Joyful Practice

Miho meets Hokuto so that the two can find out definitively whether the Minase family's methods of controlling one's energy will work with the Life Blessing.

Date: 2018-10-06
Pose Count: 31
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 00:20:31 98658
It was a cool day today, and it's only slightly cooler as the sun begins to set. Miho and Hokuto arranged a meeting to (try to) train with the Life Blessing, at the docks where they'd first met and Miho discovered she wasn't as mundane as she'd thought. Of course, Miho uses her power best when she's in henshin, so Life Mahou Joy flies along, close to the rooftops, smiling brightly, before she comes to land on the rooftop of a warehouse. She doesn't even overshoot it or anything! ... Well ... she's a bit closer to the edge than she intended to be. But still!

... She's forgotten that Hokuto hasn't actually seen her in henshin before.
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 00:32:08 98659
And Hokuto hasn't bothered with Henshin -- she rarely does, except when she deems the need for protective armor -- so she's standing there in casual clothes, jeans and a t-shirt with a casual red coat slung over it. She's early, spending some time reading something on her phone, a novel of some sort perhaps. She's kind of glad to have some quiet time, really, life's been one thing after another, and a little time alone - or with a single friend - is nice.

She looks up as the stranger approaches by air, and pauses, putting away her phone to retrieve a couple of her usual ofuda strips and ready them, just in case. "Hello there," she greets the girl, somewhat coolly.
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 00:35:52 98661
Joy waves and walks over. "Hey there!" she says in a clear and bright voice which sounds almost, but not quite, entirely unlike what Miho sounds like out of henshin --

And then she blinks as she notices Hokuto's expression. "Oh, uh ... it's Miho," she says, in Miho's usual fairly scratchy and somewhat androgynous voice, before clearing her throat and bringing it back to the clear and bright tone. "The, uh, it ... Being Life Mahou Joy affects my voice, too." She knows she told Hokuto why she's so different in henshin. "So what's up?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 00:42:47 98662
Hokuto Minase ahhhhs softly, and smiles just a little, then beckons the girl over. "Come on, have a seat. You look like you're doing well by yourself. A bit more comfortable in your own skin, hm?" She does recall discussing it, and being somewhat unsurprised - it's not something she hasn't seen before, after all, even if the solutions tend to be as difficult as they are for normals.

She never did get to see such a simple answer to the question before, though.
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 00:49:34 98663
Miho nods, and goes to sit next to Hokuto. "Pretty much!" she says. "I mean I can handle being out of henshin, it's just, I have to sort of wince every time I change back." She shrugs. "... At least just talking in my, uh, out-of-henshin voice is enough to get people to recognize me through the henshin magic." She might be smiling just a little bit more easily than she was the last time they saw each other. Seems like she's recovered from the world-ending threat she mentioned before.
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 01:03:48 98665
Hokuto nods. "By all means, then, be yourself. From what I hear from some of the others, this is more 'the real you' than the other, to them..." She shrugs. "Be who you are, not who you don't want to be." It's a cheesy little thing to say, but it's true.

"Frankly... I haven't looked, but I'd wager almost anything that your chi flows in that other form are all messed up anyway. It's fairly common in people in that situation."
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 01:09:57 98667
Miho smiles. "Exactly!" she says. "... Have I mentioned that the Curse and Blessing were only passed down from mother to daughter? Because that's totally a great part of it."

She raises her eyebrows at Hokuto's tentative 'diagnosis.' "Well, that's interesting," she says. "I mean, I've been assuming that I'm better at using my powers in henshin because that's just the way being in henshin works, but ... hmm." She shrugs. "Yeah, I dunno where to go from there."
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 01:19:34 98669
"Well, henshin is often seen as ... mmm, a 'key' to enabling your powers, from what I've seen so far." Hokuto answers. "Symbolic of the identity, and all that. I could go off on this long psychological tangent, but... you'd be bored, I think. And I don't want to bore you."

She smiles again. "Don't suppose you've ever done any martial arts?"
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 01:23:21 98670
Miho shrugs. "Nah, I understood it just fine basically." She grins. "I appreciate being spared the boredom, though.

She hmmms. "Nope!" she says. "I don't know if you've ever met Stahlritter-san, but he offered to help train me in actual combat. Like, when I'm up against a raging murderbeast which happens to be full of darkness, I'm good, but anything else ..." She's slightly misinterpreted where Hokuto was going with that ...
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 01:35:04 98673
Hokuto nods and stands up. "Okay. I'm going to teach you a brief kata. This isn't meant for fighting, it's more about focusing on how you move. What each part of your body is doing."

She walks over to a clear space on the roof, beckoning the other girl after her. "Don't do anything for now, just watch me as I move through it and try your best to remember each step. Okay?"
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 01:51:57 98675
Joy blinks and nods. "Oh, okay, got it!" she says. She jumps to her feet in one smooth motion that doesn't seem at all to match up with the way gravity works, because even if she's bad at precision when moving at high speeds, she can hover like the rest of 'em. She crosses her arms, watching Hokuto intently. If there's one skill that's done her good as a magical girl, it's how observant she is.
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 01:55:56 98676
Hokuto looks briefly to see if her student is following along, then she starts to move. Slowly and with precision, she steps through several poses, interspersing stretches and almost dance-like moves with kicks and punches, blocks and side-steps. "Don't try for speed. Take it slow, as exactly close to this speed as you can. Focus and precision are far more important." It takes several minutes for her to finish it, and she ends the kata standing straight and facing Joy, making a brief bow to her.
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 02:12:50 98682
Miho nods, "Right." She lands solidly on the rooftop, and gently starts moving along with Hokuto's movements. It takes a moment for her to get over a sort of twitchiness that comes from trying to use her speed, but after that, she's doing halfway decently. "Mmm ..." The problem is ... she can see that the metaphorical other half isn't quite so decent, and she frowns.
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 02:13:13 98683
Her demonstration finished for the moment, she straightens and focuses her gaze on her student. "Alright, now, do you remember the sequence?" She tried not to make it too hard to remember, after all. The exact selection of movements isn't important, isn't the point - the focus is. "Do you think you can step through it for me?"
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 02:18:19 98684
Miho closes her eyes for a moment, and takes a deep breath as she tries to push aside her misgivings. Then she opens them again. "Yes," she says simply.

And with that ... she repeats the process. Without guidance, she's a bit less certain, and a bit more clumsy about it. Observation is one thing, but retention of something she's never done before isn't quite what it could be. She does manage to at least attempt every individual move she'd been shown, however.
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 02:25:37 98685
Hokuto lets her run through it once alone, watching in silence, her face carefully expressionless. "Not bad," she eventually declares it. "Let's try it again, would you? I want to make sure you have it down before we add the next step."

This time, she paces slow circles around Miho, pointing out flaws and making suggestions to improve the execution. "You've almost got it."
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 02:30:12 98686
With Hokuto watching her and directly guiding her, Miho is actually considerably more confident. She's a lot closer to perfection this time around, and her smile is back by the end. "Hmm ... yeah," she says softly. "I ... think I almost felt ... something ..." She shakes her head. "Yeah, I dunno. You want me to go through it again, or go to the next step?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 02:37:11 98689
"No, let's go ahead and take the next step. Have a seat." She settles to the roof, cross-legged, and rests her hands on her knees. "We'll meditate for a few minutes, just enough to get a feel for your energy. Alright?"
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 02:39:32 98690
Miho nods, goes crosslegged, and then sinks down to the roof. ... She seems to enjoy her flight magic a lot. "Okay," she says. "I, uh, I haven't meditated before, though." She giggles nervously. "I'm ... not actually sure how to do it?"
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 02:45:50 98692
Hokuto nods. "I'm not surprised," she muses. "Just close your eyes and breath slowly. Make it a three-count for each breath. In... 2... 3... Out... 2... 3..." She demonstrates, each inhalation and exhalation taking a three-count that she demonstrates on her fingers.
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 02:51:39 98693
Miho does as instructed, breathing gently in and out along with the counting. After a moment, she doesn't need the counting, and does it just fine on her own.

And another moment after that, she can feel the Life Blessing and the Death Curse inside of her. Pretty much expected. She keeps her calm enough that it doesn't just disappear when she loses her concentration, which is not quite as expected. "... hmm ..."
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 02:57:31 98694
Hokuto can feel it as well, and she smiles as she notices the change in rhythm. "That's it," she muses. "Focus on that feeling. You know your energy, your magic. Hold that feeling close. And then stand up and do your kata again. Feel the energy move as you step through it."
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 03:00:14 98696
Miho rises off the ground, once again with the aid of her flight-magic, but she settles back down on the rooftops. "Could you help guide me again?" she murmurs, before she starts going through the katas once again. She fights the temptation to try to mess around with the Life Blessing while she's doing it; she's consumed enough pop culture to know how this sort of thing goes, and it's clear that doing anything except what Hokuto instructs her to do would be jumping the gun.
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 03:03:18 98697
"Of course," Hokuto answers, rising gracefully to her feet. "I know how nervous I was when I did this the first time." She doesn't mention that she was six at the time. "Don't try to do anything with the Blessing yet, just feel what it does on its own as you move." She again starts to walk Miho through the kata, this time stepping in close to help her get positioning exactly right.
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 03:11:32 98698
Miho lets Mikoto guide her. It's easier this time, with a second repetition. She feels the Blessing and the Curse shift with her movements, remaining balanced against one another, but reacting all the same.

By the time she's done, she's grinning. "... Yeah, I think I can get a general feel of where this is going to go," she says, smiling over at Hokuto. "I felt both the Life Blessing and the Death Curse, and ..." She grimaces. "... uh, that just reminded me, this past weekend I got into a fight with an Eclipse goon called Tarnished, and, uh, well, after the fight, I ... well, I already knew that purification attacks sting when they hit me, but when I'm healing myself and it's deeper than just a little scratch?" She shakes her head. "Yeowtch."
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 03:18:46 98700
Hokuto nods. "Because it's interacting with the curse. And the curse doesn't like it." She hmms softly. "What I want to do - and this is getting ahead of things a bit - is to have you be able to move the Curse energy away from where you need healing, so that they don't meet like that." She paces to one side a bit, hmming. "Like I said, though, that's getting ahead of things."
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 03:24:44 98702
Miho nods. "Exactly," she says. "Same reason I can't heal someone who's made of darkness like Lacrima-chan."

At the suggestion, she chuckles and nods. "Yeah, way ahead of ourselves," she says. She considers this, putting a heart-gloved hand on her chin. "And I mean, that even assumes that it's possible to just 'move' it like that," she says. "I sort of felt them ... constantly, all the way through every inch of me. Not sure how else to describe it."
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 03:40:03 98704
"I understand that this may not work exactly as I hope it will, but one way or another, it should help you to get at least some control." Hokuto continues her pacing, watching as Miho works through the kata, and nods as she finishes. "My family's used this method for generations. It's worked well for us."
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 03:49:41 98706
Miho grins. "Oh, yeah," she says. "I can definitely see that it'd work, too! Gonna have to keep doing this." She's trying to keep her excitement under control. Well ... mostly under control. She knows she's only been a magical girl for like two and a half months, but ... "It actually feels like I might be able to start working towards improving my control over the Life Blessing!"
Hokuto Minase 2018-10-06 03:58:59 98709
Hokuto nods. "I want you to do a dozen repititions, then, just focusing on precision, and feeling the energy move with you. Don't try to do any more than that just yet." She smiles lightly and takes a perch on a convenient outcropping - some sort of air-conditioner thing, probably. "You're a quick learner, from all I've seen. I know you can do this."
Miho Kagami 2018-10-06 04:12:49 98711
Miho nods. "All righty," she says, grinning. She takes a few deep breaths to calm herself; as exciting as it is, she doesn't want her excitement to really run wild.

And so she begins the first round of going through the kata ...