2019-03-03 - TIMELINE 3: It's Your Fault

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Title: TIMELINE 3: It's Your Fault

Endo isn't on Mikoto's side. He's just against Alyssa's side.


Mikoto Minagi, Endo Naoki


Ohtori Academy (Caverns)

OOC - IC Date:

2019-03-03 - 2014-09-15

.******************** Yamanote High City - Ohtori Academy *********************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Ohtori Academy +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 The ivory crown on the brow of Southern Cross Island, Ohtori Academy is
 separated from the world by more than just water. Outside, education can be
 a luxury. Within this white-walled compound, education is luxurious.
 Marble colonnades spring up like fountain spouts, scarlet flowers drench
 every free surface. The architecture is at once daringly art deco and
 austerely Classical, white marble lending an angelic weightlessness to
 pillars and fences that can seem more woven than carved.

 At the center of campus is the Chairman's Tower, a dizzyingly tall spire in
 the center of a manicured grassy field. Radiating around this field are the
 lecture halls, dormitories, art buildings, and other facilities by which the
 chosen few receive education, with small class sizes in large buildings.
 It's common for students to refer to a building's location as if the hour
 hand of a great clock extended from the central tower. At twelve o'clock,
 for instance, the Duel Arena looms like a jade stormcloud, a great forest
 forming a living pagoda of leaves that reminds even longtime students that
 their school keeps many secrets.

 The rose is the emblem of Ohtori, and campus is decorated with a profusion
 of them, both living and frozen in frieze. Poppies are favored as well, and
 thick carpets of either flower can be found wherever the loosest excuse is
 available. Only the most bitter of winters seems able to fully erase the
 faint fragrance from the air, and students who leave the island via quick,
 convenient bridge or ferry can often find a memory of it on their clothing.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

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

The Orphan which has found them all but fills the tunnel in its size, and Mikoto knows they are hurting too much to fight. She tells them she'll take care of it and she slams her blade into the ground, and the force of the blow crumbles the rock. Down, down they tumble, to a lower level of the caverns.

When she doesn't have to worry about hitting her friends in such close quarters, it's much easier to take care of it.

And when the Orphan has faded, she is alone.


Step, step, step. Miroku drags loosely against the stone and Mikoto's stolen boots echo off the walls. They are etched in old-old carvings and Mikoto cannot guess as to their age, but she knows they must be old, older than she has ever seen. Perhaps this was once a long hall; now moss has grown over the edges and the only hint of richness is the pressed imprint where tapestries used to hang, centuries ago.

The stone has long since shattered to show entrances to other caverns; a few of the openings are small, too small to fit through, but others are comfortably large enough to emerge from.

For monsters to crawl out of.

Mikoto wonders when she will see the sky again, cornered down here as they are. All a sudden in the vast embrace of earth she feels rather small, because she does not know what to do, and she cannot find Mai to ask. When she tries to help she gets them hurt.

They do not have a defender any more, she realises with a sick drop to her stomach, of the girls she has left behind. She hopes Georgia is bloodthirsty enough to ignore her wounds and handle it. She recognises her own.

But Mikoto is important too - and here, she has no safety net.

Perhaps the Black Bishop had a point.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Mikoto Minagi is not alone in the deep caverns underneath Ohtori, but her company isn't limited only to monsters.

Endo Naoki, already escaped from Ohtori Academy early during the occupation, has been driven from the forest and deep underground by the golden pillar of Artemis' cannon and storm of incensed Orphans that followed. Pursuit has driven him down, down, and father still, into ancient passages that wind through dark stone.

His steps are likely louder than Mikoto's, heavy and tired footfalls that come with the occasional rattle of loose rocks or a scape of metal on stone. He carries his own weapon across a shoulder, a burden that appears more like luggage than an implement of war as he trudges forward. It emits a thin,

His hearing is note as acute as the cat-like girl also lost below, but in the oppressive silence it's hard not to notice the sound of something that does not come from him. Yet there is no way but forward for him to go, and his steps soon take him into the cavern where his and her paths intersect.

Besides being easy to hear, he's also easy to see. The thin violet light that radiates from his weapon and guides his path frames his silhouette in the entrance of the cavern he emerges from. It is clear he's not an orphan, and the outline he and his intelligent weapon cut is hard to mistake for anyone else.

Most helpful, perhaps, is his voice: "Minagi." The emptiness of this place is overbearing, yet the presence of this particular other does nothing to improve his mood.

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

Where can Mikoto go - but forward? There is someone else here, human, judging by the little impacts on stone. She does not think they are a soldier; she only hears two feet. One of the golden-masked girls, perhaps, but there is a drudgery to the rhythm which makes her doubt.

It at least means that when she draws into view of Endo, she has reasonable doubt over whether she must fight.

It is doubt which casts in uncertain light as she sees the glow cast off by his blade.

She does not get along with him.

But there is a weariness to the way she drags her blade, the way her shoulders hang. She is bruised, visibly, a long blunt impact along the right side of her face, and she looks to him through one golden eye. She is dirtied by exile. "Endo," she greets him, in turn. "Fallen Stern."

(Old blades have names, and have earned at least that much respect.)

Silence hangs like a guillotine for a long moment as she turns her gaze over him, and finally she is the one to shatter it. "... I'm just looking for my friends," she explains, looking away, conciliative. "Not trouble."

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo too is tired, that much can easily be seen. Mikoto Minagi often gives him cause to be wary, but today it is not enough to take any pre-emptive action. He can see her bent shoulders in the dim light, and he has good cause to believe she's just as haggard as he is.

He lets her words hang for a moment, lips pressed into a thin line. "I don't want to fight." Not that it has ever been his first inclination--but given the natures of their weapons and the increasing climate of uncertainty between magical girls, conflict between Mikoto and Endo has always loomed as a possibility.

"...But you and your friends are the reason trouble is here in the first place." This grumbled addition comes with an unhappy frown. The announcement yesterday is a strong indicator that this is, in fact, Mikoto's fault. "It's your fault this is happening, right?"

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

Endo doesn't want to fight. Mikoto doesn't care to fight, most of the time, either. It is one of the greatest sins which may be laid at her feet: her inaction. She does not rush to intercede herself in the conflicts of Tokyo. She has her own objectives.

Even so, sometimes she gets involved.

And when she does, it is so easy for there to be... accidents.

Perhaps it's no wonder she's unpopular, especially with someone else wielding an old blade.

Still, he offers her the peace-bond and she nods, curt, as she accepts it. It is acceptance followed by a scowl as he places blame, and she shifts, turning aside, a shoulder to him. Perhaps Fallen Stern can illuminate the birthmark there. It is a clear indication of fault.

"Yeah," she concludes, after a moment. Mikoto is not given to lie, and it is plain to see that SEARRS would not do this if they had not gathered here. "Alyssa wants us." She puffs out a breath, quiet. "... but we can't help being HiME, Endo."

Alyssa called it an inheritance, an ancient contract.

No one can change their fate so easily.

"And I can't just go with them." Her hands clench at her blade; her teeth set in a line. "I still got something I gotta do."

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo considers, though his frown remains. The admission of guilt is at least better to him than any attempts to deny, and though he has little idea of the metaphysics behind HiME he can be reasonably certain that she does not, in fact, have a choice to be something otherwise.

Endo is no stranger to making hard choices--he's done so before, some that have contributed to his own seperation from potential friends and allies--but siding with Searrs is not the one he has made here. The occupying force is too violate, and it's methods and messengers too vicious to be trusted. That Mikoto is not planning on complying is not any great loss to him.

"So are you going to run away?" That's the question that comes next, sounding just as accusatory as the one that came before it. The boy with the ancient sword is also not planning on allowing Searrs stated plans to come to fruition, nor their ultimatum to pass uncontested.

"If this is your fault, you should take responsibility."

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

'We're going.'

Endo cannot know Mikoto is already carrying the weight of her decision to run, when he accuses her, but perhaps he can see the way she flinches against it, the way her lips part to draw in a sharp breath. "I --"

When she tried to tell them what to do, she just got them hurt. What kind of responsibility can someone like her even take?

"They were hurt," she finds the words, guarded as she defends herself from the barbs. "I had to choose." And choice is such a hard thing, isn't it? Between a clear victory, and...

Her jaw clenches and she feels the ache along her face. She knows she cannot leave her friends to suffer and die. It is so much simpler when she can save them by fighting.

Mikoto shakes her head. "I'm not giving up," she says, finally. "I'll fight. I'll defeat them." Hot anger lances through her as she remembers Mai's declaration, and she adds, acrid: "... I'll really make them regret it."

Because they made Mai sad, and also for several other, lesser reasons.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

It's hard to say what Endo would have done in Mikoto's situation. He too has people he needs to protect. Perhaps there's an inkling of understanding there, or sympathy.

But Endo will also not give up, and he is unwilling to bear too much compassion to those unwilling to shoulder the same burdens. That Mikoto affirms her dedication is at least a step in the right direction, and it earns a grudging nod from the boy on the opposite side of the cavern.

"Okay." Mikoto's reasons, revenge and others, are not concerning in the face of the threat of Alyssa Searrs and her army. The only thing that matters is that she'll fight, and hopefully not make things any worse.

"I'm going." He makes this announcement after a stunted silence, beginning to drag himself forward once more. He knows the path Mikoto came through is no good, and neither is backward. There are other tunnels though, and the purple embers of his Device are soon heading down another dark and empty path.

He does not invite Mikoto with him--though he refrains from any verbal grudge to her presence if she follows.

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


Mikoto will fight, at least.

That much is true.

"Yeah," Mikoto agrees, as he says he is leaving, and it is an acknowledgement of his announcement and her own intention, too. She is economical with her words. She does not tell him to take care of himself, and she does not wish him luck. They're not friends.

"... defeat them," she says, instead, as he leaves. "They're enemies."

It's a sensible sort of wish, for someone holding a black blade. She's sure Endo can understand that much.

Does she?

She does not make a move until Fallen Stern's light is distant, and then she keeps going, down another side-tunnel.

They each have their people to protect.