Kendo Club Blues


Date: 2018-06-30
Pose Count: 46
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-30 01:37:35 92321
Mid-semester, there's very little in the way of club recruitment going on. Transfer students are kind of an oddity, even at Infinity Academy. So there's no hesitation when the Kendo club gets going with their after-classes practice session. The students head into the locker room to change into their practice gear, and then file out into the gymnasium to line up for pre-practice stretches.

Mikoto has missed more than a few sessions, so far this semester, and the club Captain has not gone easy on her about it. Just the other day, they'd had a lengthy discussion about whether or not she was going to continue with the club at all, and now, Mizore - said Captain - is keeping a close eye on her. So at first, neither of them see a new face at the door....
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-30 01:44:13 92322
It's the first day of school at Infinity University for Akari, that blue-haired foreign-looking young woman, and it's been interesting and informative in more ways than one. For want of any other clubs that seemed appealing, she made an approximate beeline for the gymnasium where the kendo club is held -- though there were a few wrong turns due to her unfamiliarity with the school layout. Now she gingerly steps inside, looks around, and then heads towards the person who seems to be in charge, stopping a polite distance away so as not to interrupt the conversation.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-30 01:52:55 92323
Several heads do turn towards the newcomer, having been less distracted and spotted her, but they seem to be engrossed in their stretching, unwilling to attract Mizore-taicho's attention by breaking ranks. Eventually, though, Mikoto breaks off from Mizore's intense glare and notices the bluenette approaching. She gives Mizore a few more moments to find a break in the rant, then interjects.

"It would appear we have a visitor, oh Captain."

Mizore blinks and glares at her harder, then turns about to see Akari standing there. "Ahhh. Well now." She takes in the uniform, and the unfamiliar face. "So, new girl, hm?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-30 02:01:28 92325
Akari smiles, and gives Mizore a quick but graceful bow. "I just transferred to Infinity, yes," she says. "My name's Akari Hayabusa. I've had a bit of an interest in kendo for a while, so I thought I'd like to stop by the club." She hesitates slightly, then adds, "No real experience, though, unfortunately." Mikoto gets barely a glance; Akari's mostly just focused on giving a good first impression to The Captain(tm).
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-30 02:09:07 92326
The Captain nods. "Mizore Tachibana, club Captain. Any experience with other styles of sword-work?" She looks the girl over, assessing her fitness, considering where she could fit in. About half the rest are continuing their stretching routine, while others have pauses to watch and get a look at the new girl.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-30 02:19:05 92327
Akari is about average build, maybe leaning slightly towards athletic, but not particularly muscular. "No experience to speak of, Tachibana-taichou," she says simply. She slightly looks over Mizore in return; her eyes flit in the general direction of the other students, but she remains focused on Mizore. This is not the first time today that she's had scrutiny from everyone else in the room, and it's neither a surprise nor a source of distress.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-30 02:28:42 92329
Tachibana is slender but tall, for a Japanese girl, with straight tea-brown hair and vivid blue eyes. The kendo garb doesn't exactly flatter her figure, but there's clearly some muscle there. "Good, good," she comments. "Nothing to unlearn."

She looks back at the other students. "What're you all gawking at? Finish up and start some sparring... or would you rather run laps?" That seems to focus everyone's attention nicely, and the gym is quickly filled with the clash of bokken against padding.

"Right, then. Nakajima, get New Girl a uniform and some pads and show her the basics, no more slacking off with your so-called 'lab work'."

Mikoto pauses, having been about to head over to join the sparring, then shrugs. "Sure, Taicho. C'mon, new girl, let's get you kitted out and see if you still like this after a practice session or two." Assuming Akari isn't scared off by all this, Mikoto will lead her over to the locker room.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-30 02:34:38 92330
Akari ... smiles politely. She isn't completely fearless, so she's slightly apprehensive, and she doesn't really hide it. Nevertheless, this isn't enough to scare her off, and anyway it's more or less exactly what she was expecting, so she follows Mikoto without complaints. Or indeed any kind of comments whatsoever at first. Only when they reach the locker room does she murmur, "Exciting ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-30 02:44:08 92331
Mikoto nods, "Taicho can be a bit... intense," she agrees. "So long as you show some actual effort, though, you'll get along just fine. And she's very good at what she does."

In the locker room, she selects a unit labelled 'Kendo Club' and spins the combination padlock to open it up. "What size do you take?" Once that's answered, she pulls out a set of gi and hakama in the appropriate size, and holds them out to Akari. "I'm Mikoto Nakajima, by the way. Pleasure to meet you."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-06-30 02:53:47 92332
Akari smiles. "Good to know," she says. "I guess I'll just have to put in whatever effort I need, then!" She doesn't point out the obvious conclusion from the fact that Mikoto obviously doesn't get along with Mizore.

"Pleased to meet you too," she says as she accepts the uniform. "One moment ..." She slips around a corner to get changed, carefully hides her pendant in the jacket of her regular school uniform, and returns a moment later in full kendo regalia, an eager expression on her face. "All right, here we go!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-06-30 03:02:02 92333
Mikoto nods as she assesses the fit of the uniform on Akari. "Looks good on you. We'll have you try on some armor later, once you've got some basics drilled in, okay?" She picks up a pair of shinai from the locker and then closes it, clicking the padlock into place.

"So, you saw the stretching routine," she says as she starts to lead the other girl out. "We'll start with that, then the basic strike drills. After that, maybe we'll get fancy, if you're still interested."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 00:31:38 92340
Akari smiles at the compliment. "Thanks," she says simply. "And, sure, that works!" It's clear from her general bearing that she's making less and less effort to hide her excitement. She does, however, manage to settle down a bit when Mikoto starts outlining her plan for today. "All right," she says. "Are there any other stretches besides the ones right when I came in here?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 00:33:46 92341
"It's a simple enough routine," Mikoto answers. "Much the same as you'd do for any martial art, really." She takes up a quick stance and starts demonstrating. "Just follow along," she suggests, "We'll do a short one since you're not going to be doing a full routine today."

The other students have already moved on to drills and katas, one group doing basics, another following the Captain through a fancier series.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 00:37:02 92342
Akari nods, "Works for me." She gives the other students a quick glance, but she quickly gets started with the stretching routine, following Mikoto's movements more or less in a mirror image of the other girl's movements. She has a polite smile the entire time, too.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 00:47:24 92343
Mikoto matches that polite smile, her own warm and genuine, as she works through the stretching routine. Her own was interrupted, after all. A few minutes later and it's done, and she's getting the shinai she'd picked out and offering one to Akari.

"Right. First thing to remember is, what we do in the club is officially kendo, not kenjutsu. Which means it's a sport, with rules." Once that's acknowledged, she takes the time to go over them. Or at least an outline, enough to get the newbie started.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 00:54:47 92345
Akari's smile ends up rather warm and genuine herself by the time the stretching routine is finished. She takes the offered shinai, and for a brief instant she holds it at the ready exactly like someone who's watched too much anime, before shifting into a more neutral position.

"All right," she says as Mikoto prefaces her lecture. "I mean, I figured there'd be a difference, and, well ... when I think about it, I'm not sure I'd want to learn how to actually, y'know, fight for real." She listens earnestly as Mikoto starts listing all the rules, looking like she's putting a good effort into memorizing them all.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 01:05:40 92346
Mikoto finishes it with noting that there's a good book on the subject in the school bookstore, "Just tell them you're joining the club and they'll know what to get for you." Assuming that she's still interested after tonight's practice, of course.

She moves on from there to explaining the various pieces of equipment, pointing them out on some of the students doing drills. "Once you're sure you're sticking around, we'll get you set up with the armor and padding, it's all custom fitted."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 01:10:32 92347
"All right, I'll be sure to get the book when I can." Akari listens along, keeping up rapt attention the entire time. She looks over the other students as Mikoto points them out, occasionally asking a few questions for clarification. "Good to know! Who would I talk to for the custom-fitting? Tachibana-san?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 01:22:17 92348
"Her, or Miki Sachigawa, the guy with blue hair and the stopwatch. He's club secretary, handles a lot of the equipment orders and such. Don't try to date him, his sister gets cranky and she's kinda one of the fencing team stars." Mikoto shrugs. "Team budget covers basics, so long as you finish out at least a full year with the club. If you leave earlier than that you're on the hook for it, though."

Once the discussion of equipment is done, she moves on to basic stances and strikes, demonstrating each, then nodding for Akari to go ahead and try them herself.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 01:28:13 92349
Akari nods. "Got it!" she says. She glances briefly at the others. "... I guess my 'year' starts a couple months after everyone else, but oh well, what can you do."

And then it's time for stances and strikes! She follows suit after Mikoto, a little shakily at first, but she gets the hang of it fairly quickly, and slowly but surely starts looking like she's getting the hang of it all.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 01:37:46 92351
"You're getting the hang of it," Mikoto says, smiling lightly as she watches Akari. "Now, just do that last set twenty times." Repitition is the key to mastery, at least of the basics...
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 01:41:24 92352
Akari nods, and smiles back earnestly, but also a little bit apprehensively. "Right!" She starts repeating the set, occasionally making mistakes or doing things in the wrong order, but she makes them less and less as time goes on. The last two repetitions, she pulls off without a hitch.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 01:52:26 92353
Mikoto watches it all, pacing around Akari as she works her way through the sequence, pointing out places where she's off - at first gently, with little taps, but it does get a little firmer near the end. "You're picking this up quickly. Let's try something a little harder." She moves on to another sequence, this one a little more complex, mixing strikes from several different directions.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 02:00:33 92356
Akari tenses up just a little bit from the first few taps, but eventually, she simply takes them as another kind of feedback. "Righto!" As she gets started on the second sequence, she has ... not quite as shaky a start as she did with the first one, and she seems to get the hang of things a bit more quickly, so that this time around, the last three repetitions are perfect.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 02:08:13 92358
The finish gets an approving smile from Mikoto, and she steps back. "So, having fun so far?" she asks. "You look like you've got some talent... could do well here, if you stick it out." She moves on to a third set, this one a little simpler but precisely measured.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 02:21:33 92360
Akari beams. "Oh, yes, thank you!" she says. "I don't see any reason to stop yet! I think I'm starting to get the hang of this." The third set ... it seems that she's relatively good at precision, and after the first couple of rounds, her mistakes are fewer and further between. "Whew!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 02:26:49 92361
Mikoto doesn't look to've broken a sweat, yet, but she's been doing this for a couple of years, now. "Starting to get a little tired? There's a way to deal with that, but I promise you, it's hard work." She actually grins, now. "Call it homework... do each basic strike one hundred times. Not in sequence, either. One hundred of one, then one hundred of the next, and so on." She hmms for a moment, then adds, "Keep it up for two weeks, and I'll get you a weighted bokken to do it with. That'll help pick up your arm strength in no time."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 02:32:58 92362
Akari blinks, looking apprehensive for just a brief moment, but then she grins back, her eagerness returning in full force. "Wow, that does sound like hard work!" She almost looks like she wants to get started then and there. "But all right, I'll make sure I do that!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 02:44:42 92364
"Good to see some enthusiasm! That's the way to do it!" The rest of the meeting has broken down into sparring while Mikoto worked with Akari, and by this point is starting to break up. A few enthusiasts are still sparring, and the Captain breaks off from supervising them (leaving them to that Miki boy) to come over and check up on the pair.

"So, what do you think, new kid? Still want to muck about with swords and a little honest sweat?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 02:51:39 92367
Akari smiles and nods, giving the others a quick glance. When Mizore shows up, she gives her a graceful bow. "Oh yes, Tachibana-taicho!" she says. "I'm definitely enjoying myself so far. And Nakajima-san has been very helpful!" She sounds ever-so-slightly like she's trying to hold enough to add a 'surprisingly enough' to that last bit; she doesn't want to risk giving the Captain lip at this stage of the game.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:02:09 92368
"Good, good. Always happy to see another enthusiast take up the art. Naka-chan tell you about the homework?" Mikoto levels a glare at her when she hears the nickname, but all she has to say is "Hmp." Apparently they've had that particular argument before, and she lost.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:06:14 92369
Akari fails to stifle a giggle at the 'Naka-chan' exchange. "Yes, one hundred of each basic strike, right?" she says. "I'll probably head to the park right after I get done with my other homework."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:10:16 92371
"Good," Mizore says. "Be sure you don't rush your classwork to get to it, though. Your grades slack off, we have to suspend you. So don't slack."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:14:20 92372
Akari gives Mizore another bow. "Okay, right!" she says. "I wasn't going to ... treat it as less-important or anything, it's the whole reason I'm doing the schoolwork first." She shoots Mikoto a smile. "Wow, I almost can't believe I'm actually doing this now!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:15:49 92373
Mikoto's scowl is gone, replaced by her habitual smile once more. "Just wait until we arrange another match with the other schools. You just missed a big one with Verone. Their fencing team is good, but their kendoka are better. Not better than us, though."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:21:01 92375
Akari chuckles. "Ohhh boy," she says. "I think it's waaaaaaaaay too early for me to even start thinking about tournaments!" She shakes her head. "Something to look forward to, when the time comes!"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:24:59 92376
"Oh, don't you worry, New Girl," Mizore says, clapping Akari on the shoulder. "This time next year you'll be wondering how you ever got by without us."

Mikoto just keeps smiling, tapping the tip of her shinai on the floor as she watches the gym empty out. "You can give her the speech next time, taicho. I think the basketball club wants to use the room, though."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:29:01 92377
Akari jumps slightly at the shoulder-clap, but she immediately giggles and gives Mizore another bow. "I'll look forward to it!" she says, lightly thumping her shinai on the floor. "Oh, right, uh ..." She looks between Mizore and Mikoto, and then at the departing crowd to try to find Miki. "... Do I take one of the shinai home for the practice, or ...?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:35:26 92378
"Yeah, you can hang on to that one for now. If you decide to quit, return it or you'll be billed for it. Naka-chan told you about the bokken, right?" Mikoto glares at her again, but again says nothing.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:38:14 92379
Akari smiles. "Oh, okay, thank you!" she says. "And yes, she mentioned the bokken. Same arrangement, I'm assuming?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:42:18 92380
"Yes, yes, it is," Mikoto slips in, hooking her arm around Akari's to pull her away from Mizore. "Give the newbie some room, taicho, she'll start to think you're weird." As if Mikoto doesn't think Mizore is just a bit off.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:45:12 92382
Akari chuckles, and lets Mikoto pull her away. She doesn't say anything until they're outside of Mizore's immediate earshot, at which point she murmurs, "Thanks." A pause, and then, "For all of this today, I mean."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 03:48:20 92383
Mikoto nods, and turns to lead her back to the locker room once they're away from Mizore. "It's no problem. Sometimes I forget that new people aren't... used to Taicho." She shrugs, and once in the locker room, heads for the showers. Wouldn't do to put the school uniform back on after a workout, after all. A quick wash later, back in her school uniform, she waits by the door for Akari to be ready to leave.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 03:57:47 92385
Akari nods and smiles. "That's fine," she says. "I'm ... well, I feel like I got a handle on the kind of person she is ... fairly quickly, so that's not gonna be a problem."

She goes through roughly the same routine, a shower and then getting dressed; she carefully uses a bit of sleight-of-hand to put on her pendant and slip it into her shirt and out of sight before anyone notices it's there. Sorry for leaving you here, Rubindorn, she says telepathically. Quick and vaguely urgent question: can my Infiltrationsmodus get stronger with physical exercise?

IT IS POSSIBLE, MISTRESS, her pendant replies in Belkan. IF IT WAS NOT, IT WOULD DRAW SUSPICION.

Okay, I figured, I just wanted to make sure. She heads back out, all smiles, and nods to Mikoto as she finds her waiting. "All righty then!" she says. "See you tomorrow?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-07-01 04:00:28 92386
Mikoto doesn't seem to notice the telepathic exchange... opportunities, like ships, pass in the night, sometimes. "Same time, same place," she agrees. "Some of us usually go for milkshakes on Friday after practice, you're welcome to tag along."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-07-01 04:04:14 92388
Akari nods and gives her a thumbs-up. "Then I'll be sure to tag along on Friday!" she says. Nightbell is chuckling inwardly at this, of course, although it doesn't occur to her that Mikoto could possibly know the source of this amusement ...