And Then There's THIS Guy

Date: 2015-08-07
Pose Count: 8
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-07 02:50:51 6657
Mamoru's still smiling, exhausted as he is, after Kyouko's gone off. There's a first for everything, and he's never danced at night in a park with no music and no shoes--

--and then he laughs, like, what is he even thinking? Because his shoes and his tailcoat are still by the parkbench. In sock feet, tuxedo a wreck, jacket gone, sleeves rolled up, tie untied, and in that warm and tired afterglow of a nice buzz and a long evening, the seventeen-year-old stops walking in the middle of the path. He turns around uncertainly, trying to decide whether or not to bother going back for his jacket and shoes. It's probably three in the morning.
Nephrite 2015-08-07 04:04:40 6681
"One would think that after two nigh consecutive tragedies, a person might think twice before wandering around this park in the dead of night. Especially alone, and in such a state of...disrepair."

As is so often the case with villains, the voice comes first, sweeping unseen across the park. It's deep, menacingly calm and condescending. To Mamoru, it might even be familiar, on some level or other in his mind. But it is almost certainly not welcome.

Nephrite steps out of one of the night's many shadows, as if from nowhere, his hair blowing in the gentle breeze that accompanies his approach. He's not making an attack; in fact, his arms are crossed, with no weapons or magic to speak of. Not that he needs such things to be intimidating. The dissatisfied glint in his eyes provides that in spades.

"For one so intelligent, Mamoru Chiba, you are greatly lacking in common sense," he says, coming to a stop several feet behind the younger man. His nose wrinkles as he reaches out with his senses and discovers that his energy levels have once again fallen. Three or four times in as many weeks he's been drained. How is the boy still breathing?

"Tell me, are you actively suicidal, or do you naturally lack any instinct of self-preservation?"
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-07 04:23:34 6686
It's hard to say whether it's a credit to his bravery or his apparent recklessness that Mamoru drops into a defensive stance instantly upon hearing the faceless voice-- perhaps just his kendo club. Disrepair is not an overstatement: even his hair is mussed, and there's path dust on his tailored trousers, and his wing collar's unbuttoned. At least he doesn't look injured, and a fair amount of the hazy exhaustion's banished with the judicious application of adrenaline.

The voice is familiar on multiple levels: obviously it's Nephrite, but it rings bells aside from that, and deeper still, something melancholy insists that it's comfortably known, that it should be welcome. Nevertheless, it is not.

When Nephrite shows his face, Mamoru has to rapidly search his mind to come up with any reason Nephrite should be paying his civilian identity any attention at all-- he doesn't recall ever having met him without a mask, but it's possible, he supposes, that the Dark General was somehow at the witch fight he'd been in all unawares. This doesn't seem likely. Suspicion abounds.

His fists clench and he looks -- annoyed, of all things. But then, he's a mortal, isn't he? A brash youth. That may answer the question about his sense of self-preservation. "Who are you, why do you know who I am, and what are you talking about?" he demands.
Nephrite 2015-08-07 04:51:43 6691
Ah, right. The ever tiresome business of secret identities. To be honest, Nephrite hadn't really considered that Mamoru had never met his Dark General persona; when the lines of cover identity and true identity blur as much as they do with him, it can be hard to pin down who exactly knows what. Not that it concerns him much. He owes the boy no explanation, and his trail is covered well enough that he'd defy him to come to the correct conclusion on his own.

So he just smiles at Mamoru's question, his face passive and nonreactive to the swift defensive stance he takes. "With as much magical attention as you've been garnering, I'm surprised you don't already know of me," he says. "I am Nephrite, Shitennou of the Dark Kingdom. I am obliged to tell you nothing further. Ask me no more questions, and this little meeting will go much more smoothly for the both of us."

His eyes look Mamoru up and down, clearly not impressed. "Enough with your posturing. If I was here to hurt you, I would have already done so. Surely you must know by now that all the mortal defense in the world cannot stand against a magical opponent." Nephrite chuckles at the thought, then further closes the gap between them. "I have questions that I need answered. Questions regarding your recent whereabouts. If you cooperate, I will release you unharmed."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-07 05:03:16 6696
At least the kid seems to be relatively reasonable when called out and made aware of the depth of his situation. He straightens and drops his hands to his sides, conceding the point. (To be honest, he's not even entirely sure he has it in him to henshin, and now would not be the best time to try and find out.) Further fuelling the evidence that he has no common sense, he reaches up to rub at the back of his neck, looking kind of dubious.

Weighing in on the opposite end of the self-preservation scale, though, he says tentatively, "Okay." And then he shifts a little in place, inadvertantly steps on a piece of stray gravel in his sock feet, and flinches away from it, stumbling a step sideways. "Ow," he adds, scowling.
Nephrite 2015-08-07 05:21:44 6700
Mortals who do as they're told. Nephrite had almost forgotten they existed, with the level of resistance he's encountered of late. He'd already been half-preparing a binding spell in his mind when he heard Mamoru concede; for once, he's happy to be proven wrong.

"Excellent," he says, his smile widening. "Perhaps there's hope for you yet." Throwing out his arm, a black pulse erupts from his hand, expanding until it covers the pair of them in a dome of silence. After all, Mamoru may have agreed to cooperate, but there's no telling what magical vermin are on the prowl tonight, whether to protect or thieve. Under the shadow of this magic, they will be shielded from prying eyes. And ears.

"I shall get right to the point, then," Nephrite continues, gruff, no sympathy given for Mamoru's expression of pain. "Your energy levels have dropped significantly on numerous occasions in the past few weeks. Tonight included, it would seem." He scowls again as he senses the boy's diminished glow, imagining what poacher now has their hands on what is the Dark Kingdom's by right. "Tell me why -- and do not pretend you don't know."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-07 05:43:54 6705
To be fair, it was stepping on a rock in sock feet, not getting lightning punched by Jupiter or something. No sympathy given, but by god, none expected. Mamoru flinches again, however, shutting his eyes and bracing himself for real pain when Nephrite's arm comes up and dark magic wells and bursts from his hand-- but no pain comes, and he cracks an eye open. ...and they're in a black dome of magic, and just the feeling of that dark energy while he's so weak is uncomfortable. Not to mention unnerving.

He shifts again, uneasy, hugging his arms to his chest unconsciously. "Oh," he says, glancing up at Nephrite. His blue eyes study the Shitennou's face as if searching for something, and something he can't put his finger on gives him pause. But he gamely answers, anyway. "Well. Tonight was different from the other times. No one attacked me. A friend of mine was really upset and hurting after she got beat up at school, so I spent a lot of energy-- more than I thought I would-- fixing some of it for her, calming her down."

He tucks his hands under his arms, shoulders a little drawn in. "The last time before that, some magical girl shot me with some kind of crystal and took almost everything I had. She said she was a princess. I apparently got stuck in a Witch's Labyrinth afterwards, I guess because I didn't have anything left to figure out what was going on and get the hell out of there; there was a news story about it. They said gangsters, but it was was some kind of phantom carnival, someone told me later. The time before that was some alien guy who had a monster made of needles and he was just draining everyone he saw. I don't think there were any other times..."
Mamoru Chiba 2015-08-12 04:54:48 7321
"Huh?" Mamoru stares blankly at Nephrite. "No I really did. I helped her out. I'm not going to throw my friends under the bus by telling an evil guy who they are, that would be stu--"

And then Nephrite draws closer, and the high-schooler edges back, but can't go much further, because that awful-feeling barrier is behind him, is surrounding them. "Um. I don't know? She's probably a princess? I'm not about to ask someone who can turn me into hamburger if she's a real princess or a bargain-bin bootleg. All I know about the crystal is that it wasn't in any of the mineralogy texts I have, and it was magic. It shined really brightly when she was wrenching out my energy, blindingly brightly."

He shivers, suddenly cold; his hand unconsciously goes over his heart again. "It felt like-- like she was ripping out my soul. I've never felt so much pain. I passed out and a friend of mine found me and took me home, I guess he figured I was drunk. I'm glad she didn't kill me." There's a pause, and he pales. "Wait, what do you mean the Dark Kingdom's property?"