2019-04-26 - A Generous Tea Party! Recruitment Of A Crimson Rosebud!

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A Generous Tea Party! Recruitment Of A Crimson Rosebud!

The ladies of the Ohtori Student Council are solicited for advice, and make an offer.


Shizuru Fujino, Kasagami Araki, Juri Arisugawa, Yukino Kikukawa


Ohtori Academy, Garden

OOC - IC Date:

4/26/2019 - 06-02-2015

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Garden +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
  Ohtori's grounds rarely miss a chance to include flowers, particularly roses  
  and poppies, whether they be in planters, decorating terraces, or engraved    
  into the stone walls. Nowhere is this theme more evident than in the          
  courtyard garden, an open-air enclosure surrounded by the pillars of nearby   
  walkways, permitting those traversing the facility to enjoy a bit of natural  
  beauty on their way to class.                                                 
  The courtyard features a French formal garden, with nature kept in strict     
  manicured order, man's dominion over nature turning shrubs and blooms into    
  paint for the gardener's brush. A great glass jewel of a greenhouse           
  dominates the courtyard, with the same lacelike white-painted cast iron that  
  decorates the walkways supporting its cloudy antique glass panels.            
  In contrast to without, the garden within the greenhouse is rampant and       
  lush. Order is maintained with a subtler hand, and everywhere the flowers     
  and trees are permitted to spill a bit, nature's cornucopia lovely in its     
  excess. Exotic, oddly-shaped blooms that would wither outside the glass cage  
  flourish within the winterless warmth, and small quantities of tropical       
  citrus fruits are produced, most destined to be gifts for valued visitors.    
<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (U)] has posed.

A letter has arrived for Kasagami Araki. Maybe it's been a while since she's gotten one--maybe it feels like longer. ...But how many forget the cardstock, seal, and handwriting of Ends of the World? Sumptuous white, utterly pure; rose-red, lusuciously placed, perfectly inset. The edges are crisp. The writing is exact.

...And it cordially invites Kasagami to tea with the student council, in the gardens. She could choose not to come, naturally.

But when she arrives, the rain is framing a covered area amidst rosebushes, set with a variety of other flowers... on the outside. Only on the outside of the pavillion.

The great Chairman's Tower looms up past all the water, past all the plants, unmistakable. It hasn't changed in the least.

The rich scent of black tea wafts through the pavillion, dark and fragrant. There is a teapot, and a set of cups, and a fine, simple white table.

At the opposite side of the table is one Shizuru Fujino. An airy lavendar scarf is the most notable accoutrement at her neck, the light fabrics of her attire spotless despite the rain. Her umbrella sits not far away.

A number of umbrellas, in fact, sit about the corners of the pavillion, each corner filled with them. Only three are different from the others.

Shizuru's, naturally. And those of the others at her table--Juri Arisugawa, Yukino Kikukawa. All wear the Rose Signet, Shizuru's along with her engagement ring, much like, if one is feeling whimsical, the way of a wedding band itself.

The open seat beckons.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

~Kassie's Dorm~

There's a small pile of mail stacked up the desk of Kendo Club Captain Kasagami Araki. Most of them have ill portents, some old news, one a tragedy to further pile onto the misery that the young woman has experienced over a distinctly short amount of time.

A little collection of her woes that she's seen fit to wallow in where she can't be seen, frustrations mounting. No amount of pacing, mock sword swings, or any of the little things she'd do to otherwise burn off her stress or distract herself. With the heavy rain outside? The fiery Duelist is in a low mood indeed.

Cardstock and seal, no matter how horrible her innermost feelings, is a siren's call she can never ignore. Her good eye widens just a bit upon gingerly cutting it open, reverently almost. Another letter, so treasured even after her downfall, still remains jealously hidden away. She treats this one with nearly religious gravity as its opened.

~Ohtori Gardens~

Past the beautiful rosebushes and into the sanctuary against the rain, Kasagami comes strolling in as nicely as she can muster. She's dressed impeccably, maybe a little moreso than usual, with that summons in mind. The scent of tea flares in her nose and she flicks closed a simple crimson umbrella. A cheap thing for an Ohtori student. It's about her status right now, after her financial ruin. But good and tough, for a rough girl like her.

Undoing a few buttons from her longcoat, she shakes it off and hangs it over one of the many less distinct umbrellas. She's dressed in the Ohtori high's uniform, if in pants, gloves, and ever-present steel toed boots she never gives up. Forcing a smile to her face, pearly whites flash as she eyes her former compatriots amongst the Student Council as she does her level best to reflect confidence.

No matter what she's feeling inside. "Fujino-senpai! Kikukawa-senpai! Arisugawa-senpai! I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting to see any of you. But it's not unwelcomed."

Curiousity outweighs just about anything else. And part of her can't help but miss a few of these faces.

"What can I do for the Student Council?" She's trying to not sound a little bitter.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Juri and Yukino, of course, are in their Student Council uniforms, which are infinitely superior than the normal one for the simple fact of their personalization, but also generally finer in all other respects. Juri at least definitely has hers professionally tailored. Yukino may not have that kind of money, but what glints behind her eyes is a different kind of refinement -- that which comes from position.

The bright green Disciplinary Executive band around her upper arm all but glows.

Juri is to Shizuru's right, Yukino to the left. The table is round but too large for four people, and the three of them occupy positions, say, 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock on the table. (Kasagami's seat, of course, is at 6.)

"Why don't you have a seat?" offers Yukino with a slim smile. It isn't a slim razor of a smile because that is way too hard core for this particular demure maiden, but it isn't hard to imagine her going that one step further. She doesn't, though. She is a girl who keeps such things inside.

And she is sweet, really, in her way.

Juri on the other hand doesn't waste the energy on smiling. If she was going to burn calories on lip muscle movement it would have to be for quite a bit more than this. She doesn't look angry, either. Just... neutral. Pleasant, in an aristocratic way.

"Araki-kun," she says, coolly. "So kind of you to answer our summons."

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (U)] has posed.

There are so many umbrellas, here. All of those that aren't Juri's, Shizuru's, Yukino's, are crimson. Kasgami greets them, of course. Shizuru waits for that; she waits a few moments still, until after Yukino offers the seat, after Juri... Well. After Juri, is all that really needs to be said at the moment. But then?

5rShizuru's smile is warm and wide, altogether welcoming, utterly pleasant. "Araki-kun," she greets as well. She does not reiterate Yukino's command, naturally. There's no need.

...Shizuru is not in the school uniform, as such, not anymore--but business has its own sort of uniforms, really.

The teacups are empty. The pot is not.

"You simply must tell us how you've been, since you decided to strike out on your own in the broad, broad world. I, for one, have been terribly concerned for you."

The rain falls just as hard, rhythmic, unceasing.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Being here really is a strange feeling. Familiar and then alien with every passing breath. A bit like a row of pictures tilted just slightly out of order, or a familiar section of a library with it's books out of order. Kasagami has been used to looking down and outside of the high status of the Student Council since coming to Ohtori. Now?

Now she's looking outside and up. It puts just a little perspective on her long fall flat on her face since her loss of the Engagement. She sits down, leaning back in the chair at a slight angle. One leg over the other. It'd be casual if she weren't a coiled spring right now. Part of her would feel better with a sword at her side.

Kasagami doesn't catch all the little details in her fore brain, but a few stand out. A sweet senpai and the bright green band that stokes the embers of her heart into a little blazing pyre. She sits up a bit straighter, yet never quite angles herself straight. Head tilted, scarrs just slightly out of the way. With Shizuru looking at her, she can't help but feel a little self conscious.

Rank or no she honest respects, likes, and hates the other girl. Juri is, as ever, cold and an enigma. A challenge waiting there, if she can climb high enough. As her gaze casts to the orange-haired Duelist, that spark of enthusiasm for a good fight simmers in the background. She's always wanted, ever so badly...

"Who am I to refuse an honor?" Kassie offers to Juri with a short bark of a laugh. It's not a particularly happy one. Her shoulders shrug. The smile never dips though. It's a good mask for her even when she doesn't mean it.

"Let's just say I've learned a few lessons. The world is a cruel, uncaring place when it wants to be. Especially once you've managed to trip your way down a jagged mountain side. I really should have asked you for more advice! You've always been good to me, in your own way." A little sigh escapes her. Then her gaze focuses, sharply, and she crosses one leg over the other. One booted foot dangles, sways a bit in time to her own thoughts.

A hand reaches out, and flicks the handle of a teacup, setting it to a quiet little spin. She looks back up.

"But I'm still alive, somehow. Still in one piece, maybe a little busted. But what blade doesn't get chipped when you swing it around enough?" Kasagami brightens just a little. With so much rain in the background and a closing of crimson umbrellas? At least that much feels comfortable.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

"Still alive," echoes Juri. She looks past Kasagami at the rain, and Yukino follows her gaze, and there's a moment of silence at the table. "I'm glad," she finishes, simultaneously rusty-voiced from the topic and, perhaps, a little bit surprised at herself for admitting such a thing aloud.

Yukino shakes her head, just a fraction. Mournfulness as expressed in a two-inch swivel of the neck. "Miki-kun has taken a leave of absence."

Another silence, this one unbearably awkward.

"Miki Kaoru-kun," the Disciplinary Executive clarifies.

"I know," grunts Juri. When SHE shakes her head, at the foolishness of the need to clarify, her fabulously perfect curls twist with the motion, then untwist. A fountain of gold. She is El Dorado.

She runs her hand through it thoughtlessly, a reflex that betrays little -- perhaps a certain weariness for death.

"You're right," she adds, to Kasagami. "You should have asked us for more advice."

Refocusing her eyes, her aquamarine gaze lands squarely on the underclassman's like granite.

"If you had, we could have told you about the President."

Kasagami aspired above them; set herself apart from them; separate, better than, in her rejection. The ladies -- the women -- of the Student Council -- noticed.

Who knows how things might have been different, if she had tried to be their friend instead of their better? Who knows how many of Touga's plans, his traps, they could have warned her about?

"But it's too late for that now."

She purses her lips, which instantly become the finest rosebud in the garden.


Yukino side-eyes this, but does not dispute it.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (U)] has posed.

Shizuru has 'casual' covered, of those at the table. The former Vice President seems entirely at ease, almost lazy for the moment, not quite slouching but seeming that at any moment she might. The oldest present, nevertheless she is the least troubled. ...Save for her terrible concern, naturally.

In the face of Kasagami's self-consciousness, Shizuru does not for an instant in the moment take her eyes from the scarred girl before her. She smiles, smaller, but present; there is an intimacy to such a long look in its own way, a small something that it seems that the Fujino heiress does not voice aloud.

"Some honors," Shizuru says sadly, "Are best rejected."

She waits a beat, though. She looks to Kasagami still, at the matter of the teacup, at the matter of advice. Still alive, she says. Shizuru does not comment until Miki is brought up. She lets the silence stretch out, awkward. "Ah," Shizuru answers, delicately. 'How unfortunate', she says without saying.

Only after Juri delivers her graceful assessment does Shizuru chime in again, "Too late to change the past, certainly." Her gaze finally lifts; she looks to Juri, beside her. She offers a sympathetic expression for Kasagami's benefit. She looks to Yukino, a hapless half-shrug in her demeanor. But then-...

"...But not, perhaps--too late for you," she continues instead, setting red eyes once again on Kasagami's face. "We could have told you about the President in time for it to matter, yes. But there are a great many other things that we could tell you."

"Pour the tea," Shizuru directs, a rare, almost vulgar sign of directness on her part in its way; it cuts through the air for long moments in its simplicity.

She doesn't say another word until their cups are all full, no matter how long that takes. Her stare of expectation will wait patiently. Only then--

"A blade that is wielded can be cared for, Araki-kun. ...We can let the young men among us pretend to singular power, to a force that needs nothing but its raw power to succeed. Such fantasies suit proud, noble boys."

"But a piece of free advice, since you haven't yet asked for more--" Shizuru lifts her teacup, graceful fingers folded about it, as she inhales its bouquet. Rich, and dark--a black tea. Aristocratic, in its way.

"...'The world' is not cruel, Araki-kun. There is no passive force in the ether directing its unthinking will towards you. People are cruel. Each force, each difficulty, each obstacle has behind it a face, or more. There is nothing in this world that does not have a cause. It's a truth that might have helped you... If you'd been able to see the need."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kassie's good eye widens for a fraction of a second, before the moment of surprise passes. Her mouth becomes a line, almost relaxed for a second. She doesn't know what to say, really. A breath out of her nose, nostrils flaring a second. Summoning a lopsided smirk on the good side of her face, she gives a nod to Juri.

She's never managed to really know this grand lion. So much as she enjoys, even obsesses over fighting, it's a slowly dawning fact that Kasagami has trampled her way without seeing as her own ambitions have led her by the nose. With the misty scent and hard pound of rain outside of the meeting place amidst the garden, the young woman feels a touch of sadness at that fact.

Sadness blossoms quickly to sympathy. While she may not have exactly had a fondness for the young man, his loss isn't something she'd wish on even someone she hates down to her bones. Her arrogance can surely breed cruelty at times, but no. Not on something she values like family. She works her mouth even if she very well knows how useless they'd be to offer pithy words. Her heart thumps in her chest, a slow pain rising up her arm and part of her spine. Kassie is still, missing a beat in the tempo of this dour meeting. She almost reaches for the little pill bottle in one of her pockets, and with what she hopes is a whisper of a ragged breath, fights through it.

A girl who wants to be King still has her immense pride. She clings to it. Maybe she can at least be wiser.

In the end she says nothing. Better to not speak ill of the dead or those suffering.

Steel grey and white meets her senpai's aquamarine. In retrospect, such advice feels obvious. What did she expect, to charge onto the battlefield without scouting it first? Too caught up in her own desires to stop and think. Cutting through the ranks of the Student Council isn't so easy. She won't look away. It's hard, even for her, Juri can be intimidating. Words cut as nicely as a blade. Hands clench, frustration making toned muscle flex.

She coils tighter, gaze finally peeking to her umbrella as if it were a sword. It's a comforting, even tempting thought. A bead of sweat trickles down her brow.

A smile, and an intimate look...it feels wrong coming from Shizuru. When she first came to Ohtori, she'd have welcomed it. Or maybe not. But the woman has a great talent for piercing her defenses, and that unwavering look does it. Her cheek itches. She tells herself it's the rain and nerves acting up.

Intrigue. It cuts across her conflicting emotions as she's looked at again by Shizuru. Even kicked down, she's a Duelist, she's hungry. And opportunity isn't something Kasagami won't ignore. Perhaps she can't ignore, right now.

Finally, she voices her thoughts. "...Other things? What are you talking about?" Bait well taken. A hungry fish at that, starving. Chomp.

The surprise this time is naked, even if Kasagami can control herself enough to draw it back down into a wary gaze a half second later. She's stock straight, that vulgar command cutting through her. Diagonal, across the throat, lingering is what she'll think later when she really ponders it in her bed. In the moment, though, she has her elbow on the table and leans forward.

Kasagami resists. Puts all the fight this worn down Duelist can muster into not being ordered around. A tense silence from her, and finally? She acquiesces. The Council has all of the advantage right now and she's not even at the bottom. She's below, a pebble half crushed before a gigantic cliff.

She needs hands to climb, and Kasagami isn't a fool as some might believe.

And so she pours, herself last. Even as she listens, her gaze falls to the tea. It's scent is delicious. The hot liquid feels good on her parched, acheing throat.

There's a well building inside of her, a dam threatening to burst at Shizuru's advice. They feel far too right.

"I'm no boy. Don't be ridiculous. But you should know I like doing things head on, Shizuru-senpai! Power is...!"

Raw power, singular power. She stops herself, and thoughtfully bites her lip. What good had all that raw, lonely power actually done her when faced with a girl she'd thought rendered powerless? How had Utena Tenjou cast her down? The raw wound of her defeat still is gaping. The lingering question still haunts her, as she tries to internalize it's lesson still.

"Are you trying to say I let my blade get rusty?" She tries, listening a little more.

Cruel people. Something behind obstacles. Her mind travels to the horrific cruelty of Puella Magi. She sets her tea down.

"Fine. I'll admit it. I rushed into the conflict with the President like an idiot. I thought I could just cut him down. Not that the thought isn't pleasant!" A half grin, a real one lights up her face for a second. But that's all.

"So of course I lost. Nnngh, I left myself full of openings, right!?" The dam doesn't quite break, but it leaks like a sieve.

With a frustrated little growl, she looks to Yukino, then Juri, then Shizuru.

"But. It's a fight I got away from alive. I'm here now." A pause.

"And this would-be King would like a bit of advice. If you'd give it, Yukino-senpai, Shizuru-senpai, Juri-senpai." It hurts to ask. Another wound to her great pride. But Kasagami does her level best to endure it.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Yukino accepts the tea poured by Kasagami with silent pleasure. Whether or not she enjoys her words is less clear. She keeps her nose in her teacup, and, therefore, her expression obscured. By the time there's a pause in conversation, the cup is drained and she is warm.

So she slides the empty cup back to the middle of the table again, warmly, clearly expecting it to be filled once more.

"Advice," she muses. "Um..."

The nosepads on her glasses click as she pushes them up her nose, but the eyes behind those glasses close, genuinely thoughtfully.

"You're very... loud," she suggests, finally, in the end. "It isn't helping you with anyone who matters, even if it attracts the attention of those who, well, don't, not really."

She shrugs, apologetically, obviously uncomfortable with the underpinnings of the statement.

Juri is too mature to roll her eyes at Yukino, but a certain impatience is starting to rise off of her like a thin mist of irritation, and her advice, which comes next, is faster, blunter, and a lot more specific.

"Quit the Kendo Club."

Before the inevitable outburst of a reaction can arise, she lifts a single forestalling finger off the table. So strong is her presence that it is immediately noticeable, and immediately understandable: Shut up and hear the rest.

She doesn't keep Kasagami waiting. Her tones are clipped, grim, and serious.

"Maybe you got played, but whatever your intentions, the results are the same -- you've dishonored the club, and the school's kendo tradition. If you want to win them back, you're not going to do it from above. Quit the kendo club, and when competition time comes this fall, they'll be wanting you back. Maybe not as captain, but... Saionji graduates this year anyway. There'll be an opening. You can earn their respect by proving to them that you care more about the school, and the club, and its honor, and its future -- because right now you've created a situation where it does not, and cannot, exist under your leadership -- that you care about all of that, and all of THEM, more than you do about being in charge."

Her lips twist to one side with faint amusement.

"Besides -- you might be too busy."

She inclines her head towards Shizuru.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (U)] has posed.

Shizuru waits, rather than answering immediately the matter of power--she waits, because it seems that Kasagami is actually stopping to think about what she's said, and after she does that, Shizuru seems to show some glimmer of approval. Only a glimmer, though, as she waits through the rest--waits through the continuation of her statement... and the point where she finally asks, pride or not.

Shizuru sips her tea, as Yukino finally speaks first. She gives her an encouraging nod, as she says something she is very, very clearly uncomfortable with saying. She needs to offer no such incentive to Juri, of course--none in the least. No, she has no desire to step into that moment, that particularly grand blaze. No, not until Juri cedes the floor does Shizuru answer--and then she sets down her tea, again.

"That's true. Now that we have a new Disciplinary Executive, there is an opening, a position unfilled. The role of Secretary is a high honor--but also, a great responsibility. It is better that we leave it open than that we bring someone on who does not understand the gravity of its tasks."

"...You see, Araki-kun--I am not saying that you allowed your blade to rust. You are the blade; in choosing to go it alone, you have ensured that there is no one there to tend you. We all have our own goals, naturally; we all, in the arena, oppose one another in time. ...But to ignore the more complex reality at hand is to set yourself at significant disadvantage."

"Your trouble is not that you left openings, or that you rushed. Your trouble is that you don't understand the game you're really playing. If you want glory in battle alone, well..." Shizuru smiles. "Wait for fall, and display your skill with the blade. You've just been told precisely how to achieve that, and I will leave that matter thus to the expert here on honor, and care for one's comrades."

Shizuru gives Juri a beatific nod.

"...So in point of fact, learning a bit of quiet," she says, without needing to visibly call back to Yukino, "would afford you a great opportunity to understand what you have missed."

"...The responsibilities of this position include the recording of minutes for all meetings; the handling of paperwork for all Student Council matters, large and small. Conducting written correspondence among the Student Council, and directing it where it must go."

"It isn't glorious, except insofar as being a member of the Student Council at all brings glory, which is significant. But it is opportunity. It is an honor, as you say."

"But, the question remains: can you serve? Is this within your capabilities, she who would be King?"

"Are you prepared to be sharpened?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Kasagami goes tight lipped and stares Yukino straight in the eyes at her piece of advice. She pours the girl her tea, even as Kassie mulls over quite a few replies. From the twitch downwards of her mouth, most of them are probably insulting.

Setsuna's many tidbits of advice on having actual restraint comes in handy as she sips her own tea to calm herself down one notch, then the Duelist speaks her mind.

"I get it. I've made a lot of enemies because I speak my mind. But some of those 'people that don't matter' are the reasons I am still breathing right now." Her mind casts back on the Shepherds. There's an edge, and she can't help but feel protective even if she doesn't say them by name.

"And I happen to like being loud, actually! But I guess if I want any kind of political career, sometimes I'll have to laser focus it instead." Subtlety is a part of war and politics in time. A little germ of an idea, at least, even if she clearly hates it.

Juri masterfully predicts Kasagami's reaction, her good eye's pupil dilating a little bit. Even before it gets to the point of working her jaw into a fury, the older Duelist lays down swift, serious advice that even her own insult quickly dies down as the pure sense of it hammers home. Whatever she might think of fencing as a sport and martial art, Juri's skill and grace are something she admires. This, not unlike Shizuru's effect on her, has her slowly honing that capacity to consider the older girls' advice.

And oh, how she wants it all. To be President. To be Club Captain. Really beyond anything a single girl could possibly do. The adoration, fame, power, and most of all, that sense of control.

"You are a demon, Juri-senpai. Asking a girl to give up one of the few things she can really call her own." Comes the bitter reply, mixed with a bite of that anger she's still choking down. Good sense wars with pride in her face. Politics and greed at each other's throats.

Only to be led to a ceasefire as Juri lays that little breadcrumb, and Kassie chomps it right back up. She avoids spitting out a confused 'huh', and instead her vision slowly tracks right over to her mentor.

It's, well, a lot thrown as the young woman in her state of so many volatile, conflicting emotions and simmering grief. One elbow finds the table, and she grinds one gloved finger into her own temple. A sucked in breath, and she centers herself. For just a few moments, she looks weary and frightened. This girl with so much grand ambitions feels helpless and weak inside, no matter her volume or how she might project force.

"...I guess you've got a point." She's forced to admit. Her chin rests on a hand, and she casts her mind back to her loss to the President with as much of an objective eye as she can.

"I thought I could win by giving things a new direction. Try to give people what they need, encourage them to think higher and reach for big things instead of the mundane garbage that most people devote their lives to. But there really is more to it than popularity and swords."

Then she's looking back to Juri. "I'm putting the screws to the other members with my own selfishness. Glory and skill...do you really think I could climb back up after walking away? I really am being a poor Captain, not thinking outside of my own shoes." It's an honest question.

Can she serve?

The thought grinds against her desires and ego. But what choice does she have? She needs a hand up. And here, even after her failures, it's being offered. Maybe even more than that...well, she can almost imagine some chance at sisterhood here.

She swallows her pride, and reaches for opportunity.

"My Mother always said that the second you stop sharpening your skills, improving yourself, wanting more for your life and those you love....contentment is a death sentence." A secretary at that. She looks back briefly to Yukino with envy and discontent, but she keeps her eye on the prize.

"And I really do need to learn how to maneuver and fight on this battlefield. I'll lose every time if I don't learn, right? I'm tired of losing, tired of having people and things taken from me. I'm not sure how many more times I can take it." It's actually quiet, as she lets a few of her innermost thoughts and feelings out.

Pause, and a long silence from Kasagami. Slowly, confidence builds. She knows it will cost her, the price laid out plain. But it's the only thing that makes sense if she wishes to become a King.

Fingers pluck the tip of her right hand's glove, yanking it off and laying it out on the table. She offers her scarred hand over towards Shizuru.

"I can do it. You can't gain anything worthwhile without real work, so I will do it! Help me cut sharper than any sword, Shizuru-senpai, Juri-senpai, Yukino-senpai!" A bit of her flare comes back, ghost of a smile on her lips. Maybe, maybe things will be okay. Maybe she has a handhold into that mountain of power and dreams yet.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Yukino shakes her head, and DOES roll her eyes. Her hesitancy is falling away by the second, and her voice grows in strength and intensity.

"You don't get it, actually; you have me completely wrong. Ask me again some time, if you have the courage to face your flaws instead of lionizing them into some kind of social heroism."

She shrugs.

"Or don't. You do you, Araki."

She kills her tea again in a single slug, hands it out for more.

Juri also shakes her head, though she's incomparably more composed. Her self-possession is an ocean in storm. The only thing that made her twitch even slightly, in all that, was Shizuru's assertion that she's the expert here on honor and care.

But anyway -- Kasagami. Juri shrugs, a lissome ripple of muscle from her shoulders to the tips of her toes. She never moves halfway, when she does move at all.

"I didn't ask you to do anything. You asked me for my advice, and I gave it to you. What you do with that advice is entirely up to you. And, should you resign, whether or not you achieve the Captaincy again at Ohtori is also entirely up to you, and what you do next."

She hasn't been touching her tea, much. She stirs it lightly with a teaspoon, despite not adding any sugar to it, and watches it ripple, instead of looking at Kasagami when she makes her final speech.

But after it's over, she glances back up and grins.

"Not any sword," she shoots back, before lifting her cup, toastingly.

If anyone's actually going to speak such a toast, though, it isn't Yukino. She smiled serenely at the look she received about the position. Sweetly, even. Almost gently.

Her fingers pick lightly at the armband on her sleeve.

"It is real work," she says, after. "Hard work. Meticulous. Detail-oriented. Often tedious. I can't tell you how many late nights I had missing parties because there was filing to be done. And no one -- no one -- is better at it than me and Miki-kun. If you leave the office in disrepair, and bring shame to the Council through neglect, no one will forgive you. You won't get another chance."

She's still smiling as she picks up her cup to join Juri.

<Pose Tracker> Shizuru Fujino [Ohtori Academy (U)] has posed.

Wanting is not the same as having. Desiring, not the same as succeeding. Right?

Shizuru finishes her tea, as the others speak, as if its flavor is all that concerns her for the moment. Perhaps she should've brought a few cookies after all. A pity. Even after initial answers, she is focused there... and then, still holding the cup, she looks from it to Kasagami again. "...Skill the first, Araki-kun--if you behave in such a way towards our good Disciplinary Executive in public, there will be consequences."

She wonders, how much of the cost at hand Kasagami realizes. But in the moment...

"Yes," Shizuru says, "I believe that you intend to try." She nods then, "Kikukawa-san," Shizuru uses a more equal honorific in this case, specifically to show the difference here, than she otherwise might, "Has the way of it. We'll give you this chance--but it is a chance."

She sets down the cup, and reaches to take the scarred hand in her own perfectly-manicured one. "Not any sword," she agrees, "But I will make you sharp enough to cut what is in front of you, if you do not shy away from the whetstone. And we may have success together."

"...Now," Shizuru says, shaking Kasagami's hand and then taking her own back, "Go, and think. We will expect you tomorrow. Use tonight to prepare yourself. "When you show me that this isn't just words--then we'll toast our future."

She reaches to the side, picks up her lavender umbrella--and hands it over to Kasagami. "You'll need this. Do be on time."

And that is all.