2018-12-21 - TIMELINE 1: Orphans Again! Don't Forget To Party!

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Title: TIMELINE 1: Orphans Again! Don't Forget To Party!

Mai and Mikoto deal with the waves of Orphans troubling Tokyo. Mikoto convinces Mai to crash a party.


Mai Tokiha, Mikoto Minagi


Shitamachi Low City - Tokyo Bay

OOC - IC Date:

2018-12-21 - 2014-08-06

.**************************** Shitamachi Low City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Tokyo Bay +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
 Once known as the "Inner Sea," the shelter Tokyo Bay once provided for
 merchants and fishermen helped Tokyo develop into the powerhouse that it is
 today, nor is it less useful today. Japan's largest shipping ports operate
 out of the Bay, as does its own navy and that of the US Forces. Herculean
 efforts dredge up its silt to create artificial islands, and factories drink
 its water to soothe their smoky throats.

 To most residents, however, the Bay is simply blue water glittering,
 salt-seasoned breezes, and gently drifting sails. The aptly named Rainbow
 Bridge crossing the bay enhances rather than damages its beauty, its white
 towers lit many nights by an artificial rainbow. A provincial visitor might
 consider Tokyo Bay to be trimmed like a garden hedge; it has a number of
 oddly geometric islands with arranged greenery, and any land touching the
 water often makes the best of it with a park, intake valve, or other
 imposition on nature. To a city-dweller, though, it is a miracle of open
 space and calm.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Toby Fox - Stronger Monsters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjb1Tm8YEvA

It has six legs like thin needles and a face like brightly-patterned skin stretched over a horse's skull, possessed of three times the teeth. It barely seems like it ought to be able to stand, let alone dance away from blade and flame, titter-tottering until those needle-legs come down and it's clear they're penetrating points.

It isn't even the first Orphan they've fought this week; even HiME who try to keep their heads down are finding themselves embroiled as the monsters pick up their slack. What should have been a peaceful Summer vacation - or at least one with plenty of opportunities for work - is quickly becoming a mess of problems, as if these girls are magnets for misfortune.

At least there aren't any people nearby on the shores of the bay now the sun's gone down - no one to see the way sand makes it so much harder to manoeuvre for everyone who isn't on stilts. Someone's holding a party not so far away, which is a double-edged sword: it makes it difficult to justify summoning Kagutsuchi, but at least the distant bass drowns out the Orphan roaring.

(And Mikoto. Mikoto gets pretty loud in a fight, too.)

But there is one thing this monster hasn't counted on: HiME teamwork. Maybe on their own, the Orphan would regenerate with flickering energy limbs flensed off by flame or carved away with sharp blade, and they would be fought to a standstill. But they don't stand alone, and they never have. Maybe the sand makes it difficult to move around, but Mai can fly, after all - and if she lifts Mikoto up to send her hurtling down into the horse-beast's back, blade first, it can't spring up and away like it always does. It springs up - meets Miroku - and finds itself all awrapped in flame.

It sparkles into light, and that's one more problem settled for these poor overworked HiME. (Some may take to this adage more literally than others.)

Mikoto finds her case and sheathes her blade and summarily tackles Mai as soon as her hands are free. "Mai!" She declares, with fierce affection and admiration. "Mai's so strong!!" And perhaps it's a high compliment, because by now Mai has seen Mikoto carve through a great many monsters who were trying to interrupt her daily life.

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

If it isn't one thing, then it's another.

It has not been a peaceful week by any stretch of the imagination, and it seems like every supernatural disaster goes hand-in-hand with mundane turmoil. Sometimes directly - like the week-long shutdown of Linden Baum due to Orphan-induced kitchen damage - and sometimes indirectly, like the frequency of Mai having to chase after a monster leading to Takumi getting a ride to an appointment from 'that cool Saionji guy'.

There's damage control, and then there's damage control.

Today was...one part relaxation, and about five parts making up for a loss in income. Mai is still wearing her 'uniform' of the day - a brightly coloured long-sleeved shirt loosely worn over her swimsuit, a whistle still strung around her neck. Mercifully, the Orphan she spotted had kept its distance until sundown, and hadn't slipped away.

The rings hovering around her wrists jingle oddly as Mikoto tackles her, and Mai herself lets out what short breath she'd gathered in an explosive whoof from the impact. Her footing's not as good as it usually might be, and in a spray of sand the tackle takes her down to the beach's turf.

"...you say I'm strong, Mikoto, but I think you're forgetting yourself, there." There's a warm smile on Mai's face as she pokes Mikoto's forehead with one finger, laughing briefly. "Seriously, I don't know what I would've done without you - these Orphans are getting to be more and more trouble..."

She trails off, eyes drifting to those distant lights, ears tuned to that far-off music. Her attention is on the party, for a moment, worry working its way in as she tries to tell...it's still a celebration, right? There wasn't more trouble, right?

"...never mind. It looks like that party gets to keep being all...celebratory I guess." She shakes her head, turning her attention back to the swordswoman. "Anyway - you're always a big help, Mikoto. Thanks for helping me keep this quiet...again."

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

The watchful eyes of COASTGUARD MAI (distinct from WAITRESS MAI by the clear costume-change, which as we all know is the seat of a girl's power) caught sight of an Orphan lurking about the fringes, and thankfully, she had a stray cat hanging around to send out and keep an eye on it.

Unfortunately, Mikoto making sure to keep the shadow away from the beach-goers - there's another rumour passing amongst the schoolchildren, now, of some horrible sea monster made of crabs and seaweed rising from the rocks to eat them - means she hasn't had the opportunity to go fishing. One might think that Mikoto wouldn't have the ability to fish anyway, since she didn't bring a fishing rod. A reasonable assumption, and a wrong one. She has a swimsuit on, so she's already perfectly suited to hunt fish.

But that's okay, because she could catch fish any day! This way she could help Mai do what she wants to do, even if Mikoto thinks working all the time isn't very fun. (This may have been why she showed up to cat around COASTGUARD MAI in the first place.)

Fighting Orphans isn't terribly fun either, but so long as she can fight alongside Mai, Mikoto's still having a good day.

Down they go, but the sand's soft enough, and this is hardly the first time Mikoto has pounced Mai to the ground. (At least this time she's not attacking her.) She finds her broad forehead poked, and Mikoto laughs, too. "I'll always be there to help Mai!" She insists, leaving off entirely that sometimes her help causes a commotion of its own. It's hard to swing a greatsword in a kitchen without hitting a few pots.

Mikoto tilts her head as she considers the sounds of the party - it certainly sounds like a party to her, loud and jubilant - and nods, as Mai considers them. "Yup," she says, beaming with pride both at the celebration they've saved and, more importantly, the girl acknowledging her. "Orphans won't get past us!" Even if they're trying extra hard right now.

And then a brilliant idea occurs to her, because Mikoto is always thinking of ways to get Mai to have fun. "Mai, let's go see party!" She declares, straightening to her feet and offering her a hand up. "We saved everyone, so it's okay, right?"

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

Someday someone might successfully press Mai on whether she actually likes working part-time jobs, or if it's a weird sense of obligation.

Someday, but not in this lifetime.

The reminder of Mikoto's reliability brings a smile to Mai's face, and she can just relax on the beach for a moment. It's not cold yet; the sun's memory is not so distant as to be forgotten, and the fires of the HiME burn warmly indeed. "Just remember that I'll help you with anything you need, Mikoto."

They're a team. Friends, roommates, comrades-in-arms. It's been nearly a year, and the two of them... it's been so little time, and yet it's already hard to imagine life without Mikoto.

The suggestion catches Mai off-guard, because she hadn't even given a moment's thought to celebrating or having fun. She blinks owlishly, and looks down at herself. "The party? I'm...not exactly dressed right for that, it's sort of..." It's a plain swimsuit, and the shirt over it is a little dorky, and what kind of teenager part would be welcoming to an obvious COASTGUARD. "...the wrong style? I mean, it's not like they know we did anything - not like they should know, rather..."

She hesitates - but even though her thoughts are mired, her hand reflexively reaches out to take Mikoto's offer.

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

Well, there are miracles, and then there are miracles.

"Mm-hmm!" Mikoto hums in joyous acknowledgement of their solidarity. She has fought by the side of a lot of girls midst her time here, but Mai is the first girl who showed her kindness and so Mai is the first girl Mikoto goes to amongst her many friends. Much of the time it does not involve fighting at all, and Mikoto is perfectly happy with that: she has spent many an esteemed hour having perfectly mundane adventures with Mai.

(From these adventures, she's learned how bargains work! Money sure is weird.)

"That don't matter!" Mikoto chirps, cheerfully, as she hoists Mai up. "Even if they don't know, we still did it! And Mai still looks good, so it's okay!" Mikoto may be slightly biased. She may also have a scrap of seaweed tangled in her hair, even though she shook most of it off in the battle.

She has a lot of people to help her where her undeveloped fashion sense fails, at least. Like Natsuki, who helped her find a nice swimsuit after she caught her diving into the river fully-clothed.

But Mikoto's terrible scheme is revealed once Mai has her footing underneath her again: she's already holding Mai's hand! This makes it far too easy for her to start dragging her off towards the sounds of merriment without a single care for logistics or invitations.

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

It's a funny thing. If asked, Mai will protest up and down that she prefers their peaceful moments of mundane day-to-day over the danger and excitement of battle...and yet, if only to herself, she can admit that those bonds forged taking arms against evil are...


Even if she'll never say it aloud.

"Wh - you always say that, Mikoto!" Mai is hoisted up, and hoisted forward, and she can't help but laugh as she's forced to start following. It's that or get a faceful of sand, and she's had enough of those for one hour.

"Oh, hang on a second - " She digs in her steps just a moment, long enough to look Mikoto over. There's little to do about her 'golf club case', but a bit of neatness can be managed. That one scrap of seaweed meets a discerning eye and a swift hand, Mai darting in to toss the plantlife aside.

Given a few seconds, she does a bit for herself, too - doffing the long-sleeved shirt and just tying its sleeves around her waist as a makeshift skirt or wrap. She might not have the developed fashion sense of some friends, but it's at least a bit more easygoing a look than COASTGUARD STYLE.

"Okay, now I'm as ready as I'll ever be - you sure about this, Mikoto? I mean-" The music at the party kicks into a more familiar tune, Mai's gaze darting over at the recognition. "-I guess we can go sneak in, if you're game. And I suppose there might be something to eat..."

Her footsteps start carrying her toward the party, in spite of any protests - though her hand finds Mikoto's again.

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

Mikoto does, in fact, always say that, but surely it's just her trying to affirm her friend's confidence.

She does pause when Mai digs her heels in, though, turning back with a questioning noise. Her curiosity is answered as her impromptu hair extension is cast aside, and Mai straightens up her own appearance. Mikoto smiles, brightly.

"Yup!" She says, as cheerily confident as she always is, completely heedless of the SOCIAL FAUX PAS they are about to embark on. Her confidence is rewarded with Mai seeing the logic in having fun, and Mikoto grins, reaching out to take her hand again. "Let's get food, Mai!" It won't be as good as Mai's food, but it's still food.

The good news about a beachside party is that it's hardly fenced in; the party-goers sprawl out over open lawn, chattering amongst themselves. The bad news is this is apparently an Ohtori party, and is incredibly posh to match. But, thankfully, they're not quite the only people in bathing suits: a few of the visitors haven't yet changed from their swimwear with the evening so early.

Perhaps, if they manage to blend in, they can pull this off..?!

So of course Mikoto immediately announces to Mai, "look! Mai's right!" Pointing with her other hand at the refreshments table. She is very good at sneaking.

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

Is it a faux pas? Possibly. There's misgivings in the back of Mai's mind as they approach the party, and even at the fringes of the party she glances to Mikoto with words of caution on her lips. Then, however, they see just what kind of preparations the party-goers have arranged...

With the party having been revealed, however, Mai straightens up her posture and advances into the party proper. Pride and spite intertwined, perhaps, but it's enough to push her forward.

Mercifully, the dress code isn't entirely posh - several recent swimmers have yet to change, either out of haste or out of a need to flaunt...appearances.

Mikoto's eagerness might not fit the tone of the party, but frankly Mai's mood is too upbeat to admonish her. They're here, they just killed a six-legged horse-monster, and the two of them will leave when someone with the authority to challenge the latter does so.

Mai is not very good at sneaking. Blending in, maybe, but sneaking?

"Let's head over there in a minute - just keep an eye out for anyone we might recognise." If a friend from school is here, that makes things easier; if a member of the student council is here, that makes things harder.

There's something kind of infectious about the general mood here - it's upbeat, it's people enjoying their school years, and something just...

Mai squeezes Mikoto's hand. "Thanks for suggesting this."