2013-09-30 - I'll just have to prove you wrong
|I'll just have to prove you wrong|
A Witch's Labyrinth manifests on the grounds of Ohtori Academy, and two gun-wielding magical girls take it on.
Ohtori Academy, outer grounds
| OOC - IC Date:|
9/30/2013 - 9/26/2013
Visits to Ohtori Academy are always awkward. So many students here treat Infinity students like new money - and Tokiko Amagawa isn't even new money! She's not poor, but she isn't money at all! She's still determined to spread the word of Gun far and wide, and she's sure there are kind Ohtori students just waiting for the right club to come along, and so a middle school girl in the Infinity Institute blazer and skirt is here today, stapling up flecktarn-backed posters with bold, militaristic print on them, a thick roll of more posters held under her arm. Join the Survival Club today, Mac!
Mami Tomoe doesn't tend to have anything bad to say to Infinity students. Truthfully, she doesn't tend to have /anything/ to say to Infinity students, but it's not as if she's terribly talkative among her own classmates, either. No, as usual, she is on her way home. What is not usual is that there's been a bit of extra time before she could get on that path, staying after to deal with something.
Which means that she's late today for 'work'--the blonde in the Ohtori middle school uniform walks fairly briskly through the grounds, the teal still holding up in the light, as her steps lightly click on the ground. She is about in sight of the posters.. but seeing another person, she stops her hand, which had been moving upward. A glance to the ring on her finger, and she lowers that hand again.
...She'll have to wait a little longer before checking campus again, at least a minute.
Annoyingly, it's starting to rain.
It's really kind of sudden. The sky seemed fine a moment ago, but now it's getting cloudy suddenly, and the sky goes from clear to drizzling.
A lot of students are using this as a reason to run inside. But something else might be striking Mami at least as unusual. That feeling that something is about to happen. That bolt of lightning, that strikes from the sky in an oddly orderly pattern, zig-zagging in perfect right angles.
Tokiko looks up as a shadow is cast on the ground, and sees Mami lowering her hand. She smiles, tilts her head and waves 'back.' "Please consider joining the Sister School Survival Club! Thank you! Um, your campus is lovely..."
KRAKOOM! Tokiko looks about at the sudden rainclouds in the sky, furrowing her brow. "Well... it was lovely just a second ago!" She drops her head and clutches her posters tight against her chest, trying to protect them from the rain.
At first, Mami doesn't seem to realize she's been addressed, which may not do much for Tokiko's spirits of recruitment; the third-year is instead looking distant over something, that very same strange feeling that she has that's only amped up by the strange behavior of the weather. "...Oh," she says, and turns to face Tokiko, smiling slightly in what is hopefully a more welcoming expression. "I'll definitely have to think about it, though I'm afraid I might not have the time." Survival Club? What is this??? "...Sometimes we get sudden storms," she explains. "You should get in out of the rain! I'd feel terrible if we had a guest to our school become sick while she was here."
...Mami, though, is not making moves to head inside. Hopefully that isn't as apparent, though.
There's another weird lightning bolt in the sky that's hard to miss - that is, if you're looking for it. The bolt is definitely straight side sonly... and it lingers, shooting through the air like cracks in the world, in perfect orderly fashion, then flashing a few times.
Then another such white bolt appears on the ground, drawing out perfect lines in right-angles, crawling toward those foolish enough to remain out in the rain. That's probably just the Magical Girls, at this point.
"This sudden, in the middle of Tokyo?" Tokiko asks. She looks up into the sky, watching that second jagged bolt of lightning linger. "...don't worry about me, I've done elements training before!" She brings a smile to her face, turning back to Mami as her braids droop in the rain. "Field operations don't always offer the luxury of good weather."
Her suspicions are confirmed very clearly when the lightning starts creeping along the ground itself, though. Her expression changes in an instant, and when she speaks, it's with the confidence of an officer issuing an order. "Go, get to cover! FALL IN!" She sweeps her hands down sharply across her arms, forming white sleeves, and draws her arm up across her body, trailing a white and golden military uniform, finishing with the formation of a peaked cap she tilts down over her head.
The transformation of the Soldier Angel is complete just in time to leap clear of the ground-bolt. "Entering the situation zone, Starry Soldier Angel reporting!"
"It's unusual, isn't it?" Mami agrees, in that sort of way that makes the agreement kind of null. But when Tokiko looks to the sky, Mami's eyes return to it, as well. "Elements training, you say....?" It's for the best that most aren't likely to look for it, especially as whatever it is flashes forward further, and keeps going.
Mami does not move for cover, or even flinch as th lines crawl towards them. In fact, what she actually does is turn again to Tokiko for a moment, surprised; perhaps that gets overlooked in the transformation, however. The blonde, too, leaps, out of the way of the bolt headed towards her feet, and twirls as she moves to hit the ground--in a flash of golden light, it's her shoes first that change, becoming boots, and then the glow covers the rest of her, before her clothes have completely changed; her little hat, unruffled by the rain, sits firmly atop her head as Mami catches her feet. "I'm afraid I can't do that," the Puella Magi offers to Tokiko. "This is my territory. Be careful--we'll be within the barrier at any moment!"
There's a flash of light and a rush of rain and wind. The air gets warmer suddenly, and then it .... breathes, the whole world around you inhales.
The pounding rain ends as abruptly as it started. Now it is dry, and little dust-devil tornadoes spin around. The ground is white and the sky is bright gold... for miles in all directions. The academy and the students are suddenly gone. There's a smell like seawater... but you can't see an ocean and certainly can't hear it. There is nothing but silence in fact, save for the very faint sound of a child's weeping, somewhere far away.
What kind of place is this? Mami at least knows.
"You're a magical girl too!" Soldier Angel watches in minor amazement as Mami invokes her transformation, calling over the sound of the rushing wind. "Territory? You have territory? ...oh!" When she mentions the barrier, everything seems to click into place. This is a Witch attack. ...this is a Witch attack? Uh oh.
The Soldier Angel holds up her hands, and with a golden flash, a white and gold battle rifle appears in her hands, which she promptly loads with a cartridge drawn from nowhere. "Well, looks like we're in it for the long haul now," she says, smiling at Mami. "Team up?"
Mami knows well the sort of place this is, catching her footing again as the entire world has suddenly changed, and none of what was before is so easy to recognize. It came on more suddenly than usual; her instinct to look here was right... Except that there were people in the way. Hopefully, the others will have escaped, as the one who's left...
'Too', Tokiko's mentioned. "That's right. I protect this city," Mami answers. She glances once towards the rifle in Tokiko's hands, and smiles again, slightly, in return. "...All right," she answers. "But be careful. Have you fought Witches before? I haven't seen you here."
She is rather more suprised by the offer than she sounds.
Another streak of angular lightning strikes across the sky, but now that the sky is gold, the lightning is black. It's still perfect right-angles of energy.
There's still that sound of weeping, too. You might be able to pinpoint it.
The ground resembles sand dunes, flat with ridges. They start to slowly rise up, as if sand is shifting. But to the touch, the ground is as hard and rough as old concrete.
"I've been operating for about a year. I've fought Witches, but not often," Soldier Angel says. "My jurisdiction is mainly in stolen wishes." She adjusts her balance to maintain her footing on the shifting whiteness. "Looks like a wide field, unstable footing. Ground travel will be uneven, air travel risks magic attack..." She sets off while the ground is still relatively even, trying to place the sound of the weeping. "I'm thinking we hoof it and see how far to the red zone. If it's too distant, I can call in an air transport. So," she says, suddenly turning friendly again, "what's your name?"
Mami continues to project an expression such that this is entirely normal--but she remains focused. That this is a matter in which she has experience isn't an excuse to get this other girl hurt in what may well be an unfamiliar situation. Though, as the explanations come in... stolen wishes...? Mami lifts an eyebrow, at that, but responds instead with just an inclination of her head. "I fight them often. ...The wide field, at least, should be good for both of us, looking at your weapon."
"Mami Tomoe," the Puella Magi answers. "Let's make sure no one was trapped in the barrier, hm? I believe... The sound's that way." Taking Tokiko's suggestion, Mami starts to walk. "I don't mean to seem unsociable," she says, eyes on the horizon, as she searches. "You understand, I'm sure."
On the path to the sound of crying, there's a rip that splits in the ground before them. It seems sudden and yet not sudden at the same time - it's ripped and intact and then ripped and then intact and then definitely ripped, at sharp angles that follow the dune path. There's a lack of any sound accompanying this ground shatter.
But a moment later there is wind blasting from the crevasse! A quartet of dust-devils pour out of the crack before them. They're spiraling tornadoes but yet they seem to have eyes one moment, then fingers, the next, then sharp spikes and horns. It's hard to get a precise idea of their nature or location, but there is some kind of mathematics to it: the eyeballs and fingers and spines all switch places in an orderly fashion. To stare at it too long to try to figure out the exact pattern... would be death: they're heading for both of the girls!
"That's a good idea," Tokiko says, trying to scan the landscape for anyone who might be caught. What Mami says next elicits just a confused glance back at her. "Understand what?" What reason is there to be unsociable? Unless she's talking about time constraints, but there's not much going on and oh, there are tornado monsters now.
"Hostiles at twelve!" Tokiko falls back, seeking cover behind an outcropping of white torn out from the 'page' they stand upon. She peeks up from behind cover to level her rifle, which with the press of the trigger erupts with golden light, streaming fire at the dust devil whatevers. She seeks at first priority to take out any of them that might be sneaking up on Mami in their ambush, and second to protect her own cover.
The hiccups in reality and the shudders in perception of a place like this never actually get natural, or easy, or boring; Mami certainly continues to look as if that's the case, as if she is entirely unruffled, but that speaks of a different kind of skill. The confusion doesn't end up needing a direct answer, however-her answer suddenly rushes up in the form of mobile dust, that shake along as they go. Mami's eyes narrow, as she gets a read on their path, and on how they're moving. When they're halfway to her, she lifts her arms, and in a semicircle around her six muskets appear, jammed into the ground all of a sudden. "These are nothing. Look out for the real Witch!" One fire; two fire; three fire; she picks up a musket, lets loose its payload, and throws it away, where it will disappear soon enough. The pattern isn't hopefully necessary--but she'll remember what she's seen, in case this goes poorly.
Guns and blasts and bursts of musket and rifle fire seem to take care of these familiars with relative ease - they shatter, spraying clouds of sand at each explosion.
Another volley of them come forth from the cracks, and these, too, fall to guns. They try to surround the Magical Girls, but they're mowed down...
But as they do so, the ground behind the girls drops down suddenly in a sharp ridge, and then the ground to their right, a flat world creating sudden dropoffs.
The sky cracks - always at angles, and then it opens up as if a crank were pulling on a jagged door. Where the sky is gold, it's hot, dry. Where the crack appears, the rain from earlier comes pouring down, gathering itself in that new crack in the land.
Over the sound of the rain, the noise of crying is now louder than before.
On a shallow dune, about twenty yards away under the dry gold sky, you see a girl. She might be about ten. She has long, dark hair and she's wearing what looks like a little swimsuit with a skirt. On the ground next to her is a dropped and melted ice cream. Her face is in her hands.
"We're getting surrounded," Tokiko observes, pausing in her takedown of the familiars to reload her rifle. She's smiling, though, when she turns to Mami to check up on tactics. "Nice. Went the antique route, huh? I've always been more of a modern girl." It's a genuine compliment nonetheless; she's done her share of military history. At the appearance of the younger girl, she sets her rifle down to rest on the white 'rock' serving as her cover, and as she changes ammunition, it elongates and forms a bipod to rest itself on - a white sniper rifle with golden filigree and handle. "I don't think anybody from the school grounds would have been wearing a swimsuit in the weather we were having," she says, lining up her sights with the girl's head. "You think that's the Witch?"
The dropoffs, the cracks, Mami is already looking towards them to see what might be coming next; it's best not to waste too much energy on the small ones, but....
"There's something to be said for style," the blonde returns lightly, though she seems pleased enough all the same. "I'm glad we're both the type to favor range. It's tricy to deal with someone you don't know getting into your line of fire, isn't it?"
Still, now, amid the crying, Mami can see the figure down in the heat, the crying louder. With a sigh, she focuses her vision. "...My instincts say yes. But as long as it might be a person, I have to check." She turns her head back towards Tokiko, "You stay here; keep your shot. I'll signal you if that's our target after all."
With barely a chance for confirmation, the Puella Magi is off running, jumping farther down than anyone has a right to jump. ...She has brought one of her muskets.
Of course a crying girl is a problem, no matter what it turns out to be. One would be right to fear the worst.
As Mami approaches, the girl stops sobbing suddenly. Her shoulders slump. She looks up.
A hidden face could contain something terrible. This one contains - for a moment, nothing but a dark and open maw, edged with teeth -
And then it contains ooze, liquid... no, it's water, but it's water so dirty and salty and thick with silt that it's disgustingly viscous. It flows out of the open mouth and becomes the girl's hair, oozing around the body in all directions. It subsumes the swimsuit and anything resembling a body, though hands with little fingers are still present. When the liquid the ground it flows into near-imperceptible cracks, creating tiny dark lines in the white sand.
"You have to stay adaptable, anyway," Tokiko says. She gives an OK sign to Mami's plan, nodding her head; wait for the signal... "Oh, wow. That's a hell of a jump," she says to herself.
She settles down in position, lying prone with the rifle trained on the girl's head. The view is too tight, and the target too distant, however, to make out much of what's going on - and besides, the plan has been set into motion. She tenses, but does not fire, waiting for the signal.
It could have been a real little girl, trapped in this barrier recently enough that she was still alive. And given Mami's mission, she can't simply ignore that possibility. But once the little girl looks up at her, her ever-changing face moving from teeth to a brackish sea to /something/--
There is not time to appreciate how someone's noticed her jumping; she just has to /demonstrate/ her agreement with Tokiko's comment about adapability. Leaping backwards again, her free hand comes up to her collar, tugging at one of the yellow ribbons about her throat until it comes away, and then /swings/ it upward, where it spins and grows and makes a huge sign for Tokiko:
The water continues to flow into cracks and the cracks all arrange themselves in angles. Another split happens in the sky, creating a series of bands: dry, then wet, then dry, then wet. All orderly with hard, sharp cuts between them.
The ends of every stream of brackish water drive upward like spikes. They're attacking even at Tokiko, snaking around and jabbing at her side from far away, but the majority of the spiked silt is stabbing at Mami.
That's quite a signal, but Tokiko has no time to dwell on that. "Starry Heart..." she begins, tensing her finger around the trigger as she trains as well she can on a killshot for the Witch - or what would be a killshot if it weren't a Witch, anyway. "Sniper!" The bolt that emerges from the rifle is a dazzling white limned in gold, searing with the power to burn away darkness. The Witch, unfortunately, is not dark in exactly this sense; but the bolt remains a powerful charge of magical energy centered straight on the witch's head.
No sooner has she taken the shot that she abandons her rifle, flipping forward in the air to get clear of those streams of water. When she lands, there is a line of red soaking into the side of her uniform, the sign of a swipe she failed to entirely avoid. "Look out, Mami-san!" She looks for Mami to get clear while she draws a white canister, snapping the pin off with her teeth. If Mami can get clear, she hurls the device forward for the brunt of the spiky waters and the Witch itself; if not, it will have to go behind, where the spikes attacked Tokiko. Either way, it erupts into golden fire, a gambit to divide and evaporate the waters. "Angel Incendiary!"
Mami is still moving back, flipping with all the agility and experience she can. To her credit, she is not speared to death by the spiked silt crashing towards her. However, her gamble required a sacrifice--she isn't fast enough to evade it entirely, taking slashing blows from the dirty water, a bit of red running down both of her sleeves and more to come. Hopefully, Tokiko's shots give her a bit of an opening.
If they don't--the ribbon shrinks back to its original size, and Mami hurls it out towards the 'little girl', where it segments, lining about Mami's opponent even as the yellow edges turn sharp as blades, to try to cut off this form of attack. "As if something like this could take me down!" she boasts in return. "Tagliare!"
The first sniper shot hits water. It splashes -- not in a loose and clean way but in an almost ooze-like way. Individual sand particles are lodged thick in the water and visible as it's backed against the bright gold of the dry side of sky. Soldier Angel then throws her canister. It strikes a sharp shark-tooth in the waves, and splinters the tooth and itself, then bursts as it explodes. The water and fire fight with each other... but water winds, rolling over the flames with tendrils of ooze. The water at least looks... less organized, from this blast. Mami follows up a moment later, cutting off a few of the tendrils. The witch hisses... it sounds like bubbles and dust at the same time.
While the witch regroups, a few more of its dust-like familiars burst out of holes in the ground. From every hole, the world drops off or shoots upward more, making the terrain increasingly unstable. A river is building in one cut in the ground, dark and salty water.
"Need heavier firepower," Soldier Angel muses in a low tone. She looks up at the emerging familiars, and hits a crouched run. "Mami-san, cover me!" She dodges around the rising towers of 'ground' as she advances on the Witch, throwing her arm out to her side. A surge of golden light is thrown out by the gesture, forming into a large white barrel with a golden warhead protruding from the end.
"Shooting star fallen to earth," she begins, entering a stationary crouch just outside the blast zone and shouldering the weapon. "Angel Heavy Arms!" The rocket is fired, erupting upon impact into a magical shower of stardust and stellar fire.
"A liquid body," Mami murmurs to herself, "So where's your core...?" At least the combination of attacks has given her enough time to get range, to be able to do more than just focus on dodging the Witch's attacks. She's about to get more of a chance to look, however--Tokiko calls, and the Puella Magi rolls back into action.
As Tokiko readies her rocket, Mami curtsies lightly, dropping two more muskets down, and with a spin, still more appear; she fires, one after another, moving to the side each time in almost a dance with each flourish, to ensure that the pressure isn't let up on the Witch at all.
A rocket hitting the liquid form of the witch disperses the water and dirt all around. The center tries to linger. It's... a hand, with very long fingers, reaching out of the brakish water. It stretches and reaches and then pulls the water down toward it as if it is plunging under. Each splash of water that it tries to draw into itself is burst with Mami's muskets. The hand grasps at nothing... and one musket shot shoots off a finger. It leaks dark blood into the already filthy ooze all around.
The ground under Mami drops out suddenly, plunging her toward cold water.
"Direct hit on... Mami-san!!" Soldier Angel spins her head around at the sudden sound to see the Labyrinth fighting back against her partner. They have a chance now, the core is weakened and exposed, but what good would that be if they left someone behind?! She drops the rocket launcher and breaks into a run, ducking and rolling underneath incoming dust-devils to reach Mami's position. As she runs, she draws a golden grappling hook on white rope, and looks around the changing landscape quickly for something that won't give at the Witch's whim...
She cranes her neck around, and throws the grappling hook to tangle around the long-fingered Witch itself. "Fine! If we're going down you're coming with us!" This accomplished, and with the rope latched around her uniform's belt, she dives face-first, arms outstretched ahead of her, to catch hold of the falling Mami.
Not that Mami can yet act on the new information; she keeps firing even as the hand shows itself, learning more about how this one shields itself with every burst of water she blasts apart. There's at least a wound in, but Mami's offense is suddenly cut off; with no ground beneath her, the Puella Magi has no choice but to fly or fall.
...She can't fly, so it's a non-choice. Fall it is.
The shock of sudden weightlessness is enough to halt her fire, at least, but before long, there's help coming her way. Before she can fall beneath the water's surface so far that she's out of the light, her temporary ally has arrested her descent. The yellow-clad Witch hunter gets her breath back, "Thank you--but quickly!" Grabbing hold of Tokiko's arm in return, Mami reaches out and the ribbon at her cuff stretches, wrapping hard around one of the spires of ground that yet remains, "You have the opening!" Because she does /not/.
The ground is stable just for now, but the rain keeps pouring, and the witch.... is regrouping again. Water surges up around it in angular spikes, spinning into a spiral. It seems to be in pain, though, inflating and then sucking itself in like some kind of gasping lung. Black blood is leaking into the filthy water. Its hand is no longer visible in there, but is definitely there somewhere. The black cracks on the ground start to close up again as the witch liquid body reconsolidates into a wet thick shield around its core.
Tokiko pulls Mami up as hard as she can, until she sees that Mami has secured herself safely. She looks back at the regrouping Witch, then down at the dangling Mami, and nods her head. "Okay." She climbs her way back up the rope, swinging herself onto dry 'land,' and sweeps into position to stare down the Witch.
Soldier Angel lifts her right hand into the air, where her white pearl ring shines blindingly bright. "Painting hostile," she recites, as the gleam seems to fire up out of the ring and into the space between the stripes in the sky. A distant roar begins to be heard, and a shadow is cast over the whiteness of the land, as a small formation of white low-altitude bombers sweeps suddenly out of that interstice, dropping a bevvy of golden bombs down upon the Witch's position, exploding in a larger-scale shower of starshine.
"Heavenly Air Raid!"
It quickly seems that they could go on like this until they flat ran out of energy; the Witch is unlikely to do so, on her own.
When Tokiko looks back at her, Mami nods right back firmly, and swings into her own position, making use of her new tie to swing over to a higher vantae point. The spiral may be the place to aim, if she's right, and she keeps searching for the right spot. The flash of light from her teammate, though, preceding the roar--
"...She wasn't kidding," Mami murmurs to herself, since the momentary drop in her facade is unloikely to be seen here. Instead, on the heels of those glowing bombs, "Tiro..."
Leaping once more from her position, Mami brings down her arm with a dramatic pop, as three huge cannons spring into being at her feet, each silver and shining even in the grimy water's light. There's a hum, and a spark of energy, before--
"FINALE!" They fire straight at where she thinks that core must be.
The golden bombs explode, bursting, bursting, each explosion and shine creating a bubble that pops in dirt and disperses some of that muddy water. Every bubble disperses the liquid just a bit more, and it seeps into the cracks of the impossibly dry ground. The lung of the witch almost has the impression, for a moment, of a woman trying to gather up her skirts, but every time it lifts up a tendril another one drops, as they spiral slowly around. In the center of all of this is that wounded hand, grasping at water that slips through each finger.
Two fingers break away from the others with sick snaps, looking at Mami, as if they had eyes at the tips... the look somehow conveys shock....
and then, it splatters under the blow from her finisher. The hand explodes in black ooze! The skies above creak together slowly, groaning and then SNAPPING as the cracks seal shut. The ground begins to level.
The air itself lets out another ragged, desperate warm breath... And that is the last gasp of the Hydrophobic Witch.
You are standing outside Ohtori Academy. The sky is clear, but the scent in the air is as if a late summer squall just passed through here. Darkness comprised of sharp angles and flowing waters are all sucked in toward the ground...
The Grief Seed spins on the sidewalk like a wounded top.
Through the magic of the release of the barrier, Tokiko Amagawa stands untransformed - or perhaps she just managed to change during the destruction of the Labyrinth. It was distraction enough. She leans down and pinches the top spire of the Grief Seed, stopping its spin. Then she lifts it up and gently holds it out to offer it to Mami. "Here. You're one of those magical girls who use these, aren't you? You earned it." She smiles, bowing when the Seed has been accepted. "My name is Tokiko Amagawa. I go to the Infinity Institute. Pleased to meet you!"
The bombs, in the end, are what allow Mami to take the shot that she does; this plan would not have worked without two of them, regardless of the fact that she usually hunts alone. The Witch may be shocked... But now, it will hurt no one else.
There's a faint glow about the Ohtori student as she is standing their in her uniform once again, holding a gold-set yellow gem, flecked with black here and there. She glances to Tokiko, before she looks to the Grief Seed at hand. As it's offered, she lifts an eyebrow.
"...Most would want to hang onto that," she says. "...But, thank you. You're right; I prefer to keep thse out of the hands of those who might not be able to dispose of them properly." She bows in return, with a smile.
"It's nice to meet you, Amagawa-san. I'm sorry that I didn't have time for introductions in the Labyrinth." There's a moment, as she closes her eyes, and sets her gem beside the seed, and then the yellow egg shines as if it had never been dirtied.
"Are you hurt? That was a tricky Witch; I'm glad to have had help."
"Well, I don't need to use them for anything, and I'm not doing this for bounty money, so why would I keep it from somebody who needs it?" Tokiko smiles to Mami, clasping her hand lightly around the Grief Seed. It's yours. "The Witch scratched me a bit, but I can treat that well enough myself. It got you too, didn't it? Do you need treatment?" She makes a little flourish with her fingers in the air, and a combat medic's kit with a golden cross on it materializes in her hand. "Either way," she says, "you've got to tell me how that cannon operates. That is some serious hardware!" Yep, grinning like a maniac.
"I'm glad to hear that. There are those that would try to use Grief Seeds for more than just restoring their magic--and they're too dangerous to be trifled with that way." Formal or not, she does seem at least fairly pleased, though she glances over Tokiko as the scratching is mentioned. "Oh, I'll be fine; I can heal myself, given a little bit of time and space to do it. ...But that's a lovely kind of magic you have, as well. Stylish and useful."
Ha! Of course. "Oh, that one's a bit of a style secret, I'm afraid. But I've had a long time to practice with it, regardless. ...Still, did you say bounty money? Who would be offering you bounties on Witches here at Ohtori?"
Tokiko rings a magical bandage around her side, which soaks in the blood and dissipates, leaving even her school uniform clean and healthy. "Thank you! It took a lot of hard study to get the details right, but it's rewarding study. You must know about that anyway, if you're able to reproduce Tanegashima rifles with magic... where did my posters go?" Oh, dear; she must have dropped them when she transformed! She kneels down and begins to scour the grounds for them!
"Oh, I'm a Tuner," she explains to Mami, as she searches for her posters. "I was just here in Ohtori putting up posters for my school club - I still hope you consider it! - but the Tuners have this bounty system for stuff like Grief Seeds. Like I said, I'm not in this for bounties, it's about keeping people safe and happy and I don't need the money or the Seeds. Some people do need it, so I give mine away. That's the kind of important help we're able to give each other."
"So, conjuration magic, then," Mami replies thoughtfully, before offering a light laugh. "Yes, I've done a lot of... Ah! I'm sorry, I don't see them." Though she does glance around to see where any of them might have gone. Her ears, though, remain focused on Tokiko, as the answer comes. There's no obvious reaction to the news at first, of course. Instead, she answers other things.
"I keep fairly busy with this business," Mami explains. "I don't really have time for clubs, as a rule. I wish you luck with it regardless, though."
"...And some advice," she continues, turning around fully to face Tokiko again. "Be careful. You might find if you mention my name that I don't get along very well with the Tuner Organization. ...I can't tolerate the cavalier way in which they treat the lives of those we should be protecting. Watch yourself around them. ...And I'm afraid around me, if you're really committed to the group. I'd prefer to work together, but with such an alleigance... I can't guarantee we won't come into conflict if we meet again, Amagawa-san."
Tokiko pauses in her search, looking up while still kneeling in the grass. "...I can't see Neptune-sempai treating lives cavalierly... I just thought it was a group of us to get together on snack nights and help each other out. What happened to Mami-san...?" What happened that would cause such a traumatic rift with what she saw as a pretty harmless organization?
But more importantly... "Do you really think we would end up fighting each other?" She sounds genuinely hurt by the suggestion; Tokiko doesn't believe it for a second. Why would she attack Mami? They're on the same side!
"...I've been at this for a long time now," Mami explains. "Not everyone is as willing to help others without thinking about the reward that's in it for them. Mm, how to put it..." Mami steps around a little, and turns to face Tokiko again, "The girl we saw, in there. This time, it was really the Witch. But most of the Tuners wouldn't stop to check; they'd have attacked right off, and thought that if they saved more lives, it was worth the sacrifice of the one. But that 'one' adds up over time, and that 'one' is important to someone; maybe the most important to someone."
Mami shakes her head, "I hope we don't, personally. But, it's possible."
Tokiko nods her head slowly. "Then... I think I've learned a lesson from this meeting. I should be more careful myself, too. I don't want to lose sight of the mission parameters."
"There they are," she says, her enthusiasm dampened by the subject. She picks up her posters and stands back to her feet, turning to face Mami with the posters hugged against her chest. "Well," she replies quietly. "I'll just have to prove you wrong." She gives a small smile.
"That's right. As long as you understand why you're fighting, and you keep in mind what's important to you, you won't have to regret your actions."
Mami smiles back, as if the subject weren't any more weighty than an important test coming up, or some other normal task. "Feel free. I'd be glad to see that more around act like you did today than I've seen before. Regardless, thank you again, and take care. ...If you find trouble in this city, you can still come to me to let me know." A bow, "Good luck with your club, Amagawa-san. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it."
"Mami-san is still welcome any time," Tokiko offers. "After all, I keep pretty busy myself!" She digs around in her pockets, and holds out her cell phone. "Exchange numbers?" she asks. "You can call on me any time, too - and this way you can do it literally!"
Blink. "Oh!" Of course. Mami pauses, and reaches to pull her phone out in return. "That's a good idea, isn't it? I appreciate the welcome. Here," she says, and moves to... actually get that exchange going, though if Tokiko has the infrared port like Mami's phone does it'll be all the faster.
She does have that handy port! "Thank you!" Tokiko says, sealing her cell phone up once the transfer is complete. "I'd invite you to snacks night, but I guess with the Tuners being there you wouldn't be very interested. Maybe we can go shooting together sometime. I hope to see you again, Mami-san!" She heads off to distribute her posters, but halfway on her way, she turns back and waves goodbye enthusiastically. Then, she's on her way.
That just makes it that much easier! Mami takes hers back in return, "Thank you." Contact added, she at least doesn't have to turn down the almost-invitation. Instead, the blonde just inclines her head, "That would be nice. See you another day, Amagawa-san." Mami, too, starts to walk off, though at seeing that enthusiastic wave, she offers a smaller, more elegant one in return. She, too, is then on her way.
<I-Tuners> @soldierangel Tokiko Amagawa has set today's poll: 'What would you do if you could guarantee the defeat of a difficult bounty, but there were bystanders near the blast zone?'
<I-Tuners> Minako Aino says, "Bystanders are good because they help to guarantee confirmation of kills."
<I-Tuners> All the NPCs forever answer the poll, very rapidly pushing it to at least 95% 'defeat the bounty anyway.'
<I-Tuners> @soldierangel Tokiko Amagawa says, "Fine, you guys suck!"
<I-Tuners> Sailor V Minako Aino says, "What other options are there? I would WIN, as usual!"
<I-Tuners> @soldierangel Tokiko Amagawa has disconnected.
<I-Tuners> Sailor V Minako Aino says, "Wait, I like bystanders? What were you asking..."