2018-09-14 - Hope Floats 1

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Hope Floats 1

Hikawa Shrine is adding a second float to their entry in the Kanda Festival this year -- the world's most famous superheroine! But first she has to be decorated, and inflated.


Yumi Ohzora, Steven Universe, Mikoto Minagi, Fuu Hououji, Signum, Signum Yagami, Vita Yagami

GM: Hotaru Tomoe


Hikawa Shrine

OOC - IC Date:

9-14-2018 - 05-14-2015

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Hikawa Shrine +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  At the entrance to this shrine, a red torii gate signifies passage from the   
  mundane realm of Tokyo to sacred ground. Ascending a long stone staircase     
  with moss in its crevices, one reaches an open, stone-paved veranda           
  surrounded by a copse of old trees, many of which wear plaited ropes          
  dangling long strips of paper, signifying the presence of a tree kami.        
  Ferocious carved lions and heavy, stylized stone lanterns accent the          
  traditional Japanese architecture, with its oversized gabled roofs,           
  rough-hewn wooden pillars, and thin walls. This is the Hikawa jinja, a        
  Shinto shrine almost 300 years old, and a cherished cultural touchstone for   
  a city too often starved for quiet and serenity.                              
  The square veranda has a building on each of three sides, with a second,      
  unpainted torii on the fourth that guards the top of the stairs. The left     
  structure is a small open-air theatre for the performance of rites and        
  ritual dance. The right structure contains the living quarters for the        
  priests and miko that live here, as well as their offices and the iconic      
  donation box. The central structure is also the largest, as it is the         
  haiden, or hall of worship, where people can kneel and quietly pay tribute    
  to the kami, or attend religious ceremonies. The most important building on   
  the grounds, however, is behind the haiden, and not open to the public.       
  Called the honden, it is protected by a strong fence, for it is the home of   
  the spirits that reside in this place.                                        
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Little Witch Academia - Magic (Excited) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMGTEvAyN6I?t=1811

The day before the Kanda Festival is here. Afternoon, after school.

Late May -- uniforms are starting to get hot, especially as the day wears on. The sun pours through the clouds like a waterfall of honey. And the people pour through the streets in an only slightly lesser concentration than they will this weekend, when the parades start.

Hikawa Shrine, as ever, provides respite from the endless crowds of Tokyo streets, even when it's full of volunteers. Its contribution to the festival is a mikoshi, or portable shrine, which has been tended by the priests of this place for hundreds of years. Age permeates the space -- old stone, old trees, an old man.

"Thanks for coming, kids!" cackles Grandpa Hino, the blue hakama-wearing priest of this place, who is so tiny and wrinkled in his dotage that he hardly comes up to the waist of even the smallest middle-schooler. "I promise, I'll make it worth your while!"

There were posters, you see. Posters promising spiritual renewal, an afternoon's work, and a generous reward.

The mikoshi is not to be found. No, it is being tenderly prepared in another, quieter part of the property. Grandpa has something else in mind...

"...my granddaughter has no sense of the future! She wouldn't help me with this! But I know you will... won't you, kids?"

Not every float in the parade is ancient -- or sacred.

Well, maybe the 'sacred' part depends on the person.

Grandpa Hino beams at the half-inflated giantess sprawled in the middle of the courtyard, who is still sagging in places but utterly recognizable the world over as Majestia, the most iconic superheroine from American comic books and movies. Famous the world over, in her red, blue and gold getup, she has an famous catchphrase...

"Evil succeeds only when good people do nothing!" He rubs his hands together. "So... I need people on those leafblowers, pumping more air into her! And she needs flowers! All these flowers!"

They are present in abundance -- in red, blue, and gold. There do seem to be ample places on the float balloon to tape them, to be sure. And two (currently off) leafblowers, stuck into rubber ports on Float Majestia's feet.

"She's going to be the Queen of Tokyo tomorrow! Gyahahaha!!"

[Visual Aid: http://miraculousladybug.wikia.com/wiki/File:CTEd1-UWEAA75xz.jpg_large.jpg] -- only, you know, a la the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is to say, rubber, bulbous, and ludicrously gigantic once fully inflated.

OOC: Majestia is the BFverse's Superman. You know who she is and what she stands for, no matter how much of a shut-in or alien you
are; her cultural saturation is 100% (though her fandom is not, the Majestia v. Nocturna rivalry is a vast and bitter chasm).

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi Ohzora is one of those helping, one of those who showed up seeing the poster. Spiritual renewal...! Frankly it might be nice to spend an afternoon at the shrine. Though she might have expected something else, well--the age here... That's nice.

"It's hot," Yumi says, sighing once, a little complaint at which point the cat following her just stares for a moment before stepping around. "But..."

Yumi pumps her fist once, "It's worth the effort to bring a superheroine to the city!"

Yumi knows the catchphrase. Maybe Majestia isn't exactly her aesthetic, but how cool is someone like that?" ...Nevermind that Yumi may in fact be allergic to hard work, she's here anyway, her stuff already set down as she looks towards the float and grins. "...They're great flowers..."

Hmmm. Hmmmmmm.

"How hard can it be to work a leafblower?" Yumi asks mostly herself, starting to walk over to that way. "These are huge up-close..."

...Her uniform jacket is open, her tie halfway undone. She is clearly very hot. Maybe that's another reason to be near the leafblower...

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Sometimes being a hero was not to fight the big battles against evil, but to help others with their own, no matter how small.

A line thought, as Steven Universe stared at the float for Majestia. A similar reason has brought him here this day! The boy was always eager to help out in his local community, and learn about local culture more and more! Though as time goes, the more it seems different, the more it feels the same in its own right.

"Whoah... so cool!" the Gem Child marvels. The sights and sounds of a parade, with their merry fanfares, dancing and baton-throwing, The colorful streamers and decorum. This is how they were prepared!

The clattering of flip flops resound as Steven rushes over when the adults start speaking. He bore his standard school attire, with his cheeseburger backpack being grasped in one hand. A pair of aviators are clamped to his collar. "Yes sir!" Steven says, nigh dripping with enthusiasm. "All those flowers...! It's like a whole field of 'em! Heh heh heh!"

After his silly little laugh, the boy thinks on Majestia's outfit scheme, and how best to do the flowers. Maybe the adults have a good idea for how to do the assembly line thing. If that is even the best way. Huh.

"Are they gonna have her rival as a float, sir?" he asks Grandpa Hino. "If so, we gotta make Majestia look way better! Everyone knows that fashion is incredibly important to a battle!"

A turn back to the float. "Ah, I might need a tutorial or something, if that is okay!" Steven taps his fingertips together as he looks at the float of potential. "I'd hate to mess it up."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.


"Mikoto-chan, are you going to see the new Majestia movie?" Aoi asks, hands clasped together. "It's supposed to be her most stunning appearance yet!"

Mikoto blinks, canting her head as she adjusts her middle-school ribbon. "No," she says, uncertainty to the word and confusion on her face.

"No? But -" Aoi claps a hand over her mouth. "- oh my god, Mikoto-chan, tell me you know the movie I'm talking about."

Mikoto shakes her head, frowning to Aoi.

"But you must know Majestia, right?" Aoi insists.

Mikoto grunts discontent and shakes her head again, utterly baffled at the rising alarm of Mai's friend.

"That's it," Chie interjects, stepping forward to place a hand on Mikoto's shoulder. "We're going out right now. There are some things a girl can't just live in ignorance of, Mikoto-chan!"


Mikoto did not, intentionally, respond to the poster. Mikoto was on the town for unrelated reasons - she has very good ones for searching the city, after all. But there's a lot of crowds out today, as the festival nears, and crowds can be unpleasant things. Too noisy, for one.

And so a stray cat has wandered onto shrine grounds - taking care to wash her mouth out at the entrance - in search of something a little quieter.

Unfortunately, Mikoto is not very good at searching things out, because she just ends up walking into another crowd. But this crowd is smaller! And, looking through the volunteers, Yumi and Steven are here. This instantly makes this crowd preferable to any other crowd she might find herself in, and so she gravitates towards the nexus, which just happens to be that old man.

How nostalgic.

Luckily, there's not much here to remind her of anything else, because this little man is exuberant and excitedly talking about... that one character's catchphrase. Majestia? Mikoto blinks, looking back to the half-inflated plastic thing which has occupied the area. Oh. Yes, that's Majestia.

"Huh," Mikoto remarks aloud, because this is definitely not the sort of attraction she'd expect a shrine to set up.

But then again, this is Tokyo, the modern metropolitan centre of Japan.

The thing which makes her brighten from her confusion, in the end, is Yumi's own excitement and willingness to work. She trails after her, because those leaf-blowers look heavy, and maybe Yumi will need help lifting them. "Yumi!" She chirps, happily. "Can't be hard!"

She does not pause for a tutorial, because she's sure she can figure it out. Never mind that she's never used a leaf-blower before. "Majestia's rival," she wonders, instead, with a noise of consideration. "... Nocturna, right?" She only really remembers her because she remembers being certain they'd just copied Natsuki, somehow.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

There was no opportunity to change out of her uniform before Fuu made her way to Hikawa Shrine; she would have *liked* to do so - and certainly it's warm enough that she'd happily discard her blazer; the switch to summer uniforms can't come soon enough this year, it seems - but she had to go from class to archery team to the shrine.

Fuu looks over the half-inflated balloon figure, and at the flowers waiting to be attached, and the leafblowers waiting to be fired back up. And she considers, as though she were plotting strategy for a difficult fight. "If we inflate Majestia-san all the way, it'll be impossible to attach flowers to the parts of the balloon further up," she muses, thinking out loud. "But we also need to confirm how much balloon will be in between them ..."

There's also the fact that anyone clambering around on top of the balloon will have more trouble maneuvering while the material underfoot is under-inflated, but - again - once the balloon is pumped full, there'll be a different set of hazards associated with topside maneuvering. Not that Majestia should wind up *vertical* while she's being decorated with flowers ...

"Let's hold off on inflating the balloon any further for now," Fuu proposes, "and place flowers along the borders between colors to highlight them. Red and gold along her tunic and boots, blue and occasional gold at the wrists and shoulders, and along the outside 'seams' of arms and legs?"

... okay, she's not especially a fan of Majestia, and she's typically content to stay out of the message-board bickering about whether Majestia or Nocturna are better, but she's going to show her support anyway.

<Pose Tracker> Signum [None] has posed.

"Understood," says SIGNUM LASTNAME, in response to the clear instruction of Grandpa Hino.

Signum is wearing another hooded sweatshirt, perhaps one of the last of the season. This one is in the Majestia costume colors, representing Signum's clear allegiance. She has experienced the heroine's adventures primarily through films watched with Hayate and the others: her opinion is that the recent ones lacked thematic focus and had poor stage mood, even if she appreciated all the bloody action.

To Yumi, Signum says, "I will demonstrate the operation if you wish. The procedure's simple, once you realize the concept. It is essentially a powerful fan with a duct." Signum's eyebrows lift as if to say: Cool, huh??

She thought it was cool. It was in fact an Earth novelty.

Fuu raises a salient point. "Mm. Decoration will be easier at this point." To Yumi, Signum states, "I do not believe we have met. It's good to meet you." A quick but assertive bow. "My name is Signum. Let's work hard together."

She's having fun.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

The Majestia float is essentially all over red, blue and gold, and the flower colors correspond. "Here, sonny," Grandpa Hino says to Steven kindly, somehow managing to ruffle the boy's hair in a friendly way even though he's considerably shorter -- "Like this."

Taping a red flower onto a red part of the float with the flower facing outwards and the stem folded invisibly underneath, he hands Steven a yellow one. "Now you try."

(More ambitious flower arrangements he does not imply; if Grandpa has his way she'll just be coated like a paint-by-numbers and look like she's entirely made out of blossoms. Which may not be the worst timeline. "You do your very best, little lady!" is what he says to Fuu.)

Yumi and Mikoto station themselves on the leafblowers, and whether they listen to Fuu and wait or fire 'em up will make little difference in the short term. Majestia will be very large and it will take a lot of air. Happily, the sound is muted a little bit (the nozzles insert all the way up to the engines) so it's still relatively easy to speak and be heard, just with this backdrop of a high pitched 'vreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!'

Grandpa Hino wanders around the edge of the chaos, fists on his hips, regularly chuckling approvingly.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Yeah, Steven!" Yumi answers him pleasantly. "They're great, right?" But he's on flower duty, and she is working on... the leafblowers!

It's not that Yumi is trying to ignore anybody. But she does get distracted. ...Rather quickly. At first, there's the matter of Mikoto, and Yumi waves to her once she sees her. "Oh hey," she answers, "Yeah totally--right? I mean, I think I see how it's going to work..."

Tama--the cat following her--actually seems somehow to sigh. "Yeah, Nocturna," Yumi says as if she didn't hear it. And so while Fuu makes her proposal...

Yumi blinks, and turns towards a woman in a hooded sweatshirt, who is tall, and has great pink hair, and--"Ah?" Yumi asks, blinking once, twice. "Oh, yeah it's--ah, haha, yeah..." What was she looking at? Oh, the leafblower--"Yeah, you're--I mean, it's cool!"

Yumi blinks, and kneels down to work on a leafblower... which is harder than she was expecting so indeed she will need Mikoto assistance. But she turns to look, "Yeah I'm--Yumi Ohzora." Yumi stands, bows properly. "Yes, this'll go great!"

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

What Signum ACTUALLY said to Yumi was -

"My name is Yagami,"

And with great satisfaction.

"Let's work hard together."

OK back to normal.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

And due to trying to work out inflation strategy, Fuu misses the flower-placing tutorial. Oops. Hopefully she can get that lesson from Hino himself, or from Steven. Or from somebody else in the know.

THe flowers won't place themselves, after all, and there are a *lot* of them - even if they don't all get placed, there's enough to spruce up Majestia quite nicely. So Fuu gets a basket and gets to work. "Steven-san, shall we work on the upper surface while it's still fairly easy to reach?" she offers.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Seeing folks Steven recognizes be part of this makes it better! Mikoto and Yumi both get a hearty wave. "We can do this, and be like superhero sidekicks!" the boy says towards Fuu.

To Grandpa, the boy laughs when he gets ruffled. It was an odd sensation, and people always seemed to do it. His hair must just be that fluffy! Steven studies the elderly hands methodically apply a flower to the float. "Ohhh, the stems go behind it! Okay, I get it!"

The yellow flower is taken, and the boy applies tape, then affixes it. Not too shabby a job. "Oh, I got this!" he says. A look to Fuu. "No, we go this!" he says, giving her a thumbs up.

"I mean, uh." a pause. "Sure!"

That only works in cartoons, probably sounded silly out in public. "Oh, like so the balloon can be raised safely? Okay!"

A look to Mikoto and Yumi. Also their friend! "On the blowers? Awesome!"

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

And of course, where there's one Yagami, there's VITA YAGAMI, A LITERAL EIGHT YEAR OLD, who appears with two whole buckets of flowers, one in each hand. She carries them with beaming pride and a big BIG smile as she scampers on up toward where Signum is, holding her prize aloft with the eagerness of...well, a literal child helping out at a Majestia event. "I found a bunch!" she chimes.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto will help Yumi with the leaf-blower! She's strong, even without her Element. She can certainly hold up something like this without getting tired, and she's happy to do so for her friend. There's an older woman here offering to help show them how to use it, which is helpful.

Especially since Mikoto crouches down, right about to flick the switch which would reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

Probably want to stop that.

Signum is talking to Yumi, and Mikoto naturally mistakes it, because clearly they've never met either. "Mikoto," she looks up and introduces herself in a word, more reserved for a stranger but not specifically unfriendly.

She tilts her head at Yumi, with a questioning noise, as her friend stammers and halts over her words. "... Yumi okay?" She asks, with mild concern.

Maybe she's out of breath already. In that case, Mikoto had better hoist up the leaf-blower - and she does. "Yup!" She chirps to Steven, happily, before she looks down at the machine in her hands. "Fuu said wait," she says, consideration writ on her face. "But balloon's big... and this is small..." How much air can it possibly move at once?

Of course, then there are... other volunteers.

As Vita makes her presence known, Mikoto stiffens, body tilting towards her. She grimaces, grip tightening on the leaf-blower, and her eyes dart back and forth to take in the volunteers which have found themselves here. There are so many of them. Would she really try something with so many of them here?

She wouldn't - would she?

There are things which come to mind and Mikoto looks to Yumi, uncertain. "Yumi..." She trails off, as if searching for some guidance.

She wouldn't. She can't. If she does, they'll take care of it.

Mikoto shakes her head and turns the leaf-blower back towards the float, though she can't help glancing back at Vita. There is less warning in her voice, entirely deliberately, as she muses: "... gotta attach, right..?"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi smiles over at Steven again. Things are a little awkward there with one of Steven's mothers, but... She is still fond of Steven and his family. Maybe she'll go for another holiday. Then, she notices Vita. She doesn't... entirely notice notice though. So when Mikoto asks--

Well that's getting ahead. First Yumi is stammering and Mikoto actually asks if she's okay. "Oh--No, I'm--T-totally fine! Fine, Mikoto-chan. Do I seem not fine? I mean I think I'm great!" She glances to Signum once, "Ah, thanks for helping," to Mikoto, since this is heavy, but...

Mikoto looks to guidance. "We'll be okay. Really, it's fine. C'mon, let's get this going."

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Signum smiles, small and firm and warm, at Yumi as she moves along. Because there is a V I T A in the area.

"Excellent," she says to Vita. "How do you believe we should prepare for maximum visual impact? Of course, we cannot do flight testing readily..." A funny joke, perhaps.

Either way, she studies the flower bucket. "Hm. Perhaps an R-B-R-B-W alternation sequence, repeating..."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Through some admixture of endearment, letting Steven make his own choices, and sheltering the boy, Steven has no idea what may be transpiring in the darker corners of Tokyo. Perhaps to his benefit. It lets him have friends like Mikoto and Yumi, which are two totally cool people!

Tape tape tape go the pretty flowers! A few at first Steven had to re-do the stems, but has caught on quite well at this point!

Wait, if this parade is tomorrow and we are doing an inflation test today, is it just going to hang out in the air until then?" he can't help but ask.

"It will survey the city and be vigilant for evil!" he says, holding up a red flower. "Or just surf on air. Sometimes a heroine needs a day off."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Talking lots," Mikoto points out, when Yumi asks if she doesn't seem fine. But Yumi says she's okay, and Mikoto has no reason not to believe her. Maybe she's just nervous, for some reason.

Well, in any case, she helps, and smiles when Yumi thanks her.

She's frowning as she asks for help, but it's an expression eased by Yumi's reassurances. If Yumi says it's fine - it must be fine. After all, Yumi is right here.

As the machine VWIRRRS, Mikoto calls to Steven: "Without surfboard?" The question left undefined is, of course, how this thing is supposed to surf without assistance.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

It's a good smile! ...And Signum's focus on Vita instead gives Yumi a moment to gather her composure, and also to wonder--little sister? ...Daughter? Could be either. "Oh," Yumi says to Mikoto, and laughs a little awkwardly, reaching up to adjust her glasses. "Well, you know. That's me. I talk a lot. Right?"

She gets to work on making the airflow workable though, with a task at hand simple to work on. And--

"You don't need a surfboard for air surfing," Yumi answers as if she has some authority in this matter. Maybe she does? Maybe she's just having fun with it. "Yeah, she's gonna be real cool. I'm surprised to see a shrine sponsoring a superheroine though..."

"Uhh--Not that that's weird or something!" she clarifies quickly to Gramps. "it's great! Cool!"

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Fuu nods sagely to Steven, "Even the greatest heroes need time off now and again. Refreshing their hearts, renewing their powers, reminding themselves what they're fighting to protect ..."

She trails off, fumbling with one of the flowers. "Ah. I don't suppose I could ask you to show me how you're doing them?" she inquires sheepishly.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Majestia's mostly-deflated form begins to ripple. One fold at a time, more surface area is revealed. Grandpa Hino grins at Steven. "That's exactly right! Look, we have these pull ropes -- to pull in the parade -- but today, we'll just tie them to the house."

This cannot possibly go wrong.

Yumi's cat is sniffing around one of the porches, and abruptly sneezes -- then sneezes again. Chew!

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto nods, with an affirmative noise, as Yumi says she talks a lot.

She nods, again, as Yumi informs her that she doesn't need a surfboard to surf through the air. This time, her grunt is one of consideration. She never knew that!

And there are things Yumi doesn't know, either. "It's kinda weird," Mikoto insists, to Yumi, as if she has some authority on this matter.

She completely misses that this might be rude.

Chew, goes the cat, and Mikoto tilts her head as she looks over to her. "Yumi, look." She does not point where she's looking, because she is holding the leaf blower. On the bright side, it seems like she can hold it up on her own perfectly well...

/***************************( - Scene Schedule - )***************************\

| Date IC Date Time Poster Title |

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

Vita's hair is much MUCH redder than Signum's, for whatever that's worth.

Vita has never once encountered a rule she didn't want to break, unless of course that rule was delivered by Hayate 'mathematically the best person' Yagami. So Grandpa Hino's wish for a totally normal paint-by-numbers experience may run aground on Rock Whatever The Hell Vita Thinks She's Doing. Fortunately she is somewhat steered here by Signum, so she just nods excitedly at Signum's assessment. "Yeah! That should do pretty well! But it can't be the whole thing or else we'd get her tights super wrong!"

She looks, briefly, in Mikoto's direction.

Stares. Just, watches her totally unblinking for a good solid four seconds.

Then her smile brightens even wider and she looks back up at Signum. "So let's get to it!" she cheers, and scampers off toward where the flower mounting is going on.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi is unaware of any way in which this could go wrong. She's having fun with Mikoto, though. "Mikoto-chan!" Yumi whispers, as if kind of scandalized, "We can't call it weird with him right there..." Wait. Can't. Mikoto is going to ask, "I mean, we shouldn't, it's not nice. It--"

Mikoto says look, and Yumi blinks a few times. She can't hear much over the leafblower but--oh--

"Oh! Oh all the dust is probably getting to Tama..." Yumi sounds vaguely worried for a moment.

Then she shrugs, "Whatever, she wouldn't help me with my history essay, she can get herself off of the porch."

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Steven just looks up slowly from his work at Mikoto's comment as though he has seen a revelation. "We should get her a surfboard."

A superhero on a surfboard sounds awesome.

"You say that like you have experience!" the boy says to Fuu with a hearty chuckle. But indeed she does, underneath the veneer of normalcy. They all did. Well maybe not the two helping Mikoto and Yumi. The younger one sure has a stylin' hat though!

"Over here!" He calls to Vita. "Got flowers galore!"

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Grandpa Hino laughs again. It's a warm sound, broad and bawling in the best possible way. "You sound like my granddaughter," he says. "And of course we're going to send out the proper portable shrine into the parade, too -- we'd never fail to give the people their walking tour of the gods! But..."

His gaze goes briefly distant, as he looks down Sendai Hill, across Tokyo.

"Times are changing. The people have new symbols, now, that they put their faith in. Symbols of hope."

Snapping back to the present, he covers up his momentary seriousness with another raucous belly laugh.

"Not that I think anyone should worship Majestia! But if people enjoy the float and ask which shrine it came from, then come visit us, that's good for everyone!"

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Signum nods at Vita and walks with her. Then again they do have similar facial structures. Perhaps the relative hair hues is due to Signum's outdoor activities causing some sun fading... or perhaps... Perhaps...!

As Vita is called by Steven, Signum pauses.

She comes up behind Yumi then and says practically in her ear, "Ohzora. Look."

Something was going wrong, apparently. Signum has slid one jeans-clad leg out and put her foot down on where the inflating tubey bit (to use the precise name) was about to fly away from the leaf-blower and probably slow down the process, maybe even noodlemanning around. "You need to secure it with the leaf-blower's own weight. Shall I show you what I mean?"

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Vita stares at Mikoto, and Mikoto stares at Vita, and, you know, there ought to be a stiff breeze blowing a tumbleweed past, but this is the wrong genre for that entirely. Maybe there ought to be a crackle of electricity between them instead. There's none of that. It's just a tense tick - tick - tick - tick.

And Mikoto breaks their gaze and looks away.

It is a detailed message which she expects Vita to understand entirely.

She focuses on filling the balloon instead. "Can we?!" She calls to Steven, excitedly, as he remarks that they ought to get Majestia a surfboard.

But Yumi tells her they can't call it weird, and Mikoto scrunches up one side of her mouth. "But it's weird," she says, again, her own voice not nearly as whispery. Then she clarifies, and Mikoto hums frustration through her lips. "Oh."


Grandpa Hino doesn't seem terribly phased. Mikoto frowns, as he compares her to his granddaughter, but she nods as he says they intend to show the portable shrine to the world. Well. That makes more sense.

"New symbols," she muses, looking up at the rising form of Majestia. There's something about that...

She is interrupted in a moment by that woman showing up right behind Yumi. She frowns as she looks down at where her foot has fallen. "Secure..?" She echoes. "We attached it..."

Is there another step they're missing?

... is there something else here she's missing?

Her train of thought is entirely interrupted.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Hair color can be deceiving! Yumi, for instance, has outright gray hair. ...But she's left the subject of Signum's sisterdaughterfriendwhatever to the side for the moment as she watches Grandpa Hino laugh and then comment. "Yeah..." For some reason, as a traditional witch she has a healthy respect for shrines. But--

"That's kinda sweet. They do..." A laugh, "Yeah, I guess if they--"

'Ohzora. Look.'

Yumi stops stock still immediately. She actually stops breathing for half a second, and then--oh--

"Ah, um--"

Mikoto can see that Yumi is very red for some reason. She is no longer talking about politeness. "Oh, ah--ha ha, I--Um--Yes--"

She finds herself feeling about as light in the head as this balloon must be. "Sure! I-I mean, yes, I wouldn't want to... have it blow away, or something!"

Sorry Mikoto.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Too brief to be worried over, but sharply enough to be noticed as one of those 'we all touched it at the same time' moments, a spark -- static electricity, perhaps -- leaps between Signum and Yumi and Mikoto and the blower.

Tama the cat sneezes again, harder.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Fuu looks from Steven to Vita, and smiles. "We can definitely use all the help we can get ... ah." She glances down at the balloon under foot, realizing that the plastic-ish surface is swelling and gaining firmness, slowly but surely. "Focus on the shoulders and arms, and work our way down? I'm not sure how long Majestia-san will stay horizontal like this, and I doubt Hino-san has a ladder big enough to reach from the ground ..."

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

Vita slows down a bit while Grandpa Hino muses about the changing times, her eyes turning off to consider the distant horizon. New symbols to believe in......

Then Steven calls her over and her head whips around, a big smile splashing across her face as she all but skitters over, with her existing buckets in hand and giggling high. "Great! We're gonna need all kinds for this!!" she cheers.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

More and more flowers go up. Steven's errors are few and far between now. He ponders if Pearl might enjoy this relaxing art. It seems right up her alley! "So, did someone say something about a tour? That sounds neat!" the boy says, overhearing Grandpa. If anything it was always worth a try. Everything always is with him.

After all, living for two requires twice as much fun!

A look to Fuu. "Good idea! Don't wanna have to get super tall ladders to reach a floating balloon! Maybe we can like, get tape and throw the flowers like darts--" Um. "Okay bad idea right there, spoke before I thought about it."

"Did anyone hear a noise?" Steven says to a small pop nearby; a discharge of static. He shrugs and continues to work. "If we keep at it we should be done in no time!"

"How is it going over there, you three?" he calls to Signum, Yumi and Mikoto.

"Oh nice, reinforcements! Thanks!" The boy offers one of the rolls of tape to help wit hthe flowers towards Vita. "I'm Steven! What's your name?" he asks, that usual cheeky smile spaying on his face. She seems enthused for this activity!

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto frowns in puzzlement up to Yumi, who is definitely acting nervous. She turns assessing eyes over to Ms. Yagami, because she's sure she's missing something. There must be some reason Yumi is...

... acting strange...

... around a woman who clearly knows Vita well...

... who can move quietly enough to sneak up behind them...

... ah.

"You!" Mikoto hisses, and the word is rude in its informality.

It all makes sense now. Of course Yumi couldn't tell her something like this, when they're out in the open. Of course she was trying to be subtle about it. Her gaze hardens, guarded, and she shifts slightly towards her friend. "It's okay, Yumi," she reassures her, quietly. "Won't let anything happen."

She has a totally accurate read of this situation.

But before she can make any further declarations, Mikoto's teeth grit briefly as a zap manifests, as if on a timer delay. It's alarming! She's spooked! But it only lasts for a moment, just like static electricity tends to do. She frowns, with a grumbling sort of resignation, as she realises Signum probably has a point.

"... okay!" She calls back, after a moment's hesitation, to Steven. She looks over to Yumi as if to confirm whether it really is, in fact, okay. If she was involved in that conversation, she would surely reassure Fuu that she could climb up and stick the flowers on, because she is good at climbing things.

She's too busy reassuring Yumi, instead.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

"Speaking of shrine visits, it's almost midterms, isn't it?"

Grandpa Hino scuttles across the courtyard to a display, leaving a cloud of dust behind him, then scuttles back almost as quickly. He never stopped facing the group, like a crab.

And now he's tucking charms into hands (or pockets, for people with their hands full) like they're going out of style.

"To thank you for your help today -- charms for good fortune on exams! Everyone needs that sometime, eh?"

Signum (too old) and Vita (unenrolled, not that he knows that, though the lack of a uniform when everyone must have come more or less straight from school is a minor clue) get a wink. "You never know when life is gonna hand you an unexpected test, amirite?"

There's still plenty of work to be done, though, so hopefully his volunteers won't take the goodies and bail.

Now that his hands are conveniently empty, he grabs a few flowers and starts sticking them in places that fail to conform to the grand plans of anyone. His gestures, as he tapes them down, aren't careless, though, only tender.

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

Signum turns her head to look at Mikoto.

Her expression is mild, though her posture shifts. This would, to Mikoto, seem like a sudden readiness, and to Yumi, like she's being protected. "I assure you," she tells Mikoto, "my only intention is this celebration."

And then! A charm.

Signum bows low enough that her ponytail threatens to flop the other way. She accepts the charm with both hands. "Thank you very much for your generous gift. Is the blessing transferrable?"

She raises her voice to speak to Steven. "Inflation proceeds. The process is gradual given the size of the float!" She then raises one hand to give him a signal he may recognize, and which Signum has learned from movies:

A thumbs-up.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi is having fun with this, even as Tama seems to be discovering some dust over there. Maybe some allergies. Who knows, she certainly doesn't tend to talk around ordinary people. And Yumi is... distracted, even with her bond with her familiar. Since--

"Ah!" Yumi says at the shock, suddenly placing a finger at her lips for a moment. "Shocked me..."

But Mikoto reassures her. ...Signum... protects her? Yumi blinks between the two of them, because she has no idea what's happening. When Mikoto looks at her, Yumi blinks back guilelessly, pink eyes more than a little blank. "Yeah, we're doing--"

"Oh!" Yumi accepts the charm with both hands, "Thank you--I could totally use some good luck with exams..."

Yumi turns, looks between Mikoto and Signum again, and sees over...

"Hmm, maybe I should see if she's..." She glances one more time to Signum. "Ah, you two... Is something...?"

Blink blink. Aaaand suddenly she slips away towards her cat.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Tama raises a paw to scratch behind an ear. The sneezing fit seems to have stopped, so now it is time to be dignified beyond belief and pretend that nothing happened.

Grandpa smiles at Signum's question. "People give them as gifts, but to get the full strength, you should bring your special someone here so they can receive a blessing straight from the shrine!"

Truly the answer of a promoter.

<Pose Tracker> Vita Yagami [None] has posed.

Vita glances back toward Signum, as she hears Mikoto hiss. A brief bit of alarm. But...Signum's got it. Of course she's got it. Why wouldn't she got it.

Rreally the worst-case scenario here is Mikoto picks a fight with the one Wolkenritter who actually knows how swords work and Vita is amply proud of her family to believe that that would be laughably one-sided, completely in defiance of any reality that may or may not exist, and hold up she used a word there.

She finds herself stopping short of joining Steven, looking back over at that silly thumbs-up with a smaller smile stealing across her face. Right up until she's robbed! Wait, no, anti-robbed!? Is that...do people do that on Earth!? She looks at the charm stuffed in her pocket, and then over to the excitable old man, and finds herself grinning wide and giggling. "Yeah. I guess so!" she says, and scampers over to Steven. "Vita!" she says, and she can feel her lips split cheek-to-cheek. "My name's Vita Yagami!"

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

"Understood," Signum says.

Signum will remember that and also probably make a donation.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Signum assures Mikoto, and her eyes narrow in suspicion. Get away from Yumi, she wants to snap. We don't trust you.

Except - Yumi doesn't seem mistrusting. She just seems confused.

Perhaps it is familiar, to Signum, the way those golden eyes look to someone else for guidance. The little frown of confusion as their reactions don't line up.

And then she's interrupted by a charm. Mikoto blinks, shifting her grip on the lawn blower to take it in a hand. "Thanks," she says, and her tone is distracted. Midterms..? Oh, right. School. That's happening. That never stopped being a thing or anything.

Mai will be mad if she gets low marks again...

She's distracted by her thoughts as Yumi asks her question, and Mikoto looks up, opens her mouth to reply -

- except the only thing there is a little blinking silhouette where Yumi used to be, between Mikoto and Signum.

Mikoto hums uncertain frustration through closed lips as she turns her gaze to Signum again.

Grandpa Hino interrupts. Mikoto blinks, looking down at the charm, as her thoughts turn to Mai again for no reason whatsoever.

"... probably doesn't have time," she mumbles, to herself, and they're softer words, untouched by hostility.

Shaking her head, she looks to Signum again. "S-- Yagami. Said to secure this. How?" Her tone is guarded, but she is, at least, making an effort.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Steven takes a momentary break long enough to receive his gift. A charm! "Oh wow! Thank you!" the boy says with heartfelt thanks. It is immediately placed somewheres safe. "Tests can be hard. It will certainly help I am sure!" Was it actually good fortune? No idea. But it was a wonderful gesture, and will certainly have it close on hand for when the time comes!

Better safe than sorry!

The Gem Child looks ot Signum and sees that thumbs up, and offers his own!

"Nice to meet you, Vita!" Steven says, offering a bow and a smile! "I'm Steven Universe!" A look toward the job at hand. "Let's show the flowers who's the boss!"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

It wasn't the wisest decision to run away from the matter at hand. But Yumi knows how to deal with sudden awkwardness, and that's that...!

But when she reaches Tama and Tama is acting like nothing happened, Yumi pauses, lifts a hand as if to say something, and then sighs. "I bet you did that on purpose," she grumps, though risks grumps in return later.

...So she just starts to come back, beelining for her stuff to carefully put the charm in. "Ah, well."

She'll get back to work once it's away. Maybe try flowers the time... And as she thinks about it she glances over to Mikoto and tilts her head. Hmm. "...You're doing great!" she calls to her friend as she scurries back over.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Majestia is starting to take real shape -- her sides are becoming firm. She isn't quite leaving the ground but she is getting very close. In the meantime it is possible to appreciate what the final float will look like: massive, flowery, and heroic.

What could be better?

<Pose Tracker> Signum Yagami [None] has posed.

"Ah - of course, Minagi," Signum says. "Here - you pull more of the material down... so that you can set a hand's length beneath the weight of the machine..."

It really is going to be a big deal, is'nt it?

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Even as diligent a student as Fuu tries to be, she's not so confident that she's going to turn down the help of the gods or spirits. So one of Hino-san's charms is accepted with a heartfelt, "Thank you very much!" before she carefully tucks it away, ideally in an inside pocket of her jacket or something. Somewhere it won't fall out or get lost.

But she doesn't have a great deal of time to focus on that, because the balloon is inflating further - and she knows that if Majestia actually gets off the ground, anyone still *on* the balloon at that point is going to be in some degree of danger. She gets back to work on the flowers, adding a, "It's a great pleasure to meet you, Vita-san!" as she overhears the young redhead introducing herself to Steven. "I'm Fuu Hououji, an Infinity high school student. It's definitely good to have your help with a project of this magnitude ..."