2019-08-16 - Hachiko In Peril!

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Title: Hachiko In Peril!

Mikoto realises how much threatening things people love makes them suffer, and resolves to destroy a symbol of girl's loyalty in turn. On Tuesday evening, a text message goes out:

> 'Hachiko midnight'

She sends no further context, and responds to no replies.


Mikoto Minagi, Fuu Hououji, Eri Shimanouchi, Mami Tomoe, Nori Ankou, Steven Universe


Shibuya Shopping Ward

OOC - IC Date:

2019-08-16 - 2015-06-23

.***************************** Yamanote High City *****************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Shibuya Shopping Ward +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
 Any rural ingenue looking to come to the big city and get swept away at
 first sight would be well-advised to get off at Shibuya Station, where you
 could fill a high school yearbook with the people teeming over a single
 crosswalk, and a legion of ten-story department stores offer a choice so
 broad it resembles existential crisis. Shinjuku might administrate Tokyo,
 but Shibuya is its style capital. Its densest concentration of boutiques,
 retailers, and restaurants is bound together by Shibuya Crossing, a bustling
 pedestrian intersection resembling an even gaudier Times Square.

 Within walking distance to Harajuku, Shibuya is less whimsical, and far
 grander. Its most iconic symbol is the Shibuya 109 department store, a
 cylindrical grey monolith famous even outside of Japan. Each floor of 109
 has about a dozen shops, and with ten flights of escalator to ascend, it
 doesn't take a mathematician to realize that even this single store can be a
 lot to take in. But Shibuya too has its side streets and quirks, and it's
 not hard to find a chic little cafe to rest in. Those who find themselves
 energized instead have recourse to the night clubs that trade on Shibuya's
 stylish reptuation.

 Shibuya Station has a humbler landmark as well. It was here that the loyal
 dog Hachiko waited for his owner each day, even after the owner had long
 since died. A bronze statue of Hachiko waits here still, a reminder that
 love and loyalty never die.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Connie Francis - I Will Wait For You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0HVNgX8L14

Mikoto lays on cold black stone by the Obsidian Palace's steps, a hand cradling her pendant to her chest as she curls around it. She can feel the resentment bubbling up from her heart, where her love should be, bitter and acrid on her tongue.

'... even though I've never really met him. I've hated his guts ever since the day you told me you're not allowed to yell at him.' 'He's already told you what you're supposed to think, right? That we won't leave him or you alone, that we're attacking... Something like that.' 'No! That can't be true! It must be some kind of brain washing!'

How dare they? How dare they?

One of those girls even tried to destroy the precious symbol of her bond with her Lord Brother...

Protectively, she clasps that symbol - her pendant - to herself, like the precious gift she knows it to be.

With dark thoughts, she resolves to do worse to them. She takes her phone up like a weapon - it does not usually come with her, not without purpose - and she leaves.


It's a little surprising, to the average nightgoers of Shibuya, to find construction work signs out of their usual place. Perhaps the station is going through some emergency overnight repairs? Or could this be another practical joke? There's a little grumbling, but the civilians find their way to other station exits; Japan is an orderly country, after all, and there are signs.

(Not so far away, a few boys stumble into a ladder left out to reach work half-done, some arcade whose roof has sprung a leak, and wonder where the signs went.)

It's strange to see Hachiko's exit in Shibuya station so quiet, even this late at night, but there's a kind of peace to the remove. Glittering in the nightlights stands the faithful bronze statue, Hachiko: a story known far and wide, described in its plaque. (There's always a plaque.) He was an Akita Inu so devoted that he waited here at Shibuya station for his owner's return - long after his owner could never return to him. He became a symbol of loyalty to family, to empire: a laudable beacon to everyone who would never give up on their loved ones, no matter how long it took or how painful the vigil.

There is no iconography more analogous.

In reality, that warning of construction is somewhat preemptive. Mikoto just didn't want normal people getting in the way - there are so very many people in Shibuya, after all. In the shadows she awaits the witching hour, though she necessarily arrived earlier. She could have left them with a wreckage, she supposes; but she wants them to see it. She's so sure it will hurt more if they see it.

That's why she sent out a message, perhaps half an hour prior, once everything had been set up. 'Hachiko midnight', with no further context or replies. Her Lord Brother is right: she shouldn't reply to their messages. It just upsets her.

(One number does not get the message.)

From her rooftop hiding-place, lurking in the shadows by a locked-up stairway to the building below, she looks skywards and sights the moon's third quarter directly overhead. Midnight. She does not reference a watch or a phone screen; she hardly needs that sort of assistance when the sky is clear. Now a storm has come and gone, the night is downright pleasant: it's a warm Summer evening, with few clouds left above to threaten rain. These are the gentle hours, dark and comfortable, and they taste like secrets shared between sleeping bags.

Fingers trail the blade held in her other hand, and once more Mikoto thinks it is her and Miroku against the world, and once more she thinks there is no other way. She will destroy Hachiko, and they will know the same pain she knows they would bring to her.

She's certain of it, because once upon a time, Hachiko was her favourite Tokyo story, too.

No words need be shed as to why.

But she's angry. She's hurting. She's resentful. And she hates, and hates, and hates, disregarding all nuance and intention, pushed further and deeper and darker still. It's something very cold, and it's something very hot.

It's something she can only express in one way. There is so little use for her voice in the Obsidian Palace, and there is so much use for her violence in the streets of Tokyo.

The witching hour is upon them.

Mikoto is, too.

With a wordless scream of vengeance she launches herself up, framed against all the stars in the sky. The greatest tragedy remains - Mikoto cannot fly; though she jumps up so high she hurtles down, down, down, like meteor to earth. Miroku rises above her, swinging overhead: gravity is amongst the many powers vested in Mikoto, now, as it carves down and so does she.

Her landing-point will take her right through the centre of Hachiko's mass: through, not into, because as she crashes to earth her blade is leading them both.

(Perhaps it has for a while, now.)

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into HiME Mikoto! COMBAT: Nori Ankou transforms into La Sirene de Diamant! COMBAT: Mami Tomoe transforms into Puella Mami!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

As the Magic Knight of Wind bounds across Tokyo, from Tama to Shibuya, one word resounds in her thoughts. One word, repeated every time her boots push off anew from pavement or roof or lamppost, one word repeated every time she sucks in a fresh breath of the cool late-night air.


On the surface of it, she already knows the answer, or at least *an* answer - Mikoto's loyalty to her 'Lord Brother' overwhelms all other bonds. But to strike out at such a powerful symbol, however personal it may be ...

She's doing it to hurt them. To hurt all of them, everyone who holds Hachiko's story precious.

But that *still* doesn't explain 'why' - why she's calling them out in such a crude manner ... something that a member of Labyrinth would do, for instance. Or possibly one of Zagato's minions. Attack an outside target, draw out the desired enemy.

And then there's no time to turn "why" over in her head - Shibuya Station is visible ahead, a feral-sounding kiai splitting the night as surely as Miroku is about to split a statue, if not stopped.


The Wind Knight's call lashes out, and the wind stirs at her bidding: not a cage but a net, if insufficient to *hold* Mikoto then, she hopes and wills, adequate to throw her strike off its intended target. The Magic Knight bobbles her landing as a result of her unevenly-split focus, not landing squarely on a lamppost but tumbling off of it (and sticking the landing, more or less, on the ground instead).

Once she's down, the Wind Knight catches her breath and materializes her sword, both watching Mikoto and taking in the lay of the land - the disposition of Hachiko's other protectors for the night.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

A text message blips into Eri Shimanouchi's phone. Which causes a strange familiar 'rattle' to those who know Ghibli movies. It's eerie to those who don't - haunting even.

For the girl in question, it's simply just normal. She's focusing on studying for a quiz though so 'shhh' - she doesn't answer it right away.

She only remembers when she's on her way to the train station. Out to hunt for the new horrors born from humanity's despair. She's just climbed aboard the train in fact - the doors hovering open, when she's fishing her phone out of her purse, pressing the thumbpad and eyeing the screen.

Suddenly her arm darts out to catch closing doors, and she squeezes herself out.

The passengers look on her with mixed looks of irritation and she simply calls out, "Sorry - turns out I'm on the wrong line."

A few people mutter that youth these days should pay less attention to her phone. Never knowing that her phone is the reason she knew...

... she was on the wrong train.

Instead she taps out another text on her way to a different platform.

>Up for a girl's night out?


As Mikoto starts hurtling her way at Hachiko from her rooftop hiding place, Eri Shimanouchi simply steps around the corner of the building which she was standing beside, green shimmering over her form. She's counting on someone to grab Mikoto's attention quite effectively.

Drawing back her arm bearing a coiled lash, she flicks it through the night to try to ambush Mikoto from the side, the tendrils laden with thorns aimed to strike her ankle and whirl around it in a firm grasp.

Then she digs in her heels, and holding on with both arms, and pulls the snare taut.

It's true that Mikoto is an unstoppable force once she gets her momentum going. However - even unstoppable forces can be redirected...

... off-course.

"Mikoto really? Texting us like that. Are you daring us to stop you..."

Granted - she can't entirely control that. Which might be why Mikoto could be sent hurtling at the sidewalk, or a building, or a bus stop...

"... or sending out a cry for help?"

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi transforms into Puella Magi Eri!

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mami Tomoe did not answer the text--not to Mikoto, anyway. She had a different chain of texts over this matter, with someone related, but distinct. ...All the more vital because of all the signs. Mami, of course, knows Shibuya better than the back of her own hand, knows Hackiko's story, has spent a lot of time by this statue, by happenstance or intention.

Warnings, as Mami noted before.

Mami's phone blips as she walks a warm alley, unnoticed by so many people who are just busy with their lives; it's still early, for Shibuya, in places that aren't shut down for construction. She looks at the message, finds there were two, in fact, and looks thoughtfully down at her phone. ...Tap, tap.

>Wouldn't miss it. I think we can make it a group outing.

She sends out another, just after. Tap, tap, through her contacts--

>Did you receive the message? It seems we're expected.


There is no sign of her at the appointed time; there is no golden light shining from the top of the station, no stirring music rising in the hearts of observers. Not until Mikoto leaps in her screaming vengeance--not until others begin to appear from the edges--

Only then does a sparkling light erupt in a circle around the base of Hachiko's statue, bursting upward and shadowing into brilliant gold; ribbons twine upward, weaving together in motion to become a shell of magic all around the statue, briefly wrapping Hachiko's likeness in a warm, bright shell of care from Shibuya's Golden Queen.

The shell is so large that there is plenty of room for a blade to sink into it, to find that it bends with pressure instead of tearing, that it springs much like it rose.

Only then does Mami Tomoe step out from another corner of the same building as Eri, at the other side--and lower her hand that brought forth her magic. "...I have a better opponent for you than stone. An entire selection, even."

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

11:42 PM 4-4-4

Tonight is not a night for patrol or for performance or for anything much. La Sirene de Diamant, known to many as Nori Ankou, has been in bed for an hour. Batiste, her estimable housemate, has felt relaxed. Calm. As if there was a good night ahead. He has been picking up the kitchen and is planning to put on his stories at midnight and have a nice little bit of a splash when


Batiste stops on the countertop charger and looks down. "Oh, it's from Mami-san, how nice," he says. Then he looks a little further, towards the half-veiled text below it.

Batiste says, "And Mikoto too! I wonder what they're -"

Batiste's head lifts upwards as he suddenly remembers everything that's recently happened with Mikoto. The world seems to dolly-zoom in on his head as his little jaw hangs open in horror and dismay!!!!

"Cousin! COUSIN!"

  • * *


La Sirene de Diamant sags in relief as she sees others there, in abeyance of Mikoto's malice against Hachiko. Why??? la Sirene thinks as she slides forwards, coming out in the flank of Mami Tomoe, leaned forwards aggressively but without armament in her hands.

"But -- why --!?"

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Why does he want so much money for that house?!"

Popcorn flies across a bedroom and glances off a television screen. The bedroom, a loft, fit with a very large bed, some built in shelves, the entertainment device and a game currently turned on. a rubber coated cord trails back to what looks like a massive piled up quilt. A face peers out of it.

Today was a cozy day in the universe household, and Steven had cut on his cube shaped game console. He is currently very frustrated. A hand explodes out of the patterned finery and grasps a phone which slinks back int othe covers. Groans come from within as a light flares inside.

>HE WANTS 746K THIS TIME HELP >You said you have cool strats, I wanna pay this off quick so I can buy the little rotating robot things >The duck has one today

No responses come strangely. He looks back to the phone. Uh, they went to someone else! Who texted him instead?!

>Hachiko midnight

Oh. A pause. Then more typing.

>That was for someone else >So um >Hey

Okay this got awkward.


The night had waxed to full as flip flops click on pavement. The area was strangely closed, and while updates of course make sense, it felt out of place. Or perhaps a cleverly planned opening. What little moonlight reached down let a rotund shadow upon walls and pathways.

The fighting and yelling had already started by the time Steven arrived. Lion was nowhere to be found, so going this far too a bit of effort. Can't exactly take a bus to heroism!

Or could he have? Maybe he should look at the bus and subway routes more.

Bright yellow lights and blasts of wind were already flying as Steven made it to the fight nearby the precious dogg statue. "Wait hold up be careful! Don't break the dog! He's the goodest boy!" he shouts, waving his hands wildly and trying to get everyone to at least move away a bit.

Mikoto of course does not look like she plans to. Actually, she seems like she is moving toward it with purpose. "O-Oh no." He is already with shield in hand as a natural reflex.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Admonitory winds wash over her, a drag-net which catches at the way she splits the air. No longer does it simply part before her - it buffets, and the Wind Knight needn't worry too much about missing her landing, because Mikoto is thoroughly occupied with her headwind.

She blinks to try and keep the breeze out of her eyes. This is a mistake.

Thorns sink into the black of her socks, all evidence hidden in dark fabric, and her scream hitches to a surprised yelp as she feels the whip tighten. She has no way of correcting her momentum, mid-air; in split reaction Miroku's black blade lashes out, catching on a roseate shield and gold-woven ribbons, but there's no way for her to gain purchase on them because she is suddenly being yanked aside.

Shortly she finds herself crashed into the bus stop, sprawled topsy-turvy on the metal bench; mercifully, they're made with curved edges. With a frustrated yell, Mikoto twists about and brings her claymore down on the lash which binds her before she can be dragged along any further.

Eri makes two guesses. Mikoto insists to herself: they are both wrong. "I wanted you to see it," she corrects her, voice a low growl as she shoves a hand against the bench, pushes herself standing again. "Hurts more when you see it."

There is one girl who does not try to stop her with force; all she has is a question. So full of questions, Mikoto thinks, as those terrible golden eyes fall on la Sirene. She doesn't know it's the same question on Fuu's mind; only one has voiced it. But it tastes like an honest query, to her, and it receives an honest answer: "... Kasagami tried to destroy something precious to me."

'Precious'. A word she's used before, a thing said as she found an obsidian pendant on a ship like a hand: 'It's... precious, to me. It's reminder.'

"That's why I'll break Hachiko!" Mikoto yells, glaring at Steven, before her attention shifts to a queen all framed in gold. There's a moment where her gaze flicks between them - Eri and Mami, from the same building, with the same purpose - and there's something a little more complicated and bittersweet in her eyes, but it hardens in a moment. "... but, you first."

She leaps, again, but this time her path does not take her towards a good and loyal dog - but towards that building, Eri, Mami, and la Sirene too. She lands in a whirling spin, the flat of her blade (the flat of her blade, Mami - what a concept!) swirling around her to carve an exclusion zone and force them away from each other. She springs, a moment later, to slam her slab down in an diagonal swing which threatens both the Wind Knight and the lamppost she didn't quite manage to land on.

Finally, her attention falls on Steven again, and there's a little scrunch at the corner of her lips, a tightening of the fingers around her blade, before she charges at him, too. She plants her feet before him, hoisting her blade up from below. If it happens to be aimed squarely on his shield instead of trying to weave through his defences, surely it's coincidence, and not a deliberate effort on the part of someone whose life he has saved.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eri does have a small wince as Mikoto crashes into that bus stop, as glass splinters and metal twists. She gives Mami and Nori a sheepish look after. Then a light shrug, as if to say 'Oops'. It is Mami's territory after all - even if such things do not mean much any longer, Shibuya means something to Mami Tomoe.

However then Mikoto severs her lash, and Eri twists the foreshortened length back - touching her finger to the point, as a sparkle of magic causes the severed plant matter to start to slowly regenerate. "Oh Mikoto. Nothing against Hachiko - but I don't care about the statue." A beat, before she clarifies, "Well - maybe a little." She admits. The story of a dog that loyal does tug at the heartstrings after all.

The girl shakes out her arm, and allows the regrowing scourge to settle upon the pavement, as she holds her arm back just over her shoulder.

"What really hurts is seeing you like this."

Mikoto comes at them with the flat of the blade swirling, and she finds herself leaping backwards, the flat of the blade slamming a fire hydrant in its arc, that's sent flying her way - clipping her in mid-air.

She still recovers just fine, landing more heavily that she'd like. Flicking her thumb across a bleeding cut in the middle of a swelling, purpling bruise on her forehead.

"Ah - fine." She says quietly, before flicking a glance at Mami and Nori, "I didn't specify what kind of girl's night out it'd be after all."

The girl suddenly turns her lash up and over, so that the handle is pointing down. And suddenly the vine like tendrils pry into the concrete, before burrowing in. The handle sinks down, planting itself until it's the only part of itself visible.

Then suddenly a trio of fast-moving loops of thorns erupts out of the concrete of the sidewalk, before vanishing again, and erupting over and over in a chaotic mass of living plant life that seeks to slam into Mikoto.

One after another slicing, rending, tearing, before vanishing again.

"Kasagami does a lot of things that she doesn't think through." She remarks, "Do you really want to follow her example right here - right now?"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

'Better that than the status, or a person', Mami's expression as she glances back to Eri not quite shrugging over the matter of the broken bus stop. It matters, but a little railing can be easily replaced. They already have the signs. Something of the spirit of the place, though...

La Sirene's question is fair, and pertinent to Mami. As she awaits the answer, Mami calls to Steven, "We'll protect him. We're counting on you to do your part, too."

Her golden eyes cast about to find Mikoto, and there... Kasagami. Of course Kasagami. If anything could test Mami's patience, forgiveness--

'You first.'

"Whatever your reasons..."

Mikoto whirls towards her, and Mami, light on her feet, steps back, to the side, whirling to present an arm instead her core to the flat, hit hard enough to force her backwards where she dances steps to get her feet. "...I won't allow it."

"I would've hoped something more pleasant," she admits to Eri, but doesn't spend long talking. Instead, she raises her hands, together, and then from the empty space between her palms pulls a great rifle for each hand. She bends at the knee--

Leaps into the air, firing one, letting the impact propel her upward and backward as she spins, fires another, already drawing more as she zig-zags upward towards another rooftop again.

"An eye for an eye, is it?" she asks, between shots. "...You're right about one thing. It would be worse, seeing it. But we won't--not today."

None of the shots are for heart or head or vital spots; each bullet explodes into brilliant light, each aimed at arms that hold weaponry, at hands that direct swings.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

While Mami's shielding is more effective, Steven tries his best to help assist in defending the statue as well, as others take to the air to launch a counter-attack. "But the little dog didn't do anything to you!" he shouts aloud. The clashing continues, and the little poofy-haired boy is unsure what to do. He wants to help, but against Mikoto???

The beach visits, the spaceship, the temples. What was it all for? Was it some kind of game to buy time for all this? Or was it something else... "Be careful! You have seen her attacks before on monsters! Remember what she can do!" he calls to the others.

Mikoto and her blinding speed, wielding that great black sword, holds it high after reaching his side in a matter of seconds from the brawl. "Wait--" is about all that gets said before a full bore swing meets the implement. A loud DONG sounds, like a bell being struck, and Steven gpes slidding down the pathway. Flip-flops get caught at the near-stop and the boy rolls backward head over heels a few times, before coming to rest on a corner. "Muhhh...." he whines, annoyed.

A struggled step to stand, but one that is passed, as cloudy debris slowly settles. Taking a chance, the boy spins and throws the shield very low, skidding it off the ground and going for their adversary's feet. "You gotta stop, Mikoto! We can just talk this out! There's no need to get people hurt or damage property!"

This encounter felt different for some reason to the child. It was like it reminded him of something. But what...?

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

It's not the first time that Mikoto and the Wind Knight have clashed. Neither, according to memories, was the battle at the foot of the spire. But this time, as Mikoto Minagi comes flying blade-first at the Magic Knight of Wind, something happens that has *not* happened before: not just the sound of metal clashing against metal --

But the fact that Miroku is *blocked*, rather than merely deflected.

And while it takes both of the Wind Knight's arms - indeed, the strength of her whole body, legs and torso and arms all in concert - to meet Mikoto's strike, meet it she does: head-on, unyielding, resolute.

"So it's Kasagami-san's fault that you want to destroy something that *many* people find precious, Mikoto-san?" the Wind Knight asks, Escudo blade scraping against eldritch obsidian. "It's not just her. It's not just *us*. So many people treasure Hachiko's statue, and you would wound all of them to spite a handful?" The bespectacled girl shakes her head slightly, and exerts further leverage - trying to push Miroku away and aside. Somehow she's even making the effort to keep Mikoto's sword from getting near that lamppost ...

Not that she's likely to have to worry about it for long; Mikoto's splitting her attention among multiple enemies, after all.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Why do you want to hurt us?!" la Sirene cries out even though Mikoto was speaking to Eri. Well, she was invited, and she was asleep; surely Mikoto, on a spiritual level, would admit this justice. If she knew about it. On a spiritual level.

If she knew.

La Sirene is then given an answer.

Her mouth hangs slightly open - is this why they got rid of kings? she wonders, in the back of her mind - before Mikoto is practically upon her, at which point she throws up her left hand, cringes slightly backwards, raises her right and cries: "Les Mysteres, come!" The bursting light is familiar, and it contributes to her not being clobbered down. It may, unfortunately, add to the threat Fuu faces.

"Hachiko is more than property, Steven," la Sirene says, temporarily free of the peril of a cat.

"Hachiko represents an old story... have you heard it? I know you're from overseas, and unlike me you have not had the benefit of years of memory and television..."

La Sirene sweeps her hair back into place with one hand. "Hachiko was a dog who waited at this station for a master -- though I would not term these things such, it's the way they both must have thought of it -- who had perished... he waited until... until...!"

La Sirene sucks in a deep breath!

Then she looks at Mami for a moment, faltering. "This is a...???"


'Big trouble at Hachiko! You need to get there! Mikoto's involved!' 'uuugh don't yell at me if i skip tomorrow' 'GO GO GO GO GO'


La Sirene looks momentarily abashed.

She then turns her focus back to Mikoto. Her hands raise, making a leisurely sort of mystic pass before her - she frames them, like a photographer, and then lowers them before the Pharos at her hip. A sudden bursting sparkle of black 'light' flies out, aiming to cling around Mikoto's face, clinging like harmless BUT COMPLETELY OPAQUE gel.

Perhaps she'll hate me for it, la Sirene thinks, but --

Her lips thin, and the thought does not finish in words!

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Good!" Mikoto yells, when Eri reveals what hurts about this situation. It's a bitter lance, and a bitter blade. She can get some grim satisfaction out knowing she can still hurt her, even if it's like this. Westar was right.

It's a blade which catches true enough for its efforts - efforts soon answered; air clicks in short hiss through Mikoto's teeth as the fey glitter of Les Mysteres consume her sight for a crucial moment. In that instant Mami echoes her aerial acrobatics, and hearing the cracking report of a rifle Mikoto manages to blindly twist away from one bullet, but Mami manifested two guns and more besides.

(Always they have many weapons, Mikoto thinks, in passing annoyance; why do they always have so many weapons?)

That second shot explodes to light against the pink and gold detailing of her vambrace, illuminating the steel-spiked bracelet which binds it to her wrist. There's another hiss through her teeth, but this is a sharp breath inward rather than a puff outward, and in subtle shades the meaning changes completely: an expression of pain, rather than annoyance.

Still she meets the Wind Knight, and perhaps, for the first time, meets her. Let us return to definitions for a moment - both their blades are massive: comprised of great mass. It is not a simple thing for Mikoto to force through that defence, even as she bears down with ferocious might. Time enough for Fuu to issue those questions, as golden eyes narrow beneath them. "Yes," Mikoto says. "It's good if lots of you hurt."

Grunting with the effort, she turns Fuu's blade aside - the opposite direction to the lamppost, at least - and springs away. She doesn't have any time to linger. Undergrowth, undertow: a wave of thorns erupts from the ground, and Mikoto's legs bend to leap once more from their barrage. But a shield cuts low through the air, catches at her ankles, and sends her sprawling back into the brilliant copse of a briar patch.

"I did think through!" Mikoto snaps, in turn, as she twists to keep the loops away from anything too dire. "I thought real hard! This is the closest thing!" And maybe that doesn't make much sense, but la Sirene is here to explain, spurred by Steven's cries: Hachiko, their symbol of shining loyalty.

Which is the closest thing to...

Mikoto growls, the sound vibrating in her chest - perhaps because her face has, all a sudden, been occupied. It's a sound of building frustration as she lifts a hand to swipe at her eyes, lips twisting at the taste of nothing with a side of salt. Finally she yells, and shifts her footing, blindly planting her sword into the concrete. Red sigils like eyes alight on the blade, and explode in white light - and suddenly the ground is all ashudder, earth quaking up, concrete rising in jagged protest all around them. It is hardly something aimed, and perhaps it's only luck which sees her aiming the power out in a vague la Sirene direction, rather than towards Hachiko's exit.

Still, a quake like that is something for everyone to worry about.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Well the night is young." Eri says with a sense of mild delinquency to Mami. After all, the two are high school girls and it's midnight. Saying the night is young is certainly the mark of a delinquent!

It doesn't sting as much as Mikoto wants it to when Mikoto says 'good'. Because Eri thinks its fair she retrieve some measure of hurt - retribution for her past manipulation of Mikoto. It's fine by her if Mikoto wants to hurt her.

She just wants it to be because Mikoto wants it to be - rather than because it's something in service of her Lord Brother. And right now those things are difficult to distinguish.

The whip retracts suddenly as Mikoto insists she thought it through, motes of green sparkling over the pavement as it retracts, and Eri reaches down and simply slides her whip out of the ground as if she'd simply laid it down for a moment.

"The closest thing to what? To what Kasagami did?" Eri furrows her brow, puzzled, but then Mikoto growls and suddenly everything shifts as Mikoto plants her sword in the concrete.

"... ... Hi Miroku." Eri says in this light sense of punch drunk haze, mildly concussed from the earlier attack, before she suddenly coils her whip high so that it curls in the air like a striking snake, before she suddenly slams it down with a terrible crack as it meets the concrete in a counterforce to what's coming.

One force meets another, and she simply uses it to blunt the force a little before it strikes her. Still it hurts as she stumble staggers backwards, before finally collapsing down, placing a hand beneath her to catch herself. In the end she's down in a sprawling of her legs.

"Mikoto... I don't really get it. What Kasagami did - how this is supposed to pay back for it."

The ground is still shaking so even with preternatural balance, she has a hard time lifting herself back up.

"Sometimes there's just no balancing the scales."

She says calmly, before she sweeps her hand up and overhead, the whip follows in a circular motion, before she sends it out. It dances through the air, following as her hand leads, and it follows in a twisting dance meant to hamper and press Mikoto's space - trying to break her concentration over what she's doing.

"There just isn't. You remember right?" The girl says as her whip snaps with a terribly painful snap, again, and again. "You remember where that eventually leads if you try."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"True," Mami answers Eri smoothly, because she's gotten rather good at a bit of rulebreaking herself. As for her shield--there's no such thing as too good of shielding, too good at defending something precious that must be destroyed, if you're on the right side of it. Steven's shield might well make the difference when it comes down to it--in a coming. earthquake???

It takes a lot of Mami's restraint not to make a snide comment about her sword-wielding opponent not present, though. But she's civilized. She is. Really.

...Besides; it's hard to focus on petty spite in the face of Nori retelling an old story. Even if it's interrupted...

"It's fine," Mami tells Nori with a small smile, despite the situation. "A bit short notice, wasn't it? But I'm glad to have you here."

And Eri, too, as strange as that thought could be once.

Mami looks at the small changes; the bracelet, the pain... the action. Her opponent is a girl, not a monster, and she knows this. She does not, this time, speak of what Mikoto could, or should have done instead.

And the ground rocks suddenly, the perch Mami has chosen suddenly unstable, forcing her to leap in bare time to escape it, landing more heavily than she would like on the ground and snapping up her vision. "...Yes," Mami agrees with the greeting, "It seems so."

Not that she actually recognizes the signifigance, as she rises, balancing with more focus than she'd prefer to let on.

Eri is the one who knows her; she was always just Mami's enemy. So, with a look to La Sirene, ensuring she can reach her--

"I won't question whether you thought," Mami says, a bit more gently. "...Where it goes. Where any of it leads."

"But I meant what I told you, before."

She puts out her hand--and from all directions, ribbons start swirling into existence, abrubtly conjured to wrap about Mikoto's wrists, then arms, to bind and constrict and keep still.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Everyone indeed; earthquakes are familiar (if not comfortable) to the Wind Knight, and enough of them happen to Tokyo naturally that she doesn't want to let an unnecessary, artificial temblor last any longer than it *really* has to.

Then there's the fact that Mikoto actively *wants* to make many people suffer, without regard to who they are, what they've done ... and the Wind Knight shakes her head, even as she leaps - bounding away from erupting spires of obsidian, and zig-zagging towards Mikoto, sword raised: finally going on the attack. It's clear enough, in her eyes and the downward curve of her mouth, that she really does not want to do this - but it's equally clear, from the way her hands grasp the hilt of her sword, that she's determined to do it anyway.

"We can't let you do this, Mikoto-san!!"

She swings, leading as Mikoto did with the flat of the blade, *not* its edge: a slap, instead of a slice. Not that it won't hurt - she's trying to smack Mikoto away from Miroku, to break the girl's grip on her weapon while Miroku's blade is still jabbed (how deep?) into the ground, and such an impact is at least likely to leave bruises.

She may not have a choice about finally coming to blows with Mikoto ... but the Wind Knight still doesn't want to hurt the dark girl any more than she has to.

She doesn't want to think about how much it might take to stop her.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

The moment bought by skidding shield is enough to rejoin the fray, at least partially. The clashes of force require Steven to be careful where he steps, but he was never one to make too reckless a move in most dangerous moments. He assumes another position in front of the statue, as he summons another shield, the other having served is purpose.

"I... I have not, no!" he calls toward La Sirene. "I have heard everyone adore the statue though! Definitely not another piece of stone like most statues, I figured!" The story told mid-battle of the goodest boy is is quite a strong one! A story doesnt have to be wordy to impart emotion.

Retaliation comes in the form of the very land shaking from Mikoto's anger. The boy falls to his feet from the effect, banging his knees on the ground firmly, painfully. "THat was a good little story," he says, wincing as he stands. "All the more reason to keep it safe...!"

Since Mikoto is on the ground currently, Steven decides to try and just get her attention about as well as he can, and bull rush her with his shield in an attempt tp pin her against something.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Hachiko stayed at this place until he became a very old dog," la Sirene says: "And then, faithful to the end, he passed into the halls of the invisible ones - you follow me? And he was a landmark, a person everyone knew, and so to him, they made this statue--"

And that is when Mikoto throws power towards her.

La Sirene does not present her left hand, but spreads her hands out as she sees it coming towards her - "Les Mysteres, WAKE!" she cries, and there is a shimmer-shine of interlocking art-nouveau brass and glittering atom-thin obsidian glass, and the ripple in the earth strikes it -

Things get weird. The dome seems to be a sphere; the energy is spread out, forming cracks round where la Sirene stands, though perhaps smaller, easier repaired compared to the ones that might have been. La Sirene sweats as she stares ahead, stares at Mikoto, and says, "Mikoto Minagi."

The dome fades. (Before it does, it becomes clear that its front was crumpled immensely.) La Sirene breathes heavily, and steps forwards, in the direction of Mikoto. She has no weapon in her hand and no spell on her lips, but she holds her left hand in that sign, the sign of Les Mysteres, as she speaks.

"Why? Who benefits? Do you think that by hurting us you teach us something? All that you teach us is that the world is cruel and hateful and that everything is awful and that everyone you love or think you might will turn on you and flense your soul and it will be beyond your understanding or ability to do a single blessed thing about," la Sirene says - which means she has to pause for a breath.


"That isn't TRUE... You KNOW that, don't you?"

"There is enough sorrow in this world and I will not let you add any more to it, Mikoto," la Sirene says. "But I do not want to add to your sorrow. And I feel that you want us, as I suppose Eri suggests, to do just that."

Her arms spread (the left hand remains in the Sign).

"So... I have no answers... but this is where we stand."

To herself, la Sirene thinks, where did half of THAT come from.

The Pharos's weight becomes obvious to her.

Oh, she thinks: Right, right...

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

A bit of bus-stop flies towards Hachiko in the carnage, but Steven's there with his shield, and it bounces harmlessly away.

Miroku is not in the habit of speaking, as such; perhaps that explosive force which tears through the earth is enough greeting. It would be simple, here, to press a little further: Mikoto does speak, in her own fashion, and it is such an easy thing to call its name.

She does not.

Maybe it's the sight of them: Eri all sprawled down, Mami's heavy landing, Fuu bounding through, Steven trying to stand in bulwark, the - ah - let's call it the dome which wakes from la Sirene. Mikoto sees what she has wrought, and thinks she doesn't need to go any further. She doesn't have to go any further. She doesn't...

And it's in that moment they press the issue, and it's not a matter of will any more. Fuu leads with her blade, and what she wants is what Mikoto can never give: she wrests Miroku from the earth before the other blade can strike her, and she is forced to flee her epicentre in a hurry, yielding ground to the Wind Knight. She avoids the solid strike of that sword's flat, but now - now she has to contend with the destruction she herself has wrought.

To her credit, she moves nimbly and without tripping; but the concrete is torn and uneven, and it is so much more complicated to move through it.

Eri admonishes her with words rather than wind, though certainly her whip carves through it, crickle-crack: Mikoto has to move quickly to avoid its thorny lash, at last having blinked the worst of the gel from her eyes.

(She is too occupied to appreciate the irony of Eri leading yet another dance.)

She could leave in a different way to avoid the words Eri says, but Mikoto is trying very, very hard not to do that. It means she has to listen, and she can't hide her distaste for the shape of them, lips twisting in a pained grimace which is not entirely the fault of a whip finally managing to catch at her arm. Even her agility can be tired, and Eri knows so well how to tire her. "This is all I could think of!" She yells, the words raw in her throat. "Only way to make you hurt the same!"

It's hard to think of alternatives to...


Maybe, Mikoto thinks, Eri's right after all, and it would all spiral down no matter her efforts.

"It's not," Mikoto grits out, to Steven: not another piece of stone. She finally manages to free herself from Eri's own exclusion zone with an impressive leap, which sends her up to the remains of that bus shelter. In that moment, one of her hands lifts, to curl around the pendant at her chest. "It's symbol. Loyalty. Just like mine. It's important --" she grunts as she returns her grip Miroku's hilt, springing down to meet Steven in his charge, "-- it's reminder!"

And perhaps Mami won't question her thoughtfulness, but it's just as she said: Mikoto has issued threat, and here the Golden Queen is to stop her. (Always, the gold.) Ribbons issue from a different type of 'mu' to what the cats said, when Mikoto was sitting at the base of this statue with them so long ago. Perhaps, if Mikoto were unharried, she could have leapt away from them too: but she is pressing her offence, always pressing her offence, and in the way of berserkers not to look to their defences.

"No!" Mikoto cries, an edge of panic to her anger, as Mami takes the opposite approach to the Wind Knight: she does not try to remove Mikoto from her blade. Rather, she binds: delicate little bows about her wrists, about her arms, and suddenly Mikoto has no leverage to swing at all. At least she does not trip on her landing, because the Golden Queen's magic sees to Shibuya: little ribbons find those jagged and broken concrete edges, lace around them and see them smooth again. Behind her, the bus shelter is not missing pieces any more.

Despite the smooth ground Mikoto lands heavily, clumsily, and rather than meeting Steven she finds that Steven meets her: rammed shield-first into the back of that bus shelter, impacting with the reverse side of a printed list of times. There are less of them, at this time of night. These are the gentle hours, and a particular type of girl is still out in the midst of them.

Perhaps it's a good thing Mami saw to it.

It would have been a much more painful impact if Mikoto had her way.

She grimaces, growling at the smaller boy, but there is little argument she can issue: Steven interrupts the alacrity she has used to keep herself from retort so often, and Mami hampers the assault she has used with such devastating force.

Given a few moments, perhaps she could have washed out golden light with purple, answered Steven's shield with hands freed.

With the sign of Les Mysteres, it is clear Mikoto will get no such moment.

Long and long ago, Mikoto once told Homura to call her name to call her back: what was true then is true now, in its fashion, and her eyes shift to la Sirene and she listens. She can do little else, in the moment.

"It's not a lesson," she answers, finally.

"It's pain. I need those strong feelings. So I'll make you suffer. I," here she pauses, briefly, and perhaps Steven will sight the way her teeth press in against her bottom lip. "It's hard to think of how, but I know what hurts me! So, that's why-!!"

Mikoto grunts, pained to name it, and finally she looks away. "... I wanted you to know how Kasagami made me feel."

But her eyes fall on smooth concrete and the edge of an unbent bench, and it's clear to her she hasn't succeeded to do that, either.

'...I'm learning to see the writing on the wall. Some days, you can tell that your side's losing, and it's leave or risk getting set on fire.'

Like Damocles or the closest star the sign of the Pharos weighs over her neck, and Mikoto hisses a breath through her teeth, finally wresting herself free of Steven's hold through sheer bullheaded strength. "I'm going!" She snaps, an almost petulant edge to it, and her legs bend and she leaps away.

Just like that.