2021-09-10 - Revealing Resentment! Is Conflagria Hungry For Power..?

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Title: Revealing Resentment! Is Conflagria Hungry For Power..?

Mikoto and Yumi decorate Yumi's dorm for Christmas, and get to talking about the Ogre who attacked. Yumi sparks Mikoto's memory, and she and Tama give Yumi another perspective on the Hungry Queen's operations.


Mikoto Minagi, Yumi Ohzora


Infinity Institute - Dorms

OOC - IC Date:

2021-09-10 - 2015-12-04

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

Even this early in December, storefronts have gotten into the Christmas spirit; it's a very lucrative holiday, particularly amongst the young and the lovestruck. Of course, this means that everywhere in Tokyo, Christmas displays are starting to go up. Lights on the front of townhouses, displays in commercial windows -- an everpresent, unnerving presence of Christmas-themed gnomes.

Students might live in dorms, but that's no reason for them not to get in on a little goodnatured decorating, either; particularly not the artistically-inclined.



Also, Mikoto is here. She's fairly-well dwarfed by the box as she leans in to rummage through it, and when she emerges, there's tinsel caught about her hair and head alongside the sprigs of plastic she holds up. "... it's winterberries," She remarks, wrinkling her nose. "Why'd they say 'holly'?"

(Mikoto, you see, doesn't realise they're the same thing.)

She shrugs, and merrily hands them to Yumi to affix by the window; she's far too short to reach, but Yumi possesses that singular superpower of defeating high shelves without scrambling up onto the cupboards. She is decorated for the occasion, too, with those strings of beads Nori gave her to affix to her braids; she never bothered changing out of her school uniform before leaving for Infinity, so it's a splash of colour atop that yellow which suits her eyes so well. Miroku's case, of course, is leaning near the door. It's involved, but in a cool, detached sort of way.

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

The youth... and the lovestruck. Or maybe those who want to be lovestruck. With Christmas approaching Yumi is conscious of romance, and she's definitely been on the lookout. But also, on the lookout for Christmas-themed gnomes! Witches and gnomes go back a long way, as it happens. A very long way.

"Same thing!" Yumi replies helpfully to Mikoto over the matter of winterberries and holly, and moves to place the decoration up by the window, making use of her considerable height to do so with ease. She barely has to stand up in fact. And in the meantime she has brought some other decorations, too--she has a lot that were there, and there is, on the table, a little series of... whimsical... gnomes.

That's real. That's happening, whether Miroku likes it or not.

"This is nice, right?" Yumi says, regarding her handiwork thoughtfully. She isn't having to exert herself a lot to put up decorations, which is nice; she likes to make sure her spaces are decked out for whatever holiday or event is next.

She is likewise still in uniform, nonregulation green tights and all! But not shoes. She is in her dorm, after all.

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

Mikoto has been giving those gnomes some baleful looks. It's a good thing Yumi is used to protecting things from 'mysteriously' falling off shelves 'for no reason'. What dark sorceries have they laid upon Yumi such that she would invite them into her house?!

(It's Yumi inviting in dark sorceries, sure.)

Mikoto doesn't much understand the romantic undertones of the holiday; it was hardly relevant to her for most of her life. She thinks of things a certain way, like how the holly are winterberries as far as she's concerned. "Huuuh," she grunts, reflective, when Yumi informs her that half a dozen of one is indeed six of the other.

The tinsel falls over her face, all a-tickle-tickle at her nose. It wrinkles, and she sneezes, only to laugh at the entire sequence. "... yup!" She decides, with certainty. "I like Christmas!" There's hot pot! And shiny tinsel! And snowballs!

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

Yumi is good at dark sorcery! And at keeping her gnomes from destruction. Could she lovebeam a gnome...?

"Mm-hm," Yumi confirms when Mikoto huhhs, and then laughs a little when the tinsel falls and she sneezes. It's funny to her, too. "I do too," Yumi answers amiably. "It's nice, even if it's cold. But that's just more excuse to put on sweaters and blankets and use the kotatsu..." Yumi, too, can appreciate cold. Even if it's... cold.

"...But before I talk about what I like about Christmas--are you sure you're OK after the other day? You flew pretty far.."

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

Perhaps the only reason the gnomes are safe is a certain girl's discouragement of using Miroku in the dorms. Apparently that's how holes happen in walls. But there aren't even any holes in their dorm walls any more!

At least the gnomes are safe... for now.

But Mikoto has her eye on them.

Luckily, right now she has other things to think about. Such as: "Kotatsu! Kotatsu!" Mikoto echoes Yumi, excitedly, all straightening up on her heels and hands balling up in front of her. "Kotatsu, kotatsu!" That probably means Mikoto agrees with Yumi's take on the cold.

Or at least with the kotatsu. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

(Mikoto doesn't much like being cold.)

Her whole body kind of cants to the side as her head tilts, considering Yumi's question, with a rising tone of a noise behind her teeth. It's a perfect pronunciation of: "...?"

After a moment, Mikoto laughs, again, straightening up. "Don't worry, Yumi! That happens lots!" Her assurance is entirely confident. "I know how to fall good, so I'm okay!" Besides, she landed in the water! Wait, sailing that far actually makes it worse..? Well, good thing Mikoto doesn't think to mention that detail, then. Her face proceeds to scrunch up a bit, tone dropping to something a touch more serious, as her hands come to rest between her criss-crossed legs. "That thing was weird, though... the Ogre." That it's also strange she can enter that focused contemplation immediately after laughing isn't something Mikoto comments on at this time, or ever, really.

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

No Miroku use in the dorms!! Yumi doesn't want that much either. Miroku is...

Well, Miroku isn't nice, but Miroku is welcome. Holes in walls not so much.

So, with her gnomes safe, Yumi smiles at Mikoto's reaction, because that's about how she feels about the kotatsu, or the more portable version of the kotatsu: the friend to lean on you while watching cooking shows.

But the question...

"Oh, good," Yumi says. "yeah, you're pretty tough--I guess you bounce, huh?" she says with a little laugh, which is actually a little jealous because Yumi has healthy ideas about endurance. "As long as you're OK, that's what counts."

A pause. "Yeah, it was pretty weird, wasn't it?" Yumi thinks. "And I was sure there was someone else there..."

Speaking of someone else, Tama apparently snoozes away in the other window.

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

It's fine, Miroku is in its case, the walls are safe.


Mikoto hums affirmation at Yumi's guess, with a little braid-bouncing nod. (They make noises with the beads! Mikoto now comes with sound effects.) She's very tough, so it's okay!

Less okay: Ogres. "It looked kinda like Miroku, but different. That's why Yumi was worried, right..?" Mikoto scowls, with a hint of embarrassment, glancing aside. "I was surprised..." Maybe it's embarrassing for a warrior like her to let her guard down like that.

She scratches at an ear, self-conscious, before she looks back to the other girl. "Why's Yumi say that?" She prompts, on the subject of someone else.

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


"I was worried because you were knocked off into the ocean!" Yumi insists, only a little grumpily over Mikoto's embarassment. "It's normal to worry when your friend falls in the ocean." That's obviously why she was worried. But, "...Also because you're pretty tough, and that it was strong enough to catch you off-guard..." Well, that's obviously not normal! So it's fine. But Mikoto looks back at her and--

"Well, i thought I sensed another person around, and then it mentioned a name before it ended--"

"Conflagria," says the cat.

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

Mikoto shakes her head, with a little whine characteristic of her frustration over not making herself understood. "I mean before," she elaborates. "When Yumi was worried about Miroku." Mikoto thought it was obvious! Doesn't everyone always have a few brain cells devoted to thinking about Miroku?

Maybe don't answer that one.

She is pretty tough, though, so an Ogre being strong enough to do that is plenty notable enough. And --

And it turns out Tama isn't sleeping at all.

Remember those baleful looks Mikoto was giving the gnomes when they were getting the decorations out? Her expression now isn't so distaff from that, clouds all gathering over her expression as her lips tug down and her nostrils flare in a derisive snort. There's a noise in her throat which drags her tongue to the floor of her mouth, all gutteral, all grumpy.

"I don't like her," Mikoto grouses, folding her arms. "She's the Hungry Queen's woman... always made me uncomfortable. And she's rude." There are certain implications in that construction, foremost the idea that Mikoto has met Conflagria, and it didn't go well. Maybe it's not so hard to imagine. How does Dark Fall get along with each other with the personalities it tends to attract..? That is an excellent question Mikoto does not remember enough to answer, but it seems Yumi can jog her memory this much, at least.

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

"Oh!" Yumi gets it after. "Yes," she says. "I was worried about that too, though... you've mentioned it's not the same, so I try not to worry too much about it." That it's not the same situation. That Miroku isn't the same as the Ogres--which Tama seems at least willing to humor.

Yumi sure notices the funny look--well, not-so-funny--that that name gets. And Tama turns her green eyes to regard Mikoto as she discusses the woman. There are implications...

"I see," Yumi says. "That would make sense, if she's summoning Ogres--right?"

"Ogres can be called by those outside the Hungry Queen's service," Tama demurs. "But usually they just eat the summoner."

A pause. "...The Hungry Queen has tempted many mortals with fortune, power, whatever wishes they might like fulfilled. It would not surprise me if she has servants now of that nature; she has in the past."

"Huh," Yumi says. "So it's not just the Ogres, huh...?"

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

"Not just?" Mikoto echoes, with a quizzical expression. Her lips all scrunch up as she thinks very hard, head tilting to the ceiling. "Buuut... I don't really remember Ogres doing stuff. The Hungry Queen had people. Kinda like me, but..." She lifts a hand, to wave it, as she tries to piece through the fog in her mind.

What else bothers her about that statement..? Something about her...

She hums frustration through her lips, and settles on what must be different: "I didn't have help." This feels entirely true. Mikoto was working on her own, unlike so many of the dark unions under the Demon Kings.

"I never asked why Conflagria was like that... it was awkward. But I guess she's powerful, so maybe it's about power..? Mm..." Something about that doesn't feel quite right, like a misattribution error, but Mikoto can't put her finger on why.

She's uncomfortable operating in the twilight of her memory, at least; that much is obvious. It's unnerving to know she doesn't know things.

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

"Oh, yeah?" Yumi asks. "I haven't exactly seen the Hungry Queen's... operations, outside of Ogres showing up to eat people." Something about her.... didn't have help. "Mm, yeah."

"Ogres are ancient spirits of the earth, corrupted and bound. They are 'help' if what you want is destruction. They are not very good at other tasks." This is Tama, naturally, who rises from her perch at the window and streeeeetches big, tail up.

"Maybe she's just a jerk," Yumi says. "You kinda have to be a jerk to be up for summoning things that eat people and then having them actually eat people, you know? Like if I were going to summon up minions, they'd be... nice minions! Good minions!"

"Uh-huh," Tama replies.

"Anyway maybe it is about power. Thanks, Mikoto-chan--you remembering that helps. It means I definitely have to plan to deal with people. To summon an Ogre she must be a powerful witch..."

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

"It's... fancy," is the word Mikoto settles on, when Yumi wonders about the Hungry Queen's operations. She sounds vaguely unnerved by the description.

Or maybe by the woman she's describing.

She never met her personally, Mikoto would surely remember someone like her -- but it still makes sense she'd be wary, doesn't it? She had to mind her manners amongst her erstwhile allies, and while she could defend herself just fine against people like Conflagria without raising any eyebrows, Dark Fall has a much more rigid hierarchy than the girls of Tokyo. The Hungry Queen was simply a bigger fish than Mikoto ever was.

It's a creepy sort of feeling... is that why she's shivering, all a sudden?

Mikoto frowns, scratching at her cheek. "We were all... jerks, Yumi," she echoes the word, uncertainly. "Dark Fall's not good. Even the nice people feel bad... one girl..." She trails off, remembering the sleepy child, and shakes her head with a noise of dismissal. Mikoto just stood aside... so she doesn't feel she has any place to talk about what she remembers of her.

She does manage to smile a little when Yumi thanks her, at least. "Yeah. But Yumi handled me, so you can deal with Dark Generals, right? Conflagria's not powerful like me, but Yumi'd know more about witch stuff, so Yumi can deal with her sort of power!" Mikoto thinks, for a moment, and nods firmly as she folds her arms back down to issue her turncoat advice: "Curse her to be quiet. Yeah, that works."

... Mikoto really didn't get along with some of the other enforcers in Dark Fall, huh?

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

Fancy. That would seem appropriate for a Queen, wouldn't it?

"...Hey..." Yumi sets down the next decoration and steps closer to her friend instead, leaning down to enwrap Mikoto in a hug.

"Hey," she says. "You were. But that's in the past, now. You've helped a lot of people, too. And you do what you can."

Not powerful like Mikoto... Yeah. Mikoto's pretty powerful. "Right. I know my witchcraft! I can figure her out, too. I'll just have to be on the lookout for her, too." Curse her to be quiet...

Well, Yumi can't really complain.

"It's OK. For now, we've got decorations to put up, right?"

Tama watches Mikoto for a longer few moments, before she hops down, and walks beside her, brushing against her leg in passing.

"...You do have... decorations to put up." A pause. "Bring me a tree to climb."

Tama saunters off.

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

Mikoto didn't think her malaise was so obvious, which is really just a small part of the larger tragedy that Mikoto is flatly incapable of hiding how she feels about anything. She is distressingly honest. She remained honest even when she was lying to everyone; everything aside from the content of her words painted a particular picture about how she handled life in Dark Fall.

Which might be why she didn't get along well with most of the people in Dark Fall, really. Mikoto put all her energy into learning how to fight, and none at all into social defence. But the same thing which caused her problems in Dark Fall is a boon in Tokyo, where her friends have no interest in taking advantage of her true feelings. It takes Mikoto a moment to mentally shift back to that reality -- a moment where Yumi finds her stiff in her arms, arms all folded, elbows drawn in -- before she sinks in against her, wrapping her arms around Yumi's waist.

(Mikoto is very warm. It's like she's always ready to run a marathon, even when she's been sitting down putting decorations up for so long... but maybe she just possesses the true spirit of kotatsu comfort.)

She can at least give her good advice, even if it takes her a moment to shake off those last little cobwebs of spite. Yumi can surely feel the way Mikoto relaxes more when Tama brushes past, assuring her that there is a cat who is surely present. "Mm!" Mikoto nods, against Yumi, before she straightens up out of the puddle of Mikoto oozing over the other girl. "We still gotta do the tree, Yumi!" She pauses, and adds: "Yumi's gonna have to put the star on... it's too small for me to climb good."

This, of course, implying that Mikoto has already beheld the plastic tree and determined whether she can scale it.

Climbing is important, after all!!

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

Yumi can imagine exactly how well Mikoto got along in Dark Fall society--because she imagines it similar to certain aspects of witch society, for some reason that she doesn't particularly seek to examine at the moment. Yumi has skills that Mikoto doesn't, and she is willing to wait through that moment of stiffness. She has long appreciated Mikoto's warmth, because she doesn't much like being cold either. Among other reasons.

Little cowbebs of spite... Yes. Yumi notices Tama being nice to Mikoto and smiles as a result, straightening too--to note, "Yes!" she says. "I can do that~! Besides, it's important to get the angle just right," she says. "So it looks the same across the room..."

Of course Mikoto has already attempted to climb the tree. Tama will have an easier time of it. Tama, who after brushing past Mikoto, stops in the entryway to watch the two girls for a little while too.

Her tail flicks lazily, thoughtfully as she does.

"Okay though, but you gotta get out the box, it's too heavy for me..."

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

"Yumi can do that..? That's good magic!" Mikoto, that isn't-- actually, you know what, that's totally magic, it's Christmas star magic, it counts. She looks absolutely fascinated by the idea that something can look the same up close and far away. Mikoto's idea of far away might be different to Yumi's, but it's all the same within the confines of a dorm room which only has so much space.

Mikoto is very good at climbing trees, but not, perhaps, the types which are small enough to fit indoors. She might seem entirely graceful in her arboreal environment, but did you know Mikoto was once betrayed by a branch breaking off underneath her? Even Mikoto can be surprised by the turncoat betrayal of trees.

Wait, no, don't think about it like that, it's fine. See? Even Tama doesn't think Mikoto is bad, she thinks; see, she's even sticking around to see what they do. And Yumi likes her, too! Mikoto's okay, and the nice thing is that when she tells herself that, she can actually believe it.

It's a little strange that she can go from such a gloomy expression to smiling so warmly within a few minutes, but that's just the labile nature of Mikoto.

"'Kay!" She chirps, brightly, when Yumi admits it's too heavy for her. "I'll set it up! And there's the shiny stuff, the, theeee --" Mikoto rocks back and forth for a moment as she tries to remember what it's called before she realises it's still around her shoulders, and holds up the shiny tinsel she shook off her head not so long ago. "It's crinkly!" She explains, cheerfully, as if this explains precisely why the tinsel is so important.

(Mikoto knows that cats cannot resist tinsel. Perhaps not even Tama...)

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

It's Christmas star magic! Yumi won't argue the point, though it's not really the supernatural kind of magic. It's fine, though. But then, Yumi's idea of close up and far away depends on her eyeglasses...

Mikoto is sadly fenced in by things like 'the laws of physics' when it comes to climbing, especially when branches break. But Tama and Mikoto...

What Tama thinks is mysterious, but she has shown her affection. So Mikoto's OK. Yumi definitely likes her.

"Great!" Yumi says, "And it's called tinsel! Funny name, right? Tin-sel. No tin in it or anything, but still." It's crinkly! Yumi accepts some of it from Mikoto as she holds it up, and a certain cat... watches it.

She will bat at it later. In private.

And Yumi... Yumi will worry a little about Mikoto, and look for a way to help her keep feeling better. And think about... Conflagria...