Cornerstones 2/3: Ulterior Expositions


Following Rashmi's 'argument' with Mamoru, Sailor Earth chances upon the Mage on a nearby rooftop. Stories are told, the truth is neatly sidestepped, and Earth consents to a scan.

Date: 2018-04-25
Pose Count: 30
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 18:29:58 90727
Minutes after her fight with Mamoru -- an argument carefully timed to happen only when a strange energy signature approximate to descriptions of Sailor Earth's was noticed in the immediate area -- Rashmi, in henshin, alights on a rooftop. Wings made of golden light flicker and fade from her back and ankles, and she leans against an air-conditioning unit, staring up at a very particular balcony, near the top floor of a very particular building, looking miserable.

She looks, in fact, like she just kicked a puppy. Who would even do that.
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 18:37:39 90728
Earth was watching, in fact. Not in the conventional sense, but through her enforced link with Mamoru, feeling and sensing. It was a strange thing to live through someone else's eyes, but she'd gotten used to it.

So once Mamoru was gone, she jumped up to the rooftop - in a single bound, cape flowing behind her, landing exactly the way Mamoru does. "Hello?" she asked, a bit cautiously.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 18:40:50 90729
The response to the tentative hello is a startled squeak; not precisely what one would expect of a girl in henshin who can, apparently, fly. She sags against the AC with a shaky smile, however, as she 'recognizes' Earth, and scrubs at one eye, replacing her spectacles after. "H-hi..... Sorry, Earth-san, you're not exactly seeing me at my best."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 18:50:52 90730
Earth walks over to her. "Am I intruding on you?" She seems calm and caring but there's an unmistakable curiosity in her voice. "You seem upset. Can I help?"

When Earth notices just where she's staring her expression hardens for a noticable moment before she gets control of herself again to smile.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 18:54:38 90731
"Maybe? I don't know," Rashmi sighs, shaking her head. "I mean... it's kind of about you, y'know? Mamoru-san's my friend, Earth-san. He's a really, really good guy... but with everything that's happened lately, I'm just... maybe he's not supposed to be Tuxedo Kamen? I mean he's done a lot of good... but... I can't help but ask, maybe he was just... y'know... caretaking? But..." The redhead shrugs, shaking her head. "I tried to tell him I had to give you a chance, y'know? Do the due diligence... But I guess it really, really hurt him."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 19:02:46 90732
Earth seems visibly conflicted for a moment, opening her mouth and then closing it. Openeing it again, closing it. Finally, she speaks up. "Look, I don't know. Honestly. I know what I feel, I know my memories, I can remember the times I spent with all of my friends and my guardians and dancing in balls on the Moon and here on Earth with Bunny."

"It's hard to focus when he's around because I just get so upset. I can feel it. Like someone tugging on my spirit. It's one thing to have your house broken into but it's another thing if you're sitting at home when it happens, right?"

"All I know is what I feel and... I want to be true to the memories I have and the promises I made my friends back then to fight. Even if they don't want to be my friend right now."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 19:16:09 90733
"See... that's what I mean," Rashmi says, spreading one hand; the other holding a very large, apparently armored, book to her chest. "It's like, okay, I can understand if people are remembering wrong, but... y'know... you'd think people would be able to get that maybe things are weird because there's been a mistake somewhere, or something just got knocked out of alignment somehow. I'm not one of you guys, I don't know about the old earth and the Moon and whatever..."

"All I know is that everyone deserves a chance to find out who they really are... And that everyone deserves friends."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 19:22:31 90734
Earth sighs, a big heaving full-bodied thing and it's almost like a little of her spirit leaves with the carbon dioxide. "Like I said, I don't know what to do. I have to keep fighting for what I think is right. And I guess so does he?" she says, looking up to the sky.

"And I have to believe that if I fight as hard as I can as right as I think then everything will sort itself out in the end?"

"It kills me that I wasn't there for those magical moments they talk about and he was. All I've got are memories from so long ago and they have current things so I guess that's why. And I can understand it up here..." she taps her head "but I sure don't here." she taps her heart.

"He can have friends and a life they just can't be mine."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 19:24:43 90735
"So... tell me what you remember?" Rashmi says, tilting her head. "Like I said... All I know is the last year, and a couple stories. But I'd really like to hear what you remember, Earth-san."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 19:39:51 90737
She pauses. "I can but... you need to bear with me. Remembering can be painful because where I'm at right now is so different." Sailor Earth takes a deep breath.

"I mean what's relevant is what I remember from the Golden Kingdom. And sometimes the memories are clear, but some parts are still fuzzy." she admits, her voice quietly. "I was born in the Golden Kingdom, a time before this time. The Princess of the Earth, Endymion. I was... happy. I had my guardians, the four Shitennou... and then the fellow princesses of the planets, and the one who was most dear to me, the Princess of the Moon. They all had talents aplenty and they helped me to learn because I would one day have to lead them all..."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 19:41:38 90738
As Earth begins to tell her story, the redheaded mahou settles back against the AC, listening intently.
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 19:45:43 90739
"And everything was going well. Even overcoming the objections of some to the relationship we had, Bunny and I - both political and... otherwise." she continued with a cough. "But I guess the divisons ran deeper than we thought because a witch named Beryl, working with a demon spirit from the sun... jealous in more ways than I can count... convinced some of my loyal subjects to defect."

"They attacked the Moon and... I went to defend her... and... I was killed. That's most of what I remember. There are little things - moments with the Shitennou and the other Princesses... I remeber the important ones crystal clear but not the mundane things."

"And... I remember how beautiful everything was, how happy everyone was."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 19:56:38 90740
As the story winds down, Rashmi looks very, very thoughtful. "I think I understand, now... Earth-san, do you... I mean... how did you wake up? Like... I know Chiba-san was an orphan before his past life came back to him, but... Was that how it happened for you? Or were you kept by someplace safe? Or..."

Trailing off, the redhead shrugs. "I'm not trying to pick apart your story, Earth-san. It's more like... Any little detail might help put this puzzle together, y'know? I want to help you, if I can, and... well honestly, what I'm best at is talking and figuring out, so..."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 20:17:14 90741
Earth looked - somewhat uncomfortable with this line of questioning. But finally, she answered.

"I was... reborn. I had another name. I was just another girl in Tokyo. My life wasn't really... relevant. I was sickly and weak and I wasn't important to anyone..." she began.

"But I felt this strong, impossible pull to other things. To... go to a strange place. It wasn't easy for a girl like that to do it, but I couldn't get it out of my head. And then when I touched those doors, I knew everything. The girl I was, that was just... a shell, to protect me. She was weak because I didn't have the energy I was supposed to have."

"And then I became Sailor Earth, Endymion, Princess, Heir of the Golden Kingdom. And now here I am today. I had to choose a new name because he already had mine. But I'm going to take the name back too."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 20:24:17 90742
"Okay," Rashmi says, mind racing as she nods. "Can you do something for me, then? It's just... Chiba-san's told me he can feel the power there, but he can't access it anymore. Would... I know this is asking a lot, but, would you mind if I took some readings? I figure if I can see what it's like when you're using it, then, maybe I can figure out why the connection's still open on his end, and what to do about it."

With a small smile, she hefts the book in her hand. "I mean... This doesn't take the shape of a store of knowledge for nothing, after all... But if you'd rather not, that's fine. I just..." Trailing off, she shrugs. "Like I said."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 20:53:24 90743
Earth quirked her head. "What kind of readings. I mean, if you're just checking me over it's not a big deal. But if you want to stick me with a needle..." she shudders there "...that's going to be a big no."

"Like, are you gonna know my favorite food and that I really hate taco tuesday in that book?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 20:56:39 90744
The question earns an amused snort. "No, nothing like that," Rashmi chuckles. "Just a scan, like figuring out energy readings and things like that. Figuring out how your power looks to it, comparing it to Chiba-san's, and working out what the differences could mean. No needles, ugh. I get the shivers when Papi uses needles on meat, even."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 21:29:19 90745
Earth leans in and tilts her head a little bit. "Do I get to see the information too? I mean. I'm interested, but look at it from my perspective - it could be information used to harm me, too. I think it's only fair."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 21:38:48 90746
"Well of course!" Rashmi says, flipping open her book. With a cheery *bing!* an arc of almost a dozen holographic 'screens' flickers into being, most of which display some form of readiness state. The one on the bottom left, however, seems to be tuned to a video of a clot of kittens bumbling around a largish playpen.

The writing is possibly difficult to read, of course, depending on how much one has mastered the English language.

"Here... just stand there, and access your powers. If you're having a hard time reading it, I have a thumbdrive somewhere, I can translate it."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 21:50:33 90747
Earth reads it over. Surprisingly, as an unholy magical combination of Takashi and Mamoru, she has trouble understanding it. She can read it, though. "A pen drive would be excellent if you would please." she notes.

"Sure then, as long as it's an equitable exchange of information. I need to know, too."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 21:59:02 90748
"I agree," Rashmi says, drawing in a deep breath.

Beneath her feet, a complex, revolving circle traced in golden light spreads out, lazily revolving and counter-revolving, its design eye-twistingly intricate and crammed full of symbols, lines, and geometric shapes. Rashmi keeps her eyes on the screens, and draws in a deep breath. "Mana Investigation."

And the book answers, with another cheery chime and the voice of an emotionless, yet still fatherly older man.

*bing!* << MANA INVESTIGATION >>

And now a circle forms around Earth's feet. Golden ribbons of runes lift up, circling around Earth in the style of all manner of high-budget sci-fi movies, as the displays explode into life. Text crawls up some screens, graphs, pie charts, silhouettes with colored auras... It's a good thing Rashmi's offered to translate and hand it over, because the sheer density of information hurts the brain to look at.

Which is possibly why there are bumbling kittens.
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 22:21:53 90749
Earth does make a bit of a show in trying to read it, and does almost get the afforementioned headache.

But while Earth knows she was created by Takashi, as some sort of Mamoru-like creature, she's been spared the full details of her provenance, which Takashi has gone to great lengths to obscure.

The layered energy signatures beneath the obvious one, like layers of Chobham armor, interfere and distract from the legibility of one another, like trying to recieve several radio stations all at once. Sailor Earth is, in truth and in many ways, Takashi's greatest creation, and the way she acts 'real' despite her provenance shows that.

Still, interesting spikes and surges can be found by Rashmi's scans, fragments of information that might serve to be decoded in time.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 22:32:08 90750
It seems to give Rashmi a bit of a headache too, the way she visibly tries to follow along with the rapidly changing and shifting signatures. "Y'know," she murmurs, as the ribbons slow to a halt, and fold themselves back up into the circle, which fades away. "If I didn't know better, I'd say there's something completely apart from you and Mamoru, like... jamming your connection. There's a lot here that doesn't track with any energy signature I've ever seen out of the Senshi, the Shitennou, or Chiba-san. Here... lemme dig for a drive while it chews on the numbers a bit. I'm going to have to give this some serious looking into, if you don't mind Earth-san."

With that, she fumbles around the pockets of her jacket, eventually producing a phone and a thumbdrive. Once the usual USB rigmarole is dealt with, the phone's screen lights up, displaying a fairly dense pure-text interperetation of the information gained from the scan in Japanese, which is copied to the drive.

Without an ounce of hesitation, Rashmi hands the drive over, now looking faintly worried. "Earth-san... I'm serious. I very, very much want to be your friend, because I know how lonely it is just to be another face in the background. Everyone deserves friends... Especially people who might've lost the ones they thought they had."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 22:44:58 90751
Earth kept her fake face up well, but she didn't want friends, deep down. Despite everything she said. She wanted her crown. She wanted subjects. She wanted the things Takashi had promised her, and she wasn't about to break character and miss them.

"Yeah! Jamming me. That would be whatever's stuffing my powers. I'm still not as strong as I should be. Even though I've gotten some of them back." She stopped and blinked. "I think... a similar thing happened back then. You just jogged my other memory. I used to be so much stronger, and then... when Beryl uprose, I couldn't transform. I had to fight in my royal armor instead. Someone... corrupted me then. Maybe the same as now."

Throw a fork in the gears. That's what she was doing. "I thought they said they had defeated her then, though..."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 22:46:25 90752
"Her who?" Rashmi asks, tilting her head. "Beryl? Or someone else...?"
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 22:52:32 90753
Earth nodded. "Yeah, that..." she is obviously trying to hold back from unloading what surely must be a slew of explitives. "sunschorched witch. She harmed my powers before somehow."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 22:59:45 90754
"Hmmm," Rashmi answers, holding out the USB drive. "Well... I'll let you know if I find anything out, okay? You do the same. If you need to talk to me, just come by the Korma Chameleon. I'm.... pretty sure Chiba-san won't be showing up there anytime soon, so that's one thing you don't have to worry about."
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 23:02:53 90755
Earth nodded. "Yeah I'd rather not start a fight in a friend's place of buisness. Now that I can fight again, anyways." she said, and took the drive.

"Please be careful with that information and who you share it with. It looks like... it could be a blueprint for me and there's... like already one bad clone of me running around out there making my cape look less cool." she noted with a half smile.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-25 23:05:09 90756
"I will," Rashmi says, her voice utterly sincere. "I wouldn't want that either, and clones of mahou have ben known to happen." Looking back up at the tower again, Rashmi sighs heavily. "I should go, Earth-san. Still have homework to do. You be safe, all right?"
Sailor Earth 2018-04-25 23:06:21 90757
Sailor Earth nodded and gave a somewhat dramatic bow. "I hope you keep yourself safe. And I will attempt to do the same." Then, much like Mamoru was known to do, she was gone before Rashmi turned back around from looking at the balcony.