How can I help you

Runealy comes to the Contractors clinic to see what it's about, and once she finds out she wants to help.

Date: 2016-08-22
Pose Count: 23
Fate T. Waldia 2016-08-22 02:06:20 51927
    The Contractor's Clinic (now with a healer!) is not that hard to find, despite being a little bit inconspicuous. It's mostly intentional that the entrance doesn't draw too much attention, and the building itself doesn't even call itself a clinic. Instead, it's simply labeled 'Contractors'. Most people coming this way are going to the Karaoke Crown, and wouldn't even notice the clinic itself.

    Among the crowds are a number of teenaged girls, leaning against walls, chatting happily with one another, and doing an effective job of blending in. Yet those who know what to look for might find hints of magic about them or the glimpse of a henshin item. There's nothing particularly unfriendly about them to the casual observer, but it would be a very inconvenient place for a youma to suddenly find itself.

    Homura is just inside, in the lobby of the clinic and visible through the window. She is looking over a ledger and tapping buttons on a calculator, just trying to make sure that things add up how they should.
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 02:11:35 51930
Figuring out where something is via second or third-hand information is a bit of a challenge, but eventually Rune gets the idea: The clinic she seeks is in this part of Mitakihara, with those landmarks, leading to... here. The sign saying 'Contractors' is the confirmation she needs, and she waves to her limo driver... who opts to remain here for the time being, per her request. Despite having left word with nearby friends as to where she's going, needing a sudden escape vehicle might come up.

Yet whether the princess has picked up on being in the midst of her peers or not isn't immediately clear, as she tries to walk by them and head right into the lobby. Her mood seems fairly calm and polite, if focused.
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 02:22:46 51933
    Runealy enters, and Homura glances up. When she recognizes the princess, Homura smiles and says, "Hey, Rune-chan."

    She notices the focus in her expression, though the overall calmness and politeness is noted as well. She certainly doesn't mind Runealy's company, but now Homura's certainly curious as to why she's here.

    The ledger is closed and pushed aside, as is the calculator. Homura stands and places her hands on the counter. "Is something up?"

    The thought crosses her mind that Runealy might hire her, but she wants to hear what she has to say before jumping to too many conclusions.
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 02:27:15 51936
Rune blinks, surprised at the reaction. It's a positive one, but she's simply not used to seeing Homura in these kinds of moods; the majority of her prior contact was of a more dour nature. So it takes a second to 'process' this, and return the smile. "Hello. Well, I guess a lot of things are going on... but I'm not sure if any of them are really why I'm here. No, the reason I dropped by is I heard..."

She hesitates, struggling to find the right vocabulary for explaining this. After a few moments, Rune tries uncertainly: "I heard you used a... 'blag pole'?" VERY uncertain on that, and those are the actual words she uses for it, "Or something like that, to help people? What is this place, exactly? What's this all about, if it's okay to ask?"
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 02:36:23 51937
    Blag pole? Homura blinks. What the heck is a--

    Homura thinks back to the various numbers of words that have been used to describe what she's doing. "I... don't know what a 'blag pole' is. Do you mean blog?" As soon as she says the words, she wonders if Runealy even has an idea of what a 'blog' is. She's been here a year, so it wouldn't surprise Homura if she did, but it also wouldn't surprise her if she didn't.

    "Okay, so what we do here is-- You remember back when we first met and you had a Grief Seed and you asked me what it was? Okay, so basically Witches and Grief Seeds are in short supply right now, but now there are these monsters called Wraiths that drop Grief Cubes and we tend to keep them here in case somebody needs them in an emergency."

    She glances to the hallway, saying, "We also have an actual healer, in case people get wounded. I guess I could say that we're trying to be a general purpose facility meant to help people with magic-related medical problems." Apparently she classifies 'needing Grief Cubes' as a health problem. "... but I mean, we know more about Puella Magi than any other type of magical girl, so we're a bit more equipped to handle them."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 02:43:07 51940
Did she mean 'blog'? Yes. "...Something like that? It's just what I heard. I don't even know what they are." Rune's gaze lowers, embarrassed by this admission. "Yes, I remember that. The first thing I realized is someone who needed them could get really desperate, just like we were. The second thing I realized is we needed to be sure we didn't target any Puella Magi, that we didn't push them over the brink. It was where we drew the line. But this..."

She looks around the area a little more and decides, "This reminds me of Mitakihara General Hospital." Rune goes to the trouble of using its full name, instead of just 'Mitakihara General.' "So this is a place where..." Another vocabulary stumble; Rune probably wants 'doctor' in the modern context, but opts for a notably archaic version of the term Homura just used "...healers... would be, but they know about all this? Where most people in Tokyo don't understand?"
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 02:51:35 51942
    Homura nods, sheepishly glancing off to the side. Yeah, things were a lot different then, and a lot more desperate for Homura individually, though things as they are now are still not super great for Puella as a whole.

    "Mitakihara General Hospital... yeah, that's about right. People have tried to use their magic to help others before, some even calling themselves doctors," Shelby comes to mind, "but there's always been a lack of organization and funding. This is... an attempt to remedy some of those problems, to make it a bit easier for people to get the help they need."

    Homura shrugs. "Our clients often don't have money for a normal hospital, or they have problems that can't be discussed with non-magical doctors, but those same clients are also defending the city so sometimes they need help and someone needs to help them."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 02:56:44 51946
"'Doctors'... right, that's your word for them," Rune reminds herself of the vocabulary involved. "That's always been so weird to me, that people just don't know who's helping them. Well... okay. It looks like I'm in the right place."

Forcing herself to calm down after these embarrassments, Rune faces Homura straight-on. "I'd like to help. We don't personally need it, not with Vale around, but she can't be everywhere. Keeping a place like this going would make Tokyo better off, and the more secure Tokyo is..."

A tiny smile forms. "Well, it's one of those times where the right thing to do in general, just having a heart, lines up really well with what's best for my home. The way I see it, Tokyo's a buffer between my world and all these other monsters and invading empires. So please let me know what you need."
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 03:10:28 51950
    So... Runealy wants to help? Homura blinks. Well... What do they need? Homura's so focused on how the Contractors can help others that she hasn't really thought about...

    "Well, we don't need money. I have Salamander for that. We also have a healer, several if you count the Puella Magi on our payroll, but those are definitely for emergencies only."

    Well, there's a couple things that they do need, actually. Now that Homura thinks about it. "I think what we need most is information. I don't know how difficult that would be, but information on magical curses and things like that... we're limited by our lack of knowledge and expertise, so getting more of that would help us out a lot."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 03:16:24 51951
Rune's eyes raise in surprise. "A lizard is worth that much here in Tokyo?" She has apparently missed that singular 'Salamander' in this case may be a proper noun. "That almost makes me want to see about bringing one or two in from back home to fund some things, without messing up the supply and rarity of them too badly here on Earth..." Apparently the princess has at least a basic grasp of economics, albeit accompanied by a very wrong grasp of how common or uncommon salamanders are in this world.

"Information, huh? You're asking the wrong person for most of that. 'Blag pole' and all. The only things I could teach you about are demons and my world's Barrier. I don't think your healers will be tending to our Barrier any time soon, but as for demons... we've found at least two in Tokyo, and we /think/ there are still one or more running around somewhere."
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 03:28:29 51953
    "Wh-- No! I mean, not an actual lizard." Homura thinks about how to describe it. "I run a non-magical company now. Salamander Salvage and Construction. I um... used my magic to salvage some boats. Some were sold for scrap, some sold to museums. The navy actually hired my company to drag their boats from the bottom of the ocean after... Walpurgisnacht happened."

    Homura actually got some of those boats in question sunk while fighting Walpurgisnacht, but... taking the money was a lot easier than admitting that she stole them in order to defend Japan.

    "Also because of Walpurgisnacht, the construction business is booming, so I got into that business as well. Salvage can run out, but people will always need buildings built. I decided to call it Salamander because salamanders are symbols of rebirth, and both salvaging and construction are... a bit like a rebirth, in some ways."

    Runealy can't help much with information? Well, it was a long shot, but Homura probably should have expected that response. "I see... Well, you could also hunt down Wraiths. If you give us the Grief Cubes they drop, we'll pay for them, but keep in mind that if there are Puella Magi present, it's probably better that they get them. The point of the bounty is to encourage the hunting of Wraiths before they can do harm, not to deny Puella what they need."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 03:38:59 51956
"Ohh...!" Rune's eyes light up with understanding, as she pieces together the relations going on. "A salvage company... that actually makes a lot of sense out here, so that's how you..." A single, slow nod. "I get it. Wraiths, huh? You'll have to tell me how to know what one is, or these 'Grief Cubes', but... it's not our policy,"

A headshake, then she finishes: "To put a price on saving lives like that. Just how much demand is there for something that stops you from being ruined as a Puella Magi?" The question is rhetorical, and she immediately answers it: "Near-infinite, I bet. Which would mean the price would be near-infinite too. It's one of those cases where exchanging money for it doesn't really work, because the only fair price would be /unfair/ to you. So we're not going to charge you for Grief Cubes we bring in." She is apparently 'volunteering' this policy upon her friends, her knights.
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 03:45:52 51958
    Homura tilts her head as Runealy mentions that not being their policy. Certainly, she doesn't think that everyone would be on board with bounty hunting various kinds of youma, but Rune's objection isn't the one that Homura is expecting.

    Homura blinks and, perhaps way out of character for how Homura was when they first met, she smiles softly. "Well, of course, donations are also acceptable. If you wanted to help that way, we can be sure that the Grief Cubes are put to good use, and given to people who need them."

    When she worked for WPS, Homura had to cope with finding new things to be disgusted about. Now? Now she's needing to get used to being pleasantly surprised.

    "Of course, we'd always be willing to help you, too. If you ever needed it."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 03:51:07 51959
"That's how it'll be. If we see someone right then, right there that can use it... great. They get it." Rune nods once at this summary. "If not, we bring it to you or call you to pick it up or whatever else works. As for helping us back? Well... that might come up. At the very least, be careful. There's someone out there who keeps going after people she thinks are working with me."

Rune looks over-shoulder, back at the cityscape through whatever view is available... or its general direction if the lobby won't permit an open view. "There's a lot out of places out there for her to hide, or hit from. Once I have a little better idea what we're up against, I might ask you what you know about some things around Tokyo if that's okay."
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 03:59:04 51962
    "Sure! Whatever works. We're not picky about the how as long as people get the help they need."

    Someone's... targeting Runealy? Homura narrows her eyes. Is that so?

    "Did they give a reason? I know you might have... angered some people in the past, but I was under the impression that you were mostly... forgiven, for all of that."

    The lobby does in fact offer a clear view of the outside, and in fact it's easier to see out than in. Homura did design this place with the thought that it could be attacked at any time.

    If someone's trying to assassinate Runealy, that's a pretty big deal. Doesn't her entire world depend solely on her survival?

    "Yeah, sure. We can help you out like that. If you need any extra defense, we can supply that too, though I imagine your Guardian Knights do a pretty good job of that."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 04:06:09 51964
"I'm still trying to figure that out. All I know is someone I've never even met is here in Tokyo, doing whatever she can to get at me. First mom, and now me, and I can't even begin to guess at why!" Rune is visibly alarmed as she runs through that thought process, but calms down a little at Homura's offer. "Defense, I don't know. That would call for someone there al lthe time, and so far we've been able to at least chase her off if we work together. We'd need some way to figure out where she is or when she's about to make a move on one of us. /That/ would be the biggest help I can think of, but I have no idea how to do it."
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 04:15:05 51969
    "So... no stated or clear reason," says Homura. Hm. That's perplexing. "Well, what I can do is tell my people to keep a lookout for her. I have employees patrolling Tokyo at all times, and they report to me after patrol, so if they see something I'll hear about it."

    Homura considers. "You sound like you've seen her before. Can you give a general description? It'd help, if we do investigate."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 04:19:40 51970
"More times than I'd like," Rune admits. "She kills people." This might not be directly the case, Rune hasn't actually seen that happen, but she sounds absolutely convinced all the same. "So maybe I should tell you what she looks like." A general description of the 'Nightshade Serpent' ensues, with some cautionary remarks added afterward.

"She uses some kind of poison, and hostages too. So don't go 'patrolling' near her unless you want problems like finding a dagger," again with the archaic terms, though this one is tinged with obvious fear as she recalls: "to your friend's neck."
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 04:26:03 51971
    Homura's eyes widen a bit at the mention of 'She kills people', then go wider still as poisons and hostages are mentioned. "So. She's like that."

    Well, Homura? What did you expect? Runealy did say that she was trying to assassinate her.

    The description is written down on a notepad in front of Homura, transcribed word for word. That's the best Homura can do to preserve the information given.

    "I see. Well, I'll have to save that for my stronger hunters, and offer hazard pay. This isn't the first time I've heard of someone killing magical girls, but it's never a pretty scenario when that happens. Thanks for the warning."

    It's likely, since this is a threat that Runealy herself hasn't been able to nullify, Homura might be trying to handle it herself.

    "... as for the rest, I'll tell my hunters not to engage her unless necessary. It's likely that we won't see much of her in henshin until she acts, however. I can't make promises about what we find."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 04:29:08 51972
"Right." Rune's agreement is fairly quick, and she hops to another topic suddenly. "...It's weird, though. I came here wanting to offer help for your idea, and it seems the reverse ended up happening." Her gaze lowers a little upon realizing this aloud. "Are you sure there's nothing else you need? 'Cubes and information...'," A repetition to help keep it in her mind, perhaps.
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 04:34:23 51974
    Homura doesn't have much more to say on that topic. The conversation did turn into the Contractors helping Runealy, but... that is what the Contractors are supposed to do, in general.

    Homura eventually decides... maybe not on an answer, but a non-answer she doesn't feel too bad about. "Tell you what. I can't really think of anything else off the top of my head. It's not something I've thought much about. However, if we do need something, and you can help us, we'll let you know, alright?"

    With a smile and a sidetilt to her head, she says. "I appreciate the offer, and will remember it. Thank you for anything you can help us with."
Runealy Waldia 2016-08-22 04:37:31 51975
"That works," Rune concedes as she matches Homura's smile, "we'll do that. I guess for now though, we just have to leave it at that. I'm really glad to see places like this are getting funded, though!" She offers a tiny handwave, then begins to back off; she'll wait for any further responses, but seems to be leaving soon.
Homura Akemi 2016-08-22 04:39:05 51976
    "I'm glad to hear you say that, because I really do want the Contractors to do good things in Tokyo." Homura is still unusually cheerful for Homura, but someone who didn't know her well might just think that she was a genuinely happy person.

    She waves back at Runealy, and says, "Thanks for stopping by!"