2017-10-19 - The Spoils

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Title: The Spoils

The new Engaged and the Rose Bride go home after the duel.


Kasagami Araki and Anthy Himemiya


The Araki family estate

OOC - IC Date:

10-19-2017 / 2-25-2015

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Yes, Araki-sama," Anthy agrees easily from inside the limosine as she's told to call her new Engaged something less formal. She slides out of the car after Kasagami once they've arrived. There is something like calm on her face as her companion falls to the ground, overcome. Anthy looks out at the bloody crimson roses and thinks about the coming spring.

Knowing the turn of a season comes does little to blunt its impact, the Rose Bride has found. There is only so much one can do to prepare. In the moment she has always found herself needing to improvise, to adjust, in order to ensure survival. Of the roses, of course.

When Kasagami turns with wet cheeks and hand outstretched, she finds a smiling Anthy Himemiya whose own arms are occupied with a suitcase she hugs to her chest. "You look happy," she says, and trots up to Kasagami's side. At the suggestion of hunger she bobs her head. "Of course."

She follows behind, an obedient suitcase-toting shadow who makes no objection to Kasagami claiming cooking duties. The main door swings open to admit them both to a grand and echoing silence that fills the restored spaces within.

To an eye trained by an upbringing in moneyed circles, it cannot be clearer: no expense was spared, no corners were cut. As without, so within for the Araki family estate. Right when it seems nothing could break the spell cast by impossibly swift-acting affluence, a sound bounces its way to the pair from somewhere deeper within, alien to Kasagami in the context of these surroundings.


"We're home, Chu-Chu!" Anthy pipes in reply, and stoops to set her suitcase just inside the main door. The so-addressed party peeks round head and round ears out of a doorway, his charcoal-squiggle eyes somehow seeming to light up as he spots Anthy -- he runs right up to her and she extends a hand, still crouched by her luggage, for him to hop aboard.

With her best friend firmly ensconced upon one shoulder, Anthy continues in Kasagami's wake. She exhibits no curiosity about their surroundings, no matter how lavish or well-appointed. "What are you going to cook?" She has evinced no sadness, no outward reflection nor pause to this new Engaged at what has been to all appearances a seamless transition of power -- a seamless transition of person. Of ownership.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami rolls an eye openly. "Good to know you have at least stubbornness going for you, Anthy." It's almost a compliment, punctuated with a 'tch'.

In they go, and Kasagami is even nice enough to hold the swinging door for Anthy. "Who wouldn't be!? I'd been planning to restore the estate for months! But I knew we didn't have the cash to do it any time soon. Or if we did, it'd take years! I'd ask you how this happened, but I have a feeling you either don't know, or wouldn't tell me." Grin. The swordswoman is perhaps, smarter than most give her credit for.

That sound has Kasagami instantly reaching into her coat. She's stepped in front of Anthy. Still high on adrenaline, both happy and a little spooked by the sudden reemergence of her family home, there's a fan of knives out in her hand. She pauses, however. A...monkey?

Knives go away. "Well well. Who's this little fellow here?" Is she...smiling? By the time they're in the kitchen, Kasagami pauses and offers a single finger to Chu-chu. "Kasagami Araki, the new Engaged. It's a pleasure to meet you Chu-chu. Looks like we're going to be partners, so I hope we can make the best of things." A pause. Her single eye bores hard for a moment into Anthy's own. Then softens for a second. Silently, she takes in Anthy, though not entirely rakishly. A tap to her chin.

"Hmm. I guess we'll have a few things to figure out, won't we? Hmm. Let's do spaghetti. Something simple, lots of protein, good for when you've used up a lot of calories and energies in a fight." Reason number two she's a fan of Italian.

Point. Right at the cupboard. The kitchen of course is practically pallatial. Modern appliances mix with sharp knives and a slightly western appearance. Marble counter-tops. Even a full bar in a corner.

"I'll start the water boiling, you get the pasta. Eh, go for the jarred sauce. Sorry this isn't much of a welcoming dinner, rain check you for tomorrow." A wave of the hand. At least she's good to her guests. Thus far? Kasagami's smile hasn't slowed. She sounds drained, but happy, and it might explain her extra tolerance of her newfound housemate(s).

"Tell me something, Anthy. I'm well aware you don't like me. That's fine. You do not have to like your King, but I won't tolerate betrayal. Do as I order you, and in turn, I'll do my duty as a King to keep my subjects safe. Understand?"

Water is soon boiling.

"Do you hate me, Anthy?"

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Anthy watches where she walks rather than her companion, but gives all appearances of listening as they go. Kasagami says she won't ask how the restoration happened, which leaves the other girl with no question to answer. As seems appropriate, Anthy offers silence in return.

But green eyes follow, fleet and flickering like a dragonfly across a pond's surface, when Kasagami reaches into her coat pocket after Chu-Chu cries his greeting. The knives glint off of owlish glasses lenses. Once they're on their way to the kitchen with the mousemonkey riding her shoulder, Anthy offers an introduction. "This is my friend Chu-Chu. We'll all be living together from now on."

The little guy hops down onto a tabletop in the kitchen, standing on his own two paws to regard Kasagami's offered finger. Chu-Chu's eyes are stern charcoal half-moons; he emits a skeptical grunt. Finally one lavendar paw extends and makes a warm spot of contact at the tip of that finger, all without a crack in his gruff regard.

The message seems forthright: You're on probation, Kasagami Araki! Anthy watches and smiles.

The Engaged gets to work, issues orders, and Anthy hops into action. She may not know her way around /this/ kitchen but she does have a way to her, and finds the things she needs well enough. The cabinets and pantry are, of course, fully stocked, and the fridge and freezer with freshly storebought ingredients. She cooks with silent efficiency, and Chu-Chu sticks close by her elbow, occasionally making sounds that are both companionable and imperious, like a fond backseat driver.

Kasagami has Anthy's profile to watch along the length of an expansive countertop when she begins her inquiry. She's in one cabinet sorting through sauces overhead, and slim arms pause in place.

"I am the Rose Bride. I must do whatever the winner of the duels tells me to do." The cadence of ritual carries words spoken in a flat tone. She nudges a can out of the way and sees the sauce she's looking for, reaches for it. "You are my Engaged. I will do what you say." That sounds more like her own voice, but the tone hasn't changed much.

She pulls down the glass jar and walks it over. "I do not hate you, Araki-sama. But what I think does not matter. What are you going to do, now?" Anthy holds it out to Kasagami.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Touch! Kasagami slowly nods at the unspoken message. A grumpy protector and friend? The monkey guardian goes up a few slots in Kassie's regard. Possibly now several times higher than Anthy herself.

The young woman has grabbed some parmesean and some red peppers, as well as some garlic and basil. A knife is drawn from a wooden holder. She, of course, spins it around in her hand dangerously. A single slip could make it go careening into herself, or others. But Kasagami's dexterity with bladed objects is both casual and seemingly unending.

The resulting chops onto the cutting board of the ingredients are similarly dangerous. Always an iota away from losing a fingertip, but resulting in fine work.

"Go ahead and time the pasta for eleven minutes. Stir every minute-and-a-half." She offers while she chops.

Occasionally, her good eye peers at Anthy thoughtfully. "Not exactly a rousing endorsement, but good enough. Heh. If you're being honest, then that's good. We can work together. But you're wrong in one thing."

Her free hand, ungloved, indicates Anthy. Her hand is still bandaged, scarred fingers and the wound from her punching the wall agitated from the fight with Utena.

"What you think entirely matters. I had other reasons of course, but I'm interested in the power that is inside of you. That's part of why I've been fighting so hard. It's why..." Utena. She pauses. A shudder. The ghost of guilt flashes over her. Is her friend even okay right now? A glance to her phone.

Yeah, like she'd pick up.

A tear is flicked away, and she hopes Anthy doesn't see it. "Point being, I don't know why you'd subject yourself to being a possession if you have that kind of power. If I were you, I'd rip that sword right out and use it myself. But hey, I'm still the newest member of the Council. Maybe I don't know how this all works."

She rubs the back of her head. "So I want your opinions. You are my subject, and as someone who will rule this world, it's my job to advance the dreams of those beneath me. My orders and my dreams come first of course. But that doesn't mean I'm going to turn a blind eye and deaf ear. I want to know what you dream about. As much as you act like a meager doll, there has to be more to you than that. Otherwise you couldn't torture me with those flowers." Smirk. Yellow petals fall in Kasagami's mind.

Kasagami is then in and out for a minute, getting utensils and plates ready. Then a bottle of wine. Two glasses, and then, a thimble. Sip.

"Hoh hoh! My favorite chardonnay, how'd they know? I have a lot of work to do. First, I need to learn the Sword's power. It's weight, length, attack angles, defensive positions, offensive positions, everything. A field sword is awkward to begin with. So adjusting to a smaller, saber-like weapon is going to be a challenge. If I don't train with something similar? This will be a short Engagement." Kasagami is already considering her fellow Council Members to be a threat. At least she doesn't rest on her laurels.

"And of course, I need to learn how to Revolutionize the World. Utena-chan didn't do it. And I'm not wearing a crown right now. Either through you, or maybe..." The letters. Frown.

"I take it there's more to just winning you to Revolutionize the World?"

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

She is not always watching while Kasagami wields the knives, nothing so obvious. However, Anthy never once turns her back to the young woman while they are in the kitchen together.

"Yes, Araki-sama," and she's stirring at the specified intervals with the twirl of a birdboned wrist. The noodles will of course come out exactly as they ought, at her hand.

The tall duelist starts talking about the duels themselves, the power Anthy holds within her, and the Rose Bride stirs noodles in a pot. She sets the spoon aside after, tapping a few droplets of heated water free; the ones that land near the stovetop sizzle away into wisps.

Kasagami wants Anthy's opinions. Wants to know what Anthy dreams about. It sounds friendly, the magnanimous offer of the newly-anointed. In nearly the same breath she mentions the daisies. The Rose Bride does not consider truth, not for a moment. The answers could be more flashing knives in the hands of an Engaged she does not yet know well -- aside from their mutual antipathy and the way Kasagami's emotions seem to direct her.

"I like to tend my roses," she says in a voice soft like their petals. Kasagami may be sure she is more than a doll, but Anthy gives nothing more than that, no glimmers or peeks. The talk of swords and strategies receives no reply at all; none is asked for.

'I take it there's more to just winning you to Revolutionize the World?'

Another smile curves Anthy's lips as she resumes stirring the noodles. "Mysteries," is her reply. "I will be close by your side, Araki-sama, for whenever you need me. Oh! The noodles are ready." She looks over. "Is everything else?"

With a stretch and a yawn, Anthy adds, "We will need an early start in the mornings to get to Ohtori."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami briefly peers in on Anthy's works. Rub of a chin. Hmmm. A critical eye used to way too much activity and delicious, hearty food alike mmm's.

"Looks like you're good for something other than being a sheath after all. Good! I wonder if you were the cook for Utena-chan." The words hang. Even Kasagami might seem a bit awkward for a second. Her obsession for the Would-Be Prince has never been subtle. Here, it's obvious.

Her tone is almost grieving. Kasagami laughs, as if to hide the fact.

'Tend my roses'. The young woman turns from her work, to once again bore hard into the other girl. The Disciplinary Executive is used to using her height, status, and fiery nature to her advantage. She isn't quite angry with the response, but it does spark some small amount of fury in Kasagami.

"...I wasn't talking about the obvious. You enjoy roses. So does Eri-chan and the rest of the Gardening Club. If you're seriously telling me that your only dream is to tend a garden, then I'm wondering how you obtained that Sword. Power is only obtained through effort, ambition, and some would say greed and pride of your abilities or belief in your family."

And then she sighs, and Anthy is stirring the pot.

"Lucky for you I'm feeling good. I'll let that answer go for now. But let me be absolutely clear, Anthy! I expect my subjects to have at least some sort of spark in their eyes. I'll drag that out of you no matter what it takes! Unless you're really just some doll!" Offers Kasagami in turn, once more pointing to the girl savagely. Her hot-bloodedness is on full display. Perhaps she's looking for that in Anthy, at least, on the lowest level.

After all, how can't everyone burn on some level, in Kasagami's mind?

Slump. "Mysteries? So coy...oh well. At least you keep things interesting." Shrug.

With her fire and fury spent for the moment, she'll handily take up the pot, and drain the noodles. A shoo'ing, and then sauce and ingredients are combined. It's Kass' turn to stirr the pot.

She's rolled up her sleeves, and both arms flex in the work. She's swift, yet careful. Any meal she makes has to be perfect. Because it's for herself, or a dear lover or friend, or even a hated subject.

A King must be generous, through love or hate, after all. Minutes later, food and wine are served.

A glass raised. "A toast. To a new future, and a Kingdom where the tragedies that have scarred us all lead to the world this should be." Her tone is strangely somber. A look.

Sigh. "Choose any bedroom you want. I'm taking my parents'." Kasagami tucks in. The entire time, pondering the return of her House and the Engagement, she seems both pleased and yet disturbed. Perhaps still the future holds trouble for her dreams!

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

When Kasagami speaks of Utena, of cooking for her, with that note to her voice even as she dismisses the Rose Bride... Anthy stands still by her side, head tilted down, eyes on the pot of noodles. She's quite adept at hiding pain. None of it shows on her face, nor in the way she holds herself, save perhaps in that stillness itself.

She lets Kasagami wonder about the cooking.

Her answer about roses sparks a reaction from the taller woman, and Anthy pays close heed to its strength and passion, and the way Kasagami riles as she continues. That pointing finger prods acquiescence from the Bride; she nods, slowly. "You are clear, Araki-sama."

With eyes lowered and irises lash-veiled, Anthy Himemiya thinks about a girl who never made her rose gardening out to be unworthy. Who seemed to prefer it to the duels. Kasagami may be looking for fire, but her finger stirs only ashes.

Anthy raises her filled glass and clinks it in toast, then takes the glass to her lips but does not sip. She stirs spaghetti with her fork, chews and swallows, tasting little and leaving plenty on her plate. Chu-Chu's appetite shows no such shyness, and he happily cleans up her plate once he's done with his own.

Yes, she set him a place. Like it is perfectly normal to do so.

In the morning Kasagami opens the door to her parents' bedroom to find a cot laid across the way, with Anthy Himemiya in it. A poofy blue nightcap protects purple curls; the rest of her curls in a tight little ball beneath her blanket. Chu-Chu snores away atop her pillow in his own gown and cap.

She blinks awake and rubs her eyes. "Good morning, Araki-sama."