|Full Name:||Mikoto Minagi|
|Aliases:||Fire-Mouthed Cat Demon|
|Age/Birthdate:||16 (November 4th, 1998)|
|Astrological Sign:||Scorpio, Earth Tiger|
|Favorite Food:||Mai-Style Ramen Noodles!!|
|Least Favorite Food:||Super Spicy Curry Buns|
|Favorite Subject:||Battle... that's not real subject? Okay, Japanese History.|
|Least Favorite Subject:||Mathematics|
|Group:||Unaffiliated, with former ties to Dark Fall and the Shepherds|
|School:||School: Ohtori Academy (11)|
Mikoto Minagi is a girl who found her brother - the Obsidian Lord. But when she found that her Lord Brother's love came with a heavy cost, her friends fought through her devotion to help break her from his control. She is determined to not only turn over a new leaf, but to help her family do the same.
(Dark magical girl arcs are, at their heart, stories about trauma, and Mikoto's tale involves child abuse and domestic abuse.)
- 1 Quote
- 2 Profile
- 3 Personality
- 4 History
- 4.1 The Shrine Maiden Of Minagi ~ 'Duty'
- 4.2 In Delible ~ 'Homura'
- 4.3 Our Shining Days ~ 'Beginning'
- 4.4 Love Is A Word You Can't Take Back ~ 'Alyssa'
- 4.5 A Monster Made Of Love And Obsidian Blades ~ 'War'
- 4.6 Devastation In The Wake ~ 'Falling'
- 4.7 A Thousand Enemies And The Lighthouse ~ 'SPACE JAIL'
- 4.8 Secret And Known Things ~ 'Reinforce'
- 4.9 Blood In The Water ~ 'Sayaka'
- 4.10 Moored to Paradox ~ 'Fallen'
- 5 Powers/Abilities
- 6 Rumours
- 7 Relationships
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Logs
- 11 Cutscenes
|[there's something i've forgotten]|
"You are who you are, Mai. Deal with it however you want."
|[furikaerazu tachimukau ken o kokoro ni]|
Raised in an isolated mountaintop shrine, Mikoto Minagi transferred into Ohtori's ninth grade. An outsider to Tokyo, her guilelessness and positivity were appreciated by many, even as her ignorance offended Ohtori's structured sensibilities. She quickly became (in)famous around the academy for her offbeat attitude, love of good food, and ability to make friends with just about every cat she met. Those who got closer earned unwavering loyalty and affection, and discovered the deep intuition behind her plainspoken exterior. But the girls engaging her at night knew a more complex story: Mikoto as a HiME was alarmingly willing to fight other magical girls, using her acute senses and overwhelming might, and her main objective was never the safety of Tokyo's citizens. Instead, she was driven to find her Lord Brother - and only after doing so did Mikoto realise he was the Obsidian Lord, one of Dark Fall's terrifying Demon Kings. He isolated her, manipulating her love for him to convince her to fight, and forcing her through shadowy possession when she hesitated. The enduring love of her friends finally helped her break away from his abuse, and she stole not only herself but her unusual claymore Element and oni Child, Miroku. Now, she employs her sinister powers to protect the people she once plagued... but though she doesn't remember everything, she still hasn't forgotten the brother she left behind in the dark.
|[anybody's love but his will never fill this space within me]|
Guardian of the sword.
Loyal to her Lord Brother.
A warrior who can defeat any enemy.
That is who the shrine maiden of Minagi is. But that isn't who most people know.
Most people know Mikoto-chan, the naive young girl with a bottomless stomach. Mikoto is transparent in her desires, innocent as a child in all that the world has to offer. More cat than girl in everything she does, Mikoto is almost charmingly foolish; she finds joy in the smallest things, happiness in sunshine and surprise in brightly-coloured bugs.
Mikoto thinks in black and white. She's good at judging people, to a point; but once she has made a decision, it's difficult to shake. Either you are a good person, or a bad person -- either she likes you, or she doesn't. Those who she deems good have an easy pass through her mental defenses; she's easily-led, gullible to those who she thinks are kind. Combined with her natural transparency, this makes her an easy mark for those who can make that all-important first step.
Mikoto's entire life has consisted of following a superior, obeying them; she cannot stand a vacuum in that area, though she doesn't consciously realise it. Currently, the person occupying that position is Mai Tokiha, who got the position while it was on sale -- Mikoto was starving and alone, and Mai was a kind person who fed her. After Mai's seeming death and following rebirth, Mikoto has thrown herself into loving Mai -- besides, she loves Mai's food, and being with Mai is fun! She's very possessive of this kind person, and she will protect her as if Mai's enemies were Mikoto's own.
But it took her a year to express these emotions, which brings us to a salient point -- Mikoto doesn't understand emotions very well. She can express her appreciation for the things people do very easily, but for a long time, she didn't realise this meant she liked the person themselves. While her brother (and then, her grandfather) were always quick to show her love and appreciation, she was taught very little about how to process her emotions. It's not that she's stupid -- she's very savvy as to how people act, and can notice discrepancies in their behavior easily. But now that she has realised she can love people, she is free and open with her affection -- too much, perhaps. She also has very poor emotional boundaries -- when her friends are sad, she gets sad, too. Luckily, it also works the other way around.
Alongside not understanding emotions, Mikoto doesn't understand a lot of other things. She was never taught about stealing, or about public decency, or about personal space. Many Japanese customs are lost to her, from honourifics (or even decent grammar) to when it's all right to say what she's thinking (that's all the time, isn't it?). She is, however, very conflicted about harming noncombatants; she's always been taught that those who attack her are enemies, which means that people who have done nothing wrong must be, by extension, not enemies at all.
And yet, to think of enemies brings us back to the beginning. It's an important point to make: Mikoto destroys enemies. Those who attack her are enemies. Enemies deserve no pity, no quarter. Enemies must be destroyed! It brings us to Mikoto the shrine maiden, Mikoto the keeper of the sword, a Mikoto far more ferocious and terrifying than the hungry child her friends know. Mikoto, in battle, is girl barely able to even control her sword -- and this imagery is not for nothing. There is bloodlust and battle-rage within her, and if it is allowed to grow out of control, her ability to distinguish between enemies and hold herself in check diminishes significantly. Were something awful to happen... this horrible trait might even come to engulf her.
For now, at least, Mikoto may be shaken from her terrible berserkergang.
The Shrine Maiden Of Minagi ~ 'Duty'
|[i don't know what's wrong with us, they just made us this way]|
A great shadow stretches over the Minagi shrine -- the shadow of the Obsidian Lord. His grip is felt in the blood of every legitimate heir to the name, and in their isolated mountain home, they serve him in all they do.
Mikoto is a HiME. She has known this for as long as she could remember. But she is different to the other HiMEs, those people with Elements and Childs. Mikoto doesn't think about it. Mikoto wasn't told about it.
Mikoto wasn't told that her claymore was the vessel of the Obsidian Lord. She was simply told to keep it with her always -- to guard it with her life. She didn't know that other HiME's Elements disappeared when not in use. She didn't even question it.
She questioned very little, because she was raised to obey, and to fight.
She came to know her claymore as Miroku, the force of destruction which she felt lurking always at the edges of her mind. Miroku, which was in truth the Obsidian Lord's Child, was simply another weapon to her; they were all her weapons, all things she would use to destroy the enemy. Her Child was Miroku. Her Element was Miroku. That neither could be called hers -- that she was more likely -their- possession -- escaped her.
She sought the approval of her Lord Brother, doting on on his every footstep. To serve and love only her brother was the law of the shrine, and she did not question it.
When he told her to fight without hesitation, she fought without hesitation.
When he praised her, her heart swelled.
When he left, she was crushed.
Because he did. He left without warning, without a word. Her grandfather consoled her, and she continued to learn under him, Miroku never leaving her side.
She never forgot her Lord Brother.
That she was intended to serve him was a promise and a contract and a binding force around her soul.
Her grandfather, ever sly and wise, taught her well. He reinforced the ideals which had been planted in her mind, but left enough of himself open to her that she would come to rely on him and to love him...
... so that he could destroy that, as well.
It cost him his life; he did not even falter. That is the way of the Minagi family. Their lives are nothing but pawns on the board.
She didn't falter, either. Miroku cut her precious grandfather open and exposed his insides to the world. And as the killer's remorse hit her, as she knelt beside him and cried, he taught her the lesson which cost him his life.
She was only to love and serve her brother. No one else.
He was in the land of Fuuka, and she was to go there and find him.
The shrine maiden of Minagi left the mountainside that day. Though she could not even properly recall his face, she would find her brother.
In Delible ~ 'Homura'
let's do the time warp again
Our Shining Days ~ 'Beginning'
|[won't somebody come take me home?]|
On the way to Fuuka, she encountered an enemy. And she fought -- she fought bravely -- but the enemy was too much for her. She might have died, but instead, she woke in a bed. She had been saved, and it didn't occur to her to think about it overmuch. Instead, she confronted the enemy again.
Miroku thinks little of steel; even the steel which comprises a ship. Even so, Mikoto could not defeat her enemy.
She was saved again. It was fortunate. She left as soon as she woke.
But she was really quite hungry. She hadn't eaten for quite a while, after all.
She smelt food, and took it.
No one on the mountain told her that food could be an enemy too.
Water defeated the enemy which burned her mouth and her throat, and then she came upon another -- one who seemed at first to be an enemy, but who was, on closer inspection, the one who helped her. Mikoto didn't get any further time to consider her course of action; she fainted from hunger.
When she woke, she was in a bed again. The girl was there. She gave her food.
Valhalla's gates opened; the angels flooded forth around Saint Peter's stand; ambrosa stood there in her mouth. It was the best thing she'd ever tasted. It was heaven. It was better than heaven. It was delicious!
(It turns out that in a strict shrine, where cuisine isn't valued beyond its ability to keep someone alive, tasty food isn't a great concern.)
The girl was called Mai, and she was too nosy, but she was very kind. Mikoto liked her. Still, she had to go, and find her Lord Brother.
So she left.
Later, during the night, when she could smell nothing which would lead her to her brother, she met that kind girl Mai again. Mai was being attacked. Mikoto, who liked that kind girl, deemed the attacker her enemy. It was good! She discovered that kind Mai was a HiME, and she also met the enemy who had attacked her before. It would have been a wonderful turn of events, had Mai's enemy not been so relentless.
She had to divert her attention to it, and even Miroku's strength was not enough. There, Mikoto met Mai's strength, a strength called Kagutsuchi. It was an overwhelming strength. Mai was not only a kind person, but a strong person. It was amazing!
Mikoto went with Mai to speak to a girl she called the director, who led the school. According to Mai, that girl would pay for her to live there and allow her to study, despite the fact that the closest thing to study in this place was a club where they only studied with practice weapons. Mikoto didn't like her. But she could stay in Fuuka that way, and search for her Lord Brother.
She went back with Mai, and that kind person allowed her to stay. It meant far more than any vague words about being paid for, about some custodian footing her bills. Mai cooked her food!
Mai took care of her, and so she took care of Mai. Because Ohtori was in Tokyo, and Tokyo was a hotbed of spiritual activity. The Orphans which threatened humanity were the HiME's specific problem, but there were more, more and more - monsters and gods and dark things which smelled of ash and rot. Without her Lord Brother to guide her, Mikoto fought for Mai.
There were others. Not only HiME, but Sailors and Knights and Puella Magi. Some of them became her fierce friends, others she knew only on the battlefield. One, in particular, she grew close to - Eri Shimanouchi, who loved plants as she loved cats.
And there were other HiME. Natuski Kuga, who was her enemy, was someone Mai insisted was a friend. Mikoto was reluctant, but Mai eventually succeeded in getting her to like the other girl. There was Nao Yuuki, who told her things Mai never would; later, Kozue Kaoru would take her position of devil's advocate, first known to Mikoto only as Cassandra. Midori Sugiura, of course, was Midori Sugiura.
But Mai was the most important HiME, because Mai made her good food, and Mai slept with her at night, and Mai supported her when she was unsure. Mai made stir-fry, with meat and onions and bell peppers. She made rice balls, and vegetables, and miso soup. She made Italian pasta. She made fish, freshly-caught by Mikoto herself. And, of course, she made ramen, and Mai's ramen was the best.
Love Is A Word You Can't Take Back ~ 'Alyssa'
|[do you understand that we will never be the same again?]|
It was the HiME who SEARRS targetted, a year after Mikoto had arrived at Ohtori. Cassandra's identity was revealed to her, and her identity was revealed to the world. In a tattered ballgown, she went underground with Mai and Natsuki, and found herself summoned by the Headmistress in order to defend the populations of the Sister Schools. Miroku cleaved tanks in half, but it was Mai's power, Kagutsuchi, which truly stole the stage. Upon it, Mai took Alyssa's Child's blast, and Kagustuchi transformed, and took them to space.
But when they fell, Mai was not with them. Mikoto cried out, and in her grief, forgot her most important lesson. 'I love Mai!' The words she couldn't say when Mai was with her, she said as she watched the sky for any sign of Mai's body.
With that admission, it became easier. Mikoto realised she loved so many people. But Mai was gone.
Eri stayed with her, in the days afterwards. She cried on her, often. Eri, who had viewed Mai as such a close friend as well, was the closest thing Mikoto had to guidance in those days. It forged their bond stronger, closer. Eri became the most important girl in Mikoto's world, simply because Eri was there for her when she needed her.
And then Mai came back! It was the best day in Mikoto's life, and she cried happy tears instead of sad, and didn't let Mai go for so long because she was terrified of her leaving again.
Mai had come back, and Mai was safe, and Mikoto didn't want her to be in danger any more. It was easy, when Eri started sharing her problems as a Puella Magi with her, to justify keeping Mai out of the loop. Mai wouldn't understand. Mai would be in danger. Mai, who had come back to them safe, who Mikoto loved and didn't want to see hurt...
A Monster Made Of Love And Obsidian Blades ~ 'War'
|[these nails in my hands, erasing all the lines in the sand]|
... Mai couldn't know about Mikoto's hunts with Eri. And when Eri's problems with other Puella Magi came to a head, Mikoto found she couldn't tell Mai that she was fighting for her friend, either. Because a war was brewing, and Mai would be sad, and disappointed, and in danger.
Mikoto had to do it on her own.
So she did. She aligned herself with Eri, followed Eri's example, and beat Eri's enemies. She came home to Mai at night, and said nothing about the battles she had fought. It was a conflict she struggled with, her obligations to Mai and her obligations to Eri tearing at each other. She tried not to think about it, and justified it to herself, and kept fighting.
In time, it changed from being a question of Eri's life to a question of all life on Earth. It became a question of defending Mai, and a question of safeguarding her Lord Brother. These threats meant much more to her than the lives of so many strangers, and it was these threats which spurred her to commit even further to her bloody path. She hated hurting people who weren't warriors, but what choice did they have? The stakes were too high. So much was at stake. Eri was at stake.
It hurt, not being able to talk to Mai about it. But she loved Eri, too, and didn't want her to die. She didn't want Eri to burn out in a blaze of glory. She didn't want Eri to suffer. So Mikoto pushed herself harder, and harder, and harder, all so Eri wouldn't have to expend so much magic, so Eri wouldn't need quite so many grief seeds. Mikoto didn't need grief seeds. Mikoto could do that much for Eri. It was Endo Naoki, in the end, who dashed her hopes and dreams for Eri's shining future. He and Fallen Stern demolished her twice in a row, defeating her utterly.
But when he struck her down her the second time, with a mighty blow which ought to have felled her even were she healthy instead of almost past her limit, she didn't stay down. Fearing for her friends' safety in the face of someone who could destroy her so reliably, Mikoto convinced herself Miroku was necessary, though she had always been taught to use his power alone with caution. She summoned her Child, and destroyed Endo, in turn. If not for Ren Aizawa's timely interlude, she would have surely killed him.
Instead, it was Eri who killed. Mami's soul gem was shattered, and Mikoto convinced Miroku to reveal itself - a conversation strange to have, thoughts not quite her own - so that it could rescue Eri and the other Shepherds from Chevalier retaliation. It was against the idea. She persisted. Sayaka's darkness was too wrong; Eri's anguish, too deep. She had to get them away.
So she did.
Devastation In The Wake ~ 'Falling'
|[i am letting myself look the other way]|
And when next she woke, she found herself attacked in such subtle, terrible ways, with cables in her flesh and horrible beeping machines. She tried to flee, remembering old instructions to survive - but she was too weak, and they captured her and bound her. Yumi explained, when she came to, that she was in hospital. Hospital... the same place Takumi so often went. Mikoto hadn't realised how torturous it was.
Mai visited the next day, and her grief and her worry and her anger were so overwhelming that Mikoto's world was shattered in an instant. Everything was for naught - because Mai was crying. Mikoto realised, all at once, that her efforts were meaningless, because she had made Mai go through the same horror Mikoto went through when she thought Mai was dead.
And in Mikoto a darkness flowered, so unlike her obsidian edges. Because she had no way to make Mai happy, and make Eri happy as well. She loved them both - served them both - and they would never, ever agree. Mai wanted them to be normal high school students. Eri was embroiled in a war. Mikoto knew the warrior's path she must lead, saw it leading away from Mai -
- it wounded her, deep inside her heart. She struggled even to enjoy food, for the joy of food was something Mai had shown her; she felt so undeserving of delicious things. A terrible guilt pressed down upon her, as she struggled to reconcile her two closest friends. She couldn't be what Mai needed her to be - but she couldn't be what Eri needed, either, because her body was broken. She was not smart enough, or good enough, or strong enough, to find a solution which would make everyone smile. Worse - asking for smiles only brought wooden, stiff things.
But Mai was the girl Mikoto loved most in all the world, so Mikoto tried anew to be what Mai wanted. She tried to attend normal school functions - they went wrong. And then she tried to make Mai happy by staying at home and recovering, even though there was so much danger she felt she had to confront.
She just wanted Mai to smile. She knew that soon she would be called on to fight again, and she would not be able to resist the call, because Eri loved her - really, really told her she loved her, unlike the Mai who never said those words - and Eri needed her strength.
And all Mikoto could do was fight, as the war so clearly demonstrated. Fighting was all she was good for. Destroying enemies was her singular purpose, and Eri had so many enemies, and Mai increasingly few...
... but Mai's sadness hurt so much. So Mikoto tried to stay still, tried to do normal things.
A Thousand Enemies And The Lighthouse ~ 'SPACE JAIL'
|[stay with me, this is what i need, please]|
It didn't last. The one time Mikoto decided it was safe to take a normal walk, without any intention to fight... she saw a menacing ship approaching, and was drawn into a battle anyway, because it threatened the Earth - where her Lord Brother was, and Mai and Eri, too. They were threatened with vaporisation, but Steven Universe's shield saved them. They then fought a ferocious warrior, Jasper - who thrust a gem destabiliser right against Mikoto's heart.
Her connection with Miroku was temporarily disrupted, and for the first time, she couldn't feel it at all. It flew into the ocean; she hit the sand. Stripped of her powers, she could do nothing as she was kidnapped by Jasper and Rubeus into their spaceships. She awoke in a room with Endo - and no one else at all. When Mikoto realised, she wanted to kill him - but a previous conversation with Kasagami Araki stayed her hand, because she'd told her that she was breaking too much of herself in her anger, neatly coached in the metaphor of broken chopsticks. Forced to inaction, she was stuck in a hateful room. The only way she could tolerate speaking with him was to educate him on their enemy's weaknesses. She found a surprising amount of excuses to do so - because the loneliness was just too much to bear.
But she was rescued by Steven once more, and he led her to her obsidian pendant, stolen from her person when she was imprisoned. She separated from them to find Miroku - and after fruitless searching, eventually it was able to reach out to her. She took it in hand, and met with the others, where Ruby demanded help, because Sapphire was being menaced by one of Rubeus's black crystals.
They were stopped by Peridot, in a robonoid mecha. Mikoto went to struck it down - and was met, face-to-mechanical-claw, with an industrial destabiliser, designed for things much larger than girls. And for the first time in Mikoto's life -
- she froze. She couldn't move. She had no options. She was still injured; she wouldn't be able to leap away in time. She couldn't possibly block something like that. And attacking it would be fruitless. There was nothing, nothing she could do. She couldn't even try, as her warrior's training and Miroku both demanded of her, because fear flooded her, locked up every limb.
The destabiliser terrified her that much. And Steven saved her, a third time, shield to destabiliser. Through Ami Mizuno's direction, they were able to destroy the mecha, exposing Peridot. Mikoto would have executed her despite being already defeated, moved both by her terror and Miroku's terrible anger - but she disappeared. There were few things which could distract Mikoto from her rage, in that moment.
An honest, unfiltered show of love and affection and romance between Ruby and Sapphire turned out to be one of those few things. In the brief moments she saw them reunited as a pair, Mikoto found herself thinking of a certain face. Is that what being attracted to girls meant? And why, then, would it make her think of...
Questions which were quickly ignored and suppressed. Ruby and Sapphire fused together, became Garnet, her enemy. She directed them to the prisoners still captured... and they walked right into a trap. A trap which they had no hope of defeating - but they didn't have to. There were others, who had come to save them. Lancelot had come to save her. Mai had come to save her.
And Mikoto, who had felt so despondent over Mai's coddling, despaired so much over Mai's inability to return her love, was overjoyed to see that Mai cared so much. Surely, this meant Mikoto was still important to her! Because Mai wouldn't let anything hurt her - not even the words of an enemy. But Mai was hurt, in the fight against Rubeus, where Mikoto fought so hard because Mai bid her to destroy her enemies. Never mind that Mikoto's healing injuries were also aggravated - Mai was hurt! It was through Lancelot's help that they were all able to flee; it was through the efforts of several that they were able to escape. (Notably, Steven's bubble protected them from the impact. That's four times he saved her.)
Jasper survived the crash - but she didn't survive fusion with Lapis, who dragged her into the ocean as Malachite. Mikoto used Eri's words, to try and convince Lapis not to do it; words she didn't really believe herself, but the only ones she could think of which might not have made everything worse. But in the end, Lapis's own feelings made even the threat of their fusion a distant thing, lodged at the bottom of the ocean.
The aftermath of her second space adventure left Mikoto more scarred than she'd like to admit. She dreamt of the annihilation of destabilisers, even alongside Mai's comforting presence. And the fact that Mai was hurt while rescuing her weighed on her, especially as she saw how much it hurt Mai to have to stop, too.
Secret And Known Things ~ 'Reinforce'
|[everything is balanced here, and on an even keel]|
It was in trying to help Mai, by going out and getting ingredients for dinner so she wouldn't have to walk on a hurt ankle, that things became worse for Mikoto again. Wounded and weak, she was targeted for harvest by Vita - and though Vita found her a dangerous beast to back into a corner, Mikoto ultimately couldn't face up to the other berserker. Though Lera Camry tried to intervene and save her, the Book of Darkness drained her of her magic and left her defenceless.
Lera took her to Nishitama Park to try and help her recover, and Mikoto's stubbornness saw her not only hiding the fact that it was Eri's territory, but also saw her stalking off alone as the guilt overwhelmed her. She had to kill Lera's friends, after all - even if Lera was a good person who saved her and tried to convince her she had worth beyond the fight. It was a foolhardy decision, because Mikoto was a normal girl, and normal girls were Witch food. She found herself caught in a Labyrinth, and was almost torn apart by Familiars before Eri intervened.
And so Mikoto found herself powerless again, so soon after the destabiliser severed her. This was not the same feeling - Miroku was still there, but it was distant, foggy, and she could not handle her sword at all. It was as if she'd been taken by some terrible sickness. Her friends tried to reach out to her, to convince her there were still things she could do, even when she couldn't fight. It was difficult to convince her, but Eri and Yumi Ohzora eventually made some progress. Kasagami Araki, on the other hand, declared Mikoto her knight in her enthusiasm while reassuring her - and Mikoto found herself rankling against the girl again. There was something threatening, about Kasagami's aspirations. Mikoto tried to tell her she could only be her friend... tried.
But it was Mai who saw how much being drained wounded Mikoto, at night, as she slipped away to try and reach out to her sword. And it was Mai who sat with her, under the night sky and a glimmering star, and listened to her woes. It was Mai who reminded her of her resolution as a HiME - to protect someone precious. The most important girl in her life... well, wasn't that Mai Tokiha? The knowledge brought Miroku back to her, and Mai congratulated her for it. Mai supported her. That Mai did not condemn her - that Mai was glad for her - was an incredible healing force, for Mikoto.
Were this a happy story, Mikoto would go forward with the power of love and fight for justice.
This is not a very happy story.
Eri called a meeting of the Shepherds, and Mikoto found herself reminded of the guillotine hanging over the head of the third most important person in the world. She reached out to Homura, offering to hunt Sayaka with her. She couldn't leave it to Eri, not after seeing how much defeating Mami hurt her hunting partner. Mikoto was not affected by Mami's death like anyone else - she was a natural choice to kill the next one. She had the strength to do it, so she had to do it. If she didn't, Eri would die. She did not tell Mai, when she got back. She was ashamed. And death, besides, was a secret thing, though she did not know why she felt so.
She was interrupted from a nap by Nagi, informing her that the final fight for control of the World Tree was beginning. And Mikoto, though she was still hurt, had to respond: its power could threaten the world where her Lord Brother lived. The Protodaimons proved horrific foes, however, especially as they tore through her mind's defences instead of her body's. Terror took her, and she fled from her allies and her enemies alike.
It meant she was not by their side, as Dark Fall seized victory and opened a yawning portal to the Dark King. All the most terrible servants of darkness responded to his clarion call --
-- including Mikoto Minagi. Her necklace glowed with sickly purple light, and she was possessed by a dark shadow which veiled her identity and every soft part of her. That terrible force rampaged in a completely unguided fashion, activated with no orders to follow. It sieved the love from her heart and made her strong again, so that she might destroy them all. Destruction was all she knew. It was only luck which saw nothing cross her path to be annihilated.
But the Kiryuu Sisters sacrificed themselves to stymie the Dark King's coming, and the golden light of their love settled in on Mikoto, and the dark shadow faded and she found herself standing alone. Alone and confused, because she didn't remember the Dark King's call at all. She thought she must have just gotten so frightened that she forgot. She thought the Kiryuu Sisters' light must have revitalised her. She ascended the tower from her low point, all alone - and was caught in the process by Mai and Kagutsuchi. Mai was there for her in her dazed bewilderment.
Mai took her to the husk of the World Tree, alongside Takeo Akamizu. There they found the Wolkenritter, using that hated Book to drain the Dark King's portal. But Mikoto could not lay aside her grievances - she attacked Vita, alongside so many others. It would have been a terrible fight, had the Book of Darkness not activated itself. It absorbed the Wolkenritter in an act of violence which even disturbed Mikoto, and it captured all those girls and sent them to a perfect world of dreams.
Mikoto wished so much to be back with her family. And since her Lord Brother never left - Mikoto never went to Tokyo at all. But she couldn't forget her love for her friends, and so in her dream she attracted the monsters of Tokyo to her mountain instead, to defeat them alongside her Lord Brother. She would fight all the battles - and the people below would be able to live peaceful lives. And the only things she ever fought... were monsters. She didn't know how to hurt humans. She didn't need to know.
But still her heart yearned for what she had left behind, and so the Book's Mai climbed the mountain, and Mikoto defended her from the terrible creatures there. It was in delivering her back to the train station that she found Eri - and she was not of the Book at all. She weaved a hundred little questions through Mikoto's mind as they climbed the mountain, and after so much subtlety applied the force of a sledgehammer to one final question: What was her Lord Brother's name?
It shattered the Book's hold on Mikoto, and she knew nothing of Eri's conversation with the image of her Grandfather. She was having her own conversation, after all - with her Lord Brother. She realised it was wrong. He would never act the way he was. He would never fight as her partner, like Mai or Eri. And his training was not just focused on monsters at all.
As she took through the Book's worlds awakened, she was all sledgehammer. She burst into Mai's world and reminded her of how the world truly was by getting into trouble immediately - it was in anger that she tore down Kasagami's illusions of being Mikoto's 'Lord Sister'. In the visage of the Belkan Knight Golf, Mikoto even ripped through the memories of the Wolkenritter's past to inform Vita so bitterly that she was dead and gone. She could not abide the lies.
And when it came time to escape the dream... the world was shattered. The World Tree crumbled, and not every civilian had escaped the massive barrier erected around Tokyo. Amongst so many people to protect were Chie and Aoi, Mikoto's stalwart social defenders at school. She called Miroku's obsidian spires to their defence, to help stop the World Tree's boughs from crushing them - perhaps the only time those jagged things had been employed to any other purpose than destruction. They had questions, and Mikoto had scarce few answers for them, but she knew she must protect them.
The Book of Darkness faced them, and Mikoto found herself facing off against the attacks of so many foes again as it employed all the skills it had absorbed from the magical community. Worse than that, however, was the way she summoned Miroku - and empowered her profane copies of the weapon with Fallen Stern's offensive magics. Mikoto would have torn her apart, falling on her with all the force and fury of a freight train, had Fate Testarossa and Nanoha Takamachi not blasted her from the Book's form.
And so the Book was named 'Reinforce', and the forms of Hayate Yagami and the Wolkenritter resolved again. Mikoto could not trust Vita, but in the face of the threat of NachtWal, she followed the instruction of a girl who had been so sickly before. She fought with Takeo against the threat, joined at points by Steven and Sailor Pluto - but in the end, as NachtWal crumbled into a mass of flesh and misery, she was alone. It was there that Lera called out to her, and showed her a path through the horror. And as they held the line against NachtWal, to keep it from the civilians, Lera spent every ounce of magic and found herself without her Barrier Jacket at all - and Mikoto, without thinking, stepped in to shove her aside and cut down the flesh which meant to take her.
She would make a thousand excuses, later, for why she did it. But the truth was, she had already decided Lera was a good person, and it was difficult to convince her mind that a good person could be an enemy. Lera had never attacked her, after all. Lera tried to help her, after all. Lera said kind things about her, after all. And, after all - good people were always worth protecting.
Through Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate's combined efforts, NachtWal was destroyed, in a storm of destruction she felt pressured to describe as 'beautiful'. And in the end, a wizened woman appeared to instruct them to plant the seeds of their hope and their dreams. And Setsuna Higashi approached her, and shared with her her own struggles - and in that vulnerable moment, tired from the fight, Mikoto took her hand and let her lead her to a site to plant a seed. She spoke of her own realisations, her own hopes, her own fears. They helped to nurture the seed into a tree - the new World Tree.
Were this a happy story, this triumph of hope and compassion would pave the way to new friendships and understandings.
This is not a very happy story.
Blood In The Water ~ 'Sayaka'
|[every broken dream that i leave behind]|
She left the World Tree, and she knew only one thing: she must find her Lord Brother. She must pour all her energies into the search, to find him, to apologise for her perfect world being different from the vision he had for her. To bring that perfect world into reality - the true perfect world, the one he desired - she must find him.
Mikoto dreamt again, that night, abstract black-glass nightmares as her brain struggled to comprehend the darkness which had consumed her on the tower. Within it was a command, issued from her darkest parts in recognition of the dangers presented by Eri's questions: she must destroy.
It was this onus of destruction which saw her descending on Vita, fully intending to take her life. The decision was barely conscious; in her battle-fugue she stalked and apprehended her in broad daylight. But Vita would not fight - and as a civilian, Mikoto found she could not lower her blade onto her. People who couldn't attack her could not be her enemies. She tried to incite Vita to violence, and failed. It was Vita who incensed her, instead, as Mikoto felt her words of triumph were a scathing indictment of her failure to keep her Lord Brother safe and happy. She might have felled her regardless of her feelings, then, if a bystander had not rounded the corner - so instead, she swore her vengeance and left.
She was not the only enemy Mikoto spoke with, though Eri's injunction not to fight the Chevaliers without reason held fast. Cure Passion tried to understand her, only for Mikoto to end up screaming at her. Nanoha found Mikoto in her bakery - and Mikoto tried to behave herself in the enemy's territory, but regardless abjured any attempt to call her a friend. Fate tried to reach out, and her familiar history wounded Mikoto deeply before she pushed the nascent realisation away. Her enemies were wearing her down, inch by painful inch, and she hated feeling so weak in the face of something she could not call an attack at all. But it was difficult for enemies to reach someone like Mikoto, even as she tried to kill Westar for trying to get her help in dragging Setsuna back to Labyrinth.
A friend, on the other hand... would have much better luck. For at the same time as Mikoto struggled with the words of her enemies, she listened wholeheartedly to the words of Homura Akemi, a girl she trusted well. Homura had defeated Mai's murderer, after all. And Homura took the belief Mikoto had forged for herself, that little scrap of ethics she had fought for under the cover of her Lord Brother's brutal instruction - that people who couldn't fight her could not be her enemies at all - and she shattered it unblinking. They had to kill Sayaka as a civilian, and Homura could not have Mikoto flinching out of a misplaced sense of honour. It hurt, and yet Mikoto discarded the belief without hesitation, because she loved Eri, and she wanted Eri to live.
It was Mai Tokiha herself who almost lifted another of her self-imposed limitations. She shared her fears with her as they tried to take a Golden Week holiday, how battered she felt by the barrage of words she could not defend against, and Mai told her the one thing she had denied for so long: words could be an attack, too. But if words were a method of fighting, Mikoto would have to fight so many more people - including the bullies of Ohtori. Mai struggled to reason with Mikoto that words ought to only be fought with more words, and told her to ignore them, or shout or call to Mai for help before she drew her blade. And yet, she said that sometimes, there was no other choice... and Mikoto knew well what she meant. She felt foolish, for not realising that she was being attacked. Now she knew.
She spent the Darkness Festival with Eri, and at first it was a pleasant thing. But with the realisation that Miroku could be called a vessel, the tone changed. Eri eventually came to share that Puella Magi's bodies weren't alive like hers, and Mikoto shared her own conflict about not remembering things, recalling the way she attacked Vita in fugue. It was not a concern she articulated well, and Eri led her stumbling onto a hot plate, just as the other girl tried to explain to her. It led Eri to take her to a ruined church and share another tale of touching hot stoves... which only made Mikoto feel more isolated, unable to comprehend Kyouko's betrayal when she had only known love from her family. She might have locked Eri out, then, had Eri not tried so hard to reassure her they were the same in all the vicious ways which mattered.
Though she had good times, shopping with Mai and karaoking with her and Ye-jin, and insightful times as she learnt of the woes of Takeo's family, there were other people she'd rather keep at arms reach. Lera tried and failed to reach out to Mikoto, again, though Mikoto realised with relief that Lera had not meant to leave her in a Witch-infested garden. Perhaps that much she could tolerate, but Setsuna Higashi tried, too - and the two of them found it so hard to communicate that they ended up fighting. Mikoto decimated her, and might have destroyed her, if not for Fate's swift intercession. And as she came to her senses in the ruins of the battlefield, she realised she'd messed up.
Kasagami found her in the boughs of the tree she had cut down, exhausted but largely unharmed. She had a great amount of criticism for Mikoto's actions and attitude, which Mikoto absorbed without even trying to defend herself, because even if Kasagami was hurting her with words she had brought it on herself. Despite her frustration, Kasagami nursed at the scrapes and scratches Mikoto had accrued, and perhaps in a better world Mikoto would realise that her words not lining up with her actions spoke to a deeper love than her irritated admiration. Instead Mikoto was sure she had erred -- a certainty which weighed her down as she helped Kimiko hunt, and finally came to a head as she joined Eri for her own gardening. Miroku's blade carved close to Eri as she cleaved through the familiars, and when Eri pressed whether Mikoto was really all right, she flinchingly confessed her sins. Eri reassured her that she'd done the best she could have done, and that it was the Chevaliers' fault for pushing her. Mikoto finally told her about the way the Chevaliers had been targetting her -- and Eri both explained the way they saw the Shepherds as weak and in need of salvation, and defended their enemies as not truly wanting to weaken her for an easy kill.
When Fate tried to engage her on what she had done, as she and Arf happened upon Mikoto during Children's Day, she denied any wrongdoing at all. But she remembered Kasagami's frustration, and so she tried to warn Fate away. Fate asked whether Mikoto enjoyed killing, and it was not a question she could fully answer. She tried to say her feelings on the subject didn't matter, and Fate again told her they did. As she stalked from Tama to the heart of Tokyo to get away from her, she found someone else who considered her thoughts: Sailor Neptune, who had been troubled by visions of Mikoto. Unlike Fate, Sailor Neptune was a friend, and so Mikoto smilingly answered her questions -- though she talked often of Eri, and little of herself, a thing Neptune soon remarked on. Mikoto did not ask Neptune in turn who she was or the details of her purpose: instead she simply wanted to know how she could pronounce Linden Baum's menu so aptly.
It took her a while to remember /why/ she'd gone to Tama: the Children's Day sports festival, where Takumi was volunteering. She and Mai spent a while there, but their day was interrupted as Esmeraude summoned one of her dark minions to the field. Following Mai's lead, Mikoto leapt into battle; she desperately wanted to be able to act in the defence of civilians, for once in her life, and her wish and wholehearted devotion to the fight was rewarded with their safety. And as Golden Week drew to a close, Mikoto searched out Yumi, whom she had not been able to locate through the holidays. They got excited for normal things, like scones and swimming, and did not talk of the dark clouds on the horizon. The only hint was the way Mikoto ended up napping on Yumi, trapping her on the couch, because she'd been doing so much.
It was nice to do something inarguably good for once.
But Mikoto had promises to keep.
Homura came to her without warning to tell her the time had come, and Mikoto followed without question. But though Homura left a hole where Sayaka's heart ought to be, she did not die, and Kozue would not allow Mikoto to kill her. She ground down her feelings for Kozue with each heft of her blade, realising that being a warrior who could defeat any enemy did not mean she had to be stronger - only that she was willing to go further. (Realising, and pushing aside the realisation, that she did not enjoy it at all.) This was a sentiment she followed to its conclusion as Kozue's child Cassandra trapped her with no hope of escape, and she called Miroku to shatter them all. But Utena swept in, ever the valiant prince, to rescue Sayaka - and Kozue was retrieved by someone so much more familiar. Shizuru. She stood with magical weapon and spoke with nobility, every inch of her designed to communicate how much higher she stood. And Mikoto, who recognised that manner so instinctually, knew fear. She could not hope to fight someone... like her brother.
Shizuru bid her to see to Eri, insinuated that perhaps her enemies had the same idea they'd had, and Mikoto ran.
With Homura's help, Mikoto was able to track down Eri, and she found her safe - but not all right. Motionless, Eri told her she deserved better than being her assassin, and Mikoto despaired, because what else could she do to make this better? She wanted it to be fair, though Eri shut down those hopes as she loomed. She told Mikoto about her own hopes - and how impossible they were. She'd need a miracle to fix her life, and she'd used hers already. And she dragged Mikoto's own secret dreams from the place she had tried to bury them, her wish to be with Mai and to fight Orphans instead of girls.
(Her wish that her Lord Brother would respect her and listen to her, even if he didn't like what she had to say.)
It troubled Mikoto, and like all things which troubled her, she tried to push it aside and not think about it. She dragged Mai and Eri to one of Ye-jin's parties - only for the cake to disappear as the lights went out! No one believed Mikoto at first, who smelt the frosting slip away, and saw no hands moving it illuminated by everyone's mobile phones. Eri eventually realised she was telling thr truth, and Mikoto left her two most important girls to take care of each other in Ye-jin's improvised courtroom as she slipped away to address the problem. With Georgia Jenks and Steven Universe, she found the cake -- and when she did, she found that Georgia, too, was HiME. (They would later resolve to fight monsters together, a gloriously uncomplicated proposal which delighted her.) She did not share her revelation with Mai, afterwards; she was too busy testing the waters of Mai's anger towards Eri. She found that Mai felt little animosity, and confessed the weight of Sayaka's wrath which hung over Eri like a guillotine - as well as a few things she didn't mean to say, as she insisted that she wouldn't give up on Eri.
It was that refusal to give up which drove her to confront Setsuna Higashi, instead of monitoring her like Homura had told her to do with the Chevaliers. Setsuna was still injured from their conflict, and so Mikoto reasoned it would be easy to scare her away from Eri - and in this way prevent further bloodshed. Instead she learned that Setsuna wanted to protect Eri, too... and she learned Setsuna's name. It was a moment of surprising openness, but she realised at the last moment that she could not rely on her enemies to help her - even though Eri's words about what the Lotus world meant still rang in her ears. Conflicted and confused, she fled.
Midst her tireless searching and the remnants of war, of course, there was still class to take care of. Mikoto actually attended the cooking class she was supposed to take part in -- only to test out an incredibly spicy sauce Usagi and her friends had made. The Demon Cat of Ohtori rampaged through the halls of Infinity Institute, only stopped by the famed Michiru Kaioh, who just happened to have milk on hand. Usagi came by Mikoto and Mai's dorm, the next day, with a box of Makoto's cookies to apologise. Their conversation turned to romance, and when Usagi asked if Mikoto had ever wanted to kiss anyone she realised what she had not quite managed to put together throughout a thousand subtle hints: she was sweet on Mai Tokiha. But she knew that if she told her, Mai would run away -- and besides, Mai treated her like a kid, not like a fellow girl. Usagi suggested proving she really was a girl just like Mai, and Mikoto immediately took the suggestion on board as she dragged Usagi into a plot to make more cookies. (It did not work out well, but at least they had Makoto's cookies to ply Mai with in the aftermath.)
Mikoto found herself pulled into the preparations for the Kanda Festival. Her enemy, Vita, was there - and Mikoto reached out haplessly to Yumi for guidance, only to be reassured that it was all right. With Yumi, and Signum under the name of Yagami, Mikoto filled the hot air balloon which would become the parade float Majestia. She realised midway through that Signum, too, was an enemy - but Signum insisted she was just here for the celebration, and so haltingly Mikoto reached out for her assistance in their preparations.
When the festival started in earnest, Mikoto was there to help support Yumi, in case the crowds got too much for her. But it was not the people who were overwhelming: it was the float, Majestia, animated by magic and acting in destruction. At first, Mikoto was incensed to see her magic hijacked in such a fashion; it was only as the fight stretched on, and Majestia was pierced to reveal a great malevolent eye of magic, that she began to realise perhaps it was a true reflection of her power. Rather than fight what felt like Miroku, she ran; she did not run far enough. It was only the purifying magics of the likes of Steven and Yumi which saved her.
The events troubled her, and as she searched later, she took refuge in the boughs of the World Tree to think. There she met Soular, who pressed upon her the urgency of her search. He forced her to confront the fact that she had not found her Lord Brother, though she had searched for two long years. She realised it was still the most important thing, to her - and resolved to redouble her efforts, though she was already running at breaking point.
She was not the only one. The conflict between Eri and Sayaka boiled over as Sayaka, Kozue, Endo, and Tsubasa made an assault on Kyouko and Eri; but the Shepherds were there to intercede, and so, surprisingly, were the splintered Chevaliers, now led by Nori Ankou. Mikoto's battle with Kozue found itself interrupted by the other obsidian-wielder, as la Sirene de Diamant struggled to reach out to Kozue. In the end, Mikoto found herself working -- if not with her -- at least towards a similar purpose. It was a strange partnership which advanced as Sayaka and her friends converged on the Labyrinth Eri and Kyouko were in, Tsubasa blocking the path. Mikoto expended herself, summoning a great and towering blade to split the one Tsubasa wrought: they were things stories tall, built to bisect buildings, not people. As they carved into each other, hers instead became structurally integral to the terminal they had ravaged; she had to sustain the spell. It was an unfortunate situation, as they rushed into the flooded building, and she found Eri and Kyouko about to be washed away. It was all she could do to summon a cage of obsidian around them, and beseech her friends for help.
Once everyone was extracted from the terminal - when she could finally release her magic - Mikoto was exhausted, bereft of the will to fight. In weariness she heard Homura's revelation that Eri was a gem, and that the end she was meant was only to become a Witch. She did not struggle to accept it as much as others did. She knew, already, that there could be dark things inside girls. She had seen how her own power looked to everyone else, after all. Mikoto reaffirmed her dedication to Eri, even knowing what she would become.
The Chevaliers and Shepherds both realised that the witch which was Sayaka had to be dealt with, and some of each of their number agreed to watch it, together. It was Mikoto who first checked on la Sirene, the next day, and ushered her out of her vigil so that she could see to her wounds. La Sirene blamed Homura; Mikoto could not bring herself to do so. Homura knew something which no one could know. Mikoto felt some kinship to that struggle, as she realised that she could not tell her friends about her own worries without putting herself at risk.
She shared what she could with Mai and Natsuki, and when she came to support Eri, she found herself put in a strange position: taking responsibility for Eri's wellbeing. Seeing the other girl's desperation, she stepped, uncomfortably, into command - and told her what to do. It was this responsibility which pushed her to go further in assisting Eri, maintaining her territory, failing to warn innocents away from Familiars. She took responsibility, too, in failing to tell Eri about the way she no longer protected anyone in her garden, so that Eri would have enough to eat.
It was another thread of desperation which defined the way she pushed herself, further and further, as she sought to intensify her search, and see to the thing which was Sayaka, and take care of Eri. Amongst the many people who saw the way stress winnowed her was Madoka - and Mikoto realised, as the other girl brought her a bento just for her, that her anger was misplaced. Madoka was not unlike her, even if she was not a warrior.
It was Mai, in the end, who provided Mikoto with a light in the dark. Following Usagi's advice, Mikoto asked to help prepare bento in the mornings with her; another promise, one to keep her from disappearing in the early hours of the morning to search. It provided some scarce reprieve: Mikoto could, at least, wake up with Mai and spend time with her, before the constant grind of her innumerable tasks overwhelmed her for the day. Mikoto could not express how important it was to her, even if she made a poor assistant in the kitchen.
A point of stability was important, with the way her world was changing rapidly around her. The Chevaliers and the Shepherds were working together, now - a union expressed succinctly as the two factions joined each other for karaoke. Mikoto felt her fears that Eri was condemned were only confirmed, but in truth, it was not only fear which led her to pledge her strength to Kozue's plea for help. She could not make herself reach out to a girl who had once been her friend - but she would help her, and perhaps in this way her feelings would reach her.
Kozue hoped that their feelings would reach Sayaka, too. If they could help her, they could break the ignoble fate which awaited Puella Magi. But as they fought into the heart of Oktavia's labyrinth, it became clear that their mission was fraught. Oktavia was a monster, and did not listen even to her closest people. Mikoto, deep in berserkergang, could offer no words of solace. In desperation she called on Miroku to breech the ground with its club, but it was not enough to save Kozue and Cassandra. As it became clear that the two would be killed, in fact, Mikoto dismissed her Child from the field. She could not risk Miroku, no matter her feelings for Kozue.
And Kozue died, and took the Witch with her.
Mikoto would never know if she could have stopped it if only she fought a little harder.
Moored to Paradox ~ 'Fallen'
here's the story about how mikoto fucked up cooking breakfast so hard she RUINED HER ENTIRE LIFE
|[here by my side, you are destruction]|
Mikoto is alarmingly acrobatic, even as a civilian; she's leapt out of third-story windows only to bound into the bushes unharmed. Parkour comes as naturally to her as going the normal, boring route, and she can often be found leaping across rooftops rather than walking on the pavement. She may not be able to fly, but she is very, very good at jumping and climbing. She has an excellent sense of balance, too.
However, the cost of these abilities is significant: in order to fuel her enhanced capabilities, Mikoto has an extremely fast metabolism. She goes through energy very quickly, and while she can tough out low energy levels for a time, when she inevitably runs out, she's completely useless. She needs to eat often and heartily in order to avoid collapsing from hunger, a state which looks alarmingly similar to a dead faint.
Her abilities are no less striking in combat, because Mikoto has been training for battle from a distressingly young age. Aside from her natural aptitude with her Element, the obsidian claymore Miroku, Mikoto is also competent in unarmed combat - just in case anyone ever manages to disarm her. It's something very hard to do, because not only is Mikoto's grip on Miroku as strong as iron, if she ever does lose it, she can summon it back to her side simply by reaching out and speaking its name. This method of summoning stands in contrast to most HiME, who summon their Elements with a thought, and it is strange to note that despite supposedly being a piece of highly-advanced materialising equipment, Miroku never seems to dematerialise. It's always located somewhere in the physical world - though it can teleport to Mikoto at her calling. When not in use, she generally carries it around in a stiff black case which suppresses its powers and allows her to enjoy the benefits of Recognition Inhibition. (Civilians tend to classify it as a golf case, hence Mikoto's reputation in Ohtori as Mysterious Golfer-chan.) Strangely, it seems to take an active role in communicating with Mikoto, though she often mistakes its influence for her own thoughts or feelings... and it's usually telling her to defeat her enemies.
Talents and Weaknesses
|[feline, fearless, faithful and true]|
Mikoto is a finely-tuned food-destroying machine. So long as it isn't spicy, and the food is otherwise pleasant, she can tear through it as if inhaling. Due to her senses, she's also very good at figuring out whether food has gone bad!
Mikoto grew up in a mountainous shrine, and so she is adapted to outdoor life. She's so good at climbing trees that she often takes naps atop their branches! In the city, she's translated these arboreal skills to roof-hopping, jumping from awning to sign to fire exit with aplomb.
Also due to growing up in one, Mikoto knows her way around shrines. It's one of the few areas where she knows the social rules well enough to not shock anyone.
Mikoto was tutored in Japanese history as part of her studies growing up, so it's one of the few school subjects where she doesn't flounder. While she can only hope to get Ds or Cs in most of her subjects, she's consistently a B-student in Japanese History. It's the one thing - aside from her good PE scores - which saves her from cram school!
Mikoto is good at calligraphy, another thing she learned growing up, and her handwriting is surprisingly pleasant because of it. Her penmanship earns her a few more points in Japanese class, despite her poor grammar, letting her scrape by a 'poor' grade average in that class.
Mikoto has gotten better at speaking Japanese, over the time she's spent in Tokyo. Grammatical things like articles still elude her a frustrating amount of the time, and she still prefers the most simple and direct way to say what she means, but she understands a lot more than she did when she started. If she puts the effort in, she can almost talk normally... but it is an effort, and one she doesn't always care to make.
And while Mikoto may not always speak Japanese perfectly, she's fluent in cat body language and their various meows. She learned from the shrine cats at a young age, after all.
Mikoto wasn't raised with an eye towards social skills. She knew very few people growing up, all part of her family, and her training was focused heavily on fighting and topics adjacent to the fight. Her speech wasn't corrected, and she wasn't taught about many fundamental topics. It means that she's terribly unbalanced; even though she's a fright on the battlefield, she often seems ignorant outside of it.
Mikoto is an extremely sensory person, and has trouble thinking of words to express her thoughts, a problem compounded by her life growing up. She's grown better at it with time, but she still needs a calm atmosphere to be able to speak precisely. Sensory overload troubles her, as well, a problem most succinctly expressed by her reaction to spicy food.
Mikoto remembers little of her childhood, and nostalgic reminders can often shut her down while her brain struggles with connections it can't quite make. She has traumatic reactions to many things, though she doesn't recognise them as traumatic. Even in the present day, if something happens which is too difficult for her to absorb, she will just dissociate from the knowledge so that she can keep being the cheerful girl she is.
Mikoto is self-centred, though not in any malicious sense. She understands people through her own reactions to them, and usually falls prey to the typical mind fallacy, thinking that other people must feel the same way she does. Though she genuinely cares about her friends, her attempts to fix their problems often amount to telling them to 'just smile!', and she's troubled when the advice which helps her doesn't help others. She's realised, now, how useless that advice is... at least in regards to Mai Tokiha.
Mikoto tends to decide whether someone is good or bad upon meeting them, in an easily-predictable and easily-manipulable way. She shuts herself off from people she considers bad, and doesn't guard herself around people she considers good. There are a few people who have switched categories, so she's capable of changing her mind, but it takes a great effort to do so. People who skirt those categories are extremely frustrating to Mikoto, and she tends to react by even more firmly categorising them as 'good' or 'bad'.
Mikoto is bottom-barrel in all of her other classes, only managing to escape abject failure due to Mai's heroic efforts. At times, her scholarship seems thinly-justified, because she's simply so bad at things like mathematics and science.
|[you know what simon says, he tells you what to do]|
... I heard no one knows where she came from, and even her school records are a total mess!
... I heard the only reason she doesn't fail is her roommate!
... I heard she never says more than three words to anyone!
... I heard she just doesn't care!
... I heard she's a little kid who somehow skipped enough grades to end up in high school!
... I heard it has terrible glowing yellow eyes, and it's wreathed in shadow!
... I heard she's bound by oath never to play again!
... I heard it's because she's really a cat in human form!
Magical Girl Rumours:
|[you will destroy in my name]|
Lord Brother: ... what I had to do was hurting me a lot. I guess that was the point... Lord Brother needed suffering, and I was suffering. I don't understand how he could do that to me! But I can't believe Lord Brother was all happy with it, either. He was always so sad when I was sad, and he really did try to make me feel better. But Lord Brother only wanted me to love him, and, it wasn't good for me when I felt different. I was so scared... I felt so small. I guess I'm still scared, but one day I'll be strong enough to save my Lord Brother, just like everyone saved me. We were told this was our destiny, ever since we were kids. It's not fair... not to either of us. But, I don't think he sees any other way out. I know how that feels... but there's always another way!
Grandfather: I finally got to say goodbye... and forgive him. 'Cause in the end, Grandfather let me down. He raised me, so he should've kept me safe, but... maybe Eri's right, and the only way he knew how to do that was to have me kill him. It still wasn't good. But I love Grandfather. That isn't bad. I still feel bad for killing him... but I guess I'll always feel bad about killing people I love. That's normal, right?
Miroku: Miroku's like me. We served Lord Brother... but Miroku's old. How long has Miroku had to do it? It only took me a month to hurt people as much as I did... Miroku's much older than that. It's old like my family is old. Look... I know Miroku isn't very nice. Miroku fits in at Dark Fall really good. But, we share the same heart! If I can show Miroku there's a better way, I think Miroku can change, too. No one gave up on me, so I don't want to think there's no hope for Miroku, neither. ... plus, I need to keep Miroku safe from Dark Fall. It would be really bad if someone who wanted to hurt people convinced Miroku to work with them. I bet it'd be bad for me, too, since we're connected. That's why I never leave Miroku alone, even now. It was a promise I made... but I can make a promise to Tokyo too, right? I want to keep everyone safe.
|[i always fall from your window to the pitch-black streets]|
Mai Tokiha: In the end, Mai made me breakfast, even after all that... Mai's food is really the best. Mai's the girl I love most, but it's not like everyone else I love. Maybe one day I can tell Mai how I feel... but I think I'd better give it some time. I did try to kill Mai, back then... let's get back to normal first, okay? I wanna learn how to love without getting all twisted up.
Eri Shimanouchi: No matter what happened, Eri was loyal to me. Eri wouldn't even think about... stopping me, not like Mai did. She always believed, I could be saved. And everyone did save me! Actually, even though we acted like that, I'm older than Eri... don't tell anyone, but I kinda feel like she's my little sister. So I gotta be a good example! ... but I'm not gonna be one all the time. It's fine not to be a good person or a bad person!
|[i tell you: a cat must have three different names]|
Outside Linden Baum
Whiskers on Kittens, Harajuku
|[my people, right or wrong]|
|[i had your number quite some time ago]|
Distant Battle Allies
Totally Normal Girls
... It's Complicated
|[save your own, 'cause i don't wanna be this]|
If I Don't Call Them Enemies, Is That Okay?
|[i aim to break not one but all, i'm just a big ol' wrecking ball]|
|[oh, you dark one, eternal outsider]|
|[her little whiskers are stained with the blood of those that she has slain]|
|[i need my role in this very clearly defined]|