819/Crystalline Witch

From Radiant Heart MUSH

Crystalline Witch
Date of Scene: 28 November 2023
Location: Mitakihara Ward
Synopsis: True Facets Jewelry Boutique claims to have found the Silver Crystal, but before the truth of that claim can be tested, a bizarre familiar steals the gem for itself! It's up to Hope Blossom, Sharp Song, Red, Hematite, Sailor Uranus, Onihime, and Sailor Moon to venture into the labyrinth.
Cast of Characters: Usagi Tsukino, Madoka Kaname, Haruka Tenoh, Amanda Faust, Mamoru Chiba, Kureha Senkenzan, Sayaka Miki

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
It's been all over ClockApp for a while now, sprinkled on the news in various discussions. A local sweets shop even made a candy based on it, and a local musician made a song titled after it. What is it? The Phantom Silver Crystal, of course! The mysterious gem that can create a miracle!

And True Facets Jewelry Boutique, a small jewelry store specializing in personalized pieces of jewelry, has announced to all of Tokyo that they just may have found that very same jewel! A gemologist will be making an appeareance publically to verify the nature of the jewel for all to see, and after that -

Well, the store hasn't disclosed what exactly they plan to do with it, after. But for now, in the mid-afternoon, school having let out, plenty of people are here at the small boutique to see the supposed crystal, including one Usagi Tsukino, having arrived with her boyfriend Mamoru Chiba in tow.

True Facets is a small shop, just large enough to fit several display cases of finished works, cut gems, and uncut gems, with standing room for about 15 people with comfortable spacing, twenty-five if people get friendly. Right now, people are very, very friendly. That's going to be a problem soon...

"Thank you all for coming," the boutique owner says, "As a remindeer, we're having a 10% off sale to thank everyone who's so eagerly come to celebrate with our boutique!"

The gem hasn't even been verified yet!

And, for those who don't care about the Silver Crystal one bit... there's a Witch in the area, the sense of it's magic heavy in this corner of Mitakihara. To those who can sense magic, there's almost a fog overhead, warning that something may be coming.

"Mamochan," Usagi whispers, "Do you think it could really be the Silver Crystal?"

She is not one of those who can sense magic.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Hope Blossom is here, and for once she doesn't have any visible Chara with her. Well, technically, Lydian is here but she's merged with Madoka for the moment and... look it makes sense if you know how Chara Bearers work. What matters is that Hope Blossom is here, looking for a Witch, and a couple of things catch her eye.

    For one, Mamoru is here. Or rather, the guy who lowkey revealed himself to be Hematite, the one who very politely and cordially asked Madoka to help him film the Clock App video, is here at jewelry store event very clearly talking about the Phantom Silver Crystal. Could this be the real thing?

    He's with someone. Does she look familiar? Blossom doesn't remember. Is this... is this Hematite's boss? Hope Blossom looks at Usagi with a suspicious side eye.

    Either way, there's no chance of them being related to the Witch she's hunting. Or so she assumes.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    It's not so much the fog that has called Haruka Tenoh to this area - it's the wind. It's the way that she can feel an almost scar in the way it moves, like there's a fundamental area of 'wrong' that she's being either drawn to or pushed away from. Which, she's not sure. But she's never felt anything like it before. It's rare for a witch to actually disrupt the things Haruka senses like this - so rare this is the first time. It's not that she's a witch radar, it's just that she's unlucky today. Or the Witch is.

    On the way through following her senses, she sees Usagi. She almost waves but remembers that Usagi doesn't know who Sailor Uranus is, and she's not ready to tell her. So the fashionable girl with the short blonde hair and the blue dress and the high heels just walks on by, though she does stop to peer at who Usagi is with.

    The girl in all pink draws her eye. That dress takes some bravery to wear in public Cosplayer, or magical girl, she can't tell. Is there a difference? Should Haruka henshin? Maybe she should call Michiru... but part of her wants to handle something on her own. She can't call Michiru for 'funny feelings and a girl in a poofy pink dress'. She keeps her pen at hand, though, and takes note of a nearby hallway to duck into.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Let's see here...

    Amy sits in her bunk with her back to the wall, looking at her phone. What is it this time. ...Another isekai male power fantasy. Do people never get tired of this? ...I suppose the same could be said of me. Is someone, somewhere, looking through every isekai they can find looking for hidden gems? I wish them luck in their search, they're gonna need it. Anyway... blah blah... okay, the forum post said around page 493, so skip...


    ...Ugh. Why do I do this to myself? How many times have I looked into the darkness in the heart of Man? Does reading these things wear away at my soul?

    Oh right. That's... not just a metaphor anymore. She transforms her soul gem to egg form and regards it. Still just the same bit of darkness at the top. Right? She doesn't think it looks worse.

    Get power, get resources, get the girls, kill everything in your way. It's so... shallow. But people really think this way. She remembers Otto declaring that Tharkad will grow into a great empire through conquest. ...But Hannah wants an empire too. Even I... you put me in front of a 4X or grand strategy game, or minecraft, what do I do? Exploit everything and kill whatever's in my way.

    She glances at the bit of darkness in her gem. Is it just because those worlds are made solely for this? Or is something wrong with all of us? Why would we create worlds for such purpose? She shakes her head. No! Look at you? You've got power, and were thrown into a world of magic, and yet you're not trying to harvest resources from this magical world! You just want friends and to help people!

    Smiling at that self-reassurance, she hops out of bed and walks over to the computer, only to feel that... wrongness that is now all too familiar.

    She sighs and glances at the bit of darkness in her gem. ...So, another Witch has appeared? Let's go harvest its seed, then.

    ...She frowns, and glances at her phone. Ugh. She closes that stupid story's tab before retrieving her first-aid kit and coat and heading out.


    The Witch's trail has led the red Puella all the way to Mitakihara. She looks across the street from the rooftop she's on. Some fancy jewelry store, and... wait. Is that Madoka down there?

    Amy jumps down and approaches. Together, they look less crazy and out-of-place than individually! Maybe there's a convention in town!

    "You felt the Witch too, huh? ...Wait is that Usagi and um... Darien?"

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
"Maybe," murmurs Mamoru, bending down to hear Usagi and turning his head to answer. "Something's coming. Maybe to get it. Maybe unrelated. It's..."

He is one of those who can sense magic.

"Maybe we should get outside, or-- something. Oh I hope people don't scream, it's so crowded in here."

He is also full of dark energy, please forgive his priorities.

He keeps hold of Usagi's hand, and starts weaving back toward the door through the people making it look like a wave pool in the dead heat of summer. That's when he sees pink hair outside the crowd he towers over, but he doesn't recognise the face it surrounds-- hopes, dashed. He knows of two pink-haired girls that could potentially have helped the situation, and while this might be a third, he can't take that chance.

He stops where he is, like he stopped on the threshold of a different decision, before, and finally bends to whisper to Usagi again, "If the crowd turns into a crush I'm transforming and getting us out of here, silver crystal or not."

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    Kureha Senkenzan is not one to follow social media much. Her habits are, very slowly, changing as she has more contact with the world. But in this case, her presence is entirely coincidental. She is considering jewelry; window-shopping, really, though given her family, she can absolutely afford it. It's probably not at all difficult to see that just by looking at her; when she walks in the door, it's dressed in a high-end, professionally-tailored winter weight kimono, every single aspect and layer chosen for its precise meaning and the way it contributes to the whole. The impression of 'this girl is loaded' is helped along by the woman in a business suit outside, clearly watching her the entire time. She has the look of an attendant or minder or bodyguard, and the manners of one as well.

    Kureha can't sense magic, per se. But something has her feeling vaguely uneasy, even as she browses the jewelry. She does at least notice something's going on, and crimson eyes lift up to peer curiously at the boutique owner. "Might I inquire what it is you're celebrating?" she asks, her tone carrying a faint hint of curiosity.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Sayaka is here too, in her civilian form for now. She has been called over by the presence of a witch, and only headed into the shop when she spots Usagi and Mamoru over there. She knows Usagi a bit, so maybe she can convince her this place isn't safe.

"Hello, Usagi-senpai", Sayaka says approaching the blonde girl. She also gives a wave to Mamoru before going back to talk to the other girl. "Don't you feel unnerved by this place? I think it's a good thing if we stay alert. It doesn't feel very safe for the other people here." Hopefully she heed her warning and Usagi keeps Watch too.

She spots Puella Amy and Hope Blossom here too, and although she doesn't recognise the latter, the presence of two magical girls is enough to get her to think she needs to move quickly. "I am going to do that now, so see you", she tells the lovey-dovey couple before exiting and coming back in as her Puella Magi self.

She approaches the other two magical girls and starts talking with them. "Hello, Puella Red, other mage." She tells the two. "Are you here for the witch too?" To Hope Blossom she says "I go by Sharpsong, hi."

'Usagi Tsukino has posed:
As the crowd settles into watch the on-going affairs, the boutique owner shares a few facts about the store, and then the gemologist is brought to the front of the store, where he pulls out his tools and explains what he's going to do. He admits that he's not an expert in the so-called Phantom Silver Crystal, but he's certainly an expert in identifying gems, so he's eager to try his work at understanding the gem that's taken Tokyo by storm.

"Sayaka-chan! Hi! I mean... you think so? Mamochan was just saying this place is a little too biggy for his liking, so we're heading out, but - I hope you have fun with the jewel?"

It's rude to talk during a presentation and several people shhh Usagi, which makes her wince. The gemology carries on though, lecturing about gemology this and jewels that and facets and carats, and as he says all that Usagi and Mamoru start weaving their way back through the crowd, her hand in his, others eagerly taking their places closer to the front of the line. She doesn't and can't sense anything, but she trusts Mamoru to have the ability, and more importantly, to not be wrong about that. And she hopes no one screams either, hopes no one gets hurt - has her broach and the hope that people will be too distracted to remember her face if things go bad -

And then the moment of truth arrives. The boutique owner opens a jewelry box of dark wood, revealing a rather large silver gem on a bed of red velvet. She lifts it reverently, and to the naked eye, it does look just like the gem from Hematite's video. "This is what we're celebrating, young lady. Our discovery of the Phantom Silver Crystal!"

Even from halfway across the room, mostly at the door, she sees it. She didn't really believe it could be true, but it looks like she and Mamoru just might have to become jewel thieves after all... If nothing goes horribly wrong, at least.

Don't think things like that when you can't knock on wood folks, because in the next second...


The sound of heavy metal swinging through the air. The box goes flying and the gem tumbles through the air, only to be caught between the jaws of a pair of - callipers?

It's a bizarre sight. The thief who has stolen the Silver Crytal and even now flees down the street is - a hand. A large, oddly fleshy, overly real hand. It's like staring too long at a sharpened image, only the image is in ultra 8kHD (forget 4k, we're going BEYOND) with odd dimension. It's like staring for too long at this familiar makes one realize that they are a two dimensional object, and only the familiar is in the crisp third dimension. Also, the hand has an equally oversized pair of calipers, and between the two jaws of the calipers is the stolen silver crystal, seeming delicate and tiny, held as it is in that oversized tool. It certainly looks like the real deal, at least from this distance.

Naturally, everyone in the shop starts screaming. Usagi manages to shove her shoulder against the door, dragging herself and Mamoru out just before the panicked crowd can get moving.

"Is that a HAND?! Did a giant disembodied HAND just steal the Silver Crystal?!"

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Madoka turns towards Amy when she arrives, and nods. "That's right. I felt something off around here." Even though she was told by her Chara to take it easy, she really can't help herself. Well, hunting in a large group has to be less stressful, right? If push comes to shove, Hematite couldn't possibly be any worse than Riventon when it comes to prioritizing a Witch kill. Well, that's what Hope assumes anyways, despite only having met this guy a handful of times. Neither of which were combat-related. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is just how Doka thinks.

    Madoka sees Sayaka approach and smiles, only to realize... Sayaka hasn't seen her in this henshin before. She only ever saw Hope Witch. Oh geeze.

    "Hi, Sharpsong-chan. This is what happens when I henshin with Lydian instead of Gretchen. I go by Hope Blossom!"

    Hopefully that will be enough dots for Sayaka to connect, since she met Lydian pretty recently and well... Gretchen probably sticks out in Sayaka's mind.

    Her attention is pulled towards the gem as its revealed, and her eyes go wide as a thing that's clearly a Familiar swoops in and steals it. Her branch bow appears in her hands, but then she hesitates. She can't actually fire into a crowd like this! Fortunately it's soon fleeing down the street. In one fluid motion she pulls back the invisible drawstring, conjures a magic pink arrow, and releases it in an instant. The arrow tracks the monster while Hope Blossom super jumps after it. She's not strictly after the crystal, but she's not going to let this Familiar go!

Amanda Faust has posed:
    'Other mage'? Amy gives Sayaka a puzzled look. "You don't recognize her?" After Madoka's explanation she adds, "Yeah, I'm following a Witch's trail. Is that why Usagi's here too?"

    The silver crystal, revealed!

    "...If it's silver, does it still count as a gem or--" and then MASTER HAND bursts out of the jewelry store and run-- err, *moves* down the street. That *has* to be a Familiar, right? "Don't worry, we're filming a movie! But get clear!" Amy shouts to nearby civilians as she hefts her rocket launcher-- wait, shit, this is a crowded street, no way can she get a safe shot. She chases after, jumping up to the rooftops after a few seconds so she doesn't have to thread around civilians.

'Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    "The Phantom... what?" Kureha tilts her head slightly, vaguely baffled. It sounds as if she should know what it is, but she doesn't, and-

    "W-what was...?!"

just snagged the gem. It looks so utterly strange that Kureha immediately decides it can't be normal. Her decision comes in a split second, the girl shoving her way out through the crowd with a strength a girl her size really ought not to have. Not superhuman - not in her base form - but still significantly out of proportion with her slight figure. And while her attendant may be to the right, the tiny kimono-clad girl uses the cover of the crowd to veer left and duck down an alleyway. Shortly thereafter, her attendant receives a text.

    'Emi, I'm fine, but I got turned around. Went out the back. Am a bit lost, but fine. Will figure it out.'

    The alleyway fills with a brief flare of orange firelight, and then a kimono-clad oni takes to the rooftops, leaping and hopping gracefully in the direction of the utterly bizarre creature. Her choice in travel methods ends up putting her right alongside Amy, a familiar face. There's a side-glance from fire-orange eyes, and then a casual, "You're from the rescue at the shrine. 'Red', if I recall correctly. Might I inquire as to what's happening? I haven't the faintest idea what that thing is."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Well, on the one hand, that just reached 'yeah, Michiru probably wants to know about this' levels of weird. On the other hand, there are other magical girls here right now and there's a freaky hand stealing a jewel right now and she's got her henshin pen in her hand right now.

    So of course she moves with the crowd into that hallway and draws the pen out without calling anyone. Also why does the name of that gem sound familiar? Phantom... Silver... Crystal? Sounds important. And not in an 'I heard about this on the Clock App way' but in a Sailor Uranus thinks its important way.

    Which means Haruka Tenoh thinks it's important and... crap, where did it - there. The blue-skirted yellow-bowed Sailor Senshi is off chasing it - and she's fast.

Does she do a justice speech? Do you justice speech evil jewel stealing hands? She's got a lot to figure out here.

    Sailor Uranus stops next the the red girl and the oni girl. She tilts her head. "Friends, or are you here with the hand?" she asks, quickly.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
Mamoru does wave absently to Sayaka with his free hand, but she leaves, and they're getting closer to the door, and--

"That was-- a hand-- THAT WAS A HAND--" Mamoru's not flipping out, he is not, but Usagi's shoved the door open so he can continue not flipping out with Usagi as they get outside; he henshins immediately as soon as they're out the door, and grabs his cape with his free hand so nobody gets tangled in it, and there are already magical girls following it.


"Henshin henshin henshin--" he says with a lot more anxiety than he usually shows; it's probably an artifact of the pressing crowd and enclosed space, honestly, more than it is the giant hand holding sharp calipers. And he scoops Usagi up with a quick, "Sorry!" and lands them on the roof for long enough for a miniature lightshow, then holds out his arms. "I'll fly us after it! We can steal it from the thing after we... after thing. After we give the other girls a hand. I mean, not a hand. I mean--"

Either way, they will in short order also be chasing after that hand.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Good, Usagi and Mamoru are leaving the shop. That will be less trouble for then later. With a sigh of relief, she turns over to Hope Blossom, who in the meanwhile has started addressing with familiarity.

She does remember Lydian, and that would have been enough for her to connect the dots, but suffice to say the name Gretchen is one Sayaka would have a very hard time forgetting. "Oh", she says plainly in realisation. "So, it's you. I am glad you have a more normal transformation", the bluenette shoots her a smile. "Please, stick to this one, ok? The other one is too dangerous."

"I have never seen her like that, Red" Sayaka protests. "It's not my fault our identities are concealed with our transformation, and Hope Blossom has two of them."

She pays attention when the crystal is unveiled and asks Hope Blossom "Do you think that's the real deal?"

When the hand steals it, Sayaka is quick to break into a chase, also calling up one of her swords in mid-air to send flying after it. "Just a familiar, shouldn't be too hard", she tells to the others.

"Sailor Uranus, right?" Sayaka asks when she makes her appearance. "Has Sailor Neptune recovered well?" she asks in genuine concern, no thanks to Hope Witch.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Hope Blossom's arrow strikes the hand between the second and third knuckles, lodging there, and it yelps like a kicked dog, despite having no mouth by which to do so. It still goes scurrying down, hopping along on the stump of what should be a wrist that just ends like a cut off picture. The callipers remain clenched around the jewel, and it hugs the pavement in a hard right turn to swing into an alley. Just as it does, a sword jabs into the end of it's wrist, flying from Sharpsong's hand. The familiar cries out in pain, an awful garbled noise, because it still has no mouth but it must scream.

Mamoru and Usagi can see where it's gone from the rooftop, and the second they're on the rooftop Usagi is shouting her transformation and lights are bursting and Sailor Moon is being flown in Hematite's arms down the street to follow them all.

"Hands?! Giant hands are stealing the crystal now? That thing didn't look anything like a youma!"

Yeah, Sailor Moon is as totally calm and rational about all of this as Hematite is. The pair of them, not freaking out, at all.

Those who follow the familiar through the alley will see it rushed through warping space as the alley glints and gleams and twists and turns and becomes something unlike an alley - and then the familiar is gone, callipers, fingers, and all, disappeared through the entrance to the witch's labyrinth.

"Did a Witch just steal the Silver Crystal?!" Sailor Moon demands in an aggrieved tone. Then she notices who all are gathered - Onihime, a blue haired girl with a sword (Sharpsong?), Red, a girl in a puffy pink dress with a bow, and - Sailor Uranus? Inwardly, she groans. Did Sailor Uranus have to see her lose the Silver Crystal to an evil monstrosity? Did she really?

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Sailor Moon is shouting about hands. "It's probably a Familiar! We tracked a Witch here!" Amy shouts back. The hand... turns, and she leaps across the street to chase along the alley, only to see is disappear it the way that things entering Labyrinths do.

    Never enter a Labyrinth alone.

    She doesn't dive through just yet, but jumping down by the entrance she's soon part of a decently-sized group. She feels like she queued for a raid and a bunch of party members queued up at the exact same time so they can just start.

    "Uhh," Amy looks to Usagi and Hematite, "Was it the real Silver Crystal?"

    Onihime and Sailor Uranus are here! "You're here too! Glad to see you again." She looks between them an Hematite. "Is this your first Witch, or do you already have an idea of what we're in for? In the future remember: Never enter a Witch's Labyrinth alone." Once that's sorted, she'll enter with the rest.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    To Sharpsong, Hope Blossom sheepishly grins. "I mean... that's the plan! This is the more normal one." She doesn't have time to really carry on that conversation for long though, because the game is afoot! ... or rather a hand.

    Hope's eyes turn towards Sailor Moon as she suddenly appears. "Oh, it's you!" she says. "Eheh... I mean..." Hope tries to think of a short way to explain things, but decides that there just isn't enough time.

    Madoka turns a corner to chase the Familiar and ends up in the alleyway. Seeing the entrance to the Labyrinth, Hope Blossom looks behind her at the other mahou. She draws another arrow and holds it, letting it charge as she keeps an eye out for other hostiles.

    "Name's Hope Blossom. I'm after the Witch. I'm with those two," she explains quickly to the group and then gestures towards Sharpsong and Amy. She waits for the crowd to gather before going in, as it's generally a bad idea for the fire support to take point.

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    "Friends?" The horned girl in the kimono blinks once, then shakes her head faintly, talking as they run and hop. "I don't do 'friends'. But I am not your enemy, if that's what you mean. I have not the faintest clue what is happening, only that I saw a very strange... thing, steal a gemstone. I will likely assist with its retrieval, but-" It's only now that she finally turns to look at Sailor Uranus - and, very briefly, very nearly stumbles as she runs. Hastily, she turns her attention back to the rooftops ahead. "...I will defer to her judgment," she finishes, tilting her head slightly in Amy's direction.

    Oh, it just went into an alley. Without skipping a beat, Kureha hops down off the rooftops to pursue, ending up not far behind the rest of the crowd. There's a glance of recognition at Sailor Moon, whom she fought alongside only just last night, but the others present are unfamiliar. Judging that she has no time to stand on ceremony, the horned girl declares a simple, "To you who are unfamiliar - you may call me Onihime." There is another side glance to Amy, and she adds, "I haven't the faintest clue what a Witch is. I would very much appreciate an explanation as to what I'm getting myself into."

    She's starting to wonder if chasing that thing down was a bad decision.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Their attacks hit, and the familiar laments its pain with an anguished scream that is very grating on the ears. That doesn't matter though, they just needs to keep chasing it, now they have the advantage of it being hurt. A pity it didn't drop neither callipers nor jewel.

"Is that the actual Silver Crystal then?" Sayaka asks Sailor Moon when she makes her appearance alongside Hematite and starts lamenting a Witch stole the Silver Crystal. She stares at the former hard as she recalls Usagi is Mamoru's boyfriend and this is the second time Hematite has been seen with her. "Would you quit hanging around her? She already has a boyfriend."

Despite her best, she isn't fast enough and the familiar disappears into the Labyrinth before they can reach it. This just turned from bad to worse. Now they have to deal with what insanity lies beyond here. But since both Onihime and Uranus are demanding an explanation, Sayaka gives it.

"Beyond that portal, it's the Witch's Labyrinth, where the familiar just escaped back in. Witches are the despair that oppose the hope of magic, being a hidden influence that's responsible for incidents and suicides and other misfortune that plague people. Be careful with Labyrinths, each has its own rules that don't typically make any sort of sense, and you never know what to expect going in. Anything you see in there could be a familiar ready to attack you."

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
Hovering where the air warps for a half second, Hematite's eyes open wide-- and he lands slowly, carefully, and sets Sailor Moon down but doesn't let go of her. "First time," he says a little worriedly to Amy. "But how in the world do you know when you're going to go in? Can we get out...?"

But he's getting introductions -- he nods in Onihime's direction, and then makes a face at Sharpsong. "I am her boyfriend. But thanks for being protective, I appreciate it. For what it's worth, I'm 80% sure that's not the real silver crystal, but aabout 20% of me is unsure enough that we have to chase it."

Then he shuts up to listen.

And he nods.

And he asks hesitantly, "So uh. That means buddy system or we all stick together? Or both?"

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
"It could be," Sailor Moon says, at the two questions about the jewel being the actual Silver Crystal, only to blanch at the sudden comment Sharpsong throws out. She doesn't mind Hemachan proclaiming to the world that he's her boyfriend, frankly enjoys it, but to have someone think she's cheating on her boyfriend, even tangientally! Well, just as he's saying he's her boyfriend, she's saying, "He is my boyfriend!"

They are terrible at identities, honestly. Usagi's face is hot.

"But that's not as important as um, all of this, because Sharpsong is right. Witches are terrible monsters, that try to make people commit suicide and do all kinds of things to torment them, so even if it hadn't of stolen the Silver Crystal, I would want us to go after it! And since it did... Inside the Labyrinth, we'll have to fight the Witch's familiars, which is what I guess that hand thing was, and we'll have to fight the Witch. But if we don't, it will only hurt people... so we should go in."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy gives Sayaka a very confused look. "What do you mean? That *is* her boyfriend. And even if he weren't, boys and girls can be friends! And hunt monsters together!" There is... no time to get lost in her thoughts on gender right now.

    She nods to Hematite. "We get out when the Witch dies, or if it lets us leave for some reason." She looks away awkwardly, "Sorry, that's how it is."

    She looks up at him. "We need to kill the Witch anyway. Like she said, they make people commit suicide and feed on the deaths somehow. One went after Usagi's brother before." She hefts the rocket launcher and gives an apologetic look for what they're about to go through. "These are the monsters Puella Magi are bound to hunt. We've got pretty good numbers, so we'll probably be fine, just..."

    Amy rubs the side of her head. "...Expect the unexpected. In there is a world that doesn't run on physics, I think. The Witch may have strange powers. You'll know when you see it, there's Boss Titles. Don't drop your guard or think you can relax, though, and we'll probably be fine."

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    People are asking for an explanation. Hope Blossom tries to think of one, but Sayaka delivers it first, and then Sailor Moon and Amy. So instead, she nods along the exposition and adds, "Once we defeat the Witch, the Labyrinth will vanish, and you should be able to get the crystal back. Real or not. As for me, I'm trying to stop the killings that it might cause in the future."

    She doesn't mention the Grief Seed. She doesn't know if any of the non-Puella here would try to grab it.

    "Once we step in, we're fighting for our lives. These are serious threats," she emphasizes. "I'm not saying you shouldn't come, but you need to understand the risks. No one will think less of you if you turn back."

    Hope looks at Sayaka, and then at Hematite, and then at Sailor Moon. There's something going on there she doesn't quite get. Wasn't he with someone else a moment ago? Instead of asking, she answers his questions, "We should stay together as a group, and everyone should keep an eye out. The enemy can attack from any angle. I haven't lost any friends to these things yet, and I don't intend to start, but there have been some very close calls."

    "As for knowing when you enter, it depends. Sometimes there's a magic circle you can step through. Other times you get drawn in and it just appears around you. Escape isn't always possible."

    Turning on her heel, she starts walking towards the Labyrinth entrance. "I'm going in. Be careful everyone!"

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    A kind of creature responsible for suicides and other unexplained incidents? As comprehension settles in, Onihime's expression hardens just slightly. "Then I will help to destroy it. Though I may not claim friendship with anyone, I shall not stand for monsters that prey upon the weak." She begins walking towards the entrance to the Labyrinth, speaking as she moves towards the head of the group. "My fighting style is overwhelming power. Strength and durability. I can also conjure flames within a short range. I shall fight in the vanguard." There is a pause, and another look at Sailor Moon. "I should also like to know what this 'Silver Crystal' is, since I am risking my life for it. But the explanation can wait."

    Then, however, she stops entirely to turn and look at Amy, utterly confused. "...boss... titles...?"

Amanda Faust has posed:
    "...Like in a videogame. It's... Words will appear in your vision, and there is this... this sense of 'Everything I faced in the Labyrinth was leading up to this. I have to fight this. The only way forward is defeating it.' You'll know when you see it."

    And she turns and walks after Sayaka, those behind seeing the air rippling around her as she disappears.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    The good news is, Sailor Uranus is still a little bit too weirded out to worry about Usagi. Especially when she chases after the crystal-hand and ends up in a labrynth for the first time. The stream of confused profanity from her mouth is expressive. "I see why you wouldn't want to enter alone." she says as the others come through. "It's nice to see something that makes sense in all of -this-." This may be the most relative sense other magical girls have ever made for Haruka.

    To Kureha, she replies "well, I'll take not an enemy for now." But her tone is firm. She might not understand a lot of what is going on, but she's got to stay chill.

    "I too, would like an explanation." Haruka adds.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
"Red, just as I didn't know Hope Blossom was Madoka, I didn't know Hematite was that guy", Sayaka was a bit peeved. Is it the time to talk about that when there is a Witch to deal with? "And he has been acting as her boyfriend for a while now, not just her friend, which well, it makes sense now", she shrugs.

"You gave Hinoiri a scare with your sudden appearance that day at Nounamo Sweets. She doesn't want to tell me what you did to hurt her, but I'd rather you avoid it." Or she is going to have some choice actions for him.

With that she goes into the labyrinth too.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
"There are--??!" Hematite starts, but Onihime's got him beat. Sayaka gets a completely baffled look at her last admonishment, shaking his head. Hino-who?

He squeezes Sailor Moon's hand and nods firmly. "I'll help," he says simply, though whether that's because of the Silver Crystal, or wanting to make sure Sailor Moon is okay, or because are they already inside the Labyrinth or just sort of in its edge?? -- it's unclear. Maybe he really just does want, for whatever reason, to fight a Witch.

He definitely looks at Usagi in alarm at the news about her brother, but that's not for right now. It's not. He looks back at the others. "I'll probably do a lot of punching if these things like dark energy. I don't want to accidentally make it stronger," he says, then glances back at Usagi. "But-- when you're ready."

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Hinoiri-chan? What does she have to do with... Sailor Moon is more and more confident that Sharpsong is Hinoiri's girlfriend, but equally confident it doesn't matter. She wishes Amy hadn't of said that thing about Shingo, but! All she can do is squeeze Hematite's hand and says, "I'm Sailor Moon. I purify things and cut them with cosmic energy! And I think I've met most of you, but it's a pleasure to be with you all again. I'll... I promise to explain the Silver Crystal, after all this."

And then she drags herself and Hematite into the labyrinth, because they're going. They're doing this.

What everyone sees in the labyrinth is - an endless array of mirrors, like those of a beauty parlor. They float, and where they aren't connected, the world is a rampage of color and light, headache inducing. There are mannequins everywhere, bedecked with jewelry of all sorts, both elegant and gaudy, fake and real. There are what seem to be priceless gems and what could very well be Halloween costume jewelry, and even a hand mannequin wearing only ring pops.

That one scurries away like a giant spider. Many hand familiars bear callipers, but only one has an arrow and a sword sticking out of it, and it scurries down a path made of mirrors, towards the center of the labyrinth.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    "The Witch introduces itself by name," explains Hope Blossom to Kureha regarding the boss titles, "but it's in a language we can't understand. I used to have an interpreter, but she's... not feeling well."

    To Hematite, Hope gives a faint smile. "Don't worry about that. La Crima and Riventon didn't have any trouble fighting a Witch the other day. I'm sure you'll be fine. Just don't do what Sunbreaker did and try to eat the food. Never eat Labyrinth food."

    Hope Blossom doesn't even know if Hema would recognize those names, but she hopes at least one of them sounds familiar. They're on the same team, right?

    Madoka looks around the inside of the Labyrinth, and sees so many mirrors. Mirrors and mannequins and... ring pops? With an awkward, "Eheh," Blossom notes, "It really likes... jewelry, huh?"

    Up ahead, she sees the specific hand they were chasing, and feels the magic of her own arrow imbedded in it. Madoka starts chasing after it, holding her arrow for a few moments later. She takes a big leap, releases her shot at the apex, and sends another pink homing arrow after the hand.

    "It's up ahead! Be careful where you step!"

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    There has been... a lot of explanation. Some of it is rather unsettling. Kureha takes it all in, and... tries to take them at their word. She really does. But even assuming that they're not exaggerating, she's still not prepared for the otherworldly reality into which she steps. "Th... this is... what..." It's unsettling. It's unreal, in a way that her mind wants to reject. Of all the things she's dealt with since becoming Onihime, it's by far the most perturbing, and she's only just set foot.

    But their target is up ahead. Getting put off by the scenery is just playing into the hands of whatever monster lies at the heart of this labyrinth.

    Out in the real world, the ground would crack under Onihime's feet from the sheer force she puts into her initial lunge. In here? It's anyone's guess what will happen to the mirror beneath her feet. But she means to put her full, inhuman strength to the task of launching herself at the familiar ahead, charging as only an oni can charge.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Amy just figured it'd give Hematite a little more personal investment in fighting Witches!

    Inside the labyrinth, it's...

    The level designer forgot the walls, and outside of reality hurts to look at.

    Amy conjures up a pair of pink-rimmed sunglasses with little star decorations in the upper outer corners, making things... less BRIGHT to look at, at least.

    "Who would eat LABYRINTH food?! She's FROM a magical world or something, right??? ...So, what happened to her?"

    "Let's not bother the mannequins. Hopefully they don't animate or something..." Trying to figure out where the ground is is a pain, since it's just reflecting the sky / chaos / void / nothingness / ERROR MISSING TEXTURE: ENV_SKY1. Looking down confirms they're standing on mirrors, and Amy's kind of glad that her default magic outfit has a bodysuit under the skirt.

    Onihime has no words. Amy just grunts assent. "Told you. I don't think this place runs on physics. I think Labyrinths are... outside of reality." Onihime leaps, and Amy says, "Good idea." and rocket-jumps after her.

    Soaring through the air (unless she has a very unpleasant encounter with an invisible ceiling,) her launcher reconfigures into something like a large-bore rifle as she tries to sight and fire penetrating gyrojets at the target hand. She's probably not very accurate.

    Midair sniping is hard in videogames. It's harder in real life.

    "...Oh wait, shit, we should probably all stay together!" Well, everyone's chasing the hand, people will probably catch up to her and Onihime in a few seconds.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
They're doing this!! They are absolutely doing this, and Hematite desperately-- on a gut level-- wants out, out, OUT OUT OUT as soon as they're in that extradimensional space, just like he wants OUT of the Dusk Zone whenever he goes in. It's fine. It's fine. He's all right. It's just as dangerous, and he isn't alone, and--

"I won't eat the labyrinth food!" calls Hematite, "and I'm happy to hear Sunbreaker got caught in one of these once!" He clears his throat and then says, "That was probably mean."

A beat. "I don't take it back though."

It's not-- he can't find 'up' and this is terrible. There's no way he can cope with-- nope, Sailor Moon's got his hand, and Hematite can orient on her. There's a moment where they're running (he carefully keeps pace) after the shot-up familiar where he concentrates on the sense of her, the brightness of her, and it's okay if he can't feel anyone else (it's worse than the Dusk Zone) because he can feel that she's right there, a connection.

And then it's fine, it's fine, they run on mirrors and mannequins and he takes out a black-petalled rose from nowhere and wings it at the hand to join everything else getting shot at it, and there's no time here, no space here, no ground here, there's no ground. He lifts off the mirrors and flies alongside Usagi instead.

"Do the things only wake up if you bother them?" he calls ahead. "The Familiars?"

Sayaka Miki has posed:
"Serves her right", Sayaka mentions when she hears about Sunbreaker having gotten a stomachache after eating witch food. "That's only a small part of what she deserves. Now she has even started corrupting people", Sayaka nods towards Uranus (even if she is unaware that wasn't the first time, and Madoka was even an earlier victim of that.)

Looking around at the Labyrinth all that sparkling of jewels is unnerving to Sayaka's eyes. "She likes them too much for my tastes", she replies to Madoka. "Do you think these are all stolen?" A general question.

Sayaka starts flashing in blue, chasing after the hand. She is fast, so her keeping up with isn't really that hard. At the same time, two swords appear in midair and they start flying after the hand.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Sailor Uranus moves with people as they work through the land of Creepy Stuff. Seriously, she was going to have a long conversation with Michiru and Setsuna about... all of this. And not being prepared for it. She moves over closer to Sailor Moon, so she can whisper slightly. "What's the Phantom Silver Crystal and why do I feel like it's really important?" she asks. Uranus is not always read in on all of the things. First to get there, last to know.

    "I wouldn't eat anything that came out of here." she says, more loudly than the talk to Usagi. "Or within fifty feet of the exit, just be sure." she continues, looking around kind of wide eyed.

    She's got her hands balled up into fists but she's letting other people lead the way. She doesn't know if kicking these damned things will help, or not.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Hope Blossom's shot at the already wounded Hand Familiar along with Red's sporadically aimed covering fire manages to take it out, this time. The callipers drop and roll along the mirror path as the Hand Familiar stutters like TV static and then bursts into hundreds of tiny fingers, the size of ants. They go scurrying away, running for the masses of jewels.


Onihime's attack isn't in vain, however, even if Hope Blossom managed to take out the familiar, because the callipers were picked up by another familiar, one with an elastic glove. An actual ! appears over it as a mirror cracks and then shatters into glittering shards of glass under the weight of her forceful advance, and then the familiar is getting annihilated.

Just absolutely annihilated. More tiny fingers run away, and the giant far too dimensional far too realistic callipers holding the maybe-Silver Crystal are available for Onihime to grab.

"You guys did it!" Sailor Moon cheers, even as she definitely shudders from head to toe at the sight. "...I'm also glad Sunbreaker got herself sick on one of these, as long as she didn't die. She ought to know better than eating anything in a place like this."

She was always getting at being better than Sailor Moon, but even Sailor Moon wouldn't eat from a labyrinth! Probably!

"Look - more of them are trying to get the crystal! Maybe - maybe they wake up when they're trying to get jewelry?!"

Because indeed, more Hand Familiars are animating, some wearing gaudy rings, some wearing chains, some wearing gloves and bandages and ribbons and -

There's maybe half a dozen now, trying to close in on Onihime!

Good thing Sharpsong lashed out with those swords. They tear through the two nearest, causing them to burst. Hematite's black rose tears through three, one after the other, causing all of them to burst as well, and Sailor Moon clutches his hand tight, then blinks as Sailor Uranus whispers to her, and she - she doesn't know? Oh boy.

"It's... a treasure and a tool and maybe the most powerful magical object in the galaxy, and it belongs to our Princess," Sailor Moon says quietly. She's got the Moon Stick in her other hand, ready and waiting.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    "Sometimes!" says Madoka, in response to Hema. "I tend to leave them alone if they don't attack on their own. A lot of these are just background scenery I think. The ones that are built for combat will generally come after you, though."

    To Sayaka, Madoka calls out, "Probably! I wouldn't be surprised. Still, what I said about Witch food also applies to the Ring Pops. Even if they might be real, you don't know where they've been."

    To Amy, Blossom says, "She started acting loopy. Kind of like how I was the other day with the elephant. Her friends took her away and I didn't really... want to stick around."

    The Phantom (Silver Crystal) Thief is felled, and another one takes its place?! That one is also felled, but now there are fingers everywhere. "Oh geeze. This is going to get worse isn't it?" They haven't even seen the Witch yet. Hope Blossom tries to think quickly. How to make things better without drawing yet even more attention?

    Madoka fires a pink bolt into the air, which splits into a mass of tinier arrows. She fires a few more after it, each one splitting and turning and spinning. They don't seek any targets at first, instead just making a swirling pink cloud of arrows flying in a circle, but as the Hand Familiars form and get close the arrows split away from the cloud. Each Familiar that gets too close to the Phantom Silver Crystal (?) gets peppered with sharp pink death, as Madoka stays on the mirror path and tries to keep an eye on their front line.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
Not letting go of Sailor Moon's hand yet, Hematite glances over at Sailor Uranus and nods a brief greeting. "So any of you getting it is good," he adds, "as long as you can get it to her."

Then the things are exploding into little running fingers and Hematite's face is made of dismay. But still-- he throws another rose, because the last one worked really well, and as it's winging its way through another couple of familiars, he takes note of what Usagi says about the 'getting more jewelry' and how they're orienting on Onihime. He immediately holds his hand up and creates a big diamond made of pure dark energy, and flings it to the left of Onihime.

Then a ruby, and he flings that as well. They're so pretty! They sparkle and gleam and shine.

Then a sapphire, and-- and they all glow from within.

"Don't touch the stuff I'm throwing!" he yells out to everyone else. "Dark energy! Also, thanks Hope Blossom!"

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    Kureha smash.

    She doesn't even miss a beat when the callipers are snatched up; she turns the charge at the first familiar into a charge at the second, long loping strides with tremendous power behind each one, and lunges with a forceful blow that leaves her in a good position to snag the giant metal implement afterward. And, from there, it's a short move to grasping the crystal instead. She quickly slides it into a sleeve, then declares, "I have the crystal. They seem upset. I believe it would be a poor choice to leave until we have dealt with the 'Witch'." She turns to glance over her shoulder briefly, then adds, "Hematite. Sailor Moon. If you wish to collect it now, do so. Otherwise, I will do my best to protect it until we can leave."

    She doesn't have any more time for talking, because the Familiars are awakening. And the only thing she can do is to fight. Graceful but powerful, swinging massive punches, tremendous kicks, sometimes blasting with a burst of flames, sometimes grabbing one familiar and slamming it into another. The scenery is a weapon, her enemies are weapons, the claws on her right hand are weapons; she wields her strength not as a bludgeon, but as a tool, to lend effectiveness to any attack she might swing.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Onihime can smash the mirrors. Good to know. Amy does NOT want to get Labyrinth-mirror shards in her OR fall into the void. She lands in Onihime's vicinity, and looks around the area for any approaching familiars she can blast with a rocket before they get here. (Onihime can surely handle the one still on her already.)

    To Hematite, she belatedly answers, "We're in the Witch's world. Don't trust anything here. Except eachother, I mean. Still, if the manikins haven't attacked so far, they probably won't, at least on this side of a," she fumbles for words, "a scene transition."

    There is an obvious way forward. She takes a step down it, then hesitates, turning back to explain to the Witch newbies, "This looks like a path that's going somewhere. But that..." ugh, words. She scratches at her head trying to figure out how to say it, "Be ready. We may not actually need to walk every step of the way to what looks like the end. We could enter the Witch's Lair -- or another section of Labyrinth -- at any time."

    She nods at Onihime's comment about leaving now. "We may not even be *able* to leave now, anyway..." She takes a breath. "Maybe... take a few seconds to steel yourselves, folks... And then..." She turns forward again, "...gather your party and venture forth." She waits for others to move forward together, moving with them rather than trying to rush ahead on her own.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Sailor Uranus looks aghast. "Did that hand just explode into more fingers?" Screw this, she's drawing her sword. Reaching into the air and grasping it, she draws a long, thin rapier from apparently nothing. Mostly to have something to stab at creepy fingers and hands with. Moon answers and Uranus stops mid-stab. "Princess." she mumbles, the words coming out of her mouth with a sort of strange reverence before she slashes another hand.

    "Alright, good to know, thanks." she adds. She's still sorting things out, but there's something there. She's been getting better. Sort of.

    She's also not sure what to make of Hematite and Sailor Moon's relationship, given that he then throws Dark Energy around. Put it in the giant pile of questions somewhere underneath 'oh god what is any of this'.

    "What's the quickest way out of here?" Uranus asks. "Like, while accomplishing the goal I mean." the tall blonde adds. She's not trying to run away, she just doesn't like being in here. Join the club.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
"Yes, but shouldn't we give them back their owners if they are actually stolen?" Sayaka asks Madoka. "I guess, it would be stealing them back", she shrugs. They wouldn't be the the first thieves that act in beneficial causes.

Familiars have started getting fully active, and they so they really are pressed here. Sayaka figures something to take off the pressure is needed, but... Ah, ok, the elusive Silver Crystal is in Kureha's possession.

"I suggest you hold onto that crystal tight, Onihime", Sharpsong says. "The wind is really going to pick up here." Two swords appear in her hand, and surely the Sharpsong Puella is spinning on herself at incredibly fast speed, and a hurricane starts forming, quickly expanding until it reaches a diameter of 30 feet. That ought to keep the mass of familiars on hold as everyone keeps proceeding.

After the hurricane has subsided, the blue Puella starts catching up in the path.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
"Why are they fingers? Why are they hands? Who loves jewelery enough for all of this?!" Sailor Moon demands, also raising her Moon Stick. She and Sailor Uranus are almost as one in this, both of them clutching their weapons, and that sword fills Sailor Moon with a great dread that she does not understand and yet that whisper of Princess sets her heart at ease.

Hope Blossom's arrows rain down like the force of hope and goodness themselves, blasting away tiny fingers and large familiars alike, and Sharpsong's hurricane winds of bladed death crush through yet still more. And they, they still come. They are picked away away at, but they come.

Onihime has the Silver Crystal and they want it, they want it - but then. Hematite makes gems - an emerald, a ruby, a sapphire - and quickly the familiars turn away from Onihime, reaching out with oversized fingers for the glowing, gleaming, glittering gems, crawling to them, and falling right off the mirror path in betwween the endlessly colorful world. With the path clear, the hopeful guardian of that crystal decides to speak up.

"I'll come get that," Sailor Moon decides, because though Onihime seems quite honorable, if it is the Silver Crystal, she can't just trust everyone's hopes to just anyone. Sailor Moon crosses the mirror path, her tiny kitten heels making chattering noises, and just as she reaches Onihime, a distorted voice screams with want and desire and greed, shaking the very air with just how loud the sound is.

The familiars scurry away like cockroaches, screeching with disappointment. But why? Because an enormous handpider (hand-spider. spider made of hands. the hands that are spiders. handpider.) is rising from the center of the mirror-stage. Have you seen the human centipede? It's almost like that, but it's all hands. Hands that end in wrists that connect to fingers of other hands in a terrible mind-warping nightmare of hand.

"Oh, I'm going to be sick," Sailor Moon moans, looking at that horror.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    "Sure thing!" says Hope, in response to Hematite.

    To Sayaka, she says, "Honestly, I'd rather just give them new Ring Pops, if we could even find out who the owners were. I guess the rest of the jewelry could be turned into the police, maybe? Unless we could figure out who they belonged to ourselves."

    Madoka super jumps a few times in order to keep up with the rest of the group. The Witch makes itself known and Madoka is horrified.

    "Spiders again?!" complains Hope Blossom. "Why does it have to be spiders?"

    There's really no time for her to gawk, so her lips go from agape to tightly sealed. She hops from one piece of mirror ground to another, or anything else that looks like ground, as she circles around the Witch and pelts it from afar. Draw, aim, fire. Draw, aim, fire. She settles into a rhythm of trying to wear down the huge monster, hoping the others will join in.

    "This is it! Don't let it escape!"

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    Everyone comes to Onihime's aid, including Hematite - a man wielding Dark Energy, but fully willing to put in the work to help her deal with the horde. And with the warning from Sharpsong, the Youkai Musume is able to weather the storm quite impressively. She moves on as soon as she's able to do so, giving the sword-wielding Puella a brief, grateful look, and then shifting attention to Sailor Moon. There's a nod, and she's already reaching into her sleeve again... when the Witch herself decides to announce her presence. Even Kureha, as tough as she is, staggers under the aural assault, grimacing briefly.

    But she manages to right herself, then gives Sailor Moon one more glance. "Perhaps I should retain it for safekeeping, until we can destroy that thing." And then her posture shifts, sweeping her right arm up above, and then down in front of herself, left hand behind her back; it almost looks like a martial artist's ready, except for the crimson talons on her right hand. "I shall accept your challenge, Covetous Witch," she speaks simply - and then, once again, the ground under her feet comes apart under the force of her lunge. Already, flames are streaming from the ogre princess's right hand, fingers slightly curled in preparation; as soon as her monstrously powerful leap takes her in range, she'll put all of that momentum into a single, fiery attack - a mix of slicing with her claws and delivering a powerful palm strike, with the added benefit of a burst of flames.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
"Gods, it worked--?" Hematite asks, sort of, mostly of himself or maybe the universe-- and then Sailor Moon has to let go, and Mamoru's unsteady for a moment.

For a moment, and then there's a handpider and it's LOUD and that's AWFUL and he's really unsteady. He's floating, he ought to touch the ground, he ought to ground himself, just to-- no it's mirrors and a bedizened torso, he cannot, he should not, he will not ground himself on that. His ears are ringing and ringing. He shuts his eyes and that's also a mistake. He opens them and looks at Usagi, who's going to be sick, and that's very real, that's extremely real and he can orient on her, and it'll be fine. It's fine. Everything is fine.

He produces a rose and then starts wadding dark energy around it like damp candyfloss until he's got a corgi-sized diamond with a magic rose in the middle of it, and he holds it in his hand and he was on the track team in elementary school.

He whirls himself around twice and then throws it like a discus at the handpider.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Sayaka isn't quite sure she appreciates the whirlwind fading when she sees what monstrosity lies on the other side. Of all the Witches she has fought this is by far the most hideous. Now, she didn't mind spiders. That doesn't mean she finds then pretty or anything like other people, but she isn't disgusted by them either.

This spider, though? Composed entirely of human hands, wriggling, gigantic... Every fiber of her being was rebelling against it, telling her to do something. And it's just as much by instinct as it is by conscious will that she activates her Eternal Fantasia, 20 blue flashes in the air becoming swords and raining down upon the spider-creature.

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Sailor Uranus manages to look far more aghast, before her faces screws up in an angry glare. "Really?" she says. "I take it back, I think we got a better luck on the draw." she says. What luck is she talking about? Not having to fight these things as their personal opponent. She'll kill her regular youma in abandoned amusement parks all day, thank-you-very-much.

    This is no longer a sword problem because she is not going over there. Even if Sayaka thinks its a sword problem, it is not. Sailor Uranus generates a small orange sphere in her free hand, raising it above her head as it generates power, and slamming it into the ground with a spin that sends it rocketing towards the Witch, obliterating the ground without patience on the way in.


Amanda Faust has posed:
    Why fingers? Why hands? Amy shrugs. "I wondered why *anything*. My theory is that whatever they are... there's something hand-like about them. Or saw-horse-like, or whatever the familiar appears like. And so our minds interpret them in that context. But I guess we'll never know... unless Gretchen can ask them?"

    The familiars *actually* dive off the path. Amy drops to her hands and knees to peer over the edge to see what happens to them... her sunglasses fall into the void, and she probably ends up getting vertigo and quickly pulling her head back over the path. She stands up, holding a hand to her head and magicing on a fresh pair of cute sunglasses...

                        Sailor Moon startled the Witch!                        

    Amy doesn't have to look for it. It's impossible to *miss*.

    Onihime throws flames. Amy perks up with enthusiasm. "Ooh, that's probably a good idea! With the high surface area of the limbs, it should be easy to burn and cook..." Then she slumps. "Wait, that sounds like reality logic. Does it even work that way in here? It's worth a shot!"

    Amy hefts her launcher and tries firing: PLASMA MISSILES! Missiles that will make SUCH intense heat, rather than a high explosive shockwave, they superheat the air around them into plasma!

    ...At least, that's the idea? But it seems that magic is kind of finicky about just making sci-fi concepts work however she wants. They explode in small balls of weird-colored fire, not nearly the great conflagration she was hoping for.

    "[...F--- that. Let's do warcrimes, I guess...]" the redheaded Puella mutters in English, and switches to rockets that airburst and shower the HANDPIDER WITCH in sticky burning and fire. Parts of it that are *away* from where Onihime is clawing at it in melee, I guess.

    And then Amy hears shattering glass behind her and looks back at where Uranus is destroying the ground. "Hey, be careful! We only have this little path to stand on!"

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Sailor Moon stares up in absolute horror at the handpider, her knees quaking, fear filling her heart at the sheer unreality of the thing now screeching at them. She swallows. "Yeah, okay, you do that," she squeaks, literally squeaks, voice pitched up more like a mouse than a rabbit. Nezumi Tsukino in the house now.

Then, as arrows fly by to embed themselves in the Witch and a rain of twenty swords slice into it as well, she steels herself and gets her nerve back. Her hand goes to her tiara. It's her classic attack, not weaker than the others, but physical in a way that the rest aren't. It might be best here, against a physical opponent, right? As Sailor Moon considers this, other attacks strike - not just Hope Blossom's arrows and Sharpsong's swords, but colorful fireballs that set the Witch aflame and see it screeching in upset agony, and a ball of energy terribly familiar to Sailor Moon, that shatters the mirror path all the way down from Uranus to the Witch.

The Covetuous Witch is launched like pins struck by a bowling ball, it's enormous grotesque body revealed, before it crashes into the wall of mirrors that make up a portion of the world, sending showers of broken glass raining onto the mannequins and gathered jewelry.

The path beneath their feet was just shattered to nothing and yet -

The broken glass is still functioning as a walkway, though there are now more gaps through which the strange unreality of the colorful world beyond the mirrors lurks.

Sailor Moon doesn't hear Hematite - but she is aware of him, knows him, is sure of him intimately, and in the same gesture that she would take her tiara, she reaches out and snatches the thrown corgi-sized diamond by the stem of the rose and lets momentum swing her as she calls the attack and channels her pure love and energy.


That's right! Couples Combo Attack UNLEASHED!

The diamond and rose combo takes on the sparkly glitter hue of love and hope transformed into power, dark energy not purified but instead cocooned in the power of love, a bomb waiting to detonate -

And boy does it detonate.

The Witch Screeches.

It is certainly worse for wear now.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Hope Blossom yelps as the floor shatters, and she stumbles off of the smashed glass ground and nearly falls, barely and hanging precariously from the edge. She's not sure what happens to those who fall into a bottomless pit in a Labyrinth, and she's not entirely sure that it's truly bottomless, but she's not looking forward to finding out.

    Fortunately, she is a magical girl.

    Kicking her legs, she finds another piece of glass with the sole of her shoe. Part of the glass cuts in, but that also gives her some leverage. Pulling and then pushing herself up, Madoka finally manages to stand and balance herself, carefully, on a single piece of broken glass.

    "Oh geeze."

    She takes one look around, sees that the Witch is still vulnerable, and then starts hopping from shard to shard, circling closer to the master of the Labyrinth, nocking a pink arrow and charging it the whole time. A pink flame ignites at the top of her branch bow. When she gets close enough, she leaps into the air and shouts, "BLOSSOM BLAZE!"

    Hey, it worked on the cereal Witch the other day.

    She fires the arrow into the sky, where it turns into an array of circles and lines. Moments later, a torrent of arrows rains back down on the Covetous Witch, saturating the area. As each arrow hits the target, it explodes in sparkly pink magic.

    Madoka then lands on one foot, balanced on a single glass shard, as she looks back to hopefully watch the Witch die.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    The couple combo attack and the two of them standing up and fighting despite their fear would be *so* cute and inspiring if Amy were looking that way right now!

    Instead she sees the Witch stumble into an unseen wall of the world. "Oh-ho, yeah!" she pumps a fist at their combined attacks sending it flying like that!

    "...I don't know why it hasn't attacked yet, but don't let your guard down, finish it! Don't give it a chance!"

    For her part, she switches ammo types again, firing anti-tank homing missiles at the legs.

    They blow small holes in things.

    With legs made of hands and fingers, maybe she can cripple a leg's structural integrity? Or just make it too painful to use, since the Witch is *acting* like it feels pain.

    It miiiighta been better to just use regular explosions.

    At any rate, she's not burning through magic much more than she needs to. There are plenty of people here, and she doesn't know how badly Sayaka needs a grief seed -- she can't count on a reload just yet.

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    As soon as her palm claw blast is delivered, Kureha bounds away; indeed, she uses the force of her own blow to push clear, leaving room for swords, arrows, napalm, and magical energy blasts. It's an impressive barrage; and yet, even now, the Covetous Witch stands. But it's the tandem attack between Hematite and Sailor Moon that truly staggers the thing, staggers it in a way that the youkai musume's instincts tell her is their best chance. Her best chance. They need to deal a decisive blow, and she intends to contribute to that as best as she can.

    And so, the very air around Onihime seems to catch fire.

    A whirling, swirling sphere of flames, erupting from and whipping around the horned girl, who begins to utter a rising cry of focus, of effort. "Haaaaaaaa...!" All that fire begins to flow, to compress, to sink into her right arm, which begins to radiate heat, to shimmer with elemental fire. Every last mote of crimson and orange settles in, until her claws are outright blazing, flickers of flame dancing along her forearm and palm- and then one foot shifts.

    In the next heartbeat, she's running. She's leaping. Hopping from glass shard to glass shard, perhaps not with agility, but with grace, precision, picking her path out in a steady advance trailing a stream of fire from her right hand like a comet. The instant the rain of projectiles on the Witch ceases, the Ogre Princess's foot touches down, and she swings her arm around with a force like an oncoming freight train.

    "Rekka Kaihou!"

    Around comes that hand, her claws sink in, and a blow of crushing force is delivered... but her claws remain embedded. She retains her grip. She shifts her weight back... and with a tremendous, Herculean feat of strength, she lifts the Witch up, holding it over herself in that one, infernal hand.

        "DOUJI... CLAW!!"

    The flames barely contained in her arm erupt. They unleash in a torrent of vulcan heat, through her palm, through her claws, and into the Witch.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
For once! For once in this episode! Hematite's eyes are wide in wonder instead of 'oh no', as he watches all the attacks hit-- as the combo hits, and the moon diamond rose action explodes on the witch--

And he doesn't have to try to keep Usagi in his peripheral awareness, not after that; he feels, hovering as he is, as if he were on solid bedrock. So he plants his feet in the ground and just-- he feels like he ought to yell something out, but it's just a blast of dark energy, there's nothing his about it. Hope Blossom said that it would be all right, so it must be. He finally just yells out, "HEY UGLY!" at the Covetous Witch and slams his fists together side-by-side, cape and hair billowing out behind him, and lets loose a giant firehose of dark energy blast at the thing.


Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Sailor Uranus looks up and watches it. She's... incredibly satisfied with the way her attack chained in with the others. It's nice to work with a group. Especially against something so very not-nice. If there was one thing for everybody to work together with - even the caped guy with Dark Energy - it was a freaky hand monster. The other girls are laying into it further, but Uranus is a lot more tired than some of them seem to be - she put a lot of effort into that orb to send the Witch into the combo chain. So she does one of the things that Sailor Uranus does best. She stands there with her sword, looking cool.

    Until one of the freaky little hand familiars comes up trying to interpose itself during the fight and she cuts it down. There. Teamwork. Back to looking cool.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
The glass Sayaka is standing on shatters too, and it's purely by luck that she is able to jump onto a part still intact, her speed letting her achieve some precarious balance right into the border of the mirror, leaving her to watch the glass pieces plummet down into the unknown, leaving her to consider how dangerously close she was to share that fate.

With care, she moves onto a part still intact, which thankfully withstands the sudden weight resting on it. But the fight isn't over: in fact the others are still giving it their all.

A greatsword appears in Sayaka's hand, and it is with great speed and strength that the huge blade leaves her hand, sending it on a straight path right into the Witch's body.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
The Witch dies. The Witch dies', alright. First, it dies screaming as fire roars through its insides. Then, it dies howling, as armor piercing rounds snip away it's legs. Then, it dies roaring, as arrows raindown pink bursts of light and energy that sear away the energy of despair that empowers it. And yet, still, it dies yowling, as a great sword tears it asunder. And finally, it dies whimpering, as Dark Energy rushes out in a way and puts it rest.

The walls of the labyrinth shake and vibrate as every mirror shatters in an instant. The labyrinth is collapsing, and it will take everyone with it, if they don't RUN!

Cue escape montage.

Sailor Moon's part of the escape montage is running to Hematite, putting her gloved hand in his, securing their connection once more, and then yanking him back.

"Everyone! Let's get out of here before it takes us with it!"

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Freaky hand things: Not a Sailor Uranus thing. Running really really fast in heels? That is a Sailor Uranus thing. Well, it's a Haruka Tenoh thing which makes it a Sailor Uranus thing now! "You don't have to tell me twice." Sailor Uranus says, as she darts off as might befit the Senshi who is guarded by the planet of wind, incredibly fast.

    So fast, in fact, that she comes back. Whoever is the slowest, she's going to put her hands behind and -push- to get them out of the Labrynth faster, or scoop them up in her arms if that doesn't work. Freaky hand thing is getting no kill credit today, nope. Another problem she is gonna hella run away from, but at least one she's supposed to be.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Hope Blossom part in the montage is where she starts to lose her balance on her one single piece of glass, and has to quickly hop back to the main path and nearly loses her balance again.

    At some point a piece of glass debris threatens to fall on the path and she shoots it to keep the way clear.

    In every other shot she appears in she's in fully girly-run panic mode with her hands held up to her shoulders making a D: face.

    She basically goes into full GTFO mode while sometimes looking back to make sure everyone else is okay.

Mamoru Chiba has posed:
Hand in hand-- but then Hematite just scoops up Sailor Moon again and flies once more, not willing to run on the false collapsing ground-- that means he can keep an eye out for anyone who might fall...

...except Sailor Uranus is taking that job, so he focuses on getting himself and Sailor Moon out. Otherwise they're all going to just keep each other back by looking back except for Haruka who's making sure she's looking forward.

He doesn't waste any breath, just NOPE LET'S GO, NOPE NOPE NOPE. Teleporting, while tempting, seems like a really bad idea in here.

Kureha Senkenzan has posed:
    A maelstrom of firepower, and the Witch dies at last. Once again Onihime reacts without hesitating, turning to make for whatever passes for an exit with all due haste. She probably ends up near the back of the pack; but that just ensures that she's there with Uranus to keep anyone else from being left behind.

    Only once they're back in Tokyo will she relax; and even then, she strives to let no vulnerability show, settling right back into her usual placid, refined calm. At that point, she will turn to Sailor Moon, and with a simple, "As promised," withdraw the crystal from her sleeve and hand it over. Following that, she'll excuse herself, with the explanation that if she's gone for too much longer, there are people who will absolutely make her life difficult. Same explanation as the fight at the shrine, if Hematite and Sailor Moon remember.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    The labyrinth is... collapsing? "Huh, that's not how it usually works. It all just disappears when the Witch dies..." If Amy sees the grief seed and Sayaka doesn't, she'll grab it, of course, but otherwise she assumes they can find it once the Labyrinth vanishes and it's ejected. She rocket-jumps back to the entrance.

Sayaka Miki has posed:
If it wasn't enough for the glass path to start crumbling when the Witch fell down, now the Witch died the Labyrinth is following the same fate.

She only barely hears Usagi calling for everyone to run away among the chaos, but she has already taken to doing that, speedily running to the exit, only slowing down to look back every 10 second to make sure there are no complications with the others.

She is especially worried about how panicked Madoka looks, but thankfully the pinkette is able to clear any obstacles in her path.

The Grief Seed will appear after the Labyrinth has collapsed. She can worry about that after the solid ground of Tokyo is under her feet.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Why is the Labyrinth collapsing instead of just disappearing? Because the handpider is twitching in a collapsed heap... despite being murdered seven times, it's still just barely alive.

Not for long. But in it's last moments, the hand familiars crowd around, bearing jewels, treasures, gifts.

It dies surrounded by what it loved, at least.

They make it out and the world collapses around them, leaving them in an alley again. Sailor Moon accepts the Silver Crystal happily, only for the jewel to shatter into a thousand fragments of light the moment it's in her hand, a wisp of dark energy curling into the air.

Sailor Moon's whole face is :o

And then, as she stares in gobsmacked shock, a ripple in the air shifts and then jewels, gems, and jewelry items rain down on her head. :O


And then the grief seed appears, on top of her head. Wow.

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Hope Blossom eeps as Sailor Moon is covered in stolen jewels, and a curious part of her mind wonders if there are any ring pops in the pile. She's not sure how to feel when she finds one.

    Then she sees the Grief Seed and says, "Oh! The Puella Magi need that!" as if she fully expects that people here will hand it to either Amy or Sharpsong.

    You will, won't you?

    Madoka, meanwhile, runs to help unbury Sailor Moon. It's been a long while but she's pretty sure this girl has saved her at least once before so it's only fair, right?

Amanda Faust has posed:
    The Labyrinth is very quickly


    It fades like a dream, replaced by the alley they were in before. "So, uh..."

    "Congrats on your first Witch, those of you for whom this was your first." Amy dismisses her launcher and claps--and then looks shocked at her hands, shaking them like they hurt or something.

    >>>"A-anyway..." she starts to continue, and then the silver crystal EXPLODES. Amy stares with concern. "Uh... that means it wasn't the real one, right...? I... guess we turn that in to the police? But what do we tell them? And are they actually gonna be able to find the original owners or just end up keeping it for themselves?"

    Before she can think more on that though... grief seed! Amy runs up to Usagi and reaches her hand out. "Oh...! We need that..." But she stops, and turns to Sayaka, "How's your soul gem looking?" She manifests her own, holding it in 'egg' form in the palm of her hand. The top... sixth or seventh or so? is dark. "Err..." she winces as she suddenly realizes that soul gem is kind of not the case anymore and Sayaka might be sensitive about that. She also holds her SOUL just a little closer to herself, curling her fingers slightly protectively. "...Well, you know what I mean."

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    Sailor Uranus is over there before she really processes what's going on. It's almost... instinctual. Sailor Moon is buried under a bunch of stuff, and Sailor Uranus is trying to help her out, alongside now Madoka Kaname. It reminds her of another blonde senshi being buried under miscelaneous stuff - that day she first grabbed the pen. And now she's fighting some sort of freaky hand demons alongside a real... expansive gallery of magical girls.

    The tall girl stands there, and she has two main questions, despite all of the stuff she just experienced in one big burst. "What's that on your head?" she asks, followed by "And who's the guy?" She's only SLIGHTLY less curious about all of the other magical girls - she's MOSTLY met other Senshi so far, after all.

    The Grief Seed gets picked up by Amy, and Uranus blows a tuft of hair up as she turns. "So yeah, same question. What's that. And... you said it was a witch?" she asks. Then she pauses. "Oh hey, I recognize you from the thing with Sunbreaker at the concert."

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Soon everyone is outside, and Sayaka too. First thing she does is look at the others. "Any injuried here?" That glass shattering was as surprising as it was dangerous.

She also checks Madoka herself for any obvious injury. The pinkette almost plunged down and had to grab the border with her own hands after all.

"I think we should just dump that to the police in our magical form and let the veil take care of the rest", Sayaka proposes when it comes to giving the jewelry back.

Then Amy inquires over her need of a Grief Seed and Sayaka does reply to her, very directly. "I am darkened by about 4/7, so I could use it, yes". If it's given to her, she uses it quickly and gives it back.

To Uranus she says. "That's a Grief Seed, an object Witches can drop after defeat that recharge Puellae Magi."

Amanda Faust has posed:
    "Yeah, you need it more..." Amy agrees. When it's handed back she looks surprised, "You don't want to keep it?" She does hold it to her own, though; darkness seeming to be drawn out of her soul gem and into the seed, allowing the former to shine a brilliant red before she changes it back to the ornament on the back of her left wrist.

                       {|||||||||                       }                      

    "...And that's a little spare." She holds the mostly-depleted (or mostly-full-of-darkness?) seed out to Sayaka. "You sure you don't want it?" Only if Sayaka refuses it will she slip it into one of her belt pouches.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Thankfully it doesn't take long for Usagi to be unburied, and she looks at all the jewels longingly, wanting to keep some of these pretty, pretty things just for her, but -

"I guess we should give them to the police," she says with a little pout, once she's free. "Thanks, Uranus-san, and - Hope Blossom, right? Of course you guys can have the grief seed, it's not like I need it."

And then the Puella Magi are passing the grief seed like a hot potato, and she focuses her attention on Sailor Uranus, saying honestly, "He's Hematite, my boyfriend. He's very cool, don't you think?"

And then she wilts. "I should have figured that Silver Crystal wasn't the real deal, but who makes fakes?"

Haruka Tenoh has posed:
    "Oh hey, bluesword. Wait, no. Sharpsong, right? You were there with Michiru, too." Uranus says to Sayaka. She watches the grief seed get passed around the Puella Magi and for a moment wonders if she needs something to recharge too. She almost asks Usagi, but she doesn't want to seem as clueless as she is. So she resolves to ask Setsuna later.

    Uranus is answered by Usagi, and she looks to regard Hematite. She considers him for a moment, then finally shrugs. "Sorry, I've never been any good at judging guys." she says, shrugging helplessly and laughing. "But if he hurts your heart I'm probably gonna break his face." she says, with a smile to Usagi that rolls slowly to Mamoru. "Fair warning!" she says, chipper and cheerily.

    "Sailor Moon, before you head out can we chat for a bit in a sec? Your guy can stay or follow, I don't really care."

Madoka Kaname has posed:
    Blossom smiles as Usagi is freed and looks somewhat relieved as the Grief Seed is handled with no unnecessary fighting. As for the fake, Hope shrugs and says, "Maybe it was for a promotional thing?"

    Madoka actually has no reason why anyone would be petty enough to make fake Phantom Silver Crystals just to waste time.

    "Still... sorry it turned out to be a fraud. At least we got the Witch, right?"

    Hope starts to dust herself off, and starts looking at her hands and feet where the sharp glass edge cut into it. Fortunately it seems like her henshin's white gloves took most of the damage, but her palms are still slightly nicked. These things are probably tougher than work gloves despite how frilly and delicate they are. Magic~. She shows this to Sharpson to reassure her friend. "I'll probably need some disinfectant and a bandaid, but I can take care of that back home."

    Medo could've helped, but Medo isn't here right now. She frowns slightly as she thinks that, but soon the smile comes back.

    "I agree with Sharpsong on what to do with the jewels, but I think I need to go take care of this cut. I want to make sure nothing nasty comes of it since it was Labyrinth glass."

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Sayaka nods as Uranus asks her name. "Yes, that's me. How did Sailor Neptune recover?"

"They don't look too bad", Sayaka comments relieved when Hope Blossom shows her the cut. Could have gone worse since that wasn't normal glass.

She is a bit disappointed when the fake Silver Crystal explodes. She could have given it over to Ula for appraisal once she is done resting.

Amanda Faust has posed:
    Oh, the... girl? 'prince' is asking a question. Amy looks up at her. "It's a Grief Seed. Witches drop them. When killed, I mean. Unlike other magical girls, since we're not chosen by a god or... whatever empowers you, we have limited magic. Grief seeds are the only way to recharge. Another reason to hunt Witches, besides the obvious." Beat. "...Kyubey says it's dangerous for anyone but a Puella Magi to hold a Grief Seed for long. Once they're used up, Kyubey... recycles them, or something."

    Madoka got cut? Amy winces and sucks air in through her teeth. "Mirror cuts are like paper cuts but *worse*. You should probably try to wash it first, but I've got antibiotic and bandaids if you want it." And she'll produce such from the first-aid kit under her cloak if asked. "They're just gonna sting sometimes, for awhile. Like I said, they're like papercuts but worse." Beat. "...I broke a mirror by accident once when I was a kid." she explains.

Usagi Tsukino has posed:
Sailor Moon's cheeks puff, but she decides to accept the... well it wasn't a compliment, but it wasn't a dig either, and Uranus' whole face changed when she laughed, made her someone warmer, more approachable. "He'd never."

RHer confidence is the stuff of warm hugs and warmer mugs of cocoa, whispered affections and gentle smiles. She's sure in this: Hematite would never wound her heart.

She takes the condolences of her allies, and nods at Hope Blossom's words. "It's true... even if this wasn't the Silver Crystal, it was still a good thing we did here tonight!"

Her brows furrow at the mention of Michiru though, anbd she hopes that nothing bad happened...

"Of course, Uranus-san. It's been a while. We should talk."

Sayaka Miki has posed:
Sayaka leaves the Grief Seed in Amy's care. "Thank you, but I got cleaned up plenty. You can use the rest yourself if it has any use left."

She gives it back and then she says. "Thanks for giving Hope Blossom those suggestions. I really appreciate it."

With that, she goes back to the dorm. Ula is probably waiting to know everything went well.