91/A Meeting in the Park!

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A Meeting in the Park!
Date of Scene: 24 June 2015
Location: Mitakihara/Pikarigaoka - King Penguin Park
Synopsis: A chance meeting between Mari Katsu and Shiori Sato! (And possibly anyone else who happens along!)
Cast of Characters: Mari Katsu, Shiori Sato


Mari Katsu has posed:
    A regular sunny afternoon.. One of the days where the Tennis Club isn't meeting, and Mari really hasn't made any plans to do anything non-tennis related... So she's kind of wandering around place to place not really sure where to go or what to do with her time. She still has ways of practicing though - even when she's not actively practicing. For instance, as she walks along, people that pass her by might give her a strange look, as she's balancing a rather bright yellow tennis ball on top of her head almost perfectly. She isn't really 'aware' she's wandered into the park until she comes upon the large penguin statue, that catches her eye, making her lean forward a bit to examine it with a curious expression, the tennis ball still not moving out of place on her head as she does.

"...I've never really understood this... I mean.. Why a penguin?" She asks herself curiously before she starts examining the area around the statue for some sort of explainatory plaque or pedestal that might shed some insight on her curiousity.

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Also in the park is one glasses-wearing student from Seiyou Public School. That's right, it's Shiori Sato! Then again, how many boys his age also go to Seiyou Public School and wear glasses? Probably lots. So no, he's not likely to be noticed or recognized by anybody. He's a normal looking kid. Like, PAINFULLY normal.

    He's wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. And it looks like he's been taking a jog, iPod earbuds in his ears, the cord leading into a pocket of his shorts. However, he pauses when he sees the girl balancing a tennis ball on her head. He blinks. That's a neat trick.

Mari Katsu has posed:
    Finally giving up on her search for information Mari just tilts her head and shrugs.

"Maybe it's just... something to tie in the local Zoo? I dunno..." She shrugs her shoulders again as her pocket watch starts to beep.

    In a sudden motion, her left hand moves into her pocket, silencing the watch as her right hand moves behind her to grasp the handle of her tennis raquet which she flicks out - almost swordlike in posture - as she bounces upward to send the tennis ball on her head flying into the air. Moving her raquet into position, the girl's eyes follow the ball on it's descent until it makes contact with the rim of her raquet and she begins tilting the raquet ever so slightly so that the ball orbits around the center webbing. After a moment of steadying herself in this exercise, Mari turns to start walking away when she notices the younger boy watching her from nearby. Depending on how much the boy pays attention to the inter-school sports news, he may actually recognize Mari - or at least have heard about her.

    Giving a slight smile and a wave with her free hand, Mari makes her way over to the plainfully plain guy and smiles once again. "Yo.. I'm guessing from the look on your face that we haven't met before..." She states with a slight giggle and glances to the tennis ball running circles around the rim of her racket. "I get that look alot when people see me walking around balancing tennis balls on my head. It helps work out balance and coordination issues - Well, that, and it became something of a habbit, after the first year or so of practice." She states before she smiles. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Mari Katsu - A student of Verone Academy. I don't think I recall having seen you around campus, so maybe you're from one of the other schools in the area? ...Sorry, I tend to be a bit of a space-case if i'm doing anything related to tennis, so you probably could have met me before and I might not have registered it while doing something else."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Shiori, unfortunately, pays no attention to sports whatsoever. Really a disappointment for males everywhere, isn't he? Not even a soccer fan. Really! What kind of man is he?!

    Truth be told, if Mari were a singer, particularly at Seiyou, he'd probably know her. But a sports star? Nope, sorry. He does notice the adpet way she handles a tennis racket, though. That's pretty impressive too!

    And then suddenly she's looking in his direction and speaking! Shiori blinks. "Er... no, not that I can recall," he replies, to the question of having met her before. Verone? Ah, that'd explain it. "No, I go to Seiyou. Isn't Verone that really prestigious private school?" Probably not the ONLY prestigious school, but calling it 'that school only rich people send their kids to' might come off as a bit rude, so we'll go with 'prestigious private school'. He introduces himself, "I'm Shiori Sato. Good to meet you." He offers a smile.

Mari Katsu has posed:
"That's one way of looking at it..." She comments in repsonse to Verone. "I mean... Don't get me wrong, I love the school but.. It's not usually the crowd I run with. Infact if not for the schollarship, I'd probably still be off in the country with my sister." She states before she shrugs slightly.

    After that gets said, Mari sighs sligthly and smiles before she turns and moves over to sit down on the nearest bench, keeping the tennis ball moving until she sits down where she pops the ball back into the air and leans back slightly so that it falls back onto her head almost perfectly.

"Shiori Sato, huh? That's a cute name. Maybe I should try introducing you to my sister sometime!" She jokes before she waves her hand a bit dismissively. "Seriously though.. Seiyou has some nice courts.. I love practicing there, when I can find the time and the chance to slip away from my coach." She pauses and frowns. "I mean... Sure, Seiyou Public doesn't have tennis machines or the like, but sometimes the best practice is just... getting out and playing a round with friends.. Not just sticking off by yourself practicing theory or repetitive drills over and over."

"Ah, but i'm getting off on one of my tangents... I've only just met you, you probably don't want to hear me yammer on about sports for the entire conversation. What about you? Got something you're passionate about?" She asks while moving her eyes over Shiori silently, trying to get a gauge for the boy.. Sadly being so plainly dressed there isn't much to pick up on, but her eyes do catch the cord coming from his pocket. "Music, perhaps? ...I envy people with that kind of talent. I could never play music to save my life."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Shiori smirks a little when Mari makes mention of the school in a similar way as he was just thinking. Though he's polite enough not to actually TELL her he was thinking it. Though he blushes a little when she calls his name cute. her words of introducing him to her sister don't help that blush, either. "N-not on such short acquaintence, I'd think," he stutters slightly, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.

    When she seems done embarrassing him -- for now, anyway! -- he sits down on the bench as well. He's careful to keep a respectful distance between them himself and her. He retrieves his iPod from his pocket and then leans forward, enough to rest his elbows on his knees. He nods to her words of the tennis courts, and practice. "I've never played, honestly... I don't know much about sports." A smirk. "Disgrace to men everywhere, right? That I barely know a touchdown from a home run."

    He chuckles. "But that's true of a lot of things -- repeating basic theory can only teach you so much. Even if you have all the building blocks, if you don't know how to put them together, it's not much good."

    And suddenly, bam. Mari seems to have hit close to home as she takes note of the music player and asks if he's passionate about music. "Eheh... a little," he admits. "I'm passable at playing the piano, and I'm a fair singer," he admits. "Nothing professional... I just dabble in music."

Mari Katsu has posed:
    Mari shrugs her shoulders a bit. "A disgrace to men would be to have a talent for music and not embrace it because you were worried what others would think of you for it. I don't consider you a disgrace to men because you don't care about sports." She admits with a smile before she glances back to Shiori. "I admit i'm a bit bummed I'll have to teach you how to play if I ever get you out on a court... ...Eh not really, teaching is part of the fun." She adds before she smirks a bit and sits back to glance across the park. "Well.. when i say "basics" for me, I mean like... they rigged up a pitching machine to hurl tennis balls at me." She admits with a slight smirk, deciding to brag just a bit. Shaking her head though she quietly looks back to Shiori as he starts to speak about music and gives a content smile as she listens.

"Nothing professional, huh? ...That's gotta be misdirection if I ever heard it. Someone's eyes don't light up with fire like that with no reason." She admits before she reaches over to pat Shiori on the back. "I admire people with passion like that.. It gives them the guts to push forward no matter what obstacles fall infront of them."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    "That would be a disgrace to anybody, not just men though," Shiori counters pleasantly. Then he looks sheepish. "...I shouldn't talk, really. I don't pursue it like some others do. I dunno. I'm just me. That's not anything special. Except that I may have the market cornered on an incredibly unassuming and unmemorable look." he chuckles.

    And the sheepish look only gets worse as Mari starts to call him on his obfuscation. "Ah, not really," he says. "I fiddled around with an electric keyboard and I listened to a lot of music when I was growing up. that's about all I can claim."

Mari Katsu has posed:
"Wether you pursue it like others do or not isn't an issue. You don't just hide it away and try to ignore it. You handle it in your own way." She replies with a slight shrug. "Being in the lime light isn't something alot of people can handle, and there's no shame in that. For others it's... more of an aquired taste. ...I didn't really care for all the attention I was getting, early on.. I just loved my sport and wanted to be the best at it. Having people get excited seeing me wasn't even on my radar, for the longest time. I'd say it was even a bit annoying, starting out."

    Shruging her shoulders a bit she quietly glances to Shiroi and smiles. "Well, you do have an issue standing out, that's for certain... But in a way, that could be considered a strength.. Not everyone has to get on stage looking like something out of a mixture between Lolipop Lane and Nightmare on Elm Street to draw attention to themselves. If your music is good enough, people will listen despite the lack of a gimmick. ...Not to claim that people that use those gimmicks don't have exceptional music, mind you..."

    The sheepish look gets a note before Mari just smiles. "Wanna know my first experience with an electronic keyboard? I got annoyed that everything I touched on it sounded horrible and thought to myself maybe the keys needed to be oiled or something... And ended up spilling an entire bottle of baby oil on a fairly expensive keyboard my mother owned."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    "Well, I mean..." Shiori stalls. He... didn't really pursue it. He had important things to do in the real world. School, career building, that sort of thing. He's extraordinarily realistic for a kid his age, and knows that statistically there's better odds of him NOT being able to do anything with his talents.

    Then Mari seems to indicate that she's got some fame following her, and Shiori looks to her. "Oh? I noticed you had really good balance with that tennis ball you're carrying." He looks up, to see if it's still on her head.

    He also starts to snicker a little at the weird description of the unnamed performer. Or in this case, perfomers. With a smirk, he offers, "I like that group too."

    He winces though, at th emention of spilling baby oil all over an expensive keyboard. "Oh, /ouch/," he comments. "I think my dad would have sold me to Gypsies if I'd done that to his keyboard." He's probably kidding. Probably.

Mari Katsu has posed:
"What's not to love about a group of girls singing about how they want chocolate, but can't eat much because it'll make them gain weight?" She replies with a slight grin before she shrugs a bit, her eyes moving up to check on the tennis ball as well. "Heh... Well, you don't walk around with a ball on your head all the time without attracting some form of attention." She comments before she smiles looking to Shiori. "Anyway.. It's not like i'm a pro player or anything, so my following is mostly limited to people in the local schools that pay attention to such things... But it's still... nice to look up in the crowd and see a familiar face or two, from time to time.. It's an odd feeling, when people put their faith in you for something.. It makes that exact moment feel like the most important moment you've had to that point." She says before she shakes her head. "I know that's far from the truth, but that's how it feels."

    Then the comment about the keyboard, and Mari just snickers. "Oh believe me, my mother was fit to be tied.. I thought she WAS going to sell me to gypsies until my father just broke out laughing at me over the whole ordeal..."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Shiori chuckles about the song. "They're not the only ones. And that sugar crash when you eat too much is brutal. Besides that, it's bad for your skin, I hear." Health and beauty advice from a guy? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?!

    As for the ball on her head? He smirks. "I half expected you to produce a couple more and start doing like that American rock star in that old movie where he kidnaps this girls baby brother and makes her go through a maze to get him back." He raises one hand before him and does a fair impression of it, considering he has none of those crystal acrylic balls to make it look real. "Like with the stress balls, but with like five of them?" He lets his hand drop back, and chuckles. "I also freely admit I have a couple screws loose. Expecting that might have been a clue."

    Shiori smiles at the account of the incident. "Laughter's a wonderful thing for breaking tension like that. A pity about the keyboard, but you were only trying to help. That's why, no matter the age of the speaker, the words 'It seemed like a good idea at the time' always follow a spectacular fail." He chuckles.

Mari Katsu has posed:
    Raising a slight eyebrow at a reference she doesn't get, Mari just giggles a bit before she replies. "Eh... Honestly it was somewhat born out of desperation. Early on, I couldn't afford traditional practice or instructors.. I really only had the one ball and a beat up old raquet. I still have that dirty old thing in my dorm..." She replies before she quietly shrugs. "I made up my own practices and did things however I could... Worked at it day and night... scraped and clawed my way to the point where someone - anyone would notice me.. And a friend of my mom happened to catch me playing once, and helped support my family to get me a schollarship here."

    Of course, that wasn't the entire story, but she can't really give details about the true story, given there are certain parts you don't just tend to blab.

"Once I got here... The change from Country life to living in Verone Academy's dorms and practicing on their courts and Seiyou's courts was... night and day, almost literally.. I was so flabbergasted at the change in atmosphere that I couldn'te ven practice straight for a few days... Of course, that was before the school year started.. Back then my sister was also staying out here with me." She states, alluding to the fact that she's actually living out here alone, at the time being.

Shiori Sato has posed:
    "Sometimes it happens that way," Shiori replies. "Sometimes you work really hard and you end up with a normal life despite everything. And sometimes there's that one big break that makes it all worth it. Though isn't it always worth it, even if you don't get that big break? Because you've trained a skill that long and hard to be better at it than a lot of people. The whole 'journey vs. destination' debate I guess."

    He nods at the mention of the change. "I imagine it wasn't easy," he acknowledges. "I can't imagine being able to function effectively out in the country. In fact I'm fairly sure there's at least one reality show that is exactly that concept. Step one, put city people in country. Step two, watch hijinks. Step three, laugh behinds off. Step four, profit."

Mari Katsu has posed:
    Mari nods her head softly before she smiles. "Yeah.. Sometimes hard work isn't enough. I know that." She states as she sighs closing her eyes. "The number of people i've beaten on the courts.. some of them don't play anymore. It's a hard thing to think about - maybe I was the reason they gave up their dreams. I don't like that feeling, it's why I try to inspire the people I play against to be better, but... sometimes it just doesn't work that way." She states before she shakes her head quietly.

"Oh man, it works the same way for people coming to the city from the country... The only difference is that it goes from being funny to being sad. For a while I was too afraid to even walk to the corner store for small things... My parents come by every now and then to help me go shopping, or I go on shopping trips with friends.. It's not like in the country where things are safer.. Around here you have to watch out for alot of things you don't normally see in the country."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Shiori nods, the somber note of the conversation causing the smile to fade somewhat. "Well, there's another way to look at it too," he suggests. "Maybe they were good at something else too, and they realized the other thing was the way to go. So maybe you helped them see their real destiny? Or maybe something they'd like to do more?"

    And the mention of the city and country being so different gets a nod. "There's that too," he agrees. "So many people in one place, and not all of them are good people. Trying to figure that out can be hard.

Mari Katsu has posed:
    Mari nods her head a bit in response to the sound logic that Shiori drops - a thing that most magical girls aren't given before evil sinks their hooks in and manipulate the silly worries that magical girls often harbor.

"Yeah... Yeah! That's true! Maybe I did help them find their real destiny!" She states, perking up considerably before she punches her right hand into her left palm. "That's an awesome way of looking at it, Shiori-kun!"

    The suddenly fired up girl moves to her feet and catches the tennis ball as it falls from her head, letting it roll down her arm to fall squarely into her backpack as she looks back with a grin.

"Don't get me wrong, the country has it's share of 'bad people' but you can usually apply common sense to the situation.. people in the city tend to be.... a bit harder to pin down." She states before she smiles. "But I've been making do... And I haven't had to use my raquet for anything other than hitting tennis balls, yet. so that's a plus."

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Shiori seems happy to have helped Mari feel better. that is, unfortunately, the nature of competition. Someone has to lose. But with one thing out of the way it can make room for another. "Can only drive down one road at a time, right? When you come to a roadblock, you have to find another path."

    Mari's display of coordination gets a smile. "That is really impressive, that you can do that without dropping it. I would botch that so bad if I tried." As for not using her racket to hit anything that wasn't a tennis ball? "Good to hear. Using sports equipment for other purposes than its intended one is a good way to void out the warranty."

Mari Katsu has posed:
    Mari snickers a bit at that comment about the warranty before she blinks as her pocket watch goes off again, then she smiles looking back to Shiori. "I hate to cut this short, but that means it's time for me to phone in and check in with my family. They'll get antsy if i'm late." She adds with a slight smile. "Ah.. I dunno if you'd be interested, but you can come by Verone Academy anytime, my room is..." She pauses, blinking a bit before she drifts off and slowly puts one finger to her chin. "...Um..."

    There's a short pause, and Mari's face twists in thought before she quietly shrugs. "Room One Sixteen. I think. It's the one with my name on it. My sis did some cute door art for me." She shrugs a bit before she smiles. "Probably so I wouldn't forget which room is mine... I tend to miss out on things like numbers when i'm distracted, and I was pretty distracted when I first arrived." She snickers a bit before she smiles and waves. "See you soon, Shiori-kun!" She finishes before she turns and runs off towards the academy.

Shiori Sato has posed:
    Shiori blinks at the invitation. And actually his face goes a little red. "I think they'd probably take exception to a boy visiting you in your room," he points out. "Though if they have a common area or something like that, we could always meet there and talk, right?" Provided they don't smell his Seiyou-ness and dismiss him as a 'bad influence' because he doesn't have more money that the deities of a few local prefects!

    He nods as Mari makes to leave, and stands up himself. "Was good to meet you, Mari-kun." Then he offers a smile and a wave in her direction. "Take care."