2020-04-18 - Creativity, Up A Tree

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Title: Creativity, Up A Tree

Mikoto shares her newfound interest in painting with the boy who gave her the idea, and Steven learns more interesting things about Japan. There are no badguys here!


Mikoto Minagi, Steven Universe


The World Tree Plaza

OOC - IC Date:

2020-04-18 - 2015-08-22

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> III - Holy Land https://www.youtube..com/watch?v=i4B_yPWZRdU

Let's start at the beginning; it's a very good place to start.

It's not one seed. Not any more.

These roots grow together, twisted together. This trunk is the product of a hundred dreams and memories. It's you and me, every story we have told.

We call it... the World Tree.

It stands taller than any tower, broader and stronger and steadier still; it is a gathering-place for wandering hearts and seekers, the blessed and the unfortunate. Throughout every visitor it is quiet, and eternal, and perhaps that is why is is so easy to think under the shade of its boughs.

The last time Mikoto came here...

Well, maybe it makes sense, in retrospect. Who Soular was - and her.

But Dark Fall doesn't get to scare her away from a place like this.

There's a healthy crowd out today, looking for shade in the warmth of a hot summer's day. Going up, there are people, too; there are steps and pathways leading along the great World Tree, for those who'd like to see it from above.

But going up, a little further still... and then a little further, where there aren't so many stairs...

There, nestled between one of those gigantic branches and the trunk.

There's a girl, sword-case pinned between the trunk and her hip, her other leg pulled up so her heel rests against the wood. That leg supports a sketchbook, and a brush swipes lines across it as she smiles. In jean-shorts which look a little too faded to be chic, and a pink cat-patterned t-shirt, she's dressed for summer.

Mikoto looks pretty happy with herself.

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

Perhaps it was a scent. A blend of colors, or a passing conversation. A thought that connected to a thought, and then again. Or mayhaps, being a person that has tried his small chubby hands at gardening, that checking up on a tree would be a good idea.

It could be any number of reasons. But eventually, Lion appears out of the crowd in the nearby proximity. He sticks out like a sore pink thumb. People give him a decent berth as well. Perhaps people are dulled against recognizing magical or supernatural things, but he is sitll a lion. And on his back is a boy, one whose attention is to the mighty boughs of the World Tree.

Steven watches as a leaf or two falls, gently to the ground. He learned that when a leaf is a certain age or is damaged, the tree cuts circulation to it and it naturally falls off. And so all the leaves dont freeze and cause problems, in Fall, it sheds them ahead of time. "Still doin' okay, it looks like. No badguys here!"

Lion's head creaks upward to above as well, but his nose is working. And after a minute or so, the cat just decides to up and roar a portal open! "Okay Lion, time to-- AHH!" Steven apparently wasn't expecting it at all.

The next instand, a giant cat skids to a halt near Mikoto, with Steven tumbling out of his mane and oneo a titanic branch. "Oomph!" He doesn't bother getting up. "Why are we so high up...." he groans. Lion just looks over to Mikoto as if to say 'Hi, also I brought a kid with me'.

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

It's nice to visit a friend; and the World Tree, in some respects, is a friend. Isn't it?

"What a big dog," someone murmurs, in the crowd.

"I'm not sure that's a..." His friend trails off.

"No," he replies, "I'm pretty sure that's a Newfoundland. Have you seen those European dogs?"

"Oh, sure, pull out your travel credentials."

"Trust me, I know what a dog looks like."

"Dude, I don't know that you know what a dog looks like."

They're going to be arguing about it for a while. It's a good thing they turned to face each other so they completely missed the portal.

ROOAR, that portal opens up, high in the boughs of the World Tree.

Mikoto looks up, with a noise of surprise. She does not, to her credit, drop her sketchbook. (It would be a pretty long fall from up here.) "Lion?" She asks, canting her head. "Steven..?" She sounds puzzled, but not unfriendly.

There are no badguys here. Right?

"I like being up high," Mikoto explains, tucking her brush back in a box so it doesn't get lost. "It's nice up here."

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

To be fair to those two, Newfoundland dogs are really big.

Maybe not this big, though.

Lion seems at home in these lofty branches, but as Steven gets up from his momentarily stunned state, he sees just how high up they are without and railings. "Oof! This is hiiiigh..." A glance around spies a friendly face! "H-Hey! Mikoto! I guess Lion wanted to come and say hello!" he surmises, looking a little worried about his footing with flip-flops.

The boy begins to slowly make his way toward Mikoto ,trying to be as careful as he can. Lion just hops over with no problem, as cats are wont to do. "It is! I am just no good at climbing! Are you just hanging out, or doing something secret?" he asks, suspicious-sounding.

He did see a brush, he thinks...!

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

"Don't worry!" Mikoto chirps, confident. "Even if Steven fell, bubble'd save you!"

That might not be as reassuring as she evidently thinks it is.

He asks with suspicion, and Mikoto's head cants to the other side. "I'm not doing anything bad," she explains, simply. Why she would jump to that conclusion...

"... wanna see?" She asks, handing over the sketchbook once Steven's got himself a sturdy-enough looking seat.

The pages are heavy, designed for ink rather than graphite. The figures are unpracticed; she's only just started, and doesn't really know how to draw. But there's something interesting about the featuring characters of these paintings:

Most of them are characters.

Kanji characters, that is.

What Mikoto is good at is calligraphy; and so, amongst the scratchy impressions of trees and sun and clouds, many figures are represented in these sketches with the written word. Mikoto's name, in yellow; Mai's, in orange; there's Steven, here and there, in pink.

There's a picture of a sunny window, and three curved kanji for 'cat', suggesting cats sprawled in the warmth.

There's a big circle with squares suggesting a ferris wheel, with the names of her friends riding it.

There's a crown sitting on the corner of Kasagami's name, in deep red, at the top of a long staircase; well, presumably it's a staircase, even if the foreshadowing is a mess.

... in bright, bright gold, on painted black, the character 'ANI-UE', all lit up in brushstrokes, a faint red aura about the edges...

Never mind that, turn the page and look at the watercolour strokes of a zinnia, evidently painted from life even if the form is unpracticed.

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

Steven.. isn't quite sure if that is a compliment or not. She is right, but it would also be scary! "I would rather not go through that scare though!" he says, as he edges across the thinnest part to get to Mikoto. A held breath, and... he makes it! The boy quickly scampers over beside her. "I dunno hwo you got up here! Did you climb? Jump?"

He wishes he could fly or jump and make it all the way up here! Would be super cool. "Totally...!" he says, starry-eyed! It was time to find out Mikoto-based secrets...!

And it turns out to be... "Art! Oh super cool! Lookit how fancy you wrote that stuff! Hey, is that my name? I think it is..." He looks at the pink symbols rather hard. "Even after a year I am still having a bit of trouble with these. I still haven't gotten down the uh, the things people say at the end of peoples names when talking to them!"

He might mean Honorifics. "Like, there's so many of them and some are slightly different and what if I insult someone?" He just throws his hands up. "I'm happy no one seems to mind talking without them."

Eyes linger on that ominous looking kanji. He likes the color pairing on it, but it feels a little... Hm. Hard to put a finger on it. "Oooh, flower! Did you just do this? Or did someone teach you?" He seems so happy to just look at this sketch book with Mikoto. It is easy to please this kid.

Lion meanwhile just curls up beside the two. Right on a sun ray. Perfect spot.

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

"Yup!" Mikoto chirps, as Steven asks whether she climbed or jumped. Her mathematician's answer reveals that, in fact, she had to do both those things to get up here.

Steven discovers that the secret Mikoto is hiding - which she isn't really hiding, and isn't really much of a secret, but who is she to disavow a child of his wonder? - is art. "Uh-huh," she nods, with a chipper smile. There he is, on the ferris wheel!

"That's kanji," Mikoto points at the words on the page, "and the stuff people say at the end's, honourifics." Mikoto knows the word, even if she has to pause for an instant to recall it. "I don't really get most of them neither, but... I think I know how they work now." She's even used one of the more conventional ones - once.

"It don't really matter," she dismisses it, with confidence. "There's some bits of Tokyo we don't need to worry about!" Is it strange to position them both as visitors to the city..? Maybe not as strange as it looks, even with the way Mikoto can command the written language.

She does look a little nervous as Steven lingers on that dark page, but luckily, he turns to the next one, and that's much brighter. Zinnias are dark gold, just like the colour she uses for her name. "Eri helped me figure it out," she says, with a broad smile, "but I did that one on my own!"

She sounds terribly proud, at that. She made something all by herself, and it's a nice thing which doesn't hurt anyone.

"Steven said I should try it, right..? So now I can do all kinds of stuff, I wanted to do it!" She's sunny as the sunbeam Lion's found, a far cry from the chilly anger she wore previously. "I'm not too good at it yet, but I'll get better, yup."

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

"Ooooh...!" She dew a ferris wheel with him on it! So cool... "I'm not good at drawing really. I like to use crayons a lot, though! Maybe I can make good art one day." She seems very talented though! "Kanji..." he repeats after her. The ancient form of writing the Japanese language. It looks so refined and elegant!

"Yeah, people have been really nice, so I haven't really worried about it too much!"

A look to the flower when Eri is mentioned. "Did Eri show you the flowers? I think she grows flowers!" he says, remembering the gardening club.

"I remember seeing pretty art on the walls of shrines! Your art kinda reminds me of that stuff! Someone told me the parts that have bits of gold are actual good too! How do you draw with actual gold?!"

Maybe they heat it as it is applied to the brush? "Oh, Did I say that?" he asks, appearing preplexed. "Oh, yeah! I remember now! So, gonna do art school or somethin' with your cool skills?" he asks, dinner-plate eyes, looking right at her! Is this Mikoto's future as a famous artist?!

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

"We both can!" Mikoto encourages him on the topic of making good art, brightly.

Mikoto nods, as he asks about Eri. "That's Eri's flower!" She says, with excitement which doesn't quite explain why she's so enthused about it. "Eri's good at flowers!"

She cants her head, as Steven mentions the scrolls in shrines, a thoughtful expression chasing her enthusiasm. "Huuh..." She wonders, thinks back...

Yeah, maybe it makes perfect sense Mikoto would think to replace figures with kanji.

Steven asks how to draw with gold, and Mikoto has an answer! "That's maki-e," she explains, with confidence. "It's, lacquer with gold dust! Gotta use a special brush to put it down, or bamboo. It's old technique... started in Heian, but got popular in Edo. It's really hard, so I couldn't do it without practicing lots."

... Mikoto might be failing most of her classes, but she's a star student when it comes to Japanese history. Deepening mystery of Mikoto Minagi..!

"I hadn't thought about that," Mikoto goes on, looking over at the sketchbook with a thoughtful noise. "... what I'm gonna do. I never really thought I'd deal with that, before... but I can go to art school if I want now, huh?"

Her gaze slips over to Lion, napping in that sunbeam. "I kinda just want to keep helping cats," she says, thoughtful. "There must be people who do that, right?"

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

"I remember meeting her at the garden event. She knew a lot about plants! I was hoping to ask her about some sometime," The boy comments, excited to see what the next page holds. Hw ponders how long she may have been drawing.

"That sounds really cool, but its gotta be really expensive... Oh man, imagine how much trouble you would be in if you accidentally dropped the dust everywhere!" The boy says, fretting a little at the thought.

"Oh yeah, totes!" Steven says happily toward Mikoto. "Like, theres famous abstract artists that put like a tiny splotch of paint on a white canvas and made millions of dollars! You can do that easy! But I guess you gotta do it juuuust right, and that takes art school, I think!"

The boy looks to Lion with Mikoto. "Uh. Hm." The boy ponders for a bit. "Well theres pet doctors, and pet shelters and stuff. Kinda like that? Or maybe you can teac hcats how to do tricks! Or make a cat magic show, with a cat as an assistant?!"

Yes, the best career option.

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

"Steven should!" Mikoto encourages him to ask her other friend for gardening knowledge. "Eri knows lots about plants!" There's a word she could use here, and doesn't, even though that's true too.

She doesn't stop to explain, though.

"Don't worry," Mikoto reassures Steven. "Gotta do lots of training to do maki-e, so you wouldn't just drop it!" Of course, mistakes still happen, but he sounds worried to her ears, so she focuses on the skill instead.

Her head tiiilts as she listens to him talk about art, and what fame takes in the art world. How mysterious...!!

It's a mystery which deepens as Steven details the best career option. "Cat magic..." Mikoto echoes, and quickly looks down at her hand.

It's still a hand! Phew.

Brightening again, Mikoto grins. "I bet Yumi would know!" She says, because - oh no, Mikoto heard 'magic' and she's thinking magic, isn't she. "Cat magic show...!"

This is a good idea Mikoto has had and nothing can go wrong.

"I'll go ask Yumi about more cat magic!" Mikoto declares, with bravery. Wait, 'more'--??? "Thanks, Steven!"

She reaches over to take her sketchbook, tucking it and her box of brushes back in her knapsack, before she pauses to look over. "... let me help Steven get down," she adds, remembering his nervousness at the height. "It's not so scary when you know how!" This won't be the first time she's helped someone with climbing advice this week. Mikoto is a good climbing instructor.

... plus, Lion's here to help, once he wakes up.

It'll be fine...!