Virtuous Advice

Miho stops by the ECFH and talks to Kyouko and Naru about how to handle the pressure of being magical.

Date: 2018-06-25
Pose Count: 22
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 17:51:56 92232
    On any given day there are likely to be a subset of people at the ECFH. There's the people who actually live there, the people who live in close proximity and might as well live there, and any number of guests and visitors. Today, however, it appears that its mostly that middle-category that happen to be inhabiting the penthouse suite.

    Although Kyouko and Naru live further down in the same building, there are undeniable advantages to the penthouse that their own apartment can't deliver- more kitchen space, fancier furniture and a bigger TV, and perhaps most importantly, good company (not that they don't appreciate each other's company, but neither are the type to simply shack up alone, at least for extended periods).

    This is likely why this afternoon finds these particular inhabitants within the ECFH despite the fact that none of the actual residents appear to be.. well, in residence. That state is always transitory though- any of the guys might wander in at any moment, which makes hanging out to see who shows up its own sort of entertainment.

    Currently, Kyouko is sitting on one of the couches, wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. She had a work shift earlier in the day, but is now free for the evening. She has one leg crossed over the other and is paging through a magazine which seems to be a home and garden-type thing. "Why are patio chairs so expensive?" She complains, irritably. "It's not my fault Dog likes to chew on the plastic ones we had out there before. I like sitting on the balcony but I feel like we could get like.. a hundred apples for the cost of one of these things."
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 18:00:18 92233
"Because apples are food and small and transitory, and chairs are not, except to Dog." Naru replies calmly as she putters in the kitchen. There are strawberries being hulled, and ingredients out for something other than muffins. Crazy talk, really.

"Do we have room for a hammock chair out there?" Naru muses as she looks over to Kyouko and the catalogue. "Ther'es not room for a whole hammock, although that would be /sweet/."
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 18:06:55 92234
Miho is squarely within the "guests and visitors" category. The first time she visited, she felt like she barely even belonged here. But things have changed.

Miho is dressed in a plain blue shirt, a black skirt, and her usual pink sneakers as she approaches the door to the apartment, looking nervous and worried and with her left hand grasped in her right. She takes a deep breath to steady her nerves, and then hesitantly knocks on the door before immediately stepping in. "Um, hi, guys," she says as she makes her way over to the living area, dropping her hands to her sides. "Is, is Chiba-san in at the moment?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 18:10:17 92236
    To be fair, the place hardly feels very 'magical' at the moment, what with the inhabitants consisting of a girl in casual clothes complaining about patio furniture and another girl in the kitchen baking something with strawberries. As Miho enters, Kyouko is replying to Naru, "A hammock chair? Probably." She flips a few pages in the magazine. "Mmm.. and Dog might not be able to wreck one of those as easily. Less plastic to gnaw."

    She glances up a second before Miho opens the door, her instincts alerting her to someone's presence. When the girl appears, Kyouko frowns faintly, but a contemplative expression rather than a displeased one. "Oh, it's you.." A pause. "Miho-san, right?" She nods, confident in the name dredged up from memory.

    "He's not, but he probably will be.." She glances at the clock, "..uh.. sometime. He's at class, I think. If he comes right home and doesn't go to the library or something he should be back soon but.. do you want me to text him?"
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 18:14:52 92237
"That was my thought." Naru concurs on the Dog proofing of patio furniture. "He usually leaves fabric stuff alone, but plastic is his kryptonite." She waves towards Miho as the other girl makes her nervous way into the apartment, accepting the arrival as if its the normal it is. "Hey Miho."

Naru moves to get soy milk out of the fridge, pouring some into a pan. "Oh! Miho.. question for you. Do you have any food allergies?"
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 18:28:24 92240
Miho nods and gives Kyouko a quick stiff bow. "Well, I guess it's not him in particular I ..." She shakes her head and shrugs. "Well, I guess ... I dunno." She sits down on one of the other couches. "Ah, no, Naru-senpai, I think I'm good."

She takes a moment to try to put her thoughts in order; her right arm goes right back to grasping her left. "Okay, I ... Mostly I just need to get this out and talk to someone in the ECFH," she says. "I'm not sure if he's mentioned anything about this to you guys, but it ... turns out that I am 'youma-bait' as Chiba-san put it when I met him, it's just ... a specific category of youma that are after me." She shakes her head. "Or, not a specific 'category', but, uh ... well, okay, first of all, there was this artifact of doom called the Shadow Jade, my great grandmother got a Death Curse from it and a Life Blessing from a magical girl who rescued her and shattered it, I inherited both the Curse and the Blessing, and now there are youma getting powered up by shards of the Shadow Jade who want to kidnap me to use the Death Curse to find the shards to put it back together. 'Shard-youma', I guess we can call 'em," she adds.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 18:32:06 92241
    Kyouko eyes Miho as she bows, because formality is totally not one of her strong suits (despite being a native-born Japanese person and therefore technically knowing how to bow).

    She then listens to the girl's story, quirking one of her brows. She does not seem unduly impressed, though this isn't because she thinks it isn't important or truthful. Rather, Kyouko has been living more in the magical world than the regular one for so long that hearing this kind of story is more normal to her than going to school. "I think he might have mentioned something about it." She says, drawing her brows together in thought.

    "Anyway, youma's youma. Don't matter who they're after or why, if they show up, they gotta get stabbed." She makes a stabbing motion with her empty hand. "Is that what you need help with? You want me to stab some youma for you?" She looks strangely eager, sitting up a bit straighter as if willing to leap up off the couch and go do just that right now.
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 18:35:16 92242
"I heartily advise against getting kidnapped, it really isn't all its cracked up to be." Naru comments helpfully as she gets milk to heating and starts smushing strawberries into a puree. "Alright, so clearly you've covered the Curse side.. unless there's more to it than being a potential sacrifice.. did you get any Blessing out of the deal as well, or is that wholly a misnomer?" She pauses thoughtfully. "What sort of youma? Do you know?"
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 18:43:02 92243
Miho actually cracks a smile at Kyouko's enthusiasm. "I have, in fact, called for backup before!" she says. "The first time, I didn't know to be worried, and got rescued by, uh, three magical girls who just happened to be in the area. But the second time, I called Rashmi-chan for help when one of the Shadow Witch's leftover familiars got buffed up near Korma Chameleon. So, uh, any youma, looks like."

She shrugs. "And, yes, I did get the Blessing, too," she says. She waves her right hand, and there's brief minty glow. "I can heal peoples' injuries ... and ..." She suddenly becomes less enthusiastic, and there's a noticeable downward-shift in her voice's pitch over the course of the next thing she says. "... I think it's possible for me to transform. In fact, I know it's possible."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 18:46:00 92244
    "Yes, no getting kidnapped." Kyouko says this with a narrow-eyed stern glare towards the kitchen, as if it's an instruction to Naru rather than a statement agreeing with her. She lets Naru cover the interrogation, as she always was better at that sort of thing, before looking back to Miho at her further explanation. "Well, we can always use more healers." She says, as one who often avails herself of their services.

    At Miho's mention of transforming, she nods as if this was expected. "Well, there you go then. As long as you ain't helpless. I mean, still call in backup if you need it, nothin' wrong with that but at least you're not trying to deal with the situation without any tools." She seems utterly oblivious to the less-enthusiastic shift of Miho's tone, in typical Kyouko fashion.
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 18:48:23 92245
"Most things are /possible/." Naru agrees, setting her attention to getting sugar and milk to simmer together nicely. There's just a smile and a 'mm hmm mmm' non-answer to the glare that she can FEEL coming from the living room.

"Is transforming a problem? It's really odd at first, I have to admit. I startled myself by not noticing that I had until I spotted my own sleeve." She makes no comment on calling for back up. Apparently someone doesn't want to be a hypocrite today.
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 19:07:54 92248
Miho just ... sighs softly, and subtly turns so that she's slightly facing the kitchen. "The thing is ..." She grimaces, and brings her voice back up to its usual pitch. "Basically I'm kind of exactly caught between wanting to stay on the sidelines where it's safe, versus ... not wanting to put myself in danger."

She fidgets uncomfortably on the couch. "I mean ... I can definitely still heal people from the sidelines, I know I want to do that. The other day I had to heal Rashmi-chan from when she got knocked out in a fight with one of Eclipse's goons." She looks at her hand. "And, and I felt right away, the minute I was actually doing something with my power, I felt like I was confident and in control, like I could do it no problem. But ..."

She shakes her head, and her voice starts its downward shift again. "Actually going out and putting myself in danger ... I dunno. It's on a whole 'nother level." She glances back at Kyouko. "No offense to you, Kyouko-san, but I'm not exactly someone who's eager to do that kind of thing. And ... but ..." She tries to get control of her pitch again. "... Lacrima-san said that I'd need to transform, and it ... it did not help!" It clearly wasn't what Miho needed to hear.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 19:13:01 92249
    Kyouko frowns slightly as Miho turns to address Naru, rather than her, as if perhaps seeking a more sympathetic ear from the other girl. While this is undoubtedly true, it just makes Kyouko shake her head slightly as Miho explains her misgivings.

    "I can understand not wanting to put yourself in unnecessary danger," She says, despite not feeling that way about herself at all, "But you just told us that these youma were attacking you because of this curse. If that's the case, and I got no reason to doubt you, then you're gonna be in danger either way. You're not putting yourself in more danger, you're actually reducing the danger you're already in."

    "You can say you wanna stay safe on the sidelines, but from what you just told us the sidelines aren't actually safe for you, since the youma are gonna come after you whether you transform or not. Better to have a chance to defend yourself than to just rely on other people to save you.. there's lotsa people who would, but you can't always just assume somebody is gonna be there. Better safe than sorry."

    She sighs. "I hate to admit it, but I suppose Lacrima was right this time."
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 19:25:45 92250
"Kyouko's got it exactly." Naru gestures with her silicone spatula a little before going back to stirring the milk. "There's a difference between throwing yourself in front of a car, and having cars jump the sidewalk to head for you. None.." She pauses a moment and then amends. "The vast majority of us have absolutely no desperate desire to jump in front of cars, metaphorically speaking. We all, however, have cars that are jumping the sidewalk for us. You especially at the moment."

Naru reaches her hand into the pot, to feel just a hair above the surface of the milk, testing the temperature. "And yes, some of us have a fascination with pushing little old ladies out of the way of cars who are preying on them, but that's a whole different conversation." She gives a little shrug. "If you're sporting a curse, the sidelines aren't actually safe. Which is not what you wanted to hear, but ignorance isn't bliss right here."
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 19:40:31 92252
Miho frowns, and lowers her head, just staring at the floor. "Yeah," she says. "Um. That is a good point. Cute Witch Kazeko, after she dealt with the shard-familiar, she said people can't always be there for me." She shrugs. "So far, the shard-youma have just been trying to use their 'connection' with the Death Curse to lure me in ... but they'll probably figure out sooner or later that I'm ... planning around that."

She looks at both of her hands, clenching and unclenching her fists a couple of times. "I guess it feels like, I'm being pressured too hard, and it's making the whole idea less appealing, or like it's not the kind of motivation I 'need' if I'm going to do this." She pauses, then smiles faintly and adds, "And there's a part of me that feels too much like this means I'm some sort of 'destined hero' or whatever, since I kind of really don't like the idea of destiny at all. For various reasons."

She shrugs and sits back. "I dunno. Maybe I just need to spend some more time being around all the magical people, using my healing powers and stuff while I figure this out. Just ... getting used to it all instead of, instead of just fretting like I think I've been doing."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 19:47:51 92254
    "Not to sound umsympathetic," Kyouko says, a prelude which means she is probably about to sound very unsympathetic, "But it ain't really a matter of being pressured, and whether or not it's appealing to you." She looks down at the girl with her crimson eyes. "It's a matter of survival. When you're stuck in the desert, you can't not go look for water because it's not appealing, or you feel like your thirst is pressuring you. It's do or die."

    She waves a hand in the air. "It's the same if you're being attacked. It don't matter if you like it or not. If you wanna survive, you fight back. Your only other choice is to lay down and die, and I don't think anybody wants to see that happen."

    She pauses, then adds, "And just to be clear, y'know, all of us will do our best to help you out if you call for help, so don't feel like you need to fight by yourself. All I meant before was that none of us can control everything, and sooner or later you're gonna find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself instead of relying on other people. It's best to be ready for it. It's easier to get used to that sorta thing when you have help, rather than trying to do it cold the first time."
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 19:52:25 92255
"You will get pressured." Naru is quite plain on that front, and her voice is quietly matter of fact. "And that's just a fact of this life, and it sucks, but there you have it. I know I struggled with that a lot, when I was non-magical and youma-bait." She nods to Kyouko's words, as un-sugared as they are.

"People will go out of their way to try and be there for when you are in trouble." Naru pauses in her stirring, to look out to the living room. "And short of having someone tied to your hip, there is going to be a youma who gets past it, and you are going to be facing them toe to toe, and hoping like hell your friends pick up their phonemail really damn quick. It's like earthquake drills in school. Learning how to protect yourself isn't making the earthquakes happening, it means you don't get buried under rubble when they do. It's not destiny, it's just reality that we live in Japan. There are earthquakes. We drill to know what to do." She returns to stirring. "You have youma chasing you. You learn how to protect yourself, so you know what to do."
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 20:11:48 92256
Miho nods slowly. "Yeah, I know, I know," she says, smiling weakly. "I'm just gonna have to get used to all this, is basically what my bottom line is." She shrugs. "In the meantime, back to what I already know I'm up for ... is there, uh, some kind of ... list you can put me on, to let everyone know I'm available for healing people?" She hesitates. "I don't always how 'available' I'll be, if I'm with my parents, but ... yeah."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 20:14:06 92257
    "There's no obligation in this community." Kyouko assures Miho, with a hint of a smile. "Except what you impose on yourself, which is something some people seem to do to no end." She shoots a glance towards the absent Mamoru's room, then continues, "I just mean like, we all have lives. If you're with your parents or whatever nobody's gonna hold that against you."

    She pauses, considering, then shrugs. "Well, if you exchange numbers with everybody here then that's a good start, we represent a good chunk of the organized magical fighters in the city." She glances over towards Naru in the kitchen. "There's also the Virtue Network, I guess? That's more your thing than mine, babe."
Naru Osaka 2018-06-25 20:18:29 92258
"It's always a choice." Naru agrees with a nod. "And yes, we all have lives. Parents, jobs, school, exams, partners.. sometimes people who you can say 'hey, sorry I'm late, my coffee literally tried to possess me' and sometings people who you just have to say 'Um.. sorry I'm late, traffic was terrible'." Naru smirks slightly. "We live in Tokyo, traffic is an eternal excuse that people understand."

"Virtue is a loose organization of people who try and keep each other in the loop." Naru adds a few more things to her milk and sugar mixture, still stirring. "Currently the organization is a little looser than it has been in times past, but if we get ourselves together, hopefully we can do a bit more loop keeping, and a bit less silence in future."
Miho Kagami 2018-06-25 20:29:20 92260
Miho nods. "Okay, cool," she says. "Glad I don't need to worry too hard about my parents ..." She pauses. "... except in the usual ways, but I mean for me, that's always been the case." It doesn't occur to her that parents might not be a consideration for someone in the room.

She sits up as Naru starts describing Virtue, and starts to look thoughtful. "Hmm ... well, given the obligation-thing, I don't see any reason why I can't join that kind of thing if you don't." Already, she looks a little bit more relaxed, a tiny bit more confident in herself.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-06-25 20:31:11 92261
    Kyouko hasn't had to worry about parents in a long time, but by this point she's used to other people having them, so it doesn't really make her blink when Miho talks about needing to deal with hers. She even has Naru's mom as an example, at this point, although Naru's mom is not really the type one needs to worry about in that way.

    "Virtue can be useful. I didn't join it myself, for reasons I won't bother going into, but Naru works with them." She says, as implied. "I'm sure they'd be happy to let you be a part of it."