2016-01-23 - Ohtori Sports Festival Dance

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Ohtori Sports Festival Dance

All good things must come to an end.


Mikoto Minagi, Ami Mizuno, Lera Camry, Natsuki Kuga, Setsuna Higashi, Steven Universe, Takeo Akamizu, Endo Naoki, Nori Ankou, Fuu Hououji, Hikaru Shidou, Iona Hikawa, Mai Tokiha, Minako Aino
GM: Madoka Kaname


Ohtori Academy

OOC - IC Date:

Sep 23 2014 - 01-23-2016

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Traditionally, Athletics Festivals conclude with a folkdance around a bonfire. It's mandatory -- all the students know the steps from gym class -- and usually more fun than awkward.

At Ohtori, the bonfire has been replaced with as many candles as there are stars in the sky, and instead of dancing on concrete, the marble floors of a massive ballroom, constructed as part of the event facilities, are in use. The school transforms from 'full Olympics mode' to 'full gala mode' in seconds, it seems, with aid from an army of attendants, decorators, caterers and fashionistas.

No student will go unscathed; white-tie tuxedos and ballgowns have been prepared for all and sundry, no matter how large or how small, unless -- with typical Ohtori exceptionalism -- you're on the Ohtori Student Council, in which case your uniform already looks like something a Victorian military officer might grace a ballroom with, anyway. Either way, tonight the Viennese Waltz is as inescapable as Turkey In The Straw might have been at Juuban.

There are a sum total of eight Grand Staircases, chased with gold and hung with roses, descending to the ballroom floor. Each has an announcer, complete with trumpet. Each seems to have memorized the faces of every single Sister Schools student -- and their grade, and their club membership, or perhaps some other notable fact or affiliation -- and will announce them in bold voices as they first come in. This is a bit of a cacophany for a few minutes, but they're well-trained, staircase calls coming consecutively instead of simultaneously, such that it's kind of a surround-sound experience.

Roses are emblazoned on the dance floor too, because of course they are. The walls have pillars and filagree. The ceiling is gloriously spun of gold and glass, letting in starlight which intermingles freely with all of the candles. Even now, Kyouichi Saionji, an affiliate of the Ohtori Student Council, teeters at the top of an exceedingly tall ladder, lighting the last few candles on the main, sparkling, glorious, crystal-hung chandelier.

There are refreshments at both sides of the massive hall, and the canapes and hors d'voeurs are as impossibly glitzy (and delicious) as could be hoped. There isn't alcohol, unless you're a teacher or a sufficiently daring student, but sparkling cider is being served in nice clinky champagne flutes. Yukino Kikukawa, the bespectacled secretary of the high school Ohtori Student Council, looks a little frazzled as she directs the kitchen staff at the perimeter of things, but the food couldn't be fresher or more fabulous.

An actual professional orchestra (mingled with Sister School clubs who previously arranged for an opportunity to play with said orchestra) has come in to play. The music that fills the air is sweet, romantic, and luxurious. Tadase Hotori, the King of the Ohtori Elementary Guardians, can be seen wearing a plaid blue stole over his tuxedo instead of a full cape, and is attending to the musicians' needs, trotting gamely back and forth with water bottles, adjusting the lighting, and generally making their performance more sparkling through support.

Attendance is mandatory, but getting to go to a high-class party isn't widely considered an onerous burden. There are butlers and maids on hand to help students with any wardrobe malfunctions, and dance instructors give 'Waltz 101' every ten minutes or so in one quadrant of the room, so that any lad and lass can be dancing with as much basic competence as they'd like to attain. Right now, the President and Vice-President of the Ohtori High School Council, are demonstrating. Touga Kiryuu and Shizuru Fujino dance a dance of mutual respect, round and round one another, moving in graceful synchronicity, and behaving with absolute propriety.

There is a very faint sense that maybe they don't get along very well, but both of their smiles seem so genuine.

There are tables by the refreshments, and more of them outside, where the moonlight spills alongside the music, swirling into a rose garden positively lush with little spots for smaller groups to gather, eat, and talk. Ohtori High School Treasurer Juri Arisugawa stalks-- wanders-- stalks the side paths, ostensibly to make sure nobody gets up to any mischief. It somehow feels more likely that Disciplinary Executive Haruka Suzushiro is going to bust up the cuddles; Juri is more likely to intervene only if someone is getting attention they don't actually desire.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

At the fourth of eight staircases (oblivious to the ill omen that represents) appears Mikoto Minagi, but not as we know her. She's dressed here in an elegant gown, black as night, with golden embroidery along its contours. It fits her torso snugly, with tasteful ruffles along her neckline, only to fan out into wide ruffled skirts which disguise everything down to her ankles. Her golden shoes have an inch of heel to them.

She looks completely lost and even a little scared.

Her first steps come before she's even announced, and the trumpet-bearer hurries to announce her before she's too far down. "Mikoto Minagi, grade 10!" With no club membership to speak of, Mikoto makes the rest of the trip down in silence, her cheeks burning as so many people turn to look at her. She gives the announcer a reproachful look when she reaches the bottom of the staircase, before hurrying off - hands gripping her skirts to lift them up so she doesn't trip - towards the side of of the hall.

It's okay. It's going to be okay! Mikoto can do this. She and Mai /talked/ about this. It's mandatory to show up, but that's all she has to do, right? Right. So all she has to do is stand here and try not to fall over in these wobbly impractical shoes and- Just then, a waiter passes by with a tray of entrees. Mikoto begins trailing after him.

(In addition to her fine dress, Mikoto wears a cape with a ruffled strap along its length. There seems to be something underneath it, but it would be impolite to point that out, right?)

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

This is /harrowing/. Though Ami Mizuno is at least here with friends, she's a little sketchy on this whole thing; it seems... a little much, to her. At heart, no matter how brilliant or how well-off she might be, she's a Juuban girl -- these showy displays are very much not her style.

On the other hand... it's a little romantic, isn't it? The /idea/ holds some appeal, even if on balance it's a little worrying to have to participate -- it's practically a scene from a storybook. Accordingly, when her name is announced, she strides down the stair with much more confidence than one might expect from the studious Ms. Mizuno, wearing a brilliant blue gown.

It's only once she gets down the stair that she immediately retreats to the punchbowl, quite done with that bit of excitement for now.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera has seen grand galas and formal events before. Sometimes, her mother went to one; some of those times, she brought her daughter along. The younger Camry only felt marginally more at home in a formal environment. Despite seeing such occasions before, she still finds herself starstruck at the top of the second grand staircase. Her hand -- no glove on it -- rests on the railing, as she looks down at the marble floor, the elegant dancers, and the spread of food.

It leaves her breathless, if only for a moment. One of the uniformed attendees standing behind Lera clears her throat. The Midchildan girl's cheeks redden slightly, before she starts down the staircase. She is, mercifully, wearing dark golden slippers.

Her dress is a sleek, shoulderless gown of a dark gold color -- it matches her eyes -- and has slashes of green mixed in here and there, including a pattern that swirls like a tree along her stomach. The green matches the emerald in her pandant. She takes a deep breath, as she walks down the staircase, nearly stumbling.

<Easy,> Soaring Sky tells her. <One step at a time.>

"Thanks, buddy," she says softly as she finishes the walk down. It's easy enough; she stares as she reaches the bottom, only half hearing the announcer call out her name. The girl comes to a stop below, looking around with a smile -- and not as many nerves as she would expect. She is, after all, here with someone.

But she looks over her shoulder, back at the staircase, and grins at it. "Nailed it~"

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The night is still and nothing could be heard but he pleasant civilized music, and the soft chirping of the crickets. However, it was quickly shattered as a high speed motorcycle drew up to the gates and screeched to an ear piercing halt. The rider, Natsuki, barely took notice of the tread marks left behind as she removed her helmet and let her hair flap in the breeze.

Natsuki sighed. "Really wish I didn't have to come to this stupid thing," she grumbled as she removed her practical boots for a pair of high heels. Then, she unzipped her jacket revealing she was wearing a snow white, not ball gown, but a tux. The jacket just reached the top of her waist and she fixed the tie around her neck.

Natsuki then reached into her purse and clipped on a white rose pin into her hair.

She smirked at the irony since she knew white roses were suppose to represent 'innocence' and innocent Natuski was not.

Natuski then briskly walked through the gates and barely glanced at those around her. Although, she did notice a younger girl in a yellow ball gown and seemed to be clutching a white cat.

Natsuki glanced around and decided that the refreshment table would be a safe zone from being asked to dance and made a beeline for it. She really hoped that guy from the Kendo club wasn't around. Natsuki wasn't in the mood to deal with him. Just being at this grand spectacle was enough to suck her energy.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Out admist the ballroom, the somehow casually elegant Mami Tomoe moves in her golden-yellow dress as if she was always suited to it--an obvious and clear Ohtori Academy student. ...But standing out just as much is a vision in green, Makoto Kino, tall and somehow regal in a lovely dress that flatters her long lines.

But only now at the top of the staircase is a more-recent Juuban transfer student, holding her breath as she waits to enter.

Above all, the dress Setsuna Higashi chose is red. It makes no pretense at minimalism, chased in complementary shades with ribbon and embellishment; her shoulders do /not/ show, but the fabric looks light regardless, a sense of grace suffusing her--though that could as well be the way her eyes are simply lit up watching the proceedings around her. Only at the bottom of her long, flowing skirt do her black heels show, adding a good bit more height than she'd usually have.

"Setsuna Higashi," the announcer speaks, as she steps down, smiling and seeming much calmer than she feels. "Of the track team."

Setsuna herself finally makes it down to the end, having come down a different staircase from Lera's, and her ungloved hands suddenly clasp together as she tries to look around at everyone.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"I haven't been to anything so fancy before! How should I act? I am so nervous!"

"You'll be just fine! Just remember how to walk like I showed you! Do as I taught, and everything will be fine! Also, try not to get anything on the suit, okay?"

A stout child emerges at the third staircase, and is immediately recognizeable as Steven Universe, who is also amiably announced to the event as he begins going down the stairs. "Wow, there's a lot of them," he says to himself. "And people, too."

Steven is quite well dressed in a white tuxedo, complete with top hat and cane, with a pink gem on top. The tuxedo is well hemmed and fitted, and looks rathr new! His undershirt is a shade of pink matching the gem on the cane, with the tie a lighter sade to compliment the ivory suit. "I hope dad was right about how this suit color will make a statement," he says quietly as he approaches the bottom of the stairs.

Being involved in this Sports Festival was been a wonderful thing, making him very thankful to be in a school now. He even won an event! Okay, maybe it was a bit of a joke event, but a solid gold trophy doesn't lie! It sits by his bed, right next to everythign else important to him! Well, everything that isn't alive and moving, anyway.

"Okay, uhhh..." The gem child says aloud. He wasn't exactly coached on what to do once in a crowd! He seems to fiddle with his small cane for a moment as he ponders what to do! Being in a large crowd of people never bothered him before, so why does it now?!

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Takeo Akamizu, Grade Eleven. Student Council Affiliate and one of the Top Tier Kendo Club Members." Is called as Takeo takes to the stares. Being an affiliate he still has to wear the tux, but his is slightly different. Black slacks, and a black blazer are both trimmed in shimering sliver. The sleeves end in three rings at the cuff of the same shimmering silver material.

He moves down the steps, moving quickly, becuase he REALLY doens't like being all the center of attention. Even if it is for exactly two seconds. He makes it down to the landing and moves just as quickly to the food table.

He walks down it's length, popping delicous finger sized goodies in his mouth as he goes before he ends up at the plates, where he cheerfully grabs one and begins to fill it up. Once that is done he finds a wall to lean against, leaning casually and snacking more sedately than the previous food dash he performed as he arrived. He watches a people dance, and arrive, and for the most part appears to be just enjoying the music and food.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed. Endo appears distinctly uncomfortable. Mostly because he's in a tuxedo, which he was more or less wrestled into by fashion club mandates. It's a plain looking thing by the Ohotri standards--or most peoples--, one wouldn't be wrong to think he just picked the worst option available from the rack, when forced. He keeps trying to adjust his tie, or look down at it like it's a snake that might decide to strangle him at any moment. Which might be better than attending a ball, really.

Regardless, he does make his way down the stairs after a few minutes of complaining and fidgeting around. He pauses on the stair for just a moment, eyes surveying the spectacle of the room. Aside from the opening ceremony and a few other sister school events, he's not used to anything as lavish as this. Then he begins to descend.

He is announced plainly: "Endo-"

His foot catches the second step and he goes skipping down a few more, wobbling precariously for just a second.

"Naoki. 11th Grade."

He quickly hustles off the stairs.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Nori Ankou was pleased to get thoroughly showered and given a quick brush out, shampoo-and-conditioner, and a manicure check at the field beauty stations after she'd eaten mud at the tug of war.

And then, her ball-gown...

... but we'll get to that in a moment.

KUNIKO SAITO is not wearing her chef's whites for once. She is in a wholly mundane if well-fitted light blue dress, with some faintly ill fitting opera gloves and sparkling earrings. She is observing the Dance of the Touga with admiration. LILIAN ABARTH is in a rather high cut - for a ballgown - silver number, very moderne. She is being pretty low key. She has gone through two of the cider flutes and is wondering why she isn't feeling anything yet. (This is the miracle of being raised by a socialite.)


"Nori Ankou: Grade nine. Affiliate of the Student Council, and member of the Fencing Club..."

Nori steps forwards, doing her best to look serene. Her dress is primarily a deep navy blue, with a streaking pattern of dark crimson roundels along the side, suggesting subtly perhaps algae or the cells of the bloodstream... or just being a handsome pattern. The front of the dress is cut high, but along the back, over a dozen strings of beads attach together, producing the impression of a low back from behind. A lacy black bridal gauntlet, decorated with several of those red roundel shapes, covers her right arm; the left is bare.

Nori tries not to sweat, pull a face, or trip on her way down Stairway #7. But will it be enough in the face of suffering?

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fuu knows how to dance a waltz; the Princess Seminar included ballroom dancing lessons, and the waltz is a staple of the category - as it has been, probably, ever since it was invented. And while the seminar was indeed a trap by the Dark Kingdom, the lessons taught there have still been useful for Fuu to draw upon in matters of high society. It might not be a substitute for finishing school, but it's passable enough for what she needs tonight.

The ballgown wasn't a problem either, although making sure somebody had it when Fuu needed to change out of her gym clothes might have been an interesting exercise in practical logistics. As she descends the staircase, she wears a flowing dress in shades of green - a very pale green bodice, almost white, with panels of the same fabric overlaying the left and right of her skirt. The bodice and side panels contrast with the rich emerald green of her waist sash, the skirt itself, and the cloak (or is it more of a mantle?) which flutters gently behind her; a 'plate' of some golden-looking material seems to function as a brooch, apparently holding the cloak's collar closed and in place against her bodice, but closer inspection of the dress might reveal that it's more decorative than structural. The dress's sleeves are of two parts: loops just a bit below her shoulders as though to help support the garment, and wrappings of dark green about her forearms, detached from the rest to all appearances.

A slender tiara set with a visible green stone rests atop Fuu's head as she descends the sixth staircase, and the announcer declares at her turn, "Fuu Hououji, ninth grade, Archery Club!" as she makes her way on down.

Fuu reaches the bottom of the stair, gathering her skirts for a polite and proper curtsey to those nearby, then stands up straight again, looking about for familiar faces.

.... and very possibly, for one *specific* face in particular. Ferio is bound to be here somewhere, and she means to locate him for at least *one* dance this evening while she has the opportunity. Hopefully, he has the same idea.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Ballgowns? Are you kidding? Hikaru's always been a tomboy all of her life, but if the dress code calls for a ballgown, then it's a ballgown that Hikaru will be wearing tonight! She's not entirely comfortable in things of this nature, but if there's one thing she's learned since becoming a Magic Knight, it's that sometimes you have to adapt to things you don't entirely like in order to be able to do what needs to be done. Not that this is a mandatory event for Hikaru, but she does want to show up on behalf of her school. And so she decides to bite the bullet and go to the ball.

When Hikaru arrives, it's obvious she's put a bit of effort into making herself look nice. Her red hair is tied up instead of hanging down, and on her head is a tiara as well, albeit with a red stone instead of green. Her ballgown is red, like her hair, and covers her body well. It has a few black panels as well, and on her feet are a pair of matching heeled shoes. She's not accustomed to wearing them, so walking is a bit of a chore.

When Hikaru does arrive, coincidentally right after Fuu, the announcer quickly speaks up and says, "Here's Miss Hikaru Shidou, also in the ninth grade, with the Kendo Club as well as the Anime Club!" Hikaru's walking down the stairs is a little slower, but she does make it. She takes a moment to curtsey, then steps off to the side... nearly bumping into Fuu-chan no less!

"Oh I'm so sorry, I--" Hikaru trails off as she sees who she nearly bumped into, and she blushes a little with a sweatdrop. "Well, fancy meeting you here, Fuu-chan!" She grins, albeit slightly nervously.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona Hikawa has had a long, hard day of sports festival. And like some Juuban students, she's prepared herself for the post-festival party.

Which is where the culture shock hits as she is still in her sports jersey! She stalks down one of the hallways as a Ohtori underclassman chases her with a dress. "Miss, it's really important that you wear something extravagant to this dance!"

"I'm fine." Iona states simply, continuing her walk.

"You'll feel very pretty!"

"I said I'm fine."

"Miss, ah, it would be a great favor to me if you--" The boy is suddenly cut off as Iona sharply turns into the women's bathroom.

As the door closes behind her, Iona presses herself against it to prevent the boy from following her in. She sighs. It's been a long day of sports. Not that this was bad, she loved every moment of it (at least after a while), and now she has to get dressed in a white dress, since she didn't have anything Ohtori-casual. And that's where she's concerned, because white just won't do.

So she pulls out her PreChan mirror. Two of her cards go inside and the mirror closes, erupting in a flash of light.

Eventually Iona steps back out, dressed in a resplendent purple gown and her hair in a very fancy ponytail. She looks at the boy with the dress, curtseys politely...

And very politely sticks her tounge out and pulls down an eyelid.

So /now/ she's arrived, and /now/ she's announced, as she walks down the stairs very gracefully. Though once she hits the bottom of the stairs? She looks around at all the /really fancy/ things that Ohtori's got set up, especially all the candles. For some reason they've got her attention more so than anything else.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


"I say," remarks a snobby-looking maiden clad all in blue, her nose high in the air, "These escargot are simply atrocious! They taste like... like... snails!"

"Mademoiselle," the waiter that Mikoto is following gulps, pulling his heavily burdened but apparently offending tray away from the girl, "This is foie gras."

"/Don't you tell me what to eat!/" Thrusting herself up from her seat, the girl tosses her long, blond hair and throws her drink in the man's face! It was grape juice, too, and he's in a snazzy white suit. That definitely looks like it's going to stain...

And what's worse, some stray splatters of juice flew past the waiter and onto those behind him -- Mikoto, Ami, Endo, Natsuki and Takeo were all nearby, in the potential blast radius.

There are also some stray foie gras appetizers flying up into the air, as the man slips on the juicy puddle at his feet. His tray is going to make an intensely loud clatter in the next few seconds, drawing even more attention, if it isn't somehow saved.



The next waltz lesson is about to start, and the enthusiastic head dance teacher, a long black-haired Miss Shamour, eagerly gathers in the group milling around at the base of the stairs, who've just finished their grand entrance. "Ohhh! You will all make such beautiful dancers!" Her accent is /gloriously/ posh and maybe French but also kind of hard to place. Leading them by hands and shoulders, she pairs off Steven and Nori, Setsuna and Lera, Fuu and Hikaru. Iona has the grave misfortune of hitting the floor at the exact same moment that Kyouichi Saionji gets down off his ladder. Now, he /was/ responsible for all that candlelight (and he didn't set his long green tresses on fire, either!), but as the instructor pairs him off with Iona (he seems nonplussed but not upset, scowling graciously enough to almost pass for a smile) a faint tremor of doom rumbles through the crowd.

There are a lot of girls who really want to be Iona right now, and she can feel their glares hot on the back of her neck.

"Nowww! Place your hands like this..." she demonstrates, "And your feet like this..."

Somewhere or other a wand has appeared in her hand. It has something like a paw at the end of it, like it's a long puppet arm. "And now... ONE two three ONE two three ONE two three! Le waltz!! Ah, you are all such beautiful princesses!" Steven and Saionji are apparently included in that compliment. The latter sputters. It's a good thing he's so much taller than Iona, or it would have gone right in her face. As it stands, he's quite a good dancer but his palms are all sweaty. Is he /nervous/?

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Behind the scenes, there's tension. Anticipation, waiting for the next proclamation, the next announcement. As candles glitter overhead, the next entry is made - entering from the northmost staircase, as it happens. A young man, in a green-trimmed tuxedo taking tentative but eager steps forward-

"Takumi Tokiha, Eighth Grade!" As the announcer goes on to mention club affiliations and the like, there's a sigh of relief from the other end of the grand hall. A moment to smile privately, to collect one's self - and finally, to make an entrance.

A young woman in a shimmering golden ballgown, decorated with crimson embroidery, and wearing a similarly-coloured sheer stole across her shoulders. It's not quite as absurd as the dress she once wore for a contest, but lit by candles overhead it almost seems to flicker as she moves - as if she wears flames on her back. Her hair matches it, her usual short haircut pinned back with glints of silver. Pride and uncertainty war in her steps, but she straightens her back while stepping forward, heels clacking softly against the marble steps of the southern staircase. A breath, a step-

"Mai Tokiha, Eleventh Grade!"

...the silence where her club memberships should be listed is almost palpable.

In spite of that gap, she's smiling - almost beaming. Any uncertainty tonight is borne of her limited practice more than any unwillingness to be here, and she carefully circumnavigates the dance floor in search of...well, any of those she should be looking after tonight. Though even from here, it seems Takumi is already busy...

It's a long path. There's the orchestra, in full sing, with a brunette in a red-and-black gown looking at the musicians with enough interest that it's better that Mai just go around; there's one of the punchbowls, utterly commandeered by a tall blonde-haired student who appears to have discovered the greatest drink in existence - and then there's people Mai actually knows.

It's a busy dance floor - she tries to give those she knows at least a cursory nod, but it's Natsuki that she runs into first. Upon seeing the snow-white tuxedo, Mai lets out a quiet whistle. "Bold statement, Kuga - though I suppose there's no rule, right? ...kind of works, though." She grins - and then spies the plight of the waiters, and sighs. "And of course...one moment.

Mai's mission-driven steps pause by Takeo on her way by, and...the girl does a bit of a double-take. "...nice suit." She shakes her head, and gives a small grin. "You do know there's more to a dance than eating, right? And speaking of which...."

And she's off again, after her...

...her Mikoto. "Mikoto. Leave the poor waiter alone, you know that they're people too...right?" Fiery colours contrast against dark ones, and she gives Mikoto a brief stern look - but one that quickly turns to an encouraging smile. "Now, come on - there's more to do than just eat, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Ami /really/ does not want to ruin this dress. Accordingly, she ducks low; some of the grape juice lands in her hair, which is... not great, and will probably be even less great later -- but she saves the dress! A little bit drips from her hair and face onto it, but onto spots that are a deep enough blue that it isn't going to be noticeable.

"Ah -- excuse me," she says, tilting her head a little further forward and down, making sure that her hasty defense actually pays off... which places her head squarely in the path of the second wave of catastrophe, and its incoming foie gras.

... aaaaaaat least she's still saving the dress? <Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. Blinks as all the events happen seemingly at once. He blinks when Mai stops in fornt of him, wiht a puffball of some sort of delicious looking pastry about to be plopped in his mouth and he...

Stops eating. Swallows.

He ignores the splatter of grape juice on his black suit and the flying tray as he watches Mai leave. "Merde Sainte." He states simply. Then he steps up to Mai and Mikoto and offers Mikoto hsi plate of food. "Try the cream puffs." He says and then bows to Mai.

He clears his throat. "Miss Tokiha. I'm afraid that i am not the best at... This sort of thing. But I was wondering if I might trouble you todo the second thing that happens at a dance." He says this while still bowed and then offers a hand, looking over it to Mai. "I mean. I figure if we gotta be all dressed up, why not dance with somebody who captures the flames of the heart?" He offers that roguish smile of his. <Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera keeps looking around the room, curiously -- but intently. She's glancing at friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. But, really, she is looking for someone in particular.


Off in one corner, to the side, Homura Akemi is politely leaning against a wall. She has her phone out, in hand, and her thumb slides across the touchscreen intently. Her purple eyes reflect in it -- and she does her best to keep away from others for the moment. She a high-necked black dress on, with violet gloves and slippers to match.

At one of the food tables, Gordon rules as master and commander. All of the food is fantastic, of course, but his stands out in its own way: pepper-infused pork loin skewers, with teriyaki dipping sauce, makes up the main meal. Periodically, he glances at one of the Ohtori chefs.

The rabbit glares at them and mouths one word: "Souffle." They know why.


Lera's efforts to find the person she was looking for are, at first, dashed. She hears that woman's voice -- what, she wonders, is someone from Australia doing here? -- and then she gets her hand grabbed. Lera sputters a moment. "H-Hey, wait," she says, "hold on, I came with--"

Then she gets pushed right at Setsuna Higashi.

Lera blinks when she sees her; her amber eyes widen a little when she finally sees the person she was looking for. The blush comes back, too, faint but persistent. She holds a gloveless hand out towards her and tries her very best to ignore the butterflies in her stomach. Her expression changes from pleasantly surprised to brightly smiling.


<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Minako Aino glances up from where she's standing at a table of hors d'ouevres, overloading a tiny white plate with treats that look almost too good to eat.


If her partner-in-crime, Usagi, had been here, the two blondes would almost certainly have been chowing down together, gabbing about the clothes, cute boys, and how predictably froufrou Ohtori's showing was for the Sister Schools Athletics Day Event. Unfortunately, much to Minako's disappointment, she hasn't been able to spot even one of her fellow senshi -- and hadn't yet spotted any of her fellow classmates at Infinity Junior High, either.

The blonde vollyeball player uses a tiny silver fork to puncture a puffy, pie-shaped pastry with an orange smoked salmon topping, then pops it into her mouth with all the culture she can manage in her starved state. She chews animatedly, her eyes narrowing down on the many figures in the crowd, scanning for some sign of a familiar face.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Steven, you got this, maintain!" The boy says to himself. He begins to strut forward with his can in hand, acting as though he belongs in highbrow society. It is pretty obvious he does not, despite the performance. The boy makes his way over near the dance floor first, being a person that enjoys busting a move from time to time.

He watches from the sidelines for the moment, as every girl seems to be hating another in a dance at the moment. They sure seem to be jealous! "H-Huh?" Steven lets out, when he swore someone jsut called him a princess. "I am beautiful, aren't I?" he says in response, "But sadly, it would have to actually be a prince. That is a boy pricness, right? Pretty sure it is. I will have to fact check it later."

"So, tiem to find a lucky lady to waltz with!" he says happily, scanning the crowd. "Wait, uh. I don't know how to waltz. Will that eb a problem? Can I improvise? I can do a mean square dance!"

Most people here probably don't even know what that is. Oh the problems of being foreign.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The sheer /extravagance/ is something Setsuna's come close to seeing only once--at a certain Princess Seminar that she nevertheless didn't finish.

She has no idea what the woman's accent but is at peace with this fact--instead, however, she finds herself being led by the hand. "Ah--" She doesn't quite manage to say anything before she's led, and placed right in front of--

"Lera!" Her eyes practically sparkle with happiness as she levels her broad smile the taller (well, not as much taller today) girl's way. She lets Lera do the talking for the moment, as she finds she has nothing else /too/ say.

'Princesses', she's told, and then moves exactly as she's told to move. One two--

She starts dancing, and for someone who grew up without knowing what dancing /was/, Setsuna is quite light on her feet.

She certainly /feels/ light; the sheer delight in her expression is infectious.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

A young man in a dapper gray tuxedo approaches the chewing Minako.

"Hey, bay-bee," he says in pretty good English, before smoothly switching to Japanese, "A pretty girl like you shouldn't be all alone at a time like this. How about you and me hit the dance floor?"

His eyes are huge, sparkling blue. But something about his bristly hair is weirdly familiar. Familiar from a distance... this guy must not go to Infinity Institute.

He gropes for her hand. Those eyes may be lovely, but he's having a hard time seeing very well. Maybe it's the glint of bottle-thick glasses in his jacket pocket where a flower should be.

And then he slips on the juice and goes faceplanting directly towards her.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There is a woman in blue who is being Rude and Loud, and Mikoto instantly decides that she doesn't like her. She doesn't bother dodging away from the grape juice, which is just /liquid/ and not at all threatening to someone who cares little for her very fancy dress. Luckily for her, it lands largely on the black parts of her dress, and black handles all kinds of stains well, metaphorically as well as literally.

And in that moment, two things happen:

1) Mai tells her to leave the poor waiter alone, and, 2) The poor waiter slips in that horrible woman's grape juice puddle.

In an instant, Mikoto decides to ignore Mai, and lunges forward to catch the waiter before he can impact with the hard ballroom floor. Her heels skid in the juice, and she plants them down with such strength that she hears a /snap/ and that foot finally comes in contact with the ground again. By the end of her maneuver, she's halfway down to the ground herself, legs bent at the knee and much wider than a lady should hold them, gold-trimmed skirts soaking in the juice -- but she somehow manages to avoid dropping herself and her beneficiary to the ground.

For some reason, the weight of a full-grown man doesn't really bother her. Letting him down gently, she asks: "You okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Nori feels gorgeous. She accepts the gracious pairing off from Miss Shamour with the smaller underclassman with her own share of grace, giving Steve a smile as she comes up. She has, perhaps, more eyeliner on than Steven is used to seeing. (But who knows.)

She curtsies to him, and then says as she presents her hands (one gloved, one not) "Would you prefer for me to lead...?" She is after all somewhat taller.

Either way, positioning ensues - and then ONE two three, ONE two three - Nori colors slightly as she's told she's a beautiful princess. "Do you think he's right?" she murmurs to Steven, glancing towards the ballroom at large with a half-shy smile. The smile is momentarily disturbed as she sees the distant signs of chaos.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The sight of green hair starts to draw Fuu's attention, but a second look at Saionji-san confirms that it's not the green hair she's looking for, and Fuu's attention circulates onwards before she's almost collided with - by another familiar face. "Good evening to you as well, Hikaru-san," Fuu smiles, curtseying again to her red-haired friend. "You enjoyed the Sports Festival, I hope? Although I must admit I'm relieved it's over ..."

And before she can say anything else, Miss Shamour draws her and Hikaru into the 'crash course' for the waltz. "Hm? Ah, it's okay, I'm already ..."

Fuu trails off, looking at Hikaru, and smiles briefly. She DOES remember the waltz lessons, but Hikaru may not have had those lessons. With that in mind, Fuu allows herself to be directed into dancing with her red-haired comrade. (The refresher course/last-minute practice certainly doesn't hurt, either.) Being called a 'princess,' though ...

Fuu really shouldn't blush like that, the red clashes HORRIBLY with her gown.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo spies a few faces he knows as he wanders amongst the crowd, though his first stop seems to be the tables laden with mysterious foods, some in shapes he's never imagined. And one made of snails. Are they all made of snails? He makes a mental note to ask someone about this. He's about to when a slop of grape juice splashes him in the face.

"Wha-" AND THEN THE TRAY. "Yaa!" Endo's reaction is borne out of survival. When he sees something coming toward him, he backhands it. The tray ascends like a beach-ball, bouncing before Endo can jump and snatch it. At least it doesn't hit the ground.

"Don't worry! Everything is fine!" He beams. A few pieces of lost foie gras splatter around his feet after a poignant delay. "Everything is fine." He even tries to hand the tray back, once Mikoto has made sure the waiter is saved.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Wasn't as much statement as more pants are better to drive on a motorcycle," Natsuki commented as she nibbled on a sweet. She gave Mai a smirk. "You, on the other hand, really went for the fire princess look, eh?"

She smirked a bit as she watched Mai attempt to get Mikoto under control. "Glad that's not my problem," she muttered and would have kept that thought process if not for the sudden splash of grape juice.

"Hey!" Natsuki growled as she frantically tried to wipe the juice off with a napkin. She had paid good money for this! However, her efforts were fruitless and the grape stain stayed. Thinking quickly, Natsuki removed her hair pin and placed it over the purple stains. Not the look she was going for, but it would have to do.

She got a dagger glare at the some as she stomped over. "Hey idiot, why don't you stop picking on the waiters and stop making more work for them."

She glanced over as Mikoto made the perfect save of the waiter. "Good move, Kid," she said as she cast another glare at the blonde woman. "I can honestly you got more brains than that girl."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

It takes Lera a second to really /process/ that Setsuna is wearing heels. She is used to being almost a head taller than the girl from Labyrinth. Thanks to those heels, Setsuna is almost at a height with her. She feels impressed, knowing they didn't bother her in the slightest -- but heels were never something Lera could do sop well.

"Ah, s-so--"

She doesn't think of anything to say to Setsuna while she starts. She knows how to waltz already; she learned a similar Midchildan dance when she was little. She adjusted it, nicely, into this. Lera's arm slips around Setsuna's waist, and she smiles down. Her footsteps are confident.

Her words are less so. Unlike Setsuna, when she doesn't know what to say, she says /everything/. The nervousness doesn't help.

"Th-this dance is called a waltz, y'know?" she says. So far, so good; she knows that. "It's from a city called Vienna!" Also correct. "It's in Australia!" ...Er. "And... and it's named after sausages! I learned that in A-America!"

At least she can dance.

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Minako almost drops her plate of towering appetizers to the floor.

This guy -- this totally dreamy guy -- looks so much like a dark-haired Kaitou Ace that it's almost scary; if his eyes had been green instead of blue and his hair had been lighter, maybe --

Minako immediately lowers her eyes, trying to appear as feminine as Minako Aino can manage. Somehow, she manages to force a demure blush to rise to her face.

"My," she manages, discarding the plate on the table's edge, hoping it'll still be there when she returns. /If/ she returns. Hue hue hue!

She instead offers an orange-gloved hand to her hopeful admirer. "They say that 'haste makes dancing', right? Let's go."

And with that totally incorrect English idiom uttered, Minako waits for Umino to guide her onto the dance floor, hoping that Shun catches sight of the pair of them and REGRETS FOREVER GIVING THIS UP.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When Iona steps down onto the main floor, she gets assigned... who? Who's this guy here? Kyouichi Saionji? Iona's never heard of him.

She feels strangely compelled not to say that outloud. As she takse his hand, though, she feels the jealousy burning through her neck. Purple eyes scan the room briefly before the dance begins, and she can tell that other girls are staring at her. Why?

Then Saionji sputters, and as tall as Iona is, she's not tall enough to get sputtery in her face. Just her hair, which she spent all of a minute preparing! How rude. In fact Iona frowns at this. It's only for a moment, but it's there. But she remembers the seething hate coming from the other girls. She's still not sure why, exactly. So... her smile returns, brighter than before!

She'll just enjoy whatever it is that has the girls all upset. A-one two three, A-one two three... <Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Hikaru returns the curtsey with a smile. "Good evening, Fuu-chan! I have enjoyed it, but it's almost over I know. Well, it was fun while it lasted and there'll always be next year!" She smiles a little. "So for now, shall we--" She is interrupted by Miss Shamour who decides to pair people together, and by some kind of coincidence (or not) she is paired with her best friend. At first she blushes a little, feeling a little awkward having to dance with another girl, but then the blush disappears and she decides to go along with it.

"I think I've only done the waltz once, Fuu-chan," Hikaru says softly, smiling nervously. "So this refresher should help out quite a lot!"

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Indeed, Setsuna steps back like she's walking on air during the dance; she only knows how at all, however, because of instruction...

And because of /intense/ practice over the course of the week. Even then, though, her confidence isn't quite at the level of Lera's; she's focusing hard on where her feet go, where her hands go, where she has to be.

...Lera's babble lets her relax a little, though.

"A waltz," Setsuna agrees, nodding her head, red eyes fixed on Lera's amber. "Vienna..." Pause. ...Further pause.


One two three one two three one two three...

"I don't think it's named after sausages."

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"O-oh, my lady!" gasps the waiter, goggling in horror at Mikoto's stained skirts. "I'm so terribly sorry for the trouble. Thank you so very much for--"

"EEEEEEEEK!" shrieks the girl who started all this, one Mayune Awayuki, heiress to a major corporate fortune. "That man -- he got escargot all /over/ me!" And then Natsuki chimes in. "And -- and -- YOU! You /brat/! This is none of your--" She raises a hand to slap the senior right across her face.

"Madamoiselle," says another lady's voice, this one rich with an accent from central Japan, as she comes up smoothly behind her and grabs her wrist, "I fear you are distraught. Please, come with me, and we'll get you calmed down and cleaned up." It's Shizuru Fujino again, now freed of Touga's grasp. She gives Natsuki a brief smile that does not leak any of her irritability, nope, not even a little bit, then hustles Mayune out of the way.

The waiter gazes up at Mikoto gratefully, then scrambles to his feet. "Please, my lady, allow me to find you new footwear. Ah, thank you, good sir." He collects the tray from Endo with a grateful bow.

More waiters come scurrying out of the shadows to pick up all the fallen food. Maybe Ohtori subcontracted to a ninja clan or something, because that floor is sparkling again in a fingersnap.

"Can I offer you all something special for your trouble?" Yukino Kikukawa seems to have seen the whole thing, and appears promptly to pass around a tray of glasses and moist towelettes, for everyone involved in the slightest, be they splattered, stained, or just offended. "The glasses are, um, it's a 1992 non-alcoholic vintage champagne. Maybe we can... have a toast?" She seems a little flustered, but friendly enough.


On the dance floor, Minako promptly gets her feet trodden on. Pretty much every other measure. And the guy's hands are wandering all over the place -- he's practically using her as a seeing-eye girl instead of a dance partner!

His confidence is evaporating fast. "I'm really sorry," he gasps the first time, and then again in a lower mumble, and more choked up the third time. "I'm so sorry, Naru-chan. I just can't really... see."

Finally, in a last ditch effort, he puts those glinting glasses from his pocket onto his face and is revealed to be Gurio Umino, the least cool of Usagi's classmates. Apparently this is the cue that Naru Osaka needed to recognize him, too, because an auburn-tressed girl, her ribbon extra sparkling for the evening, comes flouncing over looking furious. "/What/ are you doing, Umino?" She props her hands on her hips.

Truly a situation worthy of the Goddess of Love to find herself in the midst of.

Iona, meanwhile, finds that Saionji is a decent enough dance partner until, in the crowd of faces that that gaggle of girls surrounding them, he spots someone... else. "Excuse me," he mutters, before simply stepping out of synch mid-dance-step and disappearing into the crowd. "...I'll get that monkey," can be faintly heard on the air behind him, grim as a reaper.

Miss Shamour frowns at this display of abandonment, and steps right in where Saionji left off, waltzing Iona skillfully into a twirl. "Not all boys can be princes," she murmurs. "I wouldn't take it personally! That one seems like le--"

Whatever she was about to call Saionji is blatted out by the flare of a trumpet as the waltz escalates towards a climax.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

A funny thing, about Mai's determination to be the parental figure. It's like blinders - so intent she was on getting to Mikoto that she didn't even notice the argument happening nearby. She's taking a breath to make some sort of invitation to her, when-

-all of that happens.

Her heels slip on the floor, just a bit, and she catches a portion of the juice spray on one cheek. A staggering step back, two or three - she's clearly out of practice in heels - and stops just short of collision.

With a hand. Held out to her. She turns, surprise written clear on her face as the chaos around her settles with a snap of a heel and a splatter of foie gras. Faced with an earnest boy her age inviting her to dance....

She blinks. A napkin, flung from the tray in all the chaos, lands in one hand, and she dabs at her face absently. It's a few moments before she responds. "Did...did you seriously just make that..."

She looks behind her. Looks ahead of her. Takes a breath. "...one moment."

She wheels around, turning back to Mikoto - and Natsuki, to her surprise. "You can say that again, Kuga." She looks toward the snotty girl, and the baleful eyes do their best to remember her. "One should really know better than to treat food providers like that." A smirk - and then a proud look at Mikoto. "...good work, Mikoto. Well done." A grin - she nearly ruffles Mikoto's hair - but just smiles warmly. "Now, I've got something to do, so..."

...Natsuki can help, right? Natsuki's going to help. "I'm sure the 'snow prince' here can help you keep an eye on things, Mikoto." Yes, Natsuki, that was a smirk. "You just keep defending the..." She trails off, as swift waitstaff - masters of their craft - rush in to clear up the mess. ...what more is there to say?

Well. A brief bow to the nearest waiters. "Thanks for your hard work." And then - giving Mikoto and Natsuki wave - she turns back to Takeo.

"Sorry for the wait there, Akamizu-kun. But if you're still willing..." There's hesitation, and a slight flush, but she reaches out to take that hand. "I will take you up on that dance."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Y-You don't think so?" Lera asks Setsuna, tilting her head to the side. Her lips part, as she looks curious for a moment, and then she smiles a little brighter. The slip-up doesn't make her nerves get on edge, the way it once would have. That might speak volumes about how comfortable she is around Setsuna.

She smiles again in short order, and it reaches her amber eyes. "I'm kinda glad, y'know? I felt bad for that poor city. Being named after sausages."

She keeps time, though, and follows the other dancers to be certain. She practiced, too. Especially for one of the moves coming up, where faking it won't work. She feels -- and looks -- nervous, as she glances to each side to check others' movements. Then, she lifts her hand up, and tries to start a twirl for Setsuna.

One thing runs through her mind: 'Please don't trip her, please don't trip her, please don't trip her...'

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven sttems to be enjoying watching others dance and have a good time. They just keep going and going! It is like this waltz is endless! "The mvoes don't look too hard..." he says aloud. It looks like a couple of steps to it, and that is it!

Before Steven can try and study it more, A pretty (and slightly familiar) girl approaches! Like, right at him! Steven looks around to see if it is anyone else she is walking toward, but no one else is close! "Oh! Uh. Right!" The boy seems to be going through something in his head, and then bows to Nori in return. "Hiya!" he says, and then is promptly asked about dancing! "Oh, I don't know the Waltz. Can you help guide me?" he asks.

The boy lights up as a hand is offered and he takes it gingerly. He seems to be lightly blushing, but mostly stars are in his eyes. Someoen wants to dance with him! This is so cool! He's gonna learn how to waltz!

They get underway dancing, and the boy finds it isn't too difficult to keep up. "Why wouldn't you be?" he responds with. "I think you are, yeah!" he says. Always nice to pay compliments to girls. That's what dad always said.

A commotion seems to be happening off to the side of the dance floor. "What do you think is going on over there?" he asks kindly.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto blinks and looks from waiter to Rude Lady to Shizuru, and then back to the waiter, now scrambling up. New footwear? "Oh," Mikoto says, when she looks down at her heels. Right, those are /very/ broken, so of course she sits herself down, heedless of the juice, and pulls off her shoes. Those she leaves there as she pushes herself back up, looking around for the food --

She /just/ manages to catch a glimpse of the last foie gras getting cleaned up from the floor, and her face falls. There was going to be food and now there's no food at all/?! At least Mai and Kuga are here to congratulate her. Mikoto smiles again, proud to hear the encouragement, looking up to them with a firm nod. "Yup!" It's a good thing Mai resisted the urge to ruffle Mikoto's hair - it's a bit messy after that adventure, but still, someone (probably Mai herself) has /tried/ to comb it into something resembling order. She waves to Mai as her companion turns to go and avail herself of dancing.

And now, here's Yukino! Mikoto likes Yukino, so of course she listens to her, and she mentions getting them toast. "Okay! Let's have toast!" Mikoto agrees, completely ignoring the champagne and instead looking expectantly around for where she's hidden the bread and butter.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki catches Shizuru's slight wince and hopes her irritation is more directed at the girl than her. "I really owe her either way," Natsuki muttered. "I'll have to make sure I send her some of her favourite tea later."

She then glanced back as Mai seems to have turned away from someone asking her to dance. Oh ho! So, little Mai really was becoming a princess.

She smirked and would have made a remark, but then Mai's suggestion of watching with Mikoto cut her off. She glanced to the kid and shrugged. "If it gets me out of dancing, I'll gladly pair up with the cat for the night," she replied.

She tugged at her suite. "If anything, hopefully that will save my clothes from any future stains.

Then Yukino proposes a toast with the cider. "Sure, better than nothing," Natuski held up a glass. "To...dealing with rude guests I guess and having the patience to not strangling them," she suggested with a shrug.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Dipping his head, Takeo says with only a slight cracking of his voice, "I'd be honored Tokiha-san." He replies and taking her hand leads her to the dance floor. He may or may not be blushing himself.

Once out there on the dance floor he closes his eyes. He has no idea how to dance. He knows martial arts and he knows ... Lancelot's memories.

He opens his eyes, allowing for once the courtside of Lancelot to flow through him. There had to be SOME goodside to being a French Knight reincarnated right? You know. Other than the Horse.

Sparkles is pretty rad.

He gives Mai a little tilt of his head, and holds his hands in the ready position of the waltz. He smiles a bit, around that blush of his and says this time without a cracking voice, "I think the two of us can just enjoy the evening without having to worry about ... Our other lives." He smiles honestly. "If you're at work, and ever need company on break again Tokiha-san, you have my number. Give me a call. I won't even order bacon next bacon time."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Slightly, Setsuna shakes her head from side to side. "It doesn't seem plausible." A beat, and she laughs, quietly, this time getting the joke right off.

But then--Lera is glancing o the side, and so does Setsuna. Suddenly, her eyes widen just a little--and then narrow in determination. She looks right back at Lera again, feels the hand rise--

She slips about halfway through the motion, tumbling back-first straight for Lera. "Aaa--!"

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Well, I always felt like being a princess didn't quite suit me," Nori answers Steven while leading him through the steps. She looks at him directly now, partly to shake her attention away from the horrible disaster, partly because it's rude not to look at your partner. She smiles.

"I always felt like more of a queen... What do you think?"

As the waltz comes nearer to its conclusion, Nori moves to be the one dipping Steven - due mostly to the height advantage - and answers him: "I don't know. Things like that happen here..." And diiiiip and back up. "Do they have the wild animal drill, at your school?"

As the waltz ends, Nori disengages with a smile. "Could I trouble you, ah- Universe, wasn't it?" Seems like a reasonable name to Seaweed Anglerfish. "To get me a glass of the cider...?"

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo seems rather proud of his catch, despite losing half of the contents of the actual tray. It still makes up for his earlier fumble in his mind. He turns to Yukino when the girl appears. He bobs his head, smiling again and noting, "Ah, thank you." He takes a napkin when offered, swabbing his face before passing it off to another waiter when he appears, like a service ninja.

When offered a reward, Endo considers carefully. And then asks: "Do you have any meat that's not made of snails? Can I have that?" The boy reaches to gingerly take a glass, hazing to look side-long at the others around before he holds it correctly: with his pinky out as far as humanly possible.

"That was a good catch," He asides to Mikoto. And then he drinks! Daintily.

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Naru.... chan?"

Minako feels fury racing up to her face until her cheeks are almost as red as the ribbon in her hair. Gone is the demure blush; Minako Aino is pissed.


Minako's voice grows shrill, and she doesn't exactly care who overhears them at this point. But before Minako can air her grievances loud enough for everyone in a one-hundred yard vicinity to hear --

Umino puts on his glasses.

Minako visibly recoils. But before she has a chance to react further --

Naru makes and appearance.

Minako quickly whips her hand away from Umino and takes a few uneasy steps backward and glances around nervously. Someone -- anyone -- save her from this!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Fuu smiles, nodding to Hikaru. "You seem to remember the steps well enough," she encourages her friend, while continuing to dance. "Remember, though, the teacher put you where the boy would be in a waltz pair, so you'll need to flip the movements around when you're dancing with a boy." If Hikaru messes up a little, Fuu will 'borrow' the lead briefly to guide her back on-track.

At least that blush is fading again. Maybe it helps that Miss Shamour was distracted by substituting for whats-his-name who just abandoned his partner in mid-step. There's another problem that's going to sneak up on them shortly, though, if Fuu remembers her waltzes right ... isn't the man supposed to twirl his partner? And Fuu has a modest height advantage on Hikaru ...

So when the other couples twirl, Fuu goes ahead and tries to twirl Hikaru the same way. That can't possibly go badly, can it?

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The laugh prompts a giggle from Lera, too. It wasn't so long ago that they couldn't -- that they /never/ -- both laugh like that. She doesn't get carried away with only because she has a twirl to execute.

Or, try to.

She realizes the slip in their movement a little too late. Lera's arm wasn't high enough; Setsuna wasn't quite sure enough on her feet. "Oh no!" Lera whispers softly, as she sees her tumbling towards her.

But, while Lera may not yet be an expert dancer, she has excellent reflexes. Training in Belkan swordfighting in school, her experience as a mage, and even her love of technical mountain climbing made that instinctive. So she dips down, bending a knee, and catches Setsuna in her arm. It doesn't look like a controlled fall, really, but she nonetheless keeps them both from the floor.

She looks down at Setsuna, arm straining to hold her upright, and grins sheepishly. "I-I maybe got a little too ambitious, huh...?"

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

If Mai were at work, the cracking of the voice might bring amusement. The lofty position of the serving staff is a pedestal from which judgment can be thrown...but right now? She's just as awkward, if not more. It's not even the trouble a crush might bring - just...

Mikoto and Natsuki are in her wake, having adventures with toasts and toast, and Mai takes a step toward that terrifying world of 'dating'. It's not too late to hang out on the roof with a fiery dragon, right?

She's looking up when Takeo opens his eyes abruptly, meeting his gaze by accident. His relaxation helps, maybe just a bit... "That'd...be nice. Honestly, not having to worry about my regular life is escape enough..." Smiling past her own hesitation, she matches his hands. One...two...three.

Her steps are awkward, and she's not trying anything fancy yet, but...she, Mai Tokiha, is getting to dance at a fancy ball. Who could have imagined?...for now, she can just lose herself in the moment. Maybe she can pretend she's a princess...

Briefly. Mai's brother, if he's looking on, might notice as she flashes Takeo a bit of a grin. "Such a harsh sacrifice. Don't think I won't hold you to that - maybe I'll cook something up myself."

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

That possibly can go badly, actually. Being twirled by a girl taller than Hikaru could cause problems. Fortunately, though, Hikaru's moving along quite well and seems to take the twirl in stride. She smiles as she's twirled around and then rejoins her partner. "It's one of those things that comes back as you do it, I suppose. And yeah, Fuu-chan, I know I'd be doing it with a boy. But it's still just as fun with you!"

Hikaru giggles a little at that. "Then again, dancing is supposed to be fun, right?" She tries not to blush, since she's really enjoying herself but feels like she's just said something that could be construed as funny perhaps.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Setsuna entirely fails to notice flying trays and toasts elsewhere in the ballroom; it's much too crowded for her to even try to keep track. Not while there's the beat to stay with and the movement to get and the...

If she'd actually practiced with the three dancers she knows, she might have gotten it down better. As it is, however, she feels herself falling towards the floor, just as--

She /doesn't/. Instead, she finds herself suspended in the air, an arm at her back, and looks up to see Lera's grin.

...she promptly turns a shade that matches her dress quite well.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona continues smiling as the guy she's dancing with takes off and leaves. Iona watches him disappear, completely unfazed by this development. Mostly because she, too, has had people she has had to get. She nods in deep understanding.

When she gets a new dancing partner, though, she continues her smiling onslaught. "Oh, that's quite all right." She says, putting on something of a faux fancy air. "I feel like I feel his pain." She twirls and the trumpets sound, and she just decides to wrap herself in the majesty of the situation. As much as she's not had a good opinion of Ohtori so far, they do know how to throw a party.

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot's memories are not ... whole ... So while it allows Takeo to actually know the steps of the Waltz, he has no actual muscle memory, jsut an idea of how it should go. So he dances with Mai, not as some amazing shimmering Knight, but as a young man attempting to dance. Nervously.

Takeo grins at the "threat" of having to eat Mai's cooking. With a little bit of laughter in his voice he says, "I think I'd like that." He leads her through a gentle twirl, giving her a nod as a warning, then lifting his arm and moving her through the twirl in time with the music. Then pulls her back gently. "It is definatley nice to not have to be super heroes for a night." He closes his eyes and tilts his head in thanks toward Mai. "Thank you for spending at least part of it with me."

He tries not to blush.

He's totally blushing.

After Takeo clears his throat, he looks into Mai's eyes and asks, this time without a cracking voice. "Want to try a second dance?" <Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Yukino blinks at Mikoto and Endo, then gives a floaty little laugh which summons, instantly, one of the waiters back to her side. They exchange a brief, hushed conversation, before the man disappears and reappears with buttered toast on a little plate for Mikoto -- and some miniature pastry puff-surrounded wieners for everyone -- in absolutely record time.

Ninjas /indeed/.

Then she takes her own cup and bows her head solemnly at Natsuki. "To the end of the Athletics Festival!" she cheers, perhaps indecorously as one of its hosts, but my oh my does she seem fiercely sincere. And her smile, if Mikoto toasts her with toast, is as genuine as can be.


Out on the dance floor, the waltz winds down, and what replaces it is a little bit... up-tempo. A faint blush comes to Miss Shamour's face, and she frowns. "There are children at this party," she murmurs under her breath. Apparently she /won't/ be offering tango lessons -- leaving Iona and Nori momentarily partnerless next to each other. Still, plenty of Ohtori students know the basics, and it's possible to improvise other dances to that beat, leading to the rapid formation of an impromptu dance competition.

One that those still dancing may well find themselves drawn into whether they're expecting it or not. The gist of it seems to be to add a fillip here or a twirl there, just a little extra to outdo whoever crossed the floor last. Mai and Takeo are up next, followed by Lera and Setsuna, and then Hikaru and Fuu. It's definitely possible to escape, but the crowds are starting to close in.

At least matching step to that militaristic snare drum is easy enough!

And at the end of the floor, nonchalantly holding a basket of bloody red roses, is Touga Kiryuu, He offers one to each boy (or 'dance lead' as the case may be) as they sashay past him, to, in turn, be offered to their partner.

Umino gropes towards one such rose and offers it to Naru, who is still glaring at Minako with eyes aflame with the fires of hell.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto's eyes go wide, and so does her huge smile. Yukino is so good! She said there would be toast, and here it is. She looks around at everyone as Yukino declares the toast, and seeing how they're all raising their glasses, she does indeed raise her plate up in mimickry, because clearly that's how this works.

And then people are sipping at their champagne, and Mikoto takes that as cue to eat her toast. With big chomps, it's gone in no time, and Mikoto's licking her fingers to get the buttery goodness off of them. The gold trim of her skirts has almost entirely been stained by purple, only a few flecks remaining. Barefoot, in a dress now both purple and gold, licking her fingers, she is... not exactly the image of womanhood, but she's definitely a faithful representation of Mikoto Minagi.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

It's a wonderful waltz. 'Graceful' might not be the right word, but it's relatively sedate as dances go - and as long as both partners are roughly equally nervous and awkward, it goes well. As Takeo leads, Mai follows - and the spin, at least, she seems to get the hang of a little bit more easily.

"Well, it was this or worry all night - thanks for the invitation. Not like I..." She trails off. He's blushing. He's blushing, why is he blushing, now she's blushing - and as their gazes meet, it's like she's momentarily pinned. "...ah, I should..."

The music changes. The tempo picks up, the drum kicks in, and the dance music is about two notches more wild all of a sudden. And - with a casual glance past Takeo - it seems there's no escape for either of them. (And there's Mikoto happy, and there's Takumi doing well...)

"...kind of sudden, asking for this as a second dance." She looks stern for but a moment - but then grins. "But sure. No promises this isn't going to be embarrassing, but..."

If embarrassment were that big a worry, she wouldn't be a fan of karaoke.

Surrounded by similarly minded students, Mai hasn't been at Ohtori long enough to pick up...quite so much boldness. But she starts to get the hang of the general theme in short order - a few more aggressive steps forward, rather than following a slow dance's lead. And falling back, in time to the beat.

And when she spins - which is about as often as she can get away with - her stole dances in her wake like a contrail of living flame.

Takeo might take the lead enough to be granted that rose - but will he?

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

"Really?" Steven replies to Nori. "That's okay! It isn't for everyone. Being a princess means people look to you for their future! Also you are usually the beauty of the nation." The boy continues dancing. He feels like he has seen thsi girl around before! But where? Was it the field trip? He can't quite remember. "A Queen, huh? Yeah! You could totally be a queen. Being a Queen takes a lot of work though!"

The boy bows in return at the end of the dance. "I uh. I don't know! I have only been there a little while. I can't say I have heard of that though! It sounds kinda fun."

"Yep, that's my name!" Steven adds. "Sure thing! give me jsut a second, I will be right back!" And with that, the boy bounds off to the refreshments. He will at least get a moment to see what the commotion was while the dance was going. while getting the drink, he sees there was some kind of chai nreaction that happened involving a spilled drink in a packed area. Whoops!

Steven returns to near the dance floor with the drinks to find a new dance has started up! This one sounds really familiar, but another dance he doesn't know.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The waltz winds down, and Fuu steps back from Hikaru, bowing (not curtseying this time) at the end of the dance. The orchestra starts up the next tune as she's still straightening up, and Fuu takes a split second to consider the music before shaking her head a bit. "I need to look around for people, Hikaru-san, but I hope you enjoy the remainder of the evening!" Hersnd with that, Fuu attempts to withdraw from the dance floor. She *does* want to try and find Ferio now, while she has a potential opportunity. She also winds up with a small plate of hors d'ouevres, and nibbles decorously on a sausage as she continues looking around - not actually just for the swordsman, but for other familiar faces.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed. Natsuki doesn't know wether to laugh or cry at Mikoto actually getting toast. "At least it keeps her out of trouble," she mumbled to herself. She sips her cider as she glances over to the dance flow. Mai, while perhaps stumbling a little, seems to be doing well to keep up and then much to her surprise the tempo picks up with a fast beat.

She blinks as suddenly Mai slow dance changes to more of a fast pace one. "I almost want to give her my rose," she muttered.

And then an idea popped into her head and she grinned evilly. She looked to Mikoto who seemed to be licking her fingers and leaned towards her. "Hey, Mikoto," she pointed out to the dance floor. "Want to join me for the dance on the floor? It's not hard, it's a lot like fighting where you just have to stay insync with your partner's steps?"

If Mikoto went for this, the look on Mai's face would be priceless.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Hikaru smiles and curtseys to Fuu. "I'm sure we will, Fuu-chan!" She says with a big grin, before heading off to look for something to drink. All that dancing made her thirsty. Still, she's got a bit more of a confident smile on her face than she did before.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"Aah! Small hot dogs!" Endo laughs with pleasure at Yukino's offering. "These are popular in America, right?" He reaches to pinch up one of the puffy items on the plate, and then another, until he's got one pinched between each of his fingers. A bite is taken, and the food is found satisfactory judging by the firm nod of his head.

When it comes time to do the actual toast, he tries to ignore that he's already sipped down about half the glass. "The athletics festival was a really out of control this year, but I guess it was still fun." The boy seems to be enjoying himself now that he's around other people and talking, falling back into his casual, cheery mannerism. "But I feel like I'm at the olympics or something, with all this stuff."

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Oh, I know," Nori answers Steven. "But... I think I can manage it." She takes a few deep breaths, but before Steven can return with her drink, the music... changes.

Nori looks round to Miss Shamour, and then forwards -- to Iona.

She's smiling. That's good. Nori smiles back, if with a little effort, and then steps forwards. PERILOUSLY close. Close enough to tango.

"Hikawa-san," she says, tone formal, "would you do me the honor of giving me this dance...?" Then suddenly: Touga! (This is a reaction Nori has had before.) Touga gives her a rose, and Nori turns her smoky-lined gaze back to Iona, raising the blossom on its green stem upwards with a flick of her wrist, a momentary twirl, and then she slides it up -

Between her lips. She holds it with her teeth, tilting her head back slightly. She remains perfectly still for two heartbeats and then says through her clenched teeth in a bit of a mutter, "this is right, isn't it...?" On the up side, she /is/ adequate at keeping up synch, and doesn't immediately step on Iona's feet or dig a thorn into her lip.


<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lancelot does not know the Tango. That is about ten centuries past the memories of the French Knight. Takeo however is an accomplished martial artist and a secret singer. So. He knows tempo and cadence. He blushes again however when he realizes where this is going, but he, like Mai gets the gist of how this dance works fairly quickly.

Take sweeps Mai near the offered flower, and then hands Mai the rose while he attempts to lead he just clear shis throat. "For you." He says softly toward her. "If I had known I would dance with you tonight I'd have brought you one myself. So. This, will have to do I suppose. From me." He says and gives her slight grin while he concentrates on performing this dance. "I'm not really worried about winning an impromptu dance competition." Which might be about as odd as him saying he doesn't want bacon! Takeo is normally HUGELY competive! "I'm just happy to be having a good time." He gives her his roguish grin once more. "Thanks Tokiha-san. This means more than you can know."

And to show her, he gives her a little spin, and a quick playful dip, before going back into dance. Once dipped, he keeps Mai there for just a moment. Winks. Then goes about dancing once more. "You know. One of these days, despite your dragon," he whispers to her, "You should go for a ride on Sparkles. I know it can't compare to the big guy, but there is something awesome about a horse by a cliff at sunrise." He clears his throat, "And I think I owe you another Rose."

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The grin on Lera Camry's face turns a little sheepish, when she sees that blush. She ends up frozen like that for a moment, just staring down at her. Eventually, physics demands she do something (or drop her). So, carefully but firmly, she pulls Setsuna back to her feet. She looks a moment longer, before she glances to the side and lets out a sigh.

"That was fun," she says, quietly. Then, a little louder: "You okay?"

Then, she looks back at Setsuna. Her eyebrows lift, as the waltz comes to an end, and she hears something more upbeat. She takes a couple steps backward. It sounds fun, but... why are those people...?

Lera looks to the dance floor, and the growing realization starts to dawn on her as she watches how /well/ Mai Tokiha dances with Takeo. She watches him provide her with a rose, and realizes: she is in /far/ over her head. Her amber eyes widen and her cheeks flush red. That is precisely why and when Soaring Sky chimes, but it isn't with words, at first. Instead, an upbeat set of chords begins coming from where the Device is tucked inside of one of the folds in Lera's dress. He makes his intent clear, though:

<Egress! Egress!>

Lera stares in confusion for a moment, looking forward in alarm.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Setsuna, too, is frozen there, and pretty much oblivious to the difficulty in holding a person up in this position for that long. ...But she's brought to her feet eventually, and lets out the same, glancing away in obvious embarrassment and fluster. "It was," she agrees all the same, though, and nods brightly when asked if she's okay, except...

The music changes. The purple-haired girl blinks, looking from dancer to dancer, to see what it is that they're trying to do next. The song is stirring already, even the beat makes her stop and take notice, the snare in time with her heart pumping. But then she sees a flip here, a tiwrl there, and a basket of beautiful roses. ...And then she looks back to watch Mai and Takeo before her. She can only stare, for a brief instant, forgetting the moment as she watches that dancing flame.

...And then the tenor of the /movements/ registers. Setsuna turns immediately, quickly, to look at Lera, with widened eyes. The crowds are already starting to close in.

She doesn't even hear Sky until after she's taken Lera's hand. She doesn't pull toward the dance floor, however--and neither does she wait for the same. She looks nervously at Lera, and at the dance floor, and tugs her hand /away/, trying to find the break in the crowd as they start to close in around them.

Her steps click /hard/ against the dance floor. She's going about as quickly as she can in this lovely dress.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona raises an eyebrow as Miss Shamour says something about there being children on the dance field. Well... she does know this is a school function, right? Children do go to school. Having not tangoed before, she's... not so sure there's a reason to be concerned? Maybe. She watches as the Shamour walks away. "All right... see you later?"

This confusion may explain why the appearance of Nori is something of a surprise. Iona actually kind of jumps a little bit. "Oh, ah, sure! Yes. Yes." She takes Nori up on her tango offer... and she's not very good at it. Oh, sure, she's good enough to at least keep up, and not step on Nori's feet.

Unfortunately for Iona, she's actually being very sure that she's not stepping on feet, and thus her feet are probably not in the positions they should be, and Iona wavers just a little bit as she tries to keep herself upright.

Nori's muttering only gets something of a shrug from the purple-haired girl.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


"Well, that was kind of what we were aiming for," Yukino admits a little bit shyly to Endo. "So... mission accomplished, I guess?" Someone shouts her name from the kitchens and, with a little bow, she makes herself scarce. "Excuse me! Please enjoy the party!"

Since she first arrived, what was being served at the tables has turned over completely, though, which may provide a fair amount of distraction for those who are just arriving. Lera, Hikaru and Fuu, upon departing the dance floor, find themselves near Endo and by extension, the tables.

Which are on fire.

They are maybe supposed to be, some sort of elaborate 'en flambe' arrangement, but there is a group of fancily coiffered elementary school students creeping up towards it. They have skewers. From somewhere, they have marshmallows.

More problematically, though, they have long sleeves and lots of really flammable-looking silk, lace, and hair. One is recognizably Mina Koruske from the Okinawa trip, and despite her affiliation with the Vermillion Bird of the South, it seems pretty likely that this is about to end badly in a 'spontaneous combustion' sort of way.


Setsuna emerges from the intensifying cluster of tango on the side of the crowd that is coolest -- literally, not figuratively. Minako isn't far off, caught between a shamefaced Umino and a jilted Naru, and Iona and Nori's dance has just led them to this side of the room, as well. Breezy night air is spilling in from the terrace doors, flung open wide to embrace the evening.

Other embraces are occurring nearby.

It takes some deliberate hunting to find the source of the soft soprano quietly protesting a louder and more aggressive baritone rumble. But eventually they can be found, around two walls of shrubbery: a pair of leering senior boys, their jackets worn open and ties undone, have a younger girl, possibly still in middle school, quite cornered.

The boys maybe found some alcohol somewhere; they stink. The girl is increasingly still, drawing more and more into herself, looking straight at the ground. "Please, just leave me alone..."

"Did you hear that," one of them scoffs, "I think that was an /invitation/!"


Around the same time that Natsuki propositions Mikoto, that one waiter she saved reappears with a pair of actual, honest to god glass slippers on a velvet cushion. Or, at least, they are clear and sparkling. They may actually be some marvelous sort of plastic. They are /definitely/ surprisingly comfortable. "For you, my lady." Now she is dance-prepared.

Steven also finds himself with an unexpected new partner; a young lady about his age with slender pigtails and a red stole around her shoulders, her white dress is already stained in a few places from an evening of hearty partying. Yaya Yuiki beams at him. "Hey, you're cute -- let's dance!" She seems downright eager to take the lead and swing him all over the floor.

The tango competition, shall we say, heats up, when Rue and Mytho from Infinity Institute's dance program take the floor. They swirl sensually (well, Rue is sensual, Mytho's dancing is merely technical perfection) past Takeo and Mai to collect their rose, and Rue's crimson eyes briefly meet Mai's, steadily, as much warning as challenge.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Refreshment tables shouldn't be on fire; Fuu is relatively certain of that. She still has the presence of mind to curtsey in greetings to Endo and Lera ... and then spots the elementary students approaching. With alarmingly flammable dresses, as best Fuu can judge without a more detailed look. Fortunately, there's an easy strategy to try and divert them ...

"Mina-san?" Fuu says, smiling cheerfully. "It's good to see you again!" she gushes as she sweeps towards Mina and the others, all ladylike yet still (she hopes) 'cool big sister'-y. "How have your classes been going? And it's good to see the rest of you as well .."

Forget curtseying; she just bows to the children this time. She might recognize one or two of the others from the chaos preceding their flight's takeoff, but it's mostly Mina whom she recognizes.

She might still need some help making sure nobody gets lit on fire, though.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The cool air is a relief, and when Setsuna steps out into it, she takes a few quick breathes, slowly slowing down as she finds herself in greenery. She looks around immediately, only to find that she's lost her dance partner. Turning, Setsuna spins around to try to see where Lera could have gone, but she hears a voice at the edge of her senses, somewhere nearby. ...She sees a number of others out here and does her best to avert her eyes. But the voice keeps up. She takes a step, and then another, heels clicking against the stone as she walks around one shrubbery, listens to what sounds more like a conversation, and then sounds like something else entirely.

Her nose wrinkles as she turns the corner and sees the two boys cornering one girl. The scene is...

Well, it's something Setsuna's never /seen/ before. But the distress obvious in the middle schooler's voice and demeanor tells her she doesn't like it.

"What are you doing?" she asks, frowning hard. Her voice is a mix of clear disapproval and, just at the edge, a little bit of confusion. The Juuban student slowly curls her fingers at her sides.

But her route wasn't the /only/ one here...

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto looks up at Natsuki, tilting her head. "Like fighting...?" She looks back towards the strange cylindrical lump in her cape, and then looks over at the dancefloor. (Mai's having fun! That's great!) After a moment, she returns her attention to Kuga and nods. "Okay!"

And surely she would have gone out onto the dancefloor barefoot, if she weren't saved in turn by that waiter. Mikoto takes the offered slippers and grins. "Thanks!" A little shoe-hopping later, and her glittering slippers (/much/ easier to move in than the heels) are snug on her feet. She takes a few steps in them to evaluate how she can move, and then she grabs Natsuki's hand to drag her out onto the dance floor! If she has to squeeze between the onlookers to do so, well - Mikoto's pretty good at worming her way into places she's not really supposed to be.

Once she's out there, though, she pauses. Dancing is just like fighting, she said. So does that make Natsuki an enemy? No - no, they must be on the same side working against a /common/ enemy. A common enemy she frankly can't see. Mikoto looks this way, and Mikoto looks that way, and then Mikoto looks back up at Kuga, looking /incredibly lost/. "Natsuki's starting dance?"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

In their flight from the dance floor, Lera got separated from Setsuna. They had been hand-in-hand, but the press of the crowd resulted in them getting separated. She walks towards the food -- thinking maybe that's where Setsuna went -- and then she pauses, as she sees Endo. She starts to raise a hand, to wave at him, when--

She catches sight of a gaggle of elementary schoolers waving around food that is ON FIRE. She opens her mouth.

She closes her mouth. Fuu is moving in.

<...We're both thinking it.>


The music starts up again, from where she tucked the little Device. <Egress! Egress!>

Gordon the Rabbit turns, glancing irritably after a blur of orange hair in a golden dress, making her way for the balcony. He hops up to the kids -- his eyebrow twitching, a vein bulging. Then, in the most patient and friendly voice:

"Hello, kids!" he says. "Remember, we must eat food with caution. Food should always be shown respect, because of the hard work you did in getting it just right. So... let's be careful, before we set our clothes on fire, and ruin our night and our snack!"

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Minako tries to hide her humiliation behind anger as Umino offers his rose to Naru. She didn't want it anyway, but that didn't matter! She had been snubbed -- yet again, no less! -- by some dweeb from some other school.

It's difficult for Minako NOT to think of Kaitou Ace's prophecy at times like these -- and seeing the happy couples dancing together on the floor doesn't exactly improve Minako's mood.

"Boys are the worst," Minako declares definitively to Setsuna. Then without elaborating further, she stomps off to the table where she had left her appetizers a few minutes before to discover they're gone, which just makes things worse.

Instead, she picks up a flute of some yellow-white sparkling beverage and stomps out onto the terrace, where there's far fewer happy couples to remind her of own failures in the romance department.

She takes a long swig from her glass, not even bothering to keep up any pretense of proper Ohtori decorum.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"Hi, Lera-san. You looked like you were having fun out there." Endo is pleased to see his friend, waving his glass in her direction. He likewise gives a short bow to Fuu, a cheerful smile offered toward her and Hikaru. "Hello, Fuu-san, and--

When he notices the table ablaze, Endo pauses. "Is that normal?" He inquires incredulously. It's hard to tell what's supposed to happen and no happen. "I've never been to a ball before, they don't just set things on fire, right? This is what they get for trying to show off so much."

He tries throwing what's left of his champaign on the blaze. It doesn't work. "Ah. Wait. Hold on!" He goes for a pitcher of grape juice next.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Coming to a stop near the exit, Setsuna looks around immediately, only to find that she's lost her dance partner. Turning, Setsuna spins around to try to see where Lera could have gone,but instead there's... Minako! Speaking to her, and imparting something that sounds very important.

She tilts her head slightly as she turns to look at her. "Is that so?" Setsuna asks, blankly. Then, she pauses, and thinks about the boys she knows. Something in her demeanor might be oddly familiar to Minako, for /some/ reason.

She follows, for now, however, wanting at least to be out of the crowd for the moment.

The cool air is a relief, and when Setsuna steps out into it, she takes a few quick breathes, slowly slowing down as she finds herself in greenery. But shen she watches Minako swing back her drink, looking out at others. "Did something happen?"

Then, though, she hears a voice at the edge of her senses, somewhere nearby. Pausing, Setsuna asks, "...Did you hear...?" Even as Setsuna looks to Minako, the voice keeps up. She takes a step, and then another, heels clicking against the stone as she walks around one shrubbery, listens to what sounds more like a conversation, and then sounds like something else entirely.

Her nose wrinkles as she turns the corner and sees the two boys cornering one girl. The scene is...

Well, it's something Setsuna's never /seen/ before. But the distress obvious in the middle schooler's voice and demeanor tells her she doesn't like it.

"What are you doing?" she asks, frowning hard. Her voice is a mix of clear disapproval and legitimate confusion, and she slowly curls her fingers at her sides.

Maybe that blonde girl (Minako) was /right/.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Hikaru smiles and is about to return the greeting until she notices that the table has just gone ablaze. "Ugh, and I just HAD to be the Magic Knight of Fire!" She thinks to herself. "Where's Umi when you need her?!"

Thinking quickly, Hikaru is about to go to grab something until she sees that Endo is taking care of it. Shrugging a little, Hikaru turns to Fuu again and blushes a little. "It seems that things are getting a bit hot here!" She says nervously.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

She's not a professional dancer. Nor is she an accredited musician by any reasonable stretch. But Mai Tokiha is a karaoke nut, and tempo trumps pitch on that musical battlefield. The dance is a fiery one, and Mai is dressed for the part, as the steps and spins and dips continue to escalate.

As the couple receives their rose - and Mai, surprised, is the recipient - she blinks and then laughs. "Well, seeing as I wasn't planning to dance myself, I think I can forgive your not thinking ahead there." There's a fiery grin as she tucks it into her fiery stole. "And yeah. Nice as it might be to win, I'm fine with just having a good ti-"

She lets out a tiny surprised yelp as Takeo dips her - not any panic or worry, just a squeak of shock. She stares back, eyes wide, face beginning to pinken - and then they're dancing again, but in spite of the flame-like cloth dancing around her she's a bit off tempo. The whispers...might not help. "Certainly going for the dashing knight bit, noble steed and all, aren't you? Not saying it's a bad thing...but Akamizu-kun, are you trying to-"

Mai glances away from Takeo as she starts to ask a significant question - and a wandering gaze is pinned by crimson eyes of warning. Rue's unspoken challenge hangs in the air as the expert dancers move on, and Mai...is left utterly without words.

Thank the stars that there's a diversion. A prince of white and a princess of black step onto the dance floor, latter leading the former, and Mai's jaw drops. "...Mikoto and Kuga? How...why did..."

She turns to Takeo, bewilderment plain, and the previous question seems to have been dropped entirely. "...let's make our way over, see what they're up to." Her tango is a good bit less certain, but she still manages a few fiery flourishes as she spins herself - or perhaps Takeo - across the dance floor, closer to Natsuki and Mikoto. She regains most of her groove by the time they're across - but not quite enough to really -challenge- an expert dancer pair.

"...decided to dance after all, Kuga?" Besides, there's important snark to be had.

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Minako Aino has had it up to /here/ with guys tonight. And basically forever. The only way this night could get worse is if Shun showed up with some /other/ blonde bombshell babe on his arm.

She's about to open her mouth and give the pink-haired girl an answer when alluvasudden --

"Did you hear something?" the pink-haired girl asks, and suddenly, in that moment, Minako's curiosity trumps her anger, and she follows in step with Setsuna around the corner to --

"Please just leave me alone!"

"Did you hear that? I think that was /an invitation/!"

Setsuna might be content to settle this with words, but Minako's still furious from earlier and her patience is ebbing away.

Instead of using her words, Minako drenches the propositioning boy with the remainder of champagne in her glass.

"Didn't you hear? She's not interested!"

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Iona moves with her... more or less... and Nori becomes acutely aware that she has a rose in her teeth.

Why do I have a rose in my teeth? she asks herself, silently; Iona can probably see a slowly increasing level of anxiety in her eyes and a couple of missed steps. Until suddenly - mid tango! - she says, plucking the rose from her lips as her heart beat races, "I - I am sorry Hikawa but I have to --"

"To -"

To run away, she thinks as she turns away from the tango, tension and embarrassment suddenly building in her heart. To run away and hide my face...!

This momentary burst of anxiety ends when she reaches up to take the rose from her lips and, sure enough, scrapes her lip with a thorn. There's a little wince and a tiny "ow!" but it's not enough to make her do much than suck on her lower lip nervously. She does not like how the lip gloss tastes.

Her face still feels warm.

No, wait -

Nori turns to look with wide white eyes towards -- Fire! Fire and a rabbit, a rabbit of warning. "Ah--!" she gasps, raising her rose-having hand up to her mouth again and managing to not quite nick herself with a thorn tip THIS time. Her gaze casts along.

Steven's drinks! She plucks one up and immediately dashes it out, to try and dim this sudden inferno. "Universe-san, what should - I mean - be careful!"

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Takeo Akamizu blushes a red that almost matches the fiery touch Mai's outfit has, and it stnads out quite well thanks to the Black and silver tux he is wearing. He clear shis throat. "Well. I am a Knight. Technically. I think. I'm reasonably certain I qualify for Knighthood." He nods once. Firmly. He listens as she is about to ask a question and his gaze snaps to the area mentioned by Mai.

He knows the woman in the White Tux. She also rides a motorcycle. A pretty awesome one, though not nearly as radical as Takeo's radical red riding engine of radicalness. "Is... Kuga-San in a tnago with that Blonde haired girl?" He tilts his head. "When did Kuga learn to /Tango/?" He might be jealous that she's better than him.

Even if she isn't better than he is on a motorcycle.

He's sticking to that belief folks. Accept it.

He shrugs a shoulder and tango's with Mai over to get a better look. He blinks at Rue and Mytho when they give the death glare challange of danciness. He then decides to throw Mytho off a bit and when he spins Mai, he looks right into Mytho's eyes and gives the other man a wink.

Then he's tango'ing off with Mai again.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki smirks slightly at the waiter offering Mikoto a slipper. "Does that make me the prince charming in this?" she remarks as she watches Mikoto try out the slipper. Then, she starts to think perhaps this was a bad idea as Mikoto snags her hand and drags her out on the dance floor.

However, the flare of doubt dies as Mikoto looks up at her like a lost kitten looking unsure what to do next.

"It's easy," she said as she took Mikoto's hand and placed her other hand on her hip. "Basically, just try to move with me and try to avoid me stepping on your feet and mine on yours okay? We'll start by counting."

She doesn't bother moving to the fast pace of the beat yet, no point until Mikoto felt more comfortable about this 'battlefield'.

"1..2..3, yeah that's it," she whispered. She glances over and saw Mai had spotted them and smirks. "Just as I predicted, priceless."

They danced as if she was indeed a prince charming with a very short Cinderella as Mai moves closer to them.

"Figured seeing the shock look on your face would be worth seeing, Princess," Natsuki comments as she slowly twirls Mikoto. "But let's face it, I make a way better prince than princess." She glances down to Mikoto. "Although, I suppose you would be happier being the royal pet cat than a princess. Eh, Kid?"

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Steven is once again attempting to learn this dange called the Tango. Watching people do it though, with roses in hands and mouths, makes it look a lot more complicated. Maybe it is just the sudden movements. Actually, didnt he see the Gems doing this dance once before? Or something like it...

He waits patiently for Nori, having her drink on hand as he enjoys his, which is some sort of fruity punch that tastes really good. he also drinks it with the daintist of movements - one false move and his tuxedo is /done/.

The boy is then suddenly approached from the side. "Oh, Hi there! I-- Ahh!" Before introductions can be had to Yaya, the boy is near snatched from his spot on the sidelines towards the dance floor! he barely has time to set a drink down. Thankfully Nori at least slows the process of being yanked to a dance, by pointing out a fire situation!

"Oh jeez, I didn't even see that! Thank you!" he says toward her. "Least the drink came in handy! I will be right back, I got to try this dance out!" he adds in. Seeing as the Tango involves roses, he should have some kind of proficiency to the dance for unknown reasons.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


When the kids turn to greet Fuu and Hikaru, it's almost disaster -- those swirling flames dance dangerously close to the flames. They're all smiles, at least. "Hi, Aunties!" Ah, kids. Gordon's chiding has them sliding their marshmallow-laden skewers behind their backs, faces falling a little bit. And Endo's fire control...

"Ahem, sir, please do not extinguish the entree," says a well-mannered butler whose calm, resonant voice is completely and entirely at odds with the way his voice has turned a similar purple to the grape juice just flung. "This is part of the display."

"Haha, do it again!" laughs Mina.


"We're having a party, you wanna come?" replies the second boy, leering at Setsuna--

--right until he gets a faceful of Minako's drink. "Oh."

"OH," growls the first. "YOU WANNA GO?" He takes a warning step forward.

"Please don't fight," pleads the girl, willingly touching either boy for the first time tonight as she grabs them behind their elbows. "Everyone, we'll get in so much trouble..."


There's plenty of room in the crowd for Natsuki and Mikoto, whose dancing is getting appreciative looks (and a few jealous ones, though any boy's hopes to dance with Kuga were dashed for the night when she showed up in a tux, anyway).

Takeo discovers that winking at Mytho is a lot more uncomfortable for him than his target. The pale boy just gazes back, not an ounce of emotion in his dead, golden eyes. It is downright creepy and apparently effortlessly so. Fortunately, Mai seems to be rescuing him from the contest (Rue and Mytho proceed to equally effortlessly smear all challengers across the floor, just grind them into the marble, one end to the other).

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto puts her hands where she's directed, and looks down at her feet to try and avoid stepping on Natsuki's. But it's really not that difficult, following her lead; Mikoto has enough natural grace that she manages to avoid stomping on anyone's toes or stumbling onto her face. She's a cat! Cats are good at looking like they meant to do what they do.

Mikoto twirls around, and catches a glimpse of Mai as she does. "Mai!" She calls out, grinning. She spins again as they banter, and shrugs at the end of it. "Already HiME," she says, as if it's self-explanatory. Perhaps she's mixing up her princesses.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Iona, in her continued tango-dancing, swings by a couple who seem to be somewhat nettled. Iona doesn't pry, but certainly both parties are at fault, right? Iona's sure if they sit down and talk about their issues, they'll be fine.

These may be hollow words coming from her.

She continues to dance, and when she looks at her partner, she... sees anxiety? Why is there anxiety? Is Iona not dancing well enough? She's never tangoed, but they're having fun, right? Iona's own anxiety begins to build, somewhat

And then Nori runs away. "I... wait!" Iona reaches out to try and grab Nori, but alas she is too late. "Oh." Iona sighs. Was it her fault?

After Nori disappears, Iona figures out what to do. She likes dancing, sure, but after Nori left, she... doesn't feel like she can keep up at this point. But, despite the dance failure, she still feel very warm, almost uplifing. So, Iona turns, intent on getting a little bit of refreshments before she continues to dance...

When she sees a /whole lot of fire/. Iona gapes at this display for a moment, before she turns and begins to meander out to the terrace, to find a safe space away from all the crazy. And maybe text an Ohtori student she knows, because she really, really wants to express sympathy for going to Ohtori.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Kuga? When did Mikoto learn?" Mai's muttering more to herself than answering her dance partner - and getting over to the other HiME takes more priority than actively competing in the contest. And so Takeo is pulled away from Mytho's unending stare before madness can set in, and they continue.

Upon getting there - with Tango Carnage in progress on the other end of the marble floor - Mai lets out a far-from-subtle groan. "Don't you start on those nicknames, Kuga. Bad enough that I have to hear them from Nagi. Bad enough that -you- have to hear them from Nagi....though you're right about being a better prince. Having fun working on being dashing?"

She flashes Takeo a grin as she makes that small jab - and maybe a pat on the arm.

Mikoto, on the other hand, is compeltely a cat - and a HiME, as she rightly points out. "That you are, Mikoto, that you are. Crown princess of all the world's cats." She grins - and resumes dancing with Takeo, safely on this end of the dance floor.

It might be a bit less outrageous than before. But Mai's still happy to demonstrate a few spins in her fiery dress - because it's fun, and for the others' benefit. Of course. No other reason.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"She learned from me, I just told her the basic," Natsuki commented, not admitting she was actually impressed by how fast Mikoto had picked up on the lesson.

Hearing the comment about Nagi, makes Natsuki scoffed. "Hey, with Nagi it's annoying, but I'm allowed to call you 'Princess' because I'm way more of a 'loveable' person for it."

She twirls Mikoto again. "Yeah, you are a HIME too," she said and smirked. "Hey, Mikoto, you should snag Mai for a dance too. Then we could get two 'princesses' dancing with each other."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When that second boy /leers/ at her, Setsuna can feel her skin crawl. She /had/ been content to start with words, but she feels more than a little satisfaction seeing that drink splashed straight in his face.

Her jaw sets. "What gives you the right to act this way!?" she asks, her own anger quickly rising as she sees an obvious challenge out of the first boy. The middle schooler in red forgets, for the moment, that she is an ordinary girl right now, and steps forward in return, staring straight up at him as she joins Minako. "You need to go cool down," she commands, with all the iron of a former general.

...But she's not exactly the most intimidating figure--and she looks away from the boy, in the moment, towards the girl behind, "There's no reason we would get in trouble. They're the ones who are misbehaving!"

<Pose Tracker> Takeo Akamizu [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Completely at a loss, as Mai and Takeo make their way near Kuga and Mikoto, the "Knight" looks over the fellow motorcycle rider and grins. "Full of Suprises there Kuga-san! I wouldn't expect you to be a dancer. Figured you'd be a gear head like me." He grins and nods. "Nice of you to keep the Cat one busy for Tokiha-San. I appreciate it." He grins and then let's himself be danced away, but not before he whispers to Mikoto, "I think I saw some kids preparing smores by the buffet table..."

He then grins innocently to Mai and waits until they're sufficiently away before he says with that roguish grin of his, "She looked like she needed the challenge." He gives Mai a playful wink as he dips her, and while dipped whispers, "Besides. I'm having a good time. And I hope you are too." He twirls her as she traightens, to allow her to show off that dress some more. "Also. That kid. Has some seriously creepy eye thing going. I think he might be evil. I'd need the Rabbit to be sure though." He shrugs.

Oh well. Not his problem. Not tonight.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Thank you very much, Gordon-san," Fuu asides to the culinary lapine. Being called an 'auntie' still stings, but Fuu is bound and determined not to lsoe her temper over it; the important thing is that the kids *don't* catch on fire. On the other hand, the way the butler indicates that the table is SUPPOSED to be on fire ...

And there ARE elementary students at this ball who may not be careful enough ...

Fuu just takes a brief look around, wondering if they keep a fire extinguisher or three on hand near this particular table, just in case of comparable mishaps. And while she's looking around, she takes a moment to peruse the table's edible contents, and tries to procure some additional munchies. Being an athlete all day does work up an appetite, after all.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"Oh." Endo pauses. "Are you sure?" He doesn't sound like the waiter should be sure about that. The boy glances down at his empty pitcher, and then the waiter, and then the table. Finally, slowly, he offers the pitcher out. "Well, if you guys really want to do it that way." Slowly, be backpedals.

When he passes Lera again he beams at the girl, chiming, "Lera-san! Introduce me to your date later. I should go find Ren, she'll be mad if I don't dance with her." He then evacuates the area, before it burns down or any other catastrophes happen.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto looked like she might have taken Natsuki's advice-- until Takeo whispers to her. Mikoto's eyes go wide and she looks up to her dancing partner. "There's food," she says -- as much of an explanation as /anyone/ could hope for from such a cat -- and then she disappears to go hunt down s'mores.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The display.

It's part of the display.

Nori feels sick for a moment but feels relief in a sense. I'm going to drop dead of embarrassment, she thinks. How fortunate. Her eyes close for a moment...

Until she realizes that - no, it's aimed at Endo Naoki! She opens her eyes and looks at him, possibly with the gaze of the recently deceased. (No.)

"I suppose it's a very surprising display, isn't it, to make people think such things... ha, ha..." She wobbles forward enough to put her hand on a nearby table that is not on fire and say "ha ha ha," softly to herself a few more times, which is not exactly the same thing as laughter.

On the up side, she's in an excellent place to get an entree... right?

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Lovable. Right. In spite of the atmosphere, in spite of the situation, the amount of eye-rolling Natsuki gets from Mai is something to behold. "Whatever you say..." She pauses, then sings softly - just loud enough for maybe for the four of them. "Prince Natsuki, wonderful she, Natsuki Kuga..."

There's a grin. It falters with surprise, briefly, at the suggestion - her gaze flickering to Mikoto - but Takeo gives the girl a delicious suggestion, and in moments the question is moot. With no small bit of surprise, Mai turns back to Takeo...

...and snorts. A ladylike snort, honest - whoop, there she goes getting dipped and spun again. It's a moment before she's laughing again, but.... "That, Akamizu-kun, was sneaky of you. Just know that if she winds up on a sugar rush, I'm holding you responsible!"

And then, since it's a tango, she takes over the footwork for a moment - aggressive steps forward, so that Takeo has to step back, and then spinning herself to the side. It's a bit clumsy - mimicing similar moves of Rue's, across the floor - but it's a dance and she's just taking the evening off.

...completely off. "Evil, jerk, one of those. Not a problem for tonight, though!"

<Pose Tracker> Minako Aino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"'You want to go'?" Minako echoes mockingly. She lets out a scoffing laugh. "It's no wonder why you need to coerce women into affection. I've seen bullies in B-list films with better lines that."

Minako's smile turns smug; she's clearly just antagonizing him at this point. Still, despite the soldier of love's wrath levels (which are extremely high tonight, surprisingly), she still feels inclined to high-five her newfound friend for their shared policy on sexual harassment.

She'll save the high-fives for /after/ they handle this, though.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

That marvelous ceiling of glass and gold filigree has made a noble frame for the sky all evening. As the sun slipped over the horizon, it gradually painted a palette of oranges and lavenders and deepening, deepening blues, until black overwrote it entirely but for the silvery shimmer of the moon and the twinkle of distant stars.

All but one star, that is. One light in the night sky is a baleful red, a feature of Ohtori's constellations that those who haven't spent the evening here before may not recognize. It does not twinkle, it just... shines, like a bloodied, distant pinprick. After a while, its sheer constancy makes it easy to forget, the brain adjusting to its background presence the same way it might filter out a nearby, routinely passing train.

But what happens next, no one will ever forget. It's the kind of thing that you remember, the hour-minute-second it happened, exactly what it was you were doing before, the little details...

(The look on the boys' faces as Setsuna and Minako stand up to them.) (The sizzling smell in the air of all that well-charred meat on the tables.) (Smiles on the dance floor, twirling fabric. The smell of fresh roses.)

...because afterwards, nothing will ever be the same again.

The effect can briefly be mistaken for the sun rising far before its foretold hour, as a shimmer of light grows behind the blackness of night, which rises to blue; in combination, a sickly green flash.

But it's gold, gold, the gold of fairy tale treasure troves, of fevered, frenzied dreams, the stuff that riots are made of, that showers downwards -- not coins but light, purest golden radiance that puts the solar corona to shame, makes it seem butter yellow, pale and frothy in comparison.

Although beautiful, it's also horrible, otherworldly. Anyone who's ever been to the extreme north might find the trails in the sky faintly reminiscent of an aurora, but that comparison is also inadequate. If a kid with gold fingerpaints were to tear down the sky, this might be what results.

It is a silent phenomenon, until it isn't.

Until a pillar of golden light at least a quarter mile thick shatters the atmosphere, boiling the rare stray clouds in its path, and impacts Southern Cross Bridge, which connects this island to the main body of Tokyo. With a terrible tremble like the snapping strings of fate, it then explodes upwards in a spherical blast all too similar to a mushroom.

The air shakes, the ground shakes, the ocean roars; the steel and concrete of the bridge, as well as any unfortunates who might have been on it at the moment of impact, are absolutely and completely vaporized. Waters gush into a hemispherical chasm that had been instantly rendered to steam, which strains what's left of the bridge on either end -- which isn't much at all -- to collapse.

The bridge -- the only connection between Ohtori Academy and the rest of the world -- is just... gone.

More quickly than the stunned silence can be broken, the shockwave arrives, shattering windows, knocking people to the floor, tearing weaker trees up by their roots.

/Now/ the screaming begins.