Country Mouse


Arina runs into Mamoru after spending a day on the streets of Tokyo. Mamoru is way too nice and Arina tries to wrap her head around modern living.

Date: 2018-08-30
Pose Count: 24
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 00:57:04 96523
It's overcast and humid and hot, which means the air is soupy and perspiration doesn't evaporate, and the general feel of the pedestrian crowds is sticky and cranky. This particular street has both car- and foot-traffic, and the lights changing and the cars stopping and people crossing the streets when the lights are a certain color is definitely a pattern. The food carts along the street smell wonderful, and the bottled cold beverages look refreshing, and nobody at all is dressed like Arina is, and she's getting sidelong staring here and there because this isn't Harajuku.

There's an absurdly tall skinny guy with a tan and sunglasses, wearing a NASA t-shirt and cargo shorts with a pair of birkenstocks, walking up the sidewalk toward Arina. Something about the way he moves is oddly familiar, but except for his height, he looks like literally any other college kid on the street. His gaze is riveted on his phone screen, but he seems really good at navigating around other people and not smacking into them (or lightpoles or trash bins or news stands--

--and then he stops right in front of Arina and does something to the slim light-up tablet in his hand, frowning at it. Whatever he just did resolves, and he glances up as he's about to start walking again, then pauses.

He's the first person to so rudely look directly at Arina, and probably the first person who's significantly taller than she is, too. "...are you lost?" he asks after a startled second.
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 01:04:15 96527
    It's hotter here than Arina expected. More humid, too, which means she's sweating for more than she wants to be. Even with her sleeves rolled up and the neck of her shirt open, it doesn't help. On top of that, the locals are all giving her weird looks and no one has actually been able to tell her where the princess is. She gets polite words telling her that sorry, they don't know, but she can tell that people are murmuring about her when she's no longer paying attention to them. Plus last night she had been told that her money was no good for the food stalls! Plus she'd nearly been hit by one of the horseless carriage when she tried to cross the road (that was before she had learned the pattern of the lights).

    Arina, sweaty and annoyed, eyes up the tall guy who seems to be coming towards her without a care in the world. How he manages to avoid hitting anyone or anything while staring at... whatever it is he's carrying is beyond her. A lot of people seem to carry them here, but she's not really sure what they're for yet. They light up. Maybe they're some kind of magic... thing. Whatever. She's surprised as the young man comes to a stop in front of her (and surprised that he's taller than her). Even more surprised when he so bluntly asks what she's doing here! She exhales and reaches up to push her hat a little further back on her head as she peers up at him.

    "Aye, I do believe I am lost. Prithee sir, none have been able to aid me as of yet. I seek the Princess and yet there is no person who can tell me in which tower, house, or castle she may be found."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 01:10:09 96530
A beat. The older boy lifts his sunglasses so she can see his eyes, placing them on top of his head, and he pockets his phone. "Have they told you," he asks ruefully, "that your princess is in another castle?"

While she answers, he takes a closer look at what she's wearing, taking her accent and old-fashioned speech patterns into account, and looks thoughtful. "There are actually a lot of princesses around here. I'm engaged to one of them, as it happens. Would you like to sit down in cooler air and have a cold drink and something to eat, and you can tell me a little more?"

He gestures toward Gullwing Coffee, and its outside tables and its big picture window with the view of people sitting inside. He says, perfectly reasonably, "My treat, since it's my idea. Rather-- I'll pay."
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 01:15:15 96533
    Arina stares for a moment as Mamoru asks his question. Her stare is blank, uncomprehending. Sorry, that reference went right over her head. "None have yet given such an answer, no." What an unhelpful guy. She crosses her arms, determined to continue but then he offers her something to eat and drink and her empty stomach gives a rumble. She glances through the large glass window (so much glass) and wets her lips.

    "I thank thee, sir. Your hospitality is most noble. Pray tell, what is the name of the princess you are engaged to?" She moves to step towards the door, following after him. If he's going to pay, she won't argue.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 01:28:27 96538
Oh good, she's not going to fuss over money. OH GOOD, SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS HOSPITALITY. Mamoru breathes a little easier, and lean-reaches to open the door for her and follow her in. "Serenity," he answers cheerfully. "But I personally know ten others, and know of an additional 5, though I haven't met them. Oddly, I only know one other prince, and one king. It's just-- royalty tends not to stand out, here, since for the most part, it involves foreign sovereign powers that aren't recognised by the government of this country." He gestures to a clean table that's relatively un-surrounded by people, and has three chairs, one of which may end up stolen, or inhabited by a ghost, or just used to put stuff on. "This country being Japan. Shall I order for you? Do you prefer things sweet or savory?"
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 01:39:53 96543
    Arina just knows that her money is no good, she hasn't eaten in about 24 hours, and this guy seems willing to answer some questions for her, which is more than she can say for some of the others. Stepping into the air conditioned cafe, her eyes widen at the sudden blast of cool air. Magic! Wonderful magic! It distracts her for a moment but then she shakes her head and looks at him after a moment.

    "Ten princesses? And thou art engaged to the one named Serenity. I did not know this land of Earth had so many princesses in it! And you say this country is Japan, not Earth?" She sits down at the offered chair and slips off her hobo roll to let it rest next to her. "Savory would be appreciated, I have a great hunger! The vendors would not take my coin."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 01:50:52 96548
"This country is Japan; this world is Earth," Mamoru replies, not sitting down just yet. "This world has many sovereign nations; we don't have one united government. I'll be right back."

Then he's off to the counter, and the girl from another reality can have a moment to just cool off, listen to the buzz of voices, and look out at the bay and the seaside through the window on the other end of the building.

There really is something familiar about the way the older boy moves, the way he carries himself, the gestures he tends to make with his hands as he talks. But she's only seen heroes from Earth, not guys in shorts and t-shirts who claim to be affianced to princesses.

A moment later, he comes back with a black sweet iced coffee for himself, and an unsweetened iced milk tea and a cream-cheese-and-salmon bagel sandwich for Arina. These he puts down on the table before taking a seat opposite her. "If you're still hungry after that, I'll get you more, and describe the flavors if you wish-- but you probably ought to start slow, so you don't become ill."

Ugh, pattern-matching. It's not like he's trying to speak more formally, but between attempting to make sure he's understood and getting thees and thas thrown at him every which way, it's hard for him to avoid taking on the cadence in speech of another life. "May I see an example of your coin? If you tell me what your coin would buy, I'll exchange it for you."
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 01:59:08 96549
    "I see!" Makes sense to Arina. She leands back in her chair and lets the miraculously cold air wash over her as Mamoru goes to order some food for her. She follows him with her gaze for a long moment. He's familiar in a way she can't place--but perhaps she is only imagining things? When he returns with food she perks up and leans forward to see what's brought. She sips the tea, beams, and takes a big gulp, then does the same with the bagel. A sniff, then a hungry bite. She crams one half into her mouth without hesitation and has to take several moments to just chew it all and then wash it down with big gulps of tea. So much for starting slow. When she finally can speak again, she nods at him and fishes into a pouch on her belt, then offers out a handful of coins. One is gold, the others silver and either bronze or copper. Mamoru may recognize the coin of Waldia if he saw any in his time there--or has seen any from Runealy and her companions.

    "My thanks, good sir. Thou art a true gentle in thine actions. This gold may buy thee a good horse or fine set of clothing, the silver a night in an inn of good repute. A hot bun may be had two a penny and a sausge for three."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 02:12:49 96551
To his credit -- or possibly his usual company -- Mamoru doesn't bat an eye at Arina scarfing down the bagel and tea like she's Usagi or Kyouko. He just sips his coffee, politely waiting until the girl can speak; when she does, he leans forward, having a look at the coins.

His face clears. "Okay, I know which Princess you're looking for, but I haven't actually seen her in almost two years."

He sits back and takes out his phone again, setting it on the table, then digs in one of his many cargo pockets for a stubby pencil and a notepad. "Okay, how much coin did you bring?" he asks, flipping the notebook open and scribbling down '1 gold = good horse', '1 silver = hilton night', '3 penny = 350 yen'. He's still listening, but he's also started googling the price of a good horse versus the price of a car.
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 02:22:31 96553
    "Two years? Aye, the portal between Waldia and Earth has been closed, but has reopened of late! Princess Runealy hast only just left Waldia to return to Earth. She said 'twas her duty. I, being of mean birth and only a little wealth decided to seek my fortune and follow her here to swear my self to her cause if I might." Arina is smiling brightly, entirely happy that she's met someone who knows her princess. Or at least of her. She picks up the second half of her bagel and takes a bite before she continues speaking.

    "I have brought merely four pieces of gold, thirty of silver, and ten score pennies. It is all the money I have in this world."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 02:46:54 96555
Mamoru notes this down. "Four..." he murmurs, writing, "...we'll say decent used cars, since caring for a horse is a lot more externally expensive in this world than caring for a car. So, mmm, something like 1.4 million yen. A month at a decent hotel, about five hundred k-- ten score is... two hundred, and if a sausage is three-fifty, then divide by three, times two hundred, ah-- we'll say twenty-four k. Um."

His phone's gotten put facedown on the table again, and he absently digs in his other pocket to take out a bill and hand it across the table to Arina. "You can just ask for the same thing again, I'm almost done. I'll have to go to the bank, but you really don't want to be carrying this kind of cash on you in the first place."

He looks down the list of sums, chewing his pencil's eraser and adding them up in his head. He makes a face. "Screw it, we'll call it an even two million," he says to himself, then reaches to drink more of his coffee. He puts the notebook and pencil away, amused.
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 02:55:07 96556
    "That is most kind of thee, sir, to aid me in such a way. But will you not be able to use the coin I exchange with thee? It seems unfair to thee that I should benefit whilst you are burdened with coin which none shall touch in this place..." Arina frowns, but nods slowly. "If it is thy wish then I shall accept it, but I owe thee a debt, sir! And I do not even know thy name, nor thee mine. I am Arina Rehylde of Waldia. I would know thy name, if thou wilt be my benefactor."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 03:08:35 96559
Mamoru waves a hand a little. "I'll eventually go back to Waldia sometime, it's fine. I get a little woozy there, but if I drink enough mead I can't tell the difference," he says with a lopsided grin. "Maybe I'll invest it. Either way, you don't owe me anything -- just, when you have the means, do something nice for someone else."

Then he exhales, and finishes his coffee. "So Rune-chan is back, huh? Okay, cool. I have a few places I can look for her. Do you want to work on that now, or do you want to, um--"

How on earth does he put this politely.

"Would you like to stay somewhere you can get cleaned up before meeting your princess? I live in a place with a bunch of guest rooms, and I'm not going to get lost in the city looking for her, and she knows where I live."
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 03:23:36 96560
    "If thou sayest, I trust thine word." Arina smiles brightly and begins wolf down the rest of her food, then follows it up with the remains of her tea. She peers at Mamoru as he speaks up, her face pinching a little when he speaks of the Princess as 'Rune-chan.' That's not really what she'd consider an appropriate form of address, but she'll be polite. For now.
    "Sir thou art kind and honorable! A place to bathe myself before I find the princess would be most welcome. I thank thee!"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 03:41:10 96564
"No worries," says Mamoru, his smile no less real, no more amused, than it's been. These are Real Problems that Real People have! Nothing to laugh about. "Oh, I never gave you my name," he says as he gets up, smacking himself lightly in the forehead with the heel of his hand. He gives Arina a cursory bow. "Chiba Mamoru. Or Endymion, as you prefer. I forget which name your Princess knows better, really."

Then his drink's held in his elbow as he picks up his phone and pushes his chair in, and he quickly turns it on and hits the lit-up side with his thumbs a bunch. "I'll go to the bank on my way to check her old haunts, while you have a bath and probably more food and preferably at least a nap. If you've been out in this heat dressed like that all day, you've got to be exhausted..."

To Kazuo Takeba, Zoisite, and Saburo Yukimura: Mamoru Chiba TXT: hey i met a wild Waldian who needs a bath and probably to sleep in not-a-doorway before she meets rune (and i need to find rune anyway) do we have a guest bed free

While Mamoru's opening the door back to the sidewalk and holding it, his phone bings and he looks down at it. A response from Jadeite.

'yes'

The prince sighs through his teeth, then pastes on a smile. "And looks like you're good to go for nap space, too. There's a spare room open. Do you want to take the short way or walk?"
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 03:56:46 96569
    "I shall not worry, if you say not to. You are a worthy gentleman." She pauses, tilting her head as he introduces himself. Huh. "It is a pleasure to meet thee, Mamoru-san! I am afraid I do not know the name Endymion of which you speak, however. If she knew thee, I never heard her speak of thee." A lazy shrug. She watches, fascinated, as he manipulates his phone and even leans forwards a little to watch.

    "Very well! We are agreed. A proper bed and bath will do me well before I meet the princess again. And I suspect I may well need it if she is to forgive my trespass..." Another sigh, then she pushes back from the table and stands to follow Mamoru out onto the siewalk. She blinks.

    "The short way--I have walked enough in the last day, I think," she laughs.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 04:06:42 96572
As they continue to walk, Mamoru's phone continues to bing and he continues to respond, and he gets an increasingly irritated look for a moment, rapidly sending bits of text.

Jadeite TXT: how old is the waldian
Mamoru TXT: idk like 16? 17?
Jadeite TXT: i have a space
Mamoru TXT: ty <3 ty ty ty <3 <3 <3
Jadeite TXT: its nbd
Mamoru TXT: omg are you
Mamoru TXT: serious
Mamoru TXT: ok fine
Jadeite TXT: what
Mamoru TXT: nvm brt

He jams his phone in his pocket and nods firmly, then finishes off his coffee and chucks the empty cup in a bin on the street. "Okay. Alleyway," he says, trying not to sound aggravated. "Sorry. My brother's mad at me for completely unrelated stuff."

He ducks into the first alley and backs up a bit, and then there's a crackling of gold light like an activated charcoal briquet that climbs over him, leaving Tuxedo Kamen -- sans hat -- in place of Mamoru Chiba. He holds out his arms. "I can princess-carry you or you can ride on my back, your preference."
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 04:12:20 96575
    As a point of fact, Arina is a mere fifteen years old--but Mamoru isn't to know that, is he? Arina strolls alongside him as he texts, looking more and more amused as he seems to get more and more irritated.

    "Wherefore does thine strange magic vex thee so, my friend Maoru-san?" She laughs quietly, following him into the alleyway with a glance behind her as if to make sure no one is following them. One can't be too careful in foreign lands, after all. As she turns to look back, she gasps at the sudden display of magic, and then gasps again even louder when Tuxedo Kamen is revealed. Her eyes go wide as dinner plates.

    "T-Tuxedo Kamen?" She says, disbelieving, her hands covering her mouth for a moment. Her cheeks flush a brilliant pink and then she coughs and glances aside. "If you wish to carry me, I shall allow it. Riding on thine back may not be as simple."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 04:22:20 96577
"Oh, you know me?" he asks, momentarily taken aback and a little pleased. He still holds his arms out, then, and says, "It'll be easier if you're carrying your pack in your arms. I'm just annoyed with my brother, is all, he was-- he was communicating with me through the tablet I was holding. It's not magic, but it's hard to explain. Rune-ch-- your princess will be able to give you a better understanding of devices like it, I think."

Once she's settled the easiest way-- in his arms with her pack in hers-- it's time for superjumping over rooftops across the city. Not incredibly far, actually, but it would've been a lot more walking in the heat. The final stop is a balcony forty-seven floors up, which is where he sets her down before opening the temporary door. "Sorry about the mess, we had a jerk come attack us and he broke the door and is responsible for the mess of the kitchen. It'll be fixed soon. This isn't the apartment with the room in it."

It's enormous. And it's very high up. And this is apparently only one apartment. It's got a beautiful mosaic floor, and murals along all the walls, and doors off it in various directions-- and he's headed for the wrecked kitchen, which has a door on the other end of it.
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 04:36:58 96582
    "O-Oh yes, I remember when you came to Waldia with Princess Runealy and helped protect our world..." Arina says with an excited stammer. "All of thee were inspiring. Heroic. I... It is why I came to Earth in the first place. I want to help the Princess, and repay all of you for what you did for Waldia!" She's so giddy that she forgets about the phone for the moment. She takes her pack in her arms and clambers into his and off they go across the city at high speeds. Arina whoops in excitement once or twice as they go and then they've reached their destination. It is a tall, tall tower and the girl seems overawed. As they step into the apartment with its mosaic floor and murals... It's amazing. She follows slowly towards the kitchen, gawking as she goes.

    "This is as fine a castle as I have seen, though truly none can compare to the Royal Palace--but it is a worthy dwelling. Thou'rt too kind to me, to allow me to stay in such a place as this. For a servant such as mean as I, I would expect a stables or other small accoodation."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 05:00:20 96589
It abruptly makes Mamoru a little bit uncomfortable -- it's not often that he runs into people expecting him to be a classist, even when they see where he lives. Hiroshi was the last he can think of, though there were other elements to that as well...

He smiles uncertainly over his shoulder as he drops the henshin; maybe just seeing him as Mamoru again will at least cut down on the hero worship part a little bit. "I'm glad we could help. And I'm glad you want to help, too. Your Princess will be happy to see you, I'm certain of it." He pushes the door at the opposite end of the kitchen open, and it leads to a small hallway into the mirror image apartment, which while no less spacious and fine, isn't nearly as colorful and busy-looking. It's more sedate, with a look that anyone from this world and era would describe as 'modern', but is likely only somewhat strange or questionable to someone from Waldia. Everything's still very well made, and much neater, and noticeably not broken from an attack from a crazy guy with a big magic sword and a literal dragon taking up most of the kitchen with her bulk for a little while.

"I guess it's a castle," he says wryly, "but it's only the top floor that's ours. This is where my court lives, and we put up anyone who needs a hand, or healing, or to hide for a little while-- as long as they abide by the rules. Those are posted by every entrance so that it's clear for anyone arriving, and they basically boil down to 'don't start fights and don't make a mess without cleaning it up'. If you're familiar with the rules of hospitality, they're in effect."

He holds that door open for Arina, then leads her across the living room toward a hall with several doors in it. "The one right there is the bath and privy, and the one there is the guest room. This one is my brother's, so don't open it if it's closed or go in if there's no one there. Have a quick look and see if you can make sense of the bath, and I'll turn your bed down."

He steps back, then pauses, then grins. "Your princess stayed here too, once upon a time."
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 05:06:11 96590
    Arina expects things to be as they are back home, in some respects. She is a servant, even if she is treated kindly, and that informs her view of the world. She nods a little at Mamoru as they head into the next apartment, peering around at the much less broken up and more sedate seeming apartment with open curiosity. She nods again as Mamoru explains the way the tower is set up, kind of.
    "I will do my utmost to abide by thy rules, Tuxedo Kamen. I should hate to disregard thine hospitality in such a rude way." At his instructions, she opens the bathroom door and begins to poke around inside, calling out to him as she does.

    "Did she truly? It is a great honor then, for me to stay in a place where Her Majesty has been. I am grateful for thine hospitality." She futzes with the faucet for a moment, then lets out a sharp laugh as water comes spilling forth into the basin. Amazing! Just amazing! And it can be hot or cold as she wishes... Which means that shower and bath are much the same. She pokes her head back out into the hallway.

    "Tuxedo Kamen, I believe I have managed to decipher the workings of the bath! The privy still escapes me yet, but I believe that I shall manage it if I but take the time. This is a wondrous place."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-08-30 05:19:09 96594
"All mod cons," Mamoru says more to himself than anything else, from the guest room. He sticks his head out the door. "Mamoru is still fine, believe me. Or Endy. Or Chiba. I answer to all of them! I don't wander around as Tuxedo Kamen, though, that's-- well, it's not so much a secret identity as an 'only people with magic know it' identity, so please don't call me that unless I'm actually wearing the cape and mask," he says with a laugh. His eyes are kind. "You've come here to be one of Runealy's guardians, Rehylde-san, you should stop thinking of yourself as a servant-- or stop thinking of servants as people who don't deserve the same treatment as everyone else. You'll get used to it here, I'm sure, for as long as your Princess wants to stay-- and Hinote-san will also help you acclimate, as he helped her. So yes, enjoy your sense of wonder-- but try not to be over-awed. It's only different here."

A beat. "I'll leave the door to your room open. There should already be a towel and a robe in the bath, and I'll find you something to wear while I'm out, too. If you need anything, call for Jadeite-- either he or one of the others will come to help."
Arina Rehylde 2018-08-30 05:23:01 96596
    "Of course! My apologies, Chiba-san. I will keep thy confidence, be assured!" She's still half in and half out of the bathroom, chattering away as she listens to Manoru. "Oh, I know not if she will allow me to be a Guardian, or if I am even worthy... She may send me home..." She sounds downright despondent at the thought of such a possibility, but she bounces back quickly.

    "I shall bathe then, and if I require anything shall ask for Jadeite. You have been most kind, Chiba-san." With that, she ducks back into the bathroom and finally closes it. The sound of running water comes shortly afterwards as she begins to explore the workings of the modern bathroom.