2022-08-11 - Meetings, Masks, and Misunderstandings

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Title: Meetings, Masks, and Misunderstandings

Kyouka, out searching for more clues, is discovered by Fate Testarossa, and a misunderstanding ensues over Kyouka's visor...


Kyouka Okazaki, Fate Testarossa


Shinjuku Capital Ward

OOC - IC Date:

August 11, 2022 - Sunday, January 03, 2016

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Shinjuku Capital Ward +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  The skyscrapers are tall, the streets crowded, the nights bright with neon    
  signs. This is Shinjuku, a densely populated district of Tokyo nestled right  
  in the middle of its 23 wards. It is central in other ways, as well, as it    
  contains Japan Rail's Shinjuku Station, a transportation hub that has the     
  noisy honor of being the busiest train station in the world. The Station is   
  surrounded, as might be expected, by hotels, stores, and restaurants that     
  feast on the three-million-plus passengers that pass through daily, and many  
  major companies have their headquarters in the commercial district nearby.    
  Finally, Shinjuku is an administrative center as well. The Tokyo              
  Metropolitan Government Building, a massive, modern-styled 48-story building  
  that wears two jutting towers like a crown atop its 32nd floor, hosts the     
  central government of all of Tokyo, including its suburban areas and smaller  
  settlements in the surrounding area. Three entire blocks are devoted to the   
  building (also known as Tokyo City Hall) and the smaller structures that      
  attend it. The Japanese Ministry of Defense is also headquartered in the      
  There is much to do in Shinjuku for those unconcerned with government and     
  business, all within walking distance of the station. There are several       
  parks, the largest being the Shinjuku Gyoen (which crosses into Shibuya),     
  with traditional Japanese gardens and plenty of cherry blossom trees for      
  viewing around late March/early April. The Shinjuku-ni-chome area plays host  
  to the highest concentration of gay bars in the world, along with other       
  businesses devoted to the subculture. For the artistically inclined, the      
  Golden Gai area offers a lively social scene of bars and clubs focused        
  around musicians and artists of various stripes.                              
<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka hadn't realized just how tense she'd been until that fateful encounter with Setsuna. She was right: it had been lonely trying to shoulder the burden alone, but having... well, hopefully a friend, but at the very least a non-hostile acquantaince was a huge relief. Setsuna had promised to put her in touch with other Device users, but she couldn't expect that to happen overnight.

So instead, to not feel like she was sitting on her hands waiting for a phone call or a text, she'd decided to go out. Transformed. She could cover more ground that way, and she needed the practice with Strike Wolf. Synchronized though they may be, that didn't confer an instant adaptation to all things magical--after all, everything moved so much faster like this, and she needed to attune her reflexes to match.

It didn't hurt that doing the world's most extreme form of parkour was honestly kind of fun and a pretty decent stress reliever.

She had waited until after sunset, when the cover of night might at least help mask her presence (though Setsuna's confirmation that non-magical people forgot the magical was at least a little comforting.) She was taking great leaps from building to building, bounding between adjoining skyscrapers with huge leaps to scale new heights, or just straight up running up walls as the inclination struck her. Little purple Midchildan spell circles appear and vanish briefly as she zips about, ostensibly searching for clues but also just indulging a little in the practice and exercise.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

On a rooftop, a ten year old girl with blonde twintails and red eyes stands in her winter peacoat, earmuffs over her hair, a pair of mittens, the hint of leggings beneath and a pair of boots. She holds out a golden triangle, and layers of concentric shapes heavily laden with Midchildan runes and other symbols appear along them gradually. Closing her eyes, she concentrates, as her feet begin to rise off the rooftop, her hair whipping sideways in the strong biting wind.

<Wide Area Search.> Bardiche emits a subtle pulse of magic, that flows throughout the city. Untransformed, it's barely noticeable, like a tingle on the back of one's neck. Once upon a time she'd used this spell to locate Jewel Seeds ever so slowly. These days, her focus has changed.

Slowly, her eyes open, and her expression grows grave in its determination. "Found you. Bardiche Impulse-"

<Get Set.> "-Set Up!" Erupting out of Bardiche comes an intense glow of spherical radiance that encases her...

<Resonance Drive - Activated>

<Optimal Levels of Resonance Achieved.>

<Drive Impulse - Ignition>

Purple lightning flows through her into her Device, then careens outwards to encase her entire form, gradually transforming her into her barrier jacket. It looks like an elaborate dark peacoat with a red trim, open and flared to give a skirtlike appearance with sleek leggings, metallic gauntlets and boots move onto her hands and feet, locking into place.

Bardiche itself begins to materialize the pieces of its namesake as they move, attracted to each other before interlocking into places to form a dark poleaxe sitting atop a yellow gem, the silver haft landing into her hands.

And with a flourish, she's off, a yellow glow zooming and banking and turning over the skyline of Shinjuku. As the Device Wielder is midleap, she'll find the space just ahead of her intended point of landing suddenly occupied, by what looks like a yellow flash that suddenly feels like it materializes in front of her in a blur. Metallic boots scraping over the concrete. The polearm device is pointed in her direction.

"Halt!" Fate takes her in... pitch black hair, and the visor is different from most of his masks, an entirely unfamiliar device... but there are spells that can change appearance. Could this be one of her... "Do you work for him?" She asks plainly, those red eyes of hers hard in how they bore into her. She can't be older than ten, eleven at most.

It might be this is the new Device Wielder that Setsuna told her about, but it would be dangerous just to immediately accept that this is her.

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa transforms into Barrier Jacket Impulse!
COMBAT: Kyouka Okazaki transforms into Barrier Jacket Wolf Fighter!
<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka's barrier jacket is perhaps a bit sparser than some of her peers: no long, flowing garments or elaborate designs or weapons. A visor (that might be wolfish looking to those possessed of some imagination, or that knew the name of her device) that protects her face, black top and shorts, a vest over those, and then heavily armored gauntlets and boots. Strike Wolf itself is a large, peentagonal shape on the back of her right gauntlet. She does have black hair, but it's also laced through with streaks of purple.

She feels that initial pulse of magic, just barely--it's enough to make her pause on her next landing to look around. "What was that?"

The device on her gauntlet processed for a moment, then replied. <Unable to identify energy signature.>

"Hrm. Guess we'd better stay alert, then..." She backed up a few steps to give herself some lead room and then took off running again, blurring a across the rooftop and then into the sky...

... only to be met with a 10-year-old far too fierce for her age at her next landing spot. She skids to a halt as she mades contact with the ground, grateful for the barrier jacket's ability to absorb the impact of the rather ungraceful landing, coming a bit too close to that polearm for her liking. She hops back a few feet and settles easily into a fighting stance, though she doesn't make any sudden motions.

She looks the other girl over, appraising her silently. Young, far too young to have that kind of fierceness or temerity. It was both a bit offputting (especially because it was clear she was wielding magic), and a bit concerning (because she couldn't imagine the circumstances that would render a little kid with such a cold expression.)

Then again, it did remind her a tiny bit of her younger self. Still, she kept Setsuna's warning in mind--not all magical users were trustworthy.

"Okay, careful where you point that thing, kid. Also, I have no idea who 'him' is referring to, so I'm going to say... no." It's hard to know what to divulge or not, especially when this kid was clearly faster than her, but the truth was hopefully safe enough.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate doesn't pursue as she bounds backwards, but neither does she lower Bardiche. One perhaps can infer that she's watching her, assessing her and isn't particularly worried about the possibility that she might flee. It's the other possibility that's more concerning.

"Jail." Fate answers her on 'him'. "Jail Scaglietti."

Does she seem offended at all about being called 'kid'? Not at a glance. However...

"If you aren't with him. Then-"

The child stops pointing the polearm at her, and instead draws it back behind her, squaring her stance like she's ready to swing it at any time.

"Show me."

Is she seriously asking her to attack her...? What a weird and aggressive kid!

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka likes to consider herself a good judge of character--but she also knows how to read an opponent. So yes, she is most definitely sizing Fate up.

The response of 'Jail' makes her frown, and she's already opening her mouth to ask for clarification when it comes in the form of a last name, 'Scaglietti', to go with the first. So not a prison. That was... a tiny bit reassuring, at least. She closes her mouth again.

She blinks a little behind her visor, as the stranger seems to... challenge her? Was that a challenge? That looks like an attack stance if she's ever seen one.

To be fair, she's still in her own stance, one of the many numerous martial arts forms she's adopted over the years. But she's not going to let guard down just yet. Unlike her opponent, Kyouka doesn't have a clear weapon in sight--though one might be able to infer from her stance and her device's placement what her specialty is.

Her voice is cautious and wary. "Are... you seriously asking me to attack you? Wouldn't you rather talk things out?" She loves fighting--but she's not foolish. She's not about to provoke an opponent of unknown skill without a damn good reason.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"I would."

Fate clarifies in short order, on talking it out being preferable. "Sometimes words aren't enough. You can reassure me that you don't work for him, but unless you have your device remove your barrier jacket - I can't know that." Fate offers her explanation in short order, "I can't ask you to do that, and you wouldn't do that for a stranger. You don't know my intentions."

Fate has hardly moved from her stance, sizing up her opponent from this position, the only thing that moves are those red eyes, the way her blonde twintails flutter sideways in the wind. To her senses Kyouka doesn't feel like someone who works for him in the sheer level of magical power, but...

"He's dangerous. The people who work for him are dangerous. If you aren't one of his, I will know very quickly."

It's all a very well reasoned explanation! But it's also still a kid who's in elementary school demanding someone who's in high school to attack her - even if they're both mages and magical girls.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Well, I can't fault you there. We don't trust each other and we don't have a way to establish trust reliably." There's... just the barest upturn to the corner of her mouth, but it's gone just as quickly. Anyone with less sharp eyes than Fate might well miss it, but it seems Kyouka found something amusing.

The whole situation was oddly familar, after all.

"So, you think you can size me up by fighting me, then? You know... I could just hold back. It might not prove anything."

Still, even as she says that, she's slightly adjusting her stance--a little shift of the foot, a slight raising or lowering of an arm, bending just a little bit more at the knees. She's not about to attack--yet--but she is getting more ready.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Whether Fate sees the smile or not is something unclear to Kyouka perhaps, though there is an almost imperceptible tilt of her head. Like this fractional adjustment...

... it's a familiar set of circumstances for her, though she isn't smiling yet.

"You could." Fate agrees of her holding back, before adding in short order, "I'd know."

That's a pretty bold claim for her to make, like she's some seasoned Samurai from an anime. One might wonder if she's indeed a child far too caught up in her own fantasies. Yet, she says this all so seriously, so matter of factly, like to her this is simply another day for her.

How long has she been doing this!?

Fate's own foot shifts just slightly as well to match position, as she adjusts Bardiche's angle downward. Despite the perception of aggression, she makes no move to attack...

... if anything, it's an invitation.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka spends a long few moments considering Fate's words. Under any other circumstance? It might seem laughable. Right now though?

Her instincts have her inclined to believe it. There's no way a kid that young gets to be that hardened without seeing some seriously messed up stuff. Add in the way that she very comfortably holds that polearm, and especially the fact that she has magic...

"You know," Kyouka says honestly, in a soft voice. "... I think I believe you." There's a definite note of sadness to her tone as she's processing all of what she's reading from her challenger.

And she shifts again, makes some more minor adjustments--and this time there's muscles tensing, ready to spring into action. When she speaks again, the sadness is gone, replaced by steady determination. "Since you asked, though, I'm going to give it my best."

Another pause, just to call the timing of her attack into doubt, and then she springs forward, making to strike. But as she touches down again she instead springs back up into the air, up and over Fate, attempting a kick at her back.

Does she feel bad about trying to use such a tricky attack on a kid? Definitely. Is Fate still a kid? That... she's not sure of.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Her saying she's going to give it her best, is the first time the corner of Fate's mouth tugs into a smile, the look in her eyes more determined if anything.

Fate doesn't so much as move, save for her eyes following her. She watches her spring forward, then up and over her. The kid isn't even fully turning around. However, the moment the kick is about to land she sees a glimpse of a single red eye looking at her over her shoulder, amidst the blonde hair rippling in the wind.

<Sonic Move.>

That synthetic chime is the only hint she gets, as Kyouka's foot certainly makes contact with something that LOOKS like Fate Testarossa. It just goes right through it. The afterimage fades away. As a yellow flash moves through the air around her with chaotic speed in such random directions that one might wonder if she's a ping pong ball deflecting itself off the wind itself.

Without a word, the child dives from right behind her. Rather than swing the blade at her though, the blunt haft swings around, as she attempts to hook her leg behind the blade of the axe and the pole itself, and with a tug trying to trip her up and dump her on the rooftop.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka knows ariel attacks can be tricky--normally, you don't have control, but often opponents aren't expecting attacks from above, so the risk versus reward factor gives you a payoff if you can make it work.

Magic kind of throws all of those risk and reward assessments right out the window. Kyouka can tell, just from that single glance she gets--that she's made a tactical error. And when her foot goes through the girl--that's confirmed it.

She's dimly aware of the lightning-fast blur surrounding her, distantly impressed with the display even as she's working out how to adjust her landing on the one, non-kicking leg to recover from her missed attack. She's nothing if not adaptable, after all. But even as she sets down, ready to cushion the impact and rebound, you come zipping in to trip her up. It works, and you yank her off her poor footing to send her plummeting to the rooftop.

But she's not about to give it to you that easily--the moment her front end goes pitching over she tucks into a dive and rolls away, yanking her leg hard up to get it free of your blade. She comes out of the roll with a quick hop and a turn to face you again, settling into different stance. But she doesn't attack again, just yet.

And what's more, she might be smiling, just a little bit, despite definitely being the loser in that exchange. "Okay, that was a pretty nice move," she admits.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate watches her recovery without following up. She's not being incredibly aggressive here, perhaps because she's starting to get a sense of her power output. Her eyes fall upon the older girl's right gauntlet, as if she were assessing the device.

In that exchange at least, there were no telltale signs of a shapeshifting or illusion spells. Which means she can likely take her Device as it is. She doesn't see a cartridge system at a glance...

"Same to you. You have good instincts." Fate offers back to her without any signs of sarcasm or a tease. She sounds genuine enough for a very serious-minded kid.

However, before her eyes, despite the lack seeming aggressiveness, she holds up her polearm and it starts to transform.

<Haken Form.>

The axe blade folds upwards, then inwards - elongating into a long hook, as a curved blade of lightning mana forms, crackling into a scythe like energy blade. It doesn't look like she's necessarily showing off, more like trying to convince her to show her more of what she can do.

Again, the child doesn't attack her. There are many things Fate Testarossa is, but she's not a bully. She gets the sense already that she doesn't work for Jail of course, but she just wants to poke or prod another time or two to be sure her assessment is right.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka did learn something valuable from that exchange--well, several, but the most pertinent is that if the stranger wanted to hurt her, really hurt her, well... she had her chance. But she hadn't taken it.

A lot of the other lessons involved several varitions on needing to figure out magic better but especially that a spell like that would be pretty handy.

There is definitely a complete lack of illusion or shapeshifting magic--there's a pretty distinct lack of spellcasting in general, beyond the magic sustaining her barrier jacket and the almost intuitive way she was using it to traverse the city earlier (including the surprise landing prompted by your sudden arrival).

She grins a little wider at the returned compliment. Instincts she has in spades, even if she doesn't have a lot of practice with magical combat yet (which may start to become painfully obvious as the mock fight goes on, if it hasn't already.) "Thank you," she says, accepting the compliment at face value. She still doesn't know what the kid's deal is yet, but she's ready to accept her opponent's skill and knowledge.

Kyouka watches that blade shift, transforming into its alternate form. There's a very slight shift in her stance, a momentary drawing back. Surprise? Readiness? She settles down into her stance again quickly enough and waits to see what you'll do, but can tell that you're waiting again.

Unfortunately... she doesn't really have a lot of fancy magic tricks to pull out just yet... for a variety of reasons. But she's thoughtful as she slowly starts to circle, trying to puzzle out a way that she can at least give you a good showing.

She darts towards you once more, but instead of going high, she goes low: she drops to the ground on one hand and pivots, using her forward momentum to translate into a hard, sweeping kick, trying to knock your legs from under you.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate once again watches her. With Bardiche held upright this time, in the strange glowing scythe. The other girl darts at her, and Fate grips Bardiche tightly, but at the last possible second, the other mage drops down low. Fate just extends a hand, as Bardiche intones, <Defenser Plus.>

A concentric runic circle forms in mid-air, and much like the ones she makes contact with when hopping about, this one proves to be quite solid. The foot makes contact with the circle. And it just, halts it.

Fate keeps her hand held up, just watching her for a moment.

Then quietly, she just says, "That's enough." And the spell she just releases, as Bardiche just shimmers gold and vanishes - now holding no weapon whatsoever, yet still clad in her barrier jacket. "You're new at this. That's pretty clear." Fate doesn't in fact sound like she looks down on that, it's just matter of fact.

Fate's seen many girls, and even a few boys who were brand new at the mage lifestyle. Who barely knew any spells at all, much less how to wield them. After all, she fought against them, time and time again for the sake of her mother's aims.

And she adores all of them. It's not possible that she could look down on someone who made their start this way.

Stepping forward, Fate holds out a gauntleted hand as if to shake her hand. "You don't have to tell me anything, but I'm Fate Testarossa of the Tuners, Infinity Elementary, Fifth Year."

She makes a rather complete introduction, before stating, "It's nice to meet you. And I'm sorry I reacted as I did, I just had to be sure. The man I spoke of he's..." The look in her eyes changes to something pensive, and maybe a bit sad, "... difficult."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka is, at the very least, planning for a few more eventualities this time. She was specifically thinking of an attack that she could follow through on if her opponent pulled that afterimage trick again, but when her foot hits that barrier instead, she adapts. All of the energy driving into her kick she instead uses to rebound, reversing course and push herself back the other way. She actually manages to get back to her feet pretty gracefully from that position just from rebounding off your barrier, settling back into a third combat-ready stance...

And then you dismiss both the spell and your device's weapon form, and she finally relaxes, standing upright.

She nods at your assessment of her skills. "I could lie and try to claim I wasn't, but I think we both know you wouldn't buy that for a second," she replies, when you state that she's new to everything.

She looks at the outstretched hand, then looks at you for a moment as she appraises you one last time... then reaches out to shake it. It's a good, firm, handshake too--you did ask her not to hold back, after all.

"Kyouka Okazaki. Juuban high, 10th year."

She shakes her head. "No, it's fine. If I'm being honest I was just as suspicious of you as you were of me." Well, maybe not as suspicious, considering she definitely doesn't know the full story of what's going on, but still somewhat suspicious, at least.

"So... what now, then? I'm going to assume that energy I noticed before was you, considering the timing."

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"You could." And perhaps for the first time, there's something mischievous vaguely mischievous sparkling in Fate's red eyes as she agrees. However, she doesn't say anything about buying it for a second or not. Her intent isn't to embarrass her.

When she takes her hand what might shock her is that Fate's grip is almost equally strong, and one might wonder if that's her modulating her strength, holding back herself. If they weren't transformed, it probably would be no contest, but... magic certainly makes up for the gap in age.

Giving out her name so freely, Fate actually smiles at that, nodding quietly. Before, she notes she was just as suspicious, and Fate simply replies to that.

"That's fair."

However, she then asks what now, and makes a certain assumption, with a bob of Fate's head, she confirms. "It was a wide area search spell. A friend of mine told me there was a new Device Wielder around. I had to be sure that Jail wasn't up to his old tricks."

The girl looks away and off into the distance, "His... enforcers, are usually about your age, maybe a little older, and they wear masks."

Fate almost says 'Underneath the mask, they all look like me.' but she's sure that would only result in confusion. It's a long story to arrive to that one.

"What happens now depends on you. How did you come by your device? What do you intend to do with it?"

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka does notice that slight little hint of mischeviousness, and is internally glad that this kid doesn't seem to be all business--it's honestly kind of a relief, since it would be a terrible world if a kid wasn't allowed to be at least a little mirthful.

She takes that equally firm handshake in stride, not trying to apply more force to test Fate's limits, or to try and prove herself further or regain some dignity. No shame in admitting when you're outclassed--as long as you don't use that as an excuse to become stagnant.

"A friend of yours, huh?" She's got her suspicions, considering the timing, but... well, she's not about to out her, so instead she asks, "Anybody I know?" Which is frankly kind of an absurd question to ask of someone you've just met, but she can't really think of a way to ask for confirmation without outing her friend, so it'll have to do.

She makes a note to ask about search spells later... that could be useful...

But that train of thought is interrupted when you convey your impression of her visor--or perhaps, a mask, from a certain perspective. "... Oh, damn. No wonder you were suspicious of me. I'd have been suspicious too, frankly."

When you leave what happens next up to her, she looks down to the device on her gauntlet. "What do you think?"

<Alright.> comes back the simple reply.

Kyouka nods in confirmation and looks back to Fate to start explaining. "I found him less than a couple weeks ago. He was in trouble, stolen by some mage or wizard or something. I managed to get him away from them, and he offered me his power. We drove the guy off, and now... well, now I'm trying to find his creator, so I can return him."

Remembering her earlier telling of the story with Setsuna, she hastily adds, "I don't think the guy was one of Jail Scaglietti's henchmen, though. Got rattled way too easily."

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.


Fate says of it being someone she knows. She doesn't think Setsuna would mind? And she's pretty sure Kyouka already knows her status as a Magical Girl, but because she's not 100% sure she doesn't confirm it.

Fate glances at her visor as she brings it up, and smiles. "Thank you for your understanding." She waits though, for Kyouka's Gauntlet Device and her to confer. Before... her brow furrows, then there's a slow nod after she takes in the story. "Maybe not. Though the way to the world where Devices are made is... difficult to traverse." Fate says, sounding perhaps slightly guilty. It is her mother's fault that that happened, "That he was able to smuggle it here at all... unless he created him himself..."

She makes the comment, absently, maybe a bit disturbed. "It might not be that he was one of his enforcers, but Jail's interest in certain devices is well known. I'd be careful."

Fate gives her an apologetic look, "I won't patronize you and tell you to stay away, just be careful. At your current level of strength, you'd be hard pressed to hold your own."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka can confirm it with Setsuna later on, but lets the matter of the 'friend' go for the moment. It's not terribly relevant to the matter at hand.

She notes that troubled expression, but doesn't probe. More than time enough later to get all the full details. She can only deal with so much at once, after all. "Well, if you were to ask me... I don't think he made it himself. When I found them the mage was arguing with him, trying to force him to activate. I don't think he'd need to do that if he was the device's creator."

"As for smuggling... I don't know." She seems relatively unphased by the idea of there being other worlds, at least. "If it's really that difficult to get between worlds... you'd think he'd be more careful, you know? Not just show up in broad daylight with a device when he couldn't activate it." She shrugs a little. "But I could be wrong. Maybe there's a magical reason that makes sense."

When you mention Jail's interest in devices, she nods. "Yeahh... I don't know for sure he wasn't one of Jail's, but that... doesn't exactly change the fact that someone was interested in him, so I guess I can't rule out multiple people being interested."

At Fate's warning she actually lets out a little bit of a laugh. "Okay, sorry. I'm not trying to belittle you or your skills--faaaar from it--but a kid 5 years younger than me talking about being patronizing is not something I was expecting tonight."

But then she grows more serious. "Yeah, I know. I'm still getting used to... all of this," she says, gesturing vaguely as if to encompass all of 'magic' somehow. "Though... your little demonstration earlier was actually kinda helpful."

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate slowly nods, accepting the logic that the Device's creator would be able to activate him without a problem. However, when it comes to other worlds. "You would think." Fate says, of being careful, "But he doesn't sound like the most careful person."

With a wince though, she nods, "Whatever the case - don't let Jail's people get their hands on your Device. They don't need to take him, just, have access to it for long enough to copy him."

Easier said than done though, given how easily it took down several of them just to get at the spells of one of them.

Before, she starts laughing, and Fate's eyebrows shoot up, and suddenly she actually looks a bit shy. "It's because I'm the most experienced mage of our group but... most mages I know are about your age."

It's hard to look at older teens as her senpai, when they BEGAN as novices, and she began as she did. But...

"I don't want you all to think I'm looking down on you."

She perks up again though, "Well, if you ever need help, let me know. I'll do what I can."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"He definitely wasn't the world's most careful person," Kyouka agrees. "I mean... I tossed a garbage can lid at his face and that took him by surprise." If one thinks about it, there's an implication she fought the mage without magic, but Kyouka really doesn't feel like making that somewhat embarrassing admission a second time.

The news that they could copy the device... that makes Kyouka frown, and turn contemplative. She looks to the device on her gauntlet, and it might almost seem like they're having an internal conversation between themselves. "Copying devices, huh..." She seems pensive at that thought, far more pensive than that news might make someone normally.

"No, no. Sorry, it's my fault. I shouldn't have laughed, it was just... kind of unexpected, that's all." Now she is definitely trying not to be patronizing, to voice what she surmises of Fate's circumstnaces when not knowing a damn thing about them. "I respect that you're looking out for others, even given the age difference. ... You kinda remind me of myself, a little bit." In that one way, at least.

At your offer of assistance, she contemplates that. "Actually..." She looks to her device, and in a quiet voice says, "What do you think? If there's some maniac out there copying devices..."

They both seem to regard each other for a while, before Strike Wolf finally says, <Go ahead.>

Kyouka nods. "Alright then." She looks at Fate again. "Look, I didn't want this getting around so soon, but... the more unknowns there are, the more of a liability I become. There's actually another reason I'm sure the mage I fought wasn't my device's owner or creator. He's... incomplete."

She looks pained to be admitting this, but she forges on. "And on the one hand, that may just make copying him less dangerous, but if he's got some powerful capabilities that are inaccessible to me, but that Jail can figure out how to get to with a copy... There might not even be a way to find out until it's too late."

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate actually smiles a little at the thought of the Mage being taken down by a garbage can lid. "It doesn't surprise me. Most mages never even reach the level you are right now. They can be reckless as a result in their pursuit of power."

Before her head tilts as Kyouka indicates she shouldn't have laughed, shyly looking back down. "Do I?" Fate's eyes slowly close, as if absorbing that fact, and perhaps the conclusion that she might make from Fate's reaction is 'I hope not.' "...Well if it's for that reason, I'm glad."

However, Device and Mage agree that it's okay to tell her. Fate gives her device a quick eye at the idea that it's incomplete, brow furrowing. "That's... strange." Fate looks troubled, "Is your Device a new creation... or...?" She trails off, as if mulling it over.

After a moment though, she shakes her head, "I would never consider you a liability though. Most mages I know, who are as strong as I am now started out as you did, and were self-taught. Many had Devices that had parts of them unknown, or hidden too."

Fate though keeps mulling it over before deciding, "If he really is after your Device. Then he'd probably want it completed as well." Fate says gravely, "Though that would only be the case if your Device were ancient. He's mostly looking for... special Devices, that were created long ago, to lead him to a certain place."

Fate sizes her up for a while, then...

"There's more I could say, but I feel it might be better if we trained, so I can help you grow as a Mage. It will take more than just training to get there... but it can't hurt either."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka is... well, a tiny bit flattered to be recognized as having reached some notable level of power, even despite her clear inexperience. That... honestly makes her like you a little bit more, in terms of how you're able to read others and judge their skills.

That reaction to the compliment, though... honestly makes her heart seize up a bit. There's a very strong impulse deep inside her to find whoever could do that to a kid to make them react that way to a compliment and teach them a lesson... and while she may be incapable of fully hiding the sympathy and anger that reaction makes her feel, she does manage not to voice it explicitly--regardless of anything else, she honestly does respect your skill, and figures you deserve to be dealt with fairly for that, not coddled.

She shrugs a little at the question of her device being new or not. "I'm not sure. His activation logs are... filled with errors and warnings, but for now I can't get to any records from before the day I found him--I think he only got activated in the street by the mage that stole him, the same place I rescued him from."

Kyouka smiles a bit at not being regarded as a liability. "Thanks. I appreciate that. Just... trying to make sure I see all the possibilities, you know?" She files away that tidbit about unknown or hidden capabilities, though.

That thought, though, about the device's creation... "If he wanted him completed, and it's new, maybe he went after the creator?" she muses quietly, trying to puzzle out possibilities and explanations. "Might explain why I haven't been able to find them..." She shrugs a little at 'ancient'. "Yeah, I don't know. I just assumed it was new because it was incomplete, but I honestly don't know anything about how these things work. And like I said, I don't even know if that mage works for Jail or if he was just... interested in my device for an entirely different reason."

She waits patiently as you size her up, and then... She grins broadly when you mention training. Someone's excited. "You know, I was going to ask if you'd be willing to train or teach me. If you're the most experienced mage around, I bet I could learn a lot from you." There's nothing but enthusiasm for the idea. The fact that you're five years her junior doesn't even seem to cross her mind.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Fate tilts her head to the side as she relates that his activation logs are full of errors. Without a word she steps forward eyes on her Device, listening to her muse over the ideas she presented before. That he's incomplete, what that could mean. It's only when she tells her 'Thanks. I appreciate that.' that Fate beams at her.

As Kyouka indicates though she was going to ask her if she's willing to train, or teach her. She nods with a serious expression, because she takes the idea of training very seriously

Rather than respond with words to Kyouka...

...instead she speaks gently to Strike Wolf, to introduce herself. "Hello. What's your name?" A beat, "This is Bardiche. He's my partner." While the polearm is gone, the triangles on Fate's barrier jacket chime with a quick, <Yes Sir.>

"Can you do me a favor? Can you relate to me what spells Kyouka is capable of casting right now?"

Some things are simply intrinsic to the Device, some the Mage, and the Device simply channels it. And some spells are developed and created over time. Fate simply asks, in a similar way to how Raising Heart was able to direct Nanoha to cast Divine Buster despite it being her first time to use magic.

"It's alright if you don't know, or the list is incomplete. Or if she's not ready for certain types of magic yet. It just might help me develop a training program for her."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka barely knows Fate and already had so many reasons to like her. That smile that she gets in exchange for thanking her for not viewing her as a liability? Add that to the list.

And Fate also seems to take her training seriously, too. Another item on the list.

Kyouka just gives a silent nod to her partner when Fate asks his name, and Strike Wolf responds in a pleasant voice, <Strike Wolf.>

Kyouka smiles as Fate mentions the word 'partner'. "Nice to meet you, Bardiche."

Kyouka looks from Bardiche back to Strike Wolf curiously. Admittedly... she hadn't thought to ask that question yet. She doesn't think she's cast any spells yet, but then again, this whole situation is still new to her, so who knows. "It's okay," she says quietly.

Strike Wolf takes a few moments to process that, the inner light dimming but flickering as it works. <Data not available.> A beat, then it adds, <Analysis suggests affinities for speed, mobility, and precision.>

Kyouka raises an eyebrow at that. Well, she's not inclined to disagree... She looks to Fate expectantly to see her reaction.

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"It's nice to meet you, Strike Wolf." Fate replies politely in turn, a faint smile on her expression as Kyouka says the same to Bardiche. Fate waits patiently for Strike Wolf to process it all and...

Fate nods thoughtfully at the affinities. "Well then, if there's no list. Then the best thing we can do is help you develop as a mage. That part will come over time." Fate then adds, "You do know one spell already for mobility. The one you were using to bound from. Even if you don't know its name, it is a spell. So don't be discouraged by the fact you don't have a long list of magic you're drawing from."

Fate's expression looks pensive, as she considers it, "Speed and mobility is my specialty. Precision is more a friend of mine's. However I wouldn't call myself... imprecise either."

It's just that Nanoha's control is next level.

Fate scratches her chin, "Hmm, normally I'd take you to a certain ground we use for training, but you won't be able to go there..."

Infinity at least has rooms for this kind of thing, but Kyouka's not a part of the magic school. "... so we'll think up another location. Somewhere remote where we can be discreet. Or I could try to have Amy set something up..." Eventually though, she nods in decision, "Alright. If you have some contact information, let me know, and I'll set things up. We'll start slow, but you'll get there in no time."

Unfortunately as Kyouka may not realize, Fate's version of 'Slow' may be different from everyone else's. At least she's less of a taskmaster than Nanoha when it comes to this sort of thing. She doesn't have the personality to lean into being that harsh...

... at least not anymore.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

When Fate tells Strike Wolf it's nice to meet him, he replies, <Likewise.>

Kyouka nods a bit as Fate points out she was using a spell to bound around. "Yeah, I think that one just... came pretty naturally to me, since... well, I do a lot of running around in my normal form. I just kinda... translated my normal skills over, I guess." She pauses a moment. "Same for my fighting skills, come to think of it." Enhanced, certainly, but nothing near as impressive as Fate's Sonic Move.

She looks even more contemplative after that. "Maybe I just need more exposures to the possibilities of magic..." she muses.

Kyouka can't help big grin a bit as you mention your speciality. "Yeaah, that Sonic Move thing you did was pretty impressive. I knew I was in trouble the moment I saw you looking back at me when I was going for that first kick."

She looks curious as you bring up a place and then dismiss it, but doesn't ask. You know the area better than her, after all. She lets you puzzle out the logistics of all of that, and then nods. "Contact info? Well... I've got my cell phone..." She pauses and looks down at her barrier jacket. "... in my... other outfit? Hrm. Maybe I can just give you my number."

Fortunately for Fate, though she can't know it yet (but it's not hard to guess), Kyouka does love a good challenge. Especially a difficult, but not impossible one. Throw in learning new stuff, and especially new stuff related to fighting... Kyouka's sure to be a happy girl.

"Strike Wolf, I don't suppose you can just get my cellphone out for me, can you?"

<Functionality not availble.>

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"Everyone starts somewhere."

Which is... easy for her to say, as she could cast her first spells at five years old, and was flying without a Device when she was six. She doesn't say any of that though, because she's learned it feels like bragging to talk about her magical accomplishments like that to people.

"Most magical girls don't have fighting skills unless they're transformed. Those things come to them when they do. Some have to train the same as everyone else to learn to utilize their skills. What I've learned over the years is there's no right way, and no wrong way to do it."

Fate offers a shy smile, "Training just feels comfortable to me. I feel like I'm bettering myself by doing it."

Fate considers though the problem of exposure to magic, "Well, that'll just happen the more you do this. Though if you mean to the types of magic available to practitioners of the Midchildan or Belkan school, I can help."

Fate actually looks bashful again as she mentions her Sonic Move. "Oh that. That's a simple support and transportation spell. I've just... refined it." That sounds way more impressive than she's giving it credit for. After all she's talking about refining spells. However, such things are perhaps more normal for her, who's been growing up around magic her whole life.

"It's okay, Bardiche could you take down her number?" <Yes Sir.> And indeed, if she offers it, he'll store that for later.

Fate crooks a fingertip near her chin, scratching it with an awkward look as Kyouka asks for Strike Wolf to get out her cell phone. "Aha... it's okay! There's no need for that right now."

Fate'll tell her later that Devices can seal things, store things, and bring them back out of a dimensional space. Just, that feels too complicated to give her a lecture right now for a cell phone she doesn't need to bring out. "Anyhow. I'll be in touch. Maybe I'll get a 'friend' involved."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka listens carefully when you explain about most magical girls gaining their fighting skills when transformed. "Hmm... interesting... that for being called 'magical girls' there seems to be a lot of variations on it..." Setsuna's Linkrun and Akarun are certainly far, far different than her Intelligent Device, for instance. "In my case, I'm just... kind of really into martial arts, so..."

When Fate confesses to liking training with that shy smile, Kyouka returns it with a grin. "Hey, you're not gonna get any arguments from me on that one. I like training, too."

She nods, "Yeah, that. Just... I think need to get a feel for the different types of magic, start building an intuition for the way things work, that sort of thing. I'm... kind of starting from ground zero with magic, you know? If this was just... another martial art or something, I could pick it up in an instant." Not said as a brag, just trying to convey how she feels about her current skill level.

Kyouka raises an eyebrow when you try to downplay the impressiveness of Sonic Move. "Uh huh. I'm sure lightning comes standard as an option on transportation spells wherever these things come from." Is she giving Fate a tiny bit of a hard time for downplaying her own skills? Maaaybe. But she is smiling as she says it though, so she's not intending to be mean, really.

Kyouka gives the phone number when prompted, and leaves the matter of the cell phone aside for the moment.

That explanation is perhaps bested saved for later, yes. Complications with Strike Wolf's functionality notwithstanding, as long as you've got the number, that's enough for now. And she'll probably get yours when you reach out to her, so she's not concerned about that for the moment.

She quirks an eyebrow again at the mention of 'friend' but doesn't probe. "Alright, sounds good. Just let me know. Anything I should work on in the mean time?"

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"That makes sense." On her being really into martial arts. "I'm not really a martial artist but I do train sometimes like one." Though as she mentions that if it were just another martial art, she could pick it up instantly. "Hmmm-! I mean I wouldn't say ground zero. Some things like instinct and muscle memory you'll still keep. It's just how your Device and magic will translate it..."

She mulls it over, though as she mentions lightning, believe it or not, Fate's eyes light up, "Oh! You noticed! Good eye!" Fate does raise a gauntleted fingertip, "Though that's less because I put it into the spell and more that... my bloodline has an affinity for lightning. All of my spells have lightning as a part of them as a result."

It's perhaps much easier for her to compliment others than herself. She's confident in her skills, it's just she seems to downplay how impressive they are to a fault.

Bardiche repeats back the number with synthetic tones. "Got it. I'll put it into my phone later and contact you when I'm ready."

Though she does ask what she should work on in the meantime. And Fate considers it, eyeing the horizon for a moment. "You know one spell. Practice it as if it were one of your fundamentals. As many times as it takes to get down moving how you want to. I think you were already doing that. Just don't worry so much on combat until you have that mastered. Mage battles often take to the sky, so you'll need it to even reach where you need to go."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouka Okazaki [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Kyouka can't help but grin a bit when Fate mentions training like a martial artist. But then you mention instincts again, and she has to give that some consideration. "Yeah, okay," she says slowly, as she thinks it over. "That's... a pretty good point, actually. Thanks." That is a bit relieving to hear--that her current set of skills aren't useless, they just... need more adaptation.

If there's one thing she can do, it's adapt.

And then you also compliment her on noticing the lighting, and she smiles. "Thanks!" And then you explain about your affinity, and she nods thoughtfully. "Ahh, I see... That's kinda neat."

She pays close attention when you start giving advice on what to practice, nodding seriously. "Yeah, okay. That makes sense... I might've picked up a new idea or two just from our little back and forth earlier, actually..." she says thoughtfully, playing that part of the encounter back in her mind. "Fundamentals first, combat later. Got it."

When you mention mages taking to the sky, she nods. "The mage I fought did take to the sky... but he left himself open. I kinda rebounded off a building to get up to him, but the next opponent probably won't be so sloppy..."

The new mage ponders that a moment more and then nods to you. "Alright. And, uh... thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to help me."

<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

"It's the least I can do after how we met." Fate offers with a certain earnest sincerity. Does she seem apologetic? Well it's not just because... of that, it's just that the circumstances of how she was born are once again putting everyone in danger. After all, those masked mages all have her face. They're all her, except older. "Stay safe out here. I'll call you soon. And... it was very nice to meet you."

And with that, she waits for her reply, then flies off just as fast as before...

... in a split second she's just a tiny speck on the skyline. Apparently Kyouka would have trouble finding a better teacher for speed and mobility.