2019-02-22 - TIMELINE 3: One More Bug To Squash

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Title: TIMELINE 3: One More Bug To Squash

Another girl in a golden mask comes to antagonise Mikoto, and this time she knows how important resistance is. But it's hard to resist a good question.


Mikoto Minagi, The White Queen


Tama Outer City - Tama River

OOC - IC Date:

2019-02-22 - 2014-09-12

.****************************** Tama Outer City *******************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Tama River +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 At the head of this river, deep in the Tama region, a dam forms Lake
 Okutama. Gazing upon its calm waters, it is difficult to imagine that
 beneath the dam, a great river erupts. In days past, the Tama River ran
 rampant, flooding frequently, often so intensely as to wash away towns or
 permanently alter its course. Today, the dam and an expensive series of
 levees have tamed this serpent of water, and its floods, while frequent,
 cause no significant damage.

 The new Tama River is a beloved location for leisure and recreation.
 Kayaking along its rapids, rock climbing and bouldering in nearby parks,
 picnicking alongside its slower sections; Tama is a long river, and has
 something for everyone. A great number of sports fields have sprung up on
 its banks, for children and adults alike, and it's not uncommon for the Tama
 River to host school games. Neighboring areas flock to the riverside at
 festival-time, erecting food stalls and fair games.

 The mouth of the river empties into Tokyo Bay in the Yamanote region of the
 city, right next to Haneda Airport.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

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

It's the day before the Sports Festival, and Mikoto left school morose. She did not speak of her sadness, and she was not well-liked enough by her classmates for them to ask. But if someone knew the reason - her sadness would be obvious. Midori is dead.

She found herself in Tama's outer reaches, in Nishitama - and there she met Tama, the cat. So, too, did she witness Yumi's true strength, and her magic salved Mikoto's wounds and let her smile again.

All she has to do - is not think of the sad things.

From train-line to feline to river, as the sun dips low in the sky, Mikoto finds herself walking along the water's edge of Tama River. Being in nature calms her down - it's just like home. She thinks perhaps she will bring Mai home a fish, then realises she has no swimming costume.

Supported by lingering magic, she is not, for once, worried about being watched. It means she can exist in the moment, as she strolls along the bank, thinking only of the fish darting close to the surface and the birds singing their territory in the trees.

She does not care much, as she draws away from the few people still resting by the river to a secluded bend. There is still plenty of activity here - it just isn't human. She is adopted to tooth and claw, but she knows its ways well enough. She's comfortable here. It is enough just to exist as part of this ancient design, not disturbing the peace with clumsy footfalls as some girls would.

At Ohtori, they make fun of her for not understanding the rules. But Mikoto is a very country sort of girl, and she knows the rules to a different place. Here, she is perfectly well-behaved; here, she fits in.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Ye-jin too is repaired from days past, her wounds sealed shut by a combination of her own innate healing and medical treatment. In the days after the incident at the industrial district she has spent nights stalking the halls and rooftops of Ohtori, keeping watchful eye over the school grounds. Her mundane self has become scarce, distracted by the events that will soon come to a head.

And distracted by keeping an eye on select people of interest. Mikoto ranks among them, and her defiance the nights previous has not gone unforgiven.

Were she her normal self, navigating unsculpted nature would be a clumsy endeavor. With magic, it becomes less so. Her footsteps are light, only the faint rustling of trees giving away her movements on the opposite shoreline. Until, after a moment of observation, she reveals herself.

She appears on the opposite side of the river, emerging from the trees. She'll be familiar instantly, adorned in the same mask Mikoto saw her in before. Her Element is loosely curled between her fingers, resting casually at hip. The girl in the mask does not speak--she trusts her presence will be noted, and waits accordingly.

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

Mikoto takes little notice of her classmates, even talented dancers. She has not noticed the absence. Certainly, yes, she has been wary; but there are many mundane reasons someone might not come to class.

All that aside, her classmates just aren't that important. She doesn't notice them or their whispers terribly much.

A bird, on the opposite side of the river, gives a little twitter of alarm as it realises a girl has passed so close without it noticing; and this, too, could be a perfectly mundane thing. There are many things which can cause a bird disgruntlement. Birds are notoriously cantankerous things, difficult to catch.

It is only after another bird squarks a complaint as it, too, realises there is a visitor it has not noticed that Mikoto looks over to the other bank.


Time to think about bad things again.

But this time, Mikoto will not give them the chance to cow her so easily. She swings her black case about and draws her blade with smooth motions, holding it in front of her with a tight grip reflected in the set of her jaw. "What do you want?!" She demands, voice raising to carry over the river - she will not assume their hearing is as keen as hers.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Ye-jin has had a chance to become familiar with that dark blade by now, and just how dangerous it is. Yet there's enough space between the two that she will be prepared, should the dark-haired girl see fit to use it.

And she may give her a cause to, eventually.

Not right away, though. "I want to talk with you," She says, her own voice raised slightly. She trusts it will carry over the gentle bubble of the river without having to shout. Yelling would be too undignified. "And give you another chance to turn yourself in. There's no reason to oppose us--so I want to know why you're wasting my time." She peers speculatively across the distance, dark eyes locked on the figure of Mikoto Minagi.

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

It carries well enough; all that aside, Mikoto's ears are keen, and can pick up the sounds. Her sharp senses are something of a mystery; they're certainly not native features of the HiME.

Clearing the river is certainly possible, for a magical girl, but it would be a clear act of aggression. The White Queen claims she wants to talk, not to fight. "Holding Element," Mikoto notes, acrid, on her desire to parley.

Someone like Madoka can make peace at the end of a weapon. Mikoto isn't that sort of person at all.

But she does not just want to talk. She wants to know why. She wants her to turn herself in. And the curl of Mikoto's lip is an instant answer, the way her chin ducks and her shoulders stiffen. "No reason? You killed Midori!" She snaps, because the anonymity of their masks lends them to being seen as a whole. "You were gonna hurt Mai."

She puffs a breath out through her teeth, tongue clicking against the back of them in a sound of dismissal. "Wasn't smart. I had no reason to get involved. Now I do. Wanna know why?" Mikoto jerks her chin towards the river: "Water reflects. Take a look."

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I might decide to use it." Replies the girl in the mask. She also may not be good at making peace. Perhaps that's not what she's really here for at all. Still, she hasn't made any overtly hostile movement as yet.

"If you're so upset about it," She replies to Mikoto's accusation, "Maybe you should have did what I told you and gave up?" Her head tilts, a finger pressed thoughtfully to her cheek. "Doesn't this sound like your fault?" The words carry a hint of mockery for Mikoto's distress.

She does not know any Mais, or at least finds no significance in any that she might be familiar with. It's something to consider later, should she have time.

Her eyes flicker toward the river, but she doesn't have trouble following Mikoto's accusation. Her fingers spread outward, making a dismissive little wag of her hand. "It doesn't matter to me if you want to get in the way." Dark eyes narrow into thin slits behind the golden mask. "To me it's just one more bug to squash."

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

'Doesn't this sound like your fault?'

Mikoto hisses in a breath, and looks away, and she does not say what it sounds like, and she hardly needs to.

There is so much in a maybe, a perhaps, a what-if.

That is why Mikoto prefers to avoid them entirely.

She does not realise that the White Queen did not know Mai's name; she does not realise she has endangered her. She never does. Mikoto was not designed to wage war with words.

"I don't take orders from you," she snaps, as she looks back to her, and it is something of a lie. She has certainly been directed by the Woman in Black; it is why she was at the refinery at all. "Not gonna tell you anything. And I'm not gonna die to you, neither. But I'll protect them," she says, black sword in her grasp.

Those golden eyes narrow. "They're scared of me. You should be, too." And she is not like them, those girls in their vestments who work together on every problem Tokyo faces; she is something apart. The Woman in Black wanted to use it to threaten her. Fine. She'll use it to threaten the White Queen, too.

<Pose Tracker> Ye-jin Song [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There's a brief satisfaction from the masked girl at Mikoto's second of hesitance. Her barb, she assumes, has some effect. She even smiles, briefly.

It doesn't last long. Her lips settle back into their neutral line as Mikoto declares her intent to protect and warning that she should be feared.

Does the White Queen fear the girl with the obsidian sword? When they tangled in the sky above Tokyo's industrial district she felt the bite of Miroku and the animal strength of its wielder, and she knows of the danger they present.

But there is nothing on earth that will defy her golden age.

"I'm not." The hand holding her Element flickers outward, the white line of her weapon unfolding in front of her. Mikoto knows the sound by now, rush of air that comes before a deafening crack.

It's not aimed at her. The explosion hits the bubbling mass of water that separates them and sends sheets of water scattering across the riverbank. Globs of water erupt in every direction, droplets of liquid blotting out the space between girls. When the mist clears the girl in the mask has vanished, lost amidst the trees. Back to Ohtori, and back to work.