2018-09-26 - Love Love Me Two!

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Love Love Me Two

Test Your Love! has its second round of preliminaries.


Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, Lera Camry, Yumi Ohzora, Setsuna Meioh, Kasagami Araki, Kozue Kaoru, Sayaka Miki, Steven Universe, Mikoto Minagi


Yotsuba Park, Clover Town Street

OOC - IC Date:

09-26-2018 -

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Winner https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S623yzR6SY

The Test Your Love competition has been promoted via flyer, newspaper advert, and the occasional late-night local access TV spot. Cash prizes! Sushi prizes! All you have to do is prove your devotion to your partner through a series of probably wacky on-stage events in front of a vast crowd who will crown their favorite through acclamation!

This is the second preliminary -- the first competition saw Nanoha Takamachi and Fate Testarossa as the winners and Lera Camry and Setsuna Higashi as the runners-up, both of whom will eventually advance to the finals. (It's like Ninja Warrior, but for love!!)

And now it's about to start. Yotsuba Park has a built-in amphitheatre made of concrete, and the rising seats are packed with locals and other fans, plus some standing room only right in front of the stage. Many of them are munching on donuts with heart-shaped holes (the line at the food truck is long, and its fabulous scent drifts through the park like one long love letter to carbohydrates), and quite a few folks are admiring their shiny new smartwatches, which are being tossed into the crowd from the stage by Yui Bidou of the Infinity Institute Computer Club. They are covered in cute little hearts.

Big old speakers have been erected, blaring upbeat catchy music that finally crescendos into a drumroll...

...as today's Master of Ceremonies trots onto the stage. Resplendent in a tuxedo yet in no way overdressed, he exudes luxury... and weirdness, because on top of THAT he's wearing a white lab coat. His glasses tend to reflect the stage lighting, but in moments of clarity, one lens is clear and the other is filled with some sort of high-tech equipment.

"AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" he cackles, eagerly, exuberantly. "WELCOME! To the second prelim of the First Annual Test Your Love competition! Today we'll be finding out which lucky couple has the purest of pure hearts... so that they'll achieve their ultimate reward!"

His enthusiasm is infectious; the crowd starts cheering wildly.

"Would today's contestants please come up on stage, and, a pair at a time, each couple... introduce your partner with a poem declaiming their virtues... in the form of haiku! That's five syllables, seven, and five at the end, and if you break the format... you'll get what's coming to you!!"

There aren't any raw fish to be seen, this time. It is unclear, in fact, what the penalty will be, but he has a beautiful assistant named Yumi Ohzora standing by a pull rope that disappears up into the (temporarily erected) tent-like stage set.

"Ahahahaha... ahahaha... AHAHAHAHA!"

OOC: Please work with your partner to pose in consecutively (eg, don't go until you're both ready), and after a pair has posed,
please hold on a moment as I'll be interjecting with Your Host. IC audience members are welcome to pose as often as they like, of

OOC: Yes, you can use more than one haiku to describe your partner if you can't fit your intro into seventeen syllables. You can
use as many as you want, but if you start to bore Your Host you may wind up getting cut off and paying the penalty anyway...
(recommended: 1-2 haiku)

COIN FLIP: Yumi Ohzora flips a coin. It lands on heads!
<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Ren is nervous. How couldn't she be? Why did she agree to this again? She's standing off stage, looking around and biting her bottom lip. She catches Endo's gaze a couple of times and puts on a smile, seeming to be mostly at ease before the nervousness creeps in again upon looking away from him. But this was supposed to be fun. And a nice way to show their love for one another, apparently. Ren isn't entirely sure she needs to prove her love for Endo in front of a live studio audience but-

"Ahhh!" Ren jumps as the festivities begin, the boisterous announcer's voice cutting through her inner thoughts. She takes a deep breath and steadies herself. This is it! Showtime! Putting on a bright smile she hurries up onto the stage along with Endo and everyone else participating when called, managing to not trip over her own too feet thankfully enough. Her eyes however go wide when the haiku stipulation is made.

"H-huh? No one said anything about that...!" She feels like she should be running around the stage flailing her arms but resists the urge. Instead she steadies herself again, takes a moment to think, and then...

"Endo is so great! Kind, helpful, considerate! And... he likes to eat!"

There's silence on her end, as she sloooowly looks over to Endo, smiling and squeezing his hand, perhaps a little too tightly.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo, this time, is not stuck with the fish. He's got Ren to accompany him, and has dressed accordingly to escort his girlfriend to the show. He looks a little more formal than usual, casual clothing swapped out for a pale purple button-up shirt and dark slacks. There's even a tie too.

"It was like this last time too." He explains, as he leads Ren up toward the stage. They go hand-in-hand, the boy smilingly brightly at his date. "We'll definitely win though." There's a bit of nervousness in his motions, but having Ren nearby seems to help reassure him as they make their way toward their place.

He seems a bit surprised by the request for a poem, eyes darting over to Ren, lips pressing into a thoughtful line. A moment, and he begins:

"Beautiful and smart," Endo begins, turning to face both the host and crowd.

"I can always count on her," He continues, and the hand not in Ren's is visibly ticking down syllables as he introduces his partner.

"Ren Aizawawa."

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

"Welcome, welcome, Endo-kun and Aizawawa-chan!" beams the host, joining the crowd in friendly applause as the first couple takes center stage. "Isn't she cute? And he counts so well!"

He puts a finger to his ear as though listening to a headset, and corrects himself: "And he cleans up so well!"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Lera Camry participated in the previous contest. She isn't so rude that she would crash this one!

She watches from the audience, clapping her hands eagerly as the two make their haikus. She looks a little emotional, even; her eyes have a couple of tears in the corners, before she nods. Then she stands up, cupping her hands around her mouth, and calls out, loudly:


Lera is also, it happens, wearing a T-shirt. It is a plain white tee, except that it has nothing to do with Delilah or that song, and has english letters that proclaim, proudly: RENDO IS BESTO.

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

Yumi Ohzora's glasses glint briefly--...where they're stowed on a shelf backstage, because 'you look so much better when we can see your eyes!' and that's just that. The 'beautiful assistant' stands in a snazzy pink dress appropriate for the contest, snazzy and shiny, with pale arms bared and posture shifted to account for fabulous heels. No, her eyes are quite uncovered and she's doing her best not to squint at all the beautiful shapes around her; indeed, as the penalty is mentioned--

Yumi blinks and then suddenly shifts to show both (perfectly manicured) hands towards the rope. And then, as the host cackles madly, Yumi pauses for a few moments and then joins in. "Ahahah... Ahahahah!"

She's trying, okay?? She's doing her best over here.

She especially says nothing at... the poetry. Aizawa... wa. And--

Counts... well. Yumi laughs awkwardly along and looks in the general vague direction of the stage. It's fine. It's super fine. 'Beautiful assistant', right? There are much worse job titles.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

On their way up to the stage, Kasagami's better-rested date smiles and scoops up one of those nervous gloved hands in both of her own. "You are so very lovely today, Kasa-chan," she murmurs. "My problem will be paying attention to the announcer over you, how could anyone?"

Ren Aizawa and Endo Naoki take the first turn and it's impossible not to feel a rush of shared warmth at their clear and adorable adoration. Not to mention Endo's syllable play...

And there is that competitive spirit of Kasagami's, raising her own with it. She squeezes and then releases with one hand, to link fingers with her girlfriend as they go.

Setsuna Meioh, Infinity University student and sometime model, takes the stage in skinny jeans on slender legs and a floral coat rendered in delicate colors, such that from afar it takes on an abstract watercolor mystery. Heels in a deep purple-red and a silk cami in dove grey complete her outfit. She offers Yumi a small smile and feels, a bit, like she's back on the catwalk for Tsuru with her friend working backstage.

Despite her confession to Kasagami, it turns out that the Master of Ceremonies is roundly unignorable -- he's quite the character. Setsuna glances back to Yumi with curiosity... what is her task, exactly?

But they have a task, as well, and Setsuna turns to face Kasagami upon the stage. She stands tall and serene, and it is clear the crowd hardly exists to her. Saying nothing, she studies the proud beauty of the swordswoman before her.

She closes her eyes. The quiet extends; it stretches, touches on awkwardness before she opens them again, and recites to Kasagami in a low, smooth voice that carries:

My first winter, my

first love; we were a pair of

red flowers in snow.

Fireworks and laughter,

burning color in cold night:

my Kasagami.

Setsuna smiles again.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kasagami Araki, Kendo Captain of Ohtori, has awaited this day. More than a few hours last night were poured into watching footage of previous year's competition, planning, and way too much overthinking on outfits to match with a certain Senshi's. Eventually passing out on the couch at Meioh Tower, two notebooks filled with detailed Love Battle strategies, and a certain fluffy kitten atop her head, she nevertheless approaches the event nervously and eagerly with the subject of her affections.

She's dressed in a dark red blouse, a light jacket over it this time. A black hat adorns her head, a rose emblazoned on it. A black belt about her waist, large and showy, filters down to a piece of apparel that few have seen her in.

Kasagami Araki is wearing a skirt, down to the ankles, but a skirt nonetheless. Alternating blacks and reds with white trim, every now and then she straightens it or tugs on her gloves nervously.

"Are you sure I look okay, Setsu-chan?" She adjusts her hat to a slightly jauntier angle. Kassie has a smile on her face, and she takes a breath.

"We can do this. We are going to win, and the entirety of Tokyo is going to know our brilliant, burning attraction and care!" She says, not for the first time, as if to psyche her girlfriend up. Not that she is trying to settle into confidence, with the idea of thousands of eyes seeing her in something feminine. Kassie, again, tugs her gloves.

But then the man they've all been waiting for appears, and Kasagami nods to her girlfriend with finality. She can't help but grin a little. The man is...interesting. That laugh especially. Mentally, she takes down a few notes.

With a wink to the well dressed Yumi up on stage, and Setsuna's hand taking hers, that squeeze has her worries melting away and that fire growing in her. Especially as Endo and Ren go!

"Looks like we have competition! Lucky for me I have your beauty beside me, otherwise I fear I'd wilt against a display like that!"

As her turn comes, Kassie gets to one knee and ignores the cameras, the audience, even the eccentric host. Her gaze is intense, her voice clear, and sincere as she speaks. There's none of the usual boisterousness in her tone. She opens her arms lightly, palms up, indicating her love dramatically.

"Setsuna Meioh"

"My guiding star in the dark"

"Wise, loving, brilliant." Kasagami pauses, sighs, and takes a moment to simply admire her lover before turning to the audience and motioning with a hand as if wiping a tear away as she turns that warm look upon those watching.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The host gestures grandly to Kasagami and Setsuna. "It's pretty hard to make a good portmanteau out of these two... Setsunaraki? Kasagameioh? Let's give 'em a big round of applause anyway, folks!" And he pounds his palms together until it kinda looks like it hurts.

Then he stops.

"But-- wait a minute-- 'fireworks and laughter...'"

His lips shape the syllables carefully.

"'Wise, loving, brilliant...'"

He gestures dramatically towards Yumi.


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

Yumi's smile is for the entire audience...!

Yumi's response to Setsuna's curiousity is nothing at all; apparently her poker face is good, her will to be a good assistant strong--or maybe it's just the fact that her friends are a very fashionable pair of blobs. Regardless, they get up there, they give their poetry after Endo and Ren--

Yumi recognizes the voices, but she can also count... Syllables. "Kasagameioh is pretty good," she murmurs to herself, and then--


With a helpless shrug, and definitely not an obvious grin, Yumi tugs on the rope with both hands, hard. The whole thing wobbles, and there is a brief second--

Before an absolute deluge of pink glitter pours down onto the two, shining and glorious. ...Whatever the amount of glitter someone expected, it's much, much more than that. There is so, so much glitter here, it's--it's everywhere. It shimmers and sparkles all around.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

"AHAHAHAHAHA! You were lucky to be FIRST! Look forward to the penalties getting WORSE... hey, I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!"

The host scratches his chin pensively.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Setsuna is in the midst a very sentimental-looking expression, all sorrowful-eyes-gone-soft and wondering smile, at how Kasagami makes an adoring poem of her -- quite the pretty moment -- when the MC declares his syllabic judgement. The tall university student can be seen to mouth 'fireworks' and 'brilliant' a few times, with a befuddled look at Kasagami, before PINK takes over EVERYWHERE and Yumi's task comes clear. A very sparkly, very pink Setsuna blinks at her girlfriend and then smiles and shrugs. Worth it!

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kasagami stays knelt for a moment, smiling, still looking at her love. There's an actual tear in her eye from the haiku she's been gifted with. She stares at Setsuna, as if engraving both the sight of her on stage and those words in her mind and heart.

"...Rope? What?" Someone was distracted.


Kassie goes from adoration of her love to a look to the host, and to a certain traitorous Witch of the Ivy! There's such a glare. SUCH a glare Yumi!

"M...my glorious color scheme! WHY PINK!? You're both evil!" Kassie spouts as she desperately brushes at hair, clothes, everything! There is way, way too much glitter. Kasagami looks horrified as she pinkly sparkles for all to see! She does take a moment to squeeze her love's hand though. 'Accidentally'. Grin.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Glamazon - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujkW_0pCyjw

Aohime's eyes slice over the Master of ceremonies from her angle of entry, before her eyes slide over to the girl with her. "I think we'd get a better view from up on stage don't you think?" It feels spontaneous and manipulative all at once. Like she planned this and did it on impulse.

And it's so hard to back down and force her to go up on that stage alone given her past history - isn't it?

Holding out her fingertips, she lets the other girl take her hand, before sliding her arm under hers. Kozue's top cuts a blue satin diagonal from right shoulder to left across the top of her bust - a layer of lace preventing it from seeming like there's any empty space. The lace caresses her otherwise bare mid-riff before becoming an asymmetric mini-skirt that highlights that left thigh more than the right.

Her infamous scarf is wrapped across her neck with this carefree chaotic appearance, yet still wrapped tightly enough that one can see the base of the hollow in her neck. A pair of dark corset heels adorn her feet, tapping with every step as she's escorted up past the settling deluge of pink glitter. She steps like a model being escorted down the runway, her makeup dazzling in the lighting from her smoky eyes to the subtle gradient of color in her lips.

Once at center stage, she speaks first as part of her wicked designs...

An eternity,

Found lip-locked upon drenched lawn.

Her eyes settle upon Sayaka Miki, the look in her eyes hazy, suggestive.

Nearly did her in.

And as if to prove it, the girl shifts her weight up to her toes as she rises up to find the other girls lips. The kiss is decidedly neat - tidy, as she rests her lips onto the other girls. Holding it for an almost profanely long count of three, before allowing gravity to bring her weight back to the ground and breaking their contact.

Who needs a name when that will serve for her introduction of her?

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

They were just supposed to watch!

But maybe Sayaka had seemed too glum, whenever she had a moment to herself, or maybe Kozue was naturally that mischievous. Before they were dating, Sayaka was one of the few people who seemed able to tell Kozue Kaoru 'no,' but going out with her has complicated things. Kozue would see it as simplifying.

Sayaka's lucky Kozue's upgraded her wardrobe with so much Aohime. Most of what she's wearing is from this season: a short sleeved collared shirt in light denim, a black and white ringer, and a few assorted leather bracelets on one wrist. Black skinny jeans and Converses narrow her already lanky lower body. She's accessorizing with her usual yellow hairclips and pink blush. No, not makeup.

All in all, it's not a bad outfit, but Sayaka gives Kozue a dirty look as they go on stage, because it's pretty obvious that KOZUE knew beforehand. On the way up the stairs, Sayaka glances at a piece of shiny metal that's part of the decoration, and wets the tips of her fingers to make a last-minute go at her hair. Hand in hand with Kozue, Sayaka feels her heart thrumming like a baby bluebird. This is by far the most public her relationship with Kozue (a girl!) has been. And though Sayaka as a matter of principle has offered to tell her parents, it doesn't mean she wasn't relieved when Kozue turned her down on that one. She hopes they aren't watching TV.

"H-hai," Sayaka starts, as if in affirmation, but after a beat she finishes, worried, "...ku." She bends down to her shorter girlfriend's ear. "We're just gonna get through this, right? We're not trying to win?"

Ren and Endo help calm her down--apparently it's okay to just be cute. Good! But then Kasagami and her willowy, exotic-looking girlfriend Setsuna Meioh get all intense with theirs. Does Pluto know about this? Kasagami falls even lower in Sayaka's estimation... a tiny competitive flame lights in her heart, despite what she just asked Kozue. Not enough to overcome her nerves yet.

Sayaka was so busy trying to think up a poem that it hadn't occurred to her until the last second that she'd get to hear Kozue tell her a love poem. Kozue's qualifications as a girlfriend aren't in question, but gestures of unironic romance are rare for her. Heart in her throat, she watches Kozue recite her short recollection of their meeting. She's already feeling happily faint even before she gets smooched.

Onstage. In front of everyone. She squinches her eyes tight.

Blazing red now, Sayaka wobbles a little after she's released. Kozue never likes things to be too easy for Sayaka. Swallowing, Sayaka closes her eyes and tries to get back to the feeling she had when listening to Kozue's poem. It's not hard; even a kiss can't shatter something like that from her mind. Taking a deep breath, she begins with her 'kigo'--her season word--so she doesn't end up running out of space for it later.

When winter was blue

When the window seemed so far...

One of Sayaka's hands clenches and unclenches at her side, her mouth feeling dry. Nothing else is coming out, until she gets so anxious that she lets out:

Please love, love me do.

Ah! That's not even Japanese!

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The Test Your Love band, which is under the stage, is apparently on point today, because they launch straight into it:


(Not shown: Eudial on lead guitar, Tellu on rhythm guitar, Mimete somewhat sulkily on bass and Viluy, who is done passing out fitbits, on drums)

"WELL now," gulps the host, his adam's apple bobbing dramatically in his throat, "If you ladies start off like that, you'll have nowhere left to go! There are children watching. Let's give 'em a round, though, folks, we've got some real passion in the mix tonight!"

The applause is like a wall of noise, especially after he gestures all contestants back up to the front of the stage... then walks between them, separating hands held with little mock karate chops and positioning Setsuna, Endo and Sayaka downstage.

Kasagami, Ren and Kozue are promptly separated from their partners (though not from each other), upstage, by a descending curtain.

"If the lovely ladies behind the curtains would please mix themselves up and remove any telltale jewelry, roll up any long sleeves... you'll be putting your hand through a hole in the curtain, and your partners are going to find out whether or not they know you so well that they know you... by the back of YOUR hand! Setsuna-san, Endo-kun, Sayaka-chan," he's basically addressing them in order of outwardly apparent embarrassment here, when it comes to suffixes, "If you would please look this way! And we'll have... Endo go first."

The band plays on as the ladies behind the curtain get in position. There are, indeed, holes sewn in the curtain for this exact purpose.

OOC: I need reasonable-length 'hand' poses from Kasagami, Ren and Kozue, paged to me ASAP! I will be mixing them up, posing them
all together, and letting the partners figure out the mystery~

OOC: Other poses from all contestants (and audience members) are also welcome!

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

There is a flicker of dark eyelids as Kozue Kaoru takes the stage with her matching girlfriend, but only a flicker. Setsuna watches their turn with her thumb rubbing the back of Kasagami's wrist above the glove. She applauds after, and the action throws little clouds of pink into the air, because she is an honest person and... they were applause-worthy.

"I wonder what the next challenge will be," Setsuna comments to Kassie just in time to find out, and she doesn't get to recapture her girlfriend's hand -- at least not yet. Instead she waves a brief goodbye and gives Endo and Sayaka each a competitor's nod of greeting.

More glitter drifts from her bangs to the stage as she does so, a veil of sparkly gameshow shame.

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

The traitorous Witch is laughing as she sees the glitter fall down. Laughing? ...Maybe it's cackling. Okay it's definitely cackling for a minute there, though Yumi lets go the rope in short order and straightens her shoulders. "Pink's a great color!" Yumi offers as the assistant.

But she shows more red than pink as this particular introduction goes on, glancing to the side and imagining the audience can't see her any more than she can see them. (They totally can.)

Yumi at least refrains from runing her makeup by covering her face with a hand. She just straightens a little and, after briefly recalling Kozue from work, she cheerfully waits for the next challenge--already there's moving around, which means... more of a chance to do her job!?

Yumi stays by the rope. She waits.

...Maybe it's not such a bad thing to get roped into this.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo gives a reassuring smile to Ren after the first ordeal, seeming pleased with her performance. Even the last part, which he seems to take no issue with. He's also visibly surprised and relieved that he didn't get the glitter shower that Kasagami and Setsuna did. There's a short wince, though he can't help but grin a bit. Kozue and Sayaka's entrance gets a muted 'aaah' of shock and appreciation.

He gives Ren's hand one final squeeze, letting it fall when motion is made to do so. And when she's led away he waves, turning his attention toward the other contestants. A brief nod is made to Setsuna, a more familiar smile for Sayaka, and then the next segment is introduced.

"Aaah...really?" He examines his own hand speculatively.

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

Steven Universe has been here this whole time. Shoveling popcorn in his face, laughing all the way. "Yoooooo this is great! Ahahah!"

He totally wish he and Connie would have gotten to be on the show, but she might not have gone for it, despite them being best Jam Buds. Perhaps being on television is a bit too much?!

The boy is practically bouncing in his seat at this showing of Love-Love! I mean, it is at least two times better than normal Love! Right? Is that how it works?

An odd contest for sure, but if people hold hands they GOTTA know their other half's hand, right?! "Pick right! You can do it!" he calls. Funny how he knows most up on stage. Shows he knows how to pick a good crowd to hang out with!

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Despite herself, and her recent pink'ening, Kassie can't help but admire Sayaka and Kozue. She finds herself clapping, only to cough as the glitter gets in the way. Frown. She throws away her very, very shiney gloves. There, slightly better!

Completely ignoring any evil, laughing witches aside from a 'discrete' tongue stuck out her way, Kassie finds herself being cut off from a very, very pink Setsuna by a curtain. A minor dust storm of glitter is kicked up. Siiiigh.

Ushered towards the next challenge, Kassie looks down at herself. After disposing of as much glitter as she can, she rolls up a sleeve, and puts her non-scarred hand through the hole. The young woman isn't here to cheat, it's all about the spirit of competition!

Kozue, meanwhile, gets a fierce look! "...Not bad." She admits, even as her distaste for the expellee is writ plain on her face.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Ren's face goes beet red, blushing at the responses to their mutual haikus. Her eyes are also starting to tear up a bit as she keeps her gaze trained on her adorable boyfriend. "Endo... That was amazing...!" Much better than hers, if she had to be honest. She didn't know Endo was so good at haikus! Her grip on his hand lessens somewhat, but still remains tight, yet more comfortably so than before.

The familiar sound of Lera's cheering voice earns her a look from Ren, who smiles brightly and waves with her free hand. "Lera-chaaaaan! Thanks for coming!" She's starting to feel better about this now. Maybe they could win this? She ducks her head down, wiping at her eyes a bit. Alright! Her fight face is on when she looks up again. Uh oh! She means business! Endo is likely familiar with this face, having played video games with her before. Ren looks over at Setsuna and Kasagami, then Kozue and Sayaka ? their opponents for the duration of this gameshow. Right. They had to be defeated...

There's a haiku mixup it seems from the former pair, and Ren watches with held breath as... pink glitter falls upon them! Lots of pink glitter. Ren blinks, wondering what else the host and his assistant had in store for penalties...

And the game continues on! Ren listens intently to the host's words, looking a bit taken aback when he comes over to separate all the couples. She thinks the curtain is a bit much, but continues to go along with it all. "Just my hand?" Could Endo really pick out her hand from the others? How often did couples study one another's hands? She sighs, and complies, sticking her hand on through once any sort of overly identifying items are removed. She looks to Kozue and Kasagami, smiling good-naturedly. "This is pretty silly..."5r

Oh the things the youths of today do in the name of love...

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

A thumb rests upon the other girl's arm as she finishes her haiku, her eyes soft for split second. "That would be so greedy of you if you were." Kozue finally whispers her answer to the earlier question with a coy shifting of responsibility from 'we' to 'her', "After all - haven't you already hit the jackpot?"

It is her response to the haiku as well. After all - she knows what it was referencing.

Over the band, Kozue gives the host a smile and asks the host, "What's your point?" Her ambivalence to the idea of children watching is indecent in and of itself.

As the curtain starts to drop amidst the applause, she gives that arm one last squeeze before stepping back behind where the division is descending as Kasagami says 'not bad'. Her eyes flash, and she smiles darkly, "Oh? Such a shame about the first round - but look on the bright side-" She speaks to what seems like noone in particular.

-her eyes only cutting over Setsuna Meioh with a sort of bratty mirth in her tone- "-now the two of you actually have something in common." -before vanishing entirely behind the curtain with Kasagami.

Kozue takes some time to prepare, before sliding her hand out the hole - giving Ren a look with a smile and an upraised eyebrow - but not speaking as if she didn't want to give it away.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

"Now, let's send our other contestants into ISOLATION!"

By which apparently he means white noise headphones that have opaque swirly glasses with plastic moustache noses on them, promptly offered to Sayaka and Setsuna by Yumi on a bright red velvet pillow. The show will not go on until they have been donned.

And then:

"All right... Endo-kun, step right up and claim your future bride!"

There's a buzz in his earpiece about age-appropriateness.

"...step right up and find your girlfriend! Ahahahaha! And once you know which one is the one... why don't you let her know you're there with a little kiss?"

It's hard to waggle your eyebrows suggestively behind bottle-thick glasses that huge and that thick, but the host manages.

"With stakes like that, we hardly need a penalty for an incorrect guess..."

There are more holes than pairings, for whatever reason.

The first hand is a bear paw, like the sort that's part of a big mascot costume. Its finger-claws twitch when approached.

The second hand is fairly standard looking for a hand. The nails, though, stand out as they are a bit half-bitten and chipped in places, though there seems to have been attempts to 'touch them up' somewhat. The skin is pale and unblemished. And young looking. And definitely feminine.

The third hand stretches out palm up as if reaching to hold another. The nail polish shadowed by the dip of the fingers, though each nail is trimmed short. The only signs of calluses are on the side of a thumb and subtly across the tips of the other each fingers.

The hand that slips through the fourth hole has somewhat long fingers. Unpainted fingernails are cut short, the hand itself showing minor cuts and callouses, signs of activity and use. Yet the skin soft enough that it's obvious the owner uses moisturizer.

The fifth hand is wearing the kind of heavy rubber glove you might find in a laboratory.


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

"Spring is in the air," Chie spreads her hands. "The flowers are in full bloom, and us girls can't let them steal all the spotlight!"

"Who's everyone looking at?" Aoi asks, with a broad grin.

"Oh, well, Utena Tenjou's obviously a big contender. You'd be surprised how many girls are into the prodigious mystery Miki Kaoru offers. For fame, you can't beat Nori Ankou. For maturity and grace, Shizuru Fujino comes out on top. And, of course, there's Touga Kiryuu," Chie finishes, gesturing dismissively as if to say 'well, obviously everyone knows Touga'.

"So many girls!" Aoi exclaims.

"The admiration girls hold for each other can't be beat!" Chie retorts, grinning, a hand on a hip.

And here there is a grumbling noise, as the tiny figure walking beside them frowns. "How's it different?" Mikoto asks, trying to puzzle it out.

"Oh - well -" Chie starts, her bluster interrupted by ignorance, "no one really talks about it, but..."

"You know," Aoi waves a hand, as if trying to subtly suggest the answer. "Sometimes it works out! Right?"

Mikoto frowns. "Don't know. Doesn't seem different. Love is love." Of course, by now, Mai's compatriots know that Mikoto is conflating more than just attraction between girls. She's never been very good at figuring out romance.

"There are different types of love, Mikoto-chan," Chie points out. "You love Nao-chan, and you love Mai-chan's food, but they're not the same sort of thing, right?" Mikoto pauses to think about it as the two older girls share a hapless look over her head. Tick tick tick go the seconds, and finally Chie sighs, pressing fingers to temple. "Okay, I know how we can solve this problem. You wanna go on a trip, Mikoto-chan?"

"Okay!" Mikoto chirps.


"The Test Your Love competition!" Chie announces grandly, as they find their seats. "You'll see all sorts of couples here! It's very romantic!"

'AHAHAHAHAHA!' cackles the host, and Mikoto tilts her head. She leans over to Aoi to ask: "That's romantic?"

"I-I don't think that's the point of his character..." Aoi pauses, uncertain.

Chie woops with the crowd, and the other girls join in, three voices lost in the din, even as Mikoto calls out in excitement for Yumi's presence. Her own cheering fades when a certain someone strides onto the stage, replaced by a scowl. A corner of her lip scrunches up as the stranger with him has such normal things to say about him.

He can do poetry, too. That's just unfair. That is another point in the grand total of his unfairness.

Aoi frowns as she glances over. "Mikoto-chan, are you okay?"

Mikoto blinks. "Yeah," she replies, trying to shake off her dark expression so they won't ask.

It's easier when Kasagami and Setsuna take the stage. Once again, her cheering joins the crowd. And they have the best poems! But then, disaster strikes. That host cruelly makes Yumi do something awful to her friends! Which is to say: they get covered in glitter.

Mikoto puffs her cheeks up, humming angrily. "That's not fair!"

"It's just part of the game, Mikoto-chan," Chie pats a hand on her shoulder, reassuringly.

"Gets everywhere," Mikoto grumbles, "tastes awful." She's landed in enough craft projects to have a healthy wariness of glitter.

"You're not supposed to eat it, Mikoto-chan," Aoi can't help but laugh.

"Never tried to, happens anyway!" Mikoto says.

And then there's the last pairing, and that, if anything, only brings back her frown in full force. Of course it would -- when it was Kozue's own education which led Mikoto to know that attraction between girls was nothing unusual. Here she is, a standing, stark reminder.

A reminder which leans up and -

"Now that's romance," Chie asides with a sly grin.

"Chie-chan!" Aoi exclaims, blushing.

Mikoto is not blushing, but her frown has turned a little more thoughtful. She shakes it off a moment later. She can't humanise them. She certainly can't trust anything she sees from them.

At least Kasagami and Setsuna don't seem too hurt by being unfairly picked on, even though their poems were clearly the best.

"Geez, Mikoto-chan," Chie glances over, a light frown of concern crossing her own face. "What's with that intense look..? Oh. Oh, Mikoto-chan." Her face lights up. "Are you taking notes?!"

"Huh?" Mikoto frowns, broken from her glaring spell to look up at Chie.

"Who's the lucky guy?" Aoi asks, clasping her hands together. "Come on! Tell us!"

Mikoto frowns, with a confused noise.

"Well, don't worry, Mikoto-chan! I'm sure if you put your mind to it, you'll be able to find any guy you're looking for!" Chie says, with a fierce thumbs-up.

"Oh!" Mikoto's own face lights with recognition as she realises what Chie is obviously talking about. It's a weird thing to bring up here, but there's no other reason they'd be talking about boys to Mikoto, is there? "Chie's right!" With that, she stands, with a firm nod. "Yup!"

"Eh?" Chie blinks, adjusting her glasses. "Mikoto-chan, the competition's not over yet..."

"I'm putting my mind to it!" Mikoto chirps, before she springs over Aoi and into the pew, striding out of the amphitheatre.

That's right! The only different love she has is the love she has for her Lord Brother! That's why he comes first! Forget romance - that's way too complicated for someone like her!

Chie and Aoi are such good friends to remind her of that.

(They look to each other, frowning their confusion, before Chie finally shrugs. "Wanna see who messes up next?" She asks, sly. "You know it!" Aoi grins in reply. They keep up a running commentary on proceedings for the remainder of the event. They're really quite good at it.)

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

"Ah, well, okay. That's a little much though, don't you think?" Endo pauses briefly, when his task is explained. Also when more hands appear than there are people.

"I really have to kiss it?" His face creases into a thoughtful frown as the boy proceeds forward. He shuffles over to the row of hands, bending to inspect each, almost stretching a finger out to start poking before he stops himself.

"Iactually don't know if Ren-chan likes bears." He confides. "But-I have a feeling!" And, with that, he scrunches up his face and gives the back of the bear paw a quick, cautious peck.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

"The man has made his choice!" The host ushers Endo back to the side of the stage, whips the fake glasses off of Setsuna, and gestures towards the curtain full of hands.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Setsuna Meioh is now onstage boasting a head-to-toe spangling of pink sparkles and a big honking plastic nose, as well as very, very straight spine. She stands unmoving and thinks, suddenly, 'I hope Haruka and Michiru aren't watching this...' and then, 'I know Kasagami's hands by how they feel in my own,' but considers that such an investigation might have her fondling the fingers of Kozue Kaoru and decides then and there that she will do this by sight alone, no matter the handicap.

It's her turn.

She tries not to seem too grateful to be free of the Groucho look and strides over to the hands. Like the frequenter of school science labs she is, she bends close and examines each of the five, from bear paw to rubber glove and all that's between.

A very un-Setsuna-like nervousness pauses her, but... she dips to the fourth hand with those scuffs and care and presses her lips to the back with what looks like confidence, and then walks away with her heart pounding just a little.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

"And now for our final contestant!" crows the host, freeing Sayaka of her prison of indignity (or at least the walls of it that he imposed).

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Sayaka withdraws a knee up towards her stomach defensively, as The Beatles respond to her invocation like four bowl-cut Bloody Marys. "S-so fast," she comments.

This competition's stakes are really raising. Sayaka can't imagine not being able to identify Kozue's hand, but she feels a bit nervous anyway. What if Ren's is more like it than expected? What if Kasagami's looks like Kozue's in the light and then... ugh! Sayaka tries not to even imagine it, as she sits there with weird glasses on and a smart new moustache.

When she's liberated to give her guess, Sayaka hesitates a moment before approaching the wall. "Aren't there too many of them?" she mutters, suspecting some sort of treachery. She actually stares at the bear paw for a few seconds, because while it would be very uncharacteristic of Kozue to be that cute, it would be totally predictable for her to be that mean.

Doubting herself, she glances over the others, one by one... but in the end she feels a warm sense of assurance that washes away her anxiety. Clearing her throat, she looks down at the palm-up hand in the middle, and cups it from below with her own palm. How is she supposed to do this? Everybody's watching. Selfconsciously, she bends the knee to (what really seriously better be) her lady, and presses a firm kiss to the center of her palm.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The holes in the curtain have a vertical slit, also, so it's possible for hands to be held -- or kissed -- at the same time as the curtain is coming up. And, in fact, it comes up in sections.

First, the ignored laboratory glove is revealed to be attached to a man in a lab coat who... is the host (and hustles offstage -- the audience applauds this magic trick)!

Next, the fourth hand -- Kasagami, with Setsuna attached. Vibrant applause.

Next, the third hand -- Kozue, connected to Sayaka. More applause!

There are only two left...

The drumroll rises again as the first hand is revealed to be attached to... mascot suit all the way down (inside, sweating bullets, is Cyprine), and the bear yanks its paw back and clasps its chubby fabric cheeks, embarrassed by the kiss.

A trombone plays sadly as the second curtain section rises...

"Oh no, Ren Aizawawa is all alone! Miss Ohzora, do you think you can help her relieve her feelings?"

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

Yumi holds the pillow in both hands, offering the headsets on it towards each contestant in turn. Somehow she even walks without tripping in these shoes. Is actual witch magic involved? It's possible. Regardless, Yumi smiles at Setsuna and then Sayaka during the moment when she hands them over. In the moment, to Setsuna she offers, "Hey, the glitter really works for you!" And to Sayaka, "Wow, right? You two..." She, of course, has great hands. ...Okay no she's kind of bony, but her nails are spot-on.

She winces openly at the suggestion of a kiss right off for the guessing, but on the bright side, at least she's not expected to put through a hand!

Unsure of where exactly to put the pillow when it's all done, she sort of presses it vaguely into the hands of a stagehandand. "Here, uh, this is for you."

Smooth, Yumi. Smooth.

She's back to the rope in short order, however, waiting for the next choice. She tilts her head to listen to Endo's reasoning. As he goes through them, and he mentions... He--

A bear paw. Yumi glances up, does her best effort to keep a straight face. It turns into something like a sigh. ...She is not actually very good at keeping a straight face here. But Setsuna and Sayaka's turns--careful, caaareful--

The suspense is terrible!!

The curtain rises--but ah, here's her cue. Poor bear. The trombone plays, and as the host comes to her--

"I can!" Yumi answers, getting it immediately, and gestures with one hand to the rope... while extending the other in the general direction Ren is in, she's pretty sure. "I think this one's for you, senpai."

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

"A bear?" Chie asks, raising a brow. "Can you believe it, Aoi-chan?"

"Barely!" Aoi giggles.

"Really, he deserves what he gets for that. I mean, calling his girlfriend a bear? Smooth move."

"Do you think it'll be more glitter?"

"Oh, come on, they've gotta be more creative than that."

"That poor boy!"

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

Ren waits patiently behind the curtain, starting to fidget a bit. It feels like forever, actually. Maybe Endo was just taking his time to consider which hand was the right one? Yeah. That has to be it. He doesn't want to make a hasty decision afterall. She smiles to herself contently, letting out a wistful sigh...

And then the curtains come up, and Ren is faced with the reality of the situation -- Endo didn't pick her! Oh no! She looks over, eyes wide, seeing that he went with... a bear? No. Not a real bear. A mascot. But still, nevertheless...

It takes awhile, but then Ren starts to giggle, covering her mouth a bit as if to hide her obvious amusement. "E-Endo...!" She stutters out, barely able to regain control of herself. Oh, Endo!

Yumi gets her attention, next, and Ren looks over. "What? Oh..." The penalty rope! She's bein offered it! She takes a moment to look at it, then Endo, then back to it before...

"Ahh! I can't do it! If Endo-kun has to have a penalty... then I'll take it with him!"

A true sign of love!

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

Yumi sighs, lightly, as if touched by the adorable love of these two here, as Ren says she'll take it with him, one hand over her heart. It's so cute!

And so of course the gray-haired girl immediately reaches out with her other hand and, cheerfully pulls the rope without so much as another word. It yanks right on down, and suddenly... there is a little bit of something, from above. A little--

Goopy, glorious, golden honey drips down onto the both of them, sticking in hair, attaching to clothes, rolling down skin. A light drizzle. Then, silence, nothing from above.

Yumi frowns, and tugs the rope again, harder.

She is no longer frowning as an absolute mess of feathers falls from above, fluffy and glorious and completely. sticking to the honeyed couple. There's--there's really quite a lot of them.

"How... sweet?" Yumi asks, and--okay she's trying not to laugh. Really.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

The palm up was her trick to prevent it from becoming too easy on her girlfriend. Her nail polish is distinctive after all. However upon the reveal, Kozue has this wry sort of smile on her lips, as she inspects the spot where Sayaka kissed...

Then turns her hand over - offering the back of her hand, "How about you give this side equal treatment?"

And if Sayaka dutifully kisses it - then she replaces that hand with its mirror image on the other side. "And now this hand is feeling a little jealous of the other one... you know what they say about twins."

Giving absolutely no hint as to what she means by that. What do they say?

And if she's still dutiful even with that one... then she inverts it after - for the palm and the length of her arm. Now she doesn't say anything to her girlfriend, seeing if she'll take the initiative, canting her head to take in both her girlfriend's expression and to see if... Ren decides to pull the rope on her boyfriend. That sort of punishment is something she could get behind.

However... she doesn't actually look contemptuous when Ren makes her choice... if anything she's watching more closely. And once it's done, her eyes lid as she declares, "I can't stand anything that sweet."

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

"Pwaaa-" Endo attempts to spit out a few loose hairs, his mouth agape in surprise. "Bear!?" How could this have happened!?

Endo looks apologetically toward Ren-and momentarily frightened, when Yumi offers her the rope. And when she turns it down Endo's face lights up, both in joy and embarrassment at Ren's declaration. "Ren-chan!"

Unfortunately, his reverie is interrupted by the shower of honey from above. "Wha-" Attempts to wipe the droplets from his face are quickly proven useless in the face of the sticky substance, and instead Endo decides to accept his fate and embrace his partner, wrapping arms around Ren in a mostly useless gesture of protection as the mass of feathers comes raining down over them.

"You know, I'd rather kiss a bear than anyone but you, Ren-chan." Endo beams. For this sentiment, he earns a mouthful of feathers.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kassie's good eye narrows. Her mouth briefly becomes a line. Her glare intensifies, the start of the competition cutting off the venom'd words ready to spill forth at the young woman. Her entire body tenses, anger flushing her cheek briefly, only to tilt her chin up as if she's looking down on Kozue.

The curtain rises, there's familiar lips on her hand, and Kasagami is practically glowing as she eyes her love!

"Well done, my starlight. I could feel your heart on the merest touch of your sublime lips! Together, we have a strength that surpasses each of us alone." Offers Kassie gently in turn, a squeeze and lingering touch for the same.

A glance to Kozue and Sayaka.

"...Evil attracts evil like magnets." She mutters lowly.

But her gaze is instantly dragged over to the dreaded Rope! And it's attendant offering it over to Ren. The suspense! Kassie gives a performative gasp aloud, playing up the trick. What will happen!?

Honey and feathers!? Kasagami gives a true wince as sticky stuff and fluffy feathers descend. The Duelist looks honestly sorry for the duo of Ren and Endo. "Well. At least he avoided the true fate of a lover scorned." The young woman pauses, and nods as she reflects back on her dating life with Setsuna.

"He could have been exiled to the couch." A true mark of shame that she knows all too well.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

To Yumi's comment about the glitter, a somewhat dry, "Thank you, Yumi-chan," returns. But warm eyes follow the other girl away, because it's always good to see her friend in such cheer.

Is Setsuna's grip on her girlfriend's hand a little extra tight right now with relief? Maybe, maybe... Whatever the reason, she doesn't seem eager to let go, and leans close to catch Kasagami's support and affection. "This," she squeezes those long fingers, "is the determination I admire, all strength and grace." She follows the look to the blue-topped pair and it's just not in Setsuna to lose the lightness she's felt ever since hearing Kasagami's haiku -- of course, she might feel differently if she knew about Kozue's comment.

Endo's ended up with a furrier date than he arrived with, and when Ren's handed the cord by Yumi, all Setsuna can do is watch with held breath...

Love prevails, and it puts another smile on the quiet young woman's face, even as honey and feathers adhere to the couple. "If you ever get honey on my couch cushions..." The low, amused comment nonetheless promises that worse accommodations lurk. In a more public voice she asks, "Yumi-chan, just how much did you enjoy pulling that rope?"

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

There's a moment where Ren is beaming across the way at Endo. Of course, that moment is pretty much shattered when Yumi pulls the rope and drops honey on them. Ren yelps, sputtering and wiping her face, then lets her shoulders slump. Well, at least it was just honey and not anything worse. She smiles as Endo rushes up to her and hugs her... just as the feathers come down, too. Well, better honey'd and feather'd instead of tar'd and feather'd!

She laughs at what Endo says, nodding her head. "Same." She says in reponse, leaning forward to press a kiss on his honey-covered cheek. She's so wrapped up in it all that she most certainly doesn't feel the half-lided, contemptuous glare of Kozue. Nope. Not at all.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Sayaka scraches the back of her neck self-consciously. "I didn't want to rely on nail polish anyway... I thought they might paint someone else's nails blue and take yours off real quick to mess with us." Happy enough for a bit of decorous chivalry, Sayaka sweeps into a cute little bow to kiss the back of Kozue's hand, just a peck this time.

Then the other hand, sure, a kiss sallies forth again, after a hesitation.

The palm of the other hand, Sayaka smooches pretty grudgingly, getting really embarrassed. When Kozue offers her forearm too Sayaka grabs her own hair with a hand in frustrated terror. "Th-that's enough already! Jeeze."

As she and Kozue watch Ren and Endo's sticky fate, however, she smiles a little. "I think it's romantic," she says. "I mean, emotionally..." she qualifies, looking at the inglorious sight of them.

Kasagami and Setsuna get a more sour look. "They should have done it the other way around with those two," she whispers to Kozue. "Araki might not even remember which girlfriend she's looking for." Sayaka disapproves of cheating.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The audience loooooves it when Ren declares her solidarity with Endo, whistling and cheering and 'awwww'-ing in abundance... but they love it more when Yumi pulls the rope. Hoots and wolf-whistles abound, celebrating The Feathering.

"Love... it's so beautiful," the host whimpers, flicking a tear (and a wayward bit of floof) from the corner of his non-mechanical eye. "All right, all right, congratulations to everyone! You've all somehow made it to the FINAL STAGE~!"

The crowd goes wild. Some enterprising youngsters started selling glowsticks and they're starting to get cracked and waved. They are garish goopy green, not pink or red at all. Somehow they fit this event perfectly.

On stage, the MC ushers all the pairs forward, and the curtain falls again behind him. Cleanup begins back there, stagehands heroically performing their duties.

"We call this last challenge -- LIPS OF LOVE! We have here these white noise-generating headphones..." Apparently the glasses and schnozz are detachable, now they're just headphones.

"Each pair will approach! One of you will put on the headphones... and the other will profess your true feelings! It's the job of the one with the headphones to read the lips of their partner and repeat back what they said! And it's the job of the audience to cheer as loud as you want for what happens... we'll be judging the results on the noise you generate!"

He beckons up the first pair...

OOC: The MC will arbitrarily slap the headphones on one of each of you, you can decide OOCly who but it isn't up to you IC. Again,
please coordinate with your partner so that you can pose closely consecutively once both your poses are ready! <3 We don't have to
be in the Rendo/Kasagameioh/Blueship order for this if a different pair finishes first.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Meioh [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Setsuna avoids the fate of the headphones this time, but feels mildly cheated at not getting to see Kasagami in the full ignominious cartoon-nose combo. She nods to the strange but surely wholly benign Master of Ceremonies and his instructions, then turns to face the subject of her affections.

Her true feelings about Kasagami Araki... It's the words that take thinking, not the emotion. Setsuna tilts her head to one side. Then she straightens up and her lips move, and everyone but her girlfriend hears the words she has chosen.

"You light up the life I never thought I'd have. I love you and believe in you, Kassie." Her lips stop for a second with her words, and then, "And you look amazing in that skirt." A wink, and she blows a palmful of pink at Kasagami for punctuation.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kasagami leans right back into her sweet, taking in a small breath to retain her composure. It's hard to not honestly tear up at such beautiful words from her love, and her gaze is soft as silk.

"Even when the fire of my ambitions sputters upon the cold coals of this world, your presence in my life sees fit to stoke them back to life, Setsuna. You've only added to my strength, my love." Whispers Kassie, only to furtively look away. Only part of it is a play to the crowd. Her smile is a little goofy maybe. She also does her level best to be seen ignoring the many kisses Sayaka applies to Kozue. She all but radiates contempt.

That contemptuous face is suddenly slapped down upon with headphones, sans the nose and mustache. Kasagami all but squeaks at the lab-coated MC's actions, crossing her arms and huffing at him before her gaze is wholly upon her love. Her good eye closes, she pauses...and opens just slightly too wide as she leans in and peers at her love's lips. She follows every word! Every familiar syllable! It doesn't help that as she recognizes words she's smiling and resisting the urge to rush up and pull Setsuna into her arms. Kasagami falls to her knees once more!

"You light up the life I never thought I'd have." Starts Kassie. Her heart trembles.

Lips move, a bead of sweat drips down her brow. She follows in perfect motion. "I love you and believe in you, Kassie." There's an audible choke at the end, that the Duelist is forced to strain out the last words, eyes filling with actual tears. She grips her skirt tight.

"And you...look amazing in...that"

Her cheeks definitely turn red. Her love thinks she looks good in a skirt!? She almost loses it. Almost! Her lips begin to form the final word and then

Pomf! Glitter is blown, and that pink dusting erupts before her! "S...s...skiraaaachut!"

Suddenly freckled with beautiful pink glitter, kicking upon one final halo of the shiney material, Kassie gives into the urge to sneeze. She realizes her error almost instantly.

"Curse you Yumi-chan!" Truly, Yumin is her downfall. Definitely.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

All a-feathered, Endo follows on to the next and final challenge. He keeps his hand in Ren's-or maybe they're stuck, it's hard to tell-nodding his head slowly to the explanation given by the host. As a semi-participant he's somewhat familiar, and pays a short glance to Ren and the rest of the competitors before the two are separated the headphones are plunked on her head.

Which leaves Endo to speak. He takes a deep breath, glancing back and forth as he's called to center stage, hesitating a moment as he tries to find the words.

"Ren-chan!" He's really loud about it, once he starts. Maybe he's hoping she'll actually hear him over her headphones. "I'm really happy I met you! I wish I could have known what a great person you are sooner, so we could have spent even more time together."

He does stop shouting eventually, mostly to focus on his train of thought. "You're brave, and smart, and strong, and whenever I feel lost you're always there. Whenever I'm worried, or scared, or I need to be strong, I think about you and I'm strong. I-"

Endo points at himself, "I," He repeats, "Love," he says, and pauses, before he reaches to take both of Ren's feather-smothered hands. "You!"

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (12)] has posed.

They have a small bit of time to catch a breath before it's on to the - GASP - final challenge! Ren squeezes Endo's hands one last time before they part and the gimmick of the challenge is explained to them. When it's all said and done, Ren nods and looks at Endo with a grin. There isn't much time for her to do anything else though before the headphones are placed on her head! She jumps at the sudden exclusion of all sound around her. Wow, these headphones are really good at blocking out all noise.

Ren starts to squint a bit, as if that will help her with making out what Endo is going to say. Ok. Focus. You can do this! She takes a deep breath and watches intently as he begins to speak. Or shout, really, from the looks of it. Once he's done, she takes a moment, before she begins to shout back what she thinks he said.

"Ren-chan! I'm really happy I met you! I wish... I could have known what a great person you are sooner... so... we could have spent more time together!"

Awww. That right there is enough to get her eyes watering again. But she has to keep going!

"You're brave... and smart... and strong... and whenever I feel lost you're always there! Whenever I'm worried, or scared, or I need to be strong, I think about you and I'm strong!

Ren is this close to full on bawling. Tears start to streak down her face, mixing in with the honey, making a big old mess. Still, she soldiers forward to finish. "I..."


Big pause...


Wait. Glue? Obviously she meant to say "You!", but she's a crying mess, and the final word just doesn't come out as intended. Oops!

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

"I knew you'd be able to pick my hand out of the others. No matter what I did with it." Kozue says - with total confidence. How can she say such a thing?

Well... it's quite simple really.

Sayaka's frustrated terror though gets this coquettish rejoinder, "Says you."

However she looks at Sayaka in wonder at the statement, as if she thinks the romantic nature of her other girlfriend is 'precious'. However where they seem to stand apart on their views here. They do stand together as Kasagami's loud mutter sets her to giving that girl a glance, before murmuring back to her girlfriend, "Of course she wouldn't. She's like a toddler who forgets things once they're out of sight."

However when they get called up. Sayaka asks her that question and she's already answering in the affirmative, "Yeah I'm not..." Headphones get dropped on Sayaka's head - and Kozue is taken aback, her eyes giving the audience a strange glance.

"My true feelings?" Folding her arms, her fingertips tap on it, and she looks oddly, strangely flustered. As if she were deciding whether to lie - or not. Struggling with this sort of strange feeling to obfuscate it with physical desire.

There's a lengthy sort of pause like she's not certain, as if she's mulling it over, "I mean - I'm her girlfriend. What's there to say?" Her lips purse together, like she's having a hard time articulating it. After seeing the other two couples romantic and tearful. "...this is stupid. We grew up together. We're childhood friends that were never really friendly."

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

When Kozue rejoins with an easy insult to Kasagami, Sayaka double-takes at her, then gives her an 'atta girl' sort of look. There are some things Sayaka and Kozue are in perfect harmony on.

When Sayaka is called up, she glances at Kozue from the corner of her eye. "You want the headphones, maybe?" she asks, with gentle sincerity. But Kozue won't have much success if she answers, because the MC puts the headphones on Sayaka instead, and she can't hear anymore. Grimacing with a smile, Sayaka walks over to her designated seat and settles there. She looks happy, though nervous too; she's pressed her palms together and is pinching them between her knees.

"My true feelings," Sayaka comes out strong out of the gate, seeing an image of white marble behind the words. "Aymer--I'm her girlfriend!" She looks diffidently proud. "Two pid..." So close and yet so far. "Group up tog--grew up together! ...Friends, twer treely friends...?"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

She inhales for a moment, closes her eyes making no sign of being perturbed by the way Sayaka's working through the lip reading, fully wrapped up in herself, "Do people think that sounds romantic? Because I sure don't. I thought she was annoying and bossy as a little kid. And even more annoying when she grew up. It's just... she stuck by me as we twisted ourselves into..."

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Do pieces that... men take... I don't..." Sayaka leans forward a little as she tries to follow.

"Ano--annoying... group--stug... you're going kinda fast..." Sayaka is a little stressed up there.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

Hearing the 'you're going kind of fast.' does cause a brief pause. Her eyes slowly open, as if she looks a little vulnerable, embarrassed, "... some weird kind of knot. I don't know what this is between us - I just know it's not the same as anyone I've been with. Is the whole crowd waiting for me to say 'I love you' or something..." Her breath catches at that very moment though-

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> In a Manner of Speaking - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXhLFb34nz4

Sayaka is sitting up as straight as she can, her lips parted in shock, her innocent blue eyes wide. She's silent. She stares.

"I... love you?" she ventures in a small, tremulous voice. Her eyes are suddenly glistening, though she tries to blink it away lest the cameras see. Here, of all places...

God, it doesn't matter at all. Here is fine. Here is wonderful. Anywhere would be. She said it. Didn't she?

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

The moment Sayaka repeats those words is the moment she freezes up. Because she didn't say it. She'd never said it before.

When they're alone - in public. Never. She'd never returned those feelings with... something so simple.

Because she doesn't know how she feels. She doesn't know if what she feels is love - or simply a different kind of lust. A thoroughly unromantic, unsentimental girl...





Instead after a moment she looks away, looking like she's being tormented by her own carelessness - gaze dipped low, fighting the urge to run off the stage, just like before.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Sayaka's fledgling joy is frozen for a few seconds, uncracked and undimmed, but horribly unresponsive and still. Then her lips close gently, and she looks down at her lap, her shoulders heavy. She gives a little nod of acceptance.

Of course not. Stupid.

It's not Kozue's fault. Sayaka got ahead of herself. She does that sometimes.

But it doesn't feel good. Whatever else you can say about this, it doesn't feel good at all.

Looking up shyly, Sayaka looks at Kozue. She doesn't feel she can reach out to her at this moment, and maybe she's not even allowed by the rules. Sayaka always follows the rules. But the way she looks at Kozue tries to say that she wants to.

"...I love you," she repeats again, this time calmly, with soft conviction. Her hands are still pinched between her knees, but she's looking steadily at Kozue's face.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [None] has posed.

Kozue's eyes close as if the words hurt, this one time. However then her lips turn up in a faint quirk of her lips - like a smile that's not quite there. "I know you do."

It takes her some time for her eyes to come back - and to fasten onto her. "I don't know where this is going to go. If one day I'll be able to say it - or whether I just can't ever feel the same way back."

Her eyes start to sting, but she wills back whatever is there as she says with a certain urgency, "I just know I want to be with you."

Is that enough? In her eyes, it has to be. Because that's what she can give her right now.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The crowd is in the mood for love -- and the three couples all receive a great deal of applause for their varying declarations, and acceptances, of each other's proferred feelings. (It is fair to say, however, that Kozue and Sayaka's exchange is a little more confusing than the other two, in terms of not being the expected narrative, so the clapping trails off kind of quickly as the audience, en masse, leans in and cups their hands to their ears to try to follow exactly what's going on there. After it ends, though, the girls are given a second, warm, ovation.)

The tuxedo-and-lab-coated host encourages the crowd to give the whole group of six contestants the most intense wall of sound yet; while they're busy expressing their appreciation, he puts two fingers back up to his ear and listens carefully as he is quietly informed by his analyst whose hearts are likely enough to be super-pure and contain Talismans, and therefore be worth moving on. (Ahem.) The drummer starts rolling again, and then:

"All right, all right, we have our results! The prelim grand prize, fabulous sushi for two, goes to..."


"Endo Naoki and Ren Aizawa!"

The crowd goes wild.

"The runners up, Setsuna Meioh and Kasagami Araki, will also advance from the preliminaries to the finals, which will be held at Infinity Institute! We'll see you again next time, friends!"

The lucky pairs are brought up and given their sushi gift certificate and runners-up cash prize (it's like, $15) respectively; everyone who's still on stage also gets a participation trophy.

It's shaped like a star!