How Saya Got Her Groove Back

Sayaka, Kyouko, Mamoru, and Nephrite go to hunt down the youma that ate her memories. In Canada. Rated C for Comedy and UA for Undercover Angst.

Date: 2016-03-31
Pose Count: 20
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-01 00:20:59 36589
All divinations done pointed to an unlikely place for a youma.

The Pacific Northwest.

No, stay with me here:

"It had to've basically just started walking," Mamoru says with a shrug, all rigged out in what Conde Nast Traveler says is what one should wear when hiking in the Pacific Northwest. "Like, from the North Pole. I mean, zoom out on the GPS and just look. There's a pin dropped at D-Point, and obviously you can see where we are-- if you were a youma and started schlepping, swimming part of the way or whatever, a little under three weeks isn't unreasonable. No idea why it headed here..."

This last is a kind lie. They ditched the jeep they rented about 10k back, when even offroading became a little too hazardous. They rented the jeep maybe 120k back, in a town on the coast, semi-rural-- maybe 4k away from where they emerged from Nephrite's palace.

"Should I check again?" Mamoru asks Kyouko as he's handing the GPS to Sayaka; he glances to Nephrite. "Or like. Is there an easier way than oh shit I think it's here--"

Of course. Of course it's here. They're at the edge of a freaking cliff, with the sea crashing against the rocky beach forty meters down and pristine pine forest at their backs. Seagulls complain loudly. There's a thunderous crack from deep in the woods somewhere, followed by a roar of aggravation.
Kyouko Sakura 2016-04-01 00:27:17 36590
    Well, if there's one place that Kyouko ever thought she would end up this week, America wasn't it. Thankfully, with access to the Shitennou's Palaces, it's only a matter of a few hours to get here, rather than most of a day on a plane.

    She's in henshin, of course, because she isn't about to go youma-hunting in her street clothes, and is sauntering along with her spear leaning over one shoulder and her arm looped over it almost casually, as if to say, "yeah, it's my spear. So what?"

    The redhead casts a nervous glance at Sayaka as Mamoru hands the other girl the GPS. She'd made sure Sayaka knew how to henshin, at least, but without her memories, she was still worried about her- since any combat experience she had gained since becoming a Puella was currently erased.

    Still, she's turning to Mamoru to answer his question when that roar suddenly sounds from the woods, and trees shiver and crack. "Uh.. no, I don't think there's an easier way." She says, drawing her mouth into a grimace as she flips her spear around her neck and into her other hand, in a ready position.

    She glances at Sayaka. "Just like I told you, yeah? We do it quick and easy. I mean, this thing eats memories, how tough can it be? Ain't like memories'll get you swoll."

    She glances back to Mamoru and Nephrite then, all like 'right? right?'
Sayaka Miki 2016-04-01 00:41:27 36592
    Well. This is certainly not what Sayaka had in mind when she asked Mamoru, Kyouko and Nephrite to help her track down her memory Youma. And why would anyone suspect that it would have wandered off towards the Pacific Northwest?

    To say she's a little nervous would be an understatement. Sayaka doesn't even remember how to fight much less having met a Youma. Add in portal travelling and zipping halfway across the world in only a fraction of the time it takes to fly there, and she's still recovering.

    Still, it's even further out than seh thought when they suddenly have to ditch the jeep and continue the rest of the journey on foot. Ah, there's a GPS. At least that's relatively 'normal', right? Oh, except that it led them to the edge of a cliff.."The heck?" she shakes the damn thing, trying to figure out what's going on. "Are you sure this is where we're supposed to be..?" And then she hears that unsettling noise coming from nearby. Oh great. She can feel her stomach dropping, her heart racing nervously.

    An anxious glance towards Kyouko and she just grimmaces, nodding a few too many times, her hands tightly, shakily clutching the GPS tracker. "A-are you...are you s-sure about this?" But that sound is getting closer and closer and whatheheckshe's gonna die!!!"

    "Ugh.......Fine!" She glances back at the forest, shivering a bit nervously at the sound of the disturbing noise that comes from it, enough that she ends up dropping the GPS. Dammit, this better work or she's toast! She lifts her ring finger to the sky as if she were about to summon a freakin' thunderbolt (whoops, wrong superhero!) and pours all her energy and her wishes into her magic ring.

    It takes a little longer than expected, probably due to her nervousness and doubts that this would work, but finally, the ring transforms into her soulgem, and she brings it into herself, enveloping her in a brilliant blue light, transforming her attire in a flood of magical ribbons until Puella Sayaka stands in the schoolgirl's place!
Nephrite 2016-04-01 00:42:42 36593
Nephrite is cranky.

To be clear, none of that crankiness is directed at the group with which he travels. Mamoru is being nothing but helpful, and the two girls hardly asked to be involved in this thing to begin with. And it is probably for the best that they track the thing down now, before it has the chance to wreak havoc on some Canadian town.

But his nice new hiking shoes are already muddied and they're hiking through a wild dense forest that is both too like and too unlike his palace, and they're hunting after a monster that he maybe, might, possibly, sort of conceived of when he was drinking.

Okay, he was drinking.

And it was maybe not the best idea he ever came up with.

A monster who eats memories. Which memories? How many? Does he want to know? Are they a thing he ever wants again?

Is that why he doesn't recognize these trees?

The roar in the woods gives him no more time to grumble about it. He throws Kyouko a humorless smile. "Hit it enough, it won't matter how swole it's got."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-01 00:55:24 36594
Frankly, Mamoru's been tempted more than once to hand Nephrite the flask he's got stashed in his backpack. But it seemed somewhat less than ideal a solution to the crankiness given the reason for their trip in the first place, and he actually brought it for afterwards--

--either way, the lingering choice is no longer on the table, since there's roaring and Sayaka's panicking and dropping the GPS and Kyouko's making 'amirite' faces. Mamoru's cheeks puff out before he sighs noisily, and he scoops up the GPS and pockets it before henshining. "I dunno, maybe it uses Apple Maps," he grumbles in Sayaka's direction, cape unfurling dramatically behind him and pristine formalwear threatening to get really freaking messy before this is through.

"And man, why are you even asking me? How should I know the caloric content of memories? I spent most of my life trying to get my hands on mine, and I finally got them, and I'm still a scare... crow..."

Tuxedo Kamen trails off and stares into the trees.

The youma's visible now. It's really big. It's about the size of a 1983 Buick luxury sedan standing on end, and about as fat as William Howard Taft. It's also really, really purple. It's also wearing a circus strong-man costume with a heavyweight champion belt around its not-inconsiderable middle, and a ratty orange polyester bathrobe.

It looks about as cranky as Nephrite feels.

"YOU!!" it bellows, pointing one orc-like hand at the party. And then its beady eyes focus on Nephrite, and the bellow drops to a Zoisite-angry whisper. "Youuuuuuuuu."

It revs up to charge them!

...and gets stuck between two trees. Yes, there is another roar. One of the trees makes an ominous cracking sound.
Kyouko Sakura 2016-04-01 01:03:07 36596
    Kyouko glances at Sayaka, and there's concern on her face for a moment as she observes how scared the blue-haired girl looks.. not at all like the fearless Sayaka she's used to. But she has to trust that she'll be okay, because the time to worry about it is really over. "You'll be fine, Saya-chan, just do like I told you!" She says, stepping forward. She, at least, remembers how to kick youma ass.

    Although the Youma that appears is.. not exactly what she was expecting. I mean, it's still huge and could probably kill them all by sitting on them or something, so it's not like she's gonna relax, exactly, but as it gets stuck between two trees she turns and casts a look at Nephrite. "Seriously? You made a King Hippo Youma? Play a lot of Nintendo in the 80s?"

    But then she shakes her head slightly, sighing. "Ah well, maybe we can be home before my shift tonight after all." She mutters, dashing forward with her spear spinning around to be held behind her as she goes, leaping nimbly up to one tree branch, then another, like some kind of mad squirrel as she closes in on the momentarily-trapped Youma.
Sayaka Miki 2016-04-01 01:14:12 36601
    Indeed, the old Sayaka would have stood fearlessly against everything..But this Sayaka has never encountered a Youma before, never even been in a fight that she can remember. And this is all happenning so soon! Still, she stands her ground, clenching her fists as the youma charges towards them...and then gets stuck. In a tree? what the heck?!

    It's..It's kinda hard to be scared of something that looks so ridiculous in that moment and Sayaka just stares at it for a long moment. Actually, it's pretty good that it got stuck as it gave Sayaka a chance to catch her breath again. A little of the old familiar smirk returns for just a moment as she walks up to it.

    "Seriously? This is the youma that stole my memories? Hah! What a joke!" She brings a hand to the sky, summoning a sword..And charges towards it. "This'll be easier than I thought!" Saya attempts to skewer it in the heart while it's stuck in the tree. Let's hope it doesnt get free first!
Nephrite 2016-04-01 01:20:24 36603
Somehow, Nephrite remembers this thing being significantly smaller and less... purple.

He also remembers it not having a beer gut? Also, were bulging purple muscles really that cool when he was...

He does not even attempt to smile at Sayaka's comment. "Maybe? I don't know! It was a different time, okay? I'm not even that old!"

How old could he have been when this monstrosity came into being? A couple years ago? So... oh yeah. Yeah, that is the look of a monster that a sixteen-year-old thought was cool. Nephrite stares at the personification of an awkward teenage Nickleback phase, and barely has the presence of mind to transform into uniform.

Of course, that is when it recognizes him. Crap. Nephrite braces himself. To side-step it or punch it or something. And then it... gets stuck. Alright. He scratches his mane of dark hair, striding forward. "I apparently didn't rate intelligence high on the list of priorities, either. Please nobody tell Zoisite about this part."

One puella magi is taking the overhead approach, another aims for the heart. Nephrite ducks low, out of both of their way, and slams into the thing's sizable purple gut.
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-01 01:42:23 36609
Mamoru doesn't even attack for a moment, he's too busy staring in disbelief. And then he glances at Nephrite, and his guardian's looking embarrassed, so he says staunchly, "It's okay! You were also drunk!" He says it super-confidently, jutting his chin out and puffing up his chest and everything.

And then, well, since the other three really have the attacks covered, he finally moves-- but it's to leap up into a tree-branch higher up and point accusingly at the youma. "Memories are sacred things that allow their owners to keep an awareness of who they are and what events have transpired in their experiences to shape them into their current selves, and also grant the ability to engage in self-referential humor! To cruelly and mockingly thieve memories without consent, merely to sate one's own prodigious appetite for revenge and... memories... is unforgivable! I, Tuxedo Kamen, will not stand for it!"

And then he throws a rose.

The youma's attention is on Kyouko and on trying to free itself; the tree that cracked ominously cracks and creaks some more and begins to bend menacingly, and the youma squirms further, purple vastness jiggling in an unsightly fashion even as that spear comes rushing toward its head. "YOU JERKS RUINED EVERYTHING!" it howls in wounded pride and enormous indignation, and an orc-like meaty paw starts thumping at the tree that's not cracked, because that's smart. "AND YOU ARE A BETRAYING BETRAYER!" it takes the time out to yell at Nephrite. Its breath smells pretty bad.

Its other hand takes a swing at Sayaka a second after she darts through its defenses, and her sword lodges itself in its heart at the same time as Kyouko's spear cleaves open the top of its head and Nephrite impacts with its midsection. The rose, somewhat ingloriously, gets stuck in its howling craw.

The end result is as follows:

Nephrite's thrown by Newton's First Law as his battering ram of a shoulder hits a giant bag of opaque purple muscular jello jiggler; the youma pops out the back of the trees and drags Kyouko and Sayaka with it as long as they hold on to their weapons, coughing up rose petals; the cracking tree decides it's had enough and topples with agonizingly slow and stately grace and about thirty seriously unamused birds fly out of it while screeching; the youma...

...explodes weakly, with a resounding pop and a clattering sound.

About half its apparent weight in pretty colored marbles half-sprays, half-drops, bouncing and scattering in the pine needles like a videogame enemy turning into coins.

Silence reigns.
Kyouko Sakura 2016-04-01 01:49:26 36612
    Well then. Kyouko apparently didn't have a whole lot to worry about- Sayaka stabs the thing (Atta girl!), Kyouko stabs the thing, Mamoru throws a rose- just like old times, except Nephrite is here too. Kyouko sqwuaks indignantly as the thing topples over and takes her along, though she's graceful enough to banish her spear in a shower of red sparkles and land in a tight roll, popping back to her feet.

    "Saya-chan, are you-" She starts to stay when the Youma explodes into a bajillion marbles that flood around them and scatter into the pine-needles. "What the fu-" Kyouko starts to exclaim before one of the rolling marbles gets underfoot as she turns to look at them and she slips and falls on her ass in the pine needles.

Sayaka Miki 2016-04-01 02:01:30 36617
    Sayaka seems not to possess the same speed or skill as she did before. She barely manages to lodge her sword in the beast's heart, struggling to pull it out as the creature swats at her, too fast for her to react and dodge. It sends her slamming into a nearby tree with a yelp. Seems she's forgotten how to tap into her healing abilities too as she lays in a crumpled heap on the ground.

    Fortunately it looks worse than it feels and she struggles slowly to her feet a moment later, a bit bruised and cut up but no worse for wear, thankfully. Staring all all the blood soaking her sword which is undoubtedly the color of Youma blood and nothing near ordinary as red, Sayaka blanches and quickly wipes the blade on the grass as best as she can.

    It takes her a moment longer to calm down, before peering at the defeated youma - or what's left of it. "Woah! We did it? That was...Surprisingly easy..." And now, here comes the best part! Exploding marbles!

    "What...? Are these...?" cautiously, she wanders up to them, picking up a handful to inspect them more closely, uncertain of what to do with them, if anything. Hm. Nephrite sure creates strange Youma. But hey, at least he has a sense of humour!
Nephrite 2016-04-01 02:03:49 36620
Nephrite bounces off of the purple jelly gut and winds up sprawled on the ground. In the mud. Moments later, a shower of marbles cascades over him. He lays staring at the shiny little spheres as they come to rest around him.

The abrupt thunk, followed by Kyouko's shout. "It was a different time," he moans again. As though the statement operates as either explanation or excuse.

He groans as he sits up, picking up a blue marble out of the fold of his jacket. "This one might be yours," he mutters. "I, uh, don't suppose anyone thought to bring a jar?"
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-01 02:14:01 36630
Mamoru considers jumping down out of the tree, but given what just happened to Kyouko, he decides to climb down instead. Very, very kindly, he doesn't make fun of anyone.

Instead, once he's on the ground, he de-henshins and slings his backpack off. "Your marbles," he tells Sayaka cheerfully. "From when you lost them."

He crouches down and sets the backpack on the piney and marbley forest floor, then digs in it for a second. Then he gives up and dumps it out. Chocolate, some proteiny stuff, a few apples, a few carefully packed-tight bentos-- a silver flask. The last, he picks up and tosses toward Nephrite. "Think fast."

Then he shakes the backpack. "Not a jar, but it should hold a bunch. I also have some reusable shopping bags in my subspace pocket. Should be able to handle all of them. Might take us a while to pick them all up, so... road dinner's coming in handy too, looks like." He pauses. "I mean maybe you want to start eating some of those marbles first, see how filling they are, Saya-chan."
Kyouko Sakura 2016-04-01 02:17:26 36631
    Kyouko sits on the ground grumbling from where she fell.. rubbing her behind. She can see Sayaka is okay, despite the blow she took, and that makes her feel better, although as Nephrite and Mamoru speak, her eyes widen slightly. "You mean these are..-" Well, surely not /all/ of them. She stares around at all the marbles scattered around, then groans. "Good lord.. this could take a while." She sighs. "You're lucky I love you, Saya-chan." She mutters, under her breath.

    She fishes around, finding a blue marble which matches the shade of Sayaka's hair. Instinctively assuming this is one of the right ones, she holds it up to her eye and peers into its milky depths- where she sees a brief glimpse of the night before D-point where she and Sayaka were cuddling on the couch.

    She flushes bright red and pulls it away from her eyes. "H-hey Saya-chan, you might wanna start with this one." Before anyone else thinks to look into it! She has her reputation to consider, after all..
Sayaka Miki 2016-04-01 02:25:52 36635
    "Um..." She peers around, not sure where to start. Until Mamoru produces a flask. Well, hopefully she'll be able to fit at least some of them in there. Sayaka starts the arduous task of collecting marbles..Wait, they're HERs? She stares blankly at Nephrite and Mamoru, "Um...Are you saying I literally lost my marbles? Cuz that's not funny in the least!" still, there's a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.

    This whole..Scenario is definitely the weirdest she remembers. But then she doesnt remember a whole lot. And then, oh joy! It gets even worse! "Wait!! I have to EAT 'em all!? But..But but...But wont that turn me into a giant lardball like that Youma we just fought?! I mean, there's...Tons here..."

    Then Kyouko talks about loving her, and holds up a particular marble. Sayaka comes nearer for a closer look..And flushes deeply. "Um....What...Who? Huh?" she snatches it quickly, staring it for a long time, feeling her face growing redder. But, this memory would explain a lot, wouldn't it? Like the connection between herself and Kyouko. "well..Here goes!" and in one fell swoop, Sayaka swallows the pretty colored marble..Mmm, tastes like a raspberry jellybean!

    A moment later, she shudders as if she just got stung by an electric shock. Brief memories flash through her mind, warm memories of that night, the night she thought would be her last night with Kyouko. A night she showed the other girl a softer, gentler side of her. Sayaka seems..Confused. Overwhelmed at first, and just...Stares long and hard at Kyouko as the memories sink in..
Nephrite 2016-04-01 02:34:45 36638
Nephrite remains sitting in the mud, staring around at the many orbs. Lots of blue ones. Some dark red that match the color of the edging on his old uniform, and that almost resemble his eyes.

There are other colors, though. Ones he knows of no match for. Purple ones, yellow ones, green and orange, like gumdrops spilled from a dispenser. Do their owners know what they've lost?

Mamoru's voice startles him, and he glances up just in time to catch the flask with his free hand. "You are a saint," he mutters, and takes a long swig. The warm burn of the whisky is the closest thing to comfort that he is going to find in this damn muddy forest full of lost marbles.

"Right," he says, capping the flask. Better save some for later. "Don't eat any that aren't blue. We'd better try and pick up the rest, too." He looks to Mamoru. "Keep them safe, at least."
Mamoru Chiba 2016-04-01 02:43:50 36644
To the question about losing her marbles, the seventeen-year-old prince just smirks at Sayaka. He doesn't have to confirm it. She knows.

"Yeah, serious doubt they're all yours," Mamoru agrees, then opens up one of the bentos. Apparently he's decided he's going to eat while he picks up marbles. He leaves the empty backpack over by Sayaka, then sleight-of-hands a couple of very-folded-up canvas shopping bags (with 'reduce, reuse, recycle!' printed on them in green) out of his subspace pocket, and hands one to Nephrite. "Just worry about picking them up for now. I guess if you see any more that color, anyone, just hand them to Saya-chan-- we'll sort out the rest later. But definitely," he nods to Nephrite, "keeping them safe for whoever they belong to."

Then he's busy picking up marbles and, well, eating lunch. And decidedly not looking at the emotionally-laden staring contest over there.
Kyouko Sakura 2016-04-01 02:48:13 36648
    Kyouko, still blushing, refuses to make eye contact with Sayaka as the other girl swallows the memorybean, and then stares at her like that. She darts her eyes over, sees the staring, blushes more, and looks away again. "W-what? It's not like I found that one first on purpose or anything." Eye-dart. Look away. "S-stop staring!"

    She hurridly turns and starts picking up marbles, hunting out the blue Sayaka-colored ones and making a separate pile. "There's a ton of these here, we better hurry up and make sure we get them all or it's gonna get dark or somethin'.." She mutters, working feverishly, because at least if Sayaka remembers the whole picture she probably won't keep staring like that. Ugh, wasn't the awkward phase of their relationship supposed to be over?!

    "I hate you Nephrite." She mutters again under her breath.
Sayaka Miki 2016-04-01 02:59:48 36652
    Now it's Sayaka's turn to feel self-conscious when she realizes she's staring, and she quickly looks away, feeling red again, and more self-conscious than ever! Ugh, why's this sooo awkward!? Sure, it's just a snippet of the big picture, but it explains some of Kyouko's behavior. But it doesnt explain why Sayaka felt the same way towards her, or what built up to that in the first place!

    Argh! And it's doubly embarrassing with wisecracking Mamoru and drunk as hell Nephrite not too far away. "Huh. That's really funny, Mamoru-san. Lost my marbles indeed!" she mutters as she hurriedly picks up the blue ones, doing her best to separate them from the rest. She doesnt have a jar of any sort, and apparently Mamoru's flask is full of...Probably more alcohol.

    She smirks, searching through her own bag and pulls out a little bento box which is thankfully half-empty. She starts filling it with blue marbles only, deciding to focus on those first. For now, Sayaka decides not to eat anymore memorybeans. Heck, that first one was a shocker and she needs to prepare herself for whatever else came!

    "Alright. Still, it's a lot of blue beans. Do you have any idea how we're supposed to return the other colored beans to their owners though?"
Nephrite 2016-04-01 03:12:17 36660
This may be one of the only times in the world that Mamoru is more concerned with eating than Nephrite. He won't be able to sit still and enjoy food as long as these marbles are staring up at him. He finally reverts to his jeans and t-shirt, and shoves the flask in his pocket.

He reaches over Sayaka's head and drops the blue marble in his hand into her bento. "I don't know. We'll find a way."

He sounds more convinced than he feels. But at least, he can gather them. Keep them safe. It's a start.