Taking a Crack at it

Homura and Masu do science! ... and it doesn't exactly work out.

Date: 2018-09-16
Pose Count: 30
Homura Akemi 2018-09-16 23:30:33 97858
    Being a former employee of Witchhunter Protective Services, Homura has a... specific idea of how a science lab should be. It wasn't that hard to go through Salamander's formerly magical contacts to find a safe building to work in. It's in the basement of an otherwise seemingly normal office building in Downtown Mitakihara. Homura is waiting outside for Masu when she arrives, to escort her further inside.

    It's a short trip from the street to the lab. The secretary at the front desk seems to know Homura, and lets her pass. After that it's down a nondescript hallway and down an elevator. Once they reach the bottom floor, it's another short hallway, past a sign saying 'Temporarily Off Limits', and through a door to find... well. It kinda looks like Homura just took stock of what a typical Infinity chemistry lab would have and just made sure to buy or acquire every piece of equipment she saw.

    The lab is farily well stocked, though there aren't a lot of chemicals there aside from cleaning agents. There's beakers, burners, measuring sticks, scales, and other forms of equipment. She didn't really feel too much need to get things beyond the most obvious, since Masu probably brought everything they needed.

    There's a vent in the room that leads directly to outside, and the walls certainly seem pretty thick down here. Homura, at least, is pretty sure they'd be able to escape danger if they needed to.
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-16 23:44:26 97860
Masu Yogoshi had traveled through the dusk zone to arrive, and after a quick removal of the items she required from her device, dehenshion, then make sure all magical signatures were gone(she didn't know how well puella's could like.... detect things, so why risk it?)

From there she stepped out of an alley, walked down two blocks, and then came to the building. She cocked her head to the side, before making her way inside.

"I'm an acquintance of Akemi-san's," she said flatly and, once directed, would begin to walk through the halls. Soon enough she was walking, knocking and... "I brought the things. Also. I brought some chocolate." Pause. "The chocolate isn't for experimentation. Unless you like to cook. It is for snacking." Pause. "I like cooking too, though. If you like." ... She was not the uhhh... best at social interactions. She blinked a few times. Staring. And once let inside... her eyes widened and she let out a soft gasp.

"This is incredible... and you own this? You're fairly incredible, Akemi-san..." she mumbled softly, clutching her bag of extra supplies in her arms. "Did you already have this, or is it for this little venture?"
Homura Akemi 2018-09-16 23:53:08 97862
    "Well... 'own'. It's more like my company owns it, or rather my dad's company now," says Homura, once Masu arrives. "I used to know a lot of people around Tokyo. Most of them still remember me. A lot of them owe me favors, but I guess that comes with the territory. I'm borrowing this place for our own experiments, so it's pretty temporary."

    If there's any remaining magic on Masu, Homura doesn't detect it. It's a good thing that Masu took the extra steps to make sure everything was clean, because Homura in specific has a lot of experience with dark energy users. Especially dark energy users who are scientifically minded.

    Homura gestures towards a large table in the middle of the room and walks around to the other side before saying, "So... was it hard getting the recipe? I can't imagine that was a very simple task."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 00:06:16 97866
Masu Yogoshi shook her head. "No. It was actually pretty easy. I may have had to lie a few times, but i am a very good liar," she said. Then chuckled. "It was mostly just getting a hold of the past experiments reports. I am currently registered across a number of scientific journals and I've made quite a few friends at the hospital. It is incredible what the right word in the right ear can get you." She then blinked and shuddered. "Though I do believe I almost had to date a rather... persistant young chemist." She blinked a few times. "People are weird sometimes."

She moved to the table and started taking things out... Iron, nickel... Some dark chocolate bars, which she put on the side. "We'll need to shape it and kind of... work on it ourselves a lot, as the information I've gathered is not a hundred percent, but we should have enough information to get started."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 00:17:23 97869
    Homura tilts her head to the side as she listens to Masu say that it wasn't actually that difficult. Well, maybe not that difficult for Masu, Homura mentally notes. Her otherwise blank expression turns a little wry at the mention of possibly needing to go on a date. "Huh. Well it sounds like you're pretty well connected."

    Her eyes glance at the dark chocolate bars briefly, before assuming that they're a snack and not a part of the recipe, and then she watches as Masu starts unpacking. Homura takes the iron into her hand and studies it for a moment before placing it back down.

    "I see. Will we need heat? I brought bunsen burners but if we have to shape metal then I can get something with a little more power."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 00:30:23 97873
Masu Yogoshi nodded. "Bunsen burners may work but... considering we'll be doing compound mixing, it may need something more... well... We'll be creating a nickel-iron-oxide catalyst. It won't last for very long, but once we continue onto the next stage, we should be able to work on expanding the test and creating the protective coat that they have been developing," she mumbled as she got to work, beginning by heating things.

"Well connected? Not really. I am just good at pushing the right words in. It has to do with being able to tell what people feel. I'm usually pretty good at telling people what they want to hear, and how they feel." She paused. "It's why I try not to lie, if I can avoid it. It's hardly fair if I can lie to others, but they cannot lie to me." As it started working, she got to one of the choclate bars and unwrapped it, biting off a piece.

"One of the few pleasures I grant myself. It's bitter, but tasty."

"On the note of owing you favors..." she mumbled. "I wonder if I owe you any. If you are eliminating such... monsters. I can't help but wonder how often you have prevented me from dying to something as awful. It is a big city, though. So maybe you never have..." she mumbled.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 00:46:02 97876
    Homura hmms as Masu says that they'll need something more. "A full forge down here would be a problem, but I'm sure I could find a crucible in my shield somewhere." She glances around the room, finding one of the ventilation hoods and walking towards it. It's a sort of small table on wheels with what looks like a rectangular glass aquarium with a missing side on top if it. The 'roof' of it is slightly pyramid in shape, and it has a vent tube that leads into a vent in the wall.

    "Oh, right. I see. Well if you have to deal with the downsides of being an empath I suppose it's only fair to enjoy the upsides, too."

    Homura rolls it closer to the table and henshins, reaching behind her shield and pulling out what looks like a foot-deep small metal bucket (the crucible) and another larger bucket to place it in. She lines the bottom of the larger bucket with coal and lights it before placing the crucible in and starting up the fan.

    "Honestly even if I did I wouldn't count that as a favor owed. That's my job, and part of the contract I agreed to as a Puella Magi. I'm talking more like... well... even if I no longer control the company, a lot of people now have jobs because of me, a lot of them have homes that they would've otherwise lost, and well... I ended up being..." she pauses for a moment to consider her words, "... a bit more charitable than usual, because I was trying to impress my girlfriend at the time. When you're in power it becomes very easy to win people's gratitude."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 00:59:04 97878
Masu Yogoshi blinked a few times, and then nodded. "I can definitely see that. I cannot think of anyone who owns me, but I can think of plenty of people... who... I owe..." she mumbled. Staring. Then...

"Did... did you just pull that out of your shield? Your shield can not only stop time, it functions as a means for carrying storage?" she asked, moving forward and... "May I touch it?" she asked, reaching out to touch it, if it was okayed.

"you absolutely are incredible, Akemi-san. If you were not already with Madoka-san, I'd have to reconsider my 'no attempts at romantic interaction'," Gee, she even said it in a sterile way...

"If you don't mind me asking, what does this... contract entail? I figure I should know if I ever see this 'kyubey' and find myself in a situation where I need to make such a wish. And I'd love to know how you and Madoka-san came about. You two..." She hummed. "You feel... there's something... big, when you talk of each other. But you don't seem very similar. She is impressive in her own way. Her emotional state is powerful. And painful."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 01:13:23 97880
    Homura pauses at Masu's surprise, then holds out her shielded arm to let her touch it. The front is... a strange metal, magical in nature, and while it might look like steel or brass it doesn't really have all of the qualities of either, seeming to be an unnatural alloy. The backside of the shield, where Homura was reaching, looks perfectly flat... at least until Homura reaches into it. The shield itself serves as a portal, showing a strange world within that can best be described as a sea of guns.

    Homura raises an eyebrow. There's a flash of 'As cute as you are, nah. Madoka's too important to me,' in her mind, before considering that Masu might've been joking. "Well, there are many people like me who have incredible abilities."

    Homura considers the question of the contract. "Oh, so much. The incubator... I mean Kyubey... would come up to a target and ask her to become a magical girl. This girl is usually someone who has high karmic potential... whatever that means. He'll offer her a wish in exchange for a destiny of battling Witches. The power of the wish is limited by the potential of the girl, but even the weakest of Puella can produce an important miracle, such as letting a victim of an incurable disease be cured or something like that."

    "What he doesn't tell you is that if you fall into despair or use too much of your magic, you'll turn into a Witch yourself. Also, Puella tend to die more often than other magical girls. It's a very dangerous life."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 01:25:47 97882
Masu Yogoshi stared. Just stared. Deep, deeeep breath. "That... is a lot of guns. How in the world... did you make those with your power? That..." She shuddered. "I'm not a fan of guns myself. Remind me never to make you angry. Ever," she said with a low chuckle.

She blinked a few times and... "I was serious. About both sides of what I said."

She then glanced to Homura and nodded. "Karmic... potential. That's interesting. I imagine mine must be incredibly low, then. If I have never met him. Or perhaps my empathic abilities is something he doesn't want to be near. I am curious what he'd feel like. Or maybe he's waiting for a time when I am so desperate that even if I know his ill intent, I'd have no choice. Or maybe it's because I've managed to avoid these witches for all of..." She then frowned. "Well... for most of my life. I suppose passing out from its overwhelming despair doesn't really count as.... avoiding it..." she mumbled as she worked.

"Is that what happened to you and Madoka-san? If you don't mind me asking. Or perhaps bonds forged in battle? I've felt it before. Not actual war, mind you. But people who have been through traumatic events, or served together... The bond they form is powerful. Police. Gang members. Survivors of one... tragic event or another. The scars they leave are powerful and deep. But the bonds they form can form around the roots of that pain." She then glanced over and cocked her head to the side.

"For example... You have an exhausted spirit. As if you no longer want... anything. I'd almost say you were borderline suicidal. Or perhaps seen so much you just struggle to feel anything any more. But... this Madoka-san, whenever her name is spoken, I feel warmth. Love. New emotions that I doubt others feel. It's a beautiful thing, in its own way." She then blinked a few times.

"You may want to eventually pursue therapy, no offense. But a healthy body is made with the basis of a healthy mind."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 01:54:43 97890
    "Well... it's not because of my power, but I'd rather not go into details. Let's just say that the people I took them from weren't supposed to have them either."

    Hearing Masu say she was serious makes Homura hesitate a moment. She's mentally calculating how to respond. It's not exactly... awkward? She's just not used to someone saying it so flatly and plainly, and despite her apparent popularity her people skills aren't exactly top-notch. "Well, I'm flattered. I mean you're cute, but I'd never admit that to your face if you weren't an empath."

    Homura shrugs at the mention of karmic potential. "If you were in my home timeline, I think someone like you would've had some karmic potential. However, in this timeline specifically, there are multiple sources of power and they tend not to mix well. The fact that you already have empathic powers might preclude you from being a candidate, although..."

    She holds up a finger to make a point, "You probably wouldn't feel anything from him. His species consider emotions to be a mental disorder. Most of them don't have any feelings at all, which is why they are often so cruel without meaning to be."

    Homura continues minding the crucible as her exhausted spirit is mentioned, as well as her feelings surrounding Madoka. As she considers how to best answer that question, Homura's mind is filled with memories. There is a sense that despair, itself, is missing. She's very much at peace, but still very tired, and it's true that her love for Madoka is the one feeling that has much strength behind it.

    "I was suicidal well before I ever became a Puella Magi. I've had heart problems since I was a child, so I just never really thought that I would live very long. The whole reason why I'm in Mitakihara is because I had to be sent to specialists in Mitakihara General just to stay alive. Becoming a Puella Magi and risking my life... well, it wasn't exactly a downgrade. It was more trading one set of problems for another. Healing my heart was easy. Dealing with everything else was the hard part."

    "When you see the level of trauma I've seen, a lot of issues that would cause others to melt down just kinda seem like first world problems to me. Sometimes the stress can make you overly sensitive and you freak out over nothing but... at the same time once the freakout passes you realize that it isn't really as big of a deal as you thought it was."

    "As for being exhausted, well... I don't think I'm suicidal. I can't allow myself to die because of how that would affect Madoka-chan. The thing is... I spent so much of my time trying to save Madoka's life, and now that I have there really isn't anything left for me to think about. There are no more dreams aside from marrying her and spending the rest of my life with her. There's also the fact that, when Madoka saved me from being a Witch, she removed all of my despair, so I don't really even have the depression anymore. I can't complain, but the only thing that really triggers my feelings is love. Not just love for Madoka specifically, but love for my friends, too."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 02:09:51 97893
Masu Yogoshi nods. "Oh, I know. That's why I try to be honest," she mumbled as she measured some things. "If I don't let things be known, then the conversation is, inherently, one sided. And that's hardly fair." She paused and hummed. "Besides. You're smart enough to properly understand and not over react."

"Possibly. I wonder if I existed there. It would have been... interesting. I think. And really?" she asked, glancing over. "Does having empathic abilities prevent me from getting special powers and abilities like the rest of you? Well, now I definitely feel gyped. That's hardly fair," she said with a chuckle. "What if I did desire to run around in spandex or short skirts and fire lasers beams or whatever y ou all do?"

"Feel nothing? That's... even more interesting. I've only felt that once. From Chiba-san. But that was different. He had a barrier. To miss that... To not have them at all? I am curious..."

She blinked a few times and then sighed. "I... hate that term. You know? 'First world problems'? I... understand. Pain and... there is always someone worse off. But people can't feel it. I've felt people with broken limbs, who barely seemed to care, they didn't even mind. Then I've felt others with small, minor sprains. And yet, to them? The pain was incredible. Pain, suffering. It is *not* a set number you can measure based on your own experiences. EVERYONE feels it differently. Someone who can't endure something you see as trivial, doesn't make them weak. It just may mean to them, the pain is so much greater. The suffering. All of it. Life is hard, but the one thing it is, is *different* for everyone. It--" Then she paused and sighed. "I'm... sorry. I... see it a lot when I volunteer. How dismissive people can be towards the... problems of others."

She nodded, listening. "That's... interesting. You seem lost. Not hurt. But you had to fight for so long, endure so much, suffer. Now that you have your rewards, your mind may be struggling to find something else to fight for. Some reason to keep 'earning' your rewards. Even if you, yourself, know you've earned your happy ending, it doesn't mean your mind does."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 02:32:21 97895
    Homura nods at Masu's response, and then shrugs. "I mean, Mamo-kun knows I find him handsome, too. We still have a completely platonic relationship that's perfectly healthy. It's really not that big of a deal unless someone makes it one."

    As for empathic abilities preventing her from getting special powers, Homura has to consider that for a moment. Well, really... "I mean that tends to be the rule, but there are exceptions. I know one former Puella Magi who has traded her source of magic for another. There's also dark energy, which seems to be more than willing to work with whoever wants to work with it, but... also that kind of energy has issues. For Puella Magi it's specifically unhealthy, and after seeing the effect it has on its users I... well... I just don't trust it. There are many ways you could potentially expand your powers, but none of them are free as far as I know."

    There is a particular distaste for dark energy, but it's not exactly condemnation. It's the same kind of feeling of knowing that someone has a smoking habit and worrying about them.

    "Well maybe I'll introduce you two at some point. That white rat tends to come around whenever it's time to dispose of used Grief Seeds or Grief Cubes."

    Homura turns towards Masu and tilts her head. That offended Masu? Well... Homura supposes, it's not really a fair term to use.

    "Well... I think I get that. I guess I didn't mean it like that. It's more... like most people would consider a broken arm to be a big deal, right? Yet, for me, the pain involved is nothing because I can block it out magically. It's an inconvenience and a tactical disadvantage. It's not really fair to compare my situation to people who don't have magical anesthesia, or who have never had to heal their own broken bones before."

    Some way to keep earning her rewards? Homura considers that. "Well, that's part of it. I mean I guess in a way I see myself as a fire, and when we slew Walpurgisnacht I ran out of fuel to burn. I'm still adjusting to the fact that I've won, but honestly? A part of me is fine that there's nothing to do. After over a decade of that nonsense, I really need a break."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 02:42:49 97896
Masu Yogoshi nods and then smiles. "Y-yes. Chiba-kun is... quite attractive as well," she mumbled, before giving a cough and a little red in her cheeks. "And yes. Platonic."

"Dark energy?" she asked. "And it's unhealthy to puella's? Why? And perhaps. Maybe it would be smarter if I stopped trying to find out more of you magical sorts, and just isolated me back how I was," she mumbled. "Though I will admit, it has been... nice making friends. Who didn't believe I was... a freak."

Then she blinked. "USed... grief seeds?" she asked. "How exactly do you 'use' them?"

She then blinked a few times. "You... can turn OFF your pain? You can... that makes so much sense..." she whispered. "That must have been what Madoka-san did when her emotional state was over whelming me. why it dampended so much. That's a useful talent to have. Not feeling pain."

She then nodded. "Perhaps. But it's not uncommon. If you have no desire to fight, though... there's no more need to. And if someone managed to.... change from a puella into something else... perhaps you should look into that. Then you'd never have to fight anyone else again. You could have your happy ending. Wouldn't that be pleasant?" she asked with a smile. "You could then focus on... construction?" she offered.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 03:04:35 97897
    Homura notices the flush of Masu's cheeks, smirking slightly as she recalls her reaction the other day, and makes the active decision to not tease about it.

    "Well like... most magic is emotional, right? I mean, I don't think I can recall a single type of magic that isn't based upon feelings, but I want to hedge a bit there. Dark energy tends to bring out the worst feelings, and it has ways of distorting the mind. Jealousy and anger can make you see betrayal and hostility where there is none, for example. There are a few people who can handle it well, but there are also some people who are driven borderline crazy because of it. Once in a while someone crosses that border in a serious way. Despair, specifically, is unhealthy for Puella, and dark energy can bring that out."

    On the subject of Grief Seeds, Homura takes a moment away from what she's working on to look at the gem on the back of her hand. Then she shows the Soul Gem to Masu, letting her see the darkness within it waving around like water in a container. "See this? Since I've used magic, now I have corruption in my Soul Gem. Every once in a while I have to clean it." She reaches into her shield and produces a Grief Seed, and holds it up to her Soul Gem. The darkness turns into something gaseous, and seeps out of the Soul Gem and into the Grief Seed, causing the seed to glow a little more darkly. "I think of it like... the Grief Seed is a sponge that I used to clean my Soul Gem. Once it can no longer absorb that corruption, it's used up."

    After her demonstration, the seed vanishes back into her shield and she goes back to work.

    "Yeah, it helps a lot. Especially since we have to fight so often, and Witches... well, they tend to not hold anything back."

    Change from a Puella to something else? Homura has to consider that a moment. "Honestly, I don't think I could ever stop being a magical girl, even if I stopped being a Puella Magi. Suffering is hard to ignore, and I could never be the kind of person who buries her head in the sand. At most, I might find a way to mitigate the problems of being a Puella Magi, or find new ways to use magic."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 03:14:44 97901
Masu Yogoshi blinked a few times and stared. Her mouth fell open. "It... No. That's horrible. Dark energy can effect you in such a way? That's... that's horrible..." she whispered. And then ate a piece of dark chocolate. She made a mental note to ensure to nix ANY plans on experimenting on puella. And making sure she got a hand on any soul... those things ,to give to these girls. She whiped her eyes a little. "That's horrible. I'm.... I'm so sorry you have to go through that. You don't... you don't deserve that... nobody deserves that..." she mumbled.

"How can you... tell if someone is a puella? Like... how else can you know? You're all so vulnerable. So... so easy to damage. Even if I can't use magic, I might--"

And then closed her eyes. "S-sorry. I can't... let emotions out. Well. Or they grow and... sorry. I got... emotional. And you're kind, Akemi-san. Suffering... It's not hard to ignore, for most people. Honestly, I wish I could ignore it, many days. Burying your head in the sand... Well. It's a comforting notion." She paused. "Perhaps that's why I'm an empath. Maybe I would have been someone like that, otherwise. Who never saw the pain and suffering of those around me, otherwise. Maybe I'd have buried myself. It's a comforting idea in a way, I think. That I'll never have that chance."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 03:33:50 97903
    "Well, we aren't quite as vulnerable as you might think. Most of us learn how to take care of ourselves, but I've made a point to let people know that it's dangerous to push us too far. Truth is that Puella Magi aren't really a unified force. We aren't like other magical girls, seeking justice or protecting dreams or whatever. Some are, but most of us are just trying to make it from one day to the next." Homura considers as she works. Part of her is trying to think of how to answer the question, and another part is trying to gauge how much is safe.

    "I mean, when we're in our normal forms, our soul gems become rings. You've seen mine and Madoka's. All Puella Magi have rings like that. In henshin... well that's harder to say. There's so many varieties of magical girls that it's hard to pin down one thing that's unique to Puella..."

    It's then that she notices that Masu is starting to get overwhelmed. There's a bit of sympathy from Homura, though even that feels a little cold. There's also a bit of patience, as if she's giving Masu a moment since she seems to need it.

    "I think on some level, people want what's right. They want what's fair, what's just, and what's healthy. There're just... huge disagreements on what that actually means. I think that comes up a lot during magical conflicts."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 03:44:47 97906
Masu Yogoshi nods. "I imagine so. Pushing that hard... It's amazing you all have the energy to care about anything aside from yourself," she muttered. "Were I in that situation, i think I would have given hope long ago," she said softly. "Or at least stopped caring about other people. I cannot imagine it's uncommon to feel that way."

She nodded. "So... if I see girls with rings, and..." she said, then laughed. "I guess... it's kind of... hard to identify them, 'A girl with a ring' and all. Not like you can really indentify that, huh?"

She notes the patience, and appreciates it. Though doesn't comment on it. She went to work, reading to put things in the hot kiln. "There is a lot of disagreement. The biggest problem is people can't understand each other. They don't want to sometimes. They want to say they're right, and not think of how the other people feel. But you know, it doesn't work like that," she mumbled before slowly putting it in, the heat making her want to pull back, and once she has it in she closes the door and breathes a sigh of relief. "It's why I'm in the medical field, you know. I... can feel it. All that pain and suffering and misery. I wanted to find a way to... stop some of it. People don't realize what it's like, so often,. It's like... a disease. A knife constantly cutting at a person. At who they are..." she mumbled. "Granted, the fact it means i have access to medication that can help suppress my abilities is nice, as well," she said with a laugh.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 04:05:04 97909
    "A lot of people give up pretty early on. There are typically two kinds of Puella I've met: Those who last for years, and those who don't see past the first month." Homura speaks matter of factly about this, or at least try to, but there's a bit of bitterness in her feelings. "There are a few Puella who genuinely care about others, but most would rather fight over territory."

    She tilts her head and glances in Masu's direction. She looks around the lab, making sure there's nothing around that wouldn't require an immediate timestop, and dehenshins. She holds up her hand to Masu, showing her Soul Gem ring. "Well the specific type of ring is always like this. It's a silver band with strange alien runes etched into it. I have no idea what those runes say, but... huh. Actually."

    Homura takes a closer look at her ring. "It's funny, I can't read these, but I feel like I used to know what they meant... when I was a Witch." She thinks about that for a moment, then shrugs it off. It's an interesting question, but not the one they're here to answer today. Her henshin flashes back on in a burst of purple energy, and she goes back to work.

    "Yeah... I mean. You seem like that kind of person. Someone who cares. If I still lead the Contractors I might've tried to recruit you."

    "... Yeah, suffering can really change you, and the deeper it is the more profound the change. Though... I can't say that I hate who I am now, and I don't think the person I used to be could handle my life."

    Homura smirks slightly at the reference to medication. "Well, we all have to make it through somehow."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 04:13:18 97911
Masu Yogoshi nodded. "I see. If... I ever run into any other puella like... you all. Then I'll at least offer them what help I can..." she mumbled. And ensure that puella knew to NEVER use eclipse brand medications. The idea of her accidentally causing a witch, it made her heart burn. Or maybe that was the dark energy coursing through her veins? For a moment, she let herself be... sad for it. Then wiped it out. She was strong. dark energy could affect her...

But that was for the weak. For the normal people. Not for her.

"It's a very beautiful ring. I will... keep an eye out for it. And it's possible. It might be something your soul knows, but you yourself don't. Maybe you can only know when you're at your lowest and given up hope..."

She cocked her head to the side. "I care because I have no choice. I can't NOT care. I literally don't have a choice," she said with a laugh. "But I don't think I'd have made a good contractor. I'm not strong, I have no powers like you... and I don't think 'feeling people's emotions' is very useful in that situation."

She nods. "I try to use meditation, but some days... Some days you just... can't. It can be addictive, though, so I refrain from using it too often."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 04:24:25 97913
    Homura smiles softly at Masu. "I'd appreciate it. Some Puella Magi tend to prefer independence, but others do like to know that someone has their back."

    Something her soul knows but she doesn't? Huh... "I mean, maybe. I know these runes are something that Kyubey's species uses once in a while, and you see them a lot with Witches..."

    Homura shrugs at as Masu tries to laugh it off. "I don't know about that. I think we could've used more scientifically-minded people. Still, it's hardly relevant now. Most of the magical girls I hired went to Virtue or Eclipse, and some just went independant again."

    "Fair enough," says Homura, "For a while I would occasionally drink, but I didn't want to go too far down that road, either. Plus I've never been able to really hold my liquor."

    Homura glances up from her work to look over at Masu's. "How are you coming along?"
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 04:35:18 97915
Masu Yogoshi nodds. "Everyone should have at least someone to watch their back. Doing things alone... It's difficult. Scary. And lonely. Very lonely..." she mumbled.

"Really, with witches? Maybe they're name tags," she joked. "So if you witch, the kyubey have a name tag of who you are. That was in poor taste, wasn't it?"

She cocked her head to the side. "What's virtue? And I've heard a bit about Eclipse but... I'll be honest. I've never seen the bad, evil side of them that has been espoused to me. Granted, my parents work in the medical divisions."

She nodded. "I've tried drinking a little, before. My parents allow it, with supervision. It... wasn't pleasant. It was harder to maintain my barriers. And a lack of barriers, with a lack of inhibitions... well..." Her cheeks turned a little red. "Is a great way to make a fool of yourself."

She then motioned to the kiln. "It should be done soon. Once it cools, we'll... well. Still have to test it and..." she sighed. "We've got a lot of work to do. We'll be here a while."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 04:51:23 97917
    "Lonely is about how I'd say it, yeah. I mean it's one thing to just be by yourself, but it's something else entirely when dark things are out to get you."

    Nametags? Homura has to think about that. "I don't know. I mean I don't remember enough to say for sure, but that doesn't seem entirely wrong." Yeah, Masu is joking, but Homura is too busy being confused to laugh.

    "Well Virtue is... I mean they aren't like Eclipse. They aren't a corporation. They're more like a bunch of magical people who have banded together to serve a common cause. Generally if you want to protect the city, you end up dealing with them one way or another. As for Eclipse... well, I used to work for them. Sort of. Not directly, but I worked for one of their subsidiaries. I've seen some of the things they do. They do some good, and I'd be lying if I failed to mention that Eclipse did help stop Walpurgisnacht, but they also do evil and I'd rather not be a part of it."

    She tries to imagine Masu losing her inhibitions and how that would affect her defenses. She smirks in a somewhat commisrative way, then says, "Yeah... Madoka's mom told me not to let Madoka drink until she's old enough, so I often end up the only one between us drink. It's not really that fun for me, though there's no one I'd trust more to handle a drunken me."

    Homura crosses her arms and looks at the kiln. "Yeah, well, I've got time."
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 05:08:35 97921
Masu Yogoshi nodded. "Yeah... I think I was pretty lucky. I never had any of that. Darkness... after me would have been fairly awful," she said a bit nervously.

"... Oh. That's... actually kind of sick. And... horrible... Maybe they do feel no emotions."

She nodded. "Virtue?" she asked. Listeniung... "And they're all.... magical?" she asked. "An entire faction... of them..." she mumbled. Man, that explained SO MUCH. So that's how they ALL SEEMED TO KNOW EACH OTHER! "I'd love to meet them one day." Then shook her head. No. Separate. Keep herself, and tarnished separate. That's important... "No. That'd be stupid. I'm not a magical person like you guys. I shouldn't intrude on your affairs."

She blinked. And imagined Madoka drinking. She shuddered. "Listen. I spent what felt like an hour feeling all the things in that girl's head. I'm amazing she can even function. Drunk? I think that would be horrifying. If that's her sober, well..." She shivered. "That's terrifying. Objectively terrifying."

She gave a soft chuckle and then opened the kiln. Only to shriek... The jar they were using? It had crapped... splashing the compound all over the kiln.

And now up at Masu. The girl's eyes widened, crap crap crap... Could she dusk shield in time? Maybe, if she hadn't panicked and focused on trying to get away... Oh dear.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 05:18:11 97923
    Homura really has no idea who she's talking to, or rather what her secret identity is. It probably doesn't hurt that she's never even met Tarnished, but even if she had the henshin magic would protect Masu.

    "They really don't. They have no concept that what they're doing is evil."

    "Well if you want to meet with Virtue, you'd probably have to ask someone like Mamo-kun. I'm not really a member and I probably never will be. I'm not really much of a joiner." As for not intruding, Homura shrugs, "They're going to affect you even if you don't intrude, but I'm not gonna lie. If you don't want to get involved, especially as someone who can't defend herself, then no one is gonna blame you."

    Homura cants her head at Masu and blinks. "Huh. I mean, I've never seen her drunk so I wouldn't know. Or... if I have, it was so many timelines ago that I've forgotten." She tries to imagine Madoka drunk, and all she can think of is drunken cuddles. Silly drunken cuddles. Cuddly Do--

    Stop. Stop Homu. You're gonna embarrass yourself.

    Homura doesn't yet see into the kiln, but when someone like Masu shrieks there's usually a good reason. Her mechanical shield clicks, time stops, and Homura walks over to the timefrozen Masu to grab her shoulder. Then, Homura looks into the kiln.

    "Oh, wow. That's... that's...."

    She taps her chin.

    "Sooo... what kind of reaction are we looking at here? Gas? Explosion?"
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 05:25:50 97924
Masu Yogoshi could move, and realized... the stuff wasn't moving at her face. "N-no. Not that. It. It's not... we're just... We're not..." She pulled away... only to accidentally time freeze herself until Homura grabbed her again. "C-can we just... get away from it?!" she almost shrieked. Her face was paler than normal, and there was... definitely... something up with her. Once they were a bit away, she sighed.

"I'm sorry. I should have chosen a stronger jar. The kiln will need to... to cool and we'll need to... we'll need to clean it. I... I can come back... tomorrow for that. O-okay?" she said.

Her hands were shaking and she shook her head. "W-we haven't even made all the components yet. We just... we just need to try again tomorrow. We just... I... I should go. I'll come back tomorrow, okay? I'll go. I should go. Should I go? I think I should go."

She moved her hands under her arms, pinning them to calm the shaking. Well, yeah. No henshin, no way to defend herself...

At least, as far as Homura knew. And unfortunately for Masu, she was frightened... And inviting in more fear. Echoing inside her.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 05:34:53 97925
    Homura grabs Masu again once she's frozen, then tries to talk her down. "It's fine. We can try again tomorrow. Don't worry about it." Homura offers Masu her hand, since it'll be easier for the two of them to leave while handholding.

    Homura starts to walk away from the kiln, and out of the room, assuming that Masu comes along with her. Her own emotions are pretty calm. She can't even say that she's disappointed, since she knew from the start that accidents could be a real possibility.

    "Here, we can timestop out of the building and after that we should be fine. I mean, we prepared for problems, right?"

    Homura isn't sure why Masu is worried, but she's pretty sure it has something to do with the kiln. "Sure, we'll clean it and try again later."

    Homura sympathizes with Masu, but... she doesn't really know how to calm her down aside from getting her out of the room.
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 05:44:05 97926
Masu Yogoshi relaxs a lot better once they are out of the room. She held a hand to her chest, trying to calm herself. "I'm sorry... there was... there was an accident a few months back. From my... from a mistake I made then, too. I was in the hospital for a while and just...." She shivered.

"It just... hit me hard. Like it was going to happen... again. I'm... thankful you were here. Your abilities were useful..." she mumbled softly. Still, though, she couldn't get her hands to just. Be. Still. "I think from now on I'll let you be the one who does those things. I... think I kinda made my nerves to go. I shot them to... I just... Thanks. I'll head home. Walking will do me good," she said with a smile. Thank you, Akemi-san." She'd then start to walk away, trying to bring her shields up and block the panic. She was safe. She was secure. But... she almost hadn't been.

She was being too reckless.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-17 05:50:21 97927
    If Homura knows anything, it's how to be safe when handling dangerous equipment and dangerous chemicals. She also knows just how badly things can go wrong, so when Masu mentions the explosion she understands almost immediately.

    "Alright. Well, it wasn't a problem this time. In the future I can be the one to handle that stuff. I don't mind. My shield will protect me, and even if it doesn't I've healed myself from worse."

    She shakes her head, "No problem. It was my part of the arrangement."

    Once she's certain that Masu is calm enough to have her shields up, Homura resumes time and lets her hand go. As Masu walks away, Homura walks in a different direction, and as she forgets about the experiment she starts thinking more about Madoka. There's a certain giddiness in her feelings, but also something just a little bit off underneath the surface.
Masu Yogoshi 2018-09-17 05:53:24 97928
Masu Yogoshi would head a few blocks away, then disappear into the nearest alley. She held out her right hand and a portal of dark energy formed... Allowing her to step forward into... a room. A simple room, with television, books, a bed... and wayyyy too many models. She collapsed on the bed.

She needed to be careful. If she'd been hurt there.... she'd have had to henshin. And if Homura found out who she was... Well... there was no way for her to keep her secret then.