Paper Gold

Rune and Fate encounter Shira again ... this time, in Midori-ya. Everyone needs something to eat, and somewhere to live. Right?

Date: 2016-09-25
Pose Count: 25
Shira 2016-09-25 00:08:51 55819
The Midori-ya! A perfect place for meetups, romance, or just a late-night coffee break. Tonight, not closing hours but an hour or three before, the primary clientele tend to either be business people, or a few late-night curfew-abandoning teens. Or even those who would style themselves magical girls!

Or, in Shira's case, dark magical girls that happen to be squatters in Mitakihara. She's 'acquired' enough yen for a coffee and a meal, and rumors of delicious pastries have enticed the young woman into the cafe. She's dressed in her usual: ripped jeans, tattered belt, and a second-hand, thick hoodie that she has drawn down so only a few locks of her green hair peek out. Her big, odd eyes stand out despite the shade put over most of her face.

Sitting down with her order, it's a dark bitter coffee and what look to be a good two dozen deviled eggs before her. One or two of the businessmen here give Shira a look of disdain. She ignores them utterly, before openeing her mouth and swallowing one of the eggs whole.

That does a lot to dissuade too many looks at the homeless girl.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 00:25:31 55821
    The Midori-ya certainly is a nice place to grab a treat, known well for its pastries and other baked goods. That's what brings Fate here, having invited Runealy along. She's got her own black hoodie that she often wears, oversized to the point of almost acting like a dress, flopped all over her loosely. The hood itself is down, letting her blonde twintails trail behind her. It's certainly well-kempt, as are the barely-visible edge of the white shorts she wears.

    For her, money is not much of an issue, with her familiar around telling her to save it and spend slowly. That may be an unusual situation for someone who is... maybe not an orphan, but certainly a runaway, though Eclipse did pay her well when she worked for them. When she walks up to the counter of the Midori-ya, she cheerfully orders a donut and a cup of hot chocolate, because that's what she wants today!

    She turns towards and looks up at Runealy with wide, wine-red eyes, completely unaware of the dark magical girl sitting somewhere behind them. "How about you, Rune-chan? What are you getting?"
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 00:35:22 55822
Rune had some sudden food for thought - in the figurative sense - on the ride over. As she walks through the Midori-ya and follows Fate to the counter, she has some choice remarks: "Wait a minute. I'm fine with saving and being careful with spending, but... I think we're working on way different budgets here. Fate, are you having to be that way with /a/ donut and /a/ drink? I think we need to talk, because I thought you had something set up... at the very least you should be getting around what my Knights are."

Then to answer the actual question, she goes for some vanilla cake, a drink matching Fate's, and 'thank you' once the order is placed.

Then her eyes wander, noticing Shira but not immediately picking up on the importance here; if there's any recognition, the princess shows no sign.
Shira 2016-09-25 00:44:51 55823
About three eggs in, Shira finally looks up. The behoodie'd Fate gets a single blank look to the back of her twintails. Some small part of her wants to tug on one. Shira resists the urge.

What /does/ get Shira's attention is Runealy. Her eyes slowly lid, then blink. The small talk about money gets absorbed, but most of her attention is on Runealy's back. Even the talk of Knights goes way over her head. No, it's simply important that the one girl she actually sort-or recognizes is here.

Shira tries to get up, to initialize some non-thievery-based interaction. But she hesitates. Her cup of coffee trembles in her hand. It's an old feeling, one she hasn't felt since before she lost her parents. Back home.

She's nervous. Her head finds her lap as she peers downwards. Then, back up.

A deep, sucking breath, and a sip of coffee.

Then, suddenly, she's behind the booth that the two are at. Thankfully there's no one in the seat nearby. "It's pretty easy to get money. All you need is a knife or a quick hand. People keep paper gold in places that's not hard to get to."

Shira-chan is /helping/!
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 00:55:30 55824
    "It's not the donuts and the drink," says Fate. "It's the chocolate castle sculptures that rival the cost of that limo." Fate looks somewhat sheepish as she explains to Rune, "We went to a chocolate festival the other day. They had done a lot of neat things with chocolate. I didn't buy anything too expensive though."

    Fate is about to say something else, but suddenly there's a voice behind them. Offering... the kind of advice that Fate used to hear. There's one choice of words that she hangs up on. Paper gold?

    She turns around to look up at Shira, not quite noticing when her treats arrive, placed on the counter. Red eyes blink up at the thief as the little girl wonders if she recognizes the girl from her days at Eclipse... but no such recognition comes.

    "I don't... do that kind of thing anymore," she says before turning around and dropping some money on the counter. She isn't sure what to make of Shira.
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 01:03:59 55825
/Now/ recognition hits. Rune is not aware that Shira is one of their attackers, but does recall this voice from elsewhere. Some time ago. Rune recalls a scuffle in the streets, a chase, and... things did not seem to go much further than that, but the whole thing was bewildering to her and some details may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Still, she doesn't say anything to Shira just yet. Instead, Fate gets a bewildered tone and an "Ohh... okay... I guess I could see /that/ doing it, yeah. Thought you were almost out of money or something and was going to tell you we need to fix that. ...Probably need to anyway, come to think of it?"

/Then/ she looks back to Shira and speaks with that same confused voice, "I really don't think we should go waving daggers at people to cut their coin-purses open... we don't need to, anyway. Are you..." She hesitates before finishing, "doing that?"
Shira 2016-09-25 01:14:56 55827
Siiiip. Fate doesn't do that sort of thing anymore. She blinks several times, then devours another egg she's brought with her. Nomf. Gulp. Blink. Her head slowly tilts.

"Why not? Did you find some way of making go...'money'." Right, 'money'. That's what the little dark voice always says.

Whump. Just as poor Rune is bewildered at Fate and then confused by Shira, said green haired thief just plops down into the booth next to her. No tact /or/ politeness in this girl, it seems.

Siiiip. "When I have to. I tried talking to people. The merchants just kicked me out. The woman advertising jobs just called me a 'homeless gaijin' and threw me into an alleyway. People in this country are mean." A sigh. Some small hint of depression eeks into her voice. Pause.

Her next words are /far/ too delayed. "I'm from Europe." Slooooooow nod.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 01:22:56 55829
    "Probably..." admits Fate, with regards to the money situation and finding a solution to it. "It'd be nice, if I had other income."

    To Shira's question, Fate shuffles her feet a little uncomfortably. "... because it isn't right, and it's not how people should behave." Her tone carries with it a certain conviction, but with the way her eyes are looking around she's clearly uncomfortable.

    From Europe? Fate glances up at Runealy, who used that same excuse once before. Then it occurs to her that Shira probably means the real Europe.

    "I don't think that's true. A lot of people here have been really nice to me. I'm sorry if you had a bad experience, though." Realistically speaking, it's the people from Michildia and the demons from Waldia who have been mean to her.
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 01:30:19 55832
Fate's concerns draw Rune's quick attention. "The way I see it, you've generally been doing a Knight's work. Maybe without the Oath, but I'm not sure I see much of a difference in what you've /done./ So, when we get home we'll go over that and figure something out for you, okay? I actually forgot where you were on that sort of thing, sorry!"

Then Rune decides to test something, intentionally slipping into extremely archaic wording even by her own standards to the point of sounding ridiculous even back on Waldia, but it would be recognized as some form of dialect from there all the same. She stares at Shira and asks: "Is yours an undying truth, absolute and incomparable? Claiming European heritage?" It's not meant to sound dramatic; Rune is trying to blatantly dangle lingual clues here and see how Shira reacts. There are modest differences in how people back home /usually/ talk compared to Tokyo natives, after all.
Shira 2016-09-25 01:38:28 55834
Shira slowly nods to Fate's answer, falling silent as she thinks. Seemingly taking far too long, she vaguely waves an egg in the air. Chomp.

Gulp. "That's silly. 'Right' or 'wrong' are only for people who are lucky. You can only 'behave' if you don't have to worry about things taking away what little you have." She offers with that unchanging, flat voice.

A blink. A loud yawn. "That's good for you. You're lucky." There's no malice in her words, just bland acceptance.

But Rune's words get her attention entirely. Her mouth thins into a line as words she'd recognize are offered to her. Her arms tense. For a brief moment, there's anger in her eyes.

With a deep breath, she sucks it all down. "I claim no highborne heritage. Only low ties of hearth and suffering." She offers in turn, deadpan speech tight, and perhaps, a little scared.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 01:47:41 55836
    Fate nods to Runealy. "I didn't mention it before, because it's not urgent, but it's something that would have to be addressed sooner or later."

    Fate is... lucky? Maybe. She certainly can't fault someone for doing what they have to in order to survive, and money is a large part of that. Yet...

    "For something that you say is silly, people show a lot of conviction about it. In the end, I guess I just don't want to hurt anyone if I can avoid it."

    Then Runealy digs into archaic speech, which Fate doesn't recognize as such because she's neither from Europe nor Waldia, but she does recognize that it's a little different. Then Shira responds in much the same fashion, and Fate blinks, wondering if she missed something.

    The phrase 'undying truth' is maybe a little unusual, but 'highborne' is very specifically... maybe not a new concept to her, but not a concept that she's used to actually dealing with.
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 01:51:00 55838
Rune suddenly loses interest in food, or fixing Fate's finances. She's picking up on enough similarities in speech that she is now tense as her mind races through possibilities. The egg-devouring, purse-cutting individual before them is most likely from back home. And so Runealy opts to quit dancing around the topic.

Voice low, clearly worried, she decides to ask outright: "How did you get here? You've been here for at least a few months, and at most no longer than I have. Don't tell me 'a ship.' Ships don't fit through hollowed out trunks of huge trees in forests leading to shrines." She is blatantly referencing the housing of the blue sphere - of often fluctuating size - that amounts to the portal between worlds.

Rune is also very sure to keep Fate in her peripheral vision, fearing an attack on Fate from unknown sources may happen any moment now.
Shira 2016-09-25 02:01:29 55840
Shira just kind of leans back into her seat as Fate protests. Coffee is devoured. One of Fate's donuts gets stolen sneakily. Nomf!

Chew chew chew. "I can't help it if people believe in stupid things." She adds. Someone tell her to eat with her mouth closed!

Pretenses, at least partially, die. Shira tries to look calm. No, she's entirely on edge, and it may well show. The voice tells her to shut up. To leave. To take to the shadows. Some small part of her insists she stays. To open up, just a little.

"Why do you care? Who are you?" She asks. Then, the smallest of frowns.

"It doesn't matter. I went walking. I got tired of starving on the streets. I found..." A pause.

"I found a new place. It's a little easier to eat here." She ends. That's not all she found, of course. But she's not about to mention demons.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 02:11:27 55843
    Fate doesn't think that it's stupid, but she is wondering where her donut went. Deciding that she's not satisfied, she orders another. Then she listens to the two of them, sipping her hot chocolate in silence as she watches the exchange.

    Runealy's nervousness does not go unnoticed, nor does the tenseness in the air between the princess and the thief. Her fingers go to the yellow icon on the back of her hand, pressing against Bardiche's standby mode just to be sure that it's there.

    "Tokyo is easy to find food in. Sometimes people will just give it to you."

    Fate's eyes pass between Runealy and Shira, and this time when her donut comes she manages to eat some of it before it vanishes.

    The reference to the portal, at least, is something that she catches. "You've really travelled a long way, haven't you? ... from Europe."
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 02:14:14 55844
"I'm your princess," Rune answers in a soft tone. "Normally I'd ask you to go back home, but... it sounds like," She raises an eye, trying to put all this together, " you're somehow homeless but none of the initiatives we have in place for helping with that have managed to catch up with you. On top of that, the portal's probably too small for you to fit right now." Despite having just claimed high rank, Rune's demeanor is not at all commanding or imposing. She seems very confused, and trying to quickly think through what to do about all this.

"Fate's right, some people around here are just as helpful as they are back home. So none of this is really adding up, it's like things that are /supposed/ to be helping you out somehow aren't, or you're not taking advantage of them, or who knows what else is going on. Either way, this is weird."

Then she faces Shira in full again, "Tell us something, would you? Are you still homeless, here in Tokyo?"
Shira 2016-09-25 02:30:35 55847
Fate has her eyes opening. It's as though Shira's never considered 'free food'! But then the young woman has her calming slightly. Wince. Cat is out of the bag. "I'm not sure if I should've left."

Suddenly, she falls silence. Princess. The Princess that's been around here. The Princess that killed her parents and made them resort to awful things just to keep their young child fed. Her entire body visibly shakes, and slitted eyes peer at Runealy with a spark of utter hatred.

One of her hands reaches for her pockets, where the proof of the power given to her by Demons lays...

That dark voice whispers in her mind, only for something that Runealy says stops her. The hate fades into something small cooler. Shira silences the voice with an act of will. She smells opportunity.

"You're right. They have been just as helpful to me as they were back home." She keeps her voice carefully neutral.

Eyes close. "I live in downtown Mitakihara. It's an old apartment building, just a few rooms rented to people with gold. ...I managed to find a gap into a closed down apartment. I changed the 'wires' so that I get magic air. 'Air conditioning'." Someone's good with technology for someone that lived in 'Europe'.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 02:40:29 55849
    Fate quietly eats her donut as Runealy outs herself as an alien princess, and what the little mage was starting to suspect is confirmed. However, it also leads to... doubts. Weren't the people that Fate saw well taken care of? She doesn't recall anyone being particularly needy when she visited. Then again she only saw the capitol of what she imagines is a sprawling kingdom.

    'Just as helpful'. Fate may be young, but she's not so naive as to not catch what was just said. She frowns. Something is going wrong here, and the princess seems just as confused and surprised as Fate is.

    "I'm not sure why they didn't help you as much as you needed it. When I went there everyone seemed really nice." On the other hand, Fate was something of a hero to those people before she had even met them, aside from Runealy and her sworn friends. That may have skewed things in her favor, she realizes.
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 02:46:02 55850
Utterly unaware that anyone has colored Shira's opinions of her to that extent, Rune doesn't really understand the reaction she's getting to this introduction. "Okay... we definitely have a problem here, then. Somehow, you crossed over here without the guards stopping you," This is entirely possible; their coverage of the portal isn't perfect, among other ways to get in. "And didn't know to come find me, it sounds like. Listen..."

"I'm not sure how to deal with this. So I'm going to give you a few choices." Rune sighs as her head lowers, realizing these are all stressful positions to ponder; she kind of wishes she could just let her father handle this one. He's not here, though. "Option one, we find some way to keep you situated until the portal opens enough to send you back. Once you're on the other side, we put you in touch with people who can get you a foster home or something like that. You'd have to hand over /all/ of your Earth technology before going back to Waldia... we'll pay you a fair value for them," she quickly adds to make clear this isn't straight-up royal robbery, "but you could do that. Or we figure out some way to make sure you're taken care of here. What exactly that involves, we'd have to talk through. Especially since, well,"

She nods over to Fate, facing her. "You said it. Whatever's going on shouldn't have gotten this far, and I have no idea how it did. I won't say things like this /never/ happen, but it's really, really rare. Usually we get it taken care of as soon as we find out."
Shira 2016-09-25 03:00:05 55853
Fate just gets a long, hard look. As though the girl was an utter fool. It's a purely defensive reaction, she's showing far more emotion than just a few motions before. Her toes wiggle in her ratty shoes, and she quivers before turning to Runealy.

The smallest of smirks. "Your guards aren't as good as you think." She all but taunts, the tiniest of smirks on her face. Then it vanishes into neutrality. Another long flinch at the mere idea. Going home? What was there for her? Just more misery. And best of all, here? She has her enemy right where she wants them.

Her tongue wets her very dry lips. Her heart hammers. She feels...scared. And she can't figure out why. Part of her is...curious about why the young royal who helped lead to her parent's demise would seem to /care/.

A voice whispers. It's all lies. They're not true. It's a trap to take her in and /use/ her.

That last part is the one that hits her, and as the Princess offers, she looks back to Fate.

"...Did you ever go outside of the capitol? Did you see the lands that have been..." Then, a hard look to Runealy.


A slow blink. "Where are you living, Princess Runealy Waldia? Can I live with you?" She suddenly offers, adopting a 'warm' tone. It has a frigid edge to it.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 03:06:44 55855
    Fate isn't sure what to make of the look she's been given. She knows what she saw, and what Runealy told her. She doesn't think that the princess was lying. "I went a little ways out. I found a lake. I didn't see anything that I thought was 'abandoned'." Granted, Fate wasn't really looking for anything like that. She notices the glance given to Runealy, and she glances at the princess before turning back to the thief.

    She suddenly gets the feeling that this girl may not be entirely friendly, and it has nothing to do with the donut that suddenly went missing.

    As for staying with them... Fate wonders if that's actually a good idea, but she doesn't say anything.

    Something here really isn't right.
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 03:12:02 55856
"Sure, I've been to other cities sometimes. Mom and d-- ...the queen and king," Rune tries to regain some level of formality, "would bring me along when we were touring areas we'd be setting up shipping routes for or making sure certain projects were doing fine. I don't remember seeing any places I'd call abandoned, aside from a home or two here and there." Understandably, the royal family was not interested in bringing their child into a poverty-stricken region that they were working on fixing; why introduce her to that kind of ugliness if it wasn't seen as strictly necessary, after all?

Fate backing her up on this assessment is appreciated, and draws a quick nod. "Then you saw how most of the area outside the capital city is like. As for what she just asked..." It occurs to her this might frighten Fate for a different reason, and Rune tries to preempt this by insisting: "I want to let you know up front you're keeping the Safe Room for now, we're not kicking you out! Sounds like we need to get that expansion done sooner rather than later, though. That said..."

She faces Shira again. "If you have no family or friends to stay with, then yes. You have your choice of staying in an apartment or similar arrangement and we'll help subsidize it until you can get your budget stable enough to cover it on your own, or... if you really think you need it, we can work something out for our home. Maybe you can stay in the living room or a tent in the yard or /something/ until we get you situated. I can't just let one of my people wander abandoned in Tokyo!"
Shira 2016-09-25 03:24:37 55859
Almost immediately, the look towards Fate seems to...soften. There's a slow nod. Suddenly Fate's new donut remains entirely uneaten. Shira may have been unconsciously trying to yoink the thing.

A life of crime makes for hard habits, people. She does sigh. "Well. Maybe you shouldn't worry too much about a place that far away from here."

A sucking breath. "I don't take up much space. And I'm quiet." She offers. That much is true. Shira is an expert at quiet. Also skulking and fitting into ridiculously tight spaces. A small shake of the head.

"I don't have anyo...anything left back home. So, that's fine. I've slept on rooftops before." Then, suddenly, she leans awkwardly forward. Way, waaaay too close as she's suddenly trying to grab Rune's hands in an extremely limp version of a 'handshake'.

Something about this all bothers some part of her. Why is this girl being so /nice/? Isn't the royal family supposed to be selfish, supposed to be awful and keeping the poor down on their laurels? She remembers all the speeches by the nobility near her. Of how their best efforts went to waste. And yet, this Princess talks of reform?

It's one part vengeance, one part lingering curiousity that makes her finally give a half-hearted smile. "...I'll be looking forward to getting to know you, Princess. My me 'Shira'. Or if you want to think of home, call me 'Levan Silva'." She finally offers, despite the screams in her head. Shira is very, very good at ignoring voices.
Fate T. Waldia 2016-09-25 03:35:43 55861
    Fate gives Runealy a confused expression, and then a sheepish, wide-eyed smile. "I didn't think that you would, but I meant what I said about helping build another one."

    She trusts Runealy, but something Shira says confuses her even more. Fate shouldn't worry? What is there to worry about? As long as the demons are kept behind the barrier, is there any reason to worry?

    Yet the thought that Shira doesn't have anything to go back to... it's sad, because even though Fate does technically have family, she really doesn't have anywhere else to go. She could find a place, maybe, but with Runealy's generosity there's no reason for her to.

    So, this girl's name is Shira, or Levan Silva. "My name's Fate Testarossa," volunteers Fate. "It's nice meeting you!" she adds, out of polite habit more than anything.
Runealy Waldia 2016-09-25 03:43:04 55863
"'Shira'? Huh, a nickname?" Rune makes a guess at this introduction, eyes raised at how enthusiastic things turned; the odd handshake is somewhat blankly taken in kind. "Well, we won't have you on the roof. Living room for now, we'll figure it out after that." She smiles and nods over to Fate, pleased at how this is going. "Thanks for being understanding..."
Shira 2016-09-25 03:50:15 55865
For once, Shira gives something very close to an honest smile to Fate. "You too, Fate..." Pause. "Fate-chan." Nod nod nod nod. That's how the non-'europeans' say it! Another long pause.

Yup, that smile is honest, but brief before fading back into weird deadpan. "You have good taste in baked goods."

That /other/ donut's remains are missing. Shira licks her lips in satisfaction.

A long look to Rune. And then a slow nod. She finishes her coffee. "I..." Suddenly, despite herself, despite all her well-planned ideas, her opportunism here, her hatred...she chokes up. Honestly chokes up. She's being offered kindness, and even she can't deny it.

For all that the now tiny voice screams betreyal and murder, some tiny part of her weeping heart is lifted by the Princess' kindness, though she doesn't yet know it.

"...I'll meet you here in a few days." She offers. Suddenly, she stands up. And all but bolts out the front door.

She never /did/ pay for her food.