2014-04-17 - I'm Not Afraid Of My Friends

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Title: I'm Not Afraid Of My Friends

In the wake of the battle to save the New Year, Runealy asks to meet with Mai to check up her. It really does help.


Runealy Waldia Mai Tokiha


Ohtori Gardens

OOC - IC Date:

1 January 2014 - 4/17/14

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

New Year's day has dawned over Ohtori Academy as brightly as everywhere else. Much of the campus has largely been abandoned, with classes out of session - even with a number of students continuing to stay on campus over the holidays. After all, it's new year's day - time to prepare for parties, or to visit a shrine, or maybe to just head out for some excitement.

Mai has had enough excitement already today, and is sitting for a moment in the garden. She'd planned a morning of cooking the new year's meal for tonight, hopefully meeting up with Takumi later for a trip to the shrine. A standard morning schedule was warranted - wake up early, extricate herself from Mikoto's grasp, start making New Year's mochi...but exhaustion from the previous night had her sleeping in until Mikoto wandered off on her own, and she'd barely started the rice cooker when a strange text message appeared on her phone.


...apparently, her messenger's phone didn't have spellcheck enabled. Mai gave it some thought, but in the end decided to go. There's still time while the rice cooks, and she might be able to skip one of the side dishes. So - bundled in battered jacket and scarf, she sits in Ohtori's gardens. A moment to appreciate nature bound to man's will, dusted with a light coating of snow...but Mai's real appreciation is for the bench. It's elaborate and surprisingly comfortable and she just needs a minute to sit. Just one.

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune was even worse than usual on the keypad at that point, but being tired after what amounted to a miniature 'war campaign' of its own in the Bad End Kingdom would justify it. She arrives only a few minutes after Mai did, with a modern t-shirt (depicting Lancelot in Madoka's sketch style), jeans, and jacket over that.

She walks up to the bench, immediately relieved by what she sees. "That you're here at all answers my first question... you're at least 'that much alright.' Wanted to check on you after all that, make sure you're doing okay." She doesn't sit just yet. "It was pretty amazing."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai's head jerks up abruptly, surprise turning to a smile quickly. She hadn't dozed off. Honest. Not all the way, anyway. "Honestly, you didn't have to go to that much trouble - I know you had a long night too." She glances at the text message one last time, manages to not laugh, and closes her phone. "...if you'd like, I can show you how to type messages on your phone, later."

Mai's eyes are, in a word, tired. Not despairing, just showing her exhaustion. "I haven't had time to dwell on things - New Year's preparations to be made and all that. Though you're right, everyone was amazing."

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"You had a longer one," Rune responds in a quiet, soft... not quite flat, but definitely weak tone. "I saw that much. The Bad End singers, and... /that./ That was the thing you warned me about, wasn't it? I had no idea it was going to be the solution to one of the biggest problems we had there. That /you/ were going to be it." She tries to sit down on the bench too, suddenly self-conscious. "...If you could, I'd like that. The only time I sent out a coherent text, I had to pay someone to write it for me. That was weird. ...Cell phones are weird."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

A brief look comes over Mai's face at the mention of those singers - though despair or anger, she's too tired to really commit to either. It passes, though, when Runealy mentions...that. "...Kagutsuchi. I just...everyone was falling. Friends I've made. Heroes fighting against the dark. I thought about what would happen if I didn't do anything, and..." She looks down. "...I decided things couldn't get any worse, so I called him. And you can see why I warned you about..."

Rune moves to sit, and Mai sweeps snow off the bench to make a spot. "Most of the girls these days seem to have smartphones - I'm still using an old model. What kind do you have, again?" Mai tries to recall, but her head's a bit of a fog. "Anyway, I can try to help you figure it out. It seems like they get more complicated every year, honestly, and if you'd never had one before..." She winces sympathetically.

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"I didn't know what one /was/ until about six weeks ago," Rune admits. Teaching her the finer points of using one will likely be aggravating; the only things keeping her from being tech support's worst nightmare are that she doesn't use much technology to begin with... and she's the sort of end user who knows they're ignorant and doesn't give the expert any lip about things. Nonetheless, the princess pulls out a current and top-end model. Touch screen controls.

Yet even as she hands it over, with a 'Thanks' both to the offered phone help and the bench-sweeping, Rune's real focus lies on Mai and Kagutsuchi. "I do see why. That kind of power is incredible... my list of things that even rival it is real short. That's definitely something you have to be careful with. But, you know something?" She's smiling. It's light and quiet, but approving. "You made a really great choice on pretty much every level imaginable."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai does stare at the phone. Top-of-the-line, brand new, touch screen - basically the opposite of her phone in every respect. Still, she's a child of the 21st century, so it isn't too hard to start poking at things. Find the right sequence of buttons to access the text message keyboard and oh heavens does this one have a 3D camera? Seriously? "...okay, let's see if I can figure this out."

The phone is an obvious distraction from the real topic of discussion - Kagutsuchi himself. Mai pokes at buttons without purpose as Runealy talks about the power of that monster, and flinches. But...know something? She turns to Runealy, and beholds a princess's smile. Mai's own look of surprise is telling, in its own way. "...are you sure? Kagutsuchi nearly ate that 'Pop' fairy, people got horribly injured by that massive wolf, I wound up collapsing in midair and needed to be rescued-" And Mai cuts herself off rather than think too much about that particular New Year's moment.

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"Go for it," Rune is all for letting Mai do whatever she wants with the phone, and it's only a few months old so everything should work fine. The princess would rather discuss the New Year's situation. "Even after all that? I'm sure. That's the kind of surprise you hold on to for pretty much that kind of emergency. I had no idea Kagutsuchi could go between worlds, bring that much power down on the troll, and carry us back to Tokyo. Doesn't look like the Bad End Kingdom had any idea, either. Think about it!"

She sweeps an open palm around the area, though there's nothing unusual about the garden aside from its high quality. "Did anyone else there have a way to get us out of there that fast? My 'plan' would have been to make one last push back to where we started. We might have been too late, and there's a really good chance we would have wound up in a third battle on the way. So what if your solution wasn't perfect? Think about how it would have gone if we had to fight our way through a Bad End patrol." She's not even sure they have patrol units, but it makes sense to Runealy.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai has...honestly stopped even pretending to work on the phone issue. That can come later. "Emergency would be a good way to describe it. The world-travel thing was new for me - I think he was just following the troll. Maybe those fairies opened a gate for us? But the rest..." Mai wraps her arms around herself. "...I'm glad Kagutsuchi aimed over the water. I really, really don't want to think about what would have happened if that shot had gone into downtown Tokyo...."

Mai does finally look up as Runealy finishes her tactical analysis. "That...you're right. Time flowing strangely meant we had minutes left at best - and I'd like to have a word with those fairies about not taking that into consideration beforehand. And another battle..." She closes her eyes, and leans back against the bench. "...there's something I'd forgotten. Something I'm still not too sure about. But all things considered...if we had to do that situation all over again, I would still bring him out. There wasn't another way."

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"I just wish you had gotten to visit a nicer world first. It's scary even going from like to like... the Bad End Kingdom must have been even worse for you. 'Glad' Kagutsuchi aimed...?" Runealy suddenly realizes the likely reason for it, briefly widened eyes and a gasp betraying this thought. "So /that's/ why! Well, you know what?" Her gaze follows Mai's lean. "If there was another way, nobody was seeing it or telling the others. You made a really good call. We're sitting here right now because of it. We're enjoying the New Year, in a nice garden, on Earth. If we got bogged down in too many fights, we'd be too late and either dead or in a Bad End dungeon. So if nobody else has said it?"

Rune shifts around a little to make a slight bow in Mai's direction. "Thank you. For your solution, and... letting me see something else, just before that."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"It could have been nicer, but we were told up front that it was basically a villain's realm, right?" Mai wrinkles her nose in distaste. "The worst part was definitely the cave, though." Runealy's gasp has Mai glancing to one side - but the followup gaze pins her in place. Runealy's analysis is...very positive, and Mai can't help but smile. "Yeah. It looks like the New Year's going to be a good one - though I'm still planning on visiting a shrine later, just to make sure."

Runealy bows, and Mai has a brief flustered blush. Royalty shouldn't be bowing - but politeness should be met with politeness. "You're welcome. For the solution, anyway...what do you mean, letting you see something?" Honest curiosity on her face, should Rune care to look.

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"A shrine? Is that part of your world's rituals for the New Year?" Runealy is curious herself, just on different things than Mai is. "With your flying, I mean. Mom did that with me a few times... never in a fight. She was very clear on that, she wanted me to see our magic as something that could do things outside of battle too. And she was right! But... I always wondered what it would be like."

'It' is quickly described. "It makes things a lot easier. Once everyone was on the bridge, I couldn't do anything safely... any 'miss' would probably hit a friend instead. Without a way to convince all of them to get off... being able to go around them was a big help. So thank you for that, and for letting me have even a glance at how she must have seen things." A single, deep nod follows as Rune stares hard at Mai. "You and your flying allowed that."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's easy for Mai to forget how much of Japan Runealy doesn't know. "It's a tradition - well, at least one here in Japan. On New Year's Day, visit a shrine and pray for luck in the new year. I'm going there with Takumi this afternoon. There's a few other traditions, like eating mochi..." But that's getting bogged down in details. Runealy's reminiscence stands out to Mai, and she slides closer to put a hand on Runealy's shoulder.

"I'm glad I was able to help. I...kind of feel awkward when flying around, honestly, and I'm worried about making a mistake. But if you're all right with my clumsiness, I can try taking you any time." Tactical discussion comes up, and Mai flushes again. "...it is handy. Mikoto needs a straight shot when we're fighting enemies - but I need to be able to get close enough to help. That bridge, though...honestly I just got tired of swinging around." She grins - and gives Rune a look of her own. "How about you - have you tried doing much outside of battle with your magic? You've seen basically what I've come up with."

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"Ohhh..." An acknowledging noise from Rune, then, "Takumi? Great! You have fun and get all the luck you want, both of you!" That may be oddly phrased, but this is enthusiastic well-wishing all the same. The hand on her shoulder draws no resistance, and doesn't seem to dim Rune's mood much either. "'Clumsy' is better than 'can't.' You're clumsy at flying, but I can't do it yet. Things outside of fighting... nothing wondrous like that, no. I've helped take care of a few friends who were hurt, and that's important and good, but it's not /special/ like flying is."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai smiles, hope plain in her face. "Thanks! You should give it a try - no harm in trying, right?" The discussion of magic does get Mai thinking. "Special's a matter of opinion. Between you and me, if I had to choose between healing and flying, I'd take the former. Being able to help take care of people when they're hurt...it's something to be proud of."

The hand pulls back for the moment, and Mai leans back against the bench again. "...Runealy, I kind of have to ask something. A question for the Princess of Waldia. From what you saw last night...do you consider me - Kagutsuchi's HiME - a threat?"

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"I just might," Rune offers vague agreement on shrine visits. "And maybe you're right about flying. But..." She cuts off as Mai asks a very specific question, one that needed details on who exactly was being asked.

The hand on the shoulder and talk of flight's sentimental value hadn't dimmed Runealy's mood much, but this does. "Wha!?" Eyes wide, her first impulse is to shout the question down with a horrified 'No!', and her mouth even opens to start to do that...

...But maybe this deserves some detail in return. "That might be getting into word games." The question literally has Rune shaking, but she tries to be calm about this and partially succeeds. Her eyes stay on Mai's. "If you want to get really precise about it, anyone who can hurt anybody is a threat to that person. So if you're being literal on who's a threat? Then," There's a pause as she holds up a hand, trying to ask for patience on this response: "Then yes. You're as much of a threat as Sailor Moon or any of the Puella Magi are. That's actually not my answer, though. I'll give you that after you think about my question."

The hand lowers as Rune asks it. "Should I be afraid of you? Do I have a good reason to expect that all of a sudden the person who has jumped in front of me when the Maiden was lashing out, who held back when she realized /why/ that was happening, will suddenly be a problem? Is the person who could have thrown me off a cliff in the Bad End Kingdom going to head for our portal... will she force it open? And then lead Kagutsuchi to the castle to burn the maids, the cooks, the guards, and my father? Is she going to kill my other friends, including some of the ones she has in common with me?"

Rune's eyes narrow as she concludes: "You tell me. Should I be afraid you're going to do any of that?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai's expression was bleak as she asked the question. It's something that looms in her mind - something she needed an answer to. She meets Runealy's gaze as the princess elaborates about threats, about past behaviour, and considers her response just as carefully. "...I'm sorry. I just had to ask, because...you've seen Kagutsuchi." Mai holds one hand to her chest. "That's a power I have that, as far as I know, Sailor Moon and the...Puella Magi? They're powerful, but it's powers they can actually control. I have...Kagutsuchi."

The HiME can't help but glance down at Runealy's description of her actions, of what could happen. Her hand tightens around a handful of her jacket. "...I wouldn't. Not intentionally. You're a good friend, Runealy, and I would not do that to you. I just...I'm scared." She looks up again. "Because you've seen what Kagutsuchi can do. Maybe even what I can do, when desperate. My Child is...the word might be overprotective. If it goes on a rampage, I worry that I won't be able to stop it. That's what I mean by a threat."

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

Rune offers some flawed insight. "I've seen Kagutsuchi. He's about as strong as mom was." Kagutsuchi is probably strong/er/ than the late queen was, but an adoring princess has extreme biases and she means this as a very awe-struck impression of the Child's power; Kagutsuchi is way, WAY up there at the top of Rune's estimations. "So maybe he could do all that. You get to pick where he shows up, though. You get to think about 'does he need to be here?' Maybe you can't completely guide him, but unless I'm missing something then you're the one who lets the situation even exist or not. So you've already answered the question, but I'll do it too."

That same intense stare persists, looking oddly out of place on a thirteen year old. "I'm not afraid of you. You and Kagutsuchi could ruin everything, but the difference is you won't. Do you remember the singer? The one who said hurting people and making them sad was the whole point of his performances? He's a threat too. Imagine if he had Kagutsuchi. Imagine if I begged him not to destroy my home or kill my father. He'd probably laugh before doing it right then and there! You? You'd probably start apologizing for frightening me enough to think you were even considering it. You don't think hurting people is fun. You don't think that's the point of Kagutsuchi!"

Runealy tries to force herself to calm down, speaking between deep breaths. Having done a fine job of rattling herself with this scenario, the princess nonetheless smiles. "So that's my answer. I'm not afraid of you. I'm not afraid of my friends. I'm glad to have them! Even really powerful ones who make the right choice in the right emergency to save everyone's New Year."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai's worry outright drains away in surprise. How powerful was Waldia's queen, anyway? Runealy has some good points to go with it, and Mai's about to respond - but the young princess has more to say. More to stare her down with, and Mai is struck dumb by the Waldian heir's royal authority.

The thought of those singers - or any monster - with Kagutsuchi's power is absolutely terrifying. Not just because of the destructive might, but...some sort of defensiveness on Mai's face. "...I worried that that was the point of Kagutsuchi. I feared that was what he was for. But...I'm wondering, now, if I might have been wrong. He didn't attack everyone like I feared..."

There's a serious answer in conclusion, and Mai tries to smile back. "...thank you. I just - I told you about Kagutsuchi before, but I needed to know if your stance had changed actually seeing him... I'm glad to be your friend, and I hope I can help in future." She glances away, looks over the snow-covered garden. "...though you'll understand that I'm hoping Kagutsuchi isn't needed often."

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"Maybe that's 'the point' of Kagutsuchi according to someone else. And no two ways about it... you have a huge responsibility with him." Rune is taking this seriously; she saw the firestorms. It's very easy to envision how that would unfold if someone that one loves and cares about were in its path. "He changes situations by being there. The /thought/ of him impacts things."

Despite that sober thought, Runealy leans around on the bench to try to get into Mai's face. "So I understand at least a little bit of what has you worried, and why you have to think about that so much. But I like the Mai Tokiha" Yes, 'the Mai Tokiha', this odd phrasing is intentional, "Who asks what a good person is and thinks about the point of things." This next point is much less melodramatic. It's simpler, said with bright eyes and a broad smile. "My life is better because you're in it."

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mai can never forget - she pulled out the sword. She broke the seal. By her hands, that Child is free to have an impact on things...but there was a reason. A decision that couldn't even be called a choice. These thoughts run through Mai's head, as she recalls the reason-

And then there is a princess in her face. Wait what- Mai loses her balance, and falls back to hit the length of the bench with a thud. At least the snow she didn't clear away broke her fall. A questing hand finds the top of the elaborate seat's back, and pulls her upright - but when she's sitting up again, she's laughing. "The Mai Tokiha, who loses her balance and falls over." She gives Runealy a smile. "And mine is brightened, having you to talk to. Thank you."

After a moment, she leans in beside the princess, holding out the smartphone. "In gratitude for your kind words - would you like to go over how the text messages work on this thing?"

<Pose Tracker> Runealy Waldia [Ohtori Academy (7)] has posed.

"Yeah, that one." Rune is much more casual now, confirming that the fallen Mai is the one in question, and offering a hand up. The thanks and offer are met with a simple "Mm!", as she settles in to learn about Earth's send-a-voice-anywhere boxes can also transmit paperless letters anywhere too. ...So long as they're within a character limit. The phones must work awful hard at sending even those tiny messages.