickers across Jupiter's face that is not quite surprise: a blink of her eyes that seems to say, 'Oh. This is about to be awkward.'

Nightbell is a lot bigger than she is, and with the Device's magic to augment it her strength is nothing to trifle with either. Given half a chance, there's absolutely no doubt that she could seriously ruin Jupiter's day. But if there's something that Sailor Jupiter understands, in a way that's etched into every nerve--

    --more than size, more than strength, what counts the most in a moment like this one--

        --is leverage.

Without even an instant's hesitation, Jupiter shifts her stance, both arms twisting against Bell's until she can grip the taller girl's forearms. "I want you to know--"

She pivots at the hips, sweeping out one long leg to hook behind Nightbell's knee and yank. "--I don't wanna hurt you--"

Without missing a beat she lunges forward, ramming her shoulder with all her considerable might into Bell's torso. With the height Bell has on her, she barely even has to drop down. "--I just--"

One last mighty heave, power flowing upwards from her legs and hips through her spine to her shoulders, banking on using all of Nightbell's mass and strength against her--

"--can't let this go!"
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 03:41:07 98853
Makio notices that he managed to knock a hole in the blue bot, but just as he's about to try and take advantage of it the robots swap out. "There's a hole in the blue one's armor dudes," he calls out as he quickly brings both the shards at a cross before himself, making an attempt to block fire from the red robot from hitting Tomoyo at all. It might still manage to break through and hit HIM some though. Of course Tomoyo probably cares more about watching Sakura's situation than worrying about her current situation anyway, that feels apparent even with how little he's seen of her. "Well yeah man," he says in reguard to Hino's question toward Mars, "The real question is if they're actually GOOD at it." That dry teasing aside, he adds toward Bell, "Guy's right though, can't get help if ya aren't asking for it..."
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 03:56:24 98855
From Gao's view, things are going well: Sakura looks to have gotten her magic to work, the fire & ice trio are slowly getting the better of the 'bots, Jupiter is fine, Bell is probably only winded and sore, and Tomoyo is safe... and still filming Sakura.

Well, if "Sakura's big sister" is currently down and dazed, time to make the most of the situation and keep her down.

"BRAMBLE WALL!" the forester shouts after a quick moment's thought, slamming the end of the staff into the ground and causing a line of plant growth to erupt from the ground in a line from him to Bell. Instead of the thick, barricading foliage of his usual Forest Wall magic, these plants are more like the vines of Bramble Grasp, shooting up for a meter before diving down in an arc, forming a chaotic crosshatch that tries to bind anything caught by the plants to the ground.

"Talking's the easiest route to solving your problems," Gao calls to Bell as he leans on the staff and focuses on maintaining the vines.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 04:00:51 98856
The Gemini Zerobots actually have a much simpler AI than Hino is giving them credit for. The ignition-attack causes them to stagger away, and each one has an arm hanging uselessly at its side now. The blue one charges after Rei, and gets a flame to the face for its troubles, peeling away more of its white covering and exposing machinery underneath. Yeah, looks like Gemini Blue is on its last legs.

Meanwhile, Nightbell wants to continue her conversation with Hino, but she's a bit distracted right now.

She lets out a grunt as Sailor Jupiter knocks the wind out of her, glowing red eyes going wide with shock. When she collides with the ground, she lets out a high-pitched (Akari-sounding) yelp. Her Knight Clothing flickers with purple light, then sputters and disappears, and then she's back in the gray raincoat, clutching her elbow and letting out a soft groan.

And then Bell finds herself captured in the bramble grasp! She flails in Gao's grip, but, well ... once again, the principles of leverage are against her, and she's too busy clutching her elbow to make use of it anyway.

"What ..." Her gaze shifts to Sakura as she glows brighter than everyone else, and just for a moment, on top of the pain and fear, Akari feels herself sinking into despair.

This is not good for someone whose body is 40% Dark Energy by volume.

"Oh no ... oh no oh no oh no ..." She's still in Gao's vines, she's clearly not getting out any time soon, but ... "I'm ... I'm losing control of the dark energy inside me ... oh no ... ahahahahaha ..."

A smile starts crawling its way onto her face, a smile which Mew Macaroon would certainly recognize. It's a smile of complete and utter evil. "Ahahahahaha! This is pointless! This is worthless! YOU'RE ALL WORTHLESS!" She tries to flail in the grip of the brambles some more, but then she quickly grabs her elbow again as she puts a bit too much strain on it. "OW!"

Ping <<NEE!>> Nope! In another surge of darkness, Rubindorn transforms back into a pendant. <<AHM ... WAS NUN?>> Um ... now what?
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 04:02:16 98857
Sakura Kinomoto was Sakura. And watched her friend go down. So she RAN to Akari and... Yui tried to stop her, but she slipped out of his grasp. And then gave her a hug.

A tight, little sister hug. That involved Sakura resting her face FIRMLY against the other girl's stomach, arms around her as tight as she could(but not really that tight, twelve year old girl and all.)

And just held her. "I have my wand working now. So it's okay. That was the deal," she said firmly. "Now stop it! Don't lose control!" She didn't mind the vines getting her. OR notice them yet. "You are my Onii-san! You are my big sister! I refuse to EVER lose you to darkness or ANYTHING ELSE! I refuse to lose ANYONE I care about because if I can't protect the people I love what's the point of having my wand or the cards or ANY of it?!" she yelled.

As vines creeped around her body and she just... Hugged it out.
Rei-Signum 2018-10-12 04:13:45 98859
Satisfied that Jupiter has a handle on things, and regretting not being able to watch, Sailor Mars aims a short burst of fire at the reeling Blue Zerobot's knee to drop it low, then grabs it by the head with both hands crying "Fire SOUL!" Immersing its it in floating pool of fire that begins to audibly screech for a moment as the flame jets forward, like it's reach out with a curved missing space in the middle where the robot's head is.
    That missing space... fills up. And when the fire goes out, the Zerobot's head is gone.
    Sailor Mars wipes her brow with a sigh, her hands tingling and numb as she looks to Bell; expecting to see a crater and a wounded body, and instead see Bell going from zero to crazy in record time, and a young girl briefly wreathed in light moving in to... HUG her?!.
    "SAKURA-SAN *NO*!!" Sailor Mars cries as she begins to run towards them far too late. Congratulations, the situation seems to make sense again, but it's just in time for Sakura to... Mars doesn't know *what*'s happening, but the vine's are slowing her progress, and she couldn't get to them without burning them anyway which... isn't on the table.
Hinote Kagari 2018-10-12 04:18:20 98861
Guardian Hino sees that the Blue one is on it's last legs. That's good. Sailor Mars takes it out- even better. So there's only the single one left. Sailor Mars begins to run towards Sakura so this clears the field over there.

"...I'm gonna finish this up. Be right there." he says to Gao as he raises his hands, and his sword high, starting to become wreathed in flame as it dances up from around him.

More and more flame billows out before it starts to take shape. "RAGING!......" he calls out as the flame forms into a giant dragon above him, with spread wide wings.

".....FIRE DRAGON!" calls out as the giant, massive dragon spins outwards with roaring flame, trying to land on top of the other zerobot with it's mouth wide as it trying to eat it and envelope it.

Then there with be a burst of firey flame along with it.

He'll lower his hands and the sword after that. He'll need a moment. He hasn't done that in a while afterall.

"I think that should do it!" he calls out. "Over here at least!"
Makoto Kino 2018-10-12 04:20:35 98862
Nightbell's definitely down for the count, and Sailor Jupiter gets to straighten up in time to see the burny, burny fates of the two zerobots. Hino's dragon especially gets a flash of an approving grin: "Nice!"

...Oh. There's the maniacal ranting. And at pretty much the worst possible time-- "Sakura-chan!" Sailor Jupiter calls out in dismay. She's just barely managed to avoid getting snared in the vines herself, but she looks like she's a heartbeat away from plunging straight into them to retrieve the younger girl if she has to.

If she has to. For the moment she watches with wide, anxious eyes, inwardly praying that Sakura's hopes and her love for her 'big sister' will be enough.

Please work...
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 04:22:19 98864
Macaroon furrows his brows. "Sorry," he says behind himself once he's done blocking the attack, "But you should be fine for now, there's something worse to deal with." Saying that he'd take his own turn to run at Sakura and Nightbell. "Get your act back together dude," he calls toward Bell, "This isn't the time to go all peanuts again!" Thankfully he has blades as part of his whole seal/ice power dealio. That said, he'd work on trying to cut at the vines to make a path for Rei, himself, and anyone else trying to get through, sharp side CAREFULLY aimed away from Sakura and Nightbell.
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 04:25:35 98865
Guardian Gao grimaces a bit as Sakura runs into the tangle of vines, and he eases off the energy for them. Not a full banishment, but the existing vines stop moving and no new ones rise from the ground. "Never underestimate the power of determined friends," he says softly as he walks over to Bell and the others. "If there's any way for us to save you and those you care about, we will find it and succeed at it."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 04:28:48 98866
The Zerobots take a good look at Bell, then seem to exchange a glance. "ZEROOOOOOOOOO!" "ZEROOOOOOOOOO!" They start twitching, each raising their good hands, and things look like they're about to get serious!

And then Gemini Blue gets beheaded by Rei. It stands still for a moment, then topples over, small booms audible inside its body as its internal components detonate. Fire briefly spits out of the hole in its armor.

Gemini Red is in even more dire straits! It doesn't have time to do anything about the sudden fire dragon, and simply detonates under the assault, leaving a small crater and a burn-mark in the illusory world.

Nightbell glares furiously down at Sakura. "Shut up!" she snarls. "Y-you little ... you're the reason it ended like this! ... I should ... I ... I ..."

But it's clear from the start that she's losing steam. Light beats darkness, and love is its own kind of light. Especially when it comes from within.

Tears start streaming down Bell's cheeks. "I ... I ... I'm s-sorry, Sakura-imoutochan!" she exclaims; her voice just sounds like Akari now. Which isn't supposed to happen, but, well, this is hardly the first time her infiltration-software has been overwhelmed by her emotions. She tries to reach her arm out to wrap around Sakura, then lets out another yelp and quickly grabs her left arm again, hissing through clenched teeth.

The barrier flickers for a second or two, but then Rubindorn lets out a soft <<PAH!>> and it goes back to normal.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 04:33:58 98867
Sakura Kinomoto just held onto her big siste,r tight. Because she was Sakura. Because there was darkness. Because SAKURA REFUSED TO LOSE ANYONE SHE CARED ABOUT! "It's okay. I forgive you. I'll always forgive you. Because that's what sisters do... Right?"

Well, except to Touya. Because he was a jerk.

Yui just sighed and crossed his arms. He and Kero exchanged looks. Then shrugs. Then sighs.

Sakura gripped her and nodded. "It's going to be okay, okay? Because... I know you're a good person even if you do bad things... Okay?"
Rei-Signum 2018-10-12 04:37:35 98868
Mars stops running close to Jupiter, similarly wide eyed with worry and tension; poised to move but almost afraid to...
    And then... Bell settles down, and Sailor Mars truly legitimately does not know how to parse this entire chain of events...
    ... but she smiles all the same. "Sakura-san..." she murmurs softly in amazement and eventually casts a look to Gao, as if to tell him it's safe to remove the vines now; as if he needed telling.
Hinote Kagari 2018-10-12 04:48:05 98869
Guardian Hino sheathes the longsword and walks over to his cape to pick it up and in a smooth motion swoooop it back on. He walks on over and takes a deep breath. "Is everything here okay now?" he asks as he looks to Gao and nods a moment before he looks to the others.

He can't help but smile just a little, though. "If there's anything we can do." he motions to Gao.

"We can and will help the best we are able." he says.
Makoto Kino 2018-10-12 04:53:41 98870
Relief sweeps through Jupiter, and her worried expression relaxes into a smile. Leave it to Sakura-chan.

"Us, too," Sailor Jupiter chips in her agreement to what Hino has said, after the briefest of glances towards Sailor Mars. "It'll be all right. You've got people who'll help you work it out."

Her smile twists a little into a slightly guiltier look. "Are you hurt? Do we need to get you to someone who can help patch you up?"
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 04:58:57 98871
Macaroon realises he's probably just doing something useless and stops trying to cut the magic vines with the magic blades. "So....everything right now," he asks as he stands up and tugs some at what little vines remain between all the attempts to get them away and no more beign summoned and the like. "Yeah," he says in agreement to Jupiter's question, "I'm not useful on the healing thing unless you need something frozen in place for a little, but I'm sure these dudes can work up something or someone for you..."
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 05:01:17 98873
A flick of his wrist, and Gao's staff vanishes back into bracerspace or wherever his magical weapons are stored when he's not wielding them. The vines vanish as well, fading away back into the ambient magic.

After a brief moment's thought while looking at Bell, the forester nods to Jupiter and re-summons his staff, tapping it to the ground. After several moments of focus, he causes a few sturdy sticks and several long, skinny leaves to emerge from the ground. "Who here is the best at setting up a splint?" Gao asks, holding up the sticks and leaves.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 05:11:52 98874
Nightbell just stares down at Sakura, panting softly. She's clearly really rattled. "You're ... you're okay, right?" she says. "N-not hurt at all?" ... She's just dropped everything in favor of being concerned for Sakura, basically.

She looks up at the others. "... Frau Doktor ... has always been an Eclipse die-hard. Even before I got salvaged from the Dusk Zone. So she isn't gonna leave just because I want to quit UMBRA."

She pulls her sleeve out of her rain coat, wincing the entire time; it doesn't seem broken, just banged up. "... ugh, even if my body's a magical construct, I still hurt like a human ..." She laughs. "Wow, I am gonna have to come up with the most amazing explanation for why you guys put a splint on me!" She talks exactly like a human, too. Wait, how does she know how pain would feel for a human?

She stares at the ground. "I ... well, I'm going have to to report back, because Frau Doktor is the only one I know who has experience giving medical attention to a living magical program like me ..." She looks up at each of the others in turn. "... but I am gonna think about all this." She looks over at the two trucks, which now don't have drivers. "... I'll ... we'll figure something out ... somehow." She sighs, and picks up her Rubindorn-pendant with her good hand. "I'll be in touch through Sakura-imoutochan. Rubindorn, do I have enough dark energy left to dusk step?"

Ping! <<JA ...>> Rubindorn doesn't quite seem happy about this whole arrangement.
Sakura Kinomoto 2018-10-12 05:22:41 98875
Sakura Kinomoto nodded. "I.... I'll make one," she said softly, staring up at Bell. Looking concerned and... She bites her tongue, for the time being. She draws the wood card. "Wood card, make a... huh?" The card just kind of... fell to the ground. It didn't move. At all. "What? HEY! Wood card, release and..."

She stared at it and then... "OH COME ON! IU JSUT got my wand working..." She hummed and hunched down. "Let's see, I needed... Okay. New wand. So maybe new incant for the cards as well?" she mumbled.

She closed her eyes, then... She held up the wood card "Well... here goes."

She threw the wood card up and the magic hit it and...

"Card created by Clow, Discard your old form and be reborn, Under the name of Sakura, The new mistress!" she didn't know WHERE the words came from. They were just... There.

And then the card turned pink and... Wood rose up, forming a splint. A nice oak splint around her arm. "There! HA! Figured out the code! Did you see, Bell-oniisan?" she asked with a big smile, rocking back and forth on her heels.

"You're adorable, Sakura-chan! That was beautiful! So graceful!" Tomoyo called from her 'protected' spot by KEro and Yui.

"OH! I don't think I introduced you yet! Bell-oniisan, this is KEro-chan, and this is Yui-kun!" she said.

The white angel stared at her, his eyes narrowed and... "Bell. LEt's make one thing clear," he said, his voice as cold as ice. "Were it not for the wishes of my mistress I would wipe your threat from this earth. If you ever harm the young mistress in any way, even if on accident due to your reckless attacks she refuses to route out, I will consider any protections she offers you null and void. Do you understand?" See, it probably wasn't so bad... except when he looked at her... He just gave her a look that said 'I believe you are less than dirt'.

Sakura just stared with a blank face. And... "Ah... ha... ha... s-such a... k-kidder...?"
Makio Ryu 2018-10-12 05:37:15 98876
Macaroon rubs at the back of his neck a little as Yui gives his bit. "Jeeze...I know she's your master, but it's not cool when you act so prickly. Ya might wanna be more careful cause it won't make things any easier if you cause your mistress to be upset with you and try to go against you even harder..."

He turns back to Bell and Sakura though. "And you," he says toward Nightbell, "...things'll work out somehow..."
Gaofele Doiru 2018-10-12 05:41:17 98877
Guardian Gao nods and unsummons his staff again. "We'll figure something out," he agrees. "Might not be easy, might not be quick... but we will figure something out."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-12 05:43:20 98878
Bell looks over her makeshift splint, which doesn't quite look makeshift enough. She grins at Sakura and says, "Thank you." She chortles. "... Yeah, you splinting me is a lot easier to explain."

At Yui's outburst, Bell stares at him for a moment. Then she gives him a thumbs-up from her good hand. "If I ever hurt Sakura-imoutochan, I'd want someone to wipe me from the Earth," she says frankly.

She manages a weak smile at Gao and Makio's reassurances. "Okay," she says. "... and ... yeah. Thank you all."

She gets unsteadily to her feet, cradling her splinted arm; Rubindorn pings, and then dispels the barrier, returning them to the real world, sans collateral damage. "Next time we meet each other ... it won't be like this," she says. "See you all around!" Then there's an eerie ringing sound, and she disappears backwards into a black portal.