The Only Things I Know Are Real

Nightbell and Tessen have their promised duel. Then Akari and Mikoto figure out the truth about the relationship between "Akari" and "Nightbell."

Date: 2018-10-14
Pose Count: 39
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-14 23:50:11 98986
An hour ago, a text message appeared on Doctor Murano's phone. It came from the number Umbra had on file for Hagane, aka Mikoto, and simply listed an address and a time. The address was in downtown Mitakihara, and the time was one hour from the time it was sent.

At the appointed hour, a teleport circle appears on the roof of the building named, rising, falling, and fading to reveal Tessen's blue and white figure, standing straight, apparently weaponless - for the moment. She takes a brief look about, then simply waits patiently for her opponent's arrival...
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 00:02:53 98988
It hasn't been a great couple of days for Akari. Once she got over her laughter ... she had absolutely no idea how to tell Mikoto. She typed up dozens of messages, and deleted all of them unsent. "Hey, Hagane, I'm actually Nightbell!" "Mikoto-chan, my handler at Eclipse found out your magical identity." "So, um, I found out the other day that you're also known as Hagane. Well, I have a secret identity, too!" Or just texting Hagane's number from Nightbell's Eclipse phone and saying, "Hi, Mikoto-chan!" There's just something that makes it feel like too much to type the name 'Nightbell', or even making a commitment to doing so, and it isn't just her infiltration-mode programming getting in the way; it's clearly something coming from her emotions.

The text from Hagane is almost a relief, in its own way. It allows her to delay the decision. And gets her out from under Frau Doktor's not-so-subtle glare for the moment. She transforms and dons her Knight Clothing without bothering to get changed, and then she's flying over the rooftops to the address.

She lands on the roof opposite Tessen. "Hey there, stranger," she says. In spite of her attempt at a casual demeanor, it's really obvious that she's tense and worried. "Thought I'd take up your 'offer' from last time." She pulls out her pendant and holds it in both hands. "Rubindorn? Schwertform."

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> In a surge of darkness, she's holding the longsword.

"So, uh ... how rambunctious are we gonna be?" she says. "Should I, uh, should I throw up a time-space barrier, so we don't have to worry about collateral damage and civilian casualties?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 00:14:23 98989
Tessen smiles as she watches Knightbell land. "Good evening, milady knight," she offers. "And yes, that offer still stands. I've missed this. A good clean fight... no innocents on the line, no distractions. Just us and our blades." A flick of her hands, and her fans spread open, gleaming with blue energy along the edges.

Not too far off, Hikari waits and watches, worried, but knowing that Mikoto needs this. Needs the cleanness of it, before she can commit to a non-combatant like Akari. (Oh, the irony!)

"As for the barrier, I have it covered." The observing catgirl takes the cue, and the barrier rises up around the pair, encompassing the building and those immediately around it. "I'm glad to see that that sort of thing actually matters to you, though."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 00:25:07 98990
Nightbell is actually in the same boat; part of the reason for this is so she can have a sort of closure with Tessen. She blinks as she watches the barrier form. "Oh, you have a familiar lurking around somewhere, huh?" she says dryly. "Handy." Rubindorn detected her, but ... well, she's too far away to recognize as Hikari at the moment.

She makes a face. "... I, uh ..." She shrugs. "Well, I admit that I'm not the best at examining my own feelings, so I'm kind of working on only half of an epiphany, and it took getting body-slammed by Sailor Jupiter to get even this far," she says, "but I finally admitted to myself that I care more about Sakura-imoutochan than I care about working for Eclipse."

And with that, she charges forward, gliding across the rooftop at high speeds, doing a simple swing with her sword to try to hit Tessen's side.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 00:43:09 98991
Tessen nods at the mention of a Familiar. "Indeed. She's good at barriers..." Better at being a good little sister, but she's not going to mention that right now.

Mikoto's certainly not the best at even admitting her own feelings. She's not even really bothered to question just how real, or unreal, what she feels for Akari might be, in the aftermath of the Pyrite Kingdom incident. She's too happy to bother questioning it, and Hikari is too relieved to see her happy to involve herself.

The comment about Sakura, however, catches her by surprise. A quick flashback, the image of Sakura calling Bell 'oneechan', overtakes her attention.

And then there's a blade slashing at her side, and she's moving on autopilot to parry it with one fan and slip aside, then return the strike with a quick slash at Nightbell's sword-arm with the other. She isn't quite quick enough on either, though, and instead of dodging away the blow hurls her back into a chimney, leaving a nice divot in the bricks.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 00:54:11 98992
Nightbell smiles at Tessen's stumble, and dodges back to parry the attempted counterattack. For once, there's nothing to get in her way, no mission, no stakes, and with the barrier, nothing to hold her back ... she can just cut loose and do whatever she wants, really. It's the kind of fight she feels like she would just love to have.

So why doesn't it feel all that great to do this?

She shrugs, and Rubindorn pings and extends a gun-trigger setup from the handle. <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Cartridge ready! Bell pulls the trigger, there's a thunderclap like a gunshot and her sword vents black steam, and then the red blade is crackling with energy.

"I'm gonna be honest, it was a surprise to me, too," she says, charging forward to press her advantage. "I have no idea why my creators decided to program me with the ability to feel desperate to have something resembling a family, but here we are." She attempts to rain further blows on Tessen with her sword -- always aimed so that, even if Tessen does nothing, they'll hit her Barrier Jacket. "Frau Doktor and I have been sort of pretending everything's normal, but there's no way she hasn't figured out that I'm on my way out."

And then a kendo move slips out. Her Nightbell-specific abilities are filtered out when she's being Akari, but the reverse isn't true.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 01:19:14 98994
Tessen pushes herself out of the divot and gets herself back in the fight. She hasn't bothered with cartridges - Carnwennan isn't set up to use them, for reasons she still really doesn't quite understand - which leaves her at a definite disadvantage. She dealt with this in her previous meetings with Nightbell by bypassing it - going after the Gadget that the Knight was protecting. This time, there is no gadget. No distraction. No alternate victory condition.

So she fights. She's good with the fans, and she's fast, but she's not as used to them as she is the sword. "The Frau Doktor sounds like a reasonable woman," she muses. "Willing to support you, more than your employers. Loyal and intelligent, even if lacking in ethics." Not that she cares that much about the last point. More than she pretends to Umbra, though.

Except that at some point while she rambled on, she brought the two fans together, the cloth-seeming blades merging to form a single steel one. Better the weapon of a knight, to fight a knight's duel, isn't it?

And there comes in a very familiar kendo strike, and quite automatically she moves into the prescribed counter-move, slapping the blade aside as she rises to stand straight before her foe.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 01:25:38 98995
Nightbell shakes her head. "Not really," she says. "She's still an Eclipse die-hard, I'm pretty sure I walked in on her tattling on me to Riventon-sama. I feel like I care about her, since I've basically known her my whole life, but ..."

She manages a smile as Tessen gets out the sword again. "I was wondering when you were gonna bring that out!" she says, straightening up as well, going for another strike ...

... and for the next few seconds, they're just playing kendo against each other, until her brain catches up with her and has a moment of wait WHAT. Her smile becomes a frown, and without even thinking, she thrusts her cartridge-charged sword forward with superhuman force in a move which is decidedly not a legal kendo move.

Even as a part of her registers that this was almost exactly like practicing against Mikoto, except that she's eleven inches taller and something just fundamentally feels worse somehow.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 01:38:16 98997
The kendo duel goes on for a good few seconds, and even Tessen starts to notice how familiar it feels. She can't quite place Nightbell as fighting like any particular member of the team, but she has been spending a lot of her practice time sparring with Akari lately...

Again, she's caught by the charge, this time barely getting her blade into position to parry it. The force of it pushes her back anyways, feet scraping along the rooftop for a good meter or so, before she can dig in and bring herself to a stop.

"People can surprise you," she advises her foe. "Even Frau Doctor. Give her a chance, she'll surprise you." Personally, she thinks it isn't likely. But she's seen stranger things happen. Stranger people choose the side of light. So she's willing to encourage giving her a chance.

"She isn't the one you should be worrying about just now, though." With that, she unleashes a flurry of attacks of her own, quick probing jabs to test Nightbell's defenses, following up with a hard thrust once she finds a weak point.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 01:50:33 98998
Nightbell nods, drawing back slightly and rising off the ground. "Oh, sure," she says. "I mean, it'd be hypocritical of me to just write her off, I'm just not holding my breath."

Meanwhile, she's thinking fast. Well, whatever, it's not like kendo is a surprising hobby for a Japanese swordswoman to have, and she has more important things to worry about at the moment. Such as the sudden flurry of a counterattack. She winces as she's a split second too slow on one of her blocks, and she staggers back from the thrust.

That said ... she doesn't feel like she's in any real danger of losing this little bout, as long as she keeps her focus; she's stronger, larger, and Rubindorn has better reach than even the sword-form. She responds to the flurry in kind, flitting in and out as she rains strikes on Tessen, utilizing her strengths to their fullest.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 02:20:16 99000
Unfortunately for Tessen, Nightbell's assessment of the situation is mostly correct. She has slightly more skill, perhaps - she'd claim more - but the larger figure, with longer arms and longer blade, has several significant advantages. The pressure forces Tessen further back, even as she continues to counterattack whenever she gets the opportunity.

At this rate, Tessen's defenses are not going to hold. And there isn't a whole lot of room to give further ground. She can see this, but she hasn't given herself many options. She could resort to flicker-blasts... but she deliberately hasn't been building up an arsenal of them. This was supposed to be Tessen's fight, and they're really Hagane's trademark. Even if Tessen has used them as well.

Sooner or later, she's going to lose this fight.

But she's going to have a heck of a lot of fun getting there.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 02:29:13 99001
Nightbell smiles. She's well on her way to winning, so ... she might as well go all-out. She breaks off her attack for a moment. "Rubindorn?" she says. Menschenmengeform!" Crowd form.

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> In a transformation that is equal parts mechanical and magical, Rubindorn becomes an eleven-foot double-ended polearm.

Bell's hand starts to move to the gun-trigger setup halfway along the pole, when she suddenly remembers what happened to the last person she hit with the polearm form when it was boosted with a cartridge, and just grimaces moves her hands back into position. She swoops down anyway, swinging the weapon around in a rapid series of blows, just trying to knock Tessen around now.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 02:56:15 99003
Nightbell smiles. She's well on her way to winning, so ... she might as well go all-out. She breaks off her attack for a moment. "Rubindorn?" she says. Menschenmengeform!" Crowd form.

Ping! <<BESTIMMT, HERRIN!>> In a transformation that is equal parts mechanical and magical, Rubindorn becomes an eleven-foot double-ended polearm.

Ping! <<KARTUSCHE BEREIT!>> Bell's hand slips down the length of the polearm to pull gun-trigger setup, then swoops down, swinging the weapon around in a rapid series of blows, when she suddenly remembers what happened to the last person she hit with the polearm form when it was boosted with a cartridge, Oh crap --
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 02:57:48 99004
Tessen knows more than enough Belkan to recognize the command and guess what's coming, but it's still an unpleasant surprise. This is gonna hurt, she thinks to herself as she snaps her own command, Carnwennan's slender rapier-form taking on a heavier, wider-bladed shape, and a longer hilt for two-handed wielding.

"I'd call that cheating, but I'd just be being petty," she offers as she puts up her best defense against it, several exchanges passing before another swipe gets past her defenses, slamming her into the chimney once again.

Either the blow itself, or the creation of the second Tessen-shaped divot in the chimney wall, has pushed one thing over the edge, however. With the chimney crumbling behind her into a mound of undifferentiated brick, Tessen's Barrier Jacket flickers once, then twice...

... and then shatters, crumbling into virtual sparkles as it fades, revealing Mikoto in her regular jeans and blouse - and bruises.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 03:01:58 99005
Nightbell quickly reverts Rubindorn to its pendant form. "Scheisse!" she exclaims, coming landing in front of her just before the barrier jacket fades. "Sorry! Crap, I really went overboard ... with ... that ..."

She stares at Mikoto. "... Mikoto-chan!?" she exclaims, and her voice is at a higher-register and lacks Nightbell's usual gruffness, and therefore sounds exactly like Akari. She immediately dispels her Knight Clothing, revealing ...

... the red dress.

It's a bit more tight on Nightbell, though.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 03:14:16 99007
Mikoto at first doesn't seem to have noticed her Jacket failing. "I'm... I'm ok," she insists, half muttering, as she pushes bricks off of herself. "I think we can agree," she starts to say, then her eyes take in That Dress. "... that you... won... oh kami..."

She blinks several times, taking in the sight of that quite familiar garment. And the sound of that even more familiar voice. "... A - Akari? Is that... really you?"

She gapes for a moment, then gathers herself enough to add, "You look incredible..."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 03:19:13 99008
Bell flinches away at that question. "Um ... yes," she says, her face turning red under the markings. "Rubindorn?"

The gem on her pendant flickers silently, and then Bell is engulfed in dark energy, which suddenly seems to glitch out before turning pale blue. When it dissipates, Akari is standing there. "Yeah." She's looking absolutely miserable now.

She takes a deep breath. "Y-your girlfriend ... is an Ancient Belkan AI whose body is forty percent dark energy by volume." (Except that a scan that goes reasonably deep will find that she's barely five percent dark energy, localized around her heart.) "Th-this ... is supposed to be my 'infiltration mode'. I-I mean, it is my infiltration mode, I don't know why ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 03:34:18 99010
Mikoto continues to gape, but manages to push herself rather unsteadily to her feet. (It's a good thing her Barrier Jacket was as strong as it was. She might just have a bruised rib or two. Maybe broken. If it had failed any sooner? She wouldn't be getting up.)

"... okay, that beats my ex-boyfriend... he was just blackmailed into working for them. Heh. I still miss that crazy cat..." She takes a tentative step forward, then another one, and wraps her arms around Akari. "Ancient Belkan AI, huh? So... how's that workin' out for you?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 03:39:28 99014
Akari stiffens up at the sudden hug. She really wasn't expecting it to go this way. She hugs Mikoto back, very carefully. "I ... uh ... well, uh, I still have no idea why I'm so 'human', but, uh ..." She shakes her head. She's sounding very shaken over all this, but there's a certain amount of relief. "... or why I ... feel so different when I have the same amount of dark energy inside me, but ... yeah ..." She looks around the barrier-world. "Uh, who's your, uh, your familiar? A-anyone I know?"
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-15 03:48:27 99015
Mikoto rests her chin on Akari's shoulder, cheek pressed to her girlfriend's, and clings tightly to her. Forget that they were fighting just moments ago. That was rivalry. This is something else.

"You've met her," she murmurs, and a smile teases its way across her lips. "I'll have Hikari-chan introduce herself properly when we get back to the dorm."

She lifts her head, straightening a bit to get her weight on her own feet, and looks Akari in the eyes. "Forty percent, huh? Welp. That'll make things interesting."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-15 03:51:20 99016
Akari laughs nervously, and just hugs herself against Mikoto as tightly as she can while still being gentle. "Ahahah ... wow, you know what, this is ridiculous," she says. "At times like this, I don't even think I want to change back to Nightb--"

And then she lets go, and takes a step back, eyes wide. Her face is going pale. She takes another step back, and then starts to fall onto her backside.

<<HERRIN!?>> says Rubindorn in a low voice, furtive but frantic.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 00:39:24 99019
Delete previous pose on log when adding to the wiki and stuff~
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 00:43:47 99020
Akari laughs nervously, and just hugs herself against Mikoto as tightly as she can while still being gentle. "This ... is absolutely not how I expected this conversation to go," she says. She blinks. "... I mean ... for one thing, I ... guess I was afraid of you just rejecting me? And at the same time I'm trying not to panic at having hit you the way I did because the last person I did that to sort of ..." She shakes her head. "Well, as far as I know, she did not walk away from it." She shrugs. "But anyway, panic is bad because losing control of my negative emotions causes me to turn into this evil-darkness-jerk because of all the dark energy inside me."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 00:57:57 99021
Mikoto nods, and clings to Akari, as much for support as for affection. She's not badly injured, but there's certainly a few serious bruises to worry about. Lucky her Jacket held as well as it did. "I swore to myself, once, that I would never let that come between me and someone I loved. Ikuto-kun spent hours and hours trying to push me away, saying it was dangerous... and now he's... gone." She sighs, soft and low, and turns her head to kiss Akari's cheek.

She can't say 'I know you won't hurt me', because Akari just did... and they'll be sparring again, almost certainly. But she can say what she would mean by it. "You're you, Akari-chan. Akari, Nightbell, evil-darkness-jerk-chan... all you. Same person on the inside. And I trust you. I love you."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 01:09:14 99022
Akari nods slowly, and then just ... breaks into a smile. It's a wide, dazzling smile. There's some relief, to be sure, but for the most part, she's just feeling pure joy as she smiles down at Mikoto. It's all working out!

And then ... as Mikoto starts listing Akari's identities, she comes to a screeching halt, and blinks and frowns, looking away for a second. "... hang on," she mutters. "... ugh, schhhhhhit I feel like that's ..." She shakes her head. "Something about what you just said made me think of this ... whatever-it-is that made me finally decide I need to get away from Eclipse that I haven't figured out yet ..." She shakes her head. "It's like I'm missing the most important piece of the puzzle ..." She frowns. "... and something to do with the fact that ... I'm more, I guess 'passionate' in this form?" She shakes her head. "Like, I'm not just wearing my heart on my sleeve as Akari, it's like I actually don't feel things as strongly in my other form ..." Her voice trails off. She's oh so close. "... wearing my heart on my sleeve as Akari ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 01:21:38 99023
Mikoto's wide, warm grin answers that smile, welcoming the feeling behind it. She's just so glad to have someone who understands, someone who won't push her away because it's 'dangerous'.

Except something seems to go wrong, as it always does. She looks on with concern and hope as Akari talks her way through her issues. "You called this an 'infiltration form'," she muses. "Like a mask." She reaches up and runs a fingertip along Akari's jawline. "This isn't a mask. This is you. Just as much as that other face."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 01:26:36 99024
Akari stares at Mikoto as she makes this pronouncement, eyes going wide. "... you know, it was supposed to be a mask, and everything about it was supposed to be a fake," she says unsteadily, "but after the first hour at my first day of school, I ..."

Her face is going pale. After a second, her legs start start to give out, and she almost collapses against Mikoto. Her heart is thumping -- almost visibly.

<<HERRIN!?>> says Rubindorn in a low and furtive but frantic tone.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 01:43:04 99027
Mikoto nods in agreement, listening attentively, staring back into Akari's eyes...

"First day," she muses. "Yeah, that's always - whoa!" She slumps as well, catching Akari's weight in her arms, her own heart racing as she starts to panic. "'kari-chan?" she asks, echoing the Device's concern.


"C'mon, Akari, be okay, please..." Mikoto begs, hoping, demanding... She refuses to let anything happen to Akari now!
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 01:52:07 99028
Akari is practically limp in Mikoto's arms now. "But ... but that means ..." She's completely incoherent now. "... I ... this ... if ..." Her mouth just hangs open, completely agape.

... Her body is a magical construct, exactly like the humanoid form of a mage's familiar, just missing a few fundamental magical components, but it's otherwise an exactly perfect representation of a human's physiology.

It's also less than 5% dark energy by volume, not 40%. There's just a little bit, localized in the general vicinity of her heart, where you might expect someone's Linker Core to manifest. The darkness is a bit twitchy, and pulses in sync with her words. Aside from that, there doesn't seem to be any physical or magical cause.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 02:03:20 99029
Mikoto grits her teeth and listens as Carnwennan describes Akari's status, and she tries to focus enough to take it in and help the girl. That's the important thing right now. "You're going to be fine, love. No worries. Can you tell what's happening?" She takes a wild guess and asks, "Do you need to change back? Is that what's happening?" It's a wild guess, but the energy seems to be somewhat... insistent. Right by her LInker Core. That's important, she can tell, but what could it mean?
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 02:18:50 99030
Akari shakes her head. "N-no, I'm fine," she says, against all available evidence, "I'm --"

And then her head jerks around as Carnwennan mentions exactly how much Dark Energy is inside her. "Warte, was hast du gesagt!?" she exclaims. Wait, what did you say!? She's not supposed to speak Belkan in this form, but her emotional state just punched right through her filters.

<<WAS!?>> exclaims Rubindorn. What!?

Akari stares straight ahead. "Scheisse," she mutters. And then she opens and closes her mouth a few times as she tries to shift gears back into Japanese. "That ... that explains everything!" She looks up at Mikoto. "I ... 'Akari' isn't a fake mask, it's my real self, and Nightbell is a corruption!"

She sounds astonished just to say it, but at least she doesn't seem like she's completely in shock anymore. "My ... my Linker Core produces the dark energy I use for a bunch of stuff, alongside my regular mana." She takes a deep breath. "But in this form, my Linker Core's output is suppressed, including the dark energy, so when it was 'created' when I activated my so-called 'infiltration form' for the first time, it wasn't corrupted as much!"

<<OHHHHHHHH.>> Rubindorn sounds almost as surprised as Akari. <<... NUN, SCHEISSE.>> Well, shit.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 02:30:03 99031
Mikoto considers it, listening close, carefully watching Carnwennan's graph of the energy spikes in Akari's Linker Core. "Not a corruption," she muses, not really convinced by that despite the prevalence of dark energy. "But I agree... this Akari is the true Akari. The other is the mask."

She leans in and kisses Akari's cheek. "Maybe it's the ... pressure, of the dark energy, against the suppression?" She's as much guessing as anything, now, having spent little of her research time on dark energy, but she believes it's possible.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 02:46:53 99032
Akari takes a deep breath, and looks up at Mikoto with the expression of someone who neither wants nor needs to hear that her base form isn't corrupted. "Dark energy messes with your head," she says firmly. "It dampens your ability to feel positive emotions, and your negative emotions become worse, in every sense of the word."

She stares up at the barrier's sky. "I ... for my entire existence, as 'Nightbell' I was just an aggressive idiot until that incident where Frau Doktor got thrown off a building and I completely lost control for the first time. After that, I thought I was improving, but until I met Sakura-imoutochan, it was basically putting a bandaid on a broken bone." She frowned. "I still believed Riventon-sama when he told me that Eclipse was saving the world."

She shakes her head. "Until Thursday night, when Sailor Jupiter body-slammed me, I lost control again, and then Sakura-imoutochan just ... hugged it out of me." She sniffles. "A-and that's when I realized there's a part of me that absolutely hated being a part of Eclipse." She lets out a hollow laugh. "A part which I ... which I now know is named 'Akari Hayabusa'. And now I know that's the only 'part' of me that matters."

Tears are starting to stream down her face now. "A-and ... now I ..." She shakes her head. "W-well, I mean, I-I love you, Mikoto-chan." It feels strangely easy to say it. "You and Sakura-imoutochan are the most important people in the world to me!" She sniffles again. "... and Frau Doktor is in third place ... by default, I think."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 02:59:47 99033
Mikoto nods at the first, understanding that much about dark energy, at least. "So," she muses, considering it. "That's how you met Sakura-chan, hey? Sounds like she's got a good head on her shoulders." She smiles a little, proud of the younger girl. "She's helped you a lot... I should do something really nice for her."

She leans in again, kissing away the tears from Akari's cheeks. "Then that's how it is," she agrees. "Akari-chan is the true Akari-chan, and Nightbell-chan is as much a part of Akari-chan as Tessen is of Mikoto. And how can I love one part of Akari-chan without loving all of her?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 03:12:58 99034
Akari shakes her head. "No, no, I'm talking about this past Thursday," she says. "I met her for the first time, uh ... two days before the Golden Kingdom thing. I helped her capture the Loop Clow Card that she tried to use on me."

She considers this, but not before she kisses Mikoto lightly on the lips. "I ... think it should be possible to get purified of the dark energy," she says. "In that case ... 'Nightbell' won't really be apart of me anymore." She grimaces. "... It was originally just an English translation of the name my actual creators gave me, 'Griffritter Nachtglocke Eins'." Grip-Knight Nightbell 1. "But ... I think 'being Nightbell' has too many bad associations. I think for now, I only want to put on that mask when I absolutely have to." She laughs nervously. "Ever have everything you thought you knew about yourself just ... fall apart?" She snuggles up close to Mikoto. "I mean, I do like where the pieces have landed, though." She shrugs. "Maybe I'll come up with a different codename after I get purified, or maybe just after I leave Eclipse? I 'unno ..."
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 03:32:49 99035
Mikoto's smile goes wide as she returns the kiss. "If you want to change the name, I won't object," she murmurs. "You're still you. And I still love you." She hugs Akari tightly once again. "I'll help you find a way," she says, "Somehow, we'll do it. Together." She reaches a hand up to cup Akari's cheek. "Anything you want. Both faces are beautiful... and I love all of you."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 03:41:21 99036
Akari smiles back at Mikoto, bashfully and wide-eyed. "Mmm ... yeah, okay," she says softly. "We'll ... yeah, let's definitely do that. I-I love you too." She shrugs a bit. "The ... The knights of Waldia offered to help me find a way, too, by the way. So I'm definitely not lacking in help in general, I think." She hesitates. "I guess in the meantime, I could use my ... well, the skills and software behind my Infiltration Mode in order to stay with Eclipse, until we can find a place I can stay," she says, in a tone of voice which suggests that this is the absolute last thing she wants to do.
Mikoto Nakajima 2018-10-16 03:46:14 99037
Staying with Eclipse is the last thing Mikoto wants Akari to do, too. "The Waldians are good people. But there's no need to stay with Eclipse. You can stay with me." She has plenty of space at her warehouse lair, after all. And the dorm room is big and comfortable, too. "No need to worry about money or anything," she assures Akari. "Maybe we can tell the Doktor that you're working with WPS, like me."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-10-16 03:54:49 99038
Akari blinks, and smiles. "Okay," she says. "... Um, this is not how I was expecting to move in with my girlfriend. But yeah." She laughs out loud. "Wow. At the very beginning, I almost didn't think anything was real, except fighting?" She shrugs. "But now ... I know love is also real. Even realer than 'Nightbell' was, basically."

She grimaces at the WPS suggestion. "You know, I think I'd rather be honest about it with UMBRA," she says. "Lacrima really helped me out getting control over myself, and Frau Doktor is ... well, she might not like me very much, but ..." She shrugs pensively. "She's the one who activated Ritterglocke for the first time, and set off the spell that created me. I've literally known her my whole life."

She smiles at Mikoto. "But ... yeah. We'll figure something out," she says finally. "I know we will!"