Meeting in the Waking World

(CW: Allusions to prior parental transphobia.) For the first time, Lacrima and Ariel meet with Narumi in the waking world to discuss Maboroshi no Manako's recent incursions. Also present is Narumi's mother Kasumi, who learns something about her own past in the process.

Date: 2018-10-14
Pose Count: 16
Narumi Nendai 2018-10-14 19:57:58 98979
Narumi finally managed to work up the nerve to call the phone numbers Kukai gave her (after she demonstrated that she could see Daichi), and now it's time to meet the magical girls she met in the dream world, in the waking world! She mentioned on the phone that the whole situation was kind of surreal, but it might be better to at least get in touch now.

... So, hang on, wait a minute, there's an actual car pulling up to the manor? It's a white sedan of a model twenty years out of date. A nervous-looking woman with dark purple hair in a bob cut gets out of the driver's side, and Narumi gets out of the passenger side, looking only slightly less nervous.

"A 'spooky manor' seems kind of on the nose," says the woman.

"I ... guess?" says Narumi. "Maybe? I ... actually don't know how this works, mom."

Her mother sighs, and just shrugs at that.

With apprehension visible on her face, Narumi walks up to the front door and rings the doorbell, her mother trailing close behind.
Lacrima 2018-10-14 20:04:46 98980
Since there was a meeting the next day with some sort of... dream. Person? Ariel had spent the night after her Birthday party. The morning was spent removing decorations and finding places for new gifts and overall making sure things we're clean. She has just set out some donuts. Some drinks. (Leftover Soda bottles and Milk from last night) and some leftover pork buns from last night.

She crosses her arms and looks down at the vestibules coffee table in front of the sofa laid out with her typical hostess spread then the door rings. "Ari-chan I think they're here!" she says as she scampers to the door. Lacrima is wearing her ultra fancy dress.

She peeks it open. Lacrima looks exactly like she does in the dream world so there's no mistaking that. "Hello?" she asks. She looks past the girl there at the woman with her then opens the door fully and bows. "Hello. You are. Narumi-san....?" she asks. "Come in." she says.

"Ariel is already here. She knows more about the dream stuff than me. I just help her with stuff with it." she admits.
Ariel Theodore 2018-10-14 20:12:55 98981
    In the chaos of the prior night, Ariel had forgotten t give Lacrima her gift! But that's what the downtime in the morning is for. So during that cleanup, a little box is bashfully handed over, and inside it is a glimmering star-shaped pendant much like the one Ariel wears to don her armor. It is a small trinket, but one that clearly means a lot to the little unicorn, considering how it matches to her own.
    Because it is a fallen star. Though not quite on the same level as Lucky.
    But this little exchange is a sidenote to the events of the morning, once cleanup is handled.
    "Ah... She's here? Okay um. Uh!"
    Well this is probably going to be a doozy. Lucky, the gigantic hound, is already nosing at her side to try and settle her back down.
Narumi Nendai 2018-10-14 20:23:37 98982
Narumi tries not to give a double-take, and gives a somewhat furtive bow. "Yes, hi," she says, following her inside. "I'm, uh, my full name is Narumi Nendai. And, and this is my mom, Kasumi Nendai." She nods to her mother. "And, and this is Lacrima-san, and Ariel-san."

Her mother, who has not seen Lacrima or Ariel before, is trying not to just gawk at the dress or the massive dog. "Ah, pleased to meet you both," she says. She frowns. "I'm sorry, you'll have to be patient with me, I only just 'discovered' that magic is real in August, and it's also new to my daughter." She smiles weakly. "So ... I'm kind of coming here in the hopes of hearing something that's actually reassuring, that Narumi isn't diving headfirst into something that can't possibly have a happy ending."

Narumi opens her mouth to comment, but says nothing.
Lacrima 2018-10-14 20:50:25 98983
Lacrima was speechless at Ariel's gift. All she could do was stare it at longily then give Ariel the tightest hug ever and a kiss on the cheek and a 'thank you'. The pendant adorned the other two already around her neck. It was so pretty and she liked it. She purses her lips as she motions then to sit down. "There are snacks and drinks." she says. "It was my birthday yesterday, so... admittedly some of it is leftovers, but they're fine." she smiles.

She sits down and settles and offers a short smile as she listens, but this smile turns straight as she listens. "Ah." she says. "I'm thinking someone should start a support group for adults who figure out magic is real and it sticks." she says. "Most adults don't... remember well." she says.

"Or at all really." she says. "Then allow me to introduce myself, I am La Crima. I am La Vampira. That is Spanish for vampire." she says. She raises a hand. "I do not drink blood. I eat energy and I am fine in regards to that, please do not be frightened." she urges.

She motions to Ariel, who can introduce herself when she's ready. She looks back to Narumi and then Kasumi.

"What I understand." she says softly. As she looks over to Ariel, who saw Narumi's name on that paper in the school and then back to Kasumi. "Is that Narumi here has entered into some sort of... wish... contract with a creature called a 'Nightmare'." she says. "I do not know for what. But it involved.. messing with school paperwork." she says. "I've not seen the Nightmare again since that night." she shakes her head. "Unless Ariel here or someone else has." she says with a soft breath. "Ariel can tell you more about Nightmares and why it's a bad idea to make a wish with one I'm sure. I can only postulate." she says with a weak smile.
Ariel Theodore 2018-10-14 21:01:24 98984
    Ariel opens her mouth to speak and lifts a finger.
    Ariel closes her mouth and lowers her finger, blinking owlishly.
    Oh, so Narumi's mother is aware of magic. Well that's a thing. Though it's a little awkward, and now feeling like she has to give The Talk to an adult, she fidgets for a moment, before putting on her best smile. It's a genuine one, albeit a little awkward. So it's a good thing Lacrima motions to the refreshments before everything gets started.
    So Lacrima gives her invitation. Time for Ariel's.
    "Hello, I am Ariel." She begins, lacing her fingers together and settling them on her lap once everyone is seated. "Um! And I'm a unicorn."
    Yes. She said that with dead complete utter seriousness. Then again she's not lying, it is the truth. As for that other stuff.
    "W-well! That's what the speculation is, we could be wrong?" She asks, turning a pointed questioning look toward Narumi. "But if it is true, it is kind of a bad thing, yes."
Narumi Nendai 2018-10-14 21:12:06 98985
Narumi and Kasumi sit down, and Narumi grabs a bite to eat. "Yes," said Kasumi, "Narumi mentioned that her friend at school had said something about forgetting. I'm half-certain it happened to me once when I was a child. But ..." She looks over at Narumi, smiling faintly. "... it's really hard to forget that something like magic exists when you see the results every time you set eyes on your daughter."

Narumi tenses up slightly at that last part, but then relaxes.

"Don't worry about us being afraid," says Kasumi. "If half of what my daughter has said is true, you're a good kid, you just have problems of your own."

And then Lacrima brings up the nightmare, and both of them look startled. "How did you --!?" Narumi exclaims, at the same moment her mother says "A contract --"

And then Narumi sighs. "You actually met Manako-chan, didn't you," she says.

Her mother is distracted. "'Manako-chan'?"

Narumi looks away. "... 'Maboroshi no Manako', was her name," she said. "She ... The first time I fought Nightmares using lucid dreaming, she was there ... and ... she ... well, basically, I was kind of desperate at the time."

Kasumi flinches and looks away.

Narumi hesitates, looking between Ariel and Lacrima, then plunges on. "... I was born a boy," she says. "My wish was for a new body like I had in the dream world, and, uh, for her to fix all my paperwork so it said 'Narumi' instead of ... instead of my old name. She's been causing trouble, hasn't she?"
Lacrima 2018-10-24 22:27:11 99228
Lacrima listens. Mmmmm. "Not the first story I've heard of something like that." she says quietly as she looks down into her glass of milk that she swirls a moment before taking a sip. It's like a classy habit of some sort she can't shake. "Your 'nightmare friend' has caused some problems, yes." she says.

She tsks. "There's many creatures that offer 'contracts' for wishes. Narumi- what is your stipulation?" she asks. "Do you know, or did they not say?" she says.

"Narumi. Nightmares. Things like me-- at our basest, if we give in to this horrid dark we're made out of, we desire to hurt, confuse, rend destroy those around us and the world at large. It stinks. it stinks a lot for something like me that also has a human soul and If I didn't have that, I'd be doing... that instead." she says as she glances over to Ariel. "Ari-chan is the expert on nightmares, I can only speak of experiences- but your.. friend. Claims to work for a person called 'The Prince of Nightmares' who wants to plunge the world into dark and nightmares. Like that." she offers. "-as far as we can see. He's the source of these... stronger Nightmare incursions I think right now. I mean. They happen, but there's been a bunch of bad ones recently." she says.

"So besides. The obvious. I mean. The desire for the right body. What made you wish? Just that? We're you overwhelmed and she said she'd help if you wished...?" she asks.

She looks to Kasumi, and hrmmmmsss. "You remember something from long ago. Little white... cat.. rabbit?" she asks. "That talks?"
Ariel Theodore 2018-10-24 22:41:55 99229
    Well this is just leaping right into things. Ariel's lips purse when Narumi acknowledges Manako's existence, very specifically, by name. And the implications of 'contract' sink in for Kasmi.
    "She was desperate?" She does gently question Narumi. Before she's given further insight into the matter.
    So Narumi was born a boy. Though the unicorn's head tilts to a curious angle, she doesn't linger on the thought too hard.
    "Well. I think we found her in the middle of doing just that- changing your paperwork." Ariel admits, folding her hands together on her lap, thumbs twiddling together in an absently thoughtful manner. "Nightmares can be dangerous to deal with-- especially cutting a deal with one. But not all nightmares always started bad. Has she given any indication about what she wants in this contract yet?" More information here would be good, she thinks. But something Lacrima says makes her turn her head.
    "What's this about cats and rabbits?"
    She's clueless about what cats and rabbits have to do with anything. Oops.
Narumi Nendai 2018-10-24 22:53:18 99230
Narumi blinks at Ariel. "... No wonder I got back into Seiyou so quickly," she says. She nods to both her and Lacrima. "She ..." She hesitates. "Manako-chan was curious about the waking world. Yeah, she mentioned the Nightmare Prince, she basically said she ... was tired of working for him, and that she missed being a more pleasant dream called, uh, Yozora no Yumemi?" The Dreaming of the Night Sky. "She wanted to 'ride in my consciousness' basically."

Her mother frowns. "Honey, that sounds like she wanted to possess you," she says. "And what do you mean 'basically told you'? If the Phantasmal Eyes are still enthusiastically working for His Royal Highness, then her exact words are gonna be more important than just implying she wanted to be good again."

And then Kasumi blinks at Lacrima. "Uh ... y ... maybe? ... red circle?" She scrunches up her face in concentration. "Argh, I remember it being so important at the time ..."
Lacrima 2018-10-24 23:06:49 99231
Lacrima sighs to Ariel and Kasumi. "Red circle, yes. The beings name is Kyubey. Ignore him. He's a little alien creature that tells the truth but only by omission. He makes a contract for a wish- wherein you become a Puella Magi and fight creatures called 'Witches'. Only he doesn't tell you that a Puella will eventually die and become a 'Witch' herself. It's some... stupid.. insane... disgusting cycle apparently." she says rubbing her nose bridge a bit. "But that's my understanding of it so far thanks to various discussions. You'd need to find a Puella Magi that knows what's up to get more information um... Homura..Akemi. I think." she says. "To get the correct information rather than what I know."

"....ah...." she says. "I think..." she looks to Ariel. "I think that's how she's walking into the waking world then? With that?" she asks. "Nightmares... in 'real space' seem... rare?"

She nods. "Manako-san seemed to falter a little bit when I tried talking to her about this horrid thing we both are. I'm kind of hoping I got through that she might seek out help. If she was something else before she was a nightmare there could potentially be ways to 'fix' that." she says quietly.

"But that'd be someone else's territory. You're looking at... purification. Healing. Things I am not suited for. Things that can hurt and kill me."

"Does sound like a possession attempt though, honestly." she says. She eyes Kasumi. "If there's odd behavior, let Ariel or Myself know." she says as she looks to Narumi. "No offense, Narumi-chan." she says. "But it's better if an outside party handles that observation."
Ariel Theodore 2018-10-24 23:22:16 99232
    "Oh." Ariel's response to the explanation of what Kyubey actually is, is very simple.
    That creature, and its methods do not sound pleasant. At least from that basic description, at least.
    But then puzzle pieces click into place. Manako's curiosity about the waking world- her ability to enter it now. Even if Lacrima may have possibly gotten through even just a little, that still leaves the fact that a Nightmare can roam the barrier between dreams and reality. "Mn."
    "There are ways." Ariel does confirm. "I've done it with other Nightmares in the past. But that still doesn't change the fact that she's made a request like that. ... I've never heard of a Nightmare being able to possess someone before. Feed on them- leave them exhausted and witless, yes, but that's a first for me. She'd have to be either really old or really powerful, or both, if she could even try it." Murmured thoughtfully, before her head bobs in agreement. "--Yes, any odd behavior at all, don't hesitate to reach out."
Narumi Nendai 2018-10-24 23:37:31 99236
Kasumi's eyes widen. "Oh! Yes! Kyubey!" she exclaims. "He ..." She sits back, putting a hand on her forehead. "My ... Thirty years ago, I had a girlfriend named Yukari Koizumi." (Narumi blinks, but doesn't comment.) "She contracted with Kyubey, and ..." She grimaces. "... well, a Witch's 'familiar' smashed her soul gem while another magical girl was showing us the ropes, and ... she just keeled right over, and that was the end of Yukari Koizumi."

"Ohhh," Narumi says softly. "... No wonder you always said 'you shouldn't just say your wishes all the time' ..."

Kasumi frowns. "But, wait, I certainly didn't know the 'turning into Witches' part," she says. "That, uh, yeah, sounds like I dodged a bullet."

Narumi just looks nervous about the talk of getting possessed. "Um, right," she says. "Yeah, that ... is very worrying."

Kasumi humms, drumming her fingers on the couch. "The first thing that comes to mind regarding how Manako-san is doing what she's doing is that it has something to do with the wish she granted. Something ... allowed her to transform Narumi into a new body. But I don't have any idea where to go from there." She pauses. "As for noticing strange behavior ... Narumi, when did you meet Souma-san?"

"Uh ... I think ..." Narumi taps her chin. "The ... I know it was a Monday ... and ... I'd been at Seiyou for a week by then?"

Kasumi nods slowly. "So, the twenty-fourth," she says. "And why did it take you almost three weeks to call up Ariel-san and Lacrima-san?"

Narumi blinks. "Uh ... I dunno, it ... uh ... um ..."
Lacrima 2018-10-24 23:55:21 99240
Lacrima grimaces a bit. "My condolences." she says quietly. "I don't know what else to say." she says quietly. She looks back up to Narumi.

"Well it's clear that, something has affected your way of thinking at that case if you don't know why you didn't contact us sooner." she says quietly, shaking her head. She sighs a bit. "For now. It's best not to.. provoke Manko-san. If we're able to convince her to try to heal herself-- at least try then it's best not to make things more difficult by... trying to force like, an exorcism or something." she says.

"....Especially since that might mean the wish being rescinded and-- well I'm sure you don't want that." she says with a soft sigh." she looks to Ariel as she purses her lips. "I should try to seek out Manako-san. I dunno how to seek out nightmares. I'm hoping she'll take the imitative to come to me first. She should know where I live. I mean. I got attacked here once." she mutters.
Ariel Theodore 2018-10-25 00:28:51 99247
    "I'm sorry." That, is in regards to the departed Yukari, now that Kasumi's memory is jogged on the subject of Puella Magi. It doesn't sound like a happy memory at all. Loss is still a relatively new thing to Ariel, but she has grown to understand that it can be a very powerful, painful emotion.
    Possession is more than just worrying though, and the span of time it took between getting the numbers to contact them and actually doing so makes the unicorn blink faintly. "Do you remember anything out of the ordinary in that time?" A valid question to ask. But she also latches onto something else.
    "I don't know if trying to force her out might be for the best either. I've never seen anything like this-- maybe mom would know. But like... I don't know if it would have any bad effects." She admits. "Then again, I just don't like using force in general, so let's try a gentler method until we've exhausted the option. Seeking out Nightmares is easy at least. Just go to sleep. They'll usually come to you."
Narumi Nendai 2018-10-25 00:35:57 99248
Kasumi shrugs. "It happened thirty years ago, I was fourteen," she says. "And I just woke up the next morning with no clear idea of what happened, except that just knew I shouldn't make a wish." She hesitates. "But ... thank you."

Narumi puts a comforting hand on her mother's shoulder. "I mean, yeah," she says. "I do not want to lose this wish." She shrugs. "I've had ... well, I mean, literally ever since I've had this body, I've gotten a weird sense that I shouldn't tell anyone about Manako-san, even when it made sense that I should tell someone. But all that sort of just fizzled out last week, sort of." (The day after Amalthea had her chat with Manako, in point of fact.) "I, uh, I will talk to her about it if I see her in my dreams again, though."

Kasumi nods slowly. "I admit that a part of me wishes that I could just ... forget it all again," she says. "Get used to Narumi's new appearance, and her new name, and then just have everything fade away again." She looks down at Narumi. "But ... now's clearly not a good time to do that. I can't help you find Manako-san, but I will keep an eye on my daughter, to see if anything else untoward happens."