Benjy and the Apple Crisp (WARNING: Explicit Language)


Kyouko and Naru go poke around the remains of D-point and stumble upon something unexpected.

Date: 2018-08-13
Pose Count: 60
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:02:48 94389
    Not long after that text conversation, Kyouko appears in the apartment she shares with Naru. And appears is the correct word, because she simply pops into being, about six inches off the floor, with a 'sszzhht' sort of sound. Her feet thunk to the carpet, and she stumbles just a step or two, then straightens, grinning. "Hey, not bad that time.."

    She's in henshin as Apatite, but otherwise appears no worse for wear, though knowing her as well as she does Naru may be able to tell that she looks tired. No obvious injuries, though. "Naru! Your ride is here!" She sing-songs. She seems to be in a good mood, at least, perhaps not surprising all things considered.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 16:08:53 94390
Naru had been unpacking. Putting things here and there and gathering up the inevitable mountain of laundry. Because travel always seems to result in a laundry mountain, no matter where one goes nor for how long.

At the sound and the abrupt appearance of Apatite into the living room, she yelps with a startle and blinks at her best beloved. "That is going to take some getting used to." She points out, giving a rueful smile and a slow shake of her head. "Right now? We're headed out right now?" She uhhs softly and then shrugs, standing and offering her hand and coming closer.

A kiss and a quiet murmur. "I'm glad you're alright, even if you look like hell, my dear. I missed you."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:13:27 94391
    Kyouko seems so proud of herself, even as Naru yelps at her sudden appearance. "Isn't it great! It happened when Earth ripped Mamoru out of his body.. I felt it, even though I was miles away, and I just knew I had to get there.. and suddenly, I was there! It took some doing to figure out exactly how I did it, but I figured it out with some help from Kunzite and the guys.."

    When Naru approaches, Kyouko reaches out and takes her hand, lacing fingers and pulling the shorter girl against her and into a hug, which is accompanied by a kiss and a few moments of standing there in said embrace with her cheek pressed to Naru's hair. "I missed you too. And I'm glad you're back.." She pulls back slightly. "I don't look that bad... do I?"
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 16:16:38 94392
"Tired in ways that you don't usually look tired." Naru replies, leaning into the quiet moment, not in a rush to break that off. They might be rarely sweet in public, but they make up for it in private. "Weary perhaps. No.. not that bad, but I can see it on you." She leans back and smiles. "Congratulations on figuring out how to teleport right to him."

A pause and then Naru quirks her head. "Ripped him out of his body? No wonder he's a rock. Damn."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:21:24 94393
    Kyouko flushes just a little bit, and looks unduly pleased at the praise, grinning at Naru in a way that makes the tiredness less visible, at least for a few moments. She squeezes the other girl tight, then lets her go, but keeps hold of her hand. "Well, it seems like I'm becoming more Shitennou and less Puella by the day." She says, making a face. "I broke two ribs in that fight against Earth, and they didn't heal on their own, at least not as fast as I'm used to. Miho healed me though, so it's all good but.. I'm used to being unbreakable, so that's gonna take some getting used to."

    "And yeah.. well, she stole his Crystal, y'know like his soul rock. Tried to use it to make herself more 'real', I guess. We got it back, but I dunno if Mamoru is back in his body yet. Rashmi had him, and they were taking him to Kunzite's palace to do just that, last I heard. I can feel him up here," She taps her head. "So I know he's okay, but I could when he's just a rock, too."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 16:26:49 94394
"No breaking." Naru points out and then where she might have nudged in those ribs before, there's a soft touch. "Down to healing like us boring people, are you? Please be careful while you figure out new limits, mmm?"

The explination about the crystal makes Naru wrinkle up her nose. "Ugh. Is she dealt with? Or still on the radar? You look far too happy, tired aside, for her to still be an outstanding issue."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:30:00 94395
    "Well, maybe a little better than average." Kyouko says, glancing down when Naru touches her ribs. "They're fine now. All healed, like I said. EVen if I can't do it myself anymore, we know plenty of people who can do it for me, at least."

    "No, we got her, finally." Kyouko says, indeed sounding very happy. "She um.. kinda turned into a giant Witch? Apparently she was doing some wacky stuff with Grief Seeds, too. Anyway, I think she's turbo-dead this time, Usagi kind of.." She makes a gesture with her free hand. "Did one of those big moon-beam things with everybody supporting her. Not much walks away from that." She makes a face. "Turns out Agera is the one who created her, by the way. Seems like she got out of his control too, though, he actually gave us some info on how to take her down in the end. Not that that excuses him, but. Ami-san was pretty pissed."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 16:38:07 94396
"I wish I could say I was surprised." Naru sighs longsufferingly. "About Taka that is. Or about Ami being pissed that Taka did something dumb and evil and let it get out of control. Again." She gives her head a little shake. "I'm glad he finally accepted that it was bigger than just him, and shared some info. That's something at least."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:40:45 94397
    "Yeah, well, I'm still gonna put my fist through his face if I see him." Kyouko says, menacingly, but then she puts that aside for now, and grins as she squeezes Naru's hand, still grasped tightly in hers. "But! It seems like D-point, the place, is still hanging around because it might actually be a remnant Palace? Mamoru wants to see if I can find the Spirit Guardian.. if it is a Palace, there will be one there somewhere. I started looking, but then you texted so I came back. But two sets of eyes is probably better than one, when it comes to finding spirits that could be anywhere or look like anything!"
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 16:44:35 94398
"Valid." Naru returns the squeeze on her hand. "He'll still deserve it. Just perhaps not anything fatal.. besides.. then Ami would be really upset."

Naru blinks a moment. "D-point? Isn't that where the dark kingdom was? I.. didn't really follow much of that at the time, I have to admit. I was super confused about most things at the time." She hunhs softly. "A guardian? Like the caracal? Sure.. I can come help you look."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:48:29 94399
    Kyouko snorts. "Ami can be as upset as she likes, she'd be better off if we did kill him." Uncharitable, but perhaps true. Either way, Kyouko isn't going to go murder anyone in cold blood so Agera is safe for the time being.

    "Yeah, where the Dark Kingdom was." Kyouko confirms. "At the North Pole. It's a Golden Kingdom ruin, after all. And that's where Earth fled to after she took Mamoru, so that's where we fought her the last time. But that's beside the point, really.. apparently it's been clean of corruption since Queen Beryl fell, just nobody really thought to look into it."

    She nods in confirmation. "Yeah, like the Caracal, except.. well, maybe not a cat. I guess it could be anything. Nephrite's is a little dog-like thing."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 16:53:51 94400
"The caracal is the only one I've ever stopped and chatted with." Naru muses softly. "I try not to visit the palaces much.. well.. except Jadite's, but I just stay in the garden. I feel like I'm intruding."

Naru hunhs softly. "I.. I am sure I knew it was at the North Pole, but it didn't ring a bell for me when you mentioned it in your message." She smiles. "Should be pretty cool to poke around in, in any case."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 16:58:32 94401
    "Yeah!" Kyouko agrees, grinning again. It's exciting to her, because Mamoru has already told her this might be her Palace. Or, that is to say, he's told her that if it is a Palace at all, he intends to grant it to her. But that depends on whether or not they can find the Guardian. But it's still pretty exciting.

    "Come on, then! Let's go!" She pauses, glancing down at Naru's feet. "But you might wanna put on shoes. And maybe a jacket. It's not like, frigid up there, since it's underground, but it's hardly summertime Japan, either.."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 17:05:08 94402
"So real shoes then, not just sandals." Naru extracts her hand, to go over and collect up shoes she really had just put away after unpacking. "Hoodie, or hoodie and jacket?" She confirms as she gets shod, and collects her hoodie from the pile of clean clothes that is disconcertingly small compared to laundry hampers waiting to be dealt with. "Europe was unusually warm this year, I am likely to feel the chill up there more than I might normally."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 17:11:02 94403
    "Eh, might as well bring the jacket, you can always take it off." Kyouko says, practically, waiting until Naru has gathered the things she needs before holding out her hand again. "Okay.. ready?" She grins. "This is my first time teleporting with a guest, so.. hang on. I'm sure it'll be fine."

    She grips Naru's hand tightly. And then.. poof. Assuming Naru has teleported with Kunzite or other Shitennou before, it's pretty much the same deal. Kyouko also shares the range limitations of the other Shitennou, which means that getting all the way to the North Pole takes a bunch of individual hops, but all in all it's about a half-hour journey which isn't too bad, really.

    Finally, the last jump sets them down in the ruined stone hallway of what was formerly D-point, looking like the remains of some kind of underground castle. They only appear about four inches off the ground this time. Not so bad.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 17:24:08 94404
Shoes, jacket, satchel. Because Naru is hardly off to the north pole without her sketchbook, some protein bars, and a water bottle. "Just dont strand us anywhere." She requests as she holds Kyouko's hand tightly.

The stops are familiar from other teleportation excursions with other Shitennou, and all in all, beats the hell out of airports, even with the pauses on the way. Every landing is met with closed eyes and tension wafting off Naru until she sorts out that they're not high in the air, but gentle landings all the way along. Even so, arrival is met with a relieved little sigh.

"You're getting better with every one, I think." Naru points out, before she looks around and goes quiet.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 17:30:44 94405
    If Naru was hoping to get to sketch vast icy vistas and maybe a polar bear or two, she will unfortunately be disappointed, as the remains of D-point are entirely subterranean- a series of stonework hallways and rooms, mostly in ruin, with rock or stone ceilings overhead. All the dark energy-ridden parts that Beryl had added on have been destroyed when the Dark Kingdom fell, leaving only the remains of the original Golden Kingdom structure.

    Kyouko oofs softly as they land, and then looks pleased as Naru compliments her on her teleporting improvement. "That's the plan. Gotta figure it out so that when the time comes when I really need to do it, I don't screw it up." She pauses, then looks around. "Um.. so yeah. Whole place seems empty to me. But Mamoru seemed sure there was a Guardian somewhere in here." She walks over to an empty doorway, her boots echoing on the stone floor. "Kinda creepy, if you ask me."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 17:34:03 94406
"It.." Naru shakes her head, still holding Kyouko's hand. "No, it doesn't feel empty to me. Quiet, perhaps, dormant, but not empty." She mmmms and then adds after a moment more of looking around. "And vaguely familiar, but not quite. I expect I was never in this part."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 17:45:49 94407
    "Me either. Not even when I was here as Bad Apatite, way back." Kyouko murmurs in response. She keeps hold of Naru's hand gladly. Even if she isn't scared, persay, the comfort is welcome. Plus she really has missed her girlfriend for two weeks! "Beryl had made her own creepy editions out of like, lost souls and stuff. That's mostly where she hung out, I think. But that's all gone now, or so Mamoru said."

    She peeks into the room, which is empty, just stone walls and floor with no furniture or adornments. "I know what you mean, though." She says, leaning back into the hallway. "It still feels.. alive, somehow, even though it looks empty."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 17:49:46 94408
"I was here as me." Naru points out as she walks with Kyouko, poking around and exploring. "Although not wholly me, I was pretty zoned out at the time.. enough that I only have good memories of the creepy stuff." She peers around a corner and hunhs softly. "It has the same feel though.. Beryl really kept a lot of the design choices, just added creepy."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 17:52:37 94409
    "Just looks like a lot of empty stone rooms to me." Kyouko says, with the eye of a not-artist. "Kind of depressing if this does end up being my Palace. Maybe I can redecorate." She looks thoughtful. "Not really sure how that works. But I would like some windows. Though, I guess it's the North Pole so that might not actually be an improvement.."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 18:08:44 94410
"Really?" Naru blinks in surprise at Kyouko, turning away from the architecture to look at her girlfriend. "Depressing? Okay.. it totally needs more light." She gives Kyouko's hand a squeeze and then lets go. A step and she's Hyalite, and she reaches for her sketchbook to draw up some quick and easy lanterns, keeping wiht the ancient feel of the place. "But the sweep of the walls into the ceiling, and the details.. there's just so many amazing details.." She holds up a lantern, pulled out of her book already lit. "See? All those stone curlicues and details? It's /amazing/."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 18:12:20 94411
    Kyouko gives a little smile as she watches Naru transform into Hyalite, and then whip up some lanterns for them. The light does help, driving away some of the shadows and making the place feel a little more lively. She takes the second lantern as it is drawn from the book, holding it up to cast a stronger light around the corridor, then following it down into a larger, more open space that seems as though it may have once been some sort of a banquet hall or something.

    She turns to study the ornamentation above the doorway, frowning in thought as she hoists the lantern up to get a better look. "Well, I guess it's pretty." She says, shrugging her shoulders. "And I'm sure it took a lot of work, back when it was done I just.. would like something a little more.." She gestures expansively with her arms. "Open. Y'know? Claustrophobic stone corridors don't really do it for me as a residence, even if they are well-decorated.."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 18:19:13 94412
"Love.. we live in a 70 square metre apartment with your sister and Dog, and you are complaining that this.." Naru holds up her lantern and gestures around the banquet hall. "Is tiny and claustrophobic?" She laughs and leans in to kiss Kyouko on the cheek. "You'd be miserable in Jadeite's garden all of the time. Or Neph's forests." She continues to explore the edges, admiring the detail work, utterly unconcerned about the size. It's bigger than home!
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 18:24:29 94413
    "It's not the size of the place," Kyouko says, stubbornly. "And I like our apartment just fine! It's got nothing to do with like.. the amount of space. It's more just how closed in everything feels. Y'know, no windows, nothing outside, just stone. I mean, I get it, it's the North Pole and all, but.."

    She turns to watch Naru across the room, her eyes narrowing a bit in thought. "Why do you think I'd be miserable at Jadeite or Nephrite's places? Jadeite's gardens are very pretty, at least.." Even though Naru knows perfectly well that 'pretty gardens' would not be high on Kyouko's list of Palace essentials.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 18:35:56 94414
"Because they are unendingly quiet and peaceful and yes.. beautiful, and after an hour you'd be bored out of your mind and dangling upside down from the top of the tree." Naru points out pragmatically.

"We only just got here.. we haven't found outside /yet/." Naru points out, looking over at her and grinning. "We've poked at one corridor and a single room. This place feels like its got more secrets than /that/."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 18:42:06 94415
    "Bah," Kyouko says, waving a hand. "It's all about what you do with them! I bet I could make an awesome tire swing from one of those big-ass trees." She grins. "Still, I suppose you have a point. I can't claim you don't know me well at this stage of the game."

    She makes a face as Naru points out the limited explorations. "Well yes, but outside is still the North Pole, it's not like it's going to suddenly be all posies and sunshine." She says, poking her head into another corridor and holding the lantern up to try and see where it leads. "But you're right, of course.. there are probably lots of secrets. Hopefully none of the 'bite your head off' sort."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 18:45:45 94416
"And then we kick its arse into next week and we're good to go." Naru grins over to her. "You might be low on juice, but I've been pretending to be a mundane for two weeks, and I am fresh. Anything that decides to bite, we can totally bite it back."

There's a soft bit of 'pfft' at the complaint that it's the North Pole. "Climate change.. and D-point.. are you /sure/ it's not actually got a courtyard full of gardens? This place was stuffed to the /gills/ with magical energy, I make no bets at all about what it did to the outside as well as inside. You're just being pessimistic for the sake of being pessimistic."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 18:54:30 94417
    "Hey," Kyouko says again, crossing the room to poke Naru lightly in the ribs with her forefinger. "Just because I'm tired doesn't mean I still can't kick some old monster's ass." She grins. "Although being defended by the mighty Hyalite does sound kind of appealing.."

    Then she scowls. "Well I know it's got magic and maybe there's gardens. But I am not being pessimistic, I'm just being realistic." She insists, planting fists on her hips. "I mean, I haven't seen a speck of sunshine any of the times I've been here." She jostles the lantern around. "This is the best we got."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 19:00:12 94418
"How often have you been back since D-point?" Naru asks as she picks a corridor to go down, holding up her lantern to ensure that she can see where she's going. It's a curious question, not tinged with accustation in that the answer will prove her point. "And how long ago? It's summertime now, somewhere there should be almost all day sunshine, if we find an outside."

Naru laughs softly. "I have no doubt about you being able to still kick ass, but let me get a couple zots in, would you? I'm feeling deprived."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 19:04:29 94419
    Kyouko hurries after Naru, scowling faintly. "Well, just this once when we came to fight Earth," She says, "But the North Pole in summertime is still the North Pole, all cold and stuff.. though it's not very cold in here." She looks around, twisting her lips thoughtfully. "I don't know how far underground we are, though.. we'd probably have to go up to find an outside."

    Then she smirks a little bit. "Bloodthirsty Naru, I like it. We can always tussle if you want to zot and there's no monsters, but maybe we better save that until we're back at home."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 19:08:36 94420
"I'm going to bet I dont have a data plan up here to be able to google what the average summer temperatures at the north pole are." Naru points out and she nods. "Probably at least some, but until we find a ramp or a staircase.. we get to just explore."

Naru turns such that she's walking backwards, facing Kyouko. "I.. I am possibly one of the very few who has nothing but good memories that coming back here reminds me of. Its not quite the same, but it's close enough that I suspect I might be a little protective in my fondness for the place."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 19:15:28 94421
    "I'm going to guess 'still cold'." Kyouko says, with regards to summer at the North Pole, then shrugs her shoulders as she pauses to peer into a side room. "Well, we're actually looking for a Spirit Guardian, remember. But so far I ain't seen any sign of anything alive in here, spirit or otherwise."

    She looks back to Naru as the other girl starts walking backwards to face her. She crooks a tiny smile at Naru's words, and shrugs her shoulders. "Well.. I ain't exactly traumatized. I mean, it was rough, but we did good work here, in the end. It's hard to be upset about that. Still.." She grins. "I promise to consult you on redecorating."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 19:26:34 94422
"And we don't know who or what that Spirit Guardian might be, so outside could be a very reasonable place to find them." Naru notes with a grin. "Also why we get to do a ton of exploring. At least until I am hungry enough to gnaw your arm off, or faceplant. Timezones suck."

Naru mmms softly. "I'm glad. It would suck to have it be a traumatizing place.. I probably /should/ be more traumatized than I am.. I spent most of my time here mind controlled, but somehow, brains are weird."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 19:33:44 94423
    "I don't actually think they can leave the Palace they are a part of." Kyouko points out, with respect to the Spirit Guardian. "Although there are parts of the other guys' Palaces which look like outside, so if there's someplace like that that's still tecnically part of the Palace, than maybe.."

    Then she grins. "Your brain is weird. Luckily for me, I think. I'm glad you're not traumatized, even if you should be. We have enough in our lives to be traumatized about without adding more onto the pile."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-13 19:43:55 94424
"If its gardens or something, I'd think its still Palace and not random wilderness." Naru nods in agreement. "That makes sense. Courtyards and so on.. yeah."

Naru laughs and moves over to steal a quick kiss, even while they're being adventurey. "I don't get traumatized easily.. by and large.. I just paint /super/ creepy paintings later. No problem."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-13 19:47:55 94425
    Kyouko grins and happily provides said quick kiss, which is not in any way in opposition to them being adventurey. "I know you don't, which is one of the things I like about you." She points out, and then adds dryly, "No problem until they start coming to life or influencing your mind, but hey, nobody's perfect." She winks affectionately.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 17:03:48 94673
The corridor that Naru picked to go down next is getting gradually warmer, and as they go around a corner, the dead, dark torches in wall sconces suddenly flare to life the rest of the way down it. They're a warm red-gold glow, in stark contrast to the sick-looking green that they'd shone while the place was powered by dark energy. The stone walls were all carefully hand-laid, fitted to each other rather than held in place with mortar, and there's an actual breeze coming up the hall from ahead, fresh air, brisk but not cold.

And-- a scent on it-- of apples?

BAKED apples. With cinnamon. And nugmeg. And sugar. And butter. That is a super-distinct scent. It's like a beacon, like McDonald's Fry Smell commercials from the late 90s, where the steam turned into a beckoning finger on a big steam hand that enticed people to follow their nose.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 17:11:20 94674
"This is probably not headed outside." Naru points out as they travel. "I'm pretty confident that it's getting warmer in here." She startles as the torches light up beyond their lantern light. "Not gonna lie.. that's creepy as all hell." She pauses, sniffing at that corner, quirking her brow quesitoningly.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 17:14:15 94675
    Kyouko has a really good nose, so it's actually a few moments before Naru sniffs that Kyouko detects the scent of.. well, a variety of foods. Her nose twitches, and her eyes widen fractionally as she peers ahead, only to jump in a similar startle to Naru when the torches suddenly flare to life. Her eyes narrow, and her spear (formerly absent) appears in her hand suddenly. Best to be safe.

    "Definitely warmer." She agrees, moving ahead now, slightly in front of Naru. "But that feels like fresh air." She points out, at the breeze, even though it's warmer than the air in the abandoned rooms they are now leaving behind.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 17:28:50 94677
It's almost like Kyouko's intent has the place waking up. Naru'd said it felt like it was dormant, but alive. Maybe it was just sleeping, napping after the immense bullshit that Mirai had pulled on it.

Along the hallway, there are nondescript wooden doors, but only on one side; the turn at the end of this stretch takes them in the opposite direction from those doors. At the end of the hallway at that turn, there's light spilling onto the wall.

Daylight.

The scent's also getting thicker, stronger. That's not just baked apples, that's goddamn apple crisp.

Around that last corner? There's a short corridor that's more like a porch, pillared and opening out into a courtyard on one side. It looks like a working courtyard; there's a hand pump and a sink, and there's a rack for drying dishes in the sun, and there are barrels stacked up along the outside wall of the hall they'd just come through; there's a large fireplace with doors in it, though only a minimal amount of heat rises up from its chimney; there's a wide wooden arched door with a window in it leading into another castle wall, and at the far side of the courtyard are storage sheds.

There's a quick and brief scuttling sound that comes from the partly open door, catty-corner across the courtyard from them.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 17:44:58 94679
    As used as she is to the other Palaces by now, the concept of a building, a place, a location waking up is foreign to Apatite. But she can't help but feel it anyway- the way life seems to stir amongst the dust and stones, as she and Naru walk into that breeze, and towards the light that suddenly comes into view at the end of the hall.

    "Daylight," She says, unnecessarily. "Definitely not North Pole outside, cuz it's not freezing." She sniffs the air again. "And I'm pretty sure polar bears don't bake.. goddamn apple crisp."

    She blinks rapidly as they emerge from the still-dim hallway into the bright light of the courtyars, looking around in confusion and still holding her spear at the ready, though not quite looking like she's about to haul off and stab something just yet. Her eyes dart around for a moment, once they adjust to the light, and then she walks over and tips up the lid of one of the barrels, peering inside. "Did we just wander onto the set of some kind of American farmhouse drama?" She wonders aloud, before that scuttling sound catches her attention, and she wheels around, tensing.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 18:24:51 94681
"Earlier than farmhouse drama.. think more henry the VIII rather than Little House on the Prairie." Naru /has/ been keeping up on her English literature, and it shows. She's still admiring the kitchen, and sniffing the air. "Seriously.. at this point in our lives, can we /really/ discount polar bears making apple crisp? I am super hesitant to just toss that aside quite so immediately."

The sound makes her turn as well, sketchbook still in hand, but no other weapon present. "It didn't feel like anyone else was here." She notes quietly, because lowering her voice /now/ makes so much sense.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 18:35:15 94682
"Yo which one o' youse guys is a fuckin bottomless pit? And is somebody gonna tell me what the shit was up with yankin' the goddamn crystal around and puttin weird shit in it and makin' this place some weird-ass fake Elysion? 'Cause that shit wasn't cool," comes a voice from the other side of the door.

Then the door opens a little further, and swings open, and there's no one there.

The voice comes again, from down low. "Lemme tell you what, I feel like a fuckin idiot. How the shit was I supposed to know that chick wasn't Endymion? She felt like him and I don't see too good."

It's a rat. It's literally a rat. About the size of a cat. A subway rat. A street rat. "He okay? Oh thanks for connectin' shit up again, it only took what, a hundred fuckin thousand years?"
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 18:47:13 94685
    Kyouko jumps at the sudden voice which rings out, lowering her spear and edging towards the door a little bit. She reaches out to open it with her spear-butt, only to have the door swing itself open just before she can. She tenses, ready to strike.. but then nobody's there.

    Until she looks down.

    "Eeew, gross, a rat." She says, in an absolutely deadpan voice. She lived on the streets for years, remember, rats ain't no thing for Kyouko. She pauses. "A talking rat? Huh. This place really is magic. Cinderella ain't hidin' around here somewhere, is she?"

    Everything the rat says more or less goes in one ear and out the other, it seems, because Kyouko pokes at the rat with the butt of her spear and says, "Hey Rat, you seen a Spirit Guardian around here anywhere? Probably some kind of real majestic animal, like a.. a stag, or a mountain lion, or maybe like an eagle or something?"
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 18:50:02 94686
"Cinderella is getting to the right era for the kitchen." Naru points out almost absently as she follows Kyouko's gaze down to the rat. Who is talking at them. Because polar bears could be cooking apple crisp, and the rats have Opinions. A lot of Opinions.

"Er. Hello there." Naru goes for the polite route, even if Kyouko has gotten directly to the point. "Sorry to have disturbed you."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 18:59:26 94687
"OR MAYBE A FUCKIN' RAT," the rat, suddenly really offended, yells up at Kyouko-- and then starts growing, bigger and bigger and bigger, until he's glaring his beady little red eyes right in her face--

--and then he notices that in the midst of his getting super offended, Naru was super polite to him. He gets an awkward look on his rat face and then sheepishly starts going back down to cat size. "Yeah nah 'sfine. I like you. I think this one's the bottomless-- OH FUCK," he says suddenly, scuttling back from Kyouko and her spear butt, and somehow looking an amazing combination of contrite and put upon. "Fuck me, you're my Lady Apatite. Fuck. Sorry. Look, you were hungry so there's food, and it's this shit 'cause I couldn't stop thinkin' bout apples for like the past fifteen minutes, then I remembered this thing my ma used to steal from this kitchen so that's what the kitchen made. But you're bitchin about everything so maybe you don't like apple crisp, fuck if I know. If you don't like it why don't you fuckin change it? God."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 19:03:05 94688
    "Or maybe -WHAT?" Kyouko shrieks as the rat suddenly gets huge like the size of a horse and she scrambles back, eyes wide. Rats don't scare her. Gigantic rats might be a different story.

    Then he starts shrinking again, and rambling on about stuff, and wait a second, 'my Lady Apatite', and you can almost see the realization combined with both horror and incredulity spreading across Kyouko's face along with a bright red flush.

    "My Spirit Guardian is a fucking rat?" She shouts, sounding like somebody just pissed in her beer.

    Then five seconds later, after an extended pause. "I mean.. uh.. shit. I guess it would be."

    She clears her throat, looking mildly contrite herself, as she bends down to look at the rat. "Uhm.. so hi. Are you really my Spirit Guardian?" She asks, as if wanting to be really clear that somebody isn't playing some kind of joke on her.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 19:06:34 94689
There is exactly one person in this room who is not surprised and she smiles as the Rat settles back down, not actually having gotten all /that/ worried when it got giant either. There's going to be a few explosions in this meeting. "Don't worry.. she'll get there in a moment." She comments quietly. "Thank you for the apple crisp, it smells amazing. I'm Naru, by the way. Have you a name you prefer?"

Naru glances sideline to her best beloved as Kyouko works through the revelations in her head, seeing how she's coping and smiling a touch as acceptance is winning.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 19:17:09 94691
"What are you, slow?" grumbles the rat, turning his back on her and huffing off into the kitchen, then jumping up on the table where there is, indeed, basically an entire cookie-sheet-sized apple crisp in something that looks like an overly-large glass lasagna pan. There are three plates. "Guess that makes sense, I ain't too swift, neither." From the table, sitting back on his large rat haunches, he squints beady red eyes across at Naru and his whiskers twitch. "No problem," he says finally. "I ain't got a name. The fuckin' caracal's 'the caracal', the goddamn raven's 'the raven', eck setra, I'm the rat. You can call me Rat. Mister The Rat if like, you're gonna be all formal and shit, but I don't hold no truck with that."

Sunshine streams through the big kitchen windows, and the hearth's hot over there, and the indoor oven next to the open hearth has its doors closed. Logically, that would have been where the apple crisp was baked. But this place is magic.

This place is stocked. There are drying or dried herbs hung up near the hearth, there's a giant wheel of cheese, there are apples, potatoes, bags of flour and oats and cereals, vegetables, a butter churn, a giant icebox, sinks, work surfaces, pots and pans and spoons and knives hung from the rafters, and--

--a modern high-fi stereo system with an ipod docked in it?

And out the kitchen windows, quiet from this distance, the sound of traffic.

"Oh hey, looks like you're figuring it out," he says, glancing to Kyouko with a modicum of respect finally in his voice. "Look. You think we can get along, or you gonna keep bein a dick to me? I'm the guardian of your palace, and I ain't the caracal, and you ain't Lord Kunzite, so I think you and me can come to an understanding. But only if you stop bein a dick."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 19:24:00 94692
    "I'll have you know that I graduated sixth grade in the top 2/3rds of my class," Apatite says snippishly as she follows the rat into the kitchen, "And I probably would have gotten into high school if I studied." She pauses at the sight of the giant apple crisp, and there is nearly a cartoon drool-drop coming from the corner of her mouth before she shakes it off and crosses over to the table.

    Then the rat answers Naru, and says that he has no name. "Benjy. Benjamin T. Rat. That's your name." She says promptly, without any hesitation. Then she pauses, glancing around.. perhaps noticing the incongruities of some modern touches suddenly appearing. "Figuring it out? Figurin' what out? Level with me Benjy, one idiot to another."

    Then she scowls. "I'm not being a dick! You're a dick! 'Cuz you coulda been like, a big fucking bear or a cool-ass shark in a tank with wheels but instead you're a rat! I may not have Zo-nii's hair but I am still a chick, y'know, maybe I would have liked a fucking sparkly unicorn made of rainbows and a pink fluffy marshmallow castle!"

    Then she hmphs, and crosses her arms. "But.. I guess I ain't exactly an ideal lady either so.. I guess we can get along." Her eyes wander back over to the crisp of their own accord. "So uh, like.. is that free?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 19:35:45 94693
"You're a chick but you ain't a sparkly fuckin unicorn," huffs the rat-- and then he belatedly realizes Kyouko just gave him a name. Red rat eyes widen and go kind of Q.Q shiny, and there's a thick catch in his voice as he sketches a little rat bow and says, "Benjamin T. Rat at your service, my lady." Straightening up, he mumbles, "I waited before diggin in, 'cause that shit ain't just free, it's yours."

Scuttling over to the other side of the apple crisp, he literally sticks his head in the corner and chomps a huge mouthful of crunchy brown-sugar shortbread and gooey cinnamon-nutmeg apple, and then jerks his head up, startled. "Oh uhh," he says, muffled because his mouth's full, and then he holds up a little rat paw and chews hurriedly and swallows. There are crumbs on his whiskers. "Think real hard about remodelin'. What you want shit to look like. Place is always gonna have them back halls you came through, but you don't gotta pay attention to 'em. His Highness made 'em stick a couple years ago. Din't mean to, but they ain't gonna change. Oh and like, probs a good idear if you keep the doors off the kitchen the way they are 'cause they go to the other Shitennou's palaces. You ain't seen 'em yet, they're back there somewheres." Careless rat-paw gesture behind him, toward a little hallway off the kitchen in the corner opposite the way they came in.

There's a pause as he looks distracted for a second. "Oh bruh. NICE. You put a fuckin city down the hill."
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 19:40:23 94694
"As fond as I am of both Kunzite and the caracal, might I express utter gratitude that you are not the caracal." Naru points out as she quietly putters in the kitchen, exploring here and there. Staying, to some degree, a little out of the way while the two of them get to know each other better.. granted it seems to be in profanity and mock outrage, but these things happen.

Somehow Naru manages not to snort outright at the notion of 'a fucking sparkly unicorn of rainbows in a marshmallow castle', but it takes a concerted look at the shelving not to. Possibly just a little snigger. Just a teeny one.

While Benjamin T. Rat might be perfectly willing to just stick his head in, Naru calmly acquires a trio of plates, and forks and a serving spoon to deposit on the table and then linger quietly in offer of serving.

It might not be necessary.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 19:48:14 94695
    "I know I'm not but there's no reason you couldn't be.." Kyouko starts to say, more for the sake of argument than because that's what she actually wants, but trails off when the rat says the crisp is hers.. and then scuttles over and dunks his head into it. "Hey hey hey!" She exclaims, walking over to the table and grabbing him by the scruff of his neck. "I don't mind sharin' but don't go sticking your rat-face in the dessert! What'll the neighbors think?" She plunks him down on the table by the plates that Naru is lingering by, offering the other girl a brief, quirked smile before looking back at Benjy.

    "Remodelin'? So like.. it turns into what I want it to be?" She asks, sounding briefly overawed and perhaps a bit trepidacious. Then the rat says she put a city down the hill, and she frowns. "No I didn't, I didn't do anything.." But the sounds of traffic are definitely more clear now, and the open door across the kitchen with sunlight pouring in is suddenly made of glass. She walks towards it, and, after a moment of hesitation, steps through...

    Onto the balcony of a sleek, modern hill-mansion, overlooking a cityscape in the valley below that spreads out into an infinite twilight, growing hazy and mingling with hills in the distance. The lights of skyscrapers twinkle, transmission-tower beacons pulse on-and-off atop them, and the sounds of traffic drift upwards in a warm breeze.

    She turns around to look back, and gapes as the door is now set in the wall of said modern hill-mansion, a construction of glass and steel and stone that somehow still manages to feel 'homey'. She comes back to the door and pokes her head into what is now a thoroughly modern kitchen, well-appointed and huge, the rat and Naru now standing next to a granite island countertop with a few cool hanging lights overhead. "W-what? I'm not doing anything!" She sounds mildly freaked-out.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 20:00:21 94696
The rat squeaks in alarmed aggravation, scruffed and dangling, then plunked down. Then he looks sulky. But then Naru's got plates and a serving spoon, and he sidles down the table a little bit, towards her, and gives her a 'please please pleeeeease??' look as the kitchen changes around them. He looks unnerved too, but not because Kyouko's doing what she's doing--

--just because he doesn't know what the hell a modern kitchen looks like and what the hell is this shit, basically.

He sort of shrinks back toward Naru, looking all around the granite and cool hanging lights and glass and steel and what.

"Uh--" he says, shaken, "you're thinkin' about what you want it to look like. Bout what makes you comfy. Bout where your heart is..."

Then he wails, "I don't know where all the food and shit is anymore and there ain't no cracks or fuckin normal-ass latches to open HOW'M I SPOSED TO EAT!"
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 20:05:01 94697
"Well that was subtle, love." Naru comments as she watches Kyouko step out onto balconies that didn't exist a moment ago, and then back into kitchens that look less Cinderella and more 90210. She scoops out apple crisp for three and nudges one of the plates towards where Benjy sits in answer to his concerns about what he's going to eat, and the pleading eyes. She's familiar with pleading eyes.

"It's behind cupboards. You should be able to work them with a paw." Naru explains mildly and illustrate the functioning of modern kitchens to the rat. Y'know, like you do.
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 20:09:47 94698
    Kyouko steps back inside, looking around the now-modern kitchen with wide eyes. She walks around, staring at this, and then at that, for several long moments.. before turning back towards Naru and Benjy. "Is this.. I mean, is it really all mine?" She asks, and her red eyes might glimmer a little bit with unshed tears, though she might punch you if you called her on it.

    "I don't.. fuck me, I don't even know what to say. How the fuck do you react to something like this?" She mutters.. but suddenly, as the rat wails and even as Naru is demonstrating how the cupboards work, the handles on them move about six inches closer to the floor- to be easier to reach if you are rat-sized.

    One of the cupboards Naru opens is literally filled with boxes of Pocky.

    Then Kyouko runs over, and grabs Naru, and dances with her in a little circle, grinning. "Oh man! This is the coolest shit ever!" She shouts, then freezes mid-dance, eyes wide as saucers. "Do you think there's a playstation?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-16 20:19:17 94699
"Oh," says the rat in a small voice, and then the handles and latches move and the rat looks mollified. It starts eating its dished out apple crisp as Kyouko starts dancing around in glee and teary-eyed joy, and with his mouth full, he says, "It's yours or you wouldn't be able to do this shit." A crumb falls out. "I dunno what a playstation is but probably? There's some kind of-- you did some weird shit with the river. Did you legit put a fuckin power grid in Antarctica? Damn girl."

Antarctica.
Naru Osaka 2018-08-16 20:27:21 94700
Naru arches a brow at the words from Benjy and glances to Kyouko. "Seriously? You added a /power grid/. If you added dinosaurs, I'm out."

Because someone may have been playing Jurassic World Evolution, and power grids are a /thing/.

The mention of Antarctica also gives Naru pause and she hunhs softly. "I thought this was the Artic, not Antarctica. Neat."

Naru is distracted and is twirled in a circle and she can't help but laugh. "I don't think you have a net connection here, love. Just putting that out there."
Kyouko Sakura 2018-08-16 20:29:24 94701
    Kyouko looks over at the rat. "Antarctica? Aren't we at the North Pole?" She asks, sounding mildly confused, sharing a look with Naru. "I mean, I guess it doesn't really matter, but I thought D-point was at the North Pole. This is still technically D-point, right? The place formerly known as D-point." She glances around, then quirks her lips to the side.

    "I didn't do shit! It's not like I'm doing anything on purpose!" She says.. then walks over and sits on one of the tall padded barstools around the kitchen-island and pulls the plate of apple crisp over towards her. "What a fuckin' day." She mutters, as she picks up a fork and takes a bite of the crisp. For a moment, she and the rat share the exact same expression on their faces. Mmm, food.

    Then to Naru. "Well.. can't ask for everything, I guess.. hey, let's see what the rest of the house is like!"

    And then she's on her feet and grabbing Naru's hand to drag her from room to room on an impromptu tour.