2021-05-14 - The Cry-santhemums of Hikawa

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Title: The Cry-santhemums of Hikawa

The Hikawa Shrine has arranged a chysanthemum viewing for November, but Rei is high-strung as always. Yuuichiro seems like he's bearing the brunt of it, but can Usagi and Yumi help him out -- or is Rei just a bad target to admire?


Rei Hino, Usagi Tsukino, Yumi Ohzora, Yuuichiro Kumada


Hikawa Shrine

OOC - IC Date:

2021-05-14 - 2015-11-24

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

The chrysanthemum is a storied flower, in Japan. Symbol of the imperial family, for centuries it has been an icon of nobility and responsibility. Much like the cherry blossoms of spring, autumn is the season of the chrysanthemum, and elaborate flower viewings spread around a month in length. Shinto shrines often showcase these arrangements, in chrysanthemum festivals which celebrate the art of these blossoms.

The Community Festival Promotion Committee began its preparations for the many showings months prior -- assisted, this year, by the helpful Fujino family. That may explain the extra budget many of Tokyo's smaller shrines have had to arrange their flowers; this November has had a glorious backdrop of yellow, even outside of the main events.

Rei, of course, has been a driving force in arranging an excellent celebration -- though some sources close to her, off the record, might describe her more as driving them up the wall. Being charitable, she has gotten better at not taking out her anxieties and frustrations on her friends. But as for her family...

(Well, be fair: Yuuichiro isn't technically family. He wandered to the shrine steps one day, and they just sort of took him in, in a way Rei would liken to adopting a poor lost puppy.)

All of them at Hikawa shrine, with its own glorious showing of flowers. Climbing up the stone steps to the Torii gate which leads to the shrine, one finds two lattices framing the entrance, chrysanthemums woven through the diagonal wood slats. Around the edges of the left clearing are boxes of imperial yellow, overflowing with fresh, healthy petals.

In the middle of the clearing is an elaborate display. A seven-tailored blossom -- one seedling, pinched and coaxed into growing in seven different ways, each branch of the plant supported by a wheel. There are large chrysanthemum bushes dotted around, arranged artfully like the flowing skirts of Ohtori ball gowns; on decorative pillars lie chysanthemum bonsai, crafted into elegant trees one could hold in a hand.

Attending the celebrations are the priests of the shrine -- the trainee Yuuichiro Kumada, and the Head Priest, Grandpa Hino -- and of course, Hikawa's shrine maiden, Rei Hino. Grandpa may be balding with his age, but Rei and Yuuichiro more than make up for it: his mane of hair is messier than hers, all capped off with a crown of chrysanthemums, but hers is longer, and today adorned with a gathering of flowers behind an ear. They wear the robes of the shrine, of course; that's just good marketing, as far as the boss is concerned.

Speaking of: Grandpa, a necklace of yellow flowers about his neck, waves paper slips about. "Would you like a chrysanthemum blessing? For love, for success? We have them all!"

"Grandpa!" Rei chastises him, wagging a finger. "We're not here to market to these good people!"

"We're here to --" Yuuichiro begins, but does not finish,

"We're here to celebrate the majesty of the chrysanthemum!" Arms all flung out, Rei interrupts, and the sour little look of reprimand on Yuuichiro's face suggests it's not for the first time. She either doesn't notice or doesn't care, as she addresses the crowd. "Japan's imperial flower, with centuries or nobility! We have only the finest arrangements for you today -- made with assistance from the Sister School's very own gardening clubs, and with special input from Ohtori's exclusive Tea Ceremony club!"

"Now who's advertising...?" Grandpa Hino leans over, grumbling to Yuuichiro.

"But you have to admire Rei-san's passion!" Yuuichiro replies, without a shred of irony despite her rude interruption.

"Everyone," Rei claps her hands together, brightly, "welcome to our chysanthemum festival!"

Yuuichiro scratches at the back of his head with a rueful grin, and doesn't point out that they thought it might be time for him to welcome people to a celebration, especially since the chysanthemums didn't have as much spiritual significance as some of the festivals they've done lately.

But it's fine. Look at all those flowers!

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

Rei Hino hears something behind her after she declares the festival has begun. It's... it's...


Usagi Tsukino is present and clapping excitedly her speech, and the open of the festival. "Sugoi Sugoiiii Rei-chan! That was incredible!"

Right now Usagi is wearing an orange coat with a contrasting green collar, a violet top, and a tight fitting black skirt with a matching pair of violet leggings and white sneakers.

"I know I'm sold!"

Wait what?

Usagi turns to Grandpa Hino and holds up a finger, "One chrysanthemum blessing please!"

Usagi jingles a tiny coin purse, before she snaps it open. And empties a few yen coins into her palm. Staring at it for a moment before awkwardly recovering.

"Um... ah... I'm a little... short... s-say do you offer maybe... half strength blessings?"

Usagi considers, as she produces out of her purse a small mostly punched card. "... I have a loyalty card for the shrine, if that makes a difference..."

It is perhaps a fortunate thing that Usagi doesn't realize the Fujino group was involved in this. The fact that she doesn't though has her in a good mood, ready to celebrate the spirit of Chrysanthemums... and consumerism both!

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

Yumi finds that Lost Ivy always seems to exude a nice aura among flowers and greenery, and she wouldn't particularly miss this festival--not just because of certain responsibilities, but because... it's an important flower! Granted, she has to concern herself a little with all the Outside involved but it's worth it, and as the festival begins, Yumi Ohzora is there too, gray-haired and casually dressed in pale blues, vivid greens, and soft pinks. Frankly she's dressed for weather a little chillier than this actually is, for reasons.

But she steps up behind Usagi as she snaps her purse open, easily visible behind the much, much shorter girl with an easy smile of her own.

"You should make that two!" she remarks cheerfully, and wave to Yuuchiro as she notices him with that rueful kind of grin. She can guess a little that someone got excited...

"Chrysanthemums just aren't a half-strength kind of flower, so I insist!"

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

Organising these things is a delicate network of needs and plans, Usagi. Just don't call it 'politics'. But it's entirely correct that Rei hasn't told Usagi all the details of how the sausage gets made, because that would ruin the wonder.

After all, it's that wonder which has Rei framing her face with a hand as she laughs, in excellent cheer as Usagi cheers her on --

-- to --

Her finger crooks against her cheek with an audible hinge-creaking noise, head half-cocked, as Usagi falls to the prey of all human souls: capitalism.

"Of course, of course!" Grandpa Hino cheerfully turns to Usagi, waving his blessings. "It's important we value the loyal believers of Tokyo!" Believers, really..? "Perhaps a wonderful girl like you could help out --"

But before he can recruit more part-time shrine maidens, here's Yumi!! "Two blessings! Goodness, of course!" He hands out the prayers, with pressed chysanthemum flowers stuck to them. Is this Hikawa innovation..? "I'm sure the two of you will be lucky in love after this!"

Yuuichiro waves back to Yumi, and he seems just about ready to go over and tell them some cool flower facts, when Rei takes him aside. "I can't believe Grandpa!!" She hisses, to him. "Yuuichiro, go handle the other visitors, I need to keep an eye on him!"

"Eh, everyone else..?" Yuuichiro looks over at the visitors perusing the flowers.

"You'll be fine!" Rei gives his arm a little shove, as she turns and storms over to one Grandpa Hino, abandoning the poor trainee to handle everyone else.

(Does she really say that because she believes in him? Well, Yuuichiro can tell himself she does.)

And so, behind the diminuitive elder Hino, Rei's whole five-feet-three towers. "Grand~pa," she says, a smile through grit teeth, "you've told these girls they're blessed by the flowers just by being here, haven't you..?" Laughing, perhaps a little too sharply, she claps her hands together again, looking to Usagi and Yumi. "I'm glad you came today," she says, with a more genuine smile. "I've really outdone myself, huh?"

Meanwhile, over there: poor Yuuichiro, who also helped, is trying to get a grade schooler not to pick up one of the bonsai and take it home.

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

Usagi giggles as he implies that he could have extra hands, as she waves a hand at him in a gesture of faux bashfulness, "Oh! You-! Wellll... I came here today to enjoy the festival butttt..."

The answer to the but... never comes. Because...

A shadow falls over her. Usagi gives it a curious look, then turns her head around, her eyes lighting up, "Oh Yumi-chan! You're here too!"

Before... "Really? You're sure it's okay! W-Well if you insist then I won't turn you down!"

Usagi claps her nearly empty coin purse shut. Before she then whispers her way, "Thank you Yumi-chan. If I find romance this season, it'll all be thanks to you!"

In the aftermath of the blessing being handed over, Usagi trades him and hands him her loyalty card to punch, before breaking down into some giggling anew at the implication that they'll be lucky in love. It's one thing between girls, but when a guy says it... well she looks embarrassed at least!

Usagi doesn't seem to hear the exchange between Rei and Yuuichiro, instead seeing Rei loom over her diminutive grandpa as she hooks the charm into the strap of her bag. "Well of course he told us that-!" Usagi says, missing the context entirely as she smiles brightly at Rei Hino. "And you have! I didn't expect you to organize all of those Ohtori clubs to come decorate the shrine, but I should have because it's you!"

Usagi at least, sees Rei as a hard worker and perhaps a wizard when it comes to getting what she wants for things like this.

Though, after that excited look, she instead looks, faintly abstracted as she looks out to the shrine's tori and the decorative flowers, missing entirely Yuuichiro's exchange with a child... "I don't know why... but when you gave your speech, I felt a little nostalgic..."

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

It's very important not to ruin the wonder.

Yumi though has been around Rei's grandfather often enough that she may have an ulterior motive for offering to pay for Usagi's blessing. Or maybe she just feels like being nice! It could be either. Instead though, she smiles politely at Grandpa Hino. "You think?" she asks. "I definitely need a strong blessing for that..."

She laughs a little, smiling Usagi's way. "Let's hope so!"

She does not have a card. This is fine. But she does look to the others, and--well, Rei may indeed be a wizard. She looks around thoughtfully when Rei mentions outdoing herself. ...But the extra blessing can't hurt, right?

"You have!" Yumi agrees. She tiltos her head a little at the nostalgia, but, "I wouldn't miss it either way. ...And even if I wanted to I've got things to bring over!"

Mysteriously her family has a good relationship with a number of shrines. Must just be a thing.

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

"It certainly is!" Rei crows, a hand to her chest. "They're quite helpful, if you ask nicely. But really, aren't these flowers lovely? Gardeners are something else." A quiet over her, for a moment, as her voice trails: "Honestly, they're more than you'd give them credit for..."

"Our shrine is sure to stand out with this extra help!" Grandpa Hino crows, in a perfect mirror of the Hino Family Attitude, and Rei's fey mood dissipates in a moment as her hand goes to her hip.

"Oh," she replies, "like we needed help. We're three hundred years strong!"

"And you Ohzoras have always been a great help," Grandpa Hino smiles, sunny, to Yumi.

Meanwhile, Yuuichiro is trying to hold up three bonzai chysanthemums which were freed from their pillars. The sixth-grade girls who wanted a better look at them think this is great fun. He might disagree. "R...Rei-san..!!" He calls out, a hint of nervousness over his bravado.

"Don't worry about it!" She calls back, without looking over her shoulder.

Grandpa Hino just kind of chuckles, shaking his head.

"-- but you're right," Rei looks to Yumi, instead. "How rude of me! I should have asked you if you wanted to bring your deliveries over first! Usagi, have I told you how helpful Yumi-chan is when all these festivals come around? She's really reliable, too." (Inclusively, because Usagi is also reliable to Rei, despite appearances.)

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

"What?" Usagi looks scandalized at the idea that Yumi needs a strong blessing, "A tall beauty like you can definitely get by with just a regular strength! A half strength even!"

She enthuses, seeming not to understand at all where that idea would come from. Before she then looks back and forth between Grandpa Hino and Rei as they say that the Ohzoras have always been a great help.

"Really?" Usagi's eyes go wide, "I had no idea!"

Usagi is here all the time, and she really didn't, but that might be because she doesn't typically pay attentiont o such details. It's possibly quite likely that Grandpa Hino had mentioned Ohzora around her twenty times and it just never stuck.

Usagi is about to look at Yuuichiro, when Rei says not to worry about it! So she doesn't, at first.

"Sugoiii... I knew Yumi-chan was a hard worker! I just didn't know she was a hard worker here-!"

And then suddenly she clasps Yumi's hands, "Yumi-chan, let's work hard together for the success of the Hikawa Shrine!"

She says, as if she were here actually working as a part time shrine maiden, and not celebrating. Speaking of which... Usagi suddenly leans to the side to look around Yumi, while still holding onto her hands. "You know... Yuuichiro-san actually looks pretty frazzled...?" Her chin cants upwards as if contemplating it, "Hmmm... I wonder what has him so worked up...?"

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

"Well if you're going to call me things like that we should hang out more often!" Yumi laughs at being called a tall beauty. One out of two isn't bad, right?

Yumi, on the other hand, would tend to give gardeners a lot of credit! Not just because one of her good friends is one, of course, though that is a factor. But the shrine standing out... Yumi smiles to watch the family time on display here. It's nice. Very nice.

"I just try to keep up our family's traditions as best I can," Yumi demurs politely on the matter of the Ohzoras helping. She reaches up and puts a hand to the back of her neck at Usagi's widened eyes. "Ah, ha ha..."

But suddenly as she brings down her hand they're both clasped! This distracts her for a moment from the boy's plight as instead she beams Usagi's way, towering over... well, everyone in the immediate area, frankly. Except maybe Yuuichiro himself. Maybe.

"Yeah!" she says. "Not that we have to do much with Rei-chan around..." But--hm. He...

"...I think he's in trouble..."

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

Could Yumi be strong enough to get by on half a blessing..?!

In fairness, there are many parts of shrine management which Rei doesn't belabour around Usagi; she considers that sort of organisation her strength, and so, with pride, she takes it on herself. That's the ideal, if one were to ask Rei Hino: handling things with aplomb under one's own power.

(Maybe that's why poor Yuuichiro is trying to balance over there all on his own.)

"I sure am lucky all you astounding young ladies are working hard!" Grandpa Hino encourages Usagi's fighting spirit, as she grasps Yumi's hands in the wake of Yumi's polite acknowledgement.

"Well, I'd be an embarrassment if my friends worked harder than I did," Rei supposes, to Yumi, only for Usagi and Yumi to point out --

"... SAFE!!!" Yuuichiro declares, all stretched out to balance the last bonzai on its pillar, after what must have been a terrible series of antics trying to keep everything together.

Rei presses her fingers to her temple, as she turns over towards him. "Yuuichiro! You're not messing around over there, are you?!"

"Rei-san, it's just -- there are a lot of people here --"

Off she marches, a hand tossing up into the air. "It's easy! We're just encouraging everyone to celebrate the chysanthemum! And what, are carrying these things hard now? You didn't complain when you were setting them up the past few days!"

Yuuichiro sighs, slumping down. "You're so harsh..."

"Harsh? I'm being realistic! You should be able to handle something like this!" Rei points accusation, and doesn't say a word about how she was only handling two people.

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

"Of course we should hang out more! That's a given!" Usagi enthuses for longer, while nodding at Grandpa Hino as she takes position beside her clasping Yumi's hands "You sure are!"

Then Yumi notes it's a family tradition, "Oh I see! I really respect traditional families like that."

In a sense, Usagi puts them on a pedestal in general as she feels like traditional families produce daughters that are closer to some ideal of Japanese beauty.

After all, Rei exists. And so too does Yumi.

Yumi comments however that Yuuichiro is in trouble, "Hmm... you think? Maybe we should..."

Rei though finally turns, "Oh! Rei-chan has it!"

Usagi doesn't think much of Rei chewing into him because Rei chews into her all the time. It's just how Rei deals with other people.

Though... her brow furrows. There's something a bit different about it, because of... the position Yuuichiro is in, but she can't quite put her finger onto it.

So it's not like she decides to intervene, but more like... help in hopes it deescalates. "A-Ah! It's okay! Rei-chan! I'll cover things for him while Yuuichiro-san and you talk!"


Not long after.

"Eh? Some weird guy wouldn't let you see the Bonsai?" Usagi says to some sixth grade girls, not connecting the dots at all on who the 'weird guy' might be. "Don't worry! I'm good friends with the resident shrine maiden and I'm sure she'd be fine with it!"

Usagi, right in Yuuichiro's line of sight but probably not Rei's ends up handing one of them a Bonzai from its perch. "Here you go! Isn't it gorgoeus? The Ohtori Gardening Club really went all out!"

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

Yumi actually needs extra blessings because she's so tall. That's definitely how it works.

She smiles a little more at the encouragement to Usagi, though Rei--Ah. Well.

"...Y-yeah, my family's like that," Yumi says, and doesn't get into the details or anything because there's no need to and also she can't be entirely honest right here and now. But--

Rei marches over to Yuuichiro and Yumi winces as she sees him, well familiar with the sort of way a person can be bowled along by a more direct personality. Harsh... And--Well. He was handling...

"She... does have it, kind of," Yumi says, and she is not used to seeing Rei chew into herself like Usagi is, because why would Rei ever be so mean to helpful Yumi??

"Oh, uh."


"Um, Usagi-chan..." Some weird guy, huh? Yumi opens her mouth and closes it. Oh dear.

<Pose Tracker> Rei Hino [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Rag'n'Bone Man - Human https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wKzyIN1yk

Luckily for the Hikawa Shrine, Usagi covers for Yuuichiro and Rei, so they can step aside and not embarrass everyone.

"If you don't think you can handle standing on your own two feet, you should have just told me!" This, for the keen-eared viewer, might have begun in Rei's mind as a supportive statement, before it was filtered through Rei's mouth and came out as... that.

So is it any wonder Yuuichiro is left a little defensive? He crosses an arm over his chest, grasping his opposite arm, as he points out: "Rei-san, I can handle it fine! But it would be easier if you didn't give me your responsibilities, too..!" It speaks to his mountainlike fortitude that Yuuichiro restrains himself from appending an 'always' in there.

"Are you calling me some kind of hypocrite?!" Rei accuses, despite the word never coming up once, as if her mind simply leapt to the idea.

"I never said that!" Yuuichiro issues back, and maybe he IS a Hino apprentice, because those words manage to be pretty sharp, too. But he sighs, hand to his head for a moment. "Rei-san, I want this to be a success, too, but I need your help."

"I...!" Rei deflates, a little; perhaps she has some awareness of where she stands in the argument, after all. "Fine, fine. I'll take care of the crowds." On a heel, she turns and flounces off, and in that instant of turning the stormy expression on her face morphs back to a welcoming smile.

Yuuichiro, meanwhile... has seen Usagi's efforts. And so--!!

He ambles over, but this time, he doesn't say, 'they belong on the display pillars!', or anything killjoy like that. "I guess it is easier to appreciate them up close, huh?" He says, instead, a hand to the back of his head. He claps his hands together, to the girls in sixth grade. "Sorry about that... I'm still in training, so I was pretty nervous about getting it right."

"You could learn a lot from this girl!" One of them says, as she leans close to examine the flowers. "Wow, they're pretty..."

"Haha... yeah, I could, huh?" He laughs, before he turns to Usagi and Yumi. "Ah, sorry about that," he apologises to them, too, "but thanks for covering for us back there. Rei-san can get pretty intense when she's trying to get things right..." That's one word for it.

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

"Hm?" Usagi looks back Yumi's way, while still holding out the bonsai.

Usagi does catch perhaps some of the argument between Yuuichiro and Rei... but mostly is focused on covering for him. As he walks up, Usagi smiles, "It's alright Yuuichiro-san." ...and smells one of the flowers herself. "They really are something else... here! You can hold it if you want..."

And she gives it over to one of them.

Before she then sidles up to Yumi, and nudges her, whispering, "Follow my lead."

She stands back up straight and clears her throat... "Rei-chan just... you know, she gets really passionate and gets caught up in her own sprint about... everything. Sometimes she has trouble seeing things that are just out of her... focus at the moment. Buttt..."

She laces her arms behind her back, perhaps looking a bit sly, "... that doesn't mean she doesn't appreciate them."

Pause. Usagi just has that look on her expression, as she looks at Yuuichiro for many long moments, like she's just about to break down giggling and says...

"You must get really nervous around... Rei-chan right? I almost never see you relaxed when you're working around her..."

Pause, and her expression becomes one of sly delight, "... Yuuichiro-san... you really like Rei-chan don't you?"

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

Yumi can sense the tension between Rei and Yuuichiro, and it isn't the fun kind of tension as far as she can tell. Frankly their arguing starts to make her a little uncomfortable, and she is all too glad to escape with Usagi instead of being with 'family' arguing. But Rei is going to handle the crowds, and....

"It tends to be," Yumi says, "Though there's something to be said for appreciating them in the arrangement they were in, too," she allows, maybe to be nice. But Rei getting intense? "Yeah... She's really fired up." Though she does always seem gentler when...


Follow Usagi's lead? Yumi is the type in general to go along with things, so she does at the moment. Seeing things... ANd--Ah. Oh.

That would explain an awful lot, wouldn't it?

"...She does tend to notice the little things."

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

"Rei-san is really something else," Yuuichiro agrees, and despite everything, he really does sound like he thinks that's a good thing. Well, given the way he acts, perhaps it's no wonder...

Well, Usagi issues that query, and he goes all beet red. "Ahahaha!" He laughs, a hand rubbing the back of his neck, and that sort of faux-boisterousness is really just a boy's shorthand for bashfulness. "Is that her superpower?" He asides, to Yumi, and the nice thing about Yuuichiro is that he isn't a native Hino; when he isn't being riled up, he's not terribly loud at all.

"I -- really admire Rei-san," he admits, after a moment. "I rejected decadence to become a better person," hey, come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Yuuichiro at SCHOOL?, "and when I realised how passionate she was, I just knew that Rei-san could teach me how to take initiative. If I work hard, I really think I can make a breakthrough here!"

He sighs, with a vast, Atlas-worthy shrug. "But, you know... I don't know if Rei-san really..." He looks back towards the shrine, shoulders slumping down. "I like to think I work pretty hard, but sometimes it's like I just get burned down when she gets fired up. Maybe I'm still just entitled... heh," he grins another rueful grin, looking back to them. "I'd better work even harder, huh? If I want Rei-san to notice me, I can't give up now."

<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Sailor Moon OST - Comforting - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7rs2u7_6CY&list=PL3CRUt-GCCPNCe48XRD1y3VzndmVOEY35

Usagi would take Yuuichiro's blush as confirmation, before nodding along to Yumi and Yuuichiro stating that she notices the little things, "I'm an expert on all matters of romance. Just leave it all to Usagi-sensei!"

What kind of title is that!? Does she think she's a love doctor? Love teacher? It's ambiguous!

Her posture changes though as he says that he really admires Rei. And she just spends her time listening. Her expression showing hints and signs of delight. Then sympathy, as he notes that Rei perhaps...

Usagi considers the matter for a moment, then takes a deep breath, and gives him this slight smile, "Yuuichiro-san. I think your goals are really admirable."

Usagi herself would never give up decadence but, she can admire those who do.

"It's hard to catch up to Rei-chan. It's hard for me on my best day, and I'm her best friend. I think, that even if you're trying hard to change yourself... that you should maybe take it a bit easier. Relax a bit. If you're all nerves all the time around her, then Rei-chan has no chance to see you for who you are."

She holds up a finger, "And on that day that she does, I'll be cheering you on! So, do your best, Yuuichiro-san."

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

Something else--yes, that's true. It's also true that Yumi appreciates how not-loud Yuuichiro is at the moment. A superpower? "Maybe," Yumi allows, speaking in that way like she Knows Something that she's actually pretty good at. It makes her more mysterious.

...As does an ambiguous title... for Usagi.

"You admire her, yeah?" Yumi says, and smiles. That's a lot better than some answers he could've given. "She is good at taking initiative..." Yumi wouldn't know much about rejecting decadence, though. Not at all.

"I think Rei-chan..." She considers. She considers more. "Um. Yeah. What Usagi-chan says. Relax a little; if you're tense, she'll be tense. Working hard is good and important, but you've gotta work smart, too!"

"...I mean, that's just what I think offhand. Maybe she's different around boys."

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

"Then I'm in good hands!" Yuuichiro laughs, good-naturedly, at Usagi's glorious title. Neither does he challenge Yumi's vague assurance that she Knows Things. Yuuichiro, it seems, is an easy-going fellow at heart, which might make it even more astounding that he's ended up here.

(Hikawa is, after all, the fire shrine, so no wonder its wardens are fiery.)

It's an interesting way to frame himself -- Yuuichiro seems rather a humble sort of fellow, so why would he need to turn away from a decadent lifestyle? -- but he doesn't dwell on it. "I should relax, huh..?" He wonders, rubbing his scraggly chin with a hand. "Yeah," he decides, a moment later, "Rei-san is really intuitive, so she's gotta be picking up on my nerves, right?"

Surely Rei is thinking of him!

"Okay!" He pumps a fist, with a broad grin. "I'll get out there, and use my head! Thanks, girls! Looks like Rei-san's really got some good friends out there." And so, Yuuichiro strides out with new confidence...!

But when Rei sees him next, she has that same sharp tongue...

... at least they're not arguing with each other, right? The flower viewing is saved!