2019-01-19 - TIMELINE 2: Training Day! Puella Magi Amazing Debut!

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TIMELINE 2: Training Day! Puella Magi Amazing Debut!

New Puella Magi Homura, Sayaka and Eri demonstrate their mad skills for Mami and Madoka.


Sayaka Miki, Eri Shimanouchi, Homura Akemi, Mami Tomoe, Madoka Kaname


Shibuya Shopping Ward

OOC - IC Date:

1/19/2019 - 04-19-14

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Shibuya Shopping Ward +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  Any rural ingenue looking to come to the big city and get swept away at       
  first sight would be well-advised to get off at Shibuya Station, where you    
  could fill a high school yearbook with the people teeming over a single       
  crosswalk, and a legion of ten-story department stores offer a choice so      
  broad it resembles existential crisis. Shinjuku might administrate Tokyo,     
  but Shibuya is its style capital. Its densest concentration of boutiques,     
  retailers, and restaurants is bound together by Shibuya Crossing, a bustling  
  pedestrian intersection resembling an even gaudier Times Square.              
  Within walking distance to Harajuku, Shibuya is less whimsical, and far       
  grander. Its most iconic symbol is the Shibuya 109 department store, a        
  cylindrical grey monolith famous even outside of Japan. Each floor of 109     
  has about a dozen shops, and with ten flights of escalator to ascend, it      
  doesn't take a mathematician to realize that even this single store can be a  
  lot to take in. But Shibuya too has its side streets and quirks, and it's     
  not hard to find a chic little cafe to rest in. Those who find themselves     
  energized instead have recourse to the night clubs that trade on Shibuya's    
  stylish reptuation.                                                           
  Shibuya Station has a humbler landmark as well. It was here that the loyal    
  dog Hachiko waited for his owner each day, even after the owner had long      
  since died. A bronze statue of Hachiko waits here still, a reminder that      
  love and loyalty never die.                                                   
<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Here Comes the Hotstepper - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlqNHp3qsdU

"S-sayaka Miki, age fifteen! I go to Ohtori Middle School, my club is softball, and my Blood Type is B."

Nobody asked. But it seemed like the thing to do, when she's introducing herself to the Puella Magi community, at least until she started saying it.

Beneath the bridge, space stretches up along pillars, with the highway above and an area of cleared dirt and concrete below. Sayaka stands on a dirt section, facing her best friend, Madoka, and Madoka's teammate Mami Tomoe. She carries a bright, single-edged sword with a pistol grip hilt and a blue panel on the flat of the blade. Her colors turned out to match her hair, but they match her spirit more so--virtuous blue and pure white. She wears a short pleated skirt, thigh-high booted stockings, and, most notably, a long white cape. Unusually, she has a hard armored breastplate, contributing to a knightly appearance. Her soul gem is planted right on her navel.

"So... here I go!"

To Madoka especially, it may seem odd to see her like this. After a near lifetime of friendship, the contrast from everyday Sayaka is striking. It might even look like a cosplay.

"I can summon swords," Sayaka says, holding a palm out and letting one drop from nowhere to embed itself into the ground. "Lots of 'em apparently..." she keeps moving her palm, and swords keep falling out. "They all seem to be the same kind... and I'm super good with them!"

Advancing on an empty oil drum, Sayaka whacks at it diagonally each way to leave just a sliver of metal supporting it, then lops that off neatly. "Especially..." she says, squinting and sticking her tongue out of the corner of her mouth, "when it's like softball!" She takes a swing at the half-drum, bonking it up high in the air with a hollow sound.

"I can make some sort of... magic bowls... sorry, magic disks...!" Sayaka forms such a platform in front of her, and steps onto it, bouncing lightly despite the hard ground. "And my swords seem pretty aerodynamic..." Flicking swords out of the ground, Sayaka pierces the aerial barrel a with a few of them. Crouching, she prepares to leap up for a finisher.

"Oh, and I heal really fast!" she remembers. The mystic circle is glowing brighter as she keeps crouching on it. "Madoka-chan says that that's pretty..."

The disk triggers, launching Sayaka in the air unexpectedly.


Sayaka's head bonks the side of the barrel hard. A few seconds later, she falls back down the other way, thudding hard on the ground. "Eep!" she says, rolling to avoid the sword-bristling barrel. It thumps next to her. Scratching the back of her head sheepishly, Sayaka beams dustily down at Madoka and Mami.

"That's about it..."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"... Wow that intro was like something right out of a manga." Eri says with a whisper over to Homura. It's hard to tell whether that's a compliment or not until she adds. "I'm impressed she knows her blood type already." And thus a compliment, but how can it be anything but to the new contractee?

There's something about being under a bridge that makes it feel like fiction come to life. Certainly she'd been to places she'd never been over her months contracting, but training like this.

She's already transformed as well, decked out in green, pleated skirts, and lace that looks decidedly sharp in quality. A gem rests on one of a pair of barrettes designed to look like thorns in her shoulder length hair. A domino mask in place over her eyes.

The girl puts a hand up to her chin, as if she were being a little analytical as Sayaka introduces themselves to her abilities. Her chin lifting up and down as the oil drum sails through the air to watch the drum, and its sounds.

"Disks..." The girl says the word thoughtfully, as she watches the way it feels rubbery... "... but what do they do...? Are they like platforms or..." However then it triggers and... "Oh! I see! Like a trampoline!" Perhaps that's not quite it, yet that's how her mind relates it.

Yet that's what she takes away from the incident that follows. While she might flinch, she tries to clap encouragingly with her bare palms, trying not to call attention to the little accident too much, after all she did say she could heal quickly. "Your magic really suits you Miki-san..."

The girl then steps forward next, this would have given her butterflies in her stomach not so long ago. She then bows to the group. It was less nerve wracking than the idea of a class introduction given that she knew everyone here, so she was able to speak evenly at first. "Eri Shimanouchi, age fifteen. Likewise I go to Ohtori Middle School, representing the Gardening Club along with Madoka-chan."

The girl then continues as she touches a hand to the green gem on a thorned barrette and a sinewy vined whip slides out, coiling over her arm as she does so, "It's a little embarrassing, but my weapon is whips." The only time her voice breaks is when her eyes flit over to Sayaka as if perhaps worried about the judgement of first impressions on such things, "I-I promise that doesn't mean anything weird."

Clearing her throat, she moves on hastily, "And I can create plants with my magic. Any kind really." There's a glimmer of a green rune in mid-air over her hand, and suddenly her opposite arm slides out to produce five separate flowers. A yellow peony, a pink rose, a blue iris, and a small patch of violet verbenas. Lowering her arm, she does an underhanded throw into mid-air as if she were tossing a bouquet to her Puella Magi seniors. However - as they reach the apex of their arc, they all vanish into a shower of green sparkles.

"I can also control them, which is very useful."

There's a lengthy pause afterwards, like she might demonstrate that facet of her magic as well. Yet doesn't. Like she's waiting and waiting, until she realizes perhaps everyone is waiting for a demonstration. Then suddenly she seems to realize that and her face pinkens abruptly.

"And that's about it!" She rushes it out for her conclusion.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Homura Akemi has known her own blood type a long time, but the rest absolutely impresses her. "Yeah, Miki-san is so good already. It's like that one we read about the girl with the axe, and how she just knew how to, um..." Right now she leans Eri Shimanouchi's way as they both await their turns in front of the illustrious judges. She figured that from the green puella, 'like something right out of a manga' might be a compliment. After all, they've sat together poring over manga in the dusty Ohtori stacks--

Wait. No. That was the last Eri, the one who, well, died. Homura shuts up, abruptly, having learned already that this sort of comment can make people look uncomfortable. The look on Madoka's face when she ran in and introduced herself... "I mean, you're right," she concludes in a sort of limp to the finish of the sentence. "And she already saved Kaname-san."

Homura swallows and pushes her glasses back up her nose from where they've slid, and the gem on the back of her left hand shines. She's going to do that, too.

Then she's shouting, "Go, Shimanouchi-san!" and watching her classmate go through all of her paces, lovely flowers and all. She claps her hands together. Homura knows how good Eri can be, after all. "You can do so much...!"

Finally, it is her turn. Chin lifted to better display her serious face, she steps forward. Before her amazing senpais stands one Puella Homura, magical girl, ready for action!

She's swapped her slightly loose Ohtori uniform, via sparkling purple magic, for a garment uniquely suited to her. Her henshin of sharp contrasts fits her much better, drawn from deep places in the girl it encases. An abbreviated monochrome rainbow, highlighted in a dusty purple, sweeps her from head to toe. The skinny girl sports a form-fitting white coat trimmed in black and collared in grey, snug over grey pleats and white ruffles and long black sleeves; black leggings traced with purple diamonds cloak her legs.

Only her pale hands and face feel the cool fall air, and the long silken tails of the purple bows fastened at throat and small of back flutter to match her fine black bangs. Fluttering bows over stark angles over yet more frilly embellishments: this is Homura Akemi, in at least some of her layers.

"Homura Akemi, age fifteen. I just transferred to Ohtori Middle School, and I ah... And that's it," she finishes. Not the most impressive introduction. Her combat introduction will be better!

She lifts a golf club with both hands to face off against her own empty metal barrel, and the intricate round shield on her left arm gleams...! She runs forward, and--


--and reappears!

Blink and you'd miss it -- don't blink and you still would. To all appearances Homura herself just blinked across the open ground, and now she's hunched over wheezing with her 'weapon' clutched across her knees, and the once-proud golf club is all bent up into crazy angles.

  • ker-THONK!*

The barrel makes a hollow sound as it crashes down onto the hard pavement, battered and dented and almost as misshapen as the poor golf club. Still, out of the two Homura probably looks more whipped, so to speak.

"I- hahhh... I um- hahhh..."

It takes her half a minute to really be able to speak. "I can... stop time with my shield," she pants.

Is there anything else? "That's- that's it," she finishes again, looking up with big violet eyes and cheeks red from exertion and embarrassment both.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami Tomoe has pencil and paper to hand; the notebook is open in front of her; set on a clipboard to keep it level, as she watches Sayaka stand up on the dirt section facing them. The introduction--such as it is--faints a small smile from Mami, suitably restrained. She looks over the blue-haired girl's attire, her weaponry; the veteran Puella Magi has seen a lot of magical girls in her time... But she's also seen a lot of stories, and Sayaka is a perfect image of the noble knight.

...But then, Mami may be biased; Sayaka did recently save Mami's best friend from a Witch.

Mami watches Sayaka first, glancing now and then to Madoka between demonstrations, noting the sword, the way she uses it... 'Bowls'. Naturally.

"Yes," Mami agrees, "That is rare." About the healing, naturally. "And Eri-chan's right--your powers suit you very much, I think. A bit storybook, hm?"

Eri, too--Eri she's had more time to work with by now, naturally. She's seen a lot of her abilities in action. Nevertheless, letting them all show off like this... It should build some commonality. And besides, it's important to understand one's powers. So Eri introduces herself, and Mami nods to her too, though--

"I believe you," Mami answers Eri, though there might be a liiittle teasing note there if she's paying attention. Naturally, a show of flowers is always pleasant for Mami--though they diasppear... "Ah, yes, that would be more efficient," she opines.

But truthfully she wanted to keep them...

The pause lingers. Mami waits, expectantly. She keeps waiting. And--

Mami laughs faintly when Eri rushes her conclusion. "Yes, very good."

Meanwhile, Homura's introduction, initially a little shy, becomes something... surprising. The golf club is an unconventional weapon--but disappearing? Disappearing, and the barrel suddenly different?

It surprises Mami every time she sees it, really. "...Very good. Though... We might need to find you a bit sturdier a weapon, hm?" Mami suggests gently. Or maybe a little sturdier of a Homura...

"Don't feel like that means you don't have as much to work with, Homura-chan; your power is unusual, but itself opens a lot of options to you. And don't worry too much about your weapon, either--I wasn't very good at this when I first started out."

Mami looks over each of them, nods firmly.

"...You see, the nature of your wish will have an impact on the sort of magic that you can use. This is why the three of you are so different--but that difference works in our favor. We can leverage all of these abilities to work together, and be stronger than we ever could on our own." She smiles to her partner--who shows her that that old dream is possible--

And then Mami looks again between the three. "We'll have to take your word on the healing today--I'd rather not hurt you just to see it demonstrated," Mami says to Sayaka. "But your platforms could be very useful to Homura-chan, I think. Let's see..."

Mami looks down at the page, covered in shorthand, except for a few notable things. Words, naturally.

'Courtly? Knight's? Cavaliere?

'Blossom? Growth? Verdant?'

'Hidden? Unseen? Allegro?'

Only Madoka can see those, of course. "We've already gotten to see some of how Eri-chan's powers can work with ours--they're similar to my own, in some respects. But now that I see all three of you..." A beat, "A demonstration is in order, I think. Between the three of them, we can greatly enhance our group's mobility, don't you think?"

Oh, Mami has a plan, all right.

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

Madoka is sitting on yet another steel drum. She hasn't transformed; she's still in her uniform from earlier today. They're all Ohtori girls but for some reason she seems prototypically so on this drizzly afternoon -- in the good part of the stereotype -- with her legs hooked at the ankle (this is also hilarious, that she doesn't have enough leg to reach the ground, but shh) and her good posture, she's giving off a sort of well-groomed refinement. Like a lady in the box seats at a joust.

All things considered this is not inappropriate.

It doesn't hurt that her eyes are shining; that her mouth makes a perfect little 'oh' at suitably impressive points -- with swords and with plants and with the state of poor Homura-chan at the end --

-- she shares a look with Mami --

-- she's slipped off the drum and is closing the distance with soft-footed steps. Sayaka and Eri are going to have to wait for their praise, beyond what they saw when they caught glimpses of Maid Madoka in the middle of their routines; ten pounds of amazement and admiration in a two pound bag. Instead she's bending over Homura.

Offering her a hand up.

And, with her other hand, a water bottle.

Only one thing hasn't changed: the amazement, and the admiration.

"Time magic... is also really unusual, I think," she suggests, glancing back over her shoulder at Mami for support of this assertion.

<< I've never seen anything quite like this! >> chirps Kyuubey, who has stolen her seat on the drum.

Madoka nods, ribbons bouncing, twintails too. That was the amazement. The admiration is something deeper.

Her eyes sweep over the golf club, and how warped it is -- how tired Homura's arms are.


(New BB message (3/40) posted to 'Character Announcements' by Pink Moon Stick: Closed: Sucy Manbavaran)

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"S-saying that is starting to make it weird though!" Sayaka protests to Eri, regarding the nature of her whips. A gentle social line seems to exist between her and the two bespectacled Puella Magi, as she does not whisper to them about each other the way they whisper to each other about her. But she is new. She laughs as Eri supplies the "judges" with flowers, and is surprised to catch one herself. Holding the iris like a butterfly on her palm, she waits excitedly for something to happen. ...huh.

Sayaka applauds for Eri with a bright smile. Well, she certainly doesn't look the type to be a great warrior... Sayaka wishes to support her new teammate, though.

The transfer student is an even unlikier warrior. Her skinny little limbs, her hospital-pale skin, her anxious nerdy four-eyed presence. Sayaka prepares to encourage her, too, already feeling responsible for this relative veteran...

"Stop TIME?" Sayaka sputters, not sure she heard that right. What she just saw had confused her, and belatedly she starts to piece it together. "Wow..." That changes some things.

Watching Madoka run up to hug the new girl, Sayaka smiles. Cuuute. She dusts her skirt, deciding to leave them be and jog up to Mami instead, eager like a golden retriever at the prospect of being on this new team. "Hey, coach! Quick question, what happens if my uniform gets dirty when we're training? Can it go in the washing machine or what?"

Looking down at the elegant older girl, Sayaka suddenly feels as though she said "Hey coach!" to the queen of England. She tries to modulate her diction. "Or would it maybe be better to hand-wash?" she adds, a bit abashed.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Right?" Eri agrees with Homura, "Like she just knew it all sorta instinctively."

Having to power through Sayaka saying it makes it weird is... stressful. Mami may be laughing at her, but it doesn't feel mocking. And so a smile creeps onto her expression soon after, between that and Homura's praise.

The girl seems momentarily pensive when it comes to how her wish shaped it. She certainly knows why, and is perhaps glad that she doesn't need to speculate aloud.

Eri finds herself looking at the notebook but pretending not to look too hard, as if Mami were grading them in an evaluation, unknowing of the truth of it. She's not so confident to think she necessarily scored better yet...

However then Homura is up and she brandishes... "Hmm?" Eri's eyelashes flutter like she didn't expect the golf club to remain persistent. Sportiness from Homura Akemi is the last thing she guessed. Did she have secret golf skills before she was hospitalized? She'd thought the girl had brought it for self-defense!

And she- "Oh!" And then she- "Ah!" Is it superspeed? "... amazing." Perhaps the results weren't as flashy as Mami Tomoe mid-battle, but... "Time... Magic?" There's something about that that feels extra special to her, even if she can't pinpoint why. Like it's simply exotic... "I never would have guessed!" The girl notes, smiling as Madoka hugs Homura, "Even Kyubey seems impressed with you!" Perhaps that's not it, but she thinks it is, and to her that's high praise.

However at the same time the thought bubbles up into her brain, as she looks to the twisted up little golf club, and her obvious exertion. How is she going to fight like that?

... Mami's confidence dispels all doubt. Of course she'd figure it out. How could she not with someone like Mami Tomoe helping her. Mobility in particular intrigues her. "... imagine how much more time we'd have for homework." If Homura improves their speed through labyrinths... then...

And then Sayaka asks that of Mami and it takes her so off-guard that... "What?" The idea that their henshins clean themselves off on her own feels like common sense to her - so that can't be it. Perhaps instead, Sayaka feels like that's cheating?

The girl's posture changes as she puts a hand up to her chin like she'd just learned something new and murmurs...

"... wow jocks are really dedicated to hygiene..."

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Homura's still trying to catch her wind (and it's still outracing her) when the benediction known outside of heaven as Madoka Kaname descends upon her. She looks up with those big dark eyes and the golf club *tinks* onto the pavement.

With both hands she takes the empty offered one, clasping Madoka's palm and steadying herself via her once-and-forever best friend's forearm, and "hup!" she goes. She keeps steadying herself by handclasp, with her knees all rubbery still. Long sips of water help. Her breathing slows; her cheeks don't stop being pink, but at least it's not because of exertion any more.

It's so good to hold Madoka's hand again. Homura's grip is a bit tight, once she recovers.

"It is?" she asks, to hear that time magic is unusual. Kyuubey's remark again reminds her that everything has reset. But she doesn't wonder long, because the look in Madoka's eyes knocks that all clean out of her head for a bit.

Then the Golden Queen's appraisal and a-praisin' make their mark, extending the stained rosiness of those cheeks. "Oh..." Homura looks down at the aforementioned and so-called weapon, or rather, its remains. "Yes." She remembers when another Mami assured her, over pop-cork rifles, that everyone is terrible at things the first time they do them -- just like this one, all grace and skill and cultured warmth. How lucky is she, to have such a teacher?

And it's so very, very important that Homura learn. She can't help glancing over at Madoka, then back to Mami. "Thank you so much, Tomoe-san. I'll work hard to get better! And I will."

There's this serious glint in her dark eyes when she says it, like a promise. Hard edges beneath the frills.

Then Homura shifts to studious, like she's attending the most important school lecture of her life. In a way, she is. Mami and Madoka not only have her fullest attention; by the way her face goes all thoughtful, they've also captured her imagination. She's considering the possibilities, too, and how she could possibly help, when...

"Oh!" she blurts out, and bends down to pick up the mangled club. "I should have mentioned, I can also store things in my shield..." and once again the girl with the glasses bends time and space right in front of everyone. She slides the whole thing, somehow, into that tiny could-barely-deflect-a-thing shield on her arm, like some kind of crazy magic trick.

Between Eri and Sayaka she looks, surprised by the uniform question and then the hygiene comment -- it's like she's following a tennis ball over a net. And then: "I um... Maybe I could help with homework, Shimanouchi-san. Like if you need more time to write a paper or something...?" She wants be useful, so clearly. And just as clearly, does not yet have a good grasp of Soul Gem economics, to think that a good use of precious magic.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mami clearly agrees with Madoka's suggestion, nodding first to her and then smiling at Kyuubey in turn. If even Kyuubey hasn't heard of it, then it really must be beyond their experience. The obvious enthusiasm Madoka brings is a little more muted in Mami...

But only muted in the sense that light shines through stained glass differently than through clear air; in her eyes, it glows.

Mami laughs a little more along with Sayaka's protest to Eri, giving the green magical girl a smile.

"That's true," Mami says to Eri. "We could have more time to balance our lives--or to ensure that our collective territory is as good to live in as we can make it. By understanding one another, we can operate more efficiently." She adds, somewhat more seriously if gently, "And more safely. That's key."

A beat to Homura, and Mami notices that edge. "...I can tell how serious you are," Mami tells her. "I'm sure you will. Make sure not to push too hard too quickly--but I'm sure you'll do well."

When Sayaka approaches--jogging--Mami turns towards her, immediately fond of her eagerness. The good feelings around here are infectious--and if Mami minds Sayaka calling her coach, she doesn't say so, lighting up a little at the ask. "A very good question!" Mami declares, lifting one hand and shifting a glorious golden drill back beyond her shoulder again. Her smile, naturally, is radiant; after all, she is gold.

But it also contains the exact enthusiasm of someone called upon to answer her area of expertise.

"The magic of the transformation means that every time you change into your battle attire, it's like new; because it's ultimately magical itself, you don't need to worry about cleaning it between uses. If something happens while you're out and active, most Puella Magi I've known can repair their clothes at the same time they heal themselves. Your situation is a bit different... But it should operate the same on that front."

She totally heard that from Eri--but Mami seems to be a demonstration of the concept herself, given her white blouse, the light colors she wears generally, the fact that her muskets don't leave powder residue like one might expect of a gun. Also, her hair always seems to remain perfect in battle, through some mysterious means.

"But that," Mami remarks to Homura, "Could be a very useful ability. Maybe that's why you don't have a ready weapon of your own; because you have the tools to bring them with you. The same was true of me, at first; ribbons didn't exactly make for easy hunting on their own. But," Mami continues, "It's best to save what magic you can." Mami offers the suggestion gently, but clearly. "The more magic we use, the more we have to replenish later. Whenever possible, you should accomplish what you can by using magic you already have, instead of expending more. That's why I don't reload my guns; it's more efficient simply to let them fade, and make more."

"...But I did say a demonstration. How about we get started?" Mami gestures upward, towards the expanse of space that exists here beneath the bridge, hidden away from much of the world. Nearby of course is one of the great columns that holds it up, but otherwise? There's no convenient ladder or stairway to the underside, no easy option to climb except along the side itself. From here, the sheer size of the structure is even more impressive.

"Mobility is one of the key elements of a battle--you need to reach your targets, but also get out of reach of both the Witch and its Familiars. So..."

Mami looks to madoka again as if sharing a secret, and then reaches to her sleeves, and pulls ribbons from her cuffs; three, each of which shifts and shapes under her hand. In short order, they are small flags, in violet, green, and light blue. Mami lifts her hand, and they float gently before her--before she directs them up, and they stick at points on the underside of the bridge, high above, visible only because they are bright.

"So, here's your first challenge; I want all three of you to make your way up to those flags, and bring them back down here. You'll need to help each other get up there; between platforms, stopping time, and conjuring plants I'm confident that you can do it."

"...Madoka-chan and I will be here if you have trouble, or fall. ...How about we give you an example?" Mami turns to Madoka, "I think if we make it even a little bit of the way they'll see the idea, hm?"

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

Madoka misses Sayaka's question completely, but if she'd heard it, she would have gotten really self-conscious about never thinking about it before herself. This brighter, more cheerful and confident Madoka, though, might have teased a little in self-defense about how her best friend was asking because of previous experience...

(Let us never mention that softball jersey, from the year Number 04 started to develop big-girl sweat and Madoka-chan developed anxiety on not knowing how to warn her about it.)

(It was a year of many developments.)

Now, though, Madoka entreatingly holds her friend's hand -- Homura can feel the warmth of her right through the pretty, pink-stoned silver band between their entwined fingers. And she listens seriously to her idea, too.

"Mm-nn," she disagrees, gently -- not because of magic minimization economics, either. The reproach in her eyes is soft and innocent and so, so earnest. "That's cheating, though. We aren't supposed to use our magic for ourselves like that... ne?"

Called to attention, she rejoins the others.

Called to action, she passes the ring in front of her face, and not all that glitters is gold, after all.

An explosion of ruffles and ribbons. The sharp clap of wedge heels on concrete. An unfurling staff, falling as neatly into an outstretched hand as the marching band leader's baton.

"Haaaaaiiii!" Puella Magi Madoka agrees, gaily. "Ooh, let's do it like that one time, with the Breakfast Witch! One, two!"

And without further ado, the tightly closed rosebud at the end of the staff is igniting into magnificent flame, and the girl holding the bow is leaping high into the air.

Her first arrow pierces a ribbon conjured in an instant by Mami, and it secures its end to the top of the bridge; she catches its trailing yellow end, and swings like Tarzan. Before the parabola is even half over she's firing again. This time, the ribbon creates numerous thick knotty bows around the projectile, so when it thuds into a pillar, it's thick enough to stand on safely, and Madoka releases the first ribbon at the height of its arc, and lands on the second arrow neatly (and pidgeon-toed), a good twenty feet in the air.

Then she jumps back down to the ground and curtseys at the other -- flushing slightly. Showing off is a whole new world to Madoka Kaname, and she isn't completely comfortable just yet.

"Now you try! But remember, safety first!"

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sayaka's a dutiful student--far from a delinquent, even if she and Madoka probably have the worst grades here. But even she goggles a little at Eri finding the most exciting part of being able to stop time "doing more homework." Thankfully she doesn't catch the remark about hygiene--it's not super obvious if that's a compliment or not.

"Ehh? No way... it totally felt like the same clothes." Sayaka bends her arms inward and does a few torso twists, experimenting with the composition of her long, detached armlets by straining them at the elbows. "Where's the pattern stored?" she muses quietly as she lets her arms down. "Hey coach, where's the pattern--"

Looking at Mami reminds her that she just tried to call her senpai 'coach'. She stares tongue-tied for a moment at a smile last seen on earth in the days of Marie Antoinette and lose track of her limbs for a few seconds. Clearing her throat, she turns on her heel with an explosive little "thwip" of motion, facing Madoka and Homura as her cape slowly floats around to catch up with the abrupt motion.

It's a good distraction, seeing Madoka in her element like that. It's obvious how much Madoka means to Homura, and easy to imagine Sayaka getting jealous as to exactly who is whose best friend here. But Homura is so hapless, and so meek, that Sayaka just can't muster it at all. To be brutally frank, Homura doesn't feel like a threat to her place in Madoka's life. To Sayaka it's a sight of warm charity, of her once unassuming friend showing once more how amazing she's become.

Mami withdraws the flags, and it takes Sayaka a moment to notice the color associations, largely because Homura doesn't flaunt her purple the way Eri and Sayaka rep their own colors. Her eyes follow the ribbons up in wonder--they move like little ghosts, seemingly on their own. Even as she's considering a plan of attack on the pillar (and panicking because it seems impossible), Madoka steps up.

Sayaka's lips part as she watches. Perhaps Madoka has two things she does best, or many. Her joyousness is all part of how admirable she is. As she watches Madoka's simultaneously childlike and angelic ascent, she feels a warmth in her chest. She really picked a best friend, huh? Back in elementary.

She clears her throat again, trying not to get choked up about it.

"Okay!" Sayaka announces, stepping forward and bullheadedly taking charge despite being the least experienced member of her three-girl team. "We'll take it step by step... and try not to look down too much. First, Shimanouchi-chan..."

Sayaka summons a pale blue disk of musical staff, about ten feet in the air--she assumes Eri can manage that much. "Hop up as high as you can and use your whip to grab onto the pillar! Then you can pull us up." She bobs her head in a confident nod.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Oh! You don't have to do that!" Eri waves off Homura's offer, but then sorta... presents an alternate. "Well I'd love it if we... started a study group or something after we fight witches..." Eri comments to Homura. "...but..." However Mami expands upon it, and she nods quickly in agreement, "Exactly." Before turning her attention back to Homura, "Yeah I just thought... if we could get through labyrinths- like that - thanks to you, that we'd all have more time for other things. Which would help us all out so much." Well maybe not Mami who was basically perfect at time management... she thinks, but the rest of them.

However Mami... answers Sayaka's question like it was her first thought. And suddenly her evaluation of Sayaka shifts, as she just stares at her with mouth open.

Eri decides to table further talk because now that Mami has decided to it's time for their demonstration. And the girl instead looks between Madoka and Mami questioningly. Then at the ribbon flags as Mami sends them above. And Eri stands on the balls of her feet watching Mami and Madoka's teamwork... leaning forward as...


Eri starts clapping repeatedly, looking impressed. "It's like you two have been doing this together for years!"

And then... it's time for them. "Once I'm up. I'll send a vine down for you Homura-san." She promises, "You won't even have to climb. I'll do that for you!" Obviously she can sympathize with the idea of not being able to rope climb in P.E. class.

Eri then positions herself to the side of Sayaka's circle, and - takes a hop up. Easily making it up to it.

... and falls through it. Nothing. The blue circle ripples about her, and she clears her throat. Is that supposed to happen?" She says as she lands.

"Or... wait maybe I have to do something to trigger it." Now suddenly she's hopping up and down on the same spot, easily making it up to it each time, passing through it. "Up!"




"Softball!" Upon landing...

"Oh what did you say before... it's on the tip of my tongue..."

The girl snaps her fingers as she recalls the impact with the oildrum. Then hops up one last time, and as she passes through it, shouts.

"... unusual!" She says triumphantly, like suddenly she's about to be launched further aloft. Nothing happens. She passes through it again.

Upon landing, she turns back to Sayaka.

"How hard did you hit your head?" Eri asks Sayaka, suddenly alarmed. Before calling out to Mami, "Senpai! I think she broke her magic!"

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sayaka has a froglike expression on her face as she watches Eri drop through. "I'll try to focus, maybe I have to pay attention--upf..."

Down she goes again.

"Wait I'm not read--"

Right through.

"I think I got it this time!"


"Um," she says. "You know what? I shouldn't make the plan. You two seem smarter than me anyway..."

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"I hadn't thought about that..." What Mami says about her magical storage space has Homura's head bobbing agreeably, even as it clearly turns gears -- in her head, not on the shield. "I'll test what kinds of things it will hold later, and see what the limits are. Oh, I see. Efficiency, right!" Like she's taking notes in her head.

And speaking of homework... Madoka's disapproval has Homura startled, "Oh," and then hangdog, "oh." She feels ashamed for not having thought of that, and it shows -- but it's not the first time their moral priorities have diverged, and it will not be the last. She remembers a serene and shining hero standing alone against a world-ending storm Homura herself suggested fleeing: a fresh memory for her, still sharp-edged. She keeps looking down, and nods. "You're right, Kaname-san." Because she is.

The listening part of class is over. Lab time! Homura cranes her neck to follow along, and her eyes scale the bridge support. "It's so high..." A little gasp accompanies the flight of those colorful ribbon-bits, but the show has only just begun.

And it's just as heartstoppingly wondrous as the very first time she saw it, when they saved her. Well, okay. Maybe that time was a little extra wondrous. Still! All that gold and pink sparkles in her openly admiring eyes and off her glasses lenses, like fireworks on New Year's. "They're so good together," she marvels aloud, agreeing with her fellow learners.

Now it's their turn. Homura looks to her green and blue teammates, clearly ready -- to follow! A leader she is not, and she evinces relief when Sayaka takes bullish charge. Her plan... doesn't involve any time stopping whatsoever. It's hard not to then evince a bit of disappointment, but Homura just nods and steps back for Eri to work her whip vine magic! She's ready to be amazed all over again.

It works... not so well. Homura's head bounces till she's nearly dizzy, as she watches Eri jump and fall and jump and fall and jump and fall. "Oh my gosh... why isn't it working?" Her brow furrows. Sayaka gives over to Team Glasses, after, and Homura looks at Eri.

Then she looks down at her shield. "I wonder if it would hold a ladder..." But she hadn't come prepared. This makes an impression on Homura; she resolves to not let that happen again, if she can help it. "Next time," she says, very seriously. If a ladder fits, Homura will have a ladder in her shield forevermore.

Ideas, though. From Eri to Sayaka she looks, and then to their senpais, so experienced and wise. "Why didn't the um," what did she call them, "disks work for Shimanouchi-san? Did Miki-san really break her magic? Can... that happen?" Scary thought. Homura doesn't have any ideas, not yet. She hopes Eri does.

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

From the other side of the underbridge:

"GANBATTE!!!" cheers Madoka-chan.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The... pattern? Mami briefly misses the heart of the question as she glances over to Sayaka stretching, but also doesn't actually understand it at first. Sayaka abrubtly moves, and Mami blinks a little. "...?"

"Got it!" Mami answers Madoka when she calls the play--an analogy Mami herself would never think to use--and looks up brightly as she gets to work. Conjuring the ribbons is easy, effortless--but Mami has a solid inspiration. She watches Madoka work and when she finishes, Mami looks like the incarnation of pride in her partner, beaming in the face of Madoka's flush. "Perfect," the older girl says to her... and looks to the others.

They heard Madoka, after all.

So, while Mami doesn't chime in about the moral aspect of magic use this time, she watches the others start to get ready--and before even that, smiles as she notices Sayaka's expression. But, they all get moving, and Mami adopts a watchful stance, elegant as always, somehow everything in place despite throwing ribbons around. Eri falls through...

"Hrm," Mami says. She has an idea, but--


Mami nods firmly at that, "Don't give up! If what you'd planned at first doesn't work, try something else!"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Eri looks at Homura for a moment. Then offers a shrug. Sayaka doesn't seem especially injured.

And with Mami and Madoka cheering them on...

... well she feels compelled to just smile, make a small wave, and power on.

"We'll just not rely on it..." She then motions for the three to come together, and for a time there's whispering between her and Homura. There's nodding and conferring and occasional glances towards Sayaka. "... right and then..."

Once she's finished, she puts a hand to her waist. There's a tiny sparkle of a rune, and a vine appears, twisting itself around Eri instantly, before it crosses over to Homura in an almost serpentine way.

Spinning around her waist like a snug but not especially uncomfortable boa constrictor. The length of it continues to grow to leave ten meters of slack between them.

"Miki-san... do you think you could throw a sword up to..."

She gestures to near the top of the bridge.

"... there? If you can wedge it in enough to bear our weight then we have a plan..."

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"M'not damaged," Sayaka grumbles to herself. "Brain's fine." At least Madoka's saying nice stuff.

Squinting, Sayaka looks up. "I... I have no idea," she realizes, feeling silly for trying to figure it out at first. She's only fought once and it didn't last super long. But not only is Madoka's joy contagious, a super cool girl is watching her. "Y-yeah," she decides firmly. "I can throw it up there."

Letting a sword slide smoothly out of her glove, Sayaka grabs for it, only managing to catch the pommel with her fingers, due to nerves. Cursing her usual g-rated curses quietly, she helps out with her other hand and gets the sword in hand. Stepping back a few paces, she takes a deep breath, and charges forward with the slicing gait she uses in track and field at gym, to toss the plastic javelin. Hop-skipping the last step, she swings her body through and hurls the sword, throwing herself so far off balance as the silver barb looses that she topples onto her knees. It's totally not gonna make it...!

SHUNK! Just a meter or three lower than planned. Sayaka whoops in delight. There's no way her technique was anywhere near up to that... this is magic!

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"Go Miki-san!" cheers Homura, feeling bad about the whole damaged magic thing. The sword slides true, and for her part she doesn't even notice the fumbling. What does Homura know of sword handling? Sayaka threw it so far!

Okay. Okay! They can do this. Homura's determined, and she's sure -- two different things, and they work in tandem to make a firm line of her small mouth and put fresh pep in her step. She takes her position after the huddle, and gives Eri a thumbs-up. She's ready for her envining, arms raised.

A "Wow" pops out of Homura's mouth when that happens. It's a hug from a plant, kind of. Not something she'd ever thought to experience. Neat. It's time! Homura reaches for her shield.

It's like a glitch in reality, the way the three girls abruptly disappear--

--and reappear where they were not. No time passes at all, at least for Mami and Madoka.

Homura reappears with a purple ribbon-flag in one hand, and an ankle-to-thigh run up one dainty stocking. She pretends very hard that her pale leg isn't peeking out, and is blinking very rapidly. With her other hand she clutches that vine still around her waist as if for dear life.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Eri reappears in the same moment she disappeared beneath the bridge still linked to Homura by the vines...

...but now also linked to Sayaka by a whip that's wrapped around the other girl's left calf. She's holding a flag in her opposite hand.

On careful examination she seems to be missing a single boot on her right foot...

... which hits the ground a good five seconds after she reappears with a thud.

The girl does not even look in its direction.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sayaka looks dazed, her part several inches left of where it usually is, and her hair unkempt because of it. Puffing her lips, she spits out a leaf.

Lifting her blue ribbon, she beams tiredly over at Madoka and Mami. "We god--" she starts.

Her attempt at speech alerts her. Reaching a gloved finger in and feeling around her gumline, Sayaka pulls out another leaf, and flicks with her fingers until she manages to get it to unstick from her glove.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

For her part, Mami holds any advice, explanations, beyond just cheering them on with Madoka. She's looking forward to watching them figure it out, watching them understand it, and as Eri conjures a vine first, Sayaka makes a difficult throw--Mami's attention is quite kept. She sees the nerves, there--but thw throw, too, and--

She gets it! Mami watches the whole motion of Sayaka for the moment, pleased, but at that point she looks to Homura, waiting to see what she will do--

And as it turns out she does not get to watch them figure it out, precisely. Mami pauses in place, a sort of pleasantly blank expression on her face.. and then smiles ruefully, letting even that aside to make it warm instead.

"Well," she indicates, beginning to clap proudly, obviously happy. She pauses, and lifts an eyebrow when she spots Eri's missing boot, Homura's run in her tights... and... Leaves? In Sayaka's mouth? "It seems that the three of you had quite the adventure!"

"So, I'm sure you didn't break anything--it seems you learned something important. But--"

This is... indelicate. Mami appears to be choosing her words carefully.

"You did it!" she says with more confidence, "Very fine work. Only..." She considers, glances to Madoka, and then back to the others and says, "I'm highly impressed by your teamwork after the initial mix-up, but--"

"...Why are there leaves in your mouth?" she asks of Sayaka in particular because really that's the strangest of the three at all.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Eri's face has run through the gamut since Mami started praising them... even if it's restrained. Happy then... more subdued... then happy again. Until...

'Why are there leaves in your mouth?'

Eri still silent, gives Sayaka a panicked look...

...it has the feel of the two being in class together...

...and Sayaka being called upon by the teacher to tattle on a classmate.

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

Madoka almost jumps out of her skin when the group seems to teleport, and she emits a soft little meep! last witnessed on the summer trip when one too many ghost stories were being told.

"Uehihi," she giggles nervously -- then, after a second of composing herself, and sharing Mami's look, she flashes the group the V for victory.

Unable to fully express herself and her energy through this gesture, she clops her feet back and forth a couple times, running in place. The goofy little pink jig of the eager Madoka.

"We couldn't see anything, so tell us everything!!" she implores, in the wake of Mami's more specific question.

Pausing with a finger on her cheek, she muses, "I guess that's one use of it... to hide what you're doing. Cool!"

(New BB message (1/10) posted to 'Public' by Sucy Manbavaran: Re: Akko)

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sayaka gets an eerie, big-eyed look when Madoka does that maximum-adorable dance. Tapping her ring finger, she starts to mouth 'Marry--' silently, until Mami interrupts with a specific question.

Sayaka feels like she got called on at school, too. Not a new sensation for her.

"Um," she says, scratching her cheek self-consciously. "I had to stick a sword into the pillar, and I felt my other hand slipping, so... I panicked and bit the vine to grab on. And sorta... my teeth and hand both slid for a foot or so..."

Sayaka looks to Eri and Homura for assistance.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"I did learn something important, Tomoe-san." She's still blinking, but it gradually slows, like some visible tracker of Homura's hummingbird-quick heartbeat calming. "Um, I can bring other people with me. And that could be helpful..."

And that praise... and that dance. A tiny smile wibbles up. Homura is hesitant to be proud but it's hard to help, and it shines through the cracks of her uncertainty like sunlight through parted fingers. She adds, if quietly: "And it was, too." Because they're each holding their flags, and she helped.

But Mami and Madoka want to know how it happened, ah dear. Homura reflexively looks at that glaring run ripping right through purple diamonds, now, the one she'd been ignoring. Then she takes a deep breath and follows Sayaka up with some more explanation.

"...a-and I was way up there and Shimanouchi-san's vine had me, but I sort of wobbled sideways and overbalanced and went upside down, and my stockings caught on one of those big bolts that holds the bridge together... but I didn't lose my glasses!"

Because she caught them when they fell right off her face, she doesn't say. Instead Homura gives the Eri-vine around her waist a little pat of thank-you. It took good care of her.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Eri looks so relieved when Sayaka explains it that way, feeling like she's melting on the spot out of relief. It allows her to enjoy Madoka's little eager dance.

"... right... and then - I helped catch her." As she wiggles the whip, causing it to come off her leg.

Right now she's standing there in a patterned green sock. And slowly as Homura starts to explain, she begins to step over towards her boot. Stepping on the toe she rights it, then sticks her foot into it, grabbing each side as she pulls it back on. "It was a close call but she managed to keep them on her face."

She takes a deep breath. "We had no idea... originally we were going to um... well... Homura-san was going to use us as platforms while we were frozen. You know like..."

Eri puts one hand together, and makes a motion of the other hand landing on it. "... leapfrog ... and if she fell from high up - there'd be no danger, since she'd be attached to me and I'd be... frozen."

She taps both of her pointer fingers first, before murmuring her thought process, "... you did say safety was more a priority than speed. And well..."

She points her hands Homura's way and suddenly becomes more enthusiastic, "... her magic is like... wow! I've never experienced anything like it. And once we found that out we just... went with it..."

There's a lengthy pause. Then she ends with.

"... and then a lot happened. And now we're here."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Maybe Mami doesn't dance but she moves from a dignified laugh to a proper giggle over the issue despite herself. Still though--"That's true," Mami admits, about hiding what they're doing. She... does not catch what Sayaka is mouthing this time though, instead watching Sayaka gamely for the explanation, and... Then.. It...

"That is helpful," Mami answers Homura, but she seems if anything more confused than she was before. In the end she looks between the three of them, and then--

"You know, you did great! I think I'll just leave it at that for now, hm?" A beat, "Safety is a priority. But I think you seem to be working better together already, don't you?"

There's so many of them together, like this. It's almost more than Mami dreamed of in the first place. But now...

"I'll have to try it myself sometime, though I think... Maybe I'm not first in line." Mami at this point walks up to each of them in turn, and collects the little flags. Sure, she could have just gotten rid of them, but...

She doesn't. They're special, now. Important little squares of fabric.

"We're just getting started! Though..." Mami winks, "Madoka-chan had a good idea, so I don't think it's so bad if we take a moment..." Mami returns to where she'd stowed her things, and picks up a little box that appears to be full of handmade cupcakes. "I made us each one!"

They even have names on them. And colored frosting! Each has a little bit of theming.