Prayer Beads and Shadow Play

(Content warning: language.) Seth takes an unconscious Sayaka to the ECFH. Kunzite and Mamoru provide him with assistance, but not so much with sympathy.

Date: 2017-07-19
Pose Count: 21
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 02:13:52 80599
It's the middle of the night, and all seems well over the skies of Tokyo.

However, it's in those skies that an indistinct shape carries the unconscious bluenette Sayaka Miki. Just a while ago, this same shape, in another form, caused her harm - a harm it didn't want to cause. Now, it seeks to undo the harm caused.

And maybe the ECFH - renowned for a great coming and going of mahou people - holds the answer to Sayaka's recovery. That is, assuming that anyone is around to begin with...

It nears the balcony on the last floor, a familiar one at that, with a rosebush on the outside, through where several mahou people have come and gone through in the past.

It looks at the human form of Sayaka, which it carries in its arms. "You'll be okay soon enough, so hang in there." The bluenette, remains unresponsive.
Hisnd so it lands, its form returning to that of a young man whose size must be around the 7 feet mark, completely dressed in black fabric that looks like leather, with intricate sepia patterns.

He dares to enter - which might not be the best option.

"Anyone home?", he shouts out, voice very different from that of the young man he once was. "I need help!"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 02:27:15 80600
The middle of the night is a highly active time for many mahou people. And then there are the ones who tend to get up predawn. The ECFH hosts some of each ... but the one who's most consistently active in the night is elsewhere entirely, just now. Outside even of cellphone range.

Which means that the living room that towering figure enters is empty.

For a moment there's no sound in answer to that shout except the rustling of the rosebush's leaves in the wind, back on the balcony behind him. Then, somewhere in the apartment, a door closes.

There's no other sound of movement until a figure ghosts into the room. Not as tall as the dark-clad one, but tall enough at least to be in his range. Pale to his black: an unfamiliar uniform in grays, with a white cape lined in a rich red-brown. There's a sword worn at his side, but it isn't drawn. And the white-hair, long and bone-white and blade-straight ... that is familiar. So are the stance, the body language, the silently measuring eyes.

It looks far more natural on the uniformed man at midnight than it did on the university student Seth's met before.

All that the lighter of the two tall shadows says is, "You might want to put her down, if it won't kill her."
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 02:47:27 80601
Seth Locke looks at the Shittenou who's just come into view, gold pupils scrutinizing the man, his stance; overall, it seems like he's trying to assess the man is a threat or not.

It seems like he doesn't believe the man to be a threat, for he resumes what he meant to do - and that was meeting Kunzite's suggestion.

"She got attacked", the boy/man with silver white hair replies - he doesn't say by who, though -, placing Sayaka's body on the couch. "Can you help her out?"

And, once he puts her down on the couch, he steps away from her a couple of yards; more even, if he's got the chance and doesn't happen to fall into furniture or knock something down.

At this point, introductions don't quite seem to matter - to him, at least.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 02:53:19 80602
There's furniture in the room, yes; but avoiding a chair or a coffee table isn't difficult when one just saw them on the way in. And there's space -- the most expensive thing about this apartment isn't the elaborate mural on the living room wall, it's the space. Room to maneuver. Room to fit a dozen people or more.

Room to fight, maybe. Though the mural is a signal that they're not keen on doing that right here.

Kunzite circles the other way to approach the couch that the stranger set Sayaka down on, keeping well clear of him. "Possibly," he says. "Depending on the effect. Enchantment? Physical damage? Energy drain? Did you see what attacked her, or where?" Even as he's asking the questions, he's reaching for Sayaka's wrist, checking for her pulse -- maybe he's familiar enough with the process to gauge from the speed without counting, or maybe he's just checking to see whether she has one at all.
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 03:09:54 80603
Sayaka shows signs of life, but she is fairly weak.

"She got her energy drained", he replies, still finding a few steps to place more space between Kunzite and Sayaka.

"I know of what attacked her", he also replies. "It's not here now."

That last bit, is made to sound very cryptic - and ominous.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 03:16:46 80604
Kunzite's immediate answer is to sweep off his cloak and lay it over Sayaka. It's the same trick that's responsible for cats finding sunbeams so attractive: if you're warmer, your body needs to burn less energy to keep your temperature up. Conservation. "We have certain things that will help," he says. His tone is matter-of-fact, steady, though certainly he heard the overtones of that figure's last few words. "And access to others. Given your present condition, I trust you will understand if I request you wait on the roof for a few minutes while I make arrangements. You are welcome to return after, or I can come up to join you, but it seems generally unwise either to present you with a potential temptation, or to risk the dark energy you're bleeding getting drawn into her more directly than it has been."

There's a momentary pause. "Is that a normal condition for you, or are you yourself injured in some fashion?"
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 03:36:37 80605
"Makes sense", the dark-dressed young man replies, and he starts to step out. He halts, then pulls out a set of praying beads. "I have no idea if she is a Shintoist or not... But give her this." The beads are clean of dark energy. "If she's not, at least it's a good luck charm."

His smile is faint, like it's being lost, smothered under that dark energy - but it is an honest one; also, a sad one.

Before he steps back to the balcony, he replies - again, the same cryptic tone emerges. "I'm not injured. Not by your definition of the word." He looks at one of his hands, closing and opening his fingers. "And I do not know what's normal anymore."

Now looking straight at the other white-haired person. "Do you know what normal is, Takeba-san... No, Kunzite-san?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 03:44:10 80606
Kunzite does not invoke any visible power to examine the beads. He only says, quietly, "Please set them on the table, and I will give them to her; or you may yourself, shortly."

That smile is noted silently. So is that cryptic tone. For others, it would be far more of a mystery.

It's difficult for a path one's already walked to be that much of a mystery to the walker.

He does not blink at being addressed by name; his eyes dart back to the tall figure, but there's no change in his expression. "Normal," he says, "is relative to the individual. I take it that this is a recent development for you. That would explain the leakage; you haven't had enough time to develop control. Therefore I am going to repeat myself more clearly: I cannot treat her while you are in the room, or while you are close enough to watch, without risking causing her further damage. We may have this conversation in a few minutes."
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 04:08:18 80608
Seth Locke nods, and steps out into the roof. Now, as he looks out into the city, he silently awaits for Kunzite to do his thing.

In the meantime, he rummages in his mind through the recent events that took place. And there's much soul-searching he needs to do - if he has a soul at all.

But the most important questions linger: 'Who is he?', and "/What/ is he?"
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-19 04:18:46 80610
The moment Seth's stretched-out henshin form arrives on the roof, a figure in the darker shadows within the windscreen of potted trees surrounding Nephrite's telescope speaks. "Of all the magical people in the city to take energy from, Puella Magi are one of the worst ideas," the voice says musingly. Thoughtfully. Consideringly.

It's a familiar voice, to be sure, but it's richer, more resonant. At the moment, it's not judgemental-- only observational. "Seeing as they can't recover it naturally."

The voice's owner pushes one of the trees aside-- their planters are wheeled for easy rearrangement-- and steps into the dim light of the stars and the LED party-lights surrounding the edge to make sure drunk people know where it is. Caped, armored, armed with a bastard sword of watered steel at his side, and with a design to his jacket reminiscent of the design of the Shitennou's, he can only be Prince Endymion. Chiba's other name. "And I can heal their bodies so that their soul gems have less work to do, have to use less magic to do so, but I can't restore their energy like I can do for others, and I can't clear the darkness from them. Not even my Princess can. It's some quality to it that makes it resist."

He looks up at the waning crescent moon, face in profile, strange city lights glittering off his pauldrons, off the armor on his midsection, on his boots, his scabbard. "I was listening. I trust that if you're the one who did it, you'll prevent it happening again-- since you did bring her here."
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 04:40:04 80612
Seth Locke turns to face the approaching Endymion, eyes never leaving him as he speaks. Perhaps its the fact he doesn't really know him that makes him so inscrutable - if stoic is not a better word for it - until the very end.

Then, he nods, "I know a thing or two about the Puella Magi. Sayaka Miki is an extroardinary young woman", he regards. And he shakes his head, "She did not deserve this... Betrayal... That I set upon her." He blinks his golden eyes. "And yet, I could not prevent it."

His tone becomes pained, indicating some sort of finality. He looks back to the horizon, "She will not have to worry about such from me ever again."

Back to the Earth Prince, he states, "I'm sorry, I don't believe we've met."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-19 04:54:04 80615
"Endymion," says the older boy, inclining his head slightly in lieu of a handshake or a Japanese bow, "Crown Prince of Earth."

There's a brief pause as he surveys the dark form of Seth's henshin. "And it's unlikely we haven't met, as you called the head of my guard by his civilian name. Shall we dispense with formalities?"

Not once has his hand strayed to the hilt of his sword; in fact, he clasps them both behind his back at that moment. He looks away from Seth again, though the dark shadow with the silver hair's kept in his peripheral vision; his presence, felt keenly by Seth once when Chiba banned him from the apartments for a time, is a weighted and almost palpable thing, amplified by the lack of any mask, physical or metaphorical.

"Had you no warning you were going to lose control of yourself? To, I take it, a foreign entity that literally puppeted you and did not allow you to fight it in any way?"
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 05:01:47 80618
The scanning is swiftly done. A grief cube that Kunzite keeps, that he and Apatite cycle out every few weeks to avoid even the slightest chance of untoward consequences, is in place to help restore Sayaka. The necessary notifications have been sent out, though given personal history, he won't ask too closely what the details of the responses will be.

None of these things take long.

Kunzite leaps up from the balcony, therefore, and Endymion is no longer without his guard. He makes no sound on landing; scuffs a foot intentionally a moment later, so that whether or not other senses prevail, he will not take the darkest of the three of them by surprise when he comes into Seth's peripheral vision.

He says nothing, for now. Endymion's questions stand.
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 05:16:47 80619
"I was... kissing her", he describes. "I thought a moment's comfort in the form of a kiss would soothe my soul." He looks at his hands again, fingernails alternating between claws and then back to a more human aspect. "That is, if I still have a soul." He continues, "The next thing I know, I'm holding her frame tight into my arms, drinking energy out of her." He sighs, as if troubled. "And it felt natural to me."

As Endymion's head of the royal guard arrives, he turns to him. "How is she?"
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-19 05:50:09 80622
There's very little in the way of vocabulary that can adequately describe the expression on Endymion's face at 'a moment's comfort in the form of a kiss would soothe my soul'.

It's certainly colder, at any rate.

"Leaving aside the question of a soul, since it's immaterial," he finally says, his voice very low and precise, "it worries me that you describe your intimate behavior with her as a goal oriented entirely on your own gratification. In other words, you were kissing Miki-san because you thought it would be nice for you. If you weren't thinking about her feelings or wishes, or what she might think it meant, or indeed anything but your needs and wants, that might have been what allowed something to step in and make you black out."

The prince takes a breath, ocean-blue eyes turning from Seth again, jaw working. "Certainly, you're concerned about her now, and certainly, you realized that draining her energy without her consent -- while it might have felt natural at the time -- was something reprehensible, and you stopped, and you regret it, and you're agonizing over it and what it means to your future and what it means to your well-being and your existential crisis. It's admirable to care for her well-being. It's somewhat less than that to worry about it after the fact."

He glances to Kunzite, then back at Seth again. "The last time I pointed out questionable behavior to you, you protested it. This time, I may be incorrect about the events, but given the way you described them, I don't believe I'm incorrect about the motivations which encourage the activity of dark influences. So please consider the implications of what I'm saying, rather than flatly refusing the possibility that you could have acted wrongly in spirit before you ever drained her."
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 05:58:08 80624
That glance toward Kunzite wins Endymion the slightest fraction of a nod. Kunzite, himself, says nothing at all while Endymion is speaking; there's no hint of what his reaction is in his expression, nor in hs body language. He's only there: standing calmly and watching.

After Endymion has finished, Kunzite says in that usual even tone, "Her energy state should be recovering, at least to some extent. I don't believe the resources that we have on hand will take care of her by itself, but it should be enough to take her out of the worst of the danger, and I've reached out to people who may be willing to help further. This is, of course, dependent on whether there are any additional side effects of the drain. Which we will only be able to learn by watching. Some entities don't only feed on energy."

He is answering Seth's question. But he's directing the words toward the prince.
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 06:51:49 80627
"My own 'gratification'."

Is is said again with that tone of finality.

He closes his eyes, sighing - and holding back a growl. He opens them again. "We've met. We've become friends. She promised to help me with my previous... predicament. She fought a Witch while helping me, I helped her in return when she was too weak from that fight. We've gone out on a date. We've become more deeply acquainted. We even kissed at the end of the date, if only briefly." He adds, "I've been concerned about her all the time. I chose /her/ as my confidant over what's happening to me." He looks between them both. "If the ship you're on is sinking, and you're in the water... Would you not try to grab a hold onto the passing life raft?"

He let's that sentence off with silence for the two to consider.

"But", he says, "you may have a point, there." He takes a step backwards in recognition of the possibility. "So rest assured that, for her sake, I will not approach Sayaka Miki ever again." Darkness seeps from his eyes. Are those... tears?
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-19 07:00:08 80628
Endymion glances at Kunzite, then lifts a hand and holds it up (warp factor six, Mr. LaForge) as he tells Seth succinctly, "Not if the so-called 'life raft' is a living person who might drown too."

The hand dips forward. Engage.
Kazuo Takeba 2017-07-19 07:17:42 80629
Kunzite has been largely quiet. Has largely been allowing the conversation to flow between the other two. But somewhere in what Seth says, Kunzite's jaw -- still silently -- tightens. And he glances to Endymion.

He still does not speak. Not until Endymion is done.

"Not to mention," he says, and that even voice has gone cold and its consonants more pronounced, "that you were given a life raft nine months ago, and reminded of it seven. You knew that you knew people who studied these things. Who were willing to put you in touch with people who might be able to learn more of your situation. You chose not to pursue those leads. Chose repeatedly not to grab hold of the passing life raft. Because it did not make you comfortable."

He steps forward. "And now that your self-serving negligence has proved to have consequences, and those consequences have injured someone who cares about you, you are both -- which is the lesser -- choosing to damage yourself further by cutting off a connection that might, just possibly, make a difference to your chances of surviving this as a being that still has a soul ... and, which is the greater, upon having it pointed it out to you that you were using a human being who cared about you as a prop even before you used her as dinner -- you decide that her opinion on the both of your course of action is so completely irrelevant that you do not even need to find out what it is before deciding to ignore it."

Those cold grey eyes study Seth, straightforward. "Unfortunately, it would remain hypocritical of me to refuse assistance to someone genuinely trying to recover solely on the basis that he frequently chooses to behave like a walking piece of shit. Therefore, when you come to understand that self-pity and despair are nothing more than particularly tempting roads to annihilation, I suggest that you consider coming and looking for me. Because --"

Kunzite lifts both his hands, and a darkness deeper than night floods the rooftop, dropping the temperature sharply and blocking out the city lights around them. It does not restrain Seth from moving. He may well be able to see clearly in it -- it would be unusual, after a fashion, if he couldn't. Endymion is shielded from its effects entirely. Seth is shielded from -- almost all its effects. Just enough is permitted through to him that he can identify it as an energy drain. Just like the one he used on Sayaka. Except this one doesn't need contact.

"Your existential crisis," Kunzite says flatly, "is my fucking breakfast cereal." He gestures again, broad and flat with a palm facing the rooftop, and the darkness and the drain are gone as swiftly as he pulled them up. He's still watching Seth. And he bares teeth in something resembling a smile. "Never assume you're the only monster in the room."
Mamoru Chiba 2017-07-19 07:31:43 80630
It's not often that Endymion-- Mamoru-- gives Kunzite his blessing for basically losing his temper. Which says something about how short Endymion's is right now. Kunzite's so much more effective when he does...

The prince is silent throughout, and when it's over, he starts toward the stairwell door down into the apartments. "I'm going to go take care of Miki-san," he tells Kunzite as he passes, hand briefly making contact in the process, and then he doesn't stop -- through the door and gone.
Seth Locke 2017-07-19 08:26:41 80631
Seth Locke studies Endymion's 'Star Trek' reaction, coupled with that glimpse off to Kunzite.

He takes a deep breath, almost like a gasp, when Kunzite makes his move. An attack?

Seth takes no chances, and with a blink, his eyes have shifted from gold to an eerie-glowing red. His fists clench, breathing shifted into a 'ready for attack' rhythm. But he's showing restraint, even when he's shown Kunzite can also drain energy.

Although, off in the edge of the building's roof, squeaks and growls can be heard, through what would be the natural shadows where light isn't touching. And are they... Stirring?

When Kunzite ends his display, all returns to normal. Lights are back on... The voices are gone... The shadows remain shadows.

Seth relaxes his posture, eyes returning to their now-gold color.

He assents, "Duly noted."

He looks between Prince and Head of the Royal Guard. "I will take your words under consideration", he says as diplomatically as he can, "but I have to go now." He offers a respectful bow, then moving towards the edge of the roof... And jumping off it, to assume an obscured shape halfway into the fall, and flying off into the night.