A girl, a dream, and a slice of cake

Hokuto and Ariel catch up on the Prince of Nightmares case. Hokuto is frustrated, Ariel is resigned. There is cake.

Date: 2017-05-28
Pose Count: 23
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 00:39:46 77275
The Minase clan has taken note of the strange wave of 'sleeping sickness' that spreads over the city of late. Most of the family is strong enough not to be badly affected, but it has still caused problems. And the problems it causes to the general population are worrying.

"Check into it, Hokuto. You ought to be able to find what's causing this. It's the sort of thing the family head is expected to do."

And, well, she has had some experience with this sort of thing before. So the first thing she thought was to call Seishi. Who didn't answer. Probably studying or something. So she tried Ariel next, having met the unicorn-girl in dream-walks before.

Which brings her to a mid-afternoon Saturday at the Midori-ya, a tall glass of lemonade glistening with condensation, and before her a slice of lovely-looking lemon cake. Untouched, while she awaits her friend's arrival.
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 00:53:04 77279
    It started out subtle at first. No one is going to notice sleepy students and tired salarymen. But when it starts to get a little more widespread... Well the magical community would begin to take notice, wouldn't they? Though Hokuto might not have been able to get ahold of Seishi at the moment, calling Ariel directly was met with better response. Even if the totally ordinary and normal if strange little foriegn girl sounded a little tired on the other end.
    Okay well normal aside from the fact that she talks like an old samurai film.
    But that'sa sidenote as the door to Midori-ya swings open... And there she is. She probably stands out a bit when not in her Seishou uniform. Possibly because she may have borrowed one of Seishi's shirts and it does not fit her at all.
    It only takes her a few seconds of scanning the cafe before she spots Hokuto and scoots herself into the booth across from the head of the Minase clan, folding hands together on her lap. "You wanted to talk? About what's going on, right?"
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 00:57:56 77281
Hokuto has been looking up at each person who enters, hoping that they would be the one she was waiting for. Maybe she got there a little too early. But Ariel has arrived. Too bad Seishi isn't here. But maybe she'll turn up later.

"Straight to business, Ariel-san?" She mms softly and waves a fork at the untouched cake in front of her. "Feel free to order something... anything you want, my treat."

She slices a bite out of the cake, holding it on her fork for a moment. "I'm sure you know which part of 'what's going on' I would like to discuss, yes." Then it's time to enjoy the cake, savoring the moist and fluffy body and the sweet frosting.
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 01:11:53 77285
    Though it's the first time Ariel has visited Midori-ya, the cafe's reputation is not lost on her. Which means it's as easy as texting a classmate for directions, or a quick google search on her phone and that means her arrival is quite timely. Though she didn't quite mean to be rude in jumping right to the heart of the matter, she does purse her lips, cheeks heating up mildly at her failure in manners. She's looking a little haggard, herself, actually.
    "S-sorry." She manages an apology even if it may have not been required, and takes a slow, though-cleansing, breath. "It's been a little hectic." She concedes before halting. Maybe something to snack on would help. So she takes Hokuto up on her offer; and settles on a sweet drink, which she sips at slowly, looking almost forlorn as she does. "Thank you." She doesn't forget her manners there at least.
    "Where do you want me to start?"
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 01:16:31 77287
Hokuto enjoys another bite or two of cake while Ariel's drink is fetched, and she continues to take the time to savor it slowly. Finally, she atakes a sip of lemonade, and settles back in her seat to talk.

"Why don't we start with the Nightmare Prince, and how he or it is connected to all this? You can move on from there to what happened recently to affect the general population."
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 01:26:55 77291
    Ariel takes a moment. It is a mix of both thinking about the situation at hand, and trying to de-stress with that sweet drink. The drink really helps. Fractionally, anyway as she lets a slow breath filter through her teeth. "Well..."
    That sounds as good a place to begin as any other.
    "He's at the center. I think." Ariel says this with a fair bit of certainty. "Though I don't know why he's doing all of this..." Mused as she traces her fingers around the rim of her glass. "But it's getting worse lately. ... As you can see. Nightmares are starting to grow in number- getting more powerful. It's not looking good."
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 01:28:41 77292
Hokuto eats another bite of cake while she listens, then takes a sip of lemonade while she considers it.

"And that's what's keeping people awake." It isn't a question, she's taking it as a given. "Did something happen recently, he get his hands on some sort of power artifact or break a ward or the like?"
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 01:37:21 77294
    That wasn't a question. Ariel picks up on that very fast as the silver-haired girl gives a slow nod. "I don't know." She admits. "I never met him before we all were... Invited into his castle that night." She admits. To her, his motivations and means are as much a mystery to anyone else, from the sound of it. "But... He's doing things to other dream guardians."
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 01:41:52 77297
"..." Hokuto pauses for a moment, fork halways to her lips, then sets it down. She's worried about Seishi now and then, but the samurai-girl seemed so strong...

"What sort of... things? To whom?"
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 01:45:54 77299
    "Mn..." That's a direct question, and it makes snow-pale lips purse into a thin line. "You were there. Remember the night his castle rose from tht dream? The pilot that tried to break in and attack before we entered?" Ariel says. "The next time Seishi and I saw him, he was a Nightmare." She notes. Before she forgets about her drink entirely. "He wasn't the only one... There was another. And I'm sure there are more. And there are going to be more, at this rate..."
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 01:48:01 77300
Hokuto nods, making a mental note to make as many dream-catchers as she can. "I ... might be able to make something to ward and protect dreams. I don't know how well it'd hold against the Prince, but every little bit helps, yes?" Her eyes unfocus as she turns her attention inward, working out the best way to build such a defense and how much energy it will take.
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 02:01:05 77305
    That. That perks Ariel's attention. Though she seems to consider the offer for a moment, her brow knots. In the end the smaller girl simply nods. "That could maybe help." She concedes again. "Maybe not against him, but I think Seishi and I can only do so much every night." She says. "... Even I'm starting to get tired." Admitted as an after-note.
    A slow breath and she rubs at her eyes. "Things are getting strained. I don't know how to explain it, but there's something else he's doing and I can't put my finger on it."
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 02:06:07 77307
Hokuto picks up the cake-laden fork again, then sets it down once more. "And that's what worries me, Ariel-san. That he's up to something else. Which means there's surprise big trouble right around the corner." She shakes her head, then finally eats the bite of cake.

"Maybe it's a ward he's trying to break... or some key part of the Dream Defenders... maybe he needs a specific number of them? I don't know..."

She hates that sentence.
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 02:22:33 77310
    It's not the most hopeful thought process is it? Another slow breath and Ariel gingerly rubs at her forehead. Slow circles around where the base of her little horn usually is. "I don't think it's going to be much of a surprise." Just big trouble. "But for now we're kind of stuck just... Reacting every time something comes up." A fact that makes her shift uncomfortably in her seat.
    "That pilot wasn't the first he did it to. But if he's doing that to more... It'll be so much easier for Nightmares to grow in number and get out of hand."
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 02:34:48 77312
A few moments pass as Hokuto ponders it. "Somehow, I get the feeling that this is only the beginning," she muses. "If there is anything I despise more than sitting around waiting for the other guy to take the initiative..." She shakes her head and stabs another bite of cake, glaring down at the sweet baked treat.

"We need to figure out what he's after, and do something about it."
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 02:57:08 77315
    "This is past the beginning." Ariel says softly, looking down and yet finding nothing interesting in the half-full contents of her drink. Before she looks up. "But this isn't the end, either. My mom used to tell me at bedtime that a story can't end in the middle. There is no skipping to the good parts, no matter how boring or slow the middle might seem." She pauses there.
    "This isn't boring though, it's getting really scary." She has no qualms in admitting that. "But we have to hold on until something changes, right?"
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 03:01:19 77317
Hesitantly, Hokuto nods. "Right now, with so little information, there is very little else we can do. I will get started on the dream wards... in fact, hrm." She pauses and draws out a packet of paper and a pen. The latter proves to be one of those fancy calligraphy pens, quite suitable for fancy writing.

"This is a little simpler than a brush and inkstone," she says, "Might not be as potent as doing the whole thing with fresh-made ink and fresh-drawn blood, but it'll be a good test." She starts to write out several characters, turning the paper slowly as she writes so that they form a circle - and then keeps going, so that they spiral in towards the center.

"We just need someone to test it." She hmms to herself. "You can find someone, I'm sure. Put it by their head when they sleep, and see what happens."
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 03:11:33 77319
    "Blood?" That earns a tiny bleat. Nom seriously, Ariel just bleated, looking up from her glass, staring like this was all new to her. Possibly because the thought of using blood for anything like that IS new to her. But she doesn't stop Hokuto's work. That just mildly surprised her, and she watches with rapt fascination and curiosity.
    Then comes the instruction. By someone's head as they sleep. Ariel gives a mute nod for the moment, but then rubs her eyes. "It's worth a try." And if it works, it means there's less for her to worry about at least for one person, for the time being.
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 03:15:11 77321
"And if it does work," Hokuto continues, "I'll make up a batch fresh, full-strength." She finishes quickly enough and slides the paper slip over to Ariel. "But yes, it's a simple way to infuse energy into the ink. The blood is the life, and all that... and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than, say, powdered pearl." Unless you happen to be a vampire, of course. Which she isn't.
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 03:33:17 77326
    If anything, it's worth an attempt. And once again Ariel is rubbing at her eyes. "I'll talk to Seishi. But um. Really, anything helps right now." She says, appreciative of the offer and work. But something about it confuses her.
    That's going to baffle her for a while, considering she knows Lacrima.
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 03:37:00 77328
Hokuto nods. "Dracula, and all? Don't you read?" She sighs and settles back in her seat to sip her lemonade. "Kids these days," she mutters, shaking her head.

With a shrug, she turns back to the last of her cake, trying to enjoy the treat despite the mood.
Ariel Theodore 2017-05-28 03:49:01 77332
    Ariel practically crosses her eyes.
    "I know what a vampire is!" Ariel bleats. Before that bafflement settles in. "But Lacrima doesn't drink blood?"
    This is going to keep her up at night. Oops.
Hokuto Minase 2017-05-28 03:51:32 77334
Blink. Lacrima? Who's that? "Sorry, don't know any Lacrima. I'm more fond of Carmilla, myself." Hokuto shrugs again.

"Vampire, kyuuketsuki, jiangshi... whatever you want to call it. Blood is pretty much the standard."