Weapons Sheathed

Even Madison Perry is starting to get wary of the White Flower. A deal of sorts is struck. Maybe.

Date: 2018-02-13
Pose Count: 22
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 16:31:04 88777
    It's late evening on a cool and blustery night in Toky- especially on the roof of a 47-story skyscraper. One imagines that most of the plants normally in evidence are currently leafless or covered or in hibernation for the cold weather, resulting in a much more barren-looking visage than would greet visitors to the rooftop garden in warmer weather. One also imagines that, aside perhaps from some late-night stargazing and the like, people do not frequent the garden with nearly as much frequency this time of year.

    Tonight, however, there may be a reason to emerge onto the wind-buffeted surface. And that reason is the streak of dark red light that zips between the buildings, coming to rest just above said rooftop. It resolves, upon stopping, into the form of a young woman with blonde hair appearing to be in her early twenties, and wearing a Barrier Jacket in the form of a long overcoat, charcoal grey and dried-blood-red.

    She regards the rooftop, hovering a good twenty feet above it, for several moments before she calls out, her voice amplified to artificial levels by some simple use of magic. "Hey, in there! I need to talk to either the Prince or the white-haired major-domo guy. I come in peace- weapons sheathed."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 16:48:50 88778
There is nightly late-night stargazing; Nephrite has an Assignment, and it's turned up a few scraps of information, which is more than almost anything else they've been trying has. And there is regular visiting of the garden, because plants still need tending after a fashion. And there is also sometimes late-evening visiting of the roof even in this weather. Because it's quiet. And because, after everything, Kazuo still prefers the dark.

Still, there's no-one on the rooftop at that moment. And there's no visible reaction, at first.

Maybe a minute and a half. If that.

Then the rooftop door opens from within, and Kunzite steps out onto the roof. Hands at his sides, and no defensive shield raised. After all, if she were looking to assassinate him the moment he emerged, she'd've been watching a different exit and not given warning. He glances up toward that young woman's hovering form, then bows slightly without looking away. Still more slightly than usual, given that she's midair. "Weapons sheathed," he echoes. "Good evening. Would you prefer to come inside, or to remain here?"

As if neither of them had ever been trying to kill each other. At least Venus isn't along this time.
Naru Osaka 2018-02-13 16:53:07 88779
There is another who had been downstairs, enjoying silent visiting. Notebook left on the coffee table, Naru follows not so long after Kazuo, curious about that familiar voice. She lingers at the doorway to the stairwell. She was, after all, not called forth, but somehow it seems wise to have backup. Just in case.
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 17:11:20 88780
    For her part, Madison's daggers are still sheathed as well, though the shape of them hanging on either hip beneath her coat are clearly visible. She is not unarmed- what magic-user ever is? But her fangs, so to speak, are not bared. She's beginning to look mildly impatient, never one known for her stoicism, when the door finally opens and Kunzite emerges. At first she tenses- instincts, the feeling of threat to one for whom trust is a foreign word. But that passes quickly as Kunzite appears with hands raised and echoes her greeting. Only a fool would believe her at ease, but she does not appear poised to attack.

    "Here will do." She says, floating lower. Her feet do not touch the rooftop but she remains hovering about two or three feet above it. "I don't mean to be rude but having an enemy's walls about me has never sat right." She eyes the tall young man speculatively, not appearing to notice Naru in the doorway just yet. After a moment she says, "I'm here because I want to talk. Things have changed."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 17:19:49 88782
Hands at his sides, rather than raised. Since his hands are what he uses to call his magic, it's more or less the equivalent of Madison's sheathed daggers. No attack in the next heartbeat. Not from him directly, at least.

"No offense taken. I understand the concern." Not to mention Madison not knowing how many might be inside, just waiting. Or whom. Kazuo pauses for a moment, regarding Madison closely, thoughtfully. Not more than a moment. He's seen her literally get bored in the middle of a fight before.


"We're willing to listen," he says. "But you know that." They've listened to Hana. "I take it they haven't changed in a way you favor."
Naru Osaka 2018-02-13 17:26:47 88783
There's no comments from Naru, no drawing attention to herself as she lingers. It is likely that she does not assume herself unknown to either of them having the conversation, they are both far too observant of potential combatants than that, but she waits silently. Attentive.
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 17:31:43 88784
    Madison may have the sense that someone else is in the vicinity, but that's probably no surprise- she's well-aware of the status of the ECFH as a 'nest' of her enemies, so to speak. She wouldn't come here blind or ignorant. She may be crazy, by the estimation of many, but she's no dummy. Something which many often forget to their detriment- her employer included.

    "I don't know if you ever wondered why I was working for the Flower all this time," She says, with a faint sneer in reply to Kunzite's astute observations. "But I trust you weren't dumb enough to think it was due to some sort of belief in her goals or ideals. That sort of thing is just not 'me'."

    "Suffice it to say, she made promises to me. Promises that she could give me what I want." Her eyes dart upwards, briefly, towards the stars barely visible overhead through Tokyo's light pollution. Then back to Kazuo. "I have begun to doubt, recently, that she intends to keep those promises."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 17:43:12 88785
There's a quick little twitch at the corner of Kunzite's mouth, when Madison speaks the phrase 'goals or ideals.' "I believe we've met once or twice, yes," he says, answering her with a typically dry tone. "Each of us has our own brand of foolishness, but that one is certainly not yours."

He falls silent for a moment, echoing her upward glance. Then returning his attention to Madison. "She does not seem to have a history of working well with allies, no. I believe that besides yourself, one of her previous allies survived the experience, and she seems to be in the process of cutting him -- it, them, as you will -- off by the carotid. Did something in particular happen to unsettle you further?"
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 18:01:04 88786
    Madison's expression remains a thoughtful scowl- clearly being here, under these circumstances, is not pleasing to her although whether that is because she does not like Kazuo and his allies or simply because she doesn't like having to put risk upon herself is unclear. Perhaps it is a combination of both. She regards him for a moment more as he questions what, in particular, has driven her to this measure, and finally she draws a breath.

    "Where I come from, a deal is a deal, right? I'm not saying nobody ever got backstabbed, but there's a certain.. honor among thieves, if you will. There has to be, or else there can't be any kind of system, legal or not. You make a deal with somebody, you follow through on that deal- unless you gain such an advantage over them that you know you'll be above all the consequences of betraying them. It happens, but not very often. The price of doing business, if you will- there's always the chance, but we operate because it's a slim chance."

    "When I made my deal with the Flower, it was because I didn't see any other options to get what I want. I believe, at the time, she intended to keep her end of the bargain, and I believe she was and still is capable of doing so. But here's the thing." Madison's blue eyes fix on Kazuo, intent. "Whatever she's doing- and I don't know the details, she's never seen fit to share them with me- it's working. It's working better than she expected. And I've come to believe she now thinks she doesn't need me anymore. That she's above the consequences of betrayal. That she's becoming untouchable." Her lip curls at the edge again. "And I think, eventually, she'll be right. But not yet. And she's always thought I was dumber than I am. I've seen the writing on the wall."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 18:09:48 88787
"I don't know what she's doing, either." Kunzite says that straightforwardly, matter-of-fact. "But I know she has a grudge against the system that birthed her. I know Kyubey, who is involved with that system, is worried. I know that the Puella around the city are seeing signs of change in the system that keeps them alive. And I know that the last time someone who thought they knew what they were doing tried to experiment with that system, the universe started spontaneously generating monsters." His mouth tightens. He has not looked away from Madison, throughout. "If what she's doing is working better than she expected ... then what she's doing is most likely not healthy for either of us." Or anyone else. But nobody else is in on this conversation.
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 18:19:03 88788
    "I don't understand all that Puella System stuff," Madison says dismissively, waving one hand. "All I know is that she's stealing power. Growing it, or siphoning it, something like that. She's become more and more detatched recently. Almost as if she forgets about me when I'm not in her direct field of view. Like I don't matter." Her lips tighten, the prospect clearly not pleasing to her. "And she talks about 'remaking the universe'. About how she's going to have the power to redo everything the way she likes. Thing is, that's not what I signed up for. I don't want to see the world erased. I just want to get off this damn backwards planet."

    She glances over the lights of the city a moment, then looks back. "Do you know how things have always been.. weird, around her? Like a dream, like her own personal reality in a bubble wherever she is? Well it's getting bigger. Slowly, an inch or so at a time. But it's getting bigger. I used to think when she talked about 'remaking things' to suit her, it was some kinda metaphor. You know, changing the system. But I don't think it's a metaphor anymore. And I can't help but think that, if she barely remembers I exist now, when she hits the point to do what she's talking about she's not going to remember me then either. And being erased because a new god forgot about you is not exactly the end I was hoping my life would have."

    "So that's why I'm here. Because I don't like you and I'm sure you don't like me either but frankly, I'd rather a world with you in it trying to kill me than one where I don't exist at all."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 18:30:52 88789
"She likes being safe," Kunzite agrees quietly -- but not too quietly for his voice to reach Madison. "She doesn't like things she can't control. And you're right. It's not a metaphor. I'm not fond of the idea of a universe where only the Flower and things willing to be extensions of her will exist, and neither is the Prince."

He frowns a little, thoughtful. "I don't know of useful ways to get off this planet. I know a couple of people who've done it replicably, without wandering into dimensions not compatible with organic life, but they've stayed well inside the core of this solar system. I know one person who I know has left the system and come back. I don't know if their method was one anyone else could use. I can try to find out; I can't promise results. But even if it's not useful directly, it may be something to build from."

A pause. "After the Flower is settled. Because if she isn't, getting off the planet won't help."
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 18:50:24 88792
    Madison watches Kunzite closely as he speaks. When he mentions knowing one person who has left the solar system and returned, her eyes narrow noticably. Mentioning that may have been a misstep- it's possible that she wasn't expecting knowledge of that caliber. Maybe all she was expecting was to strike a deal to take out a mutual enemy. But Madison is not the type to let a chance slip her by.

    "I'm not sure how to settle her. I'm not sure it can be done." She says, her voice equally quiet. "But the chances are a hell of a lot better now than they will be a year from now. I don't think this is a 'tomorrow' deal. Whatever she's doing, it's slow. Her influence, if you can call it that, it's grown a few rooms' size in the past two months. Assuming that rate remains constant, and I admit there's no guarantee it will be, there's some time. You all are the smart ones. Figure something out."

    "I can't offer any brilliant plans. But I can let you know if anything big happens, or seems to be happening. And when the time is right.. I can be an unexpected knife from the dark. Even if that won't do anything to her, it might distract her. That's what I can offer.. what I'm willing to offer. In exchange for taking her out before she can do the same to you, me, and everyone else unimportant enough to be beneath her notice. And an agreement not to pursue me afterwards." Her eyes narrow. "And whatever you know about leaving Earth."
Naru Osaka 2018-02-13 18:51:36 88793
There are no audible words from Naru, but the way she nods almost absently at comments about remaking the world.

That has never been a metaphor in Naru's mind. Especially once she started exploring it in more detail.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 19:11:29 88794
Maybe Kazuo would personally be happier getting Madison the hell off the planet, where she could be somebody else's problem. But that's not an entirely likely outcome. Still. Fiore's ghost isn't likely to have transit information that will be a problem; he didn't encounter the Xenian flower till after he'd left Earth for the first time. How he managed it is, in the end, a good question.

And he's not about to try to get information out of the TSAB.

"I can't promise," Kunzite answers, "for anyone I don't command. Neither can the Prince. But he has a policy of not causing trouble for people who aren't currently causing trouble themselves. If you continue not to make a habit of killing people, I doubt he'll have a reason to pursue you."

He inclines his head to Madison, just a little. "As for what I know about leaving Earth -- tell me what you've seen her do, and I'll talk to that friend and find out what I can. As I said. It might not be useful. But you may not have seen her do anything but appear to think hard; for all I know, she may be accomplishing what she is through entirely internal methods, not something we can disrupt from outside. If there's anything, though. Art, magic, energy movements. Haunting institutions to channel their despair, for all I know."

Keeping a couple of teenaged Puella locked up in a labyrinth, draining them for their fury and despair and desperation. Turning the tables on her former captor might have amused Hana. And the pair have been missing for a long time. But Kunzite holds out hope that that's not what happened to Mamoru's friends.
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 19:24:59 88795
    "How do you know I haven't been killing people?" Madison asks sharply, with a look that's hard to read- it could be suspicion, or it could be dark amusement. "Or do you just mean important people? Magical people?" She laughs. "I think sometimes you all forget about all those poor slobs down there," She gestures at the city with a dismissive hand, "Working their dead-end jobs without a clue that their lives are ballast in conflicts between people like you and me. People who matter." A mild, predatory grin. "You can tell your Prince this- I won't kill anybody he'll find out about."

    Then she snorts in faint amusement. "The Flower doesn't do anything that I can understand. There's no huge machine she's throwing switches on, or rituals with candles and crap. She vanishes through her Labyrinth portals, then comes back. That's all I see. If I see anything more substantial that I can make any sense of, I'll get you a message somehow. Frankly, I half expect her to be waiting for me when I leave here tonight. I assume she doesn't pay attention to what I do when she isn't giving me direct orders. There's always a chance I'm wrong, though."
Naru Osaka 2018-02-13 19:31:56 88796
When people are fairly well connected into things, merely getting 'noone you'll find out about' is a pretty good caveat. Naru quirks a brow at the conversation, but her silence continues. There's a touch of a furrow of thoughtfulness at the mention of vanishing through portals, a subtle lift of her chin as she considers that. Her arms crossing across herself as she holds her spot.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 19:51:38 88797
"I don't know you haven't been," Kazuo replies to Madison, matter-of-fact. "I only know that if you have, you've been careful enough and quiet enough that it hasn't drawn attention. There are twelve million people in Tokyo. With current levels of both technology and magic, a handful of us can't watch all of them all of the time." Especially with Mamoru down. Only a few tens of thousands. "Not that we find out about will do."

Since it restrains the number of potential victims considerably. And the flashiness. And the location. One of the things Nephrite watches the stars for, after all, is threats to their neighbors.

Kazuo tips his head toward Madison, likewise matter-of-fact. The possibility that the Flower is watching her is there. It's her risk to take. Just as talking with the Flower is Naru's. "Labyrinth portals is something. She may only be using them to create a conducive environment for herself ... or there may be something in that. Is there a drop we can use if we need to get a message to you?"
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 19:56:43 88798
    As Kazuo has been speaking, Madison's eyes have wandered, taking stock of the garden and surroundings, keeping an eye out. Maybe it's the talk of Hana possibly watching them making her nervous, or maybe it's just that she's shifting position slightly. Either way, she finally catches sight of Naru lurking in the doorway. Her eyes fix on the younger woman, and narrow. "Why don't you just have her drop me a note the next time she visits?" She asks, her tone mildly acidic, as she jerks her chin towards Naru.

    "Are you sure you want her listening in? I've seen her, being all buddy-buddy with the Flower, playing at artist. She may run right off and tell her all about this little meeting. Maybe the Flower doesn't need to watch because she already has a spy here to watch for her." As she talks, one hand has strayed down towards the hilt of one of her long knives, sheathed at her belt.
Naru Osaka 2018-02-13 20:02:15 88799
"I can leave you a note if you'd like." Naru replies mildly, making no move to reach for weapons, or to draw out a sketchbook, or even a pencil. Her arms are crossed, likely as much against chill as anything else, but her hands are empty.

There is a little shrug from Naru. "She does not listen to me any more than she listens to you. If I am a spy, I am an exceedingly poor one. We have shared interests, and philosophical differences. Eventually the later will outweigh the former."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-02-13 20:13:44 88800
"Or the Flower may have sent you over to find out whether or not Naru will tell her about this visit." Kunzite's tone suggests that he does not, in fact, believe that possibility. "We've taken steps to make certain the Flower isn't affecting her unduly. The young lady's cooperated with them. I am not comfortable with all of her choices. But I am not comfortable with all of anyone's choices. So far we've survived." Mostly.
Madison Perry 2018-02-13 20:16:00 88801
    For a moment, Madison doesn't remove her hand from the hilt of her knife, as her eyes dart between Kazuo and Naru. Perhaps weighing the risks and potential benefits of acting, versus taking a chance. It's clear she doesn't particularly like it.. but it's also clear that she doesn't see any alternative, lest this visit be a big risk and a total waste. "Fine." She says, removing her hand from the weapon.

    A moment later she begins to rise up into the air. "Just think about what I said. And don't dismiss this. I know the Flower ain't the only game in town, but trust me.. ignore her too long at your own peril. And the rest of us. I'll contact you again if anything changes."