2019-03-17 - TIMELINE 3: The Use Of A Spent Shell Casing

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Title: TIMELINE 3: The Use Of A Spent Shell Casing

Mikoto goes to give Yumi her Christmas presents early, because she's still figuring out the etiquette. They fall onto the question of Ye-jin, and Yumi has a perspective which fits neatly with Mikoto's.


Mikoto Minagi, Yumi Ohzora


Infinity Institute - Dormitories

OOC - IC Date:

2019-03-17 - 2014-12-23

.******************** Tama Outer City - Infinity Institute ********************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Dormitories +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 The main dormitories of the Infinity Institute are, like most other school
 services, within the monolithic tower itself. The accommodations are
 slightly more homey than the class and club levels, though, with dorm levels
 having warmer lighting and wood paneling. Built-in furnishings are fairly
 ordinary: A desk and bed for each occupant, a Japanese-style table for
 sitting around, and, most luxuriously, a small kitchenette. Each room houses
 two or three students, with separate floors for boys and girls, with floors
 arranged by grade level. Each floor also has a live-in teacher of the
 appropriate gender to make sure nothing goes too terribly wrong.

 The communal accommodations are fairly lavish. The baths on each level are
 enormous, laid out in the fashion of large public Japanese baths and
 arranged with artful stones and greenery like a resort. Exactly which kind
 of resort depends on the school level. Similarly, the gymnasium has lifting
 machines that can support loads of multiple dozen tons and treadmills that
 at least claim to be capable of going up to sixty miles an hour.

 Although accommodations can be made for talented younger children,
 officially speaking the dorm only accepts students once they reach middle
 school. Although attending Infinity is free due to its charter status, the
 boarding costs are steep, so poorer students tend to live at home or seek
 scholarships. Much to Infinitys fiscal delight, the dorms remain a popular
 choice for those who can afford it; parents consider them a safe and healthy
 environment, and students enjoy the relative lack of supervision.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

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


"... score was so bad," one of Mikoto's classmates whispers, animatedly. "Oh, I couldn't believe it. At least she did better than - oh, what was her name? The girl who dropped out after those unpleasantries."


"Yeah, I don't even wanna know how bad hers looked."

"Oh," her friend remarks, in mild surprise, "haven't you heard the news?"

The first girl leans forward on her elbows. "Oh, now you've got to tell me!"

"They say she's since died," says the second girl, nails by the shaped 'O' of her lips. "I suppose that's why she never came back to school. Shocking, don't you think?"

Suddenly, three desks back, there is the loud scraping of a chair being abruptly thrown back. Mikoto shrugs her knapsack onto one shoulder and Miroku's case onto the other, and leaves with quick steps, even as the teacher calls out behind her: "Minagi-san, we still have ten more minutes of quiet --"

It's too late; she's gone.

The first girl turns to her friend, and smirks. "Well, we know why her results were so bad," she comments in a conspiratorial whisper, with no hint of irony.

"Was anyone expecting anything more from her..?" Wonders the second girl.

"Standards at this school are really plunging," sighs the first. "How terrible..."



Mikoto has been attached to Mai since the invasion, of course, but there are times Mai has to do things on her own, and Mikoto is left to her own devices. Apparently hanging around Mai's workplaces all the time is 'disruptive', for some reason. It doesn't make much sense to her, but there they are.

She's seen to gift-shopping - Yumi was instrumental there, too - and everything is already packaged and wrapped. Today it is Yumi she seeks out again, but this time she is not looking for advice on how to handle Christmas like the girls of Tokyo do. Today she is delivering a present, a little box with a big red bow. There is also a slightly larger box, this one with a green bow. They are held within a festive-printed bag. What could be inside..?!

By now she knows the way through Infinity to Yumi's dormitory, just as she knows the way to the fancy wing of the hospital. It's a good thing, because with the holidays, there are few students to be found milling about. Mikoto knocks just below the decorative plate, rap-rap-rap. The incessant tapping is soon informed by a voice: "Yumiii!"

Yumi lives with a cat, she knows the sound of someone who wants to come inside.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.


"...Yumi-chan's been kind of different, hasn't she? Since she got back from the hospital last time. It's kind of..."

"Sh--c'mon, don't talk about her while she's over there. Besides, she came back a month after--you know..."

Yumi Ohzora doesn't look back at the other girls, this time. She lifts an eyebrow at someone looking her way, and steps down through the halls, pale as ever.


Yumi Ohzora has been prolific in her art, a little quieter, a little more intense... And, well--

Yes, in fact, she gave Mikoto advice and cash for presents. She has not returned to her mother's home for the holidays, though she does have some family plans for the new year. She is still in the dorms, like some of the others, and frankly... She's kind of been enjoying the relative quiet. Having the baths on the floor mostly to herself is nice, too, especially given what the cold does to her. And now...

It's easy to find the way to Yumi's dorm--it's indeed rather specifically accessible... And the other name on the door refers to someone who's already out for the moment. Instead--

Yumi knows that sound, all right. That voice, too.

The door opens a litttttle after that knock, Yumi's face visible as she leans into the doorframe with a smile. "Hey, Mikoto-chan," the tall girl answers--her gray hair's loose, just now, her feet covered in indoor slippers, and she's wearing jeans and a long-sleeved blouse, pale with teal-panelled Aohime designs--it's collared, but the overall effect is very femme as Aohime goes.

"C'mon in. Tama's napping, I think."

She opens the door the rest of the way, letting Mikoto in and... well, she doesn't comment on the bag to start, naturally. That'd be rude!

But the dorm seems both warm and empty.

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

Mikoto, for her part, does not wear fashionable designer clothing at all. In fact, it would not be inaccurate to say the garish clashing greens and blues of her shirt came straight from a second-hand shop. Anyone who didn't know her better would say she was doing it on purpose. Everyone who knows her better just knows it was probably the first thing she grabbed after she woke up and she's spent no time thinking about it since. Worse, there's a magneta turtleneck underneath that shirt, which is officially too many colours. At least the tights and the shorts she's wearing over them are black. The contrast between top and bottom only furthers the idea that there was absolutely nothing deliberate about this outfit whatsoever.

"Yumi!" She chirps, and slips on in, slipping out of sensible Ohtori flats in the entryway before she wraps herself around her friend's midsection in a hug which at least isn't too tight. (She has noticed her loose clothing.) She straightens up with a loose spin, holding up the bag. "Presents!" She chirps, happily. "One for Yumi, one for Lost Ivy, and bag for Tama." It's one of those big reinforced gift bags. It is easily cat-sized.

Mikoto asides, in a whisper: "I stitched catnip in seams."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Yumi is known to wear a few garsih colors herself--buuut they work for her a little better, help set off her otherwise unhealthy complexion when paired with the right makeup, the right acessories...

Fashion's not just about looks in the conventional sense for her--it's a way to look better, to ally some worries, to get people to see her more.

But those thoughts aside--

Yumi hugs bag, somewhat gently, and quietly appreciates the gentle handling for the moment--the loose clothes she's wearing are chosen that way for a reason, and she looks brightly down at her friend. "Oh! Very thoughtful," Yumi answers with a smile, closes the door behind them--and leaaans down, "Nice. I wonder how quick she'll notice..."

She laughs faintly, "I'll call her over and open them up--do you want something to drink?" She gestures to her couch, to the nice table in front of it--it still has the colored throw pillows, the staples of decoration. "You seem like you figured out things pretty well."

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

Oh, Mikoto is sure Tama will notice eventually. "Sometime!" She says. Maybe one day Tama will even forgive Mikoto for making her fascinated with a bag.

Meanwhile, Mikoto smiles, brightly, up at Yumi. She doesn't need to worry about looking fashionable to get Mikoto to see her, at least. She offers a drink, and Mikoto nods. "Okay!" She doesn't specify any drink in particular, because she knows Yumi will bring her something good.

Stepping over to the couch, Mikoto settles herself down, leaning over one of those big pillows. "Eri helped me!" She informs Yumi, with impeccable cheer. Eri, of course, is not the only person to have helped her, but Eri is the one who went shopping with her, so it's Eri's name she mentions. Her voice shifts thoughtful as she says: "Not just with gifts... gave me something good to do after school."

Why she'd need something good after school, of course, she doesn't mention.

It's probably her grades. Mikoto has had abysmal luck with school ever since the one teacher who liked her work disappeared.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Absolutely 'soon', Yumi is sure. ...If Tama is actually napping...

Maybe she's just keeping her dignity. She does start padding into the room, casually, nonchalant.

"Cool," Yumi answers, and comes over to the couch to take a seat in the soft chair next to it, so she can face Mikoto at an angle--the seats being at right angles, naturally. "Did she?" Yumi asks. "That's good. I bet she'd know a lot of good thigns to look into..." Yumi... doesn't, always. But she does think.

"--Somthing after school, huh?" Yumi asks. "I'm out of the loop--what're you up to? New club, or...?"

Yumi tracks all her friends' grades, especially Mikoto. She knows full well--but hasn't commented. Instead, for the moment...

Tama suddenly appears, having jumped from behind, and peers down. "Good evening," she says to Mikoto. Her nose twitches. Her tail sloooowly shifts back and forth.

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

Mikoto reaches out, idly, to bat at the arm of Yumi's chair. "Yup," she says. "Eri's good at shopping." Eri is, at least, good at shopping as far as Mikoto is concerned, but it is possible Mikoto is easily impressed in this arena. She's only just gotten used to capitalism over the past year or so, and the cultural trappings of a Girl's Shopping Trip are lost on her.

It at least makes her good at helping Mai decide on what to buy whenever they're on the town, because Mikoto doesn't deliberate on the options.

Yumi asks, and Mikoto blinks big golden eyes as she looks up at her, misunderstanding the question. "Club..? I don't got time for that." Certainly, some have tried. There is a committee of golfers on Ohtori who are convinced she's some sort of prodigy. But Mikoto has a task to see to, and she can't waste time hitting balls with sticks.

Maybe if there was a club about petting cats, she'd reconsider.

(The Animal Care Club is not on her radar, because Mikoto has no interest in looking into clubs.)

And then there's Tama, jumping up. Mikoto tilts her head up to see her, grinning. "Tama!" She greets her, happily, and looks back to Yumi and the presents she holds captive.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Bat, bat. Yumi smiles--she ends up swinging her legs up underneath herself in the chain, knees together, because... she's still kind of cold, despite the room being warm by most standards. She is however much more accustomed to capitalism... and to deciding what things to get.

"Oh." Well, not a club--of course not. But, Yumi realizes, she got in her own way there--"Then, what do you do? I want to hear about it."

Cat petting club...

"Yes," Tama agrees, and then nudges Mikoto's face with hers in greeting, stepping down and landing on the cushion beside the smaller of the two girls. "It's a good time for a visit."

She is stoic. She is not messing with bags.

"So, do you want to show me what you brought?"

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

"I look for my Lord Brother," Mikoto explains. It's not so surprising Yumi doesn't know about it, she supposes. Yumi doesn't go to Ohtori, so she probably doesn't know what Mikoto spends her time on. "And do stuff with Mai!" This is probably more obvious, but it's rare that Mikoto misses a chance to mention Mai Tokiha.

She has completely missed, at this point, that Yumi might have been talking about that specific day. Yumi was asking generally, right?

Mikoto headbumps Tama in turn, beaming, and reaches out to the bag. (She brought one other bag, of course, but Miroku's case is leaning against the entryway, as usual.) "This one's for Yumi," she explains, of the present with the red bow. It is in a small, smooth box. "This one's for Staff of Lost Ivy," she passes out the one with the green bow - to Yumi, because the Staff doesn't have hands, obviously. That box has slits in it to let air in. "And this is for Tama!" She says, setting down the bag on the other side of the couch.

Of course Tama wouldn't mess with any bags, and Mikoto turns away from it to look back to Yumi instead.

The wrapped presents, of course, are wrapped with wrapping-paper featuring cats in Santa hats, because Eri knows Mikoto's brand. She will find that one box contains a bottle of oil designed to be used on sore muscles and painful joints, because Mikoto finally found one which reminded her of home. The other... contains a little live cactus in a brightly-coloured pot.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Mostly she was nosing about Mikoto and Eri... but this is good enough, too. It's fine that the answer's general, since--well, of course Mai would come up. "Naturally," she answers. "Well that's important," she answers.

"Oh!" Small, and smooth; Yumi looks to the box, accepts the first, places it on her armrest--takes the next, and inclines her head--the Staff is in her phone, sitting on the table just at the moment.

"Hmmm," Tama answers, considering it.

The cats are adorable and Yumi smiles at them before she opens it. She does so carefully, neatly, methodically--she is polite. "Oh!" Yumi answers. "This... Ah, it's a lovely scent, too..." She smiles. "Thank you."

The cactus--"Oh, lovely--I can already feel, she's happier with something living and green here..."

"Thoughtful," Tama agrees, in approval.

"Thanks, Mikoto-chan. Merry Christmas. I have yours, too... But I didn't realize you were bringing these by today, or I would've kept it onhand."

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

Well, of course the Staff lives in Yumi's phone. Yumi isn't like Mikoto. She'd probably find it hard to carry it around with her all the time, like Mikoto does for Miroku.

Mikoto beams, as Yumi notices the little things about it. It looks to be of traditional design -- probably brought from one of the smaller traditional medicine shops around. "Lots of those things burn too much, here," she says, and for her it is because her senses amplify the chill or burn of the medicine but perhaps Yumi has her own sensitivity borne of pain, "but this one helps better."

She often assumes that things which work better for her will also work better for everyone else, but she's trying.

"Good!" She chirps, as she hears the approval for the cactus, too. "Eri thought cactus would be tougher," presumably because Mikoto had to bring it to her, "and Eri's good at plants." Perhaps that's also why it's a live cactus. "I don't know so much about them... but I got a catnip plant!" Of course she does.

She's all smiles, as Yumi gives her wishes. "It's okay!" She insists, brightly, and misses the fact that she is supposed to reply in kind, but she's trying. "Mai's busy, so I wanted to visit! I like being with Yumi!" That much might be evident; even though she has stayed close to Mai over the past months, she's still made time to come and sprawl over her friend. (Sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally.) "Yumi's helped me lots," she adds, in appreciation.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Tama, at first, was scandalized by that particular placement of the staff. ...But considering how dearly Yumi takes care of her phone, like many teenage girls, she got over it eventually. It's practically a sacred artifact already...

Yumi appreciates well small, traditional bottles--the handmade are the most ideal for her own potions, too, and this is assuredly like a magical potion. "Oh, this one doesn't? Oh good--a lot of them... I mean, it helps eventually, but..." Yumi hedges a little in her description--she absolutely has a sensitivity herself, pain being part of it. "Thank you--this'll really help."

She's trying--and sometimes, Mikoto's right about what helps her and others.

"Hmm, that's good thinking--Eri-chan's really good with these," Yumi agrees. "--Catnip, cute!" Tama is studiously silent there. "Besides... it's a little prickly. I kinda appreciate that in a friend, y'know?"

Yumi sets the cactus down caaarefully on the table, as Tama... bites the bag's handle, experimentally. When you don't have hands...

"Oh, yeah?" she asks. "Lucky me! Hanae-chan's out, and I don't mind the quiet... But it's nice to have company, too." Yumi appreciates that Mikoto still does--though she knows it's not just out of being friendly. "And you helped me, too--you've done wonderfully. ...And I'll keep doing my best for you, too, hm? Merry Christmas."

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

Mikoto, on the other hand, has lost her phone again. She never could find it, after the invasion. She needs to get another one at some point, but she's just too frustrated at misplacing the one Madoka helped her pick out.

(She did not misplace it. It's filed away in a box somewhere in a shadowy facility. All the cat emoji text messages have been properly analysed by technicians who really aren't paid enough for this nonsense.)

She nods, understanding Yumi's point about it helping eventually -- as far as she knows. Well, they approach the problem from different positions, but it's shaped the same regardless.

"Prickly..." Mikoto echoes, considering it. "Am I?" She asks, after a moment. "Girls at school say so, but..." She waves a hand, between the couch and the chair. The girls at school say a lot of things.

Now emptied, the bag is easily manoeuvred by a cat. Mikoto can hear the crinkle of the paper, but she doesn't turn back to examine Tama. She is free to investigate! Mikoto, after all, is too distracted by the praise Yumi gives her, eyes shining as she laughs joyously at the affirmation. "Yup!" Mikoto grins, and it is a reply to both things, but she catches on a moment later. "... merry Christmas!"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

...Maybe it's for the best. Maybe. ...No, not really.

Still, their different approaches end up close enough, and Yumi laughs faintly, shaking her head. "You're not," Yumi answers with some authority, "Except when you want to be. When someone rubs you the wrong way. It's their own fault for not paying attention enough to understand."

...Not the nicest statement, but, true, right?

Tama continues to make... sounds, with the bag, investigating. But no one looks. Naturally.

"Yeah," Yumi agrees, and brings out her hand to take Mikoto's. "And forget what any of those girls say, okay? It doesn't matter."

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

It's their fault, Yumi says, and Mikoto nods as she takes it on. She sounds like she knows better, so it must be true, right..? "Not to Yumi," Mikoto concludes, as if she were the important one in the equation, as opposed to all the Ohtori girls she does not bother to know.

Mikoto doesn't look at Tama, and the fiction of the very dignified cat is maintained. See! She respects her elders!

Her hand finds itself in Yumi's, and Mikoto squeezes it, gently. "It doesn't matter..." She echoes, but even though it makes perfect sense, trying to forget what they say just makes her remember what they've been saying. It's like trying not to think about pink cats, and her expression grows more thoughtful as she looks at their hands, gnawing lightly at her bottom lip.

"When school ended... they said Ye-jin died," Mikoto says, finally. "Does that not matter, too..?"

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Not to me," Yumi agrees smoothly. Yumi of course has fought for some of those Ohtori girls--but if they're going to be rude, she doesn't exactly have to also argue in their favor.

Tama finds a nice, secure hiding spot in the bag, and investigates quite carefully before stepping back out again, and grooming her tail.

"Hmmm...?" Yumi maybe didn't mean forget literally, since that would require at least a bit more work. But what Mikoto says...

Yumi is thoughtful, too--quiet--before she shakes her head. "No," Yumi disagres. "...That does. I've heard it, too. The petty little games, those are what don't matter. Her..."

"She staked her life, on what she believed in. We couldn't both succeed--it was her, or us, and that's all, but..."

"Because of that, I think--specifically because of that--it's... our responsibility to remember. We couldn't sway her, but we can remember how fiercely she fought for what she believed in. Maybe that would be something she'd want, maybe not, but..."

"We can do that much."

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

Mikoto does not often fight for them. Sometimes monsters get in her way, and she deals with them. Sometimes Mai gets involved, or someone else she actually cares about, and then she has to do something too. Most other times she is content to live and let live with the evils of Tokyo, because they're not a threat to her.

Well, at least she still has people she cares about.

And then there are people she doesn't. Mikoto frowns as she considers it, listening quietly to Yumi's edicts. She has to remember her; she has to think about her. Much like pink cats, it's difficult not to. "Alyssa lived," she says, and leaves to implication why that would be significant. "Ye-jin must have too." With her Child-killing blade she carved through Yama Delta, but she did not strike its HiME so directly. And though HiME are mortal, they are not so mortal as to be felled by a fall.

(She still thinks of them as HiME. She sees no difference between them. No, there's little difference between Ye-jin and Mikoto at all.)

Perhaps it's not immediately obvious why it bothers her - why she'd bring up that detail. Perhaps it's not immediately obvious why hearing it would prompt her to finally go to Natsuki with her information, reaching out to an enemy for assistance. Perhaps it's not immediately obvious why she has studiously avoided bringing up Ye-jin in the days since.

"... but there's no point to a warrior who can't fight," Mikoto says, finally, gaze sliding off to the side. "Is there?" And perhaps it's immediately obvious why she would talk to Yumi about it - why she would ask Yumi, of all people, that question.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Yumi's tassk is to oppose the monstrous, to save people... and since the Invasion, to stand up for the green places of the world that some are so willing to quickly destroy. Her methods are not always kind, but her intentions are good, and she does not have to like someone to want to help them. She has responsibilities that go beyond her feelings; this is true in many ways, in her life.

"...Alyssa lived," Yumi agrees, "Because we saved her. I'm... glad, that she did. Not just because Miyu-san would've probably wrecked us otherwise before finally breaking," Yumi says with a grimace. But--

It's clear, immediately--this isn't an idle thought, this isn't something to dismiss or take lightly... it matters. And so, Yumi does not say the first thing to come to mind, does not immediately give the comfort that of course there is with airy platitudes. She pauses, and she thinks, and her thinking expression is notable enough that it is easy to recognize, for someone used to watching her.

No, though, it is not instantly obvious--but it is clear, when Mikoto says it. And that she has asked Yumi...

"People," Yumi says, "Are more than one thing. We aren't spirits, that specialize in their one task in the greater hierarchy; we aren't the servants of the hidden places of the world, with their singular jobs." They aren't a lot of other things, either, but those are the most relevant. "People... are multiple things, to different people; it's part of what's good and bad about us. None of us is only a warrior, or a witch, or a student, or a daughter. We have a web of selves, a web of things that we have to be."

"So a warrior who can't fight might have other things to offer, or might be able to become something that uses their knowledge. ...There's... you know athletics, sports and stuff--there's great players who were injured, and they can't play anymore. But they can teach others how; they can guide them, let them become as good or even better."

"So... I don't think her life was pointless, after that. Even if she didn't have anything else to offer but her experience fighting... She could've offered that."

"That's how I would handle it, anyway. Let's say you have a loyal servant--you're not going to throw them away, because things changed. You're going to find a use for them, a task. It's like how even when people get older, they may be weaker, and slower... But they have knowledge, wisdom."

"If you listen to people, you can find that wisdom."

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

Well, Mikoto helps when Yumi asks.

After all, Mikoto's task is...

She does not look happy that they saved Alyssa, but it's no surprise; Mikoto has not made a secret of her enmity to the girl and her robot. Perhaps it's understandable. They killed her girlfriend, after all, even if she did get better. But she knows that things living is important to Yumi, so she just grunts a little complaint, and does not speak against it.

Instead she speaks on the use of a spent shell casing, and Yumi finally offers her counterpoint. People aren't spirits, she says; they contain multitudes. Her gaze moves to the sword in its case, leant by the entry-way as if it is in this place on sufferance. She knows it is as the Crimson Rook said; she is akin to it. It means she struggles with the philosophy, brow knit and lips pressed together as she tries to process it.

She says they will not be thrown away, but... "Ye-jin was," Mikoto says, sadly.

She's quiet a little longer, as she tries to think it through. "It's..." She starts, finally, cautiously. "... like my Grandfather?" She has never mentioned him before, but then, Mikoto has been surprisingly sparse on the details of her family, save that she has an older brother.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

No, that's no surprise at all--there are good reasons to hate Miyu and Alyssa both. ...It's just, she's a little girl, Alyssa--Yumi's going to prefer her saved if it's possible. So she doesn't press on that issue, instead. She focuses on what seems important--what is different, with people, with tools... and Yumi can tell that Mikoto is considering her sword, and she can tell that it's kind of difficult. Ye-Jin was thrown away, Mikoto says.

"Yeah," Yumi answers. "She was. But I don't think we should be taking our examples from the people she was working for--what they do isn't necessarily what's worth doing. ...In fact, I'd say most of what they did..."

Yumi's eyes go distant. "Well, they've started paying for it. Maybe one day they'll pay more. They will, if I get to choose."

But Mikoto mentions her Grandfather--and Yumi does not know him. She does not know Mikoto's history, really, not all of it, and she looks thoughtfully to her friend, and smiles faintly. "It might be. I don't really know your Grandfather. ...But in my family, we listen to our elders, as long as they're with us. Can you tell me about him?"

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

Perhaps a better person would be concerned, to hear Yumi threaten consequences on the people behind Ye-jin. Mikoto is not that person; she is comforted to hear it. She squeezes Yumi's hand, and smiles, briefly.

Yes, it's difficult. But it is nice to hear that is not the only way a warrior may be treated. Perhaps it is not something to be so afraid of; perhaps it is not the only end for which they are meant.

Of course, there are layers, to an issue like this.

The meaning is... complex.

Mikoto is not designed for complex things, especially.

And here there is a question: can she tell Yumi about him? Mikoto blinks as she looks up at Yumi, and she thinks about it, and perhaps that is the first message; she has to think about it. But Yumi saved her from that ill end which claimed Ye-jin, after all, and Mikoto thinks she must be able to trust her.

"When... Lord Brother left," Mikoto says, after long moment, "Grandfather took over training me. Grandfather wasn't a girl, but still good at fighting... but Grandfather knew lots of other stuff, too." Because, of course, he was not a girl. "Taught me lots. But --" here she hesitates, glancing down to the foot of Yumi's chair. "-- Grandfather... left, too."

They both left, and they left her alone.

"... so I came here," Mikoto explains, "to find my Lord Brother. Grandfather said Lord Brother was here..."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Yumi's Mother, one might imagine, would be proud of Yumi for intending to hold her foes accountable--to do something about the harm to herself and to those about whom she cares. ...But without asking her, there's no way to know; Yumi herself smiles back, at the squeeze of her hand. She looks confident, in this instant--warm.

She is designed more for complex things.

Yumi assumed it was complicated, of course--if it weren't, Mikoto would have told her by now. If it were easy, it would not have had to be asked in the first place. So Yumi waits... and she is rewarded with this trust. The explanation comes. Grandfather...

"I see," Yumi answers, and--well, she sees that she doesn't see all of it, frankly. Grandfather 'left'. One assumes that means he died--but, Mikoto is not uncomfortable with death, and might have said so, if it were that simple. "I'm glad," she says, "That he was able to teach you. That's how it should be, I think. I wish I could've learned more from Grandmother..." But. She looks to Mikoto, again--and nods.

"Then, like that, I think that a warrior who has become too old to fight... can still teach. Can still help younger warriors learn, you know? And in their capacity as an elder, they have more to offer still."

"So... Even if you can't fight, there are things you can do. And if it's you--Well. Even if you couldn't fight anymore, it's still your responsibility to find your Brother, isn't it? He would want to know--how you're doing, what you've been up to... What's happened, since you saw each other last." Authority, Yumi thinks--that's the implication, there. 'Lord Brother' is not something you call someone who is just an ordinary older brother.

"And whatever he would expect of you after that, he'd have to tell you. But if it were me--well, I'd figure that out after I saw my little sister again, you know? Even if she were injured, or disabled, I'd want to see her anyway, and figure out what we'd do next with that information. For me, at least."

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

Mikoto does not tend to dance around death, though she is prone to referring to it as 'defeat'.

She can make no such intimation here.

Things are as they should be, after all. Mikoto nods, as Yumi comes to the same conclusion. People who can't fight can still pass that knowledge on...

Yumi goes on to offer reasons why she might still be necessary, and Mikoto looks up to her, with those big golden eyes, receptive. Of course; information. She was trained to fight enemies. It's only natural her Lord Brother would want to know the nature of them here.

(It is an archaic turn of phrase, the way she refers to her older brother; formal and antiquated, and entirely out of place with the rest of her simple vocabulary. Perhaps it is the best clue that there is something unusual, to Mikoto's family. But then - training...)

Mikoto smiles, relieved, as Yumi concedes that he would have to tell her what he wanted. Yumi understands, and it is an eminently reassuring thing. She nods, again, with an affirmative grunt. "... so I could tell Lord Brother what's going on!" She concludes, hopefully. "And no one good gets rid of girls when they can't fight... 'cause girls don't just fight..." Girls, of course. Women fight.

She laughs and puffs out a breath, shaking her head a little. "Guess it's silly to worry about something like that, huh..?" And she is not given to complexities, and not given to wonder why she would worry. "Thanks, Yumi. It makes sense."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Yumi, of all people, notices the euphemisms people use for dying--she did before the experience with the invasion, and she does now. Maybe more, than before. So, she notices that Mikoto doesn't... But more to the point--

She smiles, at Mikoto's obvious relief, not just because her objective was achieved but because she's happy to see her friend happy. Formality has never been too strange for her--Yumi, herself, is formal, if not that formal, about her own family. But here? Yes, Yumi understands... and that hopeful conclusion gets a nod right back.

"Exactly," Yumi says, and does not correct anything about 'girls' because why should she? Girls do so much of the fighting, and she does not know perhaps the deeper level of why Mikoto thinks of it that way. Instead...

"Nah, it's natural to wonder--but it'd be silly to stress now that you know better, right? So let me know if you're feeling silly, and I'll help you out, okay?" Yumi's smile widens, for a moment, and she nods. "Anytime, Mikoto-chan. I'm happy that you feel like you can come to me for stuff like this, you know?"

"...I really am."

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

Death has many names in many fashions; the kindness offered Mikoto is a euphemism for something she is so acquainted with. There is an element of deniability to defeat, an element of remove.

But death is not spoken of here, and Mikoto smiles. Yumi suggests that she knows better, and she nods, because she does. So, too, does she offer help, and gratitude flows over her eyes, the curve of her brow and her lips. Perhaps the relief is mismatched with the gesture...

... if it is not known how little support Mikoto has had, on these matters, since she has come here.

She's been alone. It's been hard.

"Yumi... understands this stuff, right..?" Mikoto's breath catches in her throat, but she's still smiling. "I'm... really happy..." These are not things Tokyo girls deal with. She does not think of why. "... Yumi's good to me."

She cannot say they are the same; they are designed for different ends. But they both have old designs, old designs, and Yumi knows the way forward, and it is such a relieving thing.

She does not think of why.