The Hunger Games


Masato Sanjouin has sponsored a Sailor V themed event in the hopes of luring out the REAL Pretty Soldier. But the comotion and group of people has attracted the attention of another villian entirely...

Date: 2015-06-13
Pose Count: 68
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-13 22:10:22 1946
It's a warm summer evening in Uminari city, and there's a crowd gathering at the Game Center Crown for a Sailor V themed Saturday Night! While there's a good number of younger patrons, there's at least an equal number of teenaged watchers; after all, it's easy to convince teenagers to show up when you promise to leave your arcade machines on free play. There's a VERY enthusastic announcer trying to convince people to sign up and try their luck at cracking the high score for the video game, stopping to throw his hand out (and cause his bow tie to spin ludicrously) and implore people, as well as reminding them all that the Sailor V Cosplay Contest will occur after the game. It's easy to look over the crowd and see a fair number of good... and not-so-good... imitations of the legendary crime-fighter waiting for that event. The Fruits Parlor Crown is also doing brisk business, selling treats to the waiting crowd.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-13 22:18:50 1948
Makoto Kino hasn't been in the area all that long yet, but Game Center Crown (and its attached cafe) has already become a favorite hangout, and when she heard about this evening's event there was no way she'd miss it. She stands out a little amidst the crowd, tall as she is - she fairly towers over most of the younger kids, and even among the high school students she has a few inches on many of them - and from this vantage she surveys the colors and lights of the various games, the announcer calling for signups.

"High score, huh?" she comments aloud to herself, hand propped absently against her hip. "Maybe I'll give it a shot."
Minako Aino 2015-06-13 22:24:00 1949
Minako Aino has already played through lots and lots of cabinets. Some have high scores, some have long combos, some have quickest play time - she doesn't plan to do much playing since when it comes time to determine the winner, she'll just point to the machine she 'has played'. Possibly cheating, but nobody has made a rule about that (or she hasn't heard).

For now, she's hedging her bets on the competition later and trying to get people excited for the cosplay. And by 'getting people excited', she means 'getting people excited about her'. Currently, she's standing on a table with a drink in her hand, shouting catchphrases from a Sailor V online pop-up commercial and shouting at people to hang out at the 'cool kids table'. That she's standing on.

She's also in an unnecessarily elaborate Sailor V outfit she stole from a model shoot, with extra big bows, reflective shiny surfaces, a futuristic looking laser gun that shoots (probably unhealthy) bright green lights around the place.

She's currently shining it on screens of the better players who might beat her scores to distract them.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-13 22:28:27 1950
Gaofele Doiru has traveled past the Game Center Crown on occasion before, noticing the bright and noisy machinces and the people playing them, but hadn't really paid much attention to them.

Today, though? There's a larger-than-normal crowd, an announcer of some sort, as well as--

--several Sailor Vs?!?

He wanders in to get a better sense of what's going on. Okay, so there's several people dressed up like Sailor V, although some of the costumes are more a product of enthusiasm than skill.

Gao chuckles slightly, then he hears the announcer challenging people to beat the high score at the video game. "Video game?" the Waldian murmurs to himself, wandering over to take a look. These elaborate boxes of lights and sounds are 'video games', then? One more thing to know about!

He watches some of the people playing the games, looking at the screens and what the players are doing with the controls. Okay, so if you move that odd stick like that, the character on the screen moves; that button causes the character to fire a blast... oh yeah, and letting those other characters touch your character is a bad thing. Hmmm...
Homura Akemi 2015-06-13 22:36:10 1954
Homura doesn't have time for games!

... though actually, she could use a break after last night's events.

... and really, she could probably stand to meet a few more new people.

... and the Crown has some really good milkshakes.

Okay okay, Homura enters the Arcade. She sees the posters and hears the announcer and wonders aloud, "Wait... wait... was there a special event today? That's never happened bef-"

She quiets down before she says anything more. She notices the posters. Sailor V? Oh right, this is different because it has to do with non-Puella magical girls.

Well, all the arcade games are on free play now. Highest score wins? Interesting. She sits down in front of a cabinet and starts playing.

If some naughty girl starts shining green lights on her arcade screen, she glances over to the source, harumps, and does a hairflip. She holds up one hand to block the light, doing a pretty good job of tracking its movements. The other hand stays on the controls. She's pretty good at handling both the joystick and the buttons with just one hand, but she'll start having trouble when the levels get more challenging.
Nephrite 2015-06-13 22:39:32 1955
Nephrite is not usually shy about attaching his mortal name to his schemes. In fact, he'd wager that a fair bit of Tokyo is familiar with the name Masato Sanjouin, given his numerous spheres of influence in the city. His memory altering magics are strong; if something goes awry with one of his plans, he can clear Sanjouin's name with relative ease. So why is he being more covert about his sponsorship of today's events?

Simple. He's trying to attract the attention of someone who'd give Sanjouin some trouble, should she discover who he really is.

Though, if Sailor V *has* come to her own cosplay contest, she is doing an exceptional job of blending in. The Dark General had thought that he could spot the real 'soldier of justice' without problems, but there is a veritable sea of blonde wigs, bows, and sailor collars. Some are less convincing than others -- in particular, he's disqualified the dolled up contestant shooting a laser light at the other attendees. He dislikes that it has come down to actual investigation, though, when he was expecting an easy answer. It means he has to make an actual appearance to gather more info.

Blasted mortals. Why do they all have to look alike?

A second later, out walks Masato Sanjouin, dressed in his signature 'posh casual' attire. He doesn't announce himself, simply making his way across the arcade floor, glancing at the Sailor V high scores as he goes. Perhaps, even if V is being elusive or ignoring the event entirely, he'll find someone of interest through the arcade game.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-13 22:49:09 1956
After a little more consideration, Makoto starts to pick her way through the crowd with the idea of officially signing up for the high score competition. She's only halfway there, however, when Homura's upraised hand catches her attention and she stops again, watching curiously for a few moments to see if this is some kind of odd self-imposed challenge or something else.

It doesn't take long to spot the flicker of the green light against Homura's palm, and Mako's brows lift as she puts two and two together. *Someone's* being underhanded.

Tracking the light back to its source zeros her in on Minako, standing on the table. Immediately, Makoto turns and heads that way, moving more purposefully now, until she's close enough to be heard over the hum of conversation and tuneless melody of video game sound effects.

"I'm pretty sure that's cheating, you know," she says, not even trying to keep her voice confidential as she looks up at Minako from beside the table. Her arms are crossed loosely in front of her, shoulders square, chin up - a posture of casual confrontation.

(She's serious enough about this that even Masato Sanjouin's entrance has yet to ping her 'hot guy' radar, which is pretty impressive in itself.)
Minako Aino 2015-06-13 22:52:51 1957
Minako Aino/Sailor V puts on an extraordinarily confident smile and is about to retort something clever down to Makoto before the poor judge sent to disqualify her arrives. She purses her lips, pausing a moment, honestly confused! But she's as quick on her feet as the real Sailor V, pitching an abbreviated fit before claiming they cannot disqualify her (giving the name of her obnoxious cosplay rival who made fun of her red bow), and stomping out the back service door.

Nobody is there to see the flash of light as the *real* costume goes on, although everybody might see the newest Sailor V to strut in and sign up for the competition (being careful to keep her handwriting 'cleanly sloppy' in case there's a repeat performance of jerk judge disqualifications - yes, '|\|IN4 A|\N()', that could be Nina, Mina, Minf...).

She returns to her table, a little calmer now, to retrieve her drink, sulk, and brag about how hard cross-sewing, crocketing, and roshamboing is.

The stakes have never been lower, but Minako will persevere and overcome.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-13 23:03:21 1958
Gaofele Doiru thinks that he /might/ have the concept of this 'video game' figured out, but he knows that he won't know for sure until he actually tries it. Might be worth trying, especially since the games are free today -- no need to worry about converting Waldian silver!

A bit of commotion from the cosplayers catches his attention, and her turns in time to see one of them flounce off in a snit. He chuckles slightly; talk about an over-the-top outfit! Probably someone trying to make themselves feel important, no matter what the actual Sailor V is like.

Gao watches a few more game players, then decides to sign up and give it a try. As he walks over to the signup table, he happens to notice the 'newest' cosplayer arrive. "Now /that/ is a good Sailor V outfit!" he murmurs, nodding approval before signing his name to the gaming clipboard.
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-13 23:09:03 1959
After a... slight disturbance, the contest goes on! There are judges which start to come around to the machines, keeping an eye on those still playing (and keeping a lookout for anyone attempting to disturb them after reports of someone in a Sailor V costume acting in a decidedly un-heroic manner.) and the video game portion is starting to wind down, as some of the signees finish their games (or are eliminated by failing to do so).

Which means, of course, that there's a growing queue of Sailor V cosplayers forming to the right of the outside stage, because, as the announcer practically yells into the mic, they will be announcing all of the winners for both games and cosplay at once at the end of the event. (Gotta keep up that suspense!)

Meanwhile, passing through the city streets, one tall, handsome boy named Seijuro Ginga has been transfixed; the energy of the competitors and cosplayers has drawn him here like a moth to a light (or perhaps a plant's stem to light!) and the sheer amount of energetic humans here has him a bit transfixed. That makes him oddly more likely to blend into the crowd - there are an awful lot of Sailor V cosplayers here, and some of them have the costume done nearly to perfection.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-13 23:11:19 1960
Arriving late to the event, Ami looks around the game center and smiles a bit, holding her bag in front of her. She's not really all that interested in playing the video game, but more interested in who would dress up as Sailor V. Maybe she would be the princess they were looking for.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-13 23:16:56 1961
With the one CHEATING Sailor V cosplayer run off, Homura puts her hand back down and uses the controls more properly. Makoto saved her just in the nick of time. Wait a second, hasn't she seen Makoto before? Maybe she should go say hi.

Wait, no, you were in henshin at the time, Homura. Walking up to her now would be weird.

Homura keeps playing. Her reflexes are pretty good, and she has above-average dexterity. When the score comes up, she glances at it with a 'huh'. It's impressive, but looking at the game's leaderboard she boggles at some of the high scores that others have gotten. How do you even get that many digits.

She gets up and walks away from the arcade machine. She didn't bring a Sailor V costume. She wouldn't have had time to make one. Nevertheless, she could at least watch.

Moving next to Makoto, Homura mutters, "Thanks..."
Nephrite 2015-06-13 23:29:03 1962
"That was certainly a good call, Kino-san."

The girl will hear that from a pleasant baritone voice behind her, belonging to -- who else -- Masato Sanjouin. He's standing some distance away, hands in his pockets, the slightest curve of a friendly smile on his lips. The man had seen some commotion in the direction of the cheating girl and though at first he had intended to let the judge handle it himself, the presence of a distinct, taller-than-average head of brown hair made it worth his time to come over.

He watches silently as the girl throws a tantrum and stalks off, then chuckles and turns back to Makoto Kino. "A keen eye, a good sense of justice. You seem like quite the candidate for the high score contest."

Then, out of nowhere, he feels it: a jolt of recognition in the back of his mind like a magically tripped wire. *She's here.*

There's just the slightest bit of tension in Masato's jaw as he resists the urge to pivot and track down the source. Stars damn Sailor V's timing, coming on the scene just as he's engaging with a mortal he needs to keep enthralled. He half-listens for the girl's reply, trying to keep a mental grasp on the presence as it moves into the crowd proper, but in the hustle and bustle of the arcade, it becomes nigh impossible to pick out, like a star against the noon day sky.

It certainly doesn't help that the Kino girl's own energy is as blindingly bright to his senses as ever, drawing by instinct back to her if he lets up his internal sights on Sailor V for even a second.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-13 23:38:04 1964
Gaofele Doiru takes a seat at one of the games and starts playing. His prior careful watching comes in handy, and he manages to accumulate a decent score... for someone with literally zero prior experience playing video games.

He looks at his score, then at the high scores, then shrugs. "Not bad for a first time," he remarks. He wasn't expecting to do very well at the contest, but at least he's now a bit more familiar with Earth games.

Leaving the game for the next contestant, Gao mills around with the others, watching the large crowd of cosplayers. From the descriptions of it, the cosplay contest is sort of like theater in a way, with costumes and actors. It should be interesting to see how well some of these people can do!
Makoto Kino 2015-06-13 23:44:05 1965
Unmoved by the supreme confidence of Minako's smile, Makoto seems entirely prepared to make an issue of it - but fortunately, the judge arrives before it comes to that, and the problem very shortly resolves itself, leaving Mako to sigh ruefully in the wake of the troublemaker's exit.

She notices Ami coming in from across the arcade, raises a hand to get her friend's attention; she's just about to call out, for whatever good that might actually do in this crowd, when *that voice* from behind her jolts through her and abruptly she's standing very straight indeed, eyes widening in surprise. "Ah--! Sanjouin-san!"

Homura's muttered thanks, thus, find Makoto very distracted indeed. The hand that Mako had raised drops unconsciously behind her head as she half-turns, smiling embarrassedly as she glances from one to the other. "It wasn't anything much, really," she says. "I just don't like seeing someone try to stack the deck like that. This sort of thing is supposed to be fun."
Minako Aino 2015-06-13 23:48:15 1966
She's here. And she doesn't wait to be picked out by Masato Sanjouin/Nephy because she doesn't think he's a head judge. She instead immediately goes to the biggest conflagration of V cosplayers and takes up the plan of dividing and conquering, getting them behind her and encouraging dumb dances, skits, and songs.

The real Sailor V is at the front of them all, of course.

She also has a big smile for Makoto. "I agree. I saw those shina-gagigans earlier. I believe in fair competition! May the best man win!" she announces, her smile slowly growing to big big big proportions as she glances between embarrassed smiles and postures and to the man she's talking to. Nosey.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-13 23:48:55 1967
Raising her hand to Makoto's (cuz it's really hard to miss), Ami waves back and keeps her eyes upon her friend as she tries very hard to weave her way through the crowd. Thankfully, her slight form can get her through many tight spaces in between people and makes her way to Makoto. "Makoto!" She squeals and gives the much taller woman a welcoming hug, if she can just hop up high enough to hug her!
Homura Akemi 2015-06-13 23:58:02 1968
"Yeah," says Homura, in response to Makoto. That's all she says, actually. She's pretty quiet. Plus a couple of Makoto's friends just came up (how many hot guys does this girl know?!) and Homura feels like she might be interrupting something.

Looking over to this new Sailor V cosplayer, who certainly looks nothing like the /previous/ Sailor V cosplayer, Homura shrugs. Her investment to this contest is almost zero. Actually, wasn't she here for a milkshake?

Homura wanders off to get a milkshake.
Nephrite 2015-06-14 00:20:41 1969
No -- no! As Nephrite grasps at the disappearing spark in his mind, it grows ever fainter, until finally the sheer mass of the crowd's energy has swallowed it entirely. *Damnit.* The man barely manages to restrain a frown of frustration, only for the sake of the girl in front of him. Finding and identifying Sailor V would be a great boon, obviously, but Beryl's mission for him is still to collect energy for their Great Ruler. For this, he needs the Kino girl. Only the added bounty of her life force will save the fumbled bridal shop scheme from total failure.

His annoyance is mollified somewhat by her obvious flustered behavior at his approach. It doesn't seem like he's in any danger of losing her interest, and he'd like to keep it that way.

"That it is," he says in agreement with her last statement. "I wouldn't sponsor a competition where such unsportsmanlike behavior was accepted." It's then that the disguised General finds himself interrupted by two mortal girls: one who leaps at the uncommonly tall girl for a hug, one who mutters something and quits her position at the game cabinet. And then--

The jolt of magic is standing directly in front of them, and he just might have found the real Sailor V after all.

As smooth as he's able, the man shoots the trio of girls a smile, charming and debonair as ever, masking the predatory instinct that rests beneath it. "Your friends, Kino-san?" he asks, looking them over curiously. "So kind of you to come to this friendly competition of ours." The icy blue eyes can't help but linger on Sailor V, and it is she to whom Masato extends his hand. "Masato Sanjouin. And who might you be?" For appearance's sake, he's sure to glance at the blue-haired girl as well, but it's ever so difficult to turn his sights from the goal when it is so nearly in his grasp.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-14 00:38:21 1970
A warm laugh escapes Makoto as Ami hugs her, and she slings an arm easily around the smaller girl to give her an answering squeeze. "Hey, Ami-chan! You made it. Going to go for the high score? I don't think there's a lot of time left, but I bet you could smoke everyone here."

Still smiling, she looks back up to Nephrite. "I didn't realize you were sponsoring this event, Sanjouin-san," she says. "It seems like everybody's having a lot of fun, so thank you. This is my friend Ami Mizuno." A dip of her head to Ami, then Mako's smile turns a shade less sparklingly warm and a little more reservedly polite, if no less friendly. "I don't think we've met - your costume is great, though!"
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 00:39:53 1971
Minako Aino is really polite and full of smiles. "Thanks! I... I... made it myself!" she says, which in this case is technically not a lie! She poses and spins and makes a little production for anybody who compliments her, and Makoto is no different.

However, she looks incredibly annoyed at Masato's question of 'who might you be'. Insulted, even. Despite the mask, her face crunches up. "Sailor V. Duh," she mumbles, before turning her back in a huff and marching back into the sea of V.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 00:59:34 1973
Smiling a little to Masato, Ami bows to him with her bag in front of her. "Hello." She says softly. "it's nice to meet you, Sanjouin-san. And no Makoto-chan. I don't think I want to participate." She then giggles. "I want to give everyone else a fighting chance."
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-14 01:07:50 1974
The Sailor Vs, the army of them, begin their slow walk up to the platform. Some of them choose to strike an iconic pose, or sing a few bars from the Sailor V game's theme song (or hum, for the less musicially inclined.) There's an obvious set where some are better than the others, but the audience is warm to them all, clapping for each of them in appreciation of the effort of getting on stage.

Well, maybe except Minako. Who does make the first cut, and gets a loud round of applause for the 'quality of her costume' though the judges are murmuring about something behind her.

There's a few game-related announcements made; longest streak, most time spent before taking damage - and there's a musical interlude while the judges confer about the costume - playing the Sailor V theme music, of course!

But as loud as the music is, there are those there who can hear a secondary song, starting to rise up under the music, like an agent sneaking about behind the scenes. The sound of a flute, keenly and eerlie familiar to Homura, running below the song. Nearly silent in actual volume, but loud in power. The music stops, but on the way to the stage, the once full of energy announcer takes a stumble, and passes out on the floor. Most of the crowd has followed suit.

To anyone who has managed to remain a level of consciousness, the sound of the flute is much louder now, a tall, thin young boy sitting on the edge of the roof of the Game Center Crown, playing his flute, next to a skinny humanoid woman with a very serious bird motif - a beaked nose, wing-arms, and talons for feet. And she's no cosplayer... Her 'wing-arms' are outstretched, covered in colorful feathers, and the energy from the crowd is being drawn up to them as the song continues, being collected in those feathers.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 01:19:36 1975
Gaofele Doiru listens to the announcements, applauding when the crowd does. The game was fun, although he's not likely to make it a habit for now.

But as the crowd starts passing out, he looks around. The sound of the flute comes to his ears, and he spots the flautist -- hey, didn't Rune mention someone by that description after one of their first few days here?

Ducking behind a row of arcade machines, Gao takes a bracer out from his shirt, then slides it onto his left arm. As he does so, he says

    "To protect the lands, I am Guardian Gao!"

Stepping out from where he had transformed, the forester Knight summons his viney quarterstaff, ready to help protect the people. "Begone, vile bird!" he snarls, keeping an eye on both youma and summoner.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-14 01:20:29 1976
Makoto grins at Ami's quip, with an obvious, almost proprietary pride in her friend. Whatever else she might have said, though, never makes it into words - too late, a sense of alarm tingles over Makoto's skin, a feeling of *something wrong* that crystallizes into shape as she sees the announcer suddenly collapse.

"--What the heck?" Without thinking, she's moving forward, as though to place herself between Ami and Nephrite and the danger that she still can't yet see, but *feels* like a thickness in the air pressing down on her, a rising wave of nausea and vertigo. "You guys need to - hurry and get out of here--"

She fights it, bracing her stance to keep her feet as she feels her strength failing, but it's no use. Even as she grits her teeth with the determination to *stay awake, dammit!*, her vision is already going dark around the edges.
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 01:28:20 1977
Minako Aino uses the time transitioning between different V's on stage to stand near a cabinet with the first Sailor V game, pull out her phone, and pretend to talk into it, while she *actually* converses with a sneaky Artemis hiding inside. "While they're distracted, change the scores!", followed by a frown as he refuses.

Undaunted, it's time to jump up on stage, singing original lyrics and talking about her costume. She finishes with lots of exaggerated claims about the work involved. "This is the real Sailor V, knocking 'em all dead," she says. So impressive of a display, people start to fall down, only encouraging her to point her finger at different individuals and shout 'bang-bang' as more and more fall, continuing until it goes from awesome to awkward.

Eventually, she's standing on stage, almost entirely alone, perplexed. Another V-cosplayer points at some monstrous bird thing and starts to talk about punishing the wicked, but Minako interrupts her before the other girl drops to the ground. She also totally steals her line: "How dare you interrupt a Sailor V cosplay competition with your own half-cocked Big Bird cosplay. I'm going to punish the wicked!"
Homura Akemi 2015-06-14 01:30:35 1979
Homura obtains her pink strawberry milkshake, two pink flowers coming out of the top, looking over at the contest once people start singing. Everything seems calm and normal. People start singing. After a moment she is tempted to get into it, but she doesn't want to stop sipping her milkshake even just to hum a few bars.

She does listen to the tunes, however. Something seems a little off. Is this the right tune?

Wait, no. There's another tune being played here, and Homura's ears strain to hear it. It sounds like... a flute?!

Wait. This isn't right.

Homura Akemi vanishes, leaving an empty milkshake glass and some money+tip behind. Outside the arcade, in the back alley, Homura looks at her Soul Gem.

Should she care about this? Is this important to her? It might be a waste of energy... on the other hand, a lot of people could get hurt if she does nothing. She is tempted, for one moment, to just walk away.

Yet, even here, she feels the drain of energy affecting her Soul Gem, causing a bit of Puella magic to seep out of it and into whatever container Ail is using.

"Unforgivable."

A Puella Magi walks into the building, fully clad in her henshin. She notices the collapsed bodies, and searches for the source of the flute's music. "Show yourself, monster!" is her loud demand.

Seeing Makoto start to collapse, Homura feels a punch to her gut. They don't know each other that well, but Makoto was actually nice to her! Homura is really mad now!

Tracing the lines of her own drained energy, and the drained energy of the other patrons, her magical senses lead her to the cardian. She rushes out of the front door, glaring up confrontationally at the roof and at Ail.

"Causing trouble again, are you?"

Homura stares at one of the V cosplayers who still happens to be standing. Wait, what?
Nephrite 2015-06-14 01:45:37 1980
Nephrite's eyes glint with not-quite-concealed annoyance as Sailor V dodges his question, then leaves their group in the dust. "Wait," he says, reaching out his hand on instinct to catch her -- but it's too late. She's out of reach, having evaded him completely. Had she known his true identity this whole time?

A dark shadow briefly conceals his face, and he scowls, fists clenched even as they are returned to his pockets. Fine. If she will not reveal her name to Masato Sanjouin, then perhaps she will respond to--

Tired. Sick. Out of nowhere, the Dark General feels his body weaken, the surprise of it causing him to stagger violently to the side, bracing himself on a nearby game cabinet for support. Before he can even question what's going on, he sees mortals in every direction outright collapsing; and if that alone was not enough of a tip off, the telltale white glow rising from their bodies would surely give it away.

Someone's draining energy. More importantly, that someone is draining *his* energy, a faux pas that even the dullest of the Dark Kingdom wouldn't commit. Nephrite curses under his breath. This attack is coming from someone -- or something -- totally unrelated.

It's infuriating.

The Shitennou is about to shed his disguise and eliminate the threat when he sees Kino-san wobble, affected just as much by the ambush as the average mortal despite her most assuredly not-average energy level. Another curse, this one much louder. It's one thing to drain his energy: an affront to the Dark Kingdom, and though he'd never admit it, a deep blow to his pride. But he's already laid his claim to this girl's life essence, and he'll be damned if some vulture gets even a crumb of it.

So, with possibly unnatural speed, Nephrite falls into place behind her to support her as she falls, taking on the role of energy shield for her as she'd tried to do for him.

"Kino-san," he says, authoritative, stern. "I'm getting you out of here."
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 01:46:05 1981
Ami wastes no time in grabbing Makoto. "DOn't fall asleep, Makoto-chan! Come on, we need to get you out of here!" She says tugging Makoto with all of her might to try and get her out of the line of fire. Unfortunately, as strong as Ami is, she finally just......

*whump*

And Makoto's on the floor. And Ami's partly pinned under Makoto. She takes her own advice and gets out of there. Ami's smart enough to run when she must....and makes sure she's out of sight of everyone, like in a bathroom. Once there, she raises her pen....

Mercury Power! Make-Up!

the symbol spins out of the pen, and a blue/white ribbon flows out of the pen. Ami arches her back, lifts one leg and spins into the ribbon, which encloses around her, bursting into many motes of light to reveal...

Sailor Mercury!

Coming out of another door, Sailor Mercury actually does something that's a little out of character for her.....She immediately attacks.

Who'da thunk it?

Shabou!

She yells as she holds out her hands in front of her, bringing a point of light into being. She then turns 360 degrees on her toes to cross her arms behind the growing point of light.

Spray!

She sweeps her arms across her body to cause the bubbles to fly towards the flute player and hit the ground, to give all allies a great deal of fog for cover.

HOW DARE YOU! THESE PEOPLE WERE HERE TO CELEBRATE THE HEROINE SAILOR V, AND YOU HAD TO TAKE ALL OF THEIR ENJOYMENT AS YOUR ENERGY! THIS IS INEXCUSEABLE! I SHALL PUNISH YOU! I AM SAILOR MERCURY, GUARDIAN OF KNOWLEDGE AND JUSTICE! I WILL RIGHT WRONGS AND TRIUMPH OVER EVIL! And that means you, buster.

Next Time, Usagi's doing her own lines.
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-14 02:11:27 1983
Ail surveys the field. He recognizes Homura, and he generally understands now what magical girls are. He's making a quick assessment. But he's got a serious harvest here, and he's not ready to risk it all on fighting the magical girls himself, no matter how much energy they may have between them, it's a large risk. And En is sick. And no matter how much his pride would call him to stand and fight them to prove a point, to stake his claim; En is more important. She comes first.

He reaches out and /rips/ a handfull of feathers away from his own cardian, and the sweet energy that those feathers have extracted. This doesn't earn much more than a wince of pain from his disciplined minion, though. "Now..." he says, pointing at each of the magical girls in turn. "Remove these annoyances." Ail isn't sure that his minion can win, but he's not given her into losing either. There's not as many as there were the last time. At least, that's what he thinks before the fog covers the field. It justifies his caution and restraint, making it hard to judge the forces arrayed against him.

"SKREEIA" the creature shouts an an ear percing tone, before diving down in a flurry of wings, into the fog, making clumsy, blind sweeps against the positions where the heroes took their stands and made their speeches. Even still, it's flying, cutting through the misty fog, and somehow managing to avoid banging into anything while it makes its clumsy, blind flurries.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-14 02:15:07 1984
Homura doesn't stop Ail from leaving. Ail leaving is what she /wants/. Chasing him down would be a waste of magic, which in turn would be a waste of Grief Seeds. She can't afford to waste such things.

Ammunition, on the other hand, is something she tends to be able to restock relatively easily. Which is good, because she needs to use a lot just to keep up with the magical powers that others seem to just /have/.

The magical fog returns... hasn't Homura seen this before? Last night, even! Homura sees through the fog and identifies Sailor Mercury. Good. This works out well.

Homura reaches behind her shield and focuses her attention on the bird-cardian, pulling out an Uzi and firing at the magical enemy. She uses the fog to her advantage, constantly running within the fog, repositioning herself to make it difficult for the enemy to attack her.

As Skreeia dives into the fog, Homura is one of the easiest and most obvious targets to attack. She holds up her shield and a magical purple barrier flares up around her, abosrbing the hit at the cost of her magic. While shield-tanking that hit, Homura drops a grenade at the monster's feet, hoping that the creature wont see the little present she left for him as she retreats.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-14 02:18:08 1985
For the space of a few seconds, Makoto clings to the grey fringes of consciousness. The arcade is a dim, hazy blur; she can just barely hear Ami's voice saying her name, feel her friend pulling at her, but her body is heavy as lead. She can't seem to move. She wants to tell Ami to leave her and run, but she can't even manage to speak.

A buzzing like static floods her senses.

Even now, there's something in her trying to push back, a feeling deep within that grows like a roiling thunderhead even as the energy drains out of her like water from a broken bottle. Through a roaring like a gale wind in her ears, she thinks she hears Sanjouin-san's voice, struggles to open her eyes...

...no good. She's held on for an extraordinarily long time, considering, but in the end Makoto becomes dead weight as the full blackness of unconsciousness claims her.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 02:20:02 1986
Guardian Gao recognizes Mercury; the water Senshi is starting to become familiar. The real Sailor V is also easily spotted; looks like the only one that isn't here at the moment is Sailor Moon -- no new Senshi today!

Homura isn't recognized, but the 'again' suggests that she's fought the master of this youma before; might ask Rune about her later.

Mercury's fog helps provide concealment against the youma's search, and Gao makes the most of it by keeping low to the ground as he prowls around, swapping to his bow as he prepares to take a shot.

When Skreeia appears between two rows of arcade consoles, the forester Knight pops up, releasing the arrow with a shout of "Nettle Barrage!" The arrow splits into a swarm of thin shafts, aiming to pepper the birdlike youma with a cloud of large needles.
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 02:23:28 1987
Minako Aino/Sailor V strolls forward towards the bird in fog, trying to take advantage of it tangling with others. Absolutely willing to wait until it turns its back and go after Homura or get a few unpleasant arrows in its face before running forward to literally kick its butt.

But she pauses, eyes going so wide with terror as to almost fall out of her mask. She perceives the bird as using a strategum of: 'drop grenade at my feet while I fly near it'. Far enough away from civilians but entirely too close to the DDR machine, she makes to kick not the bird, but the grenade, to send it into a beautiful arcing path away from the windows and the building and onto/over/under some parked cars (ideally Nephrite's).

Heroic work done, she fades back into the fog and stands near the line of posters, raising her hands in an imitation of the pose the V model used and hoping that between her similar looks and fog, she'll be ignored until her next sneak attack.
Nephrite 2015-06-14 02:53:20 1988
And, just like that, the Kino girl's passed out, unable to withstand the onslaught of the energy drain. Nephrite makes an irritated noise in the back of his throat -- he'd been hoping she'd stay conscious long enough to feel endebted to the oh-so-noble Masato Sanjouin for rescuing her. No matter. The priority here is just to get her out of the building before more of her vital essence goes to the usurper.

She'll be dead within a day, after all. No need to encourage her feelings anymore than he has.

Kicking through the automatic door's glass with superhuman strength, the Dark General walks briskly out of the arcade, eyes flitting about to make sure he isn't seen. When his gaze finally lands on a nearby alley -- far enough to avoid the drain, but close enough (hopefully) to see her energy restored at the youma's defeat -- he ducks into it, dropping his Masato Sanjouin illusion as soon as he's fully immersed in shadow.

Crouching, he lays the unmoving girl at his feet; but, thinking on it, the man realizes that she is still far too vulnerable, both to magical and mundane intrusion. With a flick of his hand, the Dark Crystal appears from nowhere, and a vaguely purple dome forms itself over Makoto. There. With his prize shielded from discovery, it's time to return to his mission's primary purpose: reconnaissance.

Albeit a wholly different kind of reconnaissance than he'd first expected.

In an instant, Nephrite's physical body is gone, replaced by a kind of shadowy snake that winds its way along the ground, back into the arcade where the battle still rages. Not paying any heed to the variety of attacks being flung about, the shadow self slithers up the wall, unhurried, until it is looking down from the ceiling directly.

All in the field below will hear its chill whisper in their minds: 'Whoever you fools think you are, you are stealing Dark Kingdom property. And we are watching.' Any subsequent questions, however, will receive no reply.

Outside, next to Makoto, a small note materializes.

    'Kino-san. If you awaken before I return, I have left to fetch the paramedics. Please remain cautious.

-Masato Sanjouin'
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 03:00:23 1989
Thankfully, Mercury sees the attack coming and ducks out of the way of the wing swipes and cuts. Once the bird-brain is flying high and out of her reach.....and less able to see her, she tugs out her computer and begins to scan the youma....once she has her visor up that is. *press of the earring*

"All right, Mister featherhead....lets see what everyone can do to you...."
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-14 03:02:53 1991
It's hard to make out what's going on down there though the fog - so Ail personally misses how close his youma came to being in many more pieces.

As Skreeia tried to find its targets, it was flushed out into the open by Homura's rapid fire Uzi, trapped between two sets of consoles; nowhere to run, and so it tried to flap backwards only to be the victim of Gao's hunt, the shards of needles finding their mark and causing it to unleash its' trademark self-naming screech.

Another dash back, and seeing Homura, it attempted to attack, only for its talons to clash with the magic shield Homura posesses. The grenade is dropped, and the creature doesn't even register it as damage; but before it can do its dirty work, the pretty-suited Sailor V dashes in and punts it out of Skreeia's area (and the danger of doing damage to the DDR machine), sending it flying out the window and into the parking lot, blowing up right as it lands on the hood of an /awful nice red car/.

The bird screeches, backing off, trying to get enough room to fly again, beating its large wings, putting up gusts of wind around it as it does, before it begins to make its clumsy way around the arcade again, looking for victims, to pop up and either claw, peck, or try to draw energy from.

Ail, on the other hand, while he picks up Nephrite's threat and tries to look for it, his lack of success brings him to keep worrying about merely spectating and keeping himself safe.

It's not looking good for his cardian. Bird-brain, indeed.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 03:15:31 1992
The sound of Nephrite's voice causes Gao to narrow his eyes. On one hand, this means that this youma's handler isn't part of the Dark Kingdom.

On the other, it also means that it's another faction to worry about.

The sight of Skreeia flying around looking for blood gives the forester Knight an idea -- a hilarious, hard-hitting idea.

Stepping out from behind an arcade cabinet, he extends his quarterstaff to hit the floor hard, giving the bird-youma something to hear. "Come and get me, you bird-brain!" he yells, making sure the youma has a clear line of approach... and keeping the tip of the quarterstaff touching the floor.

As Skreeia flies in to attack, Gao shouts one word--

"TREE!"

--and a single tree erupts from the ground, catching the youma under its chin like a verdant uppercut.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-14 03:21:47 1993
Homura looks on in shock as Sailor V kicks the grenade away! What the heck?! That's not what was supposed to happen. In fact, Homura is pretty sure she's never seen that before. No Puella Magi was ever crazy enough to just run up to a grenade and /kick it/ away like that.

Well this is what happens when you don't use time stop powers. Geeze. This must be another EVIL MAGICAL GIRL trying to fight alongside the bird monster! It's the only thing that makes sense, given the circumstances.

Well, that's just fine. Homura will deal with her after she focuses down Skreeia. As the bird takes flight, Homura puts her uzi away and produces a long rifle, aiming upwards at the sky and firing hypervelocity rounds at the flying menace, trying to knock it down and using the fog as cover.

Unfortunately she can't aim over such a long distance and move at the same time, so she's crouched low and firing upwards. A skilled eye might be able to guess where the sniping Puella is firing from.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 03:27:55 1995
Skreeia taking flight reminds Sailor Mercury of a battle she faced with Cure Boost a while back. She then smiles. "That may work." She says as she stands up and puts her computer away, but not her visor. She stares hard at the flying bird person and balls her hands into fists, using sheer force of will to do what she says with the fog....

FREEZE!
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 03:29:48 1996
Minako Aino slides herself over next to Mercury while her opponent is doing the 'fly in the air' thing (and getting shot to pieces as a result). She also shouts at the voice in her head a bit, insisting she isn't the one draining power away. But nobody answers her.

Instead, she gives a super-cheesy smile to Mercury, both because that's the kind of girl she is as well as masks hide part of her face, so big exaggerated motions are best.

"Heeeeey Merc! You're stealing my 'punish' lines," she says with a harmless little wink.
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-14 03:44:32 1998
Skreeia flutters around the arcade like a moth slamming against a light in the night, but then it spots Gao, again - and this time doesn't run, but drives as hard as it can to attack him, in it's primitive anger.

"Skree..." it howls, but is interrupted by Gao's "TREE!" and the creature takes the sudden growth directly on the chin ; the crunch is loud and echoes through the room, sending it careening into the air. As it tries to stabilize itself, the shots ring out from Homura's rifle, multiple rounds striking the creature across its wingspan, putting it's ability to fly out of comission. It now looks a bit like a chicken, fluttering angrily on the ground, green ooze leaking from its wounds rather than blood.

A very ANGRY chicken, as suddenly it races towards the Puella Magi - the source of the shots - at an incredibly rapid pace for a flightless bird-woman-person-thing-monster, aiming to peck the source of its most recent annoyance. And that's when Mercury's call out rings.

"Freeze!" and the bird slows. It's still angrily fighting its way to Homura, but it would be making better time if it was moving through glue. It eventually comes to a stop as the ice forms up around it.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-14 03:54:46 2000
Homura stands her ground, crouched to one knee as she fires, shot after shot into the diving bird. On the one hand, Homura is taking a huge risk fighting the bird like this. On the other hand, the oncoming target is just getting larger and larger.

As cold ice forms around the bird, Homura gets even more (over?) confident, but her gun clicks empty. Tossing it aside, she pulls out a rocket launcher from behind her shield, aims it at Skreeia, and fires at the frozen enemy. Such a relentless assault from the Puella Magi allows the bird enough time to reach her.

Homura holds up her now empty launcher to parry the peck, but it for all of its potency it's still a conventional weapon against a magical opponent. The beak rips through the launcher and nails Homura straight in the chest.

Homura is launched backwards, skidding to a halt on the asphalt. She cradles her wound, looking up to finish the monster, but it's now frozen in place. She mentally scolds herself. She got careless.

Fortunately the wound isn't nearly as bad as it could be, with Mercury freezing it as she has.

"Now! Finish it off!"
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 04:17:54 2002
Guardian Gao releases the breath he didn't know he was holding as the youma staggers away. He hadn't been sure that the trick was going to work, but it worked well.

As Skreeia staggers to a frozen stop, he draws one more arrow -- one with a blob of pulsating, coruscating green energy on its tip, albeit smaller than normal; the better to minimize collateral damage.

He takes another breath, then--

"Verdant Explosion!"

--releases the arrow.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 04:30:02 2004
Sailor Mercury is holding her concentration on the freeze effect to keep Skreeia in place for Gao's arrow explosion.

And we know what happens when things rapidly freeze then is hit by fire.....
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 04:33:01 2005
Minako Aino/Sailor V doesn't have much to contribute to the fight at this point, although she's more than happy to walk over sufficiently beaten cardians and totally kill-steal the credit with a beam of light to their face.

"Who said I'm not the best Sailor V in the room? I better make at least runner-up!" she shouts, surreptiously turning her eyes towards the entirely unguarded and unmonitored prizes table.
Seijuro Ginga 2015-06-14 04:41:25 2006
The rocket launcher had done, as appropriate, a great deal of damage to the Cardian, and then from both sides came fierce strikes; connecting at the same time came the energized explosive arrow from the Guardian, and from the other direction came Sailor V's burst of light. The cardian was on it's last legs (talons?) anyways, being the recipient of so much continuous damage, and this last blast was enough to make it give up the ghost.

Above the battlefield, Ail can sense the loss of his cardian, and the brightness of the energy that all of the thing's targets are still emitting. Didn't even down one. Useless thing.

And thus, with his minion inflicting no real damage, he elected not to float down into the fog and involve himself in the ongoing 'festivities'. Or even taunt them. He has energy to bring back to En, after all.

Down in the world, as Ail leaves and the fog dissapates, some of the citizens wake up - some don't. Emergency services are called, and in absence of any rational explanation, the event is called off by its officials due to 'medical concerns'. Admidst apologies, the officials announce they will hold the event again, but at a different time.
Homura Akemi 2015-06-14 05:00:47 2008
The fight is over, but there is still that EVIL MAGICAL GIRL to contend with. Wait, did Sailor V actually blast the monster in the face? This isn't making any sense.

Homura decides not to hang around long enough to deal with the aftermath. Her wound will heal, she got by without using too much actual magic, and most importantly of all: She got to drink a milk shake.

Homura sprints away down a dark alley, superjumps up to a roof, and starts roof-jumping away from the scene. Other people can handle the rest. She herself doesn't enjoy uncomfortable questions.
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 05:06:13 2009
Guardian Gao looks around as the youma shatters and the fog disperses. "Good to see the two of you again, even if it was in this kind of situation," he nods to Mercury and V. "Are the two of you okay?"

He's still keeping an eye out for any opportunistic trouble, though -- he knows he heard the voice of Nephrite, and the forester Knight wouldn't put anything past a clever foe.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 05:12:24 2010
Sailor Mercury smiles to Gao. "It is good to see you again as well, and without being hurt." She says before looking behind her. "Is something wrong, guardian?" She says before glancing to Sailor V again.
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 05:14:14 2011
Minako Aino/Sailor V lowers her voice to Mercury and passes along a whispered message about 'that being the guy who wrapped his arms around me to save my life', although she adds some extra, flamboyant details.

"Nothing is wrong now. We've triumphed!
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 05:22:02 2012
Guardian Gao shakes his head slightly. "During the fight, I thought I heard a voice -- the same voice behind the dancing youma at Infinity," he explains. "It could just be a trick of the mind, or some sort of feint to misdirect us, but it's making me wary."

A smile does cross his face at Sailor V's energetic declaration. "Indeed, it would seem so," the forester Knight nods in agreement. "And perhaps we will meet again in the future -- hopefully when there are no monsters..."

The phrase 'are stealing energy' sticks in his mouth. "...when there are no monsters threatening the public," he finishes.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 05:27:00 2014
Sailor Mercury looks to Gao. "You think so? Where did you hear it?" Mercury says to Gao.
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 05:30:58 2015
Minako Aino distracts herself with looking over the prizes at the table. "I didn't hear anything too important," she comments. "If they do anything, I'll just handle it. Obviously, if they can talk a talk but not walk their talk, it's no big deal. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but talk is too cheap for your mouth to cash checks."
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 05:39:17 2017
Guardian Gao shrugs. "I couldn't place a direction to it," he admits. "It was before I hit the youma with a tree, though." If the Senshi didn't notice it, then it might have just been his mind jumping at shadows.

His expression goes blank for a moment as he tries to parse Sailor V's comments. They /sound/ familiar to sayings used in Waldia, but... strangely different. After a moment Gao blinks, then shrugs again. Must be some quirky Earth idioms, then; just another way this world is different than the one he came from, and how it's occasionaly incomprehensible.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 05:45:42 2018
Sailor Mercury turns back around and taps her earring, putting her visor away. "If you hear it again, please let me know." She says looking over Sailor V.
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 05:47:56 2019
Minako Aino returns to the talk with a few little cards worth credits in the machines. "My dear friends, from the buttons of my heart, I thank you," she says, most sincerely. "You both acted just as heroically as the superheroine beloved by all, Sailor V!" she announces, handing out the little credit sticks.

"Take these as tokens of my personal appreciation!"
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 05:54:57 2020
Guardian Gao nods back to Mercury. "Will do -- ah, and what if I happen to hear it when you're not around?" he inquires. If information should be shared, it might help if they had some sort of reliable communication, even if the method turns out to be indirect.

He accepts the proffered reward from Sailor V, a somewhat baffled expression on his face. "Ah, thank you," the forester manages to stammer out, bowing slightly as he receives the card. Better ask Hinote about it later!
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 06:00:55 2021
Sailor Mercury looks to Gao. "if you have a way to communicate...we could 'exchange numbers'...as it were." She then looks to the credit stick and looks to Sailor V. "uhm....thank you?" She says before looking to Gao. "You can contact me through my computer here."
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 06:03:03 2022
Minako Aino/Sailor V, being the premier magical girl of the country, doesn't feel she has to do anything productive or do any networking, since she feels she has things under control.

She does, however, feel an intensive, burning need to interrupt Mercury at the phrase 'exchanging numbers' with an adorable cooing sound followed by 'OOOOoooooOOOOOOOooooooooooh.'
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 06:12:05 2024
Guardian Gao thinks for a moment. Yes, he has a cellphone, but it's only one cellphone, and from he's learned from Hinote, it's not really possible to disguise one number twice from the same person. What to do...?

"Sure, that sounds like a good idea," he nods, summoning his cellphone to his hands. The contacts he has on it are all magical people anyway; shouldn't be any problems if he keeps it that way, right? He mentions his number, and enters Mercury's contact info.

Gao does give a little snort of laughter when Sailor V starts making a big deal of exchanging numbers. "Do you want to exchange numbers as well?" he asks, a wry smile on his face as he turns the attention to her.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 06:15:14 2025
Sailor Mercury smiles to Gao. "Naturally, contacting me in this means it's an emergency." She says before looking to Sailor V. "Did you want to do so as well?" She says before looking to Gao and entering his contact info. "Are you all right, Sailor V?"
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 06:18:20 2026
Minako Aino/Sailor V comments that bored-at-bedtime or 'just wanted to chat' are also a kind of emergency before answering actual questions.

"Sure sure. I'll trade my digits, but you'll have to get to know me better before I give out any other kinds of numbers," she sings.

For the most part, her number is a real one. It's even attached to a cell phone. With a normal sounding number. "I don't usually give this out, not even to my biggest fans, but you two ask me so earnestly and with such puppy-dog eyes, it would be a SIN to deny you both!"
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 06:26:37 2028
"Understood," Gao nods to Mercury. "I am likewise willing to lend aid in case of emergency, but otherwise I'm not expecting much communication beyond that." Helping to defend against youma and the like might help him feel better about what he'll have to do later...

Sailor V's comments elict a chuckle from the Knight. "I am honored to have these digits, then," he replies with a smile. No harm in humoring this kind of impish banter, especially when it's with a skilled fighter.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 06:28:42 2029
Sailor Mercury smiles softly. "Of course." She says before turning. "I should get this back to Sailor Moon though." She says starting to run off. "See you all again."
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 06:31:29 2030
Minako Aino shouts something about the stereotype of the blushing girl running away after exchanging her phone number!

"But but but, unless anybody needs the voluminous Sailor V, I should dash off too!"
Gaofele Doiru 2015-06-14 06:37:58 2031
Guardian Gao nods to the departing Senshi, then turns and walks away, using plantsprings to put some distance between him and the arcade before transforming back to normal. All in all, a productive day -- learning about video games, and gaining a way to contact some of the Senshi.

As Gao heads back to the store, he pulls his cellphone out of his pocket, then writes a text to Rune and Hinote:

    Youma attack at arcade; resolved. I'm okay; have info to discuss.
Minako Aino 2015-06-14 06:40:22 2032
Minako Aino doesn't leave, but instead de-henshins so she can lie down amongst other cosplayers and pretend to 'wake up', answer police and media questions, and encourage people to look at her Sailor V website.