Left and Leaves

'''CW:''' Body horror, swearing. It's Halloween and unquiet spirits tear up the best little park in Tokyo, and it's up to a bunch of costume-clad costumes to save the day from the worst drunk ghost ever.

Date: 2019-10-28
Pose Count: 54
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-28 23:06:22 107037
Halloween's not really a huge thing in Japan, but it's getting there, because people like cosplaying and spooky stuff is hilarious when it's not real. Last year a group of guys all dressed as Deadpool but in Sailor Senshi costumes, and clunky costumes that are supposed to be creepy but have bulky sweaters under them due to the chill in the late October air are all the rage.

Except there's always some jerkass being actually creepy and/or uncanny valley, and there's a plague doctor roaming around with Kyouko who's probably Jadeite because he's the only one of the guys not accounted for-- Mamoru is being Yuri on Ice this year, right? And, well, Jadeite has those fun illusion powers, which explains why the Plague Doctor is literally seven feet tall. Maybe. Or maybe Jadeite is being Kunzite and it's Kunzite's tall ass in the Plague Doctor costume.

Whatever the deal is, there's roaming and right now there are giant bags of emergency prepackaged candy in each of their hands.

The problem is, the streets really ought to be bustling, and they're not. The shadows shouldn't be that deep, but they are. It shouldn't be this quiet, but it is.

And there definitely shouldn't be a feeling of awful foreboding in the air that has nothing to do with dark energy.

Anyone who has magic or the slightest inclination toward psychic awareness can feel it, is aware of it as a definite Thing, almost alive. Anyone who doesn't-- well, it's still there, isn't it? Maybe that's why the streets are so empty.

It's the tiny park with the clock tower that the Plague Doctor finally stops in, putting a hand (with a giant bag of candy) up to stay Kyouko. It's strongest here, which is almost an insult.

It's strongest, so it's a draw for anyone who feels the urge to investigate. It could be something evil afoot, after all.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-10-28 23:16:19 107038
    Kyouko has gone for the age-old halloween costume of 'myself, but goth'. Which is to say the red-haired Shittenou, walking around with the too-tall plague doctor, is wearing a black tanktop with a black-and-red long-sleeved jacket over it, the top showing a big stylized skull. She's got on a pair of short black jean-shorts, fishnet stockings, and big thick-soled stompy boots she may have borrowed from Zoisite. Her short red hair is done up in Usagi-esque buns (although without the tails, obviously), and she has on heavy eyeliner and black lipstick. Spooooky. The fangs are totally real though.

    She sighs as she walks alongside the shrouded figure, chewing bubble gum with loud, obnoxious pops. "Y'know, on the one hand it's totally appropriate for some spooky shit to go down on halloween. On the other hand, it's kind of annoying. Can't we just have fun for once?" Evidently not, as the foreboding park is arrived at. Kyouko squints at it, but for all that the feeling is definitely emanating from this spot, she can't see anything. Her nose twitches. She's literally scenting the air.
Lacrima 2019-10-28 23:23:24 107039
Lacrima has decided that with her more.... 'living' complexion thanks to recent events, where her skin is entirely not porcelain pale anymore, she can pull off a normal costume for a change. Just once. A completely normal costumes. "Yes... yes that's the one."

Sailor Venus is on the scene!? No. No that's Lacrima. In a Sailor Venus costume. Because if she's gonna be something for Halloween, she's gonna be something she could never ever ever wanna be.

She couldn't find anyone to dress up as Artemis for her, so she is sans any sort of cat. She can't see past the costume. But she knows that's Kyouko. So that should be..... someone Kyouko knows. Probably not Naru. Maybe Kunzite, with that height.

"In the name of justice and totally ruining that adorable and cute and innocent vampire's dress that one time...." she says with stern voice. "What the heck is going on there?" she asks as she scratches her head. She raises a hand and snaps, and is in a more proper henshin with a quick flash as she sighs. She'll... go back to the costume in a bit.

"Yeah. I dunno what that is." she says bluntly as she shrugs. "But it's something."
Riley Hunter 2019-10-28 23:27:43 107040
Halloween was truly an awesome time of year, although the fact that it was less known in Japan or at least less celebrated was initially a little bit of a dissapointment for a kid who revelled in the "trick" part of trick or treat. Nonetheless, that also came with advantages in the shape of victims who just aren't expecting a cascade of packing peanuts to fall from one of the school's ceiling tiles tugged free with a sturdy piece of fishing line, an airhorn under a seat or even a perfectly timed squeaky duck bomb that sounded more like the souls of the damned screaming out to be released from their neverending torment.

It was safe to say that she had gone all out this year in the costume department, rocking up dressed like a rather short astronaut in a very well put together spacesuit, complete with an American patch on the shoulder and a face concealing tinted helmet. The strange thing was though, that she herself wasn't talking. In fact, the only time she actually spoke (unless you count muffled giggles) was through a rather comical old speech synthesiser.

Nephrite 2019-10-28 23:42:48 107041
Sometimes, Halloween is about doing what is unexpected.

And sometimes, it is about embracing Exactly What Is Expected.

It is unclear whether the idea originally came from Neil or Makoto. What is clear is that the matching costumes are just too perfect for the both of them to go without trying. Which is why Neil is now rocking a blue tailcoat. A lacy white cravat. His long brown hair teased and styled to be more magnificent than usual, with a pair of curved horns protruding from it and a blue bow loosely binding it back. He had to enlist the help of Zoisite to apply makeup that gave the impression of a black nose and a bit of brown fur without going full furry with it.

He surveys the dark shadows, feeling like his hair should be standing on end if it were not partially doing so already. "Well I, for one, am going to be very miffed if something puts a damper on our festivities tonight."
Makoto Kino 2019-10-28 23:53:48 107042
There are different schools of approach to Halloween costumes. Some folks go spooky. Some go for funny, or at least amusingly ironic. And then there's Mako and Neil, because if anyone thought Makoto would miss an excuse to get decked all the way out in an off-the-shoulder, full-skirted, shimmering gold brocade ballgown they were very much mistaken. She even found a pair of opera-length gloves and managed to persuade her hair into a half-bun.

As she and Neil look over the darkened park, she lets out a faint, aggrieved sigh. "Honestly," she says, "I don't know what we were expecting."
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 00:14:06 107043
The ludicrously tall and silent plague doctor by Perkigothi Kyouko lets his hand fall, surveying the park, his long bony beaked face pointing in a wide arc, and then vanishes his giant bags of candy somewhere into the long coat-cloak-thing. Then he carefully takes off one glove and crouches to pick up a handful of dirt and let it sift through his long pale fingers. It's far too dry for the musty wet-leaf smell thickening in the air. The beaked face slowly and carefully turns up toward Kyouko, then looks toward Mako and Neph, and toward Lacrima, and to the other people who've come for the siren call of Something Being Decidedly Wrong.

The air sings cold, and a stiff and strange little breeze picks up, swirling absolutely dry crackling leaves across the paving stones and concrete, skittering as they go. The plague doctor takes a sharp breath and stands suddenly--

--everyone can feel it. That strange little breeze feels like small fingers, tugging playfully at hair and clothing, brushing over the backs of hands.

To the south, there ought to be more buildings, but the shadows have swallowed them, and the guttering of once-strong streetlights show only the trees that should be lining the broad roads.

Those trees, and more trees.

"Children," whispers the Plague Doctor. "Forgotten and lost."

There are no children but the mahou shoujo who have come here to see.

More trees still, now, stretching all the way back, and--

--all the way around.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-10-29 00:25:54 107044
    Kyouko is frowning at the empty air as that wind blows through, ruffling a few loose strands of her hair and making little goosebumps raise up on her arms. "Alright, I think we're entering 'probably dangerous' territory." She announces, sharing a glance backwards at Neph and Mako-chan a few paces behind where she and the plague doctor are standing, and more people yet behind them. "It doesn't feel like a Witch's Labyrinth but that doesn't mean it ain't bad news." She glances down at the plague doctor as he whispers, and scowls. "I've been a forgotten and lost child and lemme tell you, they're even more dangerous than the regular sort."
        Red lightning crackles over her form an instant before a blinding flash of red envelopes her body, and when it clears she's standing there in her Shitenou uniform- well, sort of. It's like a gothy rendition- while it is the same design, where normally she is red-with-white, today the uniform is black-with-red, the cape black on the outside with a red lining, and a ragged hem. She glances down at herself, vaguely surprised. Her halloween makeup and hairdo survived the henshin too. "Neat. Guess I must really be feeling the mood." Her eyes dart around the shadowy forest where moments before city had been. "I mean, this is definitely not hurting the mood, that's for sure."
Rashmi Terios 2019-10-29 00:27:18 107045
Ordinarily, Rashmi is not the type to join in Halloween festivities. The surface explanation is because it's just too cold to go wandering around, but let's be honest; being awakened to magic, fighting literal nightmares and monsters and having seen the Dark Realm, Halloween just... feels too much like a particularly bad Friday.

But, terrible feelings shouldn't be ignored, observances must be made, and Barrier Jackets make costuming less of a headache than usual. Which is why when Rashmi flits down at the edge of the park, she's wearing a reasonably simple ruffled black dress, a big red bow atop her head, and is.... riding a broom?

Despite being able to summon laser beams, however, the young Mage looks *decidedly* uncertain as she creeps up to join the gathering host. A few steps through the threshold of the park, a thought occurs to her, and she turns sharply to find... trees.

All the trees.

Swallowing, she turns back, and continues her approach. ".....Guys? What... What is all this? Does anyone know...?"
Lacrima 2019-10-29 00:35:09 107046
Lacrima blinks at the Plague Doctor, as she narrows her eyes then looks back over to the park and--- "Yeah.... yeah I can.... see--- that." a pause. She looks around and gently gives a wave over to Rashmi as she arrives as she ums... "There's uh. Children. Like... um, he said..." she gently looks down a little at something.

"Is there something dangerous here?...." she asks softly as she seems to suddenly be listening to someone. "It's... okay! I know other kids like you!" she tries to smile! It's... hard to do that. But it's true. She lives with a ghost in her house thanks to Jiaying.

"...Uh huh..." she says softly... She purses her lips... "Oh..." she nods. "I see. Thank you." she says with a respectful bow to the air a couple of times.

"Um. We should be very careful around here... a lot of bad replies. Negative replies. Fire... plagues... raiders... cold... water" she says quietly.

"...Um. Yeah...." she says glancing back over to her right. "This is... yeah. I would... be ... ready..." she says as softly as she can. Deep breath. I'm a big brave Sailor Scout, I'm a Big Brave Sailor Scout.

"Stonemason...?" she asks curiously.

"They keep...."

"Telling me things."
Nephrite 2019-10-29 00:38:04 107047
The moment he notices the landscape changing, Neil is already reflexively reaching for Makoto's hand. He knows he can't hold onto her -- they both need their hands free if a fight is coming -- but it only takes watching a house eat your girlfriend once to become skittish about that sort of thing.

Beast glances from Beauty to Goth Kyouko and the Plague Doctor. The fact that said Plague Doctor is feeling the dirt is a bit of a giveaway as to his identity. He gives a thumbs up to Kyouko. "If it's not a Labyrinth, then I'm less worried." He glances around at the trees. "Maybe we should have picked a different fairy tale? Maybe something with axes?"

He listens with some alarm to Lacrima's one-sided conversation. "That sounds not in the least bit ominous."
Kazuo Takeba 2019-10-29 00:38:40 107048
All the trees, and one silent and still shadow, nearly the Plague Doctor's height. It is black-robed, decked with further black draperies (all in apparent defiance of the possibility of being hit by a car), and its hood shows only a deeper black within.

The inevitable scythe is not plastic, and is worn with use.

But hey. One, it's not glowing. Two, it's not an axe (sorry Neph). And three, it's ... less creepy than the trees, honestly.
Riley Hunter 2019-10-29 00:39:08 107049
Riley took a moment to give Lacrima the mother of blank helmeted stares when she mentioned that there were "children" here, what with her being likely the smallest of the gathered group, but after that she just slooowly turned and stared down this plague doctor, even as it loomed over her. She said nothing at first, the girl staring into its dead goggle eyes with its bird mask reflecting her mirrored helmet without even a sign of flinching...


Clearly, not a single fuck was being given this Halloween night by the astronaut with the low fidelity synthesised voice. By this point, the kid had successfully fought off a giant nightmare blob straight out of HP Lovecraft's wildest nightmares, a molecule monster and Kaiju Babe Ruth to name just a few, why would she be scared of some random tall bloke in a plague doctor suit? Even if they did seem to have reality warping powers.
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 00:41:52 107050
A year ago Saburo chose a costume that was, in his opinion, incredibly amusing but terribly uncomfortable. This year he'd hoped striking a different chord would allow him both comfort and an excellent costume and he's managed one of those things. His hair is a shade of buttermilk yellow and a carefully applied illusion has made sure it reaches down his back, long in gentle curls and waves. His high-collared Victorian coat is open at the neck, spilling out the white ruffles of the frock shirt underneath, though the rest of the shirt is covered by his black undercoat.

All of this can be seen because the Victorian overcoat is unbuckled, gold detailing and buckles gleaming under the streetlights. The undercoat and shirt are tucked into leather pants, the seam covered by a red belt with a golden buckle. A sword belt, equally red, lies in the same spot, the sword (a prop, really!) sheathed. Winged eyeliner, a white rosary, and crimson ceramic bat complete the look. Alucard, son of Dracula, walks the streets.

The completely empty streets. Of course, there's no one out to appreciate his genius.

...not that he can entirely blame everyone, not with the Bad Feeling hanging over the air. All paths lead closer to it, and he's sure, as he peers across the threshold of the park, that he'll find that he's not the first to come investigating. And as soon as he crosses the threshold, he finds that he was right.

"So what's going -" he trails off, as Lacrima speaks, and oh. What's going on is something terrifying, awful, and undoubtedly supernatural. Which means it's definitely a Monday. "Oh it's badness. I'm glad we got that cleared up."

He sidles along to Beauty and Beast's side, because his fake sword is not an axe and also there's safety in numbers and Mako-punches.
Makoto Kino 2019-10-29 00:45:52 107051
Makoto tenses as the strange, chill wind swirls around them and the dry leaves whisper in their scratchy voices along the ground. A moment ago, she was resigned and no little exasperated - that disappears as the beacons of electric lights are swallowed in the darkness of a forest primeval that definitely wasn't there a second ago.

When Neil reaches for her hand, she grips his firmly. "Yeah," she says, pitching her voice low like she doesn't want it to carry too far. "Definitely bad things."

She can't hear the voices that Lacrima hears. She listens for other voices instead, canting her head into the wind. What it brings her doesn't make any sense - frowning, she slips her hand from Neil's long enough to tug off one of her long gloves, and ventures a few steps to lay her bare palm against the trunk of a tree.

Then, after a few more steps, another.

"...not just children," she says, looking back toward the others. "I think... these trees are ghosts, too."
Rashmi Terios 2019-10-29 00:53:32 107052
"Oh good," Rashmi says, weakly pumping a fist. "Ghosts... ya-a-a-ayyyyyy..."

NO ONE MUST EVER KNOW how long she had nightmares after reading that one bit in Return of the King.

So many nightmares.

And it turns out the trees are also haunted. Haunts? Either way, ghosts *everywhere* and Rashmi showed up in the cute costume.

One doesn't have to watch horror movies to know the conventions, and wearing the cute costume was *just the worst idea.*

"Okay, so... what.... do we do now?"
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 01:07:30 107054
The plague doctor looks at Kyouko again, and gives the impression-- when she henshins-- of raised eyebrows. He whispers, "Nice cape," then shakes his head. He still speaks in a whisper, probably to disguise his voice because he's a nerd, and he says to her, "Innocents. As Lacrima says, they speak of the things which they fear." He glances toward Rashmi, then raises his voice to a murmur, still not identifiable but-- "Loneliness. Accidents. Dogs, wicked people, witches, priests. There's nothing in them that wishes to attack, only to connect."

The ungloved hand reaches into the air, low down, and takes hold of something small. "I can understand wanting to connect."

Then the Grim Reaper has arrived, and the Plague Doctor nearly laughs, which would give him away entirely. Fortunately, just then, there's a very solid and very loud little American girl yelling nonsense at him. He just stares at her blankly for a moment, then shakes his head.

For good measure, he whispers, "No. But I would probably henshin if I were you, all the same." He looks down toward where his hand holds the air. "No, sweetheart, it's only a costume. I don't really have a bird skull face. Mamoru?"

He glances over to BeautyMako, eyebrows going up. "Oh, that explains--" he starts, and starts moving toward Alucard, holding out his other hand. "Mamoru, could you--" he starts, but doesn't get the chance to finish.

All at once he's like a marionette with its strings cut, and he collapses in on himself in a billowing of coat and cloak. The wind picks up again, blowing fiercely, and all the leaves that had been scattered now whirl around into little tornadoes and catch on nothing, gathering bits of forest-floor debris, first outlining the shapes of children and then taking on their forms.

About fifteen of them, most between the ages of two and seven, with a couple of outliers at probably ten and twelve. They're abruptly audible, and so is the rustling of the ghost trees, and so is the roar of an ancient buried river. The fountain collapses and floods over, bursting forth, and mud and ancient leaves gushing and gurgling up from it, and then a skeletal hand reaches up and


and an immensely old voice like the grinding of tectonic plates croaks out, "Come to me, my children, all of you. He has offered his heart, and our Earth will be whole once more! All of you, living and hopeful, dead and forgotten, come to me and--"

Okay that's not just a skeletal arm it's a whole body, wet and stinking of rotting moss and stirred-up marshes, composed of bones and leather and soaked jerky. It wears clothes, but they're as sodden and muddy as the rest of it, and its long stringy hair is red, and you can see its jawbone through the hole in its cheek, and only darkness through the hole in its head.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-10-29 01:14:20 107055
    "Ghost trees?" Kyouko looks skeptically at Makoto. "What, are we standing on the site of an ancient indian paper mill or something?" Even she's seen the horror movies enough to make that sort of reference, despite Japan not exactly having a displaced native population (unless you count the Ainu, but they're all up in Hokkaido). She then looks vaugely uncertain. "I uh.." Her gaze swings around, settles on the plague doctor. "I'm not sure I can punch ghost kids. I mean, even if they are ghosts they're still kids. And punching trees just seems counter-productive.." She's talking a lot, mostly to keep the nervousness at bay, because for all that she's experienced some truly horrific shit in her days, there's just something creepy about this situation, especially happening on Halloween and all.

    She notices Jadeite walking up, and can only support his decision to stand near the beast and his guardian beauty. She shrugs helplessly at Makoto. "I'm uh.. not sure what to do if we can't punch the things." She says, mildly miserably.

    Of course, just then, things get even more spooky. Kyouko actually jumps slightly as a small form is outlined by the swirling leaves right beside her. "Holy-" Then the plague doctor collapses, and that isn't good, and then there's a collapsing fountain and all kinds of crap bubbling up out of it.

    "Sorry boss," Kyouko mutters, as she grabs the plague doctor by the back of his collar and leaps backwards away from the emerging skeleton, landing just behind the grouping of Makoto, Nephrite, and Jadeite, the unconscious plague doctor dropped unceremoniously into the center of the group. "Guess we don't even get halloween off, huh?"
Lacrima 2019-10-29 01:20:56 107056
Lacrima purses her lips. Somehow, the idea of 'ghost trees' doesn't seem to mess with her as heavily as you might think. But she can't talk to the trees. Makoto can. She stares at Riley. "Respect for the dead, please." she asks quietly.

She looks over to Rashmi and says. "They're not... evil ghosts. They're scared. Of something." she says quietly. "Somethings. Really. Maybe." she says with a hard sigh. "As far as I can hear." she says very quietly. She's glad she's backed up on that with a soft nod.

Then some stuff starts happening and ---

Lacrima frowns heavily as she raises her hand and---

A big, black cork-like drain plug appears and immediately SHUNTS itself down towards the well with all her might as if she's trying to shove the thing back down and seal it for a moment. Or at the very least, she's making a sudden hard thing fall on this thing for a moment and that might just smart.

"No." she says bluntly.

"I don't know what YOU are, but you're not welcome for sure." she says raspily. "With a tone like that that."
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 01:24:32 107057
Alucard steps forward as the Plague Doctor approaches him, deep blue eyes narrowing with concern. Unseen ghost children standing all around them, ghosts in the trees - will there be ghosts in the air next? What about ghosts inside of them, is that a threat they should fear now? But no, it isn't a time for fear. He summons a red rose to his hand, already thinking of what might soothe a frightened child -

But then the Plague Doctor has collapsed, and Kyouko has run in to grab him before Alucard can. And then, just to add to the stress of th situation, it turns out that all the ghosts are, briefly, very terribly visible. He's not thrilled with that, not at all. But they're children and they're scared, and the creepy voice echoing is probably what they're afraid of.

"We'll protect you," he declares, and as the fucking bog body claws its way out of the ground, he throws the rose like a knife, right through the hole in it's cheek. "Come with us, kids, and stay away from gross old strangers."

He glances at Kyouko, like, are you surprised? "Evil doesn't get to trick or treat, so it seems neither do we. Lacchan, that was brilliant."
Kazuo Takeba 2019-10-29 01:30:53 107058
The hooded figure bows its head slightly. Not an agreement with that ancient grinding voice. Only a faint suggestion of weariness with the declarations. It paces forward, and when it moves, the darkness moves around it, shadows boiling up in dark breaths.

It is aiming to place itself between the shapes of the children and the fountain. Not that Death is something those children are unfamiliar with, granted.
Riley Hunter 2019-10-29 01:31:57 107059
Behind the helmet, Riley raised a brow, which soon furrowed into a glare.



The spacesuit appeared to burn away, its white fabric smouldering and blackening, its helmet cracking, distorting and splintering to ashes until standing there in the park was no longer a walking reference to a rather well aged meme but the little superhero that was Riley Hunter, Prism Keeper Brass. She still held the synthesiser in her hand, to which she looked for a second before crushing it in her grip, tossing the smoking remains aside.

"I don't know why I did that. Thaaaaat was expensive."

Still, now that she could see clearly without that helmet in the way the situation had become far more unnerving. She took a deep breath, steadying herself while building up her firey magic to scorch the plague doctor but he? He was already gone, and now she was just standing, or more accurately hovering ominously wreathed in flames, in a forest with a bunch of people in crazy outfits and surrounded by terrified ghost children. "A-alright, so, zombie skeleton then. Hey we meant to respect this dead guy too Lacrima? B-because I don't think he's going to respect us."
Rashmi Terios 2019-10-29 01:34:53 107060
Okay innocent ghost children and ghost trees are one thing but GIANT BOG CORPSE IS ANOTHER.

But there is always a place beyond fear, and when the plague doctor tumbles to the ground, and Death steps up to protect the children, Rashmi finds that place.

*bing!* << SOLAR SHIELD >> chirps the book-that-was-a-broom-but-is-a-book, and for a moment Rashmi is a golden streak in the bleak gloom, coming sharply to a halt in front of robed Death, armored book raised and a thick dome of golden light interposed between the bog body and the children.

Even ghost children get to be saved from evil monsters, after all.
Nephrite 2019-10-29 01:40:07 107061
There is something so interesting and so reassuring in how Makoto can hear the trees the way that Neil can read the stars, even if the words "ghost trees" are not comforting at all. Beast moves to Beauty's side while she listens to them, so that he can watch her back while keeping close enough to be aware of her continued presence. He catches sight of Death and Alucard and Kiki and wow that is certainly a Sailor Venus.

And then all of that happens. Neil has taken half a step towards the collapsing Plague Doctor before ApaGoth grabs him. That immediate crisis averted, all the Beast can do is stare at the bog body crawling out of the fountain. His painted beast nose wrinkles up. "Um," he says, "I don't think anybody requested a wet skeleton this evening, thank you."

With that, Neil henshins. And there must be something in the air, because, as with Apatite, some of his costume remains. Namely the hair and the horns and the makeup. Beast Nephrite prepares to attack.
Makoto Kino 2019-10-29 01:50:43 107062
There's a lot going on and Makoto is only half tracking, a little frown on her face as she tries to make sense of a chorus of voices in a language that's more impressions than words. "You don't need to punch the trees," she tells Kyouko distractedly. "They're not hostile. They're just..."

A fumbling hand finds her henshin pen in the pocket she altered into her mass of skirt. She whispers the words, transforms in a crackle of green-tinted electricity, and maybe it's the glow of the lightning around her that makes her look, for a split second between Beauty and Sailor Jupiter, like she's wearing a green ballgown with silken skirts split over her legs.

Her hair's still Belle'd out when she's transformed, and sporting a golden rose - no telling where that came from.

"They remember," Sailor Jupiter says, calm and certain. "The trees remember." Closing her eyes, she spreads her hands, reaching out wide in half invitation, half plea.

"Please... help us?"
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 02:16:43 107063
The plague doctor is basically nothing for ApaGoth to carry, aside from being noodly dead weight no help at all, and he very neatly stays in a pile right there where she drops him. That one slender ungloved hand touches the ground and there's a glow, a glow; it's not bright, it's only the sign of energy's passage, swift and sure as it does exactly the opposite of what it usually does: flows into the earth instead of out of it. It's just that there's so much else going on, and so much strange energy everywhere, and so much of it tastes so strangely and awfully of the past-- it's hard to notice that in addition.

Most of the ghost-children, made of leaves and twigs and debris from the forest floor, all shifting and unsettled but strangely pretty for all that, do indeed gather up quick behind Alucard and Death and Kiki the Sunshine Witch. The smallest, though, has stumbled and scattered and re-coalesced and shifted, scrambling after ApaGoth and finally catching up to the plague doctor, whose hand it grabs away from the ground and lets out a little wail. The tallest of the ghost children breaks away from the group after frantically searching, then scrambles after the toddler and starts trying to pull him? her? away back from the unconscious man and back toward safety. There's a screechy tussle.

At the same time as the unlikely assortment of protectors is facing off against the sucking-sounding bog body man (with a rose now daintily decorating his face entirely the wrong way oh god), Lacrima's jamming a big plug in the works.

It splats the bog body down into the broken gurgling fountain and does in fact plug up the apparent spring.

And then the plug shakes. And the water starts swelling up through the dirt and breaking the concrete walks and paving stone plaza, turning all the ground into muck and mud. It's still silent, though, except for the screechy tussle in the background.

Nephrite's poised to attack, so is Kyouko, so is everyone-- and the silence looms, and the leaves the children are made of shiver with them.

And then Makoto asks the ghosts of the trees surrounding them for help, and they whisper back to her with voices of dust and the memory of green.


All at once, the welling water has reached the now-soft muck of the ground where the plague doctor lies, and the toddler screams, and the wind blows harsh and cold like an early winter storm and the fountain explodes outward. The toddler, the twelve year old, and the plague doctor all vanish in a scattering of leaves on that wind, and the wind is beginning to pick apart the huddled children behind the shields of shadow and sun and red lightning.

The trees--

--the trees move. They pull their roots up and wade through the mud like it's a child's pool, muck sloshing around them, and they look like enormous people, graceful and ancient and beautiful. They bend their brilliantly colored autumn heads toward the children, who scramble up into them and disappear in the camouflage the trees give them, and they ring up around the burst fountain, too, filling in the rest of the circle that the others began.

The monster, though. The monster's head is smashed in, and it claws its way up out of the ground again, and this time they can see a little more clearly what must be happening.

It's healing itself with golden energy. It's filling its flesh in. "NO," it thunders, and it whips out a hand and blasts one of the trees. "BETRAYERS. EARTH IS ALWAYS BETRAYED. NOW EVEN THE TREES MOVE AGAINST ME--"

Then the thing snarls, and green-gold vines begin to fill what's now a very wet apparent clearing in a very dense wood. Grapes sprout from them, but they begin reaching for the defenders. "It matters not. I will take it back. The ghosts breathe, and cry, and the Prince had forsaken us all, but he took the bait and offered his heart in an open hand--"

He's ranting. He's also a lot shorter than one might have expected. And stronger. Unfairly stronger. Probably because he's still stealing energy.

The grapes burst, and it's not juice that flows from them, but wine, and the air whispers and the scent of home floods it, wiping away the bog smell and the muck smell and all of the rot and the freezing death, and-- he's just a fat little old man, isn't he? He wouldn't hurt anyone. "Come back, children," he calls out as the vines make their move on the heroes.
Lacrima 2019-10-29 02:29:22 107064
Lacrima looks to Jadeite. "You basically never trust the hilarously ranting thing. Ever." she says sternly. "It always means bad if it has to convince you as.... fiercely as this..." she says. She blocks the well... and apparently that thing with with it. "Well then!" she says in an apparent pun. "Hopefully, that plugs him up." she says grimly.

Then the ground starts to well up in damp and muck and mud like a spectic tank that's broken. And there's vines. And.... the smell of her house-- not the manor. Where her family lives and Dad's dumb gumbo and---

She has to force herself out of some sort of trance as she mutters as the thing starts to explode from the ground. Lacrima looks around and quick and looks to her hands. She imagines... a grave digger's shovel. And that's what happens... it's... suitably nightmarish.. with a carved bone handle, and she angrily moves to swing it at this thing's head quickly.

"Back to the dirt." she says angrily. "I don't know what you're doing but you don't belong here I don't think. Or if you do, you're being INCREDIBLY RUDE." she says even more angry.

"LIKE WHAT KIND OF THING TERRIFIES GHOST KIDS, GODS." she yells indignantly. Somehow. The indignant yelling seems right in her Sailor Venus costume. More than usual.
Rashmi Terios 2019-10-29 02:30:16 107065
//Turmeric and cardamom and saffron//

Rashmi shakes her head fiercely, as if to throw off the intrusion of vigilance-sapping happiness. "Stay behind me!" she cries over her shoulder, as her book chimes a second time.

*bing!* << SOLAR SHIELD -- RED SHIFT >>

Another dome of light coalesces above the first, and almost immediately explodes outwarddigging furrows in the wine-soaked ground as the vines are fended away with golden, roaring kinetic force.

// Simmering yogurt, cinnamon, lamb and bitter melon //

"MAMORU NEVER FORSAKES ANYONE!" she cries, "HE'S *JUST ONE PERSON!*" She seems about to say more, but bites it back, again shaking off those seductive tendrils of lethargy worming their way into her brain on wisps of spice and love.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-10-29 02:31:03 107066
    ApaGoth is looking with some appreciation towards Lacrima's giant plug in the fountain when she notices the two ghost children having a screechy fight around the collapsed plague doctor's body. "H-hey, get away from him!" She shouts, reaching out to try and forcibly relocate the kids, only to have her hands pass right through them, of course, not recognizing their intent.

    But then she has bigger things to worry about, because everything is getting all muddy and wet. She makes a face as her boots are suddenly sloshing. "This was not on my list of things to do tonight.." She's reaching down to try and haul the plague doctor up again in order to keep him out of the rising water when he suddenly disappears causing her eyes to widen. "Hey guys.. uh, hey guys?! He's gone!" She says, panic suddenly in her voice. And then all the trees are moving and there's a fat little old man where the monster was who looks vaguely familiar..

    And something smells like.. withered apples and burnt wood, and blood? Her nose wrinkles.

    Then vines. True, they're shooting wine out which honestly would be pretty cool if they weren't attacking while they did so. She doesn't even notice them at first because she was so distracted until one wraps around her arm. "Oh, fuck off," she snarls, panic making her even more touchy than usual. A triangular blade literally explodes out of her forearm, shearing the vine away, and a moment later the rest of her spear follows, phasing out of her arm and into her hand as if her bones were made of spears, which they in fact might be.
Riley Hunter 2019-10-29 02:42:30 107067
Riley brought up a wall of flames in an attempt to block the flying fountain debris, bringing her arm up in front of her face and turning away. She was really struggling to make heads or tails of the situation truth be told, one moment there was a horrifying bog creature, then there were the trees from Lord of the Rings and ghost children running about. The smell had changed too, it went from mud to a familiar harsh chemical stench that burnt at her nostrils, mixed with mold and decaying food that she had long ago since tried to bury deep into the back of her mind.

"No...no no no!"

She lashed out, her flames scorching at the vines, the girl even tearing at the ones that came too close using just her bare hands, scorching them in her grip "Not again, not again!"

This had to stop, this *needed* to stop! She focused her efforts on the source of the vines itself, trying to burn their very roots away before they could hurt anyone else. Then, after that, she turned to glare at the old man, raising her hands ready to strike. Her voice was calm though, calm and collected even as she became wreathed in fire. "You're going to stop this. You're going to stop whatever the fuck you're doin', you're gonna get the fuck out of my head, and you're going to get out of here."
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 02:44:49 107068
Of course it's not as easy as plugging up the ground and trees rising from the earth to protect them (wait, what? when did the Ent get here?). Things are never that easy. And there's Kyouko's voice, filled with genuine panic, and Alucard whips around to stare at the space where the Plague Doctor should be. Muck and mud swish and squish around his feet as he tries and fails to speak.

Oh no. Oh no, this is not happening. This is not - "Shut up!"

His red ceramic bat is thrown, the wings razor sharp, and it sticks in the monster's half-crushed head as Lacrima tries to bash its head in. He's preparing something even worse when wine starts spurting everywhere, including squirting in his face, bringing the scent of roses and cookies, drying clay and overgrown grass and safety and he'll be angry at himself later for staggering. Then there's fire everywhere, uncomfortably hot and not under the control of someone he knows and trusts, and yeah, he's not and let's repeat not, thrilled. And he recognizes that little old man.

"You can fuck right off Silenus and get back in that hole you crawled right out of!"
Kazuo Takeba 2019-10-29 02:57:13 107069
"The Prince has forsaken nothing," the Reaper says, and that dry tone is familiar to most of those present. He lifts his scytheless hand, bones duly white on the material of his glove, and shadows spiral outward -- he can't block Silenus from the trees entirely, not in his current state, not without placing a barrier where it would interfere with things like Jadeite's ceramic bat and Lacrima's ... shovel? Lacrima's shovel. All right, then. But he can force something gleaned from a trick he and Naru practiced a long time ago. Create a webwork, that can intercept some of the damage. Trust Rashmi to fill it in.

That does leave vines, but he has a scythe for that. It's not magical. It might work. It might work without his having to make it glow embarrassingly pink.


... all right, the Reaper is somewhat less Grim and somewhat more Hello Kitty. Worse things have happened.

(And no. Wine has nothing to do with home. On duty, always. But roses, and probably-spiked coffee, and cookies, yes. And Usagi's popcorn, and muffins. And always heated sand.)
Nephrite 2019-10-29 03:00:05 107070
That feeling of nostalgia rolls over Nephrite, and for the briefest moment, he really does feel it. The strange mixture of pine from his palace, rose from Endymion's, of the sweet syrupy smell of his aunt's baking. He could almost trust it, almost relax into the comfort of it.

Except for that sour smell of wine rising beneath it all. It was wine with Sailor Earth, too. That smell makes him instantly distrust any feelings of familiarity. "Hey I think this has permanently put me off wine now. Who wants literally any other beverage when we get home?"

He takes a moment to regard, with suddenly mounting delight, the Grim Reaper's scythe. Beast!Nephrite manages to refrain from making comment of it, but the joy he feels at its sight buffers his attack. White orbs of starlight gather in Nephrite's hand. "He is the Earth you douchenozzle! Get back in your hole!" With that, he fires all of them at Silenus.
Makoto Kino 2019-10-29 03:06:08 107071
Green growing things, the warm sweet aroma of fresh baking, a faint whiff of her mother's perfume. Already distracted, Sailor Jupiter falters, wavers--

--but the trees remember. The trees keep her anchored, roots dug down deeper into the ground than wine can seep, reminding her what's real.

Nephrite's voice helps, too.

"Sounds good to me," she breathes, and grasps for the wind until it whips out from around her, tumbling with oak leaves and rose petals and tiny blue forget-me-nots, pushing back against the intoxicating scent of wine.
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 03:25:46 107072
It goes like this:

The sour scent of the wine helpes those who have trouble resisting to do so, and Makoto's pure fresh cutting hurricane kills the rest of the overwhelming scent dead; spear-bones and pink scythes and fire and fists and a bright sunny golden shield make quick work of the vines in a maelstrom of destruction. The trees protect the children and Kunzite protects the trees, and as Lacrima and Jadeite and Nephrite all attack what's left of Silenus at once, the children let out a ragged cheer.

Silenus himself starts to lose cohesion once again, and as they cheer, the children's voices grow more faint. There is a vast energy moving below them all, and Silenus is screaming--

"I just wanted it back! You just want to bury my home! I want to go home-- I want to take them home--! I used to-- he forgot me..."

The screaming trails off into a ragged gurgle as the falsely-fleshed spirit hollows out once more into the rags and ancient leather and bone that started the night's worse turn.

Leaves drift from the ancient trees, and they bow in silent grandeur, and the children laugh on the wind as their leaves scatter, and then there is sawdust and dry wood and old rich loamy wood-rot, and then the scent of the sea blows in, and it's followed by Tokyo's familiar pollution.

How is the fountain still there? And where is the Plague Doctor? It must have been his fault after all.
Kyouko Sakura 2019-10-29 03:35:05 107073
    The vines get all chopped up, and Silenus is quickly dispatched by the combined strikes of her allies, and Apatite is left holding her spear and glaring around but without much of anything to stab. She can feel the energy beneath them shifting as the spirits fade and the familiar (and reassuring, especially to her) sounds and scents of the city return.

    She's not celebrating though, because the plague doctor is still missing, and she wheels around, her cape flaring as she looks for any trace of him. She's just about to start really freaking out when she notices something. A hand, pushing it's way up from the damp loamy earth near the base of one of the trees.

    She is about to shriek 'there's another one' and stab the shit out of it, but she pauses when she notices something on it's muddy, dirt-caked fingers. Is that.. a gashopon Sailor Moon ring? And a cheap silver ring with a red stone on another finger?

    She rushes over, dropping her spear (it vanishes into thin air the moment it leaves her hand) to grab the muddy fingers. "Hey, hey, little help over here?" She yells to the others, but she hardly needs it- she's a strong girl, especially in henshin, and she hauls a muddy, tall (even if slightly less tall than before, sans false plague doctor head) figure up out of the ground.. hard enough that she falls back on her butt once he comes free.
Lacrima 2019-10-29 03:38:25 107074
Lacrima looks around suddenly and at the fountain and then frowns heavily as the world seems to 'right' itself. She clenches her fist. "Did you guys know that thing?" she asks. "Is it another one of those.... 'I wanna grab Mamoru because of the stuff time forgot' stuff?" she says as she frowns and crosses her arms.

The fact she's costumed as Sailor Venus probably doesn't help this questioning maybe. At least her hair is still purple. But her eyes are blue.

"Right. So. Lots of stuff happened and I'm the Princess of Nightmare now and I'll TALK ABOUT THAT LATER!" she says dramatically. "So Imma make sure that you all... I dunno have a nightmare about having a math test in your underwear or something and not have a nightmare about... this or something...."

"Or maybe just ask Ariel to give you a dream about not this. I dunno." she says bluntly.

"LOOK MY OPTIONS ARE LIMITED OKAY---" pause. "Is everyone alright?" she asks softly.
Riley Hunter 2019-10-29 03:43:13 107075
Riley watched as Silenus withered away, flesh peeling back to reveal the ancient soaked bone. She watched as the earth reclaimed it, as its screams and rage became hollow and distant. Then she saw a face in the leaves, one of the spirits, one that wasn't really much younger than she was staring directly into her eyes as she slowly lowered herself from her fire propelled hovering back down to ground level. He, she, it, whatever it was, with the spirit being nought but leaves it was hard to really tell took a few steps forwards before smiling, closing its eyes and scattering with the wind and laughing all the way.

She stood there for a little while longer, just staring at where that spectral figure once stood before Apatite's shout caught her attention despite not really hearing what she had to say. Without saying anything, she rushed forwards as quickly as she could to help pull this mystery figure out of the mud. She was strong too, even more so when all superheroed up, especiallly for someone so small. After that though she staggered back and away, half from the excess momentum of pulling someone free of the earth and half from sheer exhaustion. Her back hit the fountain, and she slumped down in front of it, sitting on the pavement with her head in her hands.

"I never want to do that again." She said, her voice soft and shaky. "I never want to see that again, I never want to smell that again. I never want to *be* here again." She finally looked up at the others. "What the fucking shit was that fuckery?"
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 03:48:59 107076
And then Jadeite is there at Kyouko's side, turning the former plague doctor on his side (in case he chokes) and leaning in to make sure he's breathing. "Mamoru," he says, clearly as he can after seeing this here man yoinked from the earth like a second bog body. "If you aren't breathing, I'm going to lose it and delete every Pokemon Go server, so you bettr be breathing, okay?"

And that's the main thing he's doing, checking his breathing.
Kazuo Takeba 2019-10-29 03:50:30 107077
"After a fashion, Dread Highness." The Reaper puts his bone-gloved hand to his hood, pushes it back and the veils of black aside; Kunzite's hair is tied back under the hood, shocking white against the costume. The collar of his uniform is just visible. Apparently, he goes out on Halloween already in henshin, because ...

... okay, because things like this. Also because of past ice cream youma and the inevitable karmic backlash.

"Silenus was like us: not made by Beryl, but warped by her. I've been watching for signs of him since the Dark Kingdom fell, and seen nothing, till now. He should ... should not have behaved like that. Unless something outside the Dark Kingdom damaged him, too."

He moves to offer Apatite a hand up. Well, no. He offers the handle of his scythe as something to grab and pull herself up, because offering Apatite a hand up might get it bitten off.
Rashmi Terios 2019-10-29 03:52:40 107079
"The problem is?" Rashmi says, voice shaking as the dust begins to settle, "it probably will. Or something like it. Because magic."

Crouching down next to Riley, Rashmi looks up at the Generals. "Is there anything I can do to help him, guys? Or you? Because this was... pretty messed up, like almost Witch-scale."
Lacrima 2019-10-29 03:54:50 107080
Lacrima taps her bottom lip and reaches a finger up. "Didn't you guys mention a skeletal monster sulking around attacking people a bit ago... before the Poderoso situations resolved itself....?" she asks curiously.

"Maybe... that wasn't the last of him then..." she says softly. "But..."

"Yeah. No. I won't let it hurt things. But... I'll try to. Use a softer hand then." she assures. "In the future..." she sighs a bit.
Nephrite 2019-10-29 03:59:20 107084
Nephrite has rushed to join the other Shitennou, hands plunging into the dirt to help dig out the buried prince. This alone is enough reason for him to not revert his henshin yet--that blue jacket with the tails was expensive.

He shakes his head up at Rashmi. "Usually this is the kind of thing he heals up on his own. Uh, hopefully." He still has not commented on Death and the Amazing Pink Scythe because he's saving that up.
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 04:00:58 107085
"Don't delete Pokego Jadeite don't do it," croaks Mamoru, flapping a hand kind of exhaustedly. "I'm okay I'm okay. Sorry that was really weird. But two of those kids got lost with me so I got them home, and then everything was pulling really sharp? But I felt roots-- gods what am I gonna be for Halloween?" He coughs, finally, and does not share the results of that endeavour with anyone. At least his voice is better afterwards. He's not entirely with it, obviously, but he's also obviously going to be okay.

"Hi guys what happened to the rest of those ghost kids? They okay?" he asks after a second, flinging mud off his hand and giving Rashmi a somewhat apologetically sheepish look. He's not sure what happened or what he did, but he's muddy and everyone's worried.
Makoto Kino 2019-10-29 04:03:20 107086
"I think they're okay." Makoto stands back a little, because Mamoru still needs to breathe. "I don't really know from ghost stuff, but I think they went with the trees?"

She pauses and makes a face at how crazy everything she just said sounded. "Also I think it is time to go back to the frat house and drop niisan into a shower, and any more explaining can be done inside with drinks."
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 04:05:31 107087
"Oh thank goodness, I did not want to carry through on that threat," Saburo breathes, and relaxes. "I'm with Makoto and dumping Bog Boy in a shower to get clean again before he realizes that he's been dragged through the mud. And a drink. I agree with Neph. Anything but wine."
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 04:06:49 107088
"Okay-- oh hey, I'm still not John Madden," says Mamoru when he sees Riley, "whoever that is. Do you need to clean up before you go home? There's non-alcoholic stuff and also probably cake, Mako-chan knows better..."

He starts hauling himself to his feet, then wobbles, then proceeds to immediately get Nephrite and Jadeite really muddy.

And he starts humming the pre-chorus and chorus to 'We Are Young' and maybe he needs more than a shower too.
Riley Hunter 2019-10-29 04:10:17 107089
"I'm just... I'm just going to go home. I think I'm going to barf or something." Riley got back to her feet somewhat unsteadily, leaning heavily on the fountain. "Sorry I..." She looked up to the rest of them, her face pale and her voice still shaky. In fact, she looked almost as if she was going to burst into tears which for tough kid Riley wasn't exactly a normal thing.

"Just sorry. Fuck this is embarassing, I look like a god damn mess."
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 04:12:04 107090
"We're all a mess," Jadeite says sympathetically, or as sympathetically as he can, when he's covered in things he doesn't want to think about, his expensively made costume a hot mess. He should have just been a sheet ghost. "Get home safe. Cry if you need to. This was really messed up, and no one's going to judge or anything. I'm pretty sure this one's going to be featured in some choice nightmares for a bit."
Riley Hunter 2019-10-29 04:14:05 107091
"I-I'm not crying! I'm... I'm not!" Ouch. Hit a nerve there. "I'm just... I'm..." Riley trailed off, trying to steady herself some more but she wasn't really having too much luck.

"... just, stuff. Stuff. I'm sorry."
Lacrima 2019-10-29 04:18:49 107092
Lacrima gently puts an arm around Riley's back and pats a moment. "Come on." she says. "I'll take you back to the manor for a moment." she says. "So you can clean up. So this way, your mom and dad aren't questioning you." she says softly.

"...and talk about this mess. Because. That helps. I think." she says. "Even if... I'm not the best." she says. "At being the listener or advice giver and stuff..." she says.
Mamoru Chiba 2019-10-29 04:19:25 107093
"It's fine, I'm sure-- *cough* when I find out what else happened it'll be me crying, so don't worry about it. You're not crying. I think I saw heaven. Guys I want to go home--" tries Mamoru, and Lacrima is way better at it than he is.
Rashmi Terios 2019-10-29 04:21:13 107094
"Yeah," Rashmi says, tired and moving to support Riley opposite Lacrima. "Home sounds good... C'mon, Hunter-chan. Let's get you a break before you have to face anything else." At this point, Rashmi blinks, looking up at the ex-vampire. "....Wait, so that's not makeup? That... sounds like a story."
Saburo Yukimura 2019-10-29 04:25:55 107095
"Yeah. I'm sorry, let's go ahead and get you home, okay? Let's get all of us home. See you soon, guys." And despite the mud and muck and grossness, Saburo loops Mamoruu's arm over his shoulders. "You can barf on me if you need too, this costume is a wreck anyway."

And then everyone can figure out what he means, because he teleports himself and Mamoru home. A blond wig and the imprint of their shoes in all the muck is all that's left behind.