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I still can't get over this page. There have been little hints of foreshadowing trickling in all throughout this comic, that something wasn't right about all these villains coming back, that something about their revival felt *off* and something malicious might be behind it. But to have it so violently and viscerally revealed like this... it's such a gutpunch and so real and tragic. Esmeraude isn't just an illusion or an empty puppet, she so clearly has her own thoughts and emotions despite being whatever she is.

This upped the stakes in a way I couldn't have even imagined. All these former villains showing up, some of them redeemed or redeemable and some decidedly not, and now we see how fragile they are. If the ginzuishou can't help them, how can it keep them alive through whatever this new villain team is doing? How can it *not* destroy them along with whatever evil force recreated them?

As ever, you're an amazing storyteller. I can't wait to see where this goes.
D: D: D:

Usagiiiiiii oh no she just wanted to help
OMG WHAT

THIS

THIS IS NOT OKAY

THAT GENTLE SMILE ON ESMERAUDE'S FACE AND THEN... D: D: D:
I'm really loving this dynamic of "Beryl and Sets talk like adults over wine and dinner while wearing their best suits"
:( :( :(

Hurting Chie is like kicking a puppy oh noooooo
I love Mako just punting Usagi out of the way there. You are not qualified for these negotiations, Usagi!
"Is she like, okay?"

This is so funny and so sad omg. This single page has made me like Esmeraude a bit?

I hope your life calms down soon! I'm glad you've found ways to make it easier on yourself.
Ohhhhh suddenly Jon's entire attitude throughout this comic makes a LOT more sense. I figured he knew he was probably going to die soon, but I didn't think it was even worse than that. No wonder he's so reluctant to take on a rookie, if he figures it's only a matter of time before he's either killed in the line of duty or murdered by his own boss.

This clarifies a lot about Jon's theory. If she just wanted him dead, there are so many easier ways to do it than what he thinks she's doing. But if this is part of a bigger scheme, doing something convoluted like enlisting a rookie to sabotage him makes more sense. Still, since Chie clearly was not informed of this plan, I'm still skeptical of Jon's perception of things. Maybe the chief is just biding her time before she tries to utilize Chie, or maybe her plan isn't what Jon thinks it is.
I just saw you asked for theories, so...

I think Chie either has some history she herself isn't aware of or some abilities that make her, in the chief's mind, perfect for whatever role she's meant to play. Maybe the right psych profile. Whether that means what Jon thinks it does is probably another matter.

It actually came as a surprise to me that he thinks the chief is out to destroy him. I definitely got the impression that there's more to the organization than we've seen and that there's a shady underbelly, but actively destroying a top agent? With a rookie, somehow? That seems out of left field to me. After what we just saw, it seems like maybe there are more direct weaknesses she could be going after if she wanted him dead, even just continuing to throw him at the toughest jobs. But then, there's so much we don't know about the chief or the organization they work for, maybe this just reinforces how much scarier this place is than Chie was originally told.

My hope is that the chief isn't as malicious as he thinks, that she realizes Jon's hitting his limit and giving him a rookie is her way of trying to force him to slow down and stay alive a bit longer. Chie's the right blend of capable enough to not die right away and innocent enough for him to be motivated to watch out for her... or he would be, if he weren't so paranoid.
You come for Hotaru, the goddess of time is coming for your LIFE
I am loving your Beryl SO MUCH
This is the roommates sitcom I had no idea I needed.

Beryl omg of COURSE she has a huge insta following already. I must reluctantly agree that the suit looks so much better, but! She cut up a Chanel! How dare!
"SHE HATES PUPPIES?!" I love Minako's genuine distress about that.

Ahh I'm just loving how these two interact. And Jadeite in the background trying so hard to be fierce and immediately apologizing for it.
Rei is the bessssst omg.

I really love how gentle she is with Minako's choices, when it would be so easy to scold her for negligence. She makes such a good point that Minako's been at this longer than anyone and deserves to want an end to fighting. And that teasing solidarity is so good.

Jadeite! You adorable dork.
That fond little smile from Rei at the end. Aw man, I love these two.
I briefly thought to myself, "what if this is totally not Chibi Usa? What if yet another wayward ex-villain has wandered into the Tsukino home and brainwashed her way into free room and board?"

But then I thought, "who could possibly have the audacity to set herself up as Usagi's sister?" Ah, what a fool I was.

Esmeraude looks damn cute. She's got such a solid sassy older sister vibe.
SHE'S HEEEEEEEEERE

I actually forgot all about the mystery of Chibi Usa until I was rereading and realized just how many times you dropped hints about her! And then I dearly wanted to know! I have no idea what to expect but I'm excited to see.
"Not the whole time" AMI

I love that Usagi's genuinely worried about Chibi Usa. I also love how chill Ikuko is about this whole thing. Then again, she just had two alien swingers over, so she's probably feeling pretty good about life right now.
Little things like Jadeite's pose there, leaning over with the teapot in hand, is why I love your art so much. It communicates so much character.

Also, Koan as a member of Rei's fanclub is still so perfect
DON'T LOOK HER IN THE EYE