1020/The Quiet Garden

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The Quiet Garden
Date of Scene: 11 February 2016
Location: Plot Room #2
Synopsis: Fate and Takashi go to visit Precia personally. It goes better than Fate expected but worse than Takashi expected.
Cast of Characters: Fate T. Waldia, Takashi Agera, Precia Testarossa

Precia Testarossa has posed:
The Garden of Time is not easy to find. It is an asteroid floating somewhere between dimensions, and the exact coordinates to reach it are known only to a very few mages. This is by necessity, since the Garden's master (or Mistress, as the case happens to be) is presently on the 'most wanted' list for the Time Space Administration Bureau.

Precia Testarossa is not happy. She hasn't been happy in many years, and her unhappiness is only growing. But few know the true reason for her unhappiness, and she's not about to share it on this day. Sitting in a large throne, Precia drums her fingers gently on the arm-rest, deep in thought. It has been months since she sent Fate to the planet Earth to collect the Jewel Seeds that she detected there. Months, with very little contact, and no results.

Patience is something Precia Testarossa has often been credited with having much of. But even her patience has limits, and right now they are stretching wearily thin.

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    Fate has been quiet for most of the trip to the Garden of Time. Arf asked her, pleaded her, not to go, and so Fate told her to stay behind. Still, Fate wasn't expecting a happy reception. She knows that Precia gets really angry, and when she gets angry she gets scary, and...

    Fate tries not to think about it. She's bringing what Precia wanted. That should be enough to make her happy, right? Surely she'll be happy this time. She might even smile!

    Fate walks across the surface of the asteroid, through the entrance, and up to the room where her mother awaits her. She knocks on the door, awaiting a response, and looking somewhat nervously at Takashi.

Takashi Agera has posed:
Takashi had left Ami with Usagi. In his house. This caused him no end of concern. For a lot of reasons. But he didn't want to miss his appointment with one of Eclipse's most recent bigwigs.

And, he wants to be there for Fate. Even moreso than normal - possibly a side effect of burning off so much negative energy recently, or sharing his energies with Ami. Regardless, he's here, looking around, sticking close to Fate - she should know this place - and it's very strange. He tries not to look nervous too - but this place is eighty thousand kinds of wierd, and Eiszapfen is giving him like 20 warnings a moment.

"At least you'll get to see your mother." Takashi offers, trying to make things seem brighter than this gloomy atmosphere.

Precia Testarossa has posed:
Precia looks up from her thoughts at the sound of the rap on her door. Rising from her chair, she takes several steps down towards the large central space of the room: a glowing bulb set straight into the ground to act as floorspace for her visitors. There are more ... exotic uses for the space, but with any luck she won't need those today.

"Enter," says Precia, her voice displaying hardly any emotional inflection whatsoever. The door opens at her whim, allowing Fate and Takashi unimpeded access into the chamber. But for the bulb in the ground, the entire space is impressively dark. What lies beyond the path leading from doorway to the central light is impossible to see. It could be empty space. It could be normal walkway. It could simply be walls. But surely it's nothing too dangerous, right?

"Fate. Agera-san," Precia greets them both with still no inflection of emotion. She looks so very tired, and very sad. Or mabye that's disappointment. It's so hard to read the woman's face. But why is she in her barrier jacket, even here? Surely that's unnecessary. And the staff she bears is assuredly her device. Is she expecting a fight?

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    Fate smiles meekly at Takashi, but the smile doesn't last. The door opens, and she hears her mother calling. She has no choice but to go forward now. It isn't any kind of magic that compells her.

    Fate crosses the distance through the dark chamber. She occasionally glances into the darkness with worried eyes, but when she's finally greeted Precia gets her full attention.

    Fate puts on a brave smile. She wouldn't want to insult her mother by being afraid of her, right? She clears her voice, then says, "Hello, mother. We've brought back some of the Jewel Seeds you wanted."

    She nervously shifts her feet, then holds out her right hand, the hand where Bardiche rests. Two shining Jewel Seeds rise out of the device, floating while surrounded in a glittering magical bubble. She holds them up to Precia, meekly.

Takashi Agera has posed:
Takashi is... more emotionally acute that usual. So he can feel, in a dull way, Fate's aphrenehsion. "Don't worry. You've been very dutiful. You've worked very hard for her." he says, as the doors open.

Seeing Precia in the flesh though - that's a very different thing. That's a scary thing. Something about the way the woman carries herself, he can tell she's a threat. If not to him or Fate specifically, then generally - especially with her barrier jacket. But Takashi knows better than to act afraid - even if he ought to.

"Testarossa-san, is there something the matter? You seem ready for a fight, not visitors." Takashi says, settling the charm that is Eiszapfen's standby form into his hand.

Precia Testarossa has posed:
Precia's eys widen just a faint amount at seeing even one of those precious stones. She reaches out and snatches them from Fate's control, pulling the pair of stones to herself. They float about her lazily, idly, like errant children.

But there are only two of them, and it has been so very long. The old mage shifts her gaze from her daughter to Takashi, then back to her daughter, and the expression she bears is most certainly not the hoped-for smile. "I am always prepared for a fight," Precia replies to Takashi with a snip of disdain. "Why did you bring him, Fate?" Precia asks, arching a brow faintly at the blonde. "Is there some reason you have come into my domain together, rather than separately? Some better news than having only found two of my much-needed Jewel Seeds, even though it has been more than half a year on this planet that you have had to find them?"

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    Better news? Would Fate have any better news? She looks around the room nervously, as if the darkness in the room would somehow contain a suitable answer to that question.

    "Well... only three of them have shown up since I arrived, in addition to two more which were taken since I got there."

    So Fate doesn't even have half of the Jewel Seeds that are out there. That might not be the best news, actually.

    "...but Takashi-kun here has been studying them, trying to find a way to find them before others do, and more jewel seeds have been showing up lately!"

    More than the 'absolutely none' that have shown up for the majority of the time.

Takashi Agera has posed:
"Well, if more than a few would fall out of space at a time, it'd be a lot easier to bring them to you." Takashi says, tapping his foot loudly against the ground. Precia Testarossa is no Junko Kaname, that's for sure. "Ideally, I could find some way to..." and here Takashi demonstrates physically, rooting around in the air and grabbing an invisible imaginary jewel seed, pulling it to himself. "Rip them out of spacetime, but right now we're kinda at the mercy of fighting over them when they fall."

"And trying to track down the mages that stole them so we can repossess them for your noble purposes, Testarossa-san." he adds. Well, some degree of proper deference is due. Takashi hasn't entirely forgotten how to behave around his beurocratic superiors. And the pressure her energy is putting off is helping that feeling.

Precia Testarossa has posed:
Precia doesn't move. Doesn't flinch. There's no sign of activity from her device. But very suddenly Takashi finds his foot stops tapping the floor. Instead, his foot seems frozen in time, heel to the floor and ankle just barely taught so that his toes are off the floor. It is an altogether uncomfortable position for a foot to be stuck in. Yet he will quickly find he cannot move it.

"In nearly a year's time," Precia says very quietly, rounding on her daughter with a very disapproving glare, "you have recovered only two Jewel Seeds. More than twice that many have appeared, and you have brought me two." Her voice is cool, cold, quiet. The fury that burns is entirely and wholly contained by a will that's strong enough to destroy worlds.

Precia takes a step towards Fate, perhaps getting uncomfortably close. "You are a Testarossa, are you not?" she asks Fate, bending over at the waist to be nearer her daughter. "The child of the great Midchildan Mage Precia Testarossa. And yet you are too weak to recover even those Jewel Seeds which appear? Do you wish to see your mother sad? Do you wish to see me cry? Is that what you wish!? Do you hate your mother, Fate?!"

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    The sudden stopping of Takashi's foot does not go unnoticed by Fate Testarossa. The child grows increasingly nervous. No, not nervous, scared. She looks up at Precia, the color draining from her face as her head has to tilt further and further upward just to maintain eye contact.

    "But... things happen... I'm still working on it."

    Tears are forming at the edge of her eyes. Precia hasn't even done anything yet. "I've been working hard the whole time. I haven't been lazy. I've tried my hardest. Isn't this enough?"

    Fate's wine-red eyes are wide and full of terror, now. "I'm sorry..."

Takashi Agera has posed:
It's not the strength of the bind that surprises him. It's the speed at which it forms, unbidden, before he can really react. Then the strength gets to him as he feels the raw magical power behind it.

"Look, it's not like we haven't been fighting. Your daughter has aquitted herself excellently. There's really nobody I'd rather have at my side. There's just a lot of competiton for the seeds." But he's growing increasingly more concerned, and rapidly grows quiet and Precia's display of power.

That's not to say he's liking the way Precia's talking to Fate - that's nothing like how he imagines his mother would talk to him. It grates him wrong. But maybe she just wants what's best for Fate? It occurs to him she's acting more like his father.

Precia Testarossa has posed:
"'Working on it'," Precia replies, mocking her own daughter's tones. "You're sorry?!" Precia straightens abruptly, and Fate's entire body goes taught, lifted into the air. A pair of manacles swiftly descend from above to enbind her wrists, and a matching set from below. "Sorry," she repeats.

"I don't have time for sorry," Precia says, turning to wheel on Takashi once more. "You," she says, pointing at him, "have not nearly the cleverness or intellect to work out how to rip Jewel Seeds from where they have been sequestered within the dimensional folds. However, I agreed to allow my daughter to aid your little 'group' on the understanding that you would aid her in recovering the Jewel Seeds. If there is competition, crush it," she insists irately.

Takashi's foot is abruptly relieved, and Precia waves a hand, sending him reeling backwards towards the door. "I expect the Jewel Seeds that you have failed to recover within a month," she tells him, then turns on her daughter. "And as for you. Perhaps you need ... additional motivation? I am the only thing you should be worried for. It is of vital importance that you find me the jewel seeds. And I believe you need a reminder of how important it is."

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    Fate yelps as she's hauled into the air. The binds go around her wrists and ankles. She's stuck there, helpless as her mother mocks her. She's trembling only as much as the magical binding allows. She knows what's coming next. She only wonders how long it will go this time. How long she'll have to suffer.

    Her mind races. What more could she have done? How could she have tried harder? It's not as if she hasn't been strong. She's just had so much to deal with.

    "You wont even tell me what you need them for..." says Fate. "I could've gotten at least one, maybe all of them, if you just told me why you needed them... but when they ask, I don't have an answer for them."

    That's probably not what Precia wants to hear, especially considering what she's saying now, but it is a question that Fate needed an answer to. Though it wont spare her from what's coming next.

Takashi Agera has posed:
There's a sharp moment of pain before Takashi can respond - that was a tremendous bolt of force she casually hurled at him. And he's full of pain from the impact. But more than that -Takashi's full of emotions. A lot of them are not nice. It doesn't take much, at this juncture, for Takashi's black heart to overwhelm any positivity within him. It's not the way she treats Fate - though that tugs violently at another part of him, screaming at him that it's not right - it's the way she dismisses him. The power she wields is impressive, assuredly. It's not a good idea for Takashi to try to engage that power. But that's never stopped him before.

He clenches his fist, black energy swirls around his right hand and... nothing. Because Axion is cracked and lying on the table in his house, not sitting at his ear or wrist ready to be engaged.

He stands to his feet. He looks at Fate, and Precia. He wants to do something, but he's cognisant of the power difference. She might think him 'lacking in cleverness or intellect' - but he knows he's not, of course. But he is lacking in raw strength. All he can do is straighten his suit out (of course he changed before going to meet her) and look at her. He's trying really hard not to glare at her. It's working mostly.

It's that same kind of impudence a lot of employees show when they want their manager to know they'll get to work but they're displeased with the outcome. But he's one of Eclipse's golden boys, a rising star. Nobody's raised their hand to him in some time, and he's not good at hiding his fury.

"You know, if they're that important to you, I'm sure you could go get them yourself." he adds, his voice a furious calm. "You're asking a lot, and you're not on the field to understand what we're up against." he says, straightening his tie. "I will get them to you at the fastest rate I can, and neither your daughter nor I are delaying needlessly. But... someone of your own cleverness and intellect will understand that if you try to solve a problem in a rush, you'll make a mess of things." he says.

Even KNOWING in no uncertain terms the vast gulf in power, he's staring her down. It's a sort of thing that's worked with the 'power' upper management has wielded, and it's the sort of thing that appeals to his pride. Not backing down, setting terms even as the Junior. It just might go differently in front of this particular superior.

Precia Testarossa has posed:
Precia's device does not change to the whip Fate knows all too well at this point. It remains a tall and destructive staff. This may be because Takashi has, unwittingly, spared her attention for the time being. Leaving her daughter to dangle helplessly, Precia turns and raises a hand, seizing Takashi bodily and drawing him forth. She doesn't bother with the bindings for him; she merely suspends him in the air through sheer force of will alone. She brings him to eye level, so close they could kiss if he were so inclined. Not that it would be a good idea.

"Please," Precia says to him at a quiet whisper, "Enlighten me as to why you are actually useful to my aims, Takashi Agera. Speaking to ones' elders in such a disrespectful fashion is, where I come from, most severely punishable."

"I am aware that your parents do not love you as I love my own daughter--that they have neglected you in every way. However, this is your one and your only warning: I will not tolerate such bullish behaviour in my presence. You will speak with respect to your betters, or I will teach you respect. Do I make myself entirely clear?"

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    "Mother, don't..." Fate glances over to Takashi. "Please don't hurt him. He's done a lot for us." She's pleading for his sake. She isn't quite congitive of the powerplay between them, her mind in a panic as it is. She only knows that Precia's angry at Takashi, and that means that Takashi is likely to get hurt.

    There isn't much else she can do. Struggling against the binds is useless. She knows that by now.

Takashi Agera has posed:
"You wield a lot of power, Testarossa-san." he says, completly cognisant of that power as it holds him. "But you must need me - need Eclipse - for some reason. Wether you're keen to share your reasons or not, it doesn't matter, because the way you're casually throwing power around, you obviously have alot of strength - but you cannot wield it in such a way as to get what you want." Takashi says, and somehow despite his predicament he still manages to smirk because there's some sort of death wish in there, or worse - some sort of self-assurance that he won't DIE, so there's no reason not to go all out.

"And even with the help of Eclipse's most brilliant mage - that would be me - getting these little seeds has been slow going. If you could get them yourself? YOU WOULD." he adds. "And you need Eclipse, which means it would be terribly unwise for you to kill one of their department leads. Or, frankly, keep exercising your power on me. You wield it like a sledgehammer. But it's clear what you need to get the jewel seeds is a scalpel. That's what I - what Eclipse - provides to you. That scalpel, the toolset you don't have in this big creepy castle." he adds, laying his read on the situation table directly.

"So unless you want to waste your own considerable power - which still doesn't seem to be able to get these jewel seeds you need so very badly - fighting Eclipse and NOT GETTING JEWEL SEEDS, because they'd turn on you in an instant as an unknown outsider if you started trying to cannibalize us, you should put me down carefully and politely, and we can start this conversation over again as polite adults who both have something the other wants..."

    "Precia-chan." he adds, in a defiant show of disrespect.

Precia Testarossa has posed:
Precia remains silent for the span of three or four heartbeats. It might be enough time for Takashi to realise that he made a mistake. Probably not.

Very suddenly, he finds himself slammed into--and through--the floor. The hole Precia creates in the asteroid with the force of his body is large enough just for him to fit through, and she shoves him through forcefully like a drillbit until he simply falls out the bottom. And continues falling into the aether of whatever void this domain is built on.

Turning towards Fate, Precia says, "He's right, though. Perhaps I should come supervise your activities on Earth directly." The bindings holding Fate vanish instantly, depositing the blonde unceremoniously to the floor. "Return back to this planet and make way for my arrival. I cannot remain there often, but I expect a place where I can conduct my research to be made ready for me. Go now and see to it."

Fate T. Waldia has posed:
    Fate drops to the ground as the binds vanish. She looks at the hole that Takashi was just drilled through. Then she stares at Precia, not quite registering the words she says yet. She's... not being punished? She's being let go, and told to do something?

    Wait, Precia's coming to Earth? And Fate has to prepare a place for her?

    "Y-Yes mother! Right away!"

    She turns around and flies away, down the hole that Takashi just exited. If it was big enough for him then it's big enough for itty bitty Fate.

    She thinks it over. She does have money, a lot of it saved up in fact. She could get a pretty nice house for Precia, and Eclipse could provide a very nice lab, probably.

    That actually went a lot better than she expected.

Takashi Agera has posed:
Takashi is damn near knocked unconscious by the impact of Precia's overwhelming power. There's really no comparing the strength - she feels similar to how Walpurgisnacht felt, when it comes to power he's sensed personally. Axion could've given him a better overview.

And the only reason Takashi is alive is because he had Eiszapfen grasped in his hand when Precia's magic grabbed him, and as part of the flare of magic and light, he henshin'd - and Eiszapfen immediately expended his barrier jacket - what should be a last ditch effort - to keep him alive. That didn't stop everything from hurting, and now, of course, Takashi is hurtling through the void.

If this had happened when Takashi had just walked in, when his emotions were full of apprehension, confusion, and concern for Fate? As well as the after effects of the time spent caring for Ami? Takashi might well have fallen forever. Or, impacted whatever happens when you fall out of the void. But right now? Takashi's heart is full of anger, pain - and still, most of all, pride. Grasping onto that pride like a small child holding a teddy bear, he calls on it. He's not in henshin - he's Takashi Agera, falling through the void.

But by squeezing that pride, holding it, embracing it, cherishing it - and burning through it, as black tendrils of energy surge off him, around him, and he winks out of the void, tearing a hole into the Dusk Zone. Doing this without Axion is something he hadn't done in years - but his emotional state makes it easier. Takashi winks out of one strange world and into another, using it as a stepping stone to make it back to the lab - no, back to his house.

    <Nicht wie geplant.> Eiszapfen says.