2020-05-21 - Uminari Matsuri: At What Cost

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Title: Uminari Matsuri: At What Cost

Rei realises she's pushed too hard in the name of the festival's success. Usagi helps. (Note to canon fiends: this scene takes place before goldfish scooping, because in this world they don't get interrupted by a youma.)


Rei Hino, Usagi Tsukino


Uminari Seaside Park

OOC - IC Date:

2020-05-21 - 2015-08-29

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


- Senshi (many)
- Children (cute)
- Children (brats)
- Drum (tiny)


- Rei Hino (responsible for this whole mess)


It has to do with a vat of noodles being ruined by a ring toss -- and a little girl getting lost -- and crows stealing shiny prizes -- and a lack of sauce -- and a disorganised walking space -- and a lady named...

No, not Rei Hino, currently stooped over as she leaaans in to peer around an open doorway. A tengu mask is sitting on the side of her head, beak up at jaunty angle; below it, her hair falls down, cascading to the point of her purple ribbon as that decoration singlehandedly defeats the flow of that raven waterfall. The sash of her yellow obi is like a ribbon for her whole self, cinched around her waist; it keeps her red yukata well in check, even as the light blue lining on the edges suggests the patterning of something deathly venomous.

She seems terribly occupied with what she's currently spying on. A dull thud-thud-thud eminates from inside the building.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Hmmm. Where could she have gone?" Usagi frets over this head scratching mystery. If there's one thing she knows about Rei Hino, it's that she keeps busy. It's just that she's not keeping busy at her booth. That means she could be concerned with any number of things. Usagi presses a button her communicator, and the face of a mooncat appears.

"Luna." She whispers, "Can you track where Rei-chan is?"


"Oh! Well - please track her for me."

"Why would I do that? I'm busy."

"If you track her for me - I'll work hard on my summer homework tomorrow."

"I'm not going to reward you for doing something you should be doing anyway!"

"But I've been looking for a while and this festival is very crowded..."

"She's entitled to her privacy. Luna out-!"


Back in the Arcade Fortress, Luna swivels around on a stool and hits a button.

"This taxi can take you back to a turning point... where you can change what happened..."

An actor on the big screen says.

Luna eats from a popcorn tub marked Game Center Crown.


Usagi sighs long and hard, "I don't see why she couldn't give me a hint at least..." Usagi walks fast, as she looks for the telltale sign of a...

... she stops abruptly.



Two sets of fingers appear above Rei Hino, unseen.

And the edge of a mask slides in just above her. Rei Hino's intensive monofocus likely to prevent her from even noticing. It's the same Hyotokko mask from earlier, though now its resting on the side of her face. Usagi Tsukino looks in the same direction. Nods twice.

Then leans downward, whispering, "What are you looking at Rei-chan?"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Creep, creep...

All a sudden Rei Hino realises that something else is in her field of view, and she squeaks in alarm which is very quickly silenced as she slaps a hand to her mouth. "--mmf!" SHE CAN'T MAKE NOISE RIGHT NOW!

Rather than answering Usagi right away, Rei leans back over to check around the door --

And the woman pounding at the drums there is totally disaffected. Again, and again, and again, and the sweat glittering like jewels suggests she has been here practicing since the start of the festival -- if not longer.

It's Maya Tohno, the woman Rei went to such lengths to recruit for the Uminari Matsuri.

Rei gestures to Usagi to move her back, and creeps away from the door. Sneak, sneak, and out here away from the throng of the festival there's a place to sit in the moonlight.

"I last checked on Tohno-san after the festival began," Rei says, contemplative. "That would have been three hours ago... she was practicing then, and she's practicing now." She looks up, and there is something soft in her eyes, like some neighbour to regret.

"I told her she didn't have to go that far, since we're not paying her for this performance, but she said that she can't beat the drum right unless she gets excited by practicing like that. I don't think she's visited even one booth since this all started..."

It might be a familiar tone, by now: the reflection that maybe Rei has gone a step too far.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Usagi watches for a while, "Oh! Tohno-san!" It hadn't been immediately obvious from the angle. And yet, when Rei leades her away, she doesn't protest. Simply settling down on the bench.

Usagi has a curious expression as she leans over so far, that her twintail drapes on the ground rather than the bench itself, like she's trying to look at Rei's face from another angle.

Usagi mostly listens, certainly she's concerned about the story - but she's more concerned about the teller.

This isn't just about Tohno-san, she can sense, though not why.

"She's a hard worker..."

Usagi prompts in her active listening, without saying anything else. Though it's unspoken what she's thinking, it's still clear.

'Like someone else I know.'

The girl drapes her arms down so that they're encircling her knees, watching Rei.

Usually Usagi would say far more, but she senses that Rei is going someplace with this that she needs to get to, and feels like she shouldn't distract her.

For you see - Usagi already knows this of Rei Hino. Even if Rei acts like everything she does is effortless, even Usagi doesn't believe it. Ami Mizuno does not earn top grades by never studying - and Rei Hino doesn't accomplish all she does without hard work.

Certainly if Rei Hino told her it was effortless, she'd believe her in the moment, truly believe her. Yet, after that moment fades, she knows it's not true. That Rei is equal parts bluster and pride, and will say so much in service of her pride.


Usagi hums, which is really merely, telling Rei that its fine to go on...

... she's listening.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Rei thinks back, to the drums, and she can't help but smile.

"I thought... if Tohno-san beat the drums, Uminari Matsuri would surely be a success. But... I guess I was a little unfair about it. I really pushed her into this..." Smiling, up to the warm light of the moon and all those twinkling stars shining down on the implements of festival, and to not look at Usagi in this moment is deliberate elison. Her mask is on the other side of her head; it wouldn't be hard for her to turn her head, to look at her as she's speaking.

Except -- it's not that easy, is it?

Even in the magic of a festival.

Hands folded on her knees, her gaze lowers back down to eye-level, to her level. "Even amazing people like Tohno-san work so hard behind the scenes, don't they?"

To her level.

With a smile sharpened on the edge of ambition, Rei declares: "... so I have to do my best to make the festival a success!"

Is it like a drumstick, missing the beat and going tumbling down the way? Or perhaps it is deeper than that; perhaps Rei isn't willing to let other people work so hard, while she sits idle. Sometimes remorse is shaped like changing people, getting them to do something differently now the cost is measured --

But maybe sometimes it can be shaped like honouring their efforts, too.

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.


Usagi doesn't respond to the idea of Rei being unfair. It rather speaks to itself. Usually she'd be the first to jump to Rei's defense, but Rei can be unfair like she can be unfair.

Usually those ways that they're both unfair can be petty - but she knows the world itself can be unfair on a far more grand scale.

Yet, Rei comes to the conclusion in the end, that many people work hard to make things a success. And Usagi's eyes offer a sort of sweet, twinkly glow as she notes that.

Usagi would be the first to pull Rei away from hard work, and Rei would be the first to pull herself back to it - in this friendly tug of war. Usagi knows Rei takes a lot on herself, but noone truly knows how much except Rei.


She says, with a note of soft admiration.

And then, Rei declares that.

Usagi finds herself instantly climbing on the hype train of Rei's enthusiastic declaration, as she leaps up like a bunny. "Not just you-!" Stars in her eyes, a fist clenched and upraised, enough that her yukata sleeve is slipping down her arm.

"... we'll liven up the festival and surprise everyone!"

It is Usagi directly telling Rei, that she supports her, that many people support her. As if to reaffirm this epiphany of Rei Hino's by adding further validation.

"What do you say to that?"

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The secrets of Rei Hino...

... well, they're not really a secret to everyone.

Something new sparkles in her eyes as Usagi throws herself into the task, too. Rei has at times (many times) called her lazy, or flippant, or all too carefree; how often does she call her wonderful, this girl who has so much boiling under her skin?

It is infectious: Rei springs up, too, a fist pumping in a manner most unladylike. "YEAH! We're going to make this a blast!" She's all fired up, too, and it's only a moment later that she realises her position --

And bursts out giggling.

It's a motion which sends her tengu mask tilting over her face again, as the ribbons loosen and it wobbles in its seat; Rei doesn't seem to mind, in her laughter. It's only afterwards that she pushes it up, so she can look over to her friend. "But, you know, Usagi..."

After all, it's that mask she has to lift up. "You've been livening things up for me -- this whole time." At the festival, right..?

It must be, the way she ties that mask behind her face again so she can see out the eye-holes properly. "Caw! The Wise Tengu of Tokyo declares it so!"

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Usagi looks like she's embarrassed, embarrassed enough that she rubs the back of her neck under her twintails. "You caught me-!"

It's not purely selfless. Obviously Usagi Tsukino wants to have fun at the festival and sometimes is willing to do some things incredibly selfish in service of that, it's just that she doesn't have her fun at the expense of everyone else usually.

But as Rei puts her tengu back in place, there's a moment of confusion, before Rei actually-CAWS-!

Usagi puts a hand over her mouth and immediately snickers, muffled behind a hand, but she can't stop herself. The hand peels off, and instead she's pointing at Rei, laughing, "Ahahahahaha - Rei-chan you really sounded like a crow!"

Her laughter continues being uproarious, perhaps she's laughing at Rei Hino a little, but it's more that she just can't help herself. When Usagi finds something funny, she usually can't, unable to restrain those emotional highs and lows.

Covering her belly. "Y-You really got into character!" She sounds really happy about that, "Phobos and Deimos would be really impressed!"

Usagi suddenly stands up straight, then adjusts her Hyottoko mask back in place, with a few fidgets to get the eyeholes back in place. "Well, if the wise Tengu declares it. Who is the Hyottoko to contradict them? The bonds we forged on our quest for Tofu can never be broken."

Usagi walks over to the Tengu, and puts her arm around Rei's like she's her best friend - which she is, her words muffled behind the mask, yet sweet, "Care to escort me back to the festival? The road is perilous, and... I need my Guardian..."

It's not a word that Usagi would ever use, in any other context. Rei Hino is her friend, not her Guardian. Even as Sailor Moon - Princess Serenity, Rei Hino - Sailor Mars is her friend. Yet now here she is, in these masks, declaring that she needs Rei Hino to be that for her.

It's just pretend.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Ca-CAW!" Caws the Wise Crow of Tengu, levelling a talon at Usagi. "The Wise Tengu of Tokyo is obviously corvine!" Sure, there's a universe where Rei gets flustered at being laughed at, but --

But here's the secret: Rei likes hearing Usagi laugh, without holding anything back. So she acts out the part of THE WISE TENGU OF TOKYO, just as Usagi says.

It's fine to be silly sometimes. After all -- it's a festival, and they're girls having fun.

The Hyottoko appears when Usagi pulls that mask down, and the Tengu's beak tilts down with her head as her arm is captured. It's a mask, after all, so it doesn't change. Maybe there's something softer in the eyes behind the mask, but who can really say?

Those talons lift up to curl over the Hyottoko's hand, patting them reassuringly. "I could never let any harm come to you. It is decreed," says the Tengu, so unlike Rei, who rejected their destiny in favour of devotion to the girl in present day. Rei would never lean wholeheartedly into the role the past has written for her without a care for how things are now.

She's always maintained there's a difference -- between fulfilling Sailor Mars' defence of Princess Usagi, and protecting Usagi for what Usagi has done for Rei.

But this isn't Rei and Usagi, after all. They're a Tengu and a Hyottoko, walking arm-in-arm down the road back to the festival.

It's just one of those festival stories.