Call Down the Lightning

Soldier of Thunder and Courage! Sailor Jupiter's Brilliant Awakening!

Date: 2015-06-14
Pose Count: 36
Nephrite 2015-06-14 22:51:11 2143
Nephrite is, typically, a patient man. By virtue of his profession, he has to be. The stars move in cycles of months -- years, even. The seeds of his own youma take their time to mature and fester. If he had not grown used to delayed gratification, he'd be all but useless, no better than the fool Jadeite, grasping for whatever is in easy reach and losing sight of the bigger picture.

Ordinarily, he'd have been content to wait for Makoto Kino. But it's getting later, she's still not arrived, and *something* is out there stealing his rightful energy--

The Dark General slams his gloved fist on a display of jewelry, knocking several of the arrayed pieces to the floor. He cannot afford to wait any longer, and yet, there is nothing to do but wait.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-14 23:13:22 2147
"--so I just kind of came to outside. Sanjouin-san had already gone to get the paramedics, so I haven't had a chance to thank him or anything."

Makoto is doing her best to rein in the length of her stride to something Ami can keep up with, but she's definitely in a hurry. The events of the other day have made her all the more anxious not to be late for her appointment, such as it is, at the bridal shop. If it weren't for the necessity of keeping pace with Ami, she'd probably be jogging.

"Anyway," she says, glancing momentarily sidelong to her friend, "I'm glad you're okay!"
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 23:20:40 2148
Ami is jogging already, at least, to keep up with Makoto. "I'm more glad you are all right, Makoto-chan. Those things in there were scary. I know I couldn't have done anything to that big avian creature." She says really really attempting to keep up with the 'amazon's' long strides. "As long as Sanjouin-san made it to the paramedics too. I heard everyone else eventually made a full recovery."
Makoto Kino 2015-06-14 23:40:07 2151
"Oh," says Makoto, distracted; "is that what it was? I really didn't get much of a look before the lights started going out. Whatever it was, it was super weird."

One may get the sense that whatever happened at the arcade is not really the main thing on Mako's mind at the moment. As they get within sight of their destination she brightens up, stretches a hand out ahead of her to point. "Ah, here it is! That bridal shop there, with the beautiful display."
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-14 23:50:39 2153
A Makoto gets to the bridal shop, Ami smiles a little bit. "Why Makoto. I never knew you cared." She says in a giggling voice to Makoto as they look inside of the window. "That is a beautiful dress, Makoto-chan." She says running her fingers on the window, before looking to Makoto. "Why are you looking at bridal gowns so early, Makoto-chan?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-14 23:53:08 2154
A case of jewelry -- and Tuxedo Kamen, though now knowing there was no way any ordinary store would have carried the Silver Crystal, still wistfully and/or broodingly cases them, creeping about at night. Because of this, he's out on this night -- and he's in the process of jacking the lock on the back door when Nephrite breaks open the case.

Oh. Oh damn.

Fumbling his cellphone -- he can't handle this alone, he has to find someone to help -- he starts dialing a number, but the phone slips through his gloved hands and clatters on the floor. Eyes wide, he freezes, silhouetted in the back door. Then he bolts.

Ami will see him. Makoto will see him. He runs past them at speed, alarm sounding in the background, going to try and find Sailor Moon, Sailor V, anyone--
Nephrite 2015-06-14 23:56:47 2155
How *stupid* he had been to simply let the girl walk away without some kind of insurance that she'd keep her word. Certainly he'd monitored her condition after the fight from the shadows, seeing that most (if not all) of her stolen energy was returned to her. Perhaps if his mind hadn't been so occupied with identifying just who the poachers were, he'd have had the forethought to slip some kind of tracking device on her, to mark her location at all times. After all, the word of a mortal is a fickle thing, and if the Kino girl were to renege on her promise to come to the bridal store, he'd have no reliable way of finding her again.

...It takes several long moments for the Shitennou to realize that his brief display of rage set off the store's built-in alarms, which had been blaring away now for who knows how long. Blast it -- he should have known better than to lash out like that. With a whim, small pulses of dark magic disable the cacophonous alarms and ward off police intervention; not that he and his youma couldn't take care of the problem, should they arrive. They would simply complicate things, should Makoto Kino actually keep her 'appointment' with him.

"Youma," Nephrite commands, monotone, and the ghostly figure of his creature appears beside him, bedecked in a lacy gown and veil. "Keep a watchful eye for any intruders. Should you see Makoto Kino, bring her to me. Understood?"

The grey 'lady' bows wordlessly in response, then disappears. Outside the shop, in addition to the running masked man and the suddenly silenced alarm, the two young onlookers will notice that one of the beautifully dressed mannequins has taken on a rather odd crimson glow around the eyes.

And did her head just twitch?
Makoto Kino 2015-06-14 23:57:32 2158
"Eh?" For a moment, Makoto blinks at Ami in surprise and confusion - then she breaks out into a laugh, shaking her head. "I'm not, really - sorry, I guess I was in a little too much of a hurry. You've heard the rumors about this place, right?" So Mako assumes, anyway, it's been all over school for reasons mostly related to one Gurio Umino. "About a ghost bride, and grooms who visit the store disappearing. It seems like the gossip's been hurting business, so Sanjouin-san asked me..."

Her explanation trails off as the alarm begins to peal and the tuxedo-clad figure bolts out from the back of the shop. Momentarily at a loss for words, Makoto can only glance toward Ami, green eyes comically wide... and then, because she has absolutely no sense of self-preservation, she starts in to see what's going on.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-15 00:06:01 2160
"Makoto-chan, wait!" Ami says, pleading to Makoto, just as she spies....Tuxedo Kamen!? Her own eyes wide as she spots him, but she's too worried about her friend to say anything to him, as she plunges headlong into the store along with her friend. She'd heard about the gossip, but she doesn't believe in gossip. Never really did do anything constructive for her since she dealt in facts, at least...most of the time. The Dark Kingdom was another thing entirely.
Minako Aino 2015-06-15 00:36:03 2163
Minako Aino was spending her time on the phone with her police chief friend, being lectured on why she absolutely cannot give interviews to the media about how awesome Sailor V is while in a civilian identity! Something about 'bad representation' and 'not responsible'. Minako avoids further conversation by claiming she'll make it up by investigating a false alarm ("But... it's a *false* alarm!").

She's dressed as a Sailor V with a cat draped across both shoulders like a huge scarf. But she's pre-emptively loosened a few bows in case the illustrious Sailor V is offered a free prom dress. The disapproving scarf frowns, since this is exactly the sort of behavior she was on the phone being lectured about.

"But Artsi, it's at a BRIDAL SHOWER STORE! It'll be fun!" she insists.

Eventually, she may catch a glimpse of Kamen. A tuxedo'd man rushing out of a bride shop is most likely a shoplifter! He's too cheap to afford a real wedding (to Homura)!
Nephrite 2015-06-15 01:25:08 2164
Nephrite, it seems, does not have to wait much longer. Seconds after the alarms have stopped, seconds after the bridal youma takes her watch in the display window, the sound of rushing footsteps catches his ear. He turns -- and there she is. Late, yes, and rushed from the race to the store, but evidently no worse for wear, even after yesterday. Good.


A slight blue-haired girl trails behind his target, also on a path into the store. Not a *problem*, per se; he could simply drain the life out of her when he's done with the Kino girl. But there is always the chance that, should she be allowed into the store alongside her brunette friend, she could cause a disturbance, possibly even draw the attention of the damnable Senshi.

Like hell is he going to let those arrogant children make off with his prize.

So, as Makoto Kino approaches the threshold of the bridal store, the ornately carved doors swing open, and an invisible force clamps itself around the girl's waist and /pulls/ her inside the darkened store, a heavy lock clunking into place behind her after the fact. At the same time, the mannequin with the glowing red eyes bursts forth from the window, morphing steadily from a plastic figure into a grey, sallow-skinned woman with bony hands and talons for fingernails.

Talons that she aims directly at the genius girl interloper's throat.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-15 01:39:59 2165
"Was he a thief...?" Makoto pauses at the threshold of the shop's door, perhaps in deference to Ami's cry for her to stop, but it doesn't keep her from peering inside in curiosity. Odd that the lights are off, it occurs to her to think. Shouldn't Sanjouin-san be here? Unless he was running late... or...

"Maybe we should call the--" Mako starts to say, glancing back over her shoulder to Ami, but before she can say the word 'police' the sudden yank of force nearly drags her off her feet. Though she manages to brace herself enough to stay upright, her grab for the doorframe misses; in the next moment the door has slammed shut behind her and Makoto staggers to a stop, hands clenched into fists at her sides as she stares wide-eyed into the shadowy interior of the apparently deserted shop.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-15 02:03:11 2167
Wait-- red and blue and long, long golden hair, in the corner of his vision--

--could it be? Could Sailor Moon have foreseen this, have already come to stop the Dark General?

Tuxedo Mask stops, turning on his heel with his cape flaring out behind him, but he doesn't see anything in the door. But Ami and Makoto-- Usagi's friends-- aren't in sight anymore. Then the door to the shop slams shut.

Doubling back grimly, the mask-clad young gentleman sees, abruptly, that it was not actually Sailor Moon: "Sailor V!" he calls in a low voice. "I'll try and keep the mannequin off them so they can get away-- you draw the attention! Please!"

She /is/ good at drawing attention. Right? Specialty. Right? Also ass-kicking. Hoping V doesn't just dismiss him out of hand, Mamoru sprints around back and slinks up toward the front on the inside, looking for an angle to get between Ami and the thing, or Ami and Mako and the thing, or SOMETHING, and substitute himself for them--
Minako Aino 2015-06-15 02:13:09 2169
Minako Aino/Sailor V is absolutely willing to go in and make a distraction. Sometimes, distractions can be attacks.

Either way, Tuxedo's words help to break V out of her reverie. She confused poor attacked girls with clumsy people until seeing Ami being dragged along. Tuxedo's orders also has the pleasant side-effect (for him) of interrupting her chastizement on the social sins of shoplifting and how it hurts the end consumer, but that's a talk for later.

V's unintentionally distracting - she stands in front of the doors after having seen them swing open, shouting some challenge as she assumes the doors are automatic. They're not. She waves her hands about until she gives it a firm kick, repeating her challenge but stopping when the doors don't swing open. She gives it one more kick before (at Artemis' behest) she tries the door but it's locked.

So she just goes in through the broken window with a much less impressive shout of: "Hello? Sailor V is here!"
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-15 02:21:19 2171
"I don't think it was a thief, but a strange bystander." Ami manages to get out before Makoto's suddenly yanked into the store by an unknown force. Ami starts to run after Makoto, but the door's slammed in her face. "MAKOTO-CHAN!" She yells.....JUST before the youma leaps out of the store front window. She leaps out of the way of the youma and screams loudly before running for her life away from the youma. Just like any true scared girl would do.
Nephrite 2015-06-15 02:35:32 2173
"Welcome, Makoto Kino."

The booming voice echoes across the store, deep, villainous, and wholly self-satisfied. Sourceless, too, as the store appears to be unoccupied save for the stunned middle schooler herself. The magical pressure that pulled her in lets up, allowing her to stand of her own volition. Not that it would help, of course.

"I'm afraid Masato Sanjouin couldn't make it this evening. My sincerest apologies." Here, the sound of footsteps can be heard in one of the store's many looming shadows, and from within, he appears. Tall, broad-shouldered, dressed in a twisted kind of military uniform with epaulets of gold. Eyes as blue as ice and just as cold stare down at Makoto as a smirk lifts one corner of his mouth.

It seems this girl has the dubious honor of being the first mortal to lay eyes on Nephrite's true form.

"Let us not waste time," he says, then snaps his fingers. At the sound, the dark magic forms once more around the Kino girl -- this time around her wrist -- and pulls her much closer to him, until they are but a few feet apart. "You have something my master needs. Go to your rest knowing you have helped pave the way for my Kingdom's conquest." He gives a harsh chuckle, then shoots his hand out like a viper, grabbing her forearm and -- finally -- starting to drain away some of that electric energy that sparks and crackles inside her.

Meanwhile, the youma shrieks as the blue-haired girl escapes, but finds her attention needed elsewhere as two more intruders come on the scene. The first, a vibrant girl loudly announcing her identity at the shattered window, gets a storm of black, corrosive petals scattered around her, thrown from the youma's noxious bouquet. The slightly more interesting. Dressed in such a dashing tuxedo, the masked man looks oh-so-much like the grooms she had seduced and stowed inside the store during her tenure.

She licks her lips, predatory. Surely Nephrite wouldn't begrudge her one more disappearance?

Moving so fast as to be a blur, the black-draped woman blocks off Tuxedo Kamen's approach, her eyes resuming their haunting, crimson glow. "Hello there, handsome," she breathes, mimicking the sulty behavior of the mortals she's studied alongside her master. "Won't you be a dear and become my slave?"
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-15 02:49:13 2176
Ami is almost thankful at seeing the Sailor V cosplayer again, which gives her a chance to duck down a side alley, digging out her pen. "That Sailor V cosplayer is really getting into her role. But she's going to get hurt if she keeps it up against a real enemy." She then holds her pen aloft.

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 her knee and spins into the ribbon, which contracts around her form, bursting into many motes of light to reveal...

Sailor Mercury!

"I've got to get back to that Cosplayer...." She says rounding a corner, but seeing said cosplayer confronting well as Tuzedo Kamen. So she hangs back....presses her earring to make her visor come up, and begins her scan.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-15 02:55:17 2178
"Ami-chan!" Makoto can hear Ami's scream from outside, and her first thought is to look wildly for some way out to help her friend. Her eyes fall on the broken window, the distinctive silhouette that she can see through it. Sailor V--? "Hey!" Mako calls urgently across the darkened bridal shop. "Please, help Ami-chan!"

It's all that she can do for now - as she quickly discovers, Makoto is in plenty of trouble of her own. Her full regard whips toward Nephrite as he emerges from the darkness, her eyes narrowing fiercely at his words, the overt menace that seems to roll off of the Dark General. "Who are you?" she demands. "Did you do something to Sanjouin-san?"

When the dark force pulls at her again, she digs her heels into the carpet, resisting as best she can for all the good it does her. As he grabs her forearm, Makoto reacts purely on reflex, muscle memory from hours clocked in the dojo - he'll expect her to pull against him, will be ready for it, so rather than even try it she drops her shoulder and throws her weight *into* him with a determined heave.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-15 02:55:52 2179
WELP he said he was going to keep the mannequin off their backs, time to put his money where his mouth is--

Tuxedo Kamen leaps back a half-step, nope-ing out of immediate reach of Bridezilla, and scowls, showing his teeth. He reaches back behind the counter and grabs a retractable cloth measuring tape, then crouches low and flings out his hand like he's a Yo-yo master, case whipping toward the youma and tape still in his hand. It flies past the bride-thing's ankles and he yanks it backwards, trying to basically bolo the youma's feet together and pull it to the ground.

"That's a terrible question!" he objects, also kicking out to help the process along. "If you want to trick me, you'll have to tailor your come-ons to suit, and I'm afraid you don't measure up!"
Minako Aino 2015-06-15 03:02:14 2181
"Tuxedo Kamen!" Sailor V shouts. "You had better not say 'I do' to that monster's question! Don't forget your Invisible Girl!" she shouts, throwing Artemis into the fray (he's a distraction) and kicking out another window to let in some more air after dodging away from unpleasant petals. It's loud and obnoxious, but also lets in some air. But mostly, she just likes breaking things.

Honestly, Minako has the sneaking suspicion that Tuxedo Kamen was misbehaving and stealing things, but decides that helping 'her friend Ami-chan' and the girl being energy drained are not only main priorities, but mitigating factors that would excuse whatever illegal shenanigans and shoplifting he's performed.
Nephrite 2015-06-15 03:25:05 2184
Nephrite is oblivious to the Senshi who has appeared, oblivious to her computer's scanning of the store and its youma. He's not as oblivious to the intrusion of the others, as they don't exactly endeavor to be quiet and the sound of crunching glass beneath their feet serves to tip him off as well, but he doesn't pay attention. Partially because the energy flowing into him is intoxicating, overwhelmingly powerful, filling him with the elation of victory, visions of Queen Beryl's favor, perhaps just the tiniest whisper of something nostalgic...

And partially because the source of said energy charges into him with the force of a battering ram, knocking the air cleanly from his chest.

The man stumbles backward, eyes wide with shock more than fury, and he loses his grip on Makoto. The nauseating drain on her life essence stops as soon as his hand leaves her arm.

The youma isn't in much better condition. Whereas Mercury's computer shows nothing but 'unknowns' and 'redacteds' concerning Nephrite, a whole host of information appears for the Senshi-dubbed Bridezilla. Able to mind control most humans, possessing a host of shark-like teeth and a bouquet of flowers that paralyze with a touch, only two things appear under the youma's list of weaknesses. Flowers, living and pure, unlike her own. And thunder.

Though apparently measuring tape will do, in a pinch, because for now the elaborately dressed creatures lies thrashing about on the floor. Unable to escape her binds, she reaches one sickly hand into the bouquet and unleashes a veritable tornado of black petals, which catch on some kind of unseen wind and hurtle at unbelievable speed in a vortex around the store, freezing anyone they touch.

Nephrite, meanwhile, has recovered, and the rage absent in his eyes before is all too present now.

"I didn't do anything to Masato Sanjouin," the Dark General says, not untruthfully, before lunging at superhuman speeds towards Makoto, bypassing any attempt at self-defense to put her in a vice-like sleeper hold. "I didn't have to. After all, why would a distinguished man such as him ever care about an awkward, gangly thing like *you*?" He tightens his hold across her neck, resuming the energy drain so rudely interrupted before.

Leaning in closer, he says in a near whisper, "I am Nephrite, Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom. And you have lost to me."
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-15 03:47:34 2187
Shabou Spray!

Sailor Mercury calls out as the youma sets her sights upon Tuxedo Kamen, her hands out in front of her. The point of light comes to being, and Mercury turns 360 degrees to cross her arms behind the growing point of light.


She sweeps her arms in front of her, to make the light fire off a cascade of bubbles at the Youma, but near Tuxedo Kamen. Whether it hits the Youma or now, it gives Tuxedo Kamen some much needed cover from the Youma's well as the Sailor V Cosplayer.

Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-15 03:52:04 2189
That word. Shitennou. That word makes Tuxedo Kamen's head whip around in alarm, ice stabbing into his heart and shooting to his fingertips. He starts to move toward Nephrite and Makoto, not noticing that the youma's reaching for its weapon again. Everything's confused and everything hurts strangely, going in slow motion--

--Nephrite, he said his name was--

--and the black petals swirl through the air, catching at his cape and freezing it, brushing past his face and freezing him until he might as well be a mannequin himself. His blue eyes are focused on the brown-haired duo of rage and thunder, full to screaming of frustration and worry. This isn't even part of his mission. This isn't even his problem, is it? But it has to be, it has to be; he doesn't know what he doesn't remember, but these people are all so heartbreakingly familiar, and the words and the images hit him--

--and then Mercury's blessed attack fills the air with covering mists and righteous indignation, and suddenly it's only cold making him feel stiff and slow. Cold he can cope with. Especially friendly cold. He kicks at the youma's head and then vaults the counter and disappears into the fog, sneaking across the room to where Nephrite and Makoto are.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-15 04:05:42 2192
Her reflexive move worked better than it had any right to. For a heartbeat, maybe two, Makoto begins to think that she has this, that this is an opponent she can beat.

That upswell of confidence is rudely shot down in the next instant. There's no chance for follow through; he's behind her too fast to follow, arm closing around her throat before she can do more than yelp in surprise. Her fingers dig into his sleeve, pulling at his arm to no avail--

--and then he speaks, and Makoto's struggling stills as her eyes widen.

It's such a low, low blow, couldn't have been better targeted to hurt her. And hurt it does... but beneath and beyond the hurt, something else is swelling up, trembling with barely-contained power, growing like a stormcloud.


" how dare you..." A distant rumble of thunder rolls as Makoto's voice grits through clenched teeth. Outside, if any of them weren't too preoccupied to see it, the sky has darkened with clouds that blot out the stars. "Mocking a girl's heart..."

Within Nephrite's grasp, Makoto's stance shifts, hands tightening purposefully on his arm. The strength of righteous anger and something greater previously locked away floods through her, and on her forehead a sigil blazes into being with brilliant green light - the sign of Jupiter, like a figure 4. "...I won't forgive you!"

With this defiant shout, Makoto *heaves,* putting all of her strength into yanking Nephrite off-balance enough to hurl him over her shoulder.
Minako Aino 2015-06-15 04:12:59 2194
Minako Aino/Sailor V takes cover inside of a row of dresses priced far out of her league, her cat scrambling underneath of her for more cover, trying to avoid the unpleasant bridal bouquette fumes until the air gets crisper, colder, wetter, and probably much less poisonous.

Artemis meows something and V nods her head, chucking a particularly handsome low-cut bridesmaid dress at Bridezilla as a contribution towards Kamen's safety. As if that were enough, she gives Artemis a big smile before turning around.

"Tuxedo Guy can handle her. I've got bigger fish to fillet!" she declares, turning around to stomp towards Makoto and the particularly unkind general. "She is not a ganguro. She has lovely skin and a pretty smile! If you liked her so much, you shoulda' put a ring on it, but it seems you can't take rejection at all! You get one chance to get outta' here!"

Artemis interrupts her with a little meow and a flick of his tail towards Makoto's forehead. "Does that look familiar?"


"NO! Jupiter!"

"OH! I knew that... oh!"

Artemis knows what to do - he jumps in the air as V yells, "ARTY DO A BARREL ROLL!" and leaves a little glowing crackling pen with an appropriate 4 symbol on it on the ground, as well as an awkward pause as each expects the other to 'pass it along'.
Mamoru Chiba 2015-06-15 04:24:09 2196
Basically, tfw the stars and planets align and there's a crackling electric pen on the floor and a really angry proto-senshi yelling right there and you can do something to really help--

Tuxedo Kamen, now in range, unceremoniously scoops the henshin pen off the floor and darts through the cover of fog, beelining for Makoto. He scoops her up just as perfunctorily, whispering quickly, "I'm an ally! Hang on!"

Then the door crashes open as he shoulders through it and yells back, "I'M GETTING HER OUT OF HERE!"

As soon as they're outside out of sight, he quickly puts Makoto down and shoves the pen into her hands. "Take that rage: I think you know what to say!"
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-15 04:41:11 2198
Tuxedo Kamen moves QUITE quickly, faster than Mercury can move her fog. SO when he ducks back out of the store, the fog is there to give him cover. Nephrite nor the Youma can see into the fog at all, but Minako, mercury and Tuxedo kamen can. It's into this fog that Mercury runs into once Tuxedo Kamen comes out. "Tuxedo Kamen!"

Starting to sound like a broken record here...

"Is she all right?" Sailor mercury says, obviously concerned.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-15 04:51:06 2200
The past few days have been full of things that don't normally happen to Makoto Kino. To the list add one more: being unceremoniously hoisted and carted off by a guy in formal wear.

Better than getting the life drained out of her by a Dark General, though.

"...I'm okay," she answers Sailor Mercury's herself, a little breathless but still somehow in one piece. "Thanks." As she says it, she's staring at the pen he's pushed into her hand... because he's right. Although she has no idea how, she *does* know what to say, and now's definitely the time.

Hand closing around the pen, Mako straightens, levering herself up onto her feet. Once more, thunder grumbles from overhead as Makoto raises the skywards and declares with no uncertainty:

"Jupiter Power - MAKE UP!"

Without an instant of delay, electricity blooms from the symbol atop the pen, long tendrils of bright crackling energy swirling outward to encircle her until she can only be seen as a silhouette within the lightning. When it subsides, Makoto Kino is gone, and in her place stands a magical warrior in green and pink, poised and ready for battle.
Minako Aino 2015-06-15 04:59:00 2202
Minako Aino/Sailor V makes a complaint about Tuxedo Kamen running off to elope with all the girls, but Artemis tells her to stay on task. Specifically, the enemy in front of her.

"I'm gonna blow this joint," she shouts, aiming her finger first at Nephrite's face... but then she slinks behind cover, a row of display dresses. She turns her fingers towards the full-length mirrors on the wall and throws a terrible series of bouncing crescent beams all around the interior of the store in an unnecessarily destructive display from her safe vantage point.

Artemis suggests that maybe the Dark Kingdom General didn't actually buy, finance, and staff the place, because that would be stupid, but Minako has already commenced with Operation Ultralaserbeam and is committed.
Nephrite 2015-06-15 05:29:55 2205
On the cusp of victory, everything goes wrong, and all at once.

Nephrite stands unmoved by Makoto's words -- mortals often spew dramatic nonsense as they die, it is very rarely worth paying attention to. What he *does* notice is the shift in the air, the subtle humming of a current that certainly wasn't there before. The energy flowing into him suddenly shocks and bites at him as he attempts to steal it, making him wince and reflexively loosen his hold on the girl. Just what is going--

Before he knows it, the room is filled with freezing, blinding fog. The world spins as he finds his feet leave the ground, his body hoisted into the air and sent plummeting to the ground in a few, very long seconds. Too stunned to react, the Dark General lies on his aching back, eyes straining against the dense fog to see something. Anything.

There's the sound of footsteps, of lasers ricocheting this way and that, a voice crying that he's getting her out, and -- damnit! He's going to lose her!

"," Nephrite grunts, catching his breath as he finally has the wherewithal to stand once again. "You will pay dearly for interfering with my plans!"

The Dark Crystal, suddenly in his hands, emits a flash of negative light that negates the chilled fog, condensing it into shards of ice that patter harmlessly to the floor. By some divine coincidence, this happens just as the crack of thunder comes out from nowhere, and in the light from the moon pouring in from the broken windows, he sees...

(Someone from long ago. Someone he remembers.)

A new, unknown enemy.

The Shitennou's eyes twitch, fists clenching in impotent fury. So the Senshi have called in reinforcements; no matter. The youma will slay them all. With a flick of his wrist, he catches the ricocheting beam of light in his own kind of twisted prism, redirecting it towards the monster's binds, freeing her.

"Tonight is the night you perish, Senshi," he says, his figure floating into the air as Bridezilla rights herself once again. "Bridezilla! Unleash the power of the Dark Kingdom!"

With a feral scream, the youma obliges, and the store is transformed into a gale of broken glass, noxious fumes, and rotten petals.
Minako Aino 2015-06-15 05:33:29 2206
Minako Aino peeks between the bindings on Bridezilla and Artemis,then quite convincingly claims that last laser beam wasn't hers.
Ami Mizuno 2015-06-15 05:50:51 2209
Standing there in a bit of shock, Sailor Mercury has a slowly growing smile at the newly minted Sailor Jupiter. Then Nephrite speaks and Mercury shakes her head out of her daze.


Sailor Mercury goes into that familiar spinning dance to fire more bubbles at Bridezilla, hopefully hitting it and freezing her in place long enough for Sailor Jupiter.

Makoto Kino 2015-06-15 05:58:22 2212
"NEPHRITE!" Sailor Jupiter's voice rings through the wrecked shop as she steps forward, standing tall and unafraid as she stares the Dark General down with a challenging glare. "I won't allow you to take advantage of anyone else's heartfelt feelings!"

It feels almost familiar, this anger, but Makoto can't spare any attention for the feeling that nags in the back of her mind. shaking her hair back from her face, she brings fist to palm with an audible *smack!* "Soldier of thunder and courage, Sailor Jupiter! I won't be beaten by the likes of you and your monster!"

The fetid wind that surges outward from the youma batters against her, but Jupiter stands firm. When Sailor Mercury calls to her, she answers with a firm nod.

"Let me show you the true strength of flowers..." Her arms spread out to either side of her, and roses bloom in the palms of her outstretched hands, scattering vibrant pink petals into the air that swirls around her. The foul scent of the youma bride's rotten bouquet is pushed back by the perfume of fresh blooms, an invigorating springlike wind that begins close around Sailor Jupiter but quickly spreads, battling against the torrent from the youma and pushing it back until the entire shop is flooded in a dizzying whirl of color and fragrance.

Minako Aino 2015-06-15 06:01:09 2213
Minako Aino/Sailor V claps her hands before scooping up Artemis to take a more commanding position on the cash register.

"She's amazing, Arts!" she says, taking in a deep breath. "So explosive and powerful... a pepperoni of scents! She really is a senshi!"
Nephrite 2015-06-15 06:34:11 2214
/Those eyes.../

Nephrite is momentarily taken aback, gazing headlong into the furious face of Sailor Jupiter. Such power. Such *anger*. And here he'd thought the Senshi to be nothing more than cowardly rogues, relying on fog and cheap acrobatics to stand their grown. Not this one.

He supposes it's only appropriate from the Roman god-king's planet to have a soldier of thunder.

Though it is a wholly different kind of storm that fills the store after she delivers her impassioned words; not one of lightning and destruction. No, as she so clearly said, this is a storm of *flowers*, and as pathetic as the idea sounds, it is, nevertheless, succeeding against him. Multicolored petals lash at him and his monster, easily overpowering the whirling vortex of decay that existed just seconds ago. The Dark General breathes in a lungful of the cloying perfume and coughs, bringing one sleeve up to shield himself from anymore of it.

But those eyes still reach him. And, despite the anger reflected in his own eyes, he can't quite look away.

Bridezilla doesn't stand long against the floral assault, gown and body shredded to pieces as the true flowers overtake her. Nephrite is not so easily destroyed, and for a second, he considers fighting back--

But that would be foolish. He's now outnumbered four-to-one, and this operation was a wash from the very beginning. Better to let them wreck the place and escape, living on to serve the Dark Kingdom for another day. For all the days to come. But not before some parting words.

"You may have won the day, Sailor Jupiter, but the war is far from over," the man growls, throat still sore from coughing. "And I promise you. I *always* remember." A distorted hole in reality appears behind him, and he floats into it, away from the storm.

"I shall return."

Then, in a flash, the remains of the youma, the Dark General, and the oppressive presence in the air have all vanished.
Makoto Kino 2015-06-15 06:39:30 2215
In the wake of Nephrite's disappearance, the tempest within the shop dies away, petals drifting to rest on the floor. After everything that's just happened, the stillness that settles is nearly deafening.

It's broken by a soft, breathless little laugh from Sailor Jupiter as she surveys the damage and, for the first time, gets a good look at her allies.

"I guess we have some stuff to talk about, huh?"