2020-10-31 - Infinity Halloween Party

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Infinity Halloween Party

The 2015 Sister Schools Halloween Party is hosted by Infinity Institute!


Yumi Ohzora, Nori Ankou, Mikoto Minagi, Fuu Hououji, Kozue Kaoru, Steven Universe, Nagisa Misumi, Iona Hikawa, Honoka Yukishiro


Infinity Institute

OOC - IC Date:

10/31/2020 - 10/31/15

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Infinity Institute +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  The inner wards of Tokyo boast most of its largest skyscrapers, but there is  
  an unusual exception. Located in Hachioji District, the Infinity Institute    
  is by far the largest building in Tama, and the second-largest skyscraper in  
  Tokyo. At 52 stories tall, its glass and stone the sort of primeval obsidian  
  that shimmers like oyster shell, Infinity is commonly supposed, by visitors,  
  to house some megacorporation, but there is only a scrap of truth to that.    
  Infinity is, in fact, a school, and what a school it is.                      
  Offering a complete education from elementary to university, this daring new  
  charter school offers talented students a literal and figurative chance to    
  climb in the world: its vertical campus has students moving up a few floors   
  every year. Black metal monoliths with lighted white globes flank students    
  as they approach the entranceway, itself styled like an abstracted            
  grandfather clock, purplish glass panes forming an arch on the facade.        
  Within, a lushly austere atrium whispers water-sound from its great           
  fountain, beams of light slicing falling water elaborately. The atrium's      
  ceiling is five stories tall, and so many balconies and walkways are visible  
  as one stands on the violet carpeted black granite.                           
  There is considerable variation between the fifty two floors, but the         
  unifying theme is one of sleek modernity. Heavy use of polished metal and     
  glass lend the building the feeling of an appliance freshly peeled of its     
  plastic coating. The walls are painted in cool tones of purple and deep       
  blue, and the accommodations are lavish, if stark. At times, the architects   
  even seem to have played artful little tricks, making a hallway appear too    
  long, or bend in a way that it does not. It is just a trick of the eye,       
  isn't it?                                                                     
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Death Busters Theme - Sailor Moon S OST - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTKWUFqEO4w

Honestly, the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, Infinity Institute is already solidly the spookiest of the three Sister Schools. Juuban and Ohtori have their own humble haunts but the raw intimidation factor of the gigantic, forbidding skyscraper, rurmored to be a school for sorcerers, simply cannot be beat. It's baked into the foundation, right along with the steel and stone. Infinity has mysterious chambers that sometimes seem unending. Infinity has an entire European town on the third floor, complete with its own sky. Even in the middle of the day, Infinity's classrooms and clubrooms are predisposed towards being hushed with seriousness, and dim, with its blue-purple color scheme.

This is worth bringing up so that when it's said, tomorrow morning, that no one has ever seen a spookier Infinity Institute than it was on Halloween, the full meaning of that statement is understood.

Tonight, every light is black, except for the occasional blood-red filter. Flashlights have been provided at the door. Their batteries seem to be of randomized age, rather than new.

Tonight, the shadows grow long down the corridors. They're too quiet, as though the faint mist in the air is devouring all noise... until it's too late.

Tonight, turn a corner too quickly and you just might bump into a monster.

Unless, of course, you keep to the atrium, because you are one already. That's where all the little witches gather on the dance floor. Where the ghosts mingle, admiring one another's costumes. Where the clowns gambol and play...

Music is blaring over the speakers by the dance floor; someone is, for the moment, DJing, though various amps and pickups suggest that live entertainment will be forthcoming later in the evening. The mix isn't trying TOO hard to be spooky -- it's upbeat and fun, except when it's slow and romantic. There haven't been too many dancers yet tonight, things out there are pretty sparse.

INITIAL STATIONS (These will switch throughout the night. There will always be food but the buffet table doesn't make a very good station, not recommended for more than flavor *rimshot*.)

  • CRAFTS STATION: Jack-O-Lantern carving! Bright orange pumpkins of various shapes and sizes await their doom. Lab coats, studded with the black Infinity star, and loooong purple rubber gloves have been kindly provided so that nobody's costume is at too much risk of a mess. There are many, many knives. More knives than chaperones really, as regards the younger partygoing set. But nobody's lost any fingers yet.
  • GAME STATION: Pin-the-spider-on-the-web is going on on one wall. The spiders are fake. The people 'trapped' on the web are also fake in the sense that they're just photographs, but also very real... because they're pictures of Sister Schools faculty and Student Council members. Surely, since those who partake are taking turns being blindfolded and spun by their friends, they won't take offense. (Mysteriously, some teachers seem to be attracting more arachnids than others...)

-Mystery Macarons -- a treat and a possible trick all in one. You pick one, you bite into it, and you find out whether the filling is sweet, spicy or... worse.

-Party Punch - Billowing with dry ice clouds, and a luscious, overbright green.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Where else would a young witch of Infinity be tonight but here? ...Oh, she could've gone off somewhere, that's true. There are reasons she might've! But those are secrets.

Well, not that secret. It's not like it's not known that Yumi Ohzora has a special connection to this particular night of the year. But tonight...

Tonight is a night for monsters! And she has adopted, in her monstrousness, a different kind of outfit. Oh, she's still a little witch, but today she wears a white collared shirt, aged just so, and a blue vest over it, a bright green sash, tattered pants and knee-tall boots. She has a bandana on, and an eyepatch covering one of her pink eyes. And of course--the makeup, that makes her look paler than usual, almost a little green, in fact, and with her normally skinny form she looks all the more a little--well.

Not quite living. Except, of course, for the smile on her face at the moment. The effect otherwise is significant--she's got a great hand for color, and more than enough makeup to do the trick. She's even painted her nails a dull yellow to make them look old.

...And just at the moment, this pirate, costume sword at her hip, picks up a cup of the overbright green punch, because while she'd love to get a knife and get to work...

C'mon. Spooky punch. She is a little thirsty.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Nori Ankou came forth in the following attire:

  • A primarily-white yukata - it's actually costume grade, so the print is a little cheap, but that's okay, because of the bizarre lights accenting everything weirdly.
  • White leggings (because it's cold) and a pair of geta
  • Her hair, loose and deliberately left to try out a little so it's wild and frizzy
  • A red face mask... that is worn a little aggressively, covering the entire lower half of her face.

She is coming up near the punch. Nori Ankou's learned how to smile well with her eyes, even if it's not something she wants to do constantly - it does risk wrinkles in the long term - and she does that to Yumi, as she asks her, "Do you mind if I ask you a question... Ohzora?"

As she accepts some punch, she takes a straw out of her yukata sleeve - slides it into a tiny slit in the mask - and dips it in the punch to take a small sip. Afterwards, she looks and asks; "Am I pretty?"

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

"Eh? Costume..?"

"... so it's dressing up?"

"I know!"


Mikoto Minagi, LINDEN BAUM WAITRESS, is all dressed up with puffy sleeves and angular fabrics, red crossed over white and white crossed over red. A triangle of pale red fabric is tied at her shoulder in a big bow; her other shoulder is, of course, host to the strap of her long and mysterious black case.

Which, well, is really the most suitable part of her costume to this spooky gathering, except Miroku isn't Mikoto's costume, it's just how she always is.

Her costume might be a little big for her, and this, of course, is because she borrowed it. But with a few bobby-pins and some creative knots, it works! And really, on a scholarship budget, it's about the best she could have come up with on short notice. Mikoto... did not plan for halloween. It just wasn't ever on her radar!

But now it is, and now she's here. Here in this very spooky building, with its very spooky lighting...

That pirate will shortly find herself all latched onto at the waist, as Mikoto, through the red and black, finds someone who smells familiar. She manages to rush right past the masked girl in the yukata to do this, and exclaim: "Yumi! Yumi! Why's it so scary?! This is a normal party, right?!"

has mikoto

has mikoto never been to a halloween party before

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

Some students may dress up as monsters. Others dress up as heroes.

For example, the young woman with blonde hair, in a long-sleeved white blouse, a knee-length blue skirt, and dark tights. One blue ribbon is tied about her hair, holding most of it in a braid and a knot; a slightly narrower ribbon is tied in a bow at her collar, adding a little more adornment. Her eyes, however, are currently covered by a blindfold, as a couple of her classmates "helpfully" spin her around to disorient her before pointing her towards the web of targets - and others begin, just as "helpfully," trying to guide her hand towards one photo or another. The blindfolded young woman just smiles bemusedly as she tries to filter those suggestions through her gut feeling ...

And the spider is tacked decisively onto the web - exactly five centimeters away from the newest Computer Science teacher to work at Ohtori.

Saber steps back from the web, carefully drawing the blindfold away from her green eyes (fitted with contact lenses for tonight, rather than Fuu's typical glasses) to survey her handiwork. "Hmm ... ah well," she says with a shrug and a smile, and looks to see who needs to be blindfolded next.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The tap, tap of black ankle-strap shoes touch down on the ground with a certain confidence that does not match the costume at all. Horizontal black and white stockings lead up to the hem of a puffed sleeve blue dress, a white pinafore worn over it. Atop her head of course, is an 'alice band'.

Alice could be no more different from Aohime if she tried, and yet it certainly still fits the name, does it not?

Suddenly there is a winding noise. The sound of fingers turning a key.

"I cannot believe you're making me do this, Kozue."

The figure escorting her is the one doing the winding of an old fashioned pocket watch on a golden chain, that leads up to a waistcoat pocket. He's wearing white pants, and... ... furry white slippers.

Atop Miki Kaoru's head is a pair of floppy bunny ears.

"It's Alice. And you did agree that you'd owe me a favor, if I went back to school."

"I didn't realize at the time I offered that you were already in the process of transferring - Alice."

"A deal is a deal, rabbit." Kozue's smug grin is a tangible thing, "Besides... don't pretend you're not enjoying this a little. How long has it been since the last time we coordinated costumes together?"

The White Rabbit finishes winding the pocket watch's key, but doesn't answer Kozue's accusation of whether he's enjoying this, "... I'm going to get us some punch." He says, before disentangling himself and heading towards the punch table.

'Alice' seems unperturbed by his display, as she keeps up her walk past the game station, murmuring to herself, "It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then."

And then... Kozue spies a set of familiar student council members and faculty, and stops in her tracks. "Mmm... hmm."

"Would you like to pin the spider on the web?"

"Why... yes, I think I would." Alice notes, her eyes looking upon a certain picture with almost laser precision.

Then sideways at 'Saber' which causes alice to loft an eyebrow, "Would you mind 'helping' me get ready?"

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

You know, when some magical girls get their artifacts, it is a most treasured possession. A keepsake or small mascot friend to protect and treat lovingly and protectively. To use only when necessary to fight evil. To call its name from on high to evoke justice for the innocent.

Enter a thirteen year old boy, who thinks he has to use it in each halloween getup.


Is it strange to think of the shield as a prop attached at the soul-hip? Well, it is hard to argue against that face, for all the words Pearl levied at him.

Last year, he dressed as Captain America! A cool Marvel super hero that fights with a similarly sized shield and in a similar method! (It would be a lie to think Steven hasn't tried to jump and throw the shield all cool-like multiple times this year already.)

((He didn't land any of those jumps well.))

Rather than a repeat performance, the child has taken a more relaxed and cultural costume into effect. He sports a Grecian style toga, with one extra swatch of ivory cloth draped over his right arm. A leather braided belt aroudn the waits, and a chaplet of flowers and leaves around his head-- well, sorta. It looks liek it is fighting with his poofy, curly hair to a degree.

And in one hand is an unusually large clay bowl with fruits and sundries inside, held aloft with one hand. The edibles are obviously fake-- school said no outside foods or drinks. Garnet check ahead. Without a phone call, of course.

Somewhere, those shades gleam.

"Pumpkins!" Steven squeaks, walking over, avoiding people similar to a hostess deftly evading bumping their carried load into people, and looking at the options of carving up the gourds.

There is also a lot of sharp objects present. "Should try to carve one up, but what to make it look like..."

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Oh, hi," Yumi answers Nori first, smiling back at her and giving the universal 'up eyebrows' expression of waiting for whatever the question is. She's down! She waits, even, as Nori gets the punch. And Nori asks..

"Heheh," the young witch answers, grinning at her. "Oh, about average." She pulls a piece of hard candy from the table and offers it Nori's way. Oh, on a normal day Yumi would answer differently, might even blush a little...

But she gets this one. "Heheheh. I like your costume--"

Mikoto arrives in crisis! The spooky ghost pirate abrubtly has a waitress wrapped around her like a cat--or is that the other way around--and she peers down Mikoto's way. "It's a Halloween party! It's supposed to be kind of scary. Don't worry, it's all supposed to be fun, too."

She thinks a moment. That's probably not going to be a good enough explanation. "The scary stuff is part of the fun tonight." That... miiiight help. She sips at her dry ice smoking punch and spots Miki approaching, stepping out of the way to let him get to the punch. She is good to stay and talk for a few! "Though not-scary costumes are also good."

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

"By all means, Alice-san," 'Saber' replies with a smile. "And welcome to the party, if I might say so. Here you go ..."

Kozue/Alice will need to cooperate a little bit in getting blindfolded, but Saber ties the cloth across the other girl's face, cinching it just tight enough (not *too* tight, after all). Another student brings up one of the 'spider' pins, and it's handed to Kozue, careful not to prick her with it. Saber and her classmate then spin Alice a few times, enough to (presumably) throw off her sense of direction, then bringing her to a halt facing more or less towards the web.

"Was there anyone specific upon whom you'd like to inflict your spider?" Saber asks, stepping back with a good-natured smile. But she's not going to stop anyone from offering their version of guidance, regardless of Kozue's choice of target (or lack thereof).

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

'Alice' submits to the blind-folding, taking the spider pin between a thumb and a forefinger. She attempts to mark the direction the party's music is blaring in order to try to keep some sense of her bearings.

Then she submits to being spun round and round, and round.



"Of course not. Why the very idea of causing harm to someone in particular? They're just pictures after all."

Kozue takes one cautious step forward. Then another. Then another. Trying to keep her bearings using the music, and raising her hand to roughly the level that she saw...

... Touga Kiryuu's photograph.

If she has her way, it will yet again be another tragic example of blue on red violence.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The Norisake-onna raises her eyebrows and then turns to regards the other as they approach.

Mikoto as... Nori is actually not sure how to quantify the inferred relationship between Mikoto and Mai, and so after a half second's consideration she inserts 'special person'. (Or, Nori thinks further, a waitress. A waitress can be scary if you're hungry.)

Fuu, as -- Saber; yes, Nori thinks, that's definitely saber. And then behind her yet, is the new belle of Infinity Institute: Arisu.

"Salve," Nori says to Steven, although she says it in something that... well; it tries to sound Latin. It comes more like 'servey'. Then there is a question of walking into spiderwebs; Nori positions herself to get a better angle, giving the rabbit she passes a bobbling nod. (Anything can happen on halloween, including free-roaming rabbits with timekeeper's gear.)

("Where did they find that photo? It seems so candid, but Kiryuu-san seems to be... posing?")

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Lupin III Theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQlw3XoaHQY

Whose round, retro dress shoes click along the well-polished floor of Infinity Institute's hallway? Whose tight grey-white khakis lope along with a consciously bowlegged stride? Whose iconic, square-shouldered red jacket rips you back in time to the last and grooviest days of the seventies criminal underworld? Whose bleach-orange sidelocks have been gelled down so far as to become rakish sideburns, and amplified by some stripes of orange marker on her proudly jutting jawline?

It can only be one person: Lupin the III, grandson of the the famous French thief, Japan's scoundrel counterpart to the stiff-lipped James Bond, and very happy customer of her local thrift store, this Halloween.

The doors burst open obnoxiously, like they always do to make way for a student from Juuban... the grimy underbelly of the Sister Schools. To Juuban High School's most notorious thief, the finery of an Infinity Institute Halloween party might as well be a glamorous party in Monaco--or Transylvania, anyway, Europe is all glamour to her. Hands in her jacket pockets and elbows canted out to the side, Lupin cases the joint with a game quirk of her lips.

"You were right, Goemon," she tells her companion. "This place is downright dripping with candy."

Lupin seems to be having a lot of fun tonight. Why is she not like this on stage, with a camera on her, or when there's any pressure at all?

"Evening. Hello. Pardon me," Lupin makes her gregarious way over to the punch table. Scooping the bright green liquid into a glass, she hands it to her more reserved companion before filling her own--a minor break in character to be sure. "Hm, what do you think about that one?" she muses aloud as Fuu removes her blindfold. She's intending Fuu to hear. "Hired security, maybe? The job wouldn't be any fun if it was easy..."

Lupin's somewhat smarmy professionalism evaporates, lighting up into a purely innocent smile. "Ne, ne?" she asks her companion.

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

"Scary... fun?" Waitress Mikoto cants her head, as she processes these two distaff sources. This isn't the first time she's had trouble with marrying the concepts, really, but now she has the benefit of not being quite so mad about it. Examining Yumi's makeup with an intensity to make sailors blush, the concentration on her face gives way to bright realisation. "Oh! It's fake scary! I get it!"

She picks at the corner of her skirt, looking down at it. "I'm not really scary... 'cept how you have to work to get money and then you always gotta spend that money and there's never enough time to get enough money so you've always gotta figure out where the money goes and can never get what you wanted to get so you have to work more and I guess that just keeps going on for all your life..."

In the end, the scariest foe... was capitalism.

Just what has Mikoto been learning from Mai's dinner rants???

She considers the very pretty Norisake-onna, before her attention leads her to: "No, that's Steven!" Mikoto cheerfully corrects her Latin without realising the truth at all. "Steven brought snacks, too?!" A beat, a pause... "... wait, those are fake snacks!" Mikoto blinks, and decides: "That IS scary."

What's scarier, though, is the fact that Mikoto hears something which makes her look over to the punch with narrowed eyes, before the question which follows relaxes her expression. "Oh!" She exclaims, and informs Yumi, quite seriously: "It's okay. They're in character." Whoever those characters are.

<Pose Tracker> Iona Hikawa [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Somewhere, somehow, there's a girl drifting around the outside of the party.

A dark purple-haired girl (dyed to mute her real brighter purple hair somewhat) is slowly roaming the area, in a simple black gown that goes down, all the way down past even her feet, though there are a few streaks of purple around the dress that's the same color as her hair. Her hair seems to have gone everywhere, scattered all around her without much of a care to neatness or politeness. Finishing the ensemble, well, the girl keeps her mouth closed for the most part, to keep people from seeing her sudden new fangs.

Iona Hikawa takes a lot of things seriously, and among the things like her studies, her athletics, her family dojo, and also the super-important things like saving the world from evil... somewhere down in there?


She could -cheat- and make Halloween costumes easy, but for Iona that Will Not Do.

So she's here, and drifting around the area like some sort of vampiric satellite.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

"Aww, answering right mans I don't get to see if you did the makeup too," Yumi realizes as she cnsiders. A waitress could definitely be scary, but-it's more the existential kind of scary that Mikoto brings up. Yumi of course can't really relate.

"Yeah!" she says, to the matter of what kind of scary it is anyway. She then pauses. "Wait, who's in-character?" Pause. "Oh there's some real snacks over here. I was thinking of trying the pumpkins..."

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Seven Samurai - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VE29dteQjI&feature=emb_logo

SLAP. Scuff.

SLAP. Scuff.

Old fashioned zouri sandals can be loud on hard stone floors. Especially when their wearer strides with such serious deliberation. They slap their toe firmly down, getting traction. Then there's a softer scuff, when a subtle twist of the sole arises, propelling them forward into the next step.

A samurai has entered the building.

She's in all-blue hakama, a humble warrior's loose cotton to allow freedom of movement -- lighter, robin's-egg kimono, darker, almost indigo trousers. The top is worn casually, almost sloppily open, baring a chest bound tightly sarashi-style. And the bottom, too, is worn low on the hips, fastened with the simplest possible obi, a strip of white cloth.

From the front, her slightly shaggy black hair -- big, spikey bangs drooping almost into her eyes -- billows widely at her shoulders, then disappears. And no makeup was required for her intensely expressive eyebrows; they were already perfect, exactly as they are.

That might be enough for some to recognize her on the spot, but any uncertainties are laid to rest by her wooden shinai and, more pointedly, long, dangling straw in her mouth:

This is GOEMON. Just like Lupin said. Goemon the Thirteenth, latest in a long line of fierce ronin, disciple of the katana and arrogant in his strict competence.

There's only one small problem: Juuban's Queen of Knowledge has NEVER SEEN IT. Too lowbrow...

And so this Goemon has regrettably good posture -- and manners. At least her face is naturally serious. Carefully shouldering her shinai, she follows her partner inside, and accepts her drink, and target, with a carefully improvised disdainful sniff.

"Nothing in here looks like much of a challenge to me..."

At Lupin's not-very-Lupine prompting, she scowls. One eyebrow lowers like a train crossing, while the other jumps it.

"Don't 'ne' unnecessary things," she more grunts than hisses.

She's doing her best.

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

"Hi Guys!" Steven says to some of the familiar faces about the Pumpkin station. "Anyone carving up anything cool?" This is a rhetorical question of course-- everyone is making cool carves! "Sa-Say what?" the boy asks of Nori-onna. Whats that a different language? Like spooky talk? Oh man, Infinity would totally have a spooky secret language.

"Being hungry is very scary, Mikoto!" the boy says, wiggling fingers on the open hand available in a very spooky manner. "Also I like your outfit!" Has he seen that somewhere? It looks familiar. Could be coincidence.

At Yumi's question, Steven just shrugs. "I dunno who I am! Pearl showed me some cool stuff she got a long time ago from overseas and I saw a guy o na face like this! He also had a spear and was fight-- Wait."

Eyes dart around the ballroom. "Where'd Lion go?! Augh, the getup doesn't make sense if Lion isn't around... He musta went prowling for handouts..."

The sound of sandals perks Steven's ears. He knows thos sounds very well. Of all kinds, he is well-attuned to them. The boy turns to face the duo of Lupin and Goemon from the carving station. "Oh they did really well with theirs..." Maybe he should have tried harder to make a better outfit!

DICE: Kozue Kaoru rolls 1d20+0 and gets 16!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The spider descends as Saber watches - still more focused on Alice than on other attendees and partiers - and the pin pierces the corner of Touga's photo, a good bit of the way in from the edge. "Ooooh ..." Saber smiles, and can't help but applaud - quietly, politely, but still appreciatively. "You did very well at that, Alice-san! You can take the blindfold off - do you need a little help with that?"

While awaiting the answer, Saber - or Artoria Pendragon, if you prefer the character's name rather than class - takes a moment to glance around, identifying familiar faces (and costumes); she also needs to circulate and get something to eat - hopefully while the odds are still favorable on those Mystery Macarons.

.... if they were ever good to begin with, that is.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The thief of legend and his samurai companion arrive! Nori's head turns to look towards them, her eyes going wide as she considers Mikoto and then reaches over to rest a hand on her frilled sleeve. "The time will come," Nori-onna tells Mikoto, "when all prisoners will be freed. Wait for the signal."

"Did I say it wrong?" Nori asks Steven then, dropping character. "It was Latin, I think. I heard they said it in Rome, but I didn't hear it from anyone there... I do hear Rome is very beautiful, though."

As she collects a macaroon, Nori drifts forwards. She pauses for a moment to turn her gaze towards Iona, eyes glittering over the red mask she wears, and raises a hand to beckon Iona closer to her. Perhaps because she sees the gleam of fang and the flash of eyes, and seeks the allure of the night!

Or she wants to say hi. Both are true.

Back ahead, and Nori bows deeply with swept together arms to both Goemonoka and Nagisa the III. "Welcome... welcome to this party. You are witnessing a brave spectacle, and you may delight yourself, or partake of the pleasure of knife against gourd, but I would like to ask you something, honored guests, before you proceed."

Nori straightens up - and reaches up to put a fingertip at the top of her red mask. (Her other hand is still holding the macaron.) "... Even if I know the light is a little bad, would you say... that I am pretty...?"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Alice places a hand to the knot of her blindfold, and with a tug, undoes it, as it falls from her eyes... she grasps it, and lets it fly towards Saber. Where it comes to a rest on her shoulder.

"Well I wouldn't say that at all. After all, I accidentally pinned the spider on the photograph of someone I'm acquainted with."

While it's stated with a sense of theater, she says 'accidentally' in the same manner one might state someone 'accidentally' happened to fall down the stairs.

With a tap of a fingertip to Saber's nose, she says, "Silly me."

The smile on her face says otherwise though, as she spies Lupin asking about the security to Goemon.

"Do be careful, I think I see ruffians about."

Striding up then towards Norisake-onna... Alice brings her hands to her skirt, and dips into a curtsey before her.

"Why hello there. You look..."

Her eyelashes flick upwards to look at her red rival in costume.

"... perfectly average today. If I do say so myself."

And then she simply reaches out, to place a hard candy in her hand... before walking away.

Was that a drive by bullying!?

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

A vampire!! New fangs!! Yumi gives Iona a gesture from afar that indicates cool cstume, but she mostly focuses on the others at the moment. She considers--being hungry... Yes. "Oh! She meant you!" Yumi beams at Steven. "Nah, you look great. Super historical. It's really cool. I--"

Oh dar. Lion on the loose. Yumi glances around as she starts to move towards the pumpkins, finishing her punch along the way.

She starts to say something else until Kozue coms by. Kozue, who...

"Hey," Yumi complains, "I already did that bit."

Drive by theft!! She laughs anywa as Kozue goes, good-naturedly.

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

"Eh? Prisoners..?" Mikoto's head cants this way and that way, as she tries to puzzle Nori out. Finally, without really getting it at all, she nods. "'Kay!" She'll know the signal when she sees it, probably.

"Pumpkins!" She chirps, to Yumi, before she takes in hand


And the world is split down the middle.

In one future, the macaron is sweet, and there is no challenge at the party, because all is right in the world.

In the other...


"Omph!" Mikoto chirps, as she chomps down on the macaron.

A smile spreads over her face, and the world is safe, for now. No need to draw a samurai's sword and deal with a shadowy menace.

"It is!" Mikoto calls back, to Steven. "But it's okay! There's snacks!" And Mikoto, unaware of the trickery of the macarons, may yet unwittingly lead her dear friends to their doom.

Right now, though, she is distracted by Nori-onna's attention drifting - to a mysterious lady! And so, Iona will find herself waved over by the most enthusastic waitress in the room. "Hi!" She calls over to Iona. "It's good costume! Really realistic!"

Wait, what is Mikoto measuring that high goth standard against..?

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"Keeeeeeh!" Nagisa keens, for once immune to Honoka's remonstration. It's a noise like she might make after a satisfying pull of the hard stuff, if 'the hard stuff' for Nagisa was a liquid rather than most types of homework. "You look so cool! You did the costume so good! And yours was so much tougher than mine. Hangonhangonhangon," she urges, patting her unfamiliar outfit down for her cell phone, which she produces. "Let's take a selfie togeth--oop."

Suddenly, Lupin stuffs the phone away and stands straight. Fuu Hououji might not have taken the bait, but someone else is approaching, and since she just got here, it makes more sense to show off than to photograph, doesn't it?

"Uwah, spooky," she shudders at the greeting by Nori. "You're super familiar... ahem." Normally when one gets serious, they straighten, but Nagisa has to slacken to become Lupin, which she does. "Psst," she leans over to Goemon to give her some character direction. "Goemon hates when Lupin flirts with girls. Unprofessional, you know? Gets them into so much trouble."

Is it only Goemon, though? Nagisa does not seem to think about it.

"Ahem!" Puffing out her chest, Lupin folds her arms and lifts her chin in an openly dishonest feigning of indifference. Kozue's driveby makes her feel bad for whoever this is, so she lays it on a little thicker. "Pretty, huh? Hey, haven't I seen you in the library? Because every time I bring my books back, I get a fine..."

Lupin looks expectantly at Goemon. She is evidently unaware not only of who is wearing the mask in front of her... but what character she is meant to be, too.

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

Steven looks back toward Nori-onna as she reveals the meaning of the word. "Oh cool! I didn't know that. Sorry! I didn't know what the word was. figure it was something I didn't know." A pause. "Yeah! It is super cool and ancient looking and stuff, like with pillars and marble buildings."

...Someone might wanna update him that that isn't how Rome looks any more.

"M.. Macarons? Like Macaroni?" The boy replies. No, that isn't what they are reaching for at the table.

...Has ne never had a macaron?

Eventually, Lion does make himself known. And he is... quite the sight. Lion looks like someone make some sort of attempt tp dye the cotton candy fur a different color but failed to do so except on the very edges. And a gold... one would dare call it an 'outfit' but some kind of toga-like affair put on him. He also has a bit of gold glitter on his face.

He doesn't seem to care how heinous he may look, mostly just eyeballing people getting maracons from afar. Mikoto gets a nextra long stare."There he is," Steven says, looking over a selected pumpkin. The boy is also taking mental notes on Lupin and Goemon's costumes. He has multiple questions to riddle them with soon so he can make an even better costume next year!

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Given the depth of Goemonoka's kimono crossing over itself, below the ribcage, there is more sarashi rising rather higher than it might have otherwise, almost to her armpits. That isn't the only difference. She makes an extremely slender samurai, which is actually very effective in that bishonen way, but maybe a little TOO much so for a dangerous knave such as Mr. The Thirteenth.

There's also the matter of her hair, insofar as she has much too much of it to truly fake any short haircut by styling alone. She got it to kind of fluff out at shoulder-length by tying it extremely loosely right below, between her shoulder-blades. From there, to keep it from getting everywhere, she's braided it -- though honestly that black rope might be getting more attention, rather than less, for her trouble. It's so big and fat, and in the weird Halloween lighting it glistens with a rainbow of spooky colors.

When Nagisa wants to take a selfie, Honoka relaxes visibly out of her Tough Stoic Samurai stance, into her Well-Bred And Dignified stance. There's a difference. Honest. Mostly in her smile, which mostly shines in her eyes. Her lips curl into a joyful little mou.

"I want one of you by yourself too," she starts to say, "You look--"

But what Honoka thinks Nagisa looks like will be put on hold because Lupin and Goemon would not describe each other in such terms. She stiffens at the instruction, then glances at her partner in crime hitting on... a Nori-onna.

"Yo, dummy," Goemon growls. "You keep trying to kiss that, you'll be paying with your life... not a fine..."

She gropes for a better finishing line. "...though I couldn't buy an apple with the value of both."

Then she pauses uncertainly, a worried question in her eyes, was that too mean?

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Nori looks towards Aliceoue and seems to accept her judgment with a nod, as well as her candy. The candy is pocketed, but then her attention returns towards the form of a bold thief before her, and she tilts her head forwards. "Ah," she says. "You've... you've really ... ah, ah I wish I could blush but..."

She pulls down the red mask and looks upwards and -- underneath it, she looks completely sweet, her lips pursed a little, skin completely flawless other than little... wrinkles... because...

Underneath the red mask was another mask, this one with an applique print of a bare face. (Things like this are always good for trick photography.)


Down comes the mask for a fleeting moment! In that moment there is a glimpse of deep red gashes up the edges of her lips, up towards her ears, as she says, "How about now??" After this she puts the macaroon in her mouth, and lets the mask slide up -- politeness...? Or just not wanting to get crumbs all over the thief!?

(She also seems... obscurely confused. Perhaps she got one of the TRICK macaroons...)

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

'Alice' stops in her tracks, and looks at Pirate Yumi. It takes her a moment to work out who it is from just the familiar voice.

"Well. I suppose that is simply a mark of sound judgement..."

'Alice' winks at Yumi, as if to tease her.

"... when it comes to beauty."

Without even seeing how Yumi reacts, she turns and walks away... not even paying attention to Lupin's inevitable fate.

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

If there's a flaw in Saber's performance, it's the tenacity of that polite smile, even in the face of the nose-tap from Alice. "Of course," she says agreeably all the same. "Have a pleasant evening, and thank you for the forewrning of ruffians about."

That said, they go their separate ways ... which are, for the time being, also remarkably parallel. After all, Saber's next stop is the snack table - pinning spiders to webs is hungry work.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Do The Hippogriff - Weird Sisters - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht9Dt5GUgpM
  • PLAY STATION: Dance Floor

There's a buzz of excitement as the canned music is interrupted by a pickup going live. A few tune-up strums, a little feedback as the mics are adjusted.

It looks like the hottest sound at Juuban is tonight's opening act!

"We are KITTY SECTION," announces blue-haired Luka, the extremely handsome lead guitarist. They've all donned cat ears for Halloween, but that's sort of... insufficient, since they often play in at least that much costuming anyway. So on top of that they've added other getups. Luka is in a raggedly punk tuxedo and will be singing through fangs as a Cat Vampire.

His long purple-haired sister, gothy Juleka, is on bass as a Cat Witch, hat and all, while heavy Ivan, who ordinarily wears a skull and crossbones shirt, has gone sideways towards Cat Ghost Pirate Drummer -- you can tell because of all the ruffles, and how everything he's wearing is white.

And lead singer-songwriter Rose, who normally dresses aggressively pink, has painted herself up livid green with big black stitches -- she's Catenstein for sure.

"And we're here to ROCK THIS HAUNTED HOUSE!" Rose screams shrilly into her mic.

They launch straight into something fast, hard, and loud. In no time at all the dance floor is packed.

  • CRAFTS STATION: Buffet table...!

The mystery macarons have all been eaten, freeing up space for the Infinity Culinary Institute to lay out a new spread. It is similar and different. Similar, because the almost black chocolate cupcakes are apparently stuffed with various fillings (all of them assuredly delicious rather than gross). Different, because they're wholly undecorated.

That's what the bowls and bowls and bowls of candy are for! Gummy worms, crunchy spiderleg cookie pieces, and all manner of treats that COULD be gross-looking too with a little creative arrangement. There are several colors and flavors of frosting available too.

"We'll be judging the best-costumed cupcake later tonight, with big prizes! So don't eat your favorite, save it for the Platter Of Pride."

It transpires that the platter of pride is a silver tray engraved with a spiderweb pattern.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Pumpkins! Yumi will hav a good time with those. But much more to the point, there is the conrontation, Goemon's cool growl ("Wowww" she says to Lupin and Goemon both), and then--

"Aaah," Yumi says, in enthusiasm rather than terror, "Awesome, Ankou." She loves it. She starts to comment to Lupin and Goemon too but-


"...U-uh?" Yumi asks as Kozue turns and walks away, slowly tilting her head. "I don't..."

Sh definitely has the impression that there is a joke that has sailed past her and that it was one she should probably find embarrassing. But what is it??

She's thinking about it all through the pumpkins.

But after...! Yumi finds herself back at the table, peering over all these new bowls and bowls of candy. The music is interesting, but Yumi doesn't go for it at the moment. Instead she thinks. ANd she thinks.

".........That could be bone if you used it right," she murmurs about some of the candy. "And this frosting could be dried blood..."

Yumi begins to construct a Spooky Cupcake. Because she doesn't have to actually bake it, it might even end up edible!

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Nagisa's eyes were sparkling, just a little, as she looks forward to hearing what she looks. The sentence didn't really need to finish, though. Even if it would have been nice.

Lupin claps her hands together in admiration of Goemon's rugged disdain. "Eee hee hee," she grins, before turning herself to the task of actually replying. "Don't underestimate how big my library fines are," she says airily, lifting up a finger.

The cinematic Lupin might have let his tongue hang out in anticipation of seeing what a mysterious woman with a Nori-bod might look like behind the mask. This Lupin is mostly eager to see who the heck she is talking to, because it's on the tip of her brain. Either sort of attentiveness is a vulnerability, of sorts. A femme fatale like Fujiko Mine could prey on it. But this mystery girl is no femme fatale...


HORROR STING! "Blackwell" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICcHRVG7-24

Just as Lupin realizes who it is, she gets a horrifying hint as to WHAT it is. "YEEEK!" Lupin yelps, throwing her arms around one of Goemon's and squeezing. This is, actually, not breaking character, though by coincidence rather than willpower.

"Iyaa, that's too scaaary!" Lupin moans. "I don't do good with horror stuff..."

The band starts in around then, and Lupin perks up. She releases Goemon in order to strike a mischievously thoughtful pose, placing her chin in the crook of a thumb and forefinger pointed like a gun, closing one eye. "Hmm... the dance floor is always a good place to go to blend in. What do you say we find ourselves some dates and cut the rug?"

Nagisa thinking Lupin would be looking for a 'date' is a remarkably pure-hearted sentiment.

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

Mikoto, who knows every cat in Tokyo, somehow had no clue Kitty Section was a thing. And if a girl who learned so much from cats is here...

... Mikoto sneakily passes a macaron to Lion. She squirreled away a handful of them, but between her and Lion, they've just disappeared. Somehow, they were all treats. Did she cheat somehow..?

Looking up at the stage as Kitty Section comes on, Mikoto is, naturally, immediately captivated. She doesn't know much about music, but when they make that declaration, she enthusiastically replies: "I'll do my best!"

This sounds a lot like 'YOSH' when it's out of subtitles, which might be why a student beside her replies: "It's more like 'mosh'!"

He says this, of course, after the music starts up.

Which might explain Mikoto's reply: "WHAT? OH! HI!" For all the music is loud... it must be even louder, to her sensitive ears. It seems she misheard his joke as the standard phone greeting which even she's familiar with, by now.

She doesn't know the lyrics, and she really has no hope with the noise, but luckily she's far enough away from the stage that she's not completely overwhelmed. She is, however, completely and totally suffused with the Power of Rock. There is nothing in her world which is not lyrics yowled with all the strength and power of yowling cats. (Though, they make it sound better.)

Luckily, with a big mostly-pink lion in a toga beside her, the other dancers don't get too close to Mikoto, stomping out something like an enthusiastic tribute to people pretending to be cats pretending to be spooky characters.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Alice moves to step out onto the dance floor. The band is fast, loud, and hard, and Kozue does not have it in her to be a wallflower. Miki is here after all, so even a stray glimpse from him might allow her to have some fun. Even Mikoto is out there yowling.

The moment she takes a step in that direction, a thought enters into her head. These school dances can change in a heartbeat. From fast and loud to slow and sweet.

It's with you.

And without any sort of indication other than the utterance of... "Heh." And a smile that you'd be hard-pressed to call sad.

Instead she takes out her phone from one of the pockets hidden by the pinafore and fires off a quick text message before heading to the crafts table. And finds herself amused by the thought that she'd choose cupcake decorating over the dance floor.

An idle thought brings 'Alice' to sit down.

Without consulting anyone, she takes two cupcakes... a plastic knife. And splits one down the middle carefully. Allowing the two sides to form a crevice in the middle but stops the split just short of going all the way through.

Then breaking a pretzel into a curve, she sticks that towards the front of the crevice she made into the cupcake near where it's still conjoined.

"It feels like you shouldn't have to use substitute bones... everyone has them after all."

An idle remark made to Yumi as she creates.

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

Carving up the pumpkin was pretty fun! Steven managed to avoid getting anything noticeable on his outfit too thanks to the protective wear. Looked really science-y for some reason. Take-aways from science at Infinity for tonight?

Steven has since relocated to the snack bar for the moment, checking out the cupcake building competition, though eyes flick to the dance floor as the music gets underway. He hasn't gotten to dance in quite some time! And even if he doesn't really have good moves... getting out there at least once would be a good idea.

Cupcake first though! The tray inspires thoughts of a spider, and there are spidery pieces...

Indeed, out on the dance floor, as if to come say hi at an opportune moment, Nemean-ish Lion drops int to hang out with Mikoto!

Now, obviously Lions don't dance, but he does this sortof... sprightly walk around Mikoto as she dances? He's trying to understand these strange Humans and their Human behavior.

"Pssst!" Steven ekes out toward Kozue and Yumi. "What are you building? Or is it a seeeecret?"

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Honoka's eyes widen with pleasure at the revelation of Nori's fuller costume. She admires it openly, and has to hide not just this second but then a THIRD smile at Nagisa's reaction. Instinctively, when her arm was grabbed, her other hand came around to rest a palm supportively on Nagisa's back.

It lingers, even after Lupin has let her go. She schools herself back to severity with only mixed success. Ryouta knows that look. That's the 'Honoka is amused by his antics but doesn't want to bless them at Nagisa's expense' expression.

But Lupin herself is able to wipe it away with her next comment; that, plus the combination noise and crowd that starts up with the band. Now she's entirely back to business. Sidling away from Lupin and towards Nori-onna, she is not so bold as to touch the latter without invitation, but offers her a wide and welcoming and very pale hand.

"I'm not afraid of a little danger," Goemon tells Nori-onna, and any failure on her part to keep a straight face is betrayed by a certain gentleness, more than anything else, which powers this flirtation. "Are you? Dance with me, ice queen, and we'll see which one of us gets burned..."

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

Spared the threat of the Mystery Macarons, Saber Fuu instead helps herself to a cupcake - just one for now, along with some more savory munchies. She also picks out a couple of decorative sweets, whether to adorn her cupcake for submission to the Platter Of Pride, or simply to experiment and see what combination might work best for an actual submission. It seems like a waste to *not* eat some of these cupcakes as served, after all.

And as enthusiastically loud as Kitty Section is, it's hardly necessary to be on the dance floor to hear the music. Saber actually finds herself nodding slightly to the beat while she's snacking - and again, keeping her eyes open for familiar faces. She might decide she wants to dance *with* somebody, rather than just venturing into the wilds of the dance floor. Or she may just try to intercept someone for conversation as they're taking a break from dancing.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"fufufufufufu," speaks the Norisake-Onna: "Did you say... cut...?"

Fortunately, Nori's possible ghoulish love of extended abuse of the often flexible term 'cut' is ... CUT short when the band steps forwards and declares their name and their goal. They are KITTY SECTION and here to ROCK. Nori's eyebrows lift and her eyes wide as she says, "Ah, a Cat Witch! That's not the most popular this year but it's really a classic... Though, I have heard, that Catenstein was the name of the veterinarian..."

And then a more traditional figure approaches her.

Nori touches her collarbone as if to show that she is taken aback given her hidden lower face. She then reaches forth, her own hand perhaps equally pale - certainly cold to the touch, or at the least - cool - and she says, "Is that so...? If you're willing to take such a risk... a samurai who doesn't demur in the face of danger is my favorite k-"

ROCK INTENSIFIES! The other hand comes up for the kuchisake-onna to cover her (already covered) mouth with her wrist, to stifle a laugh, and then she declares, "Lead on~!" She twirls in a single hem-trailing turn on the way forwards, raising Goemonoka's hand over her head with a passing trailing of fingertips.

<Pose Tracker> Yumi Ohzora [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Yumi waves vaguely as Kozue approachs the table, and smiles back to Steven. She tinkers away at what she's working on, using white chocolate covered pretzels as her substitute for the moment. Though of course, Kozue brings up an idle remark...

"Yeah, can I borrow some bones then?" Yumi asks Kozue amiably. She is not too broken up about... whatever happened earlier, since she's kind of used to Kozue being Kozue at her by now. It's just inevitabiliy. But Steven has a question, and the gray-haired undead leaans over his way. "Me? Weeeell..."

"I'm doing some skeletal fingers out of the ground!! I'm gonna do some green ground and some blood spray in red. I think." It's the plan, anyway. Yumi squints, her one-eyed gaze down on the cupcake in question. "...And chocolate cupcake for the dirt... What's a good headstone though....?"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"My, how forward of you." Kozue drops the 'Alice' mask to offer that flirtatious remark, as if Yumi had simply stated a pickup line.

Kozue is already dissecting the frosting off of the top of the second cupcake when Steven asks that. "Why - I'm building a cupcake of course." Alice says with both an angelic smile and patronizing eyes. "What else would I be making?"

A dollop of frosting enters the crevice to fill in the gap behind the Pretzel piece. Kozue then begins brushing off the remaining frosting and rubbing it over the Pretzel, to make it just as black as the frosting, carefully smoothing out so the frosting is just an even layer.

Taking up two red sprinkle dots, she places them on high, suddenly creating two eyes on the pretzel piece.

It may be obvious by now what Kozue has done. She's created a black swan. The crevice in the black frosted cupcake has become the two wings, the dollop of frosting has become it's body. The frosted pretzel has become it's slender neck and the curve of its head. The dots a pair of eyes. Taking two classical red sprinkles she shaves off the edges to make them sharper, then wedges them in to the front of the Pretzel to create a red beak.

She's definitely /not/ a skilled decorator, even having watched her roommate/girlfriend frost and decorate cakes a few dozen times by now. However, that doesn't mean she didn't give her ideas anyway.

"Oh - Odile?" Someone helping run the table prompts.

Alice blinks slowly, looking at the person in question for a long time, before smiling and saying.

"Sure, let's go with that."

... ... it's pretty readily apparent to everyone that that name wasn't what she had in mind at all.

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Samba Temperado - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dJ-0cIkVeY

Despite the friendly tone in which it was delivered, Lupin's proposal to Goemon would have, in the movies, been a ribbing more than anything else. Goemon, go looking for ladies? It would be like asking Lupin to do his taxes; he's capable of it and sure he likes money, but the process, he dislikes. But THIS Goemon just immediately asks the nearest girl.

"Heeeh...?" Lupin wonders aloud.

And the nearest girl says yes.


Lupin hunches her shoulders, her mouth squishing up sullenly. "I guess that might happen," she allows. "It would be pretty funny..."

She's aware that as Lupin she should primarily be concerned about the fact that Goemon just showed her up by snagging a smokeshow like Nori Ankou in one swift blow. Her awareness of Nori's beauty is such an abstract thing, though. It's like looking at a 100,000 yen bill. Nagisa knows that's a lot of money. But it's not like the bill itself is knocking her on her ass. She's not thinking, "wow, what an awesome piece of paper. I'd pay 100,000 yen to own that thing." She's just aware that that's how much it's worth.

No, Nagisa's less concerned about the big numbers on the paper than that that piece of paper temporarily stole her girlfriend.

"That was a pretty good line," Lupin admires, as the samurai departs with the youkai. She can't decide which hand is paler, between the two. What a cool braid, too... one of the best things about Honoka is that she puts her all into things.

"Yossha," Lupin agrees to nobody, with a grin. "I won't lose to anybody, you hear?" Turning on her heel (and almost slipping; she isn't used to dress shoes and in fact tends to wear shoes with an unusual amount of traction), she faces the party. She's the one who chose the game, now she has to play. And it just so happens there's a girl who seems to be nodding to the music, but not brave enough to venture out onto the floor alone...

"Hey, Hououji."

Nagisa Misumi of Juuban High appears in front of Saber. Maybe she hasn't seen that show; she seems pretty game to play along with people's costumes. In fact, "game" is a good way to describe her grin. Her field-tanned skin makes that smile extra-bright as she displays her costume up close. That slicked-back orange hair of hers would be transgressive on any other night, and it's dancing right on that line tonight too. She's leggy tonight in high-waisted pants, and it's no surprise her newly purchased red blazer and men's dress shirt fit her torso like coffee fits jazz. When they show these things off at the department store, the mannequins are lean and the mannequins are solid.

"This jacket cost a little extra at the store, you know," Lupin preens. "They said it was made out of boyfriend material."

Lupin winks, though it's Nagisa who sticks out her tongue mirthfully. "Wanna dance?"

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

The dashing thief's appearance comes at quite a convenient time, as Saber Fuu is mostly done with the munchies she'd collected; the blonde raises her eyebrows at Nagisa Lupinsumi's approach, but the pickup - cheese as it is - makes her smile, even though she has to stifle a giggle. "As long as it wasn't anyone's boyfriend whom I know," she jokes back. "But yes, I'd be delighted, Lupin-san." She sets her plate aside, wondering if it'll still be there when she gets back.

If not? Well, she'll at least have gotten some dancing in. Cupcakes can be replaced more easily than dance partners; for now, Saber Fuu makes sure her hands are reasonably clean, and offers her arm to Lupin, letting the gallant thief whisk her away to dance.

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> If I Were A Boy - Beyonce - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRCj8-8rdT4

Honoka and Nagisa make for two very different cross-dressers. For Nagisa it's an amplification of traits that some shortsighted mothers might have bemoaned as weaknesses, as flaws, but that she herself has rightly and beautifully embraced as strengths. It's a costume, but also not a costume. To be butch doesn't make her a boy at all, but at the same time, to be butch is to be true to herself.

For Honoka it's... something else.

She isn't disguising who she is; she can't, but also she doesn't want to. No general would take her into war believing her a male member of his vanguard. Even with the carefully corrected height of the sarashi, a teacher or two might have looked askance at the line of that kimono. Skin coverage only means that she's wearing something skintight, and the way that the robin's-blue fabric just hangs, gapes, off of her... except where it doesn't...

Even in the most scruffy, masculine presentation of traditional Japanese clothing imaginable, she doesn't really look like a 'beautiful boy' at all. But it isn't a failure of the costume, or of her.

It is an elevation of both.

She's so much more than a boy.

Heedless of -- in spite of -- because of -- the pounding rock beat, Honoka dances with white-yukata-clad Nori with the tenderness and care of a girl who has been danced with by boys who used neither. Not once does she sneak a look over her partner's shoulder to look for her true partner in the crowd, because -- even though this isn't serious, and no one thinks it's serious -- she knows what a wandering eye feels like, too.

And besides... it's always serious.

A body is never just a body.

She sets her feet so lightly that her zouri don't CLACK, not even once. She sets her feet so lightly that she wouldn't even leave footprints on the yuki-onna's snow. They turn and twirl, and their kimonos, white and blue, chase after their movements, creating space behind them by necessity, space on a floor that parts like the trees in a dense forest to create the clearing they deserve. Honoka floats Nori through a jumbled crowd -- she protects her from the occasional flung elbow or overenthusiastic stomp without even seeming to notice anyone else is there, her reactions somehow proactive, all just part of their dance. A dance that's just for them.

A dance for two beautiful girls.

Honoka only seems aware of one of them, though. For the duration of one song, she only has eyes for

"Nori-san," she says earnestly, respectfully, and wholly, totally honestly, "Thank you... for the singular honor of this dance. You make a spectacular partner."

Not 'a good wife for someone someday'. And not HER partner, not for more than a few more bars. But spectacular to be sure.

Honoka couldn't be happier to dance into a red future.

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

If you told Nori Ankou that she would be having a moment like this three years ago, she might have bunched up her face on the assumption that she was being made fun of.

In her heart she has a hard time thinking well of herself. Part of the reason for this costume drawing her - when she could have, likely, been just about anything on short notice - was that she would be able to ask a certain question whose answer she can't quite believe.

She steps with Honoka in tune with the music. It is not clumsy, although there is a certain deliberateness, and she spends a little longer looking at her feet - geta aren't terribly common every day wear for her, even if Honoka moves with equal or greater deftness. She sways; she moves.

She raises her arms; from the way her face is resting she's smiling behind her two masks and her horror makeup. Her eyes are even a little damp when the set comes towards an end, and part of her wonders for a moment - was it so quick?

But it wasn't, she knows. She was there for the entire time. Held, guided forwards. Protected, just as much as was needed - for this isn't a very threatening space, in the final analysis - and allowed to roam free. Free and beautiful, with music in the air. Honoka guided her forwards, and around; and Honoka is beautiful too, a shining light in these anomalous and topsy-turvy spaces.

It was flattering to be asked (and, if Nori were asked quite closely, she would admit that it was flattering also to be the one who briefly stole away the swordbearer from the legendary thief... but only for a moment) and the flattery was the tenth-part, at most, of the joy of the moment.

When it ends, or reaches its break - Nori's eyes turn aside, almost shy. Her fingers come up to stroke over the side of her own face, past the twinned strings of the masks, but then they steal up to meet Honoka's for a moment, and they are damp - not overwelling, but with a hint of the tears that come from joy.

"Thank you, Honoka," Nori says: the mask doesn't muffle it.

"I'll remember this, for always."

And then her tone lightens as she says, "Do you care for a little punch...? Or should we see where Lupin has got to--" As she says this, Nori reaches as if to check a breast pocket in the yukata.

.. is there where she stuck her phone or, does she suspect...?

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

Pass the dancefloor and one passes Mikoto Minagi, stomping around with a light-stepping lion. Trying to talk to her is, of course, a wash; her ears are sensitive but in situations like this they are TOO sensitive, like overloading a system and watching it all crash in on itself. It's all crashing in towards the singular point...

... of rock'n'roll.

Her method of dancing is ill-suited to peacetime; in situations like these, she's left to her own intuition. Stomp go her feet, and her fists pump the air. "Rock, rock, rock!" She contributes to the lyrics, in place of actually being able to figure them out. Mikoto, some here know, actually has quite a pleasant singing voice; but Mikoto isn't trying to sing right now, not really. It's more about 'being heard'.

She is a force unto herself, but she's not by herself. All the cats are dancing together!

And when the song ends and her head clears...

... Mikoto is going to find a place away from the speakers to recover from the volume.

Maybe she'll get a cupcake.

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

See, there was one other thing she'd been jealous about, one other way in which Goemon showed her up. She just... put her hand out, and Nori took it. Honoka, the perfect pinnacle of femininity, just went to dance with another girl no problem. Nagisa, despite her pink-hued clothing and mannerisms is quite aware of (and comfortable with) what might be deemed her boyish nature. Yet when Fuu Hououji, a girl twice as approachable as Red Future, offers her arm, Nagisa doesn't really know what to do. She was just going to kind of... walk out there with Fuu and groove. Dancing with girls isn't hard. She's just never danced with another girl... other than the one.

Heck, an arm isn't even as difficult as a hand. A little less intimacy for a little more pageantry. Nori offered her hand, and Honoka accepted it, in the best sense of the word, without the lifetime of practice Nagisa has had in being the boy.

Could that be why, actually? Fuu shows no sign of shyness at all--maybe Nagisa's too wholesome for her own good--but Nagisa still walks around carrying all those perfume-scented letters that rained out of her locker. She's aware of the expectations on her. Though it was sometimes an uneasy truce, the world basically let Nagisa be a girl without troubling her, right up until the point where she fell in love with one.

She gets the feeling it might be harder here than it is in some places. Maybe it's to do with living on an island, with ocean on all sides, and all neighbors a long journey away. People in other countries understand borders a little better. Nagisa and Honoka both live in Girl. Nagisa just lives real close to Boy.

There was a time Nagisa might have frozen up here, having bitten off more than she can chew. She's never known quite how to be the prince everyone tells her she is. But standing here now, with a girl waiting for Nagisa to take her arm, she realizes something important, and something empowering. She's anxious about this. But she doesn't feel shy.

For all the time she and Honoka have been together in one stage or another, Nagisa still couldn't take her arm like this without blushing, and feeling her heart pitter-patter. What she's feeling now, she realizes, is separate. Purer, some might say, in the sense of being platonic.

But the idea that anything could be more pure than what Honoka makes her feel is never going to get any traction with Nagisa Misumi.

So when she takes Fuu's arm, after a pause, it is with a grin and a renewed lightness of heart. She's seen something real now and so she knows what is not. An arm is never just an arm, but only one arm belongs to the girl she's in love with.

Two arms, Nagisa reminds herself, letting some air out of her epiphany. Honoka has two arms. Just when she was feeling smart...

Laughing aloud for a reason that may not be clear to Fuu, Lupin takes the Wind(sor) Knight out onto the dance floor. She slings her out gently in front of her and takes her hands--not her shoulder in the manner of a closer dance, but the way children might dance together. Nay! A dance of the jazzy 70's, a jitterbug, a free-styling smiling dance. That she does not know how to do the dance she has in her head does not prevent her from trying. She just moves in the way it seems fun.

And if Goemon has the wisdom to give her attention only to her dance partner, well, Lupin is the one who knows all the tricks. And one trick is that her attention isn't leaving Fuu if she brings Fuu's attention with her. Does her French intrigue confuse you? To wit:

"Loooook," Lupin sighs, heart-eyed. She lets go of one of Fuu's hands so they can both look in the same direction, at the most beautiful girl in the world, and the siren supermodel.

"Aren't they perfect?" the master thief beams proudly. They, Lupin means. Not she and she.

It ought to be an insult of sorts. For if Honoka and Nori are perfect, and Nagisa could not be more different than them, what does that say about her? But it doesn't work that way, not for Nagisa.

Perfect is not an averaging of two hearts. It's about Honoka being more Honoka, and Nagisa being more Nagisa.

Watching Honoka dance with a friend, Nagisa feels more Nagisa than she has in a long time. Even dressed in a red jacket.