The Scent of Magic

Millie tracks a strange minty scent to a group of trees where Miho is practicing magic. Miho quickly discovers the nature of Millie's particular ability.

Date: 2018-11-08
Pose Count: 27
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 17:15:33 99933
King Penguin Park is the go-to spot within the city limits for relative peace and quiet. It's a nice day out, even if it is getting relatively chilly in early November. People are going for peaceful walks, children are playing on the playground, and in general, not much has been happening.

(There haven't even been any major monster-attacks here for over a year.)

Miho is sitting in a small group of trees just off a paved bike path, hidden from view by the trees; she's wearing a green sweatshirt, a black skirt, and blue jeans under the skirt. Her bicycle is leaning against a tree nearby. Right now, she's doing tai chi exercises; she's gotten enough practice that she doesn't need any external guidance anymore.

Occasionally, there's a green flicker of mint-green light around her; even more rarely, her shadow flickers and turns darker. The Life Blessing flows within her, close to the surface and occasionally breaking through, and making sure the Death Curse stays down. In short: there's magic going on.
Millie White 2018-11-08 17:36:50 99934
The infamous King Penguin Park. It was supposed to be a pretty popular place if you wanted a quiet place to rest and think, and Millie reckoned that was what she could use right now. While she had come to Tokyo for answers, she hadn't quiet expected the immediate info dump she had received from multiple sources. Of course there were offers for help, which Millie was extremely grateful for, but she needed some time to digest everything she had learned and sort through her thoughts.

The tall foreigner wore her usual attire as she was accustomed to much chillier weather than this. So far the park lived up to everything she had heard about it; it was beautiful, quiet, and a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Millie allowed herself to relax a bit as she sat down on a bench, stretching her arms up with a sigh. It was quiet enough that she could actually hear herself think, which had been a rare occurrence as of late. Letting her arms fall back to her sides, she took a deep breath of fresh air in through her nose...

... and stopped. Confused, she sniffed again. What was that smell? It didn't smell like anything that should be in a park. Like a curious pup, Millie sniffed and tilted her head, trying to figure out where it was coming from. It was a crisp smell, natural, almost like mint, but there was something else to it. As she followed the scent it began to lead her towards a paved bike path. The closer she got, the stronger the scent was, and the crisper it became. So crisp it was almost painful she realized, and she leaned a hand against a tree that was also propping up a bike. Millie could feel a sneeze forming and even though she fought valiantly to contain it, it escaped from her with a sharp sound as she tried to catch it in the crook of her arm.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 17:41:39 99935
Miho promptly whirls around with a squeak, and there's a burst of mint-green light from her hands as she falls onto her backside!

... The burst would have made the scent more intense, but now it seems to have vanished.

She blinks, looking up at Millie with an expression of faint nervousness. (Well ... not that much nervousness, but having been caught doing magic in public still contributes to her social anxiety.) "Um ... hi?" she says, somewhat awkwardly; her voice sounds a bit scratchy and somewhat androgynous.
Millie White 2018-11-08 17:52:21 99936
Millie whirled around at the sound of the strange squeak, only to be blinded by a quick flash of green light and a scent that was all but painfully seared into her brain. The tall girl closed her eyes for a moment to let the dizziness subside, and when she opened them she was looking down at a nervous girl with glasses. Millie blinked, her brain taking a moment to process what had happened. When it did though, her expression morphed from one of discomfort to one of gentle concern.

"Are you alright?" Millie asked in slow and accented Japanese, offering one hand down to the nervous girl as an offer to help her up. "I didn't mean to startle you, I apologize." Her voice was lower in tone, rich, with a hint of a rasp.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 17:59:38 99937
Miho forces a smile onto her face, and scrambles back to her feet. She's tall for most girls, to her eternal lamentation, but she blinks at the fact that the girl in front of her is still taller. "Yeah, I'm fine," she says. She laughs nervously. "And tai chi is supposed to help me relax." (Well, that's only half of the reason for it ...)

She shakes her head, and gives a bow which manages to be quick, stiff, and awkward. "My name is Miho Kagami," she adds. "What's your name?" She's totally leaving out the subject of any glowing special effects Millie might have seen, just in case she didn't see it. Or 'didn't' see it, if she isn't in-the-know ...
Millie White 2018-11-08 18:15:02 99938
A bit of tension eases in her shoulders when she realizes the girl is unharmed, even more so when it is verbally confirmed. Millie allows a lopsided but gentle smile to overtake her expression.

"I'm glad." She mumbles more to herself that the girl before her, who she now knows to be Miho Kagami. Millie didn't let the smile disappear from her face, but she returned the bow. Judging from the way her hand up had been refused, she doubted Miho would appreciate a handshake.

"It's nice to meet you, Kagami-san. I'm Millie White." Now that they were introduced, Millie definitely had questions... but she didn't want to overwhelm the seemingly skittish girl. Was she nervous because she was afraid Millie had seen whatever the light was? A chuckle rumbled from Millie's chest.

"It's okay," she soothed, "I didn't see anything if you didn't." Then, offering a good-natured shrug she added "Unless you'd be willing to answer a few questions?" Her tone was completely casual with a soft grin on her face.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 18:26:09 99939
Miho's smile becomes more genuine. "Nice to meet you too!" she says, immediately before she properly registers that Millie had offered her hand to help her up, d'oh. "Aheh. Yeah, uh, it's nice to meet you too, White-san!" she manages. She takes a deep breath.

And she blinks at that last comment. Okay, this girl is obviously aware-enough about magic, and it's equally-obvious that she's new. "Oh, no, it's fine," she says. There's still a slight undercurrent of nervousness, but there's been a fairly obvious change to her attitude. "I mean, it's ... I don't have any problems helping a newcomer figure things out." Her smile returns. "The green glow is my source of power, the Life Blessing. It ... was originally given to my great grandmother in order to deal with a Death Curse, and they were both passed down from mother to daughter to me." Her smile widens just a little bit as she says the last part of that sentence. "So, are you magic, or are you just in-the-know?"
Millie White 2018-11-08 18:39:53 99940
Millie hadn't been expecting a full explanation before she even asked anything, but by the way her face lit up, it was clear that the foreigner greatly appreciated it. The taller girl carefully looked to make sure no one else was walking by as Miho informed her of what the green light had been. A Life Blessing... and a death curse? The concern from before was right back on her face when she looked at Miho. Just what did a Death Curse entail? Likely nothing good based off the name alone. She almost missed it when her bespectacled companion asked if she was magic.

"Oh, uh... yeah, I'm magic." It was clear that actually saying that still felt foreign on her tongue, like it shouldn't make sense but it somehow does. After a moment of pause, Millie canted her head ever so slightly in a curious nature. "What is a Death Curse, Kagami-san?"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 18:50:41 99941
Miho nods, noting Millie's concern again. "Well, if you don't have a Life Blessing to keep it in balance," she says, "it kills you." She shrugs. "Like, I dunno the exact details, but like ... yeah." She nods. "It came from this artifact of doom called the Shadow Jade, which got shattered in 1949 when my great grandmother got rescued. But its shards are still, uh, bad."

She pauses. "Also there's a fox-spirit named Noroiko connected to the Curse, or possibly to the Shadow Jade, and she keeps popping out of my shadow when I am just completely emotionally terrible, and, like ..." She shrugs. "She keeps not-so-subtly telling me I should use the power of the Curse, just like I use the Life Blessing. Which makes it officially obviously a bad idea, instead of merely unofficially like it was before."

She looks Millie up and down. "Also, my ... codename, I guess you could call it, is 'Life Mahou Joy'," she says. "There's, like, this one line of Life Mahous apparently, or something. What's yours?"
Millie White 2018-11-08 19:03:27 99942
Of course it would kill her, what else would a 'DEATH' Curse do? Stupid question, she scolded herself mentally. The takeaway from this is that Miho had the Life Blessing, which meant that she would be alright, and that was enough to settle her worried expression a bit. Miho went on to explain about the Shadow Jade and Noroiko, and Millie may or may not have given Miho's shadow a silent glare. She knew nothing about the Curse and even SHE knew it was definitely a bad idea.

Millie was suddenly aware that Miho was looking at her from top to bottom and the tips of her ears burned crimson, only partially hidden by her hair. "I'm Cure Shield, apparently. That's what the cards say anyway." She said almost jokingly.

The foreigner sniffled slightly and reached up to scratch her nose; she could still feel the burn of whatever that smell had been. "Does your Life Blessing always smell like that?" She asked curiously, wondering why such a power would give off such a smell.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 19:07:24 99943
Miho grins as she notices Millie's gaze. "She probably can't see you right now," she says. "Or ... maybe she can, I dunno. I don't have enough, like, evidence to say one way or the other."

When Millie gives her name, she perks up slightly. "Oh, you're a Pretty Cure?" she says. "Uh, are you one of ... Blue-san's?" The same name Haruna mentioned, although Miho doesn't seem to want to use '-sama'.

She blinks. "Smell?" she says. She holds up her hand, and there's a brief minty-green glow. Miho sniffs at it. "I don't smell anything ..." She looks curiously up at Millie. "What's it smell like to you?"
Millie White 2018-11-08 19:18:00 99944
Whether or not the shadow creature could see her, her gaze clearly spoke that she would be keeping her eye on it. At the mention of Blue, Millie scratched the back of her head sheepishly. How could she explain this?

"Yes? That's what Kurosawa-san told me. I haven't uh.. I haven't met him yet." She offered lamely, showing just how much of a rookie she was. To be fair though, she had been an 'Official' Pretty Cure for what... three days? A brief flash of green interrupted her thoughts, and she quickly sniffed so she could answer Miho's question.

"It's crisp, like mint. Kinda sharp... like how when you breathe through your nose when the wind is cold? Like that, but mint. There's something else too, but I can't quite make it out over the mint..." She responds thoughtfully, crossing her arms over her chest in thought.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 19:33:17 99945
Miho nods. Easy conclusion: Millie knows Haruna's other identity. "Oh yeah, Kurosawa-san was one of the people who rescued me when I was ..." She blinks. "Wait, do you mean Haruna-san or her sister Aki-san? Haruna-san is the one who rescued me."

She pauses. "Also, two warnings: Blue-san has this rule that his Pretty Cures aren't allowed to fall in love, but there's no actual consequences for breaking it, Haruna-san is actually engaged to an American woman." She shrugs. "Uh, the other warning is ... it's generally a good idea to use someone's codename instead. People usually wanna keep their identities secret, if you talked to 'em mostly about magical business and if you don't know whether someone you're talking to knows both of their names."

She blinks. "Oh, of course it smells like mint," she says. "Like, it looks about right for the color ..." She thinks a bit. "The other smell is probably the Death Curse, I'd bet." She looks right at Millie. "Anyway! I think the deal is ... you probably have some sort of special ability to smell magic, basically. Or I mean, literally."
Millie White 2018-11-08 19:51:22 99947
D'oh! She had slipped up with the names again! The tips of her ears reddened once more in embarrassment even if she continued to smile.

"S-Sorry, I meant Haruna-san. I mean Cure Gull. I haven't met her sister." She double corrected herself as she continued to internally scold herself. Secret Identities were important, they helped keep people safe; she couldn't keep making mistakes like this.

The rule about falling in love was a bit out of left field, but maybe it was something similar to the not being able to date a co-worker rule at some businesses? Either way, she figured she was safe. When Miho mentioned the Death Curse, and just what this power might be, Millie's face blanched slightly.

"I'm smelling magic?" She thought back to all the times she had smelled something weird. Magic had been present at every moment. Realization dawned in her eyes. "I'm smelling magic." She confirmed with a grin, "Kagami-san you're a genius!"
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 20:03:38 99949
Miho smiles and nods. She's perfectly willing to give someone leeway when they're ... well ... even more new to things than Miho herself feels like. "Don't worry about it," she says. "I mean. Just be careful, all right? You'll do fine." She doesn't even notice that she just missed learning that she's already met Aki ...

She blinks, and giggles bashfully at the compliment. "I, uh, I wouldn't say I'm a genius," she says. "I'm just ... observant, I think. There's people who're way smarter than me, like Sailor Mercury ..." She shrugs uncertainly. "I mean, like ... it has helped me before, in like actual life-or-death situations ... but ... eh."

(She still hasn't observed that she has a case of impostor syndrome.)
Millie White 2018-11-08 20:23:38 99950
A wide and warm grin split Millie's face when Miho tried to play off her intelligence like that. Smart and humble, it was a good mixture. The Canadian allowed a rumbling chuckle to escape.

"Nonsense! I'm observant but I didn't put two and two together. You really helped me out, Kagami-san. Now that I know, I can start trying to figure out ways to use it." She explained. It didn't matter if other people were smarter, other people hadn't helped her like Miho had. So far everyone she had met had been extremely helpful in helping her figure things out, and she really couldn't thank them enough.

"How long have you been... uh... magical?" She asked curiously, not sure if that was the proper way to ask. Her own case was a weird and winding one that even Kurosawa had said was strange, but that didn't mean every path to magic was as convoluted.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 20:32:51 99951
Miho smiles back somewhat bashfully. Compliments still feel lowkey weird, even on something that actually seems to apply to her. "Well, uh ... I mean." She shrugs. "It was no problem, Millie-san!" she says, with only a little bit of awkwardness.

She considers the question. "Technically, my whole life, I guess, since the Death Curse and Life Blessing have always been inside me," she says. "But if you mean when I became a magical girl ..." She shrugs. "I first found out they existed in May, and I started transforming in July, on the first day of summer vacation." She shakes her head. "That was the longest and worst summer vacation I've ever had, for ... a couple of reasons. I think I bounced back, though." She grins. "How about you?"
Millie White 2018-11-08 20:42:58 99952
Since May? Millie didn't have a gauge of whether that was a long time or not, but it felt like it! It did technically make sense that she was magic since birth, since the Life Blessing and Death Curse are hereditary. Millie smiled sympathetically to the poor girl when she heard about how her first henshin spelled the doom of her summer vacation.

"Me? Oh, uh..." She paused for a moment, thinking how best to explain this. "Technically since September 14th of last year." It was oddly specific, but she would never forget that day. "I was on vacation in Tokyo with my folks. A Terribad attacked and I tried to help some kid and his dog, and I just sorta changed." She grinned, remembering how bizarre the experience had been. "I took it out, but no one was there to explain what it was or what happened. I had to go home to Canada after that and I never found out what happened until maybe two days ago."

She looked to her bespectacled companion with a grin.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 20:56:08 99953
Miho smiles and nods. "Wow, that must've been a whole ridiculous thing," she says. "In my case, uh ... there are monsters who want to use my connection from Death Curse to find the shards of the Shadow Jade, so they can put it back together and ... gain ultimate power or whatever." She shrugs. "I first had glowy stuff happen during the first time one of them attacked me, and I transformed when the third one happened, when I got kidnapped by this spider-demon-dude who's the same monster who kidnapped my great grandmother. And, like, the past couple months or so I've been practicing to get better at using the Life Blessing." She hesitates. "I have half of an idea of something to do with that, but I wanna talk to one of the person who got me into training using tai chi and meditation basically."

She regards Millie thoughtfully. "If you wanted answers, this city is pretty much the right place," she says. "Tokyo is pretty much where, like, all the weird magical stuff is going down." She tilts her head curiously. "Though ... if you're on another vacation, that might make things harder, I think."
Millie White 2018-11-08 21:09:38 99954
Beg your pardon, KIDNAPPED by a SPIDER DEMON? Her concern levels skyrocketed once more and it showed in her eyes, but logic told her that Miho was fine. The Canadian was starting to feel like maybe trouble might like to follow Miho around, and she actually looked up and around as if she would be able so see said trouble before it got there. It was good to know that she was practicing with the Life Blessing. Even though she knew nothing about it, it sounded formidable to her.

"That must have been scary." Millie said sympathetically. It sounded like Miho had been through a lot in a short amount of time. Was that just the life of a magical girl? She guess she'd find out soon enough.

At the mention of another vacation, Millie settled down slightly and shook her head amicably. "I'm here as a student now. I couldn't just continue living not knowing what happened, so as soon as I got home I applied to become a foreign exchange student and started learning Japanese." That explained why her Japanese was slow and accented.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 21:17:05 99955
Miho smiles thinly at the comment about scariness. "It was nothing compared to the time Sailor Earth, an evil gender-swapped clone of a friend of mine named Mamoru Chiba, tried to break reality three weeks later," she says humorlessly. "I spent like a month after that just ... recovering." She shrugs. "Don't worry about me," she adds, wanting to reassure her. "Trouble and magical girls, like, always just find each other basically."

She nods. "Oh, well, being an exchange student is probably better, then," she says. "I mean, first of all, there's more to find here." She smiles at Millie. "Your Japanese is good, by the way! With English, I'm still ... well, middle-school second-language basically. But I'm getting better." She hesitates, and then says, "It is a nice day today," in thickly-accented but intelligible English.
Millie White 2018-11-08 21:28:12 99956
Sailor Earth? Gender-swapped clone? Breaking REALITY? 'You chose this path.' her conscience reminded her and she inwardly grumbled something about fine print. Even though Miho had told her not to worry about her, that was kind of like telling the sun not to shine. Millie was a worrier. At the mention of her Japanese, her ears burned red and she bashfully looked at the ground. It was still much too slow for her liking, but actually living in the country was doing wonders for her pronunciation. The sound of English had her gaze snapping back up, and the wide grin from earlier was back on her face.

"Your pronunciation is spot on." She said in English, making sure not to rush the words. Then she added in Japanese, "If you ever want to practice, let me know. It's my native tongue and my best subject in school." It would be nice to speak English every once in a while, too. She'd never admit it, but she was a bit homesick. Speaking the language helped ease it a bit.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 21:39:11 99957
Miho sees Millie's expression. "You'll get the hang of all the magical stuff," she says. "... One thing Kurosawa-san told me, before I actually knew I was gonna be a magical girl ..." She shrugs. "She said that the weirdness never stops being weird, you just get desensitized to it. It's when the normal stuff seems weird that you should worry."

She smiles. "I'll definitely have to take you up on that offer, though," she says, getting out her phone. "My number is ..." She rattles it off. "In the meantime, you wanna watch me practice with the Life Blessing? Might as well keep doing that stuff for now."
Millie White 2018-11-08 21:52:39 99958
When Normal stuff seems weird, that was when she should worry? Millie made a mental note of this and tucked it away into the area of her brain that important information went. It seemed like sound advice to her, and she felt that she could trust Miho. At the mention of her number, Millie blinked and clumsily reached into her pocket for her own phone. She tapped in the number and saved it under 'Kagami, Miho' before putting the device away again.

"I would like that, thank you." She says when Miho asks if she wanted to stay and watch her work with the Life Blessing. This could be useful for her too in that she could teach herself to filter out particularly powerful magical scents. That, and really, the weather actually was pretty good today and she didn't quite feel like going back inside just yet.
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 21:57:42 99959
Miho smiles and nods. Then she steps back from Millie, and thrusts her right arm skyward in the Saturday Night Fever pose. "Life Blessing, Wake Up!"

Mint-green light spirals around her hand and from there becomes an entire column of light around her body. When it clears ... there's a blue-haired magical girl in front of Millie.

"Okay," says Life Mahou Joy, in a clear and bright voice which sounds only a little bit like the voice she had a moment ago. She looks distinctly different, too, but at the same time exactly the same. "It's basically ... a lot easier to do literally everything with the Life Blessing when I'm in this form." She grins. "And I probably wouldn't be able to use the Death Curse, even if I wanted to. The tai chi and stuff is all about learning to control the flow of energy inside me." She shrugs. "There's slight differences, but nothing really new as far as practical applications."
Millie White 2018-11-08 22:06:46 99960
Millie watched Miho take a step back and look like she was about to kick start a disco flash mob, and she couldn't help the gentle smile that settled on her features. She braced herself but even that wasn't enough to prepare her for the smell that hit her. If she thought it had been powerful pre-henshin, it was nothing like now. At the moment of transformation, it felt like Millie was trapped in the windy mint dimension, and for a split second she couldn't see anything but green as her eyes watered.

The Canadian shook her head to clear it, and when she opened her eyes and wiped them, a blue haired girl stood before her. No doubt Life Mahou Joy. Millie offered a grin despite the dampness on her face. Cheekily she offered a small bow, as if they were meeting for the first time. "Pleasure to meet you, Life Mahou Joy."
Miho Kagami 2018-11-08 22:09:00 99961
Life Mahou Joy smiles. "You can just call me Miho when I'm in this form, if we aren't in the middle of, like, an adventure or whatever."

And with that, she resumes her tai chi exercises. The 'scent' of the magic of the Life Blessing fills the small cluster of trees once again.